"---That voice is Loogamon, isn't it? Could you go ahead and… I mean, could you please explain to me the circumstances here, sir?” Eiji couldn’t help taking on a more formal tone.
"Explain? Explain what exactly?"
"I don’t understand a single bit of what’s going on.”
Where was this place?
Why were the Digimon talking?
And most of all, what happened to Eiji?
He was supposed to be up in his loft at home!
"Eiji Nagasumi... You didn’t listen to anything that Ryusenji told you?"
"Huh? Ryusenji?" Eiji was taken aback that Loogamon referred to the professor so casually, without using his title.
"The Mindlink explanation."
—In order to infiltrate the SoC, I have temporarily lifted the functions on your Digimon Linker.
The research results of D4, a top secret within both AE and DDL. The professor had even said that it was a means to improve Eiji’s code cracker skills in one go.
"Umm... It’s a function that’ll make me into an elite code cracker... right?"
"The professor’s explanations are sometimes hard to understand, alright?” Eiji felt slightly uncomfortable that his casual nodding along to cover up his own ignorance had been found out.
Loogamon started walking.
"---Oh, there's broken glass there, so watch..."
As Eiji spoke, he spotted the reflection of a Digimon in the large window shards, their form illuminated by flickering flames.
It was Loogamon.
No matter how hard he peered into the glass, all he could see was Loogamon. “I’m... not here?"
Was Eiji seeing the same world as Loogamon…?
Another rat came rushing by.
"Good sir! I apologize that I failed to recognize you, the great boss of the Castle of Nine Wolves! My name is Chuumon, a lowly rat Digimon at your service!"
The Chuumon who they’d happened to rescue by chance came forward in greeting.
"If you don't mind me asking, where have you been, sir? I haven't heard your name in these parts for quite some time. Rumor had it that either an assassin turned you into a Digiegg or that you were captured by a human..." Chuumon dared to probe a little.
"Who allowed you to speak to me?” Loogamon growled.
"Chuu! So sorry!"
"Do you really think that an assassin could turn me into an egg, or that a human could collar me?"
"P-P-P-Please forgive me!" Chuumon trembled all over in fear.
Loogamon sighed and quickly raised his head.
"Yes, I remember now... The Dust Kingdom. You Chuumon served the Great Sukamon, ruler of the Fifth Avenue trash heap."
"I'll look after you from now on,” Loogamon said. “Besides, you look tastier than that stuffed animal from earlier.”
Loogamon sniffed Chuumon and licked them.
Somehow, Eiji was also able to smell the rat and taste them with his tongue. The shock overwhelmed him.
"Squeeeaaak!” Chuumon cried in fear. “I promise to be of use to you, sir!”
"The Demon Wolf of the Castle of Nine Wolves, huh.”
It's got a familiar ring to it, Loogamon whispered to himself.
"Do the others think that I’ve been captured by a human then?"
“It’s only a rumor! After you were gone, Ninth Avenue has gone absolutely dismal… It’s deserted.”
"Wall Slum looks to have changed a lot in my absence as well... Here’s your allowance, take this."
Loogamon threw food at Chuumon.
"This is… real world meat! You sure eat the good stuff, sir, as befitting of your stature! Until next time then!"
After gathering up the meat and cheese, Chuumon ran away as though he never wanted to see Loogamon ever again.
"Umm... Are you finished talking now, sir?" Eiji spoke timidly to Loogamon.
Loogamon just sighed. "You wanted an explanation, right?"
"What do you humans say at times like these... Seeing is believing? The proof is in the pudding?"
It happened so suddenly.
Loogamon threw himself out of the broken window. Eiji experienced his first free-fall of his life.
Loogamon easily landed from a height of 3-4 stories and looked up.
It was a sea of multi-story buildings. Among them was a dark skyscraper— it made one think of a deserted city sub center just before dawn, isolated from glitz and glamor. Its windows were completely dark.
Once he approached the tallest building in the area, Loogamon ran up— vertically, along its wall.
He ran swiftly as his claws dug into the structure.
He felt the wind on his skin.
Eiji shared all the sensations of the five senses that Loogamon was having— his eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and skin.
"I see... So this was Professor Ryusenji's research! This is the top secret technology of D4!"
Because the Digital World has a different structure from the human world, the real world, it could not be directly perceived by humans. For example, a submarine relies on instruments and sonar, and a space probe travels outer space. Humans can only perceive what is going on around us indirectly in those areas, through observed data.
Would it be possible to somehow experience the Digital World through the five human senses?
After exploring this possibility, it was discovered that a human’s “mental data” could be transferred into the “Digicore” of a digital life form that is a Digimon to create the closest thing to a true "real-life experience."
"Mindlink is a technology that converts the human mind into digital data and transfers that human consciousness into a Digimon’s Digicore," Loogamon spoke as he ran up the skyscraper, not even sounding winded.
The Digicore is the data center of a Digimon’s core. It is the core of life, the area that shows the Digimon as an individual— the ego or the soul of a Digimon, so to speak.
"Yes! I remember the professor saying something like that!”
Once it became clear to Eiji, he was more intrigued than bewildered.
This was no tiny monochrome LCD screen. He was seeing the true state of the Digital World and the Digimon with his own eyes. It wasn’t through a virtual monitor and observation data. He was perceiving the Digital World directly with his five human senses.
Ryusenji had already perfected this technology.
This was the answer. —Mindlink!
"It's like I've become a Digimon! Mindlink... So this is the world that the best of the best are seeing!" Eiji crowed with excitement.
"It's your first Mindlink, so it’s only natural that you’ll be feeling some confusion. You'll get used to it soon enough."
"I’m already getting used to it! But when was my mental data converted into digital data?"
"The Digimon Linker has been sampling your biometric data, brain waves, and level of consciousness for 24 hours a day."
"Seriously?! You mean my personal info was being leaked?!"
"What do you mean? That's what the Digimon Linker is for. The amount of data required to convert the human psyche into digital data is enormous."
"Professor Ryusenji is incredible… So incredible."
"...... Any other questions? I'm getting annoyed with all your constant yelling in my Digicore.”
"How am I able to talk to you? You're a Digimon!"
"What a stupid question. It's because Digimon are alive. We always have been and always will be."
Digimon are alive.
Loogamon, Tyranomon, and all the rest of the Digimon were alive.
"I see... So the Digimon have been talking to me all along..."
"You're just getting to know us Digimon a little better is all."
After finally climbing to the top of the skyscraper, Loogamon stood triumphantly on the roof.
The view from there was—
Character design/illustration: malo