Representation of the Network in the series
|When they turn the Supercomputer back on, our heroes are already pretty familiar with the Worldwide Network. They had already extensively explored it during their previous adventures. However, the ship that enabled them to explore it, the Skidbladnir, had been destroyed. So Jeremy and Aelita have to reprogram it as a matter of emergency, which is soon done (episode 02 “Cortex”).|
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 these connections between all the computers in the world be represented?
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 get to the Cortex quickly.
The colour of this watery vastness is a clear, peaceful blue that turns red when XANA is around.
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.
|Unlike the way it was during their previous adventures, when XANA controlled all of the Network...and when Franz Hopper was using it as a hideout, the Network holds a smaller role in Evolution. It is just the space that separates our heroes from the Cortex. In the end, it is a mere port of call, where brief fights occasionally occur (see below).|
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).
The virtual worlds in the Network
|The virtual worlds, be it Lyoko or the Cortex, are quite special elements. They represent a bunch of data organised in a definite structure, and located in a precise point of the Network. They have a peculiar appearance and, especially, they are hollow, which allows virtualised entities to move inside without protection.|
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 Cortex 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 the Cortex.
As for the localisation of the virtual worlds in the Network, it is hard to pinpoint them because the size of the Network is infinite. Our heroes know where Lyoko is located, because it is generated by their own Supercomputer. However, they were only able to discover the Cortex because of XANA. By acting from the Cortex, XANA created a trail that Jeremy was able to trace; however, the clue was fragile, and what's more, virtual worlds may be likely to drift from time to time, so Jeremy was anxious that he might loose the signal.
To conclude, unless one operates from the very terminal that generates a given virtual world, it is necessary to pinpoint its precise position first to be able to access it.
|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, hence our heroes' fear of falling in the Digital Sea (which is an extension of the Network inside a virtual world). 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, it managed to survive in that environment. Even though its essence is now imprisoned in the Cortex, it still finds some way to act in the Network, and even somehow cross it and activate the Towers of Lyoko, from the Cortex. Still, it lost some of its power and is now unable to create its own virtual worlds like it used to.
XANA's appearance is a point that was never elucidated, so the form in which it spread into the Digital Ocean is unknown.
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 later, Mantas.
Finding out that one of Tyron's Ninjas, hanging onto the Skid, was able to survive in the Network, was as much of a surprise as it had been for the monsters. It is the only virtual avatar we have ever seen doing such a thing. The most likely explanation is that the force field around the Ninja, that made him invisible and undetectable, also protected him from the Digital Sea. Other theories are developed about this Ninja on the page about Tyron's Ninjas.
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 twice to attack the Skid. First, it infected it with a virus in episode 13 “Friday the 13th”. Our heroes had to free it from its dock and make it fly over Lyoko, to limit the damage. When they did this, they were taking a huge risk: the infected ship could lose its shield any time and fall right into the Digital Sea. XANA also trapped the submarine using a hub's security system in episode 23 “Jeremy's Blues”. This time, the ship was destroyed. Fortunately, Jeremy was able to devirtualise the crew just before it happened.
Characters and monsters 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. Indeed, with its monsters, XANA intends to prevent our heroes from reaching the Cortex. To make it even more interesting, the destruction of the Skidbladnir in the Digital Sea would also entail the definitive virtualisation of our heroes.
Appearances of the Network
Appearances in episodes
We did not list the episodes in which the Network is simply crossed by our heroes without trouble.
#18 Chaos at Kadic
|#23 Jeremy's Blues|
|In episode 17 “A Professional Career Guaranteed”, our heroes make a dangerous trip through the Network, transporting Tyron's tracking device in order to get rid of it and get rid of it in the Cortex.|
|In episode 18 “Tenacity”, for the first time, XANA sends Mantas underwater, in the Digital Sea.|
|In episode 23 “Jeremy's Blues”, XANA grasps control of the security system of a hub and manages to destroy the Skidbladnir.|