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.