They say everybody has a book inside them. And it's my firm belief that anybody can be a great writer if they try. So, here is my try at an epic. It's PataGato, and it's going to be very long.
I'd like to take the time to dedicate it to every single author on Fanfiction who has ever written a story that I've enjoyed. You people are my inspiration. Keep on writing. The world needs more art.
Now, this story is going to be a long one. My best guess is close to 50,000 words by the time I'm done. So, it will be a work in progress. I'm not perfect. There will be errors in both spelling and grammar, and maybe one or two plot holes. If you find any, please point them out. I'd appreciate it greatly. I'm also not going to stick to a posting deadline, because I want this to flow naturally. Throughout, you'll meet a host of old characters whom we all know and love, as well as a couple of my own design.
All that being said, please read and review.
The Patarosian fleet loomed menacingly over the planet, like a plague of locusts poised to overwhelm the bright orb the instant the order was received.
From the world below, a swarm of tiny fighter-craft emerged, shields fully energised and weapons armed, bristling for a fight. They came to a standoff several kilometres short of the awaiting fleet, joining a rag-tag defensive taskforce of a few dozen small and antiquated vessels – a few dozen light carriers and a meagre collection of escort vessels at best.
Although they held the numerical advantage, the mere handful of enemy battleships – and the single massive battlement of the base-ship – held the upper hand. The technological prowess of these great titans was unsurpassed in all the known galaxy.
Without either warning or mercy, the Patarosian battleships – all four of them – advanced and opened fire on the defensive forces of Telume Prime. Much to the horror of every Telumite present, the Incinerator Beams of the far larger vessels sliced through the deflector shields of the light cruisers as if they weren't even there, shorting out the emitters in a single overwhelming display of strength and power. As the first salvo waned – death and destruction in its wake – not a single capitol ship of the Telumite fleet remained intact.
There was a pause of uncertainty amongst the fighter squadrons as they surveyed the devastation in the space around them. But it didn't last long. In ten waves of fifteen thousand each, the defenders swam the void, closing in around the battleships before their weapons had the time to cycle.
At last in range of the enemy, the small craft opened fire, narrow purple beams of Messon energy flaring off shields of unfathomable strength. Alone, no single fighter craft posed any more danger to the much larger vessels than a lone mosquito would to an elephant. But, combined, their strength was soon taking effect. Shield bubbles warped as they strained against the force brought against
them. Soon, the grand battleships were forced to fall back, attempting to evade the incoming fire before they could sustain major damage.
Unwilling to let their quarry escape, the small craft gave chase.
Their error in judgement was soon painfully clear, as they found themselves tightly compacted into a small volume of space, and well within range of the base-ship's massive primary weapon – the wave-motion gun.
Before the large cloud of tiny vessels could organise and disperse, falling back to a safe distance, there was an almost blinding flash of energy from the near-side of the base-ship. A huge bank of compressed energy formed. In a few seconds which seemed almost to stretch to infinity, the giant wave was loosed into space. In mere moments it was upon the tightly bound fighters, sweeping through them without mercy. Eventually, it impacted upon the planet below, dissipating harmlessly into the atmosphere.
But none of the defenders remained alive to see it.
The base-ship started without remorse toward the green-blue orb before it, all defences swept so easily aside. With vast weapons of energy, churning out more power than the primary of this system, the malevolent titan brought death and destruction to the defenceless world below.
"Patamon, you're ruthless!"
The small orange and cream creature chuckled lightly, bemused, clicking the computer mouse to confirm the action before responding, "You've got to be ruthless if you want to rule the galaxy, TK."
Patamon's close human friend, who had up until that point been tidying his room, only pausing on occasion to see what the little Digimon was up to, finally took the time for a full and proper glance at the monitor. As it turned out, the winged rookie was building a space empire. And proving to be quite good at it too.
To his amusement, he could see that Patamon's empire – the Patarosian Collective, highlighted in orange – dominated well over half of the galactic map.
"You're getting really good at that." He complimented, looking on as Patamon spread his reign of terror to yet another star system.
"That's because I've been getting plenty of practice whilst you're out at college." Patamon stated, not turning his attention away from the task at hand. Another world's defences were swept aside, making way for his empire.
"Speaking of which," TK interjected, "Don't you think it's time to take a break? You've been on there all morning."
Patamon took a moment to look at the clock, then nodded, "Sure TK. Just let me do this one thing." He requested, all the while lining his units up for a final invasion.
The boy chuckled, "Alright. But be careful. We wouldn't want you to get sucked into the computer." He said jokingly.
Patamon turned around to look at him, raising an eyebrow.
"OK, OK." TK raised his hands in mock surrender, "I'll be in the kitchen when you're ready."
Patamon heard the familiar click of the door swinging shut as he completed his final task, then saved the game for another time. Whilst the computer worked its magic, he turned his attention to the nearby window, only now noticing what a beautiful day it was outside. Warm, sunny, and a mere handful of high-flying white clouds.
Going outside definitely seemed like a good idea.
Graeme Hebdon wasn't your typical computer geek. No. He was a computer geek on a mission!
Having just minutes ago finally been released from his last lecture of the week – as always, mind-numbing and tedious – he was now running as quickly as his legs would carry him back towards his halls of residence.
Having spent much of the last week working on projects and deadlines for his coursework, the weekend offered a much needed respite, as well as the opportunity to work on a few pet projects of his own design. At least these wouldn't bore him half to death.
It was fair to say that the realities of university life hadn't borne the results that he'd expected when he'd accepted the position. True, he learned a few new techniques. But he'd gained far more learning from his fellow students than anything the course had to offer. In all, it had proven both frustrating, and a total disappointment.
They were covering too much old ground, as far as he was concerned.
Still, that meant the work assignments which he so lamented proved to be of little difficulty, so he had plenty of time to do his own thing.
If only he could get out of the lectures so easily.
Swiping his entry card, he barged into the block in which he lived, scaling the stairs to the first floor with practiced ease and bursting into his room with vim and vigour. In one fluid motion, he'd dropped his coat, backpack and books onto the bed and swung into his computer chair.
Taking a moment to catch his breath (sometimes he needed to remind himself to breathe), he surveyed the mess that was his desk. Papers, books and lecture noted cluttered its surface, along with the monitor, mouse and keyboard.
Ignoring it all, he leaned over it, opening the window and letting some air into the room. The warm breeze wafted into the room, blowing some of the clutter onto the floor.
"Problem solved," He said to no-one in particular, making note to pick it up later.
Leaning down to the side, he reached for the power button on the front of the computer – his pride and joy. It started with a whirr and a buzz, instantly springing to life. In a matter of minutes, he was logged on and fully immersed in some programming code of his own design.
This was how Grae spent his time – and a little money too – knocking together little projects for all kinds of different purposes. It funded his studies, not to mention gained him some extra credit and practical experience.
But this particular project, one which he'd been working on for the past couple of years, marked the culmination of so many late, sleepless nights parked at his computer screen. This was, without a shadow of a doubt, the single largest project he'd ever taken on. And, if his luck held, the most gratifying of them all as well.
"Save..." He mumbled to himself, as he often did when his mind was elsewhere, "Upload to server..."
The resounding ding of the task complete alert ushered butterflies to his stomach, and he almost found himself too nervous to move. But years of anticipation in wait for the finished product swiftly brushed that particular emotion aside, and this time he found he had to try and contain himself as he clicked the execute button.
The mechanical whirr of the cooling fan inside his computer pitched upwards a note or two, in preparation for the work it was about to commence. The wait for the emulation window to pop up, though only a few seconds in actuality, seemed to stretch on forever as his excitement welled.
For a moment, the screen went blank.
This is normal... Graeme had to remind himself, it's supposed to do this.
Then, "Welcome to Digimon Online!" His speakers declared in an all too familiar voice. A smirk crossed his lips, self-satisfaction clearly evident. It was working!
"I am your Interactive D-Terminal, here to assist you along your journey through the world of Digimon!" the program continued enthusiastically, "I see that you're new to our site. Please, click here to begin."
He followed the instructions perfectly without even pausing to read them. After all, he had written them. He soon found himself on the page that he wanted; the one which marked the whole point of the program, the intent he'd set out with in the first place.
"Welcome to the adoption centre. Please follow the instructions to select the Digimon of your preference. Before proceeding, please note that the choice you make is final. Once you've selected a Digimon it is yours for the duration of your time here."
In all honesty, he understood the ramifications perfectly well. Graeme had created this Digimon simulation for the sole purpose of treating it as if it were a real pet. He'd wanted it to be realistic, a game of almost endless variation, and one where you held the responsibility to care and tend to the needs of your Digimon. As such, he'd included what he considered to be some sophisticated AI, which would manifest itself in both the gaming environment, and the Digimon themselves, in the
hope that they could learn from each interaction with their partner and develop into a unique virtual creature.
And there was no doubt in his mind as to which Digimon he wanted as his own. It had, after all, been his favourite. From the very beginning of the Digimon franchise, through to the present day, it remained his number one.
Without hesitation, he made his selection.
"You have chosen... Patamon!"
"Patamon, are you coming or not?" TK called through from the kitchen, rapping his fingers against the worktop with impatience. Patamon's 'one thing' seemed to be stretching out into many 'things.'
"It's just saving!" Patamon swung himself around on the swivel chair, keeping an eye on the progress of the save all the while. He was as eager to go out now as TK was, but he just had to make sure his game was saved.
"Ding! Error." The computer declared in detached fanfare.
"What?!" Patamon shrieked. He couldn't believe it! He reached for the mouse, frantically trying to click on the save button again, hoping all his progress that morning hadn't been lost, "Save... Save!"
"Ding! Error." The computer retorted.
"No!" Patamon slammed his hands down on the desktop, shaking it so vigorously that a nearby picture fell over, hitting the floor with a thud. Deciding it had had enough, the computer took the opportunity to go blank.
Patamon sweat-dropped, "Just my luck..."
He pushed back off the desk forcefully, twirling around to face the door. Not much he could do about it now. He'd just have to make up on lost ground another time. Besides, now he could go outside with TK!
A smile crept across his face as the little orange Digimon leapt into the air, a hard flap or two getting him airborne. The rest was easy.
"Huh?" Patamon turned around in mid-air, eying up the monitor questioningly. To his surprise it wasn't the dark blankness he'd expected. In fact, quite the opposite. An eerie glow in a radioactive white emanated from the previously dead screen. Patamon knew neither how nor why it was doing this. After all, the computer had shut down...
"Patamon, what are you doing in there?" TK bellowed again.
Patamon either didn't hear him, or simply opted not to respond. The ghostly monitor before him drew his mind away from the present, drawing him towards it like a moth to a flame. It was strange. He knew there was something unusual about all this. But, for some reason, he didn't care.
Coming to rest on the desk itself, right in front of the monitor, Patamon simply stared blankly into the whiteness. He noticed, quite bizarrely, that the screen itself seemed almost nonexistent – as if there were no boundary between the glass and the air. Tilting his head to one side in question, he tentatively reached towards it with one paw. And he touched...
His paw simply passed through where his mind told him the glass surface should be. There was no resistance, no heat from the monitor, not even a slight static shock. Just blank whiteness.
Unexpectedly, the monitor began to hum, volume increasing steadily until the hum became a drone. In perfect sync with the sound, the light began to intensify. Patamon began to feel panic rising in the pit of his stomach. Something was definitely not right about all this. Not right at all...
And with a flash, he was gone.
The monitor quickly died down, white fading through every shade of grey imaginable until, with a final click, the usual blankness returned. The room was once again still and quiet, the only sound being the call of the outdoors.
A moment later, the door creaked open, just wide enough for TK to peek his head around and gaze into the room, "What is it, Patamon?"
A quick glance from side to side revealed nothing of his good friend.
"Patamon?" He called again, just to make sure. "Hmm... Must've gone on without me." It was the only conclusion. Closing the door behind him, TK made his way outside.
"Ding! Error..." Graeme's computer declared in a tone which almost seemed laced with anger. At least, to Graeme's mind, it seemed angry. But then, malfunctioning equipment sometimes need vilifying just for a reason to blame it.
"Oh, come on!" he cried in disbelief. Everything had been going so well. No runtime errors. No exceptions thrown up by the program. The login had gone smoothly, and up until the adoption it had all seemed fine. And now this.
In the back of his mind, the programmer inside him knew that the problem was most likely to be somewhere within the AI coding. Some function or variable out of place, throwing up something the computer hadn't anticipated. But the rational part of his mind was currently being overwhelmed by the big kid inside him, the one which had been so looking forwards to seeing this dream, this passion, come true after so long spent trying.
"Ding! Error..." It retorted against his best efforts.
With a roll of his eyes, and an overly heavy sigh, Graeme conceded defeat. He'd just have to start over again.
With heavy hands, he clumsily hit ctrl alt delete to terminate the program.
OK... Alt f4.
Alt tab, alt escape... A whole host of other shortcuts tried, and not one terminated the program.
"I don't believe this!" Graeme threw his arms up into the air. This was getting beyond a joke, "Just close the program down!" He hit his monitor on both sides in frustration.
To his horror, the screen went blank.
"No!" He shook it roughly, "Come back on! Please!" he begged. Even for an inanimate object, his computer proved spiteful and heartless. Nothing changed.
"Grrr!" He glowered at the keyboard and mouse. Still nothing changed.
Accepting defeat, the young man leaned down under his desk and switched the computer off at the wall. He'd just have to try again later on. With a little luck, he'd be able to trace the problem and rectify it. Launch would just have to be delayed a couple of hours more.
Right now, he needed food.
Resigning himself to defeat, he allowed a brief wave of optimism wash over him before rising heavily to his feet. A good meal would help feed his brain. And then, he could try all over again.
No sooner had he reached the door and placed his hand upon the handle than he heard a barely audible click from behind. Turning to look behind him, he noticed that his monitor was still on, bright and luminous. There was also a high-pitched drone coming from it.
"How peculiar..." He thought aloud.
The drone seemed to get louder until... No, that couldn't be right. It sounded almost like screaming. His computer was screaming at him.
It was then that he noticed a small dark dot in the middle of the screen – or at least, where the screen should have been. A silhouette growing amidst the brightness, in fact. And as the screaming grew louder, so the image grew larger. It quickly took shape, as well as colour and definition. Graeme recognised it well.
"Is that a Pata-"
He didn't get a chance to finish, as at that moment, a somewhat disoriented Patamon crashed into him. With a thud, they collided with the door.
You just know that's got to hurt.
Well, that's the end of Chapter I. Let me know what you think. Next chapter will be bringing in other characters, old and new, so watch this space.
Thanks for reading!