A/N: Chap 37 Review Responses are available in my forums. Thank you all for reading.
Chapter Thirty-Eight: The Gauntlet is Thrown
Voldemort walked the shores of Azkaban, staring at the shattered walls of the impenetrable fortress.
"Muggle weapons, m'lord," Yaxley said. "The survivor said the Muggles sent a ship that fired canons at the fortress, and it was through those holes that the enemy was able to breach the Fortress. Almost all the dementors were destroyed by Fiendfyre."
Voldemort's face remained cold and calm as he examined the damage. The bodies of his men were laid out on the cold rocks of the island. The only survivor was himself badly injured, and his memories showed that he fought valiantly, thus buying himself some reprieve for his failure.
"Potter is in line with the Muggle government," Voldemort said.
"Yes, my lord," Yaxley said. "Our spies said he gained his appointment as Minister from the queen. Perhaps…perhaps he was being serious."
"His mistake," Voldemort said darkly. "I've done my best to keep this war from the Muggles until we were ready to deal with them, but perhaps that was a mistake. Perhaps it is time to show the Muggles just what happens when they interfere in things beyond their understanding."
"Find where the Queen is in residence and then burn it to the ground. Take as many men as you need."
Yaxley smiled a dark, hungry smile. "It shall be as you wish, m'lord."
Being late January, the Queen took residence in her private estate at Sandringham House near the eponymous village in Norfolk.
Yaxley gathered a squad of fifty wizards with the intent of razing the palatial home to the ground with the queen inside. His men apparated to the coordinates only to be caught inside wards easily as powerful as those at Hogwarts—it never would have dawned on either Yaxley or Voldemort that the Queen would know of the magical world she ruled over, and would have her personal residences warded. The wards redirected them into the lower lake on the royal grounds.
Yaxley swam to the shore, more furious than confused about how he was redirected from his target. He started to pull himself out of the water when he pulled up in shock.
Harry Potter himself stood in front of him, flanked by easily a hundred witches and wizards. "Hello, there," the boy said. "Her majesty does not appreciate unannounced visitors. She is quite put out with you, you know."
Pansy Parkinson, Voldemort's personal assistant as of two hours ago, quailed before the angry Dark Lord as Voldemort paced the conference room. Repair work on the Ministry had faltered due to a lack of labor. Most of his staff were Death Eaters, and the predations of Potter's people were taking a toll. Moreover, the slave labor pool he'd been conditioning at Azkaban was gone.
His wards chimed, and with a mental flick of magic, his door opened to admit his trembling, terrified secretary. Pansy knew the girl—Tracey Davis, one of Daphne's friends. She fell to her knees just inside the door and prostrated herself. "M'lord," she said in a trembling voice, "we…we received word of Mr. Yaxley."
Voldemort stood, alerted by her terror. "What news?"
"His forces arrived at the atrium, m'lord," Tracey said.
"Why is he not here to report, then?"
She started blubbering.
"Answer me, girl!"
"They're dead, lord!" she wailed in terror. The wail was cut off abruptly by the sound of tearing, violated flesh. Pansy fought the urge to be sick as she stared at the unidentifiable spray of red that suddenly covered the floor, walls and ceilings of the front of the Dark Lord's office, where once knelt one of the friends she used to play Exploding Snap with and talk to about boys. Dead at the Dark Lord's hands—just like Draco.
Voldemort just stood and stared at the bloody mess, red eyes narrowed with trembling rage. Pansy did not dare move or speak—such was his rage lately than anyone could share Tracey's fate. She then watched as a red flame flicked up from the blood and quickly spread over the walls, ceiling and floor, burning away the blood and mangled tissue before disappearing. When the last flame dissipated, all trace that the girl had ever existed was gone.
"Potter is beginning to irritate me," the Dark Lord growled. "Tell my soldiers to assemble, Parkinson. All of them. This ends now."
The Doe Patronus pranced into the Headmaster's office where Harry worked with Hermione and ten Rune Master's from both England and the Continent. The Rune Masters, having never seen a messenger Patronus, stared in surprise when the magical construct spoke in Snape's voice. "The word is given. You have three days."
With that, the doe faded into a magical mist. In the silence that followed, Harry looked at the Rune Masters and said, "Ladies and gentlemen, the clock is ticking. If Voldemort is coming in three days, that means we have only two to get this done. You've told me this is the most powerful, ancient ward in existence. Don't disappoint me, or your countries will be next after Britain falls."
The seven wizards and three witches all nodded silent affirmations before they bend back to their tedious and time-consuming work. He turned to Hermione, who said: "Remus has worked miracles, Harry. We're getting everything we asked for."
"He's a good man," Harry agreed. "And you're a brilliant advisor for recommending him."
"Is that all I am, your advisor?"
"Until tonight," he said with a grin.
The Armies of Lord Voldemort, all two hundred wizards, twenty giants, fifty trolls and two hundred acromantulas, gathered at the edge of the Forbidden Forest and looked at the castle three days after the Dark Lord made his call. Most of the time to gather was spent collecting the creatures. The army consisted of every single fighter and creature he had left, but it should have been enough. The Acromantulas alone would ensure terror and discord at the castle.
In the distance, through the trees, Voldemort could see the castle proper. He knew from his time at the castle, and later when he last visited years later, that the castle's defensive wards actually extended beyond the reach of the castle's bridges to the very edge of its lands. However, now he could clearly see the shimmer of the ward lines in a tight bubble around the keep of the castle itself, leaving the bridges and outer battlements open to attack.
He did sense multiple, overlapping anti-Apparition hexes around the castle, but he was neither surprised nor bothered. In fact, it was a sound measure. The castle normally employed an Anti-Apparition ward, but in this case by having waves of jinxes like overlapping shields in a phalanx, it freed up the magical power requirements and made it nearly impossible to break the coverage, since with one broken jinx there would be a hundred more. They would not last more than a day or so, but it was long enough.
The jinxes would not keep out his ground forces, thought.
"Let the creatures attack first," Voldemort said with calm confidence. With the wards so tight, he could afford to take the outer battlements first and move closer to bring them down, saving his own power for the fight against Potter.
He watched from the forest line as the trolls, giants and Acromantulas charged toward the castle with hellish roars and cries, while his wizards hung back to watch the chaos. It was only then that they saw defenders for the first time along the tops of the battlements and along the bottom of the walls rising up out of trenches like animals.
Voldemort despised Muggles, but he remembered the Second Muggle War, having fought with Grindelwald as a barely legal youth. He instantly recognized the unusually long barrels of the weapons that bristled both at the top and bottom of the battlements, but did not understand how they could be there. Muggle weaponry did not work within…
…the wards. Wards which had been drawn back to the keep itself, leaving the battlements ward-free.
Atop the wall, Harry smiled in satisfaction and turned to Thomas Derkins. "Tell you men to fire when ready."
"Roger that," Derkins said, grinning as well in anticipation. He echoed the order.
The first shot was from one of the ten M82A1 sniper rifles along the battlements, with a single shot punching through the skull of a troll. The creature continued on for three steps before it fell dead to the ground. The trolls around it were too stupid to understand they were walking toward their deaths.
The acromantulas charged ahead of both trolls and giants, moving faster than either breed of lumbering monster. These creatures encountered two separate lines of defense: the .50 caliber machine gun placements at the base of the walls, and the M134 miniguns lining the top of the battlements.
The M134s did not even sound like guns—they sounded like Muggle chainsaws as they mowed down the attacking swarms of Acromantulas. Those spiders that survived the double-sweep of machine gun fire were so few and far between they stood no chance from the wizards also manning the ditches.
Those same miniguns turned their sights onto the giants. Voldemort watched as the first giant raised his club, only to stutter his steps as a mini-gun tore into his chest with devastating, almost unbelievable power.
"My Lord," a faceless Death Eater breathed. "What kind of magic is that?"
"Magic that should not exist," Voldemort snarled angrily. He stood helplessly as every single dark creature that answered him succumbed to the impossible weapons—weapons that even outside the immediate wards should not have been able to function. The Dark Lord knew just enough of Muggle weapons from his research during his first war to know that such devices needed electricity to work, and there was no way electricity could work at Hogwarts.
And he was right.
Harry Potter smiled and checked the powering runes to make sure they were functioning properly for the miniguns. The Runemasters he hired had taken his challenge, and the offer of a ten thousand galleon reward, and did in a matter of weeks what five hundred years of wizards said could never be done: they managed a way to convert magic into direct current.
A surge of warning in the Force brought him out of his thoughts in time to see a lone acromantula breast the walls of the battlements. Harry did not hesitate and lashed out with Force-lightning. The creature squealed before being blasted back from the walls.
He took the opportunity to step wholly onto the battlements to view the field below. The last giant's chest vaporized under the combined power of four mini-guns and fell, leaving the grounds before the castle littered with dead, car-sized spiders, trolls and giants.
"Snipers report targets in the trees," Derkins said.
"Fire at will," Harry said.
The air once more exploded under the .50 Caliber founds fired not just from the sniper rifles, but also from the machine gun emplacements. The miniguns did not fire—Harry wanted them saved for closer operations.
In the Force, he felt Voldemort's rage, but also the terror of his men as their heads and chests started to vaporize. Even from the castle he could see the glimmer of magical shields, just as he could see those shields collapse under the onslaught. As his advisors suggested, magic alone could not stop a heavy caliber round.
"What I wouldn't give for an AT-AT or a Juggernaught," he muttered.
All this, Harry knew, was just to remove the chaff from the battlefield. They all heard a roar of rage as a sudden ball of fire flashed out from the trees and rushed toward the emplacements, growing into a heard of flaming dragons as they approached.
"Fiendfyre!" Harry shouted. "All ground units evacuate!"
Wizards scrambled out of their trenches and ran for the battlements as the magical flame approached. The heat of it was almost unbearable even from the top of the forty-foot battlements that surrounded the court yard.
Harry watched with a hard expression as five of Derkins men failed to escape in time. The Fiendfyre consumed them so quickly it vaporized them even as it attacked the weapon placements. Magazine cartridges exploded while weapons themselves melted under the magical heat. The ball of Fiendfyre continued its hunt along the walls before dissipating.
Another ball of Fiendfyre approached, this time heading for the top of the wall. "Stand ready," Harry called.
Around him, five hundred witches and wizards from across the continent raised their wands. As the fire expanded into the winged form of a dragon, swooping down to attack, Harry shouted the order: "Now!"
Five hundred wands cast spells of water and ice, pelting the fiery construct with its elemental opposite. The older, more skilled wizards he brought in from the continent conjured ice giants—magical golems of ice that were the only known magical construct that could, even for a time, contest fiendfyre. While Harry had the power, he did not yet have the knowledge or skill to cast such magic. He could have killed the wizards who did easily, but to waste such knowledge was stupid.
He was not like Voldemort, Darth Sidious or Darth Vader—he was better than them. While in his heart of hearts he knew he was still a Dark Lord, Harry had something Voldemort nor the Sith ever had; he had Hermione and Luna. For them, if not for himself, he would play things smart.
The Fiendfyre fizzled away, defeated by the combined power of the first line of defenders. Harry took pride in their work, up until Voldemort blasted the wall out from under his feat.
He felt the surge of danger in the Force just as the massive ball of red magical energy burst from the forest edge. He had just enough time to jump clear as the ball struck the wall and blasted it apart with the destructive power of a turbolaser. He heard and felt many of his people die in the Force, along with easily fifty of the defenders nearest where he was.
The magic necessary to produce such destruction was astonishing, and terrifying at the same time.
"All defenders fall back to the keep," Harry ordered. "Fall back to secondary positions!"
It did not surprise Harry that somehow Thomas Derkins had survived. He took command and quickly evacuated the walls, but not before a second astonishing burst of magic brought down another section of the battlements, taking with it another thirty defenders.
Harry pulled his father's cloak from his pocket and leapt down from the shattered battlements, content that Hermione, Luna, and Derkins as his Military second in command would handle what happened next in the keep. For his part, he had to remain outside the castle walls.
He hid under the cloak, but then also shielded his presence from the Force entirely, disappearing as only the Sith could. He squatted down on the far edge of the plain twenty yards from the shattered walls of the battlements and watched as Voldemort finally emerged from the line of trees.
His army followed behind him, if an army it could still be called.
The machine gun and sniper fire devastated the Dark Lord's forces, reducing it from hundreds to perhaps eighty fighters all told. Snape, Harry saw, was lingering back. His job was to kill the snake, and if he succeeded, Harry planned to let the man live in comfort on the continent. With that last Horcrux gone, the Dark Lord would be mortal once more, even if he remained ridiculously powerful.
Voldemort stopped before the castle, eyes narrowed. "They have fled from us," he said loudly, speaking to his tattered followers. "Those that survive this day shall have the power of kings in the days that follow. Your loyalty and skill will be rewarded beyond your wildest dreams. Go now—there cannot by many left. Go kill those who oppose us, but spare those who surrender. We will need sheep to herd and cull in the days to come."
His men surged forward through the broken outer defense of the castle, while Voldemort himself raised his wand and attacked the Castle Wards.
Even as far away as he was, Harry could not help but wince at the sheer power Voldemort unleashed. For this, he did not even use his wands, since such power would likely have shattered it. Instead, he raised both hands, reached out with his god-like magic and literally wrenched the wards of the school down like so many pieces of cloth. It was a terrifying display, even to a Sith. Not even Sidious could have done something so awe-inspiring.
With the wards down, Voldemort continued past the shattered battlements until he stood in the middle of the courtyard.
He did not notice the new flagstones that covered the center of the courtyard, nor would he have, since they were now coated in plaster dust and shattered bricks. What he did notice was the occasional flash of spell fire within the school itself, accompanied by cries of pain.
Harry let himself emerge from the Force, gathered his cloak and pushed it into the pockets of his battle robe, and walked calmly to the shattered wall. He did not know how much Voldemort could sense through his magic, but assumed he could sense enemies around him as well as Harry could.
Indeed, Harry just reached the line of the broken wall when Voldemort calmly turned and stared at him. "Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived," the Dark Lord said with a reptilian smile. "Come to die."
"Hopefully not," Harry said. He smiled as a silver doe danced past the startled the Dark Lord to Harry.
"It is done," the doe said in Snape's voice. "By the Longbottom boy, Merlin help us."
The patronus disappated. "What was that?" Voldemort growled.
"That was the message letting me know your last Horcrux was destroyed," Harry said with a smirk.
Voldemort stared at him for the longest time in silence until he slowly began to laugh. Harry admitted to himself it was not the reaction he was expecting, or wanted.
When at last the Dark Lord calmed from his laughing, he said, "Do you think I need Horcruxes any longer, boy? I am God! I have drunk the nectar of the Pharaohs! I am immortal! This body cannot be destroyed!"
"Bella died easily enough without her head," Harry said. "I think you will too."
At the mention of Bellatrix, Voldemort snarled. "You will pay for her death, and the deaths of my followers."
"What followers?" Harry said calmly. "Your main informant was wrong, my foolish friend. We did not have a few hundred wizards here. I've collected fighters from throughout Europe under a unified command of the International Confederation of Wizards. Do you hear any more fighting from the castle? Your followers are dead. My orders were to provide no mercy. Even as we speak, an additional force of four hundred ICW Enforces have retaken the Ministry of Magic. You are the last remnant of your short reign, Tom Riddle, and you won't be leaving this place alive."
Voldemort took a menacing step forward. "That name no longer has any meaning for me."
Harry smiled grimly, remembering another man who tried to flee from his past. "No, I suppose not. Goodbye then, Voldemort."
Voldemort raised both hands, summoning magic to level mountains, when Harry shouted, "Now!"
He just managed to launch himself into the air over a wave of magic that vaporized a twenty-foot long pile of rubble just as a tight cone of runic magic rose up from the courtyard of the castle in a cylindrical wall. Voldemort's eyes widened in rage as he flared his full power against the wards.
Such was the strength of the attack that the strongest runic wards known to magic flared dangerously.
"Derkins, Moody, get those guns moving!" Harry screamed.
Voldemort continued to strain the wards as Derkins directed squads of wizards to float in three massive weapon placements, and the large ward stones that would provide the energy for them to run.
"Tom, just in case you don't recognize these," Harry said as he approached, "you are looking at three towable M167 Vulcan Air Defense Systems. I understand they're being phased out of active service, starting a few years ago. That just makes them cheaper for me, I suppose. These weapons fire an explosive 20 millimeter bullet, over 6,000 of them a minute, in fact, at just over a thousand meters per second. I was hoping we could experiment, you see. Let's see what the nectar of the pharaohs can do against the ingenuity of modern Muggle military ordinance."
The Dark Lord's eyes widened. He began to rise into the air, only for the wards to flash and bring him down. He raged and attacked the wards with his magic, causing the huge ward stone below him to take on a permanent glow as it absorbed his power.
Harry stood silently as the wizards under Derkin's command—all the man's mercenaries trained in Muggle warfare—established the three weapons systems. It took precious minutes for them to get the power connected, minutes Voldemort spent battering at the strained ward stone.
It was admirable, in a way.
"We're ready, lad," Moody said at Derkin's nod.
"Then by all means, let's see what happens," Harry said.
Voldemort stood still, ready to act the moment they dropped the ward stone.
"Oh, Tom, did I mention this was a permeable ward? It will let through anything at all, except magic."
The Dark Lord's eyes bulged to maximum reptilian proportions before the three massive Gatling-style cannons opened fire. Voldemort raised his hands and summoned a magical shield easily as powerful as the wards that contained him. Harry watched with interest as the wards intercepted and vaporized the thousands of rounds striking him.
"Merlin's balls, that man is powerful," Moody roared over the cacophony of the weapons. Beside him Derkins nodded in silent agreement. Spent shell casings began to pile up around all three guns, while in the center of the courtyard Voldemort bowed his head with his hands held up, somehow maintaining his shield.
Harry began to sweat, genuinely frightened that they would run out of bullets before he ran out of magic.
The Dark Lord looked up at Harry, and for the first time since the fight began, Harry could see strain on the wizard's face. "They'll destroy you in the end as well!" Voldemort screamed, his voice somehow making it to Harry's ears over the din of the weapons fire.
"I'm sure they'll try," Harry agreed, using the Force to ensure his enemy heard him. "But by then, you'll be a long-forgotten memory. Good bye, Tom Riddle."
With a grunt, Voldemort's shield collapsed, and not even a second later almost twenty thousand 20 mm bullets reduced his body to a fine mist. Harry felt his passing as a thunderclap of dark energy in the Force.
"The King is dead," Harry whispered with a satisfied smile. "Long live the king."
Epilogue: Long Live the King
Screams ripped apart the solemn silence of the night. They continued unending for newly ten long, horrifying minutes before at last they came to an end. Without the screams, the only sound was the harsh, unrelenting whistle of the wind.
Harry Potter sat up and looked at this skin. Lines of pale flesh marked his naked limbs where they had been flayed to the bone just minutes before. The rock below him was clean, where just moments ago it was drowned in blood. He stood slowly, glorying in the power he felt within him.
He stood in the center of a stone basin, and ringing the basin were the bodies of one hundred men and women, each condemned to death within their respective nation. Each had agreed to give their life in return for a substantial payment made to their next of kin. After all, they were going to die anyway, why not ensure something was left to their loved ones?
The Imperius charm insured their compliance, along with the compliance of his assistant for the day. He looked at the glassy-eyed Pansy Parkinson in satisfaction. She was one of the first of Voldemort's Ministry to surrender, and had been the most cooperative. He considered killing her briefly—there was no reason to let her live, in truth.
But then he thought of his wives—of how Luna looked at him when he left that morning, somehow knowing what he was going to be doing. Instead, he placed a thumb to her forehead and rubbed it gently across her brow, erasing her recent memories with a simple touch.
When he lifted his Imperius curse, she blinked and shivered as she looked into his brilliant, cold green eyes. Instantly tears rose to her own eyes as she realized how close to death she stood. "Please," she whispered. "Please don't kill me."
"I have no reason to," Harry said, speaking a simple and yet profound truth. "You've served well enough." He hand-conjured an egg-shaped stone and turned it into a portkey. "Take this and return to England. Let your mistress know I will return shortly. Continue to meet their needs satisfactorily, and you will be allowed to finish your probation alive."
Pansy squeezed her eyes shut. "Thank you, my lord," she managed to say clearly enough. She took the stone and disappeared with a pop. When she was gone, Harry reached out his senses, astounded at how the Force not only responded to him, but seemed to actually be a part of him. He rose easily into air, borne aloft by power that was too strong to be called either magic or the Force, but was the source of both.
He waived his hand, and with a surge of power dissolved the bodies of the Muggles who gave their lives so that he could live forever.
And now, it was time to go back and help Hermione with the Philosopher's Stone she and Luna were working on. After all, if a 14th Century wizard could do it, then the brightest witches of the 20th Century most assuredly could as well.
Harry, Hermione and Luna stood together, smiling for the cameras, as behind them the first fusion reactor in Europe went online. The plant itself was shaped like a standing domino for the reactor coils, which ran horizontally up and down the interior of the structure. Run on carbon and hydrogen, and producing water as a byproduct, the energy plant produced 3,000 megawatts of energy every hour.
The reactor, wholly owned by Phoenix Energy, a subsidiary of Phoenix Industries, represented the culmination of five years of tense negotiations and demonstrations, and was just the first of fifty such plants planned.
Firebird Solutions, another wholly owned Subsidiary of Phoenix Industries, was currently working with the European Union to decommission and clean up the many nuclear power plants that dotted Europe. Harry was sure he'd find something to do with all those fuel rods.
He said a few words at the press conference, thanked the appropriate ministers and politicians, and walked with his wives back to their car—a solar/electric hybrid built by Boyoda, as of the previous year a wholly owned subsidiary of Phoenix Industries.
Once in the car, they tapped on the glass and the security wards separated them from the real world.
"Thank Merlin that's over," Hermione muttered. "I swear the Spanish minister was staring at my ass the whole time."
"I know I was," Luna said brightly. "That's a very fetching skirt."
"Well, yes, thank you," Hermione said. She removed her Fire-phone, an integrated palm-sized computer and phone connected to the new wireless networks Firebird Communications had established throughout most of the European Union countries. It provided faster download speeds than anything else available, ever. Somehow, their competitors had still not been able to break any of their new technological innovations, although Harry knew Apple Computers in America was close to doing something similar following their own technology.
"We have the anti-trust suit in Italy tomorrow," she said. "Harry, that one might be a problem. Our defense team says the Ministers are trying to push through a law that would essentially make us illegal."
Harry nodded—he trusted Hermione's word more than anyone else in the world save Luna's. If she said there was a problem, then there was a problem, simple as that. "See if we can schedule a meeting with all involved parties," he said.
"Imperius?" Luna asked. There was no judgment in the question, simply a query.
"If necessary," Harry said. "I think in this case, though, bribery might be more effective. The Italian minister has demonstrated a level of corruption I think we can use. If bribery doesn't work, we'll revert to blackmail. And then if that doesn't work, we'll get more exotic."
He looked at Luna. "Any word on the unification proposal at the ICW?"
"The Chinese are fighting," she said. "They want a seat at any permanent advisory council."
"How many magicals are in China?"
"More than Europe, America and Australia combined," Luna said.
"What about Russia?"
"Far fewer," Luna said. "Stalin and his successors were not kind to wizards and witches, while the Chinese Communist Party was much more tolerant. surprisingly."
Harry touched the Force lightly, following its currents to the Chinese. "I can work with them," he finally said. "They have a xenophobic, self-interested perspective that makes them predictable if you just know how to see things through their eyes. Offer them a permanent seat on the counsel in return for helping me pressure Russia."
Luna beamed. "I was hoping you'd say that. I'm sure they'll agree."
"And then when that's done?" Hermione asked.
"Then, we'll have a single world-government for all the magical beings," Harry said with smile. "A government with laws and rules of engagement, and a single magical military to stop anyone from getting too anxious. Though, of course, you shouldn't call it military. It's the Enforcer Division."
"And I'm sure they'll be enforcing the law soon, like in Argentina," Luna said. "They and the Koreans have refused to acknowledge the ICW completely."
"That's fine," Harry said. "When they try to act without regard to ICW rules, we can move in and teach them their mistake, but until then we need to bide our time. Many witches and wizards are still adjusting to the shift to Muggle currencies; we need to give everyone a few years to catch up."
"And then?" Luna asked.
"And then, when the magical world is completely unified, we can take a close look at our Muggle Counter parts."
"And by then," Hermione said, "well, Phoenix Industries will own the entire world infrastructure."
"It hasn't been easy," Luna said.
In fact, it hadn't been. Their greatest challenge was OPEC. The oil producing countries of the world, within the first two years of sales of Harry's solar-augmented vehicles, saw a drop in revenues in the billions of Euros. They responded by at first lowering the price of crude oil to just dollars on the barrel, but by that time Hermione and Luna had whipped up the ecological lobbyists throughout the world to preach the benefits of cheap, renewable power. Solar/gas hybrids were replaced with solar/electric hybrids that did not use gas at all.
His company then began producing solar energy plants in the southwest United States that produced as much energy as the most advanced coal power plants. Similar solar farms appeared in Spain, Italy and Australia.
They built one in Egypt at that government's invitation, only to have the plant attacked by Islamic Militants who just happened to have received funding and intelligence from member nations of OPEC.
That attack was the invitation to act Harry had been waiting for. On a platform over the shattered solar farm, he held up the pictures of the workers beheaded during the attack and publicly vowed justice. The International Community watched in shock as for the next three months Harry's privately funded army swept through and obliterated militant camps in every OPEC nation, disregarding their cries of violated sovereignty.
Harry responded to those cries with undeniable proof of their complicity in the terrorist attacks not just on his plant, but across the world. His own plants in the UN kept any possible sanctions against his company or him personally from gaining ground, while his contacts in the western nations were thrilled that he was able to do what they all wanted to, but could not because of their previous dependence on oil. Government leaders publicly decried his action while privately congratulating him.
When at last the worst of the fighting was done, Harry performed the killing stroke by developing an algae-based artificial oil that could be mass-produced on levels equal to OPECs best production years, at a fraction of the cost, with no longer-term environmental cost. He won the Nobel Prize that year, and was named the Greatest Man Alive by Greenpeace, Time, and Teen Witch Magazine. Luna, of course, was only excited by the last.
"So when are you going to take us to space?" Luna asked, moving to the edge of her seat.
Harry smiled at her. "We should have the Earth in the shape we want within ten years. And then…then, my loves, the stars alone know how far we'll go."
The story of Harry, Luna and Hermione is continued in The Stars Alone.