|The Cortex is a virtual world, like Lyoko and XANA's late Replikas. As such, it looks like an island drifting on the waters of the Worldwide Digital Network. Therefore, our heroes need their submarine, the Skidbladnir, in order to get there.|
The Cortex consists of the usual elements of a virtual world:
- An outer shell that protects the inside from the digital pressure of the Network. At the south pole of this shell, there is an entrance. You have to hack your way into the sphere, but the code is pretty obvious since it is a date: 25062003; the 25th of June 2003, when Tyron vanished into thin air.
- Inside of the hollow sphere, first, there is the Digital Sea. That is, the part of the Network that penetrated the Virtual World. Since there is no gas on Lyoko, the sky of the Cortex is made up of the digital void.
- At last, the Sector itself: the solid part of the virtual world. We will see that the Cortex Sector is unusual, and can be divided into several parts. It holds the essential Towers, data banks that link together the virtual world and Earth, which allows interactions between the two worlds.
The Cortex has been running for quite some time, though it is impossible to know when it started. It certainly existed when the heroes tried to kill XANA with Jeremy's multi-agent program and when Franz Hopper...since XANA survived by hiding itself in the Cortex. It seems that the multi-agent program was unable to track it down there.
Little question: how come the heroes did not find the Cortex sooner? Quite simply, because the Worldwide Network is infinitely big. As long as they did not know where to look, their chances of coming across the Cortex were infinitesimal. The only reason why they could localise Tyron's world is that XANA's activity provided them with a signal that they could trace (episodes 01 and 02).
So, the Cortex was created by Tyron and his teams of scientists.
It is generated by a Supercomputer similar to that of our heroes, since Tyron built it using plans he had stolen from Hopper years ago; Jeremy finds this out in episode 06 “Suspicions”. However, between 2003 and 2013, time has flown and the two Supercomputers evolved differently.
Even so, Tyron's Supercomputer remains similar to Franz Hopper's, therefore the Cortex is greatly inspired by Lyoko. Tyron must have based his work upon Hopper's since there are some elements that are common to both worlds. First, we can notice that the sky of the Cortex has the same colour as that of the Desert Sector. The appearance of the Towers is strictly identical. But, above all, Aelita has the same powers on the two worlds. Hopper made Lyoko so that Aelita could be its Guardian, which allowed her to govern the virtual world. We see that the Code Lyoko works on the Towers activated by XANA on the Cortex as well as it does on Lyoko. Also, Aelita is the only one who is able to open the Iris, the door to get inside the Dome of the Cortex (see below).
An interesting question that was not answered by the series, but that would have been interesting to develop, is whether the Code Lyoko would have worked on a Cortex Tower if it had been activated by Tyron. Or is this code only effective if it is used on Towers activated by XANA?
As for the Towers, we can wonder how powerful they are compared to those of Lyoko. Are they equally powerful? We know that the infancy of XANA's attacks in episode 01 “XANA 2.0” were launched from the Cortex...and they were not that impressive.
What's more, when Tyron activated a Tower in order to get enough power to generate the time loop of episode 24 “Temporal Paradox”, the Tower disappeared entirely in the end. Is it because there was not enough power for such an attack that the Tower was entirely “consumed”?
To sum it up, it is difficult to ascertain whether Tyron's Supercomputer is as powerful as Hopper's. If it is the case, it seems that the former associate of Aelita's father is unable to use it as efficiently.
In spite of their common points (identical sky and Towers, Aelita's special status), the Cortex and Lyoko are very different. First of all, this new Sector is not a copy of the ones on Lyoko, and that's a first. A detailed description is available below. Secondly, unlike a relatively completed Lyoko, the Cortex is still unstable and constantly evolving.
The reason why the Cortex comes into our heores' story is that XANA found shelter there.
To get rid of the artificial intelligence, they decide to destroy the Cortex. So in some way, Tyron is a victim. Unaware of XANA's presence in his system, he suffers intrusions from our heroes, who threaten all the work he has put into the Cortex. Initially, Tyron intended to use the Supercomputer for scientific purposes: it is a wonderful work tool for research in quantum mechanics.
Our heroes discover the Cortex and its activity between episodes 02 and 06. From episodez 08 to 18, they develop a virus to destroy the Supercomputer. The activation of the virus is delayed because they see Anthea (episode 18 “Tenacity”) and try to establish contact with Aelita's mother (episode 20 “Espionage”). Faced with XANA's increase in power, our heroes finally resign themselves to giving up their only way to communicate with Anthea, and they launch the virus (episode 26 “Ultimate Mission”).
To face this emergency, Tyron shuts down his computer, which prevents the virus from activating. The Cortex issue is in standby. The virtual world has disappeared and sleeps inside the Supercomputer. Unless he finds a way to defend it against the virus, Tyron cannot turn the machine back on.
|When you enter the Cortex, the first part of the Sector that you see is the Ring; that is also where you land. Appearing as a vast collection of platforms floating above the void and forming a disc around the Dome, the ring is a unique Sector about which our heroes do not know anything yet. Its design looks futuristic, its colour is a metallic cyan, and it is a dangerous zone.|
Indeed, the Ring is made up of a great number of blocks soldered together. However, periodically, the region is shaken by earthquakes. A serious and dark noise then sounds throughout the whole Cortex and the Sector begins to move. When this happens, the Ring is entirely reconfigured. Blocks start moving in every direction, platforms dislocate: some rise, others fall right under your nose, others fly away under your feet; some roads get crushed between their walls.
This makes the travel very risky for a virtual avatar. The odds of ending up crushed under a block – or worse, falling into the Digital Sea (episode 12 “Chaos at Kadic”) are huge. Our heroes learn this the hard way from their first visit to the Cortex (episode 02 “Cortex”). Even the vehicles do not guarantee their survival.
To allow our Lyoko Warriors to cross the Ring in one piece, Jeremy develops a new vehicle: the Megapod (episode 04 “Miss Einstein”). Extremely fast and able to automatically adapt itself to the terrain's movement, it allows our heroes to fulfil their missions. Odd turns out to be the best pilot.
However, when they are deprived of the vehicle, our heroes find themselves resourceless. It should be noted that only William is not bothered by the seismic activity of the Cortex: his Supersmoke enables him to cross the Ring without trouble.
The earthquakes are also a problem for XANA's monsters. The artificial intelligence adapted itself to its new environment and only uses special monsters to fight our heroes when they cross the Ring. First, Mantas (episode 26 “Ultimate Mission”). Since they fly, they do not have much to fear. On the ground, it uses Megatanks that can chase the Megapod and strike it at high speed. Or Tarantulas, that run fast behind the vehicle and can, most importantly, cling onto it, or climb on vertical surfaces.
What happens to the Towers during the earthquakes is unknown. Once they are near a Tower of in front of the iris door, the situation is more stable for our heroes, and for the monsters as well. Then, they can have a fair fight...or clean up the place by throwing the Megapod right into the enemies (episode 18 “Tenacity”).
At the end of the battle against Tyron, the scientist manages to modify the Cortex so that the quakes stop, which leaves us with a stabler and less dangerous Sector.
The Dome and Core Chamber
The centre of Tyron's virtual world is, like Sector 5 in Lyoko, a big, hollow sphere.
The entrance is a big metallic door that nothing can force open, not even William's sword. It is only open during the Ring's earthquakes...or when Aelita uses her special abilities on it. Behind the Iris, a platform leads you to a teleporter that sends you to the Core, the Heart room.
There are several elements in this room. At the centre, the Heart of the Cortex.
All around it, semi-circular platforms float above the void. On one of them is the Cortex interface. This interface is the access point to Tyron's Supercomputer...and foremost to the whole computer system of his facilities.
Jeremy creates DMA peripheral cards. When our heroes insert them in the interface, it grants them complete access to it. So they can steal data (episodes 06 “Suspicions” and 14 “Instrusion”), spy on Tyron's laboratory using webcams (episode 18 “Tenacity”) and communicate with people in the lab (episode 20 “Espionage”). Most of all, they can install their own software to disable security or even infect the whole Supercomputer with a virus (episode 26 “Ultimate Mission”).
Tyron can also watch what is going on inside this room. He can plan a videoconference with anyone inside, which allows him to communicate with our heroes (episode 16 “Confusion”).
Finally, this Heart room is the den of the Ninjas, the virtual avatars that Tyron sends to defend himself against intruders (episodes 08, 10, 14, 16, 18, 20). Our heroes learn to fight them with difficulty, in order to get to the interface.
The room is not exactly safe from the quakes of the Cortex. When these happen, the large columns that make up the walls of the room detach and brutally fall on the floating platforms, which jeopardises our heroes' avatars, threatening them with immediate devirtualisation (episode 06 “Suspicions”).
The state of this room reflects that of the whole Cortex. When Tyron shuts down his Supercomputer (episode 26 “Ultimate Mission”), the light of the Heart flickers. The Ring is the first part to crumble, and the Dome is the last to disappear.
Appearances of the Sector
Appearances in episodes
#04 Miss Einstein
#10 The Warrior Awakens
#12 Chaos at Kadic
#17 A Professional Career Guaranteed
#24 Temporal Paradox
#26 Ultimate Mission
|In episode 02 “Cortex”, the heroes discover the Cortex and, inside, a photo of Franz Hopper.|
|In episode 04 “Miss Einstein”, first appearance of the Megapod.|
|In episode 08 “Virus”, first appearance of the Ninjas.|
|In episode 10 “The Warrior Awakens”, first appearance of Yumi's staff.|
|In episode 16 “Confusion”, XANA, blocked by one of Tyron's updates, attacks the man in the Core Chamber.|
|In episode 18 “Tenacity”, Aelita discovers that her mother, Anthea Hopper, is still alive.|
|In episode 20 “Espionage”, Aelita gets in contact with her mother and tells her that she's still alive.|
|In episode 22 “Mutiny”, William is captured by the Scyphozoa.|
|In episode 24 “Temporal Paradox”, Tyron traps Aelita, Odd and Ulrich in a time loop.|
|In episode 26 “Ultimate Mission”, the Cortex is infected with Jeremy's virus and dislocated.|