"Congratulations Chrono!" Lindy said, cheerfully clapping her hands together.
"Thank you, Mother," Chrono said, standing stiffly to attention over the video screen. "I feel bad taking the Athra away from you though."
"Oh, pish posh. I had a good run, but I'm tired of being a Navy captain. Having to travel across dimensions is tough. And I'm glad I can leave the Athra and her crew in your capable hands Chrono," Lindy said, waving a hand idly.
"And what will you do now? You're still too young to retire," Chrono asked.
"Well eventually I'd like to transfer by to Midchilda, but for now, I'm stationed on Earth as an observer. They don't have enough sensor stations this far out, and Earth has been at the centre of far too many incidents lately. A semi-permanent station makes perfect sense. I know they've been meaning to set one up for a while, but with the manpower shortages, they haven't been able to get around to it," Lindy explained.
"How long do you think you'll be stationed on Earth?" Chrono asked.
"A few years. I should be around long enough to see Fate graduate from high school at least," Lindy said.
"Hmmph, she's wasting her time with that. It's not like she's ever going to use anything she's learned when she joins the TSAB full time," Chrono grumbled.
"Well, it's not like she's going to school to learn anything," a cheerful voice joined the conversation.
"Amy," Chorno sighed.
"Hello Captain Lindy! Enjoying you time on Earth? Anyways Chrono, you know that the only reason why Fate hasn't already begun working as an Enforcer full time is because she wants to graduate with Nanoha," Amy said, waving to Lindy as she grinned. "It's so romantic, wanting to be with her sweetheart while she still can."
"And Nanoha's parents insist that she graduate high school," Lindy said, waving back at Amy. "Hello, Amy. How are things now that my son has assumed command? He isn't overworking himself, is he?"
"Everything is fine, Captain," Amy said. "And don't you worry about Chrono, I'm taking care of him," Amy added, grinning widely.
"I leave him in your capable hands Amy," Lindy said, grinning back.
"Would it be too much to get a little respect?" Chrono grumbled, as Lindy and Amy laughed at him.
"Mmmh?" Lindy hummed, suddenly looking away from the screen.
"What's up Captain?" Amy asked.
"I felt...a something," Lindy said.
"A something," Chrono said, dryly.
"A tremor but not really. A shiver in dimensional space I guess," Lindy said, shrugging.
"Trouble?" Chrono asked, his face growing serious.
"Well, maybe. It did feel pretty small. Honestly, I wouldn't worry about it normally, but this planet seems to have a habit of attracting trouble," Lindy said, sighing.
"Right. I'll bring the Athra by as quick as I can," Chrono said.
"No. It might actually be nothing, and it was a very minor tremor. I'll set up the old scanning equipment from the Book of Darkness case. Then if and when it happens again, I'll send Nanoha and Fate to deal with it," Lindy said.
"Understood," Chorno said, an unsatisfied expression on his face.
"Oh, don't pout Chorno. It wouldn't look good if you rushed here at the slightest hint of danger. You need to be building your reputation, now more then ever, if you want to keep climbing the ladder of command," Lindy said. "Besides, Nanoha and Fate are more then enough to handle anything short of a class A Lost Logia showing up. I'm sure we will be fine."
A month later Fate and Nanoha were sitting on the train headed to Fuyuki city. The pair of girls were dressed in their school uniforms, and were sitting together, holding hands.
"Another case," Fate remarked quietly, running her thumb along the back of Nanoha's hand.
"Mmm," Nanoha hummed, staring out the window. "I wish we had time to go home first. Only having our uniforms is going to get uncomfortable fast."
"I'm sure Mother will send us our usual travel bags as soon as she can," Fate said. "You really aren't worried about the new case?" she asked, a soft smile on her face.
"A little I guess. But this case seems more odd then dangerous. So far nothing really bad has actually happened. It's really more a mystery then a crisis," Nanoha said, smiling back.
"I suppose so. But the shivers are getting more frequent. If this pattern keeps up, they may start to escalate in severity as well," Fate said, frowning slightly.
"Maybe. My own theory is that these shivers are tests from some smuggling group. They are testing out some new device, and so it'll be as simple as tracking them down and arresting them," Nanoha said, confidently. Fate giggled.
"You wish it's that simple. How many cases have we had where things were so easily resolved?" Fate asked, poking Nanoha playfully.
"There was one. I think. At least one," Nanoha protested. Fate just giggled some more and rested her head on Nanoha's shoulder.
"Well whatever the case might be, I'm sure we can handle it together," she said confidently.
"At least accommodations won't be any problem," Nanoha said, cheerfully.
"Where will be staying anyways?" Fate asked. "I know we don't have the Arthra to use as a base, but did Mother rent us a room or something?"
"Nope. We'll be staying with an old friend of my Dad's. Her name is Taiga Fujimura, and they met at a kendo tournament years ago. Some old enemies showed up and tried to make trouble, so Taiga and my Dad beat them up. It got her disqualified from the tournament, but they've been friends ever since," Nanoha said.
"That's too bad. Hmm, I know you told your parents about your magic, and your father knows a little bit of magic as well. Will we have to keep our magic hidden from her?" Fate asked.
"I think so," Nanoha said, with a nod. "She thinks we're here on family business, and Dad says that her family is Yakuza, so she'll likely assume we're involved in something shady. But she shouldn't know about magic at all."
"So, we don't need to hide our injuries or that we are going out at night, but we'll have to make sure she doesn't see us sparring or flying," Fate said, confirming the situation.
"Mmm," Nanoha nodded.
"Now arriving at Fuyuki station," the intercom chimed.
"I can't believe how dark it is," Nanoha said, looking up at the sky.
"That train ride did take a lot longer then expected," Fate agreed. "We'd best get moving." Nanoha nodded and the pair set off.
It was a dead night, and despite the arrival of a train there wasn't even a cab available to take them to their destination. As they walked they noticed the tension in the air, the near emptiness of the streets. It was as if the city was holding its breath, hoping to remain hidden from prowling predator. Nanoha and Fate walked, cheerfully obvious to the atmosphere.
"Quiet night tonight," Nanoha said, pausing to admire the view from the bridge they were crossing.
"Yes," Fate agreed, standing beside her. "We could likely just fly the rest of the way," she added. Nanoha looked tempted but sighed and shook her head.
"We shouldn't," Nanoha said reluctantly, breaths puffing out in the cold air. "There's no rush and-" Suddenly, their hearts clenched, as if they were suddenly falling, as reality shivered around them. The tremor was faint, a normal human might have an odd dream or two, but otherwise no one would notice. No one but a TSAB agent trained to detect abnormalities in the fabric of the universe.
"Let's go," Fate said, already transformed.
"Right. I'll handle the barrier, you secure the scene," Nanoha said, raising her barrier jacket in a flash of light. The pair shot into the sky, flying as fast as they could to their destination.