Book 4 – The Dragons Return
by C.M. and G.H. Vining
A follow-on story to: "The Queen who fell to Earth" by Bob and Alyx
Book 1 Link: s/7591040/1/The-Queen-who-fell-to-Earth
Book 2 Link: s/8186304/1/On-the-Wings-of-Dragons
Book 3 Link: s/10301672/1/Beneath-Sovereign-Skies
Category: Harry Potter + Dragonriders of Pern series Crossover
The Prologue seen in this story is actually from Book 3: Chapter 19, which I wrote to finish off Book 3.
The Dragons Return Synopsis:
Harry Potter and all the dragons, as well as many of the other intelligent magical species arrive on Pern and start ensuring their survival on a planet that has unknown perils and advantages.
Here, I wish to thank all those who helped make this book, from Chapter 1 through to the end, as good as it is:
My wife, Gillian, for her input not only correcting spelling, grammar, and structure, but for help in rewriting sentences, paragraphs, and sometimes even entire sections. Without her firm grounding, this would not have been near as good as it is. It also helps that she puts up with me ...
Sharon Wenzel, editor, for her assistance from the very first draft. She tirelessly corrected my mistakes, sometimes the same ones, over and over and over! She also pointed out where she had questions about certain aspects of the story which caused me to add additional explanatory material, sometimes to several Chapters! It is definitely her fault that I now have a logical explanation for why Nylah was so upset about the attempted theft of her purse in Chapter 26.
Also thanks to various members of Bob & Alyx's Yahoo Group who pointed out various gaffs:
Alysson deMerel and bg2hell_dk: Found where I had said what I meant, but not in a manner that led to any kind of understanding by even the least critical reader. They added an extra dimension to the story. Hey, I had it right in one out of two places!
Linda Hoover: pointed me to five instances where I had mistakenly called "Madam Maxime", "Madam Maxine" by mistake. She also continued on to find even more mis-steaks ...
J. Kristoffer Nielsen: for pointing out in Chapter 30 that a "500 millimeter" capsule was not really tiny and probably should have been 5 millimeters.
I enjoyed the stories by Bob and Alyx so much that I wanted to see if I could continue in his legacy. The Author's Notes at the end should show all others who helped bring this book to completion.
We don't own Harry Potter or the Dragonriders of Pern. We're just playing in that combined sandbox for a bit. For further information, please read the fine print below.
The Fine Print:
HANDLE WITH EXTREME CARE: This product contains minute electrically charged particles moving at velocities in excess of five hundred million miles per hour.
THIS IS A 100% MATTER PRODUCT: In the unlikely event that this merchandise should contact antimatter in any form, a catastrophic explosion will result.
PLEASE NOTE: Some quantum physics theories suggest that when the consumer is not directly observing this product, it may cease to exist or will exist only in a vague and undetermined state.
IMPORTANT NOTICE TO PURCHASERS: The entire physical universe, including this product, may one day collapse back into an infinitesimally small space. Should another universe subsequently re-emerge, the existence of this product in that universe cannot be guaranteed.Chapter 0: Prologue: The Dragon War
Original Standard Disclaimer:
The primary author of this series, Bobmin356, has died of lung cancer. I enjoyed his stories so much that I just couldn't stand to see it die along with his mortal frame. I have decided to attempt to take the hints supplied within the existing story, as well as his final plot points, and attempt to complete this series. If I am successful, I will also attempt to create a new, similar series which takes place after book 3. When I have completed my attempted finale to this book, I will contact his wife, Alyx, and offer it to her for final editing and possible submission to so his other fans can also enjoy "the rest of the story". I expect the Author's Notes to change as others help work on the story. In the end, it should show all others who helped bring this to completion.
"We don't own Harry Potter or the Dragonriders of Pern. We're just playing in that combined sandbox for a bit."
Harry's Office, Campbeltown Weyr, Feb 17, 2010...
Harry decided that Ronan's misplaced jump not only needed to remain a Weyr secret from those not directly involved but that it was actually the solution to the biggest problem that had plagued the Weyrs since the very beginning: autonomy. He already had a select few riders working on a temporary jump location as well as space for the goblin miners and workers needed to make the new quarters livable.
He decided to move as much of their combined resources "on location" as feasible while there seemed to be a lull in hostilities. It would take a while for the Russians to realize they weren't going to find their missing ship and he could use that time to pre-position as much of the Weyr's desperately needed resources as possible. If they were lucky, it would all be gone before anyone really noticed it was missing.
He glanced over at his dragon in his stall, "Cheki, next time our 'Special Team' returns from our 'New Reserve', would you ask them to escort another ten wings of unbonded dragons when they go back? We need to start moving a lot more material as fast as we can. I will quietly ask for volunteers amongst the manned wings to go with them as well. We need to step up our preparations before hostilities resume."
"Yes, Harry," Cheki replied, his eyes twirling a bright blue, happy to help his Rider.
"Dobby," Harry called.
Dobby appeared right next to Harry. "Yes, Harry?"
"Did our house-elf volunteer have any problem with the trip there or back?" asked Harry.
"No, he said it didn't feel quite right but didn't feel bad."
"Fine, then send as many house-elves as possible with our next group of out bound Dragons. We can't leave any of them behind and I think they will enjoy it there, helping to get things set up."
Weyrleaders Meeting, Hangar Two, Campbeltown Weyr, Feb 17th, 2010...
Harry cast a sonorous on himself as he walked up to the head of the room. "Alright, please settle down," Harry announced into the tumult in the room. "I've called this meeting because I want to address my growing concerns with the international situation. Concerns that, I'm sure, some of you share. I'm going to cover a lot of ground, so please take good notes.
"First of all, the nations of the world are not used to anyone else telling them what they can and cannot do. They don't like the fact that, not only are there dragons all around them, but some of them live in areas that they still consider their territory. They look at our activities with great suspicion and want to control us to a lesser or greater extent, depending upon how strong they believe they are in relation to the dragons within their borders. None of them seem to realize they must deal with all dragons worldwide, not just the ones in their own areas.
"Secondly, I have a feeling that the Russian Government is being completely controlled by their Ministry of Magic, similarly to what almost happened to the British Government. That is the only thing that would explain why they are so rabidly against us. It is probably too late now, but if we can find their Ministry officials and remove them or convince them to change their minds, it may help take some of the pressure off us. Unfortunately, that is not something we are currently equipped to do.
"With that in mind when, not if, we are attacked next, video imagery of every aspect of the initial attack as well as our response is of paramount importance. The other countries are already apprehensive of our abilities. Without proper documentation defending our actions, we may find ourselves fighting everyone else in the world … not something I would wish on any of us.
"Third, Ronan has located what I like to refer to as a reserve that will act as a refuge and will keep us all safe from any aggression here. It comes with its own challenges and dangers, but nothing we cannot overcome. With that in mind, I want everything we can possibly move, that is not visible to the casual observer, to be transferred to this refuge. Ronan will be in charge and I'm assigning all but three of the manned Weyrs and many of the unbonded Dragons to help him with the transportation of materials, as well as setting up living and work space for us to move into. He knows what needs to be done, so please just accept that you don't know everything right now and follow his orders. I hope the reason for this will become clear soon enough.
"Anything that we are likely to need for of the coming battle, we need to move to Disko Island. It is still relatively unknown as far as its location and it will be much easier to defend since most of it is underground behind volcanic rock walls. This includes, but is not limited to, the entire contents of our medical facilities here at Campbeltown. Even though we will be gutting everything, the external buildings will remain and we will attempt to make things appear that we are operating out of our Weyrs normally. If you are operating out of one of the Weyrs that stays behind, you must be ready to relocate to Disco at a moment's notice … pack and don't unpack!
"The three manned Weyrs that are to remain operational are Campbeltown, Condron, and Joensuu since they have the highest visibility."
"We will also maintain the wings that are providing ambulance services. When the battle comes, they should, if at all possible, remain at work, albeit in a much heightened state of alert. There should be an airborne patrol at all times and Dragons and riders need to be able to get airborne and disappear within thirty seconds.
"I am sorry for this meeting being so one-sided, but right now we all need to be united if we are to survive the coming months. This meeting is adjourned. If you are to transfer to the reserve, please get together with Ronan for assignments and sight pictures for going Between. If you are staying here, start preparing to evacuate what little you have left as soon as you leave here."
Gringault, Under Gringotts in London, Feb 18, 2010...
Harry glanced approvingly at Polenth, the Leader of the Dragon Clan of Gringotts. "So, all of you have now received the imaging for the jump point from Garanoth, Ronan's Dragon, and have made a round trip at least once. I feel you will have an advantage since you don't have to leave the ground to go Between, yet can transport our carriers as easily as any of your flying brothers."
"Yes, Harry. We will be ready," said Polenth. "The Lord Holder told us that over half his combined clans have volunteered to move to the reserve. We will make sure that the he can visit when he wishes."
"Good, then I will let you get on with it. I now have to go visit the rest of the intelligent beings to offer them the same asylum," sighed Harry. "Best of luck to you all!"
"In the meantime, some of the rest of us will continue constructing the artificial island in the middle of the Pacific," Ragnok explained. "Initially we utilized some natural volcanic activity to create the massive upthrust needed to start the island. Once it was created, we then channeled off the magma flow laterally to create a wider rather than higher area. If I understand correctly, you don't need a weyr so much as you need a docking place for beings wishing to go to and from your new reserve."
"That's true to an extent, but we still have to house those Dragons and Riders that are working locally," said Harry. "The mile wide, extended caldera, broken down on one side to allow access to the sea, looks like it will work well. Its altitude, five thousand feet above mean sea level, should give us sufficient room in the crater walls for offices and temporary housing for staff, guests, and transients. The surrounding land caused by your use of lateral lava flow makes the island look a little like a stone crab claw opening to the east. We can use the resulting beaches for recreation. We will need floating docks and all the outer doors near sea level should be watertight just in case."
A large clearing in the Forbidden Forest...
"Harry, more Horse Men are coming," said Cheki worriedly, his eyes twirling a pale yellow.
"How many does that make now?" asked Harry.
"Twenty, I think. It's hard to see back into the trees where most of them are hidden," Cheki replied nervously. "I'm not sure I will be able to protect you from so many."
"Don't worry, Cheki, Centaurs are extremely intelligent and, contrary to their bad reputation, tend to talk before taking action. Just stay invisible until I ask you to reveal yourself. "
"What are you doing here again, Harry Potter?" asked a very dark Centaur who approached aggressively with a drawn bow. "Why do you risk your life by returning to the Forbidden Forest?"
"Greetings, Bane," replied Harry. "Actually, it's not as much of a risk as it looks at first glance but I will come to that later. I apologize for returning after promising I wouldn't, but an opportunity has come up that I think you will find too good to pass up. I felt I owed it to you, one magical being to another of equal or greater intelligence, to let you know about it. If you decide against, I will not bother you again. If you were to change your mind, you would then have to try to contact me."
"And how is your being here not a risk? You do not even have your wand drawn and I could have three arrows in you before you could even get it out!" growled Bane.
'You might try but you would die, and your arrows would be destroyed before they could reach my Harry!' growled Cheki angrily.
"Who was that!?" asked an extremely suspicious and angry Bane. "Show yourself!" Bane looked wildly around and up into the trees but couldn't see anyone else.
"Sorry," said Harry resignedly. "That was my companion. I asked him not to say anything but it seems, like always, that he has a mind of his own. He is hidden right now because I felt it would detract from my mission to bring you new knowledge if he were seen too soon. Please let me tell you about what I have come to say and I will let you meet him just before we leave, even if you aren't interested in my offer."
"Talk, then," snarled Bane.
"The Wizarding world and the Muggle world are due to collide within about fifty years and the wizards have been working on a plan to lessen the impact. Unfortunately for them, I have made a discovery that has caused some of them no end of trouble. It has also brought about great economic and social upheaval. Because of that I have decided that I needed to find a secure refuge where it would be impossible to assault us … I have now found that refuge. It is large enough that I can easily share it with others and, since you have had troubles with both wizard and muggle kind, I thought you would appreciate the opportunity for some or all of you to move there," explained Harry.
"Just where is this refuge that makes you think it is unassailable?" asked Bane warily.
"Sorry, I cannot tell you that right now because I don't want anyone else to know. What I can do is offer to take a small group of your people there so they can see it for themselves. Once they return and report to you, you will be in a much better position to make an informed decision."
"This sounds too good to be true. Why are you making this offer?" asked Bane, his initial suspicion returning.
"The reason I'm making this offer concerns that discovery I told you about. I was the cause of an existing intelligent species being discovered. Their young tend to bond inseparably with human young and I am bonded in just such a way. That voice you 'heard' is my life partner, Chekiath. I needed to find a place where they could be safe because the wizards treat them like cattle, killing them to harvest magical ingredients for potions," Harry explained. "Make no mistake, if you accept my offer to move to this refuge, you will have to accept certain rules, first of which is that all intelligent beings will be treated equally and granted access to any place in the refuge they wish to go, except private residences. There will be no Forbidden Forest and no Wizard-only enclaves; everyone will be given the opportunity to live in peace together or separately if they so desire."
"Just what makes you think you can enforce such a silly rule?" growled Bane, leaning forward angrily.
"Remember that new species I told you about? There are about twenty thousand of them currently in existence and, for better or worse, they all answer directly to me, even when they are bonded permanently to another life partner," said Harry. "Please, all of you lower your bows and step back a bit. I don't really want any accidents to happen when I reveal my friend to you. I know you can't hurt us but he is new to your species and is a bit concerned for my safety. I would hate for him to get the wrong idea and think he had to act in haste."
Bane slowly lowered his bow since there didn't really appear to be any danger present, and backed a few steps nearer to the tree line. "Fine," he said, "show us this friend of yours."
"Cheki, now please," said Harry.
As Cheki came into view, a few of the more skittish Centaurs back in the trees turned and ran. Dragons, after all, were considered a real threat to even a large group of Centaurs. To his credit, Bane didn't move an inch, though his eyes did widen noticeably.
Harry and Bane talked for almost an hour more, discussing the carrier that would arrive the next day to take the volunteers, who those volunteers would be, and many other aspects of the proposal. In the end, two young and two older volunteers were chosen, with Rónán and Firenze being in nominal charge of the contingent. It was agreed that the visitors would be gone for only twenty-four hours and then returned to the same clearing from which they had left. If, after talking with Bane, they wanted to, they would be able to go back again for a full week before returning, at which point a final decision would be made.
After the discussion was over, the Centaurs watched with awe and no small amount of interest as Harry climbed onto Cheki's back and launched up and into Between on their way to visit the Mer people to give them a similar offer.
New "Reserve" Weyr construction...
Ragnok stepped out of the carrier at the new construction site in what was being called the Reserve and quickly moved off to the side so the carrier could be moved for the next incoming shipment. He had no idea how they did it but there was a constant, intricate dance of arriving and departing carriers; some in the air and having to land to discharge passengers or fragile cargo, and some arriving directly on the ground at the "landing zone" only to be quickly moved elsewhere for unloading. Somehow the dragons managed to move everything quickly and safely. There had to be some kind of time difference between where the dragons were leaving to here but it didn't seem to affect the constant stream of dragons with containers moving around. He was amazed that there were no collisions between incoming and outgoing traffic. He watched as a group of Gringotts Dragons disappeared with an empty passenger carrier only to be replaced seconds later with another group with cargo. It was like watching the swirling flakes in a snow globe he had once seen a young customer bring into Gringotts.
"Welcome, Ragnok! Glad to see you finally got here for your on-site inspection. I'm Ronan, Garanoth's rider and Harry's Second-in-Command," said a young human, raising his right hand in greeting as he approached. "I'm in charge of the overall operation here." Ragnok couldn't help but notice that hand was missing two fingers.
"Quite a place you have here Ronan," said Ragnok. "I was told this was all underground to avoid casual detection from the surface but I didn't think it would be quite this large!"
"Well, as you can see, we needed a lot of room to handle the initial influx of people and supplies. What you are currently looking at is basically a cylinder that is six thousand feet high and six thousand feet in diameter. We needed the airspace for our flying dragons. We didn't think to use the Gringotts Dragon Clan until we thought to use them to help form the smaller living caverns. Flying dragons require a little more room to maneuver when they arrive," explained Ronan. "It's a real pain to keep lit. Good thing we have more than enough power with our own hot rock generators."
"How did you ever find a cavern big enough to start in?" asked Ragnok, curiously.
"We didn't," explained Ronan. "We found a likely mountain and Garanoth used his flame to create an appropriate opening on the mountain side a ways up from the bottom. It's located in a cleft in the mountain with a wide ledge above the opening. If you didn't know exactly where to look, you would never be able to find it from the air or from the ground. What you see as empty space used to be solid granite and basalt formed from old volcanic action in the area. Once he got in far enough, he started cutting out small slabs of rock which we could remove through the tunnel mouth. Once enough had been removed, Garanoth or any of the other dragons helping could simply pick up a block and go Between with it."
"That's a lot of rock that was removed!" exclaimed Ragnok. "I know you haven't been working on this for very long. What happened to all the waste rock? It isn't at the base of the mountain, is it? That would be a give-away as to your location."
"No, at first we thought we would just leave it 'Between' but then realized we had a real use for the blocks. They are now being stockpiled in various locations to await a specific future construction project," explained Ronan.
On a vast African-like veldt...
In several diverse locations, Dragons cleared away topsoil down to a solid base of rock in a circle a mile across. In some cases, they were required to go down over a hundred feet. Once the topsoil was cleared, they started bringing in giant granite and basalt blocks, some larger than a school bus.
The rock floor was first smoothed to allow humans to walk on it without tripping, then walls, up to sixty feet high, were built up around the circumference. Roof supports were laid down and a roof of rock positioned and fused into place. There are four equally spaced, rough surfaced ramps, each wide enough to allow even a large dragon to pass easily, leading to the lower level. A total of four levels were created using magic to help support the massive weight until each level had been fused solidly into place.
When the final floor was above ground level, smaller blocks were brought in and fused to the sides to create a continuous low grade ramp leading up to the floor. Over all this was positioned a final solid rock canopy, with large openings on all sides and again well supported as it also has a fifty foot gap between its floor and ceiling. The bottom of the ramps dips down below the local water level and back up enough that part of a strategically located river may be diverted to fill the new channel. This creates an artificial wide, shallow, moving sheet of water all around the new construction. The canopy covers this as well. Finally, four ramps were placed leading up to the top of the canopy so any being wishing to traverse the location may do so in the open air if they wish. The top level, under the canopy, is also available for use any time. Ward runes separate the type of beast allowed in each area, herbivore or carnivore, and any ramps leading to lower levels are hidden behind illusions of solid rock walls, only available in an emergency to non-magical beings.
Any being, intelligent or not, that needs shelter need only run across the shallow water and into the structure. The outside supports are set up in such a way that they do not block access to the interior for the water or anyone moving horizontally but will effectively block anything falling from above. The running water ensures that anything that blows into the cover from outside will land in water and get swept away with the flow. The water is even deep enough for some of the smaller local fish to easily navigate the center of the channel.
Each lower level has its own hot rock generator and lighting. Goblin magic is used to circulate fresh air, so exhaust and intake ventilation ducts are not required at the surface. There are multiple emergency Weyrs located on the surface of the planet in the southern hemisphere.
Magic was used to ensure that any below ground levels remained water tight, a real concern since each one is constructed right next to a fairly large, flowing water source. Once any non-magical being arrives in its own appropriate space, it is "encouraged" to hibernate until the danger has passed when it will be encouraged to leave peacefully.
Excerpt from The Weyrs of Pern by Remus John Lupin, published 2045.
#10 Downing Street, March 2, 2010…
Prime Minister Cameron wasn't happy. The report he was reading indicated that quite a few other countries had tried to nationalize their Weyrs with about as little luck, or less, than the United States had. What was it with these dragons and their riders that made them think they were so much better and more entitled than anyone else?
He would have to contact the leaders of a few of the friendlier countries on his list to see if they could combine efforts and finally bring the Weyrs under some sort of control. He knew the Royal family supported the Dragons but they weren't really the government.
The Barents Sea, South East of the Svalbard Islands, March 21, 2010…
The watch wing had been loitering in the area for hours now at ten thousand feet. They could go a little higher if they wanted to but ran the risk of their Riders losing consciousness, so they stayed within safe limits. It didn't really matter, since all the dragons were invisible. As they came about on the eastern portion of the racetrack pattern, the Wingleader's dragon noticed a glint on the horizon. After taking a closer look, he relayed to his Rider that there were a LOT of ships approaching.
After a few more circuits, it was obvious that the newcomers to the area were not only heading straight for the unbonded dragons searching the water below for seals, and near-surface whales and sharks, but they had in fact increased their closing speed. The Wingleader asked his dragon to contact Harry and let him know that it appeared they now had many more warships for company than they had bargained for. When one of the larger ships suddenly started launching planes, the Wingleader reported that as well.
Lac Logipi Weyr, Kenya…
The bombers were approaching the Weyr. Little did they realize that they had been detected as soon as the first of them had launched. Each aircraft had its own individual dragon escort following invisibly above as it lifted off from its home airfield or shortly after. This would greatly simplify where to go for retaliation. Each flight from each airbase was also shadowed by at least two Dragonriders equipped with video cameras to record where they came from, their initial attack, and the resultant counter-attack. Nothing was to be left to chance this time. The Saudis had become over-confident and had sent no fighter planes to protect their bombers, so air-to-air missiles wouldn't be a concern for this battle.
Campbeltown Weyr, Scottish West Coast...
Harry listened to the dragons chattering in his head. When he heard the first warning that the attack had commenced, he stood, quickly walked over to a large wall switch, and threw it. Turning, he ran out the door, heading straight to James' office to inform him that the Dragon War had started.
An alarm horn sounded across the Weyr and those few riders still present scrambled for their waiting dragons. They had been waiting for at least half the day, their gear long since sent to Disko Island. One dragon and rider with Ronan's RTL group immediately jumped aloft and went Between to bring all the dragons and riders working on the "Reserve" to rendezvous with those that had stayed behind.
"James, our Weyr in Kenya and some of our dragons over the Barents Sea are being attacked in concert. The Russians and Saudis have declared war on the Dragon Nation and we are on our way to participate in the retaliation. You might want to contact your government," said Harry. He then bolted out the door to mount Chekiath to help oversee the world's largest … and shortest … battle the world had ever seen.
James looked up from his morning paperwork shocked to see Harry's receding back. He jumped up to follow but by the time he'd reached the outside door, Harry and all the others were already launching. He hurried over to Harry's office to see if Harry's assistant might have some additional information. Upon arrival, he was dismayed to find the office empty of everything, furniture included! Aghast, he decided he had better make his way to Number Ten to let them know.
As James left, elves were rapidly disassembling all the buildings and anything else that could possibly be used. Harry didn't plan on leaving anything behind if he could help it. By the time James returned, there wouldn't be anything left but bare ground and a runway.
The Barents Sea, South East of the Svalbard Islands...
Three minutes later Harry, his wing from Campbeltown, and a reinforcement of ten thousand unbonded dragons appeared a thousand feet above the watch wing in the Barents Sea. The jets were still launching from the aircraft carrier and continued to do so for several minutes more before they were all airborne and headed for the fishing dragons.
As the first missiles were being released, Harry concentrated and sent to all dragons world-wide, "Our Barents Sea dragons are currently being attacked and bombers are already enroute to Lac Logipi Weyr in Kenya. Our war with Russia and Saudi Arabia has officially started. Everyone take your planned initial positions, stay safe, and, even though we didn't start this, let's finish it quick. Riders, just a reminder, your main occupation today is to record the attacks on us from as many different angles as possible with date and time stamps on the video. Once we start retaliating, make sure you get all the gory details. If it looks bad enough, perhaps we can scare away future potential attackers."
Dragons broke off into groups as pre-planned with only a slight amount of confusion amongst the humans due to the much larger attacking Task Group. Invisible groups of dragons hovered over each ship; the bigger the ship, the more dragons in the group. Each aircraft was assigned its own dragon escort who waited for the aircraft missiles to launch and then proceeded to burn off the entire empennage of its assigned aircraft. Without any aft control surfaces, none of the planes survived. Some of the pilots were able to eject safely and their assigned escort promptly grabbed their parachute and, jumped between, only to set the pilot down in a prearranged holding area before returning to the battle.
As soon as the aircraft had fired, the surface ships fired off their missiles on a flat trajectory designed to pass under the attacking aircraft and impact the fishing dragons … who had long since disappeared to the safety of an attack position. Surface ships suddenly found themselves under attack, their external attack and defense systems quickly destroyed, and were being lifted into the air only to disappear.
The entire battle of the Barents Sea, from first sighting of the attacking fleet to the final disappearance of the last captured combatant had lasted less than an hour. All dragons and Riders also disappeared to go to their assigned targets. The Dragon Nation had more than sufficient time to prepare its own Battle Plan.
Battle of Murmansk, March 21, 2010…
Thousands of dragons suddenly leaped out of Between in a dazzling display of synchronized flying … dazzling, even if you were destined to be on the receiving end of what was to come. The bustling seaport in northwestern Russia lay 125 miles north of the Arctic Circle, and on the eastern shore of Kola Bay, 30 miles from the ice-free Barents Sea. This is where many of the attacking Russian ships had sailed from and it was about to pay the price for its aggression.
Heavy cruisers, gunboats, minesweepers, and even a few unlucky submarines were used initially to "bomb" the extensive port. Docks, both dry and wet, were savaged. Administrative, support, and warehouse buildings were leveled. When the dragons ran out of ships to drop, they started flaming anything and everything that could have possibly been used against them. This particular city had been chosen to be the example for all the world to see what happened to anyone trying to attack the Dragon Nation.
Murmansk Airport got the next most attention, after all, the dragons felt they had to control the air. The railway and M18 Kola Motorway were also destroyed, leaving no way other than by dragon … or helicopter … in or out of the city.
Battle of Moscow…
Five thousand dragons burst into view, many carrying huge objects between them, some single dragons carrying smaller objects. At the height they came out of Between, it was actually hard to see individual dragons. They looked not unlike a swarm of swallows except they were all at the same altitude. With what was to come, no dragon dared to be underneath any other.
The Special Committee for State Security, The Kremlin...
Mishka Danakov looked up from his notes to take in the almost full room. Every important government official as well as every Wizard and Witch involved with controlling said government were present. There were a few Muggles missing, but no one of any import. He may as well begin.
"If you will all please be seated, we can get this special meeting started," said Danakov. He waited for the few moments necessary for everyone to settle and relative silence to descend on the room.
"Even as I speak, the final orders have been given to attack a group of dragons in the Barents Sea. We have no idea what happened during our previous attempt. After an extensive search, no trace of the Admiral Levenchenko, Captain Antanov, or any of his crew has been found. After many hours' search, it could only be assumed that the vessel went down precipitously with all hands. We suspect, but cannot prove, that dragons were involved in our loss. With that in mind, we have ordered an entire carrier based attack group to engage and destroy any dragons they find in the North Sea, no matter their activity. We would have attacked much sooner but it took us a while to re-equip most of the vessels involved to carry our special heat-seeking missiles. We also had to give some of the crew Special High Intensity Training in their operation."
"Just prior to entering, I received word that such a group of dragons had been sighted and Vice Admiral Maksimov has ordered an all-out attack with his full flotilla. Even the Landing Craft will be used to collect any dragon carcasses for processing of magical ingredients."
"All of Russia has been placed on National Alert and the military is on a five minute alert. All our government buildings have extensive magical wards and nothing can get through without being specifically allowed. I expect momentarily to receive word of a successful attack and extermination of the first of many dragons who are trying to destroy us."
"While we are waiting for word of the attack, let us move on to ..."
There was no chance to say anything else, as the "word of the attack" had just breached the roof of the ministry in the form of the bow of the aircraft carrier the Admiral Kuznetsov. Needless to say, though ordinarily they would have been displeased with the information, now they did not care, as they were all dead.
Battle of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia…
Hundreds of dragons appeared as if by magic over Riyadh, many of them over the King Khalid International Airport about 22 miles north of the city center, all at the same altitude, some of them carrying objects almost as large or larger than they were: bombers that, just a few seconds ago, had started a bombing run on the Lac Logipi Weyr in Kenya. As soon as they appeared, the bombers were released to continue dropping their own bombs, ironically over their own country rather than where they had started.
In a scenario repeated across the country, the released airplanes started falling from the sky even as they released their final bombs on the airports below. Some of the aircraft, too severely damaged to be able to fly, crashed almost immediately, adding to the damage their bombs had wreaked. Others, less damaged but still not able to fly very well, were forced to make more or less successful emergency landings in any area they could find that wasn't under attack by dragons. In every instance of a successful landing, dragons would arrive soon after to encourage the aircrew to vacate their aircraft. Once vacated, the previous technological marvels of modern aircraft technology were reduced to glowing heaps of molten debris.
Airfields were not the only facilities being attacked however. Government centers, military bases, oil production buildings and oil fields, and manufacturing plants were all fair game. When they were finished some three hours later, Saudi Arabia would no longer be able to attack anyone else for some time to come … if ever.
The dragons were not indiscriminate however. They carefully avoided attacking hospitals, museums, housing, food or water production and distribution points of any type, or any non-combatants they came across. They were determined to remove all threat of future attack, not to destroy a country.
The Dragon War, the aftermath...
The war was short and devastating for the Russians and Saudis. The Weyrs had proof they only reacted after an attack by the Russians and the Saudis, unfortunately the proof wasn't accepted immediately by everyone due to the magnitude of the Weyr's response.
After the air battle, it was revealed that nearly twenty thousand dragons attacked Russia. In the first ten minutes 90% of Russia's northern fleet was destroyed by the Weyr using those ships as missiles. Two wings of unbonded dragons dropped a fully manned and operational Kuznetsov-class Aircraft Carrier on the Kremlin from altitude. The gloves were off and thousands were killed in attacks which saw ships being dropped on air bases and military installations around the country.
When they finally ran out of ships, they resorted to making flaming passes on any military targets of opportunity, tying up traffic as roads and rail were disrupted.
The counter-attack on Saudi Arabia wiped out all of the Saudi military infrastructure, including vehicles, buildings, airfields, and any munitions they could get to. In keeping with their desire to do no more harm to people than necessary, they attacked in such a way that they were safe at all times but they would leave one or more avenues of retreat open for anyone wishing to preserve their life rather than attack dragons.
Less than a day passed before the Russian Minister of Agriculture offered up Russia's unconditional surrender. Russia's surrender shocked the world and made a lot of people wary of the Weyr. There was no one left in a position in Saudi Arabia to offer a surrender, unconditional or otherwise.
Fortunately for the Russians and the Saudis, the Dragon Nation wasn't interested in accepting surrender from anyone; they just wanted to be left in peace. Immediately after hostilities ceased, simply because there were no further military targets to attack, the dragons switched their activities to that of disaster relief. They "dragon-lifted" tons of previously created disaster relief kits to every area in the two countries hit by combat. The day after the battle, all the relief kits had been delivered, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent were in-place aiding the survivors, and the Dragon Nation had virtually disappeared … as if they had never even existed on the face of the planet.
Excerpt from The Weyrs of Earth by Remus John Lupin, published 2040.
Disko Island, Greenland, March 22, 2010...
Harry had finally told everyone in the core group, Ronan's wife Karen, Remus Lupin, Katherine, Sirius, and of course Hermione and May, about Pern. Now he was about to announce it to the rest of his riders. Even those who had helped to build the Weyr and ferried supplies to Pern, didn't realize they were actually going to a different planet. Even now, Ronan was on Pern revealing the Weyr secret to those who thought they were just going somewhere else on Earth to prepare for everyone else's arrival.
"OK, everyone please listen carefully! I have a very important announcement concerning the Dragon Nation's future. It's long enough I don't want to have to repeat myself. If you have any questions, I will do my best to answer them at the end," Harry said, with the help of his quickly cast sonorous spell, into the restless crowd of Dragons and Riders. "I'm sure many of you have noticed that quite a few wings of bonded and unbonded dragons and riders have been missing over the past few months, that they all re-appeared when we needed them for our Dragon War, and that most of them have again disappeared.
"If you remember back when Svartvatn Weyr was attacked a little over seven months ago, there was an unexplained problem where our space capsule with Ronan Clark and Mildred Lupin seemed to go missing after my general recall of all dragons. Only a few of us knew at the time that he had given incorrect jump imagery to his dragon. He was daydreaming and thinking of that wonderful Lee Jordan picture on the wall of my office. They ended up jumping to Pern." Harry went silent as the Riders reacted noisily to his revelation.
After the babble of excited voices calmed down, Harry continued. "Since then, we have treated this knowledge as a Weyr secret initially known only to a very few and then to a small but growing number on a need to know basis. I wanted to make sure that we had everything we needed in place before announcing our discovery to the world. You are the first to know that those Dragons and Riders have created our first Weyr on Pern. It is big enough for all of us, but has more than enough room to grow in the future. Room for every Dragon, Rider, their associated families, and Elves, as well as Goblins and Centaurs, if they choose to join us." He added, "This is only the first of many locations we have found that would be suitable for an underground Weyr."
He had to pause to allow the Riders' cheers and shouts of celebration to quiet down again. "We have also been creating artificial Weyr-type emergency areas in many suitable areas on the surface of the planet so that anyone stranded there during a time of emergency will be safe and comfortable."
"All dragons and Riders will be moving to Pern soon. Any families, friends, or associated employees who wish to go with us, may do so. I would suggest that everyone settle up their affairs on this planet as soon as possible because anything left here will do you no good there. However, we aren't terminating contact with Earth completely, so there will be some two-way commerce."
"We have created an island terminal area in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, that belongs to the Dragon Nation, where we can maintain contact with Earth for as long as necessary. Many nations are starting to rely on our power sources and ambulance services and I don't want to simply leave after so much progress. At the same time, we need to have complete autonomy from any Earth based government; we will have that on Pern."
"When we arrived everything seemed quiet but we do know from the dragons' memories that Pern is subjected to periodic attacks by a space based lifeform that destroys any and all life on contact. That's why we have created our biggest shelter underground. If necessary, we could live there indefinitely and quite comfortably. We have taken cattle and seeds that seem to be thriving in the Pern environment. Now we need to find out if a large group of intelligent beings can survive and thrive there together.
"That's the basic information. Are there any immediate questions?" asked Harry.
For the next half hour, Harry answered questions or referred them on for others to answer. When he was finally able to get away, Harry sought out Hagrid.
"Hagrid," Harry called out, "May I have a few moments of your time?"
"Sure 'arry, wha'cha want?"
"You now know we will be permanently moving to another planet. I thought you might like to ask Grawp if he would like to join you there. You can also invite any other members of your friends or family you think might like to go as well," Harry said. "Of course, they would have to agree to the requirement to treat all other intelligent beings with due care and respect."
"Thanks, 'arry!" exclaimed Hagrid with a huge smile. "It does get kinda lonely sometimes being the only giant around. I 'preciate the thought but I'm not sure normal giants would be able to stick to any such restrictions, even when enforced by dragons." Hagrid continued thoughtfully. "I'll take Selanth and an unbonded dragon to visit with Grawp. If Grawp can make frien's with the dragon, then he might be happier with us."
"Please let me know how it goes then, Hagrid, so we can make arrangements to get him there if necessary," said Harry.
Effects of Conflict on Dragons:
An aspect of the Dragon War that has never before been publicized was the impact on the dragons and their riders. Dragons were created to help humans. They were honest and open to a fault, regardless of how they were treated before and after "The Age of Beasts". Through their bond with their dragon, riders came to embrace that philosophy as well, some more or less than the dragons themselves. The human component of the bond was familiar with how duplicitous humans could be and how callous towards another's plight. Before The Weyrleader forced them into battle, no post-awakening dragon would have ever even dreamed of harming any human, even those trying to harm them. Now, they had just been involved in a war where they had been required to not only be aware of, but involved in, the destruction of human life. The most crucial point that allowed the dragons to remain sane, was the promise from The Weyrleader to never involve them in such a war, ever again. Over the years, he has been able to keep that promise.
For many years after, The Weyrleader retained the services of first a Board Certified Psychiatrist from Earth and later from rider trained physicians specializing in Psychology. The sessions, as explained to me, were odd in the extreme for the doctor trying to help. Normally, even with dissociative disorders, a psychiatrist only worked with a single physical patient. Any psychiatrist that worked with The Weyrleader had to come to grips with the fact that, when in session, The Weyrleader would open himself up to all dragons and, through their bonded dragon, all riders currently on the planet with him. While it may have appeared outwardly that a session was for The Weyrleader, it was actually helping the entire Dragon Nation.
There have been conflicts that have involved dragons, but always in a covert manner. The dragons were used to safely capture suspected individuals who were then humanely interrogated to determine their guilt or innocence. If guilty, their chain-of-command was determined and the illegal organization uprooted and destroyed by human agencies with as little dragon involvement as possible. Most notable of these conflicts was Operation East Africa.
During said operation, the Dragon Nation removed initially the country of Somalia and eventually the entire continent of Africa from the business of piracy. The upside for the dragons was that they didn't destroy, they helped to build and protect, which was what they had been designed to do. They worked with their riders to terrify those guilty of attempting to subvert the region so they would never return. Dragons enjoy a good joke, and they considered the act of scaring someone into incontinence to be the height of humor. But they didn't just scare bad people, they helped the natives of the area rebuild their lives, which helped the dragons recover from their war even more.
Excerpt from The Weyrs of Earth by Remus John Lupin, published 2040.
#10 Downing Street, London ...
Prime Minister Cameron was extremely disappointed. None of the other leaders he had talked to had been brave enough to stand up to the Dragons either alone or collectively, especially after what had happened to Russia and Saudi Arabia. He would have to go it alone. He couldn't execute a military strike, that would be personal and professional suicide, but he could make life for the so-called "Dragon Nation" as uncomfortable for them as possible while they were on British soil … at least until the end of his term.
Campbeltown Weyr, March 23, 2010...
Harry stood on the temporary platform, in the middle of the runway, behind a podium, waiting for the signal to start speaking. It was a little sad to see an empty plain with an old runway bisecting the ground where a vital, active community had once been.
It was time. The camera tech gave him the final countdown to live air time … 3 … 2 … 1 … NOW!
"It is with a mixture of profound sadness and excitement that I, Harry Potter, Weyrleader for the Dragon Nation, address you today. Through no desire of my own I have become at once the most reviled, arguably the most famous, and, in a few cases, the most loved person on this planet. All I have tried to do was 'get along' but others have seen fit to try to compel me to do what they thought right. Because of this, I was forced into a situation where I reignited intelligence in a species older than man on this planet. A species that was both feared and revered throughout man's history, the Dragon.
"Contrary to popular belief, these beings are not dumb, overly aggressive animals but were, in fact, prior to my fateful meeting with a certain young hatchling, highly intelligent creatures who were artificially locked into solitude by the genetics of devolution. They were originally designed to bond with humans for the protection of their planet in a system far from here, but a tragic accident caused a Queen, heavy with eggs, to flee to Earth millennia ago. From gentle, intelligent, telepathic beings they devolved into something little recognizable from ordinary animals, because they were denied the bond with humans. In a word, they went insane.
"When I came in contact with that hatchling, we bonded immediately and our bonding shattered the eons-old bonds on the intellect of all the dragons on this planet. They all instantly recovered their ancient memories and intellect, and found themselves in the same situation as herds of cattle being bred for the useful products of their bodies. There was some confusion while I helped to sort out their proper place in life once more. Now that we have proven, through unavoidable combat, that we have the will and the means to protect ourselves from any foe, regardless of size or strength, we are feared. All we want is to live in peace alongside our friends and families just like the other intelligent beings on this planet.
"Ever since that first fateful meeting where my dragon and I bonded for life, I have been searching for some refuge where we could simply live in peace. I am here today to tell you that we have finally found our refuge. We have rediscovered the planet the dragons originally arrived from, named Pern. We are, even now, actively colonizing the planet where we will be free from any national concerns of this planet. From what we have been able to discover so far, it is bare of intelligent life. We have found that terrestrial life in the form of cattle, humans, and others we have taken there seem to flourish in its climate and slightly lower gravity.
"Almost all of our Dragon Nation will be immediately relocating to Pern. However, since their awakening, the dragons have become an important element in the economic survival of this planet, so we cannot simply abandon it completely. For a dragon, the trip between planets does not take long. We have created an artificial island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean which we call Dragon Isle. There we will maintain our Earthly presence far from the interference of any government. Over time, we may resume closer ties with those countries who have shown us kindness, like Great Britain, Japan, and China. With others we will maintain simple business relationships. We can supply unlimited, clean power while we still need certain supplies to ensure our new colony not only survives but thrives.
"We will also be maintaining and expanding our ambulance services that so many hospitals have come to rely on, as well as our Search and Rescue and humanitarian efforts through the International Red Cross. After all, Dragons were bred to bond with man and do their best to keep them safe. What better way than to help supply Emergency Services?
"You have been provided with informational videos and press packets that should answer almost all questions. For now we must concentrate our efforts on setting up our new location on Dragon Isle and on consolidating our hold on a new planet. I sincerely hope that once events settle down and we are no longer feared but respected as of old, you will see dragons everywhere on Earth helping keep mankind safe and energized for more important efforts.
"Thank you and good-bye for now."
With that, Harry turned to Chekiath, mounted, and they leapt up and went Between.
Most of the countries of the world were now grumbling because they couldn't claim Pern for themselves. They finally realized that it takes a dragon to get there and Harry controlled the dragons.
United Nations Building, New York City, May 21, 2010...
There were invisible dragons on many of the buildings for two miles around the UN building. They were there, listening to the surface thoughts of the thousands of humans below, trying to detect any threat to Harry. If they found anything suspicious, they notified Chekiath who passed on the information to that day's duty Dragon and Rider. The Rider then used a walkie talkie provided by the local police to inform one of the local law enforcement groups placed around the city just for this purpose. So far, three assassination attempts against Harry and five against other UN Representatives had been successfully foiled.
In one case, the would-be assassin had been held in place on the roof of the building he had climbed to make his attempt. It was his misfortune that he started setting up right next to one of the dragon sentinels. The local law enforcement; police, FBI, and Homeland Security had developed a new respect for their new associates.
Tensions around the world had eventually relaxed when the other nations realized that the Dragon Nation said exactly what it meant. It had no nationalistic expectations. Just because it had totally destroyed two countries' entire military power in a single day … no, a single hour … didn't mean they wanted to take over. They simply wanted to be left alone. Now all the other countries were tiptoeing around trying to act as if nothing had happened, while Russia and Saudi Arabia struggled to recover enough that they needn't rely on charity from the rest of the world.
The Dragon Nation took a note from the United States playbook after WWII and dug in to help the two countries it had demolished to recover. They had even gone so far as to build, entirely from their own resources, a 3,500 MWe hot rock power station in Russia and a 1,000 MWe power station in Saudi Arabia to help power their recoveries. After that, they stayed strictly hands off. The Dragon Nation had been attacked, they retaliated by knocking out the military might of the attacking nation, they then helped with emergency relief for the shattered population and started them on the road to financial recovery. They never tried to impose any ideology or restrictions on the two countries. Consequently, the average civilian in each of the conquered countries felt far friendlier towards the Dragon Nation than they did towards their own original, now mostly non-existent, governments.
Today marked the end of weeks of talks between the Dragon Nation with the United Nations trying to persuade the Dragon Nation to join in the nearly worldwide organization. Much to their annoyance, Harry was not in the least interested.
Harry, Chekiath, and the Weyrleaders and Wingleaders who had volunteered to remain behind as the Dragon Nation's Ambassadors to Earth, walked through the freight entrance and maintenance tunnel that accessed the assembly chamber, for what they hoped would be the final time. They knew they needed to interface with the rest of the people of Earth but already they felt as if this were just another place. Pern was their home now even though Harry and his family had yet to get there.
As soon as they entered the chamber the soft murmur intensified as it usually did. The room was filled to standing room only and Chekiath's presence sent a ripple of subdued comment throughout the chamber. At least the delegates had finally realized they had nothing to fear from the gigantic creature in their midst.
The chamber was completely full, even the countries that had previously boycotted the meeting, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Argentina and Iran were in attendance. Even Iraq and North Korea had finally acknowledged that dragons were real and must be dealt with. They now realized, after what had happened to Russia and Saudi Arabia, what could happen to them if they attacked any dragons that entered their airspace.
The lights flickered and a great many people sat down and reached for a pair of headphones.
The lights flickered one last time and then the staff closed the doors. The Secretary General entered the chamber from a side door. He stepped up to a large podium in the front of the room and began speaking. Harry temporarily zoned out, having heard the opening address many times now since they had been meeting almost continuously for the past few weeks. He resumed paying attention when the tempo of the speech changed.
"I welcome you all to this, the last day of our extended session of the United Nations as we culminate our discussion on the question of the Dragon Nation which so suddenly appeared in our midst," the secretary general said, then he paused, looking pointedly at the Russian and Saudi Arabia delegates. "We have seen the advantages of working with the dragons and we have also seen the vast disadvantages of trying to fight them.
"In the years since the world learned of dragon-kind and their human partners, they have made a huge impact on the world. No one now doubts the existence of dragons as they once did. Many of us have reaped the benefits of working closely with them. We are starting to gain a small measure of energy independence and Search and Rescue has improved drastically. For those reasons and the many possible future possibilities, we have been trying to convince the leader of the Dragon Nation, their Weyrleader, to join our organization as a part of our United Nations. So far he has steadfastly refused. Today, I invite him to address us one last time in the hope that he can finally convince us all of his reasoning."
He paused and smiled at the cameras. "Let us welcome to our assembly, the Weyrleader of the dragons, Harry Potter and Chekiath, his bonded dragon."
The assembly broke into a restrained applause and Harry placed the headphone that lay on the table on his head and pulled a microphone closer to him. Chekiath shuffled forward a bit so that his head could rest just over Harry's right shoulder, just as they had every time previously.
Harry glanced at a technician who nodded to him. He took a deep breath and waited for the chamber to settle down.
"Mr. Secretary-General, members of the assembly, honored guests and to everyone watching no matter where you are, on behalf of the dragons of Earth I thank you for your most gracious welcome," said Harry.
"We are honored to be here, as always, but, as I have tried to explain to you before, we are no longer a part of this planet. We belong to ourselves and to Pern now. Because of this, it would be hypocritical to even think of joining your organization. Your concerns are of and about this planet, Earth. Our concerns are of and about our new home planet, Pern.
"True, we started out here. We even tried our best to fit in and help where we could but it was never really meant to be. The dragons, and through them their riders, are just too different temperamentally from the standard human on Earth. You would do much better to think of us as an alien race that has just made first contact. You wouldn't dream of asking little green men from Alpha Centauri to help you decide the fate of your planet's nations or their people. Nor should you expect that of us."
Harry waited for the small rise in background noise due to chuckles from those present to subside. "It may also help if you can think of us as Earth's first extraterrestrial colony. Did the British expect their new colonies in America to help govern Great Britain!?" Harry paused while the chuckles and outright laughter again died down.
"After many meetings, we have finally ratified an official written treaty which outlines exactly what we have tried to get you to agree to since this all started.
"We have created an island habitat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean where we will have our 'local' point of contact with the Planet Earth. There we will have our Earth-side administrative offices, local dragon and rider quarters, business offices, and transient quarters for visitors with business requiring more than a day to conclude.
"There has been interest from many countries about being allowed to send us immigrants to live on Pern. We have no objection but each and every person must pass a required course on the problems they will face if they decide to live there. They will also be required to agree to our Bill of Rights of Intelligent Beings. Since they will find that, in fact, humans are not alone and we will not allow any one species to try to lord it over any other, all will be treated equally and fairly. Any who arrive and find they cannot abide by our rules will be subject to relocation back to Planet Earth.
"We will also allow limited tourism with basically the same restrictions as for a permanent colonist. In both cases, it is recommended that any travelers make any final arrangements they deem necessary. The environment there, while not generally hostile to terrestrial life, can be very unforgiving. We have, thankfully, not encountered the worst threat to life yet, that being Thread fall, but we are preparing for the worst as fast as we can.
"Given those restrictions, we still have a lot to offer Earth. In trade, we need many manufactured goods we don't yet have the capability to produce and we need engineers and tradesmen of all types to help us build a new world. The initial risks are great but the rewards are greater still. I look forward to the day when it will seem commonplace to see dragons flying the skies of both planets, and casual travel between our worlds will allow for a free interchange of ideas and resources.
"With the desire to emigrate in mind, we have created the required testing already and will actively work with any country wishing to allow its citizens to leave their lands and come to ours. We have assembled information packets, which you should have found at your seats when you came in, that should answer all your questions regarding what I have discussed here.
"I thank you for your time and am honored that you wished to include us in your organization but I hope I have finally explained why we cannot do so. I now bid you goodbye. My family and I have never been to our new home and are anxious to see it through our own eyes and breathe its air for the first time."
With that said, Harry turned and headed for the exit with Chekiath and the other Riders close behind. They could hear the rising wave of applause as they departed.
The Weyr was shocked over the next few weeks by the number of people asking to go to Pern, millions of requests from all walks of life. Muggles, wizards, goblins, and many of the others who had been offered sanctuary decided to take advantage of the offer.
#10 Downing Street, London, May 21, 2010...
As Prime Minister Cameron watched the televised speech by the Weyrleader his hands slowly and unconsciously clenched until there was a sudden snap. Looking down at the broken ruin of a very expensive pen in his hands as the ink spread across his fingers, he thought, "Damn, that was my favorite pen!" He threw the pieces across the room in the general direction of a trash can, and thought, "Time to put on a serious face for the press." He had been completely against the Weyrs since he had taken office but, in light of their ever growing popularity, it was time to make the public believe he supported them in every way. At least they would now be … mostly … off the planet and definitely off British soil.
The planet of Pern in the Rukbat system, June 1, 2010 (Earth Standard)...
Harry and his family finally stepped out of a Weyr passenger module on Pern. It had been a long time coming and Harry swore he would be the last one to actually visit the planet after he had ensured everything on Earth was resolved to the Dragon Nation's benefit. You never knew when you might have to go back and you didn't want to have to sneak back. It was much better and easier on the nerves to be able to go back with fanfare and be welcome.
In the distance, Harry saw thousands of people working, building houses and other buildings using the leftover stone from quarrying out the Weyr. The lumber from the Weyr buildings on Earth would come in handy for internal fixtures, like shelves and furniture. Work was well underway for mankind's first interstellar colony. He just hoped they would be ready before thread fell for the first time since they landed. At least they had two advantages the original colonists didn't have: they knew about Thread and they had the means, through the Goblins, of detecting imminent volcanic eruptions and staving them off until they could safely evacuate the area.
Right now everything was jammed up tight to the original mountain in which Ronan had originally located their first Pern Weyr, Spath's Weyr. Harry had originally thought to rename Campbeltown to Spath's but, when he found out that Pern was accessible, he decided that naming the first Pern Weyr after his early mentor would be a far greater honor. From his connection he could tell, all the dragons and riders agreed. He might eventually decide to rename Campbeltown after all … if they ever reactivated it.
There was now a fairly wide entrance tunnel that connected the outside of the Weyr, through a series of chambers to the huge inner chamber. Initially, Harry thought everyone would live in the mountain but now, with so many new immigrants, there was a real desire to be able to see the sun and the seasons while still being protected. Fortunately, the Goblins had declared this particular mountain range as free of any danger of possible eruption for thousands of years, if ever.
"Hermione," said Harry.
"Once this construction settles down a bit and we have a few free manned wings available, we need to start exploration and mapping trips. We need to know if we have any neighbors and if they are friendly or not. Please make sure I don't forget."
"As you wish," replied Hermione.
The soft late-afternoon breeze lifted Hermione's hair as Harry leaned over to kiss her forehead, and with his arm around May, pulled her in for a kiss as well. Their quick Between step from Earth to Pern was almost anticlimactic, and yet a giant leap for dragons and their riders.
Chekiath and his two consorts were playing tag in the air above the landing field. It was plain they enjoyed the unpolluted atmosphere and lush scenery below.
Harry peered up beyond his dragon, watching Pern's moons rise above the horizon, and thought about Earth. The bridges to their home world were still accessible, unlike the first Pern settlers from far in the future. But here on Pern they were all safe from Earth's machinations and politics.
Harry took a big, deep breath and let it out slowly. "We're finally home."
The evacuation of Earth..
In the months leading up to the Weyr's evacuation of Earth, security concerns were addressed simply by maintaining the war footing security that ensured none of the Weyrs could even be successfully approached. If no one got close enough to see more than the hollow buildings, then no one would know that everything was being removed. Since there was adequate transportation and storage facilities between the two planets, nothing was to be left behind, even unto the smallest personal possession. In fact, there was a gradual upswing of personal purchases against future need until interplanetary trade could be normalized.
After the evacuation, the question of Rider Candidate searches was still an issue for a while. Until the population of Pern grew enough to provide sufficient candidates, search would still have to be conducted on Earth. This was accomplished both covertly and overtly. Every large grouping of appropriately aged potential candidates was quietly searched by an invisible dragon/rider team. If a potential rider was discovered, then, and only then, was the government openly approached about the candidate(s). By then there wasn't a significant government on Earth that wanted to appear to be anti-dragon, so there were very few problems. When there was any question about the local government, suitable rider candidates and their parents were approached directly and covertly. If they agreed, the entire family and sometimes greatly extended family were offered resettlement on Pern for their safety.
The official liaisons from various Earth governments to the Dragon Nation were offered permanent positions with the Dragon Nation, either on Earth or on Pern helping with the growing body of problems there. In every case they accepted and, if they wanted to stay on Earth, they and their families were given round-the-clock protection by a force of unbonded dragons lead by at least one dragon/rider pair. Most of them initially opted to stay living where they were but took advantage of the extra mobility their "security detail" offered to commute quickly wherever they needed to go, including to Dragon Isle when necessary.
Dragon Isle quickly became "The Place To Go" if you could come up with even the tiniest excuse. The executive offices and suites were among the most luxurious in the world and the miles of new, artificial beaches provided for after-hours recreation. The Goblins eventually managed to create a wide artificial reef around the entire island that kept even the worst of ocean storms from doing much damage and it was specifically designed to keep any sea life greater than about 3 feet long away from the island while allowing free access to the island's harbor. Eventually someone even realized lighthouses were needed, so four automated lighthouses were constructed marking the entrance to the harbor and the limits of the artificial reef.
Dragon Isle also became home to the world's most advanced medical facility. It was capable of caring for humans, elves, goblins, dragons, giants, centaurs, and all of the other myriad intelligent species now cohabitating on the planet. It was connected to a 250 bed (human or smaller) hospital that also had spaces for 100 dragons and 100 various other species. Finally, unbonded dragons learned that they no longer needed to "go between" if they were ill or hurt; they learned instead to go to Dragon Isle where their every need was accommodated.
With all Weyrs removed from national borders, international relationships with the dragons and riders settled down to a more or less amicable agreement to accept what the dragons offered in exchange for those items that were not yet available on Pern. Dragons finally became a common sight in the skies of Earth. It probably helped their visibility that they were usually limited to below 2,500 feet altitude in the United States and similar altitudes in other countries. The dragons agreed to this as a courtesy to the governments so they didn't have to change their VFR (Visual Flight Rules) regulations. Eventually a new "rule" was penned to cover dragons. Regardless of weather conditions, they were expected to fly at or below 2,500 feet and keep a sharp look-out for any other traffic at all times. Dragons straight-flying emergency "containers", such as ambulance pods, were required to fly at exactly 4,000 feet if on a course from 0 to 179 degrees and exactly 5,000 feet if on a course from 180 to 359 degrees. In all cases, they were to be discouraged from startling pilots of any aircraft … no matter how funny the dragons thought it to be.
Some of the original Weyrs within national boundaries were eventually reopened to serve as museums and training centers for those interested in learning about dragons and the other "newly discovered" species on Earth. When he learned that Campbeltown was to be reopened as one such museum, the Weyrleader initially wanted Campbeltown be renamed Spath's in honor of the oldest known intelligent dragon who was so central to the history of dragon-kind. Instead, New Campbeltown Weyr eventually became a living monument to the man who had originally made the Dragon Nation possible on Earth, Lord James Mills.
Excerpted from The Weyrs of Earth by Remus John Lupin, published 2040.
Original Author's Notes and Mockeries:
Harry's group landed near the Eastern Barrier Range on the Southern continent. If there were other humans present on the planet, they would have no way of knowing it for some time and their building activity would very easily go unnoticed by any of the original Pern colonists … if they existed. ;)
Thank you, William Bradley, Raymond Hunt, M Reyburn, and Alyssa Edmondson, for your spelling and punctuation corrections. :)
Elly J, Magan M, M Reyburn, Bernadette C, and Thomas Sosnowski have read a little more carefully and provided examples of missing and/or inaccurate words or statements as well as help tightening the story. Thanks much! It's really hard to catch everything when you know what it's supposed to say.
Thanks to Thomas Sosnowski for suggesting an additional scene at #10 Downing Street as well as outlining thoughts which lead to "The evacuation of Earth...".
Mmerobin provided a much more satisfying ending than I had provided. Thanks!
I enjoyed these three books so much that I just had to work in a quote from my all time favorite book, "The Princess Bride". It should be fairly easy to spot. :)
Thanks to Emmanuel for prompting me to add "Effects of Conflict on Dragons:". I'd also like to thank him for quite a few useful edits. I didn't, however, appreciate his attacks on what was basically my attempt to write a story from Bob's notes. If there was something you didn't like, rewrite it the way you think it should be and I will attempt to reconcile that with Bob's notes. If possible, I will use your version, but that won't always be possible. And yes, some of the characters may come across a little light in material. This story is supposed to be about Harry Potter, not Jane Doe.
Finally I, Spock7291 on Yahoo Groups and SpockST on , would like to thank Alyx for allowing this to happen and all the members of her group that made constructive comments to help ease its growing pains. I am not an author by any stretch of the imagination but I loved the series of "Books" that Bob and Alyx published so much that I just couldn't see it die when he left us. I'm sure this is a far inferior product to one he would have created but, hopefully, it will help to bring closure to not only all of their fans but also to Alyx herself. Any mistakes are entirely mine.
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