Title: Summer of ‘69
Author: bnomiko
Rating: PG-13
Pairing(s): Yami + Seto, Noa + Mokuba, Jou + Mai, Yugi + Anzu, Malik + Ryou, Rafael + Valon + Amelda
Spoilers: none
Warnings: swearing
Disclaimer: Yu-Gi-Oh! is the creation of Kazuki Takahashi. Locked In is a film by Bud Browne. "The Grand Illusion" is performed and recorded by Styx. This is a not-for-profit fanwork and I do not own any of these characters.
Summary: "Welcome to the grand illusion, Come on in and see what’s happening"
Status: 3 / ?
Archived at: http://www.phenixsol.com/Miko/FF/

* * *

Summer of '69

Ch. 1: Locked In

* * *

Welcome to the grand illusion
Come on in and see what’s happening
Pay the price, get your tickets for the show
The stage is set, the band starts playing
Suddenly your heart is pounding
Wishing secretly you were a star

- "The Grand Illusion", Styx

* * *

Late in the morning on Friday, Yugi and his friends from Domino met up with the Hopkins and the Ishtars in the lobby of the KaibaLand Hotel. Seto had set them all up with passes for the special invitation-only preview day, and they were all eager to see the park as well as spend time reacquainting themselves with one another. Ishizu and Rishid had flown in from Egypt the previous evening, and although Malik and Bakura had stopped by their suite to say hi, they hadn’t had a chance to talk to any of the others yet and were looking forward to doing so. In contrast, Rebecca and her grandfather had chosen to drive in that very morning since they were only a scant hour away. But they were checking into the hotel for the duration of the tournament as well, considering it a sort of paid vacation, just as everyone else did.

After a complimentary continental breakfast, the big, boisterous group headed out to the park via monorail. No one was terribly surprised to see Mokuba and Noa waiting for them when they disembarked. Being good hosts as well as friends, they had promised to give them the grand tour of the brand new KaibaLand, though from what Yugi understood, this was their first time at the park too. So perhaps it was more joint exploration than anything else, though the two teens were confident about their ability to find their way around, saying that the layout was quite similar to the KaibaLand in Domino.

"We’ll be underway soon. We’re just waiting on Pegasus, Valon, Rafael and Amelda," Mokuba explained as Noa fiddled with a little handheld electronic map of the park. It was better to be safe than sorry when navigating a property that spanned over 400 acres.

"So Kaiba won’t be joining us?" Bakura asked.

"No. Seto’s um… sorta busy overseeing any last minute changes that need to be made. You know how he is," Noa responded. He squinted in the direction of the business complex that flanked the far side of the park.

"That really is too bad," Ishizu said softly. "His own grand opening, and he doesn’t have the time to come down and enjoy it?"

"Oh, he’s enjoying something," Noa muttered, but only a few people caught it.

"So then… where's Yami?" Shizuka queried. She obviously didn’t hear Noa’s comeback.

"Dare I say it?" Everyone looked at Otogi. "He's probably off doing… uh, stuff."

"If by 'stuff' you mean Kaiba, yeah, probably," Jou said, snickering.

Mokuba sighed. "Thanks Jou, thanks for the visual."

Jou laughed. "I bet it’s true."

"I bet you’re right, but let’s not go there," Honda added.

Mokuba made a face. Didn’t Seto and Yami have the right to spend time together as they wished? Considering that they had been asleep for the majority of the past day and a half, they probably still wanted to make up for lost time. And that was fine. Seto had done what he needed to get the park up and running. He didn’t deserve to have anyone second guess him on that. "Does it matter? Besides, this isn’t *really* the ‘grand opening.’ That’s tomorrow. Today is just a sneak peak for special guest , like members of the media, employees’ families, kids from local orphanages. And Noa and I are in charge of it."

"Wow, so you two are the big shots today, huh?" Rebecca asked. She looked suitably impressed and Mokuba wondered if there was another reason why she was grinning at him. He hadn’t seen her in two years… she’d grown up, just like he had. He suddenly wondered if she still had a crush on Yugi, and if she was aware that Anzu had beaten her to the punch, and if so… Okay, she just winked at him. What the hell?

"Hey, there they are!" Yugi called out, waving at a quartet of men approaching from the parking lot. As always, it was easy to spot Rafael, even from some distance away.

Saved by the bell. Mokuba resisted the urge to sigh in relief, and filed away the bit about Rebecca to reevaluate later. "Ah, good. Well, let’s get going then."

* * *

There were plenty of people who qualified as "special guests" apparently, for the park looked decently full. There were news crews on site, groups of kids gaping at holographic special effects strategically tucked in between buildings and walkways, and families enjoying the rides. Popular attractions like the Blue Eyes White Dragon coaster even had riders lining up. Yugi-tachi were already making mental notes of which rides they wanted to try out while Mokuba and Noa patiently herded the group along, reminding them that they’d had plenty of time to sample the rides after the tour and before the Grand Prix registration party, which would be held back in the hotel that evening.

After a good half-hour, they’d made their way through the maze-like interior of the park and arrived at an enormous structure which dominated the back portion of the lot. It looked like a gigantic BEWD head, complete with teeth that served as structural supports across the building’s many entrances. Mokuba announced that they had arrived at the Kaiba Dome California, a multipurpose stadium that would not only host Duel Monster duels, but sporting events, concerts, conventions and more. The idea was that even if there weren’t tournaments to be held, the stadium would still turn a profit by hosting other events. And it was set up for that as well, having a separate parking lot so that on days with heavy traffic, space could be reserved for people who were only there to attend the stadium functions.

"So is this where the tournament is taking place?" Honda wondered aloud as they made their way through the cavernous building.

"Yes and no. Parts of it will be held here, but not the whole thing," Mokuba explained. "I just wanted to show you guys the new dueling platform in here… it's the final prototype of what will be the next generation in dueling technology."

Several minutes later, they arrived at the heart of the Kaiba Dome. Mokuba and Noa ushered everyone in, then walked them over to a very large Duel Monsters platform that took up half the stadium’s floor space. It looked similar to existing KC platforms, except it was much larger. There were already a few adults and a mob of youths standing around it, the kids obviously aspiring duelists who had been drawn in by their curiosity in seeing the latest in Duel Monsters technology. And there were already duels underway, from kids simply laying cards out on the floor and checking off points on scraps of paper, to one bolder boy that actually got on the platform to duel. But where was his opponent?

Noa nodded at the opposing platform. "That’s the KC DuelTek 760. It’s a computerized opponent that’s light years ahead of the old ones. It has five difficulty levels, and has been programmed to include almost every single card ever made and to analyze and replicate the strategies of all the top duelists. Of course, it can be disabled when we want to use the platform for regular duels, but for all those times you wanna duel and can’t find someone to play against, this is the answer."

"Very impressive," Pegasus commented, though he had already seen earlier prototypes and knew what the DuelTek 760 would be capable of if Seto had managed to work out all the kinks.

"Heh, so then, I could duel myself?" Jou asked. "’Cuz I’m one of them top duelists ya know."

Mokuba just smiled. Truth be told, he didn’t know if Seto ever got around to importing Jounouchi’s cards. "Sure…"

"Hmm, well, your prototype still has a few glitches from the looks of it," Honda commented, referring to the duel already in progress. "Not that I’m any good at this stuff, but why would it play Scapegoat after its opponent attacked and destroyed one of its monsters?"

"Because the face down card is a trap," Mai responded. "It’s pretty obvious." Several heads nodded in agreement.

Sure enough, the computer announced it was playing DNA Surgery, turning all the monsters on the field into dragons, then Polymerization to form the Five-Headed Dragon out of the five monsters on its side of the field. With 5,000 attack points, the dragon easily wiped out the boy’s Gagagigo, along with his life points.

"Wow, that was pretty brutal," Anzu said. "I guess he had the difficulty set too high."

"Yes, but there definitely is value in a scalable system like that. The programming can ‘grow’ with you, so you’ll always have a challenge," Sugoroku pointed out as the boy got off the platform and went to join his friends.

Then one of the kids happened to look over in their direction, and after a moment’s scrutiny, yelled out, "Oh my God, is that the world champ, Yugi Mutou?"

"No way!" a girl responded.

"It has to be! And that’s Rebecca Hopkins! And Mr. Crawford!"

"Oh wow!"

All of a sudden, the tour group was mobbed by eager kids and teens seeking autographs and pictures. It was a little surprising since none of them were really active in tournaments anymore, real life and adulthood having taken a toll on their time. Yugi hadn’t even officially defended his world championship title in almost a year and a half. But maybe because they had been out of the spotlight for a while, they were thrilled with the attention… it was fun being treated like celebrities by a crowd who really looked up to them and admired them.

Now that’s odd… Mai thought she recognized one of the teenagers in the throng from photos, or perhaps television. She prided herself on keeping up to date on the latest news and names in Duel Monsters, even if she was no longer actively competing. "Hey kid, what’s your name?"

"Oh… you’re Mai Kujaku, right? You were at Duelist Kingdom and Battle City! Wow, this is really amazing!" He enthusiastically shook her hand. "I’m Leon."

Otogi looked over, scrutinizing the ponytailed teen. "Leon… Wilson?"

Leon looked a bit embarrassed. "Uh yeah, that’s me. But I can’t believe it... Yugi Mutou, Mai Kujaku, Rebecca Hopkins, Pegasus Crawford…"

"And Katsuya Jounouichi!" Jou announced, withering a little when Leon just gave him a confused look, not quite recognizing him. "Aw, man… come on! I was at Duelist Kingdom and Battle City too!"

Leon thought about it. "Hmm, I think I might vaguely remember you… Well, it’s great to meet you too!"

"Aren't you the one they call the undefeated prodigy?" Sugoroku asked Leon. He too kept up with things, and he had heard reports about a teenager who’d been rapidly climbing the tournament ranks.

"That's him! Rick wanted to see Leon duel the computer, but Leon said he just wanted to watch everyone else play!" a young girl added. She was hanging onto the sleeve of a boy in a red jacket.

"It’s okay, sis. He said he’d help me with my deck, so that I could try dueling that computer instead," her brother Rick responded. He pulled his cards out of his pocket. "But I can’t seem to win any duels, and I don’t understand why…"

"Huh, well, I’d be happy to take a look for you too," Yugi offered.

Rick’s face lit up. "Really? Neat!" He quickly handed his deck over to Yugi, who began flipping through them quickly with a practiced eye.

"Well now, see, that’s the problem," Jou said over Yugi’s shoulder once the little duelist was done shuffling through them. "They’re all dragons, kid."

"Uh, yeah… I love dragons," Rick admitted.

"I wonder if Kaiba sounded like that as a kid," Otogi said, grinning.

Rebecca shook her head. "It’s great that you love your monsters, but you need magic and trap cards to help balance it out."

Yugi nodded in agreement, then pulled out his own deck. Flipping through the cards, he chose one in particular and handed it to Rick, saying, "Here, take this. It might come in handy."

Rick clutched at the card, his eyes wide. "Oh my God, really? Can I try it out right now?"

Yugi smiled. "Sure, if you want."

"Whooooo!" The boy quickly bounded up onto the platform, set the difficulty level to 2, and initiated the duel. He wasn’t sure exactly what Heart of the Underdog, the card Yugi had given him, would do, but he was excited to try it out, and to show off his skills in front of so many well known duelists. It was like a dream come true!

The player platforms rose up and locked in place. Rick put his cards down on the deck zone of his player’s console. And then… the stadium’s lights suddenly went out.

* * *

Seto knew he ought to get Yami off his lap. Hell, he knew he should have booted the former Pharaoh the moment he sauntered into his office in some crazy ass black vinyl pants with zippers all over the place and an equally wild sleeveless black top that laced up the back. But he hadn’t. Instead, he stupidly sat in his chair and let Yami complain about how it was too hot to be wearing vinyl, and then while he wondered why Yami was walking around dressed like that at all, the shorter man walked around the desk and climbed on top of him and now… now things were getting hard. It was very difficult trying to work on a computer when he couldn’t even see the screen past the wild tri-color hair in his face. Never mind that his attention was scattered to the winds anyway, thanks to the warm, soft mouth on his earlobe and the hands rubbing circles on his chest. Oh, and of course, one vinyl-clad crotch doing some obscene bumping and grinding against his easily aroused unit. Yup. It was incredibly hard all right…

See… this is exactly why… mmm… why I didn’t fly you out here earlier… Seto groaned, concentrating on the sound of Yami’s tongue wetly tracing his ear. It was so easy to just sit back and let him do whatever he wanted.

You put your hands inside my shirt first, Yami answered reasonably, putting his teeth to work now. Not that he needed an excuse to come and distract Seto from his work – the stressed out CEO needed it.

Your shirt… had a fucking hole in the back. I was trying to, um… fix it.

… Then why’d you unlace it? Hmm?

Why ask wh… "What the hell?" The intercom was beeping. Didn’t he give very explicit instructions that he was not to be disturbed unless the world was coming to an end, or something?

Yami quickly slid off his lover’s lap. He seemed distracted, and a bit distressed. "Answer that."

Startled by the sudden change in Yami’s mood, Seto hit the button. "Yes?"

It was Fubeta. "Mr. Kaiba, um, ah… someone’s hacked into the Kaiba Dome central computer."

"WHAT?! How?"

"I don’t know, sir. But there’s people inside, and…"

"Yugi… and Mokuba and Noa are in there. The others too," Yami said, relaying what he could from Yugi’s perspective. "Apparently they’re locked in the building. They’re okay right now, but there’s a bunch of kids in there as well, and the dueling computer seems to have gone haywire. Mokuba, Noa and Rebecca are working on trying to shut it down, but aren’t having any luck yet."

"Damn it," Seto growled. The cameras for the interior of the Kaiba Dome finally came online, and he could now see for himself what Yami had been describing. There was one kid on the dueling platform, looking rather panicked, and several more on the floor below. He spotted his little brothers by one of the control panels on the side, but whatever they were trying to do obviously wasn’t working. Then Yugi suddenly looked up and zeroed in on one of the cameras, and nodded, as if telling them something.

"Yugi says the boy on the platform initiated a duel right before the computer went nuts, so it looks like he’s going to have to beat the computer to get the program to shut down so they can get out," Yami reported. "But the system has reset itself to the hardest setting, and the boy is panicking."

Seto grimaced. What went wrong? Was it a programming oversight, or something more malicious? Whatever it was, he needed to fix it, but for that, he needed time, and he needed to focus. Gathering up his laptop and cellphone, he asked, "Can Yugi help the kid out, or maybe some of the others? Plenty of decent duelists in that room… the kid has a chance of winning if he can take instructions."

"Yugi?" A slight pause, and then, "Yes, he offered to take over the duel and the boy agreed. But he’s going to have to use the deck already in play. He said it might be tough."

"Tell him to stall for time if he has to. I’m going to start working on it from my end," Seto announced, already in the process of accessing and isolating the program even as he rose to his feet. "Fubeta."

"Yes sir?" the man’s voice squeaked over the intercom.

"Get my helicopter ready NOW."

* * *

While Mokuba, Rebecca and Noa continued to troubleshoot the program via the control panel and the rest of the group helped the adults reassure the kids trapped in the Kaiba Dome, Yugi began his turn, playing Petit Dragon in defense mode. There wasn’t much else he could do… Rick had nothing but dragons in his deck.

The DuelTek 760 responded aggressively by playing Cost Down to summon Airknight Parshath straight to the field. Then it played the trap card Robbin’ Goblin, which would force Yugi to discard a card from his hand every time he took damage to his life points. With those cards, plus the Berserk Gorilla it had played as an opener, it not only destroyed Petit Dragon, but forced Yugi to discard two cards in his hand as well. By the end of that single round, Yugi was down to 800 life points.

"Oh no… I’m so sorry. If you didn’t have to use my deck, you wouldn’t be losing," Rick said apologetically from behind Yugi.

"Don’t worry, we still have a chance." I just need to draw that card I gave him… Concentrating, the violet-eyed duelist drew from the deck, and was surprised to see a magic card, Dragon Treasure. "Huh… well, I’ll play Luster Dragon in attack mode, along with this Dragon Treasure!" The now buffed up dragon destroyed Airknight Parshath, reducing the computer’s life points by 300.

"Go Yugi!" Valon yelled as Yugi ended his turn.

The computer pressed on, summoning Slate Warrior to weaken Luster Dragon so that Berserk Gorilla could destroy it, causing Yugi to lose 300 more life points as well as another card.

Yugi countered with Cave-Dwelling Dragon in defense mode, trying to buy just a little more time with the monster's 2,000 defense points, but the computer summoned Jinzo the next round and destroyed the dragon.

Aibou, how are you doing? Yami suddenly asked. He’d been keeping tabs on the duel’s progress via Seto’s laptop while the brunette tried to remotely override the DuelTek 760, but seeing how things were going, he figured he’d pop in in case Yugi needed some encouragement.

Well… I’ve had better duels. I really need to draw the card I gave Rick earlier.

I have every confidence in you. And we’ll be landing in just a minute, so let everyone know that help is on the way. Seto will pull the power to the entire area if he has to in order to get you all out of there. But I don’t think that’ll be necessary… I know you can beat that computer. It’s a machine; it doesn’t have the drive and determination you do.

Yeah… wish me luck anyways though.

Of course.

There was a pause; Yugi had to be drawing his next card, and then he returned with a triumphant, And now it’s time to turn this duel around!

Yami chuckled, and lay a hand lightly on Seto’s arm to let him know that the situation was improving, even though he knew his boyfriend could see it for himself on the monitor. All right, I’ll leave you to it then. Good job!

* * *

By the time the chopper touched down, the doors of the Kaiba Dome were open and everyone who had been trapped inside came spilling out. Seto quickly hopped out and instantly made a beeline for his brothers, relieved to see that they were both fine, if a little pissed off at letting a hacker get the better of the three of them.

Luckily, everyone else seemed to be doing fine as well. Seto let out a breath of air he’d been holding in, glad that he didn’t have to deal with crying kids and irate guardians and nosy reporters. It was a blessing that Yugi had pulled through and soundly beaten the computer. Now that they were out, the teens and older children chatted about it like it was some great adventure, and the littlest kids only remembered the exciting finale, gushing loudly to their anxious custodians about how fun it was to see the world champion dueling.

The crowd quickly dispersed, heading off to other attractions. Seto silently watched them leave, then turned to the assembled tour group. "Sorry about what happened."

"It's all right. No one was harmed," Rishid answered.

"It could have been bad though, if the media got wind of it," Mokuba said sagely. "And they’re all over the place today."

"Yeah, plus you now have a hacker to deal with," Rebecca pointed out.

"Yes, and when I catch the ass who did this, I’m going to break his fucking face," Seto ground out. "Fubeta!"

"Yes sir?"

"Tell Isono to triple the security for this opening weekend. I can’t afford to have this happen again. And get me detailed reports on every duelist registered for the tournament."

"You think it’s one of the duelists?" Amelda asked as the security officer wandered back to the helicopter and got on the walkie-talkie with Isono.

Seto folded his arms. "It’s a possibility." He didn’t want to admit that he maybe he hadn’t really looked at the list of invitees as carefully as he should have. Not that he thought Yami had been neglectful in selecting the participants, it was just that he sorta had the need to verify things himself, to make doubly sure everything was okay…. and he has been so busy and preoccupied at the time, he hadn’t done it. Other people might have called that paranoia, but other people didn’t have the type of enemies he had.

Otogi shook his head. "Damn… You really have a knack for attracting nutcases."

"Well, we’ll do our part to keep an eye out for anything or anyone suspicious," Professor Hopkins volunteered. "If it is one of the duelists, surely one of us will notice something sooner or later."

"We appreciate that," Yami answered for Seto.

The brunette CEO gave a slight nod. "And remember that the registration party is tonight starting at 5:00 PM, so make sure to get back to the hotel on time. Other than that, have fun; do what you like." He touched Yami’s shoulder lightly, then turned around and began heading back to the chopper. He had a whole new headache to deal with, and not much time to do take care of it.

"Wait, Kaiba… what about you?" Anzu asked.


Yugi gave the young billionaire an encouraging smile. "Why not come with us? Enjoy your grand opening… you’ve earned it."

"Yeah, you look like hell, Kaiba," Jou added.

Seto paused. Stupid Mutt, what does he know? He wished he could relax, but now all he could think about was tracking down the hacker before something else happened. "I’m afraid I’m busy," he ended up saying, choosing the simplicity of truth rather than a sharp comeback that wouldn’t have helped matters. No one else made a comment as he got back in the helicopter and instructed Fubeta to fly him straight back to his office on the other side of the park.

Yami, Yugi and the others watched him leave. Yami didn’t look too happy, but he didn’t complain about being dumped off. He was worried about his boyfriend. Seto was pushing himself too hard still… he desperately needed a break. The sleep he had gotten the day and a half before wasn’t going to be enough to get him by if he didn’t slow down. But until this hacker problem was resolved, Seto wasn’t going to stop until his body gave up on him. And it was getting close to that point.

* * *


Author’s Notes:

November 24, 2006