Not so Imaginary Problems
"I fell off a couple of times, but I never cried." A young boy around the age of five proudly stated into the Smartphone held up to his ear. He had a few bruises on his arms and legs and his clothes were dirty, but he was smiling and happy.
The young boy paused for a moment, listening to the person on the other end of the line, before speaking again. "Yeah, it was fun. Mom and dad were really proud."
Again he paused and waited. "So what did you do today?" He looked excited all of a sudden, like he couldn't wait to get the answer. Like the discussion before was just formalities and the real talk started now.
He sat in complete silence for a while, listening to the person on the other end of the phone, before finally speaking again. "That's so cool. You do the coolest things, Kagami."
"..." In silence Takuya awoke. Looking at the clock by his bed he realized he'd gotten up thirty minutes before his alarm was due to go off, unusual for him.
For a few minutes he laid there staring up at his ceiling, listening to Gatomon purring at the foot of his bed and the ceiling fan whirling around above him, lost in thought. Thoughts about the dream he'd just had kept coming to him. However, he knew it wasn't just a dream. That young boy was him and that dream was a memory that had come bubbling up after his revelation the night before and he knew that the one on the other end of the line had been...
" Kagami..." He whispered still trying to come to grips with what he'd learned the day before. "What did we talk about...? And what did I think was so cool...?"
"Are you talking to me... or yourself?" His thoughts were quickly interrupted by Gatomon's voice. It would seem that her ears were even more sensitive than he'd given her credit for since she'd heard him whispering to himself from within a deep sleep and woken up.
"Neither, I guess..." He sighed, slightly embarrassed by the odd look she was now giving him from the foot of his bed. It was the kind of look that either said she thought he was acting weird or he was weird, neither being a positive.
"Okay... I assume that kind of statement makes sense to humans." She stretched her body before hopping off of the bed to the desk just as Takuya threw his legs over the side of the mattress and sat up.
"Probably wouldn't even make sense to another human actually..." Rubbing the back of his head he let out a small laugh, a nervous kind of tick. Giving himself a minute or two to become fully awake he eventually stood up and made his way to his dresser. "I'm going to hit the shower and then get some breakfast for the two of us. After that I'm going to call the others and arrange a meeting for later."
"Okay... wait!?" She'd simple nodded her head along with the same conversation they had every morning, but the meeting was a bit of a curve ball that made her perk up and take notice. "A meeting? About what?" She was now wondering what she'd missed. The group of friends/defenders of the Digital World often hung out together and it being Saturday they probably were going to do just that today, but a meeting was different than just getting together. A meeting meant that they needed to talk about something, something important, something that couldn't wait, but she couldn't think of a single thing that had changed since yesterday.
"It's a bit of a long story and I really don't want to explain it more than once, so I'll tell you when I tell everyone else." Pulling together his outfit for the day, a pair of jeans and a simple red shirt, he paused for a moment and looked towards Gatomon who gave him a confused look in return. "Sorry, but is that all right?"
He'd felt a sudden surge of guilt over dismissing her concern so quickly. She was there to help keep an eye on him and the group in case something happened. And not too long ago she'd shared something important that had been bothering her, but here he was brushing her off like it was nothing and refusing to share.
"It's okay." Her confusion turned to a small kind smile, if there was one thing she liked about Takuya it was how he always thought of others and their feeling. It might have taken him a few minutes or so but he always did right by others. It really reminded her of someone. Or at least she felt it did. "As long as you're definitely going to tell us everything. And I mean. Every. Thing."
"Definitely. I promise." He responded to her serious look by giving her his patented crooked smile and raising his arms in a half mock surrender.
"Okay then." She relented and turned her focus to the window, taking the time Takuya would be in the shower to distract herself by watching the outside world. She was still looking for something to evoke that feeling of familiarity she'd found in Odaiba, but since then it hadn't happened, not in the same way as it had there.
"Okay. Right. At the park at nine. Yeah, see you there." After a short pause Zoe hit the call end button on her phone. She'd just gotten off a call with Takuya, who to her surprise had suddenly called a meeting, their third in under a week, which was or wasn't a good sign of things to come.
Deep in thought she slipped her phone into her pocket and left her room, almost walking into someone in the hall.
"Whoa!" Zoe suddenly felt two hands latch onto her shoulder, shaking her from her thoughts. When she looked up she found her father standing in front of her, his hands placed gently on her shoulders to stop her from crashing into him.
"A little distracted there kiddo?" He smiled warmly down at her surprised face. Matt couldn't help but smile every time he looked at his little girl. The one person he loved more than anyone else in the world and in his opinion the greatest thing he'd ever done with his life; and the current source of turmoil in his life as she was about to demonstrate.
"Sorry, daddy." She smiled back up at him brightly while taking a step back so that she wasn't directly in front of him. "I was just on the phone with Takuya..."
Zoe didn't notice it but the mere mention of that name made Matt sigh. No matter how hard he looked at his daughter he couldn't see anything other than the five-year-old girl who used to think he was the greatest man in the world and thought of boys as icky, but now she had a bunch of male friends and sure talked about one of them in particular a lot. Heck, he was pretty sure that the two of them had gone on a date recently despite how much the boy had denied it. And now he was seeing an increased mention of the boys name in the daily conversations around the house.
"...and he was acting kind of strange..." Matt had never considered that a day would come when his daughter would so easily talk about a boy with him, "... or maybe I'm just over thinking it."
Matt loved his daughter but he definitely didn't want to discuss boys with her in any facet, he just wasn't there yet and might never be, so instead he did his best to brush it off and end the talk there. "I'm sure it's okay..."
For a moment Zoe considered the idea that he'd given her some advice, but after a few seconds she realized that he hadn't in fact given her an answer and was left watching her father retreat towards the master bedroom with slightly slumped shoulders.
"Maybe it's just all boys..." Deciding it was best not to think about it anymore she went downstairs to get some breakfast before heading off to the park.
"So what do you think this is about?" Koichi inquired. He and his brother were only a few minutes from the park, an odd time to start up such a discussion, but it might have just been his attempt to break his older brother's silence.
Since getting the phone call from Takuya an hour ago Koji hadn't said much. He'd tried to pull some information out of Takuya over to phone using his normal cool attitude mixed with insults meant to grind away at their leaders ego, but none of it seemed to work, which annoyed him in quite a few ways and left him with nothing else to do but wait and ponder.
"Don't know." Koji didn't bother to look at his brother and instead just continued to stare on ahead. "I doubt Lady Ophanimon has gotten back to us about those rumors already and I'm pretty confident that he didn't figure something out on his own." It might actually kill him if Takuya had in fact figured out the identities of the unknown Destined before him.
"Still hard to believe that we might not have been the first Destined..." Koichi thought aloud before pausing to think his words over. "Well, I guess it's not that hard to believe. The Digital World's been around since the start of the computer and internet age, way longer than any of us, and considering how often it gets in trouble it actually makes sense someone had to have come before us."
"It's not like we've never thought about how old the Digital World is, especially when you factor in the time distortion Lucemon caused by his mere existence at the core of the world, but we had always assumed it been the Legendary Warriors that were protecting it." It would seem that Koichi had found the subject that would get his brother talking. "Which isn't strange since the history of the Digital World pretty much starts with their story."
"So we need to account for a time before the Digital World was the Digital World as we know it?" Koichi slightly tilted his head to side as he tried to give meaning to his own words. "Any ideas about that?"
"…Some…" Koji wasn't quick to respond, a bit unsure about his own thoughts and opinions on the subject. "If you'd asked me that before we'd begun looking for evidence of Destined before us I would have just called it misinformation, but now..." He trailed off, not caring to voice a hypothesis without waiting for Lady Ophanimon to come back with some kind of information for them.
"It looks like you lucked out. We're here~" Koichi chuckled. Ahead of them was the gate that led into the local park.
"..." Koji didn't say anything and instead just glared at his younger brother. From his words he knew Koichi had figured out that he actually had no idea or answers about their current topic and was lucky that they'd reached their destination before he'd had to try and come up with something on the spot. Sometimes he hated having such a perceptive brother.
*Some time later*
Silent. One word that would perfectly describe the group of Legendary Warriors as they sat around the picnic table. Takuya had just finished telling them about his revelation the day before. About the phone calls and the one on the other end of the line.
"The fact that you were getting strange untraceable calls on your D-phone was concerning enough," after what seemed like a long while Koichi choose to break the quiet that had settled in, "but the fact that you've been getting them for years makes it so much worse."
"Are you sure Takuya? That those weren't just some kind of dreams?" Zoe really hoped that was the case because the alternate made her really worried. "It wouldn't be strange for you to have those kinds of dreams considering what we've all been through for the last couple of months."
"..." Takuya took a moment to think, giving her words real consideration that maybe with all the stress and questions floating around, his brain was playing tricks on him, before making up his mind and looking towards her. Zoe seemed a lot closer to him than he remembered her being; he'd been oblivious to the fact that while he'd been telling his story she'd been slowly moving closer. Concern had made her want to be closer. "I'm sure. It's strange but all of a sudden they were so clear and real, like I'd been five just a day ago. Way to clear to be dreams. Also, there's the fact that my mom knew the name too."
Once again silence settled in over the group, each one of them trying to think of what this could have meant.
"Well, that explains why Takuya's the only one who's been getting the strange calls, but at the same time raises so many more questions." Koji had remained silent up until this point while in his head he'd been organizing and studying the information he'd been given. Seeming to have more to say he turned and looked at Takuya. "Now how are you sure this, Kagami, whatever it is, was telling you things about the Digital World? Can you remember what they actually said?"
"Not a word." Takuya quickly replied with a nervous laugh, earning him a quizzical look from the others. "I can just feel it. I can't really explain it but when I think about those memories of listening to the voice on the other end of the line and my own experiences in the Digital World something just clicks, you know."
"The calls coming from the Digital World would also explain how calls were coming through a disconnected cell phone. That's not exactly something normal in this world, but very possible over there." Koichi added to Takuya's claim.
"Okay." Koji had to give him that. A few years ago he might have questioned a statement like that but after everything they'd all been through he understood the power of raw instinct and feelings. "What about everyone else? Do any of you have any memories tied to the Digital World that predate our first trip there?"
Silence once again as they others searched their own pasts, as best they could, for anything. Anything that they could even loosely relate to the Digital World. Something that felt like when they'd first laid eyes on it through the windows of the Trailmon, but there was nothing and one by one they shook their heads.
"So only Takuya." JP remarked, all eyes shifting to the boy in question. "What does it mean?"
"This means that Takuya's had a previous connection to the Digital World that none of us had." Koji said, still oblivious like the rest that they all had a connection to the Digital World that existed before they were even born. "For years it would seem."
"Okay, but why Takuya?" Zoe moved so that her shoulder was pressed up against Takuya. She was suddenly feeling very protective; as if she didn't stick close to him he'd be spirited away at any moment.
"As it is right now it would seem that Takuya's the only one who can answer that." At Koji's words everyone's attention shifted to the boy in question who quickly felt more awkward than he'd felt in a long time. His eyes kept shifting from person to person wishing they'd stop staring at him like the answer was somehow just going to come to him.
"At least let me ask something." A save came from the place Takuya didn't expect when Koji spoke up again. "Do you still feel like you're not in danger, or has that opinion changed in light of this recent revelation?" The last time they'd had a meeting on this subject Takuya and told them he wasn't actually bothered by the strange phone calls, but some new and shocking information had been brought to light today.
"..." Takuya paused to think while everyone just stared at him with bated breath, waiting for his answer. He realized the fact that he'd been contacted by this being, whoever or whatever it was, years before he'd ever been selected by the Digital World was concerning. It should have been concerning. It could mean a whole lot of troubling things. Things that made him question his connection with the Digital World. To question his own memories. But...
"No." He simply replied, getting a slightly shocked response from the group. "I'm feeling a lot of things right now and I have more thoughts floating around in my head than I can handle," he paused to look at Koji, waiting for an insult since he'd set himself up but nothing came so he continued on, "but scared or worried isn't one of them. Well that's not to say that I'm not worried about what this all means, but I just mean I'm not worried about my safety. No more than usual."
"Haa~" Zoe sighed letting her head rest lightly on his shoulder. She really wished he'd take his safety more seriously but at the same time she'd be lying is she said hearing him say that he wasn't worried hadn't been a relief. Somehow whenever he acted confident and brave it made the others feel that way as well.
"Maybe we should discuss this further with Lady Ophanimon?" Speaking for the first time during the meeting Gatomon offered a new avenue as to which to explore. She'd listened to everything from a tree branch above the group, to avoid being seen by passersby since she didn't exactly look like a real cat, and what she'd heard she didn't like. Takuya might have been brushing it off but she felt concerned for her charge, more so that it was a duty Lady Ophanimon had given her.
"It's worth a shot." It was surprising to hear Koichi sound less than optimistic about going to talk to Lady Ophanimon. It would be weird to hear any of them say it that way actually. The divine digital angel was the one they always felt confident turning to for answers when things got tough; and she always managed to come through.
However, recently she'd been coming up a bit short. The strange phone calls had been a persistent problem for her which despite having a long time to research she'd made no progress on. She couldn't even find a way to trace or stop them from coming. And then there was the stuff with the past of the Digital World and possible previous chosen children before them. There was a lot on her plate and none of the answers they were seeking were even close to the realm of easy. It was disheartening but they couldn't blame her.
Calling the meeting over they all headed for Takuya's house to use his computer to access the Digital World. And maybe, hopefully, get some answers.
"Da... da..." A soft voice slowly leaked into Izzy's consciousness, stirring his mind and body until he finally heard it in its completion. "Daddy, wake up."
"Huh?!" Surprised Izzy shot up in his chair. Groggy and a bit confused he began to look around. White plaster walls covered in diagrams, monitors, filing cabinets, and all kinds of different pieces of technology scattered about. It took him a bit to realize he was in his work room in the basement of his house.
"Daddy? Are you alright?" Twisting his head to the side he found himself staring into the dark brown eyes of his daughter's slightly worried face. It would seem that his confused awakening had surprised her.
"I'm fine Chiaki." He smiled warmly at her while patting her on the head comfortingly. "Just a little caught off guard. I didn't remember falling asleep down here." Looking around he'd come to the conclusion that he'd fallen asleep at his desk.
"Mom said that you suddenly hopped out of bed last night saying something about not believing you didn't recognize it before and came down here." She filled him in with a smile.
"Hmm..." Izzy sighed looking down at himself. He was still dressed in his pajama's, robe, and slippers, so he imagined that at some point he'd intended to go back upstairs to bed but had gotten distracted. He also recognized that his wife was probably a bit annoyed with him now.
"So what did you realize daddy?" She leaned over to the side a little and gave him a quizzical look.
"Uhm..." He hesitated for a moment to respond. In a flash he'd remembered what had suddenly dawned on him at 2 a.m. in a dream, but it wasn't something he could discuss with his daughter. At least not right now. "Just something about some code I've been working on." It wasn't a lie, just an omittance of certain facts.
"Okay." She smiled brightly. It would seem that her father was happy about whatever he'd figured out so she was glad. "Oh, by the way, Mr. and Mrs. Kamiya are here to see you."
"What?!" He was surprised by that and quickly tried to search his memory for a reason for their visit. He was pretty sure that he hadn't forgotten some meeting or calling them. "Uhm, okay, sweetie could you send them down here to me?" He still had no idea why they were there but came to the conclusion that it was for the best since he had something good to share.
"Right~" She responded with a happy nod before bounding up the stairs to relay her father's message to the couple standing in the entryway of the house.
"Hmm~" Izzy yawned pushing himself up from his chair and stretching his body. That act drew his attention to his wrinkled pajamas which in turn flooded his mind with embarrassment. He really didn't want Tai and Sora to see him still in his pajama's after noon, so he hurried over to the cabinet under the stairs, pulled out some old slacks and a tee-shirt, and quickly got redressed. It turned out to be just in time as no sooner had he pulled his shirt down over his head than he heard footsteps coming down the stairs.
"Yo, Izzy, you down here?" Tai called out when he reached the bottom of the stairs and didn't see his friend in question.
"Yes." A bit disheveled Izzy emerged from the area behind the steps, kicking his discarded pajamas further to the back so that they wouldn't see them. "I was just... putting some stuff away in the back." The couple seemed to accept that excuse.
However Izzy was still left with a problem. No matter how much he thought about it he was still coming up empty as to why they were there. A fact that was starting to make him feel more and more self-conscious the longer they stared at him, waiting for him to say something.
"You have no idea why we're here, do you Izzy?" After a few moments of silence Tai smirked and spoke up.
"Ah..." Izzy gave himself one last chance to come up with an answer but soon hung his head in defeat and admitted. "No, I don't remember. I'm sorry that I forgot why I called you two."
"Don't tease him Tai. Grow up." With a small smirk Sora elbowed her husband in the ribs, eliciting a low grunt from him. "Izzy you don't remember calling us because you didn't." Relief crossed Izzy's face as Sora continued. "We and the others decided that it was best if we checked in with you every now and then to make sure you're not overworking yourself. And before you say anything, the answer is that we know you and we're your friends."
"Right..." Izzy blushed, realizing they had a point. He also assumed his wife might have had a part in this as well.
"So what you got Izzy?" Tai asked, drawing a perplexed look from Izzy. "Considering you slept down here I'm assuming you had some kind of breakthrough."
Izzy really wondered how Tai had caught on to that fact but decided that it wasn't as important as what he was excited to share with someone. "Over here." He directed them over to his main computer as he took a seat in the desk chair.
"I just noticed it last night." With a few clicks Izzy brought up a plain window of black letters and numbers on a white background; also known as code. "See." Smiling he tapped the screen and turned to look back at the couple.
"Seriously Izzy..." Tai sighed glaring at his friend, his words mirroring Sora's own thoughts. "After all of these years are you still under the misconception that we'd understand that. I mean you've known us for decades and have we once been able to understand code or other things like that?"
"Right... sorry..." A bit embarrassed by his mistake Izzy turned back to the screen. "This is the code of the program that hacked, deleted, and replaced all the footage of the Odaiba camera system and cell phones. Well, what I could find of it since the program was erasing itself when I first found it. This is probably only about twenty-percent of it."
"So, haven't you already shown us this?" Sora recalled from their last meeting.
"True, but it was this part that was bothering me for the last couple days." He pointed to the same lines of code again. "I realized I knew these lines of code, I just couldn't figure out from where. Then it dawned on me last night. I knew who wrote this code."
"Who?" The two asked. Izzy seemed very excited and quite proud of himself all of a sudden.
"I did." He leaned in closer to the screen as if he were admiring it.
"You?!" They were honestly shocked by that announcement.
"Well not all of it, but I did write the code it's based around." Izzy confessed. "I originally wrote this code for pretty much the same purpose it was used for, to help contain the spread of information related to incidents concerning the Digital World occurring in the Real World. Gennai and I used it quite a few times in the past to avoid panic or exposing the Digital World."
"Gennai? You don't think?" The first thought that came to Sora's mind was that it was in fact the digital-man in question who was responsible. Tai seemed hopeful as well.
"No. And for two reasons." Izzy sighed, not wanting to admit that he'd had the same hope last night only to realize after more thought that it wasn't the case. "First, I'm pretty sure that if it was Gennai he would have found a way to contact us long before developing a program like this to cover up digimon incidents. And second, the expansions and improvements on the code seem beyond Gennai's ability. And mine."
"Really?!" Another shocking development. Up until this point they'd all assumed that Izzy and Gennai were the best hackers/programs to ever live, but now Izzy seemed to have questioned that.
"I'm not saying Gennai or I are lacking in skill. In the Real World we could actually program circles around whoever made this. But..." Izzy paused, maybe for effect or to gather himself. "Whoever wrote this coded in exploits and routines that shouldn't work, but do. Things that neither Gennai or I ever thought of because it would require access to powers and abilities within the Digital World that we didn't think possible. Whoever wrote this has what might be unfettered access to the Digital Worlds source code and connection to the Real World... and they know how to use it."
"And before you two ask," Izzy seemed to have guessed their next question and cut them off at the pass, "Gennai nor Azulongmon ever had the amount of access and power required to use this kind of code successfully to the extent it was used in Odaiba."
"..." An awed hush fell over the three as they tried to come to terms with that bit of information. Gennai was one thing but for them to have more access than Azulongmon, who was pretty much a digimon god, that was shocking. And almost seemed impossible.
"So we're looking for someone with more power and control over the Digital World than Azulongmon." Tai absentmindedly repeated, trying to figure out how such a digimon, person, or thing could exist.
Izzy just simply nodded in agreement before he began to scroll down the code further. "I also made another discovery last night. After realizing it was my code I was able to begin sorting out what was my base code and what was added, and that's when..." He hesitated until he reached a section of disjointed code that he'd highlighted, "...I found this."
"This stream of data right here really caught my eye since it wasn't part of my base code or the added code. In fact it wasn't part of the program that hacked the camera system at all." Izzy pointed to the lines of highlighted code like they should have understood it. There was no chance of that and after a few seconds of silent stares from the couple he got the idea and continued on. "It's partially deleted and took me a long time to figure out what it was, but I finally got it. It's a worm."
"A worm." Sora knew enough about computers to know that it was a piece of malware that spread through digital networks, but what surprised her was Izzy's interest with it. "Aren't computer worms a pretty common kind of malware these days?"
"While it's true the typical computer worm's more of a nuisance than an actual problem for today's anti-virus programs. This one is definitely not typical." Izzy turned back in his chair to look at the line of code. "This one's nasty... and impressive."
"Nasty?" Tai questioned, deciding not to address Izzy's awe at what was essential a virus. "Nasty like it's what deleted all the camera feeds in the city kind of nasty?"
"No. No. What I showed you earlier was what did that." Izzy was quick to respond but never took his eyes off the code to do so. "The kind of nasty that lets a program bury itself into the cities camera system without having a direct network connection to it. From what I can tell no program or connection let this thing in, it essentially lived up to the term worm by forcefully burrowing into the system and code. And the worst part is I have no idea how it did it. So like I said, impressive."
"Do you know why it was there?" Tai didn't know a lot about computers but he did know Izzy and if he didn't know, that meant trouble.
"Yes. It was accessing cameras all over the city." Izzy paused to sigh and hang his head a little. "I just can't tell which ones and when, just that it was using the cameras."
"Could it have been the same person... or thing that deleted everything?" Sora and Tai were no longer looking at the screen and were instead staring at Izzy. His mixture of frustration and respect was interesting.
"No. I'm pretty sure they were done by two different people... or beings..." Izzy sounded a little conflicted by his own statement. "The larger program deleted and replaced all the data and recordings in the camera system, but only partially deleted the worm. A worm's no good if its data sticks around in the system as evidence, no matter how hard it was to detect. And this worm had its own suicide program, I can see bits of it in what's left of its code, but it was interrupted by the other program, leaving traces of it behind. It's sloppy. Not something someone this good would do."
"So two different people." Tai stated placing a hand on his chin in thought. If Izzy was sure, than so was he. "Two very skilled hackers broke into the same system at the same time during a digimon attack but neither knew about the other. Sounds worrisome."
"Yeah." Sora nodded in agreement. During their last meeting they'd come to the decision that the deletion was done by the possible new Digidestined, but a new player had suddenly been added with the worm. One that the unconfirmed new Digidestined probably didn't know about. Now she was more worried for them.
"Not at the same time." Izzy's sudden words shook the two out of their thoughts.
"What?" Tai eyed the back of Izzy's head.
"It's true that they were in the system at the same time." Izzy turned in his chair to face them to emphasize what he had to say next. "But they didn't enter the system at the same time. The deletion program was most likely started when the digimon incident started, but the worm was installed days before that. Nearly three days to be exact."
"Did they know what was going to happen?" Tai asked a bit more forcefully than he meant to. He was a little concerned earlier but that had quickly grown upon Izzy's last statement since it implied that someone might have targeted their hometown. Watching it for days. Looking for the perfect time to strike. Or even looking for a specific target.
"That again I don't know." Izzy lowered his head a bit to contemplate that possibility and its implications.
"I guess we're going to need to call another meeting tonight." Sora could see where this was heading. They needed more people on this one; more opinions and ideas. They'd called together meetings for less than this before.
"Yeah." Tai and Izzy nodded in agreement. It seemed like the best solution. Or at least it wouldn't just be the three of them frying their brains with this information.
"Okay. I'll call the kids and tell them we'll probably be home late while you two start calling the others." Sora stated heading for the stairs. She didn't want the boys hearing anything related to the meeting while she talked to them so she decided to go up to the living room while the guys made the calls.
"I don't know if things were more complicated when we were kids or now." Tai sighed reaching into his pocket and pulled out his cell phone and looking up the first contact he needed.
"At least we mostly knew what was going on in the past." Izzy added making a call himself. If there was one thing Izzy hated it was not being in the know. And this was a pretty big thing to be left out of.
*BOOOOM* A sudden explosion ripped through a building, sending chucks of concrete and other debris raining down on the street stories below. The heavy impacts destroyed cars parked in the street, collapsing their frames like they were made of cardboard and bursting their windows in showers of glass, while burning shreds of paper drifted down, blown out from the now gaping hole in the building.
*Crunch Crunch Crunch* From within the burning flames spewing out of the building a shadowy figure slowly began to emerge, each of his steps punctuated by the sound of broken glass underfoot.
In a bright flash the spotlight of a newly arrived helicopter swept across and hole and slowly roses up the shadowy figures legs to reveal...
"Hold on. Hold on." JP suddenly interrupted hitting the pause button on the remote and bringing the movie to a stop.
"Come on JP. They were just getting to the reveal." Takuya let out an annoyed groan in his friend's direction.
"Just a minute. That guy looks human. Isn't this supposed to be a giant monster movie?" JP pointed at the character on the paused screen as evidence.
"What are you talking about? This is an alien movie. That guy's got to be an alien disguised like a human... right...?" Takuya had started off feeling confident about his statement, but from the looks he was getting he wasn't sure now.
"Is it?" JP questioned back trying to think back to what had happened in the movie so far and see if aliens made sense.
"I thought it was one of the buddy cop movies. And he's the big bad criminal they need to take down." Koichi cut in giving the others a slightly confused look.
"No. It's a mystery movie, right? They have to figure out why he did this... I think..." Tommy added his own confused two cents.
"Isn't it a government conspiracy movie?" It was strange for Koji to be confused.
"You mean it's not a romance?" Everyone turned to look at Zoe who only gave them a playful smile in return, obviously she was joking.
"Okay." Smiling a bit Takuya let out a frustrated groan, "I kind of remember the trailers for this movie and they were never very specific, but between the seven of us how does no one know. And for that matter who picked this movie without knowing what it was?"
The six friends and Takuya's little brother Shinya sat around the television giving each other slightly confused looks while two pizza's sat steaming on the coffee table in the center. They weren't worried but at some point some kind of miscommunication had occurred.
"It's a comedy." Everyone turned to look at Shinya who in response held up his phone. "I just looked it up online and it says it's a comedy."
"..." Everyone turned to look back at the screen and one similar thought came to each of them. "How?"
"Now I've just got to see how this plays out." Takuya laughed grabbing the remote and another slice of pizza before hitting the play button, starting the movie once more.
With the movie playing again the talking ended and they allowed their attentions to focus on it. Well, all but one of them. Despite the flashy CG explosions and mystery of when the comedy would factor in Zoe couldn't stop herself from thinking. From beside him on the couch Zoe watched Takuya out of the corner of her eye while milling over what had happened a few hours ago.
*A FEW HOURS AGO IN THE DIGITAL WORLD*
"Concerning..." Was the first word out of Lady Ophanimon's mouth after listening to what Takuya had to say. "I was already worried with the fact that untraceable phone calls where being made to you from the Digital World, but to know that they were being made before you were even a Legendary Warrior worries me even more."
"Like I said, I'm not too worried about it. I don't feel like they have an ill intentions, but it would be nice to know why they're contacting me... and why when I was a little kid?" Takuya tried to calm her concerns. None of them like to make her worry or burden her since she had a habit of overworking herself when it came to them and their needs.
"I know this is probably a pointless question considering we can't even figure out why the calls are coming now, let alone over ten years ago, but do you have any idea why someone might have been contacting him from the Digital World when he was a kid?" Koji and the rest had just been standing around Takuya the whole time listening to his story again while waiting and hoping that Lady Ophanimon had something for them. "I mean what was going on at that time in the Digital World?"
"The short answer is peace. Due to the difference between the Digital Worlds and Real Worlds movement of time ten years ago for you was thousands of years ago for the Digital World." She explained.
The movement of time had once turned months in the Digital World into minutes in the Real World but after the world was reformatted with the children's defeat of Lucemon the time difference had been repaired for the most part. Time in the Digital World still moved faster than in the Real World, but now it was just two times faster than the Real World. It was actually kind of useful for them since it gave them double the time to visit and work there without missing too much time in the Real World.
"At that time Lucemon hadn't turned corrupt and was still taking proper care of the Digital World. It wouldn't be for another couple of centuries before he had to be stopped by the original Legendary Warriors. And after that we three Celestial Angels took over and peace returned." Lady Ophanimon lightly tapped her exposed chin while she further considered the timeline. "That peace lasted until shortly before I created the D-Tectors and called out to all of you."
"That reminds me of something we used to discuss a lot during our first adventure here but never asked you directly." What Lady Ophanimon had said seemed to have sparked a memory within Zoe. She'd grown tired of just being quiet and waiting. Her crush was possibly in danger so she wanted to be of help to him. "Why were we picked? I mean why did you pick us exactly?"
"Well... I didn't." She responded after a pause to the shock of the teens. "I created the D-Tectors and reached out to hundreds of children I believed might be compatible with them and the Spirits, but in the end it was the Digital World that chose all of you. It selected you six the moment you entered it and I have no idea what criteria it used. I just know that it truly picked the perfect children to become the Legendary Warriors. Children if I'd gotten to know beforehand I would have selected myself." Beaming she looked over them, glad to see them smiling back at her, while their past triumphs and deeds ran through her memory.
"So the will of the Digital World picked us." Koichi summed it up and formed another question. "Does that mean that it's just coincidence that one of us who got selected had prior contact with the Digital World? Or was Takuya the only one chosen under different circumstances that us, because he had prior contact? Or did someone or something know that Takuya was going to be picked someday and decided to contact him early?"
"So many causes and reasons..." Tommy mumbled trying to think about it. "But it was good Takuya was picked because we'd have been in a lot of trouble without a leader."
"Speaking of that, we accepted Takuya as leader pretty quickly. Like it was barely a question." JP chimed in, getting an annoyed questioning glare from said boy. "Dude, it worked out for the best in the end. I'm pretty sure we'd have been screwed without you, but I'm just saying that all of us, with the exception of Koji, kind of fell in line pretty quickly."
"Are you saying my leadership skills had something to do with the phone calls I got as a kid?" Takuya continued to glare at him. He had a pretty good self image of himself and his leadership skill were one of the things he was most proud of so he was a bit defensive when they were called into question.
"No..." JP guiltily responded deciding that wasn't a road he wanted to go down.
"Lady Ophanimon?" Koji had long since decided that the current conversation was pointless and chose to interrupt it before it could go on any further. "How did you come up with the idea of the D-tectors?"
"..." That question gave the angel pause to the point which they'd have sworn under that helm she was giving them and herself a perplexed look.
"I mean did you spend time researching humanity and a way to link us to the Spirits?" Koji wasn't too sure where his own questions were leading him, but something about them was nagging at him and begging to be asked.
"In all honesty I never gave it much thought," she paused again to straighten out and stare dreamily at the ceiling of her throne room, "but I just… knew."
"You just knew?" Koji was shocked by her answer and so was the rest of the group. Lady Ophanimon always seemed to be on top of things but had somehow overlooked the design of her, arguably, greatest creations.
"Their design was like a fleeting dream I kept seeing during the days that lead up to Cherubimon betraying us." It almost felt like this was the first time she was admitting that to herself. Taking a few more moments to think and reflect she looked back down at them. "I made many changes to what I saw in those dreams to better suit your needs and aid you in protecting the Digital World. So much so that I can't clearly remember what the devices in my dreams originally looked like."
"Does that mean that it was the will of the Digital World that created the blue print of the early D-Tectors? Or something else?" Koji voiced where they were now left.
"Could their design and Lady Ophanimon's dreams have something to do with the previous chosen children?" Everyone turned to look at Takuya while he looked back over them. "I mean they had to have had a way to combat evil digimon. It might not be a method we know of but we can probably assume it had something to do with a D-tector or whatever they called it."
"Interesting... so you're saying that the visions of the D-tectors Lady Ophanimon had might have been of the original D-tectors used by those that came before us." Koji liked that idea. It was grounded and could explain a lot, but there was one small problem with it. "But if that's the case we still have a huge problem. We don't know anything about them or if they're even real."
"Yet all of the roads are starting to lead back to them." His brother remarked, finishing the sentiment and setting the tone for the days to come.
"And back to the past." Takuya added. "We really need to find some answers."
With that they'd reached an impasse. They tried to discuss other ideas and possibilities but all of that paled into comparison to the first. Eventually they came to the conclusion that there was no more they could do there and decided to head home. For her part Lady Ophanimon promised to double her efforts into researching the past beyond the recorded Digital World, but there hadn't been much hope in her voice. It was starting to look like an impossible task without finding someone who'd actually been alive back then and witness it. And for all they knew such a person or digimon didn't exist.
*BACK IN CURRENT TIME*
"So now all we can do is sit here and watch a movie... which isn't too bad after the day we've all had." Zoe remarked in her head.
Shortly after having returned to the Real World they'd all gotten phone calls from their parents saying that they would be home late. They knew that all their parents were old friends so it didn't seem strange for them to all get together, so they quickly let it go and instead focused on their own evening plans. In the end they ordered pizza, which arrived just as Takuya's little brother returned home, and picked out a couple of movies to watch; one of which they all apparently had no idea what it was about.
"With Shinya here we can't really discuss digimon..." Her eyes shifted to Takuya's little brother seated beside Tommy who was happy to be hanging out with his best friend and his big brothers friends. He would never admit it to Takuya but Zoe knew that Shinya thought his brother was really cool so he really cherished this opportunity.
"...which isn't such a bad thing." The break was actually kind of nice so she decided to capitalize on the good atmosphere by snuggling up beside Takuya on the couch. He didn't react but she felt his body tense a bit and out of the corner of her eyes she could spot a light blush in his cheeks.
"Definitely not a bad thing." And just like that the six Legendary Warriors allowed themselves to get lost in good times and good friends. Taking what peaceful moments they could.
Not all steps can be forward, but at least for today they got to stop and smell the roses.
To be continued...