Disclaimer: I don't own Digimon.

A War of the Worlds

Chapter: 3

It should have been impossible, yet the more Yamaki looked over the incoming data, the more possible it seemed. This wasn't an old signal, yet it had a signature akin to a bio-emergence from the digital world. Bio-emergences of signatures different from the norm had thus far not been encountered save for the arrival of the D-Reaper menace some years before, but that entity had been forcefully regressed into an immature state that was harmless to the modern digital organisms inhabiting the alternate-dimensional plane of existence. It was even doubtful that it still existed, as that world's rulers would not permit the risk of something that potentially devastating reemerging. Stranger still, was the direction that the signal was emanating from.

"Confirmed," came Riley's voice from her pedestal as she cross-referenced the data charts. "The digital signal is coming from outside Earth's electromagnetic field. It is definitely connected to the unidentified object heading toward the Earth."

"Satellite scans indicate that the object is digital in nature," Tally added, swiveling in her chair. "It is surrounded by a streaming data feed akin to a digital field's fog barrier."

"Can you calculate what its course trajectory is?" Yamaki asked. His hand tightened around the lighter resting in his palm, resisting the urge to flick it open, as was his normal habit.

"Processing," replied Tally, feeding her commander's request into the computer. Within moments she had an answer. "Its destination is West Shinjuku. It should be arriving there in approximately five minutes."

Fast… "Activate the Ancile program," Yamaki ordered. Ancile was the newest program developed by the Monster Makers. Using the Juggernaut as a base, it created a small-scale vortex that sucked in its target, and then closed the door around it like a prison. Janyu and Shibumi, the chief designers, likened it to the quantum bubble that was used to revert the D-Reaper to its immature form only with one subtle difference. It allowed no entry to the digital world or the human world. A pocket-dimension of sorts, and a very useful one.

To date though, it had only been used once when an irate IceLadyDevimon bio-emerged during the New Year's holiday. Now it looked like it would get its second tryout.

"Activating," said Tally. "Adjusting satellites for atmospheric targeting."

"Sir," began Riley. "Ancile was designed to operate within close proximity to Earth's atmosphere where the digital world's distortive effects are strongest. At this range effectiveness decreases as much as fifty percent."

Yamaki frowned beneath his sunglasses and flicked his lighter open. "Get it ready, Riley," he ordered. "Calculate the best location along its present course and have it ready." Withdrawing his cell phone from his pocket he searched out Henry Wong's phone number and hit the call button. Considering the digital world's history of adapting workarounds to whatever firewalls and vortexes Hypnos threw in its way, he doubted that this newcomer—whatever it was—would be any different. It was always best to have a contingency plan…just in case.

As a teacher of his once said, the best laid plans never survived first contact with reality.

###

Rika looked furious.

There were those that she counted as friends, in the loosest sense of the word, who would lay claim to the idea that she was always furious. Her responses to Kazu and Kenta's childish antics aside, those who knew her best would attest that Rika was not in a constant state of anger; just that she had a no-nonsense attitude and wasn't afraid to speak her mind to her friends in regards to this. Therefore, Takato and Henry could easily argue that when it came to people like Kazu, Kenta, and Terriermon—particularly Terriermon who seemed to go out of his way to provoke such a response that not even Ryo Akiyama, Legendary Tamer of the group, would ever dare attempt—who received the majority of her negative responses, it was easy to see why she appeared in a state of perpetual frustration. However, Takato and Henry tended to be on her good side the most often, and as a result were able to differentiate her moments of short, heated bouts of frustration with real anger.

Takato at this moment was baring witness to this moment. Rika looked furious.

Guilmon and Renamon now walked beside them as they came beneath a blossoming Sakura Tree. In spite of their original reason for coming to this place, Rika did not so much as deign to look up at the spectacle and instead turned and planted her back to its trunk. Arms folded beneath her breasts, she glowered around her, silent and eyes narrowed and looking predatory. Takato felt Guilmon slink behind him, as though using him as a barrier between himself and the girl's wrath.

Aren't you the one who's supposed to be protecting me? Takato thought sarcastically, glancing down at his partner, who watched Rika warily. Looking back at Rika, he patted his partner on the head and offered a bit of a dopy smile.

Rika did not smile back, and instead her violet eyes darted away.

Well, it was worth a shot…

At this point, he wasn't sure if there was anything he could say that would alleviate her temper. When she was in a bad mood she tended to respond to attempts at comfort just as readily as she would the source of her anger. The best he could do was…just…be there, and wait alongside her for her storms to pass.

Or just be her verbal punching bag, he chuckled thoughtfully. Breaking away from Guilmon, he strode up to the tree and sat down against it alongside her. She glanced his way, surprised for a moment, before looking away.

"I knew this was a bad idea," she said after a moment of silence passed between them.

Takato raised an eyebrow. "Why do you say that?" he asked, honestly surprised by this. Well, actually he guessed that he wasn't all that surprised now that he thought about it. "I mean, I know there's not really a whole lot when it comes to looking at Cherry Blossoms but…"

"That's why I think they're stupid," Rika interrupted harshly. "But that wasn't what I was talking about."

Takato craned his head, listening. She sighed audibly and bumped the back of her head against the tree.

"This happened last year too you know. When the Parasimon invaded? You asked me then. Should have known that it would happen again this year too."

"It's no big deal," Takato said, once again offering her a comforting smile. "We're here, and Yamaki did say that it might not be a bio-emergence, didn't he?"

"You know just as well as I do how our luck runs sometimes," Rika countered, a sarcastic note entering her voice. "I'll bet your WarGreymon card that it's a bio-emergence and we'll get into a fight because Yamaki and his bunch can't keep it out. That's how it goes. Every time."

Takato furrowed his brow, part of him trying to work out why she was betting his cards, but decided to let it pass. Tapping his hands on his pants, he thought hard about what to say.

She is right in a way… He chuckled softly.

"What's so funny?"
"Oh…nothing."

"Takato, with you it's never just nothing. It's either something incredibly stupid or just bizarre. What's up?"

Now it was her turn to scrunch up her face into a frown. She wondered how much she was going to regret pestering him about this. It seemed that every time she did he would say something that was more embarrassing than anything else, like that lame remark she made him say about her shirt.

"Oh, I was just thinking about how you're probably right about Yamaki. We do tend to clean up after them a lot, don't we?"

Rika hmmphed, but her tone sounded a lot lighter now. "And they're supposed to be the super-advanced government organization too." She glanced down at Takato and finally offered him a small smile. "Thanks," she said, relaxing a little.

Takato smiled back. "That's what friends are for. So how come you bet with one of my cards?"

Rika slid down the tree so that she was sitting alongside him. "With how you play, if we were playing for ante, I would own your whole card collection by now," she said simply.

Takato remained confused on this point. "Yeah but…we don't."

Rika eyed him with amusement, causing the younger teen to squirm uncomfortably in his seat until he glanced away, blushing lightly.

Gogglehead, Rika thought, looking away. Her smile slipped then as she thought about what he said. Friends, huh?

She sighed mentally and brought one knee up to her chest and leaned her chin on it. This wasn't the time to be thinking about that sort of thing, but in the interim there wasn't much else to do except wait for the inevitable to happen.

As she thought, she noticed Renamon's eyes turn up toward the sky, frowning slightly.

"Renamon?" she asked, grateful for any distraction at this point.

"I sense…something approaching," the vulpine digimon replied. "It is most…unusual. It feels like a digimon and yet…it's not." She turned toward her reptilian companion, who was currently testing the air with his nose. "Guilmon?"

"I don't smell anything, but I know something's out there." Guilmon's pupils were narrowed into slits, his virus instincts beginning to take hold. "It'll be here soon."

Getting up from his spot, Takato withdrew his digivice and activated its tracking function. A holographic compass materialized above its screen and swung wildly around. Rika soon joined him.

"Nothing," she said, turning to Takato. "How about you?"

He shook his head. "I don't have anything either, but if Guilmon and Renamon say something's coming than we definitely should be ready. Renamon, can you tell how strong it is?"

"No, Takato," the vulpine replied, closing her eyes and concentrating. "It feels far away at the moment. Odd."

"What is?" asked Rika.

"Just…I've never associated distance with a digimon bio-emerging before." Renamon opened her cool, azure eyes, looking obviously puzzled. The regular influx of enemies didn't concern her much. Save for a few instances, their power tended to be weak, but small oddities on the other hand did worry her. When it came to digimon, anything out of place was cause for concern.

"Takato?" Guilmon pointed ahead of them in the direction of the skyline. "That doesn't look like the sun."

As one, the three followed Guilmon's claw to spy a brightly lit object burning in the sky. It was just then that the holographic compasses that had been swinging wildly earlier now zeroed in on the light.

"I'd say that means X marks the spot," Rika said, looking up from her digivice. "Let's go!"

"Wait!" Takato began before Rika could take off. "Shouldn't we get a hold of the others and meet up with them first? We don't even know what it is yet. Or…uh…where it's going to land."

Rika rolled her eyes. The boy made a good point, but all the same she felt a bit annoyed. The light had already thrown her day off course as it was and she wanted to do something about it before it could do anything else.

Still, as she noted, Takato's point was well-founded.

"Okay," she agreed reluctantly. Pulling out her cell phone she immediately called up Henry's number and hit the call button.

###

"Yeah, Yamaki just called," Henry told Rika as he snatched his green-trimmed digivice from off his desk and clipped it to his belt. "I'm on my way now. Do you know where it's bio-emerging yet?"

"No," Rika said on the other end. "Just that it's definitely heading our way. Looks big, whatever it is. Get here as soon as you can. I'm going to give the others a call."

"Got it," Henry said, and with that he hung up. "Terriermon, are you ready?"

"If being ready involves something other than me playing Princess Pretty Pants with Suzie, then I was born ready," came the voice of the diminutive, white-furred, long-eared digimon known only as Terriermon as he strutted up to his half-Chinese partner. Behind him came Suzie, Henry's younger sister holding her partner, Lopmon, a chocolate-furred twin to Terriermon who was every bit the opposite in personality as complexion.

"Are you going to fight bad guys?" Suzie asked, her eyes brightening up eagerly. "Can I come too?"

Before the boy could reply, their mother, Mayumi, entered the hallway, a stern look on her face. "No Suzie," she said in a firm voice as she knelt down next to the girl and placed a hand on her shoulder. Suzie's response was predictable as her lower lip took on a pout.

"But…Mom…"

"No buts, Suzie," Mayumi began, but Terriermon was quick to butt in.

"Now, now Suzie. You know that if we brought you with us the fight would be over too quickly. Henry needs to keep his strength up you know and he can't do that if you do all the fighting for him. Just like with his martial arts training."

In a flash, Suzie's pout was gone, but she looked up at Henry expectantly with a raised eyebrow.

"But Henry's already so strong."

Henry chuckled and patted his younger sister on the head. "It's all right, Suzie. We don't know what's coming through, so it's better that we keep you back in case things go bad for us. Besides, this way you can protect Mom."

Suzie gave it a moment of thought before finally nodding, tightening her hold on Lopmon.

"Okay," she said, her voice full of steely determination. Henry smiled and looked over at Terriermon. Extending an arm, the white-furred dog-bunny leapt up his arm and settled himself on the boy's head.

"Mush!" Terriermon cried gleefully as Henry straightened out.

Henry could only shake his head in amusement.

##

"So what was that about?" Henry asked his partner as he closed the door to their apartment behind him.

"What was what?" asked Terriermon, looking down at his partner, one eyebrow rising over a black, beady eye.

"What you were saying about Suzie ending fights quickly if we took her with us," Henry laughed, tapping his partner on the head with his knuckles. "That certainly kept her from throwing a fit about not coming."

"What?" Terriermon asked, sounding genuinely shocked, though Henry knew from long experience that it was anything but. "You've seen her when she gets me in a tutu! I'd want to stop fighting too if I was a rampaging digimon and knew that she wanted to stick me in one of those!"

"Most digimon don't have the benefit of that knowledge." Still laughing, the half-Chinese Tamer took off at a run down the hallway, quickly racing to the elevator and hitting the call button.

"Maybe we should advertise it," Terriermon suggested. "Make a message and send it off to the digital world like you guys did when we had to leave."

"Somehow…I don't think that would stop any digimon from showing up." Worst case scenario we might actually get digimon looking for a fight because of that…

"That's what you say," rebutted Terriermon. "But as someone who has faced Suzie's wrath, it's as good a game ender as Takato and Guilmon when they go into their Crimson Mode." The elevator door dinged open and they stepped in.

"Maybe," Henry chuckled, hitting the button for the ground floor. "But I'd rather keep her out of harm's way."

"Some protector you are then…" Terriermon remarked with a giggle as the doors closed on them.

###

"My word," said a large, rust-colored, mechanical digimon shaped almost like a large dumpster with a jetpack attached to it. On his head sat a green-colored, flower bonnet that bobbed up and down as he spoke. "What an unusual sight. Kazu!" Turning toward the window behind him he waited to see if his partner would emerge. Sure enough, the boy did.

"Hey, just got a grouchy call from Rika. She says that World War Three is breaking out in the sky and we need to get down to the park pronto."

"I don't know about World War Three," the mechanical digimon remarked, pointing up at the sky with a small shovel, "but there definitely is something going up there that I believe warrants our attention."

Leaning out of the window, Kazu craned his head skyward and spied the growing ball of light.

"Looks like you're right, Guardromon. Give me a moment to grab my stuff and we're out of here!" With that Kazu disappeared back into his room, only to stick his head out a second later. "And would you ditch the gardening clothes? We've got to look cool for when Ryo shows up to save the day!"

Guardromon glanced down at his waist whereupon was tied a dirt-covered apron. Below him was the flower garden that he was being forced to care for, per the instructions of his partner's mother for his nigh-constant trampling of them. A sorrowful expression came over his eyes from behind his armored visor and he took off the hat.

"Oh, very well…"

###

The beam of light sped through the darkness of the void, growing ever nearer as seconds ticked by into minutes. Watching from her computer, Riley ran her tongue over her lips. Ancile was programmed to go off once the data stream reached the edge of the atmosphere. So she watched, and waited.

Sixty seconds until it reached Shinjuku. Fifty. Forty. Thirty.

Twenty.

Activate!

A large green circle materialized on the series of screens on the walls surrounding her and Tally, enveloping the data stream.

"Ancile has activated and is now attempting to seal the target!"

As Riley watched, she felt a surge of relief as the target disappeared off her sensors.

"Ancile has successfully sealed the target," she reported. Below her, she heard Yamaki's lighter click as he closed it. Having lived with him as long as she had, she knew that this was his way of expressing relief as well.

"Continue monitoring the Ancile vortex and make a report," he said, flicking it open once more. "I want the Monster Makers to make a detailed analysis of the data."

"Should we inform the Tamers that it's all right for them to stand down?"

"Not just yet," Yamaki replied. "Let's keep them on standby until we know for sure that…"

Red lights suddenly flooded the room as alarms blared loudly. Riley quickly looked down at her readouts. Her mouth dropped in shock at what she was seeing.

"Backflow!" she exclaimed. "Ancile's vortex is reopening! Receiving new data! The target is back! It's bio-emerging!"

"Where?" Yamaki grated his teeth. Ancile… The program that he touted to his superiors as the next generation of protection for Japan, and by extension the Earth as well, had failed. That left only the Tamers.

Riley's fingers flew over her keyboard as she analyzed the data stream. The path remained the same…

She looked down at Yamaki. "Coordinates indicate that it will bio-emerge in Shinjuku Park."

Yamaki flicked his lighter closed with a loud snap.

Right where the Tamers are.

###

A/N: It has been a while, hasn't it?

Got an itching to do some writing for plain old fun and this is the result. Some other ideas are coming to me as I write this, so we'll see how long I stick around this time. Can't guarantee fast updates though, as my original material is now taking priority, but it feels good to get back in the saddle again.

'Till next time.

-Crazyeight

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