Chapter 1: The Hindenburg
May 6, 1937
The streets of Manhattan were swarming with people. Wingtip shoes scampered throughout the sidewalks. Everyone in New York seemed to be in a hurry until a monstrous shadow stopped them. The crowd looked up to see a gigantic airship, a behemoth zeppelin to be exact. They were calling it the Hindenburg and it was glorious. The ship was two and a half football fields long, bigger than the U.S. capital, and hovering triumphantly above the skyline.
On board the ship, the Doehner family grinned with excitement as they looked down at the Big Apple from 1200 feet up. The top of the Empire State building lingered nearby, seemingly close enough to touch. Ships in the New York Harbor blew steam and whistled in celebration of the ships arrival and the family grinned wider, knowing that this was a once in a lifetime experience.
The Hindenburg had been praised for it’s remarkable Atlantic crossing just three days earlier, so the people of New York were elated to see it hovering over their Manhattan streets. The ship hadn’t originally meant to go this course but it’s landing in Lakehurst had to be postponed because of afternoon thunderstorms, leaving the passengers to instead get a tour of Manhattan island and the seaside of New Jersey.
It wasn’t until 6:22 PM that the captain finally received notice that the storms had passed. Directing the ship back to Lakehurst, he could now begin the landing. Ground crew scrambled into position in the drizzling, overcast weather as the Hindenburg prepared to land. “Lassen Sie die Landelinien,” said Captain Pruss, commanding his crew to release the landing lines.
Mooring lines drop down from the Zeppelin and onto the rain soaked earth. The grounds crewmen picked the ropes up and dragged them across the wet grass. A woman skipped happily over one of them, eagerly holding a camera. She was dressed modernly for the time, not in a common dress or skirt but in loose pocketed pants and high boots. She conveyed the aura of an adventurer, someone who didn’t like to follow the rules and was fascinated by the world.
“Are you supposed to be this close?” a crew member questioned.
“Probably not,” Kate replied with a charming smile.
The man didn’t say anything. He just looked up at the Hindenburg with awe. “You believe
something this big actually flies?”
“Men,” she smirked. “Always obsessed with how big something is,” and with that
statement, she moved closer, almost directly underneath the ship in order to get a photo.
Meanwhile, in the press area outside the Lakehurst Naval Base, WSL Radio Reporter,
Herb Morrison was recording the voice-over for the later newsreel coverage. “It's practically standing still now. They've dropped ropes out of the nose of the ship, and they've been taken a hold of down on the field by a number of men-”
Kate continued to snap pictures below. “-It's starting to rain again, it's- the rain has slacked up a little bit-”
The passengers inside watched as the ground grew closer. “-The back motors of the ship are just holding it just, just enough to keep it from-”
A spark ignited inside the metal hull.
The zap ignited a hydrogen cell.
An explosion rocked the ship, sending flames high into the sky. A panic set in almost instantaneously as the ship began to be engulfed in fire. Herb didn’t stop his recordings, however, he continued to narrate the horrific event although his voice grew steadily more frantic. “It burst into flames! It burst into flames, and it's falling, it's crashing! Watch it, watch it! Get out of the way! Get this, Charlie! Get this, Charlie! It's fire-” he shouted toward his engineer and cameraman.
Everyone inside was jolted sideways as the ship began to crash. “Mama!” children cried as fire began to spread. “-and it's crashing! It's crashing terrible! Oh, my, get out of the way, please! It's burning and bursting into flames, and the-”
Captain Pruss fought to control the ship as the grounds workers began sprinting away to safety from the falling debris. The ship was now only 15 feet off the ground. “-and it's falling on the mooring mast and all the folks agree that this is terrible, this is one of the worst catastrophes in the world!-”
Men fell off the ship, some on fire themselves, and Kate, who had been frozen at the scene, gasped and ran away to safety as the twisted metal hull descended on her like a fly swatter. “-It's a terrific crash, ladies and gentlemen, and the frame is crashing to the ground, not quite to the mooring-mast-”
However, Kate couldn’t run fast enough no matter how hard she tried. The flaming hull crashed down on her, killing her instantly.
“-Oh, the humanity!”
California, Present Day
“You’re cancelling my tenure hearing?!” Spencer Reid asked, outraged at the man standing before him outside of the ornate ‘Diana Reid Auditorium’ of U.C.L.A.
“It’s not me” Lyger responded uncomfortably.
“You’re department chair!”
“It’s the Tenure Committee,” he sighed, before ushering Reid away, not wanting to make a scene. “now can we just-”
“Don’t!” Spencer yelled, his initial shock turning into anger. “I have busted my ass off for tenure! For years!”
Lyger’s eyes widened, knowing the history professor only swore when he was extremely upset. “The Committee’s got issues with your curriculum,” he tried to explain.
“My classes are packed,” reid responded, puzzled. “There’s a waiting list-”
“Right” Lyger rolled his eyes. “So that they could learn about how “George Washington grew Cannabis.” or how “James Buchanan was likely our first gay president?” or how “Catherine the Great loved porn?”” He questioned in an accusatory tone.
“So I shouldn’t tell the truth?” asked Spencer, growing more upset.
“Of course you should, just a bit more traditional, that’s all,” he responded. “The Committee wants you to fit in with the rest of the Department,”
That sentence sent a pain of hurt through the young professor, however, he quickly replaced it with rage. “My Mother built this Department!” he exclaimed. “Made it world class. There’s no way she’d put up with this” he paused. “The real truth? You could push this through if you wanted,”
Lyger had no response.
Reid looked at the older man with an expression of determination. “I’m going to fight this,”
“Please don’t,” Lyger sighed. “You know history. Don’t pick a battle you can’t win,”
“Well, you know me,” Spencer retorted, before promptly walking off.
“April?” Spencer called as he got home. He set his things down and wandered into his mother’s room. Reid could barely stand the sight of his mother now. She was sick and far too thin, lying unconscious on her bed, and oxygen mask keeping her alive. A tangle of tubes from her body.
Sitting in the corner was his younger sister, April. She looked tired. Taking care of their mother took its toll. “Hi,” she greeted with a youthful smile, although her eyes looked far too old for her age.
Spencer offered a small smile back before placing a kiss on his mother’s cheek. “Hi, mom,” no answer, as usual. “How’s she doing?” he asked his sister, placing a Snickers bar on the bedside table, they were his mom’s favorite, amongst other uneaten ones.
“Same as yesterday,” April sighed. “And the day before,”
“Come on,” Spencer replied, nodding toward the kitchen. “You look like you could use a drink,”
“So they’re not gonna give you tenure?” April asked, sounding almost as outraged as her brother felt. “What are you going to do,”
He took a sip of his hot tea, the young professor wasn’t much of an alcohol person. Honestly, he was more of a coffee person but at this late hour, tea would have to do. “Go to the chancellor,” he stated. “I’ll fight this,”
“Or quit!” April shouted. “Just get outta there. You don’t need this crap,”
“So we’ll all just live off your podcast?” Spencer retorted.
“Ouch,” April feigned hurt before suddenly sobering up. “Spencer, you’re a great professor. Go somewhere you’re wanted,”
“That department is mom’s legacy,” He responded, now feeling upset with his sister. “It’s what i’ve worked for my entire life. So what? I should just throw my whole future away?”
“I’m just saying,” April defended. “Stop worrying about disappointing mom. Make your own future,”
A van pulled up outside Rossi Industries. It was dark but there was no doubt the facility was heavily guarded. As the car reached the security gate, a brunette from inside pulled out an ID and scanned it, signalling the gate to open. She gazed longingly at the journal in her hands, seeming almost nervous. “You sure you can trust that book?” her driver questioned. The woman nodded.
The van was halfway through the gate when two, very threatening, security men stopped them. “I need to see some ID,”
The woman sighed, glancing at her men before looking back at the cops.
She pulled out a gun.
Jennifer Jareau walked through her workplace, jamming out to music playing in her earbuds. Sometimes, the engineer wondered how she even got a job here at Rossi Industries, it was a high-tech wonderland. Computers, plasma screens, not to mention their latest invention.
She smiled as she passed said machine. It was large and circular, resembling a sleek modern space capsule. It really was a sight yet everyone in the room paid no mind to it. The blonde wandered into the control room. Workstations clustered everywhere, huge screens on the wall, and her desk. Sitting down, she smiled across the room at her friend Penelope.
“Jennifer,” a stern voice called. JJ quickly looked up from her desk to see her boss, Mateo Cruz. Dropping the angry act, Mateo grinned. “Is it or is it not taco Tuesday?”
JJ smiled back at her friend. “It is,”
“And wasn’t it your turn to pick up said tacos? A half hour ago?”
Rolling her eyes, the blonde focused her attention back on her computer screen. “I’m just finishing my simulations first,”
“At this moment in my life?” Cruz responded. “I care more about the tacos. Go,”
“Fine,” she scooted out of her chair, standing up, when suddenly all the computer screens went black. Mateo, Penelope, and JJ all glanced at each other oddly. JJ picked up her desk phone but there was no dial tone. Now panic was starting to set in.
“What’s going on?” Penelope questioned. Mateo said nothing, he just glanced around nervously.
A gunshot panged from the room next door. The next thing they knew, the room was engrossed in chaos. Seven gunmen rushed inside, their AK-47’s spraying the ceiling. JJ couldn’t even think before she was pushing Penelope under one of the desks where they would hopefully be hidden.
Security guards were getting shot left and right. JJ looked at her quivering friend and wondered if this was the end. Amongst the gunmen seemed to be a shorter woman who looked to be controlling it all. “Shut up!” she yelled at the screaming workers. Finally, her eyes laid on Mateo as if he were a prize. She pointed her gun towards him and had one of her men grab him by the scruff. JJ watched helplessly as they all climbed into the capsule, taking Mateo as a captive. She wanted to help but she didn’t know what to do.
The woman gave one last lingering look to the security cameras before climbing in as well, shutting the capsule hatch behind her. Penelope and JJ watched with horror, knowing very well what the machine before them could do. Lights began flashing on the capsule. It began to shake. A weird whirring noise emitted from it. Then suddenly, it vanished into thin air. Leaving nothing but a gust of wind behind.
“Police!” a voice shouted as the policemen began entering the room.
“Put your hands up!” The two shaking blondes did as they were told, frightened at what had just happened. The policeman looked at the empty space where the capsule had once been. “Where’d they go?!” he demanded.
JJ was at a loss for words. It wasn’t necessarily where they went, but when.
Spencer watched his mother uneasily. She was small and withered in her bed. Glancing at the framed photo of their family, it was unusual to think that this was the same woman. He only wished she would wake up and tell him how to make it better. Of course, he knows this will never happen. That simple fact killed him.
The doorbell rang.
April opened the door to see a sharply dressed dark haired woman on the other side. “Spencer Reid?” the woman asked, unsurely.
“No, I’m April,” responded the younger. “Spencer is-”
“-Right here,” he finished for her, walking up to the door to see what was going on.
“I’m Agent Emily Prentiss with Homeland Security,” the woman responded.
“Listen, whatever you’re selling, we’re not buying,” April scoffed with disbelief, about to close the door when the woman flashed her badge.
“Really,” She repeated. “I’m Agent Prentiss. Homeland Security. Dr. Reid you need to come with me. It’s urgent,”
The siblings gaped at the woman. “Wait,” Spencer struggled for words. “Hold on, what did I do?”
“We need your help,” Emily responded, growing impatient.
“What would you need my help for?” Spencer questioned again, growing more confused.
April stepped in. “You can’t just show up and-”
The agent flashed her badge once more, she looked tired. “Yes, I can, actually,” she grumbled toward the sister before turning back to Reid. She looked almost apologetic. “They’ll explain everything when we get there,”
The agent began to lead the young man towards her vehicle and Reid thought about his options. It didn’t seem like he was in any sort of trouble, it was probably better to just comply. “It’s okay,” he said to his frightened sister as he let Agent Prentiss guide him to the car.
“When he gets where?!” April called out to Emily, ignoring her brothers previous statement. “Where are you taking him?!” The dark haired woman said nothing in reply, however. She simply directed Spencer towards the backseat and started the engine. Spencer made nervous eye contact with April, who was still standing on the porch. He had no idea what was going on or where he was being taken but he didn’t want her to worry so he tried his best to remain calm.
To say Spencer was surprised when the car stopped at Rossi Industries was an understatement. What was he doing here? And why were there so many police cars out front? He didn’t even have time to ask any questions before the woman lead him inside into a small waiting room. “Wait here, please,” said Emily, before promptly leaving, closing the door behind her.
Taking a cautious look around, he noticed that the room was mostly empty except for a few scattered chairs. To his surprise, someone seemed to be sitting in one. He was a muscular african american male, definitely older than Spencer but not by a lot. He sat in the chair with his head leaning back towards the ceiling and his eyes closed.
Gingerly sitting down next to him, Reid waited for the man to acknowledge his presence. Maybe answer some questions and tell him why he was here. God, Spencer was so antsy right now he couldn’t understand the calmness that emitted from the stranger next to him.
After a moment of awkward silence, Spencer felt like he would burst. “Are you asleep?” he whispered toward the statue-esque man.
To his surprise, the man responded. “No, Pretty Boy,” A blush seeped into Spencer’s cheeks, from the embarrassment or the nickname he wasn’t sure. Maybe both. He continued to stare at the man who still had his eyes closed.
“This is David Rossi’s company, right?” The boy nervously pressed on. “Do you know why we’re here?”
“No idea, Pretty Boy,” was the response in the same tone as the last. The man still didn’t budge.
“You know, we’re pretty much the same age,” Spencer retorted, face even redder. “You don’t need to call me ‘Boy’”
The man finally opened his eyes with a smirk and, call him crazy, but Spencer could of sworn he did a double take when he laid eyes on him. Still, the man said nothing. He just seemed to be examining the younger. Reid would kill to know his thoughts.
Finally, the door opened and both men looked to see another walk in. He was older, sterner, with dark hair and a suit on. He reminded Spencer of Emily but he seemed more experienced and worn. All in all, he held an aura of authority. “Spencer Reid?” he questioned, before introducing himself. “I’m Agent Aaron Hotchner, Homeland Security,” Aaron stuck out his hand but Spencer remained with his arms at his sides. After a beat, the agent put his hand back down and chuckled. “I’ve read all your mother’s books. She’s a genius,”
Spencer eyed the man warily. “That she is,”
“And I hear you take after her,” he continued. “Although you have a somewhat subversive reputation in your department,” He blushed in response.
Hotch’s eyes scanned over the the other man in the room, who quickly stood up crisply to introduce himself to the agent. “Master Sergeant Derek Morgan, Sir. Delta Force. At your service,”
What was someone from the Delta Force being needed in that a history professor is needed for too? Things weren’t adding up and Spencer’s mind was starting to spin even more. “Delta Force?” he decided to question. “What’s going on?”
Aaron sighed, suddenly looking older than he was. “You two need to follow me, but be wary about what you’re about to see,”
The two shared an uneasy look but nodded.
The agent led the two through the industry and into a control room. Workers were looking frantic everywhere, whatever had happened wasn’t good. Reid was starting to feel even more anxiety. He didn’t know what he was getting into and he didn’t know anyone here (except for maybe Agent Prentiss but she seemed to be occupied chatting with two blonde workers). He was completely in the dark.
Hotch pulled up a screen and started a video, it seemed to be security footage. The three males watch as a brunette attempts to shoot up the place before entering a strange looking machine. Aaron paused it just as the woman looked at the camera and Spencer furrowed his eyebrows. What was that machine? More importantly, who is she?
“Maeve Donovan. Ex-NSA Operative,” Hotch explained, as if reading his mind.
“Ex?” This piqued Derek’s attention. “Since when?”
“Since she killed her husband and child and went off the grid, leaving behind a hard drive full of terror groups and anti-government nut jobs. That was a year ago,” Responded Aaron in an almost deadpanned voice. “We thought she was holed up in Chechnya, but apparently not,”
Derek examined the machine in the video with narrow eyes. “Why is she taking the Star Tours ride?”
Aaron said nothing, he simply unpaused the video and let the two watch as the machine vanished as if by magic. “What was that?!” Spencer gasped.
“Some kind of special effect?!” Derek questioned next, eyes wide.
“Ever hear of a closed timelike curve?” a new voice said from behind them. All three spun around to see a short, graying, italian man. David Rossi, the owner of the company.
“You’re David Rossi,” Derek gaped. “My buddy has one of your cars,”
“Tell him we’ve got a better model coming out next year,” the man winked, seeming relaxed in the situation.
“Excuse me,” Spencer piped in. “Closed timelike what-?”
Back to business, the man explained, “It requires a tremendous amount of energy, but if you had a powerful enough gravitational field, you could actually bend the fabric of space-time like... well, like fabric. Looping it back on itself. Which could create a kind of wormhole that would-”
“What Mr. Rossi is trying to say is that he secretly invented a time machine and decided not to tell the government until it was stolen by terrorists,” Emily interrupted as she walked up to the group.
Rossi rolled his eyes. “Right, cause the Federal Government never screwed up anything and can always keep a secret,” he scoffed sarcastically.
Emily quirked an eyebrow. “You’re asking for our help now,” she pointed out.
“Hold on!” Derek interrupted their argument. Everyone suddenly turned to him. “Wait a minute! Do you mean to tell me...that you built a time machine...out of a Delorian?” His face cracked into a smile as everyone else rolled their eyes at his Back To The Future reference. Morgan didn’t see the seriousness of the situation, he simply laughed at the absurdity. “C’mon, this is a joke, some psych test a shrink in the Pentagon came up with, right?”
His smile faded when he was only met with grim stares.
“This isn’t possible,” Spencer muttered under his breath.
Rossi smirked at the younger. “That’s what they said about the atom bomb. Or the moonshot. Just takes someone with enough imagination to make it very possible,”
The scientist and two agents suddenly began to walk down into the launchpad, leaving Spencer and Derek mindlessly trailing behind them. They watched with shocked faces as a giant machine began to be lowered onto the ground in front of them. It was much like the time machine in the video, round and almost looking like a spacecraft, but it wasn’t as sleek and clean. It seemed old and rickety.
“Our earliest prototype,” Rossi introduced. “It isn't fancy, but she works...usually. We kept her operational in case the crew of the Mothership ever needed a rescue. We call this one the Lifeboat.” He gestured to a large screen, “Their CPUs are linked so we know where and when the Mothership has gone, within a twenty mile radius,”
Reid’s curiosity got the better of him and he peeked over to read the screen. “Manchester, New Jersey. 3:30pm, May 6th, 1937?” he read outloud, forehead scrunching up. “That’s the Hindenburg about four hours before it crashed,” He remained skeptical, raising an eyebrow at Hotch. “You want me to believe that this girl actually traveled back in time...for real? To the Hindenburg? Why?”
“We don’t understand what Maeve’s after-” Derek and Spencer tried to listen intently to what Hotch was saying but for some reason two technicians had begun to take their measurements. “-Or how she even knew about the machine in the first place, but there’s room for three passengers aboard the Lifeboat-”
Spencer’s eyes widened as he finally realized why they wanted him here. “To do what?” he freaked. “Go after them?”
“Why else would we bring you here?” Emily questioned.
“Because you’re crazy?!” he almost screamed. “Even if I believed you, which I don’t, there’s no way I’m getting in that thing to, what, chase down some psychopath? I’m not a soldier!”
“No,” Emily said carefully, glancing at Derek. “ He is. You grew up in the house of the finest historian in the country, and you’re incredibly accomplished in your own right,”
“Well, thanks,” Spencer replied, sarcastic with hysteria as he began heading towards the door. “I might need you as a job reference in the near future, but right now? I’m going home,”
“I’d think someone who loves history would want to save it,” Rossi remarked, freezing Reid in his tracks. “Maybe even save millions of lives while your at it,” The eldest shrugged nonchalantly, although on his face was a small smirk. He knew Spencer couldn’t refuse. The boy turned around, still wanting to leave but now at more of a conflict. He decided to hear Rossi out. “If Maeve kills people in ‘37 who aren’t supposed to die? They don’t have the kids they’re supposed to have, do the things they’re supposed to do...history changes, exponentially...until it changes the present. Changes reality,”
Finally, Reid sighed and rejoined the group. “Which begs the question; why anyone would be so stupid to invent something so dangerous?” he tested.
All eyes were on Rossi, who’s face had turned a bit red. He rubbed the back of his neck and after a beat replied “We didn’t count on this happening,”
“And you’re just buying all this?” Spencer then whipped around to question Morgan, who was staring stone-faced. Unsure.
“You think Homeland Security and the fourth richest man in the world are lying to you?” Emily questioned. “This is real,”
Hotch turned toward him. “We need you, Spencer. You know the customs back then, can travel incognito. It’s vital we keep a very low profile. We can’t bring any modern tech back, either,” He stated. His eyes, although tired and worried, suddenly grew a spark. “Besides. What if we are telling the truth? You’re not just a little curious to see the past? Up close and personal?”
The spark made its way into Spencer’s eyes as he fantasized about seeing history right before him. This was all rocking his world. He took a deep breath and decided he had no choice. As scary as this was, he’s in.
“So what can you tell us? Why is Maeve targeting the Hindenburg?”
“The Hindenburg was a tragedy, but it’s a miracle it wasn’t worse.” Spencer rattled on nervously. The group has made their way back to the control room and was listening to him speak as if he was their professor. The two blondes he saw Emily talking to earlier had joined them and he learned that the more eccentric dressed one was named Penelope Garcia whilst the more business dressed one was Jennifer Jareau, although most called her JJ. Apparently they both helped create the machine. “If it had been a bit higher up when it exploded, all 97 people on board would’ve died, rather than just 36. If it had crashed a tiny bit west, it would have killed dozens of grounds crew. So... maybe Maeve wants to make a bad thing worse?” Spencer suggested.
The agents nodded, clearly impressed, and out of the corner of his eye spencer could see Derek doing the same. Aaron pulled out a notepad, “One of his men dropped this. It’s mostly code and ramblings. But there’s an address in Manchester. It’s a Rite Aid now, but in 1937 it was a tavern. Start there,``he ordered.
The two men nodded and Derek squinted his eyes at the Lifeboat. “You said this bucket of bolts rides three. Me, the Professor... who’s playing Gilligan?”
Everyone looked at Rossi expectantly. His eyes traveled over to JJ and he smiled. “JJ will go with you,” He stated. JJ’s eyes widened, she obviously had not been informed about this.
“Uh, can we talk for a second,” she replied, before narrowing her eyes. “Alone?” Rossi nodded and the group watched as the two walked to the other end of the room, where they couldn’t be overheard. Once they got there, Rossi watched her expectantly, waiting for her protests. “No,” she stated. “I am not going with them. I write code, that’s what I'm good at. Not-” she gestured wildly towards the launch pad area. “-this!”
“You know how to pilot the Lifeboat,” Rossi pointed out.
JJ crossed her arms. “So does Simmons,”
“Jennifer, enough,” Rossi finally snapped like an angry parent before hushing his voice again. “We both know why it has to be you,” he stared with a loaded look.
JJ paled, suddenly feeling sick, but nodded. “Fine,”
The three soon-to-be time-travelers were sent into seperate rooms to change into more fitting clothing for the time. They can’t very well show up in the 30s with t-shirts and jeans could they? Derek was the first to walk back into the launch pad area, his stubbly face was now cleanly shaved and they put him in a simple blue plaid shirt tucked into black slacks and a brown jacket.
Hotch glanced at Emily, who was keeping Penelope occupied by talking about her cat, and then walked up to Derek. “About your mission…” he said, quietly enough so that others would not hear.
“You need me to kill Maeve Donovan,” Derek replied automatically.
Aaron nodded, impressed. “And destroy the Mothership” He added. “But your own safety, the safety of the other two, or even a return trip home... are all secondary priorities. Will that be a problem?”
“What does my file say about me?”
“You know what it says,”
“Then you know a one way ticket isn’t a problem,”
“No, this fabric didn’t exist back then,” the two looked up when they heard a new voice. JJ and Spencer were walking into the launchpad, both in period attire, as Spencer complained to the technicians that followed them. Spencer was dressed in a suit and tie with a sweater vest, not much unlike what he was wearing before, except now he had a hat and his once unruly curly hair was a little more tame. Derek couldn’t help but stare. JJ was wearing a simple white blouse and flowered skirt with a plaid jacket and beret. She looked fine to everyone else but Spencer didn’t think so, “She shouldn’t be wearing an underwire bra, they didn’t exist then either. She should be wearing a girdle,”
JJ turned red at the statement. “How did you see her bra?” Derek questioned, smirk evident on his face.
“I accidentally walked into the wrong room,” a flustered Reid replied, but quickly brushed off. “But that’s besides the point,” he turned to the agents. “I thought you wanted us to be historically accurate?”
Everyone smirked a little at Spencer’s panic over something so miniscule. Hotch, however, sighed. “No one will see under her clothes and it’s the best we have right now,”
“I need to call my sister,” The youngest demanded. Hotch rubbed his temple, growing more annoyed. Derek felt bad, he could tell that Spencer was scared and that’s why he was coming off as more annoying than usual.
“When you get back. You need to go,” The agent ushered.
Before he could even comprehend it, Spencer was piling into the Lifeboat with Derek and JJ. The inside was cramped. A pilot seat sat facing a mess of controls that the men couldn’t even begin to understand, two other passenger seats sat facing each other behind it.
JJ sat down into the pilot seat and examined the controls. “So...I guess i’m the pilot,” She attempted to introduce.
“You’ve done this before?” Derek asked, watching JJ. She looked nervous, like she was about to be sick.
“If simulations count, then yeah,” She replied heavily.
Spencer and Derek sat in the two seats facing each other very cramped. Their legs bumped into each other and it felt like their faces were only an inch apart. Derek fastened his seatbelt and looked up to notice Spencer couldn’t quite get his on right as his hands were trembling. Without saying a word, the soldier leaned forward to fasten the professors seatbelt, who offered a soft smile of gratitude in reply.
“Sorry about the tight squeeze,” JJ apologized. “This was originally built for two but they shoved an extra seat in,”
Hotch leaned his head into the vehicle for one last word. “Don’t be noticed. Don’t change anything, understand?” The three nodded and Hotch left, leaving a technician to close the hatch. The three were now alone.
JJ expertly began to work on the computer, turn some knobs, and enter calculations. The Lifeboat began to rattle. Derek noticed that Spencer looked decidingly anxious. “You okay?” He asked gently.
“I’m claustrophobic. And I’m supposedly about to travel through time so…” He stopped his rambling, taking a whiff of the air. Now that they were so close, he could smell Derek’s breath clearly. It smelled like… “Have you been drinking?” he accused.
Derek leaned back in his seat, tenderness gone. “I didn’t know I’d be working tonight, Pretty Boy,”
“Stop calling me Pretty Boy,”
Outside, Agents Hotchner and Prentiss, David Rossi, and Penelope Garcia watched as the Lifeboat began to make noise. Whirring sounds and flashing lights began growing to a fever pitch. Tension built and then a sudden blinding flash. The empty space around the Lifeboat warped and bent until suddenly, it was gone.
They had successfully traveled back in time.
The Lifeboat appeared with a tremendous shaking boom in the middle of an otherwise empty field. The hatch quickly opened and the three stumbled out of the machine nervously. JJ and Derek both immediately leaned against the Lifeboat for support. Time travel, especially in such a rickety machine, caused a lot of nauseousness. Spencer, being the first to climb out, was just as sick feeling but far more intrigued on what had just happened to sit still. One second ago they had been sitting quietly and anxiously, then JJ pulled a lever and suddenly they had been shot through space and time.
But did it really work? He looked around. Obviously they had moved locations but did they move time periods as well? There was nothing really showing of the era around them to tell. “Are we....here?” Derek asked, walking over to Spencer.
JJ followed suit. “I think so,” she responded, although she seemed a bit unsure herself. They all stood around for a moment of uncertain silence. Suddenly, a noise from above. All three craned their heads up and stared. “Pretty sure,” JJ corrected herself, now with more finality.
Gliding above them was the Hindenburg. The real actual Hindenburg. It was massive, dwarfing the three time travelers who could do nothing but gawk at it, all of them with massive eyes. No one’s eyes were as wide as Spencer Reid’s, however. He couldn’t believe it. It was so big! It was so real! And...it was so close to meeting it’s disastrous fate. He could feel the pressure of the mission, reminding him that now was not a good time to waste time. “We need to hurry,”
Chapter 2: Goodbye Present Day
The gang explores the 1930's and tries to find Maeve before she can do something horrible. Along the way they encounter a certain blonde reporter.
TW for period racism...it's nothing really bad but it is clear that Derek doesn't fit in in this time period.
“Come on,” JJ ushered as the three hastily made their way through the field and toward town. “We have three hours to go,” She cursed silently to herself as she nearly tripped again. Damn the thirties and their long skirts.
“You know, they did this study that said that you get a dopamine hit every time you check your phone. That’s why people do it so much. It’s an addiction.” Spencer rattled on. When he was nervous he talked, usually fun facts. At least the facts were fun to him, most people found them annoying.
“With everything going on, you’re worried about your phone ?” Derek replied, although he could feel the anxiety radiating off of his body.
“I’m worried about a lot of things,” Spencer mumbled.
“You wanna trade places?” Derek questioned with a scoff. “I don’t know if you’ve noticed but i’m not white. There is literally no part of history that likes me, 1937 is definitely no exception,”
The other two exchanged wide-eyed glances because, no, they hadn’t thought about that. JJ thought she was gonna have it bad being a woman in this time period but Derek definitely had the shorter stick here. They were literally in a time where Jim Crow laws still existed.
A long pause followed that. No one knew quite what to say. Everyone seemed to be lost in their own thoughts.
The pause ended abruptly when Spencer furrowed his brow and said “One thing I don’t get is why don’t we just go back in time five minutes before Maeve stole the Mothership and stop her?”
“You can’t go back in time to a time where you already exist,” JJ sighed. “It’s bad for the fabric of reality,”
“We tried it,” She stated, her face hard but her eyes grim. “The pilot came back...but not all of him,”
“ Jesus Christ ,” Derek muttered, glancing at the town ahead. “Alright, Professor,” He turned towards Reid, feigning optimism. “Tell us what we’re walking into,”
Spencer stopped like a deer in the headlights and thought a minute. “The Hindenburg will reach the airfield any minute,” He stated, trying to make sure his voice didn’t waver. He was not prepared for this. One minute he was with his sister and mom and now he was in 1937 chasing after a terrorist? He felt like he was going to explode with anxiety but then he remembered why he was here. He was the brains, he knew history, he couldn’t let his thoughts cloud over his mind. It needed to stay sharp. “It won’t be able to land right away-” As if to punctuate his thought, a light thunder rolled through the sky. “-because of that. Light rain and high winds. So it’ll make a series of turns. Causing air friction, building up static electricity. Then, at exactly 7:25 p.m., the Hindenburg will throw down its mooring ropes. But they’re wet from the rain, and the ground crew lets them drag along the Earth-”
JJ’s eyes widened. “- Which electrically grounds the ship. The metal hull would spark,” She finished.
Spencer nodded gravely. “Thus igniting 2000 cubic liters of hydrogen and burning 36 people alive,”
“So we need to find Maeve,” She replied, her voice more determined. “Before she makes this any worse than it is. As fast as we can ,”
“What are we going to do once we find her?” questioned the professor.
Both nerds looked over to Derek expectantly, He had been watching them silently back and forth until the attention turned to him. His face went stiff. “Leave that to me,”
The three exchanged a sort of nod to confirm their game plan and then continued on to the town. The reality of where they were set in as soon as they reached the town because it was so extraordinarily 30s. The curvaceous cars, the store fronts, the people . Spencer couldn’t help but smile at a billboard advertising cigarettes that read “Physicians Say Luckies Are Less Irritating! It’s Toasted!”
Mom, I wish you were here to see this. He thought to himself.
“I get that you’re having a moment here-” Derek interrupted, pointing towards the Hindenburg, which was floating grandly over the airfield in the distance.
“-but we have have to move. Got it,” Spencer was quick to reply.
The three heroes walked up the street, approaching the address they were given. JJ blushed as just about every man who walked past tipped their hats and greeted her with a “Ma’am,”. Derek also felt like he was going red, although more from discomfort. He received nothing but dirty looks as he walked with the two. “Everyone’s staring at me,” he muttered under his breath.
“You’ll be fine,” JJ supplied.
“Don’t forget guys,” Spencer chimed in. “It’s the thirties so think ‘very proper, family values, please and thank you’s’,”
“So I shouldn’t tell anyone about Tinder?” Derek replied with a smirk in an attempt to lighten the mood.
JJ giggled but Spencer remained aloof. “The wrong move could change history...maybe I should do the talking?” He questioned.
The other two exchanged glances and jokingly rolled their eyes at Boy Genius. They had no time to answer, however, as they finally had approached the address. A tavern called “Harvelle’s”, it was a cinder block building with no windows. Upon entering it was rowdy. Raucous music played from a vintage Wurlitzer as blue collar locals pounded boilermakers while others danced. Derek glanced at a couple who were aggressively making out in the corner. “Might be the 30’s, but Jersey’s still Jersey,” he noted.
“Do you see Maeve?” asked JJ.
Derek glanced around with a sudden unease as he realized that he was the only person of color in the room. Not only that, but he was also getting death stares from just about everyone else. He shook his head in response. JJ frowned as she noticed the tension. “Maybe you should stay inside,” She mumbled under her breath toward Derek.
“And on a scale from Million Man March to Mississippi Burning, how safe is it gonna be for me outside by myself?” The soldier joked in a hushed tone. He knew that the 30s was not above killing someone for a different skin color.
“You should be fine here,” Spencer pursed his lips. “...Just don’t make eye contact with anyone,” He responded unsurely.
“Glad I came,” Said the tallest, rolling his eyes.
The trio walked up to the bar, trying (and failing miserably) not to draw attention to themselves. “Hey,” JJ greeted as she approached.
The bartender quirked an eyebrow at her informality. His eyes glanced from JJ with curiosity to narrowing at Derek. Sensing his confusion, Spencer stepped in. “How do you do, sir?” He greeted, very formally. “We were wondering if you’ve seen this woman,” He placed a photo on the bar. It was an old photo of Maeve.
The bartender inspected the photo. “Why is she dressed so funny?” he questioned.
“Just...has she been here?” JJ asked again.
“I don’t think so,”
“Look again,” She pressed. “It’s important,”
“What do you want from me, putz?” He snapped. “I said I haven’t seen her,”
The three glanced at each other, knowing this was getting nowhere, and walked away from the bar. “Yep,” Derek muttered under his breath. “Jersey’s Jersey,”
“Well, what now?” JJ questioned, expecting an answer from Boy Genius. When he didn’t answer they both looked at him and saw that he was staring frozen at a woman from across the bar. She was blonde and somewhat modern looking, opting for pants instead of a dress. She seemed to be focusing intently on a game of pinball.
“You got a crush or something, Pretty Boy?” Derek joked, waving a hand in front of the professor’s face.
“That’s Kate Drummond,” Spencer simply responded in a tone of awe, as if a celebrity were standing in her spot. His wide eyes suddenly sombered, as if remembering something, and he pursed his lips again. “Right,” he muttered under his breath. “Of course, she’d be here,”
“Who is she?” Asked Derek, even more confused.
“She writes a column for the Hearst Papers,” Spencer said, eyeing Derek, who seemed to be stunned. “She covered the wars in Manchuria and Ethiopia,”
Now Derek was the one caught staring. There was something about her...a spark in her eye that Derek recognized. He could feel the stares of the two younger partners staring at him now with curiosity. “She reminds me of someone,” was his simple and quiet response before he impulsively walked towards her.
“Hey!” “Wait!” The two shouted, walking after him. What was he thinking?
“That’s a pinball machine?” Derek accidentally spoke out loud as he approached her. The closer he got the clearer he saw the old fashioned machine in front of her. It had to be of the 1st generation of pinball machines. Realizing he said that out loud, he grew red with embarrassment. That sounded stupid, she’ll probably be suspicious. If the white people in this bar were glaring at him then, he didn’t know what to call the hate seeping out of their faces now that he had approached a woman. In other words, he was in deep shit.
Kate looked at him funny, although not in the racist way like everyone else. More like she was surprised that he had come up to talk to her, not upset, just surprised. “Nothing gets past you,” She smirked, before continuing to play. “Double or nothing?”
A few of the glares turned away once she began to talk with ease towards Derek, as if deciding he wasn’t a threat. However, a lot of them stayed locked onto him, much to his dismay. “No thank you, Ms. Drummond,” He replied politely, noting Spencer’s warnings about the era from early and also not wanting to be more hated in this place than he already was.
She gave him that look again. “You know who I am?”
“Big fan,” Derek lied. “The way you covered those wars in Manchuria and Ethiopia? Really makes a guy...think,”
The reporter looked him up and down, something clicking in her brain. “You’re a soldier,” She stated.
“How’d you know?”
“That pick up line, for one,” She stopped her game, leaning against the machine and reminiscing with a soft smile on her face. “I’ve known too many soldiers,”
“Not like me you haven’t,” Derek replied with a smirk.
Kate rolled her eyes. “You all think you’re special until the gate goes up and the race starts,” she scoffed.
“Ms. Drummond, nice to meet you. You’re a hell of a writer,” Spencer interjected, noticing that this conversation was going on too long and getting nowhere.
“This is my friend, Spencer,” Derek explained to the confused woman.
“And I'm Spencer’s sister, Jennifer,” JJ introduced through a lie, shaking Kate’s hand.
“That’s very kind of you, Spencer,” Kate responded, staring a bit baffled at the odd trio.
‘You’re in town to cover the Hindenburg’s arrival?” asked Spencer, knowing the answer.
Kate nodded. “Then I’m riding it back to Europe for King George’s coronation” She smiled tightly, as if conveying that she wasn’t looking forward to the trip. “‘Cause there’s nothing like a tight, enclosed space with a bunch of stuffed shirts” She rolled her eyes, although when she glanced back at the pinball machine Spencer could tell there was a hint of pride in her.
“Well, maybe you won’t have to take that trip after all,” Derek replied offhandedly. Spencer gave him a look somewhere in between dude, what are you doing? and you have no idea how right you are . The soldier paid him no mind, all his focus seemed to be on Kate as he continued on to business. “Have you seen this woman here?” he asked, setting down the photo of Maeve onto the pinball machine.
Kate eyed it warily. “Who is she?” she questioned.
“He’s a friend of ours,” JJ answered, a tight smile on her face.
Kate narrowed her eyes, glancing at the three with curiosity. She obviously didn’t believe them but still didn’t question them further. “Uh-huh,” she nodded. “She was here about two hours ago,”
“What was she doing?”
“When the officers at the Airfield need some extra hands, this is where they come pick them up. They pay them a dollar a day,” Kate explained. Upon seeing the confusion on the trio’s faces, she went on. “Your ‘friend’ offered her assistance, said she could be of great help. The crew at first refused to take a woman as ‘this wasn’t ladies work’ but she said she would do it for free and they needed the hands so she’s working on ground crew,” The blonde smiled. “The woman had spunk, I like her. She’s gonna help take down the Hindenburg,”
The three gave each other grave looks at the last sentence. “Thank you for your time,” Spencer rushed out before ushering his team out the door, leaving an even more confused Kate Drummond in their wake.
“Maeve and her men are working ground crew,” Spencer mumbled to himself, once they were far enough away from the bar. This was definitely not good. God could only imagine the kind of damage Maeve was planning on inflicting.
“We owe Kate another drink for that one,” Derek smiled, despite the fear bubbling inside him. “She’s amazing,”
“She’s too much woman for you,” JJ scoffed.
Derek smirked. “Sounds like a challenge,” he joked back.
Jennifer just rolled her eyes, then looked at Spencer. “Derek is right, Kate is amazing. If she was such a good reporter, how come I never heard about her until now?”
The Professor’s eyes snapped towards the expectant team, bringing him back to reality. “History rarely remembers women,” He sighed. “Although they should teach more about her. Did you know that she was the first woman to circle the globe by air, on the Graf Zeppelin,”
JJ nodded, fascinated with this new knowledge as Derek remarked “Charmed life,”.
“Not really,” Spencer replied, suddenly getting that sad knowing look in his eyes again. “She has about 90 minutes to live. She’ll be right under the Hindenburg when it crashes down on top of her,” He said, revealing the lively women’s sad fate.
They both looked shocked in response, Derek being the worst. His eyes were wide at the news, like JJ, but unlike her there was a hint of pain in them. “Wait” He spoke, his voice hard. “You stood there, chatting with her, knowing she’s about to die?” He practically exclaimed.
“I don’t like it,” Spencer stated. “but we can’t change anything,”
“Today’s the day she...today’s her day,” JJ muttered, repeating Spencer’s words. Spencer nodded gravely. It sucked. This sucked. But there it was. They couldn’t just change history to save someone because they like her. Besides, they had more pressing matters at hand.
The trio moved on, Derek lingering behind for a little longer. His face haunted with past memories. She reminded him so much of her… and now he’d have to watch as it happened again…
To say the Hindenburg was magnificent was an understatement. They had seen it from afar but once the trio reached the airfield they truly were able to gape at it. Against the drizzling gray sky it hovered directly overhead the field. It was grand, epic even, and had to have been the size of the Titanic. Unfortunately, it had another thing in common with the Titanic that wasn’t it’s looks. A catastrophe was set to happen soon. Very soon.
The airfield was muddy. JJ noticed this with disgust as they trekked through the havoc, passing a warehouse that said ‘ Sherwin Metal Reclaiming ’. She normally didn’t mind mud but that was if she was wearing boots or tennis shoes not fancy flats. Yet another reason to hate her outfit. But right now she couldn’t worry about her clothes. “How the hell are we supposed to find Maeve in this mess?” She questioned.
There was a crowd of people on the field, which was already difficult to discern in the murky dusk. Civilians stood shoulder-to-shoulder. The press was going wild. Herb Morrison was preparing for his radio broadcast as nearby, a cameraman prepares his film. Worst of all, there was at least 200 plain-clothed ground crew members all taking their positions. “We don’t have time for this,” Derek grumbled. He had been a hard ass before but since learning of Kate’s future (or lack there-of) he had been even grumpier.
The wheels in Spencer’s head spun as he thought for a solution. His eyes scanned the field before they seemed to stop, landing on an important looking man who was supervising the landing, talking with an aide while holding a clipboard. He must have recognized the man from history because the other two watched with puzzling eyes as he approached him and said “Excuse me? Vice Admiral Rosendahl? I’m sorry to bother you but it’s urgent,”
“Yes…?” The man, Rosendahl, answered. He looked at the taller man with uncertainty. An uncertainty that seemed to spread as JJ and Derek came to stand beside Spencer.
Spencer showed the Admiral the photo of Maeve. “This woman is working as one of your ground crew. It's important that we find her. Quickly ,"
Rosendahl narrowed his eyes at the picture of the strange woman. "And why's that?" He questioned.
"He's a threat to your ship, Sir," Derek interjected frantically.
"What?" The Admiral gaped, his eyes wide and full of disgust. "How? Who are you ?!" He demanded.
"I'm Doctor Reid, this is Nurse Jennifer," Spencer stepped in, not wanting to make this worse. Derek grumbled a bit at being interrupted but the Admiral seemed to pay him no mind. He was focused back onto the photo that Spencer was holding out. "We're from Bayshore Memorial. This woman is one of our patients,"
"Which is why she's wearing pajamas," JJ added helpfully.
"She has a highly contagious case of Spanish Flu" Reid lied. "The last time the Flu killed what? Almost seven hundred thousand in the U.S. alone? So you can see why we’re nervous about her mingling with all these people,"
Rosendahl nodded gravely. “Yeah I’ve seen her. Hard not to notice the only girl tryin’ to work with the crew. I don’t know where she is now but I'll help as much as I can to find her,”
The next few minutes were spent in anxious silence as the three stood off to the side and watched Rosendahl show the picture of Maeve around to the crew. Everyone seemed to shake their head in a response, saying that they didn’t know her or didn’t know where she was. This was bad , Spencer thought. Maeve was nowhere to be seen and who even knows how many of her men are undercover in the crew.
“What’s taking so long?” JJ questioned while checking the time. “It’s 7:15, there’s only ten minutes left!”
“Okay, split up,” Morgan said, taking charge. Obviously the only people who were going to find her were them. “If you see Maeve, don’t engage. Find me,”
The three gave sharp nods before each separately weaving through crowds of people as the Hindenburg blotted out the sky. Spencer felt jittery as he heard the familiar voice of Herb Morrison starting his radio broadcast. It was beginning to land.
JJ looked around frantically, Maeve was nowhere to be seen. She did, however, notice some of the ground crew catching the mooring ropes and winding them up tightly. Her mind buzzed. Something was wrong.
Derek wasn’t doing any better at finding the criminal. Instead, he spotted Kate. She was snapping pictures of the Hindenburg, moving underneath the zeppelin for a better vantage point. And, Derek realized with horror, for certain death. He checked his watch. 7:24.
Turmoil flooded his face. Was he really going to let an innocent woman die? History is the way it is for a reason, it’s better not to interfere. He thought to himself as he began to walk away.
But could he really let her die? It would be like...her...all over again . Recklessly, he turned around and began running towards Kate. He couldn’t let her die. He couldn’t .
Spencer watched with alarm as he noticed Derek running closer to the zeppelin. “What are you doing!?” he screamed, to no answer. “Derek!” It’s going to blow!
He couldn’t do anything about it though because just as he glanced to the right, he spotted a brunette sneaking away. Maeve Donovan. Realizing that no one else was around to help, he ran after her.
“Men, always obsessed with how big something is,” Derek heard Kate say to one of the crewmembers before the worker walked off. “Hi,” Derek greeted, out of breath and talking fast. “Remember me?”
Kate looked at him like he was crazy. “Yes, hi?”
Derek shot a dazzling smile. “There’s a couple things I'd like to talk to you about, maybe somewhere more private. Take a walk with me?”
“In a minute,” she suggested offhandedly, her attention was much more focused on the Hindenburg above them. “I’m working,”
“We don’t have a minute, really,” The man said urgently.
Kate was beginning to grow annoyed. “Maybe you haven’t noticed, soldier, but the ships landing. It will have to wait-”
She let out a gasp as Derek grabbed her arm, trying to pull her away. “Sorry, it can’t!”
“Hey! Stop! Let me go!” she screamed and Derek cringed inwardly. He was just trying to save her.
He checked his watch. 7:25. “Get down!” he shouted as he threw her to the ground. He realizes as he’s shielding her that she probably thinks he’s attacking her. In reality, he’s just trying to protect her from the blast.
Except there is no blast. No fire. No screams. No “Oh, the humanity!”. The ship didn’t explode. Confused, he checked his watch. It should have exploded by now. Instead it was landing correctly.
“Get off me!” Kate yelled. “Don’t touch me!”
Astonished, Derek complied. Kate lunged to her feet and fled but Derek could barely notice. A part of him was glad no one else had heard the scene he had caused because he would probably be lynched. The other part of him couldn’t even bring himself to care because The Hindenburg had landed safely. That was not supposed to happen.
“The majestic airship lands as passengers wave to the awed spectators,” He could faintly hear a reporter saying.
JJ walked up to him, equally confused and dazed. “That’s not supposed to happen, right?”
Derek’s eyes suddenly became sharp. “Where’s Spencer?”
Maeve had vanished around the corner of the zeppelin hangar. Spencer tried to secretly follow her but, among turning the corner, she was met with nothing. Maeve was gone. He was alone. He stood there quietly for a beat. Stressed.
Suddenly, he was jumped. The rough hands of one of Maeve’s thugs slammed him into the hangar wall. “You following us?” He practically growled. He had clamped his hand over Spencer’s mouth to keep him from screaming. Spencer fought back but was beginning to be dragged away.
The thug was suddenly cracked in the jaw by an angry looking Derek. Spencer thumped to the dirt as the thug and Derek began to brawl.
Derek pulled out a modern pistol and pointed it at the thug. He must have snuck it with him. “Take me to Maeve,” he demanded. “ Now!”
The thug only smiled sadistically before charging toward Derek, fighting him for the gun. Derek had no choice but to-
Two close range chest shots sent the thug backwards. Then he dropped to the ground dead.
Derek watched him fall before running towards a very shocked Spencer to help him up. “You okay?” he asked.
Spencer brushed off the older man's touch and gingerly walked forward. JJ, who had been off to the side, and Derek followed uneasily. The Hindenburg had landed. All the people who were supposed to die were okay. Spencer could have gotten killed. Derek had just killed a man with a modern weapon .
“Maeve just saved the Hindenburg and history’s up in flames. So no, I am not okay,”