Fusion of Destinies II: Day of Reckoning
a Harry Potter/Metroid crossover
Chapter 1: Picking Up the Pieces
Disclaimer: The Harry Potter series and all of its characters are the creation and property of J. K. Rowling. Samus Aran and the Metroid series are the creation and property of Nintendo, and was originally masterminded by Gunpei Yokoi (1941-1997).
January 8, 997 - 2:48 AM Western European Time
approximately 25 miles southeast of Hogwarts
On and on he trudged through the darkness of the forest, which his wand seemed almost powerless to penetrate. More than once, he had painfully fallen flat on his face after tripping on unseen rocks and tree roots. Each time though, he simply got back up, brushed the twigs and leaves out of his long, silvery beard, and ventured onward. He had never cared for this wild, untamed forest, and now liked it even less at night. But his vexation with traversing the Forbidden Forest was nothing in comparison to the indignation of what he had been forced to do in the last few days, of what he was going to do soon...
Even though he knew there was really no choice, it was still the hardest choice he ever made.
A sudden rustling sound from behind made him whirl around, his wand at the ready. Had he traveled far enough? Was he where he needed to be? No, by his estimates he had about a mile to go. No doubt one of the many nameless horrors in the Forbidden Forest was nearby. With his luck as of late, no doubt it was some predator moving in for the kill.
Forcing himself to remain calm, he raised his wand to illuminate the area. He scanned the area for any more signs of movement, tried to sense any hint of magical energy...anything that would give away his unseen stalker. As he did so, he cautiously crept backward, hoping to put some distance between whatever was out there while nudging closer to his goal.
Unfortunately, he also inadvertently stepped off a ledge, only to painfully tumble several dozen feet down a steep slope.
After eventually coming to a halt, he lay motionless for a few seconds. Then, after trying to move, he found that no bones were broken. He began to slowly pry himself off the forest floor, spitting out dirt and fallen leaves as he did so. Once he was back on his feet, he realized he had dropped his wand. In a panic, he looked around wildly for it, but barely any moonlight was penetrating the forest canopy. He could barely see his hands in front of his face...
All of a sudden, behind him, another wand illuminated the forest. He spun around to face whoever it was, fearing the worst.
But it turned out to be just the opposite.
A tall, fair, slender woman draped in blue robes slowly approached him. One hand was held high, holding a wand that cast the light dispelling the darkness. In that light, silky black hair glistened and warm, brown eyes sparkled. The other hand held out another wand: his wand. "I believe this is yours, old friend," she said, smiling.
Slowly and grudgingly, now hampered by several painful bruises, he made his way over to her. Trying to muster as much sincerity as he could given the embarrassing circumstances of their reunion, he quickly said, "Thank you, Rowena."
"Despite everything that has happened, it is good to see you again, Salazar," she said with genuine sincerity. But he didn't need Legilimancy to tell that, despite her words, some suspicion still lingered. That had always been something off-putting about Rowena Ravenclaw; she could be both compassionate and coldly intellectual at the same time. "But if I may ask," Rowena went on. "Just how did you..."
"Fall down that slope?" Salazar Slytherin finished for her. "I had sensed some creature sneaking up on me, and I was edging backwards as I tried to find out..."
"A creature?" Rowena repeated. "No doubt it was this." With that, Rowena stretched her hand toward the night sky. Salazar looked upward, and through the trees, he saw a thestral approaching them to make a landing. He knew Rowena could see it too. Both of them had seen their fair share of death and destruction as of late...
"Godric was able to procure a whole herd of trained thestrals. He thought they might prove useful," Rowena said knowingly, answering Salazar's unspoken question. "I know, it's often been assumed such creatures were untamable, but I long suspected otherwise." The thestral landed stealthily beside them, and Rowena grabbed hold of what looked like reins. "Come, the others are expecting you. They are not far behind."
With a sigh, Salazar fell in behind Rowena as she led the thestral to their destination. "If only you could have sent one of these things to pick me up," Salazar said at length. "But no doubt spies were watching the skies above all of Britain for anything out of the ordinary. I couldn't risk taking the usual routes back into Hogwarts either, had to go skulking around like a thief in the night..."
"At least most thieves I know have a sense of honor, of loyalty?" barked a shrill voice. A few feet away, standing between two more thestrals with saddles and harnesses, was a short, stout woman with short, flaming, curly red hair. Her hands were at her hips, everything about her body language betraying unrestrained, pent-up, venomous malice. "I might as well tell you this right now, Slytherin, I think you've got no business crawling back to us, not after what you put us all through!" shouted Helga Hufflepuff imperiously.
"Helga, that's enough!" shouted another voice in a tone far more commanding. "These times are too perilous for squabbling about the misdeeds of the past. We must now look toward the future, a future the three of us may not yet survive alone and unaided. Salazar has shown great courage already by giving us what information he has. The least we can do is show a little trust in return."
Salazar braced himself and turned around. Towering over him was the commanding presence of the man he once called his best friend. Clad in red and gold robes, carrying his ruby-encrusted, goblin-forged sword, and sporting a beard and flowing red mane, was Godric Gryffindor. He looked just as much the fierce duelist now as he did years ago, when a rift formed between them. He tried to make him realize that in a world growing more and more hostile toward their kind, the families of Muggle-born witches and wizards could not be trusted unconditionally.
But all that seemed trivial now, in light of all that had happened in recent weeks.
Salazar flinched a little as Godric clasped a hand on his shoulder. "I truly mean it, old friend. Despite the disagreements that still linger between us, I know that in a situation like this, I can count on you without worry," he beamed. "I look forward to working together again."
That's Godric for you. Always ready for a fight, Salazar thought with a sigh. Out loud, he said, "I am touched that you're willing to trust me again, but it is truly wise to also trust...them?"
"We have no choice and you know it!" snapped Helga.
"Helga is right. We have no hope of success without them. And now that we're all together again, we must make haste and return to the castle," spoke up Rowena. "If you have any new information for us, perhaps we can plan a new..." But Rowena was cut off when a shrill whooshing noise was heard overhead, making the trees rustle ominously. "They're making their move already! They're heading toward the castle!" Rowena shrieked, with more fear in her voice than Salazar had ever heard before. She quickly mounted her thestral, and Godric followed suit.
"I've got Slytherin!" shouted Helga as she mounted her thestral. It galloped toward Salazar, and she grabbed him by the hood of his robes. With strength unexpected of such a short woman, she hoisted him up onto the thestral so that he was seated behind her. Soon after that, all three thestrals ascended, quickly rising above the trees and soaring through the night sky with dreadful, unbelievable speed.
"Wand out, Slytherin! We're closing in on them!" Helga ordered tersely. Salazar looked ahead. With the trees no longer blocking the moonlight, he could see that a few miles ahead was the castle of Hogwarts, its towers rising into the night sky. And a few hundred feet ahead was some big, black, fast-moving...thing. There still wasn't enough light to make out exactly what it was, but Salazar knew full well where it came from. It couldn't be allowed to reach Hogwarts now that the students had returned. He raised his wand and began to mutter an enchantment.
But suddenly, fiery red beams of light lanced out from the intruding object, shooting back toward them. "Hang on!" Helga shouted, gripping the thestral's reins. They swerved wildly to the right, narrowly missing them. Salazar spared a second to try and spot Rowena and Godric, and to his relief saw they were still aloft. If any of them were to perish now...
But Salazar put those thoughts aside and raised his wand again. But before he could cast a single spell, the strange craft came under attack from down below. Strange, small objects, propelled forcefully with fire, shot up from the forest and struck the craft. Upon impact, they exploded with frightening force. Also, what looked like small bursts of wintry air rose up and struck the craft as well. A few seconds later, the strange object exploded noisily, spewing a deadly fireball that lit up the entire forest with blinding light.
It took a few seconds for Salazar to get over the shock of what just transpired, but eventually realized that Helga's thestral, along with the other two, was descending. It looked like they were headed for where that mysterious attack had originated.
Salazar said nothing as the thestrals gracefully touched down. It didn't take long to spot what, or rather who, was behind the attack that felled the intruder.
Three large, armored...beings stood in front of them. Their shape somewhat resembled a human's; two arms, two legs, a shape that favored upright posture and walking. But their heads were anything but human. A thick layer of night-black feathers, large, bulbous eyes, and protruding from the front of their faces were powerful-looking, triangular beaks.
The one standing closest to them began to speak in a voice that exuded both wisdom and militancy at the same time. "I see the final member of your number has joined you. Good. Now we can begin."
June 3, 1968 - 4:51 PM Eastern Standard Time
Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts U.S.A.
Belinda Asara shuffled along the sidewalk, trying to wade her way through the crowds of Muggles busily going about their normal lives. She spared a quick glance into a shop window, taking note of her reflection. For a witch in her late forties, she realized she could look a lot worse. Still, the wrinkles starting to form around her face, her stout frame, the short, haggard-looking hair that was starting to grey...
The stress of being part of the Asara family, one of the oldest and most respected Wizarding families in England, and being responsible for so many of the family's business dealings...the burden of such duties was obviously taking a toll.
Belinda felt a tug on her hand. Sighing, she looked back at the seven-year-old girl she was dragging along. The burden of looking after five children also wore her down. "Come along Melody. We mustn't be late," barked Belinda, pulling on her daughter's arm to make her go faster.
"I still don't know why we had to come to this stinky, noisy Muggle city!" Melody protested vehemently.
"I told you twice already, Melody Asara. Our client has a Muggle friend whose daughter is graduating from Harvard in a few days, and he refuses to leave the city until then. And the deal must be finalized with our family tonight!" explained Belinda for what felt like the hundredth time.
"I don't see what the big deal is, graduating from this Harvard place," Melody went on. "As if there's anything at Muggle schools worth learning."
"Yes, I suppose learning about technology that puts people in space isn't worthy of anyone's attention," Belinda shot back testily, losing her patience. "We've only observed the heavens with telescopes, but any day now the Muggles will figure out how to get to the moon and beyond. And if our kind is to follow, it'll be by using their methods. Now hush up and keep walking," Belinda said with finality, wedging through the crowds on the sidewalk.
Belinda sighed as they pressed on. What more could she do to teach her children about the folly of such arrogance? She wanted to make sure her children didn't develop the same imperious attitudes other pure-blooded children seemed to have. In many ways, yes, the Wizarding world was superior to the Muggle world, but there was still much they could learn from the Muggles. Not only that, their kind could not hide from Muggles forever, not at the rate which the Muggles and their strange sciences were advancing. One day, the Wizarding world would have to reveal its existence once again.
But most of all, Belinda knew what the outcome of such prejudicial attitudes could be. She saw it in the rise of this new Dark wizard, Voldemort, and how he was spreading his message. An alarming number of people were willing to listen, even people she once considered her close friends, such as the Malfoys. If left unchecked, this madman could very well plunge her entire world into chaos. And from that chaos, who knows, there could come something worse, someONE worse...
However, Belinda forced these troublesome thoughts aside as she pressed onward. They couldn't be more than a few minutes from their destination now. If only their client hadn't insisted on meeting in a public place, then perhaps she could have arranged to Apparate, but...
A sudden chorus of panicked screams snapped Belinda out of her annoyed musings. Looking around, she saw many Muggles running wildly, obviously fearful of something. Then she saw it: a large truck Muggles used to haul cargo across great distances, speeding down the street. It was as if its brakes had suddenly stopped working.
And the truck only came to a stop when it crashed into the side of a city bus at the intersection.
Belinda's heart sank as she watched the bus get rammed into the side of a building. The deafening, terrifying sound of shattering glass and crumbling masonry assaulted her ears, and a ball of fire shot upward from the truck as its gas tank ignited, eliciting more shrieks of panic from all the Muggles nearby. Instinctively, Belinda rushed toward the wreck with her daughter in tow, wondering if she could discreetly use her magic to help in some way. But she already knew that half the passengers on that bus probably died instantly...
I can put out the fires, at least. That will make it easier for the Muggle Healers to get to survivors, thought Belinda hopefully, edging closer to the wreck. She pulled her wand out of her coat pocket. With everyone staring dumbly at the horrific wreck, Belinda twirled her wand as she held it down to her side, whispering an incantation. Within a few seconds, the flames lingering around the totaled truck and bus inexplicably died away.
Minutes later, ambulances arrived, and Muggle Healers began the painstaking task of pulling any survivors from the wreckage. Belinda could only watch in horror as bloodied bodies were being whisked away on stretchers, knowing there was nothing more she could do without breaking Wizarding law. She felt a squeeze on her hand. Melody was watching in terrified silence as well, and from her face she could tell her daughter felt no sense of haughty superiority, just sadness. It's a hard lesson to learn. Despite all our differences, in the end we're still human, still mortal...
"Hey Charlie, I don't believe this!" came a voice from the wrecked bus. "This little girl, she doesn't have a scratch on her! And she was seated right where the truck hit, too!" A hurried conversation started among the Muggle Healers in the bus, one that Belinda couldn't follow. Then, a moment later, she saw them carefully carry out a young girl and lower her onto a stretcher.
"It...it's a miracle," Belinda said softly with disbelief. "I saw the crash happen...to think anyone lived through it unhurt..."
"And sitting where the truck crashed into it!" shouted Melody. "That...that's impossible! Nobody could survive that. Nobody, unless..."
Belinda and Melody looked at each other with blank expressions, knowing this could only mean one thing.
As the stretcher was loaded into the back of an ambulance, Belinda got a good look at the young girl strapped to it. She looked like a full-blooded Asian girl, with shoulder-length, raven-black hair. She looked about seven or eight years old. She wore some sort of fine, expensive-looking suit, perhaps some sort of school uniform? Curious, Belinda edged closer to the ambulance, hoping for a better look.
And before the ambulance door slammed shut, Belinda saw a name tag on the girl's suit, which had, astonishingly, the symbol that she recognized as the seal for Harvard University emblazoned on it. A girl that age, admitted to one of the most prestigious universities in the Muggle world! she thought incredulously. Lastly, she took note of the name on the name tag...
October 6, 1995 - 11:21 PM Western European Time
Harry Potter finished putting on his night clothes as he looked around the boys' dormitory. Everyone else was sound asleep. Even Ron and Neville, who had gotten a taste of the horrors he had fought, were sleeping peacefully. Harry envied them. In the days since Samus Aran had returned to her time, Harry found his dreams of that long, mysterious hallway replaced with nightmares of the deadly X parasites Voldemort had nearly unleashed upon the world. And all too often, his ghastly doppelganger, the HP-X, was right in the middle of them.
Enough, Harry. There's no reason to still be afraid of those things, Harry told himself resolutely. The space station was destroyed, the HP-X was toasted well before that, and Voldemort was beaten within an inch of his life. He probably won't be causing much trouble for a while, thanks to Samus.
Samus Aran... Harry let his thoughts linger on her, the mysterious loner of a bounty hunter who somehow came to regard him as a close friend. And in turn, she had become something of a big sister to him in the few short weeks they spent together. Harry briefly wondered if there was any chance they would see each other again...
As it was, Samus had already given him so much. At the very least, their adventure together had given him the confidence he needed to take up Hermione's suggestion. This weekend at Hogsmeade, Harry was determined to set up his own Defense Against the Dark Arts lessons behind Umbridge's back. Harry smiled to himself, relishing the thought. He moved toward his bed, hoping that happy thought would grant him one night free of nightmares.
But as Harry was about to jump into bed, everything suddenly went dark. Not as if the dimly-lit wall sconches had been snuffed out. It felt as if some great force, a wave of darkness, had suddenly swept over the dormitory.
Forcing himself to not succumb to panic, Harry reached for where he thought his nightstand was, hoping to grab his wand. But something...no, someONE, grabbed him from behind. He felt someone's right hand clasp over his mouth, while his assailant's free arm was slung around his torso, pinning his arms to his sides and holding him in place.
"No one can hear us," a feminine voice whispered in his ear. The voice had a non-threatening tone, but still had a fervent edge to it. "A special charm an old friend of mine devised will see to that. But I think I'll keep your mouth shut anyway. Now's not the time for a face-to-face talk. Right now, all you need to do is listen."
Harry's struggled with all his might to free himself, but whoever this woman (if it was a woman) was, she was far too strong. Just one hand around his mouth held him firmly in place, making it impossible to turn his head and get a look. Amazingly, judging from the soft rush of air brushing past his ear, she was about his height.
Another thing that was strange was the accent in her voice. It sounded somewhat British, but to Harry, it seemed a bit...forced. Faked. As if she were trying to conceal her true accent.
"Hopefully, the day will come soon when we can meet face-to-face. After all, this is the closest I've ever been to you since you were a baby. Ever since then, since your parents were murdered, I've observed you. Watched every move you made, watched you grow up into the remarkable young man you are today. And these last few weeks...my my, those were of great interest, weren't they?"
Harry's eyes widened, knowing instantly what, or rather who, she meant: Samus Aran. But when the voice spoke again, she made no mention of the bounty hunter from the future. "Want an example of how intently I've watched you? I know what you're planning to do this weekend. And between the two of us, I say go for it. Anything to spite that fuckbucket Umbridge. You think you hate her? Believe you me, you have no idea how vile she really is.
"But your long-term plans go far beyond undercutting that toad's authority. I know what your ultimate goal is, even if you don't yet: Voldemort." Hearing that name spoken aloud sent a shiver through Harry. Not from fear of Voldemort, but the fact that this woman would so casually utter the name. This was no ordinary witch. "You may not realize it, but Voldemort's annihilation is at the top of your 'to do' list, or at least it will be one day. But let me ask you something: do you really think Voldemort's death would change everything?"
Despite himself, Harry stopped struggling so hard, truly pondering her question. "You know in your heart that Voldemort's eradication would not change the world overnight. No, the ideological filth Voldemort spews is nothing new, and will persist long after he's beaten. You can see this everywhere in history, among Muggles and Wizards alike. Someone dies, but their destructive ideology lives on. I know you must've learned at least THAT from Binns's lectures, and from your time in Muggle schools." Harry's eyes widened again. Aboard Samus's ship, he had thought the very same thing while recovering.
"You may not want to admit it, but deep down, you think what's between you and Voldemort is the textbook definition of good versus evil. It may seem that way, but nothing in this world is so clear-cut and simple. There is no such thing as absolute good or absolute evil. It's never just about good guys versus bad guys.
"Oh, and your dream of becoming an Auror? Your dream of one day bringing the fight to Dark wizards? A naive fantasy, one I tried to live. Consider what kind of government you would be working for. A government that allows incompetent, dickless tubs of lard like Cornelius Fudge to rise to the top, and allows power-hungry bitch-whores like Dolores Umbridge to run things unchecked? A government in which most members have attitudes toward Muggle-borns and Muggles not much better than Voldemort's? D'you really think you can accomplish ANYTHING serving a government like that?
"You're slowly realizing this, Harry, that you can't go on the way you have. You're realizing the world isn't black-and-white. And hopefully that realization will sink in soon. One day down the road, maybe in a couple weeks, maybe in a few years, we'll meet again and you'll have to make a hard choice. Keep going down this road to nowhere, or try something...new. Something that will let you live up to your true potential, the great things you're truly meant for..."
Harry continued to struggle in her grip, but now only half-heartedly. Despite himself, when he listened to her words...some of it was making sense. But that nonsensical talk of 'great things' was enough to let him know that whoever this woman was, she couldn't be trusted.
"I won't modify your memory, Harry. No, I want you to remember what I told you tonight," the voice went on. "For now, I'll take my leave...and pick up what I really came for."
Suddenly, Harry's felt her left arm let go of his torso. His mind now fully focused, Harry was ready to overtake his mysterious assailant. But a strange sound - a loud, metallic shink - made him hesitate for a split-second.
And in that split-second, a horrified Harry felt something sharp, long and cold plunge into the side of his neck.
White-hot pain exploded in Harry's head, but he was vaguely aware of the sensation of something being sucked out of his neck. Blood, or perhaps more? Harry didn't have long to dwell on it, however. Soon the pain faded away, but all other sensation was leaving him as well. Harry's assailant pulled the metal object out of his neck and finally released her hold. Harry felt his body slump lifelessly into a heap before he blacked out completely.
June 9, 1997 - 7:32 AM Western European Time
Susan Bones peered out from behind the tree she was flattened against, wanting to get one last look at Hogsmeade Station, and her fellow students boarding the Hogwarts Express, before it departed. Like many of the other students, she had been determined to stay for Dumbledore's funeral, but for an entirely different reason. She was charged with gathering as much information as possible before the rest of the students were sent home. But she dreaded having to report what she knew about the night Dumbledore was killed to her boss.
As Susan watched the students board the train, a sharp surge of envy ran through her. Most of the students getting on...most of them still had families to go home to. Not her. Her parents had been murdered by Death Eaters when she was very young, and she had been raised by her aunt Amelia, until Voldemort killed her personally last year.
As she watched the crowd board the train, Susan caught one last glimpse of Harry Potter. Mixed feelings of guilt and disappointment welled up within her. Once, she would have trusted Harry without question. She enthusiastically took part in Dumbledore's Army, and for a while, truly believed the rumors that he was the 'Chosen One'...
That all changed when Voldemort murdered her aunt. How the Wizarding world sank deeper and deeper into chaos since then, while Harry seemed unwilling or unable to strike at the heart of the problem, eroded Susan's faith in him completely.
Since then, Susan had found someone new to put her faith in. Or rather, someone new had found HER.
Either way, there was no turning back now. She had made her final choice, she knew where she stood. But still, she watched Harry and his closest friends board the Hogwarts Express with a hint of sadness and regret.
Susan was so wrapped up in her thoughts, she was scarcely aware that a large shadow was looming over her. Bane, the leader of the centaur herd that roamed the Forbidden Forest, looked down upon Susan with a stony gaze. "You should have been at the extraction point five minutes ago," he said simply, the impatience in his voice palpable.
Despite having secretly worked with Bane for months, the sight of the acerbic, domineering centaur still unnerved Susan. "I-I'm sorry," she said quickly. "I-I just wanted to see it one last time, b-before..."
Bane glanced over at the Hogwarts Express, then back down at Susan. Susan wondered just what the centaur was thinking, but his obdurate expression was unreadable. At length, he finally said, "No matter. I will have us where we need to be in time. Climb on my back."
Susan couldn't believe her ears. "W-Wait a minute, I thought centaur pride forbade you from letting humans ride you?" she asked dubiously. Bane's only response was to fix his withering gaze upon Susan again. "Oh, that's right," Susan said sheepishly, realizing she had foolishly reminded Bane of something he'd rather not dwell on. Like her, Bane's service came at a price. Only for Bane to put aside his enormous pride, he had to be paid a ridiculously high price...
After carefully climbing atop Bane's back, the centaur turned around and galloped back into the heart of the Forbidden Forest, the thunderous sound of his hooves resounding in Susan's ears. Amazingly, she could hear Bane's voice over the plangent noise. "You'll be pleased to know that while we were fulfilling our duties here, the others have set everything into motion. Our ultimate goal is within sight. We need wait only a little longer."
For the first time that morning, hopefulness began to swell in Susan's heart. "You...you mean..."
"Yes, Susan Bones," said Bane. "Humanity's Day of Reckoning will soon come."
the distant future
approximately 2000 kilometers above SR388's surface
The passage through the temporal vortex took only minutes, but for Samus Aran, the trip seemed to drag on for hours. The swirling, bright energy patterns and lattices of the vortex...they almost had a hypnotic effect. Still, Samus kept her hand firmly on the steering rod, ensuring a steady journey. Then, at long last, Samus saw the vortex open and the sight of normal space greeted her. Her ship shot out of the temporal vortex like a missile, eventually settling into a stable orbit around SR388.
"Status report, Adam," Samus said tonelessly, her mind still on what she had endured the last few months, and the uncertain fate that now awaited her. Months had passed for her since she, Adam and the surviving X parasites were pulled back in time by Voldemort's enchantment, but if Dumbledore's enchanted clock had done its job right, only a few hours had passed here in her own time. That meant her insubordination and the destruction of Biologic's station would still be fresh in everyone's mind.
"Weapon systems, deflector shields, stealth field, life support and sublight engines are all functioning within normal parameters," chimed in the computerized voice of Adam Malkovich, her old mentor, his mind now preserved in her ship's computer. "However, short-range and long-range scanners, as well as long-range communications, are offline for some reason. Worry not, Lady. It should take me only a moment to isolate the cause and remedy it."
"Make it so," said Samus as she leaned back in the pilot's seat. She looked down at her herself again, at the concealing witches' robes she still wore over her fusion suit. Samus reached down, pulling up at the skirt part of her robes, examining the fine, silky fabric. Then she looked over at the dashboard of the cockpit, where Hermione's photo album still lay, unopened.
No one else in the Galactic Federation would ever believe her if she tried to explain what happened, it was far too fantastic a tale. Yet, Samus knew she couldn't pretend that nothing had happened. For better or worse, her unwitting foray into the past changed her forever. No longer could she pretend that she could go on as a loner. Maybe I should take Harry's advice, try to find Captain Falcon and Kirby again. Maybe I can even convince them to work with me. Working together, we could cover more ground when tracking fugitives, effectively mount ambushes against...
But then Samus remembered what happened the last time she was supposed to lead a team of bounty hunters. Samus shut her eyes tightly as she recalled how she was forced to fight and kill Rundas, Ghor and Gandrayda after the Phazon infecting their bodies ultimately corrupted them. After the annihilation of Phaaze, it had taken her a while to finally come to terms with what happened. Only the dire plea from the Galactic Federation to investigate SR388 had prompted her to finally don her armored suit again.
And there's no telling how the Galactic Federation is going to react to my insubordination and blowing up the B.S.L.; I may not be doing any hunting whatsoever for a while. Perhaps...it's time to call in a few favors. The Luminoth still owe me big time. If the GF suddenly has the gall to put a bounty out on ME, I'm sure they would offer me sanctuary until I can figure out how to...
"SAMUS!" Adam suddenly shouted. Never throughout their mission to the B.S.L., or their escapade into Earth's past, had Samus heard so much unrestrained panic in that computerized voice than just now. "Short-range scanners have just come back online, but..."
Adam's voice trailed off, as if he was actually at a loss for words, something that Samus had never heard happen in all the time she had known him...before and after his death. "But WHAT, Adam!" demanded Samus impatiently, fear and tension building up within her despite herself. "What have the scanners picked up?"
"As soon as the scanners came back online, I performed a quick sweep of SR388's surface and the surrounding space, but...this makes no sense, Samus! Everything is all WRONG!" shouted the computerized voice.
"What do you mean, 'ALL WRONG?'" snapped Samus.
"Look out at the planet's surface and you'll see what I mean," said Adam hesitantly.
Samus slowly turned her head to look out the side of the cockpit, dreading what she would find. The sight that greeted her was just how she remembered the surface of SR388 from orbit...
BEFORE she had locked the B.S.L.'s propulsion systems on a crash course with the planet. It now looked the same as when she ventured there on her mission to exterminate all the Metroids.
For several moments, Samus wordlessly stared out the cockpit window. When she finally found her voice, her words were barely audible, coming out as pathetic, panicked croaks. "How did, h-how can..."
"It gets worse, Lady, a LOT worse," said Adam. "I did a quick scan of the lingering ion trails from ships entering and leaving the system, and...NONE of them come close to matching ANY known Galactic Federation vessel!"
Samus kept staring out at the surface of SR388, its surface now untouched by the hellish fusion reaction from the B.S.L., as Adam's words slowly sunk in. Samus's mind was racing, trying to make sense of these impossibilities. Fortunately for her, the Chozo had trained her to think harmoniously and stave off chaotic thought. After another moment of determined focus, Samus went over what facts they had, and came to a sobering conclusion...
"Human history was somehow altered, and that altered the history of the entire galaxy," said Samus weakly. "We thought that by wiping out the X parasites in the past, we prevented our present from being altered. We were obviously wrong."
"Obviously," came Adam's somber response. "The question now is, what do we do to remedy it?"
Samus didn't reply. Indeed, what reply could there be? The temporal vortex Dumbledore's enchanted clock had generated supposedly collapsed in on itself the moment her ship cleared it. There was no way back, and though she had heard of several scientific theories regarding time travel from Galactic Federation scientists and while being raised by the Chozo, she knew of no surefire method. At least, not with scientific methods. But I know it's possible using sorcery, and the Wizarding world must still exist in this new timeline, Samus thought with a flicker of hope. It's a longshot, but it's our only hope. I have to set a course for Earth, then hope I can...
"Samus, the singularity!" bellowed Adam, his voice sounding even more shocked than before. "The vortex...it's reopening! Something is coming through!"
Reacting with practiced speed, Samus steered her ship around and headed back to the entrance of the temporal vortex. Just as Adam said, the vortex was opening again, but Samus didn't see any ship passing through it. Several more moments passed, but still, nothing came out. "Adam, what's going on? Something obviously must've just come through that vortex. Is it a shuttle that's been concealed with magic somehow? Can our scanners pinpoint it if that's the case? Or maybe..."
"Hold on, Samus, I don't believe it was a ship that passed through. Rather, I think...yes, it was some small object," said Adam. "It's a clock remarkably similar to the one Dumbledore gave us to reopen and stabilize the temporal vortex Voldemort created, and there's something else attached to it as well. Hold on, I will have it brought aboard shortly."
Samus waited impatiently in the pilot's seat, nervously fidgeting with the armrest as she waited for Adam to collect the objects and bring them aboard. Finally, a metal cylinder began to slowly rise from the floor next to her seat. A metal seal slid open at the top, then the objects were slowly raised upward on a platform. Just as Adam said, there was an antique alarm clock bearing an uncanny resemblance to the one Dumbledore had enchanted, and attached to it with Spell-O-Tape was a small, plastic rectangular box with several buttons on the side.
"I believe the device attached to the clock is an antique recording device used in the late 20th century known as a tape recorder, which recorded audio by polarizing magnetic tape," said Adam, answering Samus's unspoken question. "If these historical records are correct, pressing the button with a single triangle will play back any recorded audio."
Samus was still confused and fearful by this harrowing turn of events, but she forced herself to calm down. When she found the right button, she hesitated for a second, but then finally pushed it.
Almost immediately, Harry's panicky voice boomed from the tape recorder. "Samus? Samus, if you're hearing this...oh, I hope Hermione gets this sent to the right time, or else we're..." Harry's voice was then drowned out by the ear-splitting shriek of static. But what little Samus already heard had been enough to make her heart hammer incessantly. From her perspective, she had seen Harry alive and well less than an hour ago, sorrowful about their parting, but otherwise healthy and happy. Now to hear a recording of his voice with such panic and hopelessness...
Eventually, the static cleared, and Harry's voice came through clearly again. "We thought we'd never need you again, but we weren't ready for this new..." Static cut off Harry's voice again. And from that point on, all that played were garbled bits of Harry's recording in between long lengths of static.
"...overwhelmed all our..." "...teamed up with Voldemort..." "...a one-armed fallen angel..." "...this will change history so that..." "...it had loads of Chozo technology, and..." "...no one was prepared, no one had any idea..." "...called it the Day of Reckoning..."
After all that, there was mostly static again, but there was one long, final part of the tape that was decipherable. "Samus, if you somehow get this clock, use it like you did the last one. With any luck, it'll take you back to a point where..."
Then there was nothing but static after that.
"It appears that most of Harry Potter's recording was corrupted due to the ambient energy from inside the temporal vortex," said Adam matter-of-factly. "But from what remained of his message, there can be no doubt that we must use the clock Harry provided for us, return to his time, and undo whatever events caused these alterations in the timeline," Adam finished, with the air of determination and duty that Samus had always associated him with.
But for a long while, Samus did not respond. She simply stared at the clock and tape recorder on the cylinder. The mention of a resurgent Voldemort and technology left behind by the alien race that raised her, plus the specter of centuries of galactic history being altered, perhaps irreversibly, should have been enough to spur her into immediate action. But for some reason, some instinct was telling her something was very wrong. "If you're going to ask this Lady if she has any objections, I don't know," said Samus, finally finding her voice. "I can't put my finger on it, but something doesn't feel right."
"All of history has changed, and Voldemort using some ancient technology left behind by your benefactors, a race that sought to spread enlightenment rather than tyranny, is clearly responsible. Do tell me Lady, what's supposed to feel right?" asked Adam acidly.
Samus shook her head, knowing that, as usual, Adam was absolutely right. Without another word, she severed the Spell-O-Tape holding the clock and recorder together with her armored fingers. Then she grabbed the tape recorder, leaving the alarm clock on the cylinder, and nodded her head. The clock was lowered back into the cylinder, which receded into the floor.
Samus watched through the cockpit window as the clock slowly drifted through space, and when it made contact with the entry point of the temporal singularity, it reopened. Well Harry, looks like we've got another mission, Samus thought to herself as she steered the ship into the vortex.