A.N. Jesus, this took a while. I started this a while ago as a oneshot side-project and the whole thing sort of exploded from there. more to come, but it may take a while.
Anyway, imagine the "Time and Location" bits as playing on the bottom of the screen like they do during Nanoha A's. As to exact setting, think of this as starting somewhere between the second and fourth timelines in Madoka, and early in year 0066 by the Mid-Childan calendar.
I hope you enjoy!
"We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn't want to meet. I imagine they might exist in massive ships ... having used up all the resources from their home planet. Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonize whatever planets they can reach."
Time-Space Administration Bureau cruiser Arthra
Above Non-Administered world #113
Four hours past start of second shift
Admiral Lindy Harlaown sat alone in the Arthra's observation room. It was four hours after the end of the main shift, and she really should have been resting. Instead, she had drunk several cups of caffeinated tea and set herself up in this room. She could not possibly think of going to bed now; not after finally reaching this world and seeing what was on it. She had the crew on the bridge feeding her the video they were capturing from the surface. To her left a continuous readout of sensor data scrolled, giving her statistics to go with the different views from the planet.
An elaborate drama was playing itself out before her eyes on the screen. High above the city, a strange object revolved slowly. Analysis, she had been told, labeled the object as a sentient magical construct on a massive physical scale. Its top seemed to be nothing more than a series of gears, while the bottom vaguely implied a humanoid figure. Near what she could only call the object's equator several dark shapes orbited like satellites, mimicking the pinwheeling vortex which surrounded the entire scene. This was the eye of a hurricane centered on the construct.
While this disturbance was only moderate in the TSAB classification system, confined to a specific region of one world, its power was undeniable. And in several views spaced around the room, she could see four girls caught in the middle of it. She would catch glimpses of them as they passed through the different fields of view.
When her orders had come in from the TSAB, Admiral Harlaown had not been entirely certain what to make of them. Repeated, mid-size disturbances occurring at regular intervals; it was not much to go on. Their origin, labeled Non-administered world #113, lay beyond the boundaries of the administered worlds in an unexplored region. Now that they were here, however, all they had found so far were more mysteries.
Admiral Harlown spun around. "Nanoha! What are you doing up at this hour?"
The auburn haired girl was dressed in pajamas. "I couldn't sleep, so I got up for a snack. Are we there already?"
Lindy nodded. "Yes, I'm taking a look at the planet."
Nanoha walked up next to where Lindy stood and looked at the screens. In one, she saw a girl in red. She leapt from atop a lamppost as a black silhouette of a figure advanced toward her. The spear she was carrying split into a series of chain-linked segments, snapping outward at the creature.
"This is what's going on down there?"
"Yes. Whatever that thing in the center there is, it's causing a spatial distortion."
"So it's the source of the dimensional quakes we were looking for?"
"We're not certain. This could be the early stages of the quakes, there's certainly enough energy to lead to one, but this is a localized phenomenon."
A voice came from behind them. "What is?" A girl with long golden twintails stood in the doorway.
"Fate! You're up too?"
"I wanted to see what you all were up to."
Lindy smiled at her. "Here, come take a look."
Fate rubbed the drowsiness from her eyes, then took a closer look. On it, a Raven-haired girl had just dodged a strike from one of the smaller black masses. A grenade appeared in her hand, which she then threw at the pursuing entity. "Is that girl using magic to summon mass-based weapons? What's the point of that? Even if she's storing them in her device, bombardment magic would be more efficient."
"No, she's probably just uninformed. She'd be at least a B-ranked mage if she had proper training."
"What do you mean?"
"The technology of this world is advanced slightly beyond that of Earth, though it's still mass-based. We could not detect any sort of industrial magic facilities. Yet these four girls are undeniably mages, of a sort."
"How can that be?" Fate asked, "If this world uses only mass-based technology?"
"They could be this world's first experiment with magic, which would explain the dimensional tremors, but we just don't know enough yet."
"Shouldn't we do something about it then? After all, it's our job to stop these sorts of disasters, isn't it?
Lindy sighed. "It would be great if it were that simple."
"What do you mean?"
"We were sent here to investigate this world, and reduce the risk of dimensional rifts. But right now we simply don't know enough about the situation. If we go in there to try and help without really knowing what's going on here, we could end up making the situation worse. This is uncharted territory."
Lindy watched as the raven-haired girl just barely managed to dodge a piece of flying debris. "We have to sit here and just watch for now." Her face was calm, but her hand was clenched into a fist.
A look passed between Nanoha and Fate. There was no need even for them to communicate telepathically; they were both in perfect agreement.
"Lindy-san. There was a time when I was in a situation like that down on the planet. Back when I was just my mother's pawn. You ordered Nanoha not to interfere, and let me exhaust myself. But she disobeyed you, taking a gamble to try and save me. If Nanoha hadn't disobeyed orders and interfered, what would have happened to me?" Fate hugged Admiral Lindy. " Mother?"
Lindy's fist relaxed. She patted fate on the head. Both young girls could tell that she was trying to hide a smile. "Now, I'm going to ask you both to go back to your rooms and rest up, but I'm not going to make it an order. I'm going up to the bridge to get a better look at the situation. If you need anything, just call up. If anything really bad happens, I'll get you back up on the bridge."
Non-Administered World #113 surface
Epicenter of the dimensional disturbance
Local Time: 12:15 A.M.
The blonde girl lined up her shot, carefully taking aim. They had been fighting for fifteen minutes and she was already almost exhausted. She could not see the others anymore. Rockets still came at infrequent intervals, so Homura was still fighting at least. She knew that Kyoko had been under that building which had collapsed, but hoped that she had made it out in time. Madoka she was not sure about. That impact from one of the familiars had sent her flying, and she had not appeared since then.
She clutched the cannon tighter, steadying her aim on the witch. The fuse slowly burned its way down. Just as it touched the edge of the cannon, she shouted, "Tiro Finale!" The cannon boomed, sending its missile toward the creature. A few seconds later a burst of dust erupted from the flying creature. When it cleared, however, the creature was still there.
The girl slumped against her cannon. Still not enough. She had used all she had left, and it was still not quite enough to defeat Walpurgis Night. She was completely drained. A sense of peace descended around her; A feeling of inevitability enveloping her like a blanket.
A mechanical voice rang out over the battlefield.
Small points of magenta light appeared all around her, rushing upward toward some point far above.
Not that it really mattered. Even their best efforts were not enough. They had lost.
Still, where was that coming from? What did it mean?
Homura was still standing, she knew that. Had she started the countdown?
That must be it. Homura had a last resort device she was pulling out.
That was good.
She looked skyward. The magenta lights had collected themselves into one great glowing ball.
Far above, she heard a second mechanical voice announce "Plasma Smasher!" followed by the first announcing "Starlight Breaker!" A few seconds later Walpurgis Night was engulfed in Yellow and Magenta light. A shockwave radiated outward, pushing aside anything not rooted to the earth. Before she could react it reached her, knocking her off her feet. The last thing she saw before losing consciousness was a strange magical girl in white descending from the sky like the angel of judgement. The next moment everything was blackness.
High above, Nanoha and Fate watched the residue of the geared creature disintegrated beneath them. Nanoha panted, trying to catch her breath after expending so much energy. There had been plenty of expended mana around the battlefield to gather. That, added to half a dozen cartridges, was more than she had needed for that blast, but it had been a lot of energy to channel at once.
"Good…Job…Raising Heart," She was finally able to pant. The device blinked in response. Nanoha turned to Fate. "Let's search for survivors," she thought at her, "I saw one of them collapse over on that hill"
Fate nodded. "Right." Both girls descended.
Nanoha reached where the blonde girl had been firing from, and saw her crumpled on the ground surrounded by a pile of spent muskets. Nanoha knelt to make sure that the girl was only unconscious, and was relieved to see shallow breathing.
Fate scoured the area, looking for other survivors. The feed from the observation room had shown four girls. Nanoha had found one, meaning that there might be more survivors. Still, Fate was not certain how strong these girls' barrier jackets were, and doubts lingered in her mind no matter how hard she tried to push them away.
There they were. Two of them, together. It was not too far away from where Nanoha was. Fate touched down lightly next to them. One look told Fate that the girl in pink had fought her last battle; her neck was bent back at an impossible angle. The other one, the Raven-haired girl from the viewscreen, was cradling her gently in her arms. Looked over her shoulder to make sure Nanoha could not see the scene.
Fate placed her hand on the living girl's shoulder. "It's alright. It's over now. You're safe."
The raven-haired girl pushed Fate away. "I…I have to go back again. I have to fix this! It can't end here!"
Fate was at a loss for what to say.
"Nanoha, Fate, we're pulling you out of there right now!" Lindy's voice rang through their minds.
"What's the matter?" Nanoha asked.
"There's another spatial distortion building up on this world and it's centered right on your area."
"One second." Nanoha pulled the blonde girl up onto her back. "Alright."
Fate took one last look at the drama laid out before her; the girl in pink lying on the ground, the raven-haired girl cradling her gently, tears flowing freely from her eyes as she reached for the round device strapped to her wrist. In the background, the storm caused by the gear-creature was beginning to clear. Then Fate made a transportation circle materialize around her, and everything around her dissolved.
Time-Space Administration Bureau cruiser Arthra
Currently cruising in higher dimensional space
five hours after start of Second Shift
"Admiral, you really should get some sleep." The young officer manning the pilot's chair gave her a look of concern.
Lindy suppressed a yawn. Certainly it had been a long day, but she was not about to let that show. "I'll be fine. What's our status?"
"We've managed to ride out the worst of the tremors. Good thing we were already traveling away at the time; we were able to ride it out without it breaking through our shields.
Amy motioned for her attention from another terminal. "Hey, Admiral, come look at this."
Amy had brought up an image on her screen. Lindy leaned over to look, seeing a green and blue world. It seemed calm and peaceful, not unlike any other world.
"Okay, I give up. What am I looking at?"
"This is a real-time feed from the world we were just over."
Lindy frowned. "That's impossible. So soon after a dimensional quake, and everything's back to normal?"
"It's not just that, though. The planet isn't where we left it; it's regressed by approximately 44.4 degrees in its orbit. Similar stories on all of the other planets in this system. It's almost as if that world went backward in time to almost one and a half months before the disturbance. "
"Alright, so this world just rewound itself. Why wasn't the Arthra affected?"
"We had already jumped into high-dimensional space by the time it happened. The disturbance only affected the dimension of this world.
"Lindy-san?" Nanoha's voice came over the intercom.
Lindy pressed a button to speak with her. "Go ahead, Nanoha."
"We've taken the girl we brought back down to the infirmary.
"How is she?"
"Doc says she'll wake up soon."
"Good. I'll be down right away."
"It's just…there were four girls down there. We only brought back one. The others…they're probably dead, right?"
"We were in a hurry to get out of here. You were able to save that girl down there, and that's more than anyone could be asked to do."
"But the other three…they were there too. Right in the center of that quake."
"We're not quite certain what happened to them there, so don't give up hope just yet."
Time-Space Administration Bureau cruiser Arthra
Five and a half hours after start of Second Shift
The blonde girl stirred, then opened her eyes. At first, the only thing she could make out was a vague bright blur. She heard voices coming from somewhere above her.
"Good, look like she's coming around now."
She felt bruised all over. It had a horribly familiar feeling; like what had happened before she became a Magical Girl. Had it all just been some horrible dream? Kyuubei, the witches, Madoka and Homura, had they all just been illusions? That must be it. She was back in that car crash, about to die, and her life over the last few months had been nothing but a fantasy.
But, no. That was not right. She could see clearer now, and it was not the sun shining through a broken car window above her, it was diffused artificial light. And she was lying on a bed in some sort of infirmary, not sprawled over the bottom of a wrecked car. A head with chestnut-colored hair and blue eyes was staring down at her. That was right; it was that girl from before.
"It's alright, you're safe now."
"Where am I?" she managed to say.
Another voice replied. The girl tilted her head up slightly to see a woman with mint-green hair. "You're onboard the Time-Space Administration Bureau ship Arthra."
That told her precisely nothing. Now she was even more confused. "Time-Space…what?"
"It's going to take a long time to explain. For now, just know you're safe." This came from a girl with golden hair to her other side.
"What's your name?" the brown-haired girl asked.
"Mami," she replied, "Tomoe Mami. Forgive my rudeness, but who are you people?"