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Harry Potter and the Invincible Technomage
Chapter Nineteen - Year Three — Extra Study
A/N: I do not own Harry Potter. Nor any of the Marvel Comics Characters mentioned herein. But, you knew that.
Padma crossed to where Neville was standing and her audible gasp echoed in the small room. That brought Hermione and Tracey rushing to her side.
"Is that what I think it is?" Neville asked.
The four Hogwarts students stared out the view port at a black star filled sky, and the blue white sphere hung in the distance.
"We're in orbit!" Granger observed.
"How do we get down?" Neville asked.
The four Hogwarts students stood staring out at the void for several seconds before Tracey left the group to return to the table where Harry lay unconscious. She leaned in close to examine how the three cables attached to the boy's head connected to his flesh. Tracey paused for a moment, and then grasped the two cables attached to Harry's temples, one in each hand, and pulled them away from her friend's flesh with a wet sucking sound.
"What the hell do you think you're doing?" Tracey looked up to find Hermione Granger's wand inches from her face.
"We need Harry," she said simply. "I don't know what these Key people are, or what they want, but it's obvious that Harry was their target and we just got caught up in whatever they used to catch him. None of us have a clue as to what is going on, and unless you've been holding back Granger, none of us have any idea how to get us back to Earth or even how to call for help."
"Kree," Hermione corrected the Slytherin automatically, her wand hand beginning to tremble. "You could kill him."
"And I could wake him up," Tracey noted as she pulled the cable attached to Harry's forehead away from his skin. "Would you want to be laid out on a slab like one of Professor Snape's ingredient culls, or would you want at least a fighting chance?"
Padma laid her hand on Hermione's shoulder. "No one likes it, but she's right."
Tracey pulled the cable attached to the center of Harry's chest away, and was shocked when the boy immediately sat up, gasping for breath. He remained sitting upright, panting for several seconds before he started looking around. "What the heck?" he asked.
"Harry," Padma said soothingly. "We think we've been kidnapped."
"Again?" Harry asked, still panting. "Something's wrong, I can't catch my breath. Any idea who?"
"Who what Harry?" Neville asked, a bit disturbed that Harry's immediate reaction to being told he had been kidnapped was to note that it was not an infrequent occurrence.
"Who snatched us?" Harry asked looking around. "Oh god, this isn't Earth tech. The air is weird, I feel heavy… Has anyone seen blue people?"
"I did," Tracey said. "A blue man with a crested helmet and a picture of Saturn on his chest."
"It's the Kree isn't it Harry?" Hermione asked.
"Yeah, I think so," Harry looked down. "I'm naked. Why am I naked? Who covered me up?"
"Yes Harry," Padma interjected dryly. "We've seen your todger. It was very nice, I'm so impressed. And the sight of your naked body has made me hot. You must take me now. Can we please concentrate on something important?"
"Well, alright, but I really think we should get off this ship before it takes off," Harry snarked.
"It's taken off Harry," Neville pointed toward the window and the starry void beyond.
"Huh," Harry said clutching at the remains of his clothing, to ensure he remained covered as he looked around. "That's not good. Did my techsuit survive?"
"Yes," Neville said handing the mass of silky fabric and electronics to his friend. "They cut your clothing away, but didn't damage your techsuit as far as I can tell."
"Ok, good," Harry said taking it from his friend. He paused for a moment while his friends remained gathered around the table where he was sitting. "Ok, look, I can't power this up until I'm wearing it…"
"So put it on," Hermione demanded.
"Why don't you girls take a look out the window for a couple of minutes?"
"Harry," Padma said shaking her head, "we've already seen you naked."
"Ok, fine. Then you three peel down and we'll all be on equal footing," Harry suggested.
"We'll be at the window Harry," Tracey said, pulling Hermione with her.
"A big fuss over nothing," Padma noted as she joined the others.
"How much trouble are we in Harry?" Neville asked in low tones as Harry pulled his techsuit on.
"Only a whole lot," Harry said as he started the sequence to bring his techsuit online. "You've all got your wands?"
"Yeah," Neville agreed. "And I found yours in what was left of your clothes."
"Ok, good. Let me get plugged in and see how much trouble we're in… Have you got your pranking supplies on you?"
Neville offered his friend a small grin. "Never leave the castle without them."
"Good. If they left us our wands that means they don't know what we can do. As long as this isn't a battle cruiser, we can use that arrogance against them. We might just have a chance."
"Ok," Harry said as he looked away from the alien computer terminal. "The good news is that this is the ship's sick bay, and the computer I'm accessing is tied into environmental controls. We're on a scout ship, which is excellent news, it has a crew of six. I've increased the oxygen percentage, reduced the nitrogen in the air and have programmed a decrease of atmospheric pressure to Earth Sea Level over the next 24 hours."
"Why?" Hermione asked.
"The Kree homeworld's atmosphere is at a much higher pressure than Earth's and Nitrogen is at a higher percentage of the atmosphere. If we dropped to Earth Sea Level too fast, we'd all end up with the bends, crippled or dead. I don't know what it would do to the Kree onboard. I'm hoping that pushing the O2 in the air up to our normal levels will make them a little oxygen drunk."
"What's the bad news?" Tracey asked.
"The bad news is that the computer is tied into the environmental controls and not much else. I've got no access to communications or the weapons or anything else."
"Couldn't you, you know, hack it?"
"Hermione, I'm no hacker, but my Techsuit is and I've already asked it. Unfortunately, the Kree aren't into systems integration having a big computer controlling everything. This system is not part of the command and control network. There are environmental control terminals for this system throughout the ship, but I've locked them out." Harry grinned. "The Kree are too regimented a society to have ever developed much in the way of computer security. If their main system is smart it may try to break my passwords, but I don't give it much of a chance of breaking a password made up of the first two verses of 'The Sultans of Swing' anytime soon."
"Smart little primates, aren't you?" a voice said, a voice containing the strange double echo associated with real time translation.
Harry sighed at the new voice. It had been going so well too. He slowly turned to face the new speaker, a tall man with blue skin and some sort of weapon pointed at Harry and his friends.
"Hi there," he said brightly, recalling how this level of cheerfulness always annoyed Mar-Vell. "We were just getting ready to ask if you could take us home."
"How did you get out of your cells?" the blue man demanded.
The question brought only silence from the group, though Hermione and Padma seemed on the verge of whimpering.
"Answer me!" the blue man thundered.
"Magic," Padma answered truthfully.
"What?" the blue man demanded when his translation software failed to produce any meaning from the word 'magic'. "Explain yourself."
"Ok," she said raising her wand. "Stupefy!"
The blue man's weapon slipped from his grasp as he fell face-first to the decking.
"I don't believe it," Padma sighed as her legs gave out, forcing her to lean against the table to keep from falling to the floor herself. "I simply do not believe that worked."
"Here," the oddly metallic voice of the synthazoid broke the silence in the clearing in front of the dilapidated old shack. "Massive energy discharge. The residue of the discharge matric suggests Kree weapon technology."
"Let me try," the red clad woman said quietly from her place at the machine man's side. She raised her hands over her head before bringing them down in front of her body.
Minerva McGonagall gasped as ghostly images of the five missing students suddenly appeared before the group of professors and… visitors. The five specters milled about, some pointing at the Shrieking Shack, and obviously having an unheard conversation.
"Ghosts?" she gasped. "They're all dead?"
"No," the Muggle named Stark said from her side, his eyes never leaving the five vaporous forms. "Wanda can use residual temporal energy to reconstruct what happened under the right conditions."
"Don't let it bother you Ma'am" the young black woman who had introduced herself as 'Captain Marvel' said. Shaking her head, the woman clad all in white with an ebony starburst on her chest, continued. "Wanda scared the life out of me the first time I saw her do that."
The tableau before them continued until the specter easily identified as Harry Stark suddenly stiffened and began looking around, only to suddenly fall with the rest of the students. Then three taller figures entered the area and collected the fallen students.
"Kree," Stark said in a voice full of anger."
"Those folks just don't seem to learn," the Captain agreed. "I'm going to start a pattern search in high orbit and look for Kree comm signals."
"Thank you Monica," Stark nodded. "Be careful, even with your speed, a ship is a very small target in a very large volume of space."
"If they're still in the Solar System, we'll find them, Tony." The woman's body flared in a white light and she disappeared, leaving a streak of light soaring into the sky.
"And I will be contacting Doctor Peter Corbeau at Project Starcore." The Vision said. "His project instrumentation will have detected any instances of Kree Empire Warp signatures."
Stark was stoic as the synthazoid entered the waiting Quinjet.
"We'll find them Tony," Wanda said, laying her hand on his shoulder.
"Who is this Kree?" Dumbledore asked.
"The Kree are an advanced civilization based out of the Greater Magellanic Cloud," the billionaire said, his hands in his pocket, his gaze looking upward toward the unseen stars. "A year ago, a group of heroes I fund were sucked into one of the skirmishes in an ongoing war between the Kree and another galactic power, the Skrull Empire. Our people defended themselves and ended up being a decisive factor in ending the battle."
"I was one of those taken, in the end we thought we taught both sides that it would be a mistake to come into conflict with the people of Earth," the woman in red said quietly.
"It seems that at least a few of the Kree didn't learn that lesson," Stark murmured, still looking skyward. "If any of those children are harmed because some coward thought he could strike back at me through my child, I will show the Kree Empire just how good I am at building things that destroy civilizations."
Harry watched as the force field shimmered into place, confining the unconscious Kree warrior in the cell that Hermione and Padma had been sharing only an hour before.
"Ok," He said, "Hermione, stuff his clothing into the disposal oubliette there in the corner by that bright yellow display."
"Why did you strip him?" she asked as she gathered the blue man's uniform.
"Mostly because we have no reasonable method of determining what is or isn't a weapon," Harry explained. "Look what happened when they left you all with what you had on you. That, plus the psychological stress of being naked can't be underestimated… at least I think it can't. I honestly don't know enough about Kree psychology to be able to say one way or the other."
"You're taking all of this rather calmly," Tracey noted as she eyed the door at the far end of the passageway.
"With my dad being who he is," Harry sighed, "and the people I hang out with, all this sort of thing happened to me before. A couple of times by people who thought that they could get money from my dad for me, and a few more because I was hanging out with my friend Franklin when one of his family's enemies decided to get to them through him," Harry shrugged. "Sure, it's scary, but after a while you get used to it."
"If I ever get 'used to it'," Padma said shaking her head, "I'll turn myself into the long term care ward at St. Mungos'."
"Ok," Neville said from where he was guarding the door, his wand at the ready. "You said there was a crew of six, with one in the cell, which leaves five. What are we going to do?"
"You said you had your pranking supplies with you," Harry noted. "Does that include your miniature spidermen?"
"Ah," Neville nodded. "You'd like me to do a little Weasley hunting?"
"Yep," Harry grinned as he came to his friend's side. "The Kree are an extremely militarized culture. I have absolutely no doubt that it wouldn't take long for the captain of this scout ship to come up with a strategy to counter our magic. However, if we inflict a small herd of spidermen on them? There isn't a strategy made that could count that kind of randomness." Harry stood for a moment, gripping his wand. "At least I hope there isn't."
"What about your weapons?" Hermione asked. "The ones on those tentacle things first year?"
"Part of the negotiation that got me back to school second year was removing those," Harry shrugged and he waved his wand and duplicated one of Neville's pair of spiderman action figures, and then did it again. "Dad said that in a negotiation he had to give Dumbledore something. No big loss, really. The Mk 4 Techsuit designs didn't use them anymore, so we traded away something I wasn't going to use anyway," He turned to the three girls and showed them the palm of his gloved left hand that contained a golden disk perhaps 2 inches across. "We finished the design and fabrication of the Mk4 over the summer. This disk is the emitter for a Stark International force beam projector Version 2.1. It is roughly three times as powerful as the one I used on the troll first year, and that's the problem. It's entirely possible I could punch through the hull with it, and that would kinda ruin everyone's day."
So, we use our wands?" Tracey asked.
"And we rely on Neville's potions," Harry nodded.
"Uh, Harry," Tracey whispered in his ear, "is that a good idea? I know Longbottom is your friend, but I've had potions with him. He's a menace."
"Trust me, Tracey," Harry laughed. "He's had some tutoring." He paused as he enlarged the six duplicates of the action figures so that they were each two feet tall. "They're ready for you Nev."
Longbottom produced a vial that he used to dose the wrists of each of the dolls, and then another that seemingly brought them to life. "Ok you lot," he said to the suddenly animated action figures. "I need you to seek out the crew of this ship and restrain them. Don't hurt them if you can avoid it, but restrain all of them."
The dolls nodded their understanding and with a chorus of 'thwips' they swung into the passage beyond the door.
"How did you do that?" Hermione demanded.
"Potions can't bring something to life," Padma agreed.
"Well," Neville said with a shy grin, "what I'm doing is really more alchemic than traditional potions."
"You… You… You…" Tracey stuttered before managing to collect herself. "You're an alchemist?"
"Oh, no, no, no," Neville said shaking his head. "I'm not an alchemist… at least, not yet."
Monica Rambeau continued her search pattern, reflecting that Stark had been right. Even at her speed, this was a huge volume of space to cover.
Suddenly, the blunt oblong form of a Kree starship was in front of her. Pausing to extend her senses, she could find no indication that the crew of the starship had noticed she had found them. No external shielding was in place, beyond the Kree's normal navigational deflectors.
With a thought, she slipped through a transparent view port, and her body shifted from her energy form to her mass state.
"I've found the ship," she whispered into the communicator built into her mask.
"Understood," the Vision's voice murmured in her earpiece. "I am informing Ironman now. I am receiving your beacon clearly. The Quinjet will be matching orbit in ninety seven minutes."
"Starting my search for the children," Monica whispered. "Marvel out."
The first major compartment she came across was the Scout ship's engine room. She recognized the configuration from others she had seen during her mission to the Kree home world, but there was something odd about it. The ceiling of the space was festooned with…
Spiderman's webbing? How did that make any sense? Monica grasped a strand of the webbing to examine it more closely. What was the Webslinger doing on a starship? Evidently, he had been busy, given the evidence that was everywhere. The chair in front of the control console was covered in the sticky stuff.
Wondering what Spiderman had to do with the Stark boy's kidnapping, she started to make her way out of the empty engine room, only to find herself restrained by the single strand of webbing. She pulled as hard as she could and grimaced when the strand snapped back and pulled her glove with it. Silently cursing, she pulled the glove back on and shifted to her energy form, planning on what she was going to say to the webhead when she found him.
Once she was solid again, she made her way from the Engine Room. The last ship of similar design she had been on had secure cells on this level, near the medical/environmental control compartment. That seemed to be the most likely place for the children to be. Silently she moved forward, making her way to those spaces.
And found the three cells to be occupied by five unconscious, naked, and for the most part webbed up Kree.
What was going on?
"One more time," Harry said reasonably. "What is this all about?"
The female Kree sat silently. If she had been human, Harry would have judged her to be in her mid-twenties, but she was not so he had no idea. He did know she wore the command insignia, and that she had been at the ships command position when they found her webbed to her chair, no longer able to reach her controls.
"Ok, fine, don't talk," Harry grinned at her, knowing that it would make her angry. "The fact remains that we've taken your ship, and my systems are going to defeat your security sooner or later." He did not feel the need to mention that the Techsuit's time estimates for suborning the ships command AI was counted in weeks. The Kree did not have much in the way of computer security, but their sentient Artificial Intelligences were anything but pushovers.
"I say," Tracey interrupted, "that if she isn't going to cooperate, we don't need her or her crew. They should all go out that double door thing to outside the ship."
"The airlock," Harry explained, making sure to supply a term the Kree's translator would handle. He could tell from Tracey's expression that she was anything but serious, but the prisoner did not know that. In the end, Hermione's reaction really sold it.
"No!" the bushy haired girl shouted. "We can't just kill them. That would be inhumane!"
"They aren't human," Tracey pointed out.
"My crew will face their end like the warriors they are!" the woman in the chair responded.
"Some warriors," Neville snarked. "Taken out by children's toys."
"The Kree Empire is feared throughout known space!" she insisted before hesitating. "What do you mean children's toys?"
"The Kree Empire appears to be somewhat overrated," Harry suggested, his easy smile still fixed. "You and your crew of warriors were taken down by the five of us," he pointed out. "We are children by our society's standards, and we defeated you with the toys we had with us when you kidnapped us."
The blue woman's eyes narrowed. "You're lying."
"Yeah, like I'd lie about something like that," Harry snorted. "We aren't even old enough to drive yet." Seeing the blank look on the captives face, he continued. "To operate one of our ground vehicles. Of course, this is our opportunity to change all that…"
"What?" the woman asked.
"Torturing information from an enemy is one of the gateways to adult hood," Harry said with an evil grin. "And since you've so thoughtfully provided enough of a crew that we each get one…"
"With a spare," Tracey added helpfully. Obviously, she had picked up on what he was doing. "In case one of us accidently kills theirs before we get any information from him."
"Harry!" Hermione, just as obviously, had not. "You can't do that."
"Ha, that one," Harry laughed ignoring his friend. "She's a rule follower. 'We'll have to turn them over to the Authorities, Harry' she said," He conjured a knife in front of the Kree woman eyes, and drove it into the armrest of the woman's chair, missing her arm by inches.
"I guess I'll start with you,"
"How did you do that?" She gasped.
"Blades are easy," Harry remarked as he created another. "We get taught to make them in the cradle. We practice our techniques on political prisoners, but to have an actual invader? Oh, the rewards we'll get."
"Wait your turn Hermione," Harry said offhandedly as he slid a third blade against the woman's cheek. "You can have the science officer."
"She really doesn't want to do it you know," he confided in his prisoner. "The rules are important to her. However, once she sees what the rest of us do to you and your crew, she'll join in. Peer pressure, you know?"
"What… what do you want to know?"
"Every time your people have started a fight with the people of Earth, you've lost," Harry explained patiently, "Every single time. But you keep right on trying. Now, what was this all about? There are more than six billion people on the planet, why did you try to take the five of us?"
The woman blinked at the realization that children had defeated her. "The Tony Stark killed my father."
"Explain that," Harry said with a frown.
"When the Earth heroes were taken to Kree-lar, there was a battle when they escaped. I was informed by the Supreme Intelligence that the Tony Stark killed my father in their escape."
"Ah, I see," Harry said, his eyes narrowing. "Your father attacked mine, mine fought back and your father was killed, and now you're here to get revenge on my father through me."
"Yes," the woman declared.
"If I had a nickel for every time…" Harry said shaking his head. "And the rest of my friends? Why did you take them?"
"We could leave no witnesses."
"Of course not," Harry sighed. "Sorry guys, looks like you got caught up in this because of me."
"Harry?" Padma said.
He turned to find his friends all had their wands drawn and aimed at Captain Marvel standing in the doorway. "Hello Captain," he said calmly, drawing his own wand and joining them. "We've got Kree, I haven't seen anyone with feathers, so we don't have any Shi'ar, but that doesn't mean we don't have any Skrulls hanging around causing trouble. So, tell me, what did you think of that gumbo Jarvis and I made for you last summer?"
The woman in white smiled. "Harry, honey, you tried, but whatever that was, it wasn't gumbo."
Harry grinned. "Good to see you Cap. Calm down guys, she's one of the good guys."
"If I'd known you had the situation in hand," Monica said as she took a seat at the scoutship's helm, "I'd have stayed home and finished my book"
"Don't mistake no longer being prisoners with being control," Harry said. "Can you fly this thing?"
"A helicopter, sure, a fixed wing aircraft, no problem. The Quinjet, you bet. This thing? Not a chance. Don't worry though, Ironman, Scarlet Witch and the Vision are on their way and will be here in about an hour. Between us all, we'll get you back to school."
Albus Dumbledore and his Deputy stood in open-mouthed amazement as the huge craft settled silently onto the ground just outside the gates of Hogwarts, followed by the shrieking sounds of Tony Stark's flying machine landing next to it.
For all of his dealings with the Muggle world, the Headmaster had never seen anything like this.
"Albus," Minerva whispered in awe, "what have you allowed into our school?"
His response went unsaid as a doorway suddenly appeared in the side of the huge alien machine and a ramp descended to the ground. The red and green machine man led his missing students from the craft to the ground.
"Thanks Vision," the Stark boy was saying, "I thought we'd be stuck in that ship for the rest of the day decompressing."
"While Kree-Standard atmosphere does contain much more nitrogen than you are used to," the machine man said in his echoing metallic voice, "and at higher atmospheric pressure, it is not as high a pressure as you would experience in even a shallow dive, Harry. The excess nitrogen in your blood streams was easily expressed after a short time at normal Earth sea-level pressure. Your caution, while well considered, is unnecessary."
"Are you all okay?" Tony Stark asked as he approached his son and his friends.
"We're fine Mr. Stark," Padma said with a blush.
"They managed to free themselves before I arrived," Captain Marvel assured the worried father.
"Not me," Harry said shaking his head. "I was on a slab being kept unconscious. It was these guys that saved us."
"No," Tracey disagreed. "Neville saved us. He was the one who figured out how to get through the force field thing and his alchemy prevented us from having to fight."
"Well done, Mr. Longbottom," Minerva interjected reminding the assembled students and Muggles that the school's administration was present while wondering what the Slytherin girl meant by Longbottom's alchemy. "It appears that you were a credit to Gryffindor while on your adventure."
"Yes, I agree," Dumbledore nodded. "Perhaps it would be appropriate for all of you to be excused from school for a few days, so that you can see your families and deal with the trauma of your abduction."
"Yes, that is a good idea," Tony agreed. "I can offer a lift home to all of you."
"It would probably be best if I went home via the Floo," Tracey said quietly. "I'm not sure how my family would react to a huge Muggle machine landing on the lawn."
"Whatever you think is best, Miss Davis," Tony said to the girl with a grin, before turning to look at the Kree Scoutship. "What are we going to do with this beast?"
"I believe," a new voice broke in, "dealing with the Kree and their vessel falls under my brief. None of you are going anywhere until you are thoroughly debriefed on the alien contact."
The entire group turned to face the new speaker. A tall woman clad in a dark green uniform, with green hair and green glasses stood perhaps ten feet away.
"Agent Brand," Tony said nodding. "I had no idea that SWORD would be interested in this."
"You're surprised that the Sentient World Observation and Response Department would be interested in a Kree warship kidnapping Terran citizens capable of magic?" the woman asked dryly. "You're smarter than that, Stark. We would be interested even if your son wasn't one of the victims."
Dumbledore and McGonagall exchanged a startled glance. This situation was getting completely out of hand. The Statute of Secrecy was in serious danger with all these Muggles appearing on the school grounds.
"I must caution you, Mr. Dumbledore, Miss McGonagall, I am not your enemy," the woman said without looking at them, "however, if you draw your wands, you will be dead before you can cast your first spell. Three different sniper teams have you in their sights, and they are well capable of dealing with your stealth techniques as well as your ability to teleport. Since the danger of your wands is based purely upon your intent, my people will not be taking any chances."
"You know about magic?" The Headmaster asked.
"Of course we know about magic, you personally dealt with the Allies during the Second World War did you not Mr. Dumbledore? Did you really think we'd forgotten about you?" The woman sniffed dismissively. "There has never been a reason to interfere in your culture, so we have left you alone to your own devices, though we came awfully close to dealing with your Voldemort problem before Mr. Stark the younger did it for us."
"Always the charmer Abigail," Tony said with a grin. "How long will this debrief last? These kids have been through a lot."
"As long as it takes, Tony. As long as it takes."
The 'debriefing' seemed to last forever, but finally Tracey was free. Somehow, she had been the last, so she knew she would be alone.
This is why Tracey was surprised to find Harry, now wearing a tee-shirt and trousers over his grey techsuit, waiting when she exited the SWORD vehicle.
"Hey," Harry said.
"You waited for me?" Tracey asked self-consciously.
"Yeah, I wanted a chance to apologize," Harry responded. "Walk you to the Three Broomsticks? Dumbledore said that he'd arranged for you to use their floo?"
"Yes please, I think that would be nice." Tracey seemed to think for a moment. "Why would you need to apologize?"
"You only got involved with all the stuff today because of me. For better or for worse, this is my life," Harry sighed as he reached to take her hand. "Here in the magical world I'd let myself forget. I should have warned you that stuff like this happens around me," A grin appeared on his face. "Now you have to admit that for a first date, it really was out of this world."
"How long have you been waiting to use that horrible line?" Tracey asked, shaking her head.
"Since about the time Neville got the report from his Spidermen that the crew was restrained," Harry admitted. "You can't reasonably expect a guy to pass up a line like that."
"Oh, you are hilarious," Tracey said with a small smile. "The thrill ride that is your life wasn't that big a surprise, Harry, I mean sure, I never really expected to go into space. I'd always hoped I would get the opportunity someday. But, I never really expected that I would. As far as your life, well, I've researched you as well as the Vision. I know about your more public adventures." They walked in silence for a few strides, and Tracy began again, "I have my own apology to make."
"What could you possibly have to apologize for?" Harry asked incredulously. "From what everyone told me you saved my life."
"Saw you naked too," Tracey laughed. "But I don't need to apologize about that, I need to apologize for my family."
"What about your family?" Harry asked. "All families are weird. You've seen mine, well my dad anyway. You still need to meet Pepper and Jarvis."
Tracy refused to meet his gaze. "I've been instructed to seduce you."
Harry stopped in his tracks, but he had not let go of her hand, so he pulled Tracey to a stop as well. "Say that again."
Tracy sighed. "I know you were raised Muggle, Harry, and I know that I don't know much about how the magical world does things, but here, in the magical culture the great families work out their bindings well in advance."
Harry began walking again, and he maintained his hold on her hand. "So your family wants you to…"
Tracy sighed again, "I've been instructed, to use my feminine wiles to bind you to my will. When the time comes, we will be married and you will take the Davis name. The Potter fortune and properties will be folded into the Davis estate, and possibly the less embarrassingly Muggle portions of the Stark estate."
"And I thought I had a weird life," Harry said shaking his head. "This isn't your idea I take it."
"I'm the heir," Tracy shrugged. "My grandfather, the current head of house Davis, is ill. His healers tell me that they do not expect him to live for more than another two years. Upon his death I will assume the duties of head of house, and I will cancel the instructions."
"I had no idea I was such a catch," Harry snarked. "Your grandfather has good taste."
"God, you can be an arse," Tracey noted.
"Yeah, I know… I'm not saying I'm opposed to seduction…"
"An. Utter. Arse." Tracey hissed. "I'm trying to apologize to you."
"I know, but this may just be another example of your feminine wiles…" Harry grinned before becoming serious again. "Are you ok?"
"Yes," she admitted, "though I don't know how I'm going to explain all this to my family. Mum will understand, I think, but Grandfather? My Aunt and Uncle? Never."
"Tell them the truth," Harry advised. "And blame me. It will be the truth, and it might well get you out of the 'Seduce Harry' chore."
The pair had reached Hogsmeade. "I'll blame you, trust me," Tracey laughed.
"Good," Harry said as he opened the door to the Three Broomsticks for her. "What is a feminine wile anyway?"
"Took him long enough," Padma grumbled as Harry boarded the Quinjet.
"I really love it when you show this side of yourself," Hermione giggled. "If it bothers you that much, you should just grab onto Harry and snog him until he pays attention to you."
"I hate you. I really really hate you," Padma growled.
"Hey guys," Harry waved as he approached to take the seat next to Neville. Harry swiveled his chair around to face them. He then showed Neville how to do the same. "Sorry it took so long; Tracy was a bit worried about how her folks were going to react. Not the biggest fans of Muggles I'm told."
"I don't understand why you had to walk with her all the way to Hogsmeade," Padma complained.
"Well, a couple of reasons. The first being that her family, being the traditionalists they are, would freak completely out if the Quinjet landed on the front lawn to bring Tracey home. There's no reason to put her through that, so allowing her to floo home is the easiest thing to do."
"And what's the second," Hermione asked.
"Well technically, we were on a date. Now granted, I can make the quite public and very true claim that the date was out of this world, but surely it should have ended better than this."
"Merlin, Harry," Hermione groaned. "That was a horrible joke."
"You used that 'the date was out of this world' pun on Tracey, didn't you?" Padma asked with a raised eyebrow.
"Yeah," Harry laughed. "She didn't think it was funny, either."
"Why not?" Neville asked laughing. "That was hilarious. How can anybody not find that funny?"
"There's no understanding girls, Nev. I quit trying a long time ago."
"You're both going to get hurt," Hermione growled.
"There's no reason to get nasty," Harry laughed again. "By the way, you did a fantastic job being the 'good cop' in the interrogation, Hermione."
"I did no such thing, Harry," she protested. "You were being horrible to her and…"
"And your reaction really sold it," Harry explained. "When you were all but freaking out over what I was saying, the Kree's imagination was working overtime coming up with all the things we might do to her. Good job."
"Tracey seemed to catch on to your ploy quickly enough," Padma noted. "I wonder if she was playing along or if she was actually in favor of a little torture."
"Not nice Padma," Harry said with a shake of his head before changing the subject. "Okay, seriously, are your families going to be okay with this?" Are they going to want you to stay away from me?"
"How can even ask that, Harry?" Padma asked.
Harry shrugged, "It's happened before. Sometimes when the family gets a look at my life, they decide that it's not safe for my friends to be around me."
"I can't speak for the others Harry," Neville said. "But my Gran is almost deliriously happy that you and I are associated. The Potters and the Longbottoms have been doing stupid things together for centuries. Today's adventure will not change that."
Hermione could not meet his eyes. "I don't know, Harry. Since we landed I've been worried about that."
"As far as my family goes," Padma interjected, "we have a long history of having adventures in our teen years. I think if anything, the only thing Daddy will ask is why his studious Ravenclaw daughter is the one having the adventures rather than his daring Gryffindor daughter. Of course, if our adventures together become too epic and my reputation frightens off other suitors, you will end up having to marry me."
"Sure, why not?" Harry asked looking at the ceiling of the Quinjet as if he were looking to the heavens. "If one girl's family can be pushing her that way, why not another?"
"What?" Hermione asked.
"Nothing, nothing," Harry said as the Quinjet lifted off the ground with a muted whine of its engines. "Well that's it, an hour to London."
"An hour?" Neville asked. "The flight to your home from London was only 90 minutes."
"That was suborbital," Harry explained. "This trip is going to be in the atmosphere the entire time and that slows us down. The Quinjet is faster than an airliner, but not that much."
"Who are these Kree?" her grandfather asked. The man's fury was clear to Tracey. "We will destroy them for daring to challenge House Davis!"
Tracey carefully set her spoon down. Her soup was going to get cold, but there was nothing she could do about it. "Grandfather, the Kree are not of this world. They are beyond even your reach. I wasn't really their target anyway."
"Explain yourself girl," Aunt Eunice spat. "No one on Earth is beyond the reach of the Davis clan. Even the Dark Lord feared angering father."
"The Kree do not live on Earth," Tracey explained. "They are beings from another world. From another galaxy, really. I have learned that their empire is based out of the Nubeculae Magellani."
"And you believe that tripe?" Uncle Wesley snapped.
"I looked out a window of the craft I was on, and saw the Earth, Uncle," Tracey responded. "The entire Earth. They were only interested in Harry Potter due to his connection to his adopted Muggle father, Stark. The rest of us were only taken because the Kree wanted to leave no witnesses."
Tracey saw her grandfather nod from his place at the head of the table. If the rumors she had heard of his youth were true, the old man understood leaving no witnesses.
"I am unused to hearing of groups beyond my reach," he rumbled. "And I am more than slightly disturbed to hear that this Muggle, Stark, has forces he can marshal against beings from another world, while I cannot."
The Patriarch was quiet for several minutes, obviously deep in thought. "The Longbottom boy is a budding alchemist you say?"
"Yes Grandfather," Tracey agreed. "I cannot explain it, he has always been a menace in Potions, but he produced some alchemical substances that allowed us to take over the ship."
"The Longbottom clan is famous for their power," Aunt Eunice noted, "Though disturbingly Light, they are formidable."
"Do not presume to inform me of the Longbottom Clan's power Eunice," the old man thundered. "I was there when their damned Doom Bell rang, and I saw what Quinieus Longbottom did after it rang."
"I am sorry father," Aunt Eunice whispered, averting her gazed.
"Once again, you surprise me, girl," her Grandfather said. "Not only have you obviously made inroads with the Potter boy and his contacts among the Muggles, you've managed to align yourself with House Longbottom, and an alchemist. Very well done indeed."
Tracey suppressed a sigh and picked up her spoon to resume eating her now tepid soup. She was not sure the family was ever going to understand her.
More importantly, now that he knew what she was tasked to do, would Harry want anything to do with her?
"What's wrong, Hermione?"
Hermione looked up from her butterbeer. She and her mother were in the Leaky Cauldron waiting for the rest of their group to gather for the trip to Hogwarts via a specially opened floo access to Professor McGonagall's office.
"I keep waiting for you or Daddy to tell me that I shouldn't associate with Harry any longer."
Kristine Granger reached across the table to take her daughter's hand. "I won't lie to you, Hermione, we thought about it, and discussed it quite a bit the last couple of days. Because of who he is, both in the magical society, and out here in the real world, he is going to attract the attention of those with something to prove."
"Oh," Hermione said quietly.
"But then, we remember that we lose you to the magical world for 10 months out of the year and that we have no access to you in any real terms… Therefore, it is nice to have friends like Tony Stark who can call for help from the Avengers if needed," Kristine smiled at the expression on her daughter's face. "Besides, I remember what it's like to be fourteen. If we forbid you to see Harry, you'd likely ignore us and carry on the way you have been."
"Mum!" Hermione gasped, scandalized at the suggestion.
"Or worse, you'd learn some obscure magic to modify our memories and make us forget about magic."
"I," Hermione said, offended to her core, "would NEVER do something like that!"
"See that you don't," Kristine said sternly. "The penalty would be severe. You would be grounded for a month with no library privileges."
The door to the street opened and a pale Neville Longbottom staggered in, followed by a laughing Harry Potter.
Neville collapsed in a chair at the Granger's table and laid his head on the tabletop. "So fast."
"What's wrong, Neville?" Hermione asked.
"Dad takes speed limits as advisories," Harry laughed. "Hi Mrs. Granger, hey, Hermione."
"It would be wrong," Tony Stark opined, "to have a magnificent machine like that Jag and not see what she could do."
"You sound just like my Dad," Hermione huffed as she patted Neville on the shoulder in sympathy.
"Thanks," Tony laughed. "All right, the three of you head off to school."
"What about Padma?" Hermione asked.
"Dhanyata has some business in Hogsmeade and Padma is traveling with her," Tony said. "Go on now, you'll be late."
The two adults watched as the children disappeared into the green flames of the fireplace.
"Gone again," Kristine sighed.
"Yeah," Tony agreed. "Are you and Stuart doing anything tonight?"
"I don't think so," she said.
"How about dinner on me? I've got a few things to talk to you both about."
Harry looked up from his essay on switching charms. "Hey, Draco. What's up?"
Malfoy took the seat across the table from the Ravenclaw, Crabbe and Goyle sat on either side of their leader. "Davis has been telling some wild stories about why you and those others disappeared for four days, and I wanted to find out your story."
"Not much of a story, really," Harry shrugged. "We got kidnapped by some people with a grudge against my father, managed to free ourselves and got a couple of days to get our heads together."
"Davis claims that they were Aliens…," Goyle said hesitantly, "not human, not even from from Earth."
"Yeah," Harry nodded as he added a few words to his essay. "They were Kree, from an empire based out of the Lessor Megellanic Cloud. They're basically humanoid, you know, bipedal, two arms, four fingers with an opposable thumb on each hand. Blue skin on the main line, though there are some that look as human as you or I."
"You're serious," Malfoy said.
"Yeah," Harry nodded before looking up at the three Slytherins. "My dad bankrolls one of the planetary defense forces. Outworlders with issues with Earth take exception to that, and well, I'm a soft target for groups who want to make a point. The others were caught up in it because they were with me. Good thing too, Neville and the girls saved my bacon."
"Longbottom saved you?" Draco asked incredulously.
"Nev and the girls, yeah," Harry admitted. "I was laid out on a medical slab held in stasis. Neville got everyone free and Hermione figured out where we were, then Tracey got me out of the stasis. We were almost recaptured but Padma stunned the Kree soldier and saved us. It was a group effort and I was pretty much only along for the ride."
"There are really aliens from other worlds?" Vinnie Crabbe asked.
"Oh, yeah," Harry said as he returned to his essay. "Lots of them. I can score you some books on the other species that have made official contact if you'd like."
The three Slytherins exchanged looks. "But…" Draco hesitated before continuing, "why haven't we heard of them?"
"I don't know," Harry shrugged. "First contact with the Skrulls was not long after the first Moon landing, about 25 years ago."
"Moon landing?" Goyle asked incredulously. "What do you mean moon landing?"
Harry put his quill down and blinked. "You don't know about the moon landing? Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed made a landing on the moon in the Sea of Tranquility in June of 1969." Still seeing the blank looks on the other's faces, he pushed his notes aside and started manipulating the search function on his Datapad before spinning it around to face the others. "Here's the video of the first moon walk."
Draco stared at the device that he had seen the Ravenclaw use for the last three years. In the past he had seen it show words like a book, and static unmoving photographs, but now it was showing a scene with motion, as a white man shaped thing appeared to be descending a ladder.
"One small step for man," the device said, "One giant step for mankind."
"That's the moon?" Vinnie asked.
"Yep," Harry nodded.
"But there's no air there," Greg marveled. "How can they be there if there's no air?"
"That's what the space suits are for," Harry explained. "It protected them from the vacuum, and the wild temperature variations."
"And it was Muggles that did this?" Draco asked.
"Yeah," Harry admitted. "But to be fair, they can't transfigure things or inlay charmwork onto things, or any of the other magical things the Magicals take for granted."
"Could a broom fly high enough to take a wizard to the moon?" Greg asked.
"I don't think a broom could do it," Harry said hesitantly, "and at a quarter of a million miles, it's out of range of any apparation I've ever heard of… But I think that if enough magicals got together and put their minds to it, a magical journey to the Moon might be possible…"
"Of course we could," Draco confirmed.
"Yeah, and I've got to tell you," Harry said, changing the topic once he saw the opportunity, "Tracey was scary as hell when we were interrogating the scout ship's captain. Slytherin got lucky when you got her."
"What?" Draco asked.
"But she's a halfblood," Greg said in a perplexed tone.
"So am I," Harry pointed out. "And I've seen the way you guys treat her, I think you're all being really short sighted."
"Your status is what overcomes your birth status, you know that."
"I know, Draco, you've explained it to me before. I'm the heir of an important family, but have you forgotten, Tracey is also an heir?"
"We're all heirs," Vinnie noted.
"We are," Harry conceded. "Except, of course, like myself, Tracey isn't an heir, both of us happen to be THE heir for our respective families. I was at Neville's this summer when his grandmother held a meeting of the families, mostly to announce Neville's intention to take his place among them. None of you were there."
"Of course we weren't Stark," Vinnie said shaking his head. "None of us are in direct line to lead our families, our parents are all in front of us."
"Tracey was there," Harry noted. "From what I understand, the Davis family and its clients and retainers are a major force in Magical Britain, and Tracey's grandfather is a sick man, who reportedly doesn't have long to live. You guys are alienating someone who is going to come into some massive power, fairly soon."
Harry kept his smile hidden when the look of shock crossed the faces of all three Slytherins as they realized he was right.
"Why do you care Stark?" Draco asked, trying to hide his reaction.
"Tracey is a friend of mine," Harry said with a shrug. "So are you guys, sort of. I've never been a fan of seeing people fight for no good reason. Tracey is really smart, and a lot of fun. You guys are losing out when you distance yourself from her."
The Datapad chimed, startling the three Slytherins. Harry spun the device around until he could read the display.
"Excellent!" he enthused.
"What?" Draco asked.
"Oh, a simulation I was running back home just finished, and it's compiling a report."
"Is it important?" Vinnie asked.
"Don't know yet. I hope it's useful, but that all depends on how good my assumptions and starting data was. Garbage in, garbage out, you know…"
Draco found himself wondering if he should be worried that he did not understand what Stark was talking about.
"So you weren't weightless?" one of the Muggleborn Ravenclaw 5th years asked.
"No," Padma said shaking her head. "The ship we were on had some kind of, I don't know, artificial gravity, I guess."
"And you all actually met the Avengers?" another Muggleborn asked.
Hermione looked around the common room seeing the confusion on some of the pureblood's faces. "Well, some of them," she admitted. "Captain Marvel and the Vision were on the scout ship with us. After we landed, the Scarlet Witch was there as well, along with Harry's father."
"Do you really expect us to believe that you were abducted by little green men from Mars?" Cho Chang asked sarcastically.
"Large Blue men, actually," Padma sniffed. She had never really cared for Cho. The girl had a sense of entitlement that never quite seemed deserved.
"From Kree-Lar," Hermione added, "that's in the Greater Magellanic Cloud."
"And they came here?" Marietta Edgecombe demanded. "Why?"
"Harry," Padma said simply. "They were after Harry, we were just witnesses."
"What's to stop them from coming back?" an upper year asked.
Hermione and Padma exchanged a look. "Well," Hermione said hesitantly, "I think Neville Longbottom scared them."
The Ravenclaw common room was quiet for a very long time.
Daphne Greengrass had been wandering aimlessly through the castle for more than an hour, up and down stairs, through endless hallways, in and out of classrooms.
At least her path appeared to be aimless wandering. In fact, her path through the castles was meant to ensure that she was not followed. Finally, she reached her destination, an unused classroom on the fifth floor.
"About time you got here," Millicent said from where she sat.
"What's this about?" Daphne demanded. "And why couldn't it wait until we all met for the holiday? The plan doesn't allow for us to be seen together outside of house functions."
"We've all been stupid," her cousin said, leaning with his back against the wall.
"About what?" Millicent asked.
"Quite a few things," he responded. "But mostly about Davis."
"What has that hopped up Halfblood done now?" Daphne asked.
"Forged an alliance with Stark to start with," Millicent noted. "Anything else?"
"She is the heir to the Davis family," he said. "We've always known that, but haven't really thought about what it means. Old Hades Davis built his family to the point that the Davis family was so powerful that even the Dark Lord didn't directly challenge him at the height of his power."
"Oh," Daphne said, paling with the realization of what she had done.
"Oh, indeed," her cousin agreed. "It wasn't just you Daph, we all did it, but she will likely BE the Davis before we leave school, in a position to punish those who have angered her."
"Fuck." Millicent said simply. "Why didn't we see that coming? Coupled with her adventures with Stark and Longbottom…"
"And Longbottom turning out to be a budding alchemist…" Daphne said filling in the blanks.
"For the sake of the family, we need to forge a better relationship with Davis," he summarized. Obviously, I can't, but you two can and will."
"We should wait," Daphne cautioned. "Affecting a change of attitude now would seem false, a reaction to her adventure in space. It's best we wait until the New Year."
The three exchanged looks before nodding in agreement.
"What else have we missed?" Millicent asked the room.
A/N: And the Who's Who returns, due to the number of 'guest stars' for this chapter:
The Kree - also known as the Ruul , are a scientifically and technologically advanced militaristic humanoid alien race in the Marvel Universe. They are native to the planet Hala in the Lessor Magellanic Cloud.
The Skrull - are a race of scientifically and technologically advanced extraterrestrial reptilian shapeshifters. Ancient enemies of the Kree. They originate from the planet of Skrullos in the Milky Way Galaxy.
The Shi'ar - are a race of avian aliens in the Marvel universe. The Shi'ar Imperium also called the Aerie , is a vast collection of alien species, cultures and worlds situated close (in a galactic scale) to the Skrull and Kree Empires, and alongside them, is one of the three main alien empires and now the most powerful one as well as being the youngest empire out of the three) of the Marvel Universe.
Scarlet Witch - Wanda Maximoff. The daughter of Magneto, the twin sister of Quicksilver. The Scarlet Witch is a mutant who had the ability to manipulate probability via her "hexes" (often manifesting physically as "hex spheres" or "hex bolts"). These hexes are relatively short range, and are limited to her line of sight. Wanda is an expert combatant having been trained by both Captain America and Hawkeye, as well as being an adept tactician due to her years of experience working as an Avenger and her experience in a variety of combat situations. The Scarlet Witch also has the potential to wield magic and later learned that she was destined to serve the role of Nexus Being, a living focal point for the Earth dimension's mystical energy.
Vision - The Vision is an android and a member of the Avengers. The Vision is described as being "...every inch a human beingâ€”except that all of his bodily organs are constructed of synthetic materials." The Solar Jewel on the Vision's forehead absorbs ambient solar energy to provide the needed power for him to function, and he is also capable of discharging this energy as beams; with this, he can fire beams of infrared and microwave radiation. The Vision also possesses the ability to manipulate his density, which at its lowest allows flight and a ghostly, phasing intangibility, and at its heaviest provides superhuman strength, immovability, and a diamond-hard near invulnerability. The Vision is capable of reaching a density ten times greater than that of depleted uranium.
Captain Marvel - Monica Rambeau , a police lieutenant from New Orleans who possesses the power to transform herself into any form of energy. Due to bombardment by extra-dimensional energies, Rambeau can transform herself into any form of energy within the electromagnetic spectrum. Among the many energy forms she has assumed and is able to control are cosmic rays, gamma rays, X-rays, ultraviolet radiation, visible light, electricity, infrared radiation, microwaves, radio waves, and neutrinos. By assuming an energy-form, she gains all of that energy's properties. She is invisible and intangible in many of her energy forms (the most frequent exception being visible light), and is capable of flight in all her energy forms (reaching velocities up to and including light speed). She also has the ability to project these energies from her body while she is in human form (only one wavelength of energy at a time), usually in the form of energy blasts from her hands. She mentally controls both the type and quantity of energy she wishes to transmit. The maximum amount of energy she can transmit at a given time is unknown. Rambeau can also divert small amounts of various energies for employment as force beams, which have the equivalent to 300 tons of TNT of explosive force. A variation of this ability enables her to project light-based holographic illusions of herself. Rambeau has also shown the ability to split her energy from into several miniature energy forms that are under her mental command, each miniature Rambeau is able to react and fly at light-speed.
Sentient World Observation and Response Department — or S.W.O.R.D. is a counterterrorism and intelligence agency. Its purpose is to deal with extraterrestrial threats to world security.
Abigail Brand - Abigail Brand is the commanding officer of S.W.O.R.D., a S.H.I.E.L.D. offshoot that deals with defending the Earth from extraterrestrial threats. Almost no details about her personal life have been revealed