Chapter 1 – Secrets of Warehouse 12
Myka was empty inside. Helena was gone, and this time it was final. There was no Emily Lake stashed away somewhere. No Janus coin holding the key to HG Wells' soul. Helena was gone without a doubt. And the hardest part was that she had nothing left of her. Not even a lock of Helena's beautiful hair.
Myka leaned back in her chair in the office at the Warehouse. She was grounded since she had not passed her post mission psych evaluation. It had made her so angry at first, but then she calmed down and agreed. She glanced around the room, the only part of the Warehouse that had survived the blast. Sort of anyway. The furniture was gone of course, but the structure was still there. Myka wondered if they had thought of a possibility that the office would be destroyed when they designed the Warehouse. The office had actually protected the more important filing area next door. The only other part surviving the blast was the Bronze sector, and below it, the Dark Vault. Myka pressed her lips together as she thought about all the years HG Wells had been in there. She hated the Bronze Sector with every ounce of her being for what it had done to Helena. Why, of all the parts of the Warehouse, had that terrible area survived? She knew why. The Bronze Sector and the Dark Vault were the most heavily guarded parts of the Warehouse. The force fields surrounding them had been able to withstand the bomb.
Jumping to her feet Myka walked through the door to the filing room and stopped in the middle of the dust covered space.
"I will make them remember you," she mumbled as she stalked over to the section which held the case files from Warehouse 12. She pulled out the drawer and started to pull files. Anything that had HG Wells on it ended up in Myka's pile of research material. Yanking the files closer to her as she pulled the drawer completely towards her she felt something different. Leather. She felt around and realized that it was a document holder. Her fingers closed around the old leather and she pulled it out. With a frown on her face she stared down at the black leather folder which was tied close with a leather string. Absentmindedly grabbing the other folders she pushed the drawer closed with her shoulder and returned to her desk.
Myka deposited the pile of HG's files on her desk, now completely focused on the mysterious one she had in her hand. She carefully opened the tie and pulled back the flap. Inside were several folders. A single yellow page held the key to what she was looking at.
"Additions to the Bronze Sector during the reign of Warehouse 12."
Myka's hands started to shake. She carefully flipped through until the end. Wells, Helena G. Myka made a sobbing sound. Here was the key to why Helena had been bronzed. She ran trembling fingers over it, and then put it down.
"I don't need to read it. Helena already told me all I need to know," she said angrily.
Realizing that she was still holding a folder in her hand she looked at the name – and froze.
"It can't be," she whispered. Tears started to form again in her eyes. "This is impossible. No."
Myka ran her finger so very gently over the name on the folder. Christina Wells.
Myka bolted from her seat and ran out on the ledge. She peered down at Artie who was walking around with the watch in his hand. He looked up at the sound of her voice.
"We need to get to the Bronze Sector – NOW!" Myka said agitated. Tears were now streaming down her cheeks.
Artie watched his distraught agent come charging down the stairs. She held the folder in front of her. His eyebrows shot up at the stamp on the outside.
"Where did you get that?" he snapped.
"Did you know?"
He tried to take the folder from her but she snatched it away. Making a face at her he held out his hand for the folder. She gave it to him with an annoyed sigh. Artie read the name and then looked at her.
"My God," he whispered.
"So you didn't know?" she said, a bit calmer now.
"Of course I didn't know."
"We need to get her out of there."
"Hold on Myka." He held up a hand to stop her argument. "Let's read the file first. I mean, she was supposed to be dead. Perhaps she's injured."
Myka nodded and followed him upstairs. She leaned over his shoulder as he opened the folder. For once he did not shoo her away.
She smiled at the photograph of Christina. It was different from the one she carried around her neck.
"It says here that she was injured. That she died."
"Why did they bronze her then?"
Artie read further and then gasped. He looked up at her before jumping to his feet. He grabbed his Farnsworth and dialed.
"Arthur, to what do I owe the pleasure?"
"Vanessa," he said and smiled. Noticing Myka's raised eyebrow he shook himself out of the warm feeling of seeing Vanessa's face. "Right. Well, we have a situation. Involving a child."
"A child?" Vanessa said and frowned. "What can I do to help?"
"I need her, Vanessa. I need Magnus."
Vanessa sighed. "You know you're not supposed to know about her."
"Well, I do, and I need her."
"I don't know Artie," Vanessa said gently. "I need to get the Regents' approval to involve her in Warehouse matters."
"Look, Helena's daughter is in the Bronze Sector. She was injured and they bronzed her. A child!" Artie said and shook his hand as his voice rose.
"What?" Vanessa whispered. "Helena's daughter? HG Wells' daughter is in the bronze sector?"
"Yes! And we need to get her out of there. That's not a place for a child."
"You said she was injured. Perhaps bringing her out would kill her."
"We still have to try," Myka said and looked at Artie with pleading, sad eyes.
"She will be confused," Vanessa said seriously. "I mean, she's from another century. She will want her mother."
"And Helena is gone," Myka whispered.
Artie looked at Myka. "She has you," he said softly.
Myka's head snapped up. "She doesn't know me."
"But she will. And you can tell her about her mother, and all the good things she did," Artie said in a gentle voice.
"Artie," Vanessa called his attention back to her. "I will do my best and then I will be on my way to see you."
"Thank you." Artie snapped the Farnsworth shut and swiveled around, facing Myka.
Myka glanced at the watch now sitting on Artie's desk. "What about that?"
He sighed and leaned back. "It will turn things back to how it was."
"Will it bring Helena back?" She dreaded the answer.
"I frankly don't know," he said honestly.
She nodded. "What will happen to Christina when you use the watch?"
"I assume that she will go back to being bronzed."
"This is for crap, Artie!"
Myka paced back and forth in the office, gesturing wildly as she vented her feelings on the topic.
"Fine! Enough," he finally interrupted her. "Let's go down to the Bronze sector." He jumped to his feet and headed for the door. "Grab the file."
Myka closed Christina's file and hurried after him with it tucked safely under her arm.
Artie punched in the item number from Christina's file and then held his hand over the scanner. It recognized his biomatter and pulled up the information. Making note of where the statue was located he headed into the Bronze Sector. Myka followed close behind, trying not to look at their faces. The Bronze Sector creeped her out.
It was not hard to find the tiny statue of Helena's daughter. She was standing there amongst other, taller bronze statues. A tiny girl, immobilized by time, with her little arms raised in surrender. Myka hiccupped and trembled at the sight of her.
"It's true," she whispered. "They really bronzed a child."
"Let's not jump to conclusions, Myka. Perhaps there's a rational reason behind all this."
"What kind of rational person would bronze a child?" Myka said angrily, tears streaming down her face again. "I am just so glad that Helena never found out. It would've broken her heart."
Artie nodded. "Perhaps, or perhaps it would've healed it."
Artie shot her a dark look. "No one."
"Artie, tell me."
"Dr. Helen Magnus is a very special person and she has unique knowledge."
"Why? What's so special about her?" Myka asked suspiciously.
"First of all, she's over a hundred and fifty years old."
"What?" Myka exclaimed. "How?"
He shrugged. "She is a bit vague about that. I think it has something to do with trust issues between the Warehouse and her organization, the Sanctuary."
"Sanctuary," Myka mumbled. She snapped her fingers and looked intently at him. "I've heard about it. They deal with living artifacts."
"Something like that. She works with abnormals."
"And you think she can help?"
Artie grabbed the file from Myka and flipped through the papers. He pulled out one and handed it to her. Myka read the report and gasped.
"She was there when Christina was bronzed."
He nodded. "That's not all. Her name appears in HG Wells' file too."
Myka eyed him suspiciously. "How?"
"Myka," he said gently. "Helena knew her. Back in England. A long time ago."
Myka frowned at his vague answer. When understanding finally hit her, she felt a knot in her stomach. She looked at him for confirmation. He nodded.
"They were lovers," she whispered. She wrapped her arms around herself and turned her back at him as she digested the information. Finally pulling herself out of her funk, she looked at the tiny bronze statue. "Do you think Christina knew Helen Magnus?"
"I know she did." He flipped through the file again and pulled out an old form.
Myka took it with trembling fingers.
"Christina Wells, born May 16, 1891. Weight: 2,755 grams. Height: 47 centimeters. Mother: Helena G. Wells. Father: Jean Baptist Moreau. Signed by," she gasped. "Dr. Helen Magnus."
"I'm only guessing of course, but since Dr. Magnus was there when Christina was born and later on when Christina was bronzed; given her involvement with Helena, she must have known Christina."
"Does Dr. Magnus know that Helena was bronzed?"
"That I don't know."
Myka sighed and ran her hand through her hair. "Helena's bronzing file is upstairs. I didn't read it."
Artie nodded in understanding. He gently touched Myka's arm.
"I'll read it. I think I owe her that," he said sadly.
"Don't destroy it, all right?" she said in a small voice. "I need to read it too. For Helena's sake. When I'm ready."
Myka sniffled and glanced at Christina again. "Do you think she can hear us? Feel our presence here?"
"I have no idea."
"Perhaps we shouldn't be talking about all this here? I mean just in case. This isn't exactly stuff a kid should hear."
Myka glanced at Christina's statue over her shoulder one last time before hurrying to catch up with Artie.
"Where are you going?" Leena asked gently as she spotted Myka by the door.
"Oh, just back to the Warehouse."
Leena tilted her head and smiled. "Artie told me."
Myka nodded. She stuck her hands in her pockets. "I just can't leave her there all alone."
"For Helena, you know," Myka mumbled.
"Wait here," Leena said and flashed Myka a smile.
Myka frowned as Leena entered the living room. A moment later she came back with a book.
"Winnie the Pooh."
Myka grinned. "Thank you."
"Who knows what she might pick up while in there?"
Myka wrapped her arms around Leena and gave her a quick hug.
"Thanks for everything."
Myka settled in on the cushion on the floor by Christina's statue. She poured herself a cup of tea from the thermos she had brought with her.
"You know kiddo; your mom always knew how to make a great cup of tea. She was not at all amused by my habit of using tea bags," Myka said and smiled up at Christina's frozen face. "Helena would make a pot of strong English tea and then serve it in super thin tea cups. A little splash of milk, perfectly brewed tea and a lump of sugar."
Myka sighed and sipped her tea. It was almost as good as Helena's, but not quite.
"You probably know all this. I'm sure you would be a little tea snob too," she said and grinned at the statue. "Though for some reason I think you would be sweeter about it than your mother. She can be very arrogant at times when she doesn't approve of things. Well, you probably know that too, don't you?"
Myka crossed her legs and looked around the room. It did not feel as creepy anymore since she had brought in all sorts of lights fed by the gigantic generator buzzing in the now empty Warehouse.
"Your mother was very special, Christina. She's the most amazing person I've ever known."
Myka closed her eyes as tears threatened to spill again. She sipped her tea and the warmth calmed her down somewhat.
"I don't know why you're in there sweetie, but trust me, I'm going to do everything I can to get you out. I know you don't know me, but you should know that your mother trusted me with her life."
Myka refilled her tea and grabbed the book Leena had given her. She placed her hand on top of the cover for a moment.
"I assume that since your mom was a writer she must have read books to you. I hope you like books. I do. My dad used to read to me every night when I was little. Funny thing is, he used to read your mom's books to me. Strange, I know. Anyway, I thought you might like this one. I know you haven't read it. It has lots of pictures. I bet many of your books didn't have pictures, huh? Well, here we go."
Myka started to read about Pooh and Christopher Robin, Rabbit and Piglet. She became so involved in the story she lost track of time. Each time she came across a picture she held it up in front of Christina's face. She had felt a bit silly at first, but after a while it felt like the normal thing to do, just like if Christina had been right there.
She never saw Artie as he silently hovered in the doorway. He smiled sadly and sighed before leaving just as quietly as he had appeared.
Myka kept reading until the end of the story. She gently closed the book and smiled up at Christina.
"Perhaps someday you'll tell me what you think?"
Myka glanced at the time. "I've got to go now, but I promise to be back. Sweet dreams Christina."
She left a light on by Christina's feet. She knew it was silly, but it made her feel better, not leaving her in the dark.
Over the next couple of days Myka spent a significant amount of time in the bronze sector. She brought piles of books that she read to Christina. Sometimes she talked to her about Helena; other times just about little silly things like bunnies and bumble bees.
To Myka's surprise Trailer, the dog had made it a habit to come with her. He would lie down on the floor with his head down, paws stretched out, looking like a sad Sphinx, just staring at her with his dark eyes. His presence was comforting and she greatly appreciated it. On the second day when he trotted along next to her Myka suddenly turned around and headed back to the office where she grabbed his new bed before again heading over to Christina's statue. Her action was rewarded by a quiet woof and intense tail waggling.
"I wonder what's going on in that furry head of yours?" she said to the dog. "I'm glad that you're here. You're a good friend and excellent colleague, Canine Agent Trailer."
Trailer raised his head and his tongue lolled out of his mouth as he thumped his tail enthusiastically against the floor. The sight made Myka laugh.
"What do you think Christina? Does he like his title? I think he does."
She grabbed a new book from her pile. "Let's see, how about something about dogs? Lady & the Tramp perhaps? It has tons of pictures."
Myka smiled at the statue and started to read. Trailer put his head on Myka's thigh and whined softly. She petted his head as she kept reading.
Dr. Helen Magnus stopped as she heard Myka's voice. Moving closer she recognized the words and they made her both happy and sad. Myka was reading Sleeping Beauty. Helen almost regretted interrupting her.
Myka jumped to her feet and twirled around. She stared at Helen.
"Who are you?"
"Dr. Helen Magnus," she said and held out her hand in greeting.
"Dr. Magnus, of course," Myka whispered as she shook Helen's hand.
Myka chewed on her lip as she suddenly felt a bit overwhelmed in Helen's presence. She laughed nervously and gestured at Helen.
"So, you're a hundred and fifty years old."
"A bit older actually, but who's counting?" Helen said with a teasing grin.
Myka smiled. Helen Magnus' presence was intriguing.
"Never in my wildest imagination did I ever think that I would get to meet two women who had lived a century and a half, but looked like they might have been in high school with me," she said with a nervous laugh.
"Helena might. I'm a bit older, but thanks for the compliment," Helen said, chipper. She tilted her head. "I can see why Helena was drawn to you."
Myka gaped. "How? What?"
"Helena apparently left a letter behind. She wrote it almost a year ago. In it she speaks of you and how much she cared for you."
Myka sniffled. "She wrote to you? But not me."
Helen gently touched Myka's shoulder. "Myka, the letter was never meant to be sent. She was writing to me assuming that I was dead. As far as I know she wrote this shortly after she was reinstated. She speaks of her joy of once again being an agent, of meeting you. Of finding love again."
Myka nodded. "She didn't know that you were alive. But now, when she's gone they decided to give it to you."
"I think you're right."
Myka took a step closer to Christina's statue and gently touched her cheek. "Did you know her?"
"Christina? Yes of course."
Myka smiled and nodded. "I thought so. Did she like books?"
"She loved books," Helen said and laughed. "Even though Christina's nanny, Sophie, would read to her every night before bed, Christina still asked Helena to read to her."
"I guess she had the same gift of a silver tongue as her mother," Myka said with a chuckle.
"To some extent. Christina was also a lot like her father. She was artistic. Even as a young child she could draw and paint very well. She played the violin."
"She did?" Myka said surprised. "Do you think… never mind."
"I'm sure she would like to hear music again," Helen said gently. "Before we bring in a sound system here, let's go back to the office and discuss our options, shall we?"
Myka nodded. For a fleeting moment Helen sounded just like Helena. It tore at Myka's heart and she felt tears burning in her eyes. She jumped in surprise when Helen took her hand.
"Come. I have much to tell you."
To be continued