* * *
~~~ Jennifer's P.O.V. ~~~
We finally defeated Lordessmon! You'd think that would be the end of it huh? Not a chance! Just when we were about to head back to the base, our digivices started beeping like crazy! Then we got another message from our anonymous pen pal; he or she told us of an invisible firewall that needed to be destroyed. With Lordessmon, Duodramon and Marajamon finally gone, we thought this next thing would be a peace of cake, but you know a Digidestined’s work is never done. Devimon, LadyDevimon and DarkTyrannomon showed up, they were supposed to be guarding the gate (doing a lousy job of it might I add. Through the battle, we did manage to knock it down and that's when we came face to face with yet another surprise!
* * *
A large, orange dinosaur-type Digimon stood where the firewall once was, staring down at the Digidestined, who stared right back at him with their mouths and eyes wide open in shock. Meanwhile, their Ultimate-level Digimon remained in attack position, waiting for the Digimon to make its move.
"Altormon, it's okay!" Alex said to his Digimon. "It's only Greymon, he won't hurt us!"
"How do you know this, Alex?" asked PolarGlorymon.
"How do we even know it's the one you’re thinking of? Not all Greymon are good, remember?" Jenn reminded Alex.
"Yeah I remember," a new voice suddenly chimed in. From behind Greymon's massive head, a familiar head of wild brown hair appeared. His equally brown eyes shimmered with amusement as he grinned down at the team of humans and Digimon below. "That guy was a total pushover!"
Greymon lowered his head for the boy to jump down. With him was a small girl with light brown hair and brown eyes very similar to his. She held onto her Digimon, Gatomon, and quietly followed her brother as he approached Jenn.
"Jennifer, stay back, it might be another illusion!" PolarGlorymon yelled. She could tell these creatures were more humans, but had never heard of humans other than the Digidestined in the Digiworld. Who knew if they could be trusted?
But Jenn couldn't help her curiosity. The two Digidestined leaders inched closer to each other.
The redhead pointed her index finger outward and poked at Tai's ribs, making him giggle loudly in response. "Hey, knock that off!" he said.
Jenn turned to face her team once more. "Yup, he's real!" she grinned. With this confirmation that Tai and Greymon were no threat, the Ultimates finally stood down.
Just then another familiar face walked into view. Beside him was a large, blue, wolf Digimon. The boy casually ran his hand over his spiky blonde hair. His deep blue eyes focused on the group of humans and Digimon in front of him. This made Jenn's heart race, and it was all she could do not to let her inner “Mary Sue” take over. "Hey," he waved coolly to the FDD team.
Soon the rest of the Digidestined showed up on by one, riding their champion Digimon. Sora and Birdramon, Joe and Ikkakumon, Mimi and Togamon, Matt's little brother TK with Angemon, all of them looking down at the FDD team waiting silently to be introduced.
Matt leaned over to the brown-haired boy. "Don't you think we should introduce ourselves, Tai? Or do you just want to sit here and stare at them all day?"
"I was getting to it!" Tai replied in a harsh whisper.
"Oh, no need for introductions! We know very well who you guys are." Lexxy smiled.
"As do we," Izzy replied, capturing Lexxy's attention. "And it's a pleasure to finally meet you, Lexxy!"
Of course! Lexxy thought. "Izzy!" She looked at the laptop she still held in her hands. "It was you all along, wasn't it?"
"Correct!" The shorter, burgundy-haired Digidestined nodded. He sat high on the shoulders of his insect Digimon partner, Kabuterimon.
"Ohhh, so that's Izzy," DracoSartomon teased Lexxy, making her blush.
"Why didn't you just say it was you guys all along?" asked Dani in surprise.
"It was only a measure of security," Izzy explained.
"Security from who?" asked Lexxy. They looked over at Emily and Skye, who were both looking at Tai with swooning heart-shaped eyes. "The fangirl factor?" Lexxy joked.
"Actually, we had to keep our identities secret in case an evil Digimon acquired my laptop. If they knew that we had found a way to make contact with you, it would make it more difficult—if not impossible—for us to reach you," Izzy continued.
"Speaking of evil Digimon, what the heck happened to the Devi-Duo and DarkTyrannomon?" asked Tania.
* * *
The three evil Digimon had quickly departed with the appearance of the eight new Digimon, traveling quickly through the dark woods to notify their master of the situation with the firewall. "He will be very displeased about this," said Devimon.
"Which is why you'll be doing all the talking," LadyDevimon replied smugly.
* * *
With the disappearance of the evil Digimon, the (now much larger) group decided to head back to the Digidestined base, where there was food for the Digimon and a safe place to rest and discuss things. Tai and the other original Digidestined reassured the FDD Digidestined that they didn’t need to remain at the site of the destroyed firewall.
“We just needed you to take it down so we could come over to this side!” said Tai happily.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Tania demanded, wanting answers for everything. She held Munamon in her arms, since the Ultimate FDD Digimon had returned to their In-Training forms when they de-digivolved.
“Hold on, I’d better start from the beginning,” replied Tai as they were walking back. Agumon, now returned to his original form, walked beside him.
* * *
When they finally reached the base, the original Digimon de-digivolved from Champion back to their Rookie forms.
"We'd invite you inside, but we only built this place big enough for eleven humans and Rookies," said Kristina politely.
"Perfectly understandable!" Izzy nodded, sitting down on a nearby rock while Tentomon joined the other Digimon in getting a bite to eat. It had been while since he and his group had had a decent meal. Of course, the FDD Digimon where more then willing to share what they had.
The group of FDD Digidestined started to tell the other group of their adventures in the Digiworld so far, in hopes that all their questions would finally be answered. Of course, they didn’t mention that the people they were talking to were cartoon characters to them. They thought that would just be too weird, if the original Digidestined didn’t know about it already.
"Okay, first question . . . how did we come to the digital world to begin with?" Jenn began, trying not to sound too anxious. She really wanted answers, and now that they finally had other humans to answer them, she hardly knew where to begin.
"And why were we the ones chosen?" asked Skye in a more demanding tone. “There must be hundreds of thousands of kids on earth who want to be Digidestined! It’s not like we’re the only ones who made up fake Digimon.”
“What do you mean fake?” snorted Magimon, wondering if she should be offended. “Why do you think these humans have all the answers to your questions, anyway?”
"Whoa, one question at a time guys!" Tai waved a hand, already starting to feel overwhelmed.
"Allow me to explain. . . ." Izzy rescued his leader and moved in closer to the FDD team to talk to them. "It's a little complicated. First you should know that your arrival in the digital world was no accident."
"Well, duh," Dani whispered to the other FDD’s.
Izzy continued, pulling a map of the entire digital world up on his laptop. "This entire half of the digital world was blocked off by the firewall which you just destroyed. The wall was put there by a virus type . . . well, it's not exactly a Digimon, but more like a corrupted file of some kind."
The FDDs leaned in even closer, anxiously hanging on to Izzy's every word.
"While we were trapped behind the firewall and unable to access this side of the digital world, the virus had taken over, deleting and reconfiguring everything to create its own digital world. It used compiled data from the Internet on earth and bits of the old data from the existing digital world."
"That must be why we've been living scenes from our own fanfics, from the ‘net . . . and possibly explains why the Digimon here had never heard of you guys, but they knew about Digimon like Pixmon," Lexxy pointed out.
"That's an excellent theory!" Izzy complemented.
"Wait, there's one thing I don't get . . . if you were trapped on the other side of that firewall, how were you able to send me your laptop?" asked Lexxy. She was the kind of person who had to understand every little thing, or it would bug the heck out of her.
"I'll explain that in a moment. You see, with no other options at our disposal, there was only one way we could defeat this virus, and that was to summon a new team of Digidestined who would be able to defend this side of the digital world and, in case we were unable to break down the firewall, to defeat the virus as we would have."
"Why couldn't your Digimon break it down?" asked Alex.
"Believe us, we tried. But the wall was of course intended to keep us out," said Gabumon, as he rubbed a burn mark on his fur. “Izzy believed that the virus knew of us and specifically created ways to keep us from interfering.”
Izzy continued, "Some of the data that was compiled by the virus from the Internet was that of your original characters. Thankfully without its knowing, I was able to tap into the viruses programming and manipulate it to create the physical forms of you and your Digimon, just as the virus was able to create villains and scenes from your fanfics. But in order to keep the data from falling under the viruses control like everything else has, we needed a physical essence to keep our programs independent. And what better essence than that of their own creators?"
"Wait, wait, hold up,” said Jenn. She looked down at her hands. “You mean we’re just . . . programs? And what do you mean by physical essence?"
Izzy was silent for a moment. He wondered if perhaps they truly were ready for this information. He swallowed nervously and prepared himself for their reactions. Finally he said simply, "Your souls."
The faces of the FDD’s suddenly turned pale in terror.
"Our souls? You mean—they are in these fake bodies—then, what about our bodies in the real world—are they—?" Jenn was panicking. She wasn’t prepared for this!
"No, it's nothing like that! Your real bodies are fine, and your souls will be returned to them when your task here is done! That is, if all goes well."
"It'll be just like you woke up from a very long dream!" said Sora, in an attempt to comfort the FDD’s.
"Anyway," Izzy added, "I’m sorry to say, but something happened which I didn’t anticipate. When your souls and the data from your characters came together, there was some memory loss. The original data compensated by filling in gaps in your actual essence." Izzy suddenly looked at Samee. "Samee, I'm afraid your being possessed by Queen Sonomi was our fault. The data was so strong, it corrupted and buried your real soul’s personality. Thankfully, only temporarily. We were very grateful when the other FDD’s were able to return your real personality to the forefront of your consciousness."
"I see." Samee lowered her head. It felt cold, hearing the awful things she had done explained so simply.
"We're real sorry," Tai said quietly. As the leader, he felt that when things went wrong, it was his fault.
Samee choked back her tears and lifted her head to display a big, forgiving grin. "Hey, no one’s perfect, especially boy geniuses!" She poked fun at the situation to let them know it was okay.
“Yeah, us geniuses are just the idea people, it’s up to you guys to carry out the plans correctly,” Lexxy laughed, winking.
Izzy finally got to Lexxy’s original question. "As for the laptop, it's a copy. In the digital world, everything is data. Even us. And like most data, it can be copied and pasted. You didn't think I was going to leave the original just lying around, did you? After I copied it, I managed to hide it in the streams of data being used by the virus from the Internet. It was created here physically, just as you were."
"Okay, so that explains the laptop . . . but what about the goggles? How did they end up on Earth?" asked Jenn.
"Simple, I sent them to you!" Tai announced, raising his hand in the air. "Izzy said he had a way to send copies of the digivices to the real world, by copying the program that sent ours to us. I knew that if we could send digivices, we could send goggles! And anyway, all Digidestined leaders need goggles." He grinned.
"Awesome!" Jenn removed the goggles from her head and handed them to Tai. "I suppose you'll want them back then."
Tai took them and smiled, gently placing them back on her head. "How about you hang onto them for now? At least until you leave."
"They do look pretty cool on me, don't they?" Jenn grinned, pointing to the shimmering goggles.
"Don't let it go to your head, goggle girl!" Skye joked, as everyone laughed.
* * *
Devimon, LadyDevimon, and DarkTyrannomon were all bowed low on the floor of an old, spooky castle in the forest. There was little light in the room, the only illumination coming from the faint red glow of two beady eyes hovering in the middle of a dark cloud, and the tiny bolts of electricity crackling along its edges.
“Master,” said LadyDevimon, addressing the dark cloud, “the firewall has been destroyed.”
A deep, echoing voice bounced off the stone walls around them. “I see.” After a pause, there was another order given. “Bring them here. I will deal with them.”
Pleased that there was no punishment, the trio of dark Digimon promised to fulfill their master’s orders and then left.
* * *
“Any other questions?” Sora asked, looking around the group of children and full, content Digimon.
Jenn glanced around too, noting that there didn’t seem to be any more confusion on her team’s faces. “I think that clears up everything,” she told the redhead in the blue hat, smiling.
“It feels great finally having all the answers!” said Skye.
Sora giggled. “Yeah, we know how that is.”
"Great! This means, now that we’re all together, we can finally defeat this virus once and for all!" BabyBunnimon exclaimed.
"You said it!" agreed Agumon.
Tai was on his feet, studying the group. He decided they all looked ready. “Are we prepared to go kick this evil butt?” he asked the group.
There was a resounding, “Yes!”
Jenn stood up as well, followed by the rest of the group. “We’re Digidestined, we’re always ready,” she told Tai with a proud smile. Tai nodded to let her know he knew what she meant.
Together, the two groups of Digidestined headed out of the base and into the woods, ready for one final battle.