It was a miracle before they knew they needed it.
An accident in the Ministry of Magic - a Time Turner dropped into the Dark Veil - transformed the Dark Veil into a portal. Further investigation revealed even more intriguing news. The portal ran along an alternate time stream to a destination in the prehistoric past. Five million years into the past. On New Zealand.
This discovery is a closely-guarded secret within the Ministry of Magic.
The strongest earthquake on record (9.9) caused every nuclear reactor power plant on the Pacific Ring of Fire fault line to redline, starting a global nuclear winter.
Within days, the skies filled with clouds, and a clandestine, emergency meeting of the UN was held at the Danish Ministry of Science. World leaders and politicians argued that the nuclear winter will last only a few, hard years. Elsewhere that same day, Kingsley Shackbolt, the British PM, and Danish PM concluded that the politicians were only concerned about their jobs, not what was best for humanity's survival.
A secret lottery was created for the portal. Those who accept are given a datapad that can only be activated by a retinal or fingerprint scan, and the chosen are allowed to bring their immediate families.
Security, construction wizards, and engineers of all kinds are the first through the portal, communicating back to 2001 when the portal is open via datapads. Settlements were created using pre-made shelters magically shrunk to pass through the portal opening. Wards were set for the Ark mere hours before the first pair of fertile dragons was transported through the portal.
December 16, 2001.
The Dark Veil begins randomly pulling copies of people from other points in time, and depositing them in the alternate universe.
Ministry of Magic.
Just after midnight, the Dark Veil began to hum. The shimmering blue surface rippled as if someone was moving through it, but there was no one present, and just as suddenly, the humming stopped.
Five million years in the alternate past, Kingsley directed a team of security personnel to secure a parameter around the portal. There was someone on the island, someone dangerous, and they had no idea where he’d come from.
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Extended version of Portal Change