|Usage||Tagging or marking surfaces.|
|Source||Graffiti Glove; coding tool|
|Users||Rasket, Mara, Moog|
|Behind the scenes|
Free code is an art form developed by Rasket during the occupation of Argon City. Though first conceived as a medium for pure artistic expression, it became a powerful tool for propaganda and civic disruption when used to spread the word that "TRON LIVES." Free code graffiti is seen in the TRON: Uprising episodes Tagged and State of Mind.
Free code is a technique to create a spreading pattern of glowing light-lines resembling neon tubing, interlocking in three dimensions to form a picture or message or just to deface a given surface. Usually pink, purple, blue, or shades of teal, the code spreads rapidly, covering entire city blocks in a matter of moments. Once deployed, a free code design permeates every available surface and is stable enough to resist disruption except by breaking its lines piece by piece. Broader sheets of free code can only be derezzed by a code-scrubbing tool, one tiny, tedious patch at a time. It can also spread over a program's skin, though it does so only as harmless 2D lines of color.
The code is unleashed through use of a small baton-like coding tool which fires it into the air, allowing it to spread more quickly. It can be modified on the fly with the aid of a reflective metallic glove, which can be used to draw designs with one's fingers while the coding tool in the other hand propagates the new patterns. If a less personal touch is needed, the code can be contained in a glowing, faceted scatter bomb about the size of a bowling ball. Left in an unobtrusive container, the scatter bomb activates on proximity, displays a five-second digital countdown, and the area around it with tiny points of light which become multiple origin points for a rapidly spreading free code matrix.
If left to itself, free code appears to retain its glow and stay in place indefinitely.
Inspired by the legendary warrior Tron, Rasket developed the free code technique and was encouraged in its realization by Moog. The two joined forces with Mara to form the Jolly Tricksters, a masked team of rebellious graffiti artists relying on Mara's tactical ingenuity to tag well-traveled sites in Argon City without being caught.
The hit on Argon Square, when Rasket used his glove and coding tool to spread colorful line patterns and tower-high "TRON LIVES" messages on every wall within a wide radius, was one of a series of such incidents around the city, baffling sentries who believed the code was another illegal action by the Renegade. The Tricksters also left a code bomb on a light rail car to spread free code across Argon Station (as well as on Paige, who was close to the bomb when it went off). Though Rasket's primary interest was in his "masterpieces," Mara was intent on using the code's message to flout the Occupation and show support to the Renegade; when he showed up to recruit them, she convinced Rasket and Moog to join "Tron's" cause.
Rasket and Moog carried out the beginning of their first resistance operation, spreading free code around the Argon Refueling Towers to distract the sentries while the Renegade boarded General Tesler's ship. However, seeing no fun in acting as a mere distraction and tantalized by the prospect of tagging their biggest canvas yet, they attempted to infiltrate and tag the ship as well instead of heading back to the meeting point. They succeeded in tagging the ship, spreading "TRON LIVES" graffiti all over its exterior, but were captured and nearly derezzed, and Rasket's right arm was reduced to a translucent shadow. Mara, accompanying the Renegade on board again to rescue them, aimed the coding tool at an oncoming recognizer, blinding its viewport with free code and causing it to crash.
Once out of danger, Rasket and Moog resigned as rebels, believing in the cause but afraid that they wouldn't survive another resistance operation. However, Mara continued their free code campaign alone, successfully tagging further areas in Argon City with the "TRON LIVES" message and spreading awareness of the fledgeling rebellion to the programs who saw it. During a brief period when she was infected by Keller's pathogenic code, the sight of one such tag infuriated her, and she used her disc to hack the V away until the tag read "TRON LI ES." When she was freed from the infection, she once again found pride and hope in the sight of free code around Argon City.
- In a User-world parallel taking place in-universe after Kevin Flynn's disappearance, the 2D design of the "Flynn Lives" virus described in TRON: The Next Day -- a disruptive "Easter egg" which splashed "Flynn Lives" across the screens of 40 million PCs -- strongly resembled the neon-sign aesthetic of free code. While the hacker who wrote it denied a connection with the Flynn Lives movement, his "Flynn Lives" design reappeared throughout the lifetime of the movement on placards and T-shirts.