Disclaimer: I own none of the characters from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha and it's sequels, I'm only borrowing them for awhile. This story will have yuri aka girl/girl romance, so if that is not your thing I'd suggest skipping it.
It began, as many things do, with something that was never meant to happen. An accident in magical research killed untold numbers of people, including the daughter of the head researcher, Alicia Testarossa. The death of her daughter coupled with crippling grief and sorrow drove Prescia Testarossa mad, leading her into dark magic and sketchy research.
Looking for any method to save her daughter Prescia found the legends of El Hazard, a place where ancient lost magic existed. A place of wonder from children's stories, Prescia came to believe that it existed and possibly could be reached. Studying the rips in reality that came about from powerful Lost Logia she decided those openings were a possible route to El Hazard.
Acquiring the technology of Project: Fate Prescia created a seemingly perfect copy of her daughter Alicia, whom she named Fate. With her daughter's memories Fate should have been a true copy of her daughter, but Prescia hated the girl unreasonably. Creating a familiar named Lilith she had the woman train Fate to be a aggressive, dangerous warrior-mage, knowing she's need such a thing for her purposes.
Transporting her daughter's corpse with her Prescia went to her new headquarters, a 'island' powered by a strong Lost Logia. She sent Fate to a backwater world called Earth to find the 'Jewel Seeds' she needed for her plan, also powerful Lost Logia. The girl was somewhat successful but was troubled by a rival, Nanoha Takimachi. For failing to capture all the Jewel Seeds Prescia whipped Fate, unknowingly helping drive the copy away. Fate allied with Nanoha and other enemies, ultimately destroying Prescia's home and leading to her and Alicia's corpse falling into a rift, never to be seen again.
Or where they?
Magical Atoner Lyrical Alicia
The young woman appeared on Midchilda via the standard teleport gates, around the year 2998. She looked human, as far as anyone could tell, if possibly a bit young to be traveling alone. At best she might be in her late teens, a slim blonde dressed in a simple black bodysuit, a cape fluttering around her. The security didn't react because, at that time, there was nothing for them to react to. She seemed like many visitors to the planet, a country girl come to see the sights of the 'big city.'
She checked into a hotel, paying with a mix of currency that was positively antique, then went to several museums and institutions. Police later retraced her steps to the memorial for the victims of the Testarossa incident, and discovered she had downloaded casualty information and other data. She visited libraries and downloaded much of the history of the past thousand years. She finally ended up at the Time Space Administration Bureau museum, where things got VERY odd.
Debriefing Session, Officer Hank Middens, Security Head for TSAB museum.
Interviewer: Can you tell us what happened on March the twenty fifth?
Officer Hank Middens: We didn't do anything wrong, did we? I thought we handled everything that went wrong totally by the book.
Interviewer: We're just trying to get a feel for what happened, Hank, Can I call you Hank?
Hank: Yeah, sure. Go ahead. [Subject sits up, drinks coffee.] We were monitoring a tour group going through the old TSAB buildings, when we first noticed something odd.
Hank: You gotta remember, most of the stuff in the museum has some historical value, but it's not really valuable. The uniforms, equipment and even the weapons are all far out of date, now. The systems in the security were keyed to mostly conventional robbery, with a few special systems for certain items. It was the alarm on those special ones that went off.
Interviewer: Alarms on the Devices, correct?
Hank: Exactly. According to our sensors, several of the devices were responding to some kind of outside influence. In my office I switched to security screens in that section of the facility, where I saw a blond haired girl, probably in her teens, glowing as she stared at the case containing Raising Heart and Bardiche.
Interviewer: The devices that belonged to the legendary Nanoha Takamachi-Testarossa and Fate Testarossa-Takamachi?
Hank: That's them Now in theory, neither device should have worked for a thief anyway. They were intelligent, one assumes they'd say no.
Interviewer: But if they were stolen they'd at least be worth money to a crooked collector. So you sent the security bots in?
Hank: [Sighs] Which might have been my big mistake. I sent a full squad in, better to be safe than sorry, right? That's when things got crazier. Bardiche exploded out of it's case and flew to her, shifting into some kind of scythe. The security bots attacked and she toasted the squad, literally in minutes.
Interviewer: So you evacuated the building and sent in your two remaining squads?
Hank: And even went in myself with my Device, Ronin. I tried to contain her while the bots attacked, but she busted out of the force field and knocked me silly. And...
Hank: I can't swear to this, she had clouted me upside the head pretty fierce. But as the woman was leaving it looked to me like Raising Heart burst out of it's case and flew over to her, as if it didn't want to get left behind.
Interviewer: Thank you, Hank. You did as well as could be expected against her.
Debriefing Session Ends
Samuel Accord was a good cop. He didn't consider himself the brightest or most clever detective, but the thin, wry man was determined and cunning, and had worked through any number of cases successfully. That was why, when his chief told him he was getting assistance from the TSAB, he was less than thrilled.
"Why are we letting the TSAB muscle in?" Sam demanded of his captain flatly, his thinning brown hair falling into his eyes.
Veronica Aston-Martin was a intense, black haired officer who had risen from the patrol to being Captain of this station. She was smart and knew how the political system worked, though it was said that patronage had little to do with her current rank. The fact that she filled out her uniform nicely and had blue eyes that could stun a grown man at five feet were both bonuses, more or less.
"It was the TSAB's own museum that was robbed," Veronica said, "it's understandable they want in on it." She sat back calmly, "Supposedly they're sending in experts on those devices, too. Could come in handy while investigating, hmm?"
"Maybe," Sam grumbled. He knew they were going to end up yanking the case out of his hands, he just knew it. Knowing he wouldn't get any satisfaction from the boss he headed back to his office.
Sam felt a twinge of alarm as he saw people in his office, hurrying down the hallway to reach the small room. Going inside he looked the four over, noting that there were three women and a man, all in TSAB uniforms. The tallest was a woman with pink hair, wearing the uniform of a TSAB colonel. A man with blue hair was the next tallest, then a blonde haired woman and what looked like a teenaged redhead. All three wore captain's uniforms, in intelligence, medical and tactical divisions.
'That's a awfully large amount of rank for a simple robbery,' Sam thought grimly, opening the door and walking in.
"Detective Accord," the pink haired woman smiled slightly, "pardon our waiting in your office, but we were anxious to get started."
"No problem," Sam said in a distinctly unfriendly tone.
If the pink haired woman minded, she didn't show it. "I am Signum," she waved to the others, "and these are my associates Zafira, Shamal and Vita."
"Nice to meet you," Sam said politely, then blinked as the names registered from his research into the stolen devices. "The Cloud Knights?" he blinked.
"It's so nice to be recognized," Zafira looked faintly amused.
"Yes, we are," Shamal smiled, the busty blonde having taken a seat in front of the desk. Sam was trying very hard not to notice her uniform skirt riding up, but it was a effort.
Sam sat down behind his desk, waving the others to their seats. "I can see why the TSAB sent you," he conceded, "you've actually fought both those Devices, right?"
"Yup," the teenaged redhead agreed with a faintly sad smile. Vita swiftly shook it off as she added, "And we really want to know who took them."
Zafira sat down too as he asked, "Do you have any leads?"
"Not as many as I'd like," Sam admitted. "The battle scrambled the recorders in the museum, so we have no visual identifications. We have a description we're passing around to local hotels and and the Customs department, hoping for a hit."
"What about the legitimate trade in Lost Logia?" Signum wondered.
Sam nodded, "We've got officers checking out auctions and other venues, just in case."
"What's the description?" Shamal asked curiously. "Has anyone made a composite image yet?"
"We're working up a composite from security and visitors to the museum," Sam said. He had practically memorized the description and could rattle it off with ease. "Human female, age between ten and fifteen years old. Blonde hair tied up in two ponytails on either side of her head. Cute face, wears black swimsuit and a cape."
"What?" a choked voice asked.
Sam looked across the desk at four people who looked like they had seen a ghost. He leaned forward as he intently asked, "What?"
Signum cleared her throat, her expression troubled as she said, "You researched the users of Raising Heart and Bardiche, yes?"
"Read the files," Sam conceded, "is there something..."
"Can I borrow your terminal a moment?" Zafira asked politely, turning the computer mounted on Sam's desk towards him. He typed a few minutes, "Nodding as he murmured, "The files you got lacked images. Of course." He hummed a moment as he work,ed, then turned the screen to Sam, "Look at this."
Sam studied the image, realizing that it largely matched the description he had. She was maybe younger than described, and there were metallic gold highlights added to the black costume, but witnesses might have missed those.
Reading the attached name Sam yelped, "Fate Testarossa-Takamachi?!"
"She was just Fate Testarossa at the time," Shamal said mildly, "but yes."
Sam sat back, his thoughts racing. "Do you seriously think it's her?" he had to ask, looking at the group of four.
"No,." Signum said flatly, "I know that Fate is dead, I was there when..." The woman seemed lost in a memory, then shook it off, "Clearly someone knew about Bardiche's users, and tricked the device somehow."
"A clone, maybe?" Vita guessed. "I wouldn't think Bardiche would respond to someone just disguised as Fate."
"Devices link to the mind, too," Sam noted thoughtfully. "Even after a thousand years or so, you'd think Bardiche would recognize it's master," he mused.
The group bounced ideas around for nearly half an hour, and as they talked the more impressed Sam got. These people weren't just marking time on a assignment, they were passionate about the situation. Understandable, too, when you considered that it was items belonging to their friends that had been taken. They were just roughing out a more complete map of where their mystery girl had gone, when one of the junior detectives knocked respectfully on the door.
"Come in," Sam called. He smiled at the tanned, pretty young woman with brown haired, "Detective Olivia Fiat. I had her calling customs stations earlier."
"We've got a hit," Olivia said as she waved the printout, then added apologetically, "but I don't think you're going to like it."
Sam took the printout, scanning it then cursing softly. "She not only took a gateway off planet," he handed the sheet to Signum, "she jumped across dimensions, too."
"Which drops this right in the TSAB's lap," Vita noted as she looked the paper over. "World Line 2207? Why does that sound familiar?"
Zafira smiled wryly as he mused, "We tended to gate there fairly often, remember? It's where our mistress Hayate chose to retire."
"Crystal Tokyo," Shamal murmured, "oh dear, oh dear oh dear."
"All right, why is this world a problem?" Sam wondered, feeling suddenly glad this case might not be his problem anymore.
"This world is a bit like Mid in that it has many people of power," Signum said dryly, "rather like our mages. But unlike Mid they don't track their mages and such."
"That doesn't sound good," Sam conceded after a moment.
"Finding her is going to be like looking for a needle in a haystack," Shamal sighed, using one of mistress Hayate's favorite phrases by accident.
"We'd better get to it," Vita said briskly. She looked at Sam, "Can we get the data and files transferred to our office?"
"Will do," he agreed. He looked at Signum, "Uhm, could you tell me how it all works out? I hate leaving a case like this..."
"Will do," Signum agreed, knowing how that felt.
To be continued...