"What do you mean 'bureaucratically impossible'?" said Harry James Potter-Evans-Verres.
"It just is," said Mad-Eye Moody.
"Nothing 'just is'," Harry said, "Everything happens for a material reason. What precisely is preventing you from acquiring the permits?"
"I suspect an unfriendly nation-state is employing bureaucramancy against us," Moody said.
"Bureaucramancy," Harry said dryly.
Didn't the Ministry of Magic understand how important this was? No, because Harry had declared the existence of the Sorcerer's Stone to be top secret.
"Can't we just build it without the permits?" Harry said.
"I hope you're not insinuating that a trusted Auror like myself might allow expediency to outweigh accountability," Moody said.
"As if you cared about accountability when you assassinated the Dark Lord of Berzerkistan," said Harry.
"I can neither confirm nor deny whether I have ever set foot in Berzerkistan," Moody said, "But if I had, I can assure you that I would not have broken a single British law within its sovereign borders."
"What is the worst thing that could happen if we completed the Stone Citadel without proper authorization?" Harry asked.
"The end of the world," Moody said. Harry flinched.
"What's the worst thing that is net 'likely' to happen if we build this hospital without proper authorization?" Harry asked, "Will we forfeit a tax exemption or something?"
"You sound like a Dark Lord abusing his political power for the greater good," Moody said.
"It's just a zoning law!"
"The hospital will not be part of Hogwarts and will therefore be unprotected by its wards," Moody said.
Britain had 1% of the planet's magical population. It had 1% of the planet's armies. Hogwarts was a fraction of that. If Harry Potter revealed his hospital to the world it could would catalyze an international crisis. When that day came, it would be to the Chief Warlock's advantage if the Stone Citadel was located inside the Hogwarts wards.
Another three minutes and fifty-four seconds ticked by. Another human being died forever. At times of civilizational inadequacy—which was all the time—Harry Potter could empathize with Lord Voldemort's pleasure at murdering his way through the Ministry bureaucracy.
There was a knock on the door. A dreamy first-year voice said "I'm looking for Harry Potter."
"Harry James Potter-Evans-Verres is busy. He is trying to save and/or destroy the world and/or wizardkind," Harry said, "If you make an appointment then he might get back to you in a few epochs."
"How about Tom Riddle?" the voice said, "Does he know what astrolabes do?"
Luna was untrained in the Muggle arts. Muggle Studies Professor Burbage declared the astrolabe beyond her pay grade and referred Luna to Harry Potter. There was no "Harry Potter" on the Marauder's Map so Luna went to "Harry Potter's Office". Tom Riddle answered the door.
"It's nice to meet you, Mister Riddle," Luna said.
Tom Riddle ushered Luna into Harry Potter's office, shut the door and cast thirty security charms.
"Call me Harry Potter," Tom Riddle said.
"Call me You-Know-Who," Luna played along. It was a relief to pretend to have friends for a change.
"Hss hsssss hsss," Tom Riddle said in Parseltongue.
"Hiss hiss hiss," Luna said in not-Parseltongue. She held her index fingers down from her mouth like fangs and swayed her head like a snake.
"You're not really You-Know-Who," Tom Riddle said.
"You're not really Harry Potter," Luna showed him the map, "It says so right here."
The 12-year-old boy banged his head against the wall. Just because you've won a battle doesn't mean you've behaved optimally. Optimal behavior is when you extract maximum utility from your circumstances. He shouldn't have been content to retrieve his belongings. He should have looted everything of value from the corpses of his fallen enemies. If he had done that then Bellatrix Lestrange would have been in Ministry custody, he would have possessed the Marauder's Map and his identity would have been secure.
"What do you want?" the boy said.
"I want friends," Luna said, "But right now I'll settle for the Lost Diadem of Ravenclaw. I am at Harry Potter's office because Professor Burbage told me he is an expert in modern Muggle technology."
"I'll tell you what an astrolabe is if you pretend I am Harry James Potter-Evans-Verres from now on."
"Deal," Luna said.
"An astrolabe is a handheld model of the universe," Harry said, "What is the Lost Diadem of Ravenclaw?"
"A diadem is a crown," Luna said, "Ravenclaw's is said to make you smarter."
Harry Potter had heard the term "intelligence explosion" before. If Rowena Ravenclaw could create a magical device that increased her intelligence then she would not have been content to stop there. She would have used the first diadem to make a second, superior one. Then she would have used the second diadem to make an even better third iteration. She might not have stopped until after she had gone full Singularity.
"On second thought," Harry stuffed the Ministry zoning paperwork into his trunk, "Saving the world can wait. What can you tell me about this Lost Diadem?"
The easiest way to keep updated on this story is to subscribe to my posts here on Less Wrong.
Last chapter, CitizenTen asked if I had any plans to post this story to fanfiction websites. I currently do not. You have my permission to copy this story in part or in its entirety to any website I am not active on (which, right now, includes every website on the Internet except lesswrong.com) provided:
Do you write it ahead and post in pieces, or do you write each bit after the last?
I am really enjoying the story so far, but I also feel like there are too many calls to adventure now. The forgotten library stacked on top of the strange encounter with Lady Yue... it feels like a bit too much is going on already, even though I also really like the way Luna is getting into trouble at breakneck speed.
I really like the theme so far, IE the focus on things similar to the Muggle-Repelling Charm.
This was very funny and the best HPMOR continuation I've read so far.
Are potential HPMOR spoilers acceptable in the comments here? I'm not really sure - the default is to assume they aren't, but the fanfic itself contains some, so to be sure I'll hide it just in case:
Can Harry really discuss the idea of destroying the world so casually? Shouldn't his unbreakable oath compel him to avoid anything that can contribute to it, and abandon the idea of building the hospital without permit as soon as Moody jokes (is that the correct term when talking about Moody?) about it causing the end of the world?
I think Harry would have to believe that discussing the end of the world would be more likely to increase the chance of world destruction than to reduce it in order for the Vow to stop him.
Note that he did change the subject to lesser hazards after the end of the world was brought up by Moody.
By the way, I wouldn't be surprised if "the end of the world" is Moody's stock response to "what's the worst that could happen?" in any context.
(this is no longer spoiler so we no longer need to hide it)
I'm not sure about that. That could be Harry's stock response - "there was always a slight probability for the end of the world and this suggestion will not completely eliminate that probability". But Moody's? I would expect him to quickly make a list of all the things that could go wrong for each suggested course of action.
I could see a world where "the end of the world" is Moody's stock response to questions like "what's the worst that could happen?" if Harry Potter is the one asking the question, but not in general.
Thanks for pointing out how to stay up-to-date with the story. Have subscribed to your posts.
Typo is fixed now. Thanks for pointing it out.