Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Harry Potter and the Aftermath


by RyanJenkins 0 reviews

Ryan introduces Kingsley to Wizarding Email, and shows Harry and the Weasleys more about his computer, which works by magic instead of electricity -- and how an experimental program can detect Blac...

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: G - Genres: Humor - Characters: Ginny,Harry,Hermione,Kingsley,Ron - Published: 2016-07-19 - 4482 words - Complete



Launching a kite with magic is just a matter of raising it up until the wind takes it. Muggles have to do all kinds of exertions, especially on a calm night, like this one was. There was no prospect of a storm, but there's always enough electricity floating around up in the air to charge a battery, and it's easy to collect if you have Dr. Franklin's Patented Electrical Fluid Attractor Charm on your kite. It's safe, too, even in a thunderstorm, if you have a large brass key hanging from the string, charged with Dr. Franklin's Patented Lightning-To-Ground Hex.

Seated again, I said, “Muggle computers today are often – usually, in fact – routinely connected to other computers, all over the world. This is called the internet. Wizarding computers can use the Muggle internet to send and receive data, by sort of piggybacking on the electricity they send flowing around. The Research Wizards call it “sorcerous heterodyning.” But the Wizarding information is all sent by magic, flows much faster than the electricity does, and Muggles simply can't detect it. One thing computers do is send and receive electronic mail, or e-mail; the MagicGeek community figured out how to do that even before the Research Association got involved, and with Magic, we call it Wizard E-Mail, or We-mail. It goes anywhere in the world, pretty much instantaneously, and doesn't cost a – a knut.”

“What, put the owls out of work? They won't like that,” objected Bill.

“Oh, no, we still use owls, and other birds, lots. You can't send packages by Wemail, and not everybody has a Wizarding computer. It is, though, completely secure and private from anybody, except a Witch or Wizard who is enough of a computer expert to hack into the communication-stream. That's another term to be aware of. Getting access to someone else's e-mail, or another computer, without permission is called 'hacking,' and when you do it with Magic it's Wizard-hacking, or Whacking. Now, let's see, last night I sent Secretary Blackstone a Wemail saying I'd arrived safely and would report further this evening, so I'd better keep my word and send him something, or he'll wonder what became of me.”

I opened up my Wemail program and started to type. All is going well. Things are moving fast. I'm in conference now with Kingsley Shacklebolt, I stopped and looked up. “Did I spell that right?” When everybody nodded I continued, … the new Minister for Magic, Harry Potter, and other important Wizards, and will report at length as soon as time permits. My credentials have been accepted and everyone is entirely friendly and forthcoming. Minister Shacklebolt has said they want a full and complete exchange of information. The Special Relationship is definitely in effect here. We are exchanging information, and I hope we can arrange personnel exchanges in the near future. Hope you and all are well and making progress. Jenkins, UFWR USDOM.

My typing had gotten their attention. I do about 75 words per minute on a keyboard. “Wow – you type really fast!” Hermione said admiringly. “And the letters are so beautifully formed, just like printing,” added Arthur, looking sideways at Molly.

“I was ordered to send all my messages encrypted,” I went on, “since we didn't know if other dark Wizards were still running around over here, or how much they might know about Wemail. The Secretary gave me an encryption hex that I hope you won't mind if I don't pronounce aloud...”

I pointed my wand at the screen, and the message changed to Hello darlings! We've been having glorious weather over here, although it does seem to rain a lot, and have been busy seeing all the sights. The gardens are simply lovely, and Westminster Hall was very impressive. Everyone here is very nice, although they seem to have a lot of trouble pronouncing things. We played a game of darts last night in a bar, which they call a “pub” over here, and I won, because one of my darts actually hit the target! Tomorrow we're going to Dover, which is supposed to be near the ocean. I'm thinking about getting some of those famous Dover Soles put on my flip-flops. We're going there to visit some people I haven't met, a Mr. & Mrs. Whitecliff. Give Mikey a kiss for me! Love, Emily.

Several people snorted, and Ron let out, “Dover soles! The Whitecliffs of Dover! Crikey!”

“I'm sorry,” I said sheepishly. “The encryption spell is directly between our two wands only, so Secretary Blackstone's wand is the only one which can decrypt the message. My wand seems to keep putting in jokes for some reason.” George gave me a grin and a thumbs-up. “That's an old American joke, about a loudmouthed social-climbing braggart kind of guy telling about his recent trip to England. Somebody asks him if he and his wife saw the white cliffs of Dover, and he says 'See them! We had dinner with them!'”

Everyone groaned, and there was a faint answering groan from upstairs. That got a big laugh, and I looked startled. “Don't worry, mate,” chortled Ron, “that's just the ghoul. You won't see him, he lives in the attic.”

I looked up. “I didn't think it was that bad!” – and the ghoul groaned again, which set us off once more. When we calmed down, I sent the Wemail and started to demonstrate the computer. I created four audio lines terminated with transducer spells, spaced around the room, and played some music; surround sound seemed to be new to them. I showed some movie clips and pictures, both Wizarding and Muggle types. That reminded me of something.

“Say, I've got a picture here I'd like you to see, in case any of you might know what it means. It's a little gruesome, though. When Slimy Parboil was killed, one of the Marines noticed a mark on his arm that was fading out. He took a picture of it – here...” I used my wand.

When the picture of the blood-splashed arm came up on the display, everyone gasped and went rigid. Molly and Ginny stifled screams, and Kingsley said flatly, “The Dark Mark. We know it all too well. This man was a Death Eater.”

“Death Eaters were members of Voldemort's inner circle, his most trusted and most powerful people,” said Harry slowly. “I never thought that there might be any Death Eaters in other countries.”

“That's really scary, actually,” said Hermione.

“Ryan, have you heard any – indications, any talk or anything like that – about this Parboil fellow having connections with any other country, besides Britain I mean?”

“Harry, I don't know. Someone might have, and I didn't hear about it because all my mission briefings were focused on this country. Or someone might turn up something like that any time. I can send a Wemail, though, and ask.”

“Yes, if you would please. I just...” Harry suddenly looked up at the Minister for Magic and seemed to shrink a bit. “Sorry, Kingsley. Talking out of turn, I suppose.”

“No you weren't. You're absolutely right.” Shacklebolt transferred his gaze to me. “By all means, see what you can find out.”

At that moment the sound system played back the sound of a sheet-steel rural mailbox being opened and closed, followed by a Tibetan temple bell. “Hey, I've got mail.” I switched programs and looked at the header. “Secretary Blackstone's still in his office.”

Kingsley's eyebrows were way up. “An official answer from Washington DC in what – fifteen minutes? Amazing. I can see we're going to have to find out about this...Wemail.”

The message came up as a long complaint about how little Mikey was teething, along with various odd references to other imaginary family members. I decrypted it and we all read it together.

To Minister for Magic Kingsley Shacklebolt: Most cordial greetings, and I would like to respectfully suggest that you and I should meet personally as soon as can be arranged. (“Excellent!” said Kingsley.) I cannot leave the country just now, but you would be welcomed with open arms if you can travel here. However, I fully recognize that you are probably also extremely busy, and we will have to work toward setting a date. In the meantime, we will gladly welcome any representatives you wish to send to Washington, and hope you will do so as soon as possible.

To Undersecretary Jenkins: Congratulations on such swift progress. Well done. Continue exchanging information and developing relations. I am arranging to send you more help, probably arriving at Heathrow on Thursday. Watch for Wemail confirmation. When he arrives, put him in the picture and introduce him. You will then come home via TAPKey and make your report. You may bring anyone with you that the British wish to send, or that your judgment indicates should come. Things are going as well as can be expected here, not as fast as I would like but we're making gains. Blackstone.

“Congratulations, Ryan,” said Harry with a smile. “I think your boss is pleased with you.”

I was saved from trying to think up a suitable reply (“Well, gee, I did have two whole days to work on it” seemed like a little much) when the mailbox sounded again. “There's more!” This time it was a one-line message, Dear Emily, little Mikey is teething nicely on your favorite pocket watch. Thought you'd like to know. Love, Hildegard. When I applied the decryption spell, it read To Jenkins. When you return, consider having the research team update your wand. That Whitecliffs of Dover joke is older than Stonehenge.

That brought the house down, and Kingsley said “I'm going to like that man!” He looked at me. “Since he knows I'm here, I should certainly send a reply. But I do not yet know how to do so on your – computer. Could you write as I dictate?”

“No sweat! I go pretty fast.”

“Indeed. And I am used to dictating. If you get behind, just say so.”

“Yes sir.” I poised my fingers on the keyboard, and Kingsley began:

“Begin. To--” He stopped suddenly and asked, “What is Secretary Blackstone's first name?”


“Thank you. Begin again. To Alistair Blackstone, Interim United States Secretary of Magic, warmest and most cordial greetings. Your message has delighted all of us, as has your Undersecretary for Foreign Wizarding Relations, Mr. Ryan Jenkins. I look forward very much to meeting you in person in the near future, but like you, I have too many urgent responsibilities at the present time to justify any extended travel. We will prepare a new set of Trans Atlantic Portkeys immediately, so that regular travel and communication can resume between our countries. I will designate a small initial group of representatives to accompany him, and would strongly – no, make that 'respectfully' – respectfully suggest that you send Mr. Jenkins back to Britain after he has made his reports. He has made many friends here very quickly, and I can think of no one better able to re-establish our Special Relationship on a firm and lasting basis. Our meeting tonight will end shortly, but I hope to begin using Wemail myself in the near future, and believe this amazingly quick method of communication, which is new to us here – no, strike that last bit, um, from 'method of communication' – Got that? Right. – will be of great help in cementing relations between our two organizations, as well as in arranging a suitable time for you and I to meet. In closing, I would like to thank you again, on behalf of the entire Ministry, for reaching out to us in such a friendly way. Most sincerely, Kingsley Shacklebolt, Acting Minister for Magic for the United Kingdom.”

What I had typed hung on the screen, and Kingsley read it over carefully, making a few small changes. “Can anyone think of anything I should add?” he asked, looking round the room. Nobody could. He nodded at me, and I applied the encryption: it became a rambling letter from “Elmer” largely concerned with the details of growing hibiscus and rhododendron plants, and I sent it off.

Then he got up and stretched. “Listen, everybody, it's getting late. There's still a great deal to discuss, but we won't help things by staying up all night. At least we won't help me! I'm going home. In the morning...” He rubbed his brow. “In the morning we have a meeting at nine. Arthur, Bill, I will need you for that. We'll see how far Percy has got with those financial summaries, poor fellow. He's done wonders, really, but Merlin's undershirt! What a mess we found.” Turning to me, he added, “Ryan, it has been wonderful to meet you, and that's not merely diplomacy. You seem to have brought laughter with you, and we all could use more of that. May I assume you're going to fall in with my suggestion and stay here while you learn our recent history?”

“I think I'd love to stay here at any time, and right now your suggestion makes perfect sense.”

“Excellent. But we must push things along. Would you please come to my office at the Ministry tomorrow – let us say – one p.m.?”

“Gladly, but ahh...I don't actually...”

“Of course. Harry, would you bring him?”

“Sure. No problem.”

“Good. You don't need to come in til then. And now, good night, everyone.” We all echoed that, as he stepped to the fireplace and took a pinch of floo powder out of a flowerpot sitting on the mantle. With a flare of green flame, he was gone.

Of course we stayed up for hours, anyway.

Arthur, Molly, George and Bill excused themselves fairly quickly, leaving Ron, Hermione, Harry, Ginny and me. “Harry,” I said conversationally, “I didn't know you were raised in the Muggle world. We heard both your parents were Wizards, and Dumbledore placed you with relatives...”

“Well, that's true, actually, he did. My mother came from a Muggle family, though, and it's her sister – my Aunt Petunia – and her husband that I lived with.”

Before I could ask anything else, Ron spoke up. “It's a bit of a rum story, mate. They weren't very good to Harry. They were – I mean – if you don't need to know...”

“Oh, sorry. No. Not important, none of that – unless you think it is.”

“Right,” said Harry, looking rather relieved. “You said you didn't know you were a Wizard, either, until you turned eleven?”

“That's right. But I did have some weird stuff happen, a few times, when I was little.”

“So did I.”

“Me too,” put in Hermione. “Ryan, I hope you don't mind my asking, but – how old are you?”

“Twenty-one.” I looked at them. “And a half. And you guys are what, seventeen?”

“Just about. I'm a year younger,” said Ginny.

Harry continued his thought. “When I turned eleven, Hogwarts sent someone to tell me about it on my birthday. How does it work in America?”

“On your birthday, yup, same deal. It was a Wizard and a Witch from the Kentucky State Department of Magic that came to our house. We were living in Beaver Lick at the time.”

Ron had a sudden coughing fit just at this point, and Hermione pounded him on the back.

“My dad worked at a radio station across the river in Cincinnati. I went to the regular Muggle public school, and I was already in seventh grade when they came. My birthday's in November, so I had a year of Junior High School with Muggle kids.”

“Oh. Mine's at the end of July, so I started right away that fall. Did you have a computer as a kid, then?”

“Yeah, but a really simple Muggle one. Couldn't do much but play some really dumb games, although you could write papers. The internet and email and stuff came later. I took typing in seventh grade, and that helped a lot. When I went off to I-WU, I met some kids who were MagicGeeks, got really interested, persuaded Mom and Dad to get me a really nice computer – well, nice for that time – and they helped me get it working magically and then I sort of – souped it up.”

“Were you sent there by the Department, or did you have a choice?” Hermione wanted to know.

“Well, each school does serve a region, and they have to take any Wizard or Witch from that area, and we lived in the I-WU region. But you're allowed to choose, or even transfer later on, if they have an opening and are willing to take you. I thought it would be really cool to go to CalWiz. Los Angeles has, like, Hollywood, and Disneyland and stuff – or maybe Berkeley, there were lots of great stories about that place, but I would have had to wait at least another year, and I mean, come on, wait? To start learning how to do Magic? No way!”

They all grinned and nodded. “Too right!” said Ron. “I'm still getting used to the idea of five different Wizard schools, you know? But I guess America's a really big place.”

“Yeah, it is, and I guess that kinda shapes our outlook. Hey, let me show you something on that – I've got a program...” I used the wand and keyboard for a few moments, and a map of the British Isles came up on the display. “OK, here's your country, and here...” A map of the USA came up beside it in the same scale. “Is mine. Bloomington, Indiana, where I live, is right about here, in the middle.” With my wand, I lit up the dot on the map, and then picked the British Isles out of the display. “If you just overlay the two maps, you can see the difference. Let me turn the UK on its side for a moment – the distance between New York City and Bloomington is just about the same as the distance between – let's, see, Land's End and – the Orkney Islands.”

Of course that's all the way up from the very bottom of the island to the top, the longest distance in Britain. They were impressed, and Ron whistled. “And that's only about a third of the way across! I didn't realize America was three times as big as Britain.”

“Well, it depends on how you figure it. Here, let me show you something else. If you take all the land in the British Isles and sort of squeeze it into a nice square shape...” The British Isles became a dark square with the British flag on it. “And do the same to the US...” The irregular outline became an empty white square. “...and that's including Alaska, up here, and Hawaii – there. Now, let's find out how many Britains it takes to fill up America.” The British square replicated itself and started filling up the US square. I brought up a digital counter beside it. The counter stopped at 40.255.

Ron's mouth dropped open. “So the United States is forty times bigger than the British Isles?”

“Yeah – in land area,” I separated the maps again and brought up their statistics. “Our population's only about five times bigger than yours, so five schools works out about the same.”

“That computer is really amazing. It's a wonderful way to handle information,” observed Hermione, “I've used computers too, but I've never seen one that could do that, or worked so quickly, or that has such a beautiful display, either.”

“And the best part is that it works by magic!” put in Harry. “I fooled around with Dudley's computer a few times – he's my cousin. Muggle computing has a lot more steps, and – it's just more complicated, and took me forever to do anything. All you do is type a little and use your wand, even from across the room. It's just massively cool.”

“Defo!” echoed Ron.

I nodded. “With magic, you can do things with computers that Muggles just can't – at least not yet. But – Harry – listen, your Auror department is going to want one of these. Before I came over, I had most of a whole day at the Magcial Research labs, and they gave me some new programed spells they're working on, including one that detects dark magic and shows it on a map. They call it the Sniffer.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Ummm...uh, who's in charge of your Aurors now?”

“Actually, nobody, just at present. Kingsley would be, except he's got this other job now. A lot of our staff were killed, or are in hospital, and way too many turned out to be Death Eaters. It's fallen to me and a couple of others to try and salvage what we could, keep things going – Kingsley comes down and helps when he can, but he hasn't named a new head yet.”

“Then you're the best person to show this to. All right.” I picked up my wand and a thought struck me. I looked around at the others and gathered their eyes. “Look, this is secret, OK? More than just 'confidential.' I don't think Harry's new boss, whoever he turns out to be, is going to like it if word of this gets out.”

They all nodded and I started loading the program. “Besides, it isn't really ready yet. This is what they call a 'beta test' version of the spell. They give it out to a few trusted people to go out and try, and then report back how it works, especially if something doesn't work right or needs changing. There. Now this thing is supposed to have a radius of over a hundred miles, but works better on shorter distances. It detects where we are – and scans around for – let's tell it – say, a thirty-mile radius.” A map of the area appeared on the screen, with a little blue Wizard's hat in the center, labeled The Burrow.

It showed a couple of villages, and several isolated dwellings. Ron and Ginny got excited, identifying a couple of those as Wizarding households which wouldn't show up on Muggle maps or photos. “Look – there's the Lovegoods' place,” said Ron, pointing with his wand.

“Now, watch this.” I pointed my wand at the DETECT button, which dipped and clicked. Instantly a number of symbols appeared on the map, glowing in various colors. I brought up the legend. “So black is the worst, black magic being done right at the moment. None of that around here, that's good! You can tell it to what to show and what to ignore, but right now it's showing all the magic – there's your concealment charm, and my kite – hey, I better not forget to bring that in! – and the wards around other magic households.”

“What's that – there?” Hermione's wand was pointing at an orange circle with a red center.

“That – is a a dark magic object.”

“Whoa!” said Ron. “That's old lady Waffler's place.”

“She's a nasty old Witch,” said Ginny. “I'm not a bit surprised she's got something she shouldn't. Keeps to herself. Dad went over to invite her to share the portkey if she wanted to go to the Quidditch World Cup, and she yelled at him – threatened to turn him into a flobberworm. I never would go near the place.”

“Can you tell what it is?” asked Harry.

“Maybe. Let's see. This is a good test, you know?” I tapped the symbol with my wand and a dialog box appeared which said Hand Of Glory.

“Well, that's pretty dodgy. I don't think it's quite illegal though, just to have one.” Harry frowned. “Is there anything else there?” I centered the display there and zoomed in, until the property filled the screen. We could see the outlines of the small house and some outbuildings. “Excellent!” he said. “Uh...purple, blue, green...those are OK....rather a lot of yellows, that's, um – potentially dangerous – what are those?”

I brought up labels with my wand. “Ingredients for potions, I think. Yes. Some are in the buildings, some are growing in the garden...nightshade...St. Templar's Wort...dried scarabs...”

“I'm quite sure you could make some really nasty things with those ingredients,” said Hermione thoughtfully, “but of course you can make some nasty things with perfectly ordinary ingredients that everyone has around the home. The point is, I think, that she's not doing anything like that now, is she?”
“No. If anyone was actually practicing black magic – or dark magic, as you call it over here – the location would be flashing – the strobing red border, on the legend here – and any objects being used, or ingredients, if it was a potion, would be flashing too.”

“Now” Harry was studying the display intently. “I'd love to see what that would show at Malfoy Manor!”

“Yeah! Brilliant, Harry!” Ron was enthusiastic.

“You're absolutely right, Ryan, the Ministry simply has to have this. You should show it to Kingsley when we go to the Ministry tomorrow. And it wouldn't hurt a bit to have a look round London, now would it?”

“Cool. I definitely think getting this Wizardtech to you is a top priority. In fact, I can see right now that one of the things we're going to have to determine is just how much it will take – teaching and learning and practicing – to get typical people over here (like you guys, for instance) up to speed on this stuff. I think that process needs to begin as soon as possible. And while I'm here, well, you could help me a lot by testing it under various different conditions.”

“Excellent!” I think all four of them said it.

“All part of the job. But you know,” I began, and they looked at me as if afraid that I might have a reason to change my mind, “we haven't even mentioned the main reason you need to get into this stuff.”

They looked puzzled.

“Sooner or later, any dark Wizards or shady characters you've got running around over here are going to find out about it. And start using it. Parboil and company were just starting to use Wemail when they crapped out, so we've almost certainly got some black Wizards with at least a little MagicTech-savvy out there now. Muggles are already having a lot of trouble with crooks and swindlers and such on their internet. Not to mention other things that might be coming down the pike when you start mixing Magic with Muggle knowledge. I'm afraid it's like one of those Genies you can never put back in the bottle after you've let them out. That's what we figure, in the Department, anyway. The only defense is simply to get there firstest, with the mostest.”

Now it was Harry's mouth which had dropped open, and they all stared at me with wide eyes.
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