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Enter the Dragon (Harry Potter/Shadowrun)

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Dunkelzahn, Jul 10, 2018.

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  1. Littlenous

    Littlenous Getting out there.

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    Nope ;) They are going to be THREEFOLD-stomped:

    1) Greengots Bank security, tasked with Greynger's safety.
    2) Aurors responding to amuleth's signal.
    3) "Cleaners" tasked by Lady Malfoy to "wipe-out traces".

    Harry himself is going to be REALLY late to the "party" since he would be on the plane at the time. But he might find some justification for retaliation in future...

    At least, that's how i see the situation... Maybe, kidnappers will pick a time "in synch" with detective's attempt to liberate his wife.
     
    Dunkelzahn and caspian1a like this.
  2. Monitor

    Monitor A Monitor sitting before a Monitor

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    Basically how I see it as well. Although I could see them having even more problems: Let’s not forget that Dumbledore and friends have a vested interest that the Dragon who can wipe out Hogwarts if he were so inclined is not roused...
    The only question is if Malfoy is smart or stupid (stops the attack before it begins is the smart way, waiting until the attack has begun and then interfering or worse, interfering afterwards is a bad idea...)

    But yeah, regardless of how it will be going, the slave traders are toast. Honestly, their best bet is that the Aurors get them...

    Or let’s think about the true worst Case scenario:
    First, it happens during the reunion of Harry and Hermione.
    Second, Lady Malfoy goes one of the stupid routes...

    That would be fun, although not for everyone involved :)
     
    Acolyte, caspian1a and Dunkelzahn like this.
  3. Albus Dumbledore

    Albus Dumbledore Getting out there.

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    Given furious dragon, trigger happy goblins and "cleaners" aurors may end rescuing both slaves and low level slave traders.
     
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  4. Littlenous

    Littlenous Getting out there.

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    As i said, without some sort of miracle, Harry is BOUND to be "late for party". He's going to be on the plane when the "main event" will take place.
     
  5. SystemSearcher

    SystemSearcher "I fought the door and the door won"

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    Unless he jumps.
     
  6. Threadmarks: Section 5.1 - Coming home to roost
    Dunkelzahn

    Dunkelzahn No one of consequence

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    5 Rules of Engagement


    5.1 Coming home to roost


    5.1.1 Ambush

    As the Granger family car pulled into the garage at their home in Crawley, Hermione was practically bouncing with excitement, pulling a fair imitation of her friend Harry’s usual resting state in the process. For the first time in what seemed like ages, she was back at home, and her parents were with her, and she’d be able to see all her old favorite places, and they were going to have a great summer!

    The sun might have set hours earlier, but between her long nap on the way home and a quick stop for dinner — and, perhaps more importantly, an after-dinner ice cream — Hermione had hit her second wind, which led to her bounding energetically into the house as soon as her father unlocked the door.

    “It’s so good to be back home!” the bushy-haired girl gushed as she looked about.

    “And it’s good to have you home, dear,” her mother agreed. “Now off to bed with you! It’s been a very long day.”

    “But I’m not really tired yet,” Hermione complained. She turned to her father, asking, “Ooh, Daddy! Could we play a board game? How about…”

    Her question was interrupted by a cacophony of breaking glass and splintering wood. A split second later, her father jerked his arms up reflexively in a futile attempt to shield himself from the glassy shrapnel of a shattered window, and then his daughter watched him collapse to the ground, bleeding from a multitude of nasty-looking cuts to his face, arms, and torso.

    The young girl turned her still uncomprehending eyes towards a wand-carrying man squeezing in through the window he had just broken. She didn’t recognize him, but the situation suddenly became crystal clear as the stranger caught her eye and had the audacity to smile at her.

    He was here to… but wasn’t the registration supposed to…

    Hermione still didn’t know what to think, aside from the fact that she really didn’t want that man to come anywhere near her. Fortunately, her body didn’t precisely need to think to know what it was about.

    Such was the benefit of practice.

    In a motion drilled to the point of reflex over the course more than a hundred hours on the range — drills which Harry had insisted should include drawing the wand from its carrying place for each set, as his own goblin instructors had taught him to do with his guns — Hermione smoothly drew her wand from its wrist holster, raised it to point at the man’s obnoxiously grinning face, and twitched in the minimalistic, perfectly timed movement to cast a piercing hex.

    And, just as it had in practice, the resulting hex flew true, punching right through that leering face, which went slack for a moment — just long enough for the image of that face and the grotesque hole she had punched in its forehead to sear itself forever into her memory — before the now-deceased man collapsed heavily to the floor.

    "Wot the 'ell?"

    Hermione whirled at the unfamiliar voice behind her, noting with a strangely numb detachment that her mother had also collapsed on the floor, lying next to her father. Neither was moving. She found the source of the voice in the form of another man, looking at her with a shocked expression on his face, even as his wand pointed off in a direction that she suddenly realized had been where her mother would have been standing before she fell.

    Without any conscious direction from her, her wand rose once again, and fired once again, taking the man in the shoulder this time. The wound had just started to bleed when Hermione caught a flash of glowing red out of the corner of her eye, and then she knew no more.

    As Hermione’s unconscious body collapsed to the floor, the emergency portkey Harry had given her earlier that day remained pinned to the inside of her shirt collar, untriggered and forgotten.

    5.1.2 Call to arms

    Amelia Bones sat in her office late in the evening, her fingers drumming with nervous energy on the single folder occupying the desk before her. Unlike most of the paperwork that crossed her desk, almost all of which was handled at least in part by her staff, this one was written entirely in her own hand. Also unlike the vast majority of her paperwork which was generally filed in triplicate to different locations for redundancy, this copy was the only one of its kind.

    Operation Good Housekeeping.

    The proposal was entirely off the record, a black operation, something she had long seen the necessity of but had never had the opportunity to carry out. It was also the sort of operation that she hated with every fiber of her being, precisely the sort of illegal under-the-table dealing she worked so hard to stamp out. The only difference was that this one was intended to help the cause of justice, even though it circumvented the letter of the law.

    Bones scoffed at that last thought; the hypocrisy encapsulated within was thick enough to cut with a knife.

    She hated herself just a little for the fact that she was seriously considering going through with it.

    The situation with the Granger girl had hit Amelia hard. The woman had long viewed the continued existence of the underground slave trade as something of a personal insult, an affront both to common decency and to her own duty as the chief law enforcement officer in wizarding Britain. It was something she could not set aside, a righteous obsession, a vile perversion that she would see ended: for herself, for her nation, and for the hundreds of names listed in that book she kept enshrined on her side table.

    She looked over at the book in question, a list of nearly five hundred names culled from unsolved disappearances, nearly five hundred names belonging to people that she and her investigators were certain had disappeared into the black markets, nearly five hundred names that represented but a drop in the bucket compared to the total number of victims of that bloody business.

    As her eyes fell on that morbid reminder of the stakes, Amelia’s restless fingers stilled; her eyes hardened with an icy resolve; and her thoughts turned back to the situation at hand.

    In addition to a harsh reminder of the ills of society, the Granger girl’s situation was also one of the best opportunities they had ever had to roll up at least part of the sprawling criminal organization her investigators had dubbed, the Syndicate. Auror Weasley’s quick thinking had given them a way to track the girl, and that meant they could catch some of the bastards in the act.

    It was the chance to get hold of one loose thread, something they had never managed to accomplish in the nearly three decades that had passed since Dumbledore rammed the ban on slavery down wizarding Europe’s collective political throat. With that loose thread and careful investigation, they might just be able to unravel the whole putrid mess.

    However, the very fact that they had not yet managed to catch such a break in an investigation spanning thirty years implied some very bad things about her Department, bad things that she thought she had a good handle on but had never been able to prove with full legal rigor. It was those bad things that Good Housekeeping was intended to address.

    If the Granger situation played out as she hoped, then…

    At that moment, the door to Amelia Bones’ office flew open and Constable Morrison, one of the LEP officers who had been monitoring the Granger girl, came crashing in.

    “Chief! Spell fire at the Granger place, our girl just got stunned and bound!”

    Amelia was on her feet like a shot, slamming the alert trigger that would scramble the auror teams with the heel of her hand as she came upright... a trigger that had been untouched since Voldemort’s renowned encounter with Harry Potter back in 1981.

    This was the biggest break they’d had in any of the covert slavery cases since slavery had been forced to become covert, and she was not going to bloody well waste it, no matter what that required of her.

    Behind her, the dossier detailing Operation Good Housekeeping lay abandoned on her desk.

    Abandoned, but most assuredly not forgotten.

    5.1.3 The getaway

    At a certain house in Crawley, a man stood clutching his shoulder in an attempt the stanch the bleeding. He was, however not focused on his own wound, rather he was staring uncomprehendingly at the scene before him.

    “Fucking ‘ell!” he said in a shocked voice. “The bloody twist went an’ killed ‘im.”

    “Shut up an’ get over ‘ere,” one of his compatriots, crouching next to the girl’s unconscious mother with his wand twitching. “Take care o’ the father before the gavvers get ‘ere.” The man looked up from his task and caught sight of the blood running down the first man’s arm. “And quit bleedin’ everywhere, ya idiot! Do ya wanna get nicked?”

    The man flicked his wand up to seal his own wound before doing as he was told, kneeling to get to work on the mental modifications to the girl’s father.

    “I just daan’t…” he was cut off by the panicked shout of one of his other compatriots.

    “We got incomin’! ROBINS! Get tha bird an’ scram!”

    The wounded man and his compatriots dropped what they were doing and scrambled to comply. He grunted in pain as his punctured shoulder reopened when he hefted their unconscious target, but he still managed to make it to their return portkey in time.

    They spun out of existence mere seconds before the rapid-fire cracks of the incoming auror response squads apparating in disrupted the evening quiet, leaving the girl’s two unconscious and partially obliviated parents, a dead body, and a few seemingly insignificant bloodstains behind them.

    5.1.4 Pursuit

    “Clear!”

    The perimeter of the Granger household had already been secured, but the clearing operations were still going on inside when Amelia Bones arrived on the scene. As the Director, she was technically supposed to have waited to come until the site was confirmed secure, but she had missed the first wave only because she had taken the five minutes required to don her old uniform, complete with its layered armor.

    There was eager, and then there was stupid. Amelia generally did her best not to fall into the second category.

    “Report!” she barked on arriving at the scene.

    “Chief!” Auror Hayes snapped to attention. “The site has been secured. The Granger girl has been taken, but control reports the cavalry marker is still intact and tracking. It’s currently in transit. On-site we have two non-magical adults, presumably the girl’s parents, stunned and partially obliviated, and one deceased adult wizard, killed before we arrived.” The man smiled a hard sort of smile, “Between that, and the blood we’ve found on the carpet — one of the attackers, by the placement — it’s clear that the girl didn’t go quietly.”

    Amelia spared only enough time for an answering smile before she began issuing orders.

    “Keep an eye on the tracker for the girl and send for a team from Forensics; we’ve got blood from one of their men, and that means we can put a leash on the little rat.” Her eyes narrowed for just a moment before she added, “And get your partner over here, I need him to help plan the assault.”

    Auror Hayes saluted smartly and went off to carry out his orders. A few moments later, his partner, Auror Shacklebolt arrived.

    “Chief?”

    “I need you to prepare a recon squad and a heavy assault team. You’ll be going after the Granger girl whenever her trace stops long enough for us to catch up,” the dark-skinned man nodded in simple acknowledgement.

    He was one of her most trustworthy men, perhaps the only one she would trust to carry out her next order.

    “And Shack,” she added, waiting for him to meet her eye so there would be no misunderstanding, “Good Housekeeping is a go, remember that when you’re choosing personnel. You will find the relevant information in a dossier on my desk; see it done and destroy the dossier immediately afterwards.”

    Shacklebolt’s only indication of surprise was a slight widening of his eyes. Nonetheless, he saluted in acknowledgement.

    “Yes, Chief!”

    As her man left to carry out her orders, Amelia took a moment to indulge in a pained sigh at the necessity of that last order, before she called for another of her officers to arrange another pursuit and assault squad to follow up on that bloodstain Hayes had reported.

    Even if it was just one of the small fry, she was not about to let any of the slaving vermin slink away from the purifying light.

    5.1.5 If you can’t take the heat…

    One portkey and half a dozen apparations later, the fleeing group of thugs stopped long enough to catch their breath and contact their controller for instructions. The injured man also took the opportunity to foist his unconscious cargo off on one of his compatriots and reseal his shoulder wound.

    “Let the pitch kna we got the twist, an’ we’re dodgin’ tha bloody damned Robins,” the group’s leader ordered their signals man. “Find aahhht wot ‘e wants us ter do wif’ ‘er.”

    Dealing with the interest of the authorities usually involved finding and removing any trackers and then going to ground to wait for the passive trail to go cold.

    “De gaffer says ter take ‘er ter de auction,” the signalman relayed with some understandable disbelief in his voice. He looked up to his immediate leader, “Any idea wa’ that’s about? We ‘aven’t evun checked ‘er fe trackers, yet!”

    The leader frowned, eyes narrowed, as he considered the problem. “Ask ‘im ter confirm.”

    The signalman complied, frowning himself as he relayed the boss’ answer. “’e says ter juss do it, and dun retreat to Safehouse Foteun ter wait fe things ter die down.” He paused for a moment, long enough for the next message to come in, “’e says we wasted way tew much time ed de bird already, bes’ ter make ‘er someone else' problem rite quick.”

    “Bloody two-foot,” the leader mumbled under his breath, before he addressed the group. “Alwigh’, ya ‘eard the geeza, get on it!”

    5.1.6 A bigger fish

    Nearly two hundred miles away in a small house in the country, a closely related scene played out.

    “There, it’s done,” a man said as he sat back from an enchanted piece of messenger parchment, the sort that echoed any writing made on it to a second, linked parchment. He turned to glare with impotent rage at the man standing across the room. “My men will drop the girl off at the auction, and then retreat to Safehouse Fourteen, just like you asked. Now get the hell out of my house!”

    The target of his glare, a painfully nondescript man with an inexplicable air of competence about him, was standing on the other side of the room with his wand drawn threateningly. Between them, a woman and two terrified children had been bound and forced to their knees.

    His wand never wavering, the painfully nondescript man raised a finger to his ear and nodded once.

    “My spotter confirms that the target has been delivered,” he said in a dead sort of voice, neither it nor his demeanor betraying emotion of any sort.

    “I told you they would; now get out!” the first man demanded indignantly. “You’ve got what you wanted!”

    In lieu of an answer, the nondescript man’s wand flicked once, and there was a wet splash followed by a meaty thud.

    No!” the first man gave a strangled cry as he saw his wife murdered before his eyes. The intruder’s wand then denied him the chance to say or do anything else. Two more movements and two more thuds followed.

    Ten minutes later, the nondescript man walked off the property, still expressionless and unhurried, leaving the house behind him a burning mausoleum.

    Five minutes after that, the flames had wiped out any lingering trace of his role in the events there.

    5.1.7 Horrifying realizations

    “Gentlemen,” a man’s voice came from somewhere off to her left, “we have something just a little special for you tonight, a late addition to our lineup for this session.”

    Hermione was having trouble thinking as she struggled to understand exactly what was going on around her. Her thoughts flowed like sludge due to the lingering effects of her forcible incapacitation, and her body was running on autopilot.

    The voice continued, “This fine young mud comes complete with matching wand and basic training in its use. Just a little work and she’d make the perfect line overseer, personal assistant, or maybe a handmaiden for a young gentleman.”

    She vaguely realized that she was standing on a stage of some sort, but everything was fuzzy, like some sort of dream. Somehow, however, she knew that whatever this was, it was no dream.

    “Bidding starts at twenty-five galleons…” the man’s droning voice continued, “twenty-five, twenty-five, twenty-five, twenty-five to the gentleman in the white robes. Do I hear thirty? Thirty, thirty, thirty…”

    Then it abruptly clicked in the back of Hermione’s still hazy mind.

    She was being sold.

    5.1.8 Powder charge

    It had been nearly twelve hours since Shacklebolt had been given the order to organize his team. In that time, the forward recon squad had scouted the nondescript red brick building to which the Granger girl had been taken, and he had assembled his men on the roof.

    As he waited for his technical team to signal their work completed — a simple but subtle temporary ward intended to prevent any of the esteemed persons within from escaping their justly deserved fate — he took the opportunity to look over his men as they prepared to force entry.

    Nobody would mistake the six crack auror teams for beat coppers now.

    Nobody.

    They looked like some kind of hellish long-coated, red-clad riot police in their blood-red enchanted robes. Beneath those they wore heavy-duty dragonhide body armor reinforced with paper-thin, highly spell-resistant cold steel plate over their vitals. Their heads were encased in cold steel helmets with full, featureless faceplates, their interiors lined with gold to carry the bubble-head, communications, and one-way transparency enchantments. The effect was only enhanced by the fact that Teams Six and Eight were now carefully rappelling down the sheer face of the building with their wands fitted into magic-inert aluminum ‘expelliarmus cages’ strapped to the back of their casting hands.

    From inside, they could hear a voice, muted by the intervening walls, “…two hundred ten, two hundred ten, two hundred ten to the gentleman in the front with the gray robes. Do I hear two hundred twenty? Two hundred twenty, two hundred twenty, two hundred twenty…”

    5.1.9 Load and tamp

    Matt Weasley felt the fury building up inside him as he peered cautiously through the small, dusty window high on the side of the building.

    An auction house! A goddamned auction house, right under their noses.

    He tamped that anger back down, controlling it for later use, as he listened to Shack’s calm voice counting down in on his helmet’s built-in earpiece.

    “Ten. Nine. Eight…”

    5.1.10 Hammer fall

    “Going for two hundred and ten galleons to the gentleman in the front in the grey robes; going, going…”

    That was when a voice from somewhere above and behind Hermione bellowed “GO!” and something went flying past her head.

    Whatever it was burst in a dazzling flash of white, the thump of a detonation knocking her breath out of her lungs. As she blinked the spots out of her eyes, she just barely managed to catch the windows up at the top back of the auction hall bursting inwards on the receiving end of booted feet, a voice roaring “DMLE! FREEZE!” over the ringing in her ears.

    A rapid-fire spray of spells careened around the room, something struck her on the back and knocked her sprawling, and as she managed to pry her face off the deck, she was witness to the auctioneer flat on his face on the floor, pinned down by a burly man in blood-red robes and polished steel helmet who’d rammed his boot into the small of the other man’s back. His wand, wrapped in a meaty fist and securely connected to his forearm by a dull blackened metal linkage, was aimed squarely at the back of the auctioneer’s head.

    “Frezno Dolohov, you are under arrest. Go ahead, creep; go for the wand, make my day.”

    The whole room was, Hermione noted with her slowly clearing mind, crawling with red-robed, helmeted men, and the people who had already been there were all on the floor.

    Then a spell flashed past, missed the burly man by an inch, went on to decapitate another of the red-clad men, slipping into the narrow space between his armor and helmet, and then all hell abruptly broke loose.

    Hermione whimpered as she tried to make herself one with the floor.

    5.1.11 Loose ends

    As the snatch team arrived in Glasgow at the broken-down dockside flophouse that was Safehouse Fourteen, they heaved a sigh of relief.

    “Made up that’s over, rite?” the team’s signalman spoke as they finally crossed the threshold. “Damn job went ed way tew long.”

    “Too wite,” the leader agreed. “A whole damned year!”

    The injured man winced as he worked his still wounded shoulder and made to sit down on a chair, “I can’t believe that bloody twist actually managed to kill ol’…”

    He was interrupted by the crash of broken glass and fell over in surprise as a fusillade of spell fire came in through three different windows. The fall was the only thing that saved him.

    “Bloody he…” the leader began, only to be cut off when his face evaporated into a pink mist. He was followed one after another by the other, still standing members of the snatch team.

    After just a moment to stare at the horrifying sight, the prone man apparated in a blind panic, leaving a foot behind in his haste.

    Moments later, a painfully nondescript face poked in through one of the broken windows to survey the scene, carefully taking note of each of the bodies, including the foot poking out from behind one of the chairs. Count reached; the face nodded in grim satisfaction.

    Minutes later, the flophouse was ablaze.

    5.1.12 Recoil

    They'd searched her, scanned her with assorted magics, removed something from under the skin on the back of her left leg, taken the shackles off her wrists and ankles, and portkeyed her back to what they said was the Department of Magical Law Enforcement Headquarters.

    There they'd let her clean herself up, given her a set of plain wizarding robes to replace her own trashed clothes, shown her into a clean sparsely-furnished room that reminded her of those police interview rooms you see on the TV, given her a hot cup of tea and something to eat, and now the burly man from the auction house, his faceplate removed to reveal a broad dark-skinned face, was seated on the other side of the smallish room, watching her with quiet concern.

    She minded her own thoughts for nearly half an hour before it got too much, and she asked the question that'd been on the edge of her mind since she surfaced from the stunner.

    "Are Mum and Dad okay?"

    "I'm afraid they were hit with a couple of memory-modification charms before we got to the scene," the big black guy said, "We're working on reversion and it's looking good so far, but it’ll be a month or so before the Healers are done."

    "What about the ones I hit with piercing hexes?"

    "You hit the first one directly in the forehead; he was dead before he hit the floor. The second is still alive; another team is currently tracking him. That was an excellent piece of precision casting under fire, young lady, I couldn't have placed the spells better myself and I'm considered a crack shot."

    "... am I in trouble?"

    "All wizards and witches have the right to respond to a lethal threat with lethal force, lass. And as soon as someone casts a hex, that's a lethal threat," The big black guy leaned forwards, his expression solemn, "It took a lot of blood, a lot of sweat, a lot of tears, to win muggle-born such as you and I that right, Miss Granger.”

    “I know you're going to feel like shit when it sinks in that you killed a man, everyone does the first time,” he went on seriously, “but it was entirely justified and scum like that deserve worse than you gave him. You haven't broken any laws; your underage use of magic is covered by the right to self-defense. You're not a perp; you're a victim who did a good job of trying to fight back."

    "...oh."

    The room fell silent for another long moment.

    “Um,” the young girl began, “what are you going to do with me now?”

    “That’s something that will have to wait for later when the Director is…” the big man began, only to be interrupted by a knock at the door. A murmured conversation later, he turned back, “It looks like ‘later’ is now. Come on, little lady, the Director is waiting in her office.”

    After a short walk down a busy hallway, the man knocked on an unremarkable looking door, and they were quickly ushered in.

    To say that Hermione was surprised when she saw the very familiar 'Dirty Harry' poster on the wall in the Director’s office would be an understatement.

    "That poster was used to advertise a muggle 'film', I believe the term is, known as Dirty Harry," a severe-looking older woman, presumably the aforementioned Director, said when she noted where Hermione was looking.

    "Daddy's a big fan of Dirty Harry." Hermione said.

    "Indeed? Myself, I saw much of that during a stake-out early in Voldemort's rise, in 1971 as I remember, and quite enjoyed it; it reminds me of the way I made the Auror Corps, and his compassion for victims and methodology for dealing with crooks is quite inspiring."

    "Oh." Hermione said, not quite sure what to make of that assessment... not coming from a woman she assumed to be near the top of the law enforcement apparatus of the wizarding world, anyway.

    "It paints an excellent portrait of what the DMLE have to deal with, for all that it's set in a muggle context." the greying-haired woman mused. "Now then, take a seat, young lady. We have a lot to discuss; don't be afraid, you're not in trouble anymore, my lads made damned certain of that!"

    Hermione sat down and listened.

    5.1.13 Obligations

    “Thank you, Mr. Steelhammer,” Crackjaw Slackhammer said with a nod as his aide placed a silver tray carefully on the side of his desk.

    Business continued to boom, and the Vice-Director of Gringotts’ London Branch found himself catching a hurried working lunch at his desk, as he had been forced to do all too often of late. The portly goblin had been in meetings all morning negotiating new staff contracts to follow up on his largest business partner’s recent personnel suggestion, and he had another meeting scheduled for later that afternoon to discuss renegotiating the NASA contract. The only time left for the normal exigencies of business seemed to be during mealtimes, and he had a stack of correspondence to catch up on.

    Several minutes passed with only the rustle of documents and the occasional clink of fork on plate to interrupt them, until he came across one, small communique. It was marked as coming from his own personal staff, but the handwriting was unfamiliar. Unfamiliar handwriting was hardly an unusual circumstance nowadays with the number of new-hires he had brought on staff to keep up with the rapidly expanding business. The content of the message on the other hand, was quite unusual indeed... unusual and unwelcome.

    He rang a small bell, and soon his aide returned.

    “Please contact Madame Axetalon,” the dapper goblin requested. “I have need of her advice.”

    He had hoped that things would remain quiet during Mr. Potter’s absence, but it seemed that was not to be. Now he had an obligation to fulfill, and hopefully his family’s solicitor would have an idea on how to proceed.

    5.1.14 Truth and reconciliation

    It had not taken Amelia long to finish her interview with the victim. Ostensibly about arranging for her upkeep during her parents’ convalescence — as a result, the girl was now ensconced in a hastily converted office in one of the unused bits of the DMLE — the true aim of the conversation had been to get a personal feel for the girl.

    The circumstances of her rescue had been more than enough cause to justify a deep mental scan, even without asking the girl’s permission; catching the bastards red-handed loosed a great many of the legal restrictions that normally stayed her hand. In the process, they had retrieved a copy of the girl’s memories — currently sitting in a nearby pensieve — and those had raised eyebrows for reasons completely unrelated to her kidnapping.

    Some things required a personal take on the situation, no matter how busy one was, and the revelation that the nation’s boy-hero was, in fact, a sixty-foot-long iron dragon was certainly one of those things.

    Now it was time to talk to her experts.

    “What do you have for me?” she asked the Department’s expert in mind magics. “Should we take this seriously? The memories looked clean to me, but...”

    Faking pensieve memories was difficult but not entirely impossible. A sufficiently skilled caster could embed a compulsion into the target’s psyche to force them to cast a second compulsion on the targeting memory as it was copied. That secondary compulsion could then taint the viewer’s perception of the divined scene, making them see something other than what the divination actually showed. Of course, the skill to pull off that sort of context-blind thirdhand casting was rare in the extreme — especially when involving multiple viewers — but it still seemed more plausible than what they had seen in those memories.

    After learning of the bloody dragon-who-lived, she was inclined to keep an open mind.

    "Chief," Doyle said, "She doesn't just look clean. The only traces of any mind-magics I can find on her are a calming draught about two years ago and my own probes. I went in as deep as I dared, and... nothing. She's as clean as I've ever seen anyone."

    Amelia frowned, glancing at the pensieve on the side table. "So, what you're saying is, this... this crazy story her memories are telling us is real?"

    "I'd be willing to bet my badge on it, Chief,” the Department’s best expert on mental magics asserted. “That sort of embedded casting is almost impossible to hide, and any concealment strong enough to hide it would wipe out everything. If it had been hidden, there wouldn't be a sign of that calming draught either."

    "I see." Amelia said, still staring at the pensieve.

    "What're we going to do, Chief?" her head of Investigations, Jake Dubrovnik, asked.

    "The only thing we can, Jake. We enforce the law."

    "The Potter boy?" Shack asked.

    "...hasn't broken any laws, and neither has the Granger girl. There's some hearsay evidence of conspiracy to commit grand treason and conspiracy to fraudulently remove registered servants from the United Kingdom, and I'm not certain if he should be classed as an unregistered animagus, but I think we'll file investigating those at the bottom of our priority list.”

    She shuddered. “I for one don't fancy getting on the bad side of a magical creature that shrugged off eight Killing Curses in the space of thirty seconds – especially not one that gulps down mountain trolls and Dark Lords like you or I would eat chocolate frogs."

    "Are we treating this as a prospective Dark Lord?" Doyle asked.

    "We'd better be on alert for that, but I don't think the Potter boy's Dark Lord material." Amelia told him. "Nothing like this has ever come up before, lads; we're going to have to play it by ear."

    "Am I the only one who's got this feeling whoever's behind that damned auction house is going to find out exactly why the Hogwarts motto is good advice?" Emma Trussel suddenly asked, the senior interrogator’s voice betraying no small amount of malicious glee at the misfortune looming on the horizon for the architects of that particular abomination.

    "You're not alone in that, Truss. They haven't so much tickled a sleeping dragon as given it a swift kick in the fundamentals." Amelia sighed, raking her hand back through her hair. "I just hope I'll be able to impart to him how important this case not getting screwed up by over a hundred tons of pissed-off metal is... preferably without getting myself char-grilled...”

    “At least we’ve got a month before he comes back and complicates things,” she sighed, valiantly resisting the urge to bury her face in her hands in frustration. “Dammit, who'd be a cop?"

    “Rough job but someone's got to do it, huh Chief?" Shack gloomily agreed.

    “Indeed...” she shook her head before continuing in a lighter tone. “What the hell, it certainly beats inspecting cauldron bottoms! Okay, lads, enough about that, let’s get back to the here and now. What have we determined?”

    “Preliminary interrogations have revealed a lot about the Syndicate’s composition,” Dubrovnik reported, nodding an acknowledgement to Trussel, who had been responsible for most of that information. “Unfortunately, that composition is going to make it very difficult to roll the whole thing up.”

    “What’s the problem?” Amelia asked.

    “They’ve compartmentalized it all, Chief,” he said with a grimace. “The buyers there were front men, disposable cutouts, and not even they know for sure who they were working for. Tracing through that mess is going to take time.”

    Damn it!” Amelia growled. “And with how public our raid was, the vermin will have ample opportunity to burn their connections and cover their tracks. Do we have anything?”

    “We got Dolohov dead to rights running the auction house,” Shacklebolt offered, “and they might be low-level, but we got all those buyers.”

    “You may not have heard yet, but we managed to track and capture one member of the snatch team that kidnapped the Granger girl. He’s been singing like a canary in Interrogation Room 3,” Trussel volunteered. “Unfortunately, he’s eager to talk because someone offed his whole team in an obvious, but nonetheless very effective, cover up job.”

    The senior interrogator shook her head in disgust. “Every lead he’s been able to give us has been found dead and burned beyond even magical recognition. We’re going to keep on it, but I don’t expect to make much progress.”

    “So, we have no leads on the ones most directly responsible for Miss Granger’s kidnapping?” the Director summarized with an exasperated sigh. “Nothing to give the giant, soon-to-be-furious dragon, then... bloody typical, that is. Does anyone have any good news?”

    “I’ve got a couple,” Dubrovnik offered with a tight grin. “First, we’ve managed to trace and freeze the accounts the buyers had been set up with to make purchases, along with the Dolohov’s working funds. Legal has already started the motions for us to seize the assets.”

    “How much?”

    “Almost four times our annual budget, all told,” Jake laughed. “Should be enough to get more of those cavalry markers and see if we can repeat this success in the future.”

    There was a general mutter of approval.

    “It might be worth a shot, but I’m not sure it’ll work,” Emma interjected. “I get the impression from our little songbird that the Granger job was highly unusual. He’s talked about standard procedures to get rid of trackers and how they were specifically told not to bother this time. If we get enough detail from him, we might be able to sneak something through, but from what he’s told us so far, they’re thorough. I suspect we’ll not be seeing a repeat of the same tactic any time soon.”

    “Perhaps,” Dubrovnik allowed, “but I’m sure the extra funding will be helpful in any case. The next one, though, is an unmitigated success. One of the buyers made a major mistake,” he explained with a wide grin. “He was carrying a handwritten set of instructions in his pocket. Forensics traced it back to Octavius Crabbe by the magical signature, as compared to his Wizengamot security registration. It’s airtight, a confession written in the man’s own hand.”

    “Ha! That’s more like it,” she barked out a laugh. “Well, let’s get to it! There are some doors at Crabbe Manor that won't kick themselves in. Doyle, get some rest. You're dead on your feet. Jake, keep your people on point, we want to track down as much of the Syndicate as we can before it manages to reorganize itself and hide again. Truss, do they still need you for interrogations?”

    When the hard-eyed woman shook her head in the negative, Amelia continued, “Then I’ll need you to put your ops hat back on for a while. I need Shack for something else, so you’ll be filling in. You’re on point for the Crabbe Manor job, put your team together as you see fit from the available personnel.”

    "On it, Chief." Trussel said, rising to her feet and nodding to the others.

    “Shack, you’re with me for a moment. Everyone else, get to it!”

    After the rest of her officers had filed out of the room, Amelia broke the silence.

    “How are you holding up, Shack?”

    “I’ll live, Chief,” he replied in a tight voice. “Just did what I had to do.”

    “I know, Kingsley, and you did it well,” Amelia agreed. “You managed to slip Good Housekeeping in without compromising the official mission at all, and that is extremely impressive, but I know how hard it was to do what I asked you to do. If I could have done it myself, I would have, but circumstances…”

    Kingsley grimaced, “There is no need, ma’am. They were traitors, and they got what they deserved.”

    “They were,” she nodded, “I strongly suspect at least one of them was responsible for tipping off whoever cleaned up after the Granger kidnapping, but before they were traitors, they were our comrades... at least, that’s how we knew them. If you need to talk…”

    “Understood, Chief,” the big man nodded.

    “In the meantime, there’s something else I need your help with,” Amelia said. “It’ll still need to be secret, but this one should be much less dodgy...”

    And so, she explained.

    5.1.15 Concerns

    “What can I do for you gentlemen?” Amelia asked impatiently as she walked into Conference Room 10. There was a great deal to do, and she really didn’t have time for this.

    The pair of men in the traditional eye-burning yellow robes of wizarding solicitors stood up from the table in unison.

    “Good afternoon, Madam Bones. Solicitor Williams,” the solicitor on the left introduced himself. “Your secretary intimated that you were quite busy, so we shall not waste your time with the usual pleasantries. It has come to the attention of Gringotts Merchant Bank that you currently hold Miss Hermione Granger in custody. On behalf of Mr. Harry James Potter, the Bank has contracted myself and my colleague, Solicitor Wilson, to represent Miss Granger in any legal actions in which she might have become involved.”

    Amelia frowned. “I assume you have the paperwork to back this up?”

    “Of course,” he assured her, gesturing to his compatriot who had somehow produced the relevant documents while her eyes were off him. “We have here a copy of the appropriate declaration that is on file, which you will be able to verify with the appropriate office, proving Mr. Potter’s right to involve himself legally. We have here a copy of Mr. Potter’s contract with Gringotts Merchant Bank giving permission for the company to serve as his agent in these matters during his absence. And we have here a copy of our employment contract, authorizing us to act on the Bank’s behalf in representing Miss Granger.”

    “May I see those?” she asked, pulling off her monocle to give it a quick polish.

    “Of course.”

    A quick read proved the documents to be, if not legitimate, then at least good fakes. Amelia decided to take them at their word for now.

    “I see,” she said. “Well, this seems to be in order, but I do ask that you allow me to have a word with you before I take you to see Miss Granger.”

    “Certainly, so long as it does not delay us from our duty overlong,” Williams replied as both men nodded.

    “Miss Granger is currently in our custody as a victim rescued from a terrible situation, not as a suspect,” Amelia explained, giving the men a hard look. “She remains in our custody at this point because we have nowhere else to send her. Her parents were injured in the incident and are in no position to care for her, and Mr. Potter is currently unavailable.”

    “Furthermore, while she killed one of her assailants in the incident, it was a clear-cut case of self-defense. I warn you to be careful not to imply that she might be facing any legal action or punishment for her actions, even hypothetically,” Amelia sighed. “This has been very hard on the poor girl.”

    The professionally impassive expression on the solicitor’s face softened.

    “Thank you for the clarification, Madam Bones,” he said. “Is she likely to be called to testify in the case?”

    “Unlikely,” Amelia said, standing up and making for the door. “All but one of the men involved are already dead. That one survivor has so far proven very cooperative.”

    “I see,” he gulped, and even his stoic companion looked a little uncomfortable as they followed her out the door and down the corridor. “It was a serious incident, then?”

    “You have heard of the auction house raid?”

    “It has been all over the Prophet,” he agreed.

    “We pulled her out of that,” Amelia said simply.

    “Ah,” he said, just as simply.

    They were silent for a moment as they continued to travel through the warren of corridors that was the Ministry.

    “Madam Bones, if you are at liberty to say, may I ask after Miss Granger’s parents’ condition?” the yellow-clad man asked tentatively. “I would like to know whether there are any... arrangements I should be prepared to handle in order to spare my client.”

    “Fortunately, nothing so dire,” Amelia shook her head. “They were obliviated, but we got to them in time.”

    He sighed in relief and said nothing further.

    They came to a door, much like any of the several dozen others they had passed along the way, and Amelia gave a knock.

    “Who is it?” a girlish voice called from within.

    “Amelia Bones,” she answered.

    The door soon opened.

    “Miss Granger,” Amelia began, “it seems that Mr. Potter arranged contingencies for your assistance before his departure.”

    The girl’s brown eyes lit up.

    “These men are solicitors who have been retained to see to your legal needs, and they have come to make themselves known to you.”

    The two yellow-clad men stepped forward into the room and began to introduce themselves.

    “Greetings, Miss Granger, I am Solicitor Williams, and I have been retained...”

    The door closed behind them, and the hallway fell silent.

    5.1.16 Uncertainty

    It had been a very long day, Hermione thought as she sat up in her bed, a makeshift affair put together hastily in an unused and out of the way DMLE office.

    Situated in the heart of downtown London, her current accommodations were barely a hundred meters away from the bustling streets that marked early evening in one of the greatest cities of the world; though one would be hard-pressed to tell from the inside of the room. After all, that hundred meters consisted entirely of solid dirt and concrete so the converted office was very quiet, indeed.

    In the quiet darkness, Hermione hugged her knees to her chest, her bushy hair splayed out over them as she hid her face from the world. Barely twenty hours had passed since that window had shattered and with it had shattered the rest of her world. She had been wrong, and she had been kidnapped just as her friends had warned. No amount of denial would make that go away or return things to how they had been.

    She had just wanted to spend time with her parents, and now they were in St. Mungo’s, and she was all alone. The past twenty hours had been a whirlwind of revelations, and she just wanted everything to stop. Now it had, and she had the peace and quiet necessary to think things over.

    Not that it helped overmuch.

    The registration was supposed to have made sure this wouldn’t happen, and yet happen it had. She had been kidnapped, she killed a man, her parents were in the hospital, her kidnappers had put her on auction, and... and if the Aurors hadn't shown up when they did; she shivered and shrank in on herself further, shying away from that line of thought. She couldn’t bear to follow that line of reasoning to its inevitable conclusion, so she jumped to another.

    Why hadn’t Harry come for her? He was supposed to protect her! He had promised!

    As soon as the thought crossed her mind, she knew it was unreasonable. She knew exactly why he hadn’t come. She knew that he had no way of even knowing what had happened, much less intervening. She knew that the only reason he hadn’t been there to save her had been because she herself had prevented him from doing so by arguing against it so vociferously. He would have been there if she had allowed him...

    ...she knew that!

    And yet, despite that knowledge, a treacherous little voice continued to whisper poison into her ear as she sat there in the dark, hunched and shivering... doubts and fears, denials and accusations.

    Had Harry lied? Did he really care? Was he really her friend, or was there something wrong with her that made her not worth saving?

    Were those fears reasonable? No, nothing about that little voice was reasonable! Hermione knew that, at least intellectually, but for a scared little girl alone in the dark, intellectual detachment was in critically short supply.

    It promised to be a long, restless night.
     
  7. Pyeknu

    Pyeknu Cross-Dimensional Magical Sith GIrl

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    Oh, yeah, an incident like THIS would shake anyone...!
     
  8. Max141

    Max141 Getting out there.

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    them finding out about harry came out of nowhere, why would they get memories from days in the past?
     
  9. Haphazard

    Haphazard Sleep is life

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    Likely because she was thinking of Harry and his lack of being there.
     
  10. 128Hunter

    128Hunter Far too busy to respond often, my apologies.

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    Because they were pretty sure that Harry had bespelled her to become his servant? That was a plot point last chapter after she agreed to the contract, that's why they tagged her with the locator after all. They grabbed the memories because they were trying to get evidence and came across something that made no sense until it made horrible sense.
     
  11. Strong_Thread

    Strong_Thread Getting out there.

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    A straight up, no holds barred reality check.
     
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  12. Diver

    Diver Versed in the lewd.

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    Unfortunately for Hermione, the registration wasn’t meant to be a physical shield, it is the iron clad legal justification for Harry to turn his full and undivided WRATH on everyone involved. And I do look forward to watching the wizard in world burn as Harry and associates hopefully find a link back to Lucius “Dumb Motherfucker” Malfoy. The best part about this, is that when Harry finds out Su Li’s plans he’ll draw parallels between the two slave trades and hopefully take an “enthusiastic walk” through China.
     
  13. Monitor

    Monitor A Monitor sitting before a Monitor

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    They Need to track payments. Gringotts would likely help them if they ask, or at least ask Harry if he wants them to help, for a small fee of course. And Harry would say yes (or rather Severus Snape would say yes, nobody wants the Dragon rushing back... We just need to figure out how to get the authorization...

    Oh, I know: „Harry, there are evil people who enslave others. Just found out about that. An important Ring has been found, but they prove difficult to track and nobody can pay the financial experts to do it. Would you like the honors?“ :)
     
  14. stads

    stads I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    nice chapter thx for writing it
    will be fun to see the fallout from this
    nice to see the little teenage drama in the works
     
  15. Monitor

    Monitor A Monitor sitting before a Monitor

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    Oh, forgot about that small issue. Sic the hounds of financial war upon them. Burning them down could be messy, after all :)

    EDIT: I have not figured out how to quote messages while editing :-(
     
  16. RedX

    RedX Not too sore, are you?

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    Perhaps, but we have yet to see it delivered to the proper target. So far, it's just been to a fourteen-year-old girl that is in no way actually responsible for anything involved in the situation. Her parents, for not taking the discussions they've been given on the situation seriously? Perhaps. The people that very studiously denied her parents the information they needed to keep themselves and their child safe in an openly and tremendously dangerous environment? Absolutely. Both these sets of people need some serious raking over the coals for the combination of complacency and stupidity that lead to this situation.

    Hermione? She's just guilty of assuming the adults looking after were competent enough to pick up a telephone or send a letter, or to take such a dire warning with appropriate seriousness. Hardly a failure that needs a 'no holds barred reality check'.

    (The dichotomy between the organized, efficient, dedicated police unit and the utterly corrupt society and government in which they live is a bit jarring, too.)
     
  17. Shance

    Shance Know what you're doing yet?

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    Really really hope hermiony does not fuck everything up. Go to a mind healer girl, take care of yourself, don't show this doubts you have in a bad way.
     
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  18. Monitor

    Monitor A Monitor sitting before a Monitor

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    Actually, not that much, if you remember the war. My headcanon is that those are a remnant of veteran units that all have lost someone against Voldemort. Starved of resources, but very emphatically on the light side and difficult (if not impossible) to corrupt. An special unit, carefully crafted by their leader.
     
  19. RedX

    RedX Not too sore, are you?

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    Heh. They must be astonishingly dedicated to apolitical nonviolent means of reform, as they haven't... well, knocked over the government yet. They're certainly demonstrating several times the competence of any other organization we've seen.

    Still, I was referring more to the fact that they haven't all been fired outright yet, or just de-funded to the point of irrelevance. Something has to be paying for that armor, those trackers, the forensics techs. They act and work like a first-world elite police special crimes unit with the full backing of their political and social system, but operate and exist in an utterly corrupt and unnacountable early-industrial oligarcy.

    Are they, like, separately funded by interested wealthy individuals? If so, how do they maintain the blessing of the government to enforce the law as an official police organization?

    Ah, well, it's beside the point. Dichotomies like this do happen in societies, both real and fictional. The bigger worry is all the angst that's going to occur, what the angst occurs over, and where the blame for this whole shit-show of a security screw-up lands.
     
  20. Skjadir

    Skjadir Experienced.

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    What makes you think they aren't de-funed into irrelevance or as close as what the corrupt government parts can manage?
    For acting like a first-world elite police special crimes unit, more veteran military unit that did fight a guerilla war in combination with a good number of muggle born being part of it which means they might just copy tactics from the UK (or other nations in europe) as best as they can.

    Another thing to remember that for now at least Dumbledore's side has enough political cloud that they can force some things.

    For the dedication to apolitical non-violent well they are very likely for the most part of Dumbledore's side and try to do long term change without completely turning the nation into a bloody battlefield for the next decades to come (or for the UK the troubles wizard edition).
     
  21. Ayashi

    Ayashi Well worn.

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    You know who would fit perfectly in these heart cracks? Who would loooove to get past all her pesky intellectual (potential) objections and get a grip on her emotional side? Su Li
    And considering how someone with deep knowledge of the slavery underground rings just happened to "help" the DMLE on their raid... well, it seems pretty obvious to me.
     
  22. Skjadir

    Skjadir Experienced.

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    Nah, more likely that was the clean up team that Malfoy's wife send.

    Su Li doesn't have either the clout nor the connections for that kind of play or to make it happen that fast.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2020
  23. randomchance

    randomchance Know what you're doing yet?

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    Oh snap.

    Glad to see the update, knew it was coming but still sucks for her.
     
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  24. TheGrog

    TheGrog In the number mines

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    Well, Wizarding Britain is lucky she didn't remember to use the portkey. A hysterical damsel landing in Harry's lap would have surely provoked his best Trogdor impression.
     
  25. Charles

    Charles Getting some practice in, huh?

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    I wonder if anyone else was rescued in this operation? I hope some of the buyers, if it was not their first time, kept their receipts.

    I am also concerned whether anyone will actually be 'fixed', i.e. returned to their previous condition. With the amount of changes to the mind that these slavers do, and the fact that only a couple of memory charms take months to heal according to Dunkelzahn, I worry about the feasibility of helping anyone.

    Finally, where there any deaths among the buyers? That could cause huge problems if say a lord has a mistress/slave that only he knows about tucked away.
     
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  26. hyperspacewizard

    hyperspacewizard Versed in the lewd.

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    Man I’m always hyped for these updates great stuff hopefully Hermione doesn’t become a doomer and some one helps her deal with the trauma before she blows up in Harry’s face.
     
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  27. Mashadarof402

    Mashadarof402 Experienced.

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    The question is, where is that portkey now?
     
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  28. Finsdale

    Finsdale Verified Heavy

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    Arriving at 25000ft travelling at mach 0.8. would torus the airplane ✈️. If she survived that the angry dragon OF DOOM transformation would confetti everyone on the plane. Then VERY ANGRY DRAGON roasts London under a "reign of fire"
     
  29. Nioz

    Nioz Know what you're doing yet?

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    Oy vey, there will be fury and flames once Harry finds out, mark my words...

    Also a PSA: When referring to an amassed number of connections, resources, and favours in a business, political, or social sphere the word is clout.


    Nah, Travel via Porteys shunts the movement of the destination into you as you “land”. It has to, otherwise it would be impossible to travel from/towards the equator due to the difference in momentum with preserved angular velocity along the latitude of a rotating sphere and how quickly the Earth rotates. And this is before we consider the fact that Earth is an ellipsoid with a larger radius around the equatorial plane than the polar one, which also increases the difference between positions at the equator and those above/below it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2020
  30. Korfayron

    Korfayron Making the rounds.

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    That's a nice hard dose of reality.

    A good chapter and it makes me want to erite a short story about an angry dragon burninating a criminal stronghold.
     
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