Digimon is the property of Toei Entertainment. I've run out of one-liners explaining what I would do if I did own it.

I haven't actually seen Season 5 yet, but from reading about Data Squad on Wikipedia, I came across something interesting: Out of all the human villains there have been throughout Digimon, only Akihiro Kurata was unable to gain redemption for his actions. I mean, Ken and Koichi were both brainwashed, Oikawa had somewhat good intentions in his goals, and Yamaki was able to realize he was wrong about Digimon. So I decided that Kurata should have some kind of redemption as well and came up with this. Hope you enjoy!

Beyond Redemption

"Not this…Please, no…THIS WASN'T WHAT I WAS TRYING TO DO!!!!"

Akihiro Kurata was stunned as he found himself being sucked into the Digital Portal his bomb had unexpectedly enlarged only seconds before. Were he still merged with Belphemon, he might have been able to resist it, but thanks to Marcus Damon and ShineGreymon Burst Mode, he no longer had the Demon Lord to control. As he began drifting closer to the wormhole, the former professor began begging for his life.

"Help me, please!" Kurata screamed as he disappeared into the portal in a burst of light…

Kurata slowly opened his eyes. He was now floating in a white area with zeros and ones floating about him. He had no idea where this place was, but he was now angry at being here. "Accursed Digimon!" Kurata growled to himself annoyed. "It's thanks to those…freaks…that I'm trapped here!"

You have no one to blame but yourself, Akihiro a voice suddenly spoke up. You and that insane Digi-phobia of yours.

Kurata's eyes widened in surprise. Who could have said that? "Is that you, Damon?" he asked, believing the voice to be that of his former superior and the father of the one responsible for his current predicament. "Come to mock me in my defeat?"

Several colorful butterflies soon began flying around Kurata. No, I'm not the man you served under the voice replied. Kurata's eyes widened in shock again when he realized the voice was coming from the butterflies! Although, I must admit I am jealous of him-and you, to a lesser extent.

"And why would that be?" Kurata asked confused.

Why, the two of you and your exploration team accomplished what my best friend and I had attempted to do our entire lives! You managed to set foot inside of the Digital World and actually meet up with the Digimon!

"You're jealous of THAT?!" Kurata scoffed. "Those monsters are nothing more than a menace to us and our world, and need to be wiped out of existence before they do the same to us!"

You really believe that? the butterflies replied. Let me tell you a little story. Once upon a time, two young boys were playing on their video games when something happened and the two of them ended up observing a whole other world. The two best friends were fascinated by this world and attempted to enter it. Unfortunately, their parents believed this new world to be dangerous and ended up taking their games away to prevent them from contacting it.

"And they were right!" Kurata interrupted. "The Digital World is no place for children to play with Digimon freaks! Look at Keenan Crier if you don't believe me!"

Children have been coming to the Digital World far longer than you comprehend, Kurata the voice replied patiently. And anyway, I'm not finished yet, so please continue listening.

"Oh, please, I've got better things to do than listen to some idiotic butterflies!" snapped Kurata.

All right then, if this form is too simplistic for you, then perhaps you might feel more comfortable speaking with my actual form. As the butterflies spoke, they suddenly came together to form the outline of a human body. They merged together, being replaced with a man in a purple trenchcoat whose pale-grey skin, long, matted black hair, and large white eyes almost made him look like a corpse. "I trust this is better for you?" the man asked Kurata smiling.

"Who…what are you?" Kurata asked nervously.

"True, I haven't actually introduced myself," the man chuckled. "My name is Yukio Oikawa, and I suppose you could consider me to be something of the Digital World's guardian, but that's neither here or there. Now then, I believe I have a story to continue:

"In spite of their parents' disapproval, the two friends continued to try to find a way to make contact with the Digital World. Even as they entered their adult lives, one friend becoming a police officer, the other an investigative reporter, they continued to try to work to find a way to enter the fantastic world they had glimpsed in their childhood.

"But then, tragedy struck," said Oikawa depressed. "The police officer ended up dying heroically in the line of duty, leaving his friend all along in the world with his broken dreams. They had both been certain that they were meant to go to the Digital World together, and now it looked as though that was never to be.

"Several years later, however, something happened," continued Oikawa. "Tokyo found itself in the middle of an invasion by powerful Digimon. Afterwards, the Digital World itself appeared in the sky as a great battle took place. Watching from afar, the reporter felt vindicated about finally getting to see the world he and his friend had witnessed as children again, but at the same time, upset about still not being able to enter it. His heart full of darkness, the man made a mistake that he would regret for the rest of his life:

"He made a deal with the devil, or rather the Digimon counterpart to him."

Kurata grinned insanely at this seeming vindication of his viewpoints on Digimon, but said nothing. If anything, he was more curious on what the point of Oikawa's story was, and he had to admit, it was interesting.

"Pledging his allegiance to the vampire Digimon who was responsible for the Tokyo invasion, the reporter gained the knowledge he needed to weaken the barriers of the Digital World to allow himself entry," Oikawa stated. His look turned to one of disgust as he continued: "Unfortunately, giving his heart to the darkness had changed him for the worse. Manipulating a child suffering through a similar loss the reporter himself had went through, the reporter masterminded untold damage to the stability of the Digital World, and enslaved hundreds of innocent Digimon under the sway of evil. He kidnapped several children to infect them with instruments of pure darkness. He even created a bunch of artificial Digimon meant to serve him." At this point, Oikawa turned to Kurata. "Sound familiar?" Kurata bristled at the comparisons to his Gizumon and the Bio-Hybrids, but did nothing.

"He was opposed by a group of children and their Digimon partners," Oikawa continued. "They managed to turn the reporter's greatest pawn against him, and defeated his artificial Digimon time and again. However, upon coming face-to-face with the children themselves, the reporter was given a shocking revelation: one of the very children who opposed him was in fact the son of his late friend, possessing the very means to travel to the world his father and his father's best friend had always dreamed of traveling to."

Kurata stared. That was exactly almost what he felt upon discovering that Marcus was the leader of the Data Squad. Granted, he and Spencer weren't friends, but it was still something similar.

"The time soon came when the reporter believed the barrier between worlds was weakened enough to allow him entry into the Digital World," said Oikawa. "However, he soon found himself betrayed by the vampire Digimon he pledged his allegiance to: not only did the reporter not end up in the Digital World, but the vampire revealed that he had only been using the reporter to help get his body back."

"SEE!" exclaimed Kurata triumphantly. "This is exactly what I mean! Digimon are not to be trusted! They're inhuman monsters who'll destroy us all if given the chance!"

"And yet, in the end, it was the Digimon who worked alongside the reporter's enemies who destroyed the vampire Digimon and stopped him from conquering both worlds," countered Oikawa calmly.

"Digimon saving both worlds?" Kurata asked confused. "What do you mean?"

"The vampire Digimon's plan was to blanket both worlds in never-ending darkness," the other man explained. "Working together, the children and their Digimon managed to banish the dark Digimon, but the Digital World was still damaged from his actions. As the reporter realized his responsibility in this tragedy, I decided to sacrifice what was left of my meaningless life in order to make up for the wrongs I did, making peace with my old friend's son before I left to guard the Digital World from evils both human and Digimon." Kurata wasn't surprised. He had suspected halfway through Oikawa's story that the other man was the reporter in the story.

"Real touching," Kurata said sarcastically. "But was there really a point to your telling me your life story?"

"Digimon are not the merciless monsters you believe them to be, Akihiro," explained Oikawa. "Just like humans, Digimon can be soldiers for either good or evil. You chose evil for most of your life, now I'm offering a chance for you to change that."

"Oh give it up already," a female voice suddenly broke into the conversation. Kurata looked to discover a white-haired woman wearing a red dress and hat with purple gloves all in a matching spider-web design walking over to Oikawa. "He's not going to listen to you, I don't even know why you're bothering with this," she continued towards Oikawa.

"You should know that by now, Arukenimon, the Boss is simply trying to prove that no one is beyond redemption. You and I, even the Boss himself is living proof of that fact," a new voice spoke up as a man wearing a blue outfit with gold buttons and matching hat carrying a cane in his right hand entered the scene. Kurata was only able to see one yellow eye and a mouth between these two articles of clothing.

"Thank you, Mummymon," Oikawa replied.

Arukenimon? Mummymon? Kurata was nearly beside himself with outrage. "You're actually willing to work with these…freaks?!?" the former professor shouted, pointing a figure accusingly at the trio. "You're no better than Data Squad!"

"You condemn yourself with your own words, Kurata," replied Oikawa smiling. "These two are in fact the artificial Digimon I created to help me in my goals just as you did with your Gizumon. Now they work alongside me to help preserve the Digital World."

"That's what this is all about, isn't it?" Kurata shouted. "I won't do it! In case you haven't figured out by now, I have no interest in trying to help save that world and those monsters that reside in it!"

"If you won't do it for the Digital World, will you at least do it for the human world?" Oikawa suddenly asked the other man.

Kurata's eyes widened in surprise. "What do you mean?" he asked confused.

"Thanks to the wormhole you enlarged in your kamikaze efforts, the Digital World and the Real World are now in danger of colliding with each other," Oikawa explained. "Furthermore, Yggdrasil, the supercomputer who created the Digital World, has judged from your actions that all humans are evil and is sending his Royal Knight Digimon to wipe them out even as we speak."

Kurata was stunned. All of his efforts to save humanity from the Digimon menace and all he had managed to do was condemn it in the end. "What must I do?" he asked Oikawa in a broken sort of voice.

"A Digimon, BanchoLeomon, is working to try to slow down the merger between the two worlds from the Digital side of things," Oikawa explained. "However, he can't do it alone. Somebody needs to try and slow it down from the human world as well. As I'm now a Digital entity, I can't do that, but you can, Akihiro." Oikawa soon transformed back into the butterflies as he continued speaking: It's your choice to make, but remember if you are unable to work alongside the Digimon, both worlds will be doomed! With that, Oikawa, Arukenimon, and Mummymon vanished into the white.

Ever since that fatal exploration into the Digital World, Akihiro Kurata had been convinced that Digimon were a menace to the livelihood of humanity. He now realized, however, that the only real menace had been himself. In his efforts to destroy the Digimon, he had caused untold suffering to Digimon and human alike. Now both worlds were paying the price for his actions. He didn't want that to be remembered as his legacy. And maybe, just maybe, he could learn to live alongside the Digimon.

It was time for Kurata to finally act like a hero.

"Showtime, Gentlemen!"