As a child, I watched Code Lyoko, relishing every minute of it. The show always made me excited, and I loved all the battle scenes, as well as the humor. I especially loved the characters. But soon, Season 5 came and went, and even though it was sorta good, I wasn't too happy with the ending. This series is my take on the Code Lyoko series. The Lyoko Warriors are on their last night at Kadic, only to find that they truly haven't defeated XANA, nor could they try to defeat him again. Thus a passing of the torch is issued, with a new set of characters and a semi-new storyline. But the plot remains the same. It was deactivated. It has rotted. It is the worst enemy of mankind. But now, 6 teens will fight to destroy it. Once and for all. This thread has a prologue consisting of 4 parts, and episodes will be uploaded on here KHV and my DeviantArt account. Prologue Spoiler: Part 1 Etrius Parilaz sighed unhappily as he looked out the window in the backseat of his father's car. He watched as trees flew by, and the sky, blue as it was. As beautiful as the day was, it didn't help Etrius's mood. If anything, it made it a little worse, causing his eyes narrow. Mrs. Parilaz looked in the rear view mirror, catching her son's experession, causing her to also frown in pity. She had forgotten how many times she'd seen that expression. But then came a thought of firmness, morphing the pity. She spoke. "Etrius," Her voice was soft, but loud enough to be heard. Etrius's eyes turned from the window to the rear view mirror. "I understand that you aren't happy about this. But neither are we. This was our only option aside from military school." "Then why don't you just ship me off already?" Etrius's tone came out snarky and hostile. He lowered his head, his glasses sliding off his nose a bit, glaring into the rear view mirror. "We both know how much Dad supports that." It was Mr. Parilaz's turn to glare to his rear view mirror. "Etrius..." Mrs. Parilaz quickly glanced at her husband, silencing him before speaking to Etrius. "We don't support it." She murmured, "It's just that this was the only school that would accept you based on your record. And besides, this will be in a better environment, where you can live more like an adult." "Poor choice, if you ask me." Etrius muttered, his eyes returning to the window. "Just an excuse to get rid of me, right?" Etrius's father spoke up at this. "That is not at all what she meant. Show a little respect." "I'm not being disrespectful," Etrius retorted. "I'm being realistic. My record's poor, so why're you both giving me more freedom?" He adjusted in his seat, so that his body was facing away from the window and more to the front seat. "Or better yet, why are you supporting me after so many failed attempts?" Both parents didn't spoke for 2 minutes. Then, Mrs. Parilaz began, "Because you need to see that we won't be supporting you forever. We don't want you to go to military school, but we also don't want you to be unsuccessful just by fighting. That's why this is your last, and your best chance at all." Etrius just blew through his cheeks as his gaze returned to the window, but it soon returned to the front when his mother turned in her seat to face him in the back. "I want you to promise me Etrius." She said. "I want you to promise me that you won't get into a fight. It won't be worth it." "But I thought you were the one that taught me to fight back for the things I believe in!" Etrius replied, giving her a look not at all angry, but more annoyed. "Besides my grades, I've been doing nothing but exactly that my entire life, and yet, the schools have to turn a blind eye and make it a deficit!" It was true. Etrius was a top-notch student, having extremely high marks. But his record was bad due to how many times he caused an incursion. But he never made that incursion without a good reason, whether it was to defend someone from a bully, or stopping trouble with trouble. Win or lose, Etrius had the best sense of right and wrong. "That's not how society works, honey." His mother said calmly. "We have to be in our best behavior, even if it means staying our hand in the face of something wrong. That's just how society works." "Society, my ass," Etrius growled through clenched teeth. "Society can never function like that, being as corrupt as it is. Even Abraham Lincoln knew that a slave cannot be a slave because he is exactly like everyone else. And I don't even need to calculate specifically, either." It was Mrs. Parilaz's turn to sigh. "I know. But we sometimes we can't change those things, be it right or wrong, because it's not in our power." She raised her son's lowered head by the chin. "If you have restraint, one day, you'll be able to change what is right and what is wrong. But you have to prove to everyone that you can." Etrius looked at his mother, and glanced to his father in th rear view mirror. He sighed, and nodded to his mother. "You have my word." That was enough for Mrs. Parilaz. She turned around, facing the front and Etrius turned his eyes back to the window, just when the scenery was changing to be a little more residential. They were almost there. "What's the name of this place again?" Etrius asked. "Kadic Junior Academy." Etrius's father responded. "As you already know, it's a boarding school, so you'll be living on campus. You're allowed to to visit us for the holidays at least." "Hmmm." Etrius mused. The black Toyota Sonota pulled up to what looked like a bit of a dirt drive. Two figures stood there, waiting as the car stopped in front. They appeared 30-40 years of age. Etrius's parents got out the car walking to the two figures, greeting each other. Etrius got out exactly a second later, trudging slowly to the group of adults. One of the figures was dressed cleanly, in a suit and tie. Principal. The other figure seemed to be dressed in a sweater and sweat pants. Etrius's best guess was a P. E. Teacher. "You must be Etrius." The man dressed in the suit asked the boy. "Pretty much." Etrius responded, then added sarcastically, "Unless they got my birth certificate wrong." The principal chuckled to the response. "Now that would be unfortunate." He said, holding out a hand for a handshake, in which Etrius took, "My name is Jorge Valdez, and I am the principal of this academy." He broke the handshake, then held a hand to the other male. "This man here is James. He is the caretaker of the boys dormitory and the P. E. Teacher of this academy." "How are you doing?" Asked James. Though he seemed a little chunky, he looked well-muscled. "Fine. A little exahausted." Etrius said honestly. "Well, you're in luck." James said, smirk on his face, "You came just as classes have ended, so you'll be able to unpack. We'll be taking your stuff to your room while Principal Jorge will give a tour. Etrius sniffed, nodding. He kept a neutral look as he followed the principal into the building, giving one last look to his parents, as Mr. Parilaz opens the trunk of the car as he, his wife, and James unpacked his son's stuff. ••• --- ••• It was a night of a full moon. Five students quietly crossed the campus of their-now silent academy as they made their way to the edge to the edge of the empty Commons Area. As they entered the outer rim of the woods that surrounded the academy, the moon's light flickered under the defensive canopy of sparsley-shaded trees. The students walked deeper within the woods before finally stopping at a manhole, hidden by a bit of grass. One of the teens, a blonde, semi-lanky boy with hair gelled in one spike running behind with a splat of purple on the front, crouched down and opened the manhole, pushing the lid off, and climbing down to the gaping black hole beneath. "Seems like ages since any of us went down here." Said another boy to his colleagues, one with messy black hair and a good body figure. "You here to document about it?" Asked another, a girl with clean, crew cut hair falling at her shoulders, and dressed in black. She wasn't muscular, but very tough-looking. She walked to the manhole, and began to climb down. "This isn't the time to chat about old memories like old people. I'd suggest you keep that in mind." "Didn't know you'd be this cranky," The messy haired boy replied. "What's with you?" "Look to your left." Said the teen to his right, another male, with straight brown hair. He was a lot more silent than usual. The boy with messy hair did exactly so. His eyes found the last member of the group. A blonde male, with glasses, and shorter than everyone else. He was looking at a photograph. It showed all of the five. But there was someone else in the photo. A girl, pink-haired, and smiling. The teen with messy hair sighed, before shuffling down the manhole. The inside of the the sewers were lit by a string of indacendant bulbs, their butter yellow light illuminating the tunnel. As the last two teens entered the tunnel, the group began to grab a skateboard, which were located at the base of the ladder leading out the way the group had came, and began to skate down the pathway they had taken many times before. After a while, they reached the other end of the tunnel, leaning their personal transportation on the wall near a new ladder leading toward their destination. The five teens climbed up the ladder, and opened the door of the hatch, opening to fresh air. The teens climbed out, facing to the factory they've kept secret for their entire lives at Kadic. It stood, tall and abandoned as it was, iconic. In this place they were gathered together for one cause, and one cause alone. The teen wearing glasses cleared his throat, and stepped forward facing the group, stirring them to attention. He spoke. "You're all probably wondering why I called you out here to the factory, even if we fought XANA before, and finally-" "We all know why we're here, Einstein," Interrupted the boy with the spiked hair. "You all want us to spend our last night at Kadic here." "Yes." Replied the boy with glasses said. "We all were brought here to this factory, and I think it's a good idea to be here for one last night." "Even though some of us nearly got either killed, got arrested by men in black or taken out by green ninjas, fell in the Digital Sea, or got possessed by our old, now long-gone friend XANA." Piped the spikey-haired boy again. "Ahhhhh, good times." "Watch it, Odd," Messy hair grunted, "Not all of us has a good memory as you, and last time I checked, none of them were good memories." "Anyway, we all were brought together by the supercomputer," Replied Glasses, "Why don't we all just stay here and hang out till the sun rises?" The rest of the group looked at one another, then all nodded to each. They entered the factory sliding down the rope they always came down, and entered the elevator they always used. As the elevator went down, the boy in glasses took one last look at the photograph. The elevator doors opened, and the teens walked into the room holding the supercomputer. The boy in glasses sat in the chair near the interface, and the rest gathered around. "I have to confess something." He said suddenly. "Is it that you're gonna-" "Shut it Odd." Said the boy in brown hair. "Now is not a good time." "Ok, fine. Go on, Jeremy." Jeremy readjusted the glasses on his nose before continuing. "What I was about to say is, we all made plenty of memories here, both good and bad. And, we saved the world countless times. For that, I'm glad to meet you all." He turned to the boy with brown hair, the silent one. "Ulrich Stern. You saved me from my robots when XANA changed their code to attack me. You were the first one that I told about the supercomputer. "Didn't I say that I'd only follow you in case you were attacked by a hair dryer next?" Ulrich replied with a small smirk. A rare gesture. Jeremy chuckled. "Yeah, you did." He turned to the boy with spiked hair next. "Odd Della Robbia. Our guy for comic relief." "One and only!" Odd chirped happily, standing on one leg. "We used your dog Kiwi to test the scanners of the supercomputer, but you got virtualized indirectly. You barely had any powers like the rest, but you fought and outsmarted XANA's monster countless times. Your jokes are never wasted." Jeremy finished. "Well thanks, Einstein. You were great too!" Jeremy turned to the girl in black next. "Yumi Ishiyama." Yumi's expression softened as she was announced next. "You learned our secret while following us to the sewers when XANA launched his first attack on the school. You helped out, even when your expression dictated otherwise." Yumi shifted her weight to one side, putting one hand on her hip, and tilting her head in mock flattery. "Are you calling me tough, Jeremy?" She asked. "I'm calling you strong, actually." All Yumi did was gave a satisfied "hmph", but still smiled all the same. Jeremy turned to the boy with messy hair. "William Dunbar." Unlike everyone else, William shifted uncomfortably. He wasn't ready to be announced. Jeremy took a breath before going on. He said, "You were XANA's slave, and not by choice. We fought you countless times. But even after we freed you, you were stubborn enough to want to fight him, for all the time he stole, keeping you trapped. For that, I think you're worth the mentioning." Odd patted William on the back, and even Ulrich nodded in approval. As everyone congratulated William, Jeremy sighed. There was one missing. Someone who was already long gone. He held his head with one arm, thinking about her, the one who he fought so hard to give her a life here on Earth. "Jeremy? You okay?" Jeremy looked up to see Yumi, looking down on him with an expression of pity. He shook his head slowly. Yumi put a hand on his shoulder. "Aelita wouldn't have want you to be like this, would she?" She said in a sympathetic voice. "There was nothing we could've done to prevent her leaving. Tyrone is her step-father. Besides didn't we want to reunite her with her mother?" Jeremy only said sullenly, "I know we still talk, but it isn't the same. She should be here, with us." "Where could she have gone, Jeremy?" Yumi asked. "After she finished her time here?" "She could've lived with me and my parents. We would-" Yumi's brow creased, but only slightly. "Jeremy, listen to yourself!" She replied. "Use your head! Even if she could've lived with you, she had no parents besides her mother, and even then, her being at Kadic could've raised questions. It's even a wonder that Principal Delmas didn't give her a scolding for lying to him." Jeremy looks up at Yumi, and only shook his head. Yumi suddenly lowered, wrapping her arms around him. "I understand how you feel," She said quietly. "But she has a life now, so she can grow up. We all know that she stayed in the Supercomputer for too long, and she needs to make up that time." She broke the embrace, now with a smile. "We won. That's what matters." She said. "XANA lost the moment Tyrone reactivated his supercomputer. We can move on now as well." At this, Jeremy suddenly looked uncomfortable. As soon Yumi saw this, she raised a questioning eyebrow, frowning. "Jeremy, what's the issue?" Suddenly there was a loud noise that got everyone's attention. It came from the hatch near the scanner room. Odd, Ulrich and William all took a stance at the hatch, ready for a fight. "Show yourself, fiend!" Odd shouted, pulling what seemed to be an awkward kung-fu stance. A blonde head with curls reaching her shoulders peeped out. "Calm down, Della Robbia, it's just me!" Jeremy instantly breathed a sigh of relief. "Laura Gauthier." "Einstein, what's she doing here?" Ulrich asked as Laura climbed out. She held a laptop under her arm. "Helping Jeremy out with the supercomputer." She responded. When she saw the look of confusion on everyone's face but Jeremy's, she asked him, "You never told them?" Everyone looked to Jeremy, who closed his eyes and rubbed his temples. He finally began after two minutes. "We have defeated XANA. That much is true. But not in the way we expected." "What do you mean?" Ulrich asked. Jeremy eyed him. "He left a contingency plan." "Contingency?" Odd asked, more confused, but his expression changed to a little horrified. "Wait, do you mean he injected all of us with more source codes?" XANA had pulled this kind of trick before. Jeremy had created a multi-agent program to destroy XANA, but XANA was smart enough to inject a part of the group with source codes, to prevent full destruction. "Something like that," Jeremy said, "The conditions are very different. And slightly more complex." He nodded to Laura, who opened the laptop, and showed it to the group. There showed 5 avatars on screen. But they all had a red overlay, pulsing. The Lyoko warriors looked at one another. "XANA didn't inject you all with source codes directly," Laura explained, "But into your Lyoko Avatars." "The moment you enter those scanners, XANA will be able to siphon those source codes, not only getting stronger, but making you weaker the moment you enter Lyoko." Jeremy went on. "Which means we can't enter Lyoko without making XANA stronger." Yumi said, with a growing worried expression. "We can't even fight him when he activates a tower while risking giving him what he wants." "XANA, that cheater!" Odd said, angered and childish. "Sorry to rain on your parade," Ulrich said to him with a grimace. "If there is one thing I learned about him on Lyoko, he never plays fair." "I know! That's what ticks me off! Now I can't use my Laser Arrows to fight off his ugly monsters!" "Looking on the bright side though," William put in, "Doesn't that give us a slight advantage? I mean, XANA wouldn't be able to get the codes without us entering, so he wouldn't be very strong, and with Aelita gone, that's one set of source codes missing. Plus there are only two of us here who haven't entered Lyoko." He meant Jeremy and Laura. They always were behind the wheel of the computer. Jeremy shook his head again. "I entered the computer twice. Once to talk to Aelita, and the second to get you out of the ghost channel that XANA had set up. I'm integrated into the system just as much as you all are." "And Laura?" Asked Odd. "Somehow, she also has source codes just by being added to the whitelist of the Return to the Past system." Jeremy said, his voice sounding grave. The Return to the Past system was used mostly all the time every time Jeremy and his team deactivated XANA's towers, but began to become cautious that it also made XANA stronger. "So we're all infected." Odd said, greatly disappointed. "Isn't that just a ray of sunshine." "It doesn't stop there." Odd's eyes nearly popped out of there head when Laura said this. Jeremy stood from his chair before continuing "Since we'll be going to different schools, we have no way of fighting XANA, as they'll all be far from Kadic. And XANA is tied to this supercomputer, like a shackle. If the supercomputer loses power this time, XANA won't shut off this time, but he'll be free to go about the Internet, and cause trouble without having to activate a tower. And according to Laura, that's not gonna be very long. Everyone but Laura and Jeremy either gasped in horror or yelled in outrage. This was not the victory they wanted. "How are we supposed fight XANA now?" Odd moaned miserably. "He's the one holding all the cards. We can't so much as make a dent on him without springing a trap." "There is a way." Said Laura suddenly. Everyone rounded on her almost immediately. "How?" They all asked in unison. Laura closed the laptop, putting it to sleep, leaned it against the wall, playing with one of her curls. "From a logical standpoint, none of us can enter Lyoko without XANA winning back a bit of his strength. But other people can." "You're not serious." William suddenly said. "That's nuts." "It isn't." Laura retorted. "We just let someone else use the supercomputer." The room grew tense. Everyone else was speechless. "But-" Odd finally began, "But wouldn't any normal person report something like this to the authorities?" "Not unless they knew the stakes." Laura replied, "They would have Jeremy and Franz Hopper's diary for reference." "But Laura, this isn't anyone else's fight but ours." Yumi said. "We have no right to give something like this to anyone." Laura grew annoyed. "Don't any of you see?" She said, "This is no longer our fight. XANA put us in the worst possible position. We have no other choice but to pass the torch to someone else!" Everyone shifted silently. There was nothing they could do but ponder this. "I say we should do it." The last thing anyone expected was for Jeremy to agree to this. "Einstein, you aren't serious!" Ulrich said, dismayed. "Odd and Laura both make serious points." Jeremy said calmly. "XANA is holding all the cards, and we have to let someone else operate this thing." "Doesn't Aelita have the right to know about this?" William asked. Jeremy stiffened at this. He relaxed. "No." "But Einstein-" "NO ODD!" Jeremy yelled, causing everyon to flinch. Jeremy rarely causes an outburst. Silence again. Then, "I'll record my last entry of the diary then upload it to the supercomputer. I just hope someone knows how to work out all of this." With that, Jeremy and Laura nodded to each other and went to the elevator to turn on the computer. The rest of the group sat around the room, still tense in silence from the revelation, hoping something good would come from this. Because in their hearts, if help didn't come, they knew that everything they done would not compare to what would happen if XANA truly won. Spoiler: Part 2 Scanning the partially filled Common Grounds, Etrius looks from his schedule sheet to the campus, looking at the students. He liked to do recon every time he went somewhere new. He just hoped it went smoothly. He checked his schedule paper again for a recap. He had Math III, English II, Civics and Economics, and French I. He had a lunch break at 2nd period, as do the other Sophomores, and classes end at 4:15 on the dot, allowing students to either roam around campus or do extracurriculars or clubs. He was forbidden to be out of class at anytime before 4:15 unless consent is given or if it's an emergency, and though he wouldn't skulk around the girls dormitories, he was not allowed there during the lights out. Not that it truly mattered to him though. He could go anywhere he pleased. The one thing that could get him suspended was walking off campus, which was strictly forbidden anytime. As he went over the rules in his head, leaning on the wall, just out the side of the building, a group of three students, consisting of a girl and two boys were approaching out of the corner of Etrius's eye. He boredly looked up from his schedule sheet. Great. The welcoming committee. The girl had blond hair, hazel eyes, and sported an orange top and a skirt down just slightly higher above her knees. She had a satisfied look that Etrius could know too well. A look of a queen bee. Now where exactly did he put that insect spray again? "Word around campus is saying that the new kid just arrived." She said to him when they were a foot away. "And I don't think I've seen you before." The last bit wasn't a question. "And I'm guessing your the one who gets all the info." Etrius responded. "And your name would be...?" The girl let out a bubbly giggle that made Etrius's inside grind annoyingly. He hated attracting the wrong crowd. He thought he caught one of the boys glaring at him as he conversed with the queen bee, a boy slightly shorter than Etrius, with round-rimmed glasses, a pizza face, and brown-gelled hair, and dressed casually, but sharply. He adjusted his glasses huffily. "My name is Vanessa." The girl replies, batting her eyelids like a schoolgirl. "Vanessa Reaves." She pointed a thumb to the two cronies standing at either side of her. To the one in the glasses, "This nerd here is Zedd Rebeacuss, the smartest boy in the school," She pointed to the other guy, "This is Malcom Torvick." Malcom, a black kid dressed in a red hoody, didn't say a thing. He just cracked his knuckles. Classic. Etrius just stared at her, eyes half-closed in boredom. "Duly noted. But knowing your type, I can tell that you want something." He said cooly. Vanessa drew back looking surprised, but not hurt. "No no. Why would I want something from a new student?" She asked. "What are we intimidators?" Etrius' eyes shifted back to Malcom. Please, he thought, can you be any less stupid? Vanessa went on. "I just wanted to talk you, see what's your deal." The last part made Etrius turn his eyes back to the queen bee. If anything, he could picture her, her words dripping like honey, right out her mouth. Then, Etrius's eyebrows raised. He burst out laughing, drawing confused looks on Vanessa and her stooges. When he finally caught his breath, his look changed from one of amusement to one of glaring annoyance, further expanding the confusion. Etrius spoke, and there was a fierce edge to his voice. "Don't ever look or talk to me again. Stupidity is contagious." If Etrius had recorded this moment, he would continually rewind to the part where Vanessa's mouth drop like a cartoon character in surprise and disbelief. The two grunts at her sides also looked surprised and angered by this comment. Etrius tilted his head to both of them, saying "And just by looking at the two idiots at your sides, I'd say it's a long time since you escaped quarantine." A satisfied smirk drew slowly across his face. Zedd let out an audible nasal growl, holding a pale, lanky, shaking fist. Malcom hunched over menacingly, taking one half-step toward Etrius. Etrius, sensing a confrontation, turned his foot, balancing out, and ready for any attack to be thrown at- "Hey!" All four students turned to look behind Etrius. Two more students walked quickly, crossing towards them from 4 feet away. Zedd and Malcom both drew back, signs of a fight vanishing. "Ew." Vanessa said, drawing a look of disgust. "Nerd herd alert." She about-faced, saying to her cohorts, "Let's go boys." As the 2 new students approached Etrius, Vanessa's group left, walking away in a huff. Vanessa gave one last scoffing look at Etrius, before she caught up with her servants, nose in the air. "Wench." Said the first that approached, a boy. He looked a bit chubby, but was stoic-looking, slightly shorter in size than Malcom. He wore glasses similar in appearance to Etrius, but slightly larger in size. His hairline was straight, but shot upward at the front. He wore a faded maroon sweater which opened to reveal a navy shirt covering his small pot belly. He had glass blue eyes, and a tough-mug that was shaped into a look of annoyance and disappointment. His companion, a girl, was also a sight to see. She had dirty blonde hair wrapped in a ponytail, and sported grayish-green eyes, in a narrowing of blond eyebrows. She wore gray sweats. She had a lean figure, but Etrius got the impression that she was tougher than she let off. The dude broke his gaze from the retreating be squad, looking over Etrius. "You good man?" He asked. His voice sounded concerned now. "Yeah," came Etrius's reply, tart, "I was fine even without you coming here." "Hey, that's not fair." The girl started, but the guy held up a hand, telling her to wait. He turned back to Etrius, saying, "I don't think any kid at this school has ever said that to Vanessa. Especially on their first day." It wasn't criticism. It was a compliment. Etrius looked at the two, finally giving his full undivided attention. "Thanks." Was the only response he gave, before looking back over the campus again. "All things considered though," the girl said, "She's bound to try to make your life miserable, now that you insulted her. She tends to do that to everyone here at Kadic." The girl tilted her head to one side at Etrius, "I'm surprised that she actually was interested in you." "Well you aren't the first." Etrius returned. "Name's Fred." The chubby boy said holding out a hand. "Fred Stevens." "Cheryl Beverlus." Said the blond. Etrius let out a "tch". Will the introductions never cease? He hated introductions during recon. He folded his schedule paper, shoving it in his pocket, and turned on his heel, walking to the dorms. He left Fred hanging, who dropped his hand. "Where are you going?" Cheryl called out, "You aren't just gonna leave us hanging here, are you?" Etrius stopped for a second, turning back with the same half-eyelid look. "As a matter of fact, I am." He turned back around, just as he heard Fred say, "That sweater looks good on you!" Etrius raised an eyebrow to himself. How charming. He called out in response. "Keep to your pies and candy, tubby! Flattery will get you nowhere." He walked off, leaving Cheryl and Fred in the same spot Etrius once occupied. "I can't believe it." Cheryl said. "At last we find someone able to stand up to Vanessa besides us two, and he just blows us off as easily as he did to her!" She let out an exasperated sigh. "I think that went well." Fred replied, looking to her optimistically, "At least we know who to talk to if we need insults." "But we don't even know his name!" Fred just patted Cheryl on the shoulder, like a grandfather patting a disgruntled grandchild, only replying, "He'll come to us. Even loners need friends. As if boarding school isn't hard enough. Just give him time." ••• --- ••• Etrius lay on his bed, looking at his iPhone. He had just finished unpacking, and was taking a rest. It had been a long day for him at Kadic, and he was more than likely to call it a day. He still felt like there was something missing, though. He just couldn't tell what. He sat up, pressing the sleep button on his phone and picked up a large stack of papers. It was the school newspaper. He gave it a look-over. Though it was very descriptive, Etrius didn't even know why he even bothered to look over this crap, because there is nothing funny about freedom of the press. Too many juicy articles. He gave an exasperated sigh, ready to put the newspaper down when one article caught his eye. "Robot Building Competition", it read. Robots huh? He could definitely program one. But to have a robot, he would need parts. Where oh where...... Etrius put down the paper on his bed, and went to his dresser, opening it to reveal a mirror. He looked at his reflection, smoothing his semi-short, black hair, and readjusted his glasses that he peered through with his dark brown eyes. He wore a red t-shirt, outlined in black stripes, and wore navy blue jeans. He was scrawny in terms of appearance, barely weighing over 125 pounds at the age of 16. He blew through his nose and closed the door to his dresser and picked up his dorm keys from his nightstand. He put on his shoes, and opened his door. He walked out to the empty dorm hall, locking the door to his room behind him, and began to take a slow walk. He descended down a small flight of stairs, and walked out the door of the boys dormitory into the open air. Though there was a setting sun out, there were a couple of students out chatting. As Etrius walked past them, however, their conversation made him freeze mid-step. "...And I kept telling her, 'there is no way your leg injury is caused by you visiting that old factory'." A boy was saying. "There is no such thing as curses. Everyone knows that." "Wait," Another student said, a girl. "Was she talking about that old factory that divides the Kadic district from the city, the creepy one that's been abandoned for years?" "Yeah," the boy replied. "They say the city meant to tear it down, but they don't know who owns the place. Guess they forgot after trying to figure out who." "And your friend said she visited this place?" Another boy asked "On a dare." The first boy replied. "She'll probably never do it again. Said the place was creepy and rotting." A factory, huh? Etrius thought, that sounds like a good place to start. He turned and jogged back to his room. As he entered, he went over to his laptop, booting it. If there was one good thing Etrius enjoyed, it was programming. At age 14, he had mastered 4 programming languages and was able to hack into some moderate security-restricted areas undetected. He was still working on the high security part. The school had a basic firewall that prevented students from going to sites they shouldn't be on or for more mature users, but Etrius was able to bypass it no problem. He checked a couple of maps in the Kadic district and the city nearby, as well as the school's layout, and found something interesting. Not far from his dormitory in particular, there seemed to be a sewage system that gave a bit of a shortcut from the school to the factory he had heard about earlier. Not the best way of travel, but definitely quick to do some recon of the place and get back before supper or anyone finding out. When Etrius was satisfied with the information he gained, he patched up the hole in the school's firewall, shut off his laptop, and placed it in a backpack. As he slung the bag over his back, he looked out his window. Stars were already beginning to show up in the darkening sky. He left his dorm room, and walked out the dormitory. Making sure no one was watching, Etrius stepped out to the woods. "Are you that liable to break rules?" Etrius froze, half whipping around. Fred and Cheryl were standing on a nearby wall, Fred with a smug look on his face and Cheryl attentively looking around, possibly keeping watch. Etrius let out an audible hiss of annoyance. "What are you, here to gloat?" "No," Fred replied. "Just here to help." "Didn't I tell you to keep to yourselves?" "I tried to tell him." Cheryl said, not looking to them. "He just doesn't listen. He never seems to." Etrius's eyebrows creased lower, and he shifted his weight to one side. "Woman, I don't need to know of your issues. Now, if you don't mind, I got stuff to do and places to see." With that, Etrius turned around and began to walk, but 5 steps after he began walking, he heard another set of steps following him. "I dislike being followed. " Etrius said, not looking behind him. "I'm not following you." Came Fred's reply, "I'm just going where you're going." By now, Etrius' patience had run out. He decided it best to ignore the duo, and continued walking into the woods. Fred and Cheryl continued to tail him as he walked. Though he was afraid the two might rat him out, Etrius also had a strange feeling that they just wanted to be get to know him, and chances were that they wouldn't say a thing, based on Cheryl's guard-like behavior. He sighed. Maybe he could be a bit nicer. Etrius then began to focus on his original plan. According to the maps he'd gotten, there was supposed to be a manhole nearby that led to the passageway. After he and the duo tailing him walked for a bit, they came across a small expanse of grass guarded by a small ring of trees. A rusty manhole, almost hard to miss, lay in the grass. "There you are." Etrius said aloud, bending down, and began to pull. "A manhole?" Fred asking, he and Cheryl appearing behind Etrius. "I didn't know this was here. Cheryl, did Luna know about this?" Cheryl shook her head. Fred bent down to help Etrius, pulling the lid off like it was a lid from a garbage can, moving it to the side. "Whoa," Etrius said, panting a little. "Not bad at all." "Fred and I have cardio curriculars." Cheryl said, "I take sports, and Fred lifts weights a little." "Huh." Etrius said thoughtfully. He looked back at the manhole. A black hole stared back. "There doesn't seem to be a lot of light-" Fred began. Etrius jumped in. "HEY!" Fred yelled, surprised. There was a 'ungh!' noise and a rustling of a bag and clothing. After a second or two, "You guys coming in or what? It's not deep, and there's a ladder here." Fred and Cheryl exchanged glances of relief, then they grabbed the ledges that felt like ladder bars. As they entered, they were met with little light. "Hang on a sec." Came Etrius voice to their right. A bright light appeared from Etrius's phone as he shined it around the tunnel. The light shined on a couple of lightbulbs on the wall, but they seemed to have been cut of their power. "Too spooky for me." Fred said, a little lightly. Etrius shined a light on him, and swore he saw a slight shiver. Cheryl however was fine. “I guess that if these lights are out in here, it probably means these tunnels were used once.” She said, looking at Etrius through the dark, “But for what exactly?” “Maybe we should find out.” Etrius said, pointing his light down what looked like a path. He looked back to the two behind him. “Stay close.” The three began walk through the dark, following the path brightened by Etrius’s light. The seemed to walk for about 10 minutes. The passed a small gap, that Fred revealed it to be filled with water, in which Etrius came to the conclusion that they must have entered a main sewer line at some point, but there weren’t any other areas leading to more passageways. It seemed to be one straight line. Eventually, Etrius, who was leading, stopped at another ladder, and a wall just past it. “Looks like end of the road.” Etrius said, shifting his weight to one of his legs. He looked over to the ladder. “Guess we go up?” “Sure, as long as we get outta here.” Fred said, already at the foot of the ladder. “This place is giving the creeps.” Cheryl brushed past Fred, saying, “Scared, Fred?” as she climbed up, forcing a hatch at the top, and climbing through. Etrius followed, giving Fred a slight glance. Fred stood in the dark for a couple of seconds, then looked behind his shoulder, checking to see if anyone (or anything) followed them before climbing up the ladder. He stood up when he got to the surface, dusting himself off, in time to see Cheryl and Etrius looking upward. He followed their gaze. There, not more than 30 feet away, stood the old abandoned factory. It looked like the place hasn’t been operated in years. vines and moss seemed to be growing out the sides, and there also seemed to be a couple of cracks here and there. “The old factory?” Cheryl asked, looking to Etrius, whom nodded, and began walking towards to the entrance. He stopped abruptly at what looked like an unfinished set of stairs. As Cheryl and Fred came to see what had made Etrius stop, Etrius had located a set of ropes about 3 feet away from the edge of the stairs. “Well, end of the road,” Fred inquired. “Again. Time to head back.” “Not quite.” Etrius said, and began to take a couple of steps back. As Fred was about to ask why, Etrius blew right past him, leaping off the ledge, and grabbed on to one of the ropes. “Are you crazy?” Fred yelled, as Etrius slid down the ropes. “Relax, Fred.” Cheryl replied to him. “I doubt Etrius would do something without thinking it through first.” She too leaped off the ledge and grappled the ropes, sliding down to Etrius’s level. Fred thought, then shrugged, leaping on to the ropes as well, but almost fell sliding down. The 3 looked around some more. The factory looked even more decrepit on the inside. Etrius and the duo even swore they heard a low moan of metal somewhere within. "Where exactly did you learn to be able to take risks like jumping off a ledge to get onto ropes?" Cheryl asked Etrius to get everyone off the edge of freaking out. "I used to do Parkour a little in case some bullies wanted to get the jump on me." Etrius responded, "Then I learned to combine that with ordinary street fighting." “Ehhh, can we go home now?” Fred asked. Etrius shook his head. “Not until we find some robotic parts.” He replied. “You’re doing the robotics competition,” Cheryl started. “And you came here of all places to find parts? Couldn’t you ask you parents to get parts?” “No.” Etrius replied. “I wish.” He turned back to the two. “Since you guys followed me here, do you think you can help me find some parts?” “What would we need to look for?” Fred asked. Etrius rummaged through his bag, and pulled out a walkie-talkie, and tossed it to Cheryl, saying, “Anything that could be used to build a robot. I didn’t come here to leave empty-handed, so if you guys find anything that so much as resembles a mechanical joint or a motor, radio me through that walkie.” “Ok, so that means we scour the entire factory?” “Exactly.” Etrius confirmed, “So be careful, and try not to get lost in here.” “Too right,” Cheryl put in, “This place is big enough to be a mansion. Do you have a spare flashlight?” Etrius nodded, and rummaged some more, pulling out a heavy-duty flashlight, and handed it to her. He then turned and walked to one direction, and stopped before taking 3 steps. There was a large elevator behind him that he and the other 2 did not notice. “On second thought, I’m going to take a crack at this elevator.” Etrius said, a smirk drawing over his face. “But I thought you said that you were going to find some robot parts?” Cheryl replied. “I said that I would not leave here empty-handed, but I never said when I had to leave here.” Came the response. Cheryl turned to Fred for support, who only shrugged. They then turned their own way, and went inward, deeper into the factory. Etrius approached the old elevator, his footsteps making echoes throughout the factory. As he stepped inside the elevator, it let out a mechanical creak, as Etrius began to inspect it. It was just as old as the factory, the metal slightly rusting here and there. There was also an old console with 2 buttons, it's faded red colors matching the color pallette of the entire place. Etrius pressed the bottom button and waited. Nothing happened. Etrius shifted his weight to one foot impatiently, then rummaged through his bag, pulling out a long cord with two ends, and took out his phone, connecting it to one end of the cord. He fingered around the casing of the button console, finding a small opening, which Etrius pulled out with his hand. The button console came off like a lid from Tupperware, revealing a large mesh of tangled wired. Some were frayed at the ends. There was also a keypad and a couple of outlets behind the mess of wires. Etrius smirked, and rummaged through his bag some more, pulling out a matching plug to one of the outlets, jamming it in there, and connecting the phone cord to the plug. Etrius then tapped on his phone, looking through the strings of numbers and digits. From Etrius's best guess, the elevator only functioned when a correct 4-digit password was input, and the only way to find that all out was to tap into the mainframe of the console. Whoever owned the place must've wanted good security. But for what exactly? Etrius's curiosity only grew when the screen on his phone gave him the code he needed. Etrius input the code, wondering if the elevator would even work at all, considering how old it was. He heard a slight rumbling above him, and the elevator door slid slowly and creakily closed. He smiled in satisfaction, unplugged the cord and plug, placing it back in his bag, and replacing the console lid, pressing the bottom button. There was a slight lurch, and the elevator began to rumble downward, down into whatever secrets this old place had to hide. •••---••• As the elevator stopped on the final floor of the factory and opened its doors, Laura and Jeremy stepped out into the darkened room of the Supercalculator. They walked over to a large keyboard overlooking a large, circular hatch. Jeremy took a large shuddering breath, and breathed back out, his breath a small, visible fog. The room used to be warm from the energy generated, but now, the room was just as comparable as a meat locker. "They seemed to take it well." Laura said quietly. She was eyeing Jeremy oddly, as he keyed some of the code into the console. Jeremy looked back to her at this. "Well, you would act the same if the very same AI that you've been fighting for a short part of your life has a large chance to dominate the world." Laura shifted her weight to one side at this response, and took a couple of steps closer, saying, "Jeremy, I understand that XANA's bad and all, and I've seen what he's capable of, but wouldn't it be a bit much to say--" "That he's tried to kill us all one too many times?" Jeremy's voice became harsh as he gave Laura his full attention through a rare and angry glare. Jeremy was one of the youngest of the entire group. He had grown a couple of inches, and was even developing a bit of peach fuzz, but he had never looked so tough to be intimidating. But now, he looked like he'd been fighting nearly every lowlife at Kadic. "Maybe it could be that you've never been on Lyoko before or that you've never been on the inches of your own life, Laura," Jeremy growled to a now-widening eye Laura, "But I nearly lost my friends to XANA's clutches more than I can recount, William especially. And yet, you still have the nerve to say that it won't have the ability to kill?" Laura took a slight step back, raising both hands. "But don't all AIs have safeguards? Maybe if we searched more--" "Programming has nothing to do with this." Jeremy interrupted, snarling, causing Laura to flinch. "I have fought alongside everyone of my friends as best I could, doing my best to be the responsible one, taking all the raps and repercussions, that....that stupid AI put us through. XANA will stop at nothing to obliterate us. Even Aelita nearly died almost too many times!" He was practically yelling now. Laura lowered her head, afraid Jeremy would yell at her more. Instead, he turned back to the console, his voice lowering again. "Letting XANA live is an insult to Aelita's new life. Letting him win would be even worse. She lived inside of the Supercomputer for too long. If it wins, I won't ever forgive myself. And this isn't just for her, either." Laura held one closed hand to her chest, mulling the thought over. Jeremy had been something of both a rival and a slight crush to her at a time. But Aelita was first, matching Jeremy in nearly every way. Laura had nothing on her. Laura couldn't even measure up to the rest of Jeremy's friends. If anything, she was worse than William, thinking that knowledge was her best ally, but having no one to confide to. In the end, she was cold as the room of the Supercalculator. She had never understood the stakes. When Laura looked back up to Jeremy, he was looking back to her again, expression a little softer. "I don't just want XANA destroyed, I want him gone, and anyone who knows what I'm going through would want the same." Laura nodded, and moved up to help him out. She tapped in a small line of code, and pressed the activation button. There was a low hum, and the room began to get slightly warm. The circular hatch opened up, and a large mechanical device arose from below, bigger than Jeremy and Laura. Two large plates from within closed around the device, and a silver light winked on. The Supercalculator was now activated, and Lyoko was powered on once again. Jeremy took one last look at the very machine he had powered on so many years ago, bringing together his friends and unleashing his worst enemy, and as he and Laura walked back to the elevator, he hoped that whoever was the next to find this machine would not make the same mistakes as he did, and end this once and for all. Spoiler: Part 3 Coming Soon!