Out of the Ashes…: Chapter One
** Disclaimers: I don't own digimon. Never will. This fic was produced for entertainment purposes only, and will not be sold. Leave me alone, you vultures!
**Author's notes: OK, this is the next saga. Set around four years after "The Long Winter". It's summer right now, sometime in August, I think. A total of five years after the invasion, "Yesterday When the War Began". TK, Kari and Willis are fourteen. Tai and Matt are seventeen. Base everyone's ages around that.
Everyone's character has…um…kinda grown a lot. Especially TK. **laughs hysterically with touch of insanity** This is not the innocent, clueless kid in 01. I was watching one of those 01 episodes the other day, and I was thinking, I've totally changed TK's character. Keep in mind that he's six years older than when he was in 01, and he's fought five years of war. Hope I didn't distort his character too much.
And yes, I got the idea of Zion from "The Matrix". Well, read and (hopefully) enjoy. I'm really not that good at writing, but I try. And please stick with me over the long haul, because I know, this is one really long story. This is the last saga. I promise I'll stop boring you guys soon.
A race native to the small planet of Earth, or terre. They were a remarkable race, a proud and noble people. Within the space of a few thousand years, they had built an empire, and had colonized every inch of their world. Their accomplishments soared ever higher, and the people aspired to new heights. The race grew more and more advanced, achieving feats of incredible technological wizardry.
Ironically, it was that very advancement that proved to be their downfall.
On July 17th, 2005, 2:17 p.m., a digi-egg hatched.
It was not a normal digi-egg. Artificially built and enhanced by a human, and then corrupted and twisted by a virus, what emerged was a terrible nightmarish darkness. A raging virus, destroying and consuming whatever it touched, spreading destruction over the Internet. It was a cancer. A cancer which spread rapidly.
Desperately, the people of Earth tried to stop it, but it was simply too powerful. On that fateful day, humanity's position as the dominant species on the planet was taken away in one fell swoop. Missiles were launched, and the major cities leveled. And the darkness spread, and spread, and spread.
Within five years, a mere heartbeat in the grand scale of time, the proud race was but a shadow of its former self. Decimated, and mostly exterminated, their great cities now slumped in ruins, crushed under the iron fist of the great darkness. The humans were pushed back into the proverbial planetary mud from whence they came, back into the Stone Age. Two thousand years of advancement and growth, gone in the blink of an eye. Diaboromon kept an tight grip on the cities, and scoured the land with hunter-killer teams for the last remnants of human resistance. Many fell to the dreaded seek-and-destroy patrols. Diaboromon was an evil genius, a brilliant commander of strategy, but he was a virus. And as a virus, he blindly followed his program, to hunt down and destroy anything and everything in sight. Nothing was spared.
Yet, that race refused to go quietly. Although disbanded and scattered by Diaboromon's wrath, they refused to turn over and die. Gathering together the last remnants of the once-proud race, they organized themselves, and built Zion.
Zion was the last trace of human civilization, humanity's last hope. A small city, but a city nonetheless. There, the last remnants of humanity gathered, to pit their collective strength against the power of their own creation. Guided and led by the chosen, the resistance refused to die away, and flourished.
Located in the pre-Diaboromon country of Japan, Zion was a stronghold, a base, and home. From that base, the resistance rested, and planned, saving their strength for battles. Building a series of safehouses all across Tokyo, they connected them with secret passages, underground tunnels adapted from the sewer systems. And they grew. As they united all the fragmented gangs in the city, their strength and numbers grew steadily. No one questioned the authority of the chosen. Although mere children, they led with a compassion and wisdom surpassing that of any before them.
So unfolds the epic tale of survival. Humanity's battle, not for mere resources, not for petty problems, but for their right to survive, their right to live on. Out of the darkness and chaos, light emerged. Nine warriors, destined to surpass all before them, were born. They were the chosen. Destiny knew them as courage, friendship, love, reliability, sincerity, knowledge, fate, light, and hope. History knew them as the nine saviors. Zion's rebels knew them as their undisputed leaders.
And digimon knew them as the digidestined
.Night was falling.
The summer heat faded away from the ground as the burning red orb that was the sun began to set. Its long, red rays touched the streets of Tokyo, illuminating it with a soft, rose colour. It would've looked peaceful, but then again, peace was hardly foremost in the minds of the resistance.
Fourteen year-old Takeru "TK" Takaishi warily led his small rebel cell down the mess of concrete rubble which used to be Tokyo's streets, his staff held up and at the ready. Patamon was perched on his head, as always, and Kari walked beside him. TK could not see Gatomon, but he knew that she was padding along about a hundred meters out front, scouting ahead of the main body. Looking behind him, he saw the ten members of his rebel cell strung out in a line, all walking along, scanning the streets left and right. This area should be clear of Bakemon patrols for another three hours at least, but one couldn't be too careful.
The whole concept of rebel cells had been Jim's idea. Starting in the spring after the initial Diaboromon invasion, once the snow had melted, the small resistance had gathered together and united the disbanded, unorganized gangs scattered across the city. Most of them had been suspicious of tricks, so it had been slow going, but by March, the majority of them had accepted the alliance, and joined the growing rebellion.
Then, they had abandoned their old base in Aquas City, and turned it into a safehouse. In the middle of Tokyo, and with no supplies, it wasn't the best place for a base. Within the space of four years, the rebellion had built Zion. The last vestige of human civilization left in the world. Basically, it was but a small, military city, fortified and hidden in the forests, about two week's march from the outskirts of Tokyo. There, the rebellion had set about making themselves a true base.
TK adjusted his grip on his staff, and shifted the bag on his back. It was filled with supplies from the farms of Zion. Since they were no longer a resistance of ten members, Matt had reasoned, and TK agreed with him, that agriculture was necessary to sustain them. Zion was surrounded by farmland, and the rebellion had taken to cultivating it. It was one of the reasons they had picked that site. Now food and resources, while not exactly abundant, was not a critical concern anymore.
The rebellion had spread, organizing itself. Within a year, a network of safehouses that stretched across Tokyo had been built, linked together by underground secret passages adapted from the city's sewer, pipe, and subway system. At first, many of the rebels had felt skeptical about being led by mere children, but in time, they had all recognized that the "children" were more than competent enough to do the job. It was these "children" that had the strength and unwavering purpose to rise out of the disorganized rabble and unite the gangs in the first place. It was under their efforts and leadership that Zion had come into existence. Now, no one questioned their authority. They led with wisdom and compassion far beyond their years.
TK jerked his attention back to the present. The cell was mostly composed of normal citizens, but five of them had been specifically handpicked for this mission, namely, reconnaissance. In order to plan counter-attacks, Matt needed information that the Internet was unable to provide him. Such scouting missions normally took around a month and a half from beginning to end, and they were vital to see what was going on in Tokyo. Keeping in-touch via messenger pigeons, they were the eyes and ears of the rebellion. TK had led many missions such as this, but that didn't mean he could get careless.
The leader nodded with approval at the way they constantly scanned the streets, walking silently and keeping to the shadows. They were the best the rebellion had to offer, but they followed him. It would not do for the leader to zone out in the middle of a mission.
"Check the map." TK looked at the young girl. "How far is it to the nearest safehouse?"
Reaching behind her, Kari pulled a well-used map out of her backpack. "Give me a moment." She stared intently at it, her finger tracing different routes.
One of the resistance members looked up to their leader. "How do you think Dave's group is doing?"
TK shrugged. "I don't know." David was a civilian, but over the past year, had proven himself to be a capable leader. So much so that by now, he was widely recognized as the civilian second-in-command to Matt, and given his own rebel cell to command, much like TK. Right now, he was leading that cell on a scouting mission in a different part of Tokyo. "He can take care of himself. He'll be fine."
Another rebel spoke up. "We're stopping?"
TK nodded. "We've done enough recon for today. Probably another day or two, just another sweep by this area, then we'll head back to Zion."
Kari sighed. "Finally. After three weeks of recon, we get to go home."
"Well, if you'll check the map, we can at least find a place to bunker up for tonight. It might not be home, but it's the closest thing you'll find in awhile."
"Yeah kid. Why don't you go ahead and take your nap? Too tired to continue now, are we?" A mocking voice sounded out from behind him. TK sighed. Does he ever give up?
The other five members of the cell had been a gang they had picked up a few days ago. TK had managed to persuade them to join the rebellion, but their leader, Rob, had been a problem the moment he had joined the group. He couldn't believe that these "helpless kids" were leading this whole rebellion. But then, Zion had been too good to turn down, so he had joined. Since then, the cocky young man hadn't missed a single opportunity to ridicule and discredit TK. The boy could just picture him, the wild, unruly dark hair, and the thin lips twisted in a cruel smile.
The blond boy turned. "No. Actually, I was more worried about your endurance. Besides, patrols will be sweeping by this area in about three hours, so we need someplace to hide out anyway. Would you like to continue?"
Rob glared back murderously, his pale, narrow eyes flashing. "S'all right kid. We'll follow you all the way, won't we guys?" His gang of five members snickered, while the rest of the rebellion merely shook their heads at the thinly veiled sarcasm.
Shinta, a large rebel with short, brown hair, looked at their leader. He had been one of the first members to join the alliance, and one of TK's most trusted cell members. "Are you sure we shouldn't just throw him out?" the man murmured softly to TK. "He's been nothing but trouble since he joined, and he's undermining your authority within the cell."
TK grinned slightly. "Shinta, he's still a human. If we just turned him out, and not let him join, then we'd essentially be leaving him out to die. Without Zion, Diaboromon will catch up to him sooner or later, and if he doesn't, hunger will kill him eventually. You know I can't do that."
Shinta smiled grudgingly back. "Fine, I guess the rest of us will just have to live with him for a little while. You're too kind-hearted for your own good. You know that, don't you?"
Patamon, on top of TK's head, grinned. "Y'see? I told you."
TK swiped at his digimon perched on top of his head playfully. Patamon flew off with a giggle. "Can't catch me now."
He was about to retort when Kari interrupted him. "TK, the nearest safehouse is South West of here. I estimate an hour's walk down that way." She pointed down a road branching off the main one they were travelling on. Then, she looked at her watch. "We'd best get going, fearless leader. The patrols are due in about two and half hours."
The blond haired boy nodded, and waved to his followers behind him. "All right, we're heading to a safehouse. Keep sharp though, don't relax…"
The young leader stopped in mid-sentence, and turned to see Gatomon streaking towards him. "What's the matter?"
The cat digimon screeched to a halt in front of the group, her claws digging tracks in the ground. "Bakemon patrol. I saw them coming a way off though. About fifty meters away."
Rob panicked. "Sh*t, I knew we shouldn't have followed you." He gave TK a glare. "I thought you said the patrols weren't due for another three hours. Nice work, pretty-boy. I'm outta here…" He motioned to his small gang, and they turned their backs on the blond-haired boy, preparing to bolt.
And found TK blocking their path, staff in hand. Rob goggled. "How'd you get over here so fast…"
"Listen to me. Running won't do any good. When they come, they always come in nets, so the entire neighbourhood is covered at once." TK ignored him, and turned to his group. "Scatter, and hide."
The original five members instantly disbanded, and found hiding places, melting into the surrounding shadows without a trace. None of them tried to run. Rob stood in the street uncertainly. "But…but, we'll be found!"
Then he found himself being pushed roughly towards an abandoned house. "No we won't." TK whispered gruffly as he hustled Rob along. "But we will if we run."
Rob's group hesitantly followed their leader as TK pushed him along. Kari ran alongside them. "Too late to run now. They're almost around the bend." she whispered to TK. "Gatomon's ready to digivolve if you need it."
TK nodded in acknowledgement. "Patamon, get ready as well." Then he hastily shoved Rob behind the door, and dove under cover beside him. Rob landed unceremoniously on the ground, then twisted around, his eyes flashing.
"Kid, let me get something straight. No one tells me what to…"
A hand clamped down over his mouth. "Look. I don't mind what you do to me, as long as you do it only to me, and no one else." TK's unnaturally calm voice whispered in his ear. "But I won't let you endanger the rest of the group. So sit tight, and shut up."
Rob's eyes widened in fury, but he clamped his mouth shut. Peering around the edge of the doorway, he saw the patrol of Bakemon approaching. Kari was right. It was way too late to run now. There was nothing for it but to lay low, and hope they pass by.
Shinta peered worriedly from his hiding place at TK, but the boy gave him a thumbs-up sign. The brown-haired man slipped deeper into the shadows, readied his knife, and held his breath.
The patrol of ten Bakemon floated down the street, their ghostly white fangs glistened dully in the fading light. The rebel cell pressed themselves tightly against the shadows, and held their breaths as the patrol passed by. No one stirred. Rob's eyes widened in fear, and he lay rooted to the ground. TK kept his hand clamped across Rob's mouth securely the whole time. Not. A. Sound. The young boy mouthed.
A slight wind ruffled the streets, picking up dust and debris. One of the ghosts paused, and looked around. Kari bit her lip, and beside her, Gatomon bristled. She put a restraining hand on her digimon, and Gatomon forced herself to relax. The ghost cocked its head, and scanned the area thoroughly. Could've sworn I saw something…
Then it shrugged. Floating down the road to join its companions, the patrol continued on its way, leaving the resistance behind.
For another minute, nobody moved. Then, TK cautiously whispered to his digimon. "Patamon, go check things out. See if there are anymore patrols, then come back immediately. And for goodness sake, don't get caught."
Patamon nodded. "Back before you know it." Flapping his wings, the little orange digimon flew out of the door, keeping low to the ground and in the shadows. TK bit his lip, and looked around. His cell looked back from their hiding places questioningly. The blond boy shook his head, and motioned for them to stay hidden.
Several minutes later, Patamon came back. "You were right. It's one of those neighbourhood sweeps. If we had run, we would've been caught." The digimon shot a glare at Rob. "The main dragnet has passed us already, but there's still a lot of Bakemon in the vicinity. If we're careful though, we should be able to get away. They don't know we're here."
The blond boy nodded. Standing up, he walked out onto the street. As the others saw him, they emerged from the shadows as well. Putting a finger to his lips, TK motioned for quiet, then gestured for the others to follow him. Pointing at Shinta, he motioned to the back of the group. Watch our backs, he mouthed. Shinta understood, and faded away to the rear of the group.
Kari and Gatomon slipped like a wraith to appear beside TK. Pointing, she whispered, "The safehouse is down that way."
He nodded. Turning around, he scanned the area once, then set off at a run towards the safehouse. Silently, the group followed him, Rob bringing up the rear with Shinta. No one spoke. They were not out of danger yet.
For the next half-hour, the group ran down the ruined streets of Tokyo. TK, Kari, and the original group slipped through the streets like oily smoke. They would've been undetectable were it not for Rob and his group, clumsily trying to keep up. TK spared an annoyed glance at them as he ran swiftly and silently along with the rebels from Zion. Man, they really need some training before I bring them out on the next mission.
Finally, TK called a halt, and Rob's group stumbled to a stop gratefully. TK, Kari and Shinta looked amused, as they stood over the gasping adults, resting with their hands on their knees. They themselves were only breathing lightly. Gatomon and Patamon perched on their respective master's heads. Patamon sniffed. "Are all humans so weak?"
TK scanned the area again. He couldn't help it. After more than five years at war, it had become a conditioned reflex. "Not really. They're just a little out of shape," he answered, with a slight smile on his face.
"Kid. Let me get something straight." Rob straightened up from his resting position, and affixed TK with a defiant glare. "One. I am not out of shape. And two, nobody orders me around. I follow my own rules, not your fancy made up ones. And I certainly don't take orders from you of all people."
Then the young man turned to look at the rest of the group. "Why are we following this kid anyway? He's only fourteen years old! And he almost got us killed back there!" Rob pointedly ignored the fact that if the group had followed him, they would all be dead by now. "Which reminds me…" he turned back with an ugly smirk on his face. "Didn't you say that the patrols weren't due for another three hours?"
Rob's gang looked at TK as well. The blond sighed. "The last time I checked the patrol shifts was a week ago, back at Zion. They must've changed it. Diaboromon changes the patrol shifts at random intervals, and we simply got unlucky."
Rob spat on the ground contemptuously. "Listen to him." He looked around, searching for supporters. " We 'simply got unlucky'. What kind of leader leads his troops on luck?" A few ugly murmurs started up among the small cell. Zion's rebels however, remained silent.
Shinta stepped forward. "Look here. It wasn't his fault. The shifts changed, and there was nothing anyone could've done abou…"
"You stay out of this. I don't understand you guys at all. Why are you following these kids? Because of their fancy pets?" He glared contemptuously at Zion's rebels. His gang started muttering to themselves.
"Why do you put your lives on the line at a word from this pathetic kid?"
A moment of silence descended. Kari looked back and forth between the cell. A power struggle was underway, that much was obvious. Then she looked at TK. The young boy was standing back, apparently waiting to see how this played out. A small smile played on his lips.
Then, one of Zion's rebels spoke up. "Because we trust him," she said.
Rob spun around to look at her incredulously. "What?"
"We've been in life or death situations more times than I can remember. I've lost count of the times when I thought I was going to die for sure. But TK led us home safely every single time." The rebel glared back. "That's why we follow him."
The cocky young man stood slack-jawed in the middle of the street for an instant. Then, he spun around to look at the other rebels. "What about you guys? Don't tell me you're buying this crap."
Another moment of silence.
Shinta stepped up. "But we are." The rest of the rebels nodded. "And it's not 'crap'. It's the truth. You must have seen it by now."
TK had remained essentially uninvolved in the whole discussion, until now. He had sat down with Kari and was looking on with an almost amused expression on his faces. The blond haired boy interrupted from his sitting position on the ground. "Rob. If you don't like it, you don't have to stay. No one is forcing you to join us. If you have a problem with my leading, you're welcome to leave."
Rob glared back. Then an ugly smile crossed his face. "Oh no, pretty boy. Zion's too good to give up. I don't know what load of crap you're feeding these guys…" he gestured contemptuously at Zion's rebels. "But I'm not buying it." His eyes narrowed dangerously. "I think it's time for someone else to lead."
A deadly silence fell upon the group. TK stood up slowly, and stared into Rob's hard eyes.
"Is that a challenge?"
His voice wasn't antagonistic. It was neutral, cool sounding, but Kari, sitting beside him, noticed it was tinged with something else. Sadness, perhaps she thought. Gazing back and forth between their leader and Rob, she bit her bottom lip.
Rob smirked. "You catch on quick, kid" Stabbing a finger at the young boy, he spat out each syllable like bullets. "How 'bout it, pretty boy? You and me. No weapons, just man to man. Winner takes all, and loser…" he smiled as his pale eyes narrowed. The result was not pleasant. "Well, let's just say, I'll think of something…unpleasant."
"Um…Rob?" Shinta piped up suddenly. "I really don't think that's a good idea. TK's not your average…"
"Who asked you?" Rob snarled at the rebel. "You stay out of this."
Shinta slunk back. "Don't say I didn't warn you…" he muttered under his breath. Turning, he looked at TK, along with the rest of the group. Zion's rebels didn't seem that concerned, but Rob's group had started muttering amongst themselves again. How would their leader respond to the challenge?
The young boy remained silent for awhile. Rob's eyes narrowed again. "What? Too chicken to take me on?"
TK suddenly seemed exhausted. His azure eyes filled with sadness. Those eyes didn't belong to a fourteen-year-old, they belonged to an old man, a battle-scarred soldier that had seen too much, and done too much. "Rob…we don't have to do this."
Rob cracked his knuckles. "Oh, but we do." He smiled maliciously. "I think I'm going to enjoy this."
The challenged leader sighed heavily. Turning, he smiled at Kari. "Kari, would you look after my staff for a second? I have something I need to take care of…"
Kari took the staff, and smiled back. "Go for it TK." Leaning out, she gave him a quick kiss on the cheek, then sat back to watch the show. Rob watched with narrowed eyes. She doesn't seem worried at all that her boyfriend's about to have the crap beaten out of him, he thought. Something's not right here…
Then, all thoughts were banished from his mind as TK stepped away from the wall, and walked out to join him. He stopped a few meters away. Again, his eyes seemed filled with sadness. "Rob…this is your last chance. We still don't have to do this…"
Rob snarled. "And I'm not going to listen to orders from some f*cking self-important fourteen-year-old kid in a million years." He raised his fists. "Let's do it."
** Author's notes: Well, what'd you think? Please take the time to just type out a few thoughts below. Everyone's totally out of character, but then, they're, what, three years older than 02? Hope you don't mind the distortion. Again, TK's supposed to be cute and cuddly and innocent and adorable, etc. etc., but not in this fic.
Next chap. will probably be out in a week's time. It's already written, but I'm waiting for my editor to get back to me with my edit. Remember TS? A week was the time estimate she gave me. 'Kay, I won't have anyone pressuring her into hurrying up with the edits. She's a great editor, and I won't have anyone flaming her on my behalf.
Remember in Chap. 5 of "The Long Winter?" Battle auras? Imagine what TK can do after four years of continued training. Weird psychic powers next chap.! Rob's going to get his **beep** kic…uh, can't give away too much, now, can we?
Again, please stay with me over the long haul. I'm seriously getting concerned with the length of this. Hope I don't lose you guys to disinterest.
PS. For anime freaks like me, "Shinta" is the real name of Kenshin from the series "Rurouni Kenshin". Remember the guy with the cross-scars on his left cheek? "Shinta" was the name given to our favourite samurai at birth, and he only adopted "Kenshin" afterwards. Just an interesting little fact.
PSS. Has anyone noticed I spell everything the Canadian way? "neighbourhood" instead of "neighborhood". "favourite" instead of "favorite". "colour" instead of "color", etc. etc. So sue me, I'm Canadian. I live in Toronto, and I'm a Canadian citizen, and proud of it. So there.
Oh, and Cat, if you're reading this, could you type just a little more legibly? No offense, but it just makes it easier for me to read your reviews. I didn't get half of your last one.