Level 1: Worlds

In 2004, the original digi-destined formed the Digimon Activity Advisory Board.
In 2005, the United Nations recognized the Digital World as a sovereign state.

In 2005, the Digital World was appointed a representative in the UN General Assembly.

An American, Howard Fisher, was selected as the representative by DAAB.


Stage Three- Paradise

They hadnt been walking long, but the silence was starting to bother Takato. TK had said nothing, and only looked at Takato a couple times along the way.

Takato decided to take the initiative. Um he began.

Its not too far, TK replied, We took over a small research station by the forest terminal. Its quieter here than it is in the cities.

Who else is with you?

TK stopped and turned around, looking Takato in the eye. Look, Im in no position to figure out who the heck you are. Ill let the others decide. But right now, he continued with a more condescending tone, Youre just a kid that got lost and somehow ended up here. If you came here intentionally looking for an adventure then you better hope the others have more sympathy than I do.

Takato fell silent, but remained on edge. He didnt know what TK was doing here, but Takato had assumed that TK was going to be willing to help. That was in jeopardy, so Takato remained quiet as they continued walking.

You didnt get called here by a cell phone by any chance, did you? TK added as an afterthought.

No, sir, Takato swiftly replied.

Good.

 

Forest Terminal Research Station: Established 2009

The wooden sign was falling into disrepair. The white letters were in desperate need of repainting and weeds were starting to grow at the base. It wasnt much of a greeting, but Takato was still relieved to see a sign of civilization. Forest Terminal Research Station consisted of two log cabins and a third, more modern, building. Judging by the various apparatuses mounted on the roof of the third building, Takato guessed that that was where the actual research was conducted. In the center of the three buildings was an extinguished campfire pit.

It might be awhile before we see anyone else so Ill give you the grand tour. TK looked around the facility, trying to decide what to show first. He pointed to the research building, Research Station. He turned and pointed to the cabin nearest to Takato, Site A. He turned to the other cabin, Site B. Finally, he turned to Takato, Any questions?

Takato scratched his head and asked, Uh whats in them?

TK smiled. Takato still couldnt be sure whether TK liked him or not. There remained an air of distance, as if TK still didnt want Takato to become too comfortable here. Nevertheless, TK was smiling, and started to explain, The research station is our communication to the outside. We remain in close contact with a lot of other parts of the world, and can access just about every corner of the Digital World if necessary.

The adult walked towards the cabin designated Site B. Takato followed closely. The cabins were built so that researchers could stay here over an extended period of time if they needed to conduct a long-term project.

TK swung the door open and stepped inside, with Takato entering afterwards.

Um is there a place to take off your shoes? Takato asked.

No, this place was built by British researchers I think.

Takato took his shoes off anyway and stepped into the main hall. TK remained in the foyer, with his shoes on. Two bedrooms, with two beds in each, a kitchen, and a little lounge area.

Takato was only passively listening to his tour guide. Instead, he was getting a first-hand look at the rooms TK was describing.

Its not the Hyatt, but we arent exactly roughing it either, TK concluded.

As Takato closed the door to one of the bedrooms, he turned back to TK. He didnt want to intrude, but the subject was difficult to avoid any longer. Is there a, uh

Across from the lounge. On your right, TK responded immediately. As Takato entered the stated room and shut the door, TK stepped outside.

 

It wasnt the most unusual thing that ever happened in his life. But TK knew the ramifications of the kids presence. The gate was supposed to be closed. There was thought to be no possibility of reopening it. But somehow, this boy got through. It meant that either something had changed, or that someone had beaten the system. The question, of course, was whether that was good or bad.

TKs thoughts trailed off as he heard a human grunting from the edge of the woods. He knew immediately who it was. Judging by the grunt, the person was disobeying medical orders as well. TK walked up to her.

She was carrying a large stack of logs. Need any help with that? TK asked.

Kari shuffled the logs around. No, Im fine. She winced at the brief pain in her back.

TK took the initiative and received a majority of the logs. Didnt Joe say you should go easy?

Joe says a lot of things. Really, Im fine.

The designated storage area was about fifteen yards away from the pit. After reaching it, they both set their loads on the ground. Kari immediately threw a hand to her back. She was clearly in some pain.

You know, maybe you should have gone with the others. Im sure Joe wouldnt have minded. TK continued as Kari made her way to a cabin, You say its nothing major, but for all we know you could have a ruptured disk. Its not like we can x-ray it or anything.

Kari stopped at the entrance of the first cabin and turned back around. TK, its nothing to get worried about. Thats why God invented pain killers.

TK shook his head and smiled. Perhaps he should have considered it fortunate that little spats like these were usually what constituted internal conflict within the group.

Takato opened the exterior door of the other cabin and rejoined TK. So how many people live here?

TK hadnt forgotten about the new kid. He was trying to forget until everybody else was back, but he didnt succeed. Six, he answered.

Will I get to meet everybody?

Oh yeah. TKs apprehension remained, but Takatos presence was huge. There was no way he could afford to let this kid slip away without a consultation with the other five.

How long before everybody gets back?

Well, theres one here now. As for the others TK stopped and took a step towards Site A. Kari! Which train did the others take?

Franken! she yelled from inside.

TK turned to Takato, It might be a few hours.

Who are you talking to? Kari said as she exited the cabin.

As soon as she did, she saw Takato and froze.

Holy shit.

A second later, Kari snapped out of her trance. Uh sorry. Um what I meant to say was uh Kari tilted her head. Holy shit.

TK looked to the ground. No kidding, he muttered.

Whered he come from? As Kari began her barrage of questions, TK walked towards her, leaving Takato standing alone.

I found him. Like half an hour ago.

How long has he been here?

Uh TK turned towards Takato. Hey, kid, how long have you been here?

Takato thought about it for a second and answered, I just got here today.

Kari skipped the middle man and started asking Takato the questions. How did you get here?

The digital gate was open. I got in with my digivice.

Both TK and Kari raised their eyebrows at the word. You still have your digivice? asked TK.

Takato nodded and replied, Yeah. He went to his bag and retrieved it. It still works too. He held it up towards TK and Kari, their eyes fixated on the device.

How old are you? Kari asked.

Fifteen.

Kari and TK eyed each other, both trying to decipher what the other made of Takatos answer. TK gave up and turned back towards Takato. Are you a Chosen?

Takato hesitated before answering, No.

Kari followed up with, Are you a Gatekeeper?

Takato again answered, No. He didnt even know what that was.

TK and Kari paused, thinking of an additional possibility. Finally, TK blurted, Are you a Legendary Warrior?

This time Kari responded, slapping her forehead.

Whats a Legendary Warrior? Takato asked.

Kari shook her head. Never mind. She took a few steps toward Takato and forced a smile. Look. Im sure youre just as confused as we are. TK and I arent exactly being good hosts, are we? Kari looked back at TK, who folded his arms, watching the conversation carefully.

I guess. I mean, I didnt think Id find anybody here. How long have you been here?

Since the Digital World was sealed seven years ago.

Before Takato could ask anything about that, Kari continued with a smile. We definitely havent met properly. We havent even been introduced. She extended a hand. Kari Fisher.

Takato accepted the handshake. Takato Matsuki.

Karis hand fell limp, and slumped to her side as soon as Takato released it. Her smile fell just as quickly.

What did he say? asked TK, equally suspicious.

Takato Matsuki, Takato repeated.

Oh jeez TK put a hand to his face and paced around. Finally, he looked Takato in the eyes, Kid, Im elated as always, but you came a really long way for an autograph. Seriously, whats your name?

Takatos eyes went from TK to Kari. She was concerned, although he wasnt sure whether it was because she thought he was lying or thought he was telling the truth.

Like I said, Takato Matsuki. Takato dug into his pants pocket and fetched an identification card. He gave it to Kari. Whats the big deal?

Kari took the card and analyzed it carefully. Takato Matsuki. Age 15, she read, Kyoda, Okinawa.

Let me see that. TK walked over as Kari handed him the card. He looked over it. What do you think?

I think its a really strange coincidence.

"Coincidences make for bad plot devices, Kari."

"Maybe his parents are fans," Kari suggested.

TK scoffed. "Why the hell would anyone name a child after Takato Matsuki?"

"Well, you named a kid..."

TK interrupted before Kari could complete her argument, "Takuya was popular!"

"Who's Takuya??" Takato asked, not wanting to be ignored.

TK turned towards Takato and asked, "Have you ever read Digital Frontier... Takato?" He still didn't believe that Takato was his real name, and made that clear through his inflections.

After thinking about it for a moment, Takato answered, "No."

"Chronicles of the Odaiba Chosen?"

Takato shook his head.

"Just as a long shot... Joint Partners?"

"I haven't even heard of those," Takato answered, "What are they? Books?"

"Yeah. So you've never heard of me?"

Takato was about to answer negatively for the fourth straight time, but the name TK Takaishi did ring a bell. He just couldn't put his finger on where he remembered it.

Kari attempted a different method, "Takato, did your parents ever explain to you where you got your name?"

"Nope," Takato kept his answer short. It was true, but he was still trying to place where he heard TK's name before.

"You sure?" TK asked again, "Parents like to tell their kids stuff like that, especially if it has some significance. I think my brother and I were named after an anime..."

Anime... Takato's eyes fully opened. He had reached enlightenment.

"That's where I've heard of you! You're a cartoon character!!"

Both TK and Kari jumped back in reaction to the accusation. Takato continued, "Yeah, you're TK Takaishi." He frantically tried to recall the details of the show. "Your partner was... Patamon... and you became a writer! So you wrote those books you said before?"

"Uh..." TK was somewhat dumbfounded. "Yeah."

Takato turned to Kari. "And you're Kari..." Takato tried to remember the last name. "What was it? Come on, come on, come on... Kamiya!" Takato quickly silenced himself. "Wait- didn't you say it was Fisher?"

"It wasn't before she got married," TK pointed out.

Kari was somewhat freaked out, but displayed her hand, with a wedding ring planted on one finger. "These things happen," she said.

"Wow... I'm standing here with two of the kids from the series..." Takato was visibly excited until he realized the physical impossibility of sharing time and space with animated characters. "What the hell is going on??!!" he shouted.

"Obviously they turned Chronicles into an anime," Kari made what seemed to be a natural assumption.

"Dammit... they were trying to get the rights from me for years," TK muttered, "Fucking vultures."

"Wait a minute... why are you so surprised? Didn't they say that those things really happened?" Kari asked.

Takato thought about it for a second before replying, "Well... no. They didn't."

"What do you mean? The whole reason I wrote the thing was to tell everybody what us Chosen went through." TK was still angry, and was looking for more fuel for the fire.

"We all thought it was just a made-up story. Heck, we didn't even think Digimon were real until they started showing up in real life."

"That's very strange..." Kari held her left hand to her chin, "Especially with the Digimon emerging in the real world. Especially without us knowing it." Kari turned to her adult companion, "What do you think, TK?"

"I think the Ministry of Truth decided we were ungood and rewrited history to account for us unpersons." TK's comment drew two blank stares. "George Orwell? 1984?" Obviously, neither of two got the reference.

"We can't jump to conclusions, TK. Remember, some of the Odaiba Chosen are still in the real world."

Takato raised his hand. I have a question. What's a Chosen?"

"You don't know what a Chosen is?" TK asked. "It's us. We were chosen by the Digital World."

"Oh. See in the series you were always called digi-destined."

"That's also very strange. I mean... everybody's a digi-destined," noted Kari.

"The term lost virtually all meaning years ago," TK added.

"So... what does this all mean?" As hard as he tried, Takato couldnt come up with any conclusions.

"Well... between your name, this whole deal with the anime, and the fact that you're even here... something weird is going on." Kari sighed. There were no other conclusions that could be reached.

After a moment of silence, Kari smiled. "Are you hungry, Takato? You must be starving after making a trip like this."

"Uh... well... I guess so." Once again, Takato didn't think it mattered, but he accepted the offer.

Kari led Takato towards Site A. TK caught up with Kari, "Are you sure you know what you're doing?" he whispered.

"Go on inside, Takato, I'll be there in a second." As Takato obeyed her order, Kari turned back towards TK, "What do you mean? He's still a kid that needs hospitality."

TK kept his voice down. "I don't know... I don't know if we can trust him."

Both adults observed Takato as he took off his shoes again, "If he really came from the real world, he may have the ability to go back," Kari also was quiet, "He might be the one that saves us all."

"He might also be the one that destroys us all," TK replied.

 

Terry sat on the couch in the Katou's living room, looking out the window. Although the collage comprising the city's lights heavily obstructed the night sky, a few brave stars shone through.

"Whatcha looking at?"

Terry only briefly glanced to his right, acknowledging Jeri's half-brother Masahiko.

He returned to the window and said, "I don't know."

Masahiko jumped up next to Terry and peered through the glass, "The big bright one is Venus."

"You're a smart kid," Terry continued to stare at the planet, "It's strange though. Venus is the only thing I see... but it still seems so out of reach."

"Oh yeah, Jeri's still on the phone."

"Of course she is."

By the time Jeri entered the room, Masahiko had gone elsewhere. Terry stood, awaiting the news.

She was choked up, on the verge of tears. "Still no sign of him," she said.

Terry placed his hands on her shoulders. "It's going to be alright. I'm sure he's fine."

"But what if he's gone because of me?"

The two sat down on the couch. Jeri remained in Terry's arms as he continued to console her. "Why do you say that?" he asked.

"Well, I should have been there for him and instead I... I..."

Terry shook his head. "Jeri, please don't tell me that what's happening between you and me is a bad thing."

Jeri didn't respond.

"Because it's not. You can't blame yourself for the actions of other people. Takato's going through a lot. Maybe he just needs time to think things through by himself."

Jeri kept her head down. "Is it hard living without your parents?"

Terry sighed, "Well, it was very hard for me after my dad died. It hurt... and you know it took awhile. But Mom and I got through it."

"What happened between you and your mother anyway?"

Terry bit his lip. "I don't like talking about it. We had disagreements. She made decisions that I didn't agree with. There were times when I lost all respect for her."

"Such as?"

"Well..." he paused, before going on, "She changed jobs, and we had to move a lot. But I didn't like the way we were always jumping around the world. We only came here a few years ago, and now we had to leave already. And I was so comfortable here that I just was sick of it. So she moved and I didn't. She still sends money and helps support me, but I haven't seen her in more than a year."

Jeri picked her head up and looked up at him. "But don't you hate not being with your parents? Don't you hate being alone?"

"But Jeri..." Terry smiled and brushed her hair gently with his right hand, "I'm not alone. And neither are you. And I'm sure Takato will realize that neither is he."

"Terry..." Jeri leaned against his shoulder as he quietly stroked her hair.

He let out a sigh, although not audible enough for her to hear it. To him it was another uncomfortable situation courtesy of Takato Matsuki. It had been happening ever since he started dating Jeri, although never this severe.

As someone who had also lost a parent through unnatural causes, Terry felt a good deal of empathy towards Takato. And Terry had enough of a guilt trip for "stealing" Jeri away. But this whole disappearance was starting to get on his nerves. If Terry had been taught nothing else, it was that life goes on for as long as it's allowed to go on. That seemed to be the problem- Takato wasn't letting his life progress. Takato couldn't control the death of his parents, but he could control his reaction to it. And now, more than a year after the incident, he still hadn't fully recovered. To Terry, that wasn't being grief-stricken. That was being a baby.

 

Takato was laughing so hard he could barely keep his tea down.

"But you know he's so nice about it that it scares some of us." Kari sat across from him, pouring him another serving before sitting down to her own cup. "You know you'd think money would go to his head, but he's still the same old Davis."

"Really?"

"You bet! Okay, you know when TK wrote Chronicles and it did so well, he was obviously raking in the royalties. He was looking at a lot of money for what was essentially telling our story to the world. So TK figures that it's only fair that all of the Odaiba Chosen should get a cut of the royalties."

"Makes sense," Takato replied, listening intently.

"TK kept about half of it for himself and split the other half amongst us eleven. Even divided like that it was still a good amount... especially since we really didn't do anything to earn it."

"Well, you did save the world," joked Takato.

Kari was all smiles, "Oh yeah, we were just... cashing in on it years later. We probably all could have signed book deals and cleaned up." Kari set herself back on track, "Anyway, a few weeks later Davis is in New York on a business trip. I take the day off and meet him for lunch. I knew that he'd buy; it was worth a sick day." Takato laughed as she continued, "We start talking and conversation turns to the book. He thought that TK wrote him to be a little stupider than he really was. I don't know- I thought it was pretty accurate myself."

"Did you tell him that?"

"Of course! But Davis, you know, he just takes it with a smile. So I bring up his share of the royalties and how he got some cash from TK's perception of him. Davis shrugs it off, tells me he gave it all to charity."

"Wow..."

I know. He didn't even think twice about giving it away either. He didn't even feel all that special about it. Meanwhile, I'm sitting back in my seat thinking, Damn, I used that money to buy a big-screen TV!

As both Takato and Kari shared a hearty laugh, TK entered the cabin. "I heard a whistle. They should be back soon."

"Hey TK, what did you use your cut of the royalties for?" Takato asked.

TK didn't smile. "I used it to pay the rent on my apartment. Remember, that's not supplemental income for me- that's my job."

"Oh, right. I'm sorry." Takato apologized and changed the subject, "You never did tell me what the big deal is with my name. Who the heck is Takato Matsuki?"

TK sat down next to Kari and answered, "Takato Matsuki was a character in my first published novel, Joint Partners." TK paused for a second to let Takato lean in closer, "He was friends with the main characters, Ai and Mako. You see, Ai and Mako were twins, but somehow, they ended up having to share a Digimon partner among themselves." TK smiled, "Fun concept, huh?"

Takato was one breath away from declaring that he knew an Ai and a Mako, and that they had shared a Digimon partner. Ultimately, however, he didn't want to scare the two any further.

"Anyway, the main story was about them trying to be good partners without killing each other. Takato Matsuki was a friend of theirs. He liked Ai, but Mako was really protective of his sister. I thought it was kind of cute."

Takato was barely listening. Instead, he was more concerned with getting the thought of himself having a romantic interest in little Ai out of his head.

"And I can see you don't agree..." TK concluded, "It's okay. It wasn't all that good anyway. Nobody ever gets it right the first time.

Kari smugly shook her head, "I still say that that whole thing with Mako, Ai and Takato was inspired by you, me and Davis when we were kids."

"Well... maybe a little. Why, is that a problem?"

Kari stifled a chuckle. "Seems kinda weird now." Kari raised an eyebrow at TK, "You and me? Brother and sister?"

TK also tried not to laugh, "Well, Leia kissed Luke in Episode Five." TK quickly looked at Takato and explained, "Star Wars."

"Yeah, I, uh... got that one," Takato replied.

Did you say they were almost here? Kari changed the subject.

I said I heard a whistle. I dont know if its them or not, TK answered.

Kari stood. Well, Ill go check. Theyll need somebody to help carry everything back.

TK nodded as she exited the cabin. Five seconds later, he jumped up, screaming, Your back!! As he ran out, he turned to Takato. Stay here, he barked.

Takato sat back and looked out the window. This was definitely not what he expected. Instead of the adventure of a lifetime, he was a visitor being treated by a happy family. Takato had psyched himself so much for the adventure that he wasnt ready for Karis gracious hospitality.

He knew it was dangerous to get too comfortable. He wanted to find Guilmon before doing anything else. As much of a detour as he had taken, it was still Takatos first priority. But TK, Kari, and whoever else was with them had carved out a very decent lifestyle in this hostile environment. Staying with them was a very tempting option. Takato forced himself to think rationally- it was probably better than a nomadic life of chaos and uncertainty.

Of course, he could do both. TK and Kari, whether digi-destined or Chosen or whatever term they were afforded, both loved Digimon as much as Takato. Perhaps after finding Guilmon, Takato could still live with them. Perhaps Takato could even enlist help from Kari or TK to find his partner.

Again, Takato had to remain realistic. Staying with them would be asking a lot. Asking them to help find his friend would be asking a lot. TK was clearly hesitant about allowing Takato to get too close. Kari was much friendlier, but would she be able to accept Takato as a permanent neighbor? Nothing was certain. Takato could count on very little; regardless of whether he was thinking of the Digital World when he left it or the status of the Digital World when the series ended- Times had changed.

Takato looked out the window. On the other end was a blue-haired gentleman with glasses. He looked a little older than TK or Kari, but by no more than five years. Takato couldnt predict exactly how old the man was since the man was screaming.

TK rushed over and calmed him down, before signaling to Takato to come outside. Takato obeyed, put his shoes back on, and exited the cabin.

Um Joe this is, uh Takato Matsuki. TK looked at Takato, Takato, this is our resident doctor Joe Kido.

This has got to be some kind of a joke. The resident doctor appeared to be hyperventilating. You you cant be here.

Im uh Im here all right, Takato cracked a nervous smile and bowed quickly, Nice meeting you.

Joe stared at Takato for a full ten seconds before turning towards the second cabin, I gotta go lie down.

Cant say I blame him for the reaction, TK told Takato, I probably would have acted the same way if I didnt have to save your life first. Which reminds me

Takato didnt hear TK, as he was busy staring at a cardboard box moving quietly along the grass, Uh Mr. Takaishi??

TK looked at the box and smiled, What? Something wrong? TK calmly walked over to the box and lifted it up, I can take it from here Armadillomon.

Thanks. My shell was about ready to crack. Armadillomons shell looked fine, but TK carried the box the final ten yards to the research facility anyway.

Were Cody and the others behind you?

Yeah. Codys trailing along somewhere.

Good, I got a job for you two.

Takato leaned his back against the cabin. He wasnt sure what was going on, but he had to concentrate on making a good first impression. If he could earn the trust of the group, good things were bound to happen.

However, all thoughts of impression management ended when he saw a nine-year-old struggling with a keg.

Hey, TK, could you give me a hand? Cody could barely get his hands around it.

TK ran up to Cody, Oh yeah thats the beer right? Cody nodded as TK took the cargo, Did we get the imported stuff this time?

Miller High Life.

Eh, close enough. TK set it on the ground next to the first box. He turned back to Cody, Hey, we have a few Drimogimon about a half-mile away from here. I dont know if theyre threatening or not, but could you and Digmon let them know were here?

Oh. Sure thing, TK. Come on, Armadillomon!

You dont have to go right now.

If I dont do it now, Im going to forget about it. Which direction?

TK pointed, Near the plains off to the west. Cody nodded and led Armadillomon in that direction, Uh, do you want to take the rifle? Just in case theyre hostile?

Cody looked back at TK. Ill be fine. I dont want to bully them or anything.

Im just saying. You cant be too careful around C-Levels. One almost killed Takato.

Codys eyes narrowed as he tried to figure out who TK was talking about. He looked over to the left and saw Takato, still leaning against the cabin. Takato was staring back at Cody, in equal awe. Ill ask later, he told TK before turning to Armadillomon, Come on.

I wont have to mark territory again, will I? Armadillomon asked as the boy and his Digimon left the station.

Now Takato was completely lost. TK walked up to him, Dont get too worked up. First off, he doesnt actually drink it. Secondly, its not really beer. Its more of a strange digital substitute that tastes exactly the same. And third, hes not really well, never mind.

Takato scratched his head, Oh. Okay. He let it go for the time being and changed the subject, Hey, wheres Patamon and Gatomon? And Gomamon for that matter.

Patrolling. Like many other Digimon, they have a responsibility to patrol a section of the Digital World, and report any problems to us. If need be, we deal with them. TK sighed and continued, I guess thats come to be our jobs. We keep the peace, and in exchange the Digimon make sure we have access to food and supplies that we need to stay alive. TK motioned to the boxes by the research facility, This months shipment is coming in as we speak.

Takato nodded. At the very least, he understood that part.

Meanwhile, Kari was struggling with her second heavy load of the day. Alongside Kari, a second woman was carrying an equally large box of food, You dont see any problem with this? she asked, shifting the boxs weight to her other arm.

Sora, she asked if she could help. I didnt want her to feel useless. Between them, a tall blond man was carrying nothing.

Thanks a bunch, Matt, Kari replied.

Youre looking pretty useless, Sora addressed Matt.

Im providing moral support. Sora scoffed at Matts reply, Seriously how does this feel? Matt began to rub the back of Soras neck.

Matt, that doesnt really help a little lower. Matt obliged. Yeah thats it.

You like that, dont you? Sora nodded. Good. You owe me one later tonight then.

You know, Im the one with the bad back. Kari interjected.

Oh, sorry. With his free hand, Matt began to massage Karis back. As soon as he made contact, Kari dropped the box and yelped in pain. She began to fall, but Matt caught her. He eyed Sora. Oops.

Ow Kari mouthed.

Fortunately, they were close enough to camp to signal TKs attention. Hey TK! Get over here! Matt yelled.

Oh jeez too much to carry? TK asked upon arriving.

Uh yeah. TK looked for a way to safely carry Kari, when Matt stopped him. What are you doing? Matt pointed to the box. Take the box. I got her. TK and Sora simultaneously rolled their eyes as Matt carefully picked Kari up and carried her toward the cabins.

Wheres Joe? Matt asked TK.

He said he was going to lie down.

Matt nodded, then abruptly looked at Takato, Hey! Mysterious new kid Kari was telling us about!

Takato pointed to himself, Uh, me?

Yeah. Get Joe. Matt moved his head towards Cabin B. Takato quickly obeyed.

Matt carried Kari into the same cabin and laid her down on a sofa, just as Takato succeeded in getting a grumbling Joe out of his room. As soon as Joe saw Kari, he frowned. Figures, he mumbled.

Joe sighed and bent down to take a look at Karis back, lifting the back of her shirt in the process. Um a little privacy? Kari stared at both Matt and Takato until they left the cabin.

Matt spied TK and Sora placing the last boxes with the others. Well looks like thats taken care of, he said.

I guess so, Takato replied.

Next order of business Matt looked down at Takato and suddenly grew stern, Who the hell are you and how the hell did you get here?

Here we go again Takato thought as he prepared for another round of questioning.

 

That night, Takato was left inside a cabin as the six Chosen gathered outside. Sora closed the cabin door and joined the other five, who were seated around a burning campfire. Nobody was smiling. Nobody was joking. All six knew that the discussion was very serious.

Obviously, we have a very strange situation here with Takato, Matt began, Now I dont know what to make of all that stuff with his name, and his digivice is unlike anything Ive ever seen before. He says he used it to open a port and come here from the real world. He also says he just wanted to get away from reality. Personally, I dont know how much of that can be believed. He sounds honest, but I cant really tell.

Either way, the question before us is whether or not we want him living with us. Matt paused as Kari shifted her ice pack to her other hand, Well deal with this as we always do- with a discussion, then a vote. Since were basically asking him to become one of us, I think that we need at least a two-thirds majority. Matt looked around. This was standard protocol that the group used for their formal decision-making process. Relatively minor decisions would be majority-rule, but long-term decisions like these that could affect everybody for a long time required two-thirds of the Chosen voting to be in favor. In case there was a tie, they would allow their Digimon to collectively decide. Usually, these discussions were boring and routine, but all five were paying full attention to Matt as he presided, Well, who wants to say something?

Kari was the first to speak up, I dont see what the big deal is. Hes a nice boy. I like him already. He needs to stay somewhere, and we have plenty of room, and plenty of supplies to go around. As long as hes willing to help out with chores or our monthly run, then Id love to take him in.

Kari, you cant base anything off first impressions, Joe said, I personally dont know about all this. I mean, the whole idea of him just happening upon a port and getting here seems kind of fishy. I cant help but think hes here for a reason.

Thats exactly what I think, TK replied, I mean, he doesnt even have a partner to protect him. If it werent for me, hed already be dead. I dont want him to be a liability in case something bad comes up. And we all know that something bad is bound to happen one of these days.

Joe continued, And besides that, where the heck would he stay? Ive gotten very comfortable in my own room, so

He can stay with me. Young Cody interrupted Joe and stood up. Despite the fact that he dwarfed the other five by at least half a meter, the fierce look in his eyes demanded that everybody take the boy seriously, I cant believe the nerve of you people. Thinking that Takato can just be thrown out if we dont want him. Its a dangerous world out there. How would we be able to live with ourselves if we told him that hes not welcome here, and he should just go off and get killed somewhere? Like TK said, he doesnt have a partner, and thats all the more reason to take him in. Hes not a pet, hes a person, and we have to treat him like one and be as caring as I know we all are.

Matt watched Cody sit down. The defense rests, Matt quipped as he stood to conduct the vote, If theres nobody else, well vote now. All in favor of allowing Takato into the group?

Immediately Kari and Cody raised their hands. It didnt take long for Sora to join them. Matt gave TK and Joe time to consider it, but neither moved a muscle. Matt himself knew his stance, and kept his hand down.

All opposed? he asked. Again, he knew his own feelings. He was non-committal about it all. Matt was hoping to be able to abstain and let the other five decide. Joe and TK were extremely hesitant. Finally, TK raised a hand- the lone voice of dissent.

Not voting Joe? Matt wanted to make sure.

I cant do it. I really have a bad feeling about all this, but Codys right, Joe explained.

Matt nodded. He felt the same way. Fortunately, with himself and Joe abstaining, the choice had been made. Okay then. By a three to one vote, Takato Matsuki is now recognized as one of us.

Matt looked around the fire to the mixed reactions. Cody and Kari were smiling, fully believing that the democratic process had helped justice prevail once again. Sora was nodded silently. Matt could sense the trepidation in his wifes face. Perhaps she felt obliged to help Takato- that they needed to help him more so than they wanted to. And then there were Joe and TK. Joe was shaking his head. He clearly wasnt sure about this, but wasnt going to fight it. TK, on the other hand, was deep in thought.

I just thought of something, TK stood after careful deliberation, Takatos pretty young. He says hes fifteen, but he looks a lot younger. From what I can tell, hes too young to remember the Sealing. If he doesnt know about it, I dont think we should tell him how we got here. Its just such a painful memory. I dont want to go through that again. TK looked over at Kari, who accepted the statement with a nod.

Joe fielded the response, Its a part of history. Im sure hes curious. Heck, he can take our side.

Okay Matt continued, Majority rules. Who thinks we should not tell Takato about the Sealing?

TK immediately raised an arm. Kari and Sora followed soon afterwards. After considering the argument himself, Matt also raised an arm. He too wanted to forget it ever happened.

Opposed?

Joe raised a hand.

Not voting Cody?

Cody shook his head. He didnt remember the Sealing either, and couldnt care less about whether those who did know told Takato.

Okay then, thats settled. Matt concluded, Takatos in, hes living with Cody, and mums the word about the Sealing.

After a few moments to let it all settle in, they slowly began to head back to the cabin Takato was sequestered in. TK lagged behind. He helped Kari to her feet. The injury to her back was just a strain, and was bound to heal itself if not aggravated further. It was simply a nuisance to deal with for the time being.

As Kari got to her feet, TK turned towards the cabin, I cant believe theyre so trusting. Something is definitely wrong with this picture, and I cant help but fear the consequences.

He was met with two arms wrapped around his waist. He closed his eyes as she said, But dont you see what happened tonight?

What?

Kari held him tighter. Cody offered his room. That means he finally accepts us.

TK placed his hands over Karis. Perhaps. Thats some solace.

Dont worry TK believe me when I say this could turn into something wonderful.

Lets hope so.

 

Takato was overjoyed to hear the news. He had hoped for a little help from the Chosen. Instead, he was being granted shelter, a home, and a family to share it with. Guilmon was still important, but Takato now had the essentials guaranteed. The only obligation was fair enough- he would essentially become one of the household, expected to do his share of chores and help them protect the Digital World when necessary. Takato was more than willing to take the responsibility.

Well, its getting late. Id love to chat, but its getting late. See you tomorrow, Matt said as he left the cabin.

Sora smiled and rubbed Takatos shoulder, Yeah. Good night. She followed Matt out the door and to the other cabin.

Where am I staying? Takato asked Joe.

Cody volunteered to let you stay in his room, Joe replied before yawning, Good thing too. Ive heard I snore. Oh well, gnight. Joe entered one of the bedrooms before Cody exited the bathroom in nightclothes.

If you dont have a toothbrush we can try to find you something in a few days. Youll have to get by without for now.

Actually, I brought one, Takato smiled. At least he packed wisely.

Cody nodded. Good. Well, you know where the room is.

Wait- which bed?

Cody took a second to think, Well, theres two beds so I guess the one Im not in.

Takato gave a light laugh as he went into the bathroom and got ready for bed. It was an everyday activity, but somehow it felt different this time. It was a process not to be taken for granted. For the first time, someone had made a point of providing him a bed and a bathroom. He washed up, changed, and went into his new bedroom. Cody was already lying peacefully in one bed, so Takato jumped into the other. Thanks for letting me stay,

Youre very welcome. You know, Im surprised some of the others were as hesitant as they were.

Really?

Cody stared up at the ceiling, There are so few humans in this world. The ones that are here have to take care of each other. I dont understand why some of them see things differently. He shook his head and continued, Why question your motives? Why waste time wondering how you got here? None of those things matter. The important thing is that youre here. Thats the only thing I need to know.

You dont need to know who I am?

Cody turned towards Takato, Heck I dont even know who I am. He reached for the light, Good night.

Cody switched the light off, officially ending Takatos first day in the Digital World.

To Be Continued in Stage Four- Prison

 

Authors Notes
And now the mind fuck has officially begun. Obviously, if you havent figured it out already, very little of this fic is clear-cut. Theres some weird stuff here, and much of it will confuse you until you learn the truth. Believe it or not, there is a rational explanation for just about all of this, but you may have to wait until Level 2, and perhaps even Level 3, to get them.

You will find out what a Gatekeeper is later on (Level 2 at the latest). It is not a reference to one of my previous fics, but rather the most accurate and sensible term to describe what they do.

TK believing that his and Matts name derived from an anime is somewhat true if you look at things in a very twisted perspective. There was indeed an anime called Yamato Takeru a few years back. It was loosely based on the ancient legend of the hero Takeru. One of his more famous deeds was defeating a monster known as the Orochi by getting it drunk which has been ripped off in so many animes that it isnt funny.

TK refers to 1984 through his use of newspeak which is a futuristic language Orwell uses for the novel. The Ministry of Truth was the branch of government concerned with literature and the media. In oldspeak, TK basically said that the government used the anime to convince everybody that the digi-destined never existed.

Many of the other elements discussed related to the fourth season; if you have seen it, you understand, but if you havent, you probably wont miss much.

This ends Level 1: Stage Three of The Connection.

Stage Highlights