Disclaimer: I don't own Digimon.
A War of the Worlds
By fate or design, humanity was not alone in the universe. At the end of the twentieth century, no one would have believed that such a thing could occur within their lifetime, but by the start of the twenty-first, it had become the most significant moment in human history. Around its solitary shining star that granted it life, the Earth spun with its partner moon, small and seemingly insignificant against the backdrop of the void. Once humanity held sole dominion over this blue marble teaming with life, but now that was no longer the case. Through an unexpected twist of fortune, life born from its digital communication network—known as digimon—brought humanity back to the struggle for supremacy. Of late, a truce had been declared between the humans and the artificial life of their making, and for the time being they went about their lives, interrupted by the occasional foray into the other's domain.
They were not alone however. Since long before the most recent battle between these two groups concluded, their world fell under the watchful eye of another, and it regarded them with envy. Studying them as one would a virus, slowly they drew their plans against the humans and the digimon. When they deemed themselves ready, they launched themselves out into the void.
Standing atop a series of stairs outside a concrete hut was a young, teenage girl with red hair. Her arms were folded over her chest, hiding the violet heart shape emblazoned on her T-Shirt. It had been given to her by her mother in the hopes that it would give her luck. For the longest time, it seemed that luck held up, but for the first time in the year and a half that she received it, she began to question whether it had finally run out.
Leaning her back against the concrete hut, Rika Nonaka heaved an agitated sigh and she began to tap her foot on the ground impatiently.
"I'm sure he'll be here any second," came a childish, nasally voice from within the hut. Rika glanced at the entrance, where within stood a crimson-scaled dinosaur with a large hazard symbol emblazoned on its chest. The creature—a digimon named Guilmon,—shrunk a little in fear and twin bat-wing-like ears folded against its head.
"I'm sure he will be," Rika replied, her tone only revealing her frustration, "any second from here until tomorrow."
A breeze blew over her and a new voice—this one strong and feminine sounding—spoke up. Rika didn't even have to look to see who it belonged to.
"Rika, he did say that he would run a little late."
"Uh-huh!" contributed the nasally voice, sounding a bit desperate to calm Rika. "He has to help his parents and do his chores before he can leave."
Turning a pair of lavender eyes on a humanoid, fox-like creature—a digimon named Renamon and someone who was special to her in ways that went beyond what the words friendship and family could describe—with golden fur and purple arm gloves, Rika fixed her with a hard look that lasted only a moment before she turned away, her expression softening.
"I know Renamon," she said in a gentler voice. "I just wish he'd get here already…" …so we can get this over with, she almost said out loud, but she caught herself at the last moment.
The vulpine digimon, as if sensing her unspoken thoughts, reached out and placed a paw-like hand and the girl's shoulder.
"He'll be here, Rika. He promised he would go with you, and you know Takato keeps his promises." A small, barely visible smile crossed her muzzle as she continued. "Even if he does it inelegantly."
Rika returned the smile and the vulpine vanished into thin air, leaving the girl alone with her thoughts. She sighed and tightened her grip around herself. In all honesty she wasn't really angry with Takato for not getting at the arranged meeting place. They may have only been friends for a year and a half—not long compared to his relationship with some of their other friends like Kazu and Kenta—but she had long since gotten used to the boy's antics. Besides, as she pointed out on more than one occasion herself, his heart was always in the right place, even if his feet weren't.
So why is my heart beating like crazy? she wondered, adjusting her arms beneath her breasts. She scowled, wanting to place some measure of blame on the source of their development for causing her to be in such a predicament. She had only meant to help him at the start! Now though…
Rika closed her eyes, attempting to fight down the dark blush that she now felt burning her cheeks.
What was I thinking?! Asking him to go Cherry Blossom watching with me?! I must have been crazy!
She could only be grateful that none of the others knew about this little outing. She would never hear the end of it then. The irony… Terriermon—annoying little dog-rabbit that he was—would be the first to say that he saw it coming ever since Takato asked her the same question a little over a year ago.
She could almost hear him now. "The Digimon Queen has softened up to old Takatomon of all people? Wow! He must've made a heck of an impression on you last year when he played the knight in shining armor!"
I swear, Rika thought, her fingers digging into her arms. If he finds out, I'll make sure he 'momentai's' all right…in a hospital room!
The promise of bodily harm to the rabbit-like digimon did little to alleviate her concerns. The fact remained that she was in a predicament and unless she found a way to either reconcile herself to the situation of her own making or somehow get out of it, she would remain in it, and that, she feared, would only lead to trouble.
Closing her violet eyes, Rika brought the back of her head to rest on the concrete hut, her mind whirling like a hurricane as it attempted to find a solution. Unfortunately for her, she found none that she could be comfortable with. She could not back out without hurting her sense of pride, and she was afraid of to be honest without hurting the friend she cared so much about.
I…do care about him…right? Rika couldn't help but wonder, hearing the sound of rapidly approaching footsteps. Pushing away from the wall she stepped over to the top of the stairs and found a brown-haired boy wearing a blue hoodie racing up to her location, a grocery bag in hand. His oddly-colored eyes—a warm red—looked up in her direction and a smile broke across his face.
"Hey Rika!" he said, his breath coming out in gasps as he reached the top of the stairs. "S-Sorry I'm late." He stopped in front of her and adjusted the grocery bag, attempting to catch his breath. "There was a long line at the bakery and my parents really needed the help. We outsold the Guilmon bread…"
"Yay!" crowed Guilmon from inside the hut and the metal bars at its entrance shook lightly as he waved powerful arms through the air in a dance-like manner. "Guilmon bread! Guilmon bread! A loaf of bread, shaped like my head!"
"Now you've done it," Rika snorted, moving to the side to allow the boy by. A jovial smile touched her lips as the boy went over and unlocked the cage. "Better feed Dino-boy already so we can get out of here and not have to clean up after him."
"I'll be done in a second," Takato quickly replied, shooting her a smile that practically screamed nervous. Rika felt a little bit better seeing it and relaxed visibly while he gave the bag full of bread to his dinosaur companion.
Well, I guess he's got good reason to be, she thought, smiling a little. Going to watch the cherry blossoms… It almost looks like I asked him out on a date. Her heart fluttered slightly and she felt the butterflies take off in her belly. Her smile disappeared in that one heartbeat and she resisted the urge to grimace. Almost feels like we've been dating for a year too…and I've got no one to blame but myself for that.
Rika had never been much for praying to gods, but all the same she found herself wishing that this…excursion went well, if only so that neither of them were left with that impression. Good intentions, however, never seemed to go unpunished. Like the old saying went, the road to Hell was paved with them.
She felt Renamon's concern trickle through the mental link that she shared, no doubt in response to the way she was working herself up over this and Rika forced herself to calm down.
It's nothing. We're just friends going out together. You could say that I'm taking him back up on his offer from last year to make up for after the Parasimon invasion ruined it. Even though he was just trying to distract me so Jeri and grandma could finish the surprise party…
"Rika?" Takato asked, looking at her with a worried expression on his face. Rika jerked out of her thoughts, her face rapidly heating up again in embarrassment.
"Wha…? Sorry. I zoned out for a second there." She glanced away, trying to hide her blush. "Are you all done feeding Dino-boy?"
Takato nodded and together, with some degree of hesitation on both their parts, they went down the stairs toward the park path that would take them in the direction of the cherry blossom trees that were now in bloom. Together, they would face their fears, their concerns and, hopefully, overcome them.
Why do things have to be so complicated? Rika wondered, hooking her fingers around her belt next to the white, blue-trim, arc-shaped device clipped to her side, twin to the gold-trim device that lay inside the pocket of the boy walking next to her.
Government organizations that deal with information gathering and monitoring of potential and actual criminal activity are normally kept secret. Some operate in the light of day with full civilian approval, but some work best in the shadows without such approval. For Japan, the agency known as Hypnos had once been one of these organizations—the operators in the shadows that kept a silent vigil on the borders between the world of humans and that of the digital monsters that constantly attempted to cross the boundaries that kept the two apart. Since the war with the malevolent digital entity known as the D-Reaper Hypnos had been forcibly brought into the light…and for a wonder actually basked in it.
That wasn't to say that Hypnos' activities, never mind its very existence, sat wrong with numerous citizens and politicians, but its role in the war with the D-Reaper, ultimately being one of two groups that saved humanity from its genocidal rampage, went a long way to put it in good light.
Mitsuo Yamaki flicked his lighter open and closed with slow movements as he looked at the readouts from Hypnos' main control room. Swiveling on a chair above him was Tally, scanning incoming information. The data coming in from the digital world was rather light, so Yamaki wasn't particularly worried about any intrusions today, especially since they went through recent upgrades that gave them improved scanning capabilities.
All quiet on the western front, Yamaki thought with amusement, flicking his lighter closed once again. He smiled. Hypnos was running better than ever, and bio-emergences from the digital world were becoming much more manageable.
I wonder if this is a sign of things to come. If we'll be able to make peace between our worlds. Humans and digimon working together… He flicked his lighter open, thinking of the children—the Tamers—that fought and sacrificed in the war against the D-Reaper and the Devas before it. They were the way to the future, and together with Hypnos' new resources, everything that he initially imagined ever since the digital world and its inhabitants were first discovered felt like a distant memory, if not merely a nightmare, quickly forgotten once awake.
It's too soon to tell. The Sovereigns of the digital world won't come to the peace table easily. Azulongmon perhaps, but the others…they will take time. Especially Zhuqiaomon. Yamaki frowned, closing his lighter. Well, they could afford to wait and hope. He could afford to hope…
An alarm suddenly blared on the main monitor and Tally's seat swiveled over to it, her fingers flying across her console. Yamaki furrowed his brow, looking up at the computer readout.
That's odd, he thought, taking in the incoming information. There appears to be a bio-emergence, but there's nothing registering in the dimensional barriers between the worlds. What is…going on?
"Uncertain sir," Tally replied. "I'm getting an abnormal germination pattern but there doesn't appear to be a bio-emergence occurring. It could be some old data bouncing off satellites. Cross-referencing now."
Yamaki nodded and returned his attention to the readout. There was something…odd about the direction of the signal. Something had tripped Hypnos' sensors and they reacted, but not in the usual way. Could this be a new attack from a different direction? Yamaki went over to the nearest control panel to join Tally in analyzing the information. First however he pulled out his cell phone and began dialing.
If nothing else, the Tamers had to be on guard just in case this turned out to be the real deal.
A/N: So I got bit by the Rukato bug last week and got to thinking about how to go about it again. I'm a bit rusty with the romance however and I struggled a bit to find something of an interesting setting. Listening to the old radio broadcast of 'The War of the Worlds' got me thinking though, and as tonight is Halloween I figured I'd add something similar to the plot to make it a tad bit festive. A bit late to make this an October project, but I'm going to have fun with this all the same. It'll be a bit of a shorter piece compared to what I've been doing lately though. At any rate, I hope you all enjoyed the start to this story and I'll see you all next chapter. :D
'Till then. Happy Halloween!