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When I moved to arise he roused and opened his eyes. “Well, Well, Well, the sleeper awakes! Welcome to the enchanted land of Oz my boy! Cinch up your nut-sack, suck in your gut and get ready for the ride of your life! It is my pleasure to inform you that you have been selected, you win the Booby-prize!”
At this I sat fully up and looked at him quizzically as I fought to comprehend his words. I still felt foggy, adrift, as if I had just awakened from a very deep sleep. Mustering my intellectual acumen I adroitly responded “Huh?”
“Your enthusiasm overwhelms. Just wait until you comprehend the magnitude of your good fortune this day. Just wait! Why SHE chose you I’ll never understand, but she picked you out of a field of thousands. She promised you travel. Already a taste of that, I guess, though you hardly realize it yet. Much more to come. You’ll see!”
“What was that you said about Oz? Oz is fictional! Or did you stuff me on a jet and we’re in New Zealand?”
At that he erupted in laughter. This gave me a moment to shake off the lethargy of my awakening, and as a result when he sobered a bit, I was more engaged.
“No Jets. Magic! Or may as well be.” His mirth subsided and he became a bit more serious. He motioned me to join him on a rock adjacent to his, and then continued in a more serious tone, suddenly sounding a bit like a college professor presenting to a class.
“Almost exactly 500 years before you were born, the most advanced scientist of his day, a man named Leonardo da Vinci speculated about the possibility of flying machines. He imagined helicopters and aircraft with wings. Aeronautical engineers universally agree that aircraft built to his designs probably could have flown if he had a proper power source, and proper materials with which to build the structures he imagined. Leonardo could not even dream about the possibilities of jet engines and routine passenger flights at supersonic speeds. Yet earthly aircraft routinely operate on the same basic physical principles as the fantastical flying machines he described. In just half-a-millennium, all his wildest dreams have not only come true, but have been far, far surpassed.
Today Earth’s most advanced physicists speculate about theoretical constructs such as the Einstein-Rosen bridge, and screenwriters create elaborate imaginary worlds incorporating a colloquialization they call ‘Wormholes’. Now I pose to you the question, what might become of these physicists’ speculations, given another half-a-millennium or so?
As for where we are, no this is not Mr. Baum’s mythical land, and it is not New Zealand either. Don’t worry about where it is, for now. Worry about preparing for what is to come.”
“I see,” I said as I absorbed his words. Mocking the verbal capital letters he had used, I responded, “SHE chose me, and magically transported me to a mystical, far away land where I am to train and prepare for a grand quest, a great adventure, a Hero’s Journey!”
“Hah! You got it!” he ejaculated, laughing heartily.
“So what is this mystical quest? Rescuing a Princess in Distress? Steal an Egg from the Roc’s nest? Slay Talos in Cydonia? Recover the necklace Brísingamen, or Odin’s Draupnir? The promise included high pay as I recall, what is to be my payment? My weight in precious stones and gold? Eternal life? The pulchritudinous body of SHE who chose me?”
“All that and more, my boy, all that and more. Whatever you can imagine, all that and more. If you survive that is.