Level 1: Worlds

In Memory Of:
Ryo Akiyama (1990-2020)
Tai Kamiya (1988-2028)
Cody Hida (1994-2029)

Stage Two- Missing

----Present Day----
Im coming, Im coming!

Henry stumbled towards the kitchen. School had just gotten out, and he was looking forward to an enjoyable spring break. In his eyes, the best way to kick off such a holiday is by sleeping in until one in the afternoon.

If only the phone would stop ringing

He picked up the receiver. Hello?

On the other end, a female voice presided. Collect call from

My name? Why, you want to go out or something?

Henry rolled his eyes. It was the unmistakable voice of Takatos cousin, Kai Urazoe.

Do you accept the charges? said the operator.

Yeah, yeah Henry was slightly annoyed, but a call from Kai must have had something to do with Takato. Kai never talked to Henry for any other reason.

Kai was as boisterous as always. Hey there, Henry!

Hello, Kai. Hows everything in Okinawa?

Oh, were just fine and dandy down here! Kai seemed fine, but he never was one for wearing his emotions on his sleeve.

Uh huh Henry skipped the chit-chat and cut to the chase. Hows Takato?

Kai paused for a moment. Wow- you just get right down to it, dont you? Thats why Im calling. Kai paused again. I, uh dont want to alarm you or anything but hes kinda missing.

Henry blinked. What do you mean missing?

You know missing! Gone, vanished, have no clue where he is.

Henry wasnt too concerned as of yet. It was probably a false alarm. Kai also had a tendency to blow things out of proportion.

So look for him. Your island isnt that big.

Call me crazy, Henry, but I think he may be headed for Tokyo. I snuck into his room today- his duffel bag was gone, his dressers were open, and all the money that he hides in the closet was gone too.

Kai, dont jump to conclusions. Henry reassured Kai, although he himself was starting to grow worried. This didnt sound like typical Takato behavior.

Kai remained adamant in believing that something was up. He never takes that money out of his closet! I should know- I was going to borrow it.

Look, Im sure Takatos not going to fly all the way over here without telling you. Wherever he is, Im sure hes fine.

I dont know about that. I mean, whats the latest on his girlfriend and that other kid?

Henry frowned. I dont know. Jeris been awfully indecisive. I dont think shes any closer to figuring it out than she was last winter.

That bites. Its been eating Takato apart for awhile.

Yeah. Now you know why I dont date much.

Point is, his grades have been slipping. I never got to see his report card, but I reckon its not too pretty.

Oh. Henry sighed. He was really concerned too, but there wasnt all that much he could do about it at the time. Well, I have to get going. Let me know if you find him.

Sure thing. Same goes for you too. I just have this crazy feeling hes in your area.

Henry shook his head. All Kai ever had were crazy feelings. Im sure you do. See ya.

As Henry hung up the phone, he was immediately interrogated by his sister, Jaarin.

What was that about?

Henry turned around. He looked away quickly. Hopefully its nothing.

Jaarin approached the foyer, making every effort to remain within sight of Henry. So what are you doing today?

Henry went into the living room and plopped down on the couch. Just going to hang out with my friends, I guess. Im supposed to meet them at two. Mentally, he was trying to decide whether or not to tell them about the situation with Takato. Jeri would naturally get upset, but if Takato was really heading home, a prior warning would be helpful. They werent meeting for another three hours, so he had time to kill. But he still had to deal with his sister.

How about you? He finally asked.

Work. Jaarin sounded like she had been waiting to say that the whole time.

Youre going to work already?! Henry looked back at his sister. She was smiling.

Thats right. Unlike some people in this family, I actually am planning to do something over spring break. Jaarin bragged. Have you even started looking for a job?

Henry slumped down on the couch. He knew exactly what Jaarin was doing. Their mother said that they were both old enough to start looking for work. Henry had conveniently forgotten about that, and Jaarin was conveniently reminding him. She was also seizing the opportunity to one-up him. Unfortunately, her devious plan was working perfectly in every aspect.

Jaarin laughed as she put on her shoes. At the rate youre going, Suzys going to have a job before you!

All Henry could do was stubbornly ignore her as she left. Jaarin was working. His brother was working. His mother was working. Heck, his friend Terry was working too. After a series of fantastical adventures, real life was finally starting to set in. It didnt matter how many times he had saved the world in the past, the future was still going to creep up on him. He had always described himself as mature now he was going to have to prove it.

Henry turned on the television. One more lazy Saturday couldnt hurt.

 

 

Takato wasnt going to lose. This was his first battle in the Digital World, and he was determined to win it at all costs.

Give it back!! He had a hold of the straps, but the Gazimon had the bag itself. This was going to be an tough battle.

After an extended game of tug-of-war, Takato knew he was going to have to do something. With one mighty tug with his right hand, he lashed out at the bag with his left. He got a grip on it, but his plan had a side effect- he accidentally struck the Gazimon across the nose.

Immediately, the Gazimon dropped the bag, clutched his nose, and ran off. It wasnt about to provoke a fight.

Takato had won, but opened the duffel bag to verify that everything was still inside. Clothes- check. Pocket knife- check. The Digimon was probably after food, which Takato carried very little of. If he remembered what Ryo told him once, he didnt need it anyway.

Goggles check. The original goggles he wore for Guilmon were one of the many casualties of the fire. Before his journey, he had shopped around for a new set. They were almost an exact replica. Hopefully they would suffice. He strapped them on his forehead.

Everything else- check. Gazimon hadnt gotten very far into the bag, and everything was intact. As insignificant as it was, Takato had triumphed over his first obstacle.

Takato heard a distant roar of water. He headed towards it, and came upon a rushing waterfall. It was a spectacular view, better than any Takato drank from the pool. There was something about it; it tasted so pure and clean. The water was untouched by man- unpolluted and unfiltered. Absolutely nothing stood in his way to convince him that he had made the wrong decision. He was away from everything, and was free to live his life on his own terms.

The Digital World was much more peaceful than last time. The D-Reaper was devoid of presence, and the Sovereign must have been able to restore the world to its prior glory. But at the same time, problems were sure to arise. If Takato was going to spend his years here, he was sure to encounter conflict eventually. He carried a small knife, but that would do little more than scratch some of the more dangerous Digimon in the wild. Therefore, there was one element that remained crucial to his success. One battle that he had to win before even attempting to fight any others.

Takato needed to find Guilmon.

 

 

So how were your grades this year? Kazu was just making small talk with Rika and Kenta as they waited for the rest of the gang to arrive at the park- their pre-ordained meeting place.

Rika cracked a smile. Typical semester- pulled Bs in everything except Home Economics. Another D and another period of Mom riding my ass about it.

See, I did pretty good this year. With one of my classes, the teacher passed me just so she wouldnt have to see me again. Now I only have to repeat one class! Kazu boasted.

Whats that now, the third time youve pulled that off? Kenta asked.

Kazu smiled, and held up four fingers. Fourth! Howd you do Kenta?

Um actually Kenta seemed a bit embarrassed to admit it.

Come on. Spill it.

I got mostly Bs except for History and Math.

Kazu nodded. Yeah Historys the one I have to repeat and Math was the one where I talked to the teacher

Well thats not what I meant. Kenta fidgeted. I aced them.

Kazu stared at Kenta, not sure what to make of the revelation. Kenta had betrayed the group by achieving good grades.

Abruptly, Kazu changed the subject. D in Home Ec again, huh Rika? Rika glanced away. Boy, youll never land a husband.

Rika raised an eyebrow. So whats the problem?

Im just saying! Theres probably a reason why you dont have a boyfriend.

Rika glared at him, before deciding to be frank with him. Actually, there are two reasons why I dont have a boyfriend. The first one is simple- men are morons.

But I got an A in History. retorted Kenta, rather weakly.

Both Kazu and Rika ignored Kenta. Whats the second reason?

Jeri.

Rikas statement silenced Kazu temporarily. They all knew what she was going through. Nobody would have wanted to go through the torment that Jeri was currently faced with.

Kazu wasnt quiet for long. Hey, its better to have guys fighting over you than to have nobody going after you at all. At least in my opinion.

Of course, youve just seen it from the perspective of nobody going after you at all.

Kazu jumped at the voice behind him, before smiling. Terry! Glad you could make it!

Terry smiled. Yeah, I got the day off. What were you talking about before I so rudely interrupted?

Um grades. Kenta didnt want to venture into dangerous territory.

Terry chuckled. All Cs. I feel so average. Without warning, he delved back into the previous subject. So whats this talk about Jeri?

Kazus trying to convince me that its better to have multiple guys chasing after you than none at all. Rika remained matter-of-fact. She was going to stay out of this

Well, Kazus wrong. Terry replied. He remained serious. I know what shes going through. It sucks. I know what happened with Jeri and that kid before. The whole D-Reaper thing. But I like her, and I think she likes me too. I just hope shell see that soon.

The three former Tamers were silent. It was a constant game of politics when Terry was around. They all liked Terry, but they all maintained a sense of loyalty to Takato. As much as they all wanted to stay neutral and let Jeri make her own decisions, awkward moments like these were hard to avoid.

Kenta finally broke the silence. Hey, its not like we think youre trying to steal her away from us or anything, Terry. Youre cool. If Jeri wants to be with you, then were all for that. Kenta looked around for support. Kazu and Rika nodded, but remained silent. Kenta was still on his own I mean sure Takato and Jeri went through all of that. But, um Kenta searched for a way to justify the two breaking up. well Tai and Sora went through a lot and they never got together.

Rika turned around in humiliation and Kazu buried his face in his hands as Kentas entire argument went up in smoke.

Terry was just lost. What? He clearly wasnt ready for the reference.

Kenta, I dont care how many As you got, youre still an idiot. Kazu shook his head and turned to Terry. Okay, Ill try to explain this to the unenlightened. Kazu cleared his throat. In the Digimon television series, there were these two kids named Tai and Sora. Now, while Im enjoying all the kick-ass battles and stuff thats going on, Kenta here got this crazy idea that there was some sort of romance thing going on between these two. So the second season goes by, and Kenta keeps saying theres some stuff going on. Then we hit the last episode, and we find out that Sora married Matt instead. I didnt mind; I thought that whole ending was kinda lame. But man Kenta was crying like a little baby.

Hey Kenta defended himself. I was crying because it was such an emotional ending. Seeing all of them grown up with their kids and stuff.

Yeah, sure. Kazu dismissed Kentas defense and turned back towards Terry. Point is- just because there might have been some sort of romantic thing going on between Jeri and Takato, that doesnt mean anything because theres still no guarantee that theyll stay together.

Terry still appeared lost. I see.

And we also dont have to feel too bad for Tai because he had a kid too! And if he has a kid, he mustve gotten it on with somebody!

Terry was wide-eyed. Kazus case was a little too much information about a set of cartoon characters.

How did I end up with you people?

Just lucky I guess!

This time it was Terrys turn to be startled by someone behind him. Or rather something. A sock puppet dressed up to resemble a small cat.

Mew. it added for good measure.

Terry sighed. Jeri why do you have a cat on your hand?

Jeri popped up from behind him, her own catlike smile on her face. I had a puppy before, but Dr. Zeni said that Puppy might bring back negative repressed memories. So I take Kitty with me instead!

Its nice to meet you Terry, mew. Kitty said.

Terry smiled. Strange as she was sometimes, he couldnt help but love her. Nice to see youre doing well.

When the hell is Henry going to get here?! Kazu immediately ended any chance for affection between the two. He was growing impatient.

Yeah, its almost two. Kenta added.

Maybe he got stuck with Suzy. Terry said.

That would suck. Rika replied.

Yeah. Kazu agreed. Of course, if it was Jaarin am I the only one to notice that shes hot?

Terry raised an eyebrow. Yeah probably, but well be sure to pass the message to Henry when he gets here.


Sorry Im late guys.

Henry clearly had something on his mind when he reached the quintet. He was ten minutes late, but didnt seem that concerned about his tardiness. He appeared somewhat depressed, but hid it as well as possible.

Whats wrong? Jeri immediately noted Henrys lack of enthusiasm.

Oh, uh nothing. Henry averted his eyes. At least I hope its nothing. Its definitely not something to get you all worked up about. Quickly, he raised his head and changed the subject. So, are we all ready? Lets get going before it closes.

Nobody moved.

Cmon Henry, you can tell us. Kenta urged Henry on. Kazu, Rika, and Terry followed with similar sentiments.

Um I probably shouldnt. Henry rubbed the back of his neck, clearly nervous.

He looked up towards the rest of the group. By the looks on their faces, it was clear he wasnt going to be getting out of this one. Its about Takato.

Immediately, all eyes were on him.

Henry fidgeted. Yeah, well, um Kai called me this morning. It seems that Takato is uh Henry glanced up. The ten eyes were unflinching, not blinking, their owners impatiently waiting for the news.

Hes missing. The ten eyes blinked simultaneously. None of them knew exactly what he meant by missing.

After a few seconds of confusion, Terry voiced what the other four were wondering. What do you mean missing?

Missing. Gone. Nobody knows where he is. Kai says hes coming up here, but I doubt it. I mean, why would he come all the way up here without telling his family where he was going?

After allowing a second to reflect, Henry let the question go unanswered. I say its nothing to worry about. Now lets get going. I thought we were here to have a good time. Henry led the way. Kazu, Kenta, and Rika followed, asking Henry a barrage of questions. Henry was unable to provide any conclusive answers.

Jeri lagged behind. Takato

Terry was immediately there to provide support. Hey, Henrys right. Its not something we should worry about. Im sure hell pop up eventually. Theres no way hes going to fly 900 miles without telling anybody. Terry smiled and put a hand on Jeris back, leading her towards the others. Besides, hes in Okinawa wheres the hells he going to run off to?

 

 

Uh oh this could be bad.

Takato relied on his D-Powers capability of finding Guilmon. Unfortunately, Guilmon was too far out of range in order for the device to register anything. As a result, Takato had no idea where he was supposed to go. It was a big world, and a step in the wrong direction could get him lost.

Looking around, he realized that he already was lost. The wild grass was almost taller than he was. The Digital World had gone through so many changes post-D-Reaper. Takato had no idea which Digital Plane he was on. There was no magnetic pull, so a compass wouldnt help. Not that it would have mattered, since he didnt know if going north, south, east, or west would have yielded any advantage.

Okay, Takato. He begin to talk to himself. Finding Guilmons going to be a lot harder than you thought. Thats something youll just have to get past. All you need to do is start to get a feel for this place. You need to know where everything is, and find someplace safe to set up camp.

Takato nodded, and started swimming through the tall grass. He had calmed himself down for the time being. At least now he had a plan. But staying alive would prove difficult unless he had some way to protect himself.

There was a rustling nearby, ending any period of him being calm.

Takato froze, unsure whether he should remain still, or run like hell.

The Digimon was easily bigger than Takato was- a giant blue and white mole with a large drill bit sticking out of its forehead. Takatos heart pounded as he bravely glanced down to check his D-Power.

Drimogimon: A champion-level Data-type. Its attacks were numerous and dangerous. It was clear which option was best- Takato was running like hell.

Moles claw! Apparently, Drimogimon didnt like the sudden movement, and lashed out at Takato, slashing part of his bag and knocking him to the ground. Takato flipped around so he could at least see the Digimon closing in. The drill was beginning to spin. He had hoped to spend years in the Digital World. He hadnt even made it one day.

Takato closed his eyes and braced for the inevitable. It wasnt even a noble death. He was picked off before he could do anything remotely honorable.

He heard an immense blast that sounded like a gunshot. Takato assumed the worst- that Drimogimon was attacking, planning to eliminate the human trespasser with no remains.

The pain didnt come. Takato opened his eyes. There was nothing there. Drimogimon was gone.

Suddenly, he heard more rustling nearby. Something else was coming.

He heard a voice in that direction. Sorry, but youre a little too close for comfort. it said.

Whatever it was, it was human. An adult male. Cant have you and your friends barging in on our territory, eating everything in sight. He sounded somewhat bored, as if he was just doing his job, whatever that was.

Well, who was your first victim going to be? Judging by the sound, the man was right nearby. The first thing Takato saw was the barrel of a black shotgun. It was pointed to the ground, but held in a way so that it could be utilized in a moments notice.

The man poked his head forward and his blue eyes connected with Takatos brown set. The man was in his late thirties and had blonde hair. He didnt look threatening. Rather, he stared down at Takato with a sense of awe. He appeared as perplexed as Takato was.

Another rustling stirred him away from Takato. Oh boy. There may be more of them.

Finally, Takato spoke up. They uh dont know were here, do they?

The man responded by snapping off a few blades of the grass and throwing them up in the air. They blew towards the noise. Shit not only can they smell us they can sense the data of the one I blew away. Theyre going to be pissed. He turned towards Takato. We have to get out of here. Cmon.

Takato grabbed his bag. It was still intact, only now with an additional opening. Takato followed the man as they steadily exited the patch of wild grass and headed towards the woods.

The man turned around and scanned the surroundings. Looks like were far enough away for now. But still we should get those guys further back or we may run into problems. Damn C-Levels.

Takato frowned, not understanding the jargon. Um C-Levels?

The adult looked down at the child and explained. C-Level. Short for Champion Level. Its in-between Rookie and Ultimate.

Takato got it. Understood.

Pretty easy to remember if you ask me. Just remember- Bircum.

Bircum?

Bircum. Baby, In-Training, Rookie, Champion, Ultimate, Mega. I guess if you want to be technical you can try to throw in Armor... but then it doesnt sound as good. The man smiled. Dont you hate when those mnemonic devices bend themselves to sound good? Like Roy G. Biv is indigo really all that important to remember? Hell no, they just needed a vowel.

After his brief ramble, he exhaled once, then returned his attention to Takato. Id better take you to camp. Come on.

The two began to walk through the woods. After a while, the man finally introduced himself.

By the way, my names TK.

To Be Continued in Stage Three- Paradise

 

Authors Notes
I love how right away, everything in italics immediately throws everybody for a loop.

This stage brings light of the fact that this story will not only have expansive coverage of the digi-destined as adults, but will also track the Tamers as they grow up. Henry being pressured to get a job and Jeris love quandary are current examples, while some of the stuff going on with others give rise to events later.

Im going to be writing dialogue using a very strange logic. Namely, I wont explain what characters mean when they say certain things. If they talk about an event in the past, I wont give you the details- anything important will be covered later. This will be especially apparent next stage, as not only are some more digi-destined introduced, but the fourth season starts to have some presence in conversation. Again with no details.

This ends Level 1: Stage Two of The Connection.

Stage Highlights