Just when the gang thought they had been shocked beyond belief having witnessed all they had seen in the old abandoned factory outside campus, nothing could compare to what the last room in the lower levels of the factory revealed as the doors of the elevator shaft slowly opened.
Appearing before them as the doors were fully opened, was an even larger room housed with a network of cables connected to the middle of the room, where sitting there before them, was the very same eye-shaped symbol mentioned by Luke, as well as the symbol shown on Mr. Belpois’s laptop and Mrs. Stern’s necklace.
“Whoa... what the heck is all this?” asked Oliver stunned at the very odd and rather frightening sight.
“My only guess is it’s something that’s linked to that computer we saw earlier,” replied Jace looking around the room. It was then the boy noticed a switch resting on the wall behind them, and without any regard for caution, he flipped the switch, which caused a rather loud warning siren to go off. But the sound would be a minor concern, as the eye-shaped symbol in the middle of the floor began to open and out from the gaping hole, came out what appeared to be a giant computer tower that was nothing like any student, or even adult would use at home.
“What the...” said Kevin with his jaw hanging open. “Forget ghosts guys, this is even freakier.”
“You said it,” affirmed Maya as she walked over around the reflective metal gargantuan-sized computer. “I’ve seen my dad bring home some pretty powerful computers, but I’ve never seen anything like this.”
Just then, as she returned back to where the gang was standing, the youngest of the Belpois children noticed a switch slowly pop out from near the middle of the computer tower. Viewing this lever with curiosity, Adele said, “Hey guys, check it out. That must be what turns it on.”
Huddling close around the lever, Jace nervously placed his hand on the handlebar and was tempted to flip the switch on. But before he could do so, Adele suddenly said, “Jace wait. You guys really think we should do this?”
“What do you mean Adele?” asked her sister about ready to flip the switch herself.
“Well... what if this thing really is somehow connected with our parents?” she replied slightly nervous. “I mean, if it is, maybe there’s a reason why they haven’t come back to turn it on again.”
Slightly confused as to how something like a computer could be dangerous, Maya said, “What’s your point sis?”
“My point?” she replied surprised at her apparent lack of concern. “My point is, what if we turn this thing on, and somehow everything changes for us?” Suddenly, Adele began to turn teary eyed at another horrifying thought, “Think about it Maya, remember what I told you about mom and dad arguing the other night about that ‘Lyoko’ thing? Maybe this is what they were arguing about. If we turn this thing on... it could be dangerous.”
Seeing how nervous and scared Adele suddenly became, Jace walked over and held his girlfriend tightly in his arms and said in a soothing tone, “I’m sorry Adele, I feel like this is partially my fault. I had no idea you were that scared to do this.”
Wiping the tears from her eyes, Adele embraced Jace right back and said slightly reluctant, “No, it’s not your fault. I’m just nervous about something this big and secretive being related to our parents. I just don’t want them to hate us if this thing is something they tried to keep off.”
“I understand,” said Jace as looked into her glassy blue eyes. “How about this then, let’s take a vote. Those who want to leave this thing off and forget we ever saw it, raise your hand.”
Four people in the whole group appeared to be slightly hesitant to flip the switch, in the form of Carine, Tristan, Katie and Yumiko, while four other members of the group including Jace himself, responded to the opposite choice offered by him to turn on the giant computer tower, all with the intention of confirming their suspicions of their parents.”
“It’s up to you Adele,” said Jace still trying to be compassionate. “You’re the one who will make the choice.”
What a terrible position she now was in, on one hand, she was curious to finally understand what this thing was that could be related to her’s and the others’ parents and why they wanted to keep it a secret from their own children, but not at the risk of losing the trust of their parents and have them hate them for turning on this giant monstrosity.
But with a curious mind and a determined heart, Adele swallowed her fear and told Jace to turn it on, and with a still slightly nervous hand, Jace placed his hand on the switch and said, “Let’s not hope we’re gonna regret this in a minute.”
With that, the young teen switched on the unit, and a bright shining glow emitted from the now powered-on computer which caused a rushing breeze to blow in the path of the gang. Following this light and breeze, was the sound of electricity powering up the cables around them, which also caused sounds to be heard from above them, appearing to be coming from the room of the giant cylinders they saw earlier.
Curious to see what just took place above them, the gang made their way once again for the elevator and rode up to the floor above, only to find that the cylinders were now glowing in a bright golden light, and appeared to be turned on with the doors opened automatically.
“Geez, looks like these things are linked to that computer down below,” observed Maya as heard the rustling coming from inside the cylinders. “But what exactly do they do?”
“I don’t know,” said Kevin holding her close. “Maybe that computer display upstairs can give us some answers.”
Without hesitation, Jace hit the switch for the elevator once again and the gang ascended once more to the upper floor of the hidden part of the factory, back to the main computer room they found earlier.
However, as the elevator doors opened this time, the room now appeared fully lit, and now had a fully running monitor displaying a huge collection of files and folders already stored on the computer, while the special bowl-like formation next to the computer appeared to be displaying a holographic image of a something that contained that very same eye-shaped symbol seen the whole time.
“Okay, now things just went from creepy, to interesting,” said Carine as everybody walked into the room and approached the now running display.
Confused of what to do next, Yumiko asked, “Well, what’s everyone waiting for, somebody click on a folder and see what’s inside.”
Taking her words to heart, Maya approached the massive display unit and sat down in the chair connected. Moving the cursor around, she then discovered a folder titled, “Diary of Jeremie Belpois - October 2003.”
It was at this moment everyone in the gang stared at the computer with awestruck faces, as it appeared their suspicions were plausible. But things became completely clear as Maya accessed a video file labeled, “Diary entry - October 9, 2003.”
Suddenly a video program opened and displayed what appeared to be a young Jeremie Belpois talking into a web camera, causing both Maya and Adele to let out a slight shriek at the sight of their father at their age. Without knowing it, both said in a simultaneous broken voice... “Daddy?”
“Diary of Jeremie Belpois, Kadic Academy, 8th grade: October 9th,” said the young Mr. Belpois as he began his video entry. “A few weeks ago, I was hunting for some old parts to finish my miniature robots. I couldn’t find anything around here I could use, so I decided to rummage for scrap in the abandoned factory, not far from the academy.”
Upon hearing his reason for finding the factory, everyone looked at each other with Maya then saying, “Looks like dad wasn’t the only who got curious about what he could find here.”
As the gang continued to play the video entry, Mr. Belpois continued to explain about his first encounter with what the computer tower now reactivated by them. However, revealed to them by Adele and Maya’s father, was the fact that this very computer was a highly-powerful supercomputer that housed a virtual universe named Lyoko, created by a former professor at the academy named Franz Hopper.
However, the gang only became awestruck even more when the young Mr. Belpois uttered some words that nearly brought Maya and Adele to their knees in shock, “I’ve also discovered a form of artificial intelligence that lives on Lyoko. She’s a girl that apparently lives on Lyoko, her name is Aelita.”
Suddenly both girls felt paralyzed at the very mention of their mother’s name, and found it hard to process the very thought that their mother once lived in this virtual world. Feeling their very strength begin to slip away, both girls began to cry at this new revelation of their parents and their lives at Kadic.
“I can’t believe it,” said Adele burying her face in Jace’s chest. “Our mom was living in that computer? In that Lyoko world?”
“What does it all mean?” asked Maya to no one in particular. “Does this mean our mom isn’t human? Does this mean she’s not real at all?”
But before they could wallow too much in confusion and sadness, Kevin and Jace both held their girlfriends at eyesight and told them they needed to try and calm down and realize that there could be a potential explanation from their father about their mother and about Lyoko itself though both of them, as well as everyone else were just as surprised as they were to hear this information.
Wiping their tears from their faces, the girls composed themselves and Maya continued to play the video file, only then opening a new video file opened up automatically from the folder accessed.
Appearing again in his 8th grade form, Mr. Belpois continued explaining more about the nature of Lyoko itself and about the artificial intelligence present in the virtual world named X.A.N.A.
“This A.I...” he began, “...was created by Franz Hopper to manage Lyoko, but has now become intent on taking over all of Lyoko and mankind itself by creating his own robot army. It was then I realized this thing needed to be fought head on, so I decided to reveal the factory and the supercomputer to three of my classmates who I knew would be able to fight X.A.N.A. Their names were Ulrich Stern, Odd Della Robbia, and Yumi Ishiyama.”
Now it was the others’ turn to feel the sting of shock as their jaws now dropped open hearing the names of their parents having actually gone to this Lyoko world itself and fought some kind of virtual being bent on taking over the world. Yumiko, Oliver, and Tristan couldn’t help but begin to cry like the younger siblings they were, while Katie and Carine tried to console them, also shocked to hear what was just mentioned.
“I don’t understand,” said Yumiko in between her tears. “Mom and dad fighting something trying to take over the world? Why would they do something like that?”
“I don’t get it either,” said Carine also feeling confused. “Why didn’t they just call the police or have the government get involved or something?”
However, before they could dwell on these points for too long, the young Mr. Belpois mentioned that because X.A.N.A. could manipulate and alter objects in the real world from any supercomputer in the world using electricity, it was impossible to eliminate the rogue program by just destroying the supercomputer.
He also mentioned that because it was revealed Aelita, Maya and Adele’s mother, was in fact a human virtualized to Lyoko by her father Franz Hopper, the very creator of Lyoko and X.A.N.A. themselves, he was intent to free her from the virtual prison she was trapped in, before the X.A.N.A. could be eliminated, and the supercomputer itself could be destroyed.
“D-Did you just hear that Adele?” asked Maya stuttering on her words.
“S-Sure did sis,” uttered her sister. “We have a grandpa who created this whole thing?”
Nodding her head slowly, Maya felt slightly reassured that their mother was in fact human, but now was even more confused about the reason for Lyoko and X.A.N.A. having ever been created, and the fact that their own parents risked their very lives to fight this A.I. like they did.
For the next few hours, the gang began to dig deeper into the video diary entries of Mr. Belpois and began to gain a deeper understanding of Lyoko and it’s capability, as well as the very dangerous nature of X.A.N.A. They has also learned about the evil A.I.’s capture of one of their friends used by him to attack and thwart their plans to kill him, as well as the later addition of Oliver and Carine’s mother Samantha Knight, and the ultimate battle that would put an end to the rogue virus once and for all.
As they reached the final video of Mr. Belpois’s diary, dated on June 6th, 2008, the young boy said with complete relief, “At last, it’s done. X.A.N.A.’s gone, thanks to the selfless sacrifice of Aelita’s father, who I just found out is really named Waldo Schaffer. Funny, there’s something I’ll have to get used to. I can’t believe it, but after nearly 250 trips to Lyoko, and countless hours of fighting and close calls with X.A.N.A., Lyoko has been restored to normal and the world is safe.
“There’s no telling though if X.A.N.A. is completely gone,” he continued. “Viruses can sometimes reappear in some way or another. But if something should happen where the supercomputer will need to be turned back on, I leave this message to anyone who should do so... X.A.N.A. is very dangerous. Should he return at all, I’ve left a full log of each program and command needed to fight X.A.N.A. on Lyoko, as well as a complete listing of information about us in case you need to reach us.”
Before the video ended, Mr. Belpois uttered some words that appeared to be a recurring theme between their parents and them since the day they were born, “Above all, please keep this a secret. No one must know what lies here...”
With that, the final video ended and at last, after all this time the secret their parents had hidden from them for all their lives had been fully revealed.