Episode 32: Cock and Bull

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The pleather sofa chairs of Excellent Bean were a welcome respite for Frankie’s tired body, as she leaned back in the seat, cradling a warm mug in her hands and sighing contentedly. She ached from being on her feet all day, and from lack of sleep. She had started an internship not long ago at an up-and-coming fashion magazine. The hours were long, and she was on her feet for most of the day; with the Digimon attacks happening regularly like clockwork, she was running on fumes most of the time. She had only managed to arrange this meeting at Excellent Bean because she had been given the afternoon off after almost falling asleep at work.

James sat down beside her, and she immediately snuggled up against him like she did when they sat down at her apartment to watch a movie. If she had been home, she would have fallen asleep on him in minutes – movie or not – but the noise and smells of Excellent Bean helped keep her awake.

Since the revelation of Bella having the Parasite had been announced, attacks of crystalline Digimon had been frequent, almost daily. Despite everyone’s best efforts, they often weren’t quick enough to get to where the attacks were, and the crystal Digimon would disappear as swiftly as they had arrived, leaving police and devastation in their wake. Bella was taunting them, showing how much stronger than them she was, and making sure they knew that challenging her was hopeless, what with her Digimon armada and the Parasite on her side.

Getting the whole group together had been difficult, Frankie had been relying – mostly – on text messages, voicemails, and telephone calls with everyone to keep updated. She knew Piper and Tom were going through the scrolls and information they had received from Ryudamon and from the resistance Digimon Tom had met, looking for any angle on the Parasite, and any information they didn’t already know. Hunter, James, and Tom were trying to keep crystal Digimon at bay, whenever they managed to get to the attack site while it was still there, and Eva was just trying to keep things together and remain positive.

Reyez had been unreachable for weeks, though, and that bothered Frankie more than she liked to admit. At first, she had thought he was avoiding her after everything he admitted to at the charity gala, but after hearing from Tom and Eva that Reyez wasn’t picking up the phone to them, or answering messages, she had started to worry. That, aside from everything else, was why she had made the effort to get everyone together that afternoon to see if Reyez turned up, and if not, she would make the effort to go to his new house and drag him out by his hair.

James shifted beside her. Frankie realized she’d closed her eyes and was half asleep. She opened them slowly, blinking at the dim light of the coffee house. She glanced around groggily, settling her gaze on James, who smiled.

“You should go home and sleep,” James said. “You’re exhausted.”

“I’m fine,” Frankie protested. “Besides, I can’t go when it was me who arranged this whole thing. It’s the first time we’ve all been able to get together.”

“Hm.” James made a non-committal noise. “I guess.” He shifted again, looking at the main door as it opened and let in a cool gust of air. “Speak of the devil,” he muttered, and waved an arm as Tom and Hunter walked through the door. Tom nudged Hunter, indicating to where Frankie and James sat, and nodded at them.

After getting drinks for themselves, they came and sat with the other two, pulling up chairs from empty tables and drinking deeply from their own mugs as Frankie glared at the both of them. She had asked for everyone to arrive, and it was unusual to see the two of them without Eva or Piper in tow. Despite how tired she was, Frankie could still muster an annoyed stare as they tried to avoid it.

“Where are Eva and Piper?” she asked crossly.

“Piper’s working. She’s pulling a double shift at the clinic because one of the nurses is sick,” Hunter explained, Frankie made a face. “I like it about as much as you do. It’s the third double shift she’s taken this week. I think she’s avoiding me.”

“And Eva’s still at work at the bakery,” Tom explained.

“But it closed over an hour ago,” Frankie retorted.

“The oven blew up. She had to stay to supervise workmen fitting a new one.”

Frankie threw her arms up and slouched back in her chair. “Great, well... just excellent.” She scowled. “I try and arrange for people to meet up to discuss impending doom, and they’re working.”

“They’d be here if they could,” James told her, trying to placate her as much as possible. She was more irritable when she was low on energy.

“Reyez hasn’t turned up either,” Tom added.

“Hmph,” Frankie grumbled. “I guess, since it’s pointless to talk about something that concerns everyone, you guys might be able to help in another way.”

Hunter rolled his eyes. “I love being a last resort,” he said sarcastically, putting his drained mug on the table. “But come on, let’s hear it.”

Frankie leaned forward and templed her fingers. “I’m worried about Reyez,” she stated simply. “He’s not been answering calls, or messages. I thought it was just me, but like you told me Tom, he’s not picking up the phone when you’ve called either. Or answered any messages.”

“So?” James asked.

“He’s probably in some kind of high-based coma,” Hunter added. “He’s a big boy and I’m sure he can take care of himself.”

“No, this is... weird,” Frankie protested. “You guys don’t know him like I do. Even if Reyez is pissed with you, he’ll still pick up the phone, if only to hang it right back up again. It’s also not like him to not turn up to a fight if there is one. He can be a dick, but he’s not one to shirk his responsibilities. I’m worried.”

Tom exhaled, sensing where this conversation was going. He rubbed his hands through his hair. “Have you gone to his house, to see if he’s there? If he’s okay? Maybe he got called out of town by a family matter, or something.”

“He’d still take his D-Touch, and would still tell me, if not anyone else.” Frankie sensed James stiffen beside her. She knew he didn’t much like just how close she and Reyez were, despite her telling him he had nothing to worry about or be jealous of, that everything was ancient history. “Besides, this internship is killing me. I’ve barely had enough time to eat, let alone visit his place which is across town.”

“So you would like us to go over there and check on him...?” Hunter asked preemptively.

Frankie nodded her head enthusiastically. “Just to see if he’s okay, and find out why he hasn’t been answering calls or anything. And if he won’t tell you, tell him I’ll bash his head in with a stiletto myself.”

“Because that will get him to talk,” James muttered, rolling his eyes.

Tom exchanged looks with James, who shrugged in return. “I don’t really know if it’s a good idea to go on a hunt for Rey. Maybe he is just having some time alone.”

“I get that – but I just want to know he’s alive, and I’m sure you guys are curious as to why he hasn’t been turning up when attacks have been happening all over the city – right?”

“That is a good question,” Hunter said slowly. “After all, we’re busting our asses fighting, and the girls are busting their asses at work. Why should Reyez get some time off?”

“Precisely,” Frankie confirmed. “So you’ll go?”

“Couldn’t hurt,” Tom agreed.

A short while later, Tom and Hunter waited outside of Excellent Bean for James, having finished their drinks and conversation. They had walked to the coffee house, while James had driven. He had his car parked close by, so he agreed to drive them to Reyez’s house. Inside, James finished up, and was saying goodbye to Frankie rather impersonally.

“I know you’re not exactly happy about this,” Frankie stated, leaning on one hip. “But Rey is one of my closest friends.”

“I know,” James replied, his tone a little cold.

“James,” Frankie sighed softly. “I’ve told you, you don’t need to get jealous. Reyez and I are friends. That’s all. Anything between us has been and gone. There’s nothing there any more, just... air.”


“If you say so,” James retorted. “Things just look pretty different from where I’m standing,” he explained, “and his name’s been every second word out of your mouth for days. I appreciate that you’re worried about your bee-eff-eff, but that level of obsession can make a guy start to wonder,” he told her scathingly. He felt he had every right to be a little harsh, even if Frankie didn’t. She had been going on about Reyez not returning her calls or texts for a few days, and despite saying she’d been too tired or busy at work to call or text James, she had still managed to find time to call or text Reyez.

“Don’t get jealous,” Frankie pleaded. “Reyez is important to me because of the things we went through in the past. You and I are important to me because we have a present and a relationship, and hopefully a future.”

“Maybe you should try and figure out who of us is more important,” James suggested, shrugging.

“That’s not fair.” Frankie’s expression faltered. “I wouldn’t ask you to choose between two people you care about.”

“I’m not asking you to do that, I’m suggesting you examine your priorities between the people in your life,” James explained. Frankie bit her bottom lip, which looked like it was starting to quiver. James felt guilty, but didn’t want to apologize for what he had said. He felt like it was a valid point. He could see Hunter and Tom outside, talking and waiting. “Look, they’re waiting, we have to leave.” He made to move, and stopped as Frankie grabbed the front of his t-shirt in her fingers. “Frankie...”

“Are you still going to come over tonight? I don’t have to be up at the crack of dawn tomorrow, so I rented that new Green Lantern movie you wanted to see,” she explained, eyes to the floor.

More guilt. James half smiled at her effort, however. “Sure,” he said softly, and kissed the top of her head. Frankie released his t-shirt. They’d talk about this some more later, when she had caught up on some sleep, and James had some answers for her.

-----------------------------

Reyez had moved into his own place shortly after his sister had gotten married. He had said it was to give her and her new husband space, but everyone else was under the belief it was because her new husband was even more boorish then before, and Reyez’s already wafer-thin patience with him was cracking.

His house wasn’t exactly in the city now, and it took a fifteen minute drive to get there from Excellent Bean. It was in a residential neighborhood, outside of downtown. The neighborhood itself was littered with cars parked on both sides of the road, making it hard to find a parking space. The homes themselves looked like they were designed as townhouses or small two floor apartments, built on a hill, making them look like giant staircases. Frankie had given directions and the number of the house Reyez occupied to Tom before they had left, and Reyez’s place wasn’t exactly the easiest to find. However, from his small yard you could see downtown in all its skyscraper glory.

After knocking, and waiting for some time, there was movement behind the closed door, and some mumbled cursing before it opened, revealing a girl with dark brown hair in a tight, black, halfway unzipped hoodie. She was younger than them, shorter, and petite with similar green eyes to Reyez. James, Tom, and Hunter all exchanged looks without saying anything, and the girl stared at them in the threshold for a moment without speaking.

“What?” she asked, finally, barring entrance to the house by holding the door and the door frame.

Again, the three taller men exchanged looks, before Tom cleared his throat. “Does... Reyez live here?”

“Yes...” the girl said, eyeing him with a distrustful expression. “He’s not here.”

“Where is he?” Tom asked.

“I don’t know.” She shrugged.

“Awesome,” Hunter muttered under his breath. The girl’s eyes turned on him. “And who are you, keeping his bed warm?”

Her expression fell flat, then disgusted and she rolled her eyes. “How rude. Do you always introduce yourself like this? I’m his sister, Blaire. I’m just crashing here for a while,” she explained, still holding the door, but relaxing her stance a little. “You’re friends of his, or something?”

“Or something,” James commented.

Tom ignored him. “We’re friends. We’ve been trying to get in contact with him and... look – can we talk about this inside?” he asked, and took a purposeful step forward. Blaire stiffened for a moment, before she moved out of the way, allowing the three of them indoors.

The house wasn’t huge, but it was enough, automatically stepping into a small hallway with the kitchen immediately to the left. The living room was just straight ahead and occupied most of the space. To the right of the door, across from the kitchen entrance, were stairs leading to the second level. Blaire stood in the living room with her arms folded, eyeing the three of them with distrust and unease. Tom walked into the lounge, following by James and Hunter.

“Uh...” Tom turned back to Blaire and snapped his fingers, his mind going blank on her name.

“Blaire.”

“Blaire!” he recovered. “Do you know where Reyez is?”

“Nope.” She shrugged. “He never tells me where he’s going. His phone’s been ringing like crazy though lately. I heard it a lot through his bedroom door.”

“When’d you see him last?” Hunter inquired.

Beginning to answer, Blaire stopped herself and her expression became intensely suspicious. “Why are you asking? Who the hell are you guys?”

“I’m James, that’s Tom, and that’s Hunter. We’re trying to find him,” James informed her impatiently. “He’s not in any trouble, a mutual friend of ours has been worried about him, since he’s not returning any of our calls or messages. So we wanted to make sure he was okay.”

“He’s fine, as far as I know,” Blaire explained. “Except he’s been a bit weirder than usual.”

Conspirator glances went between the three men. “Weirder, how?” Tom asked.

“Just... weird.” Blaire pursed her lips. “Like, he had a visit a few weeks back from some guy. Tall, pretty official looking. I got shoved upstairs while they talked in the living room. I couldn’t hear much, but it sounded important. Reyez was a bit freaked out when he left.”

“Can you describe him?” Tom asked.

“Tall, and probably about fifty. He’s been on the television lately, I think. He was from the military, that much I can tell you. He had some stripes and medals on the front of his jacket. Can’t tell you what rank,” Blaire explained, shoving her hands in her hoodie pocket.

“The army?” Hunter queried, looking between James and Tom.

James thought for a moment. “Reyez was in the army, wasn’t he? Maybe it was someone from his old platoon?” Tom shrugged. James turned to Blaire. “Did you hear a name? Anything like that?” he asked. Blaire looked blank. “It’s really important.”

She shook her head. “Not really. I didn’t pay much attention. Reyez got angry at one point. Yelled at him, I caught Mac... something. If that helps.”

“Mac?” Hunter repeated. “McTyre, maybe?” he suggested.

“Why would McTyre be here...” Tom wondered aloud. “I know Rey was in the military, but I thought he left. You don’t think he could have joined up again, do you?”

“Who knows.” James shrugged his shoulders.

“Care you explain who this McTyre guy is?” Blaire asked snappishly. “I don’t like being ignored in conversations.”

“General McTyre,” James explained. “He’s a lead role in the army, also leading the charge and protection of people against the... monster attacks.”

“You mean Digimon attacks,” Blaire corrected. James spluttered on his next words. Blaire stared at him for a moment as he composed himself and then leaned against the wall. “Rey’s been telling me all about them. That he was going out and fighting them all the time with Ailurmon.”


“You know about Ailurmon?” Tom asked.

“Well... duh,” Blaire retorted. “She lives with him and she’s been around in one form or another since I was born. Of course I know about Ailurmon, and Bambusmon, and Mistresmon.”

“Oh. Well, that makes things easier.” Hunter pulled out his D-Touch and Skollmon appeared at his feet, shaking his body and stretching. “See, the Digimon are the reason we’re looking for Reyez.”

Blaire regarded him, and then Skollmon. Her gaze turned to Tom, who held his D-Touch in his hand, and James who did the same. “You all have Digimon?”

“Yeah,” James replied. “And we’re the ones trying to stop the massive crystal looking ones from destroying the city. Reyez has been helping us, but because he’s disappeared lately, and we can’t get a hold of him, its worrying.”

“Oh,” Blaire said quietly. “That explains a lot.”

“Does it?” Tom asked.

Blaire shrugged one shoulder. “It might be nothing. But... well, Rey’s been getting a lot of phone calls – probably from this McTyre guy, cause every time he got one he would leave the room and think I wasn’t listening, or was watching TV. He mentioned something about the Digimon. Some kind of capture tactic McTyre was working on.”

“Capture tactic?” James exclaimed, alarmed. “Don’t tell me he’s helping McTyre capture these Digimon? He knows how stupid that is, doesn’t he?”

“McTyre’s probably trying to capture some of the crystalline ones to find out the best ways to get rid of them,” Tom said thoughtfully. “It’s dangerous, especially considering how volatile they can be.”

“He’s obviously not doing a very good job,” Hunter stated.

“Considering the amount that have been trashing the city,” added Skollmon.

Tom nodded, agreeing. “But if McTyre is capturing them, where are they being held?”

“There’s a military base about forty minutes out of town,” Blaire explained. “I mean, it’s not that far, Reyez was based there for a while before he was deployed.”

“It might be a good place to start looking for him, if only to get some answers,” Hunter said nonchalantly. “Though, to be honest, I’d rather head home...”

“Fine, you head home, and you can answer to Frankie when she finds out you didn’t help when she asked you to and complains to Piper about it,” James said, folding his arms. “Piper will love that.”

Hunter pouted. “Geez...”

Skollmon laughed. “Heh, you’re so whipped.”

“Let’s go then.” Tom sighed, turning and heading for the door. “Thanks for your help, Blaire.”

“Don’t thank me yet, I’m coming with you,” Blaire stated, marching past him and yanking the door open.

-----------------------------

“I love that we’re not squeezed into your crappy truck,” Hunter grumbled, “but why the fuck do I have be in the backseat when I’m the tallest?!”

James had recently traded his old (and rather trusty) truck in for an upgraded jeep, something more up-to-date and economical as far as gas went. It was also more electronically kitted out, with a built in satellite navigator, and a CD player. Seats hadn’t really been discussed as Hunter, James, and Tom had followed Blaire out of Reyez’s house and down to the car park. She was going with them, whether they liked it or not, and she wasn’t taking no for an answer, despite Tom’s attempts to stop her from coming.

“Because,” James replied gruffly, tightening his grip on the steering wheel, “Tom can tell me the directions on the sat nav, and I can see better with you in the back seat. Stop whining.”

Hunter huffed loudly and slouched back in the seat, digging his knees into the back of James’ chair for effect. James rolled his eyes, pulling up to a set of traffic lights and stopping as they turned red. “Yeah, having your knees pressing into my back is really helpful, Hunter.”

“Glad to assist,” Hunter retorted sarcastically.

“Are you guys always like this?” Blaire queried.

Tom glanced at her in the rear-view mirror. “It’s not usually this bad. We’re all a bit on edge, at the moment.”

“Oh,” Blaire said. “Hey, apart from you three and Reyez, do you know if anyone else has a Digimon?”

“Our girlfriends do,” Tom replied with a wry smile. “And Hunter’s sister, Rose.”

“Huh,” Blaire murmured. “Convenient. Can anyone get a Digimon?”

“Ask Bella Divine, she’ll make you one,” James said harshly, finally pulling off from the lights. “The crystal Digimon who had attacked the city countless times are her ‘creations’.”

“I’m still really curious as to where she makes those,” Hunter commented. “And where she got the technology, I mean, it’s insane. I still can’t get my head around them.”

“She’s your mother,” James sighed. He changed lanes smoothly, made a turn and carried on up an on-ramp, leading to the main highway which led out of town and towards the military base.

“Thanks for the reminder,” Hunter said slowly, leaning back in his seat. “Just because she’s my mother doesn’t mean I know anything about how she does anything. Honestly, I was as in the dark as everyone else about the whole artificial Digimon creation. Threw me for a loop.”

“It’s intense technology,” Tom agreed. “And dangerous. She must have someone working for her.”

“Maybe the Parasite told her how to do it?” Poemon’s voice came out of Tom’s D-Touch. “That could be a reasonable explanation.”

“It’s possible,” James agreed. “After all, this is stuff way beyond our comprehension. It’s a shame we don’t have someone on the inside, or something. Stupid as that sounds, but some information from someone at Bella’s side, or access to information would be handy about now. Just to fill in some gaps.”

Hunter shifted. “I’d say Eleanor would be a prime candidate for that, she has access to everything Bella does, and then some. Main frame access, purchases, telephone records, anything and everything. Our job would be a whole lot easier if Eleanor was reporting information to us.”

“Why’d you say that?” James asked.

“She hates my mother as much as we do.”

“Hm,” Tom sighed. “Seems to be a universal thing. Hating your mother.”

“What can I say? She brings people together.” Hunter smirked, and fell silent again in the back seat.

Tom spoke again. “Unrealistic as it is that we’ll ever get lucky and have Eleanor reporting to us, if we could just figure out how Bella makes the crystal Digimon, and take away her means to do it, it would give us a real edge.”

“We thought taking out the Generals would give us a real edge,” James rebuffed. He tapped a few switches, turning on the windshield wipers as it began to rain. “Turns out they were just a warm up for what was really about to come.”

“Did you find out anything about the Parasite in your box of tricks, Tom?” Hunter asked, leaning his head on the window and staring out at the passing cars.


“Nothing we didn’t already know,” Tom sighed. “It started to infect the Digital World, trying to take the place over from the Gods, infecting other Digimon and making them fight on its side. It had Generals, and so did the Gods. War broke out, and eventually the Gods used the last of their strength to seal it away. That’s where my information and Piper’s information stop. Obviously, somehow it broke out.”

“Or was let out,” James added.

“How’d you figure that?” Tom asked.

“I doubt we’re the only humans to ever go to the Digital World, remember Hannah and Auramon? I mean, there must have been other people in the past who’ve had Digimon. So maybe it was let out by another human in the Digital World,” he suggested. “Or another Digimon. Do the scrolls say anything about where it was sealed?”

“Mine mention some kind of... room,” Tom said slowly.

“Helpful,” Hunter added unhelpfully.

Tom ignored him. “They said it was some kind of sealed room, where the Gods used to commune. It was kept secret from everyone, except the Gods, to keep them safe, and eventually keep the Parasite away from any prying. It was sealed with some kind of major energy called a ‘core’. But that’s it.”

“That’s really not helpful,” James sighed. “It’d be great to try and get in contact with Ryudamon and see if he has some extra information, or any stuff he was holding back when he met us initially… but I somehow doubt that’s even possible. He was a one-use kind of deal, and since Ms. Lynn died, we wouldn’t know how to find him anyway.”

“Who’s Ryudamon?” Hunter inquired.

“The Digimon that saved us when you and Rose tried to blow us up that first time,” Tom replied.

“Oh.”

“He managed to transport us to the Digital World before the attack impacted, and he kept us there for a little while to help out. Taught us a bit, revealed that our Digimon were Gods, but never mentioned much else,” Tom explained. “I have to wonder if he was holding back.”

“Probably.”

“So,” Blaire spoke up for the first time in some time. She had been silent so long, the other three had almost forgotten she was there. “Atlas Corp is behind... everything?”

“Pretty much, yeah,” Tom confirmed. “Or at least Bella is. I don’t think most of the Atlas Corp employees would know about Digimon, just the higher ups.”

“Why don’t you just report her to this McTyre guy, then?” Blaire suggested.

Hunter smirked. “Because she’s probably got him in her pocket,” he explained. “And even if she didn’t, it’s our word against the word of one of the most powerful businesswomen in the world. Who’s going to believe her renegade son, and his friends?”

“There’s always someone who believes you,” Blaire explained. “If she’s behind everything then she should be called out.”

“That’d be great, but no one would take our word for it without solid proof,” James told her. “And we don’t have any of that.”

“Hmph,” Blaire huffed. “What about this... Parasite thing?”

“You don’t want to know about that, believe me,” Tom said solemnly. “We don’t know much about it for a start, except that its extremely dangerous and that Bella has it. It protects her.”

“Sounds like a bitch,” Blaire stated.

“You have no idea,” James commented.

The rain eased up, turning from a sudden heavy shower to light drizzle - normal, sudden changes for the fall. James turned the windshield wipers down to a slower speed. Most other cars on the road had changed off onto other intersections, so for the moment the road was straight ahead of them, and surprisingly empty. Not a lot of call for people to travel to the military base it seemed.

Suddenly he slammed on the breaks, swerving the car to the opposite lane. Blaire screamed, while Hunter and Tom both yelled loudly, bracing themselves as a beam of yellow light flew past them, knocking the car into an uneasy wobble as it came to a stop.

“What the hell was that about?!” Blaire yelled.

“Stay in the car,” James ordered, climbing out of the driver’s side, while Hunter and Tom did the same, slamming the doors, their Digimon appearing in flashes at their sides.

James had swerved so wildly and without warning, because galloping towards them was a crystalline centaur Digimon, braying wildly. It kicked and bucked, creating craters in on the road where its hooves hit. The reading on James’s D-Touch was that the Digimon’s name was Centarumon, but there was no other information available.

“Relative of yours?” James asked Oisinmon, who appeared at his side.

“Very funny,” she replied, poising her bow at the opposing Digimon. Kinnarimon flew above her, and Terasumon was to the right, circling around Centarumon, who skittered back and forth on the spot, rearing back onto its hind legs.

“Solar Ray!” Centarumon’s left arm - his gun-arm - charged up with energy, before shooting out a beam of light, aimed directly at Oisinmon. James dove out of the way, while she dashed forward, releasing arrows.

“Nightsong!” Kinnarimon swooped down, shooting blasts of energy at the crystal Digimon, each one releasing a haunting note, driving Centarumon back. Terasumon dashed forward, leaped, and bit onto Centarumon’s gun arm, yanking it back as another shot of energy was released straight up into the air.

Yelling, Centarumon clawed the ultimate Digimon with his other hand, swiping at his face, forcing Terasumon to release him. The fiery canine was immediately set upon by wildly thrashing hooves.

“Lunar Barrage!” Oisinmon cried, releasing an arrow into the air, and watching as dozens of them fell, singeing Centarumon’s skin where they hit.

Centarumon rounded on her, pawing the ground with his hooves. His head lowered, readying a charge.

“Manora’s Dance!” Kinnarimon’s voice echoed in the heads of everyone around her, as she back flipped and dove to the side of the centaur, landing harsh punches and kicks against the crystal Digimon’s head and body, sending Centarumon sliding across the pavement. Kinnarimon disappeared in a puff of smoke and reappeared next to him, continuing her slaughter of attacks. 

Terasumon bellowed, “Blazing Mirage!” as he was engulfed in flames and two copies split off from him, leaving steam in their wake as they each ran, charging at Centarumon. Kinnarimon lifted up back into the air with moments to spare, as the three flaming dogs converged on Centarumon, knocking it back again as it was trying to stand up

“I hate how strong these things are,” Hunter growled. “Considering this thing is a champion level.”

“No one ever fights fair,” Tom commented.

“Solar Ray!” Centarumon yelled, throwing Oisinmon back as the ray hit her squarely in the chest.

Kinnarimon swooped, clawing at Centarumon’s face with her feet. “Manora’s Dance!”

Centarumon grabbed Kinnarimon by her ankles, throwing her into Terasumon, who was charging towards them.

“Solar Ray!” He released another wave of his cannon. Kinnarimon disappeared in a puff of smoke before the cannon impacted as Terasumon concentrated his body into a tower of flames, causing the beam to go through without harm.

Oisinmon quickly recovered, charging towards Centarumon with her hands ahead of her. “Twilight Wave!” The flames of Terasumon shot towards Centarumon as Kinnarimon’s dark mist circled around it, sending one giant beam attack mixed with three different elements towards the crystalline Digimon.

The attack impacted Centarumon dead center of his chest, barely creating a crack in the crystal. His hooves marked the ground as he prepared to charge once again.

Terasumon, Kinnarimon and Oisinmon prepared their next attacks.

“Wedding Lust~!” Mistresmon’s sultry voice was a welcome sound, especially as the flower petals sprouted up from the ground and surrounded Centarumon. Centarumon struggled against the petals, though they only encased him and did not attack fully.

Puzzled looks pasted between Tom, James and Hunter. The Digimon staying in their places, as the sounds of trucks were heard, and the vehicles came into view further up the long stretch of road. The Digimon poised themselves, ready to attack in case this turned out to be some kind of trick.

They stood amazed as the trucks bypassed them completely, surrounding Centarumon. The petals holding him captive descended into the ground while Mistresmon reappeared. She hopped over the cars, standing silently to one side as men with guns appeared from each truck.

The noise was terrible as electrified nets were shot from all directions, flattening Centarumon until it was a static and quivering mess. Quickly, and with impressive organization, a team of men marched from a larger truck. The electricity on the nets ceased, and Centarumon was dragged by the group of men into the back of one of the larger trucks, completely helpless and unable to fight back. The back door slammed and was locked with a thick bolt. That truck was the first to disappear, and then the others escorted it, leaving dust and destruction from the battle, and a lone figure behind them.

Mistresmon hovered beside Reyez as he walked casually towards the others. He was dressed as none of them had ever seen him before - in military gear from head to foot, and a stern expression. Oisinmon shifted uneasily beside James.

“So...”

“Nice job on distracting Centarumon,” Reyez said lazily. “It escaped from the capture facility. Lucky for us you were here.”


“Capture facility?” Tom repeated.

“Hm.” Reyez nodded. “There’s a facility in the base that’s being used to test out capture techniques on these crystalline Digimon. Some kinks need to be worked out, but its proving pretty successful so far,” he explained with a bored expression.

“What are you doing here?” Hunter asked.

“I could ask you guys the same question,” Reyez replied.

There was a standoff where none of them spoke for a few minutes, until it was clear that Reyez wasn’t going to reveal anything unless they did first. Tom sighed.

“We were coming to find you. Frankie asked us to check on you, after you haven’t been answering calls or messages. She’s been worried.”

“Well, you can tell her I‘m fine,” Reyez said. “…and how did you find out I was here?”

“Blaire,” Tom explained simply. “She told us that you had a visit from McTyre too. Interesting that you didn’t mention that to us.”

“It wasn’t anything to do with you,” Reyez retorted. As if on cue, Blaire stepped out of the jeep, jogging the short distance and standing near the guys as they faced Reyez.

“Apparently,” James commented. “So what are you doing here?”

“What does it look like?” Reyez asked, smirking. “I’m not doing a ‘you’ if that’s what you’re wondering. I’m doing something useful, getting involved with people who actually know what they’re doing. Since we as a group don’t exactly have the power strong enough to bring Bella down, why not use a formidable power to do so?”

Hunter’s facial expression was slightly confused, as well as Tom and James. He titled his head slightly, with his eyebrow perked.  “So…you--”

Reyez lit a cigarette, his eyes narrowing with slight irritation. “I’m going to explain this once so pay attention. Atlas Corp has been the main suspicion by the military for some time now, meaning we have a shared enemy. McTyre has no way to prove that Atlas Corp is behind these attacks, and whenever they have proof, Atlas Corp pays the media large amounts of money to not run the story, and cover it up.”

“But isn’t the military government own-?” Tom asked.

“I’m not done,” Reyez interjected. “We’re trying to link back these crystalline Digimon to Atlas, and also find a way to take them down. Rose’s attack actually hurt Atlas Corp more then helped it because when she tried to call us out, she was so enraged, that she didn’t think that people with cameras and such would be recording. Atlas Corp tried to hide the fact it was Rose on the internet, connecting Rose and Hatimon to the attack would bring suspicion to Bella.”

“And she wouldn’t want that kind of attention around…” Hunter rubbed his chin.

“Exactly. With the military focusing on destroying and capturing these crystalline Digimon, we can focus on Bella and the Parasite ourselves. This not only saves energy for the Digimon, but for us as well. When the time comes, we can have the military take down Bella and focus on the parasite ourselves. Finding out what makes these Digimon tick would probably be the key to destroying the parasite.”

Tom smirked. “That’s almost genius.”

Reyez turned his eyes to Blaire. “And who invited you?”

Blaire shoved her hands in her hoodie pocket. “It’s called worrying, and making sure you’re ok?”

Reyez sucked his teeth, turning his attention back towards the others. “Stay out of the military’s way, don’t continue to fight if they step in and fire at any enemy Digimon. Just because we have a shared enemy doesn’t mean they won’t unleash on ya’ll as well. I won’t be there to tell them to stop, and honestly, if you continue to fight back, then I can’t help but feel you are complete idiots.”

“You’re a horrible person,” Hunter said mockingly, his arms crossed.

“I know, it keeps me awake at night,” Reyez said nonchalantly. He discarded his cigarette and turned his back, walking towards his car, he waved his hand as a simple goodbye. “Continue to find information about the parasite and the gods, the military will handle the crystalline Digimon from here on out.”

-----------------------------

Driving home was actually relatively silent despite the new information. Hunter, who was finally riding in the front seat, was looking out the window, while James kept his eyes forward on the road and Tom was fiddling with his D-Touch.

Blaire had her head against the window, looking out.

“You would think after all we’ve been through, Reyez would be a little bit more open.” Tom broke the silence, a bit of irritation in his voice. “I don’t mean to rant, but it’s irritating. The guy disappears and then magically appears, dumps some information on us and then tells us not to get in the way… what kind of shit is that?”

James ruffled his hair. “A true team player,” he said sarcastically, prompting Hunter to chuckle a bit. 

“Actually,” Blaire spoke up. “I don’t mean to get into anyone’s personal business, but I think he’s come a long way with opening up. He’s always been like this, at least he stayed around long enough to talk to you guys. He’s just that one in the pack that wants to be a lone wolf, but can’t stray too far because he gets lonely. So he stands a bit further from the group so that he can have his space, but not feel so alone.”

“Well, it’s great that you’re speaking up for your brother, but I’m not seeing much of the analogy here,” Hunter said. “From the time I’ve known him, if he’s not being an asshole, he’s by himself.”

Blaire shrugged and lazily looked out the window. “I guess.” They could sense that there was more that Blaire wanted to say, but she choose not to.

After all, it was pretty obvious that none of the guys knew Reyez personally enough to know how he ticked, and any doubt they ever spoke about him in the past was quickly debunked by Frankie, and now Blaire. It seemed nearly impossible, and even Tom felt like he barely knew the guy. It was getting weird, to be so close to someone and still not know who exactly they were.

-----------------------------

Reyez kicked a small rock across the open area of the base. Ailurmon walked beside him with her paws behind her head.

“Louis!” A familiar voice called out, causing both Reyez and Ailurmon to shut their eyes in annoyance.

McTyre made his way across the paved ground, folders under his arm. “You didn’t come back immediately, I decided I had to come look for you.”

Reyez turned to McTyre, both saluting each other formally before placing his arms behind his back.

“We got some information about activity going on at the Atlas Corporation. These crystalline monsters-”

“Digimon,” Ailurmon corrected.

“Digimon…” McTyre corrected himself, taking his glance from Ailurmon back to Reyez. “Are running on some kind of energy that makes no match to what we have. It seems there’s a source coming from somewhere, maybe electronically, but we are unsure.”

Ailurmon gasped lightly, looking up at Reyez, keeping herself composed, but her voice surprised. “The Digital World!”

McTyre perked an eyebrow, his tone changing as if he were talking to a child, he kneeled down. “Is that where you are from?”

“No, I’m from the moon, jackass,” Ailurmon snapped. McTyre was taken aback by the insult, but refrained from showing any kind of emotion.

McTyre handed Reyez the folder. “I don’t know what type of game you and your group of friends are playing, but make sure this does not get out of hand. We are purely trying to get enough evidence to bring Atlas Corp’s doings to light. Don’t screw this up, Louis.”

Reyez’s eyes narrowed as McTyre turned and walked away.

Ailurmon placed her hands on her hips. “I have a feeling he’s going to get in the way…”

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