Taito - Tokyo Prefecture – Japan
5:01 PM - October 27th - 2019
5:01 PM - October 27th - 2019
The lingering noises of Tokyo’s evening streets were irrelevant as Emilia slid her fingers along the sharp angles of the bizarre electronic device stuffed in the pocket of her zipped-up, pastel orange jacket. Her focus bounced about as she turned a corner. The rhythmic jingle of her keys loosely hanging out of her coat pocket kept her thoughts from unfastening. Should I call mom? There's no way she'll believe me... Emilia stopped at the front steps of her apartment complex as a growing breeze swelled through her hair. Well … I've rounded the block seven times. I've got to go home sometime. Despite heavy arms, she pulled the door open with a calm furiosity.
Emilia started steadily up the stairs. "It's just an egg. No biggie, right? Just an egg..." She muttered to herself, her soft British accent deepened by a thickness building in her chest. Emilia stopped her climb with one foot hastily on a step higher than the other. "Oh God, what if it's hatched," Emilia pondered, rubbing her forehead with her index finger and thumb. She began to lift her foot to climb the stairs again but immediately felt a vibration in her coat pocket.
An effeminate voice announced, “digital companion ready to emerge."
Emilia, stunned, locked eyes with an older fellow walking through the stairwell. "I hope to God it isn’t,” she replied with a shriek. The old man raised his eyes brows, a confused frown forming at the crease of his lips. With hot cheeks, Emilia bounded up the stairwell. Whether she noticed or not, the beeping of the brown device was sounding off half-muted, smothered by Emilia's sweating palm.
Did that thing seriously come out of my laptop? God, I wonder if that'll turn back on now. I should call mom... Emilia stumbled over that recurring thought, mumbling profanities,.She’d just think I’m nuts! There's no way I tell anyone about this, right? She raked her hand through her hair and stopped, feet planted before her door. "I'd think I was crazy too, honestly– if I actually told someone my computer vomited out an egg and a weird watch, the latter of which is now speaking," she muttered, half-conscious of the words dribbling from her mouth. She stretched her arms and cracked her neck, preparing, mentally, for what obscenity might lay beyond her front door. She bounced anxiously on her toes and took in a few shallow breaths. Emilia reached out. "Okay," she paused, "Here we go!" She tightened her hand, twisted, and threw her shoulder into the door for no other reason but to be dramatic. With a grunt, she barreled through and accompanied her entrance with a high-pitched yelp. She closed the door behind her, but not all the way, and dropped her bag at her feet. Little natural light came into the apartment. The pressing beeps of the device hung in the silent art. Emilia jammed her hands into her pocket, pulling the light brown and black device out. A light on its screen flickered and the following words appeared:
DIGI.mon downloading from egg... 5% remaining, please wait...
Emilia looked up and felt a weakness in her hands. How did it get out here? Didn’t I lock my bathroom door? A large, brown egg stood, unmoving in the middle of the kitchen. A crack, splitting it down the middle, was steadily making way to the tip of the egg. She stared at the egg for as long as it took for the crack finally reached the top. A thin light streamed from the split in the egg and widened as the egg split in two. Steam and a hiss filtered from the middle as the crack grew.
Emilia hadn't noticed, but the digital displays on her kitchen appliances were flickering numbers and letters. Slow and deliberate, she wrapped her fingers around the backs of one of her kitchen chairs while she bounced her leg in a jagged rhythm. The sheen faded, and the two sides of the egg dropped to the floor. The hollow eggshells began to evaporate, each piece dissolving into a mist. Emilia clenched her teeth and slowly raised the chair off the floor. The mist dissipated; the outline of a small, round creature became realized.
Sporadic breaths and a soft whining sound from the now split egg engage Emilia's growing worry. Her knuckles white and her grip numb, she waited with a stiff intensity. Without realizing, she spoke out loud: "I mean, it can't be harmful, right? Whatever it is, it’s just a baby, right?" She hovered on that thought for what seemed a brief eternity. "Just a baby, just a baby, just a..." She trailed off and leaned closer to whatever just came out of the egg, trying to sneak a peek. She jumped back as the creature simply started to cry. Emilia hesitantly flicked the light switch to the kitchen on. After a few seconds of delay, a white light sparked overhead revealing a brown, tadpole-like creature with three rounded horns, a long tail, and tears streaming down its cheeks. It squeezed its eyes tightly closed.
Curious, Emilia dropped to her knees. "Hey," she said. The small creature peeled open its slate eyes briefly before crying again. "Hey. There's no need to cry," Emilia whispered. She sat, staring at the creature for a few minutes as it cried with an impressive steadiness
From a squat, Emilia launched to her feet and stepped softly across the kitchen floor to the sink. She grabbed a bowl and filled it with water, placing it about three feet from the crying brown ball. It opened its eyes again and squinted. The creature grunted softly and wriggled and hopped across the tiled floor. Emilia scratched her jawline with a nagging curiosity, "Okay, there’s absolutely no way mom would believe this."
With wetness still around its eyes, the creature started lapping up the water. Emilia leaned against her countertop. "Now what am I supposed to do about this thing?" The creature snapped its head toward Emilia and its lips started to quiver. "Hey– woah! No need to cry again. I didn't mean 'thing' as in – er, 'thing'." Emilia waved her hands in front of her face with nervous laughter. "I don't do crying very well, little guy." The brown creature glanced up at Emilia and curled its small bottom lip. Its belly rumbled.
Emilia spun on her toes to face the fridge. Immediately, she sunk her face into the palm of her hand. "What am I supposed to feed you? Should I even feed you? I can’t believe this." The creature cried out louder than before in response. Emilia jolted, body still tense. "Okay. I'll feed you.” She said, rummaging through the day-old refrigerated goods. "You like peaches?" She asked. Emilia rolled a soft peach across the floor, colliding with the creature with a soft donk. It opened its eyes again and started nibbling at the peach through periodic sniffles. Emilia grabbed another peach and seated herself on the floor as well, cross-legged. She felt a curious smile grow on her face, "Okay, you're a little bit cute." She rolled the second peach over to the creature as it finished the first.
"Oh." Emilia grabbed the brown device from her pocket again. This time, the text on the screen read:
CONO.mon – Fresh – Slime Type – Female
Digital Evolution Imminent
CONO.mon – Fresh – Slime Type – Female
Digital Evolution Imminent
The last three words flashed on the bottom of the screen in a pulsating fashion. "Digital what–" Emilia jolted as she was interrupted by the glare of another blinding sheen and a low hiss. The tiny figure of Conomon erupted in a flash of iridescence. Warped in the colorful light, Conomon grew slightly larger while its bottom half became frilled and gelatinous. The light faded out, revealing a jellyfish-like creature blinking steadily on the floor. Emilia looked down at the device cradled in her hands:
Digital Evolution Succesful
Kokomon blinked one eye at a time, glancing about the kitchen. She wriggled about in circles until she locked eyes with Emilia, measuring how inviting the young girl appeared. "Em-eel-ee-ah..." Kokomon’s voice was soft and delicate as it struggled to produce the sounds. Emilia's face goes agape. "Are you," Kokomon paused, staring patiently, "Emilia?"
Emilia responded with a slow, unintentional nod. "And you're Kokomon?" She covered her mouth.
Kokomon nodded vigorously.
Emilia caught her face in her palm again. "Am I going crazy? I mean this just isn't real, right? Like, it can talk? There's no way this is real," she steadied her breath and cleared her throat. She continued on, despite the doubt in her head, "so, Kokomon, uh– what are you?"
“A Digital Monster,” Kokomon responded with sincere confidence.
Emilia sighed. “Okay, well, what’s a ‘Digital Monster’ then?’”
Kokomon took time to ponder such a hefty question carefully. Her breathing sputtered and her eyes started to mist over. “Not sure, sorry…”
Panic bubbled in Emilia’s throat, “hey! That’s okay,” she paused herself with awkward laughter. “It can be hard to understand what you are!” Kokomon blinked with misty eyes and fought back sniffling. "Okay, Kokomon. How about this, I need you to tell me how you know my name," Emilia’s words were slow but commanding.
Kokomon started to shake and toss about. "'Cause you're Kokomon's friend, silly!"
Emilia's smile started to drip; her eyes narrowed. “Okay, weird– Kokomon, that's not what I mean. I want you to tell me how you know who I am–” Emilia took a sudden breath.
“I'm guess I’m kind of starting to wig out a bit here. I’m talking to a stuffed animal! I’m crazy,” she plunged ahead, almost shouting.
"I'm sorry," Kokomon cried, "I'm so sorry! Don't get man, please." Kokomon's breath started to unsettle, tears already rolling down her cheeks again. She squealed, "I–I’m here to be your friend. But I’m getting scared…"
Emilia’s eyes glued to the floor. Vaguely coherent thoughts of calling her mother bounced about in Emilia’s head, and she contemplated turning around and simply leaving the apartment. Both ideas were dismissed within seconds. It could have been the erratic crying of Kokomon or the bizarre gravity of the situation but something snapped Emilia out of an anxious spiral. ”It’s okay, Kokomon. I’m kind of– weirdly scared too.” She took a deep breath and scanned the screen of her strange device. There was a flashing envelope icon on the screen. She instinctively tapped it and a message appeared:
Hi there, Emilia.
This creature is a Digital Monster, or DIGI.mon for short. No matter what happens, you must watch over it and you must trust it, and it will do the same for you. I'm sure you and this DIGI.mon are a perfect fit. Prepare and be strong.
Kokomon's crying bounced off the walls of Emilia's kitchen. Blank-faced, she stared at the device. "Prepare? For what– what the hell is that supposed to mean?"
* * *
Saitama Prefecture – Japan
Shohei Nishizawa and Newt
7:11 PM - October 27th - 2019
Shohei Nishizawa and Newt
7:11 PM - October 27th - 2019
“Hey,” a young adult slapped the outside of his grandparent’s small shed twice. He had a serene nonchalance about him and his timbre was sincere, inviting. “I brought you some of Nanny Nishizawa’s premium homemade curry leftovers,” he sung, resting a hot bowl in his arms. A muffled tumble came from the inside the shed.
A blue bipedal lizard that stood about three feet tall peeked its head around the corner. An infectious grin creased its icy snout. Tears welled in its eyes as it grabbed the bowl. “Sho, you’re too kind,” the lizard roared, its voice coarse but endearing.
Shohei grimaced. “Newt, you gotta be a little quieter,” he warned, “my grandpa would have a fit if he found out about you– you’d be all over national television!” Shohei spoke about as much with his hands as he did his voice, waving them busily as he spoke.
“It’s alright. Let’s get in the shed. We need to chat anyway.”
Newt grabbed his plate of food and slinked back into the shed. Shohei followed suit and closed the door behind them. Inside, farming and gardening tools leaned casually about the walls. Bags of gardening soil were strewn about. Orange light crawled out of the thick layer of dark clouds, streaming through moisture-stained windows.
Newt, with chopsticks in hand, dug in. Shohei stared at his feet. He narrowed his eyes, deliberating his words. “Is there something wrong, Sho,” Newt asked, his mouth full, “what did you want to talk about?”
“No, I’m okay,” Shohei briefly met Newt’s red eyes, “I just can’t stop thinking about this ‘M’ person. It’s been a week since I found you and the D-Loader, and M’s message didn’t explain much.” Shohei pulled a rectangular cerulean device out of this sweater pocket. Newt nodded along, occasionally giving himself pause to cool off his mouth. “It’s been bothering me,” he sighed.
“I’m just happy we’re together!”
“Well, yeah,” Shohei chuckled, “but I’m serious about this. Prepare and be strong– Have resilience … They’re telling me to get ready for something.” He sat, languid, and rested his head in a cupped hand.
Newt set his plate down and wiped the curry off his mouth in a hasty swipe. “Maybe we just have to be patient,” he encouraged, “take your own advice, you’re always telling me to chill.”
“I guess that is a lot easier said than done,” Shohei snorted, “and I’ve been trying. This past week have just been…” He trailed off.
“Weird?” Newt cocked his head.
“Definitely. And I’ve been trying to figure out what this D-Loader thing actually does. It’s been letting me know when you’re hungry– which is way too often by the way– and that’s it.”
“Maybe you’ll have to wait for the right moment to use it.”
“I’d like a faint idea of when that’ll happen.” Shohei leaned back. “Maybe I’m supposed to help you get back to where you came from.”
“But all I know is being here– living here is all I remember.”
“You can’t be from here, Newt," Shohei snapped. He took a breath. "There’s nothing else like you on the planet. Meter tall lizards that shoot snow and talk don’t just hatch from eggs on a normal day, you know.”
“I don’t know,” Newt rolled his sights to the window, “there’s definitely other Digimon out there.” Orange roses in the window box outside ruffled against the window.
“Maybe.” Shohei tapped his thumbs against his thighs. “M said you’re a ‘Digital Monster,’ so you might be from my computer or something.”
“But I don’t feel digital.”
“How do you know?”
“I’m fleshy. And I … I don’t know. But I feel real.”
“You’re real, for sure. We figured that one out after you frosted half of my grandmother’s pepper patch, remember?”
Newt chuckled.“Yeah,” he said with a smug complacency.
“That almost got me in big trouble! You’re lucky it’s getting cold now,” Shohei snickered, “man, sorry to get so heavy on you. I just gotta figure this out.”
“I wish I could help more,” Newt pouted.
“It’s not your fault. Neither of us can really do anything.”
“Well, the curry was great! Tell your nanny it was fantastic,” Newt said, patting his stomach.
"I'll tell her I really enjoyed the curry."
"I hope I get you meet Nanny Nishizawa some time," Newt sniffled.
Shohei rubbed his chin. He turned on the D-Loader again. There was a succinct beep and a letter icon popped up. A pit sank in his gut. “Uh, Newt, over here for a sec'.” The blue Digimon scrabbled over to his companion, whose hands were now visibly trembling. Without taking a breath, Shohei mumbled the message onscreen: “Prepare for your transfer to server Iliad in two days ... At 5:00 AM you’ll be pulled into Iliad ... Virtual reality ... There is nothing you can do to stop it ... It’s a cruel, unforgiving world. Be resilient, tamer...” The taste of iron overtook Shohei’s mouth. He stared, heavy-eyed, at the screen.
For a moment, a dampening silence had made its way into the shed. Shohei and Newt took some time to completely gather the contents of the message. Shohei dented the silence with an exhale. He couldn't manage to pull his attention away from the D-Loader. On the outside, he seemed fine. A little overcome, but nothing more. However, his thoughts were a thick mess of worry and doubt. Every and any issue that Shohei was recently hung up on shot themselves back into the spotlight of his anxiety. Eventually, he got stuck on one sentence from the message: There is nothing you can do to stop it. He felt absolutely helpless in this brief cosm of thought.
Newt was entirely stricken, however, murmuring: "Iliad…" His red eyes misted over as though he were stricken with nostalgia.
Shohei took shallow, tepid breaths, regathering his thoughts. "Newt- I have to things, like school. I can't just up and go to some virtual world."
"Maybe we have to.” A grin widened Newt's cheeks."Isn’t it exciting, Sho?"
The artificial white light of the D-Loader illuminated a subtle smile curling up Shohei's cheeks, though the prior ponderous worry in his stomach was shuffled out with a new, stinging anxiety. "Yeah, maybe a bit. I’m definitely not sleeping tonight,” Shohei groaned, “and I was actually excited to get back into school, too.”
“You told me school is the worst!”
“Well, yeah, it is.”
Newt shook his head. “Sounds foolish.”
Shohei laughed as he put the D-Loader back in his pocket. "Alright, I should head in. Guess I gotta come up with an excuse as to why I’ll be gone for an indescribable amount of time,” he moaned, “I'll see you tomorrow, alright?"
“Cool, could you snag me a new blanket first? I spilled curry on this one."
Shohei chuckled. "For sure."
“It’ll be alright.”