PASSING OF THE TORCH
Synopsis: Cold War-era intrigue creeps into the Wizarding World. A Harry Potter et al. crossover.
Characters and concepts: if you recognize them, I don't own or profit from them.
JUNE 9, 1955
Captain Philip Strange and Cassandra Crescent Moon had first met during World War I.
A German fighter squadron called the Wulfstaffel had begun strafing Allied troop encampments by night. Doing so with both uncanny accuracy and intolerably increasing frequency! So Phillip had once more been ordered to detached duty with Le Deuxieme Bureau (French army intelligence) as "Agent G-8." His mission, this time? To locate the Wulfstaffel's aerodrome; and, then, to put both it and them out of service, permanently.
By any means, necessary.
As with all his previous assignments, Philip had not been chosen for this one, randomly. True, he was not the only American aviator who had compiled an enviable combat record as a member of the famed Lafayette Escadrille. But, he did have one special talent that all his fellow flying aces lacked.
Philip had been born with ESP!
It was a talent that his parents had both camouflaged and exploited, all through his Victorian-era childhood, in the form of a vaudeville mentalist act. The truth was eventually discovered, however, by Dr. Jules Grandin. A naturalized French expatriate serving as Precept of the New York City Legacy House. And it was the good doctor who ultimately "persuaded" Philip's parents, both financially and legalistically, to grant him custody of their son so he could help nurture Philip's talent. Help him to refine it, and to use it more philanthropically, than they had.
It was this same talent that allowed Philip to accomplish the first part of his mission with relative ease. Initiating completion of the second part, however, was unexpectedly complicated by his discovery that all the pilots in the Wulfstaffel were really and truly, one hundred percent bona fide... werewolves!
More specifically: Black Spiral Dancers.
The latter had been imperio-cursed to the German cause by Dr. Ahmed Chezi (Setite-ghouled Precept of the renegade Turkish Legacy House) in collaboration with a nephandic wizard named Gellert Grindelwald. So Philip- -realizing that he would have to fight fire with fire- -called for an emergency consultation with a certain member of the Society of Watchers at the Parisian Legacy House. Following which, he used his ESP to pierce the veil of invisibility surrounding L'Academie Beauxbatons, near the Breton Forest of Broceliande. Which, at that time, was the latest home-away-from-home for the Immortal wizardess known as...
...Cassandra: Last of the White Howlers.
The latter had first come to that French school of wizardry, in 1913, as a Visiting Professor of Muggle Studies. Yet, when the war broke out, a year later, the resident faculty almost immediately converted part of it into a shelter for local civilian refugees. Especially, those of partial Wizarding-folk descent! Cassandra, therefore, did not hesitate to use her wide knowledge of various healing arts, past and present, to aid the school nurse in treating the sick and injured.
Nor did she prove hesitant in granting Philip's request for help upon learning that her old enemies, the Black Spiral Dancers, were once more up to no good.
Thus, between her broadsword, the .45-caliber silver bullets in his twin Colt M-1911's, and a lot of high explosives, the Wulfstaffel were put out of everyone else's misery, once and for all. With Philip, himself, personally terminating Dr. Chezi with extreme prejudice. Grindelwald, unfortunately, escaped. Due mostly to the interference of a Schwyzerdeutsch auror, named Heinrich Eberstadt, who seemed shortsightedly obsessed with bringing Grindelwald in alive. Indeed, when it was discovered, shortly afterward, that he and Grindelwald had been roommates at Durmstrang Institute, just prior to the latter's expulsion from there, this fact was strangely dismissed, by the French Minister of Magic, as "coincidental and irrelevant!"
Still, if there was one good thing to come out of that adventure, it was that, for the next twenty years, on every Armistice Day like clockwork, Philip and Cassandra held a private reunion. With him teaching her how to fly biplanes, monoplanes, and autogyros. And with her returning the favor by refreshing his knowledge of battlefield swordsmanship.
Such were the memories Cassandra now shared with Tangina Barrons at the reception following Philip Strange's funeral.
"I guess that makes you the new Precept of Boston House," she hastily added in conclusion.
Tangina, courteously ignoring the abrupt change-in-subject, nodded.
"He'll be a tough act to follow, of course. In fact, I even said as much to him while he was still on his deathbed! But, he just smiled and said that all new Precepts felt that way, at first. He reminded me that confidence only grows with experience. And that initial failures are twice as educational as successes!"
Cassandra grinned. "I think he was quoting his own predecessor when he told you that. But, it's still true. Now, as well as then!"
"Enough about me, though," replied Tangina, now taking her turn at changing the subject. "Where will _you_ be going from here?"
Cassandra's grin shrank down to a rueful smile.
"Well, first, I'm going to offer my condolences to Philip's widow and little boy, one more time. After that, I'm off to Greenwich Village. Jethro got word, from some of his old friends in the Akashic Brotherhood, that Roland Kantos has been sighted in northern India, near the Vale of Kashmir. Apparently, he's making his way toward the border of Chinese Turkestan. In the company of a Setite-Embraced animagus called Fenris Greybeard! Just why is anybody's guess. But, whatever they're after, with a twosome like that, it can't be anything good."
NEW YORK CITY, NY
(MAY 30, 1967)
Martin James Dale had been born and raised in Manhattan of the Roaring Twenties as the only son and child of Jimmy and Marie Dale. His father had been a notorious turn-of-the-century cat burglar better known as "The Grey Seal". While his mother (nee LaSalle) had been the only daughter of a French diplomat named Andre LaSalle. Upon coming of age, during World War II, Martin decided to follow in his father's felonious footsteps. Although, he did so on behalf of British Military Intelligence and was given the code-name "The Picaroon" while he stole Nazi military secrets from all over the European Theater of Operations!
In the spring of 1944, he had stolen information crucial to the forthcoming Allied invasion of Normandy. Information that he subsequently transferred to an Anglo-American spy named John Baring Summers (a.k.a. "The Grey Shadow") and his female pilot, Ruth Darrow. In the midst of doing so, he could see from their facial expressions that they had developed a near-instant attraction for each other. So, it did not surprise him in the slightest when he was eventually invited to their post-war wedding!
That, in turn, is why the Summers family were attending his funeral, twenty-three years later. For as they had explained it to their baffled adolescent son: "If it weren't for him, Hank, you wouldn't be here, today!"
Following the funeral, everyone reconvened at the former Greenwich Village brownstone of Jethro "the Green Lama" Dumont. But, now better known to most Legacy members as New York House.
"It's good to see you again, John," said Precept Godfrey Usher.
"You, too, Doc! How's life been treating you?"
The eighty-something parapsychologist shrugged. "Not bad, for someone who never settled down to domestic bliss as you did. Although, I'm half-seriously considering retiring to the West Coast, like Jethro did."
"That'd be better than winding up dead in Washington, DC," replied John, in a suddenly harsh whisper. "Half a block from the East German embassy... like Martin did!"
Usher's eyebrows arched in shock.
"How. . .?"
"I liaise for House Fortunae, remember? Sooner or later, we hear about everything. Including near-violations of the Archangel Treaty!"
In September of 1949, nearly one month after the Soviet Union had test-detonated their first nuclear bomb, a secret treaty was signed in Archangel, Russia, between representatives of the Kremlin and the American Defense and State Departments. It was done in the home of a retired headmaster of Durmstrang, in the local version of Diagon Alley, with a memory-altering charm cast immediately afterward. So that his muggle visitors would have no memory of the house's exact address- -nor even its appearance- -when they returned to their own world.
This treaty, among other things, specified that if any member of the Legacy tried to interfere, in any way/shape/form, with the psychic research that would now be done on behalf of the Soviet Union, by the former Legacy House now located in East Berlin, the Kremlin would see it as an act of war. Which, in turn, would result in the Order of Teraka declaring war against the Legacy as a whole!
Such a thing, of course, would permanently expose the supernatural, to the general public, as all too real. Leading to world-wide panic and chaos and, perhaps, even nuclear conflict. Consequently, the Legacy now did most of its espionage-with-a-capital-ESP through House Fortunae of the Order of Hermes.
Or, at least, they were supposed to be doing so.
"What were you thinking?!" John Summers now demanded. "Hiring him to break into the East German embassy. Of all places!"
"But, I didn't!" exclaimed Usher. "Last month, Sir Waldo Newton, the Precept of Hong Kong House, was visited by Chao Chang of the Wu Lung Craft. And, according to him? A corporation called Pentex has been doing business with Ostberlinhaus through a certain bank in Switzerland. A bank owned by the Eberstadt family! I hired Martin to break into the office of the bank president and find out why. That was three weeks ago. The last time I heard from him was forty-eight hours ago. He told me he had photographed some documents in a file labeled 'Project: Yulan-jin!' And that I was to send someone trustworthy to pick up the photos from him... right where the D.C. police found his body."
That was all it took to drain the wind of indignation from John's emotional sails.
"Did you say... 'yulan-jin?' "
Usher nodded, adding. "You know what that means. Don't you?"
Now, it was John's turn to nod. For that word was a Sino-Japanese portmanteau that roughly translated. . .as "soul jumper".
Special note: I'm humorously extrapolating that Cho Chang (Harry Potter's first crush) might have been named, as closely as possible, after her father.
Agent G-8: a high-flying master spy for the Allies during WWI, created for the eponymous Depression-era pulp magazine G-8 AND HIS BATTLE ACES, by Robert J. Hogan.*
Captain Philip Strange: a high-flying master spy for the Allies during WWI, created for the Depression-era pulp magazine FLYING ACES, by the man better known as the "Father of Modern Ufology," Donald Keyhoe.*
The Picaroon: a swashbuckling cat burglar created, circa 1921, by Herman Landon. With Police Captain Summers as his eternal nemesis.
Godfrey Usher: a swashbuckling psychic researcher created, circa 1917, by Herman Landon.
*The former was never given a civilian name. And the latter was known by his German adversaries as "The Brain Devil" for his mind-reading ability. As several of their stories had "Invisible Staffel," in their titles, I've amalgamated both characters for the purpose of this fanfic.