Chapter 8- Miracles (8.25.07- 8.26.07)
“So now that I have Franz’s profile,” Jeremie said, “I just need to materialize him directly from the Network. This is going to be very tricky.” Jeremie thought back to the discussions he and Aelita had had about virtualization and materialization directly from the Network. All of their theories had dead ends.Jeremie shook his head to clear his mind. “First of all, I’m going to have to destroy the Guardian.” He checked the algorithm again. “Since the algorithm is so simple, that shouldn’t be a problem. The real problem is that a split second later, I have to materialize Franz.”
“What’s so hard about that?” Odd joked. “You’re saying you can’t materialize someone when you’ve materialized other people hundreds of times?”
“Odd, you’re missing the point,” Jeremie said, rolling his eyes. “Aelita and I never found out how to virtualize you guys to the Network, or how to bring you back. Aelita, Ulrich, do you have any ideas?”
Suddenly, before Aelita or Ulrich could respond, the Network suddenly turned from red to blue. On Jeremie’s end, a radar window suddenly popped up. “Hang on, Aelita. You’ve got company!”
Aelita quickly grabbed the joysticks. “Where? I can’t see anything.”
“Aelita,” Jeremie said, panicking, “it’s Willi-”
Before Jeremie could finish, a stream of black smoke suddenly appeared. Aelita activated the engine, but it was too late. The smoke attached itself to Ulrich’s NavSkid. A split second later, the smoke vanished. Jeremie gasped. "Guys, William just captured Ulrich. Ulrich's gone."
In the Arena of Franz’s Replika, a wisp of black smoke appeared. It steadily grew larger until it was the size of a person. A boy tumbled out of the smoke.
Ulrich had known that XANA would have tried to stop him from helping Jeremie to materialize Franz, but at the time he was so focused on helping Jeremie that this capture was unexpected.
Behind Ulrich, the smoke reformed into a boy with a dark outfit and a navy blue XANA eye on his chest.
“How were you able to access here, XANA?” Ulrich asked, not turning around.
“You’re the one that had the access,” said William, speaking for his master, XANA. “After I captured you, I had complete access to this Replika. And you have something I want.” Five Creepers formed in a circle around them, and made sounds of agreement. They seemed like random sounds to Ulrich.
Ulrich turned slowly around. “What of it? You know that I’ll refuse to tell you.”
William’s eyes widened. Then he laughed. His laughter was pitched medium-high, as if he was drunk. “You think I need you to tell me, Ulrich Hopper? I have everything I need to move your father right here.”
Ulrich, confused, was about to retort, but then something appeared behind William from the corridor that led to the Core Zone. The pieces of the puzzle combined at last. He groaned. “Of course. How could I forget about the Scyphozoa?”
Meanwhile, in the factory, Jeremie was trying to track down Ulrich. He had searched the Forest Replika, the Network, and Lyoko. Suddenly, he had another idea. What if XANA took Ulrich to the Replika we just found? he thought. He started typing again vigorously.
“Jeremie, any news?” asked Yumi. Her voice was strained, and she was nervous. What was XANA doing to Ulrich?
“Uh…” Jeremie stuttered, waiting for the results of the search to come back. “Got it! He’s in the Arena of Franz’s Replika, with William and…” Jeremie readjusted his glasses, not sure if he was seeing things. “Oh no! The Scyphozoa!”
“XANA must want to move Franz so we won’t be able to find him,” Odd said in a hoarse voice. “We have to stop him!”
“Okay,” Aelita said. “Full speed ahead.”
“Wait, Aelita!” Jeremie exclaimed. “What if it’s a trap?”
Aelita was exasperated. “I don’t care if it’s a trap. What matters is that my father’s and brother’s lives are at-” Aelita broke off. “Oops,” she whispered.
For the fourth time that day, all Jeremie, Yumi, and Odd could do was to be flabbergasted. Jeremie nearly fell out of his chair.
Ulrich quickly drew his swords as the Scyphozoa neared him. “You’ll never win, XANA,” Ulrich said.
“On the contrary,” William said, wearing a smirk, “I already have.”
As Ulrich tried to slice the Scyphozoa’s tentacles, it disappeared as if it were a hologram. Ulrich stared. “What the-”
Suddenly, Ulrich was grabbed from behind. As his mind started to go blank, the last thing he heard was William laughing, saying, “You always were the gullible one.”
No, Odd always was, Ulrich replied silently, before his body became paralyzed.
A window appeared on Jeremie’s screen. “Oh no!” Jeremie exclaimed, speaking for the first time. “XANA’s stealing Ulrich’s memory! Aelita, please hurry!”
“We’re in the Replika,” Aelita said as the Skid emerged from the databank tunnel. As she piloted the Skid up to the platform, she reflected on how she had just let Ulrich’s secret slip. There had been complete silence after she let it slip. She wondered if everyone else would feel the way she had when she found out.
The Skid finally stopped in front of the platform. Aelita pressed a few buttons. “Teleport.” She, Odd, and Yumi appeared on the platform.
“It looks like you’ll have to go by foot to the Arena,” Jeremie said, his voice filled with anxiety, and his palms sweaty. “By then, Ulrich’s memory could be gone for good. It’s already halfway gone.”
“Super,” Odd said sarcastically. “Can’t you just program us out vehicles?”
Suddenly another window appeared on Jeremie’s screen. “Huh?” he said, puzzled and relieved. “Guys, it looks like you can take the Transporter in.” He typed in the letters S-C-I-P-I-O. The window immediately refocused to a sphere spinning inside a few circles as the Replika processed the password.
A white sphere with a XANA eye floated down toward Aelita, Yumi and Odd. The Transporter scooped them up, and took them into the Core Zone.
Ulrich was only wary of a few things as the Scyphozoa stole his memory: that he was Franz Hopper’s son, with Aelita as his twin; that he alone held the key to his father’s rematerialization; and that he should have told Aelita how to materialize their father so that she could have told the last bit to Jeremie. With a heavy heart, he knew that he had failed.
Slowly, his thoughts started to fade away like the rest of his memory.
William drew back as the Transporter whooshed out of the corridor. Aelita, Yumi, and Odd emerged to see five Creepers surrounding them, with Ulrich just ahead of them in the Scyphozoa’s tentacles, his memory being stolen. There was no sign of William.
“Go on, Aelita,” Odd said, turning to her. “We’ll cover you.” Odd glanced at Yumi, and she nodded, drawing her fans.
“Okay,” Aelita said. She quickly ran toward Ulrich as the Creepers closed in. Two Creepers slithered in front of her, blocking her path.
“Aelita, not to rush you or anything,” Jeremie’s voice called, “but Ulrich’s memory is almost all gone. Try to worry about the Creepers later.”
Aelita quickly waved her hand across the star bracelet on her wrist. Her wings appeared, and she rose up and over the Creepers to try to get to Ulrich. The Creepers quickly pursued her.
Behind her, Odd and Yumi were fighting the four other Creepers. Odd was firing at one of them, but it kept dodging his shots. Yumi was fighting two Creepers at once, dodging their shots and trying to throw her fans at them.
Suddenly, Odd’s Creeper turned away from him, charging its laser. It aimed at Aelita, who had almost gotten to Ulrich. Odd shouted, “Aelita, look out!” and jumped in front of the Creeper, blocking its shot. Odd was down.
Aelita turned when she heard Odd. “Odd, no!” she cried as she saw Odd disappear. But she had gotten distracted from her goal. The two Creepers below her fired at her. She dropped like a dead fly, and devirtualized before she hit the ground.
“Yumi, it’s up to you!” Jeremie cried. “Try to get to Ulrich!”
“I’m on it, Jeremie,” Yumi said as her fans whipped back to her, destroying the two Creepers she had been fighting in their path. She caught her fans, and started running toward Ulrich.
As she ran, she aimed her fans at the Scyphozoa and threw them. Just as they were about to hit it, two shots dislodged their path. Yumi jumped up and was about to catch them when she was hit by a stream of smoke. She landed hard, turned around and gasped.
William was walking straight toward her.
“Yumi just lost,” Jeremie informed Aelita and Odd, his voice low and dreary. “It’s over. XANA’s won. Ulrich’s memory has been wiped clean.”
“But XANA hasn’t beaten us,” Odd said, wide-eyed. “The four of us are still…” Odd broke off, seeing Jeremie’s point.
Aelita was holding back tears. “I’m not sure if I even want to fight anymore, with my father and brother gone,” she said quietly.
The Scyphozoa floated away from Ulrich. The three remaining Creepers vanished. Ulrich lay on the ground, his memory gone.
Suddenly, a white sphere engulfed Ulrich, floating in midair. And Ulrich began to remember.
--- Back in the factory, everyone turned as the door opened and Yumi walked in.
“I’m sorry,” Yumi said. She looked like she was about to cry, like Aelita.
“It’s okay,” Aelita said in a voice thick with sorrow. “It wasn’t your fault that…” Aelita burst into tears. Odd patted her on the back, tears coming from his eyes, too.
Suddenly, a beep came from Jeremie’s screen. Jeremie raised his head out of his hands. “Guys, look!”
Yumi was still crying, but she made an effort to look. Her tears slowly stopped flowing. She gasped for what seemed the millionth time that day.
Aelita and Odd looked up and stared. Ulrich’s memory counter was rising. A voice came from the computer. “Have you at least missed me?”
Yumi was relieved to hear Ulrich’s voice. “Of course we have, silly. Do you realize that this is the third time today you almost died?”
“Franz Hopper must have given your memory back,” Jeremie said with a glance at Aelita. “Just like how he did to Aelita.”
“Jeremie,” Ulrich asked, quickly changing the subject, “can you program me something so I can get the Skid back to the hangar? And so I can instruct you along the way on how to get my father-” Ulrich broke off. “Oops.”
“Don’t worry, they already know,” Aelita said. She glanced at the others. “I accidentally let it slip.”
“You mean it’s not a jo-” Odd began to ask.
Jeremie cut Odd off. “Later, Odd. Ulrich, since XANA has a copy of your memory, he’ll be able to transport Franz anywhere he likes. Can you finish telling me how to materialize Franz?”
Ulrich thought for a bit. “I can, but first deny XANA access to my father’s profile and Code: Earth. He needs them to organize the data from the Replika into my father’s profile.”
Jeremie quickly typed in a few codes. “Okay, but they’re temporary. Can you tell me how to finish materializing Franz Hopper?”