The new command center was a pleasant surprise to everyone. Sara called in a few favors. She and Gary had been secretly working on the setup for months. She knew that they wouldn’t be able to rely on the Waverider forever; this was always going to be plan B.
Waverly has been researching Anna Traske and getting familiar with the new equipment.
Nicole is nervous but excited to be going on her first mission with Sara. “Waves, you’ve been at this all morning, why don’t you take a break, come and sit with me.” She rubs Waverly’s shoulders. “Besides, I need a little distraction from my nerves.”
Waverly follows her to a nearby table where they sit.
“Baby, everything will be fine. It’s not like you to be nervous. What’s going on?” Waverly sees the concern on Nicole’s face and immediately wants to comfort her.
“I’m not sure, I think it’s the thought of time travel, and I’m not the biggest fan of flying, but I really want to experience this, I’m just a little scared but in a good way.”
Waverly takes Nicole’s hands, looks straight into her eyes and tells her, “You’re so brave for doing this. I’m sure it will be amazing. I’m so proud of you, Baby.”
“Thank you for being my stability, Waves.”
“It’s my pleasure. You always do that for me, now it’s my turn.”
They share a soft kiss.
Sara, Ava and Gary emerge from an elevator, its door hidden behind a secret panel. They’re coming back from running some last minute checks on the WR2.
Sara motions for everyone to gather near the bank of consoles. “Ok, let’s get this show on the road. Waverly, what else did you find on our mystery woman?”
Waverly slips into a chair, grabbing a keyboard, she takes control. “Anna Traske, born in Utah in 1979, her father, Doctor Benson Traske, was a brilliant geneticist and her mother, Alice, worked as a law professor for the University of Utah.” Waverly quickly taps on the keyboard and then points to the overhead displays where a photo of a young woman appears. “Anna was a child genius, graduating from the University at the ripe old age of 17 with two master’s degrees and was promptly recruited into the prestigious genetics program at the University of Helsinki, Finland where she would go on to earn her PHD a few years later. Looks like the whole family moved to Finland in support of her.”
“Impressive, anything else?” Sara asks.
Waverly calls up some documents on the screen. “She and her father were working together on a pretty incredible discovery. Without getting into the details, along with their work on cloning, Benson also published papers, on what he called a serum, that could significantly slow the aging process, if not stop it all together. Seems he was also discredited and the whole family, Anna, Alice and Benson disappeared a short time later. The reports are sketchy after that, but it doesn’t look like the police spent much time looking for them.”
“Great work Waverly.” Sara praises her.
Ava paces “Okay, so two brilliant scientists develop cloning and discover the fountain of youth, then mysteriously disappear. So it’s a good bet that Rip is involved, he must take them to the future where they’re forced to work for the evil corporation.”
“Evil?” Sara gives her a raised eyebrow grin.
Gary joins in, “Then when things start to go wrong, Rip tries to correct his mistake and isn’t successful. But 11 times? Is this like a ‘Groundhog Day’ situation?” Ava gives him a puzzled look. “You know that movie where Bill Murray gets stuck in a loop and has to relive the same day over and over again.”
“Oh, I love that movie.” Nicole replies.
“Ah, hey guys, we have an incoming call. Looks like its Ray.” Waverly tells them.
Sara hits a few keys and Ray appears on their display.
“Hey everyone, sorry to interrupt your pre-mission prep, but there’s something you should know Sara.”
“Go ahead Ray.” She answers.
“I was running some more tests on your blood sample and it looks like the serum you were injected with has somehow altered your DNA.”
Ava moves closer to Sara and asks, “Altered how? I thought the Nanites neutralized the serum?”
“They did, but not before some of it got into her blood stream.”
“So what does this mean Ray?” Sara sounds slightly annoyed.
“I’m not exactly sure. It looks like your cells are regenerating at a slightly faster rate than usual. It could be nothing but it could also mean that you might heal faster than the normal. How do you feel? Have you noticed anything different?”
“I feel fine, great actually.” She winks at Ava.
“Could this have anything to do with the research that Anna and her father were working on?” Nicole asks.
Waverly speaks up. “Good questions, Baby. Ray, I’ll send you everything we have on Anna and her father’s work.”
“Okay, sounds good. I’ll run some more tests, but it would help if we had a sample of the original serum. In the meantime, keep an eye out for anything unusual.”
“Thanks Ray.” Sara tells him.
The display goes dark.
“Babe, are you sure you’re up for this? Maybe we should wait until we know what’s going on?” Ava knows what Sara’s answer will be. She’s not about to let anything stop her now.
“It’s all good. I’m fine, really. Beside, Officer Haught will be there with me just in case.” She smiles at Nicole who looks like she could throw up at any minute.
Gary hands them both a small earpiece and a device resembling a smartwatch.
“What’s this?” Sara questions him.
“That is your new coms unit. It will also monitor your vital signs and it tells time too.” He helps Nicole place the earpiece in her ear. “Just press here to talk to us, and then here when you want to see the menu. It’s pretty simple to use. I just need to make a few adjustments for personalization and you will be good to go.” He types feverishly on his handheld tablet. “And…done.”
“Alright, enough stalling, it’s time to go.” Sara says impatiently.
“Not so fast Lance.” Ava grabs and kisses her. “Please be careful. You haven’t done this sort of thing in a while; it’s a new ship and Nicole’s first time. Don’t do anything stupid. Okay?”
Sara grins, “When have I ever done…yeah…never mind. I promise to be smart this time.” She kisses Ava. “Haught, say your good-byes, it’s time to go.”
Nicole still looks a little green. Waverly hugs her, “You’ve got this baby. You’re my strong warrior. Promise me you’ll come back in one piece.” She smiles before kissing her.
Nicole nods and follows Sara to the secret elevator, awkwardly waving as the doors close.
Ava chuckles, “Is she alright?”
Waverly tries to distract herself from the momentary panic setting in, “Oh, yeah, she’s fine, just a little nervous but she’ll get over it soon enough.” She glances at Ava before continuing, “So how long does it usually take to travel thru time?”
“Gideon,” Sara calls out.
“Yes Captain Lance?” The AI responds.
Nicole is alarmed at the sound of the familiar voice. “Wait, what’s going on?”
Sara touches her arm. “It’s okay, I had the same reaction. This is a new version of the AI, Ray just reused the voice code. It’s sort of like Siri or Alexa. You know how they all sound the same?”
Waverly chimes in over the coms, “It’s a good thing you explained that Sara, I was just about to pull the plug on this little mission, there’s no way that evil computer was gonna get near my fiancée.”
“Down girl, we’ve got this,” Sara chuckles. “Gideon, plot a course for Finland, the year is 2002.”
“Yes Captain.” Gideon responds.
“Buckle up Haught, here we go. See you on the other side Base.”
Waverly slumps in her chair.
Ava assures her, “The blackout won’t last long. As soon as they pass thru the temporal zone we’ll be able to talk to them again.”
Seconds pass, Waverly holds her breath.
The coms crackle then go silent.
Waverly paces the floor.
More seconds pass.
Waverly bites at her bottom lip.
Even more seconds pass.
The coms crackle again.
“WR2 to Base, can you hear me” Sara’s voice is the first they hear.
“Sara, we can hear you.” Ava confirms.
“Nicole?” Waverly anxiously waits for a reply.
“maH naDev 'oH? toH ghe''or?” Nicole is startled by the sound of her own voice.
Waverly looks at Gary, “Was that..?”
“Klingon. Yes.” Gary confirms.
“Ah yeah, we forgot to tell you about the space sickness. It sometimes happens during time travel. It’ll wear off in a few seconds.” Sara pats Nicole on the back.
“Wow! That was a head rush.” Nicole quickly regains function of her brain.
“Are you okay baby?” Waverly needs confirmation.
“I’m good Waves, nothing to worry about.” Nicole wipes her brow and steadies her breathing.
“Alright then, Gideon, see if you can locate Anna Traske.” Sara hands Nicole a small knife. “Take this, you probably won’t need it but it’s better to be prepared.”
Nicole nods and takes the weapon. “So how does this work, I mean do we just find this woman and start asking her questions?”
Sara realizes she hasn’t thought things thru. “We probably need some sort of a cover.”
“You could pose as journalist. Say you’re there to interview them for a science magazine from the states?” Waverly suggests.
“That’s perfect.” Sara is pleased.
“Captain, I have a possible location on Miss Traske, it seems she and her father spend most of their time in the lab at the University. That would be the most logical place to look first.”
“You ready?” Sara checks with Nicole one last time before they exit the ship. “Just follow my lead. We don’t want to interact with too many people and only stay as long as we need to. Messing with history can have disastrous consequences as we have already learned. We won’t make that mistake again.”
They easily find the campus and begin their search. Nicole’s nervous jitters have turned into excitement. “Wow, I guess 2002 doesn’t really look that much different from the present.” She and Sara continue to walk.
“So, we know what Anna looks like but how will we know if we see her father or mother?” Sara asks the team.
Gary works next to Waverly. “I’m sending their pictures to you right now.”
“And I’m sending you walking directions to their lab,” Waverly adds.
“And both of you please be careful.” Ava adds.
They find the science building thanks to Waverly’s directions.
Inside, Nicole quietly follows Sara thru the dimly lit hallways. “This place is like a maze,” she whispers.
They reach the wing that houses all of the laboratories and find the door marked Dr. Traske.
Sara tries the knob, “Locked, we’ll have to find another way in.”
They turn to see a slender middle aged man approaching. They recognize him as he gets closer, “Can I help you?” he asks.
Sara flashes a smile, “Doctor Traske? Hi, we’re journalist and we were wondering if we could ask you and your daughter a few questions about your research.”
He pushes past them and unlocks his office door. “I’m sorry, I’m a very busy man and my office is closed for the day. You’ll have to come back tomorrow and make an appointment with my assistant.” He swiftly enters the room, closing the door behind him.
“Well, he’s not very friendly.” Waverly mumbles.
“We didn’t come here to have a door shut in our faces.” Sara turns the knob and enters the room, Nicole follows.
The room is large but empty. Its dark except for an overhead light near the back just above an exit sign, a second entrance Sara makes note. It smells of chemicals and sulfur, as if someone just blew out a match.
“We’re in. No sign of the Doctor or Anna.” Sara reports.
Ava pleads, “Just please, be careful.” She has a sinking feeling that something will go wrong.
Gary suggests, “See if you can find a sample of the serum. Sounds like Ray could use it.”
Sara finds a table full of glass vials holding varied colors of liquids, a microscope and what looks like some random notes and papers. She snaps some pictures with her wrist unit, “I’m sending you their notes.”
Nicole opens a small cabinet, inside are more vials, she finds one marked ‘Anti-Age Final’. “Hey, Sara, take a look at this.” She holds it up.
“Great, grab that and let’s get out of here.”
Suddenly the door in the back of the room swings open and the Doctor and another man enter. They’re talking and don’t notice Sara and Nicole ducking down behind a nearby cabinet.
They stop in the center of the room.
The Doctor speaks, “I understand what you are asking, but I’m not sure Anna will. She has only done this to save her mother; it’s not to be used for any other purpose.”
“Please, it is imperative that we get it, there are so many more people we can help.” The other man tells him.
“I will talk to her, Mr. Hunter.”
Gary whispers, “IS THAT...?”
Ava completes the sentence, “RIP?!”