Hello fellow human beings, and anyone else that happens to be reading. I'm currently back a University after my holiday break, and I hope that you all enjoyed the holiday season, no matter what you celebrate. I apologize both for the time it has taken me to update, and for the time it will take me to finish up the next chapter. I'm quite busy at the moment, and have all but stopped on my other projects, but not this one! I'll do my best to continue updating during the New Year, now that my lovely beta Pixel and Stephanie Forever has mostly recovered from their extended hospital stay. As always be sure to thank them by going over and reading some of their work. Now, on with the show.
14 October 1991
Life since the 'Inquisitor' had settled into Hogwarts had been more subdued than normal. The teachers had been given a sheet of parchment the second night he'd been there, which if the Hogwarts grape vine was to be believed had anything from a few complaints that needed fixing, to death threats. The Cadets had all gathered the same night he'd arrived in an unused classroom to go over the information they'd gotten. It wasn't the best, to say the least. The growth of the new 'Wizards Only' movement had grown, almost exponentially it seemed. While there had yet to be any movement against non-magical people, the Wizengamot were still pushing for the disbanding of the Academy, though there was a drop in those calling for the secession from 'Muggle Britain' entirely.
The staff at the Academy had warned them to be on guard, and to make sure they gave nothing away about the Academy, just in case they gave someone leverage. It wasn't ideal, but there were a small number of the staff at the Academy that pushed for bringing all of the Cadets home and teaching them there – that way none of them could be taken hostage and used as bargaining tools. There was no need at the moment, but if the situation got out of hand they wouldn't have many other options. The Colonel had assured them that short of an actual declaration of war, it wouldn't come to what would more or less be a complete evacuation. The Colonel had also elevated Cedric to the 'rank' of Cadet Commander. They were to follow his orders to the best of their abilities, if they were important and relevant to the ongoing risk.
Currently Harry and Hannah were writing up some possible situations that could happen if war were to break out again. Nothing that hadn't already been done by an actual tactician somewhere in Her Majesty's military, but it never hurt to practice and strategize. Also they had the common room mostly to themselves, with the one exception being Ron Weasley and Seamus Finnegan who were on the far side playing chess. Over their time at the school, they'd got a dislike for the redheaded boy who spouted off things that were of concern. As for Seamus, they didn't mind him but both Harry and Hannah suspected that not all his loyalties lay with the Crown.
"I still think that they'd try to take Buckingham Palace" Hannah had been insistent about this – though she'd also insisted the best option to deal with an attack was to mount General Purpose Machine Guns on the balcony and fire on any attackers.
"It doesn't make any sense, there isn't any strategic advantage, and there's a chance there's no high value hostages present. 10 Downing Street or Westminster would be better targets." Harry was not a fan of that theory.
"You're thinking like a non-magical Harry, most wizards and witches don't know who the PM is or where his offices are for that fact. But the Queen and Buckingham? I'd bet money most magicals think that the Queen still rules the land from her palace. It doesn't make any sense to us now, but they still think we use lamp oils for the majority of our houses." Harry nodded with his friend's logic.
"However, you have to consider that not everyone that will be against us will be that ignorant. There's bound to be someone on the other team that knows that the Queen is mostly a figurehead, except when it comes to the magical world. IF that fact is true then it is also true that Downing Street and Parliament would be better targets." Harry stopped as someone walked through the portrait hole. It was Hermione Granger, whom they'd been trying to become better friends with after they'd heard some of the other students talking about her behind her back.
"Hey Hermione, in the library?" Hannah asked, moving her book bag so the girl could sit down.
"Yes, since Professor Quirell let us go early I thought I'd get a head start on that essay Professor Flitwick assigned us." She spoke rather fast, Harry thought.
"A good idea, we just decided to head back and relax for a while. We'll probably end up doing that a bit lat…" Hannah trailed off as she saw Hermione reading the scrap of paper they'd been using to take down their ideas.
"Why do you have a list of 'possible targets'?" Her tone wasn't accusing, but neither was it friendly.
"Balls" Harry said, brushing his hair out of his eyes. "As you may or may not have heard, there's been more anti-muggle sentiment lately, so much so that there's been talk of a new conflict." Harry didn't really know if it was public knowledge, but he hoped he could pass it off.
"Really?" Hermione looked rather surprised.
"Aye, there was talk of the Magical World breaking completely from Muggle Britain. Something that isn't allowed under the…"
"Treaty of Kent yes" Hermione cut him off "So what's the big deal?"
"The big deal is that something like this hasn't been seen since Grindelwald's rise to power, even Voldemort didn't advertise wanting to break with the muggle government. Mostly because they never acted directly to stop him, but also because he knew it would draw them against him in full force." Hannah kept her voice low as more students began streaming in, a few of the other Gryffindor Cadets giving them nods as they came in.
"There aren't a lot of ways magic can block a bullet." Harry cut off Hermione's next question. "Besides the fact, most of the land and buildings that Magicals have in Britain are owned by the Crown and they could easily take it back if they needed too."
"Where did you guys learn all of this?" It was a question that brought them up short, since they weren't technically supposed to tell anyone about the Academy. However since Harry had been brought before the Wizengamot it wasn't that much of a secret.
"I went to an Academy that opened as a safe haven for magical children that didn't have many options in the non-magical world. They taught me some of it, the rest I read about later. If you'll excuse us." He nodded to Hannah who was gathering up their spare bits of parchment and books, "We're going to go and work on that essay, see you round?" Hermione nodded to them as they left, her mind still reacting to the information they'd given her.
"So much for secrecy" Hannah muttered.
"There was a good chance she would have found out anyway" Harry replied. "Besides" he added, "She can become an asset if necessary. I get the impression that she's not happy about the way the magical world exists…"
31 October 1991
It had been almost a month since the 'Inquisitor' had come to Hogwarts and since then a few things had changed. Snape had been less vicious towards his students, Quirrell stuttered a bit less, and Dumbledore had been very scarce. One thing O'Connell had been unable to sort out, though, was Snape's terrible greasy hair. A popular rumour running around the school was that he had been given one week to deal with it or he'd be sacked. On Halloween night, Dumbledore sat at the head of the staff table, with that twinkle in his eyes. "Good evening students, tonight we celebrate a great many things, we celebrate the dead and the living, and free sweets in some places." He chuckled as a few students laughed. "However I'll let you all get into your food now." As the words finished food began to appear at every table like usual, but at the same time massive pumpkins began to float into the hall, preceded by a wave of live bats. The students screamed and cheered and laughed of course. For the occasion most had worn their pointed hats, and were happily digging into large amounts of sugar.
Hannah, Harry, Hestia, and Flora had all managed to sit together at the Hufflepuff table. It was the first time they'd managed to speak for almost a week. "Despite what they say about inter-house unity, they sure do discourage it." Harry was in the middle of his second treacle tart when Hannah made the observation. Setting his fork down for a moment, he nodded.
"They certainly make it difficult to see your friends in other houses outside of class and mealtimes." He paused for thought, "Though I suppose it would be easier for some than others, considering both Slytherin and Hufflepuff are in the lower levels and Ravenclaw and Gryffindor are in the towers." He finished eating his tart before grabbing an arctic roll.
Before they could continue the conversation the doors to the Hall burst open as Quirrell ran in, screaming his head off, "TROLL IN THE DUNGEONS! TROLL IN THE DUNGEONS!" Before promptly fainting, forwards. Mass hysteria quickly ensued, with students falling over backwards in an attempt to rise and the professors quickly trying to stop the students from panicking. With a wave of his wand Dumbledore let a cannon blast into the air, and all motion stopped.
"All students will follow their prefects to their dormitories, and all teachers will follow me to the dungeons." His voice was calm but radiating power.
"Albus you can't be serious, the dorms for my House are in the dungeons. So are Pomona's. We don't know where the troll is now." Snape was surprisingly the first member of staff to speak out against the Headmasters plan.
"Of course, my mistake…." He trailed off for a moment, cursing his own stupidity. "All students will stay here with Inquisitor O'Connell, while the teaching staff will head to the dungeons to deal with the troll. None of you are in any danger, and this creature will be dealt with shortly." He tried his best to be reassuring. O'Connell nodded to the teachers as they headed out to the dungeons, sans Quirrell.
As soon as the professors had left the elder O'Connell nodded to his son who quickly grabbed a large green duffel from under the Head Table. He unzipped it quickly, drawing what looked to be a Remington shotgun as his son drew a marksman rifle. They loaded their weapons quickly, as most of the muggleborn students began explaining what the strange contraptions were to the surrounding students. "Sir, why do you look like you're gearing up for a fight?" One of the seventh years asked the elderly man.
"I'm not willing to take any chances, until I know that troll is dead I'll be on my guard. You all best be as well, back away from the door as best you can, my son and I will be closing it until the Headmaster and the other professors return." He zipped up his duffel, shoving it back beneath his chair and moving to the front of the room. Just as he was about to shut the doors, a smell of rotting garbage began to float through the Hall. "Everyone back now!" O'Connell had a voice that you could only obey, as students began fleeing to the back of the room. They heard the great lumbering beast before they saw it, a loud scratching interrupted only by the thunderous rumble of footsteps. As the troll rounded the corner, stopping short at seeing such a large amount of humans, a great lightning bolt flashed across the enchanted sky.
"That's one big fucker ain't it da?" Winston said aloud, grinning from ear to ear.
"Aye, not as big as those Yeti back in Shangri-La when I met your mother, but he's definitely a big bugger. Mind you… Had some help from a very smart guy dressed as a tramp. Do remember to hit it in the eye please, no need to waste the ammo." The older man was grinning too, right before he pumped his shotgun and fired.
The troll was not happy as the metal projectile designed to be able to stop charging bears slammed into its hand, forcing it to drop the wooden club it held. However it was considerably less happy when a 7.62 round split through its left eye and into it cranium. A second later and it had three more holes in its body, its other eye and left hand, as well as its throat. As it collapsed, the elder O'Connell moved to the side and spit one more slug into its corpse.
"Well I see you found the troll Mr. O'Connell." The entire hall turned as they heard the Headmasters grave proclamation.
"I rather believe that it found us, Headmaster." Winston said with a wink. Harry wasn't sure who started it, but suddenly there was claps and cheers filling the hall. Students wolf whistled and came up to where the two O'Connells and the Headmaster stood, thanking the two men who'd killed the troll.
Anyone paying attention to the Headmaster would have seen the look of fury that overcame him, before he managed to calm himself, and he too thanked the two men.
So not exactly what you all expected I hope. I'm afraid that is it for now, I hope you all have had a wonderful holiday season, and I will see you all next time.