SF story synopsis, from a dream July 18/97.
In one particular Mayan ruin there is a unique structure, made completely of ceramic. It is about 1 mile long and perfectly straight. It is about a foot square along it's length, and has a notch in the top along the whole length of about 4 inches wide as well as deep. The whole object is not part of any other structure and appears to have no function. One day there is an earthquake and it breaks. Soon after, residents in the area report flashes of light and loud booming noises intermittently.
The main character is the investigator of the strange phenomenon. He is quite perplexed by this object, as it is not something the Mayans duplicated anywhere else, and is so accurately straight it shouldn't have been possible for them to have built it. Although the Mayans used ceramics for pottery, this one is of a different material, and firing it would have taken a kiln of monstrous proportions. While he is investigating near the break, there is a flash of light around him, and he falls down unconscious. He never hears the loud boom that follows a split second later.
He awakes in a hospital bed. He is quite disoriented, but eventually gets his eyes to focus enough to make out an official-looking person standing by his bed. His body seems unnaturally small and weak, like a child's. The official is talking to him. He tries to talk too, but the official seems to not be able to understand. The official repeats back to him what he is saying, and it is gibberish. This is very strange, since he can both understand the official perfectly and understand what he himself is saying in reply. As he becomes more clear-headed he notices his arms are flailing uncontrollably at times, a cause for concern as well as a source of pain as his hands and arms connect with the rest of his body and surfaces around the bed. After a short time the official addresses someone out of his field of view, instructing them to continue care of the patient, and to schedule a synaptic operation to correct the spastic movements. Consciousness fades away.
The next period of consciousness occurs in the operating room. He can feel his hands now, but they feel very strange: like they have no distinct joints in the fingers, a sensation much like how tentacles must feel. The spastic movements seem to be much less.
Consciousness comes and goes over a period of time that must encompass weeks, months. Always the same official is there when he awakes. Slowly he can think more clearly, and learns to speak and communicate with the official. The flailing of his limbs is gone, and upon examination of his hands, he does indeed find tentacles instead of fingers, but the discovery strangely does not fill him with concern, a situation he dispassionately notes in some detached part of his mind. As clarity of thought slowly returns over the periods of consciousness he also finds other details that are not as he expected, leading him finally to the realization that the official is not human, but some bipedal alien of the same physical form he himself is now. This also causes no concern, no fear, initiates no fight-or-flight reflex. It is more like things are now set right, and that which came before was the alien circumstance. This feeling becomes stronger as the sessions continue, and a sense of profound rightness settles in.
The day finally comes when he is fluent in the language and has an opportunity to ask questions himself, instead of merely respond to the prompting of the official. It is soon apparent that he is indeed in an alien body, and on a planet a great distance from Earth. He was brought here in order to repair the break in the ceramic object in the Mayan ruins - an object that is in fact a power generator for their whole planet made of super-conducting material. Their power reserves are running dangerously low. In return for repairs he will take back with him the knowledge of this technology, as well as related supporting technology, including the instantaneous transport mechanism that brought him. This could be a real boon to Earth. He throws himself whole-heartedly into the effort.
Finally he is ready to go back. He again awakes in a hospital room, in his own body. In response to his return to consciousness a nurse comes into the room. He urgently asks her to bring his boss to him, and a doctor. The nurse looks at him strangely, not understanding what he is saying - and he realizes he is still speaking in the alien language. As she speaks English, he understands her perfectly but can feel some kind of fragmenting happening in his mind, a loss of some of the knowledge as if it is being replaced by the English. Frantically he motions for a pencil and paper. She brings same to him. He discovers, as he draws with his strangely ungainly-feeling jointed fingers, that the operation that corrected his spastic movements in his alien body has returned with him and has fine-tuned his motor-skills: his drawing is not a typical line drawing, but a quick scribble across the paper much like is used to trace a shape of something under the sheet of paper. He does this without conscious effort. His first drawing is of a tape player, so he can speak into it. He then crumples up that page and draws a video camera and hands it to the nurse. He draws many pictures in the same manner, the pictures springing up on the paper as he quickly scribbles the pencil point across the surface. Technical diagrams, schematics, tools that he will need to effect repairs.
This is the point at which I woke up.