Book 3: The Return of the Phoenix
|While the young heroes and Richard meet up for debriefing, they decide to go explore the final part of the Mirror, the one Aelita hadn't yet been to. They are unaware that XANA, divided into two parts, is controlling both Odd and Eva Skinner.|
At the same time, Grigory Nictapolus tells his employer Hannibal Mago, the boss of the Green Phoenix terrorist organisation, that he was localised Hopper's Supercomputer in the old factory. Without further hesitation, Hannibal Mago flies to Paris with his entire army and personal secretary: Memory, a mysterious woman with red hair.
As soon as they land, Hannibal and his troops take control of the factory, turning the Supercomputer back on and begin work on their evil schemes. The men in black, government agents ordered by Dido to surveille Mago, are neutralised by Nictapolus.
The heroes enter the Mirror. Odd (under XANA's control) and Yumi are virtualised into the virtual world that contains Hopper's memories. Unfortunately, the rest of the heroes are unable to follow them: Ulrich's father, Walter, who turns out to have once been an agent for the men in black but had his memory wiped, was called back into action by Dido. He cuts the power to the Hermitage, rendering the scanner in the secret room unusable and blocking access to the virtual world. His task complete, he is stunned to run into Jeremy, Aelita, Ulrich, Eva and Richard.
The group of heroes split in two, discoveries are made in both worlds. The group still on Earth, led by Jeremy, interrogates Ulrich's father. They then decide to go confront professor Hertz, whose secret identity they had uncovered. On their end, Odd and Yumi visit the final level of the Mirror and make their own discoveries.
It is also revealed that Hopper, helped by his collaborators, had reconstructed the Supercomputer in the old factory. Among said collaborators were Hertz, and the parents of Odd, Yumi, Jeremy and Ulrich. However, Walter, Ulrich's father, betrayed them by selling them out to the government. Deciding to erase all trace of their activities, Hertz used a memory-snatching machine on Walter so he would forget where the factory was located. Then, she also erased the memories of the Ishiyamas, Robert Della Robbia and Michel Belpois.
The heroes also learn that the Supercomputer in the factory generates the three virtual worlds: Lyoko; the First City, which Ulrich and Yumi had discovered in Brussels; and the Mirror, accessible via the Hermitage. In reality, Lyoko is a firewall put in place to isolate the First City and the deadly weapon it contains: the Castle. A program that allows a user to virtualise anything from the virtual world.
Hertz finally accepts to help. To repair the scanner in the Hermitage, damaged by Walter, she calls the heroes' parents and returns their memories with the memory-snatching machine. Walter repents and also decides to make up for his past act of treason.
Hertz and Jeremy finally get in contact with Dido to propose an alliance against the Green Phoenix. Dido, wanting more than anything to stop Mago from using the Supercomputer's Castle as a weapon, accepts.
In the Mirror, things get tough. Through Odd, XANA discovers Hopper's past. He then discovers the things he had long forgotten: originally, he had been a friendly artificial intelligence whose role it was to stop anyone from using the Castle in the First City for evil means. Back then, Hopper sent Aelita to the virtual world so she could become friends with XANA and teach him about human emotions. Following this, XANA had been infected by the Castle. He had acquired immeasurable powers on the virtual world, but had lost his human emotions and memories as a consequence.
Shaken by this discovery, XANA leaves Odd's body and takes an appearance of his own in the Mirror. Yumi then discovers that their enemy has returned, and flees into the depths of the Mirror.
Jeremy's group, assisted by their parents and professor Hertz, goes to the Hermitage. They repair the scanner. Eva and Ulrich are sent into the First City to protect the Castle from the Green Phoenix. Odd and Yumi are brought back from the Mirror, while Aelita goes there to negotiate with XANA. XANA asks Aelita about the artificial intelligence he used to be. He asks the girl to help him become human. Aelita explains that it wouldn't be possible. XANA, annoyed, leaves her and disappears into the memories within the Mirror.
The other half of XANA, virtualised in the First City through Eva, then reveals himself. Ignoring Ulrich (who decides to follow him) and leaving Eva's inanimate virtual body behind, he decides to explore the world. Hopper's ghost appears in the City and leads them to the Castle. The people still on Earth turn in for the night at Kadic.
At the factory, Mago discovers that adults cannot be virtualised. He orders Grigory to kidnap Jeremy. The henchman does so and captures the boy genius in his room at Kadic, in the middle of the night. In the hands of the Green Phoenix, Jeremy discovers Memory's true identity. She is Aelita's mother: Anthea Hopper, who had been kidnapped years earlier. She had her memory wiped by the memory-snatching machine.
Mago blackmails Jeremy and forces him to virtualise onto Lyoko to open a passage to the First City and the Castle. Jeremy has no choice but to obey, or Mago will kill Memory. He is virtualised and goes to the Core of Lyoko to open the passage. In doing so, he finds Ulrich and Eva in the First City...and more importantly, he allows the half of XANA that had been with them to come back to Lyoko and retake control of the virtual world. This done, XANA contacts Mago and makes a proposition: Mago will be able to use the Castle for his own plans, and in exchange, XANA asks that Mago make him human. Mago accepts, with absolutely no intention of keeping the promise.
The Green Phoenix takes rather radical action. They take over the Hermitage and encircle Kadic with barricades, cutting the school's communications and stopping anyone from entering or leaving. The heroes, Hertz and their parents are trapped. The men in black are called to the rescue.
But, before they can arrive, XANA materialises an army of robots using the Castle. The robots attack Kadic. The students and our heroes survive the battle and make camp in the dormitory. By cutting the power, they deprive the robots of their source of energy, meaning they can no longer recharge. The opposing army must flee... However, the deed is done: they have ransacked Hertz's office and taken a file containing part of the Code Down, one of Hopper's mysterious inventions that has the power to completely destroy the virtual worlds...
|We find Hannibal Mago and two men at a racetrack, in Morocco. The three men, supposed to be "talking business", bet on a horse race. A red-haired woman wearing a gold necklace then arrives. We learn that her name is Memory. She is there to inform Hannibal Mago of a "very urgent" call from agent Grigory Nictapolus.|
Hannibal, obviously violent and domineering, takes a gun out of his jacket and shoots a horse, allowing his own animal to win, and then pockets his bet. Hannibal retires to a very luxurious manor, in a room whose door bears the symbol of the Green Phoenix. In this room, a videoconference with Grigory is waiting for him. Masking his voice, Mago converses with his agent, warning him that he doesn't like being bothered for no reason. But this is not the case: Grigory confirms that he has localised the Supercomputer, and adds that he noticed the symbol of the Green Phoenix in the sewers and on plaques, which makes Hannibal say that "that traitor Walter" used the organisation's money to construct the Supercomputer. We also learn that the Lyoko Warriors showed the machine to "a friend" and that the park hadn't been under surveillance.
After a short exchange on the Supercomputer's status (turned on or off), Hannibal declares that he will be leaving immediately... (prologue).
We find Aelita, Jeremy and Eva during dreary weather - rain, snow, mud...
Aelita mentions the day she found the second secret room in the Hermitage and discovered the Replika. She regrets only being able to explore the first level of her father's diary. So Aelita wants to continue exploring, but Jeremy shows to be reluctant, which creates tension between the two teens. Thus, although Aelita knows deep down that Jeremy is her best friend (“and maybe even more than that”), he annoys her sometimes. They finally decide to discuss it with the others that evening, in the blond boy's room.
As Jeremy leaves, Aelita decides to continue walking with Eva. While they're walking, XANA-Eva doubts himself. He had easily Xanafied Odd but felt reluctant about doing the same to Aelita. And to XANA, this reluctance is irrational, which makes him furious. Which is an emotion, which XANA should not feel.
To try to reassure himself, XANA does some mental calculations. But XANA realises that he didn't calculate the multiplication, but he had rather drawn the result from memory, the memories of Eva Skinner. XANA doesn't understand what's happening to him. He then knows that he must enter the Replika in the Hermitage with the children, from where he can return to Lyoko and he will no longer be “a ridiculous cross between a human and a computer”. He dreams of the moment he will rebecome the “indisputable lord of the virtual world and the future master of the real world”.
We then leave XANA to find Ulrich and Yumi in the library. Submerged in books, while Ulrich seizes the opportunity to spend time with the girl he considers his soul sister. They end up discussing Odd and his closeness to Eva. Ulrich is dubious about their closeness, convinced that they're hiding a secret.
Odd then arrives and announces that they all need to go to Jeremy's room. Then, that evening, everyone comes to Jeremy's room, including Richard Dupuis, the man who had been Aelita's classmate precisely a decade ago. Jeremy takes out a poster he prepared during the afternoon, which recaps all the following key points:
1) Professor Hertz's dossier, which contains a series of Hoppix codes.
2) The First City.
3) The Mirror, the journal that recounts moments on Hopper's life.
4) Richard Dupuis, and the codes that appear on his pocket-computer. Each screen begins with the word AELITA, but the rest is coded in Hoppix.
Jeremy then declares that there's a scanner that allows them to enter the Mirror, in the Hermitage's basement, but there is no supercomputer there. But there must be one somewhere. He then explains that the First City and the Mirror are only sandboxes, which is to say like building a computer, and putting a smaller one inside it. The Lyoko Warriors then decide to spend the next afternoon finding out what is hiding in the second level of the Mirror (chapter 1).
Far away from there, Dido calls someone named Walter to order him to follow Hannibal Mago. Far away from this, Ulrich's mother calls her son to tell him that his father is coming to town and that they can see each other. We learn in this chapter that Odd's father rambles about someone called Walter.
Finally, the Walter called by Dido finds himself with her men, and has amnesia. He has no memories of anything before 1994. Lying in ambush, they await the landing of Hannibal Mago's plane. Mago meets up with Grigory (chapter 2).
The Lyoko Warriors and Richard Dupuis are back at the Hermitage. Richard stays on the lookout to survey their surroundings, while the Lyoko Warriors dive in.
Meanwhile, Walter and Dido's men watch as Hannibal Mago's plane is unloaded. There are many men and lots of equipment. Walter recognises certain locations and manages to figure out where Mago's men are headed: none other than the factory. After several minutes of thinking, it's decided that Walter will be sent to the Hermitage, while the others follow Hannibal's men.
As for the Lyoko Warriors, the children go through the secret passage in the cold room and enter the room to be virtualised into the Mirror. Outside, Richard witnesses Walter's arrival and flees to warn his friends, while Odd is virtualised, then Yumi. They arrive in what appears to be a city.
Walter, who is exploring the Hermitage, decides to cut the power. And while Jeremy prepares to virtualise Aelita, problems arise and he is forced to abort the procedure. Finally, Richard arrives, and informs them of Walter's presence.
Odd and Yumi, virtualised, explore the Mirror. They gradually notice that it's a sort of reconstruction of the past. XANA-Odd makes one slip-up after the other, giving away a little too much information and making the Japanese girl wary, but more or less manages to catch himself each time. They later notice a person who seems to be a younger Ms Hertz, who is meeting up with Dido. The two heroes then learn their teacher's past. They see Dido threaten the physics teacher and affirm that she doesn't want to start a war. Dido wants the world to forget Carthage, by erasing the memories of Franz Hopper, Ms Hertz and Aelita, after destroying the Supercomputer.
The two Lyokonauts then find a remote control, allowing them to move about the vision of the past. They see Franz Hopper working on the Supercomputer, several hours after Ms Hertz's discussion with Dido. Hertz arrives. She talks with Franz and brings up the subject of Walter Stern, Ulrich's father, who was involved in stealing the plans for a memory-snatching machine.
Franz Hopper decides to flee and hide the “Code Down” in multiple parts. XANA suddenly has flashbacks of moments when he played with Aelita and discovers that the day she hadn't come (cf prologue of book 2) was Franz Hopper's fault. XANA then leaves Odd's body and takes a physical form resembling a virtualised William Dunbar (chapters 3&4).
Walter notices that the people at the Hermitage are children. Imagining that they've already fled, he enters the house. During this time, the heroes prepare their defence. During the attack, Ulrich recognises his father. Jeremy and Aelita take care of getting the power back. Ulrich and his father have a long discussion, during which the man tells his son the whole story. A group discussion about the Green Phoenix follows. We learn that Odd and Yumi's parents were doubtlessly involved in the making of the Supercomputer.
Grigory, at the factory, captures Dido's three men. Mago threatens them, then orders Grigory to abandon them in the middle of the countryside (chapter 5).
We go back to Yumi and Odd in the Mirror. Odd is unconscious on the floor, while Yumi faces XANA. The virus shows the Japanese girl how to interact directly with the Mirror universe: she just has to hold the remote control as well as the object she wants to use. XANA says that he's going to go to Lyoko through the Mirror to recover all his power. Yumi then attacks XANA with her fans, grabs Odd and executes a temporal jump using the box.
Meanwhile, Jeremy, Walter and the other Lyoko Warriors are together in Ms Hertz's office. They explain that they know everything. She hasn't lost her memory (or rather, she recovered it by rebuilding the machine). She then describes how she and the other workers on the Supercomputer had stopped Ulrich's father from divulging the location of the Supercomputer.
She confirms that Odd, Ulrich and Jeremy's fathers, as well as Yumi's parents, were involved. Aelita and Jeremy, following the recent revelations, decided to try contacting the men in black and saving Odd and Yumi.
At the factory, Hannibal makes camp. Memory enters and assures him that everything is ready for the Supercomputer to be turned back on again, including guinea-pigs ready and waiting. She summarises the situation: Franz Hopper cut the First City off from the network. As such, they need to go through Sector 5 to open a bridge between Lyoko and the First City.
At Kadic, XANA-Eva looks for Ms Hertz, in vain. Communication between his two parts is gradually being lost, which annoys him greatly. He memorised a dossier of codes from Jeremy and wants to use them to regain his power, and hopes that Ms Hertz may be able to help him. Then, he finally finds her. And as he readies to possess her, he is interrupted by Jeremy (chapter 6).
A video conference with Dido is set up. The fighters at Kadic ask her to help them contact Mago, notably by giving them access to the First City via the Mirror scanner. The alliance with the men in black is solidified. Hertz decides to repair the scanner in the Hermitage to rescue Odd and Yumi. To do this, she decides to call her old co-workers in to help.
A reference to the Code Down is also made: a weapon that can destroy Lyoko, and therefore XANA. Stricken by this new information, Eva leaves: XANA is enraged to learn that a weapon could destroy him. Finally, Aelita, who notices that the Code Down is incomplete, remembers that her father asked her to help do something important, but she can't remember what it was.
In the Mirror, Odd and Yumi see a scene in which Franz Hopper is thinking about the Code Down. Aelita (of the past) then arrives and talks to her father, mentioning Yumi's parents. She asks Franz Hopper if she can help him, and how. Her father tells her that she can help him, but he doesn't know what consequences doing so could have (chapter 7)
In the laboratory, Mago is with Memory, and the woman is at the computer terminal. They are unable to communicate with their virtualised men. So they find out how to activate a visual, but the camera doesn't move: there's a problem. The soldiers return to Earth in a state of shock. Memory then discovers that their virtual avatars were horrific and evil, for the simple reason that they themselves are bad people. The following decision is made: they try with another squad.
Meanwhile, on the Mirror, Odd wakes up. Yumi recaps the situation for him, then discovers that Eva is possessed by XANA (chapter 8).
Mago's attempt to virtualise another of his soldiers ends in failure. He orders Grigory to bring Jeremy, knowing that only a child can be virtualised.
The heroes' parents are finally reassembled, happy to have regained their memories.
Still in the Mirror, Yumi and Odd witness a discussion between Aelita and Franz Hopper about the memory-snatching machine. The man used the machine on his own daughter. But suddenly, the men in black arrive. Thrown into a panic, Franz Hopper takes out a gun, but he can't stop his daughter from being injured by a bullet. He flees with Aelita and virtualises them both on Lyoko. But Odd and Yumi can't see the rest, because Hopper recorded his memory in the Supercomputer before going to Lyoko. And so the journal ends at that moment. Suddenly, a scanner opens before Odd and Yumi. XANA has found them (chapter 9).
On Earth, the scanner is prepared. Jeremy is worried about rescuing Yumi and Odd. He wants to get them out immediately. Explanation is given on the fact that only children can enter the scanners: for adults, it's a terrifying experience. It's explained that it's due to mental representation. Adults, being older, have had the time to make plenty of errors and do regrettable things, and that can lead them to create truly terrifying representations of themselves.
Jeremy finally decides that Aelita and Ulrich need to enter the Mirror. But XANA-Eva declares that it would be better to go into the other sandbox: the First City. She pretends to say this with the goal of countering the Green Phoenix. Finally, it's decided that Ulrich and Eva will go to the First City while Aelita enters the Mirror to help Odd and Yumi. Jeremy manages to contact the two, but not for long. He notices that they're both in a place called “End of the Journal”.
Ulrich and Eva are successfully virtualised into the First City. Ulrich realises that something is wrong with Eva, who seems to know much more than a supposed newbie should. And after monsters appear but don't attack them, Ulrich becomes even more curious. Safe within the virtual world, XANA reveals himself, once again in the form of William virtualised.
He sends Ulrich flying when the Lyoko Warrior tries to stop him. Ulrich gets up and decides to pursue his enemy (chapter 10).
Aelita has arrived in the Mirror, witnessing the scene between Dido and Ms Hertz. After the command box falls on her head, Aelita tries to find Odd and Yumi. Pressing the fast forward button again and again, the girl finally arrives at the moment where her friends are stuck, with XANA... Strangely, she seems to recognise him, as if he were...her friend. Seeing the girl arrive, Yumi and Odd greet her shyly and inform her that Eva is XANA, provoking stupor from Jeremy, Ms Hertz and the parents, who can hear everything, thanks to the communication link established.
XANA announces that he blocked the connection to the Hermitage scanner, imprisoning Ulrich and Eva in the First City, before revealing that he wants to see Aelita. He talks about the time right at the beginning when he would turn himself into a young boy and he and Aelita would have fun together, up until the day Franz Hopper decided that he was too dangerous, and that Aelita could no longer see him. Pushed by instinct, Aelita decides to stay with him, while Odd and Yumi are brought back in, to their parents' joy.
In the First City, Ulrich is still following XANA's other half as discreetly as possible, until XANA manages to find Franz Hopper's “ghost”. He finds that it's nothing more than a recording. XANA orders Ulrich to come out of his hiding place. Ulrich and his arch enemy then walk together, following Franz Hopper as he began to walk away, encouraging them to follow (chapter 11).
Guided by Franz Hopper's ghost, they arrive near a large castle. Hopper's recording warns them about it and explains why: the castle is a weapon. He had wanted to deactivate it, but failed. So he had decided to isolate it in a sandbox, also closing off the City. Afterwards, Hopper had created Lyoko. Lyoko served to block the castle's negative effects but required a guardian to control the virtual world: XANA. However, Hopper believed that XANA was not merely an artificial intelligence. In trying to make him more human, he allowed XANA and Aelita to become friends.
Odd, back at Kadic with Jeremy, is having trouble getting to sleep, disturbed by all the discoveries he'd made when he came back to the real world: their parents worked with Hopper, Walter Stern was a traitor, the video of Anthea, kidnapped and bound. And above all...Eva. Eva who didn't love him, Eva who was a computer program... Unable to stand the loneliness of his room any longer, he tries to go see Jeremy, only to discover that the lock on the door had been forced and Jeremy wasn't in his room. All he finds is a calling card. The Green Phoenix's calling card, written on it, “Your friend is with us”.
Odd is shocked. The Green Phoenix has kidnapped Jeremy.
After waking Ms Hertz and Delmas, Odd ends up telling everything to the principal. The idea of calling the police is quickly thrown away; Dido is the one they decide to call for help.
Jeremy awakens in the factory and meets Memory. He sees a necklace around her neck, with a pendant engraved with a W and an A. Anthea has that very same necklace, Jeremy remembers. Memory is a redhead, like Aelita. Like Anthea. Jeremy understands. Memory is Anthea, Aelita's mother (chapter 12).
At Kadic, a strategic meeting takes place to plan how to defend the school, in case of future attack by the terrorist organisation. At the same time, Eva, Aelita and Ulrich are still stuck in the virtual worlds, and on Earth, the heroes look for a scanner to use to bring them back. They go to the Hermitage but the place has been taken and closed off by the Green Phoenix. Grigory addresses a threatening message to Ms Hertz: don't try anything stupid, or the actions will be fatal for the children in the Mirror.
Memory brings Jeremy to see Mago. The man is curt: Jeremy must open the door to Lyoko, the door that separates Lyoko from the First City, or Memory - Anthea - will be killed. Jeremy doesn't have a choice, he's forced to accept (chapter 13).
In the First City, XANA, strangely co-operative, protects Eva's unconscious body in a sort of transparent cradle. The two "travel companions" continue on their way as XANA says there's a bridge between the First City and Lyoko. Ulrich understands: if Lyoko and the First City are united once again, the castle will become a weapon once more and XANA will regain all his power.
As for Jeremy, he's about to be virtualised. He appears in the Desert Sector. Jeremy wears slippers, a green leotard and a belt to which a small knife is attached. His ears are longer and he has a green hat on his head. Jeremy's virtual avatar is a green elf in tights. Once in Sector 5, he approaches the interface and, almost naturally, types in the code Aelita, which makes him fly off.
At Kadic, Ms Hertz constructs a bomb and uses it, flooding the sewers beneath Kadic and isolating them from the city sewers. One window for an attack by the Green Phoenix has been closed (chapter 14).
Ulrich and XANA are blocked by an insurmountable wall that is stopping XANA from returning to Lyoko. Simultaneously, Jeremy is carried up and arrives at the entrance to the First City. There he finds three keys in a crystal cage. It's a riddle. He needs to find the right key to open the door to the City. Jeremy chooses one of the keys because it's in the shape of a musical note, as per Aelita's tastes, while the others fall into the void.
The riddle solved, the wall opens and Ulrich finds Jeremy. XANA goes to Lyoko and begins to reconstruct himself, regaining his strength. He doesn't manage to reach 100% of his power, something blocks him; he quickly understands what...
The part of him that is with Aelita wants to become human. Aelita remains sceptical and annoys XANA. The boy then decides that he's going to ally himself with the Green Phoenix and disappears in a puff of smoke.
On Earth, Memory and Grigory discover all the advantages Lyoko and the First City offer. Plus, they receive a letter addressed to Hannibal Mago. A letter from XANA. He also sent a file to the two adults, to show them his knowledge and abilities... Knowledge and abilities he's ready to offer to Mago. In exchange for a favour: getting him out of the computer and making him human. And as a gesture of goodwill, he materialises an army of robot soldiers for Hannibal (chapter 15).
XANA manages to destroy the firewall between the First City and Carthage. The City is operational. An army of robots prepares to march on the real world... At the same time, at Kadic, people are on patrol. The robots soon arrive, more menacing than ever. The students and teachers try to establish a line of defence, but the machines are incredibly resistant. Hope seems lost...
The robots manage to break through Kadic's defences and enter the buildings. Yumi goes on reconnaissance and notices the eye of XANA on the robots. She then realises that the robots need to recharge themselves. As for Odd, he loses the Code Down dossier. But all is not lost: Yumi takes control and Odd attempts a charge to cut the power. It's a success. The robots flee, Kadic is saved. Finally a reprieve for the Lyoko Warriors (chapters 16 & 17).
In the First City, Eva Skinner sleeps in the crystal cradle. Jeremy frees her from it and she gradually wakes up, asking who the boys are, in English. Jeremy, talking in English, tries to explain to her everything that happened, to tell her the truth, as she remembered nothing, being possessed by XANA.
In the Mirror, Aelita is lying on her father's bed in the Hermitage. She tries in vain to find XANA. She wonders what her father expects of her, what she needs to do. Gripping her golden pendant, she promises that she will find her mother, and that they will be a family again.
Finally, at Kadic with Odd and Yumi, the Japanese girl wonders how their friends are doing, especially Ulrich. Odd tries to reassure her, but they know that being held prisoner in the virtual worlds by XANA and the Green Phoenix is a delicate situation. Odd promises that they'll get them out. Yumi is doubtful, but remains optimistic. They know, however, that the list of problems to solve is long: Jeremy kidnapped, Ulrich and Eva stuck in the First City, Aelita stuck in the Mirror... Not to mention XANA, the men in black and the Green Phoenix.
However, Odd won't let himself be discouraged. He affirms loud and clear that the great battle of Kadic will go down in history, and that they did well. The party's not over yet! Yumi thanks him, feeling a little better, a little less gloomy.
And so the book ends, and Odd blows out the candle lighting the room (epilogue).