HP/Farscape crossover: John Crichton and his family return to Earth in the year 2021, to find Great Britain and Europe decimated. In his search for answers, John finds a woman who has been huntin...
John Crichton watched the front viewscreen with a mixture of excitement and fear. The blue-white world hovering in the distance was one he hadn't laid eyes on in over eighteen cycles. He remembered, back then, how much had changed in just the few years he'd been gone. Would he even recognize the place now?
A quiet movement nearby distracted his attention. He looked over to see Muoma, her aged face so deeply lined that the Eidolon segmentation was nearly obscured. Now retired from her long leadership of the Eidolon people, Muoma had asked to accompany Moya's crew on this journey.
"This is your world, John Crichton?" she whispered.
"Yes, that's Earth. You still haven't said why you wanted to come along."
"We have studied our history, what little survived the destruction of the temple at Arnessk. Your wife believes, and we agree, that this is the world my people visited so many millennia ago, where they found the people who later became our Peacekeepers."
John looked over at Aeryn and smiled; he'd heard her theory before, when she told him about her conversation with Yondalao during their Scarran captivity. "Is that why you came? To walk in the footsteps of your ancestors?" After eighteen years of contact with the Eidolons, John sometimes found himself talking like them.
"To solve a mystery," Muoma corrected. "There are differences between your physiology and the Sebaceans' that we cannot account for. Perhaps somewhere on your world is the answer, a clue we are missing to explain this."
John shrugged. If that's how Muoma wanted to spend her retirement, who was he to argue?
The planet on the screen grew larger as they passed through the moon's orbit. John spotted what looked like a fairly serious hurricane swirling in the Atlantic. Clouds obscured most of Europe and the east coast of the U.S. John Crichton turned to his two teenage children, who were trying not to look bored as they leaned against the strategy table.
"That's it, kids. That's Earth, where I learned all those crazy sayings your mother complains about."
D'Argo, now almost eighteen cycles old and taller than his father, chuckled lightly at John's self-mockery. His sister Zhaan, a year younger and almost a mirror image of her mother, just shrugged.
It was a disappointing reaction, but John supposed it was understandable; the kids could count the number of planets they'd seen in their lifetime in the hundreds. What was the big deal about one more?
"Commander Crichton," Pilot's voice rang through the comms.
"What is it, Pilot?"
"This is strange. The level of communications traffic is significantly less that it was on our last visit. In fact, it is lower even that it was during our trip to your past."
Lower signal traffic than 1985? Maybe they'd come up with some new technology that didn't broadcast out of the atmosphere? "Can you find a video news feed, Pilot?"
"Yes, there are several. I will feed one up to Command."
Within less than a hundred microts of watching the news, John had to sit down. He just stared at the screen, unable or unwilling to comprehend what he was seeing. Coming home to find the New York skyline changed had been bad enough. This...this was just....
When John finally emerged from his shock, he found Aeryn crouching next to him, holding his hand and looking worriedly at his face. Looking up, he found their two adolescent children standing behind him, each with a hand on his shoulder, watching the news from Earth with subdued horror. Muoma's expression was sad, but not shocked. After all, she'd watched her own home world crumble into tiny chunks. This was minor in comparison.
"What do you want to do, John?" Aeryn asked quietly.
"I--" His voice broke. He cleared his throat and tried again. "I need to find out what happened. I need to find Dad, my sisters....frell. England, Ireland, half of Europe...I can't believe they really did it."
"Commander," Pilot's voice was tentative. "I have tested the communications channel you used last time, to speak to your father. It is still active."
John held his breath. The phone number he'd used to call Dad from the Moon all those cycles ago...was it possible they still had that same number all these years later? "Dial it up, Pilot. Let's see who answers."
There was a brief silence, then a mechanical buzz on the comms channel. The buzz repeated a second time, and then a voice came through. "Raven residence," a woman answered.
John swore silently. "Yes, I was trying to reach Colonel Jack Crichton. This is the last number I had for him."
"Yes, he's here. May I ask who's calling?"
Time to see if anyone remembers me. "This is his son."
"John?!" The woman's voice rose in a joyous shriek. "John, is that you? This is Olivia!"
"Livy? But you said...oh, of course. Congrats, Sis. I guess you finally found a guy willing to put up with you."
Olivia sighed into the line. "That's my brother. Gone almost twenty years and the first thing he does when he gets back is tease his baby sister." John could hear that the smile hadn't left her face, despite the exasperated tone.
"Livy, why do you have this phone number? Dad isn't...." He couldn't ask the question.
"Dad's fine, John. He's living with us now, not quite as spry as he once was, but he still enjoys spoiling his granddaughter. We transferred his old number to our house; we always hoped you'd call."
"Well gee, Sis, now Pilot doesn't get to hack into the 'net and track you down. He'll be disappointed."
"Where are you?"
"Coming into orbit now, Livy. Give me an address and I can be there inside an arn...hour. Got a few people to introduce you and Dad to."
"Do we need to call IASA so they don't shoot you down?"
"Nah." John chuckled. "We've made some good friends out here these last few years. No one will ever know we're here." Thanks to Jothee and his gift of Luxan cloaking technology, both Moya and her transport pods could be completely invisible at will.
Colonel Jack Crichton, now 80 and somewhat frail, was thrilled to see his son again after so many years, and overjoyed at his two half-Sebacean grandchildren. John saw the sheer joy in his father's face and quashed his own concerns, letting the mood stay happy as the family gathered for an impromptu reunion.
John's nephew, Bobby Coleman, showed up with a wife and infant son about six hours after the transport pod settled to Earth, having driven almost non-stop from their home in Georgia. Bobby's mother, Susan, lived in California with her second husband, and would not be able to come until the next day at the earliest.
Jack Crichton was living with his youngest daughter, Olivia, her husband Geoff, and their 12-year-old daughter, Leslie. Leslie was currently away at school, but would be returning home for summer break in just two days.
Late that evening, after the Coleman's had gone to a hotel and Jack had gone to sleep, John and Aeryn sat in the living room having a beer with Olivia and Geoff Raven, while D'Argo and Zhaan were fighting over the television remote in the family room across the hall.
"I didn't want to bring this up earlier," John finally began. "Everyone was having too much fun, and I've never seen Dad happier."
"You've seen the news, then, I take it?" Olivia sobered.
"How the hell did it happen?"
Olivia shared a look with her husband, who shrugged noncommittally. She turned back to her brother. "Do you want the official story or the completely unbelievable one?"
John snorted. "Livy, I've lived the last twenty years of my life in a place that has challenged my sense of reality and stretched my definition of 'unbelievable' on a daily basis. I want to know why half of my home world has been wiped off the map."
Olivia nodded and settled back into her seat. "Before I get into what happened in England, I need to tell you a little story from closer to home.
"After you left back in '02, we were famous. Or maybe infamous. The family of the man who brought the aliens. We were hounded by the press, received hate mail and fan mail, and got ogled in the street for months before people got tired of it.
"For the next few years, any time I went on a date, all they wanted to talk about was you, and the aliens. I didn't have many second dates, and I was getting close to giving up on men altogether. Until I met Geoff at a coffee shop in D.C." Livy smiled at her husband fondly. "He was so polite, gave no sign her recognized me, never mentioned you or anything about the aliens. I was so impressed, I asked him out on a date.
"It wasn't until we got engaged a year later that I found out the reason. I knew he couldn't talk about his job, but I figured he was CIA or something. After he asked me to marry him, he told me his real secret."
Olivia paused, so John turned to look at her husband. Geoff reached into his sleeve and pulled out what looked like a conductor's baton: a wooden stick about a foot long, highly polished and carved with odd symbols.
John felt Aeryn tense slightly, but it took him half a microt longer to see it. Geoff wasn't holding that object casually, like a simple stick, but very deliberately. Similar to the way Aeryn held her pulse pistol.
John let his hand drift towards his holster; he'd seen far more innocuous-looking objects than this act as weapons, and he wasn't taking any chances.
Fortunately, before the situation could degenerate further, Geoff seemed to realize the effect he was having and lifted the stick to point at the ceiling, fingers splayed in conciliatory gesture. "Hey, whoa!" he said. "Not going to hurt you. Didn't mean to get you all riled up."
"What's the big secret?" Aeryn asked, relaxing only slightly.
Olivia asked, "Do you believe in magic?"
The practical demonstrations of magic -- a wingardium/ leviosa/ and a few accios to replenish the beer supply -- did little more than raise an eyebrow with the jaded audience of Uncharted Territories' veterans. This annoyed Olivia, who'd been looking forward to seeing the astonished reaction she'd had herself when she'd first witnessed it, but greatly amused her husband.
Geoffrey Raven was employed by the North American Ministry of Magic, the government for the magical populations of the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean islands. His job was not nearly as sexy as Olivia had once imagined when she thought he was a secret agent, but up until the past ten years he had lived under a legal restriction known as the Statute of Secrecy, which essentially was intended to hide the existence of magecraft from the non-magical world. He hadn't been allowed to tell anyone who wasn't family--or potential family.
Once the background information was shared and accepted, the Ravens recounted what they knew of what was now called the Razing of Europe. The rise of an evil and powerful mage in England, which gradually came to the attention of the non-magical governments when entire towns were exterminated. The spread of senseless violence around the world, as this Voldemort character sowed chaos. The pleas of King Henry IX, last survivor of the British royal family, for international aid.
The aid was given, as armies from across Europe and America descended on the British Isles. Thinking they were fighting a simple group of terrorists, the numbers sent were not large. The non-magical soldiers, though, quickly discovered that catching Voldemort was a bit like trying to grasp a London fog. People started to die mysteriously, or disappear. Whole platoons would suddenly turn their weapons on their allies. No one could understand it.
After the war had dragged on for two years, an emergency vote taken by the International Confederation of Wizards overturned the ancient Statute of Secrecy; wizards and mages across the world approached their muggle counterparts to reveal the truth of Voldemort's power and offer their assistance.
"How long did this go on?" John asked in morbid fascination.
"Depends who you ask," Geoff said sadly. "Voldemort led a magical terror organization in Britain back in the 60's and 70's, then disappeared. He apparently resurfaced in the mid-90's, but didn't come to any international attention until about 2006. The United States and most of Europe declared war on him in 2008, and the Statute of Secrecy was dropped in 2010."
"So when did...how did...." John wasn't sure how to ask, but both his sister and brother-in-law understood.
"No one's sure. There are rumors that Voldemort wanted to acquire some ancient artifacts or documents from the Middle East, specifically from the area around Jerusalem. The magical tradition among the Hebrews extends much further back into history than anywhere else except China and Egypt. When the Israelis responded to Voldemort's veiled threats by returning his envoys in several small boxes, Voldemort decided to take what he wanted by force.
"But Voldemort quickly found himself up against something he had never faced; an enemy he couldn't defeat. He lost hundreds of troops going up against the Israeli wizards, and never gained more than a few square feet of sand.
"By this point, Voldemort had command, either through subversion or mind control, of a large chunk of the British non-magical infrastructure, including the military. He apparently decided that if he could not get the treasure he craved through magical means, he would get it another way. He launched two nuclear missiles at Israel, with the intention of wiping out the non-magical government and military centers and allowing his allies in the region to invade and take the country for him. The result was not, I think, what he expected.
"One of the missiles malfunctioned in flight and fell on France, destroying a city called Metz, near the German border. The other continued on course and detonated near Tel Aviv. Both France and Israel retaliated with multiple nuclear strikes, to which Voldemort responded, and so forth, until by the end of the day there was nothing left of Britain or much of western Europe."
"Had to lob a few nukes at some of their neighbors to prove they weren't easy prey. The region is still very tense, and oil production has all but stopped across the Middle East."
Aeryn asked her own question. "I presume this Voldemort person is dead?"
Geoff frowned. "No one knows for sure. Nothing's been heard from him since the Razing, but we have a friend, a bit of an expert on the early parts of the war, who tells us that Voldemort had achieved the next best thing to immortality. He might be able to come back someday; it seems he's done it before."
John and Aeryn sat and pondered in silence. There were so many missing pieces to that story.
Olivia blinked and sat up straighter. "Speaking of which, 'Mione would kill us if we didn't invite her over to meet you, John. She's a mage, too, but unlike Geoff here, not completely oblivious to the events in the wider world." Livy ducked a playful swat from her husband. "She's always asking me about you, and your friends, and Moya, and all the worlds you've visited. I think she's read every book and article ever written about you."
John rolled his eyes. He'd had his fill of public curiosity eighteen years ago, and had been hoping for a simple, quiet visit home. Seeing his hesitation, Livy pulled out the big guns: she gave him 'The Look'. The one she'd learned from Mom.
"Alright, alright, you win. Call your friend. Just please make sure she doesn't tell anyone else; I don't feel like being hounded off the planet again just yet."
"Don't worry, 'Mione knows how to keep a secret."
John and his family managed one fairly quiet day with Jack and the Ravens, but on Saturday, Leslie Raven came home from school and Hermione Weasley came to visit. It was hard to say which of them was the more giddy. With Leslie, a bit of over-excitement could be excused: she was only twelve, after all, and had grown up with wild stories of her space-adventuring Uncle John.
The reaction was a bit more disconcerting in a 40-year-old British bookworm.
Aeryn, who was enjoying her husband's discomfort a bit more than John felt was strictly necessary, offered to take the whole family, including their guest, up to Moya for a tour.
"Oh, please Mom, can we? Can we please?" Leslie pleaded with Olivia. Hermione had a bit more decorum, but her eyes still widened hopefully.
Olivia glanced at John. "Well, I survived it last time. I don't suppose you've acquired any dangerous pets or anything, have you John?"
John chuckled. "Nah, Moya's downright child-friendly these days. Just a few freaky aliens wandering around. You remember Chiana, I suppose--she's hanging out with us again--and Stark's around somewhere, though we haven't seen hide nor hair of him in a few days. We have one of the Eidolon elders tagging along, too. She's got some scientific theory about Sebacean origins on ancient Earth that she wants to check out."
"Oh, I would love to speak with her, Mr. Crichton," Hermione was, if anything, even more excited. "I'm something of a student of history, and I have an extensive library of research material; I may be able to help her find what she's looking for."
John just nodded, but Aeryn was more effusive. "That would be most welcome, Ms. Weasley. Most of the Eidolon records were lost in the war, and she's only had John's memory of Earth history to work with so far."
"I know wormholes," John quipped. "History was the class I slept through in high school."
Hermione laughed. "Sounds like you had the same problem my friends did; our history teacher at Hogwarts was a ghost, and even I will admit he was dead boring. Most of the school slept through Binns' classes."
The British woman gave a sad smile. "It was a magical school in northern Scotland. I attended from the time I was eleven until I left at seventeen, before what would have been my last year."
"Why did you leave?"
Her expression grew sad. "Long story."
John took the hint. "So," he said, turning to the rest of the group. "Who's ready for a trip in a space ship?"
Walking onto Moya, Hermione decided, was an experience both more exciting and more frightening than the day she walked into Hogwarts. Entering the castle had been like walking into one of her childhood fairy tales; Moya was...well, it wasn't like anything she'd ever heard of. The curved brown walls, consoles sprouting like mushrooms from the smooth flooring, even the lights dotting the walls looked like something grown rather than built.
After arriving on board, and having those who hadn't been there before dosed with translator microbes, the Crichtons gave everyone a brief tour of the ship and introduced them to Pilot, Chiana, and Muoma. Muoma was very pleased to hear Hermione's offer of research materials.
Leslie latched on to her cousins D'Argo and Zhaan, who were tolerant and took her off to show her their childhood haunts and hiding places. After a few arns of exploring the ship, Aeryn took the Ravens and Jack Crichton out in a transport pod to see the solar system. Hermione declined to accompany them, so John stayed behind to keep her company.
"You didn't want to see the rings of Saturn?" John asked, curious. This woman struck him as much like himself, infinitely curious, with a deep desire to learn.
"As much as I would love to," she replied, gazing wistfully out of the windows in the Center Chamber, "flying and I have never gotten on. My desire to see Moya was enough to get me on the pod the first time, but I would far rather keep my feet firmly planted on the ground."
John nodded, gesturing for the woman to take a seat with a good view. They sat together in silence for several minutes. Finally, though, John broached the subject he'd been wanting to ask the woman about. "My brother-in-law told me what little he knows about the events leading up to the Razing of Europe. You can imagine, I was a mite shocked when I came home to find something like that."
"Yes, I can see that it would have been a traumatic revelation. We have all had a few years to accustom ourselves to it by now, though the radiation clouds and the recovery efforts still make the news nearly every day."
"Geoff said you were a bit of an expert on what led to that."
Hermione looked down at her folded hands. "I suppose I am, though not, perhaps, in the way he thinks. I was not a student of the war. I was a participant."
"Mr. Crichton, that time of my life is very painful for me to talk about. If it is all the same to you, I would rather not. Suffice it to say, the fall of Europe was due to a series of catastrophic mistakes."
John waved away her apologetic look. "Don't worry about it. It won't kill me not knowing. And trust me, I have committed more than my share of catastrophes, and mistakes. Playing with wormholes seems to guarantee that."
All evidence of Hermione's somber attitude vanished. "How so? I mean, if you don't mind my asking...."
John Crichton chuckled. "S'alright, I've long since accepted everything that's happened. It was a small price to pay for the life I've got now."
He leaned back against the table and crossed his arms, settling into a storytelling posture. "Let's see, wormholes. First one was the one I fell through by accident, that dumped me on the other side of the galaxy. Since then, playing with wormholes has gotten me mind-frelled, nearly killed, a good friend killed, me actually killed, gotten Earth nearly destroyed...oh, yeah, and I nearly wiped out my own existence by time traveling without a license."
Hermione's jaw dropped a little further with each item on John's list, but the last one seemed to stun her into insensibility.
"Even that trip I took here to Earth in '02," John continued, oblivious. "Queen bitch of the Peacekeepers decided to stick an alien assassin aboard. Killed my friend DK and his wife, then came after me and my family. Still, I can't regret getting to come home and let everyone know I wasn't dead."
"Pardon me, Mr. Crichton," Hermione interrupted. "What was that you said earlier about 'time travel'?"
John chuckled. "Yeah, I'd just gotten through getting the 'wormholes for dummies' lecture from a god-like alien. He dumped me back in the wormhole with instructions about 'total engrossment' and such. I tried to get home, and missed by about seventeen years. Wormholes, you see, cross space, time, and alternate realities. Gotta be careful."
"You can go back in time?"
"Sure, going back's the easy part. Hard part's not screwing up when you get there. Arriving at a time you've already been to before disrupts the time stream, causes things to change from what you remember. When I got down to Earth in 1985..." He paused, swallowing back some rising emotion. "Well, let's just say I nearly got myself killed fixing that one."
"So you can't go back to a time where you were still on Earth, without changing something at random?"
"It's kind of a Heisenberg Principle of wormhole travel. Drop yourself into the timestream, and you make ripples."
"But if you went back to a time when you weren't there?"
"Then no ripples."
"Your Farscape experiment, that was in 1999?"
"Yes, in March."
"So if you were to travel back to, say, the day after you left, it would not cause any problems? At least not any random ones?"
"I guess not, but--"
"Mr. Crichton, I have changed my mind. I believe I will tell you the story of Voldemort."
He blinked, caught off guard by the sudden change in topic. "Call me John," he finally said.
"John, then." Hermione then proceeded to recount the long and complex histories of Tom Riddle, aka Lord Voldemort, and his prophesied nemesis, Harry Potter, from Tom's birth and rise to power, to his attempt to kill Harry as a baby due to a prophecy, and continuing through their numerous encounters through Harry's adolescence. John listened raptly, with a growing sense of incredulity as the story progressed. It had to be real, he decided; it was too strange not to be true, and no weirder than some of the crap he'd been through.
"During our sixth year at Hogwarts," Hermione continued, "we finally learned just what Voldemort had done to give himself this apparent immortality. He had taken six objects and, through one of the darkest spells in existence, imbued each with a portion of his own soul. As long at least one of those objects, known as a horcrux, exists, Voldemort can not die completely.
"We left school after the death of the headmaster in 1997, and set out to finish his quest to find and destroy the horcruxes. Even with what clues we had, it took us almost seven years to find them all. Or so we thought. Harry finally faced down Voldemort in 2006, and appeared to have succeeded in killing him. Harry died of his wounds about...about a month later, fully believing that he had completed his life's work.
"Six months later, Voldemort was reborn, using the same ritual as before. It seems we'd taken too long finding the horcruxes; Voldemort discovered what we were doing and replaced his last one with a decoy, a horcrux he'd encouraged his most trusted lieutenant to make. We destroyed the decoy, never knowing that the real one was still safe in Voldemort's possession.
"The second rebirth was the last straw for much of magical society in Britain. Pureblood families who had stayed on the fence for many years, agreeing with Voldemort's goals if not his methods, finally joined him, believing him to be invincible. The Ministry of Magic fell into their hands in the next election, and soon it was open season on the 'mudbloods' and the 'blood traitors'.
"My husband was killed in an ambush. I was on a list of people to be killed on sight, so I fled to the United States. I have lived there ever since, searching for a way to go back and undo the mistakes we made that cost so many millions their lives."
John perked up at this. "You've been researching time travel? Is that something magic can do?"
"Yes, it's possible. There are highly restricted magical objects called time-turners which can take a person back in time, but only by a matter of hours, or a day at the most. I have found mentions of rituals that might allow a longer jump, but the only ones that might gain me more than six months would require my death to complete, and the outcome is far from certain. I have not yet grown quite that desperate."
"But to even consider it--"
"Look at what's left of Europe and tell me it wouldn't be worth my life to see that undone. Hopefully, though, with your help I can accomplish that goal without having to pay the ultimate price."
"She wants you to do /what?/"
John Crichton winced at the piercing tone of Aeryn's exclamation. "She wants me to help her fix this."
"She wants you to change history. John, you've just barely managed to reconstruct your knowledge of wormholes to get us here. Do you really want to be frelling around with time?"
John got up and paced across their quarters. "I don't like it any better than you do, babe. I still get nightmares about our trip back to 1985, and everything that could have gone wrong, or our little jaunt on Jocacea and everything that did go wrong."
He turned to look into his wife's eyes, perhaps slightly softened by the passing years but otherwise unchanged. "On the other hand," he pointed out, "I look at the pictures of what has become of England, and France, and the rest of Europe, all the history that has been wiped out, millions of lives lost, millions more doomed to illness and early death by the radiation clouds. If I have the power to change that, how can I not?"
Aeryn stood abruptly and stalked over to the other side of the room, where she rammed the heel of her hand into a wall. Having had years of experience with his wife's temper, John stayed silent. Any provocation at this point could start a screaming match, leading to hurt feelings and days of uncomfortable silence. But if he let her stew, she'd eventually separate her opinions from her emotions and be able to argue rationally. She might not agree with him -- she often didn't -- but they'd come to a compromise eventually.
After about a hundred microts, Aeryn finally turned around and looked at her husband. Her expression was resigned, almost sad, but determined. "She does realize that she can't come with us, right? Her presence would trigger the very ripples you are trying to avoid."
John chuckled ruefully. "Yeah, I pointed that out to her. She got very huffy at first, until I explained why. Does that mean you agree we should try?"
She nodded. "It's part of what I was born and raised to do -- the part I chose to keep, that is. Protect the innocent, fight against aggressors, support the goal of peace. We had the power to end the Scarran War and save billions of lives eighteen years ago, and we did, even though the cost was high. You have the power to do the same here."
"The Ancients won't like it."
"Frell the Ancients. They took away what they gave you, and you relearned it on your own. They have no authority over you now."
"Let's just hope they understand that."
"So what does Weasley want you to do, since she can't come along?"
"She says she'll come up with some magical ways to send the important information back with us, something that will convince these kids we've got to find that we aren't dangerous lunatics."
Aeryn smiled, eyes twinkling. "That would take some strong magic."
John Crichton growled playfully and tackled his wife back onto the bed, leaving both of them breathless and laughing.