The following is an extract from the Science Fiction Fantasy novel, Gods of Kiranis, by Ronald A. Geobey.* Read the extract and answer the questions that follow. For reference, all portions of the passage have been numbered in Roman Numerals. Follow them wherever instructed.
(I) Jennifer woke suddenly from a lapse of consciousness. Fresh pain, dull and bone-grinding in her skull, reminded her of her fate. A flashing memory of a time that never was took her as a child to a fall from a treehouse, and the ensuing head injury that saw her spend a week in a hospital that never existed. But this…this was very real. Back on Earth, when she had been standing on the balcony of her apartment, she had felt the horror course through her as friends and colleagues below were consumed by the rising red tide of the Cage’s energy weapon. She heard their screams as they tried to no avail to run or climb to some higher level of their surroundings. And she had stood transfixed as the crimson wave rose to embrace her. That was the last thing she had seen on Earth, the last thing she would ever see on her home planet. Her silent reminiscing was abruptly vanquished by screams of pain and fear.
(II) All she could see was a dark wall in front of her, and she came to realise that she was standing in an open capsule. Sweat trickled into her eyes and she blinked it away, just as the clamps on her ankles, thighs, wrists and neck released her. The wall opposite her was then illuminated, blue strips of soft light running horizontally along the top and bottom. She heard a skittering, snapping sound from behind her head and she gasped with breathless agony as tendrils from the metal device on her brain retracted through the holes it had drilled. Blood ran from the wounds, but she was free.
(III) Stepping forward from the capsule, she looked around to see in both directions that countless capsules ran the length of a corridor stretching on into the darkness. And in those pods were captive people, men and women familiar to her in most cases. There were some strangers, and she was sure there would be many more, once she had time to explore. It appeared that there was another, larger corridor running alongside this one, and intermittent groupings of windows permitted a view into that corridor. Finding no access points, Jennifer chose to walk on, spending some time helping other captives who had been freed. Many were not allowed such liberty, it seemed. Although the clamps had released them, the device in the head of each of these people latched firmly to the tiny ports behind. Jennifer watched their agonised struggle, as they tried desperately to drag themselves free while roaring and screeching in anguish. The metal tendrils would not let go, and some people lost consciousness as blood poured down the back of their necks. Jennifer was sure that some died from the shock of the struggle.
(IV) After some time, with a group of more than twenty people following her, Jennifer found him. Tears ran silently down the face of Patriarch Mannix Relland, and he appeared defeated as he was held firm. For some reason, even the metal clamps for his body remained in place. ‘Patriarch Relland,’ Jennifer whispered softly. ‘Can you hear me?’
(V) Staring blankly at the massive windows behind her, Mannix Relland, Patriarch of the Church of the New Elect, tried to swallow his self-pity behind the neck-clamp, refusing to look at her. An age had passed, it seemed, since she stood in his office and they had spoken of the future of the Church. ‘What have I done?’
(VI) ‘This isn’t your doing, Patriarch,’ she assured him, trying to undo the clamps. ‘It couldn’t possibly be.’ Another man assisted her, while others marvelled at seeing their Patriarch for the first time.
‘I’ve been so arrogant,’ he continued. ‘So blind.’
‘You wanted the best for us,’ said Jennifer. ‘Renewal and rejuvenation.’
‘I don’t want to die,’ he whimpered. ‘Help me. Someone help me.’
‘You’re not going to die,’ Jennifer told him, surprised by his attitude. She had never heard him speak like this. ‘The Sentience has a place for you…for all of us.’
Relland laughed darkly, and the sound echoed up and down the dimly lit corridor. ‘Everything I’ve done, all of my sacrifices and prayer...everyone I betrayed and lied to…this can’t be the renewal I worked so long for.’ He groaned with anguish. ‘Our place?’ he mocked. ‘Our place is in Hell!’
(VII) There was the sound of mechanical movement and the man helping Jennifer dragged her back just as a convex glass door was closing over the capsule. ‘No!’ shouted Jennifer. All along the corridor the same thing was happening to all those who were still held in place. A second transparent covering moved into place and it snapped shut while Relland stared in horror at Jennifer, struggling as she was against the others who stopped her from helping him. ‘There’s nothing we can do,’ they told her. ‘Get back!’
Patriarch Mannix Relland mouthed the words, ‘Help me…’
(VIII) The sealed capsule was launched from the Cage and Jennifer screamed as she watched it descending towards the molten world far below. It passed through dark clouds forming amidst a mocking atmosphere of volcanic mayhem. And no-one ever saw Patriarch Relland again. At least, not in this form.
Q1. Identify three antonyms for “gradually” that appear in the textual portion marked (I) of the passage.
A) Fresh, dull, flashing
B) Lapse, fresh, flashing
C) Suddenly, abruptly, flashing
D) Suddenly, flashing lapse
Q2. Complete the following sentence referring to the textual portion marked (I):
A phrase indicating that the incidents are occurring away from the realms of the world is ___________.
A) Cage’s energy
B) Back on Earth
C) Flashing memory
D) Stood transfixed
Q3. Paragraph marked (III) reveals the actual incident that may have occurred. Choose the correct option to indicate what do you think may have happened.
A) Spacecraft collapse
B) War at outer space
C) Scientific experiment on humans
D) Capture and abduction by aliens
Q4. Apart from Jennifer, the author mentions another character by name. Choose the correct option that combines the name with his occupation.
A) Mannix Relland, Patriarch of the Church of the New Elect
B) Patriarch Relland, Church of the New Elect
C) Relland, Church of the New Elect
D) Mannix Relland, Church of the New Elect
Q5. The author uses several words in the passage that are contextually religious in nature. Identify them among the options.
B) Horror and pain
C) Prayer and sacrifice
D) None of the above
Q6. In the paragraph marked (VII), a clause indicating “locked” is ______________.
A) Mechanical movement
B) Snapped shut
C) Door was closing
D) All of the above
Q7. An oxymoron is writing two opposing words together for emphasis. The author has used a few of them in the passage. Identify them correctly from the options.
A) Laughed darkly
B) Fresh pain
C) Both A) and B)
D) None of the above
Q8. The author uses several words: skittering, snapping, grinding, screeching etc to convey a sense of ____________.
D) Mechanical/metallic sound
Q9. The author uses a set of words to convey a particular meaning/sense in the plot here. The words are: cage, transfixed, wall, clamps. Choose the option that conveys the right sense conveyed by them.
Q 10. What image of the earth is projected in the textual portion marked (VIII)?
Q11. The author mentions some colours in the (I) and (II) part of the text. What visual does he intend to create in the minds of the readers? Answer briefly. (Not more that 75 words)
Q12. Based on your reading of the passage, write a short note on the mood and tone of the passage. (Not more that 75 words)
*Extract supplied courtesy of the Author, and with the permission of the Publisher, Temple Dark Books.
(Answers on Next Page)