You are reading the first Youjo Senki: Saga of Tanya the Evil fanfic here on FFN. It is a multi-chapter story about Tanya Degurechaff, Adelaide von Schugel and the Elinium Type 95.
I'm still getting over the fact FFN added the category hours after I made the request. Commendable efficiency!
The story is set during volume one, chapter two of the light novel. You can also refer to episode three of the anime or volume one, chapter two of the manga. You might spot slight differences in the naming scheme depending on your preferred medium. My goal is to flesh out the scenes that canon glossed over. Expect nuanced banter, character drama and explosions.
Disclaimer: Tanya Degurechaff, related characters and locales are copyright Carlo Zen.
Common Era 1923, South-West of the Imperial Capital Berlun, Elinium Factory
Engineering Director Adelaide von Schugel was in a good mood, a really good mood. Compared to two days ago when he had to wipe the remains of hapless testing personnel from his ocular, he was almost ecstatic.
The crown jewel of his research, the Elinium Type 95 Operation Orb was the foundation upon which mankind would transcend the shackles of reality. All he needed to validate his research was a soldier capable of wielding the orb.
This was the obstacle set up for him by the Imperial Military Inspector General of Logistics Office. Professor Schugel baulked at their efforts to provide volunteers: careless, whiny, unfocused, dead. The volunteers' contribution was limited to giving Professor Schugel a reason to file a formal request to change the selection procedure of testing personnel.
In the military, one didn't get to pick one's subordinates, but exceptional circumstances warranted a solution more suited to the scientific background of the Elinium Factory. Its happenstance affiliation to the Imperial military during the ongoing war with the Federation in the North changed nothing in Professor Schugel's point of view. He accomplished a scientific breakthrough that the Inspector General agreed to bankroll on condition of yielding concrete results.
The orb was the result. Professor Schugel found it inconceivable that the Imperial military, a meritocracy geared towards advancement of top talent, failed to provide the product of its due process, a soldier motivated enough to properly operate the orb. Their incompetence cast a shadow on Professor Schugel's own capability to meet the mark. An invention so state-of-the-art the other Great Powers would need decades to emulate was faulted for user error.
A bad artist blamed his tools and it was clear to Professor Schugel that the tool could not be faulted in this case. Neither the engineers from the Inspector General of Logistics Office nor the scholars from the Imperial Technology Research Laboratory Investigation Committee expressed doubts over the orb's theoretical background. And yet, recordings shown to the Inspector General painted a picture of the contrary…
"The mana flow feels wrong!"
"It's going out of control!"
Albeit unquestioned on principle, Professor Schugel's genius excelled at producing corpses and going over budget instead of delivering practical results to aid the Empire's war effort. Therefore, his expectation was that the higher-ups would stop bottlenecking his work in acknowledgement of the difficulties it was causing. It aggravated him that the testing personnel acquired via the military's standing procedures preferred blowing up the orb along with themselves and any observation staff stationed nearby. The Department of Personnel Affairs within the Imperial Army Bureau of Staff Officers, in Professor Schugel's view, was bound to agree to sweeping changes in order to produce a less embarrassing outcome.
To facilitate the change, Professor Schugel petitioned for carte blanche to inspect the personal dossiers of almost every Aerial Mage in service, from conscripted trainees to Officer Cadet School graduates. The Department of Personnel Affairs would have never approved such a proposal, given Professor Schugel's propensity to fast track military assets to the graveyard, had it not been for the age and experience ceiling he proposed.
He outright rejected the idea of seasoned veterans, the most adept users of operation orbs, participating in testing of the Type 95. Professor Schugel's reasoning was beyond reproach: Aerial Mages lost flexibility upon getting used to the functioning of current generation operation orbs, as demonstrated during prior testing.
At the same time, the further requirement for a mana pool capacity at least four times the standard for Aerial Mages guaranteed his acquisitions would be able to activate the orb and not melt on the spot.
Professor Schugel made provisions for deviations such as loss of consciousness and cardiac arrest, of course. The military had the means to put soldiers, who have incurred such accidents, back on their feet. It was the molten ones that they didn't have a cure for. And they were difficult to get off of one's uniform...
The Department of Personnel Affairs conceded to Professor Schugel's demands and, in their words, got him what he had requested. The number of dossiers brought to him was disappointing, putting it mildly.
Professor Schugel found the Department of Personnel Affairs' poor sense of humour an affront to the Empire's military goals as well as his research. He would have had the incompetent staffer responsible for the partial delivery of documents prosecuted if it weren't for the outcome of a follow-up telephone call. The one dossier he received was, in fact, the grand total. There was no mistake.
He rubbed his temples to relieve the frustration. Either the next generation of Aerial Mages consisted of weaklings or the higher-ups were running out of patience. Neither conclusion boded well. Having to work with a single operator until additional candidates were discovered put pressure on the testing schedule. Professor Schugel was certain that the current limitations were temporary. The contrary would have put the whole Logistics Department in a negative light for being unable to supply a basic resource.
War demanded sacrifice, and so Professor Schugel was determined to make his own. He opened the dossier.
"Second Lieutenant Tanya Degurechaff. Graduated from Officer Cadet School at the age of nine. Engaged a squadron of enemy Aerial Mages during a training exercise in the North. The only living bearer of the Silver Wings Assault Medal. Mana pool capacity immeasurable."
He scoffed at the last bit. There was no such thing as an immeasurable mana pool capacity. The Intelligence Bureau responsible for compiling the dossier simply used a scale too narrow to properly assess a prodigious Mage. Regardless, her verifiable credentials met the minimum requirements. He penned the request to the Inspector General to have Second Lieutenant Tanya Degurechaff transferred under his command as testing personnel. They were to do everything in their power to make this happen in the shortest amount of time possible. Any delay in Professor Schugel's work was detrimental to the Empire's technological superiority over the other Great Powers.
With the letter sent, he wiped his ocular to have a closer look at a photo of the new addition to his staff. It came as no surprise that the future of magic technology belonged to a child.
He smirked at the killer determination in her eyes. The Empire would have never allowed a girl of her age to fight on the front line, but the circumstances of her emergence were as abnormal as the testing regimen in store for her. Hence, Professor Schugel was in a good mood.
Author's note: Click Next for chapter two.