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Fanfic » Anime » Digimon » The Dark Horizon font size: (+) : (-)
Author: logan
R - English - Romance/Drama - Reviews: 154 - Publish date: 07-11-01 - Updated: 05-07-02 storyid: 350927

I don't own them. such an original statement. Sorry about the wait on this chapter, I didn't mean for it to drag on like it has. This chapter is basically here to explain a lot of things, like what Greydramon is, and what the knights are. I know these explanations are not arranged as they should be and kinda come out of nowhere. But frankly I was having a hard time thinking of ways to give background and make it seem natural. So basically izzy and Kari have some chatty moments in the fic. -___- well here we go, hope it doesn't suck too badly.







Dark Horizon

by Logan







"Assault On The Listener"





The listener was even more massive upon entry into it as it was from the earth below, if that was possible. The loading bay where Greydramon was docked seemed as though it were one great and massive mouth which could swallow up armies of mechs and men with one great, all consuming bite. It was furnished with hundreds of devices for upkeep and repair to the mechs and ships which were housed within in individuals alcoves which were draped with cables and wires that hung like vines from a jungle canopy. The alcoves were stacked one on top of another in the great circular bay with only the exception of the bottom row which was stacked with machinery of various sizes, tools, doors, and the massive bay door which gaped before them in a shadowy grin. The room was full of mechs of varying size and type. Most were held aloft in alcoves while a few were being worked on with strange tools designed specifically for work on living technology.

High above the alcoves hung a massive dome of glass which looked out upon the endless sky of shimmering stars. The lighting came from hundreds of flourescent panels on each alcove and in the center work area. There were men of various attire working on mechs and ship engines. Some wore lab coats while others wore military uniforms and even more wore grease-stained overalls and work gloves.

The loud speaker would periodically activate and inform various teams of changes to schedule or required meetings for those who might forget their times. This was drowned out partially by the stereo of one of the mechanics with long blond hair who was swaying back and forth while working on a engine. The rock music blended to the metalic chorus of hammers pressure tools and other devices which clanged out metal to metal or with a whoosh of steam. Tai was standing with Sora, izzy and Kari on the eighth alcove where the Greydramon now stood. Cables were leading into the mech's chest feeding fuel into the energy cells which normally would be powered by the mech itself. Izzy had explained that the Greydramon had maxed itself out for a hatchling when it partnered with tai, evolved weapons, and fought two massive battles where energy attacks were used. Tai had sensed that this was true through the link he now bore to Greydramon. Though he did mention that if anyone tried to do anything to Greydramon the mech was easily capable of killing them without a pilot since tai was willing it to defend itself if threatened. Izzy was somewhat nervous as he instructed all personnel to avoid the Greydramon.

They were cold to izzy and Kari as they were led away from the docking bay and into the solarium. The halls were metal mesh grading which echoed with their footfalls. Tai noticed that the soldiers present all stiffened as izzy passed them by. The redheaded boy was dressed in a black coat which danced as he walked down the hall. There were doors on either side. Taichi noted some of the names, many of them were unknown names of various sciences. He assumed that this ship was a flying laboratory in many respects, how else could they have this many ionic weapons and other truly rare and expensive toys?

Izzy was speaking but tai was only half paying attention.

"The Listener was constructed over the corse of six lifetimes. The financial aspect was secured just as the earth developed the old Internet. You see I was one of the Internet's founding fathers and upon it's creation I installed a specialized worm program. It's really quite interesting actually..." tai debated if it would be wise to just snap the youth's neck now to shut him up.

"You see the program withdrew two dollars from the personal account from every death certificate it recorded during its hundred year run-time. This was a blink of the eye for a digidestined, so I was able to get the necessary financial backing to construct the listener.

This is the largest warship in history. It has twelve ionic cannons which are capable of destroying a moon or a small planet if fully charged and given requisite fire time. I designed the cloak myself, it can remain invisible to both eyes and radar for up to ten feet from the hull, it also is relatively easy on power usage for its size." he was smiling with pride as he continued.

"The listener is more then just a warship too. We currently have eighty families living onboard and close to a thousand single people who live and work on her full time. It has been my home for two lifetimes now, granted in the beginning there wasn't much to it. But now she is almost 100% complete, only minor add-ons are pending. She can survive completely independent of any colony or transport. All we need is grown, recycled, and replicated, so obviously we are able to keep virtually invisible to the public.

This ship was constructed to quell a massive war on its own, the perfect nemesis to Ishida's forces. They only have unconfirmed reports and tiny video clips. We are biding our time till we are prepared to stop Ishida's progress. I hate to think of the listener as a weapon, but it is the most powerful combat machine in existence.... with the possible exception of Greydramon." izzy paused to look at Sora who was treading alongside Taichi in utter silence. He winced at her cold stare when she caught his gaze. He had never seen a hybrid, and Sora was perpetuating everything he heard about their contempt for humanity. It seemed so strange to look upon the face of a friend and not see any resemblance to the person they once were.

"Sora... would you like a change of cloths? I can't help noticing that you just have a cloak. It must be very cold for you." he winced at the tone of her voice.

"I don't get cold..." she growled. It was Taichi who spoke next.

"Maybe you should get something to wear under that Sora... I'm not crazy about the idea of other guys getting a glimpse at you." Sora's face changed as she looked at tai and nodded, but sadly it turned back to ice as she stared at izzy. "It will need to accommodate my wings and not be loose fitting."



"Wings?" he questioned, but before his words could reach her she was tackled from behind by the form of a young girl with brown hair. She cried out in shock as the giggling girl practically screamed out Sora's name with a bubbly tone.

Sora responded instantly with lightning fast movements. She flung the girl over her shoulder and against the wall. Her wing exploded outward and pinned the girl to the wall with two spear-like feathers on either side of her throat. Sora snarled in an angry hiss at the frozen and terrified form of the brown haired girl.

Kari cried out in shock "Mimi!"

The girl was terrified as the blades pinched her throat. Sora snarled before releasing her and retracting her wing back to confines of the billowy white fabric of her cloak. Sora stared down on Mimi with no essence of compassion or even recognition of her. she turned away from where the girl lay sprawled and trotted over to tai's side.

"How many of these humans are going to try hugging me?" she questioned to Taichi with a slight growl in her voice. He stared down at Mimi and shrugged.

"Beats me... but if someone tries it with me I'll do worse then toss them across the room." Sora smirked. She glanced down at Mimi as she was being helped up by the young man with the glasses. He was dressed as a doctor with strong features and a faint blue tinge to his dark hair.

Mimi seemed to cower behind the young doctor as she stared out at Sora and tai with a trembling gaze. Izzy stepped between them.

"Please understand that Sora and Taichi have not yet awakened to their true memories. They don't know us..." Mimi nodded solemnly as Sora cast a scowling glance to them. they continued onward.



****

"Sir, I'm so sorry I've failed you..." Alexander said in a passive tone. He was seized by his throat and hoisted high into the air by the blond commander. The icy eyed digidestined roared with anger as he let his grip tighten on the pilot.

"You don't say!?! I gave you a team of skilled pilots with powerful mechs to eliminate the Greydramon and its pilot. YOU NOT ONLY FAILED IN THAT TASK, BUT DELIVERED THEM TO KOSHIRO!!!!" Ishida threw the youth against the far wall with an explosive impact that threw several pieces of furniture aside. The metal wall dinted inward as Alexander coughed blood.

"I am almost out of time! The military is no match for us now, but koshiro's forces are! The listener can match our force, and with Greydramon and the hybrid allied to them, this game is over!" he snarled out in a seething roar as he punched a nearby wall which buckled and then splintered under the impact. Alex stared at him in fear, the commander had never seemed so enraged. A rage that was almost as tangible and destructive as a napalm fire. His eyes were burning with icy light which pooled on his rage-contorted features like liquid alabaster.

"We must now be ready for a real fight. Intruder is still an asset to us against the Listener, but there are now more complications to deal with. Sin has disappeared.... koshiro will now feel ready to end this. And he has the Greydramon." he calmed lightly as he stroked his scarred throat.

"You failed me once Alex.... I will give you only one last chance to prove your worthiness to exist. We mobilize all forces for combat against koshiro's army." he motioned for Alex to stand as the scythe clicked out into it's combat position. Alex whimpered as he let his eyes shut. Then the pain came.

The weapon had slashed a deep gash down the right side of the boy's face which was now painted in blood.

"You have been marked as a failure. That wound will be with you always, and though it shall scab over, the pain will never leave you. Fail me again and i do much worse then that... now out of my sight." he snarled as the pilot left while clutching his face. ishida's eyes burned in the darkened breifing room. He could smell the failure's blood in the air and was enlivened by it. The end was at hand for either him or for izzy... he longed for that. And maybe the pleasure of feeling taichi's blood on his lips.



"Taichi and sora are now working with koshiro, mimi, joe, and kari. Their force now has far more powerful indiviguals then my own." matt leaned against the same wall which he had punched moments ago. He was regaining his composure as he ran through his options in the seemingly vacant breifing room.

"Takeru and braedon... i can't count on them against kari... but perhaps the chance to battle the greydramon would be enough to stroke their fighter's pride. Their pride must have been hurt when the greydramon was able to defeat the both of them after partnering mere minutes before.

I wonder how long it will take until they learn that kari is with izzy... once they learn where she is, then they become threats. Perhaps the wisest corse would be to kill them before they have a chance to turn sides... that feels like such a waste of potential, but it is wisest." ishida lowered his gaze to the tool in his hand. The scythe was bathed in crimson and smelled of it also. The scythe seemed to be an omen to the commander as it's blood dripped slowly down the handle to his bare hand. It felt thick and heavenly as it rolled over eazch digit. He studied the blood and knew that it was his legacy. He would carve out a piece of the universe for himself with this bloody weapon, then he would drink from it.

He was once again in complete control. The feel of blood was the most soothing texture he had ever encountered. He could think back to manticon, the vans full of children. The blood on the floor.. He recalled how taichi had developed a hatred for blood due to that trip, but he had developed a lust for it. He thought back on centuries of blood and was lulled into an even deeper calm that bordered ecstasy. Sighing heavily he walked to the door and departed.



"Why is it that megalomaniac tyrants always talk to themselves?" Braedon quipped.

"He's going to move against izzy.... against kari." tk said softly to braedon who was perched beside him in the rafters of the breifing room, far above where ishida had been. Tk ignored braedon's joke.

"it looks as though the time has come for us to tender our resignation" braedon smirked.

"After all this time.... I found her." tk spoke softly with the faintest wisper of a smile.

"It was only a matter of time brother... Hikari is eternal... we were bound to find her. I've waited so long to see her again, my sister." braedon's violet eyes shinned in the dark.

"We will be together again..." braedon said.

"Come on brother... we know where she is, let's go and get her. Then we'll re-educate the species about the three, remind them exactly how small they are." TK smiled darkly as his crimson eyes shimmered malevolently.

"I take it we are going to stop Ishida?"

"I'm not looking to pick a side. Izzy or matt? One totalitarian leader or another... I say we level the field on all sides."

"Matt is a monster, but what I've heard of koshiro... he seems like a good guy." Braedon replied simply.

"I've served great men Braedon... given time the most honest will become crooked... the most righteous, wicked. Izzy was a good man... he may still be.... but once upon a time yamato was my brother and I loved him dearly. He was a hero, a great man.... look what the power can do given time. I say we unite, then prune back all the roses before they grow thorns." TK smiled as he rose up on the steel beam. Braedon followed. They would have no difficulty getting away... Ishida may be planning their death... but he wouldn't try it immediately. He would have no time to assign a watch on the two. They would be long gone before matt realized anything. Hikari was waiting for them.... and god help anyone who tried to keep them from her.

As the two slipped away through the air duct from witch they had entered a shadow rippled outward like a pool of shimmering black water. They didn't see it as they disappeared, but it saw them. The pool gradually shaped itself into the humanoid form, though to call it human would be a stretch of the term. The entity known to some as Sin stared up at where the two were with his lifeless black eyes. It smiled darkly as it let loose a soft chuckle.

"Why do we always talk to ourselves?"



****

The atrium opened around them as though the cobalt grey ship were no more then a massive set of arms which opened up to a new world. The colossal atrium was a glassy bubble that seemed to be the center of the ship. It sloped gradually downward in a great grassy carpet of lush green blades, overhanging trees which rose from the ground like ancient spires, and in the very bottom of this massive panorama sat a small lake of sapphire blue water. The trees and grass looked far more healthy then anything grown in the more illustrious colonies. The domed skylight was black with space and stars, though the overhanging strip of steel carried with it a large lamp which glowed with bright yellow ultraviolet light. This artificial sun bathed the room in golden radiance and sustained the plants.

In various corners of the massive dome along the treeline, or by the pond, many men and women lounged in casual attire. This artificial earth appeared to be a place for the crew to spend their off-duty time. An artificial earth for the human race.

Sora had dressed somewhat reluctantly in a rubber space insulation suit which would normally be warn under a space suit to prevent hypothermia and measure vital signs remotely. Within the black rubber bodysuit thousands of microchip panels were fitted amidst gel-packs which could be adjusted to generate the requisite warmth or cold to maintain the human body temperature. This was of corse not necessary to one of Sora's kind which existed beyond the threat of dying in the icy depths of space. She had complied more for the benefit of Taichi who expressed a dislike of other males seeing her nude from the gap in her makeshift cloak.

Izzy had cast an occasional glance at her with an expression that showed just how troubled he was by her. she snarled low in her throat. Taichi touched her gently periodically on the way to the atrium. That was enough to sooth her, though she still didn't trust all these humans which she could smell all around her.

"Nice place you have here..." Sora said.

"It's the heart of the listener.... many of the crew never leave the ship, staring at the same thing over and over again can cause dementia. The atrium gives it the organic feel that is necessary for humans."

"What is the Greydramon?" tai asked suddenly... izzy paused for a moment as he wrestled with the words. Finally he decided. "The beginning." his words cast an icy spell over the warm and sunny landscape.

"In the beginning there was no light... just darkness. Mankind was on the verge of extinction due to the evil digimon which were everywhere. Light was on the verge of extinction when the eight came and fought back the evil... You know the story about how they went to the demon world and met the last good digimon...... the great dramon, or Greydramon" he paused.

"Greydramon is a digimon of limitless power... one of it's powers is to divide itself and put pieces of it's soul in other beings... it did that with us. By placing a sliver of his soul in each of the eight we were made immortal.... but later, more would be needed.

The first digital war came and the Greydramon was forced to divide himself further into eight more pieces... though these fragments were not implanted in humans... but given form as the eight digidestine's digimon. They won the first war with these allies... then came the second war. Now even more was needed... and so the Greydramon split himself up into thousands of pieces which he gave to thousands of children. All of which became digidestined, though not immortals like us. And thus the second digital war was ended...

Now came the time of peace... the Greydramon discovered that he enjoyed being divided amongst so many pure humans. Their sensations and emotions were alien to the Greydramon, thus he enjoyed sharing these feelings with them.... he continued like this for lifetimes. Passing the fragments on to the next generation upon the death of the host.

Then came the plague..." izzy's eyes darkened.

"All digimon were dying... and among them was the eight digidestine's digimon. Tentomon, palamon, gabumon, gomamon, patamon, gatomon, biyomon, and augomon.... they died and the fragments were called back to Greydramon with the plague upon them. once Greydramon's core was corrupted all but the eight spirits were lost. No more digidestined...

Digimon survived because of me... in my past life I was the scientist to cure them by changing them. I mourned the losses of all that I could not save, and none more then Greydramon... years later it occurred to me that if digimon still exist and we have retained our immortality that the essence of Greydramon was not lost. He would be weakened to the point of death... but unable to die... the curse of immortality." izzy sighed as he rubbed the marking on his wrist as one might a throbbing ache.

" two lifetimes ago I learned that the government was creating a digimon. I was curious, so I hacked their systems and learned of what they were making. What I found shocked me...

No human could ever be able to do what this scientist was doing. He wasn't creating a digimon... he was creating the Greydramon! I realized that the Greydramon's spirit was guiding him to make this digimon... a way for the Greydramon to escape the curse of the plague... to change himself as all other digimon had been changed, thus saved from the plague's power.

The plague however, must have absorbed some of Greydramon's essence for it became immortal too... and eternally linked to the Greydramon's soul. That's why the scientist suddenly decided to make two mechs...

Greydramon must have instructed the man to create a second mech to house the plague's essence and filter it away from Greydramon. Thus there were two... you have the pure Greydramon... and someone stole the plague Greydramon that they named Seth, after the Egyptian god of destruction and chaos. I don't know where Seth has vanished to, but I'm afraid of what might happen when it resurfaces... the Greydramon will be the only weapon capable of standing against the dark mech. But in the mean time it is the best weapon against Ishida. The best weapon we have to keep him from crossing the line and using his gift for conquest over humanity. If we lose Greydramon then it's just a matter of time till Ishida destroys us breaks us to the point where we can't come back." izzy looked forlorn as he met tai's eyes. The older digidestined stared at him with an unreadable expression.



"And Sora? Why does he want her?" izzy's expression grew perplexed as he glanced to Sora.

"What? He wants Sora?"

"They made it clear that they wanted Greydramon either intact or destroyed if not possible, and they wanted me the same way." said Sora.

"I can't think why.... you would make a valuable enforcer... but they couldn't win you as an allie by threatening you. It wouldn't make sense for them to target you along with Greydramon."

"But they did target her..." tai replied sharply.

"How do I know I can believe you?"

"What? Tai..." izzy seemed hurt as the darkness in tai's eyes welled up.

"We saved you." joe said softly with the faintest trimmer of fear in his voice. Tai picked that up.

"Or did you save Greydramon? Were your actions to save us because you may still need us? You've used me.... forced me to work for you..."

Tai turned to izzy. "You were the one who sent me to get Greydramon...."

"Yes. I was tracking you the whole time... but you must understand..." he was cut off as tai grabbed him by the throat and tossed him several feet away. Izzy rolled, grunting with pain from the impact. Several soldiers ran forward tword tai, yet were thrown backwards by an invisible force which could only be Sora's will. Tai walked tword izzy slowly and stopped feet from where he lay on his elbows looking up. A faint crimson hue lay over his lips wetly.

"I don't like being used by people... you said knowledge is your area... so pay real close attention to what I am saying." he leaned forward. "If you ever use me or Sora again, I swear to you that I will kill you in a way that will leave your mind scarred in the following lives." izzy trembled at his tone as tai straightened himself. he prepared to leave yet stopped as a sharp voice met him.

"Bastard.."he and Sora both turned to the source of the trembling voice which tried to project strength. Mimi stood there with anger in her hazel eyes. They flashed with fear like the distant reflections of lightning. Tai walked over to her and stopped an inch away. She trembled as she spoke.

"We saved you... we need you. You're a hero dammit! How can you not care about the future... about the people who will die if matt wins!?! what happened to you Taichi!? Who in hell are you?"

His face was an inch away from hers as he glowered into her. not mearly at her, but into the core of her. she was so afraid that he would do something to her. she was a leaf to him, weak and brittle. The child in the body of the woman stared up at him summoning all her strength.

"I'm not the Taichi Kamiya that once was. This isn't the digital world... it's not even the earth. All there is, is black... a hole that can't be filled. I don't care about your future. About the species... I don't particularly care if someone uses their power to rule everything. I don't remember a life I've lead where I had something worth dying for, until now. Sora is all that matters to me now. I'll die for her... not for you. Thanks to you I can't go back to what I was. Sora is hunted, as am I.

I'm forced to fight matt now... if I'm ever going to have a moment of freedom in this world it will be after he is gone. I have to help you... but don't confuse me with Taichi. He died a long time ago." Mimi watched as he exited the tiny patch of paradise and vanished into the cold grey ship that existed around it. Sora took a brief detour from following him and went to izzy instead. She leaned in and whispered to him.

"Tai doesn't remember who he was. But I remember... what's the word? I've triggered? I remember when I used to love you as a brother, all of you like my own family. I remember what you and tai once were to each other... best friends." izzy stared at her.

"Prey he doesn't trigger izzy. As soon as he remembers what you two used to be to each other it will break his heart to see how you've used him. You weren't meant to be leader izzy... I know that without a doubt now." she turned and prepared to walk off to go explore the ship as tai must be doing now. Izzy called to her.

"You were the bearer of the crest of love! What changed you so much if you remember that?" she glanced back and met his eyes.

"In this life I was born a hybrid. I had all the love inside I always had before... but feeling as much hatred as I have felt just because of the way I was born in this life.... there's more hate in this world then there is love izzy.... I don't think love has a chance anymore. We all are scarred now...." and with that she was gone.



****



Izzy got up slowly as he shook the haze from his mind. "Well that's not comforting.."

"Sir. Do you want us to bring the two back?" one of thee guards questioned as he lay a hand on his weapon which lay ready in it's holster.

"Absolutely not... wether either of us likes it or not, they are our only chance. Plus... we don't have the man-power to stop both of them even if we had to." he brushed the grass from himself as he turned to Mimi.

"Are you alright? I gotta say that took a lot of guts, talking like that to tai."

"I'll live as long as my heart eventually stops hammering. He was seriously debating killing us for using him." she said as joe softly rubbed her shoulders reassuringly.

"He's that close to the edge? Izzy, how can we gamble so much in them? He actually said it wasn't important what matt is doing! What if he goes to the dark side like matt? We'd have no way to stop the both of them, much less Sora!" joe barked. Izzy ignored him and instead focused on Mimi.

"Did you feel anything from them?"

"Even a normal human could feel something from him... he wasn't lying when he said all that mattered was Sora. He still loves her... my god, that's the kind of love they write books about. He's existed for centuries, and he has loved her since they first met over a thousand years ago..." she smiled and sank back in a moment of unguarded girlish bliss. She spoke as she sighed dreamily.

"How come none of you guys ever were like that with me?" izzy glanced around nervously as he coughed out. "Mimi... this isn't the best time for that." she jumped back to reality with a flush of embarrassment.

"As I was saying he wasn't kidding about that... he'd kill us all if it meant Sora would live. He carries with him a darkness that I've never seen. He's been hurt and lost all faith in humans. That may be why he doesn't care if an immortal rules over them. he's never known love... until now. He'll do truly evil things if it means he can keep that. As long as matt wants Sora then he'll work with us." joe nodded with a sadness as he urged her to go on.

"He hasn't triggered?"

"No... his life has been hell. To trigger he must be at the edge of sanity. True mental breakdown... that will be nearly impossible given how jaded he is by his life. I can't picture any one stress strong enough to awaken the digidestined of courage. But with this darkness inside tai.. I'd be afraid of what may wake up if that ever did happen.

At heart he's still a great man, a good man. But that heart is a heart of darkness now."

"It's the same with Sora. I sense a great sadness within her when she focuses on what humans have become. They taught her how to hate, and so she hates them for that. She hates humans... but loves tai. That's the last part of our Sora in her, the rest is what was done to her.

it scares me how many of us are dark now. Matt gave into evil and became it, now tai and Sora seem to be shadows of who they were. It doesn't make sense that this can happen to the best of us." Mimi whispered the last in a hollow and sorrowful voice.

She had the power of sincerity. That seed of truth had blossomed into a power over the eternity as izzy had grown more at one with his knowledge, and joe with his healing. Mimi could feel truth in people... if the door were open she could peer inside and feel their auras, divining truth from lies. And now as she saw within her mind's eye the core of tai and Sora she hated her gift... for it shed the light of truth over how bad things had become within the chosen eight. She was broken by her somber silence by Kari's soft and yet mysticly clear words.

"The digidestined are eternal... as are good and evil... matt has succumb to evil gradually over the eternity. We are shaped, I suppose, by the times we encounter. There have been precious few ages of peace, yet countless ages of hate and war. That changes us since we cannot ever forget those ages. Death can't release us from the evil we have encountered... our slates never are cleaned... they just get more and more dirty. It's possible that Taichi may be starting down that road matt was forced to walk. Perhaps the road we all are meant to eventually travel if the light truly does flicker away for good." Kari glanced down at her tattoo which seemed vaguely more invisible upon her wrist. Izzy walked over to her and attempted to lay a hand on her shoulder for comfort. She shrugged it off as she shrugged off all attempts to bring her any comfort in this dark and cold world. She had Taichi's strength, and his resolve to never burden the others.

"Kari..." he sounded hurt.

"I'm going to go find tai. If anyone can get to him it will be me." as she left Mimi turned to izzy, her eyes were bleak with sadness as she spoke in a whisper.

"Kari is keeping something from us too... something that I can't see clearly for some reason. But whatever it is I can feel one aura about it..." she trailed off as izzy grew worried.

"What can you sense?!?" he feared the worst... his fears were answered.

"Blood...."



****

The air was seemingly still in the shadowy bowls of the ship. The darkness was a nest of circuits and serpentine wires and cables which softly buzzed with power as each task was completed with the automated attention of the vast computer network. They were all normal sounds.... save one. It was a sound that no ear could hear... but one that was far more deadly then all others. It was a tracking beacon... a soft repetitive computer noise that echoed far beyond the listener and out into cold space where the enemy had ears. There was a dialog held through transmissions as the shadowy device spoke to its master. It's orders were being sent. Death... not of humans, yet.. But the death of the listener.

The machine would sabotage the listener first... all the while sending out it's location to the army which lay in wait. Then it would assassinate the people on board. Though should it encounter resistance... it would of corse eliminate the threat to its mission.

The darkness came alive as the Intruder rose up from its crouched position. Its dark semblance gave the shadow around it a more malignant and evil aspect. It moved.



****

"I don't think the two of you are going to win any popularity contests..." Kari mentioned as she glanced over at the two who stood against each other in a gentle contact as they stared out one of the large viewing windows out to space. They were close to the moon in their leisurely orbit of earth. The moon was giant by perspective to the ship and bathed the room in sheets of pale ghostly ivory. Tai and Sora were a nest of shadow and ivory that illuminated them with a spectral aura. Tai's silvery chestnut hair was entangled with Sora's coppery hair. She was pressed to him in a silent, and yet tender embrace.

They turned to Kari reluctantly and for an instant as Taichi's face shifted from ivory moonlight to velvet shadow he saw her as he once had seen her years ago, a brother and a comrade all in one, but that gaze faded away within the aspect of a moment as his face returned to the inky shadow of the lightless room. Sora's eyes glowed in the dark as was true for any wild animal. There was no menace in the fiery orbs, but they still pierced Kari like a fang.

"What do you want Kari?" Sora questioned in a wispy voice.

"The two of you can't be like this with them. They are just trying to do the right thing as best they can."

"Who says that they're right?" tai questioned blankly. She puzzled for a moment before speaking.

"And you think matt is? You think he really should use his immortality to become some kind of god to the human race?"

"Matt is my enemy... but if that weren't the case? Look around at this world Kari? We've killed our planet... we rape rob and destroy each other... if someone could grab the species by the throat, maybe they could choke some control into it. Ruling with wisdom and kindness won't get us back to worth saving... maybe the threat of painful death could." Kari shivered at his words. She wondered if tai might anoint himself that god after matt was gone. She doubted they could deal with tai so soon after matt was gone.

"They may be unworthy of salvation but they deserve to be free to make the choice themselves!" she yelled back with surprising zeal that caught tai off-guard.

"Why does it matter to you so much?" Sora questioned.

"I.... I was the guardian of the crest of light. The reason this world is so dark is because I failed them. my crest is a whisper of what it was and that is symbiotically linked to the people of this world. I should have protected them better, but I failed as a digidestined and light was dimmed in the hearts of man." she trailed off as a wetness shimmered in her moonlit eyes.

"That wasn't your fault Kari..." Sora said in a voice that was all the same as it had once been before she had been subjected to racial prejudices of such magnitude that hate became her creed.

"Yes it was... it's our fault."

"Our?"

"TK and I made a mistake several lifetimes ago.... a selfish and utterly horrible mistake."

"What did you do?" he asked in a voice that so reminded her of her big brother. She missed tai... and it was that bond that got her to confess to a crime she tried very, very hard to forget. Tai watched as the ivory light exaggerated her sorrow to fathomless dark lines in her face. she could never lie to Taichi... he had been her brother once, but he had been her hero always. Even back in the beginning. She could not lie...



"In the beginning there were the eight. That you know... but what izzy won't tell you is that there was once a time we were doing exactly what matt has done. We eight once had a different role then what we have now... in the beginning we used our powers to establish a kingdom. A kingdom ruled by the order of the knights." her voice trembled as she spoke.

" We were the knights, eight immortals who brought order to a piece of land once called Avalon. We brought a code known as chivalry to the people... a code which was ruled by combat and honor. The knights kept the people in line and our legions swelled as the order grew larger and more powerful. Soon we were carving chunks away from other continents until the whole world was ours to govern as gods." her eyes closed as Taichi gaped. Sora on the other hand grew sad.

"It was good for a while... we ruled them well and the people enjoyed a peaceful life under our domination. But then the trouble started. A rebellion formed from a sect which deluded our codes to evil. they saw our religion as a means of domination and a way to grow stronger through combat and dark skills. We fought them, and there was much pain across the land. We won, but Avalon was no longer capable of sustaining us. The battles had weakened it's mystic core to the point where it began fading away into the mists of time. The eight escaped... we fled to a land known as England.... we tried to re-establish our grip on the earth from there and for a time it was working.

This time we hid ourselves and our immortality. Our order was still reasserting itself, but now it was centered under a castle known as Camelot. We were on the verge of resurrecting control by guidance, as opposed to dominance. The eight hid themselves as knights, king, queen, and wizard. But that was short lived... within one lifetime adversity arose again, and the order, still too weak to defend, imploded on itself." she paused as tai was wording his question which she answered before it was posed.

"Izzy played the part of merlin... yourself, Takeru, joe, Mimi, and myself became knights of the fabled round table while yamato took the place of king Arthur, and Sora his queen." tai recoiled as if slapped and turned to Sora who looked at him sorrowfully. He swallowed the lump in his throat and hesitantly lay a hand on her cheek as a sign of his forgiveness and understanding that this was a long time ago. She smiled sadly.

"The final blow came when sir Lancelot, you Taichi, fell in love with the queen. The rest of the story has become legend as sir Lancelot stole Guinevere away in a great romantic rescue. Camelot fell and with it our order was no more..." she looked out at the moon as she continued.

"We spent the next three centuries erasing all traces of the order from history. We had learned that any attempt to control the corse of man, either by passivity or vivacity would ultimately end in ruin and pain for humanity. We decided to leave the legend of Arthur, but all traces of ourselves were expunged. That was when the chosen eight became a clean up crew. We decided that we would mearly work to keep the world free of dictators and tyrants who were actually capable of seizing control over the world, or destroying it. That's why those of us who remember know matt must be stopped, because he has power enough to do it. We don't talk about the order and our early efforts out of pure shame." she was mesmerized by the ivory orb of the moon which glowed in ethereal purity upon her.

"What does all that have to do with something you and TK did?" Sora questioned.

"As I said the order was annihilated, save two immortals. Myself and TK possess different powers then the rest of you. Our powers are the core of the other six. Hope and light. We maintained the faith because it is a part of us... but such a short time ago we did something unforgivable." she turned away from the moon in favor of the all concealing shadow.

"Man was just now forced to live in colonies when the mistake occurred. TK and I were born on a small but happy colony. It wasn't a slum-land like so many others of its size. It was there that I was born with a human brother. He was a sweet child... I loved him so much, as did TK. Little Braedon. When we were eleven a fire in the residential area erupted. TK, Braedon, and I were trapped inside. Braedon caught fire and nearly died. TK and I were able to extinguish him, but not before he was burned... burned badly." tai leaned forward.

"Seeing our little brother burned so bad he no longer looked like himself triggered the two of us. And somehow as we were holding him while triggering something unforgivable and unexplainable occurred." she paused.

"The second we realized what was happening we should have dropped him and broken the link... but we loved him so much... we had to protect him... somehow, as we triggered, the powers of hope and light drained into him. Not all of it, but half of our power went into the human. I don't know how we did it... But we made a ninth chosen." Sora gasped in shock.

"That's why your crest is so faded! Because half of it is missing!" tai cried in shock.

"Yeah... it's the same with TK... Braedon was healed, and made immortal. But with only a fraction of hope and light left in us the symbiotic bond between the crests and humanity faded equally. Because of us... the reason this world is so dark, and ruled by evil and despair is because we drained out the hope and light from it."

"My god.." Sora gaped as her hand closed over her own wrist.

"That's why I have to stop matt... why we have to save humanity, even if it doesn't deserve it. Because I was the cause of it's fall into darkness." her shame pooled across her darkened continences despite the veil of inky shadow. Her eyes were drawn to the floor as she felt the secret's crushing weight shift off of her shoulders to a lesser, and yet more profound weight of shame for her actions. Tai was looking at her incredulously with a silence and solemness that pierced her despite her shroud of shadow which did far less a job of concealing her then she had hoped.

"We are the three knights now... Takeru, Braedon, and myself.. But we have defiled ourselves to our code. We destroyed the core elements of our religion by unwittingly crippling all hope and light in the world." she met his eyes hesitantly as she stared at tai.

"Please... I've told you something that I would never tell them. something I try not to ever tell myself. I told you that so you can trust me... please help us."

Tai was on the verge of speaking when the ship lurched suddenly in a violent seizure which tremored upward from the core of the ship and out through the hull. plate steel walls trembled and strained against their moorings with great groans. Tai and Sora stumbled while Kari was tossed against the window, which thankfully maintained its integrity. The bucking ship subsided slowly to its normal stability, though now there was a faint "wiiiirrrrrr" to the normally silent sound of the propulsion. The faint shrill scream of the alarms called out from a distant hall of the ship as the slapping of feet rang out upon the hall floor. The listener was in peril.



****



The tortured engine shuddered as scraps of it's decimated frame twisted under the grinding cogs which were relatively undamaged, and thus still trying to move according to their normal function. The cogs were pulling in more and more of their engine into their grinding teeth as steel ripped and twisted under the hateful bite of the cog's toothed wheels. After attempting to swallow up a large chunk of engine they were rendered unable to pass the blockage and thus ripped their own Axels off their anchorages, thus killing the machine.

This was just one of the engines, but the others would soon perish in a similar fashion. The intruder stared down at the damage with it's cold and lifeless, yet limitlessly observant steel eyes. It lorded over the destruction as it assessed the damage was irreparable and thus time to move on to the next device it must cripple. It spun around and moved through the dark utility tunnel with terrifying speed as it's mechanoid legs pumped without the slightest onset of fatigue. He was heavier then a man, yet utterly silent as he ran down the corridor with his sensors to guide him.

Within a heartbeat he sensed movement ahead, this was confirmed by infrared and ultraviolet. His lightning fast data processing speed established it would be a workman rushing to assess and if possible, repair the damage. That would be fruitless of corse, but this human's fate was judged and weighed with no more then the passage of eight micro-seconds.

He spun around the darkened corner as the intruder was drawing within feet. By the time he recognized the mech's humanoid figure it was far too late. The saber blade erupted from his forearm with a silent whoosh of metal locking into place. Without slowing his stride, intruder used that razor to chop the man in half diagonally from shoulder to lower abdomen. The man cried out in shock but not from pain, for he was dead before the two halves inevitably separated in a bloody display of gravity. The blade shot back into his arm as he continued to scamper down the corridor

The turbine gravity generator chugged beside him with its behemoth exaggerated movements as it struggled to complete rotation after rotation in it's endless cycle. This would be a target too... but first the engines should be debilitated, then the power matrix, for they would be easier to destroy with guards soon realizing this was sabotage. Time would be precious and thus intruder should cripple the more vital aspects of the listener before just making it uncomfortable for those who it would soon be hunting. It doubled it's speed.



****



The temperature controlled air of the listener was charged with a panicky current that sparked within each man woman and child present within. The alarms sang out chaotically as the backdrop to the rehearsed and nerve-wrackingly calm voice which instructed them to report to their emergency positions.

The bridge was dominated by the massivesemi-circular column of terminals and panels each alive with the faint glow of monitors and illuminated keypads. The stations for the bridge crew were all without chairs save the only exception of the pilot and system operator who sat in a specially made seat surrounded by terminals and monitors which were sunk into a depression upon the steel grated floor. He wore a VR. Helmet which tied him in directly to the system terminal while the pilot was plugged directly into the systems responsible for maintenance of corse and other navigation related systems.

The room was semi-circular in construction and faced a massive holographic computer display that facilitated the entire system at no more then a few keystrokes. Overlooking the bridge from a elevated platform held aloft by hydraulic engines sat a seat molded to a human's shape. The closed over izzy snugly as his visor fed him data from all aspects of the ship. He turned to the door which opened to tai, Sora, and Kari who rushed in with obvious alarm on their collective continences.

"Izzy what's happening?" Kari yelled up to him as the platform lowered to her level and izzy withdrew the visor.

"One of our secondary engines has been shredded. It's sabotage..."

"But how is that possible with Mimi here?"

"Mimi can detect deception and ulterior motives.. She would have known if a malevolent person were present... but she detected nothing.. Which means it has to be inorganic. A surrogate retrofitted to act as a saboteur."

"It must have gotten onboard when we picked up tai and Sora.." Kari observed with a slight tremor of anger at their own inadequacy for not suspecting a cloaked intruder.

"It will most likely also be a transmitter..." tai observed as he fingered his hand scythe.

"Exactly... Ishida now knows where we are and will be coming for us in force."

"Izzy...it will most likely try to destroy the mech bay... it'll go through the ship systematically crippling our defenses."Sora mentioned as her eyes glowed with a faint crimson radiance.

"It'll be able to end this fight before it begins... no way we could lock down a ship the size of the listener with enough manpower to stop a weapon like that... it'll most likely be traveling through the maintenance corridors and vents. We can't stop its movement." tai observed as izzy chuckled.

"I doubt it's programming was made to match my ship. He stepped off the bridge and grinned as he pressed his two index fingers to either of his temples. His eyes shifted from the coal black they once were to a radiant green and black which flickered faintly with numeric data.

"A few years ago I invented a neural uplink implant which I implanted within myself. That plus a tiny micro-transmitter surgically implanted inside my scull, a pair of fiberoptic monitor contact lenses and I am connected to the listener's mainframe."

The contacts cast a faint emerald glow on his darkened retinas which seemed alive with the flickering light of the monitor screen which hung aloft on the bridge.

"Ship-wide lockdown." his voice was projected through the intercom's cold and robotic monotonous tone. As if by magic the ship came alive and granted the order. Doors sealed with hydraulic whooshes and then clicked into a locked position.

"maintenance bay control. Seal all sectors." within the maintenance corridors where the intruder lurked every junction sealed tightly.

"Mech docking bay code five lockdown engage." izzy seemed to come out of his technological trance for a time as he glanced at the others. He spoke not as a computer but as himself to them.

"I've locked the ship down and cut off his travel through the maintenance corridors, he could try breaking through the blockades I have installed, but that would be time consuming and tell us exactly where he is. He'll opt to go up a level and try getting to his targets through the regular passages where we'll be ready for him."

"Can you track him?" Sora questioned

"He wouldn't show up in a heat scan... but maybe I can be creative about finding him." he disappeared back into the trance as his eyes flickered once more.

"Security mainframe. Ship wide search for a target with motion sensors, eliminate all those with heat sources or that are normal ship functions from results. Process request now." he turned back to them as the results of the search were conveyed to his mind through invisible carrier waves.

"We've got a fix on his location...."

****



Intruder stood for a moment as it surveyed the sealed iris where once a hatch had been. The armor was thick and though penetratable, a problem. The faint eco of military boots came to him as a herald of opposition which was charging in greater number then the cyborg would prefer. He looked back and caught the faintest glimpse of them coming, a dozen officers armed with automatic weapons.

The blade erupted from it with a metal shriek as the intruder leapt upward and with one mighty cut, split a gash in the passage's roof. The intruder climbed up and out of the way as the faint clang of gunfire pelted the metal grading. Intruder sprinted down the hallway on all fours. The robot was terrifyingly fast as it shot down the hall.

Guns erupted behind it as a second squadron opened fire. The slugs pelted the weapon's armored skin without doing much harm. Intruder shot backwards as panels of armor opened to reveal small but powerful jets. The jets flashed with exhaust as the intruder rocketed backwards. Before the soldiers could react it had already imbedded the two sabers within the first two attackers. It withdrew the wet weapons and proceeded to cut another man down as he stumbled backwards.

It was pelted with buck-shot at close range and tossed back from the man brandishing a smoldering sawed-off shotgun. He pumped the weapon again and fired on intruder which raised its arms up defensively. The shot was strong, but not so much so that the intruder was damaged. More gunfire erupted as other soldiers took aim and proceeded to fire rounds at it through automatic weapons which clanged noisily against intruder. The air stank of smoke and sulphur as they tried to overwhelm it.

This tactic worked for only a moment more before the armor shifted on the intruder's back and thrust him forward upon them. the impact was jarring as the men were tossed backwards in a stumbling mass. The weapon spread its arms outward as different panels shifted, revealing gaping holes which suddenly flashed with loud and explosive rounds. The soldiers didn't get the chance to fire again as they all slumped together in a tangled and bloody mess on the floor. Intruder's armor shifted back into place as it once again sprinted down the hallway in search of it's next target.



****



"My people aren't equipped to deal with something like this intruder" izzy said somberly as his eyes flickered back once more to a more human glow. Tai growled lightly as he turned away.

"You are more trouble then you're worth." izzy seemed crestfallen as he turned for the door, stung by tai's cold words.

"You coming Sora?" the winged girl nodded as she floated after him, her cloak gliding at her back. Her long red hair seemed to float also like some angel from a time long past. The two disappeared into the darkness leaving izzy to his own devices. He stared out through darkness of cyberspace as though it were a insurmountable void. A chasm he would have to cross if he were to do what was needed of him. He prepared to jump the void.





****

Intruder stood before the consol and stared down at it for a moment before swiping it with one of his blades. The machine cried out as sparks erupted outward like ash from a volcano. The device whined as it perished in a symphony of crackling wires and burning wires. The lights flickered in the area before surrendering to darkness which pooled around intruder.

It turned and made it's way down the corridor. It encountered more men which tried to shoot at it, though it proved faster as it elected to not waste time by killing them and mearly leapt over them and ran down the corridor. It was flying down the hall as it sought out the next to die. He turned the corridor and found himself staring at the ethereal figure of Mimi. She was at the other end of the hallway on the verge of entering a doorway. She was now frozen by terror.

The girl's hair was long and lustrous with the faint hue of fresh ginger. Her skin was milky like the ivory white of a china doll's face. this was mostly due to terror, but had intruder been human he would find himself drawn to lust by the sultry contrast between her blood-rose lips and her snowy complection. Her eyes were sparkling with fear as she glimpsed the razor appendages at either elbow which were painted scarlet in the blood of her comrades.

Intruder knew her. her file was present in his database and he would be wise to eliminate a key figure in Izumi's team. The girl stared at him in horror as his back erupted with exhaust spewing jets of blue fire. He shot forward upon her with his right blade raised for a downward strike. He was almost on her as he brought it down with intent on burying it within the beautiful young girl.

Steel screamed out sparks as the blind siding force threw the blades thrust to the left and down away from the petrified girl. Intruder glanced up and stared into the vengeful eyes of Taichi Kamiya. The scythe now pinned his arm to the floor as the cyborg demonstrated seeming shock when tai backhanded him across the face. though the robot felt no pain the impact jarred his sensors as it would rattle a human assailant who was not expecting such opposition. He reeled back as the scythe swung and missed inches from his neck. With a flash of forward thrusters the intruder shot back several feet out of range.

Mimi stared at tai with stunned disbelief and shock in his eyes. The boy had saved her from certain death. She could sense no ulterior motive for this action, that stunned her. a pair of feminine hands took her by the shoulder and pushed her back. Sora stepped in front of her and shrouded her away within the aspect of her wings. Mimi could only manage a glimpse of tai as he stood before intruder with a dark scowl on his thin lips.

She didn't predict tai would be willing to save her. she hadn't sensed a wisp of this kind of heroic action in his heart. But here it was being acted forth in front of her. that was both puzzling and stunning for she could not accurately see tai's soul. That made him infinitely more dangerous, but also infinitely more heartening. There was still a chance he would be the savior she had preyed him to be.



****

There are moments when you act that you can't explain. A random event occurs that in some profound way brings out something within yourself you never knew was within yourself. A glimmer of something buried beneath the coldest of waters.

Tai felt that glimmer as izzy had reported the first casualties against the intruder. It stirred from his core outward in a rippling tide which hit him with all the force of a tsunami. Though he tried to maintain his coldness tword izzy who had used him, and those who followed izzy, and were thus dammed by association, he knew he must do what he now did. The scythe was heavy in his hand, but it was less a physical weight as it was a burden of spirit.

The savior of so long ago still dwelled within him. The poltergeist of heroics still cast a cold and spectral chill through his being as it haunted him. The weeds of righteousness still grew within his cold and barren heart.

With a sudden war cry he launched himself upon intruder with slash after slash in such swift succession that the mechanized warrior found himself relying on fast pumps of his jets just to avoid the cutting edge. The battle became more ferocious as intruder countered slash for slash. Each dodging and blocking the other's assault with blinding speed. Tai leapt backwards and dropped to his knee as a decapitating blow nearly grazed the top of his head. He lunged forward with the scythe and was rewarded as he heard metal scraping metal. Intruder staggered backwards in shock as it touched the panel of armor over it's abdomen which now was split in a semi-deep cut. The circuitry beyond seemed unharmed, though intruder's sense of invincibility now seemed shattered.

With a explosion of thrust, it launched itself forward in a bone-breaking punch which threw tai across the hall to Sora's feet. The gun panels slid open and took aim at where Taichi lay. But before the shot fired tai was moving. As the blast erupted outward in a shredding hail of weapon fire on the metal floor tai was sprinting tword it. As he was preparing to be blasted to bits a sudden burst of speed launched him against the wall which he sprinted across in a defiance of gravity. Intruder was caught by the crushing impact of his flying kick which hurled the cyborg through a door way which gave way like tinfoil. The intruder rolled on the ground as it's rattled circuitry assessed it's functionality.

It was preparing to re-enter the fray when it detected a metallic click of massive perportune. The moment lagged onward at half speed as he turned to find himself staring at izzy. The redhead scowled at him as he lay his hands across two colossal rail-guns which had been undergoing maintenance. These two massive and fully functional guns now sprang to life under the touch of this human with a cybernetic link inside his mind. His eyes flashed green as he scowled at the frozen assassin. The rotors on the two guns began to spin.

"Connection terminated..."



The firepower of those two guns screamed louder then one could imagine. Fire danced from the spinning barrels as a pelting hail of gunfire screamed from them and pounded into intruder. The cyborg reeled back as the initial blast shredded his right arm to twisted scrap as though it were mearly foil. Intruder groaned out a robotic scream as it was planted against the opposite wall the onslaught poured over him like a torrent of hellfire which split open his chest compartment and riddled his inner workings with a decimating bombardment. The intruder splintered away along with the steel wall which it had been crucified to. The metal of both assassin and shredded wall mingled as izzy drew closer with the two screaming guns mounted to maintenance dollies. Thousands of bronze casings piled on the floor as izzy continued to hammer the intruder until all that remained of him was a smoldering mountain of shredded apparati which no longer even twitched in the death throws of a stricken machine. Only then did the cannon's roar dull away leaving only the stench of gun smoke in the clouded hallway.



As tai met izzy's eyes he was stunned by the boy. That was not something he expected of a tech. They glared at one another as tai withdrew his scythe and izzy released his control over the rail-guns. Tai didn't forgive izzy then, but he did comprehend how far this boy would go. His conviction was shown clearly by the extremes in which he had destroyed the intruder.

The moment was shattered as a panicky voice cried out over the intercom.

"Commander! We're reading close to a thousand of enemy units converging! It's Ishida!"

"It's time... he's come for us." tai spoke softly. koshiro looked forlorn as he nodded in agreement. He flashed back into the com and spoke.



"All personnel.... we have engaged Ishida."







Something looms upon the distance.

Something stands upon a foreign shore.

Something seeks you with a hunger.

Something's knocking at your door.











Not The End.....