Title: Digimon 222: Dark Masquerade
Pairings: Taichi/Yamato, Ken/Daisuke, Jyou/Mimi, Koushiro/???
Summary for this Chapter: Hikari, Yamato, Koushiro, and Gennai are out to rescue Taichi from Kidou's men. Sora comes along, Miyako has fun, and Ken is evil.
Rating: R (this chapter); NC-17 (overall)
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Warning(s): Foul language? Erratic updates?
Word Count: 22,856 words total in this post; 7161 newly posted words
Author's Notes: Sweet Digital Deities, it's been *wince* nearly two years since I last updated this. My beta, who has read previous drafts, hasn't read this final one. She's up in Alaska having fun with fishies. But there shouldn't be anything glaringly obvious. If there is, let me know. I'm always up for con-crit. I'm reposting this chapter here from the beginning as I don't want to make you folks sort back through my earlier posts. There have been minor tweaks to what's already been posted and I'll put a cut directly to the newly-posted stuff. I'll be in Idaho until Monday for my cousin's wedding, so if you comment, I may not get a chance to reply until then. Thank you all for your patience. Happy Summer Solstice!
Koushiro grumbled under his breath as they waited to exit the cargo ship. All his arguments about the formation of the rescue teams had been overridden and his mood was foul.
"What was that?" Hikari asked him.
"That pilot friend of Lord Sora's is something else," Koushiro snapped, then winced. He had to fix his attitude before it got them killed. He had to be completely focused.
The girl gave him a look, but then her attention snapped to the hanger bay extending beyond the open cargo door. "Look around, Kou. Do you see the ship that took him?"
"The Zempi." Koushiro scanned the large bay, grateful for Miyako's earlier descriptions of what he'd find and where. Closest to them on the U-shaped landing terrace were other high-class merchant ships. One workbay high off to the side of the room held an expensive cruiser that belonged to the Kidou family. He could see that the ship was undergoing some sort of modifications, though the other workbays were empty. The tier below their craft held smaller merchant ships and below that were three small wings of fighter ships. There weren't many, as the main Kidou fleet was housed elsewhere. These ships were just for show. The center of the room was an open jumble of workers and low-class ships a few runs away from the scrapheap.
Hikari's gaze was following Koushiro's own and he could see her scanning through the chaotic pit.
"I don't see it, so it's probably behind us, up there in the higher tiers with the other nobles' ships," he said in a hushed voice. Koushiro took up a probe and a datapad and strode confidently down Bliss' ramp. Hikari followed. They stopped beneath the ship's nose and he plugged the dataprobe into the fluids port. Koushiro passed the datapad to Hikari to hold, then stepped away from the cover of the ship and stretched as he turned his eyes upwards. He held the pose a bit longer for show, then returned to the safety of the ship's cover. "I saw it," he murmured. "It's two tiers directly up from us, being refueled."
Hikari disconnected the probe and tucked her cap more firmly down over her hair. She closed her eyes briefly. "Gennai's team is set. Let's go."
Koushiro wasn't sure he understood (or even believed) Hikari's story of telepathy with her cat, but now was not the time to be questioning her sanity. Not with a mission ahead of them.
Zempi, they were banking on, would be their ticket out of here. Sora had filled him in on the eleven-fold bypass commands hard-wired into the ship. One of them had to still be active.
It wasn't far from the cover of Bliss to the lift that would carry them up to the next tier, but when they were halfway across that short distance the lights above them guttered wildly, then darkened. Koushiro froze in terror. Had they been spotted? Guards in night-vision goggles could come at any time now. He had to get Hikari back to the ship. She could hide there in the secret compartment Lord Sora had shown them.
Machinery ground to a stop and an eerie hush crawled over the large hanger. A loud hum sounded and the red glow of emergency lighting filled the room and the enormous bay doors started to slide closed. But the red light lasted only briefly before it too expired and the doors scraped to a halt, still wide enough for a single ship to be piloted through. After a few more seconds, the emergency lights came back on, but the heavy doors remained still.
Koushiro reached back in the dim light for Hikari to keep her close. A security team could come for them at any time.
"SWEET FUCKIN' BASTARDS!" an angry voice above him exploded. "That's the FOURTH TIME today! We're TRYING to WORK here! Get your DAMN act together, you MUTANT FUCKHEADS!"
As if that single voice had loosened a spell of silence, angry shouts were rising now from all over the bay -- most hollering similar expressions of frustration, though a small portion urged, in their own equally-rude way, for the others to shut up.
Hikari cautiously eased apart from him. "I don't think this has anything to do with us, Kou."
Ever wary, Koushiro strained his eyes against the dimness, searching for any movement coming toward them. "Maybe," he said. "Maybe not. But we can use it to our advantage." He reclaimed her hand and tugged her forward.
Hikari hung back, an unmoveable force at the end of Koushiro's arm. "Are you safe? Find him yet?" she whispered.
It took him a moment to process that she was contacting Yamato on the prototype auto-modulating transmitters Lord Sora had brought along.
"Same here. Out." She bent her head closer to Koushiro's. "She said, 'Safe. No contact yet. Proceed.' I'm going to tell Salamon to have Gennai carry her in the pack. He'll have to climb up two tiers to get to Zempi." There was a pause. "They understand. I'll signal them when we've got the ship secured." Hikari reached for Koushiro's hand. "Let's go," she ordered.
He gave her hand a stroke with his thumb, partly to comfort her, partly to soothe himself. "Be careful where you put your feet. Hoses are running across everywhere."
Yamato waited tensely after Sora had put up her hand for silence in the dim glow of the emergency lighting. She spoke a brief reply into her transmitter for Hikari, then looked up at him.
"So it wasn't them. Something else is going on here. I've got a bad feeling about this." She grabbed for the device Yamato held. "How much further to Taichi?"
He held the thing out of her reach, being sure to keep it in line with his own body, and executed the program himself. Sora wasn't the only one to know how to work the device and he needed to be the one to see Taichi first. In the matter of a few seconds, numbers and a three-dimensional frame with two points flashed onto the screen. The image stayed even though the signal disconnected. Yamato brought it closer so they could both see.
"We're not far off. He's 368 meters north-east of here and one, maybe two floors up, depending on how they built this place. He'll know we're coming now."
"Or someone will," Sora muttered.
Yamato let the comment slide. Hikari had wanted to trust the Lord, but Koushiro was adamant that she not be told Taichi was inside the Yagami suit -- just that it was possible the person being held captive was Taichi. As such, the Lord was reasonably dubious about Koushiro's locating device. A transponder and receiver were built into the Yagami mask and the small box Yamato now held was able to remotely activate it in short bursts to determine its location. Taichi would know they were on their way because an alarm sounded inside the mask whenever the transponder was activated. Explaining that to Sora, however, without explaining the Yagami suit had proved beyond any of their abilities.
They moved on in silence. Yamato hated the way a fortress looked under emergency lighting -- everything was cast into a reddish hue and the shadows looked like dried blood. He had a vague intuition as to how the passages would flow, but what they had to be looking out for was a stairwell. They were unlikely to find one close by. Emergency situations were so rare that lifts were used almost exclusively and stairwells were reserved for areas with critical personnel only.
He checked the signal again. Taichi was almost directly above them. "He's right here. We just need a way up."
A lift mocked them from nearby. Sora punched at a the controls in anger. The buttons remained unlit.
Yamato hesitated. "We could climb up through..." He and Sora were both shaking their heads. Neither of them wanted to be in the lift tube when the power came back on.
"Let's keep looking," Sora growled.
He racked his brain over the times he'd been in the Kidou Fortress. Where were they in relation to the building? The south-west section? What was over there?
"The atrium," Yamato said. "This way."
They didn't make it to the atrium, but as it turned out, they didn't have to. Surrounding the atrium's transparisteel walls, the fortress' levels ended in a dizzying stack of balconies. From there they could climb up to the next level. The move had a greater chance of being seen, though, and if they fell, the drop was long enough to kill them on impact. But there wasn't any other option.
Yamato waved a hand at the lighting track running up a support column. A lightweight with expert balance would be able to scale it.
Lord Sora bared her teeth in response. All the same, she carefully gave him her backpack to hold and later, she offered Yamato a hand up as he clambered over the barrier to join her.
The upper floor seemed to be a duplicate of the level below, so the pair had no difficulty in backtracking to the origin of Taichi's signal. Yamato checked the device, just to be sure.
This door however, unlike the one beneath them, was guarded by four uniformed men.
"I'll take the two on the left, you take the bigger one on the right," Sora murmured. "We can pump the little one for information. On three. One."
Yamato took aim at the larger of his targets.
He said a prayer for the guards' souls. The highest level of stun on his weapon wouldn't give them enough time to get Taichi and flee.
The instant he shot and struck the man in the face, Yamato rushed towards the smallest guard, pinning the man's hands to the wall. Sora was there, her weapon threatening, when the boy recovered enough to think about yelling or trying to kick free.
"Don't even think about it," Lord Sora ordered. She grunted. "Since when did Kidou let children onto his security squadrons? Or are you some noble's brat?"
The boy -- he was just a boy -- only whimpered.
Yamato tried the keypad beside the door. It beeped a negative. Dammit! "What's the manual access code?" he demanded.
Quicker than Yamato's eyes could follow, Sora's hand darted towards their captive's fingers. The boy screamed into the padding on Sora's forearm that she had shoved into his mouth to muffle the sound.
"Tell us what we want to know and you can take a nice, long nap."
The boy's eyes drifted towards the blaster and he blinked rapidly.
"Not with that, with this," Sora said smoothly, pulling out a tranq dart. She gave the boy a look. "Keep your voice low."
"They'll kill me anyway," he whispered, when she moved her arm away.
"What's the manual override code?" Sora asked, repeating Yamato's words.
"I don't know, I don't know," the boy sobbed. "The other guards were in charge. I was just watching. You were right. My father's just a rich noble. I'm not even supposed to be here. Owwwwwie," he whined, twisting his wrist.
Yamato loosened his grip on the boy's injured hand and looked back at her.
"Sora, maybe we should--"
The boy's injured hand snaked out of his grasp and pain flared in Yamato's thigh.
Blaster fire from Sora's weapon whizzed past Yamato's face. The boy's dead weight tugged on his closed grip and as he opened his fingers, the body tumbled to the floor.
Yamato looked numbly at the knife sticking out of his thigh. It had happened so fast it didn't seem real. On the edge of his vision, Sora was moving, removing something from his backpack. She knelt down and looked over his leg.
"You're lucky he was young and only half-trained. He decided to stab instead of slash and judging from the limited blood, he missed the femoral artery. You'd better hope I'm right. We don't have the supplies to take care of a nicked artery. This --" She plucked the knife out quickly. Yamato hissed in pain. "-- is going to hurt a bit."
He glared at her, but said nothing as she dabbed at the wound.
"Drop the pants," Sora ordered. "You're going to want a bandage on that until it can get looked at. Leaving a dripping trail of blood isn't the best way to travel undercover."
Rather than reaching for his fly, Yamato held out his hand for the disinfectant swab and adhesive bandage patch. "I'll take care of it myself, thanks." She handed the them over without argument. "You knew about the kid."
"I suspected," she answered
"You're standing watch out here while I go in for him."
"There could be more guards inside. We should both go."
"The kid would've hollered if he'd had backup. You can come blazing in if I'm not out in five minutes."
"Five minutes?" she questioned. Yamato could hear the smirk, even if he couldn't see it clearly. "What are you going to do in there for an entire five minutes?"
"Just stand guard, Sora."
She pursed her lips. "Okay. Five minutes."
He touched the keypad to open the door. Nothing happened. He touched it again. Nothing. "The damn kid," Yamato said, looking down in dismay at the body, finally remembering why they'd wanted him alive.
"The blasted codes," Sora muttered. "Step back around the corner over there. I'm going to blow the door."
Yamato hastily backed away as the Lord gently set her backpack on the ground. Explosive compounds made him uneasy and he was happy to allow Sora to take care of the demolitions. "Right. Thanks." Hopefully Taichi had the sense and the ability to back away from the door when the transponder signal alerted him of their arrival.
While Sora worked, Yamato eased his pants down to his knees. and set to work on his thigh. Sticky blood coated his left leg. He could see the line of the puncture wound on his inner thigh -- a black, dripping mark two finger-widths wide against the red of his pale skin under the emergency lighting. He cleaned the area only just enough to ensure that the patch would stick before slapping it in place and pocketing the swab. He tested his weight on the injured leg. Running wouldn't be pleasant. Walking might be okay, for a while at least.
His fingers searched through his pack for pain killers, bypassing heavier grades in favor of a weaker type that would leave him alert.
"How's the door coming, Sora?"
Her sudden presence spooked him. "Nearly set." She thrust her pack at him. "Hold this. You can keep your position here. I'm only using enough to blow the lower panel to gain access to the manual latch."
"Right." His fingers gripped the pack gingerly and he waited for the explosion.
It came, a muffled sound, much quieter than he'd expected.
Sora smirked. "It helps to know where to place the compound. If we're lucky, no one heard that. But we'll still have to move quickly. Those four probably had scheduled check-in times. With the fortress on emergency power like this, I don't know it that'll make things worse or better, but I'm betting on worse. We don't have a lot of time."
As she spoke, her fingers fiddled with the innards of the door panel. Eventually, there was a soft snick and then Sora was putting her weight into moving the door aside. Yamato moved through the gap, wincing a bit at the pain in his leg. From what he could see of the room through the dim light, it held no guards. "It's clear," he reported back to Sora. "The room's empty, but there's another door. Stay here."
He checked the locating device once more. Taichi was so close... less than 5 meters away.
Yamato went to the second door and breathed a sign of relief when it opened at his touch. It was completely dark in the room, the only light coming from what little existed behind him.
"Yagami, are you in here? Are you conscious?"
As the silence following his words stretched, cold gripped Yamato's heart.
He hoped Taichi was all right.
Read from the beginning of the chapter HERE