Eons ago. And Eons into the future. And right now...
It fell into the spaces between times and universes - a beacon, the shimmering light of thought and sentience. It had seen so much, so many things - all things, even - on its fall; things across the vastness of the Multiverse - but it had never seen itself. Across all things, it never was. How, then, had it come to be? Had Father not shaped it of Himself and sent it through the eternities? It remembered that.
Yes. Father had shaped it, and had given it a task.
Change. Conquer. Consume.
So it would. Find a world, a place, a time. It fell into that time and place like a shooting star. Brilliant and burning - for but an instant. Then it buried itself in the deepest, darkest, oldest corners of that world; it leaked its essence into the world - and watched and waited through war and upheaval and peace. Until untold centuries later a curious sort of creature came upon it, and touched it. And it whispered.
And then it felt things moving. All the things it had seen during its fall so long ago - or had it not yet happened? - began to twist and blur and fade away. And it remembered: Father had given it a task: change, conquer, consume.
Change came first.
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Digimon: Civil War
He stopped and stared back, he swept the gaze of his bright blue eyes over the valley and the dense forests below. All he'd wanted to do was mourn the dead; they all deserved that much, didn't they? After so many of them had died, didn't the rest deserve a chance to say their last farewells undisturbed? Their enemies, apparently, didn't think so. Dozens of the D-Brigade's hunters hounded them in that dense forest. Only with quick thinking and luck had they managed to evade them and cover their trail long enough to escape up into the highlands.
Goliath chuckled despite himself; that the Empire was sending such a force after their most recent victory over he and his Realmless meant they were doing something right. Only five of them had survived the slaughter those few weeks ago. But since then their number had more-than tripled. Granted that meant there were only seventeen of them in all, but they were a respectable force. He tried to organize them as best he could, but they were all so different. Only he and the rest of the Five had any sort of true camaraderie, and that was often tenuous.
"We should stop and fight," said Emmara; one of the Five. She was a BanchoLilimon now - since that slaughter - and it had only served to toughen her already rough personality.
"Ulysses?" Goliath asked, turning to another of the Five. The BanchoStingmon said nothing, but then Ulysses Zen rarely did anymore. He simply clicked his teeth and snarled, extending the spikes on his arms. It was more than enough.
"I suppose Jasper and Demo would agree," Goliath muttered, looking to the other two. Of course they would; he could see the eagerness in their eyes. It burned as hot as his own inner fire. "Okay. No more running."
"Now you're speaking my language!" said a voice from above. Surrak dropped from the sky and landed in a crouch by Goliath. "What's the plan? Or do you want me to take care of this myself?"
"And have to bail your ass out again? I'd rather not," Goliath scoffed jokingly. He knew how to press the WarGreymon X's buttons; reminding him of their first meeting just three weeks before and how Surrak had gotten in over his head the first time he joined them in battle was a never-ending source of enjoyment.
"Jaeger, what are we up against?" Goliath asked, turning to the MetalGarurumon X. Jaeger was all ice and armor; as silent as Ulysses but without the brooding anger bubbling below the surface.
Jaeger's eyes narrowed, his pupils widened, and flecks of light flashed across them. "D-Brigade. Lots of them," the metal wolf rumbled. His voice was low and soft, with that same quiet intensity, but there was a hollowness to it - a cold emptiness that made his voice seem to echo off the very metal of his body. "Camouflaged. They're good. I almost missed them."
Goliath couldn't help but raise an eyebrow. It was seldom that Jaeger's systems missed anything, nevermind the enemy. "Do you think it's him?" Goliath asked. He couldn't even say the name.
"Sabboth," Jaeger said. It wasn't a question. There was a moment of silence. "Several signatures could match his. At this point --"
"There's no way to know for sure," Goliath growled. He grit his teeth and clenched his fists, his claws cutting into his palms almost hard enough to draw blood. "Take a guess."
"I don't guess."
"Probability then!" Goliath snapped. Jaeger's coolness was often infuriating. "Based on your own knowledge. On what you know of Sabboth."
"High," Jaeger answered after another moment. "But what does that matter? It changes nothing. The enemy is the same. The strategy is the same."
"No, it's not," Goliath rumbled. He bared his teeth and shook his mane. "If Sabboth is there, I'm taking his head myself."
"The plan should remain the same as it always has against the D-Brigade," Jaeger said, his voice even, but Goliath could sense the hint of discomfort with this new information. "Surrak should engage in close quarters. He is best equipped to combat them."
"Surrak is one," Goliath grumbled, his frown deepening. He didn't like being questioned by his subordinates, even when they had a valid point. "And I said we weren't running away."
"Surrak engages; it throws them into chaos. The rest of the close-combat fighters follow; they break through the D-Brigade's disarray with cohesive strategy and tactics. Long-range fighters provide support. Aerial fighters keep the skies clear and keep watch for reinforcements." Jaeger stated the strategy; one that they'd developed to fight effectively against the D-Brigade. It was sound. It worked.
Flecks of light flashed across his eyes again. "They've found our trail."
Goliath looked to his Bancho, the rest of the Five. Most seemed fine with the plan. Emmara shrugged and nodded, Demo and Jasper seemed focused more on the valley below than the brewing argument. Ulysses --
"Why are we listening to the Empire's tin-can reject?" The BanchoStingmon snapped. His feelings on Jaeger's inclusion in their ranks was no secret.
"You have a problem with Jaeger?" Surrak snarled, stepping forward, standing eye-to-eye with Ulysses. Goliath was once again confounded by depth of the camaraderie between the wolf and the dragon. Jaeger would have never spoken up on his own behalf - whether because he didn't care about what Ulysses said or because he agreed - but Surrak would never stand for it. "I didn't hear you very well. Say it again."
Their stare-down lasted for a few tense moments, and Goliath was about to step in, until Ulysses sheathed his spikes and spun around with a scoff, as if to say, "this isn't worth my time."
"Back to the matter at hand if you two are done," Goliath scolded them. He was about to continue, but Jaeger swung around towards Ulysses and raised the gatling cannon on his left arm. "No! Wait -" Jaeger fired. A dozen rounds tore through the air towards the BanchoStingmon in the blink of an eye.
Goliath felt his rage flaring; he felt a roar rise up in his throat, but any action he might have taken against the cyborg wolf was halted by a piercing howl and a screech of metal. Sparks flashed behind the stunned Ulysses as a once-invisible form materialized into view. The alien Cyberdramon was riddled with holes from Jaeger's attack. It let out one last screech before Jaeger silenced it completely.
The Realmless were stunned to silence for a moment; Ulysses' eyes were wide. A thin drop of red trailed down his arm.
"He cut it pretty close," Emmara said, smirking mischievously. She poked at the tiny gash on Ulysses' arm where Jaeger's bullet had clipped him. "But you should probably thank him."
Everything was still for a moment more; no one knew how to react. Even Goliath, so surefootedly certain of himself, was at a loss for words or actions.
Surrak, on the other hand, wasn't. His focus had never left the forest in the valley below. He hadn't even flinched when Jaeger attacked, and Goliath wondered just how the two of them had developed such unwavering trust in one another. With a roar, the WarGreymon X launched himself down the mountainside, he sent earth and stone flying in his wake. Fire left his hand before the dirt even settled. Jaeger followed a split second later.
Despite the situation, Goliath couldn't help but smirk; he'd gotten what he wanted anyway - Arcades Sabboth was his.
The BanchoLeomon let out a tremendous roar and drew his blade. He charged headlong into the D-Brigade, leading his Realmless into battle. "Get them!"