Crystal Tamers



Part One: The Balance tilts



by Tremor3258



Time/Place/Setting Note: This is technically in the 02 Universe, but the story takes place about fifty years after the defeat of MaloMyotismon, and things can change in fifty years. The tag/crests are gone, the Digimentals (Digiegg is too confusing, as Digiegg's are also where baby Digimon come from) are in hiding, and DNA Digivolution isn't activated.



Disclaimer I don't own Digimon. Whoever ends up owning the rights in the next few months, please don't sue.

The initial quote (up to 'all the good TV shows') is a paraphrase of one in Origin's Wing Commander Strategy Guide. Don't tell me if it doesn't sound plausible.



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The continuing rise of telecommunication industries led to more and more cultural barriers being broken as instantaneous understanding became more and more critical in the marketplace, leading to the rise of English to predominate. Why? All the good TV shows were in English. Though Digital Gates remained unstable, the instantaneous transportation possibilities led to an economic boom. Old countries and geographic regions became less and less important in the year's following the Rebalancing The power prevalent in even a Rookie Digimon, along with most Digimon's notion of defensive fighting only, made wars nearly impossible. The Digital World's Rebirth led to our Golden Age. - Takeru Takaishi. History of the Digi-Destined Printed fifteen years after Oikawa's sacrifice.



Jessica Silphus idly kicked a can out of her way, watching it skitter along the slightly grungy sidewalk before deflecting off the concrete corner of the apartment building in front of her, before it came to rest in a small area, no top of other detritus, where the wind piled up the dust and grime of modern city life.



The twelve-year old swept a few locks of brown-blond hair out of her face, and looked around at the buildings. They were intact, of course, as everyone tried to keep their various section looking the best so that more people, and thus more Digimon would move in. Of course, walking from section to section was a bit difficult, but Jessica was almost certain that the fifteen year olds would be near the highway this time of day, probably with a tollbooth set up.



Many groups were calling themselves the Digidestined now days, because they had partners. As far as Jessica understood recent history, they did so little of what the originals had done. The Digidestined had preserved the balance between worlds, preventing the multiverse from collapsing in upon itself. They had fought bravely, despite being slightly younger than Jessica herself, and several had dedicated their entire lives to peace. They had been drafted, but had risen to the occasion despite terrible odds.



Now, there were these pretenders to the old mantle. Those with more powerful Digimon claiming taxes of some sort from others to help keep them strong. Wild ones coming across from the Digital World were rare, but they had to be dealt with carefully, and didn't excuse the attitudes. Jessica felt in her heart that even Devimon, the first truly evil creature the Digidestined faced, would be enough to break them. She thought herself brave, most of the time, but against something that placed life and light itself as its enemy, she knew in her core that she would run as far and as fast as she could.



She felt a stirring in her backpack and forced to make her mood better. Her Digimon partner was very good at picking up moods and emotions, and felt uncomfortable during her bouts of self-doubt. Jessica concentrated on slowing down a little to make the ride easier. If she was to be caught, she would be, and the friend she was meeting to go to school with probably wasn't out yet. Well, Jessica smiled as her thoughts went to the small life in her backpack, the other friend she was meeting.



Her partner and soulmate hadn't appeared for a few days after she was born, due to the fact that she had been a trifle earlier than expected and her parents had been enjoying their last few possible days of freedom in the middle of the wilderness on a camping trip. Luckily, there were no complications, but the mountain wilds of Hokkaido aren't known for their massive amounts of electronic's gear. It was a few days before they could move her, and as soon as they got within range of a net-connected computer, a Digiegg had popped up and rested near her, blue and red. It had soon hatched into her closest friend and constant companion, at the time a small blue head with red spikes as a sort of crown above its eyes. People had been worried, because usually a fresh Digimon would emerge, but Sabotmon had used all her energy to make her way through the Net to find her. It was a real validation when she thought about it.



Now, Sabotmon had become Slithermon, an in-training reptillian Digimon. Obviously not of this earth with blue coloration and white stripes down her side, but she otherwise resembled a baby crocodile. Like most in-training levels, Slithermon spent most of her time either sleeping, or trying to snatch food under Jessica's ever-watchful eyes. The high-pitched voice squeaked reproachfully from her backpack, "You know, I do need energy if I'm ever going to digivolve."



"If you had your way, you'd chow your way up to Mega in your current body. I like you when you're still capable of movement. Besides, when it happens, it happens. There hasn't been a real threat, and you staying in a convenient travel sized package is a plus." Slithermon sleepily chirped her agreement.



Jessica reflected that Slithermon was right on the energy issue. For whatever reason, most who digivolved didn't reach the really powerful forms, like Agumon digivolving to, say, Numemon instead of Greymon. Jessica's fondness for history, and the less chaotic times of the twentieth, mega Digimon attacking Odaiba or not, made her wonder what was happening with that. The partner bond was supposed to grant MORE energy to a Digimon. Instead, many seemed ... diminished.



That series of thoughts led to Jessica examining her Digivice. A small, white rounded rectangle, with a screen about the size of that on a digital wristwatch. All Digivices were brought along with the Digimon in question, but most now were the original Digivice design than the D-3s. No one knew what that meant, as it seemed to be a part of the Digital world. Jessica's favorite theory was that the Digital Gates were becoming more and more stable, so D-3s were no longer necessary. Any Digivice could grant passage, but only D-3s could open them. If it wasn't needed, then the Digital World could be more picky with whom it thought would get D-3s.



"You're thinking bad thoughts about yourself again, Jessica," said Slithermon sleepily, "I know it puts your guilt spiral down a little further down every time I say something, but if I don't say something you get locked onto one thing and you just keep magnifying it. I mean, I know this neighborhood makes you depressed because of some of the inhabitants; they make me depressed, but you're not willing to simply accept it. That's good."



Jessica sighed again, and pushed her hair out of her face, she was half Japanese, half Korean, but no one knew where the blond had come from. It was slowly darkening to the right color though. Once Jessica could see again, she said, "I know, Slithermon. But there's a lot I can't do yet, and it seems I just get locked in the same old cycle. Sometimes it seems the only way to get through is to butt heads."



"Funny you should mention that, as that what you'll get unless you pay the toll," said a female voice, echoing around her. Jessica grimaced, partly out of fear, but also partly out of annoyance. She had run into this group of morons before, and knew the best way to deal with them was to move quickly. A Digital Barrier had been set up around her to hide the group of punks, but there were ways around that. She closed her eyes and tried to slow her breathing, which wasn't easy, because if they were here, pickings had been slim on the highway and they probably weren't in a good mood.



A charge like electricity made her hair stand on end for a moment and Jessica opened her eyes in triumph. The group of older kids had taken to 'claiming' this territory for themselves, and possession of a Phantommon gave them sufficient muscle to back it up, shaking down residents for protection. Most of the rest of the gang were Geckomon, with a Greymon for heavier backup, but Phantomon's little illusionary tricks were their main asset.



The girl who was Phantomon's partner liked to think too big, and Phantomon usually spread his illusion over too large an area, plus cloaking his partner in total impenetrable shadow. Geckomon didn't really need the protection, since they were decent at stealth anyway. Thus, if one knew the barrier was there, it was relatively easy to get through.



And now's the time to get, thought Jessica to herself. She broke into a light jog, glad she walked to school rather than taking a bus. Several of the partners, simply hanging back, ordered their Geckomon forward, despite the fact the humans had equal or greater strength. That said, the Geckomon also managed to crash themselves into a pile, none of them getting Jessica.



"Morons," stated the girl, "Since we're not trying to turn her into a cinder, Phantomon, as always, you have to pick up the pieces." The ghostly Digimon nodded its agreement.



"Shadow Scythe!" Phantomon launched his special attack off, a beam of dark energy carving a path through the walkway Jessica had been running on. Shrieking involuntarily, Jessica covered her face with her arms as shrapnel pelted her front.



Growling angrily, Slithermon worked his way clear of the unfastened backpack strap. She knew that she had no chance even against a Geckomon, but darned if she was going to simply sit back and watch her partner be assaulted. The Geckomon paused as a loud growl came out of the tiny creature.



"Mental note: find more capable Digidestined for gang," muttered the leader. She nodded and Phantomon made a mystical gesture. The air rippled as Greymon appeared. Not nearly as strong as the Ultimate ghost, but far more imposing looking, the ancient Digimon loomed over the scenery.



"Tamer," corrected Jessica reflexively. They weren't chosen to save the world, but they were supposed to take care of their partners, which was a different category really. She knew they were in trouble when the gang had even shown up, ready to shake her down for a protection fee, but the fact that their leader had brought along Greymon meant she wasn't in a good mood.



The shadowy figure stepped forward, and looked at Jessica appreciatively, "You stand up for what you believe in. I can admire that. Unfortunately, our world doesn't quite operate the way you want it too, and our service-based economy means you now need to pay up for our service in protecting from Wild Ones."



"I"ll show you service! Digi-port, open!" another female voice rang out to the side. The short for her age twelve year old, Angie Misamaru, held her school-issued laptop before her. The various Digimon writhed as the portal called for them. Jessica quickly scooped up Slithermon and held her close as the gang leader was forced to divert Phantomon to prevent the Geckomon from being sucked up. They would return, but it would take several days and probably exhaust them. Jessica took the opportunity to run for it.



She slowed down after a block or so, and sure enough, footsteps rang out as Angie caught up to her friend. "Jessica, I'm so sorry! I didn't realize they had changed their patrol pattern until I walked outside and didn't see Greymon anywhere near the road." Her partner, a Biyomon, nodded her agreement as well. Angie was one of the lucky ones who possessed the two friends' private cause's main source of funds: a D-3. There were always situations where people needed quick access to the Digital World, and the two spent a lot of money campaigning for more organized patrol routes with Digimon, preventing the gang-structure in use today. The irony, of course, was that only champion level Digimon and their partners were allowed to visit the Digital World without a chaperone, so the two were operating on a 'look but don't touch' level.



Jessica shook her head, "It's all right. I should have been paying more attention to my surroundings anyway. I really hate those guys." Jessica's expression darkened for a moment. Slithermon twitched once as a reminder, and Jessica changed the subject, "What did you want to show me so early anyway?"

Angie seemed lost for a moment before remembering herself, "Oh, you'll like these. Since you're so much on Digital history." Angie pulled a binder out of her backpack, and Jessica whistled at the contents when it was open: a prize collection of Digimon cards. The game had been popular a few years back as a 'teaching aid' to tell children how to battle their Digimon more effectively. Unfortunately, arguments over the card Digimon tended to end with real Digimon battling, and so the card game had been raised in price and not distributed as much (banning it in schools would have simply made it more popular).



Still, the researchers had done their work, and almost all the Digimon had been set to the average power level of their type. You occasionally met god-awfully strong Greymon who could take on ultimates, but these were set to be about typical for a match. And, Jessica noted, they had done a good job catching the Digidestined in an anime style as well for the cards. "These are really nifty. You've got most of the good ones. I mean, my collection isn't nearly as good.." Jessica collected them partly because of her love of the heroic era they represented, and partly for the challenge of collecting rather huge sets.

Angie smiled, "Neither is mine. This is actually my father's set. I found it in the attic and he said we could have it."



Jessica reached out a hand to touch the binder, and be sure of its reality, and then shook herself, "These are too nice to play with. I mean, I'm careful with my cards, but they've got the occasional chipped edge. These could have just come out of the pack." Jessica looked at the time and bit off a curse, "We're starting to run late. Let's hurry up and get to school." The two friends closed the binder, they would examine it later after school.



The shadows fell away from the figure who had been watching. The two hadn't thought of the possibility of another barrier being established, and the girl stepped out. Even in the more progressive day and age, the Japanese would call her gaijin, outsider. She had shoulder-length red hair and green eyes, wearing the uniform of the same middle-high school campus that the two went to, and she looked old for a thirteen year old, about fifteen, another reason to hide herself.

Margaret Downing shook her head, "Ah, youth," she said sarcastically. The girl kicked a pebble that had gotten in her way. The attack on Jessica had been petty, Margaret knew this. It had really been a warning for her not to get complacent, as well as a reminder that the world had changed from Jessica's land of history. Margaret had put the group together as an example. Baby steps were what was needed, not Jessica and her little cabal's attempts to drop the supports out on the world. Compared to most of the other groups, little fighting was done in the few blocks under protection. Jessica's own neighborhood wasn't as well kept-up. A lot of it was done through fear, yes, but it kept aggressive people away, meaning safety for all.



The girl felt a tingle at the back of her mind. Phantomon was reporting over their bond, close as the two were at Ultimate, that the last of the Gate had dissipated. She headed back to where the Geckomon were lying around. Having the data pulled by the Gate had greatly weakened them, as well as drained their trump card. Greymon wasn't stable as a champion yet, instead being an Agumon typically. Still, very few of their classmates had yet gotten their Digimon even beyond the rookie level, and many of the Geckomon's partners were salarypeople. Most of the partners nodded that their Geckomon were intact, and Margaret breathed a sigh of relief.



"You can step out now, my friend. No one saw you." The boy who was Agumon's partner walked out of the shadows where he had been hiding. Circumstances meant there was a great blessing in keeping his association with the group at a low level.



"Good. Let's get going then, we have a lot to do at school today." The two walked off along the same route the other two had taken. The boy shook her head, "Reality and what we wish it to be. You know, if those two ever get their Digimon to digivolve, we should bring at least offer them to join the group."



The boy looked like he could have come originally from any dozen spots on the globe, and wore goggles with the group as a joke, as "any group of Digidestined need a goggle-boy." His name was Allen Daijoji, and incidentally, he was a member of Jessica and Angie's little anti-tong club, the Anti-Protection Association.



Margaret was as well, and they were aware of the hypocrisy involved, but both had seen regions, not just slightly pitted by battle, but areas destroyed by gang wars. Margaret's methods were harsh, but they kept people safe. Meanwhile, they attempted for the better tomorrow.



"Would they take it?" Margaret asked. Jessica and Angie were reasonably strong people, Jessica prone to bouts of depression, partly because of Slithermon's continuing failure to digivolve, but they were starry-eyed idealists. Still, kids had changed the world before, Margaret reflected.



"No, probably not. But I think we might want to plant the seed. Also, we're getting close to school, do you want people to connect you with 'Shadow Girl'?" Margaret shook her head to her boyfriend and nodded at Phantomon. The Digimon quickly glimmered, reducing to Piddomon, a relatively small, weaker angel Digimon, with two wings and wearing red, but otherwise resembling Angemon. The angel Digimon staggered, and held onto the redhead's shoulder for support. Margaret had an old-style Digivice, but even with her focus and knowledge of what the Digivice could do, Phantomon was a little draining to reach.



Margaret felt a slight twinge from her partner as they walked. He had originally gone up the angel track, but when a wild Triceramon had popped through from the Digital World and charged through the tongs in the area, she had found within the strength to digivolve Piddomon again. Unfortunately, that strength had come from fear and pain, and so the Digimon had dark digivolved, eager to use his powers to destroy, and Piddomon always felt guilty. I really hope the ends will justify the means I put myself and others through. Poor Piddomon's put up with so much for my sake, thought Margaret. "Come on, angel of mine," speaking to the boy and the Digimon, "let's go hurry up. I have first period with Jessica."



"Man, I wish they'd stop hanging out with the enemy," one of the few children in the Geckomon group growled out. He was actually fifteen, so his Digimon had managed to keep a stable Champion form. Putting up with someone who actually held adults in fear, but put up with such weaklings a lot of the time was irritating. But not as irritating as having a wimpy Geckomon, when someone two years younger could actually get her partner up to Ultimate temporarily.



"You want strength, but lack the will to grab it?" said a sweet, musical voice from out of the air. The boy looked around, but no one else seemed to hear it. Maybe it's my subconcious, figured the high schooler. The voice continued, "There is a simple way. Grabbing enough data, either through time, or deleting enemies in battle, can lead to greater strength. However, an ANGRY, determined young man could grab such power as well, though this may help. Head to the ADA club meeting after school, and you may find something interesting." The boy shook his head once, but the voice did not reappear.



The school day went rather normally. Jessica and Angie met for lunch, discussing things like homework assignments, club activities, and relationships. "Man, Margaret has it so lucky," moaned Angie, "Allen is cute, smart, intelligent, hard-working, and dedicated to peace."



Biyomon added, "His Agumon is hot too."



Jessica shrugged, "True, but he is taken. I'd like to set my sights a little lower. You know, captain of the basketball team or so in levels of cuteness, but something with a brain." Slithermon, snatching rice whenever Jessica was distracted, chuckled through a mouthful. Angie didn't. Jessica groaned, "I have got to stop thinking out loud. He's right behind me, isn't he?" The annoyed school sportstar grabbed her shoulder to turn her around, but Slithermon, figuring a threat was coming, sprayed him with a Bubble Blast, which, though not much against Digimon, caught the athlete off-guard and knocked him to his rear as the bubbles popped against his face.



"John, let me V-headbutt them, please?" begged the little Veemon next to them. John shook his head.



"Sorry, I may not be able to recite the 'daring exploits of the Digidestined' by memory, but then, I'm writing them in the present! Besides, you called me cute, so I'll let this one go," John strutted, but with one final shot across her bow, "I save my energy for battles against opponents strong enough to give me a challenge." John laughed as Jessica slumped down slightly. The rest of the meal was in an uneasy silence.



John headed off to his computer lab in triumph, but was surprised when words started scrolling across the screen. "Big triumph, yes John? You picked on a girl smaller than yourself who's a border-line depressive with an in-training Digmion. Anyone with an ounce of ego could have done with what you did, but you have pounds and pounds of it where you should have brains."



John typed back cautiously, "What are you talking about? Veemon is plenty tough!"



"Yes, Veemon is. The area around the school is kept clear by several various tongs, all with Digimon capable of reaching Champion, several have Ultimates. Veemon might be good against rookies, but he doesn't have a chance against anything stronger. Show your strength by confronting those who anger you, and you may be rewarded."



"What?"



The computer almost seemed to sigh, "Just be at the meeting after school, will you."



Jessica still seemed depressed at the end of the day. Hair was falling across her face, so that her vision was half obscured, and she hadn't bothered to touch it. She had seemed rather listless all day, and replied to all inquiries with monosyllabic responses, unless they were about her well being, but then she simply ignored them.. Slithermon was crouched on her head, chirping on about various activities in school, but Jessica remained unresponsive. They quickly reached the classroom assigned to their group, and several of the eight people waved, though only Angie waved back.



Angie looked at Jessica in worry as she slumped into a chair, "I know I'm the president, but considering we have a bake sale coming up, I thought I'd let Jessica take the lead from the start?" Jessica sat up in surprise.



"You want me to run the meeting?" Jessica asked. Slithermon put a pressure on one hand, sending her support. Jessica shook herself, brushing her hair away (making a note about a haircut). Jessica thought, snap out of it for a second at least, girl! This isn't saving the world, this is making sure that everyone doesn't bring cookies. You should be able to handle that.



"All right. I call this meeting to order," Jessica's voice cracked once, but she cleared it and went on, getting stronger as she went, "The agenda for the meeting is to see about getting the bake sale organized for more money for pamphlets. Also, Angie got these nifty Digimon," Before she could continue, mock clapping cut her off. Jessica shot an angry glare before she caught herself.



John stood in the doorway, along with an older child with a Geckomon. Jessica hissed slightly as she saw it was from this morning. The teenager waved casually, "Hi Margaret! Hi Allen! Look a lot different when you're not obscured in shadow!" The two turned, and Jessica keened slightly as she looked at Margaret's profile with that relationship in mind.



Angie growled, "What do you want?" The two shrugged.



"Just thought we'd go see and what all the fuss is about. Nice to see that you people are actually working with the gangs. It makes you seem more human." Biyomon hopped on the table, angry, but Angie held her back, for now. Attacking like this wasn't the sort of path they were promoting.

Piddomon went over and grabbed Jessica as she just slumped from where she had stood. Slithermon looked at her with fear in her eyes. Piddomon whispered, voice deep and profound, "I'm sorry for the deception. Margaret hasn't been herself lately, trust me on this. She didn't mean to hurt you."



Margaret, meanwhile, was staring at the two angrily, and it seemed dark light started to surround her. Piddomon quickly set her down and looked worried, shaking her head at Margaret. "Get out!" she roared, and her D-3 shrieked in response. Black flames seemed to swirl around Piddomon for a moment, before he transformed to Phantomon. Without sparing a glance at Jessica, the now viral Digimon leapt forward, ready to take out the two in front.



Angie's laptop, open, beeped in response to the screams of the four who were about to be cut in half. Veemon glowed with energy, suddenly turning into ExVeemon, who grabbed the scythe in between two powerful hands. Since Phantomon hadn't charged it with dark energy, it was relatively easy. John cheered in response. Meanwhile, Gecko-boy looked at his D-3 with delight as he saw power flowing through it.



"Margaret, outside!" ordered Allen, staying relatively calm. He didn't want to be the one who saw the school brought down around his ears. Margaret seemed to jerk once, her body partially obscured by the usual shadows that continued to swell around her, and then nodded. Angie, however, was glaring daggers that equalled Margaret's.



How dare they attack our meeting! Especially with Jessica in such a state. I'm going to kick their butts in now! They won't know what hit them! continuing her internal rant, Angie stomped after the group as they went outside. Most everyone had cleared out, except for Allen and Jessica, who had remained still.



"Listen," Allen began hesitantly, "We really didn't mean to hurt you." Jessica didn't verbally respond, though her shoulders twitched. Allen sighed, got down into a chair near her, and grabbed her hands. Jessica looked at Allen through slightly tear-stained eyes. Allen said urgently, "Listen. Margaret is a good person. She believes and hopes that what you say comes true, but for now, she's trying to protect things a little more actively."



Seeing she wasn't responding, Allen grabbed the binder sitting nearby and opened it for her, opening to a section with cards displaying the Digidestined. Allen tapped the portraits, "That's what they did a lot. When they were kids, they fought, but when older, they helped build the world to be a better place. That's what she's doing," Allen stood up and turned away, "We were only attacking this morning to show how far things had to go."



Slithermon asked, "Then what about all that dark energy?" Agumon made a mock swipe at the in-training.



Allen actually replied, "It's because it's not a natural digivolution. She let her anger get the best of her to fight off the enemies, so that's how she deals with them now. It's not exactly right, but it works." Allen shook his head, "Sometimes I feel blocked by something, so does Agumon, but Margaret found a way around it, so that's a good thing, right?"



"So it's wrong," said Jessica. Allen turned around, as Jessica copied his example and tapped the cards, "They didn't let the ends justify the means, and they ended up heroes. The villains took dangerous steps, wiped out hundreds of Digimon and threatened both worlds, as an easy route to power. See what being a student of history nets you?" Jessica gave a weak smile and stood up.



At the same time, the computers holographic monitors in the area fuzzed with static for a moment. Allen cursed, "There are more people digivolving out there. I have to go help, or else they may bring down the entire school!" Allen yelled, and it seemed he was right, as a booming noise went off followed by dust falling from the ceiling tiles.



Jessica stood in the room for a few minutes, before picking up the binder and her backpack. "Come on Slithermon. We need to see if anyone needs help getting out of the area." Jessica shook her head, "I know I'm weak, but Allen was right. This isn't the time to add to my list of failures by standing by and doing nothing."



Slithermon jumped off the table and followed. She shook her head, "Listen, I know you believe me when I say this, at least until someone else jumps on you. You aren't a hot-shot digivolver, or possessing a Digimon that could shake worlds, but you do as much anyway. You're kind, and care more about Digimon than their own partners do most of the time. Technically, you've even gotten your enemies to work for you, part-time. You stood up to those bullies this morning."



Jessica picked up Slithermon and cuddled the lizard for a moment as they looked through doors to see if anyone was in the classrooms. "You're right. Luckily, I haven't been through as much as a lot of people, pain wise. But it takes dedication and strength to make you digivolve. I know you're happy at your level, and I love you from the bottom of my heart, but I think about you and figure I've failed you. You should be stronger, and it's my fault."



Slithermon shook her head, "I'm a rare Digimon, Jessica. There have been very few of me, and most of the Digieggs of my type fail to carry to term. Despite the risks, I fought through the Net because I could feel how you were. Your strength lies not in the urge to destroy, but to protect, and you're smart enough to realize that fighting isn't the only way to be strong." Slithermon sighed, "But you're also a product of your times, where strength is related to your partner. I think that's why you're always so sad, you can feel the disparity between the two."



Jessica wiped away a tear, "Slithermon, that was very profound."



"Well, I have hung around you for twelve years. You pick something up," replied the lizard. Jessica chuckled, but quickly sobered.



"I know. That's part of the pain, though. I'm as much a hypocrite as Margaret, really. I shouldn't worry about how strong you are, but be happy where you want to be. Instead, I protest against the very philosophy I'm carrying out." Jessica sighed, "Even when you know it's there, cultural baggage is hard to remove, isn't it?"



"I could help you", whispered a voice. Jessica froze in response. "I could give you the strength to make others respect you. Then they will follow your lead and the world will be healed."



"Did you hear that?" whispered Jessica.



Slithermon's expression was strained, "Barely. If I wasn't linked to you, I doubt I would."



The voice sounded annoyed, So, you possess some strength to be close to your Digimon. You haven't walled yourself off as planned. No matter, you seek to change the world, and you can lead by example. Choose now!



Meanwhile, outside, things were getting interesting. ShogunGeckomon had joined the battle, and his Musical Fist had leveled a portion of the playground. Phantomon was stronger than the fat frog, but ExVeemon made things interesting, pounding the ghost back and back, even before special attacks were brought into play.



Allen had quickly joined the battle and summoned Greymon. A quick Nova Blast had dropped ShogunGeckomon down for a little while, but Allen had nearly jumped out of his skin when dark flames surrounded John and ExVeemon. The hands emerged, same as always, but the wings on the back had changed to resembled those of an insect. The body was black, with antenna and covered with a chitinous shell, as well as the legs. The tail was blue ExVeemon, and the old dragon wings had become smaller and ornamental.



"ExVeemon, dark digivolve to Dinobeemon!" The insect-type buzzed. A dark blaze of energy appeared in his hands, "Hell Masquerade!" Greymon was hit hard by the ultimate level attack, energy surrounding him before an orange glow reduced him back to rookie.



"Agumon, are you okay!" Allen yelled, picking up the orange vaccine-type.



"Don't take me out coach!" said Agumon in a delirious voice.



Angie was seeing red. These two had come in, disturbed the meeting, hurt her friend mentally, and torn apart the playground. Biyomon couldn't help. If only she could digivolve.



"Then I have a proposition for you," said a voice out of the air. Angie accepted quickly. Jessica may be mad, but the voice consoled she would understand as dark fire surrounded her.



"Agumon, I know you want to help, but leave it to Phantomon, she's handled worse," Allen said, dragging the injured Digimon into the shade of the building.



Biyomon felt the flames surround her, as well as something get twisted even as power filled her. But she couldn't resist, her partner ordained it, "Biyomon, dark digivolve to Dokugumon!" The spider type, multiple eyes and wild hair, stood in a slightly singed circle.



"Where did that come from?" Allen asked in surprise.



"Would you like me to tell you?" asked the wind around him. Allen looked in surprise, as the voice continued, "This is a friend speaking. You wouldn't have to sit on the sidelines. You could move back in, help Margaret out and stop any more damage. Just say the words and the power is yours."



Meanwhile, back inside, the voice had slid right from sensuous to annoyed, "Who cares how I got the power! Hurry up and choose it already!"



Jessica took a deep breath, and said, "I know there's a chance I could actually be dead in a little while from saying this, but no. I said the ends don't justify the means, and well, I meant it, no pun intended. I may be weak and easily hurt, but Slithermon's right. I did some good on my own strengths, and I'll continue to do more."



"Curses!" roared the voice, and Jessica was surprised to see a dark aura lift from around her, "You were supposed to be the easy one, the one we had spent so much time on. It doesn't matter, we have almost all the other crests but one! You will not live to oppose us!" The darkness finished evaporating from her body, and Jessica collapsed as she felt a terrible weight seem to lift from her.



Slithermon stretched herself out, "Jessica! I feel great! Whatever happened, I haven't felt this much energy in years, no matter how much I ate!" Jessica's hand went to her pocket as she felt a wave of energy. She removed her Digivice, only to see it begin to transform. The end result was unlike anything she had seen before. It had a watchband on it, and the old rounded rectangle was elongated at the bottom, looking like a cross between a D-3 and a standard model. A groove was placed in the top, relatively thin, but deep. Silver highlighted the screen's boundaries.



Slithermon continued to stretch, and then slowly began to glow. Happily, Slithermon shouted, "Slithermon, digivolve to Crystalmon!" The rookie level faintly resembled the old form. It was still reptilian, but wasn't much sleeker, with the weight distributed to a longer body and tail. She was covered in white scales, and was about twice as large, with two ridges of spines down her back, and two dragon-like wings expanding out. Crystalmon yawned and said happily, "You did it! I'm not sure how, but you pulled through and let me reach rookie level!"



The transformed Digivice began to react, coming up with a holographic picture of Crystalmon along were her name and detail. Jessica said, "This is a much improved display. Says you're a vaccine holy dragon type, with shard dagger and dragon fang as your two attacks."



The display cut out after a moment, the screen scrolled a message across, "Rookie level acquired. D-power Digivice now on-line, ready for digi-modify/card slash system."



Outside, Allen faced continued temptation, and seemed to be wavering. The voice continued, "Margaret would respect you far more if you could reach ultimate, and be an equal."



Allen blinked a few times glassily, and then said confidently, "That was your first mistake! Margaret and I have a relationship now, and it's based on give and take. We're not the same power, and we don't have the same skills, but we do love each other."



"Do you think THAT could love you as you are now?" the voice asked. The wind swirled, and Allen turned to spot the shadow covered Margaret. Allen shook his head sadly.



"That's not the real Margaret right now," said Allen, "However, I'm starting to think you may have something to do with it. Show yourself!" The wind swirled, and Allen thought he saw a dark mist seep from him for a second. Allen fell to his knees, suddenly feeling as weak as his Digimon.



"Foolish boy," said a women's voice behind him, "I've been trying to protect you and all the other ones all these years from yourselves. Now you'll have to face the consequences of your actions, as you're playing for the team with the fewest players." Allen felt his breath start to slacken. Something was wrong with Agumon. His shape wasn't quite right. Allen pulled his Digivice out on instinct. It might be able to do something.



Both glowed at the same time. Allen gawked as his Digivice morphed to a D-Power, and yelped in astonishment as Agumon changed. Data flowed around him, taking a new shape. The Digimon was a bit larger, and had weird ears. Allen noted it looked a little like Agumon had been crossed with the Veemon over there.



The Digivice in front of Allen came up with a display, but the red dinosaur Digimon was happy to introduce himself, quickly rolling over to squat near the boy, "Allen! I feel right! This is what I was meant to be! I'm Guilmon! I may be a virus type, but I'll be with you to the end. My attack is the pyro sphere!" The same words as across Jessica's quickly scrolled across the screen. Allen stared in confusion, despite a pounding headache.



The voice behind him continued, seeming to gain in definition, "That's right. Dealing with events that now seem out of place. Your lack of worry for your girlfriend now seem more and more shocking and horrible? Still, two failures of eleven seals is still a great success rate," the voice continued reflexively, "You just lie here and try to futilely gain your strength back. Your world, and the Digital World, belong to my master. Toodles!" the voice finished cheerily, and Allen heard something like bat wings.



Guilmon shook his head, "Sorry, my vision was still fuzzy. All I saw was a shadow." Allen nodded, as his strength began to be recovered.



He quickly gestured at the D-Power, picking it up. "Okay, time to digivolve!" Anything failed to happen. "I guess this new upgrade has a few bugs in it. Where's the patch?" he demanded.



Guilmon scratched his head, "I didn't feel anything at all. Maybe these work differently for digivolving?" Guilmon shrugged, "Oh well, let's try it this way! Pyro sphere!" Guilmon breathed a small bolt of flame, knocking into Dinobeemon, and causing him to stumble right into the deadly blackness of a Shadow Scythe strike. The newly digivolved Ultimate collapsed. Phantomon finished off Shogungeckomon, causing the frog to dedigivolve as well before dedigivolving to an exhausted champion. The three partners, as well as Digimon blinked before disappearing into black flames.



Allen cheered at the victory, but Dokugumon was still relatively fresh, and Angie's anger-filled mind saw Allen as a target. Guilmon was quickly swept up in one hand, as Allen was swept in another. Guilmon's form had changed from Agumon, but he was still exhausted, and couldn't quickly summon another pyro sphere.



"Shard dagger!" said a feminine voice, and two tiny blades created out of blue energy exploded against Dokugumon's flank. The spider roared and stumbled back. The grip on the two in her hands relaxed, but then tightened. Allen was suprrised. Those energy blasts were far stronger than usual for a rookie. But then, so was the pyro sphere. Crystalmon grinned, "Oh yeah. Face it, Jessica. You Tamed yourself a terror."



"Hush," said Jessica. Allen was surprised this was the same girl. She seemed more at peace and confident, and was carrying a binder under one arm, and a slightly worn set of cards in the other. Jessica said urgently to Allen, "I think I've figured these things out! It said to slash a card, and I happened to have my binder with me." Jessica was rudely interrupted by the spider.



"You talk to much!" roared Dokugumon. A set of purple mist started to fill the air from her special attack. Crystalmon nodded quickly to Jessica.



"I'm glad I've played the card game so much," murmured Jessica, "Digi-modify! Omega Sword!" Jessica quickly swiped a card through the D-power on her wrist. The system hummed with power, and then, strapped to Crystalmon's back, a brilliantly gleaming sword appeared. With a hissing sound, all the poison was sucked into it and rendered harmless, before the sword disappeared.



"Shard daggers!" yelled Crystalmon, striking the virus again. This time, caught with surprise by the failure of the special attack, Dokugumon dropped the two down. The two, bruised, quickly made there way over to stand by Jessica.



"Nice work, so you just swipe a card from the game and yell it out?" asked Allen. Jessica nodded. "Okay, I'm not great with the cards, but I do remember one that should help." Allen quickly pulled one with a crystal seed pictured on it.



"Digi-modify! Seed of health!" Allen ran the card through the reader and data flowed from the D-Power into Guilmon, who stood up notably straighter and recharged. Allen wiped sweat from his forehead.



"Pyro sphere!" roared the rather large rookie. The ball of flame merged with the blue energy of another set of shard daggers. The flaming blades slammed into Dokugumon, snapping the spider onto its back, where her legs twitched for a moment, before turning to Biyomon. Angie screamed for a moment, before flame walked up her and then she and her partner disappeared.



"Angie!" the two remaining humans in the area cried out.



The female voice chuckled and said, "They belong to my master now. I cannot harm you from where I stand, but if you want them, you WILL have to come through me. My name is Lady Devimon. If you want your friends back, meet me in the Digital World." The voice broke into maniacal laughter and faded away, letting echoes bounce around the battered asphalt, parts buckled and others crushed by the forces involved.



At this point, the Tamers knees buckled and fell. It had been will keeping them up. "Allen, do we go after them!" Guilmon asked.



"We can't. That one digi-modify nearly took everything out of me," Allen gasped, "We need to get home for now." Guilmon nodded, lending his back for Allen's support. Crystalmon, about three feet long and a foot high, patted Jessica's hand, and provided a quick lift as she got up.



"Don't worry Lady Devimon," said Allen to the empty playground, "We are going to come after you, but we're not stupid enough to foolishly charge in. You can start counting your days." With that, the two left, promising to meet tomorrow, but getting out of the area before people came in to start asking questions.



Author's Note;



A bunch of stuff taken from megchan's digimon sekai sight www.megchan.com especially the Digimon Encyclopedia.



This is a rewritten idea of some things I had going around. Partially to stick some Tamer's stuff into the 02 universe. With the Crests gone, and no one having the skill to repair them, and with so few Digimon capable of using Digimentals, supplementary Digi-modify abilities seem to be a logical step.



Remember; it was stated that ideas have power and are given life in the digital world. So the representations of such may be able to do something as well.



The Tamer's stuff primarily is the existence of Guilmon (as he's stronger than previous rookies), along with the use of digi-modify and the lack of a lot of main characters. Definitely a strong point of the later season by having only a few characters to focus on, so they're more interesting.



Jessica used Tamer because it comes form the manga as the partner of a Digimon. It turns out she may very well have been Chosen, but I don't think the usage will change.



The characters will stand up for themselves better for now on, as they're out from under Lady Devimon's spell.



C-tamer stands for Crystal Tamer



Next time: The Tamers try and figure out more about the new D-Powers and what's been going on in their lives.