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An American Tanker in Prince Davion's Court (Chapter Cover Art)

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Chapter 2 - An American Tanker in Prince Davion's Court[]

New Avalon Institute of Science
College of Biology & Medicine
February 7th, 3028

4 hours later

Dr. Stewart checks the vitals coming across the screen above the patient's bed and says "Your highness, Director Allard, General Hodges is waking up." A minute or two later, and "welcome back; you had us quite concerned." Hodges replies "Doc if you just got the shock I received, you'd be in the same shape I was."

Hanse Davion nods to Quintus Allard and says "Tell him."

"Yes, Highness. General Hodges, what's the last thing that you remember?"

"Well, I had just returned home after a conference in Britain. As soon as I entered my living room, I only had time to drop my travel bag when there was a brilliant flash of light. The next thing I knew, I woke up here. Suppose you tell me what happened."

"Of course; it's the least we could do for you, after what happened. The long and short of it is that NAIS was conducting an experiment in long-range, high-energy communications. The apparatus opened a hole in the fabric of sub-space and the comm. pulse was beamed through; that should have been the end of it, but it wasn't. Through circumstances that are so impossible that a new branch of mathematics would have to be invented to describe it, the energy pulse we sent through the hole in sub-space coalesced around your house and caused it to be carried here. Outside the event horizon, the events would have been explosive to say the least…"

"So, you're saying that I have effectively been transported through space and time. Also, that my house disappeared in an explosion. Where's Gene Roddenberry or Russell Davies when you need them…"

"Your highness?"

"General Hodges, I am Hanse Davion, First Prince of the Federated Suns." The prince holds up the Battletech game box and asks "Would you mind telling us where you got this?"

"I thought I recognized you just now. Battletech is (or was) a tabletop game created in 1984 by Jordan Weisman and L. Ross Babcock III. When I was at West Point, I played the game as a means of recreation in my few off hours and, as my military career progressed, I found the game a useful adjunct when I engaged in various sand-table exercises."

"Director Allard tells me that he has had staff members going through your personal library. You have a very large selection of Battletech-related material. In the few hours they have had to examine it, it appears that this so-called game of yours exactly matches what happened in the Inner Sphere from before the time of the Terran Hegemony and after the fall of the Star League. Your books and other materials also relate what's going to happen in the future.."

"Such as your impending marriage to Melissa Steiner and your planned campaign against the Capellan Confederation. In all fairness, you do have justice on your side, as Maximilian Liao tried to replace you with a body double in 3025; in the end, it was Ardan Sortek who discovered the plot and rained on Liao's parade…." Just then, a shudder runs through General Hodges' body as he suddenly realizes 'my wife, my children; I'm never going to see them again.' Momentarily, his shoulders slump, then he pulls himself up straight again.

"Your highness, I am Lieutenant-General James Hodges, United States Army. My last duty post before I ended up here was as the Commanding General of III Corps at Fort Hood, Texas. If you want documentation of this and the rest of my military career, there's a copy of my Military Personnel Records Jacket locked in my desk in the living room of my house…"

"Quintus, look into this immediately."

"Yes, highness."

"General Hodges, my staff will make you as comfortable as possible. You'll be pleased to know that water and natural gas feeds have been reattached to your house. If you wish, you can return there as soon as Dr. Stewart signs off on your release. I haven't been to see your house just yet, so perhaps you'd do me the honor of allowing a visit "

"Thank you, sir, I'd really appreciate that; I'd certainly like to show you around."

"Excellent. Before I leave, it is plain to me that you have minutely-detailed knowledge of what's happening in the Inner Sphere; you also know of my planned campaign against the Capellans. Is there anything you can tell me now that would be of benefit to my Plan of Operations?"

General Hodges scratches his chin reflexively and replies "Your highness, there's a Star League Defense Force depot on the planet of Helm in the Free Worlds League. Aside from the large amount of materiel located there, the facility also includes a Star League Field Library; I don't think you want the Free Worlders or those ****** toaster-worshipping bastards in Comstar to get it. There's also a similar facility on the former Terran Hegemony planet of New Dallas (also in Free Worlds League space). The Helm installation isn't due to be discovered until just about seven months from now, while the New Dallas cache won't be found until the time of the Word of Blake Jihad in 3067."

"General, you now have my complete and undivided attention…"

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