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by: Morgan Jones
#7858
Continues from HERE

January 6, 11:00 am

Jones looked at the man seated before her. Certainly, anyone pulled off the streets for a government interview was going to be irritated. Jones didn't want that. She'd requested a pot of tea be brought in from the cafeteria. It would be here shortly. Thank God that Klaus was giving his friend and newly hired agent a tour and would not be interrupting the interview with his ever present sarcasm and vitriol. The man- Dresden?-would be out of his element as it was. So, Morgan began softly.

"My apologies for the abrupt nature of our meeting. Let's start this off properly, shall we? My name is Morgan Jones. I'm a department director with MI:5 Homeland Security. You're in no trouble and in no danger. If you'd be willing to answer a few questions for me, I'll be more than happy to answer a few questions you may have. I'm most interested in having an open dialogue."

She spoke calmly and firmly with a gentle edge to it. In a lot of ways, it was the same tone trainers used to get dogs to behave. Jones was famous for her bureaucratic and somewhat demanding air. Her tenacity on a subject gave her the bulldog nickname and she saw no reason to compromise it.
#7859
Dresden eyed the woman, this, Morgan Jones, with a healthy dose of suspicion. In fact the only reason he'd even come along rather than apparate out after that idiot wizard had attacked, was because Orion had said it would be alright. And quite frankly, he trusted the dead yet not dead wizards word more than the muggles. At least she had the common sense to get the important answers out of the way without the need for questions. He now knew her name. The organization she presumably worked for. A promise (that he barley trusted) that he wasn't in any trouble or danger, presumably as long as he cooperated and answered her questions. Brilliant. And here all he had planned for today was to pick up books for his 7th year class.

"Apology accepted I suppose," Dres stated simply as if he was talking to a fellow colleague. There was no point in starting off on a more sour note than they already had. After a moment he continued. "Dresden Faust, Professor of -" there was a slight hesitation. Even in there own circles Dark Arts were still looked down upon, and muggles were know for being exceptionally skittish. "Magical Arts. Sorry about tall that earlier. It wasn't how I intended on spending my afternoon."
#7860
Jones smiled politely. Orion had already clued them in that this aptly named Professor Faust dealt with the subject called Dark Arts. Orion had explained that it wasn't necessarily evil stuff, but the study of curses and other offensive spells. Well, from the way some were explained, they were quite offensive in the repulsive sense. But, better to have a teacher provide a lesson in ethics with it, as Orion had assured her team, than letting students stumble into it on their own.

"Well, I'm sure we can get you going on your way as soon as possible, Professor."

She picked up a pen and poised it over a notepad in preparation for short-hand notes.

"I'm sure you're wondering why nonmagical agents are questioning you and not a bit surprised at your magical nature. For several decades now, our governments have enjoyed a fairly quiet but stable relationship. That changed recently and the silence concerns us. So, my department was tasked with finding out why. I think the simplest way to get answers is to simply ask...what's happened? Is everything okay?"

She put a note of concern in her voice to make the question less official and more personal. She'd had other intelligence sources tell her that everything was going to hell in a hand basket, but they were also self proclaimed resistance group members. If a professor, certainly a respectable and honest man in any society, confirmed the resistance group's call that the sky was falling, then things would get more serious as far as their preparations for defense.
#7861
What she said had made sense. At some level most of the populace knew that both the magical and non-magical governments we're civil toward each other. So it wasn't surprising to hear that they had a fairly decent relationship with one another. It also wasn't surprising considering the current climate, that those relationships had ceased. After all one of the prime mandates from the Death Eaters had been the removal and slavery of muggleborns. It only made sense that communications with the muggle government were cut as well. Then again he'd not been around fro everything that went down either. He'd been studying abroad and had only returned and stayed at the insistence of his father... But that still didn't explain why this woman was picking up random wizards off the street.

"Well I've only been back in the UK for about a year now so I'm not sure how much help I can be to you. I know there was a government shift a few years ago and with it came some changes not everyone agreed with. Typical for most new ones I would assume. Aside from a few issues everything seems to be fine at the moment."

It probably wasn't the detailed answer she was looking for but Dres was chewing on other questions he wanted answers to at the moment. Things like why was young Burgess not in fact dead, and what would his own government do to him if he broke the statute of secrecy by saying more than he should.
#7862
A few issues. Right. Jones made a note of the government change and pressed onward, then offered a carrot.

"A few issues? Could you elaborate on that for me? And like I said earlier, I want this to be a dialogue, so please feel free to voice any comments, concerns, or questions you have. Wizard or not, you're also a citizen of Britain and therefor have rights to equitable and humane treatment. Ah, tea, wonderful, thank you."

Her secretary brought in a simple wood tray with a plain white tea pot and two utilitarian mugs. There was fine china in the cafeteria in case anyone with titles came in for an inspection, but Jones preferred simple things. She poured for Dresden, an act of service designed to show him that he really was a guest and not a prisoner. As for her own tea, she added one lump of sugar, stirred it several times, and enjoyed the Ceylon. It wasn't as much of a ritual for her as other Englishwomen, but tea was tea, and meant to be enjoyed.
#7863
He mulled over her question and insistence that he was able to voice he own questions and concerns as well. When another entered with a tea pot and pair of mugs the professor quirked a small smile. Don't ever come between a British person and their tea. Dres took the offered mug as it was, adding nothing to it. Something Renn always pestered him about. He took a sip and let himself at least look a little more relaxed than he had been previously.

"There has been a string of serial murders that has been keeping the Ministry and the Guard rather busy... How long has Mr. Burgess been with you?" The question was out before he could stop it. His curiosity demanded to know, though really he should probably be asking the young man and not Jones. He let his eyes wander around her office as he waited for her answer. There were a myriad of things the professor couldn't place and in all honesty he found rather interesting.
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by: Morgan Jones
#7864
Morgan sipped her tea thoughtfully, considering the string of murders factoid. Orion hadn't known about those, nor had any of her other contacts. That may be important. A dissident finally snapping and going rogue terrorist? Some vampire or werewolf creature not being reined in? Jones leaned more towards terrorist. And then Dresden asked about Orion himself. He was a prodigy, a God given gift to her department.

"About a month ago. He was struck by a bus and our department was alerted to several oddities...identification paperwork and the wand specifically. We helped him recover and as thanks he's been acting as a liaison for us with a resistance group hell bent in securing our help. We've not agreed yet primarily because Her Majesty doesn't want alliances with terrorist organizations. That's actually my primary reason for the interview, to determine the validity of the claims we've been told."

Candid and forthright answers led to better questions. Dresden had told her a lot with his statements. The average citizen, he didn't care about. His students, however, warranted questions and understanding. Interesting. He was a man of personal connection but likely little community involvement. Likely fairly typical of a teacher; bond with the class and avoid the rest of humanity like the plague.
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by: Dresden Faust
#7865
"A bus?" Dres looked at her with a slightly raised brow, having no idea what she was talking about. Had Orion been struck by some sort of creature? Thank Merlin he'd been ok, though it was interesting that Jones had tagged him as a liaison between the muggles and a resistance group... especially when he was supposed to be dead. Was he in trouble and had SAVIOR or someone else got him out? The professor decidedly didn't like where this line of questions was leading. It was unsettling to know that a resistance group was involved with the muggle government.

"There has been a few attacks on our commerce centers but nothing that wasn't handled in short order. And why would a rebel group reach out to you? Perhaps if you told me a bit about what you know I can fill in the blanks?"

It was a long shot. Dres gathered that typically the people who were asking the questions didn't bother with filling you in on what they knew.
#7867
Jones heard the question in Dresden's voice. Did they not have public transportation? Or maybe the professor was just so used to magical means that mundane travel methods being dangerous was just unthinkable. She decided to not elaborate for him. Orion could speak to him later if needed and it seemed like a good way to make her guest feel insulted if she spoke down to him. Instead, she sipped some more tea and listened to his report on the nature of the wizarding world.

"We've been told that there was slavery and that what was once a democratic leadership style has become more authoritarian, even dictatorial. Being one of the world's bulwarks and champions of representative democracy, we found the reports of authoritarian rule on our own soil to be quite concerning, especially since dictators have an historical tendency to get greedy with their neighbors' territory. We've also been told that we-muggles that is- are considered to be at best concerning and at worst frightening."

She set her mug down and looked at Dresden with complete seriousness.

"We likewise find magic to be concerning and frightening. It seems a recipe for disaster to have neighbors scared of each other and governments not talking. Do you see now why we took any opportunity to talk with someone without a political agenda?"

The fear was war. War was hell even among mundanes, so how worse could it be if the other side could explode their foe with their brains? The escalation that would be inevitable could have devastating results.
#8206
Dres cleared his throat and took a sip of his tea. For muggles they we're certainly well informed...

"I'm not sure what to tell you other than yes there is slavery. It was here and enforced when I arrived and I can only assume it was part of the mandate of the new government and was supported by enough of the general populace to be seen as ok... I'm not sure what you mean by Authoritarian rule... they look out for us mundane magical folk, made it legal for professors like me to teach in the country and do their damnedest to put down any resistance groups that threaten the people."

Her next question was unsettling though and the seriousness behind it wasn't missed.

"Well you lot are scary to wizarding kind... you only need to look back at your own history to know the fallout of magical integration. Burnings, witch hunts... Most magical folk are resistant and slow to change what they perceive as safe and while some see muggles as interesting the majority would like to pretend as if you never existed."
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by: Morgan Jones
#8250
Morgan smiled softly. The wizarding folks apparently had long memories if they were still scared of witch hunts and burnings at the stake. humans didn't do that to each other...

No, likely they'd be investigated in a laboratory and ostracized if there was a negative fallout...That wasn't any better, she presumed, since these wizards had no idea what a laboratory was even.

"Thank you for your candid answer. We've been reached by one of these resistance groups and I wanted to substantiate their propaganda before I acted on it. It seems my instinct was correct in assuming that there was a 'the sky is falling' element to their information."

She made the reference to the children's story without even considering if the man had heard it before. It didn't occur to her that the children's stories they'd acquired in their lives would be vastly different.
#8267
The fact that a resistance group had reached out to the muggles was as unsettling as ever though Dres did his best to hide his unease. As it was the professor was wishing he'd just stayed in bed. After that weird little wizard that had seemed hell bent on dueling... now the muggle government was involved with wizarding resistance groups...

Her quip about the "sky is falling" was confusing. The sky couldn't fall... Dres silently mouthed back what she had said. The words or saying may have not been familiar but he was able to piece together what Jones had meant based off the context of their current conversation. The group must have made the situation sound much more dire than it was in Dresden's opinion. But what to talk about now? The professor sipped at his tea as he thought.
#8366
Jones could see his confusion, so she explained the story.

"The saying comes from a children's story we have where a chicken on a farm goes to the rooster, the other hens, a goose, and a duck and tells them that the sky is falling...she thought that because a leaf from a tree hat hit her on the head. Anyway, the birds believed her, so they all set out to meet the king of the land and warn him. They meet a fox along the way who lies to them and leads them to his den, where he eats all of them."

She sipped her tea gingerly, careful of the heat.

"The moral of the story is to not believe everything you hear with a side dish of being careful of strangers. Our kiddos love that tale. Do you have a similar one from your childhood?"

It occurred to Morgan that their cultures were so diverged that their cultural stories, moral tales, and forms of entertainment were so potentially different that they had no context to understand each other. Did wizards have radio? Or television? Or something so drastically different that she had no understanding? Jones realized that she'd stumbled on a good topic to talk about.
#8375
Dres let out a soft chuckle one Jones had gone on to explain where her saying had come from and her query that followed about children's tales brought an unbiden smile to his face. It had been a long time since he'd thought about any of the stories he'd grown up with. The Three Brothers and The Fountain of Fair Fortune were the two Dres recalled as being his favorite though they didn't really have any similarities to the one Jone had gone onto mention. That said there was one that while different in it's telling conveyed a similar meaning.

"Ah yes, stories and fables are a staple for most, or at the very least everyone I ever knew. I recall a locale tale that was commonly told where I grew up. It's about a goat and her young kids. Similar to your 'sky is falling', though different in its telling. Basically the mother goat needs to leave the kids alone for an unprecedented amount of time but knows that there is a wolf in the area. She she tells her kids that the wolf is clever and will disguise itself so it can trick them into opening the door so it can eat them, but it has a rough voice and black feet so they will be able to tell it's the villain. Kids being kids assure her they can take care of themselves."

"Not long after the mother leaves, the wolf comes knocking on the door. But the wolf is clever and has drunk honey to sweeten its rough voice, used white flour to hide his black feet, and has wrapped a magical cloak around him to hide his true form, making him look like the kids mother. The kids, seeing what they believe to be true open the door and the wolf gathers them all in a large sack to take them back to its den to eat. To make a long story short, the mother rescues her kids and kills the wolf, but the moral is to not believe everything you first see or hear."


Once he finished the abbreviated telling Dres sipped at his tea. "Do you lot tell stories often? Or is it just something for the kids?"
#8384
Jones found herself listening to the story, enjoying the wizard's take on the moral tale. As she'd suspected earlier, the topic was one they could both get enjoyment from.

"We do...in fact, we have a whole industry based on story telling. We call them movies, television shows, cinema...lots of different names, but it centers around actors portraying a story....could I interest you in seeing a movie?"

It wouldn't be difficult to pull up Netflix onto a laptop in a conference room and play a movie for the wizard...but what to show him?

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