"If you must know, the Regents are discussing it," Artie mutters, putting an armful of rolled up maps into a cabinet and closing it with an irritated shove, "but unfortunately it looks as if I'm stuck with her."
Artie very pointedly does not look at Helena, but the words are oddly lacking in malice. Though Helena finds it hard to believe that the Regents would truly let Artie be 'stuck with her', it does seem like she has been granted the night as a free woman. Perhaps, if she is lucky, even another few days.
"Wait, what does that mean? Is she...?" Myka trails off, as if she cannot make herself say the words.
"It means you should get back to Leena's and leave me alone. I don't have all night to answer your questions! Things to do! Artifacts to find! Warehouses to run!"
Artie picks up a what looks like an antique feather pen from his desk, turns around, and puts the pen back down on the other side of it. It does indeed seem like he is very busy.
"The Regents will discuss it," Helena tells Myka. "Let's not dwell on the matter further tonight."
Helena can tell that Myka is unwilling to let the issue rest, but she does relent, once Helena lets her eyes plead her case. "Fine," Myka sighs, crossing her arms. "It's only your life, what does another few days matter?"
"My point exactly," Artie says, ushering them towards the door. "Now kindly get out of my sight."
They don't go back to the B&B.
It's not quite a moonlit promenade, wandering through the Warehouse. Perhaps, Helena thinks, if given time, this Warehouse will one day be as much of a home to her as Warehouse 12 once was. No doubt it is greedy to wish for more, when she has already been granted so much more than she deserves, but, then, she has never been one to settle.
She'd quite like to have that time.
The back of her brushes against Myka's fingers, as they walk side by side, fallen into step, and she'd quite like to be given time for other things too.
Myka is deep in thought, and though her furrowed forehead is rather adorable, Helena decides that before the night is done, she will smooth her brow, one way or another. "Your concerns," she says with a smirk, "will most likely keep until the morning."
Before Myka can protest, as it's entirely clear to Helena that she will, she continues, "As a favor for me?"
It makes her absurdly pleased that the words have their desired effect, softening Myka's features. Her smile still holds lingering traces of sadness, but it's more sweet than bitter.
They'd lost a fellow Agent, Helena reminds herself. She had not known Mr. Jinks, but during their brief encounter he had seemed a nice man, someone easy to like. There is more worry than grief on Myka's face, though, and it seems strange to Helena, as if there is a piece of the puzzle lost to her. But that, too, is a concern that can be left for the morning.
Helena reaches out to trail her fingers over the back of Myka's hand, thumb against thumb, but Myka starts visibly, hand jerking away. "I'm sorry," Helena says quickly.
"No," Myka replies, a small, nervous laugh leaving her, "It's me, I'm not used to having you... actually here." She looks at Helena, then, studies her with a new kind of intensity. Her hand moves up to Helena's face, pressure so light it's barely there. "I kinda can't believe it, you know, that you're here and not a hologram and that I can actually touch you."
It seems so very odd to feel Myka's fingertips against her face, an echo of the way her hand had cradled Helena's face in Warehouse 2, so long ago. For all the things that tie them together, she can count on one hand the times they've touched.
"I mean," Myka says, cheeks turning pink as her hand falls to her side, "you know, if that's something that would ever. You know. Come up. Casually."
Myka crosses her arms awkwardly, and Helena thinks she'd quite like to kiss her.
But, then, perhaps the time for that has fled. There's a chair on the side of the aisle, and Helena sinks down onto it, finding herself quite tired. It seems that leaving all concerns for the morning is easier said than done.
Helena leans back on the chair, hands clutching the edge of the armrests, but she does not get the chance to dwell further on the past.
As Helena leans towards the back of the chair, two things happen in rapid succession:
1) An odd look passes over Myka's face, as she takes a step back, shaking her head.
2) Before Helena can rise to make sure Myka is unharmed, bonds wrap around her arms and legs, tying her wrists to the armrests and ankles to the chair's legs, effectively trapping her in place.
"Myka?" Helena says, struggling against the straps and buckles.
But Myka does not appear to hear her. With another shake of her head, confusion evident on her face, she turns and walks away, leaving Helena alone.
Alone, and tied to a chair.
What a waste of perfectly good tying equipment.
It soon becomes obvious that no amount of struggling will get her out of the chair's bonds.
On the shelf above the chair, a card states, 'George Armitage Miller's Laboratory Chair, employed during his research into memory perception. Use with caution; may cause memory disruptions in the subject and/or others when used.'
How very rude of an Artifact to interrupt her moment of entirely reasonable guilt and self-reproach. She feels quite foolish now, and that is not an emotion she has much experience dealing with.
Memory disruptions, how is that for a riddle?
It would seem the Artifact has made sure that Myka does not remember her - for all she knows, the Artifact might have caused everyone she's ever met to forget her - and here she is, tied to a chair, utterly trapped. Starving to death in the middle of the Warehouse is not exactly how she had pictured her own demise. Not that she had planned that particular event - well, not recently - but she quite fancies herself as the sort of person who would go out in a blaze of glory, one way or the other.
That is when Helena realizes there's a kettle in her lap.
When Chaturanga had first told her about the Wishing Kettle, Helena had not believed him. Especially since he'd been unable to produce the item in question and demonstrate its powers.
"It follows its own set of rules, my dear," he had said, scratching his neatly trimmed beard. "Turning up and disappearing on its on whims. It does seem to enjoy wrecking a certain kind of havoc."
"It is malicious, then?"
"You should know by now, Ms. Wells, that there is no such thing as a benign or malicious Artifact. Such human concepts cannot be applied to an object, powerful or not." Chaturanga had peered at her through his glasses. "One story places the Kettle as once belonging to the Norse God Loki, and that is where its trickster properties originate."
"Surely you do not expect me to believe in gods."
"Woman of science, I would not dare to suggest it."
Only once did she see the Kettle, at Warehouse 12, appearing in Woolly's hand out of nowhere. He, too, had been in a bind at the time. Helena regards the Kettle in her lap. Perhaps this trickster Artifact is drawn to those in need, those most likely to use it.
No doubt an Artifact like this will twist any wish she makes into chaos, why else would an impossible wish create a ferret - an animal most prone to mayhem, if Myka's pet is any indication. However, it seems she has little choice.
Best to start simple.
"I wish for these bonds to disappear."
There's a whistling sound, like tea boiling, and out of the Kettle, a ferret pokes his head out.
Next, in succession, she wishes for the Artifact to be neutralized, for the means to neutralize it on her own, for access to a neutralizing agent, for the buckles to unlock, for an item to cut the straps, and for a great many other practical things that may serve to free her. Neither does any good; after a few hours of thinking and wishing, there are three ferrets curled up on her shoulders, two in her lap, and many others curiously scurrying around her feet.
"Shoo," she attempts, but they will not be deterred. "I wish for these beasts to cease bothering me."
A whistling sound, and then yet another ferret peeks out from inside the Kettle.
She is starting to question whether this Artifact is functional at all.
Through the window in the ceiling, the first morning light spills. If she is altogether honest with herself, she had rather hoped this morning would begin in more pleasant ways - that at the very least, she'd wake in a warm bed. She allows herself to dream for a moment of that imagined bed, and waking in it with a warm body by her side, one rested and pliant, ringlets of hair against her neck.
Oh, she's quite missed those happy curls, unruly in all the ways the owner of them is not.
"That does not count as a wish," she tells the Kettle quickly when it starts to whistle, dreading the appearance of yet another ferret, but luckily, nothing happens.
The two ferrets in her lap curl up together, falling asleep like children, and there is one wish she's known from the moment the Kettle appeared that she would have to make. Like a moth drawn to to the light of a flame, there is no escape from it. She closes her eyes and silently, unable to let the words pass her lips, wishes for an impossible thing.
The ferret that exits the Kettle sits still, looking at her for a long time, as if it knows the wish that produced it.
She does not wish for anything else for some time.
(In a car, heading toward the airport and a plane, destination: Philadelphia, Myka looks out the window on the passenger side and frowns. "I feel like there's something I forgot."
"A hairbrush?" Pete asks, immediately receiving a glare and a swift slap to the side of his head. "Hey, don't punch the one driving the car!"
Still glaring, Myka mutters, "Then don't tease the one who carrying the Tesla."
It's rather hard, Helena finds, to stay maudlin when there is a ferret climbing up to sit on one's head. "I wish for a hair-pin," she says, hoping against hope to find a way of unfastening the buckles.
The Kettle whistles, and then a hair-pin appears out of thin air, falling at her feet, impossibly out of reach.
She is getting the distinct impression that the Kettle is laughing at her.
Eventually, boredom sets in.
By now, a few ferrets more or less seems inconsequential, and her wishes take on a sillier tone. At one point, she wishes to be transported and arriving naked in Agent Bering's bed.
The ferret that pops its head out of the Kettle looks vaguely scandalized.
In the end, what lets her escape from the chair is a rather undignified wish involving the aid of ferrets.
Of course, one of the first things she wished for was that the material of the straps around her wrists be transformed into something less sturdy - that had only led to the creation of more ferrets. But it occurs to her, now that she has amassed a rather sizable amount of ferrets, and that there are ways in which they can make themselves useful.
Myka's pet ferret always did seem to appreciate the occasional treat.
It does not take long, after she wishes for the straps keeping her arms in place to be covered with raw egg yolk, for the ferrets to start sniffing curiously. Helena had not been particularly pleased that time Pete the Ferret had chewed holes in her boots, but now she finds herself grateful for the sharp teeth of ferrets.
Soon, purple sparks fly from the damaged straps, and then she is free.
Unbuckling the bonds around her ankles, she practically jumps out of the chair, standing on legs that are somewhat more shaky than she'd care to admit. The Kettle is gone, vanished as she expected it would, once she no longer had need of it. Frightened by the Artifact's electric flashes as well as her sudden movement, the ferrets scurry away in all directions. Only one of them remains, digging its claws into her shoulder to avoid falling.
She pats it wearily. "Let's agree to tell the others I escaped using only my wits. No need to mention the eggs."
(Seven miles down the road, five people around the table look up simultaneously from their dinner .
"Uh, guys..." Pete starts.
Leena and Artie share a look, as Claudia frowns. "Hey, what happened with--?"
"Oh my God, H.G.!" Myka hisses, dropping her fork and rushing from the table.
The sixth person at the table, newly raised from the dead and somewhat out of the loop, raises his head, looking between Claudia and the door that Myka disappeared through. "H.G. Wells? H.G. Wells is here? H.G. Wells, as in, the person who tried to use an Artifact to set off a super-volcano. Here."
Artie stands up, waving a spoon in Steve's general direction as he strides after Myka. "Someone fill the new guy in."
"You know, considering everything, I don't think I'm exactly the new guy anymore."
"Oh, Jinksy, " Claudia sighs, patting him on the head. "You'll always be the new guy.")
(What happened with the ferrets is another story altogether.)