This mission was different. It wasn’t like Las Vegas or Lincoln’s assassination. It was even different than the Hindenburg. This was Germany in 1944 and she was about to be dropped right into the middle of it. Lucy tried to ignore the shaking of her hands as he buttoned up the era appropriate blouse, but she couldn’t stop thinking about the destination. About what she was about to be doing, where she was going. Looking up at the mirror, Lucy attempted to check her appearance, make sure she was passable as an average German woman, but instead she found herself focusing on the placard marking the 1940s clothing. The 1940s. Where she was going. Her stomach was churning, her knuckles turning white as she clenched her buttons in tight fist. She knew she didn’t look like the perfect German woman. She knew where she was going, she didn’t belong. Her heart was pounding in her chest, almost as if trying to break free, and for a moment it was all she could hear, the thundering beats ringing in her ears.
Then Wyatt was there, behind her. As always he stood tall, looking as if he was meant to be in the vintage clothing he was wearing, and exuding an air of calm. He would blend in well in Nazi Germany, Lucy thought, with this light hair and clear blue eyes. He even spoke the language. He belonged on the mission, with his training and his experience. She was just a historian. She was just Lucy Preston. She couldn’t do this.
“Hey,” Wyatt said, meeting her eyes in the mirror, “You okay?” His eyes bore into her and Lucy was sure he could see her terror, her heart wrenching fear. Lucy gasped and looked down, as if burnt by the understanding of her that Wyatt seemed to carry. She nodded quickly and blinked, trying to convince Wyatt as much as herself that she was alright. Looking back into the mirror, Lucy mimed checking her makeup, to show how okay she was. Wyatt walked away but Lucy could tell that he didn’t believe her. Taking a deep, steadying breath, Lucy tugged on the bottom of her jacket and stood up straight. It was time to go, whether she was ready or not.
Getting into the Lifeboat, Lucy found herself rambling about the reports of Allied Resistance in the area. Facts were facts and she found comfort in them. Reciting what she knew kept her mind from spiraling out of control. Wyatt leaning forward to help her with the seat harness, surprisingly had the same effect.
Logically, Lucy knew being dropped into the middle of 1944 Germany meant that there would be Nazis. Meant that she would have to face Nazis, interact with them much more than she ever did on that first mission to preserve the history of the Hindenburg. That knowledge had not, in anyway, prepared her for a Nazi soldier being there, right as the Lifeboat hatch rolled open.
“Oh, my god,” She said, her eyes widening at the sight of the young soldier staring at their time machine with a gaping jaw. Everything seemed to freeze. The world felt like it was narrowing in around Lucy. Her eyes struggled to focus, her heart was racing, there was a Nazi, right there infront of her. She wanted to scream but she felt like she couldn’t move, could barely breathe. Shock faded to action simultaneously. The Nazi began reaching for his rifle that was strapped across his back but Wyatt, thankfully, was faster. Pulling the gun from his shoulder holster, Wyatt quickly took down the Nazi with a single shot.
While Lucy and Rufus were still strapped in their seats and reeling from the would-be shootout, Wyatt leaned forward towards the hatch and warned, “No way he’s out here alone.” She was far from a military historian, but Lucy knew Wyatt had to be right. They were on high alert as they started making their way through the German forest that surrounded them. Wyatt led the way, his gun in front of him, ready to fire. As they reached a bridge, they came across another Nazi. Again, Lucy’s heart started pounding, the world started closing in again. His back was to them. He didn’t know they were there, they could turn around, find a different path. Lucy started to ask Wyatt what they were going to do when he fired his gun. Without any hesitation, Wyatt ran forward and started searching the Nazi’s pockets and pulling what could be useful.
Lucy hurried after him, in shock both by being in proximity with another Nazi and from Wyatt’s quick actions. She hated Nazis more than anyone. She felt sick just being in Germany in 1944. But they should still protect history. They can’t just kill in the past. It could have unforeseen consequences, change things in ways that they couldn’t predict. Like after the Hindenburg, after she lost her sister, her father, and her understanding of herself.
“Protect Nazis?” Wyatt replied to her.
That was the last thing she wanted. She wanted nothing more than to erase every Nazi off the face of the planet. She wanted to take the Lifeboat and stop Nazisim from rising. But she couldn’t. She shouldn’t. History, no matter how awful it was, could not be changed. It had to be preserved. What if the changes she made could make the present worse? What if they came back to an entirely different world? She was on the missions, part of the team, to stop that from happening. So she snapped at Wyatt, angry that he would believe she wanted to protect Nazis, “No, I’m just saying there’s a bigger picture here!”
They didn’t have time to continue the discussion. With a car approaching, Lucy, Rufus, and Wyatt had to quickly drag the dead Nazi off of the road and out of sight. Hiding on the side of the road, Lucy’s heart plummeted at the sight of a missile being driven past them. This was terrible.
The other three missions were so much easier than this. She hadn’t had to sit in a bar surrounded by Nazi officers. She hadn’t had to dress up to blend in at a Nazi party. She hadn’t had to do anything with Nazis other than holding a knife to their throats as she threatened the Hindenburg. Sure, this trip had the bonus of working with Ian Fleming, but Lucy would have rather James Bond remain a fictional character than a real person who flirted with her if it meant never stepping foot in Nazi Germany.
She was alone for the first time since landing in 1944 and it was taking all of her willpower not to burst into tears, vomit, or both. The uniform Fleming had gotten for her wasn’t that different than most of the 1940s clothing at Mason Industries, except for the SS patch glaring at her and the small swastika pin she was holding in her hand. The pin felt like it was scorching her skin, burning her like flames, and her hands shook as she attached it to her lapel. Looking at her reflection, looking like a Nazi, she couldn’t hold it in. Her entire body started shaking and she braced herself against the dresser, trying to steady her rapidly speeding heart and even out her painfully short breaths. The world was narrowing in, all she could see was the swastika, seared inside her brain. She couldn’t do this. This was wrong wrong wrong. She couldn’t breathe.
“Hey,” With the sound of Wyatt’s voice, the world came into focus again, the spinning stopped.
Like in the wardrobe room, Lucy tried to hide her panic attack by resuming getting ready for the mission. “Don’t you know how to knock?” She asked, hoping her voice sounded stronger than she felt.
“I did,” He replied, “Twice.”
Lucy turned around, her eyes wide, “Oh, well,” She swallowed back the sob she still felt deep in her throat, “Good for you,” She continued, “I don’t want to fight about Von Braun.” She didn’t have the energy to make the fight. She agreed with Wyatt, really, that he deserved punishment. That Von Bruan didn’t deserve the clemency he would face in the United States, the honors he would be showered with, the lack of any consequences for his evil actions. But the moon landing, the entire space program, is too important to history to throw away just because of the sick feeling she had every time she thought about Nazis.
Walking further into the room, Wyatt said, “Me neither. Let’s talk about something else.”
“Okay, like what?” Lucy asked. She knew exactly what he wanted to talk about. How he could see through her, that he knew that she was falling apart.
“Like you putting on a good front, but I’ve seen this a thousand times with a thousand guys.”
“New soldier in the field. Freaking out.”
Lucy scoffed. That wasn’t what it was. She wasn’t worried about the guns or the fighting or even time travel. She was worried about where she was, when she was, and who she was with. 1944, Nazi Germany. She had nightmares about it when she was young. When she first learned about it she spent countless nights crying, being held by her father as he promised that she was safe, that it was all in the past. But that was where she was, thanks to Mason Industries. In the past.
“I am not freaking out,” Lucy insisted, “I am not freaking out.” Okay, so yes she was freaking out, but not for the reason Wyatt probably thought.
“Guys in your spot, they’ve got two options,” Wyatt advised, “Get over the hump or crack up.”
Sighing, Lucy turned to look over her shoulder at Wyatt and asked, “How do I get over the hump?”
“You talk about what’s bothering you,” Wyat said as if it was the easiest thing in the world.
Lucy countered “You never talk.”
“I’m over the hump.”
Breathing out slowly, Lucy turned around to face Wyatt completely. She leaned against the bed, letting it support her weight a little more to relax her shaking knees. “I shouldn’t even be here,” She started.
“Nazi Germany? Yeah none of us should.” Wyatt replied.
“No, you don’t understand,” Lucy said, “I really shouldn’t be here. It’s 1944. Right now, on the other side of Germany, right now, my father’s parents are at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. They both live, they. But my grandfather’s first wife and his two daughters are killed. They went to Auschwitz instead. All four of my great-grandparents went there, too. We don’t even know when they died.”
Wyatt looked at her in shock. His eyes wide as she spoke. “Your Jewish?” He asked softly.
She nodded and continued speaking, “In the other timeline, the original timeline, I was. Without Henry Wallace as my father, I lost all of that. I lost so much of me with that. Not only is Amy gone, my father is gone, my grandparents are gone, and my Judaism is gone. I never had a bat mitzvah in this timeline. The embarrassing pictures of me in braces chanting from the Torah are gone. The mezuzah I made when I was six isn’t beside my bedroom door anymore. The Jewish star necklace my grandmother gave me was never mine. I’m not Jewish anymore, I’m nothing.” Tears threatened to fall as she continued speaking, relieved to finally be sharing with someone that she lost more than just Amy when the timelines changed, “And before the timeline change, I thought that I wouldn’t have existed, if history changed a little. If my grandfather went with the rest of his family, if my grandmother got sick, but instead, I’m here. And I would be here. And I feel sick to my stomach because I’m not Jewish anymore but I still feel Jewish, I was still raised Jewish, and across the country right now, across the continent right now, millions of people are being murdered for being like me. My family is being murdered, right now, Wyatt, and I shouldn’t be here. I spent my entire life thinking that if things were different, I wouldn’t be here. I had nightmares of it all, of the gas chambers, of the Nazis, of Hitler himself. And here I am, in 1944 Germany, and I can’t do anything, I can’t change anything, and I have to pretend to be one of them.”
“So yeah,” Lucy continued after taking a deep, steadying breath, “I am freaking out. Every time I step into that machine I’m freaking out. Every single time it’s like I’m in my nightmares with my great-grandparents, with the world closing in, about to end. And the worst part? I could change it. We’re in Nazi Germany right now and I could do something. I could. But I won’t. Because we don’t know the consequences, we could change the wrong thing, and it’s my job to make sure that doesn’t happen, it’s my responsibility to protect history. Even at the cost of everything that makes me, me.” Biting her lip, Lucy looked up at Wyatt, “I don’t think I can keep doing this. How do you keep doing it?”
He looked down for a second, shuffling a foot against the floor, before looking up and meeting her teary gaze. “I grew up in West Texas. Dirt poor. My dad was a world-class son of a bitch but my grandpa Sherwin, he picked up all the slack.” Wyatt paused for a moment, his lips quirking up into a soft smile, “Matter of fact, he's gotta be less than 200 miles from here right now,” He chuckled a little, and Lucy could see a softness in his eyes she had never noticed before, “Younger than me, in the 101st, killing Nazis. Doing everything he can, risking his life to save people like you, to save people like your family. He even liberated one of the camps. Used to sit me down and tell me about what he saw, the people there, more broken than he had ever seen a person but stronger than anyone else, as well. He raised me to never judge, to never hurt.” Wyatt looked up at her, their eyes meeting, “That's why saving Nazis or letting Lincoln die, that's hard for me because it feels like I'm letting him down.”
Lucy choked out a watery laugh, “You think saving Nazis is easy for me?”
Wyatt stood up and took a step forward, raising his hands in front of him as if surrendering, “That’s not what I’m saying,” He said, “Of course, that's not what I’m saying.” He took another step forward, closing the space between them, “What I’m saying is, grandpa Sherwin is the reason I fight. To make him proud.” Taking another step forward, Wyatt entered Lucy’s space. He tightened her tie as he continued, “You wanna know how to keep doing this? You figure out what you're fighting for and you'll be okay.” He placed a comforting hand against her shoulder, before taking a step back.
“Thank you,” said softly, “For talking. Even though you’re over the hump.”
Smiling at her, Wyatt teased, “Sure thing, ma’am.” Taking her hand into his, Wyatt gave her a reassuring squeeze, before turning to leave her alone. Letting out a long breath, Lucy attempted to steady herself once more. Whether or not she could find what to fight for, whether or not she would be okay getting into the Lifeboat for another mission, or if she would ever get over the hump, she still had to stop Flynn from making World War II worse. That was what mattered. Feeling a little better, Lucy turned and followed Wyatt out the door.
After escaping the castle, after handing Von Braun over to the Americans, after bidding farewell to Fleming and his flirtatious ways, and after, most shockingly, learning she had become a Bond girl, Lucy tracked down Agent Christopher. Her talk with Wyatt helped. Her interactions with Von Braun, surprisingly, helped. And even finding out there was a new Bond movie for her to watch helped. She wasn’t going to stop doing the missions. She was going to get over the hump. She was going to stop Flynn. She just needed Agent Christopher to know her terms.
“We need to fix history and get my sister back,” Lucy said to the Homeland Security agent, her tone making it clear that this requirement was make or break for her involvement in the missions, “I want Mason's people working on it.”
Agent Christopher interrupted her, “Or-”
“Or else I walk,” Lucy cut her off, “And, no, this is not a bluff. Someone told me, ‘figure out what you're fighting for’ Well, I'm fighting for my sister. That’s my price.” Without waiting for Agent Christopher to respond, Lucy turned and left the room. Her heart felt lighter than it had since returning from the Hindenburg to find her world upside down. She couldn’t stop the Holocaust. She couldn’t save her family. She couldn’t do a lot. But this, bringing back Amy, bringing back the life Lucy knew, full of family and Judaism and love, she could do. Living in a universe without Amy was not an option.