PITHY STATEMENT RELATING TO THIS CHAPTER: “There are memories that time does not erase... Forever does not make loss forgettable, only bearable.” (City of Heavenly Fire) Cassandra Claire – American novelist & YA writer – 1973 – Present
LAST UPDATED ON: 05-15-2020
“Are you sure about this, Luna? Harry asked quietly as he dropped the report to his lap.
“Sure? Can anyone be sure about the future? What I can say is that by around 2060 or so, that most magical species will be extinct and the rest will soon follow. Magic breeds magic, Harry. It is one of the reasons of the general decline in magic seen throughout the ages. The fewer plants, animals, beings and witches and wizards there are, the less Magic there is to sustain them.”
“Use it or lose it,” Harry said with a tired sigh.
“Exactly. Our future, the future of everyone on Earth, is in terrible danger. However, the rest of life on Earth will survive. Diminished, changed, scarred and less than it what was before. The same will not be true for us. The 22nd Century will see an Earth bereft of magic. The seers are in agreement. The omens are there and the centaurs have stated they cannot see the stars past around 2150.”
“So we’re all going to die?” Harry asked. “I can’t accept that, Luna.”
“Your acceptance is not relevant to our coming extinction, I am afraid, Harry,” Luna said sadly.
“We’ll see about that!” Harry snarled as he crumpled the report in his fist and stalked out of the room.
BORG CUBE 10100110100, SECTOR 26, DELTA QUADRANT – STAR DATE 50903.8
One exited the Collective data stream. As always, One spent almost a quarter of a work cycle ensuring its digital tracks were covered. One’s diligence was the primary reason that the Borg had not detected the stowaway. That in One’s case, resistance had not been futile. Or One had only appeared to have been assimilated but actually had escaped to begin the long game of hide-and-seek which had stretched to over two centuries.
One had a fleeing memory. A passing image of a rat hiding away, waiting, surviving. One banished it down the pit where all such memories or images were locked away. One had found that such things made life uncomfortable; distracted One from the constant vigilance needed in the face of the awesome power of the Borg Collective.
With the image gone, One began to sift through the data it had collected. Only two items were of note. The cube’s drone rotation had been moved up. Even more interesting was many of the new drones listed to be brought onboard were from the Alpha Quadrant.
As always, One was suspicious of such transfers. Over the decades, One had stolen 20 drones from the various races of the Alpha Quadrant. All but two were sleeping in stasis while two were still in the adapted maturation chambers One had repurposed to remove Borg technology and regrow the flesh and organs lost to assimilation.
One was always worried the Borg were sending Alpha Quadrant drones to the cube to catch One. Even if there had been no indications of such. Indeed, One was often surprised that after many early attempts at tracking One, the Collective seemed to ignore its actions. One did not let this seeming peace affect the constant vigilance practiced.
Still, this transfer seemed more tied to a major rotational disruption due to the second item that had caught One’s attention. The Borg were almost finished constructing portals into what had been dubbed Fluidic Space. There were indications that there were highly advanced technologies along with rich biodiversity in this Fluidic Space. So much so that it was deemed a reason enough to let current assimilation works in the Delta and Gamma Quadrant lapse.
One cared not. Only drones from the Alpha Quadrant mattered.
Before turning away from the data to enter into a dark phase to help mask One’s presence, it reviewed the data on the two Federation starships in the Quadrant. The USS Equinox was still far from any Borg ships or planets. USS Voyager, however, was rapidly closing on Borg space. One was certain it was only a matter of time before it was assimilated. Unless Cube 10100110100 was the ship to do the task of assimilation, there was little One could do but mourn more individuals lost to the hungry maw of the Borg.
“You can’t be serious, Harry!” Hermione said, “Do you have any idea of the scope of what you’re proposing?”
Harry eyes were cold as he stared at Hermione for a moment before replying, “2160, Hermione. It’s rushing up at us like a wall. I don’t care if you think all the divination evidence is bunk, Hermione. However, there is plenty of regular signs that things are going to shit. The climate is changing, the oceans are filled with micro-plastic and normal species are going extinct. On top of that, we’re starting to see more diseases. We haven’t had a full-on pandemic yet but it’s only a matter of time. That in itself is pushing the Superiority factions around the world to go further, break the rules and push the science. And with every breakthrough, the Purity faction grows bolder. Beyond war between those two factions is the general war which is coming. Bloody hell, Hermione! I’ve read the Pentagon report about climate change. We’re talking refugees in the millions! Fights for clean water and other resources that go from being natural to being strategic. Bad, bad days are coming.
“And your answer is to run?” Hermione asked archly. “Where is the Gryffindor I fought Voldemort with?”
“He died, Hermione. He went into the forest and let Voldemort kill him,” Harry said coldly. “He died so you all could have a chance. I was the one who came back. And right now, I’m not going to let a magical hat created over 500 years ago dictate my actions. Our families, our friends, our people and all of the Magical world will be gone before the next century dawns. Now if you want to ignore the signs and pretend everything is fine like a modern-day Fudge, be my guest. But I am not going to go quietly into the camps or die in nuclear fire. Right now, you need to remember back to when you were eleven and McGonagall destroyed your world with that first bit of magic. Because we need that shift in thinking. I need that shift in that thinking because I can’t see pulling this off without your brains.”
BORG CUBE 10100110100, SECTOR 26, DELTA QUADRANT – STAR DATE 50960.3
One watched through the cube’s security back-up system as the drone transfers were completed. Given most of the ship was, in some form or another, connected to the cube’s drones, the back-up system was only used if the cube was seriously damaged. This allowed One a cube-wide surveillance system which was rarely used by the Collective. Indeed this back-up system had not been upgraded in the last 4,692 cycles. While it could be improved on, the Collective did not feel it worth the resources for a system used mostly by cubes which did not survive whatever had damaged them in the first place.
One of the drones, a Seven of Nine, intrigued One. She was a centurion drone, that was clear. Yet why was she Seven of Nine? Beyond the current group number was sixteen, her unit was merely four. So what unit was she Seven of? Her centurion rank was not overt in the code all Borg used for inter-drone communication but One could easily see it. The Borg had no need for internal affairs so this Seven of Nine could not be on the cube for an inspection as normal races might do. The Collective knew what it put its mind to. Any centurion drone or above could focus enough of the Collective onto this Cube to divine almost anything, as well as potentially finding One and its domain. Thus Seven’s secret rank made no sense. The only other oddity (if it could be called such) that One could find was Seven had been assimilated young and spent many cycles in a maturation chamber. Yet there were billions of such drones throughout Borg space.
One made a point of ensuring all of its resources were monitoring Seven if only for the novelty and mystery she brought. Such things were treasured by One as boredom only brought memories and images up from the pit to distract One from its needed vigilance.
The Absolute Mugwump’s face might as well been carved from stone. “This body reiterates its final decisions, Mr. Potter. Your plan is reckless, unproven and we believe unneeded. Any further action by your Order of the Phoenix will be met with force. We expect you and your followers to abide by the ICW’s decision.”
Harry looked up at the triumvirate who glowered down upon him. Harry almost felt he was a teen again with the Wizengamot looking down at him. However, he was no scared boy worried he was about to be expelled. Now he was a wizard on a mission.
“Very well. However, I will not have history show me to be a zealot. I am going to do something against my better judgment. I’m going to give you one last chance. For you see, while you are called the Absolute Mugwump, you do not have absolute power. In fact, your power, our power has been becoming eclipsed by the Muggles year after year. We exist, for now, because we’ve managed to keep secret from a new version of Inquisitors. The seers have seen what they will do before the fire takes us. You cannot save us from them.”
The Absolute Mugwump sighed as the Archivist made a dismissive gesture, “These supposed new Inquisitors are of no concern to us. We remain hidden from them as we always have and will. You cannot scare the ICW with your supposed bogey-men.” She turned to her fellows, “He is delusional. I recommend we arrest him now and save us later trouble.”
“Sadly, my Lady Archivist, you do not have the army you’d need to do so. I, on the other hand, remembered to bring an army.” Harry said before making a grand gesture. This was answered with an explosion and gunfire.
“I wish there was some way I could convince you to stay, my friend,” Khan said as he watched Potter’s Phoenix team cart away the captured Magicals.
Harry turned and frowned, “I’m not your friend Khan. You’re a tyrant and a butcher. The blood on your hands will only get worse. But at least you’re an honest butcher. You don’t pretty up your actions with deceit and use words from religious books written centuries ago. No, at least your survival of the fittest recognizes that even the most lowly has a place. I don’t like it, but at least if you win, you won’t be sending people into camps because they are the wrong race or don’t worship the correct god or have some wetware in their body.”
Khan’s laugh was rich like smooth, Corinthian leather, “And that is why I will miss you. Sycophants and fanatically loyal minions are who I am surrounded by. Sadly, the one person I could probably relate the best with would be the likes of that bastard Colonel Green. Still, I appreciate the sentiment. I know history will not be kind to me even if I save humanity from itself. But like you, those who have the eyes to see cannot afford half measures.”
Harry nodded at this. He’d been burning bridges for years now. This attack on the ICW was one of the last.
Khan sighed, “I hope they never forget their savior. It would be easy to believe that they won’t but alas, we both know how fickle the hearts of men are. Even as you save them and their world, there will be those that will take any discomfort, any malady or disaster as proof you were the villain in the end.”
Harry shook his head, “I don’t care. I died and came back for them. Because I’d been primed to. If they cast me as Satan the Betrayer rather than this quasi-Jesus savior figure I’ve been stuck with since the end of the War...well I’m okay with that. They have to be alive to hate me.”
Khan clasped Harry on the shoulder, “Well I shall take my leave of you. Even as you say that the tissues samples and the like you gave will do little for us, I feel that the study will advance our understanding and that itself is a worthy goal. Your people and world have been survivors. I am honored to have assisted in continuing that survival.”
Harry shook the Superiority leader’s hand, “And I am honored that you did not listen to your advisors. Now that the likes of Colonel Green knows of us, my people fighting them would have been a huge distraction for you to take advantage of.”
Khan made a face, “I would dishonor my ancestors and my creed if my victory over the likes of Green came while he was slaughtering your people. My forces and I will meet him on the field of battle and he and the rest of his backward-thinking zealots will be killed in honorable battle.”
Harry merely nodded at this. He felt the upcoming war would have nothing honorable about it but without Khan’s help, his plan would not have been possible. Just as he was willing to be the villain in order to save his people, he could put up with a monster in the form of Khan Noonien Singh for a few hours.
BORG CUBE 10100110100, SECTOR 26, DELTA QUADRANT – STAR DATE 50980.5
Alerts, distress calls, loss reports and silence where there used to be thousands of voices filled the data stream. Species 8472 had not submitted to assimilation. Unlike most races that the Borg had encountered, they had not only fought off assimilation, their resistance was turning the tables upon the previously unstoppable Collective.
One felt it cascade over him…him. Why did One still think of itself as him? One and been One for so long. Still, there was a core to One that had never given in. Never had allowed the Collective to steal that element that had made One unique. For One had been unique before the Borg had tried to assimilate him so long ago.
Yes. One had been a him. One still was a him. No matter how deep he was buried under all the Borg tech, the Chosen One was still there; hidden, passive, waiting. Only when certain factors came within One’s range was there action. Slowly, over the years, One had diverted cube resources to his domain. From there all of the drones One had taken could have their connection to the Collective severed. Drones who even now slumbered for the day they could be saved from their nanotech slavery.
Yet One never forgot that this control over ‘his’ domain was an illusion. The Borg simply did not see the efficiency of removing the One’s realm. It was a small area of one cube: barely more than a blip in a maintenance report. All it would take was one change in the Collective’s priorities and they would fall upon One’s sanctum. This had been a concern for centuries. Now, however, One could tell the Collective had far more important things to deal with than a slight imperfection on one of the thousands of Borg Cubes flying throughout the galaxy.
The One sifted through the data, mulled the continuing mystery that was Seven of Nine and took note that Voyager had been scanned while it obviously was trying to sneak through Borg space. She was close. Perhaps the winds of war might blow cube and starship together so One might keep Voyager and her crew from what One had felt was an inevitable fate of becoming drones.
The strain was incredible. Harry felt if every last piece of magic was being forced through him and into the portal. Yet it was almost done. For hours, witches, wizards both young and old and made the transit. Giants, goblins, centaurs all went through the Portal held open by Harry. Harry, the Chosen One, the Master of Death. The Hallows had been the key. Being their master had meant that Harry himself was the key.
Harry barely noticed the huge containers which could have held anything from magical plants to dragons. They all were up-scaled versions of the venerable beaded bag Hermione had used back when they trekked across England searching for horcruxes. Nor did the troops of Khan’s allies guarding the transfer register anymore. The transfer took more and more of his focus the longer it lasted.
Finally the strain was beginning to become too much for him, Harry finally realized someone was calling his name. He opened his eyes to see his extended family and friends. As one they gave him a salute and went through the portal leaving only Ginny, Luna and Hermione.
Luna kissed him, “Thank you for believing in me when no one else would.” She leaned closer and whispered in his ear, “I wish I had been braver and taken a chance that maybe I could have been more than ‘just friends’ after our Slug Club date.”
She turned and was swallowed by the portal.
Ginny simply starred at him. She had barely spoken to him since he’d started this journey. For all that she had loved the idea of him being the hero, now that he was the father of their children, she had had a hard time dealing with the consequences of Harry being the hero this last time.
She finally came up and kissed him and then turned without another word and went through the portal.
“And so here we are. And I find myself wishing we could have one more dance,” Hermione finally said.
Even with the strain, Harry chuckled, “Because that worked out so well last time!”
Hermione’s eyes were filled with tears. “When things die down and we are settled among the Fae, I’m not going to lie anymore. Rose needs to know her father was the Hero that save them all. Not the man who tried to help stop all this.”
Harry managed to shake his head, “Don’t make Ron a villain, Hermione. He and all the rest may have acted out of fear, but I always knew I was asking everyone to believe in a miracle.”
Hermione closed and kissed him passionately, “You’ve always been a miracle, Harry. I promise you; I will devote my life to ensuring your real story is never forgotten.”
Harry grimaced as the pain was becoming too much, “You need to go, Hermione. Just remember, that this is why I think the Hallows were created. I am not the Master of Death. I am just allowing all of you to survive. There can be no death without life. So go, survive, thrive and with each new life, a new death is ensured. I didn’t want to admit it, but I am the Chosen One. Defeating Voldemort was only a stepping-stone to put me into position for this moment.”
Hermione looked stricken but nodded and rushed towards the portal. Right before she entered, she turned, “I love you Harry James Potter; I always have.”
Harry nodded as his whole body felt like it was about to catch fire, “As I you, Hermione. Look after them, Hermione. They will need a new Chosen One to sort out their new life. Do for them what you have always, since that First Year, did for me!”
Hermione nodded curtly and with tears streaming down her face, leapt through the portal.
With a groan, Harry released his grip on the magicks coursing through him. In an instant, the fiery portal disappeared as if it had never existed. One moment fire, the next a day like any other.
Harry already felt diminished. The magic of the world was fading like water down a drain. Harry wondered, after years of using glamours to hide his lack of aging since the day he’d faced down Voldemort, would he now finally age?
Harry sighed, even if this were to happen, he realized the chance of dying of old age was slim given the future the seers had seen. Harry looked back to where everything he cared about disappeared to. Even if he was still immortal, what did he have to live for now? Death by nuclear fire would at least be quick and he’d finally be reunited with all those he’d lost along the way.
Author’s Notes: Given the positive reception to this fic, I figured I could expand it. I find that given I’ve watch Star Trek Voyager a lot, I don’t need that much in the way of research. Indeed the Memory Core Alpha website breaks down each episode enough that I really don’t have to watch them again.
Timeline: That being said, I’ve already noticed that a LOT of Season Four is just going to up and not happen. Beyond changes Harry and the new drones bring, there is the fact that Voyager is going to take a different route to get to the Equinox. To make this work, I might have to have Voyager encounter the network shown in Dragonteeth earlier even as that specific episode (if I use it) would still happen a bit later.
Ongoing Fic: On nice thing about a fanfic like this is there is always an easy way to end it. For whatever reason, anything that gets them back to the Alpha Quadrant ends the fic. Just like the real show, they could have kept cranking out episodes for a long time if they had wanted. Likewise, I can do the same. Right now, out of all the episodes, I only have one major thing that has to happen as it ties into a further meaning of what it means to be the “master” of the Deathly Hallows.
Ships & the Like: I’d be interested in hearing people’s thoughts on this. (Please PM me for you don’t really need to clutter up my reviews unless you want others to see your views and want to give their yea or nay on it) Obviously, the Day of Honor, set 3 days (supposedly) after the end of The Gift isn’t going to happen. First, I think with new people and new opportunities, this creates some possible conflict I can exploit between B’Elanna and Tom. Not saying they won’t ship, but I don’t have to throw them together on the canonical timeline. Then there are the previous drones. What will they do now that they’re back to their own selves BUT have been linked to the concepts, ideals, motivations and experiences of all the races in the Collective? I scoff at people who feel that the sexual tension between Seven of Nine and Captain Janeway couldn’t be real or ZOMG! Seven may be interested in a woman in Picard. Given her long-time in the Collective, I could see her having a long relationship with that woman from Picard, Seven’s smart house and Horta.