Chapter 82 Relics of the Past
As Harry Potter watched the news with his girls, he wondered if he was having a negative effect on the city. Just the prior day, the Mole Man had apparently returned and tried to sink the Baxter Building underground and kill the Fantastic Four using strange tech, a lot of monsters, and a convoluted plan. Reed and the rest successfully thwarted his plans and restored the building, but it was certainly not something you'd consider an everyday occurrence. Or at least it didn't used to be.
After finishing off breakfast and sending the girls off to their own projects, Harry took a cab to the Baxter Building and headed to the top floor. Harry had his own security pass for access and upon arrival he noticed that the lab had changed greatly since the last time he was there.
The first thing he noticed was the massive ring Reed appeared to be wiring up near the station where the dangerous projects were kept. Unsurprisingly, Reed was too caught up in his work to notice Harry. Johnny and Susan did not appear to be on this floor and Ben appeared to be courting someone and spending time at her place.
Harry took a few moments to consider the best prank to pull and after a few seconds, settled on something tasteful. He could tell what Reed was building so a prank disguised as a warning would be appropriate.
An illusionary copy of Reed Richards appeared and walked over to the real Reed and shouted, "Who are you?! And what are you doing to my Dimensional Portal?!"
The real Reed looked over and asked, "What? No, wait, who are you?!"
Fake Reed stated, "I asked you first! What are you doing in my house and why do you look like me?! Did you break in here to sabotage my Portal?! Are you a shapeshifter or a robot?!"
The real Reed was completely caught off guard as the illusion looked and spoke exactly like him. He still managed to shout back, "What! No! I'm Reed Richards!"
The illusion stretched itself to seem taller and said, "No! I'm Reed Richards!"
Real Reed frowned and stretched himself into the air to make himself seem even taller than the doppelganger and said, "Stop that! I'm Reed Richards! What are You doing here?!"
The fake Reed said, "Some copy, I've asked you that twice now. Is all you can do parrot back what the original says? I'm calling Susan and Johnny."
The original was becoming even more flummoxed and had no idea how to handle what was going on. He even seemed to be doubting himself, was he the copy? The original would certainly want to call in Johnny and Susan.
Just when it looked like Richards was about to have an identity crisis, the fake Reed said, "Gotcha!" And then he faded away to Reed's surprise.
A moment later Reed sighed and without looking, said, "Hello Professor..."
Harry chuckled from the door and said, "When building an interdimensional portal, be ready for dopplegangers."
"Yes. I gathered that."
"I'm pretty sure I know the answer but I'd still like to ask. Why are you building an interdimensional portal?"
Reed answered plainly, "Well, you did tell us not to bother you to make them."
"Ah yes, so you've decided to build your own. Of course you did."
"Indeed. Think of what we can learn."
Harry shook his head and said, "Any dimension with life has resources and I've never heard of a life bearing dimension with infinite resources. Limited resources usually means conflict, which means danger. My Master of the Mystic Arts took me to a number of dimensions and none are places I'd want to put a vacation home."
Reed nodded without concern and said, "We'll take precautions."
Harry rolled his eyes and said, "Just invite me over before using the damn thing. If something happens that neither of us can handle, I can call my Master for backup. That's the safest way to do it."
Reed considered it and said, "Alright. So what brings you by?"
"Besides keeping you on your toes? Just wanted to see how you and the building were holding up after what I saw on the news."
"Thank you for that Professor. The foundations of the Baxter Building have been extended and reinforced to ensure Mole Man won't be able to give a repeat performance without alerting us in advance."
"Good to hear. Have you taken Susan out on any dates yet?"
That actually had Richards stumped. "Well, I mean, I've been-"
Harry interrupted, "I have four girls and go out on a date that usually lasts between three and five hours at least once a week with each of them." Time turners were awesome like that and he could portal to anywhere on earth so a trip to Paris, China, London, or Disneyland were all possible date locations along with parks, beaches, mountains, and forest trails.
Harry stated, "Although you can't compare to my awesomeness, your calendar should always have something on it for time between you two, something to look forward to and to make a habit of always setting aside time for her. Don't forget, you haven't gotten a ring yet so if she feels like you've stopped pursuing her, she might feel that you've lost interest."
Richards stated, "No, that won't happen."
Harry frowned and said, "So you're okay with Susan not getting the attention she deserves because you're certain she won't leave you for neglecting her?"
"What? No, that's not-"
Harry interrupted, "Sorry, I shouldn't have said that. I accidentally used Woman Logic just now and I apologize for that. Living with a lot of women has many upsides but there are downsides as well." Women logic consists of arguments that men are incapable of winning because they use emotions to warp logic and trap the men into saying something which is then turned completely against them, forcing the man into submission.
Reed was a bit surprised at Harry's retraction as he was not familiar with Woman Logic as most. Due to Susan Storm's exceptional brilliance, she did not use Woman Logic as instinctively as other women tend to use it.
Still, Reed was not a fool. The idea of making a habit to set aside time for Susan was definitely a good idea. He said, "It's alright Professor, I'll set something up."
Without the slightest telepathy Harry could practically hear Reed arguing with himself about the soonest he could set aside time. Harry's bet was three weeks since he wasn't expecting much more than baby steps from his student for now.
Harry spent the remaining week that he wasn't out with his girls going over the tech of the Andromeda Galaxy while supervising his girl's training and Peter's training. The main thing Harry wanted for Peter was to make sure he did not use his electric discharge or camouflage in front of others. Those were hidden cards to be used to save his own life and there wasn't likely to be too many situations where he had to use it to save the life of another.
Harry was able to connect some computers and tablets he got from Xandar to his own setup and finally check out the operating system and how their coding worked. Thankfully it didn't end up too different from how earth coding worked. The rules had some differences but the patterns had more similarities than differences.
At the end of the week, news outlets started reporting about a human spider swinging from building to building and stopping muggers, robberies, and occasionally rescuing people from fires. Harry already had a few lawyers on call to coin the name Spiderman and not long afterwards people started claiming that the one who saved them referred to himself as 'your friendly neighborhood Spiderman.'
Harry would let Peter do what he wanted with the royalties.
After another week, Harry met up with Rocket the raccoon on a planet in the Andromeda Galaxy.
Upon seeing Harry, Rocket immediately asked, "Why'd you bring the Flerken?"
Harry answered, "Fun?"
"Is that a question or an answer?"
Rocket sighed and said, "Yesh, forget it. Alright, after asking around a bit, I found that the latest and greatest small scale craft developed by the Kree is currently being used by Starforce. It's a prototype called the Hellcat. It's faster, stronger, and sleeker than the Hellion."
Harry nodded and asked, "Okay. So, who are Starforce and is robbing them going to be a problem?"
"Ha! Of course it is. Kree's military consists of two groups, the Accusers and Starforce. The Accusers are the basic military. Enhanced soldiers, big ships, heavy duty cannons, the works. Starforce is their elite tactical unit. Small, skilled, deadly. They have the best training and the best gear. In and out, most of their missions are classified because ninety percent of what they do can practically be considered war crimes."
"Slaughtering innocents, murdering children, blowing up hospitals, torturing women, anything that is required to fulfill their mission. Best part is that all the shit they pull is blamed on their enemies so when they are sent to a planet to kill one guy and a lot of Kree civies die, they can blame the attack on some pirates or the Skrull or whoever they want. They tried to blame Xandar a few times too, but Xandar pressed each and every accusation to the point the Supreme Intelligence had to push the blame on someone else to prevent their citizens from getting wise."
Groot said, "I am Groot," which Harry took to mean, 'They are bad guys.'
Harry already didn't like the Supreme Intelligence. He likened the Kree Empire to a cult in which the Supreme Intelligence required all citizens to have complete faith in it. Harry was already having ideas on how to mess with it. Could he make the Supreme Intelligence seem crazy and get everyone to decommission it? Maybe not but it would be fun to try.
Harry asked, "So how are we going to find the ship if everything they do is classified?"
"Ha! Don't underestimate me. I already found it."
"The Supreme Intelligence doesn't fall for the same trick twice but it's easy to fool with something new. I planted some bait I knew Starforce would be sent to retrieve and when they got there I planted a tracker on the ship. I'll get you close and with your skills you can do the rest."
"Nice, can you help me remove the trackers once I get the ship?" Harry wasn't confident he'd find all the trackers since there could be ones that worked off principles he wasn't familiar with.
"No problem, let's go."
Rocket led Harry and Goose back onto the clunky space tank Harry helped them steal earlier and Harry couldn't help but notice the number of dings and burn marks over the thing. Harry asked, "Had some fun did you?"
Rocket answered, "Ha! You bet."
"I am Groot."
The ship got into the air and headed for the nearest spacegate and Rocket said, "Alright, according to my bug, that ship left a Space gate seventeen jumps from here about an hour ago. Let's head out."
Rocket didn't set any time between jumps and Harry felt the unusual discombobulation of back to back jumps, though he didn't have much of a problem with it.
After the ship exited from the last jump, Rocket said, "They went thata way," and set a course for the same direction.
According to Rocket, Space Gates were set in another dimension and powered by the nearby star. However, not all stars and not all star systems had the right requirements for a space gate to be set up. For every hospitable planet with a space gate, there were at least a dozen systems without one.
Harry applied several invisibility and stealth spells onto the ship causing Rocket to state, "You're just full of surprises aren't you. Remind me to bring you next time I find something nice that the owner doesn't appreciate enough."
Eventually they came across a desolate rocky planet and the front display on the ship had a few circles open and shrink around a specific point in the planet's orbit. Rocket used a screen feature to zoom in and said, "There she is. Guess most of Starforce is on the surface committing more war crimes for whatever reasons."
[New Quest: Relics of the Past
Protect the Xandarian Outpost from the Starforce assault and deliver the data core and research samples to Xandar.]
That surprised Harry as he didn't think his act of stealing would lead to a Quest which usually involved doing good things for good people.
Harry Paused and considered the best approach. He couldn't do anything to the ship that would prevent it from sending a final message without damaging it more than was acceptable so whatever he did would be known by the Supreme Intelligence. That in itself was an opportunity of course.
Harry said, "Look after Goose, I'm gonna play a small prank on the Kree empire."
Before Rocket could respond, Harry apparated out of the ship into space. He got out a few crystals he'd previously charged with magic and set up a magic formation that would completely drain the crystals but would have the Kree Empire either scratching their heads or shitting themselves for months.
After the setup was complete, an illusion appeared behind Harry that was dozens of kilometers in height. It looked like a massive wormhole. Suddenly, a titanic orange paw extended out from the wormhole.
A head that could only be measured on a cosmic scale peered out from the black abyss and with a mighty leap, an orange tabby cat identical to Goose but twelve kilometers tall and nearly thirty kilometers in length from whiskers to tail.
The cat seemed to look at the Hellcat ship and then walk through space over to it.
Harry apparated closer to the ship and once he was close enough he silently apparated inside.
Two blue skinned humanoids were at the helm, one on the radio and one at the pilot's chair, neither were in a position to look at Harry as the colossal cat got closer at a terrifying rate.
The Kree on the radio was shouting, both into the radio and at the pilot, "Go! Get us out of here! Move It Now!"
"I'm trying, I'm trying!" the pilot shouted back in panic.
The Kree on the radio shouted frantically into the radio, "The giant Flerken is getting Closer! It's Getting Closer!"
Suddenly the towering space cat stopped getting closer and opened its mouth. Purple shadows could be seen within its massive gaping maw.
The Kree on the radio said, "No. Oh no! Oh My God NO!"
The pilot had stopped trying to do anything and was screaming hysterically as a purple mass of flesh and tentacles and serrated teeth shot out from the cat's mouth and a terrifying purple shadow engulfed the ship.
Harry hit the pilot and the radio operator with a Stunner as the illusion showed the ship being swallowed. Harry then turned off the radio and everything he could find that sent a signal.
Harry noticed the fallen Kree had some good armor and tech, so he got out some plain clothes and used a switching spell to unequip the Kree's battle attire and set it into his inventory along with all their toys. Lastly, he transfigured them into small figurines. Kree seemed to have a bit of innate energy making their race stronger, more durable, and quicker to heal than others, but that simply made transferring them harder, not impossible. Especially while they were completely knocked out.
Harry piloted the ship to the surface near where his quest was pointing him and Rocket's ship followed. Once both ships landed, Rocket asked, "Is that what you call a 'small prank?' Please invite me when you try something Big, because that I would have to see."
Harry could only chuckle at that. Illusions in space, as long as you weren't too far from a star, were actually really easy once you got the hang of it. Without any gasses to refract the light, the illusion can appear exactly like you want it to without the slightest margin of error. Of course, the illusion had a distance limitation. No one on the planet for example saw anything. But the ship's recording and the pilot's certainly saw and transmitted it.
Harry said, "I'll invite you if I think of any good ones. I'm gonna steal the toys of whatever Starforce dudes on the planet. Can you remove the trackers?"
"Yeah, no problem."
"I am Groot?"
Harry answered, "No thanks, I can handle it on my own."
Goose walked past Groot over to Harry, easily implying that she was coming too. Harry looked down and said "Okay, you can come."
Groot said with a slightly depressed voice, "I am Groot."
Rocket said, "Don't mind them big guy, you got me."
Harry picked up Goose and flew over to the combat zone. Harry's map was filling out as he moved and he saw a few Kree guarding what appeared to be an entrance carved into some rock. Harry got out another set of normal clothes and used the Switching Charm to effectively remove their armor and weapon, eliciting a gasp of surprise from the pair.
Harry approached, Goose in hand and said, "Hi, what are you guys doing here?"
Both Kree reached for where their weapons should have been but found nothing. Seeing the hostile reaction, Harry decided to skip 20 questions and shot another pair of stunners and transfigured them into more figurines he stored in his inventory along with their armor and weapons.
Goose jumped out of his grasp and ran into the base while Harry followed.
Goose then stopped at a corner and conveyed to Harry, "Wait there a moment."
Harry then heard someone from the end of the hall Goose stopped at, shout, "Vers?! Have you come to finish me off?"
Harry heard footsteps and apparated behind the white skinned Kree who instantly moved into close combat grappling. Harry channeled a bit of Cyttorak's Red energy preventing him from being moved by the man.
Harry Paused to assess the situation. There were a number of people in the room and the one Harry was fighting appeared to be the only Kree. From what Harry guessed, the man was in a position to harm others even if Harry took his weapons, so Goose offered to be a distraction to get him away from the others.
Harry gave the man a little leeway to grapple him which was all Harry needed to apparate the pair outside.
The man stumbled and nearly fell over from the side along apparition and Harry used the chance to stun him and take his armor and weapons as well. The man had some very high tech looking gauntlets Harry was eager to play with.
Before turning him into a figurine, Harry opened the man's eyelids and used Legilimency and Telepathy to read the man's mind. He wanted to know what he was doing there and who Vers was.
Harry spent a couple of minutes rummaging around as this guy had a lot of good details about the Kree. Once Harry got what he needed, the man was turned into a figurine as well. According to this dude, this planet was a forgotten Nova Outpost and when the Supreme Intelligence found evidence of supplies going there, it sent Starforce here to kill everyone and take whatever they found that had any worth. They would plant evidence it was done by Space Pirates when everyone was dead.
As for Vers, apparently she was a Terran exposed to the energy of an exploding prototype faster than light engine which gave her superpowers. Because apparently that made perfect sense.
This guy, Yon-Rogg, took the Terran back to the Kree homeworld and turned her into a weapon. The weapon then apparently met Nick Fucking Fury and turned on the Kree and was being a major pain in the ass for the Kree Empire and the Supreme Intelligence at the moment.
Harry apparated back into the room where the people he assumed were Xandarian were still muttering concerns to themselves and softly speaking between each other.
Harry said, "Alright, Starforce is gone. Pack up whatever you need, we're heading to Xandar."
One of them asked, "You have a ship? They destroyed ours from orbit."
"No, I stole their ship. It's mine now."
Harry picked an important looking one and asked, "So, who are you guys and what exactly is so valuable here?"
Harry wasn't expecting anything since this was usually a secret base and everything was classified. Instead, his question was answered most enthusiastically.
"We're students from the Institute of Higher Learning here on an expedition. This place holds the secrets to the founding and creation of the Nova Empire!"
"Umm, it's a dump though."
"It is now! But thousands of years ago, this was the only location in the Universe that Nova Crystals could be harvested from!"
"Oh, really? Fascinating. And those are?"
"Nova Crystals are natural collectors of Nova Force! The Ancient Nova Empire's Nova Corps each carried a Nova crystal and used the Nova Force within to empower themselves and fight back against the darkness and oppression of the universe, creating the society of law and order we know as the current Nova Empire!"
Harry honestly thought that Yon-Rogg was fanatical towards the Supreme Intelligence and the Kree, but this guy was in the same ballpark of fanaticism, though it was for the past deeds which did in fact seem impressive.
At least this answered a few questions. In order to control something without corruption, you need power. Compared to the Kree Empire which used propaganda and faith to control its citizens, the Nova Empire was quite lawful because in its heyday it had power. But as far as Harry knew, the power this fanboy archeologist spoke of did not exist at the moment which was why the law and order of the Nova Empire seemed a bit shallow.
Harry asked, "What happened?"
The man looked around in disappointment and answered, "The crystals were all destroyed. They were connected to each other, a hive mind existed between them allowing Nova Force to be transferred from one to another regardless of distance. Someone acquired a Nova Crystal and used the connection they had to destroy all the others."
"I see. If they have all been destroyed, why are you here?"
He answered with more disappointment, "It has been so long since the crystals were last harvested I hoped we'd find some new Nova crystals. However, months of searching and we've found very little."
"But you found something?"
"We believe so. Tiny fragments. It will take time, but if our readings are correct, we can use these fragments to grow Nova crystals elsewhere using our research."
"Gotcha. Well, don't forget those. I want everything loaded up in an hour."
Harry returned to the ship followed by some Xandarians. Rocket spotted them and said, "She's clean. Starforce is either stupider or more arrogant than I thought since they only put three trackers in the ship. Guess they didn't expect someone to nab it."
Harry laughed and said, "Pleasure doing business with you good sir. I won't always be around but you can always invite me to a party if you plan to throw a good one."
Rocket laughed back and returned to the ship followed by Groot who waved goodbye and said, "I am Groot."
Harry transfigured a few bits of the ship and added a few shots of the Color Change Charm to ensure the ship would no longer get shot out of orbit the moment it entered Xandarian airspace.
After the Xandarians and their stuff were loaded up, Harry and Goose left the planet and travelled back to the Jump Gate. Once they arrived, Harry set the return trip to Xandar and put a thirty second wait between jumps as he didn't expect others to be as hardy as a video game character, a space abomination, a tree, and a genetically modified trash panda.
Before the last jump, Harry had the Xandarians make a few calls and not long afterwards Harry was given some coordinates to land. In addition to dropping off the students and their research, he also intended to sell the Starforce members to the Nova Corps at a decent deal. It would earn him a decent reputation and some credits. The Nova Corps could use them for some negotiations so they needed them more than Harry did and Harry already got all the useful info he wanted.
As expected, the moment the ship landed, the Quest had been completed.
[Quest Complete: Relics of the Past
Reward: Nova Crystal.]
Harry felt the reward appear in his inventory and smiled. He already discreetly copied the data for the growing of new Nova crystals from the group of students and now that he had an active, Nova Force generating crystal of his own, he was confident he could make something out of it. In fact, if his idea ending up panning out, he'd have something brand new to sell to the Nova Corps really soon.