*Disclaimer: I do not own Warehouse 13 or its amazing cast of characters.
*Historical Note: Most of the information about the Amber Room is true, it really was a room made out of amber in the Catherine Palace, it was "in fact" stolen by the Nazi's in 1941 and as of 2011- a reproduction of the Amber Room is on display in the Palace Museum. The article that Myka is reading is real and available online at
The Romance of the Pimpernel- Chapter 1
"It was one of Russia's masterpieces of artistry until it vanished with the Nazi retreat of 1945," Myka marveled at the pictures of the Amber Room in the Catherine Palace museum outside St. Petersburg. The photos appeared side by side with an article promoting the new reproduction on display of Russia's long lost treasure: a room made completely of amber. With some much anticipated vacation time coming up; the Warehouse Agent was headed to the Kremlin, and had been on her laptop all morning researching her trip to Russia. She was finally going to enjoy a little time off and really wanted to make the most of her time spent in such a historically significant place. Myka was starting her trip in St. Petersburg and couldn't wait to visit the Palace, "Soaring walls bloom with polished shards of amber—blood red, honey-blond, milky-gold-inset with jeweled mosaics and gilded trim," Myka read aloud as Artie typed away on his desktop in the Warehouse control room.
"I don't know why you are so excited to go visit a reproduction," Artie grumpily responded. "It's not even the real artifact."
"You know, before the Germans dismantled it in 1941, the Amber Room was unofficially called the 8th Wonder of the World, right?" Myka ignored him.
"You are surrounded constantly by the many historical wonders of the world, Myka, without going all the way to Russia to look at a copy made of a fake of something that was stolen by Nazis." Artie swiveled his chair around indignantly.
"It's not the same," Myka slowly looked up from the screen, "I want to go on an adventure that won't kill me."
"Where's the fun in that?" Pete strolled into the room and threw his clipboard down, "Besides, you can't leave me here with inventory for the next two weeks while you go on some nerd romp through Siberia." Things had been quiet for the past few days at the Warehouse and Artie had assigned different aisles to each agent to catalog.
Myka, realization just dawning on her, asked suddenly alarmed, "Wait, what did you mean by it's not the real artifact? The Amber Room was an entire room- a place can't be an artifact."
Artie flashed an impatient half smile, "Myka, you should know by now that artifacts have limitless possibilities. But in this case, you are in fact correct; The Amber Room was not, in fact an artifact because the Amber Room was not, in fact a room." Artie turned back to his computer.
"And a raven is not, in fact, a writing desk," Claudia emerged from the umbilicus doorway. "See? Inventory can be fun and educational. You two high and mightys don't know what you've been missing all these years."
"Inventory's totally lame," Pete threw his clipboard to Claudia as she perched on a random stool next to Artie's computer.
"Come on now Pete, according to this we only have 84 more aisles to go, then the dark vault, the head count of the bronzed area…" Claudia counted off each task on a fingerless gloved hand.
"If the Amber Room was an artifact, and not a room, what was it exactly? Myka had left her laptop on her seat in favor of standing behind Artie as he perused the Russian Artifact catalog complied by Claudia in an effort to make her endless inventorial duties easier. "I mean, the legend is that the Amber Room was where Catherine the Great liked to conduct her nightly business, believing the amber was some sort of aphrodisiac, even believing it enhanced her partner's performance."
Not missing a beat, Pete looked up and smiled, "Oooooo, the freaky Queen. I heard about her and a not so great horse."
Claudia's eyebrows quirked upwards, "Cathy Q died in the sack, right?"
Pete's smile could not be contained, "So… does this Amber thingy like make you want to do the Black Beauty with Mr. Ed?"
"Pete, you are disgusting. Catherine the Great did not die having sex with a horse." Myka slapped Pete in the back of the head. "That's an urban legend inspired by her many love affairs. It's been said that she had more lovers than Henry VIII."
"I'm just saying, girlfriend got around.' Pete risked one final snicker.
Casting a withering look, Myka picked up her laptop, "The Amber Room was a gift to Peter the Great in 1716-celebrating peace between Russia and Prussia. The room served as a private meditation chamber for Czarina Elizabeth, a gathering room for Catherine the Great's intimate circle," Pete stifled a giggle, "and a prize cabinet for amber connoisseur Alexander II." Myka's eyes widened as she read the next line, "The chamber was said to glow from within, to radiate a mystical energy, which is what ultimately lead to its doom."
Artie's nod was knowing yet grim, "The rumors that the room possessed otherworldly qualities is what attracted Hitler to Russia. The Nazi's were obsessed with artifacts." Artie turned to Myka, "The irony of course is that had Hitler not invaded Russia, the Soviets would never have cooperated with the Allied Forces and Germany would have essentially won WWII." He added ominously, "Had that shift in the balance of worldly power happened - Warehouse 13 would be in German controlled Siberia somewhere." With a final typed command, Artie's screen settled on an image, "You could say that The Amber Room is the artifact that won the War to end all wars."
"Wise Ancient Artie say," Claudia bowed her head to Artie," Never underestimate great power of one artifact."
Myka read over Artie's shoulder, "Catherine the Great's Amber Jewel Box."
"Wait, I thought you said it was a room?" Pete was confused.
Artie sighed, "I specifically said that the Amber Room was not, in fact, a room," impatience punctuating every syllable, he continued, "The story of the Amber Room and its construction is all true to a certain extent. It really did take 70 Prussian artisans and scholars 25 years to design and sculpt. In fact, the creation of the Amber Music Box nearly bankrupted the Prussian Empire and its gift to Peter the Great marked a change in the balance of political power in Europe." Artie brought up the specs of the box. "The idea that it was an entire room was quite the Warehouse fabrication of course, rumors spread by British agents of Warehouse 12 to hide the truth that the artifact is really a container of sorts, a box that has the power to trap whoever winds the cylinder and plays the music. Catherine the Great didn't keep her jewelry inside the box; it's where she stored her harem."
"If it's just a really expensive piece of magic Tupperware, then why was Hitler so interested in it?" Myka should have been used to the feeling that most of history was simply a Warehouse fabrication, but every once in a while, it still shocked her.
"Well, that's just it," Artie swiveled in his chair to face Myka, "The entrapment of the music player is the downside of the artifact. You want to hear what it actually does?"
Claudia figured it out first, "It makes you a really powerful Queen?"
"Or King, or Dictator….." Artie finished for her, "It organizes the balance of power in the world like music notes on a page, and gives its owner the power to conduct those notes."
"So did like, the Brits thwart the big bad by snatching the Jewelry Box out of the evil clutches of Nazi insanity?" Claudia, was now standing next to Myka, reading over Artie's other shoulder.
"No need," Artie shooed Myka and Claudia away from him, "The Amber Jewel Box has been in Warehouse inventory since before the first World War." He added smugly, "That's how compelling a Warehouse cover story is- pulls the wool over the eyes of entire empires."
Myka stood up and took the clipboard from Claudia, "Well? What aisle is it in?"
Artie looked up at Myka, "Why?"
Myka rolled her eyes, "Artie, I was willing to fly all the way to Russia to view a reproduction of The Amber Room, and now you are telling me the original is down on the Warehouse floor?" She gestured to the office's large viewing window that overlooked Warehouse 13. "Obviously, I have to see it."
"Did I not just explain that the Jewel Box was a dangerous world wide altering weapon?" Artie threw his hands up in the air.
"Evil Tupperware's in the Dark Vault," Claudia shrugged at Artie's dismay, "You said we had to do inventory, it's just another artifact on my list."
"If I see it here," Myka reasoned, "I don't have to see it in Russia."
"Fine," defeated, Artie waved the three agents out of the office, "but this is not an amusement park-go, gawk, don't touch." Artie settled back down in front of his computer, already moving onto his next project, "no touching- I mean it!"