Act VI, Chapter 5: Rising
"Shield emitter stations?"
"All functioning at full efficiency."
"Power making it to all six piers?"
"All arrays covered."
"Cloak? Oh right! Cloak. Um… Fitz? Did we…"
"Let me check. Hold on a sec."
"Guys. Tell me we made sure the thing that's going to stop the Muggles from firing Nukes at us the second we take off is working!"
"Yes, Harry! We definitely checked it. Fitz!"
"Don't put this on me, Simmons! The Cloak was Padma's job!"
"My job! It was not! Shuri was in charge of that!"
"Are you eating?"
"Seriously, Shuri? Right now?"
"I'm not eating. I'm concentrating very hard."
"I found it! Yep. Cloak is fully functional, General!"
"Oh, thank the Herald."
"Um… yeah. I figured she started all this, so I can totally use her as a curse phrase."
"I TAKE GREAT OFFENCE TO THAT!"
*crash of person falling off a chair.
"Merlin's saggy left testicle!"
"Ummm. Did anyone else hear that?"
"Oh yeah. We heard it alright."
"Harry. Now is probably a really crap time to curse divine powers."
"… Yeah, I think I see that now."
"Ten points to Gryffindor for your incredible deductive reasoning skills."
"That was a terrible McGonagall accent, Lavender."
"I thought it had flare."
"I thought it was a nice rendition, Miss Brown."
"Thanks, Professor Flitwick!"
"There will be no silly flaring or accent mimicry in this class."
"Shit that was good."
"You knew what he said word for word?!"
"Wow. Nice job, Luna. That's even better than my Snape!"
"You can do a Snape impression, Tonks?"
"Can I do one? I used to play pranks on firsties by transforming into Snape and scaring the bejeebers out of them in the hallways."
"Why didn't we think of that! Polyjuice Potion would have done as good a job!"
"Shit that's a good idea. Wouldn't have worked when I was in school of course. Snivellus was about as intimidating as a drunk Hagrid back then."
"We are supposed to be launching a ten-million-year-old flying city into the sky so we can fly it across the planet to save the world and defeat a dark wizard empowered by evil incarnate. Instead, we are using this incredibly advanced communication channel to speak from our various locations around the Lost City of Atlantis – many of which are several kilometres apart – to talk about Snape impressions!"
Ginny grinned as she rotated on the Control Chair of Atlantis. Hermione was opposite her, monitoring the chair's output levels.
Everything was ready. All it would take now was a single thought from her, patched into the neural network that controlled the city as she was.
"Are we ready?" She asked softly. She knew the City was ready, now it was about the people. Her people.
"We're ready." Ginny nodded and closed her eyes.
The city began to rumble, the ground trembling beneath their feet. Ginny barely noticed. She was fixated on the readouts flitting across the backs of her eyelids. The engines, the Stardrive, had engaged, and power from the Dragon Force core was beginning to charge the massive structures on the undersides of the city piers. The ice beneath them began to boil. The shield was holding.
"Quite a rumble guys," Harry said. He and Claire were stationed atop the central tower.
"It's supposed to do that," Simmons explained. She was with Fitz, Padma, Peter, Professor Babbling, President Matson and Ambassador Mary in the Control Room.
"Just letting you know," Harry grumbled.
Ginny, feeling that the Stardrive was primed and ready, initiated lift off.
A jolt ran through the whole city.
"Here we go!" Hermione exclaimed.
The city groaned as it lifted off the icy floor, which was quickly melting into sludge beneath the heat of the engines.
"We've hit the dome!" Red lit up Ginny's mental link to the city. The shield had suddenly come under massive pressure. But worse…
"The Dragon Force is fluctuating!" Fitz called.
"Shuri!" Hermione screamed, frantically tapping away at her tablet.
"No, no, no, no, no! DO AS YOU'RE TOLD!"
"Simmons!" Ginny exclaimed. "The array on the North Pier!"
"What… oh shit!"
Jemma's hands flew across the Ancient terminals, a map of the city zooming in on one of the seven arrays located around the City that maintained shield stability. They didn't need all of them, not really. But the City had never punched through several kilometres of ice after lying dormant for 10,000 years either so…
"Damn it." Possible surge failure. Okay. That she could fix. All she needed to do was reroute the power with a bypass, and fortunately, the Ancient's technology was very user-friendly. But she'd need to be down there to do it. She looked back towards the elevator.
"Fred, George, you have the bridge. Fitz, with me!" Jemma didn't even process what she'd said until Fred and George cracked up laughing. Why… Oh, bugger. Bloody Lily Potter and her obsession with science fiction. Well, if you're on a sinking ship…
"And take off those bloody red shirts!" She snapped. The Weasley twins were, in fact, wearing red shirts. They came to this conclusion as soon as the words left Jemma's mouth, and as she pulled Fitz into the elevator, they were already pulling their shirts over their heads in panic.
Harry gripped the railing until his knuckles went white. He wanted desperately to open his link with Ginny, but they'd agreed doing such a thing would only distract her, so they refrained. Now he stood at the tallest point in the city – a hexagonal balcony atop the central tower with a single spiral staircase opening from a trap door in the silver metal floor. Claire stood beside him. They didn't talk. They were too busy freaking out at the sight of a giant sheet of ice pushing against the shimmering transparent barrier that was the city shield. Only a metre and a half above them. It was kind of terrifying. And the glare was horrible!
The Tower shook again, and Harry glanced at Claire. She was gripping the railing with the same intensity that he was. He forced himself to pan his gaze across the city. From this high up he could see all six piers. Each one looked like it had been designed for a different purpose if you looked close enough. The North pier – by far the largest – was dotted with tall towers, the only pier with spires that came close to the height of the central district. The Northeast pier was the largest of the six, and the towers here was significantly smaller, with larger gaps between them. The Northwest pier was dominated by an ample empty space filled with ice. Harry thought it was probably meant to be full of water. There were several open places here as well, though they were smaller and seemed more thought out. Parks? There were fewer towers here as well, the majority of the buildings having only five floors. If he had to guess, he'd say these were residential piers for three different socio-economic groups.
The South pier was bare. As in completely. Not a single tower to be seen. Instead, there were large flat spaces, with the occasional building no larger the three stories situated between them. Landing pads. The Southwest pier was connected to the South pier by a giant bridge lined with cylindrical structures Harry had a sneaking suspicion were fuel tanks. This pier also had no towers, but it was dominated by the low buildings, all of them broader and longer than the buildings on any other pier. Probably an industrial area. The final pier, the Southeast, was the smallest. It was the only pier that wasn't flat. This one had undulating hills, and lots and lots of dead plants strewn across it. At the far end of the pier was a large dome-like structure – a temple.
At outermost points of the North, south-east and south-west piers was a single large circular indentation in the ground. According to Ginny, these were the cities weapons platforms.
The city groaned once more as the shield pushed against the ice, neither giving way.
"We've fixed it!"
"Excellent! The Dragon Force?"
"Still fluctuating Captain!"
Harry rolled his eyes. These communication devices hidden behind their ears really were a good idea. Another thing to add to the list of things he was thankful the Ancients had left behind for them – however unintentionally.
"I'm going to try something…" Professor Flitwick's voice said hesitantly. The communication line went silent for a few minutes. Another sharp jolt echoed through the city.
"Professor…" Claire started.
"There we go! Mrs Potter if you wouldn't mind…"
"I see it. Good idea." The three circular platforms opened in on themselves, and three golden pinpricks of light, like fireflies, flew out of each one. The lights, which Ginny said were called 'drones' – weapons that could be remotely controlled through the use of the chair – flew straight through the city shield, slamming into the ice shelf in a specific pattern, like a six-pointed star. The city continued to tremble.
Then the cracking began. A giant one opened up right above Harry and Claire, splitting the ice sheet in half. Across the frozen sky, dozens more opened up, spindly fissures renting sides of the dome. The steam from below them had started to rise up around the tower.
"Come on…" Harry muttered.
"I've got it!" Padma exclaimed, "Ginny! Try turning the city onto an angle, if we can create a pocket of high pressure between the shield and the ice dome, the expansion should…"
"Cause explosive decompression! Padma you're a genius."
"Well, I do try."
"Everybody hold onto your hats!"
This time the groaning was even more pronounced. Then, Atlantis lurched to the side, and Harry and Claire screamed. The western half of the city tilted into the sludge-like water beneath them, melted by the engines on the underside of the piers.
"We've got flooding on the lower decks of the Northwest and Southwest piers!" Fred warned.
The eastern side of the city had done the opposite, and was now sticking up in the air at an odd angle. Harry and Claire held to the railing for dear life.
"I'm not sure whether I'm terrified or awestruck!" Claire yelled.
"Terrified! Definitely terrified!" he called back.
"It's working!" Hermione beamed, "just a few more seconds!"
"Massive flooding on the western side of the city!"
"Surges are going off like candles on the South pier!"
"The Dragon Force! It's stabilising!"
A massive section of ice above them exploded inwards, jettisoning chunks of the ceiling into the shield. They bounced off the second they came in contact with it. The cracks along the domes surface magnified tenfold.
The ice sheet collapsed inward, and Atlantis jerked upwards. The city's angle corrected itself, and it ploughed up through the raining ice. Harry's feet hit the ground, and he gasped in utter awe. The sight was magnificent. Atlantis rose up out of the mists, through the rain of shards, and up into the daylight above. Any remaining sections of ice were pushed out of the way by the shield now that nothing was holding them together.
A ripple like a wave ran across the shield's surface as Harry and Claire caught their breath.
"Cloak engaged. We're hidden from muggles and wizards alike."
Atlantis, like a giant snowflake, was floating above the Antarctic ice sheet, the ocean shimmering beneath the distant sunset. Rays of golden light lit the towers, creating a painting of majesty like a halo surrounding the magnificent image. Harry found himself looking north, a soft smirk adorning his face. I've got you now, asshole.
Harry stood, Ginny and Jessica on either side of him, in front of a red metal pedestal. The room was several floors down in the tower and shaped like a hexagon. In the centre of the room was a raised platform that matched the shape of the room. The lights on the walls and roof illuminated the emptiness within. It was meant to be a teaching room for children.
"You sure this will work?" He asked. Ginny nodded. Harry pursed his lips and withdrew the vile Jessica had given him. Dumbledore's final words. He wasn't particularly sure he wanted to hear them. He'd refused to hear the prophecy when Hermione had tried to tell him. He wished he could do the same here. But there might be something important in that vial, so he had to do it. He placed the bottle on the pedestal and the metal transformed into a liquid, swallowing it before solidifying again. Instantly mist rose up into the air from vents on the platform. They filled the room, completely blinding them, before consolidating into a replica of Dumbledore's office. The old man himself sat on the floor, back leaning against the wood. His eyes were closed. His wand lay on the stone beside him. A gold ring with a cracked stone set within it sat on his blackened hand.
"Harry," he said, speaking to the air, "This is not how I would have chosen our final meeting to be. But alas, I was crass, arrogant, and headstrong. As such, time is a luxury I no longer have."
"I am sorry for what I put you through my boy. You and Ginny both. But you must know why I did what I did. Even if it was wrong."
"I wanted you to grow up away from the allure of fame. An old friend of mine once told me, that a strong man, who has known power all his life, may lose respect for that power. But a weak man, knows the value of strength. I knew that sending you to the Dursley's, while certainly the greatest means of protection, would result in a poor childhood for you. I never expected it to be as bad as it was, but I knew there would be little love in it. I wanted to make sure that you grew up knowing the value of strength. You were the weak man. If you had been raised by a wizard, your legend would have followed you wherever you went, creating a shadow you could never live up to."
He sighed. "I made mistakes; I have admitted this already. Looking at the board, rather than the pieces, is a fault of many leaders, both great and insignificant." Harry made sure to keep his face blank. Memory Dumbledore couldn't see him, but regardless, Harry never wanted to become that person ever again, the person willing to sacrifice others for personal gain. He'd fallen into that trap, just as Dumbledore had. But he would climb out before he dug in further.
"No doubt, Miss Jones, Mr Murdock and Miss Granger have informed you of my recent failure with the Ring Horcrux. I hope that by the time you see this, the Diadem will have been recovered from the cave we visit tonight, leaving only the Cup and Voldemort's snake, Nagini, left to destroy. Once they are gone, this is what you must do to disperse the Nether Force."
He went on to explain in intricate detail what Jessica and Matt had already told him. Hermione, Bill and Fleur said they could do it, but it would take time to set the trap. And it would require bait. Unfortunately, the only bait Voldemort would be sure to pounce on, would be Harry himself.
"I find myself, now, at a position I am glad to have found," Dumbledore continued, "After the incident with the Diary put me onto the theory of the Horcruxes, I began to fear for you Harry, for it seemed to me that an element of the prophecy had suddenly become much clearer." Ah, bugger. "Neither can live while the other survives. Ominous, but not for the reasons you might think. For the line does not actually refer to you and Voldemort as I at first believed. No, I am now certain it is to that which he left behind that the line refers. And that, you have already taken care off." Harry frowned, turning towards Ginny and Jessica. Both shrugged.
"On the night of your bonding to Mrs Potter, myself, Stephen and Clarissa were witness to a moment of brilliance that none of the others present were capable of comprehending. Your scar burst alight with white light for a brief moment, unleashing a blast of magical energy into the Great Hall. A light of love, the only power proven to vanquish hate. Your soul bond with Ginny purged the dark power within your scar from your body, the reason it no longer hurts when in proximity to Voldemort. It was a great fear of mine that, should Tom realise the nature of his connection to you, he would be able to enter your mind to control you at will. But now, as you've demonstrated to me on numerous occasions in the form of muggle anti-aircraft weaponry, you have perfect Occlumency."
"The power he knows not is your love for Ginny, a power so pure it cleansed you of that fragment of Voldemort's soul left behind. Neither can live while the other survives. If it had remained, it would have killed you eventually." Harry's mouth fell open just slightly. He'd almost forgotten about that. The crazy dream he'd had with Ginny the night of the Yule Ball, where they'd thrown the skull of Voldemort's power from his mind, sealing their link forever.
Yeah. Turns out that was pretty important after all.
I remember now. After it happened, I felt lighter, more alive, than I'd ever felt before. I attributed it to the bond, but if he's right…
Then it could be the weight of Voldemort's corruption that left you. Like discarding a rock you didn't know you were carrying.
"Knowing this, allows me to tell you one final piece of information. One I could never risk falling into Voldemort's hands." Dumbledore picked up his wand.
"This wand is not an ordinary wand. It, along with two other items created by the Peverell Brothers in ages past, is part of a powerful legend called the Tale of the Three Brothers. It is not worth recounting in its entirety here, you can look it up later, but what you need to know is that the Deathly Hallows are real, and they are immensely powerful."
"The wand I wield is the Elder Wand. A wand that cannot be defeated in battle. Note, however, that it does not mean you are invincible. The wand can be stolen from you as easily as any other, or surrendered by using the disarming charm on the wielder – a minor flaw, but an important one." He held up his hand, showcasing the glittering ring.
"This stone is the Resurrection Stone. Ironic that Voldemort never realised it for what it was when he used the ring as his Horcrux. When used, it allows one to commune with the Dead. But again, be wary, for the shades that return to you are not wholly in their right mind. Whether through their will or that of a different higher power, the shades will attempt to lead you on a road towards your own demise so as to join them."
"The final artefact is the Cloak of Invisibility. Unlike normal cloaks made of Demiguise hair, the magic of this cloak does not wear off, and it is capable of deflecting spellfire. While wearing the true Cloak of Invisibility, you are hidden from the eyes of Death itself. In other words, you cannot die. I believe you know where this artefact has been hidden."
"Fuck," Jessica breathed, "How old is the Cloak of yours, Harry? I never thought to ask."
"It's been in my family for generations," Harry said, wincing. He hadn't known other people's invisibility cloaks wore out.
"Wielded together, they turn a person into a formidable weapon. A weapon capable of competing with even the Nether Force I would think."
Dumbledore stood up, and Fawkes flew over to perch on his shoulder.
"That, I think, is all the help I can give you. I hope it is enough. For what it's worth Harry, I'm proud of the man you've become, and I think your parents would be too."
He smiled, and his eyes twinkled harder than they ever had before.
"Good luck, Harry Potter."
He dissolved, and the mist vanished. The vial was sitting on the pedestal. Harry snatched it up and pocketed it, then swallowed.
"I think I've figured out how to get Voldemort into the circle," he whispered.