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Harry Potter and the Drill of Rationality

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“Traitor! Traitors! Collaborators and profaners!”

Harry and the Defence Professor were being chased through the upper levels of Hogwarts by a group of seventh-year Slytherins. And, Harry suspected, being chased in circles.

“Professor huff what did you puff do?” Harry panted, as they ran down a very long corridor.

Sunlight flashed across the Professor’s face as they ran. A series of high windows pierced the western wall of the corridor, and the slanting sunlight from them lit the Defence Professor as he ran. Harry, being shorter, was in shadow.

Harry, being shorter, was having trouble keeping up.

“Mr. Potter, sometimes when you tell people the truth about a lie that they are vested in believing,” how in the world was the Defence Professor not out of breath, “they become quite enraged when they realize that their worldview, system of government, and place in society is based upon a lie. Turning right at the next intersection.”

“But we’ve already puff been down that huff corridor!”

“One point to Gryffindor!” In the distance, a bell tolled. “You’re paying attention. It is a useful skill.”

“Won’t we run into them?”

“Precisely.” Harry was beginning to suspect that the Defence Professor’s professed aversion to using magic was not a matter of ethics, but of restraint.

And indeed, as they turned the next corner, at the very end of the very long corridor they could see the flapping robes of the still-pursuing upperclassmen's backsides.

“Professor, what are you doing!”

“Accelerating, Mr. Potter. Do keep up.” The Defence Professor’s hand was suddenly holding a wand, and to Harry’s surprise, amazement, and alarm he found his legs eating more ground per step than they had been before.

Still running, still not out of breath, the Defence Professor tapped his throat with his wand. “MR. CLARENDON.” The students at the far end of the hall stopped. “YOU HAVE BETTER THINGS TO DO THAN RUN IN THAT DIRECTION.” The students at the end of the hall began to run towards Harry and the Defence Professor.

They were still very far away. Harry was not comforted by their distance.

“And now, Mr. Potter, it has come time for me to bid you adieu.”

“What!?”

The Defence Professor yanked open a door, shoved Harry through it, and closed the door behind him.

Harry stumbled, tumbled, fell onto a large and gently musty pile of cushions.

“I’m pretty sure that door wasn’t there before.” He looked about the room. As big as the Defence Professor’s office, floored in cushions, lit with small sconces. Opposite the door, in front of Harry, a desk with a faintly-glowing small cone. It looked interesting. He approached the desk.

At this point, dear reader, you will be screaming at Harry to not touch the Powerful Magical Artifact. And indeed, if this Harry were six years older and in a different story, he wouldn’t. But, as is usual for Harries Potter in their first year at Hogwarts, our Harry doesn’t yet fear magic. He touches the cone. It glows in response. He picks it up.

A thump from the hallway door reminded Harry of the Defence Professor’s presence. The glowing cone felt … alive. Not friendly, not unfriendly. Patient. Anxious. A feeling that he didn’t have a name for but that felt like what he imagined it must be like to have a dog, or a butler. It twisted in his hand a little, with his breathing.

Still staring at this thing, he opened the door back into the very long hallway. “Professor, what’s this?”

The Defence Professor was currently standing on the ceiling, dodging jinxes that the upperclassmen were sending at him.

“Mr. Potter, that is obviously a powerful magical artifact that was meant to fall into your hands.” The Defnse Professor dodged another jinx. “I recommend that you use it to resolve the current situation. And quickly.”

“But how?” The bullies were looking at Harry now, and Harry knew what they were thinking. Dudley thought it often. “Um.”

The bullies, relishing in their newest victim’s burgeoning panic, slowly turned towards Harry.

Harry, not knowing how one activates powerful magical artifacts, held the cone out in front of him.

The green light within its metallic surface pulsed once, twice, four times, expanding and acceelerating, coursing in a moment from Harry’s hand along a spiral of grooves in the cone that appeared as the light ran through them, gathered at the point–

The bullies flinched from the green light, fearing something that Harry didn’t yet know, a primal terror deep within their magical hearts of family members falling in the night, of burning houses and writhing snakes scattered in the sky–

And suddenly Harry found himself encased in a cockpit, holding two handles, staring out through a glass-like canopy along a shining metal arm, a gauntleted hand pointing at the bullies, a finger outstretched and quivering as Harry’s hands quivered on the handles.

TUMP! The Defence professor landed on top of Harry’s artifact. Standing on the dome, he declared to the bullies, like some superhero from the Dursley’s television: “Gentlemen, put away your wands and go back to your dorms, and you will not be hurt.”

They fired curses at him.

“Mr. Potter, if there is room–” Harry jolted into a new level of panic.

“How–?” The canopy retracted, the Defence Professor fell in and onto a jump seat beside Harry, the canopy reappeared. “– do I let you in?”

“It seems you have succeeded. Their curses are splashing off of your armour, have you noticed?” Harry had not. “You have two options, Mr. Potter. Offence or defence, and standing here doing nothing is neither.”

“Bu-but-”

“I suggest you attack.”