98 The Miracle (The End Trilogy, part 1) by 5CarthageRocks
Summary:

Ulrich receives dreams from "a mysterious entity". A new Replika is discovered. And a Guardian is discovered in the Network, construced by and hosting a certain person...

There is a separate disclaimer for this. This portrays Ulrich and Aelita as siblings, twins, to be specific. I had to use this to get around some plot details, unfortunately. I myself do not deem this to be true. Please bear with me. I am working out this conflict in the third part of The End Trilogy, "Rebellion". I did take a poll in Tech Links, which showed me that most people wanted me to keep it, despite its total existence as carp. For those of you that don't like it, just wait.

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
Categories: Seasons > Post-Season 3 Characters: Aelita Hopper, Jeremie Belpois, Odd Della Robbia, Ulrich Stern, Yumi Ishiyama
Genres: None
Warnings: None
Challenges: None
Series: The End Trilogy
Chapters: 9 Completed: Yes Word count: 9188 Read: 132045 Published: Dec 02, 2007 Updated: Dec 02, 2007

1. Chapter 1- The Absolute Middle of Nowhere by 5CarthageRocks

2. Chapter 2- Thoughts by 5CarthageRocks

3. Chapter 3- The Hospital by 5CarthageRocks

4. Chapter 4- The Dream by 5CarthageRocks

5. Chapter 5- A New Find by 5CarthageRocks

6. Chapter 6- The Key To Our Problems by 5CarthageRocks

7. Chapter 7- Discovery by 5CarthageRocks

8. Chapter 8- Miracles by 5CarthageRocks

9. Epilogue by 5CarthageRocks

Chapter 1- The Absolute Middle of Nowhere by 5CarthageRocks

Chapter 1- The Absolute Middle of Nowhere (8.16.07)

Ulrich was in some sort of tunnel with never-ending white all around him. He knew it very well, having been here at least ten times. The problem was that he didn’t know why he was here. Or where “here” even was.

Suddenly, a voice spoke.

Be prepared.

“What?”

Be prepared.

“For what?”

Be prepared.

“What am I supposed to be prepared for?”

You will know when it comes.

"What? Who are you?”

I am someone…that you have…forgotten…but you will remember…very soon…

“Please! Tell me who you are!”

Suddenly, black light overpowered the entire place, engulfing the place. The one bright spot left was sailing toward him. Or he was sailing toward it. Ulrich screamed. There was a shout. His eyelids flew open. A blonde boy with his hair in a spike wearing a red t-shirt and orange boxers was looming over him.

“Were you having the nightmare when you found out that a deadly epidemic was being transferred by cows and there wasn’t any more milk, ice cream, cheese or any other dairy products left edible? I would have screamed too.”

Ulrich groaned. He threw off his bed covers and sat up. He was back in his dormitory room.

There was scratching from inside the bed drawer opposite his.

“Oh. Kiwi wants to get out. You must have woken him.” Odd opened the drawer, and a small dog popped his head out. It looked around, trying to see what had caused the racket.

“So did you?” Odd sat down on his bed.

“No, as a matter of fact I didn’t,” said Ulrich, although a nightmare like that would have been just as frustrating as the dream that had woken him. “I’d rather not talk about it.”

“Wow, you sound like Jim,” teased Odd. “Maybe you’ll end up with his future: scuba diving, testing out spacesuits for NASA, and working in the secret service! Oh, and speaking of Jim, he’s probably gonna-”

Suddenly there was a shout of “Stern! Della Robbia!”

"-be here any minute,” Odd finished. “Oh no! Kiwi, get back in there!” Odd hoarsely whispered. He shoved Kiwi back into his drawer a split second before the door flew open.

“This is the thirteenth night in a row that you have screamed at 2:00 in the morning!” Jim shouted. His voice reverberated down from the ceiling.

“Really Jim? I thought it was the fourteenth,” Odd said, grinning.

“You know what I mean, Della Robbia. Stern, is there any way you can stop waking up the entire school up?”

“Only if I stuff my mouth with gauze,” Ulrich replied.

“Well, do that if necessary, but only as a last resort. I wouldn’t want you to choke and miss gym class.” Jim said fondly. “But please, STOP SHOUTING!” Jim stalked out, slamming the door behind him.

Odd glanced at the closed door. “You know what? I think he had that nightmare. He would be real angry, not being able to drink milk for his muscles.”

Ulrich mumbled agreement, climbed back into bed, pulled the covers back up, and fell asleep. 

---

 The next morning, Ulrich, Aelita, Yumi and Jeremie were in the cafeteria. All of them had finished, but they were waiting for Odd to get his third helping.  “I’m guessing you had that dream again,” said Aelita. “I could hear it from a floor below you. And then I heard Jim. He should talk. If anyone wasn’t awake from your dream, he would have woken them up.”

 

“And you still say that the dream is a nightmare?” Yumi asked. “That’s it?”

 

“What do you mean, that’s it?” said Ulrich. He was grumpy because the dream had haunted his remaining sleep like a faded outline. Just like the past few weeks.

 

Jeremie looked Ulrich straight in the eye. “Ulrich, that’s the thirteenth time-”

 

“Fourteenth,” said Odd, walking over and sitting down with a tray laden with sausages, toast and a banana.

 

“Whatever,” Jeremie said. “Odd, it looks like you’ve just stolen all the food in the cafeteria.” “Thank you,” Odd replied, grinning.

 

“Are you sure you’re not having visions, Ulrich?” Yumi asked. “Like Aelita did?”

 

Ulrich was so surprised that he dropped his water. “What?”

 

“You know,” Aelita reminded him, “like the visions of my life here on Earth before my father gave them back to me? It could just be a part of you trying to get something back belonging to you.”

 

Ulrich raised an eyebrow. “I don’t have anything lost…at least, not anything I’m aware of.”

 

“Who knows, maybe you have an evil twin or something,” Yumi joked.

 

“Hmm…I always thought Ulrich seemed weird sometimes, maybe even evil…” Odd said.

 

“No, that’s just when you tried get rid of your foot odor,” Ulrich threw back. “And believe me, it worked. Because the new odor was so overpowering, I couldn’t even smell the old one.” The table erupted in laughter.

Chapter 2- Thoughts by 5CarthageRocks

Chapter 2- Thoughts (8.17.07) 

Why am I having these dreams? Ulrich thought. Am I going insane? Or am I like Aelita, and really have lost some part of me?

 

“Who can tell me the use of the Pythagorean Theorem?”

 

Mrs. Meyer’s voice jolted Ulrich back to the present. She stopped writing on the board, and turned to look at the class. She spotted Ulrich looking dazed and surprised. “Ulrich?”

 

Ulrich jolted. “Uhh…the use of the Pythagorean Theorem is that it…theorizes…pythons?” he lamely answered.

 

The whole class erupted into laughter. Odd turned around and gave Ulrich a fake frown. “Come on, even I could have guessed better than that!”

 

Mrs. Meyer, smiling, replied, “No, Ulrich, as a matter of fact the Pythagorean Theorem does not theorize pythons. Who can give me another answer? Jeremie?”

 

Jeremie answered, but Ulrich didn’t hear him, even though Jeremie was sitting right next to him. His thoughts floated back to the dream, and suddenly, it came back to him: where he had heard the voice. But before he could ask Jeremie or Aelita what it meant, the classroom disappeared. Ulrich was in the white tunnel again, but instead of hearing Be prepared, he heard:

 

This is what I have warned you of. It was the last thing Ulrich heard.

 

---

 

Meanwhile, in the science building, Yumi was in science with Mrs. Hertz. Mrs. Hertz was drawing a diagram on the board of the Sun and Earth, but Yumi wasn’t really paying attention.

 

“So if Kepler’s second law of planetary motion is correct, then we can assume-”

 

Suddenly, there was a scream, followed by some shouts. Mrs. Hertz stopped writing, and stepped out into the hallway. “What was that?”

 

It took a few seconds for Yumi to recognize the scream as Ulrich’s. She had never heard him scream before, and definitely not like that.

 

Yumi rushed out of the classroom, pushing past Mrs. Hertz out of the way.

 

“Yumi?” she heard Mrs. Hertz call, surprised. “Where are you going?”

 

Yumi didn’t bother to answer. She only had one goal in mind: find out what happened to Ulrich. It could be a XANA attack, for all she knew.

 

Finally, she reached the math room. Everyone was crowded around a desk toward the back of the room. Yumi pushed her way toward the middle of the crowd.

 

“Aelita!” Yumi said when she spotted the pink-haired girl. Aelita was staring at the desk in shock. Yumi started to look toward the thing Aelita and the others were staring at. “I came as soon as I heard Ulrich-”

 

Her voice broke off. She saw what everyone was staring at. It wasn’t what was on the desk, it was what was below it.

 

Ulrich was lying unconscious on the floor.

Chapter 3- The Hospital by 5CarthageRocks

Chapter 3- The Hospital (8.17.07)

“What?”

 

“It’s not working!”

 

Beep. Beep. Beep.

 

Aelita, Jeremie, Odd and Yumi could only watch in shock from the sidelines as Ulrich’s heart beat got steadily lower. Doctors swarmed everywhere like bees, trying to revive the unconscious brown-haired boy. Jeremie was looking at Ulrich as if he couldn’t believe he was on the verge of death. Aelita was trying to keep Yumi conscious, for Yumi seemed ready to faint herself. And Odd’s usually grinning face was grimacing in shock.

 

“Come on, it’ll be okay,” Jeremie said, offering empty comfort in vain. “He’ll be okay.” Aelita absentmindedly nodded, as if she didn’t believe it herself.

 

Odd leaned over so that his mouth was close to Jeremie’s ear. “Could this be a XANA attack?” he whispered to Jeremie.

 

“I don’t know. But I’ll run the Super Scan right now,” came the hushed reply. Jeremie removed his laptop from the bag, knelt down and started typing like mad.

 

Aelita glanced at Yumi. Yumi hadn’t said a word the whole way to the hospital in the ambulance. Watching Ulrich getting lifted onto a stretcher and into the ambulance and convincing the Principal that they should go to the hospital with Ulrich seemed like memories from a different life.

 

Jeremie shut his laptop. “No activated tower,” Jeremie whispered to the group. “It’s really strange. First Ulrich has all these dreams thirteen nights in a row – okay Odd, fourteen – and then he faints. There’s got to be a connection between the two.”

 

“Of course there is,” Yumi said, speaking for the first time. “But if it’s not by XANA, then what caused this?”

 

Suddenly, the doctors in the room started shouting and moving even faster, grabbing supplies from all around the room. Then the screen showing Ulrich’s heart rate emitted a steady beeeeeeeeeeeep.

 

Yumi gasped. “I can’t watch!” She turned her head away from Ulrich’s bed and covered her eyes. Odd just looked at Ulrich with unseeing eyes.

 

Then the monitor finally started pulsing. A sigh of relief passed through the room. Ulrich slowly opened his eyes.

 

~~~

 

The hospital room had cleared out. Aelita, Jeremie, Odd, and Yumi crowded around Ulrich’s bed.

 

“Are you okay?” asked Yumi tentatively.

 

Ulrich shook his head, as if to clear it. “I’m fine. But I have no idea why I fainted.”

 

Suddenly Jeremie’s computer started to beep. Jeremie rushed over and opened his laptop. “Uh-oh. There’s an activated tower in…wait…Carthage! It’s been a while since a tower has been activated there.”

 

“You guys go and deactivate it,” said Odd. “I’ll stay here with Ulrich.”

 

Just as Yumi and Jeremie started to head toward the door, Aelita screamed, pointing upward. A specter was materializing from one of the lights directly above Ulrich’s bed. Before anyone could do anything, the specter attacked Ulrich.

 

As his eyesight slid out of focus, Ulrich heard faint screams of “Ulrich!” “Let go of him, XANA!” “I’m calling the doctor! Just hang on, Ulrich!” before his eyelids closed, and black smoke overpowered his thoughts.

Meanwhile, on Lyoko, in the Ice, Desert, Forest, and Mountain sectors, a tower formed. The towers then took on a white aura.

Chapter 4- The Dream by 5CarthageRocks

Chapter 4- The Dream (8.18.07)

“Come on, Ulrich! Hang in there!” Aelita called.

Everyone had low hopes. Ulrich had been out cold for ten minutes, and again his heart beat was starting to get lower. Of the four, Yumi was the least composed. She was sobbing quietly into her hands. Aelita, Jeremie, and Odd wanted to do the same, but were in shock, unable to move.

Suddenly a second beeping came from Jeremie’s laptop. Jeremie quickly opened it. “XANA’s called off the attack! The tower just deactivated itself!”

 

“Then why is Ulrich still unconscious?” Odd asked, for once not willing to joke.

 

Jeremie’s triumphant smile faded. He didn’t know the answer. They could only expect the worst.

 

---

 

Ulrich had never felt better in his life. He felt strong and full of energy compared to when he had been in the hospital bed, his strength slipping away. But then he saw something to change his state of mind completely.

 

A man with graying hair and round-rimmed glasses was walking toward him. Ulrich had seen him before. Where had it been?

 

Then he remembered. He had seen this man last as a polymorphic specter of XANA. This man was Franz Hopper.

 

“Hello, Ulrich,” Franz said, speaking with the voice that had haunted his dreams for the past few weeks. “I have been waiting for you to come.”

 

“Am I dead?” Ulrich asked fearfully, afraid of the answer. Then he remembered that Franz was eternally virtualized in the Network. Wasn’t he?

 

“No, you are not,” replied Franz. “But you are not alive either.”

 

Ulrich was puzzled. “Either I’m alive or dead, right? I can’t be both? Or none?”

 

“You are merely having a dream,” replied Franz. “This was the best way I could contact you without XANA interfering. But your body is currently giving off the impression that you are dead.”

 

Ulrich understood, but at the same time he was even more puzzled than before. Franz, seeing the same puzzled state on Ulrich’s features, said, “Your mind has simply left your body.”

 

Ulrich jolted at the thought. The last time this had happened, XANA had taken control of his body on Earth. “Do you have a reason for contacting me? And giving me dreams for the past few weeks?” That have tormented me ever since, he silently added.

 

“Oh yes. I do. I would not simply remove your mind from your body just for my pleasure. Although XANA probably would have.”

 

This got Ulrich to thinking. “Does this have to do with your localization on the Network, and your rematerialization?”

 

Franz nodded. He made a choice right then, that he would not tell Ulrich his secret. The boy would have to find out for himself.

 

---

 

The doctors had all filed out of the hospital room. All was quiet, except for sobbing. Ulrich’s heart had stopped beating 10 minutes ago. It was impossible that he was alive.

 

Yumi was in shock, no longer able to cry. From the time the doctor had come over and told the four that Ulrich had passed on, Yumi had not made a single movement. Aelita was quietly sobbing into Jeremie’s sweater, not able to look at the hospital bed where Ulrich lay, unmoving. Odd, like Yumi, was also in shock. None of them had expected Ulrich to be the one XANA would attack and kill.

 

“It should have been me,” Odd finally said, his voice cracking. “It should have been me. Ulrich gave more to the group than I ever did.”

 

“Except your jokes,” Jeremie’s muffled voice said.

 

“But why Ulrich, Jeremie?” Aelita asked, barely audible. “Why him? Why not you or me?”

 

“XANA has to have a reason,” Odd said hoarsely. “But was it just to eliminate one of the Lyoko Warriors? Because that’s a weak reason. If he really wanted to eliminate one of us, he would have done so years ago. Do any of you realize that it’s been more than two years since we discovered XANA?”

 

“XANA did it because he’s evil,” Yumi said, finally showing signs of life. “But this is low, even for him. Attacking someone while they’re weak and helpless is completely evil.”

 

“XANA’s an Artificial Intelligence. He can do almost whatever he wants,” Aelita said, her voice choking. The group fell quiet.

 

---

 

“But why me?” Ulrich asked. “Why did you choose me to take this message, and not Aelita, your daughter?”

 

“Oh, there is a reason for that. There is a reason for everything. But I’m not sure if you can handle the answer.”

 

Ulrich looked at Franz with even more puzzlement. ‘It isn’t a simple reason, like my mind and body being able to handle the strain or something?”

 

Franz shook his head.

 

“But can you tell me?”

 

Franz shook his head again.

 

“Why? Is it ‘can’t’ or ‘won’t’?”

 

“It’s more of the shock that might come to you if I do tell you,” Franz replied. “Your mind might not be able to stand the shock, and it may separate from your body completely. Right now, your mind is connected to your body by a connection weaker than a hair.”

 

Ulrich looked surprised. He hadn’t expected to separate from his mind completely. But he was willing to take the risk. “Franz, I’ve come this far. All my friends probably think I’m dead now. And I’m probably not going to get another chance to talk to you.”

 

Franz pondered this. Then he sighed. “All right, I’ll tell you, since you’re so persistent. Like your mother,” he added quietly.

 

“What?"

 

“It’s nothing. Now, listen closely…”

 

---

 

Odd blinked. He could have sworn that Ulrich had moved. “I think my eyes are playing tricks on me. Ulrich just twitched.”

 

Jeremie looked surprised. “Odd, it’s impossible he moved because he’s…”

 

“I know,” Odd said, quickly cutting Jeremie off, chancing a glance at Yumi. She was staring blankly at Ulrich’s bed, and didn’t seem to have heard.

 

Then she gasped, pointing at Ulrich. Ulrich was blinking his eyes. Aelita gasped, not sure if she was seeing things. Jeremie’s jaw dropped to about his ankles. Odd stared at Ulrich with a face made of stone, his eyes wide.

 

Ulrich sat up. “Are you guys okay?”

 

Jeremie suddenly picked up his laptop and, in one swift movement, held it threateningly over Ulrich’s head. “Why did you take control of Ulrich’s body, XANA?”

 

Ulrich looked shocked. “I’m not XANA! Jeremie, don’t you dare hit me with your laptop! Unless you want me knocked out again!”

 

Yumi gently removed the laptop from Jeremie's hands and set it aside. “I know it’s him.”

 

Jeremie looked surprised. “But how?”

 

Yumi glanced at Aelita. “Female intuition.” Aelita nodded in agreement.

 

“Are you sure?” Odd asked. “May I remind you that last time your ‘female intuition’ was wrong about whether Jeremie was a polymorphic specter?”

 

“This time they’re right, Odd,” Ulrich said. Everyone turned. “Because I know your feet still smell like a fresh pile of manure.”

 

Everyone smiled. Yumi rushed over and hugged Ulrich. Odd turned to Jeremie and said, “Better launch a Return then, Einstein? There’s absolutely no way we can explain to doctors why a boy came back to life after his heart stopped ten minutes ago.”

 

Aelita glanced at Odd. “Since when are you serious? Did XANA do a mind swap and switch you and Ulrich’s minds?”

 

“No,” Odd replied. “And once was enough. Do you know that Yumi’s-”

 

Yumi cut Odd off. “Shut it, Odd. May I remind you that I had to sleep your body? I don’t know how you manage to sleep with a-”

 

“My feet are fine, thank you very much, Yumi,” Odd said.

 

“Oh sure,” Ulrich said sarcastically, rolling his eyes to Yumi. “And to think we ever thought you could find a cure for your feet. Einstein, how much does amputation cost?”

 

“Actually, I think the doctors will do it for free after they smell Odd’s feet,” Jeremie replied.

After that, no one could breathe from laughing.

Chapter 5- A New Find by 5CarthageRocks

Chapter 5- A New Find (8.20.07)

There was a knock on the door. Aelita called, “Who is it?”

“Aelita, can I come in? I have something important to tell you.”

 

Aelita was surprised. “Sure, Ulrich, I’ll be there in a moment.” Aelita lifted her history paper off of her lap and walked over to open the door.

 

Ulrich looked surprisingly relaxed, considering he had almost died just a few hours ago. He walked in and sat down on Aelita’s bed. Aelita occupied her computer chair. “So, what’s up?” she asked.

 

Ulrich looked rather nervous. “Aelita, I have something to tell you. It’s a message from your father.”

 

Aelita was shocked. “You mean you saw my father? I thought you said that XANA had attacked you!”

 

Ulrich shifted uneasily. “I had to lie. Your father told me to give you the message first. It was up to you whether you wanted to tell everyone else. And when I heard the message, I had to agree with him.”

 

---

 

Meanwhile, Jeremie was in the computer lab, working on yet another program to bring William back. The new program would require William’s spiritual essence first of course, but once they had it, Jeremie would need to find a way to take XANA’s control out of William and fusion his mind with his body. It wouldn’t be easy, since XANA would surely be prepared for the day it happened.

 

Suddenly, the radar window refocused to something next to the Digital DNA the Skid’s last mission had located. Jeremie was surprised. “I didn’t expect to find another Replika that easily! I’d better call Aelita.”

 

---

 

Aelita was in shock. “But why didn’t I see any of this in my memories of Earth?”

 

“Franz chose to keep it a secret. He wasn’t sure of the way you’d take it.” Ulrich was relieved to get the secret out, but at the same time he was nervous of the way Aelita would comprehend it.

 

Before either of them could say anything else, Aelita’s phone started ringing. Still shaking, Aelita answered it. “Hello?”

 

“Aelita? It’s Jeremie,” Ulrich heard. “Guess what? I just found a new Replika!”

 

Aelita gave Ulrich a significant look. “Great. But what do you need me for? That last exploration of the first Replika wasn’t very successful. We didn’t get any new data. We only confirmed that it actually existed, and that wasn’t much.”

 

“I know, I know, but there’s something…more. I think we should explore it.”

 

Aelita looked puzzled. “Why? What’s the catch?”

 

“I’m not telling. You have to find out for yourself,” Jeremie replied teasingly.

 

Aelita sighed. “Okay, I’m coming. I’ll call the others. See you soon.” She hung up and glanced at Ulrich.

 

“I’ll call Odd, you call Yumi,” he replied to her questioning look.

 

---

 

Ten minutes later, everyone was in the factory.

 

“Einstein, I hope this is important. I’m missing my beauty sleep,” Odd huffed.

 

“Wow, you actually get beauty from your sleep? You must have been pretty ugly before I met you,” Ulrich chuckled.

 

“Hey, doesn’t the fact that I had long hair instead of a spike scare you enough?” Odd asked, grinning. “I can’t even imagine myself without a spike now.”

 

“Well, I do think we can actually get data on XANA this time,” Jeremie said. “Just trust me. It’s a surprise.”

 

“You didn’t create the Replika, did you?” asked Aelita.

 

“No, because for one thing, I would need another supercomputer. Lyoko takes up this supercomputer’s memory as it is.”

 

“Guys, can we hurry up? I have a History test tomorrow,” Yumi said impatiently.

 

“Sure thing, Yumi,” Jeremie replied. He turned back to the computer. “Get into the scanners, and I’ll transfer you.”

 

---

 

As the Skid came out of the Hub close to the new Replika, Ulrich wondered what it would be like. Sure, he had been there before in his dream, but he was still curious to see what it looked like from the outside.

 

The Skid approached the entrance gate. Aelita immediately activated the digital key, and she cast a white beam from the Skid to the entrance gate.

 

A window popped up on Jeremie’s screen. He shifted uneasily.

 

After about half a minute, Aelita asked, “Jeremie? Is there anything wrong?”

 

“Yeah,” came Jeremie’s voice. “The code for entering the Replika is generic. It’s a six-letter password, and I can’t crack it with the system.”

 

“Is there a limit to the number of attempts?” asked Yumi.

 

“Yeah,” came the reply, “three. And then we’re locked out for good.”

 

There was silence. Then Odd said, “So, can we think of any six-letter words that have to do with XANA? Let’s see…Aelita?”

 

“Very funny, Odd,” Aelita said.

 

“Hmm…it’s worth a shot,” Jeremie said. He typed in A-E-L-I-T-A. Immediately a pop-up with a red exclamation point appeared.

 

“Nope,” Jeremie’s voice came. “Any other guesses?”

 

“There’s Hopper. Or Scipio,” Yumi said. “But those have to do with Franz Hopper.”

 

“Try Scipio, Jeremie,” Aelita said.

 

Jeremie typed in S-C-I-P-I-O. The error window came up again. “Nope. Sorry. And we only have one more shot.”

 

Ulrich was thinking with his head in his hands. Then a fragment of a scene came back to him.

 

Ulrich saw his name on an interface close by. “Franz, what’s my name doing here?”

 

“It’s actually a code,” Franz replied. “Remember it, for it may help you very, very soon.”

 

The flashback ended. Ulrich sat straight up, taking his head out of his hands. “Jeremie, wait. I know what the code is.”

 

Jeremie was surprised. “You do? What is it?”

 

“It’s…well…my name,” Ulrich replied. “You know…Ulrich. It’s a six-letter word.”

 

Jeremie was puzzled. “Ulrich, how do you know? Might I remind you that we only have one try left?”
“Jeremie, trust him,” Aelita intervened. “I know he’s right.”

 

Jeremie was even more confused. “Aelita, how do you know? Did something happen?”

 

Aelita replied, unblushingly. “No, it's nothing.”

 

Jeremie started to get suspicious. But before he could ask what was going on, Odd said, “Jeremie, just give it a shot. We’re wasting time.”

 

Jeremie typed in U-L-R-I-C-H. To his amazement, the Replika accepted the password. The Replika gate opened. Yumi and Odd just stared.

 

The Skid went through the gate, and up into the Replika. But instead of meeting water, interfaces with binary codes started appearing around them. Suddenly the interfaces opened up into a wide area. A huge blue sphere loomed above them.

 

“Hey!” Yumi exclaimed. “The Replika is of…Carthage?”

 

“Was this the surprise?” Odd asked. “What’s so great about a Replika of Carthage?”

 

“Odd,” Jeremie replied, “it’s because the Replika is of Carthage that I’m almost certain we can collect data.”

 

“Of course, the interface,” Aelita said. But she wasn’t all that surprised, as she had found all this out about half an hour ago. Aelita took hold of the joysticks. The Skid rose up and around the central sphere.

 

“There it is,” Aelita said. Sure enough, there was the platform jutting out of Carthage, just like in the Celestial Dome in Lyoko. Aelita stopped the Skid in front of the platform, and then pressed a few buttons. “Teleport.”

 

Aelita, Yumi, Ulrich and Odd disappeared from inside the Skid and moments later appeared on the platform. Aelita immediately accessed the interface and started gathering data. “Jeremie, I can’t find anything about XANA. I don’t think the Replika has been made by him.”

 

“What?” Jeremie exclaimed. “Then if it isn’t by XANA, then…who?”

 

Aelita knew the answer, and glanced at Ulrich over her shoulder. Ulrich gave a small shake of his head, indicating not to tell. Fortunately, Odd and Yumi didn’t notice, as they were still looking around the Replika as if they didn’t really believe it was there.

 

“I’m checking the log,” Aelita said. “Hmm…interesting.”

 

“What?” Yumi asked, turning toward Aelita.

 

“It seems that the Replika was created just five hours ago, and that’s probably why Jeremie was able to find it without the Skid. It must have alerted the radar program for about an hour, and that’s how he found it.” Aelita glanced at Ulrich again. Five hours ago, Ulrich had been in the hospital bed, supposedly dead by XANA, but (unknown to everyone except Aelita) instead in a realistic dream.

 

“Yeah, that sounds about right,” Jeremie said. “Hey!”

 

“What, Einstein?” Odd asked. “Did you break a nail?”

 

“Ha-ha, very funny Odd,” Jeremie said. “No, I just got the results back from a search I did on the Lyoko log program. And guess what? Franz created a temporary tower in each of the sectors five hours ago, and they just disappeared!”

 

“Huh?” Yumi said. “Five hours ago” – she turned to Ulrich – “Ulrich was out cold. Or so we thought.” Odd turned to Ulrich too.

 

“Hey!” Aelita quickly said, diverting the attention from Ulrich to her. “I just confirmed that my father created the Replika. He must have used those towers to gain access to another supercomputer, and to create the Replika with it.”

 

“But if Franz created it…” Ulrich said, trying to act like he knew nothing, when in fact he knew everything. Memories of the Replika and what had happened five hours ago flooded back into his mind, and it was all he could do not to blurt it all out. “Then is this really a Replika? I mean, Franz must have a purpose for creating it.”

“Well, it’s definitely not what XANA plans to do,” Jeremie said. “Hopefully.”

Chapter 6- The Key To Our Problems by 5CarthageRocks

Chapter 6- The Key to Our Problems (8.22.07)

“Okay,” Aelita said, relieved. “I’ve collected all the data we could on the Replika. I’m transmitting it back to you, Jeremie.”
“It’s really strange that there hasn’t been a single monster to greet us,” Odd said. “They must be scared of us or something.”

“Or, Odd,” Jeremie replied, rolling his eyes, “maybe it has something to do with the fact that this Replika was created by Franz Hopper, and that XANA may not have control over it?”

 

“Oh.”

 

“So, Aelita, what kind of data did you collect?” Yumi asked. “I probably won’t understand it, but try me.”

 

Aelita looked like she was in deep thought, and wasn’t paying attention. Yumi’s voice jolted her out of her thoughts. “Huh?”

 

Ulrich glanced at Aelita. “Something on your mind?”

 

Aelita looked down at her feet. “I was just wondering what it’s going to be like to have my father back,” she mumbled.

 

“What?” Yumi exclaimed, flabbergasted. “You found out how to rematerialize your father?”

 

Odd looked at Aelita with shock.

 

“I thought we were going to keep it a surprise, Aelita,” Jeremie said.

 

Aelita blushed. “Sorry, Jeremie, but I can’t keep something that good a secret for long.”

 

---

 

Odd shifted his position in his NavSkid. “So, Jeremie, all we have to do is find Franz’s form on the Network, and we can bring him back?”

 

“Yeah,” Jeremie’s voice said. “I would have had to find other programs that are really difficult to create to bring William and Franz back after we found their Digital DNA, but all that data was stored in the Replika’s database.”

 

“What sort of programs?” Ulrich asked.

 

“Well, for one, there would have to be a program that turned the DNA back into a form, and also-” Jeremie broke off. Had Ulrich asked that? “Ulrich, since when are you interested in computers?”

 

Ulrich blushed. "I thought you might want to, y’know, like rant and rave and brag about the great thing that’s about to happen.”

 

It was Jeremie’s turn to blush. He had acted superior on few occasions, and he had also bragged about the programs he had created. “Oh.”

 

“So where exactly is Franz’s Digital DNA?” Yumi asked quickly, attempting to change the subject.

 

Aelita responded, “The only way we can tell is if we get close enough to it with the sonar. But we did find that other Digital DNA right before XANA activated a tower and cast a meteor shower on Earth. It’s probably worth a try to go back there.” Aelita steered the Skid away from her father’s Replika, and activated the engines. “Jeremie, do you happen to have the coordinates from that Digital DNA sample we found? The one I was just talking about?”

 

Jeremie snapped out of his daydream. “Uh…hang on, let me find it,” he replied, searching through the databank of the supercomputer. He went through the Skid’s mission logs, complete with coordinates to mark where the Skid had traveled. “Got it. I’m entering the coordinates into the Skid.”

 

“Okay, I’ve got the coordinates,” Aelita said a few seconds later. “It’s all the way on the other side of the Network. Looks like we’re going to have to take a Hub to it.”

 

“Aelita, the right Hub is at ten o’clock,” Jeremie said.

 

“Okay, I’ve got them,” Aelita replied. “Hub in sight. Thirty seconds till dive.” As they neared the Hub, Aelita pulled a lever. The lower shaft of the Skid holding the NavSkids rotated so it was vertical. “Broadband acceleration in three…two…one…zero.” The Skid dove into the Hub.

 

Bright orange lights flashed by them as they flew at hyper speed to the other end of the Network through the Hub. Finally, they shot out of the Hub back into the main part of the Network. Aelita slammed a button. “Retro brakes!” The Skid slowed to a crawl.

 

“The sonar is picking up the Digital DNA,” Aelita said to Jeremie. “But besides my father, the Digital DNA could belong to…William.”

 

“If it is, should we bring William back now?” Yumi asked Jeremie. “Is it really necessary? I would love having the old William back instead of that polymorphic loon, but it depends on if we’re…”

 

“Ready?” offered Odd, grinning mischievously. “It’ll be just like the old days if William comes back. Both Ulrich and William fighting over-”

 

“Odd!” Yumi cut Odd off, blushing.

 Ulrich was lost in thought and didn’t hear Odd. He was thinking about what would happen when his true father came back.

Chapter 7- Discovery by 5CarthageRocks

Chapter 7- Discovery (8.22.07)

 

A bright orange sphere loomed up ahead. Aelita’s palms started to sweat. In her mind, only a few thoughts registered: That’s it. There he is. There’s my father.

 

“There it is,” said Jeremie’s voice. “The virtual signature says that it's…Franz Hopper.”

 

“And he’s in…a Guardian?” asked Yumi, remembering the time she had been trapped in a Guardian. A XANA clone had taken her place on Earth. And strangely, if this was a Guardian, the same thing had happened to Franz: a clone had taken his place on Earth as a deception by XANA to trap Ulrich, Odd, and her on Lyoko, and he had virtualized Aelita to the Desert sector where the Scyphozoa had stood waiting.

 

“It sure looks like it,” was Jeremie’s reply. “But the bio-signature of the Guardian is identical of the DNA sequence code part Aelita found once in the Sector 5 database. He must be in a Guardian so that he’s protected from XANA, and so XANA can’t track him.” Jeremie was referring to the loose white sphere that was Franz’s form that had appeared in the Ice Sector a while back. It wasn’t a form like a person, but it was something that had been recognized by the supercomputer.

 

“But if he’s in a Guardian,” Odd pondered, “then how could we track him? And…how do we free him?”

 

“The first question’s an easy one,” Aelita replied. “The Guardian most likely wasn’t programmed by XANA. My father himself must have programmed it when he left Lyoko. He must have copied the design of the Guardian, but altered the algorithm with some sort of code. The code must have made him traceable to us, but not by XANA. It might also have helped that he appeared on Lyoko, so that the supercomputer recognized his form, then and now. And Guardians are generally invincible, so he must have also created the Guardian to protect himself from XANA.”

 

“And…the second question?” Odd asked.

 

“Well…” Aelita had to restrain herself, because she knew the answer to that from Ulrich, but she didn’t want everyone to know about Ulrich’s dream. Yet.

 

Back in the factory, Jeremie was thinking too. “It’s a fairly basic algorithm, but if I terminate the Guardian, we might not being able to retrieve Franz inside. We have to materialize him directly from the Guardian into the scanners.”

 

There was a pause. “Well?” asked Ulrich. “Can you do it?” Like Aelita, he knew exactly what they had to do, but it was risky telling everyone about his dream when XANA could be lurking nearby.

 

Jeremie pondered. “It’s going to be hard, because I’ve never materialized anyone directly from the Network, much less from a Guardian. Although the Guardian gives the same readings a person gives, there are still some codes I need, like his complete DNA sequence code. I need direct access from my end, which is pretty much impossible.”

 

Aelita rolled her eyes. “I can give you direct access, Jeremie.”

 

“What do you mean? I can’t get direct access from my end without-”

 

In response, Aelita activated the digital key. A white beam shot from the Skid to the Guardian. Jeremie felt stupid. “Oh.” He quickly started gathering the data he needed.

 

---

 

“I’m finished,” Jeremie finally said. “But because the record of Franz’s profile disappeared from the supercomputer when he returned to the Network, I still can’t read his virtual form. I can’t materialize Franz without his original profile. It’s strange that Franz’s profile wasn’t stored in the Guardian.”

 

Ulrich couldn’t hold back any longer. “Jeremie, I know what to do.”

 

“What?” Odd exclaimed. “You barely know how to virtualize yourself!”

 

“You have to trust me, Jeremie,” Ulrich said impatiently. “No, I’m not possessed by XANA, but I know how to do it. Franz told me directly. And Odd, you barely know how to virtualize yourself.”

 

“What do you mean, ‘Franz told you directly’?” Yumi asked. “There hasn’t been anytime in the past few weeks that Franz could have-” Yumi broke off, realizing the answer to her question. “Oh.”

 

Franz Hopper has been the cause of your nightmares?” Jeremie asked, astonished. “But why?”

 

“I can’t tell you now, with XANA watching our every move,” Ulrich said impatiently. “Just trust me, okay?”

 

Jeremie leaned back against the back of his chair, still in awe. “Okay. I have a feeling this is gong to take a while.”

 

“One more thing before I continue: Odd, Yumi, please don’t distract me. My memory of the dream is kind of vague.”

 

“Fine,” Odd and Yumi said at the same time.

 

Ulrich closed his eyes and thought hard, remembering Franz’s instructions from his dream. “Okay. Jeremie, the first thing you have to do is unpack the data from Franz’s Replika.”

 

Jeremie began typing. “Okay. Then what?”

 

“Next, broadcast the data to the Code: Earth program you made to materialize Aelita.”

 

Jeremie stopped typing. “What?”

 

Ulrich sighed. “Jeremie, just trust me, okay? If you must know, the data was organized and encoded so Aelita’s materialization program will recognize Franz’s digital form and load it as a profile on the supercomputer.”

 

Jeremie started typing again, still not seeing how that was possible, but trusting Ulrich. “Okay. First let me find Code: Earth. I stored it in the restricted part of the supercomputer. It could take a few minutes.”

 

Five minutes later, Jeremie’s voice rang out. “Okay! I’ve loaded Franz’s profile back onto the supercomputer. It was so simple: since Code: Earth had to recognize the profile, the quantum flux allowed the data to be written as a profile, when no other program could do it. But what I don’t get is why it wasn’t accessible from the Guardian. Or why Franz couldn’t have made it easier.”

 

“It’s simple,” Ulrich answered easily. “Franz picked a random way to encode it so that XANA wouldn’t know how to do it. And Franz didn’t make the data accessible through the Guardian because XANA could have transported Franz somewhere else with that data, somewhere we may not have known.”

Jeremie smacked his head. “I should have known. That XANA is such a big pain in the rear.”

Chapter 8- Miracles by 5CarthageRocks

Chapter 8- Miracles (8.25.07- 8.26.07)

“So now that I have Franz’s profile,” Jeremie said, “I just need to materialize him directly from the Network. This is going to be very tricky.” Jeremie thought back to the discussions he and Aelita had had about virtualization and materialization directly from the Network. All of their theories had dead ends.

Jeremie shook his head to clear his mind. “First of all, I’m going to have to destroy the Guardian.” He checked the algorithm again. “Since the algorithm is so simple, that shouldn’t be a problem. The real problem is that a split second later, I have to materialize Franz.”

 

“What’s so hard about that?” Odd joked. “You’re saying you can’t materialize someone when you’ve materialized other people hundreds of times?”

 

“Odd, you’re missing the point,” Jeremie said, rolling his eyes. “Aelita and I never found out how to virtualize you guys to the Network, or how to bring you back. Aelita, Ulrich, do you have any ideas?”

 

Suddenly, before Aelita or Ulrich could respond, the Network suddenly turned from red to blue. On Jeremie’s end, a radar window suddenly popped up. “Hang on, Aelita. You’ve got company!”

 

Aelita quickly grabbed the joysticks. “Where? I can’t see anything.”

 

“Aelita,” Jeremie said, panicking, “it’s Willi-”

 

Before Jeremie could finish, a stream of black smoke suddenly appeared. Aelita activated the engine, but it was too late. The smoke attached itself to Ulrich’s NavSkid. A split second later, the smoke vanished. Jeremie gasped. "Guys, William just captured Ulrich. Ulrich's gone."

 

~~~

 

In the Arena of Franz’s Replika, a wisp of black smoke appeared. It steadily grew larger until it was the size of a person. A boy tumbled out of the smoke.

 

Ulrich had known that XANA would have tried to stop him from helping Jeremie to materialize Franz, but at the time he was so focused on helping Jeremie that this capture was unexpected.

 

Behind Ulrich, the smoke reformed into a boy with a dark outfit and a navy blue XANA eye on his chest.

 

“How were you able to access here, XANA?” Ulrich asked, not turning around.

 

“You’re the one that had the access,” said William, speaking for his master, XANA. “After I captured you, I had complete access to this Replika. And you have something I want.” Five Creepers formed in a circle around them, and made sounds of agreement. They seemed like random sounds to Ulrich.

 

Ulrich turned slowly around. “What of it? You know that I’ll refuse to tell you.”

 

William’s eyes widened. Then he laughed. His laughter was pitched medium-high, as if he was drunk. “You think I need you to tell me, Ulrich Hopper? I have everything I need to move your father right here.”

 

Ulrich, confused, was about to retort, but then something appeared behind William from the corridor that led to the Core Zone. The pieces of the puzzle combined at last. He groaned. “Of course. How could I forget about the Scyphozoa?”

 

---

 

Meanwhile, in the factory, Jeremie was trying to track down Ulrich. He had searched the Forest Replika, the Network, and Lyoko. Suddenly, he had another idea. What if XANA took Ulrich to the Replika we just found? he thought. He started typing again vigorously.

 

“Jeremie, any news?” asked Yumi. Her voice was strained, and she was nervous. What was XANA doing to Ulrich?

 

“Uh…” Jeremie stuttered, waiting for the results of the search to come back. “Got it! He’s in the Arena of Franz’s Replika, with William and…” Jeremie readjusted his glasses, not sure if he was seeing things. “Oh no! The Scyphozoa!”

 

“XANA must want to move Franz so we won’t be able to find him,” Odd said in a hoarse voice. “We have to stop him!”

 

“Okay,” Aelita said. “Full speed ahead.”

 

“Wait, Aelita!” Jeremie exclaimed. “What if it’s a trap?”

 

Aelita was exasperated. “I don’t care if it’s a trap. What matters is that my father’s and brother’s lives are at-” Aelita broke off. “Oops,” she whispered.

 

For the fourth time that day, all Jeremie, Yumi, and Odd could do was to be flabbergasted. Jeremie nearly fell out of his chair.

 

---

 

Ulrich quickly drew his swords as the Scyphozoa neared him. “You’ll never win, XANA,” Ulrich said.

 

“On the contrary,” William said, wearing a smirk, “I already have.”

 

As Ulrich tried to slice the Scyphozoa’s tentacles, it disappeared as if it were a hologram. Ulrich stared. “What the-”

 

Suddenly, Ulrich was grabbed from behind. As his mind started to go blank, the last thing he heard was William laughing, saying, “You always were the gullible one.”

 

No, Odd always was, Ulrich replied silently, before his body became paralyzed.

 

---

 

A window appeared on Jeremie’s screen. “Oh no!” Jeremie exclaimed, speaking for the first time. “XANA’s stealing Ulrich’s memory! Aelita, please hurry!”

 

“We’re in the Replika,” Aelita said as the Skid emerged from the databank tunnel. As she piloted the Skid up to the platform, she reflected on how she had just let Ulrich’s secret slip. There had been complete silence after she let it slip. She wondered if everyone else would feel the way she had when she found out.

 

The Skid finally stopped in front of the platform. Aelita pressed a few buttons. “Teleport.” She, Odd, and Yumi appeared on the platform.

 

“It looks like you’ll have to go by foot to the Arena,” Jeremie said, his voice filled with anxiety, and his palms sweaty. “By then, Ulrich’s memory could be gone for good. It’s already halfway gone.”

 

“Super,” Odd said sarcastically. “Can’t you just program us out vehicles?”

 

Suddenly another window appeared on Jeremie’s screen. “Huh?” he said, puzzled and relieved. “Guys, it looks like you can take the Transporter in.” He typed in the letters S-C-I-P-I-O. The window immediately refocused to a sphere spinning inside a few circles as the Replika processed the password.

 

A white sphere with a XANA eye floated down toward Aelita, Yumi and Odd. The Transporter scooped them up, and took them into the Core Zone.

 

---

 

Ulrich was only wary of a few things as the Scyphozoa stole his memory: that he was Franz Hopper’s son, with Aelita as his twin; that he alone held the key to his father’s rematerialization; and that he should have told Aelita how to materialize their father so that she could have told the last bit to Jeremie. With a heavy heart, he knew that he had failed.

 

Slowly, his thoughts started to fade away like the rest of his memory.

 

---

 

William drew back as the Transporter whooshed out of the corridor. Aelita, Yumi, and Odd emerged to see five Creepers surrounding them, with Ulrich just ahead of them in the Scyphozoa’s tentacles, his memory being stolen. There was no sign of William.

 

“Go on, Aelita,” Odd said, turning to her. “We’ll cover you.” Odd glanced at Yumi, and she nodded, drawing her fans.

 

“Okay,” Aelita said. She quickly ran toward Ulrich as the Creepers closed in. Two Creepers slithered in front of her, blocking her path.

 

“Aelita, not to rush you or anything,” Jeremie’s voice called, “but Ulrich’s memory is almost all gone. Try to worry about the Creepers later.”

 

Aelita quickly waved her hand across the star bracelet on her wrist. Her wings appeared, and she rose up and over the Creepers to try to get to Ulrich. The Creepers quickly pursued her.

 

Behind her, Odd and Yumi were fighting the four other Creepers. Odd was firing at one of them, but it kept dodging his shots. Yumi was fighting two Creepers at once, dodging their shots and trying to throw her fans at them.

 

Suddenly, Odd’s Creeper turned away from him, charging its laser. It aimed at Aelita, who had almost gotten to Ulrich. Odd shouted, “Aelita, look out!” and jumped in front of the Creeper, blocking its shot. Odd was down.

 

Aelita turned when she heard Odd. “Odd, no!” she cried as she saw Odd disappear. But she had gotten distracted from her goal. The two Creepers below her fired at her. She dropped like a dead fly, and devirtualized before she hit the ground.

 

“Yumi, it’s up to you!” Jeremie cried. “Try to get to Ulrich!”

 

“I’m on it, Jeremie,” Yumi said as her fans whipped back to her, destroying the two Creepers she had been fighting in their path. She caught her fans, and started running toward Ulrich.

 

As she ran, she aimed her fans at the Scyphozoa and threw them. Just as they were about to hit it, two shots dislodged their path. Yumi jumped up and was about to catch them when she was hit by a stream of smoke. She landed hard, turned around and gasped.

 

William was walking straight toward her.

 

---

 

“Yumi just lost,” Jeremie informed Aelita and Odd, his voice low and dreary. “It’s over. XANA’s won. Ulrich’s memory has been wiped clean.”

 

“But XANA hasn’t beaten us,” Odd said, wide-eyed. “The four of us are still…” Odd broke off, seeing Jeremie’s point.

 

Aelita was holding back tears. “I’m not sure if I even want to fight anymore, with my father and brother gone,” she said quietly.

 

---

 

The Scyphozoa floated away from Ulrich. The three remaining Creepers vanished. Ulrich lay on the ground, his memory gone.

 

Suddenly, a white sphere engulfed Ulrich, floating in midair. And Ulrich began to remember.

 

--- Back in the factory, everyone turned as the door opened and Yumi walked in.

 

“I’m sorry,” Yumi said. She looked like she was about to cry, like Aelita.

 

“It’s okay,” Aelita said in a voice thick with sorrow. “It wasn’t your fault that…” Aelita burst into tears. Odd patted her on the back, tears coming from his eyes, too.

 

Suddenly, a beep came from Jeremie’s screen. Jeremie raised his head out of his hands. “Guys, look!”

 

Yumi was still crying, but she made an effort to look. Her tears slowly stopped flowing. She gasped for what seemed the millionth time that day.

 

Aelita and Odd looked up and stared. Ulrich’s memory counter was rising. A voice came from the computer. “Have you at least missed me?”

 

Yumi was relieved to hear Ulrich’s voice. “Of course we have, silly. Do you realize that this is the third time today you almost died?”

 

“Franz Hopper must have given your memory back,” Jeremie said with a glance at Aelita. “Just like how he did to Aelita.”

 

“Jeremie,” Ulrich asked, quickly changing the subject, “can you program me something so I can get the Skid back to the hangar? And so I can instruct you along the way on how to get my father-” Ulrich broke off. “Oops.”

 

“Don’t worry, they already know,” Aelita said. She glanced at the others. “I accidentally let it slip.”

 

“You mean it’s not a jo-” Odd began to ask.

 

Jeremie cut Odd off. “Later, Odd. Ulrich, since XANA has a copy of your memory, he’ll be able to transport Franz anywhere he likes. Can you finish telling me how to materialize Franz?”

 

Ulrich thought for a bit. “I can, but first deny XANA access to my father’s profile and Code: Earth. He needs them to organize the data from the Replika into my father’s profile.”

 

Jeremie quickly typed in a few codes. “Okay, but they’re temporary. Can you tell me how to finish materializing Franz Hopper?”

Epilogue by 5CarthageRocks

Epilogue

The scanner in front of Aelita, Jeremie, Odd, Yumi, and Ulrich warmed up. Aelita was holding Jeremie’s hand. Yumi was holding Ulrich in a half-hug, unable to believe that he was there with her after three close calls that day.

The scanner’s doors finally opened. A man in a beige sweater and black jeans emerged, coughing. Ulrich and Aelita rushed forward, supporting him as he collapsed. Franz Hopper was finally there with them.

 

Franz turned to his left. “Aelita?” he said. And then turned to his left. “Ulrich?” They both nodded, and then hugged him, bursting into tears after being separated from him for years.

 

In a discussion in the Hermitage later, Franz and Ulrich explained about the memories he and Aelita had lost. Ulrich Hopper had been five years old when Franz had first tried in his spare time to create a “datacaster”. It had been a prototype of the scanners. He tried to send Ulrich to the half-made Carthage, but the process got a bug. Franz’s wife, Aelita and Ulrich’s mother, had filed a divorce, but later gotten into a car accident one day on her way home. When Franz had heard about it, he had gotten depressed, and had seemed paranoid in the video journal when he had found out one day in the factory that all his work had been modified.

 

Unknown to Franz and Aelita, five years after he had unsuccessfully been transferred to Carthage, Ulrich had popped out of the datacaster. The process had completely terminated his memory. The police had found him dazed outside the factory, and had immediately put him up for adoption, as there had been no orphanage in that city. As much as Ulrich’s foster father and mother looked like him, he was still a Hopper at heart.

 

After Ulrich filled everyone in on his dream that his father had given him, they started to repair the Hermitage. After a few days of sneaking off between classes and during breaks, and spending every night talking and helping Franz, the Hermitage was as good as new.

 

Franz took Aelita and Ulrich and went to talk to Mr. Delmas, the principal. He explained everything, and miraculously, Jean-Pierre believed him. And after serving a few years for destroying Carthage with his AI, XANA, he went back to living in the Hermitage. Franz got his job back as science teacher, partially. He and Suzanne Hertz shared their teaching roles in Science*.

 

Aelita decided to change her name to Aelita Hopper, so that she could become a day student and live at the Hermitage. The cover-up story for everyone that asked why she had been called Aelita Stones at first was because there had been a mix-up of files between Kadic and another school.

 

Franz also sent a letter through the adoption agency to Ulrich’s foster parents, explaining that he was Ulrich’s real father. Unlike Aelita, Ulrich didn’t want to change his name to Ulrich Hopper, because he still wanted to spend his time as a boarding student under the name “Ulrich Stern”, but he did start spending his holidays with his father and sister.

 

On the last day of summer break, Franz held a party, for it had been half a year since his rematerialization. Ulrich wasn’t at the party. Instead, he was upstairs in his room, staring out of his window to the night sky. He turned as Aelita, Yumi, Odd and Jeremie walked in.

 

“Sad that tomorrow we go back to school?” Yumi asked, coming to stand beside him.

 

Ulrich shrugged. “Yeah, I guess.”

 

Jeremie leaned on the doorpost. Odd sat down on Ulrich’s bed. Aelita also sat down on his bed, turning to Ulrich. “What’s on your mind?”

 

“I’m just wondering whether we’ll still have time to be Lyoko warriors,” Ulrich said quietly. “I mean all of us. We’re so busy starting to decide our futures, and there hasn’t been a major XANA attack for six months. I’m beginning to think he’s planning something big.”

 

 “Of course we are,” Aelita said, glancing at the rest of them. They all nodded.

 

“Well, whatever XANA’s big attack is,” Yumi said, “we’ll be ready. And-”

 

“- we haven’t lost yet,” Ulrich finished.

 

“Besides, I’ve learned a ton of new things about the supercomputer – from my new mentor, Franz – that could help us a lot against the next XANA attack,” Jeremie said. “Remind me to show you, Aelita.”

 

“Hey Einstein,” Odd asked, “when are you going to teach Yumi, Ulrich and me to run the supercomputer better, like you and Aelita? I’m talking about something bigger than another crash-”

 

“What matters,” Yumi said, cutting across Odd, “is that we’re still here after all this time.”

 

“And we’ll still be here to watch XANA fall,” Aelita added. “Do you all promise?”

 

“Promise,” said Odd, standing up.

 

“Promise,” Jeremie also said, taking Aelita’s hand.

 

“Promise,” Yumi and Ulrich said, still holding hands, while Yumi took Jeremie’s hand. Odd walked around the circle and stepped between Yumi and Jeremie. Aelita took hold of Ulrich’s hand.

 

“Promise,” said a voice behind them. They all turned toward the door. Franz stepped between Aelita and Ulrich.

 

Here we are, Ulrich thought. After all this time, we’re still here. And we’ll be here to watch XANA’s demise.

The End

End Notes:

I mostly disregarded just about all of the epilogue in making "Unexpected Victory", the next part in The End Trilogy. Just so you guys know.

*- Originally AelitaHopper17's idea in her fanfic, William's Escape. I don't think she posted it here on LFF, but it was on Tech Links. Continued thanks to her for letting me use her idea, even though I didn't really build off of it in future parts in the Trilogy.

This story archived at http://codexana.net/lyokofreak/lff/viewstory.php?sid=301