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The Network
 
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[Representation of the Network in the series] [The Network's stakes] [The virtual worlds in the Network] [In the Network...] [Episodes that take place there] [Important Events]
 
 

Representation of the Network in the series
 

The Global Network appears pretty early on in the series. Jeremy makes reference to it several times from episode 23 “Rock Bottom?” onwards. But it will only be built on later.

In episode 5 “Big Bug”, we can already see a representation of what is likely to be countless connections throughout the world. However, in the end, this image remains the only one of its kind in the series (see below).

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The second season remains silent on the topic: it is only in the third season that the Network returns to centre-stage in a more serious fashion, when we learn that XANA has been dwelling somewhere in the Global Network since it left the Supercomputer. Jeremy manages to localise the virus as soon as in episode 53 “Straight to the Heart”; our heroes, however, are completely tied up defending Lyoko, their only access to the Network, and they are unable to explore this vast universe before XANA manages to destroy Hopper's virtual world.

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It is only after they rebuild Lyoko and developed the Skidbladnir that our Lyoko Warriors turn into Internauts. So, in spite of the shy appearances of the concept at the beginning of the series, the Network's silhouette ends up being at the forefront of the innovations of Code Lyoko's fourth season.

Even for us, in the real world, the concept of the Network sounds a little fuzzy.
Ms Decroisette, the writing director of seasons 1, 2 & 3 of the series, defined it as “[the web! The set of all the connections between all the computers in the world]” during an interview that was done before season 4. Fine, but how would those connections be represented? How would XANA's actions mark this environment? Before season 4 went out, those questions used to cause unrest for many people.

She also said that our very familiar Digital Sea is actually an extension of the Global Network we are pretty familiar with. Turns out that it was one of the main clues.
Indeed, this is the way the writers represented the Network, as a vast ocean. When our heroes leave Lyoko, they enter an immeasurable stretch of a watery matter, without floor nor surface. It is easy to lose one's way there, so anyone who ventures there needs a radar. This aqueous place contains floating virtual worlds such as Lyoko and the Replikas, as well as enigmatic big blue blocks, decorated with all sorts of white “graffiti”. When you travel there, you might come across gateways called “hubs” that transport you to a distant point of the Network at high speed, in a hyperspace fashion. Our heroes sometimes use them to visit remote Replikas.
The colour of this watery vastness is a clear, peaceful blue that turns red when XANA is around.

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Any consideration other than merely descriptive is quite hazardous. As we said above, the Network is a concept, and there is no clear reading to clarify precisely which elements of the real world the writers intended the things we see to correspond to. These are the most common interpretations:
The big sets of solid blocks are data banks.
The water that flows between these banks and creates currents may represent two things: either the huge amount of data that circulates through the Network, or electricity itself (it is often said that XANA's attacks travel through electrical networks). Unfortunately, these are but suppositions amongst a thousand possibilities.
 

The Network's stakes
 
The Network was not of a primary interest in the series so long as XANA was held prisoner in the Supercomputer. XANA could only act using Lyoko, and our heroes could block its actions from within this world. There is no need to venture into that dangerous place. But from the moment XANA steals the Keys to Lyoko and gets out of this small world in which it is vulnerable, the action does not revolve around just the Supercomputer anymore.

First, our heroes understand that they need to go into the Network to continue the fight against XANA, who escaped there (episode 52 “The Key”).
Then, because of a message he sends them, they find out that Franz Hopper is still alive, hidden somewhere in the Network, but very weakened (episodes 57 “Aelita” & 65 “Final Round”).
Afterwards, our heroes save Aelita from William's clutches and learn that he can dive into the Digital Sea to serve XANA (episode 66 “William Returns”).
Finally, when our heroes lose their way in the Network, they discover a replica of Lyoko, created by XANA, and suspect that it is the apparent tip of the iceberg of XANA's evil plans.

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So it is with a lot of hope that our heroes enter the Network and explore its aqueous space: they aim to bring back Hopper (see image above) and William (episode 75 “Hot Shower”), destroy the Replikas, hunt down XANA...
Unfortunately, except for a few attempts, everything quickly ends with the Replika war and the appearance of the Teleportation procedure (see the season 4 Story page for more details).
Thus – and it is a shame – the Network ends up as a mere port of call, where brief fights occasionally occur (see below).

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Even though the universe of the Network looks impressive when we discover it, it is somewhat sad that it only had a quite secondary role. What's more, the fights that took place there were not that suspenseful, because our heroes could not lose: indeed, if one of our heroes were hit, they would inevitably die (which is, as one might suspect, strictly impossible in the bright wonderful world of cartoons =D).

However, on the positive side, we can note that the three episodes that take place exclusively in the Network are absolutely unique (episodes 71 “Maiden Voyage”, 77 “Lost At Sea” & 88 “Cousins Once Removed”)!
 

The virtual worlds in the Network
 
The Virtual Worlds have their own page, which you can read here.
Unlike the rest of what we see in the Network, these have a peculiar appearance and, especially, they are hollow, which allows virtualised entities to move inside without protection.

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Let us focus on two aspects of these worlds:
– The shell. Certainly incredibly solid and resistant, it isolates the inside of the virtual world from the rest of the Network. Which is why Lyoko and the Replikas can be considered as “digital bubbles”, islands submersed in the Network without being flooded by its waters. Physically, a huge pressure must push on the walls of those worlds, but this shell does not collapse, unless the virtual world itself is destroyed.

– The airlock. It is the entrance and the exit of the world. Without these, the virtual worlds would be completely isolated, cut off from the Global Network, and it would be impossible for them to interact with Internet or with Earth.
The function of the airlock is probably to filter what is going in and out. If the water represents the data that flows through the Network, according to our previous hypothesis, then the airlock's role is to sort input and output and prevent the Network's data from overflowing into the virtual world. This is likely why when the Lyoko Warriors need to go on a little trip out of Lyoko, Jeremy has to be there to allow his huge program, the Skidbladnir, to leave, and that he has to force open the way into XANA's Replikas.

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About the localisation of these worlds in the Network, let us go back to episode 23 “Rock Bottom?”:
While Jeremy, after a hard time trying to contact Aelita, finally manages to do so, he says these enigmatic words:
“I had such a tough time contacting Lyoko...”
“That's the fifth time I've launched the localisation program. The Network must really be blocked! I can't get it to contact Lyoko.”

And Aelita answers:
“That's nothing new. Lyoko is constantly changing its access points on the Network.”

When our heroes discover Lyoko, we learn that it contains powerful currents. So, since Lyoko is a bubble immersed in the Network, we can think that it is slowly pushed by those currents and that it thus drifts through the Digital Ocean. Therefore, as long as you do not use the factory's terminal, which is physically and constantly linked to Lyoko, it is necessary to first localise Lyoko before you establish a connection.

However, in the same episode, Ulrich tells our anxious Einstein that if she has got a problem, Aelita should be able to contact them nevertheless. We can think that since she dwells in Lyoko, wherever the virtual world is located, the captive Aelita from season 1 was able to call anyone in the world. The distress signal would thus enable the computer that receives it to immediately localise Lyoko.

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The same goes for Replikas. The operator has to localise one before going there, and Jeremy created a very powerful scanner for that purpose. Even though this program is very powerful, it sometimes takes several weeks for our heroes to find a Replika. The fact that they came across one by chance in episode 71 “Maiden Voyage” is an achievement in itself.
 

In the Network...
 
What can be found in the Network, that is not inherently part of the Network?

Like the Digital Sea, the Network is a very dense mass of data. Therefore, one can easily get crushed and scattered all over the place, like what happened to Yumi in episode 6 “Cruel Dilemma”. So, an incredible resistance is required to travel in the Network. The virtual worlds, as it was said above, are equipped with an incredible shell.

XANA is certainly the first one to reach the Network.
As an extremely powerful program, not only was it able to enter it, it also spread through it and used the Network as a highway to all the Supercomputers in the world that it infected in order to create the Replikas.
XANA's appearance is a point that was never elucidated, so the form in which it spread into the Digital Ocean is unknown.

Franz Hopper also hid there when Lyoko was destroyed.
For the reasons we explained above, travelling in the Network is incredibly complex and dangerous. The fact that Franz was able to survive there may be one of the greatest proofs of how powerful he was. The Network provides him with a perfect hideout to get away from his enemies. One can wonder, however, if he had the same appearance he had on Lyoko, that is: a big bright ball.

XANA's monsters...
You can find more information about them in the “Monsters” section.
Their presence remains quite mysterious. On Lyoko, be it flying or terrestrial, no monster is supposed to resist the Digital Sea and its virtual pressure. Therefore, even the intimidating Megatanks and their invincible shell explode when they fall.
XANA, however, made quite an incredible achievement, since it managed to populate the Global Network with underwater monsters: Sharks, Kongres and the Kalamar. Most probably, XANA directly provides them with energy and helps them not to dissolve in the same fashion Franz Hopper was able to protect Aelita when she was thrown into the Digital Sea (episode 82 “Distant Memory”).

The Skidbladnir.
Since they are not as skilled as XANA or Hopper, our favourite students had to develop a powerful program that would allow them to go out of Lyoko. This is the role of the submarine ship, the Skidbladnir.
Equipped with powerful shields, it can resist the underwater pressure, and its powerful reactors allow it to move against the digital tide if necessary.
Even so, the trips in the Skidbladnir are most risky. Any bug in the program (shields, localisation radar, reactors) could entail the death of the whole group. XANA abuses this fault when it hacks into the Skid by xanfying Sissi and Herb and placing them in charge, at Jeremy's computer (episode 88 “Cousins Once Removed”). As for Yumi, she was almost done for when her Navskid bugged up in episode 77 “Lost At Sea”, but her friends manage to save her in time.

And at lastly, the Rorkal.
To counter the Skid and its daunting, fast Navskids, XANA created a dark copy of them for William: the Rorkal (translation: Whale).
Its description is similar to the Skid's. However, it is less dangerous for William to venture into the depths of the Network, since even if his ship is destroyed, XANA can prevent him from drowning in the currents of the Network.

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Even though XANA and Hopper do not appear directly on screen, the other protagonists who travel through the Network engage in a bitter battle whenever they come across each other, with torpedoes or laser shots flying in every direction.
To conclude, let us note that the Network is, like Lyoko, a completely digital world, and that digital events can happen there, or be triggered.

Thus, in episode 75 “Hot Shower”, XANA tries to imprison the Skid in a firewall.

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Episodes that take place there
 
Season 4

#71 Maiden Voyage
#73 Replika
#77 Lost at Sea
#78 Lab Rat
#81 Hard Luck
#86 Canine Conundrum
#88 Cousins Once Removed
 

Important Events
 
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- Destruction of Lyoko in episode 65 “Final Round”
- Rebirth of Lyoko in episode 66 “William Returns”
- Discovery of the first Replika in episode 71 “Maiden Voyage”
- Discovery of the Rorkal in episode 77 “Lost at Sea”
- Destruction of a Forest Replika in episode 79 “Bragging Rights”
- Discovery of a Desert Replika in episode 81 “A Lack of Goodwill” and destruction of this Replika in episode 83 “Hard Luck”
- Discovery and destruction of a Sector 5 Replika in episode 87 “A Space Oddity”
- Only appearance of the Kalamar in episode 88 “Cousins Once Removed”
- Discovery of an Ice Replika in episode 92 “Cold Sweat” and realisation of the number of Replikas out there
- Expansion of Jeremy's multi-agent program. XANA's death and disappearance of all Replikas in episode 94 “Fight to the Finish”

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