Chapter 2

Skirmish, Fight, Thrive?

He turned, something was hovering towards him.

"Impressive," the creature said, comfortably seated in its pod. "I haven't seen the likes of your kind before- pray tell me, who are you and where are you from?"

[Vademon-Ultimate(Perfect)-Virus,Alien] printed the HUD ID readout. "Shireytaylmon," the cyborg responded slowly at first. "Who're you? - I don't really see why the latter matters..."

"The name's Vademon, I'm a scientist, of sorts, and I just wanted to try and add some more infor to my database before I move on."

"Then it depends on where you're going," replied Shireytaylmon warily, the more primal part of the animalistic component flaring up, telling him to be cautious.

Vademon frowned internally - Blast it! he thought, we both know you're not from around here, and you just pushed that MetalTyrannomon all the way back through the path to the human world that took me so long to make and broke it! I'm not letting this catch go until I get enough data for proper analysis! "Would you mind if I took a scan of you instead," he asked politely, changing the subject. "Your signal's rather different than any other digimon I've ever encountered." In fact it's not altogether unlike one of those that came from the human world to fight the scourge several years back...

"No thanks," the other responded simply, "I've got to get going." An uneasy feeling filled his being as he turned around.

Vademon's face quickly contorted into an expression of rage. "You damn stubborn fool - I could give you rewards, data and information unimaginable to you! I tried the easy route, but now I see I'll have to do this the hard way - Do you even know how rare variable types are!? You're going nowhere until I have your data strands right between my finger!" he frothed vehemently. He violently threw an object off his pod, it kicked up dust as it hit the ground. "Go my minions put this worm to the test and bring me its delicious data!" Many multitudes of forms burst out of the object, the light solidifying into floating, mechanical bodies with a single lens for an unforgiving eye.

[16x Gizumon-Rookie(Child)-?,Machine]

[4x Gizumon_AT-Champion(Adult)-?,Machine]

"Gizumon?!" muttered Shireytaylmon in surprise.

"I'm surprised you recognize them," smirked Vademon. "I found their data floating hear one of the hidden gates to the other Quadrants. I've not found their like anywhere else, and since I have their source code I can manufacture them by the dozen for my army!"

"What kind of fucked up scientist needs an army!?" shouted the cyborg.

"...To get more significant data obviously," grinned Vademon.

"Bastard!" barked Shireytaylmon, the emotion behind the word rumbling out from him like a growl, pistol in hand. "I'll not make it any easier for you!"

"We'll see about that," taunted one monster to the next.


South Eastern Massachusetts, United States

T-00:15:00

He awoke in the dark of night, the comforting pressure of his partner suddenly abated as they both perked upright to an innate awareness. It was a feeling, a sense, a grip in his gut that overwhelmed all else and clamored to be confronted and put to rest- somehow. He knew they wouldn't be able to feel peace that night until it was over and done. At least until the next challenge reared its head.

That's why he wordlessly hopped out of bed with his partner, and rushed to throw on some clothes, his digivice glowing as he grabbed a headlamp quickly tied his boots. He contemplated bringing some of the digimon cards he'd managed to acquire, but some little voice told him the way things would be going, they wouldn't be needing them. It was a slumbering being that awoke in his mind, rising from the deep recesses in his skull, slowly clambering to fill the link between souls that joined him to his partner as they snuck out the back door of the walk-out basement. As they dashed towards the woods, his digivice felt warm in his hand as functions deep within it began to flicker to life.


Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo, Japan

T+00:10:00

Takato's cell phone buzzed.

As expected, he was drawing again - but nowadays he didn't get in trouble for it, being a mangaka and all. The faint tune that hummed grabbed his attention, and a symbol flashed on the specially made device. What could it be? There hadn't been any bio emergences powerful enough to require Hypnos to contact them for a while now; the fact that Hypnos was bothering to call them at all meant that whatever the trouble was, it was too big for DATS to handle themselves. Sure, they still showed up at important meetings from time to time and were always willing to lend a hand helping out newer tamers, and DATS recruits - but there hadn't been any emergency calls to them for - half a year?

Mission Briefing in 30 minutes, the terse text read.

"Man," biggest battle in months and we get stuck on guard duty," sighed Hirokazu.

"It's not like that, really," Takato tried to reassure his long time friend. "Your role is vital to dealing with the biggest number of bio-emergences - as among the group of oldest tamers, you, Kenta, Jeri and Ryo are the leaders that all the younger ones will look up to..."

"Don't remind me," Ruki frowned, shaking her head.

"Hey!"

Takato grabbed ahold of his friend's shoulders, easing him away from the red-head, and continued. "That's important, because since all of us have been to the digital world, you're one of the most prepared to deal with the digimon as they come through, and negotiate or defeat them as necessary. Besides, Guardromon's well armored, and his jets give him sufficient maneuverability to overcome his bulk - you won't have much trouble at all getting around."

"Yeah, yeah, I know chumly," Hirokazu took another deep breath, hands behind his head as he leaned against the wall. "It's just tiring when you keep getting the biggest slice of the action most of the time, y'know?"

"Look at it this way," a cheeky little bunny dog smirked. "You're not going to have nearly as many chances to screw up and get your ass stuck in a sticky situation, unlike our friend Takato over here."

Hirokazu groaned, over the years Terriermon had remained essentially the same, and as ever, Jian's chiding voice kicked in as needed, only to be drowned up by the culprit's giggles.

"You've got a good feel for the plan Juri?" Takato asked his friend.

"Yep! Shouldn't be too much trouble at all - we'll keep a good eye on things!" she smiled confidently, "the DATS teams we'll be helping out all seem nice, if a bit skeptical."

"They're probably just a bit cocky since their top team couldn't make it and were hoping to prove themselves for the first time. Now that we've shown up, they're miffed that we have seniority and can pull rank on them - considering our scarce presence made us seem fictional," Kenta shrugged - over the years he had become quite insightful.

"Pah-Puh!" his small, but powerful pink partner agreed.

"That sounds about right," laughed Ryo, "after all, my exploits can make me seem pretty unreal, huh?"

"Yeah, you're something alright," grumbled Ruki.

"Well we should try to be as cooperative and useful as possible, not to rub them the wrong way," sighed Jeri with a little pout Elecmon in her arms. Getting her partner back had been quite a challenge in itself a few years back, it'd even required the assistance of the sovereigns. As expected, the firebird had protested, but Azulongmon's reason had won over in the end - and no one would dare argue with the successful results now.


The Gizumon swarmed him, while the AT variants followed slowly behind. The beams of energy they shot chewed up everything they hit, himself included.

The joints are weak! the first component realized.

The eyes - the eyes are the key! the other fiercely agreed.

He grabbed the shield from his back, the cover it gave allowed him to think clearly as he moved the combat knife from its sheath. It glowed, and by the time it was placed in the holder on the inner rim of the shield, it was more of a bayonet sword; he might not have enough time to grab it later otherwise. Now his right hand gripped the heavy pistol as he brought it to bear.

The Gizumon were spreading out, can't let them flank us, they thought. At least whoever designed them was kind enough to make them look the part of the targets they were. Really now, that central torso just screams weakpoint: shoot here, the components chuckled inside.

He opened fire, easily damaging the Gizumon, but there were a lot of targets, and they kept moving - growing steadily closer, not relenting their painful barrage, which sent jolts down his body when they managed to connect.

Shireytaylmon began to back up, firing at a steady, constant pace.

Don't have enough time to kill 'em one by one - can only try and damage all of them a whole lot before they get too close...

He slid another clip in the magazine, allowing the previous one to recharge from the data floating through the air - he wanted to save the rounds in the revolver chambers for last. Time for a change of tactical position, the two components decided. The shield shrunk until it was a third of its former size, and more resemblant of a diamond slab. Shireytaylmon eyed the large rock to his left and dashed towards cover - it would limit the direction the small army of Gizumon could approach him from - he doubted they would try much in the way of vertical maneuvering - and would make it all the easier for him to finish them off.

"Oh come on now, don't be shy..." Vademon teased. "Come on out and meet your new friends," something large trundled across the ground, its every step sending vibrations, "they're very eager to meet you."

Balls, the human - first component thought as deep within Shireytaylmon, safeguards and limiters began to slip away and unravel. They were now innately aware of something else on their back, and they grinned inside as they holstered the heavy pistol, swapping it out for the other weapon.

My rifle, the first component thought as the bayonet was mounted, slipped on the end of the barrel. A rifle, and this one's MINE.

The ammo selecter clicked as it traversed to the upper range, then Shireytaylmon lunged out of cover, and into a shadow.

[Raidenmon-Mega(Ultimate)-Virus,Machine]

They absolutely couldn't afford to stop moving.

He fired off a few shots at the Gizumon, making sure to peg one of the AT's this time as well, before he had to start dodging. A thunderous explosion shook the ground, sending dust flying everywhere.

As if all the stuff the Gizumon are sending our way wasn't bad enough... grumbled the first component.

Yes, but now it'll be harder for the enemy to target us, pointed out the second.

One can hope...

He kept moving, seeking cover where he could, and firing at what he could see of his foes. He didn't quite manage to dodge Raidenmon's second salvo - it managed to send him flying in the air, and inevitably, smashing back down again.

Overall System Damage Increase 13%

Inside the shared frame they called a body, the components winced, but Shireytaylmon managed to pull himself up again. This required a change of plan, they thought as they began to close the gap between them and the enemy, taking advantage of the cover given by the dust. They needed to take out the big bad. In the distance, the data streams that caged them began to draw closer. Just a bit more... if they got close enough to the Gizumon, maybe the blast would hurt them too.

The trigger was pulled, and the flickers of light that flew forth from the muzzle cast a shadow in the cloud of dust. The metal tentacle's of one of the Gizumon whipped at him, their ends crackling with energy as they grappled about his arm. Even though Shireytaylmon's frame was grounded, its components still felt the pain - but still they struggled. Pulling back hard, Shireytaylmon torqued his torso, bringing the bayonet to bear. The Gizumon didn't like that one bit, and he kept pushing - driving it home in the underside of its torso, then firing, and again once more for good measure.

KEEP MOVING was the scream in their head.

Incoming! the alert and the second component screamed simultaneously, for they were more of the same than not. NOW! Shireytaylmon dashed, no - jumped forward as the blast of energy impacted the ground right behind him, landing chest first.

Onward still - the armored warrior rolled onto its side, then sprung back onto its legs as soon as it could manage. It wouldn't be long before they were right next to the armored giant that was Raidenmon.

Almost...there... they strained together.

Another alert blared through their head, and everything slowed down as the large hand swooped down on them. They th-they couldn't dodge, they realized together too late as the mass slammed into them. Their body smacked against the hand like a tennis ball did against a racket. Pain raced through their system as lights, bells and alarms began to go off. They barely realized they were now flying through the air.

Then they impacted the ground.

WARNING! CATASTROPHIC DAMAGE! the message blared through them as their consciousness began to fritter away.

ENACTING EMERGENCY PROTOCOLS

It was then that things began to get really different, and it started with how they felt. For starters, the pain almost wasn't there. They felt bigger too, and their conjoined minds raced down different pathways - one's they'd hardly been aware of before.

We are Unit 03 of the line, they thought as they began to trundle forward on double treads.

"What the deuce is that!" shouted Vademon as his pod was buffeted by winds as the dust swirled past him. "Whatever it is I want it! My curiosity is really peaked now, it's barely registering at all as a digimon on my systems - certainly not as it's supposed to! Oh! I can't wait to pull it to pieces!"


Hypnos HQ, Tokyo, Japan

T+00:10:00

"Director!"

"What the hell is this mess?!" growled Yamaki as he stared as the cluttered mess of symbols on the large screen that was tracking the unfolding battle in what they'd since termed the "drogue field".

"We're still not quite sure, the field is making it tough for our tracers and probes to get through - but we do know one thing..."

"And what might that be Reika?" the man who always seemed to wear sunglasses thumbed his lucky lighter in concern.

"It's reading is highly anomalous and doesn't seem to completely be a digimon, sir; or at least doesn't comprise one in the usual manner."

"That is something indeed," the director frowned, one of the icons, symbols? caught in the corner of his eye. It was like the digital hazard, but green, and the other way around... "Satsuma is definitely going to want to hear about this," he sighed.