"Where is it, where is it?" Helen Cutter muttered in a determined tone of voice.
Helen Cutter was not desperate, but she was on a mission: to find a certain piece of futuristic technology that held a fair chance of solving her problems. All of them. Since shooting Nick Cutter failed to do so, and had in fact dropped a great amount
of new problems into her lap, Helen had become very interested in solving her problems ASAP.
"Where is it, where is it?" Helen muttered determinedly: Danny Quinn, Connor, and the others were on her trail, and time was running out. Even now she could hear their voices as they were finishing getting through the cluttered doorway and searching for
"No, no, no; I shall not lose!" Helen spat in anger, "not when I came so close to winning!"
"Helen!" Danny Quinn's voice came sounding up the corridor. "We got you cornered: surrender peacefully and you'll get to keep some of your dignity intact at least!"
"The nerve of that man!" Helen snapped and slammed some door shut. "Hey, wait a second..."
Helen suddenly found herself in yet another room, but one that held some prehistoric, 21st-century-looking computer as well herself. Was that it?
Quickly, aware of the fact that Danny Quinn and the others were coming up the stairways even as she dawdled, Helen rushed to the computer and turned it on with some trepidation: it looked old; it could fail to even begin to work...
The door began to open, altogether too fast for Helen's liking, so the anthropologist turned housewife turned time traveller jumped to the computer and quickly typed "Nick Cutter; Danny Quinn".
And then she pressed ERASE.
There was a pause in the air, a lull in the action, then nothing. No one was bothering Helen, no one was opening the door or charging up the stairs. There was no one but Helen in the ancient lighthouse of a tower; no one, but Helen and the ancient computer.
Slowly, gingerly, Helen reached for a small pouch in her backpack; a pouch that contained her wedding ring that she took off when she went with Nick to the Permian to deal with the future predators – and now the pouch was gone. Helen had made it a point
to herself not to lose the pouch, so losing with out of the question. But now... it was gone. Her wedding ring, symbolizing Helen's marriage to Nick was gone. Nick himself was gone, gone for good.
"I killed him," Helen said quietly, before grinning the evilest grin she could come up with, and then she added: "And then I erased him... and Danny Quinn too!"
Helen sat onto the empty floor and laughed to her heart's content – a bittersweet laugh to be sure, but a genuine one. Without Nick, she had no reason to return to the Present, there was no reason for James Lester and Claudia Brown to involve others in starting
the ARC... and she had no opportunity to meet and start a relationship with Stephen Hart.
Helen paused, hesitating. Was not meeting Stephen a good thing or a bad one? She knew that Stephen did not love her: in the end he was Nick's, through and through. She also knew that she had loved Stephen, and if he had given her a chance she would have
given him everything she had – but he did not. "It's better to have loved and lost than not to have loved at all," she said, musingly, "and I have done both, so Stephen Hart is off the table."
Thinking of Stephen put Helen into her more usual, contemplative mood: what was she to do now? Nick Cutter was erased from the world and so was Danny Quinn (just in case), the ARC was not around and there was nothing and no one to stop...
As if on cue, from down below came the all-too-familiar sounds of the tower's doors being kicked open and the sounds of the footsteps of Captain Wilder's men coming up the stairs.
What to do, what to do? Thinking quickly, Helen realized that she had time to erase Christine Johnson just as she had erased Nick and Danny Quinn – but she could not erase yet another person, that just was wrong for her.
And so, typing quicker than she had ever typed in her life, Helen leaped over to the laptop and typed: "I work at the Anomaly Research Center". And just as Johnson's minions were approaching the door, she pressed "Enter".