Chapter 22: Easter Holidays Part 2
No one knew where the dementors originally came from. It seemed they had always been here. In the far past they were thought to have been demons that roamed the bogs and moors with a very bad reputation, hence they became the wizarding worlds version of the boogie man. Every once in a while, someone would come across a body lying in a field with glazed over eyes and drooling from its mouth. The body wouldn't respond to anything and if it wasn't dead already it soon would be.
Eventually, a very powerful druid (this was long before Merlin's time) stumbled across one and contained it within a stasis field to study it. He discovered it was a mindless, blind entity that preyed on and amplified negative emotions such as despair and sorrow. He recognized it had tried to suck out his soul and decided he had to contain the creatures somehow. In his travels he had discovered an island in the North Sea that had a very old abandoned fortress on it and thought this would be a good place to contain them, as no one ever ventured there. The fortress had a reputation for being haunted by the ghosts of those that had died there long ago. The druid constructed a device that broadcast very high feelings of despair and sorrow back toward England. This eventually attracted the dementors from all over the country; it also had the side effect of driving the locals away from the area as well. This suited the druid's purpose just fine as it also enhanced the reputation of the island. It took about a year before the last of the dementors in England found their way to the island. After several months more of no dementors showing up, the druid was satisfied that he got all of them. He then constructed a control node that confined them to the island and left, feeling he had at least isolated the problem to that single island, whose reputation would keep the locals away.
Another two thousand years passed with no sightings of the mysterious soul suckers before a group of brave wizards discovered the island. The newly formed Ministry for Magic had sent out scouts, looking for a place to build a prison for their worst criminals. They knew of the reputation of the area and thought it might be a good place to search. The company of wizards soon arrived at the coast of the North Sea where the worst of the feelings of despair could be felt. One of the scouts spotted what looked like a silhouette of an island out at sea. He called out to the leader pointing out the island. The group stopped and pulled out their brooms for a look. As they got closer to the island, the effect of the dementors started to overcome the broom riders and a couple of the riders barely made it to the island before collapsing from despair. They didn't know about the dementors, but soon found out the hard way as they swarmed out of the fortress, where a couple of the riders were kissed before the group could get away. As the survivors flew away, the leader noticed the creatures had stopped at the edge of the island and weren't pursuing them. As soon as they landed they mounted their horses and returned to the Ministry in London to report their findings.
Over the next couple of years wizards and witches studied the island to figure out how to control the creatures inhabiting it. They figured that to control the negative feeling the creatures generated in humans, they needed something opposite, so the spell creators worked on that premise. After another year or two of studying human emotions, the Patronus Charm was invented. They also discovered it took a more powerful than average witch or wizard to be able to cast it. It was decided that the two most powerful wizards and the two most powerful witches of the time would be taught the charm and sent out to the island to try to contain the creatures.
The call went out and several witches and wizards answered. It was decided to have a contest to see who the four would be. The winners of the witch's division turned out to be a couple of witches going by the names of Rowena Ravenclaw and Helga Hufflepuff. Rowena had a reputation of being very smart and fast with her spells. No one would have guessed the power packed into the small unknown plump package that was Helga Hufflepuff. For the men's division, everyone knew popular Godric Gryffindor would win. Tied with Godric was a wizard no one had heard of by the name of Salazar Slytherin, who had an affinity to snakes. Through the tournament, the four young contestants became friends. (This was fifty years before Hogwarts) After the partying was over, the four got down to the business of learning the charm and getting proficient at it. Soon it was time to go to the island.
After a long journey on horseback the four, along with their retainers arrived at the shoreline and made camp. They could see the island across the expanse of water. They decided to rest and relax for a few days before going to the island. The men went hunting while the women prepped the camp for a feast. After a successful hunt, the men returned with a deer, which was skinned and prepared by the retainers. The hide was tanned and the meat prepped for cooking and storing for the journey back. Some was held out for the celebration feast, assuming they were successful on the island.
The trip to the island didn't take long by broom and when they got to the shore they were sensed by the dementors who tried to swarm the four. They cast their Patronus charms and discovered to their great delight they worked fabulously. The charms took the form of a lion, eagle, badger and snake, driving the dementors back into the fortress. The four pushed on until they got inside. It was Rowena that discovered the control node carved by the druid all those years ago. She cast a diagnostic spell on it that she had invented and discovered how it worked. She informed her companions that the node had been there for over two thousand years already and could be modified so the creatures could be used to guard prisoners if the ministry decided to use the fortress as a prison. They drove the dementors down to the lowest level and locked them there. This would allow others to come and renovate the fortress if it was to be used. Rowena thought the node would be safer embedded in the floor of the room she was in where no harm would come to it. Unbeknownst to everyone at the prison fortress, the over three-thousand-year-old node stone had been cut in half by Excalibur.
"Everyone stays in this room," Harry commanded.
The adults in the room watched as the three young ones held their right hands out and what looked like silver cylinders flew into them from somewhere under their robes as they moved towards the door. Harry opened the door and pulled the outside guard inside. The three Jedi walked through the door into the hallway to be faced with several very tall skeletal creatures in ragged robes floating towards them from the stairwell at the end of the hall. The creatures saw what they believed to be fresh souls to devour and picked up their pace. All three of the Jedi's sabers activated with a snap hiss sound causing the creatures to pull up and stop momentarily.
"Release the souls you have taken and return to your realm or be destroyed," Harry challenged.
The creatures looked up as they seemed to be listening to something that wasn't there and then started towards the trio again.
"They must have a hive mind," Hermione said, "their leader is elsewhere."
"Let's see if they can withstand five thousand degrees kelvin," Sally said in anticipation of the fight.
The three ran into the swarm of dementors with their light sabers swinging. The only sounds that could be heard were of the humming from the light sabers and the screeches of the dementors as they were destroyed one by one. As each one was destroyed, a mass of small blueish white lights would leave the dementors bodies and float through the ceiling while the rest of the body turned into a fine ash. The slaughter, as it could only be called such, went on for about an hour until all the dementors in the fortress but one was destroyed. It was found cowering in the lowest section of the prison. The three approached it. The warden and Madam Bones had followed behind once the main fighting was over.
"Can you understand me?" Harry asked the lone dementor.
The dementor turned its head as if listening to something and a voice came from the round appendage where a mouth would be.
"Yeess," it said in a creepy voice.
"We are the Guardians of the Universe," Harry and Hermione chanted, "By order of the Creator of all things you are to return to your own realm, leaving the souls you have entrapped behind or face the consequences for your race. Only the Creator can decide where a soul makes its final resting place."
After a few minutes waiting the voice comes back.
"We will obey," the voice said, "We were brought here against our will before your kind existed. With your words a portal has opened to our realm, we will go now gladly. This world is too warm for us."
The dementor in front of the trio released the souls it was carrying and faded out. The trio of Jedi deactivated their sabers and after clipping them to their utility belts, turned down the passageway to return to the room they were using before, with the warden and director following. As the group turned the corner to the hallway where the visitor's rooms were located they saw Sirius, Bellatrix and the guards staring at them with wide eyes. Everyone resumed their seats inside the visitor's room.
"Warden," Hermione said to get his attention, "I'm sure you and the ministry can negotiate an agreement with the goblins to guard this prison. They are at home underground in their tunnels, so the narrow corridors of this fortress will be perfect for their stature and they will be able to answer to any emergency as needed."
"The best part is short term prisoners will keep their sanity since the dementors are no longer here." Harry added, "The working-class witch or wizard such as your guards may or may not have dealings at the bank so this is a perfect opportunity for humans and Goblins to get used to working together. Eventually all sentient magical beings will be on equal footing and have representation in our government. What better place to start than here?"
While everyone was contemplating what was said, Harry and Hermione looked at each other and with a nod, stood up.
"Only one more thing to do," Hermione said.
The rest within the room stood also and watched as the pair extended their right arms with hands palm up. Their wands materialized in their hands and with a quick flip the wands extended to the full height of their staffs. The others watched in awe of the power emanating from the orbs of energy at the top of the staffs. Harry and Hermione raised their staffs and slammed the bottom of them to the floor. The energy of the orbs started to expand and flick out like lightning to various portions of the room. The others in the room would duck occasionally, out of instinct more than anything as the lightning flickers always passed around them. Hermione's hair was blowing as if an ethereal wind was blowing around her. The energy built up to a crescendo and seemed to be waiting for instructions. If one was to listen closely a human heartbeat could be heard within the energy vortex. (1) Madam Bones was looking intently at the pair and noticed the marks behind their ears were glowing in such a way to look like the energy was entering through the marks into their bodies to be channeled through the staff each held.
"Divine Spirit," Harry and Hermione chanted together, "Go out from this room and touch everyone within this fortress that has sold their souls to the demon who calls itself Voldemort. By your touch, the demon's disciples will be taken before the Creator for everlasting judgement. By the will of the Creator we have spoken, so we say. So, shall it be."
Upon completion of their chant the Pendragons slammed their staffs on the floor once more. The energy that had been flaring around the room left through every crack in the walls, floors and door and started working its way through the fortress one passage way at a time. Every time it passed a cell with a death eater interned within, a flick of lightning would strike the prisoner within the cell. As the lightning withdrew from the cell the prisoner would be gone. Harry and Hermione stood there with their staffs extended and their eyes glowing with divine power as the energy worked its way through the fortress prison. Even Sally Anne was staring in awe at her adoptive sister and brother in law as they worked. She had never seen anything so beautiful yet terrifying in her entire life. Not even the wonders of the Corusca Galaxy could compare to this. She got down on her knees and bowed her head with her arms crossed in front of her chest in an exe pattern with her fists against her shoulders. The rest of the room followed suit as they felt they were in the presence of the Creator himself. Eventually the energy had made a full circuit of the prison and after returning to the room, entered the bodies of the Pendragons where it was absorbed. The pair's eyes returned to normal and they relaxed their stance by shrinking their staffs back to wand size and storing them within their wrist holsters. Turning from the door, Harry and Hermione noticed the rest on their knees with their heads bowed.
"Rise up," Harry commanded, "We are as humbled as you are at the power of the Creator. We are only tools to do as he asks."
"Asks?" Madam Bones wanted to know as she abhorred slavery in any form, benign or not.
"We have free will," Hermione said, "He has never asked us to do anything against our nature and he never will. There have been occasions where we had to kill our opponents such as the dementors. In all cases we had determined that there was no alternative like we have here on Earth, such as sending criminals to another planet. Warden, you will find that all the ex-death eaters are gone from the prison. You should check the cells again within a few hours on the off chance one or two of them have repented enough to be returned.
"I'll do that," the warden responded.
"You're a good man Warden Rawlings," Hermione said as the group filed out of the visiting room and made their way to the warden's office to sign out the two ex-prisoners.
After release forms were signed Harry made a portkey for Bellatrix after he looked into her eyes to get the location her sister's home. Hermione made one for Madam Bones to her office in the ministry.
"We will see you at the summer session of the Wizengamot," Harry said to Madam Bones.
With a nod madam Bones activated her port key and was gone in a flash of light; the same with Bellatrix after another hug for Harry and Hermione. When the two women were gone Harry had their group form a circle and with a goodbye to the warden phased the group to their home in Crawley.
When the group phased into the sitting room the Grangers looked over towards them, noticing the new addition.
"Everything go as planned?" Helen asked.
"Yes, it did," Hermione answered, "and as you can see we have a new family member."
"Mum, Dad," Harry took over, "Meet my godfather, Lord Sirius Black. He was imprisoned for political reasons and because he was my godfather. He has been remanded into our custody until we can have a trial to prove to the public he is innocent."
"I'm not a Lord," Sirius said, "But I do promise I won't be a burden on you are your family Mr. Granger."
"Nonsense," George stood up and shook Sirius' hand, "Harry and Hermione have told us all about you. You are welcome here. Have a seat. You have much to learn about your godson and our daughter."
After everyone got comfortable Harry started to fill in his godfather about what he missed while in prison and about his and Hermione's past.
"This may be hard to believe at first," Harry started off, "But this is the second time through the timeline for Hermione and me."
"Yes," Hermione said, "It started when the world as we know it ended on November 18th, 2022."
Harry and Hermione swapped back and forth telling the story like they do when teaching and having a general conversation.
"And so," Harry ended, "Here we are. Our job now is to keep the non-magical people from blowing themselves up with their weapons and to unite the world under one government. As for the magical world, we will be bringing it into the twentieth century. Kicking and screaming if we have to."
"Since, through divine intervention," Hermione said, "this is our second time through the timeline we know that you were never disowned officially by your father. You are Lord Sirius Orion Black, head of the Black family."
Just as Hermione finished Jeeves walked and announced, "Dinner is served."
Everyone looked up in surprise and then looked at their watches.
"Wow," Harry said, "I hadn't realized the story would take so long to convey."
"Time flies when you are having fun," Sally Anne interjected with a smile.
Harry and Hermione grinned at Sally Anne and then the trio followed the adults into the kitchen dining area and sat around the table with the men holding chairs for the ladies. Sirius waited until everyone else was seated before sitting. Over that evening and the next two days the family got to know Sirius better and he got to know the Granger family. Sirius was thrilled to watch the trio spar with their sabers in the basement of the Granger home. He regaled them with stories of his days as a marauder in school and told Harry stories about his parents which had Harry's complete and undivided attention. Hermione just snuggled into her husband's side and basked in his happiness, content with the way things were going. On the morning of the fourth day (Thursday) the telephone rang just as the family was sitting down to breakfast. Mrs. Granger got up to answer.
"Granger residence," she said into the receiver.
"This is Agent Hamilton, is Mrs. Pendragon available?" she heard from the speaker.
"One moment," Helen said.
"Hermione, Agent Hamilton for you,"
"Thanks mum," Hermione answered.
Hermione walked into the hall where the phone was and took the receiver from her mother.
"Agent Hamilton," Hermione said, "What can I do for you?"
"I took your advice to heart and passed your message to my boss," Hamilton said, "He arranged a meeting for today if you are free to speak to the prime minister."
"I think we could accommodate him today," Hermione said, "What time?"
"Say half ten this morning?" Hamilton asked.
"That should be fine," Hermione answered back, "That will give us enough time in the day to accommodate any request made."
"Thank you," Hamilton said, "the directors will be there."
"Your welcome," Hermione said and hung up the phone.
She walked back into the kitchen where Harry stood and pulled her seat for her so she could start her breakfast.
"Such a gentleman," she said fondly looking at him.
"Anything for my lady," Harry answered.
"What did Hamilton want," Helen asked her daughter.
"We are scheduled to meet the prime minister at ten thirty," Hermione said, "You ready for another trip in space?"
Hermione's parents looked at each other and smiled, "Anytime you are."
"We'll see what the PM wants and maybe go today," Hermione said.
Everyone finished breakfast and after watching a little telly, went to their rooms to dress for the meeting with the prime minister. Harry and Hermione dressed in their consular robes while Sally Anne dressed in her Jedi Sentinel robes. The Grangers dressed semi-formal so they would be ready to get to work if the family returned to space today. When everyone was ready the group formed a circle and with a nod to Hermione from Harry she initiated the phase from the Granger sitting room to the PM's office at number ten Downing Street.
In the PM's office the prime minister was sitting behind his desk with the directors of MI5 and MI6 seated off to the side having been forewarned about their method of travel. At precisely half ten the Pendragons phased in with the Grangers in tow. Harry took one look around and with a wave of his hand the correct number of chairs appeared with Harry and Hermione's being a love seat where the pair sat with Hermione snuggling into her husband's side. The group looked at the three government men with quiet confidence in their demeanor.
"You wanted to see us?" Harry started off.
"Ahem, yes," the prime minister answered, "I'm interested in your idea of sending our worst criminals to another planet. The directors showed me some security footage from the day you installed the portal at headquarters. What more can you tell me about it?"
"The planet is fifteen light years from Earth and is uninhabited by sentient life," Hermione answered, "The system has five planets and a sun that is slightly cooler than ours. The sky won't look as blue as ours but the planet is normal in every other way. We will provide a sphere with a database in it to help the men learn how to live on their own. The prisoners would need to be at least mentally stable enough that they won't kill each other off."
"The prisoners would get their freedom," Harry added, "Just not here on Earth. They would be out of your hair forever. Who knows, maybe the planet will turn into another Australia which started out as a penal colony."
"We recommend sending prisoners without the chance for parole," Hermione added, "They would have no choice. You can certainly ask for volunteers from the other prisoners. You might be surprised by how many will volunteer to go, just to get out of prison. Just make sure they understand it is a one-way trip."
"If you have a building in mind for transporting to New Haven," Harry said, "or just the building materials, we can transport them for you."
"Have you broached the idea of an administrative office to help the prisoners get started?" Hermione asked.
"We have actually," MI6 said, "We had more than one person interested. You did say you could transport them and then return them home after their time on planet was up?"
"Yes, we did," Harry answered, "I just had a thought with the mention of Australia. If you want, you can send construction crews to build simple shelters, say Quonset huts with bunk beds. If they were good enough for our men in WWII they should be good enough for the likes of them."
"Perhaps the Corps of Royal Engineers?" Hermione asked, "To them it would be just another job, albeit at an exotic location. Our ship's cargo hold will accommodate any materials and equipment the men would need."
The PM and two director's faces were sporting smiles that got bigger and bigger as they listened to the Pendragons.
"That sounds perfect," MI5 said.
"Yes," MI6 agreed, "The corps can get the basic ground work done and use the prisoners for the labor force."
"Hopefully with the prisoners building their own shelters they will take care of them," Harry agreed, "We will send enough food rations to help them get started until they can fend for themselves. When you ask for volunteers make them understand that they will be like the first colonist to immigrate to the states. They had support from England while they planted their crops, but if I read my history right most of them were self-sufficient within the first year."
"If you can get your best engineers here we can go survey the planet today as soon as you're ready," Hermione said.
"Has anyone asked the queen if she would like to go?" Harry asked.
"That would be a yes," came from the speaker box on the prime minister's desk.
Harry and Hermione sat up and stared at the box. The prime minister had a smirk on his face at the look on the Pendragon's faces.
"Well," Harry said, "This makes things less complicated. Good morning ma'am. We would like to invite you and as many of your family as you would like to come with us as we get a look at New Haven to find a viable place to start a new colony. We can land the ship if you like where the public can see you boarding the ship to travel with us."
"That would be acceptable," the queen's voice said, "We prefer RAF Northolt."
"At your convenience," Hermione said.
"We can be there in two hours," the queen said.
"We will give you time to arrive and then you can watch us bring the Phoenix in for landing," Harry said.
"We would very much like to see that," the queen said.
"We thought you might," Hermione said.
"Till then," the queen rang off.
Harry and Hermione looked over to the three government men.
"Can you have your engineering team at the base in two hours?" Harry asks.
"That won't be a problem," MI5 said.
"Good," Harry said, "Let them know we can get there and back in plenty of time for dinner or if they want to stay longer we can have dinner on the ship."
"Please be aware that the space station crew will be with us as well," Hermione said," there will be plenty of room for everyone."
Everyone stood up as the Grangers and Pendragons formed a circle to depart.
"You three are welcome to come as well if your schedules permit," Harry said.
The PM, MI5 and MI6 watched as the family faded away.
"Right," the PM said," Let's get the ball rolling. I'll contact the base while you get the engineering group set up."
The three men got to work setting up security for the queen and her family along with prepping the engineering group for an unusual trip to an exotic locale.
The family faded in inside the shuttle parked behind the Granger home. Harry and Hermione took their seats up front while the Grangers and Sirius took seats in the back for the ride into orbit. Sirius was looking all around in wonder at the new place he found himself in. Hermione touched a pad on her console and the hanger doors opened to allow the shuttle to exit. Harry touched some pads on his console to start the anti-grav drive to lift the shuttle and retracted the landing pads. Several more commands and the shuttle moved out of the hanger before rapidly ascending into the sky. The hanger doors closed after the shuttle had departed. In no time the sky turned from blue to black as the shuttle left the atmosphere and entered space.
Hermione touched another pad on her console and the communications array lit up.
"Attention Phoenix," she transmitted, "Get ready for a stroll in the neighborhood."
The crew aboard the Phoenix scrambled to get their gear together and tidy up some experiments they had been working on. They changed into fresh uniforms in their staterooms. While the Phoenix was in the Corusca Galaxy the crew had collaborated on a proper uniform to show they were part of the crew of the Phoenix. They liked the dark maroon of the Pendragons robes so they chose that color for a standard military style uniform with a gold colored Phoenix on the left breast. Each member had their rank insignia on their collars. On their left shoulder they sported their country flags and on the right, they had their space station patches. They gathered in the landing bay to watch for the shuttle and a few minutes later the blue force field snapped on around the shuttle bay door which then opened. Harry glided the shuttle in for a perfect landing and the family departed to greet the astronauts.
"Welcome back," Commander Sheppard said.
"It's good to be back," Harry said, "We are going to scout a planet for a colony made up of criminals that are in for life without the possibility for parole to help reduce the prison population of Britain. If this works out we can do the same for other countries. We think this is a humane way to get rid of the worst undesirables and maybe get them to be a productive part of a colony."
"We are going to have company with us this time," Hermione said, "Queen Elizabeth and her family is coming, along with some engineers from the Royal Engineering Corps."
"We are taking the Phoenix down to RAF Northolt to pick up our passengers," Hermione said.
"Everyone to their stations," Harry ordered.
Everyone crowded into the lift for the ride to the front of the ship where the bridge is. Upon exiting the lift everyone went to their assigned stations and brought their consoles on line. The hatch to the space station was closed to keep the air inside from escaping and the umbilical was retracted into its receptacle. Harry powered up the anti-gravity drive for the descent into the atmosphere and with a touch of another pad brought the shields on line. The shields kept the friction of entering the atmosphere away from the ship, allowing them to descend without leaving a corona trail behind them. Sally Anne touched a pad on her console bringing the communications array on line.
"RAF Northolt. This is the Phoenix," Sally Anne sent, "We are on descent and will come in vectored for runway two five, over."
"Roger Phoenix." ground control returned, "We were told you were coming and once down you are cleared to taxis to the North Jet Center where your parties are waiting, over."
"We won't be landing on the runway itself," Sally returned, "We are using that heading to stay out of local traffic and to give the citizens of London a chance to see the Phoenix as we approach. We will touch down at the coordinates you gave us, over."
"Understood," ground control returned.
On the ground the radio traffic had been transmitted over speakers in the Jet Center's main waiting area. The queen's family was there with her royal guards along with the engineering group. When they heard the radio traffic everyone in the waiting room gathered just outside the Jet Center and looked to the north east in anticipation. It wasn't long before everyone could hear a high pitch hum as the ship approached.
Harry guided the Phoenix in on the vector agreed to and slowly brought her in over the end of the runway and then glided along the taxis way turning the ship so the back of it was towards the waiting area as he went. He stopped to hover and with a touch of a pad on his console the landing struts extended and he gently set her down. The high pitch hum of the drive ramped down to a barely audible sound as Harry put her in standby mode. The crew secured their stations before walking behind the Pendragons to the lift to take them to the aft of the ship.
"Ariel, please open all of the cargo and shuttle bay doors," Hermione commanded.
"By your command," the AI replied.
The crowd outside watched as several doors opened along the back wall inside the C section where they could see the noses of several craft showing. One door on the lower left side as you look at the back opened and a set of stairs lowered to the ground. Down those stairs walked Harry, Hermione and Sally Anne. After them came the Grangers and the crew of the ship in their dark maroon uniforms with the gold phoenix below their name on the left breast. The crew lined up behind Harry and Hermione and assumed parade rest as the queen was watching. Harry and Hermione walked up to the queen and gave a bow and curtsey.
"The Phoenix is at your service ma'am," Harry and Hermione chanted together.
"We are pleased at your invitation," The queen responded, "Please lead on."
The Pendragons led the procession and then stood aside as Prince Philip helped his wife up the steps into the ship. Harry and Hermione followed the queen's family up the stairs and then led them over to a lift that went up to the observation deck. The deck over looked the cargo area and the flight deck where the shuttle and three other ships were parked.
"Wow," young William exclaimed, "Are those real?"
"They are very real cousin," Harry said, "When we get back we will show you how they work."
"I bet George Lucas would want to have a gander at those," one of the engineers said.
"We suspect he has first-hand knowledge of these," Hermione said, "His first movie was too accurate to what actually took place back then. Luckily we were able to stop Palpatine before he was able to build anything like the death star."
Everyone looked over the railing to the three ships parked below. The largest was a Lambda shuttle, followed by a brand-new X-wing and finally an A-wing fighter. While they were in the Corusca Galaxy Harry and Hermione had the Phoenix in a ship yard for a refit to make room for the lambda shuttle and several other ships while leaving room for a sizable cargo hold. The Phoenix now had ten decks in the central spine with the wedge tapering to seven stories near the edge. She was lengthened by another hundred meters bringing her length to two hundred twenty meters. Her beam was widened to a total a hundred meters. The ship builders complained when Harry and Hermione wouldn't let them build any larger. She looked like a true arrow flying through space and with her jet-black paint and the now golden Phoenixes painted on top and bottom she was a sight to behold.
"Okay everyone," Hermione said, "Stations please."
The crew left to take the first lift to the bridge followed by the Pendragons with the queen's family. Once on the bridge Hermione touched a pad on her console causing several chairs to rise from the floor for the visitors to sit in. Once everyone was comfortable Sally Anne touched a pad on her console to bring the communications array on line.
"RAF Northolt. This is the Phoenix," Sally Anne sent, "Ready for departure."
"You are cleared to depart," control said, "no traffic in the area, all is clear."
"Roger," Sally Anne said.
Harry ramped up the antigrav drive and the ship rose a few meters in the air. The back doors closed and the landing pads were retracted into their slots. The ground controllers and reporters watched as the Phoenix gained altitude and then suddenly took off at high speed. It was lost to sight in just a very few seconds.
Inside the Phoenix the observers watched as the sky grew darker and darker as the ship left the atmosphere and entered outer space.
"Plot a course to New Haven," Harry ordered.
"Course plotted and laid in," Hermione answered all business like, "Engage when ready."
"Here we go," Harry said as he touched a pad on his console where the computer chimed to acknowledge the order.
Everyone looked out the view port as a blue door opened and swallowed the Phoenix and then shut again. They were inside a blue tunnel.
"Eta about thirty minutes," Hermione stated, "Not much to see until we get there. Would everyone like some tea?"
With nods all around the Pendragons let the group to the mess hall where tea and biscuits were served up. Hermione and the female part of the group chatted about female things while the men talked about planning for the colony they were going to survey. At the twenty-eight-minute mark a female voice emitted from the speakers.
"Captains to the bridge for translation to normal space."
"Thank you, Ariel," Hermione said to the air.
As they walked back to the bridge Princess Dianna asked, "Who's Ariel?"
"She is the bio-AI for the Phoenix," Hermione answered, "She makes it possible for Harry and me to control the Phoenix with our minds when the need arises."
Harry and Hermione took their places at navigation and pilot while the rest of the crew attended their stations. With a quite beep from the computer the Phoenix translated back into normal space. Below them was a beautiful green and blue planet not too dissimilar to Earth. The planet had three moons smaller than Earth's moon. The central star was slightly larger than Sol, but was cooler.
Harry and Hermione stood from their seats.
"Commanders Sheppard and Chernov," Hermione commanded, "If you would take us in we can scout around for a viable spot for the penal colony. Engineers, speak out if you spot something you can work with. Keep in mind we can transport any equipment you might need and you will get lots of free labor."
The engineering group moved up behind the two commanders and kept watch as they entered the atmosphere and started a search for a good place for a colony. As the Phoenix was closing in on the planet's surface one of the engineers spotted a large clearing in a forest at the base of a mountain range.
"Let's try there first," she said.
Commander Sheppard touched some pads on the pilot's console steering the Phoenix to the clearing and with a touch of another pad the landing struts lowered so the ship could set down. Once down the crew and guests used the lift to move to the back of the Phoenix and down one level to the airlock. Harry and Hermione turn to the queen.
"Would you like to be the first human from Earth to step on a planet in another solar system?" they asked.
Queen Elizabeth smiled real big at the idea, thrilled to make history. Harry sent a camera droid out to film the event. The queen, followed by her husband Prince Philip, descended the stairs to be the first humans to step foot on a planet other than Earth.
Harry and Hermione chanted together, "Let it be known now and forever the first person from Earth to set foot on a planet not in our solar system Her MajestyElizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith."
Everyone clapped to show their appreciation and then followed the royal couple down the stairs to look around at the new planet and up at the sky where you could see three moons. With a flip of his wrist Harry conjured four flagpoles with the flags of the four countries represented by the peoples aboard the Phoenix: The union jack of England, the stars and stripes of America, the White, Blue and Red of the Russian flag and last but not least, the flag of Japan, the Hinomaru of a red sun in the center of a white field. These flags along with a plaque marking the first landing of humans from Earth set up. The engineers walked around the clearing checking the soil and plant life. They collected samples of everything. The trees looked a bit different than the trees of Earth, but they looked like they were plenty strong enough for construction. After the engineers signaled they were ready, the group led by the queen returned to the Phoenix to continue with the survey of the planet. After a thorough mapping of the planet it was finally time to go home. Everyone took their seats with the bridge crew at their stations and the two captains in the pilot and navigator positions.
"Coordinates entered for hyperspace," Hermione said in a professional tone, "ready when you are Captain."
"Here we go," Harry said.
Everyone watched as a white light coalesced in front of the Phoenix and after a few seconds a door opened into a blue tunnel. Harry touched the pads to command the ship to proceed and the Phoenix moved into the tunnel with the door closing behind them as they jumped into hyperspace.
I took the sequence for the energy vortex from the 1970 version of The Dunwich Horror by H. P. Lovecraft. The final scene in the movie had the monster moving from a house to an alter stone near the ocean. The monster is invisible until the very end, but the sound effects and flashes of color are pretty cool to watch.
Thanks for reading