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Chapter 5: Berwick
I stepped off of the small landing craft onto a small dock. I had arrived in Berwick to begin the invasion. The town had been secured and the army was forming. We weren’t expecting heavy resistance but we were ready to fight.
The night before, Mcgonagall had promoted me to one rank below Dunlap and to an equal position of power as Zachary Blackberg. My rank allowed me to have complete command of the invasion without any authority issues.
“We’re set up in that field over there General,” said a soldier. “We’ve left the city alone as a number of the citizens are sympathetic to us.”
“Thank you, lieutenant,” I said, glancing at the direction he was pointing towards. A few wispy waves of smoke were floating.
He nodded and I walked over to the field. When I reached it, a tall man with short black hair came over to me. “General.”
“Yes?” I asked.
“Greetings, ma’am,” he said, saluting. “I am Commanding Officer of the Left Flank, Colonel Smith, Auror.”
“Greetings Colonel,” I said cautiously.
He nodded. “When do we head out?”
I glanced at the clipboard in my hand, flipping a few pages. “The last landing craft lands at nine o’clock sharp tonight. The invasion of Sunderland begins tomorrow at noon. Therefore, ours will start promptly at one o’clock PM.”
“Excellent,” Smith said. “Do you have any orders?”
“Summon the Right Flank Commanding Officer, and the Center Commanding Officer to my tent in five minutes. You too,” I commanded.
He saluted and walked away as I left for my tent. I ducked underneath the awning and dropped my bags on the floor. Immediately, I headed to the kitchen to make a pot of tea.
When I came out, three people were waiting for me in the living room. Fortunately I knew them, so I greeted them and offered them cups of tea.
They were my staff, responsible for helping me with every nitty gritty detail that was needed for this invasion. The first man was Dean Thomas, a tall black man, five or so years younger than me. The second was a woman named Veronica Gates who had long dark hair and a large scar running along her otherwise pretty face. The final person was an older man named Sean Bowman. He was staring to bald and his gray hair was slowly disappearing.
I had worked with all three of them in the final days before the invasion and had been expecting them to arrive shortly. I was glad to see them, as their help would be very welcome.
“So when did you get here?” I asked as I sat down on a couch.
“Yesterday,” Sean answered for them. “We just learned that you’d arrived minutes ago. We came straight here.”
“Well, don’t get too comfortable,” I said dryly. “The three main commanders are due to arrive shortly.”
The three of them exchanged glances. “So you haven’t met them yet?” questioned Veronica cautiously.
“I met Smith briefly,” I replied, puzzled. “Why? Is there a problem with them?”
“Besides the fact that they‘re all power hungry and aren’t going to listen to you?” responded Sean sarcastically.
“Why won’t they listen to me?” I asked.
“Because they’re all at least fifteen years older than you,” said Dean.
Understanding rushed through me. If they were all older and more experienced than me, then they would try to usurp me.
I groaned. “Give me more information on them.”
“Smith is very arrogant and he thinks he should be commanding the invasion,” said Veronica. “The Right Flank Commanding Officer, Hugo Jennings, is rude, condescending, and a lady’s man if you will.”
I nodded. “Continue.”
“The Center Commanding Officer, John Cole, is the worst of them all. He’s been in the muggle army for the last forty years. He resents Dunlap because he advanced quicker than John even though he’s younger. Now, he’s a jaded old man who is grumpy and unpleasant to work with,” finished Veronica.
“Interesting choices to command the invasion,” I murmured.
“Well at least you’re here,” said Dean confidently. “One hour with you and they’ll be begging for mercy.”
His words were met with silence.
“Am I really that frightening?” I asked mildly.
Dean hesitated. “You can be awfully cold when you first me someone. You don’t trust very easily.”
“One could say in these times, it’s foolish to trust many people,” I countered.
“And you can be very cold to people that you don’t like,” Dean continued, ignoring me.
“How very perspective of you,” I muttered darkly.
“Let’s not forget that you trained under Moody,” pointed out Sean. “His personality rubbed off on almost everyone that worked with him for a while.”
“You’re also rather sarcastic,” added Veronica.
I glared at them. “What is this? National Pick On Ana day?”
Whatever they were going to say was interrupted by three men coming into my tent. I greeted them cooly. “Whatever happened to asking whether you could come in or not?”
“General Cortez,” said Smith, saluting me and ignoring my greetings.
“Colonel,” I snapped, “When I ask a question, I like being answered.”
Sean hid a smile behind his hand and excused himself quietly. Veronica and Dean hastily followed and I scowled at them. Bloody Cowards.
“I beg your pardon?” asked Smith, taken aback.
I sighed loudly. “I asked you a question Colonel and I want an answer. Whatever happened to asking whether you could come in or not?”
“I thought you said ‘Come in,’” he said. “I must not have heard right.”
“Obviously,” I said, rolling my eyes, before turning to Jennings and Cole. “I take it your Jennings and Cole?”
They nodded and I smiled tightly, trying to be friendly. I remembered what my staff had said and I was going to prove them wrong.
“And how are you today?” I questioned.
“Fine,” said Jennings.
Cole nodded curtly and I sighed exasperatedly. “That was not a yes or no question, Colonel. A simple good or bad will suffice.”
He raised his eyebrow at me, almost mockingly. Angrily, I cleared my throat. “I’ve heard rumors about you three.”
They looked at me blankly. I shook my head and continued. “I had hoped that they were wrong as are most rumors. Unfortunately, these rumors are correct.”
“What are these rumors, ma’am?” asked Jennings cautiously.
Ah hah! I’ve already gotten them scared around me. Excellent. Now I just needed respect.
“Never you mind,” I snapped. “All you need to know is that you shouldn’t want to be labeled as those things.”
They fidgeted amongst themselves and I frowned. “If you continue to disrespect me and undermine my authority, I will do everything in my power to remove you from command. There are far more capable men and woman to serve.
Cole snorted loudly and I growled, “Yes, Colonel. Women are perfectly able to command troops. In the Battle of Hogwarts, many fine women fought. In every single engagement of this war, women have fought.”
He stayed silent and my eyes flashed. “Colonel Cole. You have until midnight tonight to convince me that you are a fit to lead. As far as I can tell, you are unfit to command.”
“You three are dismissed to return to your posts,” I said, turning to all three of them. “We will meet tomorrow to discuss the invasion. Blame Colonel Cole for the delay, Smith and Jennings. Good evening.”
I waved them away with a hand. Stunned, they left my tent and headed to their posts. Immediately, my staff ran in.
“That was excellent,” said Veronica delightedly.
“That should knock them down a few notches,” Sean said pleased.
Dean remained silent, though I could tell he was pleased a well. He nodded at me congratulatory.
“What will happen now?” inquired Veronica her eyebrows furrowed.
“Hopefully, Cole comes here soon,” I replied truthfully. “All he needs to do is apologize.”
“Wouldn’t that be a bloody miracle?” Dean muttered.
A/N: Thoughtsss? Next chap begins the invasion!
This seems to be as good of a place as any to describe the characters to you.
Ana Lucia Cortez: Michelle Rodriguez
Andromeda Tonks RIP: Helena Bonham Carter (when she looks normal)
Noah Dunlap: George Bush
Mara Jade: Mara Jade Skywalker (from the Star Wars novels)
Megan Oxford: Cheryl Klein
John Cole: Stephen Lang
Hugo Jennings: Brad Pitt
Phillip Smith: Brian Mallon (Hancock from Gettysburg)
Sean Bowman: Jeff Daniels
Veronica Gates: Eva Green
Samuel Porter: Gerald Ford