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VIRTUALLY TRUE - Class 10 English Explanation, Summary, Difficult Words

By Ruchika Gupta

 

CBSE class 10 English Chapter 6 - VIRTUALLY TRUE

 

CBSE class 10 English Chapter 6 - VIRTUALLY TRUE - detailed explanation of the story along with meanings of difficult words. Also, the explanation is followed by a Summary of the lesson. All the exercises and Question and Answers given at the back of the lesson.

 

 

About the author

Paul Stewart
(1955- present)
Born in London

 

Paul Stewart was born in London in 1955 and is writer of children’s books, best known for three series written in collaboration with the illustrator Chris Riddell. Paul Stewart lives in the British seaside city of Brighton with his wife and children.

Ebook Img

Chapter and Explanation

Sebastian Shultz. It isn't a name you come across everyday. But there it was, large and clear, at the top of the newspaper article in front of me.

A boy named Michael is the narrator of the story. He starts the story by introducing another person – Sebastian Shultz. Michael chanced upon an article in a newspaper about Sebastian. He says that as it was not a common name, as soon as he read it, he was reminded of another boy by the same name.

The reader of the newspaper was a big woman. I couldn't see her face, but I could hear her wheezy breath.

wheezy breath: to breathe with an audible whistling sound, with difficulty

The newspaper which carried the article was being read by a woman who was breathing with difficulty and was producing a strange whistling sound.

MIRACLE RECOVERY, the headline said. Sebastian Shultz, a 14-year-old schoolboy from South London, awoke yesterday from a coma that doctors feared might last forever.

Coma: a prolonged state of deep unconsciousness

Michael tells us about the article. The headline told of a ‘Miracle Recovery’ whereby a 14 year – old school going boy Sebastian had recovered from a coma. It was not less than a miracle as the doctors had feared that the coma could last forever.

It couldn't be the Sebastian Shultz I'd met. I leant forward to read the rest of the article.

As Michael read the article, he was reminded of a Sebastian whom he had met earlier. He thought that the boy he met could be the same one mentioned in the newspaper article. He got curious and so bent forward to read the remaining article.

Six weeks ago, Sebastian Shultz was badly injured in a motorway accident. His condition, on arrival at the General Hospital, was described as critical though stable. Despite doctors' hopes, the boy did not regain consciousness. His parents were informed that their son was in a coma.

The article further read that six weeks ago, Sebastian Shultz was seriously injured in a car accident. The doctors at the General hospital declared his condition to be serious but stable. They hoped that he would regain consciousness but since then, he had been in a coma. His parents had been informed about his condition.

motorway accident: car accident

Critical: very serious

At a press conference, Mrs Shultz said, "The doctors were doing all they could, but in our hearts we knew we needed a miracle."

Miracle: a very lucky event that is surprising and unexpected

In a press conference Sebastian’s mother, Mrs. Shultz told reporters that despite the doctors’ best efforts, they needed a miracle to happen for Sebastian to recover. This indicates that they had lost hope that he would ever come out of the coma.

Now that miracle has happened ...

At that moment, the woman's hand moved. I suddenly saw the photograph that went with the story, and gasped. The boy in the picture was Sebastian. There was no doubt. "But how?" I muttered.

Muttered: speak in a low voice due to confusion

The miracle had happened as Sebastian had come out of the coma.

The woman who was holding the newspaper shifted her hand and the picture of Sebastian was now visible to Michael. He was shocked as he realized that it was the same boy who had been his partner in the game. He could not understand how this was possible that the boy who had been in coma for the last six weeks was his partner in the video game. It was unbelievable for Michael that both the boys were the same.

Sebastian Shultz, the boy I'd got to know so well recently, had apparently been in a coma for all that time. I felt nervous and shivery. It didn't make any sense at all.

I stared out of the train window, and ran through the events in my head.  

Stared: looked carefully

When Michael realized that the Sebastian Shultz who had been his partner in the games all that while had been in coma, he became nervous and started to shiver. He could not understand that how could a person who was unconscious play games with him.

Michael looked out of the train and recollected the past events.

It all started a month ago. Dad and I had spent the entire Saturday afternoon at the Computer Fair.

One month ago, Michael had visited a Computer fair with his dad. They had spent the entire afternoon over there.
Dad's nutty about computers. He's got a Pentium 150 Mhz processor, with 256 of RAM, a 1.2 Gb hard disk drive and 16 speed CD, complete with speakers, printer, modem and scanner. It can do anything. Paint, play music, create displays; even when my homework's rubbish, it looks fantastic.

Nutty: crazy about, has a passion for

Mhz: megahertz - one million hertz, the unit of frequency equal to one cycle per second

RAM: Random-Access Memory

CD ROM: Compact Disk with Read-Only Memory

Fantastic: far away from reality, very good and attractive

Michael says that his dad was crazy for computers. At the fair they bought many devices namely a Pentium brand processor of one hundred and fifty megahertz frequency with a RAM of two hundred and fifty-six Gigabyte, hard disk drive with a storage capacity of 1.2 Gigabyte, compact disk with sixteen speed. Along with this they bought speakers, printer, modem and scanner. The system was multi – functional as it could perform tasks like paint, play music, create displays and doing homework on it made the boring work seem fantastic.

Best of all are the games. Tornado, MeBabash, Black Belt, Kyrene's Kastle -I've played them all. With the screen so big, and the volume up loud, it almost feels as if you're inside the games, battling it out with the Z or Bs, Twisters, or whatever.

Michael’s favourite games were Tornado, MeBabash, Black Belt and Kyrene’s Kastle. He had played all of them. When he played the games on a big screen and turned the volume up, he felt that he was also inside the game, fighting against the different opponents in different games, namely – the Z or B or Twister, etc.,/

Technology was advancing every day, and Dad couldn't resist any of the new gadgets or gizmos that came on the market. That was why we went to the Computer Fair.  We came away with a virtual reality visor and glove, and a handful of the latest interactive psycho-drive games. They're terrific. Not only do the visor and glove change what you see, but better than that, you can control the action by what you are thinking. Well, cool!

Gizmos: gadgets, especially mechanical or electrical devices

virtual reality: computer generated realistic images and sounds which enable the user to interact with this space

visor: helmet

interactive: influencing each other

psycho-drive: driven by mental power

terrific: very good

As technology advanced fast, Michael’s dad could not stop himself from buying the latest gadgets and devices that came in the market. At the Computer fair they also purchased a helmet and glove which were part of a virtual reality game. They also purchased the latest ‘psycho – drive games’ which interpret the players mind and thinking also while playing the game. Michael really liked the games as the helmet and gloves changed what he saw around him, and he could control the game with his mind also. The changes in his thinking influenced the game.

When we got them, I remember some of them were not new.

Anyway, back at home, I launched myself off into the first of the games. It was called Wildwest.

That's what I like about computers. The more futuristic they get, the better you can understand the past. I wasn't standing in the converted loft -the Powerbase as Dad calls it-anymore. I was really there, striding down the dusty track through the centre of town. There was a sheriff's badge pinned to my shirt.

 

more futuristic: having or involving very modern technology or design

converted: change the form

loft: an upper storey or attic

sheriff's: an official

The Computer games that Michael had bought at the fair were not new.

He started playing the first game named ‘Wildwest’.

The game was based on the olden times. Michael praises computers that with the advancing technology, they can present the past in a better way. He was playing the game, wearing the helmet and glove. He was standing in the loft which had been converted into a gaming area. Although Michael was standing in the loft, his mind was no longer there, it was inside the computer game and so, he felt that he was no longer present in the loft. He was playing the game. He felt that he was actually walking down the town. The badge of ‘sheriff’ was pinned onto his shirt.

As I burst in through the swing doors of the saloon, everyone went silent and glared at me. I strode over to the bar. 'Sarsaparilla! ‘I said and a glass of fizzy red stuff came sliding along the bar towards me. As I took a sip, I heard a loud crash. I spun round. There, silhouetted in the doorway, was Black-Eyed Jed, the fastest gun in the west. 'This town ain't big enough for the both of us, Sheriff Dawson,' he drawled, and fingered his guns lightly. 'Outside.  Just you and me.

Saloon: a public room or building used for a specific purpose

Sarsaparilla: a carbonated drink flavoured with sarsaparilla root

Fizzy: sparkling

Spun: turned

Silhouette: someone or something shown as a dark shape and outline against a brighter background

Drawled: spoke slowly

Michael describes the game Wildwest further. He entered a saloon through swinging doors. As he wore a badge of ‘sheriff’, all the people inside the saloon became silent and stared at him. He walked up to the bar counter and ordered a Sarsaparilla drink. It was a red – coloured fizzy drink served in a glass. As he sipped it, he heard a loud crash outside and turned around. In the doorway of the bar, a shape could be seen. It was Black – eyed Jed who was the fastest shooter in the area. Black – eyed Jed addressed Michael as Sheriff Dawson and said that the town was not big enough for both of them. He spoke slowly and moved his hand lightly over his gun. He asked the sheriff to come out.

‘I can remember grinning. This was really cool!

Grinning: smiling broadly

Michael smiled and so did his character in the game, Sheriff Dawson. He was attracted to Black – eyed Jed’s style.

I finished my drink and slammed the glass down on the bar. Jed had already left the saloon. All eyes were on me again. I wondered what sort of score I was notching up.

Slammed: to shut with force

Bar: the counter or table

Notching: achieving

Sheriff Dawson finished drinking his glass of Sarsaparilla and kept the glass on the counter with force. Black – eyed Jed had gone out of the saloon. Sheriff Dawson was inside and all the people stared at him again. Michael thought of the score he would be making.

All at once, something strange happened. Up to that point the game had been pretty much as I expected. But when the second sheriff appeared through the back door, shouting and waving his arms about, I realized that the game was more complicated.

Complicated: tough

Till that time, Michael found the game to be as he had thought it to be. But suddenly, it became tough when another Sheriff entered the saloon from the back door, shouting and waving his arms.

'Don't go out!' the second sheriff shouted.  

'And who are you?' I asked.

He wasn't like the other characters in the saloon. For a start, he was about my age, and though he looked like a computer image, he somehow didn't move like one.

Characters: persons in the game

The second sheriff shouted and alerted Sheriff Dawson not to go out of the saloon.

Sheriff Dawson asked his name.

He was different from the other characters in the game. He was almost the age of Sheriff Dawson and although he looked like a computer image, his movements were not like that of a computer image.

'There's no time to explain,' he shouted. 'Just follow me.'

I did what I was told. We raced down a corridor, and through a door. We ran past some men and out through another door.

'Come ON!' shouted the other sheriff.

We went on through another door, and another, -and ended up back in the saloon.

'NO!' screamed the second sheriff. Then he ran to the back of the saloon and dived through the window. By the time I climbed out after him, he was already sitting on a horse. 'Jump up!' he cried.

Dived: jumped

The second sheriff shouted that they did not have time for details and ordered sheriff Dawson to follow him.

Sheriff Dawson followed him, they ran down a corridor, through a door, crossed a group of men and ran out of another door.

The second sheriff shouted at Dawson and asked him to come.

They ran through many doors and finally reached back into the saloon from where they had started.

Upon realizing this, the second sheriff screamed ‘NO!’ and ran to the back of the saloon. He jumped out of the window. By the time sheriff Dawson jumped out, the sheriff was seated on a horse and screamed at Sheriff Dawson to jump up onto the horse.

 

He kicked the horse, and we sped off in a cloud of dust.

 

'Who are you?' I asked again.

But the second sheriff didn't answer. He'd seen the posse of men on horseback speeding after us. 'Keep your head down,' he said.

Posse: group

Just as Dawson sat, the sheriff kicked the horse and they sped away. As they moved at a great speed, a lot of dust gathered in the air.

Sheriff Dawson again asked who he was, but the second sheriff did not reply.

He hurried as he had seen a group of men on horses who were after them. He asked Dawson to bend his head to save himself from being shot dead by the men.

 

At that moment, the sound of a gunshot echoed round the air. The second sheriff groaned and slumped back against me. Ahead of me, in bright neon lights came a message.

GAME OVER

Echoed: a sound which keeps on repeating after the original sound has stopped

Groaned: moan

Slumped: to fall heavily

Just then a gunshot was heard, and the second sheriff had been shot dead by the men. As the second sheriff cried in pain and fell onto sheriff Dawson, the game ended and a message of ‘GAME OVER’ in bright colours appeared.

As I slipped off the visor, the empty desert disappeared and I found myself back in the Powerbase. I took off the glove and headphones. I glanced at the score on the screen. 21,095

Then I noticed the printer had come on. I picked up the piece of paper from the tray.

Visor: a helmet

Michael removed the helmet and the desert scene of the game vanished. He was standing in the loft which had been converted into a powerbase. He removed the head phones and gloves also.  He had made a score of 21,095 points. He saw that the printer had turned on. He picked up the piece of paper from the tray of the printer.

At the top was a picture of the second sheriff. This time though, he was wearing jeans and a sweatshirt. Printed over the bottom was a message. I'M STUCK. PLEASE HELP TO RETRIEVE ME. TRY 'DRAGONQUEST'. Sebastian Shultz.

retrieve: bring back

Sweatshirt: a loose, warm sweater

On the top of the paper, there was an image of the second sheriff. He was dressed differently. He wore jeans and a sweatshirt. At the bottom was a message for Michael. The second sheriff wanted help. He said that he was stuck and sought help to be brought back. He suggested Michael to try another game called Dragonquest.

I wanted to go straight into the game he'd suggested, but it was already half an hour after lights out.

Next morning I was up and back on the computer, and was soon walking through the massive studded doors of the dragon's castle lair.

lights out: time in the evening when the lights are switched off in the room where people sleep

Dragon: a mythical monster like a giant reptile

Lair: a secret hiding place

Michael was eager to help him and so, wanted to play Dragonquest then but as he was already late by half an hour for bedtime, he postponed it to the next day.

The next morning Michael started playing Dragonquest. In the game, he walked through huge doors in the secret hiding place of the dragon’s castle.

The aim of the game was simple. I had to rescue the fair princess Aurora from the wicked dragon, and collect the wicked creature's treasure along the way. I'd already got loads by the time I reached the Princess, who'd been imprisoned at the top of a tall tower. She was a young woman with long golden plaits.

Wicked: evil

plaits: a hairstyle formed by taking three portions of hair and interlacing one over the other to form a braid.

In the game Michael had to save the princess Aurora from the evil dragon and collect the treasure on the way. Michael had a lot of time in hand when he reached the princess. She was kept in a prison at the top of a tall tower in the castle. Michael describes the princess – she was a young woman and had long, golden – coloured hair which were plaited.

'My hero!' she squealed. 'Take me away from all this.' Behind me I could hear the dragon roaring. 'Rescue me now,' the princess said urgently.

Squealed: to scream with delight

Roaring: to make a long deep sound

As princess Aurora saw Michael, she screamed with happiness and addressed him as her hero. She requested him to take her away from there. The roar of the dragon could be heard as it approached. The princess was in a hurry and asked Michael to save her.

 'Never mind her,' came a voice, and a second knight appeared from the wardrobe. ‘ It's me who needs rescuing!‘

Wardrobe: a large, tall cupboard

Just then a second knight appeared from the cupboard. He told Michael that he was the one who had asked for help and had to be rescued.

'Sebastian?' I said.

The second knight nodded. 'Quick,' he said, 'while there's still time.' And with a pair of scissors he chopped off the princess's two long plaits. Then he tied them together, fixed one end round the bedpost and threw the other end out of the window.

'NOW!' he screamed, as he leapt for the window and down the hair rope.

At that moment the dragon appeared. I gasped, and leapt too.

gasped: missed a breath due to astonishment

Leapt: jumped to a great height

Michael asked that was he Sebastian. The knight nodded in approval and asked him to hurry. He took a pair of scissors, chopped off two of the princess’s plaits, tied them together, tied one end to the bed and threw the other end out of the window.

He screamed ‘NOW’ and jumped out. It was an indication for Michael to jump out too. Just then the dragon appeared, Michael caught his breath in astonishment and jumped out.

As I lowered myself down I felt the dragon's fiery breath.

Fiery: consisting of fire

As Michael jumped, he could feel the dragon’s hot fiery breath.

Across the moonlit battlements, we ran down a spiral staircase and through a secret passage on the other side of a tapestry. And the whole time I could hear and feel and even smell the evil dragon following in close pursuit.

Battlements: a broad path on the top of a castle’s outer wall.

Spiral: curve

tapestry: used as a wall hanging or soft furnishing

close pursuit: to chase

As they ran on the battlement, the area was lit with moonlight. Then they ran down a curved staircase, through a hidden passage which was on the other side of a wall hanging. All this time Michael could hear the dragon, feel and smell it also as it chased them.

'The dungeons,' Sir Sebastian cried out. 'They're our only hope. ‘  

Dungeons: a strong underground prison cell, especially in a castle

Sebastian cried that they must try hiding in the underground prison cell which was their last option to save themselves from the dragon.

We went down the cold stone steps, swords drawn. Suddenly, the dragon appeared at the end of the corridor. Before we even had time to turn around, the dragon was upon us.  

I swung my sword. But it was no good. The dragon was only interested in Sebastian, and there was nothing I could do to prevent it getting him.

GAME OVER

Sword: a weapon with a long metal blade

They walked towards the dungeon. The steps which led to it were made of stone and they were cold due to the cold weather. Suddenly, the dragon appeared at the end of the corridor. They did not have time to turn as the dragon had reached up to them.

Michael tried to kill it with his sword, but it was of no use. The dragon wanted Sebastian and Michael was unable to save him.

Again the message of ‘GAME OVER’ appeared on the screen.

This time, the message in the printer said: BETTER LUCK NEXT TIME. PLEASE DON'T GIVE UP, MICHAEL. OTHERWISE I'LL HAVE TO STAY IN HERE FOR EVER. TRY 'JAILBREAK'. I THINK IT MIGHT JUST WORK! CHEERS, SEB.

There was another message for Michael in the printer tray. Sebastian requested him not to stop trying else he would remain stuck there forever. He suggested him to try rescuing him through the next game – JailBreak.

I didn't even bother to read the rules of Jailbreak before going in. I knew that my task would be to rescue the boy. And sure enough, my cell mate was prisoner 02478: Shultz.

Rescue: save

Michael was in a hurry and did not even read the rules of Jailbreak before starting the game. All he knew was that he had to save the boy in the game. In Jailbreak, his cellmate was prisoner number 02478, Shultz.

'I've got to get out of here,' Sebastian sighed. 'Are you going to help?‘  

'Of course,' I said. 'Have you got a plan?'

Sebastian said to Michael that he had to get out of the prison. Michael asked him if he had a plan to escape.

Stupid question. With the help of a skeleton swipe-card, we were soon out of the cell and racing down corridors. Sirens wailed, guard dogs howled, heavy boots came tramping. Behind us, steel-barred doors slammed shut. We dodged the guards, we fled the dogs, we made it to a staircase and pounded upwards.

swipe-card: a plastic card on which data has been stored magnetically and that can be read by an electronic reading device

howled: cried

tramping: walking heavily

steel-barred: locked

dodged: avoid

pounded: strike or hit heavily

Michael said that it was foolish of him to ask that as Sebastian had a plan to escape. He used a duplicate swipe card to open the door of the cell. They were out of the cell and ran across the corridor. As the prison authorities were alerted, sirens were heard, the dogs on guard cried and the sound of the boots of the guards running around could be heard. The prison doors made of steel shut loudly behind them. The boys avoided the guards, ran away from the dogs,

reached the

staircase and ran upwards.

On the roof, Sebastian looked round, and glanced at his watch nervously.

'It should be here by now. ‘

'What?' I said.

'That!' said Sebastian and pointed.

As they reached the roof, Sebastian looked around and then looked at his watch. He said that ‘it’ should have been there by now. Michael asked him what should have been there by now to which Sebastian replied ‘that’ and pointed at something.

'A helicopter!' I exclaimed.

'That was my idea!' said Sebastian excitedly. 'If only it would go a bit faster ...’

Michael saw a helicopter approaching. Sebastian told him that the helicopter was his plan for them to escape. He was excited as his plan was about to materialize and he wanted the helicopter to reach them fast.

At that moment, the door behind us burst open. Twelve guards with vicious dogs were standing there. The next instant the dogs were hurtling towards us, all bared teeth and dripping jowls. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Sebastian take a step backwards.

Vicious: violent

Dripping: very wet

Jowls: the lower cheeks or jaw

Before the helicopter reached them, the door behind them opened. There were twelve guards with violent dogs. The dogs attacked the boys. The dogs were ferocious as their teeth were visible and their saliva was dripping down their lower jaws. Michael did not move his head but from the corner of his eye he saw Sebastian take a step backwards.

'NOOOOOO!' I screamed.

But it was too late. The boy had slipped and was tumbling back through the air, down to the concrete below.

GAME OVER.

Tumbling: fall suddenly

Michael screamed ‘NO’ as Sebastian was already standing on the edge. He was late as Sebastian had already slipped. He was falling towards the concrete floor.

The game ended and once again Michael failed to save Sebastian.

As I removed my visor I looked in the printer tray. This time it was empty. I felt really bad. I'd failed Sebastian; I'd failed the game. It was only later, when the scenes began to fade in my memory, that it occurred to me that Sebastian Shultz was the game.

Michael removed the helmet and looked at the printer tray for another message. There was none this time. He felt bad because he could not save Sebastian. After some time, when the scenes of the game began to fade from his memory, Michael thought that Sebastian Shultz was a part of the game.

Strangely, although I went back to Wildwest, Dragonquest and Jailbreak after that, I never met up with Sebastian again.

On the contrary, when Michael played the games Wildwest, Dragonquest and Jailbreak again, the character of Sebastian was not there.

Then, yesterday, I heard from Sebastian. In the printer tray, was a sheet of paper.

CAN WE HAVE ONE LAST TRY? it said. I THINK THE HELICOPTER WAS THE RIGHT IDEA. THERE'S GOT TO BE SOME KIND OF AN ACCIDENT ... GO INTO 'WARZONE'. IF THIS DOESN'T WORK I WON'T BOTHER YOU AGAIN. CHEERS, SEB.

The day before there had been another message from Sebastian. He requested for a last try and asked Michael to play Warzone. He said that the idea of escaping in a helicopter which they had tried in Jailbreak was a good one but there had to be an accident also. Sebastian assured that this would be their last try and if it did not work, he would not disturb Michael in future.

I couldn't tell which war zone we were in. It was a city somewhere. The tall buildings were windowless and riddled with holes. Machine gun fire raked the sky. Walls tumbled. Bombs exploded. All I knew was that Sebastian and I had to make it to that helicopter in one piece.

Riddled: making many small holes in something

Michael started playing the game Warzone. They were in an unknown city. The tall buildings did not have windows. Their walls were full of holes due to gunshots. The sound of machine guns could be heard. The buildings fell as bombs exploded. Michael had only one thing in mind- to help Sebastian reach the helicopter without getting injured.

We ran across a no-man's-land of rubble and smoke, dodging sniper fire. At the far end we went through a door in a wall. The helicopter was on the ground, waiting for our arrival.

Dodging: avoiding

sniper fire: gunshots fired by somebody in a concealed position

They ran across the land which was war – stricken. There was rubble and smoke all around. As they ran, they escaped the gunshots fired by the hidden gunmen. They reached the wall and passed through a door in it. They saw the helicopter waiting for them.

We started to run, but the tank fire sent us scuttling back to the wall.

Scuttling: run hurriedly

The boys ran but a tank fired at them and they were ran towards the wall for shelter

'A jeep,' Sebastian shouted to me, and nodded at a vehicle parked by the road.

He jumped in, turned the ignition key and revved the engine. 'Jump in!'

Revved: to press the accelerator when the clutch is disengaged

Sebastian spotted a jeep and told Michael that they could reach the helicopter by travelling in it. Sebastian jumped into the jeep, turned the ignition on, stepped on the accelerator and asked Michael to jump in.

I climbed into the passenger seat and we were off.  

A tank was hurtling after us. Suddenly, Sebastian slammed on the brakes and sent the jeep skidding into a spin. I leapt clear, and jumped into the helicopter.

Skidding: turning too quickly

Michael sat on the passenger seat next to Sebastian and they hurried towards the helicopter. A tank was chasing them. Suddenly, Sebastian stepped on the brake and the jeep spun around. Michael jumped out safely and reached the helicopter.

The helicopter started to go upwards. I looked around. Sebastian wasn't there.

As the helicopter started moving upwards, Michael looked around, Sebastian was nowhere to be seen.

'Wait!' I shouted at the pilot.

I looked back. The jeep had stopped, but Sebastian hadn't got out.

Michael asked the pilot to stop the helicopter. He looked at the jeep. It had stopped but Sebastian was still inside.

'COME ON!' I yelled. But Sebastian was sitting as if his body had been turned to stone.

Michael screamed at Sebastian to come out of the jeep, but he was motionless.

The tank crashed into the jeep. Sebastian was thrown into the air.

Round and round he tumbled, closer to the helicopter. He landed with a thud, just below the hatch. I pulled him up. As he sat down beside me, the helicopter soared into the sky.

Tumbled: fall suddenly

Thud: heavy sound

Hatch: a door in an aircraft

Soared: fly or rise high in the air

The tank hit the jeep, Sebastian fell near the helicopter. He landed just below the door of the helicopter. Michael pulled him and as they sat inside, the helicopter flew up in the sky.

I'd done it! I'd rescued Sebastian at last! Before I had a chance to say anything to him though, the helicopter flew into thick cloud. It turned everything blinding white. I couldn't see a thing-until 'GAME OVER' flashed up.

Michael rescued Sebastian. Before he could say anything, the helicopter disappeared into a dense cloud and ‘GAME OVER’ flashed on the screen.

When I removed the visor, the screen was flashing a score of 40,000,000.

I'd hit the jackpot. I'd finally cracked the game.

Jackpot: a large cash prize in a game or lottery, especially one that accumulates until it is won.

Michael removed the helmet and saw that his score was 40,000,000 points. He had hit a jackpot.

At least, that was what I thought then. Now I knew that Sebastian Shultz, the boy from the game, really did exist. I'd seen the proof in the newspaper.

At the time when Michael had played the computer game, he had thought that Sebastian was a part of the game and the mission was to save him. He had thought that by saving him, he had hit the jackpot. Later, when he read the newspaper article, he came to know that Sebastian was a real person.

But how? I wondered as I got off the train.

Still, as he got down the train, Michael could not figure out how the real Sebastian had been a part of the games.

At home I checked the Net. I wanted to learn more about the MIRACLE RECOVERY story.

As Michael reached home he checked the internet. He wanted more details about the newspaper article on ‘Miracle Recovery’ that he had read earlier.

I found what I was looking for quickly enough. Apparently, at the time of the accident, Sebastian was using his laptop to play one of the same psycho-drive games that I've got.

Michael found more information on the internet. He came to know that Sebastian had been playing one of those psycho – drive games in his laptop at the time of the accident.

My heart pounded furiously. What if, because Sebastian had been plugged into the computer when he banged his head in the accident, the computer had saved his memory in its own. And then what if the weird versions of the games I'd been drawn into had all been attempts to retrieve that memory?

Furiously: very fast

Retrieve: bring back from somewhere

Michael’s heart beat faster as he realized what probably had happened with Sebastian. Sebastian had lodged himself into the computer game and so, his memory got saved in the computer. The strange versions of the games that Michael played where he had a companion who resembled Sebastian were Sebastian’s attempts to get back his memory from the computer’s memory.

After all, Dad always says about the computer's memory-'It can never forget, Michael. Nothing ever gets lost.'

Michael was reminded of his dad’s words that a computer can never forget anything and that nothing ever gets lost in it.

But, even if it was possible that Sebastian's memory had been stored on disk, how had it ended up on my computer? Scrolling down the article I found a possible explanation.  

Another question came up in Michael’s mind. He wondered that although Sebastian’s memory got saved in the computer’s memory, how did it get into his computer. He found an explanation as he read the article further.

Answering a reporter's question as to what the family was going to do next, Mr Shultz said that they were off to stock up on some games. 'It was while we were in the hospital, someone stole the lot. I don't know what happened to them.

When a reporter had questioned Sebastian’s father that what would they do next, he had replied that they would buy new games. Their games had been stolen while they were in the hospital. He did not know where the games were.

‘I said quietly. 'They ended up at the Computer Fair. And we bought them.

Michael spoke to himself that the games were bought by him at the computer fair.

'I left the Net and checked my e-mail. There was one from Sebastian.

As all the confusion was clear, Michael closed the internet and checked his e – mail. There was a mail from Sebastian.

With trembling fingers I clicked in, and read the message.

DEAR MICHAEL, it said. THANK YOU! I'M NOT SURE HOW IT HAPPENED, BUT THANKS. YOU SAVED MY LIFE. LET'S MEET UP SOON. CHEERS, SEB. P.S. KEEP THE GAMES. YOU'VE EARNED THEM.

Michael’s fingers trembled as he clicked it. In the message Sebastian thanked Michael for saving his life. He wanted to meet him in reality. He asked Michael to keep the games as a reward as he had saved Sebastian.

I shook my head. A real message from the real Sebastian Shultz. We both knew that by reliving the accident, something wonderful had happened. But then again, now that there are two advanced intelligences on earth, who can say what is and what isn't possible. What I know is this. Everything that I've described is true - Virtually!

Finally, Michael got a real message from the real Sebastian. He was filled with disbelief. Both the boys knew that in the last game of warzone, during the accident, Michael had saved Sebastian and thus, his memory had been retrieved, and he came out of the coma. Michael says that there are two types of advanced intelligences on the Earth – one is human intelligence and the other is artificial intelligence. Michael signs off by saying that the story is true – virtually which means in the world of computers.

SUMMARY

This is the story of a boy named Michael who is crazy for computer games. His father also likes to buy the new gizmos and gadgets. So, on a trip to the computer fair they purchase many computer accessories and a couple of games.

Michael plays many games and finds them different from those he had played earlier. In each of these games namely ‘Wildwest’, ‘Dragonquest’, ‘Jailbreak’ he has a companion who gets killed in the end of the game. This player sends messages on Michael’s printer asking for help to rescue him.

Initially, Michael feels that this is a part of these latest games. But later a news report of a ‘Miracle recovery’ of a boy helps him find the truth. The picture of the boy in the news resembles his gaming companion and Michael is intrigued. Upon reading the news he comes to know that the companion is a boy named Sebastian who had met with an accident while playing the psycho drive game. As a result, his memory got trapped in the computer’s memory and he was in coma.

Michael had purchased these games at the fair and these were the same games that had been stolen from Sebastian’s car at the time of the accident.

Michael helped his companion to escape from the game named ‘Warzone’ and hence, his trapped memory was retrieved.

So, the boy in coma, Sebastian regained consciousness and thanked Michael for rescuing him from the virtual world.

QUESTION AND ANSWERS

Q1. According to the newspaper, what had happened to Sebastian Shultz?

A.According to the newspaper report, Sebastian Schultz had met with a road accident six – weeks ago. His condition was stated to be critical and he had slipped into coma. Suddenly, the day before, he had a miracle recovery and regained consciousness. The doctors could not explain how all this had happened.

Q2. 'Dad's nutty about computers.' What evidence is there to support this statement?

A.‘Dad’s nutty about computers.’ This statement is made by Michael. The fact that Michael’s dad took him to the computer fair from where they bought many gadgets namely Pentium 150 Mhz processor with 256 RAM, a 1.2 Gb hard disk drive and 16 speed CD ROM, complete with speakers, printer, modem and scanner supports this statement. His dad also bought Michael the latest virtual reality games with a visor and glove.

Q3. In what way did the second game seem very real?

A.The second game played by Michael was ‘Dragon Quest’.  It seemed very real as he felt that he was actually walking in the castle. The dragon who was chasing him was just like a real one as he could feel the heat of the fire emitted from the dragon’s mouth. Michael could hear, feel and even smell the evil dragon which made it all the more realistic.

Q4. The last game has tanks, jeeps, helicopters and guns. Which headings would you put this and the other games under?

A.The last game played by Michael is Warzone. It can be categorised under simulation games. Wildwest is a strategy game. Dragonquest is a fantasy role-playing game and Jailbreak is an action game.

Q5. What was Michael's theory about how Sebastian had entered the games?

A.Michael had recently bought computer games at the computer fair. These were the same ones which had been stolen from Sebastian’s car when he had met with an accident. As Sebastian was playing one of those games at the time of the accident, his memory had been saved in the computer’s memory. That is how Sebastian’s memory got trapped in the games and the computer tried to retrieve it when Michael played them.

 

  1. Read these lines from the story, then answer the questions.

That was my idea’ said Sebastian excitedly. ‘If only it would go a bit faster.’

1.Where was Sebastian when he spoke these words?

A.Sebastian was on the roof of the prison when he spoke these words.

2.What was his idea, and what was he referring to?

A.His idea was to be rescued from there only by a helicopter. He was referring to a helicopter that was coming to their rescue.

3.Was the idea a good one, and did it eventually succeed? How?

A.The idea was quite good but it did not succeed. Sebastian had slipped and had come tumbling down from the roof to the concrete below.

Answer the following questions briefly.

Q1. Why did the news of the 'miracle recovery' shock Michael?

A.The news of the 'miracle recovery' shook Michael. The news was about a 14-year-old boy Sebastian Shultz from South London. The photograph of Sebastian that appeared in the newspaper resembled the face of the character in the game he played. Sebastian had awakened from a coma that doctors feared might last forever. Michael had known the boy very well as they had interacted recently in the interactive psycho-drive games. He felt nervous and shivery that the boy had been in a coma for all that time. It didn't make any sense at all.

 

Q2. Michael's meeting with Sebastian Shultz had been a chance meeting. Where had it taken place and how?

A.When Michael launched himself off into the first psycho-drive game, ‘Wildwest', he saw Sebastian Shultz. He was about Michael's age and did not move like a computer image. Sebastian was playing the second sheriff in the game.

 

Q3. What kind of computers fascinated Michael and his dad? Why?

A.Michael and his dad were crazy about computers. He had a Pentium 150 Mhz 32 processor with all equipment. Michael and his dad enjoyed games like Tornado, Mebabash, Black Belt etc. They could not resist any of the new gadgets or gizmos that came in the market. They bought a handful of the latest interactive psycho-drive games.

 

Q4. Describe the first place where Michael was virtually transported.

A.The first place where Michael was 'virtually' transported was a dusty town in the game called 'Wildwest'. He was not standing on the converted loft anymore but was striding down the dusty track through the centre of the town. There was a sheriff’s badge pinned to his shirt. He burst in through the swing doors of a saloon, went over to the bar and ordered for a glass of 'Sarsaparilla'.

 

Q5. What help did Sebastian Shultz ask Michael for? How did he convey this message?

A.After being shot in the first game ‘Wildwest', the second sheriff or Sebastian Shultz groaned and slumped back against Michael. The game was over. Michael noticed the printer was on. He picked up the piece of paper with the message from the tray. Sebastian said that he was stuck and needed help. He suggested Michael to try playing Dragonquest and save him.

Q6. Why did Michael fail in rescuing Sebastian Shultz the first time?

A.Michael was to 'help' Sebastian Shultz and retrieve him. For this, he was asked to try the game 'Dragonquest'. Next morning, he was back at the computer, and was soon walking through the massive doors of the dragon's castle lair. He had to rescue a fair princess from a wicked dragon. After leaping from the window and passing through a secret passage, they were going down to the dungeon. The dragon appeared at once and pounced on them. Michael swung his sword but in vain. The dragon was only interested in Sebastian. Poor Michael could do nothing to save Sebastian Shultz.

 

Q7. The second attempt to rescue Sebastian Shultz too was disastrous. Give reasons.

A.The second attempt to rescue Sebastian Shultz too was disastrous. This time the message in the printer said. 'TRY JAIL BREAK'. Michael was on the computer again and soon was transported to the dungeon cell where his mate was prisoner 02478. Sebastian Shultz. With the help of a swipe-card, they were soon out of the cell. They dodged the guards and went towards the roof. On the roof, Sebastian pointed towards a helicopter. On seeing the guards, Sebastian took a step backwards. He fell and went tumbling down to the concrete below.

 

Q8. Narrate the accident that injured Sebastian Shultz.

A.While travelling, Sebastian was busy playing a psycho-drive game on his laptop. He was totally absorbed in it. A motorway accident occurred. Sebastian was plugged into the computer when he banged his head. He was badly injured, and no medical aid could save him from slipping into a coma.

 

Q9. How had Sebastian Shultz entered the games?

A.At the time of his accident, Sebastian was using his laptop. He was playing one of the same psycho-drive games that Michael had bought. It could be possible that he had been plugged into the computer. When he banged his head during the accident, the computer had saved his memory in its own. The strange versions of the game Michael had been drawn into were attempts to retrieve Sebastian’s memory. It was possible that Sebastian's memory had been stored on the disk. Hence, he entered the games. They were stolen while Sebastian was in hospital and were bought by Michael at the Computer Fair.

 

Q10. How was Sebastian Shultz's memory stored on Michael's disk? Did Michael discover that?

A.Sebastian was perhaps plugged into the computer when he banged his head in the accident. The computer stored and saved Sebastian Shultz's memory in its own. Those disks were stolen from Sebastian's house when he was in hospital. These were the same games that Michael had bought at the Computer fair. That is how Sebastian’s memory got saved in Michael’s computer. Michael came to know of this when he read the article on the internet where Sebastian’s father had told the reporter about the theft of the games. He correlated the remaining events and found a possible explanation to it.

 

  1. Put the following sentences in a sequential order to complete the story.

(a) Sebastian Shultz was badly injured in a motorway accident and went into a coma.

(b) Sebastian's memory was saved in the computer when he banged his head on it during the accident.

(c) When Michael played the game, he entered Sebastian's memory.

(d) Michael bought the latest psycho-drive games from the computer fair.

(e) Sebastian Shultz was the second knight in the 'Dragonquest' .

(f) Michael pulled Sebastian into the helicopter and the screen flashed a score of 40,000,000.

(g) Sebastian requested Michael to try 'Jailbreak'.

(h) Michael failed to save the boy who fell through the air.

(i) Sebastian thought the helicopter was the right idea and they should go into the 'Warzone'.

(j) The games were stolen from Shultz's house.

(k) Sebastian thanks Michael for saving his life and asks him to keep the games.

A.The correct sequence is

(a) Sebastian Shultz was badly injured in a motorway accident and went into a coma.

(b) Sebastian's memory was saved in the computer when he banged his head on it during the accident.

(c) Michael bought the latest psycho-drive games from the Computer Fair.

(d) When Michael played the game, he entered Sebastian's memory.

(e) Sebastian Shultz was the second knight in the 'Dragonquest'.

(f) Michael pulled Sebastian into the helicopter and the screen flashed a score of 40,000,000.

(g) Sebastian requested Michael to try 'Jailbreak'.

(h) Michael failed to save the boy who fell through the air.

(i) Sebastian thought the helicopter was the right idea and they should go into the War-zone'

(j) The games were stolen from Shultz's house.

(k) Sebastian thanks Michael for saving his life and asks him to keep the games.