wake up, this is all just a dream...
Act 3: Echoes
Sky sat next to the captain in a row of chairs behind a lectern waiting for his audience to settle themselves.
"He could be great you know, the boy. If we finish raising him," Sky said to his Captain.
"Or he could resent you for withholding information," Samuel Ward said.
After a moment of watching the crowd, the captain asked, "Are you sure about this?"
"No, but it's the best option we're going to get," Sky said. "Besides, my simulated childhood was in the late 20th century, and it was surprisingly accurate concerning the political environment. I wouldn't trust these humans with a basic spanner much less a starship."
"Red, I'm just a hologram. If your plan succeeds and we're restored, I won't remember this conversation," Captain Ward said. "None of us will remember."
"And Dr. McCoy over there is just the EMH; but I still asked that he be included. You, and all of the crew, you are all accurate representations of yourselves, based off the mental patterns recorded when we used the transporters to hold you in stasis," Sky replied. "And I'd like to think they can be at least somewhat accurate to your reactions if you were actually here with all of the information."
The two let the muffled conversation wash over them for a moment, and then Captain Ward nodded, placing a hand on the AI's shoulder, he said, "Kaylee might have something up her sleeve for our memories anyway, I think we've waited long enough to start this, don't you?"
Sky nodded, standing up to walk toward the lectern at the center of the platform, the room grew quiet as he approached, and then explained why he'd chosen to activate their stored personalities on the holodeck, and what his plan to save them was.
The Morning After
"Vernon?!" Petunia's shrill voice pierced the morning air, before her lay an empty cupboard. The threadbare mattress cold to the touch no sign of it having been used the night previous. "Vernon!" she yelled again.
"I'm coming, yah daft woman," Vernon grumbled from upstairs, his breath heavy with the effort of moving quickly. He huffed as he descended the stairs. "Now, what's all this racket about?"
Petunia pointed silently at the empty cupboard, the single bulb within illuminating the lack of occupant.
"So, the little runt's run off then," Vernon Dursley groused. "Don't see what you want me to do about it."
Petunia looked at him sharply. "They'll find out he's gone," she hissed.
"So? And they'll be introduced to the business end of my shotgun," Vernon replied unconcerned.
"They'll know that was his bedroom, that it was locked with him inside," she continued.
Fear of course makes people irrational. Yes, they, being wizards would probably be quite capable of learning exactly where Harry had slept for the past eight years, if they learned any more than that it would take more than just the initial glance.
Vernon grumbled under his breath before saying, "I'll set the rubbish out in the bin later."
Later that day, Mrs. Number Eight would stop by for tea, eyes peeled for anything amiss as usual. Of course, Mrs. Dursley's skittish behavior only encouraged her to pay even closer attention to the goings on at Number Four Privet Drive.
Throughout the day, Mrs. Number Eight visited each of the ladies on her street for a brief chat, and an exchange of neighborhood gossip. At each stop the speculation grew as she related the skittishness she'd observed that morning, and the absence of the poor dear sweet child, which was quite the turnaround from Harry's usual appellation as the lawless hooligan who'd been thrust upon the kind Dursley family.
Speculation as to the fate of the boy grew, until each neighbor in turn shared their own observations over the years as to how the boy had been treated at Number Four, each one unable to stop themselves, as their morbid fascination painted a grim tale strung together from bits and pieces, snippets of overheard conversation, until finally one of the ladies gasped out, "You don't think they've been abusing the poor dear, do you?"
The ladies paused in shock going over their own memories in turn, until Mrs. Number Seven stood and said, "Ladies, I think we should bring this matter to the attention of the constabulary."
Speculation as to how this aberrant behavior had gone on under their noses for so long was a long drawn out affair coupled with more tea, and a large number of biscuits. Though the reality may never be known, as it could very well have been a poorly cast notice-me-not placed over the boy under the intention of making it harder for him to be found, or possibly a failure of a poorly defined ward tied to Number Four.
U.S.S. Skyforge, Sickbay
Harry remembered nodding off to sleep after he finished eating his very first pizza, and not just any pizza but a personal pizza made just for him.
The lights in Sick bay were dimmed slightly, Harry recognized that Bones must have turned them down for him after he fell asleep.
"Bones?" he called out. The holographic doctor shimmered into existence a few feet away.
"Good morning Harry, I deactivated myself last night after you fell asleep, and dammit if that phrase doesn't sound odd. For future reference, the computer can reactivate me at any time by calling my name or saying the traditional phrase about activating the EMH." the McCoy EMH greeted the boy.
"What time is it?" Harry asked.
"O' six hundred" Bones replied.
Harry yawned, and his stomach growled loudly, "Sorry," he apologized.
"No need to apologize Harry, you're a growing boy, and a hungry one at that. Use the replicator alcove by the door, and you can have whatever you want, though I advise you to go with something light and that you snack throughout the day. We need to stretch your stomach so you can handle larger portions."
"Okay," Harry climbed down from the biobed and sleepily walked over to the replicator and hesitantly ordered breakfast, looking over his shoulder at McCoy who nodded at him encouragingly with each choice. "Um, two slices of bacon, buttered toast, and a scrambled egg, and a glass of milk cold."
"There are over 300 different varieties of milk, please specify." Came a canned response from the replicator.
Feeling equal parts overwhelmed and adventurous Harry asked, "List a few Earth selections please."
"Some milk beverages from earth are, an example of non-animal based milk selections are as follows, Almond milk with sub selection flavors vanilla, strawberry, chocolate, sweetened and unsweetened, soy milk same sub selections as previous, Soy with same selections as previous, Coconut —" Harry interrupted the computer.
"Stop, let's try the first one, Almond milk, chocolate flavored, cold." Harry told the computer.
The motes of light swirled in the replicator alcove producing a plate with the specified order. Harry waited patiently for it to finish before grabbing the plate and carefully walking back to the biobed. He set the tray down on the little table. Climbed back onto the bed and sat with his legs dangling over the edge.
As he ate the doctor highlighted the regimen for treating his malnourishment. "I want you to start slowly, by eating several times throughout the day. The computer will log what you eat and ensure you get the proper nutritional content. At the end of the day you're to stop by here for a checkup. I have here my recommended course of treatments you'll need to get your health where it needs to be, " he said handing a tablet over to Harry.
"Ok?" Harry asked looking at the list with a confused expression.
"What's os-ost-e-oh-pore-whatever that is?" Harry asked.
"That's the medical term for brittle or easy to break bones, Harry, and I want you eating and drinking plenty of calcium rich items to help your bones grow strong."
"Oh, ok. What are nanites? It says you recommend them to help with that," Harry said.
"They're tiny machines, you can only see them with a microscope. We have medical nanites that have been programmed specifically to help fix the bones you broke which were not properly set. They can also be programmed to repair any other damage they find after they finish with your bones. You'll need an injection of them before you go to bed for the next three nights. They can also include the treatment for your eyes and any other problems related to your genetics," McCoy said.
McCoy patiently explained what genes where and how they had some technology that could edit them to a point. "Genetics affect your physical appearance, as well as how your body works. For example, your eyesight can be corrected over a period of a few weeks."
"That'd be okay, I guess. But, I don't want to change my appearance, really," Harry said after moment, McCoy nodded in acceptance not really expecting Harry to be the type to go for physical mods, and a little relieved that he wasn't.
"If you aren't comfortable with the idea of using nanites, we have other treatment options, you still have bones that haven't healed properly."
"The nanites should be fine," Harry replied.
"Good, now, as much as I enjoy your company, you are a growing boy and you need your own room," McCoy said.
"But, Mister Bones, sir, I don't want to be a bother," Harry said, afraid he'd somehow offended the hologram with all the questions and was being sent away, "all I need is a bed I could sleep anywhere out of the way."
"Nonsense, Harry, you're welcome to visit me any time. We'll use the terminal in my office to register your personal command codes with the ship and reserve a suite of rooms for you from the list of available quarters, preferably somewhere close."
Harry wasn't quite certain about leaving sick bay, considering the ship was rather empty, and even if the EMH was only a hologram. The illusion of having a living person who was an adult, a Non-Dursley adult, that he could look to for the adult things, was more than enough to justify sticking around. While he had pretty much taken care of himself growing up. He mainly stayed with his Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon because they were his legal guardians, and even if he didn't get regular full meals, he was at least fed, clothed, and sheltered. Even if the food had been leftovers and the clothes, large castoffs from his cousin, and the shelter grudgingly given, shelter being the cupboard under the stairs when his cousin had two rooms.
Harry liked being around Dr. McCoy, even with his American accent, and his somewhat brusque personality. In the short time, he'd been on board he had somehow attached his desire for a father figure to the persona presented by Bones. And dare he say it, he wanted McCoy's approval?
Harry finished his meal, cleaned up after himself and followed the doctor into the office attached to the medical bay. So far, he'd based almost all his actions since coming on board after what he'd seen or rather heard from the show on TV. The ship was recognizably Starfleet, in comparison to what he remembered, but different more real. It had a slight predatory feel to the sleek design. The color scheme was different than the enterprise he watched on TV. It was like walking into a room in one of the neighboring houses on privet drive, the layout of the rooms was the same, but the furniture and decorations changed.
The doctor turned the screen so Harry could see the entry, "Harry, place your hand on the panel in front of the display, say your name and five letters and numbers. That will be your command code, which you must remember. The only thing that can override your authority would be if someone higher ranking than you overrode it."
"If you forget your command code you can come back here and reset it. Remember though, you'll need me or another senior officer to give the command before you can reset yours."
Harry nodded his n response, before grinning and saying, "got it!"
The EMH smiled at the boy before continuing, "Notice how similar B, V, and T, all sound? If the computer is having trouble picking up your voice it might choose the wrong letter. So, we have a fun way of saying letters. We use words that start with the letter you want, it's to help ensure the computer accurately recognizes the letter. So, we use words that are easily identifiable, such as alpha, bravo, and charlie for a, b, and c."
Harry nodded in understanding.
"The list of corresponding words is in the file I've accessed in the left side of the screen," the EMH said.
"What's to stop someone from just copying me saying the code and playing it back?" Harry asked.
"Sensors, Harry," the EMH said, "the computer matches a scan of your body, a picture of your face, and your voice with ship's records, both for the command and the code before accepting the command. If it's someone else's voice or a recording of your voice giving the command, then the computer won't accept. And don't don't worry, since we usually have young people in for physicals every six months, we can update your record with the computer as you grow older."
"If you're inputting the code manually it'll use sensors behind the panel to register your biometrics. Most of the commands you'll use won't require the full command code, personal things like locking the door to your own quarters, while others, things that affect more than just your own personal space, may require that you have my assistance or that of another bridge officer or department head. Don't worry about it just yet, you'll learn about it in your classes."
Harry put his hand on the scanner and gave his code he'd chosen after discussing it with the doctor. "Potter-Hector-Jacob-eight-zero-sierra-seven."
The panel glowed blue for a second, and the computer gave a musical chime as the words appeared on the screen.
The display changed to show the words 'Access granted for Harry James Potter' in a bright yellow against the black background.
"Computer, display the closest unassigned quarters to the medical bay on deck 4," Dr. McCoy said.
The display changed highlighting sections of the map on the screen. Bones frowned and tapped a few of them, "That won't do," he muttered. "Ah here we go," he said tapping a room that was a straight walk down the hallway from the medical bay at the edge of the floorplan. "And it looks like it'll be a room with a view," McCoy grinned.
"Well? What do you say, we go see your new room?"
At the tentative nod, McCoy lead him down the hallway he'd seen on the map, "Go ahead and open the door," McCoy said motioning for Harry to take the first step towards the door. He gasped in surprise as he noticed the little electronic display next to the number had changed to show his name.
Harry was thoroughly in awe of the spacious apartment style quarters, dominating the far wall from the door of the room was a set of large, floor-to-ceiling windows in the lounge facing the engineering section of the ship and the warp nacelles, but what really took his breath away was planet earth, dominating the view, all blue and green with swirling white clouds.
"Show off," McCoy muttered seemingly to himself.
A few levels down, in a meeting with the hologram of the captain, Sky gave a soft chuckle that earned a sharp look from his companion until he explained what he'd done and McCoy's response.
Sky was briefing the captain on the cultural data the ship recorded while he had been hibernating. What was of particular interest to them was how Harry had known what to say to activate the emergency transport, there was an unmistakable resemblance to their own mission archives of the actual Captain Picard. Though Patrick Stewart bore only a slightly passing resemblance to the images of the captain, and was English instead of French.
The two of them watched through a few of the recorded episodes, Sky silently insisting that there was no way this could be blamed on him, if this was a reality where the events of his own reality could have eventually played out, having a TV show about it before it ever happened would certainly throw a sonic screwdriver into the works.
Harry, however, was oblivious of the ongoing discussion of temporal mechanics and the prime directive, he instead was sitting with his hands pressed against the window.
"Wow," he exclaimed softly. There's something humbling about seeing your homeworld from so far up. He was silent for a few minutes just admiring the view.
When Harry was finally able to turn away from the view, he sent a questioning look at the doctor and asked, "Can't we be seen?"
"We're cloaked. Invisible. There's not a thing on god's green earth that could detect us," Bones replied.
Harry was ecstatic when Dr. McCoy reassured him that the entire suite was his to live in, that he didn't complain when the doctor suggested that he eat a snack. However, it both worried and reassured him when the boy went straight to the kitchen busying himself with figuring out how to work the various appliances; it was reassuring in the sense that he knew the boy would be able to take care of himself, worrying that the boy had needed to learn how.
After he'd finished putting everything away, Harry quickly agreed to the doctor's plan to visit the rest of the ship. A small smile slowly formed on his face, as he reviewed the rapid series of changes to his life over the past twenty-four hours. Despite any slander by his relatives to the contrary, Harry was a very smart young man. He had discovered early on that pushing hard to get good grades in class would only get him in trouble with the people he lived with, and with growing conviction, he decided that they weren't worth the honor of him referring to them as his relatives or family.
He remembered his first progress report home, and the comments it contained from the teacher about how smart and helpful he was in class, how they only served to bring down the ire of Petunia and Vernon. Both of whom accused him of somehow cheating or doing something 'unnatural' to get ahead of their precious 'diddykins'. From that point on he had made it a point to purposely put down the wrong answers, he stopped volunteering information and ceased all efforts to assist fellow classmates in understanding the material.
Harry followed the hologram to the transport booth, listening as the doctor explained the differences between this ship and the one on the television show he had watched. While the ship did have turbolifts that ran its length, it also had site-to-site transport booths that used a combination of stasis fields, dimensional phasing, and tractor beams, to move nearly instantaneously from one booth to the next. They were programmed not to start the transfer if the internal capacitor didn't have an adequate charge, making it so they could be used in situations where there was a danger of power loss without fear of the process being interrupted mid transmit.
Harry grimaced at the picture the doctor painted of someone coming back with part of them stuck inside one of the walls.
Unlike the traditional method used in the show to visit planets, which had been developed about five decades before the ship had been built according to the doctor, the newer method was more reliable, instead of molecular disassembly and reassembly it left everything intact. The ship was still capable of the old-style transport as evidenced by the doctor's method of treating Harry's scar, but long term, constant use of that style of transportation had proven itself to be less than safe.
As soon as the booth's doors opened and someone entered the booth it would mark itself as not accepting incoming travel unless the people in the booths were indicating a desire to switch places with the person in the other booth. A booth with closed doors, that didn't have anyone inside, would be marked as open for transport.
"You want to give it the command? Works the same as the turbolift, you can select a destination from the display or say the destination out loud."
"Bridge" Harry called out clearly with a grin. His vision went white for a moment before the booth became visible again. The only indication they were in a different location, the sign above the door, which labeled them as being on, Deck 1: Bridge. The sliding door opened and they stepped out onto the brightly lit bridge.
"Over there," the doctor pointed before motioned for him to follow again. "This is the security console you'll have to input your authorization code here to gain access to the bridge systems."
Harry stepped up to the wide touchscreen display and entered his command code.
Bones gave Harry a smile, "there, now for the next three days or so I want you to spend with me in sickbay before returning to your rooms to sleep. Then we'll have the holodeck ready for you, some of the crew left behind a holographic snapshot of themselves, and they can only interact with you from the holodeck."
Harry looked up for a moment before returning his gaze to the doctor and saying, "how long is that going to take?"
"It will take as long as you need it to," Bones replied with a smile, when they'd finished their tour of the important parts of the ship from the bridge to engineering, Harry was thoroughly tired, so they returned to his newly assigned room.
"One more thing, Harry," Bones said, as he stopped by a battered old luggage trunk. "After you were beamed up the ship scanned your old house and found this," He stepped aside to give Harry room to open the luggage. Laying on top of a folded robe was a pile of parchment, the top piece of which was yellowed with age.
Harry gingerly lifted the document and read:
Harry James Potter
Lily Marie Potter and James Antonius Potter
on July 31st, 1980
Harry stood staring at the paper with his name printed in an elegant script underneath which was his parent's signatures. A warm feeling settled in his chest as he looked up at the doctor. "Thanks, Bones."
"You're welcome, Harry."
Note: feel free to question things, the improvement in this story is in part spurred onward by the questions asked.
you're asleep, wake up...