Disclaimer: this is a work of fiction. No profits are being made. All recognizable characters or situations belong to their respective owners.
A/N: here we start to encroach on Mass Effect territory with another major time-skip. A lot of it borrowed from official Mass Effect timeline, but there are some important differences.
The chapter have been beta'ed by Kira Kyuu and re-uploaded on May 13th.
Chapter 2. The opportunity
"We have it confirmed. Normals did found a first human settlement on Mars. It's only four people so far, but…"
"It's still impressive, yes," Hermione agreed. "But I don't think it concerns us, Harry."
"Ah, this is where you're wrong, my dear Ms. Minister," Harry smiled at her, "It's a perfect opportunity for us."
"It's opportunity to do what, exactly?"
"To come out of hiding, of course."
"Potter, you are being preposterous."
"Am I, Boot? Think about it. Our R&D is barely keeping up with all those new technologies normals continue to develop. They are advancing, and fast. They managed to create antimatter. Quantum Physics is developing by leaps and bounds. Prognoses say that they would manage to build a working tachyon receiver in a decade. That's an effective prophecy-device right here! How long would it take for them to discover magic?"
"Magic is magic, Potter, and don't you dare quote Arthur C. Clark at me!"
"Damn it, Boot, sooner or later we will slip, and they would discover us! What would then happen? It's in our best interest to come out ourselves."
"Let's not take it into this old debate, please," Hermione begged. "Harry, you said it was a perfect opportunity for us. Please explain."
"Certainly, Hermione. Look, mundane population is growing out of bounds. In another hundred years our poor planet won't be able to support humanity. We need more space, and Mars has a lot of it."
"Yes, but it's hardly as hospitable as Earth."
"True, but we are wizards, aren't we?"
"What exactly are you proposing?" Boot asked with a huff.
"Look, what is the main problem for normals? Lack of resources. They need more space, more metal, more fuel. What is stopping normals from a large-scale colonization of Mars? Lack of resources. They use enormous amounts of resources to send a tiny little ship in orbit. But we have space-expansion charms, shrinking charms, feather-light charms, cooling charms. Normals dream about creating a warp-drive, but we have DoorNet. We have solutions to all their problems at our fingertips."
"It is not exactly a new state for us, is it?"
"Ms. Clearwater is right, Harry. Magical world always had something Normal world needed," Hermione pointed out.
"I know it, and you know it, but do they know it?"
"Oh, I see what you mean!" Neville smirked. "They don't know shit about us!"
"Exactly!" Harry was glad that somebody finally caught on. "They can't call our bullshit. Why should we admit what we don't want to admit? Like existence of our own government, or our ability to erase their memories? We can control what they think about us, how they react. We just need to reveal ourselves at the right time, in the right places, to the right people. It's not easy, but it's doable."
"You know that World Council will never agree to it."
"That's why I will do it from Mars. No damn psycho-scientist, no damn trigger-happy government and no damn back-ass-wards bigots from the Wizarding World Council to stop me."
"You've decided, and no one will be able to dissuade you, right?" Hermione sighed, though there was a hint of affection in it.
"Nope. Should have let me retire."
"Are we even sure that you'll still have magic on Mars?"
"We are," Neville beat Harry to it. "We recorded no noticeable drop due to distance from the Earth when we planted an agent on ISS. All samples we sent survived."
"Still, you'll take some charged-up crystals with you, just in case."
It wasn't hard to arrange a sudden accident (non-lethal, of course), and it's even easier to tweak Mars One databases. Sir Harold J. Black, Ph. D. in physics, 25, George Cross recipient, was chosen to replace an unfortunate Jerald McBucky in the next expedition. He breezed through the psychological evaluations, physical courses and special training. Pretty soon he was in orbit, getting ready for a year-long flight to Mars.
"At least this time there won't be so much overload, right, Black? Just a nice little acceleration. Man, I can't believe it's really happening. I used to think transatlantic was long."
"Well, we have a little more space than 747, Archi," Harry pointed out. "At least we won't be bored. Oh, wait…you will be."
"Yes I would."
"You are trapped in a tiny little capsule traversing the vast empty spaces, with two hot chicks, and you think you'll be bored?" questioned Anna, one of the mentioned 'hot chicks' and M.D. The other woman, an engineer Bella, just rolled her eyes at their antics and continued the pre-flight checks.
"Oh come on, Anna! I'm just a damn gardener, and there aren't any plants around to occupy my time day in and day out."
"You are Ph.D. in biology, not a gardener. We have laptops full of literature, records and films. Not to mention enough education materials to last for several lifetimes. And anyway, you wouldn't be here if you were easily bored."
"Archi, look in my eyes. This is eyes of a man who killed to defend innocents. If you even think about playing an 'are we there yet' game, I will do it again."
"Gosh, chill out, man."
"Gosh? Chill out? It's soooo twenty century."
Lecture 14. The nature of magic. Public lectures by Harry J. Potter, vol. 1.
All right, kiddies, to understand what magic is, you will need a paper and a pen, though a graphic redactor on your laptop would suffice too. You got it? Very well! Not please make a dot. Got it too? You're a marvellous audience.
Now, the dot you made is a point in prehistoric times. In this point, two of your very distant ancestors are preparing to go bison hunting. The only problem is that they don't have rifles, or crossbows, or bows, or even metal tips. All they have is a pointy stick that, with some imagination, could be called a hunting spear. And it's not nearly enough to kill a bison or a boar, not to mention a mammoth. So, what do your ancestors do?
What? Louder! Make a stone tip for their spear? Very good solution. Technical, logical, I'll even dare call it scientific. No joking, it's an excellent solution to their problem, and one of your ancestors indeed does that. Afterwards he teaches his brethren this amazing technique, later they learn to forge metal spears, invent a wheel and proceed to build modern civilization. Now please look on your dot. Make it a top-most dot on a yet invisible circle and draw a quarter of this circle from the dot in a clockwise direction. I'll give you time…you're all done? Excellent. Now forget about it for a moment and go back to your dot.
Need I remind you of its meaning? It's the point in the prehistoric times, where two of your distant ancestors…you remembered? Good, that's good. Now, we know what one of your ancestors did. What did the other? Come on, people, you know the answer! Think back to your history classes. Why all those cavemen drew pictures on their own walls? What? They believed it would help them to hunt?
Right, so they believed, you say. Right, what do you think: they believed it because it really did help them, or just because they were stupid ignorant savages? What? I don't understand you. Speak English, man, not this scientific gibberish. Did their drawings help them hunt, yes or no? No? So you believe that they were stupid ignorant savages. Well, if they were so stupid and so ignorant as to blindly believe in such obvious rubbish, how the hell did they manage to survive, reproduce and advance enough to result in such fine noble gentleman like you? Huh?
Right, so by the process of elimination we established what your second ancestor did. He took his stupid pointy stick, sang some prayers, danced through some rituals, drew something with the mix of animal blood and herbs…and as a result, his stupid pointy stick stuck right in the eye of an aforementioned bison, boar or even mammoth, instantly killing it without the need for stone or metal tips. So, what do we call this particular solution? It's magic, lads and lasses. It's magic.
Right back to your dot! Using it as a top-most point of a circle, draw a quarter of said circle in the counter-clockwise direction. All done? Excellent. Now it's time to remember your basic philosophy course. Is the amount of knowledge limited or is it infinite? Can a human learn true nature of the world? Well, let me tell you my opinion: if it is at all possible to represent the knowledge about the world on paper in a single line, it would be circle. Half the knowledge comes from science, half from the arcane. Science denies arcane, and arcane denies science. But think about it: our prehistoric ancestors did not squabble about whose method was right. They used both to succeed. Shall we do the same?
2027. The existence of Magical beings is revealed. Mars settlement is linked to DoorNet. Human colonization of Mars truly begins. Magical people grudgingly unite under Britain's Government. History calls the revelation of magical societies and their integration with normal ones a Great Reunion.
2029. It is finally proved that magical talent is not, if fact, a hereditary trait, and is determined by in utero exposure to stable arcane radiation. Even if exact requirements of such exposure can't be determined, the discovery promises rapid expansion for magical population.
2030. The20 largest Earth countries ratify Declaration of Sentient Rights. Among the other things, a new Solar-wide authority title is established. Elders are beings with more than 50 years of experience leading their brethren and still fit for active duty. Any Elder has an authority to propose new bills and laws, and the Council of Elders can overrule any government decision.
2050. Magical terraformation of Mars is completed. A whole northern continent is allocated as a preserve for flora and fauna both mundane and magical. Marsian cities heavily rely on magically enabled architecture, which saves both space and construction materials. A first working fusion reactor is built near the New Babylon. Works on miniaturized version are ongoing. Magic to normal ratio reaches 1%, though it is noted that the rate of growth dropped considerably in the last five years.
2075. Implants are developed that enable manipulation of magic through nothing but concentration. After four decades of testing and experiments, a way to produce antimatter using magical automations is discovered. An unmanned terraformation of Venus is started.
2080. On his 100 anniversary, Elder Harry Potter is officially designated as Patriarch of humanity – a title that allows the bearer to overrule the decisions of any human government or planetary-wide organization once a decade.
2100. An experimental warp-drive is tested. All living subjects are dead upon exiting a warp-bubble. Eldfell-Lupin Energy demonstrates helium-3 conversion into antimatter. Exploration of Solar system brings unexpected results: Charon, Pluto's moon, is actually an enormous dormant alien device of unknown purpose. This discovery motivates humanity to start building a military fleet and autonomous defence stations all through the solar system with large concentrations above Earth and Mars. The creation of a stable miniaturized version of fusion reactor, designated Arc Reactor in honour of a comic series, allows the use of hand-held energy weapons. Popular culture calls hand-held energy cannons as "blasters" and hand-held energy blades as "lightsabers".
2137. A first stable warp-drive allowing for passage of living beings is created. Upon the first human-manned test it's discovered that visual effects are quite consistent with ones from the XX century movies. In honor of them, all new warp-drives dubbed "hyperdrives".
2148. A small cache of alien technology is discovered deep beneath the south polar region of Mars. Reverse-engineering the technology, humanity discovers Element Zero and its use in Mass Effect Physics. The technology is considered largely ineffective and useless.
2149. Using the information from the alien data cache discovered on Mars, a small exploration fleet is outfitted with base Element Zero drives. What now known to be a Mass Relay is activated, and Admiral Grissom leads the first expedition through the Mass Relay. Neville Longbottom dies, leaving Harry Potter the oldest human in existence.
2150. System Alliance charter is signed by national governments of Earth and planetary government of Mars. Alliance becomes a military, economical and exploratory spearhead of humanity. Earth-like planet of Terra Nova is discovered and the first colonization outside the Sol System begins. Additionally, it's discovered that DoorNet doesn't work beyond one solar system. To protect the existing colonies and any future ones from possible alien beings, Alliance begins construction of a massive military fleet.
2151. In the Arcturus system, the large hub for Mass Relay network, the construction of massive military station begins. Elder Council strongly cautions against stretching the military fleets in the rapid exploration. Until every chartered and colonized system has an adequate protection, all new exploration of Mass Relay network is forbidden.
2155. Use of a Mass Relay allows Alliance to discover and colonize 15 Earth-like planets. Terraforming of another 70 planets outside of Relay network is begun. The goal of rapid colonization is turning the homeworld into a natural preserve for magical beings, with strictly limited human presence.
2156. The construction of Acturus Station is finished. The station becomes the headquarters for System Alliance.
2157. During an attempt to activate a primary Relay Alliance exploration fleet is fired upon by an alien fleet without any attempt at communication. SSV Baldur AS-1, the autonomous support class ship with largest real-space profile is destroyed in the first salvo. Fleet commander, Elder Nathaniel Greengrass, orders an immediate retreat. Exploration fleet uses a short-range FTL jump to a Relay and retreats to Shanxi, the newest of System Alliance colonies.
A/N: Mars One project really exists, you can google it and submit your resume to become an astronaut))
Warp-drive is possible within Standard Model. In recent years some students from MIT developed a specific shape that drastically reduces amounts of energy and anti-mass needed for its work.
Expect the next chapter sometime soon.
Again, very big thanks for my beta, wonderful Kira Kyuu!