Chapter 7: Always Falls
To Boldly Go
*A wild Rattata appears*
*Rattata is evolving!*
*Rattata evol- Wait… Its just Wormtail, aka Peter Pettigrew.*
"m-Master… Master, are you here?!"
"Of course, you sniveling worm, however I'm surprised you managed to sneak in to this story like the rest of us." Voldemort sneered as he stalked out of the shadows.
"The rest, master?"
"You two aren't the only ones Peter. Hello again Tom."
"Shut it, Fumbledore. Anyway, what do you want Wormtail?"
"Well, my lord… I was just thinking… that with ...him, having not written anything, we could… take command, write the story the way we want."
"Dumbledore! I've had a brilliant idea."
"Yes Tom, but I get to write me an all boys wizarding school."
"Understood, just stay out of my way, I'm going to be wiping out the subhumans and creatures in my yet to be written, mega-ship the Crucio!"
"Um… master, can I write a few snarry scenes?"
"Fourth Wall Police, Freeze! You're all under arrest!"
Officer: "Thanks for the tip off. But, why help us?"
Shadowy figure: "Simple. No way was Tom taking my ship name."
Officer: "Oh… guess that makes sense." He says, before walking off out of earshot.
Shadowy figure: "That and I can't stand the thought of snarry… No, he'll be mine. All mine."
[Can you guess the shadowy figure? Is said character male? If so, you're wrong!]
I, in no way, own, claim to speak for, or represent any character or persons involved in this story. Any description, likeness, or portrayal of people, persons or events in no way is meant to show the views, opinions or actions of said people, persons or events. Any and all licenses and trademarks belong to their respective owners, and their lack of comment or notice to the writer is considered consent of non-profitable use.
Except Thrans, he's all me. Well, at least a third of me, but totally me.
Collaborated with, Revised and Beta'd by 'Joe Lawyer'
AN: And I'm back…
I'll be tacking on explanations for my lack of activity in the end author's note, but I would like to say that my personal image of Hogwarts differs greatly from the films, and the 'defence' of Hogwarts in the final instalment was lacking due to their being no Hogwarts accepted Headmaster.
This chapter does not relate to a Star Trek Online mission.
It is the second chapter of two in a non-canon History of the Magical World explanation.
Last Episode on To Boldly Go
Pulling off his gauntlets, he ran his fingers through his hair in frustration at what came next.
"In a dark, dingy little pub called the Hog's Head, sometime in early 1980, a prophecy was made. And while it didn't signal the beginning of the end of the wizarding race, it bloody well made sure we fell."
- Earth Spacedock (Designation: Starbase 1) - Orbiting Earth, Sol, Sector 001 -
"I have always been skeptical about prophecies," Harry continued, accepting the looks of disbelief and confusion from the others in the room. "Over ninety percent of prophecies recorded are classed as merely 'possible futures,' given by recognized seers. About nine percent are truly fixed future events spoken of by Oracles. The final one percent are usually the most famous of them all, those being self-fulfilling prophecies, which can be given by virtually anyone with even a touch of the gift.
"The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches ... born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies ... and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not ... and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives ... the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies ..." (AN: Taken straight from the Harry Potter wikia site.)
Two men who heard those words decided that the prophecy made that night was of a fixed future event, rather than merely a possible future, and thus it became a self-fulfilling prophecy. Any self respecting Dark Lord upon this information being relayed to him would avoid the probable child spoken of in the prophecy like the plague, doing their very best to ignore the prophecy altogether. Unfortunately, the dark lord at the time, Tom Riddle or Lord Voldemort, only heard part of the prophecy, in fact only the first two lines."
"Sorry to interrupt, I'm Commander Samuel Winters, 2IC of Starbase 1. Voldemort? Why 'flight from death?'"
"...Wizards… I mean it was only a small minority of us, but they did exceedingly dumb things in what they thought were very clever ways. 'I am Lord Voldemort' is an anagram of Tom Marvolo Riddle, his real name, and I learned later in life that the man couldn't actually speak french. I suspect that after working out all the possible anagrams of his birth name, he simply went with Voldemort because it sounded semi-cool. The name was chosen when he was only 15 or 16 years old, so we should probably cut him some slack.
Anyway, Albus Dumbledore, however, heard the full prophecy, and after working out the two possible wizarding children in the most narrow minded, literal, overly simplistic interpretation of the words, informed their parents, helping each move into hiding for their protection.
On 31 October, 1981, however, Tom Riddle managed, with the help of a traitor, to attack the home of the family he judged the larger threat of the two. The child's father was killed at the foot of the stairs, buying time for the mother to cast a still unknown spell upon her son.
And so, moments after the dark lord killed Lily Potter in front of my cradle, forming one of my earliest memories, Tom Riddle was temporarily defeated, the backlash from my people's most reliable curse's only known failure casting his consciousness from his body, and forcing him to spend nearly a decade and a half trying to regain a physical body as a roaming spirit."
As Harry took a sip of water he could feel the eyes of the entire room on him, almost squirming in his chair as waves of unwanted pity were directed at him.
"I was improperly and irrationally hailed as a hero, the general public believing that I had somehow slain the worst Dark Lord in recent history in my nappies. All the while the people of the country were still unable to bring themselves to even say his name, while those in the know about the Dark Lord's un-death waited for me to come of age and finish him off for good this time.
Rather than being spoiled and fought over by the wizarding world, I was placed with my non-magical aunt and uncle, and grew up abused and… basically treated as a useless freak. In fact 'freak' was what I thought my name actually was until I was about five years old and learned my real name during roll call at school. I later survived several of Voldemort's plots during my youth by sheer dumb luck and the support of friends, only showing the then unknown to me historical qualities of the Potter family on a handful of rare occasions.
I was however, even then, a magical powerhouse, but little more than an average student with little ambition due to my upbringing, desperate need for acceptance and thus to fit in, and fervent desire to remain 'just Harry' rather than 'The-Boy-Who-Lived,' which always translated in my mind to 'The-Boy-Who-Survived-When-His-Parents-Did-Not.'
On the 30th of June 1997, Albus Dumbledore died at the relatively young age of 115, assassinated during a plot organised by Lord Voldemort who had regained physical form nearly two years prior. Historically speaking, the death of such an influential leader would have rallied the 'light magic faction' at Hogwarts, Britain's oldest school, but Dumbledore was never one to share power or critical information, and Voldemort had spent two years targeting and eliminating anyone who could realistically oppose him in secret while the government desperately denied his return.
With the leader of the light magic faction dead and no successor in place to take over, Voldemort's feared Death Eaters were able to quickly take over the English Ministry of Magic, legitimizing his claim to power in magical Britain. Under his rule of the country I gained the second title given to me that I felt I had truly earned."
Chuckling slightly at the tension in the room, he let the words out in an ominous magic-laden whisper that somehow reached the ears of everyone present and sent chills up their spines. The words of the title were able to conjure all kinds of mental impressions amongst those present, even some historical examples from various cultures they'd encountered in their careers. The few who knew Harry had been heralded as the people's hero only a few years before the title was given, tried not to imagine how bad the situation might have gotten for Starfleet if someone like Voldemort had taken over the Federation.
"I became known as Undesirable Number One.
I spent most of the year following Dumbledore's death on the run, attempting to locate and destroy the anchors to immortality that Voldemort had used, and eventually engaged him in open battle, at the very gates of Hogwarts itself.
In the end, I was victorious, but it was not the end of my troubles. Before I defeated Voldemort, I already possessed two parts of a powerful trio of legendary magical artifacts.
The trio was then completed moments after Tom Riddle died at my hands.
In his possession was the third item, a powerful wand known at various times throughout history by such names as the Elder Wand, the Death Stick, or the Wand of Destiny, which at its creation or over the millennia had developed a singular fixation on the phrase 'you keep, what you kill.'
With the trio now in my possession, together for the first time in thousands of years, they bound themselves to me permanently, absorbed into my essence, my very soul, though I do have the power to call them out temporarily before they inevitably return back into me again.
That day legend became reality and I became the so called 'Master of Death,' an Immortal, and unable to give the items or the curse up, no matter how desperately I tried. And believe me, I tried. Unlike so many other fools before and since, immortality was never something I desired. I truly looked forward to the next great adventure, to be reunited with all my friends and loved ones who passed on during my long, long life."
Those in the room could mostly understand his feelings, other 'Immortals' the Federation had come across had described having the same problems with eternal life. It seemed clear that unless extremely long life or true immortality was the natural state for a being, then it was very difficult for a person of a naturally mortal species to live without end and not feel cursed in time. But even then, that wasn't always a certainty either… even a Q had once wished to die after all, although that desire seemed more philosophically based.
"I was not the only one suffering, however, magical Britain was the most heavily populated magical country in Europe at the end of World War II, France coming just behind with a population a quarter of the size. Voldemort's first rise killed about an eighth of that number, however his second rise and short reign as the defacto head of our government lead to the deaths of two thirds of our population. 'Work camps' and 'population redistribution centers' lead to the deaths of almost all of the muggleborn in Britain, those without magical parentage, as well as the halfbloods, those with some magical parentage, and finally the magical creature populations.
Years of secret government sponsored efforts to weaken and dumb down the magical population left most near powerless to fight back against Voldemort and the old family purebloods who had always hoarded their ancient magical knowledge while training their sons and daughters in secret.
You may be wondering why the world's other magical nations did not help us.
North America was barely colonised by magicals, and after the Salem witch trials most magicals in that country fled, the region's native magicals never advancing beyond Shamanistic-style magics. South America was never colonised by magicals in the modern day, again, as that place had a stigma against it ever since the deaths of the local magicals from the Spanish Conquistador indoctrinated muggleborn army and diseases like smallpox. The surprising lack of magical ley-lines passing through the country didn't help either.
Africas magicals had barely progressed beyond their shamanistic lifestyles and European colonialism, with its propagation of the Christian faiths' views on magic, meant those who had the gift of magic isolated themselves from the non-magical world, to such an extent that many died off without finding a child to pass on their knowledge to or believing their 'satanic' powers made them unfit to breed, living out the rest of their lives as hermits within the hidden european warded magical creature reserves in Africa.
The Russian magicals, powerful as they were, were heavily integrated into the country's non-magical aristocracy and when the revolution came, those who could fled the country. The rise of communism and eventual iron curtain, began an global effort to spirit away any newly born magicals in the country, rather than risk magic's detection by the ever watchful Russian communist government. Thus the nation had only a minimal magical community even after the USSR fell.
Eastern Asia had a small, tightly knit magical community, but rarely left the confines of the magically hidden and protected lands that they had lived on for thousands of years, other than to bring muggleborns and their families under their protection.
Australia was never really colonised, magical europe still viewing it as a penal-colony/place-of-exile, though a magical school was built there for muggleborns and the children of those in hiding. There was a joke, in somewhat poor taste, that went 'if you want to find a pureblood in hiding, check the school in Australia for their children.'
The magicals in the Middle East did very well for themselves, hiding in vast ancient cities, powerful wards keeping the non-magicals away for millennia. Yet strict population controls kept the population levels from growing too much, even with occasional immigration and muggleborns being born. And even if they had the population to aid us, the crusades and our warlike ways meant that they did not even read our letters begging for aid.
In fact the only magical nation we were on relatively good terms with, that had even half our population, was India.
But… this was the 1990s.
The eugenics wars.
Khan's influence spread throughout India and the Middle East, and after finding he himself could not gain the ability to use magic… he did what he did best, declared us inferior stock and attacked.
Only Europe and a few physically hidden enclaves were spared his and his agents' attentions. The powerful avoidance wards used as a first and in most cases, only, line of defence against non-magicals, were not calibrated to an Augment's enhanced brains, allowing Khan's soldiers to virtually ignore them through sheer force of will and bypass many of our defences as they chose.
However, one group of magical people had spent hundreds, if not thousands of years, in the equivalent of a defensive arms race.
Europe's centuries of magical and non-magical warfare, along with its talented teams of curse breakers and ward builders had led to a vast variety of overlapping, broad-spectrum wards, which possessed avoidance, defensive and offensive capabilities. Those magicals in Europe who had witnessed and experienced firsthand the horrors of World War I and II had created and deployed many new wards and protections to defend against sustained artillery and chemical attacks. The very reason Europe and its 'warlike' nature was shunned by the rest of the magical community had ultimately saved them from Khan's wrath, when so many others were killed.
In February of 2001, I was asked to lead a diplomatic party to attempt to reconnect with the Middle Eastern magicals. We already had some dealings with what was left of the Egyptian magicals, although they had never really recovered after the Roman occupation. The magical presence there was little more than a heavily warded outpost for magical tomb raiders and recovery squads, wards that made sure muggles never stumbled across the region's true history. So I traveled from there, towards the ancient city of Babylon and into the vast warded section of the city.
When I arrived I found that it was little more than a tomb. The beautiful and ancient terraces of the hanging gardens of Babylon, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, were littered with the bullet ridden dead, the magical populace overwhelmed by the cruel Augments. The vast subterranean city was now nothing more than a sprawling catacomb, traces of a two-part airborne neurotoxin hung heavily in the air. The poisoned air killed over half the diplomatic party I was with before we even realized what was happening. It also served to confirm to me my new found immortality.
This was my third...death, by this point. Which marked the beginning of a string of experiments into my still growing powers and a global effort to track down and protect the remaining magicals, while packing up what remained of the magical world. Between 2002 and 2015 nearly half of Britain's adult magical population was overseas running search and rescue and salvage operations and by 2010 almost ninety percent of magicals worldwide resided in Hogwarts and in the newly expanded Hogsmeade village near it.
But in 2026 World War III began. Your history remembers it quite dryly as a 27 year long conflict ending in a single massive nuclear holocaust, while in fact it was 27 years of bloody revolutions, terror attacks, endless border skirmishes, widespread civil wars and senseless purges. The armies swept across continents in waves and ripples, theaters of warfare opening and closing sometimes in at most a few years, only to receive a temporary peace that might only last a single day before two new factions began to fight and dragged everyone else back in.
A handful of nukes were used in the opening days of the conflict, far from the envisioned apocalypse, but enough to drop global temperatures six degrees and by the end of the decade a further eight. Bioweapons soon followed, a host of airborne indiscriminate killers travelling freely on the winds, pushing many witches' and wizards' magically reinforced immune systems to their breaking point, as the vast amounts of death and destruction from the nuclear warheads disrupted the planet's interconnected web of ley-lines which we unconsciously tapped into to recharge our magic.
The first detonations affected the network only slightly, but enough that we should have seen the signs… The centaur were one of the magical races most in tune and reliant on the ley-lines, each of them went mad as their brains were forced to now comprehend the normally fixed and unchanging energy network. They all died soon after or committed suicide. They were the first sentient magical race to fall. Soon after the more magically relient and sensitive creatures began to die off in droves. The Unicorns died in the first six months. The Dragons were rendered flightless within the year. The ghosts... magical imprints of people whose deaths were incredibly traumatic to them or those who clung to life with unusual tenacity, long considered effectively immortal by our people, slowly faded to nothingness.
By the end of the war only a handful of creatures who had massive magical reserves and rarely used their gifts, and even then only in small ways, were alive. And despite finding a method to increase our chances of survival… the last witch left on the planet, Luna Lovegood, a very close friend of mine and a beacon of light in an endless night devoid of stars, died in 2061. You may ask why I consider immortality a curse...imagine yourself the last of your kind and being unable to be reunited with your loved ones even in death.
By this time I'd already traveled the world as both Lightning Strike and The Lonely Wanderer, repairing the effects of the war, saving cultural artifacts, removing the most destructive of weapons remaining and cleaning up the last bits of the magical world."
"Wait. Sorry, Cultural artifacts?"
"Books, music, films, TV shows, paintings, sculptures… I took whole servers that were once hooked up to the internet and transferred them to safety. Whole museums worth of objects."
"You- humanity, couldn't be trusted. You were tearing our world, our planet, apart. How could I leave something like the Crown Jewels or Michelangelo's David for some scavenger or two bit warlord to claim as a prize or to be destroyed in yet another pointless skirmish or purge of history. My initial plans were to slowly sneak them back into the muggle world when you made peace with each other, to ensure trusted people 'stumbled' across the seemingly hidden stash of some forgotten World War III looter."
"You still have them, right? I mean the cultural knowledge alone is priceless."
"When I realized that I was the last magical left and decided to die, I left them all at Hogwarts, knowing the wards would eventually fall and you would find what little remained, so that you would know of both our existence and our fall. This was assuming humanity survived as a race at all, something I was not so sure about then. You know… perhaps we should move our conversation there. How quick can we ready a shuttle to take us to southern Scotland."
- Meanwhile deep inside the Delta Quadrant diabolical plans are underway, overseen by the ever watchful eye of, Tribble of Borg! -
Aboard the lead tactical cube, deep within the command chamber, a tiny unblinking red lens stared out at the organised chaos, trying to distract himself from the continued touch of the drone holding him. The Tribble of Borg watched the organised chaos of those under his command.
With most of the Collective retreating to shipyards and staging areas to refit ships with long considered wasteful or inefficient automated systems, ones that would ensure the distracting anomaly witnessed on Vega did not result in losses that Tribble of Borg had barely mitigated the first time around, our assimilated villain prepared for his greatest task yet.
From across the galaxy the strange, bizarre, and unique, were being gathered under his command, each chosen specifically because of their ability to remain unaffected by the data collected on the anomaly.
One of One, Tactical Subunit of Secondary Experimental Division of Unimatrix Zero One, was the result of a Borg super soldier cloning experiment originally believed to be a dead end, a member of species 125, the same as the current line of Borg Queens. She was the equivalent of a teenager in body and an infant in mind, but three times as deadly as a heavy tactical drone and able to punch through solid duridium alloy.
Several recent upgrades had given One of One a mind more inline with her body's physical maturity, but her mind still struggled to communicate with the collective and mostly learned from example, thus she had taken up the Borg Queen's habit of petting the possible future Tribble Overmind.
But soon, very soon, none of that would matter (not even the Xindi Aquatic drone struggling to use his cybernetic legs), because they were nearly ready to leave and begin hunting down the menace that had so severely disrupted the calm of the collective.
- Federation, Type 2 Heavy Shuttle Barge (Designation: Heavy 98) - Shuttle Bay 12 - Earth Spacedock (Designation: Starbase 1) - Orbiting Earth, Sol, Sector 001 -
"*Whistling* The shuttle to Saturn will leave at 0830 hours."
"Flight Control, this is Transport Heavy 98, we are beginning preflight checks. Standby to receive flight plan."
"Transport Heavy 98, Roger that. Standing by to receive flight plan, ground crew reports external checks complete."
"I still can't believe I'm being relegated to the passenger seat; I'm a natural at flying!"
"Not my fault you've only got a Level 7 piloting licence, Harry." Anne replied, as she continued the preflight checks on the old, but well maintained personnel shuttle, while Harry continued to mutter and groan at the unfair limitations the laws imposed on a holodeck education.
Rather than beaming down to the surface, which would be publicly logged in the station's officials records, including the destination, the admirals. high ranking officials, New England's crew, the many guards and Harry, would be taking the mostly phased out transport shuttle on a steep full burn reentry flight to the surface. They would be using the planet's gravity and rotation to get into the atmosphere and quickly away from both public and any hostile sensors that may be watching, as quickly as possible.
Modern shuttlecraft would burn up doing such a maneuver, but the Type 2 Heavy Shuttle Barge predated even the Warp 5 engine and was the Federation's sublight mass taxi for years, at least until transporter technology became far more mainstream and widely available to everyone.
"Flight Control, Transport Heavy 98 has preflight checkout; the board is green. We are awaiting authorisation to begin launch sequence."
"Transport Heavy 98, Roger that. Hangar bay personnel have cleared the deck. You are authorised to initiate drop maneuver."
"Transport Heavy 98, Roger that. Alright… Attention all passengers, please buckle in and sit tight, we are about to leave the shuttlebay then begin de-orbit burn."
- [Error Location Unknown] -
Q was pleased to be back in the saddle, so to speak; he'd been forced to spend far too long cleaning up after his son, following the boy all around the universe. However Q Jr. had finally begun to shape up into the Q the Continuum desperately needed.
And so Q had some time off while his on again, off again wife, Lady Q, reconnected with their now 'respectable' son. Kathryn really would have been a better choice for a mother.
Looking out over the timeline from his favorite hideout, he plucked away at a pocket universe model of history in a hyper-dimensional visual form, tugging at the odd strand before him making both subtle and near invisible changes to the timeline.
He was being unusually careful with the timeline at the moment, as far too many powerful factions were involved and any major changes would be immediately noticed. After getting permission from the Continuum to take command of the entire reality while all but a few Q retreated to the new, more stable one old pointy ears had made, he was being extremely careful to not destroy the fragile future he was working towards bringing about. The slightest mistake could bring ruin.
His current project (read: meddling with time) would be twenty three years before Harry had even woken up from his dirt nap.
Harry's role as the young (compared to a Q) Master of Death was far more than the Mage was even yet aware of. His unique position meant that he had true free will, from even powerful beings like himself mucking about and was one of the only mobile truly fixed points in space-time, as if the hand of some great cosmic power had grabbed hold of the strings of fate and forced them to conform into a single thread where Harry was concerned, though if this was a reaction between the Hallows and Harry's magical time turners or something else, Q did not know.
Thus every change Q was making to the model timeline of this reality actually would go 'into effect' 24 years ago, Q rolling back time to make the changes apparent in the 'present,' and outside Harry's powers interference.
His initial temporal manipulation in the timeline of the Romulan Empire would not be hard to introduce, but the followup changes to ensure Sela's plan ultimately failed, but remained undetected, now that would be much harder.
Still, he had always felt a little bit of pity for Natasha Yarr and her alternate universe counterpart, and while some might not agree, this would more than make up for it.
- Federation, Type 2, Heavy Shuttle Barge (Designation: Heavy 98) - Descent orbit, for re-entry over the British isles, Earth, Sol -
"Have I ever told you how much I hate reentry?" Elise shouted to T'Vrell over the noise of the bouncing shuttlecraft.
"Our steeper angle of descent will make us look like debris, better hiding us from prying eyes. The Admirals seem rather paranoid about keeping Harry secret." The Vulcan replied, showing little discomfort at the tight seating straps pulled against her. The old shuttle barge continued to max out its impulse engines in its fifty degree dive to the planet's surface, traces of reentry plasma flickering across the transparent aluminium windows.
In the cockpit at the front of the craft Anne clutched at the shuddering control stick, the computer guidance software unable to safely conduct such a steep reentry, requiring her to use all her considerable piloting skill to get below the passive sensor net as quickly as she could. Most of her mind was locked on to the task at hand, but a tiny corner of her brain was celebrating that she might be in for both the quickest and steepest reentry over Earth on record, should the events today ever go public.
Harry, sitting in the co-pilot's seat, was rapidly tapping away at the control station in front of him, displaying the route to Hogwarts on the forward screen, both impressed with Anne's skill and slightly jealous not to be at the controls himself. Whether it was a broom or the controls of a starship, he loved to fly, in all its forms, and his training in the holodeck had proven that his amazing natural instincts and prodigious skill in flight were present even when piloting a modern starship.
Unfortunately for his ego, Anne was a Level 9 pilot, so prodigious in skill that she'd been asked to retake a final exam more than once because the results the first time around seemed impossible for a human. Harry meanwhile had gotten an admittedly very respectable Level 7 official qualification, as Federation regulations required a live examiner and for the test itself to take place at an accredited facility (so that the results could be verified as genuine) for any pilot's licence above said level. While inconvenient at the moment, it was a prudent requirement given how technology could be manipulated in the modern day.
In the back of the vessel, the Admirals and other guests sat in various states of discomfort, some wishing that they'd suggested the transporter pads to reach their destination. The only new member of the group was an Andorian captain named Va'Kel Shon, who, if scuttlebutt was to be believed, might be in command of the next Enterprise. He was being rapidly caught up by the recently promoted Captain Akira Sulu, great-grandson of the famed Hikaru Sulu.
As the shuttle began to level out and lose its cherry red glow, those who looked out the small portholes noticed the verdant green fields of England and signs of an abandoned railway line.
England had not come out of World War III all that well, many nations deciding to settle centuries-old grudges. By the end of the war its population was numbered only in the thousands. Consequently most of the old UK was now lush rolling farmland and pristine forests, with automated systems producing vast amounts of food and lumber, the area's only remaining large city being the once nuked London that was rebuilt just up the river, mostly by Starfleet as an administrative center.
As the craft slowed, Harry was forced to activate the shuttle's emergency seat locks, trapping the other passengers in their seats and taking the control stick from Anne, each being magically told to turn back by Hogwarts' powerful aversion seats now containing the quite loudly complaining non-magicals, that all suddenly had other more important or pressing appointments and meetings to attend. Harry ignoring their cries as he slowed and landed the ship.
While unable to land inside the expansive valley surrounding Hogwarts, Harry knew the locations of several outer wardstones that allowed the school's Headmaster to connect to the wards and purposely had landed the shuttle near one.
Approaching a large volcanic crater that would never show up on any map, Harry did not try to land in the bowl itself, despite being wide enough to fit a small city into, but instead gently guided them down onto a wide cliff ledge, with wild goat tracks leading both up and down the rockface.
The shuttle had barely enough room to land on the ledge with the high cliffs around it, but the overgrown trail rambling its way up into the hills above them was still accessible, as the cold Scottish air whipped down off the heights above and generally gave a feeling of intense foreboding.
Just off the path and seeming to be growing out of the rock face itself, a weathered stone monolith visibly poked out, a few hardy weeds growing at its base, its worn surface still showing the deep carvings that almost seemed to shift and squirm across it the longer you stared.
Touching a tiny carved rune on his left gauntlet as he walked over to the monolith, he pushed a tiny jolt of his magic into it, the sound of shifting metal plates filling the air, as Harry's left hand became exposed to the elements. A minor, underpowered cutting curse drawing blood from the palm of his hand, before he touched the outer wardstone.
Smiling now, he could feel Hogwarts' incredible joy at his return, the school having only grown more aware with the hardships of the last half millennia, Rowena Ravenclaw's sheer genius and foresight showing again during World War III as the school's wards slowly remodulated themselves to the ley-lines' shifting frequencies.
The system was far from instantaneous and the semi-conscious building had been forced to draw an incredible amount of power from its Headmaster to make the changes necessary to protect its charges during this period of upheaval. The then Headmistress McGonagall fell into a coma instantly from the strain when it first happened, her magic almost totally drained as Harry, the then Deputy Head, was automatically promoted by Hogwarts to get the required power, the Hallows recharging his core faster than the school could drain him.
He ignored most of the notifications for needed maintenance on the school's wards and enchantments, as well as the reminder that he had not backed up the Library recently, but paused in thought at a stranger notification that he had forgotten to log out properly one hundred and twenty three years ago, it seemed that he would be time traveling again in the future.
Taking the anti-muggle wards offline temporarily, along with the more defensive siege wards, he left the shield, maintenance, obscuration, stasis and pax wards fully in effect.
The pax ward was Harry's own unique creation and addition to the Wizarding world's pool of knowledge, the ward stopping all acts of conflict in the area it covered. Sure, people could try to punch or fight each other, but the ward ensured the blows would never hit, as an infuriating combination of dizziness and bad luck disarmed the combatants.
Stepping back into the shuttle, he unlocked the seating, promising to answer some of their questions when they reached their destination.
As the group gathered outside the shuttle, they noticed the weather seemed to clear up and the once foreboding path up and into the mountains seemed now to invite them along. While the group got ready, Harry shrunk, summoned and pocketed the now palm sized shuttle, before turning back to them.
Each member of the group, bar Harry, was loaded down with hiking gear and supplies, the female members of the New England's crew asking Harry to 'check' and 'recheck' their harnesses and straps several times over, the shameless teasing, flirting, and flaunting of delectable assets not going unnoticed by Harry, their guards, or a few of the Admirals, one of which asked him to check her as well.
But despite delays, the group eventually set off up the path, Harry explaining that it was one of several that his people had used to reach Hogwarts before the train line was built, each path made for a different skill group and getting harder and more dangerous for those who took it, a spooky test of courage for the untrained or a test of skill for those who had it, Hogwarts itself deciding which test to give to the individual.
Said tests being a type of refresher course for the new school year.
The winding route gradually went up the mountain and even Harry had to pull out a staff to walk with, questions of the route length and how long it would take being answered by Harry in the most grandfatherly and vague manner he could come up with, leaving several in the group convinced that he was a Tolkien and more specifically, a Gandalf fan.
However, after the eighth variation of the explanation that if a wizard always arrives precisely when he means to, a magical path will only be as long as it is needed to be, they reached a tunnel into the rock face and Harry began to explain some of Hogwarts' history.
The site itself had been in use long before the Romans came to Britain, but in about 400 A.D. was turned from a small magical training camp in the village of Hogsmeade, into a proper school on an outcrop of rock by the lake.
With the help of the goblins, best described as the bastard children of a Ferengi lawyer/banker and a Klingon warlord, the school was built to be a vast multi-towered citadel, covered skywalks and vast halls, built amongst more classrooms than would ever truly be needed, while automatically reconfiguring dorm rooms and personal apartments always ensured the right number of beds.
It was said that Hogwarts was 70% solid stone, 10% fixed entrance halls, 50% secret passages and 100% pure magical energy.
While this would make little sense, arithmetical or otherwise, to the uninformed, anyone able to connect to the castle would find it to be far more than brick and mortar. The castle's vast bulk was far more like the room of requirement or a station sized outdoor holodeck, than a conventional building, creating rooms, corridors or other spaces at the user's will, while hidden passages opened and closed as Hogwarts itself wished them, its child-like mind having a little too much fun after sheltering and nurturing generations of pranksters that had walked and played through its halls.
Explaining how a building could be semi-sentient and yet not fully, took up most of the time they were walking within the tunnel, the conversation ending moments before they could see the light of the exit.
Hogwarts was built within the vast circular bowl, almost seven miles across, of an extinct volcano. A large lake at the center fed from the hillsides and draining into underground caverns acted as a natural focal point. On the worn cliffs of the north western side of the lake was Hogwarts itself, partially built into the cliff face, its spires and surprisingly militaristic and gothic stonework almost gleaming in the sunlight.
To the southern half of the bowl, a vast forest stretched from the mountains (a few showing traces of snow) to the lake, and in the east they could make out a few hundred buildings and the rail-line.
Most surprising to the non-magicals were the innumerable grey blobs that covered the grasslands and hillsides in calm orderly lines, stretching down from the northern hillside. Moments of inspection later, a Betazoid in the group threw up as one human Admiral slowly looked away from a pair of binoculars he had brought up to get a better look, both pain and shame in his eyes, the group quickly realising just what they were looking at.
"They're split into four zones." Harry grimly explained in a quiet voice, gesturing to each in turn. "'Those who came before,' the people who died from natural causes, accidents or plain stupidity, pre-2026, along with the exhumed bodies from other purely magical graveyards. 'The warriors,' those who died in wizarding wars on any side. 'The victims,' those who died at the hands of non-magicals or because they were magicals. 'The survivors,' those unlucky few who died after World War III and perhaps may have come to envy the dead.
It may seem strange to you, but in a society where people can turn the dead into mindless soldiers, we go to painstaking lengths to secure our dead. You'd only find a handful of bodies actually in these graves, as we prefer to burn them to ash, then transfigure them into gravestones; cuts down on necromancers stealing the bodies, you see, though the fields of France are a far better location to get bodies, even today."
"How… How many graves are there?"
"I stopped counting long ago. Locator spells, house elves, scrying and magically updated records, those let us recover the dead afterward, including the ones that had been experimented on and dissected by the various governments and warlords who knew or learned of magic, but 'the victims' and 'the survivors,' those I mostly buried myself… more than a million bodies… with extensive use of time turners of course."
A telepathic betazoid Admiral just looked at him slack jawed, Harry ignoring the continued attempts (read pitiful) to probe his mind. "How are you still sane?! Don't you feel anything?!"
Finally looking at the Admiral, he latched onto one of the telepathic probes with his magic, dragging it into his ancient fortified mind, "I did the whole insane thing after the last of us died and I was left all alone, the last of my race… it's surprisingly tiring work, you just get used to it after a while, so I just compartmentalise now." Harry explained, dipping the man's mental probe gently into one of the darkish 'slightly less debilitating' corners of his mind for a single moment, showing a few very short memories of that time like a slideshow. The betazoid Admiral promptly collapsed onto the rocky ground and began shaking at the overwhelming despair that could be felt in those memories. The dark emotions of an 8 thousand year old immortal were not to be trifled with by mortals.
Turning away without a word, Harry began to walk to the school at a slow, but steady pace, giving the group plenty of time to catch up.
- First City, Qo'noS - Heartland of the Klingon Empire -
The First City of Qo'noS, the beating heart of the Klingon Empire, was a world that many would have left for dead after its moon exploded. A world that forged the warrior people known as the Klingons, who threw off the shackles of enslavement by an alien race and clawed their way kicking and biting to become one of the two dominant superpowers of the Alpha Quadrant.
It was to this world that Suni Tanalis, sworn warrior of the House of Martok, found herself beaming down to, her blood tested like all others who wished or were told to visit, before stepping out into the smog and pollution of the dying world.
Leaving the transporter room built just off the main concourse that ran out of the Great Hall in the center of the famed First City of Qo'noS, she heard the reassuring clicking of her First Officer Koren's boot heels and the heavy footfalls of her Gorn security officer.
Her decision to order the Klingon vessels to aid the Federation against the Borg incursion had been a risky and politically unpopular one, and while it was very unlikely that she would be killed within the Council Chamber, it was far from a short walk to the relative safety of the Great Hall proper.
While she had some protection from the famed House of Martok and had said house's favour, it would not be enough to stop a determined opponent, and so it would be her presentation on why she lead the supporting action that ultimately determined her fate.
That said, her past actions against the Federation and the successful raid she lead on the Utopia Planitia Shipyards would buy her some favour with Chancellor J'mpok.
- Hogs Valley - Old UK - Earth -
Coming down off the hillsides Harry lead them to a small stone dock on the edge of the Black lake, its cool waters lapping softly against the worn stonework as the sun beat down, shimmering beautifully off the lake.
A simple sweep of his hand saw the materialisation of several boats for their use, the sight of such a thing causing several science-oriented officers to draw their tricorders in a quickdraw that would make an ancient Earth gunslinger proud. The personal styling in tricorder holster style and location on their belts really sold just how serious these guys were. He idly wondered if they had ever named the things. Shaking his head at these strange thoughts, Harry finally got them into the wooden boats after a few minutes of cajoling had allowed the group to cross.
Enacting the time honored tradition of making new students cross the lake to see Hogwarts for the first time, rather than using the stone bridge at the main entrance, Harry magically propelled the small boats across the lake, small waves rocking the boats from the lightly gusting winds.
The once tall, yet gently rolling granite hills around the lake that Hogwarts had been been built on had over time been quarried for the school's construction and the school now sat on a plateau about a hundred meters above the lake, a deep ditch around it with a main stone bridge and rear wooden one providing access.
However, a third public entrance was available, cut into the rock face in a way that would remind people of ancient dwarven architecture, the door and dock in front of it surrounded on all sides by cliff faces, a roughly hewn arch leading from the lake to the docks, as vines and water came down the steep cliffs along with signs of the sky above.
The torches, a mix of dragon's fire, a ward and fire opals, were still lit, dancing flames lighting the fortified entrance sunk into the cliffs.
It took a few moments to get them all out of the boats safely, the little craft vanishing as Harry cut the flow of magic to them. When they were unloaded and ready, Harry lead the group through the thick metal banded stone door. The solid stairs beyond were eleven steps followed by a landing that might turn them a few degrees or even back on themselves, then another eleven and so on, slowly leading them up by torch light to the surface, a few Admirals commenting how hard it would be to attack after the sixth landing.
Finally they passed through a studded, wooden double door into an entrance hall of sorts, carved figures and buttresses climbing the walls of the cubelike room, one of the more observant people pointing out the viewing/firing slits artfully hidden in the shadows and stonework above them.
As the door behind them closed, Harry lead them through the single file door ahead, and they entered Hogwarts' main entrance hall, the roof several floors above them, with a handful of balconies looking down and a clock and bell in the rafters, the three story main door to their left was closed, a wonder in itself, the heavily carved wood and bands of metal showing no signs of age even after centuries of neglect.
Around the door, above and to the left and right, vast clear glass windows that would have looked just as comfortable in a medieval european church let in light from the south, illuminating the stairways across the room from it, one central flight heading up into the school proper, before splitting left and right, while two others to the left and right lead down into the network of tunnels and rooms known as the dungeons.
Directly across from where they stood were the closed arched double doors leading into the great hall.
The entrance hall itself was about half the size of a football field, and had several benches against the walls, while tapestries and banners depicted scenes from the school's history. But more importantly for those who had entered were large gold tablets, magically reinforced so as to be near indestructible, their surfaces were covered in the history of Harry's people and one of several things on Harry's list of things to gather up.
As Harry left them all to wander about the room, he asked Hogwarts for a table and benches in the room's center, as the noise of tricorder, scanner and recording devices filled the air, a few who weren't interested or were untrained in the sciences, joining him at the table lost in their own thoughts.
Those that had come from Starfleet's scientific ranks were lost in their scanners or around the tablets, while the few with a long career in engineering examined the building's structure and theorised about the vaulted ceiling above them, and the type of technology needed to construct it.
The majority of the guests had a background in intelligence or tactical and spoke softly amongst themselves while taking the chance to rest, a few looking at the tablets depicting the more recent and tragic history of Harry's people.
For most of the group, however, the horrific reality of the situation never truly set in, each long since familiar with digging through the remains of long dead civilisations, this site just being in better condition and not requiring translation tools. Only the less experienced crew of the New England, having not been desensitized to picking through the remains of other species and cultures, felt the full shock of such a people's loss, unable to totally comprehend or understand how multiple sentient species ON EARTH could be wiped out.
Captain Shon having only heard about Harry's magic and seeing him summon the table and benches, began probing the last wizard for details about his abilities and their various applications. Andorian mythic legends had long centered around the telepathic Aenar, who were later proven to exist, and he wondered about some of the other legends of his people. This conversation then moved into more theological territory as Shon shared stories and legends about the Andorian sun god, his foe, and their servants, comparing them to the Fire and Ice elementals Harry had summoned to this plane of existence.
Eventually the group began to congregate at the table, sipping from water canteens or nibbling on ration bars, the long walk and excitement a little too much for some of the older Admirals long used to more sedentary desk work.
But as expected, the questions began to slowly flow, how many people had the school provided services for, when was it built and did he go there, even a summary of the basic types of magic, charms, curses, wards, etcetera. All these Harry answered the best he could (or wanted to, he wasn't stupid after all), but the conversation began to slowly turn towards more substantive topics.
When asked to explain the loss of magic, Harry started with how planets gained magic in the first place.
He stated that as the cycle of life and death continues on a planet, it acts like a generator, releasing ambient magic, which acts very much like most forms of radiation in its movements, but it can be trapped like gasses and channelled by a planet's and solar system's magnetic and gravitational fields, normally into two 'webs' that made up the planet's air and ground ley lines.
When the ley line reaches a kind of 'critical mass' (with enough ambient magical energy running through them,) they activate and begin to affect the beings on the planet's surface.
Air ley lines are the more powerful, as they are not fixed to the planet and act like a brush sweeping up escaping ambient magical energy, unfortunately their constant and unpredictable movement makes them of little use, other than for magicals to draw on for recharge and the creation of a few new magical creatures over time.
Ground ley lines are the main source of new magical creatures as unborn offspring near them are constantly saturated with magically charged energy. They are also used by practitioners of warding and ritual magics, or for power taps in the higher level magical arts.
As the cycle of life and death continues, the balancing of newly collected power across the ley lines creates ripples, some of the magical energy washing out of the ley line, like a cup overflowing, effecting those in its path, then drawing back into the ley line.
These ripples in the magical flow are how first generation magicals are born, the ripple sometimes washing over the unborn child in just the right way and at just the right moment of development to form a magical core that will stay with them for life. A seemingly totally random event, akin to accidental magic on a planetary scale.
As a witch or wizard draws on their magical core, their stored magic is focused and discharged, ambient magic being drawn from the ley lines to 'refill' his or her core after usage. The magic used in the spell eventually dissipating back into the planet, solar or galactic leylines.
"When World War II ended," Harry continued, "we found, to our abject horror, that the ley lines could actually be damaged, something we never thought possible. The use of the two nuclear bombs caused such a huge amount of death, so quickly, that the ambient magic joining the network created huge ripples. They were less like natural waves and more like artificial tsunamis in effect. Those tsunamis crashed into each other at different points, shooting out huge chunks of the planet's ambient magic into space, beyond our ley lines' ability to naturally recollect.
Eight years after the war, Hogwarts' incoming new student population was below one hundred first years for the first time since its founding over a thousand years ago."
Harry then began to explain the wizarding world's efforts worldwide to neutralize the muggle nuclear threat after the danger was realized, how magicals replaced key missile components to render them non-functional, cast forgetfulness charms and subtly manipulated world leaders to create international treaties amongst the other nuclear nations to both limit the proliferation of nuclear arms as well as to ensure peace between them.
"But, in time, the reasons for such projects were forgotten about, magical civil wars and lack of funding crippled the projects almost as much as the non-magical governments' decision to better hide and protect the weapons did.
In the end… we forgot we needed to save ourselves, lest we be accidentally destroyed by your actions.
And so, when World War III came… all that death, continually sent waves and tsunamis through the ley line network, blasting more and more of the planet's ambient magical energy into space, till eventually the system just lost too much pressure, ley lines once filled to bursting by the power flowing through them, were emptied, and like the laws of hydrodynamics, you cannot draw on more magic if there is a higher concentration in you than in the world around you. Besides, a vital part of the network's health and volume were the numbers of magical beings on the planet and by that point there were so few of us left alive."
"Did- Do you blame us? Humans, I mean." Anne asked quietly, Harry sighed in response.
"Some did… most were far too busy just trying to survive to entertain realistic thoughts of revenge.
Khan… struck too fast and without enough warning for us to stop him, but he was your version of a Dark Lord to some extent and as much as we hated it, we could understand that. From time to time, no matter what you or we did, no matter how vigilant or proactive, Dark Lords would show up and inevitably affect both worlds.
World War III was seen as mostly your fault, but then again… we could have minimised the damage if we'd realised just how bad things had gotten. It took us a while to work out just what was going on. True, we knew the nukes had gone off and did our best to survive the effects of the fallout, but by the time we realised just how bad things had gone wrong, what the long-term implications were beyond the immediate destruction and death...it was far, far too late.
We were just too few in number and too busy trying to survive day-to-day to have the luxury of placing blame. Oh, there was certainly talk of fighting back, of driving all the muggles out of Britain and securing the entire island for ourselves so that we could better protect ourselves, to separate ourselves from your conflicts forever. There is a great deal of mass destruction even a single powerful magical can do when they have no concerns about collateral damage.
In our despair and rage terrible plans were put forth by the more extreme survivors, some calling for us to bring forth the cursed fires of hell, near impossible to extinguish even with magic, to wipe out the remaining cities and armies of the great nations. Others believed we should be summoning the more war-like elemental spirits from the other planes of reality, who being impervious to conventional harm could fight and kill for us in magic's name. While in darkened rooms some muttered of raising an army of corpses and setting them loose to wipe out all the muggles left on the island… In the end, reason prevailed.
We just couldn't afford to waste resources, everyone of us who died fighting would result in others starving from lack of food, and most of the magicals had only about a week's worth of magic left in our cores if we were combat casting or performing costly rituals. I had the necessary power, of course, but- In the end, despite the pain of losing my friends and loved ones, I chose to forgive. When necessary to protect my people, I fought like a demon, but there was just no more point, the damage had already been done. Death and mass destruction would not have brought my people back nor better secured our future at that point.
Many also felt it was their own fault, especially in the older generations, for not keeping on top of the problem, but the general feeling was that we should have seen the signs that war was coming and done something to stop it.
Of course there were a few who felt they 'had to make a stand' but they were only fifteen 'pureblood' men and women, each falling within a few days of starting to fight.
If I was sent back in time… I could have changed it. Rewritten the history books and stopped the war altogether… I'm still not sure if I made the right choice not to back then. With what I know now, you'd probably have never left Earth without the shake up the war caused."
Harry's words sparked a line of questioning on time turners and the group slowly moving from topic to topic (AN: it was really quite hypnotic [If you don't get it, it's a TNG joke]), but in time a question Harry had dreaded was asked.
"Harry, you mentioned other... magical species? Centaurs?"
"I did. Before the war, animals and creatures that had access to magic were split into three categories, Fey, Creatures and Sentients.
The Fey were creatures reliant more on natural magic than non-magical biology to exist, more creatures of spirit and energy than flesh and DNA. Most of these had died off on Earth long before even the Potter family records were started, but some, like pixies, winged humanoids the size of your palm, elementals and house elves lived on for a time. Only the elementals, house elves and a few primarily extra-dimensional species survived the war. The house elves were a unique natural servant race who drew on their masters' magic to live and orders to guide them. Their first masters were other fey and later humans. In the case of the surviving house elves they drew on Hogwarts' magic, and after the last witch on Earth died, asked me to release them from their service, a task only the current Headmaster could do, choosing to die with dignity as a single people rather than fade away one after the other with no one left but me to serve.
Elementals, however, live like several other magical species on a separate dimensional plane from us, and enter our realm by drawing magic from a pact with their summoner and master. As they are not native to this dimension, they cannot survive here without their summoner's magic to bring them forth and sustain them.
Creatures cover the largest number of former magical species, which included those species which could still evolve biologically without magical intervention, or who were made via other magicals cross breeding species or through ritualistic means. The creature which provided the hide for my armored undersuit is a prime example of both magical crossbreeding and ritualistic magic, and maybe even the seemingly nonsensical nature of magic, requiring an amphibian to incubate a poultry egg while several spells are cast. Other species range from Unicorns and Dementors to Gnomes and Dragons. Most of these species were heavily reliant on magic to sustain them long-term or found their natural habitat poisoned or wiped out after the war.
Magical species considered to be sentient were further split several ways depending on the nation or region they primarily inhabited, but magical Britain's distinctions, while not morally right in their application in modern terms, are perhaps the best way to explain them.
Split into five classes, the lowest class were the goblins, a subterranean humanoid species very different from humans.
Known for their warlike tendencies and greed, hundreds of wars were waged with them across the globe throughout history, but it was with the invention of the wand that the balance of power shifted into the human magicals' favour. Initially pushed out of Europe due to its populations' skill and experience, they found themselves unwelcome across the planet due to their extreme warlike nature. Hundreds of years after being pushed out of Europe, they paid their way back in.
In a series of treaties magical Europe forced the goblins to agree never to wage war again, in exchange for being the only European magical bank. While this sounds like a terrible idea at first, vast numbers of magically binding laws and protocols ensured the goblins could not cheat a wizard who knew the system, but further goblin laws and a language barrier meant only a handful of people fully understood all the agreements, with only a tiny fraction of them being non-goblin.
The few who knew the system well enough so as not to be cheated by a goblin, were held in the highest honour and the few who could outwit a trained goblin, were entitled to start their own goblin recognised clan, something I'm proud to say that my Potter ancestors accomplished.
By the year of my birth the goblins enjoyed the cutthroat world of high finance far more than they did literally cutting throats, not that they ever truly gave that up amongst themselves.
However, their brutality, non-human nature and general dislike towards the vast majority of increasingly ignorant wizards, earned them, in the government's eyes at least, the rating of a Class Five Sentient.
Classes One through Three, were Pureblood, Halfblood, and Muggleborn respectively, a sign that those in power were backed by the regularly intolerant Pureblood factions.
Rather than dwell on the social problems we had almost solved before World War III began, let me just say that blood status was very much like the race or gender or sexual orientation discrimination issues that our non-magical cousins suffered from at the time.
To be a Class Four Sentient was to be one of many magical creatures. Centaurs are physically like the ones from non-magical mythology, half-man and half-horse, spending their lives in isolation trying to predict the future via the movement of the stars and the flow of magic in the ley-lines.
Werewolves and vampires both existed as well, both feared and rejected by most others, establishing their own packs and covens and cultures all their own.
Veela were a 'socially acceptable' all female magical species, very much like the vampires and werewolves, instead turning into fire wielding bird women who could release a powerful magical pheromone that would leave weak-willed males totally stunned and incapable of thinking at all.
In fact the Greek legends of the Sirens can be directly attributed to a colony of Veela's nudist beach in that area, sailors who reached the shore, inevitably succuming to death from extreme physical exertion.
The giants, surprisingly, while having the lowest IQ and being confined to reserves to both protect the non-magicals and preserve the Statute of Secrecy, might actually have survived to this very day even with the war, but their fast birth rate, huge size, destructive and carnivorous nature, eating even humans when available, left me with little choice but to wipe out the species in the face of the end of the magical world."
"You killed them?!"
Slightly annoyed by the interruption, Harry frowned slowly, catching the eyes of everyone as he spoke, his voice hard and unyielding. "Don't misunderstand what I've said, I dismantled, packed up, and defanged what was left of the magical world. We were no longer around to keep the balance between our worlds and to protect you from the most incredibly dangerous parts of what was left of it, now completely unchecked, so I did what needed doing. I was my species' savior, weapon, leader, protector, caretaker and undertaker. I am the final eternal epitaph to my people and a monument to all our deeds, greatest works and even our sins."
"And on the pedestal these words appear: 'My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'" One of the older officers whispered to himself, lost in thought.
"Lets just calm down a little; it's neither our right nor our place to judge, Lord Potter. We've made some questionable decisions in the past as well."
"Something for the historians to argue about then. But may I ask what happened to the goblins?"
"No idea; haven't had a chance to check. Through our treaties they couldn't destroy you or try to take over, but their population was less than five thousand and still falling last I spoke with them. They may still be in their tunnels for all I know."
"Still, something that should be checked on."
"Indeed," one of the Admirals muttered, each drawn into their own thoughts.
"Not to sound like we only came down here for the artifacts, but..."
"Which collection?" Harry said chuckling.
"What have you got?"
"Art, fine art, literature, films, sculptures, reclaimed… I grabbed thousands of items. I've even got at least half the internet."
"Half the internet?"
"Well, some servers were destroyed or too damaged to recover, then I had to filter out and delete all the viruses, popups, adware ...porn that's… well sometimes a kink's not a kink and just plain wrong. I mean I'm far from a prude, I assure you, but some stuff is just more about shock value, degradation or just plain hate speech."
"Perhaps we should let you pick…" One of the admirals offered, uncomfortably remembering a many times great-grandparent's story of a young vulcan coming back from a salvage mission in the period after first contact and how that young man found it illogical that the two girls only had one cup.
"Anything that would surprise us?"
Leaning back, Harry ran a hand through his hair, stretching his back. "Library… but which to pick..." he muttered finally, before pushing off the bench and striding off.
"Chop chop!" Harry yelled back to the group as they scrambled off the benches to follow him.
- First City, Qo'noS - Heartland of the Klingon Empire -
"Order! Order! Tanalis! You stand accused of aiding the enemies of the Klingon Empire during a time of war! Explain yourself!"
"Chancellor, as you undoubtedly remember, it was I who managed to obtain the access codes for the defense grid protecting the Federation's Sol system."
"HA! I bet the whore was able to obtain the codes, just like the rest of her Orion sisters obtain something else eac-"
"You will be silent in this chamber, Ambassador B'vat!"
Continuing, Suni gave a brief outline of how the raid progressed and how they received the message on their slow journey back to the empire.
"And so after hearing of this Borg invasion you chose to go to the Federation's aid?"
"Sir, our continued victories against the Federation had left them weakened," Suni answered, carefully choosing her words. "Had I not ordered the Empire's ships in the area to join in the defence, it is likely the Borg would have gained a strong beachhead between the Federation's heartland and the Klingon Border, their assimilated forces then preying on the nearby Federation worlds and inevitably beginning to attack us with billions of slave soldiers and thousands of ships. The Borg care not for any border, to them we are just another species to assimilate.
I considered it to be in the Empire's best interests to stamp out the dishonorable pestilence that the Borg represent as quickly as possible, lest we be forced to waste our brave warriors fighting in our own space, against such an unsatisfying foe."
"You have a way with words Tanalis, and your tongue is as silver coated as a Federation diplomat's; had this been any other foe I would have already cut yours out for trying to manipulate me. However, I happen to agree with what you're not saying aloud; that the Borg are a threat we cannot afford to play with, like we do the Federation. Better to fight them in Federation space than in our own or give them too long to establish themselves in this quadrant, lest we all be destroyed.
It is the decision of this High Council that you will not be punished for aiding our Empire's foes. A decision will be made as to standing orders for our fleets were future Borg threats and incursions are concerned in the next few days. In the meantime Captain, return to the celebrations, you struck the Federation and the Borg mighty blows this day in glorious battle, worthy of song!
Glory to the Empire!"
"LONG LIVE THE EMPIRE!"
- Somewhere in Hogwarts -
It was impossible.
He just couldn't believe it.
The Legacy of the Marauders, the ones to map the castle's ever changing hallways.
Oh, he recognized where he was; he also knew where he was meant to be going. But Hogwarts was continually reforming around him, walls unfolded brick by brick ahead of him, and hidden passageways used in his youth changed their passwords faster than the marauders' map could update.
"S-So… How m-much… further?" A middle aged Admiral asked, panting for breath.
"Not far," Harry answered, shamelessly lying through his freaking teeth; his mind still trying to work out just why Hogwarts was giving him the runaround, especially since he was still considered the Headmaster of the damn place. "We can take a short break if you want."
Several of the group gratefully propped themselves up against the nearby walls, Drake walking over to him.
"You know, if I didn't know any better, I'd think you were lost." He said under his breath with a small grin, so only Harry could hear.
"Lost? No… More annoyed at Hogwarts… She's always liked to play games, but she's never been this annoying. It's like she wants to send us anywhere but the library."
"Lady Hogwarts. It's hard to describe. Hogwarts is filled with highly complex magical interactions with millions of self-evolving runic arrays and effects, very much like much of the artificial intelligence work the Federation's done in recent decades," Harry said thinking back to what he'd read on Excomps and Soong's positronic brain.
"Over the years people noticed that Hogwarts began anticipating the faculty's needs, creating rooms or new passages sometimes before we knew that they were even needed. The more tasks Hogwarts performed and the older she got, the more subtle and far reaching her actions became."
"But then why is she slowing us down?"
"I'm not sure… There's no danger ahead or the wards would have informed me immediately… she just..." Harry paused, a stay memory sparking a new chain of thought.
"There's a reason we took the boats across the lake, it's not just tradition, but an induction for ALL who are newly exposed to magic, it lets you see and experience the wonder and splendor of magic and Hogwarts!"
"There's a routine to arriving at Hogwarts, cross the lake, go to the great hall, then the house specific route to the dorm OR the main stairs. Because it introduces you to magic and lets Hogwarts show off!" Now working out where to go, Harry walked off, looking left and right as he felt out the magic around him while muttering to himself, the group quickly falling into step.
However as they turned the next corner the group stopped, their eyes wide as they looked out onto a huge chasm.
All around them were the carved stone buttresses of Hogwarts' main stairwell, with hundreds of doors and archways spread across the floors above and below, the grinding sound of stone echoing around them as segments of stairs continually moved. Creating walkways of stairs that lead to platforms which might go off at 90 degree angles before finally connecting to another set of steps leading to a hallway three floors down.
It was not well known, but a user could actually control the stairways as long as they held their exit firmly in their mind and trusted the stairs would get them there. You could even step out into air from one of the arches with no steps present and Hogwarts would move the steps and platforms to catch you, though the application of a well timed cushioning charm was suggested.
The stone walls were virtually covered in portraits and paintings of people sleeping, hidden artfully amongst the stonework, with carved gargoyles peering out of the shadows. A few in the group began to question their eyesight as the painted images seemed to move sluggishly.
Harry of course merely noted the still sleeping, but active portraits and decided he really needed to meditate and tap into the ley lines soon, his passive sensory skill only allowing him to detect that they were now active and stable, but not their overall strength. His presence in the building itself should also feed the magical needs of the school, strengthening the wards and other protections after centuries without a magical being walking its halls or its powerful headmaster to draw magic from.
Stepping off onto their floor Harry looked back to check the group were all with him before leading them down a short hall and to the solid oak doors of the library, a touch of magic swinging them open as he was about to walk into them. The open doors exposed a huge vaulted room, rank after rank of intricately carved wooden shelves stretched two or three stories above them with walkways, ladders and platforms forming catwalks high above, to reach the precious tomes of knowledge contained within the room's walls.
Ahead of them was the slightly dusty librarian's desk, lit by a magically powered reading lamp, an open book showing the last few people to borrow from the vast repository of magical knowledge. The last handwritten names there brought back bittersweet memories of happier times, a time when he wasn't alone.
Stretching out from the entrance a deep purple carpet branched off in one unbroken piece between the stacks, signs overhead telling you where each route lead, be it to fiction, human magics, social sciences or a host of other topics each further breaking down into their relevant fields.
But the library was not all shelf after shelf of knowledge as small island tables and reading chairs were nestled away among the silent halls, allowing those students who wished to work in a more peaceful environment than their common rooms the opportunity to do so.
Waving the group over to him, Harry began to quietly guide them through the towering shelves, and passed the heavy leather bound tomes (that would make many a bibliophile's nose bleed). The group talking in no more than hushed whispers despite the fact that no librarian had been there for many a year to hush any who chose to speak too loud.
Branching off from the historic walkway into the playwrights' section many in the group were curious as to what he planned to show them, while others did their best to read or record the names of the books they passed. Those at the front of the group could hear the barely muttered whisperings of the last living wizard.
"W W W… J... K... c'mon… Plato… W W W, R… U... where is it… W!"
Entering another set of stacks, Harry eventually lead them to a small clearing amongst the shelves, an empty portrait frame sitting in a carved out display amongst the shelves failing to excite the group, till one of them spotted the identifying plaque beneath it, and looked at the leather bound tomes and glass display cases near the frame.
"Shakespeare..." Elise whispered, a finger tentatively stroking one of the well worn books.
"His complete works, both magical and non-magical," Harry replied. "48 individual plays, 231 sonnets, five narrative poems and sixteen other verses. And a less than currently impressive portrait. Many of these works are signed and have the original handwritten notations."
"He was a wizard?!"
"Yes and no, now and again we get… for lack of a better term, evolutionary throwbacks, those born into a magical family who can't perform magic. Most pick either the magical or non-magical world to live in, but some straddle the border and are quite successful at it."
"Shakespeare being one of them?"
"Oh yes, but you would be surprised how often the 'Statute of Secrecy' that split our world was… bent,on occasion? Many witches and wizards interacted with you for hundreds of years and just kept it quiet.
Unfortunately, the practice fell out of favour when one muggleborn went… well, many considered it too far, but in the end we got the 'Lion King' so… checks and balances."
"I don't suppose you'd be willing to let us take a copy of one of these?"
Looking thoughtful for a moment, Harry was torn between releasing them by himself in the future or earning some goodwill immediately… but then again, there was still no way to be sure the Federation would be his ally long-term, even if he was mostly sure a good deal of Starfleet would support him given his recent successes in battle against the Klingons and the Borg and further saving millions of Federation colonists on Vega. These were unpredictable times though and the Federation was in a period of extreme chaos with their leaders making decisions and policies that even the admiralty just didn't understand or support. Unfortunately, anything was possible.
Walking over to one of the display cases he called forth the Elder Wand creating an identical copy of the manuscript for 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' and summoning a book containing ten of the Bard's 'magical' sonnets off the shelf (the book being an academic breakdown of the sonnets and the derived messages and meanings of each) and copying it as well.
"I would be very foolish to cast away near a thousand years of hiding and allow you free reign over these halls, but... till our friendship is more strongly secured and trust is earned on both sides, please take these as a gift. You may copy and distribute them for free as you wish, but I would be very disappointed if I found people having to buy them." Harry said seriously, handing the items over.
"An understandable decision," replied Admiral Quinn. "Many of Earth's classical texts are made freely available in our public databases, even to alien cultures. As a long-time reader of Shakespeare, I know I personally am very much looking forward to reading these."
"I must say, I am impressed with the amount of material you managed to save during that chaotic and dangerous time; it is a shame that you could not get everything though."
"What do you mean?"
"There have been several cases of World War III era artifacts being sold or stolen; just last year we came across the Statue of Liberty's head being smuggled off mars."
"Realy? I'm glad I grabbed as much as I did back then. Still, is it that much of a problem even so long after the war?"
"Oh yes, we've been picking up all manner of art and artifacts for years, many even recently. We only got back the Mona Lisa in 2366."
"WHAT?!" Harry yelled, a hint of fear slipping through his facade. "Who had it?!"
"A man named Kivas Fajo, is something wrong?"
"Yes, something is very, very wrong." Harry answered, walking off into the stacks quickly, the group barely keeping up with his fast pace.
In the end they were forced to pull out their tricorders to track him, his trail leading out of the library and down one of the less elaborate staircases, before ending up (according to the museum style signpost) in the Renaissance section of the Masters' Wing.
Entering what had probably once been a very large classroom capable of holding a hundred or so students, they glanced over its walls now covered in shelves and display cases, a collection of familiar looking models hanging from the ceiling. Some looking in confusion at the misspelt name labels throughout the room.
Finally catching up with Harry, they found him, with wand raised. The wooden tool was clutched firmly in his hand as he deftly traced elaborate patterns in the air before pointing forward at a familiar painting.
The painting only brought up more questions and confusion as the figure within would normally be seen to have a secretive smile on her face. But this Mona Lisa was looking decidedly miffed at the man before her, her hands on her hips, glaring intently as he continued to wave his wand about.
Eventually the silence was broken as Harry let out a sigh of relief, "Thank Merlin, I was really worried someone had managed to break in for a minute."
"What's going on?"
"Sorry, when you mentioned the Mona Lisa had been recovered, I was worried someone had managed to break into the castle despite all its defences, but here she is, safe and sound, so I'm guessing it was just a good fake."
"La puttana! Always with pretending to be me," came a voice from the canvas that made them all jump. "I remember a time when hundreds came to look upon my beauty, and now you're saying some fake sits in my place of honor?! It's as bad as when Peruggia stole me!"
"She… She's talking?"
"Of course I am, idiota!"
"We developed a technique many centuries ago to imprint paintings with physic echoes of the people portrayed in them. Lisa is one of Leonarda's greatest works."
"It's pronounced Leonardo."
"Only to the non-magicals who didn't know any better; the church at the time wouldn't have stood for Leonarda living the life she did and so 'Leonardo' was born."
"Wait, you're saying one of the greatest engineers and artists of Earth's renaissance period was a witch?!"
"One of the finest muggleborn graduates of Italy's Collegio di Magia on record; pity the church found out about it a few years later, but… what can one do?"
"Leonarda was a such a dear, why I remember when I found out the truth about her little secret-"
The group clustered around the portrait asking questions to the woman, while trying to absorb what they had been told, a few marveling at the various displays of journals, models and pictures that Leonarda had made and that Harry had collected from the ruins of Italy's magical museums.
Knowing their attention was firmly elsewhere and the group would be thoroughly distracted with the animatedly and happily talking Italian portrait, Harry pulled out the timeturner hung around his neck.
A few spins of the hourglass later, Harry was gone and a slightly older version of himself was just entering the room with no one the wiser. 'Slightly older' being a matter of some philosophical and metaphysical debate considering Harry was incapable of aging as an eight thousand plus year old immortal.
- Hogwarts, 5 hours before landing party arrives -
Arriving in his past Harry exited the display room he'd set up so long ago.
The damage to Hogwarts' maze of stone halls was minimal, only a thin sprinkling of dust having built up, a testament to the house elves' skills and the elaborate stasis wards. The woodwork was in excellent shape as well, as was the mortar between the giant granite slabs that made up the school and were battered by the harsh Scottish winds each winter.
Pushing back the memories and nostalgia his return brought to the surface, he swiftly moved through Hogwarts' hallowed halls taking stairs three steps at a time before finally reaching the seventh floor corridor.
Despite the passive defences he had placed on this particular section of the school, he brutally ripped through the wards as if they were wet tissue paper, barely slowing in his pace as he did so before coming to a stop next to a well worn tapestry.
The Room of Requirement was an exceedingly strange and wonderful place, and the unmistakable proof that Hogwarts was truly alive, though if the room came first and then the spark, or the spark then the room, well no one knew. The room was a miraculous mix of each of the magical branches and a few that had only been theorized as possible, not even Harry with all his spare time over the many, many years had managed to find information on its origin, its creation or even its true limits.
"I need access to 'Harry's complex,' I need access to 'Harry's complex,' I need access to 'Harry's complex.'"
One of the few things he had successfully figured out over the years was how to access the room's entrance controls, and thus could now change some of the 'activation codes' so to speak. No longer did you need to pace back and forth (something that someone could easily do accidentally without even knowing of the room's existence) but you were now required to spin on the spot as you requested the room or be a house elf. This, of course, insured continued access for Hogwarts' long dead caretakers, while ensuring nobody else could accidently come across the room and use it for their own purposes.
Stepping through into a large garden/training room, Harry made his way across it to one of several doors leading off into other rooms, ripping down yet another layer of wards he'd long ago placed.
Unwilling to blindly hope that the Federation and the people of Earth would accept him or that old hatreds directed at his kind would not flare up even in the modern day, Harry had decided he would need to consolidate his power base, and re-secure his people's cultural heritage. When he had stepped through the veil his pockets were filled with hundreds of shrunken trunks, that now contained vast sums of material and monetary wealth, along with the most (and some of least) dangerous weapons of Earth's violent past, not to mention the copious amounts of salvaged (and looted) technology that he had managed to hoard away since arriving in this century, including many things the New England's replicators had produced for him in quantity while he still had near unrestricted power onboard the Federation starship and the rights to delete the replication logs.
But there were vast amounts of stuff that Harry had not brought on his trip as he was supposed to die.
The Room of Requirement had been set up and warded to guide and test any future magicals who found the school if the castle's wards fell through a complex sequence of illusions and memory fragments powered by the Elder wand, guiding any neo-magicals to the vast number of spell books kept in the RoR.
However, with the possibility that the school could now become public knowledge on account of his return, Harry was minimising the chance that anyone could learn Earth's magic without his knowledge or approval. Hopefully this would ensure other magical groups, should there be any, would be forced to come directly to him.
Entering the library room of the complex he'd had the room make so many years ago, relatively speaking, he wordlessly ripped up several of the stone floor slabs with a wave of his hand, exposing a purposely placed chest. Its expanded interior was designed specifically to hold the thousands of magical spellbooks neatly stacked around him.
While the Hogwarts' main library was a fountain of knowledge, both magical and mundane, especially after Hermione had had decades to expand it and add anything he had recovered from around the world, anything relating to the use, teaching or theorising of magic was stored within the RoR, a calculated plan to ensure that if the castle was totally destroyed someday, the knowledge in the room would not be lost.
Pushing a recall rune on the box's lid, he watched it pop open a second later and books started to speedily fly off their shelves, before moving on to other rooms that needed clearing and storage, whether that was the backup portraits for the ones on display in the school or the huge number of salvaged and hand-me-down magical foci he had collected over the years. Many of these wands and other foci had been the vast unsold inventories left in wand stores like Britain's Ollivanders, worldwide, while many more had belonged to the wizards and witches in the graves outside. Harry's eyes involuntarily glanced over to the shelf were Ginny and Rose's wands had been placed after their deaths, the wands of most of his other lovers had been placed with their family's instead. He'd like to think that the wands' former partners would be pleased that perhaps someday their trusted tools would be in the hands of the next generation of magicals, that they could play a small part in the revival of their race.
Though he'd have his eyes on the person who claimed Draco's or Snape's old wand.
- Third Floor, Hogwarts, D: 0 H: 00 M: 22 S: 34 MS: 538 till timeline re-synchronisation -
As he heard the sound of grinding stone behind him, Harry ran his hands over the various pockets and pouches he wore, mentally cataloging all the sealed and shrunken containers within each.
While the Room of Requirement had been set up as the training center for future magicals, Harry had repurposed the Chamber of Secrets into the castle's vault, it's precious stocks of rare materials, copies of knowledge and biological samples, now stored on Harry's person.
The empty shelves within Salazar's chamber were now filled with the many bio and viral weapons he had at one point planned to carry into the afterlife.
The vast arsenal he had accumulated over the years of his life featured many of the most elegant, destructive and deadly of humanity's additions to the timeless art of overkill and he had no wish to risk carrying such deadly and in many cases, immorally created, concoctions on him anymore.
Thus, such items were now stored deep within the deepest level of Hogwarts, accessible only to him, a change in passwords on the parseltongue doors ensuring it.
Stepping quickly through the winding corridors of Hogwarts, he suddenly felt half dressed, remembering too late that he had forgotten to wear the specially designed headset that allowed Morgana to talk and experience everything with him, sometimes in even more vivid detail than he could as she could often hook into a ship's host of advanced sensors. Knowing that he would be in for an earful anyway, he decided to get it over and done with quickly and slipped the metal strap into place on his head, doing his best to ignore the menacingly pulsing crystal attached to the side of the device.
' … '
Recognising that the ancient sorceress, yet young in some ways, had decided to go for the silent treatment for now, Harry mentally berated himself for forgetting about her. He knew that being forgotten about again was one of her greatest, if unspoken, fears. He would have to seriously make it up to her…
Continuing to ponder what he could get the trapped woman, who represented possibly the last and best hope of a revived magical people, he once again scoffed at the sheer audacity of Q's plan.
Q had not been the first to offer Harry a harem, as when he took up his various Lordships and titles it had been made clear to him that he could, in fact, claim any number of unmarried witches that he wanted. However, Ginny had been more than enough for him. Had she never died, it would have been foreseeable that unless Ginny had brought another girl to their bed, not something he'd put past the spirited redhead, she would have been Harry's second and last lover.
Reaching the right room, Harry glanced at the output of a quickly cast tempus charm, pushing down the ever so slightly guilty memories of Hermione and him and their long, passionate nights together on the horcrux hunt after Ron had abandoned them. How rumours had never sprung up about the two of them alone in that little tent for weeks on end, Harry would never know.
With the benefit of age, thousands of years of hindsight, and the experience of many life or death situations in wartime, he realized that Ron leaving them at that point should have been the last straw, in what was yet another in a long string of betrayals, one that neither Hermione or he should have let slide or forgave.
Hermione and his intimate time together in the tent was always something he looked back fondly upon, even with the slight guilt, as it had greatly strengthened their bond in the end. It was a bond that had lasted a lifetime, through the most horrific conditions, one that he had cherished and held sacred and he knew for certain that she had felt the same. Their forbidden intimacy rekindled years later into a blazing inferno when her own daughter, Rose, realized the magic sharing properties of sex with him, and gave the two best friends the needed excuse to begin again. It was never and could never truly be just sex between Hermione and him.
Waiting another couple of seconds, he listened as the footsteps came closer, before stopping, then entered the room after he felt the faint, telltale breeze of displaced air and completed the synchronization of his personal timeline.
- Great Hall, First City, Qo'noS - Heartland of the Klingon Empire -
As Chancellor J'mpok watched the last of the sycophants who surrounded him like flies on a Targ's backside, leave the room, he once again bemoaned his foolishness at taking the seat from Chancellor Martok.
True, Martok had been a fool not to see the threat the qa'meH quv represented, and J'mpok's own belief in the true Klingon lifestyle of constant battle and conquest, something which had regularly set the two at odds in the past, but Martok knew how to rule the Empire well and would never have made the stupid mistake of allowing the House of Duras back into the Empire after their many betrayals and lack of honor over many generations.
True, Ja'rod, Lursa's son, was seemingly honorable, but it had made J'mpok no friends amongst the other great houses, and had in fact completely alienated the Son of Mogh and the Great Houses of Martok and Grilka.
Not that the Lady Sirella would have made peace with him anytime soon, especially after he had killed her husband of so many years.
But eventually the Houses of Mogh and Martock would merge, though if it would go to Worf's son or grandson, only time would tell. House Grilka's heir would most likely take after her mother, becoming head of one of the few newly matriarchal Great Houses in the Empire, in fact Koren was already the First Officer aboard a Klingon warship.
Perhaps the young warrior would like a command of her own? If helping her in her career ensured she proved more amenable to friendship between their houses, then all the better, he could certainly use some more attractive company on the High Council in his old age.
Thinking of the young Klingon heiress reminded him of her Orion captain and the unusual message his forces had responded to, and more specifically, the Houses mentioned in that message.
Perhaps it was time that he spoke to the head of Klingon Intelligence, for as questionable as their honour was at times, they could certainly be trusted more than most he met these days.
- Hogwarts Main Lawn - Hogs Valley - Old UK - Earth -
The main lawn outside the castle's front door was actually more of a large, mostly grass filled, walled garden, with smooth stone slabs along the edges and running through the middle to the space where the student carriages used to pull up.
Accessible from the outside by only the long stone bridge that crossed the carved out ravine, the main lawn was surprisingly large, with more than enough room for a couple of games of amateur football, although that reference was a little dated in the 25th century. Did they even play football anymore?
The covered walkways around the edge acted as both shelter for those wishing to sit outside, protected from the elements, as well as serving as ranged defensive positions in wartime. It provided a commanding view of the valley on three sides, while a small portcullis gatehouse further protected the castle from anyone trying to cross the stone bridge.
For those in the know, however, there was also a ward access stone here, like the ones out by the boundary line, and it was this stone that Harry was currently interacting with.
It took him only a moment to do so, but by dropping the portkey wards and setting the flight wards to one way, Harry ensured that he would be able to return to the castle whenever he wanted with little chance of detection. It would also save his currenty tired tour group the long walk back to the ward boundaries.
With a few seconds spell work, the slightly charred shuttlecraft they had come down on was quickly returned to its correct dimensions, and since Harry was the only one feeling wide awake (due to a quick self-targeted Rennervate ), he was allowed to claim the pilot's seat for the trip back; this was in exchange for an apparently cold Anna getting to kip in the co-pilot's seat with his jacket pulled up round her ears.
As the rest of the tour group chatted gently amongst themselves in the back or stared intently at the sensor readings they had taken during this excursion, Harry flew the shuttlecraft gleefully higher and higher, oblivious to the deeply breathing young ensign sitting next to him, her nose pressed into his jacket and a blissful smile on her face.
- Earth Spacedock (Designation: Starbase 1) - Orbiting Earth, Sol, Sector 001 -
Arriving back at the large mushroom-like orbital station had gone very smoothly, the dedicated orbital thrusters on the shuttle removing much of the complexity of orbital travel. After docking, the group split up, each heading their own way, with plans to meet again in the morning.
Harry was led back into the bowels of the station, before being dropped off at a fairly large, modern apartment, the far walls dominated by large windows looking out into the interior of the vast space station and the docked starships within.
Walking over to the replicator, Harry spent several minutes having the wall mounted apparatus create a multitude of small, but highly advanced parts, ones that would allow him to build a suitable apology gift for Morgana, who was still quite miffed at him and giving him the silent treatment. His extremely high level security clearance and access rights aboard Federation facilities came in handy once again.
With the advent of interplanetary flight, dreams of creating the world wide web again, but on a more massive scale, fell apart, as while laser-based communication satellites could be used to somewhat network planets together, time delays via that method meant that they were limited to being used to transfer large data packets, rendering casual and instantaneous web surfing impossible.*
Subspace too proved far from fast enough, so every planet had built its own intraweb, which would receive, when possible, copies of the other planets' intrawebs, something that had become more and more convenient with the repurposing of the MIDAS deep space communications array, the two-way hyperspace technology onboard allowing it to update planets more often with far greater ease, even across vast distances.
But all this did little good for starships outside of a friendly planet's orbit, thus Harry had not yet designed and built the needed wireless interfaces for Morgana to connect to such a planetary network. He had high hopes for it when completed, though, as her somewhat pseudo-AI existence would make the vast planetary networks of data a veritable playground for her to explore at her leisure.
The upgrade was not terribly complex, thankfully, so he was able to quickly put it together and install it, before placing the headset on a side table overlooking the room, allowing Morgana to explore Earth's intraweb at her pleasure.
But as Harry sat down to enjoy a purposely cold slab of lasagna he had replicated, he received a somewhat expected/unexpected guest.
"Sooo... Harry my boy, how are you liking things so far? Is the 'next great adventure' as interesting as you thought it'd be?"
"What do you want Q?" Harry asked, as he looked over at the Q before him, before quickly looking away. Known for always dressing to both impress and mock, Q was wearing a truly eye-watering set of traditional wizarding robes, one that would not have looked out of place on Dumbledore back in the day, who was known for his extremely colourful, if questionable, clothing ensembles.
"Want?! You wound me, good sir, I'm just ...checking in, if you will. Seeing if you have any questions."
"So a 'Q & A' with Q?" Harry said, a small smile tugging at his lips.
Kicking his feet up onto the table from his seat, Q chuckled sarcastically from across the table, "Oh, good one. How droll. But in all seriousness, we need to be working together on this Harry. I can't be at your beck and call forever.
Look, I'll put it bluntly Harry, I know you've not jumped onto the harem bandwagon fully, and I get why, I really do, but these girls are much better off with you involved in their lives. I mean look at that lovely little helmswoman of yours for example, Anna; if you'd not been on the New England, she would have never been seen or heard from again. Your emerald skinned first officer? Would have died alone, nothing more than a disposable plaything to a cruel man, had I not intervened and set her on a path to you.
And don't think I've not noticed you flirting with 'Rell.' Your marauder side can't wait to watch her prim and proper Vulcan facade crumble into dust at the sheer ecstasy you could bring her. But I'll tell you, unless you take her into your heart and harem, she's destined to start experimenting with Trellium-K, after a careless comment made by one of the crew. She'll end up little more than-"
Harry's magically empowered voice actually moved Q back a little, the swirling energy in the room which had sent ripples through space-time itself, gradually calming, the Master of Death's anger palpable enough to actually worry Q, who canceled the station's now blaring alarms and rewrote the last few seconds of memories, both sentient and computer based, with a twitch of his fingers.
"You've made your point, Q," Harry whispered, unwilling to risk the lives and futures of his new found friends, no matter how recent, though hearing about what would have happened to these women had he not come into their lives was a wakeup call.
"Harry, I'm certainly not asking you to produce a kid in the next 9 months, or even take one of them to bed with you tomorrow. For now just let them into your life, see them as potential mates, not merely as children millenia younger than you. I've picked them out because they're the most compatible women for you in all the cosmos, based not only on what I know of yours and their past, present and future, but a number of factors so numerous and in-depth that it would boggle even your mind to realize. I assure you, I've done my homework; they could not find a better, more fulfilling, and happier life in this particular timeline and reality than the one by your side."
The room descended into a thoughtful and congenial silence as Harry took a small bite from his meal, weighing Q's words. Q further reclined in his seat to seemingly get more comfortable, then conjured and took a sip from a glass of an old nerve tonic recipe that would soon become all the rage in the quadrant, each lost in their own thoughts.
"Q," Harry spoke aloud, swallowing another bite. "If you're truly amenable to a 'Q & A' like you said, there's something that has been bugging me. Why is nearly everyone humanoid? And why do 90% of the habitable worlds in the galaxy have a 0.5G to 4G environment, with an oxygen/nitrogen atmosphere and carbon based life? The odds just don't stack up, at all."
"One of the first races… No, the first. The first race who achieved spaceflight did so incredibly early in the lifespan of this galaxy and the other local galaxies, and found themselves… completely alone. You're destined to find out more about it later on, but most species were… to an extent, seeded, purposefully, their homeworlds and those around them terraformed to the familiar standards of that First Race.
Of course, evolution played a huge part in all this, the seeding was never that complex, little more than an increased chance of creating humanoid, carbon-based life. That race just wanted to nudge things gently in the direction of life, rather than direct every step like the worst micro-managers trying to ensure a particular outcome."
"They still around?"
"Define 'around.' It's a case of both yes and no. But more importantly, these are spoilers..." Q said trailing off, unwilling to tamper too much with events yet to come lest it all come unraveled and the future spiral off into chaos. "What do you think of the Federation so far?"
"Flawed. And far too caught up in the ideals, in the dream of it all, to acknowledge and deal with the harsh realities of their situation.
Don't get me wrong, what they've done is great, but it won't last, can't last. In a universe with just the Federation in it, they'd probably be fine, but that's just not the case. In fact, I suspect the only reason they've lasted this long is the unacknowledged men and women running around behind the scenes, with a roll of duct tape and a bloody dagger.
The way I see it, the Federation's greatest flaw is in its founding charters, both the Federation's itself and the one which created Starfleet. Starfleet was, in effect, given a directive to expand and explore at a quite frankly reckless pace, while the Federation's charter aspires to grant its members maximum personal and sovereign freedoms at home. However, that idea of freedom also has a dark side, one which results in infrastructure being woefully undeveloped on many worlds and governance being haphazard or outright harmful to their citizens. This laissez faire attitude leads to sometimes vast disparities in quality of life, overall wealth, and rule of law, even between fellow member planets within the Federation itself.
Worlds newly colonised by species whose homeworlds are already within the Federation aren't even forced to join the Federation or otherwise follow its laws, while the colony is often left with just the initial supplies their homeworld gave them, with only an overstretched and overworked Starfleet to turn to for aid should problems arise, and they often do, some colonies falling into lawlessness, anarchy, and despair.
Total freedom is a nice idea on paper, but just doesn't work. The need to explore without limits regularly increases the list of enemies the Federation has, while stretching supply lines and resources that are needed back home. Why not apply much of those resources to making every member world of the Federation a paradise, or increasing the Federation's baseline infrastructure and manufacturing output?
Freedom, self-determination, the rights of the individual/planet, these would likely be their answers, even as the citizens of those planets suffer. Their minimum interference policy towards even the less advanced Federation member worlds leaves vast wealth, resources and technology gaps that weaken the whole of the Federation and breeds resentment and, in time, maybe even rebellion.
Had the Federation spent more time and resources investing in aging colonies like Vega, they might have been able to beat back the Borg on their own, without the need for outside help and intervention."
Nodding at the idea, Q agreed, and took another sip of his drink. The relatively small Borg landing force that had attacked Vega would have been destroyed in orbit by vast networks of defense satellites, stations and ground-based cannons had it attacked one of the core Federation homeworlds, like Earth, Vulcan, or Andoria.
"Starfleet is the Federation's only true force for real change, evolution, and adaptation, but that group spends so much time exploring and scanning the next planet further out that all they're really gaining is a comparatively small amount of scientific data and even more enemies." Harry then picked up a data pad he'd compiled on the flight back to Earth.
"This is the state of the Federation in cold, hard numbers: 56 Fleets, 9,628 Federation Colonies, Starbases and Facilities, 239,573 combat ready ships, yet only 43,582 of that number are active ships with, at best, a skeleton crew, supplemented by extensive automation and holographic crew members.
20,268 active ships are on permanent defensive or offensive assignments, based out of 4,862 locations.
5,012 ships assigned to emergency response, 2,000 hospital and medical ships, 7,000 resupply and refueling ships, 382 ships testing new technologies, 8,285 detached to long-range, long-term exploratory missions.
The rest are split between maintenance, training, special assignments, or functions as the replacement pool to plug the losses that inevitably arise. These numbers, of course, don't include Temporal Investigations or Starfleet Intelligence assigned ships.
At first glance, at least on paper, it looks ...okay, I suppose, but only until you start looking at the ship classes.
Let's talk about those 2,000 hospital ships, for example. You would expect vast hospital ships with thousands of beds and tens of operating theatres.
In reality, you'd find that most of them are Oberth-class ships, a design that is well over one hundred years old at this point. The Oberths are not, like you'd think, purpose built hospital ships either. They're essentially 160 meter long modular scout vessels, the cargo bays and botanical gardens stripped out and repurposed into dormitory-style medbays.
The rest of that number is made up of Olympic, Hope, and Horizon-class ships, led by a core of eight Nebular-class ships. Only the Nebulars are worth anything in combat and even then, more geared towards a support role. Frankly, I wouldn't trust the Oberths not to spontaneously decompress if a Klingon looked at them the wrong way.
At the same time, there are over 300 Intrepid-class vessels and another 200 odd mix of the Cochran and Discovery variants sitting uncrewed at various fleet bases throughout the Federation.
Why, do you ask, does the Federation have so many moderately powerful, useful, and combat-capable vessels sitting empty when they're in the middle of a fucking war? When the Klingons are at the gates and killing or enslaving Federation citizens? Federation Order 28i-503.
Written eight years ago, the order breaks down to three key parts. First, all new Federation Captains will be required to have, before being assigned a ship of their or their fleet commander's choice, a sufficient amount of time in command of a lower-tier vessel. The vessel-class rankings are even attached to the order. (AN: see Star trek Online Ship tiers) Second, 'promotion' to the next tier of ship will take place after a fixed number of military engagements (that scale and number depending on the captain's current tier) or alternately by the decision of a Federation assigned civilian oversight committee.
Sounds relatively harmless and reasonable on its face; put them in a family car for a while before you give them a weaponized racecar. However, before we can put you in a car, so you can eventually try this racecar down the line, you've got to get on this bicycle for a while, but before we can let you on that bicycle… and so on and so on.
Finally, on top of all those hoops to jump through, a Captain who wishes to command a ship in the next tier, must either attack a couple of dozen fully-armed men with a spork, or wait for their name to be called so that they can then be judged by a panel of civilians who have about a one in sixteen approval rate.
In short, with one seemingly reasonable order, the Federation voted in requirements that crippled Starfleet's effectiveness and their ability to crew their most powerful vessels.
It gets worse when you realize that over half of all active Starfleet captains are still only allowed to command the lowest ranked vessels available, meaning the fleets' foundations are built on five ship hulls; the admittedly well-rounded Miranda-class starships and its variants, the old Constitution-class ships with refits, the initially phased out blockade running Steamrunner-class vessels, some Andorian Kumari-class escorts that were donated a few months ago and the backlog of Oberth-class light science vessels.
And all of this during a time of war!"
Q, having patiently sat through Harry's semi-rant/monologue, could only smile at the younger immortal's exasperation. While he'd already known about everything Harry had said, or would have known if he'd bothered to think about such small matters, his current role as a sounding board for Harry was an important one, as Harry had yet to build a receptive support network he could share his thoughts with. While the young women that Harry would inevitably breed with were the ones Harry should and would be turning to, in time, they weren't quite ready to see the serious flaws in their 'perfect little paradise' called the Federation.
Getting up, Q smoothed out the wrinkles in the colourful robes he was wearing, a habit he'd picked up from his time around his favorite Frenchman, watching out of the corner of his eye as Harry continued his fuming.
The Master of Death was just beginning to unravel the tangle of lies that the Federation had been ensnared in, and while neither of them would have to actually pick up the pieces, it was important that Harry chipped away at the right parts of the Federation's oh so perfect facade and exposed it for what it was.
"Which reminds me of another point, Starfleet and the Federation are so in love with the unattainable dream of total, unending peace, that they can't seem to fight a war with the will and desire to actually win in the meantime!
The only reason the Federation still exists as they are is because it's been able to outlast everyone its gone up against! The Klingons, for all their might, don't have enough experienced leaders to win a quick enough victory before the chancellorship inevitably changes on them for whatever reason (most regularly political assassination), the Romulans' imperialistic greed always led to them biting off more than they could safely chew and are now splintered as a people, the Cardassians can't trust each other long enough to work together to get anything large-scale done, the Borg's powerbase and stronghold is half the galaxy away, and the Dominion is at the mercy of the wormhole and the powerful aliens who control it and who have already proven they'll do whatever the hell they want.
The Federation has more than enough manpower and resources to easily conquer and control the entirety of the Alpha Quadrant, but its meaningless when everyone knows that they lack the will, the drive, and the organisation to do so, much less the sheer ruthlessness and pragmatism necessary to keep it all together for very long."
"That, Harry, is one of the main reasons we asked for your help." Q said, having moved to look out the window while Harry had ranted at the sorry state of the Federation.
"I won't lie to you, we do need a new race of magicals, preferably strong and able to fight alongside us against some very powerful beings; a skilled and powerful army to support us in battle.
But the Continuum civil war showed us that...given the right tools, even the simplest group of ridiculously weak mortals can become a powerful force of irregulars and frankly a militarised Starfleet is less likely to turn the weapons we might give them onto us in the end, than say, the Klingons or the Dominion.
The politics, the counterproductive and ridiculous Federation Orders that do more harm than good, those will all sort themselves out soon enough; you don't have to worry about that. But I do need you to guide a thoughtful and pragmatic reorganisation of Starfleet in the days ahead, to be its poster boy and eventually breed the magical officers who will lead Starfleet into ultimately joining a battle that not even the Continuum is guaranteed to survive, should we lose.
But, my dear boy… I'm not totally heartless. I'll give you a hint and a free one at that. Starfleet's Charter allows for them to undertake mass training exercises at their own discretion, in order to look at new possible tactics and doctrines. Most important to note is that the exercises can be of unspecified length and scope." Q finished, watching as Harry's mind went into overdrive.
"Anyway… I'll leave you to your meal," Q said, motioning at Harry's half eaten dinner. "But do try to seriously think about what I've said, especially in regards to the girls."
And with that, Q flashed away, leaving Harry to his thoughts as he chewed his food slowly.
- 51.5072°N, 0.1275°W site of Old London, Island of Great Britain, European continent -
- Earth, Sol, Sector 001 -
As the first signs of dawn crested the horizon, highlighting the huge skyscraper towers of the new, relocated London, the replica bells of the rebuilt St. Paul's Cathedral rang out their familiar tune. A lone, hooded figure, stood out amongst the rubble and clutter that used to make up the capital of the island once called Albion by the ancient greeks.
Picking its way through the rubble, the hooded figure continued to quietly meander through the abandoned graveyard of the Old City, the once sprawling metropolis destroyed by the atomic fires and violence of the third world war, stopping every now and again by a half destroyed road sign to reorient themselves by a crumbling landmark that had lost its meaning to everyone else.
After several minutes, the figure stopped, before raising its right arm and closing a metal wrapped fist, before ripping it down like one would a curtain.
As the first rays of the sun shone on Harry's hooded face, the wards temporarily fell, exposing the rotted ground floor of what was once a pub and the hidden entrance to a winding magical alley beyond, filled with wonder.
But where once stood the magnificent and imposing white marble building he had been looking for, was nothing…
Just a three mile deep empty hole in the ground.
AN: Twenty thousand words, aren't we a lucky audience? But in all seriousness, I would like to apologize to all of you. This chapter has taken nearly 6 months, and while I was unavoidably unable to work on it for a large chunk of that time, that's far longer than it should have ever taken.
Unfortunately, this chapter was always going to be a long one, as I tried to balance seemingly endless amounts of text explaining complex ideas on how magic was going to be working, with something that was actually readable and accessible to anyone besides both hardcore HP and ST fans. This was only further complicated by me getting a job, then ending up in the hospital without PC access, then finding a new place to live, followed by getting a much easier job. Thankfully, my beta and collaborator, Joe Lawyer, was willing to come back onboard and will continue to add his valuable insight (even if I hate [but appreciate] his habit of often asking the awkward questions, aka 'why didn't they?' or 'did they try?')
Now a *NEW* POLL. Polls won't play as much of a role in this story as I have used them in others, but I recently found myself writing Elsa rather than Elisa, and as we have an Anna on crew, should I go back and change an admittedly canon character's name, so as to be able to throw in the odd Frozen joke? A poll will go up.
As always, reviews are greatly enjoyed, welcomed, and encouraged, so please take just a few seconds and review, Feel free to ask questions or give your thoughts on how the chapter went and the story's developments. And to conclude, my sincere thanks to you for continuing to read this despite the long, long delay, expect the next chapter within a month.
[Alert end of chapter shameless plugging] Some of you have mentioned how you've started or restarted playing Star Trek Online after reading this, and as casual gamers might be looking for a low maintenance fleet to join or shove an alternate character into, and unless I log on in a bit and find someone nicked the name, I'll be renaming my fleet to Harry's Future Fleet, I might even make a Harry alt who'll do missions at the same rate as the one in this story… Either way, contact me via or Thrans Thrans on STO if you're interested.