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Primeval Fic: Five Times Helen Changed the Timeline

June 16th, 2011 (08:26 am)
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Title:  Five Times Helen Changed the Timeline (And One Time She Didn’t)

Disclaimer:  Not mine.

A/N:  I’m really pretty hopeless when it comes to fic these days.  This is my first of a handful that focus on Helen, who I find fascinating, especially when I think about how she probably turned into the person she was on screen.  Beta provided by sendintheklowns .  Also, anything scientific that I talk about is entirely sketchy and should not be taken as anything resembling fact.  I write fic; the only science I know is from a general bio class in college.

Warnings:  References to Helen's entire arc on Primeval, at least as best I know it.  I guarantee my take on canon about as much as I guarantee my scientific accuracy :)  Elements of Helen/Nick and Helen/Stephen.

Summary:  Helen will create the right future, the best future, no matter how many times she may have to try.

-o-

One

The first time, it’s a fluke. 

She’s not looking for an anomaly, but when she comes across a glittering gateway, her natural curiosity overrides her well-honed sense of procedure.  She knows that experiments should be tempered and controlled, but Helen also knows that the greatest discoveries of the age are made by people who take risks, not those who stop to cross their t’s and dot their i’s.

Going through is an irresistible thing, and the world she finds on the other side changes the way she understands everything she’s ever learned.

Without her lab, there’s no way to measure everything she sees, so she gathers what she can, and when she happens across the eggs of what appears to be a small lizard, it’s too tempting not to borrow one.  She thinks it’s nothing but a dragon lizard, which many scientists have theorized being around this early on, but there’s been no one to prove it until now.

When she gets back, she runs as many tests as she can think of.  When she gets to the egg, the analysis confirms everything she suspects, but when she goes to a book to cross reference the current state of Agamid reptiles, she is quickly stumped.

There’s no history of Agamids.  No trace of them at all.  There are a handful of close relatives, but nothing matching the ancestor she’s already half dissected in her lab.

When she asks Nick about the lizards, he just looks at her.  “You’ve been spending too much time in the lab, I think,” he jokes with a smile.

Later, over the remnants of her specimen, she realizes that the gateways are not merely parallel dimensions but actually rifts in time.  Her minor infraction had changed the course of history as she had known it, and yet the present went on, unrippled, despite the changes she had so inadvertently wrought.

There is a moment of terror in this, when she realizes the risks.  How easy might it be to wipe out modern civilization?  To change the tides of humanity?  One species of lizard may not destroy the future, but there’s no telling what might.

There’s no telling anything at all.

And just like that, her terror ebbs to fascination and grows to delight in the sheer possibilities before her.

Two

Her next move is purposeful.  If she can change things by accident, she wonders what might be changed by intention.  She sets her sights small, and aims to fix the mistake she made the first time around.

But when she steps through another anomaly, she finds that nothing’s the same.  The rifts are not predictable, nor are they constant, and where she found a lizard’s nest before, she finds a raging predator now.

She’s running--and fast.  She barely notices when the phone falls from her pack.

Millennia later, scientists find the phone, buried in the fossilized remains of a herbivore.  It’s a discrepancy they can’t explain, and the government deems the finding unsettling enough to divert resources to investigating such anomalies.  It’s James Lester’s first big promotion to head it up, but it certainly isn’t his last.

Three

Getting lost in time has never been the master plan, but as it evolves, she finds it apt enough for her purposes.  The places she’s been, the things she’s seen: it’s more than she could have ever hoped for even from a lifetime of dedicated research in the lab.

She moves from the past to the present and sometimes even the future.  She sees snippets of all and understands time beyond the common linear conventions.  It’s living and breathing, ebbing and flowing.  The things she brings with her from one era, impact the events of another. 

Once, she helps low walking herbivores avoid extinction by bringing modern plants to cultivate across some of the more barren expanses.  She prolongs their existences, allows the predators to flourish, and in the future, science grants are plentiful to help cope with the overflow of information available in the layers of the earth.

The scale of her dreams change; the scope of her mission does, too.  This is more than any single species or any one individual.  She has the fate of the world in her hands, and there’s not much more than matters.  She remembers her old life, simple and boring now.  Hours she spent chained to a microscope.  Years she spent digging through dirt.  Countless moments devoted to mere mortals around her.

These discoveries can do more.  Helen can be more.  As she conquers the past, she sets her eyes on the future, and decides there is no final frontier she can’t have full domain over.

Four

Turning Claudia Brown into Jenny Lewis is mostly an experiment, if she’s entirely honest.  Yes, Helen needs to get rid of her to find a better ally in the system, but getting rid of Claudia would have been far more effective than changing her fundamental identity.

But she’s curious, now, to see just what she can accomplish.  How much can be tweaked?  What control does she have over the outcome?  It’s simple enough to eradicate things and even not so difficult to empower others, but such subtle changes on a small scale represent a much greater challenge--and significant benefits.

To think, the future could be tailor made.  Helen could have the power to pick and choose the outcomes of any single variable.

It’s no easy task, of course, and her tampering goes back generations.  The myriad of differences are mostly subtle, but the strong and dependable Claudia is simply no more.

Her beautiful counterpart is equal in the genetics, but far more feminine in her approach and voracious in her aims.  This serves her quite well in the big picture, and the reality of what Helen knows she can accomplish makes her more sure of her path than ever.

Imaging the look on Nick’s face when he finds out--well, that’s just the cherry on top of it all.

Five

Changing Claudia into Jenny is a feat, to be sure, but in the end, it’s nothing compared to making Stephen fall in love with her.

When Nick proves himself to be an unreliable, if not an impossible, ally, she knows it’s necessary to set her sights elsewhere.  While grooming someone in the present is easy enough, she knows it’s not enough to solidify her position.  She needs someone closer, someone who still has sway with Cutter and the rest of the team. 

Stephen’s the obvious option, and she figures with his natural affection for her, it can’t take much to foster his feelings into something more.

It’s harder than she expects, though.  No matter how much she opens up about her marriage, his response is sympathetic and helpful, offering to talk to Nick on her behalf, to set her up with a marriage counselor.  Long nights she contrives with him at the lab are chaste, and when she finally makes a flagrant move, he backs away.  “I can’t do that to Nick--or you,” he tells her, earnest and true, before excusing himself altogether.

In this, it takes several attempts.  She finds she has to move beyond their relationship to other parts of his life.  She makes his father distant; she makes his mother lonely.  She alienates his best friend and has his girlfriend move away.  In the end, his confidence is so shattered, his strength entirely a facade, that when she finally makes her move on him, he doesn’t have the emotional capacity to say no.

It’s irony, she supposes, that when she breaks Stephen’s will, she breaks him altogether.  She doesn’t predict that the self-doubt she instills in him with the guilt she forces him to bear will lead to a regret he can’t come back from.  Maybe she should have foreseen his death, but when he takes Nick’s place in the room, she has to leave before he dies or else her own regret might be too much.

And one time she didn’t.

Helen can wipe out species.  She can alter someone’s entire identity.  She can mold someone into the ally of her choosing.  But no matter how hard she tries, she can’t bring Stephen back.

She changes the lies she tells him to get him to come to her; she changes how far their relationship goes the second time around.  She changes how well he repairs his relationship with Nick and she brings more people with them to the final showdown.

But Stephen still dies.  Bloody and painful, and she doesn’t know how to change it.  Regret is a funny thing, and in this she learns that there are some mistakes that can’t be undone, there are some choices with inalienable consequences. 

On some level, Helen understands that she has to make her choice between her own mission and Stephen’s life.  She wonders if there’s only so many ways to tempt fate before it collects its price, no matter how steep it may be.  She has to ask herself, what matters most?

This is the dangerous part, she knows.  Allowing emotions to interfere with science.  To let regret cloud her purposeful design.  She’s always been appropriately detached from these proceedings, but somewhere between the past and present, she thinks she might have mucked up her own timeline just a bit as well.

The thing is, she knows it doesn’t matter.  If she has her way, Stephen Hart will never be born.  He’ll never betray his best friend and he’ll never give up his life to make it right.  He’ll never die a horrible and painful death.  In this, she’s doing him a favor.  For all the things she’s done to him, wiping him out of existence will be a mercy in the end.

Still, part of her wonders if he might have come with her.  If they could have travelled time together.  If they could have lived outside the timeline, just the two of them, for eternity.

It doesn’t matter now.  Nothing matters now.  She has to fix Stephen the way she has to fix this entire world.  Wipe it clean.  Give it a fresh start.  This timeline is already weak in her hands, and it will bend to her will, just like everything else.

It’ll break in her hands and she’ll create the right future, the best future, no matter how many times she may have to try.

Comments

Posted by: Vampisticated (youkeyh)
Posted at: June 19th, 2011 07:20 pm (UTC)
TommySquish

This is great...

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: June 21st, 2011 01:47 am (UTC)
stephen's eyes

Thank you :)

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