Audio available on YouTube: watch?v=VmWVxoJZBiY


When Taichi wakes up, he finds himself lying in the lower rack of a bunk-bed. The bed is one many lined up sequentially within an long, rectangular room. The room itself is completely enclosed as far as he can tell, dimly lit by fluorescent lights of which only a few are active. Taichi yawns and rubs his eyes, wondering how got here. As he lifts himself from the bed, he feels a slight poking sensation in his arm. Looking at it, he sees an intravenous tube has been injected, connected to a bag of liquid hanging from a nearby pole. Instinctively, Taichi reaches out with his other arm to remove the needle, but then stops himself short as he thinks about it. There he recalls a time when Hikari had been in the hospital, hooked up to something similar during her bout with pneumonia. As his mother had explained, it was a means of delivering nutrition and antibiotics—things that were supposed to be helpful for sick people. So Taichi leaves it in his arm; for now, anyway. He then leans forward to get a better view of the room. However, as he pulls the bed sheets from his body, a cold draft tells him he's not wearing any clothes. Looking down, he confirms that he's only wearing his underwear. Where had his clothes been taken? But more importantly, where was Koromon, his Digivice, and his Crest? A quick look about the room reveals that's entirely vacant, save himself. Nobody is around to answer his questions. Moreover, there aren't even any windows to look out of, leaving Taichi feeling somewhat claustrophobic. His eyes finally fall upon a door at the end of the room. At first, the thinks he ought to make a break for it, but reconsiders, deciding instead to call out to his benefactors:

"Hello? Is anyone here? Hello?"

Nobody replies.

"Hey! Is anyone out there?!" he shouts again, a bit louder this time.

Still, nothing.

Without recourse, Taichi gets out of bed, bracing himself with the pole is arm is linked to. Thankfully, it was a mobile fixture attached to a set of wheels. Slowly, he makes his way towards the door, telling himself that Koromon had to be okay. After all, they'd gone through the effort of taking care of him, right? So surely they'd have done the same for Koromon. But, then again, who were "they" to begin with? Vaguely, Taichi recalls being lifted up by some furry animal and then blacking out; but not before he'd heard the creature talking with someone whose voice sounded like Sora's. Or was that just his imagination? Soon, Taichi gets his answer.

Taichi had made it about halfway across the room when all the lights suddenly become illuminated, bathing the entire room with brightness. He squints his eyes, but he can hear the door at the end of the corridor opening up. A furry red fox-like creature rushes through it and, as Taichi's eyes adjust to the new light, he recognizes who it is! It was an Elecmon, similar to the one whom they'd met at the Village of Beginnings, but Taichi also considers this might not be same one. They looked similar enough.

"Elecmon?" Taichi asks, hoping it was the same one.

"What are you doing?!" Elecmon shouts at him. "Get back into bed!" So, It wasn't the same one. Elecmon glares at him and warns, "I won't ask a second time, kid."

"Where's Koromon?!" Taichi angrily shouts back. "And where's my stuff?!" He wasn't at all pleased with having been called a "kid" either.

"We will be asking the questions around here," Elecmon replies defiantly, crossing his arms. "You're lucky we even decided to save your life. So, maybe show a little gratitude, yeah?"

"You've a serious attitude problem," Taichi say defiantly. "Now show me where Koromon is or I'll—"

"You'll what?!" Elecmon says. His tail begins to spark and he rears up to attack. Instinctively, Taichi takes a step back. "You're the one with the attitude problem, kid." Elecmon tells him. "Maybe I ought to teach you a lesson."

Elecmon's tail continues to spark, and Taichi can hear the faint crackling of electricity. Taichi grasps the pole in his hand firmly, willing to use it as a weapon if need be. As he braces himself for a jolt, a voice calls out from the doorway:

"That's enough, Elecmon!"

Both Taichi and Elecmon look towards the door and see that somebody else has entered the room. Taichi's jaw drops when he sees who it is.

"Sora!?" He exclaims. Indeed, it was! Sora marches into the room, giving Elecmon a stern look. Elecmon relaxes for a moment as she enters.

"So, he does know who you are," he says to her. Then, turning towards Taichi, he rears up for combat once again. "How do you know Sora, huh? Tell us now!"

"Elecmon, calm down!" Says Sora, stomping her foot. Elecmon snorts, but backs off. Even so, his threatening gaze never falters. Meanwhile, Sora draws closer and looks at Taichi intently. As she does so, Taichi sees she's carrying his clothes in her hands, neatly folded. Without saying anything else, she cautiously makes her way over to Taichi and, somewhat awkwardly, hands him his shorts. She blushing as she does so and Taichi, having forgotten he was only wearing his underpants, also blushes. Quickly, he takes his pants and hurriedly slips them on.

"They were pretty nasty," she tells him, adding "…and they smelled terrible," under her breath. "Luckily, this facility has a washroom."

Sora studies Taichi as he does up his shorts, making him feel uncomfortable.

"Do you mind?" He asks. Sora apologizes and turns her face away.

Eventually the pair take to sitting opposite each other upon two separate bunk-beds and Sora continues handing Taichi the rest of his clothes. The silence is deafening as Taichi puts on his socks and shoes and he looks at Sora anxiously as he does so.

"Sora, what's up with you?" Taichi asks.

"Huh?" Sora asks.

"Aren't you even surprised to see me? Don't you want to know what happened?"

"Well, I…" She looks at Elecmon worriedly, who shrugs at her, but continues to peer at Taichi suspiciously. Turning back to Taichi, Sora sighs and then says. "Umm… can you tell me, please…how you know my name?" Taich freezes and looks at her in disbelief.

""What are you talking about?" He asks incredulously. Elecmon interjects:

"Just answer the damn question, numbskull!" He says as his tail begins to spark up again. "How do know her name?"

"Elecmon, please," Sora says. "Just…wait outside."

"What?!" Elecmon exclaims. "And leave you alone with this guy? No way! Not a chance!"

"It'll be fine," Sora assures him. "I don't think he came here to hurt us. Anyway, he's still recovering." Elecmon continues to frown. However, when he sees the look on Sora's face, his frown is replaced with a look of genuine concern.

"Are…are you sure about this?" He asks. Sora walks over to him and holds her arms out. Much to Taichi's surprise, Elecmon hops into her outstretched arms. The two of them share a brief hug and Sora whispers, "I'll be fine. Go cool down for bit, okay?" Reluctantly, Elecmon nods and hops from Sora's arms, proceeding to make his way out of the room. Even as he does so, he continues to look at Taichi suspiciously.

"If you do anything—" He starts to say.

"Elecmon!" Sora says frustratedly. Elecmon growls and, begrudingly, leaves the room, leaving the door wide open as he does so.

When he's gone, Taichi asks Sora, "What was that all about?" And quickly, he adds, "—and where's Koromon?"

"Still recovering," Sora replies curtly, blatantly ignoring the first question. "He was actually in far worse condition than you were. But don't worry; we're taking good care of him."

"What's up with you?" Taichi asks her. "You're acting really strange. Why did you ask me how I knew your name?" Sora says nothing at first, but stares past Taichi as if deep in thought. "Sora? What are you doing? Why won't you answer me?"

"I'm…I'm not sure how…" She says, once again giving him her attention.

"What are you talking about?" Taichi replies. "Where are the others? What happened to Piyomon?" Sora doesn't answer, but soon she begins to cry, startling Taichi.

"I…I sorry." She says amidst her tears, "But I…I don't know who you're talking about. I don't even know who you are."

Taichi's eyes go wide. "You…what?!" He asks in astonishment. Sora shakes her head and buries her face in her hands as she sobs, leaving Taichi unsure of what to do. He'd never seen Sora like this. "Sora?" he says. "Please, just…talk to me, okay? Did something bad happen to you?"

"I don't even know," she says. Looking up at him, she pleads, "can you…can you at least tell me your name so this can be a little less awkward?"

"My name?" Taichi asks, flabbergasted. "But…Sora, it's me! Taichi! How do you not remember me?"

"I'm sorry," Sora says again, "But I…I just don't…."

For a few minutes, Taichi stares at her in disbelief. Gently, he places his hand on her shoulder. Sora looks up at him, her eyes still wet. Taichi looks into her yes, searching for any sign of recognition. But all he sees is sadness.

"Amnesia…?" Taichi whispers to himself. Sora hears him and nods solemnly.

"That's what I was thinking too…" she says. Then, wiping her face she adds, "…Taichi, was it?" Taichi nods, but he winces at the way she says it, like he's a stranger to her. His friends—one of his most important friends—couldn't even remember who he was. This just couldn't be happening! Something else had to be at play here. Could she be an evil Digimon playing a trick on him?

"Tell me something," he says. "If you've lost your memory, then how do you even know what your name is?"

Slowly, Sora removes her helmet and shows it to him, pointing to its interior. Taichi looks and sees the name "TAKENOUCHI SORA" written inside, faint but legible.

"It was one of the first places I looked," she tells him.

Still frustrated but now somewhat satisfied, Taichi nods.

Sora places her helmet to her side and combs her fingers through her hair thoughtfully. "The last thing I remember was waking up inside this place—" she motions around her. "Elecmon rescued me. He says he found me lying in the desert."

"All alone?"

"Yes. Apparently, I'd passed out—just like you had—and had almost died of thirst. But he managed to save me, just like he did for you." She points to the IV line attached to Taichi's arm. Tacihi looks at it as well.

"He set this up?"

"Yes; we couldn't give you water because you were unconscious; so…we did what we had to." She smiles and adds, "Elecmon was really good about it too. I know he seems a bit rough and overprotective, but he has a good heart and he's really gentle. He's been a good friend to me over the past few months."

"Months?!" Taichi gasps.

Sora nods.

So, there was his answer. He'd spent about half a day's time back in the real world while it had been months for Sora and everyone. And in that time, all he knew that happened was that Sora had apparently gotten lost in the desert and been afflicted by amnesia. Meanwhile everyone else was still unaccounted for. Taichi slumps backwards in his bed, overtaken by this development. For a while all he can do is stair at the mattress of the overhead bunk.

"Taichi?" Sora asks. Taichi winces again and slowly gets up. He looks Sora in the eyes, once again looking for any signs of recognition. Yet again, he finds none and sighs in defeat. "Taichi, just…talk to me," Sora pleads. "Tell me about…well about how we know each other."

"How can you even be calm about this?" Taichi demands.

Sora frowns and crosses her arms defensively.

"What kind of a question is that? I freaked out plenty after I woke up here, all by myself. Can you even imagine what that was like?" Taichi looks at her apologetically, but she ignores him and continues her rant: "Unlike you, I actually pulled the needle out from my arm and ran out of the room in a panic." Pensively, she caresses the crook of her elbow. "I bled quite a bit, but I was too upset to care. Elecmon was worried half to death when it happened." She sighs deeply, trying to relax herself. "Eventually, I calmed down…It took me a couple of days to settle in, but…somehow, I learned to cope."

The two don't speak with each other for a while, the silence is taken up the faint buzzing of the fluorescent lights overhead.

"I'm sorry," Taichi says, "I didn't mean to upset you." Then, making the moment awkward, his stomach growls in hunger. Sora, her brief melancholy now broken, actually starts laughing at him.

"How could I forget?" she says. "Wait here, Taichi. I'll be right back!" With that, she rushes towards the door; all before Taichi can say anything else. Not that he had much to say, given how dumbstruck he was. After she's gone, he leans back onto his pillow again, deep in thought. He then fiddles around with his t-shirt, the only article of clothing he hadn't been able to put on given the IV tube stuck in his arm. As he waits for Sora to return Taichi thinks long and hard about her predicament. He can't help but notice how she actually tried to force some familiarity into saying his name this time. She was definitely making a concerted effort to re-establish herself, but how long it would be before she would be speaking to him as a proper friend again? They couldn't just re-experience everything they'd gone through in the past, like how they used to play soccer together. Taichi wonder, Would she also have to relearn how to play soccer? Moreover, were they ever to get home, how would Sora reintegrate herself? But there, Taichi considers that they'd probably have a world of a time trying to explain the Digital World to everyone back at home anyway.

After a time, Sora returns, flanked by Elecmon who looks as grumpy as ever. Taichi imagines Sora shared some brief words with him beforehand. This time around, Sora is carrying an aluminum container and trails of steam rise from it. As she draws closer, the distinct smell of curry reaches Taichi's nose and his stomach rumbles once again.

"Taichi, this facility is stocked with ramen," Sora explains. Again, Taichi notes the strangeness by which she says his name. It also seemed to him that she was trying to get used to saying it aloud. She continues: "It's all dry and prepackaged, of course, but there's running water and a microwave here as well."

Eagerly, she sits beside Taichi and hands him the aluminum container.

"Thanks!" Taichi says, eagerly taking it from her. She smiles, but warns him about how hot the food is. Regardless, Taichi peels the foil lid from the container, allowing a steady stream of heat to rise from it and reach his nostrils. He's just about to start in on the food, when he kinks his shoulder, forgetting about the IV insertion.

"Ow!" He cries out as the needle jabs his arm.

"Oh, careful!" says Sora. She then takes out her First Aid kit and motions Elecmon to come forward. "You think it's okay to remove it now?" she asks him. Elecmon just rolls his eyes and grunts in response. "Don't be like that," She says, giving him a stern look, "You promised you'd behave."

Elecmon hesitates and then, sighing with frustration, he approaches Taichi after being handed the First Aid kit. Tentatively, Taichi extends his arm, allowing the Digimon to do what he will. Taichi then braces himself, expecting there to be stinging sensation following the removal of the needle. However, to his surprise, Elecmon handles his arm firmly but gently. Deftly, the Digimon proceeds to remove the the needle and the catheter from Taichi's arm, then immediately applies a sterile gauze to the insertion site. All Taichi feels is a slight pinch. Finally, Elecmon wraps his arm with a bandage.

"Try that out," Elecmon says. Taichi bends his elbow back and forth a bit, as much as the bandage will allow him. There was no pain and not even a drop of blood was lost during the transition.

"Thanks," Taichi says, both grateful and impressed with Elecmon's skill.

"You're welcome," Elecmon replies. However, unable to help himself, he also mutters, "That wasn't so hard to say, was it?"

"Oh, shush, you." Sora says, smiling and giving Elecmon a playful punch to the shoulder.

Taichi then takes up the ramen dish and begins eating. The food was indeed hot, but he scarfs it down none-the-less, not even realizing how hungry he was.

"How long was I out?" He asks between bites.

"I'm not sure," Sora replies, looking at Elecmon questioningly.

"About twelve hours," Elecmon answers. "Of course, that's harder to determine now given what happened with the sun recently."

Taichi stops chewing his food for a moment and looks at Elecmon seriously.

"You guys saw it too?" he asks after swallowing. Sora and Elecmon both nod.

"Yeah, we saw it sometime after we found you," says Sora. "Haven't figured out what's going on, though."

Taichi goes back eating, but notes that Sora's eyes are studying him once again. Realizing he's still shirtless, he quickly dons his t-shirt. Sora blushes again, and Elecmon shakes his head.

"If your face turns any redder, you'll start to look like me," he tells her. Sarcastically, he adds, "Should I give you guys a little more…private time?"

"No!" Taichi and Sora say in unison, causing Elecmon to chuckle.

"Anyway," Sora says, trying to change the subject, "although I figured out what my name was, I still don't know…who I am…" She looks to Taichi expectantly. "Taichi, can you tell me about…well about me?"

Taichi forces down another mouthful of noodles, and says, "About you? Sure, I guess, but…I don't even where I should start."

"Well, how about when we first met?" Sora suggests. Taichi thinks for a second, nods, and proceeds to tell Sora about the first time they'd met…

...

Sora's interest never wanes as Taichi talks. However, this is probably more due her investment in trying to figure out her own identity than Taichi's skill at storytelling. Elecmon is left snoring on a couple of occasions and, every so often, Sora would have to nudge him awake. It's not until Taichi starts talking about the day they received their Digivices and were summarily pulled into the Digital World that Elecmon's ears perk up. In particular, Elecmon takes keen interest as Taichi goes on to talk about how they achieved child-level and then adult-level evolution.

"You're saying they just evolved by fiat?" He asks. "Just like that?"

"Just like that," says Taichi, leaving Elecmon stunned with amazement.

Upon mentioning Sora and Piyomon's interactions, Elecmon's look interest immediately turns to discomfort. Sensing his jealousy, Sora scratches his head affectionately, putting him somewhat at ease.

"Continue, please," she says to Taichi.

Taichi then goes on to talk about all the events including and leading up their subsequently defeating Devimon at File Island. Upon describing Angemon, Sora's eyes go wide with wonder.

"An angel?" She asks. Taichi confirms it.

"It was an awesome thing to see," he says. "But…"

Taichi tells them about how Angemon died and was later resurrected, to which Sora begins to tear up. Taichi stops for that moment, but she motions for him to continue. He then talks about how they constructed a raft and set out for the server continent, all with the help of File Island's residents—including the Elecmon from the Village of Beginnings. Taichi then looks directly at this Elecmon as he mentions this.

"Yeah, yeah, I know the guy," Elecmon says. "Of course, I think just about everyone knows him."

Taichi then goes on to tell about their encounter with Whamon.

"You were…eaten?!" Elecmon asks with a look of disgust. Taichi nods and mentions the black gear they'd found inside Whamon's stomach lining. "Blech!" Elecmon gags, sticking his tongue out in revulsion.

However, the point in the story at which Elecmon becomes extremely invested is when Taichi talks about their encounter with Etemon. Taichi tells them about their incursion into the inverted pyramid, his saving Sora from Nanomon, and their final confrontation with Etemon where MetalGreymon blasted him into oblivion. Upon hear that, Elecmon's jaw drops wide open.

"You killed Etemon?" He gasps. Taichi nods. "That little Koromon too?" Taichi nods again. For heavy moment, Elecmon just stares at Taichi, speechless.

"Well, this is excellent news!" Sora says, breaking the silence and rising to her feet. "We don't have to hide anymore!"

"Hide?" Taichi asks. "You were hiding?"

"We were," says Elecmon, "I suppose I should have suspected something happened to Etemon given how he hasn't returned for so long."

Taichi looks at him curiously. Sora then nudges Elecmon, whispering "let's show him" into his ear. Elecmon nods at her eagerly and the proceeds to head for the door again.

"This way, Taichi," He says. Taichi follows and can't help but notice that Elecmon is no longer referring to him as "kid" now.

Sora and Elecmon lead Taichi about the underground facility. From what Taichi can determine, the main door that he had collapsed upon the night before had lead downward into this large underground shaft. As he had noted earlier, the shaft was indeed big enough to have accommodated a monster of MetalGreymon's size. All along the wall of the shaft leading dowward are a number of doors, most of which Elecmon say lead to various rooms including a mes hall, various supply closets, washrooms, or dorm rooms similar to the one that he had been placed him in.

"Most of the electronics are damaged," Elecmon explains. "That's why we put you where we did. It's one of the few dorms with a reliable light source."

"Where did you put Koromon?" Taichi asks.

"He's safe." Elecmon tells him. "In fact, we're going see him right now. Don't you worry; he's in good paws."

"—and hands," Sora says, happily waving hers in front of her.

"That's a good one," Elecmon tells her. "I'll have to remember that."

Taichi marvels at how well the two of them are getting along with each other. Then again, they had gotten to know each other for a quite few months, so they'd probably established a pretty close bond by now. Even so, Taichu wonders at how Elecmon would react if Sora was ever to be reunited with Piyomon? That is, if they ever found Piyomon—or anyone else for that matter.

As he peers farther down the gaping shaft of the facility, Taichi can see that, beyond a certain point, the lights had completely stopped working, leaving whatever lies deeper below in utter darkness. Drawing ever closer to that pit leaves Taichi with a dreadful feeling and his body shivers.

"You feel it too, huh?" Sora says, having taken notice. Taichi grunts with discomfort.

"Are we going down there?" he asks Elecmon.

"Don't be ridiculous," Elecmon scoffs. "There's nothing but Geremon down there."

"Geremon?" Taichi inquires.

"Yeah," replies Elecmon. "They're like Numemon, except far more aggressive. But they hate bright lights, so they usually stay put…usually."

Eventually, the three of them arrive at a doorway which Taichi notes is at the very edge of where the light begins to dim and transition into the darkness. Looking back up the shaft, he notes they're quite a long distance away from the massive doors leading to the surface. The door they're now entering has the word "Lab" posted above its frame and, appropriately, the room beyond is full of laboratory equipment. That being said, much of it is trashed and scattered about like an earthquake had come through.

"What happened here?" Taichi asks.

"Etemon, apparently," Sora answers him. "He used this facility as a breeding ground for Tyranomon." She turns to Elecmon and asks, "isn't that what you told me?"

"Aye, that's Correct," Elecmon replies. Then, to Taichi, he says, "those Tyranomon that you said that Etemon was using to guard his pyramid? Well, a lot of them came from here. He was breeding Monochromon as well, but mostly just to pull around that damn trailer of his."

"What about the Gazimon?" Taichi asks.

Elecmon shakes his head, "No, Etemon recruited them. No doubt he liked how quickly they fell in line. Not many others would do the same;" gravely he adds, "and so that's where the cables came in."

Taichi nods in understanding, but asks, "and what about you?"

"Me? I escaped captivity along with a few others. All of us were being prepped for our eventual evolution into Tyranomon."

"You evolve into Tyranomon?"

"Possibly. I won't know until it happens, right?"

"What about all the others you menioned?"

"I...I don't know."

Elecmon goes on to explain how some had managed to escape into the desert, while others died by Etemon's hand. Others still took their chances by delving into the darkness below the facility.

"Nobody ever returned from there." Elecmon says ominously.

"You tried escaping through the desert, didn't you?" Taichi asks.

"I did; that's when I found Sora."

Taichi stops walking for a moment and looks at Elecmon with newfound respect. Elecmon looks back at him inquisitively.

"What's the matter?" He asks, "You need to take a bathroom break or something?"

"Elecmon, you risked your life to rescue Sora, rather than save yourself," Taichi tells him.

"Well, I…yeah…" Elecmon says, bashfully. "I guess…"

"He's so modest," Sora says, smiling. Elecmon just gives her an annoyed look.

"Okay, okay," he says, "that's enough of that now. Let's keep moving..."

...

After meandering through the ruined lab, the three of them reach a trashed set of double doors. Beyond lies a large network of hallways into which they all proceed. Once again, Taichi is reminded of that brief period time he'd spent at the hospital, visiting Hikari. Only the hallways here are much darker and there is a distinct lack windows or even pictures on the wall. In fact, the walls are completely vacant, streaked with filth and floors were also quite grimey. More fluorescent lighting flickers overhead, increasing Taichi's sense of dread-as if, at any moment, the lights could go out and leave them all in darkness. As if that wasn't bad enough, they pass by several doorways and passages where the ceiling had collapsed, blocking access. Taichi tries as best he can not to imagine the ceiling falling into pieces about them, with nothing but layers upon layers of dirt between them and the surface above.

"I was spooked too, when I saw this place," Sora tells Taichi, sensing his unease. "But like we said, we've been living here for a few months now and everything's been intact ever since."

"This facility wasn't always used to house Etemon's minions," Elecmon explains. "He just took it over sometime after it was abandoned."

"Do you know who abandoned it?" asks Taichi.

"The D-Brigade," replies Elecmon. "They've several other facilities spread across the Server Continent. They might even have one on File Island for all I know. But most of them are abandoned nowadays."

Before Taichi can ask him what the "D-Brigade" is, the three of them arrive at another set of dilapidated double doors labeled "Greenhouse." Appropriately, the doors lead into a great indoor terrarium set amidst artificial lights. Misty air and the pungent odor of wild grass awaits them inside.

"Welcome to the nursery," says Elecmon.

As far as Taichi can see, the "nursery" is made to accommodate a large variety of food-bearing plants. As they continue inside, Taichi feels like he's entered an entire forest, except buried deep within the earth. Looking about even further, he catches sight of a few small creatures hopping about and summarily hiding themselves amidst the shrubbery. Taichi recognizes them as being Tsunomon, the same as Yamato's partner before evolving into Gabumon. Elecmon and Sora assure the Tsnumon that Taichi is a friend and the baby Digimon slowly peak their heads out.

"This human," Elecmon says, pointing at Taichi, "he defeated Etemon!"

The Tsnumon begin to hop out, one by one, and they look at Taichi curiously. Taichi then sits down on the floor in an effort to appear as non-threatening as he can.

"Is Etemon really...dead?" One of them asks.

"Dead as dirt!" Elecmon says with a wide grin on his face. "Which means we can finally get out of this stinking hole and breath some fresh air."

At once all the Tsnumon come out and about, cheering and jumping for joy. A few them leap onto Taichi, nuzzling him like a bunch of cats, all the while thanking him for what he's done.

"You're welcome guys," says Taichi, "but, don't give me all the credit. Where's Koromon?" The Tsnumon all stop cheering for a second and give him a worried look. All at once, they turn to Elecmon. Taichi does as well, asking him, "Is Koromon all right?"

"I'll go and fetch him," Elecmon says anxiously; and then hurries away into the surrounding forest. Sora sits beside Taicih and explains what had happened:

"When we brought you guys in, Koromon was in pretty bad shape. We've done the best we can for him and the Tsnumon are helping us too. We gave him plenty of food and drink, but...he's still very sick…"

"Sick?" Taichi asks in surprise. Then, he recalls that, back on File Island, Gabumon had briefly become sick after lending Yamato his fur coat to deal with the cold weather. "That's right," he says. "Digimon can get sick too."

Sora nods, and talks about how, in the previous month, she and Elecmon had to spend some time and care with several of the Tsnumon who had become sick as well.

"It's this place, Taichi," she says, motioning around her. "It's all closed in, locked tight and, well…because of Etemon, we had to take care about opening the main door and drawing too much attention to ourselves."

"Did you get sick?" He asks her.

Sora nods and taps her throat with her hand. "I had a cough and a pain in my throat; that happened within about a week when I first woke up here. But it passed after a few days." She looks back at the surrounding Tsnumon who've all gone back to playing amidst the trees. "It's a different story when these little guys get sick, though. They're still babies."

"Sora, I…" Taichi begins to say.

"Hmm?" Sora asks.

"…Thank you...for everything," He replies. "I know you can't remember anything but you're still as kind as you ever were."

"That's wonderful to hear!" Sora says, beaming at Taichi. "And thank you for telling me."

Just then, two of the Tsnumon pass by, each of them carrying an apple lodged atop their horned heads. Both Taichi and Sora take them, gratefully, and eat.

After a while, Elecmon returns, cradling Koromon in his arms. To Taichi's shock, the little Digimon is a pale as he was before. Moreover, the veins beneath his skin have become transparent, running like darkened spiderwebs beneath his flesh.

"I've never seen anything like this," Elecmon confesses, gently passing Koromon to Taichi. "We've given him food, water, and even some medicinal herbs; but he just seems to be getting worse by the hour."

Taichi removes his gloves, placing one hand on Koromon's forehead and the other on his own forehead. He can feel the little Digimon trembling as he does so.

"Taichi…?" Koromon whispers.

"I'm here, Koromon," Taichi assures him. He then looks at Sora, telling her, "He's really hot. I think he might have a fever."

"That's what we figured too," says Sora, "but that…that discoloration is what really had us worried. It happened soon after we brought you guys inside."

"You have any idea what caused it?" Taichi asks.

"Retrace your steps," Elecmon suggests. "After you defeated Etemon, what happened next?"

Taichi then realizes he hadn't even gotten to telling them about the explosion and his trip to the real world. Without giving them many details as to that excursion, he continues his story from before.

...

"So, you went back to your world, huh?" Elecmon says, scratches his chin as he thinks about it. "It's possible he may have caught something while he was there…"

"He seemed like he was all right when we got back," Taichi says. "He even evolved into MetalGreymon again…" Taichi proceeds to tell Elecmon and Sora about the chance encounter with the Tyranomon in the sand pit, saving it, and then heading off in the direction he'd believed the Tyranomon had motioned. Elecmon jumps at the mention of the Tyranomon and confirms that it was indeed from this facility.

"He was definitely telling you to come here," Elecmon says, "and you risked your lives to save him? That, on top of defeating Etemon…" The red fox then marches up to Taichi very stoically and extends his paw. Taich takes it, somewhat awkwardly, and Elecmon grips Taichi's hand firmly. "Taichi," he says, "I…I'm truly sorry for how I treated you before. There was definitely no reason to mistrust you. I…no, we owe you everything."

"…Thanks, Elecmon," Taichi replies. "But you don't need to apologize. You were just being cautious, after all."

"We'll do everything we can to help Koromon!" Elecmon says with determination. Then, his face lights up as he gets an idea. "Those…things you were carrying…" he asks. "That necklace and that gadget. Didn't you say they caused Koromon to evolve?"

Taichi nods, "Yeah, my Digivice and my Crest—" his eyes go wide as he realizes, "—oh! Where did you put them?"

"Didn't we leave them in the surveillance room?" asks Sora.

Elecmon nods and once again motions for them to follow him. And they're off again. Sora can't help but smile, apparently overjoyed at how well Taichi and Elecmon are getting along now. The three of them head back to the series of hallways; a maze to Taichi, but at least Sora and Elecmon seemed to know their way well enough. Meanwhile, Taichi continues to cradle Koromon's trembling body which is still very warm.

"Hang in there, little guy," Taichi whispers to him.

...

They soon reach a doorway labeled "SURVEILLANCE" and head inside. The room is lined with desks and computer screens, some static, some blank, and some that showed various portions of the facility. Elecmon searches about the desk drawers, muttering something like "where did I put it?" as he does so. Taichi takes a quick scan about the room and, in the corner, he notices an open container of ramen at one of the desks. The monitor in front of the desk shows one of the dorm rooms.

"Is that…?" Taichi asks.

Sora nods: "We were keeping a close eye on you," she tells him.

"Looks like you didn't waste any time running to meet me when I woke up," says Taichi, looking at the half-eaten ramen noodles. Sora laughs pleasantly.

"Well, yeah. I was excited, y'know?" she says. "I mean, I heard you say my name when we brought you in. I figured you were my best chance at telling me who I really was."

"Yeah…" Taichi says. "I'm just sorry I couldn't be more help."

"What do you mean? Without you, how would I have figured things out?"

"But, these are just my memories of you, Sora. They're not your memories. Your entire life…it's just…gone, right?"

Sora stares into space as she usually does when deep in thought. Then, she says, "When I first woke up, it was the most terrifying thing. I…I can't even explain it." She looks at Taichi earnestly, "I mean, can you even imagine waking up and not even knowing your own name?" Taich shakes his head. Sora continues, "well, after we've helped Koromon, I'll tell you all about what happened to me and Elecmon in the past couple months. Although it's not much of a story."

"I look forward to it," Taichi tells her.

"Aha!" Elecmon exclaims, grabbing Taichi and Sora's attention. "Here they are!" From one of the desk drawers he retrieves Taichi's Digivice and Crest. However, even as he does so, his face is immediately drawn towards one of the computer screens. "What in the…?" He says under his breath, staring intensely at the monitor.

"Something wrong?" Sora asks. She and Taichi investigate the screen he's looking at. As far as Taichi can see, the monitor overlooks the outside of the facility. Through a bit of static, he sees a group of reptilian Digimon walking around outside the main door. They're similar to Agumon in size and shape, but what's particularly remarkable is that they're dressed head-to-toe in combat gear, each one wielding some kind of rifle.

"Commandramon…" says Elecmon. Taichi notes Elecmon's tail has begun to spark up again. "They're trying to find a way inside."

"You've seen them before?" Taichi asks.

"No...but I know of them." Elecmon explains. "Remember when I mentioned the D-Brigade? They're...some kind of an elite task-force working on behalf of the Metal Empire."

"Metal Empire?"

"Yes."

Elecmon's answer seemed to imply this was common knowledge. Taichi is about to question further, but Elecmon motions for him to be silent as he continues watching the screen. To their collective shock, one of the Commandramon points at the camera and yells something to his fellows. Then, another marches straight up to the camera, close enough that Taichi can make out the digitized camouflage coloring its flesh. A second later, and the Commandramon brings the butt of its rifle down on the camera, causing the screen to become pure static.

"They cut the feed!" Elecmon remarks. Anxiously, he turns to Taichi and Sora and tells them, "We need to hide; and fast!"

A dozen questions buzz throughout Taichi's mind, but he settles for taking action. "Right!" He says, "I'll go gather the Tsunomon!"

"No, you Idiot! You'll just get lost," Elecmon warns him sternly. "Wait here and take care of Koromon. We may need his help, if you can get him to evolve. I'll be back shortly." With that Elecmon sets Taichi his things down on the desk and darts out the door.

"Hey, what—" Taichi begins to say, but he feels Sora's hand on his shoulder.

"He'll be fine," she says, "and don't take his words personally. He just gets like that when he's nervous. He really respects you, Taichi." Taichi nods and then attends to Koromon. Donning his tag and Crest, he brings his Digivice close to the baby Digimon.

"Wake up, Koromon," Taichi pleads, clenching his Digivice in his fist. "We're in this together. The fight isn't over; we need you…." Koromon continues to tremble in Taichi's arms, but otherwise doesn't react to his words. "Koromon, please…" Taichi says and a few tears fall from his eyes. "We need you…now more than ever…"

Sora then lays her hands gently on Taichi's clenched fist. She looks at Koromon with fierce determination, saying, "Don't give up, Koromon; be strong, be brave…" and looking up at Taichi she adds, "…be like Taichi."

"Sora…" Taichi says in surprise.

At that moment the two of them start glowing. An orange light dons about Taichi and a red light about Sora. Both of them react in awe at each other's aura. Then, after a few minutes, the auras fade, leaving both of them exchanging glances of bewilderment.

"Did you see…?" Sora asks.

"Yeah, I—Ouch!" Taichi is interrupted by a sharp pain on his hand, causing him to drop his Digivice. Koromon had bitten him! The baby Digimon then leaps from Taichi's arms onto the floor, growling maniacally at his surroundings.

"Taichi!" Sora exclaims, "His eyes! Look at his eyes!"

Koromon's pupils had widened dramatically, like those of an angry cat.

"Evolve!" Koromon shouts. "Koromon, Evolve!"

"Evolve?" Taichi asks. "Koromon, Are you—"

"Evolve!" Koromon shouts again. Taichi's Digivice has begun to glow. Cautiously, Taich lifts it from the floor and as he does so, its lght fills the room. Instinctively, Taichi and Sora shield their eyes from the brightness.

Koromon continues to shout. "Evolve! Koromon Evolve!" Then, Taichi hears Agumon's familiar voice announce his own name: "…Agumon!" The light fades and Taich and Sora uncover their faces. Taichi then takes a step back in shock at a brand-new development: Koromon had indeed evolved into Agumon, but Agumon's flesh was as black as night!

"A-Agumon…?" Taichi asks. Agumon looks at Taichi with intensity, cocking his head to the side.

"Taichi?!" he says. "Where are we? What's been going on?"

"Agumon, your skin! Are you…okay?"

"Huh?" Agumon looks at his arms, legs, and body in surprise. "I'm all black now?!"

"Is…is that not...normal?" Sora asks worriedly.

Before Taichi can respond, a sinister voice echoes about the interior of the facility:

"Attention, all occupants of Bunker Zero-Zero-Niner! This facility is under the jurisdiction of the Metal Empire! Surrender yourselves to us or be destroyed! This is your only warning!"

A rumble can be heard throughout the facility as if an isolated earthquake had occurred. Sora rushes to a computer screen overlooking the interior entry and is horrified to see the doors to the facility have been breached. Smoke pours into the facility along with a number of Commandramonn, rifles held at the ready.

"They're coming!" She says.

"Then let's bring it to them!" Agumon snarls. Trickles of fire lick the corners of his mouth and he very roughly pushes past Taichi and Sora, rushing out of the room.

"No, wait, Agumon!" Taichi shouts. "Agumon!"

To Taichi's dismay, Agumon ignores him and takes off down the hall.