Chapter 2: School's In!
Jase Merson swore that his eyes were fooling him. Somehow. He looked up and down the figure before him. Yes, a Digimon was standing right in front of him, he was sure it was a 3D object, and he knew it was physical, but he was trying to convince himself it was some kind of trick. He was failing miserably. And, to top it all off, a part of him was disappointed that Vix didn't have breasts to go with that beautiful body of hers. No prizes for guessing which part it was.
They were in Keith's apartment. It was 6:50 PM. Jase had come over immediately after dinner to see Vix. Jase was more or less Keith's age. He had slicked-back red hair with a widow's peak, blue eyes, a build that was only marginally more fit than Keith's, jeans, and a white shirt under a grey jumper (the temperature had cooled down), along with a pair of black sandals. He was standing near the computer, staring at Vix, who was on the couch, looking back at him. “Holy crap, Keith.”
“Maybe you should try saying something else?” Vix remarked, smirking. Jase shook his head to clear his thoughts, and looked at Keith, who was working on something on the laptop, and wearing a pair of shoes this time. “So, basically, our program accidentally opened the gateway to the Digital World? That's... Unreal.”
“Yeah, it is. The connection is still stable. I've managed to write up a quick program to connect with the terminal on the other side so we can see through it and go through the gateway. It's strangely easy, though.” Keith nodded, as he activated the gateway, showing the forest on the other side. Unfortunately, the forest was crowded by various Digimon, especially reporters. “Damn, I was hoping we could avoid the press a little longer.”
Vix laughed, as she got off the couch, and walked towards the two. “Trust me, we got lucky. Until this whole thing blows over, expect to deal with the paparazzi a lot.”
Then the doorbell rang. Keith looked at Jase, and squinted. “Jase, did you tell anyone else?”
“Um... I told Christa, Ada, and Heath, that's all!” Jase grinned sheepishly.
Keith sighed, as he went over to the door, and opened up. As Jase had said, Christa Pickett, Ada Horton, and Heath Chaney were there. Christa had auburn hair down to her shoulders. She had blue eyes, and wore a bright red shirt to cover her modest bust, along with a pair of orange shorts and slip-on shoes. “Hi, Keith!”
Ada was much less modest, and for a good reason. She had long brown hair, with brown eyes, and a c-cup bust to go along with her curvy body. She wore a blue top that showed her cleavage, and a white skirt, and finally, sandals. She was an up-and-coming model, after all. “What's with this Digimon stuff? I hope it's not a joke or something.”
Heath looked a bit uncomfortable next to the girls, but was more relaxed when he saw Keith. He was a dirty blonde, with messy hair and blue eyes, and one could see obvious muscles in his arms, indicating that he exercised a lot. He wore just a dark blue shirt and a pair of green sports shorts, and a pair of running shoes. He looked past Keith, and blinked. “DUDE. Is that hot chick wearing a furry costume, or is that just me?”
The girls looked past as well. Keith sighed. “The cat's out of the bag. Guys, meet Vix, the first Digimon I ever met. A Renamon, to be precise.”
They pushed past him, and Christa shook Vix's hand, almost squealing in delight. “I'm Christa Pickett! It's just so amazing to meet a real-life Digimon! Maybe you can be a reference for one of my art pieces?”
“Well, Heath and I aren't fans of the show or anything, but this is just so cool!” Ada grinned. “I'm Ada Horton. I'm a model.” Vix looked at her figure and her clothing. “I figured as much.”
“Dude, this is just so cool. I'm Heath. Heath Chaney.” Heath smiled, hands in his pockets. “I play basketball for the school team, ya know.”
“Um... It's a pleasure to meet you guys.” Vix smiled. “I haven't met humans other than Keith before, so this is just as exciting for me as it is for you.”
“Alright, guys, tonight, we're heading to the Digital World.” Keith smiled, as he walked over, having locked the front door. “Trust me, you won't regret it, but be warned, the press are out there in full force. Until now, Digimon regarded us humans as myth, so just be prepared for the media frenzy, okay?”
The others nodded. Vix asked, “I need to go home, anyway, it's kinda late. Who wants to head to my place? I can invite a few friends over.” The others nodded eagerly, Jase grinning. “Why the hell not. Let's go, already!”
Keith grabbed a red jacket off a nearby clothes rack and put it on, walked over to his computer, and touched the screen...
Keith wasn't feeling dirt this time.
He was standing upright, a few feet away from the terminal in the forest, and getting flashed by cameras held by the photographers who were alarmed and excited by his sudden appearance. Vix and Jase came through, followed by Christa, Ada and Heath. Jase turned around to mess with the terminal. Ada showed off in front of the cameras, Christa and Heath simply waved, and Keith stood there, realising that he's practically famous now, and so suddenly. Amazing. Vix stood next to him, nudging him on the shoulder. “Camera surprised, much?”
“Excuse me, young man!”
Keith found himself standing in front of an Elecmon wearing... A suit? It was a strange sight. Multiple other reporter Digimon bunched up near him. “Would you kindly introduce yourself and tell us how exactly you got here?”
“Ah, where are my manners? I'm Keith Windslow. I'm a programmer.” Keith smiled, as the anxiety began to melt away. “To be honest, it's kinda a coincidence. The guy messing with the terminal is Jase. He and I were experimenting with packet-sending over the internet, and then, the program freaked out. The terminal must have intercepted it somehow.”
Vix explained, “I was the one who activated the terminal. I was out on a walk, and then I found it by accident.”
“You're sorta on the mark, Keith.” Jase noted. “I know you didn't want to screw with the terminal's programs, but you didn't need to write up a whole new program. This thing appears to be designed for opening the gateway. Looks like all it needed was for Vix to activate it. Your computer is automatically connected, I've already sent a program over to it so we can establish a stable gateway every time, as long as both are on, we can go between worlds whenever we want! I've also set a password to the connection with your computer so nobody else can use it.”
This only made the media-types more excited. Then the police moved in. Riza, Havoc and Furey were there, making sure the media didn't bother them too much. Riza told them, “Give the teenagers some personal space, please. You have all the time in the world.”
Havoc grabbed Keith's arm. “Come with us. We have things to discuss, regarding your presence in this world, and your safety.”
The police lead the teenagers and Vix away, with the press following closely, until they reached the vehicles they had parked right outside the forest – police cars not unlike those found in the human world, but much larger, however, the teens quickly discovered that multiple parts of the cars could change in size to accommodate both the driver and the passengers, which was quite unreal to them. Keith got in the front car with Vix and Jase, with Riza driving, and noted that the other three had gotten into Havoc's car.
The trip was fairly short, with the cars stopping outside the surprisingly-normal looking police station, the teens being lead inside and into an office room away from the eyes and ears of the press. Of course, the office was pretty big, considering the size of Champion Digimon. Riza had the teenagers sit down on seats they had brought in, and Vix went out to make a few calls. Havoc and Furey guarded the door, as Riza sat behind her desk, and cleared her throat. “Good, considering the media were out in full force tonight, getting you kids here was fairly painless. Now, onto business. You do realise the ramifications of humans appearing in the Digital World, correct?”
Keith nodded. After all, the same thing would happen back on Earth if the existence of Digimon got out. “Yeah. There's so much that's different from what I originally thought would happen. Looks like we humans need to re-learn what there is to know about Digimon.”
Riza stroked her chin for a second, and smiled. “Ah, about that... I have an idea, but let's talk about that later.” Her expression changed to a frown, as she then noted, “But there's the problem of evil Digimon. As you have previously seen, there are Digimon who hate humans, a small minority, but minorities are not something to be underestimated. As you come in and out of the Digital World, I recommend working with the authorities, such as us, for the sake of your safety. I examined the terminal myself, and I have reason to believe there are others out there, and there's already others searching for these other terminals. The terminal we found will be guarded and there will be a surveillance and monitoring system in place, even if there is a password, I have no intention of taking chances. Whenever the terminal is being used or the gateway is opened, we will know.”
Christa blinked, and looked at Keith. “Wait, did you end up in a fight against an evil Digimon?”
Keith laughed sheepishly. “A Devimon was kinda trying to cross between worlds. Vix, Shawn and I stopped him. Oh, right, you haven't met Shawn, have you? I'll introduce him to you la-”
“Wait, you fought a Devimon?!” Christa's eyes widened. “Do you have a Digivice or something?”
“Look, I'll explain later, and no, believe it or not, there was nothing like a Digivice I could use.” Keith sighed, and faced back towards Riza. “I understand. Is there anything else?”
“Not really, but I would recommend that you all arrive at the terminal at 9AM tomorrow. Do you have school in the morning? It is Friday tomorrow.”
“Uh, actually, today was the last day of school for us.”
“Good. Hopefully, if I can arrange it, you'll find tomorrow's events quite valuable.”
Another short escort later lead them to Vix's apartment. The four other teens were suitably impressed, and they sat around the TV as Keith elaborated on what happened earlier that day, especially the fight with Kazikli. He also demonstrated how to use effect and item cards, not to mention taught his friends how to play the card game. To say the least, this was overwhelming for said friends, and Keith played a practice match against Jase, which he won this time. Then, came a knock at the window.
Vix opened the window, and four other Digimon poured in. It was Shawn, plus an Agumon in a red shirt, a Biyomon with a blue bow on the curled feather on her head, and a Palmon in a pink dress. She smiled as they came in. “Figured you'd use the window, guys. The press are practically camping outside the front door.” She looked at the teens watching with curiosity. “Told ya I'd invite a few friends over.” She then began getting everyone drinks.
Shawn walked over to the couch, taking a seat next to a rather surprised Heath. “Hey. I'm Shawn, Keith already knows me. More humans? Sweet.”
“I'm Kyo.” The Agumon hopped up on the side of the couch next to Jase. “I work part-time at a video games store. Programming's my thing. It's amazing to actually meet humans face-to-face!” Jase blinked, and then grinned. “Hey, I think we're gonna get along well. I'm Jase Merson, nice to meet you.”
The Biyomon waddled up next to Christa, who was sitting at the table on a chair, looking at cards. “I'm Rina, nice to meet you! Oh, something about myself, um... Oh, I've love to write a novel or something someday!” Christa giggled. “I'm Christa Pickett. Hey, I do art, myself. Traditional, digital, or even 3D models! We all have dreams, right?”
Ada and the Palmon, named Emily, had already gotten along like a house on fire. Emily was aspiring to be a fashion designer. “Darn, if only I brought the dress I made for my project, you'd love it!” Ada giggled. “Don't worry about it, we can look at it later.”
It turned out, all five of the Digimon there were teenagers, some still in school, except for Shawn. Jase squinted at Shawn. “You dropped out and own a computer store?”
“Hell yeah. My dad used to own it, actually. He's retired. It's a good living for me.” Shawn explained, before getting into a soda-drinking contest with Heath in the kitchen. Jase sighed, before Heath asked, having finished another glass of soda, “Hey, where's the booze?”
“Ah, Vix doesn't own alcohol. Now, Shawn, on the other hand...” Rina noted, playing Effect Cards with Christa. Heath grinned, looking at Shawn. “I'm starting to like this dude more and more.”
“Thank God for that. Ten rowdy teenagers with access to beer would spell disaster.” Keith laughed, as he wondered how exactly they were gonna spend the school holidays. “Five weeks of school holidays... Geez. Guys, who wants to spend those five weeks exploring the Digital World?”
“Hey, hey, hey, let's divide that time so WE can tour the human world, too!” Kyo noted. Keith smiled. “Alright, that's a plan. Who's up for that?”
Pretty much everyone raised their drinks in approval. Keith then raised his mug of hot chocolate, grinning. “From this day forth... We forge a new age, and our own destinies.”
It was practically a party. Everyone got along well, but each human attached themselves to a particular Digimon, as Keith observed. He realised that bonds between partners were already forming, except, this time, it wasn't fate that did this. Not that he could tell, anyway. Everything about this was one big fat coincidence to him. But, regardless, he had five new friends. That was a good thing in any case.
When it became apparent that everyone should really be getting home, the Digimon managed to sneak the human teens out of the apartment, completely avoiding the paparazzi for the most part, until they reached the gateway terminal, where they simply went back through the gateway, but not before saying goodbye to their new-found friends. Tomorrow would be even better, Keith figured.
It was Friday morning.
And as it happened, Keith fell out of bed trying to turn off his alarm clock.
He wasted no time getting dressed, eating breakfast and generally making sure he was prepared for whatever Riza had in store for him and his friends, provided that said friends would turn up. As it happened, they did. Jase, Christa, Ada and Heath were at the door, more than eager for another trip to the Digital World. And when Keith activated the program, he saw Vix's smiling face looking back at him. It was 9 AM. Time to get going.
The human teens crossed the gateway, and found a similar reception to last night. But Riza and her subordinates wasted absolutely no time getting them out of the forest, and escorted them to a new location. This time, it was a high school. Keith looked out the window of the car, and his eyes widened. “What the... Okay, this is a surprise.”
The school itself looked rather impressive, divided into three 'blocks' with a central quadrangle, and a sports oval behind the B block. In fact, to Keith, it resembled his high school, except more 'digital', with lines of code running across certain portions of it. The student body were out in the quadrangle, all of them Rookies, and they seemed to be waiting for them, accompanied by their higher-evolved teachers. When the humans got out of the cars and were lead into the quadrangle, the students let out a collective “Hello!” on instruction. Vix nudged Keith on the shoulder. “Don't be nervous. Most of them are teens like you. Heck, this is my school. I'll show you around.”
“I'm trying not to be.” Keith laughed, as he waved, being lead through the crowd, with his friends in tow. Jase was the nervous one. Christa waved with a smile, and Ada and Heath were loving the attention. Then Keith found himself stopping in front of a Champion Digimon – a Wizardmon wearing a grey version of the typical outfit. “I am Headmaster Merlin. I welcome you to DigiCity High. It is an honour. You have made the last day of the school year extremely memorable for these students.”
“No, the honour is mine, Headmaster.” Keith smiled, shaking Merlin's hand. “I'm Keith Windslow. These are my friends, Jase Merson, Christa Pickett, Ada Horton, and Heath Chaney.”
As Keith introduced them, his friends shook the Headmaster's hand in order, each with a quick “hello” or “hi”. Merlin stepped aside. “Vix here will lead you from here.”
“Alright, guys, come on.” Vix smiled, leading them away from the crowd, and up a flight of stairs in the B block, and through a hall to a particular classroom (room 2-4, to be precise), and opened the door.
They were greeted by yet another group of Digimon teenagers. All in their seats, except for one unoccupied spot. A Lillymon sat at the teacher's table, smiling. “Right on time, Vix! We could see you through the window. And you brought our visiting students for the day, too!”
“It's no problem, Miss Verity.” Vix smiled, stepping aside to let the humans in. Keith then noticed that Kyo, Rina, and Emily were among the students in the class. “This is your class, huh?”
“Yes, it is. Vix is one of my students.” Miss Verity answered for Vix. “I will be your teacher for the day. Inspector Riza asked us to organise a special lesson for you so you can learn about the Digital World and Digimon, since it is apparent that what you do know is incorrect in some places. But, first, please introduce yourselves to your peers. I understand that a few of my students already have gotten to know you, so that makes it easier.”
The humans stood at the front of the class, and Vix took her seat. Keith grinned. “I'm Keith Windslow, up-and-coming programmer. I was the one to accidentally discover the gateway.” He suddenly wrapped his arm around Jase's shoulders, which served to alleviate his friend's nervousness. “Though, I guess it wouldn't have happened without my 'partner in crime', so to speak, Jase Merson! All of us are from Sydney, Australia, we live around the Willoughby area.” Jase waved with a hint of hesitation. “Uh... Hey.”
“I'm Christa Pickett, artistic ace!” Christa followed up, smiling and waving enthusiastically. “Art, 3D modelling, whatever, I just love making things come to life through art!”
“I'm Ada Horton, up-and-coming model.” Ada waved, making a quick hands-on-hips pose that caused blushes in more than just a few of the male Digimon in the room. That said it all, really. Heath flexed a muscle, grinning. “Heath Chaney, basketball star in the making, but I do other sports, too.”
“Right, so now that they're introduced, let's begin our special lesson. This is something our Digimon students already know very well, of course.” Miss Verity stood up, and activated the Smartboard behind her, and using the touch screen to write up a heading. “Now, first things first. Digimon. What do you think you know about Digital Monsters?”
“Ah, allow me.” Jase picked up a marker, and started writing. “Digimon are creatures made up of pure data, like the world they inhabit. Digimon can be either feral like wild animals, or sentient with human-like intelligence, mannerisms and personalities, but they are generally the latter. If I remember correctly, there are roughly 882 known species of Digimon, with this number increasing constantly. The Digimon life cycle is similar to biological organisms, but they do not die under normal circumstances, since they are made out of reconfigurable data, they 'reincarnate' upon dying, transforming into an egg, called a Digitama, and the cycle begins again. But Digimon can die permanently under certain circumstances such as a Digimon's data being absorbed by another or the data being completely destroyed or deleted.”
Jase handed the marker to Christa, smiling. “Come on, you're a fan, try it.” Christa grinned, beginning to write as well. “Okay, next, we have Evolution, or Digivolution. Digimon are classified by their “digivolution level”. There are six main levels of digi-evolution. Um... But what these levels are called are quite different if you look at the Japanese original and the western translations.” She began to write up the two level lines.
Japanese: Baby 1 → Baby 2 → Child → Adult → Perfect → Ultimate
Western: Fresh/Baby → In-Training → Rookie → Champion → Ultimate → Mega
“That's why it gets a little bit confusing, you see. Digimon fans generally use “Perfect” and “Mega” as the last two names to avoid the “Ultimate” confusion altogether.” Christa looked back at the class. Keith pointed out, “It's still a bit silly, if you ask me. “Perfect” shouldn't be worse than “Ultimate” or “Mega”, perfect is, well, perfect. And then there's the “Super Ultimate” type right beyond Mega, which is even odder.”
A Veemon in the class, wearing brown, fingerless gloves, raised his hand. The teacher nodded, and he came up to the front, grabbing a chair so he reach the board. “Yeah! Of course it doesn't make sense! That's why it ain't any of those things anymore. The first four levels are interchangeable in their names, but the last two levels, these days, are called “Mega” and “Super” instead, and we name “Super Ultimate” as “Hyper” instead. Oh, yeah, I'm Vex, by the way. Nice to meet you!” He began writing up the new evolution line...
Fresh/Baby 1 → In-Training/Baby 2 → Rookie/Child → Adult/Champion → Mega → Super → Hyper
“Great! It reduces confusion for pretty much everyone. Thanks, Vex!” Ada smiled.
Vex went back to his seat. Knowing the Ada and Heath know little about Digimon, he picked up the marker, and started writing, himself. “Right, so Digivolution is a process kinda like metamorphosis than typical evolution, where the Digimon, when they “evolve” or “Digivolve” change forms very quickly. It's kinda like an aging process. Since all you teens are in the “Child/Rookie” stage, I guess we can lump teens into that group as well. Generally, evolution forms resemble each other in some way, such as the Agumon line, but sometimes each evolution can look drastically different, like Patamon and Angemon. It usually occurs through enough training or gathering enough data. However, in the anime series and stuff like that, there are Digimon who are partnered with a human, Digivolution becomes much easier and flexible, and there are devices called “Digivices” or something similar that allows this. Using these devices, the Digivice channels enough energy into the Digimon to allow Digivolution, but after a battle, they change back into a lesser form, the higher the evolution, generally, the lesser the form.” He also drew up a quick diagram of a Digivice.
The students were fascinated by the idea of a 'Digivice', but a Gatomon wearing a red bandanna raised her hand. “Hang on. Digivolution isn't a sole indicator of age, ya know. Some Digimon don't go on to the Champion level by choice. Like, Kyo here doesn't wanna go on to Digivolve into a Greymon, programming would kinda be easier as an Agumon, after all.”
Kyo chuckled. “Figured you'd mention me, Nia.” Keith nodded. “Good point. Also, before now, only the manga “V-Tamer” actually had Digimon with individual names. Generally, Digimon shared the names of their species. Crazy, huh? Oh, and gender. That's a bit of a confusing topic. Some Digimon have clearly-defined genders, such as Angewomon and LadyDevimon, others don't. However, “gender” in this case is more of a social distinction, another way of distinguishing between each other, than 'sex' in the biological, reproductive sense. I take it Digimon can't really reproduce?”
Vix decided to point out, “Well, we do, it's just more “sharing excess data” than what you humans... Do. That data then forms into a Digitama.”
“Okay... Let's not go any further on that.” Keith grinned sheepishly. Jase snatched away the marker. “There are other types of Digivolution, by the way, but let's not get into those. Some Digimon also have “mode changes”, but that's a bit rarer, and not really a Digivolution. Now, attributes. I can assume that there are four possible attributes a Digimon can have, “Data”, “Vaccine”, “Virus” and “Variable”, and they work in a “rock-paper-scissors” arrangement in combat, correct?” The class nodded. “There's also the rather trivial “families”, which are really more to do with classification of species. “Types” are also a fairly trivial classification method, with types such as insects or reptiles, for example.”
Miss Verity clapped, taking back the marker, and smiled. “Very good. It seems we didn't need to correct much after all. Now, we go onto the Digital World itself.” She called up an animation and several images of the Digital World itself. Keith noted, “Well, the Digital World is much like our own, except it exists in data form. It shares similar geographical features such as continents, islands, mountains, deserts, rivers, and such. It's several decades old, I imagine, since it was first created when the first computer was activated.”
“Decades? It's thousands of years old.” A student pointed out. Heath blinked. “Uh, that can't be right, the first computer wasn't made until the early twentieth century, man.”
“And, from what I can tell, there's no time difference between worlds, like, no “year inside, day outside” thing.” Keith noted as well.
“Enough. Anyway, there are multiple settlements across the world. As it happens, we are in the only city in the Digital World, DigiCity.” Miss Verity pointed out. “You have the basics correct. Everything else would require geography lessons, and we don't have time for that! Now, there is another reason why you're here... In exchange, you can tell us about your world.”
“Oh, oh, we can totally do that!” Ada giggled. “Earth is like your world, except with a lot more cities and stuff, right? I dunno what you guys know about us through the fiction, but we don't really have powers like you guys do.”
“And we can tell you loads of stuff about Australia.” Heath started up, resulting in the students being on the edge of their seats. “Like, more than half of it is desert. All of the cities are mainly on the coast. The country started out as a penal settlement for the British, and then we gained independence and stuff, and now we're a multicultural nation and stuff. And the animals! Dude, they're so cool. But we kinda have a reputation for being a country with the most dangerous animals. Like the poisonous spiders. And the most deadly snakes in the world.” The students leaned back a bit. “The kangaroos can disembowel you with a kick.” A bit more. “The platypus males have poison barbs and stuff.” Even more. “Cassowaries will chase you up a tree and play Cat's Cradle with your innards.” Now they were just terrified. “The Koalas will tear your face off-”
“Okay, THAT is an exaggeration. Granted, the Koalas can still maim you, but still.” Keith interrupted him, crossing his arms. “While Australia does have some pretty dangerous animals, sure, it's not like Australians are ridiculously tough as a result, like the foreign media plays us up to be. We only play along with that one because it's a compliment. But there are some beautiful animals out there, Australia practically has the most diverse fauna in the world. Australia has a whole bunch of beautiful parrots and other birds, the Cockatoo is an amazing bird when you get close to it, and Rainbow Lorrikeets occasionally come to my window begging for apple. Possums, Koalas and many other animals are cute – the Sugar Glider is one of the most adorable little things you will ever see. And the Platypus basically wins top prize for the “what the eff is THAT” factor. Then there's the geography, the sights, and so much else... I love Australia.”
“What are you gonna do now?” Another student raised the question. Keith smiled. “Good question. In the anime series, it's usually fate that sucks the kids into the nearest wormhole to the Digital World, gives them a few Digivices and Digimon partners, and sends them on their way. I came to this world first, alone, and purely by accident, and not even a Digivice in sight. But... This is where coincidence ends, and where destiny begins, forged by our own hands.”
Then the bell rang. Miss Verity checked her watch. “Oh, my. Is it time for recess already? Alright, run along now, class. We'll continue this after recess.”
The class filed out, and went downstairs to the quadrangle with the human teens in tow, and found a good spot in the shade next to a large tree. Most of the student body were out there watching the humans, but the humans were mingling with the class, and also continuing where they left off from last night's party. Keith found it fun getting to know the various Digimon around him, but also liked to spend time around Vix, who he had, by then, figured was going to be his 'partner'. And that was more than fine with him, by all means.
The continued lesson after recess was basically composed of questions fired back and forth. The Digimon learned more about the human world, while the humans learned some interesting things about the Digital World, such as the surprising fact that there wasn't really any proper “government” for any region, at best a council for a particular area for making collective decisions. However, in the middle of class, Furey opened the door. “Excuse me, but I have important news.”
“It's quite alright.” Miss Verity smiled, sitting back in her chair. “What is it?”
“Well, it was more for the humans, but I guess I don't need to keep it from the rest of you. Another gateway terminal was found this morning. And more humans came through it. Three British teenagers, to be precise, and they're being brought here as we speak.”
This was the cause for surprise among the class, and Keith walked up to Furey. “British teens? I'm surprised that they're not Japanese, but I guess I should learn to not assume as much in this world. When are they arriving?”
“Roughly fifteen minutes.” Furey nodded. Miss Verity got out of her seat, smiling. “Okay, then. Why don't we head out to the quadrangle and continue our lesson there while we wait for them?”
And they did, continuing the Q&A session under the shade of that same tree. As Furey had said, fifteen minutes later, Riza and Havoc returned with three human teenagers in tow, plus a Terriermon with a blue scarf. Keith was the first one to rush up to the teens, recognising them all as roughly about his age as well. Two guys, one girl. The male at the front of the trio came up to Keith, the Terriermon following. “Well, bugger me. You really are Australians. I was surprised to hear that the first humans to enter the Digital World weren't Japanese.”
“Same about you.” Keith laughed, extending his hand. “I'm Keith Windslow. And you are?”
“James. James Kessal.” James shook Keith's hand. He had dark red hair, glasses, and a black jacket over a blue shirt which covered his medium build, and he also wore grey pants, complete with jogging shoes and a fancy-looking watch. “And this little guy is Linker.”
Linker smiled. “Hey. I'm the one who found the terminal. It's a pleasure to meet you!”
“And these are my friends. We were working on a programming project when we ended up in the Digital World by accident.” James moved aside so his friends could come closer. “Roy Hawk and Lisa Juse.”
Roy had messy black hair, and dark red eyes. He was also clearly overweight, but not that much. He wore a green shirt, and jeans that barely fit him, and running shoes as well. “Oh, hello. You're the guys who beat us to being the first humans here? Congrats.”
“Yeah, and Australians, to boot? Nobody saw that coming.” Lisa smiled, shaking Keith's hand. She was a blonde, with long hair and blue eyes, her body was thin yet modest with a purple shirt and a cyan skirt, and high-heels. “We should go out adventuring together!”
“Maybe later.” Keith smiled, looking towards his friends. “Now I should introduce you to my friends.”
After a quick round of introductions, Riza and Furey left urgently to attend to something important somewhere else in the city, leaving Havoc behind to guard. The Brits were quick to mingle with the class and the Australian teenagers. Roy and Lisa had especially become attached to Vex and Nia respectively, which Keith was quick to notice. When humans and Digimon interact, partnerships are not far behind, he thought to himself. Maybe that's just how it works?
Of course, he was quickly reminded that trouble also tends to come up just as quickly, as, out of nowhere, a large Digimon burst out of the ground, a pair of pincers taking Miss Verity and Havoc by surprise, and slammed them into a wall, knocking them out. Everyone else began to run away from the Digimon, which they quickly identified as a Kuwagamon. The red beetle Digimon roared, as Keith stopped running, turned around, and drew cards, creating a fire whip, a titanium shield, and a boomerang cross. “Enemy of the week number 2! We have to stop this bastard from trashing the entire school! Where are the teachers?!”
“They're out cold!” Emily yelled out, having checked a nearby classroom. “Everyone inside is out cold! Something's wrong!”
“Bugger. Looks like we'll have to take him down ourselves!” James drew some cards of his own, creating a electrical longsword, chain mail armour, and a titanium shield of his own. “Don't go thinking you're the only one who knows how to use effect cards!”
The students began fighting back, using their own attacks to try and force back the Kuwagamon, but it was clear that their enemy wasn't an ordinary Kuwagamon. Vix landed next to Keith, after attacking with a Diamond Storm. “I can sense it, that Digimon is enhanced by dark power! We won't be able to take it down on our own!”
“I don't think we can make that judgement...” Keith charged, ducking the Kuwagamon's pincer, and smashing it in the face with the whip, “just yet!”
James charged as well, slashing their foe, causing it to stumble backwards thanks to the electrical effect. The other human teens started drawing cards to experiment with items, soon the Kuwagamon was under fire from flaming arrows from Jase, a light spear used by Christa, an ice lance used by Ada, a dark baseball bat being used by Heath, a poison hammer used by Roy, and electrical crossbow bolts from Lisa. This sudden assault was halted when the Kuwagamon swung his pincer, knocking the humans back. The other Digimon took the offensive, lead by Vix, but it barely lasted, as the Kuwagamon knocked them away as well, and Vix found herself about to be sliced in two by its Power Guillotine pincer attack...
Except, she wasn't.
Keith and James were blocking the pincer using their shields, stopping it from going all the way. Linker was helping James push back. Keith looked at Vix, smiling. “You alright, Vix?”
“Yeah, I... Wait. You idiots!” Vix sighed, and tried to help Keith push back. “You didn't have to do this...”
“Are you joking? Of course I had to! We're partners, after all.” Keith groaned, as the pincer slowly closed in. “We can do this, I know we can...”
“Partners...?” Vix blinked. Keith nodded. “Yeah. Even if the odds are against us, our bond is stronger! We can do this, dammit! Believe in me who believes in you!”
Vix smiled, as she began to glow. “Keith... Thank you.” James grinned. “Come on, Linker, let's finish this!” Linker nodded, suddenly glowing as well. “Right behind you, James!”
In a sudden flash, the Kuwagamon was knocked back, as Vix and Linker had suddenly Digivolved into their Champion forms – Kyubimon and Gargomon, respectively. Keith and James were also primed for a fight. Keith tossed the cross boomerang, hitting the Kuwagamon in the head, giving Linker an opportunity to use his Gatling Arm attack, blasting the enemy Digimon with constant gunfire from his arms. Vix used her Fox Flame Dragon attack, spinning rapidly and covering her body in blue flames, unleashing a flaming dragon which struck Kuwagamon hard, giving Keith and James an opening to strike. Keith struck hard multiple times with the mace on the whip, and James stabbed the Kuwagamon with the sword, electrocuting it constantly until it collapsed. Keith thrusted his arm into the air. “VICTORY!”
Vix and Linker devolved back into their Rookie forms, both of them hugging their partners in relief and joy. The Digimon students began to cheer, as the human teens came over to see if Keith and James were alright. A few cuts, but nothing to be concerned about. Miss Verity and Havoc quickly recovered, as did everyone else in the school, who came out to praise the heroes who saved the school. Riza and Furey came back, having sorted out their previous problem, and contained the Kuwagamon. Riza, however, looked concerned. “This seems like too much of a coincidence. The teachers and the other students were gassed. The Kuwagamon was enhanced by some sort of dark energy. I have reason to believe this was planned. I will investigate this.”
There was a much heavier police presence (and the media were now there in greater numbers to cover the story. Keith was forced to get involved in a few short interviews as well), but the rest of the school day was fairly uneventful, with the British teenagers joining the lesson, quickly catching up on what they missed.
Eventually, it was time to leave. Before James, Roy and Lisa were escorted away, James locked hands with Keith. “It was a pleasure fighting alongside you. Tell you what. Let's go find the other terminals. It'll be an adventure!”
“I wouldn't miss it for the world.” Keith smiled, letting go, and waved as the Brits were lead away. He turned around to see his friends, and their Digimon partners. “You heard him. If you can make it, we'll start our adventure tomorrow!”
Keith lay back on his bed. It was 10 PM, and he was wondering if he should stay up or get some sleep. Probably the latter. He had a big day tomorrow, after all.
He looked to the side. Vix was at the bedroom door, a hand on the side. She was the only other person who knew the password to the gate linked to his computer. He and Jase had linked the terminal to their friends' other computers, and it seems the computers of their new friends from Britain were automatically linked as well, which meant they could open the gate at any active terminal. He smiled. “Oh, hey, Vix. It's a bit late, isn't it?”
“Maaaabbbyyyeee.” She grinned, sitting down next to him. “So, since we're partners, and all... How do you think I managed to Digivolve like that? You don't have that 'Digivice' thingy...”
“All it takes, I think, is a little belief in yourself and others. In this case, it's the bond between us that allowed it, I think.” Keith noted, looking up at her with a smile. “We don't need no stinking Digivice to do awesome things. This is why I like the power of friendship, hope and all that stuff. It's because, well, it freaking works.”
“I suppose not.” Vix chuckled. Keith suddenly sat up, with something on his mind, putting his hand on his chin in thought. “In fact... It might be a fantastic way for me to improve my programming skills. The Digital World is made up of pure data, data that can be manipulated. Maybe I can figure out how to manipulate that data through programming. Changing geography, creating objects...”
“And possibly new Digimon?” Vix asked. Keith nodded. “Yeah, yeah! I should talk to Jase about that. Maybe he's thinking the same thing.”
“Well, I guess I shouldn't distract you from your ideas. Have a good night, Keith.” Vix got off the bed, and was about to walk out of the room, when Keith spoke up. “Vix, wait a sec.” She turned around, and Keith chuckled. “Remember: Destiny is something we make for ourselves, not by others.”
“You honestly don't believe in fate in the traditional sense, do you?” Vix asked, with a smile. Keith suddenly jumped to his feet, arms crossed, grinning, as he suddenly did his best Kamina impression. “Damn well I don't! Screw that! Who the hell do you think I am?!”
This got drew some laughter out of Vix. She smiled again. “I hope you're right. After all, believe in me who believes in you, right?”
Keith sat back down, chuckling. “Yeah. Well, get some rest. It's gonna be a long day tomorrow. Night, Vix.”
“Night, Keith.” Vix walked out, with a backwards wave of sorts to him, and Keith heard the gate activate, and then close again. He lay back down, looking up at the ceiling. There was an entire world inviting him to explore it. Even with the dangers that come with it, he knew he'd never regret finding the Digital World.
To Be Continued