The assault teams and the Druid leadership make decisions; Harry and Hermione take a chance. As for Draco. . . .
By Dr T
The assault teams and the Druid leadership make decisions; Harry and Hermione take a chance. As for Draco. . . .
Harry Potter, his friends and enemies, and canon totally belong to She-Who-Must-Be-Named and her minions, I just twist them into different shapes for fun.
It was nearly mid-April when the Head of the Old Believers’ various security forces came to Britain to get a first hand report of the situation and to make some decisions for the unofficial alliance which was providing the fighters and many of the support people. He sat back and listened to the report of the strike force leaders.
“We have largely negated the Taboo – repeated use of the name now gathers no response, even when we had a team shout it out in Hogsmeade. However, the Taboo is still active, so everyone is still on notice not to use the name, least locations be traced.”
The Druid merely nodded.
The leader of the technomage team made his report: “We have located the snake-Horcrux, no doubt in Riddle’s primary headquarters. The area is under a Fidelius, so only approximate building information in available, although of course we can read life forms and magical activities inside the area.”
“If you attack that area, could you fight inside it, or would the secret-holder need to be killed first?” the Druid asked.
“We could fight our way into the area, but that would take a ritual which could take anywhere from thirty minutes to close to two hours to peform. Still, we should be able to pull it off with a little aid without being discovered.” The Druid again nodded, and the technomage continued. “Riddle appears to spend most of his days there as well, but is now not only spending time at the Ministry but he’s also spending some time each day in at least one location we have not discovered. We of course dare not strike at the snake until the Horcrux in Hogwarts is dealt with.”
The Druid merely nodded again, knowing that to destroy the snake first would alert Riddle that his Horcruxes were in danger. They might do so in the end, but only as a deliberate action. “And the Ministry campaigns against the Mudane, Squibs, and First-Born?”
“As best we can tell, the ‘Muggle-baiting’ is down to zero, no doubt due to the diplomatic pressures put on the British Ministry, but that might not last. Fortunately for most of the First-born and Half-bloods, few of those families which did not have a member with direct work ties to the Ministry or a job in a magical business bothered with a floo connection, and therefore the Ministry has no good way of tracing them. Most of those even somewhat in sympathy to the current regime have long ignored their Squib relatives, and so again have no way of tracing them. Only those Squibs who maintained some direct tie to the wizards here were traceable, and, unfortunately, most of those were dead well before we arrived.”
“Any truth to the rumor of camps for the First-born?” the Druid demanded.
“They are indeed camps, which are slowly becoming death camps,” the final member of the strike force leadership responded. “We have the three camps located, and our next big strikes will be against them. That could be any time after we get some additional forces.” He handed the Druid a stack of files. All knew this was the main reason the Druid chief had come in person. The Druids, although for the most part long-separated from Western Europe, still felt paternal tugs to their ancestors’ homelands beyond their ties to the hidden sacred sites.
Glancing up, the Druid demanded, “If those considered half-bloods are largely escaping notice, why were the First-born found?”
“Hogwarts,” was the simple answer. “In the early nineteenth century, it was decided that the magical school population was becoming too large for just one school. Regional schools were set up for those who only wanted five years of magical education. Since the early twentieth century, over eighty percent of the magicals in Britain have sent their children to the regional schools, which also give them the skills to compete in the Mundane world. Some then go on to a special prep school and on to regular Universities; others go to Salem, the Ysgol, and a few even to Beauxbatons for their N.E.W.T.s, but none have been accepted at Hogwarts for decades. Most of the rest still go onto magical apprenticeships. However, the First-born were sent to Hogwarts to try and ‘immerse’ them into the culture, and also because they are charged higher fees, which help discount the cost to the so-called Purebloods. Hogwarts also holds the magical book for this part of the world. The current headmaster at Hogwarts, an acknowledged Death Eater although he was one of several pardoned back in 1981, has either simply given the other Death Eaters the First-born addresses or allowed them direct access.”
The Druid quickly skimmed over the reports, his face contorted with disgust. He looked up. “You are certain?” All the team leaders nodded. The Druid chief’s jaw clenched for a moment, and then he said in Old Briton, “The Ravens shall flock; Justice shall prevail.” The others in the room were shocked at the statement.
“Full Justice?” one team leader asked quietly in English after a few moments of silence.
“Yes,” the Druid stated. “Is there anything else?”
“First, a boon,” the technomage team leader asked.
The Druid merely nodded for the team leader to continue.
“We have many captives and agree they must all pay for their crimes. However, some are young and very healthy. Perhaps instead of Justice, their penance should be for them to repay by benefitting those in need . . . at the Clinic.”
The Druid considered, and asked, “Is there anything else I should know or take back to the others before I decide on this request?”
“We are also tracking the so-called ‘Voice of the Resistance’,” the first team leader said. “We will be making contact soon.”
“Be careful of what is told to them,” the Druid instructed. “Full Justice shall be meted out within the next few weeks, including to those you have captured, other than those few young enough and healthy enough for the Clinic. As it is, Justice might serve as a distraction for those within Hogwarts. Perhaps that might be a good time to strike.”
He turned to the technomage. “Take care of what needs to be done quickly to the evil young ones. The process must finish on the day of Justice.”
“It shall be done.”
“Potter claims to know where the Hogwarts Horcrux was,” the second team leader mused. “If the snake remains where he is, and Riddle is off trying to deal with Justice, then we will deal with it as well.”
“Let it be done.”
“Do we attack the three camps before Justice, or on the Day of Justice?” the only woman asked.
“A difficult decision,” the Druid stated. “Draw up three plans. One to attack them as soon as possible, one for two days before Justice, and one for the Day of Justice.”
“Will the Ravens supply enough man-power for the last and to defend Justice?” she asked. “Can they even provide that many?”
The Druid took a deep breath and had to admit, “No.” He thought a moment and then nodded. “It is time to show the magical world how numerous we are. Never mind the other plans. We shall announce that Justice is coming, but not the location. Half of the Ravens and your strike teams shall attack the camps just before Justice Day, before we reveal the location of Justice. That announcement should draw Riddle to Justice along with many, hopefully most, of his people. You shall then strike at the snake, while Potter and a team invades Hogwarts.”
“And at Justice? After all, we hope that the Dark Lord himself will intervene.”
“He is just one wizard,” the Druid scoffed. “Up to one quarter of our forces shall be at Justice. There shall be a few Druids and a hundred of the Ravens, after all.”
“You do know that we have found ways to actually measure most aspects of magical power,” the technomage pointed out.
“I am aware, in general terms,” the Druid conceded.
“We have six very accurate rating scales, and two others we are working on.”
“Can you explain that?” the Druid asked.
“What the rating scales are? Yes. How we take the measurements? not without a lot of technical detail which, no offense, you do not have the background knowledge to comprehend,” the technomage answered. “As best we can determine, there are at least four different magical powers involved, which we group in scale sets of four, two, and one each. The powers measured in the group of four measurements are closely related; three are inherent, meaning you are born with the potential and they do not vary as you age. The fourth is the measurement of how much of your power you are accessing via those three power levels, and should of course improve over time from the moment the core stabilizes around the age of ten or shortly thereafter. In theory, that could be a hundred percent, but never is.”
Seeing he had everyone’s attention, for these kinds of details were hard to come by for those outside the technomage community, the technomage stated, “We have converted our measurements into one hundred point scales, although most are technically open-ended. Now, we have measured over a million mages across the world, and more than twelve million other people, and thousands of other magical beings, so we have a good sampling for our statements.”
The technomage sat back. “The first number is what most people would think of as magical power – how much raw power a being can in theory access. All full humans who are not born with serious mental and/or physical defects will register on this scale somewhere between six and twelve if they are what we call the Mundane."
"So, you actually do claim that Mundanes have magic?" a team leader asked.
“Oh, yes, but not much. All living things have at least a tinge of magic, as does the world itself, and of course many places in the world have magic as well, although there, I grant you, we are still trying to figure things out. As for the Mundane, only a few rare ones, less than three dozen who are otherwise normal I believe, so far register at between six and ten. Most Mundane are at eleven or twelve. Then, there is a skip in humans. The next group starts at nineteen and goes through twenty-five. We have yet to find a full-human, or even one who is at least seven-eighths human, who scores between thirteen and eighteen, or twenty-six through thirty-two. This second group makes up the true ‘squibs.’ Of them, over ninety-eight percent of the ones we have found have had either one or more magical or squib grandparent.”
“That you can prove,” the Druid pointed out.
“True,” the technomage agreed. “As best we can tell, there are few if any true Mundane-born squibs or mages; all seem to have magical ancestry, however distant.”
“But how many of the Mundane have some magical heritage which doesn’t manifest?” the female team leader asked.
“That we don’t know,” the technomage admitted. “We estimate at least twenty percent.”
The Druid brought them back on point. “Of course other magical beings fill in your gaps to a degree.”
“Very true,” the technomage agreed. “Giants, merpeople, and other magical sentients other than goblins and elves register in groups between fifteen and thirty-six, while trolls, who are semi-sentient, register between thirteen and seventeen. Elves have so far ranked between fifty and seventy-eight, and all have power utilization of over ninety percent, while goblins group between twenty-one and forty-two, which is why they can make magical items and potions.”
The others all nodded their understanding.
“Full magicals start at thirty-three and generally go up to eighty-five, with most grouped between forty and sixty. We have found very few at eighty-six and above. In fact, less than a hundred out of more than a million have been scored at eighty-six through eight-nine, and only nine have been scored at ninety through ninety-four, although we estimate Merlin might have been a ninety-six or higher.”
Everyone looked a bit surprised at those numbers. “The second and third numbers in the first group measure two types of magic. Although the terms miss a great many nuances, we tend to label the two ‘charms’ and ‘transfiguration’ – in effect the ability to use magic to affect an object and using magic to change an object. So far, never have we found any full magical who had a magical talent number equal to his power – it is always at least a little less. Nor have we found one whose magical number scored less than a thirty, yet the numbers themselves can vary widely even for those with the same power levels. The utilization percentage varies widely, and is of coursed influenced by training.”
The technomage smiled. “If you dislike the implications of those numbers, you won’t like the others, either. The next two ratings grouped together are those related to divination and second sight. There, the levels are unconnected to the overall power level. All normal people – Mundane, squib, and mage – have at least a divination level of six and a second sight level of fifteen, as do goblins. Mundanes who score over a twenty in second sight can start sensing ghosts, for example. Mundanes have registered up to thirty-six in divination, well-able to influence basic predictors such as Tarot cards and the like. As for second-sight, that gift seems almost equally distributed across the human and goblin populations.”
“That is why schools in the America, Asia, and the Pacific no longer allow students to take up the study of divination unless they score at least a forty in that category,” the Druid put in. “We had wondered what that number meant.”
“As for the other two numbers, one is still very much a work in progress, and probably represents many things. Essentially, those with scores over thirty have at least one magical gift. Those are subject to inheritance. As for the last, that is even more difficult to explain, and we are still figuring it out.”
“I understand it has something to do with a power to influence events, in a way,” the Druid stated.
The technomage nodded. “The Mundane start here at twelve and may score up to thirty, while there is little difference between squibs and mages, except that squibs start at twenty-seven and mages at thirty. At thirty, magical healing kicks in, but in a sense above sixty, it starts acting like a trace of good luck potion. It doesn’t mean good things will happen to you, but that when bad things happen, it seems to indicate you start having better chances of surviving.”
“And is it just healing?” the Druid asked.
“No,” the technomage agreed. “Then it really does simulate a good luck potion.”
“Tell us Riddle’s numbers,” the Druid said quietly.
“How the hell did you get those!” the female team leader nearly yelled.
“From the Horcrux that was in Harry’s scar and the one in the locket before we destroyed them, of course,” the technomage answered. “The utilization rating there is totally off, but the other scores would be valid. He has a power score of ninety-four – the highest ever directly recorded – and scores of eighty-seven in charms and seventy-eight in transfiguration. His divination score is forty-two, but the second-sight score is only eighteen. His luck-healing score, which we simply call magical influences, is also lower than one might expect, but still a respectable forty-eight.”
“Would the utilization score reflect what the Dark Lord had when he created the Horcrux, or that of the scar itself?” the Druid asked.
“What Riddle had at the time – a seventy-eight when he created the locket Horcrux and ninety-six when he was banished. You want to know about yourself, since you will be the most powerful person fighting Riddle, and Harry," the technomage stated.
“Especially Harry,” the Druid replied.
"Very well. These will be in the following order: power; charms; transfiguration, utilization; divination; second sight; and then the magical influence." He took out a sheet of paper and a simple Muggle pen and scribbled for a few moments. He handed it over to the Druid.
The Druid shook his head. “Just tell us. They need to know as well.”
“Yours are very high, the highest likely to be present in any confrontation with the Dark Lord at Justice: eighty-seven power; eighty-one charms; eighty-one transfiguration, ninety-six utilization, forty-eight divination, seventy-two second sight, and seventy-eight influence.” The technomage let the group absorb that, and then said quietly, “Harry's current numbers are, in order, ninety-three, ninety, seventy-two, ninety-six, forty-eight, forty-two, and . . . ninety-six."
The Druid had looked pleased at the first three numbers, but the utilization and influences numbers surprised him.
“Either Dumbledore put some blocks on Harry’s abilities, or his parents did and no one thought to check on them, unless Dumbledore deliberately left them on. His utilization score was twenty-seven when he came to us! If we hadn’t taken the blocks off, he never would have developed fully, only occasionally drawing on his full power when his life was in danger!” the technomage pointed out. “I should also point out that if his influences score was below average instead of so far above, if Riddle hadn’t killed him that Halloween night, the people Dumbledore placed him with surely would have, several times over. Still, the important thing is, Riddle’s power-level is astounding. If luck is on his side in the fight at Justice, he may lose most if not all of his troops, but still take out all the forces you have proposed having there, even if you are there.”
“Then another two hundred Ravens shall be there, camouflaged . . . along with as many of the Hidden as we can spare.”
The others blinked. The Hidden were the elite of the Druids. No one outside their number knew how many there were; no one else knew how much magical knowledge and power they might have access to, but it was certain to be considerable.
The Druid disappeared.
The four team leaders, Tudor, Henry, Karl, and Tabatha, all smiled grimly to each other – their paths were before them.
Late the next afternoon, Hermione found Harry sitting alone. The trio of teens did not know precisely where they were staying, only that it was a well-hidden druidic settlement somewhere in Britain. For some weeks, Hermione and Luna had been tutors in their seventh year subject material – Hermione had already been awarded her O N.E.W.T.s in Transfiguration, Astronomy, and Arithmancy, while Luna had been awarded hers in Runes and Symbols. Both had, in fact, taken their N.E.W.T. exams in Charms and Potions earlier that day, and both would taken their Defense exam the next week, followed by one in Runes and Symbols for Hermione and Transfiguration for Luna.
Harry was being tutored in his other school subjects as well, although not as intensely as the two girls. He had, however, earned his O in Defense, and was waiting to hear back on Charms. Primarily, however, Harry was doing physical conditioning and basic combat training.
Seeing her friend looking pensive, Hermione teased, “I bet I know what you’re thinking about.”
Harry turned and smiled. “Bet you don’t.”
Hermione thought about that and merely shrugged. “All right. You didn’t look too pleased with your thoughts, so I thought you might be feeling dissatisfied that you have to sit out this phase of the campaign.” Seeing Harry’s reaction, she went on, “Don’t get me wrong, I know you don’t want to fight, I just thought you might still think it’s your responsibility because of that stupid prophecy.”
“I guess I can understand why you’d think that,” Harry had to admit. “But strictly speaking, if that prophecy is true and I have to be the one who either ends Voldemort or, well, you know, that doesn’t mean I have to take out each Death Eater and try to undermine the racist Ministry as well. Those both should have been the responsibility of the magical population of Britain, only they reneged on both. We were just fortunate that you found us some allies who could force a political solution by the Druids and now the International to some degree. Can you imagine us trying to get the goblins to help us? Or trying to get the Cup out of Lestrange’s vault? Never mind trying to fight what passes for the Ministry, the Death Eaters, and Voldemort, all at the same time.” Harry shook his head. “No thank you!” Harry’s mouth then quirked. “Besides, I have to be in at the end, so I’m happy to be training now.”
“Then what were you thinking about?” Hermione asked gently, placing her hand on Harry’s shoulder.
“I’ve been thinking about myself and Luna, and you and me,” Harry answered.
“I’m glad you’re spending time with Luna,” Hermione said simply and honestly.
“I know,” Harry acknowledged. “I just miss some of the quality time we were spending together.”
“During the days and evenings, or over night?” Hermione asked carefully.
“All the above,” Harry admitted. “Luna said the three of us should get together and, well, discuss the possibilities.”
“All right,” Hermione agreed, to Harry’s surprise. “We should at least start now, before we’re overwhelmed by events.”
Four days later, Draco Malfoy regained consciousness, but could not move, could not speak. He could not feel anything below his neck and felt little above it.
Fearfully, Draco opened his eyes, and saw he was in a very strange all white, stainless steel/aluminum, and glass room. In front of him were white curtains. There were vague noises, which Draco could not identify as electronic equipment and sensors.
Only Draco’s eyes could move.
There were shapes on either side of him, which he couldn’t understand.
Suddenly there was a face in front of his.
“Ah, donor 45, you’re awake. If you understand, blink your right eye.”
For once Draco did as he was told.
“We would not usually awaken a donor well into the program, but there was a special request made, just for you. Would you like to see what we did to you? If so, please blink twice.”
After a hesitation, Draco blinked twice.
The woman smiled nastily. “Normally, this opens out on an operation theatre,” she said, gesturing at the curtains. “Since it’s not in use, the window should act as a mirror.” She opened the curtains.
If he could have, Draco would have screamed in horror.
It would have taken him some time to process what he had seen, if he had any left, but Draco’s arms and shoulders had been removed, as had his lower torso and parts of his digestive tract. Draco still had skin on his face and neck, with a spinal column, his sternum and a few ribs, lungs, heart, and a few other necessary internal organs, contained in two slightly separate containers. The one with his lungs moved automatically, making him breathe. Electrodes helped regulate his liver, spleen, one remaining kidney, etc. A tube fed him and kept him hydrated and out of pain, while another took the place of his bladder. The top of Draco’s skull was also missing, and his brain was held by the base of his skull and was surrounded by a third container of liquid.
“Thank you for ‘donating’ your currently unnecessary bits and pieces,” the woman said. “Dissecting you and your friends has added a bit to our knowledge of how magic affects tissue. We are going to use you for a few more experiments – we want to see if our second generation bionic eye will work with your magic, for example. I’ll be removing one of your eyes in a few minutes. Do you have a preference as to which you lose? If so, blink that one. . . . No? Then since I am left-handed, taking the right one will be a bit easier. Oh, don’t worry. You can’t really resist, but leaving you awake would make the procedure a bit more difficult. We will wake you up at least once more to see how it works.”
The woman smiled again. “You are a so-called Pureblood. While blood-purity is irrelevant, you may be interested to know that magic is mostly controlled through blood and nerves. While giving your blood to a non-magical person, or even what you would call a Squib, does not give them the use of magic, it does decrease healing times by a factor of between six and eight for Squibs, and eight to as much as twelve for the Mundane. We will be using your eye to give full sight to a member of the Collective, and your surplus blood will promote her healing. We already have used your left kidney and bone marrow in similar ways. When we end our experiments, your other eye and kidney, not to mention your heart, lungs, liver, and other bits will be used as well. Your surplus arteries and veins are even now being used to help save the lives of several Mudanes in surgeries, while your skin is saving the lives of three Mundane children who were severely burned. We have orders to keep the rest of you alive until the first of May, when we will process what is left of you. Congratulations, Mister Malfoy. In dying, for the first time in your life you have been made truly useful.” 197 smiled, despite knowing Malfoy would not know the reference. “You are being assimilated.”
Kingsley Shacklebolt remained very still as he regained consciousness. His mind raced as he tried to remember what had happened. He had been exiting a safe house, about to go on to meet Lee Jordan to send out a brief resistance message, and then things . . . just stopped until a few moments before.
“Open your eyes, Mister Shacklebolt,” a pleasant female voice ordered.
Reluctantly, Kingsley did so.
To his immense surprise, he was not in anything that resembled a cell. It was, in fact, a very bland Muggle hotel room.
“Do try not to use magic, on the off-chance Riddle’s minions are scanning this area,” she said. “We’ll jam their scanners again when we want to leave.”
“I take it you’re claiming to be part of the group that took out the brute squads that were enforcing the Taboo,” Kingsley commented, raising himself up on the bed by his elbows.
“I am,” she acknowledged.
“I told you he has more sense than the average wizard,” Harry said from the opposite side of the room.
Kingsley almost gave himself a whiplash from turning his head so quickly. Then he sat back down and softly chuckled. “Potter. I should have known. The twins said you were likely involved.”
“Thanks, I think,” Harry retorted.
Shacklebolt then forced himself to sit fully up. “So, what is going on?” He looked at the woman. “You’re from America?”
“I sound that way, don’t I?” she responded. “I won’t answer, and I won’t give you a name, as officially, no outsiders are currently involved in taking down Riddle and his false Ministry.”
“You are the leader of the only known British ‘resistance,’ even though there is little evidence that you have effectively done anything to stop the Muggle-baiting, Muggle-born round-ups and murders, or the taboo-enforcers.”
Kingsley winced, but said nothing.
“Still, you have made efforts on a smaller-scale, and above all, by sending out your messages, you will gain credit when we succeed against Riddle.”
That brought the former-auror’s head up. “Really?”
“Really,” she responded. “Since we aren’t really here, we can hardly take credit, can we?”
Shacklebolt turned to Harry.
“Yes, I’m the ‘Chosen One’ as well as the bloody ‘Boy-Who-Lived’,” Harry reluctantly acknowledged. “Who the hell wants to live with a burden like that? No, once we’re done with Riddle, I’ll be leaving Britain. You won’t want me as a poster boy, because then people will look to me to solve their problems, like they did Dumbledore. That didn’t work out in the Sixties and Seventies, and I know I’d do an even worse job than him. The Resistance has to take official credit for most of what happens, so that you guys can establish a legitimate Ministry.”
The woman nodded. “There will be a concerted strike on the death camps the Ministry established in a few days. . . .”
“The death camps are real?” Shacklebolt exclaimed in horror. He had of course heard the rumors, but hadn’t believed they could be true.
“They are,” the woman acknowledged. “The survivors will be taken to various countries where they will tell their stories. This will legitimize both your revolt and what others will be doing for Justice. Those involved in the camps, and those we have otherwise captured and tried, will be punished by another group. There will be none who will be in doubt about who that group is, but there will be nothing anyone can do about it, except either congratulate or complain. Now, you can come with us and observe much of what happens, or you can distance yourself. If you choose to come with us, you will be able to safely broadcast messages concerning the events with good knowledge. Or, you can distance yourself and be seen to be reacting outside of events. It is your choice, but no matter if you come along or not, you may not interfere.”
“I’ll risk coming along,” Shacklebolt replied.
“Then Harry and I will be portkeying the three of us to a safe location outside the country, near where your allies are preparing Justice.” That phrase tickled Shacklebolt’s memory, but he couldn’t remember from where. Something he had half-heard in History of Magic. . . . “A day or two after Justice and the liberation of the camps, no matter if Riddle is still alive at that point or not, you will hear firsthand the stories of any of those held in the camps who are still capable of speaking, along with a selection of the international press. You may then comment however you like to the press as the native leader of the resistance. We may even be able to allow you to help, or even lead, an attack on the Ministry itself at some point around that time – the timing of some of our final plans are somewhat in flux at this point. We will not dispute you if you take credit for anything you are not in direct control of, but it might be best if you just acknowledge that freedom fighters from around the world made these strikes to free their magical brethren. That will absolve you of any blame, other than to the supporters of the current regime.”
“That might be best,” Shacklebolt agreed.
The woman merely nodded and went to the telephone to make a call. “Three to transport in three minutes from . . . now.” She hung up and continued to consult her wrist watch, while Harry held out a wire coat hanger. The other two moved to grab hold. At the right moment, the woman activated the portkey with the key word, “Nargle.”
For the remaining days of April, messages started appearing around magical sites in Britain – JUSTICE IS COMING! The first messages were received with some measure of terror in the remaining general magical community, until the Voice of the Resistance started broadcasting the same message, and the people noticed that those working for or with the Ministry were looking distinctly nervous.
Unknown to the general public, several more supporters of the Ministry/Voldemort were going missing. In their fear, many of the remaining supporters and Death Eaters started congregating in their off-hours. It had not gone completely unnoticed that the missing, other than the Enforcement Squads, had disappeared when alone, especially when outside of magical areas.
This made the Dark Lord very unhappy – it was a sign of weakness on the part of his followers, a sign that they feared his enemies more than they feared him. However, since he could not in fact do anything to protect his followers, even he knew it would be counterproductive to chastise his servants . . . at the moment.
All he could do, as much as he hated it, was wait upon events.