All Seasons: Wisemon’s Actual Ending Series
Part 7: Syndicated Inc.
Digimon is the property of Toei Animation. This series is intended mostly as a release for a burning plot idea, and for an ending that I find far more relatable than that of my Alternate Ending Series. So, the dialogue will be a bit less frequent in this one. To save time, on occasion, there will be some he said/she said type narratives. As is my style, this is all in the past tense, like a fairy tale, a really fucked-up fairy tale. Because I put so much thought into each word, my interests lie mostly in poetry now, which is why I was reluctant to even start this series. Unfortunately, poetry can’t satisfy my love of foreshadowing. This series will be absolutely loaded with foreshadowing, but you’ll have to find it yourself this time around.
In the last story, Daemon joined up with Miyako, Daisuke, and Cody. Azulongmon destroyed the remaining Megas and Polkamon, and then he was beaten by JetSylphymon’s Mega form, Valkyrimon. As he went out, he summoned Wisemon. Wisemon told Junpei and Izumi to go back to the real world, and the king and queen refused. So, Junpei and Izumi were converted from flesh and blood into data because, according to Wisemon, adult humans were not meant to live in the digital world. Though mentioned in previous chapters, this story formally introduces my version of Jyou. I suggest reading my second A-Side, “Gump,” for more details on his background and mindset.
In this chapter, all the crucial plot points are revealed. When every season merges, it’s the most provocative amalgamation imaginable. There’s a standard disclaimer here for adult language, but nothing too gnarly. If you’re under 18…I really don’t give a shit.
“Dude, do you absolutely need this garbage bag full of empty tuna cans?” Daisuke hoisted up a bag of nearly a hundred washed out tuna cans and dropped it outside of Tomoki’s door.
“I keep looking for a recycling place that will pay me for them, but I haven’t had any luck so far,” Tomoki explained.
Miyako knew the reason for Tomoki’s recycling disappointment. “You only get money back on items for which you pay a deposit at the time of purchase, such as soda bottles. You can’t get a deposit back on items that never had a deposit. These tuna cans are worthless.” Miyako reconsidered her assessment. “Granted, they are made out of aluminum, and you never know when you’ll need some scrap aluminum. Perhaps we could store these cans elsewhere in the building. I assume this building has a basement.”
“Uh, unless you’ve got a maintenance elevator key, I don’t think you’ll be going in the basement.” Tomoki came up with a better idea. “SlimeBakemon could take the cans onto the roof.”
The ghost digimon heard his name. “Bee meemomomomee?”
Tomoki handed the bag of cans to SlimeBakemon. “Can you go put these on the roof?”
“Yaaaahyaaaah meemodoodoo.” SlimeBakemon took the bag and flew down the hall toward the window at the end.
Daisuke pointed at SlimeBakemon. “What’s wrong with him?”
“What do you mean?” Tomoki asked.
“I mean that digimon are supposed to speak our language, and that little spud just let out some incoherent babbling.”
“Oh, that…we had a little accident.” Tomoki tried to structure his story in a way that wouldn’t look too alarming to kids who had partner Digimon. “I caught him eating up some of our profits, literally eating snow cones when he should’ve been selling them. I don’t know why exactly, but I just wanted to throw something at him. I grabbed some ice from the freezer cart, and I chucked it at his head. Now, I know that I shouldn’t have done it, but I thought he’d be fine. The guy’s recovered from an implosion; a little ice shouldn’t have done any damage. But for some reason, getting ice thrown at his head caused some sort of digital brain damage, best I can figure.”
Miyako had a hypothesis. “Tomoki, were you wearing your spirit suit at the time?”
“Yes, on laundry day, I wear my spirit suit. What does that have to do with it?”
“At the moment, it’s just a theory, but I believe that we can charge the objects of our spirits with destructive energy while wearing our spirit suits. Daisuke sliced the legs off of three Divermon with a stick, and I finished them off by placing my hands on the water. It can’t be a coincidence that he and I have the spirits of wood and water, respectively.”
Tomoki realized what Miyako was implying. “Even if I did charge the ice in my hand with some ‘destructive energy,’ like a digimon’s attack, that shouldn’t have affected SlimeBakemon. He can recover pieces of his body if anything gets moved around. That’s why it was so hard to beat him the first time.”
“Like I said, it’s just a theory. If it were airtight, it would be a theorem, or possibly a law.”
“Like the Trivial Pursuit question that I asked you?” Daemon chimed in.
“Precisely, just like the laws of thermodynamics. Now then, we should try to evacuate some more spatial consumers from this room.” Miyako scanned Tomoki’s belongings for large non-necessities. There was only one obvious one. “Daisuke, are you pondering what I’m pondering?”
“You want to know what’s on my mind? This is about the time of day that I usually get out of classes, get back to my dorm, take a seat at my computer, take out some tissues…” Daisuke cut himself off. “You should probably just tell me what you’re thinking.”
Miyako obliged. “I’m thinking that we should put Tomoki’s freezer cart on the roof.”
Tomoki initially objected to the idea. “But that freezer cart is my livelihood. Without it, I can’t afford…Oh, you mean just for storage?”
“Exactly, just have SlimeBakemon store it on the roof when you’re not using it. Then have him take it down in the morning so you can go sell your confections.”
Tomoki considered the proposal. “Hmm, SlimeBakemon works the morning shift anyway. I suppose that the cart will stay cool outside at night, though it has been getting hotter these past few years. Since it’s the only way you’re going to have any room in here, I’ll agree to it. And as soon as you’re done and gone, the room I’ve made for you will be room I’ve made for Suzie.”
Daisuke smiled weakly. “I wouldn’t hold my breath…if I were you.”
At , inside the Wongs’ apartment, tensions were mounting. Rinchei and Jaarin had moved away years earlier, and Henry pretty much took care of himself, but in his years of decline, Mr. Wong was finding that being responsible for just one child was almost more than he and his wife could handle. Suzie had not gone to school for the past week. She wasn’t cutting classes, nor was she suspended; the circumstances were beyond her control. The D-Reaper had taken over her high school, the same high school that Henry had attended. Mr. Wong did not like the idea of his daughter staying at home and not learning, but for the time being, he was forced to accept it. What irked him even more was the fact that her friend, Tomoki, came over during the day while he and his wife went to work, which meant that the coeds were alone in the apartment without any supervision. Suzie had assured him that they were only friends, but like any protective father, Mr. Wong had to know for sure:
“Henry, could you come take a look at this?” Mr. Wong turned on his television screen, and he used a remote control to rewind the tape in his obsolete analog recording device.
“Take a look at what, Dad?” Henry stood by his father’s side and observed the television screen.
“You know how I’ve been concerned about Suzie staying home alone with that Tomoki boy? She said he was visiting yesterday, so I decided to set up a hidden camera.”
“Dad, I think you should just trust her. Suzie knows right from wrong, and I don’t think Tomoki is nearly as bad as you say he is.”
Mr. Wong began playing the tape approximately in the middle of Tomoki’s visit. “I had to know for sure. Take a look, Henry, and tell me what you see.”
Henry observed the black and white visuals. Tomoki and Suzie were sitting on the living room futon, and they were talking, presumably about school, or possibly about Digimon. It was hard to tell because the hidden camera didn’t record audio. “They’re talking to each other. They’re friends; that’s what friends do.” Henry’s tone was patronizing.
“Correct, they’re talking to each other here, but I’ve watched this whole tape…” Mr. Wong fast forwarded the tape. “…and it just so happens that they’re talking to each other through the entirety of Tomoki’s visit.” Sure enough, an hour later in the recording, Tomoki and Suzie were still sitting on the futon and chatting.
Henry became irritated. “So, what’s your point? If Tomoki and Suzie aren’t doing anything that you would disapprove of, why did you feel the need to show me this?”
“I just thought this spy camera stuff was kind of neat, and I wanted to show off my sleuthing. Henry, as great as I was, you’re going to be part of the next generation of technical experts, and sometimes…a father just wants his son to be proud of his heritage.”
No matter how his father tried, Henry could not embrace his true heritage, the apathetic system of beliefs. “Is that all?”
“I suppose, since Tomoki doesn’t appear to be making any physical advances on my daughter.”
Henry smiled. “We did a good job raising her.”
“Fine, you want some of the credit as her older brother? You can have it.” Mr. Wong stopped the tape on Tomoki’s exiting. “But sooner or later, we’re going to have to face the fact that she’s become a young woman. She and Tomoki have been friends for about five years.”
Henry could only take so much of his father’s roundabout logic. “What’s your point?”
Mr. Wong ejected the tape. “Either this kid is gay, or I’m starting to feel really sorry for him.”
“Our relationships never live up to the ones inside our heads. He’ll have to learn it sooner or later.”
Henry’s words ignited curiosity in Mr. Wong. “Henry, were you in a relationship? You never mentioned anything about a girlfriend. As far as I know, you’ve just been studying these past several years.”
“No kidding, I’ve been going through texts like a monk in a monastery, and no, I haven’t had a girlfriend.”
Mr. Wong pressed further. “Then what caused your change in attitude? You used to be more agreeable and a whole lot less irritable.”
“You could say that my inner strength got fed up with a world full of weaklings.”
Mr. Wong was not satisfied with Henry’s answer. “These personality changes are always based in events. What specifically happened to change yours?”
“This is my personality. This has always been my personality. I was just not aware of the extreme inadequacy of the surrounding world until several years ago.”
Mr. Wong’s tone became more forceful as his question became a command. “Tell me what happened.”
“It’s not something that I talk about, not even with Takato.”
“Henry, I’m your father.”
Henry shook his head. “Then you should be able to figure it out.”
“I’m not a mind reader; I’m just a concerned parent. You know, not every father in this country cares as much about his children as I do. I come straight home from work, but my coworkers all go out to the bars. I’ve probably lost promotions because of my lack of participation in the business community, but I’m proud of those decisions.”
Henry recalled that the event had already been related to Kenta, and he supposed that his guilt-tripping father was at least Kenta’s equal. “It wasn’t the rejection that got to me; it was her reason. She didn’t want to have to care about anything.”
Mr. Wong cycled through the short list of Henry’s female acquaintances. “You’re talking about Rika, aren’t you?”
Henry nodded. “Cares are worries…she wanted moumantai—the expression that Terriermon used to keep my proactive brain in check. It’s pretty much what Sensei used to tell me.” Henry clenched his fist. “But I give a damn, and maybe I can’t change the world, but I can sure as hell try! Dad, our team meeting is tomorrow at . If you want to help us beat the D-Reaper, show up with some constructive input.”
“Henry, tomorrow is a Thursday; I have to go to work. Do you think you could reschedule this meeting to sometime over the weekend?” Mr. Wong’s cell phone rang. He checked the caller ID. “It’s him again…Sorry, I have to take this call.” Mr. Wong accepted the incoming call and put his ear beside the carcinogenic waves. “Good evening, Yamaki.”
Henry glared at his father. “You know what, Dad? Just forget it. It’s my generation with its future on the line, and I’ll fight my own battles.”
Mr. Wong held up his index finger, indicating that Henry would have to wait a while before his next turn to speak. “No, Yamaki, I’m not going to give you that password…Because you don’t need it…I know that the city is in a state of emergency, but that doesn’t justify…Are you threatening me?”
Around , in Tomoki’s apartment, the spatial issues had been settled, and the gang’s first dinner together (instant ramen) had been eaten. For Miyako, Daisuke, and Cody, the next day’s meeting became a source of anxiety, but for Tomoki, there was a more pressing matter to be settled:
“Somebody clogged the toilet.” Tomoki held up a plunger. “I think I know who did it, but before I start passing judgment, would that individual like to take responsibility?”
Daisuke turned to Cody. “Dude, I told you not to eat the kind with dried pork and onions, but would you listen? Noooo, you just had to have the Szechuan Blend.” In an attempt to imitate Cody, Daisuke switched to a more serious tone of voice. “It’s what all the police officers eat. The Szechuan Blend is the perfect stakeout companion.”
“Uh, I don’t think Cody was the culprit.” Tomoki cast his gaze at Miyako. “There’s a little string coming out of the clog.”
Miyako blushed. “…Sorry about that.” She took the plunger from Tomoki and headed to her task. “In my defense, in my dormitory, the plumbing systems can handle feminine hygiene products.”
Tomoki stepped aside to allow Miyako access to the restroom obstruction. “Welcome to my dimension, where the D-Reaper has control of over fifty city blocks, and tampons clog the toilet.”
Daisuke noticed that the apartment was less crowded than it should’ve been:
“Has anybody seen Daemon lately? He was here just a few minutes ago, but now he’s missing.”
Miyako began to plunge the communal toilet. “I’m sure he’ll make his presence in our company shortly.”
Daisuke scratched lightly through the hair on the back of his head. “We have a company?”
Around , in Tomoki’s apartment, the sleeping bags were laid out, and the team was getting ready to go to bed. More accurately, the teens sat on their beddings and intermittently chatted in classic slumber party style. Of course, Tomoki had the bed. Cody sat on a sleeping bag next to Tomoki. Miyako sat on a sleeping bag next to Cody. Daisuke sat on a sleeping bag next to Miyako. SlimeBakemon completed the line, hovering beside Daisuke in the position closest to the door; the ghost digimon needed no sleeping bag. Daisuke was notably annoyed with the prospect of having to sleep next to SlimeBakemon. He did not hesitate to voice his concerns:
“Do you think you could sleep somewhere else?” Daisuke directed SlimeBakemon’s attention to Tomoki’s computer desk. “I mean, you could probably fit in a desk drawer, right? Tomoki said that you could make yourself the size of a tennis ball.”
“Yaaaah, buttuttutt…” SlimeBakemon had his reasons, if he could express them.
“He can’t sleep that way,” Tomoki explained. “It takes effort on his part to compact himself.”
Daisuke turned to Tomoki. “Fine, but there better not be any green drool around me when I wake up.” It was only at this point, with the living arrangements issues settled, that Daisuke truly noted on the appearance of the boy whom he had talked to for years without a face. The kid who had kept his composure through the loss of his home and parents upon his return to Earth, he was a fairly average looking teenage boy. He had short brown hair and illegible gray-green eyes. Just like his guests, he planned to sleep in his next day’s outfit. Tomoki wore khaki shorts, a lime green t-shirt, and a very worn looking white dress shirt, with every button on the relic left undone. Daisuke knew that Tomoki also possessed a pair of goggles…somewhere in the apartment, he assumed.
Likewise, Tomoki soaked in the appearances of the new warriors of wood, water, and light. Daisuke was about what he expected from the descriptions, dressed in chocolate brown knickers, a navy t-shirt, and a cue chalk blue vest; all topped with unruly brown hair. Miyako had the garb of an intellectual, the business casual combo of men’s navy cargo pants and a man’s sky blue dress shirt. Her figure and her long lavender hair gave her away, and her Coke-bottle glasses—they were just a nice touch. Cody was something else. His dark hair was rigidly defined in a military cut. He merely wore faded blue jeans and an indigo t-shirt. By all appearances, Cody was a simple young man with meager aspirations. As Daisuke and Miyako had carried the bulk of the conversation, Tomoki had learned very little about the warrior of light, and he wanted to know more about the boy his own age. As he searched for an initiation to a line of personality inquiries, there was a knock upon his apartment door.
SlimeBakemon checked the peephole, and he subsequently opened the door for Daemon. Daemon hovered into the room with a conspicuous item in his right hand.
Daisuke read the label on Daemon’s freight:
“‘Jose Cuervo’…Dude, why are you carrying a bottle of tequila?”
Daemon held up his acquisition for the team’s admiration, forty ounces of fermented agave plant. “As I understand it, today is Cinco de Mayo, and you humans celebrate this holiday with tequila. I noticed that Tomoki’s apartment lacked tequila, so I went out and got some for everybody.”
“Cinco de Mayo, you mean the anniversary of Mexican independence?” Miyako shook her head. “We don’t celebrate that in this country.”
“And where did you get the money for that bottle?” Tomoki asked.
Daemon shrugged. “The cashier never asked me for any money. I just flew past him with the bottle, and he kind of looked at me funny, and that was the end of it.”
Cody knew the end of it. “In other words, that bottle is stolen! You have to return it to the store.”
“The store is closed now, but they will not miss their tequila.” Daemon held up the bottle in an offering gesture. “I think that we should drink together to celebrate our new team. Are you with me?”
“I want nothing to do with anything stolen.”
“I need all of my brain cells. I’m barely surviving as it is.”
Miyako looked to Daisuke, and for a brief moment, part of her wanted to lose her inhibitions, but then she refused:
“Consuming alcohol the night before our team meeting would not be a practical course of action.”
Tomoki gave the decisive refusal:
“I’ve heard enough to know that liquor makes messes and all sorts of bad smells. It’s my apartment, and I say there will be no drinking in it.”
Daemon didn’t appreciate the quadruple refusal. “I was hoping that we could all drink together, but I see that I still have not earned your trust.” It was within Daemon’s power to retaliate with digital fireballs, but instead, he took the bottle and exited Tomoki’s apartment. Then he seated himself outside of Tomoki’s door, and he began to drink.
Daisuke watched as Daemon left. “Somehow, I don’t see a healthy outcome from that conversation.”
“That guy needs to chill.” Tomoki stretched for a silver lining. “And maybe a few shots will do him some good.”
Cody furrowed his brow. “Not when they’re stolen.”
“Come on, let’s get some sleep,” Daisuke proposed. “We’ve got a big day tomorrow.”
SlimeBakemon hit the lights, and the team attempted to fall asleep. Of course, with the anxiety of the next day’s uncertainties, sleep did not come easy. Tomoki fell to the sandman first, followed by Daisuke, followed by Miyako, followed by Cody. By , they were all asleep. Tomoki dreamt of his family. Daisuke dreamt of a relationship. Miyako dreamt of citations in scientific journals. Cody briefly dreamt of avenging his father, but then he entered his usual state of dreamless sleep.
On the morning of May 6th, Daisuke awoke in an unaccustomed room, and for a brief moment, he was frightened. Then he remembered his reasons for sleeping in Tomoki’s apartment, and he saw Miyako beside him, and the fear subsided. More accurately, the fear became tension. Daisuke found that Miyako was sleeping in a much closer position than the one she had been in upon her entry into dreamland, a face-to-face position. Her lips were less than six inches away from Daisuke’s, and the convective warmth of her body was palpable. Though frustrated by the impropriety of acting on the temptation, Daisuke knew the subconscious implications, and he looked forward to pointing them out to Miyako when she awoke. Unfortunately, seemingly still asleep, Miyako rolled back to her original position. Two minutes later, she awoke to the sound of Tomoki’s alarm clock. Simultaneously, Tomoki, Cody, and SlimeBakemon joined the waking party. Daisuke sat up. “Swell, another start to a day of disappointments.”
Miyako yawned and put on her glasses, her daily initiation. “Daisuke, did you say something?”
Daisuke sighed. “I was just…thinking about my dream.”
“There’s no sense in contemplating unconscious thoughts.” Miyako grabbed her toothbrush and toothpaste and headed for the bathroom. “You can brush your teeth when I’m done.”
Tomoki looked to Cody. “It’s cool; we’ll get our turns eventually.”
Awake only in his facial expression, Cody nodded.
By , the roommates were ready to walk over to the Wongs’ apartment. Miyako, Daisuke, Tomoki, Cody, and SlimeBakemon crossed the threshold to the hallway, and they found Daemon curled up on the floor, an empty tequila bottle beside his head.
Tomoki picked up the bottle for future recycling. Then he gave Daemon a slight kick to the abdomen, just enough to wake him. With no repercussive fear in his voice, Tomoki addressed the notorious Digimon:
“You have to get up. The building’s supervisor doesn’t like to see bums sleeping in the hallway.”
Daemon opened his eyes. They should’ve been a pale blue, but instead, they were a bloodshot red. “I am not a bum! I am a Digimon with a major headache! Speaking of which, I better not yell; that hurts.” Through his bloodshot eyes, Daemon tried to find culpability. “This would not have happened if you had agreed to drink with me. You made me drink the whole bottle by myself.”
“Come on, you can’t blame us for this little hallway shindig that you decided to hold last night,” Daisuke argued. “Our lives are determined by our choices. We’re all responsible for our own choices.”
Miyako cleared her throat. “That’s precisely what I was going to say, though my version would’ve been far more elaborate and inclusive.”
“Weesagogo,” SlimeBakemon inputted.
“What did he say?” Daisuke asked (presumably Tomoki).
Tomoki unlocked his apartment door and placed the empty tequila bottle inside (and out of the way) for future recycling. “I think he’s saying we should get going.”
Cody realized Tomoki’s bottle intentions. “Hold it; you’re planning to collect the deposit for that bottle, despite the fact that you never paid for it. That’s not right.”
“Whoa, you want to talk about ‘not right?’ Try living alone in the park for a few months. You’ll be recycling plenty of other people’s bottles just to survive.” Just before his apartment door swung closed, Tomoki walked back inside. Thirty seconds later, he walked back out. He was wearing a pair of goggles around his forehead. They propped up his bangs in the classic goggle boy style. “And that’s what it’s all about—survival. I had a friend; he was like a brother to me. He couldn’t make it, so I took his shirt, his goggles, and his name.” Given the content of Tomoki’s speech, his words were inappropriately dispassionate.
There was an awkward silence, like the sort orbiting astronauts force on news anchors. Miyako and Daisuke began to sense the reality of the dimension they had entered, a world where heroes could die. Cody, whose father had died while serving the public as a police officer, was already inured to this notion. Daemon heard what Tomoki said, but he didn’t really process it.
“Weesagogo,” SlimeBakemon repeated.
Tomoki nodded. “We should get going. It’s a long walk, and I’d like to get there early. Daemon, will you be coming with us?”
Daemon attempted to stand, and then he re-crashed upon the hallway carpet. “I should be okay in a little while. Go on without me, and I will teleport to the Wongs’ apartment when I feel more able.”
“Sounds like a plan.” Daisuke began to walk down the hallway. “Alright guys, let’s get this show on the road.”
Miyako grabbed Daisuke by his arm. “Daisuke, the elevator’s in the other direction.”
Daisuke reversed his steps. “Right…I knew that.”
At , on the consoling rooftop of his apartment building, Henry was practicing his combos. He was dressed in metallic gray cargo pants, a black t-shirt, and his green vest. For the day, he was skipping classes, a rarity for the determined student, but he knew that his immediate obligations would require him to skip many classes. Henry knew that some of his classes, potentially, would have to be dropped to save his GPA. If he had to enroll for an extra semester to make up for those classes, then that’s what he’d do. Saving the planet from the D-Reaper was a priority, and Henry felt responsible:
“I should’ve finished it the first time. Maybe MegaGargomon just wasn’t spinning fast enough; I’ll probably never know. Maybe if I’d gotten some help from Takato, Ryo, and Rika…Why did Dad have to bring that up?” Henry sliced the air with a midlevel roundhouse and followed with an abdominal back kick with the opposite leg. “He doesn’t even care enough to show up at this meeting, so why should he care about my lack of a love life? Why should he care that I’m going crazy just trying to find someone who cares?” Henry threw a series of right-handed jabs, a left forearm, a right leg kick, and a left high kick. “Takato used to be the conscience, the guy who’d do anything to protect humans and Digimon. Some time after he and Jeri got together, he lost that part of himself. One thing led to another, and then they were selling spiked milkshakes to minors. Now they’re both in prison, where they can’t help anybody.” Henry stepped in with his left foot and shot out his right leg in a chest level spinning back kick. “Dad wanted to know why I’ve changed. The same way contentment weakened their resolve and morality, discontentment fortified my own.” Henry launched a stiff front kick. “While I suppose I should be grateful to be where I am, part of me longs to be one of them—able to find someone like myself. They don’t care where they are, as long as they’re together.” Henry linked two leg kicks, an inside spin kick, and a high back kick. “Maybe in the next life I’ll find somebody, unless my intensity is part of my soul, in which case, I’m destined to fight the wind on this rooftop for eternity.” Henry lifted his leg for another kick, but then he dropped it. “Why am I so alone?!” He screamed it across the skyline—crowded with buildings, but still too open for any echo.
“Enough with the melodrama. You ain’t alone anymore.” Kenta climbed out from the roof hatchway. He stood up, and he dusted off his stone white cargo pants and his orange t-shirt. “I figured I’d find you here. Dontya wanna come inside and take a shower before the meeting?”
Henry pulled out his metallic gray D-Tector and checked the time. “It’s . It takes me fifteen minutes to shower. I’ve still got another fifteen minutes on this roof.”
Kenta did the math in his head. “Just fifteen?”
“I prefer to be early for meetings.” Henry looked Kenta over. In the face and upper body, it appeared as though Kenta had reached his target weight, though he still seemed slightly padded in the abdominal and thigh areas. “Did you check the scale?”
Kenta put his hands in his pockets and looked down at the rooftop. “According to the Body Mass Index, I’m where I’m ‘sposedta be, but I’m never gonna be as trim as you. I never was. That just ain’t how my body was built. You’re just lucky.”
“You think I’m lucky?” The accusation angered Henry, though he wouldn’t admit it to his protégée. “I said I’d roll with you once you reached your target weight, but you know: that’s just not how things work in a real fight. Besides, I want to see you using the blocks that I taught you. So, I’m going to come at you with strikes, and I assume that you’re going to block while looking for an opportunity to take me to the ground, and we’ll see what happens.”
Kenta shifted his feet to shoulder width and bent and his knees slightly. “Henry, do we really gotta do this?” Kenta noted the expanse of bare bitumen. “You ain’t even got a mat today…not that I’m afraid. You’re my friend; I don’t wanna hurt you.”
“I’ll be fine; you should worry about protecting yourself,” Henry noticed that Kenta’s stance was incomplete, “and how are you going to protect yourself if your guard is down?”
Kenta lifted his arms to a prudent pugilist’s position. “Sorry, I forgot about that.”
Instantly, Henry got into his fighting stance. “Are you ready? Go!” To truly test Kenta’s ability to block, Henry decided to not hold back anything. He came out with rapid punches and kicks to Kenta’s head and upper torso—all of which were blocked. Henry also threw in the occasional kick to Kenta’s legs. These were impossible to block.
“Those leg kicks hurt!” Kenta exclaimed internally. To avoid follow-ups, he had no choice but to back away a little every time a leg kick connected. “I ain’t gonna be able to take many more of those without losing my balance…or running out of roof. I’ve gotta mount some offense.” Desperately, Kenta shot in for a single leg takedown.
Henry jumped back to avoid Kenta’s takedown attempt. Then he swung his left leg sideways, initiating a vicious roundhouse to Kenta’s lowered head.
Kenta dropped to his knees and blocked the kick. He immediately realized that he had left himself immobile, and immobility equaled vulnerability.
Henry stepped past Kenta with his left foot, and he whipped his right leg back toward his target. The heel of his right foot connected with the back of Kenta’s skull.
Kenta felt the harshest of stings, and then he felt nothing. He fell face first directly into the gravel embedded bitumen.
Henry shook his head. “Maybe I pushed him too hard.” Henry yanked Kenta to his feet by the wrist, supported the weight with his shoulder, and waited for his friend to regain consciousness.
A few seconds later, Kenta’s eyes fluttered open. He noticed that his old glasses were significantly scratched (on top of already having slightly deformed frames), and he looked down to see that the shins of his stone white cargo pants were quite blackened. “Gee, I guess I’m ready for the meeting now.”
Henry sympathized. “If it will make things a bit more even, I won’t shower.”
“You and me: Stinky and Dirty,” Kenta summarized. “So, what did you think? I ain’t half bad, right?”
“You mean aside from eating the gravel? Sure, you held up pretty well. In fact, I think I’m going to give you my yellow belt. Now, keep in mind, officially, you won’t be a yellow belt, but you’ve earned the right to wear it. Sensei sometimes let me wear his brown belt or his black belt as encouragement. I never got there, but it did inspire me to keep trying for that goal whenever I wanted to give up.”
“I ain’t trying to be ungrateful, but it seems to me that after all that training, I deserve something a little higher than a yellow belt. I’d rather wear no belt than a yellow belt. Yellow belts are degrading. Ever notice how the yellow Power Ranger is always disregarded?”
Henry sighed. “Fine, let’s go back inside, and I’ll give you my orange belt.”
“Now that’s more like it. Do you have an extra gi to go with it?”
“Don’t push your luck.” Henry walked to the hatchway, but before he descended, a nagging curiosity occurred to him. “Kenta, do you believe in reincarnation?”
Kenta searched his memories for a reason to believe. “I kinda believe in something like that. Back when we were all together for the first time as the Tamers, I remember thinking how it seemed like each of us was reincarnated from a Neon Genesis Evangelion character. Takato was Shinji, Rika was Asuka, Kazu was Toji, and I was Kensuke.”
Rather than becoming upset at the triviality of Kenta’s comparison, Henry played along. “Which one was I?”
“Oh, you were…now that’s a good question. I wanna say Rei, but Jeri was the one who had her face on one of the D-Reaper’s agents. Maybe you came from another series, or maybe you just ain’t the type who gets reincarnated.”
“I hope you’re right. I want out of this sooner rather than later.”
At , in the Wongs’ apartment, Henry and Kenta were awaiting the other members of their team. A former teammate was with them, a somewhat unwelcome former teammate:
“Suzie, when are you going to start attending high school again?” Henry asked his sister. “I don’t like the idea of you staying home all day. If you’re not keeping up with your education, you won’t be able to make it into college, and then your future will be–”
“–I know; I know! Dad’s given me the lecture a dozen times already!” Suzie sat on the futon. Her older brother stood disapprovingly in front of her, but she would not be intimidated. She was vaguely aware that Kenta was also in the room. “The D-Reaper took over the high school, so I’m not able to learn anything right now. There’s nothing I can do about it.”
“You don’t get to say that. Did Dad tell you that was a legitimate excuse? That’s where he and I differ.” Henry’s voice was welded with restrained anger. “There’s always something you can do. Read your textbooks. Buy some new textbooks. Read some reputable online documentation. Do what it takes to absorb new and useful knowledge every day, but don’t sit on your ass and say that there’s nothing you can do.”
Suzie glared at Henry. “What about you? You’re missing your classes right now! What’s your excuse?”
“I’m going to get rid of the D-Reaper so you can go back to high school.”
“We’re gonna do it together,” Kenta interjected. “It’s gonna be a team effort. We’re just waiting for the rest of our team to get here.”
“You’re going to fight the D-Reaper without any Digimon?” Suzie questioned. “Do you know how crazy that sounds? I’m glad I’m not on your suicide squad.”
Henry smiled. “Actually, you would’ve been part of the team, but I replaced you with a DigiDestined from the alternate universe. Thanks to me, you have more time to study. So, why don’t you go to your room and read a schoolbook while the big kids have our meeting.”
Suzie didn’t appreciate Henry’s patronizing tone, despite the good intentions behind it. “You’re such an asshole!” Suzie stood up and walked to her room. She told herself that she wasn’t obeying her brother; it was simply the end of their conversation.
“Gee, that went well,” Kenta commented sarcastically.
“I got my point across. It might take a little while for her to accept it, but the teenage rebellion always loses to rationalization in the long run. Let me get you that orange belt I promised you.” Henry went to his room. He removed his orange belt from its plastic storage container under his bed. He walked back to the living room and handed off the belt to Kenta. “Take good care of this belt.”
Kenta noticed that the belt was
perfectly folded and hardly faded. He
tied it in the traditional style over the abdominal area of his orange
Henry’s D-Tector beeped; he pressed the execute button to receive the message. “Who is it?”
“This is Wisemon,” the voice from Henry’s D-Tector responded. “It is precisely . Please bring the team to your computer for instructions.”
“The rest of the team isn’t here yet.”
“Very well, which members of the team are present?” Wisemon asked.
“It’s just me and Kenta. Do you want to start with just the two of us?”
Wisemon’s undertone was one of disappointment. The notion of Kenta receiving a spirit still did not sit right with him. “No, we will wait for the rest of your team.”
At , there was a knock at the Wongs’ apartment door. Henry opened the door and allowed his new teammates to enter. Since Tomoki was the only non-stranger among the group, Henry looked to him for an answer:
“Why are you late?”
Daisuke answered on behalf of his new roommates:
“We would’ve gotten here sooner, but somebody” Daisuke glared at SlimeBakemon “had to stop at a dumpster behind a bakery for some two-day old peanut butter-filled rabbit head-shaped bread.”
Kenta knew the bakery, and he knew the bread. “You guys had Guilmon bread? I ain’t eaten Guilmon bread in years.” Kenta looked questioningly at SlimeBakemon. “It’s good stuff, dontya think?”
SlimeBakemon patted the lower half of his gelatinous body. “Yaaaahyaaaah, yummayumm.”
The ghost digimon seemed familiar to Kenta, as did the boy with the goggles. Suddenly, Kenta was struck with the memory of their meeting outside Hazy’s apartment. He remembered escorting Tomoki to Guilmon’s cubbyhole, and he remembered handing out his personal information to his new friend, and he remembered that he never heard again from his new “friend.” He focused on Tomoki’s pale green eyes. “We’ve met before. It was the day you found out about your parents. You remember it, dontya?”
It was a stupid question. Tomoki couldn’t forget that day, though he had forgotten about the boy with glasses who had reciprocated pity. Tomoki realized that he had made a social error in not calling or visiting Kenta, but he decided that it was best not to dwell on it. “Can we just say that this is our first meeting?”
“Hey, you’re the orphan; that’s why I thought you had wanted a friend. If you wanna start from scratch, that’s fine too.”
The rest of the team shifted nervously at the awkwardness of Kenta’s offer. Daisuke broke the tension. “So, you know Tomoki. Allow the rest of us to introduce ourselves. My name is Daisuke Motomiya. I led the DigiDestined in our campaign to defeat MaloMyotismon, restoring peace to Earth and the Digital World.”
Miyako went next. “My name is Miyako Inoue, and I’ll be leading this time around to avoid the inefficiencies proven to be inherent in Daisuke’s leadership.”
Daisuke turned to face Miyako. “What was that?”
“Did I stutter? I said that I’m going to be leading this team.”
“My name is Cody,” Cody said.
Daisuke shrugged. “If you want to be the leader, knock yourself out. It’s not as easy as you think it is.”
Miyako pushed up her glasses. “I’m an exceptional individual. I can handle the responsibility.”
Henry whispered to Kenta:
“Those two must be our Misato and Kaji.”
Kenta whispered to Henry:
“They ain’t from Evangelion. Didntya ever watch the Digimon cartoon series?”
“No, I can’t say that I have,” Henry admitted.
Kenta was incredulous. “You mean you trained a Digimon, played the card game and the computer game, but never caught an episode of Digimon in syndication?”
“I was too busy with Terriermon, the card game, the computer game, and all the other shit I had to do. Besides, why would I need to watch a show about Digimon when I lived at the heart of the Digimon experience?”
“What are you two whispering about?” Tomoki asked. “Is it something that the rest of us need to know?”
Henry turned to his guests. “Kenta and I were just discussing the best way to inform you that Wisemon chose me to be the leader.”
Miyako stepped up to Henry’s immediate vicinity. The smell hit her immediately, a somewhat familiar smell. Mentally, she tried to place it:
“He smells like Daisuke after a soccer game, back when he used to play soccer, that is. It’s the aroma of athletic sweat, an olfactory cry for cleansing, and yet…and yet it’s somewhat of an aphrodisiac. I should keep my distance.” Miyako took a step back before initiating her interview with Henry. “What qualifies you to be the leader of this team?”
Henry stared through Miyako’s glasses. He saw gleams of intelligence there, harbingers of a rivalry for dominance. “I was the de facto leader of the Digimon Tamers. My Digimon and I personally initiated the wormhole that expelled the D-Reaper from this planet. That’s just my job experience. As for my intellectual capabilities, I’m an electrical engineering student at a reputable public–”
“–Can you program in C++, Visual Basic, and Fortran?” Miyako raised her head slightly. “Because I can.”
“I don’t see how that’s relevant,” Henry retorted. “For one thing, Fortran is obsolete, a relic from back when my dad first started in the business.”
“As I understand it, the D-Reaper is a renegade computer program. It will take computer programming to defeat it.”
Henry scoffed. “If the programmers had done their job right the first time around, the D-Reaper wouldn’t have come back.” Henry noted the irrelevance of his own argument, so he attempted a different approach. “I’m not saying that we won’t need a programmer, but why should your computer programming skills make you the leader of this team? I can solve for unknown amperages on a circuit mesh, but does that make me a good leader?”
“Anyone who has taken a high school physics course can use Kirchhoff's Voltage and Current Laws!” Miyako bellowed. “But can you solve for thousands of unknown amperages by choosing the most efficient method? Did you know that LU Decomposition is not always the best approach?”
“Any way you type it in, you still get your answers; it’s just a matter of time. The hard part is analyzing complex circuitry, using laws to create systems of equations, and assembling the matrices for you programmers.”
Miyako retook the extra step that she had allotted between herself and Henry. “You’re just applying basic algebra, occasionally some calculus. I have to learn entire languages.”
“You’ve got a help menu to tell you exactly how to say what you want to say, and you’ve got a debugger for when you still manage to fuck it up. I don’t have those luxuries. My job is harder.”
“Oh yeah?” Miyako stepped closer to her verbal adversary.
“Yeah.” No longer the passive boy he once was, Henry stepped closer to Miyako.
“Oh yeah?!” Miyako only had room for a slight step closer.
“Yeah!” Henry’s nose was almost touching Miyako’s.
Daisuke nudged Tomoki. “Don’t you just love it when two superior minds engage in a deeply philosophical debate?”
Tomoki wasn’t enjoying the “debate” quite as much as Daisuke. “Shouldn’t we break it up?”
Daisuke shrugged. “I can’t stop Miyako when she gets like this. It’s like telling a Numemon not to throw poop. If you want to give it a shot, be my guest.”
Tomoki accepted the challenge. He addressed the academic debaters in a calm yet firm tone. “Miyako, Henry, you guys both need to chill. We’re all here to meet with Wisemon, and we’re already late. We really don’t want to get on his bad side. I’ve seen what he can do.”
Henry took a step back. “Thank you, Tomoki; your priorities are my own. Let’s all convene around the computer in my room.” Henry motioned for his teammates to follow as he headed toward his room. “Sorry, it’s going to be a little cramped in here.” As predicted, with Henry, Kenta, Miyako, Daisuke, Tomoki, Cody, and SlimeBakemon crowding into a room made for one (though it held both Henry and his older brother originally), the room was quite densely populated. Unsure of exactly how to communicate with Wisemon, Henry spoke into his D-Tector and his computer simultaneously:
“Wisemon, sorry for the tardiness, but we’re all here now, and we’re ready to listen. We’re anxious to know how we’re supposed to beat the D-Reaper.”
Henry’s computer screen went blank, and a voice emanated from his speakers:
“First, you will tell me why you are so very late.”
Miyako answered Wisemon’s request. “Henry and I were discussing who amongst the two of us was most suited to be the leader of this eclectic team.”
Henry holds the spirit of steel, the spirit of my ancestor. I already chose him to be the leader,” Wisemon told Miyako. “However, I am willing to reconsider this decision; but first, I must know who is responsible for your lateness. Miyako, was it your fault?”
Miyako hesitated slightly before she started her response. “I don’t think you can accurately place the entirety of the blame on one individual.”
Henry did not hesitate. “I accept full responsibility. I should’ve made sure that the team arrived on time.”
“Henry is the leader,” Wisemon stated rigidly.
Miyako glared at Henry. She felt an inexplicable loathing for the attractive young engineering student.
Daisuke read Miyako’s expression, and he knew what upset her. He put his hand on her shoulder. “He simply outclassed you, but don’t feel bad. It happens to the best of us every once in a while…some more than others.”
Miyako gave her oldest friend a slight smile. “You’re my outclassing punching bag.”
Wisemon continued. “Though I have chosen Henry to be the leader, all of you are necessary. Thus, I have given each of you spirit suits in order to protect you from the energy attacks of the D-Reaper’s agents. As some of you have already discovered, these suits also have offensive capabilities. With the aid of objects of your spirit, you may perform diminutives of digimon attacks.”
“Objects of my spirit?” Daisuke questioned aloud. “You mean when I sliced the Divermon with that stick?”
Wisemon generously answered Daisuke’s question:
“Yes, as an example, Henry’s spirit sneakers have 1095 steel spring soles that will increase his jumping height tenfold and allow him to charge his kicks. These individualized remnants survive from the time when the spirits belonged to the ancient warriors.”
Daisuke didn’t care about the historical trivia, nor did he care that the spoken theory was Miyako's. “I knew it had something to do with wood! It’s a good thing I brought my baseball bat. So, this is how we’re going to beat the D-Reaper.”
“Daisuke, a good scientist never jumps to conclusions,” Miyako scolded.
“But psychologists do it all the time.” Unlike Miyako and Henry, Daisuke gave little esoteric merit to his own field of study, but of course, that was part of why he chose to study psychology.
“The digital energy attacks that you put into your spirit objects work just like digimon attacks,” Wisemon reiterated. “You should ask Henry about the effectiveness of Digimon attacks against the D-Reaper. He has firsthand experience.”
Grudgingly, in a somewhat sour voice, Miyako asked the question. “Henry, are Digimon attacks effective against the D-Reaper?”
Henry considered the matter carefully. “Digimon attacks can destroy the D-Reaper’s agents, but as long as the core consciousness is still functioning, the D-Reaper will just build more agents. The D-Reaper seems to prefer to rebuild some of its larger agents, as a certain someone so wastefully proved in our last battle.” Henry clenched his fist and switched to muttering. “I hate Ryo.”
Daisuke caught Henry’s declaration
of hatred, but he misinterpreted it. “‘
Tomoki added his opinion. “For some reason, Junpei put ‘Hungry Like the Wolf’ on Kouichi’s D-Tector, and I’ve listened to it a few times. I wouldn’t say they’re a bad band, just overrated. I don’t think that they deserved to get into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as quickly as they did.” Tomoki slapped himself on the forehead. “Sorry, I was just saying what Junpei would’ve said if he were here. I think it’s for the best that he and Izumi aren’t a part of this team.”
“You can think of them as an extension of your team,” Wisemon told Tomoki. “According to the prophecy, the holders of the spirits of wind and thunder will be necessary. To be on the safe side, I have also brought Takuya’s spirit of flame out of retirement and given it to his replacement. I informed his replacement of this meeting. I am a little disappointed to see that the new warrior of flame decided to not attend.”
“Didntya tell him that it was important?” Kenta needlessly asked.
Tomoki’s sentimentalities were offended. “That is not cool; you can’t ‘replace’ Takuya. The spirit of flame was retired to honor the memory of his sacrifice. Junpei, Izumi, and I wouldn’t be alive if he hadn’t worn out HellDiaboromon.”
“As long as you remember him fondly, does it matter what becomes of his spirit?” Wisemon questioned.
“It matters,” Tomoki rationalized rescinding his objection, “but it’s alright; I suppose, if it’s used in a way that Takuya would’ve wanted.” There was another issue. “You said that Junpei and Izumi were done fighting. How can they still be necessary?”
“Tomoki, we will discuss the details of that matter later…in private.” Wisemon’s tone was ominous. “For now, think of them as an extra source of expert information. You can talk to them through your D-Tector. All of you can communicate with every past DigiDestined (except for the foreign ones; inter-dimensional calls are acceptable, but I draw the line at international calls), Tamer, and legendary warrior through your D-Tectors.” The Digivice/D-Tector numbers for Taichi, Yamato, Sora, Koushiro, Mimi, Jyou, Takeru, Hikari, Daisuke, Miyako, Cody, Ken, Takato, Henry, Rika, Jeri, Ryo, Kazu, Kenta, Suzie, Ai, Mako, Takuya, Kouji, Kouichi, Junpei, Izumi, Tomoki, Masaru, Touma, and Yoshino appeared on Henry’s screen. “I suggest that all of you write down these numbers.”
“I’ve got a better idea.” Henry copied and pasted the names and numbers into a Word document. Then he sent six copies of the document to his printer. “Everybody gets a typed Tamer rolodex.”
“Calling us all ‘Tamers’ is an inaccurate generalization,” Miyako complained.
“Who were the last three names on the list?” Kenta asked. “I don’t recognize them from any Digimon season.” Kenta noticed that the rest of his teammates were staring at him as if he’d said something blasphemous. “…I mean…I don’t recognize them from either dimension…not that I’ve been to the other dimension…I’m gonna just shut up now.”
“The list does need to be amended,” Wisemon admitted. “Kouji’s number is now Cody’s, Yamato requested an unlisted number, and Takato and Jeri’s Digivices were confiscated upon their arrival in women’s minimum security prison, so there is not much sense in calling them.”
Miyako had an antisocial notion. “There are some people with whom I never want to converse again, namely Koushiro.”
Daisuke was puzzled. “Dude, what’s wrong with Koushiro? He could be really helpful; he was really helpful. Remember when he gave us that whole lecture on DNA Digivolution?”
“We don’t need his help anymore. I can do everything that Koushiro ever did, and I can do it without expecting instantaneous gratification. Koushiro is not all that different from Ken. They both had innate advantages, and they both squandered their gifts.”
“I hear Koushiro got a pretty cushy government job,” Daisuke countered. “If that’s squandering, I totally want to squander when I graduate from college.”
Miyako’s eyes flashed, and she grabbed Daisuke by the collar of his vest. “Don’t you ever say that again!” Miyako released Daisuke and recomposed herself. “We’re not calling Koushiro, and that’s final.”
The decision wasn’t so final to Tomoki. “I’ve talked to Koushiro a few times. He usually tells me that his time and advice are expensive, and that I have no right to ask him anything. Hmm, I suppose we’re just as well without him.” Tomoki tried to think of other suitable DigiDestined sources of useful information. He could only come up with one. “Jyou—we should definitely give Jyou a call when we need medical or preparedness advice. He also knows a lot of great ways to save money.”
“Alright then, Jyou, Junpei, and Izumi are on our D-Tector buddy list,” Daisuke summarized.
“Digitacktack nosogogo; wasadoodoodoo?” SlimeBakemon asked.
“He wants to know how we’re supposed to beat the D-Reaper if our spirit attacks aren’t going to work,” Tomoki translated.
“I want to know from where this alleged ‘digital energy’ originates,” Miyako requested.
“I want to know where Daemon is; he should’ve been here…” Daisuke pretended to check the time on his D-Tector. “…a while ago.”
“I will send you an email with an attachment that should answer most of your questions. “After you read this attachment, there will be an opportunity to ask any remaining questions.” Wisemon switched the screen to Henry’s email, displaying the latest parcel in Henry’s inbox. As promised, the email had an attachment, designated with the standard paperclip symbol.
“I don’t like the sound of this. ‘An opportunity to ask any remaining questions,’ that sounds an awful lot like…” Henry clicked on the attachment. It was just as he suspected, a filename ending in “.ppt.” “Damn it all, it is a PowerPoint presentation! I hate PowerPoint presentations. I hate making them, and I detest having to read them.” Nonetheless, Henry opened the file. As usual, it started with the title page:
How to Eliminate the D-Reaper
“PowerPoint presentations serve a worthwhile purpose,” Miyako attested. “They allow people to communicate the major points of complex ideas to colleagues, professors, fellow associates, investors, and supervisors in a compressed and aesthetically pleasing manner.”
“I still hate them.” Henry clicked to the table of contents. “It’s a bitch to prepare the file, it’s nerve-racking to prepare the speech, and it hurts my eyes to read them. Kenta, you’re an engineering student; back me up.”
Henry’s request for argumentative “backup” was surprising, but Kenta did his best. “…And how come everybody uses black and white or the standard layouts? I’ve gone through twelve student presentations in one class, and I swear I’ve seen the same white backdrop with primary trim seven times. If you’re gonna make a mind-numbing presentation about damped harmonic oscillators, at least have the decency to choose a custom color scheme.”
“Nice work, Kenta.” Henry went to the first page of actual information. He didn’t read the PowerPoint word-for-word. As a presenter, he had adapted to rewording slides; he knew there was a sizable grade deduction for reading directly from the slides. “Charging objects of our spirit with digital energy can destroy the D-Reaper’s agents…we know that already.” Henry clicked on the next page. “This digital energy comes from faith in ourselves, trust in each other (now that’s redundant), and ambient kinetic energy in the atmosphere.”
“That answers my question,” Miyako interjected, “though only one of those sources is even remotely plausible.”
Henry continued. “Digital energy attacks are most effective against Digimon, and the D-Reaper isn’t a Digimon (no kidding). The D-Reaper must be directly deleted with a deletion attack.” Henry clicked on the next page. “The holder of the negative energy spirits (the spirits of ice and darkness) can perform deletion attacks with objects of his spirit.”
“Whoa, I can perform deletion attacks, and I’m the only one; that is so cool!” Then the burden of the ability set in for Tomoki. “That also explains why chucking snow at SlimeBakemon caused brain damage. I must have deleted part of his brain. Why are ice and darkness the ‘negative’ spirits?”
Miyako took a stab at answering Tomoki’s question. “It’s probably because they represent the absence of forms of energy. Cold is the absence of heat, and darkness is the absence of light, a form of radiant energy.”
Henry continued. “Alternative ways of performing deletion attacks must be created for the holders of the other spirits. Weapons of mass deletion must be purchased or constructed.”
The burden stabilized in a perceived sense of pointlessness for Tomoki. “I’m probably going to need one of those weapons too. If I carry ice cubes and snowballs, they’ll melt, and I don’t know how to carry darkness.”
Henry continued. “The core consciousness has evolved too far for deletion attacks. The warrior of steel must capture the core consciousness in an infinite loop using a handheld steel-coated containment unit with 500 zettabytes of storage capacity. Where the hell am I supposed to get one of those?” Henry clicked on the next slide. The aforementioned containment unit flew off the screen and into his non-clicking hand. It appeared to be a simple steel rod, approximately 2.6 centimeters in diameter and 90 centimeters in length. “I’ve never seen a PowerPoint presentation do that before. At least I didn’t get hit in the face with a pie chart.” Henry clicked on the next slide. “To prevent the containment unit from falling into the wrong hands, the device will send a moderate electric shock to any handlers other than the warrior of steel.” Henry clicked on the next slide. “This device is missing a key component—the Juggernaut program. We have to acquire the program on a jump drive and insert it into the containment unit’s USB port.”
“Swell, where do we get this Juggernaut program?” Daisuke asked.
“With any luck, my dad stole a copy from Hypnos.” Henry shook his head. “Stealing trade secrets is risky business. My dad knows better than to do something like that. We’re just going to have to ask Yamaki really nicely if we can have a copy of the program. While we’re at it, we should ask for the Yuggoth program. That might be the best way to construct our deletion weapons.”
“The intellectual proprietor might be feeling more generous if I promise to improve upon the programs,” Miyako suggested.
Henry shot down the inflated offer. “Experts with decades of experience made the programs. I doubt that there’s anything you could do to make them better.”
Miyako was about to say something provocative, but Tomoki cut her off with something progressive:
“Can we go to the next slide now?”
Henry clicked on the next slide. “The local gradual increases in temperature over the past few years were caused by the D-Reaper. The D-Reaper’s agents generate a lot of heat (I remember hearing something about that).” Henry clicked on the next slide. “By analyzing detailed thermal patterns, the location of the greatest concentration of the D-Reaper’s agents can be determined, and therefore, the most likely location of the core consciousness.” Henry clicked on the next slide. “It’s the summary slide.”
“Gee, I wonder what the next slide is gonna say.” Kenta knew exactly what the slide would say. His sarcasm was overkill.
Henry clicked on the last slide:
“That concludes the presentation. Do you have any questions?” Wisemon asked.
Daisuke spoke up. “Would it have killed you to use a font other than Arial? Just once, I’d like to see a PowerPoint done entirely in Rockwell Extra Bold, or maybe Goudy Stout. Dude, Showcard Gothic would totally blow some minds.”
“I find you to be particularly annoying,” Wisemon told Daisuke.
Daisuke smirked. “You know, I get that a lot.”
“Does anyone have any legitimate questions?”
Tomoki had one. “What are we supposed to call ourselves?”
Daisuke had several suggestions, all based on obscure punk songs:
“We’re Nitro (Youth Energy). We’re the New Patron Saints and Angels. We’re Free Radio Gainesville. We’re Charity, Chastity, Prudence, and Hope. We’re Defusing the Popular Struggle. We’re the new revolution, the angst-filled adolescents; we fit the stereotype well.”
Kenta joined in the name game:
“We’re Frustrated Incorporated, or, since half of us come from the televised dimension, Syndicated Incorporated.”
“As long as you carry the spirits, you are still the legendary warriors,” Wisemon adamantly dubbed.
“Still? The majority of us never were legendary warriors,” Miyako pointed out.
“Very well, you are the new legendary warriors.”
“But I’m not new to it,” Tomoki protested. “I was part of the last crew of legendary warriors.”
Wisemon saw no clear resolution to the conflict, so he called upon his leader:
“Henry, could you please come up with a suitable name for the team?”
Henry deliberated aloud. “You say that we’re all legendary warriors because we have the spirits of ancient digimon. Unlike the last team of legendary warriors, we can’t become digimon, nor can we tame Digimon, nor can we cheer for partner Digimon. We’ve got suits to protect us, but other than that, we’re on our own.” Henry’s tone was inspiringly solemn. “The front lines for this war are in the real world. We are tapping the limits of human potential to establish our resistance against the ultimate inhumanity. We are real warriors. We are the Real Legendary Warriors.”
“I second that name,” Kenta declared.
“I third it.” Tomoki turned to his roommates. “I know this world isn’t yours, but are you with us anyway?” Tomoki held out his hand, palm towards the floor.
Daisuke placed his hand on Tomoki’s. “Dude, I’m with you.”
Cody placed his hand on Daisuke’s.
“Meemodoodoo.” SlimeBakemon added his drippy hand to the pile.
Miyako noted the expectant stares from Tomoki, Cody, and Daisuke. She glanced briefly at Henry, and then she turned back to her roommates. “Call us what you will; a conglomeration of previously digitized entities by any other name would function identically.” Miyako added her hand to the pile.
“I ain’t got much to offer, but I’m reliable, and that’s more than you can say for the people who didn’t show up today.” Kenta threw in his hand.
To Henry, Kenta’s trait contrasted not with the absent Daemon, nor with the absent replacement for Takuya, but rather, with the absent father who helped to create the enemy that his team was slated to destroy. Henry put his hand on top of the pile. “We are the Real Legendary Warriors, and…insert your team slogan here.”
“We fight the good fight,” Tomoki stated.
“Ditto,” Cody said.
“We never give up,” Daisuke assured.
“We’re superior to all other sentient beings,” Miyako overstepped.
“Yaaaahyaaaah, gogobustaz,” SlimeBakemon babbled.
Kenta had a wide range of heroic quotes from which to pilfer. He chose one of the more underrated ones. “We are a justice sandwich, no toppings necessary.”
Henry eyed Kenta quizzically; then he shook it off. “Alright, say it with me, and we’ll throw our hands up to finish this cliché. We are…”
“…The Real Legendary Warriors,” Henry, Kenta, Miyako, Daisuke, Tomoki, and Cody said simultaneously in a somewhat lackluster fashion. Then they threw their hands up and began to drift away from each other.
“Who wants to guess what we do first?” Henry instigated.
“Dontya wanna wait for your dad or Yamaki to give us those programs?”
“Kenta, waiting is never a step in a well-managed plan. We will build those WMD’s now, and we will put in the Yuggoth program when we have it.”
“I respectfully disagree; the acronym is PEW. We want to build portable electronic weapons.” Miyako pulled out her USB key. “I have a program that can convert mechanical oscillations into charge for a PEW battery. I just need–” Miyako paused. She didn’t like using the word “need” when asking for assistance. She didn’t “need” anybody’s help. With enough time, she could learn every skill on the planet. “I have yet to complete my research, so someone with expertise in electronics will have to arrange the surrounding wiring scheme.”
“That would be me, but there’s more to building a PEW (Why does the name matter?) than just programs and circuitry,” Henry pointed out. “First, we need to design the main functional aspects and bodies of these things. I can handle the ‘portable’ and the ‘electronic,’ but I’ll admit that I’m not so knowledgeable when it comes to ‘weapons.’ Are there any weapons experts among us?”
Cody raised his hand.
“Good, then…” Henry hadn’t caught Cody’s name during the introduction phase. “…you can help me by giving me background information on the internal workings and general appearance of handguns, sniper rifles, or whatever you prefer.”
“I don’t know too much about how guns work, but I used to practice a lot with my Blizzard Blaster, and I’m a pretty good shot. I’ll volunteer to test anything you build,” Tomoki offered.
“Thanks, but that’s not terribly helpful considering that you’ll have to use them anyway,” Henry told Tomoki. “For the bodies, we’re going to need material. Aluminum is lightweight, durable, and cheap. Who wants to order the aluminum from a raw materials distributor?”
This was Tomoki’s chance for redemption. “We don’t have to order aluminum. I have about a hundred empty tuna cans. We just need to melt them down when we’re ready to cast with them.”
“You should try to recycle,” Henry had to encourage environmentalism, “but how are we supposed to melt aluminum?”
With a “bamf!” sound, Daemon appeared in the room. “I am sorry that I am so late for this meeting. I had trouble finding this apartment in my teleportation dimension.”
“Googoo aloom?” SlimeBakemon asked Daemon.
“He wants to know if you can melt aluminum,” Tomoki translated.
“Yes, I probably could melt aluminum with my Flame Inferno attack,” Daemon answered.
“Shaproto, meemodoodoo,” SlimeBakemon said.
“He says that he can be the exact shape of the body.” It took Tomoki a few seconds to figure out the purpose of SlimeBakemon’s proposed assistance. “We can use that shape to make the mold.”
“Considering the cost of tooling and
machining, that will save us a fortune.
Shipping the frames from
“Why would the frames be made in
“Have you been paying attention to
trends of the past twenty years?
Everything that used to be made here is made in
“No, I don’t pay attention to trends,” Daisuke retorted glibly. “Why are you so keen on human rights violations? Is it because your last name’s Wong?”
Henry clenched his fist. “I’m half Chinese, but that’s irrelevant.”
“A half-breed? I knew it was possible, but I didn’t think I’d have to go to another dimension to meet one. Do you put MSG on your sushi?”
Henry prevented himself from punching Daisuke by grabbing his own wrist. In a grated voice:
“I eat lots of hardboiled egg whites, but that’s also irrelevant. Now tell me, what is it that you do? What is your skill? Because as far as I can tell, you’re just here to piss me off.”
“I’ll show you what I can do, and I’ll entertain you in the bargain.” Daisuke took one of the Digivice/D-Tector number lists from Henry’s printer. “For this to work, I need to imagine that I’m only bothered by thoughts of evil and broken homes.” Daisuke closed his eyes and concentrated. “Now, how does my voice sound? Miyako, do I sound like Takeru?”
“I can’t recall Takeru’s voice signature,” Miyako admitted, “but you sound different.”
“Different is good.” Daisuke dialed Hikari’s number on his D-Tector. After four rings, he got a reply.
“Hello, is somebody calling me on my Digivice?” Hikari wondered aloud. “Takeru, is that you?”
“Right, I know we usually call each other by cell phone, but I thought it would be neat to try calling each other this way.” Daisuke winked to his audience.
“Your voice sounds strained. Are you feeling okay?”
“Actually, I’ve got a bit of a cold, nothing serious, but it was enough to cut classes for the day.”
“It doesn’t take much, does it?”
Daisuke did his best to keep his hatred for the angels from permeating into his impression. “No, it doesn’t. Anyway, I just heard about this reality show that they’re filming at the mall. They installed hidden cameras in one of the men’s restrooms. It’s a contest to see who can give the most blowjobs in a four hour period. The winner gets an awesome prize.”
Hikari had so many questions. “Which mall?”
“The one we usually go to.”
“Which men’s restroom?”
“The one by the women’s restroom.”
“What time of day is the four hour period?”
“You should probably go at it all day to be on the safe side.”
“What’s the prize?”
“I just know that it’s awesome—totally worth disgracing yourself in front of millions of viewers.”
“In that case, I’ll get to the mall right now and start sucking some cock.”
“Right, you do that. Gook luck, I hope you win.”
“I know I’ll win. I’m a born winner.” Hikari hung up.
Daisuke ended the call. “Alright guys, you can let it out now.”
The Real Legendary Warriors burst into laughter at Hikari’s expense. Once the reflex was out of the way, Daisuke got his applause, a well deserved thirty seconds. In a tone absent of irritation, Henry said what his team was thinking:
“Now I see your value. You have people skills. I’m sure you’ll do something legitimately helpful somewhere along the line.”
Daisuke was glad that his role was established. “Well, since you won’t be needing me for a while, and since I’m in a foreign dimension, I think I’ll go sightseeing while you guys work on building those weapons.”
“Don’t push your luck,” Henry told Daisuke. “You don’t need a doctorate to mix concrete. You can help make the castings.”
“We’ll make the molds on the rooftop of my apartment. That’s where I’m keeping the tuna cans.” Tomoki saw a problem with his assignment. “Uh, how are we supposed to make these things without knowing what they look like?”
Henry pointed at Cody again. “He and I will design the bodies based on modern standards for automatic or semiautomatic weapons. That shouldn’t take too long. Then you, Daisuke, and the Digimon can work on constructing the molds while…the weapons expert and I decide on the internal mechanisms. That should take a bit longer, especially since we’ll have to work with Miyako on an electrical system that’s compatible with her power source. While you’re waiting for designs of the bodies, I suggest buying the supplies that you’ll need for the job. You’ll need concrete mix, something to mix it in, and something to stir it with.”
Daisuke knew how to handle condescension. “You don’t say? I was just going to mix concrete with my bare hands, but now I know better. Thanks ever so much.”
Tomoki had something to say to Daemon, something he didn’t want Cody to hear, so he whispered the suggestion. “You know how you ended up getting that bottle of tequila for free? Could you do the same thing for our concrete supplies?”
“I thought that was stealing,” Daemon whispered back.
“If the store owner knew we were saving the world, I know he’d be cool with us taking anything we needed. You should see what the digimon gave to Junpei and Izumi as wedding presents after he saved the digital world. A little concrete is nothing in comparison.”
Daemon couldn’t argue with morality in relativity. “I am starting to think that you humans are a bad influence.”
Henry attempted a conclusion. “We all have our tasks. Now we just need to–”
“–Not all of us,” Miyako interrupted. “Your obsequious confidant has been given no assignment. Is indolence a fringe benefit of unquestioningly accepting your role as the leader?”
Henry considered Miyako's accusation to be absurd. “Kenta is a mechanical engineer. His expertise will be of value as we collaborate in our design.”
“I have expertise?” Though flattering, Kenta couldn’t allow the unfounded claim. “I’m barely able to use the parallel axis theorem. I’m a mechanical engineering student; I ain’t qualified to design anything.”
Henry attempted words of comfort. “Kenta, we’re all students. None of us are qualified. Just do the best you can.”
“That’s insufficient,” Miyako protested. “If your sidekick cannot guarantee productivity, he should not be receiving one of our products.”
Kenta could’ve offered to help in any number of alternate ways, but something about being the only Real Legendary Warrior without a PEW suddenly appealed to him. “I don’t need a gun. Real heroes don’t need guns. Besides, I have the spirit of earth. The whole planet is my weapon.”
“Now that’s the positive attitude I expect out of you.” Henry redirected his pleased expression toward Miyako. “My sidekick, as you call him, is a diamond in the rough. He’s much less annoying than your sidekick.”
“I’m not Miyako’s sidekick,” Daisuke corrected. “I’m her frustratingly platonic best friend.”
“Weesamunchy,” SlimeBakemon suggested.
“We’re overdue for lunch,” Tomoki agreed.
“You’re my guests, so I have to feed you all.” Henry did not revel in the social obligation; he wasn’t looking forward to having to cook and clean up after a party of eight (including himself).
Suzie popped into the already overcrowded room. “Henry, when are you going to make lunch for us?”
Henry sighed. Including his sister, it would be a party of nine, but it wouldn’t be a “party.” With no sex, no music, no drugs, and no alcohol, no college student would dare to call this sort of affair a “party.”
Daisuke exited Henry’s room and headed toward the kitchen. “Come on, let’s get this party started.”
Henry boiled two dozen eggs for himself and his guests. He had to share stove space with Daisuke. Daisuke boiled a communal pot of noodles. As it happened, the eggs finished at the same time as the noodles, and Henry and Daisuke argued over who would have the right to drain his pot first in the kitchen sink. Since it was his home, Henry got to drain his water first. Daisuke drained his noodles thirty seconds later. Henry chilled his eggs in his freezer while Daisuke added various spices and sauces to his noodles. Henry peeled his eggs and removed the yokes with little to no wasted movements. While Henry and Daisuke combined their preparations into individual serving bowls, Kenta and Tomoki cleaned their pots and strainers.
By , the noodle and egg dishes were served and in the process of being consumed. Tomoki, Cody, Suzie, SlimeBakemon, and Daemon sat at the kitchen table, nicknamed the “kiddy table” for this occasion. Of course, Tomoki, Cody, and Suzie were trusted to eat neatly by age fourteen, but SlimeBakemon and Daemon were not trusted to eat anywhere but upon the kitchen table. Despite this distrust, no major spills occurred.
Henry, Kenta, Miyako, and Daisuke sat on the futon. Kenta sat at the right end. Henry sat next to Kenta. Miyako sat next to Henry. Daisuke sat next to Miyako. There was just enough room for the four of them, so thighs were touching, but as adults, they were completely professional about the situation:
“It’s kinda cramped on this futon,” Kenta complained.
Henry grabbed a piece of egg white with his chopsticks. “No kidding, but just live with it. As a team, we should sit together, so that’s what we’re doing.”
Miyako found that Henry’s dried sweat stench did nothing to hinder her appetite. If anything, it made her hungrier, as did her snug placement between Henry and Daisuke. She was reluctant to admit this to herself. “This seating is adequate.”
Daisuke was content having his thigh pressed against Miyako’s. “Henry’s right; we should do this more often.”
“So I’m the only one who doesn’t like sitting like this? I feel like the kingside bishop.” Kenta looked curiously at the brown noodles in his bowl. “Henry, are you sure it’s okay for me to be eating noodles?”
“Ordinarily, I would say no; most noodles are pretty high in carbohydrates. Noodles aren’t on my diet, and I suggest that you not include them in yours.” Henry shoved some noodles into his mouth, chewed, and swallowed. “It’s not every day that a Tamer from another dimension comes here and cooks for us. Daisuke went to the trouble of making these noodles, and it would be rude not to eat them.” Henry shoveled in some more noodles. “Besides, he did a pretty good job with the flavoring. By all appearances, he was just using a bunch of random spices from the pantry, but I think he actually knew what he was doing.”
“Dude, when it comes to making noodles, I always know what I’m doing. When I was a kid, I wanted to grow up to be a noodle cart salesman.”
“You do grow up to be a noodle cart salesman, a famous noodle cart salesman.” Kenta couldn’t help it; the can of worms was opened.
“No noodle cart salesman in history has ever been famous. Why would I be any different?” Daisuke realized that Kenta’s prediction was inappropriately confident. “How do you know what I grow up to be?”
“Didntya know? Your dimension is a syndicated animated series. I’ve seen every episode of Digimon at least three times. I saw Jyou jump on Unimon. I saw Koushiro lose his will to Vademon. I saw MaloMyotismon coming a mile away, and I saw how you avoided his spell by pretending that you didn’t have any self-doubts.”
Daisuke was flattered. “That was my best moment as the leader of the DigiDestined, the one that made up for all the screw-ups…or so I’ve convinced myself. I’m glad somebody saw it, but that still doesn’t explain how you know what I grow up to be.”
“At the end of the series, Takeru narrates your futures twenty-five years later. He says that Taichi becomes a diplomat, Yamato becomes an astronaut, Sora becomes a fashion designer, Mimi becomes a chef–”
“–The writers of the show must’ve been drunk, stoned, or tripping, because none of that shit happens.” Daisuke refocused on his own future. “I don’t become a noodle cart salesman. I go to college, I struggle to graduate, and I wonder what I’m going to do with my psychology degree. That’s my future.”
“Just out of scientific curiosity, what is forecast for my future?” Miyako inquired.
“You marry Ken and become a housewife.”
Miyako was almost outraged, but then she remembered that it was just a television show. “Even if the majority of the show was an accurate depiction, I think we can disregard this alleged epilogue.”
Daisuke slurped down a bundle of noodles. “Right, you can’t let some TV show tell you what to do. We might be DigiDestined, but ultimately, we choose our own destiny.”
Meanwhile, at the kiddy table, Tomoki began a haphazard investigation:
“Cody, I already know a lot about Miyako and Daisuke, but I don’t know too much about you. You’re awfully quiet most of the time.”
Cody wanted to say that his Digimon partner was a friendly yellow woodland creature with a country accent and a special move that resembled Sonic the Hedgehog’s Spin Dash Attack. Cody wanted to say that he was driven to become a police officer because he wanted to be like his father, except for the dying in the line of duty part. Cody wanted to know exactly which members of the Yakuza set up the ambush, and he wanted vengeance. Cody wanted to say that Daisuke and Miyako were his friends while the Earth and the Digital World were threatened by the Digimon Emperor and evil Digimon, but when there was peace, his friends drifted away. Cody was particularly hurt by Miyako’s snubbing (as he perceived it) since they were friends before they were DigiDestined, and since they continued to live in the same apartment building. Cody wanted to say all sorts of things about himself, but he didn’t think anyone would care. “There’s not much to say.”
Tomoki didn’t accept Cody’s answer. “There’s always something to say, and there’s always something to hide. There are some things I’ve lived through that I’ll never tell, and I get the feeling that maybe you’ve lived through some bad stuff too. If you don’t want to talk about it, that’s cool, but you might feel better if you get some of your issues out in the open.”
Suzie looked at Tomoki conspicuously. What he said was true. Though they had been friends for years, she did not know the whole story behind the goggles and the old shirt. She had heard that the shirt used to be red, and she assumed that it had been bleached. Tomoki’s secrecy bothered her. There were many aspects of Tomoki’s life that bothered her preconceived notions of the way teenagers ought to live.
Cody appreciated Tomoki’s interest, but he didn’t want to get too attached to a new friend. “Like I said, there’s not much to say.”
It was agreed that Tomoki, SlimeBakemon, Miyako, and Daisuke would return to Tomoki’s apartment while Henry and Cody designed the portable electronic weapons. Once the body was decided upon, Daemon would teleport back to Tomoki’s apartment with several copies of the print along with the necessary casting supplies. Cody would sleep over in Henry’s room, as would Kenta, and they would have a creative input slumber party (or so it was dubbed).
By , the bodies had been chosen, and Daemon had left with Henry and Cody’s casting proposal. It didn’t take long for Cody to explain to Henry how the typical firearm worked. It certainly helped that Henry was able to find schematics online for Cody to describe, though Henry probably would’ve been able to figure out the functionalities on his own. Since Cody’s limited expertise was divulged, his job was done. He sat down in the living room and watched TV. He didn’t get to choose what he watched; Suzie controlled the remote. It was a show about how ridiculously rich girls celebrated their sixteenth birthdays. Somehow, it passed the standards for both reality and music television. Cody fell asleep, while on the opposite side of the futon, Suzie hadn’t even noticed that Cody had entered the room.
Back in Henry’s room, behind a closed door, Henry and Kenta were brainstorming ways to combine electronic and mechanical components into a portable electronic weapon. Actually, the storm clouds had passed, and they were gossiping:
“Why do you think that new warrior of flame didn’t show up, and who do you think he is?” Henry had several theories. “Do you think Wisemon managed to find Rika? Maybe he got Takato out of jail. I specifically refused to have Ryo on the team, so I know he didn’t choose Ryo.”
“No, he didn’t choose Ryo.” Kenta knew who the new warrior of flame had to be. “Didntya hear? He’s Takuya’s replacement. Takuya was replaced long before the D-Reaper made its comeback tour.”
Henry didn’t get what Kenta was hinting at, partly because he had no idea who Takuya was, but mostly because a new and very troubling thought had occurred to him. “What if Wisemon made Suzie the warrior of flame? He wanted to make her the warrior of light, but he knew that I wouldn’t approve. Maybe he slipped her a spirit behind my back. I have to know.” Henry threw open the door to his room, and he rushed into the living room. “Suzie! Suzie! Did somebody talk to you through your computer and change your Digivice? Suzie?” Henry couldn’t find Suzie in her usual location on the futon. All he saw was a slumbering Cody. He shook Cody awake and looked down at him anxiously. “Where’s Suzie?”
Cody yawned. “She was sitting right here.”
Henry was tempted to shake Cody again. “Where is she now?”
Kenta joined Henry in the living room. “Her room is empty, and she ain’t in the bathroom.”
“Thanks Kenta, but I already knew that. She never misses an episode of whatever the hell she watches at . If one of her friends called, she might have been willing to shut off the TV, but it’s not like her to go out without leaving a note.”
Kenta spotted a folded piece of paper under an anthropomorphized sun magnet on the Wongs’ refrigerator. “She did leave a note.” Kenta pulled the note off of the fridge and read it. “But she didn’t write it.” Kenta handed the note to Henry.
Henry read the note. As he read, the section of forehead directly above his nose fell downward into a versatile expression of hate, anger, and anxiety:
I have asked you repeatedly for the password to the inter-dimensional portal program. Since Gorou Mizuno has disappeared, you are the only one who has access. You have refused to give me this password.
The city is in a state of emergency. I have told you that Hypnos requires the inter-dimensional portal. You have responded by questioning me as to why it is needed. You should know that in a state of emergency, your place is not to question, but to cooperate with your government and its agencies. Since you have been uncooperative thus far, I have confiscated your daughter. If you want her returned unharmed, I suggest that you start cooperating.
P.S. Though coerced, Gorou was steadfastly uncooperative. I assure you that his disappearance was involuntary.
Henry refolded the note and put it back under the sun magnet. His lack of reactionary dialogue was noticeable.
Kenta had a plan, but he didn’t have the authority. “So, what are we gonna do?”
Henry pondered the matter a few more seconds before giving his response. “We have to pay Hypnos a visit anyway to get the Yuggoth and Juggernaut programs. While we’re there, we’ll take back Suzie…and we’ll kick a whole lot of ass.”
Kenta found that Henry’s forethoughts, though crude, were the same as his own. “Great and frustrated minds think alike.”
Cody hadn’t seen the letter, so he was confused. “Suzie isn’t visiting a friend?”
Henry was about to explain the situation to the kid whose name he still did not know, but that was when the apartment door opened.
Mr. Wong entered his home. “Hi kids! Your attentive and progressive father is home from work—before your mother. Henry, I’m sorry I couldn’t attend your meeting, but you can tell me all about it.” Mr. Wong noticed something amiss. “Isn’t Suzie usually sitting on the futon right about now watching those television programs that ought to have illusionment disclaimers?”
Henry gave his father an accusatory glare. “Dad, we need to have a chat.”
“A father-son chat?”
Henry shook his head.
“You know I hate it when you do that.” By Henry’s expression, it was clear that the chat would involve more than just a father and son. Mr. Wong often found himself envying the fathers of simple boys with simple problems. Just once, he wanted Henry to ask him for advice about girls.
Back in Tomoki’s apartment, Tomoki, SlimeBakemon, and Daisuke were awaiting the arrival of Daemon with the casting prints and equipment. For all they cared, Daemon could take his time. Like most union laborers, Tomoki and Daisuke were in no rush. Tomoki sat on his bed, and he conversed with his longtime long-distance friend:
“Cody doesn’t say much, does he?”
Daisuke sat on his sleeping bag. “Cody’s always been a quiet kid. He said something about his grandfather dying a few years back. That might have changed him, or it might have made him more the same. I just started in psychology, so when I profile someone, don’t expect anything specific.”
Tomoki had his own profile of Cody. “I think he’s a cowboy.”
“Dude, I don’t think Cody’s ever even seen a cow in person.”
“I don’t mean literally a cowboy. I mean he looks and acts like the heroes in American Westerns. He takes the shit role without complaining, and when it’s time to play the sheriff, he does it modestly.”
“I see what you mean. By that definition…” Daisuke thought of someone better for the role. “Henry’s Deputymon—What’s his name? Kenta? If anybody’s the cowboy, I think it might be him. I’ve got a good feeling about that kid. Anybody who considers me to be a TV icon can’t be all bad.”
“Uh, I don’t recall him saying that he considered you to be a TV icon.”
Daisuke’s back was getting sore from sitting on the floor without a backrest. “It was implied.”
While Tomoki and Daisuke discussed which members of their team they believed to be “cowboys,” Miyako sat at Tomoki’s computer. “I want to sketch a model of the oscillation mechanism entailed in my program. Tomoki, do you have any CAD software?”
“What’s CAD software?” Tomoki asked.
“It’s an acronym for computer-aided design software. I’ll settle for AutoCAD.” Miyako waited, and then she sighed. “I’ll just use Microsoft Paint. I have no way of knowing if your hypothetical software would be compatible with Henry’s anyway.”
Daisuke caught a problem. “Just how do you plan to get this drawing to Henry?”
“Via email; how else?”
“Do you know Henry’s email?”
“I…neglected to gather that piece of information.” Miyako attempted to turn her error into an intention. “I have to meet with him tomorrow in person anyway to discuss how the power source will connect to the functional components.”
“You could just call him with your D-Tector and ask him for his email address,” Daisuke suggested smugly.
“No, that won’t be necessary. In fact, I don’t even need to make him a drawing. My explanations should suffice—if he is reasonably intelligent.”
“I think he is. I hear that the smartest people are secure enough to not have to use big words all the time.”
Miyako's fuse was lit. “What are you implying?”
“It’s just a psychological rumor; it’s only personal if you see yourself in it.”
“I find your circuitous speech to be irksome.”
Daisuke had been prodding for the cue. “If you want to talk straight, then let’s step out into the hallway.”
Miyako rose from her seat at Tomoki’s computer, and she and Daisuke exited the apartment. She allowed the door to slam closed, and then she demanded a reason:
“What is so potentially inflammatory that you can’t say it in front of Tomoki?”
Daisuke did not hesitate. “What do you think of Henry?”
“I think he’s arrogant, overrated, and unsuitable to be our leader.”
“You don’t say?” Daisuke allowed a grin to escape the left side of his mouth, but not the right. “He seems like everything you could possibly want in a man. If I were you, I would be creaming through my cargo pants over him.”
Miyako was taken aback. Daisuke was practically telling her to buy from his competitor. “…I appreciate your vulgar candidness.”
“It’s my best feature.”
Miyako recomposed herself. “I have no interest in Henry. I have no interest in starting a relationship with anyone right now. I’m far too busy.”
“In the past, you’ve excused yourself from starting a relationship with me by saying that you were ‘seeing someone.’ Weren’t you busy then?”
“Those were not intimate relationships—merely impersonal academic relationships. I was…” Miyako rapidly searched for the mildest innuendo. “…gleaning information.”
“You ever stop to think that maybe you drown yourself in work so that you don’t have to have a personal life?” Daisuke added a buffer. “It’s just a thought.”
“It’s a rather unpleasant one…and it has no merit.” Miyako’s voice lacked its usual confidence.
“If you say so.”
Miyako sensed lingering skepticism. “Really, I’m not a workaholic.”
Daemon stumbled into the hallway. “Good evening, I hope you all are well.”
Daisuke noticed that Daemon arrived empty-handed. “You were supposed to get us those concrete supplies.”
“Concrete supplies?” Daemon tried to recall what was expected of him. “Yes, I meant to go buy concrete supplies, but I also knew that I would have some extra time. Since this is the dimension where I brought Ryo, I thought I would visit him. That is what I did. We went to a festive gentlemen’s club. It was Happy Hour. We had a few drinks, and then we had a few more drinks. Now I am feeling tired.” Daemon fell forward and passed out on the hallway carpet.
Daisuke frowned disapprovingly at the cloaked heap on the floor. “I think I liked him better when he was throwing fireballs at us.”
Just as Miyako and Daisuke had exited, a familiar snow cone appeared on Tomoki’s computer screen. Of course, this was no ordinary snow cone:
“I see that you are finally able to speak with me in private.” Wisemon realized that SlimeBakemon was still in range. “SlimeBakemon, could you please join Miyako and Daisuke outside of the room for a few minutes?”
“Whatever you have to say, you can say it in front of my business partner,” Tomoki told Wisemon. “I promise you that he won’t repeat anything he hears.”
“Very well, but what I am about to say you may not relate to any of the other spirit holders.”
“If your teammates consider your future actions to be treacherous, they may prevent you from carrying out your destiny.”
Tomoki was confused. “But I thought destinies couldn’t be changed. If destinies aren’t certain, then what’s the point of Bokomon’s book? It said that the legendary warrior who defeated HellDiaboromon would become the king of the digital world, and that’s what happened. Junpei and Izumi were covered by that prophecy. Their destiny was settled.” Tomoki didn’t notice the tinge of bitterness that entered his voice. He was caught up in the buzz of “destiny.” “I still don’t know what my destiny is, so if you’ve got one for me, I’d like to hear it.”
Wisemon was almost startled by Tomoki’s susceptibility to manipulation, but the true test was yet to come. “Once Junpei and Izumi have made their contributions to our cause, your destiny is to kill them.”
Tomoki was silent for a few seconds. “…Whoa, you can’t be serious. They’re my oldest friends. They’re like the parents I’ll never see again. Why should I kill them?”
Wisemon rephrased his request to something more reasonable. “Literally, you will not kill them. You will digitize them in the digital world, and you will bring their eggs back to Earth. You must understand; they are humans. They were never meant to live in the digital world. Recently, they have been negligent in the duties that allowed them to stay. They allowed every Mega level digimon to be absorbed by Azulongmon.”
“But you’re Azulongmon!” Tomoki exclaimed.
Wisemon had hoped that Junpei and Izumi had not passed along the puppetry secret to Tomoki. This hope was dashed, but Wisemon refused to give up on cajoling Tomoki’s destiny. “That is beside the point. Do you have any idea what Junpei and Izumi have become? They are indolent, hedonistic, and revoltingly beautiful.”
“They’ve always been indolent and hedonistic,” Tomoki retorted, “and Izumi has always been revoltingly beautiful. I know Junpei got really buff, but that’s about all that’s changed.”
“If you recall, they also had a son. They gave him your name. Is it right for a child to be raised by such irresponsible parents?”
Tomoki felt himself beginning to agree, but then he snapped himself out of it. “It still beats having no parents. I should know.”
“You think you know?” Wisemon would have to grasp at Tomoki’s innermost strings. “You wear Takuya’s shirt and goggles. You have taken Takuya’s last name. All this time, you were searching for a role model—and was it Takuya? Was it your brother? Your brother liked to give speeches, but he accomplished very little, and he was not much of a brother to you. You thought Takuya would be a better older brother. Yes, he cared about you, but he left you just the same. Deep down, you know that there was very little difference between Takuya and Yutaka. Deep down, though you wear his goggles, you resent Takuya and his will to resign. That is why you continued to search for a role model. Then Junpei came into the spotlight, and he saved the digital world, but what did he do afterward? Certainly, you remember the conversation that you had with him and Izumi beside the pool. You told them that they could not stay in the digital world. They would have to go back to school, and get jobs, and become functional members of society. Did they listen? No, they became more like Takuya, except they refuse to die for their sloth and lust. You, Tomoki, will have the opportunity to right this wrong. The war with the D-Reaper will inevitably enter the digital world. While you are there, you can take Junpei and Izumi back down to where they belong.”
Tomoki was overwhelmed. Everything that was said of him was reluctantly true.
“Tomoki, this is the duty of the holder of the spirit of darkness. You are the true holder of the spirit of darkness, as well as the spirit of ice. You have been the rightful owner of the spirit of darkness ever since you picked up Kouichi’s D-Tector—ever since Junpei tackled Kouichi, and the D-Tector landed in front of you.”
After much self-deliberation, Tomoki found a place to take his stand. “I won’t betray my friends.”
Wisemon would have felt thwarted if not for one saving grace:
“You cannot escape your destiny.” The snow cone melted off of Tomoki’s screen.
Tomoki looked to SlimeBakemon for validation. “I won’t do it.”
“Doowannadoo,” SlimeBakemon encouraged.
“That’s right. I’m not going to hurt my friends just because some talking snow cone tells me that it’s my destiny.” Still, Tomoki had his doubts. He would only dare to speak them internally. “Have I resented Takuya all these years? Did I deny my hatred by calling myself Tomoki Kanbara? Do I wear his shirt and goggles just to repress the feeling that he should’ve come back to Earth with me? Do I resent Junpei and Izumi for not coming back to Earth with me? Do I deny my hatred for them by calling them my friends? With all the heroic deeds that were done, why can’t I find my hero?” Tomoki had the undeniable urge to consult someone for advice on the matter. Unfortunately, his top two choices, Daisuke and Junpei, were both spirit holders. If, by some fluke of circumstances, Tomoki did decide to obey his secret orders, he didn’t want to disobey the confidentiality clause. Tomoki dialed his third choice on his D-Tector—his khaki ice spirit D-Tector.
Jyou Kido was getting valuable experience at the hospital. He was in the supply closet checking to see how many boxes of latex gloves, gauze, and bandage tape the hospital would need in order to be adequately prepared for the next flu season. He held a clipboard, and he logged the inventories. “Five more boxes of gauze should last us another six months, but if we order ten, we’ll get a bulk discount and a free case of isopropyl alcohol. Boy, I should’ve majored in business. Why did I go into medicine?” Jyou heard his Digivice ringing. Fortunately, he was alone in the supply closet, so he was free to answer the call without arousing suspicion. As a volunteer, he wouldn’t chastise himself too much for taking a brief unscheduled break. “This is Jyou.”
“Jyou, it’s Tomoki. I need some advice, and I didn’t know who else to ask. You’ve been helpful in the past, so I’m turning to you again.”
“When you put it that way, since I’ve got a reputation to maintain, I’ll see what I can do.”
Tomoki tried to find the best way to explain his situation. “There’s this powerful all-knowing digimon, and he wants me to do something that I would probably feel really guilty about doing.”
“What does he want you to do?”
“You know Junpei and Izumi?”
“I don’t know them personally, but by your descriptions over the years, I feel like I have a general idea of who they are.” Jyou repeated the information that he was given by Tomoki. “They live in a castle in the clouds. They have a child whom they named after you. They are considered royalty in the digital world, and they have some accompanying authority. They have the spirits of thunder and wind. They have lots and lots of sexual intercourse.”
“Uh, I suppose that’s them in a nutshell. I need to know what I’m going to do about them. According to Wisemon, when the war with the D-Reaper enters the digital world, I have to bring Junpei and Izumi back with me to Earth—by force. He said that it’s my destiny, and all his prophecies have been right so far.”
“Just because some power-tripping jerk says something is your destiny, that doesn’t mean you have to fulfill his prophecy. My parents told me that it was my destiny to be a doctor, but I didn’t let…that’s a bad example. Nonetheless, if Junpei and Izumi are your friends, then it’s your duty as their friend to help them, not hurt them. So, would bringing them back to Earth help them, or would it hurt them?”
Tomoki considered the consequences. “It would make their lives miserable.”
Jyou dropped the philosophical bombshell:
“That doesn’t answer the question. Take it from a doctor; helping and hurting aren’t measured by individual happiness. The cancer patient is happier without chemotherapy. The diabetic is happier without the daily finger pricks. The cure is almost always painful, sometimes more painful than the disease, but we take it because we must survive. As living beings, we must face life; there’s no way around it, and running away is certain extinction. By “helping,” you bring someone closer to life, and by “hurting,” you pull someone away. You must take this into account whenever you make decisions that affect others…which is just about every decision you make in your daily life.”
In conversing with Jyou, Tomoki had hoped that his assigned task would be deemed absurd and dismissible, but instead, more ponderings were heaped upon Tomoki’s contemplative plate. He tried to be polite about it. “Thank you, Jyou; your advice has been invaluable.”
“They don’t call me ‘Old Reliable’ for nothing. In fact, they say you can count on death, taxes, and good old Jyou.” It wasn’t fact; Jyou just liked to fancy that the people he met thought about him. “Is there anything else I can do for you today?”
“No, you’ve done plenty. I’ll talk to you again some day.” Tomoki ended the call.
Suddenly, Jyou remembered the reason he went into medicine. “I wanted to help people.” Jyou resumed his logging of inventory. He noticed a scarcity of a frequently used item. Since the item wasn’t on his list, he made an extra line for it on his inventory sheet. “Yep, we’re definitely going to need more needles.”
Henry’s “Load” theme: “Bleeding Me” by Metallica
Kenta’s main theme: “Stand” by Good Riddance
Daisuke’s main theme: “Alive and Well” by Rise Against
Miyako's main theme: “Rumors of My Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated” by Rise Against
Tomoki’s main theme: “Nothing to Write Home About” by Soul Asylum
Cody’s main theme: “Promises Broken” by Soul Asylum
Mr. Wong’s talk with Henry: “Code of Silence” by Billy Joel
Jyou’s talk with Tomoki: “Back to Earth” by American Lesion
SlimeBakemon’s main theme: “Headful of Ghosts” by Bush
Daemon’s main theme: “The Lost Souls” by A.F.I.
Suzie’s main theme: “Ride the Cliché” by Stone Temple Pilots
Wisemon’s main theme: “Master of Puppets” by Metallica
In the X-Men comics, “Bamf!” is the sound effect Nightcrawler makes when he teleports.
Yes, the Real Legendary Warriors are a blatant rip-off of the Real Ghostbusters. Character for character, Miyako is Egon Spengler, Daisuke is Peter Venkman (or possibly Eduardo Rivera from Extreme Ghostbusters), Tomoki is Ray Stantz, Cody is Winston Zeddemore, Kenta is Kenny Fenderman (from the episode entitled “Masquerade;” look it up for pictures of their startling similarities), and as for Henry, well, the Real Ghostbusters never really had a clearly defined leader. “Maybe you came from another series, or maybe you just ain’t the type who gets reincarnated.”
“Are you pondering what I’m pondering?” The Brain was a Maurice LaMarche character (based on Orson Welles), just like Egon Spengler, which is why I had Miyako quote him.
When I had Henry say, “Sensei sometimes let me wear his brown belt or his black belt as encouragement. I never got there, but it did inspire me to keep trying for that goal whenever I wanted to give up,” I was referring to a scene (or several) from the series where Henry is shown training in either a black or a brown belt (it appears to be very dark brown, perhaps intended as black). I confess; I was covering my ass for making Henry a green belt.
All hail the Digipedia:
The Tick is the most quotable hero of all time:
Daisuke’s “half-breed” comment, along with several other facets of Henry’s anti-passive personality (which I contextually disproved as out of character via Henry’s conversation with his father in this chapter), are references to that anime that knows no end, InuYasha.
I caught my sister watching the spoiled rich girl sixteenth birthday party show (or whatever it’s called) on MTV. It seemed like a nice target.
I take partial credit for raising my younger sister.
As a mechanical engineering student, I’ve had to prepare and deliver plenty of PowerPoint presentations, and I’ve had to sit through exponentially more presentations from others. I prefer custom backdrops, but everybody else goes with the templates, and that’s just one of my many PowerPoint gripes.
In my current job as a project engineer for an aerospace manufacturing company, I know all about the costs, lead times, and overseas production of short run castings.
I can peel and de-yoke hardboiled eggs with little to no wasted movements, but because they entail cooking time and fragrant waste, I usually go with half a can of chunk light tuna as my daily protein source (mixed in with the salad I bring with me to work).
I’ve seen every episode of the first two seasons of Digimon at least three times. I think I’ve seen some of them ten times.
©2006 by Benjamin Wiseman
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