Rebooted – Prologue
DISCLAIMER: Very few things belong to me, least of all the protagonists and much of the supporting cast of this tale. They also do not belong to each other, or the owners of each other. This is a fanfic crossover, written for silly enjoyment, and we will all probably be best served to remember it.
The fluoro green numbers rolled by, projected from a black screen into equally dark eyes.
Despite being the vice president, in charge of thousands of employees, and the slightly more human face of Kaiba Corporation, Mokuba Kaiba rarely performed all the requirements of his job description. Really, he was more of a personal relations executive. Sometimes. When he felt like it.
It wasn't really intentional. Originally, it was a holdover from his brother's more psychotic days, when Seto didn't trust Mokuba to buy his own gaming software, let alone get anywhere near his company. Now it was just that Mokuba was thirteen and had better things to do than work.
As he continually pointed out to Rebecca Hopkins, he was in no hurry to grow up. Genius he may have been, but work and accelerated learning programs were ridiculous when you could get perfect grades at an ordinary school and just hang out with friends.
But sometimes Mokuba actually did do his job. He helped his brother with testing simulations, and finished planning events that Seto couldn't. Other times, like tonight, he went over old program files in search of useable material.
It wasn't the most demanding work, but Mokuba was one of the few people that could read the data without needing imaging software to understand it. And besides, with him in front of the monitor, Kaiba Corporation didn't run the risk of losing their software to a spy.
But that didn't mean it wasn't boring.
Tonight's job was particularly tiresome, because he was cleaning out all the old programs his brother had classified as 'Trojans'. Outside businesses and companies sometimes connected to Kaiba Corporation to swap software, which left a data trail – a mirror of the outsider's program – which Seto considered viruses, even though they weren't. Most of it was deletable, and Mokuba was considering doing a full wipe without bothering to finish when an odd set of numbers caught his eye.
He frowned, his brow furrowing as he reached for his coffee mug. In terms of standard binary, these numbers didn't make a lot of sense. And even if they did, they translated into a program that should have been deleted over a year ago.
"Virtual… world…" he murmured, and then took a deep gulp of his coffee and began a quick scan of the next few dozen pages of numbers. His eyes widened as he did, and his feet soon slipped off the desk in shock.
"Noah," Seto repeated, levelling Mokuba with a dark look. "As in the dead child our foster father kept alive in virtual space? The psychotic megalomaniac that hijacked my Battle City Blimp and tried to trap us all in virtual space so he could steal our bodies, take over Kaiba Corporation, and then possibly the world?"
"Yeah, him," Mokuba said quickly, ignoring the cold snap with practiced ease. It wasn't personal – they'd once again been contacted by the National Education Minister, who had reminded them that Seto's financial and political power did not exempt him from standardised testing. He still had to take and pass his exams to graduate high school.
Seto snorted, slamming his cupboard door shut with suit now in hand. "Noah and his entire pathetic world were destroyed when the base operating system was blown apart by bombs," he pointed out irritably. "Neither of them could possibly be in our systems."
"I'm telling you, it's there. Corrupted, yeah, but recoverable. Noah—Noah's world—is all there where we can find it!" he said, and twisted around to watch his brother disappear behind a changing screen. "Noah's world was originally created through Kaiba Corporation systems – it was built and expanded into an AI by your advances in technology! And then the Big Five strengthened the connection so they could get into his world, allowing Noah to have full access! He transferred so much information between his world and our systems that we've practically got a mirror database! We can rebuild him!"
"Why would we?"
Mokuba blinked. "What?"
"Noah is dead. And psychotic. Not to mention that he brainwashed you so badly you're still affected by it," Seto added, almost thoughtlessly. "Why should we revive him in even that pathetic digital existence?"
"Because he's our brother," he argued. "Real or not, dead or alive, blood or adoption, he's our brother. You can't just ignore him!"
"So was the other Yuugi!"
Seto didn't answer that straight away, and it wasn't until he was dressed in his trousers and had halfway buttoned his shirt that he stepped out from the changing screen to meet Mokuba's gaze. "Mutou said it best, Mokuba: the dead can't be allowed to stay in this world."
Mokuba lowered his head, hunching his shoulders up to avoid Seto's gaze. "But –"
"You are still affected by what he did to you. He brainwashed you into believing he cared about you. He made you think you had a deep connection. And then he took over your whole body in the most sickening violation I've ever heard of," he said coldly. "Even if your argument was valid, for those reasons and more, I won't hear another word about recovering those files."
He nodded quietly, and Seto stepped back behind the screen to continue dressing. Mokuba chewed his lip for a few seconds, then took a sharp breath and looked up again. "But –"
"I want you to wipe those files."
"Wipe them. Erase them from all existence," Seto snapped. "I don't want them on my system. I don't even want them in my recycling bin. I want Noah, Gozaboro and their entire digital world off my hard drives."
Mokuba stared at the changing screen blankly for a few seconds, then lowered his eyes again. He couldn't do that, and he knew it. Regardless of what Noah had done to him, the blood Kaibas were a part of his history, and he could never destroy the past completely. They had tried to do that and never gotten anywhere good.
But, thinking about it, there were always other options… Kaiba Corporation was filled with AI restructuring programs. Even in junk data files like the cyber recycling bin.
Mokuba turned away to hide his smile as he stood up. "Okay, Big Brother. I'll delete them."
Four real years and centuries of digital time later, eleven year old lower school student Takuya Kanbara stepped into the real world in the form of a monster made of solid, digital data.