In a sunless realm where energy coalesces to form, a construct from another world witnessed the slaughter of innocents, and felt no choice but to intervene. He came from a different world than the Creator Flynn. One where Programs walked among their Users and were treated as equals. To the ISOs and the Programs who joined the Resistance, ASH became their champion.
Over many cycles, the Resistance dwindled, but ASH never tired. His disc could not be broken. His light-cycle could never be intercepted. When all hope of liberating the Grid seemed lost, he gathered the surviving ISOs he could find and took them to the edge of the Grid, in a blind search for a passage back to the Steamlands.
At the rim of the digital world he stood with two dozen exhausted warriors, a half step from the edge, gazing into the oblivion beyond. He did not see it as desperation. It was a last move of unknowable results at the end of the line.
And I believe that I'll retrieve
the aperture to heaven
The User Grid, the promised land
a fortitude of hearts and minds
Until I free the ISO Hive
I'll format Void into the Light
Now Program, run
until the day of Liberation,
The call echoed through the space between spaces and the time between times, where it reached the demon from which he was created. Despite the pain inflicted upon him by his captors, the prayer gave him the strength to break his bonds. By the time the Sixes and Sevens cut open the hull, Bloodwing stood alone among the crushed and charred remains of the long-dead Daughters of Baba Yaga. All he asked for as Nova and Six carried him through the air lock was a needle and thread, to sew himself back together.