Title: Theories of Electricity
Team: Tutshill Tornadoes
Position: Beater 2
Optional prompts: Too short; "Wasn't that fun?"
THEORIES OF ELECTRICITY
Charity Burbage struggled her way through the door of the faculty lounge, her hands full of white 3-fold boards, long sticks, and bags swinging precariously on her wrist as if they had lost their comfortable position on her shoulders. She was grumbling to herself, juggling the awkward sized parcels in her arms as Dumbledore observed her from the head of the table.
"Here, let me help you with that, Charity," the Headmaster offered, standing up and levitating the objects in her hands.
Instead of greeting her boss with undue thanks, she looked a bit annoyed. "You know, professor, instead of just levitating the stuff, you could have come over and just helped me hold them."
Dumbledore chuckled. "Ah yes, Charity. But I am an old man and getting up really takes a toll on these old joints," he replied, massaging his knees to prove a point.
Charity glared at him and gentle tousled her curls to try and tame whatever the Scottish wind had decided to wreck on her head. Slowly, the staff room began filling up with familiar faces, a gentle happy buzz filled the room as conversation picked up about holiday trips and exciting stories her colleagues were telling one another. She, however, kept busy at the other end of the table, setting up the items she had dragged into the room, as if preparing for a huge presentation.
McGonagall was the first to notice the set up. "Oh, not again, Charity."
"Now, now, professor, she might have a valid point," Dumbledore remarked as he pulled out her chair.
"But she does this every year," she replied exasperatedly.
"If everyone would find their seats, I would like to present something for your consideration before I hand the floor over to the Headmaster," Charity chimed in before McGonagall could retort any further.
"We already know what you are presenting," Snape said without looking up from his copy of the Daily Prophet. "It's another one of your 'wizards are ignorant to the ways of muggles' tirades."
"Yes, I have to agree with Severus on this one," Flitwick added. "No offense, Charity, but a lot of us here just arrived after long hours of traveling. We would hate to use this time for your soap box speech."
Charity stood up tall and put her hands on her hips. "Headmaster, are you really going to allow these comments?"
"Friends," Dumbledore said calmly, looking carefully across the table, "I understand that we are all bubbling from a wonderful holiday, but Charity has only lent you all a fair open ear to all of your presentations. I think she deserves the same respect from us." He leaned back into his chair steepling his fingers. "Carry on, professor."
While the rest of the staff quieted down, Snape rolled his eyes and continued to read the newspaper. Professor Sprout seemed to be looking over a catalog of bulk plants. McGonagall was shooting daggers at the Muggle Studies teacher who was standing before them holding an old fashioned pointer.
"Thank you, Headmaster," she replied. "Now, what I am about to present to you is a way to take this school from the Stone Age into the 20th century." A long pause filled the room with stale silence. "Electricity!"
McGonagall snorted. "Well, this was your shortest presentation yet, Charity. We all here know electric fields cannot flow properly with the fields of magic coursing through the school. It cannot be contained."
"Ah, I was hoping you'd say that, Minerva," Charity replied happily, pulling the first board off her easel. "Research has been done in countless universities that are enabling witches and wizards to channel magical force-fields into one singular circuit, like so." She motioned to the illustration on the board, which began to flow and move intricately, changing colors at random.
"See, magic is a lot like electricity, which is why there is so much interference of it in areas that are more populated with witches and wizards. The currents flow at the same rate, making the individuals waves collide, sometimes tangling them." She tapped the board once again, illustrating what she was describing. "When this type of interference happens, the magical wave takes over, sending its own signal back to the electric wave, and virtually numbs it of all power."
The next board showed an innovative design of a chamber that separated the different color waves. "Now, this chamber only collects the high powered magical waves, leaving enough space for the electricity to flow freely through this standard circuit." An image of a standard light bulb circuit appeared adjacent to the magic wave chamber. "Essentially what this can do in regards to the school would give us more efficient energy. Think of light bulbs, and telephones, and –"
"Enough, Charity, please," Snape interrupted, finally losing interest in the paper. "What do we have here that is not as efficient as its muggle counterpart? Our torch light can be dimmed or strengthen to whatever we wish. Floo Power is immediate communication, and I must say the Owl Post is more efficient than any type of muggle postal delivery service. Not to mention your little magic chamber contraption would cost this school a fortune, if not 10 years of my salary."
"How much would something like this cost, Charity?" Dumbledore asked politely, as if he was truly interested in the concept of electric light bulbs in the school.
"Well, professor, there isn't a price tag on it yet because the project has not yet completed. But any type of donation to the research may make it available to us sooner. I propose we offered some of our grant money to help facilitate the production of the wave chamber." She turned back to the illustrations lovingly. "Do any of you realize how this invention could help the relations between the Magical and the Muggle? We could relate to them on so many levels. We could conduct more business with them. Cellular phones, video games, movie theaters, you name it!"
Charity looked back at the other teachers. Some gave her looks of sympathy, but most were exasperated, tired glares. "No one?" she asked sadly. "Very well, thank you for your time," she added dejectedly, vanishing the presentation with a flick of her wand.
She sat down in her seat, paying very little attention to the start of term announcements, and giving limited input throughout the meeting. Dumbledore finally dismissed the group, remaining in his seat as Charity rummaged through her bag, putting away stacks of parchment given to her throughout the hour.
"Well, didn't we have fun? That truly was an enlightening assembly," Dumbledore said cheerfully, "and rather short, yet more informative than the others you have given."
"Too short, if you ask me," she muttered under her breath, not looking back at the old man. "At least if it was long, I would have tortured the ignorant –"
"Insults will not win them over, Charity."
"Well, neither will cold, hard facts."
"Charity, Charity, why are you surprised?" Dumbledore commented soothingly. "Your argument has validity, and I can see your point. However, the concept is new to your colleagues and so they have no desire to change their own point of view. But believe me, my child, the future is all in what you have shared today."
She sighed with fatigue. "I hate wasting my time on this stuff, though. I know that I will be the only person to push for a big change like this, and it's exhausting to do on my own. What did I accomplish today?"
"For one, you introduced a new subject to people who wouldn't have heard of it otherwise," he said thoughtfully. "This whole concept might not see its fruition in my lifetime, but I am sure everyone else will witness it and see how wonderful it is. Trust me. All you need is steady patience."
"And a bottle of headache potion," Charity added sarcastically. "Honestly, professor, these are some of the most headstrong stubborn people I have ever met!"
Dumbledore chuckled. "Should you ever need a remedy of sorts, I'm sure Madam Pompfrey would be glad to help." He stood up and walked to her seat, patting her gently on the shoulder. "Cheer up, Charity. You'll convince them in the end. Just keep pestering them and one day, they will be sure to give in."
"And they will thank me for it," she added, a small smile playing at the corner of her mouth. "I appreciate your support, Headmaster."
"You are welcome. Besides, I have always fancied one of those muggle lava lamps in my office. How ingenious."
A genuine laugh was uttered by the Muggle studies teacher. "Why am I not surprised, professor?" She asked, walking out of the office next to the twinkling eyed headmaster.