Harry & Ginny
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Marquis Black - The Dark Wars: Empire's Rebirth
Chapter 7 - Chapter VII: Discoveries Amongst Ruins
AN: Sorry for the holdup, lads and lasses! Just started the new term at the university, so it's been a bit hectic. That being said, the following are notes regarding some concerns given by several readers.
The United States: No, I carry no grudge towards the US as a nation. As a matter of fact, as a people, Americans fascinate me. While I cannot say this applies as much towards present generations, past generations of Americans have nonetheless captured my admiration, with a few exceptions (Old Hickory Jackson being one of them). Let me assure you, my dear readers, that I did not arbitrarily choose the US as the "villains" of this story (of which the only ones, thus far, are the Death Eater and Venati). I took my time and decided on them after deciding that using the Latin Americans as villains (this was a serious consideration of mine) would be too cliché (not to mention impractical, considering their low-tech status-same with the Africans).
Let me also remind you that not every American is pro-Death Eater. There are several, MAJOR resistance cells throughout the country fighting the government.
Death Eater Offensives: This was a note made by blunight17. I understand that the state of the world I provide may sound confusing. That being said, I actually bought a map (a massive one) and scribbled on it with all the major movements made. So, let me try to make it as comprehensible as possible.
DE Offensives: 1. Vs. British Imperial Canada (NS, NB, BC); 2. Vs. British Imperial Oceania (Sydney, Melbourne, West Australia, NZ); 3. Vs. British Imperial Africa (South Africa); 4. Vs. British Imperial Europe (Gibraltar, Irish Resistance); 5. Vs. British Imperial Caribbean (Caribbean, Falkland Islands)
US Offensives: 1. Vs. British Imperial Canada (NS, NB, BC); 2. Vs. Latin Confederacy of Free States; 3. Vs. British Imperial Oceania (Sydney, Melbourne, West Australia, NZ); 4. Vs. British Imperial Caribbean (Caribbean only)
BE Offensives: 1. Vs. Death Eaters (British Isles, Egypt, US, Canada); 2. Vs. United States Collaborators
LCFS Offensives: 1. Vs. South American Conclave (Pro-DE West); 2. Vs. United States Collaborators; 3. Vs. Rogue Caribbean British Pirates (Caribbean Imperial Remnant)
Also, a fun note. I received, today, my first flame regarding the Dark Wars series. For my reply to said flame, please visit my profile.
Let me be clear-I'm done trying to explain why Harry and Ginny are married. Please, grow up.
Hours later, Harry was sitting on the least-destroyed chair they could find in the base, his feet propped up on the former Base Commander's desk, in the former soldier's office.
The place, Harry had to admit, was banged up all to hell. Of course, several rounds of his Retaliation-class ships would do that to a building, which was how he dealt with the constant lack of a north wall in his office.
Looking through the huge infrastructural cavity, Harry could see smoke still rising from former buildings, as unexploded chemicals and ammunition slowly caught fire and exploded. He'd given specific orders to his men to be very careful around the ammunition depot.
His contemplations, however, were interrupted when a harried-looking Captain burst into the room, followed quickly by a couple of soldiers carrying huge paper stacks. Harry almost groaned aloud as he lay eyes on what he assumed was paperwork. To his delight (and future horror), however, that was not to be as they simply dumped it all on his desk and the Captain began to babble at full speed about a subject Harry couldn't quite make out.
Raising his hands for the Captain to stop, Harry said, "Calm down, Captain. Breathe, man," he soothed the harried officer. The man nodded slowly and took a deep breath, swallowing in the process, before a nod from Harry got him talking again—this time, more slowly.
"I was with my company, Your Grace, and…well…we found something," the officer tried to explain.
Harry raised an eyebrow. "Found something? Do try to explain yourself more fully, Captain," he chided. "The Imperial Army does not run on vague statements."
The officer nodded apologetically. "Yes, Your Grace." He then dove right back into the matter at hand. "We were patrolling the fourth north-western quadrant, Your Grace, when we stumbled on a bunker, of sorts," he motioned towards the papers, "we found these inside."
Harry nodded shortly as he took one of the papers and, propping up his glasses, rose an eyebrow at the heading.
"American Cooperation Bureau," he read aloud before putting it down and looking up sternly at the officer. "A Death Eater liaison outpost."
The officer nodded. "Correct, your Grace. The staff must've been bunked with the rest of the Americans, because we found no one inside, and all documents intact."
Harry's eyebrows rose in pleasant surprise. "How fortunate. Did you, or any of your men, sift through the documents?" he asked next.
The captain nodded. "We did, Your Grace," said the man before looking distinctly uncomfortable. "It was…"
Harry smiled grimly at the man's loss for words. "Sick? Perverse? Dishonourable, hypocritical tripe?"
"Interesting," the captain settled for. "What was even more interesting, however, Your Grace, is the stack of documents to your right."
Harry rose a questioning eyebrow before taking the first piece of paper from that stack and began reading.
By order of the Commander-In-Chief…blah, blah, blah…
Harry skipped ahead a few paragraphs, avoiding the typical, procedural jargon. Ending the page with nothing interesting, Harry grabbed the next paper and read through that one. Nothing caught his attention at first, until he read the final two lines.
Assistance in Imperial Annihilation
Harry's eyes widened as he quickly made to grab the next paper. He quickly read right through it, and went after the next paper, and the next, and the next, until he'd finished reading the stack, over an hour later.
When he was finally done, Harry's eyes were bulging, his jaw was dropped, and his mind was on overload.
"These…these pigs…" he whispered, shock evident on his face. "…they've been in on this for over six years!"
Harry didn't even see the captain nod solemnly, as the soldiers tried to mask their fury by putting on stony façades.
"It gets worse" announced the captain as he took out a folded piece of paper from his pouch and handed it over to Harry. "I found that hidden in the Head of the bunker's office."
Harry quietly took the piece of paper from the officer and carefully, and slowly, opened it and began to read it. Once more, Harry felt his eyes bulge.
"This is a list…" he whispered horrified at the implications of what he was seeing.
"Of every heir to the Imperial throne," finished the captain, nodding in agreement. "Your Grace, the Major and I agree that this can only mean one thing."
"They've been hunting the heirs down," stated Harry numbly, getting to the same conclusion. The officer nodded sadly.
"There may be still some alive, Your Grace," reassured the officer as he saw his commander's despondent face.
Harry gave a mirthless chuckle. "They've had over six years, Captain. It's unlikely a single heir is left."
"But that's over six hundred people!" sputtered the captain. "Surely, one of them must have survived!"
Harry shook his head as he crumpled up the paper and grabbed his head in dismay. "Don't you see, captain?" asked Harry. "They've been conducting a systematic extermination of our line of succession! Using the Americans as their searching tools, the Death Eaters must've pinpointed each one and hunted them down."
"But, we would have heard!"
Harry shook his head. "Other than the forty or so in direct line to the throne, none of the others would have raised a red flag if the murder was done outside of Great Britain," explained Harry. "When the final blow came during the Fall of London, they merely wiped out the forty we would have noticed."
"So the Crown…?" asked the captain fearfully, as another officer entered the room, looking excited.
"Is dead, yes. We've failed," answered Harry glumly.
"Not necessarily," cut in a voice, stopping the two Imperial officers from delving into their misery. Harry, the captain, and the two soldiers turned to look at an excited Brigadier Wolfe.
"What do you mean, Wolfe?" asked Harry, curious despite himself.
"There's no easy way to explain this, sir. You'll have to come see for yourself!"
An hour later, Harry was still in a jeep, driven by Wolfe, racing down a dirt path in a forest.
"What exactly is so important you need to show me, John?" asked Harry over the engine's dull roar. "And why is it so far away?"
"You'll see!" was all Wolfe answered. "We're getting near now!"
Harry merely grunted as he watched the trees rush by. Soon, however, Harry saw that the tree coverage was thinning, and they soon arrived in a grove, where Harry saw something that made him say, "What the hell is that?" under his breath.
Before Harry was a barbed-wired fence that enclosed a fairly large area, inside of which were several structures, which Harry assumed were for housing, and a small building around the centre, which Harry guessed was for the base commander and his staff.
"A concentration camp? Yes, Your Grace," confirmed Wolfe as he pulled the car over, to where a scouting party of about twelve soldiers were waiting. "The lads there found it three hours ago and reported it. I came here, saw it, and sped back to find you. Thought you might be interested, Your Grace," admitted Wolfe.
Stepping out of the confiscated jeep, Harry nodded dumbly as he walked towards the fence. "I don't believe this…" he whispered, shocked. "They would fall this low?"
"You seem shocked, sir," observed Wolfe confusedly.
Harry shook his head. "Back in the day…Americans used to be considers as the upholders of justice, remember?" he reminded the older man. "This was the land of freedom, the home of the brave, as they said," he continued, before looking sadly at the sight before him. "But now…look at this. And all in the name of survival."
Even knowing that the Americans had helped the Death Eaters, Harry had always held out hope that perhaps the Americans were being forced into it. After all, they had a proud legacy to uphold. But now, seeing the camp in front of him, that hope came crashing down.
"Contact Staples and Sulu," Harry ordered curtly at length. His eyes were now hard. "Tell them what we found. All Army and Navy personnel are to give no quarter to the enemy anymore."
Wolfe nodded firmly, never questioning the Duke's orders, bloody though they were. Out of Harry's entire officer corps, Wolfe, Neville, Susan, Ernie, Seamus, the McIntyres, and Hawke were the most fanatical of his supporters, and would never question any of his orders, be they of slaughter, or more personal requests.
While Wolfe made his call, Harry, for his part, had turned to speak to the sergeant in charge of the scouting party.
"Have you gone inside, sergeant?" asked Harry.
The sergeant shook his head. "Thought it best to wait for you, Your Grace,"
"Have you at least seen anyone?"
"Inside the buildings, sir. They'll peek through the window every now and then."
Harry nodded and turned when he heard the tell-tale sign of truck engines, pleased when he saw his requested backup arrive in the confiscated American Army trucks. The soldiers within quickly got out the back and massed near Harry, with Neville and Susan throwing hard salutes as they walked up to Harry.
Harry casually saluted back. "Good to see you two. Quite a mess we've got here."
Neville nodded firmly, along with Susan. "What are your orders, Your Grace?"
Harry swept his arm towards the camp. "Send it your men and secure the facility. Then, I want every prisoner inside to go through a medical check-up. Refrain from giving them food and water until the Head Healer has had a chance to give his ultimatum."
Neville and Susan both saluted and returned to their troops to give the orders. Soon, the back of the trucks were let loose as soldiers jumped off the back of the trucks and pooled at the entrance. The group waited until one of their own came forward with shears and cut open the chains holding the door closed. Two soldiers then proceeded to push open the doors as the rest poured into the camp warily.
Neville was among the first into the camp and, holding his gun pointed upward, motioned with his free hand for the 1st and 2nd platoons to spread right and left respectively, while the third would follow him through the centre.
As Neville proceeded further in, he began to notice people looking fearfully out the window of several of the barrack-like structures. He knew any movement towards them, armed as he was, would probably frighten them, so he turned towards one of his men and said, "Go back to the truck and fetch the colours! Plant it within full view of the prisoners, so they can see we aren't the enemy!"
The soldier off to do his duty, Neville returned his attention to the task at hand, and his platoon began moving once more towards the central building. As soon as they reached running distance from the door, Neville raise a fist and the column halted. Neville turned and picked out five men by pointing.
"You five," he ordered, "take point. We'll follow after the first clear, understood?"
The five men saluted in response. Nodding, Neville gave them the go ahead and the five crowded around the door briefly, before one of them stepped back and kicked it open, the four others converging into the building as soon as the door was open.
Neville waited impatiently for the clear sign, and was rewarded at length when he heard the cry of, "Clear!" from within the building. Raising a hand and motioning forward, Neville and the rest of the platoon quickly converged into the building, going room by room to make sure there were no enemy stragglers.
A full hour later, Neville left the building, satisfied that the building was clear. He undid his helmet strap and tucked the copper-coloured helmet under his arm, wiping his sweaty brow with his sleeve. He was soon joined by Susan, who look far less exhausted than him.
"Clear?" she asked.
Neville nodded. "Clear. What about Second Platoon?"
Susan took out her wand and cast the communication charm, making her eyes glaze momentarily, before she snapped out of it and told him, "Clear."
Neville nodded. "Alright, time to let the boss know."
"So?" asked Harry four hours later, just as the Head Healer had finished his inspection. "What's the call, doctor?"
The healer looked disgusted as he let his eyes wander towards the camp. "They're positively starved, Your Grace," declared the healer. "In fact, another week of this condition and they would've all died. By my analysis, they must've been starved for…about two weeks now."
Harry's face became a mirror image to the healer's own as he allowed himself to look at the camp. "Pigs,"
"Quite," the healer agreed with a nod. "However, in order to treat the prisoners more effectively, I'm going to need them to be transported to the field hospital we've got going at the old Norfolk base."
Harry nodded and motioned for his closest aide. "Have these poor folk evacuated to the hospital in Norfolk as soon as possible," he ordered.
Harry briefly watched as his aide ran off to relay the orders before turning his attention back to the healer. "How many are we taking with us?"
The healer shrugged as he wiped his hands clean of the blood they had on them from trying to operate on a man who'd suffered a stroke upon seeing the British invade the camp. "By my count, Your Grace, we've got one thousand, two hundred and thirty-five people alive enough to get well with minimal medical attention. There are, however, fifty who need severe medical attention, and fifteen who've died. The lads are burying those."
Harry nodded. "So thirteen hundred, eh?" he mused. "I wonder if Admiral Hawke found a similar camp up north?"
The healer shrugged. "Possible, but unlikely, sir. Having two camps so near to the coast and each other is never a smart thing. More likely than not, this one is a temporary camp, to store prisoners until space becomes available elsewhere."
"Like cattle," summarized Harry, disgusted at the Americans' actions.
"Quite," agree the healer.
Harry shook his head. "I would have never imagined the Americans to stoop so low."
"Well, I wouldn't say they all did this," protested the healer. "More likely than not, a good three dozen of those chaps you're sending to the hospital are American protesters."
Harry reluctantly had to agree with that assessment. "You're right, doctor."
The healer smiled. "It's always easier to hate a group, isn't it? It makes the guilt far easier to deal with when you finally put the bullet in their brainpan," the healer remarked wisely.
Harry chuckled grimly. "Too true, doctor. Too true."
Just then, one of Neville's soldiers came running up to Harry and the Head Healer.
"Sir!" gasped the soldier as he reached the two. "Sir, you need to hear this!"
"What? What is it?" asked Harry urgently. The man's frazzled appearance was putting him on edge. "Well? Speak up, man!"
The soldier took a deep, calming breath. "Sir, it's unbelievable! The…the prisoners!"
"What about them?" asked the Healer.
"They…they claim to know where an Imperial heir is!" said the soldier joyfully. "Sir, an heir has survived!"
Harry felt his jaw drop. Could it be? Quick like a snake, Harry grabbed the soldier by the arms roughly. "Are you sure? Are youpositive?" asked Harry, with not a small amount of trepidation.
The soldier nodded quickly. "Yes, sir! The prisoners were all demanding to know what had happened to the heir! They claim the heir's in a camp outside Salt Lake City, in Utah!"
Harry felt the most sincere smile he'd had in years creep up on his face. All was not lost! The Empire could return once more!
"Soldier, I want you to spread the word," Harry told the man seriously. "Tell everyone you can of this. Long has it been since we've had such hope!"
The soldier seemed just as moved by the event as Harry was, if the glistening of the man's eyes were any evidence. "Y-Yes, sir!"
Harry watched as the soldier ran off to tell his mates the news, while Harry turned to look at the Healer happily.
The healer nodded. "We should move quickly, though," cautioned the Healer. "War is not unlike medicine. Now that the enemy knows we're here, he'll try to attack our weakest link—in this case the Imperial heir."
Harry was stunned that he hadn't thought of that. He began cursing wildly as he took out his wand and cast a communication charm on himself.
"All troops, speed up the evacuation process and converge on sector five in the third quadrant!" he ordered.
"Prepare for blitzkrieg attack into the American heartland!"
"Ye've found what?" demanded Staples.
"The Imperial heir? You're sure?" asked Sulu at the same time.
Harry nodded to Sulu and glared at Staples. The three had met upon Harry's insistence on the HMIS Retaliation, Harry's flagship, mere hours after Harry had found out about the Imperial heir. Needless to say, they were stunned.
"Our information seems solid on this affair," assured Harry. "The Imperial heir is in a special camp reserved for the most problematic of prisoners for the Death Eaters and Americans."
"But why has the heir been kept alive?" demanded Staples. "Death Eaters don't capture! They kill!"
"I must agree with the Admiral," coincided Sulu.
Harry nodded as well. "On most occasions, I'd agree as well, but this may be one event where the Americans have had a more restraining role upon the Death Eaters."
Sulu and Staples mulled over this and eventually nodded, albeit reluctantly.
"It makes sense," conceded Sulu.
"Aye…" agreed Staples. "So what's the plan?"
Harry nodded to Sulu. "Sulu, your men are the best at ground assault. I'm going to need you to directly rescue the heir, while Staples and I provide aerial cover."
Sulu nodded. "I believe I can spare the manpower. Perhaps the Thirty First Egyptian Legion and the Sixty Fourth Congo Grenadiers?"
Harry nodded, pleased. "More than enough. Staples?"
The huge Irishman stroked his red beard as he pondered on the vessels he possessed. "Well…the Locker's good to go…and I guess I can spare the Oceania Battle Group."
"What about O'Connor and McDonald?" suddenly asked Sulu.
"We can't trust them," said Harry, shaking his head. "the two have always been a bit iffy, McDonald even more so."
Staples grunted his agreement. "Aye, always looking for some way to get richer, those two."
Sulu reluctantly agreed.
"Back to the plan, though," said Harry. "Staples and his fleet will move over cloud cover until they've reached the concentration camp, at which point I want you to come down and rain fire on the nearby garrison. Keep the Americans and Death Eaters occupied while we get there."
"Right," grunted Staples.
"Meanwhile," continued Harry, "my fleet and I will transport Sulu to the concentration camp. Once there, Sulu and his men will debark through the use of our transports and rescue the heir. Once the heir is secured, they will return to the transports for evacuation towards Harrisburg."
"Right," agreed Sulu
"Hold on a minute!" interrupted Staples suddenly. "Why does the heir have to be with you, Potter?" demanded the Irishman. "Why can't the heir stay with me, or Sulu?"
"Admiral, don't be ridiculous," chided Sulu. "The Marshall has more troops than either of us, as well as Professor Eisenheim and most of the Archangel crew. Harrisburg is the most secure city in Imperial possession," reminded the dark-skinned general.
"New Atlantis is secure!" protested Staples
"Really?" asked Sulu doubtfully, an elegant eyebrow arched. "You've been to Harrisburg before, Admiral. You've seen the MEG Propelled Guns. One salvo from those and most ships would be torn asunder. Tell me, how many of those do you have?"
"None," mumbled the Irishman. "But they can be built!"
"And in the meantime, the Death Eaters and Americans will lay siege on New Atlantis!" riposted Sulu. "As a matter of fact, you already are under siege! You've been under siege for over six months!"
"We're still fighting, aren't we?" growled Staples.
"Yes, but it is not a safe place to keep the heir. Harrisburg is the only city they haven't found yet."
Staples muttered under his breath but didn't object to the assessment. "Fine, then," he grudgingly acceded. "Harrisburg it is."
Harry nodded, satisfied with the results. "Very well, then. Gentlemen, we begin two hours after Sulu's men have arrived."
The two men nodded in response.
Looking at them, Harry raised his fist to his chest and solemnly intoned, "Empire Forever"
Staples smirked and, fist to chest, said instead, "Rule Britannia"
Sulu, for his part, said, "Peace, Empire, and Justice"
With a final nod between them, the three Imperial officers turned and left in their own direction.
AN: Based heavily on the Band of Brothers Episode "Why we Fight"