Author's Notes: I'm not completely happy with this challenge, but it's been so long and I think I should just post it. Details:
Pairings: None. Or established Ken/Yolei, or whatever you feel like throwing in there.
Summary: While off sick from school one week, Ken indulges in science fiction novels. But with no outside human contact, could these futuristic landscapes be having a certain impact on his mind?
Sentence to include: "I'm telling you, that's not Davis, it's a robotic clone!"
Notes: I basically see this as Ken's mind being completely warped. He'll be under the influence of Sci-Fi and conspiracy theories. I want to see him completely paranoid, convinced that there is something crazy regarding androids/space shuttles and spy satellites/household appliances of AI/etc. going on.
Does a Genius Dream of Conspiring Sheep?
It has only been a week.
Only a week.
Ken closed his eyes, growling underneath his breath. He had been stuck in his bed for the past century – an exaggeration, perhaps, but Ken certainly felt that way. Apart from his mother coming in to give him his medicine or to feed him – curse her constant nagging! – he had no one to talk with. Not that he talked with other people much anyway, but Ken slowly began to find out how much he – even he, who is clearly superior to other homo sapiens – relied on the constant presence of other sentient creatures. It both intrigued and disturbed him at the same time. The only thing he had for company was a bunch of science fiction novels. What am I, a little kid?
Damn it, Ken growled. I don't have time for this; those creatures are ruining my plans every moment I'm stuck in this hellhole. The flu had struck most unexpectedly and with surprising severity; Ken had no time to plan automated defences for his empire before succumbing to the sickness. Every moment he lay in bed, more of his precious control spires were being destroyed, and more of his playthings were running away from him. And to make it worse, that worm was probably decorating his base with shiny baubles and decorative lights.
Ken considered his position. He had been reluctant to grant his minions too much autonomy. After all, one can never know if their minions would rebel. However, it would appear that the restrictive policy he had implemented caused more harm than good this time around. Ken made a mental note to find a way around that particular problem when he got better – provided that he got better within this lifetime.
Speaking of mental notes, I might as well just prevent this from happening again. I'm sure I can devise an antidote that will at least halt the effects of this flu, if not cure it completely. Ken's mind began racing as complex equations and chemical formulas began to run across his mind. Molecular diagrams drew themselves as Ken mentally analyzed his sickness as best he could, while his superhuman brain struggled to find a solution to his current predicament.
A knock on Ken's door interrupted his thoughts, and all of his calculations sank into oblivion. Damn that woman! Ken thought. Composing himself, the boy-emperor called out "Yes."
Mrs. Ichijouji walked in with a tray. "Ken, honey, the doctor said to try this medicine. He said it should help a little, and put you to sleep." Without waiting for Ken to reply, the woman measured out the medicine, and handed it to her son. "Now drink it all up and go to bed."
I'm already in bed, you dolt. Ken took the cup from his mother's hands, and tipped it down his throat. The medicine was bitter and burned his throat the way down, causing him to choke in a most unsightly manner.
Mrs. Ichijouji took the cup back, and turned to leave. Several minutes later, Ken began to feel the medicine's effects as he yawned and his eyes became heavy. And with that, the boy genius sank into a deep sleep.
"Hikari! Behind you!"
A trap. The end draws near...
"I'm telling you, that's not Davis; it's a robotic clone!"
"There's too many of them!"
"Davis! No! Damn it...FIRE ROCK--!"
Explosions rang throughout...
And then stillness reigns...
As far as Ken's eyes could see, the land was pockmarked with craters. The soil was tinged an unhealthy shade of grey, a colour shared by the sky. Thick clouds – putrid and yellow – hung in the air. Not a tree was in sight, nor did any living creature move about. The air, devoid of the slightest breeze, smelled of rotten eggs and burning sulphur. The only decorations in this forsaken land were the multitude of corpses that dotted the landscape. Most were corpses of digital creatures, but eleven human bodies stood out prominently in the landscape. Is this… could it be…?
"This… is the future?" the Kaiser asked himself.
"Out of the twenty billion outcomes I have predicted, this one is the most likely, with 1.3 per cent likelihood of happening."
Ken turned towards the sound. Or rather, he tried to, because he found that the voice seemed to come from everywhere and yet nowhere at the same time. Ken frowned. "Where are you? Speak!" he commanded.
"In your head." The voice carried a hint of smugness this time. Ken growled. Who was this making fun him?
"Why not?" Ken asked. He was furious now.
"Because I exist, at least physically, in your head. Immaterially I am everywhere." The strange disembodied voice sounded as if it were explaining a concept a two-year old should know.
Ken narrowed his eyes. Fine then, if this – whatever it is – wanted to play games, he'd follow along. "Alright then, what are you."
"I am CUC-X303. Advanced human-network interface."
Ken ran the information through his mind. This X303 being claimed to be piece of technology that could allow a human to mentally access a network. But humans had nowhere near the technology to accomplish this. Not even in the Digital World did such technology exist. Ken scoffed. This was something out of a science fiction novel.
"In ages past, yes, this was a staple of science fiction, but no longer." If Ken didn't know better, he would have thought that X303 sounded both insulted that Ken had referred to it as a work of science fiction and pride in its existence. Wait…did he just…
"Did you just read my mind?" Ken asked, surprised.
"I merely processed the thoughts than ran through your head."
You bastard, Ken thought. You and your snide comments. "Never mind. What is this?" Ken asked, turning his attention back on the scene in front of him.
"It is the future, as you have so eloquently said yourself. Or rather, it is the most likely outcome of the future."
"Impossible. It cannot be like this."
"But it can, boy-emperor. Unceasing war has reduced the world to nothingness. Do you know how long you have been fighting the Chosen? Fifteen years. Fifteen years of world war. You may win against the Chosen, or you may not. But does it matter, Ichijouji? If you win, you would have won a pyrrhic victory. If you lose, you lose a crushing defeat. You inherit a devastated world.
"This is the Digital World. It will heal itself," Ken countered.
"Things heal with time, yes, but have you time? Even in the Digital World, such devastation would not heal easily. You will grow old and die, human as you are, before the Digital World is made anew once more. You fool yourself if you believe that the Digital World is a toy to sate your hunger for power or to pleasure you."
"And who told you to order me around?" Ken challenged. "I can do whatever I want."
"And with power comes responsibility, does it not?"
"What, you don't think I am doing a good job leading an entire planet in a counter-insurgency operation?"
"Would you like the truth," X303 said, "or would you like what you want to hear?"
"Besides," Ken went on, ignoring X303's latest jibe, "if this is the outcome of fifteen years of world war, I will simply have to end it while it is still in its infancy. And I have just the weapon to do that…"
"That monstrosity?" X303 asked. "It will certainly cause more harm than good, even for you."
"And when have I appointed you as my imperial advisor. Know your place, computer." Ken growled.
"I AM no mere computer." As soon as the words echoed in Ken's head, legions of Guardromon appeared out of thin air. Dark rings, not unlike the ones Ken himself use, attached themselves onto the mechanical legions. As Ken screamed, waves grenades crashed into his body, scorching his flesh but never killing him. Ken fell to his knees, trying to shield himself from the onslaught. And throughout it all, the maniacal laughter of an malevolent AI could be heard…
"Ken! Ken!" Mrs. Ichijouji shook her son, willing him to stop thrashing about and wake up. Sweat poured down his face and his eyes were scrunched up in obvious agony.
Those same eyes suddenly snapped open. Ken panted, the experience still vivid in his mind. Frightened eyes finally met concerned ones, and after several minutes, Ken was finally calm, relaxing under his mother's embrace.
"Now, now," Mrs. Ichijouji soothed. "It's okay… it was only a bad dream. You had a fever; there's nothing to worry about."
Ken's eyes narrowed behind his mother's back. How dare she treat him like a two-year-old boy?
"There," said Mrs. Ichijouji. "Now sleep tight and don't worry about those bad dreams." She patted her sons head, not noticing his grimace. Using all of his self-restraint, Ken waited as his mother gave him even more medicine and tucked him in bed once more.
Left to his own devices once more, Ken sank back into slumber.
Ken eyed the Guardromon milling about, unaware of his presence. He lifted his hand, and legions of his slaves rose at his command. "Kill them all," Ken ordered.
As the massacre began, Ken turned away to begin his new project. His ultimate weapon against the Chosen…