Disclaimer: Harry Potter belongs to JKR, she keeps him locked in a cupboard and feeds him through a cat flap.
Harry groaned slightly as light filled the room, interrupting his slumber. Throwing his arm over his eyes, he rolled away from the source of the light only to groan again as his other senses slowly awakened. The first thing he noticed was off feel of the smooth material below him as he shifted his body, this was followed quickly by the pleasant scent of new leather that filled his nostrils, and finally by the sound of an unfamiliar man quietly clearing his throat.
Any thought of playing possum or attempting to surprise the man were quickly discarded as the man spoke, "Good Morning Mr. Potter, I trust you slept well?" Receiving no response, he went on, "I do apologize about the accommodations, but I'm afraid my sofa was the best available location, as we didn't expect you to still be asleep when you were summoned."
Harry, half dressed and with messier than usual hair, sat up and blinked owlishly. Unable to think of anything else to say, and not sensing any immediate danger, despite waking up in an odd location, he answered, "Um…sorry. Do you happen to…" he made a motion indicating he was talking about his glasses.
"Of course Mr. Potter," the man replied affably and pointed to the small end table to Harry's left where sat his glasses, a shirt and his wand. "I apologize for my lack of manners, but I'm afraid I cannot leave you alone to get changed, though do allow me to introduce myself. My name is Commodore William Bligh of Her Majesties Royal Magical Guard, or the magical branch of the Royal Marines."
At that pronouncement, Harry took his first good look at him as he finally put his glasses on. Though the Commodore was sitting behind a desk, it was obvious that he was fit, of slightly above average height with light brown hair and steely grey eyes. His face had the look of a man who spent a great deal of time in the outdoors, for his skin looked weather-beaten, despite this, the man looked freshly shaven and was dressed impeccably. Harry figured his age to be mid to late 60's, after taking into account that wizards aged slower than Muggles.
"I trust I pass muster," Bligh said and laughed heartily at Harry's sheepish look. "To business then," he stated after he had finished laughing. "Mr. Potter, we find ourselves in a highly unusual situation and, given your previous involvement with delicate situations, we are hoping to recruit you to lead a team at Hogwarts; with your primary mission will be to gather intelligence on several persons of interest. Secondarily and as much for training as for actual need, you and your team would scour the school for dark artifacts and destroy them. You would of course be trained for both missions, along with the physical and magical combat training all Royal Magical Guards receive."
The question 'Why me?' flitted to the front of Harry's mind, but was quickly dismissed as the answer was obvious, no matter how much he might wish otherwise. "Who would be on this team? When would we train? What sort of commitment would I be making if I agree?"
"Very good," Bligh replied, "learning to look before you leap is a hard earned lesson for men like you and I. To answer your questions, in reverse order; your final two years at Hogwarts, after which you may be invited to reenlist, you would train this summer, starting tomorrow and an appropriate cover for your training will be made, and there are several individuals we had in mind, some of whom have turned down our recruiting pitch," here, the Commodore gave him a significant look that clearly said at least Ron or Hermione was among those who refused the training, "while others have risen to the challenge,"
"Why would we need a cover?" Harry asked, ignoring for now his concerns over the lack of answer for who might be on his team should he decide to accept. "And what happens to me if I decline?"
Commodore Bligh frowned slightly, "The Mages, as we are more commonly known amongst ourselves, are not a part of the magical world," he sighed and explained, "the ministry of magic, and the population at large drive the magical society to be very insular. There is just reason for such a drive, but it has also had long reaching consequences. After World War Two and Grindelwald, allied forces discovered several 'death camps' where people were sent to labor unto death or to just die. While it is unknown if Grindelwald was behind creating the camps, it is known that he took advantage of them, amassing a vast army of Inferii, numbering nearly a million strong. Had any magical nation been paying attention; that amount of dark magic would have been easily noticeable from anywhere in the world. As it was, the Inferii caves were not discovered until after Grindelwald was defeated. They are now the most magically guarded location on earth as the Inferii, when Grindelwald no longer could control them, became savage zombies. This protection has only been breached once, by Voldemort, in the late 1950's." He paused, "I'm sorry, I've gone off track. My point is that this was a magical event too large to hide from the Muggle governments involved. It was at that time that the official channel between the Ministry of Magic and the Prime Minister was opened. The arrogance of the magical prevailed yet again and the then Minister of Magic treated Winston Churchill like an imbecile junior partner when Churchill requested information on the magical population. After his election defeat in 1945, Churchill took it upon himself to make inroads into the magical world, this idea developed into a magical infantry to protect against internal magical terrorists and foreign magical threats. In 1951, Churchill, once again prime minister, proposed his idea to the King George VI and together they worked to implement what is now the Royal Magical Guard, until the King's death."
"I still don't understand sir," Harry said as he thought over the information he had just learned.
"The Mages is a magical organization that exists outside of the control or influence of the Ministry of Magic and as such, according to the same ministry, is an illegal organization. Few who were not Mages themselves know of our existence and those that do understand the necessity of our existence," Bligh answered, "membership in such an organization, to the ministry, is tantamount to a violation of the secrecy of magic and treason all rolled into one. Fortunately, we have a grand cover. As to your second question, should you decide not to accept our recruitment pitch, you will be Obliviated thoroughly and returned home none the wiser." Bligh took a breath, and continued, "I realize this is a lot to absorb in a short amount of time, and there is more. What training involves, who your actual team would be, what assignments are available during the summer months, your pay, what assignments are available after your first tour of duty should you wish to reenlist, what happens to you if you do not reenlist and maybe more importantly to you, what we are doing to combat Voldemort. Before we get into any of that though, I need to know if you are seriously considering joining up, or if you should wake up at home in a few minutes, with no idea that you were even here."
For a long while Harry sat silently and considered his options and Commodore Bligh seemed content to let him do so. On the one hand, any additional training, particularly in dealing with combat and the destruction of dark artifacts was exactly the sort of thing he felt he needed so that next time he faced Voldemort he didn't need to hide behind Dumbledore or anybody else; he could stand on his own. On the other hand, he realized that as much information that he had just learned, he had essentially been kidnapped, and while he had a general overview of what was going on, he still lacked a great deal of the details. There was a definite appeal to being able to practice magic over the summer and to get paid to do it, but again, there was a commitment of two years of his life to this organization and that commitment entailed what was tantamount to treason against the Ministry of Magic. Eventually, Harry decided on his course and answered, "I'm interested, just how far into this can I go before I'm committed to go through with it?"
"Good question lad," Bligh answered, "up until the two week mark, you can drop and be Obliviated of all that happens. You will be under the impression that you did an internship with the Department of Mysteries, and as that department is so secretive by nature, nobody will ever be able to validate that claim one way or the other. After that, you will have absorbed too much knowledge and your physical shape will be too significantly different for you to drop the program, though you may decide up until week 6 not to become an active duty Mage. In that case you would not be Obliviated, but would sign a confidentiality contract and would be subject to be called upon for active duty in the event that you were needed."
"How long is the training, in total?" Harry asked as he mentally figured out how many weeks were left in the summer.
"Standard basic training for a Royal Marine is 32 weeks. For a Mage, its 26 weeks as the physical requirements are not critical and through use of a potions regiment we can accelerate the process, for you and your team, it will be compressed into 12. This will be accomplished by skipping a lot of the special equipment training; mostly electronics and firearms, bypassing the Muggle emersion training and adding individual specialization training over the last 2 weeks. The make up of the team allows us to accelerate the magical and intellectual training, and to augment it by adding field training by your commanding officer, Captain Filius Flitwick, who has been recalled to active duty at his own request," Bligh answered. "If it makes you feel better about the whole thing, Captain Flitwick requested to be reactivated and provided us a short list of candidates he felt would be acceptable for this mission."
"Actually," Harry responded, "it does make me feel a bit better about all this," he paused, "tell me everything."
"Everything is an awful lot," Bligh laughed, "Let's start with your team. Flitwick provided the following list, all 6th years: Abbot, Bones, Brown, Corner, Cornfoot, Granger, Davis, Li, Longbottom, Padma Patil, Potter, Turpin, Urquhart, and Weasley. Corner and Cornfoot were eliminated without attempts to recruit them, Li and Patil were eliminated as they are not British citizens, Abbot, Brown, Granger, and Weasley turned down our recruitment pitch, leaving you with Bones, Davis, Longbottom, Turpin and Urquhart. This is fortunate as a 6 person Mage team is the ideal size."
"Your training will be spread over four evolutions and will not be easy," the Commodore continued seriously, "The first evolution will be two weeks long, it will consist of physical conditioning and unarmed combat as well as magical accuracy, speed and endurance. The second evolution will last 4 weeks and will include curse breaking, alternate magical disciplines, enchantments, dark magic, offensive and defensive magic, surveillance techniques and so on. The third evolution is also 4 weeks and is focused on learning to work effectively as a team in any environment and facing any mission type. This will include battle planning and tactics, infiltration, ward breaking, warding and team combat. The final evolution will be the specialization training, what you specialize in will be determined over the 10 weeks of training," he looked Harry straight in the eyes, "For you, as an officer, it will be harder as you must learn it all with them, but also be able to lead them. They must be willing to follow you."
After letting Harry digest that bit of information, he continued, "For your team, summer assignments for next year would include completing the training you would be skipping this summer, then likely guard duty for a royal or high level diplomat." Harry nodded in understanding, "Your pay will be 116 Galleons per week, you will have full medical, dental and vision insurance and the provisional rank of Mage 1st class, roughly equivalent to Lieutenant, pending completion of your training next summer. If you continue on as a career Mage, you would be eligible for a pension plan and continued training at University if you so choose. We take care of our soldiers."
"Training is held at the Pendragon Magical Commando Training Centre for Royal Mages. Options for assignments, if you enlist then reenlist; can be discussed at that time, as our duties are fluid and ever changing. If you do not re-up, you are still bound by your privacy oath. You may be subject to recall in the event of a high level emergency if it is determined you would be better suited for a role in the Mages than where you are at that time."
"And finally; Voldemort, we have been reluctant to step in and do anything to this point as it risks our men being tried for treason by the ministry and he had, to that point, yet to make any overt moves. Now that he is out in the open and a sufficient cover has been is in the works for our teams, we will shortly begin moving openly against him and his followers, regardless of how innocent the ministry claims they are. We have, after the last mass breakout from Azkaban, placed assets within the apparition ward borders to prevent further break out and escape attempts. These assets were in place when the dementors defected and managed to imprison the majority of them, though some hundred were able to escape."
"Why didn't you just form a vigilante group with a token ministry flunky or a pureblood as the leader, it worked for Dumbledore," Harry asked.
"That's exactly what we're doing now," Bligh said with a sigh, "and it's embarrassing that you're the second teenager to point out that particular loophole in the last week. Pity Ms. Granger opted not to join up." Shaking his head, he redirected the conversation, "Do you have any other questions for me, or do you think you have enough information from which to make your decision."
"Just one more question," Harry replied, "why the kidnapping?"
"We are a covert operation," Bligh answered, "some discretion was necessary. We just happen to go to the extreme. You have also been time turned by three hours to allow for enough time for our recruitment pitch. Besides, it fits the cover of an internship at the Department of Mysteries. Nothing those guys do could be considered normal or rational, kidnapping underage wizards and witches included."
Harry laughed slightly, only to realize that Bligh was serious.
"So, moment of truth," Bligh stated, "do we move you into the barracks with the others, or do you get Obliviated and go back to sleep?"
It was at that moment that Harry's true impulsive nature decided it had been dormant for far too long, "I guess I should go meet my team," he answered.
Thank you to the people who helped me with this story either directly or indirectly. Thank you to everyone on the FFA forums.
Thanks to VoodooLady, VoodooMom and Meg for beta reading this.
I will be responding to comments and questions directly on the forums at