The Millennium Paradox

Chapter 1) Virtualisation

"...and that's why I need Top ranking duelist's..." Kaiba pauses as he recieves input from Mokuba over his earpiece " yourselves..." Kaiba growls out having been instructed by Mokuba to play nicely with his guests "to test virtual World mark III"

Marik Ishtar the brown tanned Egyptian figits and glances over at his companion the pale English man Bakura Ryo he had his suspicions about his fellow duelist, Marik wasn't certain whether or not he was Bakura or the spirit of the Ring. Technically the Ring had been given to Yugi after Marik's defeat against him at the end of Battle City and before that the spirit had been vanquished by Marik's own Yami, but he still had his doubts, the theif had been sure of himself when he lost, sure in the fact he could survive and even escape the shadows themselves.

"Why us?" Bakura asks Kaiba timidly "yeah surely you'd prefer yourself or at least Yugi" Marik adds his eyes narrowed with suspicion.

Kaiba smiles crookedly "I can't interface with the Virtual software and run diagnostics at the same time, besides that Yugi's busy of saving the world or at least that's what his Grandfather told me when I gave the game shop a call" Kaiba clearly doesn't look convinced as he folds his arms and glares at the two Battle City finalists in front of him like it was some how their fault "so I'm stuck with you two, the wannabe rulers of the world"

Marik bristles at that while Bakura looks bewilded but doesn't he always?

"Joey was in the BC finals" mutters marik stopping as Kaiba glares at him and crushes the paperweight he'd been juggling in his hands as he talked to them, a Blue Eyes White Dragon scratched into a glass cube reduced to dust. "No way I'm letting the mutt near my delicate technolgy" he growls angrilly.

'Touched a nerve there' Marik thinks to himself. Kaiba takes a deep breath "look will you enter the Simulation room? Please" he adds the last word as an afterthought spitting it out distastefully.

"Is it safe?" Bakura asks apprehensively he didn't even know why he'd been included by Kaiba kun he enjoyed dueling bu hadn't even taken part in any tornuments.

/Incorrect my host/ a dark voice sneers from within Bakura's mind /I attended Battle City and would have won if it wern't for that Ra be Damned Pharaoh!/

"Would I have approved human trials otherwise?" Kaiba continues not giving them a chance to complain or add in a witty comment "just go through those doors" indicates a set of silver trim doors across the simulation room "times money and your wasting both"

Marik brightens up at this "oh yeah we're getting paid" he says, Bakura glances at him dubiously "I still..." he's cut of as Marik drags him over to the thick solid metal doors Kaiba had spent half an hour trying to convince them to enter, they open automaticly to reveil a vast white glowing light that makes it impossible to see into the room beyond. Marik and Bakura grind to a halt in front of it having third thoughts on top of their second thoughts.

"Just enter the room and the simulation can begin" cliams Kaiba impatiently as he pushes them both foreward unconvinced Marik lets go of Bakura's shoulder and steps foreward into the light, Bakura with some encouragment and shoving from Kaiba joins him. the doors slam shut sealing of the room and Kaiba stalks of to the central computer matrix room to activate the virtual World III program.

For ever or so it seemed to Marik and Bakura who could see nothing but white light as they fall down a never ending tunnel of light unaware of each others presence unable to fell or sense anything untill their surroundings suddenly come into sharp focus and they find themselves deposited upon a florescent green wire mesh grid suspended over open space, surrounded by green and blue techno fittings streched out as far as the eye could see. They had to admit as a computer simulation it both looked and felt pretty real, not only that it was impressive and cool as well.

Kaiba enters the central computer matrix room, a vast control room covered in computer acess terminals monitored by identical female computer admins (with different coloured hair) Databanks and mainframe boxes are set up all across the room, making it appear Star Trekie. Mokuba looks up at his brother's arrival underneith his messy mop of jet black hair and stood beside Kaiba's personal access terminal for the Virtual World software set up at the front of the room with a set of large screens in front of it, and a keyboard set out from it.

"Everything's ready Seto just the way you wanted it" Mokuba declares proudly as his Brother strides up to him "good" Kaiba smiles warmly "everything's go?"

"Virtulisation's complete, they've been sucessfully uploaded to the Virtual World were locked onto their virtual signitures sir" one of the more eager admin's announces.

"Excellent" Kaiba's smile takes on a older edge as he steps up to the his terminal and pulls up several displays. In the VR World a screen appears phasing into existance an image of Kaiba's upperbody web cam style appears on it. "congratulations you have been sucessfully digitalised and transfered to Virtual World III" he informs Marik and Bakura.

"Really?" asks Marik "I never even noticed" he snaps sarcastically while Bakura does a double take "we can talk?" he asks out loud in surprise.

"Keep up with the program" Kaiba snaps impatient to begin "it's time too duel" he types in a few commands and a moderfied jet balck duel disk appears on Marik's and Bakura's arms.

"We have to duel?" a disorientated Bakura asks blinking his eyes in confusion.

"I realise that not everyone is endowed with the intelligence God gave me but you could at least try to keep up" Kaiba states obviously trying to keep his temper (for mokuba's sake) "Why else would I need two Duelists to test my virtual systems?" he sneers "pick your decks from the card database" he types in a fe more commands "engage card database" he instructs the computer admins who reply "yes sir" and increase their typing rate.

In the Virtual World another screen appears beside each duelists cards scroll along it "choose your deck, the virtual software wil acept a deck comprised of three of each card with a 40 to 60 card limit, and only cards that have been scanned into the card database as such their are no god cards but the card list should be up to date for almost all other cards" Kaiba explains to them.

Marik scowls up at Kaiba's screen "we get it" he snaps "yeah we Dueilsts we aren't stupid growls Bakura (actully the evil spirit of the ring.)

"Really? so far you've been really slow on the uptake...ow" Kaiab is smacked on the back of his head and winces "Mokuba!...fine" he mutters after been told of "once you've chosen your deck lock duel disks into duel mode"

Marik and Dark Bakura chose their decks from the card database after which the card screens fade and a deck of cards materilise within the deck slots of their duel Disks which switch to Duel mode ready for the duel.

"Duel!" Marik and Dark Bakura yell as they each draw five cards and then start to Duel with Kaiba monitoring the Virtual systems and Simultaneously providing a snarky commentary about the two Duelist's moves, strategy and skill or lack there of.

"Virtual systems are holding at 95 effeciency" declares Mokuba "cooling vents are at optimum effeciency, program currently running at 500 Gigabytes per second" he informs his Brother who replies "perfect the virtual software is functioning at optimum performance" Kaiba pulls himself away from the duel in order to check another display "actully..." mokuba hesitates "there are some power fluctuations running through the neural interface datapport, anomalous power spikes that we haven't been able to track down, and the virtual digitizer is responding more sluggishly than it should be with all the RAM tied up in it"

"There's always room for improvement" Kaiba quotes philosophically.

In the Virtual World the duel was tied at 2000 life points apiece (started with 4000)

"Okay Bakura you've had your fun now quit pretending and show yourself"Marik orders "quit wasting both are time" Marik continues when 'Bakura' plays dumb "we both know who's in control of this duel, and who's in control of that body"

"Huh" scoffs Dark Bakura "me of course" he sneers, Marik chuckles "half right" he mutters "howed you figure out it was me?" Dark Bakura asks him. Marik smirks "wasn't hard but then I guess it's difficult to play the part of a wuss all the time"

(Beat him!) an indignant Bakura tells his Dark half (whatever you do don't lose to this guy)

((Be silent host! He's right you are a wuss)) The spirit of the Ring snarls back to Bakura ((Besides I will win))

"Sorry Marik but no one must know of my return" Dark Bakura tells his old partner "after all the ring disapearing is suspicious enough on it's own ! cannot allow Yugi and the Pharaoh within him to be aware of my presence"

"What can you do to stop me from spilling the beans?" scoffs Marik but stops as a bright glow is emitted from Bakura's chest no not from his chest from the Millennium Ring!

"It seems my Millennium item was digitized as well I wonder if it retains all it's powers?" Bakura asks himself as the Ring glows even brighter "lets find out"

back in reallity Kaiba starts and double checks the readings "this can't be" he whispers "massive power fluctuations surging through the grid, the buffers can't take it they'll be fried" Mokuba runs over to a railing and yells down at the computer technicians below "pull the plug, get them out of there!"

"To late Mokie" Kaiba sits down unable to believe it "Mainframe's overloading, safety protocals are not responding, the programs running out of control, we've already passed critical levels"

"You have to do something, you have to save them" Mokuba grabs hold of his brother the tears flowing freely "you have to" he whispers. Kaiba embraced his brother but there was nothing he could doif the Virtual World mainframe went down with Bakura and Marik still inside they would be effectivly dead. The best case scenario if the Ermegency protocals hadn't kicked in already was that he might be able to come up with a way to salvage their data from the back up drive, if the back up drive hadn't already been fried that is, with the data it would be almost impossible to restore their consciousness's tot heir bodies but it was his best shot if they hadn't already been kicked out of the Virtual World systems.

Dark Bakura laughs mainacally as the shadows formed "Ra won't save you this time" he promises taunting his foe who was sheilding his eyes from the glare from the ring with an arm, he turned to face Bakura his shoulders shaking to reveil that he was laughing.

"What's so funny?" Dark Bakura demands to know. "This" sneers Marikrevealing the Millennium Rod which started glowing just as furiously as the Ring "How! The Pharaoh..." Marik cuts him of "do you really believe I'd give up an item this powerful just like that? of course I gave him another fake like Odeons"

Dark Bakura growls deep in his throat "then we'll settle this the traditinal way with a Shadow Duel" he grins psychotically "bring it!" roars Marik as the shadows fully form but something had gone wrong the shadows we're distorted, they wavered and warped both Marik and Dark Bakura had completly forgotten why they had started a duel in the first place, and were ignorant of the danger they were in, the Shadows rippled and flexed, expanded and contracted before finally fading away alltogether taking Dark Bakura and Marik with them.

Kaiba watched horror struck as VW3's Mainframe crackled and fizzed before finally giving up the ghost altogether and crashing spectacularly, circuits burned, motherboards fried, everything went offline.

Kaiba keys in a command into his earpiece "ermergency team to the Simulation room, repeat ermergency team to the simulation room, this is not a drill" Kaiba hoped he hadn't gone over the edge this time, he hoped he hadn't killed them.