Episode 15: Shocking!

The kids had placed their D-GEAR units down on the ground, in a cluster, and they sat tight close around them. Andrea kept Sinjmon on her lap, while the other digimon lay alongside their human partners. Together, speaking over eachother, they told what had transpired since last they had talked (which had been, they realized, during the week-long Forbidramon drought), stopping suspiciously short of Narakamon's involvement.

"Well!" Deekamon said, having stayed uncharacteristically quiet while the children talked. "It seems as though you've had, err, quite the experience thus far."

"That's one way to put it," Toby said, shrugging one shoulder. "But that's not exactly what we wanted to ask you, I don't think. Or... tell you about, or..."

"Talk about," Lammon provided gently, looking at her partner's D-GEAR in the pile and then up at Toby himself. He smiled and nodded once.

"Oh?" Deekamon's voice crackled over the device.
The group at large looked at Andrea. She had remained remarkably close-mouthed the entire time, sitting back and leaning on her hands, looking anywhere but at the others. Slowly, she lowered her eyes to meet them.

"Rajamon digivolved past Baghamon," she said slowly, carefully. There was a pause, and it fell silent. All gathered could hear the leaves rustling around them. She placed a hand on the small Sinjmon, and breathed out heavily. "Except I don't think he was supposed to do that."

Deekamon, to the surprise of everyone -- even the digimon -- chuckled.

"I almost--" Sinjmon piped up, bouncing his entire body up and down in his partner's lap.

"Why are you laughing?" Iguamon said in an even tone. Barely perceptibly, his scaly eyebrows were raised just slightly.

"I don't mean to make light of the situation, of course," Deekamon replied -- they could just imagine him waving his hand dismissively. "But I can't say I didn't expect it."
Human and digimon alike exchanged confused looks. However, what really got a reaction was what Deekamon said next:
"I'm particularly not-surprise that it was Rajamon, actually..."

At this, the little Sinjmon puffed up-- and promptly fell off of Andrea's lap, landing face-first in the dirt as the girl stood up, clenching her fists. "What is that supposed to mean!?" she demanded, knitting her eyebrows.

"Sit down, yeom?" Delfinimon tried, lolloping over and using her snout to tip Sinjmon back upright.

Deekamon chuckled again; they could almost see the veins popping in Andrea's forehead. "You are both very volatile, and your Virtue is easy to... abuse," the purple digimon explained, still with a tinge of amusement in his voice.

"What does that mean?" Simon piped up, his eyebrows shooting up.

There was another short pause, as Deekamon thought. "Virtues... are not simply tools that provide power when you need them," he said, choosing his words carefully. The digimon, particularly, looked at eachother in confusion; they had never been told, apparently.
"I assume that Wisemon told you that the Virtues were created for each of you specifically?" When he recieved a noise of assent, he continued. "The Sovereigns used Yggdrasil to create things of great power, to allow your digimon to grow beyond their natural peremeters. For this, they had to allow your digimon to recieve data, you-could-say, directly from the source."

Deekamon took a breath.
"Very rarely is new data created. All data comes from, returns to, and passes through Yggdrasil. Your Virtues are comprised of the tiniest fragment -- a leaf, if you will -- of Yggdrasil itself."

"... really?" Kamomon piped up, blinking a couple times and looking at Emily, and then at her D-GEAR.

"But then what does this have to do with Narakamon?" Julian said, his face a blank.

"I'm getting to it!" Deekamon replied huffily. "Because they are made of Yggdrasil, they are... alive, in a sense. They're not inanimate tools. They activate in conjuction with their holders." Another dramatic pause. "If their holder uses their virtue in the wrong way, it will sense it."

The hoodied digimon waited, now. Andrea looked to the side, picking up Sinjmon. "... and I ran in against Forbidramon, like an idiot," she said, an unfamiliar tone of dejection in her words.

"I assume you were reckless," Deekamon corrected. "Because you activated your virtue through recklessnes and not bravery, the virtue was tainted. The data passing through your Virtue became tainted, and so, by it, your digimon followed suit."

"Wait, wait, wait," Emily said, sitting forward, an expression of worry marring her face. "Does that mean that any of us could--?"

"Yes," Deekamon cut her off.

Egakumon paused, looking up at Simon, but speaking to the D-GEAR. "So... then what...?"

Deekamon chuckled again. "You want to know what behavior will lead to the wrongful activation of your virtues, don't you?"

"Uhhh, yeah?" Faris replied, smiling a little bit.

"I can't tell you that," Deekamon replied airily. Before they could vocalize their frustration, he continued: "Primarily becuase I do not know."
The group at large groaned.
"All I can say is do not try to force it," the mentor digimon continued over their sound of frustration. And then, suddenly, there was a beeping noise-- the lights on their D-GEAR units shut down. Communications had stopped.

"He's so useless sometimes," Sinjmon grumbled.

"You know what's worse, though?" Faris spoke up, and a little smile played on his lips. They looked at him, and he picked up his D-GEAR from the pile. "We didn't get to ask him about Forbidramon."


The group at large, still frustrated with the bizarre ways of Deekamon, couldn't find it in themselves to complain-- they were entirely too tired to do so. Huddled around the trees, some with knees pulled up to their chests, the kids fell asleep quickly.
Note that it is said the kids fell asleep quickly; the digimon did less so.

Sitting up around the lingering embers of the fire, the six digimon sat up on the logs.
"I almost killed the lot of you!" Sinjmon exclaimed in a loud whisper, bouncing up and down.

"But you didn't, yeom," Delfinimon replied nonchalantly, shrugging her shoulders. "And besides, most of us weren't even, like, three-quarters of the way to dying. Halfway, maybe." The dolphin paused, and noticed that her fellows were giving her the most curious look. She grinned. "I mean, we're cool, brah, yeom," she finished, nodding once with a smile.

"After all," Lammon continued, "we know it wasn't you acting. Even if you're not always perfectly fond of all of us," and the little sheep looked at Egakumon, who grinned lopsidedly, "you'd never try to hurt us."

"Yeah!" the rabbit chimed in. "We're, like, brothers! All of us!"
Lammon and Delfinimon both looked at him. "... errr," Egakumon added, "and sisters."

There was a moment of silence; Sinjmon smiled. Iguamon was the first one to break it.

"That's all well and good... but we we need to determine how to proceed from here," the little dinosaur said, sitting up straight.

"About...?" Kamomon asked, shifting in his seat.


Daylight broke the next day, as expected. Not a single cloud hung overhead, leaving anyone awake to gaze up at a perfect blue sky. If they weren't in the middle of the... well, events that they found themselves in, it would have been a beautiful, relaxing day.

Delfinimon lay on the ground near Faris as he awoke. She, herself, was half-asleep, but she looked up at her partner and yawned serenely. A quick look around the little camp revealed that they were as of yet the only ones to be awake.
"If I had a felt-tip we could draw mustaches on everyone's faces," Faris remarked to the little dolphin alongside him, who grinned and chuckled.

"Well, I've got a paintbrush," said a third entity, Egakumon, popping his head around the tree against which Faris was leaning. Said boy nearly leapt a foot into the air, until he whipped his head around, peering around the trunk.

"G'morning!" Simon greeted with a wave of his hand; he and Egakumon were standing there.

"Th'heck you doing? You trying to pull an Andrea and get your bunny-rabbit to turn into a giant skeleton-monster, too?" Faris replied in a rushed, hushed voice, raising an eyebrow. Despite his words, a smile played at his lips.

"Yeah, man," Delfinimon added, looking at Egakumon and still smiling, "you've already reached Perfect. Stop being such a show-off, yeom."

Simon put his arms akimbo, and huffed. "Naw. We're just trying to find where the next of those whatchamacallits--"

"Proxy Areas," Egakumon provided.

"Yeah, those! ... are," Simon continued with a gesture of his hand. "Egakumon said that he and the other digimon were talking about that last night." Delfinimon and Egakumon both nodded.

Faris put a finger to his chin. He nodded with understanding, and then said, "So you figured you'd try to see if it's anywhere around here, yeah?"

"Something like that," Egakumon said.

Delfinimon hopped up and splayed herself across Faris' lap. (This knocked the wind out of him temporarily, but he placed a hand on her head-fin and took it in stride.) "Any progress, yeom?" she asked, tilting her head.

Egakumon and Simon exchanged glances. From both rabbit and boy: "Uhh..."

"I'll take that as a 'yes'," Faris said, smirking and rolling his eyes. He stood up, sending Delfinimon tumbling off of his lap. The little cetacean groaned out a little 'ow', lying with her back in the dirt. (Faris could imagine a circle of little cartoony Loromon circling around her head, chirping.)
"Aw, get up, 'ya big tuna," the boy chided, and Delfinimon rolled over onto her stomach. She stuck her tongue out; Faris responded in kind before looking back at Simon.

"Don't suppose we could help, huh?" he said.

Simon's eyebrows shot up, and the be-goggled de-facto leader grinned. "Heck, sure. We've been at this for a couple hours now, so..."

"Geeze," the younger boy replied, letting loose a low whistle. "When'd'ya find time to sleep?"

"Green rangers on duty, yeom!" Delfinimon chirrupped, rearing back and splaying her arms out wide.
Simon, Egakumon, and Faris all looked at her quizically; she didn't notice, and carried on.

"Or, uh-errrr, Blue-Green rangers. Aqua rangers. ... Mint rangers! Teal? ... No, I've got it!

"Sea-green rangers!"

Faris groaned and buried his head in his hands.


"What was with that green ranger thing?" Faris asked as he and his partner tromped through the underbrush. Simon had filled them in on where they hadn't checked out yet, and they had set off. 'If the others wake up and I'm not there, tell them I got eaten by monsters,' Faris had said as they walked away.

"That blue guy said he was the blue ranger, member?" she explained cheerfully. "It sounded neat. ... and it was Sea-Green Rangers, Fare. Get it right." Delfinimon smirked.

"Okay, okay, my bad," her partner responded, throwing his hands up in defeat. He cast a look around them. They were in the midst of a thick patch of trees; they couldn't see a thing above them, covered by the canopy of trees.
"Almost looks kinda rainforesty in here, huh?" Faris remarked, putting his hands in his pockets.

Delfinimon looked up, and sniffed at the air. "Doesn't smell like it, though," she remarked, sticking her tongue out again-- this time in distaste.

Faris gave her a sort of confused look, but then took a whiff, himself. It was a faint smell, hidden by the salty air from the not-far ocean and the damp leaves and grass around them. He assumed, thus, that it was stronger for the digimon-- perhaps she had a keener nose than he. And yet, the second after it hit his nostrils, the pungent aroma grew exponentially stronger, second after second, until it was the only thing Faris could smell.

It was not a pleasant smell by any means. It was acrid and sharp, but it had a stale quality at the same time. It brought to mind images of toxic chemicals and burning tires; gasoline gone bad mixed with whatever it would smell like if metal could rot.

"... Better get right on bottling up and selling that as perfume," Faris couldn't help but say, even as he made a face and covered his nose and mouth with his hands.

"Eau de Putrid Death, yeom," Delfinimon concurred as she, herself, clapped her fins right over her snout to cover up her nostrils.

The question of the day was: what was it that brought that lovely aroma about?
With breath held, the duo trudged carefully through a thick expanse of trees, and they got their answer. It had been obscured by the vegetation standing between them and it. They had spilled out of the trees, and the ocean spread before them once more-- but standing between them and the water was an architectural nightmare.

It was a greyish building, with exposed pipes and machinery at every turn, exposed cogs on the exterior of the building slowly grinding to life. Puffs of greenish haze were beginning to make their way out of a few lonely smokestacks-- and every time a new cloud erupted out, the putrid smell was renewed in full force.

"Lifetime's worth of Terrafruit says this is an Era factory, yeom," Delfinimon remarked, though she sounded congested. Faris looked at her-- once more she had clamped her hands over her nostrils.

"If I took you up on that bet," her partner replied, holding his own nose shut, "I would lose. ... plus, and half of them would taste pretty weird, so I'm not sure I'd want it anyway." He (gingerly) took another step closer to the factory building. "... must just be starting up for the morning," he reasoned. He let loose a deep sigh, and looked at Delfinimon.
"Think there's anything here worth looking at?"

The little dolphin frowned and furrowed her brow. She lolloped forward, just barely into the scrubby sand, and twitched her big tailfin.
"I think," she said after a moment of silence and trepidation, looking over her shoulder to look up at Faris, "it's here."

"Wha?" the boy asked, blinking, and then: "Oh, the... thing... Proxy Area?"
Delfinimon nodded once.

"I can feel it, yeom. Feels like data getting changed around."

Faris grinned. "So, like... a sixth sense? Rockin'," he chuckled. "But you're sure it's not just..." he jerked a thumb at the factory. Delfinimon nodded again.

"Positive," she said decisively.

Faris sighed, and shook his head. "Fine. Let's get a better look before we go back and call in the cavalry, just... y'know, to make sure."
Truth be told, he was kind of interested in what a digital world factory would entail-- even if it did produce the worst smell it had ever been his displeasure to encounter. He wanted to get a look, just for a moment, before they had to rampage through with the full group.

Not a thing passed by Delfinimon's attention. Faris looked at her; she smirked. "You just wanna check it out, yeom." The boy grinned sheepishly and rubbed the back of his head. Before he could speak, the aquatic digimon dragged herself further into the sand, towards the factory building.
"Well then, c'mon! I mean, far be it from me to say stop draggin' your feet," and she, with a concentrated effort, picked herself up onto her hands, and waved her bulky lower half, pointedly devoid of feet, in the air for emphasis. She immediately fell back down to the sand with a little flump sound, "but stop draggin' your feet, yeom!"

"Well... I mean, we could also try to find the proxy area entrance, too. If it's here, I mean..." the boy continued, and put his hands on his hips. He looked at the building in front of them, and chewed on his lip for a second. "You know, every movie I've ever seen says that going in there will get me killed."

"Still goin' in, yeom?" Delfinimon said with a sly sideways look.

"No duh."

With that, they carefully circled around to the front of the structure; it was a bit of a jaunt, really, for it was quite a sizable building. It looked almost the same from all sides (or at least from the back, front, and one side): a mess of tubes and gears and shafts all in a uniform, unpleasant brownish-grey, surrounded by a high chain-link fence. When they had reached the front, the only reason they had to suspect as such was that amidst the mechanical mess, there was a break in the fence; beyond that, a goodly-sized door on the building itself, blackened as though the metal had been scorched.
Best of all, both was wide open.

The boy hoisted the dolphin into his arms. The dolphin nodded, with an almost comically-determined look (and smirk) on her face. Both took a deep breath, and Faris took those heavy steps towards and through the door.

To their great relief, the smell vanished the moment they crossed the threshhold. It was surprisingly well-lit; they entered a sort of entrance-hall of sorts, made entirely of shiny, presumably fresh-polished metal.

However, they lost the smell but gained a new grievance: it was loud. Really loud. The sounds of grinding metal on metal, steam whistling its way out of vents, conveyor belts whiring; all of these came together in a cacophonic medley.
The sound grew in intensity as they (or, Faris holding Delfinimon) pressed gingerly forward.

"Freakin' surreal," he muttered, turning his back at an angle as they approached a door at the end of the small hallway. He pushed down on the handle with his elbow, and pushed it open with his shoulder.

He caught a fleeting glance of a room full of technology of every sort-- gears turning and pistons whirring alongside computer-screens flickering, all in a dimly-lit mess of a room. All of a sudden, it seemed to have turned on its side and was oriented with a vertical floor to which Faris, Delfinimon still in arms, was still drawn to.

Oh. Wait. It was all oriented just fine; it was just that they had been laid out, quickly, by a blunt force, though no pain registered. Even more curiously, they weren't being held down; they had simply been knocked down. Faris used his elbows to hoist himself to a sitting position.

"There's a nice welcome for you, yeom," Delfinimon groaned.

Faris smiled at her, then turned his head. Immediately found himself face-to-face with... a robotic digimon. (Somehow, he was unsurprised.) Literally, face-to-face-- what he saw was mere inches away from touching him. It wasn't a pretty face, and he flailed aimlessly backwards while still keeping a hold on his partner.

It was hard to describe; it was small, shaped like a squished cylinder; a tall glass dome covered visible computer components on its head. Four leg-like appendages, one large red claw apiece, held it up, while large hands at the ends of tube-like structures were held up in an attacking position. Uneven teeth poked out of its mouth. One eye was a glowing yellow; the other, the metal around it had broken away, leaving it red and disturbingly organic, set in flesh.

"State your name," the digimon said in a stilted, digitized voice, flexing its fingers.

"Uh," Delfinimon tried, blinking a couple times. She then whispered out of the side of her mouth. "D-GEAR unit lighting up yet, yeom?"

"Not yet," Faris replied in a hushed tone, shaking his head 'no' once. Well... that meant he wasn't hostile yet, didn't it? He peered out from behind his dyed-green bangs. "... name's Faris, yo."

"And Delfinimon, yeom," his partner added quickly, inching closer and keeping a purple eye on the digimon.

Pause; a whirring noise, hardly perceptible under the sounds around them. And then:
"State your purpose, Farissyo-an-delfiniyeom."
At that, Faris couldn't stop himself-- he let out a snort of laughter, and quickly covered his mouth.

"We were looking for, uh," Delfinimon began, holding back a fit of the giggles. "... uhhh... ..."

"A tour guide?" Faris supplied sardonically, rolling his eyes upwards. Despite everything, and the fact that he knew better... he was having a hard time taking this seriously. To his surprise, there was a whirring noise once more, and suddenly, the robotic digimon bowed as best it could with its odd form.

"Unit Datamon can serve this purpose," it said in the same even, robotic tone. With that, it turned around, away from them. It spread its arms out, and from said arms, it released a pulse of what could only be assumed to be electricity-- or energy-- or whatever it was. Almost like that, the machinery directly around them screeched to a halt.
The sound continued, but further away; the factory was still on full-tilt elsewhere, but just the cessation of activity immediately around them made all the difference.

Why, they could hear themselves think again.

"What does Farisyo-an-delfiniyeom desire to know?" the Digimon -- presumably, Datamon -- said, turning to look at the two again.

Faris rubbed the back of his head, thinking for a second. "... y'know if this place has a control room?" he asked suddenly. Delfinimon looked up at him, surprised.

"Why?" she asked, tilting her head.

"Trust me on this," the boy responded succinctly.

Datamon paused for a second, as though considering. There was a beep or two, and then he responded. "Yes. Does Farisyo-an-delfiniyeom wish to be led to the Control Room? Have both parts of Farisyo-an-delfiniyeom come to a conclusion?"

"Oh! He must think we're a head-case, yeom," Delfinimon said quietly, realization dawning on her. "Like, two heads, one body, or somethin'."

Faris smiled, but nodded at Datamon. "Uh, if you would."


It seemed, honestly, as though the entire factory was unmanned; Datamon even went so far as to open the door to the control room for them. Faris seemed engaged in looking at the things around him as they trudged through what felt like a technological jungle; Delfinimon was less-so, and almost fell asleep.
Eventually, they fell upon a door; on it was some writing that Faris couldn't read.

"That says 'control room', right?" Faris inquired of the dolphin; she nodded and yawned.

He looked at Datamon, smiled, and nodded. "Uh, thanks?"

"Farisyo-an-delfiniyeom is welcome," he intoned, bowing again. He turned away.
He didn't catch the look that Faris gave him-- a cocked eyebrow, a suspicious glance. Regardless, still holding delfinimon, he managed to open this door in the same way as the last.

It looked for all the world like a little computer-room-- complete with wheeled chair. One large computer covered up most of the wall, and papers -- all covered in the same illegible-to-Faris writing -- covered the other three walls where there weren't small cabinets.
"... wild, man," Faris muttered, kicking the door shut behind him. He immediately set Delfinimon down, paused again at the door, and then hurried to the chair, throwing himself into it.

"So explain to me what's goin' on?" Delfinimon asked, stretching out.

"Well, first, I don't think I trust Datamon, so I locked the door," Faris explained quickly, frowning a bit.

"Why not, yeom? He seemed pleasant enough. Weird, but pleasant."

"Think he's got a screw loose. You said this was an Era factory, right?" Faris leaned back on the chair; Delfinimon nodded slowly.

Then, however, she spoke again. "... still doesn't explain why you wanted to come in here."

"Figure I might be able to figure something out, yeah?" he responded as quick as though he had pre-prepared the answer, all while looking up at the large screen. It was flickering with images and symbols. "You can read this junk, right?"

Delfinimon pulled herself up nearer her partner, and nodded. "Yeah, but I don't get all this techno-stuff. I'm just a dolphin made of data and complex algorithms, yeom," she said, smiling. Faris smiled back and nodded. However, then, he looked at the keyboard in front of him. It was worn, as though it had been typed on so frequently that the letters had worn off-- as though they would have been legible to him at all.
... well, it was worth a shot.
As though by reflex, his fingers began to fly across the keys-- the general physical setup was the same, it seemed, and so he simply went with instincts-- and mashed buttons as though he were typing on a keyboard with a familiar setup. A few seconds later, Faris grinned broadly; on the large screen before him, there popped up exactly what he was looking for:
A map of the floor they were on. Deep in the maze of the floor plan, a little blinking light.

"Found the proxy entrance," he announced, looking over the pathway quickly, trying his best to commit it to memory.

"Whoaaaaa, yeom," Delfinimon said, her eyes wide. "... how'd you--?"

"Hey, well, don't tell anyone, but I'm kind of a nerd back home, y'know?" the boy responded, leaning on one hand.
... well, that was one word for it.

It was true, though.
He had only been five when his (and Julian's) mother and father had gone their separate ways. His father moved him off to Capital City while their mother and Julian stayed home.

"Faris, kiddo, don't you want to go out and--"

"No, dad."

"... I swear, all you ever do is sit on that thing. It's been four years since we've moved here and you still haven't made a single friend. It's not healthy, Fare."

It had been like that every year-- had still been like that. Faris didn't have much time to contemplate, though, as suddenly, there was a pounding at the door.

"El. im. i. nate."

"And there's why I didn't trust him," the boy said, and looked at Delfinimon. He nodded once. It was a small room, but... well, they'd manage.

"Delfinimon, kickstart digivolve to... Shayumon!"

Indeed, with her increased bulk, Shayumon barely fit in the room.
She set out to fix this, by using her arms to drag herself over closer to the door-- and then smashed it down with her head.

The second the door broke down, Faris' D-GEAR began to glow as usual.

Datamon. Perfect-level Machine digimon. Once a Vaccine digimon that aided in technological repair, its logic circuits were destroyed by a powerful Virus digimon and made it go rogue. With its Digital Bomb attack, it uses computer viruses to attack.

Faris groaned-- all he needed to hear was 'perfect-level' before his heart sank.
On-cue, he heard a yell from outside the room, as Datamon threw his adult-level partner unceremoniously at a nearby pipe. Strong for his size, wasn't he?

His heart leapt into his throat and began running at a hundred miles an hour when he saw Datamon's glowing yellow eye as the digimon turned to focus on him.
"Ah, buckets."
What now? Pull an Andrea and run in to try and take him on himself? No freakin' way.

And then, he heard from outside the room:
"Wavebreak Crash!"

With a crackling noise, a water-propelled shark smashed straight into Datamon. She only seemed to throw him off-balance-- indeed, he was standing on one of his four feet, and wobbling terribly. Shayumon clenched her fists and beared her teeth.

"Don't you dare," she said, her eyes narrowing at the mechanical digimon. Indeed, she suddenly whipped her body around, slashing out at Datamon's one standing leg with her tail.

"Tail Saw!"

Datamon tumbled to the ground-- but immediately, he pushed himself up, standing on his hands. He then used said appendages to throw himself into the air, and arms extended, he said as he leapt away from Shayumon: "DI.GI.TAL. BOMB."

The tips of his fingers opened up like parts lifting away from a central shaft. From the newfound open spaces, a barrage of tiny red missiles escaped his hands, flying directly at Shayumon.

She did not take it well.
The tens of little projectiles sank into her body and made her cry out in agony. What happened next, though, was even worse. She turned her attention onto Faris-- the yellow sclera of her eyes was tinged red, while her usually-red pupils darkened and contracted to slits. Her lip curled back, her nostrils flaring, using her hands to proceed, she slowly advanced on her partner.

That's right-- Datamon used a virus to attack.
He had just assumed it would harm her.

"Ah, buckets."

The boy was frozen for a second. He could feel his eyes grow wide. His heart felt like it was caught in his throat, pounding like an army drum. All jollity he had had up to this point went immediately out the window.

He threw up his arms in front of his face, trying to think desperately of a way to get out of this situation.
... okay, he was never going to make fun of Andrea for Narakamon ever again.

At that thought, Faris felt his D-GEAR begin to shake violently. It began to glow; a sort of nervous smile wormed its way onto Faris' face.
The smile was full-formed by the time he saw the little sigil of the virtue of humor begin to glow on where the screen was, obscured as it was by white light, he could see the symbol... in a vivid sea green. Like Simon's D-GEAR had done just last night, the light erupted from the little device, and the symbol shot like a beam at Shayumon. She yelled out as it sank into her chest, her entire body bathed in light.

Virtuous Digivolution, begin.

"Shayumon, virtuous digivolve to..."
Her body grew, expanding out in all directions, until she had nearly doubled in size, crushing small pieces of machinery around her. On her head and on her chest, metal plates of armor snapped into place. The full-arm-encompassing gauntlets on her arms shrunk-- razor-sharp arm-guards, now, held in place by claws clenched tight. Her tail-tip vanished into data, and where it once was, a metallic replacement clinked into position. Her forearms and shoulders, it was hard to say if they were robotic or merely armored.
What really stood out, though, was that legs began to grow. Or, rather, metal lower-limbs snapped into place, fixed on her body. Clawed feet formed, toes webbed with a thin membrane.

Pure-yellow eyes sprung to life on her helmet, glowing bright, as she spread her blade-wielding arms wide, announcing:

MetalShayumon shook her head, as though shaking away something from her head, and clenched her fists, looking at the far-smaller Datamon.

Faris stared for a minute, his mouth fallen open in awe. And then, he said the only thing that came to mind, with a victorious pump of his fist into the air:
"Dude! I have a giant cyborg shark for a partner! Could this be any more hardcore!?"

"Sure it could," the giant digimon replied, her huge tail swaying as though she were preparing to attack. "I could have lasers on my face, yeom."

"Of course you still say that," Faris remarked sardonically, looking faux-exasperated.

Any further banter was cut short by a metallic, droning voice once more:


MetalShayumon, this time, met the wave of red projectiles all but head-on-- in fact, she out and threw herself into their path. They contacted with her, of course-- but they burst on impact, repelled by tough shark skin.

"Charge Wave!" the cyborg shark yelled, tensing her body. She began to spark with electricity, and quickly a wave of crackling energy was emitted from her body.
Datamon took the full brunt of it, and summarily was thrown backwards into a pipe.

The robot waited no time-- he extended his arms out behind him as he was thrown backwards, and almost immediately deflected off, throwing himself back at the shark. He landed on his feet with a clank, and rushed at her again-- and feinted around back before she could turn. Despite the size difference, he grabbed her by the tail and, with a mighty heave, picked her up by it, swinging her a half-turn around.
He let her go, then, into the nearest wall. Once she had landed, he extended his hands once more.

"Geeze!" MetalShayumon groaned, finding her way to her feet and gritting her teeth as the attack hit her for the third time.
"Find a new technique! Seeker Torpedo!"

The metal chest-plate opened up, revealing a broad cannon port; immediately, as soon as its way was clear, out shot a single large torpedo. If Faris caught sight of it before it flew at Datamon, he would notice that it was quite a stylish missile indeed, adorned with shark-fins and a face painted on front to match.
It was a fleeting glimpse at best; the missile fired off at blinding speed. Datamon tried to jump out of the way, but the torpedo only followed his course-- and sent him airborne when it hit.

Maybe ten seconds passed. MetalShayumon looked at Faris quickly, not willing to take her eyes off of where Datamon had been sent.
"... think it's safe to inspect, yeom?" she asked; the boy nodded.

Slowly, they tiptoed closer. Nestled in a Datamon-shaped dent in a huge metal cyinder, they found the robot itself.

In a crackling voice, it spoke; MetalShayumon tensed, but what it said made her stop.

"What does Farisyo-an-delfiniyeom desire to know?"
His tone was entirely different-- it was as benevolent as a robotic voice could be, or at least far less stilted than it had been when he was attacking.

Faris stared for a second, then looked at his gargantuan fishy companion.
"... I think he's got a little Jekyll and Hyde goin' on here."

"Knew he had a screw loose," MetalShayumon said, smirking.


Back at the camp, the kids and remaining digimon had taken Simon's explanation of where Faris and his partner had gone; they sat impatiently, milling about.
Then, they heard a deep crunching noise through the underbrush, and attentions were turned. The children grabbed their D-GEAR units, prepared for a battle.

And then a giant metal-masked shark head poked through. The group tensed further, until...
"Hi, yeom!"

False alarm.

"Check out who reached perfect, yeom~" MetalShayumon chirrupped-- it was so surreal to see such a creature speak as such, but...

"One of us! One of us!" Egakumon cheered, pumping his fist in the air. Congratulations were passed around the camp, with the most enthuse coming from the digimon (except Sinjmon, who had his reasons not to be so)-- until they realized that Faris was nowhere to be seen.
On cue, Faris stepped around and into view from behind a tree, waving.

"Hi guys!" Faris said cheerfully. He plopped down on one of the logs, breathing out heavily, as though he were tired-- and he was.
He only then realized that they were looking at him, waiting with bated breath, as though waiting for his announcement. paused for dramatic effect, and then:
"I found the Proxy Area entrance!"

"Way to go, skippy!" Simon said with a fist-pump, grinning.

"What do you know, you are good for something," Andrea said with a smirk pulling at her lips.

Faris chuckled, rubbing the back of his head. "I also found us a, uh, tour guide."

From behind MetalShayumon, the battered-up Datamon stepped out, waving one metallic arm warily.
"You are Farisyo-an-delfiniyeom's companions?"

[Chapter 15: End]