Disclaimer: I don't own tai and Sora or any other licensed characters. Ok.. Genesis 7.... wow.. This one came out relatively fast... I was intending to make this the second to last episode of the series.. But guess not.. There are at least two more. To borrow a phrase from everyone's favorite homicidal digimon clown (Piadmon) "The cast is assembled.. The stage is now set... it is at long last time to raise the curtain for the final act." I must say I am going to miss genesis when it's done.. But I am looking forward to getting back to my taiora fics... I have some ideas that I am really looking forward to writing. ^_^. This chapter is setting the stage for some major fights.. The lords are going up against the burning dawn.. The empire's true plot revealed.. Needless to say next chapter is going to be a bit on the violent side.. But oh well... I hope you enjoy part 7..
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He listened to the calling of the crowd. They chorused outward in thousands of voices into one great voice. And the voice called for blood. His eyes were closed tightly as he listened to the chanting of the masses. They were cheering for the combatants to make their way to the arena. And as they sang outward with their chant for blood and death Taichi felt a wave of sensations as he digested the situation.
Sora had been taken from him in the night. He was half asleep as he felt the tranquilizer dart embed itself within his leg. As he looked to his right he found that they had fired a dart at Sora as well. She was wobbling weakly as Taichi tried to protect her. yet the drugs were strong, and without the genesis to counteract the paralyzing agent of the darts he was no help.
Tai snarled at himself as he remembered slumping to his knees before Sora who was on the edge of consciousness. They had taken her from him... abducted her... and him for that matter. As he awoke he found himself here within the steel cell that would predate the arena. Apparently they were taking no chances of letting him get away. Evident by the steady glow of the disruption orb which was sitting at the emperor's side overhead. His thoughts were filled with self-hate as he replayed the image of the drugged Sora being pulled from his weak arms. But what truly tormented him was the image of the guard who took her from his arms. Collin...
Tai felt a surge of weakness within him, despite the fact that the drug had worn off. He hadn't protected Sora.. And the one person he trusted at this point was the very person who pulled her away from him. Collin was loyal to the empire, genesis had known this, but to witness it was worse. His betrayal cut deeply. In a effort to draw his mind from the pain of losing Sora and Collin Taichi focused on his surroundings.
The cell was of neo-titanium, it was nothing more complex then a box with a hinged door at front. It was hot against his touch. He allowed himself to see beyond the steely walls to the arena beyond. There was a faint scent of blood on the wind, the faint coppery aroma blended with that of rose petals and the sweet smell of perspiration. The combination was not entirely unpleasant. He pictured the world beyond his cage from memory of previous battles he had witnessed here. It was a large oval-like arena with tall walls to separate the combatants from the crowd. Beyond those Stoney walls was row after row of bleachers where thousands and thousands would be waiting for the show. In the mid-center of the bleachers there would be an elevation which was separate from the crowd. It was upon that incline that ken would be. He would watch from the incline with delight at tai's battle. Most likely the lords would be at his side from their seats.
The question was however: 'where would Sora be?'
Ken most likely would put her in plain sight -guarded by several men with swords to her throat-. She would be in perfect health, dressed in regal attire most likely. But she would be there. Taichi drew his mind away from Sora, for the image of her would draw him back to his failings with her, and right now he didn't want to think of that. His mind would need to be sharp for what was coming... it would be a continuous fight for him- no breaks- as combatants of many types and skills would have their chance to win the prize for his life. Ken would make it a very beneficial victory for them. they would either win their freedom or a place in the empire of great stature.. Perhaps the status of a lord.
Tai became aware that he was naked. Apparently the guards had stripped him of his shredded attire while he was still drugged. As he awoke his mind was still too hazy to identify that he was nude, instead it had focused on the whereabouts of Sora. He glanced into the darkness of the steel coffin only to find clothing folded neatly at the front. He walked to the pile only to find it was his own battle attire. He smiled softly as he retrieved a pair of baggy black pants. He dressed quickly as he flexed his muscle against the tightness of his shirt which was also black. He put on his boots and belt, then began to strap on the various pieces of blackened armor. He was grinning softly as he fingered the breastplate of his armor. To him it was an old friend, a nostalgic relic of days when his life was simple. It fit him well; custom made to accentuate his strong and athletic frame. Then he reached for the final article: his sword.
He was received to find it here. The steel was of better quality than most, it was well balanced, and sharpened. It was a small comfort that ken had not handed him a faulty weapon which would be as good as shackling his wrists together in this fight. Tai withdrew the blade and studied it intently. It was a broadsword, yet not of the gargantuan perportune common to broadswords. It was a thing of beauty to Taichi as he spun the weapon in his grip before stowing it within its sheath at his side. He reached back into his hair, pulling it back from his eyes. The chestnut brown hair was long and flowing, though Taichi liked the look and feel of longer hair he did note that it was a nuisance on more then one occasion, battle being one of such circumstances.
He closed his eyes again and listened to the crowd.
the large briefing room was filled with the words of a frantic and confused group. All the leaders of the burning dawn were assembled for this emergency meeting. They had been briefed as to the current situation with lady Kamiya, and now were locked in a panic for a thousand reasons:
Sora was the figurehead of the burning dawn. She was known as the 'angel of fire' to many, a term given to her by the empire soldiers as a way of describing her appearance of love yet her warlike capacity to burn through forces. This reputation had won them many followers.
She had also rescued many of the knights of the burning dawn herself. Saved them from the various positions the emperor had cast them. she had rescued brothel girls and restored their respect. She had taken in the abandoned and shunned, given them friends and a position of stature.
These were just two of the millions of reasons that Sora was too valuable and loved then to be abandoned to the empire. Most of the generals within the burning dawn had been her friends, the same friends who had seen her when Taichi died. They had witnessed her pain and her perseverance as she dawned the strength to lead them. they could not leave her now.. TK had told them all he knew. All about Sora and about Taichi. The news was like leaping into icy water. As soon as you leap in you are shocked into a paralyzed state by the sudden shock of the frigid waters. While Davis, Cody, Yolie, and a few other of the newer generals handled the news with a respectable amount of acceptance the original digidestined did not. Tai was their hero, their savior. His name had become legend to all occupants of the digital world and to the chosen children. Thus the revelation that he was alive and resurrected in the form of the most powerful being in existence was a massive shock to them.
Mimi had stared off into the darkened expanse of the room, her eyes were silent as she contemplated the news. She had became religious as of late. It was a common side effect for those who were involved in the war. They watched their friends and loved-ones killed in a battle of grueling death. It was all the mind could do for solace to accept that they had ascended to a higher plain.. That their suffering had ended. The result was a strange calmness within the once overactive brunette. She had became the one people turned to for comfort. It was a reaction few of the original digidestined could explain by comparing the two Mimis. She gave off a strange comfort about her, the same sense which a mother can radiate upon a frightened child. It was like Sora in a way. Before the death of tai she was the group's mother, now that she was leader that side seemed more isolated. Though it was there beneath the armor that side to Sora Takenouchi seemed so very far away as of late.
Mimi remained as a statue while TK spoke, yet as he began speaking of rescue missions her hand tightened over izzy's. He glanced to her with a strange expression. He had loved her -for what seemed like- forever. His expression turned to a tender smile as he squeezed back. Between the two was a silent communion in which Mimi was telling izzy that she wanted to help in the effort. He replied with a adamant squeeze of agreement. He truly had grown to love her, to relish every kiss and touch they shared, he had seen Sora regret losing that with tai, he would never pass up an opportunity to hold her within his arms or taste her lips. This fact was evident in the fact that she was the only girl there was who possessed the ability to pull izzy away from his computer. They returned their attention to the voice of Takeru.
"It should be known that Sora would never condone a rescue attempt. I will take full responsibility for this operation.
"We have an opportunity here... ken will be at the arena, as will his lords. The empire will be open to assault by a controlled force. We will be able to get right into the heart of the empire then tear it apart from the inside. A fast attack and rescue operation could cripple the entire empire in minutes." TK began punching keys on the com, the result was the image of the arena flickering on. The diagram showed the location of the emperor's private viewing platform in the arena. A second series of key-taps and the diagram showed a cut-out view that illustrated passages which led to this location and the positions the guards would be stationed.
"As you can see.. The guards are a joke. A hundred at best, easily taken out.. Reconnaissance has shown they will be holding Sora here..." he motioned to a platform several feet away from where the empire.
"But we still have the problem that the lords will be present... the lords are more dangerous then three-hundred guards each. This won't be an easy fight by any means... but I do believe we can win... if we can take out the emperor alone it's worth it..
I'm not anything like lady Kamiya or Taichi.. They're real leaders, heros... but I believe that if we can save them, and eliminate the emperor in the process.. All that we've done will be worth it.. All the sacrifices.. All the death... it could all end if we do this one thing right. If we move on this now we could end this war. And maybe we could get back some of what we've lost.
He motioned to izzy who gave Mimi a final squeeze as he took his place in front of the precession.
He gave a faint smile to them as he cleared his throat in a manner that seemed more for drama then necessity.
"Based on the tactical analysis of the arena ground plan I have devised a series of attack locations for optimal efficiency." he paused as he noted Davis' blank expression. He continued on a more simple topic. "We have a problem... it is possible that if ken is able to escape, -or get out word- He could have all prisoners and laborers killed. It is within the realm of possibility that he would lash out at us one final time if he thought we had won. Thus we will have to make a three pronged attack:
the first objective is the rescue of Sora and tai..
The second is the assassination of the empire and his lords...
The final objective is to liberate all enslaved people within the empire's labor division can do part of that with a computer virus. But frankly I'm not willing to trust their lives to just that. I plan to lead a small assault team to free them. I'll be taking some of the C-class tech operatives, since they aren't as useful in a serious combat situation but would be able to assist us in a simple offense."
"But izzy... you're people aren't combat certified.. We should be sending field operatives" Kari interjected, yet was silenced as he turned to face her.
"You're right.. But do you think you're ready to take on the four most power digital humans and a emperor who is capable of tapping in on the genesis force with even less battle trained fighters? Don't worry Kari." he grinned. "In my day I was pretty proficient as a field agent..."
He smirked as he recalled the days gone by where he was fighting right alongside Sora. Izzy had always longed for the excitement of the fight.. Perhaps it was the way tai had described it to him.. The thrill of the fight. Thus in the first battles of the burning dawn he had fought as a general. It was as tai described it. He could feel the blood pumping with a new ferocity that he had never known from line of code. After he retired from the hard life of a fighter he was filled with bittersweet emotion.
On one hand he would give up a part of himself he loved, a part that linked him to his friend tai. He would cast off the thrill and feeling of life that had come to empower him. But when Mimi had agreed to become his wife. He knew that he couldn't start a real life with her if he was so ready to jump into a situation he may die in... in the end chose love over adventure, as he knew Taichi would have done given the same chance with Sora. But he still heard the call baying to him from across the threshold of the lab. He could feel the all-too familiar need which possessed him still, though pushed aside.
"Frankly, this operation is nothing to what the primary force is going to have to do. The tactical plan is a simple one. The strongest of our generals will engage the lords. We do not encourage revenge, your loyalties are to the team, not specific lords you want revenge on.." he trailed off as he shuffled a file within its folder.
"But.. I feel that certain individuals are better suited to various opponents. Now if these designated targets happen to be someone you want to kill for personal reasons.. That's purely coincidental..." izzy gave a soft grin. He knew that half the reason each of them was here was because they had a score to settle.. And though he feared he would send them to their graves by allowing them to take on their own nemesis in this battle... he wouldn't deny them the chance for justice... he recalled the images of his parents-dead and twisted- under the wreckage of their home. Had he known who was responsible for putting them there, he would have hunted them to the ends of the earth. He couldn't deny them that right...
"Here's the line-up. Now remember that this is only a base plan, if you get a chance to put a sword through the emperor's back at any junction... do it.
But basically here is your designated targets"
"You will forgive my rudeness koshiro, but I will be dealing with Grendle. The honor can only be restored to my family if I purge his evil." Cody spoke in his shrouded voice with such authority that izzy was forced to simply sigh in defeat and nod in agreement. It was pointless to argue with an assassin, despite the fact that he had already decided that Cody would be dealing with his grandfather.
"Kari... your sorcery based power is the closest we have to match Dayus's abilities.. I know you don't like to kill, but you are the best we have to terminate him."
"Actually I wanted him... he tortures innocents for fun.. I don't like killing some people, but for him... I'll make an exception...."
"Kari..." TK whispered softly as he stroked her hand.
"Remember what I told you before? I'm tired of being protected... I can actually do some good here.. I know you want to keep me safe... but.. I need you to have faith in me." he softened sadly.
"Hope is faith... I've always had it in you.." the scene was cut by the cold and monotone voice of izzy.
"TK... sorry to interrupt, but at best we have two hours before deadline we need to get the briefing over as soon as possible. Takeru... aside from lady Kamiya you are our strongest fighter. You possess a considerable capacity for light elemental attacks.. As-well as a proficiency with a sword. This combination makes you one of our better choices to..." he was cut off.
"You want me to fight Sephiroth don't you?" he replied coldly.
"Well.. Yes..." he replied dumbly.
"I suppose it's time I stopped running from the past, and face it." he said in a voice of icy clarity as he swiftly rose to his feet. His features were rigid and devoid of mirth with a suddenness of water freezing to sheets of ice. He transformed from the TK they knew to a Takeru known by his enemies-darkened and menacing.- Only against creatures of darkness was he made to this form of sheer Stoney wrath. And this rigid posture was now result of the name of Sephiroth.
"Takeru... What was that supposed to mean? Do you have some information about Sephiroth which I don't?" curiously he probed, yet TK was already making his exit. Kari cast a sad smile to him as he turned away.
"It's nothing that concerns you koshiro... this is a family matter."
he disappeared behind the darkened threshold leaving many blank expressions. Izzy's eyes slowly opened more widely as the implication of his words hit. He mearly breathed out a muffled "oh my..." testament to his ability to absorb information and maintain a rational disposition izzy was able to continue with his briefing with no delay.
"Davis will take lady kale. I know you want the emperor himself, but we need to remove the lords first. With Sora missing in action we are undermanned, thus you will need to pick up the slack.
If the opportunity arises, rescue Sora and genesis.. But that is not top priority. Neither of them would want you to make them first and the fight second priority. It's sad but true. Lady Kamiya would never condone passing up an opportunity to end this nightmare... thus she is second priority. Plus... if I know Sora or tai they will not be sitting there helpless. I'm sure that when we first attack they'll seize the opportunity..." he paused as he observed the serious expressions on each of their faces. They were pale as they contemplated the recent turn of events. After years of war they had reached a moment when it could all end. The years of blood and torture, the screams in the night, the experimentation, the fear... it could all end in one decisive moment. This knowledge was clear to each of them as they contemplated a life without war... they could actually regain some air of normalcy.
"Joe, Mimi.... you will be acting as field medics. Odds are you'll be more busy then any of the rest of us..." he was grim as he said it, for it was clear that this plan would have consequences. And as he studied the faces of his friends -family- he couldn't help but wonder exactly how many of them would live long enough to see this new world they were creating.
It had been a half hour since the briefing. Now was the time of preparation for both battle and if need be.. Death. Now was the time for checking your weapons for readiness- loading your guns and putting a final sharpened edge on your swords and daggers- it was a time for those who preyed to make peace with god. It was also the time some soldiers made love to their wives and girlfriends, each haunted by the idea that it may be the last time they could. There was an eerie calm in the air as each man made his final preparations for battle. Yet in Davis and Yolie's room the calm was broken by a snarling fight shared between the two.
"You are not fighting!!" Davis bellowed in a snarling roar.
"Like hell I'm not!" she snapped back at him
"Come on li... you are a intelligence officer not a fighter!"
"Damn you Davis listen to me!" she screamed in rage as she pushed him away from her. his eyes were wide as they fell upon her own. her soft eyes were shimmering with tears as she snarled at him with a combination of a growl and a whimper.
"Davis, my family is in that slave camp." she whipped the tears from her eyes with a low shuddering murmur.
"Li.. Izzy can save them without you.. You don't need to go. They'll be ok." he tried his best to comfort her with his voice as it was clear she would be more then likely to punch him in the eye if he tried to put his hands on her right now.
"I can't count on that Davis.. I have to be there for them." he opened his mouth to speak but was silenced by her sharp gaze.
"You are a real wuss Davis! You think it's scary going off to battle? Try staying home once while someone you love goes off to die. I have to live with that each day. Live with the idea that you may not come home this time. You know what? I'm sick of it! Sick of the whole damn thing!" Davis was shaking visibly as she spoke. He was terrified that she would leave him now. It was strange to him that she had been so un-wanted in the beginning, yet now that he was on the verge of losing her... she seemed so precious.
"Davis I hate you sometimes! But usually I hate myself more! How the hell did I fall in love with someone like you!?! you're rude, a real jerk sometimes, stupid, spoiled, you only care about getting revenge on the emperor, obnoxious, annoying, sweet, kind, loving, strong, dependable, handsome, trustworthy...." she faded off as her voice tremored with tears which welled from within and leaked from her eyes.
"I hate you because you only care about killing the emperor and that you're probably going to die doing it.. I hate it that you're so ready to give up everything for him... so ready to give up me for him." Davis managed to pull himself from his stupor and take her into his arms. She didn't strike him as he had feared - simply cried against his chest-.
"Revenge is all you live for Davis.. And when ken is dead you won't want to live at all.. So please don't deny me the chance to get my family back before I loose you." she cried against his chest, causing a surge of emotion from Davis. He felt a throbbing pain in his heart- the same pain he felt when jun was taken away. He realized now that he did truly love her. for all their fights, he was officially head over heels in love with her.
He drew his lips to her ear. "Yolie... maybe I have something else to live for besides revenge."
Their eyes met in a soft communion.
"I loved you from the first day moron." she grinned tearily against him.
"I loved you from the first time you insulted me... brat." he smiled
he whipped the tears from her eyes, then padded across the room to retrieved something from a large wooden chest. Yolie looked at him with question. From within the darkened expanse of the chest he withdrew a bundle of both fabric and armor. It was bundled neatly- very uncharacteristic for Davis.
"This was the first armor I wore when I cam here.. Guess I was saving it for posterity. But I think it's about your size. If you're going to be stupid enough to go fight might as well look like a fighter." he smiled softly as he separated each of the articles. He grinned warmly as Yolie turned her back to him and pulled away her shirt.
Davis was blushing madly as he slipped the black spandex undershirt over her. it took every last ounce of self control he possessed, but he was able to get the shirt over her without sneaking a peek. putting on armor is usually a difficult task alone. It requires a seemingly impossible series of straps and locks in the most impossible locations. Yolie had gotten into the habit of putting his armor on for him. It was an act of tenderness between them as she carefully strapped the steely shell over his chest and arms. Now the act was turned to her as she allowed Davis to attach the gear that would protect her. The black spandex body-suit hugged curves that made Davis subconsciously wipe nonexisting drool from his lips. He was tender with her as he gently fixed her hair away from her face. In the end as he stared at her in his old armor.. He definitely thought she looked better in it then he did.
"Would you have a problem with it if I switched places with izzy? I'm still not crazy about you going in there without someone with a bit of experience.."
"You would give up your chance with the emperor for me?"
"You were right, if I live only for hatred, then when ken dies.. I die too. Plus I kinda would like to meet your parents, you know, see if it's genetic." he grinned
"And what is that supposed to mean? I have some kind of genetic disorder?" she quipped.
"I don't know if being annoying is a genetic problem. Hope it isn't for our kids' sake"
"And who says I would breed with you, moron?" she laughed as she kissed him.
" hour and a half before we need to be at the rendevous point...."
"Lets not waste any time then." Yolie grinned broadly
"I suppose I should be honored.... getting such a nice view of the arena. I hear people pay thousands for a seat half as good as mine. Plus, to be escorted by such a distinguished usher..." Sora spoke in a tone that was more the result of uniting a drunk's rambling with the hateful growl of a feral animal.
"Would you please stop referring to me as an usher.... I am sovereign over this entire world." ken growled as he lead her and several armed guards down the stone walkway to the alcove where Sora would be held. She had been dressed in her traditional battle attire which had been confiscated in genesis' chamber.
"Like hell you are.. You're just a spoiled child who has no grip on life and what it is to be human. I have watched digimon rip the still beating hearts from their prey, then eat it, but they are more human then you emperor. I have watched a clan warrior gnaw himself free of a building which crashed over him. He chewed off his arm, at the elbow. But once he was free, the animal took over. He ate his arm after he pulled it out.. But he was more human than you, because I cannot blame an animal for acting like an animal. You emperor... you are a human.. Yet there is no humanity in you. In the end -lord of plague- you'll be sovereign of hell." she smiled darkly at him in a manner that made him pale.
"That's the tranquilizers talking.. We gave you the same dosage as genesis. Saved time. It was hardly strong enough to knock him out... but for you... it's just like being very drunk. You don't know what you're saying." he replied stolidly
"Look into my eyes ken..." he did out of curiosity. They glowed with luminescent flame, the same as the sun burns within the last throws of sunset.
"I am completely lucid. You've done evil things, things that are no longer forgivable. There is only one person in this world who still loves you. You are making him fight to the death. But you won't have tai's life on your conscience, because he will survive.
But in the end... will even he mourn your death? This world won't. You're lords will be dead, your slaves freed. Intelligence shows you have no family... so tell me sovereign of sorrow, who will miss you when you die?" he stared at her darkly as he studied her features. He could have her killed right now.. Have her neck broken. Have her burned to death. Torture her to the point she wouldn't know her own name. He could even rape her as a means to show her exactly who had power over who. But inspite of all this -she was un-afraid-. His voice turned hateful as he began to growl out words.
"Tell me lady Kamiya, or lady Sora Takenouchi, or whatever the hell you want to be known as. Do you remember the world before me? How it was?
You're a pretty girl.. A girl like you couldn't walk down the street at night without being mugged, beaten, raped, then murdered. The world was on the verge of death.. I gave it order and purpose again.
The digital world.. It was a place of savage beasts. They hunted and killed like animals. The strong fed upon the weak. The virus shredded the data and vaccine with the same care a lion shows for the lamb. It was hell.. I made it civilized....
Humans have stopped evolving. They just sit there, comfortable in their technology, and their medicine. The old live long enough to pass on their weak genes. The sick can have children and pollute the gene pool. By merging the worlds I forced us to evolve. And once I finish the job, we will all be united in perfection.."
"And what would we be evolving into, something like you? A cruel and merciless man, one who is incapable of feeling or knowing what it is to be human? Are you the measure of perfection? Because if you are what we are genetically predisposed to become... then I feel real pity for the whole fucking species." Sora spat.
"You have no idea the scope of my dream for this world!" he snarled. Sora smiled softly as she reveled in the fact that she had pushed him past his cool demeanor.
"'Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.' That's what you're making for us... A nightmare. A world where there is only death and slavery. You're a fool emperor!" Sora reeled backward as his hand collided with her face. He was pretty strong for his position. One wouldn't think that a diplomat would be strong, but this one was. She smiled softly as she traced the blood on her lips with her tongue. It hurt, but it was just pain.. She smiled softly as she stared up at him.
"I am not a fool! I am a genius! Never call me that, or I swear that I will slit you open and hang you from a wall!!"
"For such a genius you are so stupid... I know whatever you are trying to do involves tai. You're so gun-ho about him fighting. That means you need the genesis for something. But he won't fight if I am dead... tai would end his life the second he knew...
You're depending on him...
You are weak emperor... you are dependant on tai.. And now you are dependant on me..." ken stared blankly at her.
"Feel it bastard.. The powerlessness... if I rush you now.. The guards would have to use those shotguns to kill me. They would end my life to save yours. But if tai saw that I wasn't there in that arena.. He would let whoever you pit him against kill him. And if he dies.. You loose. You suck as a planner... you stink of desperation.
I don't pretend to comprehend what you have in mind... but you are so afraid that if things don't go perfectly... you won't get your prize...." ken was silent as she looked at him with a dark smile upon her pink lips.
"But don't worry.. For the time being I don't want to die. Oh, don't get me wrong.. I am prepared to give my life for this world. I would just prefer to get to live with Taichi after this ends. I want to watch you when you realize who you're dealing with... who Taichi Kamiya is...
He is a great man. A leader.. And in the end he will win. He'll beat you emperor.
But in the mean time... I want you to know that all of your dreams for perfection over us.. They are crap. I could topple your plans right here and now... you are powerless ken... and the fun thing is... you know it." she smiled cutely as she spat in his face. His eyes were wide with both hatred, rage, and helplessness as he whipped the blood and spit from his face. He was helpless.. And he did know it....
"Now.. Lets get moving... I don't want to miss seeing tai beat the crap out of the people you set up for him to fight."
She began walking as ken remained staring at her with bubbling rage. His eyes were burning with cold fire as he watched her walk away.
"Have your fun bitch... I'll have mine soon enough..."
For as long as he could recall the emperor had possessed a limitless fascination for life's many sciences. The magics of fate and of existence were not found within the ivory page of a theology book, they were instead housed within the volumes of a reference book. Science was the true key to the fates, the real magic. And to the young emperor it was his magic.. A force of suck divine power, which existed only for him.. He had studied mathematics, physiology, psychology, biology, anatomy, chemistry, the digital sciences, and genetics. The field of genetics is where he truly saw potential. For all life was based here.. In the cell all life begins. From the solitary nuclei the fire of life explodes and grows forth as in a frenzied pace. It was here that ken found his first passion.. The passion that comes from the power of a god.
They were the Saurians.. A race born of the emperor's hand. They had been an experiment on base genetic composition from human to dramon DNA. The original intent was to create a super-soldier, an animal with the strength of one of the strongest classes of digimon combined with the mind of a man. Grendle was classified as a saurian, yet he was diverged from the rest of his race. The Saurians began with an intelligence comparable to Grendle, yet within a week of creation they began to devolve into savage beasts. It was never known why Grendle was able to remain sentient, though he had confided that the urge to digress was a great one. He could feel the desire to be savage within himself, yet he managed to maintain discipline enough. They came to be known as the regressives, Saurians who hungered for battle, and for death. The project was halted immediately due to the fact that a race of killer Grendles would be enough to put the empire itself into jeopardy. But there were benefits to having a race of semi intelligent Grendles who lusted only for the savage delights of a predator: to hunt and kill, to eat and drink, and to mate. What drew them to the arena was the first delight of the predator, to kill.
the doors creaked out in a steely cry. The sound of metal scraping on metal was enough to cause your jaws to involuntarily grind teeth to enamel. The steely box was slowly opening for him. First a small beam of radiant life, then a larger beam. The day outside was bright -no cloud in sight-. It was perfect for the events of the day. Blood-sport was best enjoyed on a cheery day... the sun would really illuminate the splash of red as a man fell. Taichi had moments when he questioned the specie's right to survive. But then again he thought to Sora. She had offered him a light with which he could view the creature human.
He had seen the race of man for so long as a creature of perverse delight, yet Sora showed him something more. He recalled aries -the sweet little girl from the flower shop-. He saw that in some ways people did deserve extinction... but in others there was hope... TK. He was a face remembered now. A boy who was innocent once... a boy who didn't deserve this life of despair. Kari. She was blood; his blood, yet he could not look upon her yet. He had done too much to be granted the right to look upon his sister again.
Taichi. The boy who had been a martyr. Then a lover. Then a destroyer. A gladiator now. Then..... Perhaps... a savior. He had been a hero once, long ago. Perhaps it was time to reclaim that right. He stepped forward from the confines of the dark box of steel into the blinding light of day.. Into the arena.
The air was hot that day, flavored with a thousand smells and sounds. As tai stepped from the threshold of his steely coffin he closed his eyes. He had been in darkness so long that he had to adjust to the day again. The crowd exploded with cheer as he came to view. The blackened armor he wore glistened in the day like polished onyx. As his eyes adjusted to the scene he felt the soft touch of flower petals against his skin. -common practice to glamorize the experience for the crowd.- He studied the petals as he looked up to his opponent.
The saurian stood before him like a statue of marble. It was huge-twice the size of a man- covered in muscle and armored scales. He had a pair of glowing white eyes, which radiated outward in a hellish effect. He was different from Grendle. While Grendle had blackish scales, this creature had a beautiful assortment of blueish-green. His head was crowned with a long assortment of horns. He resembled a triceratops of prehistoric origins, yet this was no dinosaur. His body was a massive conglomeration of muscles on muscles. They bulged outward intimidating. He wore no shirt or armor on his upper body. Just his bear 'chest' which was colored with a pale milky blue hue. He was tattooed with various blackened tribal designs.
He roared with fury as he looked upon tai, and as he did, his long beaked snout opened to reveal a vast collection of wickedly sharp fangs- like the ferocious incises of a baboon-. He held his weapon in his two catcher's mitt-like claws. It was a sword, designed for use only by the Saurians. entirely because no human could dream of lifting a weapon like this in battle. The blade was the size of a man- long and razored- it would weigh a ton- and should it come crashing down on you in battle, no armor could keep you from being split open like the shell of a peanut.
The voice carried over the cheering with a great magnitude: "Children of the empire! Today I give you vison as to the fate of a traitor! Here we have the genesis knight.. My own brother! He betrayed us for her!" ken motioned to lady Kamiya who stood upon the walkway at the imperial terrace. She made no gesture- just looked down at Taichi-. She was beautiful. Her hair was flowing wildly in the winds of the high altitude. All were silent as she spoke.
"People who thirst for freedom! I implore you to watch! This boy is Taichi Kamiya, rightful leader of the burning dawn! Look upon him, and the emperor! He is being made to fight and kill to save lives... this is the work of the empire! I beg you to see just how horrible this is! The death and carnage. It is not genesis who is responsible for this! It's the emperor! See him for what he is! A monster!" she was cut short as the butt of a shotgun crashed against the back of her head.
Tai leapt forward, vet stopped as she regained her composure-unhurt-.
"Hello Collin... nice shot there." Sora growled as she rubbed her head in pain.
"Watch your mouth, I am still an Imperial soldier. If you make me.. I will keep you under control." he replied coldly. Tai stared at him with darkened eyes...
"SEE THE FATE OF THOSE WHO FIGHT THE EMPIRE!!" ken snarled out in a roar as he motioned to the fighters.
The saurian bowed to him with a reptilian hiss. " I am Drego Of the Raptor clan. I sssssshall sssshred thissss human assss proof of ssssaurian power!"
Taichi was motioned to face the emperor. He spat at the ground before him.
"I am Taichi Kamiya, of the Burning Dawn...
why I fight and who I fight for are none of your damn business. You put us here for your amusement... to see just what a digidestined can do... well keep your eyes open brother... I have something to show you." he smirked.
"Are we ready?"
"No... our forces are not in optimal position yet. We have to wait until all our people are in the perfect position to preform a fast assault." the radio replied.
"Damn it.. We may not have time. Get a move on!"
the saurian lunged forward. His fangs were beared in a feral war cry as the massive blade swung like a massive guillotine. The sheer force of the swing would make blocking impossible. The force would slice through a sword like tin. Taichi leapt backward as the edge nearly raked through his rib-cage. He leapt backwards with great agility as the dragon leapt forward. He was strong. He could compensate for the blade's momentum with little effort.
Tai leapt aside again as the weapon slashed a deep cut in the sandy arena floor. Like the foam from the ocean waves a mist of sand flew through the air as the saurian continued his bombardment. Tai growled darkly as the weapon cut a gash in his arm. God it was sharp. His arm began to bleed freely as he sidestepped another series of lunges. He snarled hatefully at tai as the boy avoided another onslaught of wide swings and deep thrusts. He leapt away with a graceful back-flip. His cloak flew at his side like black wings of some dark angel.
"DIE HUMAN!!!" it snarled as it leapt for him. The creature was not with wings.. Though his movements almost gave the illusion of flight. His weapon was held overhead in preparation for a great downward stroke. Yet that presented an opportunity.
Tai shot forward like a demonic rocket fired from hell. He rushed the great dragon with speed matching his adversary- then surpassing him. The dragon saw this and prepared to strike him down early, yet he was too slow. As the massive saurian brought the weapon down, Taichi pivoted to one side of the massive creature. And as he passed by his razor sword traveled against the bluish green side of the dragon man. The wound was not fatal, but it was enough to throw off the movement of the swing. The dragon screamed in rage as his sword embedded itself within the ground.
As he was off balance, Taichi spun around and buried the weapon within the creatures shoulder. The dragon howled in agony as the neo-titanium blade rendered his arm immobile in agony. With a great heaving blow the dragon relinquished his blade in favor of his arms. With a demonic burst of strength he spun around- swatting Taichi away like an insect-.
He rolled away in pain. His arms were tucked around him to hold his throbbing ribs. The sword was still embedded within the creature's back. And from the position where the silvery weapon was entrenched within the animal's muscle he bled freely. He was still stunned by the pain as he staggered about the sandy foreground. Taichi managed to stand- though somewhat wobbly- grinning broadly. This was heaven for him.. He could feel the adrenalin run through him like a drug he had given up for too long. All of life's tribulation and confusion makes more sense in battle. It was as though when he fought he reclaimed something within him. Something was drawn closer with each fight he undertook.
Ken paled as he noted the feral grin upon the boy's lips. His gaze turned to Sora who had turned to face him. She smiled darkly as she mouthed out: "this is just the beginning of what tai can do...."
Taichi stared at the creature as he wiggled in pain-trying to free the weapon from his back. Their eyes met in a silent understanding. The dragon dropped to all fours in a catlike manner while Taichi as well got lower to the ground in a strange animalistic manner. Then as if there was a shot they both took off for one another. Taichi met the creature midway in the field. The dragon's jaws tried to snap off Taichi's head, yet as they were about to close over him his hands shot upward and gripped his jaws between the fangs. The creature was shocked by the attempt, but far more-so by the fact that he was able to hold the jaws in place. The dragon's usable claw shot to tai. He embedded his talons deep into the boy's shoulder-drawing more blood-. The creature writhed against him as tai's hands began to heave at the jaws. Pulling them open wider and wider...
The animal struggled against tai as the boy pulled harder. His tail wrapped around Taichi's leg as an anaconda would attempt to asphyxiate its prey. His claw dug deeper into his shoulder. Yet now the pain was by no means discomfort able. It was one step further into the thrill of the fight for tai. The creature began to struggle less fiercely as tai continued prying his jaw backwards.
Then the struggle ended in a hideous 'snap'. The animal slumped to the ground as a bag of concrete would fall to the earth. Tai glanced down to him, then knelt.
The Saurians remained in stillness so complete that he looked to be a great blueish stone upon the earth. His jaws hung open at an unnaturally wide grin.. The teeth glistened in the sunlight as sunbaked bones would radiate up from the sands. From the corner of his mouth his red tongue lolled against the sandy floor. Tai was gentle as he touched the slightly blood soaked muzzle. He wasn't bleeding deeply, but the blood was disturbing to view. Tai stroked his brow with gentle movements, then closed his gaping jaws back to a more normal posture.
"You fought well Drego.. You were a true warrior, you fought well... now you may die in peace." he rose up from the corpse of the dragon and took hold of the hilt of his blade. With a great heave he was able to wrench his sword from the dragon. He stood up and cast a darkened glance to his brother.
" He did that without using the genesis force.... emperor... surly we must eradicate him now!" Sephiroth snarled.
"You're wrong Sephiroth... he's using the power as we speak."
"What!?! you sent him in there knowing he was still able to use that power!?!" he gaped.
"The neutralizer is working.. His body has just begun to use the power in conjunction with his human side. The weakening effect of the genesis strain is directly result to his two sides clashing. Basically what I have done is similar to wearing an eyepatch to increase the power of that eye's vision. By forcing him like this.. I have bonded the genesis to Taichi... " ken smiled darkly as tai looked up to him with hatred.
"Why would you make him even more formidable?" lady kale gaped as she studied his dark expression.
Ken chuckled simply as he stared down at Taichi. His dark hair danced in the hot winds of the burning sun. he was calm-devoid of emotion beyond his dark spectrum of humor-. His eyes danced with demonic glee as he studied Taichi. The blood upon his brother's face was strangely exciting for him. The blood glistened as ruby against his bronze flesh. It was as if the blood were anointing ken into higher avenues. He smiled softly.
"It's time for the next act.... kill lady Kamiya.... and make sure he watches you do it..."
"We need to act now!" Takeru snarled into his com as he watched lady kale begin drawing closer to Sora. The blond was cloaked within the darkness of the shadowy outcropping of the arena. He was hidden from site.. Yet this perfect location offered him a very good view of the activity in the arena and above it. Ken was sending lady kale to kill Sora.... the woman smirked mercilessly as she drew closer and closer to their leader. Lady Kamiya looked to her with cold comprehension that she was being sent to end her life.
" This is izzy. We aren't in ideal position yet, but you may preceded with your assault at your own discretion." the radio replied in a slightly static-distorted voice.
"We're out of time koshiro.. I am implicating the assault now, try to catch up..." he replied as he returned the radio to its place upon his belt. TK threw up his black cloak -revealing the full battle armor-. He turned to face the four men behind him. Casting a quick nod of his head to signal them. without a word spoken to advertise their presence, each of the men pulled back their cloaks and reached to their feet where the weaponry was carefully concealed. They were utterly silent as they heaved the large rocket-launchers upon their shoulders. The weaponry was exceptionally large- as to accommodate for the recoil these weapons would cast out-.
Izzy had taken great care into the construction of these heavy weapons. They were for use against heavily armored targets, but the massive destruction would definitely prove useful now - on a less armored target. The long cannon-like appendages pushed outward as the rockets were loaded into the chambers. Each was a single shot weapon, thus aiming was crucial. These four soldiers were among the more gifted marksmen in the burning dawn's elite-core.
The rockets were 'hybrid-tech' as izzy called it. A mixture of digimon and human technology. The housing of the projectile was of pure human design. The core of each rocket was however of digimon origin. Izzy had studied the technical schematics for machinedramon. The power core he relied upon was quite volatile -as seen by his Giga-cannon attack- thus he simplified the fusion system to a more portable model. It was five times more deadly then a rocket of its size would be without the fusion reactor.
"Ok.. I want a good spread of destruction over the entire area. Don't try to take out the emperor or the lords.. We need them separated... so focus more on plastering the entire structure..." TK spoke softly to his shooters.
"Yes sir." they chorused out as TK stepped aside.
"On a three count..." TK began to make gestures as he counted down. The thought kept repeating within his mind... 'was today the day?'
"It looks like it's time to settle things Kamiya...." lady kale smirked venomously as she continued closer and closer. She was ten feet away as her heat rod began to radiate with brilliant fiery reds. The weapon rose up and extended as a scorpion's tail would in preparation for striking down it's prey.
"Don't touch her!!" tai's voice roared as both of the women turned to find him clawing his way up the Stoney wall. He was less human then before.. The genesis was helping him as he scuttled up the wall with great speed. His muscles were throbbing as he managed to scale the structure before the guards would be able to get to him. With one final heave, he was able to make his way to the elevation Sora and kale were at. The four guards looked wide-eyed as they saw genesis mearly feet away from them -thoroughly pissed off-. They were frozen in place as they looked upon him. He was hurt... but still beyond dangerous. Collin stared at him for a moment as he prepared his combat-shotgun.
He would handle this like a real soldier..
Not a real friend..
He never got the chance...
Taichi turned, only to find ken staring at him with a dark gleam in his eyes. A moment of silence passed between them before Taichi noticed the revolver in the emperor's hand. He glanced up at ken with a look of question - only to have that question answered with three sharp shots from the weapon point-blank into Taichi's chest.
"Tai!?!" Sora screamed as he began to fall backwards into the arena. Ken didn't get the chance to cast a single grin over his victory as tai's hand shot forward -gripping him at the neck-. The emperor's eyes widened as he felt himself pulled downward along with tai. The two fell backwards into the gaping mouth of the arena below.
Sora's scream was drowned out by the roar of the explosion as the missiles collided with the platform in a great wall of fire and debris. She was vaguely aware as the lords leapt out of the path of the blast. She barely saw lady kale as the force of the blast threw her in the opposite direction. All was still and slow as she surveyed the happenings.
Taichi landed hard amidst the sandy arena floor. Yet he didn't fall limply, instead he rolled to a kneeling position upon the carpet of sand. He was hurt.. But not dead. Sora frantically tried to think where he had been shot.. Tried to recall if the blasts had sung out against steel armor. Or 'plopped' within soft skin. She couldn't remember...
He didn't move from his position.. Yet though she was afraid he may be near dead.. She knew he was not. It was a strange sensation for her. on some level she knew he would be alright. Not completely sure that she could depend on this recent flash of premonition she did want to run to him.. To confirm his health... but she knew this was not likely.. All hell was breaking loose, and she would have to take charge of the situation to assure that it didn't end up killing them all.
Sora sprang to action as she lunged for the front guards shotgun. She managed to wrench it from his grip, then spun the barrel to his face. The guard didn't have time to react before his head was blown off amidst a shower of buck-shot. He fell to the ground with a splash of crimson as Sora spun around -driving the muzzle of the weapon hard into the second guard's temple. The force of the impact threw him downward to the floor in a great heap of unconscious flesh.
Her action was so fast that it dazzled the remaining guard. With a fast pump of the gauge she loaded a new shell into the chamber. The guard frantically tried to pull his own weapon to position, yet was ultimately to slow. Sora held her weapon at hip as she squeezed off another blast. The final guard was thrown backwards as though a invisible giant had punched him. He landed several feet away on the Stoney ground. He didn't move.
She was prepared to run for the door to her left -just several feet away- but was halted as the barrel of the automatic was placed to her temple. Collin stared at her darkly as he contemplated life's bitter humor. He had liked Sora.. And tai... but in the end it would be him who would do the deed. Ending their love and her life. And should genesis find him.. Ending his own life.
"You were good.. But you forgot about me..."
"You're so ready to betray tai? He was your friend Collin.. I was your friend." she replied motionlessly.
"I am an imperial soldier... I may not like it.. But it's what I am..."
"It doesn't have to be... you could..."
"Join the burning dawn..? not likely..."
"But why not?" she questioned
"Because I've run from things long enough...
first my parents when I left home and traveled across the world to study here..
Then Shannon.. In the end she was in so much pain it was hell. You know how they show cancer in the movies? That's bullshit! She was in agony the whole time.. Puking blood... Kemo...." he paused.
"In the end I ran.. I wasn't there when she died. I just couldn't look at her like that. She died without me there!" tears were streaking his hateful eyes.
"Now I am part of the empire... I am not running again! I will not betray the vow I made to serve ken. I won't run from this like I have run from every hard situation in my life!" he snarled as the weapon was cocked.
"Collin... You're still running. Killing me won't help you... betraying tai won't either... I know this isn't easy.. But by abandoning your friends you're still trying to escape." she turned so she was facing him. The gun was planted square at her forehead.
"Collin.. It's time to make a choice. You have two options...
one is to follow the empire and pull the trigger.
The other is to choose your friendship to tai and myself." she slowly reached up and touched his cheek. He was in cold sweats as he looked at her with question in his eyes. She stroked his cheek in a motherly way.
"I won't blame you for killing me Collin.. But only on one condition: That you will honestly choose to because you love the empire more then us. You have to choose the one that is more important to you.. And not just an easy answer." she closed her eyes as she awaited his choice.
"Do you know what your name means? Heaven...
Tai is a lucky guy to have you Sora... seeing you makes me think of Shannon... she had such a love for life.. She treated every day like a gift. That is really rare to see.. Someone who understands just how short life is, and how precious it is, is so hard to find. That is what makes you special Sora. I lost Shannon... I wouldn't wish that kind of pain on anyone... let alone tai"
"Come on Collin.. Help us." she smiled softly as he nodded. He pulled the gun away from her and reached to his side. He withdrew his sword which he offered her. Collin was less adept with a sword then he was with a gun.. And since Sora was more skilled with a blade.. He gave it to her for use.
"The guards will be coming in force soon. They're still disorganized by the attack from your people.. But that won't last."
As if on cue the hallway became filled with shouts. The footfalls came in a clattered 'slap slap slap' of heeled boots. Sora glanced around. The drop-off to the arena floor would be to much to risk. If they landed wrong it could twist an ankle. Or worse yet.. Break a bone. At this point in the fight a debilitating injury would mean death. And thus the only possibility was the armored door to the left. They exchanged a worried glance as the voices grew louder. The blast had left a great fire. But the blaze was not concentrated in the hallway. With some care they would pass unburned.. Right into Collin and Sora.
They reached the door in a frantic rush. Both were heaving on the underused emergency exit. It was of solid plate steel, and thus awkward and easily rusted frozen. It resembled the hatch of a submarine, with a circular wheel to act as a locking mechanism. Sora and Collin took a firm grip on the wheel and began to strain to get it open. They did not cast a glance tword the coming threat, for it would only slow their escape. Collin could survive if he made a show of either playing hurt, or trying to subdue Sora. But he would not abandon her now.. After coming so close to alienating himself from his true self he would much more gladly find death at the end of a sword then the pain of betraying Sora.
It was getting more dangerous by the second... the soldiers would be upon them in moments. And if they couldn't get this door open they would be dead soon enough. Sora was a great fighter. And Collin was well trained.. But between them they were outnumbered. The empire could afford grenades.. Thus if the two were able to hold them off with the shotguns and machine guns, all it would take is one toss of an explosive and both would die.. All was beginning to seem hopeless, yet just as a controlled leap into the arena floor was beginning to look more necessary, the door creaked open. Collin began pulling the now usable door open.
"Come on Collin!" Sora yelled as she prepared to pass the threshold.
"Halt in the name of the empire!" one of the soldiers bellowed out as he stared at the two. There were fifteen of them, each armed with rifles. They glanced at Collin with a look of comprehension that he had betrayed them. there would be no mercy.
"Collin come on!" Sora yelled as he stepped between her and the advancing units. His hand reached behind him and guided Sora beyond the threshold. He remained locked in a tight snarl as he looked at them.
"I'm not running anymore.."
"Collin this is stupid! Come on! We can make it!" she snarled as she clutched his sword tightly.
" tell tai 'thank you' for me.
Live well Sora Kamiya..."
before Sora could react he heaved the door shut. Then spun the steel lock into a sealed position. He was vaguely aware of Sora's screaming as she pounded against the door. A part of him longed to try to join her. become a hero like tai... but those thoughts were shifted away into the darkness of his mind as he faced the soldiers.
"Throw down your weapon!" the soldier snarled.
"Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death... I shall fear no evil, for tho art with me..." he muttered softly as he drew his gun to his side. He let the words fade from his lips and into his mind where the old prayer was being resounded rhythmically. He drew in deep breaths as he drew the gun even more forward into a fully ready position. He was replied by the soldiers who followed suit and took a ready position.
"Day of destiny." he whispered.
"Last warning! Drop it now!"
"LONG LIVE TAICHI!!!!" he screamed as broke into a valiant charge as the knights of old had done in the books he read as a boy. His gun screamed round after round as he charged them. in the back of his mind he felt a strange calm as he looked upon the cold grey eyes of a soldier. The man drew his rifle up and took aim...
Sora cried against the door as she listened to the shot. It rang out darkly as Collin's fire stopped. Then all grew deadly still. There was no noise beyond the door. It was still like a grave as she took her ear away from the cold steely door.
"Goodbye.. Collin... You were a true friend. You died a hero." Sora tried to remember the phrase Taichi always said after killing a warrior -one he respected- she had heard him use the words as he mourned the loss of Whamon, Chumon, Piximon, and Wizardmon during the battle of the dark masters. It seemed so long ago now... but she could recall him whispering it as he glanced down at the graves Mimi had made for their friends. She recalled matt had called him unfeeling.. She regretted her silence then.. She had not said anything because at the time she and matt were together, but she had known tai long enough to know just how much it hurt him. How he mourned them in his own way. He hadn't cried with the others, for it was not the way of a leader.. But he had suffered their loss upon his heart with more agony then any of the others could comprehend. The words came to her.
"You were a true warrior, you fought well... now you may die in peace." she repeated softly as she stood up.
Her eyes narrowed darkly as she stared outward into the darkened passageway. She vowed on Collin's name that she would end this war.. That his death would not be a waste.. She would bring this world peace at last.. And bring it at the tip of a sword if needed. Ken would pay for this.. He would pay for the pain he caused tai, for them all. He would pay for the lives he took.. He would pay.. And pay dearly. She began to run down the tunnel, her destiny looming behind the next turn of the path....
That day would be a day remembered in history as the day the final assault on the empire began. It would be a day recalled as a preclude to one of the most bloody battles in the history of man. It would be remembered as the day before the Ascension. It would be remembered for many great historical reasons..
But only by a few souls would it be remembered as the day Collin Yagami Loire, hero, returned to Shannon.
In every war that ever has been waged there has been pain and sorrow.
As the fires of war burn through lives as brush is consumed withing wispy tendrils of flame
As we watch lives end with such cold and heartless speed can we remain unmoved?
Can those who live through the night ever truly forget the horror contained within the darkest hours?
Experience is how we grow and evolve as people
but not all experiences are good
after bearing witness to the darkest acts of the creature human
the faces of loved ones lost...
The horrors of war...
how much would you pay to forget?
Not the end.....