Chapter 8: My Saviour
Yamaki and Marie leapt from the car practically the instant it stopped. Yamaki removed his shades and scanned the area. He half expected to see scenes of carnage and mayhem. Instead the area seemed pretty calm.
Marie was by his side instantly. Her hand was inside her coat, no doubt grasping her weapon. He nodded to her and they walked off in different directions, Marie heading further along the road and Yamaki heading into the park.
Yamaki had no idea what to expect; the guy he hired had probably fled already. He made a mental note to pay more heed to the old adage: If you want something done, do it yourself.
As he entered the park, it was clear that something had happened. It was mid-afternoon in a relatively busy part of town, yet the park had absolutely no one in sight. No dog-walkers, joggers, cyclists, no one.
Please... Tell me he didn't go ape shit...
Yamaki knew by now it was pointless hoping for a mildly optimistic outcome. He had no idea what Daniel had even transformed into, much less how hostile he was. His detective's phone call had revealed he had transformed after being hassled by thugs, so it was probable that it was self-defence but it was no guarantee that Daniel wouldn't be violent or unstable.
Yamaki passed a football park and crossed a small bridge over a stream. He scanned around carefully, his hand still gripping his weapon under his jacket. He tried listening for anything out of place but all he could hear was the soft rustling of leaves.
A loud sound caused Yamaki to whip round, bringing his gun up at the same time. It was an old man holding a shopping bag. He gasped and dropped the bag at the sight of the gun and started backing away.
"Wait, I'm sorry..." But the old man had already started to run. Yamaki cursed foully. If Daniel's activities hadn't attracted the attention of the police, an armed man certainly would. He had to look quickly.
Daniel sat on his haunches, feeling miserable. He had been sitting here in the thicket for just under an hour and any euphoria he had been feeling had long since worn off. Brian had gone home, having been suitably punished for his endless harassment. The thought had cheered Daniel up a bit, but it didn't change his predicament.
He had no idea how to change back. He knew Vritramon had something to do with this, but Vritramon wasn't really enthusiastic about changing back. Any time he pleaded with him for suggestions on how to return to normal were met either with scathing insults about how frail Daniel's old body had been, or utter indifference.
It was when Daniel was brooding on Vritramon's lack of help (or attention) that he noticed a man walking towards him. Or at least he thought it was a man, it was difficult to tell with heat-vision. He could see the man looking around in a manner suggesting he was searching for something. He also noticed the man had his hand inside his jacket. Daniel felt a pang of fear. It seemed like the guy was armed.
Now what are you whining about?
Daniel rolled his eyes.
That guy looks like he's hiding something, replied Daniel.
Like what? Nuts? Because seriously, I would be embarrassed if I was seen with that magazine.
Like a gun, you tool. He replied, exasperated.
So? Eat him. A peashooter like that is no match for us.
Aye, any suggestions that don't involve gettin' us killed?
Daniel swallowed. The man was getting closer. He was just on the opposite side of the bridge crossing the stream. If it was a gun, and the guy actually was searching it was a safe bet he was searching for Daniel. Or at least for what had caused the earlier ruckus.
Daniel watched the man cross the bridge and stand still. He was definitely searching for him. Daniel noticed another figure enter his vision. The second figure appeared to be holding a bag.
As Daniel watched, the man walked behind the first man and his bag rustled. The first man whirled around, pulling out an object and pointing it at the other man, causing him to drop his bag.
Yep, he's armed, confirmed Daniel, feeling his heart sink.
Heh heh, that old guy looks like he wet his pants, Vritramon chuckled to himself. Daniel was tempted to scream at Vritramon to shut up, but doubted there was any point. Vritramon would sooner eat his own eyes than listen to someone else.
The older man (Though Daniel had no idea how Vritramon knew he was old, to Daniel they were both just kaleidoscopic colourful smears) backed away. The armed man quickly put his gun back in his jacket and extended an arm soothingly.
"Wait, I'm sorry..." he started, but the old man turned and ran, completely ignoring his shopping. The armed man cursed,
Smooth moves, secret agent man, Vritramon snickered.
Daniel shifted uncomfortably. He had no idea how he was supposed to get out of this. Then he felt a sharp pain in his knee.
Ahhh! What the... Daniel hissed in pain. He realised he had knelt on a broken bottle and it had cut into his flesh, drawing blood.
The armed man whirled around to stare directly at their hiding place.
Clumsy moron, Vritramon snarled.
Yamaki watched the old man run. It wasn't enough he had to look for Daniel, he had to be wary for any other witnesses.
There was a sudden, muffled sound from behind. He turned, being sure not to draw his weapon this time. He was staring into a thicket of bushes and trees.
Could it be him? Yamaki edged toward the bushes. His heart pounded hard against his ribs, and he felt a drop of sweat trickle down his cheek.
He glanced from side to side, checking for anyone else. After deciding no one else was nearby, he drew his weapon, keeping it low and pointed toward the ground. He edged closer.
A sudden sound caused him to jump, nearly firing his gun. The sound came from his pocket, a light and musical beeping sound. His mobile.
Irritated, he pulled the phone from his pocket and flipped it open.
"Yamaki." He answered tersely.
"Sir, I've checked with a local shopkeeper. Apart from being visited by a kid pulling a prank, she hasn't seen anything suspicious." It was Marie.
"And? Anything else?" He snapped impatiently.
"I've heard from some other locals that there was a commotion earlier and some weird light from the park, but nothing else. They thought it was kids playing with fireworks."
Yamaki looked up, staring into the bushes again. Now, they seemed silent and still.
"Anything on your end?" Marie asked.
Yamaki paused, still staring into the thicket. He wasn't even sure what he had heard anymore.
"Nothing." He answered finally.
"I'll continue checking on my end. I'll take a look further up the street and I'll meet you at the other entrance to the park near the church."
"Alright. I'll see you there." He hung up. He took one last look at the bushes, and then he walked back toward the path.
Daniel felt sweat trickling down his brow and his chest. The man was coming closer, and had drawn his gun.
Even Vritramon seemed nervous. He didn't know if Vritramon had finally got it into his thick skull that bullets could easily kill them, but he certainly wasn't as cocky as he was a while ago.
Take him now, said Vritramon softly, He won't be ready. He'll be dead before he can raise his gun.
Fucking shut it! Daniel screamed. All it takes is a shot to the head and I'm dead or blind. A shot in the right place and he could get an artery!
What are you jabbering about? Vritramon growled back. It occurred to Daniel that, as a Digimon, Vritramon had probably never had any of these things. Digimon were data, they didn't have organs or blood.
Daniel didn't respond. The armed man was too close now; he would have to think of something if he didn't want to get caught.
There was a sudden beeping sound. The man visibly jumped in fright. He reached into his pocket and pulled something out. Daniel realised it was a mobile phone.
The man talked for a few moments. Daniel couldn't quite make out what the man was saying. He sat there, sweat dripping from his snout and grasping his bleeding knee. After a few moments, the man turned and stared directly at Daniel. For a moment, he thought he had been spotted.
A moment later, the man hung up and, with a final look in Daniel's direction started to walk away.
Daniel breathed a sigh of relief.
Heh, good thing he walked away. Vritramon sounded smug. Otherwise he would've made a nice snack.
Christ, do you ever shut up? Now that he's away, we can try...
Daniel was cut short by a sudden light-headedness. He reeled and fell back into a sitting position.
Now what? Vritramon said in what sounded almost like a whine.
Daniel couldn't answer. His head was spinning and he felt like he was about to throw up. He felt a distinct feeling of shrinking, and his eyes suddenly started to hurt. He closed them, curling up into a ball and surrendering, allowing whatever was happening to him to go on, hoping against hope that it wasn't something that would land him in more trouble.
The nausea continued, as did his feelings of vertigo and the shrinking feeling. Then, it ended as quickly as it started.
Daniel tried to open his eyes, but his vision was blurred. Everything was dark and grey. He got onto all fours and threw up.
Afterward, he rolled over and lay on his back, trying to centre himself.
Kid? Are you okay? For the first time he could remember, Vritramon actually sounded mildly concerned.
Daniel opened his eyes again, this time able to focus. His vision had returned to normal. His heart skipped a beat. He brought his hand up in front of his face. It was a normal, human hand. Also to his relief was the fact he was clothed.
With a sense of profound relief, he relaxed, lay there in the grass and closed his eyes.
"Daniel? Are you okay?" He heard a voice, but he was too tired to really care. His head was still spinning and he wasn't sure he could stand without throwing up again.
"Daniel!" He opened his eyes and saw a blonde-haired man with shades standing over him. He looked familiar, but couldn't recall from where.
He felt the man pick him up carefully. Then they were moving. Daniel closed his eyes. Watching the world move by made him nauseous.
"It's alright Daniel. You're safe. I'll take care of you."
Marie stood by the second entrance to the park. She flicked her hair back, not used to not having a bun. She glanced around the park. Yamaki probably should have been in sight by now. She wondered if she should phone again. She removed her glasses and polished them.
She was a bit sore by his tone when she had called earlier. His moods had been increasingly frustrating to her.
She frowned, shaking her head. No, it wasn't his fault. He was under a great deal of stress. Not to mention the guilt of the DGDR casualties at the hands of the invaders. He had a lot of weight on his shoulders. It was up to her to support him.
Distracted by her mobile, she pulled it from her pocket and flipped it open.
"Marie." She answered.
"I've got him. Get back to the car." Yamaki sounded a bit calmer than the last conversation.
"Is he alright?" She started walking rapidly back the way she came.
"He's unconscious but he looks alright. He was sick a few minutes ago, I think whatever he changed into, he must've just changed back and it's taken a lot out of him."
"Will he need to see a doctor?"
"I don't think so, but we should get him back to our place straight away."
"What about his parents?"
"We'll cross that bridge when we get to it. First, we have to get him to safety." Marie could hear a siren in the distance.
"I'm almost there. I think the police are coming."
She hung up and started to run. If they were caught with weapons, they would be in serious trouble, especially if they were caught with Daniel. They would probably be taken for kidnappers.
She saw their car. She dashed the last few metres to the car, climbing into the passenger seat. They sped off moments before a police car came round the corner.
In the back, Daniel groaned.
"It's all right Daniel, you're safe." Yamaki said soothingly.
Marie was surprised. She had never really heard Yamaki speak like that. He sounded like a concerned father. She put the thought from her mind, concentrating on getting them back.
Turcotte stood behind the glass shield, biting his thumbnail. In front of him, in the room, Frederick and other staff were in surgical robes, standing over a young man on the operating table.
The young man, Turcotte had been told, was Maurice. He wasn't told his second name. 'Need to know', he had been told. However, he had been given assurances and signatures from various sources that the boy had volunteered and had been repeatedly assured by Garret that the operation was legit.
But Turcotte knew better.
The very first thing Frederick had noticed upon initial examination was the mark on his wrist. It was very obviously a deep cut and it had been self-inflicted. Frederick had come to the conclusion that it was a suicide attempt.
Having been told this, Turcotte had confirmed the story was bogus, since initial tests by Frederick and his surgical team had revealed Maurice was indeed brain-dead. This meant it wasn't possible for Maurice to have volunteered, and since he highly doubted his parents would have consented to this, DARRC had obviously lied or had done some underhand dealings to get Maurice and cover up the affair.
Which lead them to the current situation. Turcotte was watching the clock with increasing agitation. The operation to insert the mechanical implants that would begin his transformation process was to start at 6:00 PM and it was 5:57 PM.
Turcotte still had the power of veto in this situation, and could easily order Frederick to pack up and go home; the op was cancelled. Frederick, of course, would be up and out in a heartbeat, loyal as he was to Turcotte and would speak no more of the incident. Garret would be a different matter. If Garret heard Turcotte had cancelled the op, he would be furious. And that would be bad.
5:58 PM. The surgeons in the operating theatre were chatting and moving the trays of instruments into position. Frederick glanced at the clock, then looked back toward Turcotte. Even from behind the glass and partially hidden under the mask and hat of his surgical garb, Turcotte could see the strain in the ageing eyes.
He couldn't go ahead with this. Turcotte knew this was wrong. He was going to consign this youth to a terrible fate; a life as a monster. He couldn't do it. His eyes met with Frederick. He knew that Frederick agreed, but would follow his instructions whatever he decided. Thank God for Frederick, he thought.
5:59 PM. Turcotte was starting to build courage. So what if he pissed off Garret? The bastard couldn't control his Division, not over Turcotte. This was a young lad he was dealing with here; he couldn't steal whatever life remained in his broken body and twist it into something awful.
It was then, with 30 seconds to go that he walked in on the opposite side of the theatre. Garret, flanked as usual with Reiley, walked into the observation chamber on the opposite side of the theatre from Turcotte. Turcotte couldn't speak with them, but one look at Garret's face sapped Turcotte's rebelliousness. Hidden as it was behind his dark shades, Turcotte knew that the cold glare from behind them was enough to tell him what would happen to him if he refused.
Shamefully, cowed and beaten, Turcotte bowed his head and refused to meet Frederick's eyes as he nodded to approve the procedure.
As Frederick turned round to begin, he didn't watch Turcotte leave quietly.
Daniel suddenly snapped awake. He sat up quickly, causing his head to whirl, so he lay back down again rapidly.
"Whoa, easy." Said a young female voice, "You'll be fine. We're not going to hurt you."
Daniel looked up to see a young woman leaning down next to him. She spoke with an American accent, and he noticed she was very pretty. She had short, black hair and brown eyes with a very clear and fair complexion. She squatted down and held his chin to examine his eyes. Daniel blushed and tried to look away.
"Don't worry," she said, "I don't bite." She checked his eyes (Though it was difficult when he kept looking away) and held a hand to his forehead. When she was satisfied, she stood up and went to the door.
"Yamaki! He's awake!" She called. Daniel noticed he was in a small bedroom, but he had no idea where. It was very plain, with bland walls and curtains that were drawn, allowing little afternoon light to filter through. A desk stood in the corner with a PC and ordinary wooden chair.
She walked back over. Rapid steps could be heard coming down the corridor. A moment later, a tall man walked in. He was wearing a light shirt and faded jeans, and wore a pair of shades. He had slightly untidy blonde hair and a very sever look about him, despite his somewhat relaxed attire.
He removed his shades and Daniel saw that he was Oriental in appearance. Japanese or Chinese, he wasn't sure.
"Daniel?" He spoke with a surprisingly clear, definite American accent.
"Aye, that's me."
The tall man, Yamaki as the woman had called him, walked over and knelt by him. He smiled gently, taking on a whole new persona.
"My name is Yamaki. Do you recognise me?" He spoke very softly, like a concerned parent. Daniel started to feel a little safer.
Daniel tried hard to think where he had seen the man before, besides earlier when he had been picked up. Now that he mentioned it, he did feel somewhat familiar. Then it struck him.
"Didn't you carry me out of that lab place? When it was attacked?" He said. Yamaki nodded.
"Do you remember what happened? Back in the park?" Daniel nodded.
"Aye, I went a bit... Overboard when some guys tried to batter me. And by 'overboard' I mean really overboard."
"So when you changed, you did it in self-defence? They attacked you first?" He seemed quite agitated.
Yamaki stood up and breathed a sigh of relief. The young woman stood up as well.
"So what is it? What's the problem?"
"I wanted to know if it was self-defence or a loss of control. In this case, it seems mostly self-defence, which is a step in the right direction, but..."
"Excuse me..." Daniel asked. Both Yamaki and the woman stopped. "But what exactly happened? The guys tried to smash me and Vritramon started talking and..." Daniel realised he had said 'Vritramon' and he expected them to ask who that was. Instead, the woman gasped and Yamaki grabbed Daniel by the shoulders.
"Vritramon? You're sure? He's talking with you?" Daniel was alarmed and nodded speechlessly.
"Has he told you to do anything violent?" Claire asked.
"N-No, he just... talks and insults me and generally acts like a dick." Daniel stammered.
A what? I hope you aren't bad-mouthing me, you little brat.
Speak of the Devil... Daniel shook his head a little in exasperation. Yamaki must have noticed.
"Is he talking to you now?" Daniel nodded. "What is he saying?"
"He's upset because I insulted him." Yamaki was still, and so was the young woman. Then Yamaki sighed and stood back, apparently relieved.
"So he isn't crazed. I'm glad."
Who the Hell is that guy? He looks in desperate need of a slap. Daniel couldn't resist small grin, but suppressed it guiltily. Yamaki had saved him twice, and seemed an all right guy.
"So what's going on? Why is he inside me? And more to the point what the hell happened in the park?"
At that point, another woman walked in. She was older than the other woman, and a lot more stern-looking. She had shoulder-length brown hair and a light leather jacket with faded jeans. Daniel also noticed a gun holster under her jacket.
"What's happening?" She also spoke in an American accent.
"Vritramon is conscious and is communicating with Daniel mentally. But it appears Vritramon is stable and is not trying to influence Daniel to do anything violent." Said Yamaki.
Not yet, anyway. Said Vritramon sulkily.
"Oh, I almost forgot. Introductions." The young woman extended a hand and grinned broadly. "I'm Claire." Daniel shook her hand smiling sheepishly.
"As you know, I'm Yamaki. This is Marie." Daniel shook hands with both of them.
"So why am I here? And what happened to me?" Daniel asked again.
Yamaki and Marie exchanged glances. Marie gave a nod.
"Well, it's difficult to explain, but we'll try." Said Yamaki. "But not tonight. We'll drop you off home. If you still want to know, phone this number and we can pick you up." Yamaki handed him a piece of paper with a number on it. Daniel took it and, though still feeling light-headed, was helped to his feet.
Later that night, Daniel lay in bed awake. He was absolutely exhausted and was struggling to keep his eyes open. He was remembering his transformation and his hour or so as a dragon. He could still feel the strength, a raw power he wielded as a dragon. The power he felt when he held Brian in his grasp.
"Vritramon?" He spoke out loud.
What? Vritramon sounded a little grumpy.
"You had sumthin' to do with that transformation, didn't you?"
What if I did?
Daniel was silent for a moment. He turned over and closed his eyes, already starting to drop off.
"Thanks." He said. Within a few seconds, he was fast asleep.
A few minutes passed. Then, in the back of Daniel's slumbering mind, Vritramons' voice spoke softly:
You're welcome kid.