Hey everyone, this is my first fic. This story has been entered into the NaNoWriMo conest. Any and all criticism (barring pairing bashing) would be appreciated. This story was tagged Aelita/Jeremie for reasons relevant to the story *wink* Yumi/Ulrich will serve as a background pairing. Odd may or may not get a girl part way through. Any suggestions?

Danke, and enjoy.

Early morning mixing was her favorite things to do. After her recent discovery of the subgenre of Trance called Dubstep, she had even pulled her favorite genius, Jeremie into it. As the new subwoofer (which was apparently a requirement for listening to music with low bass) she had bought rattled the floors and windows, she sneaked a peek at the clock. Then she realized how tired she was. Kadic Academy's resident DJ, Aelita "Jenai" Stones needed rest.

Jeremie was of course, up and working. After tackling a problem with the antivirus' decompression matrix, he had finally fixed the issue. Looking at the clock, he was slightly surprised.

"4 AM?" he though to himself, "Going to bed early then, I guess."

He let thoughts of his pink-haired guardian angel carry him to sleep.

Ulrich never was one for staying up late, especially not since his last conversation with his father. He had resolved himself to try to focus up and get his grades on track, or risk another verbal beating. His purple-clad friend wasn't exactly thrilled about it either, since Ulrich had been Odd's partner in crime since before he could remember.

Odd didn't plan on letting Ulrich sleep peacefully, either. Had had heard "Princess" upstairs trying to tear the building down with sound, and he wasn't about to let that go unpunished. He was going to play Technetium by Reso, an odd-sounding song with an even stranger sound. It was what he called a "Banger."

Unlike the rest of her friends, Yumi was an early riser. She liked to have music going, and did as such. She moved around quietly, much like the cat she now owned. She liked to be alone in the mornings, and alone in general. Usually, at least. She wasn't so sure. She though about her relationship with Ulrich from time to time, wondering if they were still "just friends" as she had called it.

She met up with her friends at a local Italian restaurant for lunch. As usual, her friends were there together, and talked across the table, but at the same time, had their own conversations.

"Look, I'm not saying what I did was okay. I'm just saying it was necessary," explained Odd. "And I'm saying what you did was cruel and unnecessary," said Ulrich flatly. "Yeah, maybe, but I stand by what I did," countered Odd, trying to get away from the issue.

"What's going on?" asked Yumi, walking up to the table. "Odd used a girl to cheat on a test," Ulrich said, before Odd could object. Yumi pulled a chair from another table, and replied with disinterest, "Well, I'm not surprised, but you need to apologize and re-take the test." "Yeah, I know," said Odd, sounding defeated.

When she looked across the table, she saw Aelita and Jeremie talking animatedly.

"I've been looking into some bigger speakers, but I'd rather not go there after what happened last night. Jim almost had my head," Aelita said. Jeremie chuckled, and then said, "Yeah, I felt all that from MY room. It's no surprise that Jim did too."

Suddenly, he seemed slightly surprised, and asked, "Wait a minute, I distinctly remember you showing me Borgore's song…what was it?" Aelita smirked, and then finished for him, "Pretty distinct, huh?" Jeremie scoffed. "It was Ice Cream that I showed you, and you heard that in addition to some Flux P. Songs like Ice Cream don't really entertain me, but to everyone else, they're awesome."

"Why don't I believe that?" asked Jeremie, with the slyness only a genius could convey. Yumi took it a bit further, and said, "Haha, I wouldn't be so sure either." Ulrich and Odd had stopped arguing by now, and the table exploded with laughter at Aelita's expense.

Aelita saw the waiter coming with their food and spoke weakly, "Incoming," she said.

"Oh come on, Aelita. It was just a joke; we all know you're not that kind of girl," Ulrich said, trying to help Aelita lick her wounds.'

"Yeah, I know," Aelita replied.

Right as they were about to begin eating, a telltale beeping noise came from Jeremie's computer. A collective groan came from their table. "Ooof course," Ulrich said. "I gotta say, I called this one," Odd added. "He's really been active this week, hasn't he?" Aelita commented. "Yeah, actually. But we can figure out why later. For now, let's see if we can stop this one early," Jeremie said, with some finality. Yumi, unsurprised, but feeling she couldn't add anything to the conversation, got up and followed her comrades to the factory.

Generally, trips to the factory were pretty uneventful. Stop X.A.N.A, go on with life. It was getting increasingly difficult to keep up with him because of the fact that they couldn't just return to the past anymore. Now, they had to make sure they got on it early (or, even earlier than before) because of this. The only real upside to this was the exercise. Jeremie wasn't winded anymore when they reached the factory, and Ulrich had converted to running instead of the earlier skateboard.

Climbing into the scanners, Ulrich, Aelita, and Yumi all stood in the cabins, waiting for the process to begin. After a slight, uncharacteristic delay, Ulrich spoke up, "Hey, Einstein! What's going on up there?"

No response.

"I'll go up and check on him, you guys hang out," Odd volunteered. Yumi sounded slightly amused, "Oh, I think I'll just leave and go get food." Ulrich and Aelita chuckled. Once Odd had ascended the ladder to the mainframe room, he found something that wasn't entirely unusual, but still a little strange. Jeremie was working, but wasn't trying to virtualize anything. It looked like he was..playing a first person shooter..against Kankrelauts! "Whoa, Jeremie, what are you doing?" Odd asked, amazed. "I'm trying to take down the monsters with an avatar," Jeremie answered, distracted by the battle that was raging onscreen. Before Odd could ask any questions, Jeremie continued, "Basically, all I'm doing is sending a virtual copy of myself onto Lyoko without actually going on Lyoko. Then, in layman's terms, I turned it into a computer game. I haven't figured out how to remotely deactivate towers yet, though." Odd seemed to understand now, and asked, "Oh, okay. But Aelita still has to go in and actually deactivate the tower?" "Unfortunately, that's true," Jeremie replied.

"Well, that sounds simple enough, but we have one current issue," Odd said. "And what's that?" Jeremie asked, with slight concern. "Ulrich, Aelita, and Yumi are all stuck in the cabins down there," Odd said. "Oh, I thought I had closed them in time. Speaking of, I don't even know why I opened them in the first place," Jeremie said, slightly embarrassed. "I'll go "retrieve the package"," Odd said, trying to make a joke. Jeremie shook his head in disapproval as Odd climbed down the ladder to go get his friends.

"Anyone up there?" He could hear Ulrich shouting. "Yeah, coming." Jeremie should be letting you out of the scanners pretty soon," Odd said, trying to calm him down. "That's all fine and good, but we're a little short on air and explanations right now," Ulrich said, sounding desperate. "Jeremie will explain everything once he lets you out. You'll actually be going to Lyoko very soon, so don't worry," Odd said. "Oh, great," Yumi sighed. "Yeah, that's exactly what we needed," Ulrich added.

Suddenly, the cabins lit up. "Transfer, Yumi," Jeremie's voice came over the loudspeaker. "Scanner, Yumi," Jeremie announced. "Virtualization," Yumi landed in the middle of the mountain sector, with Ulrich touching down soon after. "Okay, the tower is pretty far north. I couldn't put you any closer due to the unusually large welcoming committee. Get moving!" Jeremie's voice said apologetically.

"All right, I guess. Any idea what X.A.N.A is trying to pull this time?" Ulrich asked, running at a full sprint. "Not just yet. Although with the new hospital equipment that was headed past the school this morning I'd imagine it has something to do with all that." "X.A.N.A's trying to take over a hospital? This is a little out of the ordinary for him. Usually it's all about eradicating humanity," Yumi said, slightly perplexed. "Yeah, it surprised me too. Aelita should be bringing up the rear about now," Jeremie said, trying to keep some focus on the task at hand. Aelita dropped a short distance ahead of them, and they continued on their way.

Usually, "welcoming committees" that X.A.N.A sent were never particularly large, a few monsters at best. This was easily 3 times bigger than anything they had ever seen. Aelita, knowing the procedure, went to hide behind a rock. Odd dropped in behind Ulrich, laser arrows at the ready. Jeremie, wanting to see the strategy and coordination the Lyoko warriors were capable of, he decided to throw Odd's Overboard in. Odd jumped right on, and no one had even talked yet.

"All right, let's run an exercise. Yumi, you go left. Odd, you take the air. Ulrich, go right through the middle, lean toward Yumi if things start getting hectic," Jeremie instructed. "What about me?" Aelita asked, feeling left out. "You'll be moving up toward the tower the whole time. Let's see if we can get you in when X.A.N.A's not looking," Jeremie said. The whole thing went swimmingly. Following Jeremie's instructions, Yumi and Ulrich cleared lanes for Aelita, and Odd flew around on the Overboard giving aerial support. Within a few minutes, Jeremie heard the magic words, "Tower deactivated," and they were all sitting at the dinner table, talking about the mission.

"Einstein, it seems like the whole thing was orchestrated. Did you plan the whole thing?" Ulrich asked, amazed at their earlier performance. "Not really. I noticed Aelita had been frozen whenever you three were fighting monsters, and decided to throw a little video game strategy in there. Odd wasn't as effective on the ground as he was in the air. Coupled with the fact that Odd didn't get shot off of his board, it even improved his accuracy tenfold," Odd seemed impressed with himself and said "You know, I thought I was getting better," "Yeah, but of course, you're already amazing at everything!" Aelita said with sarcastic enthusiasm.

Dinner came to a slow close, with everyone retreating to their rooms for the night. Jeremie couldn't sleep. He was kept awake by the fact that they were nowhere close to defeating X.A.N.A, and the fact that he was trying to take control of a hospital scared him. X.A.N.A never focused like that. Perhaps the game was finally changing to small scale. Specifically targeting their families, or the families of friends? He would have to find out.

Aelita couldn't sleep either. She was still coming to grips with the fact that she was human at one point in her life. Her father had left her, sacrificed her so that humanity could continue its existence. Sometimes, when she thought about it, she wasn't sure what to think. Sometimes she thought about shutting the computer off again, after locking down the factory. It was really the only safe way to ensure X.A.N.A didn't get out of the super computer. She would have to talk to Jeremie. He seemed to the be only one who actually understood what she was going through.

Odd couldn't sleep because he found the glory of online gaming. Using a pair of Aelita's headphones, he decided tonight would be the night to play his favorite shooting game. The headphones were insulated, so he didn't have a chance of waking up Ulrich, even with the noise of the rifle he was firing. Playing late in to the night, he knew he would regret it. He kept going anyway.

Yumi couldn't sleep either. Her parents were arguing again. This never was particularly fun, but occasionally her mother said something that made her chuckle. At least this time they were trying to be quiet about it, but weren't doing a very good job. She hoped that her father wouldn't have to leave again. She definitely didn't want to have Ulrich trying to help either. She liked that he tried, but she always thought it was never really his place. Of course, he had helped keep her family together, so she couldn't be too mad at him. This all was very confusing to her. Maybe she just needed sleep.

Ulrich could almost sleep, but something was nagging at him. He wasn't sure what direction his life was going in at the moment, at least in the short term. Mostly because of his feelings for Yumi. He wasn't sure how he was going to approach the "problem". The way she looked at him and the way she generally acted when they were around the others had "just friends" written all over it. But the way she looked at him and spoke to him when they were in private was...different. But he had an obligation to his father. Surely, being Japanese, she could understand that. He would have to sleep on it; he was terribly tired.

1 Jenai is a real person. He is a member of the group Ego Thieves. If he has any issues with this reference, I ask that he contact at me at my registered NaNoWriMo e-mail address, so I can change it.

2 Reso's Technetium is a real song.

3 Borgore is a real person. Please follow Jenai's instructions for copyright infringement claims.

4 Short for Flux Pavilion. Also a real person.