Disclaimer: I own neither Code: Lyoko or Digimon (But wouldn't it be so awesome if I did? ^_^ )
Note: This story takes place shortly after Season 3 of Code: Lyoko and Season 2 of Digimon.
Chapter 1: Crossing Wires
A melancholy rain poured upon the factory above as Jeremie spent night after night trying desperately to find a way to locate their arch-nemesis, X.A.N.A. Now that Lyoko was gone and X.A.N.A. was free from the supercomputer, the world seemed truly doomed to fall at the hands of the maniacal program. Jeremie held his head in his hands as he furiously tried to concentrate. At this point, their only hope may be the near indecipherable data sent to them from the mysterious creator of the supercomputer, Franz Hopper, and whatever modifications Jeremie could think of to help find where in the vast sea of the Network where X.A.N.A. could possibly be hiding. So far, things were looking bleak, to say the least.
Off to Jeremie's side (just barely still within his periphery), lay the sleeping form of Aelita, Franz' beloved daughter and Jeremie's equally so friend. For several nights in a row, she'd volunteered to assist in his endeavor in whatever ways she could. It was difficult, but she did at least manage to suggest many beneficial modification ideas for the super scan. Unfortunately, even with the two of their efforts, X.A.N.A. remained under the radar. As he took a moment to glance over in her direction, he took solace that at the very least, she was able to sleep somewhat well. But as for Jeremie, himself, he just couldn't bear the idea that what may very well be one of the most sinister forces in the world could now potentially launch an attack that would take hold of the planet right under their noses. He just HAD to find that accursed rogue program.
Without him even realizing it, Jeremie's time crunching numbers and formulas on the holographic keyboard in front of him had him completely unaware that the morning was fast approaching. The poor boy was still typing madly when the sounds of the large industrial elevator behind him hissed open and two of his friends and fellow "warriors" greeted him with somewhat worried expressions on their faces. "Yo Jeremie," the taller boy in various shades of green clothes addressed him with. "Did you stay up all night again?"
Jeremie merely continued typing, trying to keep his concentration. Naturally, his refusal to respond caused the two boys to exchange equally frightened looks. "Look, Einstein, I know you're trying your best, but you need to take a break." Odd, the blonde boy remarked. "School starts in a couple hours. Are you sure you aren't even going to get anything to eat?"
"I may go ahead and skip breakfast today Odd," was Jeremie's response. "I still haven't found a way to locate X.A.N.A. on the Internet."
"Well, maybe that's exactly why you need some breakfast." Ulrich, the boy in green, suggested. "You've been doing this every day for weeks now." Jeremie simply continued typing.
"…Odd? …Ulrich?" Aelita's voice came from the spot on which she slept. Her voice and posture betrayed a lingering grogginess, but it didn't take long for her to snap herself out of it. "Is it time for school already?" As she asked, she was rubbing the fatigue from her eyes.
Ulrich was the one to answer. "Not just yet, but we figured we'd come to let you know there's still time to eat."
"I'd just rather focus my time on getting the big problem done and over with as soon as possible." Jeremie snapped below earshot.
"C'mon Jeremie, you need your energy." The pink-headed girl urged of him.
With the three of his friends all behind him, Jeremie found it hard to concentrate. Then he stopped his typing and lowered his head wearily. "Okay," he finally caved. "I guess something to eat might give me some time to sort my thoughts." And immediately after his admittance, his stomach let out a bellowing groan loud enough to rival Odd's level of hunger. All three of his comrades stood in amazement as they stared at their resident genius. Then, in a collective burst, they all started laughing. As Jeremie couldn't help but join in, he suddenly found himself feeling as if the pressure to save the world had eased a bit.
Kadic Academy Cafeteria
In what seemed to be a surprising sight to the whole Lyoko gang breakfast table, Odd was actually getting beaten in a speed eating contest, and by Jeremie, no less! Each and every one of the group (Odd included) looked positively dumbfounded as the four-eyed stick of a boy cleaned his plate almost before the others had even started eating. "WOW Jeremie, when was the last time you had a good breakfast? Since X.A.N.A. wiped out Lyoko?" Yumi, the girl in black sitting beside Aelita, pondered aloud.
Jeremie didn't hesitate to answer. "Yes." It was simple, precise and honest. Ulrich actually dropped his spoon into his cereal bowl in shock.
"Jeremie, this is crazy. You have to take better care of yourself." Aelita urged. "I know finding X.A.N.A. and a way to defeat him is top priority, but you're running yourself ragged."
"Aelita's right." Ulrich interjected. "Even if you did find him, how're you gonna do anything about him in the state your putting yourself in?"
Jeremie couldn't look any of them in the eye. In his mind, he was thinking too hard about finding some way to fight X.A.N.A. without Lyoko.
"Jeremie, we're serious." Aelita pleaded, as she tried to snap him out of his thoughts.
Unbeknownst to them, he had indeed been listening. "I know. But I guess I just can't help myself. Whenever I think of X.A.N.A. out there, ready to strike, I-" then he hesitated, trying to compel himself not to spring open his laptop and start working again.
"Calm down, Einstein. We know it's scary." Odd came in with to reassure him. He even added a soft pat on the back. "Hey, let's think about something else, okay?"
"Sounds good to me." Yumi agreed.
"I appreciate it, guys." Jeremie said glumly. "But there's just so much to do. I can't concentrate on anything else right now."
"Be glad we don't have a test today, then." Odd retorted. "No teacher'd want to see YOU bomb."
"Is there any way we can help, Jeremie? Lighten the load a bit, maybe" Aelita offered.
Jeremie's thoughts were interrupted at this. Then he looked to be putting quite a bit of thought into it. "Well, I haven't perfected it yet, but I have been working on a way to virtualize you guys into the Network. Maybe if I focus on that, we can start making trips to see if we can't detect X.A.N.A.'s presence manually."
"You think we'd be able to find X.A.N.A. on the Internet?" Ulrich questioned. He clearly wasn't sure if they could do such a thing if Jeremie and Aelita's combined modifications on the super scan couldn't do it.
"It's the best chance I can think of while the super scan isn't working. I'll see if I can't finish the calculations for the process during class." To this, his friends all looked to each other warily, but ultimate came to a silent agreement to trust their friend's judgment. It was true, he'd made mistakes in the past, but no matter what, they could always count on Jeremie to take care of them while they were digital.
"How long do you think it'll take?" Yumi asked.
"I should have it done after class." Jeremie reassured. "If you want, we can try it out then."
"Count me in!" Odd declared triumphantly.
The others jumped slightly at Odd's enthusiasm. "Well, you were quick to say yes." He said nervously.
"Well, yeah. Can you imagine it?" he explained. "We'd be physically going to the internet. Wouldn't that just be the coolest thing?"
"Odd, you don't have any idea what the internet is like." Ulrich argued.
"I've been on my fair share of websites." Odd said in that tone he used when he wanted to sound convincing. Obviously, he wasn't making a real argument, but the argument didn't matter. Jeremie needed a test subject and Odd was volunteering. Silently, Ulrich was thanking whatever higher being he could think of at the time that it wasn't him.
"All right then. It's settled." Jeremie declared with a touch of excitement in his voice. We'll meet up later and head over to the factory. See you guys then." And then their little genius took his tray over to the cleaning pile and headed out to work until he had to go to class.
Some hours later, at the factory
Odd, Jeremie and the others all stood together, waiting for the elevator to take them to the main terminal room. When the doors opened and the air pressurized, Jeremie practically jumped into the chair that placed him at the controls and began typing away. "Ok Odd, I'm activating the program that'll take you into the Internet." He told his friend. "Even I don't have any idea what you're gonna see when you get there, so be careful, got it?" His voice became stern as, for a brief moment, all the different images he could come up with of what the Internet would physically look like spun through his mind. "Once you're in the scanner, I'll start the transfer."
"You got it." Odd sounded with some celebration in his tone. "Behold the first Lyoko Warrior to set foot on the Internet!" And with that, he pressed the button in the elevator to take him down to the scanners.
Meanwhile, Yumi, Aelita and Ulrich gathered around Jeremie's terminal, watching with baited breath to see how the outcome of this venture would turn out. "Are you sure this'll work, Jeremie?" Ulrich asked. A flickering moment of reminiscence flashed in his memory of what'd happened to him when Jeremie last tried to experiment with previously unheard-of transfers. The thought made him worry, despite his trust.
"I won't lie. There's probably a ton of ways this could go wrong. But I've done every calculation possible to make sure that it won't." Jeremie too felt a bit uneasy, but they had to try something. And he WAS sure of his calculations. "Ready, Odd?" he then called into the intercom.
"Ready and waiting!" the boy in purple called back. Then, he stepped into the scanner, giddy with excitement.
"Alright, then: Transfer…" Jeremie said as he typed out the commands for the virtualization program. "…Scanner…" SO far, everything was going just as Jeremie had forethought. He even had the coordinates for his friend's destination already down. In just one more step, he'd have Odd on the Internet and they'd have their first look at X.A.N.A.'s hiding place. "…Virtualization!" Jeremie finished. But then, an alert sounded. But it didn't appear as a typical anomaly. Odd's transfer had taken place, but just as the coordinates were set, some kind of program Jeremie had never even seen before started activating on its own. Numbers and characters started racing through the background of the screen and suddenly, the controls were completely out of Jeremie's hands. "Wha-What's this?" the boy asked himself out loud.
"Jeremie?" Yumi asked of her friend. "What's happening?" she urged, tension growing in her voice. Her hands were clenching the back of his chair and she was very close to panicking.
"I-I don't know." He said, honestly. "Something's happening, but I have no idea what." His typing furiously increased pace, but no matter what he did, nothing was changing, the program continued executing despite his best efforts.
"Well, fix it!" Ulrich angrily demanded. Then, a strange box-like figure appeared on the screen with a little window at the upper left corner. Said screen flashed multiple colors for an instant, and then disappeared along with every string of characters that signaled the unknown program. Jeremie stopped typing, and everything looked like it had returned to normal.
Everyone simply stood there for a minute, staring at the screen. For several minutes, nobody said anything. It wasn't until Odd's voice called out through Jeremie's headset that anyone even so much as moved. "Hey Jeremie, are you there?"
"ODD?" Jeremie exclaimed loud enough to make everyone step back.
"Yeah, it's me." Odd responded, clear as day. "Everything looks good, Einstein. I'm not missing anything. The transfer was a success!"
At this, Jeremie's face relaxed enough for his glasses to droop. Nervously, he realigned them on his nose before replying.
"Odd's okay?" Everyone asked, unanimously relieved; to which, Jeremie looked back with a grateful smile upon his face and nodded.
"Odd, I'm not sure what, but something happened during the transfer. What exactly is everything like on your end?" Jeremie was straight to the point. He needed to know exactly what had happened and where Odd was. Currently, his position wasn't displayed on the screen and as soon as feeling returned to him he immediately began working to locate him, even using the super scan to locate for Odd's digital D.N.A. signature.
"Well, it's…cold." Odd said.
Jeremie then stopped. "…Cold?" Everyone looked to each other. Even on Lyoko, none of them would normally be able to feel things like cold or warmth.
"Well, I know it's cold. My body moves like it's cold. But I don't exactly feel cold." Odd's description sounded like a sort-of expansion on the senses that were available to most who ventured on Lyoko. Jeremie got a basic understanding of the situation through the analysis.
"I think I get it. You're body is reacting to genuine cold, but being that your form is a digital avatar and not your real body, you only perceive the reaction as you understand that it should." Jeremie explained.
"But that would still mean that the world he's in is real, wouldn't it?" Aelita questioned.
"That's what I don't understand." Jeremie replied. "You say you're in a snowstorm, Odd?"
"Yeah, and it's getting harder to move the longer I stay still."
"Better move around, try to find some cover while I locate you-" Jeremie began, but then the super scan detected Odd's exact coordinates, and once again, the boy was left speechless. "Th-This is amazing!" he and Aelita said in unison.
Yumi and Ulrich had no idea what was going on. "What? What is?" Yumi asked.
"Odd's…not on the internet at all!" Jeremie declared.
"What? Then where is he?" Ulrich probed.
"He's in…some kind of…parallel world…on the other side of the Internet."
"That's…But that's crazy!" was all Ulrich could say.
"I wouldn't believe it either, if it weren't showing up right on the screen." Sure enough, the giant holographic projector behind the monitor was displaying a whole planet in black and white. But although it looked much like Earth, the various landmasses were too distinct and unrecognizable to be Earth's geography. On the monitor's screens themselves, Odd's cursor was visible on a plane not unlike what Lyoko's had once been viewed as. "Odd, can you still hear me?"
"Loud and clear!"
"My screen is showing you're right next to a mountain. Try finding some cover over there."
"No need, the storm's already settled."
"What?" Jeremie shook his head as he tried to comprehend the sudden change in weather wherever Odd was.
"I'm gonna look around some. Can you send me the overboard?" Odd requested cheerfully.
At first, Jeremie wasn't sure if he shouldn't just call off the experiment and rematerialize his friend, but then he found himself habitually typing in the code. Unfortunately, an alert marker appeared just as he finished. "Sorry Odd, apparently, I can't virtualize your vehicles there like I could in Lyoko. You'll have to look around on foot.
"That's okay. I could use some virtual exercise." Odd said to himself before taking off.
Aelita, still a bit worried about the whole situation, leaned in close to Jeremie to ask, "Are you sure we shouldn't just bring him back?"
"I'll get him out at the first sign of danger. Don't worry Aelita; I won't let anything happen to Odd."
File Island, Freezeland
Kari fervently rubbed at her shoulders to keep herself warm. Her style of dress was hardly contusive for low-temperature environments. Silently, she wished how she could've ended up with more layered clothes when coming to this region of the Digital World, like Davis' or Yolei's. "Why didn't anyone tell me we were going to the North Pole?" she muttered.
"I'm sorry Kari." Ken, the tall, pale boy next to her confessed. "I should've checked the climate of the area before I called us here."
"So, is there another stray spire somewhere in this frozen wasteland?" Cody, the smaller boy across from Ken, asked.
"Yes, although we should have been able to see it as soon as we arrived." Ken explained.
"Maybe the snowstorm covered it up?" T.K. offered. Not moments ago, the snowstorm they'd entered the Digital World into had completely vanished. The area stretched on with a canvas-white plain for miles in all but one direction. Not far to the north-west of their position rose an impossibly imposing mountainside. The whole side from their perspective was just as white and plain as the expanse in every other direction.
"I REALLY hope not. I'm not about to sit here digging in the snow all day." Yolei, the girl in aviator gear, exclaimed.
"Maybe we won't have to." Davis offered to the group. There was a confident look on his face as he nodded to his Veemon partner.
"That would be impractical, even if we tried digging, the snow goes on for far too long-" Ken was about to explain, but just before he could, Davis had already whipped out his D-Terminal and D-3.
"Digi-Armor Energize!" he cried, and at once, in a bright flash of light, a red sphere was released from the miniature communication device and grew until it surrounded itself around his digimon partner.
"Veemon Armor Digivolve to…" the creature's voice rang out. Within the sphere, streams of data were beginning to cascade about him as the sphere took the shape of a new being. "…Flamedramon, the Fire of Courage!"
This new form, similar in structure to its Veemon predecessor was draconian in appearance, with blue and white scaly skin and pieces of armor covering its knees, feet, hands and head. It looked quite fearsome. With a cheer and a holler, Davis directed the creature's efforts to melting the surrounding snow. Flamedramon's claws lit up with fiery light and he started barraging the area with a rain of fireballs. Careful not to hit any of his comrades, Flamedramon barraged his Fire Rocket attack until a good 100 yard radius was partially melted around them. Unfortunately, the attempt proves pointless, as the control spire was nowhere to be seen.
"WHAT were you THINKING?" Ken screamed at Davis after the steam from the evaporated layer of snow cleared away. "Of COURSE the spire wouldn't be this close to here. The spire's proximity would interfere with the Digi-Port!"
But Davis was only mildly apologetic for his recklessness. "Oh, my mistake!" he said with a nervous, somewhat frightened grin.
"Maybe we should try climbing up the mountain to get a better view?" Cody offered. In the direction he pointed, the slope of the mountain curved up perfectly to allow for a well-rounded view.
"Good idea! And I'll see if I can spot it around the bends." suggested Yolei, who immediately took out her own D-Terminal. "Digi-Armor Energize!"
Her partner, Hawkmon was then surrounded by a similar phenomenon as Veemon before. As he was, his voice could be heard from within the sphere of power. "Hawkmon Armor Digivolve to…Halsemon, the Wings of Love!" The form the little bird digimon had taken was of a large, helmeted bird with wing/blade-like extensions from said helmet. Upon this creature, Yolei hopped and rose into the air to accomplish her mission.
Meanwhile, the other 5 members of their little group and their digimon began their ascension of the enormous slope. But just before they were able to get higher than where their heads had been, a deep rumbling was felt under their feet. "Wh-wh-wha-what is that?" Gatomon, Kari's partner stammered. But her answer would come not from her friends, but from the source: a huge herd of Mammothmon stampeding around the bend of the mountain to greet them.
"Guys, look out! There's a huge herd of-" Yolei tried to call out to them.
"We see them!" T.K. responded. Each one of the Digidestined children reached for their D-Terminals in preparation, but before they could even call out their digital friends' powers, a huge elliptical laser shot out from down the mountain and through the herd of elephantine digimon, obliterating them all. Each member of their group gaped in surprise, unable to discern what just occurred. And as the group of 6 all looked up to try and find the source of their aid, a single row of a dozen or so large metal spheres could be seen rolling down from the misty peak directly towards them.
"Do you think they're friendly?" Patamon, the little bat-wing-eared hamster digimon on T.K.'s head, asked. But, as if to answer him themselves, the strange machines opened up into vertical halves and shot more elliptical lasers at the entire group. Without any time to digivolve properly, they were only saved in time due to all the lasers focused upon a single point, which was quickly countered by the timely interception of Halsemon and Flamedramon using their respective attacks to shatter (much to even their surprise) the assault.
Davis and Yolei's elation of success was short lived. For immediately after, the monsters began charging for a second attack. "RUN!" Ken ordered the group. Not a single one of them failed to comply. But while the group tried to escape, the spheres ceased charging and entered a swift pursuit.
The mechanical monsters were just about to catch and trample the Digidestined if not for the fast reactions of Davis and Flamedramon. "Fire Rockets!" the armor dragon digimon called as his attack. Every bit of energy the two of them had to give was thrown into the flames in the creature's claws. Upon being fired at the snow just before the monsters, the snow evaporated into a huge screen of thick steam, allowing for just enough cover for all of them to escape.
Around the bend of the mountain, the kids managed to hide inside a cave that was previously hidden by the uncanny angle of snow and sloppy ridge. There, they were able to find some opportunity to recover. Veemon in particular, was especially exhausted from creating such superheated flames so quickly, and practically fainted in Davis' arms after he'd de-digivolved.
Everyone was breathing heavily with anxiety. "What…were those things?" T.K. exasperated through great heaves.
"I've never seen digimon like that before." Gatomon said.
"That's because they aren't digimon at all." came a familiar voice from deep within the cave. Although the group couldn't quite place the voice at first, they all jumped in surprise when none other than Gennai, the kind guardian of the Digital World, once again appearing as an elderly man.
"Gennai!" T.K. and Kari exclaimed upon recognizing him.
"Gennai?" the others asked, uncertainty filling their voices. "But, you look so much older!" Yolei questioned.
"Yes," the old man coughed. "But I can't really explain that right now. What I am here to tell you is that I've been noticing strange creatures all around the Digital World; creatures that are neither digimon nor from the Real World." The Digidestined gaped at him, curious, yet also completely surprised. Was this some kind of new threat? "And that's not all; about a week ago I began feeling a strange presence all over the Digital World, like a dark wind trying to grasp at the very core of this world. I couldn't go anywhere without picking up on some indication of its presence. It was as if the entire Digital World was being watched."
The children collectively shivered.
Halo all followers of this fic, new and old! I…am DEEPLY sorry for all of you who have waited so fruitlessly, so long for me to update. But! Here I am, now. Perhaps it's too late for many of you, but this night of Christmas, I have decided to gift you all with not only an update, but a promise: I have hereby vowed to myself and you readers to continue this otherwise, previously abandoned fic. Maybe you don't care, maybe you do, but over the course of my hiatus, I've continued to get notes of Favorites and Author Alerts due to this one fic. Looking back, I genuinely liked the idea and truly wanted to continue. Now, I have taken it upon myself to make sure this is delivered to all those who are able to appreciate it. Once again, I apologize for my absence, but here I am, reasonably older, wiser (and if I must say so, a substantially better writer) and ready to give you all an enjoyable read. The only thing else I can say: I hope to high Heaven I do not disappoint again.