"The full temerity of my voyage came suddenly upon me. What might appear when that hazy curtain was altogether withdrawn? What might not have happened to men? What if cruelty had grown into a common passion? What if in this interval the race had lost its manliness, and had developed into something inhuman, unsympathetic, and overwhelmingly powerful?"
- H. G. Wells
The light hurts her eyes even through the blanket. She comforts herself with the thought that soon, very soon, she will see the glorious future she's gone to so much trouble to view through her own eyes. She's speculated on it as much as her imagination will allow, but even she has her limits. It surely will show her as much wonder as the Warehouse did the first time she walked down its nearly endless aisles.
A hundred years will surely have made her plan unnecessary; the world will have corrected itself in this ample time. Helena's cynical thoughts are gone now, replaced with ones of hope. She'll give this world a chance before making any definite choices about whether to reset it to its former state.
Helena has fully regained use of all five of her senses by the time she's back in London. She finds the Tube system fascinating. London seems to be an even more crowded city than it was during her time, if the number of people rushing around the stations is any indication. It doesn't intimidate her, though, much the opposite. She's surrounded by the people of the future, and she can't help but stare, which makes a few people grip their handbags closer to their person.
She's sure that's a flaw. The people grip at their baggage because of a natural human predisposition; they probably fixed that problem ages ago with their fancy new technologies that Helena couldn't even have dreamed of.
When she finally reaches her destination, Helena gazes upon the home she shared with her brother and sweet daughter. It hits her suddenly that her Christina is not the only one who's dead now. She wonders how Charles chose to spend the rest of his days.
Putting on a forced smile, Helena walks into her old home and signs in under one of Charles' favorite characters.
Helena looks at her locket, carefully opening it and looking at the picture of her beloved daughter, the picture of an innocent child torn away from her by the evils of a world she's now left behind. The more she thinks about it, the more she feels that her methods may be necessary after all. Looking around, the world needs improvement, and yet, if the news can be trusted, its people have only been making things worse.
Maybe the world just needs a break. If 100 years wasn't enough, there's no reason to believe 200 will be. She doesn't want to wait for this any longer.
Helena tricks them, trying to get in among their ranks. She works with them and tries to please them, telling stories based on truths but with little lies weaved in. She and Myka share smiles, and Myka walks quickly but not so quickly that Helena can't keep up. They work with each other as though they've been doing it much longer.
Helena isn't surprised in the least when she hears that Myka's the reason she's been allowed back in the Warehouse.
Myka Bering is not a complication, Helena reminds herself yet again. She's a blessing. She'll make sure everything in Helena's plan goes perfectly, and she'll do it thinking the whole time that Helena's still a good person.
So why can't Helena get those green eyes and soft lips out of her head? She finds herself gazing intimately at the other woman more often than she'd like.
She has to focus. This will make things easier. Myka will be easily manipulated. Helena can use that to her advantage.
One second Helena is holding the trident, ready to bring the world the peace it deserves, and the next Myka comes into view, and the first thought that goes through her head is no, because in every version of this that she's practiced in her head, Myka has been safe at the Warehouse and forgives Helena for doing this because it's a better world.
Helena tries to convince herself that Myka will just be another of the casualties, someone who died to help make a better future. She doesn't understand why every part of her is screaming no.
Then the next thing she knows, she's holding a gun to Myka's head, and she knows that Myka's a weak fool for trusting her like this, and she knows that this is going exactly according to plan, but she also knows there is no way in hell she can pull that trigger.
While the regents drag her to their unknown prison, Helena knows one thing. There is one woman in all the world who is worthy of life, one soul who has saved the world countless times. One person who thinks that it might be possible to fix her. For her, Helena will try to remain intact and return from whatever horrors the regents have planned.