100 Rebellion (The End Trilogy, part 3) by 5CarthageRocks
Summary:

The third and final part of The End Trilogy. Disclaimer: I don't own Code Lyoko or any of the characters or places in here, as much as I wish to. Completed 03.09.08.
Updated with news and info on The Carthage Spot.


Categories: Seasons > Post-Season 3 Characters: Aelita Hopper, Jeremie Belpois, Odd Della Robbia, Ulrich Stern, William Dunbar, Yumi Ishiyama
Genres: None
Warnings: None
Challenges: None
Series: The End Trilogy
Chapters: 17 Completed: Yes Word count: 39915 Read: 81501 Published: Dec 02, 2007 Updated: Mar 09, 2008

1. Chapter 1- Aftershock by 5CarthageRocks

2. Chapter 2- The Hideout by 5CarthageRocks

3. Chapter 3- Planning by 5CarthageRocks

4. Chapter 4- Another One? by 5CarthageRocks

5. Chapter 5- A Spiritual Essence by 5CarthageRocks

6. Chapter 6- Freedom? by 5CarthageRocks

7. Chapter 7- Briefing by 5CarthageRocks

8. Chapter 8- Overflow by 5CarthageRocks

9. Chapter 9- Old Friends by 5CarthageRocks

10. Chapter 10- Lyoko Plus Two by 5CarthageRocks

11. Chapter 11- Awake by 5CarthageRocks

12. Chapter 12- Ice Barrier by 5CarthageRocks

13. Chapter 13- Carthage by 5CarthageRocks

14. Chapter 14- Secret Passage by 5CarthageRocks

15. Chapter 15- The One Core by 5CarthageRocks

16. Chapter 16- No Turning Back by 5CarthageRocks

17. Summaries of Chapters 17-21 and the Epilogue by 5CarthageRocks

Chapter 1- Aftershock by 5CarthageRocks

Chapter 1- Aftershock (10.08.07)

The Skid raced out of the entrance gate.

“Whew!” Aelita said, relaxing at the controls. “That was a close one.”

 

Ulrich, Odd, and Yumi were still in a daze. “What just happened?” asked Ulrich.

 

“I caused an explosion from the Skid by regenerating the shield with a bug that caused it to explode,” Aelita answered, not sure herself how they had pulled their escape off so well. “XANA currently think, or should think, that we’re dead right now.”

 

“Do you think they saw the splash when we dove into the Digital Sea?” asked Yumi.

 

“Hopefully they didn’t.” Aelita began pressing buttons. “I’m regenerating the Skid’s energy from a direct link to the supercomputer. But unfortunately, I’m going to have to disable the sonar and all of the tracking devices Jeremie and I installed in the Skid.”

 

“Why?” Odd asked, even though he knew it was a stupid question.

 

“So that XANA won’t be able to track us,” Aelita replied. “But even though we can expect William to stay on Lyoko, we need a cover. Or a hideout.”

 

“A hideout?” Odd asked incredulously. “Aelita, it sounds like we’re bandits. Or robbers. Or criminals.”

 

“To XANA, we are,” Ulrich said. “Wait…Aelita?”

 

“Yes, Ulrich?”

 

“What if we go back to Dad’s Replika?”

 

Aelita pondered the thought. “It sounds like a good idea. Dad never destroyed it as a precaution to a situation like this. I think Dad redesigned the Replika so that it now has a hangar for the Skid. And XANA was never able to gain access to it again after Dad reinforced it with higher security measures. Plus there’s a tower there if we need it, for whatever reason.”

 

“So what are we waiting for?” Odd asked. “Let’s go! And Aelita-”

 

“Wait, Odd,” Yumi interrupted, “there’s one more thing. What if Jeremie and Franz survived this long, and what if they don’t find us with our disabled trackers?”

 

Aelita pondered the thought. “I can try to set a trace from the supercomputer, but it may be risky if XANA gains complete control over the supercomputer.”

 

“Why not just leave a trace to the Replika?” Ulrich asked. “XANA wouldn’t find it strange for a link to be made to Dad’s Replika, Dad being the one that created it.”

 

“We might as well,” Aelita said. She was just worried that Jeremie and Franz hadn’t survived.

 

Aelita pushed the joysticks forward. The Skid rose and blasted toward the Hub.

 

---

 

Jeremie and Franz ran out of the corridor panting.

 

“I can’t believe we made it,” Jeremie said, collapsing.

 

Franz kneeled down as well. “Neither can I.”

 

Jeremie turned to Franz. “What exactly did you do again?”

 

Franz adjusted his glasses. “I activated the tower on my Replika to create two polymorphic specters of us. Fortunately XANA took the bait.”

 

Jeremie laid down on his back. As he had cast a backward glance at his clone while he was running toward the corridor, he had imagined himself in his clone’s place. Unmoving. Vulnerable. Dead. Helpless.

 

Franz slowly got up. “We should get back to the lab. The others will probably need us.”

 

Jeremie got up with Franz’s help. Jeremie finally stood up on two legs. “Okay. Let’s go.”

 

---

 

The Skid shot out of the Hub. Aelita glanced around. “No monsters, from what I can see.”

 

“Aelita?” Odd asked.

 

“Yes, Odd?”

 

“I was meaning to ask you after we left Lyoko. Why is the Network red?”

 

Sure enough, their surroundings had a red theme.

 

“Has XANA already found us?” Odd asked. “The Network was red when we got here.”

 

Aelita shook her head. “I don’t know Odd. That’s a good question. And without sonar, there’s a high chance he can take us by surprise.”

Chapter 2- The Hideout by 5CarthageRocks

Chapter 2- The Hideout (10.10.07-10.11.07)

Jeremie stepped off the ladder into the lab and dropped on his knees next to Franz. After panting a little, he turned around and helped Franz stand up. They had finally escaped.

Jeremie walked over to the computer. “Franz, I think you’d better take the seat. You’ve lost a lot of energy.”

 

“I’ll…be fine…,” Franz said, before collapsing again. Jeremie rushed back and helped him into the seat. Franz sat panting. “I don’t think that run was easy on my nerves.”

 

“With a little luck, we won’t have to make another one,” Jeremie said. Franz pressed a button on the chair, and it slid a meter to the right of the computer. Jeremie stood at the keyboard and started typing. “I’m shutting the elevator down. I don’t see any reason why XANA would have to come down here. I doubt he would want to shut the supercomputer down now, while he’s using all the towers on Lyoko.”

 

A radar window appeared on the screen. Jeremie ran a scan in the Digital Sea. He stared, readjusting his glasses. “That can’t be right. There must be some mistake! I’m running another scan.”

 

Franz turned his head to Jeremie. “What is it?”

 

“The radar isn’t picking up the Skid,” Jeremie said, breaking into a sweat, “or Aelita, Odd, Ulrich or Yumi for that matter. Oh no! This can’t be happening!”

“Relax, Jeremie,” Franz said, putting an arm on his shoulder. “Aelita may have deactivated the Skid’s sonar so that XANA wouldn’t be able to track them.”

 

Jeremie looked up. “It’s…possible,” he said, his voice still shaking. “I just hope you’re right.”

 

---

 

The Skid rose out of the tunnel of data interfaces.

 

Aelita relaxed on the controls and gave a huge sigh. “Phew. We made it.”

 

Suddenly, a shaky, thick voice said, “Aelita, is that you?”

 

“Jeremie?” Aelita’s exclamation turned to joy. “You made it! Is my…our,” Aelita said, thinking of Ulrich, “father there?”

 

“Still recovering,” came Franz’s voice. All four of them sighed with relief.

 

“Are you two okay?” asked Yumi.

 

Jeremie glanced at Franz. “It’s not that important right now, but yeah, we’re fine.” Jeremie took a deep breath. “XANA’s really taken over the world.”

 

The four teenagers in the Skid gasped. “He really did?” Ulrich asked. “How?”

 

“He’s possessed everyone on the planet,” Jeremie said. “And the sky has turned blackish red with XANA eyes.”

 

The four of them gaped. “But if everyone on Earth is being controlled by XANA,” Odd asked, his voice quivering, “then how did you escape?”

 

“Franz was the one that saved our lives,” Jeremie said. “While we hid behind a pillar from the oncoming XANA Army, Franz thought fast. He made two polymorphic specters take our place. Apparently, at the moment, XANA thinks we’re dead. What about you guys?”

 

They all grinned. “Funny story,” said Ulrich.

 

---

 

“So you created a hyperactive explosion from-”

 

“Jeremie, not now,” Odd said, cutting him off. “We really need a plan right now.”

 

Jeremie looked at Franz, raising an eyebrow. Franz shook his head, indicating they didn’t have one. “We don’t have one.”

 

“Well,” Yumi said, going into logical mode, “the first step would to be to recharge the Skid. I don’t think Aelita was able to charge the shields fully after XANA attacked us.”

 

“I didn’t,” Aelita said. “We’re heading up to the hangar right now.” The Skid rose up and circled upward. It finally lowered into the hangar. “We’re beginning the docking procedure.”

 

The Skid lowered into place. Instantly, the support beams leaned forward and lit up, activating. The Skid was soon in the middle of rising white rings, showing that it was recharging. Aelita, Odd, Ulrich and Yumi appeared on the Transporter Spots.

 

Jeremie gasped. “You were at five percent shield power?”

 

“Yeah, we were,” Aelita said as the four of them stepped off the transporter spots.

 

Jeremie shook his head in amazement. “It’s just amazing you’re still here.”

 

---

 

As the Skid’s power was reloading, Franz looked at Jeremie. “What should we do?”

 

Jeremie turned. “What?”

 

Franz sighed. “I don’t think we can stay here. It’s not safe. XANA could find out that we’re still alive.”

 

Jeremie stared. “What about Aelita, Odd, Ulrich and Yumi? If we leave, they’ll be lost. They won’t be able to do anything.”

 

“I know,” Franz said, thinking hard. “I’m not sure what to do. But I would prefer that we don’t stay here.”

 

Jeremie thought for a moment. “Can we travel to the other supercomputer? The one you used for your Replika?”

 

Franz pondered the thought, but then shook his head. “It’s dangerous, and it would take time. Even though there’s a scanner there, I would have to write a program to transfer people through scanners without going to Lyoko. It could take a while.”

 

“Out of curiosity,” Jeremie asked, “where’s ‘there’?”

 

“The supercomputer? It’s actually in the original Carthage city in North Africa. Today it’s part of Libya.”

 

Jeremie gasped. “Really?”

 

Franz nodded. “Really."

 

Jeremie was impressed. “There’s no other word for it, even though I sound like Odd and a complete idiot. That’s cool!”

Chapter 3- Planning by 5CarthageRocks

Chapter 3- Planning (10.11.07-10.14.07)

The four Lyoko Warriors stood idly waiting for instructions. “Jeremie, what do we do now?” Odd asked. “Where should we go?”

“We’re…not sure,” came the reply, but it was from Franz. “Jeremie and I thought about going to the other supercomputer in the actual Carthage city, in present-day Libya, but it’s rather dangerous abandoning you four for too long, and it would take time.”

 

Aelita gasped. “The Replika’s supercomputer is actually in Carthage? As weird as that sounds?”

 

“Cool!” Odd said, and for once, everyone else had to agree.

 

“Moving on,” said Jeremie, “Franz and I are going to have to think of something to do. We’re going to risk staying here, even though it’s really dangerous.”

 

“Well, no offense, even though your safety is important, but that doesn’t really answer my question,” Odd said. “I repeat: what should we do here?”

 

Jeremie took another deep breath. “Odd, we’re going to have to shut down XANA once and for all.”

 

Everyone in the Replika gave a start. “What?

 

Aelita saw her father’s and Jeremie’s reasoning, and turned to the others to explain. “Guys, think about it. It’s almost impossible to deactivate the towers now, and doing that would ruin our cover. Since XANA thinks we’re all dead, we can use that as an advantage. Even though going back into the Network could blow our cover, it’s better than just walking straight to a possible death. Don’t forget that everyone on Earth will be waiting for us if we get devirtualized.”

 

“Also,” Jeremie continued, “we’re going to have to shut down XANA eventually. Why not now? It’s basically the only move we can make. Or you can just stay on the Replika until you die, if you prefer.”

 

There was silence as Odd, Ulrich and Yumi digested the plan.

 

“Jeremie…” Yumi said, nervously. “Do you think we can free William first?” She avoided Ulrich’s eyes. “We don’t want him to go down with XANA if we end up destroying XANA. It’s partially our fault if he’s stuck on the Network forever. Or worse.”

 

Everyone was silent. Then Jeremie said, “I guess we can try to. If we gain access to the Network plans, we can locate William’s Spiritual Essence directly.”

 

“Okay,” Odd said, trying to terminate the awkwardness, especially between Ulrich and Yumi, who were looking in opposite directions nervously. “So what should we do? We need to gain access to the Network plans before we can free William or destroy XANA.”

 

“To start,” said Jeremie, starting to type again, “Aelita, you should pilot the Skid to the tower, because we’re going to need a direct connection to the Skid. The Skid is fully recharged. Ulrich, Odd, and Yumi, head back down on the Elevator to the Arena. I’m going to have to program the Corridor to open the path to the tower.”

 

“Wait,” Yumi said. “A direct connection for what?”

 

“Once we gather the Network’s virtual map,” said Franz, “we can locate XANA’s base. Then we can go there to destroy him. But we need the Skid to be connected to the tower if we’re going to upload the plans to the Skid.”

 

“Okay,” Aelita said, vanishing and reappearing at the Skid’s controls. “Where’s the tower?”

 

“Excuse me, Jeremie,” Franz said to Jeremie, asking him to move in body language. Jeremie obliged, and sidestepped from the controls. Franz’s chair slid in front of the computer. “It’s actually right below you,” said Franz, addressing Aelita. “I’m releasing support.”

 

The supports released the Skid and leaned back again. Ulrich, Odd, and Yumi watched the Skid disappear beneath the platform, and then ran over to the elevator.

 

The Skid stopped above the “ground”. Aelita was almost blinded by the bright light, tinged with blue. Suddenly a door opened, allowing the Skid to lower and dock to the tower.

 

---

 

Ulrich, Odd, and Yumi ran out from the Corridor, just in time to see the Skid dock to the tower suspended in midair. As they reached the end of the platform, Aelita appeared next to them.

 

“Dad?” Aelita said. “We’re ready. What should we do?”

 

“Just wait for a minute or so,” Franz said. “Jeremie and I are establishing a direct connection to the Network plans.” The tower glowed green. “You’re going to have to wait for a few minutes.”

 

---

 

Upstairs, the XANA army was filing out of the Factory.

 

XANA saw no need to stay there except to guard the supercomputer. And from what? The Lyoko Warriors were gone, Franz and Jeremie were dead, and the entire world was at his mercy. The Network was now permanently locked in red, symbolizing his tantalizing and irrefutable control and domination now cast over it.

 

XANA was ruling two worlds at once- one real; and one virtual, existing in an alternate dimension.

 

---

 

Aelita nudged Odd. Odd glanced up. “Yeah, Aelita?”

 

Aelita inclined her head slightly away from Ulrich and Yumi, who were sitting, but still looking in opposite directions. “I think they need to talk in private,” she whispered in his ear.

 

“Oh,” Odd said. He and Aelita walked to the other side of the platform, leaving Ulrich and Yumi alone.

 

Ulrich was the first to notice Aelita and Odd were gone. He tapped Yumi on the back. She turned.

 

“Yumi, when I said…what I said right before we escaped to the Network on Lyoko…” Ulrich stuttered. He took a deep breath. “…I really meant it. It was your choice to be ‘just friends’. But it’s really up to you whether you choose William or me.”

 

If blushing was possible in the virtual world, Yumi’s cheeks would have turned a light pink.

 

“Ulrich…” Yumi was at a total loss for words. “I meant what I said, too, but…well…I thought that was going to be the end. And now…”

 

“Now that it wasn’t, you still have to think about it?” Ulrich finished.

 

Yumi opened her mouth to say something, and then closed it when she still couldn’t find what to say.

 

“It’s okay,” Ulrich said. “I thought it was the end then as well. Take your time, and make a good decision. I don’t want your decision to be rushed.”

 

Before Yumi could reply, a voice cut her off.

 

“Guys, we’ve gotten full access to the Network plans,” Jeremie exclaimed. “And we’re using the Super Scan to rat out the rest of XANA’s hideouts. We should have the results in a minute or two.”

 

Ulrich glanced at Yumi, but she had already turned away.

Chapter 4- Another One? by 5CarthageRocks

Chapter 4- Another One? (10.19.07-10.21.07)

A window appeared on the screen of the computer, showing a square focused on a sphere with a small entrance gate jutting out of the bottom.

“Yes!” Jeremie said, giving Franz a high-five. “The Super Scan worked. We’ve just located another Replika, guys!”

 

Another one?” Odd asked. “Jeremie, is this some kind of joke?”

 

Jeremie stopped. “Huh?”

 

“I mean, think about it,” Odd continued. “This is the second Replika we thought to be the ‘Last Replika’. There could be others, or this Replika could be a trap for us.”

 

“When I thought that other full Replika was the last,” Jeremie reflected, “we didn’t have access to the Network plans. The Network plans don’t hide anything in the Network. Well, they can, but I don’t think XANA has gotten that far in cloaking security. And this Replika is the last, because we can’t locate any others.” Jeremie wiped his glasses on his shirt.

 

“As for it being a trap,” Franz continued, “XANA thinks we’re all dead at the moment. Even if it had been a trap, like the other Replika, I don’t see why he would keep it that way. It would be like setting a trap for a tiger when you know the forest is empty.”

 

Odd sighed. “Okay. We might as well go.”

 

The tower turned back to white. This made Aelita remember something. “Dad?”

 

“Yes, sweetheart?”

 

“Remember how you activated the tower to use two polymorphic specters as decoys? Didn’t you have to deactivate the tower to use it to access the Network plans?”

 

Franz rubbed his eyes. “Aelita, I see your point. Yes, I did have to deactivate the tower, but by the time I deactivated it, I’m fairly sure XANA was looking away from the ‘bodies’. I doubt he noticed that we disappeared, because he probably had a lot more on his mind.”

 

There was a pause. Franz exhaled. “Aelita and Odd, it’s okay to be paranoid about our security at the moment. It’s very natural. But the time’s coming when we’re going to have to reveal ourselves to XANA to destroy him. There’s no other way.”

 

“Okay, Dad,” Aelita said, “we’re ready.”

 

“Teleport.” Aelita, Odd, Ulrich and Yumi reappeared in the Skid.

 

“Ignition powering vertical.” Aelita deanchored the Skid from the tower. The Skid rose up through the hole in the ceiling, and then exited the hangar.

 

---

 

The Replika gate closed behind them. “Dad, Jeremie, I’m ready for the coordinates.”

 

“Okay,” came Jeremie’s voice. “I’m entering it into the Skid.”

 

An interface opened on the Skid. “Coordinates received. Engaging turbo crop and auxiliary engines.” The Skid moved gracefully forward.

 

“Last Replika, hopefully,” Odd said, “he we come! XANA, I hope you’re ready for us, because you are going down hard!”

 

“Aelita,” Jeremie said, a little worried, “the Hub is a little more north of your position, but be careful. There are a few monsters in the surrounding area.”

 

“Should we give away ourselves to XANA just yet?” asked Yumi. “This may not be the right time.”

 

Jeremie and Franz pondered the thought. “You guys should probably wait until you’re in the Replika,” Franz replied. “It’s too dangerous right now. If you get devirtualized in the Digital Sea, we won’t have any means of materializing you.”

 

“Okay,” Aelita said. “We’re nearing the Hub.”

 

“Careful, Aelita,” Jeremie said, his voice faltering. On Aelita’s side, five red dots appeared on the Skid’s sonar. “Three Kongres and two Rekins starboard of you. But if you get past them unnoticed, it’s smooth sailing to the Replika. I repeat: No monsters between the external Hub and the Replika.”

 

The monsters were nearby, weaving in and out of another Hub’s beam structure. At the sound of the Skid, they suddenly froze in anticipation.

 

“Aelita,” Franz said, “they may have spotted you. Be careful.”

 

Aelita quickly took the Skid around the opposite side of the Hub field. The monsters started to turn away.

 

The Hub was about twenty meters in front of them. Aelita took action. “Engaging engines…”

 

The monsters had finally turned their backs to them. The Skid inched forward toward the Hub.

 

“Hyper-fluid aspiration!”

 

The Skid shot forward, rotated, and dove into the Hub. But in the split second between rotating and diving into the Hub, Ulrich saw one of the Kongres look straight their way. Ulrich knew that XANA knew of their escape and continuing existence.

 

---

 

The Skid shot out of the other end of the Hub. “Whew,” Aelita sighed. “That was a close one.”

 

“Great job, Aelita!” called Yumi.

 

“Well done, Princess,” Odd said. Franz and Jeremie also submitted their words of support.

 

Ulrich only halfheartedly joined in. When it had quieted down, he said, “Aelita, it’s not your fault, but I know one of the Kongres saw us right before we dove in. XANA knows where we are, and that we’re alive.”

 

Everyone groaned. “Ulrich, why did you have to ruin the moment?” Odd asked.

 

“We needed to know, Odd,” Jeremie said. “XANA was bound to notice us sooner or later.”

 

Aelita sighed. “Well, there’s not much to do now but fight. Digital Key activated.”

 

The white beam once again pulsed from the Skid to the Entrance Gate.

 

“I’ve got the signal,” Franz said. “Opening Entrance Gate.”

 

The beam dissolved as the gate swung open.

 

“Ready or not, XANA,” Odd said with a grin as they entered the Replika, “here we come!”

 

---

 

Jeremie pressed the enter button. “Holoweb system connected.” The holomap displayed could have been mistaken for Lyoko.

 

“Another full Replika, guys.”

 

The Skid rose out of the Digital Sea into the Mountain Sector of the Replika.

 

“We’d better get going,” Jeremie said. “Aelita, there’s a tower at seven o’clock.”

 

“Roger,” Aelita said, piloting the Skid toward the tower in the middle of a cavern surrounding every part of the tower except the front entrance. Yumi recalled that the tower looked exactly like the tower the Xanafied Aelita had ran into to destroy the Mountain Sector back on Lyoko. If only I had been able to stop her, Yumi thought, we wouldn’t be in this mess. Or XANA would have at least been delayed.

 

A voice shook Yumi out of the memory. “Docking.” The purple sparks appeared and orbited the Skid and the tower, holding the connection.

 

“Activating tower,” Jeremie said. The tower glowed green. “Who’s up for a Translation?”

 

“I am!” Odd said. “I want to be the guy to destroy XANA once and for all!”

 

“Actually, Odd,” Jeremie said, “even if we destroy this Replika, XANA will still exist in the towers of Lyoko. We’re going to have to deactivate all of the Lyoko towers eventually.”

 

“What?” Yumi said. Before she could continue, Franz cut her off.

 

“Not now, Jeremie,” Franz said. “We need to focus on one thing at a time. Destroying this Replika is our priority now. Anyone else besides Odd?”

 

“Me,” Ulrich said without thinking. He knew that he gave an unspoken implication that he wanted to be away from Yumi, but it was to give her time to think, not to feel awkward.

 

“Okay,” Franz said, typing. “Good luck to you both. Translation.”

 

Ulrich and Odd disappeared.

“Well?” Jeremie said after ten seconds. “Are you guys on Earth?”

 

“I think I know where we are,” Odd said. “I’ve seem it in certain space movies. I think we’re somewhere in Washington, D.C.”

 

“Really?” Jeremie paused, giving Franz time to run a search to test Odd’s hypothesis.

 

“You are in Washington, D.C.,” Franz said. “Near NASA headquarters on 300 ‘E’ Street, Southwest. You should be able to see the U.S. Capitol.”

 

“We can,” Ulrich said. They were on an empty street on a corner. Not far away, they could see the dome of the Capitol, Congress’s headquarters. At least, it had been.

 

“Einstein,” Ulrich said, thinking hard, “remember the first time you reprogrammed the Super Scan to track XANA after he left Lyoko?”

 

“Yeah? I do. What about it?”

 

“He was located in North America, remember?”

 

Jeremie’s eyes widened. “That means that this could have been the first Replika he made! Wow. And this could be the last one for us to find.”

 

---

 

“Jeremie,” Yumi asked, “are Ulrich and Odd near the supercomputer?”

 

“Yeah, they are,” replied Jeremie. “The supercomputer is in NASA headquarters.”

 

“In North America…” Aelita was thinking the same thing as Ulrich without knowing it. “Jeremie, remember the first time you reprogrammed the-”

 

“Super Scan? Yeah, I do. And Ulrich said that as well. We think that this Replika was the first one XANA built.”

 

Yum couldn’t help but grin. “It seems like your brother is as smart as you.”

 

Aelita blushed. Who would have known that we think so very much alike? she asked herself.

 

A sudden laser shot took Yumi and Aelita’s attention. Yumi looked out of her NavSkid. “Aelita, it looks like we have a welcoming committee.”

 

A group of Krabes, Megatanks and Tarantulas stood waiting for them. In the middle of the group was William. The Scyphozoa slinked behind him.

 

“Teleportation,” Aelita said in response, pushing buttons. They rematerialized in front of the Skid.

 

“I’m programming your vehicles,” Franz said. The Overwing and the Overboard materialized in front of them.

 

“Why does XANA need the Scyphozoa here?” asked Aelita.

 

In response, William suddenly disappeared in wisps of light blue, along with five Hornets that had appeared. Yumi knew that they had just been Translated by XANA. And the Scyphozoa would take William’s place in attacking the Skid.

 

---


“Ulrich? Odd?”

 

“We’re waiting for instructions, Franz,” Odd called.

 

“Find the supercomputer. From the map I’ve downloaded from the Internet, it looks like the supercomputer’s a few levels below you. Expect a welcoming committee.”

 

“I love fighting normal people weaker than us!” Odd grinned as he and Ulrich ran into the lobby.

 

Ulrich caught Odd’s shoulder. “I don’t think XANA is using normal guard dogs this time.”

 

“What makes you say that?”

 

Ulrich pointed. Odd turned toward the direction Ulrich was indicating and winced.

 

William, along with a horde of five Hornets, was waiting ten meters in front of them.

Chapter 5- A Spiritual Essence by 5CarthageRocks

Chapter 5- A Spiritual Essence (10.25.07-10.28.07)

A window displaying the cameras of the Factory appeared on the screen.

“Uh oh,” Jeremie said. “It looks like XANA finally realized that we must be alive.”

 

The camera showed a group of five Xanafied people landing on ground floor and walking toward the elevator.

 

---

 

"Laser arrow!"

 

A purple spark shot from Odd's paw. William dodged the attack by swinging his head to the left. "Rats, I missed!"

 

William ran forward and swung his Zanbato at Ulrich. Ulrich quickly dodged, and lashed back with both of his sabers. William blocked the attack with his blade, emitting a loud clang. The two of them dodged and attacked each other furiously.

 

"I guess that leaves me to you guys, you bugs!" Odd said gleefully. The five Hornets turned. At the nod of their leader, the Hornet in the middle, they simultaneously started firing their lasers at Odd.

 

Odd dodged the shots. "Laser arrow!" Odd aimed and fired, hitting one of the Hornets. It disappeared in a field of blue electrical sparks.

 

"Odd? Ulrich?" The voice came from above. "We've got a bit of a problem. XANA's finally sent some people to take us out, so we may not be able to keep in contact with you."

 

Ulrich stopped fighting for a second, and then slashed back at William. "Okay. Good luck."

 

"Yeah, good luck," Odd joined in. "You too, Franz."

 

"The elevator to the supercomputer room is on your left at eleven o'clock" was the last thing Jeremie said before leaving.

 

---

 

As Jeremie turned toward the elevator, Franz stood up and grabbed his shoulder. "Jeremie, where are you going?"

 

Jeremie partially turned. "To go and fight XANA to protect you."

 

"But Jeremie, that's sacrifice!"

 

"I know, but your life is more important than mine."

 

Franz sighed. "Jeremie, that's not true. And besides, why use force when we can use our brains?"

 

"I already thought of doing that. I couldn't think of anything."

 

Franz let go of Jeremie, and closed his eyes. "Did you ever think about asking me to create a couple of polymorphic specters to defend us?"

 

Jeremie stared. "Oh." He quickly ran over to the controls. "I'm locking down the Factory as a precaution. Shutting down elevator and locking corridor."

 

Franz opened his eyes and sat back down. "Ulrich and Aelita were the first forms to come to my mind."

 

---

 

Mrs. Hertz, Jim, Sissi, Herb, and Nicholas, now controlled by XANA, walked toward the elevator at their slow, normal, Xanafied pace.

 

Sissi reached over and pressed the button for the elevator. Nothing happened.

 

The XANA eye in Sissi's eyes reformed. She pressed the button a second time. A third time. Constantly.

 

Still nothing happened.

 

The group of XANA-Minions growled. But as they were about to head toward the corridor, two black specters formed in front of them.

 

XANA knew that he had not programmed those specters, especially when he saw them turn into Aelita and Ulrich and take fighting stances.

 

---

 

Yumi blocked laser shots from the two Krabes and two Tarantulas, and threw her fans at them. She missed. "Aelita, this is going to be almost impossible."

 

Aelita turned away from the Megatanks she was fighting for a split second to look at Yumi. "I know, but we need to prevent XANA from destroying the Skid. Which reminds me," she said, turning around to look at the Skid, "what happened to our friend with the tentacles?"

 

The Scyphozoa was just grabbing hold of the Skid with its tentacles.

 

"Great."

 

"How's it coming, Aelita?"

 

Aelita was relieved to hear her father's voice once more. "It's getting kind of rough here. Do you think you could send Ulrich or Odd back to help us?"

 

"Unfortunately," Franz replied, "the boys are stuck in a battle of their own. They're still trying to find the supercomputer."

 

"How's it on your end, Franz?" Yumi asked as she ran sideways to dodge more shots.

 

"Not too great," Jeremie said. "XANA sent five people to try and get rid of us. Fortunately, Franz called two polymorphic specters to help us. They're up on ground floor fighting right now," he said, as another crash rang out.

 

Aelita used two of her Energy Fields to block one of the Megatank's shots. The other Megatank turned toward her and released an elliptical laser shot as well. Aelita was now blocking two elliptical shots. "Yumi!" she shouted, calling out for help.

 

"Aelita, be careful!" Jeremie said. "Even though we've been able to fix and restore your DNA sequence codes, we need everyone to stay virtualized so we can bring XANA down."

 

Yumi turned just as one of her fans hit a Tarantula. She quickly caught her fans, and then ran toward Aelita. The Tarantula and the Krabes followed her from the path onto the plateau. Yumi quickly threw her fans at the two Megatanks.

 

One of the fans hit one of the Megatanks. Aelita finally let go of her Energy Field shield and jumped out of the way as the shot extended to hit the tower. "Nice one, Yumi."

 

Yumi caught her fans just as Aelita shot another Energy Field. It came into contact with the Megatank's XANA eye, making it explode. "You too," Yumi said, grinning.

 

A sound made her turn around. The Tarantula sat looking at her, getting ready to fire. The Krabes also charged their lasers.

 

"I'll get the Krabes. You get that Tarantula," Yumi said as she and Aelita ran forward, dodging the shots the whole while.

 

---

 

Another window appeared on the screen. It was a Super Scan window.

 

Franz frowned. "It seems that there are two activated towers on the Replika. One apparently is being used to Translate William and the monsters to Earth. But what's the second one for?"

 

Jeremie frowned as well. "Could XANA be using two towers to keep them Translated?"

 

Franz shook his head. "I don't see why, considering that XANA has two supercomputers' power to work with. The only reason would that he's conducting separate attacks at once. Besides the take-over-the-world attack on Lyoko."

 

"Wait. Franz, can you please move?" Franz slid away from the controls. Jeremie immediately began typing. A window appeared, showing the activated tower on the left, as well as lines of codes and data on the right.

 

---

 

Odd shot another Hornet. "Woo-hoo!" he shouted, dodging fire from the remaining three Hornets. Then he remembered Franz and Jeremie. "Franz, how's it coming?"

 

"I managed to create two specters to defend us here," came the response. "Aelita and Yumi seem to be doing okay. But Jeremie and I just found another activated tower on the Replika."

 

William slammed Ulrich to the ground. "Ouch!" Just as William was about to plunge his blade into Ulrich, Ulrich rolled out of the way at the last second. As William tried to pull his blade out of the floor, Ulrich stood up, and in one movement, slashed William. William groaned as he was Detranslated.

 

Ulrich ran over to help Odd. "You mean there's another tower besides the one keeping our friends materialized here?"

 

"Apparently," Jeremie said. "We're trying to figure out what it's being used for."

 

Odd stopped and raised an eyebrow. "How do you plan to do that?"

 

"I developed a program to determine an activated tower's attack right after we destroyed that Ice Replika," Jeremie replied. "I didn't think I would ever use it, but I developed it because I was having problems with the program to free William, and I wanted to take my mind off of it for a while."

 

Ulrich couldn't help but grin. "So, Jeremie, your idea of 'taking a break' from work is working on something else?"

 

Jeremie blushed. "Well, yeah."

 

Suddenly, the computer emitted a Beep! Jeremie quickly began typing again. Two new windows appeared, displaying the two towers and their attacks.

 

Jeremie squinted at the window on the left. "It looks like one tower is being used to Translate those Hornets. But the other..." Jeremie looked at the window on the right again. "I can't tell what it is. I don't understand it."

 

Franz looked at the window. "Intellect implant broadcasted over data range of 1000 km through digital key and status range of 10 quantum watts." Franz frowned. "It sounds like the tower is being used to control someone." Franz glanced at the date at the bottom of the window. "And it seems the attack has been kept in place for at least half a year."

 

Jeremie froze. "Wait!" Jeremie began typing. A full status report of the tower opened in a new window. At the left of the window, a boy in a white-and-blue jumpsuit rotated in a partially transparent sphere.

 

Jeremie breathed out. His heart skipped a beat and started beating faster. "Ulrich. Odd. The second tower is being used to…" Jeremie's voice started shaking.

 

"What?" Ulrich asked, dodging a laser and jumping up and slashing at the Hornet. "Spit it out, Jeremie!"

 

Jeremie slowly regained his composure. "The tower is being used to control William."

 

Odd and Ulrich froze for a second, but the laser shots brought them out of their shock quickly.

 

---

 

Aelita quickly took out the last Krabe and ran to help Yumi get rid of the Scyphozoa.

 

"Jeremie!" Yumi called, throwing her fans, "can you regenerate the Skid's shields with a few activated towers?"

 

The fans missed, and flew back to Yumi. "Sorry, Yumi, we've got a lot of other things on our minds right now," came the reply as Yumi caught her fans.

 

"Like what?" Aelita said, shooting an Energy Field. It hit the Scyphozoa right on the eye. "Never mind, we've gotten rid of it," Aelita said as the Scyphozoa exploded. "But what's on your mind?"

 

"We've located two activated towers," Franz said. "One in the Mountain Sector, where you are, and one in the Core Zone of the Replika's Sector 5. And we've just determined the attacks with a program Jeremie developed in his spare time. The one in the Mountain Sector is Translating Hornets to Ulrich and Odd. But the other in Sector 5 is…"

 

"Is…what?" asked Yumi, running to stand beside Aelita. "What's XANA using it for?"

 

Jeremie took a deep breath. "It's being used to control William."

 

There was a pause, and a gasp from Yumi. But Aelita wasn’t completely convinced. "Are you two sure that that's the attack?"

 

"Of course we are," Jeremie replied, rather disbelieving. "Don't you believe us?"

 

Aelita thought hard. "The two of you aren't being controlled by XANA by any chance, are you?"

 

"Of course not," Franz replied. "Aelita, I know you must be paranoid about traps laid by XANA, and it's the right thing to do. But we really aren't being controlled by XANA. I know that you still sleep with Mr. Puck at night."

 

Aelita blushed, if that was possible on Lyoko. "But couldn't XANA have known that too?"

 

"Aelita, that's not important right now," Jeremie said. "Going back on topic, should we Detranslate Ulrich and Odd back to you?"

 

"I don't see why not," Aelita said. "We might need all the help we can get at this point."

 

"Okay," Franz said, as Aelita and Yumi disappeared in light wisps of blue. "I'm teleporting you back into the Skid. Wait for Ulrich and Odd before you go to Sector 5."

 

---

 

Ulrich blocked another shot. He sighed. There were only two Hornets left, but he had to admit that they were pulling off a good fight.

 

Odd jumped into a handstand for a split second, and fired at his Hornet. "Rats, missed again! Ulrich, do you think these Hornets are on steroids or something?"

 

"Ulrich? Odd?" Franz's voice made them jump again. "We need you back in the Replika. We've decided to go and try to deactivate the tower controlling William, and we need all the help we can get."

 

Ulrich and Odd stopped fighting. "Okay Franz, we're ready," called Odd.

 

Just as the Hornets fired at them, Ulrich and Odd disappeared. The shots hit the place they had been a split second ago.

 

---

 

Ulrich and Odd appeared in their NavSkids. "So, ladies, how was your battle against those monsters?"

 

"We pulled it off in the end," Yumi said, grinning. "And you?"

 

"We sent William back to where he came from!" Odd said. His voice had the certain tone that said he was smiling ear to ear.

 

"All set, Aelita?" asked Franz?

 

"We're ready," said Aelita. "Deanchoring."

 

The Skid's purple connection to the tower disappeared, and the tower promptly turned from green to red. "Let's go, Aelita," called Ulrich.

 

The Skid shot up into the sky, and then slowly hovered through the gray tunnel taking them to the Replika's Sector 5.

 

---

 

Specter-Ulrich and Specter-Aelita were pulling off a good fight. They had already taken out Nicholas and Herb, with reason. Specter-Ulrich was fighting Jim and Mrs. Hertz at the same time, while Specter-Aelita was fighting Sissi.

 

Specter-Ulrich promptly threw Mrs. Hertz into a pillar. She groaned, but didn't move as she passed out. Jim looked at Mrs. Hertz and growled, flinging himself at Specter-Ulrich.

 

XANA knew he was fighting a losing battle at the Factory. Hopper was too powerful.

 

Then an idea came to his mind. It was a simple and obvious idea that should have occurred to him since Franz Hopper had been successfully materialized.

 

---

 

The Skid floated through the databank tunnel, and circled Carthage upward.

 

“Aelita,” Franz said, “as always, there’s a tunnel on the top of Carthage leading to the Core Zone.

 

“Okay,” Aelita said. But she wasn’t focusing that much on piloting, since they were about to bring William back. Aelita reflected that she took part of the blame for letting William fall sock puppet to XANA, since she could have devirtualized him right after he was possessed on his first mission.

 

Just as they lowered into the Core Zone, a question popped up into her mind. “Dad? Jeremie?”

 

“Yeah, Aelita?” answered Jeremie.

 

“I just had a thought. Aren’t we looking for the actual Spiritual Essence of William? What’s an activated tower got to do with him?”

 

Jeremie had an answer ready. “I scanned the tower once we determined the attack. It seems that William’s Spiritual Essence is stored within the databanks of the tower. Apparently it’ll be released if the tower is deactivated.”

 

“Okay,” Aelita said. “Thanks.”

 

“The tower should be right in front of you,” Franz said.

 

Sure enough, the tower suspended in midair just in front of them glowed a steady red. Aelita carefully piloted the Skid so that it was positioned next to the platform in front of the tower.

 

“That was fast,” said Ulrich.

 

“Teleportation,” Aelita said. All four of them teleported to the platform in wisps of blue.

 

“This is too easy,” Odd said. “There’s not a single monster in-”

 

A laser shot cut him off.

 

“-sight,” finished Odd. They all turned around. Five Creepers were crawling toward them.

 

A bird-like call sounded from behind them. Three Flying Mantas entered the room, circled the tower, and headed toward them.

 

“Where’s Mr. Pretty Boy?” wondered Yumi. “Shouldn’t he be here?”

 

“He probably chickened out,” joked Odd. “He just can’t stand us at the moment, seeing as we already beat him once.”

 

A purple-and-blue energy blast suddenly hit the platform. The whole platform shook violently.

 

They all turned from where the shot had came from.

 

“I take that back,” Odd said. “He’s not a coward. He’s an idiot to come here at the moment.”

 

William growled, and jumped off his Black Manta onto the platform. He started running toward them, sword in hand.

 

---

 

Specter-Ulrich dodged another punch, did a judo-throw and threw Jim into another pillar.

 

Jim’s face condensed as he made contact with the pillar. He slowly got up, only to be hit by an electrical field from Specter-Ulrich. Mrs. Hertz, Jim, Nicholas and Herb were out, leaving Sissi.

 

Specter-Aelita threw a yellow-and-orange energy field at Sissi. Sissi dodged the shot, and threw a blue energy field at Specter-Aelita. It hit her.

 

Specter-Ulrich ran forward. As Sissi charged up for another shot, he kicked her in the stomach. She doubled up, and Specter-Ulrich took the chance to throw her against a pillar.

 

---

 

While Odd and Yumi ran at the Creepers, Ulrich went for William.

 

“Happy that you’re about to be free?” asked Ulrich, mockingly, slashing a saber at him.

 

William blocked the attack and growled in response. “You can never free me,” XANA-William said, as he swung his sword like a bat at Ulrich. “I am too powerful, just like my master, XANA.”

 

“That’s what you think,” called Aelita. XANA-William turned. Aelita ran off the platform and activated her wings. XANA-William shot energy blasts at her in vain as she flew toward the tower, and deactivated her wings at the last moment, allowing her to tumble into the tower.

 

XANA-William groaned. “No. NO!” The Creepers joined in his cry, and started firing at Odd and Yumi once more.

 

“Better believe it, XANA,” Ulrich said. “William is no longer yours.”

 

At the very moment Ulrich finished, the tower turned from red to blue. Aelita promptly flew out of the tower and landed on the platform alongside them.

 

William suddenly dropped to all fours. His body started to shake, and his black outfit started seeping off of him in black wisps.

 

Odd and Yumi stopped fighting the Creepers to watch William. Even the Creepers stopped firing, to watch the freeing of their master’s sock puppet.

 

William was now in a fog of black smoke. He stood up on his knees, bringing his arms into the air, clenching them in fists.

 

“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”

 

The XANA eye on William’s chest glowed orange, and then disappeared. The black parts of William’s Zanbato receded and disappeared like smoke. The XANA eye on his Zanbato disappeared.

 

William’s old white-and-blue outfit returned. He dropped to the ground, lying on his side. Everyone watched him, alert. No one noticed as the Creepers and Mantas surrendered, vanishing in white-and-purple particles.

 

William slowly opened his eyes, blinking, and looked up. “What am I doing here?”

End Notes:
As of having Chapter 9 done, this is my secondmost-favorite chapter so far in this fanfic. I'm not sure if you guys have the same opinions as me.
Chapter 6- Freedom? by 5CarthageRocks

Chapter 6- Freedom? (10.31.07-11.12.07)

Yumi took deep breaths, barely believing that William was back with them. Odd grinned, and Aelita gave a sigh of relief. Even Ulrich was smiling.

“Are you okay, William?” called Jeremie.

 

William lightly shook his head, as if to clear it. “Not really. I can barely remember anything. The last thing I remember was…being captured by the Scyphozoa on Lyoko.”

 

“XANA possessed you,” Yumi said, “but we just managed to free you.”

 

“There’s a lot to explain,” Aelita said. “Jeremie, should we get back to the Carthage Replika?”

 

“A Replika?” asked William. “What’s that? You mean we’re not on Lyoko?”

 

Jeremie had to cover a smile at William’s complete ignorance. “Yeah, I think you’d better,” Jeremie said. “I’m teleporting you all back into the Skid.”

 

“What’s the Skid?” asked William, turning.

 

“The Skid is short for Skidbladnir,” said a voice. Everyone turned. It was rather hard for Yumi, Aelita and Odd to believe that Ulrich was talking to his old enemy, even if he had just been freed from the control of a ruthless Artificial Intelligence/Super Virus. “We created it to hunt down XANA on the Network after Lyoko destroyed.” And you’ve tried to destroy it hundreds of times, Ulrich added silently.

 

Suddenly Aelita gasped, cutting across the rest of William’s questions. “Look!” she said, pointing a shaking finger.

 

Everyone turned.

 

“Uh oh,” Odd said.

 

The tower that had been deactivated in blue a split second ago had turned back to red.

 

“Jeremie? Franz?” said Yumi. “I thought Aelita just deactivated the tower!”

 

“What’s the worry?” asked William. “Why does it matter if that tower’s blue instead of red?

 

“The red means XANA just re-activated that tower,” Ulrich said, a superior edge hidden in his tone to William’s ignorance. “And a minute ago, XANA was using that tower to control you.”

 

Suddenly, black wisps of smoke started appearing out of thin air around William. William’s eyes widened in shock. “What’s going on?” he exclaimed. He struggled, but there was nothing he could do as XANA re-possessed him.

 

“NO!” everyone shouted. They ran forward to help William, but stopped.

 

There was nothing they could do as the re-possessed William shouted “Super Smoke!” and slid away from them through the door to the rest of the Core Zone in a black line of smoke.

 

Ulrich and Yumi ran forward in pursuit. Then they stopped as two Creepers slid into the room through the door that William had just went through in the opposite direction, as if warning them not to follow him.

 

“Jeremie? Franz?” Ulrich asked, as he drew his sabers. Yumi also drew her fans as the Creepers started firing. “What just happened? Did XANA just re-possess William?”

 

“It looks like it,” Franz said, pondering the thought.

 

“Why?”

 

The one-word question came from Odd. It was simple, and yet very hard to answer, even for Franz and Jeremie.

 

“That’s a good question,” Jeremie said, as Franz started typing in response. “We’ll have to get back to you on that, because we don’t know. Franz is trying to figure it out right now.”

 

Aelita and Odd started to run forward to help Ulrich and Yumi, but were distracted by a bird-like call from behind him. They turned.

 

“Great,” Odd said, as a group of three Mantas emerged. “I was hoping for some company.”

 

“Guys,” Jeremie called, as Odd and Aelita started fighting the Mantas, "we’ve just realized why XANA was able to repossess William. The so-called ‘Spiritual Essence’ I located in the databanks of the activated tower was another decoy.”

 

Everyone groaned.

 

“Wouldn’t XANA have been able to repossess William anyway?” asked Yumi.

 

“No. I don’t think so. I’ll have to explain it.” Franz closed his eyes for a moment, thinking how to explain it. “Okay. To bind William to him, XANA took a part of William. That part, the Spiritual Essence, kept a bond with William, therefore binding William to XANA. Just like you, Aelita.”

 

Aelita stopped fighting for a minute, with the understanding, and then started fighting again, shooting an Energy Field at a Manta. “But then Dad,” she asked, dodging a shot, “how was XANA able to control him? XANA’s power over William seemed to have increased from the weak control of the Scyphozoa, ever since he came back to Earth after being on the Network for a week. How is XANA able to keep him under his control, even when he’s on Earth?”

 

Jeremie took over. “I can answer that. XANA didn’t only take William’s Spiritual Essence away from him; he also put something into William. That program allows XANA to keep William under his control. Essentially, XANA can release the control, but why would he do that? It brings up something I was working on after we destroyed that Ice Replika. Right before we located that ‘Last Replika’, I was working on a program to remove that program from William’s bio-structure and mind, before I realized that it would go away once we freed William’s Spiritual Essence and gave it back to him. It’s like a rubber band, in the sense that the rubber band is stretched in two directions. The end holding the Spiritual Essence is on the opposite side of William’s now-empty mind. Technically, the essence won’t snap back, because we have to enter it into William, but you should get the idea.”

 

Odd paused. “But doesn’t that mean that we still need to free William’s actual Spiritual Essence? The copy in the tower was another decoy. And I’m starting to get tired of decoys.”

 

Ulrich had destroyed his Creeper. He watched as Yumi threw her fan, which finally met its mark on the Creeper. The Creeper groaned, and exploded.

 

“Nice job, Yumi,” complimented Ulrich.

 

“You too,” said Yumi, grinning.

 

There were now only two of the Mantas.

 

“Jeremie? Franz? Anyone there?” Odd turned and shot at a Manta again. It dodged the shot.

 

“Yeah, we’re here,” Jeremie said, sounding a little annoyed. “We just located the Spiritual Essence. And it’s real this time. Franz and I ran a few ‘tests’ on it and it’s the actual thing. We need at least one of you to free it.”

 

Ulrich turned to Yumi. “Do you want to go?”

 

Yumi shrugged. “Might as well. Jeremie, Franz, Ulrich and I will go.”

 

Aelita quickly turned and made a significant, silencing glance to Odd. He made a face, as if to say, “Okay, okay! I won’t say anything.” Fortunately Ulrich and Yumi didn’t see any of it.

 

Jeremie was a little surprised. “Okay. Get back into the Arena. We’ll reprogram the Corridor, and then Franz and I will guide you.”

 

---

 

On Lyoko, in the Ice Sector, five Tarantulas sat around a tower, guarding it from outsiders, specifically the Lyoko Warriors. XANA knew that they were on his first Replika, but still wanted protection just to be safe. No one, or nothing, was going to stop his ingenious, evil plan.

 

Suddenly, there was a sound from the right. The Tarantulas turned.

 

Walking towards them were three Tarantulas, and William in the middle of the group.

 

William turned to his Tarantulas. “Go! What are you waiting for?” William ordered. The three Tarantulas nodded, made their call, and surrounded William, drawing their laser cannons at the ready to protect William. The five Tarantulas around the tower also readied their laser cannons.

 

William nodded approvingly, and then turned to face the tower squarely. He drove his sword into the ice, and then put his arms out in front of him, as if trying to push an invisible wall. He closed his eyes.

 

Slowly, he rose off the ground, and black wisps of smoke circled his dark form, as if there was a fire beneath him. Blue sparks flew through the cerulean-blue cables connected to the tower.

 

---

 

Ulrich and Yumi ran out of the corridor, onto the circular platform displaying a white Lyoko eye against dark blue floor. “Okay, Jeremie and Franz, we’re here. You can program the Corridor.”

 

“Good job,” Franz said, and promptly started typing.

 

The door to the Corridor closed upwards, and the floor started to rotate. Ulrich shifted nervously, and glanced at Yumi. They accidentally made eye contact, and turned away quickly, embarrassed. Yumi was still in deep thought.

 

The room stopped gave a little shake and stopped rotating. Ulrich and Yumi immediately stiffened, focused. The door opened again, facing the bottom of the Lyoko eye.

 

“Okay,” Jeremie said. “Go. Don’t forget the countdown.”

 

Yumi stumbled. “What? Why do we have the countdown?”

 

“You have three minutes,” Franz said. “And you have the countdown because this is a Replika of XANA’s, not my Replika, or a reprogrammed Lyoko. I didn’t write the source codes or the creation algorithms. I could try to delete the Countdown out of the Carthage system, but it would take a while, especially since XANA’s probably written high security measures to the Replika’s operating system that would take time for me to hack. And flipping a switch in three minutes isn’t really worth it. You two can do it, and I have faith in you.”

 

Ulrich and Yumi ran out of the Corridor. The room had smooth walls, and a flat floor.

 

“I see the key,” Yumi said, pointing. Ulrich looked. The key was high up on the wall facing them, about twenty yards away. Ulrich and Yumi didn’t know it, but it was a lot similar to the setup when William went to Lyoko for the first time.

 

They quickly ran forward. Suddenly, the floor beneath Yumi dropped into darkness in the shape of a square. Yumi screamed, and jumped.

 

“Yumi!” Ulrich shouted. Yumi had a handhold on the platform, but she was slipping. Ulrich quickly ran forward, and caught Yumi’s hand as she lost her grip.

 

Ulrich heaved. Two seconds later, they both sat panting. “Thanks, Ulrich,” Yumi said as they got up.

 

“What wouldn’t I do for you?” he said, grinning.

 

Suddenly, there was a groan. Ulrich and Yumi turned to the source of the noise. “Great.”

 

Four Creepers crawled out of the space that had just appeared in the floor.

 

“Go for the key,” Ulrich said, drawing his sabers. “I’ll cover you.”

 

Yumi nodded, and ran toward the opposing wall as the Creepers started firing.

 

---

 

The tower in front of William in front of the Ice Sector turned a light blue. William landed on the ground, and panted a little, before taking his position again and rising.

 

The tower turned red once more. William smiled a dark smile, and grabbed his sword, swinging it over his shoulders. The three Tarantulas that had been surrounding him walked to stand around the empty space surrounding the tower, joining the other five.

 

---

 

A Super Scan window appeared on the screen again.

 

Franz frowned. “It seems that a tower on Lyoko just deactivated, and then reactivated. I have no idea why.”

 

Then a radar window opened on the screen.

 

Jeremie gasped. “William’s on Lyoko? But how did he get there so quickly? Five minutes ago he was on the First Replika!”

 

Franz’s face wrinkled in thought. “I don’t know for sure, but it may be a tower connection from the First Replika to Lyoko that allows William to travel that quickly. It could be a certain quantum connection with a bipolar access preset situated at zero. That would allow the virtual transportation to operate on a highly fluxional and quick scale.”

 

“But there’s only one tower in the Replika’s Sector 5,” Jeremie said, thinking.

 

Franz turned to Jeremie. “William could have traveled very fast to one of the surface sectors or something.”

 

Suddenly, Jeremie screamed. A black specter descended from the wires and pipes that made up the lab’s ceiling.

 

The specter immediately went for Franz. Jeremie watched helplessly as Franz’s form blinked black, being taken over by XANA.

 

---

 

Yumi blocked more laser shots and threw her fans. One fan hit another Creeper, leaving only two Creepers firing at the super-sprinting Ulrich. One of the Creepers, upon the destruction of its companion, turned away from Ulrich and started firing at Yumi instead.

 

Yumi “pocketed” her fans and spun around in a handstand, avoiding the shots, as she often did. “Ulrich, cover me,” she called over, jumping out of her handstand and running toward the key.

 

Ulrich obliged, shouted “Super Sprint!”, and ran at the Creeper that had been attacking Yumi. He quickly took it out in one blow, leaving the Creeper he had been fighting before. “Looks like it’s just you and me,” Ulrich grinned, as the Creeper groaned and started firing again.

 

“Ulrich? Yumi?” Jeremie’s voice sounded oddly frantic. “Are you guys there?”

 

 Ulrich blocked a few more shots with his sabers and looked up, frowning. “Yeah, we are. Something wrong, Jeremie?”

 

“XANA’s possessed Franz.”

 

Ulrich and Yumi both gasped. Yumi kept running toward the key. “Now what do we do? Jeremie, you can’t stay in the lab! XANA will kill you, and Franz too if he gets the chance!”

 

But instead of responding, Jeremie screamed. There was a loud clunk, and his scream stopped.

 

---

 

Jeremie stood up, relieved. XANA had unsuccessfully possessed Franz. Why, he did not care, but he was glad that his mentor wasn’t Xanafied anymore.

 

Franz kneeled, coughing, as the black specter left his body in wisps.

 

Jeremie sighed in relief. But his mood changed to shock and despair as the specter instead went for him.

 

---

 

“Shield!”

 

The purple, transparent, circular shield appeared in front of Odd as he blocked a few more shots from the remaining two Mantas.

 

Odd sighed. “I’m starting to get tired. How about you, Aelita?”

 

Aelita was blocking more shots with two of her Energy Fields linked as a shield. “Yeah, I am. Do you realize it’s been at least four hours since we’ve been on Earth?”

 

“I can’t say you’d like being back on Earth at the moment,” Franz said. “Of course, it wouldn’t be much of a problem for either of you, but XANA has just tried to possess Jeremie and me.”

 

Odd and Aelita stopped fighting for a split second, but they were too tired to make remarks. “I know you and Jeremie have just been through a lot,” Odd said, “but there’s just been too much shock. My heart must have restarted five times today alone. But why wasn’t XANA able to possess either one of you?”

 

Franz looked at Jeremie. Jeremie shrugged. “It could have been that Franz and I have just as much resistance to XANA now as you two,” Jeremie guessed. “But as to how, I have no idea. Even though both Franz and I have been to Lyoko, neither of us did much fighting to build up our resistance through the virtual combat.”

 

Franz thought. “It could be that a different kind of resistance has built up in our minds, in place of the resistance you two have from virtual combat. I’m not entirely sure why sitting in front of a computer will build up resistance, but something seems to have happened.”

 

A laser shot knocked Odd and Aelita back into the present. “Don’t worry about it for now,” Aelita said, as she and Odd ran back towards the Mantas, firing their weapons. “The main thing is that both of you are okay.”

 

---

 

Ulrich blocked another shot. He had destroyed his Creeper, but four more Creepers had appeared.

 

“Super Sprint!”

 

“Ulrich? Yumi?” The voice that rang through the room was somewhat weak.

 

“Franz?” Yumi jumped onto the rising platform just as it rose out of reach off the ground.

 

“Jeremie and I are okay, so there’s no need to worry. XANA has tried to possess both of us, but he failed. We don’t care why, as long as XANA isn’t at the manual controls of the Lyoko supercomputer. But apparently we’ve built up some resistance against XANA, but not from virtual combat like you two.”

 

Yumi quickly jumped off the still-rising platform onto the platform in front of the Key. She quickly pressed it. “That’s a relief.”

 

“Great job, Yumi!” called Ulrich. Yumi did a virtual-blush, and jumped off the platform. As she fell, she threw her fans right before she landed. The fans met their marks on two of the Creepers. Ulrich quickly slashed the remaining two.

 

“Once you’ve taken care of those Creepers, go through the passage, and we’ll guide you,” said Franz.

 

Yumi caught her fans as Ulrich ran up to her. They both turned and ran through the doorway that had just appeared as the platform in front of the Key dropped to ground level.

 

The short passage opened up to a room with platforms surrounding the perimeter of the room, but empty space loomed in the center of the room. “Okay, we’re through the passage,” Ulrich said. “Where do we go now?”

 

“Take the next hallway on your left,” Jeremie said. Yumi and Ulrich ran clockwise around the perimeter of the room, bypassed a corner, and ran through the opening in the wall.

 

“In the middle of the hallway is an opening on your right,” Jeremie said. “Do you see it?”

 

“Yeah, we do, Jeremie,” Yumi said. She and Ulrich turned right and ran out of the hallway.

 

“Whoa!” Ulrich almost lost his balance. They were standing on a small platform, jutting out of the Core Zone. The closest wall was twenty meters away. Yumi quickly caught his shoulder and heaved him back onto the platform. Both of them fell backwards and collapsed onto the platform.

 

 “Thanks for the warning, Jeremie.” Ulrich sighed, getting into a kneeling position. “You could have told us that we needed to take the Elevator.”

 

“Sorry,” Jeremie said, as a creak of gears and metal mechanisms sounded. “Franz and I were concentrating on determining how to enter William’s Spiritual Essence back into him. I’ll explain it to you once you’ve freed it. The elevator should be coming soon.”

 

There was another creak, and the Elevator rose down from above. Ulrich and Yumi stepped onto the blackish-blue base. The Elevator quickly rose up.

 

After a little while, Yumi and Ulrich realized that the Elevator was taking them straight up. “Jeremie? Franz? Is the Spiritual Essence room located directly above the Arena?” asked Yumi.

 

“Yes,” Franz said. “Why do you ask?”

 

Before Ulrich or Yumi could respond, the Elevator made another metallic sound, and stopped. Ulrich and Yumi quickly stepped off of the Elevator onto a platform not unlike the one they had been on a minute ago. They quickly ran back into the Core Zone.

 

“Well?” Franz said. “It looks like you’re there. Are you there in the right place? Is there anything there that looks like William’s Spiritual Essence?”

 

There was only a gasp in response.

 

The room looked somewhat like a cross between the Core of Lyoko chamber room and the Skidbladnir Hangar, with dark blue platforms surrounding the circular perimeter of the room, while the walls were their usual light blue. In the middle of the room, there was a circular opening in the navy blue platform.

 

And in the very center of the room, surrounded by that navy blue platform, was something that looked like the Core of Lyoko, with its two shield layers. There only two changes. The sphere in front of them was smaller than the Core of Lyoko, and was the exact shape and size of Aelita’s “supposed” fragment they had found in Sector 5, the fragment that they needed to free Aelita, the sphere that had turned out to be a trap set by XANA. It was also the size of the Core of Lyoko, seen in this stage only once, with only Sector 5 showing on the “virtual map”, the orange sphere with four XANA eyes that the Xanafied William had jammed his sword into to destroy Lyoko. Its circumference was the size of a body.

 

And instead of an outside appearance of Lyoko in the central sphere, there was the slowly turning shape of a boy with black hair with a bluish tinge, wearing a white-and-black jumpsuit with a red belt. His eyes were closed, and he held his arms out as he rotated, as if he was at the center of the Arena. He held in his right hand was a huge sword pointing down, as if he was about to draw it out in front of him to shield himself from some attack.

 

“Jeremie. Franz.” Ulrich and Yumi grinned. “We’ve found it.”

 

---

 

The Energy Field hit the last Manta. The Manta sizzled pink, and then exploded.

 

“Jeremie. Dad. We’re finally done. What should we do now?” Aelita put her hands on her hips in waiting.

 

There was a slight pause. “Try to get occupied with doing something,” Franz said after a little while. “Ulrich and Yumi have found the essence, and they’re working to free it. And it looks like you have more monsters coming your way.”

 

There was another bird-like call, and three more Mantas flew into the wide room from the right.

 

“Shield!” Odd blocked the first few shots. “Laser arrow!” He quickly let go of his shield and started firing at the Mantas.

 

Aelita charged up for an Energy Field, but just as she was about to fire it, there was a strange sound. A sound she used to hear a lot on Lyoko before she was reunited with her human memories, although she hadn’t heard it recently, only at one point since Lyoko had been recreated. She turned around, letting her Energy Field discharge and disappear in the process. “Oh no!” she shouted in shock. “Not now!”

 

The Scyphozoa entered the room through the hallway, and started slinking in the general direction of towards her. Aelita intuitively started backing up toward the edge of the platform adjacent to the Skid docked at the tower.

 

---

 

As Ulrich and Yumi stood looking at the sphere in awe, there was a sudden circular bluish-purple energy blast shot from their left.

 

“Watch out!” Ulrich quickly pushed Yumi out of the range, and then jumped himself. The energy blast missed him by inches.

 

Ulrich drew his swords as the smiling, still-Xanafied William walked toward him.

 

Yumi was about to go and help Ulrich, but shots from behind her made her stop. She threw her fans at the three approaching Creepers that slinked toward her out of the hallway.

 

“How’s it going, you guys?” asked Jeremie.

 

“Not too well,” Ulrich said as he jumped out of the way as William slammed his sword to the floor. “Our hosts have horrible hospitality.”

 

“Try as best you can to free William’s Spiritual Essence, and quickly,” Franz said. “As soon as you free it from its restraining shields, I can upload it to the supercomputer to keep it safe, to keep XANA from destroying it.”

 

“Super Sprint!” Ulrich rushed at William and jumped up at the last second. He then somersaulted down to William and slammed his sabers down. There was a loud crash, and William’s sword was knocked from his hand as he tried to stop the swords’ path with his wrist guard. The force alone threw him off balance, and he tumbled onto his back.

 

William blocked Ulrich’s saber again with his wrist guard as Ulrich slashed a saber at him. “Mantas!” William called out in a commanding tone.

 

There was a sound like a bird call. Ulrich and Yumi looked up. Two Flying Mantas lined in dark blue, alongside William’s Black Manta, streamed into the room through the opening in the ceiling.

 

Yumi sighed. “Jeremie, Franz, these odds are too strongly stacked against us. We need backup!”

 

“Odd and Aelita are too far away,” Franz said apologetically. “If I told them to help you, it could be another five minutes before they arrived. By then both of you could be gone, and we’ll have lost half our force. And neither of you need them. Don’t worry, you two can do it. Jeremie and I have faith in you, as do Odd and Aelita.”

 

A Manta started firing at Ulrich, along with William’s Black Manta. The other Manta went for Yumi. Ulrich blocked the additional shots, and still fought William, while Yumi blocked the additional shots as well from her Manta. She threw her fans, and they hit both the Manta and one of the Creepers. She then turned and threw her fans at the Spiritual Essence.

 

“How’s that for a power hit, pretty-boy?”

 

William slammed against the wall, and looked up, growling. Ulrich walked toward him, smiling.

 

“Ulrich, wait!”

 

Ulrich paused and frowned, halfway toward devirtualizing William.


“Don’t devirtualize William!” said Jeremie. “If you devirtualize him, we won’t be able to give him back his Spiritual Essence! We’ll have to wait till he appears again, which we can’t afford to do with XANA controlling both the real and virtual universes.”

 

William got up, smiling, and pushed Ulrich. Ulrich stumbled backward, trying to keep balanced. “If XANA wanted William to flee for that reason,” Ulrich asked, panting, “then why hasn’t William fled?”

 

“Probably because XANA doesn’t want to appear cowardly.” Ulrich glanced at the direction the voice had come from. Yumi ran toward Ulrich, her monsters now destroyed.

 

“Then Jeremie, or Franz, what do we do to keep William here? Just in case he does flee?”

 

Franz thought. “I can construct a temporary holding cell for him. It’ll only last five minutes, though.”

 

“Why would I leave when the battle’s just getting started?” William grinned mockingly, and turned away from Ulrich and Yumi to face his Spiritual Essence. He fired an energy blast at Ulrich and Yumi.

 

Ulrich and Yumi both dodged the shot, and Ulrich ran at William. Yumi proceeded to throw one of her fans at a Manta, and the other at a Manta. They both hit their targets.

 

“Nice hit, Yumi,” Jeremie said. “The first shield layer is just about ready to go.”

 

“Ulrich,” Yumi said, addressing the boy in spandex fighting the black-clad William. “Isn’t it strange that instead of us protecting the Core of Lyoko and XANA trying to destroy its shields, that we’re doing just the opposite as well as XANA? To this thing, anyway.”

 

“Yeah,” Ulrich said, dodging a sword slam by William. “I was thinking the same thing.”

 

“I’ll cover you from William and his Manta,” Yumi called, running over. “You go ahead and work on freeing that essence.”

 

Ulrich nodded, and ran toward the edge of the platform.

 

---

 

“Aelita!” Odd shouted, running towards her and firing at the Scyphozoa. Too late.

 

Aelita fell to the ground. The Scyphozoa floated away, back through the hallway it had come from. The two Mantas took advantage of Odd’s distraction to fire at the Skid.

 

Odd sighed in frustration, looking at the Mantas and then back at Aelita lying in front of him. He quickly stepped back as the Xanafied Aelita rose up.

 

“Jeremie, Franz, what do I do?” he yelled as Aelita started firing Energy Fields at him. “Didn’t you once develop a program to free Aelita in this kind of situation?”

“It was originally a program to reboot the supercomputer, remember?” Jeremie said. He glanced at Franz. “Franz was the one that made it, not me. Remember how I had to upload it from a computer code written on a blackboard in the background of a photo of Aelita and Franz?”

Odd fired another shot. “Uh…vaguely. Oh yeah…that was the time I accidentally sent the photo to Sissi by mistake, and XANA possessed Delmas.”

 

“I can adapt the program to work with the Replika’s supercomputer,” Franz said. “We don’t have enough energy in the Lyoko supercomputer, so I’m going to have to use my Replika’s supercomputer. I’m starting the program now, but uploading it to the system will take time.” He turned to Jeremie. “It’s a good thing you uploaded it to this supercomputer instead of keeping it on a CD.”

 

Jeremie smiled, and nodded. “Thanks.” The CD was back in his room. After XANA had possessed Aelita that last time, and Jeremie had used Franz’s program to reboot the supercomputer, he had uploaded it to the Lyoko supercomputer so he could work out the few remaining bugs in it. The program had worked that time, but had left Aelita barely conscious with little energy to deactivate the remaining activated tower, since she had been the one most affected by the program, with an implant from XANA placed in her brain by the Scyphozoa. Now the program was improved and collecting virtual dust in the restricted part of the supercomputer.

 

“Shield!” Odd blocked another Energy Field with his purple shield. He glanced at the Mantas. They were still firing at the Skid. He turned and shot three arrows at them. Two of them missed and hit the Skid, but one of them hit a Manta.

 

“Good job, Odd,” complimented Franz. “The program is ready. Hang on.”

 

Franz pressed the enter key. Immediately, an opaque wall with a blue tinge slid across the room. As it passed things, they froze, including the Manta, Aelita, and Odd.

 

After half a minute, the wall moved across the room once again. Aelita dropped down onto the ground. Odd felt hazy, and dropped to all fours. The Manta lost its flight, and dropped out of sight.

 

Aelita blinked open her eyes. “What…what happened?”

 

“XANA possessed you,” Franz said, “but we managed to reset your memory again with my program, the one to reboot the supercomputer. How do you feel?”

 

Aelita slowly stood up. “I feel…better than last time.”

 

“It’s thanks to Jeremie that you feel better,” Franz said, and Jeremie blushed on their end. “He worked out the kinks in the program, and now it seems to function perfectly.”

 

“What do we do now, Franz or Jeremie?” Odd asked, looking up toward the sky.

 

“Stay put for now,” Jeremie said. “Ulrich and Yumi have almost freed William’s Spiritual Essence.” 

---

 

Ulrich and Yumi slowly got up. The blue wall had passed through all of the Replika, including the room where they stood. Both regained their tasks. Unfortunately, William and his Black Manta were still there.

 

Ulrich threw his sabers at the sphere. They hit it and bounced off the top, continuing their path. Ulrich quickly sprinted around the edge of the platform, caught them on the other side, and flung them back.

 

The outer cube shield of the sphere started to glow red. Ulrich was about to throw his sabers back at the sphere, but he stopped as he was hit by a laser shot. He groaned, and turned to his left to see the Black Manta flying towards him.

 

This gave Ulrich an idea. He made use of the oncoming fire, and rebounded the shots fired at him at the sphere. The outer, cubical shield layer glowed red and exploded. Bits of red particles flew through the room.

 

“Good job, Ulrich,” Franz said. “Just one more shield layer and we’ll be able to free William.”

 

Yumi turned away from dodging William’s blows and gave a thumbs-up to Ulrich for a split second. She quickly turned back to her battle, flinging her fans at William. William quickly blocked them, and the XANA eye on his sword glowed orange as they made contact.

 

Ulrich quickly turned back as the Black Manta fired another shot at him. He blocked another shot, and sprinted back toward the edge of the platform.


“Ulrich,” Jeremie said, “if you drive both of your sabers into the final shield layer, and if Yumi hits the layer also with both her fans, the shield should explode.”

 

“Okay,” Ulrich said. “Yumi, you ready?”

 

Yumi jumped over William and power-kicked him into the wall. He didn’t get back up. “Okay,” she called, running toward him. As she ran, she threw her fans at the still-firing Manta. The Manta exploded. “Are you ready?”

 

Ulrich and Yumi both arrived at the edge at the same moment. Ulrich drew his sabers as Yumi readied her fans. They threw their weapons at the same moment. The fans hit the sphere and stuck, along with the sabers that drove into the sphere so that only their handles showed.

 

The shield layer glowed red and exploded. Ulrich and Yumi caught their weapons as they flew out of the sphere.

 

Only the human-size sphere was left. As Ulrich and Yumi were about to hold hands, there was a groan from behind them. They both turned. William was waking up.

 

“Keep William occupied!” called Jeremie’s voice, as the sphere in the middle of the room started blinking, as if invisible, horizontal lines were rising through it at light-speed. “If he hits his essence even once, it’ll be destroyed before we can upload it to the system.”

 

“But won’t something bad happen to William and XANA if XANA destroys William’s Spiritual Essence?” questioned Yumi.

 

“To William, yes,” Jeremie replied, “but not to XANA. If XANA destroys the Spiritual Essence, we’ll never be able to free William! So go and fight William, but remember: Do NOT devirtualize him!”

 

“Got it,” Ulrich and Yumi replied. They both ran towards William. William picked up his sword and ran toward them as well, firing an energy blast along the way.

 

Ulrich did a dual-sword block to counter the blast. The blast exploded, but it knocked Ulrich off-balance. He fell backward, dropping his swords in the process.

 

William jumped up, and was about to drive his sword down into Ulrich, but Yumi quickly jumped over Ulrich and kicked William in the side, pushing him away from Ulrich. This gave Ulrich time to gather his swords back.

 

William landed hard. He groaned, and again didn’t get up as he closed his eyes.

 

“Great job, Yumi!” called Ulrich. Yumi smiled back, but frowned as there was a bird call. She sighed, and drew her fans.

 

Two Mantas flew into the room, through the entrance hole above the now-almost-disappeared sphere.

 

“Don’t let them fire at the Spiritual Essence!” shouted Jeremie. “If they do, it’ll be destroyed!”

 

“Watch William,” Ulrich said as the Mantas split, one going for the Spiritual Essence and one flying straight at them. “I’ll go for that other one.”

 

“Okay,” Yumi said, blocking the oncoming shots. Ulrich sprinted to the edge of the platform once more. His Manta turned and fired at him. Ulrich dodged the shots and rebounded a few. The Manta also dodged the shots, and turned away from Ulrich. It faced the almost-disappeared sphere and charged up.

 

“NO!” Ulrich shouted. “Super Sprint!”

 

In the nick of time, Ulrich jumped in front of the Manta as it shot twice. He rebounded the shots to the Manta, and the Manta exploded. Ulrich managed to catch a hand on the platform as he came back down.

 

“Well done, Ulrich,” Franz said, as the sphere finally disappeared. “We’ve uploaded William’s Spiritual Essence to the system. All you have to do is get William back to the tower so we can give his Spiritual Essence back to him. I’ll tell Aelita to deactivate the tower.”

 

Ulrich ran over to Yumi as she destroyed her Manta and caught her fans. “Yeah!” Yumi hi-fived Ulrich, smiling. William was still unconscious.

 

Ulrich motioned to William. “How do you suggest we get him back?”

 

In answer, Yumi closed her eyes and put her hands to her head, as if in thought. William rose off the ground, as a thin pinkish-orange aura appeared around Yumi’s upper body.

 

Ulrich walked alongside the slowly moving Yumi, as she guided William out of the room and onto the Elevator.

 

---

 

Aelita flew into the tower. She sprinted into the middle of the platform and rose up to the circular platform above her. She pressed her hand lightly to the blue interface that appeared.

 

Odd tapped his foot impatiently as Aelita flew back out of the tower, and the tower turned back to blue. “Franz? Jeremie? Where’s our pleasant guest and his escorts?”

 

“Right here,” Ulrich said. Ulrich and Yumi walked out of the hallway, onto the platform. Upon exiting the hallway, Yumi collapsed, sighing. Ulrich lightly caught her as she dropped to the ground. “You okay, Yumi?”

 

Yumi slowly opened her eyes and nodded. “Just a little woozy.”

 

“Oops,” Jeremie said. “We forgot to tell you guys, but upon the tower’s deactivation, you have two minutes to get William into the tower. If we don’t give William’s Spiritual Essence back to him within two minutes, XANA’s controlling program will be locked in his mind forever in place of his Spiritual Essence!”


“WHAT?” Yumi quickly got back up, and resumed her Telekinesis position. “I’ll Tele-transport him over the gap. You three find some way to get into the tower.”

 

“Actually, Yumi,” Aelita said, closing her eyes as well, and dropping on her knees, as if in a praying. A light singing tone filled the room. Yumi opened her eyes a few millimeters. A blue platform appeared at the edge of the platform they were standing on, just big enough to hold four people and an unconscious boy.

 

Yumi closed her eyes and concentrated, smiling slightly at the nostalgia this gave her. “I get it,” she said, just like she had said all that time back in the original Sector 5. She walked forward, William still floating face-up in front of her. He dropped onto the platform as Yumi walked onto it. She dropped on her knees again; weary from the energy the Telekinesis was costing her. Ulrich quickly ran onto the platform, putting a hand on her back in sympathy. “It’s okay, Yumi. Just a little more and we’ll be finished.”

 

A glance passed between Aelita and Odd before they walked onto the platform as well.

 

Yumi slowly stood up again, turning to check that everyone was on. “Everyone ready?” The platform moved forward.

 

“One minute, everyone!”

 

As they were halfway across the gap, Ulrich heard a groan. He looked down. “Oh no. William’s waking up!”

 

“Be careful!” Franz shouted. Aelita had never heard her father so agitated. “Keep him on the platform! You only have half a minute!”

 

Ulrich and Odd quickly ran forward and tried to put a foot on him, but it was too late. William deliberately rolled off the platform to the depths of the room below.

 

“NO!” Aelita shouted. She quickly waved her hand across the star bracelet on her right wrist. She flew down, down, down, to the falling William. Aelita shot an Energy Field at him, putting him in a mildly unconscious state. She saw her chance. Aelita hooked her arms under William’s, and pulled him up with all the strength she had.

 

Yumi dropped to the ground, completely exhausted, as the platform bumped into the tower. Odd quickly entered the tower, and Ulrich helped Yumi into the tower as well. Aelita flung William into the tower, deactivated her wings, landed on the platform, and ran into the tower.

 

William was lying in the center of the tower’s base, dazed. Ulrich, Odd, and Yumi stood around him on the other side of the platform. An interface opened in front of Aelita as she arrived on the second inner ring of the platform, and started pressing various spots.

 

“Ten seconds, Aelita!” Jeremie shouted.

 

“I’m......ready, Dad and Jeremie,” Aelita said, pressing her hand to the now-blank interface.

 

“Okay,” Franz said, typing in response, and pressing the enter key. “Let’s go.”

 

William slowly rose off the floor, not unlike how Aelita had rose off the floor of the tower with her Code: Earth program. His hands slowly rose so that his body formed a “T”. The interfaces lining the walls started circling slowly around the wall, and then faster and faster. Blue rings appeared around William, and a thicker, bigger ring appeared around the other rings.

 

Aelita, Yumi, Ulrich, and Odd watched in awe. The thick ring moved to the bottom of William’s unconscious body, and slowly started rising up. As the ring rose higher, the portions of William’s body slowly evaporated so that just his white-and-blue digital frame was showing.

 

William’s body was now fully transparent. The thick blue ring dropped to his feet once more, and started slowly rising up. This time, under the ring, instead of the black Xanafied outfit, William’s old outfit returned: first the dark blue bottom part of the jumpsuit, then the red belt, and finally the white top of the jumpsuit and his face. Upon meeting the empty space above William’s body, the thick blue ring disappeared.

 

“Look!” said Yumi, pointing. Aelita, Odd and Ulrich looked. The black Zanbato flew into the tower on William’s right, and stopped in front of him. Blue rings appeared around the Zanbato as well, and the Zanbato went through the same process as William had just did.

 

William was now fully returned to normal. The blue rings around him and his sword disappeared. His sword floated into his hand, pointing down like it had been in his Spiritual Essence. He gracefully rose back to the middle of the platform, his sword in hand. He dropped his sword and collapsed to the ground.

 

All four of them ran forward. Yumi lightly put a hand on him.

 

William slowly looked up again. “Am I free this time?”

 

Aelita, Odd, and Yumi shouted gleefully. Even Ulrich joined in. They all gave William a welcoming hug for his freedom.

End Notes:

By far, and so far, my favorite chapter.

12.18.07- Just watched "90 Wrong Exposure" on CN Video, and edited a few parts of the chapter to match it. If you haven't already, watch it now. (Fyi- I did the same thing with "The Miracle" after 82 Distant Memory aired in France.)

Chapter 7- Briefing by 5CarthageRocks

Chapter 7- Briefing (11.15.07-11.16.07)

“Materialization Ulrich! Materialization William!”

In a room a floor below the room where the voice had just come from, two of the scanners opened to reveal a brown-haired boy in green in one scanner and a black-haired boy wearing a black shirt over a long-sleeved red shirt and jeans in the other.

 

William sighed and leaned to a position leaning against the inside of the scanner. “It feels great to be back on Earth. I feel like it’s been years since I’ve been back, even though I still can’t remember anything after being captured by the Scyphozoa.”

 

Everyone smiled. “Jeremie, we all got back okay, including William.”

 

“Great,” Jeremie said. “Get back up here. Franz and I need to brief you on what we do next.”

 

Out of the corner of his eye Ulrich noticed Yumi smile briefly at William. William returned the smile. Ulrich turned away, frowning, hesitant to the looming problem still sitting in the air.

 

“I wonder what Jeremie and Franz need to brief us on,” Odd wondered randomly as all five of them walked over to the ladder built into the wall.

 

---

 

The elevator door opened. The two people at the computer, one standing and one sitting in the chair, turned and smiled. Jeremie was very thankful that William was back with them. It meant one more person to help them get through the hard task ahead of them.

 

Odd, Aelita, Ulrich, Yumi, and William sat down in front of Franz in the chair, like it was story-time and Franz was the storyteller. “William,” Aelita said, motioning to Franz, “I’d like you to meet my father, the creator of Lyoko.”

 

William partially got up and leaned over to shake Franz’s hand. “I’ve heard a lot about you, Mr. Hopper.”

 

“Please, call me Franz,” Franz said. Neither Ulrich nor Aelita, or any other person, mentioned Ulrich’s connection to Franz. No one wished to give more information to William than he needed to know. Not because he wasn’t trustable, but because it could distract him dangerously.

 

William sat back down. “So, what do you need to brief us on?”

 

“Well,” Jeremie said, with half a glance at Franz, “first off, good job in your NavSkid. And great job with destroying the supercomputer.”

 

Instead of blushing, William basked in the pride this gave him. Translated to the scene, he had destroyed the supercomputer for XANA’s First Replika with Aelita, an unintentional pair-up. And, with some instruction from Ulrich, Yumi, Odd, and Jeremie, he had destroyed the monsters blocking the Skid’s path back to Franz’s Replika: two Kongers and a Rekin. Surprisingly, on the way back, there had been no more sign of XANA activity, although the Network was still permanently locked in red. The Skid now sat back in its hangar in Franz’s Replika, charging for the oncoming mission ahead of them.

 

“Before we start,” William said, “can I ask a question?”

 

“Of course,” Franz said. “Go on.”

 

“Why didn’t I fall against the top of my NavSkid when the Skid rotated, and I was facing down? I know you explained it to me, but I forgot.”

 

“The reason you didn’t fall,” answered Franz, “is because we were able to modify the gravity, for all of you, inside your NavSkids. And in the Cockpit. Water generally has less gravity than air on Earth, so the water in the Digital Sea has less gravity, and is also modifiable.”

 

There was a pause. Finally Jeremie sighed. “Franz, I still can’t remember everything we planned. Can you explain it to them?”

 

“Sure.” Franz shifted to a proper sitting position as Jeremie took a seat, noticeably, beside Aelita. She smiled slightly as he sat down.

 

Franz took a deep breath. “To start off, I’m going to have to materialize you into my Replika. It’s a process that took a while to work, and is still experimental. But that isn’t the problem.”

 

“Then what is?” asked Ulrich, nervous at the possibility of this being their “Last Mission”. Finally. This was the fourth time he had thought of this, and he hoped to not be proven wrong this time.

 

“You’re going to have to try to deactivate all the towers on Lyoko.”

 

There was a dead silence, and the news dropped like a bomb.

 

“Wha…what?” stuttered Aelita. “Dad, that’s nearly impossible! There are 41 towers to deactivate, and the amount of time that will take is incredible! Not to mention all the monsters…”

 

“Calm down, Aelita,” Franz said. “First of all, to get rid of the monsters, we can simply restart the supercomputer. That will cause them all to fall into the Digital Sea and be destroyed.”

 

“Oh,” Aelita said in a small voice. “But what about the towers? Isn’t there some sort of shield around each one?”

 

“And Franz,” Odd said, “can’t you deactivate towers manually from the controls here?”

 

“About the towers,” Franz said, frowning at Odd. “I was able to deactivate the towers from here at one point, but it seems that now XANA is denying full access from the controls of the supercomputer.”

 

“I think you meant that polymorphic specter that XANA used on us once,” Ulrich said, turning to Odd. “And that was XANA.”

 

“Oh.” Odd shifted, embarrassed.

 

“Going back to the large amount of towers,” Franz said, “I can deactivate them from here. But I need you, Aelita,” he said, turning back to Aelita, “to enter a program into each sector’s passage tower. Last of all, the tower in Carthage. It is the ‘heart’ of XANA’s power. And once you start the program, it will give me access to deactivate the rest of the towers in the sector. As for the shields, a few blows with your weapons should take them out. XANA didn’t have a lot of power left in the supercomputer for the shields protecting the tower. And the reason you need to deactivate the towers is because XANA only exists in the towers of Lyoko, now that his Replika ‘core’ appears to have been destroyed.”

 

Everyone sighed, relieved. Deactivating 41 towers would have taken hours. Not to mention the monsters guarding all of them. With both problems solved, it would be a lot easier.

 

Yumi frowned, thinking of something and suddenly alert. “What happened to XANA’s Army here? Has there been any activity?”

 

Just as she finished, there was a bang that shook the whole Factory. Everyone stood up, looking up in shock and surprise. In response, Franz turned back to the supercomputer and pressed the enter key. Everyone crowded on either side of the chair. A window opened on the screen, showing a group of twenty people, mostly from Kadic, Xanafied and attempting to activate the elevator and heading toward the corridor.

 

“I’ve completely cut the power to the supercomputer with the activated tower on my Replika,” Franz said. “I’ve also blocked off the corridor completely with a few…surprises for XANA.”

 

“What happened to the specters?” asked Jeremie.

 

“I decided not to use them this time,” Franz replied, “on account of them being powerless against twenty Xanafied people at once.”

 

Jeremie nodded, agreeing with Franz’s thinking.

 

There was silence. Franz finally clapped his hands together. “So, are you ready to start? We can start now. Unless you five want to rest. It must have been tiring being virtualized for four hours straight. And William, you may want to stay here on Earth to rest.”

 

“No thanks,” William said, standing up. The rest of them stood up with him and headed for the trapdoor. Jeremie walked back over to lean against the chair.

Chapter 8- Overflow by 5CarthageRocks

Chapter 8- Overflow (11.20.07-11.22.07)

“Virtualization!”

Yumi, Odd, and Aelita landed on the floor of the revolving Arena, facing outward in a triangle. “Franz, Jeremie, we made it,” Aelita said looking around to check their surroundings. “The program that re-linked the scanners doesn’t seem to have any bugs.”

 

“Thanks, Aelita,” Franz said. “Although we didn’t really re-link the scanners to the Replika. We just added another virtualization location to the supercomputer’s operating code. Virtualization.”

 

Yumi, Odd, and Aelita looked up as Ulrich and William formed above them, facing in the same direction, and landed on the floor in the middle of the three of them.

 

William smiled briefly at Yumi. She quickly returned the smile, intending for Ulrich not to see them, but he caught a glimpse. Ulrich quickly turned away before Yumi and William had realized he had seen them.

 

There was a shake to the room, and the floor stopped rotating. At the same moment, the wall opened. The small blue platform guided the empty space to the floor.

 

“Go up to the Skid Hangar,” said Jeremie, as Aelita, Odd, Ulrich, William, and Yumi ran out of the Arena onto the bridge, and then into the Corridor. “We’ll set you up for liftoff.”

 

---

 

The Xanafied Jim groaned. He had tried again to open the door to the Hallway, and again he had been electrically shocked yet again only from the door handle. Hopper and Belpois were putting up a good fight.

 

He glanced back to the middle of ground floor. Xanafied Mr. Delmas, Mrs. Hertz, and Sissi were trying to activate the elevator. But like the door, every time they merely tried to touch the button they were thrown back with a huge electric shock.

 

Jim turned his attention back to the door. “Shoot a power beam at it,” he instructed Herve, Nicholas, and Rosa standing around him.

 

Nicholas nodded. Jim let him take his place in front of the door. Facing the door squarely, Nicholas put his hands out in front of him. Closing his eyes, a huge, thick beam of electricity shot toward the door. But the door merely reflected the shot with a nonchalant purple spark of energy as well. Nicholas groaned as he was thrown backward from the powerful electric shot.

 

The Xanafied Jim closed his eyes, thinking of another way to get to Hopper and Belpois.

 

---

 

“Energize.”

 

The five teenagers on the now-full Transporter Spots platform disappeared as each circle on the platform lit up and cast a flashlight-like light up towards the ceiling. All five of them reappeared in their NavSkids, except for the pink-haired girl who reappeared in the cockpit at the controls.

 

“Everyone ready?” Aelita asked, putting her hands in her lap.

 

“Ready.”

 

“Ready.”

 

“Ready, Aelita.”

 

“Okay, Princess.”

 

Aelita pressed the small red button in front of the joystick. “We have ignition powering vertical.” The engines on the wings of the Skid responded, turning to face appropriately downward.

 

Aelita pulled the joysticks back. “Liftoff!”

 

The engines lit up like rockets. The Skidbladnir rose up through the entry portal in the ceiling.

 

As soon as the Skid left the Hangar, it spiraled downward to the bottom of the huge, blue sphere that was Carthage.

 

“You guys ready?” Aelita asked, pausing and stopping as the hovered over the opening in the interfaces. “This really could be our last mission this time.”

 

“We’re ready,” Ulrich said.

 

“Ready.” Yumi smiled.

 

“All set, Aelita,” William said, shifting in his NavSkid, slightly impatient.

 

“Let’s go, Princess,” Odd said, grinning.

 

“Ready to dive.” The Skidbladnir dove out of the Replika. Unknown to any of them, it would be the last time they saw the Replika.

 

The gate opened. “Surprisingly, there don’t seem to be any monsters in the surrounding area,” Jeremie said. “But be careful all the same.”

 

“Hub ahead at two o’clock,” Franz said.

 

“Thanks,” Aelita said. “Rotation.” The lower half of the Skid rose out of its vertical position into a vertical one. At the same time, the wings also spread out.

 

“Engaging turbo crop and auxiliary engines,” Aelita said, pressing the appropriate white function, hexagonal buttons in the proper order and pushing the joysticks forward. The Skid shot forward toward the Hub.

 

“Do you guys really think this could be our last mission?” asked Odd.

 

“Hopefully,” Yumi said. “I’m really getting tired of fighting XANA.”

 

“Oh yeah,” Odd said. “With XANA defeated, I can sleep in more!”

 

Ulrich groaned. “Oh no, that means more snoring for me to hear.”

 

“Nearing Hub.” Everyone shifted and turned their attention back to the Hub at the sound of Aelita’s voice. As the Skid hovered over the orange swirls of the middle of the Hub, it rotated back into its vertical position.

 

“Hyperfluid aspiration in three…two…one…now.” The Skid dove into the Hub.

 

Orange particles flew past them as they flew at light-speed to the other end of the Hub. Finally they shot out of the other Hub on the other side of the Network.

 

“Retro brakes.” The Skid slowly grounded to a halt. “Standby for restarting the supercomputer,” Aelita called to Jeremie and Franz.

 

A window appeared on the screen. Franz frowned. “Sorry, Aelita, it doesn’t look like we can reset the supercomputer for you.”

 

“What?” asked William. “Wasn’t that the whole point to destroy the monsters on Lyoko?”

 

“I suspected that XANA would think that we would do this,” Franz replied, “and I checked it out to see if he laid any traps for us. He did. Apparently if we attempt to restart the supercomputer, XANA set up an algorithm so that the supercomputer will be left without power, cutting us off from you.”

 

“But what about his activated towers?” inquired Yumi. “Won’t they power down too?”

 

“He’s set it up so that only the power available to us will be terminated,” Jeremie responded bitterly, “which is a lot less than normal at the moment, thanks to XANA’s towers.”

 

Everyone groaned. “But then how will we get rid of all the monsters?” Odd said, worriedly. “I know, we’re all good fighters, especially me,” he puffed up, “but sheer force won’t get rid of the ten-or-more monsters at each passage tower.”

 

“We’re going to have to think of another way to terminate the monsters, then,” Franz said. “Does anyone have any ideas?”

 

Everyone shook their heads, momentarily forgetting Franz and Jeremie couldn’t see them. “No.”

 

“Then for the time being, you’re going to have to deal with the monsters. Be careful.”

 

The Skid moved in front of the Entrance Gate. “Rotation,” Aelita said again, pulling the red lever.

 

“The tunnel is open,” Franz said, as the gate in front of them slowly swung open.

 

“Thanks, Daddy,” Aelita said. The Skid slowly went through the gate.

 

The light green virtual water seeped off the Skid as they left the sea and hurtled up to ground level: They were in the Forest Sector.

 

“The passage tower is north by northeast of your current position,” Jeremie said. “It should be visible at ten o’clock.”

 

“I see it, Jeremie,” Aelita said. Sure enough, the tower glowed red in the distance. The Skid hovered toward it.

 

“Hmmm…” Ulrich pondered as they got closer. “Not a monster in sight.”

 

“They must have chickened out!” Odd said gleefully. “This is too easy.”

 

The Skid halted in front of the tower. The tower was situated on a plateau with four paths jutting out of it in four different directions. The trees surrounded the tower, some suspended in midair around the plateau.

 

“Teleport.” All five of the Lyoko Warriors teleported to the ground, lush with shades of green.

 

“There doesn’t seem to be any monsters near the tower,” Franz said, surprised. “All you have to do is take out the shield protecting the tower, and then Aelita can start the program for recovering the Forest Sector.”

 

Just as everyone took positions around the tower, there were sounds of mechanical movement behind them. Everyone turned. Dozens of roach-like creatures had arrived on the plateau via the path.

 

“What are those things?” asked William, surprised. He hadn’t seen any of them before on Lyoko. He had barely seen the five sectors.

 

“They’re Kankrelats,” said Ulrich, drawing his sabers. “This should be interesting.”

 

“We only need one of you to take out the shield,” Franz said. “The shield doesn’t have much power.”

 

“Aelita,” Yumi instructed, “get rid of that shield. The rest of us will handle the Kankrelats.”

 

The huge army of Kankrelats charged up and fired all at once. All three of them blocked the shots and ran at the army, wielding their weapons.

 

Aelita turned to the tower and charged up for two Energy Fields.

 

Odd shot at the Kankrelats. Five of them exploded. “Yes!”

 

There was a shout from behind them. Odd turned. “Aelita!” he shouted. “Look out!”

 

Aelita barely dodged the two elliptical laser shots. As Odd was about to run to help her, Ulrich ran past him. “Go for the Kankrelats!” he shouted back as he ran. “I’ll help Aelita.”

 

Odd shrugged, turning back to fire. “Have it your way!” He ran at the Kankrelats firing at the Skid, firing his own arrows the whole time.

 

Yumi threw her fans yet again. William ran forward, slashing downward with his sword the whole time. The Kankrelats in his path exploded as they met contact with the sword.

 

“Jeremie, Franz, I don’t think we’ll even make it past the Forest Sector!” Yumi blocked more shots, and was then thrown backward, hit.

 

“We need to get rid of these monsters!” Ulrich shouted, blocking two Megatank shots at once. In front of him, Aelita fired Energy Fields at the tower’s shield, blocked on both sides by the frozen laser walls. “Does anyone have any ideas?”

 

The idea came to Aelita, Yumi, and Odd at the same moment, since they had all been there when XANA had used the strategy in the Mountain Sector, but it was Aelita who spoke first. “What if we raise the level of the Digital Sea?”

 

Jeremie and Franz looked at each other, pondering the thought. Franz began typing. “That sounds like a good idea. Get back into the Skid.”

 

Aelita, Odd, Ulrich, William and Yumi disappeared into the Skid. The monsters, thinking they had victory, started firing at the Skid.

 

“Won’t raising the Digital Sea have some effect on us?” Yumi asked, as Aelita rose the Skid higher, out of range of the laser shots.

 

“Technically,” Jeremie answered, “it will. When the Digital Sea is at its normal level, the entrance to the Network is right below it. But the water still has virtual properties that devirtualizes and destroys any monster or human alike. The Skid isn’t affected by it, but neither is the sector itself or the towers in it.”

 

“But how is Aelita supposed to get into the tower if it’s blocked off?” William inquired.

 

“Once the tower’s shield is down,” Franz said, “we can use the Skid’s teleport program to get you into the tower, Aelita. Unfortunately, as of now, we only have enough power left for us in the supercomputer to do one sector at a time. I’m ready. Raising the Digital Sea.” Franz pressed the enter key.

 

The water level rose. In a matter of seconds it was flooding onto the plateau and the paths of the Forest Sector. The monsters tried to avoid it, running away from the rising water, but didn’t succeed. All of the Kankrelats and the two Megatanks exploded upon meeting contact with the water.

 

The Skid dropped back down to face the tower as the water quickly rose around them.

 

“Firing torpedoes.” Aelita pressed the red button on top of the joystick. The small cylinder-like cannons on both sides of the cockpit lit up and fired. The shield flashed a bright blue upon being hit. It developed cracks, and finally exploded in light blue squares.

 

“Good job, Aelita,” Jeremie said.

 

Aelita smiled. “Teleport,” she said, pressing the keypad on her left. Aelita vanished.

 

“Are you inside the tower, Aelita?” Franz asked.

 

“Yes, I am,” Aelita said, running to the circle in the middle of the platform. Upon arriving at the middle, she rose up to the circular platform above her. She finally landed on the platform as the Lyoko eye on the platform lit up in a bright, light blue.

 

The interface appeared, but instead of pressing her hand to it, Aelita lightly touched the interface with two fingers. An outline of a square expanded quickly to disappear off the sides of the interface. “Programming tower access.”

 

“I’m uploading the program to the tower,” Franz said. “Once it’s activated and running, deactivate the tower. That will deactivate the Forest Sector’s other nine towers permanently. It’ll also free up more of the supercomputer’s power for our own use.”

 

“Program received.” Aelita moved a window across the interface with her finger. “Activating tower restoration program.” She pressed the window that appeared on the screen of the interface.

 

Throughout the sector, the sand-colored cables sparked with blue. All of the towers’ shields exploded and disappeared. The towers momentarily went offline, their auras disappearing, but then reactivated in blue. “Forest Sector restarted. And Forest passage tower deactivated.”

 

“Great job, Aelita!” Jeremie congratulated.

 

Aelita reappeared in the cockpit. “How should we get to the Desert Sector?”

 

“Go through Sector 5,” Jeremie replied. “That’s the whole reason we programmed the access tunnel in the sky of each sector: for the Skid’s use.”

 

“Okay,” Aelita replied. The Skid shot up into the sky. The water level was about ten meters below the gray Sector 5 transfer sphere. The Skid gently went through the gray tunnel.

 

“I’m raising the level of the Digital Sea in the Desert Sector,” Franz said, replying to Aelita’s unasked question, as the Skid turned out of the data-interface-lined tunnel and into the Celestial Dome. “Opening tunnel.”

 

The line of bright blue data bits flowing into the tunnel quickly stopped flowing, opening the tunnel to the Desert Sector.

 

Aelita smiled. The Skid exited Sector 5 through the tunnel.

 

“The tower is on the other side of the sector,” Jeremie instructed as the Skid came out of the gray tunnel. The top of the yellowish water was already a few meters below the gray Sector 5 sphere.

 

The Skid flew across the water.

 

“The tower’s below you,” Franz said, after five minutes. The Skid stopped. Aelita peered through the shimmering water. Sure enough, the tower glowed red below them, on a plain desert plateau.

 

“Thanks, Dad,” Aelita said. The Skid dropped below into the water.

 

---

 

“Desert Sector restarted.”

 

The towers in the Desert Sector deactivated and turned back to blue.

 

“Again, great job, Aelita,” Jeremie said. “Only three more sectors to go.”

 

“ONLY?” Odd asked incredulously.

 

Suddenly, before Jeremie or Franz could respond, the screen started to fizz. Franz frowned. “What’s going on?”

 

A window opened. Red vertical lines moved across the window.

 

“Oh no!” Jeremie shouted. “XANA!”

 

Franz’s eyes widened. He quickly started typing. “I’m activating a recovery program to protect our data.” The red window closed.

 

In the Desert Sector, the Digital Sea level receded. Aelita, now in the Skid’s cockpit, frowned. “Dad? Jeremie? Is something wrong? The Digital Sea is going back down!”

 

There was a slight pause. “XANA tried to cut us off permanently from you,” Franz finally replied. “I managed to activate a recovery program in time, but some of the data was hacked. Once you get to the Ice Sector, I can try to raise the Digital Sea there.”

 

“Okay,” Aelita said. But as the Skid rose back up into the sky, laser shots started hitting the Skid.

 

“Uh oh,” Yumi said. A squadron of five Hornets were orbiting the Skid, firing every second they got the chance.

 

The window showing the Skid’s energy levels appeared on the screen. “Aelita, the Skid’s power is going down!” Jeremie exclaimed. “We’re going to have to recharge the power. It’s at ten percent!”

 

“Can’t you just re-route a chunk of energy from the supercomputer?” Odd asked. “Like you did the first time we explored the Forest Replika?”

 

“We don’t have enough energy to re-route,” Franz said. “We would have to re-route energy from the Carthage supercomputer, but I can’t patch a connection from here. I need the Skidbladnir to be anchored in its Hangar.”

 

“Okay,” Aelita said, taking hold of the joysticks. “We’ll drop off the Skid at the Hangar and then head on to the Ice Sector.”

 

“No,” Jeremie said. “It’ll take too long to either wait for the Skid to recharge or for you to go, Aelita. We just need one of you to drop off the Skid in the Garage and the other four of you to head on to the Ice Sector.”

 

“What about that remote-control program for the Skid?” asked Yumi. “The one that you used back in the Desert Replika?”

 

“We don’t have enough energy at the moment to run it,” replied Franz.

 

When no one said anything, Ulrich shifted. “I’ll go. Good luck, you four.”

 

“Okay,” Aelita said, taking hold of the joysticks again. The Skid dropped down to hover above the plateau below. The Hornets continued to fire at the Skid.

 

“Teleport.” Aelita, Odd, William and Yumi appeared on the plateau. Ulrich appeared at the controls in the cockpit.

 

“Laser arrow!” Odd fired at the Hornets. Two of them exploded. Yumi took out two more with her fans, and Aelita hit the remaining one with an Energy Field.

 

“Good luck, Ulrich,” Aelita said. Ulrich gave a salute from the cockpit, and the Skid rose up into the sky, entering the tunnel to Sector 5.

 

“The way tower is south of your location,” Franz said. Aelita, Odd, Yumi and William ran towards the tower to the Ice Sector.

 

---

 

The Skid lowered into the Hangar through the entry portal in the ceiling. “Following docking procedure,” Ulrich said.

 

The Skid lowered into position in the middle of the five Support Arms. As the five supports lowered and leaned into place, each one activated, and a solid white circle surrounded by two half-circles appeared where each support arm was activated.

 

Ulrich appeared in the middle circle of the Transporter Spots in the flashlight-like bright light. “Okay, Franz and Jeremie, the Skid is docked.”

 

“Good job, Ulrich,” Jeremie said. “The others are almost at the Ice Sector.”

 

“Head down to the Arena,” Franz said, “and I’ll program the Transporter.”

 

“Okay.” Ulrich stepped onto the Elevator, turning to look back at the Skid as the Elevator dropped down.

 

As soon as Ulrich left, there was a strange sound. It was the call of one of XANA’s monsters.

 

---

 

Outside of the Core Zone, in the huge Celestial Dome, the Scyphozoa made its call again as it floated up to the sky entry portal of the Skidbladnir Hangar.

 

The Scyphozoa dropped into the Garage. It immediately took hold of the Skid with its tentacles. Red circles appeared around the place the tentacles touched the Skid’s shield.

 

Red particles of data flowed through the tentacles and into the Scyphozoa’s brain. The Scyphozoa slowly began sucking energy from the Skid. But unknowingly, it was doing more than that. And all according to XANA’s plan.

End Notes:
Me like cliffhangers....If you haven't realized it already. =P
Chapter 9- Old Friends by 5CarthageRocks

Chapter 9- Old Friends (11.23.07-11.25.07)

Aelita, Odd, William and Yumi ran out of the tower. They were on a raised path, almost like a bridge. Virtual water flowed beneath the path, making the path seem even more like a bridge. “Franz,” Yumi said, “we’re in the Ice Sector.”

“Good,” Franz said. “We don’t have enough resources to bring your vehicles up. The passage tower is just a little farther. Head down the path, and then through the cave tunnel.”

 

“What about the Digital Sea?” Yumi asked.


“There’s not much use of doing that now,” Jeremie said, “since you four are vulnerable to the water as well as XANA’s creatures. And since we don’t have the Skid, it’ll just make it harder for you guys to get to the tower. Plus, it would save the energy we currently have in the supercomputer, which still isn’t a lot.”

 

The four of them ran forward on the path until it opened up to a small island-like raised platform, at the same level as the bridge-path behind them. It was surrounded by sharp wing-like rocks that curved toward them. Aelita remembered this as the place Sissi had virtualized her when Mr. Delmas, the principal, Sissi’s father, had been Xanafied. Aelita also remembered even father back to when XANA had taken control of a set prop, an alien, which he had used to attack Ulrich and Yumi. Odd and Aelita had taken this very path to get to the tower.

 

Odd, and Yumi, remembered this place well, too. XANA had given them an Ultimatum that either Aelita had to be in the Ice Sector by 2:00 to give herself up to the Scyphozoa, or Yumi and Odd would have been liquidated. In that attack, Ulrich had saved Odd and Yumi in time in the refrigerated warehouses on the wharf with Jeremie’s bulky, prototypical EMP Bomb. Odd and Yumi had also been virtualized here. Odd also remembered, like Aelita, far before Aelita had been materialized for the first time, when the movie director, James Finson, had come to town, and had used the old Factory as his set. Ulrich had gone along as a “technical advisor”, to watch and protect the supercomputer. And Sissi again had interfered that time too.

 

In front of them, the path started up again, but it took a very steep decline, more than 45 degrees steep. It gradually curved out, and finally entered a cave, with an opening to a tunnel.

 

William, his sword still on his shoulders, supported by a hand, put one foot half-over the drop, and shivered. “That’s one steep drop,” he said, looking down.

 

Suddenly, there was a laser shot, and a few rough groans. Everyone turned. Three Krabes were walking toward them from the path behind them.

 

“Shield!” Odd shouted, blocking more shots. Aelita, Yumi and William blocked the shots fired at them as well. Yumi looked up briefly, addressing the two people sitting in the Lab. “Franz, Jeremie, what do we do?”

 

Jeremie thought. “Two of you and Aelita head to the passage tower,” Jeremie said, “but the other person should stay to fight the Krabes before joining the other three. I know splitting up isn’t always a good idea, but we need someone to keep the monsters busy.”

 

Then a window opened on the screen, showing the Skid’s energy levels. The shield was rapidly decreasing.

 

Franz frowned again. “What...?”

 

Then a radar window opened, explaining the situation. Franz sighed. “Aelita, Odd, Yumi and William: XANA is attacking the Skidbladnir with the Scyphozoa. I’ll tell Ulrich to stay there and fight it, but he’s going to need some help. I need one of you to take the Transporter to Sector 5 and help Ulrich.”

 

“I’ll go,” William said, slamming his sword to the ground to block another shot.

 

“And I’ll stay to fight these Krabes,” Odd said, as Aelita and Yumi destroyed one apiece at the same time. “Okay…Krabe. Yumi, Aelita, get to that passage tower.”

 

“No need, Odd,” William said. He jumped onto the remaining Krabe and jammed his sword into the dark red XANA eye on the Krabe’s shell. William quickly jumped back off. The Krabe groaned, swaying, and exploded.

 

“Okay,” Jeremie said. “All four of you need to take the tunnel, but after you exit the tunnel, William, you need to take the Transporter. I’ll guide you.”

 

“Got it,” William said. There was another shot. Everyone looked over their shoulders. Two more Krabes walked onto the plateau.

 

“All of you, get going,” Franz said. “Don’t worry about the Krabe.”

 

“It’s your lucky day, Mary!” called Odd. He jumped off the platform onto the steep incline. Aelita gave a little wave, and jumped after Odd. Yumi and William quickly jumped after Odd and Aelita as well.

 

The Krabes groaned, still firing at them, but not being able to follow them down the incline. Aelita, Odd, Yumi and William disappeared into the tunnel, William still dragging his Zanbato.

 

---

 

Ulrich ran into the middle of the Arena. “Jeremie, Franz, I’m here. You can access the Transporter.”

 

“Ulrich, you need to go back to the Hangar,” Franz instructed. “XANA’s attacking the Skidbladnir with the Scyphozoa.”

 

“What?” Ulrich quickly ran back into the Corridor. “Why didn’t you tell me earlier?”

 

“It appeared just after you left,” Jeremie said, “but we were helping the others to the tower.”

 

“Can’t you run that program to reinforce the Skid’s shields?”


“The one with activating a tower in each sector?” Jeremie sighed. “Ulrich, we don’t have any towers to use right now besides the one in Franz’s Replika, because we’re using a highly strict access program to protect the Forest and Desert Lyoko towers. To activate one of those towers means lifting the protection, which we would rather not risk.”

 

“William is coming as your backup,” Franz said.

 

As the Elevator started to rise, Ulrich caught his breath and groaned inwardly. The last thing he needed right now was a weight to keep him down and protect in addition to himself.

 

---

 

“Woo hoo!”

 

Odd skidded out of the tunnel and off the cliff, as if he was on his Overboard. Aelita, Yumi and William shot out of the tunnel behind him. Odd landed, skidding in an upright position. Aelita activated her wings with a wave of her hand to her wrist and slowly beat back her momentum with her wings. Yumi’s and William’s landings were less graceful, both of them landing with a sickening crunch on the ground far below.

 

William got up, brushing himself off, and then gave a hand to Yumi and helped her up. “Franz, Jeremie,” William said, “where do I go?”

 

“Go to the edge of the plateau,” Franz said. “It’s on your left. The rest of you, get to the passage tower. It’s in the middle of a canyon on your far right.”

 

In the distance, about fifty yards away, stood the canyon. William could see the end of the plateau in directly the opposite direction. “See ya!” he called, waving, heading toward the edge of the plateau.

 

“Good luck!” called Yumi. Odd and Aelita again exchanged a glance, and decided mentally at the same time not to mention any of this to Ulrich.

 

Yumi ran a few steps and then stopped, looking back at them. “Coming, you two?”

 

“Of course!” Odd ran to follow Yumi, Aelita in his wake.

 

“Franz, Jeremie,” William called, addressing the sky, “I’m almost at the edge of the sector.”

 

“William,” Jeremie said, “we’ve developed a way so that you don’t have to carry your sword on your shoulders. Just think of it disappearing, and it’ll disappear. When you want to call it back, think of it and focus your mind on it.”

 

William stopped, taking his Zanbato off his shoulders and looking at it. It disappeared in light wisps of white smoke. “Thanks!” William called, continuing running.  He finally grounded to a halt, looking over the edge of the plateau to the shimmering, dark blue Digital Sea. “I’m here.”

 

“Okay,” Franz said, typing the six-letter password to the Carthage window. “Scipio.”

 

The white, spherical Transporter with the Lyoko eye upon its front soared up out of the Digital Sea. It paused before engulfing William with a white radiance, spinning, and then whooshed towards the bright light at the other end of the sector.

 

---

 

The Elevator shuddered to a stop at its destination. Ulrich ran off the Elevator. “Jeremie, Franz, I’m here!”

 

In front of him was the Skid, and the Scyphozoa was attacking it with its tentacles.

 

“Ulrich,” Jeremie said, “we’re shutting the sky entry portal so you don’t get any uninvited guests.”

 

The entry portal closed. The room got considerably darker without the bluish light from the Celestial Dome.

 

Ulrich drew his sabers. “Thanks. This’ll be a piece of cake.” Ulrich got ready to throw a saber, but just as he was about to throw it, the creak of the Elevator sounded behind him. There was a laser shot that blasted the saber out of his hand. Ulrich turned. “Jeremie, Franz, where’s my backup?”

 

Four Creepers slithered off of the Elevator and took positions around the Skid. All except for one, who turned and started firing at Ulrich.

 

Ulrich groaned. “Super Sprint!” He ran, gazette-like, and retrieved his saber. “Jeremie, Franz, where’s my backup?” he repeated, blocking shots. “I think I might actually need it.”

 

“William’s on his way,” Jeremie said. “In fact, he’s in the Arena right now.”

 

Indeed, about four stories below his feet, in the Arena, the white Transporter spun to the center of the room. William appeared in the Transporter’s white radiance. The Arena didn’t spin, since the Corridor was already open. “Jeremie, Franz,” William called, running out of the Arena, “I’m here.”

 

“Good,” Franz said. “After you exit the Corridor, run to the end of the path and take the Elevator up to the Skidbladnir Hangar.”

 

“Okay,” William said, even though he had already been here a little less than an hour ago. He ran out of the Corridor, across the rectangular path and onto the Elevator. He turned to face the way he came as the Elevator rose up the navy blue framing structure.

 

---

 

Aelita, Odd and Yumi ran out of the canyon path. “Jeremie, Dad,” Aelita said, panting a little, “we’re here.”

 

“Great job,” Jeremie said. “All you have to do is get through those Tarantulas, destroy the shield, reset the Ice Sector and we’re good to go.

 

“Tarantulas?” The three of them turned to look at the tower. The entire circular space surrounding the red tower was silent and empty except for them. “There isn’t anyone here besides us.”

 

“Funny,” Jeremie said. “They’re here on our screen.” The radar window indicated that twelve Tarantulas were surrounding the tower, facing Odd, Yumi and Aelita.

 

“It’s possible that XANA was able to bug up our radar,” Franz said, typing. “I’m running a check just to confirm which of our resources XANA was able to modify before we kicked him out.”

 

Aelita, Odd, and Yumi stood patiently, waiting for the update.

 

After half a minute, another window opened up on the screen of the supercomputer. Franz squinted, reading the data. “It looks like XANA was able to bug up the radar program,” Franz said, “along with a few choice items from the restricted part of the supercomputer. I’ve been able to fix and repair everything, though. It doesn’t seem like XANA was able to gain anything complete from the restricted part of the supercomputer in the time he had.”

 

There were sudden sounds of walking, mechanical-like. Aelita, Odd and Yumi turned back to the path they had come from. “Finally!” Odd said, as three Krabes appeared, walking towards them in single file, and upon exiting the path, lined up side-by-side and charged up. “It’s been like a ghost town here!”

 

Yumi turned to Aelita, drawing her fans. “Take care of the shield and the tower,” she said. “We’ll handle these three.”

 

Aelita nodded and ran as shots started firing at her, Odd and Yumi. Aelita stopped three meters in front of the tower, and charged up for another Energy Field.

 

The pink sphere of energy grew bigger and bigger, now above Aelita’s head. Aelita finally threw it. “Energy Field!”

 

The force was so great, Aelita was thrown backwards. Ripples of blue energy passed through the shield, and it finally lit up and exploded in those light blue squares.

 

Aelita got ready to run into the tower, but a sudden white blink behind the tower made her stop. “What?” Aelita squinted to see, and ran around the tower.

 

As she rounded the tower, she gasped, slowly walking backwards toward the tower. “Yumi! Odd! I need some help here!”

 

Odd and Yumi turned, the Krabes destroyed, and ran around the tower. Upon seeing the sight, they both gasped as well.

 

Walking towards them were the twelve Tarantulas that they had thought were there.

 

Odd got into a shooting position. “Get to the tower!” Odd called, indicating with a slight wag of his head. Aelita quickly turned and ran toward the tower.

 

---

 

William spun forward, hitting his two Creepers. “Yeah!” He quickly ran to help Ulrich.

 

Ulrich was blocking more of the shots. He turned to the approaching William. “Can you handle them?”

 

William nodded, still running forward. “Okay, you creepy crawlers, I guess you’re all mine!”

 

“Super Sprint!” shouted Ulrich, running and jumping off the platform. He landed on the Skid, surrounded by all the tentacles. He quickly turned and slashed. The Scyphozoa rose and floated away angrily, all of its tentacles cut. Just as it turned away, Ulrich threw a saber. The sword hit the eye of XANA upon its head.

 

The Scyphozoa swayed back and forth, electrical currents passing across its brain. The brain finally lit up completely like a light bulb, and the Scyphozoa exploded. Ulrich caught his sword as it flew back to him.

 

William drove his sword into the remaining Creeper. “Good job!”

 

“You too,” Ulrich said, surprised and pleased.

 

“Great job to both of you,” Franz said. “Get back down to the Arena, and I’ll send the Transporter to take you back to the Ice Sector. Aelita, Yumi and Odd need your help.”

 

“Okay,” Ulrich said, jumping off the Skid and landing beside William. They both ran back onto the Elevator.

 

No one still knew that XANA had done something besides stealing energy from the Skid. In addition to taking something from the Skid, he had also done the opposite.

 

---

 

“Aelita!”

 

Aelita tripped as she was hit by yet another shot. Odd quickly ran to her aid, Yumi still blocking shots as she spun in circles like a figure skater.

 

“Odd, protect Aelita,” Franz instructed. “She only has 20 life points left!”

 

“Shield!” Odd blocked more shots from hitting Aelita. With his shield still intact, he looked over his shoulder at Aelita. “Get into the tower!” he shouted.

 

Aelita slowly got up, and turned to run toward the tower.

 

“Ahh!” Odd was thrown backward from five multiple shots hitting his shield at once. “Aelita!” he shouted, rolling to turn toward her.

 

Aelita was a meter away from the tower. But just as she entered the tower, a laser shot hit her. She stumbled into the tower.

 

“Aelita!”

 

Aelita collapsed to the ground, on the top line of the Lyoko eye of the tower, just as she had all that time back when she had first left the Forest tower after Jeremie had turned the supercomputer back on, that fateful day on October 9th, 2004.

 

Franz and Jeremie sighed with relief. “Aelita,” Jeremie said, “you made it into the tower in time. Your life points are regenerating.” Sure enough, the thin blue line on the side of the window displaying Aelita’s card refilled to the top.

 

Aelita slowly stood up. She sighed with relief, and walked to the middle of the eye upon the floor.

 

---

 

The Transporter flew to the edge of the plateau with a whoosh. It opened, displaying a white radiance from within, and Ulrich and William appeared. The Transporter circled back and dropped in the direction of the Digital Sea.

 

“The tower is in front of you,” Jeremie told Ulrich and William, “in the middle of the cavern.”

 

“Okay,” Ulrich said. “Super Sprint!” Ulrich shot forward, left arm out in front of him.

 

William, his Zanbato stored, ran after Ulrich in a form of Ulrich’s Super Sprint, with a purplish-white glow behind him, compared to Ulrich’s yellow one.

 

---

 

Aelita pressed her hand to the interface. “Tower restoration program activated.”

 

The cerulean-blue cables throughout the Ice Sector sparked blue. The shields all exploded, and the towers’ auras shifted, as if blown by a great wind. The towers all turned back to blue.

 

“Ice Sector restarted,” Aelita called.

 

“Good job, Aelita,” congratulated Franz. “We now only have the Mountain Sector left, and then Carthage. With the extra resources now freed, we can now bring up your vehicles.”

 

Outside the tower, five Tarantulas still sat firing at Odd and Yumi. Yumi groaned as she flew backward, hit by another shot. “Franz, Jeremie, we might not even make it out of here!”

 

“Sure we will,” said a voice behind her. Yumi and Odd turned to see two sabers flying at the Tarantulas, along with a cleaver-shaped sword. “Ulrich! William!” Yumi called with relief.

 

Three of the Tarantulas exploded, defeated. Ulrich and William smiled. “Happy to see us?” Ulrich asked.

 

“Definitely.” They all turned to see Aelita walk out of the tower and prepare two Energy Fields. She shot them both at the Tarantulas, which momentarily fizzed pink before exploding.

 

“Good job, everyone!” Jeremie congratulated enthusiastically. “Here’s your vehicles. Once you exit the canyon, the way tower will be due west.”

 

The Overboard, the Overwing and the Overbike materialized in front of the tower, pointing to the path leading out of the canyon. Aelita hopped onto the Overboard behind Odd, and Ulrich quickly climbed onto the Overbike. Yumi jumped onto the Overwing.

 

William stood looking left out. Yumi beckoned to him. “Here, William, you can come with me.”

 

William smiled, and jumped on behind Yumi. They took off through the path.

 

Ulrich’s face turned stony, and then sad. Aelita and Odd glanced at him. “Don’t worry, Ulrich,” Aelita consoled, “Yumi still likes you. I can still see that.”

 

“I suppose,” Ulrich said, rather moodily and sad. He lifted his foot onto the pedal, and the Overbike took off.

 

Aelita glanced helplessly and sadly at Odd, before they took off right behind Ulrich.

 

---

 

The Overwing, Overboard and Overbike flew out of the tower in blue circles. “Franz, Jeremie,” Aelita said, “we’re here. The shield apparently let us out.”

 

The Mountain Sector stood calmly, its usual lighting reflecting a mid-morning setting, especially with the mist. White cables appeared every so often, always linking to a tower.

 

“The way tower is south of you,” Franz instructed. “At the next plateau, take the path to your right. It should take you through a hollow mountain, and then to the tower.”

 

“Okay,” Yumi said. Suddenly, there was a sound like a bird, and a laser shot barely missed Odd. They looked up and back. “Great.”

 

Three Flying Mantas flew behind them, trying to slow them down.

 

Aelita sighed. “Our progress is getting slower and slower with the Digital Sea at its normal level, and without the Skid for faster travel.”

 

An idea occurred to Ulrich. “Franz, Jeremie, since we have our vehicles, can’t you raise of the Digital Sea now?”

 

Franz and Jeremie pondered the thought. “It would be awfully risky,” Jeremie said, “without the Skid to ensure your protection. Remember, you’re affected by the water as well as XANA’s monsters.”

 

“It’s worth the risk,” William said, “if it’ll get rid of these pests from following us.”

 

“No, it’s not,” Jeremie said. “The Mantas will just fly higher along with you. And the tower is also at your current level. If we raise the Sea, we’ll have to raise it back down so Aelita can deactivate the Mountain Sector.”

 

There was silence. “Jeremie, Franz, we might as well try it,” Odd said.

 

Franz and Jeremie sighed, looking at each other. Franz finally started typing. “Okay, Odd. There’s higher ground, a mountain, a little farther left.”

 

“Okay.” The three vehicles continued along the path. Where the path opened up to a mountain plateau, the vehicles took off.

 

In front of them was the big mountain. “It looks good,” called Yumi.

 

Suddenly, laser shots started firing not only from behind them from the Mantas, but from in front of them as well. Four Blocks were occupying the Mountain.

 

“Jeremie! Dad!” Aelita shouted. “It’s now or never!”

 

“Raising the Sea,” Franz said, pushing the enter button.

 

Yumi, William, Odd, Aelita and Ulrich quickly landed on the mountain. The Blocks continued to fire at them.

 

“Ouch!” William was hit, and tumbled off the Overwing. He quickly summoned his Zanbato. He blocked more shots, and rebounded others. A Block exploded.

 

“William!” shouted Ulrich. “The Sea!” He quickly turned and zoomed forward, slashing a Block along the way. William quickly packed his sword in a flash of white and jumped onto the Overbike as it flew past. Their mountain was now an island.

 

The remaining Blocks turned, nervously shifting. The Sea rose up, past the level of their mountain. The Overbike rose higher to join the Overboard and Overwing, just in time. The Sea finally submerged the mountain. One Block froze and exploded upon contact with the water.

 

The other Block looked in dismay, and quickly tried to escape the oncoming flow of water. It was not successful, and was caught by the water, disappearing as well.

 

“See ya, blockheads!” called Ulrich.

 

“What happened to our friendly flying friends?” asked Odd.

 

“Surprisingly, it looks like they got caught by the water as well,” said Jeremie. “But XANA’s bound to send more Mantas to take the place of the three that were destroyed. Get to that passage tower.”

 

“Okay,” the five of them called. The three vehicles rose up, away from the now-submerged mountain.

 

“Hey,” Odd said, “have you realized that just about every single monster XANA has created has been used against us today, here on Lyoko?”

 

Everyone pondered the thought. “There were the Megatanks and the Kankrelats in the Forest,” William said.

 

“XANA used the Hornets in the Desert,” Yumi contributed.

 

“He just used those Mantas and Blocks here,” Aelita said.

 

“And he used Creepers and the Scyphozoa against me, William and the Skid in Sector 5,” added Ulrich. “That’s all nine of them, minus the three Digital Sea monsters. Wow, Odd, you’re actually thinking for once.”

 

“Hey!” Odd exclaimed over the laughter.

 

“You’re coming up to the tower,” Franz said. “I’m lowering the Digital Sea back to its normal level. All you have to do is go around the mountain in front of you.”

 

The Sea slowly dropped beneath them. After circling the mountain, which did have a tunnel, but was inaccessible with the Sea still rather high, the path curved slightly left, to a place that looked strangely familiar. It looked like somewhere they had just been an hour ago. The three vehicles circled the mountain, and headed above the path in front of them toward the tower.

 

The passage tower sat in the middle of a cavern, with the front part of the cavern open for access via the path. It was exactly the same as the Replika’s tower that they had used for Translation. Except for the fact that THIS is the tower I should have stopped the Xanafied Aelita from running into, Yumi thought as she drove the Overwing.

 

A shot shook everyone out of their thoughts.

 

“I told you…” Jeremie said, nervously.

 

The oncoming squadron of five Mantas continued to fire at them. Yumi, Odd and Ulrich, the drivers of the three vehicles, blocked the shots with their weapons, Odd with his purple, transparent shield.

 

“Aelita, the tower is now accessible,” Franz said. “There’s only the shield to take care of.”

 

Aelita looked at the cavern to see the water finally lower beneath ground level.

 

 Yumi turned to Odd and Ulrich. “Odd, take Aelita to the tower,” Yumi instructed. “We three will handle the Mantas.”

 

“Okay, Yumi!” Odd and Aelita boarded toward the tower.

 

Ulrich turned to the Mantas circling the cavern. “Now, to work on some unfinished business.” Ulrich drew a saber and put it out in front of the Overbike, like a snowplow. “Here we go!” Ulrich and William shot forward, Yumi not far behind them.

 

With the Mantas occupied, Aelita and Odd headed for the tower. “Laser arrow!” Odd fired ten arrows at the shield. The shield again lit up and exploded.

 

“Yes!” Suddenly, a shot came from the tavern. Aelita fell backward off the Overboard. “Aelita!” Odd shouted, looking at the falling Aelita, and then for the source of the shot. He groaned. “Oh, come on!”

 

Six Blocks walked out from behind the tower. Three of them remained in front of the tower, while the other three charged forward on the path.

 

“Odd!” Odd turned to see Aelita in full flight with her wings. “Let’s go!”

 

“Okay!” Aelita and Odd headed for the tower.

 

“Whoa!” The Overbike spun, hit by a laser shot. Ulrich and William fell off the Overbike to land on the path below. The Overbike exploded. Three of the Mantas still remained.

 

Ulrich glanced at how Aelita and Odd were doing, and jumped in surprise. The six Blocks continued to fire at both of them.

 

“I’ll go and help Aelita and Odd,” Ulrich told William. “Stay here and handle the Mantas with Yumi.”

 

William nodded, and turned back around to block more shots. Ulrich super-sprinted to the Blocks.

 

Aelita turned at the noise. “Ulrich, Odd,” she called to both of them, “cover me. I’m going to try to get into the tower by force.”

 

“Got it, Aelita,” both of them replied. Ulrich quickly took out one of the Blocks blocking the path, while Odd went for the three in the cavern. Aelita followed close behind him.

 

“Let’s see you handle this, blockheads!” shouted Odd. He took a Block out in the blink of an eye. “Yes!”

 

Yumi caught her fans as they soared back to her from hitting another Manta. She went for the remaining Manta, still on her Overwing, as William blocked shots from the other.

 

“Ahh!” The Manta finally hit the Overwing, and Yumi dropped off it as it disappeared. As she fell, she quickly released her fans. They finally met their target, and her Manta exploded. Yumi ran to help William.

 

Aelita deactivated her wings and landed in front of the tavern. She quickly shot an Energy Field, hitting the remaining Block. But as she started to enter the tavern, she was hit by a laser shot. Another shot hit the Overboard. Odd quickly jumped off of it as its white frame disappeared, landing beside Aelita.

 

They both turned to see Ulrich occupied with one Block from the path. The other one was scurrying toward them.

 

“Go on,” Odd said. “I’ll take care of it.”

 

Suddenly, a shot from behind him hit him in the back. He fell forward, landing on all fours, in time to see his Block fire a freeze ray at Aelita, trapping her. He looked for the source of the laser shot. Another Manta circled the cavern and spiraled down to where Aelita stood trapped by her frozen leg.

 

“No!” Odd shouted. “Laser arrow!” He fired one arrow at Aelita’s frozen leg, and the other at the Manta. The ice around Aelita’s leg disintegrated, but the Manta dodged its arrow.

 

“Aelita, go!” The shout came from behind Odd. He turned to see Ulrich drive his saber into his Block, jump over it, and land as it exploded. Aelita quickly ran into the tower just as the Manta flew to ground level in the cavern. The Manta sounded its birdcall, and flew toward Odd instead.

 

“I’ll take care of the Manta!” called Ulrich. Ulrich super-sprinted, jumped off the remaining Block, and landed on the Manta. Ulrich drove his saber into the XANA eye and jumped off of the Manta as it exploded. Odd obliged by jumping through an orange ring shot fired from the Block, and firing an arrow as he jumped through the next one. The Block exploded.

 

Inside the tower, Aelita pressed her hand to a window on the interface. “Mountain Sector restarted.”

 

Just as William rebounded a shot that destroyed the last Manta, the four of them turned to look at the tower. A white ring expanded around the tower, and expanded across the entire sector. The white cables around each tower sizzled blue, before the tower shields exploded and the towers deactivated permanently.

 

“Great job, everyone!” called Franz, as Aelita walked out of the tower. “I’m reprogramming your vehicles. XANA was able to bug up the Transporter, and I’m working on fixing it right now, but in the meantime, take your vehicles to Sector 5 through the tunnel in the sky.”

 

The Overbike, Overboard and Overwing materialized in front of the tower. Ulrich jumped onto the Overbike, while William and Yumi got onto the Overwing. Odd and Aelita hopped onto the Overboard once more.

 

“Here we go!” shouted Odd as they rose into the sky and toward the purplish-gray sphere.

Chapter 10- Lyoko Plus Two by 5CarthageRocks

Chapter 10- Lyoko Plus Two (12.15.07-12.22.07)

The Overbike, Overboard and Overwing entered the gray tunnel in the gray sphere. Aelita, Odd, Ulrich, William, and Yumi entered Sector 5, exiting the blue interface-ridden tunnels. “Franz, Jeremie, we’re here.”

“Good,” Franz replied. “Sorry about the Transporter. Jeremie and I just fixed it, but there’s not much use in using it now, since we can’t. Enter the Core Zone through the Skidbladnir Hangar, and leave your vehicles there. Then go to the Arena, and Jeremie and I will reprogram the Corridor for you. I closed the sky entry portal to protect the Skidbladnir, but I’ll open it up for you, and close it again once you’ve entered it.”

 

“Okay,” Ulrich called. The three vehicles flew to the top of the huge blue sphere. A hole opened in the plating a few meters in front of them. The Lyoko Warriors headed into the Hangar.

 

The Overbike landed on the navy blue platform. “It’s kinda quiet,” Ulrich said, jumping off the Overbike.

 

“Too quiet, if you ask me,” Odd said, grinning, jumping off with Aelita.

 

Ulrich sighed. This conversation had been the exact one that had happened in the Mountain Sector, except that Odd and Ulrich’s dialogue was reversed. All that time back, XANA had taken control of jumping back in time to strengthen himself, and also to finally gather enough power to possess someone: Sissi. Of course, that was the first time they realized that the Return to the Past strengthened the supercomputer, and XANA, at the time.

 

Yumi and William jumped onto the navy blue platform as well. Once everyone was there, Aelita led the way to the elevator.

 

A window opened up on the supercomputer. “Hang on, Aelita,” Franz said, frowning again. “We’ve just located more activated towers on Lyoko, twenty more to be exact.”

 

There was silence as it sank in.

 

“That’s impossible!” Aelita finally exclaimed. “Unless the tower restoration program developed a bug.”

 

But before Jeremie or Franz could respond, another window opened.

 

A radar window had opened, showing a spinning Lyoko. The spinning Lyoko suddenly froze; making the sound that it had located something, like the sound the supercomputer had made right after Lyoko had been recreated. Two rectangles blinked around the “empty” part of Lyoko: the two parts where two extra sectors could have been in Lyoko. Both Franz and Jeremie gasped. Franz quickly started typing.

 

Aelita waited. “What is it?” she finally asked.

 

“The towers are in…” Jeremie stuttered. “Well, they’re…what I mean to say is that…”

 

“Spit it out, Jeremie!” Ulrich said.

 

“The activated towers aren’t in any of the sectors,” finished Jeremie. “Well, they aren’t in any of the existing sectors.”

 

There was silence. Odd finally broke it. “Jeremie, do you know how much you sound like when we discovered Sector 5?” he joked.

 

It hit everyone on Lyoko, except William, at the same time. Aelita, Odd, Ulrich and Yumi gasped at the same moment, the realization becoming clear. “You mean there’s a new sector?” gasped Aelita.

 

“Two, to be exact,” said Franz. “A sixth and seventh sector that neither Jeremie nor I created.”

 

“XANA!” exclaimed William. “But what can he want with two new sectors?”

 

“It’s a little too obvious,” Ulrich said, with a slight edge to his voice. “He obviously wants them so he can have more activated towers. But my question is where these two new sectors are.”

 

Jeremie pondered on how to explain it. “Okay,” he finally said. “You know how the Ice, Desert, Forest, and Mountain Sectors surround Sector 5 on the holomap? The two new sectors occupy the open places, still jutting out in the direction away from Sector 5. If you looked at the five sectors, when they form an ‘X’, one of the new sectors comes toward you from Sector 5. The other goes out behind it.”

 

“So,” Aelita asked, “say the Ice Sector is pointing up on the ‘X’, and the Desert Sector is pointing right, and if the Ice Sector represents the y-axis on a coordinate plane, and the Desert represents the x-axis, one of the new sectors represents the z-axis?”

 

Franz thought, picturing the image in his mind. “Very good, Aelita,” he finally replied. “That’s exactly it.”

 

“So,” Odd said, cracking his knuckles, “do we go and visit these two new sectors? How do we get to them, by the way?”

 

Franz started typing. “It seems that both can easily be programmed Transporter access,” Franz answered, “but I’d feel safer if you went to them with the Skidbladnir. We don’t know what they look like. The Skidbladnir is fully charged at this point, and I can easily program two new data tunnels to get to the new sectors.”

 

“Okay,” Yumi said. “Let’s go.” The five of them ran onto the Transporter Spots. Everyone reappeared in the Skid.

 

“Your objective for now,” Franz instructed, “is to put the two new sectors under our control, via activating the tower restoration program from the sector’s passage tower.”

 

“Okay,” Aelita replied. “Liftoff.” The Skidbladnir slowly rose out of its Hangar.

 

Hovering a few meters above the blue sphere, the Sky Portal to the Hangar closed below them. Aelita took her hands off the joysticks and put her hands in her lap, waiting patiently. “Jeremie, Franz, you can create the tunnels. We’re ready.”

 

Above them, a few data interfaces drew back into the mess of interfaces. A hole soon opened up. It slowly grew bigger to the same size as the normal opening. As soon as it was complete, the interfaces near the hole started flowing into it. “Aelita, it’s ready,” Jeremie called.

 

“Okay.” With a slight shake, the Skid rose up through the tunnel.

 

The opening on the gray Sector 5 access sphere was located on the top of the sphere, its symbolism significant, in a way.

 

The first thing Aelita, Odd, Ulrich, Yumi and William saw was red sky. The sky of the sector was a deep red that slightly faded in color as it went up. The Skid circled the gray sphere downward.

 

Everyone gasped in awe. The new sector looked very much like a combination of the surface sectors. The plateaus and paths were a dark lava rock gray. In fact, they were just that: they were lava rock.

 

Mountains, much like the ones in the Mountain Sector, floated in midair, but still were that lava rock gray. Bright, red-orange, lava-colored glows appeared often around the sector.

 

The plateaus were large, dark gray, and seemed quite barren, like in the Desert Sector, and also had small rock formations just like in the Desert Sector as well. The paths of the new sector were always that dark gray, but in the shape of the paths in the Mountain Sector more than anything. Cables connected to the towers sparked a white-reddish-orange.

 

Below the mess of plateaus, mountains and paths, the Digital Sea glowed a bright red, with the crests of the small waves white. The water flowed rather gracefully for a sector created by XANA.

 

The Skid hovered to sit in front of a Desert-Sector-like plateau.

 

“Can I name this new sector?” asked Odd.

 

“Sure,” Jeremie said. “Go ahead. As long as it isn’t something stupid, like ‘Melanie’, that codename you gave the Skid.”

 

Odd rolled his eyes. “But that name was pretty good. Anyway, it’s obvious. Sector 6 is the Volcano Sector. Even though there aren’t any visible volcanoes, it still has the feel of a volcano.”

 

Odd waited and listened. There were sounds and murmurs of agreement from the other NavSkids. “Wow Odd, that’s actually pretty good,” Ulrich grinned. “I didn’t know you could think that hard.”

 

“Hey!”

 

“Quit it, you two,” Jeremie said. “We’ve just located the passage tower. The direction is fifty-two degrees south by southeast.”

 

“Okay,” Aelita said, pulling the joysticks. The Skid rose and turned away in the direction of the tower.

 

A question suddenly came to Yumi’s mind. “Jeremie? Franz? I think I forgot to ask this, even when we were back in the other surface sectors. What’s the difference between a passage tower and a way tower?”

 

“The five, passage towers of Lyoko,” Franz explained, “one in each sector, are the ‘heart’ of each sector. They can be used to accomplish greater tasks than the other normal towers, since the passage towers have a higher capacity to redirect data from Sector 5 and the sector itself.” *

 

“Remember when I was…well, had an attempt at a transfer to Lyoko?” Jeremie said. “Before we materialized Aelita and had the Super Scan? Aelita had to go and retrieve and redirect memory to the three scanners to get me back to Earth. Those four towers were the passage towers.” **

 

Yumi murmured understanding. She had been the one that had run the transfer program to try and get Jeremie to Lyoko so that he could apologize to Aelita in person. It had ended up in a total catastrophe.

 

“A way tower,” Jeremie explained, “is a sort of…slang term that we use to direct you to the tower we need you to enter to transfer sectors. ‘Way’, like ‘via’, which means ‘by way of’. Which is the Latin word for road.”

 

Ulrich rolled his eyes. “Jeremie, save the history lesson for later, okay?”

 

“Fine. But just so you know, it’s Latin, not so much history.”

 

“We’re at the passage tower,” Aelita called. The Skid grounded to a halt in front of a large plateau. “Teleport.”

 

Aelita, Odd, Ulrich, Yumi and William appeared on the plateau in front of them, the tower being on the other end of it. The plateau looked like it had been moved straight from the Desert Sector. It was very large, and the edges were flat and out-jutting. The only difference was that it was the dark, lava rock gray of the Volcano Sector.

 

As they ran toward the tower, there were birdcalls.

 

There was a collective sigh. Everyone turned around to see three Flying Mantas gliding toward them.

 

William beckoned to Odd and Aelita. “Go. We three will take care of these…bird things.” He quickly summoned his sword in white smoke, as Ulrich drew his sabers, and Yumi her fans. Odd and Aelita ran for the tower.

 

Odd and Aelita fired their weapons at the tower as they ran. But instead of the shield collapsing from a few hits like it normally did, it still stayed intact.

 

Odd and Aelita frowned. “Jeremie, Franz, is something wrong?” Odd asked. “The shield is more powerful here. Normally it collapses after three hits.”

 

“It’s most likely because we freed the energy by restoring the surface sectors’ towers,” Franz said. “Not all of that power is available to XANA, but some of it is.”

 

“Okay,” Aelita said. She and Odd quickly resumed attacking the shield.

 

Suddenly, there was a gigantic rumble. The plateau trembled and shook. Aelita and Odd nearly lost their balance. Ulrich, Yumi and William stumbled, stopping in their fight against the two remaining Mantas to glance around. “What was that?” Ulrich shouted.

 

There was another shake. The Mantas still continued flying and firing, since they weren’t affected by whatever was shaking the ground.

 

There was a third shake. Odd looked at Aelita. “Earthquake?”

 

As the fourth shake occurred, Aelita frowned. “No,” she said. “Listen.” The shakes had a certain rhythm, or beat. “They’re footsteps.”

 

"Must be some pretty big feet!" exclaimed Odd.

 

"Um…" Jeremie's voice was shaky. "Aelita! Odd! There's something…to your left."

 

Odd and Aelita turned. "There's just a rock formation," Odd called. “A really huge one, almost as tall as a tower…It doesn’t look like a threat,” he said, his eyebrows raised.

 

"Yeah…it's what's behind it."

 

There was a final rumble. The ground stopped shaking. Odd yelled, and Aelita screamed. Ulrich, Yumi and William turned to look at the huge thing behind the rock formation and gasped. “Oh no!”

 

A huge monster stood behind the rock. Its body was made of a dark lava rock gray, with flows of orange lava decorating its body as well. It had the body of a human, although its legs were very small and highly disproportionate to its body. It looked very muscular, but it could have just been fat. One arm was a human arm, and the other arm was a sword with a few XANA eyes on it.

 

Its head was hideous, with two mandibles hanging and swaying from its chin in the wind, like an insect. The huge, black XANA eye sat upon its head. Dark gray "antlers" surrounded the head and pointed from sideways to upward. Even with its short legs, it was taller than a tower. It was even wider than a tower as well.

 

"Jeremie, Daddy…" Aelita called. Her voice was shaky and very small, like she was a kindergartener frightened to death, too terrified to make a sound. "We have a…problem…"

 

"We see it, Aelita," Jeremie said. "It looks like XANA was finally able to create a Hulk on Lyoko."


"What should its name be?" asked Odd, a little humor somewhat intended.

 

"We don't care what its name is, as long as you guys defeat it!" called Jeremie. "But…the Kolossus might be a good name for it. For its utter size."

 

"Odd! Aelita!" shouted William, running over. "Head back for the tower! Yumi, Ulrich and I will try to distract the Kolossus."

 

Odd nodded, and he and Aelita both turned and ran back to the tower. They started attacking the shield once more. Two more Mantas flew toward them, with the other two still flying nearby Ulrich, William and Yumi, and circling the Kolossus.

 

William, Ulrich and Yumi took the hard task of attacking the huge monster. Ulrich sprinted forward, only to slide to a halt and change direction to avoid being crushed as the monster walked toward them.

 

"Come and get me!" shouted Yumi, throwing her fans at it. As her fans hit the Kolossus’ arm, they made orange marks, which gradually faded. It merely ignored her, and continued its path, passing the three of them.

 

Yumi caught her fans. "Why can't we get its attention?"

 

Then Ulrich realized something. "Oh no! It's going for the Skid!"

 

Sure enough, the Kolossus had chosen a path directly toward the Skid, which was still floating in midair a little away from the edge of the plateau.

 

"Jeremie! Franz! What do we do?"


"One of you, pilot the Skid toward the tower and away from the Kolossus," Franz instructed. The other two continue attacking the Kolossus."

 

"I'll pilot," Yumi told the two boys. They nodded. "Good luck."

 

Ulrich threw a saber at the Kolossus. William flung his Zanbato at it as well, neither to avail.

 

Yumi reappeared at the controls in the cockpit. She quickly grasped the joysticks and pushed them in the direction of the tower. The Skid flew to the other edge of the plateau. The two Mantas followed it, the Kolossus in their wake. "Franz," Yumi called, "we may not be able to keep this game of cat and mouse up!"

 

"It's okay," Jeremie said. "Aelita’s entering the tower." Sure enough, the blue rings around the front of the tower were already fading, showing that Aelita was in the tower. Odd blocked and dodged shots furiously from the two Mantas firing at him, firing his own laser arrows back at them. A Manta exploded.

 

Aelita quickly opened up the program on the interface. After organizing the windows, she finally pressed her hand to the large window on the screen.

 

The plateau gave a shake. The red cables connected to the towers throughout the sector sparked blue. All of the towers turned from red to blue as the Volcano Sector was rebooted.

 

"Volcano Sector restored," Aelita called as her tower also turned blue.

 

"Nice job, Aelita," Jeremie congratulated. "All of you, get back to Sector 5 so that we can deactivate the final sector."

 

Aelita quickly exited the tower. Just as the Kolossus neared the Skid with its slow pace, Aelita was teleported back into the cockpit. Grabbing the joysticks, she piloted the Skid to barely avoid the Kolossus as its sword arm crashed to the ground where the Skid had been hovering over a split second ago. The four Mantas circled the Kolossus in fury of the failure.

 

Jeremie and Franz sighed with relief as the Skid rose back up into the sky, back towards the tunnel to Sector 5.

 

---

 

The Skid entered the Celestial Dome once more. This time Aelita piloted the Skid downward to the bottom tunnel to the final sector. The Skid turned and spun around the blue dome downward.

 

The Skid slowly hovered out of the tunnel. This time, the tunnel was situated on the bottom of the gray sphere.

 

Virtual water surrounded them. Its surface was as high as the eye could see. Sunlight came in patches through the surface, as if only some light was strong enough to penetrate the water's surface.

 

The bottom of the sector was a leafy green, not flat, but rather hilly. Dark, mirrored pools occurred every so often along the ocean floor. They reflected the beautiful sights above them, like the water, sunlight and just the general feel of the new sector. Light-blue-sea-colored cables linked each tower to the next.

 

They all stared in wonder. "Jeremie, Franz, are we still on Lyoko?" asked William.

 

"Yes," Franz replied. "Why?"

 

"I'll uplink you a visual," Aelita said. A window opened on the supercomputer, showing Jeremie and Franz exactly what they were seeing.

 

Both Franz and Jeremie readjusted their glasses. "Where's access to the Network?" wondered Jeremie.

 

"You see those mirrored pools at the floor?" asked Yumi. "Those could be it."

 

"Sector 7 is definitely the Sea Sector," Ulrich said. There were again murmurs of agreement.

 

Aelita sighed, and shook her head, to wake up from the not-understandable beauty of the second new sector. Especially since it had been created by XANA, a demonic artificial intelligence with little or no compassion for beauty or nature. "Where's the passage tower?" Aelita finally asked.

 

Franz opened a radar window. "Let's see…just a little northwest of your position."

 

"Okay." The Skid propelled itself through the water, towards the passage tower of the final sector.

 

Odd sighed, stretching. "After this sector's done and we've terminated XANA, I'm really looking forward to having a well-earned rest. My bones ache."

 

"Jeremie, what time is it?" asked William.

 

"It's…" Jeremie checked his wristwatch, adjusting his glasses in surprise. "It's 1 AM."


"What?" Ulrich exclaimed. "You mean we've been on Lyoko for that long?"


"Yeah," Jeremie said. "Apparently."

 

"We're here," called Aelita. In front of them, the tower was on a short green hill. The Skid started firing at the shield.

 

A mental image flashed through Ulrich's mind. He was back in his samurai suit, but it seemed rather huge from the waist down. He was standing on black cable-like things, the kind around a tower. Around him was a landscape not unlike the Sea Sector, but with a slightly Japanese, anime tinge. He was slashing at different black blobs that were trying to attack him. The tower a little ways in front of him was huge, and not its normal size. While he didn't remember doing any of this, it seemed like it was from a past life. ***

 

Suddenly, a torpedo blast shook the Skid, shaking Ulrich back into the present. "We've got company," Aelita called.

 

"Swimming" toward them were two Kongers and two Rekins, growling and showing their teeth and fangs.

 

“Wow,” Ulrich commented. “This is like a mini version of the Network on Lyoko. It even has the same cranky greeters.”

 

Yumi raised an eyebrow. "The virtual water doesn’t affect them like it usually does?"

 

"It does affect the normal monsters," Franz said, glancing at the window processing the data, "but it looks as if XANA was able to program a loophole for his Network monsters."

 

The shield in front of the Skid lit up and exploded under the fire of torpedoes.

 

“Princess,” Odd called, “get into the tower, but release the NavSkids first. “We’ll take care of our guests.”


“Okay, Odd,” Aelita said, slightly smiling. She pulled down the four levers in front of her left hand. “NavSkids away. And, teleport,” she called, pressing a few more buttons on the keypad. Aelita vanished, reappearing in the tower.

 

The four NavSkids separated from the Skid. “One for each of us,” Ulrich called. Yumi and Odd went after the Kongers, while he and William started firing at a Rekin apiece.

 

As the interface opened, Aelita lightly tapped the middle of it. The processing windows appeared. Aelita quickly opened up the program. “Running restoration program…” She pressed her hand to the window. “Now.”

 

All around the sector, cables sparked blue. The shields surrounding each tower lit up and exploded. The towers turned from red to blue.

 

Aelita sighed. “Sea Sector restored.”

 

“Great job, Aelita,” Jeremie called.

 

“Good job, everyone,” Franz said. “We’re done for the day. Get back to dry dock, and I’ll bring you in.”

 

“What?” Ulrich asked, shooting the last monster. “I thought we still have to deactivate the Sector 5 tower, and then run that program from the interface.”

 

“We do,” Franz said, “but there’s a problem. I forgot that the program to exterminate XANA from the Lyoko supercomputer has to run throughout the night to work out the remaining bugs. And then in the morning, we need to calibrate the program to a Lyoko tower so that the program will function to Lyoko. This program is highly advanced, and we don’t want to take the chance of their being a bug.”

 

The four NavSkids carefully reattached themselves to the Skid. Aelita reappeared at the controls. “It sounds good,” Aelita said. “We can spend the night in the Factory, and get some rest. It’s really late, and even though we’ve been back to Earth, essentially we’ve been in the virtual world for over ten hours.”

 

Everyone sighed. “Well, I’m relieved!” Odd called. “It means I’ll be able to get that sleep sooner than I expected.”

 

“There’s one more thing,” Jeremie said. “We have to destroy the two new sectors.”

 

“What?”

 

“Why, Einstein?” asked Ulrich. “There isn’t a problem with them.”

 

“In fact, there is,” Franz said. “The problem is that there’s more of a chance that XANA will have a higher chance of gaining back power. For some reason, even with sixty towers less, he’s still able to control Earth fully. But that still doesn’t mean that we should give him chances.”

 

“But it seems so…” William pondered. “So…perfect. I mean, with seven sectors, the total number of sectors is seven, which is also a lucky number.”

 

Ulrich, Yumi, Aelita and Jeremie grinned.

 

“Don’t even get me started on luck!” Odd called.

 

“But all the spaces around Sector 5, as you said, Franz,” William continued, “are full. Doesn’t that account for something?”

 

Franz and Jeremie turned to each other, pondering the thought. “Okay,” Jeremie said at last. “I guess we can keep them. Get back to dry dock. It’s too dangerous to try and get back to the Replika now, especially with the Skid’s low shield energy.”

 

“Okay,” Aelita said. The Skid flew back up through the water and up into the gray tunnel.

 

---

 

The elevator door opened. Aelita, Odd, Ulrich, William and Yumi walked back into the Lab, over to the computer where Franz sat and Jeremie leaned against the chair.

 

Franz turned to look at them, still typing. “Good, you’re all back.” He pressed the enter key. A new window opened up, similar to the one Jeremie had run at the time when Brynja, that Icelandic girl, had come to Kadic and caused tension in the group from liking Odd. “I’m going to run this program to tomorrow morning.”

 

“Each of us will take a one-hour watch period,” Jeremie said, “with another person, so that the other can wake you up if you fall asleep. During the watch, all you need to do is check that the program is running, along with checking that the Supercomputer and Scanner rooms are okay. Make sure you use the ladder, not the Elevator.”

 

“I’ll go first,” Ulrich volunteered.

 

“I’ll go with you,” Odd said. “I want to save my sleep to later in the night.”

 

“I’ll go with you, Jeremie,” Aelita said. Jeremie smiled, nodding.

 

“That leaves me with you, William,” Yumi said, smiling. Ulrich pretended not to notice.

 

“We’ll repeat the rotations, if necessary,” Jeremie said.

 

“What about you, Franz?” Odd asked.

 

“I know it’s not fair,” Franz said, “but my body isn’t always used to this. I think I may need to sleep throughout the night. But don’t hesitate to wake Jeremie or me if something is wrong with the supercomputer.”

 

“Okay,” everyone agreed. They all took up sleeping positions around the room.

 

There were mingled calls of “Good night!” around the room. Soon everyone was asleep, except for Ulrich and Odd.

 

“I’ll check the supercomputer,” Ulrich said. “You go down to the scanners. We’ll rotate in ten minutes.”

 

“Okay,” Odd said, nodding. Both of them walked over to the trapdoor. Ulrich pulled it open, and the two boys went down into the rooms below to keep watch for their friends.
End Notes:
*- My take on the whole “passage” and “way” tower thing. I have no idea if this is true or not. I wish I was right, or that there’s just some simple explanation for this confusion.**- I didn’t put why this happened because I don’t know myself. Blame MoonScoop. >.>***- You guessed it (I hope): That's a reference to Garage Kids, Code Lyoko's animated promo. Though I’m not sure if I should have put it in.
Chapter 11- Awake by 5CarthageRocks
Chapter 11- Awake (12.29.07)

 

William slowly blinked open his eyes. He saw a green ceiling, along with green walls made of what looked like scrap metal. It took him a moment to remember where he was.

 

William slowly sat up. Everyone else was up, or getting up. Aelita yawned and stretched as she sat up. Jeremie was already watching Franz work on the computer.

 

“Morning William,” said a voice. William turned to see Yumi walking toward him, smiling. “Had a good sleep?”

 

“For the most part,” William replied, smiling back. “Where are Odd and Ulrich?”

 

The elevator opened with a shake, and everyone turned. Odd and Ulrich emerged. Ulrich was holding a glass pitcher full of water, covering it with his remaining hand to protect its contents from falling out. Odd was holding a loaf of bread in a bag, along with a bag of small, pink, pudding-cup-size containers.

 

“Here we are,” Ulrich said. “We snuck back into school to steal some food from the cafeteria. Thankfully, XANA didn’t seem to think that the cafeteria needed guarding, although there were a lot of people patrolling Kadic.”

 

“Sorry,” Odd said, tossing the loaf of bread to the floor and opening the second bag. “All we could get was yogurt, bread and water, and not even spoons, cups or mugs. We had to leave before XANA could spot us. I’m not sure how I’m going to manage with this little food!”

 

“It’s like the time you starved to death,” Yumi joked. “Well, that time, XANA attacked us with food, so that doesn’t count.”

 

The food was passed around, everyone hungry from the work they had done yesterday. Everyone took a sip of water from the pitcher, and curved the top of the yogurt cups to use as spoons. Quickly, all the food was gone. Not very much, for a first meal back on Earth, William silently commented.

 

Aelita finally sighed, standing up. “Shall we go?”

 

“That really wasn’t filling for my bottomless stomach,” Odd groaned, standing up as well.

 

“We might as well. There’s not much more we can do here,” Ulrich said, standing up with Yumi and William. stood up with her and walked toward the elevator.

 

Jeremie stood up, and walked over to lean against the chair as he watched Franz. The elevator door closed on the other side of the room.
End Notes:

Dunno why I even bother to call this a chapter. The reason it's so short is because I only portrayed one scene. I was originally going to include the scene with Ulrich and Odd waking up and actually stealing the food, but too many minor decisions rose and I got too lazy to write it. =/

At 388 words, I'm hoping that it will be the shortest chapter of Rebellion ever. (I do NOT want to go back to discuss the terrible short length of The Miracle and Unexpected Victory in comparison to Rebellion so far.)

Chapter 12- Ice Barrier by 5CarthageRocks
Chapter 12- Ice Barrier (01.15.08-01.18.08)

 

"Virtualization!"

 

Aelita and Yumi landed on the ice plateau, spraying the cold steam. They quickly regained their balance and stood up.

 

"Welcome to Lyoko, ladies," Odd said, winking, walking over to them with Ulrich and William.

 

"The passage tower isn't far from your position," Franz instructed. "Direction north by northeast. Remember, it's in the middle of the canyon. Here are your vehicles."

 

"Don't waste any time," Jeremie added, as the Overboard, Overwing and Overbike appeared. "XANA's still strong, and he may decide to send a welcoming committee over to you.

 

"Okay," called Yumi. "Here we go!" The three vehicles took off toward the cavern.

 

---

 

"Daddy, Jeremie, we're here," Aelita said, jumping off the Overboard. "It's strange that there weren't any monsters to greet us."

 

"They must be sleeping, as usual," joked Odd.

 

"Not anymore, Odd," Jeremie called as a radar window opened up. "Five Tarantulas are heading towards you via the canyon passage."

 

Everyone looked back to the path they had just exited. Sounds of movement came, softly at first, but getting louder every second. The birdcalls of the Tarantulas sounded. Everyone quickly drew his or her weapons.

 

"Aelita!" Jeremie called. "Don't forget, we still have to calibrate the program. We didn't come to the Ice Sector just for fun."

 

"Princess, get into the tower," Ulrich said, jerking his head toward the tower. Aelita quickly nodded, turned, and ran into the tower.

 

"Let's surround the tower," William said, as the first Tarantula appeared, walking the perimeter of the cavern, its companions following. Everyone quickly ran to surround the and looked out challengingly to their competitors.

 

"Hmm…" Odd said, glancing around. "XANA must not be a morning person. This is completely wimpy compared to what we had to deal with yesterday. Five compared to twenty? This is going to be too easy."

 

"Just don't let XANA hear that," Yumi said, winking. "Let's go!"

 

Everyone gave shouts of battle cries and ran forward to attack the Tarantulas, as the Tarantulas got into their rapid-firing positions.

 

Aelita walked onto the middle of the second platform and tapped her hand to the interface that appeared. "Okay, Jeremie, Daddy, I'm ready."

 

"Good," said Franz. "I'm activating the tower, and sending the program over to you." The tower immediately turned a forest green.

 

A window immediately appeared on the interface. Aelita moved it to the middle of the screen. She arranged all the other windows in a pattern around it, and then pressed her hand to the middle window. The windows started flowing up the screen and out of sight. "Calibration activated," Aelita said, as windows continued to flow across the screen upward. "It could take a while, maybe ten minutes."

 

"Don't worry, Aelita," Jeremie said. "We have as much time as we need right now."

 

Suddenly, the whole tower shook. Aelita screamed, trying to keep her balance. "Jeremie, Daddy, what's going on?"

 

Franz and Jeremie looked at the data window in disbelieving skepticism. "XANA is sending tremors through the whole sector," Franz said, "in an effort to take over the tower. It's shaking the whole sector because of the protection we put against XANA. And once the calibration has been started, it can't be stopped. It must be completed from the passage tower you're in right now."

 

Outside, the three remaining Tarantulas fired at the four Lyoko Warriors. Ulrich and Yumi each took one, while William teamed up with Odd for the third one.

 

"Hey, Lucie!" Odd called to the Tarantula. "Come and get it!" He dodged the shots and fired his own laser arrows back at the Tarantula. William attempted to rebound the shots fired at him.

 

On the other side of the cavern, Ulrich was sprinting around his Tarantula, in a effort to confuse it that was working. Yumi dodged the shots of her Tarantula acrobatically, and threw her fans every time she got the chance.

 

At long last, Yumi's fan hit her desired mark. With a triumphant smile, she caught her fan and ran over to help Ulrich as her Tarantula exploded.

 

"Jeremie, Franz," Odd called, looking up from his firing stance, "how's it coming with the program? Has Aelita finished yet?

 

Suddenly, the entire plateau shook and rumbled. There were shouts of exclamation and confusion. Everyone waved his or her arms around in an effort to keep balanced. Even the Tarantulas got back on all fours to keep upright.

 

Ulrich turned back to the passage. "This seems too familiar. Is the Kolossus on the way?"

 

"No – fortunately," Jeremie replied. "But XANA's trying to take over the tower."

 

Everyone looked back at the tower. The green aura was fizzing, as if it couldn't decide what it wanted to be.

 

"Doesn't the program you activated protect all the towers in the surface sectors from XANA?" asked Ulrich.

 

"It does," Franz said, "but unfortunately, once we activate a tower, although the restoration program is still somewhat intact, we're freeing it up from the program once we activate it. And we can't do anything to further protect the tower now that we've activated it for ourselves, besides channeling energy to increase its resistance."

 

"Is there anything we can do?" William asked.

 

"No," Franz said. "Nothing besides keeping on fighting. Aelita's almost done. It should only take a minute more, and then you can go to Carthage to wipe out XANA."

 

Yumi nodded, and everyone quickly resumed the fight. The Tarantulas extended their cannons once more, and the laser shots began flying across the cavern again.

 

Inside the tower, Aelita was rearranging the windows. "Jeremie, Daddy, it's almost done. I only need twenty more seconds. But the process is slowing down because XANA's trying to take over the tower!"

 

"We'll try shorting up the tower's resistance," Franz replied to her daughter. "I'm drawing energy from the supercomputer in Carthage."

 

There was a final tremor, but this one was the strongest of all. Outside, Yumi, Odd, Ulrich and William completely lost their balance. The Tarantulas stumbled on the ice.

 

Inside the tower, the interface blinked off and on. Aelita looked at the interface and then around herself at the walls of the tower, wide-eyed with a shard of fear. In front of her, the interface finally reappeared, but the windows had stopped moving.

 

Aelita stepped forward, to stand back directly in front of the interface. She quickly moved and pressed windows, frowning.

 

Once they had regained their balance, Yumi, Odd, Ulrich and William took the opportunity to destroy the remaining Tarantulas. "Franz, Jeremie," Odd called, "what happened? What kind of earthquake was that?"

 

"Unfortunately, a very strong one," Jeremie said. "XANA wasn't able to shut down or take over the tower, but he was able to mess with the calibration program."

 

Aelita walked back out of the tower. Everyone turned. "Fortunately," Aelita explained jogging up to them, "XANA was only able to scatter the data bits. If he had been able to hold on longer, he could have completely exterminated the program, and possibly more, but luckily the restoration program and the resistance Jeremie and my father activated was enough. XANA was only able to mess with the tower for five seconds…and yet he did a lot."

 

"The data was scattered, fortunately, to another tower in the Ice Sector," Franz said. "All you have to do is retrieve it, and Jeremie and I will be able to enter it back into the program for it to work."

 

Everyone ran back onto the vehicles. "Once you exit the canyon, the tower will be west of your position," Jeremie called as the Overwing, the Overboard and the Overbike raced out of the canyon.

 

Odd and Aelita on the Overboard led the way out of the passage and turned right. Odd glanced around. "It's kinda quiet."

 

"You're right, it is," Ulrich said. "Can't say I still enjoy it."

 

"Be careful," Franz said. "There's a squadron of three Mantas heading towards you."

 

Shots started firing at the group from behind. Everyone glanced back to see three Flying Mantas gliding behind them.

 

Ulrich and Yumi blocked the shots fired at them. Aelita and Odd fired Laser Arrows and Energy Fields back at them. William, on the Overwing, helplessly glanced around, feeling a bit left out, with his giant cleaver almost impossible to maneuver in flight.

 

The Mantas overtook them. Suddenly, small, white-bird like heads with a dark blue XANA eye set upon them started billowing out of a hatch hole on their underside.

 

“Be careful, there are Flying Mines!” shouted Jeremie.

 

“Don’t worry, Jeremie, we’re on it,” Yumi said. The Flying Mines didn’t tail them, like in the Celestial Dome of Carthage, but instead stayed where they were hatched, in a huge Flying Mine field. Yumi, Odd and Ulrich carefully maneuvered their vehicles through the mess, still going for the tower.

 

“The tower isn’t much further,” Franz said. “You should be able to see it now.”

 

“We do, Daddy,” replied Aelita. In front of them, the tower stood idly waiting for them, glowing green.

 

A shot fired at Aelita. Aelita quickly drew back on the Overboard. She had moved out of the way of the shot, but she had lost her balance, her feet halfway over the edge. “Odd!” she shouted desperately, waving her arms for balance.

 

Odd quickly turned his upper body. The momentum of the small movement was just enough to give the Overboard a slight shake in the air, and enough to make Aelita completely lose her balance. Aelita tumbled off the Overboard.

 

“Aelita!” Odd shouted, trying to grab her hand. But she was already falling, straight toward a mine. “Aelita, behind you!” Odd called desperately.

 

Aelita quickly turned around. Her eyes widened as she fell toward the mine. She quickly waved her hand across the star bracelet on her wrist. Immediately, her pink translucent wings opened. She gracefully stopped her fall just in time, and flew to follow the three vehicles.

 

The four sighed with relief when they saw Aelita flying up behind them, but turned back as more shots flew toward them. The Flying Mantas were heading back toward them, nipping through gaps between the mines.

 

A shot fired at the Overwing. Yumi quickly jerked to dodge it, but it hit a mine behind her. The explosion set off the deadly chain reaction of the Flying Mines.

 

“Aelita!” shouted Ulrich. Everyone turned back. Aelita was still flying, but she was caught on the wrong side of the explosion. The Flying Mines erupting were splitting the vehicles from Aelita.

 

Aelita’s eyes widened in a gasp. She quickly kicked up and flew upwards, trying to fly over the blue explosions coming toward her. She barely grazed the top of the field of mines, and flew back downward and toward the vehicles.

 

The Overwing turned and flipped, Yumi at the controls, trying to avoid the flying mines and the explosions behind her at the same time. Suddenly, a laser shot flew towards her and William. William doubled back, hit, falling off the Overwing.

 

“William!” Yumi shouted, but she couldn’t risk being devirtualized to go and save him.

 

William landed hard on the ice, skidding. He looked up and ducked as the explosions rocketed over him. He summoned his sword in a wisp of white smoke, and started running toward the tower.

 

Ulrich glanced at Odd and Yumi in dismay, all three of them still trying to race in front of the explosions, and at the same time trying to avoid the mines they came upon in front of them. “It’s no use!” he called out to them. “We’ll have to get back to the ground.”

 

“Okay,” Odd and Yumi called. The Overbike, Overwing and Overboard spiraled downward. Yumi and Odd pulled off centimeters above the ground, and grounded to a halt. The Overbike landed on the ice with a thud, skidding before stopping.

 

The explosions passed over their heads safely. Birdcalls erupted from high up in front of them. The Mantas were coming back to attack them.

 

A pink sphere shot toward a Manta. The Manta fizzed pink and dropped out of the sky, exploding. Everyone turned back in relief to see Aelita flying towards them, unharmed. William finally caught up with them.

 

“Aelita,” Franz said, “you have to get to the tower. Apparently the data is starting to get dumped into a virtual trash bin before disappearing. Without it, the program won’t be able to work at all, and will stay incomplete.”

 

Suddenly, the radar window refocused to show a strange, hulking shape kilometers away from the tower, but making progress.

 

“Oh no!” shouted Jeremie. “The Kolossus is coming after you!”

 

The ground started to shake from its footsteps. “Look!” William said, pointing. Everyone turned to see the Kolossus edging toward them to their right, bringing three new Mantas with it.

 

“Ulrich, take Aelita to the tower,” Yumi instructed, turning back to face the group, everyone still on their vehicles except for Aelita, hovering a meter above them. “Odd, William and I will attempt to hold off the Kolossus and the Mantas.”

 

“Are you sure?” Ulrich asked.

 

Yumi nodded. Ulrich quickly turned the Overbike to the tower. With a glance toward Aelita to check that she was ready, he took off and zoomed toward the tower, Aelita just to his side.

 

“Let’s go,” Yumi said, taking the Overwing back into the air and heading toward the Kolossus with William. Odd quickly launched up, in their wake.

 

Aelita and Ulrich dodged the shots fired at them, the two Mantas flying toward them. With a nod from Ulrich, Aelita flew straight at the two Mantas. Just as the two charged up with laser shots, Aelita quickly flew between them. She deactivated her wings, and ran into the tower.

 

Ulrich smiled. “Franz, Jeremie, it’s okay. Aelita’s in the tower.”

 

“Good,” Franz said. “But be careful. The Kolossus can still disconnect the tower. Focus all your efforts right now on the Kolossus and the Mantas.”

 

“Okay,” Ulrich said, turning to jet toward the hulking dark gray monster. Odd, Yumi and William were trying to attack it with their weapons, to no avail.

 

Aelita moved a window on the screen. “Daddy, Jeremie, I’m here. I’m going to start retrieving the data. It should only take a minute or two.”

 

“Great, Aelita,” Jeremie said. “Make sure you load it directly into the multi-agent system, because even the supercomputer itself may not be able to recognize the data bits on its own.”

 

Aelita perked up, still working on the interface. “The program is a multi-agent system?”

 

“It is,” Franz said. “Since XANA himself is a multi-agent system, theoretically the only thing strong enough to combat him is…well, himself. Or a copy of him.”

 

“So we’re creating another XANA?” Aelita asked.

 

“In a sense…yes,” Franz explained. “But the program won’t have the same principles XANA does. It will only be programmed to destroy XANA.”

 

“Jeremie, wasn’t the Marabounta a multi-agent system?”

 

“I know what you’re thinking, Aelita,” Jeremie said, a hint of amusement in his voice. “I know the Marabounta wasn’t exactly the best. But we ran the program throughout the night to work out the bugs. This time, I’m confident that we’ll win.”

 

The Kolossus thrashed his arms around, as if he was trying to kill flies. In a sense, there were fly-sized creatures, to him, attacking him. Odd, Yumi and William flew around him, continually firing but not making any difference to its path.

 

 There was a shout from behind them. Everyone turned to see Ulrich flying toward them, wielding a saber.

 

Yumi smiled for a brief second, but them quickly turned back to their mission. She threw her fan directly at the Kolossus’ head.

 

The fan made direct contact. But instead of crumpling, the Kolossus merely blew up the fan with a huge orange spark.

 

Yumi frowned. “I thought I hit him right on target! Shouldn’t he have been destroyed?”

 

“No,” Odd said. “It was great aim, though. There’s another target on his arm. This isn’t going to be easy.”

 

“In addition,” added Jeremie, “XANA seems to be giving unlimited power to the Kolossus. I don’t’ know where it’s coming from right now, but it’s serving its purpose. But don’t worry. Aelita’s almost done.”

 

“In fact, I am,” a voice said. Aelita ran out of the tower, smiling. “The program has been updated.”

 

“Great job, Aelita,” Franz said. “I’ll tell the others. Ulrich, Yumi, William and Odd: You can head over to Sector 5. Aelita’s done. She’s coming to meet you.”

 

“Aww,” Odd whined. “I wanted to at least give our huge friend something vandalistic to remember us by!”

 

“Come on, Odd, another time,” Yumi called. The birdcalls of the five Mantas circling the Kolossus’ head like flies, firing at them four, mingled with the echoes of its steps.

 

Someone tapped Odd on the shoulder. He turned to feel the Overboard bump, as Aelita deactivated her wings and landed on it beside him, smiling. “Let’s go,” Aelita called.

 

Ulrich, Yumi and William turned and nodded, and all of them flew up into the sky. The five Mantas followed them, but the Kolossus glared up angrily at them with a groan as they went where he could not reach.
Chapter 13- Carthage by 5CarthageRocks
Chapter 13- Carthage (01.19.08-01.21.08)

 

The Overbike, Overboard and Overwing entered the gray tunnel in the gray sphere, the Mantas still tailing them. Aelita, Odd, Ulrich, William, and Yumi entered Sector 5, exiting the blue interface-ridden tunnels. “Franz, Jeremie, we’re here.”

 “Good,” Franz replied. “Enter the Core Zone through the Skidbladnir Hangar, and leave your vehicles there. Then go to the Arena, and Jeremie and I will reprogram the Corridor for you. I closed the sky entry portal to protect the Skidbladnir, but I’ll open it up for you and close it once you’ve entered it.”

 

“Do you think you can close the tunnel at the right moment, so that it destroys the Mantas?” Aelita asked.

 

“It’s worth a shot,” Jeremie replied. “Let us know exactly when you want us to close it.”

 

The Overbike landed on the navy blue platform. Ulrich jumped off and put his hands on his hips, looking back up. Odd and Aelita jumped off as well. Yumi and William jumped onto the navy blue platform along with them. The furious birdcalls sounded from above.

 

“Jeremie, Franz, get ready,” called Ulrich. The Mantas flew straight at them, toward the sky portal. Just as they were meters above the portal, Aelita, Odd, Ulrich, Yumi and William shouted, “Now!”

 

The portal closed. The two Mantas in front exploded in red particles. The air finally settled; the room became still.

 

The Lyoko Warriors cheered. Finally, Aelita led the way to the elevator, everyone else not far behind.

 

---

 

Aelita, Odd, Ulrich, William, and Yumi ran out of the hallway into the Arena. “Jeremie, Dad,” Aelita called, “we’re in the Arena.”

 

“Okay,” Jeremie said. “We’re reprogramming the Corridor.”

 

The wall of the Arena immediately closed. The Arena started to spin again. After about half a minute, the Arena gave a jolt, and stopped moving. The wall again opened up.

 

The five of them ran onto the bridge. After a few seconds, the Corridor finally opened up again. The five Lyoko Warriors headed through the Corridor, to the last tower to deactivate.

 

William was the first one out of the Corridor. “Jeremie, Franz, we’re here.”

 

The tower again sat in its expected place. It floated in midair, its black roots spiraling down and finally ending.

 

“I’m starting to get a case of seeing-too-many-identical-places-at-once-itis,” Ulrich said, rubbing his head a little dizzily. This looked exactly like the tower in which they had freed William.

 

“Blame the Replikas,” Yumi said. “But there’s a reason they’re called ‘Replikas’,” she said, winking.

 

“This is too easy,” Odd said, as Aelita entered the tower. “I can’t believe XANA barely put up a fight here.”

 

Yumi, Ulrich and William drew their weapons warily and vigilant, expecting a monster, expecting at least one Creeper to appear, but the room stayed silent.

 

The tower turned to blue. Aelita flew out of the tower.

 

---

 

On Ground Floor of the Factory, the Xanafied mass of people collapsed to the ground with groans. The black specters exited their bodies, flying into the air, and then vanishing like smoke.

 

XANA’s attack had been stopped.

 

---

 

“Great job, guys,” Jeremie congratulated. “XANA’s attack has been stopped. You only need to get to the interface so that we can launch the multi-agent system, and then it’s bye-bye to XANA for good!”

 

“We’re on our way,” Ulrich said, smiling gleefully with everyone else. They turned and ran out of the room.

 

---

 

The interface opened up. Aelita quickly ran to a halt, the other four behind her. Aelita immediately started working on the interface. “Jeremie, Daddy, I’m ready.”

 

“I’m uploading the program over to you,” Franz replied, entering codes into the supercomputer. “It shouldn’t take too long.”

 

A sudden birdcall and a shot that barely missed Yumi distracted everyone from the interface. Three Mantas flapped toward them, aiming and firing.

 

“We’ll take care of it, Aelita,” Yumi said. Aelita nodded and turned back to the interface and resumed working.

 

William and Ulrich attempted to block the shots while Odd and Yumi fired and threw their weapons at the Mantas.

 

“Careful!” Jeremie called. “There’s another squadron of three Mantas coming up at five o’clock!”

 

They all turned to block more shots as the incoming Mantas tried to devirtualize them. One shot barely missed Aelita. Looking up, she quickly charged and threw an Energy Field. At the same time, Yumi threw a fan. They both hit separate Mantas.

 

“Nice one, ladies!” called Odd. “Two down…four to go!”

 

“Jeremie, Franz, we may need our vehicles,” Ulrich said. “The five of us can’t maneuver very well with this much room.”

 

“No need, Ulrich,” Aelita said, everyone turning to look at her. “I’ve got the program. Just give me fifteen seconds to activate it.”

 

Ulrich and the rest of them nodded, and turned back to their white-and-blue flying friends. Ulrich blocked shots, and flung a saber at another Manta. It flew through the air back to him as the Manta exploded in red particles.

 

“Here we go,” Aelita said, moving a final window on the screen, positioning a hand an inch above pressing a large window. “Everyone ready?” she asked, smiling.

 

The Lyoko Warriors nodded.

 

“Go on, Aelita,” encouraged Jeremie.

 

Aelita moved a final window and pressed the large window on the screen.

 

The interface immediately vanished.

 

All of Lyoko was rocked by a shake. The Mantas surrounding them lit up in white and exploded.

 

Throughout all of the sectors, bright, white lights engulfed the sectors of the Ice, Desert, Forest and Mountain. The sectors shook as the bright light overpowered them.

 

Back in Sector 5, a wall of white light moved across the Celestial Dome. Ulrich and Odd shielded their eyes, while Yumi, William and Aelita widened theirs. Soon the light engulfed them as well.

 

Finally, the light settled. Everyone looked warily around, as if expecting trouble.

 

“Did…did it work?” asked William tentatively.

 

Franz and Jeremie took a moment to analyze Lyoko. When the results came back, they smiled at each other.

 

“Yes,” Franz said. “XANA is gone.”

 

“Yeah!” everyone said, exchanging high-fives with radiant faces and smiles. The Lyoko Warriors celebrated their victory.

 

“Can you bring us in?” asked Odd.

 

“What, no bragging?” Jeremie teased.

 

“I can’t really, since I didn’t do anything,” Odd replied, to gasps of surprise that turned into laughter.

 

“What?” Odd asked, looking around at the laughing Ulrich, Yumi, William and Aelita.

 

Suddenly, a window opened up on the screen. The smiles on Jeremie and Franz’s faces instantly wiped clean. It was a Super Scan window.

 

“Guys…” Jeremie said slowly. “We’ve got a problem. It seems that the towers have reactivated.”

 

The laughter immediately ceased. “What?” asked Ulrich. “Did you activate them?”

 

“No…we didn’t,” Franz said. “I don’t know how, especially since the program thoroughly has no bugs in it…but it seems that XANA…reactivated.”

 

There were gasps of shock. “How is that possible?” Aelita asked. “I saw the analysis of the program myself just a minute ago! There weren’t any bugs in it!”

 

With the clamor still continuing, a radar window opened, showing the Network. Jeremie and Franz gasped.

 

The shouting slowly died down. “Franz? Jeremie?” Yumi asked. “Is there a problem?”

 

Instead of a voiced reply, there were only strangled gasps.

 

“Franz? Jeremie?” William said, getting ready to devirtualize himself. “Are you okay?”

 

“We’re fine,” Jeremie said, wiping his brow with his shirt sleeve. “But we just shed light to the source of XANA’s reactivation. It seems that XANA still has…countless Replikas. And all of the towers on each and every Replika are activated. XANA has unlimited power at his hands, and we never realized it.”

 

There was silence. Aelita finally broke it. “Is that how he was able to create the Kolossus?”

 

“Yes,” Franz replied. “Jeremie and I knew that there was an outside power source that was supplying energy to the Kolossus, because XANA would never have been able to use the Kolossus on Lyoko’s power alone…but we were so focused on fixing the multi-agent system that we never stopped to wonder.”

 

“It also explains why XANA was still able to continue his attack throughout the night, even with only the Sector 5 tower activated,” added Jeremie hoarsely.

 

There was more silence.

 

“So…what now?” Odd finally asked. “Are you going to bring us in?”

 

“No,” Franz said. “It’s too dangerous to leave the Skidbladnir on Lyoko, open to attack by XANA. We have to take it back to my Replika first, then I’ll devirtualize you.”

 

“Okay,” Yumi replied. “Come on, let’s go,” she said, motioning to the others. She led the way back into the Core Zone.

 

---

 

“We’re here,” Aelita said, about ten minutes later. The Skidbladnir, with everyone aboard, was waiting in front of the entrance gate to the Carthage Replika, waiting for it to open.

 

“Keep your eyes alert,” Franz said, typing. “It’s rather strange that XANA never bothered to send a single monster to attack you on the way here. In any case, please activate the digital key so that I can open the gate for you.”

 

“Okay,” Aelita said. The Skidbladnir’s bottom portion slowly moved to sit in a vertical position. The bright, white light immediately beamed from the small hole just below the cockpit. “Digital key activated.”

 

Franz immediately responded by typing.

 

Yumi looked up at the dark blue sphere, made up by tiles. Suddenly, an orange flame-like electric beam flickered across it.

 

“Hey!” Yumi called, immediately straightening. “Aelita, get the Skid away from the Replika right now!”

 

“Why?” Aelita asked, as the entrance gate swung open. “Everything’s perfectly-”

 

Aelita gasped, her eyes widening.

 

The dark blue sphere in front of them was fizzing with yellow-, orange- and white-beams moving across it very quickly. As shouts rang out from Ulrich, Odd, William and Yumi, Aelita quickly jammed the joysticks backward away from the Replika.

 

And just in time, too. The Replika finally turned a bright white and exploded into millions of dark blue pieces. Their hideout, their safe refuge, their one spot where XANA could not follow them, was gone.

 

Everyone still stared in shock at the spot where the Replika had been. Yumi finally found her voice.

 

“Franz? Jeremie? Was it XANA?” 

“Yeah, it was,” Jeremie said, hoarse, disbelieving at the grim situation. “XANA finally got past the security. We don’t have a safe place in the Network anymore.”

 

“Is there any chance of saving it?” asked William.

 

“Unfortunately, it’s impossible to,” Jeremie replied. “XANA hacked the Replika and destroyed the supercomputer. To get a new Replika, we would either have to build another supercomputer or take over one of XANA’s, both of which are near to impossible to do, especially with the little time we have.”

 

“You all had best get back to Lyoko,” Franz instructed Aelita. “It’s safer than the Network, even if XANA is still there. Once you’re back, I’ll rematerialize you all and we’ll try to figure out what to do next.”

 

“Okay,” Aelita said. The Skid rotated back to its Network-exploring position. The Skid took off back to Lyoko.

 

Suddenly, the radar window refocused to show tons of red dots moving toward the Skid in the Network. Jeremie and Franz gasped. “Aelita, watch out!” Jeremie shouted. “You’re walking right into an ambush!”

 

There were gasps of shock as XANA’s ambush party swam into view. Waiting for them were twenty Kongres and twenty Rekins. On top of that, three Kalamars slunk towards them.

 

“Uh…Jeremie, Franz,” Odd said, above the shouts of shock from everyone else, “we’re going to need a lot more power to get out of this mess.”

 

At the same time, the mass of Digital Sea monsters charged forward.
Chapter 14- Secret Passage by 5CarthageRocks
Chapter 14- Secret Passage (01.29.08-01.31.08)

 

“NavSkids away!” Aelita called, pulling the four switches down with her fingers. Odd, Ulrich, Yumi and William detached from the Skid and started toward the horde of Digital Sea monsters.

 

“Be careful, all of you,” Franz said. “We don’t have the materialization codes from the Network, and never did, so if any of you are devirtualized, you’ll be gone for good.”

 

Jeremie glanced at Franz, and Franz looked back. Each saw more fear than they were showing and expressing to the five Lyoko Warriors fighting in the Network.

 

“Let’s split up,” Yumi called. “It should weaken the monsters…somewhat.”

 

“Okay,” Odd, Ulrich and William replied. All of them blasted toward the monsters and then split up in four separate directions. Five Kongres and five Rekins followed each of them, firing laser shots and blasting torpedoes the whole time.

 

“This is crazy,” Aelita said, sighing. She quickly took hold of the joysticks and steered the Skid away from the three approaching Kalamars. “Jeremie, Daddy, we won’t be able to fight forever, and we don’t have much hope. Unless we do something, we will lose.” She quickly fired two torpedoes backward at the Kalamars. Both of them missed and spiraled away, forgotten in the commotion.

 

“There’s truth in her words,” Jeremie said to Franz, with a lot of fear and depression in his expression. “You guys can’t stay there. You’re going to have to try to get back to Lyoko so that we can rematerialize you.”

 

“How?” asked Odd, afraid, trying to fire torpedoes at his monsters, which in turn were firing back at him. “We’re trying to fight an army five times bigger than us, and it’s not gonna go well! It’s like a battle between a strawberry and a watermelon.”

 

“We’ll figure something out,” Ulrich replied, fighting his own battle. But all of them heard the scared voice masked by fake confidence, which reflected all of their thoughts at the moment. There really was no hope. They were going to lose right there in the Network…and die.

 

“I just wish I had said something, anything, to Hiroki and my parents before I left yesterday,” Yumi said, tearing up as she continued to fire torpedoes at her monsters. “I can’t stand loosing if we can’t at least say good-bye to the people we love.”

 

In a clear wisp of occurrence, the thought came to Aelita and Odd at the same time about the invisible implications of Yumi, and Ulrich and William, but neither of them said anything as they focused on the battle. Nor did they want to bring it up, even though it might have been the last chance to do it.

 

---

 

Ulrich pushed the booster lever on his left side forward with his left hand. The engine behind him sparked slightly blue, but then died back down. The monsters still tailing him cried in triumph.

 

"I don't even have enough power for a boost," Ulrich said, with a highly dismayed voice. "Einsteins, we're burning all our energy. We can't keep fighting. We have to get out of here!"

 

"You're surrounded," Jeremie said, distraught. "There's no possible way for you guys to get back to Lyoko. No loopholes in the defense. I'm sorry…we've lost."

 

Instead of gasps of shock and disbelief, there were mumbles of recognition. With the almost impossible chance that they would make it through the enormous battle, the situation was bleak and hopeless.

 

William steered around a red shaft hanging down from the Network's databases, trying to shake off the monsters. Suddenly, as he continued forward with the monsters on his tail, he past a larger shaft with a white XANA eye upon it. "Hey!" he called, steering back towards it. "Franz, Jeremie, there's a XANA eye here."

 

Jeremie and Franz glanced at each other. "That's strange," Franz said, starting to type. "I'll take a look at it."

 

William turned back to fire torpedoes at his monsters. Yumi, Odd, and Ulrich were fighting battles of their own, while Aelita still tried to avoid the Kalamar and a few Kongres and Rekins tailing her.

 

The results opened up in a window. Franz and Jeremie frowned. "Hey guys," Jeremie said, "it looks like we just found something, thanks to William."

 

"What is it?" Yumi said, not very enthusiastically.

 

"It looks like it's a secret passage!"

 

There were gasps of amazement. "Where does it lead to?" Aelita asked.

 

"We don't know," Franz replied. "But it's definitely giving you a way out of the battle."

 

"Could it be a trap?" Ulrich asked.

 

Jeremie sighed. "Unfortunately, that's possible, but you all just need to get out of there right now."

 

“At the moment, anywhere is better than here,” agreed Yumi.

 

"NavSkids in!" Aelita called. Ulrich, Odd, Yumi and William quickly steered their NavSkids back toward her. The monsters got back into a huge cluster, and then followed them.

 

Aelita quickly pulled the four switches down. As the NavSkids reattached to the Skid, the green, lined connectors quickly lit up to keep them connected.

 

"I'm sending you the coordinates," Franz promptly said, typing more codes into the supercomputer.

 

"Okay," Aelita replied, taking hold of the joysticks. Just ahead of them, the monsters swam into view.

 

"Go!" she shouted, plunging the joysticks forward. The Skid shot forward, its blue rear engines behind the cockpit activated, and they barely skimmed through a hole in the cluster. The monsters cried out in frustration and quickly turned around to follow the Skid once more.

 

Aelita steered through the upside-down maze of red shafts, trying earnestly to avoid the monsters firing at them from behind.

 

"On your left, Aelita!" Jeremie called. "It's the gate! You have to activate the digital key to it before we can open it."

 

"Got it," Aelita said. She quickly steered the Skid in front of the huge, white XANA eye sitting on the slightly abnormally large shaft. "Rotation." The Skid rotated back to its vertical position. "Digital key activated," she called, as she pressed her hand to the keypad. The white beam flew out of the front of the cockpit.

 

The window opened up. Franz intently started typing, trying to crack the encryption.

 

Jeremie's eyes widened, focused on the radar window. "Franz…" Jeremie said, worried and on the edge, "the monsters are getting closer."

 

Everyone turned to the left. "Hey!" Odd called. "I can't see anything! I'm not facing the right direction!"

 

"Oh well," everyone replied. The horde of monsters swam past them, traveling just parallel to them, trying to locate their prey.

 

"I've cracked the code," Franz called. The beam immediately disappeared. The XANA eye blinked and momentarily disappeared as well, and a part of the shaft in front of them quickly rose up, allowing them to enter.

 

"Hurry, Aelita!" Jeremie shouted. Aelita quickly steered the Skid straight into the opening. The shaft closed behind them, plunging them into darkness.

 

Behind them, the monsters swam past the shaft. They glanced at the shaft, unsuspecting, and swam away, still looking for the Skidbladnir.

 

Franz and Jeremie sighed in relief. "The monsters didn't notice," Jeremie said. There were gasps of relief from the Skid.

 

Aelita straightened. "Lights on," she said, punching a code into the keypad near her left hand. The lights on the cockpit and on the sides of the "wings" of the Skid lit up, lighting up the dark space with a bright, white light.

 

“Hmm…” said Franz. “It appears that you’re in some sort of vertical tunnel that goes upward. Try going up.”

 

“Okay,” Aelita said, carefully pulling the joysticks back. “Here we go.” The Skid rose up through the virtual water.

 

Suddenly, they abruptly reached the surface of the water. Light red water seeped off of the Skid as they slowly rose up into a room.

 

“Wow!”

 

“Einsteins, you won’t believe it!” Odd said. “We’re in some sort of…entrance room. It’s kinda like a lobby.”

 

The room was huge. Bigger than any other room they had ever seen on Lyoko, the room was structured like Carthage…except red. All of the features were cubical. The walls were lined in the same sort of square structure that Carthage was lined in. Below them, the Digital Sea they had just rose out of glowed a whitish red in a large, rectangular sort of “pond”.

 

The Skid rose up to what appeared to be “ground level”. A large red platform with only one side connected to a wall loomed in front of them as they hovered to a stop. On the other side of the platform, a doorway opened up, much like the one from the blue-structured Carthage to the Celestial Dome.

 

The Skid’s wings opened up, and the Skidbladnir continued to hover in the air.

 

Radar windows opened up on the screen. Franz and Jeremie gasped in amazement. “Guys,” Jeremie said, “it looks like we’ve actually found a part of the Network that doesn’t have water. It’s amazing!”

 

“This place has got to have some significance with XANA,” William said. “Even though I still can’t remember anything while I was being controlled.”

 

“Teleport,” Aelita called. All five of them quickly appeared on the red platform in front of the Skid.

 

“Could this be a sort of Replika or something?” asked Ulrich.

 

“No…not really,” Franz said, still typing. “It appears that this structure is build into the Network itself, and apparently gets energy from the Network without needing an external supercomputer on Earth to power it. It’s really strange.”

 

“Try following the passage in front of you,” Jeremie called. “It could lead somewhere.”

 

“Okay,” Yumi called. “Let’s go.” The five of them quickly ran through the entrance to the unknown and unexplored parts of the Network still waiting for them to be discovered.

 

“Jeremie, Daddy,” Aelita called after a while, “the passage has ended. We’re in another room of sorts.”

 

“Let’s take a look,” said Franz, opening up a window.

 

The room was still red, still structured in cubes and three-dimensional rectangles, but it was different. It was much smaller than the room they had just came out of, about the size of a normal room in the Core Zone of Carthage. They were standing on a platform, this time build into the ground, while bright red light seeped from the ground and the ceiling alike through empty spots. They were standing at a three way “T” intersection, one path leading right and one path leading left. The walls were spaced slightly far apart.

 

“Which path should we take?” asked Ulrich.

 

“Try the path to your left,” Jeremie instructed. “Franz and I are picking up high amounts of energy from it.”

 

The Lyoko Warriors quickly turned onto the left path and ran toward the doorway that was at the end of the path.

 

After a moment or so, Franz and Jeremie straightened. “You should be there now, in the next room,” Franz said. “Are you there?”

 

There were only gasps of shock and amazement in reply.

 

The new room they had entered looked very much like the inside of a tower, except with a red color scheme. Red interfaces lined the walls. The walls…there was only one wall, if it was called a “wall”. The interfaces sat in a circular pattern, much like in a tower. The room itself was entirely cylindrical, with no apparent ceiling or floor except for the platform that they were standing on. The floor itself seemed kilometers down, as it went down into a small spot of darkness. It looked completely like a very large version of the inside of a tower...except for the red.

 

The platform itself was still red, like the rest of the room, and it was about five meters wide and ten meters long, a bit bigger than the platform in Carthage. The platform merely jutted out into the jumble of interfaces.

 

Interfaces flew everywhere around them. However, in the very middle of the room, a bright white light cast itself to the walls and the entire room, almost blinding. Bright, whitish red rings were barely visible in the light. It looked much like a very larger scale on what had happened when Aelita was first materialized with the Code Earth program inside a tower. The interfaces situated themselves mostly around the middle of the room and never sitting still, moving at light-speed this way and that, almost too fast to see. Except, of course, for the interfaces that made up the walls.

 

All five of them still looked around, staring in amazement at the room they had just found. Aelita finally refocused to look in front of them, toward the edge of the platform. “Hey,” she said, pointing, and everyone turned. “There’s an interface here.”

 

“Interfaces,” Ulrich commented. Sure enough, a large blue interface had appeared about at waist level, going up. On both sides of the interface were slightly smaller ones, but still the same height, rather skinny in width. Aelita stepped forward to examine them. The interface was about an elbow-to-elbow span wide and half a meter tall, seeming bigger than the interface in Carthage.

 

Aelita tentatively pressed her hand to it. Windows immediately appeared on the screen, and the processes listed themselves on the side interfaces. Aelita intently began gathering data, moving, closing and opening windows here and there. “It’s…it’s amazing!” she said, her voice shaking. “There are tons of resources available to us here! Daddy, Jeremie, what is this place?”

 

Franz and Jeremie’s eyes widened again as they got the results. “It appears,” Franz said, “that you are in the very Center of the Network. The heart of the Internet itself.”

 

There were more gasps. “That would explain a lot,” Aelita said, still working. “We’ve got unlimited amounts of resources available to us! There’s even high-speed processors, databank storage and access…it’s just amazing. I wish we had found this sooner.”

 

“Not to rush you, Aelita,” Jeremie said, “but your father and I just came across yet another room. We don’t know what it is yet, so you guys should try to explore that as well. But first, please try to activate the rematerialization codes from the Network, so that if any of you are devirtualized, we won’t have any problems getting you back to Earth.”

 

“Okay,” Aelita replied. She quickly opened windows and pressed them. A purple progress bar quickly appeared on the screen, before completely loading and then blinking and disappearing. “Jeremie, Daddy?” she asked. “Have you received the codes?”

 

A window opened on the screen of the supercomputer. “Yes, we have,” Franz replied, still continuing to type. “Thank you. I’m activating the codes right now.”

 

“Okay,” Aelita said, finishing up, closing windows on the interface. “I’m done for now,” she said, with a final press to the interface. She turned to the other four, waiting patiently for her. “Let’s go.”

 

All five of them turned and left the Center of the Network to go back to the intersection, still marveling at the good fortune and luck that they had found this place when they needed it most.
End Notes:

Meh...the chapters are getting shorter and shorter. The next "major" chapter will be Chapter 16. ;-)

I can tell you that at the moment, there are 21 planned chapters. Even though they may not all be consistent in length, this fanfic is definitely getting close to its climax.

Chapter 15- The One Core by 5CarthageRocks
Chapter 15- The One Core (02.21.08-02.23.08)

 

Aelita, Yumi, Ulrich, Odd and William ran along the long bridge-like platform. They came to a stop, frowning.

 

"Something wrong?" asked Jeremie.

 

"Yeah," Yumi said, as everyone looked at the wall in confusion. "There isn't a door here. There's only a wall."

 

"You could try knocking," Odd said, grinning.

 

Aelita stepped forward and pressed her hand to the wall. The wall didn't react. "Jeremie, Franz, the wall’s solid. Are you sure there's a room in front of us?"

 

"Yes, it's on our screen," Franz said, straightening in the chair. He started typing. "I'll take a look at it."

 

Everyone was pressing at different spots in the wall, trying to find a key, a reacting spot of the wall, or something to open the wall. Nothing.

 

"How's it coming, Einsteins?" asked Ulrich. "Found anything?"

 

"We're working on it," Franz replied. "Nothing yet."

 

Suddenly, on the open radar window, red dots appeared in the secret room near the five green dots symbolizing the Lyoko Warriors. Franz and Jeremie frowned. "Uh oh," Jeremie called. "Guys, it looks like there are three Creepers on the other side of the wall. I would try and hide if I were you."

 

"But…where?" William said, looking around. "There isn't anywhere we can hide."

 

"Hmm…" Aelita said. She rushed over to the side of the platform and looked over the edge. The platform went down to the bright, whitish-red ground.

 

“Over here,” she called to the others, waving her hand for them to join her. Yumi, Odd, Ulrich and William quickly ran over to stand on either side of Aelita.

 

Aelita activated her wings and flew downward, in the air facing them. She moved one hand to the side of her head, and the other thrusting out in front of her, and closed her eyes. Aelita’s sound of creation echoed throughout the room.

 

A thin platform appeared about halfway up the side of the bridge, just wide enough to hold five people single file in a line. Yumi, Odd, Ulrich and William quickly jumped off the bridge and landed on the platform. Aelita created another identical platform just above their heads, about half a meter from the surface of the bridge. She quickly closed her wings and joined them on the second platform, pressing hard against the side of the bridge so as not to be seen.

 

No one said a word. There was only breathing as they waited for the Creepers to go past them.

 

There was a loud creak, as if something was opening. Then the creepy groans of the Creepers sounded, sounding a bit like a really deep, low roar of an elephant. The three Creepers slithered along the bridge to the other side, not bothering to even look down at the platform that had appeared only a few moments before. The creak sounded again. All was silent as the Creepers made their way to the Center of the Network.

 

“Phew,” Odd said, sighing with the rest of them. “We slipped past the guard dogs. Now we only need to find the way to get in.”

 

Franz was still typing. He finally stopped. “Aelita, I think I’ve found the way to do it. There’s a mechanism that reacted when Xana apparently opened the door. I’ve tracked its corresponding activation location to a spot on the wall in front of you opposite the bridge. It should be facing you, and it should be near the far right corner of the room near the ground. Can you see it?”

 

Everyone looked.

 

“This is too easy,” Ulrich said, shaking his head in amazement.

 

“We’ve found it,” Aelita said. There, in exactly the spot Franz had indicated, was a red Key, like the ones found in the Core Zone of Carthage that stopped the Countdown. In the far right corner of the room, sitting next to the white cubes that made up the bottom of the room, sat a small two-meter-by-two-meter platform, enough to stand on while activating the Key.

 

Aelita quickly spread her wings and flew to the corner. She landed on the platform and pressed her hand to the thin red cylinder that jutted out from the middle of the three-dimensional red Xana eye.

 

Immediately, the cylinder receded into the eye. It lit up with the first inner ring as it hit it, and then with the outer ring as it also reached it. The red Xana eye finally flashed a bright white as the Key was activated.

 

Immediately, there was a creak from the wall. Aelita quickly flew back onto the bridge and landed beside the other four Lyoko Warriors who had climbed back up. Light shone through as the wall opened up.

 

Aelita, Yumi, Odd, Ulrich and William stepped into the room. The room looked very much like the Core Chamber back in the Core Zone of Sector 5, except for two things. One was that the room had a red color scheme. The other was the object in the middle of the room, where the Core of Lyoko would be. The Lyoko Warriors kept their eyes focused on the object with curiosity in their eyes.

 

At first, it looked like another Core-of-Lyoko-type object. It was the same size, and still had two cubical shield layers protecting it. But they looked further. The sphere had a red theme, with no trace of the color or even a tinge of blue in it. Instead of having a scaled model of Lyoko in the middle of it, a red sphere rotated inside, with the two, small white rings rotating around it, like on the Holomap of Lyoko. The red sphere took up about a third of the inner sphere, bigger than a scaled-to-size-Carthage would. But it wasn’t just a random red sphere.

 

Four black Xana eyes were marked on the red sphere as it rotated and turned in the middle of the red sphere. It looked rather like a slightly larger and red model of Carthage. Red light shone brightly from it.

 

“I don’t think I have to ask, Einsteins,” Ulrich said, still looking at the sphere with curiosity, “but what is that?”

 

Franz was already typing, gathering information on the mysterious sphere. He suddenly stopped, looking at the screen in awe.

 

“Franz, what is it?” asked Jeremie. He looked to where Franz was staring at. Jeremie squinted, checking to be sure that he was seeing what he thought he was seeing. His eyes suddenly became as round as saucers.

 

“Franz, Jeremie, you there?” Yumi asked tentatively. “What is the sphere?”

 

Franz and Jeremie shook their heads, clearing their minds. “Sorry,” Jeremie said. “To put it the easy way…it uses energy from all of Xana’s Replikas as a power source.”

 

“That’s it?” Odd asked. “Wow. I can find something better than that in the trash bin.”

 

“That’s not it, Odd,” Jeremie continued. “It’s…well, it’s…” Jeremie exhaled. “It’s Xana’s Core.”

 

There was silence.

 

“Wh…what do you mean, ‘Xana’s Core’?” asked Ulrich, stuttering. “I thought that Xana only existed throughout his infinite Replikas.”

 

“Yes, but he has to have a core,” Jeremie replied. “But the Replikas do feed the core as a power source. You’re looking at the very heart of Xana, of what he became after he escaped from the supercomputer and went into the Internet.”

 

“So…” William got into a fighting position, facing the core. “So if we destroy it, then that means Xana will die?”

 

“No,” Franz said. “Unfortunately not. Even if you destroy Xana’s Core, Xana will still exist throughout his hundreds of Replikas. We can’t change that. So even if the core is destroyed, Xana will be able to regenerate from one of his Replikas. It’ll be useless even attempting to destroy the core.”

 

“So how do we defeat Xana?” Aelita asked. “I hope we haven’t come all this way for nothing.”

 

“The way to destroy Xana,” Franz said, “is to use the multi-agent system. If you collaborate it to the Network, and make it compatible with the expanse of the Network, we may be able to defeat Xana. But the core will have to be destroyed at the same time that the multi-agent system is activated, to ensure that Xana will truly be defeated.”

 

“Okay,” Aelita replied. “I’ll go back right now. Anyone want to volunteer to come with me?”

 

“I’ll go,” Ulrich said. Personally, he didn’t want to stay around Yumi and William any longer.

 

“Good,” Franz said. “The rest of you should stay here in the Core room to destroy it once the system’s been activated.”

 

Suddenly, there was a loud creak from behind them. Everyone turned to see the door closing shut.

 

“Hey!” Odd called. “Einsteins, did you hit a key by mistake or something?”

 

“No,” Jeremie replied. “It closed of its own accord.”


“More like Xana’s accord,” Yumi corrected, drawing her fans. “This isn’t a decoy, but it was definitely a trap.”


Suddenly, bright, reddish black lightning cracked downward. Everyone screamed and shielded their eyes as the lightning focused to hit five different platforms around the room. The light finally cleared, but the lightning had left some things in its place.

 

Standing and drawing their weapons were copies of Ulrich, Aelita, Yumi, Odd and William. But the copies were discernable from the originals. Each of the copies had a red-and-black outfit. A blue Xana eye was emblazed on the chest of each. Another thin, slightly distorted white Xana eye pulsed in the middle of their foreheads.

 

“Remember me?” the Dark William called over to them, grinning. He looked exactly like William when he had been Xanafied to that greater degree, which had taken a lot to free him from Xana. He summoned his huge cleaver in a line of dark black smoke, slightly edged in purple.

 

The Lyoko Warriors looked at each other grimly.

 

“Everyone, fight…yourself,” Ulrich finished, rather lamely. He drew his sabers, as all the other Lyoko Warriors drew their own weapons.

 

“This’ll be interesting,” William said, smiling challengingly at their opponents.

 

Odd stopped and looked at his clone. “Is that what I really look like?” he asked. “Okay…maybe I am scrawny. Or at least he is.”

 

The Xana Clones gave battle cries and ran toward their opponents. The Lyoko Warriors dodged the initial blows and ran to five different spots around the room to give themselves room to fight the clones.

 

The Dark William jumped up. As he came down, he slashed his Zanbato at William. William grunted as he stumbled sideways, momentarily loosing his balance. He quickly turned around and swung a slash himself. The Dark William blocked the blow and ran toward him again.

 

Odd was fighting his Dark self, firing laser arrows and shielding himself from black ones being shot by his clone, all the time flipping through a frenzy of acrobatics. “Hey, you!” Odd called. “There’s only one Odd good enough to exist, and that’s the original, you hear?”

 

The Dark Odd smiled a dark smile, and shot an arrow. Odd dodged it, and fired three more. The Dark Odd cast his red shield in front of him, blocking the arrows. They ran towards each other and dodged, kicked and fought the other, cat-like the whole while.

 

Aelita was fighting her own clone vigorously. Both of them were firing and dodging Energy Fields. The Dark Aelita threw a red Energy Field at Aelita. Aelita sidestepped it and threw a pink one of her own. The Dark Aelita activated her wings to avoid it. She spread her red wings and flew straight at Aelita. Aelita opened her own wings and flew after her clone, still throwing Energy Fields at her.

 

Yumi was fighting well off against her clone. She dodged the Dark Yumi’s fans like an acrobat and threw her own fans at her. The Dark Yumi responded by hand-springing into the air and landing a meter in front of Yumi. Yumi quickly did a sweep-kick and knocked her opponent’s legs from out under her. As the Dark Yumi fell, Yumi drew a fan and threw it at her clone. The clone tumbled backwards and disappeared in reddish black smoke.

 

Ulrich and the Dark Ulrich were truly fighting it off. Both were slashing sabers, dodging blows and using gazette-like bursts of speeds to try and beat their opponent. Furious dins echoed around the room as the two sets of sabers blazed red and blue upon making contact with the other set. Ulrich threw a kick at his clone. The clone groaned and fell sideways. Ulrich took his opponent’s temporary weakness as strength to himself, and drove a saber into the clone’s chest. The clone groaned as he disappeared in red-and-black smoke.

 

“That’s how you deal with posers,” Ulrich said, looking up and sheathing his sabers, victorious. He looked around the room to see Yumi going to help William and Odd firing at the Dark Aelita, while Aelita charged up Energy Fields and fought her clone as well.

 

The Dark Aelita finally dropped out of the air and devirtualized from an Energy Field shot by Aelita. The Dark William stumbled as William slashed through his stomach. The Lyoko Warriors ran to the front of the room, panting and exhausted.

 

“Great job, guys!” congratulated Jeremie.

 

“Well done, all of you,” Franz said. “Aelita, Ulrich, get to the Center of the Network and please start making the multi-agent system compatible with the Network. I’m opening the door.”

 

But as the door was raised open, red dots appeared around the Skid on the radar window on the screen of the supercomputer. Jeremie groaned. “Guys, there are monsters attacking the Skid. It looks like one of you will have to go back to defend it. It’s your only safe way home for now, even with the materialization codes from the Network set.”

 

“I’ll go,” William called. He left a glance at Yumi, his eyes piercing hers with a casual, innocent glance. He turned and ran out of the room. Ulrich and Aelita followed him. Once they arrived at the T-intersection, Aelita and Ulrich continued on while William turned left to go and defend the Skid.
Chapter 16- No Turning Back by 5CarthageRocks
Author's Notes:
Honestly? I'm getting sick of writing this, while I have other plans. ._. I'm just finishing the last few chapters off with detailed summaries, nothing more. Sorry.
Chapter 16- No Turning Back (03.02.08-03.09.08)

 

William ran into the entrance room. He took a look at the situation in front of him and groaned.

 

Three Mantas flew around the Skid, attacking it, while four more Creepers stood on the platform and fired at the Skid.

 

William summoned his sword in a line of white smoke. “Jeremie, Franz, I can’t promise the best.”

 

“Do what you can,” Franz replied. “I’ll tell Aelita to transfer power to the Skid’s shields.”

 

“Ready to rumble, guys?” William called, running toward the monsters. The Creepers and a Manta turned toward him and started firing.

 

---

 

Aelita and Ulrich ran into the Center of the Network. The interfaces immediately reappeared. Aelita quickly started moving and touching windows on the screen. “Jeremie, Franz, I’m ready.”

 

“Okay, Aelita,” Jeremie said. “But before you start collaborating the multi-agent system, can you transfer some power to the Skid? William’s outmatched, and he may not do well.”

 

“Okay,” Aelita replied. She quickly pressed a window. Another interface appeared about a meter behind the one in front of Aelita, showing a model of the Skid and a progress bar quickly filling itself, showing the power transfer to the Skid.

 

“Thanks, Aelita,” Franz replied. “I’m sending the program over to you.”

 

A window opened on the interface. Aelita quickly moved it around the screen. “Program received,” she called, pressing other windows, “and collaboration activated. It should take about ten minutes.”

 

Suddenly a window with a red exclamation point appeared on the screen. Franz and Jeremie frowned, as Franz started typing. “Aelita, there’s an error. We need some data from a Replika to completely collaborate the multi-agent system to the Network.”

 

“Should I go and get it?” Aelita asked.

 

“No,” Franz said. “We need you there to oversee the collaboration. The collaboration can still continue without the data, but it won’t be complete until we install it. I’ll send William and Odd to get the data. Can you find the closest Replika to your position?”

 

Aelita quickly moved the windows to the side and opened up a new one. A map of the Network appeared. She quickly scanned the map and selected a small circle. “I’ve located it,” Aelita replied. “It’s a Replika of the Ice Sector not far from here. I’m sending its coordinates to you.”

 

“Thanks, Aelita,” Jeremie replied.

 

---

 

“Shield!”

 

In the room of Xana’s Core, Odd summoned his shield and blocked the shots from the Creepers firing at him. Close to him, Yumi blocked and acrobatically dodged shots with her fans.

 

“How’s it coming, guys?” called Jeremie.

 

“Great, actually,” Odd said, firing arrows. “Our guests are about as welcoming as an angry swarm of bees.”

 

“Odd and Yumi,” Franz said, “we need one of you to accompany William to a Replika. We need to collect some data to complete the multi-agent system.”

 

Odd glanced at Yumi. “Do you want to go?”

 

After a few moments, Yumi shook her head. “No. You can go. I’ll stay here.”

 

Odd shrugged. “Okay. Franz, Jeremie, I’m going.”

 

“Okay,” Jeremie said. “Head back to the Skidbladnir; you’re piloting.”

 

Odd turned and ran out of the room. Yumi made a short glance before resuming battling the Creepers.

 

Suddenly, a thick line of purplish black smoke rose into the room from the depths below. Yumi looked up, and gasped to see it reform into a figure.

 

The figure of the Xana-William summoned his sword, smirking. “Remember me?”

 

---

 

In a tower on the Ice Sector Replika, Odd pressed his hand to the interface. “Franz, Jeremie,” he called, “the data has been loaded.”

 

“Good,” Franz replied. “Get back into the Skidbladnir with William and get back to Xana’s Core. Aelita, Ulrich and Yumi still need your help.”

 

Suddenly, a hulking red figure appeared on the radar screen. Franz and Jeremie gasped. “The Kolossus!” shouted Jeremie.

 

Indeed, the lava-themed, golem-type monster was walking toward the Skidbladnir.

 

William looked up from his fight with a Tarantula and gasped. “Jeremie, Franz, what do we do? He can destroy the Skidbladnir in an instant!”

 

“We know,” Franz said, very worried. “I’ll embark you into the Skidbladnir right now. Try to pilot the Skidbladnir away from the Kolossus. Odd will join you.”

 

As Odd ran out of the tower, William disappeared in blue sparks. He reappeared at the controls of the Skid in the cockpit.

 

“Okay,” William said, gripping the joysticks. The Kolossus was only a few steps away. “Let’s go.” William pulled the joysticks backward.

 

Nothing happened.

 

William frowned. “Jeremie, Franz, what’s going on? The Skidbladnir isn’t moving!”

 

“I’ll check it out,” Franz said. A window opened, and his eyes widened. “Xana has bugged up the Skidbladnir! He put an implant into the Skidbladnir with the Scyphozoa yesterday when the Scyphozoa attacked the Skid! All the power levels are down, including the shield!”

 

“Is there anything we can do?” Odd called, running toward the Kolossus, firing arrows in vain.

 

“No,” gasped Jeremie. “It’s all over for the Skid.”

 

“NO!” shouted William, as the Kolossus drew back his mighty sword arm. It was too late.

 

The Kolossus swung at the Skid like it was a baseball. William grabbed the sides of the cockpit for support as the Skidbladnir was thrown backwards. It slid over the plateau, and stopped on the edge before tumbling into the Digital Sea.

 

“William!” shouted Odd.

 

The Skidbladnir erupted in a huge, smoke explosion as it burst apart upon reentering the Digital Sea.

 

“No!” shouted Odd.

 

“It’s okay, Odd,” Jeremie said. “We managed to bring him back in time.”

 

Odd sighed with relief.

 

Back on Earth, in the room below the lab in the Factory, a scanner opened up. William emerged out of the steam, coughing and laying against the inside of the scanner for support.

 

“William, are you okay?” Jeremie called.

 

“I’m fine,” William said, slowly regaining his balance. “I’ll be up in a minute.” He slowly walked over to the elevator and pushed the red button. The elevator door closed.

 

---

 

Aelita blocked another shot with a dual Energy Field block. Mantas flew around her and Ulrich, firing and trying to devirtualize them.

 

“Aelita, how’s it coming?” came Jeremie’s voice.

 

“With the data, the process is almost done,” replied Aelita, dodging another shot and firing another Energy Field. “Give it a few minutes or so.”

 

“I sure hope so,” Jeremie said, “because this is your only chance. There isn’t any turning back from here.”

 

Aelita and Ulrich stopped. “What do you mean?” asked Ulrich.

 

“Xana destroyed the Skidbladnir,” Franz said. Aelita and Ulrich gasped, but Franz continued. “William was in the cockpit at the time, but we were able to materialize him safely.”

 

Suddenly, a radar window opened. It showed the Core Chamber, all the way back on Lyoko.

 

Jeremie groaned. “Oh no, Xana’s attacking the Core of Lyoko! He’s trying to destroy your only way back to Earth!”


“What do we do?” Ulrich said, blocking shots with his dual sabers. “There’s not much we can do. We can’t spare anyone else. Yumi is still back by Xana’s Core, and Aelita and I have our hands full!”

 

“There’s Odd,” Aelita said. She turned to the sky. “Jeremie, Daddy, where’s Odd?”

 

“He’s still back on the Ice Replika,” Franz replied. “There’s not much he can do.”

 

“Except…” Aelita thought. “If I arrange a cross-Network transfer through a tower, I can help Odd get back to Lyoko to defend the Core. It was never possible from the supercomputer, but it’s possible from here.”

 

“Good idea, Aelita,” Jeremie said.

 

Aelita quickly accessed the interface again, pushing and moving windows. The laser shots still landed around her, while Ulrich defended the both of them.

 

After a few moments, Aelita turned back to the fight. “It’s done.”

 

“Jeremie…we still need backups,” Ulrich said. “I don’t think Yumi’s having a very good time right now.”

 

“She’s fighting William’s clone,” Franz said, glancing in dismay at the radar screen.

 

Aelita nodded to Ulrich. “Go back to help her. I’ll be fine here.”

 

“But-” Ulrich started. “Aelita, no offense, but you don’t stand a chance alone against all of these Mantas!”

 

“I have another idea in mind,” Aelita said, glancing up at the sky. “Jeremie, I think it’s about time you came to the Network.”

 

There was silence on the other end. Jeremie finally sputtered. “But Aelita-me?” he stuttered. “I can’t fight, and you know it!”

 

“We need all the help we can get at the moment,” Aelita pleaded. “Please, just come this once. This is our last battle, most definitely, and we need all the help we can get!”

 

Jeremie finally sighed. “Okay.”

 

Franz nodded to him. “I can arrange a direct transfer to the Network. Go on.”

 

With one last glance, Jeremie walked into the elevator. When he reached the scanner room, he stepped into a scanner and closed his eyes, sighing. “Franz, I’m ready.”

 

“Okay,” Franz said, typing. “Transfer, Jeremie.”

 

The scanner door closed, and the humming started. A bright green ring rose up Jeremie’s body.

 

“Scanner, Jeremie.”

 

On the screen of the supercomputer, a green framework of a body loaded up.

 

“Virtualization!”

 

Jeremie’s card blinked.

 

---

 

Odd jumped up onto the last step in the Core of Lyoko Chamber Room. “Franz, I’m here.”

 

“Good,” Franz replied. “Try to protect the Core for as long as you can. Everything is going well in the Center of the Network.”

 

“Okay,” Odd said. “Bombs away!”

 

Two of the Mantas firing at the Core sounded their bird calls and flew down to face off against Odd. The Creepers continued firing at the Core.

 

---

 

A blue figure ran into the room.

 

Aelita and Ulrich turned and gasped.

 

Jeremie wore a Lyoko outfit rather similar to his PE outfit on Earth. His collar and his wrists were a dark navy blue, while the rest of his outfit was a light, tainted baby blue. His shoes were white, and his black glasses, now in the third dimension, sat in their usual place.

 

Ulrich burst out laughing.

 

“Thanks for the welcome, Ulrich,” Jeremie said, rolling his eyes.

 

“I’ll go over to help Yumi,” Ulrich said, still wheezing a little and walking out of the room.

 

Aelita raised an eyebrow in amusement.

 

“If you have to ask, Aelita…” Jeremie said, blushing, “yes, this is what my Lyoko outfit is.”

 

After a few moments, Aelita shrugged. “I’ve seen worse,” she said. “I suppose.” She quickly went back to blocking shots.

 

Jeremie dodged a few of the shots fired at him. “Power ring!” he shouted. A blue ring, edged in a light magenta-purple, formed around his wrist. He quickly released it at the Manta. It fizzed blue before exploding.

 

“Nice one,” Aelita said, winking. Jeremie smiled.
Summaries of Chapters 17-21 and the Epilogue by 5CarthageRocks
Author's Notes:
Read the end notes to see why I decided to finish Rebellion and The End Trilogy off in this manner.

The only reason I'm doing this is because, frankly, I'm getting so sick of continuing something as horrible as this that I'm ready to do anything to finish it. I know that you guys deserve more, but unfortunately, this is the best I can give without going mad. >.<

 

Chapter 17- Demand

The Dark William devirtualizes Ulrich and Yumi, and takes some monsters to the Center of the Network Room to trap Aelita and Jeremie. Jeremie and Aelita are powerless against them. William makes a demand for Franz Hopper in exchange for not devirtualizing Jeremie and Aelita permanently. Franz agrees and virtualizes himself, much to Jeremie and Aelita's dismay.

 

Chapter 18- Defeat

Franz enters the room. XANA doesn’t keep his part of the bargain and attacks everyone. Aelita and Jeremie manage to continue fighting, but William and the Creepers remain. The Mantas destroy Franz. Just after Franz is destroyed, Aelita gets the chance and tearfully activates the multi-agent system. Xana is defeated, Franz is gone.

 

Chapter 19- Return to Earth

Everyone is materialized. A crying Aelita falls into Jeremie's arms, but...a scanner opens with Franz inside.

 

Chapter 20- Explanation

Franz explains that he created a “perfect clone” with the scanners, from his DNA itself, and virtualized himself to the Desert Sector instead. Franz also explains that Xana was able to corrupt his mind and give him false memories from all the Returns to the Past back before the group discovered the supercomputer, including the fact that Ulrich is not actually his son. A Return to the Past is activated in the end.

 

Chapter 21- The End

The Return to the Past ends up going back to October 9th, 2004, at the vending machines with Odd’s weird hair. Jeremie, Ulrich, Yumi and Odd rush back to the Factory to find Aelita and Franz emerge out of the scanners. They also discover that the return trip, instead of increasing the supercomputer’s power, actually almost terminated the rest of the supercomputer’s energy. This is “Xanas last attack”, to render the group almost powerless. They decide to shut down the supercomputer once and for all.

 

Epilogue

A year in the future, Yumi watches the new student, William, become friends with Sissi. The group finally discovers that Franz deleted William’s profile from the supercomputer before the Return, via secretly passed advice from Yumi, Aelita and Jeremie. Aelita was registered as a day student at Kadic, and stays at the Hermitage with Franz under the name Aelita Hopper. Franz goes back to Kadic to teach.

End Notes:

Well...

 

The End Trilogy is done.

31 Chapters + 1 Epilogue (5 Chapters and 1 Epilogue unwritten.) 

54,550 Words

8.16.07-3.09.08 (7 months)

 

The reason I decided to submit Chapters 17-21 and the Epilogue in this horrible summary form is...well, I'm sick of writing this. I'm sick of contributing to something that will never happen in the series. The mistake I made was making a series out of The Miracle. Aelita and Ulrich will never be siblings, and I was idiotic enough to portray them as that.

 

I'm not going into self-abuse mode; I'm perfectly fine and happy now that I've finished this.

 

Look for my upcoming works here on LyokoFreakers' Fiction. If you would like to stay updated with me as I start brainstorming for my new fanfic project, please take a moment to join The Carthage Spot .

 

Thank you to everyone who has supported me over these seven months I spent writing this. I know that you, all of my readers deserve much more than the lousy Chapters 17-21 I just posted, but unfortunately, this is as much as I can do without hating myself.

This story archived at http://codexana.net/lyokofreak/lff/viewstory.php?sid=303