Disclaimer: I do not own Digimon, nor do I own Speaker of the Dead, from which this story's epigraph comes.
Book One: Prologue
-- Orson Scott Card, Speaker for the Dead
Chapter 1: Rascal
The day I bio-emerged is the day I lost my freedom.
I looked around at my new surroundings. They were nothing like the Digital World that I was accustomed to. Everything seemed so . . . different. I was in a new world, a world beyond any Digimon's imagination, a world beyond my dreams--and nightmares.
"Wow, he's . . . he's real. Is that really you, Picaromon?" a childlike voice said in amazement. I turned to see a curious looking creature behind me. The expression on his face was bright, as if he was exuberant about something. His wide blue eyes shimmered with vivacity and his ruddy hair bounced up and down, as he hopped with anticipation.
He didn't look like any Digimon I had ever seen. Could this creature be one of the humans that were talked about in the Digital World--the creatures that presided over us like gods? For a divine creature, it was quite small.
"You know my name," I replied. "Who are you?"
"I'm Ryan," the child replied. "I'm your Tamer."
"Tamer?" I asked.
"Yeah, Tamer. You're my Digimon. We fight against the bad guys together. It's just like the game."
"So, in this world we fight too," I replied. I was a bit disappointed. Surely in the world of the gods there would be no wars--no ruthless, bloody conflicts that took away everything and everyone you held dear.
"Yup." Apparently, humans had different views on fighting than I did. He seemed excited about it, as if war were enjoyable.
"Are you a human?" I asked.
"Duh! What a stupid question!" Ryan exclaimed. "What else would I be?"
"Ryan, what do you think you're doing?" asked another high-pitched voice. A door opened at the far end of the room and another human stepped in. This one was dressed differently and looked slightly different, and it was noticeably smaller. The most striking difference was the human's long, golden hair. "Oh, what a cute Digimon doll!" The human's voice had a feminine tone.
"It's not a doll, Sara," Ryan replied. "It's real!"
"Digimon aren't real, stupid."
"They are too. Show her, Picaromon."
"Show her what?" I asked. I walked over to Sara. "Is she a Tamer, too?"
"Wow!" Sara exclaimed. "He is real!"
"And I'm his tamer, I've got the D-Power to prove it," Ryan boasted proudly, holding up a small device.
"Let me see!" Sara pleaded.
"No!" Ryan drew the D-Power away possessively. "It's mine!"
"But, Mom said we have to share," whined Sara.
"I don't care."
"Gimmie!" shouted Sara. She lunged at Ryan. The two began fighting over the small device, shouting and screaming at each other. Their struggle seemed pitiful compared to the fights that I had seen and experienced. If they were Digimon, half the room would be in ruins by now.
"Kids, what are you doing?" asked another, deeper feminine voice.
"Quick, Picaromon, hide!" said Sara. "We can't let Mom find you or she'll take you away. She always takes away all my good toys!"
"Hey, he's my Digimon," retorted Ryan. "Hide under my bed, Picaromon."
"Your what?" I asked.
"That thing over there!" replied Ryan in an exasperated, annoyed voice.
Although I resented his tone toward me, I decided not to challenge him. After all, this "Mom" could be a mega-level Digimon, or at least the human equivalent. I hid under a small metal frame with a large rectangular cushion on it, or as Ryan called it, a "bed." It was dark underneath, and I wouldn't be easily spotted.
Ryan quickly hid the D-Power, as a creature stepped into the room. My assumptions were right; it looked like a higher level human. Based on what I'd seen of Ryan and Sara fighting, I wondered if this human could do any serious damage. "Okay, kids, what's going on in here?" She sounded annoyed.
"Nothing, Mother," replied the two children in unison. They made their voices seem innocent, as if nothing had happened. Would the larger creature really be naive enough to believe them?
"I heard something going on here, and it definitely wasn't nothing."
"Aw, Mom, can't you stop worrying about us for a minute," complained Ryan.
"I know you're causing trouble," replied the human called "Mom." She looked at Sara. "What kind of mischief have you been causing this time?"
"Nothing," Sara replied innocently. "We're just playing nicely with each other."
"You were too loud to just be playing." There was a ringing sound from outside of the room. It persisted. The "Mom" looked over its shoulder. She sighed, exasperated. "You kids play nice." Then the "Mom" quickly rushed out of the room. Seconds later the ringing noise stopped, and "Mom's" voice was heard speaking to some unknown creature.
"Is it safe?" I inquired.
"Yes," replied Ryan. "She's gone."
I came out from my hiding spot.
"You have to promise not to tell Mom about him, okay," Ryan said to Sara.
"Only if you let me play with him and be his tamer too."
"Fine then!" Sara turned, and began walking toward the door. "Oh, Mom!" she cried out.
"Shhh!" hushed Ryan. "Fine! Just don't tell Mom, about him and I'll let you play with him."
"Oh goody!" exclaimed Sara with delight. "I'll go play with him right now."
Before Ryan or I could protest, Sara dragged me out of the room and into another.
I learned a lot about human culture from Sara. It seemed there was a unique human ritual called a tea party, in which a human takes many inanimate objects and talks to them, while pretending to drink from small plastic cups. There was also an obsession about aesthetics, such as how "fabulously well dressed" one was or how well someone's hair looked. I don't think I'll ever understand humans.
About an hour later, the two humans were summoned by the "Mom," who being the higher level creature, seemed to take authority over the two creatures. Ryan surreptitiously snuck me back into the quarters in which I bio-emerged. After Ryan left, I took the moment to explore my surroundings more. Ryan had told me not to enter the hallway, lest I be seen by the feared "Mom," so I just looked around Ryan's quarters.
The structure under which I had hid, I believe Ryan called it a bed, was quite soft and bouncy. On it were sheets of fabric decorated with designs of Digimon. In another corner of his room was a desk. In the drawers were some miscellaneous items, such as sticks of wood with a soft carbonous core, and the D-Power which he had hidden. I looked through the other items in the room and quickly got bored.
I looked at the open window. I debated with myself of whether to explore this strange, new world further. Ryan didn't forbid me from leaving the room, I thought. My curiosity got the better of me, and I went through the window to explore the human world.
The ground below was teeming with humans of the same level as the creature called "Mom." Bigger metallic creatures zoomed around at greater speeds, and occasionally the humans went into them or exited from them. I wondered what was so important to the humans; what were they constantly rushing around for? I went around exploring the new world more.
I entered an area. A sign designated it "Central Park." There was a walkway surrounded by various types of vegetation. There were considerably fewer humans here than before. Again, I questioned the humans' motives: why would the humans rather spend their time in the bleak, grey scenery rushing around in the metallic creatures, when such beauty and peace were a few steps away? I came upon a secluded spot. It was surrounded by various green plants, ranging from large, majestic trees, to small, elegant flowers. It was nothing like the monotonous, electronically created, data-filled net which we inhabited. The scenery of this secluded spot was completely foreign, yet it felt familiar to me; nothing felt artificial or contrived. I sat enjoying the peacefulness of the spot. It was relatively quiet, not filled with the screeching, ear-piercing sounds of the land of the metallic creatures nor the chaos and conflict of the Digital World. Everything was calm and placid. The wind whispered gently in the branches of the trees. The blades of grass swayed gently in the calm breeze. It was a nice contrast to the turbulent changes in my life. I could get used to this, I thought. I admired the beauty around me. It had no apparent order or style, like any art I'd ever see, yet the scenery was perfectly elegant and harmonious. Whoever designed this must have been a genius.
"Where's your tamer?" asked a harsh voice behind me. I silently cursed at myself for not being alert. I was so caught up in the beauty of the surroundings that I forgot about the inherent dangers of being ambushed or attacked. "Or, are you a wild one?" the voice asked again.
I quickly turned and got into a fighting stance. I prepared to attack, but stopped.
Sabermon was a fellow rookie Digimon. Humanoid shaped, he stood ramrod straight in a military fashion. The silver saber in his hand glinted in the sunlight. We fought at each other's side back in the Digital World. He was one of the only other Digimon I felt I could ever trust. Although, I was glad he was here, I was very surprised.
"Picaromon," said Sabermon, sliding his saber into his scabbard. "What are you doing here?"
"I thought you were dead," I said, still in shock that my friend was here. One day, Sabermon had gone off alone. He never came back. I assumed that he had been attacked and deleted, for that was common in the Digital World.
Sabermon explained how he got here. He was pulled from the Digital World by some unknown force and ended up in the hands of a human being, his tamer. Ever since them, he and his tamer had been battling all wild Digimon that bio-emerged into this world.
"Why?" I asked him. While Sabermon and I were friends, we did have our differences. Sabermon valued honor and loyalty more than I did. He seemed to know his destiny and was unyielding in his journey to reach it. He had an unbeatable sense of purpose. I couldn't understand why he would want to fight, even after he had escaped from the bloodbath called the Digital World. Our difference in opinion set us apart a bit, but it made for interesting conversations and discussions.
"It is because," Sabermon explained, "these humans control our destiny. They were the ones who brought the Digital World into existence, and they controlled everything in it. They are the ones who created us, and we are their loyal partners."
So, it was the humans who made the Digital World to be a world of war and suffering. It was because of them that we fought, bleed, and died. I didn't know what Sabermon was thinking, but to me these were all reasons not to like humans.
"Where is your tamer?" Sabermon asked.
"I wandered away from him," I replied. "And you?"
"He sent me to scan the area for opponents."
"Why do you obey him? Don't you want to stop fighting constantly? Don't you every just want to live in peace and tranquility, without fear of battle or death?"
"Yes, but it is our sole destiny to fight and become stronger. It is what we were created for. As for why I obey my tamer, do we not have a responsibility to faithfully serve our creators?"
"Not if they make us do what we don't want to do."
"What we want is irrelevant. It is our duty to serve," Sabermon paused. "My tamer beckons. I hope we will meet again." With those words, Sabermon quickly left the area.
"I told you not to leave!" Ryan scolded. "But you had to go exploring, didn't you!"
"You merely forbid me to enter the hallway," I replied. "You did not forbid me from exiting through the window."
"You know what I meant!"
These humans are quite hypocritical, I thought. They wheedle their way out of obeying the authority of the creature called "Mom," but they expect others to submit to their own authority.
"I see no harm in my actions" I replied. "What make you think yours are more fitting."
"It was your own good. What if someone saw you? They'd take you away from me!"
"I took precautions to avoid detection."
"Just promise, me you'll stay here and only leave with me, so I can make sure you're safe." Inside, I laughed at that comment. How could these puny, weak humans, who have no fighting ability whatsoever, protect me?
"No," I sternly replied. "Why must I listen to you? Why do you insist I rely on you for protection when I am capable of acting on my own?"
I could tell Ryan was frustrated.
"You can't just go wandering around the city, Picaromon. If you haven't noticed, you look very different from everyone around. People will see you and think you're some kind of monster," he said.
"To me it seems you are the monsters," I replied.
"What did you say?!" Anger was rising in his voice. "Listen, I know more about this world than you do, so you . . . "
"You know nothing! Your whole species is backward!"
"Oh, so you think you're better than me? Well, listen buster, I'm the best Digimon card game player in . . . "
"You think this is all some sick, twisted game."
"Well you're just computer data. And, I'm your tamer. Everyone knows that Digimon are supposed to do everything that their tamer says.
"This isn't the same as the game you play. I am not a computer program. I am a living, feeling thing."
"Well, how am I supposed to be your tamer if you won't even listen to me?!"
"How can you be a tamer if you're such an idiot?!"
"Take that back!"
"Why should I? I bet you humans are far too weak to even harm us."
"Who're you callin' weak?!"
"You. If you think you can boss me around then think again!"
His next move caught me off guard. He ran forward and pushed me back into the wall. I slammed against the wall, and was temporarily stunned.
"I'll show you who's weak!" he shouted.
Before I could do anything, Ryan picked up the nearest weapon--a large baseball trophy on his desk--and swung it. The hard metal trophy hit me with substantial force. I yelled out in pain. I didn't counterattack though. Even though he could attack me and hurt me by catching me off guard, he'd be no match in a real battle. It would be like killing an in-training Digimon; I wasn't the kind of Digimon to stoop to that level.
Even though I didn't fight back, Ryan continued attacking. While I was stunned from the blow, Ryan drew a large metal baseball bat from out of his closet.
"I'll make you listen to me!" shouted Ryan, still enraged. He charged forward, brandishing the bat.
"Electric dagger!" I shouted, firing a knife shaped blast of electricity at Ryan. I attacked not out of vengeance or aggression, but out of defense and fear. I had definitely underestimated the fighting abilities of these humans.
Ryan blocked the attack with the bat. The electricity flowed through the metal rod, but it did not harm him as the handle was covered with an insulating material.
The bat cracked against my skull, sending me sprawling on the floor. I tried to get up, but the pain in my head didn't allow me to. I lay on the floor, defenseless as Ryan bludgeoned me several more times.
"Look what you've done! You dented my trophy!" Ryan yelled out in anger pointing at the trophy. His chest heaved up and down, as he stopped his onslaught. And, you've dented my head, I thought, commenting on Ryan's complete lack of concern for me.
"You'll listen to me and do what I say, or else . . . " he threatened.
"Or else what?" I asked.
"Or else . . . " Ryan paused briefly. He went to the drawer of his desk and removed the D-Power. "Or else I'll use this button to delete you."
I didn't know what to think of Ryan's threat. It was very probable that he was lying, but I feared that he wasn't. Survival, above anything else, was what motivated me. Not honor like Sabermon, nor greed for power and authority like Ryan; only surviving to live another day mattered. That mind set had kept me alive in the Digital World. I didn't plan to stop surviving now.
"Fine," I acquiesced. I could see Ryan was pleased that his fear tactics seemed to work. In fact, it seemed he was almost taking pleasure in subjugating me.
"Good. Just so you learn your lesson, I order you to clean my room."
"Yes, master," I said sarcastically. Apparently, Ryan didn't catch the sarcasm in my voice, as a big smile went across his face. I went around picking up his stuff off of the floor, and putting it back in its place. Ryan would yell at me to work faster, or to tell me I was doing something wrong. All the while, I could almost see his ego growing.
The next days passed very slowly. Ryan ordered me to be his slave; I did all of his chores and menial tasks. Sara wasn't any less of a tyrant than Ryan either. When she figured out I could be used to do her chores, she took full use of me. When they weren't around Ryan ordered me to stay hidden in his room, and he locked all of the exits. I was a prisoner.
One night I walked up to Ryan's bed as he slept. The child looked so innocent as he slept; who knew such a cherubic face could conceal a cruel monster. I could have killed him right then and there. I could have ended my subjugation and torment. I could have destroyed the one who destroyed many more. But, I didn't. I couldn't bring myself to attack a defenseless little child, no matter how sadistic and inhuman he was. I slunk away from the sleeping child and drifted off to my nightmares.
The next day, Ryan broke the monotony of things.
"Picaromon," he said. "Come with me." It was the late afternoon, and Ryan had returned from an outing with his companions. Ryan seemed more irate than usual, and there was something burning in his eyes. I recognized it from our fight. Whoever had caused it was in for a lot of trouble.
I followed Ryan outside. On the way to our destination, Ryan was mumbling angrily.
"So, Peter thinks he's better than me, eh? . . . Well, I'll show him."
We walked over to a play structure. There was one kid, sitting down on a bench. There were no other humans around.
"Hey Peter!" yelled Ryan.
"Oh, it's you, Ryan. Come for a rematch?"
"I've come for something better. And you won't win this time." Ryan's voice was filled with the cold, hard cruelty, with which he normally commanded me with.
"What are you talking about? Does it have something to do with that Digimon doll you have?"
"He's not a doll. Attack, Picaromon!"
"Electric dagger!" I shouted, hurling a sharp blast of electricity at the ground in front of the human. As I said before, I only kill when necessary.
"Wha . . . he's . . . he's real!" exclaimed the human in fear.
"Get him!" Ryan shouted, vehemently. I fired more electric daggers at the human.
The attack had its effect though; the human ran away crying and screaming. Ryan just stood behind me jeering at Peter as he ran.
"What's the matter Peter? To chicken to have a real Digimon battle! You're nothing but a looser!"
"You should fight fair, tamer," a voice said behind us. I turned to see a tall boy walking toward us. He brushed aside his long black hair away from his face, as he spoke to us.
"Do you want to have a real Digimon battle?" He pushed up his glasses, then pulled out his dark blue D-Power. "Or do you just want to pick on more kids?"
"I'm not afraid of you!" shouted Ryan. "I can kick your butt."
"We'll see," said the tall boy. "Sabermon!"
"Sabermon?!" I shouted.
Sabermon appeared beside the tall boy, and drew his weapon. "So, Picaromon, this is your tamer?"
"Picaromon, kill him!" shouted Ryan. "And his tamer too."
"No!" I replied.
"Ah, your Digimon is smart," taunted the tall boy. "He knows better than to serve a bully like you."
"I'll make you regret those words!" shouted Ryan. Anger burned inside of him. I could see the flames of rage glowing in his eyes. "Picaromon, I order you to destroy him . . . or else." Ryan brandished his D-Power.
"Never!" I shouted. Suddenly, my sense of self-preservation left me. "He is my friend; I will not fight him."
"Your miserable taming abilities will cost you this battle," said the tall boy, "Sabermon, attack!"
Sabermon came forward with a fleche attack. I quickly dodged aside.
Sabermon stopped, pivoting and slicing with his saber at the same time. The blade sliced across my arm, drawing first blood.
I grabbed my wounded arm with my free arm.
"I don't want to hurt you!" I shouted, but Sabermon took the opportunity to attack.
His foot shot out, nailing me in the chest. I flew backward and landed on the ground.
Sabermon dove forward. I caught him against me, stopping his torso with my knee and left hand, while grabbing his arm holding his saber with my right hand.
Sabermon pushed down with all his weight, slowly moving the sharp blade toward my neck. I pushed back harder, stopping the blade from advancing.
"Why are you doing this?" I gasped. "Why are you attacking me? I thought we were friends?"
"We are," Sabermon replied. "But duty outweighs friendship."
"Digimodify!" shouted Sabermon's tamer. "Strength activate."
I felt the blade slowly creeping toward my neck. It was centimeters away.
"Digimodify!" I heard Ryan shout. "Stingmon, spiking strike!"
A spike shot out of my left hand, impaling Sabermon straight through the chest. I pushed Sabermon off, and pulled the spike out.
Sabermon staggered back, grasping the gaping wound in his chest.
It can't be, I thought.
I looked on in consternation as Sabermon collapsed. His chest heaved up and down, slowly. He let out one final sigh.
"No!" I shouted, as Sabermon's body disintegrated tiny bits of data.
"Yes!" Ryan shouted simultaneously. "Ha! I am the best tamer!"
I... I... killed him?! I thought, realizing the horrors of my action. I was only defending myself from him. I never wanted to harm him.
I glared at Ryan. He was exuberant with joy. I looked back at the data, floating up into the air. It is because of the tamers that he is dead. The humans are the enemy, not Sabermon. They should be dead instead of him. Humans don't care what happens to us; all they care about are themselves, and their petty little games. They'll do anything for power; they'll even enslave an entire race to fulfil their wishes. It is because of their slavery and subjugation of us that we fight and kill each other over nothing!
I should have killed Ryan when I had the chance; the world would be a little better without him.
"Electric dagger!" I shouted, turning and lancing a bolt of electricity at the source of my despair, the tool of my destruction, and the symbol of the slavery of Digimon everywhere.
The D-Power exploded into pieces in Ryan's hands.
Ryan shouted in surprise and turned at me. Anger burned in his eyes again.
"What did you do that for?!" he yelled.
"I'm not taking orders from you anymore!" I shouted. "All of you humans are evil, self-centered, power-hungry slave drivers. Your tyranny over me ends now. I will no longer be your toy to play with. You will never use me again!"
I ran away, leaving the two humans to play their petty little games. I was no longer part of their game. As I ran, I made my one solemn promise to myself, Sabermon, and all the suffering Digimon everywhere: I would combat the evils of humanity, until all Digimon were free.