Episode 6: In The Shadow Of The Mushroom Cloud
by Ajora Fravashi
Disclaimer - See the one on episode 1. I don't have time to retype it.
In light of the past few weeks, Daisuke found a renewed appreciation
for Iwakuni Base. Things here were sane while the rest of the world
danced on the edge of chaos. Jun worked from nine to five as Sora's
assistant and was on call as the "welcome girl," a job that was really
more of a hobby for her than anything else. Breakfast was at eight in
the morning, lunch was at noon, supper was at seven in the evening.
Allowances were made for those who worked at night, wanted a snack, or
did not adhere to the standard schedule, but it was really nice to be
around such normality again. Better yet, now that he and Takeru
had made their report and that weird disk Takeru had picked up
somewhere was turned over to Security, they would both be allowed to
take two weeks off should Daisuke be able to bond with a digimon
partner as time for adequate training.
Daisuke's train of thought stopped at that, then backed up to run over
the notion again. A real digimon partner. He had been prepared
for this for awhile, but the appointment kept being put off by
bureaucratic red tape and Ken's prodding to get them to cover as much
area as possible. He wondered again what the digimon would be like.
Would it be like Patamon, cheerful and innocent? Or would it be like
Jun's Penmon, unobtrusive in formal situations but friendly and
outgoing amongst her friends? Well, he would just have to wait and
see. There really wasn't much else to do, especially with Takeru off
somewhere doing who knew what and Jun stuck in some meeting. But after
the meeting, Jun would take him down to the Digimon Room.
A quick grin spread across Daisuke's face as he stared up at the
ceiling from his bunk. He just couldn't wait.
There was a certain power in knowing all the political views in the
council, who supported what, and what weaknesses they had to exploit.
Steel grey eyes drifted over the men and women that made up the
council, and Iwakuni's head of security checked each of them off on
his mental list of powers at play. The Isolationists, followers of
Osamu's doctrines, were led by one Hida Iori. He was one of the
original Iwakuni children, brought in by the same man who brought the
Ichijoujis. Most people didn't pay the quiet man much attention, but
his knowledge of the letter of the law was formidable enough for him
to register as a potent power in the council. Iori's day job was
something along the lines of a legal consultant. Jianliang's older
sister, Jialin (she headed the military training), was spokeswoman for
the neutral faction that mostly just agreed to anything that was best
for the base itself. Then there were the Sympathizers, the people who
looked to the outside and actually wanted to make the base known to
the world and help out. They had never been very powerful, and their
spokesman was a rather indecisive man named Aoyama Taizou (a
hydroponics maintainer), who wasn't particularly interesting enough to
be useful for much of anything. Of all the factions, the Isolationists
had been the most powerful of the council.
At least, they would have been content to be alone until Ken himself
started looking to the outside. Ken's logic was sound: we need to know
anything that transpires outside so that we can be prepared should the
other powers out there decide to declare war on us. Everyone agreed to
that, so he was allowed to set up agents to spy on those other powers.
As the years passed, Ken started playing with the idea of helping out
those who were worse off than Iwakuni. It was a concept that would not
sit well with the council, but Ken had managed to share his views with
enough of the agents loyal only to him that very little of his
scheming leaked out. Jianliang knew, of course, but he knew everything
that went on in his home. After all, it was the only home he had left.
It was because Iwakuni was his home and he didn't want to be kicked
out that he covered for Osamu's transgressions, and then Ken's.
However, he hadn't tampered with the energy output reports for the
month, occupied as he was with his friend's company. His innards were
twisting themselves in a knot of worry as Sora stood up to read them.
There was just the slightest of frowns as her eyes passed over it, as
if she had found that Mrs. Makino's chamber was the real cause for the
energy drain. Shit.
"... Due to some damage taken in the last storm, our solar panels are
absorbing 15% less energy than normal. With the council's permissions,
I would like to authorize the repair and activation of the unused
solar panels on the south side." Sora's eyes met his and lit up with a
secretive smirk that didn't quite reach her lips. She knew. She knew
and was covering up for Ken too. Jianliang's guts finally decided to
unclench. "I believe that is all for my report. Voting will be held at
the end of the meeting. Naomi?"
A minuscule sigh of relief, masked behind his folded hands, was the
only indication Jianliang gave that he had been tense about
questioning Sora's loyalties. He paid little enough attention to the
mechanic's report, having already heard it firsthand before the
meeting. After all, he did make it his business to know whether or not
all the machines were in working order.
After all the voting was done (Sora's request was approved, several
others were denied, and Jianliang made a mental note to keep an eye on
Iori), the council dispersed and he made a bee-line to his quarters.
Terriermon could wait, this couldn't.
Occupying his quarters, namely the couch, was his informant and
closest friend. The travel-worn man had nodded off to sleep at some
point and was probably going to develop a crick in his neck if he
stayed in that sitting position for long. Jianliang honestly regretted
having to wake his friend up, but he reached out and-
The man's eyes snapped open and flashed red for so brief a time that
Jianliang was sure he was seeing things. He withdrew his hand as his
friend blinked at him blearily. Must have been just his imagination.
"Just a few questions," Jianliang began, "then you can go collapse in
An amused glint appeared in his friend's eyes at this. "One would
think that you enjoy having leeches like me in your bed."
"You overestimate your sucking abilities." A slight half-smile tugged
at a corner of Jianliang's lips. "But on to business. One of the new
agents, Takeru, came across a database file containing potentially
dangerous information. What would you suggest?"
The informant's brow furrowed in thought. "If the file is from whom I
think it is, delete the relevant information. You'll know how to make
it look like it hasn't been tampered with."
"As you wish. Now, what of-"
"Biding his time. Their time. Waiting for the other shoe to drop, as
it were. No danger yet, but we need to keep Ken from finding out. You
know what will happen if he does." Sadness shadowed the man's eyes for
the moment. "I hate lying to Ken, but it's necessary."
Jianliang could identify with that, at least. How many secrets could
any of them hold for the sake of other peoples' well-being? "Oh, yes,
and Sora knows about Mrs. Makino. I'm not sure if that would change
anything, but you should know."
The informant gave a brief nod and the shadows in his eyes passed. "It
will be good for both of them, but won't change the chain of events.
Was there anything else?"
"For now, no."
"Then I have a favor to ask." The informant's eyes took on a distant
look. "Takuya of the Shichup Ainu has gotten himself captured by a
branch of the Army for a Pure Japan. It'll look good for our alliances
if he was saved by Iwakuni agents. You'll know who to send."
"I have just the team in mind." Jianliang offered his hand to his
informant, not entirely trusting the man's ability to get up right
now. "But first, you're going to bed."
Blue eyes peered at Jianliang's hand quizzically, as if it was a
oddity in a museum, until his mind finally identified it for what it
was. With a shrug, he reached out and let the other man pull him out
of the couch.
The double agent really did more running around than was healthy.
Sora's office was as tidy and welcoming as Takeru had expected it to
be. Warm light came from a frosted glass desk lamp and was caught up
in reflections and refractions of the water that bubbled down the tiny
rocks of a desktop fountain. Scrolls of mountains-and-mist scenes done
up in a distinctly Chinese style graced the walls. It was as if the
entire room was decorated to act as a haven of tranquility. If Takeru
understood the rumors correctly, the effect was probably intentional.
Well, if he and Patamon were to wait here until the council meeting
was over, at least they could enjoy it. There was something hypnotic
about watching that fountain.
Takeru had been so caught up in watching the fountain that he didn't
notice Sora and Piyomon slip into the doorway. He looked up when he
realized that they were there. "Nice trick. Do it often?"
"I don't have to do anything." Sora gave him a brief smile before she
settled into the high-backed chair behind the desk. "The decor does it
Patamon beamed from his perch on top of Takeru's head at Piyomon,
whose eyes twinkled at him from her own perch on the back of Sora's
chair. It was comforting to be in Sora's presence again. She
practically glowed with the aura of a caretaker.
"Now, before we begin, I want you to know that I'll be available to
talk to any time you need me." Sora's voice was soft, reassuring. It
made Takeru wonder how many others she had played therapist to. "In
the event that I'm not here, Jun or Jianliang will know how to find
After a brief nod from Takeru, Sora continued. "Now, according to
Daisuke's report, certain events occurred that may influence your
future performance. He didn't say anything more than that. Want to
talk about it?"
A quick surge of annoyance at Daisuke's interference was soon
smothered by the realization that his friend was most likely just
trying to help. Takeru sighed. "Do I have to talk about it?"
"It would be better for you to get it all out than let it fester, but
talking about it is entirely optional." Sora's features softened
briefly. "It's a harsh world out there, Takeru, and sometimes you just
have to do whatever's necessary to survive. I'm your friend. I could
never judge you."
"As I understand it, you've never been too far from the base," he
muttered with just a hint of cynicism underlining his voice. "How
could you fully understand what goes on outside?"
The softness left Sora's eyes. "I don't have to experience it
firsthand to know what the world outside does to people. Every agent
that has ever had a traumatic experience has come to me to get it off
their chest. Shall I tell you of them?" When Takeru didn't respond,
her lips pressed thin in thought before she finally continued. "Ten
years ago a boy came from the outside. He survived the raider
slaughter of his settlement by killing the boys who were going to kill
him. He did it to protect his younger sister. In his time as an agent,
he had had to kill several more times to protect our secrets. He
didn't talk much about it, but he said that it helped to know that I
would be there to forgive him. You've met him before."
Huh? Takeru raked his mind in an attempt to figure out who Sora was
talking about. He had run into other agents in passing, but time was
usually tight and everyone ran on different schedules. It had always
been a bit difficult to socialize with them. "Sorry, I've no idea who
you're talking about."
"Li Jianliang, of course. Sometimes he would come in and say nothing,
but he found comfort here. That's what I want to offer you: comfort,
understanding, and perhaps resolution. If it would make you feel
better, we can just sit here for awhile and stare at the fountain." A
glimmer of a smile turned up on Sora's face. "That's what it's here
The light glittered off water that cascaded down a pebbled path made
to simulate a brook. It made his own turmoil seem so pointless that he
was fairly certain that the effect was wholly intended. He knew Sora
wouldn't judge him, but sometimes it was just so hard to sit and talk.
"Well, this is how it started..."
"Before we continue past this point," Jun announced in that
authoritative air she usually took on during her tours, "I'd just like
to point out that not everyone finds a digimon partner. We have yet to
figure out why some people can bond with a digimon and some can't, but
I thought you ought to know."
Distracted by the size of the doors leading to the Digimon Room,
Daisuke was only partially aware of what Jun was saying. They were
huge! The doors could easily tower over Miyako's Hawker. Maybe the
room was once a hangar or something like that.
Jun stopped beside him with an amused expression that went unnoticed.
The silent penmon beside her mirrored her expression. "Believe it or
not, this used to be where we kept the bombs."
"You don't anymore?" He turned his attention from the massive doors to
his sister's face. "What happened?"
"Eh, it happened before I came here." Jun's brow furrowed in the
effort to drag out the memory. "Rumor has it that Osamu studied
history far beyond what was taught in schools. He was a genius, so
that's not really surprising. Anyway, he said that he remembered
seeing photographs of the victims of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic
bombings in World War II, and they were just so horrible that he
refused to be responsible for repeating such atrocities. So, legend
says that he studied up on bomb construction and then went into the
room one night and didn't come out for days. When he finally did
return, all the bombs were disarmed. Some people even say that the
bombs disappeared completely."
A renewed sense of respect for Iwakuni's founder welled up within
Daisuke at this story. It would have been so easy to follow Genki's
example of using bombs to get his way, but that child genius had
gotten rid of the bombs to keep from repeating history. It was a shame
that the boy was dead. At least Ken seemed to follow his brother's
mindset when it came to wielding power.
"'Too many people have died already. It is ludicrous to maintain an
arsenal capable of killing off the rest when all we really need is
just enough munitions to defend ourselves from outside assault.'" Jun
looked rather pleased. "That's what Sora told me once. It's something
Osamu said during his first few years as Caesar. I wish more people
The Ichijoujis, Daisuke was quick to learn, were very good men.
However, he was here to meet the unbonded digimon, not talk history.
"So, how do we go in?"
Jun was already a step ahead of him. She slashed one of those key
cards through a reader on the right-hand side and waited as the great
metal doors yawned open. It almost reminded Daisuke of his first
encounter with Iwakuni, with the exception of what waited at the end
of a much shorter tunnel. The room was really more of a brightly-lit
atrium, with dark tents for nocturnal digimon and pools for the
aquatics. Near the entrance was a desk occupied by a lone teenaged
girl with auburn hair pulled back into a ponytail, whose attention was
more on the manga in her hands than the visitors.
Undeterred, Jun trotted up to the desk while Penmon waddled over to
greet a pair of digimon that looked like twin rabbits with different
coloring. "Shaochung! Hi! How are the kids?"
"The digimon? They'll be the death of me," Shaochung bewailed with a
melodramatic flourish. She even placed her hands over her heart for
emphasis, then returned to her original posture behind the desk. "So,
what can I do ya for?"
Jun turned to yank her brother over to the desk and slung her arm
around his shoulders. "This is my brother, Daisuke. I think you were
told that it's time to see if he'll bond with a digimon."
Mischievous brown eyes turned to size him up, making Daisuke wonder if
she was planning to throw him to something big and nasty for fun. "Hm.
Maybe a floramon?" Shaochung grinned. "Someone needs to bond
with a floramon. I swear they're planning to bury me in pollen the
moment I'm not looking. How do you like flowers, Daisuke?"
"Ew." His nose scrunched up at the thought. Flowers were okay, but he
was a guy and flowers were really more of a girly thing. "Maybe a
Shaochung giggled and grabbed onto his arm. "Sometimes you don't have
a choice and the digimon chooses you. So we'll take a little tour.
Lopmon, Terriermon, think you can protect the desk?"
"I shall do my best, my lady," the brown digimon stated solemnly. His
cream-colored brother was less formal. "No problem!"
The girl beamed sunnily at the two digimon and dragged him along as
she chatted up a storm. A quick glance back at Jun revealed that she
was quite willing to leave him to Shaochung's hands. Oh, great. The
girl was probably one of those people who dressed up pets and younger
siblings and made them sit for tea parties as kids. "Now, first thing
you've gotta know is that there are several levels of evolution: first
baby form, second baby form, child, adult, perfect, ultimate. Thing
is, no one has managed to get past adult in years. Something about
being away from the Digital World for so long affects their energy
Daisuke stopped abruptly. "Wait, energy levels?"
"Digimon require certain amounts of energy to evolve." Shaochung's
voice adopted a vaguely lecture-like tone as she went into detail on
the subject. "The higher they go, the more energy it takes. They can
acquire energy from food and sleep, but that only serves for very
minor things like fueling their special attacks. It's faster for them
to evolve if they have a bonded human partner to absorb trace amounts
of energy from, but unbonded digimon are known to evolve on their own.
Oh, and don't worry, you never notice those trace amounts. Any other
When none was forthcoming, she dragged him along again. For the next
half hour she talked about types and attributes. To the question of
alignments, she gave an unbiased theory on virus types and why they
were more prone to turning evil. She believed that it was because they
were naturally inclined to greater passions than vaccines and datas;
and because all passion was inherently selfish, a tendency towards
placing personal desires above all others was par for the course.
Vaccines had more of an orientation towards altruism, and as such were
given to selfless causes. Datas were usually neutral. She stressed
that it was just an observation of hers and not all held true to this,
but it made a lot more sense to Daisuke than Takeru's 'Viruses are
evil and Vaccines are good' explanation.
During this crash course, she waved to one group of digimon or
another, and they glanced up at him hopefully. But try as he might,
nothing really clicked. He felt a bit bad about it all. There was a
little purple version of Patamon (Tsukaimon, Shaochung offered
helpfully) that he was sure would be perfect as company for Patamon,
but he felt nothing. Maybe that red version of Penmon (Muchomon) would
be suitable too, since it looked like his sister's digimon, but again
he felt nothing. Maybe he wasn't suited for a digimon? That was a
rather disappointing thought.
As they neared the end of the tour, a blur of blue barreled into his
legs. Literally. He tripped over the mass of blue and would have
landed face-first into the nearby numemon pen had Shaochung not
grabbed hold of his jacket collar and yanked him back to regain his
balance. "Hey, what the-"
"V-mon, really!" The girl scowled slightly at the little blue digimon
he had tripped over. "You know better than to attack the visitors."
Big red eyes set in a blue and white reptilian face looked up at
Daisuke in a mix of confidence and hope. "But he's my partner! I can
Something Daisuke couldn't quite describe fell into place, a feeling
that had been missing in all the other digimon. V-mon felt
right somehow. The biggest, and probably silliest, grin in the
world crossed his face. "What he said. Hi, I'm Daisuke."
"'M V-mon! Nice to meet ya!" V-mon's grin echoed Daisuke's own as he
stretched out a hand in greeting. As Daisuke clasped it, all felt
right in the world.
At least, it did until Shaochung reasserted her presence and reminded
them that it was time to start training.
Power makes a man suspicious of everything. This was a lesson that Ken
had learned well over the years, especially when it came to the
factions of the council. He was painfully aware that he was granted
his position out of collective respect for his brother; and if he
showed weakness, he was doomed for a takeover. It was only natural for
him to suspect his chief of security, who had been set into that
position by Osamu. The only reason he hadn't replaced Jianliang with
someone who had undisputed loyalties was because the half-Chinese man
was too damn good at his job. Better to keep Jianliang in his station
than risk whatever may come of dismissing the man.
It was with a certain amount of trepidation that he listened to
Jianliang's report on their agents' successes and failures. The Gifu
Base had been destroyed. Finally. That still left a disturbing number
of other military bases unchecked, but there was one less psychopath
on the playing field. He made a mental note to send a few teams out to
the other bases. Niigata's shogun was expressing interest in expanding
but not yet doing anything about it. Queen Ruki was still trying to
find them, but wasn't too successful yet. The Army For A Pure Japan
was on the warpath again, a thought that made Ken vaguely queasy. He
had mostly ignored them because they had never really organized well,
but now they had apparently captured an Ainu caravan with the intent
of execution. Amongst the list of names he didn't recognize was one
that stood out like a sore thumb. Takuya.
When pressed on the matter, Jianliang admitted that with the exception
of Takeru and Daisuke, all of the other agent teams were too far away
from base and wouldn't get to the execution site in time. This left
Ken with a bit of a dilemma. If Daisuke had bonded with a digimon, he
would be mired in training and paperwork for days, and the purist Army
wasn't going to wait for him. But then, Ken himself had never been
very far from the base perimeter. Perhaps it was time to come out.
"Thank you, Jianliang," Ken said after a long minute of contemplation.
"Please notify Takeru that I would like to speak to him. Dismissed."
The head of security gave a terse nod and turned sharply on his heel
to stride out of Ken's command center.
In the solitude that settled in when Jianliang left, Ken's thoughts
swirled around the subject of what the hell he was going to do and
what he could get away with while avoiding the watchful eyes of the
council. Like any good game of chess, he would have to strategize his
moves carefully. Wormmon would come up to him ever so often to ask if
he needed anything, but he paid little attention to the queries in his
plotting and Wormmon went back to sorting through paperwork.
Takeru and Patamon, at least, had the good grace to turn up while
Ken's thoughts were winding down and settling into a workable plan. He
gestured for them to take a seat and did not speak until Takeru
finally gave in. Stubborn man.
"Welcome. Had Jianliang mentioned anything about why I called you
Takeru's lips pursed thin at the question, suggesting to Ken that the
man didn't much enjoy dealing with the head of security. It was an
understandable dislike, and Ken chose to file that observation away in
the portion of his mind dedicated to figuring people out. "No. He just
said you needed to talk to me."
"I see. Very well, then. There is a matter of great urgency that I
need an agent to attend to. Given that all the other agents are too
far away from the site in question, I'll have to ask for your help."
Ken gave the blond man a long, cool look. "That is, if you're willing
to work without Daisuke for this particular mission."
"I'd like to know what it is before I commit to anything," Takeru
Ken folded his hands on the desk in front of him as he settled in to
explain. "An Ainu caravan has been captured by a branch of the Army
For A Pure Japan and are scheduled for execution in the morning.
They're about twenty kilometers west of here, so it's not a very long
ride. Amongst the captives is a very important man named Takuya, and
while he is a pyrokinetic and can usually fend for himself, his power
is unstable in such circumstances-"
"Wait, 'pyrokinetic,'" the blond man had the audacity to interrupt.
Ken calmed himself with the reminder that proper etiquette was almost
nonexistant in the outside world. "Does that mean what I think it
"He can start fires with his mind, yes. I can go into an in-depth
explanation on why he's able to do so and how, but that would take
more time than I'm willing to allocate to the matter right now.
Suffice to say, he and his caravan must be saved before the morning."
Ken had to steel himself for what would come next. He was too used to
giving orders, but Takeru just wasn't one to take them well. "Would
you be willing to help me?"
Takeru stared at Ken as if weighing his options. Finally, after
several excruciatingly long moments, he gave in. "If I have help,
sure. I can't take these guys on alone."
Iwakuni's leader straightened in some amount of personal pride. "You
won't have to. I'll go with you, if you can keep it quiet."
This time, the silence was longer and Ken could almost swear the man
was silently laughing at the thought. He was ready to bristle when
Takeru spoke again. "Well, sure, so long as you don't turn to dust or
anything if sunlight hits you."
Part of Ken really wanted to be offended at that, but to be fair, it
was a bit amusing. Refreshingly different too, because most people
didn't even try to joke with him. "Sunlight isn't really a problem
with sunscreen and shades. It's the garlic and crucifixes I have to
look out for."
Night was fairly chilly, especially when Takuya and his group were
being held in some chainlink cage in a barn. He really wanted to get a
campfire started up, but people were too close and he was worried that
if he tried, someone would catch fire.
One of the Ainu "elders" had told him once that he had been blessed by
the spirit of Fire and that was why, if he really concentrated, he
could start fires with nothing more than his mind. It started shortly
after he had been adopted by his people, but before the Wanderer's
group returned to Hokkaido. He had been sick at the time and a fever
dream came to him. He didn't remember the specifics, but he did
remember a very tall, red-armored man standing before him, saying
something, and then they merged. After that, he woke and found
that the campfire had been extinguished over night and then he wished
for it to come to life again. It did.
All things considered, his people had been remarkably supportive about
it. No one made a big deal about his skill, but they knew and that was
enough. He knew that it would be mistaken as something evil by those
who were not as accepting of spirits as many Ainu were, so he kept his
use of it to a minimum.
That didn't stop him from wanting to roast the racist idiots who
thought it a grand idea to grab his caravan and kill them all as some
sort of "example" to the rest of the Ainu. He hadn't really paid
attention to the rant by their leader other than the "example" bit and
just when his people were going to be killed off. It was a shame that
they were too crowded for him to start a fire safely.
It really wasn't fair. He knew that the Ainu had been marginalized for
centuries before the Apocalypse came, he knew that there had still
been trace elements of racism against them, but in light of how much
his adopted people had contributed to the survival of the rest of
Japan after the mass deaths, it just didn't make sense. He'd have
thought anyone would have been grateful for the help, but some people
just have to hate those who are different. Not fair at all.
Takuya had been busy with these thoughts, along with vague fantasies
of heating up the ground under the racists' feet to the point of
making them hop along comically, when a smoking canister appeared out
of nowhere and landed near the drowsy guards. Thick grey smoke sent
the guards running outside, leaving the cage abandoned.
Incensed by the obvious rescue attempt, Takuya rattled the cage's door
to get the attention of whomever was trying to save them. A fairly
tall man with clear Caucasian ancestry (that was encouraging, since
the Army For A Pure Japan had a vendetta against Caucasians too)
trotted up to him.
"Hey, can you get Takuya for me? I need to talk to him." A Caucasian
who spoke Japanese perfectly. He probably had at least one Japanese
parent. Oh, but the racists hated mixed blood.
Despite the situation, Takuya chuckled. Convenient. "That's me."
The Caucasian looked relieved. "I'm going to break open the door. Get
your people to follow me, then set fire to the back of the barn. Can
you do that?"
Takuya gave a brief nod, turned to wake the few who were actually
asleep, and passed the word along to follow the blond man. Some
muttered quick thanks to the gods, others hurried them along, and they
all filed out of the cage until he was left behind.
He had work to do.
Dry hay lined the barn floor and piled up against the walls. Perfect
tinder. He fixed his eyes upon a particularly promising batch and
concentrated on heating them. Speeding up molecular movement until
enough heat was generated to start a spark. It grew into a lick of
flame, which would soon become a roaring bonfire. He ran out before
the fire could catch up to him, stopping only when he knew he was
outside and watching his people climb into the back of a personnel
His jaw dropped when he recognized the smirking driver as Ichijouji
Ken. Of all the things he'd never expected, seeing Ken outside the
safety of Iwakuni was up near the top of the list.
Three in the morning in Iwakuni base was blissfully quiet. The night
staff kept to themselves and everyone else was asleep. It made
sneaking his friend around easier.
The Wanderer, as his friend was known in certain circles, was staring
off into the distance. It was as if the man was absorbed in some inner
conversation that no one would ever be privy to. Jianliang wondered at
this, but did not ask. Either his friend would tell him eventually or
he would figure it out on his own.
In time, the distant look in his friend's eyes disappeared. "God says
that the Spirit of Fire is free." The man turned his attention to
Jianliang. "I should probably go now, while Ken is out. Could you drop
this off in Daisuke's bunk for me?"
Jianliang looked down at the blue and white D-3 in his friend's hand.
"No, never. It rightfully belongs to Daisuke." A bittersweet look
crossed the Wanderer's features at the admission. "Lucky bastard."
He said nothing as he took the D-3, slipped it into his pocket, and
mentally worked out just where Jun had placed her brother. Same
corridor as her own quarters, five doors down.
The Wanderer rose from his seat on the couch and gave him a quick
half-smile. "I'll go. Don't tell anyone about this little trick?"
"Really, when have I ever shared anyone's secrets," Jianliang stated
lightly. "You know I won't."
"I know. See you later, Jen. Thanks."
His friend closed his eyes, muttered something under his breath, and
was gone. Literally. No flashing effects, no trace scents in the air,
nothing to reveal that he was ever there.
With a sigh, Jianliang turned to exit his quarters and find Daisuke's,
all the while trying to puzzle out what it was that his friend had
muttered. "Chrono" something or other. It was something to ask about
the next time his double agent reported to him.
Note: Naomi is another D-1 Tamers kid, who looks rather creepily like
Shaochung, but with glasses.