An Inauspicious Beginning

Fremont Canby was never happier than when he was dissecting frogs. He had always liked to take things apart and find out how they worked. He pushed his heavy glasses back on his face. For a moment he thought of Jezebel Julian. She was a pert young cheerleader, the most popular girl in school.

Not for nothing was she named for the Biblical temptress. But she was going out with Clem Flynn, the leader of the football team, who had kicked sand in Fremont's face on the beach the other day. But he'd show them, he thought, setting down his scalpel. He just wasn't sure how.

Maybe with his latest project...he turned to the framework of tubes and wires, joined together with a framework of Tinkertoys. Ever since he was young he had loved to read the works of Einstein, but lately it had all seemed to silly to him. There were things Einstein had failed to take into account. With this apparatus, he'd be able to show them all. He was planning on entering it into the County Science Fair next month. Boy, would Clem eat his words then!

It was balanced somewhat precariously on an old drop-leaf table his mother had gotten tired of years ago. And one of those leaves chose that moment to give way and fold down like a beagle's ear.

Fremont looked in horror as the bizarre structure teetered and looked to be on the brink of collapse. "No!" he yelled as he rushed to save it. As he did so, his fingers accidentally brushed a switch, the switch he hadn't yet been bold enough to turn on...

The room twisted and spun around him, stretching and folding like a funhouse mirror. Fremont clutched wildly for his glasses, but his arms wouldn't move--it was like a lead weight was holding them down. Or perhaps osmium, which had an even higher specific gravity, he thought. Soon his basement room had been replaced by a kaleidoscopic landscape of dark and fire. He could feel his bladder and bowels loosening, and then he felt nothing for what seemed like an infinity(but was, he reckoned later, about fourteen minutes).

When he came to himself again, it was still dark. Then he opened his eyes and saw a flickering flame across the room. A fire? What would Mom think? He sat up, and instantly noticed that his body felt...different.

There was a big shiny disc hanging on the wall next to him. He stood up and looked at his reflection. Wow! He had more muscles than Clem Flynn, for sure! And he could see without needing glasses! His machine must have worked after all!

Memories came flooding in--memories that were not his own, but that, he surmised, came along with this body and its brain. For a moment he pondered the impossibility of his memories being instantaneously inserted into another's brain, and wondered if the holographic theory of memory could really account for it. But then he turned to the memories themselves.

He was a barbarian warrior prince named Hatsadong. Right now, he was on the eve of leading his troops into a land called Yuropa, an army five million strong who worshipped him fanatically. And he was a military genius, as well as an expert swordsman, archer, wrestler, and healer.

"Wow, neat," Fremont/Hatsadong said. He noticed that he spoke in a language that was not English, but that he understood anyway. He hoped that this meant he would also be as good a tactician as Hatsadong.

But first things first. He could hear frogs croaking outside his tent.

[Based on the words:

Frog Drop-Leaf Einstein Funhouse

]

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The Den of Ubiquity/ Aaron V. Humphrey / alfvaen@gmail.com