I walked down the dark, narrow hallway of my house, and stopped and turned to a gray door. My parents’ room was behind there. I left my glasses case there…..couldn’t go to sleep without having a proper place to put them. Everything has to be in order and in tip top shape for me, or else I get restless. Little, perfectionist me.
I tried to quietly open the door, but it still made the ghastly creaking noise, like a thunder clap in this silence. My parents room was frigidly cold, making me shiver in my light little pink shirt with a capital red A on it. I crawled over to my mom’s side of the room and gently picked up my green case, and walked on my tip toes out of the room.
I tripped over something, covering myself in my pink hair. (yes, pink, it’s somehow natural. My mom has it too, but she won’t explain it, so don’t ask me.) I look down to see that it was somered notebook…the papers were barely attached.
I knew I should have had enough discipline to not peek in…..but I was curious. As I flipped through the pages, it seems like my mother (I could tell from the handwriting) had written entries every day or so in red pen. I knew I had barely any time to read more than one, so I flipped to the last entry, which seemed to be a couple days ago.
I…..am refusing to write in this journal anymore, or even look at this. The entry I write, the last one, will be too painful for me, for the dream is painful to recall. But to get my feelings out of me, I shall write this…..
The dream…..was about my father. Franz Schaeffer. Thought to be dead….until now. I know it’s only a dream….but I could tell it was real. I remember as a child, in the days of Lyoko and X.A.N.A., I would sometimes have dreams, and I could tell it was real. This one….it was the same as those. My father was floating in the Digital Sea. The….Scyphozoa appeared, and suddenly entangled him with its arms…..and started implanting something into him. Lyoko is back, and my father is in danger. I don’t know if I will tell Jeremy….I’ll think about it over the next few days….maybe my daughter, Alena, could help too.
I almost gasped, but quickly covered my mouth. This had obviously fallen out of the trash can. I carefully placed it back there, making no noise, and scooted out of the room, keeping the door open. Even if it may look suspicious, I didn’t want to wake them up. Way too risky.
When I went back to my room, so many thoughts were racing through my head. Lyoko. X.A.N.A. Franz Schaeffer. Schyphozoa. Lyoko….It continued like an infinity trail of words. I tried practicing the stress relieving exercises my gifted teacher had taught to calm myself, make myself tired and put myself to sleep.
My eyes calmly opened. I guess I had finally fallen asleep. My pink hair was a mess. I stretched out of the bed and looked into the mirror. My blue eyes look like they could collapse. I have….snot above my mouth, possibly? I wipe it with a white, clean tissue.
I do my morning routine. Today’s Friday….but I have a big test today, too. I barely studied…..although I probably could have done it during the long period of time I was lying awake in the bed, with all of my racing thoughts. I sighed. I always waste my time…
After all of my things were done, I kissed my parents good bye and ran quickly to Kadec.I knew I had plenty of time, but I was thinking about “reviewing”, as I would call it, the materials on the test.
I walked to the dormitory building, and the only one of my friends I saw is short brown hair Hikari. She was wearing black clothes, as usual, with a pink flower near the shoulder. I think her mother is very strict on what she wears and what she does.
“Oh, hi Hikari.” I said. “The others aren’t here?”
“Nope,” she muttered. “Emile, though, is probably still asleep, and Lanette’s trying to wake him up. Stefan’s sick.”
“Really?” I said, hiding the disappointment. I actually had a weensie bit crush on Stefan…but, moving on….”Well, I have to get to class early, so—“
Immediately a voice on the speakers boomed, “Miss Alena Belpois, please report to the science room immediately!”
I sighed. “Change of plans, I guess. Hopefully this doesn’t make me late. See ya!” I ran off to the science building, nervous. This was, what, the first two weeks of my first year at Kadec? Please be something that Emile did…..
I walked into the science, greeted by Miss Hertz, the daughter of the late Mrs. Hertz. I whispered, “Yes, Madame?”
“Ah, Alena!”she said more cheerfully than I thought she would have. “What a delight to see you! Oh, my dear, please don’t look that worried! You are not in trouble at all! I am just astounded by your fabulous grades in my class. I have excused you from your morning classes to test you on your science skills. Perhaps you could have science with sophomores, juniors, or even seniors?”
Shocked, I gaped for a while. Soon I caught on to her, and nodded eagerly. “Um, sure, Madame! Shall we start?”
She nodded. First was the paper testing, which I breezed through, and then we went with the hands on activities. I was good at these, for the most part, except sometimes it could take me a while to complete a task or some.
I was making my own telegraph, a bit complex, one time. Miss Hertz was taking notes all the time, studying my actions.
Suddenly, a spark came out of the wires. A black, smoggy gas emerged from the electricity, almost like a ghost. It spread out in the air and had a malicious feeling to it…..
“Stand back, Alena!” Miss Hertz shouted urgently. She grabbed some mask and granned some big tool, and started waving it in the air. “Call the principal, or the police! This gas is sure—“
The gas disintegrated away. Miss Hertz fell to the ground. Her breathing was slow and few. I shook her desperately, screaming in tears. “Come back! Stay alive! PLEASE!”
Her eyelids fluttered open, and suddenly her breathing pace grew faster. Her eyes….something about them looked very strange. They were…..red? Or maybe her eyes were always red, and I just haven’t noticed.
“Miss Hertz?” I said with concern. “Are you….okay there?”
She grinned…..but it didn’t seem like the happy kind. Almost…..evil. Scary….
“I’m okay, honey.” She had two layers in her voice. Her normal one…..and a ghost, maybe? She turned around and grabbed a wire.
“Let me take you somewhere.”
Stefan sat in the family room, on the brown leather couch. Nothing interesting was on the television, and he had no books or anything else to do. He felt pretty sleepy….he wished he had someone to talk to on the phone, but everyone had school.
He stared out the window. All that he could see was an old bridge leading to some abandoned factory. Not even an opportunity to count cars. He could move, but he felt way too sick to get off the couch.
He heard the door open, along with some footsteps, cars honking, and the wind blowing in dirt and flies. Stefan stretched his neck to see who had come; he saw Hikari, Lanette, and Emile, all of his friends, but he didn’t see Alena. Strange; usually the five of them were a group.
He smiled as they all sat down, greeted him, and even gave him some get well cards. They chat a while, and then told him what work he had to do.
There was a stony silence all of a sudden. Being both curious and wanting to break it, Stefan said, “Hey, where’s Alena?”
Lanette shrugged, being the first one to talk. “We don’t know! Hikari said she came in the morning, but then went to the nurse’s office. We think she went home sick. We were gonna check her house and drop in to check. Well, I will. These two will stay here.” She exited the house, and the door made a loud thump as she left, creating another silence.
After a moment, the tiny sound of bells popped up. Emimle took out his silver flip phone and said, “Hello? Oh, Lanette, that was quick. What’s her status? Mhm……what?!—“ Te flip phone clattered to the ground. “Look out the window!” he said. He pulled out his long, yellow hair in distress.
Stefan snapped his head out the window. Lanette was running down the old, gray, bridge, almost tripping on metal bars and rubble, screaming at something. Her yellow ponytail almost flew through the air. She was chasing someone with black hair carrying something on her shoulder. Someone who was familiar.
Hikari gasped. “I know that!” she said, her fingers shaking like someone in the bitter cold. “That’s Miss Hertz!”
Stefan added dreadfully, “With…..Alena!”
Ugh…..where am I? My head….wait…..this doesn’t look like….Earth….
My eyes opened. I was in some dome like room. Below me was some white symbol, sort of like an eye, and the rest of the floor was blue. Something was flying around on the ceiling, like a white rectangle. It made me really dizzy, sick to the stomach, almost. But this wasn’t Earth….besides the looks of everything, something felt different.
I fell to the wall, trying to keep my dizzy self up. When I looked at my hand, I saw I was wearing….some sort of dress? A white dress. I had been wearing a pink coat last time I was conscious. I had two yellow rings on my wrists, glowing with angelic light. Hot pink shoulder blades with the symbol of an angel’s wings. I wore something like a sock and shoe, baggy and brown. What was this?
The white rectangle slammed to the ground, making a sudden stop. It opened a long corridor, made out of colossal blue block columns. Was this my only way out of this…..world? It looked like that. Hesitantly, I slowly walked down the corridor. I felt like I knew this place…..I felt like I should have known the name. It was on the tip of my tongue….it felt like I was revisiting my past.
At the end of the corridor, I entered a vast room, made out of the same blue blocks. The thing was, though, was that there was no exit. Dead end? Nothing seemed to be here. I walked to the center, my footsteps making a loud echo. Was anyone—or anything—here? “Hello?” I said. “W-where am I-I-I??”
A moaning noise came from somewhere—the ceiling. I turned my head up. I gasped. A slimy, dangerous looking lizard thingy with a metal tail was attached up there. It had the same symbol on its head that I had seen in the other room.
The monster fell to the floor, slime trailing from its tail. I started backing away from this. “Nice…..lizard thingy? Don’t hurt me! I’m….just a visitor?”
The monster responded with a moan. Something like fire was in its mouth. It leaned its head back and then snapped it at me. A laser flew at me.
“No!” I screamed. Instinctively, it seems, I raised my hand, and a ball of fire danced in it. Using some power from my mind—perhaps telekinesis?—I made a shield out of the fire, protecting me.
As soon as the fire calmed down, I opened my eyes, which burned from the heat. The lizard monster was gone, and all that was left in its presence was a pile of goo, and maybe something like a flopping tail? Again, I felt like I was going to throw up, but because this wasn’t….Earth, I couldn’t.
“Hello?” I shouted into the room. “Am….I alone here?”
“Alena?” a voice said from somewhere, above, maybe? It wasn’t completely human….the guy who was talking sounded like he was talking through a microphone or something. “Alena, is that you?”
I nodded. This guy knew me, and I should know him. “Who are you….? Emile?”
I heard the guy mutter a yes. “I’m in some….factory. The old abandoned one. There’s some computer room...and apparently I can contact you with this headset. It’s almost as if you’re inside the computer.”
I paced around, thinking. “So….I’m in some virtual world? How do I get out, then?””
Emile whispered to himself, considering the options. “I honestly don’t know. When we first came here, we found Miss Hertz, on a computer. Stefan managed to knock her out. When we got on, some window popped up with something like a towel on it. Everything is really confusing.”
I gasped and hit the wall. My eyes were….glowing, maybe? And so was my hair, and it started to levitate in the air. A series of visions came to me:
Four people, two boys and two girls, stand in a room with what looks like cabinets. They call them scanners. Three of them enter the scanners, and look confident as the door closes on them.
Up on an above floor, a blond male with glasses sits on a moving chair, quickly typing, saying vocal commands to the computer. Down on the floor with the scanners, inside the cabinets,a process was happening to the three teenagers.
After the final command, they were transported to the virtual world. Monsters surrounded them, and they yelled something about XANA. An evil virus out to get them. They had to protect and survive in Lyoko…..
An elf princess with pink hair entered something like a tower. Inside there was a platform, shaped like something called the Eye of XANA. When she stopped at the middle, something like a psychic power outlined her, and she rose to the platform. At the above platform, she put her hand on a digital screen….
My eyes stopped glowing, and my hair fell back down. What did I just see? Surely something important…Maybe those scanners were possibly still here?
“Emile,” I said. “We have an elevator, correct? Tell Lanette, Hikari, and Stefan to go down there. They should find a floor with something like cabinets. They have to get in there…..then enter these orders.”
Soon, Emile said, “I’m ready for the commands, Alena.”
“Okay, first, say transfer, then someone’s name, and then repeat. Do the same thing with scanner, and then say virtualization……crap!” I screamed. He had to enter the coordinates. “No, don’t!” I shouted. “There’s something else!”
“Uh….Alena, too late.” Emile said. I could tell he was concerned about my urgency. “I did what you said, and now I have a window saying, “Error: No Coordinates Found. Passengers lost. Coordinates Needed to Receive. And there’s this other window with a timer. Ten seconds to press a key?”
Key? I looked around the giant room. Did this have to do anything with this strange blue place? Wait….I saw something that looked like it could be pushed into the wall. It was shaped like the Eye of XANA, and was on the other side of the room. When I looked at the ceiling, I saw that columns were starting to descend.
Ten seconds. Probably less now.
I started sprinting towards the key. The lizard creatures—I wanted to call them a Creeper—rose from the underground, getting in my way. I just lit them on fire with my power—I suddenly wanted to it Digital Fire. They moaned in pain as they exploded into a mess. Emile shouted desperately, “Three seconds, Alena!”
The symbol—or key, I guess—was in sight, and hopefully in reach. I needed something to help me reach it.
A Creeper rose from the floor. It scared me because it appeared so suddenly. But quickly, I realized I could use this to my advantage. I jumped on the creature’s head, and then lit it on fire. The jump game me a boost, and then the explosion blasted me closer to the wall. I reached my hand out just in time to push the key, and then I fell to the ground from the impact.
The blue columns stopped, and then crawled back to the ceiling like a cowardly cub returning to its cave. Behind me in a recess in a wall a door opened up. I heard the rushing zoom of something flashing by every so often. “Emile, what is that?”
He hesitated, probably looking at the information on the screen, and said, “Something like an elevator, I think? According to what I’m seeing, it will take you outside….”
There was an awkward silence. “Alena…..how can we save Stefan and Hikari?”
Instantly, I boldly and confidently said, “We’ll find a way. The question is, what’s happening with Miss Hertz?”
“I don’t know,” he said honestly. “Let me go check tha—AAAHZEEEZAHHGAAH!”
“Emile!” I shouted. “Did she….” I sighed. He was probably unconscious. But what was Miss Hertz doing, then?
“Hello, Alena.” Her haunted voice said through the headset. “Let’s play a bit, shall we? X.A.N.A could use an apprentice.”
So, she was conscious. What was this X.A.N.A……thing plotting? Obviously my doom….but what was going to happen? All of these questions and not a single answer to find.
I didn’t talk to her. This thing was out to get me, and I didn’t dare communicate with it. I walked out of the door. Something zoomed past my way, a blue blur. It kept passing me in an endless loop. Obviously, I was supposed to get on, but it was too fast.
“Go, my little dear!” she said. “These little monsters look a bit hungry!”
I heard many familiar moans. The moans of the Creepers. There was a mob of them behind me, I could tell, probably going to make me fall down this sphere, and then who knows what will happen.
“You win for now, X.A.NA!” I screamed. Quickly, I grabbed the edge of the elevator, escaping from death. The Creepers moaned in sadness, firing off lasers and whacking tails. All I did was smile proudly for a moment, and then concentrated on keeping my balance.
The blue elevator made a screeching halt, sparks flying off the wall, and then went up vertically. It screeched again, and a door to a giant dome, full of digital data files, opened.
I slowly paced to the edge of a blue….bridge, you would call it. A rectangular date file was there, almost eagerly waiting for me like a baby. This was something that felt natural to me: handling the files. I pressed my hand on it, and it was scanned, and I got access to the network. If I could get good at this quickly, I might be able to bring Hikari, Lanette, and Stefan here…
“Hmph,” Miss Hertz said with disappointment. “You won’t stop, will you? Girls need discipline, no matter how harsh the treatment!” I heard her rapidly typing at an inhuman spped on the keyboard. I tried searching faster for the code. I felt like I could have been sweating, but for some reason in Lyoko it’s like you just have an avatar and no bodily functions.
I heard a spine tingling noise on the other side of the blue block dome. “Creeeeeeeeeeeeeeeea.” The noise sounded way too familiar…it was as if it was built into my blood to scare me, like maybe how animals know to avoid predators.
Finally, I found it. “There!” I said, downloading the file. I turned to look at the monster approaching. It was….some blue jellyfish with fangs. Scyphozoa…..the monster my mother had described in her journal. I suddenly gained a bunch of knowledge about this thing. It could steal things from your memory, or implant some XANA virus into you. One of XANA’s most powerful tools, ever.
“Ohoho, lady,” Miss Hertz said with much delight. XANA was having fun playing with me. “Now you’re not so confident, are you? Give yourself to XANA, now!”
I frowned. “No…..there’s a way out of this!” I felt hopeless, but I had to get out of this mess….I couldn’t disappoint my parents, one of the original Warriors…..
I heard a familiar noise, out in the desolate space of the Celestial Dome, the big empty outside part of this place. The sound of someone being virtualized.
I turned to that sound. Instantly, I could tell it was Hikari, Stefan, and Lanette.
Hikari had a yellow and red Japanese kimono, with a sun tattoo on her forehead. Her hair was short and straight. She also had black shoulder pads with an orange flower on them.
Stefan was in gold, heavy armor. He had a green bandana around his brown hair, and in this world his hair was messier. He had a purple spiked club attached to his armor, the spikes white.
Lanette was in a sleek silver outfit, like a ninja’s costume, with ruffles of blue fur at the end of her sleeves. She had cat ears hidden in her blonde curly hair. She had a brown bow with a yellow quiver holding a huge amount of many arrows of different colors.
They were descending down, and they would instantly die since they would land into the digital mess of the files.
I couldn’t save them. That would be just another dead French teenager added to the list. I just looked at them, trying to somehow quickly come up with a way of saving them with my powers. Nope, no way I could. I had killed them by bringing them here….
Then, I saw a ripple in the air. A white ripple that made me more hopeful. What was this?
A white ball emerged from the ripple. A huge shock wave covered the area, killing the Scyphozoa. The strange light ball absorbed my three friends, and then levitated its way to me, and dropped them. They were protected by some shield. The ball made some weird gesture, butI understood it wanted me to step into it.
When I walked into it, I lost all train of thought and all of my senses. I couldn’t comprehend what was going on, or remember what it was like inside. The next thing I knew, I was dropped off in a desert land, next to a tower. The ball glided away like a jet plane.
When I stepped into the Tower, I had a vision of what was happening on Earth. Emile was trying to fist fight Miss Hertz, but she easily overpowered him with her electrical powers and super strength and agility granted by XANA. She had pinned him to the ground, and held a bent metal bar which was conducting electricity through it.
I soon felt myself floating up to the next platform, and then I slowly approached the digital file. I pressed my hand on it. The message appeared:
Emile was trying to push Miss Hertz off of his chest, but she was very strong. Small sparks seemed to bounce off of her eyes, and burn Emile’s blue coat.
Everything stopped. I suddenly knew the words to say, and I trusted that the computer, somehow, would obey me.
“Return to the past, now.”
It was past school, and we had just finished telling my parents about the story of Lyoko. We needed to tell them of all people, because they were the Warriors.
“So….is it going to be shut down?” Lanette asked. She and the other two had safely returned back to Earth.
At first it seemed like my dad was going to say something, but my mom was quicker. “No…..”
We gasped. My parents were probably the most strict and responsible. She continued.
“That ball thing….was a human. Is a human. That….is Franz Schaeffer. My father. Your grand father, Alena. We’ll keep it alive until we rescue him. If it takes too long…we’ll say goodbye…..”
I couldn’t believe this. My mother wanted to keep it alive. But now we had a mission, but I would make everyone proud and complete the mission.
However, something we didn’t even question was how XANA came back alive. That, however, will be answered in the future.