Episode 1032
Lifetime: Past's Prologue

New York City – Albuquerque & Star Bright Project, NM

March 17, 1984



The memory of a long-lost friend comes back to haunt Sam as he comes face-to-face with his reflection in the mirror. With his return home just a leap away, Sam must travel to the place where Quantum Leap’s origins had its conception – the Star Bright Project. Along the way, he’s shocked when he encounters another familiar face he had never expected to see again – Alia, who has become a drifter, struggling to survive on the streets. What is her connection to the coming events that threaten to plague PQL? And does she truly wish for redemption? (2 of 3)

Written By:

Damon C. Sugameli  

(*Selected dialogue from Part Three written by: Sue Johnson)




For the first time ever, Sam leaps almost thirty years into his future where he meets a woman named Isabella, and her companion, Adam. She reveals to Sam the horrible account of what has happened to PQL in his absence and how it became the catalyst for a cataclysm known as the Great Disaster. He is further shocked when Isabella reveals that she is in fact the biological daughter of Sammy Jo Fuller and Daniel Fulton, and that she has purposely brought him here to bear witness to the religious cult that his son, Stephen, started to keep his legacy alive.

As Isabella and Adam lead Sam into her private workspace, he is also reunited with Ziggy, who has now assumed a fully tangible holographic form with emotions. She informs him of Isabella’s plan to send him back to the Star Bright Project to plant the “seed” for his return home. A chip containing the perfected Retrieval program must be integrated into the circuitry of SID (System Interface Database), which was the prototype for what would eventually become Ziggy. As the time of “Old” Sam’s imminent death draws near, Adam shows his true colors and attempts to kill Isabella with a futuristic quantum laser weapon. In the ensuing struggle between Sam and Adam, Ziggy loses control and becomes a force to be reckoned with, electrocuting and killing Adam. She detects Isabella still alive, “unstuck” in the time stream, and promises she will do everything she can to find her. Sam then holds the Retrieval chip firmly in hand, and leaps.




Once again, Sam was surrounded by nothing but quantum blue. Within the void, he was able to hold onto his thoughts and memories. His brief encounter with his older self, dying before his eyes, shocked Sam into a new level of awareness he had been denying since his very first leap. He knew the truth now. I’m in control—always have been!

Holding onto that realization when he leaped again though, would be an entirely different matter. It required him to retrain his way of thinking—to unlearn a frame of mind he had grown accustomed to. Since the quantum void enabled Sam to surpass all physical limitations, his mind was now open to a myriad of impulses. He could “feel” the presence of every single time-traveler who had ever leaped or would leap, both in the past and in the future. Linear time was non-existent here. The void acted as a cosmic nexus for all time periods and parallel dimensions. There was literally an infinite amount of timelines branching off from one another, and in some cases, falling back on each other.

Just as quickly as this level of awareness invaded Sam’s mind, it disappeared again. He knew that it was because he was about to leap again. Human beings were not meant to retain this level of awareness in the mortal plane of existence, hence they become like gods themselves.

Ahead of him, Sam saw the mirror again. This time, a flood of images was reflected back to him. He could clearly see the mirror images of all of the “leapees” from the past ten years. Significant segments of his past were now guiding him along to his next-to-last destination on the roller-coaster ride through Time. Sam felt his body become tangible once again, as the pull of the leap brought him back to reality…




When the blue light finally faded, Sam found himself standing in a well-lit room. The light emanated from a chandelier on the ceiling above him, and in front of him was a wooden table with chairs around it.

The momentary confusion that Sam had gotten used to in his ten years of leaping faded quickly when he looked down at his left hand and saw the Plexiglas tube clenched tightly in his palm.

The Retrieval chip! Sam remembered. It worked! Now, all I have to do is plant it into SID. But…

Sam looked around at his surroundings and realized he was in someone’s home—a dining room, to be specific. Where exactly am I? Why didn’t I leap back to the Star Bright Project?

A small tug on Sam’s pant leg brought him out of his thoughts. He looked down and saw a small blond-haired girl, maybe six or seven years old staring up at him. “Uncle Gooshie? Have you seen Mommy and Daddy?”

“Um… no, but I’m sure they’re—wait! W-what did you just call me?”

“Uncle Gooshie!” the girl responded innocently.

“Gooshie?” Sam said in shock. “No! It can’t be!”

Almost directly in front of him, Sam saw a wooden china cabinet filled with fancy dinnerware. As he looked into the glass windows, he strained to see his reflection and was completely thrown for a loop when he saw the face of his late colleague and friend, Dr. Irving Gushman, staring back at him.

“I’m Gooshie!” Sam exclaimed in amazement.

The little girl started giggling, saying, “You’re being silly, Uncle Gooshie! Oh boy!”





New York City, New York

March 17, 1984, 2:38 PM


“What’s that thing you’re holding, Uncle Gooshie? Is that a toy for me?” the little girl asked Sam.

Sam looked away from the reflection and turned his head back down toward the girl. A toy? What’s she talking about? he thought, before realizing she was referring to the Plexiglas tube containing the Retrieval chip. “Oh, this, no, uh… niece of mine,” he answered. Would be nice if I knew her name! “This is, uh… something very important for my job. It’s not a toy!”

“But it looks sparkly! Can I have it, pwetty pwease?” she begged him with puppy-dog eyes.

“Moira!” a male voice called out behind him. Sam turned around and saw a well-distinguished man of about average height with blond hair and wearing glasses. “Uncle Gooshie says it’s not a toy. Why don’t you go back inside and finish watching your cartoons, and let Uncle Gooshie finish getting his things together? He’s going to be leaving to go back home in a little while.”

“Moira!” Sam whispered in realization. Gooshie’s niece, Moira McCloud… no, Perkins… from Al’s Place—but, that wouldn’t be right either, she’s a little girl in this time. That man must be her father! So, who is he in relation to Gooshie?

“But I’m thirsty! I wanted to ask you or Mommy for something to drink!” Moira said innocently to her father.

“Mommy was still feeling a little sick, remember? I’ll get you some juice if you go back inside and watch TV, okay?” Moira’s father tousled the top of her hair and smiled.

“Okay,” she said simply, as she walked back inside and plopped herself on the living room couch.

The father turned back to Sam and said, “Don’t mind Moira, Irving. She gets a little rambunctious at times. I guess it’s the tomboy in her, huh?”

“Heh heh, yeah, I guess so,” Sam answered. “It’s okay, she wasn’t bothering me.” He noticed the man casually glimpsing at the chip he held in his hand, silently questioning its purpose. “This is, uh, a special piece of equipment I’ve been working on… for when I go back to work. I was just… checking to make sure it was intact and everything.”

“Always the workaholic, eh, Irving?” the man said, shaking his head but smiling all the same. “I guess I should be grateful you managed to sneak some time away from your work to help look after Moira. I know that Project of yours doesn’t give you much in the way of free time, but I still appreciate all you’ve done to help us out while Catherine’s been sick with that nasty flu going around.”

“Anytime,” Sam replied. Hoping he’d glean some additional information from his prodding, he further asked, “So, is Catherine feeling any better?”

“Cathy? Oh yeah, she’s just resting now. She’ll be fine when we leave to drop you off at LaGuardia. She insisted on personally making sure her ‘little brother’ has no problems boarding the plane. Flight’s at 5:15, right?”

So, Catherine is Gooshie’s older sister. That must make this guy his brother-in-law, Sam thought before responding. “Um, I… think so.”

“Good. I’d better go get Moira the juice she wanted. Wouldn’t want her throwing a tantrum,” the brother-in-law said, winking as he passed Sam to walk into the kitchen area.

With the little bit of information he obtained, Sam realized two things: one, that this was the home of Gooshie’s sister and brother-in-law; and two, that Gooshie must be getting ready to leave to return to the Star Bright Project after a brief vacation. That, itself, boggled Sam’s mind. Gooshie hardly ever took vacations!

Sam continued to look around the house, trying to spot anything that might prove useful. On the dining room table, Sam noticed a tin tray with a few pieces of mail on it. Most likely bills! Sam thought. They would have the owner’s mailing address on the front! Sam never liked having to snoop around a stranger’s home, especially sifting through mail, but he felt that one tiny peek wouldn’t hurt in this instance.

The name on the front read: Robert Burke; and underneath was the address: 249 E. 75th St., New York, NY 10021. The postmark in the upper-right hand corner read: 15 MAR 1984, which told Sam that it was probably either the 16th or 17th of March. St. Patrick’s Day! he realized.

Hearing the noise coming from the television set, Sam walked into the living room of what he now assumed to be a townhouse on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Moira was sitting on the couch, smiling and watching the cartoon on the screen. A muscular man with blond shoulder-length hair was holding a sword and wearing a tunic with a red cross on his chest. He was fighting a strange-looking equally muscular guy with blue skin and a skull for his face. He was also wearing a dark blue hood over his head. Other than the different heads and the coloring of their skin, the frames of their bodies looked almost identical.

“What cha watchin’, Moira?” Sam asked curiously.

“A tape! That’s He-Man! He’s the most powerful man in the universe! That’s the bad guy, Skeletor! He’s a real meanie! He’s trying to get into Castle Grayskull!”

“Okay…” Sam responded. Why is the animation so corny? In just thirty seconds, I’ve seen the same pose used twice! he thought.

“And that girl inside the castle is the Sorceress! She’s really pretty! I wish I could be the Sorceress! Then I could turn into a bird and fly, fly, fly!”

Sam then looked into her hands, and noticed that she was holding a miniature version of the hero, He-Man, holding a plastic sword in his right hand. Sam knew very little about ’80s cartoons, but from what he observed, it seemed apparent that this show was being aimed specifically towards young children, so that their parents could go out and buy the toys. He shook his head and smirked. Typical ’80s corporate America!

“Here’s your juice, Moira,” Robert announced from behind Sam, as he walked over to the couch and handed the cup to her. “Try not to spill it, okay?”

“Thank you, Daddy!” she smiled as she took the cup in both hands, sipped her juice, and continued watching.

“Quite a handful, huh?” Sam asked Robert, referring to Moira.

“Ha, you don’t know the half of it, Irving. Most girls her age are starting to get into Barbie dolls and playing dress-up… she’s into all the typical boy stuff: cops-and-robbers, things like that. Cathy and I always have to keep running after her just to make sure she doesn’t accidentally hurt herself. I swear, sometimes, I think she’s a boy trapped in a girl’s body!”

Huh! No wonder why I saw her as Tess McGill when I leaped back to Al’s Place! What was it Tess said in that leap way back? The man she married had to be more of a man than she was? Another small smirk came to Sam’s face.

“Anyway, I thought you still had to get a few things together,” Robert interrupted his train of thought. “You’re all packed and ready to go?”

Sam looked around, assuming and hoping Gooshie still didn’t have more to pack, and responded, “Um… just about. Just looking around to make sure I didn’t forget anything.”

“Well, you were only here for a couple of days, and you didn’t bring much, except some change of clothes. So, I’m sure you’re good to go. I just wish you could have gotten more out of your brief stay with us. We could have all went down to Fifth Avenue to watch the parade.”

“Ah… well, maybe next time,” Sam smiled, as he placed the Retrieval chip into a secure compartment of the suitcase he saw on the floor. Wouldn’t want anything to happen to it before I get back to the Project!

“Yeah, definitely wouldn’t want to forget that, it looks pretty important,” said Robert. “Well, I’m just going to finish up some last minute stuff around the house before we leave. I figure it shouldn’t take much more than an hour or so to get out of the city and to the airport. If you don’t mind, I’m going to go check up on Cathy, okay?”

“No problem,” Sam reassured. That’ll give me a little more time to get my bearings and make sure everything is in order. I’m just still not sure why I leaped here and not at the actual Project. Is there something else I’m supposed to do? Moira doesn’t need my help for another fifteen years or so, and I already helped her a while back, didn’t I?

Sam tried to remember the last time he saw the adult Moira. Although, physically, her appearance matched that of another woman he had helped, Tess McGill, it was simply a “mirror expression.” It all had to do with the fact that he met her outside of the mysterious “Al’s Place,” a tavern that did, and yet, didn’t exist. It was all coming back to Sam now, as if the events had happened yesterday…

The first time he leaped there, about five years ago, he had leaped as himself—not into—on the date of his birth, August 8, 1953—right down to the precise second he left his mother’s womb at 12:15 PM. The bar was located in Cokeburg, Pennsylvania. After talking with Al the Bartender, Sam realized that he needed to put right a wrong in Al Calavicci’s life—his first wife, Beth, believed he was dead, having been an MIA in Vietnam for several years. He leaped back to the Calaviccis’ home in San Diego in 1969 and told Beth that, “Al’s alive! And he’s coming home!”

The second time Sam leaped as himself to Al’s Place was about a year, maybe a year and a half ago, only this time it was Thanksgiving 2003, and he was in South Bend, New Mexico. The Bartender hadn’t aged a day since 1953, coincidentally. The Bartender continued trying to convince Sam that the person in control of his leaps was Sam himself. While there, he met the adult Moira. At that particular point in time, her full name was Moira McCloud, having remarried a man named Brad after the death of her first husband, John Perkins. With the help of a detective named Perry Mason and an “angel” named Angelita, Sam was able to rescue her daughter, Sara. Detective Mason, however, ultimately turned out to be Gooshie.




“Gooshie… is it really you?” Sam turned to the man next to him. He still looked like Nick Allen, but when Sam looked back to the reflection in the mirror, it was Gooshie—his friend—the head programmer, who had worked for years to try and bring him back home.

“Yes, Dr. Beckett! I can not believe that it is really you!” Gooshie smiled as Sam hugged him. “You mean you haven’t been seeing me as me all this time?”

“No… no, to me you look like Nick Allen, a guy I leaped into years ago.” Sam froze for a moment. “And you don’t see me as me?”

“Except for your mirror image, you look like Lieutenant Tyler. Remember? From back in the early days on the Star Bright Project?”

Sam searched for a face, but his Swiss-cheesed memory still had a few holes in it. “I don’t remember.”

“Almost everyone here looks like someone I have known,” said Gooshie. “Al says that’s just—”

“The way it is,” Sam completed the sentence. “A mirror expression…”

The Bartender smiled at the two friends reunited. “It’s funny how life can surprise you, isn’t it?”

“Life?” said Sam to himself. Then he realized, “But you… Gooshie, you died. Al told me you died trying to fix Ziggy and save the project. That was… three years ago, I think!”

“Sadly, yes I did, Dr. Beckett. March 1st, 2000, to be exact. I was working in the Main Conduit Relay Room and, well…”

Sam grabbed Gooshie by the shoulders and asked excitedly, “Then how are you here—You’re a leaper, aren’t you?!”

Gooshie shrugged. “I was given a choice. I could either go straight to… you know,” he pointed to the ceiling, “or I could stay and help someone here. I was given the opportunity to leap forward in time to fix a mistake of my choosing and cannot leave until the mission is accomplished. If I fail, time rewinds to the date of my death and I have the chance to fix it again.”

“And if you can’t fix the mistake?” Sam asked, looking at his friend in amazement.

“Then I can’t go… home.” Gooshie shifted his glance to the Bartender.

“You made the choice, Goosh,” smiled the Bartender. “But it looks like you have extra help this time, don’t you think?”

Gooshie nodded and smiled as Sam asked, “You can only leap forward? Not back in time?”

“That’s correct, Dr. Beckett. We aren’t allowed to alter our own lifetimes. We can only help people outside of our own lifetimes. I chose to help my niece, Moira, get her daughter back.”

“Your niece? You are Moira’s uncle that left her his estate!” Sam grinned widely as he realized the connection. “The computer chip you created for Ziggy… the one that made you rich… oh my God, this is incredible!”


(*From Episode 932, “Mirror Expression III”)




And just as Sam had the opportunity to correct a mistake in his friend Al’s life the first time, he had the chance to correct a mistake in Gooshie’s life that time as well. He could remember leaping back to the year 2000, saving John Perkins’ life, and then telling Gooshie, “You gotta listen to me. In two weeks, in the Main Conduit Relay Room, you get—”

But alas, Sam wasn’t able to finish his warning in time. Although Moira’s first husband, John, was saved, Gooshie still died two weeks later—at least, in that particular timeline. He also seemed to remember the date of Gooshie’s death conflicting in other leaps, but that was a mystery to be solved for another time.

Perhaps that’s why I leaped here now… not just to plant the chip, but to somehow also save Gooshie? It’s been so long since he died, could I still save him without changing anything else that’s happened since then? Sam thought. But if that were the case, then wouldn’t I have leaped into someone else to warn Gooshie in person? Even if he was told in the Waiting Room, I’m here and he’s there; I don’t see what I’d be able to do now to prevent his death fifteen years or so before the fact. The Swiss-cheese effect would cause Gooshie to forget what anyone told him anyway. No, it’s gotta be something else! But what?

Until he could figure out what that “something else” was, Sam figured his safest option would be to go with the flow of the leap and see what would develop. As long as he kept his main objective in mind, to make it safely back to Star Bright and plant the “seed” for his long awaited return home, the rest of the leap would most likely fall into place.



LaGuardia Airport

Flushing, New York

March 17, 1984, 4:32 PM


As Robert drove the car across the 59th Street Bridge into Queens, Sam looked out the back window to take in the awe-inspiring sight of the Manhattan skyline. Even though he had been to New York City a few times in his life, both before and during his leaping, he still couldn’t help but be amazed. With the sun just starting to set beyond the horizon, the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, and so many other prominent sites were shimmering in their architectural beauty. He could definitely understand why most native New Yorkers claimed it was the greatest city in the world.

Upon arriving at LaGuardia, Sam found the information on his ticket pretty self-explanatory and was able to find the terminal gate he needed to board with relative ease and some time left to spare. Saying his goodbyes to Gooshie’s immediate family, Catherine gave Sam a warm embrace and whispered in his ear, “Don’t be a stranger, you hear? Even if you’ve got to write us letters, just to let us know how you’re doing, okay?”

“Okay, I promise,” Sam reassured. He was genuinely certain Gooshie would follow through on that request, from what he remembered about Gooshie’s character. Looking at Catherine, it amazed Sam how much she looked like his old friend, except for her feminine features and medium-length brown hair.

As she kissed his cheek, she wrinkled her nose, looked at Sam curiously, and inquired, “Have you been taking something new for your sinusitis?”

“Huh?” Sam asked, slightly confused.

“No offense, little brother, but your breath usually reeks, even with the medication you take. This is the first time in as long as I can remember where I’m not reeling backward from your bad breath. Those must be some curiously strong mints you’re taking, or something.”

Saying the first thing that popped up in his head, Sam grinned and responded, “Someone gave me some Altoids! They work pretty well!”

“Ha ha, okay, if you say so, Irving,” Robert responded, as he stepped forward and shook his hand. “I know we discussed this before, but thanks again for giving us a hand.”

“You’re welcome, Robert.”

“Moira, honey, you want to say goodbye to your godfather?” Robert asked Moira.

Sam bent down, picked up little Moira Burke in his arms, and gave her a huge hug, as if this would be the last time he would ever see her. And for all Sam knew, maybe it was. “Take care, kiddo. Stay out of trouble, and don’t give your mommy and daddy a hard time, okay?”

“Okay, Uncle Gooshie. I love you!”

“I love you too, Munchkin!” Sam said, without quite realizing he had said it. My mind must be merging with Gooshie’s. He calls her Munchkin!

Putting Moira down and picking up the small amount of luggage he had, Sam walked toward the gate, showed his ticket to the flight attendant, and boarded the plane.




Outside Albuquerque International Sunport

Albuquerque, New Mexico

March 17, 1984, 11:12 PM


Overall, Sam’s flight had been rather uneventful. After a brief layover in Cincinnati, he caught the connecting flight back to Albuquerque. It took him a good half hour to claim his luggage, and he found out that Gooshie had left his car at the airport so that he could immediately start his long drive back to the White Sands Test Center. Good thing my memory seems to be working with me on this leap, Sam thought. Or maybe it’s a little residual from Gooshie? Whatever it is, I’m sure grateful, since it seems like my neural link with Ziggy is still inactive for now.

As he began making his way out of the terminal, he walked through a set of automatic doors in an attempt to try and locate the lot where Gooshie’s car was being held, but soon found himself getting slightly lost. Upon turning a corner in an isolated area outside, Sam noticed a small group of about three young men hassling someone in an alleyway. He couldn’t see the person’s face from the angle he was standing at, but it appeared to be a woman that the hoodlums were attempting to mug—and probably planned on doing more than that.

If it was one thing that angered Sam Beckett more than anything, it was men taking advantage of a poor, defenseless woman. Sam couldn’t allow that injustice to happen, if he could help it.

Sam dropped his luggage, started moving toward the group, and shouted, “Hey! Why don’t you guys pick on someone your own size?”

Taken by surprise momentarily, one of the men ran off, leaving Sam to defend himself in a one-on-two confrontation. Having excelled in several forms of martial arts training, Sam was more than a match for the street punks, and successfully scared the remaining two men off. But not before threatening to press charges if they came anywhere near him or the woman again.

Feeling a sense of pride in having fended off a possible crime, Sam turned back toward the frightened woman, who seemed to think he was one of them. “Please, stay away from me! Leave me alone!” she pleaded.

“Those guys are gone, Miss. I promise, I’m not going to harm you! Please, let me help you,” Sam insisted. Despite the woman’s nervous protest, Sam gently helped her to stand up. As he looked the woman over to make sure there was no serious injury upon her person, their eyes locked, and Sam almost fell back in shock when he discovered her identity.






Project Quantum Leap

Stallion’s Gate, New Mexico

Control Room, Present Day


“Personal log entry for Samantha Josephine Fuller, Friday, November 18, 2005. It’s been three months since my father, Dr. Samuel Beckett, disappeared without a trace. In that time, Admiral Calavicci has made numerous attempts to lock onto Dad’s brainwaves using Ziggy’s upgraded epochtonusalgraphic probe and goniospectrophotometer in the Imaging Chamber, but to no avail. Dad’s sudden disappearance has caused the Senate Committee to have second thoughts on providing additional funding, and Al and Beth have met up with General Hawkins in Washington, D.C. to make a plea before the Committee. With the two of them not due back until the 22nd, Dominic Lofton and myself have been left in charge to deal with any immediate problems that might arise with Ziggy or my father. Although at this point, it seems bleak that Ziggy will reestablish a connection with him anytime soon.

“So, I now find myself at a loss of what exactly to do. My retrieval theories have hit a slight snag, and I can’t seem to focus on the problem. Ever since my father used Dr. Garner’s Time Displacer Unit in 1959 to leap back here briefly, the original program became corrupted. I was lucky enough to be able to use most of the equations as a building block for a new program; so fortunately, I didn’t have to start completely from scratch again. But, I have this terrible feeling that time is running out. I can’t put my finger on it, but I have this weird suspicion that if we don’t find and retrieve him soon, we never will. Even with my high IQ of 192 and my eidetic memory, they feel so limited in comparison to the huge complexity of finding my father drifting in the time stream.

“And then there’s Daniel—the love of my life, the man who asked me for my hand in marriage. If I hadn’t have spent so much of my time over the past two years trying to perfect the Retrieval Program, we probably would have been married already. It would be a dream come true to have my ‘real’ father there to walk me down the aisle, to watch me recite my vows to the man I want to spend the rest of my life with. Daniel tells me he understands and that he’s willing to wait, but I know that deep down inside, he’s hurting. He wants to start a family with me, and I feel so afraid that his patience will soon wear off. In his eyes, I need to move on with my life. I can still remember each and every word he told me the other night as we lay together in bed. ‘Life’s too short, Sammy. You never know what could happen. The world could end tomorrow, and we would never have the chance to know what our life could have been like. I’m sure your father would tell you the same thing if he was still with us.’

“I know. It’s silly to worry that some ‘great disaster’ or something would suddenly destroy our chance at happiness. But in a way, he’s right. I don’t know if I could ever live with myself if something terrible happened before we had the chance to unite our souls in the eyes of God. But on the other hand, I don’t think Daniel truly comprehends the nature of my father’s existence; that he’s still alive, trapped in time somewhere. I need to find him. He deserves to come home after all the good he’s done. If only I could get a signal—some sign that my father is still out there, waiting to make contact. I need something to restore my dwindling hope.”


Dr. Sammy Jo Fuller walked the corridors of Project Quantum Leap, racking her brain in an attempt to come up with something—anything—that would allow her to reestablish contact with Sam in the time stream. As she entered the Control Room, her thoughts went back to her fiancé, Commander Daniel Fulton, and what he told her the other night about moving on with her life. The love they had shared that night was a particularly special experience for both of them, and she could feel the bond between them growing stronger with each passing day. For the first time in as long as she could remember, Sammy Jo found herself at an important crossroads in her life. The time would soon come when she’d be forced to choose between the two most important men in her life: her father, Sam, or her husband-to-be, Daniel.

It wasn’t like she would have to resign her position at the Project, but married life would put a significant damper on the amount of time she could invest in perfecting the Retrieval program. Knowing that no one else on staff even came close to comprehending her equations and continuing her work effectively didn’t help matters any. Other than Stephen, there was no one else at the Project qualified enough to carry on her work. And besides the fact that Stephen was a genius, he was still just a boy.

Out of the corner of her eye, Sammy Jo noticed the new head programmer observing her as she drifted off in thought and quickly shook it off. “Any news on Dr. Beckett, Dom?” Sammy Jo asked him.

“Sorry, Dr. Fuller,” Dom responded. “Ziggy’s still coming up blank. If Dr. Beckett’s still out there, he’s either still moving through time or his neural link with Ziggy’s been severed somehow. I wish there was more I could tell you, Dr. Fuller.”

Frowning, but not entirely surprised, she said, “It’s okay, Dom, I didn’t really expect anything new. And by the way, I’ve told you a few times already… call me Sammy. You don’t need to be so formal here. We always tried telling that to Gooshie and Sinjin too, but they insisted on using formalities most of the times.”

Laughing, Dom explained, “Sorry, Dr. Ful—uh, Sammy. I’m just still so used to the formalities from my original line of work. To be honest, I’m still trying to get used to not hearing anyone, other than Ziggy, call me Professor Lofton, even though it’s been a good four years since I officially had that title. I’ll try to keep what you told me in mind… Sammy!” He smiled as he called her by her first name.

“That’s all I can ask, Lofty!” she joked back with a smile, but it faded quickly as her thoughts returned to Daniel and the choices she would have to make.

“Hey, you look a little worn out and tired. Everything okay?” Dom asked her, concerned.

“Yes… no… well, sort of… I’m not sure. It’s… personal stuff…”

“Ah, I understand. I won’t pry; I was just concerned, that’s all.”

“Oh, it has nothing to do with you, Dom. It’s just—well, I confided in St. John about a lot of things, including Daniel, my fiancé. Sinjin knew we would end up together before we even did!”

“Hah! Yeah, it was like that with Aurora and me. Everyone else knew we were perfect for each other before we both realized it. Took me a good few months before I got up the nerve to ask her out.”

“It’s just… sometimes, I worry that I’m letting my work get in the way of making the ultimate commitment to Daniel, you know what I mean?”

“Yeah, I hear ya,” Dom replied. “I wouldn’t worry too much about it though, Sammy. I’ve only been here for a few months, but I can tell you’re a kind and generous person. If his love for you is as strong as you make it out to be, then he has to know how important your work is too. He’ll wait for you and go out of his way to make sure you’re happy. Things will work out, you’ll see!”

Smiling at Dom, Sammy Jo responded, “Thanks, Dominic! I really appreciate your reassurance!”

“Anytime, Sammy!” he smiled back.

Suddenly, a mild-sounding klaxon went off in the Control Room as Ziggy’s disembodied voice announced from all directions, “I believe I have reestablished a partial lock on Dr. Beckett’s brainwaves.”

“What? Are you serious, Ziggy?” Sammy Jo exclaimed excitedly.

“You should know by now, Dr. Fuller… I never make false assumptions based on what I know. I have detected a slight increase in neural activity, which is usually associated with Dr. Beckett leaping. It is, however, a weak signal at best.”

“Is there anyone in the Waiting Room yet, Ziggy?” Dom asked.

“Negative, Professor Lofton. I am having an unusually hard time maintaining my neural link with Dr. Beckett’s brainwaves. It may take anywhere from twenty-four to forty-eight hours to synchronize our timeframe with his.”

That news gave Sammy Jo slight cause for concern. “Well, keep me informed, Ziggy,” she then ordered with a renewed determination. “It seems like I’m going to be running the show until Al gets back. Lofty, let me know the instant the Visitor shows up in the Waiting Room, okay?”

“You got it, Dr. Fuller,” Dom replied enthusiastically before he corrected himself. “I mean, Sammy!” he added with a smile.

Sammy Jo walked out of the Control Room with a new spark of hope igniting within her heart.




Outside Albuquerque International Sunport

Albuquerque, New Mexico

March 17, 1984, 11:22 PM


“My God, Alia!” Sam exclaimed. “It’s really you! I can’t believe this!”

“How… how do you know who I am?” Alia asked in confusion. “Who are you?”

“Alia, it’s me, Sam…” he started to answer back, but suddenly realized that to her, he must have still looked like Gooshie. Unless… would she be able to see through Gooshie’s aura if she looked closely enough?

“Sam…” Alia searched her memory. “You’re going to need to give me more than just a first name. I’ve met a number of men named Sam in my lifetime and you don’t look familiar to me at all.”

“Alia, hold onto my shoulders and look closer,” he responded, convinced that his theory would be proven. “Look deep into my eyes… it’s me, Sam Beckett.”

As she strained her tired-looking eyes to look deep into his gaze, the vision of the short, goofy-looking man with reddish-brown hair started to become transparent. Beyond the aura, she could indeed see Sam’s green eyes and the white streak in his hair, and in an instant, it all came back to her.

Sam!” she shouted in astonishment. “It’s you! Wow, how long has it been since you last saw me?”

Sam searched his Swiss-cheese memory to try and recall their prior meeting, but came up blank on a specific timeframe. “I’m… not sure. From my perspective, it’s probably been a few years. I’m guessing it must have been a lot longer for you, going by how much older you look. I mean… uh… not that I was implying you were old—I mean… oh, darn it…” Sam decided to quit while he was behind.

Alia simply gave him a weak smile and reassured him, “It’s all right, Sam. I know what you meant. It has been a lot longer for me. I’m almost forty now. The last time I saw you, was at the ranch on Kingswood Farms in Virginia back in ’77. Do you remember any of that leap?”

Like a flash of lightning, the image of a young thirty-something blond-haired woman dismounting a horse filled Sam’s mind:



“Oh! Good afternoon, Mr. Kidd. You startled me!”

Sam froze, unhearing and in total shock as his eyes fell on her face. “It's impossible,” he murmured in a barely audible tone as pictures of past events flashed through his mind—a prison; a shotgun; a dark-haired man with sad eyes; a college library; a loud-mouthed punk in a letterman's jacket… and a cape? He dared not move lest he break the chain of memories.

“Mr. Kidd?” The woman said, her forehead wrinkling with worry when he didn't respond. She took a step toward him, the horse shadowing her. “Are you OK?”

She's calling me Mr. Kidd, Sam's mind finally registered. She doesn't have any idea of who I am! Sam replied shakily, “What? Oh! I'm fine.”

“Are you sure?” She didn't look convinced, but her step slowed.

“Yeah. I'm sure.” The urge to run away overcame him and suddenly Sam's feet began to move. “I… uh… forgot something.” He bolted back into the house, carefully shutting the door and leaning on it, his head on his arms. His heart was pounding furiously. “Oh my God. That was Alia!” he breathed out loud.


(*From Episode 724, “Fallen Hero, Part I”)



“I remember!” exclaimed Sam. “You were… yourself. You couldn’t see me when we touched.”

“Well, I was back in my own aura,” Alia reminded Sam. “As I still am now. The only reason I can vaguely see you now must be because I still have some leftover leap energies inside of me that allow me to see beyond your aura. I haven’t actually been a leaper in nearly ten years.”

“I… set you free!” Sam recalled. “But… how come you didn’t leap home?”

“Lothos’ project was my home, Sam. I couldn’t have very well been free if I remained there, now could I?”

“No, I guess you’re right,” Sam realized, a bit embarrassed he had forgotten. “Well, then, how did you end up in 1977 as yourself?”

“I’m not really sure, Sam. All I knew was that I just wanted the nightmare to end. I can remember Zoë aiming the shotgun at me. I pushed you out of the way, the shot was fired… and then, I felt a completely different type of quantum energy envelop me. It was much more serene than I had ever experienced before. I was floating… drifting in a heavenly blue void. And… I heard a mysterious voice…”

“A voice?” Sam asked. Could it have been the same Voice he vaguely remembered hearing often in-between his leaps?

“Yeah, it was a… comforting voice, nothing like the cold fear that Lothos’ voice exuded. It told me not to be frightened. ‘Think of something peaceful,’ it told me. ‘Let my voice guide you to a new time… a new place where you can start fresh.’ When I felt the leap pull me back into the real world, I was standing on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere. I was wearing a denim jacket and just the clothes on my back and couldn’t really remember much of anything at first.

“So, I did the only thing I could think of doing—hitchhiked a ride with the first pickup truck I saw pass by and hopped in. The guy driving the truck was Jim Kidd, the man you leaped into when we met later on. He was a gentle and caring man; he asked me where I was from and where I was going, and I told him I couldn’t really remember. As I looked in the side-view mirror, I saw my own reflection for the first time in I don’t know how long. In that moment, my identity came back to me and I told him my full name, Alia Novack, and that I had no real ‘home’ to call my own. We began talking about a lot of things, and he offered to give me a place to stay at his ranch. He proposed I could work for him to pay off room and board, and although I was nervous to say yes at first, I accepted his offer graciously. He treated me like the daughter he always wished he could have had before his wife died, and I really looked up to him. I was living and working happily there for a little over eight months when you came back to save me from Thames.”

“Thames…” Sam recalled. “The tall black guy who leaped back to try and kill us!”

“He was about as sadistic as they come, next to Zoë. I managed to grab a shotgun and shoot him in the back, just before he was about to kill you. I’m not sure why, but I suddenly started shaking after that. It’s not like I hadn’t killed anyone before, but it was different with Thames somehow. And then, you leaped. I was so sure that Lothos was going to send Zoë back to finish me off, but… he didn’t.”

“I destroyed Lothos, Alia,” Sam reassured her. “I tried saving Zoë, but she chose to kill herself rather than be saved.”

“Zoë’s dead?” Alia asked in shock. For about ten seconds, she seemed to stare off into space before responding, “I can’t say I’m sad to hear that, but… there’s a part of me that doesn’t believe she’s really gone forever.”

“I saw her die with my own eyes, Alia,” Sam reassured, remembering how upset he felt over not being able to save her soul. “There was… nothing I could do.”

“So… Lothos’ reign has finally come to an end,” Alia said in realization. “I never thought the day would come when I’d be truly free from his influence.”

Deciding it would be best to try to change the subject and with curiosity peaking his interest as well, Sam asked, “So, what are you doing in New Mexico? You seemed like you had found peace at the ranch.”

“A few months after you left, Mr. Kidd’s truck was run off the road in a terrible accident. Because he had no living relatives, he never designated a beneficiary to his estate in his will. So, once it was sold, I had no place to stay, and I had to move on.”

“I… I had no idea,” said Sam earnestly.

“I don’t really think there’s anything you could have done, Sam. Anyway, I began traveling, not really knowing where I was headed or what I should do with the rest of my life. At one point, I met a really nice guy named Dane. He was a cop and we both took a liking to each other. We dated for a while and started to get pretty intimate. Then, after about five months, he was gunned down in the line of duty.”

“Oh, God… I’m so sorry,” Sam consoled her.

“So am I,” Alia replied. “But, there was more. I… had a child with him—a boy. He was born about seven months after Dane died.”

“My God, did—did Dane know you were…”

“Yes, he did. I… think he was going to ask me to marry him, but… he never got the chance.”

“I… I don’t know what to say, Alia. What ended up happening to your son?” asked Sam, knowing he probably wouldn’t like hearing the answer.

“I wasn’t in a position to take care of myself financially, let alone an infant. So… I gave him up for adoption. It pained me to do it, but I felt I had no choice,” she said sadly.

Sam just dropped his head, partly in sorrow, partly in shame. He had no way of knowing what had happened to Alia since he had last seen her. He inadvertently sent Alia from living a life of servitude by a malicious half human-half computer, to a life filled with sorrow and despair. He had to wonder if she had been any better off in the long run.

A sudden thought came to Sam’s mind. “How old is he now?”

“I’d say about four years old. I know what you’re thinking, Sam, but it’s too late. He has a family that takes care of him. He wouldn’t even remember me now. And besides… I don’t even know his name to find him.”

Sam just remained silent as Alia continued to explain her situation.

“As for why I’m here in New Mexico now, well… to be honest, I really don’t know. It’s as if something inside me… compelled me to come here. I felt drawn to this area for some reason. I’m tired of drifting from place to place, Sam. I just want a place to stay, to call my own.”

“Don’t you have any family? Or an acquaintance that could take you in to help you find your feet?”

Upon mentioning the word “family,” Alia seemed to shudder momentarily, almost as if that simple word caused her even more pain than her recent experiences. The moment wasn’t lost on Sam.

“You… left home when you were younger. I remember now! You said Nathaniel Lothoman found you on the streets of London, but you never explained how you wound up there.” At first, Sam wasn’t sure he should press the issue further. But one look into her glossy eyes told him that she wanted—needed—to share her story with someone after all this time. He allowed her to speak at her own pace.

Alia swallowed hard as the tears began to form, and she dug deep into her soul to dredge up the painful childhood she had long ago repressed from her memory.

“My father was one of those ‘tough-as-nails’ Marine men, always moving their family around from base to base. Major Walter Novack was the kind of man that always made sure everyone knew he was the ‘lord of his castle,’ and he expected his ‘loyal subjects’ to follow his orders right down to the letter. I don’t think I ever remember seeing my father with a smile on his face, or giving me any form of praise whatsoever.”

Even in her head now, she could hear her father scream, “ALIA!” as her thoughts returned back to her childhood.



“You want to explain to me this report card of yours?” Walter yelled. “Two Bs and a C?! What the hell am I paying good money to give you a good education at a private school if you can’t even get good grades?”

“Walter, don’t yell at your daughter,” his wife yelled back. “You’re treating her like she’s failing!”

“She keeps this up, she WILL end up failing! And I don’t remember ASKING for your opinion, Jenna! You’d best keep your big mouth shut if you know what’s good for you! I was asking Alia the question! She’s an intelligent girl, she can answer for herself! So, I’ll ask you AGAIN, little lady, would you care to explain these marks? Huh?”

The ten-year-old Alia looked up at her father with fear in her eyes and weakly responded, “I… I’ve been trying my best, father.”

“Well, obviously, you’re not trying hard ENOUGH! How do you ever expect to get by in this world if you perform at sub-standard levels?”

“Walter, a couple of Bs is hardly reason to reprimand your daughter!” Jenna tried to reason with him.

“I thought I told you to shut your mouth! I make the decisions around here, not you! Alia, you get back to your room and wait until I decide on your punishment!”

The young Alia ran off crying, not knowing how to please her father.


He always seemed to be mad at us for something—myself, for my inability to live up to the high standards he set for me; my mother, for her lack of discipline to “keep me in line”—but I think he was mostly angry at the world and the conditions that kept him from being promoted to General. An incident during his tour of duty left him with a crippled right leg, which prevented him from doing anything other than a “desk job.” He was ultimately given an honorable discharge. It wasn’t too long after that before he began turning to the bottle. At that point in time, we had been relocated to London, in the U.K. Although my father was able to find work, my mother still had to take a part-time job while I was in school to help provide for us. Despite that, my father still expected her to do what was “expected” of her as a wife and mother… no questions asked.


“When’s dinner gonna be ready, babe?” a drunk Walter asked Jenna.

“Dinner’s running a little late, Walter, I’m sorry,” she responded.

“Jeez, Jenna, I’m starvin’ here! And look at this filthy pigsty! Clothes hangin’ on the chairs, dust covering shelves… what the hell are you doing in the afternoon when you’re home with Alia?”

“There’re a lot of things I need to do during the day, Walter! You know, I wouldn’t have to constantly run around trying to tend to the house if you chipped in a little bit when I was busy!” she said as respectfully as she could.

“Excuse me?” Walter asked angrily. “I do plenty, working and providing for my ungrateful family! I know MY place; you would do well to be reminded of YOURS!”

“That’s either the old-fashioned mentality or the booze talking,” Jenna muttered under her breath. The remark was just loud enough, however, for Walter to hear.

“What did you just say?” Walter yelled through his gritted teeth.

“N-nothing! It’s not important,” Jenna replied nervously.

“Like HELL it was nothing! What the hell gives you the right to question the way I run my household, you stupid bitch?” As he asked her the question, he slapped her across the face, turning her cheek a bright red.

The young Alia, now thirteen years old, stood in the hallway outside her room, listening to the argument unfold. When she saw her father slap her mother across the face, she couldn’t remain silent. The man might have been her father, but she knew it was wrong to hit someone.

“Stop it, Dad! Don’t hurt Mom! She does more than enough to take care of us without you barking at her!” she yelled as she grabbed a hold of Walter’s arm to prevent him from slapping Jenna a second time.

“WHAT DID YOU SAY, you little BRAT?!” He turned around with a furious glare in his eyes and slapped Alia with his other hand. “Don’t you DARE show disrespect to me ever again, you hear me? EVER! I think it’s time you learned the lesson my father taught me whenever I mouthed off to him!”

Walter quickly unloosened the belt around his waist and wrapped it tightly around his fist as he moved closer to Alia. Never feeling more frightened in her life, she crawled backward, begging her father not to punish her. “Please, Dad, I’m sorry! Please! I promise to give you the respect you deserve!” she pleaded through her tears.

“You bet your ASS you will when I’m done teaching you respect!” he shot back as he pelted her once, then again just as quickly.

Jenna ran back into the room to try to hold her husband back. He had reprimanded Alia before, even spanked her many times when she was younger, but never went to this extreme. “Damn it, Walter, stop this! She doesn’t deserve your rage!”

“DON’T tell ME how to raise my daughter, BITCH!” With those words, he punched Jenna with his free hand, knocking her to the ground in a withering heap. Turning his rage back to Alia, he continued his assault, striking her with his belt as many times as it took before he felt confident enough that his “discipline” was engrained in her brain forever.

Seeing his daughter and wife lying on the ground, helpless and crying pathetically, Walter decided that the best course of action was to go out for the night and let them think hard about what they did and why he had to “punish” them. He muttered something under his breath and then went to the closet to get his coat and put it on as he walked toward the front door. Speaking loudly enough for his “subjects” to hear him, he exclaimed, “I’m goin’ out for the rest of the night! I expect the both of you to start cleanin’ up your act and show me nothin’ but respect from this day forward!”

As the door slammed shut, the youthful Alia slowly and painfully crawled over to her mother, still lying hunched over on the floor with bloodshot eyes filled with pain and fear. She tried her best to hug her mother, to comfort her, but Jenna seemed to drift off into her own world, continuously whispering, “It’s all my fault! It’s all my fault!”


Something in me snapped after that. My father had always instilled fear in me, but when he physically assaulted my mother and I for the first time, I felt genuinely afraid that he would kill us. I had heard all the stories about husbands and fathers who fell into the cycle of abusing their families. I had never been able to understand why those men’s wives could be so stupid and weak as to actually convince themselves that they were to blame for their husbands’ behavior, and yet, here she was, my own mother beginning to believe it herself. I knew then that I couldn’t allow the cycle of abuse to destroy us. I had to take action.


Many hours later, Walter stumbled through the front door into a dark living room. Before he had the chance to turn on the lights, he heard the sound of his gun being cocked and looked up to see Alia aiming it straight at his chest.

“Alia? What the HELL are you doing with that gun?! Put that damn thing away or you’ll end up hurting someone!” he screamed at her.

“Yeah! Maybe YOU!” Alia shot back at him. “I don’t want to hurt you, Dad, but if you don’t stop your drinking and treating Mom and I like crap, I will, I swear it!”

“Alia?” the two individuals could hear Jenna ask, as she walked into the living room wearing a robe and stopped dead in her tracks. “Walter? Alia? What’s going on?”

“It has to stop, mother,” Alia said nervously as the gun started shaking in her hands. “He can’t be allowed to hurt us! He has to learn to control his temper and stop his drinking!”

“Alia! PUT–THE–GUN–DOWN!” Walter said cautiously but sternly. “You have the AUDACITY to point a gun—MY gun, that I keep in the house to protect MY family—at ME? You’re some piece of work, Jenna! Encouraging my own daughter to defy me!”

“What?!” Jenna screamed. “I never did anything of the sort, Walter!”

Walter took a step toward Jenna, preparing to show her the back of his fist again, as Alia shifted on her feet, preparing herself to pull the trigger. Smirking at her with a mocking expression, Walter simply said, “You wouldn’t DARE pull that trigger, Alia! I mean, really! Look at you… your hands are shaking! You’re a cowering, disrespectful girl who needs to be kept in line! As soon as I reprimand your mother, you’re next, little lady!”

He continued moving toward Jenna, not taking his daughter’s threat seriously as he turned his back to her. “STOP!” Alia pleaded. “Please, father, don’t make me—”


Two shots in the dark were fired, and Walter stopped moving as he felt the bullets hit his back. “Alia? She… actually… shot me?” His eyes went wide with realization as he fell to the floor.

“Oh God, Walter!” Jenna raced over to his fallen body, and as she touched his back, her hands were covered in blood. “My God, Alia, what did you do? Call an ambulance! Hurry! ALIA! Are you listening to me?”

The young Alia just stood there in shock over what she had done. She lowered the arm that held the still-smoking gun and fell to her knees, as she realized that her world had changed forever.



“The paramedics eventually came and took my father to the hospital. It was touch and go for a while, but he survived. He ended up being paralyzed from the waist down though. And the cycle of abuse stopped too. It took two shots in the back from a terrified daughter to make him realize what he had become. I, on the other hand, lost my innocence that night and couldn’t bear to face my family anymore. So… I left. I haven’t seen them since. It wasn’t long after that when Nathaniel Lothoman discovered me and used his charm to ‘seduce’ me into joining him on his grand experiment.”

Sam shook his head in disbelief over her account. “Oh, Alia, I am so sorry!” He thought back to his own father, John Beckett, and the kind and loving family man that he was to his wife and children. “I… can’t fathom how any man could do that to their own wife and daughter!”

“Not everyone can have the kind of peachy-keen family that you grew up with, Sam!” Alia said snidely. “Most of us don’t have the luxury of living on a huge farm with parents and siblings who respect and love each other!”

Sam heard her remark and looked at her with guilt in his eyes. He didn’t know how to respond to something like that, although he’d been sure that Al used to have conversations like this with him in the past.

Alia noticed Sam’s discomfort and immediately apologized. “I’m sorry, Sam. I know you didn’t have control over your life. It was out of line for me to imply you were intentionally rubbing your family’s morals in my face.”

“That’s quite all right, Alia. I might not completely understand what you went through, but I can sympathize,” Sam responded as a light bulb suddenly went off in his brain. “In fact… I think you’re the reason I leaped here and not at the Project.”

“What are you talking about?” Alia asked, confused.

Sam shook his head, realizing that it was now after midnight, and he needed to start the drive back to the Star Bright Project. “That must be the other thing I need to do. Follow me to my car. I’ll explain it on the way. Come on!”





Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C…


Ex-Rear Admiral Albert Calavicci had reached an impasse with the Senate Committee. Despite his wife Beth’s reassurances that the Committee would listen to reason, he and General Hawkins seemed to be hitting a “road-bump” in their quest to obtain additional funding for the Project. Al’s reasons, of course, were so that he could pull out every resource at Ziggy’s disposal to find Sam; Hawkins’ reasons, Al concluded, were purely out of ambition so that he could gain control of the Project’s directives and personally oversee Sam’s leaps. Knowing this about Hawkins didn’t help matters any, and Al was almost certain that the tension between the two of them was not lost on the Committee.

Although Beth’s presence in Washington was strictly to provide moral support for her husband, she had begun sensing something odd about Al’s behavior within the past several hours. Being as vocal as he was about Hawkins wasn’t a big surprise, because she was used to hearing her husband’s blunt comments for more than forty years. What disturbed her was that Al began expressing doubts about ever finding Sam at all. He as much as told her that he didn’t know why he was even bothering trying to keep the Project up-and-running, because Sam had never disappeared for this long and was most likely gone forever at this point. It didn’t sound like Al at all to just start giving up, but she dismissed it as the amount of stress her husband was under and told him to try to remain optimistic.

Whether he chose to take her advice or not, she couldn’t tell. But she decided that now would not be the best time to argue with her husband. Right now, he needed her support, regardless of how helpless he was feeling. In the back of her mind, she hoped and prayed that a miracle would soon happen to restore Al’s spirits.





Project Quantum Leap

Stallion’s Gate, New Mexico

Waiting Room, Present Day


As the blue rays of light faded, the aura of Dr. Samuel Beckett returned to the Waiting Room after a three-month absence. The Visitor experienced the standard disorientation that was normally associated with being replaced in time and called out to no one in particular, “Hello? Is anyone there? Can anyone hear me?”

Minutes went by before he got any form of response. The synthetic and sexy-sounding feminine voice that seemed to permeate from every direction brought the Visitor to a state of alertness. “Do not be frightened. Someone is on their way and will be with you shortly.”

Soon enough, a rectangular door opened vertically on the far side of the blue-white room, and a rather attractive thirty-eight-year-old woman with shoulder-length brown hair and a white lab coat walked through. She was holding a strange-looking contraption in her right hand, which was blinking random colors.

“Hello, my name is Sammy Jo Fuller. I know you’re probably confused, but please try not to be frightened, no one’s going to harm you.”

“Sammy Jo, huh? That’s a pretty name,” the Visitor said calmly. “Are you from down South?”

Smiling, she answered, “Why, yes I am! I grew up in Potterville, Louisiana with my momma, Abigail. Can you remember your name, by any chance?”

“Well, of course, it’s…” the Visitor stumbled. “It’s… um… Irving… Irving… what the—? I can’t seem to remember my last name! What the heck is going on here?”

“It’s okay, Irving, don’t worry. It’s simply a side effect of what brought you here. It’s only temporary, I promise. I know this might sound strange, but can you remember what year it is?”

“The year?” Irving asked. “Why would you need to know that the year is 1984?”

Bingo! Sammy Jo thought, as she quietly entered the year into the handlink so that Ziggy could begin doing a search. Looking back over at the Visitor, she attempted to fudge the truth and replied, “Um… well, this… experiment you’re involved with usually alters people’s perceptions of time. That’s why you’re having trouble remembering certain details about your life. Just trying to determine what you can and can’t remember, that’s all.”

“An experiment?” Irving asked, as he suddenly remembered something. “Sounds a little like the project I work for… Wait a minute! Am I being interrogated?”

“What?” Sammy Jo asked, before nervously responding, “No… I mean, well, yes, but only for information, that’s all. What project?”

“Damn, Adams found out I was gone, didn’t he? Please, don’t report me! I needed to take a few days to deal with some family issues, that’s all, I swear!”

Sammy Jo began moving closer to Irving to try and reassure him that he had nothing to worry about and suddenly hauled herself backward upon getting a whiff of the Visitor’s nasty breath. She couldn’t remember anyone’s breath ever smelling that bad since when Gooshie had still been around. She was about to say something else to him when his eyes suddenly drifted downward to the glass table he was sitting on and he caught a glimpse of his reflection for the first time. Oh boy, get ready for a huge panic! she thought, mentally preparing herself.

What he said, however, was the last thing she expected him to say. “Dr. Beckett? W-why do I see Dr. Beckett’s face in the mirror?”

“You know Dr. Beckett?” Sammy Jo asked in shock.

“I-I work with him and… Captain Calavicci at… the Star Bright Project…” he said in fragments as the memories came back one by one.

“Star Bright Project?” Sammy Jo said, as it suddenly dawned on her exactly who Irving was. “Oh my God! Gooshie?!

“You know me?” Gooshie asked in complete confusion. “What’s going on here? How do you know me when I’ve never seen you before today?”

“It’s, uh… a bit complicated to explain…” Sammy Jo trailed off. Dear God, it’s almost like he’s back from the dead! No one else except Dom, Ziggy, and I can know he’s here! Especially Tina! God, she’ll freak out! Her mind went off in a thousand different directions as she attempted to pull herself together as much as humanly possible and act professional. “I’m sorry, but I have to speak privately with someone. Excuse me,” she said, as she opened the door and practically ran back into the Control Room.

“Ziggy?” she asked as soon as the door closed.

“I anticipated what you were going to ask, Dr. Fuller, and I have already restricted Waiting Room access to everyone except you. I suspect that talking to a close friend who died four years ago could traumatize even Dr. Beeks,” Ziggy answered with a hint of sadness in her voice.

“You’re a gem, Zig! Do you have enough from what he mentioned to get a lock on my father?”

“I am still having difficulty maintaining a link with Dr. Beckett’s brainwaves. It shall take some time to establish a partial lock.”

“Should we contact the Admiral in D.C. and tell him what’s going on?” Dom asked Sammy Jo.

“No, not yet,” she determined. “If Ziggy’s still having problems, I don’t want to prematurely get Al’s hopes up. Besides, knowing Gooshie is ‘back’ temporarily would just distract him from doing his job. Until we get more info, I’ll have to fill in as the Observer when and if Ziggy gets a lock. I’ve had to do it a few times before, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to sync up our brainwaves again.”

“I’m on it, Sammy,” Dom replied as he began the procedure to transfer the currently weak neural link over to her brainwave patterns.

“Good. While I’m waiting, I guess I’ll have to try to talk to… Gooshie,” she pondered out loud. “Good Lord, what a mess!”




Stallion’s Gate, New Mexico

March 18, 1984, 8:40 AM


“So, let me get this straight, Sam,” Alia started to speak. “Your theory is that because we’re the same and we both have residual leap energies stored in our bodies from years of leaping, that if we’re holding each other when you leap home, I’ll be pulled with you to your Project?”

“That’s the theory, yeah,” Sam replied sheepishly. “Trust me, Alia, it’ll work. Remember when we leaped together into the Mallard Women’s Correctional Facility as two of the inmates? Al said there were two women in the Waiting Room. That means that your physical aura can be transferred to my own time again, as long as I’m holding you when I leap.”

“And this… chip you brought back with you from the future… you need to plant it in this… SID computer?”

“That was my main mission on this leap. And now, after meeting you again, in New Mexico of all places, I just know that our encounter wasn’t a coincidence! It might not have been intentional on my part, but I left you to fend for yourself all those years ago; that’s something I have to put right now. My Project will welcome you with open arms, Alia. You can start a new life there—one with purpose. You’ll see!”

After driving Gooshie’s car for a good number of hours, Sam finally pulled the vehicle into the parking lot of the Crossroads Diner, a well-known local establishment just outside of Stallion’s Gate, approximately twenty miles north of the Missile Range and the Star Bright Project. With every minute that went by, more and more of Gooshie’s memories seemed to be merging with Sam’s mind, and he could remember that the Al of this time had covered for Gooshie’s temporary AWOL status. He needed to call Al on a private line so that he could meet up with “Gooshie” outside of the Test Center’s perimeter and give him the card key he had been holding for him.

With Alia standing next to him, Sam picked up the phone inside the vestibule and first dialed what his memory remembered to be the number to Al’s office. When there was no answer, he then tried the main reception area of the Project.

“First Lieutenant, Zackary Manheim, speaking,” he heard a young officer say on the other end of the line. Sam remembered exactly who the young man was.

“Thank goodness it’s you, Lieutenant Manheim. I was afraid I’d get someone else,” Sam said, spouting Gooshie’s exact dialogue word-for-word through the psycho-synergizing effect.

“Doctor Gushman?” Zack countered, recognizing what he heard to be Gooshie’s unmistakable voice. “I didn’t know you’d left the complex.”

“Long story, just get a message to Al Calavicci, will you?” Sam asked impatiently.

“Certainly, straight away, Doctor. I’ll put you through to the Captain’s office.”

“No! No, I tried his office less than a minute ago; he wasn’t there. Could you beep him please?”

“Sure, but—”

“Here’s the number where I can be reached,” Sam paused while he read back the number displayed on the wall above the phone. “553-2639… did you get that? 553-2639.”

“But that’s in—”

“Yes, I do know where I am, thank you, Zackary.”

“Okay, I’ve sent that page out; can I help you with anything else?”

“Nothing, but please, it is vital that you don’t tell anyone that I’ve phoned or where I am… understand?”

“Understood… but—”

“No more buts, I don’t have time. I’m going to hang up now, and remember; you haven’t heard or spoken with me outside of the complex.”

Sam hung up the phone and waited for Captain Al Calavicci to return his call.

“By the way, Sam,” Alia said while they waited, “you never told me exactly who this… ‘Gooshie’ fellow is that you leaped into. He’s a good friend of yours?”

“Gooshie? Yeah, he was… the original head programmer for Ziggy before he… was killed trying to save her.”

“Oh no!” The sudden realization hit Alia and she sadly asked, “From… being infiltrated by Lothos, right?”

“Yeah,” Sam replied plainly, then seeing her saddened expression, he reassured her, “It wasn’t your fault, Alia. He died a hero!”

The conversation was interrupted by the sound of the phone ringing. Couldn’t have come at a better time! “Hello,” Sam answered.

The gravelly but younger voice on the other end responded, “Gooshie? Nice to hear from you, pal. Did everything go well at your end?”

Al! God, it’s so great to hear his voice again, even if it’s not really my Al! Sam thought as he replied, “Um, yeah… Catherine’s feeling much better. She and Robert really appreciated me helping out with their daughter, even if only for a couple of days. How’s everything going over there, Al… uh, I mean, Captain?”

“Truthfully, I’ve seen better days, but it’s nothing you need to worry about. I’ve got your card key to give back to you. Where are you now?”

“I’m at the Crossroads Diner just outside Stallion’s Gate.”

After a momentary pause, Al continued, “Okay, gimme about twenty minutes. I’ll meet you there.”

“Captain, before you go, I have a favor to ask you,” Sam added quickly as he looked over to Alia. “On my way back, I ran into an… old friend who’s run into some hard times. She has nowhere else to go right now, and I was hoping you could give me clearance to bring her to the Project for a brief period of time until I can… arrange a more permanent solution to her problem. I promise, she won’t get in the way.”

“Hmm, that’s… gonna be a bit difficult, Goosh! Adams downgraded my security clearance. The nozzle’s got it in for me, I tell ya!”

That’s right! Sam remembered. Al had to sneak around for a little while until it got straightened out. This makes things harder now. Great!

“Listen, we’ll worry about that when we get back to the Project, okay?” Al reassured. “I owe you a favor anyway. See ya in about twenty minutes!”

Before Sam could respond, the line went dead. He just smiled and thought, Good old Al! I could never have made it this far in my leaps without him… in any time period!




Star Bright Project Complex, New Mexico

March 18, 1984, 9:42 AM


It had been a bit tricky, but Al had managed to sneak Sam and Alia into the complex through some of the unguarded caverns underneath the Project. Sam was very careful not to reveal too much about Alia’s identity for fear that Al might remember her when they both met her for the “first” time years later during Sam’s second leap into Jimmy LaMotta.

As they made their way back into the main corridors, another old acquaintance of Sam’s turned the corner ahead of them: Dr. Sebastian LoNigro, or “Bobby” as he had called him during the Star Bright days. He seemed slightly agitated and upon seeing Al, he ran up to them.

“Al! Good, you guys are back. Agent Adams just returned and he wants to see us in his office. Sam told me you had to run a quick ‘errand,’ so I stalled to buy you some time, but he’s on the warpath!”

“Oh great! I thought Adams wasn’t due back until tomorrow,” Al said worriedly.

“So did I,” Bobby reciprocated. “But apparently, he got back early. He actually wanted to talk to both of you specifically, so I didn’t know what to tell him. And… who’s this, if you don’t mind my asking?”

“Bobby…” Sam began to say before he remembered that Gooshie was always insistent on using formalities, even among friends. “Dr. LoNigro, this is an old friend of mine… um, Allie. She’s hit a bit of a snag, and I promised her I’d try to help her get her life situated. She won’t be here for very long, but the fewer people that know she’s here, the better. Would it be too much to ask for you to get her down to, uh… the Control Room?”

“You have my word, I won’t cause any trouble,” Alia offered.

“It’s okay, Gooshie. I know you wouldn’t bring someone into the Project from the outside unless it was important. Come with me, Allie. In the meantime, the two of you should probably report to Ross Adams’ office ASAP,” Bobby told the two men. “Sam and I will meet up with both of you in about ten minutes.”

“Thanks, Bobby,” Al responded, relieved that he had at least a few people on his side.

Upon hearing the name “Ross Adams,” Alia suddenly whispered in realization, “Adams!”

“Take my bag, Allie,” Sam told Alia, referring to the luggage that contained the Retrieval chip. He then walked over to her and whispered, “Make sure the chip is safe until I get down there.”

“Sam, wait! Don’t ask me where I’ve heard Adams’ name before; it’s a bit complicated to get into now…” Alia whispered back to him. “The ‘other’ Sam of this time doesn’t know about Ross’s contact, ‘Dr. L,’ yet, does he?”

Dr. L? Sam thought, not sure if he remembered who that was or not. Swiss-cheesed memory always kicks in at the worst times! “We can’t worry about that right now, Alia. Besides, if my past self were to find out something he doesn’t know about yet, it could cause a time paradox. I’m not ready to deal with that again any time soon. Just follow Bobby down to the Control Room. I’ll meet you back there, okay?” he whispered.

Realizing that what Sam told her was valid, Alia took the bag and allowed Bobby to quietly escort her down to the Control Room.

“All right, Goosh,” Al sighed, as Sam turned back toward him. “Time to face the music. Let’s get this over with!”




Office of Agent Ross Adams, CIA

Star Bright Project Complex, New Mexico

March 18, 1984, 9:55 AM


Agent Ross Adams considered himself a patient man, but when it came down to information concerning an employee’s whereabouts, he did not like to be given the runaround. Therefore, it was with great haste that he told his secretary to admit Captain Albert Calavicci, and Doctors Irving Gushman, Sam Beckett, and Sebastian LoNigro, into his office as soon as he received the call.

Sam felt more than a little uncomfortable standing next to his past self, especially being twenty years his senior. Whether the discomfort went unnoticed by the “other” Sam or not, he couldn’t tell.

As Adams looked up from his desk, he smirked and said, “It appears there are rumors circulating that several of the key employees I’ve been assigned to oversee are sneaking around exiting and reentering the complex without my official authorization. Now why would these rumors be floating around, may I ask? Any ideas on the subject, hmm?”

Al was the first to speak up. “Are you accusing us of circumventing your authority, Agent Adams? Where are you hearing these so-called rumors?” It took all he had to hold his tongue. Al was in enough hot water with Adams already. It was only through the Sam Beckett of this time that he had been reinstated as Project First Assistant Director after his drunken incident at the vending machine two months earlier, and although he had still flirted with the bottle a few times, he’d been sober ever since.

“I have my sources, Captain,” Adams replied matter-of-factly. “Do you deny that you and Dr. Gushman went unaccounted for within the past hour?”

“I deny nothing!” Al answered hotly. “And let me tell you something, Agent Adams… you’ve had it in for me ever since you came on-board this Project. I’ve been clean for two damn months, and I deserve a little bit more respect than what you’ve been giving me lately!”

“Al… it’s okay,” Leaper Sam nudged, as Gooshie’s personality began to psycho-synergize with his brainwaves once again. “Agent Adams, Captain Calavicci was covering for me. I requested a temporary leave of absence to deal with a family crisis that came up. I swear I never had any intention of undermining your authority. I take full responsibility for my actions.”

Before Adams could respond, the “other” Sam piped in, “I can personally vouch for Gooshie’s character, Agent Adams. If he needed to take a few personal days to be with his family, then I don’t think he should be reprimanded for doing what he felt was necessary. Dr. Gushman is a good and honest man who I’ve known for over ten years now. Al was just trying to avoid a whole bunch of red tape, and you were away on business. That’s all this was about, honest!”

“I concur with Sam,” Bobby chimed in. “And with all due respect, I think you should cut the Captain some slack. He works his tail off keeping this Project on schedule, and I’m sure that if Dana were to look hard enough, she’d find a harassment clause in your contract that could get you some heat with your agency if you don’t follow it. So, if I were you, I’d suggest giving Al and Gooshie a break and let us all do the jobs that our government is paying us to do!”

Leaper Sam looked over to his old friend, smiled, and thought, That’s the Bobby I remember! Always treated everyone fairly and never allowed anyone to boss him around!

For a minute, it appeared as if Adams was ready to explode from the anger he felt welling up inside him but just as quickly brushed it off and grinned widely as he addressed the other four men in an unusually cheery attitude. “Well, why didn’t you just say you had a family emergency in the first place, Dr. Gushman? No need to sneak around; I would have understood. I’m not looking to become anyone’s enemy. We’re all friends here, aren’t we? So, consider this conversation fini. You can all go back to work now!” he finished off with a goofy grin.

“Thank you, Agent Adams,” said Leaper Sam with gratitude, as he proceeded to walk out of Agent Adams’ office and return to the Control Room on Level 20.

As Bobby and the “other” Sam followed closely behind, Adams briefly stopped Al to get one last word in edgewise. “Don’t think that this means you automatically have your security clearance back, Calavicci. We’ll settle that little affair later. Now, if you don’t mind, I need to take care of some paperwork. Carry on!”

Al curled the corner of his lip up slightly, almost snarling at Adams, but held his temper in check and left the room. Alone in his office once again, Adams leaned back in his chair and sighed as the telephone on his desk rang. He picked up the receiver, knowing exactly who it was on the other end. “Yes, Dr. L?”

He listened to the voice and responded to the request that was being made of him. “Yes, sir… I understand, sir… As soon as I have more information, I will inform you immediately… Thank you, sir.”

Adams hung up the phone, opened the cabinet next to his desk, and pulled out the taped-up sheet of paper he had placed there two months ago that read: MY NAME IS SID.

“What dark little secret are you hiding from me, Dr. Beckett?” he whispered to himself.


(*For more details on the back-story and events in this chapter, please read SBP Episode 001, “Origins” by Brian D. Greene and the forthcoming SBP episode, “With a Little Help” by Sue Johnson on The Starbright Project website.)





Project Quantum Leap

Stallion’s Gate, New Mexico

Waiting Room, Present Day


Sammy Jo was getting flustered. Ziggy had finally reestablished contact with her father, and yet couldn’t maintain a solid lock on his brainwaves. She couldn’t understand what the problem could be and knowing that the Gooshie of 1984 was in the Waiting Room didn’t help matters any. As Swiss-cheesed as his memory was, he was a very intelligent man—he knew that Sammy Jo wasn’t telling him everything.

“This room looks an awful lot like the Reactor Chamber at my project,” Gooshie started to explain. “Where did you say that this… Project is located? New Mexico?”

“Um… yeah…” Sammy Jo trailed off.

Squinting his eyes in deep thought, Gooshie looked around and added, “This is the same complex, isn’t it? The room has been modified, but it’s the Quantum Reactor Chamber, I’m sure of it! And Dr. Beckett’s reflection is in the mirror…? Holy Moly! He did it, didn’t he?”

“Did what?” Sammy Jo asked, feigning ignorance.

“He broke the time barrier! I’ll be damned! It’s just as his String Theory said! Dr. Beckett took my place in time! Fascinating!”

Sammy Jo knew it was pointless to try and deny it. “Yes, he did. Dr. Beckett has leaped back into your life at some point in our past. His aura surrounds you, and yours is surrounding him. Once we find him and figure out what he’s there to do, you’ll go back to the time you came from and will most likely not remember any of this.”

“Ha ha, I didn’t expect I would!” Gooshie exclaimed with joy. “It’s okay, I don’t mind… really! Just knowing that I’m a part of the greatest adventure mankind’s ever experienced is reward enough! Tell me… is Dr. Beckett the only one who travels in time, or are there others?”

Before Sammy Jo could respond, the silky voice of the parallel-hybrid computer interrupted the conversation. “Dr. Fuller, Professor Lofton requires your immediate attention in the Control Room.”

Saved by the ego! Sammy thought with a smirk. “I’m sorry… if you’ll excuse me, Dr. Gushman,” she said as she opened the door and reentered the Control Room.

“Now seemed as good a time as any to tell you that Ziggy thinks she’s located Sam,” Dom told her as soon as she entered.

“What a relief!” Sammy Jo responded. “Where is he?”

“That’s just it, Sammy… he’s… here! Well, here twenty years ago, at least! The neural link suddenly got a boost when Sam entered the Control Room of the Star Bright Project in 1984. If he leaves the area, there’s a chance we might lose the lock again. I’m not sure why.”

Thinking on that for a few seconds, Sammy Jo took the upgraded handlink out of the console’s receptacle and proceeded into the Imaging Chamber.




Star Bright Project Complex, New Mexico

Control Room, March 18, 1984


Sam made his way to the Control Room on the twentieth level of the complex and couldn’t help but feel the slightest bit weird as he took in his surroundings. Twenty years and a few cosmetic changes later, this very room would be the main hub of activity for Project Quantum Leap. He could see the photographic images in his mind: the massive globe that housed Ziggy’s mainframe, the main console that activated the Accelerator chamber, even the ramp leading into the Imaging Chamber. It was a surreal experience being home, and yet, not home at the same time.

As he walked over to the Main Conduit Relay for the Interstellar Drive, Alia approached him and handed Gooshie’s bag over to him. “Everything work out okay up there with your boss?”

“He wasn’t really our boss, but yeah… everything worked out, I think,” Sam reassured her. “Anyone bother you down here? A lot of the technicians should still be on leave for the holiday weekend, so it should be pretty quiet down here, I would think.”

“I don’t think anyone significant noticed me, if that’s what you mean.”

“Good. Tina must be down in the Crystal Lab working on one of the relays. I’m pretty sure she would be the only technician that would recognize you in the future.”

“Dr. Beckett?” a garbled, female voice with a Southern accent suddenly asked from behind him. Without thinking, Sam turned around on reflex and was relieved when he realized that it wasn’t a native to this time period, but rather a faded image that only he could see and hear.

“Sammy Jo?” he asked.

Raising her right eyebrow in curiosity, she in turn asked, “You re*ember me?”

The memory of his previous leap suddenly came back to him in a flash. He remembered meeting his granddaughter, Isabella Fulton, and the story she told him of Sammy Jo’s death sometime in his near future. Sam couldn’t hold back the tears that fell as he joyfully exclaimed, “Oh, Sammy! You’re alive!” As he reached out to embrace his daughter, he nearly tumbled over when he passed right through her image.

“Sam?” Alia asked in confusion, as she saw Sam staring into thin air—or at least from her perspective. “What’s going on? Is that Al?”

“D-Dr. B*ckett, is ever*thing alright?” Sammy Jo asked in mutual confusion.

Getting a hold of himself to wipe away the moisture from his eyes, Sam responded first to Sammy Jo, “Y-yes, I’m… I’m fine. It’s just… so good to see you after so long!” then to Alia, “It’s my… daughter, Sammy Jo!”

“Your daughter?” Alia almost shouted. “You—you have a daughter? You never told me that before!”

“Actually, she didn’t exist the first time you and I met… long story! Listen, Sammy… where’s Al, and why are you fading in and out like that?”

Still reeling over the revelation that Sam remembered she was his daughter this time, Sammy Jo shook her head and said, “Al’s, uh… he’s unavail—*FZZZ—the moment. I’m filling in f*r him. As f*r why I’m fading, we’re not sure. Zig—*FZZZ—hell of a time finding you!”

“The neural link!” Sam realized. “My ‘anchor’ must be starting to deteriorate on your end. There isn’t much time left!”

“What are—*FZZZ—talking about, Dad? And, what’s Alia doing here?”

“I don’t have time to explain right now! Sammy, I have a way for Ziggy to retrieve me along with Alia, but I need a few minutes to set it up in this era. Do you have enough power to activate Ziggy’s hologram?”

Sammy Jo looked down at the handlink and punched the button that projected the holographic matrix of the hybrid computer. “Exactly what are—*FZZZ—proposing, Dr. Beckett?” Ziggy asked.

Sam gave Sammy Jo and Ziggy a brief overview of his plan to retrieve Alia by holding onto her when he leaped and how it would be possible based on the events that occurred back when they both leaped together the first time. The expression on Ziggy’s face made it obvious that she was more than a bit intrigued over the process. Taking into account all of the information provided, Ziggy gave her final analysis. “I project a 97.6 percent chance that Dr. Beckett’s plan shall succeed. What—*FZZZ—intriguing plan, Doctor!”

“Where did this… chip c*me from, Dad?” Sammy Jo asked, confused.

“From the future… another long story I can’t get into right now. Before I plant the chip though, I need to go down one level to the lab and shut down the power output to the Main Conduit Relay, otherwise…”

“Otherwise, you will suffer—*FZZZ—same fate as Dr. Gushman suffered, which would be ironic considering you are sharing his aura more than fifteen years before his death,” Ziggy finished for him.

Rolling his eyes, Sam replied, “That’s not quite how I would have put it, but, yes, I’ll be fried if I try planting the chip without shutting off the electrical current first. Alia, stay here, it shouldn’t take too long.”




Star Bright Project Complex, New Mexico

The Crystal Lab, Level 21


Only three people were allowed on Level 21 without escorts: Doctors Samuel Beckett, Donna Elesee, and Sebastian LoNigro. Even the Project Director, General Thomas Collins, and the two Assistant Directors, Captain Albert Calavicci and Commander Jonathan Bartlett, needed to be escorted by one of those three individuals. So, after remembering this minor detail, Sam placed a call to his old colleague and met up with Bobby by the elevator so that he could personally escort “Gooshie” down to the lab. During the trip down to Level 21, Sam informed Bobby that he was taking care of “Allie’s” situation and that he would personally arrange her transport out of the complex within the next hour. It was also mutually agreed that “Allie” would not be discussed again in the near future. After all, it would be a bit hard for Gooshie to explain how a woman he knows nothing about suddenly vanished into thin air, Sam thought.

As they walked by the “Glass Room,” Sam’s heart skipped a beat when the door opened, and the younger versions of himself and his future wife, Donna Elesee, stepped out. She was every bit as beautiful as Sam remembered her from that leap to Lawrence College way back during the first few months of his journey; perhaps even more so, if that were even possible. It was because of that leap that history had changed, resulting in Donna no longer leaving him at the altar. At this point in time, they had only just started developing a close working relationship with each other.

“I need to talk with Sam and Donna about the status of the orb, Gooshie, so don’t mind us,” Bobby told him. “Do what you have to do, and I’ll escort you back up when you’re done,” he added with a smile.

Forcing himself to take his eyes off of Donna, he entered the Glass Room and passed by the glowing palm-sized blue orb that would eventually grow into Ziggy. As Sam got closer, it began to pulsate and radiate warmth toward him.

“Wow, it hardly ever reacts to anyone other than Dr. Beckett. It must really like you, Gooshie,” said a bubbly female voice from inside the room.

Sam looked over and saw the youthful red-haired Dr. Tina Martinez-O’Farrell working at the output relay on the far side of the room, blowing a huge wad of bubble-gum from her mouth, which subsequently popped.

Ah, the orb senses me! Sam realized. Interesting! It must be imprinting Gooshie’s aura onto its extraterrestrial polymer, like it did with mine! And to think that this little energy orb is essentially the heart and soul of Ziggy! Incredible!

“Good morning, Tina,” Sam greeted her. “I need to shut down one of the relays that connects to SID for about a half-hour or so. Will you be down here for a while?”

“Yeppers!” answered Tina with a huge smile. “You want me to, like, turn it back on for you in an hour, so that you don’t have to come back down here again later?”

Perfect! “If you could, that would be great! I appreciate that, Tina!”

“Anytime, Gooshie!” she winked back at him. “Maybe we can, like, grab some lunch a bit later? If you wanna, that is…”

Sam smiled, knowing that the love affair between Gooshie and Tina began to bloom during the Star Bright years. “I’d like that very much.”

“Awesome! Catch ya later then, cutie!”

Sam shook his head in astonishment as he shut down the necessary relay and then walked back over to Bobby who was waiting for him. As he turned his head to look back over to Donna one last time, he saw her standing close to the “other” Sam as they reentered the Glass Room. It took every ounce of restraint he had to not walk back over and tell her how much he wanted to be with her.

Oh, Donna, honey… I’m so sorry I left you all those years ago! I’m coming home to you, my love! I promise!




Star Bright Project Complex, New Mexico

Control Room, Level 20


Sam returned to the Control Room and began the procedure to plant the chip into the Main Conduit Relay, which at this particular point in time diverted power to the ISD, or Interstellar Drive. With Ziggy and Sammy Jo’s help, he was able to integrate the chip into a covert alcove inside the conduit that Ziggy guaranteed would not be accessed for at least another twenty-one years. Alia stood watch in front of Gooshie’s post, just to make sure no one would discover what Sam was doing.

After approximately thirty-five minutes, Sam was finished. Just as he placed the metal plating back onto the opening of the conduit to cover it up, a sudden power surge in Ziggy’s program activated as her and Sammy Jo’s holographic images became whole once again.

“Dad, I… I think it’s working!” Sammy Jo announced. “All of a sudden, Dom’s telling me he detects a signal being emitted from Ziggy’s mainframe that he’s never seen before.”

“The time-code!” Sam practically shouted. “Sammy, what’s the date there today?”

“November 20, 2005,” she answered.

“Two more days…” Sam whispered before raising his voice for both Sammy Jo and Ziggy to hear. “Ziggy, deactivate your search engine and focus as much power as you can into the Retrieval program. If Alia and I move closer to the Quantum Reactor inside the chamber and hold onto each other tightly when you activate the Retrieval program, there shouldn’t be any problems, but I don’t want to take any chances. Pull up her file from the archives and try to project her residual brainwave patterns into the Waiting Room.”

“Affirmative, Dr. Beckett. Dr. Fuller, I suggest you return to the Control Room and assist Dominic with the retrieval process,” Ziggy recommended, as she deactivated her own matrix and disappeared.

Sammy simply nodded as she entered the command to open the Imaging Chamber door. As she stood in the white rectangular doorway, she looked back to Sam and Alia and said, “Good luck… Dad!” The door then closed, and Sammy Jo disappeared into the future.

“Are you sure this is going to work, Sam?” Alia asked as she walked with Sam into the Reactor Chamber and huddled into Sam’s arms.

“It’ll work, Alia! Trust me. Just keep focusing on this room—focus on my voice and where I’m taking you. I’ll leap… and you’ll leap with me! Just like before!”

Alia remained silent, knowing in her heart that Sam would fulfill his promise somehow. For what seemed like the longest minute of her life, she just stood there, holding onto Sam with all her strength as the familiar tickling sensation of the leap overcame her one last time. As she and Sam entered the blue void, nothing but happiness welled up in her soul. For the first time in as long as she could remember, Alia Novack felt truly safe.




In the blink of an eye, the surroundings of the Reactor Chamber of 1984 dissolved away, as it became the Waiting Room of 2005. Sam looked down and saw that he was indeed wearing the white Fermi suit he had first worn upon stepping into the Accelerator Chamber ten years ago. Huddled next to him was Alia, wearing the same clothing she wore in 1984. They both loosened their tight hold on each other as the Waiting Room door opened.

Sammy Jo walked through and approached them both. “Dad?” she pondered, not quite certain she could actually believe that her father was finally home. She had been let down so many times before.

“Sammy Jo! I… I’m home! I-I can’t believe it! I’m finally home for good!”

With her eyes starting to glisten over, she looked up and asked, “My God! Ziggy, is this for real?”

“Yes, Dr. Fuller,” Ziggy’s voice replied with surprising enthusiasm. “The individual standing next to Ms. Alia Novack is indeed the true Dr. Beckett! The Retrieval chip he planted in the past worked. His leaping cycle has finally ended. Welcome home, Father!”

“Oh, Dad!” she exclaimed, overcome with emotion as she embraced her father.

“Samantha!” Sam reciprocated back.

“I’ve been dreaming of this day for so long, ever since I found out you were my real father! I’ve wanted to tell you how much I love you!”

“So have I, Sammy! So have I! We have all the time in the world now! And I’m never going to leave you, Stephen, or Donna ever again!”





Elizabeth O’Dwyer Calavicci returned to the hotel suite with her husband after a long grueling day in front of the Senate Committee. Al had seemed very downtrodden and run down, and he wanted to be left alone for a while. She couldn’t really blame him for feeling the way he did, but in the same sense, she was a bit annoyed that Al was apparently giving up so easily. The Committee had yet to make a decision, and although Hawkins seemed to have his own agenda, she felt confident that he had as much to lose as they did if the Project were to be shut down. He wouldn’t be easily deterred from accomplishing his objective, which gave him and Al a common goal for now.

Her thoughts were interrupted by the sound of the phone ringing, and she picked it up. “Yes?” she asked. As she heard the excited voice on the other end of the line, she felt her heart suddenly flutter upon hearing the news that was being told to her. “Are you SERIOUS? Oh my God, Al needs to hear this! AL!” she shouted excitedly. “Come here, you’ll never believe this!”

Al walked over and took the receiver from Beth’s hands. “Yeah,” he said tiredly, with no clear emotion evident in his voice.

“Al?” Dom’s voice could be heard on the other end. “It’s Sam! He’s back! We got him home!”

Al’s eyes suddenly shot open with surprise. He thought he was hearing things. “You’re kidding!” he said back, more in denial than realization.

“It’s true! He’s standing here right in front of me with Sammy Jo! Ziggy had a lock on him briefly, but we didn’t want to inform you unless we were sure we found him! And now, he’s leaped back to the Project! You and Dr. Calavicci got to get back here ASAP! Ziggy’s already made a general announcement to the entire complex to celebrate his return! It wouldn’t be the same without you here!”

Al just stood there in shock, not saying anything for about fifteen seconds as he heard the cheers from several technicians coming from the Control Room. “I… I can’t believe it! All right, Beth and I will get back there as soon as we can,” Al finished as he hung up the phone.

“Oh, Al, isn’t this wonderful?” Beth embraced her husband with everything she had as tears began to fall from her eyes. She looked up into Al’s face and was surprised to see him still in disbelief. “Al! Honey, what’s wrong? Aren’t you ecstatic that Sam is finally home? You’ve been dreaming of this day for ten long years!”

“I am, Beth, it’s just… we’ve gotten him home before and he’s never been able to stay for whatever reasons. I can’t help feeling that there’s another catch this time. Something doesn’t seem right about this.”

“AL, come on! I’m sick and tired of you being so pessimistic! There’s no catch! Sam’s finally home and he needs you to be there to welcome him!”

“You’re right, Beth,” Al gave in as he kissed his wife on the forehead. “Go inside and pack your things. I’ll let Hawkins know what’s going on!”




Back at Project Quantum Leap, Verbena Beeks, Ike Bentenhoff, Dom, Tina, and several others began gathering in the Control Room. Sammy Jo gently pushed her way through the forming crowd to give Sam and Alia some much-needed space. “Allow me to be the first to officially welcome you to our family, Alia. You must be a good person if my father went out of his way to free you from Lothos’ evil project. Lord knows, he almost got to us if it hadn’t been for Gooshie’s noble sacrifice, but if it hadn’t have been for you, my father could never have permanently stopped his evil. And for that, we all thank you from the bottom of our hearts! Welcome aboard, Alia!”

“I… I don’t know what to say,” Alia responded, completely taken aback by Sammy’s kind words. “Thank you!” she said simply, as she shook Sammy Jo’s hand.

As the door to the Control Room opened again, the room suddenly got quiet as Sam stepped forward to move closer to the two individuals who walked through. There she was, his wife, Donna Elesee-Beckett, older-looking with graying hair and “crow’s feet” forming in the corners of her eyelids, but still as beautiful as he remembered. And standing beside her, holding her left hand was his adorable nine-year-old son, Stephen.

“Donna! Stephen!” Sam proclaimed, unable to hold his emotions back.

“Sam, it’s really you!” Donna cried as she reached out and kissed him full on the lips. “You remember us!”

“Of course I remember you!” he reassured, as he knelt down and hugged Stephen.

“Dad!” Stephen exclaimed, his eyes glossing over now as well. “I knew you’d come home someday! I just knew it!”

“Al and Sammy have told me about some of your accomplishments, son. I’m so proud of you! I know you’re going to grow up to be a fine young man someday!”

Before he could ask where Al and Beth were, however, Sam was suddenly overcome with a wave of dizziness and nausea. The Control Room started to dissipate before Sam’s eyes, replaced by a strange reddish glow. He couldn’t understand why no one else seemed to notice until he realized that it wasn’t the room being engulfed by the glow—it was he!

Something was tearing him away from his long awaited reunion. He tried to scream out, but no sound was able to emerge from his lips. He had no control over the new force that was pulling his body back into the maelstrom of space-time.





Once again, the tingling leap energy began to envelop Sam, but this time, it was like nothing he’d ever experienced before. Instead of the familiar blue void, an endless field of red surrounded him, and the force of the pull felt stronger—more controlled. Even the “sound” of the leap was different. As his vision began to clear, he found himself in a small, enclosed room with walls that also seemed to pulsate blood red. This… seems like the Waiting Room, but… it’s different! Sam thought. “Where am I?” he practically shouted.

For what felt like five very long minutes, Sam’s question was followed by silence, except for the distinct metallic hum coming from all around him. Although Sam couldn’t recall ever experiencing any form of claustrophobia in his life, he clearly began feeling that fear now. Again, he screamed out, “Where am I?” followed by, “Someone! Answer me!”

“Ah, at last, the good Dr. Beckett!” replied a male voice from behind Sam. He whirled around and was nearly blinded by the bright white light of the open doorway. All Sam could see was the shadow of a man, standing in the doorway and appearing to hold something in his hands, which were crossed in front of him. “I apologize for the lack of hospitality when you first arrived, but we had to make sure you were the real deal. You are the ultimate prize… and now we’ve finally got you, after all this time!”

“The ultimate prize?” Sam exclaimed. “What do you mean? Who are you? And where the hell am I?”

Hell?” the voice shot back in mockery, followed by a sadistic chuckle. “That’s where you’ll be wishing you were by the time we’re through with you! Ah, how the tides have turned… being the leaper for all those years, putting things right that once went wrong… Ironic how you have now become the one that’s been leaped into… to have something in your life be put wrong that should have gone right!

“What kind of double-talk is that? Show yourself!” Sam demanded.

After a few seconds of silence, the figure stepped out of the doorway, revealing his true identity. Despite his Swiss-cheesed memory, Sam remembered exactly who the tall black man was. “Thames? No! I-it’s not possible!”

“Oh, but it is, Beckett! You still don’t know what’s happened to you? I would think it should be obvious, but perhaps you need a little reminder. Take a look at your reflection in the table!” Thames ordered.

As Sam looked down at the glass table in front of him, he couldn’t help but notice the skin-tight black Fermi suit he was wearing. Upon seeing the reflection in the mirrored surface, Sam nearly fell back in shock when he saw the face of the auburn-haired woman staring back at him.

“Look familiar?” Thames slyly asked.

Zoë!” Sam replied. But how could that be possible? Zoë was supposed to be dead… wasn’t she?

“You got it! Zoë’s leaped into you! So, you’d better get used to your time here, Beckett! ’Cause you belong to Lothos now!”

With Thames’ words echoing in the back of his mind, Sam shuddered in fear as he whispered, “Oh boy…”



Special thanks to Brian Greene and Sue Johnson for their input.



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