Coming out of unconsciousness wasn't something Harry ever really thought he could describe, he once thought about writing a manual for LPI, on what to expect and how to handle being knocked out by a large tentacle alien or something like that. But there were so many different sorts of awakening from unconsciousness that he'd never really settled on one specific style.
Slowly opening his eyes, this wasn't the enervate sort of waking up.
This was the slowly opening his eyes to the oddly comforting noise of a Dalek saucer, that dull throb that was a mainstay of Dalek vessels. Then the slow realisation that he was lying down when the last remembered thing he recalled was being standing and...then it was all a blur, followed by darkness. He wasn't sure when he'd stopped being anxious, waking up like this, it had happened post-Hogwarts, but not far out from then.
"Sit up, slowly," said a voice that was Dalek, but only in sound, in tone it was all Oswin Oswald.
As he shuffled himself upwards she gently pushed something into his hands, it was a mug that smelled surprisingly like tea and it was pushed into his hands by female hands. Oswin, having taken on her female form in the amount of time it took for him to sit up. Harry still both wanted to know, and did not want to know how she did it; the mystery of it, he enjoyed.
Pushing himself up against what he realised was the remains of the Saucer Commander, albeit more tidied away, he was in a lot less pain than he had been, prior to the blur and darkness.
"We've patched you up Harry," a mixture of concern, worry and annoyance. "I don't know how you were even standing; the damage your body had sustained," she paused and smiled playfully at him and leaned in theatrically. "I think even the Daleks were impressed."
Harry sipped the tea. It was sweetened, though lacking milk, and there was something else to it that he couldn't put his finger on. "I pushed through, I had to rescue you."
Oswin flashed him a smile, "Thank you," the briefest of pauses. "Now do you want the bad news or the bad news?"
Harry sighed theatrically and winced.
"Yeah, sorry about that. You bones have reknitted, but you're going to be a mass of bruises, simple medkit." Oswin looked over at a Dalek to the side of the command deck and a screen popped up ahead of him.
"What's that?" Harry asked.
"Open space, we've shaken off the Time Lords," Oswin reported.
"You should have led with that, that's good news," Harry sat up a little more and sipped the tea.
Oswin turned back to him and shook her head. "We left Ribos' orbit with 35 saucers."
Harry felt the gravity on the ship pull him down, or maybe it was just a sinking feeling in his gut. "How many do we have?
"Eight saucers remain in our fleet Sorcerer," reported a Dalek off to the other side of the room. It sounded like a girder had bounced off it.
"Okay. Is that the bad news?" Harry asked hopefully.
Oswin shook her head. "This is a Skaro Degradation storage facility rated hazardous." A blurry image of a planet appeared on the screen.
There was an image of what looked like a sand and greeny coloured planet on the screen. "Looks oasisy," Harry commented as he sipped his tea. "Have you slipped something into my tea?"
"Standard vitamin, mineral, protein and anti-infection mix, keep you strong, don't worry about it," Oswin said offhandedly.
"Great," Harry paused as a Dalek glided near him. "Soldier" he addressed it gesturing it towards him, "Extended manipulator arm to me."
"Yes, Sorcerer." Anyone else probably would have been intimidated by a Dalek sucker arm coming at them but Harry just grabbed it and used it to pull himself up, swearing as he did so. He didn't bother to thank it.
Oswin caught him before he could collapse, the effort of getting up off the ground had been more extreme than he'd thought it would be.
"What's the bad news then?" Harry asked.
"Our velocity will be too great when we come out of lightspeed, so we'll crash onto the planet, and it's unlikely all the saucers will survive," Oswin explained.
Harry focused on her. "And is that the other bad news?"
Oswin shook her head, an amused expression on her face. "We're still within the Time Lord's temporal detonation exclusion area, as is the Skaro Degradation planet, and even if we do land, we might not be able to take off again, the engines are under massive strain as it is." Oswin continued to explain as symbols and figures were helpfully displayed for him.
"Oh. Fuck," Harry said with finality. "I think I need to visit the toilet."
The toilet facilities on most Dalek saucers were basic, even then they existed only for high value allies or slaves. In the case of Time War era saucers it seemed mostly non-existent. In their past excursions when he and Oswin had been on saucers he'd made sure to use the facilities in their Timeship.
Here it was in the medical bay and was a hole in the wall with a bit of suction and no privacy.
Whilst in the relative seclusion of the medical bay he unbuttoned his shirt, looking at himself on the reflective surfaces within the bay.
"You're going to be like that for a while Harry, though you can parade without a shirt on, no one'll complain." Harry flinched as he turned to see Oswin leaning against the doorway.
"How did you open my coat I thought-" he began as he started to button up his shirt, albeit carefully. His whole body felt tender and was, he'd discovered covered in bruises, with little regular flesh.
"Your cloak is genetically coded, but you also were close to death, maybe it can read your life signs and interpret help, didn't the Eternal leave you instructions?" Oswin asked.
Harry shrugged. "The Eternal droned on a bit about it, there's notes in the Timeship," Harry paused, his mind wandering slightly as he thought of Snape, how the Eternal's droning had reminded him of Snape's lectures back in the depths of his past, Oswin's voice brought him back to reality.
"Which we can't access, it's staying sealed so the temporal...stuff doesn't get in," Oswin wrinkled her nose.
Harry laughed and winced, his hand going to his chest but he realised most of his body hurt when he laughed. "'Stuff', you're picking up my habits."
"All the bad ones are the best Harry," she walked the short distance between them and took his arm. "Now what are we going to do about not dying?"
Harry leant against the remains of the Saucer Commander as he surveyed the hologram that was in the middle of the room, it was less wobbly than the last time he'd seen it.
It showed the eight saucers that remained in their fleet; they were in formation. How or who had organised that Harry saved for another time as it was quickly becoming apparent no one would be able to give him an answer.
Harry looked to Oswin "We're the highest rank?" she was stood at the front of the command deck, she looked back quizzically at his query.
"There's no Saucer Commanders, Supremes, Gold Daleks...?" Harry trailed off. "No Red Daleks?"
Some of the Daleks on the command deck turned around and gave him a look, it was one mirrored by Oswin, except she put more expression into the look she gave him. Harry exhaled.
"We are Soldiers," said one of the not-so-damaged Daleks.
"You are Sorcerer," another Dalek said, for a moment Harry thought it would say something poetic, but it just returned to its work after looking at him for more than a few seconds. Harry noted it in his list of notes in his mind for his book on their psychology.
"Well Sorcerer?" Oswin asked with a curious look.
"Mage?" Harry drawled the world out as much as he could and leaned back against the remains of the Saucer Commander in thought; looking at the hologram. "Are all the saucers capable of landing?"
One of the Daleks turned around to look at him, Harry wanted to say it could just shout the answer, but there was something vaguely reassuring having a being look at you when it was talking, even a Dalek.
"Yes, Sorcerer," Harry opened his mouth to continue, but the Dalek got in first. "Structural integrity on some saucers indicates they are unlikely to survive re-entry."
"Highlight those," Harry gestured at the hologram.
Two of the representations of the saucers changed colour and began to pulse a grumpy purple.
"Can those on board be transmatted to other saucers?" Harry wondered.
"Why Harry?" Oswin asked and looked back at the hologram. "You think we're going to survive landing?"
Harry shrugged as the Dalek answered. "Negative at current velocity."
"When we drop out then..." Harry paused in thought. "Does anyone on any of these saucers know how to fly a saucer."
"By the time we get to the planet we won't have enough power for orbit Harry," Oswin challenged. "We're not flying anywhere."
"Daleks are capable of piloting any Dalek craft," another Dalek answered, the one that had the girder dropped on it.
"But-" Oswin interjected. "We'd need to land to make repairs, if we can."
"Then we'll land," Harry said simply.
"Engine and power delivery systems are damaged on all saucers, landing is not recommended," said the girder Dalek again.
"I've crashed a few spaceships and landed a few others, in the words of Top Gear how hard can it be?" Harry said brightly.
"What's top-gear?" Oswin looked at him with a puzzled look and frowned. "This is one of your cultural references isn't it?"
-/ - \\-
Harry Potter knew how to fly a lot of things, he'd set out to learn how to fly aircraft, helicopters, gliders, paramotors, gyrocopters. Stuff unrelated to a broom, something different, challenging, dangerous. But spacecraft, that he had only a tiny amount of experience.
The largest spacecraft he'd flown and the only one he'd not crashed was the Terran Pursuit Ship Vanquish, which was currently parked in another timeline on Oswin's landing pad. Harry wasn't sure if that was the past or the future, given they were in a temporal war it probably didn't matter frame of reference wise.
The other spacecraft that he'd flown, he'd crashed. All in the same day, and the only one he'd got into an atmosphere he'd crashed, well not even that, he'd let it crash.
Now he was going to attempt to land a Dalek saucer, which had just enough power to drop out of lightspeed and position itself so it would actually get into the atmosphere.
Then it was all up to him.
The other saucers would essentially follow their lead.
Which was fine.
Of course it was.
According to Oswin at least 4 out of the 8 saucers needed to survive the landing, because they'd need the bits from the other ships to patch up their ship, or the others, etc.
So he had to make sure they survived.
Which was fine.
He'd fashioned a chair to sit and strap himself into to be positioned at the controls, the landing would not be smooth.
"Relax," Oswin said beside him.
"Relax, I've just got to get a huge saucer to land on a planet described as 'hazardous'," Harry repeated and reached into his bag, just to make sure everything was still in there. The bag he'd packed intending to take it down to the planet Ribos, not that he'd known its name when he'd packed it. Only to be told of the dimensional problems that had prevented taking the Timeship might not play nicely with other things, he'd decided not to risk it and left it wedged between the Timeship and the wall.
"And, survive," Oswin added helpfully.
This is fine.
That's what Harry thought to himself as the whole room began to shake and heat up. He patted his bag again.
This is fine. He was sure he could smell smoke.
This is fine. Were there flames in his peripheral vision or was he just imagining it?
"This is fine," Harry realised he was shouting, not that he could be heard over the yawning, groaning noise of the saucer around him.
Then he almost head butted the console in front of him as the saucer made it through into the atmosphere, it was more than a few moments before the antigravs kicked in and...slowed their decent.
"Well, we're not dead," Oswin said brightly, releasing his shoulder, he realised she was the reason he'd not head butted the console.
"Not yet," Harry pondered, "report, outside environment check, will my lungs explode?"
"Negative, environment is safe," the girder squashed Dalek reported.
"I highly doubt anywhere hazardous would be safe, but you'll live magic boy," Oswin patted him on the shoulder.
There weren't any instructions on how to glide a saucer, there weren't any instructions on how to fly a saucer on manual. From the Daleks that were on the command deck they said the saucer entered the atmosphere, utilising secondary engines and antigravs and then landed.
None of those things were happening at the moment, they were falling with little grace or style.
The antigavs were doing little but keeping the saucer at a slight angle, because according to the readout on the screens in front of him they were dropping like a flying pie tin filled with lead.
"Forward vision for our pilot," Oswin said and then continued in a low tone. "Mass detectors are functional."
"And is there?" Harry asked as he adjusted the pitch of the saucer, or he jabbed at the controls and hoped that they'd respond, there was a smell; that of burning something.
"Yes," Oswin answered mysteriously as the screen in front of him split off into three screens, two of data and one of what was ahead.
Mountains – they hadn't been on their hastily plotted path to land on. They were trying to aim for where there was something...something Dalek, probably, some sort of technology. Maybe. Something to do with the Skaro Degradations, whatever they were. When they'd dropped out of hyperspeed, or lightspeed or whatever it was, they'd tried to scan the planet. With what remained of the sensors on the ship.
"Calculate, are we going to clear the top of that mountain range?" Harry demanded even though he knew the answer.
"Negative," the Dalek sounded like it was going to say more but Harry interrupted.
"Countdown to collision," Harry demanded quickly.
"It's going to be s short countdown Harry," Oswin forewarned.
"Impact in 15 rels," announced the Dalek.
Harry wondered if now was when he should abandon ship, but at the current saucer's velocity and the passage down to the ground he doubted they'd survive, he also had to get this saucer down, at least close to the ground so the others could home in on it, or use their vectors as a guide.
The mountain range was now getting close enough that the sides of the saucer had to be grazing the neighbouring sides, with luck they'd wipe off some speed. Without luck they'd catch and they'd be ripped apart.
"Pancake time soon Harry," Oswin reminded him.
"Docking thrusters..." Harry trailed off as Oswin reached past him.
"These," she said.
"3 rels," the Dalek had a tight tone.
"They've been damaged," Oswin reminded him.
"Too late to worry about that" he pushed his hand on top of hers and felt the gravity go a bit floaty and the smell of burning increase.
"Docking thruster power exhausted," a Dalek announced. "Fire in thruster control. Fire suppression systems are non-functional."
"Seal off that area." Oswin walked away from where he was sat to somewhere else on the command deck.
"Door control systems are non-functional." Announced another Dalek, Harry wanted to throw something at it.
Altering the antigravs power slightly he managed to bank the saucer around and aim it now at their final destination.
Now that they were pointing in the right direction he could see a structure of some sort; a ziggurat, along a big road or something like it, beaten out of the sand, maybe even rows of technology in the great distance.
In the few seconds he was looking at that visage something else burnt out and the saucer started to fall.
"Antigravitational systems are offline," announced a Dalek with a tone that Harry would note one day in his book that is was a tone of panic; also known as 'it's all gone tits up and the Doctor's gloating'.
"Time for you to leave Harry," Oswin was pulling him and sitting herself down into the chair. "Use your escape plan."
"What about you and the Timeship?" Harry looked back to it.
"You're all heart Harry," she looked back at him briefly. "We'll be fine, there's a knack to flying a dead spaceship," there was a thump as something below them exploded.
"Which you don't have," Harry said as he reached into his bag. "Let it crash we can escape." Harry said as he extracted the Взрывной ветер from his bag.
"Go, I can put it down gently, just not gently enough for you." Oswin's voice was harsher, more Daleky.
An alarm was going off somewhere and the room was beginning to fill with acrid thick smoke.
"Good" Harry coughed. "Luck," and then he disapparated.
Harry found himself thanking the small group of Russian broommakers for the stability of Взрывной ветер. It was one of a couple of brooms Ioan had sourced for this venture out into the Time War. Incredibly hardy, both he and Ioan had extensively tested them. Ioan having previously tested the 'Tiny Wind' during their sea fort foray. This was the bigger, more stable larger broom the 'Blasting Wind', Judith had suggested it could be something else more scatological. Whatever the name they wouldn't fall out of the sky, he and Ioan had made sure they'd taken them through large range of punishments. They weren't the most manoeuvrable brooms in the world, but no slouch, different from any of their British-made companions, especially at speed.
They would also sit very stable while their rider tried not to black out Harry quickly discovered.
Harry had apparated when he'd been injured, he'd apparated when he'd been hurt, he'd apparated when he had some broken bones, even though it was inadvisable.
But he'd not apparated after having his bones knitted together and left with extensive bruising and deep tissue injuries. Which combined with the thin air and recent danger, and attempting to land a Dalek saucer had left him somewhat out of sorts.
The pain had felt like he'd had his chest crushed again and now, it took all his effort to keep his legs on the broom.
Gripping the wood harder he blinked a few times and then remembered the saucer which as he tugged on the shaft of the broom he turned around until he could see the trail of smoke plumes as it fell towards the ground.
It seemed to flare for a moment like it was actually going to manage to put down its landing struts and land when its antigravs seemed to completely give out and it crashed into the sandy earth with a thud.
Harry for several moments sat on the broom, still trying to control his breathing, or rather breathe normally so he didn't black out from the immense pain that was beginning to subside. It was a different sort of pain, pain all over his body from a sort of crushing feeling, it was different to being shot, or having a spell hit him, quite different in fact.
Maybe, Harry thought to himself he'd write a journal on the different sorts of pain experience while battling and fighting your way through life against and for aliens.
That at least he could publish and find a publisher for, albeit one who'd signed the official secrets act. He doubted however there'd be much more of an audience except for people in the armed forces and other people like himself that...that what? Harry found himself cutting off his musing as 6 more saucers entered the sky from a variety of angles.
It became evident very early on that some of the Dalek pilots were better than others.
Two looked like they were wildly off course and heading for what looked like an ocean or lake some distance away. As they were moving relatively slowly, or were more likely some distance away he had time to extract some binoculars from his bag and look around him, it definitely looked like a large body of water. He'd not really had time to take in whether it was the sea or a lake as the saucer had careered towards the planet as they'd come out of lightspeed.
The planet did have some water on it, but it very much looked like a desert-like planet with some oases and green stuff about.
That's what this area looked like Harry returned his gaze to the area where his saucer had landed, it was maybe 50 kilometres away from what looked like a ziggurat and a set of...somethings, storage or something else, there was a haze settling in over the area, he presumed by the saucers that were crashing or beaching themselves on various landmasses around him. The Dalek pilots not having his skill or flare with the docking thrusters to avoid the mountains.
As the dust settled and more to the point the pain subsided Harry flew his broom down to where his saucer had crash-landed.
Not exactly leaping off the broom he walked briskly over to it, banishing and transfiguring the sand around the lower section of the saucer so he could get to the ramp. There was an entrance on the top of the saucer, but a lot of the outer sections of their saucer had been damaged during the Time Lords' attack.
There was a groaning noise as he cleared sand away from the ramp and it opened with a shuddering; pushing the remaining sand out of the way. It stopped short of what it usually did but did reveal someone with legs who deftly ducked under the gap between the ramp and the saucer and slid down the pile of sand. Harry greeted her with a one armed hug.
"Glad you survived," he said into her hair, it smelt of burning electronics and strawberries.
"You look awful magic boy, least you survived your transference," she smirked at him and gestured towards the ramp.
Harry theatrically sighed and gestured with his wand, wordlessly. In fact, as he wrenched the ramp down, he realised he'd cleared and transfigured the supports that were holding up the saucer in lieu of the sand wordlessly as well.
"You've got that look Harry, anything wrong?" Oswin asked curiously. "Aside from us being marooned on a hazardous planet of course."
"Of course," Harry repeated as his train of thought was broken by Oswin and shook his head. "No, nothing wrong for now."
Harry felt relieved as Daleks started to stream out of the damaged saucer. They were all looking at himself and Oswin expectedly.
"I think we have to give them orders, now that we're down," Oswin whispered to him theatrically.
-/ - \\-
Oswin Oswald had been contented with her life, such as it was.
Then a man came into her life.
There was the Doctor, too, that clever boy who'd run into her life and made things explode. He'd changed it.
Made her face what she was, what she'd become, and who she really was. That boy in the suit who'd run around being clever with Nina and the red head. Oswin still smiled at the memory of that glimpse of chest that Nina had shown her.
Then there was that brief moment when they'd started shooting and the shield had come down, that briefest moment between destruction and infinity, she'd used those moments in time to escape from the Asylum, escape to...she'd hadn't been sure where she'd escaped to, only that she'd been screaming.
She'd been screaming for days, her voice echoing through the valley and up to the Temple. That's what they said once she'd found her way up to the Temple.
Emergency Temporal Shift.
No one tells you these things hurt, that faced with the time vortex itself, seeing the swirling madness, sheltered only by your own skin, unprepared...it was something you could only do a few times. That she'd found out on her own, by doing it.
You don't learn how many wishes you have until you've used them all up.
When she'd stopped screaming, when the surprise, the pain and shock had worn off she'd stood up and smoothed down her dress.
That had been the first surprise, that she had legs, and feet attached to them, and her red dress. That they were all there, and that they were a part of her, just like the other side of her.
The Dalek side.
After escaping, it had taken a long time to accept that part of her.
After escaping the Asylum, it had taken a long time to work through that part...her part, the part of her, it all was...her. Oswin Oswald.
Not everyone was accepting, but the Temple of the Goddess accepted everyone, and the one she'd arrived on had many visitors throughout the many years she was there. Or maybe it was decades? Oswin sometimes wasn't sure.
She'd worked out that she could show either of her forms to the outside world, the Dalek side or the human side, they were both...a part of her, within and without there wasn't much difference, for the most part. But this, this realisation that the Dalek was a part of her, Oswin wasn't sure how long, how long it had taken her to not be disgusted when looking in a mirror. Looking down at the appendages that she had to interact with the world. A glowing blue eye piece, a manipulator arm and a gun. She'd gazed into the abyss, as the ancient Earth philosopher said.
There'd been plenty of visiting philosophers, scientists and Chronodukes from long ago professing they recognised what she was, what she could do, holograms, disguises, particle synthesis. The being who'd suggested the last one though, Oswin had felt the greatest desire to exterminate him, though she couldn't decide exactly why. Early on the urge to exterminate anyone she didn't like had been high.
One time during the Festival of the Goddess a woman came offering a High T-Plant, who suggested that Oswin had a magical diadem about her. At least Oswin was relatively sure that's what happened, after drinking the beverage from the High T-Plant everyone had become violently ill, the toilet systems barely coped.
She'd heard of magicians before she ever met Harry Potter. She counted Toby as a great story teller, though his friend who kept referring to himself as a 'magician', he'd kept wanting to dip his finger into every water source in the Temple. It was a bit weird, after a while what she assumed was their keeper – Mr Snodgrass retrieved them both.
She'd heard of magic too, as a concept, as being advanced, like technology, or more like, equivalent to. But not till Harry Potter had walked into her life and changed how she saw it. The way he treated it, as just another method of interacting with the universe. Not simply explaining it, but just being, that thing he did.
She'd had that shift of understanding once before. It was the biggest impression she'd had. A hermit who visited the Temple of the Goddess, he'd said his name was K'anpo Rimpoche. He'd said that everyone had forms they presented to the universe.
Some changed their forms when they'd grown tired of the world, or the world had tired of them. Some presented different forms, dependent on the world in which they existed. And some, they transcended their forms, beyond physical energy and thought. Sometimes she wasn't sure if he was talking in reality or metaphors.
But it did shift her understanding, it helped her understand.
She had two forms, human and Dalek, they were both...Oswin Oswald.
That's how she felt, most of the time.
For a long time she had felt comfortable in her human side, the one she presented to the world, the easy comfortable form to project to the world. The one she felt most comfortable in.
The alien, the dangerous side, the Dalek, that was also a part of her, no matter how she might try and deny it.
Few people really understood, or tried even try to.
One person she'd fallen in love with, she thought she'd tried, to understand. But Oswin suspected she'd only done so, because she was fascinated by her, that she'd gotten close so she could work out how to kill her. That was the problem with falling in love with a Dalek Killer, at least it hadn't been muscles himself Abslom Daak. That would have been a bit gauche, especially if it was a copy, there were so many of him about.
Oswin had rarely felt really vulnerable, it was...somewhat intoxicating. The Dalek side of her was quite impenetrable, she fancied even if Máire had come at her with a chain sword that wouldn't have done much, maybe to the Daleks of old, but not her. She had protections that even now she was still properly working out. But being in danger, she admitted, although she hadn't had the opportunity to admit to anyone, only Harry would perhaps understand.
Understand the thrill of the danger, coming close to it.
So when one of the two Daleks that was with her exploded, it came with a rush of alertness and excitement.
They'd decided after crashing, or as Harry had said 'any crash you walk away from is a landing' they'd decided a survey of the saucers needed doing and of the surrounding area. Harry had reluctantly agreed that she was better equipped for whatever hazards this planet had, while he knew more about 'bodging together' bits of Dalek technology.
Harry had ordered that all squads of Daleks be at least three, which she'd said she didn't need, now she was especially grateful as one Dalek exploded beside her and the other Soldier was hit beside her, damaged by the...the whatever it was, the energy blast from the...thing.
Oswin swiftly sent a message via the Pathweb to all squads to retreat and regroup for safety until this was worked out and almost simultaneously sent a message to Harry, he after all held the highest rank, and knew more about weird stuff that tried to kill you.
"Harry, if you've got a moment, something's trying to kill me." Came Oswin's voice very calm but with some haste in his ear.
Harry sat up quickly almost hitting his head.
There was one Dalek with him, on this the second saucer they'd been inspecting, one of the ones that had crash landed near by to 'his' saucer.
"Dalek Mage requires assistance?" The Dalek beside made it sound like a question, but it was more of a statement of having received the information.
"Yes, outside," Harry looked around him and decided that getting on to the top of the saucer was probably easier than finding their way back down through the crushed corridors that had happened when this saucer's antigravs failed rather spectacularly and at great height before it had lined up for a flared slow landing.
"Elevate," Harry ordered when he found a hole in the hull big enough for himself and the Dalek to fit through. As it rose up through the hold he grabbed a hold of the base of the Dalek and let it drag him up.
Letting go as he got to the top of the saucer and wrapping himself tighter in his coat he shivered, even though it was just his face and hands that were exposed to the cold night air.
Harry touched the communicator near his ear. "Where are you Oswin? Fire into the air so I can find you."
Oswin didn't respond but Harry saw in the far off distance Dalek energy weapons fire spit out from the ground.
"Right," Harry swung an arm over the Dalek beside him. "Brace yourself Soldier."
Then he disaparated with barely any noise.
There was a ripple of noise and then Harry appeared with a Soldier and then he was wrapping arm around her while levelling his wand with the other. "You alright Oswin? No injuries."
"No, not yet Harry," it was at this point that Oswin really and truly realised and trusted Harry, that he truthfully didn't notice her forms.
She was still in her Dalek form as he wrapped an arm around her and whispered to her about her well-being. There hadn't been a shift in his body language, or change in his tone from when he spoke to her when she was in her human form, there had been nothing, just worry and concern in his face and body. With him this close she could use all her sensors to tell if this was a mask, an act and there was; nothing.
Harry let go of Oswin, though maintaining the shield he had projected between himself, Oswin and the Soldier he had brought with him.
"Status Soldier?" Harry addressed the damaged other Dalek.
"Low power mode, protection." Oswin said in short tones. "Should survive, if we survive this."
Harry turned his attention to the...Harry wasn't sure.
"Well, why have you attacked us?"
"You...we...us..." It began to speak and it sounded, sort of like a Dalek version of cockney, or something. It was native Dalek it was speaking, but heavily accented with a lot of odd words. He looked to Oswin who turned to him, her eye bobbing slightly in thought.
"It's, it says we've...impregnated their domain?" She turned around to the Soldier he'd brought with him.
"Interference in language translation systems," it reported, aiming its weapon at it.
"Wouldn't do that if the pyre there is anything to go by," Harry jabbed his wand in the direction of the on fire Dalek and extracted his translation lip balm stick from a pocket and smeared a tiny amount on the back of his ear. Only enough that would last an hour or so, he didn't want to be trying to read Dalek and it getting in the way of him working it out himself.
"...have invaded our inner sanctum with your ways, you, you are different." The thing the...Harry wanted to say ghost, not that it looked like any wizarding ghost he'd ever seen, it had more form, more presence in the world, and it screamed 'Danger 'at all of his senses, which was why he'd put up the shield when he'd first apparated here. He tried to push through the urging of his senses of the danger to actually take in what it was, but, he found it hard, everything in him was shouting a flight response. The fight response was there, somewhere.
It was a central ring of metal with 6 metal plates hanging down from it, in the middle an oozing protuberance. On top a body hunched over, two large talons for arms, the face, Harry tried not to focus on, insectoid, maybe.
"Who are you?" Harry asked slowly as he worked his jaw a bit and focused in on parts of the being that he could focus on without thinking about it.
The being turned its attention to him, its huge arms, no, its talons, and the oozing central protuberance, he wanted to think weapon, but all his senses were practically screaming danger.
He was relieved and managed to relax slightly as he could see in his peripheral vision that both Oswin and the Soldier Dalek trained their weapons on it.
"You, you are not like these invaders," now that he could understand it, it was more...well it was understandable, but it was more harsher on his ears.
"No," Harry admitted. "I'm not, what are you?"
"I am of the Tharon," it paused as Harry repeated that to himself, feeling like there was some recognition in the word.
"You know it?" It rasped at him.
Harry shook his head. "It sounds familiar," Harry said and used his wand to draw the symbol for 'home' in the air, the symbol burned in the air for several seconds as the Tharon looked at it.
"This is the word for my home planet," it rasped at him.
Harry nodded as the Soldier beside him unnecessarily spoke. "Skaro."
"Yes." The Tharon said. "We are the remains of it, and you are the invaders."
"We are the Daleks," the Soldier said, Harry wished it wouldn't talk.
"They were devoured by the Thalvarga Horde during our war," the Tharon stated this as though it were fact. Harry dismissed his first thought, the Soldier could talk, it had led to something revealing. But all his senses still screamed danger and he wanted to deal with that, he needed to.
"Both of you. Maximum Extermination," Harry said in Dalek, forcing himself to speak it, rather than relaxing into the Babel Fish-on-a-stick's simplicity of translation.
"I obey," the Soldier shifted sideways and forwards to gain a firing line around his shield and fired. He felt Oswin similarly move. Two energy beams shot out either side of him, passing straight through the Tharon.
The Tharon shifted to fire at the Soldier, but Harry moved faster, summoning the Soldier towards him. It fortunately slammed on its brakes before it collided with himself or Oswin.
Harry frowned, he was sure he hadn't put that much power, it was more reaction than anything into summoning the Soldier Dalek.
"Betrayer!" Hissed the Tharon.
"Does Davros mean anything to you?" Harry asked curiously, deciding to change tact again, unsure of how to play this conversation. All his senses were almost overwhelming his sensible thoughts.
"Negative," said the Tharon, its middle...whatever it was protuberance shifted, moving, aiming between Harry, Oswin and the Soldier Dalek, as it shifted the metal plates moved, it was then, as they moved and Harry could process what they looked like, the three hemispheres along the six plates around the Tharon's body.
Deconstructed. That's what it was.
"You will be annihilated for encroaching on the resting sphere of the Tharon," the Tharon was saying.
"Harry..." Oswin was saying.
"But there was a brilliant scientist, who formulated the final form for the Tharon," Harry found himself speaking out his realisation, even though the conversation had moved on. Distracted by the deconstruction.
The Tharon was startled suddenly by his realisation. "All the lesser beings will be crushed, you are the first in a long while to discover the true path of the Tharon, and you will be next to die,"
"You and whose," Oswin was saying and then Harry felt a gigantic drone of dread as a feeling and summoning swept around them, "army."
Harry took a step back as an legion of ghosts hovered, drifted or something towards them. "Not today thank you," and put a hand over Oswin and the Soldier whom he'd brought with him, the other one would have to survive alone he decided. Then he disapparated.
Oswin looked around and over to the Soldier, they'd moved, Harry was already leaping onto his broom.
"They're Daleks from another universe, or timeline or something," he explained quickly. "Ghosts."
"Ghosts?" Oswin repeated.
"Get into the saucer, try and power up any of the shields," Harry said and kicked off the ground.
It should have been obvious, Harry thought to himself, but then he, they didn't know what they'd find here on this hazardous planet.
He still felt like he was missing a lot as he took out some binoculars and scanned the landscape and knew before he really found purchase that they were probably in more danger than he first thought.
Not Dalek, Tharon. Whoever they were they were probably what the Daleks might have been.
A lot, coming towards their crashed saucer.
There was hopefully enough power to power the shields up to their minimum level.
Harry pushed gently with his feet on the broom, shifting himself around as he gazed through the binoculars. None of the Tharon looked like they were leaving the ground, not much, or maybe they hadn't seen him.
There wasn't a moon for this planet so there was nothing much illuminating the night sky, just the slight luminescence that the ghosts gave off.
His binoculars were at least doing a good job of picking them and the landscape up, but everything was also bathed in de-saturated tone that his 51st century binoculars gave to things in its night vision.
"Harry, you started to take apart things down here, I might need a hand." Oswin said in a remarkably calm tone, but Harry reminded himself she couldn't see the campaign that was coming their way.
"Reroute power from secondary systems and life support to the forward shields," Harry explained. "Use the cabling spooled up next to the missile storage bays, I'll be down in a little bit."
"Not trying to escape us are you?" Oswin teased.
At that moment some of the ghosts seemed to realise someone was floating above them.
Harry cursed in French. "Just trying to think," he answered to Oswin and moved the broom up higher.
'How to kill a ghost' was not something that was covered at Hogwarts.
Only during the so called 'ghost shifts' was it something he'd looked into trying to stop but those ghosts hadn't been regular ghosts, they'd been Cybermen, and now these seemed more tangible than they had been.
By their nature ghosts could not influence their environment much at all.
These, though could.
Harry wondered if it was because they were ghosts of Daleks.
Harry also wondered if his near concussion earlier in the day, or whenever it had been was affecting him.
It had gotten easier as the day wore on to apparate, but that was probably as he got used to the pain of it.
He was letting himself get distracted, as he could now see a stream of ghosts coming towards him as he moved his broom higher and could now feel some buffeting from the wind.
He doubted he could continue to lead the Tharons up away from the saucer, for one they were coming at him on an angle that would take them over the saucer.
One thing first. Harry decided and pushed the broom forwards, forcing the ghosts to change the angle at which they were approaching him.
Of course, then they started shooting at him.
He felt it, the energy, or whatever, came at him from the oozing protuberance between the metal shell, the whatever it was, not a Dalek shell, but a something.
He felt it more than any other ghost he had in the past.
This was a Dalek ghost, a ghost of the alternates, the neverwere.
The ghosts at Hogwarts could be reasoned, spoken with.
He'd tried that, and tried shooting at them. Probably not in the right order, he put that down to the concussion.
The Tharons also screamed danger in a way he couldn't describe, it was in his senses. Maybe that was why he'd decided to err on the side of caution and shoot at them? Harry thought to himself.
"I think I'm ready Harry."
"I think I'm ready Harry," Oswin was saying and jumped slightly as Harry appeared on the ruins of the command deck, jumping off his broom and setting it aside.
"Good, switch on then," Harry ordered as he gave a quick once over of the remains of the relays that looked like they'd been hastily dragged onto the ruins of the command deck and welded, likely with a Dalek weapon.
"You don't want to-" Oswin began and was cut off.
"Tharon beings encroaching on defence perimeter, weapons have no affect," announced one of the Soldiers.
"Fall back," Harry ordered. "Power on," he said in a calmer tone as he tried recall what else he could do against ghosts.
"Redirecting shields towards the front of the saucer," Oswin said as the room filed with a very soft noise of a Dalek saucer, it was the most comforting noise he'd heard in at least 3 hours.
There was also an increasing smell of burning. Harry grabbed the broom and disapparated.
He appeared just outside of the saucer's shield range and it made for a grim vision. The saucer's shield were visible, never a good sign so the Doctor once told him. That meant you were burning energy in the visible spectrum when it was meant to be in the other areas.
Something floated down beside him.
"Thoughts?" Asked a perky Dalek tone.
Harry looked to his side to see Oswin gesticulating with her gun towards what was now a lot of Tharon ghosts coming up the wide road, path of whatever it was that they'd crash landed the saucer near.
"Too many, you could've waited in the saucer," Harry said as he got on the broom, still trying to formulate an idea in his head.
"And let you die out here Harry, backup's coming as well," Harry turned around and saw a lot of Daleks forming up behind them. "You're the highest ranking person on this planet, heroic sacrifice isn't something they understand, and I won't let you," Oswin finished.
Harry laughed, harder than he should have. "I'm not going to sacrifice myself for the Daleks, for you maybe Oswin," he gently pushed her outer shell, she didn't move, the blue eye of her eye piece just bobbing slightly as he did so. "I just needed to think," he paused and turned around. "Defensive positions, fire weapons from paralyse to kill, random selections," Harry ordered in Dalek, he watched as various 'I obeys' went out but mostly he just saw the Daleks' lights flash against the darkness.
"Ghosts at Hogwarts could float through most of the castle," Harry reasoned as he willed the broom off the ground slightly and floated upwards. Oswin floated up with him. He was glad, that Oswin looked like a Dalek at this point, if she was just floating there in her red dress he wasn't sure if his mind could handle that.
"Okay," she said as she fired off her weapon at the approaching hoard, mostly just meeting their weapons fire with her own.
"But not all," Harry continued to muse to himself as he shot forward slightly and gestured his wand at the ground around them, roughly transfiguring as he went, transfiguring the sand into blocks of sand, rough approximations of doors, of windows, of building material from Hogwarts he could recall. It was easy, easier than he thought it should have been given what he'd gone through in the past day or so. They'd never pass muster with Professor McGonagall, but they were better than he thought they should be, as he moved backwards slowly he pulled the sand up with his wand into wave-shaped barriers, thick wedges of sand, that even as he moved started to crumble a bit, but he hoped, just a bit that maybe it was depth, not construction, maybe, he wasn't sure, but that something could stop the encroaching Tharon ghost army.
He continued to drift backwards transfiguring and sculpting battlements as he went, until his broom bumped into a Dalek's midsection.
"Don't fire at the battlements, only if the Tharon make it through," Harry tried to shout but he found he had a dry throat. The break in spell work had also made him pause and realise the lethargy he was feeling, even though it had felt so easy. It was easy, while casting the spells, the rush of casting and the panic of the impending attack.
Now, he allowed himself to drift backwards, behind the Daleks who would defend him.
"Here they come," Oswin said, she was stood beside him at the back of the Dalek throng, now in her human form.
For several moments, nothing happened, Harry could almost feel the tension in the local area as the Daleks shifted and moved.
"Elevate, move to higher positions," Oswin ordered.
There were several flashes of lights around them as Daleks began to hover around them, then the noise of their weapons started to fill the air, but not as many as he thought.
Harry smiled to himself and wondered, if perhaps his transfigured battlements had actually been successful.
But then some of the Tharon started to float through them.
"Wide beam dissipation," Oswin ordered.
Harry just stood, watching, somewhat disconnectedly leaning against his broom as the battle fought in front of him.
He wasn't sure when it began to slow, or if the Daleks just got better at shooting down the approaching army, but as he allowed himself to relax a bit more the last day's events felt like they were taking hold.
-/ - \\-
"Oh great, I'm dreaming aren't I?" Harry said looking around what looked like a combination of Grimmauld Place and one of the classrooms at Hogwarts.
"Of course you are pup," winked Sirius.
Harry mouthed 'pup' at Remus who was sat in a chair with Tonks sitting on the table beside him.
Remus shook his head.
"Don't worry about him, he's been dropped a long way, does things to you," Tonks said brightly blowing a kiss towards him or maybe Sirius.
"So what are we all doing here?" Harry asked walking to the front of the room and leapt up onto the desk at the front of the room and looked around, wondering if he could get a drink, where ever he was.
The last thing he remembered was making his way back up into the saucer and sitting down on the command deck, he wanted to look into exactly what "hazardous" meant regarding the planet he and Oswin had found themselves on. He really thought he was missing something.
He must have fallen asleep.
"Of course you're asleep Harry, but we're not here to harm you," Remus was saying to him.
"Of course, that's what everyone says whether they're friend or foe," Tonks countered with a smirk.
Harry sighed. "Are you my subconscious? There's worse people who I could've dreamt up I suppose," Harry paused and hoped that his body was getting some sleep while his mind dredged up dead friends and family.
Tonks snorted. "Of course not, unless you keep me and Remus in your subconscious, thought you'd had enough of that with Volde."
"We're apparitions from beyond Harry, called to you here, by your presence, I must say," Remus intoned and then added "it's quite something, fascinating."
Sirius was nodding enthusiastically. "That's right pup, what Moony's saying, brought here."
'Pup?' Harry mouthed again.
"Sirius was wrenched and torn, the process destroys something," Remus began in a tone of darkness.
Harry looked at him, there was something of Remus in him and what he said, sort of made sense. "Even if I were to believe you."
"And why not Harry? We're real, here," Tonks walked over and prodded him.
"How? We're millions of light years from Earth, in another timeline," Harry began and was about to say 'in a time locked war' but he was, he fancied at least talking to himself at this point.
"Why not just enjoy the ride Harry, not everything needs to be analysed to a point, what are you up to, how's your love life?" Sirius asked excitedly, and then, it felt like Sirius was in the room, or the pseudo-room with him and, Harry felt like he was about to lose it when Tonks stepped in, or up or something.
"You've got questions on your mind Harry, real ones, not about your love life," Tonks began.
Remus stepped up also, walking up to him, taking Harry with both of his arms and met him with a gaze. "We're here Harry, from beyond whatever, for this time."
Harry felt his legs go weak as Remus held him up, and held his gaze and for several moments he felt like he was back in Hogwarts, learning about his parents, learning how to defeat a Dementor with Remus Lupin, Professor.
Harry swallowed a few times and tried not cry, tried not to do anything that...
Harry blinked, he wasn't sure how much time had passed, wasn't really sure what was happening for a moment until Remus let go of him and he thought for a moment he was going to offer him a chocolate frog.
"What do you know about ghosts?" Harry finally asked after composing himself.
"Thinking about fighting us are you Harry?" Tonks asked. "Mental protection." She tapped the side of her head.
Harry nodded, he had been doing that ever since entering the Time War and facing the many Ginnys.
"No, real ghosts, in the real world," Harry challenged looking between the three people with him.
"That's tricky, you can't traditionally fight ghosts Harry, same with ghouls and spectres, they can be contained with wards, but they're usually bound to a location," Sirius said and looked like he was about to say 'pup' again but a look from Tonks stopped him.
"It's more difficult than tricky Sirius, it's ancient," Remus began.
"I tried creating structures – battlements really, I thought they couldn't get through," Harry started thinking back but the memory of the last moments before he'd obviously fallen asleep weren't completely memorable.
"You created battlements, you've gotten powerful Harry," Tonks praised.
Harry nodded distractedly.
Remus pointed to him. "Focus on that, it's ancient magic, the most basic elements you have to focus on Harry, ghosts are some of the oldest physical examples of magic, you have to combat that with ancient examples."
"Ancient examples," Harry repeated and closed his eyes feeling doubly exhausted, when he opened them again the room had evaporated.
"Look after yourself Harry," Sirius was stood there for a moment.
"I will...Sirius." Harry started to say, his voice breaking as Sirius faded away into the void.
"Harry..." Tonks began.
Harry shook his head and looked between Tonks and Remus. Wondering if he should say anything about Teddy and decided not to. He just wasn't sure if he could trust them, be they ghosts or something more, or less he wasn't sure.
They evaporated into the æther as he pondered this.
Harry woke up with a snort and sharp feeling in his bladder that needed emptying.
Looking around him he realised he was lying in a curled up position next to the remains of the Saucer Commander Dalek on the saucer's command deck. Groaning he pulled himself up and into full awareness with the vaguest of memories of what had happened in his dream.
Disapparating with the smallest thought he found himself somewhere away from the saucer to evacuate his bladder. As he was finishing he looked up into the sky, the sun was high above the horizon and there were no signs of ghosts.
Apparating back to the saucer he found that Oswin had left a pouch of what looked like food sitting on top of his broom.
Slipping the broom back into his bag he studied the pouch of food for a moment. He could have used his translation stick on his head and got it to translate but it was simpler to read the symbols.
'Caution this package gets hot when opened' seemed to be universal as a symbol of a vaguely humanoid figure with jagged lines around it illustrated.
Ripping it open Harry was rewarded with a bubbling a smell of...something vaguely fruity. A utensil he found on the outside as the pouch expanded with the heat.
"You found breakfast," said Oswin in his ear.
"How'd you know I was up?" Harry asked as he looked around the command deck, there weren't any Daleks near him.
"Spotted evacuating your bladder Harry."
"What is it?" Harry asked as he dipped the spoon into the pouch it looked like a chunky porridge.
"One of the saucers was meant to be delivering food to one of the Daleks' allies."
Harry cringed, that meant whoever they were wouldn't be getting fed.
"Don't worry, that Ginny and the Time Lords destroyed their planet." Oswin finished.
Harry felt...too many emotions to comment. Oswin's tone didn't help.
"When you're done we should talk about the ghosts."
Harry nodded and disapparated out to where he last remembered the Tharon ghosts attacking.
Harry stood in front of the walls, barriers and transfigured objects of sand that he had created last night, or this morning and was amazed that he had done so much.
Spooning another mouthful of the porridge-like meal into his mouth he winced slightly at the heat of it, he thought leaving it for a little bit would ward off some of the heat. He could feel barely anything through the package.
"Ancient magic," he said to himself looking at the walls. They weren't very high, but the Tharons hadn't gone very high after they'd tried going up into the sky to get him, it had been a very two dimensional attack after that.
"I don't remember, were any of the Daleks energy weapons successful in repelling the Tharon attack?" Harry said a little louder as he felt a small disruption behind him.
"How did you know it was me and not another Dalek?" Asked the Daleky tones of Oswin Oswald.
Harry turned around with a broad smile to find Oswin Oswald in Dalek form stood behind him. "Daleks don't just float down behind someone to gloat, how're you doing?"
"Harry," Oswin gave him a look, or as much or a look that she in her Dalek form could. She gestured with her manipulator arm accusingly. "You finished creating all of this and then fell asleep in the ruins of the saucer, cuddled up next to the remains of the Saucer Commander."
Harry nodded spooning another mouthful of the porridge into his mouth. It had chunks of some sort of fruit in it, some of it was had the sharp hit of a mango and then there was another, tasted sort of like blackcurrant but the texture was like a peach. "This is safe for my biology isn't it?"
"Yes Harry, I'm not trying to kill you with porridge," she paused. "Although I'm sure that Daleks could weaponise anything."
"I'm sure they could, I gave the PM an apple when I first met him, I predict I'll go back to weaponised apple trees firing super-cyanide-laden apples or something," Harry pondered as he turned back to the wall of transfigured sand. "That is a lot of transfiguration, it wasn't even my strongest subject."
"You were saying something about ghosts?" Oswin asked, now in her human tone she walked up beside her.
"You know I don't see a difference between your two..." Harry trailed off as he spooned another mouthful of porridge into his mouth.
"Forms," Oswin provided and smiled softly at him. "I know, know that now Harry," she walked past and looked at the walls. "Ghosts?" She prompted.
Harry nodded as he finished the package and looked at it. "Does this vaporise or do you just litter the battlefield with it?"
"It degrades," Oswin answered in a tone that suggested she didn't know.
Harry vaporised it just to be sure. "I had a dream last night, ghosts in that too."
"Dead people? People you know?" Oswin asked curiously.
Harry nodded. "Ancient magic might be the key to protecting us."
"The ghosts disappeared at sun rise, could be something about the sun keeping them at bay," Oswin pondered looking up, shading her eyes.
"How long till sunset then?" He asked looking up at the sky.
"About 8 hours," Oswin answered as she followed his gaze.
"So we have 8 hours to work out how to protect ourselves," Harry mused. "Get one of the Daleks that was here fighting last night I think we need to work out if any of these structures really held."
"I can do that Harry, I've sent the rest looking into what else is on this planet-"
Harry interjected. "Aside from killer ghosts."
"Well, of course aside from that!" Oswin teased as Harry walked forward to the transfigured structures and extracted his wand, aiming a spell at the nearest. It collapsed into sand.
"What did you wish to know?" Oswin asked, now in Dalek 'form' again.
"Gently blast all the ones that didn't stop the Tharon," Harry said as energy fire erupted out of Oswin's gun.
They were left with half a couple dozen structures.
"Some of those partially stopped some of the Tharon." Oswin said, 'Tharon' was pronounced differently to the way he thought it was, elongated, in that Daleky way.
"Point out a few that stopped them," Harry said walking over to the ones that Oswin gestured at.
"What are you thinking Harry?"
Harry looked to Oswin briefly as he cast some analysis spells, looking for something...out of the ordinary. When they failed he tried for the slightly different, and when that failed he cursed loudly and tried some analysis spells for soil and building structure Hermione had told him about when she'd first been studying after Hogwarts.
"Sand...sand..." Harry said to himself as he interpreted the colours. "Something hard, something...chalk?" Harry pondered to himself.
The Doctor had told him that chalk was a powerful barrier in certain situations. But Harry wasn't sure if he'd been talking metaphorically, at the time he'd been telling him tales Excalibur, actually now that he thought about it Harry mused was that a story that Alistair had told him?
"Or maybe my concussion is worse than I thought," Harry finished his thought out loud.
Oswin turned to look at him. "No concussion Harry, that was all sorted, just all your bruising which you've pushed through I see."
Harry's hand went to his chest and realised it was still painful, just not as mind blotting as it had been yesterday at the start of the day when he'd been first left the saucer. Now it was just tender, or maybe as Oswin said he'd pushed through it.
"Chalk," he said with a short tone.
"Chalk." Oswin repeated, now in her human form he realised.
"Chalk circles," Harry continued. "that's how we're going to protect ourselves, in places of power"
"The saucers?" Oswin asked.
Harry nodded. "Chalk circle around it, that's how we're going to be protected against the Tharon."
Oswin gave him a look. "If you think that's the best option."
Harry shrugged. "Shields were on their last legs last night, we need to cannibalise and work out what we can use of the saucers, and powering down-" Harry paused. "After everything last night how many Daleks did we save?"
Oswin sighed. "Best case 35 per cent."
Harry nodded. "We're still going to need the Daleks to get off and survive this planet."
Later, when night had fallen, Harry and Oswin, and one of the Soldier Daleks was sat on the edge of the saucer looking down at the chalk circle that had been laid out around their saucer. Another twelve or so kilometres away the other saucer that had managed a fair landing also had a chalk circle around it. As did the others that had landed on mostly flat ground. The one that had crashed on the mountain had not. But Harry had spent the day with Oswin trying to fix it more tightly onto the mountain so it wouldn't tip over and fall down in the wind. Tomorrow the task was the fully get everything out of it and move it down to one of the other saucers. He still wasn't sure which saucer they were going to use to rebuild into a functioning space-going vessel. They'd all taken an equal amount of damage and none of them would survive to break orbit, he doubted any of them would even be able to get higher than the mountains in their current state.
Harry ripped open one of the 'late meal' pouches, it was a supper-type thing, less big than dinner but still filling. He felt knackered and for the latter part of the day as afternoon edged into twilight he'd mostly just been supervising flying and apparating around on his broom.
Now he was sat, his legs slung over the edge of the saucer, Oswin seated beside him whilst he was leaning back against the Soldier Dalek, which initially had been weird but he was too whacked to worry about it.
"How long until they arrive?"
"Based on the previous night's incursion 45 Rels," the Soldier said above him.
"You're not eating?" Harry asked Oswin.
She shrugged. "I like to eat," she said noncommittally.
"I rate these better than the military rations on Earth," Harry said spooning the vegetable, meat and porridge mixture into his mouth. He'd yet to work out what sort of meat or veg it was. Except that it tasted vaguely gamey with a metallic tinge like venison. The vegetables were he guessed root vegetables, marrow, potato and there was a bready sauce. Plus some grains, Harry mused he should write a food review, that absolutely no one would read. Not even the Doctor he presumed, given whoever these people were – they were allied with the Daleks.
"Here they come," Oswin pointed to an army of glowing figures coming up and out of the æther. "Have you a Plan B?"
"If this doesn't work?" Harry asked. He'd wondered when he was going to be asked that question. Harry looked up at the Soldier. "Can't do the default Dalek can we?"
"No, Sorcerer," it said looking down briefly at him.
Harry smiled. "No, not sure Oswin. Panic."
Oswin shook her head and tutted.
"If it works I want to look into something, nagging," Harry spooned another mouthful of his supper into his mouth. The cool evening air working faster than the day's air at cooling the package.
The theory was...good enough, sound enough. He was vaguely sure that something like this had been mentioned in Ancient Runes, but he was buggered if he could remember what runes you were mean to write for protection. In the end he'd decided to use Dalek text, the oldest words related he could think of was the word for 'dome' and 'bunker' they were effectively the same word at this point, written slightly differently. Blasted and melted in the sand by the Daleks and also spelled out in chalk.
Harry felt the Soldier shift behind him and leaned forward slightly. "Don't get twitchy Soldier, we need to wait and see, we-"
"They've noticed us." Oswin suddenly announced.
Harry held the pouch between his legs and dug out his binoculars and looked around and realised some had peeled away making a beeline for them.
"Better finish my supper then," Harry commented.
"Enemy is not firing on our position," the Soldier sounded surprised.
"Yes, interesting," Harry said with a final mouthful of supper.
The Tharon were now within spitting distance of the saucer.
And then they tried to pass the chalk circle.
Harry jumped when a blue glow surrounded the saucer as the Tharon collided with the circle. He tried to peer over, but they were sat at not quite the right angle. "Solider what happened?" It however was at a better angle.
"Tharon...ghost has been repelled." Harry smirked, it definitely didn't like using the word 'ghost'.
"Still intact?" Harry asked.
"Yep," Oswin was now stood, and in Dalek form.
"Should've waited down near the ramp," Harry commented reaching up and grabbing the Soldier's manipulator arm and pulling himself up, still wincing slightly at the pain it gave him across his chest and arm from the awkward way he had to contort his arm to get purchase on the Dalek's manipulator arm.
"This position affords an optimal observation point," the Soldier commented.
There were two more flares against the chalk circle on the other saucer, which seemed to make the Tharon pause. They didn't go away. But it certainly made them stop.
"You can observe Soldier or use the rangerscopes, they're still functioning on the solar collector power," Oswin ordered looking to Harry. "You should get some sleep Harry."
Harry glared at her, "How much were you analysing me as I got up just then?"
The Soldier's lights and also Oswin's lights began to light up, signalling that they were about to start talking, Harry waved a hand at them. "Never mind," he shook his head. "Wake me if anything interestingly dangerous happens."
-/ - \\-
"I'll have the 1986, the rosé I think," Harry said as he ordered the wine, he'd decided that he was going to try and ignore the two people sitting at the table for as long as possible, but the food was taking forever to arrive. At least he assumed there was going to be food, there was an impressive wine list. But this was a dream, so who knew.
Sleeping closer to the Timeship and not as close to the remains of the Saucer Commander had not helped, Harry wondered if it had actually made things worse.
"Do you think your presence in this war is moral Harry?" Asked the old man with a beard.
"Or ethical?" Pondered the man without a nose.
Harry almost spat out his wine at the ludicrousness of these two asking him those questions.
"I'm getting moral and ethical advice from Albus Dumbledore and Lord Voldemort?" Harry shook his head and looked between the two men. "Both dead."
"That isn't the end, as well you know Harry," Dumbledore twinkled at him.
"And I've killed you, I know you ended," Harry said raising his glass to Voldemort. "How do I know you're really Dumbledore and not lingering concussion?"
"I could tell you something only I know Harry," he offered.
"And that Potter doesn't?" Voldemort snorted.
"How would I know that it's true?" Harry wondered and mused if these two were delusions.
"I realised quite late who you were, when we met in the past," Dumbledore offered.
Harry shrugged. "I made mistakes in the past."
"Including what has led you to your current path, has it not escaped you the similarities your current quest shares with ours?" Voldemort asked, watching him with a smug expression.
Harry downed his wine and poured more into his glass. He downed that as he thought. Yes. He thought to himself, he pondered on the similarities that existed between Ginny having been loomed, split 12 times by the Time Lords and Voldemort's horcrux endeavour. Not that he had shared these thoughts with anyone, he'd not even properly considered them for himself.
"I loved Gellert Grindelwald," Dumbledore suddenly said breaking his internal pondering.
For the second time Harry almost spat out the wine, in surprise this time.
"I didn't know that!" Voldemort exclaimed.
"Not many people did Tom," Dumbledore admitted and looked to Harry.
Harry leaned back into his chair and shrugged. It sounded like an honest admission. "So?"
"Your involvement in this war," Dumbledore prompted.
"The Time Lords are no better, I've seen what they try to do to the Earth, what they have done in the course of the war so far," Harry challenged.
"And ignore the war mongering your allies perform?" Voldemort challenged.
"Whose side are you on Voldemort?" Harry exclaimed.
"The truth, one has to believe." Dumbledore pondered and looked to Harry.
Harry shook his head. He hated having talks with the dead. Especially these two dead.
"Of all the people to come and visit me in my dreams, it had to be you two, challenging me on the ethics of this," Harry despaired. "I know it's dubious, I know that. But I couldn't let her remain, I failed at dealing with her once, I was not going to do so again," Harry felt his voice rising and the desire to stand up and wander around. He didn't though, he remained seated and drank more of the rosé. "Working with the Daleks, is questionable. But the nightmares from the Time Lords' incursion, they would have wiped out the Earth." Harry paused and pointed at Voldemort. "The Daleks are dangerous like you were dangerous," Harry pointed then to Dumbledore. "And you. Both had people you worked with, or worked around you that were dangerous, and morally dubious." Harry settled back into his chair draining another glass of the wine.
"But the Time Lords are another level."
"You say that, even with your friend the Doctor?" Dumbledore asked.
"Because he is my friend. I...I think he's one of the best of them," Harry paused. "But I've also seen what he could do, as the best of them. The Master too," he paused to sip another glass of wine. "And that's dangerous, the stuff of nightmares. And this, this war, is something else..." Harry trailed off and then began again. "Especially..."
"Especially?" Voldemort asked with a smirk.
"Especially, because they think they're on the right side," Harry finished.
"As I did, were it not for this prophetical determination would you pursue your path?" Voldemort asked pointedly.
Harry leaned back into his chair and wondered, he'd pondered that question when he'd gone back into the past the first time. The Eternal had kept the paintings from him so he couldn't see them, perhaps see his participation in the Time War. A photo or a painting couldn't compel him to do anything. He'd chosen to go back into the past to deal with Ginny's followers and he'd chosen to come into the Time War, to deal with Ginny again.
"Yes." Harry fixed a look at Voldemort. "I would," he looked to Dumbledore, challenging the ghost of the man he'd known, a man whom he'd already met once in a dream state, and during that he'd been a lot less full of questions.
"You've considered this well my boy haven't you," Dumbledore pondered watching him.
"And the blood on your hands, will it wash off as easily as your discussions concerning it?" Voldemort asked with relish.
It was rich, that Voldemort would ask a question like that. And Harry wanted to counter that Voldemort would know.
"Ginny has helped the Time Lords destroy worlds and devastate civilisations in the name of their war. She walked into this by choice, after I spared her life," Harry looked at Voldemort and then to Dumbledore. "That compassion was something I had then, and now must address."
"Is Ginny's influence enough for you to ally yourself-" Dumbledore started but Harry cut him off with a look.
"If your argument is true, then why pay attention to prophecy or contract, I was bound to both, you never questioned it, nor you," Harry looked to both men.
This at least made Dumbledore pause for thought. Voldemort raised his drink in a toast to him.
Harry was very much glad this was a dream, at least he hoped it was a dream and they were ghosts rather than some sort of drug filled dance through his subconscious, he did not wish to think that these two were lurking in his mind somewhere.
"You've learnt much since we last spoke Harry," Dumbledore finally said.
Harry looked around for the waiter to pour another drink but saw just white æther around him. "Will we meet again?"
"Well-" Voldemort started.
"I should hope not, I've dealt with you Voldemort, and left my gun and wand holstered in the past," Harry warned and looked to Dumbledore. "Are you still on a great adventure?" Harry asked, watching the older man's face as he felt the white void encroaching on their table. Voldemort had disappeared and now it was just the two of them.
Dumbledore smiled at him. "That would be telling Harry, that would be..."
Harry pulled himself up with a groan and the greatest desire for a piss. That was the problem with consuming etheric æther sparking wine in the netherworld.
Or it could be the water he'd drunk before he'd gone to sleep to try and ensure he didn't have weird dreams through the night and instead wake him up half way.
-/ - \\-
"Harry, I think we've found something you'd be interested in."
Harry went to sit up and stopped centimetres from the bulkhead where he'd whacked his head several times already today.
Grunting he pushed himself back out of the crumpled part of the saucer that he was currently in. It was the one on the mountain that had mostly survived but was precarious where it was. This would hopefully be the last of the salvageable stuff to get off it. He'd had to have groups of Dalek ferry stuff down to his and Oswin's saucer where they were storing the salvaged stuff.
"Where are you?" Harry asked as he cast a cleaning charm on his hands and gestured to the waiting Daleks. "Extract the power control systems and transport them. Collect the cables as well."
"About 200 kilometres from your current location," Oswin said.
"What's going to interest me?" Harry asked as he told a Dalek to grab onto his coat as he leaned down at an awkward angle to sonic off some fastenings that were holding one of the control consoles to the deck.
"Looks like we've found the spacecraft holding area."
Harry felt himself grin at Oswin's information and gestured to the Dalek that had been holding him and another. "Onto the top of the saucer," he ordered and then to Oswin. "I'll bring some additional Daleks?"
"That might be wise, we're some distance from everything."
"Not dangerous I hope?" Harry asked as he disapparated, appearing on top of the saucer, it was still very blowy and quite cold as he extracted his broom from his bag. The two Daleks floated up from an open hatch.
"No worse than anywhere else. No dreams coming to judge, you've scared me off of having those."
"You'll have to give me a bearing," Harry began.
"A little blast, just lights I know you're no fun."
Harry looked around. "Alert me if you see-"
Harry was cut off from his order as he saw three beams of Dalek energy weapon in the long distance, they looked like three beams of light on the horizon. "Enough thanks Oswin," Harry said.
"Come on, closer," Harry said as he got on his broom. "Elevate. Don't want a repeat of last time," when he'd apparated some Daleks and they'd fallen some distance before engaging hover mode.
"Understood," the Daleks shifted getting closer to him so he could put an arm around each while gripping the broom with his feet and calves.
There was only a small rush of air as he apparated in the sky close to where Oswin had signalled.
It was easy, really easy to apparate on this planet, everything felt so much more...Harry couldn't put his finger on it. The chalk barriers around the saucers worked well, really well.
He'd transfigured things in battle a little bit, but nothing like this, nothing like being on this planet. He guessed it was why he kept getting visits from ghosts every other night.
Letting go of the Daleks he looked down and saw a group of three Daleks, one of them presumably was Oswin.
"Come on," Harry said and aimed his broom downwards.
He could have apparated down to meet Oswin, but he enjoyed the rush; of barrelling down from high up in the sky down towards Oswin, and then pulling up quickly halting his descent and coming face to face with her eye piece.
Even in her Dalek form Oswin somehow managed to give him a look of...unimpressedness.
"Well?" She asked of him.
"Well?" Harry repeated as he slipped the broom into his bag and the two Daleks whom he'd apparated landed beside him and looked around them.
"You missed it didn't you?" Amusement present in her voice. "We almost did, thought the Sorcerer would notice." Oswin spun around gesturing with her manipulator arm towards it.
Then, with something of a jolt that made him twitch and then grin Harry laid his eyes on them.
It was large, but not huge, about the same size as their saucer and it was retro, it looked amazing. Grabbing his broom back out of his bag he leapt on it to better get a view of the cream-white spacecraft. It had two rings of small windows and a huge forward window. Two big, what he assumed missile or weapons ports at the front and the back had tail fins, it was like someone in the 1960s had designed a spacecraft and crossed it with a car. "It's amazing," he said breathlessly.
"Thought you'd like it," Oswin was hovering beside him. "Those two are a bit more practical."
Harry looked where she was gesturing, there were two other spacecraft on either side of the retro-design saucer.
Flying down to one on the left he realised these must have had a less soft landing than the larger ship.
Tilting his head he looked at them. "They look like Dalek ships from one of the first expansions into space," he paused in thought. They also looked flimsy.
"Like pie tins," Oswin said, now in her human form beside him.
Harry frowned and then laughed, he had to force himself not to descend into hysterics as he realised he wouldn't need to patch up one of the badly damaged saucers they'd arrived in or swim down to the bottom of the sea or whatever. Here were three saucers which looked in less worse condition than theirs.
"Have you had a look inside?" He finally asked as he composed himself.
"They wouldn't open and we didn't want to blast them open," Oswin explained, Harry gave her a look of doubt, she sighed theatrically. "Fine I didn't want to blast it open, they, not so much."
"I wonder why I didn't notice it," Harry said as he walked back towards the retro saucer.
"We didn't either, it must have a perception field or something around it," Oswin mused as Harry looked up at the underside of the retro saucer, it had landing struts holding it up, hopping on his broom again he hoped to get a better look at the underside.
Backing the broom backwards he took in the features of the saucer's base, the landing struts that were holding it up didn't seem to open up anywhere, but there was a seam for a door or ramp. If this was a Dalek craft, and nothing on this planet suggested that it wouldn't be at least Dalek-related he pondered it'd likely be a ramp.
"Maybe I should blast it?" Oswin called as he tried to work out where to level his wand at it.
"No!" Harry shouted as he aimed a spell at the space where he guessed the ramp should be and flew backwards towards Oswin.
There was a clunk and hiss and he grinned as the ramp opened...about 10 centimetres.
Oswin smiled at him. "Now we can blast it?"
Instead he had the Soldiers grab it with their manipulator arms and drag it open.
"Gloomy," Harry said looking up the ramp.
"You can go first," Harry realised after a moment Oswin wasn't ordering him but the Daleks that were with them.
Harry held out two hands, halting the two he'd brought with him. "Not you two, you're following with me and the Mage, just in case."
Oswin turned around and looked at him. "Just in case what Harry?"
"It's a dark spacecraft on a hazardous world, that was imperceivable, who knows?"
They looked like lava lamps.
That was what he was obsessing over.
In the light that was filtering through the huge window at the front of the command deck, he was annoyed that both Oswin and the Daleks had looked at him when he'd proclaimed this.
"Well what are they then?" He'd asked of Oswin.
The Daleks had asked what a lava lamp was and for that he didn't have a good explanation so he'd sent them off to look around the ship.
What they'd quickly discovered was the saucer wasn't just powered down, it was completely without power, so they'd need to bring their own. Until they had power they couldn't really work out more.
Oswin had ordered the other Daleks that were exploring the other bits of the Skaro Degredation planet, storage facility, whatever the frak they were on to join them here.
Harry had left the two Daleks that had accompanied Oswin in the big retro saucer and now Oswin and his two Daleks were in front of the 'pie tin' as Oswin had called it.
"The design definitely looks like it's from the first space expansion of the Daleks," Harry was saying as he and one of the Daleks walked around the edge of the saucer, its landing legs raised it less than a crawl-space off the ground.
"What're we looking for again?" Oswin called from the other side.
"A panel of some sort," he paused and muttered under his breath. "Preferably with 'open' written on it."
The Dalek behind him had its eye pointing upwards.
"Anything Soldier?" Harry wondered as they looked around.
"No," it said in a flat tone.
"This is the problem with a round spacecraft, that's why that one over there is better you-" Harry was cut off as Oswin called out.
"Lumos," Harry muttered as they entered.
The two Daleks and Oswin in her Dalek form, just in case there was anything nasty in here, Harry presumed they could all see perfectly in the near pitch darkness, with only his spell and light illuminating. The light entering the saucer from the ramp barely reached a few metres within the windowless saucer.
Inside it was small, but he felt like he'd been in somewhere like it before; the corridor curved around in a logical way to a central area.
"It's very like the Timeship, obviously they're from similar periods in Dalek design history," Harry said, mostly to himself.
"Adjunct to your book on philosophy 'Dalek Architecture'?" Oswin asked.
"Maybe," Harry said as he pressed his palm against one of the circular control panels.
Harry shook his head to Oswin's question, "Cold, nothing," he looked to the Daleks. "Out that corridor follow it down until a junction and turn right, the power room should be there, report if you find anything," he looked to the other "Follow, we'll look at the other ship."
-/ - \\-
All three saucers had been stripped of any power systems and any defensive systems they might have had, they still had their energy weapons systems in place, although no missiles of any sort. Much to the Daleks' annoyance.
It had been decided, mostly by Oswin who, rather logically and with some force had said to him that he wasn't going to be able to apparate backwards and forwards everything that they might need to kit out the three ships.
"And we're going to need the three ships if we're going to survive back into Dalek-controlled space Harry," she'd said as she'd no doubt caught a look from him of being able to escape the ghost planet.
The Daleks had decided that the only way to get all the equipment between where his and the other saucers were, was to carry it – the 300 plus kilometres. Even if the Daleks flew the equipment it would take forever and some of it, like the power control systems was delicate outside of being bolted down to a Dalek saucer, in its off position there were plenty of bits and pieces that you could easily break.
So the task was instead to build a transmat relay system, from parts.
Fortunately it was something he'd done before, and double fortunately it looked mostly like a transmat concept that the Daleks were familiar with, so once he'd outlined the basic idea some of the Daleks could get to work.
In working in such close quarters with these Daleks it had begun to dawn on Harry that not all of the Soldiers were alike, despite what Dalek hierarchy might suggest. Some of the Soldiers were considerably smarter than others, some had been in more battles, they weren't just smarter they showed more intelligence than some others.
There were those that held back just enough, until they were alone with himself or Oswin.
It wasn't anything major, well nothing that anyone might notice, but, Harry realised he had spent enough time around the Daleks now, and studied them for a lot longer that he could detect these changes in them, in how they formulated things.
Those, the quite intelligent ones would be getting a promotion at some point, the three ships would need saucer commanders, or black Daleks to command them. Possibly the latter, because then he'd just have to turn them black instead of the alternating black and white colour scheme of their lower half that the saucer commanders had.
Harry knew he'd made a mistake when he'd sat down inside the retro saucer, just to 'rest his eyes'. It had been a long day of apparating back and forth with the equipment they needed for the transmat. Oswin was off, still exploring the surrounding area now that she 'knew what to look for' she had said she and the Soldiers could see through whatever perception field had stopped them before from seeing the saucers.
She got all the exciting stuff, exploring deadly dangerous stuff on a planet filled with Dalek ghosts.
The ghosts he kept on seeing were a little too real for his liking.
Case, in point, he thought to himself as he threw a dart at a dartboard and his companion sipped his foamy buttery drink.
"I had hoped that I wouldn't be visited again," Harry said to his companion in this dreamscape.
The other man, well, elder teen laughed. "You don't want to see me Harry?"
Harry shook his head. "Not like that, I just, wish you didn't die, we didn't even know we were fighting, who we were and what was at stake."
The older teen looked at him for a moment and threw three darts in quick succession, they all found purchase on high numbers around the board. "I went into it with my eyes open Harry, I knew that it was dangerous."
"We didn't think that Wormtail and Voldemort would be waiting there for us, didn't know what the price would be," Harry sighed and grabbed a pint that was sitting on the table. It tasted vaguely of 'beer'.
"We tried our best, you barely made it out alive, and you rescued..." the older teenager trailed off, not wanting to say what Harry knew.
Harry nodded. "I've been presented with many choices, many options, I've been back into the past, I could have changed it, my past, everything with Voldemort..." he trailed off.
Cedric Diggory looked at him curiously. "But you didn't?"
Harry shook his head. "No, I didn't. I knew I couldn't, that it wasn't just about me," he paused and looked at Cedric. "But I wondered if I could, change things to save your life Cedric?"
"Because I didn't know what war we were fighting, until we were there in that graveyard?" Cedric had picked up some more darts. "I knew there was danger, as soon as we arrived in that graveyard," he paused to look at him. "As soon as we took hold of the cup I knew there was something very wrong. As the elder wizard I should have protected you," Cedric flashed him a smile. "You shouldn't worry about what is past, and my own choices. Only what you can do to change the here and now."
Harry laughed gruffly. "And then we add time travel, and all of this, ghosts, Ginny. The Time Lords and the Daleks?" Harry wondered to himself.
"You act on your knowledge and what is presented to you Harry, with your heart and your loyalties," Cedric said with clarity of thought beyond that of a ghost.
"I remember you, Cedric, as the first of the war," Harry said calmly.
Cedric didn't say anything for a while. "The time for mourning is past Harry, you live in the present and for the future."
Harry drained his pint and hugged Cedric. "It means something to see you here, even if it is my own brain making things up," Harry paused and thought to himself. "I'm not really sure."
"It's still real Harry, no matter what." Cedric looked past him.
Harry followed his gaze and recognised the encroaching white as a nearing end of this dream sequence with another dead person from his past. "Shorter than usual, I must've-"
"Just been napping," Harry finished as he opened his eyes with a jolt and saw Oswin looking down at him having shaken him awake.
"There's trouble," Oswin said as she offered him her hand and pulled him up.
Harry followed her and two Daleks to the command deck of the retro saucer he was still inside.
Night had fallen.
"Let me guess, there's a horde of Tharon approaching our location, the transmat isn't finished and we're trapped in on all sides?" Harry pondered as he walked up to the window.
"Yes," both Daleks said behind him.
"Worst case scenario?" Oswin asked in an amused tone.
Harry shrugged, "And I was having another ghost-filled nap," he turned around and looked at the Daleks and Oswin. "Get everyone who's nearby into this saucer."
"Already did that while you were napping Harry, the ramp's still open and we've no defences," Oswin reported as Harry walked past her gesturing to the Daleks to follow him.
He'd not begun to work out what most of the control systems on the retro saucer did, how they worked or translating them. They were quite likely to be Dalek, but like the Tharon it was in a hereto be translated alternate form of Dalek.
But it still followed similar principles...Harry pondered to himself. "You" he pointed at the first Dalek who entered into the room that lead down to the ramp that still showed the outside world of danger. "Over here and stop at the control panel."
"What are you up to Harry?" Oswin asked.
"Working out the controls, you, over to the power lines, over there." Harry gestured to the other Dalek.
Harry watched as the first Dalek came over and stopped. "Extend manipulator arm at normal height."
Harry watched as it did and the suction pad stopped on a blank bit of the control panel, but there was a level above it that was currently in the down position. Harry reached forward and pushed the Dalek's arm up so it made contact with the control.
"They're taller, the ones who designed this spacecraft," Oswin observed. "Wonder why they were bigger?"
Harry shrugged and pushed the control up, nothing happened. He pushed it back down. "You, reverse polarity of energy harvest via manipulator arm," he ordered. He didn't actually know if this was possible, he recalled Jack once telling him about how the Daleks could 'suck' up power from available systems. It felt like that conversation had taken place ages ago, maybe it was, it certainly was from where he was at this point in time.
"Well?" Oswin looked over at the Dalek, "Do I need to order as well Soldier?"
"That operation is not recommended," it said in the most hesitant tone Harry had ever heard of from a Dalek.
"Probably not, but we just need a little bit," Harry said, "And any other power systems would be harder to boot up."
Oswin looked over at him and mouthed 'boot up' quizzically as the Dalek obviously did something as it started making a gurgling noise and the lights around them flickered on. Harry threw the lever and slowly with a grinding noise the ramp began to come up.
"Disengage Soldier," Harry said after what felt like an age.
"Status?" Oswin said calmly.
"Power systems critical, motive, weapons and visual in-operative. Power restoration has begun," it croaked.
"Come on," Harry ran off back up the ramps to the command deck and the huge window through which the Tharons would be able to see into the saucer.
"What're you up to Harry?" Oswin asked as Harry danced around casting spells on the windows.
A combination of general theatrical spells he'd seen the Weird Sisters use and some vague Notice-Me-Not charms to stop anything from getting through the windows and anyone outside seeing in or wanting to see in.
"Magic," he answered simply.
He'd transfigured himself a chair to sit on from some of the left over debris from the transmat control systems the Daleks working on elsewhere in the saucer had left. The transmat and most of its control systems would need to be set up later, or earlier, the next morning when the Tharon threat had passed. But for now he was having a late night meal before he decided whether or not he was going to try and sleeping again.
"Anything?" Oswin waltzed up and asked.
Harry shook his head, his mouth full of a hot savoury stew. "Some Tharons off a way, but nothing too dangerous, how're you?"
"Fine Harry, you look strung out, too many ghouls outside magic man?" Oswin asked playfully.
Harry shook his head. "Too many ghosts haunting my sleep."
"You're serious," Oswin looked at him.
"Of course, nothing bad, just..." Harry exhaled. "People I thought were dead and buried, I didn't expect them to revisit me here, but this is the 'Ghost Planet'."
"I can practically hear the punctuation change in your words Harry. I used to worry about my ghosts," Oswin offered. Rarely did she speak like this, they talked in fits and bursts about it, occasionally.
He didn't like to pry into Oswin's past, he knew some of it, as Oswin had revealed it to him, but he knew that she had nightmares of her own hiding, or maybe they were dealt with, but, she had been human, and now she shared that form with that of a Dalek. Powerful, dangerous and obsessed with baked desserts, it was an odd combination.
"And now?" He pressed gently.
"Dealt with them, more or less," she smiled down at him as she walked towards the window. "How close before they see me?"
"Dark enough that they shouldn't, as long as you're not in your Dalek form," Harry said as he spooned another mouthful of stew into his mouth and not for the first time wished he had some crusty bread to dip into it. It was filling, but in the sense that it was bogged out with something like barely or something akin to it that made it have filler to it. Filling flavourful filler nonetheless. "Did no one who was creating these meals like anything crunchy? When we're done here I want something crunchy," Harry said mostly to himself.
"I wonder if Barastabon is open during the Time War?" Oswin mused beside him. "Though we're not here for sightseeing."
"No," Harry said as he rose with a bit of a grunt from where he was to stand beside Oswin and looked out at through the window.
The darkened night still revealed some glowing figures; the Tharons, moving about. He really hoped that they wouldn't see them. There wasn't anything protecting the retro saucer. He'd not had time to draw a chalk circle and the power systems even if they drained all of the Daleks' power supplies he doubted they could raise the shields for more than a few moments. That was presuming this saucer had some sort of defensive shields. It was a Dalek craft, he assumed there would be.
Harry let out a breath after a while. "Wake me..." he trailed off. "If there's danger or when they need something, otherwise I'm going back to sleep."
"And your ghosts?" Oswin turned back to him, looking away briefly from the window.
Harry gave a half shrug. "Will likely visit me if they need to, or won't if they don't."
-/ - \\-
Oswin gave him a look, he'd left her and the other Daleks to transmat the tech they'd needed for the repair of the saucers and gone off for a bit of an investigate.
After working out the bodge points on the saucers; where the power and control systems needed to go in and out, the Daleks could work away at their own pace, without him getting in the way.
He could help with whatever they might need in the evenings, before falling into an uncomfortable sleep, mostly unvisited by any ghosts of the past.
But during the day he allowed himself to have a bit of an investigate of this planet. He felt safe enough that he could apparate away from anything dangerous. It was a unique opportunity, one that while he had spent a lot his time in the Time War around Daleks, this planet provided a unique opportunity to have a good ole snoop, without anyone or anything peering over his shoulder. Or at least he presumed that was the case, Oswin probably could have spied on him from afar.
"Find anything on your investigations?" She asked brushing the sand off his shirt.
"I asked if you wanted to come with me," he challenged as he opened a water bottle.
"You seemed like you wanted some 'me time' I understand Harry, close quarters contact isn't easy, especially with this lot breathing over you, personal space issues," she commented.
Harry laughed, the Daleks did have personal space issues, whenever he'd apparated one there was always a shifting beneath his hold, a twitch, a dislike for contact, even if they filed into the spacecraft in close quarters there was something that made them nervous about close contact.
"I hope you don't mind me hugging you Oswin, whatever you look like."
Oswin smiled at him. "No Harry, I know now," she paused. "So d'you find anything interesting?"
Harry patted his bag. "One or two things I'd heard of, but not seen."
Oswin raised her eyebrows. "Ooo, do tell Harry."
Harry was about to explain when an explosion vibrated along the ground and smoke started to pour out of one of the pie dish shaped saucers.
"Pie's burning," Oswin commented,
Harry sighed wishfully. "I'd love some pie, not just the filling. Something flaky."
Oswin laughed. "I'll get you some pie, later Harry."
-/ - \\-
They would, hopefully be getting away from this planet.
He'd had to overrule the Daleks.
They could leave tonight, everything had been completed, all the systems were in place and they'd checked everything.
But he didn't want to try and get the retro saucer and the other two off the ground in the dark.
Well it wasn't the dark that he was worried about.
One more night wouldn't kill them, and if there were any problems getting off the planet of ghosts he wanted to do it when the Tharons weren't hanging around trying to kill them. They still didn't know how a ghost's weapons could harm them or what they were, or anything beyond what he knew of ghosts on Earth, which wasn't much. All he really had were his few conversations with 'Nearly Headless Nick' – Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington. He'd only really properly thought of him after his 'encounter' with Cedric, taking him back to his Hogwarts days. It felt like an age and then some that he'd properly thought about his time at Hogwarts. The mundane, down the corridors to classes, encounters with ghosts and portraits stuff. Simple stuff, compared to life now.
Those remembrances didn't really help, unless the Tharons feared death, and as the Daleks, or their weaponry embodied death, they literally shouted 'Exterminate' surely that would mean they could be fought?
Harry didn't know, if he knew he'd be fighting ghosts, well, he wasn't sure he'd have done anything differently, maybe just find some way to protect oneself from them.
He was vaguely sure they weren't Hogwarts-style ghosts but were something else, yet they were still bound by some rules, otherwise the chalk circle wouldn't have worked against them.
Likewise those who visited him in his dreams weren't conventional ghosts either. They too were something else, something that he wasn't sure.
Daleks don't dream. That was something he had discovered. He wasn't sure what ghosts would visit upon them.
It was something else for his book he mused to himself and wished for something crunchy to eat.
"You've got that look on your face magic man, what's worrying you?" Oswin glided up beside him, prodding in his backside with her manipulator arm. Harry was pretty sure she knew it unsettled him, because none of the Daleks would do anything like that.
Or maybe it amused her.
He really didn't know.
"I'm sick of stews, porridge and whatever the fruit paste is," it was one of the things he was quite certain of.
"Have you worked out the controls?" She asked.
Harry stepped away from the large window and saw Oswin was back in her red dress form. He gestured at the control stick, or what he assumed it to be. Once they'd got main power on he found it folded out of and into the floor, along with some other consoles when not in use. "That's the controls" he gestured around the room. "Weapons, landing and take off systems..." he trailed off as he looked and glared at the lava lamps that were now lit up and doing...something. "Something else."
"I've got navigation systems from the saucer that'll be brought up here along with the computer systems," Oswin said casually.
"And then hopefully we can escape," Harry looked past her at the Timeship which he'd brought over earlier in the morning.
"Remember we have to get out of this area of space," Oswin reminded.
Harry exhaled, he knew. "Because it can't be simple."
Oswin gave him a look. "Don't get tetchy with me Harry, we could go tonight."
Harry shook his head. There wasn't an automatic as far as he could tell for this spacecraft. It had to be flown in manual. "Minimal distractions, the Tharons are something I don't want distracting us."
"And your distractions Harry? The ghosts haunting you?" Oswin asked, concern in her voice.
"Worried?" Harry tried to muster something like amusement.
"Only because you're flying this," she looked at him. "We could just take the pie tins."
Harry smirked, that was what he and Oswin had been calling the other two craft. The retro saucer had the advantage that its armour was thicker, its power systems better constructed and that it had fairly comparable weapons to their saucer and would take some of their missiles, should they encounter problems.
They were after all still in a war.
Even if it felt like a purgatory of ghosts and stew.
Despite all the rushing around, and the exhaustion that was now kicking in, Harry still felt like he'd have trouble sleeping as he pushed around the pillow he'd transfigured. It was as big and as fluffy as the ones at Hogwarts, somewhere still on his mind.
Lying down he stared at the ceiling of the retro saucer, the Daleks would leave him alone to rest for the evening, he was in charge, and he'd be flying all of this.
He'd got them to redraw the chalk circles around the saucers, the engine testing having blown them away. Just in case they had any Tharon visitors in the night, trying to stop them from leaving their sanctum.
Oswin would be overseeing them double checking everything overnight. They still needed to survive lifting off the planet; getting out the gravity influence of the this planet and then...get somewhere else.
Get somewhere else where the Timeship could dematerialise and escape this time and place in the universe.
The latter he'd just told Oswin, no need for the Daleks to know that as soon as the opportunity arose they would be out of here faster than a Kneazle with its tail on fire.
Blinking slowly he felt exhaustion and the need for sleep grabbing at him, allowing sleep to take hold, hopefully resting his mind and his body, although a part of him did wonder what his dreams might bring on this final night on the planet of ghosts.
-/ - \\-
Harry Potter sipped a large pint glass and looked around the pub, he always seemed to be drinking, in whatever these places were, a pub this time it seemed.
He saw a man in a cap drinking his own pint at the bar.
"Oh..." Harry said as he walked over and sat beside the other man. "But..." Harry trailed off, his voice breaking a little bit. "But you can't be-"
He was cut off by the man's gruff laughter. "Happens to us all Harry, even if some of our friends can cheat it and come back with different faces."
"Oh Alistair..." Harry trailed off. He didn't know what to say, what he could say to this man, this...ghost of the man he knew, who was when he'd left Earth alive.
"After Doris' death Harry, can't keep going on forever," Alistair began.
Harry nodded, he remembered the funeral. Alistair supported by Kate, a broken man; aged.
But, only now was it something that struck him, which he'd either not brought up or not thought to bring up at the funeral and wake. There'd been so many people there, he'd given Alistair a hug and let him be embraced by Doris' family and the old 'UNIT family' that was there also.
"What about what happened at Bernice Summerfield's wedding?" He asked the old soldier, watching the man, the ghost, the whatever he was for some sign of...something.
What he saw was a shift from confusion to deception. "Oh, Bernice's wedding, Cheldon Bonniface wasn't it?"
Harry narrowed his eyes with a querying look at the man who appeared to be his old friend; Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart – 'the Brigadier'. "Yes," he said in a short tone to him.
"Harry, I..." he trailed off and chuckled to himself and drained his pint, another was handed almost immediately by a barman composed of fire and ice and rage who disappeared as fast as he appeared. "Come on," Alistair got off the bar stool with some awkwardness and walked over to two armchairs near the fire.
Harry knew, despite his doubts that this was the Brigadier, Alistair, his friend, even if some things didn't add up.
"Cheldon Bonniface. The Fortean Flicker, thought it would come up," Alistair said as he sat down into the chair.
Harry joining him opposite, "Was it you?"
The Brigadier chuckled. "The Doctor didn't notice did he?"
Harry shrugged. "I wasn't there for it all."
"Project Peru Harry, UNIT's special project," Alistair said mysteriously with a smile.
Harry looked at him and pondered whether he should push more to gain more information. "Where you've been disappearing off to whenever there's something interesting going on?"
"I still had something left to give UNIT, might as well, an old soldier never truly retires. After that Merlin business, thought I was done for it, but..." he trailed off and looked at Harry. "I couldn't not do anything, dangers to fight, people to protect, whatever the cost, wherever it might lead me."
Harry smiled at his old friend, a man he'd met out of time and then again in his own time, and now, a ghost on a planet of ghosts and he was still being magical and mysterious. Just like another of his friends. "And now, off on another great adventure?"
Alistair sat up a little straighter. "That's his business Harry, I get things done, not off being a 'citizen of the universe'," he shook his head.
Harry chuckled, "I had wondered who I might be greeted by, here."
The Brigadier gave him a look. "Project Peru Harry," he paused. "Don't tell Kate."
Harry gave him a look. "Even in death you have secrets you need to be kept Alistair?" Harry looked at the older man. "I will keep them," he paused to sip his drink. "Surprised you're not all about commenting on my situation."
"Your alliance with the Daleks Harry?" Alistair gave him a look. "Not one I would have made. But understandable," he gave Harry a knowing look. "given what we saw with Miss Weasley. And what the Doctor told me about 'his fellow Time Lords', the Master sometimes a better reflection than he liked to think."
"Dangerous, conniving and not to be trusted?" Harry mused.
Alistair laughed. "Yes, all of that Harry, and more." He stood up with a little bit of effort and wheeze.
Harry put down his pint and stood opposite the much older man as he took him in an embrace.
"Look after yourself Harry."
"And remember Peru?" Harry asked looking at the older man curiously as the world he was stood in evaporated.
-/ - \\-
"Retract boarding ramp and signal to other saucers to power up," Harry ordered. He'd decided to take the pilot's position on the command deck of the retro saucer, he was ninety per cent sure he'd worked out the controls. Although he hadn't worked out what the lava lamps were for.
He hoped it wasn't anything important, he did consider having a Dalek on the command deck to just watch the lava lamps, but decided against it. Most of them were in the engine and power room making sure the saucer didn't over heat and that they all died from radiation poisoning. Or him. Mostly him that he was strictly worried about.
"Ramp retracted," the Saucer Commander said. He'd given it that rank and associated paint job, even though black would've been easier, and told it to sit in the middle of the command deck where he'd worked out how to bring up a set of controls that had been retracted in the floor. It seemed that whoever had designed this saucer liked big clean spaces when the spacecraft was in 'off' mode, save for a few controls on the walls full of switches and dials. It was such an odd combination, very retro yet behind it was as technical as the pie tins and their own saucer that they'd stripped of anything useful.
"Power systems to take off, fire thrusters for take off," Harry rattled off as he gripped the controls and looked at the small control panel in front of him. It was full of dials in a foreign Dalek language, which he'd only sort of worked out. He had looked at it briefly with his 'Babel Fish on a stick' applied, but something about this planet made using it leave him with a bit of a headache. More so than usual. He'd worked out the basics, or what he guessed was the basics and written notes with a marker on the console as a reminder.
There was a rumble beneath them as some sort of turbine rockets, or something like that fired. He hadn't actually worked out what they were, only that they sort of looked like a mix of those two and didn't appear to be damaged. The pie tin saucers had more conventional antigravs, ordering those around he would be leaving to Oswin to orchestrate, he had enough to think about without worrying about those two, which might blow up, or blow away before they reached low orbit. Oswin had suggested they tie some rope to them to tow them up with them.
He'd ignored the idea, getting this saucer out of the planet's gravitational influence was the main concern of his. They in theory only needed to get somewhere that they could escape in the Timeship, whether this saucer survived was an entirely different question.
Although, he had to admit, he did like the weird combination of looks and technologies, even if there were lava lamps at the back of the room for no apparent reason.
While he'd been musing he realised that the saucer had actually started to lift and reached forward to his some switches, they only needed to get far enough off the ground for the engines to be engaged. Or they might engage automatically.
He'd not quite worked out in what order this might happen, there wasn't a manual anywhere, but there was an override switch that he was prepared to flick. What it did he also wasn't quite sure of.
"Main drive is engaging," announced a Dalek off to the side.
Harry relaxed straightened and adjusted his grip on the control stick and pointed the saucer upwards.
It transitioned from atmosphere to space with barely any movement, smooth and simple and once in space the retro saucer felt like an entirely different craft. Sleek, smooth and the acceleration, the way it moved, it felt like it could run rings around anything. It fit its sleek, if retro exterior.
"The pie tins also made it," Oswin commented beside him. "You look relaxed, getting to know the spacecraft?"
"I want to know this craft, this is a revelation," Harry said and then shook his remembering that they actually needed to go somewhere. "Plot for warp jump."
"I obey, warp jump plotting, 15 rels to correct warp jump escape path from hazardous planet."
"Other saucers moving to similar vector," announced another Dalek.
"Warp drive preparing, 10 rels to warp drive," said the Saucer Commander.
There was a rumble beneath them and the controls became a lot more sluggish.
"Problem?" Oswin asked from behind him.
"The handling gone a bit piggish," he twisted the controls making the saucer rock from side to side. "Feels like we're wading through treacle."
"We had to shove the warp systems into this, they fit better in the pie tins," Oswin's voice was full of mock judgement of him.
"And I didn't want pie tin standing between me and hard vacuum Oswin," he countered.
A Dalek began counting. "3 rels to jump, 2, 1."
And then all the stars leapt towards them at fantastic speed and Harry realised he'd never seen that before, not 'live' through an actual window, it left him a little dazed for what felt like a while. Maybe it was a while, but he was still holding the controls, so it couldn't have been too long.
"What about the other ships?" He asked.
"Other two spacecraft departed hazardous planet orbit with our craft Sorcerer," the Saucer Commander reported.
"Hazardous..." Harry repeated and called out to one of the Soldiers that was hanging out on the command deck. "Take command Soldier, I've just realised I forgot something."
"Forgot what? It's too late to go back to grab more porridge Harry," Oswin commented in a teasing tone.
Harry shook his head. "I don't want to consume another of those for a long time," he said as he walked to the back of the command deck. Although he had filled an expanding bag with an assortment of them, they were filling and tasty, at the start at least. After a week or at least what felt like a week, he'd had enough of gloopy stew and its associated textures. At the back of the command deck they'd put the various tech that had been removed and extracted from theirs and the other saucers.
"Hazardous planet," Harry said to Oswin and the newly minted Saucer Commander who'd followed them up here.
"The planet we have just departed from," said the Saucer Commander needlessly.
Harry gave it a withering look. "I've been thinking about it since I was sat up on the top of the saucer with you two watching the Tharons attack."
"And you were going to investigate," Oswin frowned and looked at him. "And then I sent you off to bed, I remember now."
Harry nodded and walked past both of them and activated the remains of the holographic display system and computer systems that they'd not been able to integrate with the retro saucer.
An image fizzed and wobbled its way into a vague sense of display in front of them.
Harry kicked the box and the image wobbled back into a mostly stable display and walked over to the other side of the hologram so he could get a better perspective. "That's the planet we just escaped from."
"Yes Sorcerer. Planet is hazardous to life. Skaro Degradation storage. Cited as hazardous," the Saucer Commander intoned.
Harry gestured at the display. "Both you and Oswin told me that, but I haven't been able to read it. Could either of you..." Harry gestured at the functioning controls that he hadn't actually been near since they'd crash landed, too busy with other things.
"What're you getting at Harry?" Oswin asked as the Saucer Commander moved over the controls.
"Focus in on information concerning the planet," Harry ordered.
"Now that we've got time to think, it's something I should have realised, if we'd not been working to get off the planet..." Harry paused for a long time. "And I'd not been haunted by ghosts."
The holographic systems fizzed into life once more resolving the image and displaying text and an icon of the planet.
"It's an issue of translating, working on this saucer, and the other pie tins reminded me of it," Harry pointed at the listing. "That doesn't say hazardous."
Both Oswin and the Saucer Commander looked at him and to the screen.
"Yes it does," Oswin countered.
"I concur, Dalek Mage is correct," the Saucer Commander agreed.
Harry bit the side of his cheek in thought. "Read it then," as the Saucer Commander's lights lit up as it prepared to speak Harry interjected. "Just the planet's designation and danger rating."
"Skaro Degradation planet, storage facility. Hazardous," it finished.
"Concise," Oswin surmised and looked at him. "What're you getting at Harry?"
"That's not what it says, there's too many characters," he paused, smiling to himself. "Hermione would be pleased, applying reasoned, considered observation of a text, it's not just the intent it's the meaning," he mused to himself and shook his head. "It's the difference between a native speaker and someone who's learnt the language."
"What are you on about Harry?" Oswin asked again.
"Hazardous is probably the closest word to that now, maybe it's consolidated or something," he extracted his wand and wrote in the air above them the Dalek word for 'hazardous'. "What is this word?"
"Hazardous." Both Oswin and the Saucer Commander said together.
"And what does that say?" Harry asked with a smile pointing to the holographic display.
"Hazardous," the Saucer Commander said, its eye twitching to the holographic display.
"Okay...that's weird Harry. I know that says 'hazardous'," Oswin pointed at the slowly fading spell-fire word hanging above them. "And that says 'hazardous'."
Harry smiled. "Buggered if I know what it means, just that it probably doesn't mean hazardous, but it's the closest anyone thinks of it as now."
"That's...very weird," Oswin commented in an impressed tone. "Surprising what you can do when you're relaxed magic man."
-/ - \\-
In the constellation of Kasterborous, under the glow of the waning Pazithi Gallifreya; protected by transduction barriers and watched over by the sky trenches.
In the Drylands and the Arcadian deserts the Madevinia aridosa was coming into full bloom, bathing the lands in bioluminescence. On the mountains of Lung, Solitude, Perdition and Myridian the Cadonwood trees were just losing their leaves whilst the Schlenk blossoms were making their presence known to all who lived their lives away from their Great Houses.
In the Capitol Arcalians in their green and brown robes briskly walked from High Council meetings back to their chambers concerned with temporal researches for the war. Those of the Dromeian Chapter in their robes of silver grey; hiding in the alcoves, plotting to wrest power away from Rassilon, newly resurrected for the fight against the Daleks. Those few from the Cerulean chapter holding their own court nearby to the Panopticon, fretting for their place on the High Council, kept a wary pace from those from the Scendeles Chapter and the financial woes that befell that chapter house.
None of the Prydonian Chapter wandered the corridors here, that chapter produced the best, the best renegades, the best for fighting war. Likewise the Patrexes kept away from view, the artists and the aesthetes, they saw further than the Matrix could, especially in war.
Cardinal Ollistra had sought out Time Lords and Ladies from all the chapters, she didn't care for the political alliances between the chapter houses, the war was the important focus.
"Well?" She demanded as she observed the dimensional battlefield display, concerning herself with the next strategic advance.
"The vortex spore trace from our Ribos Operation has been detected leaving the Daleks' planet designated Ferutu Cardinal."
Ollistra nodded. The Ribos Operation had been particularly successful; the Doctor had provided an exceptionally useful amount of information concerning former host locations of the Key to Time. With the correct alignment their residual powers had been utilised against the enemy. Ginny Weasley's talents as a non-Gallifreyan, but still highly skilled had been particularly useful. The Guardians having altered the planets' structure to prevent certain species from utilising their residual power. Gallifreyans being one such species, several Time Lords had had regenerative crises discovering this though, but Ginny Weasley had been exceptionally willing to assist them.
The Daleks' attack had been predicted by the Matrix, their failure was predicted with a 75 per cent surety. Ollistra wanted to know why.
The anomalous temporal source and vortex spore leading to Ribos suggested a temporal vessel that did not conform to the Daleks' temporal usage currently in the war.
"Where are they now?" Olistra queried.
"A fleet of three vessels have departed the planet, their projected course is an area currently signalled as Dalek-controlled space Cardinal."
Olistra looked at young Time Lady and considered chastising the young Patrex, three vessels was not a Dalek fleet. But three removed from a Ferutu designated planet was something to be considered. The Daleks would have learnt quickly the hazardous qualities of that planet after storing some of their 'Skaro Degradations' there, ensuring they would not return. The planet itself was not an active concern for the War Council, its status meaning nothing would land, nor be able to escape its surface.
"Task Waym and Voran with a trio of battle TARDISes. Capture the temporal vessel and take the operator for interrogation to our secure facility on Dronid," she ordered.
"Cardinal," the young Time Lady's voice arched. "Dronid was hit by the Daleks' attack fleet, reports state heavy damage to the colony."
Ollistra thought for a moment, to interrogate and hold a temporal vessel and its pilot would require a secure facility, they had utilised Plastrodus 14 early in the war, but its scars still drove some younger Time Lords mad. Shada was being converted to hold more Dalek prisoners. "Space Station Zenobia then, ensure the Matrix door there is closed," she ordered firmly.
Soon, they would get some answers about what happened on Ribos and who killed one of the most useful and successful agents of the Time Lords; Ginny Weasley.
This chapter took a really long time to write, I considered splitting it in half, but there's no good points where it naturally comes to an 'end of chapter' point, so I've kept it as a single chapter, albeit a long one.
This chapter was actually very simple in my notes, which for this chapter I'd written 'Harry and Oswin crash land on ghost planet, stuff happens, escape – lead into next chapter'.
The ghosts that visit Harry actually come from another plan for a future chapter where Harry would have been attacked by a mental squid creature or mind vampire or something. It was going to feature Dumbledore and Voldemort, and maybe some others. But would have also featured some format-breaking stuff like parts written like a TV script. But as I thought about it, that sort of thing's good in theory, but on the page it'd be very jarring, so found a better place here.
The Tharons do exist, I haven't plucked them from no where, they're mentioned as being one of the other species on Skaro.
Their description I've based on concept art concerned with the Doctor Who TV movie in 1996, if you search 'Philip Segal Daleks' it's usually the first concept-art looking images that come up.
The retro saucer that Harry is so taken by is the saucer from Daleks' Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. (aka the second 1960s Dalek movie). I included the 'pie tin' saucers for balance, they're from The Dalek Invasion of Earth.
Harry finds out the Brigadier's dead here because...well Alistair's life is a little bit complicated and there's conflicting information in the Doctor Who universe about when he dies. I'm not so much ignoring when it happens as building on the mythos. But to briefly summarise in Happy Endings (Bernice Summerfield's wedding in Cheldon Bonniface) the Brig gets struck by the Fortean Flicker making him younger. Which doesn't square with when he dies on TV, so I'm playing with things. But this won't be covered in detail till Harry returns to Earth.
I wasn't going to include Cedric in this chapter, but I thought as Harry's facing recriminations and guilt, I might as well include Cedric. There's only a few instances where you can get away with having dead characters come back without involving time travel.
Thanks for reading.