The muggles could not be left in charge of the security of the nation, it was decided. They just weren’t capable of handling the true dangers of the world. No, it was just better for everyone if the magical community took control of the national security.
Not that the muggles knew about this decision, or that there was a magical community to begin with. They still thought that they were in complete control over their countries defenses, and the witches and wizards who knew better weren’t about to tell them otherwise.
Q liked his new position, despite his reservations about the transfer. But he had to admit, being the Quartermaster of MI6 was much better than being deputy head of the Department of Magical Equipment Control. The muggles certainly knew how to treat the ones who made their equipment.
Even if the agents who used said equipment kept destroying them.
But all in all, Q liked Q branch. Especially at night, when the branch was closed to the rest of MI6.
That’s when the minions could step away from their computers and do some real work.
“I don’t know what the muggles are expecting, having us stare at those boxes all day.” One minion muttered, getting his wand from his desk draw.
Q chuckled, his own wand tucked behind his ear as he took a sip of tea, “Oh you know muggles, Archie, they think computers are their real defense.”
Archibald, Archie, nodded, waving his wand over his desk. The illusion of the computer on his desk vanished, leaving several experiments bubbling in cauldrons.
“007 lost us another gun.” Another minion muttered, working on runes at her desk, “It took me three days to design those runes.”
“Well now you know how to make them faster, Eglantine.” Q smiled, “Brilliant work, by the way. Making those Walthers have "palm recognition,” M is still wondering how we managed that.”
Eglantine shrugged, going back to etching runs on the handles of new guns.
Q took a moment to examine the employees of Q branch. It was a very eclectic bunch: different graduating years, different houses, different blood status (if one actually cared to take stock of such things), different levels of exposure to muggles (Q still got a chuckle from remember the first time he had shown Caelum, a newly graduated Hufflepuff, how to work a mobile phone).
But the one thing they all had in common was the fact that they had been brilliant during their Hogwarts years and had done something to warrant a recommendation to Q’s devision, or the Department of Covert Muggle Defenses.
Q liked Q branch better. Catchier.
He smiled and took another long drink of his tea before he spied another undergoing project, “What are you working on, Virgil?”
The minion in question flinched, “Uh…”
Q picked up one of the finished products, “Exploding pens? I thought we were moving out of using exploding pens? This isn’t the 80’s anymore.”
“The agents, and M, like the exploding pens.” Virgil nodded, his grey hair standing on end, “And I’ve made upgrades, they don’t just explode.”
At Q’s raised eyebrow, Virgil took the pen Q was holding, “See, if the pen is twisted like so, it engages the explosive. But if you twist it the other way, it turns into a black smoke bomb. I’m also working on some other features, but those are the two that have worked best in the pen so far.”
“Wow…” Q blinked, “How did you think of a smoke bomb?”
The old wizard grinned, bringing out a box from under his desk, “The grandkids inspired me after they took me shopping at the Wheezes.”
It took a moment for Q to recognize the box, but after seeing the bright WWW on the side, he couldn’t help but laugh, “Could you imagine M’s face if he found out some of our innovations came from a joke shop?”
Judging by the wry look on Virgil’s face, he had imagined it quite a few times.
“Carry on then, I can’t wait to see what else you can fit into those pens.” Q smiled, resuming overseeing the rest of Q branch.
And who said those O’s he earned on his OWLs and NEWTs wouldn’t amount to anything in the real world?
“What the hell?”
Q nearly choked on his tea when he heard the new voice. Well, perhaps not a new voice, Q knew that voice quite well. It just wasn’t supposed to be in Q branch.
Turning slowly, Q came face to face with one 007, who seemed to be looking at all the magical equipment in Q branch. How on Earth did Bond get into Q branch? They had wards to alert them of someone trying to get in…well, too late wondering about those now…
The poor minions, bless their hearts, were frozen in place. Archie nearly spilled an unstable potion that would have melted his desk (thank Merlin he didn’t though).
So basically, Q was left for damage control.
“What?” Q blinked, “Ah, yes, this…” He looked around, “There’s actually a funny story behind all of this. Why don’t I pour you a drink and I’ll tell you about it?”
Bond raised an eyebrow at him, suspicious as ever, but none the less, the 00 agent followed Q into his office. Great, now Q was going to have to obliviate an agent.