`Digimon Adventure

X

Chapter Five: Kabuterimon's Electro Shocker

Although it wasn't exactly sunny, the heat outside was palpable. The group of humans and Digimon making their way slowly across one of the flat planes of the island were weary and hot. The barren, featureless plane of grassland was only punctuated by the occasional tree. The sky was a slate coloured grey. It had been several days since they had left the Yokomon village behind. Needless to say they were missing the company of the Yokomon, even if the climate was no better.

Sora looked up and around in a tired, befuddled daze, trying to discern something that wasn't wasteland in her vision. In her hazy mind Sora was the first to spot something that had been bugging her for a while. So stopped, blinked, rubbed her eyes and looked around again. There was no mistaking what she saw.

"We've past this way before," she said despondently.

"You mean we've been walking in circles for who knows how long?" Joe asked, throwing his hands up into the air.

"If that's the reality, I suggest we take fiveā€¦ hours," Izzy mumbled, collapsing onto his knees and curling up.

"Looks that way," Tai sighed. "Break time everybody."

Everyone let out collective sighs of relief and collapsed onto the ground in various positions of exhaustion. For a short while, no one spoke. Everyone was merely content to lie in silence, recovering their energy for the long walk that they would inevitably face. After a while conversation began to start. The most pressing was of course the supply of food. While of course they did still have supplies left in the 'EMERGENCY FOOD' bag that Joe carried around, that was now their only source of food. They had of course taken the offering of food from the Yokomon village but that had barely lasted them the few days they had been walking. If they didn't find food soon, they would most likely starve.

Izzy broke off from the rest of the group's conversations and instead sat up, legs and set his laptop up. Matt looked lazily over at Izzy and gave a tired smile.

"Check out Izzy," he said tiredly. "I'll bet he's trying to talk to the aliens."

"Maybe he's asking them to beam him up," Tai murmured quietly, the humour of Izzy's alien theory having lost its merit with him.

Izzy ignored these comments and instead paid more attention to his laptop. He frowned as he saw that, as per every other time he had checked, the device was still out of commission. He gave a despondent sigh and sagged where he sat. He lamely tapped a few keys, a faint belief that something would happen. So it was indeed a shock to him when the device began to whir softly. The screen lit up and the boot up process began. Izzy's face split open in a wide grin, filled with elation at this development.

This happy revelation was quickly dispelled as a large symbol flashed up in the centre of the screen. A depleted battery in a very alarming red. Izzy had seen that symbol many a time and it meant one thing. The device needed a recharge.

Izzy sighed again and closed the laptop down, before flopping back on the ground.

For a while that was all they did. Lie on the ground in semi-silence. It was a while therefore for Tai to notice the only thing visible on the horizon. He sat up abruptly and cast his gaze out towards the distant skyline. A passing break in the bleak clouds revealed what he originally though to be part of the sky to be a coiling cloud of smoke, rising from something just beyond the horizon.

"Do you guys see that smoke over there?" Tai asked, getting to his feet.

Matt looked up at him and raised an eyebrow. He cast his eyes lazily in the direction Tai was facing and frowned.

"What do you suppose it's coming from?" Matt asked.

"I'll check it out," Tai said, walking towards the coiling smoke.

"Wait for me Tai," Agumon cried, rolling to his feet and racing after Tai. Tai paused and smiled as he allowed his Digimon partner to catch up with him. When Agumon was securely by his side, they walked off in to the distance.

Izzy watched them go until they became a single dot in the distance, and then they vanished from his sight. He lay back down with the rest of the group and rested.

The discomfort in the heat got more bearable as the day went on. The temperature dropped every so often and a cool breeze wafted over the flatlands. Minutes stretched into hours and still they lay there, waiting for Tai and Agumon to return.

When some of the team suggested searching for Tai some two hours later, it was with genuine concern. It was Izzy though, the one who had seen the duo out of sight, who first caught sight of them again. They were drawing closer much faster however than when they had left. It didn't take them nearly as long to return as to leave.

The group rose to meet the duo, curious as to the haste with which they returned and the nature of what they discovered at their destination. Tai and Agumon returned to the group panting, clearly having run from wherever they had just been.

"So, what did you see?" asked Matt, as Tai rested his hands on his knees, breathing heavy. It took a few moments for Tai to recover and straighten up.

"You are not going to believe this," he said.

(X)

It was a factory. A great towering expanse of dark, filthy grey metal sprawled across the bottom of the valley the flatlands fell into. The grey metal smokestacks towered high up above the rest of the metal structure, belching thick grey smoke into the sky. The group looked down into the valley at the facility, in mixed curiosity and amazement.

"It's a factory," Joe said somewhat needlessly.

"How's there a factory in this world?" Matt asked. "I mean, how does it work without people to operate it?"

"How is it even here!" Joe cried, "I mean, who built it and why?"

"I think there's only way we're going to find that out," Izzy said slowly.

"I hear that," Tai agreed.

"You really think that's the best course of action?" Sora said.

"Well it could be that this place is our best bet to get home," Izzy suggested. "And even if it isn't there could be people in there."

"I hope there's a manufacturer's outlet store," Mimi said wistfully. The humans among their little group turned to look at her. She looked confused at their reactions. "What? They always have great deals."

(X)

The inside of the factory was surprisingly much cleaner than the exterior. The walls were shiny, spotless even and gave off a reflective sheen from the electric light bulbs that hung overhead. Their footsteps echoed off the metal walkways, and the light around them was nearly blinding.

It took them some time to find something over than metal corridors but find it they did. Tai pulled back a large metal sliding door to reveal a construction line. A long, metal and black rubber conveyor belt, bearing pieces of chrome metal down the length of the room. The belt stopped periodically to allow large machines to add new pieces to the existing components.

"What do you suppose it is that they're making?" Tai asked, approaching the belt, looking more closely at one of the metallic creations.

"Beats me," Matt muttered, also leaning over the conveyor belt. "Maybe pieces for aircraft of something?"

Tai nodded thoughtfully when a loud grating noise rose up from the other end of the room. He looked to see another sliding door had opened at the other end of the room. A lone Digimon hovered into the room, unaware of the small groups existence.

It was about the same size as Agumon and the others. Its body was comprised of single golden gear. Its face was placed over its body with a more jagged, grey gear. Its light maroon eyes stared out of jagged holes in its face and its hands were large cogs with finger like notches. The metal of his body that had once been glistening and pristine, was no ragged and dirty.

The group looked at it for some time before it finally seemed to realize that it was no longer alone. It turned slowly to face the mixed group, its red eyes staring with slight surprise. An awkward silence followed. The Digimon was the one who broke the silence.

"Can I help you?" he asked, a jagged hole opening in his face to serve as a mouth. His voice was curious. It had a steely edge to it but it was devoid of hostility.

"We were just looking around," Tai said, rather dumbly.

"Well you're the first I'll give you that," the Digimon said, hovering down the conveyor belt towards them. "Most people forgot about this place a while back. This place used to do business right across the island and beyond."

"What sort of business?" Izzy asked.

"This place built everything from screws to radio towers," the Digimon said. "Biggest brand across the Digital World."

"What happened?" Matt asked.

"Who knows?" the Digimon sighed. "One day the market just collapsed. The orders just stopped rolling in and the workforce disappeared. Just me and the old guy left now." He paused for a moment as he thought. He then said: "Name's Hagurumon by the way."

Each of the group introduced themselves to the new Digimon one by one. Hagurumon seemed rather unsurprised by the fact that there were non-Digimon in the group.

"Nice to someone else other than the old guy," Hugumon said quietly. "Even if they aren't... normal."

"Thanks, I guess," Izzy muttered.

"Can I ask a question?" Joe asked. Hagurumon nodded. "If this place is out of business, why are the machines still running?"

"Ahh, the generator's still running," Hagurumon said, looking at the machines. "The old guy doesn't like the generator to be turned off. He prefers to pretend that everything's fine."

"Why?" Sora asked.

"This place was his life," Hagurumon replied. "He had nowhere else to go. After this place shut down he just kept it running, hoping like everything would go back the way it was."

"How sad," Mimi said.

"Your pity is touching," Hagurumon said.

"Wait," Izzy said, stepping forward. "How come you stayed behind? You're clearly not being forced to stay here."

Hagurumon shrugged: "Someone has to look after this place, and the old guy for that matter."

"So where is 'the old guy'?" Matt asked.

"Oh he's probably wandering around upstairs talking about order forms," Hagurumon muttered. "You're welcome to look for him if you want. See if you can talk some sense into him."

"Actually could you tell me if there is a place where I could charge this?" Izzy said, showing the Digimon his laptop. Hagurumon floated up to Izzy and peered at the device with its strange eyes. He hummed thoughtfully before straightening up again.

"I think we'll have to take it up to the generator," Hagurumon said.

Hagurumon floated down the conveyor belt. Izzy stepped after him but felt a hand on his shoulder. He looked up to see Matt standing there.

"I wouldn't advise going alone," he muttered. "We just met this guy."

Izzy thought for a moment before nodding in agreement.

"We should split up I think," he said softly. "Into two groups."

"No," Joe said. "How're we going to find each other again?"

A loud clatter drew everyone's attention. There was a colossal bang from somewhere above. Hagurumon looked up, alarmed.

"God, what's happened now?" he muttered. He looked at the group with a slightly apologetic eye. "Would it be possible for some of you to check out what happened? Only the generator's downstairs."

Izzy looked at Joe. "Looks like we'll have to be in two groups now."

"If that's the case I'm with T.K," Matt said forcefully. "We'll go with you Izzy."

"Well I'm coming with you too," Mimi said. "I'm not going up there to who knows what?"

Tai looked at Hagurumon then straight up.

"I'll check out whatever made that noise," he muttered.

"I'll go with you," Sora said. They both looked at Joe. He folded his arms and looked sulky but stepped to stand with them. Hagurumon smiled.

"Splendid," he said. "If you find anything out of order please let me know."

"How?" Tai asked.

"Good point," Hagurmon said, before he led Izzy and his small group out of the room.

(X)

It took a while for Tai and the others to reach the upper-levels of factory where the noise had come from. All around the area they found themselves in, was the sound of machines in motion, but closer by, was silence. All the inner-workings of machines jerked in place, frozen by some unseen force or factor.

"Something really bad must have happened," Tai muttered looking around.

"Yeah," Sora breathed.

It was a further while before they managed to retrace the source of the malfunction. It was a much smaller room than the ones they had been in before. Hanging from the ceiling were metal girders, suspended on steal cables. One entire wall was covered in jerking gears, fighting against some sort of obstruction. The obstruction was obvious after a few moments of searching.

A large, mechanical being was caught under the gears. It was human-like in shape, from what they could see, as his legs were caught under the gears. However, the group could clearly see the creature had seen better days. The metallic parts were rough and unfinished. One its metal forearms was gone, revealing knotted and pale pink flesh. Its head was encased in a skull-like metal helmet. Its mouth and cheeks were unprotected however and its eyes were closed, screwed up in pain.

"I guess this must be the old guy," Tai said.

"Its more than just an old guy," Gomammon said. "It's Andromon."

"Who?" Joe asked.

"He's a very advanced and powerful Digimon," Gomammon explained. "No one's seen him in years though."

"The poor thing," Biyomon said. "He must have been conducting maintenance and got caught under the gears."

"Well we gotta help get him out," Sora said.

"How do you propose that?" Joe asked.

"We'll have to stop the gears somehow and then drag him out," Tai suggested.

"And how do we stop the gears?" Joe asked.

"Like this," Gomammon said, loping off to a large grey lever and pulled it. At once the gears stopped jerking and Andromon relaxed. "Let's get him out of there."

Each of the group grabbed part of Andromon and pulled him inch by inch out of the machinery. Eventually Andromon was freed from under the mechanism. Tai looked at the rest of him and wrinkled his nose in distaste.

Andromon's right leg was striped of all its metal casing, revealing the flesh and wiring beneath. But that wasn't the worse part. The flesh was ripped and torn open. A large, ugly gaping hole was cut into what little flesh remained beneath the metal. The wound was leaking a blue-black fluid Tai suspected to be blood.

"Damn," Tai whispered. Joe knelt down next to leg and gave it a thorough examination.

"I'm not sure about Digimon anatomy," he said after he examined the wound, "But I don't think its anything severe."

"Do you reckon we should find Hagurumon?" Tai asked.

"I think we need to make sure whether or not he's alright first," Sora said leaning over Andromon's head. She placed her hand on Andromon's shoulder, like a caring mother would. "Andromon? Can you hear us?"

Andromon opened his eyes. His eyeballs were pure white and glazed over. One had a small web of cracks near the bottom. After a few moments, a pair of deep brown irises appeared in Andromon's eyes and the glaze covering them turned scarlet. One black clawed hand lashed out and wrapped around Sora's ankle. She cried out as Andromon stood up in a single second, reaching his full, terrifying height.

(X)

The corridor that they walked along to the generator was dark and dusty. It was clearly underused and forgotten. Hagurumon kept on muttering about how the factory used to be before it fell into disrepair. Izzy, listened intently whilst the others looked around nervously. Mimi, was more than likely looking out for spiders and other small vermin.

"Of course the generator never really needed maintenance," Hagurumon said. "This corridor was just in case of emergencies."

"What sort of emergencies?" Izzy asked.

"Well there was always the probability that the generator overloaded," Hagurumon said, a slight quake to his voice. "That only ever happened once though. That was years before I came here. What a mess that was though. The whole place had to be practically built from the ground up all over again."

"Wonderful," Izzy muttered, a touch a genuine fear in his voice.

"Nothing like that has happened in years," Hagurumon reassured. He looked up and turned to face one wall. "Here we are."

He pressed his hands on two points on the wall and a section the size of a door slide up down into the floor. Haguramon floated inside and the small group followed. A series of old faded lights flickered on, throwing shafts of light through the swirling dust and onto the aged floor. The space however was huge and was completely dominated by a large cylindrical object in the centre.

A giant battery.

A series of thick metal cables and wires descended from the far off ceiling and coiled down, wrapping around the positive nub at the top of the battery. Some of the floor panels beneath the battery were missing revealing more wires coiling up and connected to the negative flat of the bottom of the battery.

"Whoah," Izzy breathed, stepping closure to the huge device. "Now a battery like that could power my laptop forever."

"That's how it was designed," Hagurmon said proudly. "She was designed to keep running forever and ever. Of course she doesn't run on common fuels, no sirey."

"What's it powered by?" Izzy asked.

"Let me show you," Hagurumon said.

(X)

Tai took several shocked steps back. He would've thought Andromon would be grateful to them for getting him out of his struggle. Instead he had turned on Sora. For a moment, Andromon was silent, his red tinted eyes swivelling over the room, jumping from face to face. His irises expanded and contracted as he glared at each group member. At last he spoke.

"Intruder's identified," he drawled, his voice metallic and simulated. "Beginning offensive protocol."

He raised his other hand high before he swatted at Tai's head. He dived aside just in time, as Andromon's massive fist narrowly missed colliding with him. Andromon straightened up, Sora still clutched by her ankle. She grunted and kicked at Andromon's arm. Her foot hit the metal with a heavy clang.

Andromon looked at her before flinging Sora across the room. She cried out in fear, as Biyomon dived to catch her. Biyomon mistimed her dive and Sora ended up landing on her Digimon. Andromon looked at Sora, before glancing at Tai and the others. Tai was in a blantant fighting cough and Agumon had his clawed hands up, ready to attack if need be.

"Optical sensors detect hostility," Andromon surmised. "Desist at once and prepare for annihilation."

"Any ideas Tai?" Agumon asked. Tai's eyes flickered up to the metal girders and an idea sparked in his brain.

"Aim for those cables up there," Tai said, nodding to the ceiling.

Agumon caught the gesture and nodded himself.

"Pepper Breath!" he cried. He spat a burst of fire above Andromon's head. The blazing flames coiled around the metal cables, turning them red hot. The metal began to stretch like rubber, then snapped. Tai pushed Agumon and Joe back as the metal girders dropped, silent and lethal. They smashed into Andromon's shoulders with an almighty crash and forced the robotic Digimon to the floor, pinned by a tonne or two of metal.

"Damage report," Andromon groaned. "Excessive pressure causing issue with mobility."

"Let's get out of here," Tai said breathlessly. "We need to find Hagurumon."

"Agreed," Joe said.

(X)

Hagurumon opened a panel on the side of the battery. The hatch slid open to reveal the space beyond. He, Izzy and the rest stepped within. The Battery was hollow. The inner walls were coloured in yellow pink and blue. A bright light shone from above. In rising rings around the inside of the battery were combinations of strange, code-like symbols. The symbols seemed to resonate and hum with an unearthly power.

"Wow," Izzy muttered, looking around the space.

"Yep," Hagurumon said. He seemed to buzz with the same energy as the surrounding room, a small smile breaking over his jagged mouth. "This entire factor is run of these codes."

"It's so beautiful," Mimi whispered.

"You said it," Palmon muttered.

"What's that sound?" T.K. asked.

"The energy of these codes is stronger than we actually thought," Hagurumon explained. "Most of it is used to power the factory but what's left just hangs in the air in this room. The symbols make that noise and give off strange lights sometimes."

"So where can I charge this?" Izzy asked, looking at Hagurumon and holding his laptop. Hagurumon's smile broadened.

"It should be charging already," he said.

Izzy opened his laptop and stared at the screen. And yes, the battery symbol on his laptop screen was slowly been filled up. That was quickly replaced with the glowing screen of Izzy's desktop.

"Prodigious!" he cried happily. Hagurumon smiled, until a loud crash came from above.

"What in the Digi World is going on up there?" he wondered aloud. "If the old guy's broken anything I swear to God.."

He left the statement hanging there. Izzy chuckled to himself and looked at his laptop. He frowned. A strange window had opened up on his laptop. In it were the strange symbols that were all around him. Except now beside each of them, they were represented as computer code. Izzy's eyes widened at the possibility of uncovering what the code meant.

"Prodigious," he whispered to himself, sitting down and typing on the various keys.

"What are you doing now Izzy?" Tentomon asked.

"This is just speculation here, but I believe these symbols are all just made up of computer code," Izzy said. He frowned as he saw how complex some of these codes became.

"A very complex code indeed," he muttered, leaning back against the wall. He rubbed his sleeve against the wall and accidentally erased part of a symbol. Almost instantaneously, the lights went out.

(X)

Tai, Joe, Sora and there Digimon froze as the lights died above there heads.

"Who turned out the lights?" Tai demanded, looking wildly left and right in the total darkness.

"I can't see a thing," Sora whispered, her voice laced with fear.

"The corridor was straight right?" Joe asked, his voice trembling.

Tai gulped. Navigating this factory was hard enough, but in the dark, with a potentially hostile Digimon after you? Not his idea of a picnic.

"Shh," he heard Agumon whispered. "Do you hear that?"

Tai strained his ears but could hear nothing but silence.

"Yeah," whispered Biyomon, her voice wobbling.

Still Tai could hear nothing.

"It's getting closer," Gomamon murmured.

And now Tai could hear it. The sound of metal feet hitting metal floor. A heavy something was walking there way and, if he was hearing right, with a serious limp.

"I seriously hope that isn't Andromon," Sora whispered.

"Then whaddya say we get out of here before we find out?" Tai muttered.

"I'm for that," Joe whispered back. None of them moved.

"Or we could just stand here frozen while the monster gets us," Tai hissed.

This spurred the group into action. Together they began to tiptoe their way down the corridor. They were making slow progress however, and the sound of those metal footsteps was getting louder and louder.

"Is anyone going to tell me why we're tiptoeing instead of running for our lives?" Joe hissed loudly.

"Nocturnal vision activated," growled a voice from behind them. "Intruders identified. Exceeding physical attack range. Beginning alternative tactics."

The groups broke into a run as a strange whirring sound from behind them started. Tai's head was filled with images of horror movies, where the monster or bad guy began chasing after the good guys with chainsaws and cutting them open.

"Lightning Blade!" Andromon roared.

A light came from behind them. Tai glanced back and saw a crescent beam of lightning flying there way, spinning in the air like a boomerang. Tai realised in an instant there weren't going to outrun it. He put hands on Sora's and Joe's backs and dived, pushing them all to the floor as the beam if lightning sailed overhead.

(X)

"What happened?" cried Mimi.

The light above them had gone dark but them symbols were glowing with a strange blue light. Hagurumon looked over at Izzy and sighed, floating over to him.

"You deleted part of the program by accident," he explained, pushing Izzy forward so he could see the part of the symbol Izzy had erased.

"Hold on a second," he said. He replaced the missing symbol and the lights across the factory came to life once more. The various machines that had fallen silent came whirring back to life.

"Now that that's taken care of, who wants to see the rest of the factory?" Hagurumon called as he turned around.

"That's rather mysterious," Izzy muttered as Hagurumon floated away to speak with the others.

"And what is so mysterious about it?" Tentomon asked.

"Most batteries are driven by an acidic chemical reaction which produces their current," Izzy explained as he was typing. "But this one doesn't operate like that. It runs off of these symbols, which, when combined in this very specific pattern generate their own current independently. It's like they're somehow creating their own independent energy supply, in complete contrast to all laws of physics I know."

"What do you mean by that Izzy?" Tentomon asked. Izzy stopped typing and looked at him.

"Energy cannot be created or destroyed," Izzy explained, "Only changed."

"I see," Tentomon said, nodding. "So what does this have to do with the battery?"

"As far as I am aware," Izzy said thoughtfully, "There are no existing energy supplies connecting to these symbols for energy to changed into the electrical energy that this factory operates on."

"And what does that mean in plain English for those of us who don't have the intelligence of a genius," Tentomon asked.

"Give me a nano here," Izzy requested.

"I'll give you three."

Izzy smiled before saying, "I'll bet these codes have got some of the answers that we've been looking for... hopefully including the way to get home..."

(X)

The return of light did little to raise Tai's spirits, considering that there was a two tonne giant chasing after them. Andromon didn't move faster than a walk but the steps he took were more than enough to keep pace with the small group of humans and Digimon.

They reached a catwalk over a set of large, vats, filled with bubbling metal. The heat from the cauldrons was unbearable and Tai felt sweat pouring down his face and arms under a matter of seconds. Andromon, being made of metal, probably didn't have such concerns.

"Temperature readings increasing," Andromon stated. "Targets maintaining distance. Activating alternative offensive capabilities."

Here he stopped walking and raised his black metal hand. The hand span rapidly, creating a high pitched whirring sound. Within a few seconds the hand had become a blurry spike.

"Lightning Blade!" Andromon roared, raising his arm high and swiping it down, creating a second crescent shaped beam of energy.

"Hit the deck!" Tai yelled.

For the second time that day the group dived to the floor and the beam of energy span over their heads.

"Hear me intruders," Andromon growled stamping towards them. "Andromon shall exact his vengeance."

"Vengeance?" Tai yelled, "We're the ones who helped you remember?"

Andromon paused. The blue glaze over his eyes flickered and he held a hand to his head. He shook his head and the glaze disappeared for a moment.

"Where... am I?" he whispered. The glaze returned and Andromon looked up again. "Destroy the intruders," he growled.

Tai gulped and looked around for something to help them. He spotted a crane next to the catwalk. He smiled as he saw that the cockpit for the crane had been left open. This was something that could be useful. He got to his feet and ducked under the barrier for the catwalk, holding his hands on the railing.

"Tai what are you doing?" Sora cried.

"Improvising!" Tai yelled back as he jumped at the crane. He clung to the open door before swinging into the driver's seat.

"Alright you hunk of scrap metal!" Tai yelled as he turned the engine on. "Let's see what you're made of!"

"Would you please stop taunting the deranged android?" Joe yelled.

Tai ignored him, instead pulling two levers, swinging the crane and its hook around. As luck would have it, the hook was at the perfect altitude to snag on Andromon's back. Tai pulled a third, red lever and the hook rose, taking a confused Andromon with it.

"Ground contact interrupted!" Andromon cried. "Altitude readings abnormal!"

"Nice thinking Tai!" Sora called as she got to her feet.

"Thanks," Tai called back as he leapt to the cat walk again. "Now how about we go find Hagurumon?"

(X)

"I admire the way you work while your friends are having fun," Tentomon said to Izzy. "Don't you ever feel sort of, left out?"

"Not at all," Izzy responded calmly.

"So you would rather spend your time with puzzles than with people?" Tentomon asked. Izzy stopped working and smiled at him.

"Precisely," Izzy said smiling. "After all what could be more fun than breaking a cryptogram that nobody else could figure out?"

"I can think of a lot of things actually," Tentomon replied. "Funnily enough being in a small room with only one exit isn't on that list but that's just me."

"I'm merely trying to determine how we all came here, how we got to this strange place," Izzy explained. "Plus, I'd like to learn more about you Digimon, perhaps maybe prove or disprove one or two theories."

"What is it that you're theorising about?" Tentomon asked thoughtfully. "What's the big mystery? I am who I am, and I can't think of any of us Digimon who want to hide anything from you humans."

"Really?" Izzy asked, fascinated.

"I can't help but notice Izzy but you seem to have some sort of preoccupation with who you are," Tentomon said. "Something I can't really understand. Perhaps it has something to do with a secret you're not telling me. Is there some deep dark secret in you're origins Izzy?"

Izzy froze. His skin turned cold and his eyes widened. He averted his gaze from Tentomon.

Don't think about it, he thought to himself. Don't think about it. If you don't think about it it won't bother you.

"Don't you think it's time we told Izzy the truth dear?" Came a voice from his memories.

No, he scolded himself, Don't.

"No I'm afraid if we told him now it might be too big of a shock for him to handle," came another voice.

Stop it, Izzy said to himself, screwing his eyes shut.

"I know you're trying to do what's best for him but I'm afraid that once he finds out he'll be upset we didn't tell him sooner," said the first voice.

A tear leaked out of the corner of Izzy's eye.

"I know, but we just can't think about that right now," the second voice said in response.

"Izzy?" Tentomon said urgently. Izzy shook his head and wiped his cheek.

"Uh, what did you say?" he said, trying to hide the quake in his voice.

"You were acting rather strangely," Tentomon said with concern. "And there's something strange about your laptop. Look."

Izzy looked at the screen of his laptop and his eyes widened. The codes he had been trying to break were floating around the screen, stretching and warping.

"Perhaps Izzy instead of focussing on the problem you should look for a solution?" Tentomon suggested. "Your friends are in trouble Izzy, can't you feel it in your bones?"

Izzy felt a vibrating in his pocket. He dipped his hand into it and retrieved the device he had retrieved at summer camp. It was vibrating rapidly, the screen flashing odd colours.

"It's been activated by something," he whispered.

"Tentomon to Izzy-mon are you reading me?" Tentomon called.

The codes were replaced with a three dimension line art image that showed two figures sitting in a tall cylindrical structure, himself and Tentomon. The image zoomed out quickly, showing the factory and then the entire island.

"This is merely scientific speculation," Izzy said, "But I believe I have stumbled onto something more than just a simple computer game, and I'm about to abandon my alien theory as well."

Tentomon had been listening intently to Izzy's explanation before he began to smoke.

"Oh my it's getting hot in here," he cried, a strange blue light criss-crossing over his body. "Ow, ow! I'm burning up! Do something quickly Izzy I'm being zapped!"

Izzy looked again at the strange device before looking at the laptop. Had this started because of this device he held in his hand, or the one that lay on the floor? He took a guess and pressed the power button on his laptop, turning it off.

The effect was immediate. The device he was hold stopped vibrating, the screen faded to black and Tentomon stopped glowing and smoking. He slumped where he stood, his antenna drooping to the floor.

"I don't like computers," he muttered sulkily.

"Well this computer just helped me understand a lot more about this world," Izzy said excitedly, packing the device away. "I've got to tell the others."

(X)

"I think we got away from him," Joe panted.

"For how long though?" Tai muttered.

No one answered. No one wanted to think about if Andromon got loose. Tai cleared his throat.

"We'll deal with that when and if it comes," he said, "Right now we've got to find Hagurumon and the others and let them know what's going on. Maybe they can come up with something."

The others nodded in agreement.

"Only problem is," Tai said, "Where do we find them?"

Agumon lifted his head and sniffed the air.

"Digimon that way," he said, pointing a clawed hand down a corridor.

"You sure?" Tai asked.

"Positive," Agumon said.

"Andromon?" Joe asked.

"No," Agumon said. "Andromon doesn't have a smell."

Tai looked at the others. Sora shrugged.

"It's the best lead we've got," she said.

There was an almighty crash from somewhere in the distance. Tai exchanged horrified glances with Joe and Sora before turning to Agumon.

"That way you say?" he said.

(X)

Hagurumon turned, towards the sound of the crash, frowning.

"I thought they went to go sort whatever's making that noise," he muttered.

"Do you think we should go look for them?" Matt asked. Hagurumon looked at him, thinking.

"If something else managed to get into the factory past me and the old guy," he said to himself, "Then chances are whatever's causing those noises is more than a technical fault. Yes, I suppose we better go look for them."

"Great," Matt said, relieved. "Where are they?"

Hagurumon drew out a small device from thin air and began to scroll through some sort of code.

"Not in there," he muttered, "Nor there. Ah there they are. Their coming this way." He frowned suddenly. "And so's the old guy. Geez I haven;t seen him move that fast in years."

"Hey guys!" Everyone turned to see Izzy racing into the room, looking red faced and out of breath but ecstatic nonetheless.

"Izzy," Matt said, "What's up?"

"I thought you were charging your laptop?" T.K. said.

"I was," Izzy said excitedly, his face beaming, "Until I stumbled onto something incredible."

"Well what was it?" Matt asked, curious.

"I discovered through no easy means," Izzy said quickly, "That in this world, basic data and simple information is a living, viable substance!"

"In plain English?" T.K. muttered.

"Basically," Izzy said, ignoring T.K.'s sarcasm, "Facts that we could simply look up on the internet back home have their own thoughts and behaviours! Here, data is alive!"

Matt looked at T.K. and Mimi, confused.

"How can data be alive?" Matt asked.

Izzy opened his mouth to respond, but something white and large collided with Izzy.

"Ow!" Izzy cried.

"Sorry," the thing groaned.

Gomamon rolled off of Izzy and held a clawed hand to his head and climbed steadily to his feet.

"Gomamon?" Matt asked. "Where's Joe and the others?"

"They're on their way," Gomamon mumbled dizzily.

On queue, Tai and the others sprinted into the room, breathless and looking relieved.

"Any chance you can tell us what was causing that racket?" Hagurumon asked.

"That... can... wait," Tai panted. "Andromon... he's..."

"He's what?" Hagurumon asked sharply. "What's happened to him?"

"He's gone crazy!" Joe exclaimed. "He kept on ranting about vengeance and intruders!"

Hagurumon looked shocked for a moment.

"Didn't you say that he was coming this way?" Izzy said tentatively.

"Yep," Hagurumon said, his voice cracking.

The wall beside them exploded. Andromon stepped through the devastation, his eyes glowing blue, his expression grim.

"Intruders will be silenced," he roared. His thick chest panel opened to reveal two cannon-like openings.

"Andromon what are you doing?" Hagurumon asked in shock.

"Brining targets into firing range," Andromon drawled, seemingly failing to hear Hagurumon's pleas as two, large grey missiles slotted into place.

"Andromon its me!" Hagurumon cried. "Hagurumon! Your friend."

"Gatling Attack!" Andromon cried. There was a burst of fire and the rockets launched.
"RUN!" Hagurumon screamed.

The group scattered as the missiles flew past. One missile slammed into the opposite wall, leading into an open air section of the factory. The second swivelled and flipped over, before impact, flying straight back at the group. A small hatch opened on the bottom to reveal a large, revolving turret.

"You have got to be kidding me!" Tai cried.

A hail of bullets flew at them, ricocheting off of the metal floor. The missile adjusted course slightly and flew towards Tai, Joe, Sora and their Digimon. Hagurumon turned towards Andromon, a scowl on his face as Tai and the others danced back from the raging bullet storm.

"Andromon stop it!" he yelled.

Andromon looked at him for a long moment before he held a hand to his head, the glowing blue of his eyes flickering for a moment before he swung at Hagurumon with a vicious backhand. Hagurumon flew into a nearby wall, travelled straight through the metal and into the room beyond.

Meanwhile Tai was still dodging bullets, but was doing so filled with energy he had come to expect before Agumon Digivolved. Knowing he would feel absolutely drained after it happened, Tai could only hope Greymon would stop the attack.

Within a moment however Tai was drained and Agumon was jumping bullets much faster, and was growing. Within a few seconds Greymon swung his powerful tail against the missile, sending it careering off into a wall.

Greymon stomped and turned to face Andromon, growling. Andromon however turned on Matt, T.K. Izzy, Mimi and their Digimon. He raised one metallic arm with a sinister style.

"Grasp Hang!" he roared. He lashed his arm out, the heavy metal forearm flying out on a long, winding cable. Matt ducked under swipe of the arm, the metal contours of its edge just clipping the top of his head. Though not a particularly painful blow, it still stung and was sufficient to knock Matt sideways.

He was dizzy for a few moments as lay on the floor. His dizziness was quickly banished by a sudden burst of energy. Matt rolled to his feet. Andromon took a step towards him only to be blocked by a snarling Greymon. While Andromon towered over the human, Greymon dwarfed him, his horns scraping the ceiling of the metal room. Andromon scowled and raised his hand again,

"Come on then," Greymon growled. "Bring it."

"Feeble weakling," Andromon snarled.

"Nova Blast!" Greymon cried.

Andromon smirked. He lashed his metal arm through the ball of flames, dispersing it around him. Greymon's only indication of surprise was the slight widening of his eyes. Garurumon padded up beside Greymon, hackles raised. Although Garurumon wasn't as big as Greymon he was still much larger than Andromon.

"Let's take him," Garurumon growled.

"Agreed," Greymon snorted.

Garurumon pounced, leaping at Andromon. Andromon bent his knees in preparation for the attack. Andromon's powerful hands grabbed Garurumon's powerful jaws, before flipping the larger Digimon clean out of the hole in the wall.

"Garurumon!" Matt cried.

Andromon ignored these cries and instead turned to Greymon. The metallic Digimon ran at the dinosaur and leapt into the air, delivering a powerful kick round Greymon's face. The large Digimon roared and staggered under the powerful blow. Andromon landed in a crouch and ran at Greymon again, punching him in the stomach. Greymon flew straight through the wall and dropped out of sight.

"Greymon!" Tai screamed.

Andromon leapt out of the hole after the two Digimon. The humans and remaining Digimon chased to the hole in the wall and looked down at the fight.

"How can he be beating both of our Digimon?" Tai asked, shocked.

"Maybe it's because he's all machine?" Sora suggested as Garurumon was thrown bodily on top of Greymon.

"Could we... lose?" Matt whispered.

"Maybe he'll run out of gas?" Joe suggested hopefully.

"Gas..." Izzy muttered.

Is it possible Andromon runs off of the same energy produce by the battery? Izzy thought to himself. He looked at Tentomon. Perhaps I can use that to our advantage.

He opened his laptop and reopened the program he had used inside the battery to attempt and decipher the codes.

"Izzy what are you doing?" Tentomon asked.

"The codes from earlier seemed to have triggered some sort of reaction with you, and my device," he said, already hacking away. "It is my belief, that somewhere in these codes is the key to allowing you to Digivolve."

Tentomon looked at Izzy before looking back down at the fight. Andromon was now grappling with Greymon and was winning, driving the huge Digimon to the ground.

"Well if that's true," Tentomon said looking at Izzy, "Then hurry up. I don't think those two can hold out much more."

"Give me a nano here," Izzy muttered, his fingers flying across the keyboard. He always felt energised when he was using his computer. Yet this time it felt different. He was practically buzzing with some strange energy. He paid no attention to this however, preferring to focus on the task at hand. Within a minutes of launching the program the codes had begun to fly across the screen as they had before. Izzy looked at Tentomon, and felt suddenly drained.

His partner however looked positively electrified. He was quaking from head to toe. His carapace was changing colour, becoming blue grey instead of maroon. An armoured shell began to grow around his head, with a long, beetle like horn. The shell split open around his mouth, revealing long, powerful teeth. The shell over his back receded into his body and his long insect like wings stretched out to their full extent. His two arm-like limbs became more immediately human, growing long tapered fingers. And then he began to grow, until he became as tall as Greymon.

"We did it," Izzy breathed in shock and pride. "Tentomon You've Digivolved."

"Got that right," the new Digimon grunted, his voice guttural, yet retaining some traces of Tentomon's mannerisms. "And it's Kabuterimon now." He looked down at the battle and bent his legs, beating his powerful wings in a roaring buzz. He leapt into the air, and dived at Andromon.

The mechanical Digimon turned to face the new challenger and raised one mechanical limb.

"Grasp Hang!" he cried, flinging his arm at Kabuterimon. The larger Digimon nimbly dodged the attack and flew past Andromon and swiped at him with one powerful strike.

Andromon grunted as he was forced to take a step back. Kabuterimon flew back up into the air and spun around. Izzy could tell his partner was trying to find some sort of weak-spot on Andromon's body. A direct attack was futile as Greymon and Garurumon had already proven.

Izzy was the one to find it however. Andromon's right leg was in some need of some serious repair. It was clear it had been in some sort of recent accident.

"His right leg!" Izzy cried to Kabuterimon. "Attack his right leg!"

Kabuterimon looked at Izzy then Andromon then Izzy. He gave his partner the thumbs up. He drew his hands up to his chest and bowed his head. There was a crackling of energy and a ball of blue and purple electricity appeared before him.

"Electro Shocker!" he roared, spreading his arms wide, the ball of electricity flying from him and straight at Andromon. The mechanical Digimon prepared to deflect the attack when Garurumon appeared behind him.

"Howling Blaster!" he cried, attack Andromon's unprepared back. As Andromon tried to turn to defend himself from behind, Kabuterimon's attack struck his right leg. He screamed in agony and clasped his hands to his head. Something shot from his leg, a small black something in the shape of a gear. It flew from where it had been embedded in Andromon and struck a nearby metal wall where it shattered into fragments.

Andromon collapsed to his knees, quivering from head to toe. After a few moments he got shakily to his feet. The blue glaze in his eyes was gone and there was dazed expression on his face.

"Where am I?" he asked, confused.

(X)

After a few lengthy explanations had passed Andromon had recovered Hagurumon from where he had been thrown, relatively unharmed. Afterwards Andromon had apologised profusely.

"Don't sweat it," Tai said. "We've seen something like this before. "You're not the first Digimon this has happened to."

"Even so I feel horrible for what I must have put you through," Andromon said, smiling sadly. "I wish there was some way I could make it up to you."

"If you could tell us a better way to get around without facing the heat then that'd be great," Matt said smiling.

Andromon paused, lifting one hand to his chin. He smiled suddenly and twisted his body, pointing to a large open pipe in the wall.

"You could use the underground waterways," Andromon suggested. "The air down there is a little stale, but it is cool and it will take you across the island. You will also be able to avoid most forms of hostile Digimon down there."

(AN: It would also make a great fast travel system if they ever made a game. Am I right?)

"Thank you Andromon," the group chorused as one.

Andromon smiled and turned to Hagurumon as the group walked to the tunnel.

"Perhaps I have been too wrapped up in old affairs?" he said smiling sadly. "I have forgotten what the outside world was like."

Hagurumon smiled too.

"Well it's still there if you wanna take a look," he said beaming.