Fanfic / Graceful Degradation

Cutting corners hurt Precia once and she wasn't going to risk Alicia's last chance by doing so again. And when the Arthra encounters a distortion of time-space, things get dicey on Non Administered Planet 97 without the TSAB to support Nanoha and Yuuno...
Opening Words

This is an Alternate Universe fic done by Tirfarthuan that diverges from the Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha canon where events break off essentially from about Episode 7 of the original series. Here, the TSAB does not get involved due to Precia moving the Garden of Time, which knocks the Asura out of commission. This ends up leaving Nanoha and Yuuno to face off against Fate and later Precia without the support the TSAB could provide.

The story covers two ongoing storylines simultaneously. The events on Earth, and the TSAB side of things, including their own investigations as to what had happened.

The series can be found on here.

This fanfic provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Badass: Despite not being a combatant type, Yuuno's creative use of shields (some taught by his family), binds and other skills play a major role in Chapter 5.
  • Alternate Universe Fic: Here, Precia takes more precautions, such as moving the Garden of Time, to literally throw the TSAB off her trail and damaging the Arthra in the process.
  • And I Must Scream: The Book of Darkness, as stated at the end of chapter 11.
  • Apocalypse How: A class X is averted in Chapter 5.
  • The Archmage: Precia shows just why she is a SS-ranked mage. (Or as Nanoha puts it, "Seriously Scary".)
  • Ascended Extra: Nanoha's family starts to take a much more prominent role as the story goes on.
  • The Atoner: Initially Admiral Graham believed that it was the Book of Darkness that caused the dimensional disturbance which apparently destroyed Earth. Despite all evidence pointing to Precia as the culprit, Graham retains this mentality.
  • Badass Adorable: Nanoha and Fate, even more than in canon.
  • Badass Family: The Takamachi family, who else?
  • The Bad Guy Wins: In spite of our heroes' best efforts, Precia gets enough Jewel Seeds to enact her plan to open the gate to Al Hazard. At this point it has been left for debate if she actually succeeded in getting there or if she died in the attempt. Luckily, the heroes' main goal was to save the Earth/Fate, and they mostly succeeded at that.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: Shiro uses a variant of it to get his family, Nanoha's friends, Hayate, and the Wolkenritter out of the hospital in the aftermath of their fight.
  • Beam-O-War: Nanoha and Precia get into one, but while Nanoha wins it, she is the one taken out of the fight due to the injuries she sustained.
  • Beam Spam: Nanoha relies on this to stay alive during her fight with Precia, along with a lot of desperate dodging.
  • Blatant Lies: The Takamachi family is a perfectly normal family that runs a café.
  • Break the Cutie: Fate has this happen in Chapter 5 and it forces her into a Heroic BSOD.
  • Calling the Old Woman Out: Nanoha does this to Precia in chapter 5 when she realizes Precia's motives and that she considered Fate an expendable tool.
  • Broken Bird: Megane has not had an easy life and the only reason she hasn't completely shut down is because she uses work to distract herself from her pain and it is indicated that she was on the verge of becoming an alcoholic before she found out she was pregnant and stopped drinking. Quint and Zest also act as her lifeline, accompanying her to her therapy sessions and generally being there for her.
  • Cast from Hit Points: Nanoha goes from fighting Precia to helping Yuuno power a planet-sized shield, to the point where her heart stops from the strain and the injuries she got fighting Precia.
  • Cast from Lifespan: Precia's use of magic accelerates the progression of the mana poisoning she dying from.
  • The Chains of Commanding: Played straight in the first chapter when Lindy begins the unenviable task of contacting the families of her dead crewmembers.
    Excuse me ma'am? I'm Admiral Lindy Harlaown of the Time-Space Administration Bureau, currently assigned to the Arthra. Could I speak with you privately? …I have some bad news about your daughter…
  • Closest Thing We Got: Being an archeologist with knowledge of Lost Logia, Yuuno decides to take a crack at helping Hayate with the Book of Darkness. He explains that he can't promise anything, what with his being alone and without equipment, but dealing with Lost Logia is the kind of thing he's trained for.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Shiro Takamachi gets the Wolkenritter to stand down by recognizing that they are essentially Hayate's bodyguards and so holds a sword to her throat.
  • The Cracker: Lampshaded by Arf when she asks if Yuuno's family is made up of criminals instead of scholars due to not only his hacking skills, but how he managed to forge a legal identity for himself in Japan.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Precia.
    • The entire Takamachi Family as well, apparently. Momoko carries a taser, Miyuki has razor wire, Kyouya carries multiple knives, and Shiro is so heavily armed that Arf is surprised that he doesn't clink or rattle when he walks.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: Yuuno's plan to save the Earth in Chapter 5 is made of this.
    • Nanoha's final fight with Fate has her pulling stunts with flight magic that no sane mage would do, like intentionally cancelling a fight spell in mid flight in order to drop out of Fate's line of sight long enough to pepper her with attacks, only restarting it so she can charge a Divine Buster.
  • Cry into Chest: Fate has been holding in her emotions for awhile when she finally can't hold them in any longer in Chapter 7. Yuuno provides the crying platform for her.
    • Needless to say, this draws in Nanoha as well and even Yuuno begins to cry. They needed the catharsis from it.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Averted when Nanoha, who at that point is only a novice mage and nine-years-old, manages to keep Precia distracted through a combination of maneuvering, hitting, running, and a couple of Starlight Breakers. She still loses the fight and is seriously injured, but she managed to get Precia to go all-out towards the end.
    • Played straight in Chapter 6 when Nanoha, her family, and her friends face off against the Wolkenritter, due to a misunderstanding. As they are all still recovering from the events of the previous chapter, they get their asses handed to them. It takes Shiro holding a sword to an unconscious Hayate's throat to get the Wolkenritter to stand down long enough to defuse the situation.
  • Darker and Edgier
  • Destructive Savior: Subverted. Nanoha, Fate, Yuuno, and Arf manage to save the world, but in the process effectively destroy Earth's satellite communications network, making air travel hazardous, remaking the local geography around Uminari City, cutting said city off from road or rail services, and generally making a mess of the town. Not to mention causing some interesting effects throughout the rest of the solar system, such as fusing Pluto and Charon into one body. Thousands on Earth die, but it could have been worse, much worse.
    • Vita wrecks Hayate's house in protecting her from parts of it collapsing and getting her out.
  • Determinator: Nanoha, naturally, but Yuuno, Fate, and Arf join her in Determinator status in Chapter 5.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Jail Scaglietti makes brief appearances and is even referred to early in the story.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The series rapidly establishes this in the first five chapters.
  • Evil Matriarch: Precia, even more so than in canon.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: The Book of Darkness can't be fixed for a number of factors, such as lack of resources, and expertise.
  • Foreshadowing: Nanoha begins to feel the strain during her fight with Precia, along with her injuries, including pain in her chest. Later in the chapter, her heart stops from the strain of maintaining a planet-wide shield in order to stop the World-Wrecking Wave that is approaching Earth.
    • Jail appears in chapter six getting a message from Precia about her successes and being told by her in a message that he can help himself to any equipment she left behind. Even more ominously, she identifies Nanoha and Yuuno as particularly talented mages who he could play with if they survived, along with Fate as well.
  • For Want of a Nail: The TSAB doesn't get involved due to Precia knocking the Asura out of commission, early in the fic. The changes start from there and quickly go Off the Rails. Lampshaded with the title of Chapter 2.
  • Genki Girl: Quint Nakajima, though she tones it down a bit while she's actively on duty and working. (Though not by much, even then.)
  • Hollywood Healing: Averted. While healing magic can heal severe injuries, there are reasons why those proficient in healing magic are reluctant to do so unless absolutely necessary. Mostly because using healing magic on things like bones and internal organs tends to build up and interfere with subsequent healing, increasing the difficulty of further healing by an order of magnitude until the magic dissipates.
  • Heroic R.R.O.D.: Happens to Nanoha in chapter 5 when her heart shuts down from the strain of maintaining a shield to protect Earth from a dimensional rift. Arf quickly got her resuscitated, but she was out of action for the rest of the chapter.
    • Also briefly happens to Yuuno due to his Linker Core becoming over-strained and damaged from the same events. Fortunately, Shamal healed him as a gesture of good will, largely to help with defusing the tensions between the Takamachi household and the Wolkenritter.
  • I Ain't Got Time to Bleed: Nanoha, in Chapter 5 plays off her injuries and the pain she is suffering as less severe than it actually is. Admittedly, she would not necessarily know the symptoms of cardiac arrhythmia, a.k.a. a heart attack, but she was clearly in pain and already seriously injured.
  • Idiot Ball: The Wolkenritter, despite being experienced soldiers and guards, fail to keep an eye on Hayate, allowing Shiro to sneak up and hold a sword to her throat.
  • I Lied: Raising Heart pulls an awesome bluff on Precia by convincing her that it is locked down due to her not being an authorized user.
  • Lies to Children: Subverted in that Nanoha knows her family's normality is a façade and that they don't talk about her father's side of the family in public. She doesn't ask for the reason that she doesn't want them to have to invent lies to tell her and has faith that they will explain it when she's older.
  • Madness Mantra: The first chapter shows Precia's descent into madness through a simple phrase that gradually gets capitalized over the course of the chapter with the specific events that caused her further slipping in between each use of the phrase. NEVER AGAIN
  • Minored In Asskicking: Precia, despite not being a combat mage, manages to keep fighting Nanoha and even win after a prolonged fight.
    • Yuuno shows how creative use of binds and shields can take on Precia's golems.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Admiral Graham has this in spades, due to him thinking that Earth was destroyed due to his plan. It wasn't, but he doesn't know this. He's more than relieved to find out that it wasn't his plans.
  • Noodle Incident: For some as-yet undisclosed reason, Nanoha is not allowed to use the Internet. When questioned about it, her response is:
    Nanoha: "For the same reason I'm no longer allowed to watch Gundam. It Gives Me Ideas."
  • Not What It Looks Like: Miyuki walking in on Yuuno, Nanoha, and Fate after they had obviously been crying. She tried to play it for laughs, but fails.
  • Obvious Pregnancy: Subverted with Megane. She's only been pregnant long enough to just start showing and it takes Quint putting the facts together about how some of Megane's habits have changed since the death of her lover before she comes up with the idea and runs with it.
  • Oh, Crap!: Nanoha quickly realizes just how outmatched she is when she fights Precia, likening SS Rank to mean "Seriously Scary". She still fights.
    • A hilarious one happens when Miyuki spies all of them on her laptop and searching the internet.
    "What are you all doing in my room?" Miyuki asked, and her eyes widened in horror as she saw the opened laptop. "Oh no, please tell me you didn't let Nanoha use Google!"
  • Only Sane Man: Uno, to Jail.
    • Arf to Nanoha, Fate and Yuuno.
  • Parental Neglect: Subverted, as Nanoha's mother is genuinely ashamed of how Nanoha had had to learn how to take care of herself from a young age while Shiro was in the hospital and thus does not approach her parents for help, even when she needs it.
  • Properly Paranoid:
    • Lampshaded by Yuuno and Arf in regards to the precautions Precia has taken.
    • Lampshaded by Due when she mentions that it is not paranoia when there are people out to get you, in reference to Precia's security measures and data encryption.
    • Shamal tends to do some discreet scrying on the Takamachi household after their little fight to make sure that the family is not preparing anything that would constitute a threat to Hayate. That includes any magic used outside of a barrier, flying outside of a barrier and so on.
    • The Takamachi Family. Justified to a degree given the family's past, which the author drew from Triangle Heart 3 to flesh out.
    • The Wolkenritter are bodyguards to the master of the Book of Darkness. It also doesn't help that Shirou Takamachi reminded them that someone does not need magic to slip past their guard.
  • Retired Badass: Shirou Takamachi is on the Wolkenritter's list to kill first if they end up fighting again, since he got around them and was able to hold Hayate hostage.
  • Sarcasm Mode: Arf tends to be this way towards Yuuno whenever he demonstrates his various skills, improvises the use of his skills, or pulls a crazy plan out of his ass.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The Book of Darkness is trying to warn Hayate. Too bad she can't make out what it's saying.
  • Shout-Out: Yuuno gets sarcastically likened to Kyubey by Arisa in Chapter 7.
    • Chapter 12 is basically a giant one to CSI.
    • There's also one to Game Theory (Fan Fic) when Uno notes that Precia, if she survived, would do everything she can to avoid being found by the TSAB.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Averted with Megane, who despite being pregnant, is still allowed to actively participate in operations until she is so far along that it becomes clearly unsafe for her and her unborn child.
  • Stranger in a Familiar Land: Shiro recognizes that the Wolkenritter have been professional bodyguards/soldiers for so long that they don't know how to interact with people otherwise, largely because he himself had once been in that same situation before.
  • Stone Wall: Yuuno, especially with his Aegis barrier.
  • There Are No Therapists: Averted. One of the things the Takamachi family notices is that Fate needs professional help, though the fact that Fate is a mage makes things more difficult that just being in Japan ordinarily would.
    • Also lampshaded at one point, when Kyouya notes upon the Japanese cultural mindset to try and keep such things "in-house" as much as possible (in spite of the known fact that it doesn't help.)
    • Shiro and Momoko approach Shamal in order to get Fate some counseling where she can be fully honest and not have to stick with her official story.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Yuuno's Barrier Warrior abilities are aptly demonstrated in Chapter 5. He was also the one who came up with the plan to save the Earth using the Jewel Seeds.
  • Tsundere: Arisa. It's even lampshaded by Suzuka.
  • Up to Eleven: Star Breaker Supernova is orders of magnitude more powerful than Starlight Breaker. It requires a ten-minute charge time, a special barrier jacket form to maximize Nanoha's magic collection range, and the strain of actually casting the thing would probably have killed Nanoha if Shamal hadn't been immediately at hand afterwards, but the end result is a spell equal in power to a shot from an Arc en Ciel.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Lindy and Chrono fully call Admiral Graham out on his plans for Hayate and the possibility that it destroyed the Earth. Considering how Chrono had looked up to Graham, such a revelation is not a pleasant one.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Essentially one of the main foci of the A's arc's Earth storyline is the (re-?)humanizing of the Wolkenritter.
  • Willfully Weak: Precia was holding back against Nanoha the entire time, not wanting to risk damaging the Garden of Time and possibly killing Alicia if she were to go all-out.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Arf realizes this about Nanoha and notes just how unnerving it is.
    • Hayate, due to living on her own before the Wolkenritter show up.
  • World-Wrecking Wave: Precia's little stunt throws one right at the Earth. Nanoha, Yuuno, Fate, and Arf barely manage to prevent it from destroying the Earth, but it has some effects on the rest of the solar system.