Looking back on it, as she would a thousand times, cycling through the sequence of events over and over in her mind, three things stood out that Myka should have done before the blast.
She should have noticed sooner that Helena was not helping them break the bomb open.
She should have moved faster to keep Helena by her side.
She should have held onto her when she had the chance and never let go.
But at the time, things had been moving too quickly. The adrenaline had her heartbeat thumping in her ears so loudly she could hardly hear herself speak. One moment they were brainstorming over how to break open the case; the next moment, she was experiencing a passing wave of nausea, and Artie was slumped over. Between her panicked grab to catch him and Pete almost dropping the blowtorch in his hand, there just wasn't enough time.
There was never enough time.
"Artie! Artie, wake up!" Myka shook him hard, grasping his shoulders. He jerked awake with a gasp, and she breathed a quick sigh of relief. "What happened? Are you okay?"
Artie blinked owlishly at her for a second, then looked over at Pete before bursting into action. "Pete! Forget the blowtorch!" he shouted, yanking Myka in the opposite direction. "Grab the bomb and put it on the floor- and HG! Stop what you're doing!"
It was only then that Myka noticed that Helena was standing on the opposite side of the room, holding two wires up carefully, the electricity crackling between them. The look in her eyes unsettled Myka; instead of the mix of fear and desperation she expected them all to share, there was a calm serenity to Helena, and that more than anything raised her alarms.
"Artie, I know you don't trust me," Helena began, "but I have an idea-"
"Oh no, I trust you," he huffed.
Helena pulled a face in surprise. "You do?"
"He does?" Pete and Myka said in unison.
He waved them off absently, pulling Pete to his side. "Yes, and there's an anomaly, I know, but don’t put it over us. Put it over that." He pointed at the bomb that now sat in a clearing in the middle of the room.
She hesitated, and Myka watched as her face scrunched up into a familiar expression, the one Helena always had when she was doing the mental gymnastics in her head for whatever calculation her latest experiment required. "It might not hold," Helena finally replied.
Artie shook his head. "The anomaly should trick the Warehouse into thinking that device is outside of the barrier. It will switch to containing the danger and protect itself. It’ll be the only barrier and it will hold. Trust me."
The timer on the floor ticked away the seconds on the clock. Twenty-seven seconds and counting. Whatever it was they were talking about doing, they had to do it soon.
"Do it," Myka said. She shrugged and smiled helplessly at Helena. "Break the rules, right?"
Helena took a deep breath and centered herself. "Stand back, then." She turned slowly and touched the tips together. "And here we go…"
Myka's eyes widened as a cobalt spark crackled and jumped into the air, and with a flash, a barrier materialized over the bomb. In her peripheral vision, she could see Pete gripping Artie's arm anxiously and Artie's strange maniac grin, but all Myka could focus on was the twinkling satisfaction shining in Helena's eyes as the force field stabilized.
Together, they watched the timer count down.
There was still a chance the bomb would kill them all.
It did nothing to shake the absolute faith she had that they had beat the odds again.
"Thank you," Myka mouthed across the room.
The blinding smile Helena sent her through the energy field was the last thing Myka saw before her vision was engulfed in white light and a blast knocked her to the ground.
The tinny sound of buzzing stirred Myka back into consciousness. She groaned as she sat up sluggishly, pain searing along her side.
"Pete?" she said feebly, seeking out her partner, drawn to sound of the Farnsworth nearby.
The sight of Pete's body prone body on the ground jolted her into action.
"PETE!" She scrambled toward him, ignoring the bruising pain in her ribs and dizzying ringing reverberating in her skull. She examined him carefully, grateful to find that he was still breathing, though knocked out cold. Blood trickled near his hairline, and a nasty knot was forming on his temple. "Pete, wake up," she said, cradling his head.
The incessant call of the Farnsworth finally registered, and she reached into his pocket to retrieve it.
"Oh thank beejesus you're alive." Claudia exhaled loudly in relief.
Leena leaned into frame. "We felt the blast from the Inn. Is everyone okay?"
"I'm fine," Myka answered shakily. "But Pete-"
"Ugh, am alive too,” he groaned from underneath. Myka looked down and smiled at him in relief. Pete smiled weakly back. “Barely, but still here."
"I'm all right, too," Artie added, touching Myka's shoulder, surprising her from behind. He reached over and took the Farnsworth from Myka, allowing her to offer Pete a hand to slowly get him on his feet. "Myka's fine, Pete's okay, and H.G…" he trailed off.
Relief swiftly coiled into fear as Myka turned around, expecting to see Helena lying in pain somewhere in the room; instead, she was met with an even more troubling scene: blackened spot where the bomb went off and no Helena in sight.
"Artie?" Claudia prompted.
"HG!" Myka called out, her heart beating faster, as she walked closer to the place where Helena stood, searching the aisle for a glimpse of dark hair and pale skin. "Helena!"
"Claud, we'll call you back," Pete mumbled in the background.
Myka rounded on Artie. "Where is she?"
"I don't know," he replied, bewildered.
"You said it'd be fine, Artie." The panic rose in her voice, but she couldn't help it.
"Is she-" Pete hedged.
"No. She can't be. There'd be a body."
"Then where is she?" Myka asked again.
"She's just…gone." Myka's heart clenched tightly as Artie blanched in horror. She stood frozen, hands balled into fists at her side.
Then Artie shook his head furiously, breaking her reverie. "No, that can't be right. She's supposed to be here. I did the calculations perfectly. Claudia checked them twice."
Pete shot Myka a puzzled look. "Artie, what's going on?"
"I don't understand," he continued. " We went over everything. The watch only gives us the chance to change only one thing, and-"
"Artie," Myka interrupted.
"-according to our calculations, the Warehouse should have sensed that the bomb was the only danger, so it should have compensated, unless the shift -
"ARTIE!" they shouted in unison, breaking his rant.
Artie jerked his head up. "That's it! She's-"
And in a blink of eye, he vanished from the room before their very eyes.