A/N: The first thing to know about this fic is that it is essentially an overly-long what-if story based on "Runaway Locomon." You don't need to have seen the movie to read this though. That's because this first chapter is essentially a novelization of the movie. You may think that's going over board, and you're probably right. However I couldn't really find a good point in the middle of the movie to start. Plus, it's helped me deal with writer's block.

That's not to say it's an exact copy of the movie; I've changed a number of the details and subtexts, some to fit the different medium, and some to set up certain elements that show up later in this story. If you don't particularly want to read through it all (you don't need to in order to get this story), you can skip ahead to Terriermon's "giant eyeballs" line in all-caps towards the end. This where the what-if part begins.

Oh, and a note about the characters' ages: The Digimon Wiki tells me this takes place about six months after the TV shows end (which makes sense given that they all look the same). Thus, canonically, the characters are supposed to still be 12 (I'm going with their ages in the dub). However, because I feel more comfortable writing older teenagers, I've aged them up to roughly 16 (Suzie is 11), meaning that this fic takes place about four years after the TV show ends.

Chapter 1: Divergence Point

It was mid-afternoon, on a lovely spring day. Rika was with her mother at the subway station. They were returning from a visit to Rika's aunt and uncle, outside the city. Rika was not in a particularly good mood at the time. Her aunt and uncle were fine, but kind of boring. Her two young cousins, though, were another story. They were both a couple of hyperactive brats who considered Rika their own personal jungle gym. Rika was glad the visit had ended after lunch, instead of lasting all day like they usually did.

The train station was unusually empty for a weekend. Then again, the ever popular cherry blossom festival was starting that day, and there weren't many trees in this particular part of Tokyo.

At least Mom didn't try to through another dumb birthday party for me, she thought. Rika's mother always liked throwing enormous birthday parties for her daughter. Rika hated those kinds of parties. Too many people, half of whom she barely knew, all telling her how much she'd grown, and in general making her the center of attention. Not to mention the dresses Rumiko tried to put her in… It seemed that this year, her mother would finally respect her wishes.

Rika's phone vibrated in her pocket. She pulled it out and checked the caller ID. It was Takato. Is there a Digimon in Shinjuku? she wondered. Or maybe he'd forgotten a school assignment. Now that she went to the same high school as the other Tamers, she got more calls like that.

She answered. "Hey Takato."

"Hey Rika," he said, soundly oddly nervous. "Listen, uh… Jeri asked me to call you and tell you that we're going down to the cherry blossom festival at Shinjuku Park today. Do you wanna come?"

Rika rolled her eyes. "Sitting around and watching pink flowers is stupid and a waste of time. Besides, it'll be crowded as hell, and we probably won't be able to find a spot."

"Uh, no, no, that's not exactly what I meant," he stammered. "Y'see..."

"What, then?" she demanded, irritation mounting. She bit her lip, trying to wait patiently for him to finally spit it out.

"Well, y'see, our plan was…" He told her.

Rika really did snap. "Nobody asked you to do this sort of thing! Besides, why did my family know before me?" In fact, she thought she knew why, but hoped she was wrong.

"Well… you see… You're always busy and… the truth is, today is your-"

In the background, Rika heard Guilmon exclaim "Takato!" Takato yelped, and there was a thud.

"Guilmon, I told you to hide!" She heard him hiss.

"Hold it Takato," Rika began. Despite her irritation, she couldn't help but smile a little, as she pictured what was happening on Takato's end of the phone. From the background noise, it sounded like they were in a crowded place. Whatever hiding place Takato had devised for Guilmon (it was usually a cardboard box), Guilmon was clearly not cooperating. Probably got bored and decided to explore or something, Rika thought. Typical really.

She then remembered she was supposed to be annoyed at him. "Listen gogglehead, it's really obvious what you're planning here, so just… forget it already. Okay?"

At that moment, a train whooshed past her. Rika knew instantly that it could not be a Tokyo train- it was brown, not silver. And the clatter of wheels on tracks sounded wrong. There was only one thing it could be. A Digimon.

"Gotta go," she told Takato, before putting her phone in her pocket and taking off after the train, ignoring her mother's calls.

Takato stared dumbfounded at his phone. Rika had just hung up on him all of a sudden. That was unlike her, especially since she'd been in the middle of lecturing him. Why would she… ?

Guilmon tugged at his sleeve. "Takato, look!" Takato looked in the direction his partner was pointing. A small crowd had gathered beneath one of the TV monitors in the subway, murmuring tensely.

There was a news report about a strange, runaway train making its why around the Tokyo tracks. Takato's eyes widened as a picture of it appeared on screen. A Digimon. According to the report it had just passed the station Rika was at. Now her abrupt hang up made all kind's of sense.

Another update flashed across the screen. It was headed towards Shinjuku train station, where Takato currently was.

"Come on Guilmon, we gotta go!"

"Yay! Fun!" Guilmon cheered, sprinting after his partner.

Takato ran towards the stairwell. Judging by the report, the train-Digimon would pass through the station on one of the above-ground tracks. He needed to get to the ground-level platform fast, and couldn't afford to wait for the elevator.

He sprinted up the stairs, two at a time. Pausing, he leaned over the railing and called, "Hurry up Guilmon!"

"Coming!" he called back. Takato heard two people yelp, evidently spotting his partner as he passed. No time to worry about that now…

They emerged onto the open-air platform seconds later. He could see the train Digimon barreling down the tracks, towards the station. There wasn't much time.

"Guilmon!" Takato pulled out his Digivice.

"Right! Guilmon Digivolve to… Growlmon!" Growlmon snarled and jumped onto the tracks, digging his enormous toe-talons into the dirt, bracing for the impact.

Half out of habit, Takato pulled out his D-Power and did a scan. To his surprise, a read-out came up. "I was right," he muttered to himself. "It is a Digimon." Locomon, Ultimate level, the read-out read. All this transpired in about the second it took for Locomon to reach Growlmon.

"Nnngh!" Growlmon grunted, sliding backwards through the dirt. He grunted again and dug his heels in deeper. Locomon slowed to a crawl, but he continued to gain ground nonetheless.

"What… do you… think you're – Nrngh!-- doing?" Growlmon demanded through clenched teeth.

"I have to hurry," the Locomon replied in a monotone. His voice was a deep bass with a metallic echo to it. "I have to keep running."

That it?! Takato thought incredulously. After this trouble, he can't give a better reason than that?!

At that moment, a whistling billow of smoke and steam whooshed out of Locomon's smokestack, and the wheels began to turn faster. Growlmon struggled to keep from losing more ground.

"He's so strong…" Takato gaped. He had once seen Growlmon stop a runaway subway train once with brute , when a group of Kokuwamon had cut the brakes as a practical joke. Growlmon had barely broken a sweat, and that train had been going over 80 mph. Now…

Pedestrians and commuters screamed, panicked, and began to flee as Growlmon started losing more and more ground. Finally, Growlmon lost his balance, crashed through the railing and crashing onto the platform below the tracks. Locomon began to pick up speed again, fast leaving the station.

There was no time to think properly. Takato hurtled over the platform railing and onto the tracks, dredging up every last microfiber of strength he could to catch up to the accelerating train. Finally he reached out his right hand and grabbed onto the railing on the platform at the end of the very last car.

Instantly, he realized his grip was terrible; he was holding on with just the ends of the fingers on. Terror swept him as for a brief moment, he was certain he would lose his grip and wind up a splattered mess on the train tracks.

Somehow, he managed to hold on just long enough to get a better grip with his left hand, and clamber over the railing onto the platform. The train was picking up speed now. He would not be able to get off without killing himself.

"Growlmon!" he called to his partner.

"Takato!" he called back, distressed that his partner was now getting away from him.

"Warn Henry and the others! We're gonna need their help!"

"Hey look at that train go!" Suzie cried excitedly as the mystery train whooshed past their train's window. Her exclamation was accompanied by murmuring from the other passengers, muttering about the mystery train's odd appearance and excessive speed.

"Maybe it's a freight train?" Henry mused aloud, frowning. They didn't usually go on the Metro Rail tracks, but it happened sometimes. But something about this bugged him.

"Perhaps a freight train decided to be an ambulance for a day?" Terriermon muttered. "Why else would it smash the speed limit to smithereens?"

"Hmmm… good point," Henry agreed. He left it at that. He would probably hear the full story on the news later that night.

They arrived and it occurred to him: a Digimon. Maybe that's what it was.

Henry considered ignoring the maybe-Digimon. He didn't want to have to skip out on Rika's surprise birthday party, only to find it was an ordinary train with brake problems or something. Plus, he would have to bring Suzie with him, and that was a distraction he didn't need in a fight. Not to mention explaining it to his parents later.

But it still nagged at him. No, it was more than nagging. He was certain of it now, though he couldn't explain way, even to him self.

"Henry!" Suzie pulled on his sleeve. "The Yamanote line is that way."

"No Suzie, we've got to head back to Shinjuku," he answered. Shinjuku was the direction the mystery train had been headed.

Suzie furrowed her eyebrows. "But aren't we supposed to meet up with Rika?"

"Well…" he began awkwardly. He knew his theory would sound supremely lame if he explained it aloud. Now almost 12, Suzie had recently started to enjoy poking fun at her big brother for things like that.

He was saved from answering by an announcer on the PA. "Due to technological malfunction, service on some Japan Railway lines has been halted until further notice. We apologize for the inconvenience." A list of the suspended railways appeared on the stations display screens. Henry studied the list, and then suppressed a groan. All the trains that could take him back to Shinjuku from this station were among the suspended ones.

Technological malfunction? I suppose you could a runaway mystery train that… Henry thought. They needed to get to Shinjuku, but that would be a whole lot harder if the trains couldn't get them there.

"What should we do then. Henry?" Terriermon queried.

"Gimme a sec, I'm thinking…" he said. "Right, if we walk over to Ochanomizu Station, we can take the Marunouchi Line back to Shinjuku. Its not far, so Ochanamizu will probably be fastest."

"What, you mean we have to walk?" Suzie pouted.

Locomon thundered down the tracks as Takato crouched on the deck outside the last train. He really didn't have a plan. In fact, he was starting to deeply regret his decision to jump on board in the first place.

He knew nothing whatsoever about trains. Even in the unlikely event that Locomon had some kind of emergency brake, Takato had no idea what it could look like. It certainly wouldn't be identified by helpful signs, like it was on the subway. Nor did he know enough about train engines to disable one.

Plus, if Locomon could use his Digimon abilities to attack anyone who approached the front cars, Takato was royally screwed without Guilmon to protect him. He might be able to separate the rear cars by pulling the pin, but he couldn't count on that in a pinch.

But what else can I do? He couldn't just sit around waiting for a cavalry that might not come in time. He might as well see what was up there.

Standing up, he opened the door to the last car, and entered. "This thing's like an antique," he muttered to himself, wandering down the aisle. The upholstered seats, curtain windows, and hardwood floor seemed like something out of a set in 19th century Europe. Or is it 18th century? he wondered. He was terrible at history.

He opened the door at the end of the car and stepped onto the platforms connecting it to the next car. Locomon hit a bump, and the entire train jolted sharply. Takato stumbled, fell, and the ground heaved towards him. A bolt of utter terror gripped him. He avoided splattering on the tracks by catching himself on the railing. As soon as he got his balance, Takato scrambled like hell into the next car, and collapsed on the nearest seat in a panting heap.

Nothing like a little mortal terror to wake you up, he thought. Why was he putting himself through all of this insanity? What had possessed Locomon to simply run around crazy like this?

Once his heart no longer felt it would burst out of his ribcage for beating so hard, he got up and looked out the window. There were only three or four more train cars between him and the engine car.

"Something must have happened to provoke him…" Takato said to himself. "I gotta get up front and stop him. Somehow."

He moved towards the next car.

Rika panted, her legs pounding into pavement as hard as she could make them. She couldn't afford to lose time. The station was already in sight, but had the train Digimon already come and gone? Deciding to take a shortcut, Rika leaped over the railing on her left and slid down the grassy hill.

Reaching the sidewalk at the bottom, Rika peered through a chain-link fence at the track below. All seemed normal still. "Good," she said to herself, "It hasn't come through." She kept running, clambering up a set of stairs towards the station entrance.

Renamon appeared at her side. "Do you have a plan?"

"Of course not!" Rika retorted, still running. "I'll figure it out as I go!"

"As always," Renamon said, amusement in her voice as she faded away.

Henry trudged up the hill. His clever detour back to Shinjuku was seeming a little so now. This was mainly because the distance to Ochanomizu Station, which he remembered as being very short, happened to include a ginormous hill to end all ginormous hills.

"Uh, Henry?" Terriermon poked him in the side. "I hate to be the one to mention this, but we've got a problem."

Henry turned to see what he was looking at. Suzie was sitting cross-legged, her arms folded, on the sidewalk, the very epitome of a pouting child. "I'm tired!" she whined. "I'm tired, I'm hungry, my feet hurt, and not going any further!"

Henry clenched his teeth. She was 11 and getting too old to throw these kinds of tantrums. But since she was the youngest of four, their parents hadn't been trying as hard as they could to impress this fact upon her. Hence the childish behavior sometimes continued.

Of all the times for her to act like this… No, he couldn't get angry with his sister now. If he told her to quit her whining, that would only get them bickering pointlessly, and he could not afford that.

Remembering his Tai Chi lessons, Henry took a few quiet deep breaths before crouching next to his sister. "You want a piggy back ride?"

Her face brightened. "Yeah!" Evidently she'd been gunning for something like this. He sighed. Giving in would only encourage her further, but he couldn't do anything about that now.

Suzie clambered onto his back, and he stood up with a grunt. She was much bigger and heavier than he remembered. She's definitely getting too old for this. He then felt two more weights clamber on to his shoulders.

"All aboard!" Terriermon called jokingly, while Lopmon imitated a train whistle.

Henry groaned. "You guys…"

"Yee! Choo choo!" Suzie squealed, kicking him somewhat painfully in the thighs.

"Listen," Henry said, trying to sound good natured. "This 'train' only takes one passenger, so no stowaways, kay?"

"Right." Terriermon still laughing, the two Digimon lept to the pavement.

"Hey , look over there!" Suzie exclaimed, pointing. The humor was gone from her voice, replaced by alarm.

Henry looked where she was pointing. An ominous-looking dark purplish cloud hung over downtown Tokyo.

"It's hanging over Ichigaya," Terriermon observed.

"It's a Digital Gate!" Lopmon exclaimed. Henry didn't know how she knew that, but decided to take her word for it.

"Is that Train Digimon responsible?" Suzie wondered. She was fairly quick on the uptake, when she wasn't acting childish or ditzy.

"Probably," Henry agreed. It couldn't be a coincidence, both appearing on the same day. "Whatever it is, we need to stop it. Let's get to the station." They took off at a run towards Ochanomizu.

"This day just gets more and more interesting," Terriermon muttered.

At the Operations Control Station for Japan Railways, frantic confusion ruled the moment.

"That one train won't stop," one operator said.

"Why not?" the head operator demanded. "Someone give me an explanation here!"

"I can't give you one," the operator replied, trying to maintain his calm. "What whatever it is likely dangerous."

The head operator gritted his teeth. What had he done to deserve this headache? "Order all trains and railways in the Tokyo Metropolitan region to stop!" What on earth is going on here?

The door to the operating room opened, and a light-haired man in his thirties, wearing a suit and sunglasses, entered.

The head operator glowered at the newcomer. "You don't have clearance to be here!" he snapped.

"Actually, I do," the newcomer replied calmly, flashing an ID card. "I'm temporarily taking control of operations here." The head operator read the name on the card.

Mitsuo Yamaki.

Henry panted with the effort of running and carrying his sister at the same time. Terriermon glided alongside him. "So, Mr. Genius, you gotta plan for when we get there?"

"Well, the news reports said that the train Digimon was running primarily on the tracks for the Kanjoh and Yamanote lines," Henry answered, panting. "They're both belt lines that go in a circle around the downtown Tokyo. If we don't stop them, the whole city'll be in trouble!"

Yamaki studied the map of the train lines projected onto the wall. All rail lines except for Kanjoh and Yamanote had been removed from the projection, to make things easier to read. A red dot symbolized the train Digimon, making his way around the circle.

"Hmmm, a spatial warp is appearing over Ichigaya," Yamaki murmured. "Interesting."

The head operator gave him a nervous look. "What do we do now?" he asked.

Yamaki ignored him, thinking. An unknown entity, possibly a Digimon, is running in constant circles around central Tokyo, Yamaki thought. And then a vortex-like warp in space appears in the middle. It wasn't a coincidence, he was certain, though he didn't know if it was intentional on the train Digimon's part. Not that it mattered. Either way, it was dangerous.

His communications headset hummed, signaling an incoming call. He answered it. "Yamaki here."

"This is Riley. I've established the computer link, and am proceeding with the scan."

Kenta shifted the massive pile of presents in his arms to get a better grip. He grumbled to himself. Why me? He was only trying to be nice when he'd offered to help prepare for Jeri's surprise party for Rika. Somehow, he'd managed to get landed with the task of carrying everyone's presents for Rika. Why they couldn't divide this task up, no one had satisfactorily explained.

To top things off, all subways lines had been abruptly closed with no explanation at all. Now, he would have to walk all the way to Shinjuku…

"Hey, Kenta!" a voice behind him called. Kenta turned, and peered around the massive pile of presents to see Kazu and Guardromon running towards.

"Hey Kazu!" /Kenta called happily. You can help me carry this stuff."

Kazu, not appearing to hear him, paused to catch his breath. "We've been looking for you guys everywhere."

Kenta and MarineAngemon exchanged puzzled looks. Suddenly, MarineAngemon began to gibber and flap his arms wildly, gesturing at something behind Kazu and Guardromon. The all turned, and saw Guilmon staggering towards them, and then collapse on the sidewalk, exhausted.

Kenta shoved the pile of presents into Guardromon hands as they all ran towards him.

"Guilmon! You okay buddy?" Kazu asked, worriedly.

"I tried, but Locomon was too strong," he muttered.

Kazu and Kenta exchanged worried glances. "Where's Takato nnow?"

"I think…" Guilmon groaned. "He's still on Locomon."

Their jaws dropped. "On Locomon?!"

Takato opened the train car door, and smiled. He'd reached the fuel car, and was getting close to his goal. He clambered up a ladder onto the top the coal car, and began crawling across it towards the engine car.

He tried to mentally block out everything except reaching his goal, but it was hard. Locomon's slipstream constantly pushed and pulled at him, an the mountain of coal he was crawling on provided an insecure grip to hold onto. Every time he looked sideways, he saw the scenery blurring past him, and couldn't stop himself from envisioning what would happen if he were to slip and fall.

He managed to reach the engine car without incident. He entered the engine car. The good news was that nothing was attacking him, as he'd feared. The bad news was that he had absolutely no idea what any of the levers or instruments there did, as he'd feared.

"Uhhh…" He reached towards a lever at random, but stopped. He had no idea what it would do; it could derail the train and get him killed. This could be a problem.

Rika peered over the bridge railing. Locomon was fast approaching. Good timing, she thought. Renamon appeared beside her.

"Let's do this, Renamon." Rika went back a few steps, took a running start, and leapt over the railing onto the train below. Mid-fall, Renamon appeared beside her and caught her, helping her to make a soft landing on the coal car. Wow, I can't believe that suicidal stunt actually worked, she thought.

She leapt off the coal car and into the engine room below. Someone was already there.

"What're you doing here, gogglehead?"

Takato turned as Renamon phased in behind her. "Rika! Renamon!" he said, surprised but happy. Given what he'd pulled on her earlier with the surprise party, she wasn't particularly happy to see him at that moment.

"No time for chit chat, we gotta stop this thing," Rika said brusquely, pushing past towards the engine, and began to fiddle with valves and levers at random.

"I- I know that," Takato said, sound distressed and somewhat hurt at her brush off. He pulled a Digimon card out of his pocket and held it up. "I, I was gonna use this card, but…"

"Guilmon isn't here?' queried Renamon.

"No, we got separated."

Rika took the card from him and examined it. "Hm. That could work. You mind?" It wasn't really a request. Without waiting for a response, she swiped it through her Digivice. "Digi-modify! Shellmon's Hydro Pressure, activate!"

"Get back," Renamon ordered. As Takato and Rika complied, Renamon pointed her arms towards Locomon's furnace. Twin jets of waters blasted from her fists. It vaporized instantly, filling the room with waves of hot steam.

"Hot!" Takato yelped, trying to fan it away from his face.

When it cleared, nothing seemed to have changed. "We'll need a lot more water than that to put a furnace that hot." Renamon said.

"Sorry," Takato apologized to Rika. "Guess it didn't work."

Rika went back to fiddling with the controls. "Hmph. That's not the only thing you should be apologizing for."

"Wha-?" It took Takato a second to realize what she meant. "Oh, that. Well, uh… you see… Jeri really wanted to throw a party for you, and I--"

"Yeah, yeah, I already figured out that much," Rika interrupted irritably. She'd realized from the start that this was Jeri's idea, but she was still mad at the rest of them for going along with it.

"Yeah, well, and you're always so busy, and…" Takato continued awkwardly.

"Alright, enough already," Rika said, cutting him off again. "Lets just concentrate on stopping this thing, kay?!"

"Oh! Uh, right!" said Takato.

At that moment they heard the sound of a motorcycle approaching. The three peer out the side of the train, and saw a familiar face approaching.

"Beelzemon!" Takato exclaimed.

"Jus' leave dis ta me," he grunted. Pulling level with Locomon's engine, he unholstered one of his shotguns and aimed for the train's wheels.

"Double Impact!" He fired, but to no effect. He aimed for the engine car itself, with the same results.

A spike popped out of Locomon's side. "Wheel Grinder!" the train cried. The spike impaled his motorcycle, sending Beelzemon tumbling off as the bike shattered into a thousand pieces.

"Beelzemon!" Takato cried as the friend fell out of sight.

Yamaki glanced at one of the TV screens they'd set up in the control room. The rift was getting worse. A funnel cloud had formed, connecting the anomaly in the sky. It wasn't moving, nor was it causing significant damage to anything it wasn't directly touching. But he could not assume that that would last.

His headset hummed again. "Yes?"

"It's me," Riley said through the speakerphone. "I've completed the analysis."

"What've you got for me?"

"I've confirmed your theory. It is a Digimon, an Ultimate level called Locomon."

"And the spatial anomaly?"

"It's comprised of highly concentrated Digital Particles, sir," she answered. "The particles seem to be emanating solely from Locomon, and coming together to form the vortex over Ichigaya." Digital particles were the same particles that made up the white, mist-like Digital Fields that appeared every time a Digimon Bio-Emerged. Those particles condensed during Bio-Emergence, and formed the Digimon's physical body.

"Sir, the concentration of the particles in the Digital Zone are off the charts," Riley continued. "If Locomon does this much longer, the Digital Zone will turn into a full-fledged gateway between the Digital and Real Worlds."

Yamaki thought fast. "We could use that to send Locomon back to the Digital world, if we can reroute the tracks to send him to Ichigaya." Even if they didn't manage to send him through the gate, getting him of the current belt route would probably be enough to disperse the Digital Zone.

The head operator shook his head. "Power is on the fritz around the- whatever the hell that tornado thing is. We can't change the tracks."

"Then do it manually," Yamaki said simply.

"But that'll take-" The head operator started to object, but seemed to think better of it. "Right. Where should we do the change?"

Yamaki scanned the map, and then pointed. "Here. Yoyogi Station."

Henry panted as he ran down the street, Lopmon close at his heels. Behind him a familiar voice called his name.

"Yo! Henry! Over here!" Henry turned, and saw Kazu, Kenta, their respective Digimon and Guilmon appear out of an alleyway.

Relief washed over him, along with the beginnings of a new plan. Things might be easier now.

"You guys!" he called back, meeting up with them. "We've gotta find a way to get on board that Digimon as fast as possible."

"Tch! We know that," Kazu said impatiently. "Takato's already on board."

Henry gave Guilmon a confused look. "Then why are you here?"

"Locomon was too strong for me to stop as Growlmon," Guilmon explained, looking somewhat dejected. "So he got away from me."

"Huh," said Henry. "Well, we need to catch up with Locomon as soon as possible."

"Uh, in case you haven't noticed chumley, Locomon's kinda, y'know, faster than we are..." Kazu replied sarcastically.

Henry glanced around, and spotted a bright yellow rail car on the tracks next to the sidewalk. "We can use that," he said, pointing. "If Guardromon pushes, we should be able to get there in time."

"You can't count on me," Guardromon said, sounding enthused.

Kazu and Kenta both nodded their approval. Then Kazu gave him an odd look, and pointed at Lopmon. "Uh, where's Terriermon?"

"Oh, uh…" Henry rubbed the back of his head, sheepish. "I kinda got… mixed up."


Terriermon sulked on a bench at Ochanomizu Station. "Stupid Henry…" he muttered. "How could he get us mixed up?!"

"It's alright, Terriermon," Suzie said cheerfully.

Yamaki watched as the red dot representing Locomon began it's fourth lap around the tracks. It would reach Yoyogi in half an hour at its current speed. The rail workers should have finished changing the tracks by then, but they would be cutting it close.

Suddenly, one of the operators stood up abruptly. "We have a problem sir! I just got a call from Tamachi Station! They say there are children on board Locomon!"

The head operator gaped. "That can't be possible!"

"One of the station attendants saw it sir," the operator replied. "There's no doubt about it!"

"Children, huh?" Yamaki muttered to himself.

"So what should we do now?" Takato wondered.

Rika shrugged. "Heck if I know." The pair of them plus Renamon had retreated to Locomon's foremost passenger car, where they could discuss their next course of action without having to shout at each other over all of the noise. Said discussion was going nowhere fast.

At that moment, Rika's cell phone rang. She answered it. "Hello?" She listened for a few seconds; Takato couldn't tell who she was talking to. It didn't sound like her mother. Rika scowled, and wordlessly handed the phone to him.

Takato was surprised by this, but took it. "Hello?"

"Takato?" The voice was familiar.

"Yamaki!" he exclaimed.

"Yes, it's me," Yamaki replied. "I have a question for you. A railroad worker spotted a couple of children on board Locomon. You wouldn't happen to know anything about that, would you?"

"Uh, yeah, actually, that would be me and Rika," Takato replied. He didn't know why he felt so sheepish. Being a Tamer, he and Rika had every right to be there.

"I thought it was one of you guys," Yamaki answered. "Listen, Locomon is headed towards the Soubu line. We've set the tracks at Yoyogi Station so Locomon will change to the Sobu Rail line tracks. This will essentially send him into the Digital Field and hopefully back to the Digital World. You need to get off before that happens, which will be soon. Got that?"


"Good." The call ended. Takato flipped the phone shut.

"Well, sounds like we can let Yamaki handle this," he said cheerfully, and proceeded to relate what Yamaki had said.

"Hmph." Rika scowled when he finished. "So what?"

"So what… ?" Takato gaped. "Well, Guilmon's not here, so its not like there's anything else we can do…"

Rika snorted. "What, can't you do anything without his help?" She turned abruptly and went back towards the engine car. "Besides, when have Yamaki's plans ever worked without our help? I'm taking care of this one myself."

Takato stared after her as she shut the car door behind her. What's her problem?

Henry, Kazu, Kenta, and their assorted Digimon clambered onto the yellow train car. Kazu leaned out the window, grinning like an idiot. High speed chase, here we come.

"Yo, Guardromon, you ready?" he called to his partner, who was behind the car, preparing to push it.

"Aye aye, Captain!" Guardromon replied, doing a mock salute.

"Then let's go!" Kazu cheered.

Rika clambered down the coal car ladder and back into the engine car. I'll show them, she thought. I'll stop this damn train by myself.

She spotted an enormous wrench lying next to the furnace, half as long as she was tall. Perfect. She didn't feel like being clever right now. She lifted it and started to swing…

The furnace door swung open, and something shot out at her, not even giving her time to yell.

Kazu looked out the train car window again and frowned. They were going too slow. They would never catch up at this rate.

"Yo, Gaurdromon!" he shouted. "Little more speed!"

"You could say please," his partner muttered, but complied nonetheless.

Rika's cell phone rang again from Takato's pocket. He looked at the caller ID. It was Yamaki. "Hey Yamaki," he said, answering it.

"Listen, Takato, you need to get off that train, now," Yamaki said sternly. "You don't have much time."

"Rika's still trying to stop him, and I think it's still possible-" Takato began, but Yamaki cut him off.

"I don't care, just get off that train!" he snapped. "We had to change the tracks manually, so we can't change them back if you don't get off in time."

"Ok, ok, I get it!" Takato said defensively. "Look we can always disconnect the cars if we're cutting it too close. Besides, I doubt we'd be able to get off at this speed anyway."

"Fine." Yamaki sounded tired. "Call this number when you're off."

He hung up. Rika had come back in to the train car while he'd been talking. "Hey Rika, I was just talking to Yamaki.," Takato said brightly.

Rika said nothing. Renamon frowned. "Rika?"

"Anyway, I bought us a little more time to see if we can stop Locomon ourselves," Takato continued, not noticing. "But we still have to get off soon, or else we'll wind up going through the Digital Gate…" Takato kept talking, not aware that Rika was really listening to him. In fact she wasn't really there at all…

Rika wandered through the grey mist. In the distance she could here the sound of a guitar playing. The tune was slow, and somber, like a love song. The mist cleared and gave way to form- she was in an apartment living room.

It was small, and cramped. There was barely room to walk, what with a couch in the middle and bookshelves lining the wall. The floor was strewn with so much dirty laundry and other detritus that you could barely make out the dingy gray-white carpet underneath. The shelves were so laden with things, they seemed to lean in precariously

Behind her was the door, and the kitchen, which was also small, and separated from the rest of the room by a counter rather than a wall. The kitchen was the one spotless part of the whole place. On either side were doors to various bedrooms and the bathroom.

But in front of her was the view that had caught her attention from the very beginning, had always caught her attention every time she saw it.

The most glorious sunset, shimmering molten red-gold over the city-skyline along the mountain ridge.

The guitar strumming grew louder, like tuning into a radio station. Someone was sitting on the couch playing. A much smaller figure bounced on the couch humming loudly along with the tune, only sometimes getting the notes right.

The song ended. "I wanna play it this time Daddy!" a shrill, eager young voice demanded.

"Daddy?" Rika murmured to herself. And then she was five again, sitting on her father's lap. The guitar, twice her size, was perched on her lap. Her left hand clutched on the body, her right the neck, to keep it from sliding off her knees.

Her father guided her right hand over the guitar's neck, showing her where to place her fingers on the frets, while showing which string to strum with her left to play each note of the song. It was strenuous work- her hands were so tiny, it was a strain to reach them around the neck to press down the strings.

Yet it seemed almost magical to her, that she could recreate the sounds of the song she loved so much, all under her own power.

The music-lesson ended. The sunset was over, and night had fallen. Her parents were in their bedroom. The words were indistinct through the walls. But Rika knew the pattern of sounds too well.

She was perched on the couch guitar in her lap. She had been plucking out strings at random, trying to 'write' songs like her father did. But she hadn't touched the strings for some minutes. Her eyes stung ferociously with suppressed tears, but she stubbornly refused to cry. She would not cry. They could come out at any moment, and if they knew she could her them, they would fuss over her and apologize. Rika hated that more than anything. She would not cry.

She stood outside the apartment complex, clutching her mother's hand. Her mind was in a terrified confusion. Her mother had told her to pack her bags with some clothes and anything else she needed. She only packed her bags if they were going on vacation or to visit relatives. But her mother was crying. She would never do that if the were going on a trip. And her and daddy were yelling really loud today…

A car drove up, Rika's grandmother in the driver's seat. The got in, none of them saying a word. Rika sat perfectly still, afraid to disturb something. The guitars and sunsets were gone from her daily life.

"Uh… Rika?" Takato said uncertainly. "Are you feeling ok?" It was only then that he had noticed the eerily blank expression on her face. The enormous wrench she swung from side to side creeped him out exponentially more.

Rika didn't respond. She just brushed past him and Renamon. "Rika?" He reached out his hand to grab her shoulder. Without any warning she swung the wrench at him. Only Renamon's lightning reflexes pulled him out of the way in time. Without missing a beat, Rika swung again, and Takato dodged again. Instead, she shattered the seat right behind him into a thousand pieces.

"Rika, what're you-?!" he yelped, scrambling away from her as fast as possible. Terror and horror and a dozen other related emotions he couldn't name gripped him. Rika Nonaka was trying to kill him. To kill him. She had been pissed at him, sure, but this was out of nowhere. Something was seriously wrong here.

Renamon leapt in front of him, crouching in a defensive pose. "You're wrong," she said tersely. "This isn't Rika."

"Wha-?" spluttered Takato.

"Don't interfere," Rika said in a dull monotone. "I just want to play my guitar."

She raised the wrench to swing again.

Guilmon peered over the edge of the hole. Locomon was coming fast. "Weee," he said to himself. He crouched down into the hole, leaving only his tail sticking up. He'd dug the hole deep enough so Locomon could pass above him without touching him.

He counted the cars as they passed over head. "Wait for it… Wait for it…" As the last car rushed past, Guilmon grabbed onto the back with his tail. "Got iiiiit!" He squealed, letting himself be whisked off by the train like a kite.

"Good work, Guardromon!" Kazu called to his partner. "We're catching up."

Guardromon merely grunted in response. Kenta visored his eyes as they came up on another station. "Oi! We're comin' up on Yoyogi now!"

A handful of rail workers yelped and scrambled off the track as they passed.

"Hey, dudes! How's it goin'?" Kazu called jokingly as they passed.

Two small figures jumped up and down on the station platform, waving at them. "Yo, Lopmon!" Henry called up to his sister's partner on the roof. "Here's your stop!"

"Right." Lopmon leapt off the train into Suzie's outstretched arms. At the same time Henry reached a hand out to his partner.

"Grab on!" he called.

Terriermon extended an ear. "It's about friggen time," he said good humouredly as Henry pulled him onto the train.

Once everyone was in order, Henry looked ahead. They were starting to pull alongside of Locomon. Guilmon was pulling himself onto the rear platform of Locomon's rear car.

"Hey there Guilmon!" Kazu waved as they passed.

"Hey guys!" Guilmon waved happily.

"We're going on ahead!" Terriermon called.

Guilmon nodded. "I gotta find Takato," they heard him say to himself. "Pyro Sphere!" He blasted the rear door open and went in. "Takato?" they heard him calling.

"Gee, that was subtle," Kenta said dryly.

"How'd he manage to get on board anyway?" Kazu wondered aloud.

At that precise moment, one of the windows on Locomon shattered (exploded?) as Renamon came flying out. With lightning reflex, Guardromon let go of the train car, flew out and grabbed her before she could fall, and then alighted back on top of their yellow train car. Everyone crowded around them. Renamon looked more than a little beat up, which was worrisome.

"What happened?" Kazu asked.

"It's Rika…" she said weakly.

Rika swung the wrench repeatedly, smashing chair after chair as Takato scrambled away from her. It was all he could do to avoid getting his skull or shoulders bashed in. He backed up against the door at the end of the car.

"Stop it Rika, please!" he pleaded. She continued advancing, wordless and expressionless. She didn't even seem to notice he was talking to her.

This is insane! He thought. There was nowhere he could run to on the train, and he couldn't get off, not at this speed. Without Renamon to protect him, he wouldn't be able to avoid her forever. It felt like a nightmare… What could he do?! There had to be someway to bring her to her senses!

He opened the door and scrambled out onto the platform connecting the two cars. She followed him and swung again. He dodged, but stumbled and fell. She swung again, and he rolled out of the way just in time. His head was now hanging over the edge of the platform, just inches from the tracks rushing by impossibly fast below.

He realized that leaving the train car was probably the single dumbest thing he could possibly have done. Out here, he had to worry about both death by wrench and death by falling of. She swung again, but missed and hit the railing directly over his head instead.

Takato took the opportunity to scramble to the door to the next car… except the handle was missing, so he couldn't open it. Rika must have bashed it off when she was swinging at him earlier. "Damn it…"

There was a ladder fixed to the wall next to the door. With nowhere else to go, Takato clambered up it onto the train car roof. As he climbed, he felt the wrench strike just inches below his feet.

He took a brief two seconds to catch his breath on the roof before looking behind him. The bad news was Rika had followed him up there. The good news was she no longer had the wrench (she would have needed both hands free to climb up the ladder). The even worse news was that there was absolutely nothing to keep him from falling off the train's curved roof, making it a lot easier for her to kill him.

It was at that precarious moment that his (technically Rika's) phone decided to ring. Crap. Reflexively, he answered it. It sounded like Yamaki, demanding to know what was going on-

Suddenly, a laser beam shot from behind Rika and blasted the phone right out of his hand. Wait- Laser beams?!

"Rika! What the hell's going on?!" he yelled, backing away from her as she advanced.

"Don't interfere…" she said in that monotone. "I just want to play… my guitar…"

"Damn it, Rika, wake up!" he said desperately. "We're gonna wind up in the Digital World if you don't snap out of it!"

"Takato! I found you!" A familiar voice called from somewhere below him.

Takato looked down. The laser had blasted a hole clean through the roof of the car. Through it, he could see Guilmon waving at him from inside the car. "Guilmon!" he said, feeling relieved. He was saved…

At the same time, he saw Henry, Kazu, Kenta, and their respective partners pull up along side in canary yellow train car. "Yo!" Kazu called. "What the hell are you to doing up there?!"

Below, Takato could hear his partner muttering to himself. "Hmmm…. Right about there… Pyro Sphere!" The fireball blasted upward through the roof, right behind Rika.

"Guilmon, what the hell are you-?!" He stopped mid-sentence as he saw it. Ten spindly, spider-like legs appeared on Rika's back, curling around either side of her torso.

"Rika!" Renamon called, trying to stand up.

"What the-" Kazu swore colorfully.

Henry did a scan with his Digivice. A picture of a pinkish, spider-like creature appeared, with one enormous eye instead of a head. "Parasimon, Parasite Digimon. Mega-level." He frowned. "But… what's it doing here?"

Terriermon pointed. "Hey, look! Another one!"

Perched on top of Locomon's back, a second Parasimon materialized. The good hear him chuckling to himself.

"Damn- Parasimon must be controlling Locomon!" Henry said. "He's the one responsible for all of this!"

"Gotta hurry…" Locomon intoned. "Gotta keep going…"

On top on Locomon, Takato rose unsteadily to his feet. "Damn it- Let Rika go!"

"I want… to play my guitar…" she murmured.

People were shouting at the Operations Center. "Sir, it just passed through Shinagawa!"

Yamaki ground his teeth. They were running out of time. "How long til they're done at Yoyogi?" he demanded.

"I just got the call, sir," said another operator. "They've finished setting the tracks."

Yamaki sighed. The reports said that Takato and Rika were still on board the train. Unless they got of in the next few minutes, they had a one-way ticket back to the Digital World. We can't wait for them, he thought to himself. I'm gonna have to trust that they know what they're doing…

"Come on, snap out of it Rika!" Takato pleaded, with no effect. The Parasimon extended a few feelers, and fired a purple laser beam in Takato's direction.

"Crap!" Takato lunged out of the way, only to have a second laser shot at him. "Crap again!" Except this time, his foot slipped, and he went tumbling over the edge of the train roof. His hands flailed about for something- anything- to save him from death- and by some miracle his right hand latched on to the ledge of the train car roof.

A horrible wrenching pain shot up and down his right arm as Locomon's slipstream pulled and pulled at him, making his body flap like a streamer in the wind. It honestly felt like his arm would be ripped out of its socket, if he didn't lose his grip first.

Rika loomed over him, her eyes utterly devoid of emotion. Takato closed his eyes. Despair clutched at him. There was no chance of him pulling himself up now. The Parasimon on her back would probably try to shoot his hand with one of the lasers so Takato would, if he didn't use it to kill him outright.

"Rika stop!" he heard Renamon plead desperately. His heart sank further. She sounded distant enough that he couldn't expect help from that quarter in time. Maybe I should let go now, he thought. Better to end it quickly, than let it get drawn out.

Yamaki flicked his lighter open and shut in rapid succession. "It's reached Yoyogi!" an operator announced. "Following the new route now!"

Yamaki chewed on his lips. There was absolutely nothing he could do at that point but hope for the best. He hated that. The cap of his lighter finally snapped, from being open and shut so much. Good god, I wish I had cigarette, he thought irritably. Syupid Riley, for getting him to quit…

Takato was still debating whether to end things on his own terms, when, out of nowhere, a wonderfully familiar red shape appeared behind Rika. "Rock Breaker!" Guilmon slashed at the Parasimon with the side of his open hand, shattering it into nothing. Rika collapsed in a heap on top of the train car.

Takato wasn't sure whether to be overjoyed, or pissed—at himself. He had completely forgotten his partner was on board. Had Guilmon come even a fraction of a second later, Takato would have moronically consigned himself to martyrdom- for no good reason at all.

Not wasting any time, Guilmon rushed over to Takato and hauled him up. Takato panted as heart throbbed in his ribcage, and he massaged his sore-beyond-all-belief right arm. "Thanks buddy," he panted.

He glanced at Rika. She was unconscious. He frowned. That can't be good… Suddenly, Locomon hit a bump in the tracks, and the whole train jolted. Takato grabbed onto Guilmon, and managed to hold steady.

Rika however, slowly began to roll towards the edge of the roof. "RIKA!" Reacting instinctively, Takato lunged. Rika screamed as she started to tumble off of Locomon's roof- the jostling had apparently roused her too late.

Somehow Takato managed to grab onto her wrist, and braced himself against the roof, to keep her weight from pulling him off too. Guilmon grabbed him around the middle, further anchoring them. His right arm protested painfully at being abused in the same way for the second time in less than a minute.

"Takato!" She sounded more surprised than anything. He couldn't reply though. He didn't have the strength to pull her up with one arm, and his left hand was occupied with trying to keep himself from sliding of the roof. Despite his best efforts, though, his right hand, slippery with sweat and exhausted from his earlier brush with this same ledge, was starting to lose its grip on her. Worse, in spite of having Guilmon to steady him, he could feel both of them were sliding, millimeter by millimeter, closer to the edge of the roof.

Apparently, Rika was aware of it too. "Just let go of me!" she said, half pleading. "Otherwise, we'll both-"

"Like hell I will, you idiot!" Takato snapped. "Why do always have to try to be a damn martyr?! Don't give up, cuz I won't let you!" Less than a minute ago, Takato had nearly let himself get killed stupidly because of that sort of thinking. He would be damned if he was gonna let Rika succumb to it.

Rika was so taken aback a by Takato's uncharacteristic assertiveness, that she shut up at once.

Yet despite Takato resolute words, Rika had still had a point. Takato's whole upper torso was now hanging over the edge of the train roof, meaning he was completely incapable of pulling Rika up; he was a dead weight now. Guilmon was trying to pull them up, but Takato and Rika's combined weight was too much for him.

The train window immediately below Rika opened, and Renamon leaned out. "Renamon!" Rika cried, relieved.

"Hurry Renamon!" Takato yelled, as his grip slipped even further. Renamon grabbed Rika around the middle.

"I've got her!" Renamon called. With a groan, Takato let go of Rika's arm, and Renamon pulled her into the carriage.

"Thanks Renamon. And remind me to thank Gogglehead for being so damn stubborn," Rika told her partner while massaging her arm. Renamon nodded wordlessly. The train jolted again, and Rika felt them begin to slow down. Rika leaned her head out the window and swore. "Damn it… Locomon's disconnected the passenger cars!"

There was no time to waste, Rika began a mad sprint for the front cars. Gotta catch him before he's too far a way for me to jump…

"Wait, Rika!" Renamon called after her, but Rika didn't hear. Renamon tried to stop her, but the pain from her injuries was too much, and she collapsed to one knee instead.

No sooner had Rika opened the door to the next train car, when a hundred gray tentacles lashed out at her from within. With a yelp, she tried to back off, but it was too late.

From the roof of the train car behind her, Takato watch in horror as his friend was pulled inside. "Rika!" He leapt to the roof of the next car, and sprinted in the direction that they had taken her. He might be able to head them off faster than if he had gone inside the train car himself.

"Takato, get it off me!" he heard her calling from somewhere below him. "Let me go, you slimy green, bug-eyed-!"

"I'm coming!" he called back, still sprinting. "You ready Guilmon?" He didn't need to look back to know that his partner was just a few paces behind him.

"Ready," Guilmon growled.

They had reached the end of the last passenger car. The gap between them and the disconnected coal car was slowly getting wider. Without stopping to think, Takato leapt. "Biomerge Activate!"

"Guilmon Biomerge to-!"

The familiar sensation of merging overtook him. For a moment, he could see nothing but light, then…

"Gallantmon!" With a grunt, they landed on top of Locomon's coal car. Perched on top of the engine in front of them was Parasimon, Rika clutched in one of his tentacles.

"Let Rika go," Gallantmon snarled.

"Takato!" Rika cried.

"Heh heh… you look tasty…" Parasimon chuckled. On a creepiness scale of 1 to 10, he ranked at 17.

Gallantmon charged, and was met with a barrage of Parasimon's tentacles pushing him back. Gallantmon grunted, using his shield to deflect them as he pushed forward. Finally, he got close enough that, with a slash of his lance, he was able to free her.

Parasimon howled in pain, while Rika yelped, and started to fall.

Renamon, appearing seemingly out of nowhere, caught her before the train's momentum sent her flying off the tracks.

"Are you ok?" the fox-Digimon asked, wiping off bits of severed tentacle.

Rika smiled weakly at her partner. "I am now."

Gallantmon glared at Parasimon. "This was all his doing. He was trying to control both Rika and Locomon."

Parasimon merely sneered.

"But thanks to him, we got to hear a beautiful song," Renamon murmured quietly. Rika blushed slightly.

Gallantmon lunged forward and kicked Parasimon square in the chest, shattering most of its exoskeleton. "So this is just our way of saying… THANKS!" He raised his lance. "Lightning Joust!" He lunged and stabbed Parasimon smack in the middle of his single eyeball.

Parasimon recoiled back, and wailed and writhed in agony. Then he stopped, motionless. Gallantmon frowned. He isn't disappearing, so we haven't killed him. Then why…? Parasimon started shaking. Wait a second, Takato thought feeling uneasy. Is he laughing? The creepiness level had been upped to 23.

"I've won…" Parasimon muttered in between chuckles. "Heh, I've won! Now Parasimon will run forever!"

"This is bad…" Guilmon said uneasily. Still laughing, a long, thin, white strand of… something shot from Parasimon's rear end towards the dark red cyclone shaped digital zone that loomed ever closer in front of them.

"Come on down!" Parasimon shouted. Defying all laws of physics, the strand arced upwards towards where the vortex connected with a similarly colored cloud in the sky.

"The digital zone!" Rika cried.


Riley stared in horror at the readouts on her Hypnos terminal. "We have a code red! Multiple Wild-Ones are bio-emerging through the Digital Zone!"

"What did you say?" Yamaki demanded over the communications line.

A few miles away…

From the train station platform where Henry had left her, Suzie stared at the vortex in wonder.

"Hey Lopmon, what's that?" she asked, pointing.

Her partner stared at the phenomenon. "Looks bad," she murmured, sounding worried.

"Um, guys?" Kenta asked, peering apprehensively through the window of the Guardromon- powered freight train car. "Does that look normal?"

"I'm not sure," Terriermon said with false uncertainty. "DO GIANT EYEBALLS FALLING FROM THE SKY LOOK NORMAL TO YOU?!"

Sure enough, dozens- maybe hundreds- of the bug-eyed Parasimon were descending from the vortex on thin white ropes, like spiders.

"Now it makes sense," Henry said, half to himself, as he stared at the Digimon. "This is what they were planning."

"Who, Henry?" Terriermon asked.

"Parasimon was using Locomon to create a Digital Zone," he explained. "That way, he could bring the other Parasimon to the Real World."

"So, what, he and his buddies could take over the real world or something?" Kazu asked.

Henry shrugged. "Probably."

"Can't he come up with something more original?" Terriermon complained.

"Hey, uh guys?" Kenta said nervously. "Locomon's getting kinda close to that Digital Zone thing. Shouldn't Takato and Rika be getting off around now?"

Gallantmon glowered at the parasite Digimon. "We won't let you get away with this!" He lunged. Parasimon dodged and scuttled onto the side of Locomon's engine. Gallantmon growled and tried to knock him off with his lance. But whenever he pried one leg off the side, it reattached itself before he could get to any of the others.

"Electric Bind!" Parasimon spewed white webbing at him. Gallantmon flinched as it covered him, then howled as it sent waves of electricity through his body.

"Renamon!" Rika cried, trying to maintain her balance while standing on the moving train. "We gotta Biomerge and help him!" Renamon didn't move, staring straight ahead. "What're you waiting for?!" she demanded. She looked ahead to see what her partner was staring at, and then swore mentally.

Damnit, when did the vortex get so close? She estimated that they had less than two minutes before they hit that thing and it sent them to the Digital World. "Takato! Gallantmon!" she screamed. "We gotta get offa here!"

Takato grunted as he managed to shake off the last of the webbing. That stuff hurts, he thought. Then he realized something. "Hey, where'd Parasimon go?" The Digimon was nowhere to be seen. Rika was screaming something at him. He couldn't make out what over the roar of Locomon's engines…

Then he saw it. Somehow, when he wasn't looking, the Digital Zone had gotten a lot closer.

He glanced over the side of the side of the car; his insides clenched when he saw how fast they were going.

Do you think we could jump off the side? Guilmon asked nervously, so that only he could hear.

I don't know, Takato admitted. A human couldn't survive that, but as a Digimon… There was no way to know, and no time to find out. He weighed his options quickly, as he'd learned to do in his fights with other Digimon and the D-Reaper. He didn't want to go to the Digital World again if he could help it. But on the other hand, he at least knew they could come back from there, difficult as it was. There was no coming back if they got splattered all over the train tracks.

We'll have to take our chances in the Digital World, he told his partner. He glanced at Rika and Renamon. The latter seemed to have come to the same conclusion.

"Brace yourselves!" Renamon cried before yanking a protesting Rika down onto the roof of Locomon's engine, clinging to both for dear life.

Gallantmon crouched down and jammed his lance into the gap between the coal car and the engine, hoping it would be enough to keep him from falling off.

It was the longest thirty seconds of Takato's life, as he waited for them to reach the vortex. Then the world around him vanished.

A/N: So there you have it. Please review!

Comments on the changes I made from the original movie:

The most significant, you may have noticed, was Rika's visions of her father while she was possessed by the Parasimon. The reason for this was primarily due to problems of translation from animation to fan fic. While the singing scene in the movie is extremely well done, I didn't feel I could translate that into writing without feeling like Rika was being massively OOC. Even if that weren't the case, simply typing the lyrics wouldn't convey the song's melody or accompaniment. As a music lover, who does a lot of vocal and choral music, I don't feel that you could separate those aspects of a song and still adequately convey it in writing.

So I changed it to memories of her dad and his guitar, to keep the general music theme.

A few notes about the story in general:

I've been working on this fic for well over a year, and it's turned into one of the most colossal projects I've ever written. Why did it take so long to post this first chapter? Well, initially, I decided I wasn't going to post this until I had a fairly clear idea in my mind of how it would end. I am now breaking that promise, because I really don't know what's going to happen after the halfway point. But I've spent so much time on this, I didn't want to have no one read it. So here it is!