V is for Voldy
Disclaimer: The Characters are not mine. They belong to someone else.
Lord Voldemort arrived in Los Angeles with the loud crack of thunder, appearing out of the thin air itself. Moments later his group of loyal Death Eaters joined him, including Lucius Malfoy and the seniors Crabbe and Goyle. The group looked about the city with interest, as they had never been to the USA before and knew nothing really of the city they were in. They didn't even know of Hollywood or movie stars or any of the other popular things that the average Muggle knew. They were Purebloods and that meant they didn't bother reading about Muggle things, as they were clearly superior with their magic and didn't need to know.
"Why would that Potter brat come here?" Voldemort asked as he glanced about the empty street he stood on. It was lined with the typical Muggle buildings, like shop fronts and the doorways to apartments above the stores. There was a corner convenience store, a nail salon, a place that did income taxes, a sandwich shop and a place that sold car parts. Across the street there were more assorted shops, including a discount clothing shop and a dollar store. A few older cars lined the streets, many of them having seen better days. Assorted trash blew in the hot wind that flew down the pavement, empty chip bags and fast food hamburger wrappers catching on Voldemort's bare feet and his long black robe. He stared down at the trash, clearly annoyed already.
"Perhaps the Order is hiding him from us, My Lord." Lucius suggested as he too looked around, his long white hair wafting in the air currents that blew past. Today he had not bothered to wear his mask, as the Muggles here didn't know him anyway. His walking stick was clutched in his hand, his wand at the ready should he need it. "We were getting close to finding where they were keeping him…"
"But you were too slow, Lucius!" Voldemort angrily pointed out as he turned towards the younger man, his eyes cold. "By the time we reached that Muggle house, it stood empty and abandoned! And it was only my connection with the boy that led us here, to this City of Fallen Angels."
"Dumbledore must have a spy among us, My Lord." Lucius protested as he meekly bowed his head.
"Do not blame an imaginary spy for your failure. Help me find the brat! This city is huge with countless places to hide." Voldemort sensed movement from the corner and spun about rapidly, his wand at the ready. But it was just an old Mexican woman exiting the convenience store with a paper sack of groceries. He sighed and lowered his weapon as she slowly trudged down the nearest side street without even noticing them. "Muggles, Muggles are everywhere!"
"My Lord?" Lucius called after walking a few steps down the shopping district. "A lot of these stores look abandoned. This one," he pointed to the nail salon. "Has broken windows and the place is thrashed. And others have weird markings sprayed onto them…"
"Markings?" Voldemort moved down the street slowly, looking at the shops and saw that Lucius was right. They all seemed to have large red "V's" sprayed on them in some sort of Muggle paint. He could see where the paint had run and dripped, so it was not part of the original design. The odd markings covered up the original lettering on the plate-glass and other times were sprayed directly onto brick.
"There's more of it across the street, too." Mr. Crabbe pointed out. "What do you think it means?"
"V … V … V is for Voldemort!" Lord Voldemort exclaimed loudly, a wide grin spreading across his face. "Yes, I must have supporters here and they show their support by making these markings on public buildings. They must have heard of our successful attacks on the Muggles back home, like how we blew up that gas main, so they are showing their support."
Lucius, however, looked doubtful. "Are you sure, My Lord?"
"Of course! What else could V stand for?" Voldemort asked as he slowly walked further down the street, careful to avoid the remains of a broken bottle. "Very few words start with V."
"But we do not understand these Muggles very well…Muggles do odd things the way it is." Lucius pointed out as he followed the snake-faced man.
"Muggles? It was clearly the work of dark wizards…" Voldemort insisted as he rounded the corner and stopped dead in his tracks. Just there, a few feet away at most, was a teenager busy spraying a new giant "V" onto the side of a building. His hand moved steadily, the spray paint can clutched tightly in his hand. Clearly sensing someone's gaze on him, the teen stopped spraying and turned to look at them. Upon seeing the oddly dressed adult men in black robes, his face went pale and he dropped his paint can, turning to flee. Voldemort's wand flew outward and he shouted the words to the levitation spell. The boy floated several feet up in the air and hung there, his feet still running uselessly.
"Tell me," The Dark Lord said as he approached the now clearly terrified teenager. "Why do you make these red markings on buildings? I wish to now their purpose."
The boy's eyes were wide in fear as he took in the Dark Lord's snake-like face with pebbly skin and slitted nose. "To … to show support, that we will win the war."
The Dark Lord looked into the boy and saw he was telling the truth, but then a new thought occurred to him. "Which war and which side do you support? Be more specific!"
"You're … you're one of them, aren't you?" The boy cried in fear as he continued to struggle in the air helplessly. "I … I heard they're … that they're lizards! I didn't want to believe it, but I see now that it's true! Here you are walking about in broad daylight and not caring who sees you!"
The words made no sense to the Dark Lord and his hand holding the wand lowered a few inches but still maintaining the levitation spell. Had the boy heard of his unique snake-like appearance? While he was clearly a Muggle, the word might have spread through the grapevine. The news certainly had been all over the Daily Prophet of his successful return, especially after they had done some attacks. Perhaps this Muggle heard an altered version and he thought all of his Death Eaters looked like he did under their masks? "We are snakes, not lizards."
"I'm sorry! I didn't know!" The boy howled as a dark stain started to spread on the front of his blue jeans. "Please don't eat me!"
The Dark Lord smiled. "I am a merciful Lord and will not eat you. Go and tell your fellows that we appreciate your support."
Confusion showed in the boy's eyes for a moment and then relief. His feet touched the ground and he was off in a heartbeat, running as fast as the wind.
Lucius scowled in utter disgust. "These Muggles are insane if they think we eat them!"
Voldemort called the paint can to his hand and studied it for a moment with curiosity. He saw the thing on the top that you depress and how the paint flowed out of a certain spot. He then waved his wand about, creating more identical cans just like it. "We will make more of these "V's" for Voldemort. The Muggles who own these buildings will no doubt hate it. Be creative."
Voldemort went up to a blue convertible and started spraying a big red "V" on the car's hood.
"Hey!" A man's voice yelled angrily. "That's my car!"
The Dark Lord turned to see a man wearing a brown leather jacket coming towards him, a paper sack of groceries in his hand. His blue eyes flashed angrily as he took in the damage to the hood of his car. A blonde man followed him, carrying another sack of Muggle food. The two hesitated when they saw his face, their eyes widening in surprise. Then their eyes flickered to his black robes, his bare feet and the bone-like wand he held in his hand. Fear and uncertainty danced in their eyes and the Dark Lord smiled.
"I am showing my support to the cause…" The Dark Lord said with an evil smile.
Crabbe stopped spraying on the center of the road and Goyle finished a giant "V" on a nearby building, using his magic to make the giant letter go up extra high. They both joined their leader, staring at the new Muggles. Lucius, of course, was already at Voldemort's side, spray-painting not exactly to his tastes.
"Take it easy, buddy, no harm done." The man in the brown leather jacket quickly said, showing one empty palm to ward off any attack. His other arm was busy clutching his sack of food.
"And which side do you support in the war?" Voldemort asked him.
The Muggle nodded at the big "V" on his car hood. "The same side you do, of course. We've been fighting this war a long time and we appreciate your support.…"
The Dark Lord nodded, thinking how long the mess with Potter had been going on. First there had been the attack on Potter's parents, then the spell had backfired and he had been killed, only his horcruxes saving him from total one-hundred percent destruction. Then the fight had continued, getting more and more troublesome as Potter grew older and more annoying. "Yes, it has been a very long time. I keep trying to win and at times it seems impossible…"
"Hey, don't give up hope! We'll beat them in the end!" the Muggle said with utter conviction in his voice. "They're powerful but not unstoppable! I've taken out a lot of them myself…"
Voldemort realized the man must mean other Muggles. "Yes, they are everywhere like ants."
The Muggle smiled at him as he came closer, depositing his sack of food into his car. "Do you want to join our Resistance group? We could use a few good fighters and it seems like you have some experience. I see you must have had an unpleasant run-in with them, huh?"
Voldemort's eyes narrowed in suspicion. "What do you mean?"
The Muggle held up his hands again, trying to diffuse the situation. "Hey, I didn't mean to offend you. I just mean they took you up to the Mothership and Diana did some experiment on you. She's messed with my brain before, too…"
"Mothership?" Voldemort asked, truly confused now. "What is a Mothership?"
The Muggle and his friend looked confused now as well. "How can you not know what a Mothership is? They're all over the world and plastered all over the news for the past year or so!"
The Dark Lord shrugged. "I do not read Muggle news."
"Don't you ever look up?" The Muggle asked, pointing up at the sky. "There's a Mothership right there!"
Voldemort glanced upward and noticed the large circular silver craft for the first time. It just hung in the air silently but a hundred times, no, a thousand times larger than any Muggle thing he had seen before. "What is that?"
"That's the Mothership I've been trying to tell you about!" The Muggle said in frustration. "Where have you been living these past few years?"
"In a cemetery…" The Dark Lord admitted as he thought of his Riddle Manor. "Before that I had the body of a grass snake and before that I was dead, just a misty form…"
The Muggle leaned close to his blonde friend. "This guy must be off his medication due to the shortages…"
But the Dark Lord was just gawking at the giant saucer in the sky, open mouthed, as was his Death Eaters. "What exactly is that thing?"
"It's a spaceship, from Sirius."
"Sirius, as in Sirius Black?" Voldemort asked, remembering the thorn in his side. "That man is troublesome but I didn't know he could make something like that…"
"No! Sirius, as in the planet Sirius."
A dim memory of taking Astronomy flickered to life in Voldemort's brain and something began to click. "And this silver disk came from some other … star?"
"Yeah, now you got it." The Muggle looked a bit nervous, as he suddenly realized that the odd-looking man in the robe must be involved in some other war, not the one with the Visitors.
"It's Donovan!" A loud voice suddenly shouted as a patrol of Visitors came around the corner in a jeep, their rifle guns at the ready. The Visitors in their bright red uniforms and dark sunglasses took aim with their weapons, bright angry laser beams jumping out.
The Muggle, clearly named Donovan, ducked quickly as did his blonde friend, the laser blasts missing them.
The Dark Lord, however, did not bother to duck at all as he had raised a magic shield before himself, the angry red blasts turning into harmless water as they came near him. He then raised his bone and pointed it at the jeep. A strange word came out of his mouth and then he fired a red blast back at them. The red beam hit the jeep and flung it high into the air before it exploded into a blazing ball of fire. The acrid stench of burning gasoline and flesh filled the air and all of the nearby windows shattered, sharp shards of glass falling everywhere. The Dark Lord and his Death Eaters did not bother ducking or cowering as they were immune to such damage thanks to the protective spells cast on their robes and person not to mention Voldemort's shield spell.
"Woah…" Donovan said as he slowly rose from his crouching position behind his car. His blue eyes were as wide as saucers as he stared at the bone the man was clutching loosely in his hand. "How in the world did you do that?"
"I am the Dark Lord and my name is Voldemort. Everyone here loves me, as they are making the red "V's" and "V" stands for Voldemort!"
Slightly behind Voldemort, Lucius rolled his eyes as he realized the truth: "V" did NOT stand for Voldemort at all.
Donovan quickly nodded, as a weak smile spread across his face. "Yeah, "V" stands for Voldemort." He elbowed Martin in the side and he too quickly agreed.
"Now where is that Potter brat?" Voldemort asked with annoyance in his voice. His eyes flickered upward to the saucer again. "Perhaps he is hiding up there on that … Mothership?"
"He very well could be, My Lord." Lucius agreed quickly.
"Hmmm… there is a large surface area on that thing…." The Dark Lord commented as he studied it some more. "It would be an excellent place to put my new logo…"
The Dark Lord raised his bone wand and pointed it at the bottom of the Mothership. He spoke a long phrase in Latin and soon a red smear appeared on the silver underside of the ship. The smear moved, growing and growing until it formed a giant "V".
Donovan and Martin gaped at the giant red "V" now on the bottom of the ship.
"Let's go up there and find Potter!" Voldemort cried in excitement. "I sense he is there!"
And with that said, the Dark Lord transformed into a grey smoke in the blink of an eye and quickly flew upward, knocking down a streetlight as he went. His Death Eaters transformed as well, following him upward and gleefully damaging Muggle property as they traveled. One building had a giant billboard on the roof and the Death Eaters happily knocked it free, the heavy structure crashing down to the street, causing the cars there to bounce on their tires.
Donovan stared at the damage and ran towards his car, grateful the billboard had missed it by mere inches. "This guy is major news! And better yet, Diana is going to hate his guts!"
"That guy is extremely dangerous." Martin corrected. "He's worst than Diana."
"And that's why he's news!"
Harry Potter was indeed on the Mothership. So were his best friends Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley. They were, in fact, locked in a room thanks to Diana.
"I told you that was the wrong portkey, Ron! Some Order member was supposed to travel here to L.A., not us! And now thanks to your quick grab of the wrong boot, the red boot and not the black boot, we're locked in this room!"
"It wasn't my fault!" Ron insisted as he glared back at Hermione. "I thought the red boot was the right one! Dumbledore said the red one, didn't he?"
"No, he said the black one was for us!" Hermione insisted.
"Look, why don't we just use a spell and unlock the door?" Harry asked as he pulled out his wand and pointed it at the door. "Alohomora!"
And just like that, the door unlocked itself.
Harry stuck his head out into the hallway, looking both ways. "Come on, the coast is clear for the moment. Let's go look around a bit."
The three picked a direction at random and started walking. The hallways were a glistening white and truthfully it all looked the same. The hall seemed to split at random, with new halls going this way or that way. The famous trio walked and walked and walked some more, not seeing a single soul, something Hermione was very grateful for in fact. The Visitors didn't seem very friendly and she had heard rumors from her Muggle parents that they actually ate people.
"Where are we going?" Ron asked in a tired voice. "My feet are starting to ache and we're not getting anywhere…"
"I don't know…" Harry admitted as he too pondered that point. "We don't have a map. Why can't they have one of those "You Are Here" things like at a Mall? I saw one of those once when my Aunt and Uncle dragged me there to get gifts for my cousin's birthday.
"Can't we magic one up?" Ron asked hopefully.
"Well, I suppose I could try to alter a spell to create one…" Hermione stated uncertainly as she bit a fingernail gently, thinking about it. She waved her wand about and said some strange words that even to Harry and Ron were unfamiliar. Then a misty shape began to form in the hallway before them. Slowly it grew more and more solid, taking on physical form. Finally it was completely real and made from the same material as the smooth floor beneath their feet. The structure was large and three-sided, the top taller than a human. Each side had a clear map with a big red circle and the words YOU ARE HERE. The three eagerly studied the map with great interest, with Hermione trying to memorize it. Unfortunately, the map took up most of the hallway leaving only a narrow gap to squeeze through.
"Geez, this thing is worst than Hogwarts with all of the twists, turns and odd hallways!" Ron moaned loudly. "And where's the other markings? I mean, maps are supposed to show eating areas and restrooms! I have to go … badly!"
"Well, I'm sure since this is a spaceship, it must contain a lot of personal quarters and those must have a bathroom…" Hermione reasoned out. "Of course, it may not look like the ones we're used to. These are aliens, Ron, not humans."
"Let's try this room right here…" Harry proclaimed as he chose the door closest to where they were. The door happily swooshed open at his approach and he stepped inside. There he saw a giant rock sitting in the middle of the room, a tall potted plant off to the side and a stuffed chair shoved into a corner. Of course, Harry had no idea the rock was supposed to be a bed. Off to the side there was a smaller room with the floor covered in a thick layer of sand.
"Well," Ron asked as he held his knees together. "Did you find a bathroom?"
"Well, no…" Harry called from inside the room. "But this smaller room looks like a cat litter box. Maybe that's the bathroom?"
A confused look crossed Ron's face. "Are they cat aliens?"
"No, I heard they're lizards…" Hermione corrected quickly before any real confusion started. "It's best to cut rumors in the bud before they bloom."
"Lizards….uggh!" Ron grimaced, making the sourest face ever. "I hate lizards! I hope they're not as bad as those Dragons from our Fourth Year. They were right nasty they were…" The red-head eyed the room Harry was standing in, apparently waiting for the other to make a decision. "A cat box is good! It's better than nothing I suppose…"
Ron darted into the small room with the sand on the floor and slammed the door shut behind him.
Harry moved into the corridor where Hermione stood, his head tilted to one side. His green eyes grew wider as a marching sound grew louder and louder. It appeared to be coming from the other side of the YOU ARE HERE sign. Silently Harry pointed at the room he had just exited and he saw Hermione nod. Quickly they both darted into the room and Hermione nervously perched on the edge of the rock.
"What's this sigh doing here?" A Visitor soldier asked as he studied it for a moment, clearly perplexed. "Where did it come from?"
"I don't know, Sir!" Another soldier replied. "It's in the Human language and apparently says YOU ARE HERE."
"I can see that, you idiot! Who put it here?" The first soldier, the leader of the patrol group, asked.
No one answered.
"Well, take it down!" The lead soldier ordered. "It's blocking the entire corridor!"
Several Visitors in red uniforms stepped forward and grabbed the edges of the giant three-sided sign, trying to pull it over. But no matter how hard they pulled, it would not budge. One man went down onto his knees and carefully studied the area where the sign met the floor. "I believe this object grew out of the floor, Sir. It all seems to be one piece…"
"A sign can't grow out of the floor!" The lead soldier protested hotly and so he too knelt to study the area. What he saw made him from. "I guess it did grow out of the floor. That drat Resistance must have done this somehow! I had better report it to the Bridge."
He pulled out his communicator and quickly reported the unusual problem. Then he turned to his men, ready to issue orders. "We had better search all of the nearby rooms. The Resistance members might still be nearby."
The men spread out and started to look in each room.
"Hurry up, Ron!" Harry hissed as he had been listening by the door to what the soldiers had been saying. "We need to escape now before they catch us!"
"I'm coming!" Ron replied as he hurried out of the sandy room.
"We can crawl into this vent here…" Hermione pointed to a grilled screen on the wall. A simple spell had the grille open and she crawled within easily. To her delight, it was rather tall and airy inside, although she had to stoop somewhat. Still, stooping beat crawling. The others followed her inside and she then put the grill back in place with a spell.
By the time a soldier searched the room they had been in, the only thing he found was a peculiar smelling wet spot on the bathing sand - odd, yes, but not worth reporting in his mind.
Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters soon arrived on the Mothership, easily flying in their smoke form up through a hole at the bottom of the ship. It was a small ventilation opening and Diana had been sure that no humans could ever get in that way, as it was too small for a shuttlecraft or any human aircraft. Unfortunately for her, she didn't know anything about wizards as humans had marked them down as myths and fiction in their databases. The closest thing to a real wizard that humans knew about was stage magicians who used sleight of hand and clever scenes to make people believe they could do something they could not. And the Visitors did not care about old myths and superstitions; they liked facts.
They flew up into a random hallway and took on their human forms.
And that is when Voldemort's problem started.
"It all looks alike!" The Dark Lord complained loudly after they had searched about twenty rooms and had gone down a few hallways at random. He had just opened the door to a room that contained a large blue sparkly rock in the center of the floor, a rock he had recalled seeing earlier. "We are going in circles! I saw this same exact rock before, when we first started searching!"
"These Muggles are very clever, My Lord." Lucius stated boldly as he raised his chin slightly, his snake-headed walking stick clutched in his hand. "They have in fact created a confusing maze and that is no doubt why Potter is hiding here."
"These drat Muggles!" Voldemort cried in anger, his eyes flashing with dark emotions. He had tried to use his link to the boy to get a sense of where he was, but he just received confusion from Potter. It was clear the annoying brat was just as lost as they were. "We will start marking the rooms we have searched."
Voldemort pulled out his Muggle spray paint can and made a big wet "V" on the door of the bedroom he had just looked into. The paint dripped and a few red dots landed on the floor. "Come; mark each room you have searched so we will not search it again! We cannot waste time here, as speed is of the essence! We will find Potter before they can snatch him away from us!"
The other Death Eaters pulled out their spray paint cans and started to make a big "V" on the door to each room they had searched. Crabbe and Goyle snickered at the hideous messes they were making, clearly pleased with themselves. The doors were just so perfectly white, gleaming and spotlessly clean … well, they had been. Now they were covered in hideous graffiti.
Voldemort heard the sound of footfalls coming and he raised a hand to alert his loyal Death Eaters to get ready. Their wands at the ready and spells at the tip of their tongues, they waited. Soon a group of armed Visitors came around the corner. They were instantly knocked off of their feet by various spells, including the deadly green flash of the Death Curse. Uncaring if their corpses would be discovered, Voldemort continued on his way.
Diana was heading to her room to fetch something she had forgotten that morning when she entered a section of corridor and stopped dead in her tracks. The sight that greeted her dark eyes was unbelievable! Someone, some Resistance member, had the nerve to spray paint their hideous giant red "V's" all over the hallway! They marked the door to each and every room and the stench from the Muggle paint burned her lungs. No wonder the air on the bridge had started to take on a faint but odd odor. She had thought it just her imagination, but the air was circulated around the entire ship and clearly the stench was coming from here! She tightened her lips and her hands clenched into fists.
How could such a thing happen on her ship? Clearly Security was useless!
She marched stiffly over to the nearest intercom and pressed the button to be connected to the bridge. "Send the security teams out at once! We have intruders on board and they are spraying those big red "V's" on all of the doors!"
"My, what a nasty problem you have…" Lydia's voice replied from the intercom, the sneer practically visible. "If I were in charge as I should be, we wouldn't have these problems!"
Diana's eyes narrowed and she shivered with rage at the blonde's words. The entire hall went red for a moment, her vision blurred. She was sick and tired of the annoying blonde interfering and messing up her command. "The ship is mine!"
"And look at the mishaps we have had since you took command!" The blonde's voice retorted hotly. "You're nothing but a glorified science officer! You don't know how to run a ship properly and that is why we're having these issues! Every time I try to fix things to the way they should be, you interfere!"
Raising a hand to her head, Diana practically hissed at the other's words, her snake-like forked tongue poking out slightly. She would have, but her head was starting to pound with a headache, most likely from the awful smell. "Just send out security or can't you even do that much?"
"Fine. I will." Lydia replied. "Bit this mess is on your head and I'm reporting it!"
Diana did hiss then, but she knew it was useless. Lydia was up on the bridge and she was here in the corridor on a different deck. It would take the blonde only minutes to send a report if she wanted to. Catching the intruders was far more important. The raven haired commander hit the intercom off and weakly stumbled down the hall the way she had come, trying to find fresher air. She had been thinking of interviewing the oddly dressed children their patrols had picked up, kids with a funny accent and wearing weird black robes, but now that was out of the question. They would just have to wait. This attack by the LA Resistance was far more important than three odd children.
The children would always be there later. It wasn't like they were important or would be going anywhere soon.
She headed towards Medical to get something for her headache, pondering what had brought on the sudden attack. It wasn't like Donovan or any of the others at all. Normally they snuck on board silently in stolen uniforms and made mischief, like trying to rescue someone important or to try to get an important bit of information. What had changed? She had no idea and that bothered her greatly.
She didn't like mysteries and this was turning out to be a big one.
Lord Voldemort led his group of Death Eaters further into the ship, towards the center. They easily opened securely locked doors with a single word and entered forbidden territory. Any guards they encountered were blasted with deadly spells. Soon they found a giant room with countless shapes hanging in the darkness of the gigantic cavern.
"What is this?" Voldemort asked as he raised his wand and created a bright light at the wand's tip. The room had lighting that could be turned on via a control panel, but the Dark Lord knew none of this. It may be modern days according to Muggles, but Voldemort and his loyal followers were still living in the Dark Ages. They had never used a computer and would be totally clueless as to how to even turn one on, so a control panel on the Mothership was out of the question. The bright light sprayed outward, brightening the dark area before them and they saw countless humans hanging in the air, trapped. They appeared to be frozen or possibly asleep, as they were not moving at all.
The Dark Lord stared, an unreadable expression on his snake-like face. He strengthened the light spell, the light on his wand blazing as bright as the sun and reaching the far depths of the cavern at the center of the ship. All he saw were thousands upon thousands of Muggles, all asleep or possibly dead. His face grew grim and he turned with a flourish, his long black robe swirling about his feet. "I do not like this. These … aliens are interfering with my plans! First they snatch Potter from me and now they are taking these Muggles. Why would they do that, take these worthless Muggles?"
"My Lord, if you recall that first Muggle we met was frightened we were going to eat him…" Lucius replied calmly, but he clearly didn't like what he had seen either. He grimaced at the display. "He said we were lizards and these things we shoot bleed green."
"They are inferior!" Lord Voldemort cried. "Wizards are superior to humans but humans are always superior to other breeds! Centaurs, house elves or these things, it doesn't matter! We must take control of this situation at once and smack these things back down to where they belong, cowering at our feet! And the Muggles are our toys and slaves. How dare they take them?"
"I suspect the Muggles are helpless against their technology." Lucius stated as he used a spell to bring one of the frozen Muggles closer. "The Muggles may be clever in some ways, as they have aircrafts and TV, but these aliens are more advanced. They could no more fight these lizards than they could fight us."
Out of all of the Death Eaters, Lucius was the most familiar with Muggle technology. He didn't like it, but he had an idea of what they could do. Besides, it was always fun goofing up said technology with spells and then to sit back and watch the commotion that ensured. The Muggles were always so clueless and tried to fix the jinxed item with tools, but it never worked. Crabbe and Goyle were especially clever with the jinxes, even making toilets to flow backwards and dump raw sewage into restaurant bathrooms. Lucius did not approve, as that was too vulgar for his tastes, but the other two laughed like crazy at it.
"I believe this Muggle is still alive…" Lucius said after a moment.
"Well, we will have to go through each and every one!" Lord Voldemort said in an annoyed voice. "Potter might be in here somewhere. We will revive them and send them back to the surface with a spell. I believe there is a large Muggle stadium that will fit the purpose."
Crabbe and Goyle moaned unhappily at the new orders, as it would take a long time to go through each and every person, but they quickly set to work. Magic made it go faster and soon they were half done.
But they still hadn't found Potter.
Mike and Martin stepped off of the shuttlecraft onto the landing bay of the LA Mothership. Both were in bright red Visitor uniforms; Mike in a stolen one and Martin wearing his old uniform. They had their camera hidden inside of a big briefcase-like container that was supposed to be for equipment. The other Visitors didn't say anything to them and quickly filed out, going up the staircase towards the exit. Mike, however, hurried towards the vent he favored and within seconds had it open. He ducked inside and Martin followed him, the camera in tow.
"Are you sure this is a good idea?" Martin asked as he followed the human.
"Of course it is!" Mike insisted in a strong voice. "This is news, incredible news! I have no idea who this Lord Voldemort is or where he came from or even how he does that stuff, but he could win this war!"
"But he seems very dangerous." Martin pointed out. "What if he's worst than Diana – we know nothing about him. What will we do then?"
Mike paused and placed a hand on his best friend's shoulder. "You need to think positive!"
Then heard footsteps then and the two grew silent and edgy. Mike pulled out his stolen laser gun and pressed his back against the side of the vent, waiting for whoever it may be to show themselves. Whoever it was, they were making a lot of noise as if they were in a hurry and he could even hear their quick breathing. It didn't sound like a squad of trained soldiers to his ear and he raised his free hand to caution Martin not to shoot too fast.
And to their surprise, a trio of teenagers came around the bend of the vent tunnel then, hurrying as quickly as they could. The boy in the lead had green eyes, glasses and messy black hair. The second boy was a blazing redhead and the last was a girl with bushy brown hair. They wore black robes with an emblem of some sort on the left chest and they had sticks in their hands.
Within seconds all three sticks was pointed at them, a fierce look blazing in the eyes of the teens.
Mike gulped somewhat fearfully for a brief moment, as he suddenly recalled what the bone that Lord Voldemort had was able to do and these sticks reminded him of that bone. "Woah, we don't mean any harm! In fact, we'll gladly help you get out of here. We're with the LA Resistance…"
"How can I believe you?" Harry demanded to know, his wand held steady and pointed at Mike's chest. "You're dressed like them."
"We have to dress like them so we can sneak up here and rescue prisoners." Mike replied as he very slowly put his laser gun onto the floor. "I'm human, just like you."
"You're Mike Donovan!" Hermione exclaimed as recognition dawned in her brown eyes. "You're the newsman who made that video, the one that exposed the Visitors for being lizards! My parents showed it to me."
"Yeah, that's me." Mike agreed with a friendly smile, hoping that the warm expression would relax the teens a bit. The last thing he wanted was to get blasted like the Visitor's jeep had. "This is my friend and sound man, Martin. We saw this weird guy on the streets below and followed him up here…"
Just then the boy with the messy black hair groaned, his free hand flying to his forehead as if in pain.
"Harry!" The bushy haired girl exclaimed in worry as she placed a hand on his shoulder. "Your scar…!"
"It's burning. He's here, Voldemort is here…" Harry said through gritted teeth.
"The bloody boggart!" Ron exclaimed as a surprised expression appeared on his face, his eyes incredibly round and his mouth gaping open. "He followed us all of the way here?"
"Apparently…" Harry replied glumly. "You know how obsessive he is. He can't think of anything else but murdering me…"
Recognition dawned in Mike Donovan's blue eyes as his sharp mind quickly put it together. "The guy we saw; he had a snake-like face and mentioned he was looking for someone named Potter. That's you, isn't it? Who exactly is he? I thought at first Diana did one of her weird experiments on him but he didn't seem to know what a Mothership was…"
"Look, we have to get out of here before he finds us…" Harry said as he briskly strode past Mike and Martin, a determined look on his face. "If I were you, I'd forget what you saw and leave it alone."
"But it's news!" Mike insisted as he turned around in the tunnel and started to follow Harry. They were heading towards the shuttle. "What that guy did, I never saw anything like it. He blasted a jeep full of armed Visitors with a bone! There were explosions and …"
"He enjoys killing." Harry stated, cutting in. "He's a murderer."
"And so he's an even bigger story then, a murderer no one ever heard of!" Mike hurried in front of Harry, as they had reached the end of the tunnel. "Look, the shuttle bay is just on the other side of this vent. We'll hurry to the nearest shuttle and we'll fly you down to the city. If you want, we can take you to a safe place we know…"
Ron gawked at Mike uncomprehending. "What's a shuttle?"
"It's like an airplane." Mike explained as softly as he could. He stuck his face next to the vent and peered out from between the gaps, seeing red lights were flashing in the cavernous room beyond. Clearly the ship was on alert, which was not exactly good. The Visitors would be looking for intruders…
"What's an airplane?" Ron then asked, still confused.
"It's a Muggle form of transportation." Hermione quickly explained to her red headed friend. "It flies in the air. I'm sure you've seen them before…"
"Oh!" Ron replied as he suddenly understood. "Those big noisy metal bird things! I've seen those before…"
Mike tore his gaze off of the grate and gave Ron a funny look. There was clearly something going on here, a big something and these kids was the key. If he could just get them to talk, to explain more of this, whatever it was…he might have a story so huge it would make the one about the Visitors look like peanuts. "The coast is clear. We're going to jump out of here and head for the shuttle…"
Mike popped the grate off of the vent and the five of them hurried out, the cameraman closing it quickly. They hurried up the ramp to the nearest shuttle, Mike and Martin going into the cockpit. Within seconds they started it up and the ship lifted into the air. They turned it around with ease and flew it out of the Mothership.
The three teens were huddled in seats right behind them, their heads close together and whispering. Mike couldn't hear what they were saying but he was sure Martin could. The Visitors had much better hearing than humans. Unanswered questions burned within his mind even as his fingers flew over the controls of the shuttle. Who was Lord Voldemort, why did he have that snake-like face and why did he want to kill a bunch of teens? What were the strange sticks that they held and treated like weapons? Where had they come from? The kids seemed to sport a British accent so were they from the UK? With the Visitors controlling a lot of traffic these days, how did people from Britain get to the US?
A jolt passed through the ship then, the shuttlecraft shaking horribly. Almost instantly warning lights flickered to life on the control board and the acrid stench of smoke stung his nose. A cry of fear came from the teens who sat just behind them and he deeply wanted to assure them it would be OK, but he didn't know that yet. Diana must have figured out he was in the stolen shuttlecraft as another shuttle was right on their tail, shooting at them. "We need to lose that other shuttle!"
Mike thought of his favorite trick of flying the shuttle through a narrow tunnel. That usually got any Visitors on his tail. The newsman grinned and quickly took the shuttle lower. He could see Los Angeles spread out below them; the city sprawled into the far distance. His mind quickly tried to call up a map of the city, trying to figure out exactly where they were. Luckily he had spent a lot of time in news helicopters and recognizing things from the air was easy. He had it then and turned the shuttle a few degrees to the right. Bright red laser beams shot past the windows then, just missing them by inches. The grin faded. "We're going to fly through that tunnel ahead…hopefully a semi won't be going through it the other way at the same time we are…"
Martin was used to the human's crazy schemes. "Our engine is overheating…"
The tunnel was in sight then, a small black opening that passed through a solid hill of dirt. One had to hit is just right to go through the opening successfully. If you didn't, the front of the shuttle hit the solid earth and exploded in a fiery show and loud retort. "Yeah, OK. We'll deal with that in a moment…"
Mike concentrated on piloting, on lining the shuttle up perfectly with the tunnel. Then they were flying through it, the white archway of blinding white light ahead loudly proclaiming the tunnel was empty at the moment, no cars or trucks in sight. And then they were through.
But to Mike's dismay the Visitors flying in the other shuttle hadn't fallen for the trick. They had gone over the tunnel instead of through it. The newsman's hope fell when red laser beams shot past their windows, the angry beams close enough to shake the shuttle with air turbulence.
And then a second shuttle appeared from ahead of them, weapons flashing.
Mike was forced to turn the shuttle and fly in a different direction, to leave the massive city for the drier countryside. "There's lots of canyons out here. We'll lose them somehow…"
The last lone building passed by under the shuttle with only wilderness awaiting ahead. Here deep gashes in the earth had created a maze of canyons, each one sporting its own name. There were also souring mountains in the distance. Plants grew wild and a few sparse trees dotted the landscape.
A blast hit the shuttle then, the entire thing shaking horribly. A piercing alarm started to shriek, the sound making Mike's heart skip a beat.
"They got the fuel line!" Martin shouted over the deafening alarm.
Mike could see the fuel gage quickly draining towards empty and he couldn't help but think how high up they still were. The canyons under them were deep. If they crashed into one…well, he didn't want to think about it. They might not survive.
The ship shuddered again, the shrieking of their passengers almost louder than the alarm. Almost instantly Mike knew something important had changed and he gripped the controls harder, his knuckles white from tension.
"We lost the motor!" Martin told him, his face filled with fear.
And as bad luck would have it, the engine was shot dead just as they had passed over the rim of a canyon. Mike had planned on zooming through the towering expanses of rock and hopefully fide some hole to hide in. His zigzag flying style had bought some time but not for long enough. Now they were free falling into the deep cleft, the wind whistling past the shuttle like a fierce storm. Any moment they were going to crash, possibly die. The controls were dead and there was nothing he could do now. "Brace for impact!"
"Astromomentum!" The strange word was shouted above the hiss of the wind, the word sounding garbled and meaningless to Mike. For a split second he imagined that the shuttle had paused in its fall, his stomach feeling funny as if rising in an elevator but that must be his imagination. Nothing could stop the shuttle from crashing and so the thought was kicked out of his mind a second later.
Then there was a thump, a vibration that ran through his feet and up his legs. The shuttle had landed but not with the brutal impact he had been expecting. He just sat there for a moment, the wild panic still bubbling in his veins, his heart pumping madly. He stared out the shuttle's large front window in utter confusion. Was that it? Had they crashed already? He saw red rock just outside, the rock still and unmoving. He could see its rough, uneven surface clearly. The shuttle must have landed with its nose almost up against the rock wall of the canyon.
"We're down! Everyone out!" Mike shouted as he quickly got to his feet and dashed over to the shuttle door, opening it. Luckily it had a manual release handle or else without power they might have been trapped inside. He hurried outside and stepped onto the dry and solid ground of the canyon, still trying to grasp the fact he was alive. The hot sun shown down on his face, warming him with its rays and confirming he was indeed alive. He sighed in relief. Once he saw that Martin and the three teens had joined him, he look at them with a serious expression on his face. "We need to get out of here before those other two shuttles show up…"
Mike only had a vague idea of where they were. The canyons were a twisting maze of rock. He had never really bothered exploring them on his own as he had always been too busy chasing news stories. That might come back to bite him now. A person could get lost here easily and die from lack of food and water. Worst, they really didn't have any supplies. Mike tightened his grip on the stolen Visitor laser gun, hoping he wouldn't have to use it. Then he started walking in what he hoped was the proper direction.
"Mike, how did we survive the crash?" Martin asked his friend, confusion all over his face. His fake blonde hair gleamed in the sunlight and his dark sunglasses were protecting his eyes. Visitors had sensitive eyes and Earth's sun was far too bright, hence the required sunglasses.
The human newsman shrugged. "I thought it was some emergency landing thing…"
"I never heard of such a thing before. The shuttle should have been a twisted jumble of metal and yet we landed with a soft thud!" Martin stared up at the towering red cliff walls that rose on either side, the rock unscalable except to perhaps expert mountain climbers. The red of the rock was beautiful against the deep blue sky. Earth was so amazing and he hated that his fellow Visitors wanted to ruin it.
"So we had a bit of good luck!" The human newsman grinned, flashing perfect white teeth. Then he inched closer to his alien friend and spoke in a whisper. "I think those kids had a hand in it truthfully. We have to earn their trust so they'll talk. Trust me, there's another Pulitzer in there for us…"
Martin shifted his gaze onto Mike. "One of them did shout something during the crash, when the shuttle was falling. It was some unfamiliar word, possibly another language."
"But we have a bigger problem: lack of supplies in this environment." Mike increased the speed he was walking at, eager to put as much distance between him and the down shuttle. Maybe the Visitors didn't know exactly where the shuttle had landed and it would take them extra time to find it. He could hope. The ground here was dusty under his boots and the air hot. Then he spotted a somewhat familiar carving atop of the one natural rock wall. It wasn't a manmade carving but something made by wind and rain or that's what people said. The thing is; it was said to be an omen of ill fate.
Mike stopped and gaped at it, a funny feeling in his stomach.
"What's the matter?" Martin asked, uncomprehending.
"I've seen that carving before…" Mike pointed up at it with a trembling hand. "It's been in news stories before. Hikers would come to these canyons and disappear. And it always happened near that carving or that's what people would say. Local myths say a great beast lurks here in the canyon but there's no proof. I've always been curious myself but never had any time to investigate it…"
"That sounds like a load of rubbish!" Hermione declared as she too stared up at the carving. Secretly she thought it resembled the head of a dragon but wasn't going to say that in front of two Muggles. The fact that one of the Muggles was an alien didn't matter; he was still a Muggle as he did not possess magic. "I'm Hermione Granger. And this is Harry Potter and Ron Weasley. We greatly appreciate that you rescued us from that Mothership."
"Thanks for saving us." Harry added as he offered his outstretched hand to the two adults. "I'm Harry, Harry Potter."
"Harry…" Ron called, his face twisted up in fear as he stared up at the rock carving. "That looks like a dragon and I don't like dragons…"
"Hush, Ron!" Harry hissed at him, his green eyes flashing.
"But Harry…" Ron protested as his face scrunched up with fear.
"I don't want to hear it Ron." Harry said strictly.
"But Charlie said…" Ron tried again a third time.
"I know what he said." Harry replied as he boldly marched further into the canyon, forgetting he had just offered his hand to the two adults as Ron had interfered. His wand was out and clutched tightly in his hand.
Hermione trailed after him with Ron falling in third.
Martin stared at the kids, clearly puzzled. He turned to his human friend. "What's a dragon?"
"It's a mythological creature; a giant winged lizard that breathes fire… but it's not real." Mike ran a hand through his dark brown hair, his brain clicking. "Yet they talk as if they are real and those sticks, they're like magic wands…"
"At one time you believed aliens were not real either…" Martin reminded him.
"Yeah, I know, but wizards, magic and dragons? I mean, that would be crazy!" The human's blue eyes grew wide as he realized what a huge story it would be. "What if they've been around all of this time? Just think, something like that could turn the tide of this war! Even Diana and her Mothership can't fight magic!"
With that said, Mike and Martin hurried to catch up with the three teenagers.
Voldemort revived the last of the captured humans and spat on the floor in disgust. "Potter is not here! Get rid of this Muggle. Send him down to that stadium with all of the others!"
One of the Death Eaters quickly complied.
The Dark Lord left the now empty room and quickly blasted a troop of armed Visitors. The lizard aliens were no match for him, the spells flying at them so fast they had no idea what had happened. Soon more bright red "V's" were spray painted on doors. They searched room after room, finding nothing of interest.
"This is the most stupid place ever!" Voldemort declared after what seemed hours to him. "My feet are hurting from this endless walking, the fumes from the red paint is giving me a headache and still I have not found Potter!"
"Perhaps here is not here…" Lucius cautiously said after examining another empty room. "He may have left."
To pass the time while searching, the Death Eaters started to hex the equipment on board. They locked doors with spells so the electrical controls would not work, sent lifts flying up and down the shaft at insane speeds, moved the rock chairs out into the hall and then enlarged them so no one could possibly pass… the Death Eaters were having fun and laughing at the confusion they were creating.
Voldemort awoke from his glum attitude of not finding Potter soon after that. He found a room full of rodents and other creatures, many of them considered scary by human standards. There were ants, spiders, worms and all sorts of creepy crawlies. Freeing them all, he then used his wand to enlarge them. The mice were now as big as cows and all to glad to go scampering off down the long corridors, their feet scratching on the smooth floors. Soon they would start to gnaw at stuff. Giant centipedes, now as long as a full grown python and possessing a truly nasty bite, raced on the ceiling.
"Very clever, My Lord!" Lucius exclaimed as his eyes lit up with mirth at the overgrown critters running off. "Perhaps it should teach them their place. As part animal, they are beneath us, even beneath Muggles."
The Dark Lord rubbed his hands together in glee, a broad evil smile on his snake-like face. "Soon the screaming will start!"
The Death Eaters laughed at his words.
Lifting his wand, Voldemort cast the spell for his Dark Mark. A skull formed in the air, a snake coming out of its mouth. It was an eerie green and mist-like, the image shivering in the air.
When the Visitors would see it, they would stare at it uncomprehending.
That suited the Dark Lord just fine.
The aliens would have little time to think though. They had more pressing concerns like the fact the entire Mothership was full of major glitches and nothing was working right.
"Well, what's wrong with it?" Lydia demanded to one of the engineers who happened to be stuck on the bridge. She knew something was going on as nothing was working anymore! The bridge doors refused to open, the view screen kept flipping to various images – images that changed every second and that was just the beginning! She knew there were intruders on board but no further information had come in on that. One of the latest calls to the bridge had just been some frantic shrieking. "Is it possible the Resistance has infiltrated our main computer somehow? I know their just humans but they seem very unpredictable."
"It has to be a glitch…" The engineer replied as he tried to get the bridge door open but nothing seemed to be working. "We may have to cut through it…"
"But it's cut proof, idiot!" She glared at him, her hands on her hips. "What kind of engineer are you? You know those doors are immune to every kind of weapon! How are we going to get out of the bridge?"
The man gulped as fear grew in his eyes. "I … I don't know! A vent maybe?"
"How did this happen all at once?" She demanded hotly. The con on her command chair beeped and she flicked the button with a painted fake fingernail. "Yes? Now what is it?"
"The mice, the mice are loose!" A horrified voice shrieked at her.
"So? Who cares?"
Then a blood curdling scream came, the sounds of snapping bones soon followed. Excited squeaks were heard along with some loud thumping. It sounded like a bunch of mice fighting over food except it was way too loud.
Cold fear gripped Lydia then.
Things were worst than she had thought.
Diana never made it to Medical for her headache.
She was trapped in a broom closet with a vicious centipede trying to get at her. It seemed the creature was attracted to the shiny and sparkly outfit she was wearing or perhaps it thought she smelled delicious. And shooting at it, well, that hadn't done anything at all except made it mad!
"This is beyond ridiculous!" She fumed as she stood jammed in the tiny closet between brooms, mops and scrub buckets, her gun in her hand. "Someone's head is going to roll for this!"
She hoped it wouldn't be hers.
Soon after that, Voldemort grew bored again and left the broken Mothership. He turned back into the black smoke and went zooming down to Los Angeles. He planned on visiting as many fast food places as possible and hexing all of the toilets so they flushed sewage into the restrooms. His Death Eaters laughed like maniacs at this except for Lucius who seemed disgusted.
Harry stopped dead in his tracks. There was a pile of bones lying on the ground just ahead of him, the bones bleached white from the sun. They were somewhat scattered but many of them formed a somewhat large pile, human skulls plainly visible. The Boy Who Lived stared at them, swallowing the lump that was in his throat. He tightened the grip on his wand, his mind trying to think up a spell that would work on a dragon and coming up blank. The thing is they were so massive and nasty.
"What is it Harry … oh, I see." Hermione said as she drew abreast of him, her brown eyes widening at the horrid sight. Her face turned pale and her breathing increased.
"What are we going to do?" He whispered at her. Turning, he could see Ron approaching with the two Muggles right behind him. Any moment they'd see the bones.
"They're supposed to be controlled by the Ministry!" She whispered back at him, her wand gripped in her hand.
"But this one is apparently free and munching on helpless Muggles…" Harry pointed out, frowning. "And if we're not careful, we'll be next!"
"Ewwww…." Ron exclaimed as he made a disgusted sound upon spotting the bones. The redhead's eyes grew wide as he realized that these bones were from humans and not some kind of animals. "Harry…"
"Woah!" Mike exclaimed when he saw the bones. From the size of the pile, he was sure there must have been over a dozen murder victims here. His first instinct was to film it, of course, but then he recalled the kids' reaction to the dragon-like carving, their words and doubt grew in his mind. Fear began to replace the desire to win that second Pulitzer. A dragon, if such things were really real, was a whole different ballgame than the Visitors. Sure the Visitors were lizard aliens and maybe they ate humans, but they could be reasoned with. A dragon on the other hand was massive and if it could really breath fire… He just opened his mouth to say something to the kids when sounds came to his ears from behind them. It sounded like boots on the rock…
A hot burst of fear coursed through him then as he realized it must be the Visitors from those other two shuttles!
Mike was about to say something when to his shock the boy with the messy black hair and glasses took charge. "This way and be silent!"
Harry quickly led them past the bones, everyone being careful not to step on them as the smaller ones could crack with a loud snap. The canyon twisted and turned a few times. Bones were scattered everywhere haphazardly. In other spots the red rock was gouged with deep scratches. The three teens noted them but didn't say anything. Just seeing those gouges sent a chill down Mike's spine and he silently pointed at them, Martin nodding while looking frightened.
A cave was just ahead then and Harry led the way inside. A dank animal smell filled the natural rock cavern, a scent that twisted their stomachs. After a brief hesitation, Harry led them along the inner wall of the cave. A thin ledge led upward along the wall and he quickly hurried up it as quickly as he could. His sneakers were silent. Soon it was beginning hard to see, as the light from the cave's mouth was as dim as a dying flashlight.
Mike had his back pressed against the warm rock of the wall, his position unsteady in the dim light. The natural wall didn't run straight but made odd bends and turns. Without some sort of light he feared he might step wrong and fall to the cavern floor below. He wasn't sure how high he was but he was positive it was high enough to break bones.
And then to his surprise a tiny round ball of light appeared, the light no bigger than a plum. It was on the end of the boy's stick! While faint, it allowed them to see where they were putting their feet. Silently as could be, they moved farther along the skinny ledge, open air on one side.
And then his blood ran cold as a loud scraping sound came from below. It sounded like rock scraping against rock, like in an earthquake but Mike knew somehow this was something far worst. The tiny light instantly blinked out and he held his breath, too scared to move.
Another sound filled the cavern then, like a giant bellows blowing air.
The air seemed to stir, a breeze blowing across his face. It made his hair move, the thin strands tickling his ears.
Something alive was in the darkness with them.
Then loud voices could be heard.
"They must have come in here!"
The bright beam of a torch cut through the darkness, the Visitor shining it about down below. Its beam momentarily moved across some massive thing, Mike just seeing bits and pieces, an impression really. It was as if the darkness in the cave had come alive and moved of its own free will.
Then a giant yellow eye with a slit pupil appeared; the eye far bigger than any eye had a right to be. He felt his chest tighten uncomfortably, his breath freezing in his lungs. He couldn't swallow, he couldn't move as his mind was screaming at him that the old stories were true, that there was a real dragon down there!
But that was insane, right?
Then a loud burst of red flames broke the darkness, the roaring and crackling fire aimed at the Visitors entering the cave. The incredibly hot flames must have extended at least fifty feet if not more. But more importantly it revealed the massive creature that was making them.
It was a dragon, a real dragon just like in the old stories!
Mike stared at it, his mind going blank. Martin clutched his wrist in a death grip but he hardly noticed it.
The dragon possessed shiny black scales and a head covered in multiple copper colored horns. It looked extremely angry at the Visitors who had dared intrude into its lair. The blazing flame after the darkness stung his eyes painfully and he resisted lifting his hand to shade them as he feared the slight motion might attract its attention. The anguished screams of the Visitors didn't last long and the awful stench of charred meat reached his nose. The rocks where the fire landed turned a brilliant red, glowing with extreme heat. If it got any hotter it surely would melt. And he could feel it, the heat, even though it wasn't aimed his way. It was a blast from a burning forge, strong and intensely powerful.
The dragonfire however was useful as its light had revealed a tight crevice nearby in the rock. Harry quickly squeezed into it, waving with his free hand for the others to follow. Mike was all too glad to slip into the tight opening, the rough rock scraping against his face. It was a tight fit, but he was thankful he fit. He followed the redhead boy who was just in front of him. Slowly it grew cooler and he felt a wisp of fresh air rake across his face.
And just like that they were outside.
"That was unbelievable!" Mike finally said when he found his voice, turning to make sure the beast hadn't followed him.
Martin was shocked. "That thing wasn't in the animal database!"
"Ssshhhhh!" Hermione hissed at them as her brown eyes flashed with anger. "Quiet! That's a Hungarian Horntail! It's wicked fast and deadly!"
Harry knew all too well exactly what it was. And trapped in yet another canyon he feared the beast would find them, get them. He didn't even have his Firebolt this time. "Hermione, what are we going to do? I doubt if our spells would even phase it."
"I don't know." She shook her head sadly, her fuzzy hair flying about. "Dragons are immune to most. That much I know. They're very hard to control."
"If only…." Harry started to say but a loud ear-splitting pop broke his train of words.
They all leaped, sure it was the dragon ready to devour them but instead just saw an old man wearing long purple robes and who had a long white beard. He smiled at them kindly, relief clear in his eyes.
"Professor!" Harry cried as he hurried over to Albus Dumbledore. "There's a Horntail!"
"Yes, Harry, we'll take care of the creature so it doesn't injure anyone else. It must have been living here all of this time. It's those egg smugglers I fear…" Dumbledore put a calming hand on the boy's shoulder.
"You're a wizard!" Mike exclaimed as he pointed a finger at Dumbledore, his mouth gaping open. "It's all real, those old stories of wizards and dragons!"
"Of course it is." Dumbledore smiled kindly at the Muggle. "But I'm afraid it's a secret you see."
"But the things you can do!" Mike cried as he thought of what he had seen the snake-faced man do. "You could help us win this war against the Visitors!"
"I am afraid that the local Mothership has already run afoul of Lord Voldemort. You see, he has broken it with hexes and jinxes. Unless they possess magic I'm afraid they won't be able to reverse the spells. Unexpectedly, he has also rescued all of those people off of it as well while trying to find young Mr. Potter here." Dumbledore smiled. "It's very unlikely for him to do useful things as he prefers destruction."
"Hey, as long as it works!" Mike said, glad for any help he could get against the Visitors.
"It's time for us to leave." Dumbledore said as he motioned them over to him. "Hang onto my arm."
Mike took hold of the wizard's arm and then he felt himself squeezed down to a tiny pinpoint or that's how it seemed. He couldn't breathe and he felt himself start to panic. The world was swirling like mad and then just when he thought he was going to pass out from lack of oxygen, it ended. He collapsed to the ground, gasping for air and all befuddled in the head. His stomach heaved and he feared he was going to be sick…
Martin was lying beside him, his fake human skin oddly pale. That told Mike he felt just as awful as he did.
The sounds came to him then, the loud rumble of cars and people talking. He could smell the smog and knew they were back in LA somehow. Through magic, they had traveled great distances in a blink of an eye. He twisted about on the grass and to his surprise saw the back of his house. Not only had the wizard teleported them, he had known where he lived! "How?"
The old man smiled at him kindly. "I am afraid I cannot allow you to remember any of this, but I do thank you for helping our young Mr. Potter and his friends."
At the words a cold dread settled in the pit of his stomach.
There was a flash of light and a strange word.
Mike was busy covering the biggest news story in LA, Martin busy on the sound. Something was seriously wrong with the LA Mothership and it had been forced to land in a nearby field that was large enough to hold it. But the whole thing was very mysterious as no one knew for sure what was going on. Other stations had their teams there as well and Mike was hoping to get a good scoop. But it was pretty dull with just the ship parked there and not a single soul in sight.
Then a stir went up and Mike gasped, his blue eyes going wide at the insane sight. A giant rodent gnawed its way out of the ship and raced across the field, the gathered crowd screaming in terror as it charged at them.
"Look at the size of that thing!" Mike said as he quickly caught it on film with his camera. "It's as big as a cow if not larger! It seems Diana was up to her weird experiments and did some crazy thing to rodents. They probably gnawed the wiring and broke the entire ship…"
Harry sighed in relief as he settled on the sofa in the Gryffindor Common Room. "It's good to be back! I thought we were goners there when I saw that Horntail."
"I almost wet my pants…" Ron admitted. "Those things are awful! Running into one like that is my worst nightmare right behind spiders!"
"We're just lucky we got out alive." Hermione stated as she rested on a stuffed chair with an open book on her lap. "Cool thinking and not panicking prevails. And we saved the lives of those two Muggles as well."
The Boy Who Lived nodded. "I wonder what he's doing right now, you know, Voldemort."
Hermione shrugged. "He might still be in LA I suppose…"
The Dark Lord was visiting Hollywood with his Death Eaters. He hadn't bothered to hide his snake-like face and for unknown reasons a big crowd of annoying Muggles was gathered around him. Cameras were going off in his face. But Voldemort was clueless as to what modern cameras were. They were shouting odd questions at him.
"What movie are you from?"
"That makeup is fantastic! It looks so real!"
"Come on, buddy, tell us what movie you're going to be in! I wanna go see it!"
"What's it about?"
The Dark Lord had grown tired of soiling the fast food places restrooms. He and his Death Eaters could only laugh so much at confused plumbers before the joke grew stale and old. So they had headed to a different part of the city. They gaped at the date palms with the bizarre leaves way at the top and strange brown fuzz underneath the leaves. And some women were dressed so skimpy, it was outlandish. A few even had the nerve to stroll about in public in their under-things! The Dark Lord, living in a cemetery, had never heard of a bikini.
And then there had been these stars on the sidewalk. He had never heard of such a thing so he had stopped to read them, trying to figure out what they were. They had prints on them and names… Who were these people? He tried asking his Death Eaters but they were equally clueless.
Then he had found a blank star, one not in use yet. The Dark Lord grinned. He waved his bone around and instantly his name and prints appeared on the golden star. He laughed with evil glee.
And right after that he had been mobbed by the Muggles…
Voldemort smiled at them pleasantly. He licked his dry lips and smoothed his bald head. "I am Lord Voldemort, a kind and generous lord…"