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I've been sitting on a lot of HP/BattleTech crossovers that I've just kept circling around and adding little bits to for about a year. I finally forced myself to start writing an actual story, published here for your reading pleasure. First story, have mercy, blah blah blah.
With the edit, additional notes have been added at the bottom. Thanks for reading!
Four men slowly crawled their way up a dark stone tunnel. Their movements were quiet, their robes darkened by the dirty, damp rock they moved over. When the first reach the ledge at the top of the tunnel, he stopped to examine the next chamber, then muttered to himself.
"Oh bugger, are those bloody lasers? What the hell is that thing?" the dark-haired young man observed from his perch overlooking a large cave. Seven people in masks and black, figure-concealing robes stood in a circle around a most peculiar apparatus, three of them chanting. Two others in similar attire stood near the other, larger entrance to the cavern.
Despite his fame and the accompanying expectations, Harry Potter never actually joined the aurors, hoping for a chance to relax and live after winning the war that had so defined his life. The Minister for Magic was less than concerned with Harry's employment (or lack thereof). On numerous occasions he'd requested Harry's assistance in dealing with particularly dangerous foes. Harry, being as driven by his "saving people thing" as ever, tended to accept.
Under Harry's guidance, auror casualties on these missions were kept to a minimum. It was Harry that often returned with new scars, and of more than one sort. He found himself empathizing with Mad-Eye Moody more all the time.
On this occasion, Harry had been called in because nobody else so far had been able to make sense of what the latest overambitious wanker was doing. With his muggle upbringing, Harry should be better equipped to recognize the apparatus; or so the thinking went. Unfortunately, Harry couldn't make heads or tails of the shining, floating,...thingamajig.
"Right, looks like they're starting a ritual of some sort, so we're out of time. We'll take these guys down, then Mysteries can come in after and figure out what that's all supposed to do. Who's the best shot?"
Harry finally turned back to the small auror squad with him; it was meant to be a simple reconnaissance mission. With the dark wizards carrying on the way they were, waiting for reinforcements was not an option. After looking at each other for a moment, the Auror closest to Harry raised his hand.
"Smythe, you'll snipe from up here, then. I'm going to advance under your cover fire and say 'Hello' to his lordship over there. Wilkins, McGregor, circle around to the entrance, and on my signal charge in, take cover and start blasting away. We need to split their attention and take them out quickly. Try to avoid hitting their special friend, there; we don't want it throwing a tantrum. Ready?" receiving three nods and quiet smiles, Harry concluded, "Move out."
As the others moved into position, Harry once more observed his target. 'Medium build, black hair, black clothing all over, pale as death, and with a smile that screams "psychotic". How typical.' He noticed that there wasn't much cover between their positions, and the ground was raised in a series of rough steps; treacherous footing. Unfortunately, Harry needed to make the trip that way. He wouldn't dare risk apparating this close to that construct. His skin was tingling just being in its vicinity. 'Wizards and lasers. Good grief.'
Harry gave a final nod to the auror by his side, then prepped and tossed his surprise. One of George's tamer fireworks, it started with a bright flash and loud bang, then remained stationary and spewed bright sparks out in all directions for almost a minute straight. The hostiles were completely blinded.
Harry leapt down from his position and let loose a couple blasting curses as he sprinted towards his target. The two wizards near the main entrance, the only ones to have kept their feet, were promptly sent to join their fellows. Binding, stunning, and bludgeoning spells flew over Harry's head, incapacitating dark wizards as rapidly as possible. The assault from the main entrance by the other two aurors kept most of the attention directed that way, but three of the dark wizards turned back to continue their ritual, the pace and volume of their chanting increaed.
Harry was reluctant to fire spells from his position. Instead, he bull-rushed the closest chanter, driving him into the next to knock them both down. While casting a shield with one hand, he pulled his dagger with the other and quickly dispatched both men he'd tackled.
As Harry jumped to his feet and charged the last chanter, he saw something coming at him from the direction of the dark lord. Harry felt the skin on his neck crackle when he ducked. He had barely a moment to see the spell impact the magical mechanism before the world was washed away in an instant of absolute color and noise.
Harry woke with a splitting headache, though it began to fade immediately. He groaned at the pain as he cracked one eye, then the other. 'How did I end up on a forest floor somewhere?' All expression fell from his face as he recalled that last mission. 'Hopefully the others made it.'
Harry sat up and, finding balance functioning, took another look around. 'Smoke from past that small rise. Definitely doesn't smell like wood. That's as good a direction as any.' Harry stood and set off. 'Limbs all seem to working properly, no aches aside from my head; seems we're in unusually good condition, old chum. Note to self: talk to OTHER people. Equipment check: wand, dagger, survival kit. Another lucky break already? Gives me the willies.'
Harry stopped fiddling with the bag on his necklace as he crested the rise, resting his hand on a tree to his left. Laid out before him was a scene of destruction. The mud and grass were churned into a chaotic patchwork of green and brown. Long stretches of ground were scorched, small fires still sputtering here and there. The stink of ionized air and burning chemicals was thick throughout the area. All over the field lay huge metal constructs. Some of them were obviously humanoid. 'Giant robots? I'm becoming convinced I've traveled quite far, indeed.'
Harry elected to set up his camp amongst the robots so he could investigate them conveniently. He applied wards around the entire area, just as he and Hermione had done years ago. The spells came easily, like exhaling a deep breath. It was a matter of minutes before the whole site of the battle was protected from notice, as well as outside threats.
Harry picked a spot of relatively high, dry ground to set up his tent. It was one of the key items he kept in his survival bag, along with a cross-section of healing potions, a spare wand ('Thank you, Draco'), a canteen charmed to stay chilled and refill itself, and a shrunken container full of food in stasis.
Harry stood back from the tent as it unfolded, smoothly waving his wand. With the task finished, Harry turned to look over the battlefield again. 'I'd almost forgotten. Get it together, Harry. Homenum Revelio!' With a grand gesture, Harry launched the detection spell across the field. There was no response. 'Well, at least there's no one waiting for my help,' Harry thought bitterly. He'd deal with any bodies and start investigating the robots tomorrow. For now, he needed rest.
'That's a rather unflattering shade of green for a ceiling,' Harry thought as he reluctantly came to awareness. He got up and dressed then left the tent and walked the ward perimeter, touching up where possible. After the brisk walk, Harry returned to the tent for some breakfast. 'Bangers and mash, methinks. I've got enough food for two months; more if I ration. I'll make that decision in a few days.' Harry ate quickly, eager to get some answers. His pace slowed when he remembered he still needed to bury any bodies.
There were six of the metal giants, with pieces and parts (even an extra arm) strewn about the area. Harry was relieved to discover two of the cockpits were empty; apparently the pilots had bailed or already been extracted. The other four wore the same uniform (three, anyway; there wasn't much left of the last but a hole through the cockpit glass): boots, shorts, and an odd vest. They had badges: an upright sword over a sunburst on a circular red field. Harry wrote down the names he found and noted which machine they came from.
Harry dug the graves in the shade of a tree near where he had appeared. He transfigured headstones, conjured flowers and a candle for each grave.
With the bodies interred, he lifted his hand, turned a stone three times, and called, "Brian Ines."
An apparition materialized before Harry, giving him a hint of a smile. "Thank you for burying us. Can't say I was ready to go, but what can you do?"
Harry nodded his acknowledgement. "I was hoping to ask you some questions about what's going on here, who's fighting, things like that. First, though, I need you to tell me the name of your last friend." At the specter's slightly confused look, Harry explained, "All the labels were destroyed, I'm afraid, but I want to put something on the headstone. I have Eileen Tufar," whose neck had snapped when her machine fell on its face at a run, "and Evan Chambers," whose cockpit was crushed in like it had been hit by a speeding truck, "identified. Who was your fourth?"
The spirit's smile grew minutely. "Guy Frugalio: that skimpy bastard still owes me money." Harry decided to ignore how little respect the dead had for each other. He carefully carved the names into the headstones before turning and walking back to his tent.
Harry summoned some dry wood and started a fire. Conjuring a simple chair by it, he sat and addressed his deceased companion. "Let's get me up to speed."
Over the course of the next few hours Harry learned a great deal through questioning the dead pilots, having only paused to eat lunch. The date was February 11th, 3035. This planet was named Cammal. It was part of the star-spanning nation the Federated Suns. The Suns had been joined in alliance with another nation called the Lyran Commonwealth when First Prince Hanse Davion married Archon-Designate Melissa Steiner about seven years back.
Cammal was on the border of the Capellan Confederation, a smaller nation that had locked horns with the Suns for centuries, and lost a great deal of territory to them in their most recent war. In retaliation, the Capellans were launching raids to pillage and test the defenses of Suns worlds along the border. Elements of the 5th Syrtis Fusiliers were present to defend the planet, but were outnumbered and outgunned by the raiding force, which appeared to be most of 1st Battalion, 15th Dracon Regiment. The Fusiliers had contested the Capellan landing but were driven back by massed fire.
This group, called a lance (meaning a unit of four of the giant robots) had been savaged by enemy fire at the landing zone, then been run down by a fresh enemy unit when they tried to disengage. Both sides would attempt to salvage the wreckage (Harry was glad he had put up his wards so quickly; 'Constant Vigilance!') because it was highly valuable, both militarily and monetarily.
This brought Harry to the interesting bit: BattleMechs ('Mechs for short). This was the proper name for the hulking robots. Apparently, these things had been kings of the battlefield for centuries already. They're walking tanks crammed with lasers, cannons, missile launchers, and armor, wrapped around a very small SUN. Harry saw the appeal.
The most intact machine was Brian's Marauder. Harry thought the chicken legs were strange but Brian was absolutely in love with his old ride, touting its virtues until Harry's patience ran out.
Harry spent the rest of the day wandering the field casting Reparo every which way. He focused primarily on the Marauder, but figured the others might be good for parts, at least. He stopped to have a late dinner before going to bed early. He had a lot of information to digest.
The next day, Harry tested the Marauder. Brian walked him through the startup sequence and explained some of the diagnostic data (various components missing/non-functional). He also introduced the controls: sticks, pedals, buttons, switches and most importantly the Neurohelmet.
'Being able to balance well enough to walk is crucial to that whole "walking tank" business,' Harry mused. It was only thanks to Brian's advice, and Harry's own excellent balance and reflexes, that he didn't further damage the machine by repeatedly falling.
He slowly walked the machine around the field, carefully avoiding the other 'Mechs and staying within the wards. Harry continued this, gradually increasing his pace as he acclimated to the controls. Brian provided tips and within a few hours (and after less than a handful of falls), Harry was sprinting from one end of the field to the other.
He careened around the fallen titans, maneuvering like he was sitting on a broom rather than a seventy-five ton death machine. Brian was honestly surprised at some of the moves; it seemed like the Marauder should have lost its feet, or fallen short on a hop and landed on a fallen 'Mechs leg. Harry didn't notice. He was just thrilled about making that much sheer mass dance.
He'd always had great spatial awareness; it's one of the things that made him a good Seeker. Now, he treated a very different vehicle as an extension of his body. He had maxed the sensitivity of the controls a while ago, and the responsiveness reminded him of his Firebolt. By the time he thought consciously about a movement, it had already started. His awareness and close connection with the 'Mech let him pilot like a pro.
It was approaching lunch time when Harry slowed and stopped in front of a completely barren spot of ground. With Brian once again providing instruction, Harry test-fired each of the 'Mechs weapons in sequence. Both Particle Projection Cannons (PPCs) were working, though he had to recalibrate the site for the left arm; some of the damage had twisted the "forearm" and thrown it off the setting.
Harry immediately noticed the rush of heat from firing those weapons. "I feel like I'm baking in here. Is this normal?"
"Very much so, yes," the adequately amused apparition answered. "The Marauder is well known as a heat hog. Although, you didn't manage to fix all the heat simks so cooling efficiency is worse than it would otherwise be."
Harry only grunted, wiping the sudden sweat out of his right eye. "I think I'll start there," Harry intoned, looking blandly back at the spirit. "'Project: Make it not so horrible' is a go."
Harry sighed and continued the test. One of the two medium lasers was out; the one in the damaged left arm. This Marauder variant had a large laser in the torso, rather than the typical autocannon. It fired a much larger beam than the medium had, and the heat jumped once more.
Harry decided he needed to really understand, so he linked all the weapons to one firing circuit and pulled the trigger. The "Alpha Strike," as Brian referred to it, sent the heat in the cockpit skyrocketing. Harry was gasping; he could feel his throat and lungs burning. The sweat was evaporating off his skin. His eyelids felt like sandpaper when he tried to blink. Harry felt exhaustion coming on as if he had run for miles. There were various creaking and groaning noises as the cockpit temperature returned to normal. Harry made one or two himself.
Harry set the 'Mech to a low power mode so he wouldn't have to run through a full restart so soon. When he sat down to eat his lunch a few short minutes later he also pulled out paper and pen. He began making a list of spells that could be helpful in improving his chances for survival; namely, by preventing his new Marauder from being shot to pieces under him (or cooking him alive).
"Cooling, certainly," Harry mumbled around his bite of Ham and Swiss. "I'll focus on the heat sinks for that; hmm, unbreakable charm everywhere I can reach, I should think." Harry finished his sandwich, his brow still furrowed. "There's another I'm forgetting...impervious, is it? No, might cast that around the armor damage, though. Try to keep any muck from getting in there and causing problems. No, it's imperturbable we want. Doubt your guns will be so dangerous when the bullets refuse to hit me! Ha!"
Harry looked his 'Mech up and down, making a few more notes. He pulled out his wand as he approached the machine, muttering to himself, "Just have to remember not to cast imperturbable on the cockpit door until I'm inside."
He continued until dinner time, but casting so many spells after his earlier labors wore Harry out. Skipping the meal, he had hardly landed on his bed when he fell deeply asleep.
Harry developed a routine over the next several days. He would wake in the morning and recast his spells on the wards and on his 'Mech, then eat a hearty breakfast. Afterwards, he would spend a few hours running drills in his Marauder. Sometimes the dead pilots joined him to critique his performance or recommend a change to make the drills more realistic.
Harry ran lots of fire-while-moving and rapid targeting exercises; he visualized a battlefield, evading imagined weapons fire, tracking targets and friendlies, and kept his firing lanes clear. All the while he operated at as high a speed as he was capable of. Once again, his experience playing Quidditch and keeping track of the bludgers and other players proved valuable. Having to imagine it all rather than sense was taxing, but Harry faced the challenge head on, working all the harder for it.
After a break for lunch, Harry would talk with the dead pilots. He'd quiz them on 'Mech maintenance and operations, trying to gather all the info he could. He was even able to remove a pair of heavily damaged armor segments and replace them with intact pieces from the fallen 'Mechs.
He'd listen to their war stories, trying to imagine the chaos for use in his drills. He'd ask them about the operations they were involved in: who was the enemy; why was the operation launched; how did the commanders feel about ordering so much death. For the moment, Harry decided he was more comfortable with the Federated Suns; the Capellans sounded like zealots.
Harry would reapply the charms to his 'Mech before retiring to bed.
This went on until the night nine days after Harry's arrival. Despite repeated attempts, Harry hadn't been able to get any of the communications systems online barring one emergency unit that was little but a beacon (useless to someone in hiding). Being out of radio contact meant a lot of guesswork about what could be going on beyond the boundaries of the camp. At least that had been the case.
The cracks and booms of multiple explosions, lights flashing against the low-hanging clouds, the ground rumbling from distant impacts; all signs pointed to a battle close by.
Harry leapt from his seat where he had been having a discussion with Evan about anti-mech tactics used by infantry. He sprinted around the field, refreshing his wards once again at breakneck pace. He charged to his waiting 'Mech and reapplied his charms there as well. Satisfied, he threw himself into the cockpit. He summoned Brian while he raced through the startup process.
"Any thoughts on what's happening out there?" he asked his incorporeal accomplice.
"There was a spaceport in this area. Civilian facilities only. It's possible those Capellan fanatics are making a push to seize it. I think the navigation system should still have a waypoint for it."
"Confirmed. Heading there now," Harry announced.
The pounding of his 'Mech's stride, the ongoing light show in the distance; everything faded until Harry could only perceive his breathing: slow and steady, in and out. Harry realized he hadn't felt so relaxed in years, aside from a dangerous mission for the Minister now and then. Was the battlefield the only place he could feel alive? 'Eh, doesn't matter now. There's people who need to be saved.'
My intention with this story is to place a canon (or close to) Harry in the BattleTech setting. As such, he won't be demonstrating a mastery of skills he can't reasonably have developed within a few years of book 7. So no Snape-grade Occlumency, limited (if any) legilimency, no skill with runes (maybe 1 or 2 things picked up from listening to Hermione over the years), etc. He has no library or other source of magical knowledge, so if he adds anything at all to his repertoire it'll be through trial and error.
My thinking is also that there is a major difference in power and permanence between cast spells and something like enchantment; Harry only knows the former. This means that while Harry can cast amazing, overpowered spells that make his 'Mech a terror on the battlefield, they have limits on their effectiveness.
So cooling charms are great, but a long enough fight will wear them down until Harry's relying solely on the hardware. Similar ideas for the unbreakable and imperturbable charms; yeah it's super tough and impossible to hit with shells, but one too many tries will break the spell.
As Harry keeps applying the charms, though, I think their staying power and potency will slowly increase. Looking back at Arthur Weasley's flying car, my head-canon is that it was bespelled rather than enchanted, and that the reapplication and buildup of magic is what lead to its condition when it appears in the story. Will Harry's 'Mech achieve some semblance of life? Quite possibly, but not for a while in any event.
On Reparo, my head-canon is that it can fix anything recoverable. Specifically for this chapter: it can't fix one of the lasers because the parts were pulverized and scattered too widely; it couldn't fix all the armor plates because some had been melted, with some of the molten component dripping off and mixing with the dirt; it could fix the heat sinks but could NOT replace missing coolant, because, again, it leaked out and mixed with the dirt, thereby changing its nature.
Is it still overpowered? Yes. I think that's canon, though. Dumbledore and Slughorn each gave a simple wandwave and restored a demolished room and all objects within to a pristine state, but for Slughorn's Dragon Blood bottle that apparent;y got a bit dusty (hence my thinking that mixing can compromise the spells functioning). Limitations based on one's ability to fix something without magic do not apply.
The device in the first section is meant to be a hack-job fusion reactor, to be used in an unidentified ritual. The design concepts I saw years ago used lasers from multiple directions to initiate the fusion reaction in a pellet that would be suspended in the center of the chamber. I figured Harry would be completely nonplussed by that level of technology; it was good for a chuckle or two.
The 15th Dracon came from planet Ares, just on the other side of the border. 1st Battalion was still there as of the start of the war of '39. This raid is entirely my creation.
The Marauder is a MAD-3D variant. I didn't detail the other 'Mechs since doing so doesn't really add anything to the story or experience (not like Harry would be able to recognize them at this point).
It seems like Harry just jumps right on the Davion bandwagon, but so far all his info is from Davion-loyalist MechWarriors, so...
I also may beef that up a bit in future drafts. He's not supposed to be a sucker.
For the moment I'm doing my writing in basic text files, so no fancy formatting. I may switch over to a proper word processor if it comes out looking much better.
I'm posting this partially to commit myself to working on it more. Criticism is welcome, questions I will be happy to answer through PM.
I've got about 17 different scenarios for Harry Potter/BattleTech crossovers in my notes, so even if you have an idea that won't fit this story, I've probably got another one where it will.
Edit note 2018-03-13:
Many thanks to those who have read, reviewed, followed and favourited. I'm sorry for the long wait, and for not having an actual new chapter ready to go, but such is life. I don't much like my own writing and prefer to immerse myself in the work of better authors. That being said, I'll see about pushing this story onward, because, well-written or not, I want it to exist and no one else was making it.