"I don't understand why I have to get all these shots," Justine whined.
Yusef grabbed her by the arm, "Finished?"
"No. Are you?"
He jabbed the hypodermic into her arm. "Nope." She winced. Needles were not her thing. "We know the strains of simple diseases 500 years ago would put you on your ass or worse. Everything mutated since then and our 21st century, air-conditioned, bubble-wrapped lifestyle would literally kill you." He gestured to the row of six used syringes on the metal tray. "These are to help you not die. We're not sure how long you'll be there, so the least you could do is thank me." He peered over his glasses at her. She shivered and grumbled something akin to a 'thanks' and looked away.
A knock came from the doorway. Burke stood there, hand over his head. "Hey, Doc. How's the patient?"
"Being a whiny little bitch."
She turned to say something back, but saw the next needle on it's way and shut up.
"So, perfectly fine?" Burke said. "Great. How long until she'll be ready?"
Yusef removed the fifth from her arm, wiping away a drop off blood with his gloves. "Well, this cocktail is gonna make her kind loopy for a little while, plus we'll need to watch for reactions to anything before we send her back. Earliest, I'd say four days, five? I'd like a week, if we can spare it."
"Let's say five and we can go from there." Yusef nodded curtly. Burke turned his attention to the lab rat. "How are you doing? Have your been going over the files?"
Justine nodded. "Mhm. I still want to run a few more scenarios before we do this. Everything stills feels too smooth. I'd need to do more DTL simulations."
"Good idea, Fitz." She could tell Burke was running them in his head already. "I'll have Grant and Hanover set up a few for you. But judging by your Doctor stern disapproval face, I'd say we'll run those while you're under."
"Cool, thanks Bur-OW!"
Burke walked down the hallway, smiling slightly to himself. There, the other two members were waiting. Kylee Hanover, resident 'mother hen" and envoy to the other factions. And Thomas Grant, the newest acquistion. Surprisingly quick with electronics, Grant was the IT guy. Computers, laptop, Animus, no problem. A good find.
"So are we sure this is going to work? I don't like the idea of just hopefully flinging a human being 500 years into the past." The woman screwed her eyes shut, trying to look away from the monitor for a little while. "I mean, even with all the prep work, it's going to be a culture shock. Not to mention all the Sound of Thunder bullshit."
"Bradbury. Nice, Hanover."
"Thanks, but that's not the point. Or it is the point. Not matter how careful we are, it's going to mess up everything."
"Here's hoping it completely erases the Templars," Grant chimed in, chugging from a soda bottle.
"Something is going to change, absolutely. But we can control as much of it as we can, we can erase the need for The Guild. And I think I'd be alright that, to be honest." Burke tilted his head back for a moment. He had lost a lot when he was conscripted into the order. He thumbed through a journal atop a pile on the workstation. They all had. "And the great thing about time travel is, she'll be back before we know it."
"But what if she comes back all old 'r something?" Grant asked. "It'd be all like whoa? Y'know?"
"She knows how long she's got, Thom. She'll only be gone a year, if everything goes correctly. And her first run will only be five hours, to plant the seed. The next to are just for a minute. We can track that event as soon as it happens and she's back." He picked up the journal. "If there's no record of it, we scrap it and continue to Plan B. But if there is, we can begin to reshape history from its future."
Hanover and Grant cast side-long glances at each other. "So...slow clap now?" Grant offered raising his eyebrows. Hanover laughed to herself.
Burke rolled his eyes in the self-deprecating way he always did "Har har, guys. Let's finish those sims and run a diagnostic on the Animus. Yusef, how are the results coming on those strains?"
Yusef looked up and popped out an earbud. "It's coming along, but it's slow going. Since I'm just basically reverse engineering 500 years of virii and bacteria-"
"No, I understand. It's gonna be a bitch and a half," Burke finished for him. "You've got the biggest hill to climb on this project. We need to keep our girl safe on the other side."
"I appreciate the 'go-get-'em' speech, but I'm really, honestly guessing here. I can tweak it a bit more, but without a concrete body, I won't be able to get specifics. I mean, if everything goes according to plan, her exposure in the past might yield some interesting, measurable results, but I won't know until she gets back."
"I gotcha. Do what you can."
Four days were all she needed to get back on her feet. She was reviewing the history and the layout of Masyaf while in bed. When her eyes got heavily, she'd count in Arabic, and try to order hummus. She wanted to see what it would be like to be tortured by the Guild a thousand years ago, stuck forever in time. Fitz, like the rest, was always on the run. Templars hunted them all, trying to balance the scales in their favor. All over the world, for years. Yusef was the one who brought her into the fold. He always had a stern exterior for Burke, and would give her a sound thrashing if she deserved it, but knew she required a gentler touch. She hoped she'd be able to come back to see him.
"Okay, are we ready?"
"Animus time capabilities are showing life," Grant called back. "Operational capacity in about four minutes."
"Nothing on the feed yet. Templars are more focused on the financial crises in Europe. Little chatter about Venezuela."
"Yusef, talk to me."
"The innoculations will be good against most basic forms of disease. Her immune system has been boosted to the point of saturation." he turned his attention toward Justine. "Whatever you do, don't seek medical attention, no matter what. Medical science is literally in the dark ages. Cures will kill more often than not. Once we get to the big one, we'll send you with drugs and other first aid."
Burke stood by the terminal. All recorded history of the Guild painstakingly catalogued, he bookmarked all necessary pages that would be immediately changed and knew the pathways that would ripple after the events.
"Fitz. You're up."
She sat perched on the edge of the Animus. Her head and face were covered, half swimming in long robes. "Okay, let's do this." She recited the Creed in the ancient tongue under her breath as Grant pressed the sensors onto her skin, having to reach up her sleeves to the correct contact points. Upon finishing her recitation, she lifted her left ring finger and kissed her scar. They all repeated the action.
"Next stop, Masyaf, 1248."
Grant stepped back and began the input. "Five hours. Get in, deliver the message, come back to the jump point and activate the return protocol." She felt at the belted holster she was wearing under her robes. "We'll be waiting for you."
"Hopefully not long," Fitz breathed. She was getting swimmy-headed. She closed her eyes for a second, trying to stop things from spinning. The vizor came down as Grant stepped away. Her own reflection showed her a woman she hadn't seen before. Her eyes looked different somehow, frightened.
"Countdown initiated. Ten."
Oh dear god.
This is it.
"I can do this. I can do this," she whispered.
"I get to meet him."
"I will change history."
"Ready or not, Altair. Here I-"
"Go." The lights arcing the Animus went brilliant white. All the energy in the room was sucked into the chair. Search lights popped and exploded. Burke instinctively ducked for a moment. When he turned around, the chair was empty. She was gone.