Harry Potter: Project Omega
The Minister appears to have come back from the dead, Lucius Malfoy appears to have been long-dead since before he died. On top of this, The Ministry appears to be ignoring the Statute of Re-Integration and the Home Office have launched the mysterious Project Omega ... and who is the Unspeakable Hecate?
Some crossover with the Star Trek and Dr Who universes. Some limited crossover with Star Trek and Doctor Who, as well as influences and elements from innumerable books, short stories, movies and TV/Radio series.
Christine Moon's experiences were inspired by the events surrounding Hermione Granger in Megamatt's Know Your Rights (Chapter 5)
Thanks to the various folks on Hermans Tumbledweeds and Caer Azkaban for insanity checking, advice, insults and encouragements - keep it up, or I might run out of steam before we get far enough in to make a difference!
All fiction is derivative and fan fiction doubly so. I make no claim to own any part of any of the following, all I have done is an attempt to put together the elements in a novel fashion, using words and ideas like Lego ™ bricks.
I own the rights to nothing in this or any subsequent chapter - there is such a mixture, that only the plot may be original.
There is no money involved – all I do is to share what I do for my own amusement.
Harry Potter: Project Omega - 3 - Retconning the timeline
The solution to the complex net of limiting conditions in Paradox Theory, the empirically derived Jacobi Limits comes from a mathematical principle first noted in the 17th century. The development of fractal theory and its applications in the 1970's led to the formalisation of chaos and catastrophe theory.
It was rigorously shown that the primary branch experiential timeline is accessible, post paradox, to a putative outside observer only until the last agency of paradox generation has ceased to exist in that branch. As soon as the final agency of paradox generation is no longer available, then that timeline collapses back to the point of diversion, and will continue to exist solely in the memories of those that observed the truncated (stub-) branch.
Stub branches may only be identified by comparison of recorded experience after the paradox event. The catastrophe edge (defined by a probability cusp, the height of which increases with increasing time) for most events represents a single, total replacement of one experiential timeline with another.
Some events, and in particular predestination paradoxes as well as all time-turner (monopolar re-entry events) are characterised by a multiple-fold cusp of finite duration - whilst may paths through the event are possible, the net experiential timeline remains unchanged. Indeed, it has been suggested that most natural processes at the quantum scale are closed paradox events of instantaneous duration.
- Hermione Granger, An Introduction to Temporal Dynamics, 2017.
Harry knew that expression and tone of voice. Hermione had a question that was burning brightly at the forefront of her curiosity centres.
"If you have been working here for twenty three years, how come you don't look any older than you did when you left The Ministry?"
"Now there, Miss Granger, is one of the great mysteries of our time. Given that we are able to travel through time and given our own experiences at Hogwarts, how would you solve the problem of aging continuously over many, many years of travelling? What solution would you suggest?"
Harry would swear that he saw a heat-haze over Hermione's head as she worked through the problem. Harry had long ago realised that Hermione preferred to reach her own answers, but needed information to do so. He had provided that information.
" ... you ... stole the ... no, you abducted ... recruited ..."
The irritated expression arrived.
"You went back and convinced Nicolas Flamel to give you the Philosopher's Stone?"
Harry smiled. "Almost. We convinced the Flamels to join the department back in 1978 - they went into hiding after our first year."
"But the stone ..."
"Was mostly a fake. The actual stone has to be crystallised out on a suitable substrate, and that is the difficult part of the process, since any contamination will fill off the process. It takes Nick and Perenelle three weeks to make a stone now. The answer was quite simple - a clean room and synthetic quartz. The one that they handed Albus was a failed experiment, and yielded just enough of the alchemical crystal to function for a while.
"Would you like to meet Her Majesty's Government's oldest employees, Hermione?"
Hermione's eyes lit up with delight, her irritation at Harry evaporating like a dream.
Luna looked at the mission completion orders that she had received during her brief conversation with Hecate. The files contained a modified re-entry vector into the time stream.
"It's no wonder they didn't want to give me my next mission orders until this one was complete ..."
"Why is that, Luna?"
"The blibbering humdingers would have made nargle stew out of the timeline."
The Hermione AI understood this perfectly. "So when are we going from here?"
"Nineteen eighty-nine. August the eighth."
The Neville AI spoke, "so we're going to save your mum then?"
Luna nodded mutely, tears appearing in her eyes.
"Good. Will this be a hidden op or open?"
Luna smiled. "Open. I will get to meet my mum, but little Luna won't lose hers."
"Brilliant!" Harry, the least talkative of the AIs in her system had finally spoken - a pronouncement that put the seal on the whole thing.
"You do realise that that will be the primary point of divergence, and that the Hecate that you spoke with is will be not is the one you meet back then, don't you?"
Luna parsed Harry's use of temporal tenses. Of all of the AIs and departmental operatives, he was the only one that actually used the peculiar grammar for describing events across paradoxes.
"Yes I do, but I know who is will replaced her. Oh, poo! you've got me doing it, now!"
The Harry AI grinned.
"What are we taking back?"
"We have a package that will arrive after we get there, but there is the auxiliary mission core to go as well."
"You're taking us? What about the project building?" The Neville AI.
Luna's electronic image spoke for the first time. "The timeline has already collapsed. Outside of this temporal bubble, there is only the ylem of The Vortex. Once we leave and the bubble collapses, nothing will remain of this time but our memories."
"Thank you Lu, I couldn't have put it better myself."
"Of course not, Luna, after all, I am you."
"That is all well and good, but we need to go. Power's a wasting and there is stuff to send. Where is our arrival point?"
Luna checked the screen. A big smile spread across her face. "Castle Crochenydd, what in our time was the duelling chamber on sub-level three. Harry, you will need to get access to the wards as soon as you arrive. The wards will already be down in the sub-levels, but we will need to be keyed in and the wards re-enabled down there."
The AI nodded. This is what his special instrumentation package was for, after all.
All was ready. Luna was wearing her transit suit, a cross between a fighter-pilot's flight suit and a space suit, her helmet sat on the desk beside her.
The primary mission core had been dismounted and was in its transit case, as was the secondary unit, meaning that the only person she had for conversation was, once again, herself.
Her laptop was in its shielded case and attached to her suit, along with a stack of shrunken, unshielded print-outs.
She had packed as much of the equipment and supplies as she could. Technical salvage would be incredibly valuable to her when she got back to 1989.
The transit cases were all the size and general shape of a human torso, designed to sit in the transit chamber of Project Omega. One by one, Luna loaded them into the chamber, sending each one to its own arrival point in the castle. They should arrive within a few milliseconds of each other.
The first package had loaded itself. A biotech construct, what Luna thought of as a robotic golem, with a copy of the Harry AI installed had been sent, wearing its own built-in transit suit. It should have arrived first.
Luna set the controls for an automatic evacuation to her target time and location and, taking a walk around the complex, finally climbed into the cockpit and closed the canopy.
As was her tradition, she made aircraft zooming noises as she made herself comfortable and activated the control panel. An electronic key unlocked the Molly-guards on the controls, and she powered up the machine.
"I'll see you on the flip-side," she said as she lifted the guard hit the transmit button.
Accelerated tachyons flooded the chamber as the reactors pumped mega joule after mega joule into the transit coils. Sending inorganic material was low-powered stuff as it was ... predictable. Sending the bio-golem through had required about twenty-five percent of maximum power. Sending a fully-equipped human being across more than a few days was a major-league event, energy-wise.
The tachyon beam reached critical and an observer would see a solid white bar engulf the cockpit and its occupant. Then the transit coils began their electromagnetic dance, the complex fields twisting space and time in the relatively small volume of the cockpit, causing strange, rainbow ghosts of energy to flicker across the tachyon field.
When the computer system judged conditions to be just right, the massive, superconducting launch-coils triggered in sequence, catapulting the time-jumper out of the current space-time and into the abyss known as The Vortex.
An observer would have seen Luna appear to be swept backwards as a smear of light and vapour, disappearing as though evaporated.
The occupant of the capsule squeezed her eyes shut. She really, really hated this bit. It was much better being projected physically backwards as the Döpplered light didn't make the journey quite so nauseating this way round, and it meant that she would land on her back rather than squishing her nose when she arrived.
As the decades flowed past her, she giggled at Harry's description of his first time-ride, and arriving in true Harry fashion, face first into a wall, acquiring a broken nose and broken glasses in the process.
As Luna left the year 2085, or rather the space-time bubble of indeterminate era that had been wrested from 2085, the transit chamber went with her, as per the final evacuation protocols, in order to ensure that the system could never be used again in that timeline.
The energy spent in sending Luna back to the twentieth century meant that there was a sudden echoing silence in the now abandoned Project Omega. The lightshow stopped, the coils stopped their electronic dance and there was peace.
Then the process began again, this time aiming at the distant future. The accelerated tachyons once more flooded the chamber, but now more than before, the transit coils charged to maximum and began their dance and the launch coils began their sequence -in reverse.
Pulling a signal from the future was easy, but when there was nothing to lock onto because there was no future, then things became ... gnarly.
The reactor pushed its entire output into the transit system, pulling on a microwave-rich vacuum. Eventually, the fail-safes were bypassed and the temporal shields fell.
No longer anchored, the whole of Project Omega (2085) imploded down to a single point and was projected into the far future, deep into the heat-death of the universe.
The year was ... indeterminate. The place was ... unknowable. Neither place not time had any meaning here. Time no longer passed, all places were one place, gravity was a long-forgotten memory of the universe's youth. The universe had stopped ages past, and now comprised a sea of microwave energy at 3.7 Kelvin.
A monopoint scintilla of mass-energy flickered for a moment, and then exploded into change.
The observer nodded to himself. It was damned good light he saw, even if he hadn't caused it himself ... at least not directly. And after the long, long darkness, any change was welcome.
Well, even boredom couldn't last forever, just for eternity.
Dinky popped to where the disturbance had come from, and arrived just in time to see a blossoming of not-light and magic, and the appearance of what looked remarkably like part of that Hero-Plan that master Charlus had had back in 1943. What confused Dinky was that the thing had arrived at great speed through the wall without doing any damage, over forty feet into the solid Welsh slate of Caer Crochen.
There were a few plink-plink sounds as if the metal was cooling from great heat. There was also some muffled cursing. Dinky assumed that anyone crashing their hero-plan was entitled to curse.
The canopy popped open and a figure emerged. Its flight suit was nothing like Master Charlus' was, but times changed and muggle fashion doubly so.
The helmet was removed with a slight hiss.
"I detest that! The launch is bad enough, but arriving backwards like that is ... OOOOOHHHHH!"
The figure stamped its booted foot before turning, when now Dinky saw a pretty blonde lady.
"No, Dinky, I'm Luna."
The elf launched himself at her and hugged her leg.
"We's been so alone," she wailed.
Hermione felt extremely silly. She was dressed in some kind of space suit and sat in what appeared to be a sawn-off section of the fuselage of some kind of fighter plane.
She had, over the past three months, been poked, prodded, measured, examined, manipulated and run through enough medical imaging systems to last several lifetimes. She imagined that with a bit of effort, they'd be able to build a copy from the data.
She had also had injections, blood tests and more injections. She decided that they were trying to turn her into a hedgehog animagus. She had also had series of minor surgeries to implant various devices under her skin.
Now she was sat and feeling very, very silly indeed. Her embarrassment level rose when the machine started. It was exactly like being in some kind of science fiction B-movie.
As the heavy feeling in the air mounted, a beam of white engulfed her. Strange rainbow lights soon joined the white. The sick feeling in her stomach and the ache in her hands suggested that her knuckles might resemble the light, and her face the pale green that was currently dancing over her tightly closed eyelids.
A rising pitch accompanied by a faint crackling sound and Hermione felt as though she were being thrown forwards from a giant catapult - her senses were assaulted by the brilliant, psychedelic colours that she had been warned about.
The lights were worse than anything that she had imagined, and her journey seemed to go on forever.
A distinct ripping sound, like velcro being pulled apart while covered in custard, and all of that elastic was catching her.
There was a brief pain and a flash of lights and Hermione was no longer aware of anything.
She came to lying on a medical couch, no longer wearing her silly suit, and painfully aware of a headache and the blocked-nose sensation of having had her nose magically re-set.
She groaned, more out of the need to express her state of awareness than to complain about the pain.
"Tell me about it."
"Welcome to the past, Hermione. You have some potions that you need to take."
She opened her eyes and saw a bluish-green potion being offered. A pain potion.
She drank it down and gagged slightly. The taste of old socks and over-ripe bananas was unmistakable.
The pain receded, and she took the next phial.
Hermione wasn't familiar with this potion. It was a rich, ruby red and seemed to have tiny flakes of gold suspended in it. She sniffed it cautiously, and thought that she caught a hint of chocolate syrup pudding, to which her stomach gave a growl of agreement.
She tasted the potion as she swallowed it. If gold filligree and great classical music had a taste, this was it. It tasted exactly like a metaphorical million dollars, a holiday in the sun and a romantic meal for two.
Then it hit her. She felt like she was being electrocuted cell-by-cell, starting at her stomach and working out - followed by a feeling of heat throughout her body. Then it was gone, along with her aches and pains, the soreness of her joints, a hang-over from her time petrified by the Basilisk, the dull awareness of the scar left by Anton Dolohov's curse.
There was a strange sensation in her mouth. A questing tongue found a tooth where there had been a gap resulting from Ron Weasley's only attempt at DIY.
She cocked an eyebrow.
"Elixir of life. It only works properly after you have travelled back in time by more than a few weeks, that's why the Flamels look so young again. We've found all sorts of strange things about it."
His steel-grey tunic exactly mirroring the shade of his eyes, his jaw set with determination, the man sat at the desk looked every inch an officer. Well, almost every inch … the effect was spoiled, rather, by the long, curly hair, neat moustache and a sort of a chin-strap beard.
Very well, he looked like an upper-class rogue stuffed into a military uniform of some sort. He did, however seem inordinately comfortable in uniform.
He walked, albeit smartly, through the doors into the vast, circular chamber known as The Camera Occulta.
Opposite the doors sat a figure. One could be forgiven for thinking this to be a throne room – the seat, throne-like sat upon a tall dais, the ornate surface being accented by a strange mixture of technological and magical greebling – features that seemed to be of indeterminate purpose until you understood what the seat actually did.
"Come in … come in! What have you to tell me?"
The figure in the throne, dwarfed by the thing, called the new arrival who, in defiance of all tradition, walked straight across the crystalline surface of the floor rather than skirting around on the white and obsidian walkway around the edge of the chamber – an action that saved at least a minute of walking.
Beneath the crystal surface was the Camera itself, a surface of varied shades of grey, ranging from silver-grey through to obsidian, dark shades being dominant. Shot through the dark surface were skeins of metal – threads, ropes and hair-fine filigree, metals of varied hues including the unlikely bluish and greenish coloured threads alongside the better known golds, silvers, greys and reds.
As he walked, he was aware of the subtle, slow shifting of the patterns below the crystal. He approached the dais and saw the face of his sort-of brother – messy black hair above bespectacled eyes of brown. The unremarkable nose was bracketed between high cheekbones and sat above a pair of thin lips.
"The 2085-kappa collapse has been initiated and the time-line abandoned. You should be starting to see it …"
The figure in the throne pointed, interrupting the speaker.
"It has just begun to propagate back. We'll see what happens this time, Commander. Be prepared to take action if necessary."
"Right you are then chief," the other responded, grinning roguishly. "You and Lils coming over for dinner tonight?"
The figure in the throne nodded. "Ya, see you at eight?"