Illya floated in a tube of liquid, trying to ignore the faintly buzzing sound as the medical mages of the TSAB worked on her. Her prognosis had been mostly positive. It seemed that she should naturally have a normal, if slightly reduced, life span, and it was only the modifications done by her family that were destroying her body. Said modifications were all about creating additional magic circuits and allowing Illya to channel and use more mana. Thus, reversing the changes was simply a matter of sealing away those extra channels. It dramatically reduced the power available to Illya, but in an emergency, she'd be able to lift the seals to access her full power.
"Almost done Illya," her doctor said, over the intercom. "But while I've got you as a captive audience, I'm going to run down some medical information for you. This procedure will drop you from an S-class mage to an AA-class mage. These seals are permanent and self sustaining. They can only be removed temporarily through a Device specifically calibrated to do so. When you get one, you'll have to come in so I can program the Device to know what to do. Still, so long as you don't remove the seals that often, you should easily expect to live another sixty years or so.
But that's the good news. Bad news is I hope you're comfortable with your current size. The damage already done to your body is extensive, and quite frankly, irreversible. You might get another few inches, but that's as much growth as you can expect. On a similar note, you are more or less sterile."
How can I be 'more or less sterile'? Illya thought, a special machine reading her thoughts and repeating them out loud.
"Basically you can't carry a child to term, but you could donate egg cells to a surrogate if you wanted a child," the doctor explained.
Huh, okay. What else?
"That's most of it. In the short term you can expect random muscle cramps and a deep ache in your bones as the body adjusts to the presence of your seals. But those should fade within the next three months. And you'll need to come in for a check up in six months time to make sure the seals are holding properly. But that's it. You should be good to go in by the end of the hour."
Thanks Doctor, Illya thought, politely, day dreaming about what she should do now that she has a future to live for.
"So I decided to join the TSAB," Illya told Shirou as they sat down for dinner.
"That's great news! Have you decided on which division you want to join?" Shirou said, as Sakura brought in the last plates of food.
"More or less. The Navy has offered me a really good deal, so I think I'm going to join them," Illya said, filling her plate as she talked.
"Won't that take you pretty far away though?" Shirou asked.
"Most likely," Illya said, shrugging. "but I want to go on an adventure, and joining the Navy sounds like the way to go for that. Fighting pirates, saving planets, tracking down Lost Logia, that sounds like a lot of fun to me."
"Spending all your time on a cramped space ship, long hours, never getting to settle in your own home, constant danger," Sakura countered. "That sounds like a miserable life to me."
"Of course you'd say that," Illya said, rolling her eyes. "But as someone who was stuck inside a castle for nearly twenty years, I want to go out and experience the universe for myself." Sakura frowned, but Shirou placed a hand over hers and smiled gently at her, and she melted in response, cuddling up to him.
"Well I hope it is as fun as you hope it will be," Shirou said. "We'll miss you though. So make sure to send us lots of letters and call us, okay?"
"I promise Onii-chan," Illya said.
"So you're going to join the Navy? That's great! I'm not sure why you wanted to meet me though?" Nanoha asked, her hair blowing wildly on the video screen.
"Isn't it obvious? I want you to train me," Illya demanded, hands on her hips as she glared at Nanoha. "Also can you stop flying while I talk to you? It's very rude."
"Nyhahaha, you could tell? I'm sorry," Nanoha apologized, coming to a halt. "But why me? The TSAB has official trainers who'll teach you everything you need to know. And the Navy will train you once you join them anyways."
"Two reasons. One, Shirou will not stop talking about what a good trainer you've been, and I believe it. Plus I've looked into your records. You're almost entirely self taught and easily the top mage in the TSAB. I want to be the best and that means being taught by the best," Illya said, sternly.
"And the second reason?" Nanoha asked, curiously.
"I don't intend to join the TSAB until I'm already certified as an A-rank mage. No being a grunt for me! I'm the last Einzbern and one day everyone in the TSAB will know and respect the name," Illya said, sniffing and raising her nose.
"Well...alright," Nanoha said, shrugging. "Come to Shirou's next training session, I'll start training you then."
"Ensign Einzbern, report to the meeting room in one hour," the PA system announced.
I wonder what that could be about? We're still a week out from our destination, and it's clearly not an emergency, Illya thought, before her eyes widened. Not an emergency here. What if something happened to Shirou or Sakura or-No! Don't think like that Illya. What has happened has happened. If there is some problem at home, I'll deal with it when I get a chance to, and whoever or whatever hurt them will regret the day they were born. She glared at her lunch, and pushed it away. Her appetite had been completely ruined.
"Ruby. Any messages from home?" She asked, touching her Device, a red brooch she had on a white choker around her neck.
-Negative Onee-Sama- The Device chimed, flashing obediently.
"Right, well look up local transport options to Midchilda. We may need to hurry home," Illya said, standing and leaving the cafeteria.
-Confirmed Onee-Sama- Ruby said. Illya made her way to the meeting room, and spent the next hour pacing impatiently as she waited.
"Good day Ensign," her Captain said, formally, as he entered the room. He took a seat at the end of the table. "Please be seated." Illya took a seat, not bothering to hide her scowl.
"So what's the bad news?" she asked, bluntly.
"Your DNA has been stolen," he replied, just as bluntly.
"My DNA?" Illya asked, shocked.
"Indeed. And unfortunately it is far too late to do anything about it," the captain said, frowning. "Evidently upgrading the security system disabled a virus that was hiding the fact that your DNA was missing. Evidently it had been stolen years ago, according to the Enforcers' best guess."
"But why?" Illya asked, puzzled and relieved as she realized her family was okay.
"Almost certainly to clone you," her captain said.
"What would that accomplish? Sure a high grade Artificial Mage, but I'm hardly unique in my how powerful I am, and they wouldn't have the skills and training to use my unique fighting style," Illya said, biting her lip.
"That's not entirely true," the captain said. "It's classified information, but Project Fate allowed Percia to transfer memories to Fate, and other incidents involving the same technology have had similar results. I have no doubts that whatever clones were created would have all of the memories you had up to that point. Thankfully, the DNA is logged as being collected before you began your training to join the TSAB."
"That's not the point," Illya snapped, her face getting paler. "My memories include classified details about the Holy Grail War."
"That Lost Logia incident on Non-Administered Planet 97?" The captain asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Yes," Illya confirmed, nodding. "If someone was trying to recreate the Holy Grail, they would need my body and memories to even try. I thought that wouldn't be a concern, but if they can just clone as many copies as they need..." Illya trailed off.
"That won't be a concern," the captain reassured Illya. "There is a limit to how many clones they can create before the memory transfer no longer works. Still, even one attempt to recreate such a dangerous Lost Logia cannot be tolerated. I'll pass on your concerns to HQ immediately."
"Thank you Sir," Illya said, releasing a deep breath. "Still, I would like to request to join whatever task force has been set up to hunt down those criminals."
Illya was surrounded by wires, forming a rough humanoid shape around her, wielding a wire frame sword. She stared across the field over at her opponent, who was wearing a short pink dress, wielding a wand.
"So what do you call yourself?" Illya asked, through gritted teeth.
"Ilyasviel Von Einzbern of course," her clone said, cheerfully, her wand glowing pink. A beam of energy shot at Illya who caught it in the hand of her wire frame mech. She collected the beam into a ball of energy before wrapping it in wire.
"That's my name you worthless copy," Illya snarled, throwing the energy ball back. Her clone shot into the air, translucent pink fairy wings sprouting from her back. The ball exploded harmlessly beneath her.
"Worthless? Look at me," her clone said, posing and running a hand down her teenage body. "I'm not eternally doomed to be a prepubescent kid. I'm who Illyasviel Von Einzbern always should've been. The true heir to the Einzbern family, not some tragic puppet designed to be used and thrown away like so much garbage."
"Garbage? I'm their finest work! Even among the TSAB, I stand as one of the most powerful mages alive. Perhaps I should show you!" Illya snarled. "Ruby, full release, Heaven's Dress Mode!" Illya's Barrier Jacket shifted, going from a white military style dress uniform with a skirt to a long, loose dress, as red glowing red lines crisscrossed Illya's skin.
"Please, that dress barely fits you. Are you a mage, or a child playing dress up in her mommy's dress?" her clone sneered, her device glowing pink.
"Ruby, Starling Swarm!" Illya ordered, raising her hands high, and stretching out her fingers.
-Confirmed Onee-Sama- Ruby chimed. Dozens of wire frame birds formed above Illya's head, and than multiplied, quickly forming a flock in the hundreds.
"Now flay the flesh from her bones!" Illya yelled, her flock shooting forward in a silver cloud.
"Prisma Burst!" her clone shouted desperately, a pink orb forming in front of her, before bursting forth in dozens of pink bullets. The bullets shot through the form, shattering dozens of birds, before petering out. The flock engulfed her clone and tore into her skin before she managed to put up a barrier, surrounding herself in a pink bubble. The flock attacked the bubble, quickly putting cracks in it, as Illya watched smugly.
"Rumble Detonator," a voice whispered, before explosions ripped through the swarm of birds. "Illya, we need to retreat." the white haired girl ordered, emerging from the smoke of her explosions.
"Cinque," Illya said, her eyes narrowing. "Allying with Scaglietti? How many secrets of the Einzberns have you sold?" she accused.
"Thanks, Cinque," her clone said, shaking, as blood dripped down her face. "And I needed an investor, so the dream of the Einzberns could continue. Not fade into dust like you're content to allow," she spat.
"That's enough. From both of you," Cinque ordered, sternly. Illya frowned, forming two blades to hover over her shoulders. "That's pointless. You should know your style of magic doesn't work on me," Cinque told Illya.
"Just because I prefer physical attacks doesn't mean I can't use purely magical ones," Illya scoffed, flipping her hair. "Now full barrage, open fire!" Energy formed at the tips of her swords before shooting forward in white lightning. It collided with Cinque and her clone's shields, before exploding. When the dust cleared they were both gone, a hole blasted through the floor where they had been standing. Illya cursed and chased after them, jumping down the hole. Only to find herself surrounded by bundles of glowing metal spikes.
"I want to get a breast implants," Illya said, causing Shirou to choke and Hayate to laugh. They were all having dinner together at Nanoha and Fate's place.
"Um, why?" Shamal asked, shyly. "You are quite a beautiful young lady already."
"Except I'm not," Illya said. "I'm the oldest one here, and everyone treats me like I'm a ten year old child."
"We aren't that bad," Nanoha protested, while Fate nodded in support. Signum muttered something about being centuries old.
"You guys aren't," Illya said, gesturing to the people sitting around the table. "But the rest of the world is. I'm so sick and tired of people thinking I'm a child to be protected and coddled."
"Preach it sister!" Vita cheered, holding out a fist. Illya bumped it with hers. "Mind you, the expression on their faces when I smash their stupid heads in never gets old."
"Vita, have you been picking fights with strangers again?" Hayate asked sternly, her lips twitching as she tried to stop smiling. Vita whistled innocently and looked away.
"Is this because of your clone?" Shirou asked.
"No! I just want a bit more of a mature body, that's all," Illya shouted, throwing her hands up.
"That's fine and all, but everyone is going to think it's because your clone has bigger breasts than you do," Sakura said, serenely, incidentally puffing out her chest. Illya scowled and scratched at the scar underneath her eye patch.
"She's right you know," Hayate said, pointing her chopsticks at Illya. "Soldiers are incredibly gossipy, particularly the girls in the Navy. I guarantee you that everyone in the fleet knows about your rivalry with your clone-"
"It's not a rivalry, I'm just going to put her in her place a little bit," Illya interrupted, pouting, "and maybe turn her into a puppet for a decade or two," she added, under her breath.
"Regardless," Hayate continued, rolling her eyes. "Everyone knows about your clone, and if your get breast implants, everyone is going to think it's because of the clone. Even if it is just wanting to be sexier. Err, I mean sexy." Hayate blushed as everyone stared at her.
"Fine, you made your point, everyone. I guess it's better to be thought a child, than dealing with the disrespect of people comparing me to my clearly inferior clone," Illya said, sighing.
Illya adjusted her eye-patch as she scowled. Her ship Heracles was being delayed on docking at the Gate of Eden space station. She stood up and began to pace.
"Ma'am?" one of her crew members asked.
"I don't like this delay, so I'm going to do a quick run down on what's going on. I'm having a family reunion at the Gate of Eden. Makes sense, most of us are from Earth. During the preparations to take time off we learn that my clone will be here at the same time. This is not a coincidence. She's probably trying to kidnap Shirou again, or do something silly like try and take my place. Or because it's a family reunion, she thinks she's automatically invited. I could see it going either way," Illya said out loud, tapping a finger against her lips.
"And now that we've been delayed?" her assistant asked.
"Could be a coincidence," Illya admitted. "Gate of Eden is a pretty busy station, and there's always something going wrong when you have so many people moving around. But I don't like it. Best case, it makes me late for the reunion. Worst case, it's a plan to deliberately delay us so my clone can get away clean. Either way, I'm not sitting around and waiting. I'm teleporting directly to the station."
"Will you be taking your strike team with you?"
"...No, have them stand by on the Heracles. This is a civilian space station for all that it's run by the Navy. My personal strike team would cause a panic. And absolutely ruin my reunion with my family." Illya said, before teleporting away.
Author's Notes: Not really too much to say. Basically Illya becomes a respected captain of the TSAB's Navy. Actually quite a feared one. Unlike the cast of Nanoha, Illya has a vicious streak a mile wide, and isn't afraid to let it loose. For the record, Illya's Barrier Jacket's base form is basically Esdeath's uniform. Her Heaven's Dress is identical to the one we see in the visual novel and her clone's form is identical to the one from Prisma.
Also her clone is known as 'Pink Illya', though no one says that within earshot of Illya.