Disclaimer: This borrows and bastardises shamelessly from books by William Gibson, whose works I adore and cherish. Written as a bit of fun, no offense to canon purists and aficionados. I'm one of you, really. :P Works that inspired: Neuromancer, Count Zero, Mona Lisa Overdrive, Johnny Mnemonic, Pattern Recognition.
The sky above Hogwarts is perpetually the colour of television, tuned to a dead channel.
Harry Potter turns to stimulants to try and escape from dealing with the emotional issues caused by Sirius' death. He is lonely and miserable and he does a lot of stupid shit, including going to bars with a fake ID and meeting shady characters, one of whom is a Polish Squib hacker named Blaize. Blaize is not to be mistaken with Blaise Zabini, who, by the way, plays a much larger role in this book. Whereas in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone Blaise was merely Sorted into Slytherin, in this book he eats toast with marmalade during one lunch hour. Ahem.
Anyway, during yet another meeting in a pub called Spinners End, Blaize (the Polish Squib hacker, not the marmalade dude) bribes Harry to allow him to store data in his brain. He's procured some information that by rights belongs to the Death Eaters (who have taken to calling themselves the loa), and he wants to hide it away safely. Harry's vulnerability and eagerness to learn are exploitable, and so Blaize exploits them to the full. Harry agrees to the procedure, because Blaize lies to him and tells him that having this information in his brain will prevent Voldemort from trying to break into Harry's mind.
This requires that Harry be hooked up to a computer via wetware. During this process, something goes awry, and Harry becomes even more powerful than he was before. He is now super!Harry but nobody knows this except the impartial narrator, who dangles this bit of information over the reader's heads until it becomes usable. He starts referring to the smell of plastic as the smell of long-chain monomers and develops a severe allergic reaction to advertising.
Meanwhile, Hermione Granger has discovered the Internet (1996, people). She's having lots of fun chatting with people on IRC and finding wizards and witches in other countries. One day, a mysterious stranger contacts Hermione through DCC chat and informs her that the world she is living in is not what it seems. Hermione is very excited about this and abandons her S.P.E.W. project to investigate. We are told by an impartial narrator that Hermione has special DNA patterns in her brain. This bit of information is also dangled mysteriously over the readers' heads until it becomes, you know, usable.
The new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, Mary, is a strange gender-bending witch who dresses in Muggle attire -- specifically, leather. This draws many disparaging remarks from one Draco Malfoy, who despises everything Muggle, especially leather clothing. When Draco takes a detour into the antechamber outside the Great Hall one Tuesday, Mary lays the smackdown on him. The antechamber is is outfitted with a hanging platform and rusty chains for the occasion. Draco loses the fight to the repeated chants of "Blood, blood, blood" from the violence-crazed teenage students of Hogwarts.
The famous Auror Trixie Sharpcurve (who was rumoured to be dead) appears and rescues Draco from certain death by DADA teacher. Draco is grateful and pretends to turn from the side of the loa (formerly Death Eaters), but secretly he's still working for Voldemort. Doublecrossing little berk. Draco befriends the Trio and feeds them false information, which they believe because they are conflicted and confused. Trixie Sharpcurve is the Half-Blood Prince, by the way.
Hermione's DNA patterns are interfering with her normal functioning, and Padma Patil becomes the top student at Hogwarts, causing Hermione to suffer a nervous breakdown and try to use magic to get her computer to work -- she's sure that if she can just log on and talk to some of the friends from her favourite IRC channel #teenwiz on Wiznet, everything will be all right. Also, she's still trying to figure out what that mysterious DCC chat was all about. Ron and Harry help her reluctantly, but Harry is often too busy practising Quidditch -- his new super!Harry powers are apparently very handy when he's on a broomstick, and he can fly even faster than anyone else now. He acquires a new nickname, Felix Felicis.
Mary the DADA teacher is also secretly an agent of Voldemort, who we find out is not just your garden-variety Dark wizard, he is an agent of a supremely powerful artificial intelligence called Summerloud. We learn that it was actually Summerloud who contacted Hermione in the summer, he's been leaving clues that would lead her to the Villa Staydark, which is where his main AI brain hangs out. The reason Summerloud wants Harry is the information in his brain plus his advertising allergy. As for Hermione, he wants her for the special DNA patterns in her brain -- he wants to become one with Voldemort so he can rule the world, but needs to transplant Hermione's weird DNA into Voldemort's brain for the process to work. The information on how to do this is stored in Harry's brain. Somewhere in a seedy London bar, Blaize the Polish Squib hacker cackles with glee.
Mary lures Harry and Hermione to the Villa Staydark with the help of Draco, whom she teaches to use a magic-powered computer; he impersonates various people in #teenwiz and gives Hermione instructions on how to find out what is really wrong with the world. Harry, Ron, and Hermione show up at the Villa Staydark, certain that they're going to find out all about the weirdness, but they discover that it is a trap. There is a short but bitter fight with Voldemort and the loa, and Harry is knocked out. The minute this happens, Trixie Sharpcurve appears out of nowhere again and bears Harry away -- without Harry, Voldemort's plan cannot be carried out, but Hermione is still Summerloud's captive. Oh, and Ron dies, but it happens so fast that barely anyone notices. The exciting conclusion, featuring the vengeful spirit of Ron Weasley, channelled by an eccentric Japanese transfer student, will come in Book 7.
Now I want to read Pattern Recognition again, and I didn't bring the book to Canada with me. Phooey.
Ooh, and meta. You Make LiveJournal Suck -- ldymusyc rants about people whining about annoying stuff. Made me laugh; both the rant and the Wooble Wibba Draco icon.