Disclaimer: It belongs to the wonderful J.K. Rowling, not me.
A/N: Egads! Has it really been since March that I last updated this monster? Cripes! O.o I've gotta get with the program here. I still have just about as much left to say as has been said already before I can wrap this turkey! At this rate, I'm gonna be flippen' ninety by the time I'm done.
Here we have the second of two chapters of a series of scenes to jump the storyline ahead to the next main bit – a word of warning, several of these scenes are not from Harry's point-of-view, just so ya know. And some of the segments are excerpts from assorted press releases and so on.
Also, I totally made up the phone number listed somewhere in this chapter, so… Please don't try calling it. If you do, I assume no responsibility for any repercussions you might face. The same goes for the web address I list. NEITHER IS REAL.
Chapter Thirty-Nine: Time Passes Some More
First Official Meeting of BKE Board
transcript taken via dictaquill, video recording also available
Board Members Present:
Harry Potter, CEO
Sirius Black, Head of Public Relations
Arthur Weasley, President of R&D
Nigel Smythwick, Acquisitions
Ted Tonks, Legal Representative
Eliza Rillikee, Personal Assistant to CEO
Hermione Granger, (organizer)
H. Potter: I'd like to call this meeting to order – shut it, Sirius. Since this is the first official meeting, there shouldn't be any old business – I repeat it, Sirius, no jokes. It's ten o'clock in the morning of November 1, 1998. Um… (the sound of paper shuffling) Where's that thing from the contractors, Eliza?
E. Rillikee: I think you left it in your office. I have a copy here, though.
H. Potter: Thanks. Yeah, the contractor who flatted-out Dudley's space agreed to be placed on retainer for whatever we need him for. I think everyone's scouted out where they want their offices, yeah? Good. If you want them remodeled, Eliza's got the contact information.
H. Granger: I have a question, Harry.
H. Potter: Yeah?
H. Granger: What's my job title?
H. Potter: Good question! Now ask me one I can answer.
T. Tonks: If I may, just what is your job description?
H. Granger: Sirius, you even try to open your mouth right now, I'll remove your appendix via your mouth.
S. Black: Fair enough.
H. Granger: Harry wants me to make sure everyone's on the same page once we start working on actual things, rather than just this organizational minutiae. Also wants me to oversee the publishing department.
T. Tonks: In that case, you're probably serving the function of the Chief Operations Officer, with a side of Publishing Head thrown in for good measure. While we're on the topic of assorted heads, might I make a suggestion, Harry?
H. Potter: Go ahead, Ted. Excellent costume last night, by the way.
T. Tonks: Thank you. You might want to consider hiring someone to do the books, a financial overseer. One of the biggest problems any large business can have is making sure the numbers add up properly. I've seen more than my share go under because no one was figuring the finances.
H. Potter: Did you have anyone in mind?
T. Tonks: Actually, I do. Good head with numbers, too. Has some experience with working in this capacity for large businesses, but is currently doing simple accountings for private individuals. Reginald Prewitt.
A. Weasley: Molly's cousin?
T. Tonks: The one and the same.
H. Potter: If you're recommending him, I say we offer him the position. All agreed?
(a round of assorted affirmative replies)
H. Potter: Anyone opposed to the idea? (silence) Good. I assume you know where to contact Mr. Prewitt, Ted?
T. Tonks: I do. I'll call on him this week and get back to you.
H. Potter: You do that. So… Um… I think I just ran out of notes.
E. Rillikee: No, I've got them. Up next, you wanted to know where we stood on the remodeling on Arthur's floor.
H. Potter: Knew that couldn't have been everything already. Thanks, Eliza.
E. Rillikee: It's what you're paying me for.
(Meeting continued for two hours, broke for lunch, and continued a further six hours.)
November 22, 1998
Without much else to do, Dudley managed to finally finish up his secondary education through his online classes. He scraped by with a pass on everything, though it was narrowly so. And on completing his education, his cousin offered him what he thought would be a relatively easy job of keeping an eye on the muggle security cameras that covered the portions of the building that weren't under wards.
After a day of in-depth training by the specialist who'd installed or upgraded the system, Dudley settled into the job. After three days, he began to wonder if his cousin wasn't trying to kill him from boredom. He wasn't allowed to bring anything to do, like a newspaper, with him; he was supposed to watch the monitors, and that was all. Unfortunately, at this early junction, there wasn't anything to watch other than mostly-empty rooms and construction workers.
Bored as he was, Dudley stuck with it though. He knew Harry wouldn't hesitate to send him to jail if he didn't keep up his end of their agreement, and jail was something he absolutely didn't want to see. Besides, once more people started showing up, he got a kick out of making up what they were saying to one another on the silent video monitors.
December 5, 1998
For their six-month anniversary, Sirius and Rumor spent the evening at a nightclub in the London area. They had too much to drink, as evidenced by the quality of their hangovers the next morning, but that didn't stop Remus from managing to get some rather suggestive photos of the two of them in an intolerably cute position – snuggled together on Sirius' sofa.
By the end of the week, Sirius and Rumor had managed to collaborate on retaliatory action in order to get the werewolf to hand over the photos – they introduced him to one of Rumor's friends, a dancing instructor named Moira, with whom Remus found he had far more in common than he'd originally assumed.
The first-annual BKE Yuletide party was held in a large, mostly-open room on the fourteenth floor of the building. There were somewhere in the neighborhood of forty people present, what with all the people who actually worked there and their guests. Jenn and Molly had collaborated – without Harry's knowledge – on the decorations and food, and Remus had learned from the Halloween party and was standing guard over the punchbowl. Though Harry was nominally in charge of the activities, Hermione and Eliza had taken most of that completely out of his hands, too. For his part, Harry was feeling more than just a little smug that he'd managed to surround himself with some of the most efficient planners that he'd ever heard of.
One of the activities actually made quite a bit of sense, at least as far as gift-giving was concerned. Harry didn't know whose idea it was, but someone had suggested a 'Secret Santa' project. It was pure happenstance that had Harry drawing Sirius' name out of the hat. He didn't find out, as was customary, until that night just who it was that had drawn his.
When he opened his present, he discovered something that looked somewhat like a muggle flashlight, but wasn't. Even still, it was vaguely familiar. On the inside of the top of the box, he discovered that Fred and George had drawn his name. Suddenly, he realized where he'd seen the odd thing before.
It was a lightsaber. A bloody lightsaber. He found out quickly enough that it worked, too. Just like the ones in the movies did – and no, not like the props the actors used, but how those props and effects worked together. It was real.
Harry knew at that moment, that all else aside, he definitely had the beginnings of the right people for his vision for the future to become reality. However, I still maintain that it probably wasn't a good idea to let them watch that ruddy series. Who knows what they'll want to attempt next?
January 14, 1999
Seen in the Daily Prophet want-ads:
A new company in the London area is looking for enthusiastic, friendly, hardworking staff for all shifts. Ideal applicants will have a minimum of four OWLs and two NEWTs, one of which should be Muggle Studies. For a full list of open positions, their requirements, and entry-level salaries, please send an owl to H. Granger, Operations, Black Kettle Enterprises, London.
Found in the London Times job listings:
Black Kettle Enterprises, a new company specializing in scientific research and technology, is looking for enthusiastic, friendly, hardworking staff for all departments. For a full list of positions, please visit ukoneworld.hah/joblistings001 or call 3493-29543 between 6 am and 9 pm M-F.
April 7, 1999
Harry stood in his office, looking down at London. He was smiling faintly. We did it. We're officially open. For better or worse, we're open.
Really, it almost felt anticlimactic, to have worked for so long, spending ever-growing amounts of time in getting things squared away, and now… Now the real work begins.
Harry's little smile grew into a full-blown grin. Can't wait.
13 July, 1999
From Hogwarts Board of Governors
Transcribed by J. Artien
To Hogwarts Headmaster
RE: Six-hundred and ninety-eighth correction to Hogwarts curriculum
It has come to the attention of this Governing Body that the massive influx of muggle-born and muggle-raised children over the past decades has created some confusion in the student body regarding Wizarding Customs and Culture. In order to correct this gross oversight, this Body has unanimously agreed that a course on Wizarding Customs and Culture beyond the level addressed in History of Magic be made available for all students, and mandatory for all muggle-originated students, beginning with the fall term.
It is the decision of this Body that henceforth, no muggle-originated student shall receive their Hogwarts accreditation without completion of this course.
The missive was signed by all current members of the Hogwarts Board of Governors. A small article announcing the change to the curriculum was also printed in the Daily Prophet the next day. The day after that, an article appeared in The Quibbler which claimed this change was because the entire board had been replaced on the sly by flesh golems commanded by none other than the lead singer of the Weird Sisters.
Highlights of the Magical World (First Edition)
When I was eleven years old, I received an extraordinarily odd letter. It was handwritten on heavy parchment, had a wax seal, and lacked any postage. At the time, I didn't know that it hadn't been delivered with the rest of the morning post, but by owl instead. My family and I thought the letter inviting me to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was nothing more than a prank. It wasn't until a full week later that we learned that it was indeed real.
To say we were shocked by the explanation provided to us by Minerva McGonagall, deputy headmistress of Hogwarts, would be an understatement. My parents would have been the first to acknowledge that they didn't know everything there was to know about the world, but the very idea that something as fantastical as magic actually existed was so far out of our range of experience that we had no clue how to react. Honestly, I think I had an easier time accepting it than my mum and dad – I was still a child and still had a child's unwavering belief in nonsensical things like Father Christmas.
It took some doing, but eventually my family allowed me to attend Hogwarts. Over the course of the next seven years, I learned many things; not the least of which was the fact that there was an entire world alien to the one in which I'd lived my life to this point.
This volume exists to take someone who was once in my shoes and give them a general overview of the Magical World; how some things that the magical community takes for granted differentiate from the 'normal' world. Things I have mentioned above, such as owls delivering the mail, and separate schooling for magical children are but two of the dozens of topics which this book hopes to shed a little light on. Be forewarned, however, that this tome, weighty as it is, does not cover any topic in depth. If you find yourself wanting to know more about a particular topic, there is an extended list of additional references you can order by following the directions on the final page.
In conclusion, I would like to express my hopes that you do decide to continue learning about the differences in culture between the 'normal' and magical worlds, whether it be in a school like Hogwarts or on your own, perhaps as a family member or close friend of someone in the magical world.
– Hermione J. Granger
August 10, 1999
Article appearing in the November 1999 issue of Discover magazine:
Shadows Lift from Dark Matter
Black Kettle Enterprises, a relatively new company in the heart of London, issued a statement in late September that they had discovered the true nature of dark matter.
Thus far in science, dark matter had remained a hypothetical substance that did not interact with the electromagnetic spectrum as we understood it. Its presence was merely inferred by studying the effects of gravity on visible matter, such as can be observed around stars and galaxies. Dark matter and its energy component have been theorized to take up approximately 96 percent of the mass of the known universe, though until the aforementioned press release, the nature of this unseen majority remained unknown; the terminology 'dark' referring both to the inability of modern technology to sense its presence directly, and the gaping lack of knowledge available regarding what, precisely, it really is.
Black Kettle Enterprises, officially founded in April of this year, is comprised of a number of seemingly unrelated branches of science, ranging from astrophysics to psychology to technology and medicine and everything in between. Though the company is new, the majority of the researchers involved with them have been working on their independent projects for a number of years. Following their initial statement, the company has been deluged with requests for more information from the scientific community. They replied to these requests that a paper on the topic would be published in January. In addition to the queries posted from other corporations and researchers, they also received innumerable requests for more information from private individuals. Their reply was an invitation to select science magazines to attend the company's Halloween party. Of the twenty or so magazines invited, only four chose to attend; Discover, Popular Science, and the British magazines of Physics World, and Laboratory News.
On arriving at the building which houses the entirety of BKE, the individual representatives of the magazines who had accepted their invitation, myself included, were met in the lobby by a woman wearing an angel costume. The representative of Popular Science asked if she was who we were to meet with. After a negative reply, she further explained that she is Jenn Kellerman, an independent computer programmer and family friend of the CEO of Black Kettle Enterprises. When asked why she was meeting us and not an actual representative of the company, she said that she had been 'shanghaied' into helping out for the party.
After verifying that she no longer had to wait for any one else, she led us to the fifth floor, where a costume party was in full swing. "What you are seeing," she said, "is the current entirety of all the people who work for BKE, excluding the Chief of Security." There were roughly two hundred people present, each wearing some form of costume. Before any of us could ask Ms. Kellerman anything further, we were approached by a man wearing a generic 'Indian brave' costume and a teenager wearing the costume of a Jedi Knight from Star Wars.
After introducing us to Sirius Black, the 'Indian brave', and Harry Potter, the 'Jedi', Ms. Kellerman took her leave. The first impression we had of Sirius Black was of an enthusiastically energetic and gregarious individual. He remained so throughout the entirety of the interview.
Sirius Black: Welcome, welcome! So glad someone could make it. Shall we find an empty table?
Popular Science Representative: Lead onwards, Mr. Black.
S.B.: Call me Sirius, please. This is my godson, Harry Potter.
(Black led us to a secluded table in the corner of the room which had a pleasant view of the ongoing Halloween party.)
Potter: So… Shall we get this over with? I told Jenn we'd be done early enough I could still study some tonight.
Discover: Mr. Black – I'm sorry. Sirius. Your company has made some intriguing claims regarding dark matter. Can you clarify these claims?
S.B.: Well, it's just like we said in that press-release. Dark matter and energy have been perplexing the scientific community for some years now. Our scientists have been working independently on figuring out what it was for a while; Black Kettle Enterprises simply brought them all together to continue pursuing this goal while allowing them access to the necessary funding they needed to start getting some answers.
Laboratory News Representative: And what, exactly, are those answers?
(Black appeared somewhat taken aback by the question, and we could tell he was searching for a way to express what he wanted to say.)
Potter: May I, Sirius?
Potter: It's energy, pure and simple. The only reason it's been termed 'dark' by the scientific community is because it was an unknown – a modern version of how the old cartographers would mark the edges of the map with 'here there be serpents' or some such. Even the 'matter' part of it is simply energy, as all matter, in its most basic definition is just a concentration of energy. What has been keeping science from unlocking its secrets thus far has been the fact that it isn't a single concentration of wavelength. Sounds, light, and so on all operate in a fixed set of available wavelengths. This isn't the case with dark matter; our scientists have discovered that dark energy masses at both extreme ends of the electromagnetic spectrum. This is why it hasn't been seen to interact with the other portions of said spectrum; because it's already a part of it.
(Before the teen could continue, a harried-looking young woman in a witch's costume interrupted him.)
Eliza: Sorry to interrupt, but I didn't think this could wait.
(She handed him a small slip of paper. Potter read it and sighed.)
S.B.: Never stops, does it, Harry?
Potter: Not that I can tell. Apparently, I've an urgent call from one of our other investors.
(Potter stood and smiled pleasantly.)
Potter: Sorry to cut and run so early, but this really does need my attention. Feel free to stay and enjoy the party. Insofar as our discoveries are concerned, everything will be published in a forthcoming paper from our publishing department, authored by the scientists involved in the process.
(After Potter left the table, Black laughed lightly.)
S.B.: Well, I suppose that's that. Like Harry said, stay for a while and enjoy the party.
Physics World Representative: Just like that?
S.B.: Well, yeah. He is the boss – I work for him, not the other way around.
Discover: Isn't he still in school?
S.B.: Yeah, but he still knows what he wants. Just wish I'd been a bit more like him at his age. However, I'm neglecting my girlfriend and you would probably learn more by talking with some of the others here. I'm not a scientist, I won't even pretend to understand any of what my godson was just telling you, but there are others here who can answer your questions.
Following the advice of Mr. Black, those of us invited to the party dispersed into the crowd. After asking around, Discover was able to locate one of the researchers responsible for their extraordinary claims of last month. On speaking with Nigel Smythwick, I received a similar explanation as had already been given by Mr. Potter on the duality of dark energy's electromagnetic footprint. Likewise, he also directed me to obtain a copy of the forthcoming paper for the 'hows and whys' behind this discovery.
The paper is set for release on January 1, 2000, and will be available to 'anyone who wants to read it'.
A/N2: I know it's been for-fricking-ever since my last update, but, muses willing, I should be a bit more timely with the rest of the chapters for this fic now that I've managed to get the necessary bits out of the way to progress me into the next part of the story.
I hope this hasn't been forgotten – it's been a heck of a long, long time. Review and lemme know I'm still remembered, yeah?