DISCLAIMER: I don't own Digimon, but I do own the original characters introduced in this story and my other stories (except where stated otherwise here or elsewhere by myself).
A/N: Hello newcomer (or existing reader obsessed with reading everything I write), and welcome to Book One in a long series called Dimensions. I'm glad you've decided to pick up from the rewrite and move from there, since I hope it will give you a glimpse of my writing quality to come. There are so many events still in store for you, so many mysteries, so much excitement and so much drama. Oh, and pebbles.
You'll know what I mean in time, trust me.
As for couplings, Rukato fans will certainly enjoy this, but don't be dissuaded if they aren't one of your favourites – this series is far more than that. Oh, and if you have read this before, I would appreciate it if you didn't put any form of spoiler in your reviews or comments on this book, since, after all, it would only ruin it for people reading through from the start.
So, with that all dealt with, I invite you to settle down with a glass of your favourite drink, get yourself comfortable and enjoy Dimensions Book One: Links…
Cheers go to Crazyeight for beta-reading. Oh, by the way – Rika, Takato, Henry, Jeri, Kazu and Kenta are all 13 in this story. Ryo is 14, and the younger members are the proportionate ages.
By Blazing Chaos
THURSDAY, 8th NOVEMBER 2007
The digital plane.
A place between physical reality and digital reality.
A place where up is down, down is up and right is wrong. Or perhaps left.
It was a purgatory, mostly empty and white, with the only interesting thing to the rare visitor passing through being the crisscrossed grids and lines of data, hardly worthy of tourists. But, on this occasion, livening things up somewhat (in the same way just about anything new would) was something much more significant, namely a huge red gelatinous mass known as the D-Reaper. This was the same D-Reaper which two weeks prior had been a major threat to the real world's civilisations, life and, via its link with the Digital World, two entire universes. The overwhelmed Tokyo Ward of Shinjuku and its Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building at its core, it had the potential for total devastation of everything that existed through one simple directive:
It was a principle by which it had operated since its construction out of bits and bytes of data, for the D-Reaper was nothing but a computer program following its human-given orders, albeit it had been intended to combat the earliest viruses on the net, not living sentient beings. And, in time, it had been supplemented by the advancements of the Digital World where it had been placed, giving it the abilities of sentience by taking upon itself the data of those Digimon, that it deleted. In its own way, it had undergone its own digivolution, its own metamorphosis, until something which could easily have been dragged to the trash can on a computer without a second thought became the ultimate case of the perils of 'unintended consequences'. A piece for the history books, even if it had seemed at the time that no-one would be around to write them.
And yet, in that bleakest moment, it was the original creators of the Digimon (which arguably in some respects meant they had inadvertently been the root cause of the D-Reaper's metamorphosis), the Monster Makers, who redeemed themselves. They forced it to degenerate, with the help of the Digimon Tamers, the only people able to enter its grasp and escape alive, and that was only with the help of their programming allies and their 'red card'. Unfortunately, it proved to be a process which resulted in a heavy emotional toll for all as they found themselves, thanks to that very same card and an oversight in its programming, torn from those they had come to love: their Digimon. The creatures that the D-Reaper had once been bent on containing and eliminating if they ever surpassed their specifications with their evolutions had in the end been its downfall. Even so, it had been a somewhat Pyrrhic victory in the end – neither side had truly won.
However, this story is not about the D-Reaper, and that terrible October when the world had been on the line.
It is, instead, about those Tamers who had stopped it and their Digital Monsters (universally better known as Digimon to all those who had heard of them) who fought gallantly alongside and even went so far as to become one with them. It is about their lives as they grew up and had to face threats beyond their imagination, fears beyond contemplation, and emotions beyond anything they, or anyone, had ever experienced before. Every new friend brought a dark side, every solution brought a thousand new problems, and happiness, whilst gleeful, never lasted.
Regardless, all stories must start somewhere, and this one was particularly unusual, at least compared to "once upon a time".
For starters, most tales do not feature a huge destructive blob, or, for that matter, the aforementioned Digital Monsters scattered about behind the D-Reaper. The successful final plan against it two weeks prior inadvertently meant that they, the Digimon themselves, were also being devolved back to nothing. Their fate had thankfully been prolonged by the sheer mass and complication of the D-Reaper. It was highly compressed and dense in nature, and hard for the programming currently overrunning it to break down, even with the sheer resources of the combined global computing power behind it. Unfortunately, whilst awaiting their unfortunate destruction, boredom had set in for these small, mostly blob-like Digimon sitting around in small clusters, tedium broken only by random comments by one particular Digimon to try and lighten the mood, with little success.
"Wow, watch the jelly go," said that particular Digimon, a small greenish blob called Gummimon, even though he was better known usually as Terriermon, whose trademark wit he lacked none of in his in-training form in spite of his distinctly higher voice. "So much for Guilmon eating it in desperation."
"Ooh, I never thought of doing that." This one was a small red blob with bat ears, trying to raise a stumpy leg to his chin like he could as a rookie but failing. Nearby, there was a small purple blob with a brownish impish face, shattering the dreams of the hungry one.
"It'd have deleted you if you'd tried Gigimon."
"Aw…" Gigimon groaned. "Now I'm hungry – thanks Yaamon."
"It's a pleasure Pineapple Head. Particularly since now you're more of a head than usual."
"You are one to talk," a short, brownish cream blob with a triad of horns on her head and short, flap-like ears noted. Her voice was far more polite than most. "I don't think it's fair at all to taunt him like that."
"Just the way of the world Kokomon – it's the way things have always been, even before you came along."
"Excuse me if I'm wrong, but I don't think a few months is exactly the same as always." This comment came from a small blue furry creature with a blue and striped tail and no legs, coupled with a white-face. The steel horned helmet adorning him, however, covered up most of his visage, orange eyes peering out through a pair of eyeholes in the helm. This was Kapurimon, and, oddly, he was the most animal-like of all of his forms, for normally he was rather more robot-like in his Guardromon and Andromon forms at champion and ultimate level respectively.
"Pipipi," agreed another creature adjacent to him, the only one not in the second-to-lowest Digimon form of In-Training, waving his arms and smiling. This was MarineAngemon, a pink fairy described as 'adorable' by all but the most tomboyish of girls. The heart on his chest seemed rather out of place to match him with his rather more masculine partner, Kenta Kitagawa. In spite of that, they had made an impressive team thanks to a combination of MarineAngemon's healing abilities and Kenta's care for the little guy, particularly in terms of translating his usually incomprehensible chirps into words understood by most. They were powerful allies to have, even if solely in a supporting role.
"Calm down," insisted a murky blue and cream fish like-creature, one taller than long and featuring small fins, both running down its back and poking out from either side of his body. He was topped off by a larger cream horn on top and a likewise-coloured diamond above his beady eyes. "We don't want to fight in our last days."
"Okay, fine," Yaamon submitted, sighing in boredom. "Last days, huh? Makes a 'mon worry about whether he's spent his life right." He had more than enough reason to worry about such, given his tricky history with his fellow tamed Digimon. Indeed, he had even gone so far against them to have attacked and killed one of their own, before finally seeing sense and ending up trying to make amends by being a vital part of the fight back against the D-Reaper. Even if he had been forgiven by most thanks to that, it wasn't something that would ever be forgotten, not least because with him would die Leomon too. "Maybe that's penance."
"Gee, way to put a damper on things Hopmon," Gummimon moaned, sensing the dip into depression of the mood, in spite of his attempt at humour before.
"How long do we have left?" Kokomon asked the group as a whole.
"It appears that it is nearly completely deleted – I would not give it very long at all," reported another blob, with the slightest hints of dejection in her deeply-matured voice. This one was yellow and furry, with small fox ears and a long bushy tail, at least for her size.
A sigh went up amongst the group of blobs, facing the reality of death straight in the face for all its fearsome features. The unseen wave of deletion continued to sweep through the D-Reaper unimpeded, reducing it to nothing. It would soon do the same to them, as their own bodies worked against them. So much for promises of reunion.
"Way to ruin the mood Viximon," finally said Gummimon to the yellow one, his voice now lacking its previously cheery edge.
"I do not think that right now there is anything to be cheerful about," she said sternly back to him, before taking on a mournful tone. "I will never be able to see Rika again."
"I will never get to see Suzie again."
"Or gallant Kazu."
"Or moaning Henry."
"No more time to play, huh?" asked the final of the creatures, one who had never been anything but an in-training level. His name was Calumon, and, whilst having once been the catalyst for digivolution, the living embodiment of the light able to make his fellow Digimon transform into more powerful form, this green-eyed, white and purple fairy was now just a fun-loving guy. Not that that had changed at all once he had lost his unique ability, of course, even if right now it seemed that the games were over. "I'll miss everyone," he mused sadly, even he, the endless optimist, sensing the crushing mood around.
"I guess this is it for Ryo and me." "At least Milleniummon will die too…at least I hope so."
"God, sentiment, ugh. Like I haven't had enough of that living with you guys. Although…I guess I'll miss Ai and Mako – never really got to know the guys."
A sharp yet high-pitched hiss caught the ears of all of the Digimon, beady and bright eyes looking around to the reddest of them all, one who seemed far less accepting of his fate.
"I can't die."
Now, for most, that would've been the end of it. Every bit of insistence in the world wouldn't save you when the end came - even the stubborn die. Yet…Gigimon was resolute, nay, Guilmon was downright determined that this couldn't be it.
"I have to see Takato again – he promised me!"
"Promises are made to be broken Gigimon," Yaamon tried to say, but he was cut off at the last moment.
"Not his! Not Takato's!"
Viximon gave the slightest of smiles, impressed even though it was futile. Guilmon was never one to give in, not when he knew he had Takato to get back to. Or, for that matter, food. She wished for such optimism -she was a realist, and she knew that their opinions on the matter were irrelevant – their death was imminent. The last vestiges of the D-Reaper now vanishing pressed that point home. The thought almost brought a tear to her eye, but she suppressed it. Rika wouldn't have wanted to see her cry. Rika had never seen her cry.
Yet…all this reasoning, all these assumptions from so many Digimon, completely forgot one matter.
The rule of having no ability to prevent their death only applied to ordinary Digimon, and Gigimon was definitely no ordinary Digimon.
"Takatomon promised me that he'd see me again, and HE WILL!"
To the surprise of all around, he was suddenly bathed in red light, pulsing brighter and brighter as his golden eyes burnt with a determined and unwavering glare, far from that of his bewildered and rather scared friends.
"Something tells me this isn't going to be good," Gummimon noted, slipping backwards, greatly unnerved and wanting to be as far away from whatever was about to go down. Red lights, an angry Guilmon and pulsing were definitely not good signs in his book.
Unfortunately for him the light didn't stop at a glowing Gigimon, instead becoming bright enough that it burst out onto the grid around. Parts of it shot rapidly up the wireframe, rather like a lit torch paper, yet unlike the analogy it oddly didn't eliminate them in the process. All the while, it continued to expand at an only-slightly slower pace as the frightened Digimon were enveloped far quicker than they could possibly have escaped, particularly since most could do little more than simply hop along.
"Yup, I was right," added the green wit-filled blob. "Hey, are any of you listening to…?"
"Gigimon Digivolve to…"
Alas, Gummimon's calls were interrupted, as whatever was happening to Gigimon reached its final phase, lines swirling around the Digimon and forming an egg-like shape around him. It broke down his form into a green wireframe, before an explosion blew data back onto it, forming a dinosaur-like figure with a glowing red mark on his chest – the Digital Hazard. From it, his skin expanded rapidly outwards to his arms, legs, tail and head, before he cried his name.
"How on earth did you manage that Guilmon?!" Kapurimon asked, but received no answer, as instead the dinosaur simply continued his determined streak in tone and glare.
"I'm out of here!" he growled, the pulsing mark simply increasing in intensity.
"The Digital Hazard…I've never seen it activate on Guilmon like this. Last time…it was because of Takato's emotions, but now it seems to be because of his," Viximon mused, watching as the sharp claws of her friend glow red at their tips. "This could cause untold havoc and destruction – if only I could warn Rika."
"Geez, I don't like the look of this," Yaamon said, a rather large hint of nerves in his voice. He had been on the receiving end of the Digital Hazard in the past, and he knew its sheer strength and ferocity.
"ROCK BREAKER!" Guilmon finally cried, sweeping his claws downwards and, to their surprise, cutting a whole in the very fabric of the world, a sear in the plane. At first it was purely black, but as the gobsmacked and speechless in-trainings stared on, it widened out to reveal a scorched and dusty desert, a bright blue sky above it stretching out in all directions. It was a familiar desert, there was no doubt about that, made even more so by the large bluish green floating orb in the sky – Earth.
Guilmon made no hesitation in walking straight through it, not taking any time at all to check if it was stable, real, or even being surprised that it existed at all. Lopmon quickly worried that he would be scattered instantly into data upon passing through, but his appearance on the other side, and, indeed, a wave back, made it clear it was at least relatively safe. Or, as Gummimon put it…
"On the other hand, what the hell, it's better than death!" he cheered, bouncing forth and landing in the sand on the other side, seemingly safely, before turning back and grinning. "Last one through is data!"
And, on cue, those words prompted a quick swarming through of the almost all of the others, only the briefest glances taken at each other for security before it became clear they had nothing to lose. Fortunately, as they reappeared on the other side, it became clear that their gamble was right.
One stayed behind, however, staring like a cat caught in headlights at the wave of deletion advancing toward her, threatening every one and zero in her make up and surely being enough of an incentive to follow her comrades.
Viximon watched at the lines of the Digital Plane, still covered in the bizarre red offshoots of the Hazard, glowed a blood red and pulsed before brightening, the process repeating continuously and seeming unhindered by the threat of deletion at all. It was such a perplexing sight for her, so…entrancing, and yet, most confusing of all, so…familiar.
Was it simply from when she had seen Megidramon, and had felt the sheer effect his mere existence had had on the Digital World around her?
Yet, this time, the Hazard seemed not to destroy – indeed, all it wanted to do was spread, for soon enough, as far as the eye could see was a tone of red. Never before had this bizarre world witnessed or been host to anything as eventful as this. Was it about to be destroyed? What effect would that have?
The furry creature grimaced, glancing back through the portal. Confused gazes were already egging her on to follow as they one by one left the rather large pile-up of Digimon that had abruptly formed. She knew why she hadn't gone yet, of course, and her thoughts regarding the Hazard were nothing but an attempt to shift her mind from the subject.
The darkest thought running through her mind was that deletion would have been a welcome relief, a relief from the awful burden she had kept for what seemed like an eternity now, even if reality had been far shorter. Yet, she wouldn't – she had no promise from her Tamer like Guilmon had, but she still did not want it to end here, even with the risks she ran as a result. There was so much still to know about the human world, and about life, the universe, and everything.
"And Rika would never have wanted me to go down without a fight either," she mused with the slightest of smiles on her face, imagining the face of the girl who she yearned to see again more than anything in the world. She turned, looking through the sear again.
"Come on foxy face!" Yaamon called through it, completely unknowing of what ran through the creature's mind. "What's holding ya up?!"
The slightest rolling of eyes preceded a sharp and quick bounce, launching the creature straight through to land slap-bang on top of Yaamon. Uttering fake apologies for her error, she shifted aside, ignoring his complaints and looking back to the portal, its form shimmering more and more rapidly. It didn't look like it would last much longer.
"Gee, and you call me slow!" Gummimon moaned, as with a sharp slicing sound upon the air the gateway finally sealed closed, vanishing from sight.
"I was observing what Guilmon did to that world," Viximon said, a white lie. "Guilmon, do you know what that was?"
"Uh…what was what?" As he put a claw to his chin, the band of in-trainings couldn't help but feel that there was a rather distinct difference in size here, all of them craning to look up at him. MarineAngemon floated, meanwhile, gazing down towards them all, his presence a reminder that they weren't completely defenceless right now, definitely a good thing in a place which traditionally had a habit of throwing up enemies at the most unexpected of times. Not least the risk of them all being unexpectedly grabbed by a data stream.
"You don't remember?" Hopmon asked. A gentle wind ruffled through the desert level, thankfully not enough to send the group flying through the air.
"Nope – I just remember wanting to be back with Takato and then we were here."
"Geez, you take amnesia to new levels Pineapple Head," Yaamon groaned. Of course, he had a pretty good hunch what had happened – the Hazard sign didn't flash without good cause, an ironically orderly occurrence for something usually so chaotic. "That mark on your chest went nuts."
"Did it?" Guilmon looked down, the symbol now back to its usual black with no sign of its previous activation.
"That is awfully bizarre," Kapurimon mused, mirroring the confusion shared by a lot of the group.
"Maybe we all imagined it?" Calumon said optimistically, evidently not fully understanding the implications of what such a thing meant.
"I don't feel any different," Guilmon added, shrugging and being surprisingly quick to dismiss such a thing. "Ah well, can't be important if I can't remember it."
Viximon frowned. It seemed that, without Takato, Guilmon lacked anyone in particular to tell him when he really needed to be worried, at least when the source of the worry was himself. From fear of him digivolving to, well, fear of him digivolving, the pair had always had a parent and child relationship. "Or, a mother and child relationship," she added, amusement in her tone of thought at the memory from a few months ago.
"Meh, whatever it is, I'm cooking like a tomato in this heat – I'm all for getting out of here quick."
"I concur," Kapurimon added.
"Count me in," echoed Hopmon.
Gummimon squished downwards before bouncing rapidly up to a quickly-frightened Guilmon, landing slap-bang on the middle of his head and paying no heed or apologies as the dinosaur looked rather dizzied by the whole experience.
"Hey, tell me before you do stuff like that," he moaned, the Digimon simply ignoring him as he peered down to talk.
"Can you get up on your hind legs?"
"Uh, like this?" Guilmon asked, looking fit to topple over.
"Hey, steady! I've got no arms!"
"Oop, sorry." The dinosaur settled down a bit, enough for Gummimon to use him as a stable vantage point as he slowly turned round, peering over the horizon. "Nothing as far as the eye can see – from one plane to another plain."
"Please control your humour," Kokomon asked, some groans going up amongst the group.
"It won't help – we've all tried," Viximon told her, a frown on her face. The day Terriermon stopped joking would be the day the world ended for sure. "Regardless, it appears that we are going to have to get along for a while on our own."
"Yeah – there's nothing but sand and rocks for miles around," Terriermon sighed. "Gee, was this place really worth defending?"
"Without a doubt – it's our home." Kapurimon sounded somewhat offended, particularly since he had been in this other world for far longer.
"There is one place nearby," Calumon mused, pointing one of his ears upwards at the huge earth orb in the sky. "Maybe we can fly up there?"
"Pipipi?" MarineAngemon chirped, looking curiously to the rest of the group as he blew a bubble, one which floated above them temptingly.
"Fat chance of that," Yaamon disagreed, the bubble beginning to drift quickly upwards, no doubt by the call of its fairy-like master. "That thing is almost impenetrable – take it from a 'mon who's been there."
"Hey, I remember now! I went there too, and there was that evil monkey."
"The worrying thing is that he's not joking," Gummimon noted, a rather loud cackle reaching their ears as the bubble burst on the unseen 'ceiling' above, causing MarineAngemon to gag back in surprise.
"Pipipi!" he squealed, alarmed, before sighing a long "pi…"
"So, we can't get to the real world on our own, and we can't digivolve much without our Tamers," Hopmon summed up their position.
"We could go see the sovereigns," Kokomon suggested, her past with them known to all in the group. She was the last surviving Deva, the only one who saw sense enough to break away from the group bent on kidnapping Calumon and, eventually, invading the human world, all by order of their master.
Gummimon gagged even more than MarineAngemon had before. "Zhuqs?! Fat chance there!"
"Yeah, I'd rather risk my chances with the ceiling," Yaamon agreed, looking upwards at the Earth orb far above. Ai, Mako…Jeri. All of them so tantalisingly close. What were they doing? Was Jeri okay? Would he ever get a chance to make amends?
"Even if we wanted to see the Sovereigns, getting to the highest level as we are would be impossible," Hopmon noted, frowning. "I'd say the last thing we can do is just pick a direction and walk."
"Right," Gummimon agreed, gesturing forward where Guilmon was facing with his whole body in lieu of his now-absent arms. "That way!"
"Then come gallant souls, we have a long way to walk," declared Kapurimon.
"Do you mean bouncing?" Kokomon asked, the prospect not appealing to her in the slightest.
"Can't we all just float there?" Calumon asked, gazing up to the pink fairy still floating above them and keeping a watchful eye on the surroundings.
"Pipipi," MarineAngemon sighed sadly, shaking his small head.
"I think that translates as 'they won't last'," Hopmon said. "And I think we could use a look out too, so looks like we're bouncing."
"Unless…" began Gummimon, wrapping the small tentacle-like edges on his bottom partly around the bat-ears of the rookie he still sat on. "Everybody on Guilmon!" he cheered from his somewhat tenuous position.
"Meh, beats bouncing all day," Yaamon decided, leaping onto the dinosaur's back, soon to be followed by most of the other Digimon, apart from MarineAngemon, who had the benefit of being able to fly, and Viximon and Kokomon, who questioned the fairness of using Guilmon as a horse. However, the prospect of walking all day far outweighed the injustice on their friend, and they quickly joined the others, making empty apologies for their actions on the basis that everyone else was doing so.
Guilmon moaned in annoyance as he felt the sea of in-training Digimon swarm onto his back, adding so much to his weight and pushing his feet down slightly into the baking sand. "Oh, but that isn't fair on me – I don't get to ride anyone."
Gummimon took up the job of fielding that question from his position on Guilmon's head, a familiar position from when he had been Terriermon in the past even if his grip was now a lot less. It wasn't like Guilmon would be moving very fast, on the other hand.
"Well you shouldn't have digivolved then. Now go horsey!"
Guilmon moped, frowning deeply while MarineAngemon and Viximon gave him looks of sympathy, ones that went unseen as he struggled with the load on his back. Finally and reluctantly, he began to walk, every step pushing him down further into the sand and forcing him to lift his back right up to avoid his friends falling off.
It was going to be a long journey.
And it was only the beginning…
TO BE CONTINUED….
A/N: Right, if you want to keep reading from here (if I haven't yet put up another rewrite chapter), start from the first chapter of the original Book One (or of the original rewrite if I have still left it online), and the point you need to continue from will be quickly apparent I hope. Enjoy the original version, and hopefully the quality won't put you off. Of course, I have been told that I can be a bit hard on myself with the quality of the older books at times, so don't worry too much.
Or, alternatively, why not stick with the rewrite, at least until the end of Book One, and have the mysteries revealed to you in the same way readers back in 2007 did for them? After that, feel free to skip on to Book Two - I'm only going to rewrite up as far as Book Four at the maximum.
Also, as I'm sure my long-term readers will point out, this is my second rewrite. Quite simply, I wasn't happy enough with the first as a foundation for continuing, so I decided to go back and completely overhaul it, and this time I expect it to be more successful as a result. In any case, the goal is the same: fix up the older stories (Books One, Two and Three) to the quality of the newer ones (Books Four, Five, Six and Seven), adding chapters in, elongating previously rushed scenes, explaining a lot of the unexplained, streamlining the plot and removing any holes, and ensuring that all characters are far better dealt with. I don't plan for future books to depend solely on events in the rewrite, however, so don't worry on that front, although as each chapter is released of this version it will become the 'official' version as such. I plan to have an update schedule cycling through the new books, this and a spin-off (usually Stratagems), with emphasis on the new books naturally. This should also help to combat any writer's block I might encounter, which is a definite benefit.
Finally, this story I've slightly differed the dates from the original based on some quotes from the dub saying that it was October when they were in the Digital World, and September beforehand. I'm setting out the battle against the D-Reaper as having concluded in late October, and the events here are almost two weeks later. This also differs from the original rewrite by a week or so.
Until next time…