Disclaimer: I don't own them. ya know... I think angel is a bad influence on me. I'm starting to be a little too capable of writing angst. This one might leave some in need of tissues, probably not though cause I'm not the best at this kinda stuff. It'll probably just be corny. This is the prelude to the final battle. So I would guess 2 more chapters until this fic is done. I don't really no what else to say, so I hope you like it.
Mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
"Where dreams end and nightmares begin."
Tides of fire washed over the open battlefield like frothy waves in the ocean. Upon their pluming froth these swells carried with them debris, caught in the lapping phalanxes of the tide. Fragments of a thousand different deaths spun off with a silent serenity into the black void which swallowed them up.
Sound was muted in space combat. It was all the more sinister since all that could be heard is the sounds of conflict. There was no blowing wind, no faint call of a distant bird. The was no tranquil water gurgling softly in a brook. In space the silence is the only background noise you have. Every clank and thump is a noise made by something that shouldn't be there in space at all. The sounds of metal in its dying throws twisting off in wailing shrieks to the faint bass of sputtering engines which lurched and gagged while straining to run to the wills of their now dead creators.
Space was not a place of life.. Earth had once been such a place, but that ended with man's own doing, and now he carved out little oasises of life where life should never have been. Space is emptiness, as cold as it is empty and the little species which had destroyed its home tried making a new one in this barren void. Some might think that after destroying your world and almost pushing your race to extinction that you would be more careful with the new world you made for yourself. It would seem however, that mankind didn't think like that. The faces of war looked out across the open space with cold and dead eyes that, unblinking, seemed to miss what really should be seen.
The emptiness was filled with distant sounds that echoed off from all around them. the sky was no void in the heart of this battle. The stars hid their light under the black tarp of smoke and gas which swirled through the combat. The stellar cloud would periodically erupt with lightning given the form of laser. Beams of various sizes would flare through the night as a herald to the life which would end in a soft puff of flame and smoke. Like a great flock of quarreling birds the Mecha battled. The air combat was dazzling as the faster mechs skirted across the lake of fire like dragonflies snapping up the slower and weaker little mosquitos which darted crazily about the battle.
The swarm congregated around the colossal barge that almost looked silver and onyx black in the darkness of space. The barge flared with soft rose hues periodically as the lessor cannons unloaded upon the swarm. Listener thundered like a Norse god as it hurled beams out as Zeus would lightning bolts. The output was staggering as the vast sky of swirling smokes were illuminated. In volleys of ruby light the swarm was pierced. Listener was no more terrifying then now as the front lines were reduced to cinder under its ministrations.
Izzy's forces were pushing them back mainly thanks to the listener. Yet as they managed to clear the first wave they were greeted with a grim sight.
The second wave of even larger magnitude waited on the surface of a colossal asteroid. The stone was equivalent to a small moon, though this moon had a darker agenda. Koshiro's forces seemed shocked as they were called back suddenly, yet once the reasoning became clear they found themselves increasing speed tword listener's side.
"Dear god..." izzy muttered as he stood on the bridge staring out through the monitor at the asteroid. It had slowed its pace to a crawl as the remaining forces retreated to their respective bases.
Asteroids were mainly minerals and ice, yet this structure read no condensation, instead it shelled the military complex where Ishida had launched his campaign. The structure was ominously dark as the clouds of mechs swirled around it with a seeming giddiness. Izzy's forces stood their ground, though there was no sliver of mirth which resonated out through their phalanxes.
"He's been hiding there the whole time... his base was right in plain sight from the beginning." joe gaped.
"I wish Kari were here." Mimi whimpered.
"It makes perfect sense... an asteroid fortified by a steel alloy would be virtually impenetrable.. It's genius on matt's part..." izzy gaped as he stared at the titan of a base.
It seemed to be larger... a black planet which would swallow them all up.
"Sir... we are receiving a hail from the enemy base." the young helmsman croaked with all the solemnity of a funeral march.
"Lets hear it..." the officer nodded and the screen turned over to a shadowy figure. Matt was hunched over the com which was bathed in veils of shadow. His eyes however, were a radiant blue, so perfect that it seemed to out do the skies of earth even before the smog. He had ripped the lights out of the console for they flared with silvery sparks in the distance. His voice was a smoother hiss then it had once been as he spoke.
"You've lost koshiro... I have surpassed you all now. Sora has given me the gift of eternal awareness. This battle will not end well for you izzy... even if your ship crushes every last man on my side, even if you burn me with all those nice little laser cannons of yours, I will be reborn as I am now... awake.
My mind will never sleep.. Death is nothing to me now that the girl has leant me her essence. There will never come an end to my domination of all that is... I will simply rule for all eternity.
Give up digidestined... there is no future for you in my bad favor. Lay down your arms and accept the destiny I offer you. Become my brothers and sisters once more and sit at the head of my table. You cannot save these people... not anymore. But you can enjoy eternity by my side.
Sora's hybrid DNA has changed me. Evolved me... none of you can stand against me now.
If you persist in this battle... I will crush you now and for all eternity. Come my fellow gods and rule these people with me..." izzy turned to the navigator,
"Kill the connection, I don't want to hear him anymore." as ordered, the screen returned to a view of the asteroid.
"He... he wasn't lying." Mimi whispered in a terror stricken voice.
"He can't be... what he said, can he?"
"It doesn't matter... we have to keep fighting him." izzy growled as he turned the doorway which slid open. Tai stood there with a black glove covering the dressings made to his hand. His eyes were dark and filled with some hidden emotion that boiled silently behind the chocolate orbs. His handsome features were cold as ice as he looked at them. He turned to izzy and smiled a small and yet fearful grin.
"Are we ready to get her?" Izzy nodded as his eyes flickered to a soft emerald glow. His voice faded through the intercoms with a saddened and seemingly forlorn tone.
"This is comander Izumi... all personnel are to relinquish ship control to me and bored the escape pods. Effective immediately. As his eyes flickered back to normal the ship was filled with a low warning alarm that signaled abandon ship. Mimi and joe stared at izzy incredulously as he turned to tai and smirked. Tai smiled back.
"You're abandoning ship?" joe gaped.
"Tai and I discussed this. Unnecessary risk for the officers to stay aboard listener for this... it's going to be a rough ride. Only Taichi and I are going to take this mission. He will be boarding Ishida's complex while I control listener through my uplink." tai crossed his arms and smirked at izzy. The boy didn't know if it was amusement or if it was him bonding with izzy. He no longer cared..
"Rough ride? You're going to take listener close enough to board!? That's suicide!" Mimi cried out.
"Sora was taken... I owe both of them a lot. I will help tai get her back.."
"Listen, we don't have time for this! Get to an escape pod now!" tai snarled suddenly short on patience with them.
"Both of you... I need you to tend to the escapees. Kari is no longer on our side... matt's forces are going to give us a seriously hard time. I want both of you to protect my men." the two looked at izzy for a time before heading tword the doorway. Half way there Mimi spun around and ran to him. Izzy was shocked as she kissed him on the cheek and held his face close to hers.
"You can't leave us yet izzy... don't let yourself get killed." and with that she was gone.
"She cares a lot for you koshiro..." tai replied as he looked at the dark asteroid looming in the distance.
" I know... you know that odds are you Sora and I will die trying this..."
"I know..." tai replied softly.
"Then let's not disappoint them by making it an easy kill."
"Heh... I'm starting to like you izzy... you're a backstabbing little pain in the ass that never shuts up about techno-crap, but you really know how to party!" tai laughed softly.
"I'll take that as a complement.. So lets get this party started with some noisemakers."
Listener's hull slowly erupted with twenty large pillars of that rose up and halted thirty feet from the hull. Their elliptical forms opened in unison like double doors, and from that gaping darkness hundreds of escape capsules ejected with flares of thruster flame, they shot off into the distance where the earth glowed below. They would land safely on the planet's surface, and there, joe and Mimi would protect them... keep them alive even if izzy should die in this final clash with the fallen digidestined.
He watched as his people descended to the planet without hitch. The three would not stop them... and matt's forces seemed indifferent to their defection from battle. All eyes were on the majestic listener.
The columns that had harbored the escape pods now returned to the shell which stood unblemished. Izzy's people were waiting too.. The mechs on either side were all on the verge of a sudden colossal offensive. This was a war of attrition on the highest scale. All that remained to be seen was which side would make the first move. It was answered.
Listener's lighting flickered away as the ship's power cells seemed to drain. Then with a lurching sound, the armor over the front hull shifted and split. The ship's armor shifted away to reveal a gigantic sloped dish in the center compartment. Plates of steel folded outward as listener's hull took on a new shape. The engines whined as the ships' gaping jaws were fully exposed. From the back two colossal engines locked into a mounted posture over a more stream line ship. The transformation had ended and yet the plates of armor on both bases trembled. Listener's core hummed as bolts of energy flared between the three armored segments that split and re-shifted to form the cavern.
The sparks soon grew more violent as the core, which terminated in a lense that flared with light, began to pool with ethereal energy. The core soon whined with stress as bolts of silver lightning sparked and flared from within. Ripples of heat twisted like apparitions of the long dead around the ship and its hull. The three armored jaws burned with white flame as the core's energy swirled like a storm.
The heavens rumbled as the clouds of smoke and flame began swirling to life around listener. Matt stared out at the light with a stunned expression mirrored by so many. The ship itself was a weapon... one colossal ionic cannon.
Izzy's eyes flashed black for just a moment as his attention turned to tai.
"Now would be a good time to hold onto something."
The beam surged outward like a bolt from the heavens. The ray bridged the gap between listener and asteroid in a heartbeat. It enveloped countless enemy mech's which were no more then soot within a second's elapse. The asteroid was in the dead center of the beam, and as the lance of energy pounded it. The heavens shook. Searing heat scorched and melted the asteroid's steel armor which lurked beneath the decimated mineral wall which had crumbled away.
The swirling tides of white flame splintered away fragments of the instillation. Portholes exploded inward as the heat swallowed up all that were caught within. For the most part the base was surviving with only minor breaches in the crew quarters. The real depths of the asteroid remained unscathed even as bolts of residual energy pounded the installation. Stone and steel twisted off and were consumed as the beam continued to hold its fury upon the base. The listener was violently trembling as some of its armor began to melt and fuse together while other portions cracked and dissolved like hot glass rapidly cooled.
The mechs which had hung near either ship now bolted farther past in an effort to avoid the searing heat. They watched as the listener's wrath pushed both ships farther away. It was a testament to the ship's construction that it stayed on mark and stayed in one piece despite the quaking tremors which shook it to its core.
The listener shook and trembled as the massive beam faded away to only sparks and embers. The asteroid looked torn apart with fragments of stone mingling with melted steel, yet it remained undestroyed even under the barrage.
"can we hit it again?" tai croaked as he still clutched the rail which had held him through the blast.
"No... the main ionic cannon drains the ship's weaponry and shorts out the targeting systems. All we have now is propulsion. I knew it wouldn't destroy it... but if there's any way in hell you've got a chance... it's that the base is pretty torn up. We can only hope Sora wasn't caught in that...."
"she'll be ok... I feel it."
"Better get ready then tai... it's almost your turn."
"I'll be ready if you can get there without getting us killed first."
"Big if..." izzy replied
"All forces... charge!" izzy commanded through listener to each mech's comm. The command was met with faithful obedience as hundreds of mechs shot off in the direction of the smoldering asteroid. Listener shivered once more as the swarm of Mecha shot off so ready to die.
Izzy smirked as his eyes flared green. Listener lurched forward as several small explosions from within punched through the thick armor. The ship split away like a clam shell as the thick armor, components for running the ionic cannon, and crew quarters were shed like a serpent shedding skin. They drifted there in the stillness of space in silent serenity. Listener had been designed to fight a war if the need arose... and, escape to fight another day, should that need arise.
Listener had lost half its mass, but still the ship was massive. Un-shed were the thrusters which had once moved the behemoth listener, those same incredibly powerful engines now fired up to full speed with a much lighter ship that exploded forward under the thruster's low and godlike roar. Izzy's eyes were glowing emerald as he balanced the ship with his mind. He stretched out his link to such an extent that he feared his brain would cook with the residual electricity it was generating for the link.
Listener's speed seemed to triple as it flew through the debris with all the grace of a bird of prey. It hung lower to the sea of smoke and flame which still churned. The ship's wake rippled off the sea of smoke like a dragonfly's as he skimmed off the still water of a cool translucent pond.
The ship was now neck and neck with izzy's forces as they entered the asteroid's range.
Like thousands of shimmering fireflies the guns fired at will. The flaming wasps whizzed by as the mechs scattered in all directions. The asteroid didn't have a fraction of what it once had before the ionic cannon's discharge. But it was still armed enough to fill the sky with fire.
The nimble vessel rolled and pivoted as it dodged much of the barrage. Each turn cast up a foamy wave from the ocean of fire which flung off into cold space where it dissipated to nothing. The colossal ship was dazzling as it twisted and leapt up to avoid the artillery which crashed to either side of the mighty vessel. The shots flared all around it as izzy spun the ship out of danger with only a foot's distance from peril. Mechs were battling all around it now, yet no foe seemed capable of landing a blow on the ship with the mind of an immortal.
It stood before the dark and gnarled asteroid. The shadow it cast overtook the listener as the dark instillation loomed like a dark god before the smaller silver ship. Izzy had no weapon save the ship's own mass. Guns trailed low and locked on as the listener suddenly was lurched vertically and sent to the left. The ship's lower hull crashed against the asteroid which buckled under the impact. Though listener cried out with the sound of crunched metal it didn't dare slow. Pulling away izzy circled the base. Bringing them side to side he chose his moment well. On the most bare and decimated portion of the ship's armor. As it came to this portion on the next rotation it fired it's grappling cables. Eight in all, these massive appendages slammed into the asteroid. Their clawed grips sunk in like the talons of a eagle to the fish. All eight dug in deep and went taut instantly as listener increased speed. The cables held to the asteroid and proceeded to wrench it with the ship. The base had no thrusters to match listener, and soon found itself pulled in a discombobulating spin along with the vessel. The targeting guns couldn't get their bearing on the ship due to this sudden change in momentum, that wouldn't last.
Still caught up in listener's web it was impaled through the weakest section of armor. The cylindrical syringe was just big enough for it's fare. The umbilical chord connected the two as tai waited for izzy's signal. It came fast.
"Now tai!" as he spoke the seal broke and air rushed into the tube. Tai found himself sucked forward and downward into the stricken base. If he were anyone else this reckless boarding method might break his leg or his neck, but as testament to who he was, he landed with no more then a pained thud.
Ishida's base looked decimated inside by the blast's heat. The metal was warped and fused. Tai had no time to really assess the condition of the base since the umbilical was more fragile then porcelain. Should it break, he would be sucked out to cold space.
Acting with sudden urgency he grabbed the gun and bolted for the door he glimpsed from the corner of his eye. He tried the control panel only to discover that it was melted and fused together. This was bad. The gun would be too slow and the combat knife he held in his boot was no scythe. He opted instead for the explosive in his side pack. Fishing it out faster then he though possible, he applied the magnetic explosive to the center of the door's joint. Clutching the detonator in his hand he frantically surveyed the room. It was a crewman's quarters, now destroyed. He chose the bed as the best shield and with a sudden heave of strength, propped it over him. Tai strained against the bed's weight, but preyed it was as thick as possible. Gritting his teeth, he pressed the detonator.
His ears ached as the sound assaulted him along with the force of the explosion which threw him and the bed against the far wall. He was lucky the link between ships was undamaged, yet that wouldn't last. Izzy would try to keep them joined for as long as he could, though that meant nothing since any second one ship would be hit and open this room to the void.
He pushed the bed off, which now was smoldering with burning debris, and looked to the doorway. Blown open. Gripping his gun so tight his knuckles ached he ran through the doorway. There was a guard advancing, he pulled his gun and blew the man away before he could register what had happened. Tai sprinted for the far door just as the listener was hit and the link destroyed. Tai gasped as the pressure pulled at him like a leash, by sheer muscle he made it to the door which opened without hitch.
Tai gripped the doorjamb and pulled himself in. Then managed to seal it behind him. Alive for now, but probably not for long.
tearing loose of the grappler cables the listener spun off. The asteroid's gun turrets were faster then he predicted as they locked on and pelted his hull with fire. The jarring impacts had destroyed the umbilical, and perhaps in that act, killed Taichi by exposing him to the void. Izzy had no time to think of tai now... he was on his own just as the young assassin was. Both were in mortal danger should both still live.
Listener trembled as izzy heaved it into a turn witch evaded a stream of fire. There were no weapons still available to the young scientist save the ship itself. And he was willing to kill himself using that weapon if it meant an end to this base which would leak a toxin cable of destroying the world should it remain.
The listener turned and took several shots to its front hull before it charged the base once more. The shells ripped into the metal with groaning cries as listener reeled with them. Izzy waited until the last moment before straining with the helm and sending the listener into a spin. The collision pulverized the steel skin of listener so that entire wings within were dinted and crushed. Koshiro had planned where to strike as to cause listener less damage. The area on the rear and side were less populated by important machinery. He could pound with this section of the ship until the whole thing inevitably would give way. Izzy doubted he could truly destroy the base with only listener's battered hull, but he could die trying.
More shots made contact with listener's armorless hull. They ripped massive holes in their wake which left flames and gasses filtering off into space. Izzy suddenly realized he wouldn't make it that long. Listener without armor was no more then a colossal target. Eyes flaring green his mental computer calculated his own dark fate. Statistics are the language he most fluently. He thought like a machine and had the same sense of hope that a machine has. Numbers didn't lie... he would die trying without much hope of success... but by god he would try!
Listener impacted once more. More systems went redline and burst inside. He was preparing another run when something happened. A beam of dark light erupted through the asteroid and straight into listener. The ship was hurtled off in a vertical somersault which ended unceremoniously as listener crashed into a clump of dead mecha which splintered off in individual parts.
Izzy groaned as he surveyed the source of the blast. It made no sense. There was no energy cannon, much less one that fires through the instillation from its core. But plausible or not... listener had been impaled with that blast. Izzy's ship was given a truly mortal blow as air began leaking from all sections. One last chance. Izzy sealed the airtight bridge. He would asphyxiate soon with no flowing oxygen, but he had no chance.... the base must be destroyed. Earth gleamed below with so many dashed dreams that it seemed to radiate lost hope. His people were down there now... waiting for the end. And as the computer within his mind formulated a plan it became clear he may as well supply that end.
With sparks of emerald in his soulless eyes, he lifted the listener up once more. A final run to a final end. He was now the murderer he had taken matt for. This would be a potential act of mass slaughter, but it was the last option he could think of. Listener groaned as its engines screamed with far more force then they should safely be asked to supply. The ship now barreled straight into the fray. No dodging. Listener cried out with each blow that shredded through it.
Engines overheating the gap was closed. Yet just as the frontal collision was near certain. Izzy wrenched the ship directly vertical. Plates of steel rattled loose as izzy surpassed the colossal asteroid and went still higher. At the peak of it's clime he hung there for a moment with all traces of sanity lost. If Sora wasn't dead now... he would kill her. As he would certainly murder Taichi with this last and desperate act of death.
With a flicker of green the mech bay inside listener was exposed to space. The vacuum wrenched all the machinery out along with the one mech not in use. Greydramon was no more then a massive marionette without tai to unite with. Now that puppet drifted through the stillness of space. It was an act of desperation for izzy, but the mech was sure to be destroyed if it remained on board for what would come next.
"I wish there would be a happy ending to this." he mused as his eyes burned jade.
"But I suppose I'll have to settle for just an ending." he punched the thrusters to maximum. Listener hurtled downward in the pull of both gravity and thrusters, then as he was no more then feet away from the asteroid's steely surface. He detonated the engines and sent listener careening straight into the asteroid with an impact capable of casting the moon out of its orbit.... and straight into the planet below.
Tai ran blindly through the complex. He encountered no more guards, though they could be around any corner. He suspected izzy's barrage had sent them into a panic and thus left an opening for him to slip in. He wanted matt, but having failed to kill him once he couldn't trust himself to save Sora this time if he tried killing matt too. Also, izzy would be ramming the hell out of the base. No efforts would be made to rescue tai.. If he and Sora were to survive it would be strictly of their own doing.
Hopefully he could steal a ship once he found Sora. But at very least he could get Sora to open space, there she would be able to save herself.. But this all depended on if he could find her, and if she was alive.
Gun drawn and ready he ran down another corridor that was charred with heat. Izzy's ship had done a number on this base that was a reassurance to tai that there was hope. A sudden impact knocked tai to his knees. The whole complex quaked as listener rammed its side into the base's hull. Tai scrambled to his feet even as the asteroid still wobbled on its unstable axis. He sprinted around corner after corner, hall after hall, winding his way farther inside.
He preyed he would not meet matt before Sora, he had to save her. his name had meant deliver in her native tongue; he just preyed it didn't mean deliverer of death. He saw a man in a white lab coat sprint down the hall. He was in a blind panic as he passed tai. Taichi didn't raise a weapon to strike him down, he was in no state of mind to do anything but run now.
Tai noted that he was now in a laboratory wing. It smelled of ozone and smoldering engines. There was a faint haze of smoke from some dying machine. He was preparing to explore the various rooms where Sora may be held, but his eyes widened as movement caught his gaze. From around a corridor Sora bounded with all the sheer determination she could muster through her aching body. Tai felt his throat tighten as he saw her. she had wounds which now bled, her hair was matted with sweat and remained plastered to her clammy skin, she was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen.
As Sora fully turned for the hall she saw him. He stood there like a statue with a faint shimmer in his eyes that she had never seen before. Her eyes widened as she suddenly found new strength. No longer favoring her left leg she now bounded to him in virtual leaps. She made a noise he couldn't quite comprehend as he dumbly opened his arms and caught her in mid bound. Their grips turned to vices they crushed each other to themselves. Tai found himself frantically touching her. Her face, her hair, desperately striving for every caress he could. He hadn't lost her. there was still a chance he could make that life he had secretly been pining for, a humble little life on some colony where he would be free to not kill.
"You... you're alive." he choked out just as the base pitched with impact. Sora crumbled and brought him down on top of her. a harsh reminder of the bleakness which loomed beyond the singed corridors.
"Tai! This place!?"
"Izzy's ramming listener into it..." her eyes went wide.
"IS HE INSANE!?!" she croaked.
Tai gave a dark chuckle as he pulled himself to his feet. Sora following. "It's possible.." they both ran back in the direction tai had come. Each collision threw them against walls or doorways, yet their pace quickened with each impact. No guards once again... but matt was also missing. That scared tai. The awakened lion would not let his quarry escape from his own den. That was perhaps the momentum which urged tai to move faster.
They had no clue where the loading bay was.. where a ship could be found. But odds were that it would be on the outer levels. The silence was eerie except for when listener thundered against the hull like an ogre knocking on the door. They came to an observatory with one large sectioned octagon porthole. It stared off into the battle and for a moment caught tai's attention. Listener was struck by a beam originating from the base. Tai could feel its rumble, yet he had no clue such a ray was capable of being born on this dark instillation. It wasn't the hue or size of izzy's ionic cannon, but it pierced listener like a spear thrown from the devil's own hand.
"Oh god! Listener... it's...." Sora gaped as she watched in horror as izzy's vessel floundered under the dark beam's ministrations.
"On the verge of being nothing more then scrap steel." matt smirked as both of them turned in horror to see him as he now was.
Blond hair now spiked out across his brow in bangs that seemed solid enough to serve as spears. His eyes were pools of silvery azure sapphire set aglow. His black pupils now seemed more elliptical then before, almost with a feline influence. He still wore the black coat and black shirt, though the muscle now seemed more filled out. His sleeves were torn and now gave hellish glimpses at alabaster skin lined with black tributaries which ran like underground rivers through his skin. His hands were taught and hard, they could be claws for all the subtle changes he had suffered.
Throat still scarred, but now tattooed with the black varicose veins which exploded out in frozen motion from his wound and up his features. From beneath his hair barbed thorns of black marred his forehead while the clinging black vines reached out over his cheeks. None covered his face, though all framed it with all the artfulness of a nest of black snakes. He stood taller, more upright too. It was as though he burst with conceit and let that arrogance drizzle from every poor which bled like a gaping sore. Spiked tendrils of hair shifted in nonexistent wind as his eyes brightened to a more prominent glow.
"You like it? I think it's a big improvement. I feel so much more certain now that it's in me. Sora and sin.. Together inside.. I can feel them bubbling together inside me... both hungry." he looked at Sora and smiled with all the compassion of a viper given lips.
"What are you?" tai gaped as he guided Sora farther away and closer to the window.
"My demon did that to izzy's ship you know..." he stated without paying any heed to tai's question. His words seemed to carry off to some land far away where his bubbling insanity made perfect sense. His face changed from malice to confusion.
"I... I'm not sure if I want to kill you or not..." he stated as his eyes flickered. "Before, it was more a rivalry. More for revenge. But now, I don't know. It all feels so hazy now.. Like something inside me is building. A pressure... oh it's scary tai. Please... make it go away." his eyes had mirrored confusion before... now they bubbled with feverish fear and terror. His voice had trembled like a little child before it changed once more, still the child, but different now. "I think I want to let it in.. Open the door to this demon inside me... it wants me to accept it and become it. Oh tai... I'm sorry." his words were slurred to growls as he hissed out that last little sentence. He was sorry... but as he looked up again that was gone. All white in his eyes had turned to oily black, leaving two rings of sapphire hanging there on those dark orbs like rings on some demolished planet.
"Taichi Sora... I'm sorry about that. That was the last little shred of someone long dead. A ghost in the machine. He's gone now.. And only I'm left." matt smiled darkly as he lifted a gun from the folds of his jacket. Tai tried to pull the gun on him and blow the bastard to pieces. His hand couldn't. Something held it. It would move in any direction or action, so long as it didn't involve firing on matt. The demon inside now had established itself... and that meant it could fully access matt's powers while tai had none of his own to defend with.
"You love her so much tai... you always have. That's why it's time to loose it all" he smiled at Sora as her eyes went wide with sudden knowing. Still weak, she lunged for tai and pushed him aside. The shot rung loud and echoed through the darkened corridors of the dying base.
Tai looked up at Sora. She looked confused by something as she glanced down at him. Her face softened. "I'm ok tai..." he would have laughed with joy and relief if she hadn't said that while slumping to her knees and collapsing into his arms.
Tai screamed as he lay his hand on her center back and drew it back painted in his love's blood.
"It's fine tai..." she tried to say, but found her voice trembling and breaking as she spoke.
"Silly girl... I wasn't going to shoot him..." tai looked up at him with more hate then he could ever be capable of in a thousand lifetimes. His hate was fueled by horror and grief which burned far hotter then any rage. He shook as he turned back to look at her.
"It's ok Sora... we're getting out of here." he was vaguely conscious of exhaling all air from his lungs as matt took aim at his head. If there was a shot it came far too late as tai raised his gun and shot the window to smithereens. Space's vacuum devoured all sound and air with a great whoosh. When it was all over Tai and Sora were floating in space, both limp.
The three watched in awed horror as the shockwave threw the weaker mechs away like paper dolls caught in a gale big enough to reshape continents. Listener in itself did not explode, though it ripped to pieces with small blasts that tore the majestic vessel to fragments. The asteroid stronghold hurtled downward caught in the gravity of the dead world beneath. Listener however had partially ricocheted off it's crest, and managed to remain in space for a slower descent.
The ship crumbled to plates of steel which spilled out like entrails with dead machinery. Kari squeaked in horror as she watched the ship pitch with each blast that tore from within like some parasitic larva exploding through a host grasshopper. Her eyes leaked tears as she watched a tree from the atrium, ripped from its roots, floating dead on the emptiness of space. The plasma burning fire rippled around listener like sea and sky joined forces against the damned vessel. Fire swirled on the smoldering steel as listener's carcass split in half and burned.
"The listener is no more." TK said softly as he watched the ship twist in further explosions. His attention was suddenly drawn to Kari as she growled low in her throat while watching the listener. Dark Leomon's clawed fists tightened as the shared link pushed both to the edge of control.
"We have to save him..." she snarled.
"No we do not! Izzy is just like listener, a threat." TK barked. Kari turned to him and scowled.
"Just because we are the three, it doesn't mean we aren't digidestined anymore! We can't let izzy die!"
"He made his own fate by creating a weapon like that. Wether to fight matt or not, he has to reap what he sew." Kari scowled at him.
"For the love of god TK! What the hell happened to you!?" his eyes flared red as he yelled back.
"I lost hope! Ok!? The digidestined are on the verge of self destruction! What does it matter if he dies? He'll be reborn, then he'll die again. Just like the rest of us. Humanity will go on killing each other, wars will continue to break out. Innocents will die. Nothing we do matters!" Kari stared at TK as if slapped. Braedon looked at him with more sadness then his sister mirrored, he had known TK felt this way for far longer then he let on. Kari just now found out that the only reason TK still acted as leader of the three was for them. but in all senses of the word he had long ago been swallowed by despair.
"We can't force them to change TK! But we can help give them the chance. TK! Izzy can help do that... but with the way things are going we can't waste another lifetime." Kari spoke softly, yet with a haste as the listener continued to rip apart.
"There's no hope.. And I don't care anymore." he replied crestfallenly.
"WELL I DO!" she roared as dark Leomon exploded off tword listener. Her thrusters cast off sapphire embers as she closed the gap.
"I care too brother." Braedon whispered as he took off in pursuit of Kari. TK watched as the two mechs came up under listener and tried top push it out of the gravitational field. He would almost laugh if that was still in him. The two had heart, heart in spades actually, but not quite as gifted at thinking on their feet as they should be. If they failed to save izzy then they would understand how futile it is to fight destiny.
Listener lurched downward even further as another explosion rocked its hull. Kari cried out as her grip faltered. She regained composure, but her thrusters were no match for the gravity which pulled at the massive chunk of the ship. Braedon had the excuse of still being young and idealistic, Kari had seen just as much as TK, she shouldn't be so easily fooled. Chivalry is dead... hope is gone... why the hell did she still try?
He rolled his eyes as the corse of action became clear. They would never see the world as it was. Their naivety were too deeply ingrained in them now. His jaded eyes saw the corse... the only corse for saving them from the hard truth. Withdrawing the angelic blade from his side he felt it tremble in his grip like a tuning fork. Flaring with blue flame the sword came alive.
"It's slipping Kari!" Braedon cried as listener pitched even closer to making planet fall.
"We can't give up!" she called back.
"Both of you! Move now!" TK commanded. The angel mech was dashing tword them like a massive bullet. At his side he held the flame sword which was aglow with ancient runes. Braedon shot out of the line of attack as if his life depended on it. Kari screamed out a terrified "NO!!!" he didn't answer her.
His eyes flickered with flame as he sliced through listener like it was butter. The upward cut split the ship in another half. Drawing up his foot, he kicked the unwanted section of hull off. Before Kari could react he had slicked listener again. The horizontal cut split off the remains of the ship which exploded to a hail of shrapnel. The metal fragments pelted him as he reached out and snagged the section of listener which surrounded the bridge. His fingers dug deep holes in the metal as he heaved this considerably smaller portion out of gravity's pull. With a grunt he heaved the section back into space and returned his attention to the reaming fragments of listener which would fall atop the survivors.
Angemon's wings glowed with sapphire light as TK called out: "heaven's charm!" the resulting blast washed over the ship like a tsunami of energy. Thousands of beams split and cut the vessel's fragmented hull to ribbons. They swirled around it until all that remained of the great listener, was dust in the stellar wind.
Kari stared at him in stunned disbelief as the tiny blue embers of the attack still swarmed around them. like throngs of drunken fireflies.
"The two of you are far too sentimental... and I am putting izzy under your supervision. If he's still alive that is..." the young knight grunted out.
"TK?" Kari gaped.
"I don't trust them anymore Kari... men who can build weapons like that. But I do trust you. Keep him under control, or I'll correct my mistake." his voice was cold and harsh, yet Kari could hear something else within. Perhaps the last little trembling flame of hope still ablaze within the shell of ice.
"Thank you Takeru..."
"I've always trusted you Kari." he replied, and as he did, she smiled.
Mimi stared up at the cloudy sky overhead. The air of earth was dry and smelled hackneyed from the years without sufficient vegetation to filter the air. The co2 would be toxic if they were to stay for too long.. But this minimal exposure to the high carbon monoxide would leave them with no negative side effects.... provided they weren't all killed by the battle.
The sky was an endless sea of golden clouds mingling with ones of orange and red together in an ever changing panorama. The earth had grown silent except for the faint howl of a low wind, it was still, as still as the grave,
"It... it's so ominous." joe whispered as he joined her. the other refugees has assembled themselves together, now they practically huddled under the dark presence which gradually overtook them in the form of a darkening shadow. The seeming eclipse raced across the arid land like a specter. It swallowed up the entire panorama as day and night mingled in a abomination of perpetual twilight. Mimi trembled as the low roar came. Feral and untamed the low growl made itself into a roar and then a blaring howl.
The sky suddenly surged outward in a jetted extremity which continued to elongate like a god's finger. The cloud swirled as atmosphere was punctured and cast into a frantic shuffling to regain its equilibrium. A shadow blacker then space shimmered beneath the ethereal clouds of carbon laced oxygen like a black fish swimming beneath the glassy surface of a clear pond. The asteroid's girth was never more apparent as the sky rippled in swirling vortices of hazy clouds. Mimi's jaw dropped as she stared in terror at the falling asteroid. The weakened ozone burned with friction as the ragged stone caught ablaze and set the very sky around it on fire.
Friction generated bolts of lightning flared from the heart of the cloud and fire pillar which continued until nearly scraping the ground. Pelting rain of steel and debris began to fall over the vicinity of the asteroid's immanent touch down. Dozens of fiery fragments rained out over the land like a downpour of fire. As they collided with the earth they each rumbled like thunder. The air grew feverish as tolling impacts drummed out the coming of a large impact. The heat lightning struck the earth and scorched it as buildings caught too close crumbled to dust and were swept off into the storm.
Joe's knees grew weak, they had survived this impact by sheer luck... it was no more then gravity and fate that guided the impact to a remotely safe distance. Their survival was mearly chaotic luck... though to call any of this luck would be a testament to insanity. The clouds were thinning out as the asteroid came to view. It was a blackened exoskeleton now, laced with tributaries of silvery steel which was molten hot. The irregularly shaped asteroid was ablaze with jets of fire that burned off charcoaled stone and illuminated more of the steel innards which liquified under re-entry.
Thunder sang out across the sky, yet was drowned out as the hurtling rock made impact. The crash was a sonic wall of destruction that rendered all landmarks within the area clean and flat. The force of this colossal impact threw the refugees to their hands and knees as the dead planet rumbled in seismic agony. Elsewhere, buildings crumbled into bays and desolate freeways returned to the sands which gave birth to them originally. All the world seemed to cry out as the deafening roar snarled out in a hateful screech. The impact drilled a cavern into the earth which collapsed and was filled several times around the asteroid.
As the roar died and the chaos softened to a panicked wail the haze was sucked away by the reassembling oxygen which had been pushed away during impact along with all debris. Now as the air whooshed into the void, the sandy earth that had failed so miserably to cushion the base had receded to a cracked and decimated stone carpet that had ran beneath the sands.
The rock smoldered like a blackened coal, yet unlike hot coals, this blackened stone was laced with veins of bleeding steel which pooled around it like a small lake of mercury in the asteroid's crater. Serpents of smoke escaped through the air as they could through the water should they be more then mearly smoke.
Mimi stared up at the sky which now was with a mirror to space. The clouds had parted to reveal a darkness that extended for galaxies... no star dared shine under this dark hour. And as she let her gaze lower to the charred relic of hate... she knew that it would not end like this.
There came a sound from the asteroid's core. Now it could have quite easily been the sound of a machine grinding itself to death. Or it was a gas leak from within as the atmosphere met the thing's open cracks. It could even be the sound of something sizzling on the molten hot stone or steel... but regardless of origin, Mimi heard a snarl from within.
tai's head was lighter then his body as he floated through open space. He held Sora by the hand as they both glided through the darkness. His lungs were emptied of all oxygen, yet still burned as his body was being drawn out by the lack of atmosphere. His skin was burning as blood vessels drew closer to rupturing. His head rang with a fearsome migraine as the pressure asserted itself on his constitution. He would be crying tears of blood soon once the pressure burst more of his blood vessels around his eyes. Yet as he felt the limp figure in his arms he ceased to care.
Drawing her closer, tai closed his arms around the beautiful hybrid's gossamer form. she didn't hug back, tai had felt her grip slacken as she passed out, but he still had faith that she was alright... this belief was fueled by sheer hope and the steadfast belief that if he didn't glance back to their wake and see the trail of floating blood which spun away into space like a string of ruby pearls broken from their thread tether, it would deny the inevitability that her would was as bad as he feared.
Despite the headache, he felt no pain now. He was cold as ice in space, and strangely peaceful as Sora was squeezed to him. The two glided in soft rotations away from the base which had fallen to earth like a devil in biblical perportune. Sora's hair fanned out around them and teased tai's skin by dancing across it. Her face was soft and locked in a gentle expression that mirrored a dreamful sleep. She would die without help soon... And that help would never come if tai died in space. His lungs already ached for air as ruby tears leaked from his blurring eyes. He was on death's alter now... awaiting sacrifice.
From the darkness of space he saw a figure that looked to be an angel of death. It was coming in and out of focus as his eyes blurred. The space was gradually divulging the image of the angel to him. It lay lifeless in the tide, though it was not dead. He shook his head to clear the haze and saw the image sharpen for a moment. With wings open and arms held outward it startled him to see the Greydramon looming right there before him. The sleeping titan seemed to will him to it. And tai found strength to grab hold as they drew nearer. His lungs throbbed as if impaled by spears as he reluctantly released Sora to drift. He pressed his hand to the red jewel and was filled with sheer joy to find the mech alive. It pulled him in and swallowed him. Tai coughed and gagged as the dragon god fed him air and proceeded to repair his burst blood vessels. Yet tai took no time to heal alone. He coughed and wheezed as he gently took hold of Sora. He cradled her in his dragon hands and held her to his chest with all the tenderness used for handling a ladybug. Greydramon flew faster then before as he dropped from the heavens and to the earth. Joe... the healer. He would save her... he would save her... he had to.
"IZZY!" Mimi cried as Kari used the dark Leomon to rip open the listener's bridge. The metal gave way easily to Kari's grip, and as the clamshells split izzy lay there amidst the wreckage. Joe was to him immediately as was Mimi. Kari slowly withdrew to her comrades' side and gazed down at him. Joe looked worried for only a moment before he helped the dazed commander to his feet. Izzy needed to lean on him as he stared up at the three mechs. All stared down at him, almost hungrily. Mimi grabbed him across the mid-section as he smiled.
"Takeru? It's good to see you again..." He watched as the three cockpits opened and the three knights emerged. Several of the men were trembling as they looked up to the fabled three. Destroyers of empires and warriors from beyond time itself. Kari they knew... the two males they did not. Without effort they each leapt from the cockpit and landed together before izzy. He didn't seem afraid, but the commander never seemed to be afraid.
"I wouldn't have imagined you would save me Takeru... it's against your principles to spare a threat."
"You're right... and you are possibly the biggest threat here. You made digimon into Mecha... turned them into living weapons... matt wants to rule the species... but it would seem you want to destroy it." his voice was dark and izzy frowned at its tone.
"The plague... they would all be lost. Every digimon would die..."
"I understand why you did it... I remember Patamon. And it broke my heart when he died. I still miss him. I assume you still miss Tentomon too. When they died.. It's like we died too. They were a part of us all.
But before they could be more then fighters, they could be our friends... now they are machines.. There's names for machines that kill... lots of names... all of them live in infamy. Guns... atomic bombs... Izzy... scientists create death. And you... you took the digimon and turned them into weapons. I would rather have killed Patamon myself then let him be turned into something like these..." he stretched out his hand to the three mechs.
"That's enough TK!" Mimi snapped. He turned to stare at her and his eyes burned like fire.
"I'm not the little kid I was once... I'm not the loyal knight I once was. I'm not a crusader, I'm not a policeman, I'm not a writer, I'm not a priest anymore, and I sure as hell am not one of YOU anymore! I will not kiss his ass like the two of you do, izzy molested all the digimon into murderers and he never deserves to be forgiven for that!" he roared as Mimi stared at him in horror. Little TK had changed much since last they knew each other.
"You're right TK... I don't deserve redemption. I see what I've done. I see what I accomplished by turning the digimon into mechs, and I never asked to be forgiven. You can hate me all you like... but that won't change things. I may have destroyed their species... their true nature. But I will always do what I can to preserve life."
"Err.... him nice to meet you koshiro, I'm Braedon." the young knight smiled. Izzy stared at him incredulously yet was unable to answer when his eyes fell skyward. The Greydramon was descending, yet far too fast as to broadcast any degree of grace. The dragon all but fell to earth as he relied on sheer power to survive the impact which jarred the bystanders and left the earth under-talon cracked.
Expressions of unsurety were replaced by horror as the dragon god relinquished a limp Sora to the ground. No sooner has she been laid on the earth as the cockpit split open and tai fell to the ground. He landed sprawled, but quickly regained composure and crawled to her. his eyes were red as he frantically picked her up into his arms. Her long hair lay over him like a shroud. His trembling fingers traced wobbly lines of affection over her cheek as his head shot up to joe. He spoke not as the Taichi that had once been, not as the cold assassin either. His words trembled on the edge of a precipice that receded into a place that no eyes could see and no one could follow. He spoke with the same helplessness as a child devoid of strength but with fear in excess.
"Please..." he choked as joe broke into a run. The doctor was followed by Kari and Mimi. Takeru stared at the figure of the bloodied Sora in paralyzed disbelief. Braedon was in the dark for the significance of why the hybrid would evoke them to run like that. Izzy, who had moments before been Barley able to stand now ran with a agonized limp. TK followed slowly, but in the end he too ran.
"Please joe... save her!" tai whimpered in that voice.
The doctor slid into a kneeling position as a baseball player might slide to home. He took Sora from tai and pulled at her garments until the small of her back came to view. Nestled between wings and scapula a red hole resided with a malignant ugliness. It was bleeding slowly, but the trickle seemed far more ominous to joe who turned her. as he continued to examine her he was vaguely aware of a crying Taichi who would reach out and touch her. joe shook his head slowly before offering her back to Taichi. The boy cradled her in his lap and looked at joe with teary eyes, pleading eyes, and worst of all hopeful eyes."
"Tai... it hit her heart." he whispered and more tears erupted from the onlookers, Kari, Mimi, or one of the others. Tai shook his head as he continued to cradle her. the girl's wings had pulled closer to her, they were stiff. Tai groaned in an anguished cry, yet as he drew back his hand from under her it was painted red.
Tai stared at the blood on his hand. He hated blood... drawing his hand closed, he put it to his lips and began to sob. No one tried to console him, no one had the strength to.
"Tai... calm down will ya? You're making this hurt more." Sora whimpered as tai cried out in shock and joe gaped.
"YOU'RE ALIVE!" tai practically screamed, yet was stopped suddenly by a look he caught in her eyes. She was smiling at him, but it was a sad grin. He caught on too well.
"It burst something inside tai..." she whispered.
"Please no, I don't want to be alone again." he pleaded.
"You aren't alone tai..." he kissed her gently as she stared at him.
"Your name means deliverer... It fits." his lip trembled as his heart thundered inside his chest, funny how it could still do that when it was actually impaled and dead.
"I hate you humans... I hate that I'm part human... part of a species that is capable of doing so much, but does so little. I don't hate you tai.. You're proof that they can't be all bad... that there is still a chance. Nothing that you are a part of is irredeemable, I see that in you.
Your name means deliverer, you did... you brought me back from hate tai... thank you for that. My deliverer... " she touched his face and he smiled.
She looked out at the refugees of listener and then back to tai.
"Humans... what a peculiar species you are. You're capable of the most horrible nightmares, but also the most beautiful dreams. Tai... the future is a dark horizon. It goes on forever and you can't see any end to the blackness, but there is always hope." she leaned up and kissed him on his lips. A kiss goodbye. She whispered against his lips. "Fight the dark horizon Taichi... deliver us from it." Sora lay her head to his chest, and listening to his heart, died.
No one spoke... they heard the snarling again, this time accompanied by a pounding, but still no one spoke. Tai held Sora to him for a time before she began to grow cold. Tears had dried up, leaving only the agony felt by each who knew her. she had died before, but the loss of Sora killed them each time. Even TK's eyes were wet with tears as he held Kari to him, possibly more for his benefit then hers, neither complained about the arrangement though.
The grieving assassin lay her down before him. He straightened her hair as he let one hand linger on her face. tears streamed down his face as he looked at her. the air was moving around them in a low and ominously fluid motion. Tai's fists trembled as the sky grew dark.
Mimi's tear filled eyes widened as she heard the rumbling start. It was low at first. Growing slowly the thunder rolled across the swirling heavens. Pebbles trembled like frightened mice on the flat ground as the residual fires from the asteroid's impact flared. Thunder cracked the sky with a flash as heaven shuddered in fear. Tai's hair stood on end as he knelt before the girl that could have set him free. He lurched over on the earth as each finger dug a trench in the sand. His body trembled as they backed away. Izzy's eyes were wide as he gaped.
Thunder again, this time multiple bolts of heat lightning which painted the clouds red and black. Again the thunder tolled, this time as twin bolts which struck the earth and did not fade in that same instant, they hung there and danced with white fire as bridges between the sky and the earth.
The asteroid suddenly cracked. A fissure split, and the shell was broken. From the seal, a demon emerged. The asteroid crumbled as the thing housed within roared out with a reptilian howl. The killer of listener, the best which had been snarling from within the base, the black monster, all united as one demon emerged. It screamed a feral cry into the heavens as its fearful symmetry became all too clear. The beast was of Mecha, but seemed more then a mere mech.
It looked capable of being Greydramon's brother, but different. Its flesh was a sickly black that looked like corpse flesh. The black epidermis was knotted in a thousand kinks of flesh and bone and steel. From the demon's black core tiny clawed arms hung, atrophied and in the process of being re-absorbed into the twisted demon of plague. It hissed and snarled from its tomb of steel and stone. The asteroid cracked away like an egg as the beast reared up. Its body was a nest of twisted appendages and bone while a crown of horns sat atop the horrible dragon's black boney maw. It seemed to wear its skeleton outside and inside in a hellish spectacle.
The demon known as Seth stretched out as he clawed himself out of the asteroid womb which he had slept within. The talons were gigantic as they raked across the dead earth, cutting deep trench-like gashes into the stone. Roaring again he lurched forward. His back exploded with two dragon wings. Leathery flesh wrapped tightly around steely blades. The wings stretched as a long black tail slowly raised up and swished through the air. The tail's barb shimmered menacingly in the darkness as Seth roared out into the haze. Behind the red jeweled heart yamato smiled gleefully.
They watched the demon mech raise up and look over tword them. with a hunger gleaming in his dark eyes. Yet that look changed as Taichi stood. His hair now stood more upright as he turned to face the dragon. His chestnut eyes shimmered faintly golden in the first protruding rays of light from the thick, and yet parting canopy of black clouds. Sora lay behind him, as dead as the tai he once was. He smiled at the demon with a darkness kindled by the edge of grief induced madness. He didn't speak, but his silence conveyed intent beyond words. Izzy felt his breath freeze to ice in his throat as all grew silent as the grave around them. Mimi trembled against him as they both stared at the risen leader of the digidestined. Tai had always walked the edge between righteousness and infamy, a leader by strength, but not always the most pure leader.
He was resurrected, with all the power of an eternity endowed in him. The assassin was gone, replaced by a digital god that had all the power and hatred from a millennia of accumulated lives spent in conflict. He continued to glare darkly with at Seth and matt and perhaps for all the others who would use digimon for war.
He turned to one of the refugees who had once worked in listener's engine room. He wore a pair of goggles which shielded his eyes from the engine's potential debris that was often thrown up during maintenance. Tai smirked as he grabbed the goggles and slipped them onto his head. This was a little strange for those who had not known the Taichi of the past, and for those who did, it almost tempted a smile.
Before they could assume that all was well, their smiles were stopped. Tai cried out in a sudden rage that sent a jarring shockwave through the air. He watched as the earth split around him in thousands of tiny cracks which shot through the ground like lighting. They encircled Taichi, who appeared to be stretching, though less with his muscle then with whatever force now swelled within him. Tai glanced over at Sora for a time with a profound sorrow before looking up at izzy with either hatred or disappointment in him. The gaze chilled izzy to his core. Tai was back... but it was unclear if he was back as he once was, or if something had changed in him beyond the triggering. Perhaps he too now felt as Takeru did, that izzy deserved no compassion for his failures as a Digidestined.
Regardless of all other things, this was clear.... The dreamer had awakened... but the nightmare had just began.
Dreams are fragile things.
Sometimes they grow into our reality, and other times they die in our imagination.
They are like butterflies, once touched, they are rendered incapable of flight.
The really depressing thing is that unlike dreams,
nightmares are not bound to the same rules as dreams,
and they almost always come true.
Not The End...