[Couldn't think of a better episode title.]

Ep. 8. Operation: Bust-out

Kari: Izzy explained to us how the new digivices, now called D3s, work. The next day we headed into the Digital World to destroy more control spires since those things are what stop Digimon from digivolving both naturally and with us DigiDestineds' help. But everything went even more wrong! The Digimon Emperor has captured three innocents who had been helping us, Terriermon and Salamon. I just know it'll break my heart if I never see her again.

The Digimon Emperor, the three slaves and the five captives soon enough disappeared into the distance.

"I can't believe this is happening... LOPMON!" Willis yelled, still trying to catch up even though he couldn't see them anymore.

"Hey, kid!" someone (TK) called, and Willis turned to see everyone staring at him. He looked down and then started running to the side.

"Wait! Come here!" the girl with the camera (obviously Kari) shouted.

Willis ignored her, running out of the clearing and through the forest. He kept going until he tripped on a small stone.

Grimacing, the blond boy fisted his extended hand, grabbing some grass. Tears stung his eyes but he wasn't going to let them fall. He remained still on his stomach, mumbling: "Lopmon... I'm sorry."

"Where did he go?" Yolei wondered out loud.

"I have an idea. Pegasusmon, TK, you two fly in the direction the Digimon Emperor was heading. Try to find out where he took Terriermon and Gatomon," Tommy said.

"Right," the duo of Hope chorused, and TK right away mounted his partner before they took to the air.

Tommy turned to the girls and Cody. "Yolei, you fly over the forest and see if you can find that boy. The rest of us will follow on foot. We'll use our D3s and D-terminals to keep in contact with TK and each other."

"On it!" the Child of Compassion replied, mounting Halsemon. They flew off.

"Who do you think he was?" Sara asked as the remaining four humans and two Digimon started to walk into the forest, IceLeomon and Submarimon dedigivolving into their Rookie forms.

"All I know is, he needs help," Kari remarked. She had a strange feeling about the boy, similar to the one she had felt about Tommy's friend Daisuke when she met the other goggle-head last week.

After an hour of searching, TK and Pegasusmon came to the conclusion that the Digimon Emperor had gone into hiding. The hat-wearing blond called Tommy with his D3.

"Tommy, there is no trace of them anywhere. They can't have gotten all that far, but we can't seem to find them."

"That's okay. You should go to the gate," Tommy's voice replied.

With the others, the Warrior of Ice made a face.

"What is it, Tommy?" Bearmon asked in concern.

His human partner sighed. "Things aren't so good, buddy." Raising his voice, the brunette boy called out to his friends: "Everyone, I have some news." Kari, Sara, Cody and Armadillomon at once turned their attention to him, making the Warrior of Ice wince at the look of hope in Kari's and (to a much lesser degree) Sara's eyes. "Sorry, but this is bad news. TK can't find the Digimon Emperor anywhere. It's like the guy just up and vanished."

"If you're thinking that we should quit and go home, then forget it!" Sara snapped.

Tommy took a deep breath, prompting Cody and Kari give him disbelieving looks. "You're not really going to say that, are you?" the Child of Integrity asked.

"Yes, I was. I know we need to keep searching for them and that boy. I want to continue, but our families are going to be worried if we don't return home. They might even call the police!"

Speaking of the police, back in New York, America, a distraught woman was explaining to four police officers that her son had disappeared from his bedroom an hour ago.

The police asked if there was a possibility of her son leaving for school early, but the woman shook her head. (The time difference between Tokyo and New York was 10 hours. For the Japanese DigiDestineds it was time to go home, while Willis had three hours before he had to be at his middle school.)

"Yolei," Cody's voice came from the glasses-wearing girl's skirt's pocket. She pulled out her digivice and saw the symbol for Integrity on the screen.

"Yes, Cody?" Yolei asked, fearing the worst from the sad tone in her friend's voice.

"We're going home. Can you meet us at the gate?"

"What?! We can't abandon that boy! Not to mention Gatomon and Terriermon and those other three Digimon!"

"Yolei, can you just go?" Tommy's voice came through, the pleading making Yolei soften at the idea a little bit. But just a bit!

In the Digital World some time after the DigiDestineds had gone, a human teen and an Ultimate level Digimon happened to find Willis. The American child had gotten up from where he had fallen and continued to wander around until he decided to rest by a tree and had fallen asleep.

"Tsk. Amateur," the teen mumbled, his face hard to see thanks to the lack of light. His companion snorted in amusement. The 13-year-old, after spending so much time with the Digimon, understood what was going on in his best friend's mind. "I was only ten, you know. This guy's around my age."

He had no trouble hoisting Willis's sleeping body onto his shoulder and carrying the younger boy to a large hole on the ground, the Ultimate following. The young teen walked into the hole, which had been dug up in a way that made it diagonal (i.e. he was walking downhill at a shallow angle).

The mystery boy placed Willis in the dirt and quietly ordered the Digimon behind him: "Go find firewood. I'll get some food."

When Willis would wake up in the morning, he would find the remains of a fire and a small stack of fruit and a pile of firewood. But his helpers would be gone.

Elsewhere, Kazemon, Gatomon, Terriermon, Lopmon and Veemon got tossed unceremoniously into a cell by a group of Goblimon slaves.

"Urgh, those brutes," the Warrior of Wind muttered in annoyance, dusting herself off.

"Great. And I thought being a shleif is bad. Betcha being a prisoner'sh a lot worsh," Veemon said. [By "shleif" he means slave.]

"These knots are going to take forever to get rid of," Gatomon complained, looking at her fur.

"Let me assure you, you're going to have far bigger problems than that," the Digimon Emperor's voice made the hairs on the three Beast types raise and Veemon and Kazemon tense. All of them glared at the human boy as he walked over to the cell.

He was looking quite smug, but behind him was Wormmon giving the prisoners apologetic looks. None of them noticed this, though.

"What now? Are you going to just keep us here?" Kazemon asked.

"Of course not. That would be wasting a nice cell, wouldn't it?" the Emperor said in a semi-sarcastic tone. He then cleared his throat. "I have a proposition; if all of you do as I say, I won't harm you."

"Yeah, right! We would never obey you after the things you've done to us Digimon!" Gatomon shouted, baring her fangs. She'd had enough of being a slave when she worked half her life for Myotismon; no way would she go down that path again!

"Forget it, en stronzo," Kazemon told the Emperor, crossing her arms.

"Yeah!" Terriermon and Lopmon chorused.

"Sho leave!" Veemon said.

But the Emperor simply chuckled in amusement. "Oh well, maybe a few weeks in here will change your minds..." He looked at five Goblimon slaves. "Do NOT let them out no matter what," he ordered them, then left.

"What's wrong, Kari? You haven't touched your food at all," Mrs Kamiya asked. She, her husband and her daughter were sitting at the dining table of the kitchen/living-room/dining-room. Tai had soccer practice, making him late.

"It's nothing," the brunette sighed. "May I be excused?" At her parents' nodding, she pushed back her chair and retreated into her bedroom.

Kari threw herself on her bed onto her back. She grabbed a pillow and hugged it, whispering: "Gatomon... Please be okay..."

"Sara? Come on, I said sorry," Tommy said, knocking on his cousin's bedroom door. But there was no answer.

The goggle-head sighed in defeat, taking his D-terminal out of his jeans' back pocket and opening it. He went into his room and sat down on his bed, Wanyamon hopping onto the 12-year-old's lap.

"Whatcha doing?" the In-Training asked, his voice holding a lisp that was only present in this form.

"Messaging the others. I might as well let them know how badly I've screwed up," Tommy replied. His cell phone was on the bed next to him.

Izzy spat out the rice that had been in his mouth, having read Tommy's message while eating.

"Dear, is something wrong?" his mother asked. Her husband looked up from his plate and gave their adopted son a confused look.

"N-no. I'm fine," the Child of Knowledge stammered. But Kari, Sara and Tommy might not be...

"Poor Kari," Sora remarked, looking at her D-terminal. She was sitting by her desk doing homework. "And poor Tommy. I think he's feeling guilty."

"You know, Sora, I think that somehow doesn't seem to fit him," Mimi commented from where she was reading a magazine on the futon Mrs Takenouchi had set up for her.

"I agree. He seems more like Tai was when we were kids. I wish we had been there; maybe we could have done something," the Child of Love said.

"There's nothing we could have done. Our partners can't digivolve," her best friend reminded her honestly.

"Oh no..." Takuya muttered, having just returned home from soccer practice. He was looking at his cell phone, which was showing a text message Tommy had sent him. 'Screwed up. Z, Gatomon and Terriermon captured + a kid lost somewhere in D-world.'

"Takuya? What's the problem?" Daisuke asked. He was staying over for the night, as Jun was at a friend's house and his parents were having a night out. The Kanbara cousins were used to sharing each others' rooms occasionally.

"It's uh... Something..." the eldest boy answered, making his brother and cousin shoot him half-annoyed, half-worried looks. It was unusual for Takuya to become bothered by something like this.

Grabbing his black leather jacket, Takuya ran to the front door. Ignoring his mother's "Where do you think you're going, young man?" he left, banging the door shut behind him.

The Warrior of Flame ran as fast as his legs would carry him to Jiyuugaoka Train Station. He saw a porter and went to him, panting: "Odaiba... Is there... any train to Odaiba?" He hoped there was; going to Shibuya Train Station and from there to Odaiba would waste precious time.

"Sorry, kid. No trains to Odaiba this week," the porter said.

Takuya groaned in dismay. His cell phone rang, and he checked who was calling. There were three people – his parents and Koji. He answered the latter.

"Did you get Tommy's message?" Koji asked. She was in her bedroom, pacing between two of the walls.

"Yeah. But there are no trains to Odaiba at the station near my house," Takuya answered ruefully.

"There's a bus stop not too far from my place that Daisuke, Zoe, JP and I had used. I'll go ahead and see if there by some miracle is a bus that can take us to Odaiba at this time of the evening."

"Meet cha there!"

Koji cut the call and was about to ring her brother next, when she thought about it. "No... It would be even harder for Koichi to get going and I can't guarantee there will be a bus anyway. Better not bother him and JP if we can't even do anything."

"Matt! What's the deal? You said it's just a message," one of four teenage boys standing on pavement in front of a CD shop on their way home said. Two others exchanged confused looks.

"Yeah... Sorry, guys, something came up. Gotta go," the Child of Friendship said, running off.

It didn't take long for Matt to reach his brother's and mother's apartment. He knocked.

"Matt! This is a surprise. Why are you here at this hour?" Miss Takaishi asked.

"I came to see TK. Is that all right?" her eldest son replied.

"Yes, of course. But next time call first and I can save some dinner for you." Miss Takaishi moved to let him enter the apartment. "TK, Matt is here!"

"What's going on?" the Child of Hope asked. His brother slightly shook his head to signal that he didn't want their mother to hear, so the younger blond went into his bedroom and Matt followed.

"Have you seen this?" the aspiring rock star asked, showing him the message on his D-terminal.

'Everybody, things didn't go well today. We freed the Veedramon pack (the same one Matt met the other day), but the Digimon Emperor managed to capture Gatomon, Terriermon and three other Digimon. We also met a human child but lost sight of him. It was late, so I decided we should head home. Sorry. Tommy'

"I didn't know he sent that; my D-terminal is somewhere in my backpack," TK commented.

"We need to gather everyone tomorrow so we can go save Gatomon and Terriermon and find that human," Mat decided.

"Okay. I'll let Tommy, Yolei and Cody know. You message Mimi, Joe, Sora and Tai. But lets leave Kari and Sara out; I think they need to be left in peace until tomorrow. They must feel awful," TK said, mentally wincing at the thought of the Digimon Emperor kidnapping Patamon. He was sure he wouldn't be able to bear it if that happened!

Unknown to the two brothers, Patamon was listening in from where he was pretending to sleep on TK's bed. A look of determination came over his face.

That night, Patamon crept to the window while his partner slept. He slid it open and jumped out, flapping his ears to fly.

At nearly 1 o'clock in the middle of the night...

"WHAT THE HECK?!" Sara's voice screamed, and at once an adult passing Odaiba Elementary School stopped and glanced around. Then, shrugging, the adult continued walking.

Inside the computer lab, Kari was holding Sara with her hand over the auburnette's mouth. After a few tense minutes, she sighed in relief and let go.

"What are you all doing here?" the Warrior of Water quietly demanded, glaring pointedly at Poromon, Upamon, Patamon, Tommy and Wanyamon. The goggle-head had joined the Digimon in going to save their friends when the former three had shown up in his bedroom to collect his partner.

"We're here to go save our friends. What are you doing here?" Patamon replied.

"The same," Kari said, "I snuck out after Tai and my parents went to sleep. I guess you did too, Sara?"

"Yes," Sara replied curtly. "Now lets open the gate and go find Gatomon and Terriermon." And Zoe, she added mentally.

"Right. Digiport open!" Tommy pointed his D3 at the gate, and the Digimon, boy and two girls went through.

Shortly after they had left, Takuya and Koji arrived at Odaiba Elementary School. "Seesh, this place is creepy at night," the Warrior of Flame murmured.

"Takuya, please don't start," Koji said annoyedly. She was tempted to hit the male Warrior upside the head for, in her opinion, purposefully trying to give her the creeps.

"Hey, someone's in there already," he hissed once they reached the computer room's door. It was open a crack and they could see a computer screen's light.

"Sush! Do you want to get caught?" the Warrior of Light hissed back. She stealthily crept to the door and peeked in. The raven-haired teen then fully opened the door, stepping into the room. "Come on; it's empty. But the Digiport is open on the computer."

"You don't think..." Takuya trailed off, looking a little worried.

"That Tommy and Sara went through?" his best friend finished for him. "Yes."

"Anyone up for rock-paper-scissorz?" Veemon asked. They had been in the cell for hours and he was bored.

"I'm in," Terriermon said.

"Thank goodness, no more corny jokes," Lopmon muttered.

"Oh, you want another?" her white mirror image asked, knowing full well the other rabbit-like Digimon couldn't stand her corny jokes. "What do you call a Digimon who eats tons more than normal? A Heavymon!"

Everybody except Veemon sweatdropped, the dragon laughing. "What about that was so funny again?" Gatomon asked him.

"Heavymon! Ya crack me up!" the only male prisoner in the cell said between laughs, holding his stomach.

"See, sis? You could learn something from him," Terriermon said, elbowing Lopmon. While prisoners, they had discovered that they were in fact twins. Long ago, their Digiegg had ended up in the Human World but after hatching and digivolving to their In-Training forms, Kyaromon, they were separated in a thunder storm. Terriermon had ended up back into the Digital World through a rift while Lopmon had stayed with their friend, back-then-4-years-old Willis.

"Bambini, we need to get out of here. Oooh, my parents must be worried sick," Kazemon said.

"Parents? Aren't you a Champion level?" Gatomon asked.

"Erm, yes, but I still live with my parents," the Warrior of Wind explained truthfully. That was a close one! I have to watch what I say around them.

"I understand. I never knew my parents, but my human partner Kari is like a mother and a sister to me. I wish I could tell her I'm all right," the feline Champion said with a sad sigh.

"You can do that once we bust out of here," the secretly Legendary Warrior comforted her, placing a gloved hand on Gatomon's shoulder. She smiled around at the smaller Digimon, and each of them gave her a look of respect and trust. Had she been younger, Zoe would have wanted to use this to boss the younger ones around, but she was older and wiser. She would lead them to freedom.

Kazemon glanced over her shoulder at the Goblimon standing nearby, a memory of her last encounter with their kind flashing in her mind [rhyme unintended]. Then she sat on her knees and beckoned her fellow prisoners to gather around. "Goblimon are not the brightest ones in the Digital World, so here's what we will do..."

"Excuse me, but are you kids meant to be out here at this time of night?" a young man's voice that had a very familiar hint to it asked. Tommy, Sara, Kari (who had Patamon on her shoulder), Hawkmon, Bearmon and Armadillomon whirled around, almost bumping into each other.

"Agunimon!" Tommy exclaimed at the sight of the familiar fire warrior. Someone jumped down from a nearby tree to stand next to the Warrior of Flame. "Lobomon!"

"Hey, you're that Digimon from Twin-Time Forest!" Kari said, the memory of seeing this Lobomon person last week flashing through her mind.

"Yes, I was there," the Warrior of Light answered, glancing up at the three moons in the sky. They were half-full.

"Why did you leave so abruptly, if I may ask?" Hawkmon asked.

"I had somewhere to be," Lobomon explained vaguely.

"Hey, aren't you that fire warrior that helped Matt, Tai, Izzy and Sora?" Patamon asked Agunimon.

"Yup, that's me. The mighty fire warrior," Agunimon replied with a grin. He scowled when his companion hit the back of his head. "Ow! What was that for?"

"We aren't here to talk about your big ego; we're going to free Kazemon and the other prisoners, remember?"

Rubbing his head, the Warrior of Flame grumbled: "No wonder you don't have a boyfriend..."

"What did you say?" Lobomon asked threateningly, her hazel eyes promising pain.

"Nothing! Nothing!" Agunimon replied, putting up his hands in a calming gesture.

The three humans and four Rookies started giggling at the Warriors' antics. Then Armadillomon noticed someone heading for them. "Look, everyone! There they are!" he exclaimed.

"Gatomon?" Kari asked, and grinned widely at the sight of her best friend. She started running, the others close behind. "GATOMON!"

"Terriermon! You're all right!" Sara yelled in relief.

"Kazemon!" Agunimon, Lobomon and Tommy said at the same time.

The duo of Light laughed with joy, hugging each other. Terriermon climbed onto her partner's shoulder and Sara gave her a small smile. The Rookie then introduced her twin to the Warrior of Water, who promised to help Lopmon find her partner tomorrow. Tommy offered for her to stay at the Himi apartment until Willis is found. Kazemon reprimanded her friends for coming in the middle of the night, and then thanked them for doing it.

"How did you all get free?" Bearmon asked.

"Lets just say that Goblimon are very stupid," Kazemon replied with a mischievous grin.

Back at the cell, the Goblimon were tied up inside it in a heap with shackles used as ropes. Wormmon entered the room and, seeing this, stated to no-one in particular: "Master is not going to be happy about this."

"Bye, kids. Go straight home now, all right?" the Warrior of Wind said to the DigiDestineds as they and their partners, Hawkmon, Patamon and Armadillomon were standing before the TV that acted as a gate to the Real World. The three Legendary Warriors were standing behind them and slightly to the side so that the light wouldn't hit them.

"Right!" came the joint answer, Tommy and Sara exchanging knowing looks. Still hugging Gatomon, Kari held her D3 to the TV's screen as the gate had closed during their absence.

"Digiport open!" she commanded. With a bright flash of light, everybody except Kazemon, Agunimon and Lobomon were pulled in.

To be continued...

Sara has now accepted Kari and Terriermon fully. But will she accept being in a team with the rest of the Juniors? And when will the Warriors' secret get revealed? Got a plan on how I'm gonna go about it…

He-hee, you can use your imagination to fill in the escape. Plus, they didn't realize it but someone extra came through the gate. Can anyone guess who this extra is? And cyber cookie to anyone that figures out who mystery boy and his companion are!

By the way, many thanks to all favouriters and reviewers! I seriously appreciate it.