Chapter 4: Induced Reality
“Do you need something?” Rahu maintained pleasantries, not intending to go on the offensive first. He carefully parked the cycle to the side and stepped forth. A moment later, he backtracked and locked the cycle.
“You messed with someone you shouldn’t ever offend. Remember that once you fall into a coma.” Among the motorcyclists, a balding man sported a fierce tiger tattoo that peaked out through his revealing jacket. He seemed to be the leader of the gang.
“A tiger…” Rahu blinked in irony, unable to control the chuckle that leaked out.
The motorcyclists got down from their motorcycles one after another as they surrounded him. They didn’t carry any weapons, but padded within their gloves was a steel ribbon, enough to make their punches hurt like hell.
Rahu swerved to the side, glancing at the windows of his house to observe a silhouette standing there. Upon seeing it, he sighed, ‘Grandpa must have been worried about these thugs camping at the entrance of our house.’
“Let’s do it somewhere else…” Rahu said and turned around, intending to head toward a nearby park that would be empty around this time of the night.
“Look at this cocky fucker…” The leader of the gang grabbed Rahu by the neck and pulled him back fiercely. But suddenly, his actions came to a halt as he stared ahead, petrified. After all, now positioned right before his face, leaking out drool from a mouth that reeked of the stench of meat was a feline beast, too massive to be either a lion or a tiger.
It stared down at him through its feline eyes, sending his fright response through the roof. Even if he had a gun in his hand, he wouldn’t be brave enough to confront this creature.
The Liger opened its mouth and unleashed a roar loud enough to rupture his eardrums. The leader of the gang frothed at the mouth and fell unconscious.
“Wait! What happened?”
“Why did the leader collapse?”
The motorcyclists were confused. For in their vision, their leader had grabbed Rahu by the neck. Suddenly after that, fear clouded his expression as he collapsed.
In the dead of the night, the gentle jade light emanating from Rahu’s uVR Earth pierced their senses, causing them to feel alarmed.
“Phew…” Exhaling softly, Rahu eyed the motorcyclist closest to his cycle. Immediately in the senses of the latter, a Liger appeared and swatted his head. In the eyes of the others, the motorcyclist suddenly cranked his head to the side reflexively before collapsing to the ground, also unconscious.
“This bastard is doing something strange. Swarm him!” One of the motorcyclists, having authority second to the leader shouted and rushed at Rahu.
Followed by a leap, Rahu arrived at his cycle and pulled out his umbrella. He opened it and tanked the punch of a motorcyclist as his attention fell on the latter. A second later, the motorcyclist fell unconscious.
One after another, while defending against their attacks with his umbrella, Rahu made them drop to the ground, striking fear in their hearts. Until now, he hadn’t even touched any of them, but despite that, he incapacitated them.
Moreover, before the motorcyclists fell unconscious, the expression of each was one of absolute fear.
The uVR Earth was a revolutionary gadget created by a joint venture of all reigning countries in the world. They collectively invested in the technology, creating a flawless masterpiece.
The Pomegranate Corporation came into existence as a result. It was an entity controlled by the major countries on Earth, a special corporation wherein its stakes could only be held by countries.
No individual or group whatsoever could control Pomegranate Corporation. When the leading powers of the world combined their technological prowess to further their ambition, the uVR Earth was born.
It had three primary powers once successfully integrated with the human brain.
First was Augmented Reality. Through it, the user was no different from a computer. They could browse the internet, pull up images, videos, etc. and watch, listen to music, call, and many more. Everything one relied upon a computer or smartphone to perform could be achieved easily through Augmented Reality.
Without even moving their body, they could control everything with their mind. It literally integrated man with his technology. Augmented Reality was the most commonly used power of uVR Earth, for it was the least taxing on the human brain.
After all, even though the uVR Earth had a processor on the level of a micro supercomputer, it relied upon the human brain in the end for the user to comprehend what was happening. So, brainpower was consumed to use an uVR Earth.
The second power was used less frequently as it was taxing on the brain. It was Virtual Reality, a mega hit among the youth, for they could attain their fantasies through it.
Through Virtual Reality, one could transport their mind into a virtual world and live there as if everything there was real. They would retain all their senses, for the uVR Earth sent the necessary impulses to the human brain regarding the sense of touch, smell, sound, sight, and taste.
It had only been six years since the launch of uVR Earth; it wasn’t widespread among the people yet, as it was an expensive tech. As a result, Virtual Reality too wasn’t much developed. At present, it was limited to one’s private Virtual Space.
As evidenced by Saurav’s case, prolonged use of Virtual Reality had severe negative implications on the human brain.
Finally, there was the third power of an uVR Earth, something not known to the populace. It was a secret, a power accessible only to those part of the Department of Virtual Administration—DOVA for short.
Using it was severely taxing on the brain. As a result, only those with brain activity at the peak of humanity could attain control over this power and become a member of DOVA.
Just as how the uVR Earth affected the brainwaves of the user and made them feel alive in Virtual Reality, able to feel everything performed there, Induced Reality was its offensive aspect.
It allowed the user to make their uVR Earth emulate the brainwave pattern of a target and influence their brain, placing them in a state similar to being in Virtual Reality. And in this state, the user made them experience anything they wished to present.
In Rahu’s case, he made a Liger attack the motorcyclists. Even though the Liger wasn’t real, its attacks unable to affect their physical bodies, when they were attacked, their brain was influenced to believe the attack was real.
And hence, it triggered the body’s response to the situation and actuated the various receptors. As a result, the motorcyclists actually felt the pain of being smacked on the head by a Liger.
“S-Spare me!” The last among the motorcyclists ran away in fear, blazing through at full sprint. But calmly jogging alongside him was the Liger that grinned before slamming into his body.
“I’m tired now,” Rahu yawned as he closed the umbrella. Even though he ensured to only influence one target at a time through Induced Reality, it was still damn exhausting. During the fight, had he influenced two or more targets by mistake, it would heat up his brain and cause him a nosebleed.
If maintained for longer durations, he might even collapse.
Through Augmented Reality, he pulled up a screen and dialled ‘100’, speaking once the call connected, “Hello, police? A group of motorcyclists are unconscious on my street. Yes…yes, they don’t seem drunk or injured. Drugs? I’m…not sure about that. Please note the address.”
Fifteen minutes later, a police van arrived and cuffed the unconscious motorcyclists upon inspecting the steel ribbon within their gloves. The police also seized all the motorcycles and brought them to the police station, calling the necessary authorities to perform the work involved.
An Inspector approached Rahu and stared at him, “Were you the one that called us?”
“Yes,” Rahu pointed at his uVR Earth, “I called through this. So, the caller ID is different from a mobile number.”
“I need you to come to the station to give a statement regarding this.” The Inspector then asked for his ID Card, stunned when Rahu took out his wallet and pulled out his ID as a DOVA Agent.
“Sir, it’s getting late.” The Inspector’s tone turned respectful immediately as he motioned at a Constable to arrive, “Hurry and get a statement from Sir.”
“Yes, Inspector.” The Constable nodded and took a voice recording of Rahu where he detailed what he saw. Most of it was embellished, but that didn’t matter, since based on the way the police treated the motorcyclists, it seemed they were repeat offenders.
“Have a pleasant night.” The Inspector saluted as he boarded his jeep and went away.
“You too,” Rahu finally felt free as he dragged his cycle and parked it within his house. He then knocked on the door, observing through the window as he observed a silhouette moving in response.
The door opened with a bang as an old man rushed out, holding a cricket bat, “You damn thieves!”
“Grandpa, it’s me.” Rahu held up his umbrella in a defensive pose, shouting in a fluster as the cricket bat paused, barely inches before bludgeoning his head. Patting his thumping heart, he chided the old man, “One of these days, you’ll kill an innocent passer-by.”
“Don’t underestimate my control skills with a cricket bat,” The grandpa proudly placed the bat next to the entrance as he patted his back lightly, “Back in my day, I almost made it to the national cricket team. A mere goon on the street is no match for me.”
‘Cricketers hit a ball, not a human head.’ Rahu retorted mentally.
“By the way,” After closing the door, the old man peered through the window, “Have those goons left?”
“The police escorted them away,” Rahu slumped on the sofa and switched on the TV to watch some football highlights as he asked, “Why didn’t you call the police?”
“I was distracted,” The grandpa said as he stealthily crept into the bedroom.
“Distracted by what?” Rahu asked while not budging his gaze from the TV. He was a fan of sports.
“By your grandma,” Winking in response, the grandpa sneakily closed the door, “I didn’t wish to waste my attention on the happenings outside.”