Round Robin: Please feel free to add to this new R. R.


Project QL Intern
Jul 1, 2005
Sounds like there may be people wanting to do this again...and since the last story up was eventually turned into a TVS...well...that opens a possibility.

Here were Go:



The blue haze seemed to cloud his consciousness a few moments longer than usual. As his senses returned to him he was glad to note he wasn't in any life-threatenting danger, at least not yet. He wondered why his mind would fixate so suddenly on that possibility. Maybe it was that in over ten years of leaping...was it really that long...he'd been shot at, nearly hung, physically attacked, stabbed, and other things he couldn't even remember. Sometimes, it was a good thing that the Swiss-Cheese effect kept him from remembering.

Ok folks....there's paragraph #1...put in what you will and we'll see where Sam's leap goes...

I am going to ask that since this is a round robin...putting in a few paragraphs at a time is okay...but please don't finish entire sections. Also...dialogue would be great!

Adding one other ground can enter multiple times but must have at least one other person's posting between your entries. Tag teaming is not encouraged.
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The second fact that his senses noticed was that he was wearing shoes. Guy shoes. And trousers, with a belt. He was drawing in a lungful of air, fully intending to breathe a sigh of relief that he was - at least for now - the more familiar of the two genders, when he heard the sound. Crying. No, wailing; a wordless, formless screech which skewered through him like nails on a chalkboard. He was about to rub his instantly throbbing temples, when he noticed that he was holding a glass baby bottle in each hand. Two bottles, filled with warm milk. A baby only had one mouth, so two meant . . . . Oh, no. You wouldn't do that to me, would You? Hunching his shoulders against the sound, he took a step gingerly toward the closed door in front of him. The wood seemed to vibrate with the angry noise.

He nudged the door open with his toe, and nearly staggered. The combined force of the hysterical shrieking and the unearthly smell assaulted him. In the dimness, he could just make out two bundles of cloth, pulsating madly, contained within the same crib. Twin cries demanded immediate attention; twin pairs of fists beat at the air.

Twins. Infant twins. Hungry, smelly, wet, mad, about-to-discover-I'm-not-Mom twins.

He breathed in involuntarily and wrinkled his nose. "Hoooooo, boy!"
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'Uh...okay...okay...dinner's coming guys. But we'd better get you out of those yucky diapers first. Let me see...I think I changed one of Katie's kids once..." He lifted the first baby out of the crib, looking around for a box of diapers when he notice this kid had on a cloth diaper under a plastic cover. Trying to ignore the continuing loud cries, he saw a changing table next to the window and laid the baby on it, using the strap to secure it. Using one hand to hold the baby, he reached with his other into the first bin. He found a clean diaper and brought it up to where the baby was. He started taking the plastic cover off and a scent that would knock one over asailled his nostrils. "You're pretty ripe, kid." He was trying to find something to clean the baby with when he heard the imaging door open.

A very cheerfully dressed Al sauntered into the room. "Hiya, Sam." Hearing the babies screaming their lungs out he said, "Can't you do something about that?"

Sam was at his wits end. "What would you suggest, Al? There are two babies here and they're obviously needing to be changed and fed and they don't know who I am and...."

Al's eyes grew larger as he remembered that this was a situation that Sam really had very little experiece with. He remembered the last baby that Sam had had to care for many leaps before. "Calm down. We'll get through this together."
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"What do you mean 'together'?" Sam complained with a frown. "I'm the one changing these two, not you. Besides, what would you know about changing babies?" The moment he asked the question, he pointed at Al, who had opened his mouth to reply. "Don't answer that!" Sam ordered, certain that he didn't want to know ANY circumstances where Al had to change a diaper.

The Admiral gave Sam a frown. "Suit yourself. I would think that you might actually WANT the advice of an experienced father of twins."

"Twins?" Sam questioned, a dirty diaper in one hand, a safety pin in the other, and a confused look on his face. "You're a father?"
((side note: I know what this is like first hand... ))

Al gave Sam an incredulous wide-eyed look. "Of course I'm a father. Are you that magnafoozled that you don't remember that I have five girls?"

Sam's mouth hung open in awe as he just looked at the cheerful Admiral standing before him.

Al grinned back at the leaper before him as he lifted his cigar to his lips and puffed on the stogie. The heated scream came back in full force causing the Admiral to look down at the baby. Al moved his stogie protectively behind his back, then leaned over to look at the ball of fury laying on the changing table. "Now, now, he didn't stick a pin in ya, did he? Come on, now, shhh... it's okay. It's okay."

Although he didn't lay a finger on the child, the baby calmed to a hiccuping cry. Al grinned as he gazed at the little one. "Wanna see some pretty lights?" Raising his hand slowly, Al hovered the flashing multi-colored handlink above the baby. "There ya go... see the pretty lights?"

The handlink squawked loudly sending the calming baby into another startled screaming fit.

Al's shoulders dropped as he turned the handlink over to look to see what Ziggy wanted then shook his head. "Ziggy says that she's not just a pretty face. I swear Sam, this Barbara Streisand ego is starting to really annoy me."

((another sidenote: my twins are 10... I'm... well, I'm surviving.))
Sam struggled with the unfamiliar cloth diaper, wishing that he had two more hands to hold the baby still while attempting to pin the diaper closed. The baby wasn't cooperating. In fact, she - and his vast medical training in human anatomy came in handy there - seemed intent on twisting off the table. Her sibling squawked in the crib, jealous of the attention its sister was receiving.

"What kind of people use cloth diapers? Haven't they ever heard of Pampers? With those - those sticky tape things?" Sam scowled as he poked himself with the giant safety pin, then finally got the thing secured.

"Don't you know how bad for the environment those disposable diapers are? They never biodegrade!" The Admiral showed every sign of working himself up into a righteous activist frenzy, so Sam forestalled him.

"Okay, whatever, I don't care. Where am I? When am I? Who am I?" He picked up the squirming infant carefully, and the din subsided to only one voice. "And most important, who do these . . . babies belong to?"

Sam found another pair of plastic pants and pulled them over the loosely secured diaper. He put down the first baby in the crib and took out the second one, repeating the procedure he'd established with the first.

"Okay...Okay...Sam, keep your shirt on," Al said as he consulted the handlink. "Let's see, you're Michael McGannet, it's March 22, 1981, and you live in Hell..." Al hit the handlink a few times as it squecked and shreaked at him loudly, causing the the babies to again start screaming. "...Oh, Hell, Michigan. thats about 60 miles west of Detroit, Sam."

"Well, it certainly fits how I'm feeling about now. I can't think of a more difficult situation."

" careful how you say things. Looks like things might get very difficult."

"What do you mean Al." Sam had taken the plastic pants off this second child and found a situation rememiscent of the first. Slightly gagging at the smell, he cleaned up the little boy...yeap that anatomy training sure is coming in handy...I'm two for two..., getting a clean diaper on this one as well.

"Well, Sam. Michael McGannet and his wife Cheryl are found dead in two days, although the autopsy show's they are killed tomorrow. Time of death is estimated to be late afternoon. The babies, two month old Kathleen and Ryan, are found alive, but they never learned who killed the McGannet's."
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"Al, why would someone kill a young couple?" Sam asked, completely forgetting about the smell.

"Ziggy doesn't know. Since they never found who did it, there was never a motive." Al shook the handlink and smacked it a couple of times for good measure, causing it to squeal loudly.

"Look, have Ziggy go through old newspapers, police reports, anything she can get hold of. I don't have a lot of time here, Al!" Sam was getting irritated.

"Okay, okay." Al said defensively. "Look, you really oughta do something about that diaper. I could swear I can smell that thing." He waved his cigar around emphatically, punched a button on the handlink, and disappeared.
Once he had gotten their pants on, Sam could no longer tell which baby was which. He took one last peek and dressed the girl, Kathleen (which immediately anchored in his mind as "Katie"), in a red tee-shirt that snapped between her fat legs, and her brother, Ryan, in a green one. Clean, dry, and dressed, they continued crying.

Sam thought his head might explode. "Listen, ah, you guys, I'm new at this - at least I think I am. Oh, maybe you're hungry. Here. One bottle for you -" he plugged Ryan with the baby bottle, "and one for you." Katie gave him a half-smile before he shoved the nipple into her mouth. Being only two months old, neither baby made a move to hold his or her bottle, and they wailed as their food rolled away from them. "Okay, this won't work. How does your mother feed both of you - you know, I don't even want to know."

Examining the problem, Sam's genius brain came up with a workable solution. He dashed into the living room, spread a blanket on the floor, and piled up every pillow he could find. A few minutes later, each baby was propped in front of him as he sat, cross-legged on the floor, holding the bottles steady. The stereo in the corner was tuned to a top-forty station, and Sam found himself singing along with Rick Springfield, whose name he didn't remember, and wondering who on earth would want to kill the parents of these two - okay, he'd admit it - beautiful children.

He was enjoying the music as it played through the many tunes that seemed to jog his memory...was it him or did music fill in the Swiss-cheese holes exceedingly well? He'd have to try to remember that tidbit. Might help in trying to figure out a way home...and there wasn't much else to do. While the babies had initially gone full bore at the meal, now that the bottles were almost empty, and the babies were almost asleep, every time he'd start to pull the nipple from their mouths they would start up a frenzied sucking again, only to start drifting off again. Finally he got the bottles away.

He remembered something about burping them. He picked up Ryan first and laid his head over his shoulder lightly patting the baby on his back. A little spittle on his shoulder reminded him about the use of a burp pad. He laid Ryan back down on the blanket and repeated with Katie, this time glad he'd put a pad on his shoulder as she produced significant'y more spittle. He watched the two babies sleeping contently, a definite 180 from the way he'd been introduced to them.

As he was admiring the two little sleeping angels, he was surprised when he felt someone reaching around his waist from behind him. His trainiing in martial arts went into full action mode and before anything more could happen, he found himself looming over a woman dressed in a skirted, well tailored gray business suit, looking at him with a mixture of surprise, confusion, and the beginnings of anger.

"What the hell did you do that for Mike!"

Great, I must just have body slammed's wife, Cheryl!
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Cheryl glared up at him, quite aggravated, and snapped, "I know you're mad at me for leaving you alone with the babies for two whole hours, Michael, but you don't have to attack me."

Flustered, Sam held out a hand to help her up. She slapped it away. "I didn't realize it was you, er, Cheryl..." he said lamely.

"Oh, you were expecting Darth Vader, maybe?" Cheryl stood up and looked askance at the twins, sleeping peacefully. "Why are the babies on the floor?"

"Uh, we were doing yoga?" Sam ventured, trying to lighten her mood.

It didn't work. "You're not funny, Michael." At his crestfallen expression, she relented, sighing. "Okay, maybe a little amusing. I'm just tired. Any chance I can get you to make dinner?"

Sam didn't remember if he could cook well or not. "How about we order in?"

He was rewarded with an exhausted smile. "Order won-ton soup from Golden Dragon, and I'll forgive you for that judo move."
Sam paused and thought. Chinese food was actually a pretty good idea. He wasn't sure when Michael had eaten last, but the sudden rumble in his stomach at the thought of dinner gave him a pretty good idea of how long Sam had gone since his latest meal.

Sam gave a tentative smile at Cheryl, and nodded. "You got it." The time-traveler agreed.

He went and located the telephone. He stared at it for a second, and suddenly remembered that he didn't know the number.

"Cheryl? Do we have any coupons for Golden Dragon?" Sam asked innocently, knowing that coupons always come with a phone number.
"Oh for heaven's sake, Michael. Don't tell me you need the number again."

Apparently Michael had trouble remembering the phone number for the Golden Dragon himself. Cheryl brushed passed him and pulled a folded paper from behind a magnet on the fridge. "Why don't you try looking at the menu for the number. It always works for me."

"Oh, yeah, I uh...I forgot we put that there," Sam hedged.

"We didn't put that there, Michael, you you'd remember it." She pecked him on the cheek as she walked by him. "You're getting forgetful in your old age."
Sam opened his mouth to protest at the remark, but as he closed his mouth he realized how old he actually was feeling. Humming slightly to himself, he looked down at the menu that was in his hand and looked over it.

'Was there something that they normally ate from the menu?' he wondered to himself.

"What do you feel like eating tonight, Cheryl? Let's, uhm... how about we try something new?"

Cheryl looked back up at him with a grin. "What, Mongolian beef and wonton soup, and your favorite General Tso Chicken isn't good enough for tonight? We could get some extra egg rolls and I know that you love those fried dumplings. But if you don't want that...."

Sam opened his mouth his time to stop her from continuing as he pressed his fingertip to her mout. "Nope, that still sounds like a good plan to me. Extra fried rice too?" he asked with a grin as he picked up the phone as she bobbed her head up and down.

Sam made the phone call, ordering the food. Since he didn't know how much they shared their choices and was uncertain as to whether Cheryl liked hot food or not, he ordered extra pepper paste on the side. As he was ordering he heard the Imaging door open and Al walk in. His friend listened to his side of the conversation.

Cheryl walked out of the room while he spoke to the restaurant. About two minuetes later, as he was finishing up she came back in having changed into jeans and a t-shirt which read 'Accountants do it by the numbers.' Sam smiled.

"Yeah. 2 extra eggrolls, an order of fried dumplings, and could you please add an extra container of fried rice." There was a break in Sam's conversation as he listened. "Um...address? Yeah, I have that..." Sam looked to Al begging with his eyes to have the man provide that information. He didn't want Cheryl thinking he'd really lost it.

Al hit the handlink. "3241 Marigold Lane, Sam."

"Okay. 3241 Marigold Lane. Half hour? Yeah, that would be fine. Thanks." Dinner was ordered. Sam had just put the receiver down when the phone rang again. "Hello...hello? Is there anyone there? Hello?"

Cheryl sounded annoyed as she told him, "Oh Michael, just hang up. It's that creep again."

Sam looked at her, still holding the phone. "Creep?"

"Yeah, that bozo that calls us and never says anything. Just hang up."

Sam looked over to Al, a quizzicle look on his face. Could this be the killer? He heard a voice on the phone and put the receiver to his ear. It was just the operator recording telling him that if he wished to make a call he should hang up and try again. "I guess it was the creep again, Cheryl. I'd really like to know what's happening with that caller." His words were said to Cheryl but Al knew Sam was really taking to him.
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Sam thought for a second. He needed a way to talk to Al without *actually* speaking out loud. That's when he remembered Al's military background. Al HAD been in a war. And back on the farm, Tom had once taught a young Sam Beckett about Morse Code.

Sam used his eyes to get Al's attention as he hung up the phone. When he was sure he'd had it, he used his index finger to begin tapping on a nearby counter, which he subtley began leaning up against while Cheryl went on, complaining about the crank calls.

He started with the standard S.O.S. It didn't take long, before Al caught on.

"Oh, I getcha! Morse code. Good thinking, Sam! What is it?"

Al. Sam tapped out while Cheryl continued to get on a tangent with her annoyance over the calls. What have you found out so far?

Al consulted his handlink. "Well, we didn't know about the caller. There was some speculation that Cheryl's step-sister, Megan, and her husband might be to blame. They got custody of the two babies."

The tapping continued...Why would that raise suspicion?

"Oh, because Megan was unable to have children herself. There was some thought she might take them from Cheryl. Seems she wasn't happy with the way they set up house with Cheryl working outside the home as an accountant and Michael working as a free-lance writer from home."

Sam tapped another message...Anyone else?

"Well, there was the rumor that Michael had borrowed money from a rather unsavory character. The cost of the twins was more than they'd expected...all the extra stuff they needed, the costs that weren't covered by insurance. That's why the babies are sleeping in the same crib. It's also the reason for the cloth diapers, Sam. They are trying to save money by washing them. According to the police records, they looked into this possibility but nothing panned out."

Still tapping, Sam asked...Why would he do that?

"Because he had sold a book and was getting an advance. The check didn't arrive until 2 days after they were killed. The money was put in trust for the babies. If he did borrow the money, he would have been able to pay it back then...but he never got the chance."

Sam started tapping once more and Cheryl walked over and slapped her hand on his. "Would you stop that? It's annoying."
"I'm sorry, Cheryl," Sam said.

"It's okay, Michael. It's just that the tapping was getting on my nerves." Cheryl sighed. "It was a hard day at work."

"Hmmm...well, if it would be all right with you, I think I'll go for a walk before the food gets here. But I don't want to leave you alone with the babies, if you're too tired," he offered.

Cheryl looked surprised. "Michael, you never walk!"

"Well, I was thinking it might be a good time to start since I don't get out much, watching the babies." He hoped it would work.

"Okay, go ahead. I'll stay here. Just don't be gone too long. The food will be here soon."

Sam started walking toward the front door. "Oh, Michael, before you go, will you write a check to the restaurant?"

"Sure." He started rummaging through the drawers in the desk that was near the front door.

"What are you looking for? There's a pen right there in the pen cup."

"I know," Sam answered. "I was looking for the check book. I think it's around here somewhere."

"It's in your back pocket. Where you always keep it? I swear, Michael. Sometimes..." Cheryl threw her arms up in disgust and went toward the nursery.

Sam turned and saw that Al had followed them into the living room. "Al, you could have told me it was in my pocket!"

"You could have asked," Al retorted with a smirk.

Sam glared at him, and turned to write the check. He left the amount blank, since the person at the restaurant neglected to tell him the total for their dinner. He placed the check and the pen on the desk and walked out the front door, motioning for Al to follow him.

Sam immediately turned back into the house. "Why didn't you tell me it was cold outside?"

Al looked over at him, innocently stating, "Sam, it's March and it's Michigan. What more do you need to know? Besides, it's summer here at the project and you know how hot the New Mexican desert can be."

Sam gave him a pained look. He opened the door to the closet next to the front door and pulled out a man's navy blue, wool jacket and put it on. He noticed there were gloves in one of the pockets and a beanie hat in the other. Putting them on as well, he went out the door again ready to have a brisk walk and learn more about what Al and Ziggy had dredged up. He could see his breath as he asked, "Any other potential suspects?"

Al consulted the handlink again. "Well, there were some tips but Ziggy says none of them are likely to be valid. The greatest percentage for any of them is five percent probability."

Sam looked straight ahead as he walked, his mind in thought. Finally he turned to his hologram buddy and said, "Look into the phone records and see if there is anyway to know who has been calling them and hanging up. It's probably nothing but I think we should check that out as well."

Al was floating alongside Sam, knowing he couldn't keep up with the long strides the scientist was making during his rather fast walk. "What are you going to do about tomorrow, Sam?"

"You know your floating is annoying as hell, Al." Al shrugged but continued to float. Sam sighed. "Well. If we're not at home, we can't be killed there so I'm going to take us all out somewhere tomorrow where we'll be in public."
"Let me be devil's advocate for a minute here," Al said, lazily unraveling a new cigar.

"I'd rather you didn't," Sam huffed.

"Well, I'm gonna anyway," Al retorted. "Say you stay out in public. Say you spend the day at the mall or something. Who's to say this nut doesn't have, oh, I don't know, a high-powered rifle with a telescopic lens to take you out long distance?"

Sam waited until a car passed him, going slowly in the opposite direction, then looked warily at Al. He really didn't want to ask this question, but he took a deep, chilly breath and did it anyway. "Al. How were the McGannetts killed?"

Al looked at his friend sympathetically. "Two very accurate shots through the kitchen window. With ... a high-powered rifle. Probably using a telescopic lens."

Sam looked at Al, shoulders drooping. "Damn it, Al. Why does it always have to be so difficult? Why can't I just leap in, make things right, and then leave. Those babies deserve to have their parents." He sat down on the curb and put in head into his hands. "Al, it's getting to be too much!"

Al sat down next to Sam. He wanted to put an arm around his friend, provide him the comfort of a friendly touch, but holograms couldn't do that. "Ah, Sam. We'll get through this. There has to be a solution, otherwise God, Fate, Time, or Whoever wouldn't have brought you here."

Sam looked up at Al, his soul begging his friend to provide the strength he needed at that moment. "Al, have I ever failed?"

Al was uncomfortable. There had been a few times when things didn't go exactly right and Sam had leapt anyways. Could he tell Sam about them and still have Sam figure out this leap? The kid had a pretty great record but he wasn't perfect. "Umm...well...Sam...I think that you've done all you could for every leap and..."

"But I haven't come through on a few? Is that what you're saying?" Sam looked to the heavens and yelled, "You have to help me with this one, you hear? I need more than a few clues...I need a solid lead!"
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Keeping it going

If no one is going to add to this, I will continue to add a part at least once a week until the story is finished. Please add to the story often. Give others a chance to get in...but if there are no takers after a day or so...go for it.

Now...a continuation of the storyline.


Suddenly a car came roaring around the corner. The windows were dark so neither Sam or Al could see who was driving.

"Sam watch out!" At Al's scream, he jumped up and noticed the barrel of a gun pointed at him. He leapt into some bushes behind him, and felt the whizzing bullets pass by him close enough to hear. Once he realized he wasn't actually hurt, other then the scratches he'd gotten when he jumped into the bush, he found himself shaking.

"What the hell was that, Al?" He looked at the scratches on his hands and felt the sting on his face. Cheryl was going to notice something.

"You must have changed something, Sam. This wasn't supposed to happen until tomorrow."

Sam was confused, "What did I do?"

Al tried to reason it out. "Well, Cheryl did say you usually don't go out walking. Maybe there's a reason."

Sam suddenly realized they might have something to go on. "Did you get the license plate?"

Al shook his head. "There wasn't one, Sam."

Sam started pacing, a sure sign that he was upset. "What the hell's going on here! This is nuts!"

"I know Sam. We're having Ziggy give it her highest priority but sometimes it takes time." Al knew it wasn't much, but the Kid was really not taking things well.

"In case you haven't notice, time is something I don't have a whole lot of right now, Al. Get back to the waiting room and talk to this Michael. Maybe he knows what's going on." Sam started walking fast back to the house.

"What are you going to do, Sam?"

"I'm going to go eat some General Tso Chicken and fried rice! I'm staving!"
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Al stepped out of the Imaging Chamber, his shoes clip-clapping on the heavily polished floor. As he brushed passed a control room technician on his way to Ziggy's mainframe he uttered his apologies under his breath I don't have time for this, Sam needs me and I can't be there for him, sometimes I wish I was in his place... he smacked the button to the side of the door to the control room and hurried in. He looked up to Ziggy.

''Welcome Admiral, I trust your exchange with Dr. Beckett was eventful?''

Al looked up at the computers bleeping lights, the thought of him and Sam putting in the ABC rap music still fresh in his mind That was a great day, Al thought to himself.

Snapping out of his memories, Al barked ''Ziggy! I need you to dig up some info on anything we might have missed, any scenario we haven't covered, this leap is turning into an epic and I don't want Sam getting lost out there, or worse....''

Ziggy flared back, ''Admiral you know that I wouldn't ever want anything to happen to Dr. Beckett, but aren't you forgetting something?''

Al snapped back from his inner thoughts, ''Oh yeah, Michael.... Ziggy you keep looking!''

Al turned from the flashing coloured panels and headed off to the waiting room, and to see what he could get from Michael. Probably not much thought Al...
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Just a try to get this rolling again! Don't expect much, I haven't been here long. :eek:

Sam paused on the doorstep, making sure he was at the right house before walking through the doorway.

"That was a quick walk." Cheryl called from the twins room.

Sam smiled sheepishly as he hung up his coat, "Well, it was cold outside." He wandered slowly toward her voice, not sure if he was up to another encounter with the infants.

"Michael, could you handle these two for a minute, I've got some business to take care of."

Sam sighed inwardly, of course. "Of course, I'm coming." He stepped into the dimly lit room to find Cheryl with one child in her arms and the other in the crib, both settled down nicely.

She smiled at Ryan in the crib, before gently handing Katie to Sam. Sam's brow furrowed and he shot her a look. "Business?"

Cheryl laughed, "Yes, I have some business with the throne at the end of the hall."

Sam blushed in understanding. "Oh, right, business."

Cheryl brushed his cheek with a kiss before pulling back with a frown.

"Michael? When did this happen?" She traced a thin scratch from mid-cheek to chin.

"Well, umm--" Sam stumbled trying to come up with a explanation.

Her frown deepened as she tilted his face up towards the dim light, finding other small scratches. Sam pulled slowly out of her grasp and made sure his hands were hidden knowing Cheryl would only find more injuries.

"Michael, did something happen?"

"Ummm, well." He took a deep breath. "I fell into a bush, Cheryl."

She looked at him quizically. "A bush? How did that happen."

"I, ah, I sort of tripped and fell into it."

"God, Michael. You must be the clumsiest man alive."

Sam just looked at her, his best lop-sided grin plastered on his face. "I guess."

The phone rang and Sam went to pick it up again. "Hello...Hello?"

This time there was a voice on the other end. "Hello, Michael. This is Megan. Can I speak with Cheryl?"

"Um, sure, Megan...let me get her." He started to hand Cheryl the phone when he noticed her indicating she didn't want to talk to her. "Um, Megan, Cheryl is involved in something. Can she call you back later?" Cheryl gave him a glare but he just shrugged. "Okay. I'll let her know." He hung up the phone.

Cheryl was livid. "Why did you tell her that! Now I'll have to talk with her and you KNOW how she gives me hell about working outside the home!"

"I know Cheryl, but you really do need to talk with her." He figured he could listen in on the other line and hear what what going on. Find out if Megan might be involved in the plot to kill the young couple.
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"No, Michael, just because she's my sister does not mean I have to talk with her. What right does she have to tell me what I can and can't do for work or to tell me that I'm not being a good mother," Cheryl ranted pacing back and forth in front of Sam before stopping in front of him and holding a finger up in front of his face. "No right at all, that's what right she has." She resumed her pacing again. "Just because she chose to stay home and be a dutiful little housewife and mother doesn't mean that's the choice I have to make. Well, are you just going to stand there saying nothing?"

"I...uh...I'm not sure what you me to say." Sam had been taken off guard by Cheryl's reaction to her sister's phone call. He could remember that he hadn't always agreed with his sister but it had never reached a point where he wanted nothing to do with her. At least, he hazarded, it was unlikely Megan had anything to do with Michael and Cheryl's death...or at least he hoped not.

Cheryl looked over to Michael still seething but concerned at seeing his stooped shoulders and bowed head. He was still holding Katie but thankfully she'd fallen asleep. "What are you upset for, Michael? You're the one that's always telling me I shouldn't give a flying flip about what my sister says."

Sam's gaze returned to Cheryl. "I guess it just seemed that maybe we should talk to her. Not to back down or anything. I know you're a good mother and I'm trying to be a good father, but still, she is family and..."

"Okay, you've made your point. I'll give her a call in the morning. Now I'll be right back." She started back down the hallway when the door bell sounded. She tossed over her shoulder, "That must be the Chinese food. Can you take care of it?"

"Um...sure." Sam put Katie into the crib again with the sleeping Ryan. He then went to the door and retrieved the food, giving the driver the check he had written which Cheryl had left by the door. He took the food over to the table. Taking the boxes out of the bags, he went over to the cabinets and got out some plates and silverware.

When Cheryl came back in, she smiled at him. "Looks good! I'm so hungry, I could eat a horse!"

"Sorry, you ordered the Mongolian horses."

Cheryl laughed. "You're silly, darling. That's one of the things I love about you."

The two of them dug into the food. Sam decided that for the time being, just eating and learning about Cheryl's day in dinner conversation would be best. He still was gravely concerned about this leap but figured he needed to hear from Al to know which direction to take.


Al entered the waiting room, finding a red hair, fair complexioned man in his early twenties. Al knew that Verbena had met with Michael almost as soon as the man arrived. Her report indicated that he figured he was in a dream and wondered when he'd wake up. It seemed to him to be taking a long time to wake up.

"Hello. I'm Al Calavicci. How are you feeling?"

"I'm...a...well...I'm not sure."

"We get a lot of that here."

"Where am I?"

"I can't really tell yu much, other then you are now a part of a time-travel experiment. Have you looked in the mirror on the table?"

"No. I didn't see much reason to do so."

"You might want to now."

Michael stood up and turned around, looking down into the mirror. When he saw his replection, he pondered it. "Why do I look like someone else, someone I don't even know."

"You are looking at the face of the person who is a time-traveler. You are seeing his aura. When he looks into a mirror, he see's yours."

"This is one weird dream. Who is he?"

Al pursed his lips. "His name is Sam and it's not a dream. As I said, you are now a part of this experiment. When Sam leaps into your time, he's there to make something right that wasn't before. The faster I can learn what that is, the sooner Sam will be able to complete his mission, and you'll return home."

"Definitely a weird dream. Okay, I'll play. What do you need to know?"

"Do you know anyone who would be interested in harming your or your family?"

"Family?" Suddenly Michael's face turned white. "OMG, my family! Is Cheryl okay? The twins?"

"Everyone is fine for now. But anything you could tell me right now would help Sam to take care of what he needs to do. Can you remember anything?"

Michael thought for a few minutes before saying, "Yes I do."
Michael continued, "I remember Cheryl's sister, uhh, um, I can't remember her name! Why can't I remember her name?!"

"Some slight memory loss is a byproduct of this experiment. It happens to everyone," Al said, emphasizing the word "everyone" by waving his cigar. "You'll get your memory back, in due time. Just try to focus on what you do remember."

"Well," Michael continued, furrowing his brow. "My sister-in-law came over to the house, and she was very upset at Cheryl. I think I remember her saying something about how she would have made a better mother for the twins. How she wished she could have had them. How she deserved them, not Cheryl."

"Yeah, what else?"

"This part really sticks out in my memory for some reason: She said that if things were different, and if she had her way, she'd have our twins and raise them as hers! Well, she crossed a line with that little comment, so I kicked her out of the house, and told her not to ever come back. I can't remember if Cheryl was upset or relieved."

Al stepped closer, taking in this information. "Do you remember when that happened, Michael?"

Michael thought for a moment and answered, "No, not exactly. But I do remember it was daytime, and it was snowing, because when I opened the door for what's-her-name...why am I drawing a blank on that name?"

"Don't worry about it," Al said, growing more tense. "What happened when you opened the door?"

Michael sighed and continued. "When I opened the door for her to leave, a gust of wind blew snow in the door, and it got everything around the front door a little wet. I remember that because that just made me madder. I'm going blank on everything else. I just remember being mad at her and mad at that damn snow." He looked up at the Observer. "Who gets mad at snow?"

"I'm sure plenty of people do. Look, you sit here and see what else you can remember. It doesn't matter how insignificant it may seem to you. Just try to remember as much as you can, okay? I'll be back in a little bit." With that, Al spun around on his heel and quickly walked over to the Waiting Room door. He entered his code and impatiently waited for the door to open. Before the door was all the way open, he had gone through it and was on the way to give Ziggy this new information.