|Scene Title||When Broomsticks Attacks|
|Synopsis||Flyte and Barker of the Twigger Broomstick Company debut the Twigger 100, which apparently has a few flaws.|
|Date||Jul 11, 1994|
|Watch For||The amazing demonstration followed by the amazing crash!|
|Chronology||The Twigger Broomstick Company encounters a setback.|
This place is surely like no other on earth! The narrow cobblestone lane is crowded with vendor's carts while buildings are packed in on each other on both sides of the lane. Very little room if any can be found between the buildings, but narrow alleys can be found here and there. The entire area feels like you've just set foot onto the set of a Charles Dickens tale almost. Usually people can be found up and down this area at all times of the day and night. While in a way this scene isn't too out of place in England, the contents are! The shops lining the lane are out of the ordinary due to their nature and the people crowding around are definitely out of this world. The soft hooting of owls can be heard from Eeylops Owl Emporium, strange and often disgusting smells filter out of the Apothecary, while a throng of children and a few adults ogle merchandise found in the window of Quality Quidditch Supplies.
In what is a brisk summer day in Diagon Alley, the storefront of Quality Quidditch Supplies has been transformed into a large platform, with a small tent in the corner of it. Most of the platform is empty, and incomprehensible whispered words can be heard coming from the tent. Some people have already started to gather around the platform, curious about what promotion or sale the shop is offering now.
Jack's just wasting time today, honestly. Hot summer day, and not a lot better to do. So, he's in the Alley, just strolling along, munching on an ice cream cone from Fortescue's. He whistles softly as he walks, and then he notices the setup. He leans in to a witch nearby. "Hey, do you know what's going on?" His cheeky grin attempts to get information, sometimes where there is none.
Silvester is among the curious onlookers, his two sons in tow. It's bad enough they're already embarrassed by being with the man, but now the gawking? The eldest, Reginald, looks ready to crawl under the pavement while Otto, the younger, is just disinterested as he eats his ice cream. Silvester reaches out both hands, clapping each one to a shoulder of his boys. "Not so fast! This could be educational!"
Melissa is, like Jack, holding a cone and watching the proceedings with interest, while standing beside her father. "Something Quidditch related, I'd think…" she says.
With a pair of heavy leather riding gloves in her hand, one obviously damaged or worn through at the knuckle, a familiar-looking silver-haired witch makes her way through the crowd. "Fine day you picked to go to Diagon Alley, Xi," she mutters to herself under her breath, but then she spots where the commotion is centered, and one silver eyebrow makes its way towards her hairline. Unable to resist - and since QQS was her destination in the first place - the Hogwarts riding instructor makes her way through the crowd towards the dais.
Madeline makes her way out of Flourish and Blott's with a small bag of her purchase. The crowd gathering catches her attention, and she lingers there in the doorway for a moment before someone behind her has to speak up and ask her to move aside. She goes rather sheepish and quickly steps properly out onto the street and moves aside, murmuring an apology. Her head still slightly ducked, she can't help but drift a little closer though, peering up at the storefront set up.
Stephen is taking the day to peruse the shops at Diagon Alley, his cat with him like always, perched on his shoulder and looking down imperiously at passersby as they move from shop to shop. Stephen isn't completely rich, but he does have a fair amount of galleons jingling in the coinpurse at his side. Finally, he comes upon the shop he's been waiting to go to all day. Quality Quidditch Supplies, eager to see if there are any new brooms for sale.
Other students milling about catch his attention, of course, but the main attraction is the tent in front of the store. He reaches up and scritches the cat's fur almost unconsciously, ingrained from years of habit. "What d'you think is going on today?", he asks quietly. The cat mews contented in response.
The tent on the platform rustles, and a strange rumbling sound starts to emit from it. Low at first, until…in a bang the flaps fly open and two men on a broomstick shoot out and straight up into the sky. Both men appear in their later years, each sporting large handlebar mustaches.
As the broom rises higher, one the the men jumps off the back of the broomstick and glides gently to stage. While overhead the other turns the broomstick into a dive. "Ladies and gentlemen! Wizards and witches! My name is Flyte. And that…" he points to the man on the broom, "…is Barker. And we are the founders and owners of the Twigger Broom Company." This draws a groan from some of the crowd, but Flyte dismisses it. "How many of you remember the Twigger 90?"
Hooch's golden eyes narrow thoughtfully, as she makes her way through the crowd, "As if I could forget it," she murmurs. "I wonder if they managed to fix the braking charm…" Still, curious, she watches the demonstration with interest.
"Hmm." Jack hears Melissa's soft words, and nods. "You're probably right, since it's right here by the store." When Flyte starts talking, Jack steps closer, and raises his hand. "I remember that. Lots of fun. One of the first…" He's lost in memory for a moment, then realizes what they're doing. It's pretty obvious, now that he thinks about it. His grin widens and turns child-like. Jack loves flying. He totally forgets about his ice cream for the moment, until the green stuff starts dripping on to his hand.
Marcus looks toward Jack. "It only came out a few years ago, it's not really something to get nostalgic about…"
"How delightful! Of course!" It hasn't been /that/ long since the Twigger 90 was manufactured! While Silvester is easily amused, his sons continue to look as if they want to crawl away. Although, unashamedly, Otto states, "Father, you were in St. Mungo's at the time." Which causes Reginald to trod upon his younger brother's foot. "Boys, boys, calm down," Silvester chides, as he's completely unphased by their words and antics.
Madeline just lifts her eyebrows slightly as the men ask about the Twigger 90, not figuring that's something that actually requires an answer from her. But she does glance around at the crowd, vaguely interested in the answers and responses they get from the group at large. Which is how she comes to notice Jack, a familiar face out of so many strange ones, and starts trying to angle her way that way, but it isn't easy going through the crowd when she's trying so hard not to disturb anyone.
"Horrible broom," Hooch shakes her head. "It would work just fine, if you weren't in a hurry…" she rolls her eyes slightly at the enthusiasm over the Twigger 90, shaking her head and watching the demonstration. "No good for Quidditch, no good for racing… and if you tried to stop, the thing turned into a pretzel." An exaggeration, of course, and all sotto voce, but those closest to the flying instructor might overhear.
"It is if your brother fell on his arse and was laid up for a week because of it." Jack retorts to the other guy. Jack's reminiscences have less to do with the broom itself than with some of the mischief he got up to with it. "Don't need a fast broom to fly out the window at night." He chuckles to himself.
There is a sigh of disdain from Stephen as Flyte refers to the Twigger 90. Slight scritch to the kitty behind the left ear. "What a waste of time.", he mutters. He doesn't say much else, though, content to watch whatever demonstration is about to occur so that he can have a bit of a laugh what will presumably be the new Twitter's expense as it fails.
Flyte grins at Jack as Barker makes a low swooping pass and comes to rest on the platform. Barker, it seems, is dressed in a professional Quidditch outfit in the color of the Wimpbourne Wasps. The broom is dismounted, and held up in front of him. It's handle made of sleek mahogany wood, polished and clear-coated to a shine. The back of the broom appears to be made of hard ash twigs.
"Right you are, madame!" Flyte says, grinning broadly at Hooch. "The Twigger 90 didn't live up to our expectations. Which is why, we've spent the last four years revisiting the design and hiring several professional Quidditch players to help us design and test." Barker holds up the broom and in a deep voice says, "And that's how we came up with the Twigger 100. No longer will you have to worry about warping under high speeds. New techniques and crafting have led to a much stiffer broom with exceptional handling capabilities."
Silvester's hand tightens on his eldest boy's shoulder, "Weren't you wanting a new broom? Let's listen to what these gents have to say." Reginald groans and says none too quietly, "Yeah, I was wanting the new Nimbus." Otto pipes up with, "I want a Firebolt!" Silvester just fishes out a few coins and hands them to his youngest, "Go fetch yourself another ice cream." All the while, making sure his eldest stays put.
Melissa looks interested. "Well… I have been reading about Quidditch… maybe I could try it."
"This, I have got to try," Hooch remarks, shaking her head. "My students will all be wanting one, if it's as inexpensive as the Twigger 90 was…" She steps closer to the platform to get a better look at the broom, and, in her strident, Quidditch-referee voice, calls out, "I would like to see a demonstration of that, sirs, if you don't mind," a touch of a mild 'prove it' challenge in her tone.
Madeline continues fighting her way through the crowd - though fighting might be too strong a term to describe the way she flits from opening to opening. And then, upon getting closer, she starts to feel a little bit foolish. It isn't as if they know each other all that well, and besides, he's clearly distracted by the broom demonstration. So she ends up hovering indecisively a few feet away before resigning herself to stay put for the moment, and looking up at the platform to see what exactly is going on now.
Jack's ice cream continues to melt, and he looks down. "Oh, sh-…" He rememmbers Melissa and notices Otto running off for ice cream. Right. Kids. "Shoot," he amends, licking the mint / ice mice ice cream from his fingers and taking a big bite of the mostly melted part. "Me too, actually." Jack keeps his voice at a moderate tone, not as loud as the professor's but loud enough to be heard. He turns to Melissa. "It's a lot of fun. Definitely can get crazy, but …" He smiles. "I think you'd like it." As he turns to look at Melissa, he notices Madeline. "Miss Sagace! I didn't realize you were a fan of quidditch!" He smiles. Even if she isn't, he'll gesture for her to join him.
Silvester smiles in a benign and innocuous manner at those around him. As if he hasn't a clue where he is or what's going on. "Ah young man, would you like another ice cream as well?," he says kindly towards Jack, as if he were talking to a child rather than an adult.. and seems to be completely oblivious to the brief run-in not too long ago with him. Reginald looks at Jack, utterly mortified and apologetic.
Glancing down at young Melissa, Flyte smiles. "I'm sorry, miss, but we can't allow children to ride it for legal reasons." he says, trying to sound nice about it. The other two children are overheard, and Flyte immediately speaks up. "Why would you wnat a Nimbus or Firebolt when the Twigger 100 can deliver just as much as either, for only a fraction of the price?" And then…there's the challenge.
Barker steps up to the edge of the platform to stare the older woman directly in the eyes. "Would you now, madame?" he says gruffly. "Very well then." he adds, as Flyte conjures up what appears to something similar to a muggle movie screen and then releases a small ball that looks like a snitch into the air. "The camera snitch will track me so you can see the full power of the Twigger 100. In it's natural environment. THE SKY!" The last is said with emphasis as he remounts the broom and shoots skyward. On the screen, he appears, mustache waving in the breeze.
"Oh!" Madeline exclaims quietly with self-conscious surprise as Jack notices her hovering. There's a brief hesitation before she does start edging her way over to join them, as indicated, offering him, and those who seem to be conversing with him, a small smile of greeting. "Mr. Noble. Good day. And I'm … not, really. Quidditch. I - Well, it's interesting enough. I'm not - in the market for a broom though," she finally admits. "I just saw…" She gestures at the crowd. "-people." Silvester gets a glance for his offer, Madeline's brow furrowing, but then she does look back to Jack in case he does want an ice cream. But as the demonstration seems to be picking up, she finds her attention returning there again.
Melissa looks up to follow Barker's flight,pushing her glasses up her nose to get a better look.
Jack nods, as though he figured that. His free hand subconsciously moves to his wand to check the nature of the 'movie screen', but he halts its progress, figuring it'd be rude to doubt the sincerity of the charm in front of so many people. "I love it." As if that were in question. "I had a Twigger 90 when it came out. Well, technically, my brother did." He doesn't specify which brother, considering he fell off the thing. "No, sir, thank you for the offer." He turns and nods politely to Silvester, though his eyes are a little more calculating in their appraisal. When his attention returns to the 'screen', he leans forward a little. "Let's see this baby in action."
Stephen's head leans back so he can see the flight of the Twigger 100, raising a hand to shield his eyes from the sun as he watches the demonstration. His cloak flutters in a bit of wind, but his expression doesn't change. Anyone who can see him could probably tell that Stephen is just waiting for this to end disastrously.
Reginald rolls his eyes and mutters something derogatory about the Twigger in general, which goes unnoticed by Silvester. Who is now entranced by the pretty moving pictures up on the screen! His arm wraps in a congenial manner around his rather embarrassed son's shoulders. Jack responded? Oh, he gets a vacant sort of smile before his attention is back on the pretty moving pictures.
Hooch is not watching the screen, but her eyes are fixed on the actual broom and its rider, and what they are doing in the sky. Apparently, she is not alone in being suspicious of the pair of gentlemen in snake-oil-salesmen clothing…
Madeline gives a little nod to Jack's answer. "Yes, you seem very interested," she notes, as he notes his love of Quidditch. She's very observant! "I guess your answer was yes to his question then. You do remember it." There's a faint smile at that, a glance back over her shoulder at Silvester, but then she too is back to watching what's going on on the screen, her interest more passive than anything.
On the screen, the backdrop of London fades away to nothing but clouds. Barker reaches up to slide the goggles down on his face as the altitude climes. After a moment, he seems to level out before sending the broom into a downward dive.
Flyte waves his wand at the screen and in the bottom corner of the screen a number appears. "That, ladies and gents, is how fast my associate is going. Right now it is…" he glances, "…almost 100 miles per hour. And holding up fine." As he says that, Barker starts to zig zag the broom attempting to show how nimble it is. And judging by Flyte's upraised eyebrows, better than even the co-creator thought it would. "See, how nimble. And no sign of warping at high speeds."
"Well, it was rubbish as a broom, but …" Jack grins, eyes locked on the screen. "Where did he go?" Jack calls, wondering if there was a way to verify the guy was really flying that fast. "…but it worked for getting out of the house unnoticed. In fact, better than some of the faster ones. Because nobody noticed it was missing." He finishes his story and takes another bite of the melting ice cream. "How are you doing, Miss Sagace? And how is your work?" Yes, he's mutli-tasking. Talking to the lady and watching the flying broom. It's possible.
Hooch's eyebrows remain firmly fixed in her hairline, and she folds her arms, unconvinced, over her chest as she watches - again, not the screen, but the sky… whereever that broom and its rider went.
"Now see son, this should be as fine a broom as that Nimble ma-bob you want!," Silvester says in that annoying, patronizing way parents have of talking to their kids. As if they truly don't know what they want.
Madeline is having a little more trouble with the multi-tasking, craning up to look at the sky as Jack calls out, clearly thinking he's asking her where the man went. Like she knows. But then she's back to trying to follow the actual conversation. "Oh yes. I see. That … would make it handy, if you were of a mind to sneak out." Her eyebrows lift a bit as she presumes her clearly must have been of such a mind. Not that she disapproves. "I'm well, thank you," she replies, more politeness than sincere answer. "Work is… much the same as it always is." That gets a small smile, since he does, at least, have some idea of how 'it always is'. "And yourself? Not had any further trouble lately, I hope?" Her gaze drifts back periodically to the screen. "That's quite fast, is it?"
Up in the sky, Barker and the broom appear as a speck at first. But the speck starts to get larger. On the platform, Flyte who had been watching the screen starts to mutter, "Slow down. Slow down." The speed counter is rising, now up to 110 mph.
Flyte does his best to hide his concern, turning his eyes towards the sky. "And there he is folks! Looks like he's lining himself up for a perfect landing!" On the screen behind Flyte, a keen eye might notice Barker's hand waving as if to say clear the way. In the sky, the once dot of a man is growing larger. FAST.
Melissa looks back up. "Here he comes…"
Her hand moves automatically to her oaken wand, and she extracts it from her belt, preparing to slow the man's landing if necessary - she's done this so many times for students that it's second-nature to her, though she is waiting to see if he can land it himself before actually taking any action, her eyes narrow, her wand, 'at the ready,' at her side, almost as if preparing for a duel, with her feet set firmly on the ground. The flying instructor watches… waits…
Silvester seems quite pleased with the broom demonstration thus far. Otto returns with another ice cream, one he's not sharing with his brother. "Ooooh, I bet he's gonna crash!," Otto states gleefully as he sidles back into place along his father and brother. "Come now, no one's going to crash. They're professionals, they are," Silvester states in a rather pompous manner as his eyes are on the screen, and not the incoming man on broom.
"If it's really him." Jack mutters softly, mostly for Madeline's benefit, though those nearby will probably hear it. "But yeah, it is fast." He eats the last bite of his cone. "I'm doing alright." He admits, after the bite has been swallowed. "No, not so much trouble lately. Luckily. It's been mostly plain vanilla the past few times. No crazy critters or unexpected happenings." He snorts. "Which means I'm probably due one." And, here one comes. "Bloody Hell!" Sorry kids. "He's not going to be able to stop, is he?" He's glad his ice cream is gone, and snaps into action, moving up toward the Flying instructor. "What do you say, cushoning charm and …" He tries to think quickly, but keeps his eyes on the man coming toward them at a great speed.
"Wow, that's…" Madeline begins to reply to Jack, but as he's snapping into action, she just finishes in a mutter to the air, "Really quite a coincidence." He says he's due and one pops up. Her gaze follows him for a moment before drifting up to the sky, and not of a particularly heroic sort, she's less concerned with cushioning the flyer's fall and more concerned with not being wherever it is he's going to crash into. She takes a big step back, as if that will help, and then glances sidelong at Silvester and his boys. "I … think he might," she chimes in, but in a quiet voice, as if she's not sure it's her place to speak up and correct the older man.
Stephen's mouth curves into a grin, as if he knew this was coming. Barker is flying at the ground, looking as though his descent is out of control. "See, Charon?", he says to the cat. "I knew we'd end up seeing something interesting today. I wonder which will be in worse condition, the broom or the rider?", he seems to ask rhetorically, noting Madame Hooch's presence. Wouldn't likely be too bad with her there.
"Cripes!" Flyte exclaims, as he realizes the broom is now accelerating out of control. "Clear the area! Fast!" he shouts, hoping that people listen. And several do, moving quickly off to the sides of the alley. Flyte pats his robes quickly. "Where is it…where?" he asks, clearly searching for his wand. Glancing up, all he can do is hope.
Barker, having already realized he's riding an out of control broom, reaches into his own uniform outfit to produce his wand. At least he can do a shielding charm and prevent himself from plowing into the ground. Or, he could if….*swish*…the hundred plus mile per hour wind hadn't just stolen his wand out of his wand. Pulling up hard on the handle, he tries to pull the broom up to a more level flight path, but it appears it might be too late.
"Mmm?" Silvester utters, turning to look towards Madeline. "Oh no, this looks perfectly safe!" He remains standing, while Reginald grabs Otto, ducking his brother down to the ground. "This is so COOL," Otto can be heard exclaiming on the way down to the ground. Their father on the other hand, cheerfully announces, "I'll take two!"
Melissa looks towards them incredulously. "Are you nuts?!"
"I - I think perhaps you might want to get down, sir," Madeline suggests, not wanting to presume or overstep her bounds, but as his children are hitting the deck, she's not quite sure what else to do but make the polite recommendation. At least there isn't too long to puzzle this out, since she is going to work on getting further out of the way herself, taking several long strides back away from the action, while peering rather intently up at the incoming rider.
Hooch swears under her breath, "I might have known… lousy brakes," before snapping her wand forward in a hard motion, her incantation coming out in a firm shout, as if barking an order to slow the uncontrolled flight of the hapless Barker. So accustomed to students and their foibles, she doesn't particularly seem to care if this man is a professional Quidditch player or whatever he claims to be; he's going to break his neck if this doesn't work!
Jack sees that Barker's lost his wand. "Protego." He casts a large shield around where the broom seems to be aiming. "Give him something to bounce against…" He mutters, holding his wand steady to keep the shield up. His eyebrows lift at Silvester's words, though he doesn't say anything to the man, nor even look his way, for fear of taking too much attention from the matter at hand. If his former teacher will slow the poor man down, then maybe Jack can keep the rest of the gawkers from gettting smashed. Teamwork!
"Get down? What? Why?" Oblivious, Silvester is, but finally does plunk himself down on the ground as his sons just tug on his robes. Mum will kill them, or maybe thank them later if the man is done in. It's a toss-up really.
It seems like all is lost for Barker as the uncontrollable broom hurtles towards the cobblestone of the alley. But some unseen force seems to slow his fall, and the broom is pulled from his grasp. As the broom continues it's nose-dive, Barker lands harmlessly on the platform. The broom however…hits the cobblestone at (according to the screen) 145 miles per hour.
The impact shatters the broomstick into more shards than can be counted, all of which spray out into the crowd. "NO!" shouts, Flyte, seeing one of the shards flying towards a middle-aged witch and her two children. Reaching out his hand and performing magic without a wand, Flyte seems to stop all the shards in mid-spray. Closing his hand, he seems to draw them into a collective pile in front of the platform. Both men, stare, looks of horror on their faces. This isn't good.
Melissa cringes as the broom explodes. "Ouch… back to the drawing board for those guys, I guess…"
"Because he's going to crash," Madeline replies in a matter-of-fact tone, to Silvester's clueless question. "Or die trying," is added under her breath. Her gaze mostly remains on the descending figure, trying to gauge where he's most likely to hit so that she can be away from it. Of course, she's not really including in her calculations that the broom might shatter and send shrapnel everywhere. She lets out a rather girlish shriek, quickly turning her upper body away to avoid getting struck with any of it, her hand going for her wand. But it seems unnecessary as the shards are all stopped by Flyte, and the demure young woman just slowly turns back, wand now at the ready, but just staring with widened eyes.
As Barker lands and the broom shatters, Hooch draws herself to her full height, fury etched across her features, and strides up to the platform, "Just as I suspected," she pronoucnes, using her wand as a pointer. "Inferior braking charm. You're damned lucky you weren't killed, Mr. Barker," she snaps. "Now, if you will excuse me, I have a letter to post. The Headmaster will be hearing about *this* incident," she tells them firmly, loudly enough that the crowd will hear, "and rest assured, until that braking charm is fixed, your sales to underage wizards - at least underaged wizards who wish to continue to take flying lessons from /me/ - will be severely limited!" And with that, she turns on her heel and stalks off in the direction of the owlry in a mood few students have seen.
"Again! Again!" Otto cheers as he looks up in time to see the broom shatter. He's at that age where explosions are amazingly awesome you see. "That bloody thing crashed! I don't think that chap knew what he was doing on it!," Silvester exclaims, thoroughly stunned by this turn of events, as if he never expected it to happen, and as if no one gave him plenty of warning.
Stephen doesn't trust his life to Flyte's obvious magical ineptitude. There is a loud hiss from the cat as Stephen reaches into his cloak mere seconds before the broomstick's impact with the cobblestone. Swish and flick! "Protego!", he calls out, the light flaring as the shielding effect spreads out. Thankfully, Flyte is able to keep the disaster small by stopping the multitude of shards before there are any civilian injuries. The Protego effect fades, and Stephen slips his wand back into his cloak with a frown. "Imbecile.", he says loudly, intending to be heard. The expression from the cat seems to communicate the same thing.
Jack drops the shield at the sound of the shriek of the young lady. Besides, the guy's down and … mostly okay, or so it appears. He whips around, trying to locate Madeline. "Miss Sagace… Miss Sagace. Are you okay?" He moves quickly to her side to make sure that she is okay, and chuckles as he hears Madame Hooch's pronouncement. "Apart from the Department of Magical Games, that reccomendation can make or break a broom." He grins. "That one…" Yes, pun intended. "Broken." He shakes his head slowly.
Melissa watches Madame Hooch leave. "She teaches flying? Wow… she's brilliant."
Madeline is intact, just a little rattled. This is quite a lot of excitement for one who doesn't tend to get out of the file room much! And she seems almost surprised at Jack's concern. "I - Yes, thank you. I'm all right," she replies quietly, cheeks going a little pink as she feels she's made perhaps too big a deal of the whole thing. No one else seems too worked up, except perhaps Silvester, and that's not quite the company she wants to keep - no offence. There's a faint smile offered to Jack, which then fades to be replaced by a thoughtful frown as she catches the flying instructor going off on the men. "That was … not quite what I had in mind," she notes, of the demonstration as a whole.
Two pairs of eyes, belonging to both Flyte and Barker turn in Hooch's direction. Both their faces look like they're back in school. Full of fear and shock. But it's Flyte that's the first speak up. "I….I would expect nothing less, madame. And we…" he glances at Barker, "…will halt production immediately until the problem is resolved." Barker, glances at his companion with a momentary look of shock. "But Flyte….that's going to cost us…." He quickly shuts up as Flyte shoots him a stern look. "Right. Absolutely." he then adds, summoning the pile of shredded broomstick up to the platform proper and towards the tent.
Flyte steps forward, his face downturned in a frown. "My deepest apologies, ladies and gents." he says, trying to hold sincereity in his voice as his partner disappears into the tent. "You have my word that the broom will not be marketed until proven safe. I thank you all for attending the demonstration. And again, my apologies." With that, he too turns for the tent.