There were days when Helena could not differentiate between her present state and the manner in which she spent the last one hundred years. Yes, in her current prison she could move, and she did so, pacing the five foot by five foot cell. However, there were no windows; only a single, naked light bulb set too high in the ceiling for her to reach. Her bed, such as it was, was a metal table with a thin mattress, a single pillow and a surprisingly comfortable, if unattractive, blanket. It was more than she deserved. It was also something that took her several weeks, if not longer, to accept. There was no real sense of how much time that had passed. The haze of anger she operated under after her debronzing faded slowly, and it was strange, so many days later, not to feel it.
She was hard pressed now to remember just when her original plan of ending the world began to fall apart. One hundred years with nothing to think about beyond her pain or her inability to protect her Christina, her thoughts had turned to revenge. Revenge had already been carried out against those who'd brutally murdered her daughter, but this was bigger. It wasn't just the men in Paris. It was society, who deemed women to be acceptable targets of violence. Who decided that women could not measure up to men and were meant to spend their days hiding in the shadows, unable to set their own destinies. Who perpetuated the notion that women were weak and must be protected, not only from the world but from themselves.
There had been no concept of time in the bronze sector. She had no consciousness of what went on around her, and the revelation by James MacPherson that not only had it been more than one hundred years, but that she was not even in the same country that she had been bronzed in, much less the same continent, shook her to the core. She had adapted quick enough, she supposed, assisted by the pounds she'd arranged to be saved and invested at banks in London, Paris, and Amsterdam. It was never her intention that her bronzing be permanent; had MacPherson not debronzed her, the regents had agreed to her request to do the same in 2066. Her time with MacPherson had been short, however, and after, as Claudia would say, Helena had had a 'crash course' in the modern world. Automobiles and telephones smaller than her Christina's palm, and aeroplanes and computers, it was all so fascinating. The technological advancements made in such a short time were amazing and daunting, and absolutely nothing like what she had expected.
Revenge aside, Helena had had other reasons to want to rejoin the Warehouse. She could wait on the revenge, but she never was very good at being idle. Wandering the United States with no frame of reference was not an enjoyable pastime (though she had done an excellent job of tracking the movements of agents Lattimer and Bering, in her own opinion). She had watched the agents closely for several cases before she made the decision that approaching Myka Bering would be easier. She just needed a chance to get her alone, and that took months of patient watching before her chance came on a small university campus in California.
Never had she imagined what that decision would bring her. Never had she imagined how enchanted she would be by this woman. Not by her beauty, as had driven several of her liaisons in London, though there was no question of that. It was her confidence, which even the months Helena had spent acclimating herself to the modern world had not accustomed her to the freedoms women now enjoyed, her intelligence, which Helena would not be surprised if it outpaced her own considerable intellect, and her poise. Myka's ability to quote literature without needing to look at it impressed and enthralled her on quiet evenings at Leena's when they secluded themselves in the sitting room by the fire. Later, it was the gentle way they kissed, the surety of the way Myka touched her and welcomed Helena's advances that intrigued her.
That caused the first, fragile distortions in her carefully constructed plan.
There was so much about the new world Helena found herself in that she found revolting. The politics, the vulgarity, the utter disregard for propriety. As she witnessed the state of the world around her, the more certain she'd become that, for all the advances that had been made, the world would be better off without humanity as it stood. That conviction held even as she rejoined the Warehouse, as Claudia indoctrinated her in the new technologies. As her friendship, or whatever she could call it, with Myka had grown. In this infinite time of reflection that she found herself in, she couldn’t fathom how she could have continued with her plan, but that was not where she was then.
It was not until she was standing there, pressing the gun against Myka’s head, that she comprehended what she hadn’t let herself comprehend before. There was one thing in the world that had the power to derail all her plans. One person.
It was in those last seconds, as her finger tightened on the trigger, as Myka screamed that she wanted Helena to watch her die at her own hand, that she understood. She loved Myka. She hadn’t realized, before that moment, that her time with Myka had been anything more than lust, a long held desire for human touch, and intellectual camaraderie. In that moment, when she would have gladly seen the world end, her own pain finally end, she could not kill her lover. Her lover.
So she threw down the gun, and the Trident, and gave into what, upon later reflection, had been the inevitable outcome. She had been taken back to the Warehouse, stripped of all her belongings, interrogated, and imprisoned. She knew not where. She only knew that she received three meals daily, and every two days was escorted to a shower where any semblance of modesty she had left disappeared, as she was never left alone for even a second. Over the months that had to have passed, she was interrogated periodically about her plans for the Minoan Trident, for the location of other artifacts missing from Warehouse 2, for any co-conspirators she may have had.
But for those showers, she never left her cell. The door would open, and light would flash, and she would find herself in the disconcerting position of standing in a room with her interrogators, but, as happened several times before she learned to just stay still, if she walked more than a few steps, she'd run into the wall of her cell and have bruises on her knees for days. Mrs. Frederic explained it to her once, briefly, the fact that she even answered the question more astonishing to Helena than how the transference was conducted. It brought about a change of scenery, at least for a little while, and then she would be back in her tiny cell with only her thoughts for company.
That is, until the day Mrs. Frederic came to her cell personally with a request for her prisoner. A request, and an offer of something she never thought she would ever have again. All she had to do was make a convincing argument to get Mrs. Frederic back something she desperately wanted. If Helena agreed to that, Mrs. Frederic would allow her to see Myka once more. To hear her voice, even if it held none of the affection that Helena had become so accustomed to.
There was nothing Helena would not do for that chance.