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07 November 2011 @ 08:29 pm
[fic] WH13 - Artificer & 'Phile (11/13)  
Fandom: Warehouse 13
Title: Artificer & 'Phile
Chapter Eleven, Egypt
Rating: M
Summary: Myka is not currently a secret service agent. She has the credentials but after Denver she needed to get away from the bad memories. So at 29, she takes a leave of absence and is presently an associate professor at Hudson University, a totally made up college in NYC. She studies and teaches 19th century literature and teaches one class every semester on early science fiction and fantasy. It is her most popular class.
Notes: This is an AU, mostly of season two, but a lot of elements of season one have changed as well. I will probably continue this into season three in a sequel, but this story will span the canon known in season two. When I watched Season Two I somehow wanted to find a way of fixing what I perceived as wrong and this is what came out of it. I mean, my goodness, I didn't intend to rewrite the whole season, but I think that it sounds... fairly decent as I've got it now.

PLEASE comment if I've goofed on canon or characterization; Special thanks to spockette who has done me a huge favor and helped to beta this.

WARNINGS: Talk of suicide and self-harm.

Chapter One, Chapter Two, Chapter Three, Chapter Four, Chapter Five, Chapter Six, Chapter Seven, Chapter Eight, Chapter Nine, Chapter Ten

~


Chapter Eleven, Egypt
Or, Conflict of Interest


She had never truly had a home before. A place to rest, yes; an empty and soulless place that contained her material possessions and very little else. Leena’s Bed and Breakfast felt like the safest place on earth for Myka as they slumped into the B&B at four in the morning. The flight had come into Pierre Regional at three and they’d driven an hour through a light snow to back to Univille and home.

Yes, home.

It was something she realized, and something that stuck with Myka in the weeks that followed her harrowing misadventure back at her parent’s house. Home was with Pete and Claudia, with Leena and Artie, with Helena. Home was waking up to the quiet mechanical clicks of Helena taking apart the alarm clock ‘to see how it worked’ and home was Pete stuffing a million croissants into his mouth and flirting with Kelly Hernandez, the town’s vet. Home was Artie being an ass and Claudia antagonizing him worse than Helena.

Home was the people that she’d come to love, not the people who could barely express their love for her in words.

It was close to Thanksgiving and Myka had already declined her mother’s invitation to go home, saying that they had been temporarily reassigned to DC to protect the president over the holiday. It was a lie, but her mother seemed to buy it and she started to plot what it would be like to have a Thanksgiving dinner with everyone in her new family. To give thanks for each other, and for the fate that had brought them all together in the first place.

Her plans were waylaid one frost-bitten morning, despite her best intentions.

Myka woke up on November 23rd under the weight of two quilts and Helena’s arm and a good bit of her lover’s hair going up her nose. A weak stream of sunlight as just peeking through the half-drawn curtains on the window and Myka could see that Jack Frost himself had carved little patterns of frozen condensation on the window.

The room was silent save for the banging of the radiator, which had been what had pulled Myka to wakefulness in the first place. The heat was coming on, which was a good thing, as Myka could see her breath.

Beside her, Helena stirred, her body shifting closer to Myka, arm wrapping more tightly around her lover’s body. “What time is it?” Helena muttered groggily into Myka’s shoulder.

She turned, squinting at the alarm clock. Her glasses were on the bedside table, but she would be damned if she was going to put them on just to see the clock that was two feet away from her.

“A little after seven,” Myka discerned eventually as Helena began to seem more awake.

She had been having such a nice dream, before radiator had started up. Helena had been in it, splayed out under Myka like a goddess, her hair a dark halo on crisp white linen sheets. Myka had been so taken with her lover lying like that, eyes turned upward in a gesture that could only be passive submission, that she had almost forgotten that the dream was obviously sexual in nature and she should probably get on with it.

And then the radiator had started up and all hope for a lovely early morning dream was completely gone.

She shifted her weight, leg that was only halfway between Helena’s settling more firmly into place, her lips brushing against Helena’s cheek. “Good morning,” she said quietly, bending, kissing Helena the nose.

“Your breath is atrocious,” Helena muttered, flailing as Myka adjusted the covers so that no heat was escaping.

“Too bad,” Myka retorted, kissing Helena full on the lips. She had never had a relationship quite like this before. One where she did not feel awkward just being herself, to act impulsively on a dream that she had had, to have sex in the morning before brushing her teeth.

Helena’s breath was just as bad, after all.

Her hands slipped under the blankets, touching the bare skin that she had revealed to the world the previous evening. There were still marks on the pale column of Helena’s neck from their lovemaking, and Myka’s thighs were still uncomfortably sore from the exertion.

But this was a new day, and Myka knew just how she wanted to start it.

She moved away from Helena’s lips, leaning down to kiss the places where her tongue and teeth and nails had left marks the night before, kissing them, drawing a particularly dark spot just at the swell of Helena’s breast back into her mouth, sucking and biting gently, delighting in the gasp she elicited from Helena, how Helena’s hands tangled in her hair, holding Myka to the spot.

“Myka…” Helena breathed as Myka’s cool fingers found the warm skin of Helena’s breast, grabbing it, feeling the weight of it in her hand, rolling her palm over already taut nipples. “Myka please.”

Apparently, as Myka’s hand drifted further down, she was not the only one who had been having interesting dreams.

It was early, they had a full day ahead of them, and as Myka slipped under the covers, legs curling up underneath her body, she smirked up at Helena. She did love it when she got her lover to beg.

Her fingers slipped inside easily, drawing a muffled moan from Helena, and a hand tangled in Myka’s hair as she allowed her lips to dip down, seeking what she could no longer see, moving on body instinct alone.

She set a furious pace, hard and fast and dirty like how her dream was sure to have ended. Her tongue fell home and her fingers matched the pace, drawing themselves in and out with every pull of Myka’s lips.

From under the covers, outside of the hot and muffled world, Myka knew that Helena had her fist stuffed in her mouth to keep from crying out and waiting the entire household. She smirked, despite herself, almost wanting them to know – wanting them to hear it as she claimed this beautiful and untouchable woman as her own, marking her territory with harsh fingernails biting into gyrating hips.

She drew her fingers apart slightly as she pulled them out of Helena, before pushing them together and hooking forward, searching for that spot – the one she knew would send Helena over the edge. She could hear the just barely stifled cries now, and her intent turned wicked as Helena pulled at her hair, trying to hold her face as close to her core as possible.

Myka wanted to draw this out as long as possible, to see how long she could make Helena last, to see if she would beg. But it was the morning, and Leena’s hot water heater was not what it could have been. If they wanted hot showers and not lukewarm ones, they would have to hurry. Her lips curled and her pace quickened. The time to see what Helena would do, and potentially the opportunity to relish leaving her hanging, would come later. When it was not freezing outside.

She could feel Helena’s climax coming almost before Helena herself could, the subtle clenching of thighs, the fact that it was suddenly very difficult to breathe in her dark and wet and hot sanctuary. Myka didn’t care, she drew Helena in, sucking, biting, hitting that spot with her fingers again and again until Helena cried out, hips bucking upwards and Myka struggling to hold them down.

“I had the most wonderful dream,” Myka confessed as she surfaced from underneath the covers, face still a bit sticky and a devilish look in her yes. “I just… I had to.”

Helena brushed a curl away from her face, caressing her cheek. “I would never say no.”

Myka swallowed, wondering if Helena realized the implication of such a statement. Probably not, she couldn’t let it show. That was not something about herself that she was entirely comfortable with; and this was not the time or the place for it.

She kissed Helena, long and slow, and then pulled her up and out of bed and into the bathroom. “Quick,” she said, “before all the hot water is gone.”

x


“Where’s the fire,” Pete demanded upon finding Mrs. Frederic sitting on the couch in the corner of the office with a towel over her eyes and a worried looking Mr. Kosan hovering by her side. They had come as soon as they could, Artie’s desperate phone call from the Warehouse pulling them from their breakfast and out into the car. Even Leena had come along, coat bundled around her bathrobe and a skull cap pulled down over her still damp hair, it was frizzing now in the heat of the office.

Mr. Kosan shifted, his whole body seeming to suddenly take up more of the room than before. Helena’s hand found Myka’s, fingerless gloves against bare skin. Myka squeezed, worried about what was to come.

Helena had mentioned speaking to him – before she had returned to the warehouse. He was the man who was hidden in plain sight, the one who made the decisions, she had said. He was terrifying, dark, intense, Middle Eastern of some sort. Helena had hypothesized Egyptian – as they usually rose to high places within the warehouse hierarchy.

He was the one who had allowed Helena to come back, and they’d struck a bargain that Helena had never spoken about. Myka did not push; she knew that Helena would share when she was ready.

“It appears that Agent Wells’ information has proven correct,” Mr. Kosan said, stepping to map that Artie had obviously pulled down last night after they had all left. It was of the Nile Delta, near Cairo, close to the Valley of the Kings.

There was a gleam in Helena’s eyes as Myka turned to stare at her. It was almost malicious, manic – full of fearful joy and pride at what she had discovered, but Myka could see an underlying darker emotion in the way that Helena’s jaw was set, her lip curling just so.

“As I am sure you are all aware, the first warehouse was built by Alexander the Great to hold an artifact so powerful that even he did not trust himself with it. As the Greek Empire fell, the warehouse was moved to Egypt, where it stayed for some time,” Kosan’s finger was tapping on a spot just west of the Nile River, in the middle of a largely unpopulated area. “It was lost when the Romans attacked, sealed up and forgotten.”

“Until now?” Pete asked, peering curiously at Mrs. Frederic. “What’s up with Mrs. F?”

“The guardian…” They all turned to stare at Helena, who was staring at Mr. Kosan, a fearful look in her eyes. “You sent a team there, didn’t you? You turned it back on.”

Mr. Kosan looked at his hands, but then nodded. “While confirming the location to truly be that of the former warehouse per Agent Wells’ description, the team of young Egyptologists we sent accidentally triggered one of the warehouse’s defense mechanism.” Kosan turned back to the map, his mouth drawn into a hard line. “As of this morning, they are all dead.”

Myka frowned, thinking of the risk, of how absolutely dangerous it would be to go to a place filled with ancient artifacts so deadly that even time forgot them.

“So,” Artie began, pushing his chair away from his desk. “You three are going to Egypt to meet up with the expert of Warehouse Two, who is going to, in turn, turn that thing off so that Mrs. Frederic will not spontaneously combust while trying to be the guardian of two warehouses at once.”

Pete made a strangled ‘do not want’ sort of a noise in the back of his throat and Claudia dropped her bag down onto the couch next to Mrs. Frederic and pulled out her laptop. Myka watched as she parsed out wires and eventually found the one she was looking for, raising an eyebrow as Mrs. Frederic surrendered her index finger without question. “Woah, Mrs. F, your brain waves are through the roof.”

“Which is why you three must hurry,” Her voice was hoarse, but Mrs. Frederic managed a half smile at Claudia. “I will fight this as long as I can…”

Myka nodded and Helena pulled open the door behind them. The umbilicus was frozen, they didn’t bother to heat it, and Myka shivered as Pete collected their tickets from Artie, as well as a bag full of supplies. “We’ll drive you back,” Myka said to Leena, but Leena shook her head.

“I think I’m needed here,” She tossed Myka her keys. Myka caught them and shoved them inside her coat pocket. She would leave them on the kitchen table and just take the house key. “Lock the front door when you leave, I’ll use the key in the flower pot on the porch.”

“Go!” Artie said, making a shooing motion with his hands. “Your contact will meet you there.”

Helena lingered by the door, eyes wide and a hand clasped over her mouth until Myka pulled her towards the door. “Come on, Helena.”

“Apples,” Helena muttered, looking bewildered.

x


They flew to Chicago, and then to New York. From New York it was a direct flight, and Pete had fallen asleep almost instantly when they hit the third leg of their journey. He had claimed the aisle seat ‘to better flirt with the stewardess’ but Myka had reminded him that he only had eyes for Kelly Hernandez and that she probably would not appreciate him flirting with other women – even if he and Kelly were not dating, as of yet.

Helena had filled them in on the short flight to Chicago about Warehouse Two. There wasn’t really much to say, just that it had been lost and that Helena had made it a project of hers while at Warehouse Twelve, to try and locate it. She had the past one hundred or so years trapped in her own mind to think about it.

“Myka,” Helena began as the Atlantic flew underneath them and Pete snored quietly next to them. Her eyes were downcast and almost fearful and she spoke, drawing Myka’s attention and refusing to let it go. “This was my end of the bargain, their end will come later.”

“What is it?” Myka asked. She was not sure that she wanted to know, what could the Regents possibly give Helena that their little family could not?

Helena sighed, her fingers twining with Myka’s, “I asked for help.” She didn’t look at Myka, eyes resolutely set ahead of her. “Help with healing. When I woke up from being bronzed and James MacPherson told me the year, I wanted to kill myself. Christina had been dead for over one hundred years and the world I found that awaited me? It was a bleak place, full of death and war and senseless killing. I thought society would have improved in the interim.”

“No, people just got more efficient at killing each other,” Myka muttered darkly. She had read Helena’s books, wrote essays about them in school. She knew that they had been cautionary tales about the nature of society and how it must change for the better or else all would be lost. She knew that, and yet so few others had pulled that same information out of those fantastic tales.

She’d seen the movies, she’d wanted to die.

Myka had made Claudia promise to never show Helena them.

“I read about your Atom Bomb,” Helena explained, “And my heart broke for the people of Japan, for those who had to do the deed and live with themselves afterwards. I thought I understood war – I did not. Nothing could possibly compare. I was trapped in this cycle of confusion and fear at what I was discovering, and then I read a fascinating medical journal called Psychology Today. When I read that I realized that the field of medicine had advanced so far that there was help for people like me. That not everything about the future was bad.” She turned then, her eyes shining with something that Myka could not place. “At Warehouse Two, Myka, there is one half of an artifact so powerful that the last time it was used, only six thousand humans survived.”

“Yes, it’s called the Minoan Trident, that was what the warehouse was built for in the first place,” Myka had read that in the manual, it had been lost for centuries. Split in two to better protect the world from it, Myka could not imagine the power such an artifact could hold. She didn’t understand what Helena was telling her.

“I found the other half in 1899,” Helena confessed. “In Marseilles, buried in a fisherman’s tomb.”

Myka’s breath caught. She had found one half? But why? What could she possibly have wanted with it? How had Helena even tracked it down?

She knew the answer to that. Helena’s brain was gifted with the unrelenting logic that allowed her to parse together solutions to the most complex problems and the most sparse of variables. To be trapped with only one problem for one hundred years was as sure a way as Myka could think of to solve a particularly vexing problem.

Myka opened her mouth to reply, but Helena shook her head, Pete gave a particularly impressive snore, and Myka had to cover her mouth to keep from sniggering at him. This was a serious conversation, Pete snoring had very little to do with it, thus far.

“I gave it to Adwin Kosan upon his agreeing to give me the help I sought – a mind healer – and not one as full of strange theories of sexual deviancy as Mr. Freud; I gave it up because I met you. I met you and I realized that I did not feel particularly inclined to destroy the world anymore.” Myka knew that Helena was not talking about a psychologist; there were at least three that she knew of practicing in Univille. No this was probably someone with skills like Pete, someone with a gift who could truly help Helena to root out the madness that had so claimed her and quash it for eternity. Helena needed help beyond what a regular human could provide, Myka just hoped that such a being actually existed. Pete’s vibes seemed to point towards that existence, and Myka felt heartened by that.

To say that she had given up her plans for Myka… It wasn’t fair. Myka did not want to know about how her lover had wanted to destroy everything about this place that Myka held dear, she did not want to know that Helena had truly hated it here.

There must be some good.

Helena’s fingers closed around Myka’s outstretched hand, squeezing gently, pulling Myka’s focus back to the present and not her own terrified and racing thoughts. “You were a genuinely good person unconnected to the warehouse – I should have known that they’d pull you in, they always get the best, after all.”

“Helena… I…” She didn’t know what to say. She wanted to tell Helena that she should have said that she was hurting, that she needed help. Myka didn’t know how to help her when they were on an airplane heading towards a goddamn apple tree and Helena might not be strong enough to resist the temptation.

Pete gave a snort and his head rolled onto Helena’s shoulder, head nestling into the crook of her neck as Myka watched, amazing as Helena did not react for the long drawn out moments before her two fingers pinching Pete harshly on the leg caused him to start. He blinked at her, sleepily mumbling an apology before adjusting himself to be off to the other side of the cramped coach chair.

The kid behind Myka kicked her seat and she opened her mouth to again try and reply to Helena.

Helena’s warm, gentle finger lay across her lips, “No, let me finish, this is my confession of sin. You can be through with me or grant me absolution when I am finished.” There was so much hurt there, flickers of the madness that Helena spoke of.

Myka had no idea how to make it better.

The words tumbled out of her mouth against Helena’s finger, she couldn’t help herself. The fierceness of her devotion had to translate into something that could pull Helena back from the black. From the edge of space and the nothingness that came after, the Bronze would not claim this woman, not now. “I could never be through with you, I love you.”

There was a smile on Helena’s lips, and the manic expression half-way vanished as she pulled her finger away to cup Myka’s cheek. Myka cast a fearful glance around the cabin, knowing that they were not going to the most progressive of areas. No one on the plane seemed to mind, however, and she exhaled, leaning into the touch ever so slightly. “And I you, my sweet Myka.”

The sincerity in Helena’s words was unmistakable. And when she sighed and let her hand drop to rest against Myka’s thigh, there was a warmth that Myka welcomed. It kept her tethered to the present, away from scared thoughts. She feared the unknown as everyone should – she feared what Helena embraced.

Helena’s voice broke, just a little hiccup as she spoke. “When this is over, I will have to go away. To spend time ridding myself of whatever melancholy that pushed me to want to destroy the world in the first place.” She looked away, at the front the seatback in front of her, “I will not be able to see you.”

Myka had guessed that much. The sort of help that the regents could offer was not a nine-to-five sort of ordeal. It would be hard, but she really had no choice but to accept it, Helena had to be well. “If it helps you to heal, that’s alright,” Myka said simply.

A harsh bark of laughter escaped Helena’s lips, and Myka gave her an alarmed look before Helena waved it off. “I do not know what I have done in this life to deserve you, Myka Bering. You are too good. Parting from you will be challenging.”

They shared a smile, and Helena added earnestly, “Promise me you will not do anything foolish like return to your parent’s home. That place is far too toxic.”

Didn’t she know it, Myka thought darkly. She felt so out of control then, and it was only just starting to return now. She took it where she could get it, held it close, and was forever grateful that Helena seemed alright with playing along. “I promise.” She whispered reverently.

Myka’s face turned dark as she added, “Why didn’t you say anything?” She met Helena’s eyes and added, “I thought that I told you that you could say anything to me.”

Helena shrugged, her tone nonchalant. “For fear that you would spurn my advances if you knew how warped my mind is.” There was a beat, and then Helena added, “I was driven quite mad in the bronze.”

Myka knew this. It had been obvious from the beginning. Her mind was broken and fractured, and there was nothing that Myka could have done to fix it. “I could have helped you,” Myka raised her hand to touch the locket just barely peeking out from underneath the coat that Helena had liberated from one of the crates of her things that had been shipped in from Warehouse 12. The metal was warm under her fingers, and Myka fingered it gently, reverently. “The fact that you are even functioning astounds me, Helena.” Myka forced her lips upwards into a small and tight smile. “You have a brilliant mind, and a beautiful soul.”

“I very much doubt that my soul is anything other than damned.” Helena said dismissively, her hand closing around Myka’s and the locket, lingering there, not letting Myka pull her hand free. The intensity that Myka was used to had returned to her eyes and Myka wondered if the moment of clarity had passed and Helena had sunk back into madness, or the opposite.

Time would tell, and her Tesla was fully charged.

“If you’re damned then I am so screwed,” Myka laughed, fingers brushing against Helena’s cheek. “We’ll make it work.”

x


Myka had never been to Cairo, and yet for some bizarre reason, Pete had. He had a map, though, and was playing the part of a tourist well. Helena, for her part, just looked anxious. When Pete asked what was eating her, Helena had informed him that the last time she had been to Egypt, she’d been banned from the country by the colonial government for grave robbing.

Apparently there was an artifact or something.

Pete had then loudly made a note that they were going to go home and watch Raiders of the Lost Ark when this was done and over with before steering them down a side street to where all three of the Regent’s team of Egyptologists had ended up dead. They were to meet their contact there, apparently.

Helena’s hand was on the small of her back most of the passage down the dark and dirty side street. Buildings crowded against the street, as huge throngs of businessmen and young people cut their way between the two main thoroughfares that the side street connected. Myka had to grab hold of the back of Pete’s shirt to keep up with him and not lose him in the mob.

They turned down an alleyway and Pete stopped in front of man wide-brimmed had pulled down low over his face and the pinkish pages of The Financial Times obscuring much of his body.

“Strange paper to be reading here,” Pete commented, sitting down next to the man.

“You are not going to try and kill me again, are you, Agent Lattimer?” The clipped and cultured voice of Benedict Valda cut across the general hubbub of the coffee shop like a knife and Myka winced a little at the hint of anger that was just barely hidden beneath the polite question.

Pete gave a shrug and motioned for them to all sit down as well. Myka glanced at Helena, who was eyeing Valda with the same expressing she had given Mr. Kosan back at the Warehouse, and then sat down. “It is good to see you again, Mr. Valda.”

“You as well, Agent Bering,” Valda inclined his head, “Agent Wells. I understand your knowledge of this place may be greater than my own.”

“I very much doubt that,” Helena said quietly, sitting down as well.

She was correct. Benedict Valda knew things about the second warehouse that even Helena, who had spent a great deal of time researching the place, had no idea about. He shared the information begrudgingly, Myka absorbing it over a cup of the strong Egyptian tea that Valda had purchased for them before they’d arrived. The place sounded fascinating, deadly, and above all else, the perfect place for something to go horribly, awfully wrong.

Valda had procured a Jeep for them, and as night fell, they drove north and out of the city. The roads here were dangerous. Myka knew of the unrest that had taken the country in recent months, about how being foreigners dressed to go tomb raiding was probably not the wisest idea they’d ever had, but the circumstances were dire.

Mrs. Frederic would die and the warehouse would be in complete disarray if they could not stop this warehouse from trying to force it’s guardianship onto her as well. Valda seemed to think that there was hope, should Mrs. Frederic pass away, but Myka didn’t dare ask what. She had visions of some life-prolonging artifact that kept people alive after they were supposed to die and that was all that she wanted to hear on that matter.

Pete sat in the front seat with Valda, chatting about the potential dangers they might encounter, Myka and Helena were relegated to the hard bench of a bad seat. They jostled into each other, Helena’s hand finding Myka’s in the darkness of the growing night. She squeezed, and Myka rested her head on Helena’s shoulder, trying to ignore that Helena was trembling.

They made camp near the abandoned encampment of the Egyptologists that the regents had sent to look into the second warehouse. Myka helped carry their gear and she and Pete quickly had the tent pitched and a fire growing. Helena was standing off to one side, conversing with Valda about something that she had noticed upon arriving. They both looked worried, but Valda’s face was resolute.

“Come what may,” He muttered, squatting down next to the camp fire and holding his hands in front of it to warm them. “I am prepared.”

Helena gave him a panicked look and shook her head violently, but said nothing.

That night no one got much sleep.

“Do you think that Christina would be proud of me, finding this place?” Helena asked as Pete’s quiet snores filled the tent. Myka was curled next to her, their sleeping bags zipped together against the desert chill. Helena’s fingers were playing with Myka’s hair, pulling a curl out and watching as it bounced back into place in the low light that the moon cast through the mosquito net.

“I don’t know,” Myka confessed. “Did she know about it?”

“I told her stories,” Helena made a shrugging motion, her shoulders curling up into Myka’s cheek before falling back down. “She was so taken with the idea of Egypt. I promised that she could come with me when I found this place.”

Myka couldn’t think of anything to say, so she said nothing at all, holding Helena close as the older woman cried.

Dawn could not come soon enough.

x


Warehouse Two was booby-trapped. Myka sighed, wondering if they’d run into any Nazis since this whole thing was playing out like an Indiana Jones movie. It was hot in the pyramid like structure, the heat and dead air amplifying and causing Myka’s skin to feel slick despite the dryness of the day. They could easily die in here from dehydration alone, not to mention whatever it was with these trials.

Their Farnsworths were not working, the building, or the warehouse itself, must have blocked the signal. Valda had seemed a little shocked, and Myka had seen how the corner of Helena’s eye had started to twitch, causing them to look wide and fearful. This was bad, they couldn’t be down here with no lines of communication to Artie and Claudia. They didn’t know how much time they had, and Myka wasn’t even sure she could trust her watch to tell her exactly how long they’d been traversing these corridors – waiting to encounter their first trial.

The first one Pete had solved. Something about pancakes and Myka was so sure that they were going to get squished to death, but she did as Pete said because sometimes he was brilliant and he’d had a feeling. Myka knew better than to doubt Pete’s feelings.

So she and Helena and Valda moved the pieces of rock in the sequence that he’d mandated and everything had worked out peachy. Myka was pretty sure she’d lost a few years of her life in fright, but that was a fairly common occurrence at the Warehouse. She’d had to pretend to be a model once upon a time and that had taken literal years off of her life.

God that had been awful.

The moved through the room quickly after that. There were no such traps waiting for them until their next dead end, a hallway leading seemingly into blackness and writing on the wall that seemed to imply that walking was not an option.

Helena’s grappler came in handy then, and the way across came simply. Her belt came off and Pete swallowed as Myka’s pants sagged low on her hips – Myka rolled her eyes at him and told him that if they fell off he was going to be the one going to get them.

These were comfortable, practical pants. Helena had chosen to wear shorts in some sort of strange and obviously misguided homage to Lara Croft. Pete had enjoyed it and Claudia had busted out into a fit of laughter when they’d called just before going in. Apparently, Claudia had not thought that Helena would have taken her suggestion seriously.

Myka was going to have to have a talk with that girl if they survived this place.

Helena caught her at the other end, and Myka hurriedly belted her pants, watching as Helena’s eyes seemed to dart about the room, fearful, agitated. She reached out her hand, resting it on Helena’s arm, trying to calm her down.

“I cannot,” Helena muttered, hand clenched into a fist.

Myka could not say more, as Pete was barreling towards them, something gold and glittery around his neck. His eyes were wide, and he turned back as soon as he landed, belt falling uselessly to the ground.

“You have to come too!” He shouted. Myka blinked, the key around Pete’s neck belonged to Valda – he said that it was the only way to turn off the Warehouse’s defense mechanism.

Why had he given it to Pete?

Valda was half-way across the rope when his hand slipped and Myka was already on her knees, picking up Pete’s belt, getting ready to go back and pull him to safety.

“No!” Helena shouted, grabbing Myka’s hand, holding her back as Valda fell into the flames. “I cannot lose you too.”

“But-!” Myka turned to Pete who shook his head.

“He said one of us had to die or the door would not open,” Pete muttered, hand clasped around the key at his neck. “He told me what to do.”

They had no choice, Myka realized, but to go forward.

x


You wake up and Christina is here, and your heart soars. The logical part of your mind knows that this is not real, that this cannot be real, and you mourn that feeling. You hate it, loathe it with your very being, and yet you embrace the little girl in your arms with such joy and happiness that you can barely think of the fact that is not real.

Your mind is playing tricks on you again.

You’re mad, you’ve been mad for months now. Mad as the Hatter since you woke up and since James MacPherson told you that your plan had worked and the Minoan Trident was still among your possessions. That he had found your notes and liked the way you thought.

He was a disgusting man and you hated him. He did not understand the why of wanting to destroy the world, but only the how. He had said things, whispered in your ear, the adder’s own words, your own undoing.

You held the razor to your wrist and couldn’t bring yourself to do it – not without seeing Christina’s face one last time. The red that welled up there was just enough to remind you that you were alive. You did it again and again, daring yourself to go through with it despite your want to see Christina again, until James MacPherson found you and hauled you bodily to your feet. He shouted, you cried, you shouted back, he promised you your revenge.

And now here she is, and you feel as though you could die happy.

But lo - something is missing, you don’t know who or what, but something isn’t there that needs to be there.

You hate it.

Christina kisses your cheeks and tells you about her day. It is so mundane that you want to scream. There are tea parties with her dolls and she’s learning how to do needlework and her letters. She’s too young, she should be in school.

You remember that this isn’t the present, that this is the past. Her governess wouldn’t start actually teaching her the things you want Christina to know until next year at the earliest. And she will never be allowed to go to school for science, the way you want her to.

Myka would adore her.

Myka.

But then if this is what your heart wants most, where is Myka? Surely she should have a part in this.

You blink, Christina smiling up at you from where you have her locked in your arms. You can feel hands pulling on your shoulders, shaking you, trying to roust you from slumber.

You were not strong enough to throw off the illusion, too insane to realize that it was just that. You let Myka rescue you so that you may live another day for Christina’s memory.

You let Myka rescue you so that you may do the deed you set about weeks ago with the razor and the crying and the hotel bathroom you shared with James MacPherson. No one will take your life but you, you live only for yourself.

(And Myka.)

Mostly for Myka.

“It’s a trick,” Myka says, pulling you close, holding you steady as you sob. You do not think that the regents will be able to help you. Your mind is too far gone, you want only to die, to perish here – Benedict Valda did not deserve the death at the second trial. You could have gone in his stead; you would have welcomed that oblivion.

You hate that you can’t make Myka see how easy it would be for you to take the staff that is sure to lie beyond the door and use it to end the world. Everyone would be dead then.

And you would never have to walk out of the warehouse smelling apples again.

Chapter 12
 
 
Feeling: tiredtired
Music: Foster the People - Pumped Up Kicks
 
29 | +
 
 
( 29 — + )
mayireadtoday: hgwellsmayireadtoday on November 8th, 2011 02:17 am (UTC)
If Helena gave Mr. Kosan her half of the trident how could she "take the staff that is sure to lie beyond the door and use it to end the world"?

I'm really glad you have Helena seeking help.

Ellenanamatics on November 8th, 2011 02:26 am (UTC)
Because it's in Helena's crazy head? That line was put in there to show how Helena has become really disconnected from her own reality. She is quite mad, with long and terrible drawn out moments of sanity.

Oh, me to, she really needs it.
mayireadtoday: hgwellsmayireadtoday on November 8th, 2011 02:35 am (UTC)
"Mad as a Hatter" as you said then.
Ellenanamatics on November 8th, 2011 03:26 pm (UTC)
Yes yes, most certainly.
change the sheets & then change me: Victorian H.G. aka super sexy face...uselessmarks on November 8th, 2011 08:37 am (UTC)
First off, the icon you used for this post? Total win. I still have tons of love for Utena/Anthy.

Now, to the point: great chapter. Very much into the crazy of H.G. and how it could have been dealt with (had the show not been looking for villain-easy-out-101). Also, I see what you are hinting at there during the Myka/H.G morning sex scene... I like it.

Plus, I liked the morning sex scene anyway. Always a great way to wake up. :)

Bonus points for Pete's sleepy head falling onto H.G.'s shoulder, too. lol
Ellenanamatics on November 8th, 2011 03:30 pm (UTC)
I've had that icon for years, I just love it that much.

More than anything else, I wanted to show how Pete and HG have the potential to get along really well, when he's not quoting The Silence of the Lambs at her and she's not being all snippy at him. I was trying to get Pete to relax, a little bit more. I think it really comes through in this chapter and the next one. :)

I'm glad that you picked up on what I was hinting at there. :B~ I was trying to not be too heavy handed with it, but at the same time, early morning sex is right up there with three in the morning sex in terms of sheer awesome.

Glad you enjoyed, as always.
change the sheets & then change me: love at first sight - HG/Mykauselessmarks on November 8th, 2011 08:27 pm (UTC)
Utena was the bomb. Such a wonderful gender-fuck of a show (the manga not as much) and such a great play on the idea of the 'fairy-tale' (and a whole lot more, too).

I, for one, very much enjoy the idea of Pete and H.G. getting along. We get shades of that in Season Two and two seconds of it in 'Stand' but more could have been so nice... So yea, having this kind of burgeoning respect/ease between them in your fic is pleasing.

early morning sex is right up there with three in the morning sex in terms of sheer awesome

I'm thinking a one-shot is in order that deals with a little bit of three in the morning sex, too. You know, just a friendly suggestion. ;)

Ellen: Utena - Fade...anamatics on November 9th, 2011 03:23 am (UTC)
There was so much going on in Utena that I couldn't even begin to explain it to someone else. That's part of it's charm, I think.

I really love the other relationships in this story. Myka and Artie, Pete and Claudia, Claudia and HG, Claudia and Leena. They're all so interesting and complex that it seems unfair to ignore them. Pete and HG could be the best of friends, or at least friendly towards each other. I imagine that it'd be Pete, and not Claudia, that slowly starts to introduce 21st century pop culture to HG. Claudia would be too busy catching HG up on the science of everything.
change the sheets & then change me: a blue Jaime Murray...uselessmarks on November 9th, 2011 10:41 pm (UTC)
Hee! Another Utena icon - and from the movie, too. When it comes to Utena, I tend to throw people into the film first then the series. The art is so gorgeous that it overwhelms the incessant questions (for a while anyway).

With how often Pete likes to drop pop culture references, I totally agree with your thought that he would be the one to educate H.G. on such matters.

Claudia would be too busy catching HG up on the science of everything.

And crushing on H.G. too. :D

Now that I am thinking about other relationships that I enjoy within the WH 13 world, I am a big fan of the Myka/Claudia thing. In my head, they are as they were in 'For The Team' all the time.
Ellenanamatics on November 10th, 2011 04:23 pm (UTC)
They seriously were. :) Completely adorable and Claudia is so green and cute and I just... squee!
luvthejem: hg/myka fateluvthejem on November 8th, 2011 08:41 am (UTC)
Poor Helena. That "help" the regents promised better be really good. And they'd better not screw her over. Loved the part about Freud relating everything to strange theories of sexual deviance. LOL!

Can't wait for the next update.
Ellenanamatics on November 8th, 2011 03:31 pm (UTC)
Thanks. :) And don't worry, the Regents may be a little evil, but they're not that bad in this fic.
missredfilomenapaine on November 8th, 2011 12:46 pm (UTC)
I really like this part... very intense and it gives a way better understanding for HGs feelings...
I think alot of people simply don't have any idea what the lose of a child can do to you...
And waking up in a complete different time/world can be very shocking too... i always wondered how they expected that HG simply go shopping(prolly for shoes ;)) and deal with all that stuff without struggling...
The freedom and role for a woman changed also alot compared to the 18th/19th century...

But back to topic... i really really do love your story... i am just a bit sad it have to end soon...
You do know you have to do the same with season 3 right? ;)
Ellenanamatics on November 8th, 2011 03:32 pm (UTC)
Glad that you've enjoyed thus far. There is probably a really high chance that Season Three will get the same treatment... no promises though (although I cannot imagine that I wouldn't) as I have a one shot and then a three shot Myka/Emily Lake fic to write first.

Super glad you enjoyed.
Mariannevalagil on November 8th, 2011 06:15 pm (UTC)
Another enjoyable chapter. Well done!

I especially like how you focused on how unstable Helena really is. After everything she went through and then 100ish years in the bronze, it's amazing she is even able to function at all. It's one thing I wish the show had focused on more. Instead of casting her as this evil person out to destroy the world. I'm still amazed she didn't have to go under some rigorous psych evaluation before being reinstated.

I look forward to reading more.
Ellenanamatics on November 9th, 2011 03:42 am (UTC)
Thank you. :)

I was really trying to bring just how bad Helena had gotten - and how Myka knew and yet didn't realize it until it was spelled out to her.

I think that Helena probably did have to undergo a psych eval, but I think she's like the rest of us where she is quite mad, with long and terrible bouts of sanity in the middle. So during one her lucid periods, she was able to fool the Regents and Mrs. F.

Had the season been more than 12 episodes, or had HG come back at say episode 4 instead of 7, we probably would have seen a bit of that.
gabatron123gabatron123 on November 8th, 2011 06:31 pm (UTC)
Love it! Cannot wait for more :D
Ellenanamatics on November 9th, 2011 03:43 am (UTC)
Thanks! :) More is coming soon.
S A R A H: got - daenerystheagonyofblank on November 8th, 2011 09:56 pm (UTC)
Oh, I love Helena in this - how you've shown that she's really not okay (and who would be, really, after being Bronzed for such a long time?), and how she's trying to work through it and how Myka's trying to help her, and how she's trying by going to those sessions with a psychologist. This shows you how it could have turned out, had Helena had a little more help with adjusting to modern society. Anyway, this was very lovely; I liked that Helena could already smell apples (and still seems to be the only one of the team to have done so to this day), and I especially enjoyed the first part, where Myka is describing Univille and the Warehouse crew as her home.
Ellenanamatics on November 9th, 2011 03:44 am (UTC)
Thank you. :) I'm really glad that you've enjoyed what I've done with the story thus far.
Hraefynhraefyn on November 10th, 2011 12:09 pm (UTC)
I've read eight chapters of "Artificer & 'Phile" before I decided to stop reading. But I recently stumbled upon your LJ, and since you'd prefer people commenting if you've goofed on canon or characterisation, here I am.

I liked the earlier chapters, but I found Myka increasingly acting either very high-strung and paranoid or like a cornered animal (e.g. Ch. 4, when H.G. comes knocking on Myka's door -- even if she doesn't have friends there, it seems a bit overkill to assume the worst and draw her gun, pointing it at someone's face with the safety off). And the way she was described following Claudia and Pete (after they left her office, thinking the artefact was there) seemed to give a similar vibe, when I was reading it.

I also get the feeling that you want to make Myka a lesbian 'who had that one relationship with a man' instead of being bisexual/pansexual/whatever-she-may-identify-as -- "Myka couldn't have helped it if she tried, it always came out. She liked women better, always had. Sam was just Sam. Her best friend, a boy scout. The best sort of a guy. She supposed that there's an exception to every rule." Sam aside, Myka was quite into Kurt Smoller ("Merge with Caution") and it's not hard to read between the lines that algebra-girl!Myka had a bit of a crush on Mr. Football Captain back in high school.

Your own voice also pops up in what I felt was in a rather obvious kind of way -- e.g. She remembered this movie, she remembered how badly it had ended that time, and Myka could not help but ask: "It's not my dreams is it?". It just... doesn't really fit in the flow of the dialogue between the two, and it just sounds like it's a joke from a movie that *you* liked as a kid, not one that Myka did.

And canon-wise, I'm not sure I understand this passage:

She supposed that she would. "Helena isn't all that bad, Artie. She's out of time and I … I don't think she ever intended to wake up."

He shook his head and pulled off his glasses, rubbing his eyes tiredly. "No, there were specific instructions that her body was to be moved from warehouse to warehouse as new ones were built but she was never to be debronzed." He sighed, pushing his hands into his jacket pockets. "That was her final request."

"A time machine…" Myka breathed.


Do you mean to say H.G. intended to stay bronzed forever, or that she intended to eventually wake up, using it as a time machine of sorts? Obviously, "Vendetta" supports the 'H.G. wanted to use it as a time machine' idea, but the way you word it here makes it rather confusing.

Anyway, those are just a few of the things I noticed from my read through; if you would like I could go into more detail, but I'll wait until you respond before I go off writing more.

Ellen: HTTYD - :o?anamatics on November 10th, 2011 04:22 pm (UTC)
Regardless if the end result of your reading, thank you for commenting anyway. Your concrit is always welcome. :)

All of your objections seem to stem from one chapter, so I'll attempt to explain my meaning and thought process behind that chapter:

This is an AU. There are elements of the characters that I have changed, tweaked a little if you were. You have to imagine that this Myka never went to DC after Denver, and is in a rather emotional and wounded place because of it. The fact that she's jumpy, paranoid, and really high strung rings true to that particular moment in her life. I don't know how long it's been since you watched the pilot, but she was really high strung in that episode, which is where I took a lot of her characterization for the early chapters from.

Funny that you should mention Kurt Smoller, as he is featured in the still-in-progress Chapter 13. As a former love interest.

As for the other comment you made about Myka's sexuality. Is it so hard to believe that she might prefer women over men? I am not at all trying to erase what the show's canon has her identifying as (I think probably bisexual - because the idea of pansexuality is a little too progressive for television as of yet) but rather again point to the fact that this is an AU. It might follow canon closely, but it doesn't mean that I haven't changed a few things. Why does it really matter to your enjoyment of the story if I altered how Myka chooses to self-identify? I never actually outright state that Myka considers herself a lesbian, rather that she is predominantly attracted to women and has had a relationship with a guy in the past. A guy she loved very much, and whose death effected her deeply.

I can understand if you think my voice comes through at times, it's writing, it does happen. I debated using that line for a while, mostly because I was worried the same thing, but it isn't like that particular movie wasn't a popular film that came out during Myka's childhood or anything. I suppose that you also didn't approve of my having Myka say that she'd seen Back to the Future more than a few times? Or that I mentioned her finding Titanic romantic in high school? You have to remember that what might be considered a 'nerdy' movie by today's standards was probably not when Myka first saw it as a child - for someone to show up in the middle of the night and say that they brought you a gift - arguably the most iconic scene on that movie - I think that anyone would probably remember that line. Most people that I know make references to the movies they liked as kids all the time. *shrug* Myka had no idea that Helena was a child during the 1870s at that point in time.

As for your final comment, you mentioned that you'd read up through chapter eight. Humorously, I explained that bit a little more in Chapter Nine, but since you've decided to stop, I'll just tell you: Helena never wanted to be debronzed. Her instructions were very specific and she pretty much says that she's not there by choice. They talk a little bit more about it in Chapter Ten.

I'm really sorry that this wasn't the story for you. :( Hopefully this won't put you off my writing for good.
Hraefynhraefyn on November 10th, 2011 11:19 pm (UTC)
***PART I***

I went through Artificer and 'Phile again, with your thought processes behind it in mind:

This is an AU. There are elements of the characters that I have changed, tweaked a little if you were. You have to imagine that this Myka never went to DC after Denver, and is in a rather emotional and wounded place because of it. The fact that she's jumpy, paranoid, and really high strung rings true to that particular moment in her life. I don't know how long it's been since you watched the pilot, but she was really high strung in that episode, which is where I took a lot of her characterization for the early chapters from.

All right. Granted, I was thinking more along the lines of present Myka in the TV series, and being jumpy and high-strung does make sense as an extension of what we see her being like in the pilot. I still think pointing a gun at someone just because someone knocks on her door unexpectedly is a bit overkill, but personal preferences and artistic licence and all that. It's just that you seem to dislike AUs so intensely (from your beta profile) that I suppose I assumed you wouldn't really tweak them all that much (beyond the differences in the effects of events in life they face, AU and in canon).

As for the other comment you made about Myka's sexuality. Is it so hard to believe that she might prefer women over men?

Honestly? I think she either likes men and women both without any special preference, or doesn't care at all (though you make a good point about pansexuality being too progressive for TV as yet), or is HG-sexual. Nothing in canon seems to suggest that she might prefer women over men beyond being completely head over heels for H.G. (and as amazing as H.G. is, she can hardly stand for several or all women representatively).

but rather again point to the fact that this is an AU. It might follow canon closely, but it doesn't mean that I haven't changed a few things.

Of course, I agree completely that as the writer, you're free to interpret the characters as you wish, and should have all the more freedom in an AU. But do recall that you ask people to point out goofs on canon, and I can hardly begin to read your mind on what's considered a goof and what isn't.

Why does it really matter to your enjoyment of the story if I altered how Myka chooses to self-identify? I never actually outright state that Myka considers herself a lesbian, rather that she is predominantly attracted to women and has had a relationship with a guy in the past.

Well... not to be difficult, but it *does* matter somewhat to my enjoyment of the story -- as a lesbian, I've read and been irked by too many sudden changes in sexuality in fanfiction to count. What my question comes down to is probably this -- do you *want* Myka to be predominantly attracted to women (vs. no-preference type of bisexuality, or predominantly attracted to men), and is it dictating how you characterise her (rather than what's available in canon)? I mean, in the larger scheme of things I probably don't really care either way how Myka self-identifies in your story, but I write, and as one writer to another I'm asking you this question. And yes, I know you haven't outright stated that Myka considers herself a lesbian (at least up to what I've read), but coupled with Myka decided that she might as well tease back; "In case you didn't notice, I don't swing that way." and the fact that I've really found nothing in canon that supports "predominantly attracted to women", it seems like a reasonable question to put toward someone who wants to receive constructive criticism.





Also, as I went through the story again, I noticed these things, and thought I would point them out -- since they include typos and the like, and even though it's not exactly what you said you were looking for (canon and characterisation), I'm guessing and hoping it is going to be welcomed.

(Note: I'll write my suggestions out even when it's blatantly obvious in order to keep it in a consistent format.)

Prelude

Its dark, your eyes hurt even under the blanket covering you

--> It's
Hraefynhraefyn on November 10th, 2011 11:21 pm (UTC)
***PART II***



"You are going to help me change the world," The man says, his voice is quiet, almost angst ridden.

--> angst-ridden

Ch. 1

There were other points that she was looking for, the subject of this particular paper was fairly open-ended.

--> comma splice

"Sorry, did I startle you?" She spoke in a cultured accent, British and probably as well educated as they come, given her choice of reading material.

--> well-educated

The dark haired woman uncurled further

--> dark-haired

"How do you find it?" Helena asked, one elegantly arched eyebrow climbing higher up her brow. Her lips twitched, the blank expression turning privately bemused quickly.

Myka had gone to school to learn how to read people as well as she read books. She had spent a lifetime wondering why she understood the dusty words of long-dead men better than she could comprehend a beautiful woman. She had no answers but a closed-off smile of her own for Helena; she was in no mood to share her life's story at this point in time.

Sam… He came unbidden to the forefront of her mind again.

--> I'm not sure I get this part; it seems like H.G.'s talking about "How do you find 19th century literature", but Myka's thought processes seem to jump from that to 'I don't feel like sharing my life story'. It isn't until after that she replies with "Far better than today's, for the most part," Myka explained with a shrug.

"My surname name is also Wells," Helena mused, pushing The Invisible Man back into its place on the shelf with a drawn out gesture with her wrist that was almost obscene.

--> drawn-out
You don't seem to like hyphening words. I'm usually mindful of differernces in style and writing (I can't help but think how silly people are to argue about putting the period inside or outside quotation marks) but I think hyphening words that serve as adjectives is fairly universal. Do correct me if I'm wrong though.

Myka swallowed, hotly. Helena was a beautiful woman, that gesture had implied things about her that Myka was not sure she was ready to interoperate the signals of just yet.

--> interpret?

It was nearly four thirty when Helena pulled a pocket watch out of her vest pocket and flipped it open

--> hyphenation when telling time seems to go either way, but I rather point it out now than have to look for it again.

She was not actually all that sorry, not when she'd spent the afternoon having a most electrifying and intellectually stimulating discussion of some of her favorite novels.

--> I don't want to point each one out, not when I don't know if you're going to change them or leave them as is, so I'm just going to leave the non-hyphenated adjectives for you to decide what to do with.

"I shall endeavor, 'twixt now and next time we meet, to acquire some."

--> H.G.'s manner of speech sounds *very* stilted this whole part in Ch. 1, even considering she's from around 1866 - 1899. "Twixt", according to one of the sources I personally consulted when writing H.G.'s lines, doesn't see usage in print beyond the early 1800s (1802, even).
It might work if H.G. affects datedness on purpose (like when someone now might spontaneously speak in Early Modern English a la Shakespeare), but it seems unlikely H.G. would want to date her speech on purpose.

Helena smiled and gave a small wave, turning on her heel and leaving with soft footfalls on creaky floorboards. Myka's fingers trailed over the pace where Helena had kissed her hand, watching her as she left.

--> place

Ch. 2

He was probably watching youtube

--> YouTube
Hraefynhraefyn on November 10th, 2011 11:23 pm (UTC)
***PART III***



The class resumed, Myka had begun to discuss the historical background of Jules Verne, and when he had written Around the World in Eighty Days.

[...]

Sometimes, Myka wished such fantastic devices really existed, she would love a chance to go back in time and try and save Sam from his fate.

--> comma splices again. I don't know if this is a stylistic choice or not, and I've already ignored all comma splices in dialogue (since dialogue shouldn't read like a style manual).

The janitors were all universally good about re-locking professor's doors when they were done with their weekly vacuum and daily removal of trash.

--> professors'

"Shall we go in, then?" Helena asked, her lips pulling upwards into a bemused smile as Myka allowed her hand to be ever so briefly held.

--> Your usage of 'bemused' here doesn't seem to fit either dictionary definition of the word, unlike your usage in an earlier chapter. Personally, I avoid this word like the plague as fanfiction writers in general have made me lose all grasp of what this word even means; its denotation seems so far removed from what I *think* it means that I don't even bother anymore.

The door to the Starbucks opened and a stockbroker barreled his way between them, not even bothering to look back and over his shoulder as Myka flipped him off and turned to Helena. "I hate New Yorkers."

--> Open to interpretation, I suppose, but Myka doesn't really seem like the flipping-people-off type to me.

She listed for a few minutes and then inclined her head slightly into the phone.

--> listened

Ch. 3

The urn went back onto the shelf and she turned on its display carefully, eyeing it as it came on line.

--> online

She was going to have to do something about that, she was still recovering from the fact that Artie fucking died (and was resurrected).

--> I find Claudia swears a little more than necessary overall. It doesn't ring true to her Warehouse 13 personality, and while it could be argued that meddling executives don't want swearing on a 'family show' (as it's marketed), Myka does on occasion swear (e.g. calling H.G. a bitch in "Reset", I think). And this is, of course, even considering the fact that, well, Artie had fucking died. I point this out since (from a cursory skim through your posts) you seem to use profanity somewhat freely (well, not every other word, but you know what I mean), and I can't help but think it's something that you would tend toward rather than Claudia would. (Note that I don't mean Claudia's swearing restricted to this quote, but in general -- perhaps this would better illustrate my point "They all jumped, pretty much in unison. Claudia hissed quietly under her breath, wishing that she knew how Mrs. Frederic managed to fucking apparate in and out of the Warehouse. She was going to find a way to rig up a warning system, a bell or something. Anything to keep Mrs. F from scaring the everloving shit out of everyone when they were trying to have a meeting.")
And... does Claudia read Harry Potter?

made-up university that took the place of every other college in New York City on Law and Order;she didn't think it was an actual place.

--> Space after semicolon.

"Yes, it does exist. It's a really small school is all," Artie sniffed

--> Artie doesn't seem like a ", is all" type of person. I kind of have trouble imagining him saying this line.

For serious, how many artifacts where there that made you good at a dumb sport like squash?

--> were
Snuffsnuffnyc on November 11th, 2011 03:21 am (UTC)
There's helpful criticism, and then there's needless nitpicking. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but yours falls into the latter category. In case it wasn't readily apparent.

The author appears to have solicited the help of readers in catching any egregious mistakes, not a 20 page (should this be hyphenated? Do I care? I'm on the fence) diatribe.

Relax and enjoy the (very obvious) effort of a pretty talented writer, or don't read. Or at the very least spare everyone else this breathtaking display of uselessness. Writing is an art, and in a lot of ways, "rules" don't always apply. Yes, grammar and spelling are important, but holy christ, give that fine-toothed comb a rest.
Hraefynhraefyn on November 10th, 2011 11:24 pm (UTC)
***PART IV***



I think he traded him a warm meal and a night with a slave – but that's neither here nor there and rather reprehensible regardless…"

--> Artie doesn't seem like he'd make the aside "and rather reprehensible regardless"; it sounds more like your voice than his. Artie has a preponderance toward "facting" (don't know if you've tuned in to the episode commentaries or to the Comic Con panel), but I think he doesn't really talk about his view on the things he's facting like this.

I'll leave checking for things here, at the end of Ch. 3 for the moment, and see how you stand on different positions (e.g. hyphenation, characterisation) and adjust my feedback accordingly. (e.g. Personally, I'm happily guilty of the "smiles don't speak" error -- like "But of course," Helena smiled. instead of "But of course." Helena smiled. since I feel there's an added layer of nuanced *something* that I don't get from the latter.)

Okay, never mind, I can't do it -- after reading something I noticed and now want to comment on, not commenting on it drives me to distraction.

Onward to Ch. 4.

She'd gotten a phone call on Tuesday while she was teaching from a blocked number and a brief message from Helena saying that she was back from London but that she had unexpected business to attend to in the Midwest and that she would call again when she had just a bit more time.

--> I would personally reword this whole sentence, since putting "while she was teaching" next to "from a blocked number" sounds rather odd; I would suggest something like... She'd gotten a phone call from a blocked number on Tuesday while she was teaching and received a brief message from Helena. It said she was back from London but had unexpected business to attend to in the Midwest, and that she would call again when she had just a bit more time.

She craved it; the mundane of this job and of teaching in general did nothing for her.

--> Mundane is an adjective, not a noun. I personally wish there were a word like "mundanity", but there's just 'mundaneness' (which sounds mundane in and of itself). Or maybe you would like to use a different word all together? Might be a good idea since you use the word 'mundane' again three paragraphs down in any case.

they were far more interested in poets or Dickens or boring stuff that Myka had read once and had no intention of ever re-reading.

--> Doesn't seem very Myka-y to have her say "boring stuff". Again, it sounds like your voice rather than Myka's -- I would argue Myka probably sees merit in whatever literature you've lumped under "boring stuff", but may personally find other works more interesting rather than being so, I don't know, dismissive of it. Considering she was raised in a bookstore and that she indignantly likened SPOILER FOR "Emily Lake/Stand" -->killing H.G. to burning down a library with a friend inside<--, she probably wouldn't be that dismissive. (Even though I found Great Expectations rather boring myself. Its only saving grace was Estella, and the original ending. The revised ending is probably as bad as they come.)

"I've brought you a gift, sweet Myka."

--> Overall and characterwise (i.e. not limited to this quote), H.G. seems a little sappier than I remembered her. H.G. seems a lot more romantic in Artificer & 'Phile than the swaggering/femme fatale H.G. who's 'charmed' everyone but Oscar Wilde back in the 1890s.

"I do not know when I will be called away again; consider it a keepsake from me to you."

--> I don't know what you're going for, but not contracting H.G.'s words to affect stiltedness doesn't really seem the way to go. I'm not an authority on how English people spoke in the 1890s, but at the very least it doesn't sound much like Warehouse 13 H.G.
Hraefynhraefyn on November 10th, 2011 11:25 pm (UTC)
***PART V*** (final)

Her cell phone rang and she turned to pick it up from where she'd left it on the kitchen table last night. It was Professor Jefferies' number, and Myka sighed theatrically before answering.

--> Myka doesn't seem like a theatrical sigher of sorts.

"Get off him, lady," The female voice said and Myka turned her head quickly, hair clouding her vision as she found herself face to face with what had to have been a toy gun.

The girl behind it, Claudia, was small in stature and had short red hair with a bright green streak dyed into it. Her clothes were tight and her boots sensible, Myka was impressed, considering she looked way too young to even be in possession of a gun. She couldn't have been much younger than Myka's students, if not their age. "Now," she added, lip curling upwards.

--> Since Myka is that high-strung, why would she listen to a girl not much older than her own students, who seems to be holding nothing more than a toy gun?

The Ch. 4 interactions of Pete, Claudia, Myka and Artie seem to be slightly out of character as well. It's hard to pinpoint specifically, but there are small things that add up to that feeling, like Claudia scowling at how it's rude to eavesdrop, or Myka waving sheepishly at Artie while he glares.

Myka knew the secret service – there was a good chance that they were part of one of those special task forces that dealt with specific threats to national security and the like.

--> The vagueness of this sentence doesn't seem to be very Myka-like. I would suggest looking up one of those special task forces and listing a name or two to sound more convincingly Myka.

Myka feet skidded to a halt and she grabbed Pete's shoulder to keep herself from falling. They crouched behind a bookshelf and Pete pulled out a gun similar to the one that Claudia had had earlier. "What are you doing!" Myka hissed, grabbing his arm. "You can't shoot them, they're kids."

--> Myka's reaction to a Tesla that she knows nothing about still doesn't make much sense to me.

Hrm, writing all that took a lot more time than I anticipated. I think I'll have to wait till I get to Ch. 8 (and perhaps beyond) to address the other things that you've mentioned.

And hearing about your thought processes behind Ch. 4 (the reason why most of the things I mentioned came from that chapter is because I was pretty much only looking at that chapter when I wrote the comment) makes Myka's characterisation more reasonable, I think. Artificer & 'Phile is the first that I've read from you, but I do hope to read some of your other writing as it's not often that I see someone with a) decent writing and b) that many overlapping interests/fandoms as mine --

  • Mai-HiME -- I like Shizuru/Natsuki and Natsuki/Nao (or well, pretty much any pairing that's well written);

  • Mahou Shoujo Nanoha -- NanoFate is always a favourite;

  • PGSM -- I adore Rei x Minako to bits. They're *the* cutest couple ever, and as canon as anything right after Haruka and Michiru. Not to mention Kitagawa Keiko (Rei's actress) makes the most adorable-est sixteen-year-old I've ever seen;

  • Harry Potter -- I ship Hermione/Fleur and Hermione/Luna myself;

  • Rizzoli & Isles -- loved season one, and got increasingly exasperated with season two's "Look, I'm soooo heterosexual, but I'm going to say these obviously fanservice lines because I want to pander to both fundies and the people who love the ridiculous levels of chemistry that we've turned into 'fake gay' between us that makes this show so successful!";

  • Warehouse 13 -- and of course, H.G. and Myka.


Anyway. That's it for now. I would've preferred using e-mail for these ridiculously long comments, but I couldn't find an e-mail address from you on FF.net or LJ.

Sorry, but your comment of 20085 characters exceeds the maximum character length of 4300. Please go back, shorten it, and try posting it again.

Snort. Breaking the comment up into five parts, it is then. *wry*
Ellen: HiME - Fujino buh?anamatics on November 11th, 2011 03:42 am (UTC)
Lol My email is there on ff.net, you just have to go looking for it. I keep it hidden away. You could have also PMed me on that site, but here is fine. :D

Thank you for your comments, I'll take them under advisement and respond to a few here. I don't want to clutter up the page for anyone else who is reading the fic and just wants to comment. But no worries, I'll take them to heart.

1. We seem to have a lot of interests in common, there's a great deal of fic on my LJ, just read back if you don't believe me. Follow the tags for more stuff.

It's just that you seem to dislike AUs so intensely (from your beta profile) that I suppose I assumed you wouldn't really tweak them all that much (beyond the differences in the effects of events in life they face, AU and in canon).

Nah, the AUs that I hate are like look, they're vampires, in Russia, in 1830. Where the only similarity is the name. No, a good AU to me diverges from canon, or keeps canon as closely as possible. I realize, as I write more and more of A&P that it's more AU than I had initially wanted it to be. But at the same time, it still keeps with the canon pretty closely.

Re: The sexuality question - Yes, I would love it if she was predominantly attracted to women. And seriously, if you're irked by sudden sexuality changes in fanfiction, you probably shouldn't be reading femslash, as it's chalk full of that shit. There is nothing in canon to suggest that Myka is anything other than straight. She might have some serious subtext with HG, but that's just that, subtext. The only text she's had canonly up until this point is with men. So Myka is straight, per canon.

Now, in an AU where I'm writing a slightly different Myka, one whose father was not quite as nice as he was in the show and one who has probably a few more control issues than she should - can I imagine her being more confident in her sexuality? Yes. Can I imagine her potentially realizing, say, back in college, that she's usually attracted to women, yes I can indeed.

I am dating a man at present, if I were to say that I was bisexual would to be dishonest. I'm really not attracted to men, this is just how the cards shook out. Myka fell in love with Sam, and ideally it shouldn't matter. This isn't Star Trek Fanfiction though, you can't just write characters not giving a shit when they clearly probably do. Bisexuality isn't that fluid either, most people have a preference one way or the other.

You mention that you've found HG's dialogue to be rather stilted, it's done intentionally. She relaxes a bit once she's acclimated more to the 21st century, but she's literally just been debronzed and is wandering around NYC. I did research and was britpicked and basically that was what came out, linguistically. That particular line I did agonize over for a while, but eventually kept it because it just sounded nice. *shrug* And sure, this HG is more of a romantic, but that's okay, we never actually see HG trying to woo someone on the show. She's just being awesome, evil and badass on the show. She never had a love interest other than hella subtext with Myka. I can see HG being quite romantic when she puts her mind to it.

Re: Claudia. Sorry if you don't like it, that's how I see her going, me and
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Lol My email is there on ff.net, you just have to go looking for it. I keep it hidden away. You could have also PMed me on that site, but here is fine. :D

Thank you for your comments, I'll take them under advisement and respond to a few here. I don't want to clutter up the page for anyone else who is reading the fic and just wants to comment. But no worries, I'll take them to heart.

1. We seem to have a lot of interests in common, there's a great deal of fic on my LJ, just read back if you don't believe me. Follow the tags for more stuff.

<i>It's just that you seem to dislike AUs so intensely (from your beta profile) that I suppose I assumed you wouldn't really tweak them all that much (beyond the differences in the effects of events in life they face, AU and in canon).</i>

Nah, the AUs that I hate are like look, they're vampires, in Russia, in 1830. Where the only similarity is the name. No, a good AU to me diverges from canon, or keeps canon as closely as possible. I realize, as I write more and more of A&P that it's more AU than I had initially wanted it to be. But at the same time, it still keeps with the canon pretty closely.

Re: The sexuality question - Yes, I would love it if she was predominantly attracted to women. And seriously, if you're irked by sudden sexuality changes in fanfiction, you probably shouldn't be reading femslash, as it's chalk full of that shit. There is nothing in canon to suggest that Myka is anything other than straight. She might have some serious subtext with HG, but that's just that, subtext. The only text she's had canonly up until this point is with men. So Myka is straight, per canon.

Now, in an AU where I'm writing a slightly different Myka, one whose father was not quite as nice as he was in the show and one who has probably a few more control issues than she should - can I imagine her being more confident in her sexuality? Yes. Can I imagine her potentially realizing, say, back in college, that she's usually attracted to women, yes I can indeed.

I am dating a man at present, if I were to say that I was bisexual would to be dishonest. I'm really not attracted to men, this is just how the cards shook out. Myka fell in love with Sam, and ideally it shouldn't matter. This isn't Star Trek Fanfiction though, you can't just write characters not giving a shit when they clearly probably do. Bisexuality isn't that fluid either, most people have a preference one way or the other.

You mention that you've found HG's dialogue to be rather stilted, it's done intentionally. She relaxes a bit once she's acclimated more to the 21st century, but she's literally just been debronzed and is wandering around NYC. I did research and was britpicked and basically that was what came out, linguistically. That particular line I did agonize over for a while, but eventually kept it because it just sounded nice. *shrug* And sure, this HG is more of a romantic, but that's okay, we never actually see HG trying to woo someone on the show. She's just being awesome, evil and badass on the show. She never had a love interest other than hella subtext with Myka. I can see HG being quite romantic when she puts her mind to it.

Re: Claudia. Sorry if you don't like it, that's how I see her going, me and <lj-user="spockette"> talked about this a bit and we both see Claudia having a pretty foul mouth. Also yeah she's read Harry Potter, the girl drops BSG references like nobody's business, is super nerdy in general and hell, even Pete makes canon references to HP. So yeah, pretty much every 19 year old I know has read Harry Potter. I wrote a 50 page long senior thesis paper about the millennial generation and the overarching effects of readership (Something like 85% of all of that generational group has read at least one of the books or seen a movie) on their politics and political views. I know that shit. Claudia is the 85%.

The other comments that you've made are good, I'll look into them. So thank you. :)
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