DISCLAIMER: I don't own Digimon, but I do own the OCs in this story and my other stories (except where stated otherwise). Zach Strafer is the property of Fireblast123.

Right, welcome to the reboot of Stratagems, with a completely different plotline, although there are some similarities in two of the characters, introduced in this chapter. Indeed, this chapter starts similarly to last time, but everything is about to change dramatically.

Heh, nonetheless, no sense wasting the good writing that I did in the first chapter last time. Well, kind of good.

This reboot is going to be a lot darker, indeed, if death is something which highly disturbs you, I implore you to stop reading, but if you're curious as to the nature of the future, then read on my friend.

This side-story is set during Book Twelve, during The War that takes place in that Book.



By Blazing Chaos


Zach Strafer

Since I was a kid, I'd always wanted to see the action happen. Before I was born, there was this huge red blob thing, I think they called it the D-Reaper, which appeared in Tokyo. And then it all kicked off. There was the crystal man battle, the puzzle of the collapsing buildings, and that's not counting the huge number of bioemerges over the years! And who could forget what happened three years ago! I really did think we were all goners, hell, everyone did. But they stood up for us, for mankind and digi-kind alike, and they fought back. The Angels, the protectors of mankind against the Demons, and the other enemies who threatened to kill and destroy us. Since I was a kid and I first heard of them, I've been enthralled by them, enthralled by Digimon in general. I'd always wanted one of my own, one who'd be a loyal partner in all the adventures we had. And also, I know that chicks dig Digimon!

Well, I think they do at least.

And then, of course, I finally got my own Digimon. It was so cool; he just appeared in a blast of white light, like the geysers I saw once when I went on vacation to Yellowstone. He was a bit of an odd one though; he has a bit of a tendency for pointing out the obvious. And I mean the really obvious! Anyway, his name is Candlemon, and he's one of those Digmon from the show. He appeared in Frontier I think. I'm pretty amazed by how someone who's been associated with Digimon in real life could write a series so detached from it. Digimon Frontier is a bit of an odd series, and I'm surprised that that was the first idea for a series they came up with when T&M productions took over the show from the previous owners. I know that, when I heard about the court case when searching Digital Watch, a few of the Tamers were involved in arguing the case. Digital Monsters vs. Toei I think the case was called. Still, it's all in the past now, they won, and so when I was a kid, I grew up everyday watching this new series. And then they moved on to more traditional stuff, Digimon Data Squad I think they called it.

I digress though; you don't really want to hear about the TV show, when I know the real thing! When I got Candlemon that day, I was looking forward to adventures galore! The glamour! The girls! The getting-the-crap kicked outta ya!

But nothing happened. Seems there's a rule that everything that happens Digimon-wise happens in Japan. Well, Tokyo to be precise. I mean I did handle one or two bioemerges, brilliantly of course (as Candlemon insisted on pointing out afterwards). Okay, so I'm a bit boastful, who cares about that? Anyway, I knew that I wasn't going to get anywhere grounded down, at the age of sixteen, living with my folks in Denver. So, I wanted to go to Japan, to live there! Unfortunately, my parents wouldn't let me, "You have to finish your education" they say, "It's too expensive" they say, "We like America" they say. I mean, I'm not going to just run away from my folks, but they can be a pain at times.

Still, I managed to wean something out of them. A holiday! On my own!

Well, with Candlemon at least. Hoping I meet them! Maybe they'll let me join their group! Maybe I'm like, the Eleventh Angel!

This is going to be fun!

29TH AUGUST 2026

"This is an announcement for passengers from the Japan Air flight from Beijing concerning their baggage. It is currently in Osaka. We apologize for the inconvenience caused," echoed an announcement through the terminal, following another identical announcement, although it was in Japanese.

"That's going to be annoying for them," chirped a voice from within a bag on the back of a boy with spiky black hair strolled across the terminal floor, pulling his case casually past hundreds of annoyed passengers, and at the same time being in awe at the terminal building surrounding him. Upon hearing the voice, he looked back to his backpack with rolled eyes.

"Well duh Obviousmon…"

"Sorry Boss."

"I've told you time and time again, just call me Zach. And why do you stay in the bag anyway, people are used to Digimon now. Particularly here of all places."

"It's fun!"

"I'll never understand you," Zach answered, rolling his eyes.

"I'm sure you will one day Boss. After all, no-one knows a Digimon better than their Tamer."

"Why am I worried that I'm the exception to that rule?" Zach answered, as he stepped through the doors of Narita International Airport into the open air of a Tokyo mid-afternoon. Aircraft noise resounded around the area, and a few cars passed by, as Zach breathed deeply. "Ah, smell that Japanese Air!"

"Isn't all air the same?"

"It's a figure of speech."

"Ah, one of those odd thingies. Where to boss?" Candlemon asked, in the process leaping out of his backpack onto the ground next to his Tamer. His form resembled a large candle with large dull red eyes, glistening in a liquid-like fashion. Two short wax arms extended from his wax-sides, ending in human-like hands. He was mounted on a golden stand, and on the top of his wick was an orange flame, itself having an inanimate DemiMeramon-like face. Unbeknownst to most except the most ardent of Digimon fans, this flame was actually his Digicore, risking death if it were to go out. He and Zach had thankfully never fallen anywhere near foul of this particularly flaw, although it was always a worry. Still, digital fires tended to be more resilient than real fires anyway.

Zach ruffled his hand through his long spiky black hair, as he glanced around the area with his pewter eyes, his black sweatshirt moving with his arms as he began to point, before pausing. "Well…" he muttered, as he looked around again, pondering whether others were noticing him in his odd attire, mostly black. His jeans were black, his boots were black, his sweatshirt was black, even his D-Arc on his belt was…emerald green. The whole device, except the screen, was emerald green. However, despite the boy's odd appearance, which was imposing to some (particularly given the stigma associated with the colours of regularly having bad moods, or being depressed), his Digimon knew he was a pretty optimistic guy. Who couldn't if they grin that much?

"Okay, I'm surprised he's so cheerful after being turned down in his flirting so many times. Heh, good luck Zach! You'll find someone some day," his partner thought, as he looked up once again to Zach. "You have no idea where to go, do you?" he asked, noticing Zach's continuing looks for any clue of what to do next. He was encountering problems, although some of the signs were bilingual, he was encountering difficulty figuring out how to get to Tokyo.

Zach sighed, his grin vanishing as he looked down to his partner. "Not a clue, and everyone here speaks Japanese…I only know the word for "idiot", and that's just thanks to a stupidly high intake of anime," he said with a sigh. "Maybe someone back in the terminal might be able to help us?"

"Hopefully," his partner answered.

Zach groaned as he leaned back in his seat, flexing his arms above his head as he stretched his arms. Candlemon sat in a seat opposite him, watching how Zach's expression had turned from one of grinning to one of exasperation over the course of the last hour of desperate searching for some method of transit into Tokyo itself. Now they were sat on a Maglev, as it sped through the Japanese countryside. The sun still hung in the sky, but Zach knew that he still wanted to do a lot of things during the remainder of that day. Heck, he hoped that he could meet one of the Tamers or Angels, particularly if he could get to Shinjuku Park.

"Imagine that! Actually meeting one of the Angels! Ryder, or Kari! Or even, maybe the Gods, Chaos and Harmony! Maybe even Rey?! Oh, it'd be so cool to meet an Angel or Tamer of my own age."

Candlemon rolled his eyes as he watched his Tamer's pewter orbs widen at the prospect. "I see you are imagining things again Boss."

"Of course I am! Geez, you sure love pointing out the blindingly obvious."

"I know I do. It appears you do too."

Zach groaned once again.

Zach stepped off the train onto the platform, Candlemon bouncing off after him, somehow hopping along on his base. Zach glanced along the train, seeing the hordes of people begrudgingly disembarking and heading down the subway, the toil of life continuing for them, in spite of the fact they lived near the epicentre of one of the biggest disaster zones the world had ever known.

"Some people are just really opposed to moving I guess," Zach thought as he and Candlemon walked down, passing through the ticket gates and out of the station's impressive brick-built façade, albeit modernized somewhat with glass structures in places. In particular, one end of the building looked like it had been replaced recently, the brick on it being far newer than the rest. Zach smiled, before frowning; the continuous battles in this city had a habit of damaging plenty of buildings. He couldn't help but wonder how much insurance premiums were here, in a place where "Acts of God" were actually a real thing.

It was strange seeing it for real, the huge tall buildings towering over the tiny shacks by comparison at their base. So many battles he'd seen on TV, in photos, in rare short mobile phone clips caught actually at the scene by the braver (or foolish) Digital Watch members before they decided to run like hell.

Zach smiled; Digital Watch was now an impressive website. He wondered occasionally whether Digital Watch knew more about the Angels and Tamers than they did themselves. Then again, the group still had many mysteries to them. Digital Watch couldn't possibly find out about their more intimate secrets, and there were some things that were simply not of interest anymore. Gone were the days when Digital Watch would desperately search for any kind of information regardless of value, examples of which were Rika's bra size and what toothpaste Kenta used. Now they were far more sophisticated, and he'd heard suggestions that 1 in 20 people on Earth was a Digital Watch member. Still, the figure was inflated somewhat by people changing their username at one point, but it was still an impressive figure. Digital Watch's subnet was now a valued resource, a network set up by Izumi Koushiro, better known to all as Izzy', in order to avoid government's greedy eyes. The world governments' knowledge on the Tamers and their eagerness for it was not always used by government officials alone. More sinister forces had utilized the systems in the past for their own gain, with terrible consequences. The subnet utilized the Digital World itself to transmit and store information, so in effect it was a network literally above the Digital World. Care had had to be taken to assure that it had no effect on those who lived there, but thankfully, it had no effect on the plane on which it floated above.

"Where to boss?" Candlemon asked.

"Where else? Shinjuku!" Zach answered.

"Eh? Why not Odaiba?" Candlemon asked.

"Whilst the Odaiba crew are interesting, we've more chance of finding anyone in Shinjuku. You know, the park and all."

Candlemon smiled slyly. "You just want to see Rey."

Zach turned slightly red. "That is not what I meant!" he insisted. "I meant, she is hot and all, but…" Zach hesitated, Candlemon filling in his own version in lieu.

"She's got a boyfriend," he said, finishing Zach's sentence. Zach nodded, grinning.

"Yeah, well I was going to say she'd kick my ass, but that's a far better reason."

"Well, of course. Maybe you should stop flirting with girls? It doesn't seem to work," Candlemon answered, not realising how frank he was being. As usual then.

"You really had to point out the obvious there, didn't you?" Zach asked sarcastically, shaking his head jokingly, before smiling and staring off into the distance, a dreamy look on his face. "I'm sure someone out there will one day appreciate my charm," he replied, snapping out of his trance and walking forward. He paused as he noticed that Candlemon wasn't following. He turned, looking to his partner with a curious eye.

"I thought we were taking the subway?" Candlemon asked.

"Nah, I want to see the city, not the inside of a tunnel!" Zach answered. "Now come on!" he said, continuing to walk along the pavement, heading into the crowd of people.

Candlemon moaned, hopping along as he followed. "But this is tiring, I don't have legs like you do…" he complained, his moans going mostly ignored.

Zach glanced around at another intersection, crossing the road as he continued in the rough direction of Shinjuku. At first he had been a bit lost, being an English-only speaker in a world that mixed Japanese, English and Engrish in together. The latter of those three he had found amusing, with signs stating extreme mistranslations of English being common in this city. It was only a few minutes earlier that they had passed a sign saying Super Happy Emotions Gaming Temple, pointing into what they eventually figured out to be an arcade. Still, once they saw a glimpse of the famous pair of towers of the Tokyo Metropolitan Building, they had got a bit more of a grip on the direction. Something was a bit off though every time they saw them, which was always through the occasional gap in buildings.

Stepping closer to Shinjuku however, it was clear that something odd was going on.

"Geez, this place even has freaky weather," Zach noted, a decent gap finally appearing in the tall buildings as they saw Shinjuku Park across the road. One thing he had noticed on his way here was how empty the place was. He had been sure that everywhere in Tokyo featured packed streets, people bustling to and fro, but right now people seemed to just be standing still staring up to the towers with curious glances. Zach and Candlemon stopped to look up.

"Well, that's why everyone's behaving so weirdly," Candlemon stated.

"Wow…you don't…see that any day…" Zach muttered, staring on in amazement at the towers from where he had stopped on the sidewalk. They looked same as they did in photos, but something very odd was around them. Thick black clouds were gathering around their tops, and sparks of electricity ran through them as they gradually spread downwards, beginning to envelop the whole structure. But this black wasn't like the dark grey of a thunderstorm; it was a deep black, a swirling blot obscuring the building.

"Zach, that looks like a sign of trouble. Shouldn't we be running?" Candlemon asked, nervously, Zach turning to him.

"And miss all the action? Hell no! America is always boring, whereas this is definitely going to be fun!"

"But those dark clouds around the Tokyo Metropolitan Building. Don't they look a bit…scary?"

Zach frowned, looking up once again to the towers, his determined gaze faltering.

"Yeah…I kinda see what you mean there…this looks pretty serious," he murmured, hearing concerned words from those around him.

"Mummy, what's up with those buildings?" a kid asked his mother, not knowing the history of the area, as he pulled on her trouser leg eagerly.

"I'm not sure honey, just…stay close, okay?" she asked in response, the kid smiling innocently and nodding.

"What's it this time?" a businessman groaned, tightly gripping onto his black briefcase. "I should really move, I've heard Kyoto's nice…why do all the good companies have to be located here?"

"Still, think on the bright side…we're going to be in the middle of it all! Finally, some real action!" Zach cheered to his partner, pumping a fist happily.

"Erm…whatever you say boss," Candlemon replied nervously. Something felt really wrong about those towers.

"You could at least sound remotely…"

Zach was silenced as a pair of huge bolts of lightning, one blue, one red, streaked down the two Towers, a deep resonant rumble beginning as the ground shook violently, knocking Candlemon to the ground, and Zach to be forced to grip onto a nearby lamppost to avoid toppling over like the candle-like Digimon.

Zach looked around in surprise to the other people either having fallen over from the sudden quake or similarly gripping onto a nearby structure. He looked down to his partner in shock. "What was that?!" he asked, before looking again with wide eyes up at the towers. A pulsing had begun within the black cloud, as it expanded and contracted, growing larger each time as the ground rumbled.

"Okay, I have to point out that this is getting kinda scary," Candlemon noted. "Maybe time to, you know, digivolve?"

Suddenly, a beam shot upwards, penetrating the sky, as it ripped open in a deep flash, a great scar opening across it was Zach stared on in a mix of awe and fear.

"Is this…Juggernaut?" he asked, but his voice was drowned out as a catastrophic roar was cast through the air, the sear changing into a large circle, and the lines within it ripping apart, warping and being bent all over.

"It does resemble Juggernaut."

"Yeah, but it's like a million times more powerful," Zach noted, lifting a card to near his D-Arc, before pausing. The sound of static reached his ears from a nearby source, and he looked to the towers again, before noticing the sound was coming from somewhere else. "Huh?" he pondered, glancing around to people curiously looking at their cell phones and media players, before a nearby television screen cackled into life. Oddly, however, no picture was displayed, merely audio emanating from the speakers instead, sounding like they were being tuned. But for what?

A voice began to speak from them, answering Zach's question. "Citizens of Earth and the Digital World," it began, the voice sounding male, but so distorted that Zach couldn't be sure if it was even human. "For countless years, as I have grown and matured from a young child. I have watched these realms, both of reality and of data, take great leaps and bounds in stupidity and arrogance. Bumbling fools run everything, badly and incompetently, and I have decided that freedom has not done anything for you pathetic, puny ants. Instead, I have a vision of a far better Earth and Digital World than the horrid disgusting world that exists at the moment. I dream of a new world where great things are accomplished, and where things are done right. Perfectly, you may say to be precise."

Zach glanced to his partner nervously, not sure what this voice was talking about. What did it mean, a new world? Was this some kind of evil guy? He didn't sound like most evil guys, most evil guys just wanted to destroy stuff, or at least, that was the impression that Zach had got from Saturday morning TV.

"So, I have decided to make my vision a reality. Perfection will begin from now!" the voice exclaimed, a deep pride lodged in it. It chuckled, before continuing the message. "Ladies, Gentlemen, Digmon…I am your new ruler! All will bow down to me or face death! And don't hold out hope for your little Angels, your little Tamers, your scrawny little Chaos and helpless little Harmony to help, because I currently have all risks to me incapacitated, permanently! I have created a new creature, well, saying a' is a huge understatement. More like a billion, maybe even two, or perhaps as many as I wish. This creature, a Digimon in fact, is called Artmon, and it is truly your worse nightmare. To demonstrate…one tenth of the population of the real and digital worlds will be slaughtered, including all Tamers, Angels and other such nuisances," it continued, before it finished with a sadistic tone. "This is when the world ends. Have a nice day!"

"What?!" Zach and Candlemon exclaimed, horrified by what the device was saying. Surely this was all just a joke? It had to be! The Angels, incapacitated? An evil guy, with a billion or two Digimon he called their worse nightmare? Who somehow was able to access and use technology that didn't even have a receiver on it? This couldn't be true!

"ARTMON! ATTACK!" the voice declared, confirming Zach's fears.

A deathly silence fell, small screams audible in the distance. The entire world seemed to be either silently contemplating, or screaming in horror. Those around Zach were mostly doing the former, but quickly moved into the latter, as out of the cloud, flew an uncountable number of small, black rounded cubes. They flew out in every direction, down to the city below, up to the Digital World, and spread across the sky, heading in every conceivable direction…claiming the whole world as their own.

Zach and Candlemon watched open mouthed and in horror, amazed by how quickly their vacation had turned sour. Zach watched them zoom over their heads in streams, surging quickly as they filled the air, more still coming from the cloud. Zach turned to Candlemon, gripping his card and emerald D-Arc tightly as he prepared to sweep one through the other.

"DIGI-MODIFY…Digivolut…" he began, suddenly stopping as the D-Arc and card fell out of his hands, the form of Candlemon crashing into him as the pair were thrown to the ground. The D-Arc landed near Zach's foot, the boy wasting no time in sitting up and grabbing it, hearing the ear-piercing screams around him as people were slaughtered on the spot.

Zach felt sick as he watched the child from earlier, his limp form collapsing to the ground. Dead.

Candlemon sat up, feeling sore and hurt as he nursed the injury from where the Artmon had blasted him, seemingly out of nowhere, using a cannon on one side of its form.

"Candlemon, you…" Zach began, pushing himself to his feet.

"GET DOWN!" screamed a female voice, pushing him to the ground quickly.

"BLAST RINGS!" screamed a deep masculine voice above, Zach catching a blur of red and white as he fell to the ground.

Suddenly, the cocking of a blaster and the firing of a laser reached his ears, a bird-like squawk and scream reaching his ears, painfully, as he clenched his eyes tightly, hearing a deep resonant boom.

"AQUILLAMON!" screamed the girl, Zach opening his eyes to see her, quickly getting to her feet where she stood, her deep blue hair twisting across her shoulders as she looked to the sky, a look of total horror splayed across her face.

Zach turned, to see data floating, an Artmon bursting into data soon after. The girl's navy D-Arc, on her belt, displayed only one thing.



Just in case it wasn't clear enough from the chapter, this girl isn't Yolei, nor a daughter of Yolei or any character we've seen before. Right, now that's cleared up nicely, I'd like to know what you thought. I had the action happen far more suddenly this time round, and that is going to have serious consequences. Although most of this chapter was similar, it's going to take a huge tangent from the old story from here on out, with one or two minor similarities.

Until next time…