VIRTUALLY TRUE SUMMARY
What is Virtual Reality?
‘Virtual reality’ is a term that applies to computer simulated environments that can simulate physical presence in places in the real world as well as in imaginary worlds. Users can interact with a virtual environment either through the use of standard devices like keyboard and mouse or through wired gloves, as is seen in this story. Virtual reality can be for two purposes : u The simulation of a real environment for training and education. u The development of an imagined environment for a game or interactive activity. In this lesson, two boys remote from each other, interact in strange manner, without actually meeting and manage to create miracles
The narrator is a young boy, who is travelling by train. His attention is attracted by a big woman, sitting opposite, reading a newspaper. The headline and the coverstory was regarding a 14-year-old school boy named Sebastian Shultz, who awoke from a coma that the doctors feared would last forever. The story further elaborated that Sebastian had been injured in a motorway accident and did not regain consciousness. The mother of Sebastian hoped that their son would get out of coma, but only a miracle could save him. The narrator sees the boy’s photograph also and he is shocked to discover, it is the same Sebastian whom he had got to know. But the newspaper story stated that the boy had been in coma throughout. The narrator felt nervous and confused. He couldn’t figure out how could this have happened.
It all started a month back, when the narrator along with his Dad had brought the latest psycho-drive games with a virtual reality, visor and glove. Some of these games didn’t appear new but the narrator was not bothered. He was thrilled with the latest technology and was getting impatient to start playing.
The first game that he started was called Wild West.
The game made him feel that he was also one of the characters and he had a Sheriff’s badge pinned on his shirt. As he burst into the swing doors of the saloon, everyone glared at him. He drank a glass of some fizzy red stuff and on hearing a loud crash, he spun around. There in the doorway was Black-Eyed Jed, with the fastest gun in the west. He called the narrator who was Sheriff Dawson out. The narrator slammed the glass down and went out. Surprisingly the game took a strange and unexpected turn. A second Sheriff appeared through the back door, shouting and waving. The narrator wondered what way the game was shaping. The second Sheriff forbade the narrator from going out. The narrator noticed that he was very different from other computer images. He was young, like the narrator and he did not move like other images. The second Sheriff told the narrator to follow him. They raced down a corridor, through another door, then another and ended back in the saloon itself. The second sheriff dived through the window and the narrator followed him. He was sitting on a horse and the narrator sat behind him. There were other men on horse back chasing them. The sound of a gunshot shocked the narrator and he realised that the second Sheriff had collapsed. Immediately bright neon lights appeared and score ‘GAME OVER’.
As the narrator took out his visor, he noticed a piece of paper on the tray. It carried a picture of the second Sheriff with the message.” I’m stuck. Please help to retrieve me. Try Dragon Quest”. — Sebastian Shultz. Next morning, the narrator started playing the game of DRAGON QUEST. The aim of the game was to rescue a golden haired princess Aurora from the wicked dragon and also to collect the dragon’s treasure on the way. The narrator was on the verge of saving the princess, when he is stalled by Sebastian’s voice in the background, asking to be saved first. Sebastian was the second knight this time and he cut off the golden plaits of the princess, made them into a rope and jumped out. The narrator also jumped out. They tried to run through a secret passage with the dragon pursuing them. They take to the dungeons later and then the dragon suddenly appeared and jumped on them. The narrator tries to strike him but is not successful. The dragon only charged towards Sebestian, who was his prime target. Before the narrator could do anything to save Sebastian, the game got over. This time the message in the printer was ‘BETTER LUCK NEXT TIME. OTHERWISE I’LL HAVE TO STAY HERE FOREVER. TRY JAILBREAK. I THINK IT MIGHT WORK”. The narrator had no need to study the rules of the game JAILBREAK. He knew his sole objective to save Sebastian. His cellmate in the games was prisoner: 02478 : Shultz. With the help of a skeleton swipe-card, they both were out of the cell, with dogs chasing and sirens wailing. They manage to evade the guards and reach the roof. Sebastian is waiting for a helicopter to rescue them. But by that time the guards and dogs were hurtling towards them and before the narrator could do anything, Sebastian had taken a step backwards and landed on the concrete below. The game ended there and then, much to the shock of the narrator. This time, the narrator was shocked to discover that there was no message from Sebastian. The narrator ran through all the three games over and over again, but he couldn’t find Sebastian again. Then one day a message was there, “CAN WE HAVE LAST ONE TRY … HELICOPTER WAS NOT A GOOD IDEA… THERE’S GOT TO BE SOME ACCIDENT TRY WARZONE. IF THIS DOES NOT WORK I WON’T BOTHER YOU AGAIN”. CHEERS. SEB. The narrator tried WARZONE. He was facing a city with tall buildings. Machine guns were firing, bombs were exploding but the narrator was clear that Sebastian and he had to reach the helicopter in one piece.
They ran to a no man’s land, got into a waiting jeep started the engine. A tank was speeding towards them. Sebastian slammed the brakes all of a sudden, the jeep went into a spin and the narrator jumped into the helicopter. But Sebastian was not there, he could not get out of the jeep and the jeep had crashed with the tank. Sebastian was thrown out and landed near the helicopter with a great thud. The narrator could not see anything because of the dust and the game got over. When he removed the visor, he had scored 40,000,000 points and realised that he had cracked the game. The narrator wanted now to cross-check the facts. He got out of the train and surfed the net for some details. He found out what he was looking for. Apparently at the time of the accident, Sebastian was using his lap-top to play one of the psycho-drive games that the narrator had bought. The narrator realised that Sebastian’s memory had been stored on disk because the computer had saved Sebastian’s memory as its run, when Sebastian had banged his head in the accident. But how did it end up in the narrator’s computer.
This was also solved later because the narrator came to know that when Sebastian had been in the hospital, someone had stolen the games and sold them. And the narrator had ended up buying them. There was a message from Subastian that said, “DEAR MICHAEL, THANK YOU. I’M NOT SURE HOW IT HAPPENED. BUT YOU SAVED MY LIFE. LET’S MEET UP SOON, CHEERS. SEB. PL. KEEP THE GAMES. YOU’VE EARNED THEM”. This was a real and direct message from Sebastian. It was clear that by reliving the accident, something wonderful had happened. But then again, what can someone say about miracles. And what is true or what is virtually true— no one can say with finality. The narrator had undergone an experience that had proved to be virtually true.
- coma : prolonged deep unconsciousness
- miracle : remarkable supernatural event
- fantastic : imaginary, fanciful
- interactive : act with each other
- futuristic: relating to future
- Sheriff : chief law-enforcing officer
- slammed : applied
- slumped : to fall backwards
- massive : huge
- knight : honourable military rank
- battlements : parapets with gaps at the top of the wall
- dungeons : underground places
- wailed : noisy sound
- howled: barked
- tramping : sound made by first steps
- dodging : evaded
- pounded : ran upwards
- vicious : frightening
- furiously : nervously
- raked : filled
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