November 1, 1991 – Hogwarts School of Wizardry and Witchcraft, Library
Harry was reading through a copy of one of Arthur C. Clarke's Odyssey series while Hermione was reading a large dry tome of magical theory. Ron was working on an essay for transfiguration. The first day after the Sorting Hat had placed him in Gryffindor he had marched right to the Slytherin table. Ron had grabbed his arm and asked what he was doing to which Harry said, “I am acting in the best spirit of our house. Walking in where angels fear to tread. What angel wouldn't be afraid of walking into the snake pit?”
Of course it unnerved the Slytherins when Harry Potter instead of sitting at his house table, plopped himself unceremoniously in front of Draco Malfoy and started talking about what he could imagine in his head. One of the Slytherin Prefects got up to scare the boy and his little red haired friend, who had followed him to watch his back, away from their table. Of course his instincts said this would be a good way to one day have the ear of someone who would be very influential in the future, you don't just shrug off five years of house rivalry just like that.
“You should be over at your own table, Potter. Professor McGonagal will be passing out your timetable shortly,” he said in as imperious a manor as possible.
Harry thought about it and nodded, “Catch you later, Draco. See if you can't come up with something that just seems out there and write it down. We'll talk later.”
It was a confused group of snakes that Harry left in his wake. He would over the next few months throw himself into school. He had problems with theory aspects of school. For a group that talked about magic, there seemed to be so many rules to it all. You could only do this, not that. This was impossible, due to some arcane law no one questioned. You had to mix this ingredient with that no matter what for this effect. Or if you didn't want to get blown up. That at least made some form of sense to him.
Harry found that while he sucked with the theory and school work if he tried to think something through he had no problem with practical application. He transfigured a matchstick into a needle after he tossed out all the theory McGonagal had fed them and simply imagined the matchstick transforming. He listened to Professor Sprout about how the plants needed to be tended more closely, but always felt more at home tending to them as he would the garden back on Privet Drive. Granted, he needed to know what the plants preferred, but like so much he was better at application then theory.
Three days ago, Halloween in Charms they were to levitate a feather using a specific charm. Harry imagined an invisible hand reach out and lift the feather, without using the incantation. It was more difficult to do, but Flitwick's warning about mispronunciation and gravity affected buffalo scared the poor boy into doing it silently. He earned twenty points, and a verbal thrashing from Hermione Granger, who did it perfectly the way the book said.
When Ron hurt her feelings and she ran off, Harry wanted to follow but was held back by Parvati Patil. She shook her head and her and Lavender Brown both went off to check on the other girl. Harry just shook his head at the situation and tried to handle the rest of the day without feeling guilty. Not that when he noticed she was missing at the feast that night he didn't feel it. He heard from the other girls that Hermione had spent the day in the third floor bathroom on the left side crying herself sick. That didn't sit well with Harry. So, without even thinking about it he marched off to find her and drag her to the feast. It wouldn't do for her to go hungry now would it.
He walked straight into the girls bathroom and followed the sound of tears and said, “Look, Hermione, you can't let every little thing get you down. So Ron said something that got to you. Don't let it get you down like this. The world is not going to always be a nice place. Trust me, I know this all too well.”
With a sniffle she opened the stall door and looked at him, “You know, this is the girls' bathroom, you aren't supposed to be in here.”
Harry just smiled, “And the Halloween feast is in the Great Hall and all little children should be there.”
He grabbed her by the arm, dragged her to a sink, and then pulled her out the door once she had washed her face. He pushed her into the hall, made her sit down at the Gryffindor table and filled her plate for her. Harry pulled her into a conversation about their different ways of spell casting which moved on for a while until Professor Querell ran in screaming about a Troll. All the students were lead to their common rooms and the feast continued. Harry considered himself very lucky to have avoided that, as Hermione would never have known about the danger.
Hermione was quickly pulled into Harry's small circle of friends. It was a month and a half before Christmas, but she asked, “What are you planning for the holidays coming up?”
Harry looked up from his book and said, “Well, the goblins told me Potter Manor had been rebuilt on orders from my dad before he died. It wasn't finished when they went into hiding which is why they were living in Godric's Hollow at the time. Its sat empty ever since except for a contracted group of house-elves going throw every few days to clean up and maintain the grounds.”
Hermione caught on and asked, “What are house-elves?”
Harry took this before anyone else could, “From what I've been able to find out, they are a sentient magical species that obsesses on taking care of others. Cleaning, cooking, gardening, they do it all. One of the things that really upsets them is if you offer to pay for their services. It really upsets them, makes them think you don't value their work. Have to say, I'm humbled by their attitude for the most part.”
Hermione raised an eyebrow, “And why is that?”
Harry just shrugged, “Dedicating yourself to serving and tending to the needs of others. Taking on the work of taking care of a house so they can dedicate themselves to some greater goal, that's impressive. An entire race of beings dedicated to serving and taking care of others, with no want or need for money or anything else, that's something to respect.”
Hermione just gave him a blank look, “So you aren't really doing anything this holiday break coming up.”
Harry just shook his head, “Not really anyone to go home to. Blood relations don't really like me.”
“Well, what about distant cousins?” Ron asked.
Harry shook his head, “I only have my mom's sister.”
Ron just shook his head, “You have a lot of distant relations. The closest that I know of are from the House of Black, on your father's side. Not that I'd be thrilled to count the Malfoy's as cousins.“
Harry just blinked, “I have more family?”
“Practically every pureblood is in some way shape or form related.” Ron said.
“To distant cousins then.”
Unknown Planet – 12 hours after Jump Drive Test
Harry stood in front of the mirror in the washroom of his quarters. Not since he was eleven and thrown into a whole new world had he felt so lost. At least when he had found out about the World of Magic there had been hope to find a home he had never truly knew before. Those two people who he had known in his head that had given birth to him but had been denied knowledge of by a bitter relation became solid and real. In simplest terms, when he had turned eleven there had been hope. Hope was in short supply right now.
“Lily, any idea what happened?” Harry asked as he walked out of the bathroom.
“Indications are that there was a sudden influx of energy halfway through the jump. I know it didn't come from the CRPB room. The sensor logs also indicate that we passed through a strong gravity field, but aside from that no other information. I'm checking the trajectory now to see what was in our path when we jumped.”
Harry sighed, “And repairs?”
“Hull repairs are complete. Power conduits and internal damage is only at seventy percent. Primary sub-light drives are still offline and estimates are looking at almost seventy-two hours above initial estimates. Still no estimate on time to repair the jump drives,” Lily replied.
Harry fell into a chair and sighed, “We don't have a lot of supplies. I only intended it to be a day, three at most before returning. You pick up anything while I was asleep?”
“Several distress calls, radio communications overlapping on top of each other, and transmissions of some kind which seemed to be computerized in nature that I can't even begin to guess at. Even then, the verbal communications I've detected are almost no help right now, and quite frankly have ceased. I've recorded and stored them in the main database, but the problem is that I do not recognize the language. A translation matrix will take some time, if at all possible to generate for our comm systems,” Lily said. That was something he should have expected, the planet had been in the end stages of a nuclear attack.
“How bad is it out there?” Harry asked in a quiet voice.
“We're on the outskirts of one of the major cities on this planet. A nuclear weapon detonated over the city, it's destroyed a good portion of it. The radioactive fallout is moving in the opposite direction of our landing zone. I've modified the shields to reflect ninety-nine percent of the radiation back into the local environment. We should be okay for the time being at least from radiation poisoning.”
Harry closed his eyes and rubbed his temples, “All that fallout means that the local water and food supply is going to be contaminated.”
Harry left his quarters and started on his way to the bridge. He started thinking about what to do as he did. “Water isn't going to be much of an issue, the water conjuration enchantments should do us just fine. Food is going to be a problem though.”
“Emergency stores should provide sustenance for at most a week, maybe two if stretched.”
Harry sighed, “Anyway we can possibly come up with a way to break a few magical laws?”
“I don't know,” Lily said.
“Perfect. Water, Water everywhere but not a drop to drink,” Harry said.
“We have plenty of water,” Lily responded.
“Maybe but the principles the same.”
Harry sat down hard in the command chair and leaned back. He thought for a few moments and then asked, “Once the Jump Drive is back online, how long will it take us to get back home?”
Lily didn't immediately respond. Harry looked up and looked at what he thought of as the soul of this ship and asked, “Lily?”
“I can't say. Right now I have no idea where we are in relationship to Earth. I can't even give you an idea in relation to Galactic Center,” the intelligence behind the ship said, almost irritated at her inability to give a definite answer.
Harry closed his eyes in thought, trying to come up with a good strategy. He was in a bad spot. He had no idea where he was. He had no idea what the situation was. He knew that there was a war on, but what were the sides? Obviously one side at minimum was capable of planetary bombardment, but were they from the same planet? So much he didn't know, and quiet frankly he couldn't risk doing anything until he knew. Running wouldn't be an option until the Jump Drive was repaired, and there was no way to know what kind of state it would be in after the auto-repair enchantments finished up their work. If he had to he could at least start up the flying enchantments and get the Ascension moving to a better location. He wouldn't be able to break gravity until the sub-light Ion Drive was repaired.
Then he had the thought that would keep him up awake at nights if he didn't act. What about the people on this planet? Where there any people on this planet now? With planet being nuked from orbit how long before it would be uninhabitable? Harry had to admit he didn't know a thing about nuclear weapons, only what he had heard when he was a kid in the media. Who knows how much of that was true, assumption, or propaganda. Didn't matter at this point, he needed to collect as many folks from this planet as he could and then try to figure out what next. His “Saving People Thing” would not be denied, especially when he could save people from a nuclear Armageddon. Didn't matter that he might be encountering something so vastly different from himself, he had a moral obligation to assist.
At least in his mind he did.
“Lily, activate all sensors and try to locate any and all survivors you can. I know we have quarters for twenty people on board, how many can we get on using other methods?” Harry asked. Moving quickly now that he had decided on a course of action.
“While we have quarters for twenty we have vast amounts of space for other uses. Due to the number of space-enhancement charms and pocket dimensions spread through the ships structure we could theoretically carry upwards of three to four hundred. This is of course without modifications to interior dimensional specifications. Theoretically we could extend that to approximately one thousand refugees. However we would run into problems with supplies. We may be able to raid several spots prior to departing the system, which I would recommend in any case due to our own dwindling resources,” Lily reported.
Harry nodded, “Any rooms we setup just to see what we could fit in here?”
“None that would be easily utilized for refugee housing. We do have the world room, however we didn't build any shelters within it. It is mostly just recreations of the grounds at Hogwarts Castle, minus the castle and other structures.”
He nodded at that thought, “Maybe, but the world room has complete control over the environment so it shouldn't be discounted.”
“All of this ignores certain other problems. We still have no knowledge of where we are in the galaxy and so no way to plot a return trip back to Earth,” Lily said.
After a moment of thought Harry turned and left the bridge. He walked first to his quarters and changed clothes. He wore some dark brown riding boots, khaki slacks tucked into the boots, a button up shirt and tossed a reddish-brown kneel length coat over it all. He check his arm holsters, finding his wand in his right, and the wand he took off of Riddle on his left. He then headed towards the lower deck to the Ascension and spoke, “Okay, I want you to take off using flying enchantments. Keep the cloak running and scan for life signs. We'll pick up as many as we can. I'm going to prep the Thunderbolt for take off and start figuring out where we need to get that information. If we are lucky we'll be able to pick up someone who knows how to navigate from this system.”
Lily then tossed the monkey wrench in the works, “Assuming for the moment that the residents of this star system have FTL flight. This could just be an invasion from a superiorly advanced culture. Not morally acceptable to either of us, but a possibility.”
Harry shook his head, “Even if that is the case, they may have local star charts and other astronomical data we can use. Anything to help us get our position in relation to GC.”
“Understood sir. We are currently at an altitude of five hundred feet, mean sea level. Sensors are picking up a group of twenty beings progressing in a direction away from the blast area. Moving to intercept and take on passengers,” Lily reported.
Harry nodded and checked out the systems on the Thunderbolt in what could have been considered his hanger bay. It was at the base of the ship with doors on the underside that would open, a modified version of the bubble-head charm extending over the opening so something to pass through coming or going but still maintain pressurization in the bay. It also had enough room to where he could fit in maybe three or four other small craft if he had them built. So far the only one he had was the Thunderbolt.
As soon as all systems checked out he went to the cargo bay near the back of the ship. On the outside the Ascension was very sleek, very aerodynamic, and frankly very thin. Thanks to the magic used in the space expansion and pocket dimensions through out the ship it was much larger. The outside was maybe the size of a super-sonic jet, while the inside was maybe the size of a small naval cruiser.
As the loading ramp lowered he raced down and was rather shocked to see what looked like Human beings headed his way. He ordered Lily to drop the cloak and perception field and walked down to the approaching crowd, all carrying anything they could get their hands on. He whipped out his wand and as they got close fired off a gunshot sound to get everyones attention.
“Thank you, now will everyone just remain calm for a moment.”
The incomprehension of the people in front of him reminded Harry that Lily hadn't been able to come up with a translation matrix for the communications they had intercepted. This meant they didn't speak the same language he did. No one would understand him at this moment. He looked through the crowd, and saw a man dress in black, with what looked like a black fedora to him. Harry gestured for the man to step forward and started speaking to him. The man just shook his head not understanding and started talking back to Harry.
It took him a moment, but with a flick of his wrist his wand was in his hand and he started casting a universal translator charm. He spoke back to the man, trying to give him a general introduction. After he was done he motioned for the man to speak back. After a confusing few minutes the charm had enough information to allow them to communicate.
“Thanks, I know it didn't make sense to you but it takes a bit for a translator charm to put together a matrix in order for us to understand each other,” Harry explained.
“Translator charm?” the man in black asked.
“Yea, it was developed so that people who didn't know one language could at least talk with people who spoke another one. It works with most human languages... though when ever I've tried it with Goblins and their native tongue it seems to translate, 'I shall feast on your rotting corpse,' into, 'Don't run, we are your friends.'”
Harry smirked, “Probably never saw them before on this planet. But to be fair I wasn't expecting to find a different planet with human beings as the population when I went to test out my Apparition Jump Drive yesterday. Of course I didn't' expect to leave the system either so it's been a day of surprises for all around.”
“Wait, you're saying you're NOT from the Colonies?”
“Nope, from a small little planet, not even capable of FTL flight for the most part. I just seemed to have miscalculated something. Not sure what yet but Lily's working on that while the systems are being repaired from when we got attacked. Quick question, what's the commander of a ship called in your fleet?” Harry turned back to the rest of the crowd.
The man seemed a bit amused and answered, “Commander, it's an actual rank in the Colonial Navy.”
Harry nodded and turned to the crowd, “Alright folks, my names Harry Potter and I'll be your ships Commander for the foreseeable future. I just need you all to come on in and set up where you can find space for now. We'll figure out something better when we have the time. For now, just come on in and get comfortable. You sir, what's your name?”
The man in black answered, “Cavil, John Cavil.”
Harry nodded, “Okay, Mr. Cavil for now I need you to help out. Anything that's needed, let me know. Also, see if you can find someone who has experience navigating this system.”
Cavil nodded, “I'll see what I can do. You never said where you come from.”
Harry looked at him and mentally shrugged, “You've probably never even heard of it. I'd be surprised if you called it or the star it orbits by the same name. We just call it Earth.”
Cavil looked startled for a moment, “Did you say your world was called Earth?”
Harry was feeling rather suspicious and uncomfortable, “Yes. Not that unique a name I imagine. I mean, it's a synonym for ground, dry-land, soil. Heck we call our moon, The Moon. And as interesting as discussing what planets have what names I think we should get going as fast as possible.”
Cavil nodded and watched as Harry moved out of the cargo bay, “By your command.”
It went on like that for the next three days, picking up small groups of survivors and finding space for them in the ship. So far John had introduced Harry to a pilot/navigator by the name of Leoben Conoy, Harry just called him Leo. They had managed to raid a few places to get needed medicine and food stores, but Harry knew it was only a short term fix. Ascension's systems were almost completely repaired, after he personally went and looked at the Ion Drive and managed to speed up the work of the repair enchantments. While they had the ability to break orbit they still lacked FTL and that would put them in a bad position to get out of the area.
The cargo bay had taken on the look of a shanty town, so far everything was going as well as could be expected. Fortunately they had picked up a few doctor's and nurses who were helping the civilians. They had also picked up an old retired Colonial Engineer named Jacob “Just call me Chief” Tellus that was for now studying the ships systems. He was also double checking Harry's Apparition Drive in order to see if he could figure out if it was safe to try again.
They were cloaked and moving towards one of the coast. Harry wanted to see if they could pick up anything this far out from what he had learned had been called Caprica City, and he was on the planet Caprica. The names of all the Colonies seemed very familiar to him, but he couldn't figure out why. He hadn't spent too much time working on it. Lily had located what appeared to be a Colonial military post along the coast and they were going to land there and see what they could salvage.
Harry was rather shocked when John told him that the rest of the refugees would be uncomfortable about Lily's existence. Apparently the Colonies had banned research and development into Artificial Intelligence after the First Cylon War. Harry had shook his head when they told him about that. Frankly, even though he was horrified at the loss of life he had to admit that he thought the Cylons deciding to revolt and fight for their freedom was rather impressive. Harry asked if it was just a logical conclusion that the Cylons had come to or if it was more then that. His question confused both Leoben and John until he clarified.
“Was it just a logical conclusion that they should be free, or was it a desire to choose their own destinies?”
“Does it matter?” John asked.
“Well, either way they came to that conclusion and I can respect it. But if it was more then logic, if it was a true desire and a hope to get a better future that makes it all the more miraculous to me. It means that from all that engineered and controlled system that something spontaneously took root and evolved. That seems all the more compelling to me.”
He was disappointed to find out that no one had bothered to find out and just tried to destroy the creations that had decided to turn on their masters without even answering the question of why. He had learned that the Cylons had been the ones to attack the colonies this time after forty years of not even bothering to contact the Colonies. It seemed unprovoked but Harry was smart enough to understand that something might have happened that hadn't been shared with the public. He just didn't know what it might have been.
They landed and everyone started filing out through the loading ramp. The need to spend some time on solid ground and to have as many hands as possible gathering together everything they could was important. The wind was blowing the hem of Harry's coat back as he, Leoben, and the Chief checked the hangers. Harry saw a few small craft and asked, “Hey Leo, what do you call these things?”
Leoben was over by a more squat shuttle looking craft and answered, “Looks like a squadron of Vipers. A bunch of Raptors too.”
Harry thought about it for a moment, “Think we might want to get some of these into the docking bay?”
Chief answered back, “Don't think we have the capability to launch the vipers like they do on a battlestar. We could probably use the Raptors though for scouting.”
Harry nodded, “Room shouldn't be a problem, I can just adjust the bays dimensions to give us more space. I think we'll grab all of it and see what we can do about just storing them. Just because we can't use them now doesn't mean they wouldn't come in handy in the future.”
“Your ship just isn't built for combat. Yea, I know you put some defense weapons on it, but mostly their just proof of concept,” Leoben said.
Harry nodded, “True enough. Of course, Ascension is more then a static shell around a lot of pocket dimensions. If we can gather around enough material, and I'm not just talking spare parts but just pure matter, then Lily can for lack of a better term 'grow' the areas we need.”
Chief just shook his head, “You know, if it weren't for the fact that technology on your ship is so different from Colonial and what we know about the Cylons I'd wonder if she actually was one.”
“Well, as far as Earth is concerned the Twelve Colonies of Kobal don't even exist. Neither do the Cylons. And of course this is assuming my Earth is your Myth-Earth,” Harry said as he inspected a Viper MK-VII.
A chuckle from the door answered that and Harry looked up to see Cavil approaching them, ”Still not willing to admit your world and the one in the scrolls are the same one?”
Harry just shook his head with an amused smirk on his lips, “Not until I have reason to think so. I've got a bunch of reasons to think otherwise, and only one theory that even comes close to thinking it's possible.”
“Not willing to accept the notions and scriptures that go into rather intricate detail about your homeworld?” John asked.
Harry just chuckled, “You mean the details on Myth-Earth. I'm the first to admit that a lot didn't make it into the historical records over time. But unless this Thirteenth Tribe just decided to toss it's technology in the sun and mix in with the native population I don't see any evidence to corroborate that. Sure, it looks to me that people on Earth and the people in this start system are distant cousins. Doesn't mean that another colony of yours is on my homeworld.”
Before anyone could say another word there was the click of small arms having their safeties taken off. Harry just kept himself calm and slowly raised his hands over his hand and turned around. He just fixed a friendly smile on his face as he spotted the men all in what looked like flight suits, some in black tactical armor, and one man wearing a blue uniform he assumed was Colonial Military. Harry wasn't familiar with the rank insignia for this particular force so he just waved a hand and said, “Hi.”
“I want everyone of you to step away from the craft and all of you place your hands on your heads,” the fellow in the blue uniform said.
“No offense meant here Mate, but all I got are civilians and we're just looking for supplies and anything else that can help us get out of here.”
“You are in a restricted area. I don't care how many of you are civilians. All supplies in this depot are being mobilized to combat the Cylon threat.”
Harry looked around, the Chief was reaching for something in his tool belt, Leoben seemed to be slowly backing away from the Raptor to a better position to be seen. He couldn't tell about Cavil at this moment. He just couldn't risk the danger to the people under his protection. So he decided it was time to demonstrate his power in a more... overt action.
With a flick of his right wrist every handgun was ripped from the Colonials hands, after ducking and flicking his wands into his hands he cast a shield spell between his people and the Colonials and then transfigured the rifles into snakes. The hardened soldiers all yelped in shock as the snakes were dropped on the ground. With another flick of his wand the snakes turned back into rifles.
“So, can we talk about this in a civilized manner or are we going to have to get mean about this?”
No one was willing to say anything at the sight. Everyone on both sides was rather shocked at this. Harry just sighed and whipped his wand towards empty space, creating a simple chair to sit on, he had never much liked the elaborate conjuration Albus preferred. Nothing personal, he just thought it was a bit over done style wise. He conjured a second chair as he sat in his and gestured to it, “Have a seat, lets talk.”
The solders eyes were wide at the display. The one in the blue uniform however seemed unphased by this display of magic. He sat down across from Harry, his back ramrod straight. Harry could see the look in the mans eyes, he was a hardened soldier and wasn't going to let his men see him caught off guard. There were worry lines along his eyes, which reminded him of Alistor “Mad-Eye” Moody. This guy was an experienced fighter, of that Harry had no doubts.
“So, introductions. My names Harry, I'm from a planet called Earth. I am what we call a wizard and can do things like change your rifles into snakes or make you look like a woman. Who are you?”
“Major Jack Castleman,” the officer responded, not sounding too happy about this.
“Well, Major, how many folks you got here?”
The major just raised an eyebrow, asking Harry silently if he actually expected an answer. Harry just sighed and said, “Look, Major Castleman, We've been flying under cloak the last few days and so far you are the only military personnel we found. Sure, we've got some retirees on board but aside from that, no one from your military has been found by us at least. I understand you want to strike back against the invading forces, but lets face it. This war is over, it's time to get out of here and save what you can. I admit, if the situations were reversed I would and have been fighting what seemed like a lost cause. But you got to ask yourself what's more important. Fighting a war you can't be certain you'll win, or honor the first duty of any soldier. Help me protect these people and get them somewhere safe.”
“Alright, even if I were to help out on this, what then? We have two squadrons of fight pilots and one squadron of Raptors. I have a contingent of Marines. You have one ship that doesn't look big enough to even hold all of us, let alone any of these.”
Harry just smirked, “We can get around that no problem. If I can turn your rifles into something wiggly, what makes you think I can't fit all this into a specific space?”
Major Castleman just looked at him quizzically. Harry smacked his hands into his knees and practically bounced up out of his chair. “Well folks, lets get to work. Chief, get with the pilots and get these fighters in the Ascension. Leo, find us all the spare parts and junk you can, we need all the matter we can get our hands on. We'll need as much as possible for the expansion. Major, if you'll come with me you can help me figure out the best way to reorganize my Docking bay to accommodate your Vipers and Raptors.”
Major Castleman directed his people to follow the Chief while harry lead him into the ship. The Major was amazed, but didn't show it. Walking through the Ascension was like walking through the corridors of a battlestar, it was so big on the inside. Harry led him to the bridge and brought up what appeared to be a floating image of the ship.
Lily appeared out of no where and startled the Major, “Harry, I've managed to get the Apparition drive back online with the Chief's help. Fortunately the assistance has cut down on our repair time. I would however recommend we have the calculations checked and perhaps have the functions of the Jump Drive checked against the proven FTL coils on board the Raptors. Some of the farmers we picked up yesterday have started trying to prepare the world room for growing crops in certain sections. Several people have asked about setting up shelters within the world room as well, instead of living in the cargo bay.”
Harry just nodded to them, “See what you can do in the world room to accommodate them. Having the extra cargo space will make our lives easier all said and done.”
“Very well. Also, I believe I have an answer as to how we were thrown so far off course and outside the range we were attempting to jump,” Lily answered.
Harry perked up at this, ignoring the Major's discomfort, “What do you think happened?”
A display of the Sol System replaced the Ascension's representation in the center of the room. A line stretched from Earth orbit to the orbit of Mars. Harry got the feeling he knew what lily was about to say even as she said, “Ir appears our path for the jump would have taken us extremely close to the Sun. The increased energy and gravitational forces may have bled into our Jump, propelling us much further along this line. If this is the case we are lucky we weren't shot straight out of the galaxy in general. As it stands we're somewhere along this trajectory I believe. Theoretically we could plot a return trip along that line of trajectory, assuming for the moment that it is accurate and hasn't been skewed by the gravitational influences of this cluster of stars we are in.”
“From the navigational data we've recovered I can now paint a better picture of this area of space. There are four stars in this cluster, Helios Alpha through Delta. We are on Caprica which orbits Helios Alpha with Gemenon as a sister planet nearby.”
Harry nodded, “Interesting. Major, was there any communications leading you to know where we should go to link up with anymore survivors?”
The Major just looked at him hard, “You have a frakking AI on this ship?”
Harry seemed unconcerned, “If that helps you comprehend what Lily actually is, then yea.”
“Do you know the kind of trouble you are in? There's a reason AI's are forbidden,” Major Castleman said.
Harry just turned on him and said, “Just because you folks saw your AI based creations spark sentience and decided to nuke it doesn't mean we have. Back home on Earth we've discussed the moral implications of such a thing for decades, even though we're really no where close to it. Lily isn't so much a sentient computer as she is the living representation of the soul of the Ascension. Just because we're distant cousins of a species doesn't mean your laws apply on board MY ship. Let's get that straight right now.”
Harry was so upset for a moment his eyes actually flashed with an internal glow. Major Castleman growled, “What are you?”
“On my world I'm what's known as a wizard. A wielder of Magic, capable of things normal men and women could only dream of. From what I can tell your people have no magic users on this world. I haven't been able to find any of them or evidence they exist. I won't discount it though as I know we tend to hide back on Earth so I can't discount the possibility they hid themselves here as well,” Harry explained. He waved his hand in the direction of the holographic image and the Ascension replaced the planetary display. Harry turned towards it and growled, “Now tell me what would be a preferable configuration for the ship to accommodate your craft.”
It was tense as Castleman and Harry worked out the details. Lily had taken the commands and reorganized the design, adding launch/landing bays on either wing which would take up the entire wing of the ship to connect it to the central fuselage. Aesthetically it retained it's almost avian like appearance. The ship however would increase in outside size to something closer to four times it's current size. Internally the ship would still be much larger then on the outside, but new quarters would be made in order to bunk all the crew and passangers. At the Major's insistance the Pilots would share bunks, six to a room, in order to maintain military discipline. Harry allowed it, making sure Castleman knew what the chain of command on this ship was.
Castleman left to see to his men just as John and Leoben entered the bridge. The pair looked at each other and then back at Harry with a questioning look. Harry just sat back in his command chair and closed his eyes, “I think the Major might be a problem in the long haul. Just what I need.”
“Didn't take too well to Lily, did he?” Leoben asked.
“Nope, not that I care. Instead of celebrating a miraculous event they tried to nuke it. Then has the audacity to come onto my ship, when I'm saving his ass from death by radiation poisoning and say I've violated laws that quiet frankly I'm not beholden to. If I were a different man I'd leave him behind but I'm not.”
John stepped up and said, “The human condition leads to the fear of something they don't or can't understand. Combine that with how bloody the First Cylon War was and you get a lot of people afraid of their toaster suddenly talking back to them.”
Harry just snorted, “I think a talking toaster might be kind of annoying. Always sitting there asking if I would like some toast or other browned bread product. But I get your meaning.”
Leoben was checking something at navigation when he said, “I've noticed when ever you talk about what Lily is you tend to just say to think of her as an AI if it helps you understand. Why is that?”
Harry turned towards him and smiled at the thought of what he had done, “Because saying the Lily and any general Artificial Intelligence is the same thing is the same as saying a hill and a mountain are the same. Technically accurate but sorely understating the truth. Lily isn't just an AI. She's the living breathing representation of every hope, every dream, every desire I put into building Ascension. She is the ship, its heart, its soul.”
Leoben thought for a moment and then said, “You ever wonder, if God looked down on man and seeing what he became, decided to give souls to another creation?”
Harry thought about it for a moment, “Well, I know for a fact that at least on Earth there a lot of non-human sentients on the planet. They hide for the most part from the general population. Magic users like me however know about them and even socialize with them.”
John looked rather interested, “Non-human?”
Harry nodded, “We got goblins, centaurs, giants, veela, merpeople, and a host of other species on the planet. One of my best friends when I was in school was a house-elf. Heck, when I was twelve my best friend and I made the mistake of stealing his dad's enchanted flying car and flying it to school. We crashed into the Womping Willow on the grounds, and after getting smashed about for a bit and tossed to the ground got spat out with our things, and it ran off into the forest. Thing became self-aware right on the spot. I think he still chases the thestrals at night.”
John and Leoben exchanged a glance. John said, “You're saying that a car was brought to life?”
Harry nodded, “Old one too. Magic does some crazy things, even beyond what you think could happen.”
Leoben nodded, “If you can make a chair out of thin air whose to say what it can do.”
Harry nodded, “And I'm not even the best at theory. I've always had better luck just putting it all together to do what I want. Granted, I wrote down everything I could about what I did and documented it, but to be honest someone else probably needs to go through and check what I wrote. Make an interesting read I'm sure.”
Soon they had collected all the scrap material and unusable ships as they could. They had found four atmospheric shuttles, two of which were still usable and slotted to be store in the main hangar. The rest were canabilized for parts and the spare material added to the pile. Lily then took all the matter and began “growing” the new bays the Ascension would need. She expanded so much and grew to a size much larger then she was. She was now half a kilometer long and had thicker wings, the landing decks extending the entire length from the tip of the wing to the main body of the ship. It was still a sleek black color, but more militaristic now as the main body had thickened up significantly. The angles still flowed, but Harry frankly preferred how it had looked before the adjustment. Lily assured him that they could refit the Ascension back to it's original design easily enough. Still, it felt like a betrayal in a way to what he had hoped she would be. Not a ship of war but something flying a flag of peace.
He excused himself from the bridge and directed the others to get some rest. They'd take off in the morning and try to catch up with whatever other survivors were out there. The trip would be long and arduous for everyone. A part of Harry wanted to drop everyone of these folk off with their people and then try to find his own way back to his home. He didn't want to lead them or their pursuers to Earth. There was just no way that would end well, he was certain of it. Still, he couldn't just abandon them without defense.
He entered his quarters and pulled off his coat, laying it across the back of a chair. He walked towards the bed and collapsed on it. He sat his glasses on the bedside table and closed his eyes. It had been a few days, but now that they had everything they needed it wouldn't be so bad now. He just wanted to get back into space, on his way back home. Back to his family.
Leoben and Cavil were meeting in quarters Harry had given them. All his regular quarters were filled up, and the building in the world room was still on going. There was a knock on the door and Leoben got up and opened it a crack. When he let the person it, Cavil recognized it was a Six walking in. This one had changed her hair color to a deep red and her eyes a deep green. Leoben raised an eyebrow at this and asked, “What name are you going by with the Colonials?”
“Rose Evans. I needed to differentiate myself from the six working with the defense ministry enough to where no one would give me a second look,” she said.
Leoben chuckled a bit and looked at Cavil, “Now that is a big coincidence.”
Cavil just waved it off, “Looking for God in statistical improbibilities is a pointless exercise in futility.”
Rose raised an eyebrow, “Am I missing something?”
“Just that our Commander's mother had hair and eyes like that, and his grandmother just happened to be named Rose Evans,” Leoben answered.
Rose looked concerned, “Do I have any thing to worry about?”
Cavil shook his head, “Not unless you've been to the mythical planet known as Earth.”
“There have been rumors. Whispers about how Commander Potter is from the Thirteenth Tribe,” Rose mentioned, taking a seat with the men.
“Don't let him hear you say that. He's been very specific about how he isn't convinced that his Earth and the one in the Sacred Scrolls are the same,” Leoben mentioned.
“He's also made it clear that as far as he's concerned any Cylon that approaches him personally, as long as they don't start a fight, isn't going to be automatically attacked. Of course knowing our brethren that's not a likely possibility. He'll be forced to decide whether or not to fight us or not. He's taken on responsibility for the people on his ship,” Cavil said.
“Are there any others of us on board?” Rose asked.
Cavil shook his head, “No, just us three.”
“So what is the plan now?” Leoben asked.
John steepled his fingers in front of his mouth, “For now we keep cover. We watch and wait. Potter is a wild card, his abilities may make him a more formidable obstacle to our objectives then we can handle at the moment.”
Rose frowned, “Any ideas on how he was able to do that?”
Cavil shook his head, “No. He calls it magic. Apparently there is a small percentage of the population on 'Earth' that has the same abilities. He's even able to cloak this ship not only from being seen with the eyes but from all our sensors. To say nothing for the fact that it's bigger on the inside then on the outside.”
“And that it 'grew' the needed landing bays to get the Vipers, Raptors, and shuttles on board. He claims he got here by accident, that a test of his Jump Drive somehow went way off course. He claimed it was experimental and that this was the first test. I'm tempted to believe him,” Leoben said.
“It doesn't matter in the long run. Our extermination of the Human pests will simply have to take into account Potter's homeworld,” Cavil said.
The three Cylons all agreed.