Initiations (Feghoot XXI)

These many chapters of “Through Time and Space with Ferdinand Feghoot” were written by Reginald Bretnor under the pseudonymn of Grendel Briarton. This one was written with thanks to Dan Kelly.

When Ferdinand Feghoot was rejuvenated in 4128, a slight error brought him out as an apple-cheeked boy of eleven. As such he was legally an incompetent orphan, and his guardians procured him a berth as midshipman in the Space Navy.

The hard-bitten crew made him the butt of many practical jokes. However, on the planet Galumph, when they took him out snipe-hunting, he returned with a sackful of snipe. And in the Scanderbeg System, ordered to locate a space-stretcher, he contacted the first Uilliu ship ever seen-just full of the gadgets, which the Uilliuub had invented as a meteor defense. Finally a tricky old CPO popped him into a lifeboat and sent him to Earth on an impossible errand.

Feghoot returned six weeks later-and with him were a dozen young female apes. These rushed forward at once, eagerly trying to shake hands with the Captain, who was thoroughly angry.

“My word!” the Chaplain exclaimed. “Look at them, sir. Not one of them is right-handed — every one is a southpaw!”

The Captain ignored him. “Explain yourself, Mr. Feghoot!” he roared.

” I was only obeying the Chief Bosun’s orders,” lisped Ferdinand Feghoot in his childish treble. . . . “He sent me for some left-handed monkey wenches.”

(Copyright © 1959 by Mercury Press. First published in THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION, December 1959.).

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