Only taking a moment to call the school of her youngest twins, Jinan and Mina, she immediately rushed to the hospital.
There she was informed by an orderly that her son was in surgery. Taking a seat, she waited. Several hours later, a man with a doctor’s coat came to speak with her.
“You are Mrs. Tearan?”
“Yes!” she replied with a nervous voice.
“I am Doctor Xulan. I am here to talk about Yukiro.”
“How is he? Is he awake? Will he be alright? What happened?”
“Mam, at approximately 4:30 this afternoon a truck going too fast collided with your son who was crossing the street. The driver didn’t see him in time and couldn’t brake fast enough to avoid hitting him. The damage from the actual collision was minimal. However, the problem is that Yukiro fell and the back of his head violently hit a metal pole. He received extensive brain damage.”
“What does that mean?” Allise was afraid.
“The part of his brain responsible for the senses, as well as the ones responsible for his nervous system and motor skills were damaged beyond repair. They will start degrading until he will lose all motor abilities and sensations.”
“Then that means…”
“He will eventually lose the ability to speak, move, see, hear, smell, touch and taste. There is nothing we can do.”
Yukiro woke up in a hospital room feeling extremely weak. The last thing he remembered was getting hit by a huge truck.
I must have been brought to the hospital, he thought. He opened his eyes and was shocked: it felt as if he was seeing everything through a slightly opaque film, it looked a little murky. He tried lifting his head and was again shocked at how much effort that took. At that moment, the door to his room opened and a doctor came in. He introduced himself as Dr. Xulan and explained to Yukiro what had happened to him. Yukiro was left dumbfounded.
After Dr. Xulan exited, his family entered. It was obvious that they had been crying. His mother took his hand and told him it would be alright, and his sister and brother both assured him that he would get better in no time. But he didn’t believe them.
Even as they spoke, it was getting harder and harder to hear their words, and his sight was getting blurrier. Eventually they left, promising to come back tomorrow.
A few days passed since then. Yukiro had come to terms with his condition. But his terror remained. He knew the time was getting near where he would lose all contact with reality, and stay trapped forever in a dark abyss, immobile and unfeeling.
For his entire life he had been active, enjoying various sports and especially appreciating practicing various martial arts in a dojo that taught Judo, Jujitsu, Taekwondo and even Kali. He had spent many hours every week in that dojo, training his body, but now, several days after his accident, he could barely move.
His mother had come to see him every day, but spent less and less time with him as she understood that he was progressively slipping away from consciousness. His younger siblings had also stopped coming but he didn’t blame them as he understood how hard it must be for them to see him drifting away.
Suddenly, the door opened and Yukiro could see several blurry shapes coming in. Two of them went up to the bed. One of them started shouting, although it sounded barely above a whisper to his failing hearing.“Hello there Yukiro, my name is Andrew. Andrew Durnal. Can you hear me?”
Yukiro had been given a keyboard, placed next to his left hand, because it had become impossible for him to speak. By typing on it, the message appeared on the screen placed next to his bed.
“Good. I am an executive director of Future V. Do you know what that is?”
Yukiro’s eyes widened. Who hadn’t heard of Future V. It was a company that was the first, and for now still the only company that had ever developed a functioning Virtual Reality pod. It had been called the greatest invention of the century and because of it that company had become one of the richest and most influential in the world. Once again Yukiro typed yes.
“Good. I am here today to apologize to you. It was a truck from our company that hit you, therefore it is our fault that you are in this state.”
Yukiro knew that it had been an accident, that’s why he had already forgiven the truck driver. But Andrew continued speaking.
“To properly apologize, we at Future V. have decided to provide you with an appropriate compensation. As you know, our VR pod has been out on the market for several years already.
But up until now, the only thing the user could do on it was some basic simulations. But that will change. In a few months, we will release the first, and probably the last game ever to be made for the VR pod. Why the last, you ask? Because it will be the ultimate game, unrivaled by any other.
This game, that we entitled New World, will truly be an entirely different reality. A world of swords and magic, an unexplored land filled with miracles and epic monsters, which will challenge the player to the outmost. And we wish for you to experience that world!”
He took a brief breath.
“You see, it is because of us that you are being cut off from this reality. Therefore, the only way we can repay you is by giving you the opportunity to experience a new one.
To that effect, we will be providing you with your own VR pod, free of charge, as with a lifelong subscription to New World. Of course, we will also pay all the hospital fees, once again for the duration of your life. What do you say?”
There were so many emotions swirling inside Yukiro, he felt he would burst. But at the forefront there was hope.
Hope that there could be more to his life than slowly drifting into oblivion. With trembling fingers, he wrote a few words:
-how real will this new world be
Andrew answered: “Very real! I am proud to say that we have achieved 99.99% realistic sensations simulations. You will be able to feel the grass under your feet, the wind on your face, the rain on your skin… To make it as real as possible we even put the pain gauge at 20% of what it would feel in real life.
Truly a great success!”
-is there any way to make it more real?
“Well, the only thing I can change is the pain gauge but…”
-can you put it at 100
“Why would you want that? New World is filled with vicious monsters that will cause extreme agony if they were to even touch you? Why would you subject yourself to that?”
-i am losing feeling in this world it is becoming less real every second if this new world is to be my new reality I want it to be as real as it can be
Andrew was looking at the boy on the bed. His fingers were moving slowly, awkwardly, over the keyboard. His face was twitching as he was desperately trying to communicate the emotions he couldn’t express with words on a screen.
Making a big sigh, Andrew eventually agreed.