A/N: This is another Shadowverse story centered not on Lutecia, or on Vivio and Lutecia's romance, or on any of the sneaky covert-ops stuff we usually see, but on Vivio and what's happening in her own life.
~X X X~
"This is impossible!" exclaimed Vanya Trabant, staring at the text scrolling across the four open holo-screens in front of her.
Her co-worker, Erika Fuso, did not respond to the redhead's complaint. Since Erika usually would cut Vanya down to size with a pointed (and sometimes witty) observation whenever Vanya started blowing off steam, she glanced over to see what was wrong.
Erika didn't look good. Sweat was dripping down the petite girl's pointed, foxlike features, she was trembling, and the light from her four screens as well as the Midchildan spell-rune beneath her feet was wavering. She was fading fast, and Vanya didn't know how long she could hold out.
Vanya turned her head to see how their superior was doing. As he had been for the past twelve minutes, the blond man hovered in the air over his own rune, head thrown back, eyes closed, arms opened out at his sides, while rings of cabalistic symbols rotated and twisted in the air around him. She could only imagine the stress the process was placing on him; she and Erika were only maintaining a support role, while he was carrying the burden of the entire spell. But then again, he was the boss. He was supposed to have the hard jobs.
Erika gave a sudden high, sharp cry and the pink light of her rune vanished with her screens. She sagged forward, dropping to her knees, and would have fallen to the floor hand the other two not at once sprang to catch her.
"Erika, you idiot, you should disengage before you hit your limit!" Vanya yelped. She yanked on her own ponytail in frustration. "This isn't some combat mission where lives are on the line. We're librarians, for Kaiser's sake."
The slender girl mopped the sweat from her forehead on the back of her sleeve.
Yuuno Scrya nodded.
"She's right. We may not be engaging the enemy directly, but the research we provide for the field operatives can be vital for their ability to complete their missions and protect both their own lives and those of civilians who might be hurt if they fail."
Vanya yanked at her ponytail again.
"Yeah, all right, I know there's an Enforcer team going in to try and secure the Jewel of the Seven Stars in six hours and it would help a lot if they knew its capabilities before they engaged the holder."
"Especially since our own knowledge of its properties is sketchy at best, but that we know from references that the ancient Belkans had a complete write-up on it in the Book of the Dark Kings. That reference alone suggests that it has something to do with the manipulation of the dead as the Gareans were very focused in their development of pre-Mariage prototypes."
He turned a kind smile on the exhausted girl.
"Vanya is right, though. It achieves nothing for you to push yourself to collapse. Just because this is scrying magic doesn't mean that it's any safer for the caster, and Linker Core drain could leave you in the hospital or worse. Doing your best is important, but so is remembering to take care of yourself."
"But the spell..."
Yuuno shook his head.
"Erika, even interfacing our scrying magic with the library's Interactive Search System, we were only able to examine 2.3 percent of capacity. This could go on for hours even if we had infinite search resources." He sighed. "Look, let's take a break. It's nearly lunch hour in any case; Vanya, why don't you just go get something to eat while I make sure Erika is all right. Try and think if you can come up with any ideas if you can."
"...All right," she sighed after a long pause, then turned and left the office.
The problem was that the Infinity Library was itself a Belkan Lost Logia. It had to be, to contain physical copies as well as data records of the massive amount of information the Bureau, like the empire before it, needed and used to maintain its administration of well over a hundred different worlds. Indeed, without the Library Nexus scrounged from the Belkans, the TSAB probably would never have even gotten off the ground. The problem was that while the new data added by the Bureau was for the most part well-organized, indexed, and easily accessible, the old data, the much greater collection from the Belkan era, most emphatically was not. Worse yet, because the inheritors of the Library used Mid-style magic, there were regular breakdowns and glitches in the interface between the ISS and he Nexus central organizing system, where whole sections would go "off the grid" temporarily or permanently. The librarians would then have to use scrying magic to manually hunt up what was needed—relatively simple if the item was under a hundred years old or so, since new entries were spell-tagged for precisely this purpose, virtually impossible if it was part of the original Belkan collection unless it had been located and marked before.
It was no wonder that Chrono Harlaown had assigned the post of Head Librarian to Yuuno, an archaeologist.
The elevator doors at the far end of the room swished open and a tall, curvaceous blonde stepped out...no, stalked was a better way of putting it, Vanya decided...a scowl on her face.
"And where the hell have you been, Your Majesty?" Vanya snapped. That last line was often directed quite seriously at Takamachi Vivio, since the nineteen-year-old was a clone of the last Belkan Sankt Kaiser. That by itself was enough to make Vanya feel good about her fellow archivist, because most people who were considered a living object of worship by a sizable chunk of the largest religion in the administered dimensions would be egotistical jerkasses and Vivio wasn't. Under the circumstances, though, that wasn't nearly enough, and Vanya was very sarcastic.
"What's your problem?" Vivio snapped right back, clearly not in a mood to budge an inch.
"My problem is a co-worker who comes in two hours late without so much as calling to let anyone know you'd be late."
"You're throwing a fit over that?"
"If the rest of us can't count on you to do your damn job, it's important. We all end up picking up the slack!"
"What the heck? I've missed less time than anyone on-staff this year except Lamerton! You just got back from a two-week vacation last month and you didn't hear me griping about pulling overtime in your place!"
"That's because Erika didn't nearly burn out her Linker Core trying to do the work of someone with S-rank potential!"
They stared at each other. Vivio's heterochromatic eyes made it hard for Vanya; her brain kept wanting to harmonize the colors and failing, making her a little dizzy. Finally, Vivio's face softened.
"Is she all right?" she asked.
"Yuuno thinks she should be all right, though he's running a couple of more tests."
"I didn't know we had a major project scheduled for this morning," Vivio said hesitantly. She was clearly wondering if she'd screwed up and lost track of a work assignment and let everyone down. The fact that it did concern her, though, made Vanya unable to really let fly like her temper wanted to.
"We didn't. It was a rush job fron the Navy," she explained. "The Enforcers are going after a Lost Logia in a little under six hours and need all the background we can get them. Yuuno located a reference, but it pointed to another book from the Belkan records.
"Why didn't you call me?" Vivio said at once. "I'd have come right away if—"
Vanya waved her hand and sighed.
"No, never mind." She turned and started heading back the way she'd come, the other woman falling into step. "I'm just pissy and looking for someone to take it out on. It's not your fault Erika never learned the difference between 'giving it everything you've got' and 'killing yourself trying.' Even if you'd been here it wouldn't have changed anything, not really. At least not in terms of success or failure."
"That makes me feel a little better. What are we looking for?"
"Nah, I'll let Yuuno give you the complete story. He's the boss, after all, and better with the technical details anyway. I'd rather hear your story. Why are you two hours late, and came in looking like you had your panties in a twist on top of it?"
"...I had a fight with my girlfriend."
"You? But you two are all, like, lovey-dovey and stuff."
"She's leaving on a mission assignment tomorrow and won't tell me where she's going."
"Really? Ouch, that's harsh."
They walked into the library office.
"Vanya, didn't I tell you to take a break?" Yuuno said.
"Yeah, but look who I ran into." She jerked a thumb at Vivio.
"Ah, Vivio. You didn't call; I was worried about you."
"I'm sorry; I just was in the middle of a huge fight with Lutecia. Oh, Erika, are you okay? Vanya told me what happened."
The dark-haired girl, now sitting in a chair in front of one of the fixed-station terminals, nodded.
"I'm fine. I'm just surrounded by people who like to fuss. So what's this stuff about a fight?"
"Miss Field Agent's leaving Vivio at home worrying and won't tell her what it's about," Vanya supplied.
"She kept saying it was classified and she couldn't tell me. My security clearance is higher than hers!"
That was very likely true, Vanya knew. The people whose responsibility it was to store, maintain, and access the Bureau's secrets couldn't do their jobs if they didn't have the ability to touch that data. As Chief Librarian, Yuuno's clearance was equal to the Council President's. Vivio's was nearly as high, which Vanya supposed made sense; the girl's own life history was the subject of any number of classified files.
"Vivio, it's not just about clearance. Classified data is given out only to people with the requisite clearance, yes, but also only to those who have a need to know or a legal right to demand the information," Yuuno explained patiently.
"This must be classified Don't Tell Your Wife," Vanya joked, making Vivio blush at the thought of being Lutecia's wife some day.
"I...I know, but...it just makes me worry so much knowing that she's out there on a job and not only can't I protect her, I can't even be with her in spirit because I can't know what she's doing. I don't know how Nanoha-mama did it all those years when Fate-mama was going out on extended deployments."
There was really nothing any of them could say to that.
"At least now I can work on helping to support the Enforcers with their job," Vivio brightened. "It's not the same as Lutecia's, but at least I can do something for someone who's going out there like she is. So what is it we're doing?"
Yuuno quickly brought her up to speed.
"...so we tried to use the ISS to amplify our search magic through synchronization," he finished up, "but to no avail."
"Is there any chance we can establish what general area it's in so we could try a manual search?"
"No; apparently the only copy of the Book we have is part of the original Belkan records and hasn't been accessed since the Bureau established the library. We don't even know where to start looking."
"A similarity search through ISS as to books of similar age, topics, and type that we have located indicated at least eight general sections possible for its location," Erika provided.
The three of them fell silent following that remark, no doubt considering the scope of a search in the Infinity Library's strange zero-gravity, dimensional-shifted environment. Finding one of the old Belkan works definitely wasn't just a matter of walking along reading neatly alphabetized shelves. That sudden pause made the snap of Vanya's fingers echo even more loudly and dramatically in the room.
"Clearance!" Vanya exclaimed.
"Vivio, you speak Old Belkan, don't you?"
"Y-yes, a little bit, though I'm better at reading and writing it."
"Vanya," Erika cut in, "are you going to explain what you're talking about, or do we have to sit here playing guessing games?"
"Clearance! Access to classified data! Ancient Belkan classified data."
Yuuno figured it out at once, his eyes lighting up with pure, delighted scholarly greed.
"I can't believe we didn't think of it before!" he exclaimed. "Retinal scans, DNA typing—why, we've even got positive proof that the concept will work from the JS Incident!"
Vivio blinked in confusion.
"The JS Incident? You mean, the Cradle?"
"Exactly! This library actually is completely organized and archived," Vanya rushed on. It was her idea, after all. "It's just that we can't use the system because it won't recognize any of us. But I figure it'll show Vivio—or rather, Sankt Kaiser Olivie Sedgbrecht—whatever she wants. I mean, we all know the old joke about somebody or other having higher security clearance than God, but thanks to Her Majesty, we can actually test out what that standard is!"
~X X X~
A/N: "The Jewel of Seven Stars" is a reference to the Bram Stoker book...which I haven't read, only heard the full-cast audio adaptation. ^^;;;
~X X X~
Vivio's Magical Omake Theater!
"Yuuno," Vivio asked, "if I understand correctly, the ISS is hooked into the Nexus, isn't it, as kind of an overlay?"
"So if Vanya's plan works, I could backchannel from the Nexus into our Mid-era records, couldn't I? And since the Nexus is the Infinity Library's primary system, that would mean my access level would carry over too, wouldn't it?"
"Vivio, you are not to access NSIS classified data to find out where Lutecia was assigned."
She pouted at him. "You're no fun."