Harry Potter and a Warm Night Between
Based On J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter
Influenced by many things
History items copied and or paraphrased from Wikipedia
This year's recommendations, in no particular order: Dragonriders of Pern, The Blue Sword, Excitable Boy, Misfits, State of Confusion, Cultosaurus Erectus, Robotech, Star Trek:TOS, The Last Unicorn
The book was old, and thick, and had people riding dragons on the dust jacket. Harry checked the price, and then the small stack of coins he'd collected over the last few days. He had enough for _two_ books. The thinner book next to it had the same author, and a pretty girl surrounded by tiny dragons on the dust jacket.
He paid the lady behind the desk at the library bookstore, tucked the dust jackets inside his new books, and set out to find a safe place to read his new treasure.
The story is captivating, Lessa was him, kinda, but she chose to be a drudge, and live, and plot her revenge, it wasn't just thrust upon her for no reason she could figure out. The Weyr sounds interesting, and the dragonriders of the book's title as well.
He looks up, gives a quick scan of the area under the tree he's hiding in, then dives back into his book.
Lessa got him, got Fax, killed him as surely as if it was her own hand that did it. Why wasn't it her own hand? Unless he slept lightly, she could have stabbed him easily, maybe sewn him in his bedsheets first, but then she would have to deal with his men . . . But a dragon might be better than a hold that needs rebuilding after a decade of neglect.
Going Between, he'd done that, all by himself. Maybe he was a dragon, like Almathea was a unicorn?
Lessa and F'lar settle in at the Weyr, and the eggs hatch, all gangly awkwardness, blood, and outsized eyes, and Ramoth.
"And she's no Jorra," Harry says to himself, speaking for the first time in hours, quoting the book. Lessa had control of her life, even as a drudge it was her choice, she was hiding from certain death, or perhaps worse. What did Harry have? An empty tummy, enough change to buy discards at the library, a warm cupboard to sleep in, a not too lumpy mattress, as much food as he could sneak, an aunt, uncle, and cousin out of a Roald Dahl book, maybe James and the Giant Peach . . . When Lessa finally learned how to go Between, he'd try it.
But for now, it was time to get out of the tree, hide his treasures, and go make supper for his . . . not family, blood kin, perhaps?
March 1985: Richard M. Stallman first publishes the GNU Manifesto
"So," Harry says softly to himself, "You picture, carefully, where you want to go, then pull yourself Between, and pop back out where you want to be." He pauses, thinking about the last time he went, the first time he went, Between. The school roof, the dumpster full of stinking lunch trash, Dudley's gang searching for him, the way the gravel drifted, exposing the tar in places, the shallow puddles from March rains . . . With where to go fixed firmly in his mind, his books in a grey plastic grocery bag in his hands, he reaches for the cold, airless dark of Between.
His breath escapes in a rush, Between as dark as his cupboard during a power failure in a rainstorm, colder than being doused in a puddle of slush, seeping towards his bones, the lack of air getting urgent . . . And then he is looking down at that roof, the puddles, the gravel, the slight, dark head of his younger self looking down at Dudley's angry young face . . . He ducks back, away from the edge of, he looks around, then lays flat on top of the roof of the little room that houses the roof access door, and stays quiet as his younger self is caught and dragged inside to be yelled at.
He rolls over, looking up at the dreary March day in 1985, and smiles, "I really am a dragon!"
3 March 1985: a quake hits Chile, killing 177, injuring 2,575, destroys 142,489 houses, and leaves about a million people homeless
Getting down will be much easier, and quicker, than getting up to the roof. He reads more of Dragonflight, the first book, and discovers that Lessa figured out the same property of being able to go Between times, as well as places. After the students have gone home Harry chooses a spot on the ground, and dives Between, barely long enough to gasp before he's outside the school gates and walking away.
He could go home, but there is already a Harry there now, and if he times it back to when he just came from, that's hardly an adventure. He swings his bag of books back and forth as he walks, if he was a dragon he wouldn't mind sleeping out, but he'd need to eat a lot more, is a herdbeast the size of a sheep or a cow? Sheep he might be able to steal for a few days, but cows . . . What kind of dragon would he want to be, anyway? A little blue, a bronze, a giant gold? A blue would be easier to feed, but a gold would be awesome. Awesome enough to be worth it?
He clutches his books close, then looks around, yeah, not a good place to turn into a dragon-shaped dragon. He sets off for a clearing he'd liked, until Dudley's gang had discovered it, a couple years ago . . . He smiles, a couple years from now, also.
He slips through the trees, sets his books down on a dryish rock, and starts to unfold . . . he stops, suddenly, and strips to his underwear, "It would be nice if my clothes didn't get torn up like the Hulk, but," he piles his clothes on his bag of books, steps back, and unfolds into a giant golden dragon with iridescent faceted eyes. A triumphant bugle escapes her throat, and she throws herself into the air with a thunderclap of great wings. A quick flight shows just how poor her prospects for supper as a dragon are in Little Whinging, and she backwings back into her clearing, and folds herself back int a human shape.
"The naked," she says, looking at her bare crotch, "I somewhat expected." She gathers her scattered clothing, blown about by the wind of her departure and return, pleased to note that she's a little taller as a girl, and Dudley's outgrown shirt is still long enough to cover everything important. "I'm so glad I washed these myself," she says as she pulls on her, also formerly Dudley's, pants. She holds up, dubiously, the greyish rag that remains of her underwear, then stuffs it in a pocket anyway, "I think I need to learn how to sew."
8 March 1985: a Beirut car bomb kills 80 and injures 200
"Yep, time to get out of Little Whinging," Harry tells herself, tucked into a doorway halfway down an alley, as the bobbies totally fail to to make the turn after her.
"You'd think," she continues, "That a criminal delinquent would be better at shoplifting."
She pulls the pack of hotdogs back out, "Gut bombs," rips it open, and eats four, one after the other, cold from the package, "Yuck."
11 March 1985: Mikhail Gorbachev becomes General Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party
"The law, in it's infinite fairness, prohibits," she pauses, "or was it forbids? Both rich and poor from stealing food and sleeping under bridges."
The concrete roof over her head thrums with the cars passing over it, and she tucks her feet a little closer. The prestressed concrete beams form a little cave, wide and deep enough to keep her out of sight, as well as block the wind. The concrete is a little hard underneath her, but it could be worse.
"It can always be worse," she re-assures herself, her head pillowed on her bag of books, and drifts off to sleep.
16 March 1985: AP reporter Terry Anderson taken hostage in Beirut
A quick discussion with a librarian gets her not only the quote, but the author as well, Anatole France.
"To accomplish great things," She re-reads aloud, just above a whisper, "we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe."
17 March 1985: Expo '85, the Tsukuba World's Fair, opens in Ibaraki, Japan
1985, Harry has decided, is rather a miserable year. Not that there was much work for a ten year old in 1989, but the begging was better. She had thought a girl might have a better time of it, but the creepy feelings she had about most of the people who stopped to talk to her . . .
She'd gotten a scone from an older woman somewhere east of Soho, which feels safer than Surrey, if not entirely safe, but the beggars in Soho seem hungrier than she is. She keeps walking, blinks a moment when she realizes the couple walking down the opposite side of the street arm in arm are a couple of blokes, then smiles, "Guess this is a right place."
10 April 1985: Madonna launches her Virgin Tour in New York City
"They put a parking lot on the piece of land, where the supermarket used to stand," she sings along with the radio, "before that they put up a bowling alley, on the site that used to be the local pally."
12 April 1985: El Descanso bombing near Madrid, Spain
"It is only the poor who pay cash, and that is not from virtue, but because they are refused credit," Harry tells the man at the newspaper stand.
He laughs, and doesn't complain when Harry puts the paper back after reading the front page.
19 April 1985: The Soviet Union performs a nuclear test in eastern Kazakhstan
She doesn't like to beg in Soho. There aren't many creeps, and many people are willing to share, but they are almost as poor as she is, and she can go days at a time without being really hungry. The nicer neighborhoods of London, she sighs, everyone is blind, except the Bobbies, who are quick to run her off. Children's Services would see her fed, but they only might be better than her kin. She could steal things easily enough, a quick dive Between would let her slip into anywhere she could see, or could visit during the day, but . . .
Whitechapel was looking like a bust, too. She ducks into an alley that should be on the way out, then turns around a minute later, another dead end.
A small gang of teenagers is blocking the exit back to the main street, "What have we here," one of them asks, not the one in the front middle, but a couple to the side and a pace or two back, "A little beggar boy, looking to horn in on our turf?"
Well, that explains both a little of her poor luck begging and her good luck in not being assaulted, "I'm just looking around, and I'm on my way out anyway."
"You need to pay the toll," another boy says.
"No money, no food, nothing of value on me. Let me pass."
"You shall not pass!" a different boy says, gesturing grandly.
Harry sighs, wanting to just unfold into Ramoth and bite one of these boys, give him a quick shake and drop his corpse steaming on the cold April bricks, but not really wanting to kill any of them, nor to replace her clothes. "Why are you doing this? Don't you have anything better to do?"
"No, not really," the first boy to speak says, "We keep the other gangs off our blocks, pick up the junkies and get them home, get a few quid and some food. School's useless, there's no work, Maggie and her Conservatives have destroyed the economy, might as well have some fun picking on some dumb kid who shouldn't be on our turf."
Harry suddenly smiles, "Maybe I can do something about that," and she dives Between.
23 April 1985: New Coke released
It isn't food, but Harry's begging expedition to Grosvenor Square isn't a complete failure, nearly a quid in change, and, closer to the American embassy, a can of Coke that tastes completely wrong.
11 May 1985: A fire at a football match in Bradford, England, kills 56
"awoo," Harry sings to herself, "He was looking for a place called Lee Ho Forks, gonna get a big dish of beef chow mein," bobbing her head to the beat, "He's the hairy-handed gent who ran amok in Kent, but lately he's been seen in Mayfair."
She dances along the sidewalk on Upper Brooks street, "Werewolves of London again."
13 May 1985: Philadelphia police bomb a row-house occupied by MOVE, a radical group, starting a fire that destroyed 65 homes, as well as killing 11, including 5 children aged 7-13
"I could tell you I need bus money, but actually I'm just hungry," Harry smiles up at the pretty brown-haired woman, "Not really hungry, I had a burger yesterday, but I'd really appreciate it if you could spare me some change."
16 May 1985: Antarctic Ozone Hole first reported
Harry has cleaned up a lot today, the better to sneak, and walks the remaining ten blocks to the British Museum after diving Between to the closest alley she's been to. A quick recon as she walks along the wrought-iron fence facing Great Russel street, then she dives Between past the man who looks like he's checking tickets, and walks quickly but not hurriedly, following the signs for the British Library Reading Room. Lacking an address, she's not likely to be able to stay long, but she wants to see 40 kilometers of bookshelves in one room.
19 May 1985: John Anthony Walker arrested for passing classified naval communications to the Soviet Union
Her stomach growls, and Harry glares at it, "I fed you recently, shut up."
Her middle grumbles at her again, so Harry starts counting fingers, "I went to the Museum three days ago, and that nice lady got me fish and chips," She looks at her fingers again, "Yeah, that was three days before that. Let's go find some food."
20 May 1985: Four RUC officers killed by a Provisional IRA bomb near Killean, County Down
She watches, singing softly, "give my daddy a job 'cause he needs one, he's got lots of mouths to feed," as the young mother locks her apartment, headed to work, "Father Christmas, give us your money, we don't have time for your silly toys . . ." She trails off.
Diving Between into the apartment lets her watch some TV news, and that lets her dive Between to Killean, County Down, where she watches the work crews clean up the victims of an IRA bomb. The news said four dead Royal Ulster Constables.
A deep breath and a dive Between has her back in the room where she starts, by channel hopping, looking for somewhere that would have work for a both a dragon and young, under-educated, inner-city kids. There is a report on Nicaragua, and the Communist Sandinista government, and the war against the Contra, the report calls them rebels, but they're terrorists, just like the IRA, not attacking governments, but poor villagers.
Diving Between halfway around the world takes far less time than timing it back five years, but longer than London to Ireland. She ties her clothes up in a bundle, stashes them in a tall tree at the edge of a small Nicaraguan village, and unfolds into a bronze dragon before taking off with a thunderous clap of his wings.
The jungle is teeming with life, and he snatches a monkey from a tree before he's flown a mile. One shake of his head and he's swallowing the dead but still twitching monkey whole. The Contras didn't leave much trail, but he can, not see, nor smell, really, but follow them. There are ten Contras in this raiding party, and they have firearms, and some sort of rocket launcher they haven't fired. Harry reaches them as they get to a truck, and two start to climb into the cab, the rest headed towards the back. He lands in front of the truck, leans in, iridescent faceted eyes swirling, 'Where are you murderers going.'
The man in the driver's seat yells something in Spanish as he fumbles to start the truck, 'I guess telepathy doesn't make up for the language barrier,' Harry says, reaching in the door and pulling the driver out in his talons. He looks at the bloody, but still breathing man in his hand, and sets him in the bed of the truck. The front passenger is trying to run away, as are the other men, so Harry subdues them as gently as he can without leaving them able to flee, piles them in the back of the truck, then dives Between with it.
The Contras are gasping and shivering, frost instantly forming on the truck, when they appear in the devastated village. Nicaraguan soldiers surround them immediately, but it takes a while to find one who speaks English. The chief soldier, talking through the translator, seems quite willing to pay Harry and as many others as he could bring to fight the Contras, but doesn't have the authority to promise anything.
Harry thanks them, and flies off. He lands, folds back into human shape, notes that he has a penis again, then dives Between back to the tree where he stashed his clothes, dresses, and dives Between to Soho.
"You boys looking for some work?" Harry, Lessa, asks the gang she had found in Whitechapel.
"What kind of work are you offering?"
"Dangerous work, but we'd get training out of it, as well as pay."
"There's nothing legal like that around here."
"Nope. Nicaragua. You'll be paid as a Soldado, or Private, of the Nicaraguan Army, but you'll answer to me, not the Nicaraguan government. The Nicaraguan government will provide the training."
"Why would we answer to you, little boy?"
Lessa smiles, "Because I am a dragon, I negotiated the contract, and I can get you to the fight. It won't be easy, we'll be on the defensive a lot, but I should be able to take the fight to the Contras, which will help keep them off the villages you will be protecting."
23 May 1985: Thomas Patrick Cavanaugh sentenced to life in prison for attempting in sell stealth bomber secrets to the Soviet Union
"No, you can't carry very many people on a dragon's back," Lessa tells her next group of transportees, "And I can't carry very many at a time in my hands, so everyone in the bag."
Several kids balk, and have to be cajoled.
25 May 1985: approximately 10,000 killed by a tropical cyclone and accompanying storm surge in Bangladesh
Lessa listens to the morning news from the BBC on a shortwave radio, the only reliable English language news she's found it Nicaragua so far, as she gets ready for morning physical training with her company. They're far short of a proper infantry company, both in skills and personnel, but both are growing. She yawns, a little tired, having accomplished a late-night raid on another Contra camp, rather illegally deep in Honduras, but needs must. Almost a ton of American and Soviet weaponry, ten fighters, twenty support personnel, three sad trucks and a nice, ish, car.
The news from Bangladesh is sad, but there is nothing she, or her company, can do about it. Some of her boys are calling home, recruiting mates and family members as either fighters or support. Apparently the local cooking is too different, so the whole company has promised to chip in to pay an English cook, if she can't afford it. A real doctor is actually higher on her priority list, someone good at trauma care.
Driving, rifles, and tactics for the company, strategy, politics, and economics for her, today.
29 May 1985: 38 spectators killed at the European Cup final in Brussels, Belgium
Lessa picks up the cook, Mary, eight years cooking for the British Army, ten years at a pub, decent recommendations.
Mary does scream like a little girl as soon as they pop out of Between.
31 May 1985: 41 tornadoes hit across the U.S. and Canada, killing 77
Mary is settling in, as the oldest member of Lessa's company. She's appropriated a translator, and is working well with the Sandinista cooks.
6 June 1985: Josef Mengele exhumed in Brazil
Harry gets to shoot things today, separate from the rest of his company, 'To preserve morale,' by hiding the fact that he has never shot a firearm before.
"This," Sargento de Primera Ortega, actually a distant cousin of President Daniel Ortega, says, "Is a Kalashnikov AK-47. It is very reliable, but the sights are primitive and only good for a few hundred meters. It fires a very short 7.62 millimeter round, which travels relatively slow and has a relatively high drop rate. However, with a little practice, it works very well for killing people, and with a little maintenance it will last about forever
"When you get a weapon, first you make sure that it is loaded, or unloaded, whichever is appropriate. You always keep your weapon pointed in a safe direction, at something you want to shoot, or won't be sad if you shoot, and keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire," he demonstrates, then hands the rifle to Harry, and walks him through the process, "The safety is on when up, single-shot all the way down, and full-auto in the middle. You won't be firing full-auto until you have single-shot down."
Harry shoots a target, examines it, shoots another, examines it, reloads, and repeats all morning, prone on sandbags, prone without sandbags, kneeling, standing, supported, unsupported. Steady position, breathing, sight picture, trigger squeeze, again and again.
His shoulder hurts when he goes to bed that night.
15 June 1985: Studio Ghibli founded in Tokyo
"You've got to watch this, it is amazing!" Harry Crewe, one of the older boys in Harry's Whitechapel gang, says, waving a VHS tape.
Lessa shrugs, and follows along with the other dozen or so, and is blown away by the first twelve episodes of Robotech.
It will be years before she gets to see Super-dimensional Fortress Macross in Japanese.
20 June 1985: a series of bomb blasts occur in Nepal
Harry Crewe has something else on tape, so the gang sits down to watch six random episodes of Star Trek, "Balance of Terror," "The Naked Time," "Arena," "Space Seed," "The devil in the Dark," and "A Piece of the Action."
Lessa decides the gang needs a proper copy.
23 June 1985: Air India Flight 182 bombed, 329 dead
Harry sighs, looking at the accused, and the victim. He turns to look at the gathered members of his company, "What are the capital crimes you agreed to when you signed up?"
"Rape and intentional fratricide will be punished by being bitten by a dragon, then shaken to death." The gathered witnesses say, mostly in sync. This isn't, unfortunately, the gang's first Court Martial.
Harry turns to the accused, "Did he say no?"
"No," the young woman answers.
"Did he say yes?"
"Was he competent to say yes?"
"He was passed out drunk, but he was into me before he passed out!" she protests.
"Are you in a relationship with him such that you could reasonably expect his retroactive consent?"
"How did he react when he woke up?"
"He screamed, and ran, and hid."
"Are those the actions of someone who gave retroactive consent?"
"Are you guilty of rape?"
"Sexual assault, certainly, but I don't want to die, I'll never do it again!"
"She's said that before!" at least three voices speak up from the crowd.
Harry puts his face in his hands, then looks up, "Get up here, swear in, we need your testimony."
"Are you ready," Ramoth asks.
"No, but I don't think I ever will be," the woman says.
Ramoth sighs, then her great big head darts forward, lightly grabbing the woman around her middle, and jerks suddenly, left, then right. She drops the body, then goes to rinse the blood from her mouth.
3 July 1985: Back to the Future opens
"Is anyone, at all, still in any way confused about what is and what isn't-" Lessa cuts herself off, "Your friend says they want to have sex, and then you get shitfaced drunk and don't remember a damned thing other than you wake up sticky and hung over. Rape or not?"
"Do we remember saying we wanted to have sex? Did we sign a note before we started drinking?" Someone calls from the crowd, "If not," she draws a finger across her throat.
"Your friend has had sex with you before, but they're passed out on the bed. You poke them, and they wake up a little. You think they said yes, they'd have sex with you."
"Did you record it? How awake are they?" A boy, this time, "Did they just say yes because they think that'll get you to let them sleep? Not a good idea."
"You meet a pretty member of the appropriate sex, and they come home with you. You give them a drink or two before you start groping on them, and then you have sex."
"Did they say yes? Were they mostly sober? Do they even speak a language you understand?"
"Yep. So, Sex is apparently awesome. Many people really like it. Some people don't, and some people just don't care. Some people are fine with having sex with anyone, some only want to have sex with their really good friends, some only want to have sex with one person, and some don't want to have sex at all. Just about everyone wants to have some agency when they decide to have sex, even if they want their partner to take complete control after that," Lessa stares at her gang, "So, we need to get affirmative consent. That is the rule we agreed to, it doesn't matter if they are a friend, an enemy, a POW, a local civilian, everyone needs to know they are going to have sex, and say yes.
"When doesn't a yes count?"
"Too drunk, too high, too scared," the gang chants back at her.
"Am I going to have to bite anyone for rape again?"
"I hope not," a wag in the crowd answers.
Lessa sighs, and hides her face in her hand.
10 July 1985: Rainbow Warrior sunk in Auckland Harbor
"So, I'll shift the teams Between about midnight, then we'll infiltrate the camp at 04, since they've been having shift change at 05, and Harry's team will get the trucks ready. Mick's team will shift the ammo out of the ammo tent, and I'll start a ruckus as soon as they're ready to roll. Once the trucks are out of camp, I'll shift them Between back to camp, and fly harassment until dawn, when the HINDs will get there. Any questions?"
Several kids shake their heads.
23 July 1985: The Commodore Amiga launched at Lincoln Center
Lessa is flying over Honduras, looking for another Contra base, unfolded into a little green dragon. The Contras are already hiding their bases better, since unlike the Sandinistas, she is not worried about the Honduran government complaining of invasion. She thinks that if the Honduran government doesn't want the Sandinistan army raiding Contra bases in Honduras, they shouldn't be letting them operate out of Honduras, but she isn't a government official.
As a contractor, she can chase Contras where ever she wants, it isn't like the Contras or the Honduran government can catch her anyway. The U.S. would have a hard time catching her.
14 August 1985: Accomarca Massacre in Peru
Lessa's company are eager to see a movie, and Lessa is upset about Peru, but she can't see any way to fix it, not even last week. She could, maybe, find the killers, but stopping it would have taken, basically, toppling the Peruvian government, and that, so far as she, and the Sandinistan analysts she had talked to about it, could tell, that would be worse. It is really, she thinks, sad when a government killing dozens of its own people for no good reason is better than the alternative.
So they are at the Hermosa Beach Cinema, in Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica, to see Back to the Future. Harry'd liked the bits he saw, in England, on the telly, but here and now it was new, and few of his company had had money to waste on going to the movies.
The Sandinistas are looking after their compound, so Ramoth took the whole company, all 37, in a great mesh bag, Between, almost to town, and they walk the rest of the way in. Lessa catches up after a moment, dressed again, all of them in niceish civilian clothes.
20 August 1985: Iran receives 96 BGM-71 TOW missiles in exchange for hostages in Lebanon and profits to aid the Contras
This Contra camp is fully covered in camouflage netting, and only has three squads worth of fighters and two cooks. Lessa is terribly tempted to take it on by herself, but she dives Between back to her compound anyway.
Four hours later, she is back with four squads, and the camp is gone, nothing left but flattened grass, mud, and trash.
31 August 1985: Richard Ramirez, the serial killer known as the Night Stalker, captured in L.A.
Lessa is patrolling as Ramoth, with a squad of ten tied onto her Load Carrying Equipment, made of sewn-together ratchet straps. It's uncomfortable, and itches, and that's just her problem with it. The squads have stopped comparing themselves to magazines and action figures, but no one is really comfortable with the arrangement.
19 September 1985: an earthquake hits Mexico City, about 10,000 are killed, 30,000 injured, and 95,000 left homeless
"Arr, me hearties," Harry says, having watched the whole stack of pirate movies the last trip to town brought back. Town, this time, was Manhattan, KS.
28 September 1985: Brixton Riots start after a police detective shoots a Jamaican immigrant in her bed while looking for her 21 year old son
Riots in London, Harry stares at the radio, how lovely.
He shakes his head, turns back to the map, Sandinista intelligence has pinned down, to within twenty miles, a major Contra base.
4 October 1985: the Free Software Foundation founded
"Keep's calling me it's master, but I feel more like it's slave, hauling me, faster and faster, to an early, early grave," Lessa is singing to herself as she waits in line for dinner chow. Mary, the cook, has promised the first fifty, and Lessa, beef wellington. She wonders if it'll be as awesome as everyone seems to think.
13 November 1985: Armero Tragedy kills an estimated 23,000
"I can bring about three hundred relief workers to the area yesterday, or the day before," Lessa tells the Disaster Relief team, "but they will have to walk in from the drop off point."
"How will we explain how we got that many people there?"
"Maybe you started moving them when the volcanologists started talking about the eruption?"
"That might work," Juan Sanchez, the team lead, says, "But we'll need the aircraft there before then, and the paperwork."
"We can gather volunteers now, and put them on a plane three days ago," Lessa frowns, "We'll need some way to move on that mud, and digging tools. I don't know if we can get anyone evacuated before the lahar gets there, but that would be much easier than saving them afterwards."
"That sounds like a plan," Sanchez says, nodding, "How are we going to keep your part in this secret?"
"The same way we've kept the fact that a giant dragon has been fighting the Contra secret, no one will believe them, and it's classified."
Harry walks out to the young dragon in his pontoon shoes, "Lets get you out of here," he says in Spanish, and drops the duffle bag, lined with a sealed garbage bag full of pillows, in front of her, "Grab the bag and try to push it underneath you. I will dig, and together we will get you out."
A hand reaches out of the pile of rubble, and Harry starts throwing broken chunks of house off of the pile.
It actually takes another two men, with a chainsaw and a jackhammer, to cut her collapsed house off of her, but they get her out of the watery mud, warm, and to medical attention.
"Come back to Nicaragua," Harry tells the young dragon, who's name is Olmayra, sitting down next to her cot in the field hospital near her destroyed town, "There is work for a dragon like us, and people to save, good deeds to do."
"I am not a dragon."
"I am sure you are, you just need to remember how to unfold from your human shape," Harry says, taking the older girl's bandaged hand.
"Unfold," the girl says, contemplatively, starting to unfold right there in her bed.
"Outside!" Harry says quickly, "Dragons are big, and there are a lot of hurt people here."
Olmayra, Harry sees, is a Quetzalcoatl, a feathered serpent, rather than a more Pernese dragon, great long constrictor body, feather crest framing her head, and huge feathered wings like a hawk, quick and agile, "I will come with you to Nicaragua, and fight Contras," she agrees, "But my mother will be sad."
"I think she will be happy you are alive and safe, and that your brother only lost a finger," Harry looks at the scattered scraps of clothing, "But we need to get you some more clothes, before you fold back into a girl, or a boy."
"I can do that?" she asks.
18 November 1985: Calvin and Hobbes debuts in 35 U.S. Newspapers
The Contras break and run at the first sight of Olmayra, feathered crest raised, wings cocked, as she stoops out of the sun.
"I don't even get that much respect," Lessa says, Ramoth-shaped.
"You are not a feathered serpent."
24 December 1985: David Lewis Rice murders civil rights attorney Charles Goldmark, his wife, and two children on suspicion of being Jewish communists.
A tall, well, taller than human form Harry, blonde girl smiles down at him, the faint coolness of Between wafting off her, "It is time, Angharad Potter, for the Assassin's Guild to, with the aid of the League of Dragons, retake our home Fortress of Alamut."
Harry turns fully to the girl, "And you are?"
The girl's smile turns into a grin, "Luna Lovegood," she takes three steps back, and unfolds into a tiny, for a dragon, white dragon, "Or you can call me Ruth."
"It is nice to meet another dragon, but why are you here?" Harry asks her.
She folds back into human shape, and Harry is a little envious to note that she not only is still a girl, not only didn't shred her clothes, but is wearing them when she folds back, "I need to save my mother in a couple years, so I need to learn how to fight. You, the guild, and taking Alamut, will teach me what I need to know."
27 December 1985: Abu Nidal terrorists shoot up the airports in Rome and Vienna, killing 18 and injuring 120
Luna plops down on one of the dayroom couches, and snatches Lessa off her feet, pulling the slighter girl into her lap.
Lessa stiffens, squirms a moment, then relaxes, leaning into Luna's hug.
27 December 1985: Dian Fossey found murdered in Rwanda
"I know her," Olmayra starts in Spanish, "Well, know of her, anyway," she reads the newspaper article, "Why did they kill her?"
"Because she was saying that the gorillas should be protected, and interfering with the poachers way of life."
"But the poachers are wrong! Even if killing the gorillas to make ashtrays is a valid way to live, they'll run out of gorillas to catch if they don't cut back a lot."
"Yeah, but the ones catching gorillas don't make much money off of it, and the ones further up the chain don't care. There is no way to end poaching without killing a lot of poachers and lifting pretty much all of Africa out of poverty."
"How can I do that?"
"I don't know."
"Then lets save her, and ask if she's got any ideas," Olmayra looks at the paper, "Time it back a week, or two?"
"Two," Lessa nods, "Ten soldiers each."
Baboons, Ramoth decides, taste just like monkeys, which makes sense, because they are monkeys, just a bit bigger and meaner. She and Olmayra were taking turns hunting for their little raiding party, more a defending party, unfortunately. They still didn't know exactly who attacked Fossey, and it's Christmas. Karisoke is having a party, and happy noises drift out of the research camp. Olmayra's squad will have watch over Fossey tonight, but it is entirely possible nothing will happen until tomorrow night.
Gunfire wakes Lessa from her light doze, and she unfolds as she drops out of the tree. "What's going on?"
Sargento de Secunda Gutierez yells back, "Four men, drunk, two with pistols and all with machetes. They're down, the gunmen are dead, but the survivors are incoherent."
"Maybe they don't speak Spanish?"
"That could be, too."
Ramoth slips behind some trees, because she is not sure if her clothes survived her half-asleep unfolding.
Dian Fossey is quite grumpy to be woken up in the middle of the night by gunfire, "You've been watching me for two weeks?"
"Yes," Lessa says, "The newspaper article didn't say much more than that you had been killed, and your body found later this morning," she shrugs, "It seemed easier to drop in a bit early."
"Because your work is important. Because we could. Because Olmayra asked me to help her end poaching in Africa."
"And how do you think you're going to do that?"
"We can kill a lot of poachers, but until we end poverty in Africa we'll keep having lots of new ones."
"Here, they need land, and some more livestock, and the poorest will be doing OK," Fossey looks deeper into the mountains, "In Uganda, they need to stop killing each other."
Olmayra pokes Lessa in the side, "Translate."
"Tell her we can provide soldiers, and some money, but we need local support, the mothers and grandmothers, to tell us what they need."
At the end of 1985, Olmayra is 13, Luna is 13, and Harry/Lessa is 11
Early May 2017: Reading too many Harry Potter fanfic, and thinking about how one cannot,
canonically, be a magical creature animagus. Pernese Dragons are non- magical . . .
Mid May 2017: Thinking about other books that would influence things, checked out a copy of
The Blue Sword and Dragonriders of Pern
17 May 2017: Realized that, while the Harry Potter books are firmly removed from muggle
time, this story isn't. It's all about what Harry's saving people thing would look
like if it got Harry's full support. Hit up wikipedia for more historical context.
27 May 2017: Realized that, after chopping anything Harry wouldn't be paying attention to,
that Olmayra's paying forward, and is interested in all of the disasters . . .
5 June 2017: More.
16 June 2017: More.
18 June 2017: More. Finished 1985 first draft.
28 June 2017: Played with formatting. Tiny edits.