The parking lot crackled with energy; crimson lightning arced from ground to metal, the one thing keeping the crowd back. At the front, Reilly, fought her own urge to charge into the middle of the chaos.
Then, Porygon appeared, rising up through the concrete the way a submarine might break the surface of the ocean. The impenetrable surface rippled outward, then snapped back, the screaming tear in the fabric of reality pulling itself closed. There was a terrible silence, as the people regarded the small pokemon. Then, buzzing, it emitted several streams of energy, which resolved into a group of humans and digimon that the crowd was waiting for.
"TAKATO!" Both of Takato's parents nearly trampled Nami Asaji as they rushed to embrace the son they had feared lost. Somewhat more sedately, the other parents made their way over to their respective children. As they closed, they all saw the near-devastated expressions the Tamers had; much of Satoshi Kato's annoyance at Jeri's decision to go fell away. What has she seen, he wondered, glancing at her partner Gabumon.
Reilly cast her eyes over the group, doing a head count. All the Tamers and their partners were back, good, but where she expected Isao to be..."R...Ryo?"
Ryo looked at Reilly, seeming to snap out of the daze he was in, then fell to his knees, tears streaming out of his eyes.
Digicross Tamers -The reformatting, part 1
Written by Patrick O'Shea, with deep apologies to all those who have been waiting As always, all Digimon characters, settings, etc. are owned by Bandai, Pokemon is owned by Nintendo and created by Satoshi Tajiri Some ideas taken from:
Yuusha Oh Gaogaigar
Yuusha Shirei Dagwon
Kanzen Shouri Daiteioh
Super Robot Wars OGs
Sakura Taisen Digimon World 3
With thanks to Metal Dragoon for Metal Agumon, the Digicross Mailing list, and to everyone who reviewed. Skuld willing, I can get back on this beast and bring it to a close.
--One week later
The last bell rang, signaling the end of class for the day. After taking a few days off to recover, the Tamers had returned to school, though none of them had been able to speak about what had happened with the other students. Even Kazu and Kenta had, with some encouragement, managed to keep their mouths shut about the affair.
"Any word," Henry asked as he, Takato, Jari, and Hitomi left the building.
Hitomi shook her head. "It looks like the decline has worn off. All of the digimon from..." Hitomi struggled to find the words. "The digimon from here have all leveled off at the rookie level. So far, they haven't been able to digivolve."
"I tried to digivolve Gabumon, but nothing happened," Jeri added. "But Suzie could digivolve Houndour to Houndoom with no problem. It's because Houndour's a hybrid, right?" Hitomi nodded. "I don't suppose-"
"Dad's still trying to figure out how to transfer the traits over to our digimon," Henry cut in. "I think he said that Guilmon was doing a bit better than the other digimon. I was just headed over there to have a look, want to come with?"
"Can't," Takato replied. "After we came back, mom came down on me like a ton of bricks. If it wasn't for dad, I'd be getting home schooled now."
Jeri sighed. "Same here. If it wasn't for mom, dad would have me locked in my room until I was 30."
"I have to pick up some things for Ms. Asaji," Hitomi said. "She has to stay late for a staff meeting."
"Yo!" The tamers looked back to see Kazu and Kenta running out of the school. "Mind if we tag along?"
Suzie did her best to stay quiet and Not Get In The Way, as her father had instructed. It was already failing miserably, Janyu noted, but he appreciated the effort. "So, why are you able to keep your strength?"
"Lotsa bread?" Guilmon looked around. "Where's Takato?"
"School, Guilmon," Janyu replied. "There's some odd readings in your DDNA. I think it's what's stabilizing your energy. If I could isolate it...Do you know how you got this?"
Guilmon cocked his head to one side. "I was together with Takato."
Janyu nodded; after a lot of patience, he had gotten the full story of what had happened in the Digital World, and about the Matrix Evolution abilities the Tamers had gained. But all of the Tamers had done that; Renamon, Gabumon, and Terriermon should be just as strong as Guilmon was now. If anything, Lillymon and Guardromon (why had they retained their levels, he wondered. Was it because they had evolved naturally, as opposed to the forced nature of digivolution?). There was no way unless...
He glanced at Suzie, giving her the look that said 'out of the room, grown up words are coming'. Obediently, Suzie nodded, and made her way over to where Labramon was resting. Houndor was pacing around her assigned spot, then made her way over to Suzie. "Guilmon, tell me about the fight you had with Beelzemon."
Ryo Akiyama floated in a sea of blackness, feeling some hideous intelligence pressing down on him. He was asleep, he told himself, dreaming. "Yeah. All just a dream."
"This is no dream, Ryo Akiyama. This is a chance...at a miracle."
Huh, Ryo wondered. He remembered the return to the real world, the tearful reunion he had with 'Aunt' Reilly, going back to her home to figure out what he'd do now, then...
"I can bring him back."
An image flashed in his mind, breaking his train of thought. Dad! Lost to him in the final desperate escape from the dying digital world, sacrificing himself so the rest could escape...
"I can make her yours."
Another image, standing in front of him. "No," Ryo gasped as the clone of Hitomi Motomiya smiled warmly at him, disbelieving.
"I can take the pain away."
"D-REAPER!" Ryo screamed, eyes snapping open. Around him, he saw only red ooze. "No, you can't be here! You were on the Digital World when...when..."
"I am not so easily destroyed, Ryo Akiyama. My power is great, my purpose...now clear to me."
"You...you killed my father!" Where was Monodramon, Ryo thought furiously.
"Think not of the digimon, Ryo. It is they that took your father, who shared much of my own goals. He too sought the destruction of the Digital World."
Ryo tried to respond, but something the D-Reaper said..."Make her...?"
"Umm..." Kazu looked down at the perpetually cheerful Calumon. "So, how's it...going?"
"Great!" Calumon looked around. "Where's everyone else? Unown and I were exploring this place, it's so huge, but no one wants to talk to me bacause they're all busy with figuring out why all the digimon are so tired and don't want to play with me and Unown-"
"Woah," Kenta said. "Man, just listening to you is exhausting." He cringed as Calumon's ears drooped, and he looked ready to burst into tears. "That's not what I meant!"
"Hey, can we see Veemon and Agumon?"
"Oh, yeah! They've been really bored because they're stuck here while Henry's dad tries to fix them but they can't really go anywhere because they're so tired all the time and they want to know how to get this new digital world out of me so everyone can feel better but I'm kinda scared because Rika said something about a really big plastic glove but no one wanted to tell me what that meant..."
Kazu felt pity for the staff at HYPNOS; he had to put up with Calumon for a few hours at most. They had to deal with him on a day-to-day basis...
Several floors up, Lillymon leaned against a wall, bored out of her mind. The last week had been pretty much men in white lab suits asking dumb (to her) questions, looking at big computer screens, and, worst of all, keeping her from Gabumon. "Rrr, I've had it with this place. Just let us GO, already, I feel fine!"
"Where would you go," Guardormon asked, who had taken the past week with much more dignity. "Our digital world is gone, and we have no home outside this place."
"How should I know? Maybe that girl, Hilda, Harriet..."
"Yeah, her. Maybe I can get a lift to her place. Sounds like the Digital World there is just fine."
"You would abandon your home that quickly?" Guardromon stared at the plant digimon, startled by her callous seeming words.
Lillymon was silent for a second. Then: "Well, it's not like there's a lot we can do about it, is there? And I'm not one for sitting around moping. Why, you have plans?"
"I thought I might try to find a Tamer like the others." Guardromon attempted to shrug, succeeded somewhat, then looked away. "As you say, there is nothing else to do."
Rika looked at the principal as if he were mad. "My dad?"
"Yes. He said he wished to speak with you about something important."
Rika got up, uneasy. Something about this whole situation felt wrong...
Hitomi had made her way to the store and was just about to enter when she felt someone taping on her shoulder. Looking behind her, she saw Ryo Akiyama. "Hey," the boy said.
"Ryo! Are you..." Hitomi trailed off, unsure what to say next.
"I'm...OK, really. It's just been hard, readjusting, you know." Hitomi nodded. "Say, can we talk? I mean...about us."
"Yeah...I think we should."
The doors to HYPNOS slid open, and Reilly entered, in full uniform, walking purposefully to the elevator. She exchanged few pleasantries with the staff, who took it as nothing unusual; she had been taking care of Yamaki's son, he having sacrificed himself in full view of Ryo.
No one noticed that she paide careful attention to avoiding any digimon.
Energy. Twisting and turning, crying for the order that came with total annihilation. Infuriated, if it could be thought of as alive.
Rukario's eyes opened, he emerging from the meditative trance he and his partner had been in these last few days. He reached out mentally, and released Reilly from the state of suspended animation he had placed her in. Then his mind went over the situation, focusing past the groans as Reilly came back to full awareness.
They had been settling in. Ryo was just starting to come out of the shell he had locked himself in. Reilly had taken him upstairs to the small guest room that Ryo's father had recently stayed in. Cyberdramon's egg had been taken to HYPNOS for study. Rukario had noted some odd energy patterns attached to the egg, but had, foolishly he now realized, paid it little heed, more focused on his need for rest. They had rested that night, only to be woken up by a weird shrieking noise. Then...
"Where...Ryo? RYO!" Reilly got up, then gasped.
All around her, her entire apartment, was covered in reddish ooze.
Rukario's eyes stopped glowing. "The D-Reaper has returned. And I have only now recovered enough to get us out of here."
"He is not here," Rukario answered.
"So, how's the search going?"
Hitomi involuntarily glanced towards the HYPNOS building. "It's on hold," she replied. "Losing the Digital World here made it hard to get in touch with home. I..."
Ryo didn't speak for a moment. "Have...have you considered making this your home?" Hitomi shook her head, more forcefully than she was aware. "Just if things don't work out."
"They will," she replied. "I know that they will." She smiled a bit. "Digidestined never quit, no matter the odds."
Ryo smiled and nodded. "Yeah. Takeru said that after that run you, Yamato, and Sakura had that run in with Shadow Veedramon."
Hitomi's smile vanished. She looked at Ryo, suddenly terrified. "How...I never told anyone about that..."
Ryo's expression faded away, and he looked down. "I was hoping to make this easy for both of us, Hitomi Motomiya." Ryo's voice had changed, it taking on a more electronic quality. He looked at Hitomi again, but his eyes had gone solid red. "But you hold the key to the completion of my mission.
"And you will help me complete it."
Eevee seemed to snap to full awareness. Nearby, Noctowl looked around, sensing something wrong. "Window," Eevee said. Noctowl nodded, and flew over to the nearby window, which was partially opened. Noctowl squeezed through, then Eevee, who climbed on the bird pokemon's back. The two flew off, headed for where Eevee knew Hitomi to be.
Suzie frantically tried to hold back Houndour. "Bad dog!" Across the room, Reilly got up, glowering at the pokemon. "She's a friend!"
"That's not Reilly," Houndour growled. "It's the D-Reaper." Suzie ignored her, convinced that Houndour was sick.
"Do not interfere," Reilly said, standing. Suzie glanced back at Reilly, hoping that she wouldn't tell on them and have Houndour taken away.
Then she saw the red material underneath the partially burned off jumpsuit.
Janyu started as he heard the scream. "Suzie?"
"No..." Ryo moaned as he tried to fight the mind-numbing effects of the...place he was in. Why was it so hard to think? How long had he been in there?
"Yes. This world must be healed, Ryo Akiyama. Once done, it can be rebuilt in a proper state. An orderly state. Where no one will lose a loved one ever again."
The temptation, played out in Ryo's mind, was almost too much to bear. His father, returned to him. His home restored, guaranteed to never fall apart again.
Hitomi...His fists clenched. Ryo looked straight ahead, and spoke one word.
"What-" was as far as Kenta got before being knocked over by Porygon as he flew down the hall. "Hey, what's the big idea?"
Porygon ignored him. The enemy was here, the representation of everything it opposed. But Porygon could not face it alone. It needed help.
That's going to cost me, Janyu thought as he and Kotemon crashed through another doorway. He squelched the thought, though. It was rare to hear Suzie scream, but he could feel the sheer terror in it. The last time was when she had happened on a burglar in their old home. Fortunately, the intruder had panicked, especially when Janyu had burst into the room, but the mortal terror Suzie had managed to pack into the scream never really left Janyu. He skidded around a corner, then stopped, horrified. Behind him, Kotemon nearly tripped over a power line on the floor, then gasped.
The figure was vaguely humanoid, female in appearance, but was covered in red with black lines. Wings had sprouted out of her back, and her fingers had lengthened to claws. It was then that Janyu realized why the figure looked so familiar. "R...Reilly?"
"No," Houndour called. "It's a D-Reaper! Suzie, I have to digivolve so I can take it down!" With a snarl, the Reilly-Reaper swung at Suzie, but was blocked as Houndour leaped in front of his Tamer. With a howl of agony, Houndour dropped to the ground.
Janyu pulled a card out. "Kotemon..."
"I am ready."
"Digi-modify! Digivolution activate!"
"Kotemon, digivolve to...DINO HUMON!"
"Okay, I'm coming!" Calumon cried as he and Unown followed the seemingly berserk Porygon back up the stairs. The trio zipped up the stairs, nearly flattening Kenta and Kazu.
"Sorry, Kenta," Calumon called. "Porygon says that the D-Reaper's back and he needs my help!" There was a pause as Porygon emitted some sort of high-pitched cry. "Huh? Oh, he says that you and Kazu should come to, and to bring your digimon too!"
Curious, the two boys did so, running back up to the area where the digimon were being kept. "Just couldn't stay away, huh," Metal Agumon managed, then fell asleep. The simple act of speaking was becoming more difficult for him and Veemon.
"Zip it," Kazu said, reaching down to pick up Veemon, who was also dozing off. "Calumon said that the D-Reaper was back, and it's here in the building!"
That got everyone's attention. "Rika," Renamon said. "I-" She knelt down, cursing the weakness that left her utterly useless. She watched as the two humans and the two digimon left the room, following Calumon.
They ascended several more flights of stairs before reaching another waiting area. "Alright, we're here, now what?"
"Well..." Calumon started to say, then stopped. "Well, gee, what now?" Incredulous, Kazu and Kenta watched as Porygon and Unown started 'speaking' to each other.
"Come on," Kazu half-screamed. "If the D-Reaper's here we have to do something! So make with the power up already."
"Huh?" Calumon blinked. He stopped as Porygon glowed, then changed shape.
And grew. A lot.
"Shiny..." Calumon said.
Nami's phone rang just as they were finishing the meeting. Ignoring the annoyed glanced she received from the other teachers, she glanced at the small screen. "Hitomi," she muttered, surprised. "Hello?"
"D-reaper!" was all that she heard Hitomi say before the connection was lost. Without a word, she got up and ran out of the room.
Hitomi tried not to scream as the Ryo-Reaper, which had sprouted wings, red skin, and claws, fired a blast of energy, which just missed her. "I have a clear program, Hitomi Motomiya. The digimon of this world must be subdued. And your presence here threatens that plan. Submit to my will, and it will be easier on you." Hitomi stepped back, making ready to run. "I said SUBMIT!" Arms out, the Ryo-Reaper unleased a gout of D-Reaper ooze, hoping to end the fight there.
And was knocked back by a bolt of psycic energy. "Get away from her," Eevee snarled as he hopped off of Noctowl's back and took a stance in front of Hitomi. Noctowl flew above her, already charging up a second bolt of energy.
To Kenta's relief, his cry of 'he's gonna EAT US!' wasn't too close to a shriek. And given what Porygon had changed into, it was a safe bet that Kazu was thinking the same thing.
Porygon had transformed itself into a large draconian...bird, for want of a better description in Kenta's mind. Larger now, so much so that the far wall had been blown out as the beast's wingspan had increased. Energy crackled around its beak, a long reptilian tail slid slowly across the ground. It growled once, a long, low trill that held no menace.
"What's all the ruAAAUUGH!" Lillymon was nearly flattened as she stopped abruptly, nearly making Guardromon fall on her. "WHAT THE HECK IS THAT?"
"She does sound like Mimi," Kenta said, momentarily thrown off track.
"Who the heck is this Mimi? And what is this beast?"
"It's Porygon. He just digivolved," Calumon said, then stopped as Unown said something. "Oh, sorry. He just evolved."
"Why?" Kazu looked around, frustrated. "You drag us out here so we can watch a digital duck turn into some sort of giant monster, and then what?"
"This," Calumon said, glowing. "Like this, Porygon?" There was an affirmative growl from the beast, and Veemon and Metal Agumon, who had only just woken up again, also started to glow.
"I feel weird. But not bad-weird, y'know," Metal Agumon stammered.
"This is most unusual," Guardromon managed before everything went white.
"Crystal Matrix Activate!"
The Reilly-Reaper dismissed the two Tamers and their creatures as primary mission goals as they left the room; it took only a second to spawn a drone to dispatch them, while the main body focused on its primary goal. And for that, it needed access to the main servers.
Janyu watched in horror as the door he had just sealed shut bulged against the hammer-blows of the Reilly-Reaper. Behind him, Dino Humon's larger frame braced the door as best he could. "It will break through soon, Janyu," the digimon said. "And I cannot fight effectively in here." Janyu nodded. The room they were in now was much smaller; Dino Humon was forced to crouch to avoid hitting his head on the ceiling.
"Daddy? What's wrong with the computer?"
Janyu glanced at Suzie. "Not now, dear I-" He stopped, stared at the screen. Horrified, he grabbed at a phone on the small desk. "Shut down all the internet servers," he screamed into the phone, then winced as his own cell phone, forgotten in his pocket, emitted a piercing shriek. Flames licking her teeth, Houndour ripped the phone out of Janyu's pocket and hurled it against the far wall. The noise lessened, then the group watched as a purple-red form started to come out of the partially charred phone.
"Like HELL," Houndour snarled, incinerating the phone with a blast of fire. The D-reaper, partially formed, howled and disintegrated.
There was a tense silence, broken by screams outside of the room. Then: "Language!" Suzie punctuated her admonition with a light rap on Houndour's head. Janyu opened his mouth when he saw more purple-red ooze creeping under the door. Which was followed by a large blue hand ripping the back of the room out.
"Alforce Express, ready to go!" Janyu and Suzie gaped at the massive digimon, resembling a blue winged humanoid dragon.
"Not good," Terriermon said, staggering away as another tendril of red glop reached for him. The room was now under siege from another Reilly-Reaper, having come out of the wall phone in one corner of the room. Nearby, Guilmon blasted away at another part of the D-Reaper agent, the only digimon there still able to fight.
"We have to get out of here," Renamon grimaced. "If they're attacking us directly..."
"Then our partner humans may also be under attack," Gabumon snarled, backhanding another tendril, wincing as the acid-like material burned his hand.
"DRAGON FIRE CANNON!" A huge cylinder of flame blasted through one wall, obliterated the Reilly-Reaper, and proceeded to take out the next few walls as well.
"Are you nuts!" The digimon, once their sight and hearing returned, watched as a large dragon stomped into the room.
"Hey, we got 'em, didn't we?" This voice was a bit deeper, and had an odd tone to it.
"We're supposed to SAVE them, not deep fry them!"
Terriermon's left eyebrow twitched. "Okay, who are you, and why do you sound like Kenta?"
"Hey," Metal Agumon's voice replied. "I told the kid if he stuck with me, we'd go places!"
Nami turned a corner and nearly smashed into the metallic digimon. "Oh, pardon me, but I-" Guardromon stopped as he glanced up. Above, the red dragon/bird flew circles above Guardromon, seemingly waiting for something.
"Who....what...No, I have to find Hitomi!" Nami grabbed onto Guardromon's side, felt something break off as she did so.
Rumiko Nonaka stared in wonderment at the small item in her hand. "This is like..."
Lilymon sighed, wondering for the umpteenth time why whatever Porygon and Calumon had done to her had drawn her here. "Well, yeah, package delivered. Look, I don't want to seem rude, but I gotta go and fight stuff now."
"Fight? Where?" Rumiko had a sick feeling in the pit of her stomach, as if she knew where this was heading.
"Oh, over that way." Lilymon's hand pointed out across the back yard.
Rumiko gasped. Lillymon was pointing In the direction of Rika's school.
The Ryo Reaper expanded, attempting to engulf the human before her creatures could lend any support. Had it emotions, it would have grinned at the sight of Eevee and Noctowl making a suicidal dive for their human pet, just as the red fluid smothered her.
Seconds later, Valkyrimon exploded out of the mass, sword slicing through part of the agent's body. It responded by discarding Ryo's form entirely, becoming little more than a mass of protoplasm, multiple appendages hammering Valkyrimon from all angles.
Inside Valkyrimon, Hitomi berated herself for staying to attack. Her attacks were fine for individual targets, but barely any use against a beast like this. And already, she could feel the burning touch of the D-Reaper.
"We'll get out of this," Eevee's voice told her, though he seemed at a loss.
Fire came down, striking the D-Reaper and forcing it away. "Get away from her," a voice roared.
Valkyrimon stared back, stunned. It resembled Andromon, but this digimon had a birdlike bead on its chest, red and gold wings on its back, and a large white and red crescent on its left arm, just now reforming.
Inside, Nami Asaji looked down at the D-reaper attacking Valkyrimon, saw the injuries the smaller digimon had already sustained. No, she decided. I will not forgive this. She aimed the arm with the crescent on it at the D-Reaper. "Phoenix...ARROW!"
'Rosemon 9pm...don't be late'
(Apologies to May'n/Sheryl Nome)