AN: This is a rewrite. I noticed a lot of mistakes with this chapter. I did a lazy proofread and edit of it before I posted it the first time. This still has the same idea as the original post. I just fixed the errors.
Jeremy slowly climbed out of the sewer as he reached his destination. Travelling by sewers may not have been the most luxurious way to go, but it was the most convenient way with less chances of him getting caught. The robot battle competition was coming up in three weeks and he needed some parts for his robot. He glanced up at the abandoned factory, tightening the straps on his backpack and wondering what he would find. The place used to be a Renault production factory that fell out of use several years ago. He wondered why no one bought the place and knocked it down but didn't complain. Best not to look a gift horse in the mouth.
He approached the stairs and saw that they had fallen off due to the lack of maintenance, but he saw the ropes hanging from the ceiling. He had his doubts but gave one of them a strong tug before sliding down them. The floor that he landed on was on was huge. He saw a set of stairs on his left and an elevator on his immediate left. He also noticed some footprints on the old, dirty floor. Someone must have been in here recently. Come to think of it, the elevator looked newer than the rest of the building. He walked to the front of the elevator and saw the door was open. Treading lightly, he pressed the elevator button to see if it worked. Nothing happened. After trying again a few times, Jeremy noticed someone had cleaned the control box. He pried the cover off and noticed a keypad underneath. Then, he heard some voices coming from outside. Quickly, he put the control box cover back on and hid behind one of the pillars. He heard the voices coming closer and could make out part of what they were saying.
"….Lyoko, daddy?" said a female's voice.
"You'll see Aelita. I need you to go there today and virtualize yourself." Said an older, male voice. "I need more data before we can continue the mission."
Peeking out after hearing their feet hit the ground, Jeremy was surprised by whom he saw. His science professor, Franz Hopper and Hopper's daughter, Aelita Schaeffer. The conversation cutoff as the two entered the elevator. As the lift went down, Jeremy stood behind the pillar a little longer, waiting a bit in case the two of them came back up. He wondered what they were talking about. Virtualization? Lyoko? Mission? What were they up to here? Internally, he debated whether or not to stay and continue looking for robot parts, or if he should go back to his dorm. After a few moments, he decided to stay and search, very carefully and cautiously.
He moved towards the stairs and headed down to the production facilities, keeping his eyes and ears open and checking corners for Hopper and Aelita. Eventually, he found what he was looking for. There were a lot of decommissioned machines and electronics he could use for his robot. Putting what he needed in his backpack, he decided to explore the factory more. On a lower level, he saw a light coming out of an alcove above, with a ladder leading to it. Curious, he climbed the ladder and was surprised by what he saw. The room looked like something out of the matrix. There was a large pillar hanging out of the ceiling connected to several monitors below. Next to the monitors was a large holographic display. The room gave of a warm, and somewhat eerie green light. Sitting at the computer was Hopper and Aelita was standing next to him. He knew it was rude, but now he was really curious what those two were up to.
"Do you have enough data daddy?"
"For now. Thanks to this, we should be able to free your mother from XANA" Franz replied.
"It'll be nice to have her back. I miss her." Aelita said morosely, as she looked towards the floor.
Franz turned away from the monitor and hugged Aelita. "I know my dear. I know. We will get her back." He ended with conviction. They stood there for a few moments, just giving each other comfort. Jeremy looked away, feeling awkward about intruding on the private, family moment.
Eventually, Aelita and Hopper decided to head home. Waiting a little bit after they left, Jeremy crawled through the opening and climbed the ladder down to the computer. He took a glance at the screen but did not dare to touch any of the keys in case he messed up Professor Hopper's work. That would give away that someone was in the factory. From what he could see, the computer was running calculations on some type of retrieval software. There were also maps and other processes visible on the other monitors, but the things he saw didn't make sense to him. Oh he understood what the displays were telling him, but it seemed like science fiction. It almost seemed like a videogame, but this seemed too complex. Like there was a whole virtual world the computer could access. Even a holo display seemed like science fiction and yet here was one right in front of him.
Noticing the time and not knowing when or if the Hoppers would return, Jeremy quickly made his way out of the lab and back the way he came. On the way back, he couldn't help but think about what he saw and heard. Virtual worlds, virtualization, Lyoko? What did it all mean? He decided not to approach Hopper or Aelita about this. Who knew how they would react? When he got back to his room, Jeremy put his backpack down and finished up some work. He was having some trouble concentrating, but got it done before lights out. As he lay in bed, Jeremy knew he couldn't forget what he saw. He needed to take another trip to the factory to get answers.