Level 2- Children
 
Michi Grant- Age 16
Born to Matt and Sora Ishida on March 15, 2024
Sophomore in high school
Currently living in Staten Island, New York with Michael and Mimi Grant, brother Kori, and step-brother Tony

Stage Two- Road

----January 1, 2029----
NEW YORK - Famed astronaut Matt Ishida, 40, and his brother, novelist TK Takaishi, 37, died Sunday night in a fire on the tenth floor of a Manhattan office building.
            Ishida became the first person to walk on the surface of Mars on Aug. 31, 2017. Meanwhile, his brother TK Takaishi wrote several popular texts about the Digital World, including the acclaimed "Digital Frontier," published in 2014.
            Ishida's wife, Sora, also died in the fire. According to investigators, the fire killed four others. Their names have not been released.
            Matt and Sora Ishida leave behind a daughter, Michi, 4, and a son, Kori, 3.
            Both Ishida and Takaishi were outspoken critics of the recent U.N. policy concerning the Digital World.
--------

And that was it.

Koji set the old newspaper aside and turned over on the couch. If it truly was "the most important date in history," as Michi put it, the New York Times didn't realize it. He had to dig to find the article, ultimately stumbling on the little blurb buried deep within the international section.

Obviously, Michi was overstating the significance of it. The same applied to Mr. Fisher. Assuming that his wife was one of the unreleased names, the location and the size of the article made it clear that it wasn't something to test his students on. Perhaps it was the most important date in their histories, but Koji failed to see why the rest of the world was supposed to care.

But that made him care even more. The lack of details was perplexing. How did the fire start? Why were they in that building to begin with? Where were the passionate quotes from distraught family members that reporters were so desperate to extract? The Times apparently decided that the death of Michi's father was merely worth noting, while all of the questions surrounding the incident were somehow not "fit to print."

"Honey, I'm home!" Dwayne jested from the doorway. Koji sat up in time to see Dwayne remove his shoes and enter the living room.

"Where were you on the night of December 31, 2028?" Koji asked, with a tone of curiosity.

Dwayne scratched his neck. "Drinking, probably."

He walked over to the couch and absent-mindedly grabbed the paper. Before looking at it, he turned to Koji. "Wait, did you say 2028? Never mind... I was probably watching my parents drink."

Koji slid forward and sat upright as Dwayne took his old spot on the couch. Dwayne opened the paper, and read for about five seconds. Then he checked the date, folded it up, and tossed it on the floor.

"So much for timely news. You should check those newsstands or you'll get ripped off," he told Koji.

Koji stood up and said, "I have to talk to Michi. Something doesn't add up. How can she and Mr. Fisher call the deaths of their loved ones an important date in history?"

"It is to them. I mean, your parents died, wouldn't you remember the day that happened?"

For a moment, Koji fell silent. He realized he *didn't* remember the date his parents died. All he remembered was a very cold night that became very warm very quickly.

"But there's more to this, Dwayne. Sure, it's important to them, but they act like it should be important to everybody."

Dwayne lowered his head. As Koji waited for a reaction, Dwayne remained deadly silent and bowed his head. After a few seconds, he slowly rose to his feet and walked to the window.

"There was other stuff that went on that day," he began, "But it's not something people talk about. In a way, everybody lost a loved one on December 31, 2028. But only a few people knew about it... and most of the rest didn't care."

Koji stepped forward. "Is that what Michi and Mr. Fisher were talking about? It doesn't have to do with Michi's Dad or Mr. Fisher's wife?"

Dwayne clenched his teeth. "It has everything to do with them..." he trailed off before turning around, facing Koji. "But it has nothing to do with you. Trust me, Koj', the whole thing was really messy back then, and in eleven years nobody's bothered to clean it up. It's over now, so there's no sense trying to piece it all together."

Dwayne walked past Koji, changing the subject. "It's almost dinner time. Got a taste for anything?"

Koji bent down and picked the old paper back up.

"I have to get this newspaper back to the library. I'll stop somewhere on the way."

 

He didn't tell Dwayne that "somewhere" was Michi's house. Koji needed more information. Whatever happened that day, there had to be a reason nobody would talk about it. Whether it was the unified grief of a population or some external factor, Koji was determined to get through the wall of silence.

Kori answered the door, and tried to shut it as soon as he saw who the visitor was.

"Kori! Wait! I just want to talk to Michi," Koji pleaded.

"What were you thinking? Going on about that?" Kori's harsh voice was able to get through to Koji, even if the boy hardly looked intimidating.

"Do you think I'm some sort of clueless ignorant that knows nothing about the past?"

Kori looked back into the house before returning his gaze to Koji. "Something along those lines, yes."

Koji held out his hands. "Well I am. That's why I need to know what's going on."

After staring at Koji for what seemed like a minute, Kori flinched. He closed his eyes and stared at the cement stoop below him. He looked back up at Koji. His eyes seemed softer, and more sympathetic.

"Come in."

Kori turned suddenly and walked into the house, leaving the door open for Koji to do the same. Kori led Koji to a couch in the living room. Kori remained standing.

"If this is some attempt to score with Michi, you're taking the wrong approach. I'll tell you that much," Kori said, before heading to the staircase. Without looking, he added, "Wait here. Hopefully she feels like talking to you, because if she doesn't I have to."

Koji didn't hear the last part. He was pondering Kori's previous words. It was the first time Koji realized that he wasn't doing this to score with Michi. Something else was compelling him to unravel the mystery. Michi, and Kori for that matter, were merely friends going along for the ride.

Tony, however, seemed determined to derail the trip. "Aw, jeez, not you again," he said upon entering the living room. He stormed up to Koji and eyed him carefully before speaking.

"What the hell do you want with Michi?"

Koji looked around, unsure how to answer that. Finally, he looked back up at Tony. Tony's glare made Koji turn away again as he replied, "I just need to talk to her."

"What for? I know what you said to her last night. You're talking about the wrong things, and you'd better stop."

Koji jumped to his feet, forcing Tony to take a couple steps back. "Why?!" he demanded, "Why is all this such a touchy subject?!"

"We'd like to know too," Michi said from the staircase, surprising both boys. As she descended, Tony stood up straight and all signs of anger vanished from his face.

She walked up to him. "Are you done badgering him?"

Tony glared at Koji one more time. "For now," he answered before stepping into the kitchen.

Koji fell back onto the couch as Michi found a nearby recliner. She sighed before beginning, "Kori says you want to talk about it."

Koji folded his hands and stared at them as he answered, "Yeah. If it doesn't bother you."

"The rule in this house is that we don't talk about it," she said firmly.

"Oh."

"But just between you and me..." She leaned in as far as her seat would allow. Koji looked up for a brief moment and found two bluish-gray eyes staring back. "...I hate that rule."

She leaned back in her chair. "So Mr. Mathews, what reason do I have to break it?"

"Don't you think it's wrong to not be allowed to talk about the deaths of your parents, your uncle, and four of their friends?"

"My uncle?" Michi sat up. "How did you know my uncle was involved?"

Koji tossed the paper clipping at her. "Take a look at this. For something that serious, don't you think the details are a little lacking?"

Michi read through the article. Koji waited for her to finish, anticipating her response. Finally, she threw it back. "Yeah, it's a little short, but who cares?"

"But your dad was the first person to set foot on Mars," Koji replied passionately as Michi rolled her eyes, "and your uncle wrote all those books..."

"Okay, they probably deserved a better send-off. But nobody reads those obituaries anyway."

"Even so, Matt Ishida was an international hero. God, when we got to that section in history class, Mr. Fisher wouldn't shut up about it! Why wasn't he praised when he died?"

Michi shrugged. "You're asking the wrong person. He came back to Earth, I was born, and it all went downhill from there." She glanced briefly at Koji. "That's all I know."

"Who are the other four?" Koji abrupt change of subject caught Michi off guard. She quickly turned to Koji and frowned as he continued, "I mean, it's not hard to guess that one of them was Mrs. Fisher, but who are the other three?"

"Yeah, one of them was Mrs. Fisher. I think her name was Kari or something. The other three- I'm pretty sure my parents knew them, but I didn't."

"What were they doing up there?"

Michi began to squirm at Koji's barrage of questions. "Um... don't know. I vaguely remember Mom and Dad saying something about going away on business. I think that's all they told our sitter too."

"Were they all Chosen?"

Michi jumped to her feet. "I was four!" she shouted. "I don't know!" She bent down and began breathing heavily. "All I know is that my parents are dead! I stopped wanting to know more a long time ago. There's no answers and too many questions!"

Koji stood. "Why all questions? Doesn't anybody know?" he persisted.

"Leave her alone!" Koji turned in time to see Tony rushing back into the room. He crouched down and clutched Michi. She didn't move.

"Stop bullying her, damn it," Tony said to Koji, barely keeping his voice below a yell.

"Why is this considered bullying?" Koji replied. "I just want to know about all this. Is that a problem?"

Tony removed his hands from Michi's shoulders and stood to face Koji. "Yes. It is. You ought to know that."

"Were..." Koji squeaked. He regained his composure and finished asking, "Were all the victims Chosen?"

"So what if they were?"

"Well, it means something!"

"No it doesn't," Tony said slowly. "My parents were Chosen. So's that teacher of yours. So what?"

"That's what I'm trying to figure out." Koji paused for a moment. He looked down at Michi, who slumped back into the chair. She kept an eye on the conversation, but made sure to stay out of it.

"Wait a minute... were they all Japanese Chosen?"

Tony shook his head. "Again- doesn't mean anything. My Mom's a Japanese Chosen. Obviously, she wasn't there, was she?"

Koji pointed at Tony. "Your Mom? She's..."

Tony scoffed. As he glanced aside he said, "Her maiden name's Tachikawa."

"So how come all these other Japanese Chosen end up in Manhattan and your Mom, who lives in New York anyway, isn't there?"

Tony folded his arms. "Are you saying she should have died too?"

"I'm not saying anything yet! I want to know what's going on first!"

"Well, you've gotten enough out of Michi and I. You're leaving."

Before Koji could reply, Tony grabbed Koji's shirt collar and yanked. The initial jerk knocked Koji breathless momentarily, but he soon regained in time to realize that Tony was trying to drag him to the front door.

"Hey! I'm not done yet! There has to be more going on here!" He looked to Michi for support. She rose to her feet and followed him to the door, looking conflicted.

"There isn't. They died in a fire, and that's all there is to it," Tony said, slowing down enough to stress every word.

He opened the door, and began shoving Koji through it. Koji jerked around, forcing himself out of Tony's grip. He was already outside, but he threw a hand to the inside of the doorway and a foot to the door.

"No it isn't! Don't you see?! Something is seriously wrong with this picture! Everything about the death of Michi's parents suggests it!"

Tony peered into Koji's eyes before he replied, "And that's why we don't talk about it." Koji braced his foot, anticipating a slam of the door, but Tony didn't move. Tony let go of the door and turned around. Michi had placed a hand on his shoulder, which he shrugged off.

Before Koji could make sense of any of it, Tony snapped back around. "I don't want to see you in this house again. You're going to get us into trouble."

He attempted to force the door shut, despite the placement of Koji's foot and hand. He couldn't get past Michi's hand, resting squarely on the outer portion of the door.

"No, Tony," she said softly, "He needs to find out. Somebody needs to find out."

"He's not getting it here! We are not getting involved..."

Michi was suddenly angry, and the force of her hand easily countered Tony's effort to shut the door. "Why not? I'm sick of this! Somebody wants to get in the bottom of all this and you want to throw him out?!"

"I don't want to be involved..." Tony sounded much less forceful talking to Michi.

"Well I do!" she cried, "I don't know what Koji's going on about, but a fire isn't satisfying enough anymore! There's more going on here, and I want to know what it is!"

"Michi, listen to yourself! Don't be an idiot!"

Tony yanked the door back and grabbed Michi's arm with his free hand. Instantly, Michi ducked and cowered. Even Koji took a step back.

Suddenly wide-eyed, Tony released Michi's arm. She continued to cower. "Michi... I wasn't..."

He hadn't finished his sentence before Michi ran out the door, grabbing Koji's hand on the way. She led him down the street and summoned a nearby taxi.

"Michi!!" Tony shouted from the doorway, but his yell was absorbed by the cab window. Tony helplessly watched the taxi speed away.

 

Michi was bent over in the backseat. Her hands were clenched together, and supporting the weight of her head. Her eyes were closed, but Koji could not make out any tears seeping through.

"Michi?" he nervously whispered, scooting himself a little closer to her.

"Have you ever had a moment that you think is bad enough... until it makes you realize that the whole world is against you?"

Koji hesitated. He put a hand on her shoulder. "I'm sorry. I didn't think your brother would be so defensive about it."

"It's not your fault. There is more at work. You're right about all of this. It's just that nobody will talk about it."

"You can start anytime."

"I don't know anything else, though..." She rose and shrugged off Koji's hand. "I really wish I could help you more. But like I said, I was four... I had no choice but to believe what they told me."

Koji nodded. He couldn't blame Michi for being too young to remember.

She turned back to him and asked, "Do you remember anything?"

Koji shook his head. "Wish I did. I don't remember much of my past."

Michi raised an eyebrow. "How do you know about the Chosen?" she asked with curiosity. He glanced aside for a moment, trying to come up with an explanation. As he hesitated, she added, "Was it my uncle's book?"

"Yeah." Koji turned back to Michi and smiled. Her uncle was TK Takaishi: the author and major character in a fascinating book about a brave group of children that saved the world years ago. "It was certainly something they went through. That's why I'm so concerned that nobody seems to know the truth of what happened to them."

She smiled, sliding back a few strands of hair that slid out of place during her breakdown.

"Well, we've got this cab. Let's talk to Adam. Maybe he's old enough to know what's going on," she suggested.

 

As soon as he saw Michi, Adam poked his head out the door and looked around. The hallways were clear, so he shuffled her and Koji into his apartment and shut the door.

"What are you doing here?" he asked while running up to the window and closing the drapes.

Both Michi and Koji sat down, a little stirred by Adam's display of paranoia. "Well... I kinda want to know what happened," she whispered.

Adam knelt in front of her. "Why?" he asked between glances at Koji.

Michi folded her hands and started, "Well, I'm sick of all this secrecy. I want to know what's going on, and why we don't talk about it."

Adam turned to his other guest. "What about you Koji? Does Dwayne know you're here?"

"No. But let's just say this has sparked my curiosity. It's about time somebody learned the truth, right?" Koji did his best to sound as innocent as possible.

"I don't know. This whole fire thing is a tough story to swallow, but if it most people can live with it, we might as well learn to."

"Even if it's not true?"

Adam paced around, nervously double-checking the window and the door. "It was a bad idea to come here alone, Michi. If you had any questions, you should have talked to me at the party. There's safety in numbers."

"But back then, I didn't realize how important it was," Michi said, turning quickly to catch Koji's response. He remained focused on Adam.

"Well, it looks secure." Adam appeared satisfied and sat down. "What do you want to know?"

"Who exactly were those seven and why were they in that building?" Koji asked.

Adam nodded. "How much do you know about the Chosen?"

"Enough to know they have something to do with all this."

"They have everything to do with all this. All seven who died were Japanese Chosen. My Mom, her parents and her uncle," he said pointing to Michi, "and three others. I remember my Mom being called that night. She had to run over there. She said it was an emergency."

"That's odd," Michi said, "My parents said something about a business trip. I think they left that morning."

"Yeah, how could it be an emergency? They had to get those four from Japan over here," Koji added.

Adam eyed both of them. "Doesn't add up, does it? My mother was obviously told about this well after the other six. Not only that, but what about the other Japanese Chosen? Michi, your stepmother was also in town; why wasn't she involved?"

"That's one of the things I want to know," said Koji.

Again, Adam nodded. "And that's the big mystery here. All of the Chosen felt the same way... why was it only those seven?"

Michi leant in, a little confused. "What do you mean? Feeling the same way? About what?"

"Do you remember Yokomon, Michi?"

Michi was taken aback. "Well... a little. It was so long ago. I guess I never really could forget about her, but what does that have to do with this?"

While Michi was trying to make sense of it, Koji figured it out. He reached for the newspaper article. "Aha!" he shouted. Michi and Adam looked at him as he pointed at the article and smiled. "Both Ishida and Takaishi were outspoken critics of the recent U.N. policy concerning the Digital World!"

Adam slowly nodded. "They weren't the only ones. I don't think any of the Chosen liked what was going on. The ones from Japan were the most vocal about it. But again... why those seven?"

Michi shook her head and frowned. "I don't see what this has to do with the fire."

Adam extended a hand to Koji, who responded by handing him the article. Adam glanced at it briefly before handing it to Michi. "Read this and tell me everything you know about the actual fire."

Michi read it through once. She wrinkled her face and read it again. Then she looked up at Adam. "Tenth floor of a Manhattan office building."

"It doesn't say anything about the fire," Koji said as he took the article back. He eyed it again, already knowing how little it would say. "That's what made me wonder about it to begin with."

"As far as we know, nobody witnessed it," Adam said, "Nobody witnessed an office building on fire... in Manhattan... on New Year's Eve." His voice grew louder as he went on.

Michi gasped. "Are you saying there was no fire?" she asked.

Adam stared at her. "It's definitely possible there was no fire."

"So what happened to them?" Koji asked, a little excited.

Adam remained firm and turned to Koji. "Look, this can't leave the room. But I think somebody thought those seven were in the way..." He lowered his voice to a whisper, "...and maybe they were sent to New York to be taken care of."

Michi's mouth opened wide, but she couldn't force anything out of it. Koji leaned back in his seat, silently nodding.

Finally, Michi was able to blurt, "Are you saying my parents were murdered?"

Koji leant forward and he and Adam immediately shushed her. She stood, outraged.

"Shh, what?! If this is what really happened I want everybody to know about it!"

"No you don't," Adam replied. Koji stood and put a hand on her shoulder. Both served to calm her down.

"Think about it Michi," Adam continued as both Michi and Koji sat back down, "If whoever did this was able to get away with it, they might have the power to silence others." He shook his head and stood. "I know I'm not the first person who thinks it wasn't a fire. The whole thing's too fishy for people not to be suspicious. But the key is that nobody talks about it. That's what keeps it from happening again."

"So..." Koji leant forward and continued cautiously, "Was that why you did all that schizo stuff when we got here?"

Adam nodded. "I don't know how closely they're watching us. I'm sure they're leery whenever the children of the Chosen meet, especially like this. That's what the party was for: it was a way for me to talk to Michi and her brothers without arousing suspicion."

"I can't believe I bought into it all," Michi said, her eyes transfixed on some indistinguishable point on the carpet, "I just believed whatever they told me."

"You were four years old, Michi. Besides, we're better off saying it was a fire. Heck, we're better off believing it was a fire too. It still might be, there's no proof either way."

Michi looked up at Adam. "What do you mean?"

"Look, as long as we don't open our mouths, we're fine. Whether or not there's some evil conspiracy tracking our movements, it doesn't matter. They're letting us live our lives normally. And since there's no way to get back anything we lost on December 31, 2028, there's no sense dwelling on it."

"Seriously?" Koji asked, "Somebody may have murdered your parents, and you want to let it all slide?" 

Adam sat back down and shook his head. "Don't you think it's in the best interest? If these guys can pass off the whole thing as a fire, and bend the truth like that... I don't want to have to try proving them wrong. Besides, fire or no fire, one fact still remains from all of this... our parents are dead. That's the heart of the matter, and it's true no matter how you look at it."

Nobody could respond. In the end, the math didn't matter because the answer was the same. Both Adam and Michi were silent. Koji's hands started to shake. He bit his lip. After a quick glance at the solemn pair sitting with him, he opened his mouth:

"But what if that wasn't true either?"

Koji immediately threw his eyes shut and braced for their reaction. He heard nothing. He opened his eyes in Michi's direction. She was still staring at the floor. But Adam had a questioning look in Koji's direction.

"What do you mean?" he asked slowly.

"What if they were still alive? But nobody knew about it?"

Adam shuffled in his chair. He shook his head, dismissing Koji's theory. "They're too smart for that. Whoever's behind this can get away with killing them. Why risk keeping them alive? Especially this group? If TK's book said nothing else, it's that keeping the Japanese Chosen alive is a bad idea when you're opposing them."

"What if they threw them in the Digital World?" Now Koji was eyeing the carpet alongside Michi.

Adam scoffed, "Digital World's been sealed off. Nobody gets in, nobody gets out."

"What if..."

"Koji, you can believe whatever the heck you want," Adam interrupted, raising his voice, "It's all guesswork anyway. Don't bother thinking about stuff like that. It gives you a headache."

"But it's true." Koji stood suddenly, drawing Michi's eyes away from the floor. After a deep breath, Koji continued, "They're in the Digital World. They're all alive."

Adam narrowed his eyes. "How do you know?"

Another deep breath later, Koji said, "Because I was there." Koji waited for the inevitable silence before he continued, "I lived with them for about two years. And except for them really missing their kids... they're fine."

First he looked at Michi. She was leaning back, awed by Koji's revelation. Adam, however, narrowed his eyes.

"How'd you get out?"

Koji anticipated the question and answered promptly, "Izzy found a way. It was something about how they couldn't because..."

"How'd you get in?" Adam asked, not reacting to Koji's first answer.

"Um..." Koji looked around. He wasn't going to find the answer on the walls of Adam's apartment. After four years, he hadn't found it anywhere. "I don't know," he replied, a little ashamed.

"Who are you?" Adam stood and slowly approached Koji. When Koji hesitated, he asked again, louder, "Who are you?!"

"Wh... What do you mean?" Koji asked nervously.

Adam nodded, with a little bit of a snarl forming on his face. "I know who you are. You're some sort of a plant, aren't you?" He pointed a finger at Koji. "Yeah, you act all nice around Michi, and get her and me to shoot our mouths off. Then you say they're alive to get our reactions. Is that what this is?"

As Adam approached, Koji backed up. "What are you talking about?" he asked as his back ran into the wall.

"Michi!" Adam shouted, "Cover the door! We can't let him out!"

Michi jumped up and hesitantly approached the two, easing her way to the door. "What?"

"We can't let him turn us in." As Michi continued to approach the door, Koji motioned toward her. Adam took another step forward in response, and shoved Koji's shoulder back into the wall.

"We're going to deny it, you know," Adam said, his voice much higher than before, "It was a fire. Is that what you want to hear? It was a fire, we're sorry it happened, and there's nothing more to that. Is that okay??"

Before Koji could respond, Michi forced her way between him and Adam. She put her hands on each side of Koji's face and looked him directly in the eyes.

"Tell me the truth, Koji. You were in the Digital World?"

Without a moments hesitation, he replied, "Yes."

"And you met my parents?"

"Yes."

"And they're alive in there and getting along fine."

"Yes, pretty much."

"And you got out and you're living as a normal kid in high school?"

Despite her hands holding his head in place, he was still able to nod. "Yeah. I'm through with all that. I'm not trying to mislead anybody. I'm still the same Koji Mathews you remember."

A moment later, she removed her hands, but her eyes didn't flinch.

"Where's the proof?" Adam folded his arms, still sounding skeptical.

Still averting Adam's eyes, he squirmed a little before answering, "I don't have any."

Adam took a step forward, almost knocking Michi aside. "Then you don't say anything about this until you do. And if you even think of telling anybody, you're going to be reunited with our parents."

Koji finally looked up at Adam's face. He was deadly serious. By Koji's best guess, Adam seemed willing to follow through on his threat. Michi took Koji's arm and began leading him to the door.

"Um... it was nice talking to you, Adam. I think we'd better go," she rambled as Koji followed her outside.

 

Neither said a word until they reached the street and Michi called for a taxi. And Michi only spoke to Koji because he began to walk away from her.

"What's wrong?" she asked, alternating her view between Koji and the cabless street.

Koji sighed, not looking back. "I was dreading this day for two years. I knew it would come one day. I knew it was going to cause all sorts of trouble." He paused, shaking his head before continuing, "I just didn't think it would be this soon."

He continued walking. Adam didn't believe him. He knew Adam wouldn't believe him. But Koji was still saddled with the responsibility of telling the Chosen's children the truth... whether they believed him or not. It was an unfair responsibility. Koji wasn't about to shirk it; the Chosen had done far too much for him to go back on his word. But at this stage in his life, Koji wanted to be a normal kid, struggling with normal problems. Dispelling overwhelmingly powerful lies set forth by some equally powerful entity was not Koji's idea of normal.

A hand on his shoulder disrupted his thoughts.

"I believe you," Michi whispered as she released her hand and walked alongside him.

"Really?" Koji looked up at her. "Why? You've been told for years that..."

"Because I want to," Michi said as she faced him, "I want to believe you. It just... feels right. Somewhere in another world, my parents are alive and probably happy."

She smiled again. "Thank you, Koji," she concluded, before facing forward.

"So where are you off to?" Koji replied, not acknowledging her gratitude.

Michi continued to smile. "I don't know. You?"

"Home I guess. It's about six blocks."

"I'll just walk with you then. It's too nice to be riding in a cab."

They remained silent as they passed a black sedan parked along the avenue. Neither of them saw the head poke out of the passenger-side window. A pair of binoculars offered a clear view of Michi and Koji quietly walking down the road. A hand lowered the binoculars, giving the eyes behind it a naked view of the pair.

"Takato..." she whispered.

To Be Continued in "Stage Three- History"

 

Author's Notes
Well, about half of you got it. Hopefully it's now obvious who Koji is to those who read Level 1. More on that next stage. I won't give anything away to those who haven't read Level 1, since it makes things all the more mysterious.

Yes, Matt's still an astronaut. Like I said- canon ending. He explains it all thoroughly in Level 1, Stage Four.

For the newcomers, one thing I will say about the use of the word Chosen: in Level 1, it was established that back in the day when everybody had a Digimon partner, everybody could have been considered a "digi-destined" and the term lost all denotative meaning. The original digi-destined who were tapped before the whole MaloMyotismon thing became known as Chosen.

This ends Level 2: Stage Two of The Connection.