AN: A cold ripped through my gaming group and with the holiday weekends it's been a few weeks since we've had a game which means i had no plot for the Wild west story. Also due to the cold and the back up at work I've had no time to write anything. i have been getting caught up on the plot i have left from the last game we played and i should have a new chapter up maybe Monday next week. As for the other stories i have open ended it's all up in the air until i'm done with this Wild West game and the story that goes with it. Maybe 6-10 more chapters? it all depends on if the group still wants to play. After that i'll finish the investigator story, 2-6 more chapters. Then I'll close out the way of the Jedi story. 6-10 chapters. at that point i'm done writing for a while. i'm not posting anything new until i have it complete before posting the first chapter which may be never depending how much of a pain in the ass it is to close off those two half baked stories that i regret posting in the first place. Investigator Steel is a sprawling monster and proof that a story shouldn't be written by a comity. and Way of the Jedi is way too popular for how terrible the plot is. of all the stories i have ever posted i regret that one the most. it was half an idea that got a huge following out of nowhere and i hate it. Sorry to disappoint fans of that story. as of right now i have no other open story threads.
Dr. Elizabeth Westen woke up in a soft bed, wearing a soft silk nightgown, and covered in a soft fluffy comforter. She rolled over and took a deep breath and inhaled the smell of frying bacon and fresh coffee. Then she opened her eyes and the sight of the white room hit her and a panic set in. Where was she? How did she get here? Why did her head hurt? Then a memory hit her. She was working in the lab. They had opened a portal to Zeta 13. They were waiting for a pick up. That's when the rats came…. Elizabeth closed her eyes as the horrible images hit her only to open them again when someone knocked on the door.
"Yes?" She called out looking around desperately for her wand.
"Breakfast is ready, I also have another healing tonic for your head. The bathroom is the door to your left. When you're done put on the robe and slippers hanging on the bathroom door and come out." a grumpy male voice called out.
The voice triggered another memory of the night before and the words he said. Dementianel travel is band. She was a prisoner until she could answer questions about the crimes her and the team were responsible for. If the answers were not good enough she could be hanged for her crimes.
She thought about trying to escape. She thought about running. But how the hell could she escape? She didn't have her wand, she didn't even have her clothes. She looked at the window in the room and she saw it wasn't a window at all. It was a magical portrait with a view of sun drenched cliffs overlooking an ocean. She slipped out of bed into the cold of the room and hurriedly put on the big white fluffy robe and slippers on the only door in the room which lead to a white marble bathroom. That room had a different portrait window that showed a sun kissed field of green grass. She was stuck. But she also knew she could be in a cell. That's when she remembered something else he said last night. He was a dimensional traveler too. He knew what she was going through and he was giving her the benefit of the doubt. Knowing that the man was trying to not treat her like a criminal she decided to act in kind. She used the toilet, she washed her face, and brushed her hair out with the wood handled brush on the vanity.
She tied up the robe and headed out the door into a nicely appointed white hallway with works of art on the walls and intricate oriental rugs covering the hardwood floors. She found the dining room easy enough, it was just two doors over. The table was set for two with platters stacked high with blueberry pancakes, bacon, melon wedges, sausage patties and a french press coffee pot. The man came in from the kitchen and set two plates on the table piled high with soft scrambled eggs and waffles.
"I wasn't sure what you liked. So I made waffles and pancakes. Bacon and sausages. I also have coffee, orange juice, or I can make you a pot of tea." Harry said coming around the table and holding out a chair at the head of the table for her to sit.
"This all looks good and I feel ravenously hungry." She said pushing her hair out of her face. Now that she was more calm and relaxed her mid-atlantic accent came out harder. Harry suppressed a smile. She sounded a little like Katherine Hepburn.
"That would be the healing potion we gave you for your injuries. Speaking of I have a second dose for you to finish healing your head wound. You had a nasty concussion and some brain swelling. If you didn't have magic you would have died for sure." Harry said sitting next to her at the table and handing her a test tube with red glowing potion before he picked up the plate with the eggs and pushed some off onto his plate.
She downed the tonic and shook her head trying to get her bearings back. He passed her the plate with eggs and she scooped some onto her plate. He repeated this with every plate. He then passed her a second plate for her pancakes or waffles.
"Would you like waffles or pancakes?" Harry asked.
"Pancakes please." She said. Harry passed her the platter with the pancakes. When they had full plates Harry poured her a cup of coffee.
"I just wanted to say I'm sorry for my behavior last night. You're very valid questions and demands were the last straws that broke the camel's back for me and I yelled at you. I would just like to say that is not how I normally behave." Harry said.
"I understand. The shorter brunet said seeing death brings back memories of the war for you." She said trying to see how much she could get out of him. Because while she knew she needed to answer a lot of questions she also knew she needed information as well. Harry grinned a little at her request. He knew the game they were playing as well.
"Hermione, my sister. And yes, it does. But I have a feeling working straight through for two months without taking a proper break is catching up with me. Now, I have some questions for you, in fact I have a very long list of questions but the first thing I wanted to get out in the open is that you're not under arrest here. You should stay in the house for a day or two until my sister gives you a clean bill of health. But at any point you are free to go. However I would like to warn you that this world is dangerous. Very dangerous. Huge man eating spiders, 26 foot long 5 foot wide venomous snakes, six foot tall wolves and coyotes, and that's not even mentioning the dragons. On top of that, unattended dead bodies have a tendency to get up and start walking around." Harry said.
"Oh my. Then that means this is not Zeta 3 then. It explains a lot now that I think about it." Elizabeth said scratching her head as she thought about her situation.
"Zeta 3?" Harry asked.
"What? Oh, yes. I think I should start from the beginning. On our earth. Earth prim we invented a technomantic device called the Gateway. It allows us to make portal doorways to other worlds and cross over whenever we wanted to. This was a new technology. It was invented by PhD. David Palmer… oh god David." She said softly as tears came to her eyes.
"Sorry for your loss Ma'am." Harry said in a consoling tone as he handed her a soft white handkerchief.
"You know, I knew one day David's work would get him killed. Probable me too for that matter. But I never thought it would claim the lives of so many others. David was a genius, but he was cold and always in his head. The work came first and no matter how far we got he was always pushing for more. I always pushed for caution, and I was able to make him pace himself. But when the Army got involved I knew they would egg him on. All day Wednesday I was dreading the call sheet. We had pushed for too many new worlds. We had six teams out in the field. Six new worlds was too many. Now there are six people stranded on different worlds. Seven if I count myself." She said through a bitter smile.
"Um, Dr. Westen…" Harry said only to be cut off.
"Beth, call me Beth. I know I got off track again. Sorry about that. I'm usually not this scatter brained. In fact I graduated high school at the age of 12, New York University pre-med at 16, and I was tenth in my class at Harvard Medical school and one of the youngest graduates ever at 19. But back to the point of all this. I met David seven years ago. I was fresh out of medical school and was having trouble getting a job at a hospital. Who would have thought making history as a woman would have rubbed the men in charge of my field the wrong way? I couldn't get hired if I was the cure for Dragon Pox." She said laughing.
"Dragon Pox? So you are versed in magical medicine?" Harry asked.
"It was my field of study. Is Magical medicine not taught at university here?" She asked looking confused.
"Where I'm from it's not and out that door is 1886. They barely teach regular medicine at university. Also magic is a new thing for the normal people of this world. Like my own world magic was hidden away. It's still hidden away in 2016 where I came from. Here it's been out in the open for about 35 years thanks to a huge rip that was opened by the native shaman to summon a magical retribution on the white man. As you can imagine, that didn't work out too well for anyone and it took 12 years to close the breaches. To this day they can sometime pop open on their own to let things through. It's a real pain. But let's get back to your story." Harry said.
"Right, I was looking for work and there was a magical medicine position open at a research lab back at Harvard. That was where I met David. He was perfecting his idea for transdimensional rips. To tell you the truth I worked on the project for seven years and I still couldn't tell you how it works. I was in charge of making sure everyone that worked on the project was healthy, and later when David got the portal working I made sure the away teams didn't carry any patagones with them when they crossed over and I made sure they didn't bring anything back. I can still remember the first time David got the portal to work." She said with a nostalgic smile.
"It was a tuesday in mid July 1940. I had been working on the project for about three years at that point and we had gotten close a few times but we never broke through. We kept moving the lab. David was sure it had to do with the location of the portal. We had settled into a little barn on a farm in upstate New York the week before and we finally had the Gateway up and running. Something clicked that night. It was electric, you could feel it in the air. David activated the Gateway. It charged up and bang, we were looking through a portal doorway at an open field. We tossed a brick through the portal that had a recording charm and closed the portal. The next day we opened the portal and summoned the brick. We recorded nothing. Just a normal day out in the middle of nowhere. That's when we knew we had to have away teams. We started by leaving a dog in a cage on the other side for 24 hours. When we opened the door and he was fine we sent the first team. Two soldiers with magical spy training were sent in undercover. They had invisibility cloaks, brooms, and scanning equipment. We opened the portal two days later and they brought back news of the other world. It was a Foxtrot class world. Although we didn't know that at the time. The naming system came later after we had seen about a dozen different worlds." She said.
"What does Foxtrot class mean?" Harry asked.
"It means in that world it was 1823. The phonetic call signs came with the Army funding and protection. At the time of the catastrophe we had visited over a hundred different worlds. Every world is like our own, but different. None of them shared a date though. In each world it was a different year. A different age. David theorized that every year a new world was born and therefore it was one year younger then it's next closest brother. But it was ten years younger than the world created ten years before that. And our world was not the oldest. We've seen worlds from 2080, to 1000 BC and everything inbetween. We made a list. Starting with Alpha we named any world that was 2050 and above and we worked our way down the list to Q class which is worlds with date codes in the 1250-1299 range. Anything under that was classed Zeta, basically pre-tech worlds. Zeta class worlds were mapped out. Resources were found, sections of the world were warded off, and the resources were extracted. Iron, gold, gemstones, oil, magical plants, hell magical beasts. If it could be used by the US government we sent a battalion of troops and a team of workers to set up camps and the resources were taken. It's how we were able to put dragon hide vests on every soldier in the US Army. Zeta 9 is a world overrun by dragons. We sent a few magically warded tanks through and in a week we had enough dead dragons to put a vest on every man and enough meat to feed the Army for a whole year. It's also how we found hover car tech, it's how we were able to power the industrial machine. And now that we're fighting Hitler's robots it's even more important." She said.
"Hitler had robots on your world?" Harry asked shocked.
"It's how he took over europe so fast. September 9, 1940 a robot army, made in a secret underground base, marched on France and took the world by surprise. By December 1941 he had all of France, half of Poland, and half of Italy. Until the US Army landed on the shores of England last year Hitler controlled all of Europe, the west half of the USSR, and the top half of Africa. If it wasn't for the help we got from the empire of Japan we would have been unable to do anything. They lent us a few aircraft carriers so we could at least airdrop supplies to our allies as we built ourselves back up. You have to realize we dismantled the Armed services by cutting funding to the Army in favor of building up our infrastructure. It took two years to build new ships, tanks, and planes. Then there was all the new tech we needed to combat the Nazi robots. Armor piercing ammo, magical body armor for our troops, hover aircraft, hover tanks, mech suits…"
"Mech Suits?" Harry asked.
"12 foot tall big robots with men inside driving them around, armed with Browning 50 caliber machine guns, grenade launchers, and rocket pods. You don't have them on your world?" She asked.
"No, in fact on our world Japan attacked the US at Pearl Harbor. The US fought the war on two fronts, europe and the pacific. Hitler didn't have robots. He had devoted soldiers and advanced tactics. He also had death camps for Jews and anyone he deemed below him and his alpha race. The UK never fell to Hitler and the Nazis" Harry said.
"That's incredible. It must have been an easier fight than." Beth said.
"Not really, the war ended in 1945. A lot of people died on all sides of the war. The cost of the fighting and the rebuilding put the world in debt. The US ended up using nuclear weapons on Japan to stop that war. It was a dark time for the US." Harry said.
"You speak about America like an outsider. You're not American?" She asked looking confused.
"British. So is my brother Neville and my sister Hermione. My wife Abby is American. We were British magical spies before we came here. I hunted and killed dark wizards trying to overthrow the government or start a world war. We worked with governments all over the world to stop threats. We were like guns for hire. If you think you have a magical spy in your government, then you called us, and we come in to hunt them down. That is until we came to the Nevada desert looking for Abby. We found her in a mine full of glowing redstone. We also found an indian opening portals to this world. We ended up here. That was back in October about five months ago." Harry said.
"Wow, and you came from a world far in the future. How did you all cope with the change? The culture shock of being more than a hundred years in the past had to have been staggering." She said looking shocked.
"It was at first, but soon we just found our groove and stuck with it. We took jobs as Marshals so we can keep helping people. We opened a firearms company and we're selling the people of this Earth our earth's old guns. It's why we confiscated all the guns from the crime scene. We're not looking to release the 1911 for another few years yet. This world isn't ready for semi auto handguns. Speaking of confiscated guns, what can you tell me about this bad boy?" Harry said setting the silver and red raygun on the table.
"Unfortunately not much, we got that the same day we got overrun by the rats. We didn't get a chance to look at it yet. When the rats started coming through I grabbed it off a table and started shooting until the rats attacked David. He landed on top of me and I hit my head." She said looking ready to break again. Harry pocketed the raygun and put his hand on top of her's in a calming fashion.
"Tell me about that day. You said you had a bad feeling about what you were doing all day." Harry said trying to keep her on track .
"It was the amount of worlds we were exploring. Six teams out in the field was too many. I told David that. I told him six teams meant we had less time to set up protocols and scans. We didn't even have the full detachment of soldiers on the base that day. They were on leave getting ready to rotate out and the new company of soldiers that came in were not prepared for what could have come through the portal door. This was not the first time we had something come through. We usually have twenty soldiers at the ready when we open the portal door." She said.
"And that day you didn't have the manpower?" Harry asked.
"We did, but they were taking the job too lightly. It had been years since something came through. We have mining and drilling camps on 8 different Zeta class worlds. We open portals to those worlds everyday from four different facilities like ours around the country. Our Big Springs Texas facility practically has an always open doorway to Zeta 5. It's old hat for most the soldiers that get portal doorway guard assignments but our facility is different. We're not a resource hub with a big Gateway where trucks full of oil or iron ore come through everyday. We're the place that finds and catalogs the new worlds. We open 2-3 portals a day. We send two man research teams through and we collect them two days later. These worlds are uncharted. That's why we have soldiers at the ready to shoot anything that comes through that's not our two man team. Even if it's just the two man team we still run a full scan on them at gunpoint in case they brought back something. It's not a chance to get some R&R away from the front lines." Beth said looking pissed off. She took a few calming breaths as Harry poured a few ounces of vodka from the nearby side table into her glass of orange juice.
"Thank you." She said taking the glass and draining half of it in one go.
"I understand. After action reports suck, but I need to understand what happened so we can maybe find a way to get you home." Harry said.
"I understand. I just get so angry thinking about the fact that this could have all been avoided. I can see it in my head. I can picture ever part of that day and I can spot at least five instances where this could have all been avoided. Starting with David pusing to explore six new worlds. Starting at 09:00 hours we opened the doorway to Omega 9. Our A Team came through and sat for a battery of tests. Once they were declared fine they submitted their report and dropped off their box of collected items before they were released from the base to head back to their house in town to recover from their two day mission. At 10:45 we opened the gateway to the next world on our call sheet. Alpha 7. Team B came through and we went through the process all over again. They dropped off their reports and sealed box of collected items. We did the scans on them and we let them go sleep off their two days of fun in the year 2083. That's where the raygun came from. Normally when you take futuristic energy weapons through the Gateway the transition fries the circuits rendering the weapon useless. But as you saw, the weapon worked on our world as well as it did here. We were sure it was magical." She said smiling at the excitement they felt finding a weapon like that.
"We had one more Portal entry on the call sheet before we could break for lunch thanks to there being six teams in the field instead of the normal three. So at 12:15 we opened the next portal door which was Gamma 8, a world where it was 1767. Team C came through and we went through the process. Again they dropped off their reports and sealed box of collected items. They went through the battery of tests which took longer than expected because the team walked through the muddy streets of Boston and they had traces of the smallpox virus on their boots. When they came through the portal the bio hazard alarms went off. We had to quarantine the lab and run a full bioscan. After we ran a full battery of tests we let them head home. At this point it was 15:20. We should have taken a break for food. We should have relieved our group of soldiers who at this point were standing on their feet all day waiting for something to happen. We should have done a lot of things but David wanted to stick to the schedule." She said sounding pissed off again. She took a big drink from her glass and sighed as the booze hit her belly and took some of the edge off.
"So at 15:30 we opened the portal to Zeta 13. But Delta Team was not there waiting for us. We were on time thanks to David pushing us to keep going and the team was late. This I think was the straw that broke the elephant's back. Here we were, in the lab for six and a half hours straight without food or a break and the team was late. The soldiers got restless. The staff started yelling at eachother. We were at each other's throats. That's when the swarm of huge rats stormed the portal door. The soldiers scrambled to get their guns up and start shooting but it was too late. In less than three seconds 20 rats were in the room biting and clawing at anything that moved. The soldiers fell in the first few seconds. They attacked the researchers in the room next. We didn't have guns, we didn't have anything to protect us. I grabbed the raygun on the table next to me and started shooting. One of the rats lunged at David and attacked him pushing us both down. I hit my head on the table as I fell and I blacked out for a second." She said sounding haunted.
Harry poured her another drink and pushed it to her with a knowing look in his eyes. She picked up the glass and downed most of it in three big gulps before she pulled the glass away and started coughing and choking.
"Slow down." Harry said patting her on the back.
"I'm fine."She gasped out before she coughed one more time and settled back in her chair.
"You okay to go on?" Harry asked.
"Yes. I have to get this all off my chest. Like I said I blacked out and I came to on the ground under David. At that point dozens and dozens of rats came through the portal door. And rushed out of the room once they thought all of us were dead. I got up and hit the lockdown button. The doors to the lab slammed shut, the alarms sounded, the Gateway shut down for a second before it kicked back on and started powering up the emergency quarantine Alpha protocols. In five seconds the Gateway powered up to over max, I thought the portal was going to overload and explode. But a second later the portal opened up and then in a flash it expanded out and then the lights went out." She said.
"Where was the portal supposed to take you?" Harry asked.
"Zeta 3. You see on Zeta 3 the Army has a secret training base where Denver is supposed to be. Zeta 3 is a mostly uninhabited world. The Army uses the base to test experimental aircraft, weapons, and armor. It's a huge base with about 5,000 men. If something ever went wrong like it did that day it's our job to hit the lock down button. It locks down the base and teleports the whole thing to the top of the mountain right next to the base. The area is warded off and there is a scout patrol that sits up there waiting for something like this to happen. Within five minutes of hitting that button 2,000 soldiers should have rushed into the base and took care of any threat. When I was waiting in the dark I kept counting the time in my head. Five minutes passed, ten minutes, a half hour, an hour, at a certain point I slipped into a semi conscious state where I was in the dark lab, but I was also in my head. I came to when I heard someone working on the door. I expected US Army soldiers to come walking through the door as soon as it opened. That's when you guys came in. I don't even know what I yelled all I know is that I was frantic and delirious at that point. You stunned me and the next thing I remember was your sister and wife helping me dress and casting healing spells at me. Even those memories are blurry." She said looking lost in thought.
"Any idea how you ended up here? Have you ever been here before?" Harry asked.
"No, we've never opened a portal here. And I have no idea where here is. On top of that only a handful of technomancers in the world know how the portal device works. So I'm stuck here." She said with a sad smirk.
"So there is no hope to get you back to your world?" Harry asked.
"Not an ice cube's chance in hell. In fact now that I think about it, we stranded three research teams on different worlds. I almost feel worse for them. I'd have to look at the sheet to confirm it but I think we left them on two foxtrot class worlds and an Eco class world. I hope they figured out they're stranded and they should head to an alternate portal location." She said coming to the realization that six people were in a worse off situation then she was.
"Eco is 1850 to 1899 and Foxtrot is 1800 to 1849 right?" Harry asked to make sure he did the math right in his head.
"You did the math right. I used to have that look on my face all the time when we first started the class system. Not that I have to worry about that anymore. What the hell am I going to do? I'm trapped in a dangerous version of 1886." She said rubbing her face as she finished her drink.
"Well, as dangerous as it might be, the towns and cities are under heavy wards and they're quite safe. Plus it's not like you're going to be broke. We're rich as hell. We'll give you a nice nest egg and you can always stay here as long as you want. We'll give you access to the portkey network so you can move about freely. We have guns and a range you can practice at. Get comfortable wearing a gun because you'll need it sooner or later. You can always make a fortune by inventing the cars we saw in the parking lot. The ones that hover. There are no roads really, but if you made a hover car?" Harry said.
"It's a thought, of course I'd have to know how the damn things work, which I don't by the way. It's why I don't have one. I'm a pump gas and tires kind of girl." She said laughing.
"But you're very smart. I'm sure you could figure it out." Harry said.
"I'm a doctor not a engineer. That's why I have no idea how the Gateway works. If it's not organic then I don't know a damn thing about it. I can't tell you the difference between a powercell and a power converter, but if you showed me a room full of sick people I can diagnose and treat them all in an hour." She said patting herself down. "You wouldn't happen to have a Lucky Strike would you?" She asked.
"I don't, I have Marburl Reds, and I have these. Would you like to try one? I was a five cigarettes a day smoker until I found these little guys, now burn through about ten of these a day. They are nice and smooth with a sweet taste and a gentle hit." Harry said pulling out his gold case and showing her the small cigars he smoked.
"I'll try one. At this point I just need to scratch the itch." She said taking one and putting it in the corner of her mouth as Harry light it. She took a deep pull and coughed for a second. "Smooth." She wheezed out.
"Well if you want to smoke cigarettes you're going to have to roll your own." Harry said.
"It sounds like I'm going to have to do a lot of things like that. 1886 is a long way from 1944." She said looking deep in thought.
"It's not so bad. And hey if you want to go the hermit route for a while you can always just stay in here for a few months. We have a big TV and a media drive with thousands of hours of movies and TV shows. All of it is stuff you've never seen before. Stuff from our world. It's also hooked up to a stereo system with a bunch of music. We pooled all of our media together when we first got here. I can almost guarantee you'll find something you like and something that reminds you of home. Plus we have to go over everything in the lab, I'm sure we'll find some records in the building." Harry said with a smile that died on his face. As soon as he said the words lab her face went dark.
"Yeah, I suppose we do have to collect all the dead bodies and we can't just leave the building there for people to find." She said softly as she puffed on the cigar.
"We collected the bodies last night. We were going to deal with that today." Harry said.
"How were you going to deal with them?" She asked.
"Mass funeral pyre. They burn the dead here on this world because they can get back up. We also have to clean out the offices and things." Harry said.
"Do you mind if I keep David's ashes?" She asked playing with the small gold and diamond ring on her finger. At this point she was numb.
"Not at all, in fact…" Harry said trailing off.
"In fact what?" She asked.
"I think I have a better way to honor your dead friends. Come with me." Harry said getting up from the table and walking into his study.
Beth followed him into the room. Harry picked up the small leather bag off his desk and spilled out the contents on the desktop. She saw a bunch of coins in a few different colors and sizes. Harry waved his hand over the coins and a gold coin flew into his hand. He waved at an empty spot on the floor of his office and conjured a tarp. He he set the coin on the tarp and dropped the transfiguration. David was laying on the floor covered in blood.
"Oh God!" She said as her knees buckled and she almost fell onto the dead body of her fiance. Harry helped her up.
"I can turn his body into a gemstone for you. That way you'll always have him with you." Harry said holding the crying woman.
"You can do that?" She asked looking up at him with shocked eyes.
"Yes. First we need to strip his body." Harry said pulling out his wand and waving it over the body. It lifted up in the air. With another wave a pile of clothes landed on the tarp neatly folded next to a gold tie pin, wallet, watch, and pair of glasses.
"If you would like to say a few words, now is the time." Harry said.
Beth stepped up to the floating body and placed her hand on David's head. She said a few whispered words as she ran her fingers through his hair. She stepped back and nodded to Harry with tear stained cheeks and red rimmed eyes. Harry waved his wand one more time and the body turned into a red blob before it shifted again and turned into a two karat deep gray-blue square cut gemstone. Harry waved his wand to dissipate the smell in the room before it hit them too much. He grabbed a small gold bar from his desk and cut off a small piece. He waved at the gold hunk and the blue gem and turned it into a pendent on a thin gold chain and handed it to her.
"There you go. Now you can keep David with you always." He said with a sad smile which she returned as she put the small necklace on.
"Thank you. You have no idea what this means to me." She said looking at the back of the pendent at the inscription that read PhD. David Palmer.
"That went surprisingly better than I expected. That spell is really becoming second nature to me." Harry said flexing his neck.
"I hope that didn't take too much out of you?" She said.
"No. Not too bad. It was about as tough as turning a big pile of loose blue stone into a big pile of blue stone blocks. I think I can cast that spell a few dozen more times before I even need to touch a mana potion. It's a spell I use a lot to do a bunch of things." Harry said.
"In that case, do you think you can turn the members of the research staff into gems too? If there is any chance of ever getting back home I would like to be able to at least hand their family's something like this and say their loved ones were taken care of." She said.
"I can, in fact let's do all of the bodies we took from the campus. Why don't you go back to your room and take a shower. I know Hermione cleaned and repaired your clothes for you. I'll go get a few bars of silver. We'll make little pendants with their names on the back." Harry said.
"Thank you Harry. This means a lot to me." She said hugging him again before she walked out of the room looking at the pendant around her neck.
For the next two hours Harry turned every body they found into a smoky blue-grey gem stone. For the researchers and staff he made silver pendants with the person's name on the back. They put the pendant along with any jewelry and personal effects taken off the bodies into a small box and put the small box into a little trunk. For the soldiers Harry added the gem to their dog tags and added their brass, bars, and patches from their uniforms to the little boxes before he put them in the trunk. For the dead wererats he turned them into loose gemstones, put them in a small bag and handed them to Beth .
"These probably won't fetch much but the thought of selling the people that killed your friends and loved ones as jewelry might give you some satisfaction. Revenge, even when it's petty and cheap still brings comfort to the soul and justice to the dead. Trust me. I know." Harry said with with a cold grin.
"I will find a jewelry store at some point and sell these with pleasure." She said matching his cold tone.
"Good. Now my family is all at your lab right now cleaning up the evidence of the existence of dimensional travel. Do you think you can stomach walking around the building with us and helping us make headway into figuring it all out?" Harry asked.
"I can do that." She said.
"Good. before we leave this house I want you to wear this and this." Harry said handing her a black dragon hide vest and a shoulder gun rig.
"Okay." She said pulling on the vest and Harry helped her put on the undercover rig.
"This is an X-Five. It's extremely easy to shoot. It's enchanted to have almost no recoil, it makes no sound, and it has a 190 round magazine. I have the safety off. If things go bad out there all you have to do is draw the gun and pull the trigger and it will fire. Also this is a portkey bracelet. If you get hurt it will take you back to the Marshal's station where almost everyone on staff knows how to administer a healing potion. Those three things should be on you at all times from now on. Also this." Harry said handing her wand back to her.
"I was wondering where that went." She said taking the foot long white oak wand and slipping it into a pocket on the inside of her suit jacket.
"I forgot to hand it back to you over breakfast. Now let's grab some coats and let's go." Harry said leading her to the coat rack by the front door. He handed her a spare dragon hide long coat. He pulled on his coat and hat and they portkeyed right to the laboratory campus.
The boys and Beth spent the rest of the day boxing up all the papers and personal effects from all the offices and barracks. They also found the vault with all the items and samples collected over the last week by the two man teams from other worlds. While they did that the girls looked at the Gateway. With no power running to the building to power the odd computers that ran the Gateway it was just a big ten foot wide ring of steel with glowing blue runes carved into it. When the boys and Beth were done clearing out the offices Beth was called into the lab.
"You have no idea how it works?" Hermione asked cutting straight to the point. After looking at the gateway for six hours and running every test and scan she could think of she was getting a little pissed off.
"Not really. I tried to understand the math behind it but I know quantum physicists on my world that don't understand how it works. To tell you the truth I don't think David could explain it. It worked that first time by chance. We moved to a location right outside Washington D.C. and it worked again but this time it opened a portal to a Charlie class world where it was 1987 and that world was built on technomancy. David spent a lot of time on that world. He came back with most of this computer stuff and a better understanding of technomancy. After that he rebuilt the Gateway using the computers he brought back and ever since then we've been able to open portals to different worlds not just Charlie 1 and Zeta 1. What I can tell you is what David told me one time when I asked him how it worked. He said the system kind of works like a tuner on a radio. If you can imagine there are countless worlds out there. Each one has it's own frequency like a radio station. David would spend hours and hours with PhD. Bailey scanning for frequencies." She said pointing at a big computer the size of a desk of to the side of the room.
"When they found a clear one they punched it into this computer." She said coming back into the domed room.
"When they had a list of worlds they would seal off the lab and power up the Gateway and it would open a portal door to each world. We would send a scouting team through in sealed environmental suits while the portal was still open. They would take air sample readings, soil samples, and they would plant a magical camera on a pole. The last thing they did was cast the tempus spell which always works no matter which world we opened a portal to. We would find out the date of the world and add it to the list with a classification letter and number. We checked the samples and made sure the world was safe before we sent a scouting team through the Gateway at a later date. We left them over there for two days before we opened the gateway and they came back with a report of the world." She said pointing to the locked file cabinets off to the side by a desk.
"Most worlds we never went back to. If we did we never interfered. We were scientists. We observed and documented. It was all added to the files. The Zeta class worlds were warded off, and resources were taken. In each case we tried to be as unobtrusive to the world as possible and in some cases we even helped the world by seeding fertile lands with fruit and nut trees, and root vegetables. For the natives to find." She said.
"Wow, this is going to take weeks to figure out." Hermione said scratching her head.
"I'm sorry I can't be of more help to you. I was the medical doctor on the team. Of all the people standing in this room when the rats attacked us I am the least qualified person to help you. In fact this was not even my main job on the base. I had a small office in town where I tended to the families and soldier living on the base in Denver. I only ever came up here when they found new worlds or if David didn't come home for a few days. I would come up here and drag him away from his work to take a break. It's why I didn't have my own office in the building." She said with an apologetic smile.
"That's okay, you've given us a lot to work off of." Hermione said looking at all the equipment with new eyes.
They did one last pass over the property to make sure they got everything. The last thing they did was seal up the lab and clean out the big walk in freezers and pantries in the mess hall. They dropped a third set of ward stones down, this set had a obscuring and muggle repelling charm attached to it before they portkeyed back to the office at five as the sun started to go down.
"Beth, why don't you spend some time in the range practicing using that gun I gave you. Also Valos can get you anything you want or need. Try out a bunch of different guns and see what you like and you can use." Harry said.
"Good thinking." She said seeing the indoor range.
"Right this way ma'am." Valos said leading her into the room.
"I'm going over to Sam's place. Kitty is waiting for me." Billy said heading out.
"We're having dinner at our place tonight. Dinner hits the table at seven." Harry said.
"We need to start going over all these files. We might be able to not only get Beth back to her world but we might be able to get back to our world as well." Hermione said grabbing the file box .
"Do you want to?" Neville asked.
"What?" Hermione asked looking at the box she had with all the files from the locked cabinets.
"Do you want to go back to our world?" Neville asked.
"I don't know?" She said finally seeing the look in his eyes.
"Well I don't want to go back. I hated my job. I hated the life we were leading. Always apart. Always life and death. The fate of the world type shit we dealt with everyday. The department used us and spit us out. I don't want to go back." Neville said looking uncomfortable about talking so much about his feelings.
"And I agree love. I know you love it here and so do I. But will we always want to stay here? Who knows what this world will be like in twenty years? Or fifty years? What if some nutter makes a nuclear bomb and blows up the world? I don't want to live in a toxic wasteland. It's always good to have options available. And who's to say there's not another world out there that's better than this one? What if I found a world where magic is free and out in the open, and it's post 1900? I know you like living in a western but what about a 1920's gangster film? Old cars, gangster suits, tommy guns, bootlegging, jazz. Or maybe we follow Beth back to her world? How would you like to punch Hitler in the nose? Air drop into Germany and fight the Jerries? Fly air support in your fighter plane as the G.I.'s storm a strong hold? We have gold and future tech all the way up to 2016. We can still invent things early no matter where we go. B&S firearms can still be a thing in 1950." She said with a smile.
"You're right love. I just don't want to go back and have to deal with all the baggage of our old lives. I have you, I have my brother. I now have Abby my sister-in-law. What else do I need?" Neville said summing things up in his simple but heartfelt way.
"Good point brother! I don't want to go back either." Harry said putting his arm around Abby who looked at Neville with a smile and nodded.
The whole group including Beth, Valos, Billy and his girlfriend, the former saloon girl, Kitty spent the rest of the day hanging out in the cube. They sat around the dining room table talking about things on their home world while Harry made his by now famous dragon potroast. They ate, they drank, and they watched A Fist Full of Dollars on the big screen tv in the living room before they all headed off to bed.
The next day Hermione, Abby, and Beth spent some time looking at the rats in the cage in denver. They spent the day studying the rats, taking samples, and trying cures and potions like Wolfsbane and a potion from Beth called Lycanal. None of it worked. After trying and failing for most of the day they took Beth to a reputable magical jeweler in Salt Lake named Fredrick Vanderbilt. Beth tried to trade in her 68 Lycan stones for cash. Frederick offered her $40 a stone which Beth was willing to accept. But Hermione chimed in when she saw the shop keeper stare at the stones.
"My brother Harry Steel made those stones with his Magic. They are magically neutral, take charms and enchantments better than most hard stones, and they are flawless. I'm also sure Harry can make you a batch in other shapes as well. How about this, we will license out our B&S logo for you to use when you sell these stones and you give my friend here a better price? Something she can make a real living off of." Hermione said.
"You would be willing to let us use your logo to advertise?" He asked with a girn.
"Yes, you can even say that Harry handcrafted each stone. Also these are a vary limited thing. Harry can only make so many of these things a year. These are a stockpile Harry made over the last three months. Figure maybe 25 stones a month 30 tops on a good month for now. Maybe one day he might be able to make more. This is all experimental like all of our inventions." Hermione said.
"Really?" He asked looking at the blue stones again.
"Think about how much you can get for a ring of protection or a pendent of resistance with one of these B&S Handcrafted stones?" Hermione asked with a smirk.
"$85 a stone." Fredrick said.
"Call it $100 a stone and we'll provide you with an official B&S stamp you can use to stamp the gold setting with our Logo. As well as a custom sign advertising the sale of of B&S Moonstones and we'll only sell to you." Hermione said holding out her hand.
"Deal." He said with a big grin. Hermione made the small punch stamp with the B&S logo as well as a window sign reading 'Now selling B&S Moonstone enchanted jewelry. Limited numbers, get your's today! As Fredrick counted out the gold $50 coins. They walked out of the shop with Beth clutching a small leather bag with $6,800.
"I can't believe you just did that." Beth said.
"Do what? Haggle? You have to if you want a good price. Everyone does it. It's expected." Hermione said with a shrug.
"No, promise him more stones. Won't Harry be angry he has to keep making stones?" Beth asked looking worried.
"Noooo! He'll be pissed off he didn't think to turn dead men into stones all this time. Do you have any idea how many dead bodies we've had to burn in the last few months? The lizard men alone! What a waste." Abby said slinging her arm around the shorter woman.
"So he won't be mad you made more work for him?" Beth asked.
"No, it's why I put a limit on the stones. If we run into a huge group of undead we can make more stones, if not we only need to deliver what, 25 stones a month? That's nothing. And I'm sure Harry will give you most if not all the money from the stones. It's not like we need it and you'll need some spending money. besides with Abby and I tied up in researching the Gateway to see if we can get you back home and the wererat problem we're going to need a doctor to step in and take our place. With some cinder blocks, wood, glass, and magic we can build you a nice big office with a few exam rooms. We can hire you a few magical nurses, and we can even set up satellite portkey offices in big cities to get you more patients. They can pay what they can and we'll provide you with a big store of all the normal potions we hand out in stores for free. It's not like you're going to need the money. You'll be making $2,500 a month off the stones." Hermione said talking out the idea as she was getting it.
"Yeah, I mean as much as I hope you do figure out the gateway, I'm probably going to be stuck here a while. I might as well make myself useful. Idle hands and what have you." Beth said nodding.
"Good, but for now, you're in a big city, you have a bag full of coins, and you stick out like a sore thumb in your 1940's garb. Let's go shopping!" Abby said with a big smile.
While the girls were looking at the rats and shopping the boys were flying over the Arizona desert south of Tuscon looking for the pack of Mexican Orange dragons that attacked the city. Had it not been for the B&S ward stones protecting the small city the dragons would have feasted on the two thousand plus residents of Tucson. As it was the pack of five dragons hit the wards, bounced off, and retreated back south. The Marshal's called the team in, they popped over two minutes after the attack and now they were tracking the pack of dragons headed for the Mexican border.
"You sure it's safe to be flying around up here in this wolf class fighters?" Billy asked looking around for the dragons in the sky.
"It's fine, we're warded against damage and were cloaked." Neville said.
"Contact! Up ahead. About twenty miles away!" Harry called out bringing his magical targeting system up and prepping for a strafing run.
"I see them." Neville said squinting to see the five big dots in the sky heading for the mexican border.
"I'm going to make a strafing run, follow me in and when I pull off take out the ones still in the air." Harry said banking right and high as he sped up.
He made his approach coming in on a high cross angle and when he got closer he lit the dragons up with his 20mm cannon. He managed to drop two of the five dragons in one go. Neville also got two on his pass a few seconds behind Harry. But at this point the biggest dragon in the lead of the pack caught on to the fact that something was killing them from the sky. He folding he wings in and dove for the ground before twisting and coming right for Harry's fighter. He huffed a big fireball at Harry's ship. The wards took all of the damage but the cloaking enchantment went down.
"You okay Harry?" Neville called out trying to keep up with the dragon on Harry's tail.
"Yeah. can you kill this thing already!?" Harry called back trying to avoid the dragon's fire.
Neville broke off high, rolled into a loop and strafed the big orange dragon across it's back with his 20mm cannons. But the dragon took the damage and kept flying, albeit in a injured, slow and awkward fashion. Neville repeated his attack and this time the dragon fell out of the sky and hit the ground with a heavy wet thud and a big dust cloud. The two fighters headed down and collected the five dead dragons and returned to Tucson to tell the local Marshal's the good news. They made it back to the office at noon only to run into Tedy the front desk cop who was waving a hand full of papers.
"Stone giants in Rock Springs Wyoming. Also the wanted sheets just came in over the wire, there's a gang of magical outlaws that robbed a bank in Colorado Springs. They killed two Marshals that tried to stop them. That just happened. They flew out of town on brooms. The marshal's think they might be responsible for a missing airship, and a few other bank robberies all over the area. We also got a call from Twin Falls Idaho. They got a big pack of wolves in the nearby forest that attacked a group of lumberjacks this morning." Teddy said.
"Right, busy morning. Let's head out to Colorado Springs and track this group of Marshal killing bandits first as a group. Then we'll split up. Than Neville can take Valos with you to Rock springs and go take out these stone giants. Billy you're with me. We'll take the out this pack of wolves. Grab your gear and let's head out." Harry said putting his long coat back on.
The portkey ride to Colorado Springs was longer then Billy was used to and he felt a bit queasy when they landed. They were met by a group of three solemn faced marshals in the marshal's office.
"Thank's for coming out. We'd love nothing more then to track these guys down ourselves but after what they did to Hank and Dwight this morning we know we're no match for them." One of the men said coming over to shake their hands. "I'm the new acting Head Marshal Jack Carson."
"We understand and we're happy we can help you with this. We want to get these guys just as bad as you do. The Marshal service is a brotherhood. When one of use goes down it's up to all of us to avenge them. We're also sorry for your loss boys. Can you tell me what happened this morning so we can get a better idea of what went down?" Harry asked.
"Head Marshal Hank Brown and Dwight Scott were on patrol of the town this morning when a woman ran up to them on the street and said she saw a group of five men walk into the bank with bandanas covering their faces and guns in their hands. They ran to the bank as the gang was coming out. They pulled their guns, announced themselves, and that's when the gunfight broke out. It was five against two. The three of us were on patrol outside the city at this time and the Sheriffs took too long to grab their rifles and get there. According to witnesses, the gang had some kind of magical shield up that stopped the bullets fired at them. They returned fire but when they saw the bullets bounce off the vests and coats Hank and Dwight were wearing they started throwing spells around. The street around the bank looks like a war zone. Buildings were on fire, big holes were blown out of the streets, and Hank and Dwight were blown up. Literally. They used some kind of bomb spells on them. When they were dead they hopped on brooms and flew away." The head Marshal said looking green.
"Trained combat magic and battle tactics." Harry said looking at Neville.
"Sounds like it. Aurors?" Neville asked.
"No, they don't have those here remember. Maybe they came through a rift?" Harry said.
"Either way let's get a move on. I want these guys dead before noon." Neville said coldly.
"Just so you boys know. These are not easily killed men. We put their descriptions into the wire service and we got multiple hits back for this gang. There is a reward on their heads by the bank for a number of bank robberies and they might be responsible for a missing airship carrying a group of fur traders. Be Careful out there." Jack said
They hopped on brooms and headed to the crime scene. Harry took a reading of the magical signatures and tracked them using magic to a small cabin sitting on an outcropping in the mountains near by. The cabin looked out of place on the spot it was sitting. Something Billy pointed out when they got closer.
"That's because that cabin is portable. It was brought to this spot and set up. Like the cube or a magical tent. It's got three quarts cover from the cliff and the overhang. A narrow sightline, and it's also warded. I can feel the wards from this far out." Harry said bringing the group down and off to the side to stay out of the line of sight.
"How are we going to do this?" Neville asked.
"Paired portkey rock right into the cabin. Those wards feel like anti portkey and your standard protection wards. If one of us was to shadow walk through the wards and into the cabin. He could drop a portkey stone inside the cabin. Then Neville and I could pop right into a room in the cabin. With our silent guns or blades we could take all of them out then it's just a matter of cleaning up. Billy I need you to stand by the side of the outcropping with your cards in hand and take care of anyone that tries to run. These guys have wands and they know battle magic. So hit them with a barrage of cards." Harry said patting Billy on the shoulder.
They landed on the top of the mountain. Harry found two rock, one fist sized rock and one small pebble. He made them into a set of paired portkeys and handed Valos the small pebble. Valos vanished into the shadows of a nearby boulder. He drifted along the rock and over the ledge. He crossed the ward line with ease and ghosted around the cabin looking into the windows. He saw six rooms through the windows. There was a bigger living room with a big fireplace, two big couches, three chairs, coffee tables, and a nice big card table. In that same big room was also a kitchen with a sink, table, icebox, and stove. There were four bedrooms, a bathroom and a storage room for cut firewood and dry food storage. Valos counted all five men in the big main living room. Three men were sitting by the fire at the card table playing cards and drinking. One man was sitting at the kitchen table counting the cash and coin they stole from the bank. The last man was cooking in the kitchen. Valos slipped through a window into the bedroom at the back of the cabin. He set the pebble down in the middle of the open floor and pulled out the small square sheet of glass Harry gave him and called Harry.
"Portkey is in place." He said.
"Copy." Harry said and a second later Harry and Neville were standing in the room.
"We got a problem. They're all in the same room. It's going to be hard to get the drop on them even if we have surprise on our side." Valos said.
"Easy enough." Harry said pulling out his glass phone. "Billy, I need you to hit the front of the wards with a small barrage of cards. Nothing that will do too much damage but enough to put on a good light show." Harry said.
"Sounds easy enough." Billy said with a smirk.
"Count off a minute and then go for it. We'll get into place." Harry said.
Harry and Neville pulled on their cloaks and Valos vanished into the shadows again. Harry ghosted out of the room and checked to make sure the coast was clear before waving them out. They slipped down the hallway and into the main room. Using shoulder taps Harry slipped over to the man counting the money. While Valos and Neville ghosted over to the card table.
A few tense seconds passed before a bright blue and red explosion rocked the cabin out the front windows. All the men stood up and that was the signal to make their move. Valos stabbed two of the men playing cards at the table in the back with his poison daggers. The 10 inch long blades entered both men's backs through the top of the left kidney and ended in the bottom of their hearts. Causing both men tense up. When the king snake venom shot out of the tips of the blades into their hearts both men died a second later. Neville being less surgical struck the third man at the table with his big knife taking his head clean off showering the table with blood. Harry shot the cook in the head with his X-five and stabbed his five inch knife into the base of the man counting the money's neck. One second there were eight living men in the room the next second there were only three.
It took a few minutes to deactivate the wards, clean up the dead bodies, and put all the bank's money back into the bags. They also looted the house and found stashes of cash and coin in each bedroom as well as a few Wells Fargo strong boxes in the storage room full of cash and coin. Also in the storage room was 20 shrunken crates full of furs, hides, and leathers. They also found crates of guns, axes, knives, steel traps, and camping equipment. It was easy to see they attacked the airship carrying the fur traders. Harry wondered what they did with the ship when Billy found a foot long model airship that looked like a smaller version of the St. Mary on a shelf. Except it was made of a grey wood. The side sails were made of steel and a grey cloth, and the hull was painted black.
"Would you look at this. Nice model." Billy said.
"That's no toy, that's the airship they captured. They killed the crew and took the ship and cargo." Harry said taking the small ship and reading the back. "Goddess of the Grey Hunt"
"Can we keep it?" Billy asked.
"We have to see if it belongs to someone first. The same thing with the cargo. But we get to keep all the money they took apart from the what they took today and we'll keep this cabin. We can take it with us on a hunting trip or we can set it up somewhere and use it. The same with the traps we can set those out in the local forest and collect the game for the town. It's been a week and a half since we've been on a hunt." Harry said.
They shrank the cabin and headed back to town. They dropped off the bank's money. They showed the dead bodies to the marshals before Harry turned them into stones. They asked about the ship and the company it worked for and it turned out to be owned by one of the dead crewmen. It mant the ship was technically salvage. The head marshal tried to hand Harry a small sack of coins.
"What's this?" Harry asked.
"It's from the bank and the Mayor. It's reward money for taking care of the men that killed our brothers." He said.
"How much is in here?" Harry asked looking in the bag at the gold coins $50.
"$10,000. The bank pitched in $8,000 and the mayor pitched in $2,000." He said and Harry could see Billy's eyes get wide.
"Did Hank and Dwight have families?" Harry asked.
"Hank had a wife and two kids. Dwight had a wife and a son." Jack said.
"Then take this back and split it between the two families. Also I'm adding this to it." Harry said taking a sack of gold coins out of his bag and counted out 200 more gold coins and added them to the bag. "If they ever need anything you get in contact with me." Harry said handing the sack back.
"Thank you." Jack said with a heartfelt honesty looking misty eyed.
"Like I said, the Marshal's service is a brotherhood. We take care of our family." Harry said patting the man on the shoulder. He nodded to the other two men in the office before leading his group out.
"Boys, I know I just handed back $10,000 reward. I will pay you each $2,500 when we get back to the office. For now we have two more missions to finish today. Neville you and Valos are off to Rock springs to take out these stone giants. Remember, save the bodies. Billy you're with me. We'll take out this pack of wolves in Twin Falls. We'll meet back in the office when we're done." Harry said holding out a portkey to Billy.
The portkey dropped them off in the Twin Falls Marshal's office. It was a quick broom ride into the local forest. A few tracking spells later and they found the pack of 14 wolves. From their brooms using their Model 1's. The pack was dropped in a matter of minutes. Harry turned them all into coins and summoned them. They headed back to Twin Falls and reported in. They were handed $1,000 in gold coins and Harry handed the bag to Billy. They portkeyed back to the office after that.
Neville and Valos headed to Rock Springs. They took brooms to the mountain pass and found the giants easy enough. There were four of them. They were 20 foot tall, and 8 foot wide. It looked like a family. Neville pulled out his Winchester high wall rifle and shot the biggest giant in the head. He looked confused for a second before he hit the ground like a sack of hammers. This caused the other three giants to look at them and start throwing rocks at them. Neville held up his wand and created a shield while Valos took out the other three giants with three head shots. They turned the giants into big coins before they headed back to the Marshal's office. They were handed a $1,000 reward which Neville handed to Valos and they portkeyed back to their office. They saw Harry and Billy in the office. They handed Harry the four big plate sized coins. He made a tarp on the ground and in the middle of the open office space and dropped the charm on coin. It turned into a huge giant. Harry cast the goblin spell and turned the giant into 18 gemstones.
"Fuck. You get a lot of stones out of each giant. Mia said they're worth $100 each." Harry muttered to Neville who was standing by him.
"No shit?" Neville asked.
"Yeah, we're going to pay Beth with the profits. She's going to take over as the new doctor to free up Mia." Harry said repeating the process three more times. He ended up with 69 stones he added them to the 5 he made earlier. "We can also use them as disposable income to pay for things like Marshal's bereavement pay. The bodies of our enemies will pay for the health care and death benefits of the Marshal brotherhood." Harry said looking at the blue-grey stones in the bag as he walked into his office and took a seat at his desk.
"Sounds good to me. And Harry, I got the pay for the boys. It will cover half of what you put in." Neville said sitting in front of the desk.
"Okay. what are we going to do with the airship? Are we keeping it? Are we using it for something? Can we use it for anything?" Harry asked lighting a small cigar.
"I'm not sure. We have the fighters after all, and they're faster than any Airship out there. Maybe we can use it for transport or something." Neville said pouring them both a small glass of scotch.
"Maybe. What time is it? It feels late." Harry asked.
"It's half past two. You feel drained because we skipped lunch." Neville said.
"Right. Well lets round up the boys and head to the boarding house for some lunch. Then after that let's hope we get to relax." Harry said with a smile that died on his face as Teddy came running in with a piece of paper.
"When it rains it pours." Neville said downing his drink and standing up to intercept Teddy.
"Like a fucking monsoon." Harry said downing his drink and standing up with a huff.