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THE GROUP OF NINE:
THE CHRONICLED MEETING OF XENA AND A WARRIOR FROM THE 31RST CENTURY

BY THE HISTORIAN
historian_97@yahoo.com


Disclaimer: This story contains scenes of violence, and shows the aftermath of said violence. If you are offended by any of this subject matter, then I recommend that you should search for entertainment elsewhere. The characters Xena, Gabrielle, Argo, Hercules, Iolaus, Autocylus, Darnelle, Glaphyra, Lyla, Kefor, and Derek strictly belong to MCA/Universal. Any subject matter that relates to the Battletech Universe aside from the names of characters and battle star groups not including the Eridanian Light Horse is strictly the property of Activision and the FASA Corporation. No copyright infringement is intended. All other characters in this story belong to me. All characters, settings, and situations in this story are fictitious, any similarity to persons, living or dead, settings, real or imaginary, and situations, true or false, is purely coincidental. Any usage of this narration is not permissible without written or e-mailed permission that has been granted to the party who wishes to use said documentation by the author of said documentation. Any questions, comments, or concerns are welcome. Please feel free to send them to me without fear or risk of retribution. I will view any and all correspondences with an open mind. Please include a return e-mail address to which I can send a reply. Please, enjoy the story.

Authors Note: This story contains references to the Battletech universe. If you are not familiar with this universe, then I will do my best to explain it to you. However, if you are familiar with the Battletech universe and you see any discrepancies, please e-mail them to me and I will do my best to correct the problem. For those of you who know not of Battletech, then this is a brief summary: It is the thirty-first century and battles are fought in giant robots called battlemechs. The people who pilot them are called mechwarriors. The galaxy is divided into two regions, the Inner Sphere, the explored space, and the Periphery, the unexplored space beyond the Inner Sphere. There are two major powers, the Federated Commonwealth (FC), and the Draconis Combine (DC). Our hero is a member of the FC military, a commander of the battle star group The Reapers.

Copyright 1998 by Jason Drever.


PART ONE:  The Chronos Project

Major Michael Sedrik smiled at his reflection, and the chiseled features stared back at him from the mirror. He was attired in the full dress uniform of the commanding officer of the Mechwarrior unit Reapers. Highly polished black boots lead up to dark navy blue slacks with creases so sharp, you could shave with them. He straightened the light blue short-sleeved dress shirt, adjusting the medal ribbons and rank epaulettes, and tightened the brass buckled belt at his waist. He made sure that the buttons on his shirt, the belt buckle, and the zipper of his pants all lined up. 'A straight gig-line,' he thought, 'the trademark of the garrison soldier.'

He reached for his tunic, a dark navy jacket that matched his pants, and put it on. Adorned with medals and major rank epaulettes, it was heavy and it clanked against itself. He buttoned it up methodically, and put on a pair of white gloves.

He looked down to the table in front of him and grasped his prosthetic eye, an infrared scanner, and looked at it. On the front the sensor sat, a circle colored by thirds. Blue, red, and yellow stared back at him. He placed the eyepiece to his face, hearing the 'click' that meant the pins had hooked into the receptors on his eyebrow and cheekbone. Then he reached for the translator module, a metal bar of electronics, and placed on the left side of his head. It snicked into place, latching into the receptors in the eyepiece and on the side of his head. He reached up and pushed the ACTIVATE button, and his vision flooded with red and orange signatures, the heat given off by objects around him. Now he could not only see visible light, but heat as well.

Placing his purple beret, with it's FC Mechwarrior insignia, on his head, Major Mike Sedrik strode from his quarters, intent on making his 1000 hr meeting with the brass.

He exited the barracks and crossed the parade square. He saw a battlestar of recruits learning maintenance on their 'mechs, an assortment of light 35 ton Jenners and Javelins. He even saw a few 40 ton Urbanmechs tossed in there too.

'Those were the days,' he thought, 'all you had to worry about was not tripping over one another.'

He gazed up at the sky, it was an unusually clear day for the planet Outreach, where the Reapers, his battlestar division of the Hell's Horsemen (HH), were stationed. The Horsemen were the Fourth Cavalry Unit of the Eridanian Light Horse (ELH), the armored division of the FC military.

On the other side of the square, Sedrik entered the Battalion Head Quarters (BatHQ) and headed for the briefing room. The sentry, a young corporal, stepped aside and opened the door to admit the Major. Sedrik walked inside and the door closed softly behind him.

He crisply came to attention, saluting the assembled brass that sat around the conference table. One of the men wore the uniform of a Major General. Another wore a lab coat. The third was the commanding officer of the HH, Colonel Frederick Stephens.

"Major Mike Sedrik reporting as requested!" Sedrik said. Stephens smiled and rose, the other two men following suit.

"At ease, Major." he said, motioning for Sedrik to sit. He did so, and the others sat as well. Stephens gestured to the Major General. "Mike, I'd like you to meet General Lance Pearse, DCO of the ELH."

The Deputy Commanding Officer was here to see him. "Pleasure to meet you, General." Sedrik said.

"Pleasure to meet you Major." The general replied, smiling, "I've heard a lot about you and the Reapers."

"Not all bad, I hope."

Pearse smiled. "A bit, but not enough."

"If I may," Sedrik urged, "Sir, why am I here?"

"To ensure the future of the Commonwealth, of course." Pearse answered. "As you know, the DC has been beating us back on every front, but if you succeed in you mission, we'll have killed the bastards before they were even born!"

"Excuse me, sir?"

"We're sending you back in time to assassinate Yashimoto Kurita."

Yahsimoto Kurita had founded the Draconis Combine, the FC's greatest and only rival in the Inner Sphere, over a thousand years earlier. The DC sprang from Terran IV, a planet called Mars, in 2138. In 2134, the FC was formed when the ruling houses of Terrans II, III, and VI had joined together in an economic alliance. Most of the Terran system had been colonized by private citizens and the FC was formed to ensure their survival.

House Kurita, of Terran IV, believed that the people should be ruled, not governed. So they formed the DC, and for the next one thousand years, the DC and the FC had been the two major powers in the Inner Sphere.

House Davidson, of Terran V, believed in the morals of the FC, but didn't want to join, so they created the Free Rasalhague Replublic (FRR).

Within the millennium that followed, the DC and the FC grew, the FC by joining with newly colonized planets, and the DC by conquering them. The FRR allied with the FC, and colonized most of the Alpha Centauri system. But after that, the FRR stopped expanding, content with the Centauri system. They sold Terran V to the FC, and stayed in the Centauri system. There they grew in strength and prosperity, creating the best life for their citizens.

Recently, the dictator of the DC, a man named Thomas Kurita, had declared war on the FRR, and the FC was forced to help. The DC quickly conquered the FRR, and turned it's full might on the FC. Slowly, the FC was being pushed from planet and system by the combined forces of the Draconis Combine Mustered Soldiery (DCMS) and hired mercenary units.

The man in the lab coat spoke next. "We're sending you back to kill Kurita before he puchased the Mars colonies."

"Where am I going?" Sedrik asked.

"Terran III, circa 2133."

"What, Earth? You're sending me to that cesspool?"

The General interjected quietly. "Do realize, Major, that Earth was a darn nice planet in 2133. That was before the attack."

In 2465, the DC had tried to destroy the FC by attacking the capital of the Commonwealth, Terran III. In the ensuing battles, the planet was so badly damaged, it would no longer support life. Earthquakes and volcanoes destroyed the surface and the mantle began to cool. The atmosphere was burned away in the nuclear holocaust and the planet died. After that, the capital of the FC was moved to Terran VI and the DC was forced from the Terran system.

The lab coat continued, undaunted. "We've developed the technology to warp time around an object, moving it back and forth through time. However, the temporal stasis field draws so much power, the smallest 'mech we could mount it on would be a Cyclops or an Atlas."

"Would my Warhawk work?" Sedrik asked.

The lab coat grinned and nodded, bobbing his head. "Yes, a hundred ton WRHK-109 would do nicely."

Colonel Stephens spoke up. "Then make the necessary modifications to, 'Michelle', is it" he turned to Sedrik for confirmation.

"Nicole, sir, my 'mech's name is Nicole."

"Nicole, of course." The general stood, and the rest stood with him. He extended his hand to Sedrik.

"I wish you luck, son." Pearse said.

Sedrik smiled, turned on his heel and left.


Several days later, Sedrik went to the mech bay to begin his mission. He had given command of the Reapers to his second in command (2IC), Reaper 2, or Captain Samantha Mitchell. She was a capable officer, and Sedrik was confidant in her abilities.

He was dressed in his choice of field gear. Metal armor, both bullet and heat proof, covered his torso and thighs. It would take an autocannon burst or PPC blast to punch through them. He looked like a robot, except for the bare arms and head. His black combat pants emerged from below his leg armor and were tucked into thick metal combat boots. He carried a bundle, his combat vest, in one hand. The vest, when worn, will give him access to four different weapons. On the back of the belt were his two Barracudas, small hand held projectile weapons similar to the ancient Beretta semiautomatic pistols. On the left shoulder strap, his Boxer pistol sat holstered. The Boxer was a powerful gun, able to punch a hole through two feet of metal. On the back, the Paladin was attached. The Paladin was a weapon similar to the pump action shotguns of the twentieth and twenty first centuries except for the fact that the Paladin fired small rockets the size of a roll of coins. They could do serious damage to persons and materials. His prosthetic eye glinted with the reflected light from a spot welder in the adjoining bay, and he pulled the fedora on his head further down to block the annoying source of heat. Sedrik strode into the lab, where preparations for 'mech repairs and modifications were made.

A young woman in a lab coat approached him. "You must be Reaper 1." She said, using his radio call-sign. "I'm Sarah Murphy, head technician of Project Chronos."

"Mike." Sedrik said. Sarah lead him into the bay and talked to him as they walked.

"Nicole, what an odd name for a battlemech."

"It means 'victory of the people'. I thought it an appropriate name."

Sarah smiled, "Silly name or not, she's a beautiful piece of machinery. 100 tons of weapons, armor, and jumpjets." She stopped in front of a table and turned to Sedrik. "I had to remove the two small pulse lasers on her central torso to make room for the temporal field generator."

"As long as the PPC's are still there." Sedrik replied. Sarah ignored him and continued.

"This,"she said, handing him an object that looked like a vidscreen remote control with a glove attached, "is a new shielding system that I have developed. Strap it on your arm."

Sedrik fitted the device on his right arm, because his wrist chron' was on his left. He placed his fingers through the gloves and strapped the pad to his wrist.

"I call it the PDS, the personal defense system. I've installed something similar on Nicole and it's voice activated. This one, however, is not. These three buttons activate the shields." The device had three buttons on it, labeled ALPHA, BETA, E.S.P.. "Alpha shields are deflectors, allowing no energy or matter to pass through. This includes air, so don't use it for more than seven or eight minutes if you don't have a bottled supply.

"The beta shields can bend light around an object, rendering a stationary subject invisible. If you move, however, the light will be refracted unevenly and you will appear as a heat wave. You will cause the air around you to waver, the same way that heat wavers above a hot grill.

"And the last, the ESP. Electro-Static Pulse. It will discharge massive amounts of electricity into any matter that enters a set radius. Very effective in hand to hand.

"The glitch is that alpha and beta will work together, beta and ESP will work together, but alpha and ESP will not work together."

Sedrik smiled. "Cool!"

Then they were at Nicole's side. The 100 ton behemoth was crouched down, shrinking from her usual ninety feet to a mere forty. Her legs were inverted, like those of a chicken, and her torso was hunched forward, as if a hovercar had been placed on legs. Her arms were little more than weaponry. Instead of hands, she sported two Extra Range Particle Projector Cannons on each arm. The ER PPC's were the only energy weapons that could cause damage at over a kilometer. They fired a densely packed ball of positrons that maintained cohesion until it struck an object, or dissipated after a kilometer.

The ER PPC's were the warhawk's primary weapons, but it also carried two Long Range Missile 20 launchers. The LRM20's could lock onto a target that was between 700 and 1800 meters away, then fire a volley of 20 homing missiles each.

Due to the fact that Nicole was crouched down, the ladder the lead to the access hatchway was lowered just to the ground.

"I assume she's ready?" Sedrik asked.

"She is."

Silently, Sedrik climbed the 20 meter ladder to the hatch, punched in the nine digit access code, and stepped through the opened doorway. The warhawk was built much like private yacht. It had living, eating, and sleeping quarters for two people, the pilot and either a passenger, or the co-pilot. The 'mech was designed for two people, but Sedrik had pumped many C-Bills into automating it, allowing it to run with only him as pilot if need be. He usually had a co-pilot, Lt. Therenedy Jackson. She was the only other person that he'd trust with the controls.

Therenedy, or Renee for short, had been the person who had personally made all the modifications. She had been with him when he first purchased the 'mech and incorporated it into use with the Reapers. Unfortunately, she wasn't allowed to come on the mission because of it's secrecy. If the DC ever got a hold of this time travel technology, it could spell disaster for the Commonwealth.

Sedrik walked the few meters to the cockpit, and ducking under a low hanging coolant pipe, sat in the command chair. On the right arm was the control stick that controlled the 'mech's movement, turning and such. On the left arm was the throttle control, a lever with a button on it that activated the jump jets. Above his head rested the main control console, a keyboard that sported many buttons and switches. There were the controls the 'mech mounted PDS and the new Temporal Field Generator (TFG), newly wired into the circuits. Ahead, below, and to the left of the command chair sat the secondary chair, usually used to control the function of the 'mech that needed more thought than piloting. While the pilot fired and dodged enemies, the co-pilot was responsible for plotting courses and interpreting sensor information.

"Nicole?" He called, his voice echoing in the confines of the cockpit.

"Hello, Major Sedrik." A monotonous female voice answered. "Welcome to the modified WRHK-109 Warhawk Class Assault 'mech, newly designated as Chronomech Mark I.."

"Chronomech Mark I. Who came up with that name?"

"That name was engineered by Dr. Murphy to signify that I am capable of time travel."

Sedrik smiled to himself. Mark I. That was funny. "Nicole," he said, still smiling, "How are you doing?"

"All systems should be working within specified parameters. How are you, Major?"

"Fine, what do you mean, all system should be working?"

"The mech is currently deactivated and shutdown. Until it is powered up, I am unable to gauge my effectiveness."

Of course, when all else fails, turn it on. "Begin the power up sequence." Sedrik said, smiling in chagrin.

Suddenly the entire 'mech began to hum, a whine that increased in pitch as Nicole called out the systems that were being activated.

"Powering up...reactor, online...sensors, online...weapons, online...TFG, online...PDS, online, jump jets, online...all systems nominal."

The whine ceased, replaced instead by a steady thrumming, caused by the power flow and coolant valves. Nicole had risen to her full height when the 'mech was activated, and now Sedrik towered over eighty meters in the air. Still, the roof of the bay was way out of reach, another hundred meters up.

Sedrik strapped himself into the seat, and rested his hands on the controls, gripping both the stick and the throttle lever.

"Nicole, what is the power output of the reactor?" he asked.

"13.8 terra-watts per second."

"And when the TFG is activated, how mach power will it draw?"

"6.4 terra-watts per second."

"What systems will we have to sacrifice for the TFG to be activated?"

"With the TFG activated at the standard field strength of 35 mega-Murphy's, the following systems will be inoperative."

'Here we go,' Sedrik thought. Nicole droned on, listing the systems.

"Jump jets, sensors, radar, spacial transceiver, ER PPC"S 1 - 4, LRM20's 1 and 2, gyros 1- 6, thermal imaging, UV imaging, targeting scanners, and homing beacons."

"Great, we pop out of time travel and we're blind, deaf, and defenseless. Nicole, how long after the jump will those systems be operating again?"

"14.6 seconds."

Feeling more and more helpless, Sedik reached for his headset. He had designed it himself, and it attached into his eyepiece, allowing him to broadcast what he saw. Silently, he hooked it on, placing the speaker in his ear and the microphone by his mouth.

"Nicole, open a com-channel to the 'mech lab."

"Accessing, task complete."

Static burst into his ear just as the computer filtered it out. Sedrik spoke into the mic.

"Reaper 1 to Hourglass control, you ladies out there hear me?"

"Louder than I'd like." came Sarah's reply. "How's she work?"

"I have yet to find out," Sedrik answered, "how do you work this time travel thing?"

"Just ask Nicole to calculate the path and field strength for a jump to whatever time you want to go, and she'll do the rest."

"Thanks, now can I go?"

Sarah could have smiled, but he couldn't see it. "Yes, Reaper 1, you are cleared for departure."

Then Nicole cut in. "Would you like me to pilot out of the bay, Major?"

"No thanks, Nicole, I'd like to leave it on manual for a while."

"As you wish, Major."

Slowly, Sedrik eased forward on the throttle, and the Warhawk started walking towards the door. It opened before him. When it was large enough for him to pass through, he punched the jump jet button, and the large 'mech lifted off the ground and rocketed through an opening just large enough to fit through. Sedrik looked in his rear view display screen and smiled. The entire bay was filled with the exhaust from his jets. He released the button and he settled on the ground. The 'mech resumed walking as if nothing had happened.

He halted the large robot and released the controls.

"Nicole," he said. "calculate the path and field strength required for a time jump and arrival at Terran III, circa 2133, Tokyo."

"Accessing...Task complete."

"Activate the TFG at specified parameters."

"Engaging the TFG."

"Hold on to your butts!" Sedrik muttered as the world outside twisted, warping from the buildings and mech labs of Outreach to the mottled lights of time travel...


PART TWO


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