11 April 1961
Beckett felt a sense of panic he’d never felt before as a rigorously
unusual prickle from the leap started to diminish.
As his eyes adjusted to the light he could feel his palms sweating,
he felt hot and out of breath as if he’d been running hard.
Slowly he looked at his surroundings and swallowed hard at what he
you have anything to add Mr. Schmitt?” a man’s voice echoed up towards
him, bouncing off from the high ceiling and gloss painted walls.
The accent was not American or for that matter English, though
English was the language being spoken.
could he say? He hadn’t the
slightest clue as to why he was here; never mind answer any questions.
looked down, noticing his fingernails as they dug into the oak beam
spanned out before him. He
was wearing a shabby dark gray suit, the cuffs to his shirt fraying.
Swallowing again he looked up to where the voice had come from. But
his attention was drawn to the numerous spherical, white-glass shades that
were suspended from long rustic chains.
Giving out a dull glow from each, but together provided an adequate
light for the size of the room. His
eyes wavered, further afield, to an elaborate oak paneled wall, afront it
a raised bench that was almost the width of the room.
High up, in the midpoint, sat a solitary figure, clad in black
robes and wearing an ashen wig. A
quick glance around told him that there were others wearing similar robes
and the same muted wigs.
God… I’m in a Courtroom!” he muttered silently so that no-one could
seen this scene before, long ago in his own mind, but what time
in his past was this? He had
no way of knowing, no way of finding out… just yet.
He looked about for a familiar face, someone he could glean from,
but found none.
he expected to see the figure of his holographic friend, Al, pop out of
the woodwork at any second or hear the sound of the Imaging Chamber door
opening nearby. No such luck. He’d have to scrape by somehow without him.
Schmitt, Sie sind eine Frage gefragt worden. (Mister Schmitt, you have
been asked a question.)” a female voice called out from the chamber
below. Doctor Beckett's head jerked around to the unaccustomed
language as the voice continued speaking.
“Haben Sie vor, es zu antworten? (Are you going to answer it?)”
the woman nodded her head waiting for another answer and after a prolonged
pause started speaking again. “Herr
Schmitt, tun Sie verstehen Sie Ihre Muttersprache nicht? (Mister Schmitt,
do you not understand your native language?)”
began to recognize the guttural undertones of the language and identified
it as being colloquial German. He
knew that he could speak several languages as well as a couple of dead
ones, but couldn’t for the life of him remember if German was one of
them. He knew she was asking
questions because of the slightly sing-song ending to each sentence, but
that was about it. If he knew or could find out why he was here, perhaps that
would give him a clue as to what sort of questions were being asked of
him. He was less than ten
minutes into this leap and already he found that he was in difficulty.
his subconscious squealed out to him.
’You’ve got to buy some
time. Get your butt in gear
and think of something fast.’ Doctor
Beckett felt a pounding deep inside his chest, reminding him of a time
when he’d felt a similar sensation and
in similar circumstances. ’No…
you’re not having a heart attack Sam,’
the voice in his head told him, ’you
only think you are. It’s
all in your mind.’
it,’ Doctor Beckett thought
with a flash of inspiration, ‘feign a heart attack,’ Yes!
He could pull it off; he knew of all the symptoms.
He was displaying most of them now.
It wouldn’t be too difficult; he felt sick to his stomach as it
Beckett didn’t need to fake anything; the pounding in his chest began to
tighten rapidly. He found
himself sweating profusely and his vision began to blur.
If it wasn’t for the fact that he knew he was in perfect health,
he could have sworn that he was having a seizure, but from past
experience, from that other leap, it was probably just the residual left
over from the Leapee. Despite even that thought, he felt ill. His hands clasped tighter to the rail and found that he was
also using it to keep himself somewhat upright.
you feeling ill Mr. Schmitt?” a very English voice asked from the
with that very simple question, Doctor Beckett found that he couldn’t
answer. He felt as if his
breath were being taken from him as the pain intensified.
the doctor to him!” the English voice ordained and immediately a scuffle
began as an elderly gentleman in a brown tweed suit was steered up towards
Sam. A small-framed usher
gave him a chair and thankfully Doctor Beckett sat down, a look of relief
relaxing the tension from his whole body.
Doctor Beckett smiled at the man but he still couldn’t find the
voice to speak.
be takink dis.” The suited man spoke in English but with a distinct German
accent. As he neared, he
beckoned for Sam to open his mouth and as Sam’s jaw dropped he pushed a
small tablet under his tongue.
Beckett recognized the bitter-sweet taste immediately as nitroglycerin and
felt the effects almost instantaneously.
voice from the vaulted bench rose again.
“We will take this time to recess and will meet again at the
designated time and place. That
being?” He turned and nodded to one of the barristers below him.
barrister stood and arranged his robes, coughing to clear his throat. “Everyone with an official notification will assemble at 9
AM promptly, at the designated destination which is stated on the
notification received. The
date and time on which the assembly will congregate is also stated on the
notification. Any questions
on each official notification can be made to me today, personally after an
appointment with my secretary has been made.
What notification?’ Doctor
Beckett questioned himself, ‘I
don’t have any notification.’
He looked down at his empty hands, to his knowledge he hadn’t had
an official notification. Nervously
he fumbled inside his breast pocket, ‘yes,
there’s something here.’ Bringing
it out he opened a crumpled piece of paper and started to read from the
of the Court Criminal Case No 56/61. The Attorney General: versus Fredrik
Sam all but choked on reading the first line but his eyes continued
to scan down the page. His
eyes widening the further he read.
Sam almost shouted aloud, horrified.
going to Auschwitz!… This
can’t be right!’ He
took a deep breath inward and shook his head.
Judge closed the session with a single strike of the gavel, which made
Doctor Beckett jump. “I
declare the first Session of this trial closed.” The entire Courtroom
stood as the he left the bench for his judicial chambers.
Court now closed; everyone started chattering.
The usher who had given Doctor Beckett the chair started to lead
him away, aided by another of greater stature.
was grateful as the larger of the two men insisted that he lean on him. “We cannot have you straining yourself and collapsing on us
now, can we?”
he was led from the Courtroom, Sam’s eyes darted about the large hall as
between clenched teeth he started muttering, “Where are you Al?
You gotta help me out here pal.
Oh boy… I’m on trial!”
Doctor Beckett was led into the cells below the Courts, he wrinkled his
nose at the stench. Al kinds
of odors intermingled together making a disgusting, throat wrenching
rankness. He felt like gagging as his stomach turned cartwheels but he
resisted the urge. The
heavy-duty door clanked shut, closing him in on a very sparse cell, a
small bunk, a very small washbasin and a bucket.
Only his imagination could tell him what its intention was for.
He leaned on the washbasin and looked up; expecting at least to
find a mirror, the wall was bare.
Beckett once alone began feeling much better, not so much the observed, he
hated being under scrutiny. He
had done it before, in his own life
but this had been much more than being in front of the senate committee.
What unlawful thing had this Schmitt fellow done?
Where was he? What year was it and, most importantly, what was he here to
put right this time?
waited in the silence of low mutters, clanging doors and rattling
key-chains for Al to show up. Al
was going to get the biggest grilling he’d ever had since the start of
his years of Leaping.
passed; Sam alternated between the bunk and the floor, finding no comfort
in either of them, letting his mind wander, he started speculating. ‘It must be either the late 30s or the early 40s if I’m gonna be sent
to Auschwitz.’ Doctor
Beckett shuddered at the thought of being an inmate in that place.
‘I must be a German Jew or
from some sort of Jewish faction, judging by the language that was spoken,
or I could be colored or disabled, what did they call it back then?
Being different?’ Sam
had no way of knowing if Fredrik Schmitt was either colored or disabled
just by looking at himself, but he checked his legs nevertheless.
They gave no indication of a disability, neither too did the rest
of him. As for the color of
his skin, he needed a mirror for that and sadly none was available.
Quite often Sam wished that he could see the aura of his host,
instead of looking through it.
Doctor Beckett was lost in his thoughts or the sound was disguised by a
slamming door, he would never know.
there you are Sam,” Al said calmly as he materialized through the cell
head jerked, startled at the familiar voice.
“Yeah, I know I’m here Al… what took you so long?”
Ziggy had a little trouble locating you this time.” Al glanced around at
the holographic surroundings. “Looks
to me like you’re in a spot of bother here.”
Sam stood and gestured at his environment.
“You call this a bit of bother!
Al, they’re sending me to Auschwitz in two days and all you can
say is that I’m in a bit of bother!”
Al voiced, shocked at the mere mention.
“Auschwitz?” he repeated.
“What they doin’ sendin’ you there?”
glared at the observer, ignoring his question.
“I was in a courtroom Al, on trial for God knows what.
They were speaking to me in German and I couldn’t understand a
word they were saying. Do I
speak German Al?”
brow creased, beginning a thought process that included wiping a hand over
his face. “Think you do
pal, you speak Russian, so I can’t think why you don’t speak German
if I do know the language, then it’s slipped through the holes in this
swiss-cheesed brain of mine.”
done great so far though Sam, you’re brain’s not half as magnafuzzled
as it was all those years ago.”
am I and what’s the date Al?” Sam asked, turning his back on the
observer, walking over to the small bunk and sitting down.
pressed keys and hit out at the handlink to deliver up the information
more quickly. “It’s a
Tuesday Sam, it’s April 11th 1961 and you’re in Warszawa,
that’s Warsaw to you.”
in Poland? Well that’s a
relief…” Sam ran his fingers through his hair and flopped down onto
the bunk. “1961, when I saw Auschwitz on that paper, I thought I was
in the 30s or 40s.”
paper was that Sam?” Al asked, gazing at Sam quizzically.
one.” Sam retrieved the paper from his inside pocked, straightening it
out on his knee before handing it to Al.
it up Sam, you know I can’t take it from you.” Al squinted at the
small writing. “You’ll
have to read it to me Sam, I don’t have my glasses.”
lay the paper down. “Since
when did you start wearing glasses?”
two weeks ago.”
been in limbo for two weeks?”
actually Sam, it’s been more like four weeks.” Al looked away gravely. “We thought we were gonna lose you again too.
As soon as Ziggy got a lock on you, a sorta power surge knocked out
a couple of Ziggy’s microchips, St. John had to do a quick replacement
job to get you back.”
wonder this leap-in was a little strange.
It must’ve been the surge that gave me those palpitations.
I thought it was the residual from the Leapee. Al, who’s this person Fredrik Schmitt I’ve leapt into and
what’s he done to deserve a trial?
Al turned hastily to face Sam. “Sam
you’re wrong there, Ziggy says that you’re Heimlich Schtroder.”
Schtroder?” Sam stared to his observer, puzzled.
“That can’t be right Al, I was there in that courtroom and they
were calling me Fredrik Schmitt.”
Sam, most of those in charge of the concentration camps changed their
names… for fear of reprisals after the war.”
glared at Al horrified. “Concentration
camps? You mean I was in
charge of a concentration camp?”
shook his head. “No, you
weren’t Sam; Heimlich Schtroder was.” His arms waving like the sails
on a windmill. “You’ve gotta remember that you weren’t him back then,
you weren’t even born yet.”
I’m Heimlich Schtroder. Wasn’t
he one of the doctors that performed some of those horrific experiments
Al? How could a doctor do such a thing?”
yes he was Sam.”
I’m here to change all that?”
I don’t think so, this is 1961… all of the atrocities started
twenty-five years ago. I
think you’re a bit late to do anything about that now.”
what am I here to do?”
that yet. Ziggy’s running a
synopsis now but she hasn’t come up with any data.”
great! Just great!
It would be good to have Ziggy ready with the information, just
once it would be really nice. Perhaps
you could mention it to her the next time she’s not so…
is amazing Sam.” Al changed the subject, knowing his friend’s
obsession with Ziggy’s alter ego. “The
infamous trial of Adolf Eichmann is taking place in Israel at this very
happened… happens to him Al?”
June 1, 1962 the sentence of death is carried out…”
comment made Sam take a sharp breath; a thunderbolt suddenly struck home,
only letting his breath out as he spoke.
“I die on-on June 1, 1962!”
shook his head. “You’re
not listening to me Sam,” he said slowly, looking slightly irritated to
his friend. “You don’t die in ‘62…”
interruption broke off Al in mid-sentence.
“I can’t believe I’m here to get this-this Fredrik Schmitt
continued, staring down at the handlink as it characteristically squawked
out for attention. “… and
according to Ziggy… neither does our Mr. Schmitt, come to that… die
that is Sam.”
turned to Al reproachfully. “What—he
doesn’t get executed along with the others?”
up here Sam. I don’t think
you’re here for that.” Al glanced up from the handlink, looking
anywhere but at his friends face. “Ziggy
says that the last time round, Fredrik Schmitt escaped the death penalty
after a successful appeal.” He shook his head, turning his whole body
away from Sam's incessant gaze. “She
says that you’re here to make sure that Schmitt never gets to make that
Sam exclaimed, forgetting and trying to grab at Al's shoulder to turn him
around so, instead moved round the front of the hologram to face him.
know Sam, I can’t believe it either, but it’s here look…” The
observer held out the handlink so that Doctor Beckett could see the
scrolling letters on the small screen.
“… it’s there in black and white… and pink and or…”
Sam protested, trying to view the screen in Al's hand as it flapped out of
Ahm… yes, Sam?”
it steady will you!” Sam continued with his protested.
“This isn’t making any sense.
You mean I’m here to-to… to not
lot of things in this world don’t make any sense and this is one of
them,” Al said quickly. “Erm…
according to Ziggy a lot of women suffered, cos he continued with
his experiments of genetic engineering.”
sat down on the bunk and thought for a moment, feeling a nerve twitching
at the side of his face. “Isn’t
that what I did, when I created Ziggy?
Didn’t I mess with genetics?”
you did was different Sam, you didn’t mess with other peoples
messed with yours?”
well… erm… I was a sorta willing guinea-pig.
The people those
so-called doctors experimented on had no choice in the matter; I did.
I made that choice. It’s
not the same thing Sam and you know it, you can’t compare yourself to
I am Al. I can’t help it
and you should know that by now. It’s
troubled me since the moment I did it, it’s not exactly legal is it…
what I’ve done? If the
authorities ever found… out do you think they’d ever let the project
continue? I think not,
they’d shut it down just like that.” Sam clicked his finger with a
getting yourself all worked up about nothing.”
Sam objected, jolting himself. “You
call this nothing?” Sam buried his head in his hands.
Sam was in one of his moods, Al found that there was nothing that he could
say or do to bring comfort to the man he’d known for so many years.
Sam's conscience always got the better of him. He had to do the right thing, even if it meant… Al didn’t
even want to contemplate the meaning of what was troubling his friend at
go a-and check to… erm… see if Ziggy has any more data on what’s
happening here.” Al said dispiritedly, a key-press on the handling
opening up the Imaging Chamber door.
He took a step backwards into the bright light, dissipating as the
Beckett was lost in his thoughts; he didn’t even notice his friend’s
departure; let alone the entrance of the doctor that had helped him out in
Herr Schmitt!” the doctor’s voice jolted Sam out of his stupor.
Sam thought as he turned to look where the voice had come from.
zee dat you’re lookink besser already, I tink dat dese tabletten are
vurkink vonderbar,” the doctor said in broken English.
breathed a sigh of relief as he realized that he could just about make out
this doctor’s form of very poor English.
much besser,” Sam said, not knowing whether to accentuate the German
accent or not.
muss be lookink you over.” The doctor set down a seriously tattered
medical bag on the bed beside him and pulled out an ancient stethoscope
hadn’t seen equipment like this since he was in medical school and
nearly commented on how technology had changed, but caught himself just in
erm… Judge hat ordered it, und ich muss obey mein orders, eh Herr
Schmitt?” Setting up the equipment the doctor wrapped the cuff around
Sam’s upper arm.
your name?” Sam asked unthinking, just wanting to know the name of the
doctor that was treating him.
Schmitt, you not knowink me after all uf dese years?
You muss be losing you’re erm… er… vat you callink it… Marmore, eh…?”
Sam instinctively translated the doctor’s word and immediately looked at
the doctor for a reaction.
old doctor nodded profusely. “Ja,
dat ist der vord ich vaz lookink for, danke, Herr Schmitt.” He pumped at
the bulbous ball, inflating the cuff around Sam's arm, almost too tightly
for Sam's liking and then started releasing the pressure, watching the
level drop on the sphygmomanometer.
ist in order, no tink ist out of sorten.” He removed the cuff, placing
it back into the battered medical bag.
that it? Is that the extent
of a medical examination?’
Sam couldn’t believe how bad this doctor’s bedside manner
really was or, for that matter how bad his English either.
seeink you again, no doubtink Herr Schmitt,” he said as he got up to
leave. “A vord of varnink
to you, do not be takink too much exercisink, ve do not vantink you to
beink ill again, do ve?” He knocked on the door and was promptly opened.
“Auf Wiedersehen, Herr Schmitt.”
Wiedersehen,” Sam repeated and then added automatically,
himself once again alone in the cell, he decided that a nap was in order.
He leaned back onto the bunk and twisted himself into a more
comfortable position and closed his eyes.
He had no idea what time it was, all that he knew, was that the
ordeal had left him thoroughly shattered.
no time at all, Doctor Beckett’s thoughts were no longer of his present
situation. He was dreaming of
yellow pastures and cornfields, of misty mornings in the cow shed milking
the cows, of smelling the aroma of his mothers homemade pumpkin pie and of
running down the path to his home in Elkridge, Indiana.
But this time not of the boy he once was, but of the man he was
Beckett awoke to the sound of an unfamiliar voice speaking to him in
Polish. “Time for you to
get up Mr. Schmitt.” And for a moment didn’t know exactly where he
was. Not an unusual
occurrence for the renowned physicist, he had almost become accustomed to
waking up in strange places and situations.
But this time it seemed different.
Hadn’t he been alone when he’d fallen asleep?
will be having a long day today,” the voice continued.
Beckett turned in his bunk to see his cell door open and a woman bustling
around carrying a pile of freshly washed clothes. He
looked down at himself; he was still wearing the same shabby dark gray
suit that he’d worn the day before.
He felt overwhelmed at the thought of how fast the night had
sat up in the bunk, “I must
have been really tired, sorry I didn’t undress last night,” he said
not worry yourself, I will have the clothes you are wearing washed and
pressed by time you get back.” She lay the clothes next to him on the
back? Where am I going
today?” Doctor Beckett asked, drawing up his legs toward his chin.
have you forgotten?”
thought that was tomorrow!” Sam looked at her curiously.
“What day is it today?”
Mr. Schmitt, it is Thursday. My,
my you are becoming forgetful.”
happened to yesterday, erm… Wednesday?”
woman laughed. “You spent
the whole day playing chess with Mr. Braun, do not you remember that
wiped a hand over his face, trying to hide his confusion.
“Erm… yes… thanks for reminding me.”
like you will be needing a shave. I’ll
get Martha to bring in your shaving apparatus,” she said as she started
leaving the cell.
forget the mirror!” Sam asked quickly, making most of the opportunity
given, to see the aura of his host.
I will not,” she laughed as the door clanked closed behind her.
I missed yesterday? I
can’t remember playing chess with a Mr. Braun or anyone else, who is
this Mr. Braun anyway? How
can I miss a whole day? Unless…
I leapt again.’
Beckett stripped and washed the best he could in the smallest washbasin
he’d ever seen. He’d only
just managed to change his lower garments when Martha opened the door and
looked in. Sam was disturbed by how young she looked, she couldn’t
have been more than about thirteen or fourteen, he could still see the
innocence and her naiveté showed in her face.
Sam, she flushed with embarrassment, lowering her head and looking away as
she entered. “Sorry Mr.
Schmitt,” she apologized. “But
it is not often a prisoner gets this kind of treatment.
It is the first time I have ever been allowed down here.
You are a kind of a celebrity in here.”
smiled a response, even though she was turned away and couldn’t see it. “A celebrity?” He laughed.
“I’m not surprised that you’re not usually allowed down here,
aren’t you a little young.”
looked at Sam in her eagerness to answer.
“I will be fifteen next month.” But she immediately looked away
again, speaking less exuberantly. “Aunt
Olga asked me to bring these for you, where shall I put them?”
the bed will do,” Sam said without thinking.
stood for a couple of seconds and then started backing towards the bed,
trying to see where she was going but at the same time keeping her eyes
averted from Sam's nakedness.
Sam said when he realized her distress.
“Give them here and then you can run along.”
quickly handed Sam the bag and a scrap of cloth, keeping her eyes lowered
and then fled towards the door.
take care, do you hear?” Sam's raised voice following after her.
“And tell that aunt of yours that I would like to see her.” He
didn’t even know if she’d heard his last words.
The way she’d left the room she could have been half way down the
corridor before he’d even spoken them.
kid!” Sam said, suddenly realizing his naked upper-half.
‘She must have been scared
to death, it’s probably the first time she’s even seen a man’s
he opened up the bag, tipping its meager contents to the bunk.
It didn’t take him long to find the small mirror and he held it
up to gaze upon his host’s reflection.
wonder the poor kid was scared half witless, you’re a brute!” Sam
remarked at the image in the mirror.
From what he could see he was aged about sixty or so, with more
wrinkles than “Henry the bloodhound”, an advert he suddenly remembered from
when he too was a kid. There
were also more than a few battle-scars hidden amongst the wrinkles and a
deep ‘rut’ of a scar running through his eyebrow and down the left
side of his face.
turned his head to one side. “Hey
look at those ears, I could go skydiving with these and not need a chute.
Yay! Dumbo has nothing
on these ears.”
the mirror lower and at an angle, he tried to see more.
“Yeah… that’ll be, one, two, no, three double chins and no
neck to speak of. Now then,
what do we have here? Where
do the shoulders start and the butt begin?
Huh! You must weigh at
least 350 pounds. God man,
you’re a mean old son-of-a…”
fun Sam?” Al's voice laughed behind him.
span around, almost dropping the mirror.
“How long have you been there?”
lowered his head and gazed at his friend through his eyebrows.
“Long enough to hear you recount your favorite dog food advert.
And, Sam… I didn’t even know you could count to three.”
stood firm, giving Al a mooted glare.
“You were listening and you didn’t even let me know you were
didn’t want to spoil your fun,” Al replied casually.
continued with his stance. “Have
you seen him… have you seen this ogre?”
him?” Al gestured with both hands, throwing them into Sam's direction. “I’ve just spent over three hours with him in the Waiting
Room, not a very pleasant experience I can tell ya.”
picked up the shaving brush and made a lather with the soap.
“What did he say about the trial Al?”
just keeps sayin’ that he’s not guilty, we ain’t gotten a thing
outta him yet, though Verbena’s working on him.”
lathering his face he gingerly held the cutthroat razor between his thumb
and forefinger. “Do you
know what day it is today?
gazed at the razor in Sam's hand. “Are
you sure you know how to use that thing?”
be much different to shearing sheep… can it?”
don’t think you can make that kinda comparison there Sam.
One slip and it could be the end of you and our Mr. Schtroder.”
Al made a glottal noise and drew a finger across his throat.
do you insist in calling me… erm… him Schtroder.” Sam shook his head
with the perplexity of the circumstances.
“I’ve gotten used to the idea of being Schmitt and what
happened with Wednesday? Can
you answer me that?”
you talking about Sam? What
do you mean about Wednesday?”
night when I went to sleep it was Tuesday and when I woke up this morning,
it’s suddenly Thursday. I’ve
lost a whole day Al!”
temperament when I eventually came out of the Waiting Room.
She was clamed up tighter than a Bishop’s…”
get the picture Al!” Sam cut in.
you know what she’s like Sam…”
All I have is your account of her tantrums Al.
I can’t remember much of her at all.
I know she can be a little temperamental at times, but what has
this to do with my missing day?” Sam took the first tentative slither of
the blade down his cheek, his eyes widening at the results.
after I went into the Waiting Room.” Al hesitated, rubbing at his
forehead. “St. John decided
that it was the right time to update the transient chips.
Yer know, the ones that he’d replaced when you leaped in.”
listened, nodding periodically in understanding.
to do it… incidentally, this is all hearsay… erm, he had to take Ziggy
off line… right. Now, wow,
Ziggy went ballistic, completely
looney toons at St. John’s decision, stating that the transitory
chips were working perfectly and didn’t need to be replaced.
St. John insisted and carried on with the work he thought was
necessary. According to Tina,
during those few short minutes we lost Schtroder from the Waiting Room and
we lost contact with you. It
took quite a few hours to locate you again but we had no idea that you had
lost time as well.”
Ziggy’s still acting up, right?” Sam asked, stretching his neck he
wiped the remainder of the foam away with the cloth.
actually she’s not. Once we
got you back she was okay with everything again.”
your point here Al?”
must’ve leaped outta here again Sam, that’s probably why we had
trouble locating you.”
all you have is probabilities, what’s Ziggy’s theories on all of
shrugged his shoulders. “I
mean you haven’t asked her?” Sam proclaimed, throwing the clothe onto
could I Sam?” Al frowned. “I’ve
only just found out myself.”
door to the cell opened and the two ushers who had helped Doctor Beckett
from the Courtroom stepped inside.
larger of the two spoke first. “You
are looking better today Fredrik, I see the strain of that chess game we
had yesterday did not tire you too much.”
game? Ah yeah, Mr. Braun.”
thought we had dispensed with the formalities yesterday.”
well…” Sam gave Al a sidewards glance before looking back to the chess
player. “You have come to
get me right? So this is
official business, I just thought we’d better stick to formalities for
gave me quite a few good pointers there.”
did? Erm… I did.”
sure did, I especially liked that move on the King, the one with the
Bishop, Knight and Rook. Great
move. I tried showing it to
Rolf but did not get it right, you will have to show me that move again
when you get back.”
I-I will… when I get back,” Sam said, a worried tone in his voice.
you looking so worried about Sam?” Al leaned in between Sam and Braun,
indicating a determined thumb toward the chess player.
“You could lick this guy into submission within ten minutes.”
turned suddenly to Al. “I
I could give you a game sometime too Fredrik?
Andere is only just learning the game of chess, I’m sure that I
would make a more worthy opponent,” Rolf said with an air of cool
shrugged his shoulders and laughed awkwardly.
“I’m not that good of a player.”
you talking about Sam? You’ve
been playing chess since the age of two!”
Al's hands spoke volumes as they fluttered about the air.
“You’ve beaten Ziggy every time you’ve played her.”
what Andere was telling me about that move, you sure beat the pants off of
answered both men with a single answer.
I would like to see you try it with me.” Rolf laughed complaisantly.
think we’d better be going.” Sam said momentously embarrassed.
“I-I think they’ll be waiting for us.”
Christ, we almost forgot why we came here Rolf,” Andere quickly
realized. “I had forgotten
about them out there.”
and Andere led the way and Sam followed, not too closely behind.
He wanted to be able to talk with Al before his departure.
gonna be there aren’t you Al? I’d
hate to be at that Death Camp
without a good friend’s support.”
I will Sam, that goes without question.
I’ll have to get Ziggy to run up some scenarios first though, but
I’ll be there in plenty of time for your arrival.” Al's finger danced
over the surface of the handlink, the Imaging Chamber opening
gave Al a suspicious glare.
will, I’ll be there.” Al stepped into the brightness within and as the
door closed he assured Sam. “I
promise.” he pledged, giving Sam a diminutive wave of his fingers.
an early 1950's model ‘T’ Ford complete with driver awaited their
arrival. Sam sat in the back
seat with Andere whilst Rolf sat in the front.
In no time at all they arrived at the station, the train already
stationed on the platform that would take him to what had become his worst
journey from Warsaw took less than two hours.
From what Doctor Beckett could see Oswiecim was a drab town, even
in mid spring and with the sun shining it was cold, dismal and archaic. The short excursion to the outskirts where the camp of
Auschwitz lay took about ten minutes.
There was no mistaking the building, even before they’d stopped
knew that the camp had been turned into a museum at the turn of 1946, but
it still didn’t stop him from feeling a sickness well up in his stomach. As Sam alighted the vehicle a memory not of his own stirred
at his senses. Even before
he’d entered the gates he could smell something strange, a bitter rancid
stench similar to that of a pesticide once used on the farm.
On top of that, his senses revealed another odor, one that was
putrid and unclean. He felt
his skin moisten and his temperature rise as his stomach turned
somersaults. He could taste a
very bitter twang rise up in the back of his throat and he immediately ran
for the nearest grass verge. Leaning
over a small stone wall and, try as he might he couldn’t keep his meager
breakfast down. Even though
sixteen years had passed since the camp had been liberated, Sam could
still smell the stench of death.
more vehicles pulled up and the occupants stepped out.
Even through the thumping pain in his head Sam could hear them
squelching about in the ever present mud.
Sam wondered just how much of the mud was the ashes of so many
burned and cremated souls.
retching over, Doctor Beckett straightened himself. Albeit
now empty, his stomach still churned.
He purposely lagged behind as the others passed under the wrought
iron archway that spanned the gates on either side.
Looking up, the archway bore the words, ’Arbeit macht frei‘ translating them to, “Work makes one
free.” Doctor Beckett choked at the interpretation.
considering what this place was used for,’ but he kept his thoughts
to himself, despite his wanting to tell everyone assembled of his
two-story building ahead and to the left of them seemed to Sam,
oppressive. The mud squelched
underfoot, not long since thawed out from the winter months and not yet
dried out by the summer sun. This
part of the world seemed to be in limbo, in a sort of in-between stage and
Sam felt the same way about himself, not part of the past but not part of
the present either.
held back for as long as was possible, feeling his stomach churning over
and over again at the thought of even crossing the threshold.
He saw both Andere and Rolf heading back towards him; he then
realized that delaying the inevitable any longer was going to be a futile
gesture on his part. He took
in a deep breath, almost choking again on the obnoxious breeze that seemed
to surround him and only him, no-one else appeared to notice, either that
or their nasal senses were experiencing inertia.
Swallowing hard, he started walking forward to meet the two men
recognized a few of the faces from the Courtroom, the Judge for one, the
barrister and the woman. He’d
never forget the woman who had so disturbed him when he was at his
weakest. She was the one that
had caught him off guard, speaking to him in a language that he then—at
that moment—couldn’t understand.
There were other faces there too, faces without names or voices.
Sam counted thirteen in all, including himself and two armed
he supposed to recognize all of these people and call them by name? He hoped not.
you feeling unwell Fredrik?” Andere asked as Doctor Beckett caught up
with them. “You look pretty
shook his head. “I can’t
go in there… I just can’t!” he croaked, feeling an overly large lump
rise in his throat, strangling his voice and cutting off his oxygen
then saw everything as it started swimming before his eyes, turning from
bright vivid colors to black and white and then to shades of blurry gray.
tried to grab Doctor Beckett before he landed in a heap into the sticky
mud but not quite achieving it. Rolf
also caught hold of an arm, ripping the sleeve from Sam’s jacket.
Splattering both men with the gruesome filth, Sam landed face down
with a sickening splosh.
rolled him over; the mud slithered down from his face and into his hair,
smearing the mud further into his hairline and clothing.
men picked up and carried the bedraggled doctor into the outer building,
carefully scrutinized by the other attendees from the Courtroom.
As promised, Al was already there, awaiting the arrival of his good
friend. A look of horror
passed over the face of the Admiral as they hurriedly started to lay the
limp frame of Doctor Beckett onto a couch.
moment,” the superintendent screeched in horror as he hastily covered
over the precious antique so that the visitor’s filthy clothing
wouldn’t soil it.
have they done to you Sam?” Al squawked as Sam's body lay motionless. “He needs a doctor. Go
and get him a doctor you nozzles!”
happening here?” the Judge questioned with a disapproving glance towards
the immobile figure on the couch.
glared relentlessly at the Judge and then, sympathetically and soberly
down at his buddy. “Sam!
Speak to me Sam! Let
me know you’re gonna be okay!”
been acting unusual ever since we pulled up outside the gates Judge
Perkins,” Rolf replied, wiping away at the light gray mud from his dark
he’s been acting differently… he ain’t this Schmitt feller,” Al
indicated to his friend who lay prostrate.
“He’s Sam Beckett, Quantum Physicist,” he yelled, his words
falling on deaf ears.
Sir, as soon as we were out of the vehicle he threw up, he’s been acting
strangely for a couple of days now,” Andere added, also wiping at the
mud stains on his clothing.
deliberately strode up to Andere and looked him squarely in the face.
“This place would make anyone sick.” Briskly the Admiral turned
and started pleading. “Sam,
old pal, buddy, twitch or do somethin’… anythin’ jus’ta let me
know that you’re gonna be okay.”
some water,” one of the barristers ordered of the superintendent and he
scurried off though a door, others remained muttering between themselves
as the superintendent returned moments later with a pitcher and a very
grimy looking and chipped enameled mug.
With a shaky hand, he lay the mug on top of the centralized table
and poured the crystal clear water into it from the pitcher.
Picking up the beaker, he passed it on to the barrister, who then
in turn pressed it to Doctor Beckett’s lips.
of it drained away, wetting and darkening the already drying dirt on
Doctor Beckett’s face. Andere
wiped the wet mud from around Sam's mouth, his lips were white; almost
blue and Al started to fear the worst.
stooped down at the side of his dearest friend; flapping his arms, he
surged through everything that blocked his path.
He didn’t need to push them aside, being a hologram but even if
he wasn’t, he wouldn’t have let anyone bar his way.
“Come on Sam! Give
us a reaction.” Al wanted to slap him, pinch him, even kick his butt, if
it would yield a response. All
he had was the power of his voice. “SAM!”
He yelled once more. “S—A—A—!”
cannot see anything; it is dark here, dark and barren, a wasteland of
blackened beings. I can feel
them around me, surrounding me, their foul breath invading my nostrils,
their screeching deafening me. I
dare not breathe, but I must breathe in order to survive.
No, I cannot, it is too disgusting – it is taking my breath away,
taken my breath away, no breath left, it has gone.
Breathe. Look man;
look! Look and see what it is
you are fearing! I do not
want to see, it is too awful, I do not want to look, open my eyes to that.
is getting brighter now, the fog is beginning to lift and the screeching
is subsiding. I can hear
voices now, way off into the distance—shouting my name, calling to me.
I do not want to go back there.
I am scared, shaking and there is a pounding in my chest.
No—no—no do not bring me back—I do not want to go—leave me
Admiral watched as a blue aura surrounded and engulfed Sam's form, as the
aura intensified the hologram around Al began to shimmer vibrantly only to
fade. Al found himself
standing alone in the darkened Imaging Chamber, still shouting Sam's name. “A—a—aa—m!”
swallowed hard, unable to think why Sam had leapt again when he hadn’t
fulfilled the task Ziggy had mapped out for him.
He bashed his palm against the handlink; the information hadn’t
changed. Schtroder’s or Fredrik Schmitt’s history hadn’t
altered, it was exactly the same as when Sam had leapt in.
So why the hell did Sam leap out?
was still around to continue to commit his foul deeds upon others.
Al couldn’t understand it; he couldn’t understand it at all.
the gloom he called out to Ziggy. “Where’s
he gone Zig? Have you any
do not have ideas Admiral, only facts.” Ziggy’s silky tones called out
of the darkness. “If I base
my theories on ideas such as yours Admiral, I would not be any better than
a human brain and we both know that I am much more than human, do we not
it Ziggy, do you have a lock on him or not?”
but Admiral I do suggest you take a nap.” Ziggy’s tone to Al was
infuriatingly calm. “I
sense that your circuits are about to blow a fuse.”
don’t need a nap Ziggy, I need to find Sam.
Start searching for him now,” the Admiral ordered as he stood
waiting for the whirlwind of time to start swirling about him.
and take a nap Admiral—and that IS an order!" Ziggy's tone was more than commanding but as
she continued she mellowed. "I
know how much you detest this particular function in your job description
and so doctor Fuller and I have come up with a modification of the
neurologistic search, we've stumbled upon a new epochtonusalgraphic probe.
What better time to try it out than—now, Admiral.
And so… Admiral… for the moment your presence will not be
necessitated in the Imaging Chamber.
If your services are required, I will know where to find you but I
doubt that will be a requirement."
the hell's that when it's at home?" the Admiral asked inquisitively.
based on time displacement," Ziggy's voice purred as she orated her
explanation. "If doctor
Beckett has done something different, no matter how slight, the probe
should be able to pick up on it."
will it work?" Al queried with some indignation.
compute that the probability of doctor Fuller's sub-deviation will be a
98.72 percent success." Ziggy
Admiral cocked his head and looked skeptically.
"If you say so Zig… who am I to argue?"
He walked the familiar path out of the Waiting Room. “But sleep will have to wait, I need to talk with St. John
opened his eyes slightly, blinking at what seemed to him to be bright
fluorescent lighting. The
brightness burning an imprint that glowed green, even after his eyelids
had shuttered down.
Sam breathed, barely moving his mouth; the sound just audible for the
friend he thought was crouched beside him.
Sam said quietly when his friend didn’t answer, still keeping his eyes
firmly closed. He felt cold
and slightly strange. The
weight of his clothing didn’t quite fit that of what he remembered.
“Al?” He repeated in the same hushed tones.
“Are you there, Al?”
stillness became unbearable to the quantum physicist and he peeped slowly
with an eye. And then the
other eye opened. He took in
his surroundings with a gasp. He
was in an immense room with stoned walls and a vaulted ceiling.
The first thing his senses noted was the stench, a familiar smell
that he’d encountered before and not so long ago either.
It retched at his stomach.
sat up, leaning on an elbow the rough surface on which he was laying
grated at the skin on his joint. Looking
down he saw that he was lying on sackcloth, on a bench in the middle of
the vast room. To the right
of him stood a marble slab that rose from the floor with red colored
bricks. There were grooves
cut into the marble surface, reminding Sam of a table he’d once seen in
brow creased with confusion and he shivered again at the cold.
He reached to pull up the lapels to his suit jacket he remembered
wearing, only to find that it had been removed. Now even more confused, he took his eyes from the marble
object and glanced down at himself. His
feet were bare, so were his legs right up to his thighs, as his eyes
traced upwards he found that he was wearing a thin cotton gown and nothing
Sam whispered again a little more loudly and he cringed as his voice
bounced back at him from every angle.
door creaked somewhere and then it slammed shut; followed by pronounced
footsteps, heavy, deliberate and they were heading his way.
muscle twitched in Sam's cheek as he began to mutter.
footfalls neared and he began to hear voices.
Two? No… three,
maybe four. Another door
creaked open. Sam lay back
down on his resting place; he closed his eyes again and waited.
He dare not look at whomever those
footsteps related to, even though he was curious to know to whom they
belonged, they sounded too menacing for Sam to bear.
All at once the tread on ground halted, stopping immediately to the
side of where Sam stiffly lay. He
could hear another movement too, now that the footfalls had ceased,
something was being pushed or pulled along the bumpy ground. He listened to it clattering.
they been prepared?” A heavily accented voice asked.
Herr Schtroder, sie ist vorbereitet worden. (Yes Mister Schmitt, they have
been prepared.)” Another voice answered in German.
for what? Herr Schtroder?
That’s the name Al called me when he… No, it can’t be, it
must be another with the same name.’
Alarm bells started ringing in Sam's head, he couldn’t resist; he
just had to take a look.
woman dressed in an off-white doctor’s overcoat walked around the foot
of the bed. She was pushing a
metallic tray of some description, he couldn’t quite see what the tray
was laden with but it was something metal, he could hear whatever it was
rattle and chink together with each step she took.
She stopped alongside Sam, in between him and the marble slab and
started arranging the things on the tray.
man with the same name as Sam’s host noticed Sam's movements.
“The inmate is awake! I
thought they were made ready?” the accented voice queried.
waren bereit gemacht, ehrlich, (They were made ready, honestly,)” the
woman said as she turned away from her task.
As she turned, Sam saw her face for the first time, stern and
unsmiling with a hard jaw. “Sie
war unbewußt, wenn sie hier gebrachte wurde. (She was unconscious when
she was brought in here.)”
Sam questioned himself and looked around again; he couldn’t see
anyone else they could be
referring to; unless of course, they
were referring to the Judge and the barristers from the courtroom.
‘Schtroder’, the four men that had gathered around Sam stepped away
and joined the woman. Their
voices became muffled and Sam strained to hear what they were saying, but
he only managed to catch a few words and these were spoken in German.
Something about ‘anesthetic’
filtered through and ‘experiment’
but the words that hit Sam the most were spoken quite clearly.
Almost as if he were meant to hear them: “Wir werden damit dann nicht belästigen, ist es so
verwaltet worden werden wir geradeaus mit der Operation tragen, auch wenn
sie noch wach ist. (We will not bother with it then, it has been
administered so we shall carry right ahead with the operation, even if she is still awake.)”.
shot up into a sitting position. He
decided that it was time to make a move.
What move though? He’d
have to rely on his instincts for that, when the time was right, but he
didn’t have time to wait for the right moment.
He had to do it now. He
was just about to swing his legs around, to jump from the bench when a
hand grabbed at him from behind.
rough and unyielding hand big enough to clasp around Sam's throat in a
one-handed grip tightened. A
gurgle spilled from Sam's gullet as the grip continued to tighten.
Sam managed to gasp as the wielding hand at the end of a strong arm lifted
him from his feet. He tried
to struggle but in vain, his feet whipped at nothing beneath him and his
hands were no match for the grip that was leaving him dangling in mid air.
The man’s fingers compacted into his neck each side of his
windpipe leaving speech an impossibility.
He felt as though his trachea were being ripped away. He clawed and punched but to no avail; the grip only
tightened. He fought for
breath only to discover it being cut off further. His deflated lungs ached
for precious oxygen and his tongue dry and limp from the restriction.
felt his body swaying as the oaf began to swing him back and forth, then a
sudden release and he could feel himself being launched through the air.
It didn’t last long though, his flight of freedom.
He met with an abrupt impact as he crash-landed against the
stonewall. An immense pain
shot up from the base of his spine spiraling his head backwards, smashing
his scull against the wall and a warm trickle clouded his vision, as it
wiped a wearied limb across his face to clear his sight.
The ogre who had so effortlessly thrown him thus far was now
stomping his way towards him. Sam
scuttled backwards in an effort to retreat the advancing brute of a man. Sam noted that his bulk was far greater than anything he had
ever witnessed before, seven feet tall at least, Sam proffered and the
distance he had thrown him must have required an enormous amount of
strength. But he lumbered
forward slowly, restricted by his great bulk.
glanced quickly to the others who stood watching the spectacle gleefully,
it was then briefly, that he saw the face of Schtroder, it was either his
host’s younger twin brother or he had Leapt again.
But, he couldn’t remember Leaping, unconscious awhile yes, but
not actually leaping. He’d
not felt the usual quantum energy take him over, unless… unless it
happened when he was out cold.
saw an opportunity and raced for the door but stumbled as his legs gave
way before he could even stand.
Before he knew it, the ogre was upon him, grabbing this time at his
trapezium muscles each side of his neck.
screeched with pain as the brute stomped down a heavy foot straight into
his knee joint and then hurled him rearward.
He felt his shoulder squelch on impact and knew immediately that it
think that will be enough now Gunther,” Schmitt ‘or
is it Schtroder’ laughed menacingly.
“This young lady has obliged us by not being affected by the
anesthetic.” His evil chuckle reverberated around and off from the domed
ceiling. “We don’t want
to deprive her of a front seat view, now do we?”
God, help me! I have leaped
again! And I’m a woman?’
her over here Gunther, we cannot be seen to be wasting time, I have many
other operations to perform today,” Schtroder commanded to the goon.
buffoon hauled Sam up with one arm, tucking him under like he were a roll
of carpet. He tried to yell
out in protest but all that came out was a gravely rasp.
He tried to struggle but his legs wouldn’t cooperate and his arms
were held tight in the deadly vice between the goon’s muscular
appendages and torso.
onto the marble slab, Sam's every nerve ending was alive with an intense
tingle of energetic verve. His
vain attempts at a struggle were negated as thick leather straps fastened
him down and his meager utterances muffled when a sodden filth ridden rag,
gagging even the superlative of all whimpers.
tinkered about with the now visible instruments on the tray. Apparatus of torture, Sam decided, having not seen any such
instruments in the whole of his career.
One however, he did recognize; the one Schtroder held in his hand
and was nearing towards Sam's flesh.
Horrified at what he was seeing and about to endure, he gritted his
teeth and closed his eyes tightly as the scalpel sliced into the flesh of
Arrrgggghhhh!” The quantum physicist screamed as he felt the
intensely sharp sting from the first cut.
Even the tightly bound gag in his mouth didn’t muffle the
shrillness of his cries. Then
nothing as the excruciating agony took over his senses.