Chapter 5: Guerilla
Beep beep beep beep beep- whack.
Janyu groaned awake as he slammed his alarm clock off. He felt like he was back in high school, when getting up at six in the morning seemed more torturous than any circle of hell. He'd gone to bed late, and had lain wake, tossing and turning until two or three in the morning. A part of him wanted to sleep for another five minutes (or ten, or twenty, or ninety) like he'd done as a teenager. But this was too important.
Groaning some more, he slowly eased himself out of bed, trying to work the stiffness out of his aching muscles. He was tempted to think some cliché, like, I'm getting too old for this, but he wasn't even 60. He refused to think of himself as old yet.
Once he'd located his glasses, Janyu made his way downstairs, fervently hoping that the friend who owned this place had coffee makings somewhere. To his surprise, though, he wasn't the first one in the kitchen when he got there.
Suzie and Lopmon were at the kitchen table with Lopmon standing on a chair. Spread out on the table were several items, including a compass, a flashlight, a watch, a few candy bars, and a bright pink wallet, among others. Suzie and Lopmon were in the process of sorting through these things and putting them into Suzie's pastel blue, dolphin-patterned backpack when he came in. She gave a guilty start when she saw him, like a child caught coming home after curfew.
Then Suzie's mouth set into a stubborn line, one that vaguely reminded him of something, though he couldn't remember what. Lopmon looked apprehensively from one to the other. All of this should have made him warier than he was, but he was too tired to fully process it.
"Where do you think you're going?" he demanded.
"Out," Suzie said simply, as she resumed packing her bag. "To fight. And to find Henry."
His eyes narrowed. "You mean Lopmon's going to fight," he corrected.
"Yeah. And I'm gonna go with her, " she said stubbornly.
Janyu rubbed his forehead tiredly. He didn't need this. Not now. "You can't Suzie. You're too young." Her eyes flashed at that last bit, and he knew at once it was the wrong thing to say. As she opened her mouth to argue he quickly went on, "Lopmon can go and look for your brother. But you're staying here."
"But Dad, I'm a Tamer!" she protested. "And Tamers have to fight with their partners when they fight! It's like, in the rules!"
He was starting to get angry with her. Se was talking like a child, like she didn't even know what fighting really meant… "I already said no," he said, trying to keep his voice from rising too much. When she looked like she wanted to argue some more, he cut her off. "No means no Suzie. If you can't accept that, you can go to your room!"
She gave him the most hateful look an eleven year old could manage before whirling around and storming up the stairs, slamming the door behind her. Several seconds later, he heard another door slam upstairs. He sighed and started making coffee. He was half way through setting up the machine when he realized that Lopmon was hovering nervously at the bottom of the stairs.
Because Lopmon was more mature that Suzie, Janyu had turned to her on more than one occasion for help in managing his daughter. He did so now. "Can't you talk some sense into her?" he asked desperately.
Lopmon looked away. "I'm sorry, Mr. Wong, but I can't." He stared at her. How could Lopmon not side with him on this one? His daughter's life could be at risk!
"You agree with her? You want her to be danger?" he asked incredulously.
"I don't want any of this!" Lopmon snapped, making him jump a little. More calmly, she continued, "But if either of us is going to be useful in this fight… She'll have to come with me. Please, let me explain," she added quickly when he looked ready to interrupt. "In the past, Suzie's been able to use her Digivice to talk to me and give me power from a distance. But that's changing. The signal, or whatever it is that connects us, starts to break up when she's far away from me, like, like a cell phone when you travel underground. I'll lose power, and it gets harder for us to hear each other. And it's been getting worse over the past couple of years." Lopmon's long ears curled, like she was balling them into fists. "In one of our last battles, I de-Digivolved halfway through," she added quietly.
Janyu stared at her, confused now. "Why is it getting worse? What's changed?"
She answered with another question instead. "Haven't you ever wondered why Henry, or any of the older children, couldn't help their partners from a distance?"
"They have to Biomerge, right?" His eyes narrowed. "Wait, you said 'older children.' You think that's the reason."
Lopmon nodded. "The only other Tamers with Suzie's ability are Ai and Mako; they were even younger than her when they got their partner. And they've started to have the same problems we have."
"So, you think that only very young children have this, this… long distance Taming ability," Janyu said slowly. "And Suzie is losing it… because she's growing up?" Lopmon nodded. "But she's not grown up! She's still just a little girl!" he protested.
"She's almost as old as Henry was when he went to the Digital World," Lopmon pointed out quietly.
Janyu winced. He should have expected her to say that. But Suzie was still just a girl… He changed tacks. "Why, though? Why does growing up matter at all? If the Digital World gave her that ability along with her Digivice, why should it take it away?"
"I don't know. That's just the pattern we've seen. But it is happening, and I don't think we can change it." She sounded almost bitter.
Janyu sighed and sat down at the table, burying his face in his hands. A part of him had hoped that finding holes in her theory would make everything better somehow. All he had for his trouble were dead ends and brick walls, and he couldn't think of anything else to say.
"Thanks, Lopmon, for helping me understand," he said finally.
She hesitated. "Will you let her go with me, then?"
It was a very long minute before he could say, "I'm sorry, but I can't. I'm this close to losing one kid to those monsters. I- I'm not sure I could handle losing another."
Lopmon said nothing. She may not have known what to say. Without a word she slipped upstairs. Janyu finished his coffee and had something to eat. By the time he was done, he'd had a chance to think some more about what Lopmon had said, and come up with an idea.
He tiptoed quietly up the stairs and knocked softly on the door to his daughter's room. There was no answer. Mildly worried, he opened the door. Suzie was on the bed, lying on her stomach with her face buried in the pillow. Lopmon sat next to her, trying to comfort her. Lopmon looked up when he came in, but Suzie continued to lie there. She had to have heard him, but she didn't move.
"Suzie?" Still no response. He sighed. He'd seen this before: when she was mad at someone, she showed it by making a point of giving them the silent treatment. He kneeled on the floor next to the bed. "Suzie, I'm sorry I yelled at you earlier," he said quietly. Her shoulders twitched, but that was all. He kept at it. "I'll make a deal with you," he continued. "I'm going to Hypnos to see Mr. Yamaki and his friends. They're going to help us find Henry, and fight off those Parasimon."
"I don't care!" Suzie said angrily, her voiced muffled by the pillows.
He sighed. "Suzie," he said, unable to keep a touch of exasperation out of his voice, "if you come with me to Hypnos, we'll be able to tell you right away if we find out where your brother is. You can pass that on to Lopmon so she'll know where to look." Once again, he got no response. He looked at Lopmon in an appeal for help. She gave him a sympathetic look, but shook her head. He would get no support from her. That annoyed him, really. It was a perfectly reasonable proposal, and Suzie would listen if her partner said as much.
An idea came to him, and he added, "You can do more to help your brother if you're at Hypnos than with Lopmon." Still, no response. He sighed. "You don't have to decide right now. I need to get a few more things ready. I'll be back in a few minutes." Quietly, he left and went downstairs.
Janyu had phrased his plan like a request, but really, it wasn't. He had no intention of letting her stay at home now. If he did, then she'd probably try to sneak out the minute he left, and he didn't really trust his older children to be able to stop her. If she was at Hypnos, he could keep a better eye on her, and there would be security guards to prevent her from leaving.
If Suzie rejected his idea, well, he'd have to make her come with him. But he didn't want to do that if he didn't have to. That would only make her harder to deal with. His other three children had gone through something similar to what she was going through now, even mild-mannered Henry, and Janyu knew what it meant. Suzie had decided that she was no longer a "little kid." If she decided that any adult (particularly her parents) was still treating her "like a kid," she would react like it was a deadly insult to her ego. Suzie was angry enough with him right now that anything remotely like an order would set her off again. Hence, his effort to give her the appearance of choice.
He needn't have worried. A few minutes later, Suzie slinked down the stairs, glowering. "I'll go."
Kazu, Kenta, Ryo and their respective partners all met at the entrance to the flood tunnel under the city. The military had blocked off all routes in and out of Shinjuku (more to keep the journalists and curiosity seekers out than to keep the Parasimon in, as conventional weapons did nothing to stop the latter).
The only way around the blockade was to go over or under it. If they flew over it, there was a danger that the military might think the Digimon were a threat and open fire. Which left the tunnel as their only viable option. Luckily, it seemed like no one had remembered to guard it.
They'd agreed the previous night to meet at the tunnel entrance at 8. Kenta was the last to arrive. "What took you so long?" Kazu demanded, arms akimbo. "We've been waiting for, like, 20 minutes." Ryo glanced at his watch. 7:23. Guess no one's enthused to get started, huh? he thought sarcastically.
Kenta glared at his friend. "Unlike some of us," he panted irritably. "I don't have a partner that's big enough to carry me. So I had to walk. And why do you have a golf club?" He pointed at the club Kazu had been swinging idly in his hand.
"This thing?" Kazu stopped swinging it and held it up. "I picked it up yesterday. Thought it might come in handy again today."
"You're weird, you know that?"
"Not as weird as you."
"Now that we're all here," Ryo cut in before they could get any more sidetracked, "We should probably figure out what we're going to do."
They all looked at him blankly. "I thought we'd discussed that," said Guardromon. "Save MegaGargomon and kick Parasimon butt, right?" The last phrase sounded odd in Guardromon's mechanical voice; Ryo wondered if he was quoting Kazu.
"And not getting killed," Kenta added.
"That too," Guardromon nodded.
"Yeah, but I'm talking more specific than that," Ryo explained. "We shouldn't go charging in there without some sort of plan."
"Wait, since when have we had plans?" Guardromon asked; Kazu elbowed him. Ryo ignored them both.
"Me and Cyberdramon will focus on saving Henry. You guys focus the Parasimon."
"Hang on a sec." Kenta frowned. "Wouldn't it make more sense for all of us to focus on saving Henry first, and then worry about the Parasimon?"
Ryo shook his head. "The Parasimon only left us alone when it didn't look like the one on Henry's back was in any immediate danger. We'll have to deal with them no matter what, and the more we can destroy today, the sooner all this'll be over."
"Whatever," Kazu said, drumming his fingers on the club handle impatiently. "Can we just go already?"
They walked through the tunnel in a slightly awkward silence, occasionally saying things like "Eugh, it smells like a port-a-potty in here," "Whaddaya think we're stepping in?" and "Woah, look at the size of that cockroach!"
When Ryo was starting to wonder when they'd reach the end, they found the reason why no one was guarding the tunnel entrance. In front of them, stretching from floor to ceiling, was an enormous pile of rubble. The biggest gap Ryo could see was about the size of his shoe.
"Great," Kenta groaned. "It's caved in."
"Crash," MarineAngemon squeaked in agreement.
"Well," Kazu said, hands on hips, "Let's do this the not-so-subtle way. Guardromon?"
"Right," He aimed. "Guardian Barrage!"
All of them ducked as the explosion sent bits of cement and concrete flying every which way; they scrambled for cover. As the dust settled, the six of them observed Guardromon's handiwork. He had made a dent, but mostly it looked like all he had done was send rubble flying.
"Lot of good that did," Cyberdramon muttered.
Kenta walked up to the edge of the pile and walked from side to side, looking at it from different angles. "The slope of this thing's pretty steep," he remarked. "It must be packed pretty thick, except maybe at the top."
Kazu scowled. "Well then we'll just keep blasting til we get through."
"No you idiot," Cyberdramon growled. "You might cause another cave in." Frankly, it was surprising that the first attempt hadn't already done so.
"So what do you think we should do instead?" Kazu demanded.
In the end, they clambered to the top of the pile and started digging, following Kenta's hypothesis that the rubble was thinnest there. It took a while to get through, and even longer to make a hole big enough for Guardromon and Cyberdramon to fit through.
But once they made it through, the end of the tunnel was only a few feet away. Sweaty and dirty, they emerged into the daylight.
"Holy-" Kazu stopped dead in the doorway.
"What? What is it?" Kenta demanded, shoving his friend out of the way. Uncharacteristically, Kazu made no objection. Kenta, too, stopped short, his mouth hanging open. Ryo peered over his friend's shoulder- not hard to do, since he was foot taller- and saw what had them staring agape.
On the buildings a few blocks away in front of them, he saw- webs. They were everywhere, covering the skyscrapers, and spanning the streets and other spaces between buildings.
Like spider webs on steroids. He assumed it was the same material they had zapped him with yesterday. That would make their job a lot harder, having to fight the Parasimon and steer clear of the Electric Fence From Hell at the same time. The only upside was that for whatever reason, the webbing never seemed to go too far below about ten feet above street level.
"Do you mind?" Guardromon said somewhat irritably. The three humans plus MarineAngemon hastily moved away from the door.
Guardromon and Cyberdramon were too big to fit through the human-sized door. But a well aimed Desolation Claw took care of that problem. They coughed as the smoke cleared and the two large Digimon emerged through the violently renovated doorway.
"You think they'll be mad at us for blowing up the door?" Kenta wondered.
Kazu scoffed. "C'mon, man. If we save this city, who's gonna care about a little small-scale destruction?"
Guardromon glanced around, noting the lack of enemy Digimon trying to kill them. "Where do you suppose everyone is?" The area was devoid of life, including birds and annoying mosquitoes, even though it was summer. Even MegaGargomon, who was several stories tall and therefore difficult to miss, was nowhere to be seen.
And then they heard it. High pitched chattering and soft clacking. The sources of the noise weren't far behind. Parasimon, hordes of them, scurrying on roof tops, webbing nets, sides of buildings, and any other available surface. The Parasimon lining the street directly in front of them parted to form a sort of aisle in the middle of the road.
"Um, this is… different…" said Kenta.
A figure emerged from a right-hand corner a few blocks down the street, turned walked towards them down the "aisle." Ryo assumed it was a Digimon, though at this distance he couldn't tell which kind. Although it was humanoid in shape, its head was too large and too bizarrely shaped to be human. But it turned out his assumption was only half correct.
Once again, Guardromon was the first to recognize it. Or them, rather. "It's Henry! And Terriermon!" Sure enough, it was. As they got closer, Ryo saw that what he'd thought was a head was actually Terriermon hanging off his partner's shoulder, as he often did.
"They've dedigivolved," Kenta said in surprise. "Why?"
"Holding your bio-merged form takes too much energy to do for long," Ryo answered.
Henry and Terriermon stopped a few feet outside the web-covered area, and a few hundred feet away from them. Henry's clothes were wrinkled and stained and slightly torn, and his hair was a mess, but otherwise he and Terriermon appeared to be alright. Except for their eyes. They had an unnaturally empty look to them. It was creepy, really.
Without preamble, Henry raised his Digivice in one hand. "Bio-merge Activate!"
"Terriermon bio-merge to-"
They both shone with a blinding green light. Ryo and the others took an instinctive step backwards as the jade-lit form grew at an exponential rate. While the glowing form took the familiar shape of MegaGargomon, Ryo glanced at Cyberdramon, who nodded.
"Remember the plan," he hissed to the others, before raising his own D-Arc. "Bio-merge Activate!" He settled into the form of Justimon (that was the best word to describe the feeling). He saw MegaGargomon rocket straight upwards, above the tops of the skyscrapers, presumably to get clear of the web-networks. It seemed that being possessed by Parasimon didn't make him immune to its effects.
Fine by me. Justimon took off after him. He lost track of the others after that. But before he could clear the buildings, MegaGargomon had unleashed his first attack.
"Mega Barrage!" Missiles rained on him like hellfire.
There were too many to dodge, so instead- "Voltage Blade!" Justimon managed to deflect most of them with his sword, not stopping his ascent. He came level with his opponent/friend and somersaulted over him, aiming his blade at MegaGargomon's back where he knew the Parasimon controlling him was (though it was invisible at the moment).
But MegaGargomon was faster than he expected- much faster, considering his size. He whirled around, lifted an arm, and knocked Justimon straight downwards, like spiking a volleyball over a net. Justimon just managed to stop himself midfall before he could hit the webs below. He came much, much closer then he would've liked.
Justimon launched himself back up at MegaGargomon. It wasn't long before they settled on hand-to-hand combat, using kicks and punches instead of swords and missiles.
Theoretically, they should have been evenly matched, MegaGargomon's superior strength compensating for Justimon's advantage in speed and agility.
But it didn't take long for Ryo to realize just how much of a disadvantage he was at. To put it simply, Justimon had to hold back for fear of seriously injuring Henry and Terriermon. Worse, the webs covering the buildings and spaces in between below meant that if one of them fell, there were few places to land that weren't covered by the stuff- especially for MegaGargomon, considering his size.
As Ryo had learned the previous day, if one of them got stuck to it, it would very likely kill them. And there would be no MarineAngemon to save them. He essentially had to fight with one hand tied behind his back. MegaGargomon had no such constraints- or rather, the Parasimon controlling him didn't.
MegaGargomon's arm swung from out of nowhere, sending him flying backwards. Justimon caught and steadied himself in midair. He circled around a bit before charging. MegaGargomon was ready for him.
"Justice Burst!" But he knew before he fired that he would miss. MegaGargomon had already turned to block the blue energy bursts with his forearms. Justimon snarled in frustration. If he could only get a clear shot at MegaGargomon's back, he would be able to end it! But MegaGargomon was too good at keeping him from getting that chance. Frustratingly good.
He was starting to regret telling his friends not to help him fight- save MegaGargomon. The only good news was that the other Parasimon were nowhere in sight. He chose to take that as a sign that Kazu and the others were successful with their part of the plan. His part had been a dismal failure so far. Then again, it hadn't been a brilliant plan to start with.
As Justimon and MegaGargomon took to the air to begin their fight, the rest of the group watched the Parasimon warily. But the Parasimon didn't seem remotely interested in fighting, or even in them. Instead, they cheered and jeered as they watched the fight proceed above.
"Don't they care that we're here?" Kenta muttered, adjusting his glasses.
"No," Guardromon replied bluntly.
"Oh, gee, how wonderful," Kenta groaned.
Kazu grinned wolfishly as hefted his golf club. "So why don't we make them care?" He cupped his hands around his mouth. "Oi! Come 'n get us you ugly mudsuckers!" The Parasimon paid about as much attention to this as a nuclear bomb pays to a potato gun.
His friends gave him strange looks. "Mudsuckers?" Guardromon asked.
"….Look, just blow shit up for me, ok?"
"Guardian Barrage!" Guardromon launched some rockets at a cluster of them on the wall, causing it to rain pink spider bits all over the sidewalk. Gross. Thankfully, the mess quickly vanished in a puff of data.
Now sufficiently pissed off, the remaining surged towards heir little group. Kazu gulped and gripped his golf club. Here goes.
Guardromon and MarineAngemon let loose a volley of their respective attacks, meeting the surge head on. Kazu raised his golf club as a handful of Parasimon came at him. He swung hard. They tried to back off, but wound up crashing into each other. He felt his club connect with something solid. It was satisfying, really. But it also pissed the hell out of the one he'd hit.
"Giiiiiiiiii!" it screeched angrily. They regrouped and came at him again. He swung and swung and swung at them until he was essentially swinging at any moving object in his vicinity.
Suddenly, MarineAngemon screeched. "Watch where you swing that thing!" Kenta yelled angrily.
"Sorry!" Kazu dove left to dodge an oncoming Parasimon. But something grabbed his ankle and yanked backwards. "Oof!" he grunted as his side slammed painfully onto the hard sidewalk. He quickly sat up and saw the Parasimon had wrapped a tentacle around his ankle. His club had fallen out of reach. He shook his foot hard, banging it- and the tentacle- hard on the concrete, but the thing started dragging him in towards it. Shitshitshitshitshitshitshit…
"Guardian Barrage!" His partner incinerated it easily.
"Thanks man." Kazu stood up and grabbed his club off the ground. "Hey, Kenta, we've gotten six of 'em already!"
"Oh yeah?" his friend called back. "We've gotten nine!"
"Are you kidding me?" Kazu was dumbfounded. He couldn't be outdone by the likes of Kenta and his little pink cherub. "C'mon Guardromon!" He ducked inside an open printing store where he would be out of the way, pulling his cards out of his back pocket. He selected the one he wanted, and swiped it.
"Digi-Modify! Range Activate!" He watched Guardromon next attack through the store window.
"Guardian Barrage!" Defying the laws of reality, the missiles hit not only the Parasimon they hit directly, but several others in the vicinity as well.
Kazu grinned. Now that's more like it. Too bad there were restrictions on how frequently he could use a single card.
The elevator door slid open with a soft ding. Janyu stepped into the hallway with a slight grimace. These were the headquarters that Hypnos had relocated to when the D-Reaper first appeared on Earth. I had a feeling I'd be back here someday, he thought. I wish it hadn't happened so soon though. He sighed.
"C'mon Suzie," he murmured.
His daughter followed him, ostentatiously not looking at him and dragging her feet. Lopmon wasn't with her, for once. The Digimon had left them once they got off the subway.
He swiped his keycard as the reached the headquarters' entrance. The locked beeped, and the light switched from red to green. The door slid open. In terms of décor and equipment, the room was as Janyu remembered it from last time. The one difference was that there weren't as many people as there usually had been last time. Then again, it is only 7 in the morning. His instincts told him there was a reason Yamaki had requested he come so much earlier than the others. They also told him he wouldn't like it.
"Janyu!" Tally Onodera waved as she ran over to him. "It's good to see you again. Although," she faltered for a moment, "I wish it could have been under better circumstances…"
Something about her tone told him she'd already heard about Henry. He returned her tired smile. "So do I. How are you?"
She yawned. "Exhausted. I'm finishing up the night shift. It sucks, but someone's gotta do it. Could be worse though. Yamaki's was on duty til midnight last night, and he got here this morning at around 4:30." She shook her head. "I honestly don't know why Riley puts up with it."
Janyu didn't know quite what she meant by that last bit, but he wasn't interested in pressing the issue. He glanced around. "Listen, is there somewhere Suzie could sit for today? Somewhere where I could keep an eye on her, but where she won't be in the way or anything?"
Tally glanced at Suzie curiously. "You brought your daughter with you?"
"My wife was on a business trip in Shanghai when this whole mess started," Janyu explained. "And all planes in and out of Tokyo have been grounded since yesterday. My other kids are old enough to take care of themselves for today, but Suzie…" he trailed off with a shrug. He didn't see any point in going into further detail.
The best Tally was able to procure was a folding chair in a corner, but Suzie was too focused on her and Antylamon's mission to care or even really notice what was happening around her.
Just as they got her settled, Yamaki emerged from his office and spotted them. "Janyu. Good, you're here. I need to talk with you in my office." He glanced at Tally. "Day shift just arrived. Go get some sleep."
Tally grinned tiredly. "No complaints here." She left.
After telling Suzie to call him if she needed anything, Janyu entered Yamaki's office. "Please, sit down," the younger man told him tersely, gesturing at a chair in front of his desk. Janyu complied, wary. "I heard about Henry," Yamaki said after a moment. "I'm… sorry." His voice sounded strange. Comforting people is not this guy's forte, Janyu thought wryly.
"It's alright," he told him. It was a lie, really.
"You've read the briefing I sent you last night?" Yamaki asked. He sounded more in his element now, asking questions and giving orders.
"Good. Right now, our main goal is to prevent the Parasimon from advancing any further. The problem is, conventional weapons don't work on Digital life-forms, as you already know. Hypnos is working on… unconventional weapons that will help, but they're still prototypes. The ones that aren't too dangerous, like Juggernaut, are too weak to be effective in the field. Frankly, I doubt we'll have anything usable for another three years, at least."
Most of this Janyu knew, or could've figured out on his own if he'd thought about it. He was about to say so, but Yamaki talked over him. "This means that the only ones who can do anything about the Parasimon are the Tamers. But as I said in my report, Takato Matsuki and Rika Nonaka both went through the Digital Gate that appeared yesterday in Shinjuku, along with their Digimon, into the Digital World. So in addition to assisting the Tamers who are still here, Hypnos' top priority is bringing them home as quickly as possible." Yamaki looked him straight in the eye. "I'm putting you on the team in charge of solving that project."
"What?" Janyu stood up, angry. "What about Henry? Damn it, Yamaki, I told you last night when you called me that getting him back was the only reason I was coming back to this goddamned place! And now you're telling me-!"
"Hear me out!" Yamaki hissed. "Think about this for a minute, Janyu! The only way to save your son is to remove or destroy the Parasimon on his back that's controlling him! But as long as our weapons don't affect the Parasimon, Hypnos can't do any thing to help him. The only ones who can help him are his friends." Yamaki didn't need to specify which 'friends.' "And the only way to help them is to bring Takato and Rika home as soon as possible."
Janyu was seething. On some level, he knew Yamaki's arguments made sense. But he was too enraged to care. "You've never had children," he told him, his voice shaking. "You don't know what it's like, to wonder if you're ever going to see your child again."
"You're right. I don't," Yamaki said coldly. "But this is my operation, not yours. If you want to work here, you've got to do it my way. If you want to search for your son, go ahead. But you won't be able to do much without Hypnos' resources."
For a moment, Janyu looked as if he was going to say he'd do just that, and then storm out of the building. But something made him relent.
"Fine," he said. "I'll do it. But if Henry doesn't come back…" He didn't seem to know how to finish the sentence, and instead left the office in a hurry.
Day 2, Evening
"Kahuna Waves!" Kenta skidded to a halt as the Parasimon disintegrated a few feet in front of him. He glanced around quickly. They were in Shinjuku's commercial district, on a street lined with storefronts and apartment buildings. Abandoned cars lay half-smashed all over the place. The light was poor, with the networks of webbing half-blocking the sky.
"Any more of them?" he asked as MarineAngemon rejoined him. As if in answer, he heard a noise directly above him. Kenta looked up. One of the Parasimon was rappelling down from the cob-web like layers above, rapidly descending straight down on top of him.
"Giiiiii!" it screeched, half in free fall.
Kenta yelped and flinched.
"Puu!" his partner squeaked. The Parasimon exploded less than a foot above Kenta's head. He lowered his arms and looked for the next set of opponents. To his astonishment, there were none. Not that he thought for a moment they'd all gone. He could still hear them, chattering a few streets over, out of sight. Still, after spending what seemed like hours constantly fending off one Evil Pink Spider after another, the calm felt strange. But it wouldn't last. The chattering was getting louder, closer. And he was so tired…
"Let's get outta here." He made for the door of the nearest building it was locked.
Damn. He tried the next closest door. Also locked. Tension mounted in his chest. The Parasimon were getting closer. The third door he tried finally opened. It was a small bookstore, narrow enough that there was only just enough room for bookshelves to line the walls. That and the large storefront windows meant that most of the store was visible from the outside.
Not good. Kenta scrambled behind the only cover: a sales counter against one of the side walls. He sat perfectly still there, breathing shallowly, his heart pounding uncomfortably in his rib cage. The chattering grew louder and louder, until it sounded as though they were right outside. Then it steadily died away, until Kenta could no longer hear them no matter how hard he strained.
After a few minutes had passed, MarineAngemon floated cautiously upward to peer out the window.
"All gone," he announced. Kenta relaxed. It was only then that he able to enjoy the nice, refreshing feeling of being off his feet, after a long, tiring day…
Something poked him in the shoulder. "Kenta… Kenta… dude, wake up."
He opened his eyes and glanced around. He had fallen asleep with out realizing it.
"Oh, it's you," he said, seeing Kazu crouched on his haunches at the entrance to the gap between the counter and the wall.
"Weird place for a nap," his friend commented.
"Well, I was tired…" he muttered defensively, pushing his glasses back up the bridge of his nose. He glanced around. When he'd come into the store, the light had been fading. Now it was dark, except for the few streetlights that hadn't been smashed up or broken during the fight. He saw Guardromon's outline in the window, standing just outside. "What time is it?"
Kenta managed to stand up, in spite of protests from his aching body after spending what must've been hours scrunched up in the narrow gap between the counter and the wall. He stretched, trying to work out the cramps. In the process, he accidentally hit a lamp on the counter, knocking it over with a very loud crash.
He winced, and not just because of the new pain in the back of his hand.
"Nice going," Kazu snickered.
"Shut up, it isn't funny," Kenta retorted. To his annoyance, Kazu only laughed more. "Help me find a light, will you?" Eventually, Kenta located a light switch on the wall behind the counter, and flipped on the lights. He looked at the mess he'd made and groaned. From the shard of glass and pottery on the ground, looked like the lamp had been old, probably valuable.
"Great. How much do you think that cost?"
Kazu shrugged, unconcerned. "Does it matter? No one's gonna know we did it. And if they did, do you really think they'd care?"
He had a point. And it wasn't as though Kenta had any money on him that he could leave behind to reimburse the store owner (and he doubted that Kazu would be willing to lend him his own money, assuming he had any on him).
Still, Kenta's goody-two shoes instincts insisted he at least clean up the mess. He had to do it by himself, since Kazu flatly refused to help. "You're the klutz, not me," he said.
When that had been taken care of, Kenta asked, "Hey, have you seen Ryo?"
Kazu frowned. "I saw him fighting MegaGargomon, above the Hypnos building, when it was getting dark. But not since then."
"You think they're ok?" Kenta asked, trying not to sound too worried.
"Of course!" Kazu answered. "Ryo's the legendary Tamer, isn't he?" But he said it a little too quickly and a little too confidently to be entirely believable.
"Maybe he went to the tunnel?" Kenta suggested. They hadn't agreed on a time and place to meet in case they got separated- an error, in retrospect- so it seemed like the most logical place. But, as Kazu pointed out, that was clear on the other side of the Shinjuku ward. They'd moved quite a distance over the course of the day. And there was no guarantee he would be there. There was also the fact that none of them had eaten a thing since morning, and were starving.
So they decided to postpone the search for Ryo and find a restaurant, or grocery store, or café, or some place that had food they could steal. They left the bookstore, turning off the lights and closing the door behind them.
Kenta didn't remember exactly how, but over the course of the day, he'd moved to an area a good distance outside the area covered by the Parasimon's webs. Fortunately, there seemed to be fewer Parasimon out here. They turned down the street, walking in the opposite direction of that place.
They found a fancy looking Chinese restaurant. Unfortunately, the door was bolted. So they kept looking, and found an ice cream store. Also locked.
After trying their fourth locked restaurant, Kazu declared, "Alright, screw this. We're breaking in."
Ordinarily, Kenta would have objected. But extreme hunger, combined with mounting frustration over these obstacles, beat down that instinct. They all backed away, as Guardromon blasted the door apart with one of his small missiles.
Not far away, someone yelled. Kenta heard the sound of running footsteps. It didn't sound like a Parasimon- the voice had been low, and the footsteps sounded more like sneakers then the clicking of Parasimon feet on concrete or asphalt- but after the day he'd had, he wasn't going to take chances. He whirled around, in time to see Ryo come running around the corner.
Ryo halted upon seeing them, but only for a second. "Ryo!" Kenta called happily.
Ryo stopped in front of them, as the others echoed Kenta's greeting. "Are you guys ok?" Ryo panted. "I heard an explosion, and saw smoke here…" he stopped as he saw where the entrance to the restaurant had been less than a minute earlier. "Um… were you guys attacked or something?"
Kazu scratched his head, looking sheepish. "Uh… no. We were hungry, and we found this place… but it was locked, so Guardromon, uh…opened it for us," he explained.
Ryo stared at the gaping, still smoking hole that had been blasted open in the storefront. "Ummm… don't you think you over did it there a little?" he queried Guardromon. "I mean, you could've just kicked down the door or something."
"Yes, but then I wouldn't have been able to fit through," Guardromon answered. He might've gotten more sympathy, if he hadn't sounded so much like a sulky child when he said it.
Monodramon sniffed the air and grinned. "All right! Food!" He leapt off Ryo's shoulder and bounded inside. It was a little disorienting how different he was from Cyberdramon, Kenta thought as they followed him inside.
It was a cheap, fast food place, selling extremely greasy, but decent food. None of them could figure out how to turn on the grill, so they had to microwave whatever they found in the industrial sized refrigerator. Only after they had dug in at one of the tables did they bring each other up to date on they'd been doing that day.
Ryo and Monodramon had spent most of the day fighting MegaGargomon. When it started to get dark, both of them were too drained to continue holding their Mega forms, and had been forced to de-Digivolve. Ryo hadn't been able to find Henry or Terriermon after that.
"Hey, that reminds me," Kazu said suddenly, as Kenta finished telling his part of the story. "How many did you get?"
Kenta stared at him blankly. "Huh?" he and Ryo chorused.
"Parasimon. How many of 'em did you get?" Then Kenta remembered; their contest to see who could destroy more Parasimon.
Crud. In the excitement of the fighting, he'd clean forgotten to keep track.
"Umm…" he said, stalling, "uh… how many did you get?" he asked.
"What?" Kazu looked startled- and suspiciously uncomfortable. "Uh, no, I asked you first."
Kenta narrowed his eyes. Wait a minute… "Hey! You don't remember, do you?" The look on Kazu's face gave him away. "Ha! I knew it!" Kenta said triumphantly.
Kazu was quick to recover. "Well do you remember?" he shot back.
Ryo and Monodramon looked from one to the other, identical expressions of bemusement on their faces. "Um… I think I missed something," said Ryo.
Yamaki sank into his chair, massaging his temples. 36 hours since this fiasco had begun. Or was it 38? He'd lost count. After evacuating their facilities in West Shinjuku, Hypnos had relocated its operations to the same building they had used when the D-Reaper had taken over. In retrospect, it may have been better to pick another building as their alternate HQ. This place brought back a lot of bad memories for people who had been here back then. But they couldn't do anything about it now that they were settled in.
The one bit of good news was that, as far as they knew, Parasimon were diurnal. He would be able to go on break soon and get some sleep. The phone rang. He sighed and picked it up. "This is Yamaki," he said tiredly.
"Please hold for the Defense Minister." It sounded like a very stereotypical female secretary.
Defense Minister Tohru Kanzaka was Yamaki's boss. Once, Hypnos had been an independent black-ops agency, free to do pretty much whatever it needed to do to accomplish its mission, so long as it remained secret. But that had all changed after the D-Reaper attack, when the government had been forced to acknowledge Hypnos' existence. Facing accusations about sanctioning a rogue agency that freely violated privacy rights, the government had put Hypnos under the Defense Ministry's jurisdiction.
As politicians went, Kanzaka was alright. He had persuaded the Prime Minister to keep Yamaki as head of Hypnos, even when firing him would have boosted his party's standing in the polls.
The phone beeped, and Kanzaka's voice came on. He didn't even bother identifying himself, since Yamaki already knew who was calling. Instead he jumped directly to the point. "I just got out of a meeting with the Premier and the SDF generals," he said without preamble. "We looked at the reports you sent us today, and the Prime Minister issued orders for you to activate the Juggernaut as soon as possible."
For a brief moment Yamaki was unable to say anything at all. He had expected something like this too happen at some point, but not so soon, and not with so little warning. For a man who tried to prepare for anything and everything, it was pretty hard to take.
"You there?" Kanzaka queried after a minute of silence.
Yamaki found his voice. "Are you serious?"
"Did I stutter?"
"Sir, with all due respect, this is a mistake," Yamaki insisted. "The Tamers' Digimon will be forced to go back to the Digital World, and we'll lose our only line of defense against-"
Kanzaka cut him off. "I made that same argument to the Cabinet yesterday. But that was before I saw the reports on their progress today. With only three of them, it'll take weeks to get rid of all of the Parasimon, and that's not considering how long the brainwashed kid will drag things out. We have the ability to stop this right now-"
It was Yamaki's turn to interrupt. "Have you forgotten what happen after we destroyed the D-Reaper?" He was referring to the weeks before the Tamers had been able to bring their Digimon back to the Real World. A number of rogue Digimon had Bio-Emerged, and without the Tamers to stop them, they had been able to run rampant for weeks at a time. Most had been Rookies (thankfully), but they were still able to cause a lot of damage and even kill a few people before the government forces could capture them and force them through portals back to the Digital World.
Yamaki could almost hear the Defense Minister scowling through the phone. "Don't try to make me the villain here Yamaki," Kanzaka snapped. "I don't want a repeat of that, but it's better than what we're facing now. Besides, you had no problem using Juggernaut back then."
"That was different. The D-Reaper could have erased the whole world. The Parasimon are only a threat to Tokyo, and we'll be able to drive them out eventually."
"Eventually?" Kanzaka was starting to sound angry. "Eventually? Do you know how many people have been killed during this fiasco?"
Though he was loathe to admit to not knowing something, there was really no way to fudge it. "No."
"103, plus 230,000 evacuated. And counting. The government's setting up shelters in convention centers and stadiums and all that in the suburbs, but it just can't handle that many people at once. Pretty soon we'll have a humanitarian crisis on our hands. And don't forget what happened in the election after the D-Reaper attack."
Yamaki ground his teeth. Politics. He should have known that that was what this was really about. The spineless cabinet was afraid that they would be crushed in the next election if they didn't look like they were doing anything. Not even Kanzaka was above it. God, he hated politicians.
"Sir, I-" Yamaki began, but Kanzaka cut him off again.
"Yamaki, I'm not calling you for your input. The decision's already made. I just wanted you to understand why it was necessary. Start the program as soon as it's operational. Understood?"
Yamaki grimaced. "Understood." Kanzaka hung up. Yamaki sat there for several seconds before slamming the phone back into the receiver.
A/N: Kazu and Kenta are fun to write. Have I mentioned that? Suzie too, in a challenging sort of way.
Oh, and in case you're wondering about the "Day 2" stuff: that indicates how many days after the movie's events we're at (with Day 1 being the initial Parasimon attack). I'm putting it in as much for my benefit as for yours. There are at least three different storylines going on at once right now, depending on how you count (one with Rika and Takato, one with Ryo and co., and one at Hypnos), with even more to come, most likely. Keeping track of everything, and remembering what events happen when in relation to the other plotlines, is becoming really difficult for me. My current manuscript for this fic is so long that I had to create a second Word Document with summaries of everything that's happened so far. The "Day 2" thing helps me (and hopefully you readers) keep track when different events are happening.
And yes, I realize that the events of Day 2 technically started with the last part of Chapter 4. I posted that before I decided to keep track of Days.
Also, now is as good a time as any to talk about one major character who will probably not be appearing again in this fic: Beelzemon. He was in the movie, so he'd already shown up in Chapter 1. And originally, he was going to show up, very briefly, in this chapter: he would meet up with Ryo et al at the sewer entrance, and then, when the battle started, he would run off to fight on his own. But the problem is that I have no freaking clue how to write the guy. So in the end, I decided to cut him out. I only have a rough, in-story explanation for why he's not help Ryo and co., and it may change. Currently, what I'm going with is that Ai and Mako's family were evacuated somewhere fairly distant from Tokyo (perhaps Osaka or Kyoto); far enough away that the three of them can't easily make it back to Tokyo without help from their parents
And finally, Digimon Xros Wars (aka season 6) has started airing! So far it's only airing in Japan, and it'll probably be awhile before the dub comes out, but you can find subs online (oh, and FYI it's pronounced "Cross Wars"). So far it's been pretty enjoyable. Was going to say more, but the author's note wound up insanely long.
As always, R&R!