Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Character Creation and Discussion
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Join Date: Mar 2004
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Lyrical Melancholy Chapter 3
Inspector Verossa Acous of TSAB Intelligence walked into Midchilda East Base with a breezy confidence which made passing female personnel stare and males grind their teeth.
"Rancer," he said jovially, shifting his briefcase to his other hand. Rancer noted the use of his first name. "Splendid to see you again."
"Inspector," Rancer said politely, accepting the handshake.
"This is Professor Yuuno Scrya, Chief Librarian of the Infinite Library," Verossa continued, gesturing to the slim young man beside him. "Professor, this is Enforcer Captain Rancer LaSalle of the 37th Criminal Investigation And Apprehension."
Rancer sized up the bespectacled academic. Long blond hair tied in a ponytail. Unremarkable features, unassuming presence. If the stories were right, this... twenty-year old? Yes, he would be about only twenty, and he had already accomplished more than others three times his age. Childhood friend of the three legendary Aces, acclaimed archaeologist specializing in ancient civilizations, supervisor of a great many digs which helped unearth a significant number of Lost Logia categorized by the TSAB, and placing among the top experts in the organization with barriers and support magic. "I've heard a lot about you, Professor Scrya."
Was that a brief wince? "Thank you, Captain," Yuuno said, conspicuously not following up with the obvious question.
"Church Knight Nouera arrived about an hour ago," Rancer reported, as they walked along the corridors. "Ivey, that's Enforcer Lieutenant Ivey de Lorien, should be accompanying her. We haven't had our main conference room re-certified yet, not until next week, but we've prepared a makeshift meeting area in the local Information Archive Retrieval branch."
"Let's see, that would be the... 8th IAR office?" Standard TSAB orders on base architecture were that the Information Archive Retrieval offices on every base could double as a conference room for sensitive meetings and other exchanges of classified information, with assorted anti-surveillance measures put in place to a significant, but worryingly non-exhaustive, degree.
"Captain Rainier, wasn't it?" Yuuno said. "She's up at the Infinite Library helping to sort out the mess. She's been a big help; I don't think we'd have made as much progress if she hadn't been there."
"Yes, Professor. May, I mean Private Shelby, is minding the office in her absence."
"We're very shorthanded," Yuuno said apologetically. "A base as important as Midchilda East should have a larger IAR unit, but..."
"Halley and May manage well enough," Rancer said guardedly. "Just about everyone needs more people, but we've learned to make the best of what we have."
Yuuno sighed. "At least now we have LILA." He didn't sound very happy about it.
"I suppose the best way to describe LILA is an Artificial Intelligence," Yuuno explained. "LILA, meaning the Logistic Infinite Library Application, is supposed to help us organize the Library in view of our lack of personnel. Strictly speaking, LILA is more of an umbrella mind for the collective of minor AIs which handle the actual basic work, such as categorizing new entries or handling user requests, and the theory is that we'd feel more comfortable speaking to a single representative personality rather than hundreds of smaller, less human-like ones. Another theory on the psychology of working conditions says that the personality should be female, and so we're encouraged to think of LILA as a 'she' instead of 'it'. Nobody really minds that part, at least."
"I apologize for not having kept up with recent developments," Rancer said, in as conversational a tone as he could manage, "but would I be prying too much to assume that this whole LILA business is rather new?"
"New enough," Yuuno said. "It was an... administrative decision."
"Meaning the top brass went over Professor Scrya's head in installing the system," Verossa said candidly. "I believe the Professor has gone on record as opposing the move."
Yuuno flushed slightly. "That's a lot blunter than I'd have put it."
May was waiting outside her commandeered office. She was holding a piece of paper in her hands. "Checked," she said, as Rancer approached.
"Thanks, May." At the questioning glances, Rancer explained: "I was curious about certain books, and was hoping that I could find them in the Infinite Library."
"You can find almost anything in the Infinite Library," Verossa noted. "That, if I'm not mistaken, is exactly the problem."
"Maybe I can help," Yuuno said. "If I could have a look, please?" May yielded the piece of paper listlessly. "Most of the time, we can run a search and find..." He trailed off, staring at the paper.
"Professor?" Rancer said curiously.
Verossa frowned. "Inside," he said briskly. "We'll continue this inside."
Yuuno wordlessly handed the paper back to Rancer. Under the list of titles Rancer had written down, May had printed, in her small, neat handwriting, "See Chief Librarian Yuuno Scrya".
The 8th IAR office had not been significantly modified for the meeting, with the exception of a hastily-procured folding table and six plastic chairs. Ivey was seated in one, animatedly describing something or other to a woman dressed in a habit, who stood up just a bit too quickly at the others' entrance. Ivey clammed up, but remained seated.
"Rossa, Yuuno," the Saint Church representative greeted them, thinly-disguised relief on her face. "And Captain LaSalle."
"Good morning, Sister Schach," Rancer said. If he remembered correctly, all of them had worked together previously on the infamous JS incident the previous year, and had probably known each other before then. He waited until the door closed behind them, and poked a special code on the keypad beside it. "We should be able to speak freely now."
"Let's get right down to business, then," Verossa said, glancing at Yuuno, who was lost in furious thought. "Rancer, Ivey, the two of you were the personnel on-site at E-203, correct?" He undid the locks on his briefcase, and extracted several photographs, placing them on the table. "Do you recognize these?"
Rancer blinked. "They're the strange letters we saw in the cave. We thought that they looked like the Ancient Belkan runes, but they weren't."
"I only received these images very recently," Verossa said. "It's no surprise that nobody had been able to make any sense of them before now."
"For the most part, the resemblance to Ancient Belkan runes is believed to be a coincidence," Schach said. "It is true, however, that they may have had some influence on how the Ancient Belkan writing system developed. We have thus far only been able to retrieve fragmentary examples of the the writing, and anything which could have been used as a guide to translation has been lost, but as far as we know based on implied evidence, what we are seeing here is Al Hazardian."
Verossa chuckled mirthlessly. "Usually we would rather have kept that sort of thing classified top secret, rating Tau Black, but Dr. Jail Scaglietti made a compelling argument with the Cradle, during the JS incident. Now we have partial confirmation of the existence of a place called Al Hazard, even if the source of that confirmation is a notorious dimensional criminal who may have a somewhat loose grasp on sanity. And with all the stories and legends surrounding Al Hazard, it's hard to decide which have any basis in truth, and which are overly exaggerated accounts."
"I thought Al Hazard was a myth," Rancer said. "A story. And now you're telling me that it's real?"
"The books which mention Al Hazard in the Infinite Library are vague and contradictory," Yuuno said quietly. "We aren't even anywhere near certain that the Cradle was originally from Al Hazard, but Dr. Scaglietti's claims corroborate what we could find. There have been books attempting to translate some of the writings dating to around that time period... but I'm getting ahead of myself."
"There have been several archaeological excavations which uncovered evidence of some form of ancient civilization dating from the time Al Hazard is popularly known to have existed," Schach said. "Professor Scrya can probably attest to that, as he was there for many of them." Yuuno nodded. "Saint Church is publically keeping a neutral stance on whether or not that ancient civilization, or another one around or predating its time, actually
Al Hazard, or had the capabilities and features ascribed to the myths about it."
"As for the not-so-good doctor himself, we haven't been able to prove that he is, indeed, from Al Hazard," Verossa said. "Certainly his works are brilliant, perhaps even revolutionary if you talk to the right people in the field, but biologically Scaglietti is no different from the rest of us, at least as far as we can determine." He shrugged. "Scaglietti himself is uncooperative, and we don't know if there's something we're missing."
"We are, however, operating under the assumption that he is indeed connected to Al Hazard," Schach said. "All his combat cyborgs believe so, and officially, so does Saint Church. As far as we know, the TSAB is willing to at least consider the possibility."
"Schach and I led the raid into Scaglietti's lair during the height of the JS incident," Verossa said. "I also personally... obtained some further information on the matter, which I believe to be very relevant here." He took out another photograph. "We found this example, among others, in there, as well as from what little footage we could obtain from the battle within the Cradle."
Rancer compared the new photograph with the ones from site E-203. They appeared identical.
"From context, we believe this to be a relatively routine warning sign, in much the same way we place warning signs around high voltage cables," Schach said. "There was another sign below it, in comparatively recent Ancient Belkan, which said the same thing. I would say that your E-203 was dealing with amounts of magical energy of about the same magnitude as that which powered the Cradle."
"Very few other people know about this," Verossa said. "Those in this room. The Three Admirals. Two others, Intelligence personnel who had been working on related cases prior, whom you'll probably be introduced to later, and, depending on circumstances, the rest of your unit. We're trying to decide whether to inform anyone else, but it's likely that Hayate, meaning Lieutenant Colonel Hayate Yagami, and several of the former members of Lost Property Riot Force Six will be brought up to speed, along with anyone else significantly involved in the command or frontline assaults during the JS incident."
"Intelligence was the one who brought E-203 to our attention in the first place," Rancer pointed out.
"Intelligence didn't know about the link with Al Hazard," Verossa said. "We thought we were just sending you on the trail of a suspected dimensional criminal fitting the profile of an academic suffering from a scientific or research-related malign memetic hypercognition disorder; a mad scientist, in the vernacular. He hasn't done anything other than smuggling, theft, and some unidentified bursts of residual magical energy, and so we placed him lower in priority. Now that Al Hazard, and by extension Al Hazardian Lost Logia, are in the picture, he's going to get bumped up a lot higher."
"There's another aspect to this case which I didn't expect to come up today," Yuuno added. "Captain LaSalle, you mentioned that you were looking for the books on this list?" He held up the piece of paper in question.
"What is your interest in these books? How did you know their titles?"
Rancer furrowed his brow. "I accidentally bumped into a young lady yesterday, and she was carrying these books. Well, she was carrying more than these, about seven or eight books, all rather large, but I could only remember these three titles. One of them was about the possible link between Ancient Belkan runes and something else which looked very much like it, which the author named 'En-Me'. The other two were about En-Me in general. I remembered a comment made a few weeks ago, soon after we investigated E-203, which mentioned how much the signs we saw there resembled Ancient Belkan."
"Could you describe this young lady, please?"
"Um, average height and build, short dark blue hair, thick glasses. She was wearing an unfamiliar uniform, but had an Intelligence division patch and a Sergeant rank insignia. Oh, and for some reason, she seemed to recognize me, but ran off before I could ask." Strangely, Ivey shot him a puzzled glance. "I don't remember anything else which stood out, I'm afraid. Why the interest?"
"Four days ago," Yuuno said, "eight books were reported missing from the Infinite Library. LILA insisted that they had not been taken out, and should still be in the Library, but she could not explain their disappearance. The theft appears to have been done during a routine procedure for rearranging the shelves to make room for new arrivals, and we're doing a full audit on the books even now, which was why Librarian Captain Rainier was called to the Main HQ." Yuuno pointed at the list of titles Rancer had written. "These are three of the books which have gone missing."
"The En-Me theory is a minority one," Schach said, "which claims that Ancient Belka, and from there Modern Belka, had been influenced in a far greater extent by written systems descending from Al Hazardian ones than was otherwise believed. This group of alphabets and glyphs were named En-Me, and the signs on these photographs would have been part of those. The theory was proposed a long time ago, and books on the subject tend to be rare, if not completely out of print."
"It could be a coincidence," Verossa noted, "but it could be something more. I'm not sure that we want to raise too many questions by sounding a general hunt, but I'll put out a quiet word with a few people I trust. Of course, that unit patch may have been faked, in which case this mysterious young lady would be guilty of impersonating an Intelligence officer." He smiled cheerfully. "We tend not to look on such things with much favour."
"We asked for this interview because we felt that as the ones actually on the ground for E-203, you had the right to know what was going on," Schach said. She exchanged a look with Verossa and Yuuno. "We were also thinking of assigning you to this case permanently, until its resolution."
"This offer is entirely voluntary," Verossa added. "Based on your individual records, we believe that both of you know how to keep your mouths shut. If you turn it down, everything you've heard here stays classified, and we'll take this case off your hands. If, however, you do accept, then you'll be working exclusively on it until it's over, along with two of our Intelligence staff which we will attach to your unit, to handle the reports to us." Apologetically: "I took the liberty of researching the 37th CIAA. You
understaffed, and I think this case will require a bit more manpower."
"The vote of confidence is appreciated," Rancer said dryly. "Shouldn't you be talking to Major Alto, though?"
"We will, if you accept this case. But now we're asking
." Verossa leaned forward. "To tell you the truth, completely off the record, a few of the higher-ups seem to be disproportionately determined that your unit, and you in particular, take the case. Not 'the 37th CIAA', not 'Major Alto's unit', but 'Captain Rancer LaSalle's unit'. I don't know what's going on, and I don't think I like it, so I should warn you that things may not be as they seem. Normally I'd recommend that you turn this offer down, but I was specifically asked to convince the two of you to accept, as nicely as possible, in their words. I'm afraid that any future offers may be a bit more
Rancer glared at him helplessly. "You're dropping me in the middle of something that could be much bigger than we'd planned on."
"Always a risk working with Intelligence, Rancer."
Rancer looked at Ivey. "What do you think?"
Ivey exhaled slowly, and nodded.
"There you have it," Rancer said, throwing his hands up. "We're in. If nothing else, hopefully we'll be able to figure out this grand conspiracy before we're done." He fixed a glare at Verossa. "I have to say that I don't like the idea of waiting for someone to stab me in the back. I thought we were all supposed to be on the same side."
"I thought so too," Verossa said calmly. "And I don't like it as much as you do. I think I'll start a little investigation of my own, once I get back." A thought struck him, and he turned to Ivey. "You've been very quiet this morning, Ivey."
"Really?" Ivey said brightly, speaking for the first time since the interview proper started. "That's very interesting."
"Do you have anything to add? Any insights to share?"
"Not really, no." Ivey crossed her arms.
Rancer favoured her with a dark look. "If there's nothing else, Inspector..."
Verossa sighed. "No, there's nothing that can't wait," he said, standing and collecting his documents. "I'll tell the Veirons to meet you at your office later. Do keep in touch, and contact me if there are any new developments."
Schach handed Rancer a small card. "A dedicated communications channel for Saint Church," she said, with a quick smile. "It goes directly to Church Knight Carim Gracia's office. If you need our help, Saint Church promises to assist you."
we need your help?"
Schach's smile turned enigmatic. "Just in case."
"Just for once," Rancer muttered, "I wish someone would tell me exactly what's going on, instead of giving me bits and pieces of vague hints and portents."
"Ah," Verossa said expansively, "but where's the fun in that?"
Despite the Time-Space Administration Bureau being, by its very definition, a
and all that entailed, when a certain subset of it wished to speed up events, things proceeded very quickly indeed.
The two women who entered the office could have been twins. In fact, Rancer was fairly sure that they
twins. The one who entered first wore her long hair in twin ponytails on either side of her head, and she carried herself with the brash confidence of one who believed that she could do no wrong, or close enough to that ideal. Her companion, carrying a briefcase, trailed behind her, quiet and unassuming, short hair decorated with a single tasteful ribbon.
The twin-tailed one snapped off a textbook salute. "Sergeant Laura Veiron, TSAB Intelligence, reporting. This is Private Luna Veiron, same. We'll be attached to the 37th CIAA as of today, until further notice."
"Welcome to the 37th," Nova said pleasantly. "Please, don't stand on formality. Would either of you mind being called by your first names? I'm afraid I'm rather used to thinking of this unit as friends and family."
Laura looked mildly nonplussed, but Luna smiled. "That's not a problem at all, ma'am."
"Laura and Luna Veiron..." Ivey noted. "Related?"
"Twins," Laura confirmed. "Identical." She handed a small data disc to Nova. "The paperwork should all be in here, ma'am."
"Convenient," Rancer said. "Usually these things take a week or so to go through the system."
"We, um, expedited the process. Everyone involved was very cooperative." Laura looked around. "Does the unit know of the details of the case?"
"Rancer and Ivey explained it to us," Nova said, "at least as best as they knew, from the information Inspector Acous provided. Another recap couldn't hurt."
"Very well." Laura cleared her throat. "Our target is one Vincent DeVaux. Not much is known about him; we first encountered his name only in passing, when we were investigating any allies Jail Scaglietti may have had. DeVaux had never personally met Scaglietti, but he did meet Uno, Scaglietti's assistant, and Uno was apparently left with a somewhat low opinion of him. DeVaux's plans for an alliance never materialized, but Uno did note that he was savvy enough to locate Scaglietti's lair, which made him a potential, if unlikely, threat and rival. Of course, there were more pressing matters brought to light with Uno's interrogation, and so DeVaux was left as a low-priority target."
"Until now," Nova said.
Laura nodded. "DeVaux had not made any moves in a long time, and he had always stuck with relatively petty crimes such as theft of resources, always in minor quantities, and some low-key smuggling. E-203 was surprisingly loud, but it fit all the indications we had at the time that it was his doing. Even then, we didn't think much of it, but after what your unit discovered there, we're considering him substantially more dangerous than imagined."
"Do we have a description of him?" Rancer asked.
"Only sketchy accounts, from the hired mercenaries and smugglers we captured. He's usually careful to keep at least some of his features hidden, and nothing about the rest stands out as memorable. He's been described as a passable haggler, but usually distracted. From the amount of money he's thrown around, we suspect that he has an outside source of funding, but we haven't been able to trace it. It's almost as though he has a bottomless pot of gold, figuratively speaking."
"What sort of talent does he hire?" Rancer asked. "Just thieves and smugglers? Or has he made offers to, say, roboticists and engineers?"
"Just common criminals," Laura said. "I understand the thrust of your question, though. Based on what we've confiscated, and assuming that he still managed to slip other sources through, it seems that DeVaux is indeed building yet another robot army, just like Scaglietti. We haven't encountered any smuggled Relics yet, so we probably won't be seeing anything like Scaglietti's AMF-equipped drones."
"There's another interpretation to that last sentence," Rancer said darkly.
"Um," Reiz said.
The hitherto newest member of the 37th CIAA had chosen the desk in the far corner for her own, despite Rancer's hesitant encouragements for her to move a bit closer to the others. This had the unexpected side effect of causing her to be at the exact spot outside the average visitor's field of vision, which was proven amply by Laura's look of surprise.
"Should we, um," Reiz continued diffidently, "should we be questioning the other combat cyborgs about DeVaux? I mean, maybe one of them knows something else which was missed the first time around."
Laura pursed her lips. "Let's just say that anything we could have extracted from Scaglietti's cyborgs, we have already done so. Whether they wanted to or not."
"Yes, I'm sure you people are good at that," Rancer muttered.
Laura narrowed her eyes. "Captain LaSalle, I certainly hope that we can leave any residual suspicions and grudges behind us, and do our jobs as professionals. I would expect no less from anyone else in the Bureau,
"You'll have no trouble from me," Rancer promised, "as long as we keep no secrets from each other."
"Was there anything else?" Nova asked placidly, cutting through the tension easily. "Otherwise, please feel free to find a couple of desks for yourselves. We have plenty."
Laura sighed. "No, ma'am." She began to twiddle with her hair, clearly an unconscious nervous habit. "Right now our main priority is to wait until we receive word that DeVaux is on the move. There's a sizeable body of speculation and hypotheses about where he's likely to strike next, but the final decision will be up to you, ma'am."
"The information is in here," Luna said, holding up the her briefcase. "It's not very well-organized, though. I think there are probably at least a dozen different threads of thought in here."
"Oh!" Reiz jumped to her feet. "Let me help you with that."
Luna smiled. "Thank you, Corporal Astra." She dragged a convenient chair over to Reiz's desk. "Is it all right if we use your desk?"
"It's not a problem at all. Please, call me Reiz."
"Reiz, then. Anyway, first, we have the evidence from the recent smuggling bust at Rewell Aerospace Shipping, where twelve tons of..."
As the two women bent their heads over the pile of reports and photographs, Laura sat down opposite Rancer. "So tell me, sir," she said, "why are you so hostile towards Intelligence? If I may ask frankly, that is."
Rancer pinched the bridge of his nose. "I'm sorry about that," he apologized. "I shouldn't have let my prejudices get away from me. It's really a very long story, and not all of it is logical or rational. There's a whole lot of little facts and details which aren't that serious individually, but when you add them all up... it kind of sets my teeth on edge." Ivey was sidling, not very surreptitiously, closer to them. "Besides, the main part would probably be too fantastic to believe."
Laura crossed her arms. "Try me," she challenged. "I'm Intelligence. I can believe just about anything."
"I'm sure that you can believe six impossible things before breakfast," Rancer said, "but even this one might be a bit much. I'm sorry, but I can't tell you what it is."
"I thought we weren't going to keep secrets, sir."
"He's not," Ivey interjected. "He really can't tell you. It's a long, tragic, and supremely complicated story, which would bring tears to the eyes of anyone who hears it, except for when it doesn't. But in short, Rancer's not the one keeping secrets; your department is."
One of Laura's eyebrows shot up. "Really," she drawled.
"That's all in the past," Rancer said, trying to keep the irritation out of his voice. "It has nothing to do with the current situation, and I'll try not to let it bleed over. Let's just say that Intelligence once did something that made me quite unhappy, but since I don't know who was responsible, I can't direct my anger towards anyone, especially since the whole thing was done completely legally and within the rules and regulations. Inspector Acous had nothing to do with it, you don't have anything to do with it, and most of Intelligence has nothing to do with it. It was over half a decade ago, and whoever was really in charge has probably forgotten all about it. So, despite the unspoken and yet quite embarrassing reminder that I was the one who brought it up in the first place, can we
drop the subject?"
Laura blinked at his vehemence. "Uh, well. Consider it dropped, sir."
"There's also the backstab watch," Ivey pointed out.
Rancer sighed, and gave Ivey a dirty look. "We're going to go into some sensitive and decidedly straightforward questions now," he said. "Are you sure you want to continue?"
"By all means, sir."
"Very well. Why were you attached to the 37th?"
"Because we're the best people for the job," Laura said promptly. "We've been following the DeVaux case for almost a year now, since the first arrest of his hired mercenaries, only a month after the JS incident. Luna and I have been collecting the data from the various suspect sites assorted TSAB units have investigated, and your 37th CIAA turned up as the primary unit for the majority of them."
Rancer thought back to the increased number of missions based on vague tips from Intelligence. "That's true," he conceded. "We weren't told that the sites were all connected, though."
"Site E-203 was the tipping point," Laura continued. "It matched DeVaux's last known location, based on evidence from interrogation, and there had been a sudden burst of magical energy which turned up even on passive scan. We were ready to rush in if it turned out DeVaux was still there, but we didn't expect the booby-trap."
"Fifty tons of rock does tend to make quite an impression," Ivey said sagely.
"Since the base had been abandoned, we gave the debriefing reports a lower priority than we should have," Laura admitted. "I didn't even know about the Al Hazardian connection until Inspector Acous informed me. Suddenly DeVaux is a big target, and now we're here."
"Why the 37th, though?" Rancer asked.
Laura shrugged. "I presumed that it was because you had the most experience dealing with DeVaux's trail. Isn't that right?"
Rancer exchanged a glance with Ivey. "She doesn't know," he said.
"She doesn't know," Ivey agreed.
"What don't I know?" Laura demanded.
"That we don't know why we were chosen in the first place," Rancer said. "Someone in Intelligence suggested to Inspector Acous that the 37th take the case. Someone in Intelligence was
about it, in fact."
Laura opened her mouth to answer, but snapped it shut. "Huh," was all she said.
"And now she's in on the conspiracy," Ivey said with satisfaction.
is why I don't quite trust Intelligence," Rancer said. "It could be something as innocent as someone out there being uncharacteristically impressed with our magnificent deeds. However, due perhaps to my inherently suspicious and cynical nature, I find myself doubting that very much."
Laura looked at Ivey. "Is he always like this?"
Ivey shrugged. "He thinks it's funny."
"If you're going to talk about me behind my back, please don't do it in front of me," Rancer grumbled. "For one thing, it skews the definition of the phrase to breaking point."
"The factory," Reiz said.
"What?" Laura said, puzzled.
"We've narrowed down the list of possible objectives for DeVaux's next theft," Luna explained. "We're assuming that DeVaux does not have a great deal of resources at this time to waste, so we've temporarily dismissed any tempting targets which have increased security or a hostile environment. Based on the items he had been trying to obtain, we think that he'll probably target the Walldorf factory out past the suburbs of Cranagan. They're planning to ship a sizeable number of machined parts within the next couple of days, including specialty microcutters, which we
DeVaux needs for his robot manufacture."
"DeVaux will probably not attempt a direct assault, even on a civilian facility," Nova said. She walked over to Reiz's desk, and cocked her head, reading the copious notes Reiz and Luna had scribbled down. "We can expect him to try to hijack the parts using stealth and misdirection. We should probably warn Walldorf about the potential hijacking."
"Speaking of misdirection," Rancer pointed out, "we could be grasping at straws in the dark. How do we know that we're even on the right track?"
"We don't," Nova said calmly. "But it's a possible lead, however slim, and any lead is worth checking out."
"What if we're wrong?" Reiz asked timidly.
"Then we try not to make the same mistake the next time," Nova said. "Laura, Luna, you're probably the most familiar with DeVaux's modus operandi. What are your opinions?"
"It'll be a shot in the dark," Laura said doubtfully. "DeVaux might need microcutters to create his robot army, but he could be working on something else, or he could have already obtained the necessary parts. Still, it's better than nothing."
"I agree," Luna said. "It's the best we have, based on what little information we've collected."
Reiz frowned slightly. "Is it always like this?" she whispered to Rancer.
"All this guessing. Not knowing whether we're chasing a false lead. If we're wrong..."
"That's the risk we take every time we get a case," Rancer said. "We get it wrong sometimes, but it can't really be helped."
"Heroes react," Ivey added. "Villains get to plan their bank robberies in advance."
"In the meantime," Nova was saying, "it might be a good idea to try integrating everyone into a team. Rancer, would you please take care of it?"
"Ma'am," Rancer protested helplessly, "you
that I'm not qualified to be an instructor, much less certified as one. Didn't we go through this with Reiz's training?"
"I'm sure you'll do your best," Nova said, with a brilliant smile.
"Scant comfort, ma'am. Scant comfort."
Damien Kellis (
The Genderswap Archive Of Haruhi Suzumiya
The Seitenkan FAQ of Haruhi Suzumiya
That was actually quite thought-provoking. Does that violate the forum rules?
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