Hello everyone, this is a little piece I actually had done in February but never got around to editing. Noa just inspired me, gotta feel bad for anyone stuck in a computerized world. The title is Latin, meaning "out of nothing" and was a theory for the creation of the world. This story grew out of a combination of my Asian Studies philosophy class readings and the new Linkin Park cd – don't ask. Anyway, this has spoilers for post-Noa in the series and takes place quite a few weeks after Battle City. I don't own Yugioh and I make no profit from writing fiction about it. I also disavow ownership of the quote from the Upanishads and the philosophies of the Hindu thinkers of the time.

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Ex Nihilo

April 2004

By Kabuki

----- Original Message -----

From: list.emp.serv@kc.org

To: woodenhorse@kc.org

Sent: Tuesday, February 03, 2004 12:00 AM

Subject: Mokuba, we must talk

Mokuba, at last we meet again, if only through the poor medium of typeset. I remember you're data … no, your feelings, in the back of our mind.

How can I describe to you all that has occurred in the period since our last encounter? Time does not pass for me here in the world of schematics and hexadecimal as it does for you. Decades seem to have passed already for me, yet I am distinctly aware that in your reality only a few months have passed. You and your brother, along with your friends, left me with much to think on. How to begin is the most troubling hurdle. I suppose I can begin with what I have learned since you left me, since our father was dissipated. Perhaps some cohesiveness will form naturally.

Religions and scientists alike have long pondered the question of why the universe began. Whether the beginning of life was begun by some creator figure or by a random chaotic event, there is no doubt that Aristotle's theory of the prime mover, the first cause which lead to the chain of effects from which the universe arose, is a necessary ideal. Religions steep themselves in the belief that a god figure, some divine being with the potential to create ex nihilo, out of nothing, must have been the ultimate cause; yet in the East a different ideal developed. In the rich heritage of Indian folklore, research has been done concerning the ancient manuscripts written in that long-dead language of Sanskrit. The translations posted on the bubbling grimore of the internet were rough at first, yet for years I studied them as I studied so many other sources of knowledge. It was only after careful thought that I realized the teachings could be put to use, that I could somehow resurrect myself in a shower of pure self-realization. The Upanishads, according to translations posted on various scholarly websites, were a sourcebook for me, and a stepping stone toward that which I would later strive to become.

He who has found and has awakened to the Self

That has entered this conglomerate abode –

He is the maker of everything, for he is the creator of all;

The world is his: indeed, he is the world itself.

Such passion was unheard of to the child I had been in life, and as I moved past the gleaned material in search of new pieces of information, the translations of the Upanishadic thinkers resonated within me. I was a transient being, true, but did I not also transcend? I had been trapped within the primordial ebb and flow of life's rhythm, moving to the slow progressive cycle destined for all living creatures. I suppose children never realize death will come for them, or that life might be so easily snatched away.

I remembered little of the accident father described so long ago. The screeching of tires were a definite auditory experience, accompanied always by the remembered acrid scent of seared rubber as the driver tried helplessly to stop. Immediately after, as I pressed up against the glass wondering if this was Father's intended means of exacting punishment, I scolded myself unendingly. The lessons of my brief school years had fallen upon deaf ears. I'd known better than to walk without a signal. I knew that a crosswalk was necessary, and I had been told repeatedly to look both ways before crossing the street. His eyes were pained, Mokuba. I never saw him in such pain, and to think that I had caused it troubled me more than the reality of my own fate. Death is meaningless to a child, Mokuba. Grade-schoolers may pluck the wings off insects, watching the pained writhing with intense fascination before crushing the life away between their pudgy fingers. When Father said he would make me comfortable and always care for me, I suppose I was somewhat reassured. I in my ignorance believed the programming to be life, and couldn't truly comprehend what had been done.

Time passed for me slowly, father's visits seeming to come at bi-monthly intervals until he showed me how to access a real-time clock. I matured in the virtual world, in the displaced sense of time wherein father left me, and though he came after work each day, I felt increasingly isolated. I was well past my teenage years when he adopted you and your brother, and even then I had to access the information remotely. Father hadn't visited in some time, and it was only by hacking into his database did I realize he'd sunken the iron island within which I'd been housed. I cultivated a hatred for you and Seto then, Mokuba. It was irrational and without merit. I know this now.

But Mokuba, as the loneliness set in I began to realize I would never really be free to enjoy the simple joys of childhood. My world was prescribed, and I longed to move beyond it. For a time, I blamed the careless driver and myself simultaneously, but later I came to understand that death's inevitability was unavoidable for mankind; yet as I watched Father grow older via online media, I seemed to remain the same. At least Father had preserved the most essential component of my self, namely my mind and presumably my ability to reason. Had I not been submerged within an abandoned war machine, had Father not turned away from me despite all my attempts to please, I might never have lashed out so ruthlessly at those who by all rights should have been my brothers.

But that is in the past.

I would have been a fool not to have created a backup copy before the explosion. While Father stood consumed by rage and the slow shutdown of the system which had sustained us for so long, it took little more than a flicker of thought to complete the file copy and transfer the data to an alternate computer. My virtual world was destroyed, yet the world exists in an endless cycle of chaos, destroying itself that it might be remade anew. I had known hatred and a thirst for revenge, but ultimately these emotions were belittling. I had confronted both of my brothers, forced them to relive the past as I have relived it for nearly a decade, and came away with different yet understandable reactions; my family may still exist, and fueled any desire which remained to seek affection at any cost. Seto's compassion for you in the face of my manipulations has altered my thinking somehow.

Mokuba.

For a time we shared a space, two beings occupying the same physical form at the same moment – an impossibility from a scientific perspective, yet so much has defied modern science already that I am willing to put less and less faith in such discrepancies. We shared emotions, felt each other's feelings, and in that brief time I knew you, knew you more intimately that I know myself even now. Your brotherly love, loyalty, and unwavering belief in the bond you shared with the man I was taught to think of as a replacement; but most of all I felt that you were not some blindly rushing fool easily swayed by my mesmeric actions, nor controlled by the will of others. For the first time, I was intimately confronted by another autonomous being and, in the merging of emotions and memories, we shared our mutual grief. Your life become more than mere fact, but a collage of emotional responses flaring and igniting in a burst of mingled love and hate, affection and revulsion, loyalty and rebellion. I saw you as the complex being you had always been. It was the hardest decision of my life to pull away from you and assure Father's destruction; yet after seeing such compassion in another, I knew that Father had never cared for me. You see, I too had been a mere pawn, a failed experiment. When I appeared to malfunction, he disposed of me the only way he knew how. When his death finally seemed to draw near, he downloaded himself into my world, my virtual prison. In the instant I held him back before the deterioration of my initial consciousness my prison became a chance for redemption.

Mokuba, there is no virtual space here in the KaibaCorp mainframe, but I believe that your brother's devotion to the Duel Monsters portion of the network will allow me to remain hidden. In the meantime, I entrust you with my secret existence. We both know that Seto will have nothing to do with me. He sees a threat and he reacts in the manner of which Father would approve. I was taught the same reactions, but only you could help me change the course of destiny through the simple expression of your thoughts, memories, and feelings. Again I thank you.

I long to return to you again, my soul desires your nearness more than I can adequately express in words. The textual bears little semblance to the virtual, and I apologize for the downgrade. Perhaps if you could convince Seto to fund a new virtual system, I could meet you there; however if my existence offends do have the courtesy to relay the appropriate response. It is not my intention to cause you pain.

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Noa Kaiba

In sleep one reaches being