Disclaimer: It brings me no pleasure to say that I do not own Digimon. I only own the universe in which this takes place. With that aside, review. If you don't, I'll fill your shoes with toxic sludge and blame it on my Crazy Aunt Betty.
It was a month after that that we got our first notices. A couple of friends were being transferred. And then some of the patients from the camp joined up as soon as they were well enough, including a certain Agumon I knew.
He had announced it to me as I was making my morning rounds. I make it a point to check in on patients who grow attached to me, even if they're not on my list. That and his story about Millenniumon intrigued me.
"They say I'm good enough to be moved back to Kishar," he told me. "I told 'em that I'm joining up as soon as they release me."
He'd made significant progress in his recovery. I was certainly impressed with him. "I'm glad to hear it. Army, navy or what?"
"I'm sure I'll be hearing about you later on then." I turned to admire the view from his window for a few moments. "I should probably get back to work." I'm pretty sure that he nodded. "I'll be back tomorrow."
I left after that to continue my work. I still had Art to check on, too. The bio-tank was being good to him, though we were still working on a way to reverse his condition. That, I was convinced, was going to take a while. We did have something to be thankful for, however. He was stable and that leg was healed up nicely.
As soon as I was promoted, I had all of his medical care transferred to my jurisdiction. After that, I assigned Sam as his full-time caregiver and moved him to a private chamber nearer to the upper levels of the complex.
I waved as I entered his room. He glared as usual. I knew better than to trust his face. "How ya feelin'?"
"Well, if you would eat," I suggested. He didn't have much of an appetite. "You just might be in better health. There isn't anything I can do until you start cooperating."
Again he glared. He was one of those patients who you want to help, but is still a pain in the tail. I had a responsibility to take good care of him, however much I wanted to strangle him.
"Those tubes of paste are really bad," I conceded. "But they're better than nothing." I took a seat near the tank. "We've been trying for weeks to reverse your condition, but so far no luck."
Sam came in from the next room with a fresh tray of towels. "Hello," she said pleasantly. "Still nothing from the med. labs?"
"Still nothing," I replied. "They'd better find something quickly or he's going to go stir crazy in that tank."
"I'm still here." Sure enough, the bio-tank and its occupant were still in the room. "If you're going to speak of me as if I'm not here, then kindly remove yourselves from the room so that I don't have to put up with it."
Sam looked at him with a sort of pitying look in her eyes. The look only lasted for a fleeting moment, however, and she turned her attention toward me once again. I could read her eyes like a book this time. We stepped outside his room and shut the door.
"He's been in pain since we brought him to the tank station," she said. The pitying look was there again in full swing. I couldn't help but share the sentiment. "And he just wont eat. It's like he's trying to starve himself to death."
"I checked the labs yesterday." I took her hand. Since we'd met, we had become rather close to each other. "They weren't too optimistic about his chances, even in a bio-tank."
"Grey," she said, squeezing my claw tighter. "Art is in constant pain and there isn't anything we can do. The fluids from the tank aren't working to numb it any and morphine can only do so much."
"I've done everything I can think of myself," I admitted. "Frankly, I think he's going die even if they do figure it out."
She put her head on my shoulder. "What do we do, then?" That was a good question. I would have never thought I'd have a critically ill patient. Unconsciously, I stroked her neck.
I made up my mind. "Sam," I said, catching her eye, "We'll give it a week. If the labs don't find anything promising by then, we'll end it." I hated to do it. But living life in a medical bio-tank was no life and he deserved better than that even if it was.
She kissed my cheek. "Alright," Sam said, letting a trace of a tear roll down her face. "One week."
One Week Later…
It had been a week since mine and Sam's agreement. A lethal dose of morphine would kill him painlessly and quickly. For a Digimon, an overdose kills in less than ten minutes. Unfortunately, it was also the first illegal thing I'd ever had to do. Currently, I was heading up to explain the situation to Art.
I came in to see Sam already there, speaking to Art. "Good morning," I said none too cheerfully. "How'd you sleep, Art."
Before he could answer, Sam already had. "He didn't," she said simply. "I was just explaining to him that the labs still didn't have any luck." I nodded.
"Art," I said, "It's standard procedure to wait five weeks with a critically ill patient to see whether or not they recover." This was difficult for me. Despite the fact that he was moody in the morning and miserable in the evening, I found myself choking up. "After that, the patient has a choice…"
Sam saw how hard this was for one person to do alone. "You have the choice," she said, "to wait another five weeks or to have us end your life now." This was brutal for both of us. "We need to know your decision."
"How would I die," he asked, not betraying for an instant any fear there might have been.
"A lethal dose of morphine would do it quickly and painlessly." Somehow, it seemed to me that he looked starry eyed. "You would be…" Again I choked. "Be dead in ten minutes."
"I'll do it." He said this with hesitation or fear. The thought of peace was etched in his eyes. "Creator, forgive me," he said almost inaudibly.
Sam walked over to the cabinet and retrieved a morphine drip. She began to hook the bag to the IV unit attached to the tank. "As soon as this enters your blood stream, you'll have just a few minutes," she said as she worked.
The bag was hooked and working in just a few moments after that. He looked at the two of us as the morphine started to take effect. "You," he pointed to me. "Thank you." He looked over at Sam. His eyes were starting to grow weary already. "I owe you," he said to her.
I don't know whether it was the Creator or whether it was his last words, but somehow a feeling of complete calm came to me. I wasn't happy to see him go and neither was Sam, but he was glad to leave and I was glad to see him glad.
His speech was slurred now. "I owe you both." With that, he went limp. His body lay in the tank unconscious and, for the first time since I had met him, Art smiled. Sam couldn't watch after that. I thought it odd to see her strong form buried in her claws crying.
I continued to watch until the end. Soon, his body started dissolving into its basic data patterns. It was quiet, except for Sam's sniffles. He was gone to his waist in moments. Soon it was over and although, he never said anything, we lost a friend.
"He's probably a Shadow now," I whispered. For some reason, that gave me more comfort than it did Sam. "When he's reprocessed, he'll remember this life and he'll do some extraordinary things."
"Grey," my commander said. "Do you know why I sent for you?" The MagnaAngemon stood polishing his helmet.
"No, sir," I lied.
"It has been brought to my attention that one of the patients under your care was killed by a morphine overdose."
I gulped. How did he find out about that? "Sir," I jumped in quick, "it wasn't my—"
"Relax Grey, you did the right thing." He replaced his helmet. "However, that isn't what I called you here for."
I was relieved to here that. After the whole ordeal with Art, I didn't want to be punished for doing something that weighed on my mind for so long. I already went through the guilt stage and the depressed stage without a hitch. Sam was partially to blame for that. If she didn't come visit my quarters every chance she got, neither of the two of us would have made it.
All in all, though, I felt good about what had happened. Whenever I did regress back to the depressed or guilty stages, I thought about his last words to us. I owe you both, he had said. That was a comfort…
My mind was wandering. Automatically, I responded to my commander's last statement. "Then why am I here?"
"I received your transfer notice two days ago," he replied. "You and your nurse—what's her name? —Sam are both being transferred to Unit 316 in Yggdrassil, battalion nineteen."
"So you wanted to hand deliver our transfer papers?"
He gave me a stern glance before removing another section of his armor. "I wanted to give you the papers personally because they include seven days' leave for the both of you."
I sat down. The news that both Sam and I had earned a week's pass was incredible. I reflected on the report calmly. It must have been the admiral. No one else besides DrakeAngemon would give out something like that for something so simple.
That was a thought. I highly doubted it, but it might have been him. First of the Sovereigns and he was the morale officer. There were even rumors circulating that he was a descendant of the Fifth Imperial Dynasty. Somehow, that would not surprise me.
"Your transport leaves at 0600 hours tomorrow," he was saying. My mind was still dwelling on who would have authorized the vacation. "Grey?"
"Is there something wrong?"
"No sir," I answered, clearly failing to cover my musings. I asked about it anyway. "Who authorized the pass, sir?"
"You have friends in very high places, Grey."
Holy crap. That was my first thought. DrakeAngemon had gotten word of my idea. That itself shouldn't have been so surprising, but coupled with the fact that he knew my name was just a little concerning.
Sam was waiting for me outside the mess hall a short while later. I may not have mentioned this before but her form was consistent of a BlackPialdramon. The defused light from the clouds gave her a sort of hazy look just then and my heart skipped a beat.
She waved me down. "What did he have to say?"
Sam was relieved, to say the least, when she heard the news about Art. Then she was shocked into silence when she heard about what Drake did for us.
"We leave at six tomorrow morning," I told her. "I hope I meet him sometime so I can thank him personally for the pass."
"Where will we be taken?"
It should be said now that most of the marine traffic had been rerouted to go through Ea, due to a high number of minor skirmishes with Enemy loyalists.
"Chances are that we'll be taken to Ea."
"Do you know how crowded that'll be?"
She wasn't kidding either. A day and a half later, we were standing in the main plaza of the under-sea city. I had never seen more water elementals in my life. And just the thought of doing one thing wrong gave me a sour stomach. If I did, we'd both be drenched in an acid so strong it would melt right through the floor. Not that it mattered much. Most of the people around here could breath under water.
The most unnerving part of being in the underwater city, however, is the fact that one can see strait through the roof a hundred meters up and into the ocean depths. The sad thing was that it was black as pitch out there until the sun came up. I might have thought about a swim until I remembered the enormous pressures outside.
Some Digimon can survive out there, I reminded myself. How was another matter altogether. One, there was the pressure. And two, the currents were ridiculous. Electrical storms on the surface could produce currents that would wash anything short of gold-digichrome away completely. They must have built in the lee of domes. Simple answer.
That was another thing about Ea. It wasn't just confined to air breathers, but there were smaller cities on ledges outside the domes where Digimon who required total submergence lived. Right out there in eddies formed by these gigantic spheres.
We were safe for the time being. Ea had been captured and purified. There wasn't a single loyalist within a three thousand kilometer radius. We strolled through the concourse aimlessly, for about an hour after our arrival. We finally settled down in a sports bar for a late dinner.
Imagine that, a sports bar in an under water city.
The bartender greeted us warmly. "Name's Bart," he said. He was a scraggly looking Geckomon, obviously in the later stages of life. "What can I do ya?"
I turned to Sam. She didn't say anything so I ordered something simple. "Stone soup."
"Stone soup?" The bartender looked confused. "Oh. Earth elemental… Right." He went back to the kitchen and a short while later came back with two bowls. "Sorry about the wait," he said. "We don't get many earth types around here."
"Don't worry," Sam said kindly. "We don't get many water types in Muspelshiem." She took her soup.
I had no clue she was Muspelshiemian. She took me for the type from Anshar. Roots, I thought.
"You must feel like a fish out of water," I said smartly. She laughed momentarily at the pun.
"I wouldn't have thought you had a sense of humor. You take your work so seriously."
"That's why I have a sense of humor." She smiled. "Bart, what is there to do around here?"
"Lots of stuff." He turned on a video screen at the end of the bar. "I suggest the air races. Big tournament in town."
Air Racing: One of the greatest sports events in the Digital World. It's by far the most popular. And by far the most fatal. Racers must be flyers (have wings) and must be agile and intelligent. Contestants race through aerial obstacle courses at speeds in excess of three hundred kilometers per hour where the track is never the same twice.
There are five laps and the courses change each time, so there are always surprises and there are always crashes. The first to finish is the winner.
I was glad to see the that the sport was still active. My wings weren't the proper shape or size for air racing, but the thought of participating still intrigued me. All I needed was an alternate digivolution with the right wings. Unfortunately, the leave was only for one week and I didn't have enough time to train for one.
Still, I could at least watch them race. "Where's the tournament being held?" The Geckomon's face contorted to one of quiet satisfaction. "Let me guess, you have tickets for sale?"
I looked at Sam. She agreed to go with me. I was giddy. This was my first shot at a date of any sort.
"So how's the soup?"
"Actually, I rather like it," Sam answered. "I've never eaten stone soup before."
"Never actually served here before, either." He looked at my half-finished bowl and me. "What you expected?"
"It was exactly like home." Ooh, home. I didn't want to think on that. Kishar was where I was from. Nothing in the world could take me back there like a good meal. Now that I'd eaten one, my head went strait back to that crowded little earth tone building.
Sam saw the look on my face. "I think we'd better be going." She paid the Geckomon and escorted me out the door. "I think you're home sick," she said once we were in the street. "Don't worry, I know the feeling."
I didn't here her. I was still thinking about the last meal that I ate there. Breakfast. It was the morning before I left for basic.
"Good morning, Grey." The elder of our little FmU. was almost disgustingly cheerful. "Last day here," he said.
I answered dimly from my bed, "I hope you're not this way when the rest of them join up." I groaned, pulling the sheets off the bed. My claws had dug into the mattress again. "I leave at ten. Do we eat out or have breakfast here?"
"Here," he stated, smiling. The MetalGreymon was also an excellent cook. I know because he taught me and I'm an excellent cook, too. "Waffles!"
"Yep, just how you like it." We walked down the short corridor to our stairwell. It might have been a small FmU., but some of the residents were impressively large to fit in our building. "I do rather enjoy your being here, but I know you need to go."
"I don't even know why I'm doing this." He looked at me funny. "I saw firsthand what the Enemy can do. I know the Creator want's me to fight, but I'm just not sure if I like the idea of joining the Suicide Corp."
My counterpart laughed in his rumbling sort of way. "The Medical Corp is a good place for you. You like helping people." He had a point. I think I got it from him. He may have been disgustingly cheerful, but he was my teacher and friend. "I have to say, though, I never thought they'd let a Rookie join up like that."
"They're getting desperate," I replied. "They let Miles in the army." Again he chuckled. We were down the stairs and into the dinning hall. The rest of the FmU. was waiting patiently for me. "No one started eating yet?"
"You're the guest of honor, today."
I took my seat at the side of the table and Elder (that's what we called him) took his at the head of it. He looked over the spread and sighed. "At this rate, we'll lose everyone here." There was a chorus of agreement from around the room. "My watch over Grey has been one of the most productive trials of my life." He winked at me. "I, personally, will be sorry to see him leave. I'd like to offer a prayer of protection to our comrade to the Creator."
Every head was instantly bowed. The room was as silent as I'd ever heard it. Prayer was the one thing that brought us together. Not all of us liked each other's company, but we were all brothers in our faith.
"Dear Creator," he started reverently. "As we lose yet another of our brothers to this terrible war, we ask that you protect him from harm. We are losing an intricate part of our Family Unit, one that cannot be replaced or reproduced.
"Preserve his faith and preserve this home for his return. Be with him as he faces the tribulations of war and combat. Be with him as he faces all the horrors that the Enemy can throw at him. Above all, we ask you to show him love in the presence of evil and be his constant companion.
"Bless this food on his last day. Let it be something to sustain him through periods of exhaustion and hunger. Let the thought of this last meal remind him of Your love and ours.
"Praise be to Your name. Amen."
I was blushing about as much as an Agumon could blush. I never did like being the center of attention. Still, I was touched. Peace, that was the overwhelming sensation I was feeling at that precise moment.
Thank the Creator that there was a colony from my clan down here. We had to do a little asking around, but we eventually found it. They were happy to let us stay. Not to long ago they had lost one of their own to the Enemy himself.
The strange thing about the colony was the unexpected results of living in a marine environment. They were water elementals, not the fire/earth ones that one normally sees.
Sam had never seen a blue colored Greymon, let alone a Greymon at the head of an FmU. She was from a different, Chibimon clan. (That is opposed to my being from the Koromon clan). In time of war, however, clan names don't count for much unless it's the Clan Wars.
The Clan Wars were hideous and senseless acts of violence based on clan rivalries. For the record, there are about a hundred million different clans. Probably more than that, actually. The wars took place just about ten thousand years ago and severely reduced the population of the Digital World from one hundred eighty billion to just under forty five billion.
The Clan Wars ended with the destruction of a major faction, which was against the unification of the Digital World. The one who brought the end of the war was a Digimon on an unknown level called EmeraldGreymon. He was also the start of the Fifth Imperial Dynasty (that's were fact ends and fiction begins). Some people say that EmeraldGreymon was an angel. Doubtful, but a nice thought. All that is known about him is that his line was not continued.
Anyway, she'd never seen a blue Greymon. Frankly, neither had I. We asked about it out of curiosity. They said that it was because of the environment in which they lived. That still left the question of why their wings were larger than normal. Even they didn't know why that was.
A/N: We're drawing near the end of Grey's time in Ea. As previously stated, the first book takes place over the course of five hundred years or so. For a little more detail, the first book lasts from the time Grey enters the war to the time he leaves for the Real World. Read, review and all the other stuffs that encourages an author.
And one last thing, thanks to the only guy who reviewed this thing, and therefore the only one who doesn't get a shoe full of toxic sludge, Jerad Head. The rest of you can say hello to my Crazy Aunt Betty.