A/N: It's been a while, but I felt that I would do this, even if it is a passing fancy. I still have a project of my own to get on with, so I won't promise its completion.
We've all seen the epilogue, yet there was a certain… dissatisfaction to what was given. How had it ended in such a way, and what had the existence of Digimon provoked?
There is a beast in every human, and it must be fought with Courage, Light, Friendship, Love, Hope, Sincerity, Knowledge, Reliability, Miracles and the Darkness to battle it.
NOTE: The Prime Minister and government of Japan I have created in here are not real, and any government official in Japan by their name is purely coincidental. Also, the UN have not invested in ways to counter digital dragons before, so that's a fiction, too.
THE JUGGERNAUT PROJECT
'Officials are still refusing to comment upon the strange events in Odaiba today, even in light of the vast destruction and, quite frankly, the flattening of a large area of the Tokyo Bay. Why they would suggest their own uncertainty and express secrecy in light of these events is unknown, but the Prime Minister has apparently been contacted by the United Nations, a first given the European organisations jurisdiction not applying to Japan. Likely it seems that these talks will be on the cause, whatever it was, and the foreign aid that will be invoked to repair Odaiba. This is Charlie Itarashi of JNN, signing off.'
'Just over two years have passed by since what is known now as the 'Odaiba Incident' befell Japan, still with no explanation officially being offered even by the new governmental body or Prime Minister that were greatly reorganised. Mixed reports of 'monsters' and 'erratic fog' have been given to varying degrees and accuracy, giving no clearer picture on the incident that has since hit tax-payer wallets hard in an effort to rebuild Odaiba, though some of the scars are still standing. One man had this to say earlier when asked by JNB.'
'It was crazy to watch – my house's right over there, unrepaired. Sure, the government helped me out with their tenement building projects in the main district, but they've not told me why my door was busted in by ghosts and my daughter has nightmares about some Dracula-wannabe. They called me nuts, threatened to send me to a home if I didn't stop talking about it!'
'The resident lived by the Rainbow Bridge, which also had to be rebuilt at great cost, again, without explanation. The Prime Minister has asserted that such a thing wouldn't occur again in anyone's lifetime, though this boast came mostly through channels of information leaked by UN correspondents. While a member of the UN, Japan is very much still an independent nation, and the Prime Minister has proposed reforms, citing the sudden intrigue between Japan and the other UN members. Current Prime Minister Suichiro Ichijo still fails to tell of much of his supposed 'reforms', but even so, Odaiba residents are still recovering from the latest incident of danger, many still concerned over a possible repeat of the notorious 'Highton View Terrace Attack' six years ago.'
'My question is, why're we listening to whatever it is the UN has said when we nearly saw a nuclear disaster? Is three times not enough, Mr Ichijo?'
'I can assure you, JNN, JNB and all other networks who will be relaying this to the Japanese people that the incident you are referring to was a world-wide glitch, nothing more. The UN has assured me that no such action would ever be taken in strife. I gather that the mere word 'nuclear' gives old scars issue to ache, but we must be calm. The incident is two years past. There is no reason to dredge up an old affair that never led to anything other than a scare for my predecessor.'
'There are also reports, if I may say so, that perhaps these countermeasures of yours, Prime Minister, are rather unfounded. No weapons developments, defensive or otherwise, and no great change in the reported military budget. The former Prime Minister and yourself have been very silent about the Odaiba Incident, and citizens are concerned should whatever happen occur again.'
'Allow me to say this plainly and with truth, Mr Ichinose: all that is being done will act as our shield, should Odaiba repeat itself. Of that, you have my word both as Prime Minister and a member of the human race.'
DECEMBER 19, 2003
Odaiba Saint's High School, Classroom 2-B
Tai was so incredibly bored, simply sitting impatiently in his empty classroom, a dull and cloudy evening dragging on, snow falling heavily by the windows, showing him how late it was getting.
He was now in the second year of high school, a sixteen year old of many months, and his life was slowly getting better.
His grades were better, now getting him above the average marks. This had garnered attention to him, possibly as he was no longer excluded in his class as the 'jock' and more the 'intellectual jock'. While his intelligence was, in truth, nothing impressive, it did little to dampen his already down-spiritedness.
What really got on his nerves was that his friends were slowly slipping away from him. Matt and Sora had been obvious from the start, despite the constant sting of truth it gave him, but Kari and TK were a little suspicious to him. He was scared that they were dating in secret – a wise move, as he would find a way to utterly destroy Matt's brother is he had been outright told.
His little sister had turned fourteen recently, just in the last week, but her age was scaring him – he was getting older, as was everyone else. They would all slip away from him, such was the way growing up was. But he had always hoped to avoid separating from them, especially after last December. The year-anniversary of their final victory together was coming up, but everyone had made plans.
This didn't mean they were avoiding him – they agreed to meet up in one place on the day, but the distance and coldness he had felt when they had told him was striking. It was as though they were passive friends, like ones they hung out with to avoid boredom entirely, not ones they had saved worlds, dimensions even with.
Izzy now had a girlfriend of a month. It was stunning to even comprehend. Sure, Natsuko was a nice girl, more than anyone would believe, but now Izzy barely had time to talk with anyone other than the only girl who was also his age and a techno-nut. Half their babble sounded like a foreign language to him.
Joe had begun at his medical school earlier that year. He was determined to be a great doctor in his own right, not his father's, something Tai couldn't help but respect. He had managed to find time for the reunion, saying that he was bringing a close friend of his, Kaori. Tai had stopped listening at that. Even Joe had found a possible girlfriend, something he had thought impossible since he was still so hung up on Mimi. He supposed that the distance between had finally snapped Joe out of it.
Mimi herself was in New York, living the high life from what she had told Tai over mail and the phone. She talked to him far less than the others, but from the sporadic contact he had gathered that she was happy enough, and that Michael had asked her out.
The other kids, Davis, Yolei, Cody and Ken had all agreed to make an appearance, but had all contested about their schedules without fully explaining. Tai hadn't been their leader in a year, so they had rifted in a way. He never heard from them anymore, not even Davis to check on Kari, likely due to TK.
So that was it. The Digidestined were no closer now than the time before they had been before they had met.
It was sad for Tai to consider, but watching the snow go by the window, simply sat at his desk during the time afterschool for clubs like a friendless optimist reminded him of how all things pass, whether it be snow or friends.
He couldn't even talk to Agumon, as the Digimon were in the Digital World organising some sort of government and police to prevent more Virus Digimon rising. Until their world was secure, he couldn't see them. The portals were still open, but they were guarded on their side now.
He had no idea when it might be done, when the portals would be left open to travel through. As Tentomon and Gennai had told him the day after MaloMyotismon the year before, it could be years before the security of both worlds was ensured.
'This blows,' he hissed to himself, arms falling down beside his seat. Irked now, he rose to his feet and grabbed his bag. Heading to the sliding-door, he opened it and moved down the corridor, headed to the stairwell and then the exit. Again, his day had been lonely and boring.
It had been ever since he had been split from the others who went to the school, being placed alone in a class while they, Sora, Matt and Izzy were together. Yolei always joined them since she was a first year, but since they were kind of distant, Tai tended to do his own thing and avoid them altogether.
He got to the shelves that held the outdoor-shoes and searched for his, finding them and switching his indoor-shoes for his outdoors.
As he tied the laces, he heard light footsteps behind him, along with hushed whispering. He turned to look.
Three girls from his class that he knew as Satchiko, Minori and Eri stood there, obscured slightly by the shelf. They must not have noticed him or thought they were invisible, as they whispered amongst themselves.
'Hello?' he called to them, seeing all three jumped nearly from the ground. 'Is there something wrong?'
Satchiko and Minori pushed forth Eri, a short brunette girl with an air of frailty toward him. He caught her, though she leapt away from him, her face flushed. About to hurl abuse at her friends, he saw deviously amused smiles.
'Are you alright?'
Eri Kurosaki. That was her full-name, he thought.
He must have heard it a dozen times in daily register, but he was so short at paying attention. Even a butterfly would distract him enough. Sora had mocked him for it throughout their childhood friendship, especially when he was fighting back tears with a soccer ball imprint on his face. She had smiled at him as Satchiko and Minori had done.
'Um – Eri?' he asked, kneeling down to look at her red-face. 'You're a little red – you feeling okay?'
He reached out and pressed his palm to her head, feeling a wave of heat and the building of sweat under his hand. She was muttering lowly to herself and Tai realised that he had touched her without permission. He pulled back, feeling his face develop warmth.
'S-sorry, just checking that you're okay is all…'
'Eri, tell him!' Minori whispered.
'Yeah, what's he going to do but say 'no'?'
Tai froze. He realised what it was about now, something so obvious that when he looked at Eri she didn't have to say anything and just had to let her wide eyes tell him.
He couldn't believe it was happening. His mind went blank.
Takenouchi Residence, Sora's Room
December 19, 2003
'Seriously?' Sora couldn't believe it. Tai sat onto her bed almost robotically, his eyes blank. Snow was still embedded within his great mess of hair. 'She did? What did you tell her?'
'What does that mean?'
'I said 'yes' and she ran off crying with her face all red…'
Sora refused to squeal before Tai. He would never have let it go if she had. Even now that she was sixteen, it was still embarrassing to let him know that Mimi had gotten to her. Even Matt gave her a funny look when she did it, so what would Tai do if the 'tomboy' suddenly squealed?
But she felt like a balloon, only filled with joy instead of air.
Tai had been so lonely since they were all split up from him earlier at the start of the school-year. She didn't need to be a psychic to notice. Having a girlfriend would help him endure school, and might even help him overcome his wounds from last Christmas. He didn't know it, but Sora had noticed long ago what he thought of her – but she always thought of him as a friend. Matt was a different matter.
But that was of little consequence now – the worlds were at peace, one day they would be allowed into the Digital World again and now Tai became the latest Digidestined to find that special someone – Sora worried how he would react if she told him about how his sister had already done so.
Kari had come to her, not Tai, not as TK had gone to Matt with such elation. Tai's own sister was rather distant to him, but that was part of growing up.
Still, he deserved a nice girl to keep him company.
'What's she called?' she asked, excited for him and settling for the chair at her desk. 'Is she nice?'
'She's called Eri,' he explained gradually, apparently still shocked by the event himself. 'She's… she's really, really nice, but I'd never talked to her before. She just came up with her friends and – BAM – it happened!'
'She must have been too shy,' Sora voiced her thoughts, trying to lift Tai's spirits about the best thing to ever happen to him, even if he didn't know it yet. 'Those kinds of girls are the best. She's brave if she went up to a hard-head like you and said that…'
'Like you were brave when you went to the rockstar?' Tai asked, blinking innocently. Heat crept up Sora's neck in an instant. 'What? Hit a nerve?'
'I hate you sometimes – so much.'
'Hey, what're friends for?' Tai smiled his goofy smile as he had done in those desperate first days in the Digital World. 'Still, I've never done this sort of thing before… What am I meant to do?'
Sora frowned in deep thought, uncertain of what he should do.
'What do you and Matt do?'
His question had caught her off-guard and hit her with the force of a train. Why would he ask her that? What made him think that she would answer?
'We go to shops and stuff like that…' Sora sighed, feeling her insides well up with the heavy feeling of defeat. 'Like, ask her to study with you or… how about you bring her to our get-together?'
'Yeah, that might work!' Tai got to his feet and put a hand to his chest histrionically, 'Here's to us, we who defeated darkness and the ladyboy vampire-dog thing that embodied it and probably destroyed your house before!' he dropped the act and gave her a satisfied look. 'That should go down well.'
'I guess,' Sora laughed, enjoying how close she still was with her oldest and in many ways best friend. 'Still, Izzy's bringing Natsuko and Ken's getting dragged into it by Yolei.'
'What are those two, anyway?'
'I think they're really close, but they still won't talk about it with each other.'
'Well, it'll be good to see everyone,' Tai looked up at the ceiling of Sora's room longingly, remembering the faces of all of his friends in turn. 'Davis isn't likely to come with us though, and don't give me any 'I don't know why' stuff. I'm protective, not blind.'
'TK's a good guy, Tai – he's not a kid anymore and neither is Kari,' Sora assured him. 'Anyway, it's getting on for seven – shouldn't you be going home now?'
'Don't worry, I'll be at the meeting place with Matt, even if I have to drag him there.'
Tai got up and headed to the door, mumbling something as he left. Sora caught it, but the words still struck at her like a sword, even then.
'That's not what I'm worried about.'
Izumi Residence, Izzy's Room
December 19, 2003
'And these creatures can really exist here in our world?'
Natsuko looked lovely to Izzy, even through the medium of a computer screen created by a camera's relayed image. Natsuko Umineko, a sweet and pretty redhead like him, though she had glasses with a large circular rim, something others sniggered at her for. Not that she cared. She was as calm as the sea and as adorable to him as the cat for her namesake.
'That's right,' Izzy confirmed, bridging his fingers thoughtfully. 'You see, they come from the data in our world, in our computers. From there they materialised and assumed personalities and traits of their own. It's quite the prodigious achievement, in truth.'
'So they can come from the pixels in my screen?'
'Everything digital can be manifested,' Izzy explained, lifting a brow. 'Why do you ask?'
'Tell me the truth – is some digital-furry looking at me, even now?'
'I'm not a furry,' Izzy laughed heartily at the way she shuddered and smiled at once. 'Besides, anyone would be lucky to look at you.'
'You're such a charmer, Izzy Izumi,' she chuckled to herself in the computer window. 'So then, I'll be signing off now. I've got to be up bright and early. My mom and dad tell me that I need to go out an exercise like some anthropoid soccer player. I told them I hated running, but there you go.'
'I get it,' Izzy looked at the time in the corner of his laptop's screen, seeing that it was only 8:34. 'I'll be seeing you later, then. Tomorrow?'
'Tomorrow,' she smiled one last time before the computer screen closed the window, telling him that she had signed off.
Izzy sighed, hating the awkward silence after Natsuko logged off. For the past month since he had told his overwhelmed mother and proud father, they had been keeping their distance, though at times he could sense a motherly-presence pressed up against his door whenever talking to Natsuko. His mother wasn't the snooty type that usually eavesdropped, though Izzy was himself, and having a girlfriend would stun anyone, especially himself at first.
Deciding to join his mother and father in the evening television, Izzy clicked onto his internet browser and looked to his mailbox, wanting to check it before he did anything else.
What he saw there shocked him.
There were three emails, though one in particular grabbed his attention, as it was in bold, block-capital lettering with an old ally's name attached beside it.
'BEWARE JUGGERNAUT – Gennai' was all it said, yet it captivated Izzy enough to open it without thought.
Spreading before him on the computer screen like cards being flicked to players in Blackjack were windows, images and data all being transferred and downloaded at high speed. One last window opened, and he read it with some trepidation.
'PROJECT JUGGERNAUT: CLEARANCE GRANTED.'
'Juggernaut?' Izzy repeated to himself, over and over again, though nothing came to mind other than the word's denotation of something 'large'. 'What's Juggernaut mean, Gennai? Why did you send me this now?'
As if in response to his directionless query, a small sprite appeared on his screen, one of a small old man's visage that was walking to the centre of the screen with a conventional letter in its hand. Izzy had last seen it during Myotismon's siege of Odaiba three years ago.
'Greetings,' it said. 'Salutations again from cyber-space.'
'Gennai?' Izzy stared at the sprite, but he still couldn't believe it, after a year's silence. 'Why are you contacting me now?'
'Because the Digital Government and Peace Guardians are in place, and we are now ready to open the Digiports again,' the small image waved a message beside its small arm. 'However, I came across some information that may hinder our efforts.'
Izzy tried not to be sarcastic at a computer screen in the event his mother was at his door and thought he was being mean to Natsuko, whom she adored.
'Is it this 'Project Juggernaut', by any chance?'
'Indeed it is,' said Gennai plainly. 'It appeared that a hacking incident had occurred at what is otherwise quite the well-protected facility. I was interested, fearing a rogue Virus had used a Digiport when I found this 'Juggernaut' not ten minutes ago.'
'Can we skip past these images and data entries so that you can give me the general idea?' Izzy looked at the images with a glance, seeing that they were of a building. 'Is this place the 'Juggernaut'?'
'No, it is not.'
'Then what's the big problem that you finally sent me a message?'
'The fact of the matter is that the 'Juggernaut Project' is already a thing of the past, destroyed by some Digidestined children somewhere in Japan last year during the final battle. Juggernaut, according to these notes, was aimed at countering Digimon altogether should something like Odaiba happen again.'
'That's been in the news a lot recently,' Izzy noted, remembering an interview with the Deputy Prime Minister Kodaka Miyazaki. 'The Prime Minister hasn't been seen much since last Christmas when Digimon were in this world.'
'He wouldn't be since his grand experiment seemed to fail,' Gennai said heavily. 'Juggernaut was intended to eliminate all Digimon by poisoning their data with a powerful virus, but it failed due to some of the other Digidestined. The project was abandoned as a failure, and Digimon roamed about your world freely until you sent them back.'
'So the Japanese government intended to delete Digimon?' Izzy was baffled. 'Why would they do such a thing?'
'Izzy my friend, listen closely – Odaiba was a disaster, a costly one no doubt. It was a miracle that no casualties came to be in the battle at that time, but could such a miracle be relied upon again?' Gennai's sprite shook its large head. 'I expected some reaction if the barriers should fail again, and that is why I erased data of the incident, all recordings and such.'
'But it's all okay now, right?' Izzy looked eagerly at the sprite, his amusement at Natsuko's digital-company forgotten. 'That Juggernaut program failed, you said.'
'Indeed, but the data I have sent to you is imperative to what you must investigate,' said Gennai. 'No program so elaborate would be so simple. They must have had a contingency, only now that very contingency's data has been mostly deleted. The facility that had been accessed by hacking is in a state of lockdown now, but there's only so much I can do here.'
'Hold on,' Izzy grabbed his laptop and slid his chair down to the end of his desk where his stationary computer lay. Turning it on and linking it to the laptop with the cable, he watched the images transfer from the laptop to the computer, Gennai staying on the compact device himself. 'Alright, tell me what you know about this place then, Gennai. If it isn't too dangerous, I'll go and check it out.'
'Easy my friend, you must not go alone,' Gennai swung the conventional letter image in his hand, the image popping and appearing as a window of its own. 'You will need help. Where are the other Digidestined?'
'We're kind of separate at the moment,' Izzy admitted, looking at the message. ''224 Baika Street'? There's no such place in Odaiba. I'm confident in that conclusion.'
'You would be wise to trust that conclusion. There is no such place, as the facility is concealed in what I understand is called a 'shipyard'. It will look like a storage facility, a warehouse, perhaps.'
Izzy frowned, glancing at the image he had been given – it was a build made entirely of glass, with an architectural feature of a slanted roof, almost as though it had been cut.
'This looks nothing like that,' he noted, understanding. 'A false trail… that's ingenious. Especially since a hacker would get this image and believe that they had found an important facility's location. But how did you know, Gennai?'
'I am a digital being,' the sprite boasted, 'information is like a river, and I know how to follow it to its true place of birth.'
'So in other words, you can tell where the data's true place of transmission is located,' said Izzy, considering the situation. 'This building must hold something secret for all of this to be necessary. I doubt we could get in by ourselves…'
'That is where I can help you,' Izzy looked at Gennai's visage with a raised brow. 'Merely access that message I have sent you and you will have the help you will need for this venture.'
'The message?' Izzy looked at the new window, seeing only the false address Gennai had obtained. 'What do I do?'
'Merely access the message itself.'
Izzy clicked on the message as if to type a message onto it, but the indicator didn't appear. Instead, a bright flash blinded Izzy for a moment, a heavy weight crashing into him and sending him to the floor with a loud bang.
'Izzy, what's the matter?' Izzy's mother was through the door instantly, having undoubtedly been listening in with pride on him and Natsuko. 'Izzy – oh!'
'What is it mom?' he groaned, feeling as though he had brought his desk down on top of him.
'It's that friend of yours – from Christmas last year, wasn't it?'
'Honey?' he could hear his dad appear from behind the doorframe. 'Oh, it's good to see you again.'
Izzy stiffened. He knew that voice.
The weight jumped off of him with a strange buzzing noise, like that of a fly. A noise he hadn't heard in so long. He sat upright, slightly timorous and jittery as he caught sight of his first real friend, his best friend, his Digimon.
Prime Minister's Office, Kantei, Tokyo
December 19, 2003
'And that is the truth of the matter?' Suichiro Ichijo rubbed his eyes, unable to digest what he was hearing from Harry Heiji, his head of division over scientific research and endeavours. He rarely saw him, and this time was like the others, complete with unpleasant news. 'The people are now at risk Harry. How did this happen?'
'Prime Minister, it was a catastrophe,' Ichijo sat down at his desk, listening to the director of the program. 'Juggernaut's sister program was much too unstable to be fully relied upon. HYPNOS's failure last year all but ushered in the failure of this one. Funding was poor since that time and management staff has fallen worryingly. It was only a matter of time until there was a containment issue.'
'I am well aware of Misuo Yamaki and his reports on Juggernaut's abandonment,' the Prime Minister snapped, feeling his temper wane. 'I told you last year that Juggernaut was a disaster, a failure. I told you to slowly abandon the sister project as well. Only so much of the defence budget can be allotted to poor, subpar or non-existent defence.'
'I understand that sir, but frankly put Juggernaut had promise you would have squandered in a moment of embarrassment at HYPNOS and Yamaki's failure,' the fool had the nerve to touch his desk as though he were effusive over his shortcoming. 'Two scientific masterpieces came from Juggernaut, easily enough to secure the world if not watch it. Imagine, imagine how the UN will react if we offer the solution to security against those monsters should they arise!'
'Monsters that have since vanished into thin air,' Ichijo snapped, irked at the scientist's pontificating. 'The issue at hand is how you have introduced the people of Tokyo and Japan as a whole to danger because you wanted to experiment on volatile subjects that should have been abandoned long ago.'
'Prime Minister, please-!'
'No, listen!' he had had enough of the fool's babble. 'I will now have to go into the public to explain a security risk to my people! What question will come first do you think? Perhaps one about returning monsters? How do you think the people will react when I decline them an honest answer due to foreign interest of all things? Fear will then spread globally through me!'
'Sir, please, listen,' the idiot of a scientist had lost the verve in his eyes, lost that passionate fire. Ichijo was slightly relieved, knowing that he had begun to realise his error. 'Allow me to search for them. Such things can be easily mistaken and missed by eyes that aren't looking.'
Ichijo pointed at him, knowing that if he was to do such a thing, he must avoid panicking the people.
'That facility in Odaiba where it happened – evacuate it, send all staff on mandatory vacation, immediately,' he ordered, thinking carefully. 'The Cabinet must not hear of this, so the facility must be untouched by any of our people that may be missed. None will find it as only our staff know of the facility location, but I warn you now that it must be cleared when you have found your failures I told you to abandon.'
'And those foreign interests in the project?' Heiji wiped sweat from his brow. 'There are constant inspections, not at the facility itself for security, but they will wonder why no image of the subjects is given to them.'
'Tell them that you have a confounding new project that may interest them.'
'Do we have such a thing?'
'We will when you create such a thing. Consider it atonement for this stupendous blunder of yours. And Harry, do ensure that only the right people are looking for what we discussed.'
'I will do, sir,' the stupid man went for the door, bowing back at him one last time. 'Honestly, thank you.'
And he left.
Suichiro sniffed, feeling stuffy from his cold. He had done his best to ignore it in the meeting, his annoyance serving as the best way to hide it from Harry, though now he had a different problem. He reached for the intercom and pressed it.
'Ms Awaki, please could you get Minister of Defence Kouda here? It appears that I will need to discuss a matter with him.'
'Certainly sir. What should I tell him it's about?'
'Tell him that we need to discuss a worrisome triviality about the SDF. Nothing to bothersome, I'm afraid.'
'I'll get him on the line, sir.'
'Thank you Ms Awaki, sincerely.'
A/N: And there you have it, my first fanfiction in a while, just a little something to keep me preoccupied while I consider my own ideas.
Tell me, am I the only one to ever have considered Digimon in realistic terms and reactions like this?