Recycled Metal
By: SilvorMoon

Jim stared out the window of his apartment, watching the sky. First there had been
monsters of every description running all throughout the city, and then it turned out that his
younger brother was some kind of hero with magical powers or something, and that he'd been
running around in another dimension while he was supposed to be at summer camp. Now he was
gone, swept up in a beam of rainbow light, into an upside-down world in the sky. It was all very

*I remember a night like this,* he thought. *I haven't thought about it in years,
back when Joe and I were living in Highton View Terrace. I remember him waking me up. There
were... things out there. One of them looked like that one that was following Tai around, actually.
I wonder if they were the same sorts of things?*

He shrugged and turned back to his computer, which was on, the only source of light in
his room. He'd been 'net surfing, trying to find out more about the monsters that were appearing
all over the world, something more than just what was being replayed on the TV news.
Everything he was finding out wasn't very good, and it looked like it was going to get worse.

"You've got mail," his computer informed him.

"I don't care!" he snapped back. Then he paused. "Wait a second. Since when does my
computer tell me when I've got e-mail? I don't use AOL!"

"I'm not talking about e-mail! I'm talking about real mail!" said the voice in the

Jim blinked. "All right, that's it. All this stress has just pushed me over the edge, and now
I'm hearing voices in my computer. I wonder if Dad knows anything about psychology?"

"I assure you, you're perfectly sane," said the voice in the computer. It was hard to be
sure, but it sounded like the voice of an elderly man. "If you don't believe me, just go check your

"Okay. Why not? I guess if there can be upside-down worlds in the air and monsters on
main street, I can have a computer that knows when I've got mail," said Jim.

He got up and went to the door of his apartment. Outside on the wall was a little silver
mailbox with a lift-up lid for safely holding letters. It was, however, immediately obvious that
there were no letters in the box. Instead, the box had a large envelope stuffed in it, filling the small
compartment and holding the lid in the air. With faint amazement, Jim took the envelope out and
read the address. The return address was blank. The only writing there at all was his name
scrawled in a strange, archaic handwriting. With a shrug, he brought it into his room, ripped it
open, and dumped its contents onto the bed. Spilling across his blankets came a small cascade of
styrofoam peanuts, along with a packet of carefully folded cloths. Unwrapping them left Jim with
a large pile of rags, and, in the middle of it all, a small object, looking a bit like a digital

"All that trouble for a watch?" he wondered. "Or... wait. This is one of those gizmos Joe
and his friends were carrying, isn't it?"

"It is indeed," the voice in the computer said. "It is called a Digivice. It is now yours."

"Oh. Gee. Just what I always wanted," said Jim. "Just one question... what am I supposed
to do with this thing?"

"You will learn when the time is right," answered the voice. "In the meantime, you must
join your brother in the Digital World. You are needed there."

"Wait just one minute! How am I supposed to...?"

In the middle of his question, the computer (somewhat rudely, he thought) turned itself
off. He stared at it in annoyance before sighing again.

"I have all the luck," he muttered. "I wonder how he expects me to get to the Digital
World if he doesn't even give me directions or anything?"

Muttering to himself, he picked up the small object to study it more closely, noting how
comfortably it fit his hand, and how pleasantly warm it felt. In the next instant, light surrounded
him, and he was gone.

*Oh,* he thought, before the lights had him completely. *I guess that answers
my question.*


Gennai returned to his home in a pensive mood. It was night there, as it was night in the
real world... but at least his sky had stars in it and not upside-down worlds, even if the stars were
larger than Earth stars and pale purple. He wandered over to an easy chair pulled up to the fire
and sat down, suddenly feeling more tired than he had in ages.

*Did I do the right thing?* he wondered. *They warned me about being
impulsive. It was the saving of the chosen Digimon the day Piedmon attacked, but it's failed me
other times. Perhaps it would have been different if they'd listened to me and finished making that
final Crest...*

Even in the earliest days, nine was a mystical number, one that was associated with power
and luck. The creators of the Digivices and the Tags and Crests had not been a superstitious lot,
but they new that there were Forces in the universe that it was wise to pay attention to, and they
had hoped to try for nine Digidestined. They got as far as creating the ninth Digivice before
Piedmon and his mechanical monsters attacked, and all hope for completing the project was lost.

*How ironic,* thought Gennai, *that the very Digimon we had hoped to use as
our final choice was the same kind that destroyed our laboratory.*

They had been careful to choose a strong balance of different Digimon to give the
Digidestined ammunition against almost anything: Agumon for fire, Gabumon for ice, Gomamon
for water, Biyomon for air, Palmon for earth, Tentomon for electricity, and Patamon and
Gatomon for their angelic potential. The final choice was to be a metal Digimon, one of the
mechanical set. Instead, the Crest to fit the final Tag had never been completed, and the silver
Digi-egg that would have hatched into their chosen creature had been lost before they had even
been able to forge the link that would have bound it to its human companion.

*Well, perhaps he can still do something,* Gennai thought stubbornly. *A
human can make a Digimon digivolve even without a Digivice, much less a Tag and Crest. What
matters is his heart, and his heart is in perfect working order. If he's lucky, perhaps he will be able
to find a helper suited to him, even if we didn't chose it ourselves.*


The Digidestined landed with a bump in unfamiliar territory... territory they didn't get long
to look at before their companion Digimon fell out of the sky after them, burying them in a heap
of legs, tails, fur, and feathers. There was a scramble as everyone attempted to find their way out
of the heap and reunite themselves with their partners. Tai was the first to collect himsef (not to
mention Koromon, still worn out from battling VenomMyotismon) and have a look around.

"Yup, looks like we're back in the Digiworld, all right," he said, pulling out his telescope.
"The place looks like kind of a mess, though. I wonder what's been going on while we're gone?"

For miles around, nothing was visible but sand, rocks, and a blanket of grey fog, with no
sign of other Digimon or even plants. The sun was lost in the thick mist, turning the world into a
shadowless twilight realm.

"This place is creepy," complained Salamon, burrowing into Kari's arms. "All this fog
reminds me of Myotismon, and nothing smells right here."

"It is rather peculiar," Izzy agreed, glancing around. "You'd think there would be some
grass, or-"

He never got around to finishing whatever he was going to say, because at that moment,
there was a drawn-out WHAM! that shot through the earth like a bolt of underground
lighting. Everyone was thrown headlong to the ground, tumbling again into disorganized heaps as
something plowed up a mound of earth beneath them.

"What in the world?" Sora cried out.

"I don't know," Matt shouted, "but it's on its way back! Run for it!"

The kids and their Digimon scattered, just barely dodging the wave of dirt and rocks that
was rushing toward them. It rolled by harmlessly, rocketing through the soil and throwing up
clouds of dust. Then, suddenly, it stopped, trembling ominously. With a low rumble that increased
to an earsplitting roar, the earth opened up, and a gleaming serpentine shape shot fifty feet into
the air, spraying a volcano of dirt and pebbles.

"Guess we were wrong about there being no Digimon here!" said Koromon.

"That looks like the MegaSeadramon that Zudomon fought!" said Joe. "Only that one
wasn't so shiny. What is it?"

"That thing is worse than a MegaSeadramon," Gomamon replied. "It's a full-grown
MetalSeadramon - and it's coming right at us!"

With a resounding roar, the dragonlike beast swooped down on them all, and they threw
themselves into the sand as he rushed over their heads, missing them by inches. MetalSeadramon

"You little shrimps are the Digidestined?" he boomed. "I was expecting you to be
something impressive! You're going to be easy to pick off, if all you can do is cower in
the dirt! Some legendary slayers of evil Digimon you turned out to be!"

"Hey, don't destroy them until I've had a chance to play with them!" said a voice like
creaking wood. The Digidestined turned to see a small wooden Digimon carrying a large metal
hammer come clattering out of the fog. It would have been a comical looking creature if the look
on its face hadn't been so completely malevolent.

"We are not going to destroy them yet, Puppetmon," a new voice rumbled. It was deep
and grating, so low as to be difficult to hear. With heavy, clanking footsteps that made the ground
tremble almost as much as MetalSeadramon's arrival had, an enormous iron dragon stepped into
view. "There will be time for that later."

"Are you sure we can't destroy them now? I could use a snack," said MetalSeadramon.

"Not until I get to play with them!" Puppetmon whined. "Piedmon promised I'd get to
play with them, and I'm gonna play with them!"

"Silence!" the iron dragon roared.

The other two were instantly silent.

"That's better," it said. "Puppetmon, the introductions."

"Right," the wooden Digimon replied. "Listen up, Digidestined! We're the Dark Masters,
ruler of the Digital World! I'm Puppetmon, master of the forest! Up there is MetalSeadramon -
he's the most dangerous thing in the oceans. That big brute there is MachineDramon, Piedmon's
most loyal servant. He'll blow up anything Piedmon tells him to, including you! Piedmon is our
leader, the most powerful Digimon in the whole wide world! He's too important to come down
here and mess with you digi-twits, so he sent us to deliver a message: surrender now, or all of you
will be destroyed!"

"I don't think so!" said Tai. "We'll never surrender to the likes of you - or that Piedmon,
whatever he is."

"Fools! Surrender!" Puppetmon shouted. "This is your last chance! Hand over your
Digivices, Tags, and Crests and swear to serve Piedmon, or you'll be really sorry!"

"That's a threat?" said Matt. "Forget it, you pile of walking firewood! You can't scare us.
We've fought tougher things than you and blew them to digital dust."

"Ha! That's a laugh!" MetalSeadramon jeered. "Rookies and In-Training Digimon stand
no chance against three Mega Digimon!"

"Then I guess we'll just have to take it up a level!" Tai shouted back. "Give it everything
you've got, guys! It's digivolving time!"

To the amazement of the Dark Masters, the fog-filled plains were suddenly filled with
shimmering lights, and they turned away from the blinding radiance. When they could finally see
again, they were faced with an imposing line of fighters: Angemon, Angewomon, Zudomon,
MegaKabuterimon, Palmon, and Garudamon, led by MetalGarurumon and WarGreymon.

"What!?" Puppetmon squealed. "You can't do that! It's against the rules!"

"Not in my rulebook!" Tai laughed. "Go get 'em, gang!"

"I know a thing or two about fighting Seadramon," MetalGarurumon growled. "Leave
him to me!"

"I've fought bigger Seadramon than you!" Zudomon told him. "Let me lend a hand - or a

"Master of the forest, huh?" said Lillymon, glaring at Puppetmon. "I know a plant
Digimon who'd like to challenge you about that!"

"Let me help! I know a few bugs who would like to chew on him!" MegaKabuterimon

Listening to the threats, Puppetmon glared at MetalSeadramon.

"You think this is going to be easy, huh?" he asked. "They don't look so weak now, do

"Okay, so I underestimated them!" MetalSeadramon snapped.

"Quiet!" MachineDramon roared. "Look at you, afraid of a few undertrained upstarts! No
Champion or Ultimate can hope to stand up to a Mega Digimon of our experience level. Now, get
out there and start fighting!"

With a roar, the iron dragon charged at them, metal feet clashing on the rocky earth with
earsplitting clangs, and the Digidestined scattered to avoid blasts from the cannons mounted on its
back. Taking courage from MachineDramon's boldness, MetalSeadramon and Puppetmon began
attacks of their own. There was no choice for the good Digimon but to retaliate with everything
they had as they attempted to protect their human companions.

"This is crazy!" Izzy shouted as he dove for shelter behind a boulder. "Our Digimon are
going to get creamed!"

"Don't you think MetalGarurumon and WarGreymon can handle these chumps?" asked

"Think? I know they can't!" said Izzy. He was typing furiously on his laptop,
making it spill waves of black letters and numbers across the screen. "See? These are the power
readings for those enemy Digimon. They've been Megas for way longer than our Digimon have,
so they have much more power and experience. We can't win in just a regular battle - we need a
plan of some sort..."

"Plan later! I say we get out and blast them!" said Tai.

"Negative," Izzy replied. "Hang on a minute while I try to scan for weaknesses."

Meanwhile, the Digimon were waging a fierce battle - in the sky, on the ground, even
below the earth, as MetalSeadramon drove into the sand to burst back up in explosions that
knocked everyone off their feet. Then he would take to the sky again to be pursued by the various
winged Digimon, while their earthbound partners dodged blasts from MachineDramon's canons
and Puppetmon's hammer.

"I've had enough of this!" said WarGreymon. "It's time to get serious! Terra

Power gathered in his outstretched claws, a ball of fire that flashed and expanded like the
birth of a sun. Soon he had a fireball larger than himself suspended over his head and... waiting.

"You think you can hurt me with that?" MachineDramon rumbled. "Foolish Digimon. You
should know you can't burn metal!"

"Don't listen to him!" Tai shouted. "Go ahead and blast him!"

"Wait a minute, Tai!" said Izzy. "MachineDramon is right - that fireball's not going to do
a thing to him, unless... hey, Kari, come here a minute! I think I've got an idea!"

"What kind of idea?" asked Kari, hurrying obediently closer.

"Could you call Angewomon down here for me? I think I know how we can defeat
MachineDramon, but we're going to need her help."

"Sure," she agreed. "Hey, Angewomon! Can you come down here a minute? Izzy needs to
talk to you."

"I'm kind of busy right now!" Angewomon called back as she dodged a blast from

"It's really important!" Kari encouraged.

"Well, if you really think it's imprortant..." Angewomon abruptly folded her wings and
dropped out of the sky, narrowly missing being hit by a River of Power attack - then flipped them
open again in time to dodge one of Puppetmon's blasts. She landed next to Kari with her feathers
ruffled and leaned down to listen to Izzy's request.

"Could you hurry it up?" WarGreymon shouted. "My arms are getting tired!"

"Don't worry! I'm on it!" Angewomon replied.

Leaping into the air once more, Angewomon produced her bow and began taking careful
aim at MachineDramon. The other Dark Masters, sensing something interesting was about to
happen, paused in their attacks to watch, but MachineDramon simply sat and glared at her.

"You think you can harm me with that little trick?" he asked scornfully. "As I recall, you
couldn't even destroy Mytismon properly with it! It will take a great deal more to defeat me."

"We'll see about that," answered Angewomon. "Celestial Arrow!"

The arrow flew straight and true. It just barely nicked MachineDramon's exterior,
severing a few cables on its way by. MachineDramon stared in puzzlement as his tubing began to
leak oil and fuel.

"Was that it?" he asked.

"That was more than enough," said Izzy exultantly. "All right, WarGreymon, let it rip!"

"About time!" WarGreymon replied. "Eat this, you overgrown lawnmower!"

The fireball fell from the sky and engulfed MachineDramon in roaring flames. They licked
hungrily at the spilled gasoline and oil, working their way up into the tubing as they searched for
the source. The metal dragon thrashed insanely as he felt the fires invading his fuel cells.

"No! Stop it! You can't do this to me! Noooooo!

There was an earth-shaking explosion, and the Digidestined dove for cover with their
Digimon copying their example. MachineDramon vanished in a final spurt of flame and black smoke.
Puppetmon and MetalSeadramon stared in blank shock, then turned to each other apprehensively.

"What do we do now?" asked MetalSeadramon.

"I think a retreat sounds like a good idea," Puppetmon replied.

MetalSeadramon stared at the crater where MachineDramon had been a moment ago.
Now there was nothing more to be seen but some rocks and blackened earth.

"You never said a truer word, Puppetmon," he said. "But don't think you can get away
with this, Digidestined! We'll be back, and next time, you'll the ones ending up as

"We'll be glad to take you up on that," said Matt, getting up to stand next to
MetalGarurumon. The steel wolf stared coldly at the Dark Masters, adding his silent agreement.

"We're not going to forget this!" Puppetmon said. "You can bet, when Piedmon hears
about this, you'll wish you never returned to the Digital World!"

With that, Puppetmon sprang onto MetalSeadramon's head, and they flew off into the sky,
where they were obliterated by fog. As soon as they were gone, the other Digimon reverted to
their more comfortable forms to join their companions in celebration.

"Man! That was easier than I thought it would be!" said Tai. "Great idea, Izzy. If we keep
up teamwork like that, we won't have any problems with these Dark Master things."

"It was nothing. Just a little practical application of a sound understanding of
combustion," said Izzy modestly. "Besides, it was Angewomon and WarGreymon who did the
real work."

"We all did a good job," said Tai. "And we're going to do the same thing to those
other monsters as we did to that MachineDramon, right?"

"Right!" everyone agreed.

"It looks like the fog is lifting," Gatomon noted. "I think I can see something over there.
Do the rest of you see it?"

Looking in the direction Gatomon was pointing, the group could just barely make out the
shape of something dark rising against the skyline, stabbing at the sky like an accusatory finger.

"It looks like a mountain," said Joe. "Do you think it could be Infinity Mountain?"

"One way to find out," Tai replied. "If it is Infinity Mountain, we can climb it and
get a look at everything. Then maybe we can see what these Dark Masters have been doing."

"What if that's where the Dark Masters are living?" asked Sora. "It's the best vantage
point for miles around. They probably like to keep an eye on what all the other Digimon on the
island are doing."

"All the more reason to go there," Tai replied. "Come on, gang! Let's make some tracks!"

Beckoning for his friends to follow, Tai turned and began jogging in the direction of the
mountain, with Agumon following close behind. The other Digidestined hurried to catch up with
no more than a few sighs of resignation and murmured complaints.

However, if the Digidestined and their companions had lingered a bit longer, they would
have seen an interesting sight. From out of the crater, something small and shiny crept into the
light. It looked like a small, smooth, electric mouse, with small red eyes that lit up, a pair of metal
ears like lightning bolts, and an antenna-tail. Its eyes blinked, on and off, as it inspected the world
that had suddenly gotten a lot bigger.

"Hmm," it said thoughtfully. And then, "Oh! Choromon!"

It had remembered its name, and that pleased it. It whirred around in a small circle,
shooting sparks from the tip of its tail in celebration. Then it paused, as it suddenly remembered
something else. Something was missing. The Choromon had lost something, something very
important, and it had to go looking for it. Whirring and clicking, Choromon trundled off into the


When Jim reappeared, he found himself standing among a group of rocks. The sun seemed
to be setting, throwing dark shadows across the sandy earth... or perhaps it was rising. Which was
east and which was west? Jim spun around, as if he might find a compass lying somewhere, but
quickly gave up the attempt as futile.

"Where the heck am I?" he said aloud.

"You are in Digiworld," a voice answered.

Jim whirled around. In a place where nothing had been before, there was now a faintly
shimmering column of light, and in the center of it, he could just barely make out the image of an
elderly man.

"Who are you?" asked Jim.

"I am called Gennai, and I am a friend," the man replied. "It is I who brought you here."

"You brought me into another dimension just to drop me in the middle of a desert?" Jim
asked incredulously. "Where is everybody? I thought there were supposed to be monsters or
something. Is my brother here?"

"Your brother is nearby. I have brought you as close to him as I can, but my power here is
limited. I was lucky to get you this far. You'll have to find your friends on your own. Good luck!"

"Hey, wait! Come back here!" Jim cried, but it was too late. The light had already
vanished. He sighed.

"Just my luck. Stuck in some weird sci-fi world without even a toothbrush," Jim said. "I
guess I should start looking for the others... but where do I go?"

He didn't know. The rocks looked just the same in all directions. With a shrug, he closed
his eyes, spun around in a circle, and began to walk. He was very glad he was wearing his
sneakers; the rocky ground was enough to make his feet hurt even with the shoes' thick soles to
cushion them. The air was uncomfortably warm, and the grit-laden wind moaned eerily amid the
rocks as it pelted him with stinging particles of sand. He began to wonder why his brother was
going through all the bother of saving this Digital World if all of it was like this.

Suddenly, his attention was caught by a strange sound, something that had nothing to do
with wind or rocks. It sounded like a metallic clunking noise. Curious, he began jogging toward it,
trying not to trip on the uneven ground. As he drew closer, he realized whatever was causing the
noise was also speaking, carrying on a monologue in a humming, nasal voice. Jim rounded a
corner and found himself face to face with one of the oddest beings he had ever chanced to meet
in his lifetime, a creature that appeared to be made entirely of three gears. It turned two beady
eyes to look at him.

"You're a human!" it hummed.

"Obviously," Jim replied. "What in the world are you?"

"I am a Gearmon," the thing replied. "I am looking for the humans that destroyed my Lord
MachineDramon. The only humans in the Digiworld are the Digidestined. You are a human. Since
it is my duty to destroy the Digidestined, I must destroy you!"

"Hey, now, wait just a minute!" Jim protested. "I'm not one of your Digi-whatevers! I
didn't have anything to do with that! I don't even know what a MachineDramon is!"

"That's just what you would say if you had destroyed him," the Gearmon insisted.
"Prepare to be destroyed, human!"

In the meantime, the Choromon was still trundling along on its tiny wheels, chirping and
sparking to itself. It was beginning to get puzzled. It had to find the thing it had lost, and yet it
could not remember what it was or where it might be. This was very strange, because Choromon
knew that it had always had this important thing for its entire life and had treasured it. How could
it forget what this thing was? Sparks shot from the Choromon's tail in frustration.

Suddenly, the Choromon's ears twitched. Something was going on nearby. Curiosity
aroused, it began rolling quickly toward the noise, gears grinding as it forced itself to move along
at top speed. Maybe whoever was making all the racket had found the thing he'd lost! However,
as he came to the top of a heap of slag, he was disappointed to see that it was only a Gearmon
and another funny creature. Choromon stared, his ruby eyes blinking on and off in puzzlement. He
had never seen anything to rival the funny creature that was talking to the Gearmon, but he had a
feeling it was very important. As a matter of fact, just looking at the creature made Choromon
feel topsy-turvy inside, and the realization that the creature was in danger threw him completely
off-balance, and he could feel his world turning dark and spinning as he called out...

"Choromon, digivolve to... Kapurimon!"

In the next instant, Jim was astounded to see a silver and purple blur fall out of the sky. It
hit the Gearmon with a resounding BONK! and bounced, landing directly at Jim's feet.
The Gearmon toppled noisily to the ground and sat there whirring. The silver and purple thing
glared at it with a fierce light in its wide brown eyes, and Jim looked down at it in shock.

This new little monster was a vaguely raccoon-like thing about the size of a basketball,
mostly head with a bushy tail sprouting from the back. The parts of it that were visible were
covered in purple and white fur - white for the face and the rings of its tail and purple for the rest
of it - but it was hidden from the nose up in a shiny silver helmet with conical ears. It spoke in a
childish male voice.

"Ha! Gotcha, didn't I!" it taunted. "Don't make me do that again!"

"Why, you little...!" the Gearmon snarled, finally managing to set itself upright again.
"You ought to know better than to mess with a servant of Lord MachineDramon!"

"I'm not a'scared of your ol' Lord MachineDramon!" the raccoon-thing barked back. "If
he was here, I'd blow him all to bits, just like this - Bubble Blow!"

The peculiar little animal took a deep breath and puffed out a stream of pink bubbles. They
rained down on the Gearmon, who flinched and backed away, trying vainly to protect its face.

"Ha, you don't like that, do ya?" the little animal laughed. "There's more where that came
from, too, so you'd better get packing before I really get mad!"

"All right, all right!" the Gearmon muttered. "That human doesn't look like a
Digidestined, anyway. It probably just wandered in by mistake. You can have it!"

Grumbling to itself, the Gearmon wandered off. Jim breathed a sigh of relief and turned to
face his rescuer.

"Thanks a lot for your help," he said. "It's a good thing you came along when you did, or
that monster might have eaten me or something!"

"Nah, Gearmon don't eat people. They're not that tough," the little creature replied. "I'm
Kapurimon! What kind of a Digimon are you?"

"Me? Well, I'm a... I'm a human, actually," Jim said.

Kapurimon tilted his head in puzzlement. "A Hyumon? I've never heard of a Hyumon

"Yeah, well, I'm not from around here. I came in from another world," Jim explained.
"Now I'm lost, and I'm trying to find my brother and his friends."

"Brother?" Kapurimon repeated. "What's a brother? Is it something important you can
lose? I lost something important, and now I've got to find it, only I can't remember what it is."

"I'm sorry to hear that," said Jim, "but I think if you'd lost a brother, you would know it.
He's part of my family - we're both sons of the same mother and father."

"Family? Sons? Mother? Father? You speak weird words in your other world," said
Kapurimon. "I never heard of any of that stuff."

Jim took a deep breath to launch a detailed explanation, but quickly deflated. How in the
world did you explain the concept of reproduction to a critter that didn't even have a concept of
mother and father? He decided to try a different tactic.

"Family means he's someone I've lived with for a long time - like a friend, only we live in
the same house and he looks kind of like me," he explained. "He's got a bunch of other friends
with him, humans like us, only we don't look as much alike. You wouldn't happen to have seen
them, would you?"

"More Hyumons?" Kapurimon repeated. "Hmm. I think I remember seeing some
Hyumons. I saw them... back that way!" He gestured with his tail, pointing back in the direction
he had come from.

"It must be them!" said Jim happily. "Man, why did that Gennai guy drop me out here in
the middle of nowhere when he could have put me with them? Thanks, Kapurimon. You've been
a big help."

"You're welcome, Hyumon," Kapurimon replied.

Jim chuckled. "You don't have to call me that. Call me Jim. It's easier to say."

"Jim," Kapurimon repeated. "JimHyumon. Funny name."

"JimKidoHyumon," Jim agreed, grinning. "Very funny. So... do you have any idea where
you lost your... something important?"

"No," said Kapurimon sadly. "I can't remember at all!"

"So the thing you lost is just as likely to be over that way as anywhere else, right?" asked

"I guess so," Kapurimon agreed.

"As a matter of fact, its even more likely to be there, since you know you've been there
before, but you don't know you've been over here, right?"

"I guess that, too."

"Well, then, how would you like to come along with me for a while?" asked Jim. "Then at
least we can be lost together, until we find what we're looking for."

Kapurimon considered. The Hyumon it had found seemed to be fairly clever - a lot more
clever than Kapurimon. It had even helped Kapurimon to digivolve! He seemed like a very nice
creature, even if he was funny looking and talked with weird words. On the other hand, he didn't
know how to defend himself against silly Gearmon, but Kapurimon did. They could take care of
each other if they traveled together.

"Kapurimon will go with JimHyumon!" it decided.

"Great!" Jim exclaimed. "Glad to have you with me. Do you mind if I pick you up? We'll
make better time if I carry you over these rocks."

Kapurimon couldn't think of any reason why not, so he hopped into Jim's arms and settled
himself in comfortably. Once he got used to Jim's loping gait, he realized it was actually a very
nice way to travel.

*There's something about this JimHyumon that reminds me of what I lost,* he
thought. *I wonder what it is?*


Puppetmon cringed in the shadows, shuffling along with his joints trembling like a tree in a
strong wind. With extreme reluctance, he made his way up to the base of the throne where
Piemon, Master of the Dark Masters, was keeping watch over his domain. He didn't even take his
eyes off the viewing screen in front of him until Puppetmon cleared his throat.

"Oh, it's you," he said boredly, glancing down at his cohort. "Back so soon? Those
Digidestined must not have been as formidable as the reports made out. Such a pity; I was hoping
they would provide a distraction. When one has everything under one's control, things become
dreadfully predictable."

"Well, actually, things didn't go quite exactly the way we planned," said Puppetmon.

"Oh, really?" asked Piedmon. He turned his deceptively bland gaze on his servant. "All
right, how did you three manage to foul things up this time?"

"It wasn't my fault!" Puppetmon cried. "It was that MachineDramon! He gave the order
to attack! We were just following his orders!"

"Don't go shifting the blame to him," said Piedmon. "Unlike some people I could
mention, MachineDramon is a dependable Digimon. Where is he? Let him tell his side of the

"That's just it, Piedmon," Puppetmon replied. "He's not here anymore. The Digidestined
blew him sky-high!"

"That," Piedmon replied, "is impossible. Completely and utterly impossible. I would know
if MachineDramon had been destroyed, and I have noticed nothing of the sort."

"I saw it with my own eyes!" insisted Puppetmon. "There was this huge explosion -
KABOOM! - and no more MachineDramon."

"Are you contradicting me?" asked Piedmon. "I would think by now you would know
better than to contradict me when I tell you something."

"Oh, no! I would never do that, Piedmon. It's just that, well, um..."

Piedmon sighed. "Look. I'll show you myself that MachineDramon hasn't been destroyed,
if that's the only way I can get that fact through your termite-ridden skull. Look."

Waving one hand in a graceful gesture at the video terminal, the screen shimmered and
shifted, altering the view from one of barren plains of grey stone to the warmer, sandier
environment favored by MetalSeadramon. It zoomed in on a dark moving speck that gradually
became discernable as a human boy carrying a raccoon-like In-Training Digimon.

"There? You see?" asked Piedmon. "Completely alive."

Puppetmon leaned closer to the screen. "Are you sure? That doesn't look much like
MachineDramon to me."

"I will overlook that comment," said Piedmon, "because I know that your brain is full of
knotholes. That, for your information, is Kapurimon, MachineDramon's In-Training form. He has
simply lost a bit of his power and needs to recharge. In a week or two, he'll be in top fighting
form again and ready to pay back those Digidestined brats - in spades!" He pulled a playing card
out of the air and flipped it over, revealing the Ace of Spades on the front, and then made it
vanish again in a burst of blue flame. Puppetmon clapped appreciatively.

"That's great, Piedmon," he said. "I've just got one little question... why is he following
that human around?"

"Hmm?" Piedmon turned to stare more closely at the picture. "Hmm. Well, that's
unexpected. This was not part of my plan..."

"Are we in trouble?" asked Puppetmon anxiously. "You don't think he's gonna turn on us
or something, do you?"

Piedmon made a swift motion with one hand, and a stiletto knife whizzed through the air
and sliced off the tip of Puppetmon's nose.

"Hey!" he yelped. "Watch it! You chipped it!"

"Maybe that will teach you to question my authority," Piedmon replied. "If I can control
fifteen tons of steel, I can control a little furry animal, and no human, not even a Digidestined
human, can change that. There is simply no way MachineDramon's loyalty to me will ever
change. He cannot leave. He has no choice in the matter."

"If you say so," Puppetmon agreed.

"I do," Piedmon replied, "and that ought to be enough for you. MetalSeadramon, report! I
want a word with you!"

There was a rumbling in the depths of the castle, and then MetalSeadramon shot up from a
chute in the floor to coil himself at Piedmon's feet. This could only be accomplished because the
throne he was using put him well off the ground; otherwise the sea dragon would have towered
above him.

"Did somebody mention me?" MetalSeadramon inquired.

"Yes," answered Piedmon. "I have a little assignment for you. Those bothersome
Digidestined children are in your territory right now, so that makes them your responsibility. Find them,
destroy them, and bring their Tags, Crests, and Digivices back to me. You can do that, can't

"But - but - but!" MetalSeadramon stammered. "Um, I don't mean to complain or
anything, but did you see what those kids did to MachineDramon? I'm not letting that happen to

"Then you had better be a little more careful this time, hadn't you?" Piedmon replied.

"Well, I, um..."

"Good. I'm glad you agree with me," said Piedmon brusquely. "Now go away before you
make me ill - or did you know you positively reek of fish?"

"I'm going, I'm going," MetalSeadramon replied. He turned and dove back down the
tunnel, but he could be heard muttering to himself long after he was gone.

"Well, that takes care of that," said Piedmon. "We won't have to worry about those
Digidestined now that MetalSeadramon is on the job. They can't live long without water, and the
minute they get near a river or ocean, they'll be swamped by every horror the depths have to
offer, and this whole problem will be... oh, how do they say it? Water under the bridge." He
chuckled at his own joke.

"What about MachineDramon?" asked Puppetmon. His attention was still fixed on the
viewing screen, where Kapurimon and the human were walking along and chatting with each
other as if they hadn't a care in the world. No matter what Piedmon said, the little raccoon
Digimon looked as if he was perfectly happy to stay where he was.

"Disgusting, isn't it?" said Piedmon with a sneer. "But it doesn't matter. As I said, he
can't help but come back. I hold his very soul in my hand, and he will never be able to find
comfort or rest until he is reunited with it. Once again, I am left holding all the cards." He turned
his gaze back to the screen, staring at Jim with a calculating expression. "It is very strange,
though, that he should befriend one of those humans so easily... but no. Kapurimon can never be
soul-bonded to a human as long as I control him. I can afford to wait. Given time, he can't help
but come back..."


Night was slowly falling over the DigiWorld, bringing with it cooler air and a sprinkling of
stars. Through the falling twilight, Jim trudged wearily on, too tired to do much more than scuff
his feet in the dirt. Kapurimon had long since given in to the temptation of sleep, and he dozed
peacefully in Jim's arms. Even in his exhaustion, Jim found the energy to look down at his little
traveling companion and smile. Even though his head knew he should be worried about going
back home before his parents began to worry, something in his heart was telling him it was more
natural that he be here in this strange world carrying an armored raccoon. Already he was starting
to feel fond of Kapurimon - the little animal had already begun to show a strong streak of loyalty
to his new "Hyumon," sticking close to his side and driving off any other curious Digimon that
got too close. Now, seeing the creature sleeping contentedly in his arms gave him a feeling of
warmth that made it worth the pain in his arms caused by carrying the weight of Kapurimon's
metal helmet.

With a sigh, Jim turned his mind away from thoughts of his new friend and began thinking
instead of just what he was going to do next. Despite the fact that they had been traveling all day,
they had not seen any sign of Joe or the other kids. Now he was beginning to have doubts that
he'd ever find them - after all, Kapurimon hadn't been totally sure he'd seen anyone, admitting
only to having a vague memory of seeing them. As far as he could say, the others could have
passed by days ago, if they had even been there at all. For some odd reason, the otherwise
intelligent Digimon seemed to have a very patchy memory where his past was concerned. Jim was
beginning to wonder if he'd ever find his brother or his way home. As tiredness began to turn into
malaise, he was becoming slowly convinced that he would be lost in this Digital World forever
with only a talking animal for companionship.

Suddenly, a flicker of light caught his eye, and he strained through the darkness to try to
make it out. There appeared to be a grove of trees following the winding course of a stream, and
sheltered within their shadows was a warm orange glow, just the kind a good campfire would
make. If he stared hard, he thought he could see a number of shapes moving around at the edges
of the light.

"Hey, Kapurimon, wake up!" he said. "I think I see something!"

"Hmm? Wha? What's going on?" Kapurimon asked sleepily. He blinked his eyes to shake
off a dream. Then the brightness came back to his features in a rush as something caught his
attention. "Hey! I smell Hyumons!"

"All right!" Jim cheered. "It has to be Joe and the others!"

Weariness forgotten, Jim launched into a sprint that was very unlike his usual calm
demeanor, and Kapurimon squealed in glee. Soon they reached the edge of the grove, drawing
close enough to hear the murmur of voices and smell the scents of wood smoke and cooking

"Hello?" Jim called. "Hey! Is anyone there?"

Crouched next to the campfire, Joe suddenly glanced up from his meal. He'd had a long,
hard day trying to keep up with the group's exuberant leader. Tai had pushed the team as far as he
could that day, but eventually he'd been forced to come to grips with the fact that the mountain in
the distance was a lot further away than it had looked. When Mimi started to complain of blisters
and Matt had demanded a halt before T.K. collapsed, Tai had finally given in and let them strike
camp next to the river. Joe had been making an honest effort not to live up to his reputation as a
complainer, or he otherwise would have expressed his exhaustion along with the rest of them.
Unlike Tai and Sora, he wasn't much of an athlete. Now that he had finally stopped moving, he
was beginning to realize the full extent of his weariness.

"I think I'm hearing things," he said to Gomamon, for lack of any other audience. "I could
have sworn I just heard my brother."

"I must be hearing what you're hearing, because I think I heard him, too," Gomamon
replied. "Either that or there's a Parrotmon around here who knows your brother."

"Maybe we'd better check this out," said Joe. "Hey, everyone, quiet down a minute!"

"What's the matter, Joe?" asked Tai. "You aren't getting another of your migraines or
something, are you?"

"No, I thought I heard something," Joe answered. "See? There it went again!"

The group became still, and in the silence they were able to catch the sound of someone
shouting in the distance.

"It is my brother!" Joe exclaimed. "Hey, Jim! Over here!"

"Joe!" shouted Jim. He came crashing through the underbrush and emerged at the edge of
the campsite, grinning exultantly. "Am I ever glad to see you guys! I was afraid I'd never see
another human ever!"

"Jim?" asked Sora, perplexed. "What are you doing here?"

"This weird old guy named Gennai sent me here," said Jim. "No explanation, no warning,
just a flash of light, and here I am. So... how do I get back home?"

"You don't," sighed Mimi. "Not without fighting a bunch of evil Digimon, anyway."

"Oh, great," said Jim, collapsing to the ground with a sigh. "You mean I'm trapped here?"

"Not forever," Tai replied. "Just until we destroy all the evil Digimon. Mimi's not the
sharpest pencil in the box, but she's right about some things."

"Hey, Jim," Sora interjected, "since when do you have a Digimon?"

"Huh? Oh, you mean Kapurimon! He's not really my Digimon," said Jim. "That is, I don't
think he really belongs to me like you guys belong with your Digimon. He just kind of decided to
follow me around."

Kapurimon nodded. "I like JimHyumon. He's nice to me. He's going to help me find the
thing I lost."

"That's funny," said T.K., looking at the two of them. "He sure looks like he's your
Digimon. You remind me of when we all got our Digimon for the first time - they were all little
like that. You've even got a Digivice like we do!"

"I what?" Jim glanced down at the object he'd clipped to his belt. "Is that what this thing's
called? A Digivice? I wondered about it."

"You've got a Digivice? Let me see!" Tai bounced up from where he was sitting and went
to take a look. Jim offered it up for examination, and Tai studied it with more intensity than he
would have given his homework.

"It's the real thing, all right," said Tai. "Where did you find this, Jim?"

Jim shrugged. "In the mail."

"The mail?" Kari repeated. "How in the world did you get a Digivice in the mail? I had to
go through all kinds of trouble to get mine."

"It was that Gennai character again," said Jim. "He showed up in my computer. Who is
he, anyway?"

"He's... kind of like our mentor," Izzy explained. "If he chose you, it's got to be official.
You're one of us - the Digidestined!"

"Digi... Destined?" Jim repeated dubiously. "I don't know if I like that. It sounds awfully...

"It's not so bad, once you get used to it," said Matt, leaning comfortably against
Gabumon's furry side. "Which is not to say that it doesn't get pretty freaky at times, but still, it's
not so bad."

"If you say so," Jim sighed.

"What's the matter?" asked Kapurimon. "Don't you want to stay here with me for a

That made Jim smile again. "Of course I want to stay with you, Kapurimon. We're friends,

"Yeah!" Kapurimon agreed.

"There's no mistaking that," said Sora. "Kapurimon must be your Digimon. Anyone can
see the way you fit together."

"You think so, huh?" Jim replied.

"Definitely," Matt agreed. "And I carry the Crest of Friendship, so I ought to know!"

"Well, you'd be the expert, I guess," Jim replied. "Anyway, I'm starved. What do
Digidestined eat for dinner?"

"Fish kebabs," answered Joe.

"Don't you mean shish kebabs?" asked Jim.

"No," said Gatomon, handing him a trout on a stick. "Definitely fish kebabs."

Jim stared at the fish dubiously. "This doesn't exactly constitute a well-balanced meal."

"Do you see any four-star restaurants around here?" asked Matt. "If you do, let us know,
and we'll go eat there."

"No! No restaurants," said Joe. "Or have you forgotten Veggimon's diner?"

"Please, don't remind me!" Matt replied. "After that run-in with Digitamamon, I don't
think I'll ever look at another hard-boiled egg the same way again!"

"I guess the culinary establishments in Digiworld aren't the greatest," Jim sighed. "Oh,
well. Guess I can live off fish kebabs for a while."

"What's wrong, JimHymon?" asked Kapurimon, chomping on a fish of his own. "I think
this is pretty good food!"

"I'm sure it is," said Jim, "and you really don't have to call me 'JimHyumon' all the time.
'Jim' will do just fine. And these people are called Matt, Tai, Sora, Mimi, Kari, T.K., Izzy, and
that's my brother Joe."

"So that's what a brother looks like," said Kapurimon. "I think you're right - the thing I
lost wasn't a brother. It must have been something else."

"My brother Tai is here," said Kari thoughtfully, "and T.K.'s brother Matt is here, and
Joe's brother Jim is here. Does anyone else have any brothers I should know about?"

"I have a hamster," Mimi volunteered.

"I don't think that's quite the same thing," said Izzy.

"Kapurimon, I can tell you one thing right now," said Jim. "If you really are going to
follow this bunch around, you're going to have one interesting trip."

"You'd better believe it!" said Tai. "You ought to hear how it's been so far!"

"Tell me," Jim replied. "It'll take my mind off my food."

So while Jim picked at fishbones, the other Digidestined told the story of their journey to
the Digiworld, the discovery of their Digimon companions, Black Gears, Tags and Crests, Dark
Networks, and all the other incredible things they'd seen and done. At last the storytelling wound
down, the meal was finished, and the fire died, and Jim decided he'd seen and heard enough for
one day. He followed his friends' examples as they curled up next to the embers for some well-
deserved sleep. The other Digimon snuggled down next to their companions, but Kupurimon
continued hopping around the campsite, sniffing the air and digging through the leaves. He really
did look like he was searching for something he'd lost.

"Aren't you going to sleep, Kapurimon?" Jim asked.

"No, not yet. I'm not sleepy," Kapurimon replied. "I'm going to stay up and stand guard
in case there are any more Gearmon or something."

"Well, don't stay up too late," said Jim. "We'll probably have a long day tomorrow, and
you'll need your strength."

"I know," Kapurimon agreed. After a pause, he added, "Do you think I'll ever find it

"Find what?" asked Jim sleepily.

"Whatever I lost."

"Sure, you'll find it," said Jim. "We'll help you look - me and the kids and the other

"That's good," Kapurimon replied. "I know I need to find it, but I also want to stay with

"Don't worry," Jim assured him. "We're going to stick close together from now on."

"Thanks, JimHymon," said Kapurimon.

Jim sighed and settled himself more comfortably on the grassy turf, thinking to himself that
there were probably worse pet names he could be stuck with. He'd get used to it, just like he
would have to get used to the rest of this crazy situation. He stared up at the sky, looking at the
brilliant stars laid out in patterns unlike anything he'd ever seen in his home. They shimmered
through the branches of trees he felt sure he'd never find in a botany book on Earth, and he
couldn't even begin to identify the noises that issued from the forest. Where was home, anyway?
Somewhere up in the sky, the way he'd seen the Digiworld from Earth? How would he ever find
his way back?

He was distracted from these gloomy thoughts by a small purring noise, and he glanced
over his shoulder to see that Kapurimon had fallen asleep again, and was snoring. He smiled. At
least he wasn't alone in this weird world; loyal little Kapurimon would be here for him to help him
make sense of all this. He'd seen the power of the other Digimon in battle, but now he thought
their emotional support was probably as important to their companions as their firepower.

"Kapurimon," he murmured. "My Digimon."

The words felt entirely comfortable to him, and he continued smiling even as he slipped
into a deep sleep.

To be continued...
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