Chapter 41 – Coup d'etat
ADDITIONAL AUTHOR'S NOTE: I felt the need to add this after several people commented on the previous chapter, half of the reviews stated that they loved the chapter but several were critical of the interaction between magic and technology as regards the Raven so I thought I would explain my reasoning, this might be a bit long winded, sorry. Magic and tech were never designed to work together so we have to make some assumptions.
The fliers would not stand a chance against the ship: well on their own they wouldn't of course not which is why Windu easily gets away from them in the much faster ship, but after they attack the castle walls the ship is used as a deliberate distraction and is therefore flying so the fliers can keep up. As regards the ship not being able to hit them, to steel a quote from New Hope "they're so small they're evading our turbolasers" in reference to the rebel fighters and DS1, if we assume these are all quidditch players or other equally skilled fliers they are not exactly going to be sluggish or cautious, think of it like you being surrounded by a swarm of wasps or flies, how many of them are you realistically able to swat when they are flying that close.
The giant would not have brought the ship down: Well in Episode II we see Anakin jump onto a speeder which visibly lurches down as he hits it, simple laws of motion will apply; action reaction. If a heavy object hits another object it's going to move and if only had to move it a few meters to clip the trees which is nothing on the scale of the ship and the giant.
Third thing the reviews said was regarding the forest destroying the ship and the shields failing after being bombarded by the trees of the forest. There have been real life examples in the past where an aircraft wing has clipped water (the ocean)(or forests) and despite the fact that it's a liquid and easy to cut through its enough to drag the whole plane down so trees would do the same to a ship, it might be a space ship but again the same laws apply. As regards the shields being drained I will point out that the particle shields (which are the ones that stop objects not energy) are not ALL powerful. Yes they can repel asteroid impacts or a few missiles/torpedoes before they are drained (if they didn't drain no ship would ever be shot down) but let's assume that the fliers fastest speed is 70mph (no idea what it really is so have just picked a realistic figure) how much forest will hit it, how much resistance will it face from having to either sever or yank out the trunks and how fast will the ship be stopped by the continuous impacts. The shields are designed to stop missiles, torpedoes and asteroids of a reasonably size and speed, so basically short and maybe repetitive burst of fire they are not designed to take a continuous, high resistance high speed pounding over almost their entire surface area for almost ten seconds, all that motion and energy needs to be stopped and it would drain the ships shields very quickly.
As regards the ship having trouble penetrating the giants armour, this ship was never designed to carry weapons, it was originally an ambassadorial ship, and although it has been given blasters and larger turbo lasers in the nose, these are still not super lasers. When the Naboo cruiser in PM is trying to evade the blockade its shield generator gets hit which is one singular hull panel which gets blown off and even then almost all the circuitry underneath still looks to be intact when R2 is repairing it, if giant quad turbo lasers on the giant Trade Federation ship were that devastating a lot more than one hull plate would have been damaged and the Raven is only a little bit bigger than the Naboo cruiser and also has much smaller turbo lasers. As regards the giants yes they are likely wearing simple thick sheets of iron or steel but it's also likely to be augmented by magic from their allies so it's not just a case of blasting through metal, its metal with a little magical help.
Lastly the fliers and ground forces spells doing so much damage to the shields, I generally consider a standard spell to be more powerful than a standard blaster bolt given the fact that the worst a blaster bolt can do to a stone wall (for example as its easier than describing the effect on humans) is to either punch a hole in it or leave a burn mark whereas a simple spell can cause a minor explosion which could topple the whole wall. As I said there were over a thousand and potentially up closer to two thousand attackers on the ground, if just half of them started firing on the shields continuously at once the cumulative effect would be like getting hit with significantly less but much larger turbo lasers continuously which after a few seconds would be very damaging to the shields like attacking a stone wall with a machine gun, the individual bullets do very little damage but several hundred will obliterate the wall after not very much time.
Hope this explains my thought process to people, and now on with the story.
In London a small force of cloaked men and women, all disillusioned, wound their way through the throng of Muggles going to and throw from the underground station of Tower Hill. It was rush hour so barely any of the commuters noticed when someone brushed passed them in the already very busy station. Making their way down onto the platform of the underground station the force of ten people followed the directions they had been given and moved to wait for the imminent arrival of the train.
As soon as it pulled into the station the group moved immediately towards one of the carriages ahead of the commuters, some of whom were confused when they appeared to bump into nothing the first time they tried to board before shaking their heads and trying again successfully. As the rest of the passengers were boarding the group made their way to the end of the carriage. One of them took their wand and tapped several station labels on the wall mounted underground maps before walking forward and straight through the still closed door at the end of the carriage and seemed to vanish into thin air.
It was a very unlucky and very surprised inquisitor that was sitting in what used to be the Director of Magical Law Enforcements Office, now known as the Inquisitor Generals Office, when the secret entrance opened in the wall behind him. He barely had time to register the portraits sliding out of the way and the moving bricks before a spell flew out through the still small opening and knocked him unconscious.
As the group stepped through the entrance it re-sealed itself behind them before the portraits repositioned themselves in front of the exit, most of the occupants wearing satisfied expressions that the inquisitor had been taken out.
"What did Croaker say these passages were put in for?" asked Aayla.
"Emergency escape in case of attack," Harry repeated as he readjusted one of the portraits had bad been left slightly crooked by the walls motion, receiving a nod of thanks from its occupant.
"Most of them are forgotten now by the majority of the Ministry," contributed the Unspeakable who had accompanied them who had been busy binding the now unconscious inquisitor. "Except by the DOM, the most senior Aurors and those of us who have been here long enough to discover them by accident," he added with a grin. "Most of the directors and important official's offices have them but most aren't aware of them. They can be used to leave the building at any time to escape but can only be used to enter the building at specific times of day and only under certain conditions like a specific train carriage being in a specific station and the right code to get through so as to avoid exactly what we are doing now."
"Let's hope everyone else had as equally easy entrance," wished one of the two members of the Order that had accompanied them, both had declined to give their names, were wearing hoods and were using concealment charms to obscure their appearance. When they were asked about this they replied that they wanted to make sure that if they were spotted by an enemy that subsequently got away that they would not be able to identify them and therefore would not be able to take revenge against them or their families.
"Let's proceed," directed their Unspeakable.
Opening the door he proceeded to walk straight through without waiting for the others. Catching sight of a scuffle through the partially open door the others accelerated towards it but by the time they burst through all that awaited them was a standing unspeakable casually straightening his battle robes with no visible weapons and two unconscious or possible dead inquisitors at his feet.
"Guards," he explained to the jedi's surprised faces. "Considering how unpopular she was I'm not surprised Umbridge had some posted outside her office. Just as well that the room is sound proofed or they might have heard us arrive."
With that he continued on down the corridor to the still slightly shocked looks of the jedi.
"Don't fall for it," commented one of their cloaked companions from Aayla's side.
"The old, 'I'm so good that I can take anyone faster than you can without even putting a hair out of place', they do it to everyone seeing them in action for the first time."
"It's what's enabled the DOM to keep its independence from the various Ministers political plans over the years," contributed the other, "No one dares cross them for fear of what they can do, or at least what they think they can do."
"A lot of what the department does is subject to rumour and speculation but they do everything possible to give those rumours a helping hand."
The unspeakable who had been busy checking out some of the other offices gestured for them to follow before clearing through the next one.
"Shall we show this unspeakable what jedi can do Master?" asked Harry with a sideways grin.
"Yes Harry, I think we shall."
They proceeded through the rest of the offices in that corridor quickly before preparing to enter the next area of department where the fight would really begin. The plan was that each of the groups would enter on a different floor (or as many of them as possible) when their various entrances allowed and after taking over their floor most would wait until those on the floor above reached them so by the time they made it down to basement level 8 where the main reception was and where they predicted they would suffer the hardest fighting almost the entire Order would be assembled to attack at once. After taking the atrium the group would head down towards basement level 10 where the Wizengamot courtrooms were and where Voldemort was supposed to be holed up. Harry's group though had the added problems of being dropped in onto level 2 which was where the Department of Magical Law Enforcement was and where they predicted they would suffer the second hardest fighting, due to the number of aurors and inquisitors located there. In addition after taking that floor they were to head upwards first to take over the Minister's Office as they did not have the entrance code for that floor, before reuniting with the others. It was not going to be easy.
All the offices on the corridor where they had landed had a maximum of three people in them who were easily overwhelmed when caught by surprise thanks to each office having its own silencing charms around it. The next area on the other hand was not like that.
They came around a corner into a wide open area filled with small desks and simple dividers between them, easily low enough for someone standing to see over. There were at least thirty people in the room, most of them aurors or low level inquisitors, the hope had been to catch the closest ones off guard as all the desks were facing the other way and to take them out before the rest of them were able to attack, that plan unfortunately failed as one of the aurors was standing next to a pile of files very near their entry point and what's worse he was facing their direction.
It took the thirty aurors less than five seconds to realise the threat and mobilise. The five had to dive for cover behind any obstacle they could find; the desk of a senior auror near the front of the room, a large very untidy pile of case reports stacked against one wall and two book shelves that were so full of manuals and documentation that every shelf was bowing under the weight.
"Surrender immediately and you will not be harmed!" shouted who they guessed was an auror, though the inquisitors in the room seemed not to agree with the latter part of the statement as they continued to fire dangerous spells at them.
Aayla and Harry had ended up behind the now upended desk both avoided being hit by the narrowest of margins. The two of them could easily out manoeuvre their attackers with all the available cover in the office but there were several choke points that could cause major problem when so many people were firing on them.
"How many did they estimate there were in this building?" asked Aayla.
"About four hundred," Harry replied.
"Well I hope they aren't all as trigger happy as this lot," she replied deactivating her lightsaber and using both arms to help Harry steady the toppled desk that was having large chunks blasted out of it by the spells impacting its other side.
Surveying the situation Aayla noticed the large amount of loose material around the office on all sides of them and came up with an idea and an observation.
"Where's our unspeakable gone?"
Harry and the other two invaders behind various other bits of office furniture scanned the floor and hiding places near them but none were able to come across and sign of him.
"Don't tell me he's run off," shouted the invader behind the rapidly disintegrating pile of case reports.
"No time for that now," interrupted Aayla, taking one hand away from the desk and using the Force to throw one of the aurors who had been subtly trying to outflank them into a nearby wall. "Harry cover me, I've got an idea."
"Yes Master," he replied drawing his blade and sitting up so that he became visible over the top of the toppled desk. As the spells started being focused towards her padawan Aayla took the opportunity to enact her improvised plan.
Kneeling up behind the desk she focused the Force towards the large stack of case reports that had been getting blasted apart by the approaching aurors. As she focused the pieces of paper on the top half of the stack all separated from their folders and started swirling towards the nearest enemies.
"Hey hey wait wait!" shouted the Order member who had been stuck behind the pile as his cover disappeared in front of him causing him to scramble towards the nearest divider and duck behind it to avoid being caught out in the open.
The unexpected tornado of case reports distracted the aurors near the front of the room causing them to flail madly and duck for cover to avoid being pelted by parchment; those further back were also affected as the cloud prevented them seeing the invaders to aim at giving them the chance they need.
The other two Order members jumped up and started pouring spells into the confused mass of paper, every so often hearing the thud as a spell hit someone and then the sound of them slumping to the floor while the returning shots most often went wide of their mark thanks to the ratio of attackers to defenders.
While they were doing this Harry, who no longer had to hold their cover in place, had joined his Master and was now levitating the textbooks and heavier files off the shelving around the room and throwing it into the mass of enemies, the sound of impacting spells was soon followed by the sounds of blunt force impacts.
After a few seconds of this Harry had run out of books and once again took up his lightsaber and with a nod from his Master dashed forward into the mass of swirling paper.
As the sounds of screaming joined the sounds of lightsaber swings Aayla too stopped her Force attack and herself charged towards the now falling whirlwind of paper. No sooner had she penetrated it when she realised that there was no one left to attack, as the paper settled she could see her padawan ahead of her and beyond him in the part of the room where no paper had been swirling stood the unspeakable with a dozen unconscious or otherwise captives at his feet. With a nod in their direction he turned and headed towards the lift to the next level.
"Harry," Aayla asked when the unspeakable was out of hearing range, "Is it just me or is this man making us look like undertrained younglings?"
"He is Master," confirmed Harry with a slightly agitated look. "It's getting quite annoying."
It was with a lot of pain and a loud groan that Coleman came to inside what could now laughingly be called a ship.
He was not aware of where he was or what had happened for several minutes, in fact it was not until he was able to orientate himself that he realised that the chair he was still strapped into was no longer attached to the floor and was in fact partially penetrating the rear wall of the main seating area where the support that usually held the chair in place had buried itself during the violent impact.
Carefully working out that he was at about 100 degrees to the vertical he carefully unclipped his harness and dropped uncomfortably to the floor. As he raised his head he realised that he was bleeding steadily from wounds to his head and chest, it was likely he also had a concussion, several muscle injuries and a few chipped bones to boot he was just thankful that the cockpit chairs that had been fitted to the upgraded ship were taller than his head and of a bucket design so that they protected his sides more as he was catapulted out of the cockpit but right now he had much more important things to worry about than the extent of his injuries.
Staggering to his feet he stumbled off the wall twice, a bulkhead falling away upon his second impact before he was able to work his way over and around the bits of ship and forest that filled the wrecked room.
He had to use the Force to very carefully clear the opening to the cockpit as it had been blocked by a tree that seemed to have been almost completely swallowed by the ship. Very carefully easing it backwards, very alert for any moans or sounds of life, he pushed the tree far enough out of the way that he could get around it into the remains of the cockpit.
The ship appeared to have come to rest on a hill or a rise as the front of the ship was elevated causing Coleman to have to climb up the ship using the bulkheads to assist him in order to enter the ships foremost room. Visibility from the doorway was less than a meter due to the dense foliage that had penetrated the window so he was forced to use the Force to locate the others.
His padawan was easier to locate having been much closer to the door than Mace in fact he found her within a few seconds. By some miracle her seat had like his been ripped from its mounting but the spare pilots seat seemed to have collided with it during the crash in such a way that the head rest of one touched the front edge of the seat where the knees go of the other creating a partially protected area in between. As he pulled the second chair away he saw the crumpled form of his student buried between the chair and the bulkhead.
Carefully picking her up and turning her over with the Force he could see that her legs were both broken from where the second chair had been pressed against her legs whilst being bombarded by the myriad of foliage and cockpit remains that had been thrown about during the crash. Other than the legs and a lot of developing bruises and nasty cuts, none of which were bleeding at dangerous speeds, she appeared to be externally fine.
Carefully he laid her flat on the ground and slowly passed his hands over her body; Coleman had never been overly expert when it came to Force Healing but he was knowledgeable enough to allow him to see if his padawan was suffering from any internal injuries. After a minutes of focusing he relaxed, his padawan had a couple of cracked but fortunately not broken ribs but other than that no other injuries that he had not already documented.
Sighing in relief he then, leaving his padawan where she lay, made his way forward towards the front of the cockpit, shifting wreckage as he went, it took him ten minutes just to get one meter further, having to constantly heave or levitate wreckage out of the way passed his padawan and down into the wrecked area where he had ended up. After moving a support beam that had broken away from the roof he got his first look at Mace but he was more than a little surprised by what he found.
Situated between himself and the pilots chair was a three inch thick plate of transparisteel that seemed to have shot out of the deck platting directly in front of the pilots chair, three move seemed to have deployed on the pilots other three sides with the one in the front extending out of the gap between two of the control consoles at such an angle that it created a right angled triangular barrier of transparisteel surrounding Mace.
Knocking hard on the barrier caused Mace to stir and slowly open his eyes, unlike his padawan who had taken a battering Coleman could see that Mace was mostly unscathed. From what he could see he had a few scratches and scrapes the most serious of which was a deep horizontal cut mark less than have a centimetre from the top of his skull, it he were forced to guess it was likely caused by the deploying protections which, although they likely saved his life also gave him the very nasty head injury that had covered his entire face in blood.
"Mace, can you hear me?" he called.
After a second and with a painful grown Mace slowly raised his head.
"Mace?" Coleman asked again.
"I'm fine," he replied raising his head, his voice muffled slightly by the protective shell. "Though I have a killer headache."
"Well you can blame Harry and Hermione for that, and also likely for saving your life. It seems they put some precautions in place in case of a decompression in the cockpit, that shell around you likely saved you from being as injured as my padawan, they just did not account for someone of your height using the chair, I'm just glad they did not fit them to the other chairs, they would have protected my padawan but I would likely have lost over half of my skull."
"Is she alright?" asked Mace trying to blink the blood out of his eyes before using his sleeve to try to clear them.
"Nothing life threatening though she has several cracked ribs, two broken legs and a lot more bruises and cuts than I have. Can you see any sort of release mechanism in their?"
"My eye sight is not brilliant right now but I can't see anything obvious."
"There might be a control on the console but it's been almost completely destroyed by the impact so I don't want to start guessing. I'll have to open it the jedi way."
Drawing his lightsaber he carefully cut the forward piece of the shell that clipped Mace's head, as soon as his blade penetrated the shell he heard a decompressing sound as air rushed out of the shell immediately followed by all four plates retracting quickly into the deck, the one he had his blade through being cut mostly through down its length as it was pulled through his blade before he could withdraw it. As soon as it was out Mace attempted to stand Coleman was forced to catch him as he almost toppled over.
"Easy Mace, that injury is deep, we need to get it bound as quickly as possible or you will black out again."
"Do you know what hit us?" asked the Master of the Order, refusing to admit his own mortality and attempting to continue.
"I don't know, I was hoping you did as you were flying?" returned Coleman from the back of the cockpit where he had hoped to find a medical kit on the wall but it appeared to have been ripped off by the impact, after using the Force as a painkiller for himself he returned to his colleague to attempted to bind his head with a strip of material from his robes.
"There was no indication of a systems failure; I can only estimate that something collided with the back of the ship but that's not important now. We need to get out of here, ascertain the status of the battle and get your padawan to safety."
"I'm afraid that's not going to happen," came a voice from the now open plan cockpit window, drawing their attention.
Standing in front of where the window should have been were four wizards pointing their wands at them, all of them appeared to be reservists but none of them appeared to be in any way reluctant to be pointing their wands at them. The exit of the craft was still blocked to them as regards escape but there were enough large gaps for them to be able to easily see through the debris.
As the four fired two lightsabers were ignited and repelled three of the four spells back at the attackers downing them instantly, the fourth was taken down after as an acromantula tackled the last with a hiss and sent the two of them tumbling down into the wreckage in front of the jedi shifting part of it so that the pair broke through to where the injured trio were. The reservists did not have much time to scream before a fang penetrated his neck and, presumably, rendered him unconscious.
No sooner had that happened and the acromantula managed to right itself it began pulling the, hopefully still alive, reservists out of the hole. As it exited a smaller acromantula, only a foot in length, scuttled down the wreckage towards them and when face to face with them made a serious of clicking sounds, presumably it did not know English.
"If that was asking us if we are ok," replied Mace, who now had a bandaged head thanks to Coleman's efforts, "The answer is mostly yes, nothing life threatening."
The spider then turned and gestured with a leg towards the still unconscious padawan.
"Just knocked out, she had a pair of broken legs though so will be unable to walk."
The spider seemed to think for a moment before scuttling over to Coleman's apprentice and gesturing for him to follow. Grabbing a two foot length of broken metal from the floor it began awkwardly began to pull it across the floor towards her.
Realising what the spider was attempting to do Coleman, after ensuring that Mace did not move, helped carry the beam and another similar piece over to his padawan and then with great care levitated them and her legs while the spider began spinning silk sheets around the lot.
It took no more than a couple of minutes for Hermione's lower half to be shrouded in spider silk, for a pair of larger spiders to run thicker lines of silk down the sloped cabin and for all three of them to be pulled out.
While Mace, who was still a bit out of it, sat with his padawan Coleman jumped up on top of the wreckage of the cockpit and surveyed the scene. The ship was an utter wreck; the two outboard engines had been ripped from the hull, he ventured that the large forest fire some two hundred meters behind the ship marked the grave of one of them; any and all external sensors and dishes had been torn away as had the barrels of many of the guns. The hull itself had been snapped down the middle like a twig and Coleman guessed he could see at least two large pieces, the engine section and all the rear compartments were separated from the main meeting area and the bridge by a good two meters. The whole ship had been battered out of shape the paint job completely stripped in places, in fact if it was not for the fact that Coleman was very familiar with this type of ship he doubted that he would have been able to figure out how it went back together.
"Well that looks like the end of that science project," he sighed turning and preparing to descend back to Mace and his padawan but stopped as a large flash of fire caught his attention. Turning back he looked to what he could see beyond the trees and it shocked him that he had failed to notice the site before his eyes.
"Quickly Mace we have to move now, the castles aflame!"
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Really sorry about the wait guys, I hoped to get this out for Christmas then for New Year's but RL and work (as always) got in the way, hope it won't be as long next time.