Level 1: Worlds

From Websters Dictionary:
hell (hel)
n. The abode of dead souls condemned to eternal punishment; a place of evil, torment, or destruction; great distress; anguish; a cause of trouble or misery

Stage Six- Hell

Boom Bubble!!

Patamons shot was on target, and collided harmlessly with a nearby tree.

TK observed his Digimons work, then said, Thats a good shot Patamon, but I dont think youll be doing much R-Level fighting.

Never hurts to be prepared TK! Patamon flew onto his partners left shoulder and watched TK make final status checks on both rifles.

TK didnt need to be told about the necessity of preparation. The camp was currently in hour four of preparing for Daemons arrival. It would not have taken so long if they didnt have to wait for some of the Digimon who were stationed in other parts of the world. But since the wait was unavoidable, the group was able to move a little more leisurely.

Need any help TK? Cody approached, not satisfied with taking a break.

Nope, Im good TK looked toward one of the cabins. Is Kari still inside?

Kari had been in the cabin for half an hour, and TK was slowly growing concerned. At least concerned enough to change his mind and take Cody up on his offer.

Cody, go and see what your mothers up to.

 

So youre back again. Kari narrowed her eyes. Back for what? More death? More chaos? You seem to like that, dont you?

It was just a bathroom mirror, but for the time being, Karis reflection was acting as Karis polar opposite- the darkness. And Kari had a lot to say to it.

That or you dont care. All you want is power. At any cost. Youll go through anything. Anyone. All those people She bit her lip.

To think they actually thought we didnt care. But we do. More than anyone else. And I havent forgiven. And I sure as hell havent forgotten.

She was interrupted by a rapping at the door. Kari!!

Kari took a breath. It felt good to get that out of her system, but Cody (or somebody acting through Cody) was trying to bring her back to the world.

As she opened the door, she looked down at Cody and smiled. TK sent you here, didnt he?

The boy smiled and nodded.

TK... Kari walked out of the cabin and walked up to TK. She glanced back to Cody, who had quietly resigned himself to another project. With his eyes distracted, she wrapped her arms around TKs waist.

Admit it- you thought I got sucked into the Dark Ocean.

TK snickered and turned his head around. Hey, its my job to worry about you getting sucked into the Dark Ocean. Why stop now?

You know darn well Im not going to let that happen. Ive grown up.

I guess. So what were you doing? Ranting at Daemon again?

Kari released her grip on TK and took a step back. Its his fault were here.

TK rolled his eyes. Maybe, but you blame Daemon for everything.

Well, at least fighting him in the Digital World is easier than fighting him back home.

Finished for the time being, TK turned around. The sudden movement startled Patamon, and he hovered overhead. Thats true. Less collateral damage, thats for sure. Good thing that kid spotted him in '15 or that one could have gotten ugly.

But you werent in the '15 battle, were you?

The smile on her face made it clear that it was just in jest, but TK frowned. I was busy falling in love, remember?

The frown on his face made it clear that he was trying to be serious, but Kari broke out in laughter. Oh come on! Davis and I were on our honeymoons when it happened!

TK had heard the story a million times, and saw it coming. He still couldnt help but laugh. That still cracks me up- you and Davis have your weddings the same week so everybody would be in town. And then Daemon attacks how the heck did Tai convince you two to fight?

With a snicker, Kari explained, He didnt. Davis convinced me. He said wed both make the sacrifice together and constantly rub in Tais face the fact that he was still single. She laughed. God, I love Davis.

Well, at least you two had completed the courting process. I was just starting it, remember? TK was smiling, but sounded defensive.

Nobody blames you for not being there. Besides, your wife wasnt really that big on Digimon anyway, was she?

She didnt like the big nasty ones. And she really hated violence.

She liked me though! Patamon chimed in.

Yeah, she did like the little cute ones. Suddenly, he pointed a finger at Patamon. That, and you always took her side, he accused.

He walked over to see what Matt and Sora were up to. Kari walked up to Patamon. They looked at each other and frowned.

I dont even think he misses her Patamon lamented.

 

Takato knew he wasnt going to be thrown into the front lines, but he also knew he still had a role in this. The tone of the camp had suddenly grown more professional. Everybody, including Takato, had a job to do in order to succeed. What bothered Takato was that it didnt seem like the others were treating it like a battle to save the world. They were indeed professional- doing what they had to do to get ready. But they werent all that serious. They were still smiling and making jokes. There was still laughter in the air, even with thoughts of Daemon polluting it.

He held a clipboard, waiting for Sora to exit the research station. "Status?" he asked.

Biyomon will be here in an hour, she answered. Takato made a note of it, then read the update aloud.

Biyomon will be here in an hour, Gabumon should be here any minute, were meeting Gatomon there. Armadillomons here, Patamons here, Veemons here that just leaves Gomamon, Takato announced to nobody in particular.

Do you want me to ask Joe to find him? Cody asked, still eager to help out.

Sure.

As Cody headed for the station, TK followed with a couple cases. Takato, rifles are ready.

Good, load them, Takato replied, checking off the appropriate line. While TK did that, Takato went over to Sora and Kari. Sora was whispering something into Karis ear.

Youre kidding me, Kari said in disgust.

Whats going on here? Takato asked.

The women looked up nervously. Nothing, Kari stated, Nothing for you to worry about. Just keep those guys in line, all right?

Sora smiled. Right. Youre in charge Takato. You should put your goggles on.

Are you nervous? Kari asked him.

Takato fidgeted. Well, a little. But Im surprised youre all so calm. Isnt this like the worst evil Digimon there is?

Kari nodded. It is, but weve faced him three times before and got through it in one piece for the most part. We just have to have faith well do it again.

And remember Takato, weve been working with Digimon since we were your age. We know what were doing, and we trust that everybody, including our Digimon, know what theyre doing too, Sora added.

So you arent scared at all? Takato found that hard to believe.

Are you kidding me? Sora was still smiling, but shook her head. Were all scared to death right now.

 

After all the preparations were made, and the Digimon arrived, the team left for File Island. The train led them across the ocean from the beaches of Server to the shores of File; the days of relying on helpful Whamon were long gone.

The closer they got to the battlefield, the more serious everybody got. Even before they reached land, a few of them had met in the front car to air out concerns. Takato made sure to be in this discussion, which also included Matt, Joe, and Kari. Although it took some prodding from Matt to convince Kari to bring up her issue.

My biggest problem right now is a question of leadership, she admitted.

What do you mean? Am I forgetting about something?

Well, I mean, I heard about your little dream last night and Im having a little trouble taking orders from

Matt already had a hand up, although he didnt appear happy discussing the subject. Look, I already talked about it with Sora. She agrees that we have other things to worry about. She can chew me out later.

Fine, but I will make sure she does.

Matt shook his head and pointed at Joe, who had a hand raised.

I just want to clarify something: Daemon has the power to break into the real world, right?

Yeah. Its not something he could do readily, especially after the Sealing, but if anyone can do it, he could, Matt replied.

But wait a minute- we dont have the power to get into the real world, do we? Takato asked.

No, we dont.

So what happens if Daemon gets into the real world?

Matt thought about it for one second before responding, Were all horribly fucked.

So what are we supposed to do if it happens?

Matt chuckled. We cant let it happen. Simple as that. To do so would be... well, bad.

The Vegiemon conductor opened a door and turned to Matt. Were almost there.

Matt thanked him and turned to the other three. Well, if anyone has to use the facilities, nows the time. There are no bathroom breaks when youre battling to save the world.

 

The train station on File Island was near the cabin at the base of Infinity Mountain. According to Gatomon, the spot could see some heavy fighting, so the train stopped at the edge of the forest. Matt and TK jumped out with rifles. Armadillomon and Cody followed. Armadillomon sniffed the air for any signs of a surprise ambush.

"All clear," he announced.

Matt and TK lowered their weapons as Gabumon and Patamon exited the train, followed by Joe and Gomamon.

"I don't know why you called it Mole, TK, it didn't take that long!" Gomamon said, referring to the train.

TK looked at the engine. It looked like a mole to him. "Am I the only one who sees it?"

Kari, Takato, and Veemon stepped onto the island. Kari was immediately concerned. "Where's Gatomon? She said she'd meet us here."

"I'm sure she'll be here. We're a little early."

Then Sora started laughing from the train.

"What is it, Sora?" Biyomon asked as she hovered in the air alongside Patamon.

"I just realized something," she said as she jumped down, "This is my first time back."

Joe looked bewildered. "Since when?"

"Since ever... since the beginning."

Matt narrowed his eyes. "You mean... Since Devimon?"

"I must say it's aged nicely," she said with a little smile.

TK could barely believe it. "I hope so. It's a File Island for the new millennium."

"I used to stop here every month..." Joe couldn't believe it either.

"Hey, we're not here for nostalgia, we're here to save the world," As usual, Cody had to bring the adults back to reality.

"Right. Thanks Cody." Matt starting marching down the tracks. "First thing's first. We have to find Gatomon."

Kari already had her digivice out and pointed into the woods. "I think we can follow the tracks and get to her."

"I'll stay back and set up home base," Joe volunteered.

"Right," Matt said, handing Joe his rifle. "Everybody else- you know the drill."

The remaining four adults, Cody, and their Digimon started walking down the tracks. Takato picked up the hint soon enough and was right behind with Veemon. He wasn't used to such a militaristic style of Digimon battling, but assumed that Matt and the group knew what they were doing.

"Takato?" Matt shouted, not looking back.

"Sir?" Takato shouted back, then quickly caught himself. "Er, I mean, Matt?"

Matt tried not to laugh. "Why aren't you asking us what the drill is?"

Trying not to hide any embarrassment, Takato quickly recovered, "Because Veemon was just about to tell me!"

Matt couldn't contain his laughter any longer, "All right then. Good comeback."

Sora leaned in and said privately to Matt, "You really shouldn't tease him like that. Remember how we were?"

"Yeah, I know. We were all scared little kids last time you were here."

"I don't think anything's changed," she replied.

"Okay, Takato!" Behind the Ishida's, Veemon came through for his surrogate partner and explained "the drill" clearly, "We're gonna line up in three groups of two humans. Humans on the inside, Digimon on the outside. Strongest ones go first and last. Kari's in the middle."

"As are you, Veemon," Kari interrupted.

"If Davis was here, I'd be in front of all of you!" Although Takato was able to resign himself to the position more easily, Veemon still had trouble with his lack of power.

Matt, Sora, Gabumon, and Biyomon led the way. Behind them, Takato and Veemon followed, as did Kari to relay instructions towards finding Gatomon. Cody, TK, Patamon, and Armadillomon trailed. Patamon could fly anyway, and TK had the rifle to take care of any sneak attacks.

The first attack wasn't sneaky at all. It came in the form of a big, black teddy bear marching down the track toward them.

"WaruMonzaemon. Well, we're getting somewhere, we've got U-Levels hunting us," Sora announced.

"So, who wants to take it?" Matt asked the group without taking his eyes off the monster.

"Hold on, how do we know it's fighting for Daemon?" Cody pleaded.

"Bear Claw!!" WaruMonzaemon attacked, removing all doubt. The entire group dove out of harms way and out of the clearing provided by the track.

Matt turned to Sora. "Honey, why don't you take this one?"

"Sure thing," Sora said, clutching her digivice. "All the way?"

Matt poked his head out and looked at WaruMonzaemon closing in. He returned to safety and nodded. "Yeah. Make it fast, make it clean."

Sora held the digivice towards Biyomon. "Okay B, let's do this."

"Righty-o!" Biyomon shouted.

"Wait... what do you mean all the way??"

Takato's question was answered when Biyomon began to glow.

"Biyomon Warp Digivolve to... Hououmon!" The small pink bird jumped out of the trees and gave way to a mighty golden phoenix.

"Crimson Flame!!" One blast from Hououmon sent WaruMonzaemon up in flames. In seconds, the virus type's data was bound for Primary Village.

Matt smiled and gave some light applause to his wife. "Nice."

"Whoa..." Takato was in shock. "Since when was Biyomon able to do that?!"

"It's a long story." Sora said, greeting Hououmon as it was reduced back to an R-Level. "Good work, B."

"Very good work, Biyomon, Sora." TK found his way out of hiding with Kari and Cody, "We didn't even ask what everybody's levels were."

Sora smiled and ran a hand through her hair. "What? Didn't you think I was staying above 300?"

"Now, now, I'm sure everybody's above 300..." Matt caught sight of Takato, looking down and silently kicking one of the train rails. Matt quickly changed the subject. "Let's keep moving. We haven't even gotten to the fun part yet."

Matt was silently dreading the so-called "fun part." Aside from the whole life-or-death situation and the possibility that Daemon would escape to the real world, there was Takato.

During day-to-day life, Takato wasn't a problem. He did his work and he was an enjoyable person to be around. He was cheerful, energetic, and rarely complained. Takato was still the outsider, but an outsider welcomed into the family with open arms.

But as Matt led the troops across the tracks, drawing nearer to Infinity Mountain, he knew this wasn't day-to-day life. Combat was Takato's fatal flaw. The Chosen had carved out their niche by defending the Digital World against pretty much anything. Takato was simply not equipped to do that. Whoever this Guilmon was, he wasn't in the Digital World anymore, and did not appear in any of the highly advanced facility databases. Matt had always considered that a shame. Takato said very little about his previous adventures, but he did let slip a few things over the twenty months he had been staying. From what Matt could put together, Takato and Guilmon were through quite a lot. Synch level of 300? They must have had it easily.

But Guilmon wasn't here, and Takato was stuck with Veemon and a synch of 92. That posed a hell of a problem to Matt, because the pair simply wasn't effective to use in battle. Furthermore, Matt still didn't trust Takato with the rifle. They only had two, and both needed to be in capable hands. Yet Matt wanted Takato involved somehow. The kid deserved to be more than support staff, but with so little room for error, Matt was having trouble providing Takato a meaningful role in the battle.

"Gatomon?!" Kari yelled towards the cabin. Her D-3 sensed the feline nearby.

"Kari! Is that you??" Gatomon replied, balancing herself along the rails as she greeted them, jumping into Kari's awaiting arms.

"I was starting to get worried," Kari stroked her partner's ears.

"You think you were worried? That walking pin cushion was on my tail for the last couple hours. He smelled like he was corrupted by Daemon."

"Gatomon..."

While Kari was happy to be reunited with her partner, Matt was all business, "Do we have time to get briefed and ready for this guy?"

Gatomon jumped out of Kari's arms and landed cleanly on one of the rails. "We should have at least an hour before he bio-emerges, Matt. It should be enough time to get a game plan together," she said with a salute.

"What are we waiting for then? Hopefully Joe's done unpacking." TK did an about-face and led the charge back.

 

The full team of fourteen sat in Mole's passenger car, except four. Patamon and Biyomon passed out the headsets that served as wireless communicators while Matt and Gatomon stood next to a board, displaying a map of the island. They were ready to brief the team.

"The headsets are all charged up and ready to go, but don't turn them on until we leave. When we do, set them for channel 3." Matt was now completely focused on the mission. The moment was drawing near. "Gatomon?"

The cat stood on her hind legs and addressed the army, "WaruMonzaemon was only an appetizer. In fact, he didn't even know he was working for Daemon. His data was corrupted and he turned into a nasty hellraiser. It's safe to assume Daemon has the power to do this, but we don't know why he would. A lone U-Level is nothing we can't handle."

"Actually, Gatomon, that explains everything." Cody stood up. "Don't you get it? All those corruptions in the past few months were because of Daemon. He's been testing us. Sizing up his competition. He wants to know what he's going to be up against before he emerges."

"We don't know that for sure, Cody," TK said.

"Actually, that makes a lot of sense," Takato observed, "Cody's got a point. I think he nailed it. He wants to know what we're capable of."

Murmurs of general agreement went on before Matt nodded. "Actually, that's going to work to our advantage. In fact, that's excellent. It means we stand a good chance of winning."

"Why do you say that?" Joe asked.

"Because we were never using our full power. We always handled everything at the C-Level. Did anybody have to go U-Level for anything?"

Joe and Sora raised their hands. "Just once," Joe explained, "Things were getting a little hairy one time and I didn't think Ikkakumon was going to be able to handle it."

"Still, that's not what we're all capable of. None of us even came close to going M, so that's going to be a real..."

"Uh, Matt..." Sora interrupted.

"Yes?"

She sighed. "B just went Mega twenty minutes ago, remember?"

"Oh yeah."

"So it's safe to assume that he knows we can go M-Level," said Gabumon.

"And since he's never seen Biyomon do it before, he assumes we can all go M-Level," added Armadillomon.

"What's worse is that he's overestimating us- we *can't* all go M-Level," Cody made the revelation bleaker than it already was..

Matt took a moment to let it sink in before continuing. "Okay... that means this could get interesting. Gatomon, what's he bringing to the table?"

Gatomon walked up to the map, still on hind legs, "After searching the island, I found three emergence points besides Daemon's. They're big ones, so I think he's going to go with his core corps."

"MarineDevimon, LadyDevimon, and SkullSatamon." The Chosen still remembered the trio from the original battle of 03.

"That's them. Matt, give me a boost. I'll point them out on the map."

Matt lifted Gatomon up to the map and she poked holes into it with her claws, pointing each one out. "This one's closest to water, so I guess it's MarineDevimon." She pointed to a second spot, by the cabin. "This one's LadyDevimon... I could smell it." She poked a third marker. "This leaves SkullSatamon. This leaves Daemon at the other end of the cross." A fourth hole poked designated the main enemy.

"The cross?" Gomamon asked.

"The cross..." She connected Daemon's point to Skull Satamon's, followed by LadyDevimon's to MarineDevimon's, forming a perfectly unholy cross.

"Making his mark, as usual," Matt remarked. He set Gatomon down and proceeded. "We're running out of time, so here's the plan. SkullSatamon's the toughest one to beat. Sora and I will take that one. Hopefully two M-Levels double-teaming him will be enough." He glanced over at Sora. She nodded in complete understanding; any marital issues were left back home.

He continued, "LadyDevimon..." Matt smiled and looked over at Kari. "I think we all know who wants to take her on." A few laughs from the others rose as Kari acknowledged the long-standing rivalry. "Trying to make it five-for-five against her Kari?"

"Four-for-five, Matt," Gatomon corrected him, "She had my number in '27. Hoping for a little payback myself."

"You'll get your chance Gatomon. TK and Patamon are to provide backup only. Only interfere if Kari's in serious trouble. We're going to need you later."

"Yes, sir! Right, sir!" Patamon yelled.

"And Kari, I know there's that whole pride thing going, but if Angewomon's starting to slip, then it's okay to digivolve to M. Hopefully you won't need to though."

As Kari acknowledged the order, Takato scratched his neck. He doubted any of this was going to concern him anyway.

"Finally, there's MarineDevimon," Matt continued, "Gomamon's the aquatics expert, so he's yours. Engage him at a U-Level on land. If Zudomon's too much for him, odds are he'll head for the sea. That's when you digivolve and let Plesiomon take care of business."

"No problem, Matt." Joe was taking notes, and underlined that last part three times.

"Cody- you have the undersea mon. Be waiting underwater with Submarimon and constantly communicate with Joe. If he needs your help, be sure he gets it."

After Cody affirmed, Matt turned his back to the group when he immediately recognized the flaw in that plan. Fortunately, he also saw a way to solve that problem, and another, before Kari could raise any questions about it.

"Takato." Takato was surprised to hear his named called. "Since Cody has to be inside Submarimon to battle, that could present a life-threatening problem. You and Veemon are to stand by on the beach and make sure Cody and Submarimon are safe. Should anything happen, your job is to dive in and save their lives."

Slightly overwhelmed, but not wanting to deny the responsibility, Takato slowly nodded. "No problem. Do you think I can handle it?"

"Well, better a young Okinawa kid than us middle-aged city slickers." Matt was assuming a little too much out of the student ID in Takato's wallet, but wasn't going to give Takato a chance to back down. "Hopefully after those three are down, TK and Cody will still be ready to take on Daemon, and Kari, Sora and I will still have enough in the tank to help out."

"Wait a second, who's taking Daemon to start out with?" Kari asked.

"Usually what happens is Daemon won't attack until he has to. He'll be quietly trying to open a gate to the real world while his corps does the dirty work. This cross formation he has set up seems to work towards that effect. Unfortunately, we're a little short on mon-power so we're going to have to leave him alone to start out with. It'll take awhile for him to break through, so as long as we get to him before that happens we'll be fine."

"Do you really want to leave it to chance like that? Once false move and he's in the real world," Cody said worriedly.

"We don't really have a choice. Depending on how the battles are doing, I hope that Sora, or perhaps even TK, could sneak over there and keep him occupied for awhile, but I don't want to state anything for certain until we find out how each battle is going to go. We're looking at a three-front war, and communication is going to be essential. Keep the other sides posted, and always keep your ears towards the other battles. Remember that they stopped him in '27 when a Canadian digi-destined's MagnaAngemon used his Gate of Destiny. That's what we're going for this time. It may be the only attack he's susceptible to."

Matt walked to the center of the car. The other humans stood in a circle. The seven slowly put a hand in the center, until all had one in the pile. "This is it. There may only be seven, but that's how many of us started out, and we got through. Whether we were part of that seven, or a late addition to the team, we are all digi-destined. And now it's time to prove it."

"For the digi-destined!" The seven shouted as they each raised a hand simultaneously.

It was time to go back to doing what they all did best. Including Takato, the newest and perhaps the last digi-destined the world would ever see.

 

"Gomamon, digivolve to Ikkakumon!" The water front had its vessel.

"All aboard," said Joe, a little nervously. It had been awhile since he rode his partner into battle.

Ironically, Takato and Veemon had an easier time scaling the beast than Joe did. Joe also had the added weight of a backpack with basic medical supplies. They helped him up before looking back down to Cody. He was already positioned in Submarimon and about to dive. Takato and Joe both turned their communication headsets on.

"Am I coming in okay?"

"Clear as the water, Cody." Takato replied. Cody raised a hand from within Submarimon and they dove under. Joe and Takato could see the two submerged quite a ways.

"Okay, Ikkakumon, let's move." Joe gave the order, and the marine squad was on their way. They were already gambling. This was the easiest way to get to MarineDevimon, but not the fastest.

They were only halfway when they realized the error they made.

"Shit... he's bio-emerging already," Matt swore into the headsets, "Are the other teams there yet?"

TK answered promptly, "We're on top of it. Or I should say Kari's on top of it... or rather Angewomon... wait now LadyDevimon's on top... damn this never gets less entertaining to watch."

Joe exhaled and turned on his mike. "We're not quite there yet."

"I'll go ahead and keep him on dry land," Cody said.

Ikkakumon's passengers watched as Submarimon blasted forward. "We'll get there as fast as we can. Be careful, Cody!" Joe replied before turning to his partner, "Full speed ahead please. And get ready to digivolve as soon as we get to the spot."

"Sure thing!"

 

"Giga Missile!" SkullSatamon easily dodged MetalGarurumon's attack and dove in for his own counter.

"Skull Hammer!" It connected and knocked MetalGarurumon over. Hououmon dove in for the kill, but SkullSatamon repelled that just as easily.

"U-Level my ass..." Matt muttered from the secure location where he and Sora were watching.

"Hopefully the others are having better luck. It's going to take both of us to topple this guy."

 

Joe, Takato, and Veemon jumped down from Ikkakumon's back just in time.

"Ikkakumon digivolve to Zudomon!" Zudomon wasted no time in launching an attack at MarineDevimon. "Vulcan's Hammer!"

MarineDevimon jumped out of the way. Zudomon ran after it, engaging MarineDevimon hand to tentacle. A thrust from Zudomon's horn landed the first official blow.

"I'm surfaced right now Joe, just waiting for orders," Cody told Joe through the headset.

"Let's see how this turns out. I think we're winning right now," Joe replied.

"Famous last words," said Veemon.

As much as Zudomon seemed to have the upper hand, it was a legitimate battle. Punches thrown, attacks launched, and plenty of collateral damage to the area. Fortunately, Gatomon had the entire island evacuated long before the armies arrived. File Island was now a desolate battlefield for good and evil to have one more squabble.

"Evil Wind!" MarineDevimon whisked Zudomon backwards, barely touching the giant. Then MarineDevimon charged forth. Zudomon quickly countered, flipping MarineDevimon over his massive shoulders... and into the sea behind them.

"Not good!" Takato yelled. MarineDevimon had an advantage over Zudomon when in the water.

"Don't worry! Cody, we're going to phase two!" Joe screamed into the headset.

As Submarimon submerged deeper into the water, Zudomon faced his foe and began to glow.

"Zudomon digivolve to Plesiomon!!" The evolution formed something smaller now, but Plesiomon was more at home in the seas, and an M-Level to boot.

"Dark Deluge!" MarineDevimon wasn't impressed, and spat ink into the waters. Within seconds, the coast was polluted with the poison. Plesiomon had no trouble paddling its fins to keep the gunk away, but Takato and Joe were concerned for another.

Without warning, Takato ran down the shoreline to where he last saw Submarimon. Using his headset, he frantically called, "Cody? Did that stuff get you? Are you all right?"

Cody replied instantly, "Yeah. I'm fine. Just a little darker down here."

"Yeah, I wouldn't surface any time soon. That stuff looks painful."

Kari jumped in, a little frantic, "Cody?! What happened Cody?"

"Don't worry Kari," Takato tried to calm her down, "We're holding our own on this side. How are you doing?"

 

"We're doing just fine, Takato." In true fashion, Angewomon and LadyDevimon were having their traditional catfight. Also in true fashion, Angewomon was winning.

"Matt," TK yelled into the headset, "It looks like Angewomon has things under control here. Should I make a run on Daemon now?" TK turned the mike off and smiled at Kari. "If I stick around here too long, I'm going to get a nosebleed."

Matt was quick with a response. "Go for it, TK. SkullSatamon's definitely keeping Sora and I occupied for awhile. Just don't get Angemon killed. We need him."

"Roger," TK answered, then held a digivice towards Patamon. "We're outta here Patamon."

"Patamon digivolve to Angemon!" Angemon managed to pick TK up, despite how much bigger his partner had gotten.

"Be careful TK!" Kari yelled as she watched the takeoff from the ground.

LadyDevimon noticed the commotion. "Not so fast!" "Black Wing!"

Angemon easily dodged her attack, and he and TK headed for Infinity Mountain.

"Leave them alone, you're still dealing with me!" Angewomon shouted as she charged after the agent of darkness. LadyDevimon quickly dodged the attack and traced Angemon's takeoff to the ground.

"Not for long..." LadyDevimon had found a new target. And she was still watching the boys fly away.

As any good Digimon would, Angewomon flew to her partners rescue, "Kari, look out!"

"Darkness Wave!"

Angewomon wasn't going to be fast enough... but again she proved to be a good Digimon.

"Angewomon digivolve to... Magnadramon!" The extra boost of speed was plenty to dive in and sweep Kari from danger.

"That was too close. Thanks Magnadramon." Kari reached for her mike. "TK, maybe you should get back here. I just had a close call. I'm okay, but..."

"But you forgot about me sweetie!" LadyDevimon swooped in from close range as Magnadramon tried to get Kari into safety. "Black Wing!" Magnadramon had no way to defend it with Kari on her back.

Five seconds later, Magnadramon was de-digivolving into Gatomon, who was much smaller, and much less capable of flying.

"Gatomon!!" Kari fell helplessly, and Gatomon was too wounded to land on her own feet, much less help Kari do the same.

"Kari..." moaned the Digimon as her partner fell onto the ground, flat on her back.

"KARI!!" TK was only able to watch them crash to the ground.

Angemon swooped down to allow TK to drop down to tend to her. As he did, he looked up at LadyDevimon.

"LadyDevimon! You're going to live just long enough to regret that... but not much longer."

The female devil laughed at her extreme opposite. "Is that so? Just let me clean up the trash and we'll see about that!"

Meanwhile, TK forced back his initial rage upon seeing Kari. She wasn't getting up, despite his pleading. He turned on his communicator. "Joe!! Joe! Kari's hurt! I think it's serious!"

"What was that, TK?"

"LadyDevimon just smoked Magnadramon while Kari was riding her. They both fell. Magnadramon's down to C-Level."

"Damn... where's Gatomon?"

"Black Wing!" TK looked up just in time to see LadyDevimon clean up the trash.

"Oh shit..." TK froze.

"What is it TK?" Joe made sure to keep the line open.

"I think she just killed Gatomon," mumbled TK.

"Oh shit is right. I'll be over there as soon as I can to help Kari! Get the egg if you can! It's all you can do to save Gatomon."

TK snapped out of his trance as Angemon engaged LadyDevimon. "But I can't just leave Kari here!"

The doctor's orders were loud and harsh. "If she just fell, moving her may make it even worse. There's nothing you can do for Kari! So have Angemon deal with the bitch while you get that fucking egg!!"

TK sighed. He looked at Kari. Tears were already forming in his eyes. For now, he had no choice. "Right, Joe."

He ran in and snatched Gatomon's digi-egg just as it rose to make the journey to Primary Village.

 

"But Joe!" Takato said as he and Veemon chased after the doctor, "I know you have to get to Kari, but what are we supposed to do?" Plesiomon had MarineDevimon on the ropes, but wasn't able to deliver the final blow after fifteen minutes of fighting. Takato was trying not to panic. It wasn't the first time a friend's partner had died, but unlike last time he was determined to keep his cool.

"Handle it!" Joe shouted back.

"But Joe! Cody and I can't defeat MarineDevimon without Plesiomon!"

Joe turned back quickly. "Who said I was taking Plesiomon? He's staying here. Make sure he finishes off that squid."

"But what about you? Are you going to be alright alone?"

After a moment of thinking, he responded. "Good point. Veemon? You're coming with me."

"But wait, he's my..."

Perhaps he was, but Veemon ran up to Joe and led him down the path into the woods. "Right Joe! Good luck Takato!"

Before he knew it, Takato was alone on the beach. He was watching two Mega-Level Digimon duking it out in the murky water and was overhearing TK discussing the details about Gatomon's death and Kari's injury; neither were soothing to listen to.

"Hey Takato! Are you there?" Takato had zoned out for a second, and didn't hear Cody calling him over the communicator.

Takato turned his mike on and responded. "Uh, yeah, Cody. Right here."

"It's still hard for me to see. How are they doing?"

"Gatomon's still dead, and TK's probably bio-merging with Patamon right about now..." Takato mumbled.

"I mean here! How's Plesiomon doing?"

Joe's M-Level seemed more drained without his partner nearby, and was starting to feel the effects. He was still keeping MarineDevimon at bay, but not by much. After watching the battle closely for a minute, Takato said something to that extent to Cody.

"We may have to help out then. Or should we just see if MarineDevimon keeps fighting?"

"He looks pretty tired, Cody. Let's let Plesiomon stick this out for now."

"Roger, Takato," Cody broke communication for a moment, before resuming transmission. "Oh and one question- what the heck is bio-merging?"

"Never mind, Cody. It doesn't matter anymore."

 

Angemon didn't stay Angemon for long. And LadyDevimon didn't stay healthy for long.

TK was keeping an eye on the battle between LadyDevimon and MagnaAngemon, but he already had his hands full with Kari.

"Please, Kari, say something." TK took her hand, careful to make sure Gatomon's digiegg was secured with his other arm.

Kari wasn't responding. Her hand was warm, but she wasn't acknowledging any of TK's pleas.

"Dammit Kari! Wake up!" TK closed his eyes and leaned his own back against a rock. He forced back tears as he checked on the battle one more time.

"Angel Rod!" MagnaAngemon struck a clean blow, reducing LadyDevimon to bits of data. One of the three minions was destroyed.

TK received little solace from the victory. It wasn't going to wake Kari up. But he had the responsibility to report it.

"Matt," said TK as he watched his partner reduce himself back down to an R-Level. Patamon wasn't happy about the kill either. "MagnaAngemon took care of her."

Matt sighed in relief from his post. "Good work. Stay with Kari and let Patamon rest."

Joe interrupted. "I'm almost there, TK. Just hang on."

TK acknowledged Joe, but continued to lean back on the rock. Patamon joined him in staring idly at Kari. She had been out for some time. Even TK could only sustain a finite amount of hope.

 

MarineDevimon wasn't sinking, and Plesiomon instead was the one wearing out. As Plesiomon began to break towards the beach, MarineDevimon followed, remaining in the water. Meanwhile, Takato realized that it had to end soon, and fully intended to make sure the good guys won this battle.

"Cody, move forward and get into position to strike him on my signal," Takato said, standing up and running towards Plesiomon. He cupped his hands and yelled, "Plesiomon! Get an opening and knock him straight backwards!"

He didn't wait for Joe's M-Level to acknowledge. Instead, he turned on the mike, "Okay, hopefully Plesiomon will send him backwards into the water. Then smoke him."

"Right."

Takato looked up just in time to see Plesiomon attack.

"Water Tail Blaster!" MarineDevimon wasn't hit hard, but did fall back a little.

"NOW Cody!"

"Oxygen Torpedo!" Takato heard over the communicator. Suddenly, MarineDevimon was reeling backwards after the unexpected underwater attack.

"Shaking Pulse!" A final attack from Plesiomon did the trick. MarineDevimon slowly deleted into oblivion.

"Did we get him?" Cody asked.

"We got him, Cody, you're good to surface where you are," Takato announced. Knowing his duty to report the news to everybody else, he continued, "Got that everybody? MarineDevimon's out of here. What should we do now?"

Matt was listening on the other end, "Good work Takato, Cody. Get Submarimon down to R-Level and get your butts over to the other side to help Joe and TK with Kari."

"I have a better idea," Joe interrupted, "Takato, hop on Plesiomon and send him around to get a stretcher and one of the rifles from base. Cody, stay in Submarimon for now. And hurry it up, Kari needs to get back to base fast."

"Right, Joe." Takato had already ran for Plesiomon. He hopped on his back, "Back to base, and step on it."

Rather than sailing around the island, as Takato expected, Plesiomon took flight and sailed over it.

"Uh... Cody... I'm flying..."

"I see you," said Cody. "I'll meet you where Kari is. You'd be surprised how fast we can go."

 

"Please say she's going to be okay." TK could only watch as Joe administered CPR on Kari.

"Well..." Joe lifted his ear from her chest. "Her heart's going again." He sat back and cleaned his glasses. "I guess you could say that's a good sign."

"But??"

"It's not safe to move her. She might have spinal damage. And that's beyond my level of expertise. When Takato gets her we can get her back to base. I'll do what I can from there."

"What should we do now?" Patamon descended from above.

"Well, her shoulder's banged up. I should be able to bandage it up without moving the neck too much."

As Joe pulled some bandages from his backpack, TK leaned in closer. "Why can't we move the neck?"

Joe moved in closer and carefully lifted Kari's arm. "Because once false move and she could be paralyzed."

 

"I've got the stretcher. Anything else you need, Joe?" Matt was listening to the conversation of his comrades. Takato had apparently reached Mole.

"Yeah, there should be a neck brace somewhere in there. Check one of the boxes," Joe replied, adding, "And don't forget that rifle.

Matt quietly swore. Things weren't turning out so well. The loss of Gatomon was huge. Two of Daemon's corps had been defeated, but at the expense of Kari and her partner. To make matters worse, SkullSatamon was still keeping MetalGarurumon and Hououmon at bay.

"Matt, we should really think about what we want all the other Digimon to do once Kari's back at base," Sora said, sticking close to her husband as they watched their Digimon battle.

"They're going to have to attack Daemon. No choice in the matter." Matt replied. Daemon had been left unchecked this whole time, and something needed to disrupt his efforts to break into the real world.

"Yeah, but Ankylomon will take forever to get there, Plesiomon's spent from the last battle, and we shouldn't risk letting MagnaAngemon fight him alone."

"So what's your sugges... look out!" Matt pulled Sora out of the path of MetalGarurumon as the M-Level slid past them.

Sora was undaunted. "Let's get reinforcements over here to take out SkullSatamon. Then everybody's free to attack Daemon at once."

Matt nodded. "Good plan, but we don't know how long that's going to take."

"Well do you have any better ideas?" she fired back.

"No, that's why we're using it," Matt spoke into the communicator, "Guys, as soon as Takato and Cody get to Kari, send Ankylomon this way to help us."

"What about Daemon?" Cody replied.

"Give Plesiomon a chance to rest, then send him after Daemon."

"He's a sitting duck against Daemon!"

"How about this? If Ankylomon helps out now, and Angemon helps us after Kari's back at base, we should be able to afford sending Hououmon to back Plesiomon up,"

Sora's solution seemed to tide everybody over, so they all agreed and went back to their business.

 

Takato slid off Plesiomon, towing a neck brace, a rifle, and a board that acted as the stretcher. TK took both and ran to Joe. Takato followed as Plesiomon took a momentary rest.

"Okay, we'll need Cody to help carry her back, but we can get her on the stretcher." Joe was already attaching the neck brace. He finished, and turned to Takato. "Takato, take her feet and make sure she stays level. TK, very carefully, on the count of three, help me lift her to the stretcher."

The sight of Kari lying unconscious was difficult for Takato to witness. Her shoulder was already bandaged up and her clothes were torn. Yet Takato forged on, keeping her steady as Joe and TK carefully got her on the stretcher.

As Joe fastened her in, Cody ran up to the trio. "Ankylomon's already helping Matt and Sora. What can I do?"

"Hold the egg while we carry her back," TK answered, "Patamon and Veemon, keep us covered."

"How am I supposed to do that when I can't digivolve?" Veemon asked.

"R-Levels can attack too," TK replied.

"Okay, Takato, Pick a side."

As Joe so ordered, Takato did. Takato slung the rifle around his shoulder first as he took the stretcher on the left side. TK held the front end while Joe took the back. Cody held on to Gatomon's egg and stood opposite Takato.

They were near the train tracks, so the walk was clear and level. Patamon led the charge and Veemon took the rear, making sure nothing would sneak up from behind. Unlike last time, a sneak attack was what they received.

"Grenade Destroyer." The attack caught Veemon off guard and knocked him to the ground.

The grenade shot was awfully close to TK and Joe, but they made sure not to drop Kari.

"What the hell was that?" TK asked.

"Get Kari out of here," Veemon said as a Gardromon stepped out of the bushes. "Looks like somebody didn't evacuate with the others."

TK didn't argue, and advanced Kari further, but Patamon flew overhead, "I can help!"

"Don't worry about it! Keep moving! Takato and I can take care of it!"

The three Chosen looked at Takato. He hadn't even looked back, but realized that this was his battle.

"Go ahead guys. We'll take care of him," Takato said, letting go of the stretcher and turning around. The others silently let him. They had more pressing concerns.

He took the rifle. It was still uncomfortable to wield, and he still hated to use it. But Veemon was in trouble, and he had to come through for his partner.

"Sorry Kazu," he whispered as he aimed and pulled the trigger.

The resulting blast did little against Gardromon's heavy armor. Gardromon instead turned on Takato. Two more shots, neither to any avail. Gardromon aimed his turrets at Takato.

"Takato!" Veemon quickly stood up and dove after his partner. Then he started to glow.

As TK, Joe, and Cody assisted Kari back to the train, Joe couldn't help but look back. "Holy..." he muttered before turning to the other two, "Guys... you really should see this!"

TK was still fixated on Kari's safety. "We have to get Kari back! If Takato wants this battle, let's give it to him."

"But I think Veemon's digivolving!"

That did it. TK and Cody both looked back to see it.

"Veemon digivolve to ExVeemon!" The newly formed C-Level immediately fired his attack, "Vee Laser!"

Gardromon was struck in the back. A couple rifle blasts finished him off, giving Takato the chance to look at what he helped create. He wasn't Veemon's partner, but he still was able to get him to digivolve.

"Is Kari back yet?" Matt's yelling over the intercom refused to allow Takato to enjoy the moment.

He turned his mike on and offered the response. "She's getting there. We had a Gardromon cause some trouble... but ExVeemon and I took care of it," Takato stressed the "Ex," just to drive the point home. He smiled and rejoined the others before Matt could realize what had transpired.

 

When he did, Matt turned to Sora, "Did he say ExVeemon?"

Sora was too busy watching Ankylomon drive a Tail Hammer into SkullSatamon's gut to care. "Maybe you heard wrong. Veemon can't digivolve without Davis." SkullSatamon was on the ground, and both MetalGarurumon and Ankylomon were ready to pounce on it. She changed the subject. "Matt, it looks like we finally have this under control. Can I make a run on Daemon now?"

"Yeah. Plesiomon should be there by now. But be careful."

She called for Hououmon, jumped on the back of the phoenix, and flew north. As soon as she was gone, SkullSatamon avoided two attacks at once and cast an attack that temporarily paralyzed MetalGarurumon.

"Fuck..." Matt rubbed his temples and spoke into the headset, "TK, get over here with Angemon. This bastard's not going down like he's supposed to." He was growing frustrated, and had a severe headache since he learned about Kari. Given how they were doing, he tried not to imagine the mood he'd be in if they were actually losing.

 

Thanks to Takato, the rescue workers got Kari aboard Mole safely. While Joe worked on his patient, the youths and ExVeemon ran to the SkullSatamon front, dragging TK along with.

"Sorry, TK, but Angemon needs your support," Cody said as he and Takato prevented TK from looking back.

"Yeah, there's no way he and Ankylomon could DNA Digivolve," Takato added.

Cody stopped. "Wait, wait, what's DNA Digivolving?"

"You don't rememb... oh yeah." Even thought it had been a couple years since Takato had seen the series, his memory of the Daemon battle of 2003 was still significantly greater than Cody's. "I suppose that's not possible." Takato looked up at TK. "Is it?"

"Honestly... I don't have a clue. But if it'll buy us some time, it's worth a shot." TK took Cody's hand and ran into the woods. "C'mon Cody, I'll show you how it works." Takato, ExVeemon, and Patamon were right behind them, the latter digivolving on the way. As soon as they reached the battle, Cody called Ankylomon over.

"Cody, hold your D-3 out and watch the fireworks." After making sure Cody was obeying, TK yelled to the troops, "DNA Digivolve!"

Ankylomon ducked a staff strike from SkullSatamon and looked over at TK, confused. "You sure we can do that?"

"Would you rather stand there and let this guy pound you all day?" Angemon swooped in.

"Hell no! Let's get large angel boy!" Ankylomon smiled and it was on. "Ankylomon!"

"Angemon!"

"DNA Digivolve to..." As they announced it simultaneously, Matt tilted his head. He didn't know what was going on, and he hadn't even lost his memory.

"Shakkoumon!" In a flash, a giant was standing in their places.

"Oh yeah..." Matt suddenly remembered and ran up to TK, Cody, and Takato. "Thank you to whoever remembered that."

"Uh... you're welcome I guess," Takato replied, before looking up at TK, "You mean none of you thought about using him?"

TK put his hands up. "It's been 30 years, give us a break. Besides, I didn't know if it would work now. It's hard to keep track of what powers we have or don't have, you know?"

"Not really, we're as unrestricted now as we've ever been," Matt answered. He looked up at Shakkoumon. "Okay, um... Shakkoumon? Finish this damn thing off so we can move on to the main event."

"Justice Beam." Shakkoumon attacked... and missed. SkullSatamon bounded out of the way easily, as he had been doing all day.

"Giga Missile!" Fortunately, Shakkoumon's presence forced SkullSatamon to forget about MetalGarurumon, who easily finished him off.

"All right, now can we wrap this up? I'm getting restless." Now that Veemon had digivolved for the first time in years, his C-Level form was getting restless. He wanted more action.

"Right. Let's..." Matt stopped. He was talking to ExVeemon. It wasn't a miscommunication- Veemon digivolved. Matt raised an eyebrow towards Takato.

"Takato, did you make Veemon digivolve?"

Takato smiled. "Yeah. I was in trouble and Veemon digivolved to..."

Matt interrupted, "Damn, you're just full of surprises." It was the same story that caused everyone else's partner Digimon to digivolve. "Dynamic digivolution" was the official jargon. When the need to save a human partner temporarily raises the synch level to above 100, the Digimon evolves without the partner ordering it. A typical scenario... if it weren't for the fact that Takato wasn't Veemon's partner.

"Whatever, let's go finish this. Everyone involved in a freak digivolution drop to R-Level and climb aboard MetalGarurumon."

"But who are you going to ride with?" Takato said with a big grin.

 

Both Plesiomon and Hououmon were engaging Daemon. As expected, they both had their hands full. Daemon did his best to aggravate the two M-Levels, dodging every attack with his usual bursts of laughter. Sora didn't get involved. She just took cover and prayed for Hououmon's safety.

MetalGarurumon swung around first. He dropped off everybody except his own partner just outside the crater Daemon had been occupying.

"None of that DNA stuff this time, guys. MagnaAngemon has to open up the gate, and Ankylomon has to help make sure he falls in," Matt gave his orders before flying off. Since Daemon was occupied with Hououmon and Plesiomon, he capitalized on the situation. Hopefully it would allow Ankylomon time to jump in and TK to get Patamon up to U-Level.

"Metal Wolf Claw!" The attack connected squarely, forcing Daemon to turn and look at its aggressor.

"Evil Flapping." Daemon fired back, using his mighty wings to send a gust of dark wind in MetalGarurumon's direction. Matt guided the wolf out of the way, but the powerful gust began to knock trees over.

As Matt surveyed where the trees would land, he finally found Sora's hiding place underneath him.

"SORA!" Matt dove off his partner after Sora. Sora heard the scream and caught him. The two tumbled safely out of the way of the falling trees.

"Holy shit, are you two okay?" TK saw the incident and contacted them over the communicator.

Sora was trying to catch her breath, but managed a reply. "Yeah. We're okay. That was too close though."

One look at Matt and she realized she spoke too soon. he was clutching his arm and moaning, "Ow, shit..."

Sora quickly released herself from his hold, rose to her knees and looked him over. "What's wrong?"

"My arm... hurts... bad..."

"Do you think it's broken?"

Matt feigned surprise. "Think? There's no 'think' involved here. It's broken. It is so damn broken. Ow!"

"I'll call Joe." Sora was about to turn on the communicator when Matt shook his head.

"No." With Sora's help, he rose to his feet. "Let Joe worry about Kari. He can look at this later. I'll live."

"You're acting all noble to make up for the whole Riley thing, aren't you?" she said with a smile.

Matt winced, but forced a smile. "Yeah, but for the record- I saved your life because I really didn't want to see you get hurt."

"This is why I hate you, Matt." In spite of her words, she remained smiling. "You make it really hard for me to stay mad at you." She added a kiss to the cheek.

He was still smiling as well, but it was now more of a fiendish grin. He wanted this all to end. "Sora, get the digivice out of my pocket. It's time we take care of him." As his wife dug through his pocket, he turned to his right. His faithful partner MetalGarurumon was awaiting orders. "Sic him, boy!"

As powerful as Daemon was, the combined strength of three Megas and a Champion were enough to keep him distracted while MagnaAngemon got into position.

"Okay, everybody, on the count of three, simultaneous attack from everybody. And get your digivices ready in case we need more help." He was clutching his shoulder, and Sora was clutching him, but Matt was still giving orders. He took a deep breath as the other Chosen moved into a position where they could easily command their partners. "One... two..."

"Tail Hammer!"

"Ice Wolf Bite!"

"Star-Light Explosion!"

"Water Tail Blaster!"

"Gate of Destiny!" The final attack was MagnaAngemon's, as he opened up the gate that would judge Daemon guilty and cast him into the world of darkness.

All of the attacks connected, phasing Daemon just enough to allow the three flying M-Levels to grab him and lead him through the gate. It didn't take long for him to fight back.

"Okay guys, let's see some digivices!" Matt allowed Sora to clutch his arm as he sent a beam of light towards Daemon with his digivice.

As Sora, TK, and Cody did the same, Takato pulled out his D-Power. It was different than all of the others. But he held it towards Daemon, shining one additional light on him. Even Daemon couldn't break this force, and was sent through the gate, to be sealed in darkness for another decade.

The gate closed. It was over. As soon as he realized it, Takato pocketed his D-Power. The communicator was no longer a discomfort when he pulled it off his head. As he watched MagnaAngemon descend from above, he assumed the others would revel in the victory.

"Bulls-eye, baby." He turned around and saw Veemon smiling. The Digimon flashed Takato a thumbs up. All had been made right by the digi-destined.

"Hey, Takato, we didn't say you could take the headset off," TK reprimanded Takato before continuing with his conversation over the airwaves, "Did you check the radar yet?"

Takato was confused. The battle was supposed to be over. The good guys had won. Yet TK was talking with Joe as if they were about to move to another phase.

All became clear when TK started to ask about Kari. Takato looked to the ground. Perhaps his celebration was uncalled.

For a moment, Takato wanted to race back and put the headset back on, but he didn't. He was still excited about it all. Kari dampened his spirits a little, but he was too happy to ruin it by sitting back and listening to a medical report.

"Good work, Takato." Cody snuck up to him and extended a hand. Cody was still wearing the headset and presumably still listening to Joe's report. But at least he was congratulating his teammates. Takato shook Cody's hand and offered his own words. But even though Cody was acknowledging victory, he too wasn't enthusiastic about it.

Takato almost looked away the first time he saw Matt walk by. He was still clutching his arm, walking with the help of Sora. But despite it all, his was the first smile Takato saw. Matt and Sora even exchanged a quick kiss before they reached the Tamer.

"Nice work, Takato. Couldn't have done it without you. Now let's get out of here. I look forward to sleeping the entire way back." Despite his injury, he seemed to be in a good mood.

"Maybe after you let Joe get that in a cast," Sora replied.

"Thanks, but how's Kari doing?" Figuring that Matt was in a good mood, Takato hoped he wouldn't be too harsh about him losing the headset.

"That's why you keep the headset on." TK, however, was still nearby, and spat back immediately.

"Jeez TK, leave him alone, don't tell me you weren't this excited the first time." Matt came to Takato's defense before answering his question, "As for Kari, she's definitely going to live, but since we don't have access to a CAT scan or anything, Joe can't tell if there's any permanent spinal damage."

Matt suddenly heard something and talked back to Joe, "A wheelchair, really?" A pause. "I'm sure we can arrange it. It'll be easier than a CAT scan, that's for sure. When do we need it?" A second pause. Takato really was starting to regret leaving the headset behind. "Well, when do you expect her to come out of the coma?"

Takato began to walk away as Matt continued to listen. TK and Cody were intently eavesdropping. Then Takato heard Matt say, "Look, we can talk about all this when you're putting my arm back together. We have to get back to Mole and pack up. Good work Joe. Over and out."

As Takato turned back around, he saw Matt handed his headset to Sora. "Well, one minor injury, one severe injury, and one Digimon casualty," Matt remarked, "Not bad."

"Not bad?" Takato asked, "How is that not bad? Gatomon's gone. Kari could be in a wheelchair."

"Gatomon will come back someday. And with a fall like that, Kari could have been killed. This was nothing. We got lucky."

"Daemon was over-confident," TK agreed, "He bio-emerged too soon and didn't bring enough forces."

Sora nodded. "He was tougher in '27, but I guess that's understandable. I mean, this time he only had to deal with seven digi-destined instead of seven billion. He scaled back accordingly."

"I doubt he'll make that mistake again. Next time will be tougher," Matt concluded.

That was the driving point for Takato. He had survived a major adventure- a battle with worlds hanging in the balance. Everybody else was doing their job. Was he to remain in the Digital World forever? Stuck as a naive fifteen-year-old and making a living out of battling Daemon once a decade? Was he going to be like the others- and lose the thrills and the fun of it all?

Takato was in a foreign place, left without the tools he used to tame the world and make an adventure out of it. He was a child in an adult world, and for the first time since his arrival, he wanted out of it.

"Takato? Are you alright?" Sora turned around to see Takato fall to his knees.

"I want to go home."

Matt didn't turn around. He didn't want Takato to see the smile on his face.

"We all do." It was the same stock reply he always gave to everybody else who said the exact same thing.

To Be Continued in "Stage Seven- Rebirth"

 

Author's Notes
I said this would fluctuate in length, and this happened to turn out to be one of the extremely long stages. Unlike previous stories, I have few issues about making this really long, since I needed it to say what I needed to say. There are only two stages left in Level 1 and I can't imagine either being this long.

This is the action stage, and the turning point in the story. Hopefully things will begin to clear up and you have a better understanding of exactly what this story is about. Also, there's more clues to the future of the Chosen in this chapter, including some revelations on Daemon's previous invasions and TK's marriage. In case you haven't figured it out, I have a full timeline of events laid out from 2003 to the present and all the little snippets that seem confusing are merely burps of history that seem strange out of context. Trust me, I know why Matt was fantasizing about Riley.

Hououmon and Plesiomon are the Mega Digimon for Sora and Joe. Magnadramon appeared very briefly as Kari's M-Level in the Digimon movie. Credit the Digimon Encyclopedia for all of the attack names. All of his entries are taken from the series, which may have been a problem if both Hououmon and Plesiomon didn't make cameos in Tamers.

To avoid any further confusion about the synch levels, I might as well explain it in-depth here. As Matt said before, they measure the bond between partners, and fluctuate constantly based on the situation. In order to digivolve to Champion, a Digimon needs to be at 100. The levels increase to 200 for Ultimate and 300 for Mega. If it's at a certain level normally, a partner can make a Digimon evolve at will. Otherwise, they need to rely on the dynamic digivolutions to temporarily raise the level above the threshold and evolve. This is an example of how events introduced in the early days were scientifically explored by researchers like Izzy in the future.

This ends Level 1: Stage Six of The Connection

Stage Highlights