"Okay, I'm going to show you my favorite moment, but you have to promise not to laugh at me. Okay?" Rohan questioned.
"Why would I laugh?" Gita said, already stifling a smirk. She always laughed at him. That was just her thing.
"It's just a little awkward," he said, "and we're going to have to stay in the bubble. This won't be interactive."
Gita scoffed at that, "Oh man! I hate staying in the bubble. Can't we just use the s-suits, or disguises or something? The bubble is just so lame, I wanna be out and in that time!"
"Seriously! This is important. If I'm going to share my favorite moment ever, we have to stay in the bubble. The moment is too fragile and it has repercussions if we disturb it. So, please?"
"Oh... alright," she said begrudgingly, "but it better be REALLY amazing."
Rohan smiled weakly and thought, 'let's hope so.' Then he pushed up his sleeve and tapped his grid pattern onto his arm, the confirmation prompt displayed and they both looked at each other for a moment; Him with a nervous smile, her with her normal wide eyed excitement. Rohan grabbed Gita's arm and gave the verbal.
The bubble formed around them, the world went mute and swirled. When it came back into focus they were outside of what looked like an old prison.
Gita snickered, "the holocaust?! That's your favorite moment? You brought me to Auschwitz?"
Rohan shrunk a little, "yes, Auschwitz, but not specifically because of the holocaust. Just this one moment in October that's my favorite."
"Seems a little morbid. You know I've been to this place a few times, not a pleasant experience at all." Gita said, her previous enthusiastic look long gone.
"Just trust me, it will make sense in a minute."
Then as the bubble hovered just about a story above the ground a German soldier rounded the corner.
"Hey! I know that guy!" Gita shouted.
"Ferd Knopf. Yeah I know, just watch." And he pointed toward Knopf just as an SS officer approached.
"Wait... what?" Gita looked confused. "Is that... That's you?!"
"This is some dangerous stuff, now I get staying in the bubble. How did you get clearance to double-back on your own timeline?" she asked.
"It was easier than I thought it would be. I just explained the situation and made some promises. We always hear about the dangers, but they ran some simulations and seemed to believe there was little to no danger... at least for them." He smiled a little.
Gita hit him in the arm. "That's not funny!"
"Watch." He said, and they both looked at the interaction between Rohan and the soldier. Knopf looked stiff and concerned. He answered the other Rohan's questions as if Rohan had been a real SS officer. The interaction was brief and the other Rohan dismissed Knopf and disappeared around the corner of the building.
It was obvious that the interaction left Knopf a little shaken. He started to light a cigarette when a second officer approached him from the other direction. He quickly abandoned the cigarette and went to attention.
Gita became incredulous. "What!? NO! October 5th 1944... you brought me here. How... What the fuck Rohan?" She pointed at the officer approaching Knopf, a female officer. "That's me! Five years ago I came here looking for him. Why? Why were you here? Why is this your favorite moment?" She had a wild look in her eyes but a faint smile. She enjoyed mysteries. It was what had brought her to Auschwitz in the first place.
She remembered clearly how shaken Knopf was when she talked to him. She had gone in thinking that it was going to be hard to grill him. Even guards didn't take kindly to being ordered around by the female SS officers at camp. But Knopf was almost immediately compliant. Now she knew. It was Rohan that had spooked him.
"So you're the spook!" She said mockingly and laughed out loud.
"We're both the spook silly," he said with a grin and poked her in the side.
"No, no, no. I'm not taking the blame for this one. You sir are most definitely the spook!" She shot back.
"Nope! Not owning it entirely. Anyway... I talked to him later... well yesterday in fact... or 1987 if you wanna be technical about it. While I definitely rattled him with my questions, it was the both of us that tipped him over the edge." Rohan stuffed his hands in his pockets and kept talking, while the other Gita wrapped up her conversation and she and Knopf hustled off in opposite directions. "That night he made that journal entry about being spooked. He made his getaway plans. He set things up for the Sonderkommando hoping to get as many people free as possible. But when the attempt failed he helped who he could and disappeared. Leaving his wife and child, hoping they'd be safe. The Germans tried to expunge him from the records after learning of what he did and to save face with upper leadership. He traveled for a while, changed names a few times, and then eventually moved to the US with his new wife, whom he rescued from Auschwitz. He became Harry Cook. Harold, Farold, Ferd, TRAVELER, Knopf, COOK, he liked word play and I think couldn't let go of who he really was."
She just looked shocked, her mouth agape. "How?" And then a bigger question superseded that one, "Wait, why is THIS your favorite moment?"
"Then you and I found his journal and started looking into him. That was five years ago before we met, but ultimately it caused us to meet. This moment did. Because THIS moment, this is what allowed YOU and I to become US. You a Cook, me a Knopf." He pulled something from his pocket and looked at it and then looked at her "and I want us to be US forever, Cook or Knopf or Cook-Knopf I don't care. This is the moment I want to remember forever," and he offered the ring to her.