A/N: Well, I survived the Jr. Prom and a Communion. Now only the College Conference is left. *Sigh* I hate being a junior. I began this story after seeing episode 43 this Saturday. I hope that I've kept everyone in character and that you enjoy my story.

Disclaimer: Digimon is the property of Toei Animation and Bandai. (Ah, the loathsome repetition.)

Late Night Musings

By Frozen Phoenix

It was a crisp night, with the wind gusting ever so sharply. The sky was a macabre mishmash of black intertwined with bright crimson and two towers stood tall in the metropolis that was Tokyo's West Shinjuku district. A sharply dressed blond haired man stood near the building, simply gazing upon the nightmare in the city that was once so familiar. His name was Mitsuo Yamaki and he was the head of the Technical division of Hypnos.

In front of him, the red mass that seemingly splashed the sky quivered and moved, making him remember that old movie The Blob, I never did like that movie anyway, Yamaki thought sourly.

His sunglass encased eyes narrowed in disgust, when a part of the mass moved upwards, as though trying to scale the building. I can't believe that we were forced out of Hypnos so quickly. And with no way to move all of the necessary equipment, we may not be able to devise a solution to overcome it. But that's exactly what it wants.

He no longer found it strange to actually think of the mass as having actual thoughts and wishes. It had once been nothing more than a simple computer program, made exclusively for deleting AI, artificial intelligence, but when it felt that the intelligence had overextended its parameters, it had evolved. Now it was known as D-Reaper, whose one and only purpose was the destruction of life, both Digital and human alike.

And what irritated Yamaki the most was the fact that the menace had been created by human ingenuity and technology. The minds of the "Monster Makers" are incredible things. Unfortunately, it's the results of their intelligence that may end up costing the lives of every human being in the world.

But of course he was going to start placing blame, then he should begin with himself. Although he usually didn't buy into self-blame, mainly because it was unproductive, but these days, he just couldn't help but reflect upon the part that he had played in everything.

Perhaps if I hadn't been so foolhardy, things wouldn't have happened the way that they did. Yamaki clenched his fist as he remembered the skepticism of his superiors when he first brought the information that he had recovered on the Monster Maker's developments with Artificial Intelligence. But when evolved digimon actually began appearing in the Real World, then the higher powers at Hypnos had decided that something had to be done.

The technical division of Hypnos had been set up in Shinjuku, with its only purpose to observe and eliminate digital disturbances before they became a problem in the Real World. He and his two technicians Megumi Onodera and Reika Ootori had spent most of their time doing just that. For months, they had been on top of things and the general public had been in the dark about Hypnos' operations. And then, things had gone downhill.

Starting with one, more and more Wild Ones had begun making their way to Shinjuku. Despite their attempts at tracing and using Yuggoth to delete the Wild Ones, they continued coming. And when the enormous dragon like digimon had flown by the Hypnos building, he'd had enough. It was then, that he had begun developing the Shaggai system.

And I was so concerned with achieving results and making my superiors overlook the previous embarrassments that I completely ignored the possible consequences of what I was doing. Yamaki removed his sunglasses and sighed. Behind him he could hear sounds of military vehicles, personnel marching and preparing for their next futile assault against D-Reaper.

They've seen D-Reaper absorb buildings their camera and that their weapons have no effect upon it. And yet they continue trying. Their spirit is commendable, though their methods are impractical. They're lucky that none of their men have been injured. D-Reaper suddenly began moving up the Hypnos building at a rapid speed, causing Yamaki to grimace. Of course that could all change, given time.

And to think, the only ones that can make any kind of stand against D-Reaper are a group of children and their digimon companions. When I first observed the Tamers, I simply thought that they were naïve children who were playing dangerous games. They couldn't possibly understand what they were doing. And ironically it was me who didn't understand.

Everyone told me not to use the Shaggai system, but I refused to listen. I was so sure of my programming and our knowledge of data that I convinced myself that what I was doing was right. I even went outside so I could bear witness to the fruits of my labor. Only then did I see what I had actually done.

Yamaki could still hear the screams of digimon that flew into the sky towards the green cloud above Hypnos that was Shaggai. In a twisted way, he had been pleased. Finally the digimon are paying for their crimes against humanity, he had thought righteously.  And then that enormous tiger digimon had come from the sky. And I brought him there. Shaggai had literally ripped a hole from the Real World into the Digital World and he had bio-emerged into our world.

And then when the tiger digimon had confirmed my beliefs, I couldn't stand it. I had worked so hard to annihilate the digimon pestilence and only succeeded in giving them an easier way to enter our world.

Yamaki usually kept tight control over his emotions, but learning what he had done caused him to lose it completely. I blamed the digimon. It had to be their fault that Shaggai hadn't worked. And when I saw Janyuu's son, I blamed him as well. He's lucky that in that state that I did nothing more than grab him.

And that wasn't my only mistake using Shaggai. An image of an enormous boar filled Yamaki's mind. He had tried using Shaggai once again to delete it, ignoring the questions of his associates and Janyuu's protests about him deleting the children's digimon along with the pig. I wanted to destroy that menace by any means possible and nearly destroyed the Hypnos building instead. Not to mention sign my own notice of dismissal. If I hadn't told Reika to leave, she might have stayed with me. I certainly couldn't have allowed that to happen. After causing the building to collapse, I didn't need to add her death to my conscience as well.

Although against company policy, Yamaki and Reika were very involved in a relationship outside of their working one. Of course Hypnos considered inter-employee relationships to be unethical, so Yamaki and Reika kept their relationship to themselves. If Hypnos found out about it, then he and Reika would end up being fired and knowing the Hypnos superiors, unable to find a job at a fast food restaurant.

And even that relationship has suffered due to my fanaticism. Yamaki thought as he watched D-Reaper continue its trek up the Hypnos building, nearly reaching the top.

***

Reika walked out of the military tent feeling more depressed than when she had entered. She had tried warning the military leaders, only to be dismissed by laughter and skepticism. I'm surprised that they've lasted as long as they have against D-Reaper. They're even more thickheaded than Yamaki.

And speaking of the Yamaki, Reika's eyes narrowed when she saw him standing a few feet away, staring upward. She brushed a piece of her red hair out from eyes and followed his gaze. It's grown so fast, she thought warily. D-Reaper had nearly covered the Hypnos building. And as of now, we have no way of stopping it. All in all, things don't look good.

She sighed and walked until she was standing beside him. The silence was tense for a moment until the sound of his voice broke it.

"It's ironic. Humanity has found ways to create, manipulate and destroy life, and yet we can't find the means to correct the mistakes that we've made in our own lives."

Reika looked at him with surprise. "Surely you don't think that you had something to do with this?"

He looked at her, his violet eyes betraying nothing. "Indirectly we all have something to do with this. You, Megumi, The Monster Makers, Hypnos and I, we've all played our parts in this disaster."

He's brooding again. Reika thought with discontent. The last time this had happened was when he had been dismissed from Hypnos after that giant pig had rampaged through Shinjuku. I had to snap him out of it last time; it looks like I'll have to do it again.

"What happened here was completely unexpected. When we began operating at Hypnos none of us knew how far things would go."

"But it was my ignorance that opened a portal into the Digital World. Parts of Shinjuku wouldn't have leveled by that walking pile of lard if I had paid more attention to the possible effects of using Shaggai. And let's not forget that small building collapse."

Reika frowned at him. "I'll admit that your judgment was less than sound, but you have made changes. If you hadn't aligned yourself with the children and given them that pocket communicator, we wouldn't have been able to design the Ark and bring them home."

Yamaki's eyes narrowed. "D-Reaper followed the Tamers home. And now it seems as though we may end up being the ones deleted."

"Don't tell me you've decided to give up!" Reika's voice rose slightly. "After everything that's happened you can't just give in to this thing! When I first heard that those kids went into the Digital Word, I couldn't believe it. After all, they were only children. What could they do? But they survived there for weeks and managed to come home safe. And while we're trying to find a way to stop D-Reaper, they were actually out there fighting it."

"Safe? That girl Juri looks like she'll need therapy for years to come."

"And if you decide to quit, then she and the rest of us will up end dead."

Yamaki stared at Reika's beautiful face, a look of sound determination etched upon it. Her stubbornness had been one of the things that drew him to her. He sighed lightly and pulled her to him.

"I never said anything about quitting. I was merely wondering if the mistakes that I've made have changed how things were supposed to be. If the Digimon hadn't come to our world and the Tamers didn't enter the Digital World and return with D-Reaper in tow, would we be in this situation?"

Reika held him tighter and sighed. "Unfortunately, that's a question we may never have an answer to. And don't forget that D-Reaper had infiltrated the Hypnos' computers prior to the Tamers' return. It just happened to choose that time to make its unscheduled appearance. You shouldn't blame yourself for something that you had no real control over."

"I'm not completely blameless, but you are right about the D-Reaper situation." He sighed.          

"What precisely would I do without you?"

Reika smiled slightly. "Let's hope that's something you won't have to find out." She moved closer to him in anticipation then…

"Yamaki!" The voice of Dolphin, a member of the Monster Makers cut through the air. Yamaki and Reika separated immediately.

"What is it?" Yamaki said sounding as irate as Reika felt.

Dolphin took several deep breaths, obviously winded from running from the headquarters where the Monster Makers had been working. Finally, he spoke.

"We've been going over several schematics in dealing with the D-Reaper and we may have found something useful. But Shibumi recommended that we find you before doing anything, because we need certain information pertaining to Hypnos' computers." Dolphin looked at him expectantly, waiting for him to answer.

Yamaki replaced his sunglasses and nodded. "Very well. It's a lot better than trying to make the military believe that a lunatic computer program is trying to delete the human race." He began walking, with Dolphin slowly moving behind him.

Reika watched Yamaki leave with distress. Is this how things will always be between us? She wondered.

Yamaki stopped walking and turned around. "Reika-"

"Coming." She interrupted him. Reika ran to catch up with the two men, pushing her feelings of disappointment aside. She did after all, have a job to do.

The End