Note: Japanese names and terms are used.
Disclaimer: I don't own Digimon.
Less than a year after the defeat of BelialVamdemon, the Japanese Chosen Children all disappeared without a trace. Hundreds of Chosen Children and their partners around the world vanished with them. Some had simply gone out for a shopping trip, but never returned; others disappeared coming back from school, or going to the park. Searches were made, but to no avail.
Two weeks later an invasion of Earth took place. But this time it wasn't just Digimon preying on helpless humans. No, it was a group of Chosen Children and their partners instead. No force was able to stop them. All the Chosen who could have posed as a threat were missing. And so, the Chosen Empire was formed.
All remaining Chosen, Digimon and human alike were given a choice: join up, or suffer. Those who were able to evade the Empire grouped together and formed the Resistance.
It didn't make the decision any easier. One had to decide on whether to join the Chosen Empire or the Resistance, a much smaller and weaker organization with less chances of survival. Sometimes a Chosen and his or her partner would split due to differences.
The Resistance proved to do little to the ever-expanding Chosen Empire. All attacks that were made were stopped with ease. Finally, after a miraculous battle, the Resistance managed to gain control of the Digital World and blocked all of the Empire's access to it.
In doing so, the Resistance was able to ally themselves with most of the Digital World's inhabitants. They managed to win themselves the island of Japan. More and more Chosen were joining them. They were becoming a threat.
Five years later, the Resistance's leaders, Ryuu Wanatabe and his partner Bakemon mysteriously disappeared. Many suspected the Chosen Empire. The new Resistance leaders, Shuichi Wada and his partner Dracomon made a decision: to renew the search for the missing Chosen and so topple the Chosen Empire.
The Impossible Assignment
Iori Hida and Armadimon, the message read,please report to Nasagi Saitou in the main office immediately.
I read the message before swiveling around in my computer chair. "Armadimon," I said.
Armadimon, a gold-shelled armadillo Digimon, yawned loudly from atop my bed. He smacked his lips a few times before asking, "What is it, dagya?"
"We're needed in the office. Nasagi wants to see us."
That got his attention. Rolling over, Armadimon straightened up and eyed me. "Think we'll get an Assignment, dagya?"
An Assignment was, well, an assignment assigned to a Chosen and his—or her—partner. We were to fulfill it—most of which were on Earth; few took place on the Digital World—and then return home. The most rare, and most popular one was Assignment Alpha: looking for the missing Chosen from Odaiba.
The reason why it was so rare was because every team that had gotten it had left and never returned. The human's body would be found later; the Digimon's body was presumably being reconfigured at PrimaryVillage.
"Let's not get our hopes up," I replied. "Come on, we'd better go before he gets impatient."
"What are the odds of that, dagya?" Armadimon joked.
I smiled, but only half-heartedly; other events were on my mind. Seventeen-year-old Nasagi Saitou was well known throughout the Resistance for his short temper. Getting out of my chair, I closed my D-Terminal, placed it in my pocket, and headed for the door. Turning back when I realized Armadimon wasn't following, I asked, "Coming?"
Armadimon heaved a sigh. "I guess so, dagya." He hopped off my bed and joined me. Momentarily stopping, he glanced around our room. "Hey, while we're there, we should complain about getting a new room, dagya."
"I don't think Nasagi will listen," I said. "He gets enough complaints already."
All of the Resistance members were assigned to a room, none of which were particularly big. After all, we had limited space, what with the Chosen Empire occupying most of Earth and everything. The single island we had control of was, well, puny.
"Oh well, dagya," sighed Armadimon. "You might want to change, by the way, dagya."
I looked down at my pajamas. "Ah," I said before digging through my dresser. I took off my current clothes and replaced them with a plain white shirt, a green hoodie, and tan pants, my lucky outfit. Whenever I wore it, every mission we went on succeeded.
"Extra clothes, dagya?" suggested Armadimon. I frowned, thinking, before giving in and stuffing several more articles of clothing into a bag and slinging it over my shoulder. Missions could be as short as a day, or as long as a month.
I was halfway to the door when I realized I'd forgotten something. No, I'd forgotten two things.
Turning back to my bed, I rummaged through my pillowcase and pulled out two items: one was a necklace with an owl hanging upside-down off the silver chain. It was issued to all members and served as a tracker. The other item was a pair of goggles—Daisuke's goggles. It was all they found when they searched his room after he had disappeared.
I put the goggles over my hair, which had outgrown the bowl cut my mom had given it when I was younger. A beeping sound startled me. It was my D-Terminal. Opening it, I found another message: Hurry up. NOW.
"Nasagi getting impatient, dagya?" Armadimon asked knowingly. I nodded. "Well, we'd better get going before he sets a load of Fanbeemon on us."
"Right," I answered, opening the door and stepping outside. "C'mon."
My name is Iori Hida, if you haven't noticed. As of now, I'm fourteen years old and I have been a member of the Resistance for four years. I'm one of the higher ranking members. Personally, I feel it's because all the good members have all disappeared, leaving only the inexperienced and the sort-of-experienced behind.
When we finally reached the office, Nasagi was already waiting for us. He ushered us in, looking more annoyed than impatient. "Honestly," he was saying, "you tell someone to come immediately and they come in ten minutes."
Armadimon and I glanced at each other, shrugged, and let him babble. Nasagi was the smartest member of the Resistance, and the most resourceful. He alone managed all of the technological equipment and kept track of where every member was. Koushiro would have been proud.
Nasagi shoved us into chairs, not bothering for politeness. "Probably took too long getting dressed," he mumbled. "Honestly, they're just clothes." He, like always, was dressed in a dark blue turtleneck and brown slacks.
Nasagi's office consisted of a large brown desk, two chairs facing the desk, one window, and two white sofas. Nasagi pushed us towards the seats and then sat at his desk, rapidly typing on his laptop. His dark hair fell past his glasses as he stared at the screen intently.
Armadimon leaped onto one chair; I sat in the other. As Nasagi seemed to be entranced by his laptop, I glanced around his office. I spotted a boy, no older than me, sitting quietly on the edge of one sofa.
He had brownish hair, and green eyes. He wore a white shirt, khaki pants, and five different colored wristbands on his left arm.
I frowned slightly, thinking. Why wear so many? Just then the boy looked up and our eyes met. I quickly looked away.
Nasagi seemed to have remembered that he had company. He stared at us, frowning slightly before blinking. "Ah, right." Brushing a few strands of hair out of his eyes, he sat back in his chair and surveyed us. "I'm sure that you both have heard of Assignment Alpha."
The one to find the Odaiba Chosen Children.
The one to find our friends.
Armadimon nodded. I didn't say anything, willing for the hope rising in my chest to go back down.
"As you well know, no one has ever returned."
Armadimon nodded again. I could tell he was getting impatient. Then again, so was I.
"Shuichi has decided…" Nasagi hesitated, stumbling over his words. "Shuichi had decided to assign it to you. Do you accept?"
My jaw fell open. I wanted to—badly.
"Do you accept?" Nasagi repeated, raising his eyebrows when neither of us answered.
"Yes," I said hurriedly. "Yes, we do." I shot a look at Armadimon, but I didn't need to. He was nodding as well, bobbing his head up and down so fast he looked like a bobblehead.
"Very well." Nasagi began typing on his computer, although not as quickly as before; he seemed a little distracted. "You begin tonight. I already had traveling packs prepared for you two. So, if you want, you can ditch that bag you're carrying. You'll depart to the Digital World immediately. Report back to us every night. Understand?"
I was already transferring my clothes to the pack Nasagi had pointed to. The result was that it was rather heavy. "Yes, I do."
"Good. And one more thing." Nasagi stood up, a stapled packet of papers in his hand. "He will be joining you." And he pointed to the boy on the sofa.
I froze. "What?"
Nasagi raised an eyebrow. "Will that be a problem?"
"Of course not, dagya," Armadimon said quickly.
"Good," Nasagi said, appearing satisfied. He motioned with his hand and the boy stood up and walked to us. "Well, introduce yourself," Nasagi said, before whirling off to do something else.
"Oh. Right." The boy tugged on a red wristband nervously. "I'm Tomoki. Tomoki Himi."
"Iori Hida," I answered evenly, sticking out my hand. He took it slowly. "And this is Armadimon."
"Nice to meet you both," Tomoki said, awkwardly shaking my hand. He shoved both his hands in his pockets, almost shyly.
I turned to Nasagi, who had just returned, frowning slightly. "Does he not have a Digimon partner?" I asked.
"Ask him," Nasagi said.
Tomoki rubbed his head. "Well, um…" he said. "Er…" He hesitantly pulled out a digivice of a different design. It was more rectangular than oval and was green and pale blue. He held it out. "Spirit Evolution!" He was instantly covered in a bright light. When it had faded, my jaw dropped open.
In Tomoki's place was a white bear. He had on a green headband with a small bear face in the center, an armor-type looking thing, a metal shoulder pad, and snow boots. "Chakmon!"
"He…he becomes the Digimon, dagya?" Armadimon sounded shocked, exactly how I felt.
"Obviously," Nasagi said. He paused, his lips twisted together before continuing. "Do you remember the earthquake from earlier?"
I nodded. I remembered it all too well. Around lunchtime, a gigantic earthquake had taken place. Luckily, no one was killed.
Nasagi was looking unsure, maybe guilty again. "As soon as it was over, this guy appeared. We think he came from a parallel universe, or a different world."
I frowned. "Why do you think that?"
"Because," Nasagi said, "he has no knowledge of Taichi or the others. So, we assume that the earthquake may have been our world and his pressing together."
"Wow, dagya," Armadimon said, for lack of a better thing to say.
Nasagi took off his glasses and began cleaning. "Anyways, are you three ready to depart now?"
We all nodded. Tomoki shouldered a bag of his own and Nasagi led the three of us to the window. Then he returned to his desk and started typing rapidly. Without looking up, he instructed, "Open it."
"What?" I wasn't sure I'd heard right.
This time, Nasagi did look up. "Open the window," he repeated irritably.
"Oh." I was about to do as he said but Tomoki stepped forward and pushed the shutters open. Again, I noticed his multiple wristbands. They were five, each a different color: red, purple, yellow, blue, and white.
"Stand back," ordered Nasagi. Tomoki, Armadimon, and I obeyed. "Get ready." Then, suddenly, the outside scenery changed. Instead of a dark forest, swirls of multicolored light appeared.
"Wow," Tomoki breathed. He was staring as if he was entranced.
"Iori," called Nasagi. I turned. He tossed me two earphones. "Give one to Tomoki." I complied. "These are communication devices, so we can keep in touch."
I inspected the gray and black device. It looked like any regular earphone; it might have been mistaken for earphones for a CD player. Wedging it in my ear, I turned back to Nasagi. "Do we have to wear these all the time?"
"You don't, but it's recommended." Nasagi indicated the window. "The portal's ready. Good luck."
"Thank you," Tomoki said, bowing. Nasagi, looking rather surprised, hesitantly returned the gesture.
Shrugging, I did the same, only Nasagi didn't see me. Sheepishly, I straightened up. Then I turned to the window and the swirls beyond it. "Hurry," said Nasagi from behind me, "before it fades."
I grabbed Armadimon and, backing up a few steps, ran and leaped through the window and into the spiraling light beyond.
"Iori? Iori, are you alright? Iori?"
I groaned and opened my eyes, blinking rapidly. Tomoki and Armadimon hovered over me anxiously.
"Yeah, I'm fine." I tried to sit up but a wave of nausea rolled over me and I doubled over, groaning. They reached out to study me.
"Careful," Tomoki warned. "You hit your head on a rock when we landed."
I grimaced, suddenly aware of a throbbing pain on the top of my head. "Ouch." Laying my head back down, I allowed my eyes to flicker around, if somewhat tiredly. "Where are we?"
"You're in the Digital World," Nasagi's voice crackled into my ear. "You two jumped too late, and you got sent to the wrong place. You're supposed to be by a lake, but Tomoki said you landed near a cave." He made an irritated sound. "I guess it doesn't matter. As soon as you recover, head out on your mission."
"Which is what?"
"To search for the Chosen." Nasagi sounded annoyed.
"I know that, but where?"
"Taichi Yagami was last seen by the lake when he mysteriously vanished, according to some Digimon. Naturally this isn't true, as Taichi disappeared sometime after his soccer practice. But it doesn't hurt to make sure." Nasagi's answer was curt and as he went on, it grew more snappish, "I'd arranged for Evilmon to meet you there, but that isn't possible now."
He broke off before continuing. "I'm going to try and see what I can do, but in the meantime, don't move." And with that, the transmission ended.
"Who's Evilmon?" Tomoki asked.
"Nasagi's partner," I answered.
"Oh." Tomoki was silent for a moment. "Well, he sounded pretty mad. Don't you think he was overreacting?"
Shrugging, I slowly sat up. A wave of dizziness overtook me and I quickly lay back down. "He must have gone through a lot of trouble. He's been reluctant to assign anyone this particular assignment since…well…a long time."
We were all silent for a moment. Armadimon broke it. "Well, I'm going to sleep, dagya," he said and soon, he was busy snoring. Tomoki and I sat there awkwardly, unsure of what to do or say.
"So…um…why so many?" I asked, blurting out the first thing that came to mind.
"What? Oh, my wristbands?"
Tomoki gave a short laugh. "They remind me of my friends," he explained. "After I moved away from Shibuya and to Hokkaido, I got these wristbands to remind of them."
I raised an eyebrow. "How so?"
"Well, red is for Takuya, purple for Izumi, yellow for Junpei, blue for Kouji, and black for Kouichi."
"Oh. Cool." The names were foreign to me.
"I guess you could call it that." We were silent for another moment. "Tell me about your world," Tomoki finally said.
I hesitated. "What do you want to know?"
"Um…" Tomoki paused. "Everything."
So I told him. About my friends, about BelialVamdemon, everything. Including the Resistance. When I was done, Tomoki asked, "How did you find the Resistance?"
I was silent for a few moments. "A friend led me," I finally said. "After Taichi and the others disappeared, and months had gone by without anything good happening, I was ready to give up hope.
"But then someone I hadn't seen in a long time came up to me and told me about the Resistance. He asked me if I wanted to join. His name was Wallace—he's from America. Armadimon and I agreed and he led us to it.
"We became close friends. Then, two years later, he and his partners—he has two, I don't know why—were sent out on the very same assignment we're on now."
I didn't say anymore. Tomoki understood. "I'm sorry."
"But there's something else…" I trailed off. "They never found his body. So I'm hoping that he's still alive." I met Tomoki's eyes.
"Then you stick to that," he encouraged.
"Thanks." I sat up. My head didn't hurt as much as it had before. Then I heard a crunching sound. It was faint, but there. Armadimon's eyes immediately snapped open, and we shared a look. Tomoki didn't seem to have heard a thing.
I stood up and faked a yawn. "I'm getting tired. Let's go for a walk."
Tomoki frowned. "But—"
"A little exercise will do you some good, dagya," Armadimon said, nudging him to his feet. "You're fat enough as it is, dagya."
"But—" protested Tomoki again. "We're—"
"We'll find our way back," I said. "C'mon, just a circle. A little walking never hurt anyone." Between the two of us, Armadimon and I managed to get Tomoki into the woods before he yanked away.
"We're not supposed to leave—!" he began hotly, when I cut him off, whispering quickly and as softly as I could.
"We were being watched. Probably still are. Let's go." And without waiting, I slipped into the trees. Judging from the loud crashes behind me, Tomoki had followed me. "Be quiet, dagya," Armadimon hissed. "They'll hear you, dagya!"
"Well if they don't know that we know, why should I?" Tomoki asked, nonplussed. "Have to act casual, don't we?"
"But we're trying to lose—" I broke off as I heard a flurry of steps. "I told you, the lake is over there. The field is that way."
This time, Tomoki was quick to cotton on. "No, it's not," he insisted, playing along. "I'll prove it. Come on." And he marched off, although not as loudly as before. Armadimon and I hurried after him.
"When we've found out that I'm right," I said, "then you owe me a meal."
Tomoki scoffed, and we continue bantering until I was sure we'd lost them. Then we scaled a tree nearby to wait. Just as I'd finished pulling Tomoki into the branches and he'd gotten settled, they appeared, arguing with each other.
"I told you, they went the other way!" one of them, a boy with a dark blue sports jacket and faded jeans said. "I'm sure of it!"
"Did not!" said a girl with a pink long sleeve shirt said. She stopped and whirled around to face him, throwing down her white jacket in disgust. "They went this way!"
"Shut up," a purple skinned Digimon snapped, and I frowned, because he was like no other Digimon I'd ever seen before. "You'll bring the whole forest to us!"
"Good," the boy said irritably. "Then they can tell us where those three went and prove that I'm right!"
"No, you're wrong!"
"Stop it." It was another girl, one with a maroon jacket and a dark red cap. Her voice was quiet, but it cut through the argument nonetheless. "What do you think, Lopmon?"
The appearance of the familiar brown rabbit almost caused me to lose my grip on the tree branch. For one, fleeting moment, I thought it was Wallace's partner and almost shouted out. But then Armadimon shook his head at me, and I remembered where we were.
"I don't know where they are," Lopmon was saying, "but I'm pretty sure they knew we were following them."
"I told you we should have introduced ourselves from the start," the boy said emphatically. "Could have avoided all of this trouble."
"We didn't know if they were friendly or not," pointed out the girl with the white jacket. "We still don't. All we know is that we're stuck in this weird place." She sat down with a thump, looking rather dejected.
I exchanged a glance with Tomoki and Armadimon. They both nodded, and we dropped out of the tree, right behind the group of five. The girl with the white jacket shot to her feet and squealed, and the boy gave a yell.
The girl with the hat, however, narrowed her eyes and said, "Have fun eavesdropping?"
"Who are you?" I asked.
The girl with the cap crossed her arms. "Why should I answer?" she demanded.
"That's not very nice," the boy said, eyeing me. Every now and then his eyes would flicker from Armadimon to me. I was starting to get uncomfortable.
"Are you here to help or hurt?" the boy said, still eyeballing us.
"Depends," Tomoki shot back. "What are you here for?"
"We don't know," the girl with the white jacket said, the only one who was visibly excited about our appearance. "We were just walking around and then there was an earthquake and we ended up here." She frowned. "Wait, that didn't make much sense, did it?"
"No, it did," Tomoki assured her as I absorbed the information. So they were from a different world. "That's how I ended up here too," he said, smiling at her. "I'm Tomoki Himi by the way, and these two are Iori Hida and Armadimon."
I lifted a hand. "Hi."
My name seemed to spark something in the other five. They all looked dumbstruck. "Like the TV show?" the boy said.
I frowned. "Huh?"
"Never mind," the girl with the white jacket said quickly. "I'm Ai Aoki."
"Makoto Aoki," the boy said.
"Impmon," said the purple Digimon.
"Lopmon," Lopmon said. He pointedly nudged the girl with the cap, who I assumed was his partner.
"Shuichon Lee," she said, and she looked directly at me. "I'd say nice to meet you, but that'd be a lie."
Where had that come from?