January 11th, 2006
a loud yawn, Mark Robbins pulled himself out of bed.
Stumbling across the dimly lit room, he reached around until he found
the noisemaker that woke him from his dream and turned off the alarm clock.
As he usually did of late, he tried in those first few hazy moments
of recollection to remember the images he knew he had dreamed about again,
as he had for many an evening in the last few years.
repeating dream phenomenon had until recently occurred only a couple of
times since the “incident” happened back in March 2002.
He had lost a few days of his life with no explanation as to why he
couldn’t remember anything or how he had managed to hurt his arm enough
that he lost his chance to make the Florida Marlins baseball team as a
pitcher. Somehow, he had gotten
a pitching coach position instead, which was still fine with him since it
allowed him to win a bet so that his nephew could go to film school despite
the kid’s mother’s objections. Mark
felt no ill will to the fact that the person who won the roster spot he
coveted went on to be the World Series MVP the following year.
winter break drawing to an end and the baseball spring training season
almost ready to start, Mark had some time off before heading across country
to Florida. He was beginning to wonder if all the recent time off from
work and stress was the reason why the weird dream was reappearing to him
practically almost every night. Somehow,
he knew that something months ago had re-triggered the feelings of time
inexplicably lost. During a
ballgame last August, he remembered a little boy asking him for his
autograph. It seemed harmless
at the time and he was really honored that someone was asking him to sign a
baseball, but it was what he saw in the stands immediately after that had
been nagging at him. Dressed in
a Hawaiian shirt, there was an older man sitting near the front of the
spectator stands that was somehow familiar to him, but no reason as to why.
now, the dream was slipping from thought as he switched on his computer to
check his e-mail. As he waited,
he dragged himself into the kitchen of his apartment and poured himself some
coffee. Burning his mouth on
the hot beverage, he cursed at himself and went back to his bedroom. A few beeps and whistles from his computer signaled the
arrival of new messages, which he quickly went through and deleted as he
read them. There was nothing of
importance in the electronic mail until the last message, which carried a
spam tag on it.
he read the title of the message, his jaw dropped and a stream of coffee
fell from his lips, not from the temperature of the beverage but due to the
heading staring back at him on the screen:
EXPERIENCED LAPSES IN TIME YOU CANNOT
even waiting to run a virus program on the message, Mark quickly opened it. A screen full of text appeared:
you had moments of your life pass by without any memories of it?
Have changes in your life occurred without you understanding why?
Have you ever felt like you had an out-of-time experience?
Have you had persistent dreams of being inside a blue room,
constantly monitored by people you have never met?
If you can answer “Yes” to any of these questions, you are
invited to attend a live chat Sunday night (Jan. 15th) at 8PM
EST. At this time, all members will describe their experiences to
the best of their abilities and we shall all pull together what we have
learned to figure out why this event has occurred to a select number of us.
Is it a form of alien abduction, or is it something else beyond
imagination? It is my hope that
some of you will help fill in the gaps of our memories.
message has been sent to various e-mail addresses all over the country in
the hopes of finding others like myself that have shared a unique
experience. Most of you reading
this will probably disregard this message as a joke, but if a small
percentage finds that a chord has been struck, then this message has done
its job. The website address for Sunday’s chat is at the bottom of
the e-mail…In the meantime, a message board is currently up and running
for those who wish to talk beforehand…
hesitation, Mark clicked on the link that took him to what he hoped would be
the answers to his questions…
haze turned to darkness as Sam Beckett took a few moments to get his
bearings. It was a beautiful late spring evening judging by the
temperature, and the coolness in the air made him realize he was outside.
The moon was out in full, casting its light on whatever it could
but to no avail as the buildings around him quickly gobbled up the
moonbeams, laying darkness on the streets and alleyways below.
Off to the west, storm clouds were quickly rolling in as flashes of
lightning flickered far away in the distance.
The city was strangely quiet save for the occasional low rumble of
to turn his head to look around, he discovered that his movements were
somehow hindered by something he was wearing on his head, and whatever it
was, his hair was becoming very itchy.
His vision was slightly obstructed by two slits he was peering
through as he looked down at the tight dark blue costume that covered his
arms. On his chest was a
white circle with a picture of a liberty bell on it.
The handles appeared to form the letters C and L on both sides, one
side normal and the other reversed to give the impression that the liberty
bell had handles on it with the L situated smaller inside the C.
The bell itself had a white star field on blue for the top
one-third, while red and white stripes adorned the rest of it.
his head, Sam checked out the rest of his costume, somewhat amused as to
what he had become on this particular leap.
That amusement turned to fear as his eyes met with his feet.
They were secured snuggly inside dark blue boots that rode up to
his dark blue tight-fitting pants, but more importantly they were somewhat
starting to dangle over the edge of the roof of a tall building.
reflex, Sam began to lose his balance.
In vain, he tried to lean himself back and grab something to pull
up with, but momentum and gravity finally won out and he toppled over the
edge of the roof, falling towards the alleyway below as his dark blue cape
fluttered out to both sides of him.
– Stallion’s Gate, New Mexico
Quantum Leap Observer Admiral Albert Calavicci lit a fresh cigar as he
stared forward at the computer in front of him.
He was starting to use his office more, a place where he could
collect his thoughts without anyone bugging him about the offensive odor of
his stogies. His latest box of cigars was recently delivered, courtesy of
a recent leap, to the housing he shared with his wife Beth in the nearby
town of Wolfberg. While helping
Sam on a leap in his own present, Al had encountered a man slightly older
than himself who also loved cigars. The
two had been swapping cigars through mail correspondence ever since.
Sam Beckett was, to Al’s knowledge, still in-between leaps, which gave Al
a chance to catch up on his smoking habit and the vast amounts of e-mail
piling up on his computer. Slowly,
he systematically read through and deleted a lot of junk that had collected
in his mailbox. With only a few
unread messages to go, one e-mail grabbed his attention:
EXPERIENCED LAPSES IN TIME YOU CANNOT
my God.” Shock crept into
Al’s face as he clicked open the message, the cigar tumbling into his lap
sending a few flickering ashes onto his lap.
Cursing himself, he brushed them away, his eyes in disbelief as he
read the text.
everything all right, Admiral?” a disembodied voice called out.
Ziggy,” Al answered back, dusting off his electric red pants, “I’m ok.
One hell of an e-mail though.”
He highlighted the text on the e-mail and then hit a blue button on a
special interface hooked up to his computer.
agree,” answered the parallel-hybrid computer upon reading the message Al
had just transferred over. “With
utmost confidence, I project a 99% probability that the message is about Dr.
don’t think it’s a hoax?” the Admiral asked as he lit another cigar.
likely. I find it unlikely that
it is a practical joke by someone here at the project.
This message can be traced to somewhere outside of New Mexico.
I also ran it through a virus scan, which you forgot to do before
letting me read it. Fortunately,
I am quite capable of performing a million operations at one time without
Al flicked a few ashes into a tray. “Yeah,
yeah, Ziggy, I know. Unless you
are hacking into some database to get information for one of Sam’s leaps,
you are to be kept clear of cyberspace.”
why is that, Admiral?”
a sigh, Al repeated the explanation as if he had said it time and time
before, “To keep you clear of internet viruses so that your files do not
get corrupted.” A bad memory
crept into Al’s face. Once,
Lothos, the computer that ran the evil leapers project in the British Isles,
sought to corrupt Ziggy’s mainframe.
The plot was thwarted at the expense of the life of Gooshie, the
project’s once head programmer. Despite Gooshie’s legendary bad breath, Al still tried to
hide at times how much he missed him being around.
snapped out of it as he heard Ziggy calling his name.
“Wha—? Sorry, Ziggy,
have just completed accessing the chat room link in your e-mail.
Apparently, the discussion took place last week.”
Admiral let go a long cloud of cigar smoke.
“Damn, I wish I could have attended it to see what was said.”
is a way you can, Admiral.”
is a written transcript of the chat discussion.
It is now on your monitor.”
different set of text appeared on the screen.
Al’s face whitened as he scrolled through part of the conversation.
“Oh, shit. Hawkins is
gonna chew my ass out after this. Hope
to God he hasn’t gotten this e-mail.”
was silent for a few seconds. “Hope
is no longer an option, Admiral. I
have an incoming call from Washington D.C.
Do you wish to be alone?”
MAY 24th, 1985
Springs – near Washington D.C.
was running out for Sam. In a
state of slow motion, his life (and all the lives of the people he had
previously leaped into) began to flash by him.
The scream he had uttered as he toppled over the roof of the building
had quickly died in his throat as panic quickly set in.
around him was the dark blue cape of his costume, which obscured his vision
immediately upon falling. Flailing
out his arms, his right hand caught onto something metallic, a fire escape
ladder. Pain shot through Sam
as his descent to the pavement below was suddenly halted and he smacked hard
into the side of the building. The
impact caused him to let go and he fell once again.
His arms reaching out, he failed to immediately grab hold of
anything, and a few seconds later, he found himself face to face with a pair
of undergarments as the suspended rope that served as the clothesline he
collided with snapped from his weight.
quickly grabbed the rope and held on for dear life, crying out in fear as he
swung in front of the full moon sky towards the building on the other side
of the alleyway. Just as he
noticed where he was headed, his vision was obscured as something soft flew
into his face. Not willing to
let go of the rope with both hands, he stretched the boots he was wearing
out in front of him and braced for impact with the brick wall coming to meet
him. That action softened his
collision, but it wasn’t enough as he struck the wall and let go of the
rope, once again falling and blind from the thing attached to his face.
All he could do was claw at it with no success as he helplessly fell
a short distance with a loud crash.
was everywhere, but luckily didn’t linger long as Sam realized nothing was
broken. Groaning, he somehow
managed to sit himself up, in whatever it was that broke his fall.
With a clatter, he could hear that small objects were rolling off him
onto the ground.
those responsible for my being alive, thank you,” said the time-traveling
scientist as he clawed at his face to remove whatever was blocking his
vision. With a quick tug, he
realized it was caught on something. Slowly,
he was able to remove the problem and quickly was glad he did.
In disgust, he tossed the dirty pair of heart-covered boxers next to
him and was quickly sorry he had. The
boxers landed on a pile of garbage just inches from him, giving Sam the
realization that he had an open trash bin to thank for breaking his fall.
he slowly climbed out of the bin, a feeling of embarrassment passed over him
as he had the feeling he had done this before but as a teenager without any
clothes at a burger stand. Seeing
the costume he was currently wearing dismissed any notion that he was sans
clothing, but the embarrassment factor remained, and now an odd feeling that
he was a superhero before. Déjà
vu feelings must be from a previous leap, he surmised as he slid pieces
of trash and who-knows-what off of himself, grimacing as his right arm
throbbed slightly with pain. A
memory flashed in front of him again as he saw himself as a baseball pitcher
trying to throw and suddenly clutching his arm in pain.
I’ve hurt this arm recently. Odd that
I am remembering the pain, usually all my injuries are gone when I leap in
again. I need to find out where
I ‘live’ so I can get some answers.
Wonder where Al is?
a sigh, Sam checked his costume for any sign of identification.
Nothing with a name or address could be found inside the rubber suit
he was wearing. Despite the
slight evening chill in the air from the storm clouds now covering the sky,
he was sweating profusely and the mask he was wearing was making his hair
itch even more. Struggling, Sam
was trying to pull the mask off his face when he heard a menacing voice
behind him say, “Look at this, G. We
got a celebrity in our midst.”
roll of thunder sounded off in the distance as Sam turned to see two young
men in their late twenties approaching him from the entrance of the alley. In the light coming in from the street behind them, both
looked like they had spent years in a life of crime, each one dressed in
tight tank tops showing their well-muscled arms, and ripped blue jeans.
It was obvious these two took orders from someone else.
T,” said the second one, who was tall with spiky peroxide blonde hair, a
dirty, black scraggly beard, and brandishing a switchblade, “I think
one called “T,” with Hispanic features, wavy black hair, and the shorter
of the two turned to his partner. “Course
I am. This is my lucky night.
I get a chance to unmask a genu-wine hero, after I kick his ass of
laughed in a sinister way that sent chills down Sam’s back.
Looking around, he realized that the garbage bin only concealed the
fact that he was in a dead-end alley and that the only way out was through
the two thugs in front of him.
leaper could feel T’s gaze bore through him as the hood continued,
“Yeah, we know who you are, ‘hero.’
G and I were hoping we’d run into you tonight, but not this early,
man. We have some other
business to attend to tonight in this alley, and assuming you are here to
stop us, Cap, we have to alter our plans a little.” Annoyance at Sam’s
silence brought anger to T’s voice. “Dammit,
you just gonna stand there and say nuthin’?
You want out of this alley, you gotta get through us, man.”
chimed in G. “You ain’t
Batman, so nuthin’s gonna save your sorry ass.”
think there’s a big mistake here.”
Sam tried to reason with them, putting his hands up in a
non-aggressive gesture. “I’m not looking for a fight.”
guy’s a comedian,” laughed G.
T agreed. “Doing what
you’ve been doing the last few weeks, walking around wearing that costume,
putting a few of our partners in the hospital or prison, I’d say it’s
time for some payback.”
flash of lightning lit up the sky as the two men approached, with T now
holding a piece of wood he grabbed from a pile of trash, a rusty nail
sticking out through the end of the board.
The first few drops of the rainstorm pelted Sam as they attacked.
quick duck by Sam saved him from getting a face full of wooden board from T,
but he wasn’t fast enough to dodge a kick to the side from G, and he went
sprawling into the front of the dumpster.
Ignoring the pain and the increase in the rainfall rolling down his
face, Sam turned around to face his assailants.
T charged again, ready to smash the board down over Sam’s head.
Leaping away last minute, the board smashed into the dumpster, the
nail falling out as it broke into pieces.
Disgusted, T threw them down to the pavement as G moved in to slash
at the leaper with his knife.
was using all the techniques at his disposal to defend himself as the knife
kept slashing at him. Finally,
Sam positioned himself and waited for G to lunge.
The knife blade flashed and rushed forward but Sam was ready.
Grabbing the hood’s arm, Sam twisted him around until the arm and
knife were behind G’s back. Roughly,
the leaper slammed him into the wall and the knife fell to the wet pavement,
followed by G, who was apparently knocked cold when his head hit the brick
wall of the alleyway.
was rushing through Sam now as T, who was trying to put Sam in a chokehold,
seized him from behind. “You’re
not that tough, hero,” T said, applying more pressure to Sam’s throat. The leaper was finding it more difficult to breathe as spots
started to dance in front of his vision.
Blood was roaring in his head, made worse by the hooded mask he was
wearing. In desperation, Sam
made his move. Pushing
backwards with all his might, Sam used his weight to slam T into the
dumpster. Over and over Sam
kept shoving T back into the front of the metal bin.
the chokehold start to loosen, Sam let go of trying to remove T’s arms
from his throat and elbowed his attacker hard in the solar plexus.
Gasping for air, T let go of Sam who seized the opportunity to grab
T’s arm, spun him around behind his back, and deftly flipped him into the
garbage bin. T landed with a
crash and laid still, a small cut from a broken bottle dotted his forehead.
his breath, Sam barely had time to turn and avoid G’s blade from stabbing
him in the ribs. Pain escaped
the leaper’s lips as he felt a small bite on his left side.
Bringing his hand up, blood was clearly visible in his palm as the
rainwater quickly washed it away. Too
late, Sam realized he wasn’t paying enough attention and a well-placed
kick to his stomach sent him reeling back into the side of the dumpster, his
head slamming into it.
appeared as Sam staggered slowly to his feet, making his move towards G, who
now showed fear and surprise at the man who would not stay down.
A few feet from the hood, Sam stopped and tried to stand as tall as
he could. A bright flash of
lightning overhead was immediately followed by thunder as the two men stared
each other down in the downpour, each one waiting for a sign of movement or
G no longer could wait and charged with his knife held high.
With perfect timing, Sam executed a high spin kick to the face,
rivulets of rain flying off of his dark blue costume and spraying everywhere
as his boot connected with G’s face, knocking him cold to the wet
pavement. Grunting from the
pain, Sam quickly grabbed his injured side.
from fatigue, Sam somehow managed to pick up G and tossed him into the
dumpster on top of T. Losing
the ability to think clearly, Sam staggered out of the alleyway and into the
street beyond and the storm that pounded it.
Footstep followed footstep as he slowly made his way forward, hoping
to find someone that could help him. Before
long, Sam was under a streetlight in the pouring rain on another road.
His hand kept going to his side to see how badly he was still
bleeding, and eventually his feet gave out and he collapsed in a big puddle
in the middle of the street.
as he lost consciousness, the Imaging Chamber door opened and Al briskly
walked through. His face was
flush from running; it matched the fiery red suit he was wearing.
“Sam! Sam, are you all right? Ziggy said I had to—” The
hologram stopped short as he saw his best friend lying in the middle of a
street in a heavy downpour. “Aw,
hell, Sam, what happened?” Al
stood over his friend and noticed a thin trail of red seeping away from
Sam’s left side. “Damn
Hawkins, if he hadn’t have kept me busy on the phone—” A pair of
headlights approached them. “A
car! Someone’s gotta pull over and save you.”
the car raced by and despite the bad visibility from the rain, managed to
miss running over Sam. “Sonofabitch!
Whatever happened to good Samaritans?” Al cursed after the fading car, and
turned around as he heard brakes squealing behind him.
A second car had stopped, its four-ways flashing, and the driver’s
door was opening. An older man
who appeared to be in his late sixties got out and quickly opened an
umbrella. Splashing through the
rain, the man hovered over Sam and examined him for injuries, taking note of
the slash on the left side.
up and get him some help!” Al screamed at the man.
Whether or not the new arrival heard Al, he managed to drag Sam to
his car and opened the rear door. Groaning
unconsciously, Sam was eventually lifted into the car.
The “Good Samaritan” was now drenched as well as he folded up his
umbrella and paused a second before getting behind the wheel of his car.
As the man looked around to see if anyone was watching, Al finally
got a good look at the man’s face.
have got to be kidding me! It can’t be!” a shocked Al managed to say
as the car drove off into the night.
“Dom, center me on Sam!” Al ordered into his handlink, and
disappeared off the street, leaving it empty save for the pouring rain and
the puddles emptying into the sewer.
the hell do you think you’re doing?” Tom Beckett yelled at his son.
Thomas Beckett ignored his father as he continued to pack his clothes.
This was just another argument with him he didn’t need.
The twenty-four-year-old nephew of Dr. Sam Beckett was not going to
let his old man dictate what he did with his life.
you ignoring me again?” Tom went on.
“We’ve had our disagreements in the last few years, but what you
have done, I can’t even begin to describe the magnitude of it.”
me,” J.T. finally snapped the words out.
“I felt those people had a right to know the truth.”
don’t know what you’ve done with that truth, J.T.
You have unleashed a Pandora’s Box.
God only knows all the things that could happen as a result.”
slammed a razor into a bag and stuffed it into the suitcase.
“You’re making too much out of this.
I didn’t see the harm in it.”
could destroy all that your uncle spent his whole life working on.
He might not ever re—” Tom caught himself on those words.
He didn’t want to think about the possibility of his brother
remaining trapped in time forever because of the whole world finding out,
and out of fear or misunderstanding having the wrong group of people want
the project torn down before Sam could return for good.
disagree,” J.T. interjected. “I
see this as a chance to show that wherever he has been, locked away for all
these years on that project of his, there is something that needs to be
shared. I had an experience once, dad.
Something happened to me that I couldn’t explain.
Six years ago, I lost a piece of my life with nothing to show for it
except a concussion and a broken hand.
How did I get that way, dad?”
Beckett could only stand there in silence as J.T. continued.
“You know the answer to that.
You knew the answer six
years ago, and you didn’t tell me. Do
you know how many sleepless nights it caused me?
A recurring dream, a nightmare that I know repeats over and over
again but when I wake up, I have no memory of it except in fragmented
flashes that are not strong enough for me to recall a thing.
You said it would pass. ‘Beckett
men are tough, you’ll get through it,’ you said. It made me miserable to the point where I walked away from
the Air Force academy.”
made Tom scowl. “You could
have been one of the smartest in that academy’s history. You threw it away
and for what? Bouncing around
from one odd job after another, wasting your talents, your potential.
Instead of being the best you could be, you quit.”
like you quit your goal of running for political office?” J.T. shot back.
took a few seconds for Tom to calm down.
“That was different. I
realized I made a mistake, it was for the wrong reasons that made me decide
wanted to make Uncle Sam’s project public.
You were adamant about that.”
of the anger drained from Tom. “Yes,
I was. But I realized it was
wrong. Just like what you have
done was wrong.”
you be proud of me?” Pain crept into J.T.’s face.
“I did something that you couldn’t do.
I figured out where Uncle Sam is and what he is doing.”
you posted it on the internet.”
walked over to the other side of his small apartment and spun his computer
monitor to face his father. There
was a text message on the screen.
see this? Ever since I got this
e-mail, I felt for the first time that the answers to my questions would be
revealed. My suspicions were
confirmed that I had switched places in time with Uncle Sam, and helping you
move to Carmel last week to be closer to Catherine’s family and the
grandkids paid off. I found the
journal in your den as we were packing up, a journal that described your
experiences six years ago when I lost a few days of my life.
The extra details I was able to gather from cousin Stephen.”
involved Stephen in this?”
shrugged. “Wasn’t a big
effort to get in contact with him, since he’s family and all.
That kid will talk about anything if you just get him started. When he caught on that I knew quite a bit about the project,
he spilled it all out there for me.”
stared hard at his son. “So
after figuring everything out, you felt it was your duty to tell?
You had no right to do that. You’ve
just exposed a government black project all over cyberspace.
If the government finds out it was you, they’ll probably throw you
his head, J.T. responded, “What will the government do?
This project has unwittingly involved a bunch of civilians, some of
them innocent children. Did the
people that Uncle Sam replaced give their consent to be a part of this? At first, before all this made sense, I thought I was
abducted. In talking to others
online, most of them felt the same way.”
Pressing his hand on the computer monitor screen over the e-mail
message, he continued. “There
are other people like me who didn’t have the answers and were affected to
some degree or another, perhaps with the same recurring dreams I had.
These people shared an experience.
These people lost time in their lives; they had life changing
experiences. These people
deserve the truth.” Throwing
in a few more items, J.T. zipped up his suitcase.
lugged his suitcase out the door and waited for his father to exit before he
locked up. He went straight to
his car; he had nothing left to say to his father.
As fast as he could, he unlocked the door to his car.
looked over to his father, a look of puzzlement on his face.
I’m done fighting with you now. In
light of what’s going on in the Beckett family right now, I don’t want
what’s left of our lives to be remembered as constant bickering.
For the time being, I have lost a brother.
I don’t want to lose my son, too.
Uncle Al and Aunt Donna need to be warned that there might be company
coming.” Tom moved around the
car and opened the passenger door. “There
is a lot of your Uncle Sam in you, I can see it.
You both have the same trait of jumping into things without knowing
the outcome of the consequences. I’m
coming with you.”
MAY 25th, 1985
Springs – outside of Washington D.C.
was early morning when Sam finally awoke.
He found himself lying on a bed in a dark room. Heavy
curtains blocked out most of the sun coming through the windows.
A digital alarm clock on a nightstand next to him read 8:36 AM.
a groan, Sam tried to sit himself up. A
slight amount of pain from his left side forced him to lie back down. Feeling around with his hand, his fingers traced a short line
of stitches under what felt like gauze bandages.
he could dwell on it any further, the door to the room opened and a man
silhouetted in light stood in the doorway.
“Please do not try to stand up, you will only aggravate the
stitches. You had a nasty cut
happened?” groaned Sam. “Who
question at a time, please,” the man said, still hovering in the doorway
with a hand raised up to silence Sam. “I
had a doctor make a house call and take care of your wound.
Don’t worry,” he quickly added, “I didn’t tell him who you
are. Your secret is safe.”
hand reached up to touch his face and hair.
treated right now as well. My
butler is mending it as best as he can.
Can’t keep you down and out for too long, away from your job.”
job?” Sam managed to sit upright without further injuring himself.
“What day is it?”
morning?” Sam sputtered.
need some rest.” The man
turned away and shut the door leaving Sam in darkness again.
The leaper slowly laid his back against the pillow just as the
Imaging Chamber door opened, blinding Sam who raised his hands up.
Sam,” apologized Al as the door closed shut, leaving the glowing handlink
the only source of light albeit from the future.
“How are you feeling? You look better than you did last night.”
side hurts, and I feel some bruises all over.”
the hell happened, Sam? I show
up and you’re lying in a puddle, bleeding to death for all I know.”
guys jumped me because they saw me as the guy I leaped into.
Nothing so far on this leap has made sense.”
took a deep puff on a cigar and then hit some buttons on his handlink.
“Ziggy was able to piece a few things together, Sam.
The guy in the Waiting Room is acting crazy.
Refuses to reveal who he is and keeps trying to escape.
Dr. Beeks had to sedate him, so he isn’t much good to us right now,
gave the hologram one of those “Get-on-with-it” looks.
“Maybe we should sedate you instead, Sam,” Al continued.
“I’m just Ziggy’s messenger here.
This is what we can tell you. You
are in Hope Springs, a small city just outside of Washington D.C. and it’s
May 25th, 1985. The
person you leaped into is Brad Bennings, a former struggling actor and until
last month, a security guard.”
this Brad has no job right now?”
out of work, Sam. You looked
pleased to hear that.”
for Brad, but I am. I was
afraid that I should be at his job right now and that by not showing up,
he’d be fired and I would have messed up the leap.”
all good, Sam. Apparently, this
guy Brad had dreams of being an actor but could never find steady work. His biggest gig came last summer when he got a job as a
superhero impersonator up in New York City.”
it seems last year NBC was trying to launch a new TV show about some comic
book character named Captain Liberty.”
memory from last night came back to Sam.
“One of the guys that attacked me called me Cap.”
surprised. Brad made public
appearances in costume to promote the show.
He performed in most of the east coast hotspots.
Other actors it seems were hired for California and Chicago
did Brad lose the job?” asked Sam.
kept moving the show around different time slots, finally putting it on late
Friday night in the kiss of death slot, 10 PM.
The show got cancelled quickly because the young adults the show was
geared for were out doing whatever. In
my case at that age, I was usually with a nice pretty co-ed…”
Sam, where was I? Oh, yeah, Captain Liberty, fighting for truth and freedom
and all that other malarkey. Brad
was fighting for jobs after the show got canned.
The network was nice and let him keep the costume.
Soon after all that, he moved to the D.C. area to start over and took
a job as a guard at a correctional facility.
I guess being around all those criminals made him decide to fight
crime because last month he quit his job for no reason and then the
appearance of a real-life Captain Liberty began to occur, prowling the
streets at night to keep the town safe for everyone, I guess.”
started to chuckle.
What’s so funny?”
you get it, Al? Brad
don’t get it, Sam.”
Banner, Peter Parker, Brad Bennings. Most
alter egos of superheroes have the same letter for both names. This guy is like me in a way, doing what he can to change
people’s lives and help those that he can.
Does he go on doing this for a long time?”
made a few taps on the handlink. “Ziggy
can’t tell you, Sam. Apparently, you changed a lot last night.
In the original history, Brad was killed in that alley brawl,
apparently stopping a drug deal from going down.”
why haven’t I leaped yet?”
don’t know. Obviously
there’s something else you gotta do.”
kidding,” Sam snapped back.
have to realize, Sam, that there’s a lot of stuff going on at the project
and Ziggy is having trouble getting info for you.”
came to Sam’s face. “What
is it? What’s wrong?”
shook his head. “I
shouldn’t have said that.” But
seeing the look on Sam’s face, he relented.
“Look, all I can say is unless you have some sort of sixth sense to
figure out why you are here, Ziggy will have only minimal stuff to tell you.
Something you did caused the town’s records to disappear because
that overrated microchip has no database to log into.”
leap is turning into a giant jigsaw puzzle without the picture.”
frowned. “Never said it was
gonna be easy, pal.”
men turned as the door to the room opened and the light switch was turned
on, revealing a rather large guest quarters.
In walked a man in his sixties, dressed in a nice formal suit pushing
a large tray on wheels. A short
well-trimmed silver moustache adorned his trim, fit for his age features.
“It appears you are well enough to eat now, sir,” he commented in
a distinct British accent.
remarked Al looking at the spread on the tray, which consisted of French
toast, scrambled eggs, sausage links, and orange juice.
“This looks yumola. Certainly
better than a Denny’s Grand Slam at 3 AM.”
a napkin, Sam sat up slowly to dig in to the breakfast before him.
“This looks great. Please
tell your boss I am grateful.”
shall do so, sir. Shortly, I
shall return with your, er, garments.”
The butler closed the door behind him.
a piece?” Sam offered a big forkful of French toast at Al.
“It’s got cinnamon and syrup.
Maybe I’ll put a little jelly on it.”
isn’t fair, Sam. I can’t
eat any of this.”
make yourself useful. Work with
Ziggy and see what you can come up with.”
gave him a dirty look. “Actually,
I do have something that I came up with on my own without help from that
tin-can computer. But I’m not
gonna tell you, I’ll save this one for a surprise.”
The Imaging Chamber door opened and Al stepped through, leaving Sam
with a mouthful of eggs.
Quantum Leap – New Mexico
sooner did Al march down the ramp from the Imaging Chamber and flip his
handlink to Dom, the head Quantum Leap technician, when Donna Elesee-Beckett
came running up to him.
to be the bearer of bad news, Al, but General Hawkins’ helicopter just
landed. He’s here.”
Admiral let loose some Italian curse words.
“Is he inside the project yet?”
been for the past ten minutes. He’s
down in your office.”
a heavy sigh, Al walked out of the control room and took the elevator to his
office. Shortly, he passed the two guards stationed there and
executed the code to his office and entered.
Inside, General Hawkins was seated in Al’s chair behind the desk,
smoking on one of Al’s new cigars. The
Admiral was incensed at that, but let it slip and sat in the chair in front
of the desk meant for visitors.
yourself comfortable, Admiral.” Hawkins
flicked a few cigar ashes into a tray.
“I hope you don’t mind, I’ve never smoked this brand before.
Not bad at all.”
General, Sam is in the middle of a leap, this is not a good time.”
I have to say cannot wait. This
concerns the safety of the United States and its citizens.”
let that verbal jab go. “You
may be more right than you know. What
I have to tell you comes down from the top.”
knew it,” Al said, reaching for a cigar himself.
“The President is trying to save his ass and improve his image.”
agree that is not a secret among certain circles.
President Bush has been well aware how unpopular he has been of late
since the election. You have
been watching the news recently?”
really,” Al replied. “Too
busy reliving history instead of catching up on current events.
You’d be amazed how much e-mail I haven’t gotten to in a
for your information,” the General cut him off, “terrorist attacks
against this country are on the rise again.
President Bush has cause for concern that new levels of terrorism will
be realized and he wants to take further steps to prevent them from
General, just lower the boom already,” growled Al.
“I’ve had my share of playing these political games.
General clasped his hands in front of him.
“Very well. If you
recall, I made a promise to you once concerning funding for this project.”
face turned red but he remained silent.
Beckett’s leap into the past to 1959 where I was a cadet proved to me that
this project works. In turn, I
was able to eventually convince the President that it works but not enough
to convince him that Project Quantum Leap should have utmost importance.
In recent months, new project proposals have crossed his desk and he
feels that we should turn our attentions to ones concerning anti-terrorist
activities. As a result, the
President has authorized that a portion of funding from all existing
projects be allocated to newer ones.”
shot up to his feet. “Dammit,
General, we had a deal. Sam
saved your sorry ass years ago and this is how you repay him?”
I said,” replied Hawkins calmly, “this comes from the top.
I have no control.”
snort from Al was all Hawkins got in response.
not be hostile, Admiral. I care
about what Sam, uh, Doctor Beckett does.
Tell me, how is he? Where is he nowadays?”
around somewhere,” was all Al said.
was not a request, Admiral. Where
is he now?”
his throat, Al responded, “He is currently, um, upholding the law in Hope
Springs, outside of Washington D.C. back in 1985.”
know of it. Place really became
a crime zone in the last decade amazingly for how small a town it is.
Once a nice area nestled in between a few hills and mountains.
By the late 1960s, it became a large center for warehouse storage for
a lot of companies. Now overrun
with lowlife petty criminals, no one enforces any laws there anymore.
Police just kind of gave up on it.
Property owners couldn’t even sell their buildings off because no
one wanted to buy it due to the crime rate and now most of those properties
are frozen in court because the owners went bankrupt.
You say Dr. Beckett is fighting crime back in ’85?
It was shortly after that the criminal element took the town over.
I think it would be wise if Sam were to do whatever it is that the
guy he has replaced is supposed to be doing.”
General, we have no information to work on right now.
Sam is staying out of things until we know why he is there and what
he is to change. I wouldn’t
is not open for debate, Admiral Calavicci.
My understanding after looking through some of the early leap
archives is that Sam is to maintain the illusion of the person he has leaped
into. That was a rule of
leaping. I am enforcing that
rule. On top of that, I will be
staying here at the project to supervise this leap.
I am invoking Presidential Bush's authority to do so, and if I find out that
Dr. Beckett is not playing by the rules, I will have you replaced and most
likely future funding will be cut. There
is more at stake now than just this project.
Do I make myself perfectly clear?”
gave him a hard look while keeping his clenched fists hidden behind the
there was a large knock at the door.
of Hawkins’ personal guards poked his head inside the doorway.
“Someone here to talk to Admiral Calavicci. Sir.”
General nodded. “Proceed.”
sentry pulled back and Sammy Jo Fuller, daughter of Dr. Sam Beckett via a
leap, entered. With a short nod
of acknowledgment to the General, she walked over to Al and quickly
whispered in his ear. Soon
after, Al’s eyes widened in alarm as he turned to leave.
“General, there is an urgent matter I need to take care of
Admiral. Remember what I said,
and I expect a report on this current urgent matter as soon as you are
and Sammy Jo raced back down the hall to the elevator and took it all the
way to the top floor to the parking garage where the project employees
parked their cars. Near the elevator was a glass booth with armed security, and
hard to see behind them in the booth, two visitors.
guards moved back as Al approached. “I’ll
handle this,” said the Admiral looking at the two people being held in the
security booth. “You sure
picked a hell of a time to visit, Tom.”
MAY 25th, 1985
Springs – outside of Washington D.C.
much considerable effort, Sam managed to shovel the last piece of French
toast in his mouth, the syrup running down his chin onto the plate.
Sheepishly, Sam grabbed his napkin and blotted the sticky syrup off
his face, grateful that no one was there to witness that. It had been exactly an hour since the butler dropped off the
tray of food for him to eat and right on cue, the door to the guestroom
opened and the servant made his entrance once again.
sir?” he asked politely.
Sam mumbled, trying to bite and swallow the last piece of his meal at the
same time. “That was
excellent. Please pass along
to the chef my appreciation for that meal.”
no sign of emotion the butler drolly responded, “I shall be delighted to
do so next time I see myself in a mirror’s reflection.”
fish-out-of-water grimace on his face, Sam could only reply, “You do the
cooking and the cleaning? I’m
sorry, I didn’t mean to belittle you.”
all right, sir,” said the butler/cook in a very deep monotonous voice,
“I do all of the chores for my master.”
right, he does,” boomed a baritone voice from the doorway.
Sam tried to see the identity of the newcomer but the guestroom
door swung out too far, blocking his view as the mystery person continued,
“Wellington does get quite cross with me when I try to do some of his
work when he isn’t looking. Absolutely
hates it when I take a paper towel to clean up a spill.
But I don’t mind, he keeps me company in my old age.”
now, Wellington the butler had finished gathering up what was left of
Sam’s breakfast and turned to the door.
“May I be excused now, sir?”
course,” said the voice from the other side of the door, “and how many
times must I tell you not to be so formal.
You help me in this house, not to make me feel like an invalid
living at some assisted living center.”
sir, I shall endeavor to improve myself, sir.” With a slight bow,
Wellington left the room.
must excuse Wellington,” the master said, as he walked into the room
holding Sam’s Captain Liberty costume neatly bundled up in one hand, a
black cane with a silver handle in the other.
“He has this fear that if he doesn’t do his job properly,
I’ll die of that terrible AIDS disease running rampant through this
country. Last night really
made him mad towards me. I
overexerted myself and aggravated my leg getting you into my car.”
sized up the man responsible for his restful accommodations.
He was apparently around seventy years of age.
His hair, silver with bits of pepper scattered about was balding at
the top and cut very short. The
goatee was the same way and kept very trim.
There was a feeling of familiarity about him that Sam could not
Sam’s silence, the man went on, “My manners must be slipping.”
He extended a hand. “My
name is Professor Richards.”
leaper took the man’s hand and shook it firmly.
“Sa— Sorry, I can’t tell you who I am.”
I get it,” the professor laughed. “Your
secret identity has to be kept hidden from the public.”
He put the costume on the dresser by the door.
“I’ll leave this with you.
In your current condition, I wouldn’t recommend wearing it right
away; you’ll rip those stitches of yours.
There are some regular clothes in the closet; you should be able to
find something close to your size.”
door closed behind the professor as he left Sam to make his way out of
bed. He gasped a short intake of breath as he felt the stitches
pull across his side, eventually managing a stand-up position on the plush
floor carpeting. Noticing a
mirror on the far side of the room, he gingerly made his way over and
checked out the leapee. Brad
Bennings appeared to be in his late thirties with chiseled good looks,
thick black hair, steel gray eyes, and a cleft chin.
Working as a superhero actor and a security guard seemed to be
responsible for the appearance of Brad’s build: tall, athletic, and
muscular. Sam couldn’t help
but flex in front of the mirror until his injury nagged at him to quit.
attention turned to the closet where he found a wide selection of button
shirts, slacks, and denim jeans. It
wasn’t too long before Sam was attired in comfortable jeans and a light
blue button short-sleeve shirt. The
pants were a little too short but he didn’t mind the oversized shirt,
which gave his stitches breathing room.
adventurous, Sam opened the guestroom door and made his way to the
corridor beyond. Before him
stretched a long corridor with a few other doors, all closed, and a larger
room at the end, which upon the leaper’s arrival turned out to be a
dining room area just off the kitchen.
There was no sign of Wellington or the professor anywhere so he
wandered into the next hallway, which was not as long as the one to the
guestroom. Halfway down it
was an open door. Curious as
to anything he could learn about his benefactor, he strode into what
seemed to be a study. Rows of
books aligned the shelves on the back wall behind an antique oak desk. On top of the desk were stacks of envelopes, mostly junk
mail; they were all addressed to Professor T.R. Richards.
took a closer look at the hardbound books to learn a little bit more about
his host. Tomes of subject
matter ranging from physics and mathematics to history were crammed in
tight on the shelves. Towards
the middle of the shelves, a book was sticking out further from the rest.
Sam’s heart leaped as he saw on the spine it was about Quantum
Physics. Giving the book a
good tug to pry it from the bookshelf, the leaper was astonished, as the
shelf of books seemed to swing outward towards him, revealing a
decent-sized windowless room beyond.
got the better of him, and he slowly entered the room.
He turned on a light switch to find computers on some tables lining
the walls, some of them Sam recognized as old Apple models and one was a
Commodore 64. They were
running, some of them executing programs as numbers and equations were
flashing on the monitors. At
some of the computers, dot matrix printers were slowly, and loudly,
spewing out hard data. On the back wall was a chalkboard with some
familiar unfinished equations on it.
looks so familiar,” he mused, not realizing he had picked up a piece of
chalk and completed one of the unfinished linear equations.
“Why did that just feel wrong when I wrote that?”
Having second thoughts about completing someone else’s work, he
placed the chalk down and continued looking around.
further inspection of the room, Sam noticed plaques of different sizes
mounted on the walls above the computers.
They all seemed to deal with science as pictures of atoms,
molecules, and even the solar system were engraved on them.
Astonishment hit Sam’s face as he read the name of each plaque
and the realization of his benefactor’s identity came to him in a rush.
In disbelief, he peered at the inscriptions again, but each time he
saw the same name.
a loud cough behind him, Sam turned to see his host walking in the room
through the hidden doorway in the bookcase of the study. “Dr. Garner!” the leaper exclaimed as he felt himself
start to get dizzy.
Quantum Leap – New Mexico
know these men, sir?”
Al Calavicci looked at the young sentry who was holding Tom and J.T. Beckett
at gunpoint in the security booth just outside the elevator that led down to
the heart of the project. Sighing,
Al looked at the guard. “At
sentry gave his prisoners a quick defensive stare before holstering his
revolver. “Following your orders, sir,” he said, followed by a
never did seem to lose the thrill of having people obey his orders.
Enjoying his command without letting it show, he saluted back.
“You obeyed orders. Carry
on as before. Open the
elevator, sentry, I am taking these two below.”
the Admiral’s pardon, but that is against current regulations.”
hell with regulations,” snapped Al. “I
will take responsibility for these two, now carry out these orders.”
to keep his composure in front of the Admiral, the sentry hit a button on a
panel in the security booth. A
few seconds later, the door to the elevator opened and Al lead the two
Becketts inside. Not a word was
spoken on the ride down, as the guests knew not to push Al’s temper at
that moment. Shortly, the
elevator stopped and Al lead them out to his private office down the hall.
Entering the code, he motioned for them to walk in.
Finally, Al was able to sit in his chair that Hawkins had taken
earlier and motioned for his visitors to sit across the desk from him.
took a minute to look them over. Tom’s
face had a certain coolness to it as he thought to restrain his emotions.
Somehow, Al knew there was something on the man’s mind.
J.T., on the other hand, was fighting to hold back the excitement
stirred up by the incident with the sentry.
Neither Beckett looked at the other as Al finally asked, “I’m up
to my elbows in bureaucratic bullshit.
Your brother, and uncle, respectively, is in need of my help right
now. I should be there to help
him but I got dragged away to deal with the both of you.
Now what has gotten the two of you trying to tear the security in
this place down to hell?”
Beckett ignored Al’s ranting. “Hell
is about right with that red suit you got on, and it’s where you’ll end
up if you don’t answer my questions.
Where is my brother now? Also,
why were we denied access to see him?”
the one asking the questions here, Tom.
Don’t forget that.”
don’t forget this, Admiral. J.T.
and I have the answers you seek. If
you want to hear them, I suggest you treat us better than you have so
a deep breath, Al relented some of his anger.
“You’re right, I’m taking my anger with the government out on
you. Fair enough, you want to know where Sam is?
I assume you both know everything about Sam.”
looked over finally at J.T., who nodded affirmatively and answered, “I
his lip, Al said, “True. This
is your second time here except now I don’t have to worry about keeping
you locked up in the Waiting Room. As
to Sam, he is in 1985 just minutes from Washington D.C.”
is my uncle there?”
J.T.,” Al began, “I answered a question, now it’s my turn to ask one.
Why are you both here?”
J.T. took a few minutes to collect his thoughts.
A nod from his father encouraged him to respond.
“It all started with an e-mail I received a few weeks back
concerning losses in time that cannot be explained.
Ever since Uncle Sam switched places with me six years ago, I had
been searching for answers. Thanks
to that e-mail and a little snooping around, I was able to piece it all
J.T. was talking, Al was busy bringing up a file on his computer screen.
When it was done loading, he turned the screen to face Sam’s
nephew. “Is this it?
The link to a chat room?”
a bit nervously, J.T. replied, “Yeah, that’s the one.
I went to that chat room and talked with other people who went
through the same similar experience I did and then I…I…”
on,” Tom urged him.
had that gut feeling he wasn’t going to like this but he waited for the
rest of what J.T. had to say.
had everything about Uncle Sam figured out before I went online and I, uh,
used my knowledge of the truth to help others fill in the gaps in their
a few moments, Al sat there staring straight ahead, his anger mounting,
until finally he smacked a picture frame on his desk of his wife and
daughters across the room where it smashed into the wall and fell in pieces.
“YOU did this? YOU’RE
the one who went public about Sam on cyberspace?”
put up a cautionary hand. “Al,
would you calm down, the kid feels bad enough already.”
down??!!” Al yelled, causing both Becketts to cringe.
“I oughta throw this kid’s ass in jail now and spare him from
being tried in court. I don’t
know if it is connected, but I have a four-star General here implementing
Presidential authority to lockdown this place.
My butt is in a sling for defying his orders to let you both in here,
and what’s left of it is gonna hang from a yardarm if word gets out that I
know who was responsible for leaking government top-secret project
information over the internet.”
Al,” Tom shot up on his feet, “if you’d stop being so goddamn selfish
for a minute, don’t you think that if the government knew about this
already, they’d have had my son arrested days ago.
Most likely the government firewalls kept out this spam message and
they don’t even know about it. Besides,
there is more going on besides you, me, Sam, or even J.T.”
could possibly be more important right now?” Al inquired.
mother. Sam’s mother.”
I don’t see how this is relev—”
me explain.” Tears seemed to
be forming around Tom’s eyes. “She
is dying, Al.”
Al’s face softened up. “Oh,
God, Tom, I’m sorry. Look, I
know we’ve had disagreements before in the past, but I know you would
never use something like that to trick me.
How much time does she have?”
be a few months, could be a few years if her treatments work.
Bottom line is that she’s terminal.
That was one reason I came here.
Sam needs to be told, and you need to do that for me.”
Admiral shook his head. “I
don’t think I should, Tom.”
Beckett turned to his son, “J.T., I think you should wait out in the
do it, please.” The command
in Tom’s voice worked on the younger Beckett and without another word, J.T.
got up and left the room, slamming the door behind him.
Tom then turned back to the man sitting across from him. “What do you mean you won’t tell Sam?”
have to understand something, Tom. This
all goes back to your father.”
your father died, it tore Sam apart. The
pain of not coming home to see his father, the guilt of not being there for
the funeral or to take care of the farm so it wasn’t lost to developers
hurt him bad. It took years for
him to get over it; even after a leap allowed him to see his father, it
still carried with him to a small extent.
Now I am supposed to put him through that again with his mother so he
can leap around time with a heavy heart knowing he will never come home to
see her before she goes too? I’ll
be damned if I’m gonna do that to my friend.
There is not much I won’t do for Sam, but that is one thing you
cannot ask me to do.”
tear formed on Tom’s weary face as he blinked his eyes hard.
“Can’t you do something? Isn’t there any way to bring him home? Hasn’t anybody fixed that damn Retrieval Program?”
is nothing I can do. Sam has
been trapped in time for years; you know that.
If anyone is gonna bring him home, it’s gonna be Sam.
He’ll find a way, but he can’t function leaping from person to
person if he can only think of his mother dying somewhere.
That kind of mentality will get him killed, and then you’ll have to
deal with that as well. As for
the Retrieval Program, a previous mission had Sam leap through someone
else’s Accelerator. It did
something to him and now we can’t get that program to respond at all.”
right,” Tom sniffed as he wiped at his left eye, “you won’t do
anything. It’s tearing me
apart knowing he’ll miss out on saying goodbye to another parent.
By not telling Sam, you will have betrayed his trust.
Somehow, I am gonna do whatever is in my power to bring Sam back.”
what you feel is necessary. I’ve
wasted enough time here. Sam
hasn’t had contact with me in hours.”
Al got up to leave, hitting a red button on his desk panel.
“Control Room visitation for you is restricted.
Don’t even think of going in there.
The guards will be here shortly to put you in guest quarters.
Sorry, but you’re here until the duration of this lockdown.”
Reaching for the door, Al stopped abruptly.
“What else made you decide to come here?”
sat staring straight ahead, not caring about much of anything at the moment.
“You’ll find out the hard way, I’m afraid.”
the door, Al left his office just as two security guards came to escort Tom
and J.T. to their quarters. As
fast as he could, Al made it alone into the elevator and slumped hard
against the wall. Doubts of his
decision whether or not to tell Sam about his mother pulled at his heart.
He wasn’t going to put Sam through it all again like it happened
with the passing of John Beckett. Al
Calavicci was going to keep Sam from knowing, even if it meant losing his
best friend the day Sam Beckett came home for good.
an aching sigh, Al pushed the button that would take him to the Control
Room, and to his best friend.
MAY 25th, 1985
Springs – outside of Washington D.C.
legs not able to hold him up, Sam made his way into a chair along the wall
and collapsed into it. The
pounding of his heart increased with the anxiety of his circumstances.
Years later, he had caught up to the man whose ideas and theories had
helped influence Sam to create Quantum Leap.
one particular leap, Sam had ended up as Charles “Ohdee” O’Donnell, a
terminally ill man at a secret military base in New Mexico who had
volunteered as a test subject to help create weapons against the threat of
Russian communists. As Ohdee,
Sam had met Alexander Garner who in the original history built the ancestor
of the Accelerator Chamber, but it was deemed a failure.
With Sam’s help, Garner was able to improve upon his creation and
learn about Sam’s identity as well. Another
doctor at the project, Dr. Braden, had also learned about Sam and stole the
plans for the time-travel project, leaving Sam gravely injured and damaging
Garner’s time machine. With
just moments to spare, Garner tested his device on Sam, sending him back to
Project Quantum Leap, albeit briefly, before the time machine was destroyed
you all right?” Dr. Garner rushed over to his desk where a tray consisting
of a glass and a pitcher of water was located.
After filling the cup, he handed it over to Sam, whose shaking hands
took the glass to his lips, and he slowly took small sips.
fine now, doctor,” Sam finally was able to say.
The excitement from the awkward reunion was beginning to subside.
relieved to hear that. Now what were you doing wandering around in here?
You really shouldn’t be exploring my house. Very rude guest manners.”
Dr. Garner, I didn’t mean to—”
older man looked at Sam in alarm. “What
did you call me?”
Garner. That’s your name,
name,” said the older man, “is T.R. Richards.
You have made a mistake.”
plaques on your walls say otherwise,” countered Sam.
defeated sigh escaped the man. “What
else did you see in that room?”
your computers running quantum physics equations.”
older man’s eyes narrowed a bit. “Not
many people outside of my field can look at those computer monitors and
understand it all, or manage to fill in parts of a chalkboard I can’t
figure out how to solve.” He
pulled out a revolver and aimed it at Sam.
“Please. Stay where
you are. Any sudden moves and I
will shoot. After I call the
police, you can explain why you are here, until then not a word.”
another word out of you.” The
man paused for a moment. “It
makes sense, you lying in the road with a knife wound.
You were escaping the police, and I helped you get away!
I’ll lose everything. My
house, my retirement fund, all of it gone.”
He cocked the gun and aimed it at Sam again.
“You’re a Russian spy, aren’t you?
You’ve infiltrated the government, and now you’re here to take my
by the accusations, Sam tried to keep calm and found it very difficult. “I’m not a Russian spy! I’m not here for your
don’t know why I’m here, he thought to himself silently.
you really think I was born yesterday?
Deny all you want,” the man reached for a red telephone on his
desk, “but when I call the other end of this line, I will be in direct
contact with the Pentagon. In ten minutes, armed security will be here to take you away
and figure out what to do with you. They’ll
be happy to hear that this time, my secrets will remain with me and not into
enemy hands. I’ve been through this before many years ago.”
Sam blurted, “I’m not a Russian agent and I have nothing to do with Dr.
Braden and what he took from you in the past.”
A puzzled look crossed Sam’s face as he said it without thinking. Who was Dr. Braden?
How do I know him?
gun lowered slightly. “Dr.
Braden? Who told you about that? How on earth did you—?
And the chalkboard? Only
one person I met before could have made any sense out of that
gibberish…” Slowly, a chuckle started, followed by heavier laughter that
came from the man, surprising Sam. “Oh,
my dear God. Can it possibly be you? After all these years?” The man
peered closer at his captive. “Sam.
Sam, is that you? You’re Captain Liberty?”
large smile crossed Sam’s face. “It’s
good to see you again, Dr. Garner. It
has been some time.”
time for me, it would appear,” Garner laughed.
“I can only imagine for you it has been a lot shorter than
twenty-five years to run into each other again.
But why scare me like that? Why
didn’t you tell me?”
wanted to. Really, I did. The rules of my project insist that I make people believe I
am the person I replaced. Knowledge
of my existence in the past could jeopardize many things. When you threatened to turn me over to the authorities, I
couldn’t allow that as it would prevent me from changing history and I
wouldn’t be able to leap out of 1985.
Once you guessed who I really am, this inner voice, a sixth sense I
have towards leaping made me realize I could trust you again.”
would appear we both have had our identities blown. I should explain that T.R. Richards is my name now in the
real world. Actually, I
couldn’t tell you what the initials even stand for.” Seeing Sam’s
confusion, he added, “There is a lot we need to talk about.
It would probably be nicer to do that out on my patio.
My house is in a secure area; we can talk freely out there, I assure
you. I’ll have Wellington
whip up some lunch, and when it is ready, we’ll eat and catch up on
Quantum Leap – New Mexico
was another cool desert evening in Stallion’s Gate but unfortunately
Sammy Jo Fuller was not going to have the pleasure of experiencing it.
As she found herself doing of late, she would spend some quiet time
in the evenings standing outside to gaze up at the stars, wondering which
sources of light originated from where her father had presently leaped to
in the past. But tonight, she
found the ground level exit from the project that led to the helicopter
field where Hawkins’ transportation sat blocked by armed soldiers.
ma’am,” said one of them, “I can’t let you through during the
lockdown. Against the
Jo cursed herself for forgetting the current situation at the project. “I can’t even go outside for a few moments for some fresh
are rules, ma’am. Even with
the perimeter security system running over a hundred percent, we still
cannot let you outside. It’s
safe from what?” Sammy Jo wanted to know.
sure, ma’am. All I know is
that it concerns what is going on right now with the project itself.
General Hawkins does not want anything disturbing it until we are
that moment, alarms began to sound throughout the project.
red, we have a code red,” the soldier yelled into his walkie-talkie.
“Intruder alert on the main level.”
He turned to Sammy Jo. “You
best get below ground, ma’am. We
are under attack!”
Springs – outside of Washington D.C.
walked out onto the main patio area to find Wellington placing plates of
food on a table with a large umbrella over it.
The plates had slices of roast beef, ham, chicken, different styles
of bread, butter, and various fruits and vegetables like apples, mashed
potatoes, and green beans.
Garner emerged a few seconds later from inside the house, hobbling on his
cane and found a seat. Thanking
Wellington, who quickly scurried off, he gave Sam a plate and indicated for
him to start filling it up with food. After
compiling a hefty sized meal, Sam settled back into his seat, admiring the
heavily landscaped yard, which stretched out in all directions.
I said, Sam, we are somewhat secluded from the town of Hope Springs.
A few minutes’ drive and we are in downtown. This place keeps me far enough away for privacy but not away
from the sounds of people, or else I’d go mad thinking I was the last man
on earth.” Garner filled his
glass with cola and then handed the pitcher to Sam.
“Hope you don’t mind. It’s
New Coke. I think I’m one of
the few people on this planet that actually likes it.
They keep talking about bringing back the old formula but I hope not.
At my age, I am learning not to accept change too well.”
took a swig of the New Coke and politely tried not to show his distaste for
it. Garner noticed and passed him a pitcher of iced tea. “Try
“Thanks.” Sam took a long drink to get rid of the New Coke taste.
“Glad I don’t remember that.
Speaking of change, why are you now called Richards?”
government decided to give me a new identity when I retired somewhat from
the world of top-secret projects. After
what happened back in 1959 with my Time Displacer Unit being deemed
unsuccessful and all. When I
couldn’t reduplicate it after Braden destroyed it, the government still
saw potential in my ideas and theories.”
nearly choked on his roast beef sandwich.
He could have sworn he had told Al once that Garner was ostracized
from the scientific community because he couldn’t prove his ideas worked.
An unforeseen effect of his changing the past, no doubt.
Garner didn’t notice Sam reach for his iced tea as he continued.
“The New Mexico project was shut down in ’60, shortly after the
whole Braden fiasco. I was
herded like a prized animal from one top-secret think tank to another,
joining forces with other intelligent scientific minds to come up with ideas
in technology and research. We
came up with a doozy, a piece of computer technology where people could
communicate back and forth from anywhere in the world through phone lines
and cables called ‘Internet.’ Too
bad most people will never get to use it.
The government wants to hog up that technology for official use.”
could only smile as he refrained from commenting on that.
“So what happened after all your time in those think tanks?”
retired two years ago in ’83. The
government, however, is having a hard time letting me go.
So they give me a nice big paycheck, a nice big house, a new identity
so the outside world doesn’t bug me, and a room full of computers for me
to tinker with time-travel research. They
hope I can rebuild the files and the technology that Braden stole from
me…from us, actually. God, do
you know how many times I have replayed that scene in my mind where you were
as good as dead and I used the last of my device on you.
I could only assume you had left and that Ohdee had returned, going
on about seeing God before dying. I
never knew if you were alive or dead, until now.
Last night made me a believer that things happen for a reason.”
fact that you found me lying in the road bleeding attributed to that?” Sam
asked, finishing his roast beef sandwich.
that I think about, it began even before then,” Garner stated cryptically.
“Oh?” It wasn’t Garner that had surprised Sam, but the whoosh of
the Imaging Chamber door as Al stepped through with an annoyed, “Sam,
never mind the reunion. We have
never guess where I was?” asked Garner as he overlapped Al.
guess something and excuse yourself from the table.”
The hologram was getting irritable.
Sam could guess a response, Garner supplied the answer.
“I was watching you, Sam. You
were giving a lecture in D.C.”
a moment, Al almost forgot about the urgency as he did a double take.
“He called you Sam. He
knows who you are again? Dammit
to hell, Sam…”
was still a bit confused. “I
was giving a lecture?”
Garner smiled, “I was attending your lecture on Nuclear Accelerators and
Quarks. Quite brilliant, if I
may say so.”
Sam felt himself blush.
on, Sam, ditch this guy already.”
thing, Dr. Garner,” ignoring Al’s protests, Sam continued, “how does
this tie in with last night?”
was an odd coincidence. After
seeing you, the younger you, give the lecture, it made me think about what
happened after you disappeared from 1959.
There I was driving back from D.C. in that terrible rainstorm when I
came across you bleeding in the street, although I didn’t know it was you
yet. Then today, finding you in
my research room filling in that equation, it made me think of what you did
for me years ago. When you mentioned Braden, I put it all together.”
clapped his hands together, somehow not dropping his cigar or the handlink. “Great story, bravo. Geez,
Sam, let’s go.”
shot Al an annoyed glance. “If
you’ll excuse me, doctor, I am feeling a bit tired from the food and I
would like to take a short nap.”
Springs – outside of Washington D.C.
T and G pulled up to the warehouse on the edge of town.
It had taken them longer to reach their destination since the town
was abuzz with getting ready for the annual Memorial Day Festival
celebration. Their boss would
not be pleased with their lateness or with the report they would have to
tell him as well, and he was indeed waiting for them.
Dreck, a tall stocky man with a shaved head in a white business suit, stood
behind his desk with his back to the door as his two assistants entered. “I expected you here ten minutes ago,” was all he said.
took a step forward, his hand rubbing the fresh stitches on his forehead.
“Not our fault, boss. Main
Street is being shut down while they get ready for the Festival.”
smoke wafted from around Dreck’s face.
“One of our biggest holidays.
If all goes well, there’ll be money to be had this weekend.
I am putting a lot of trust in the both of you with this. Don’t bungle it up, like you did last night’s job.”
wasn’t our fault either,” whined G.
“That damn superhero stopped us from completing the deal.”
superhero?” Dreck whirled around. “Captain
Liberty? It’s a man in a
costume running around thinking he is the real thing.
He is like any other man, meaning he has weaknesses.
He can be brought down.” He
tapped a button on his desk. A
side door opened and two large, tough Italian-looking hoods walked in.
“Bruno and Vincent,” he addressed the two newcomers.
Vincent was small and wiry while Bruno was mammoth and very strong.
“You will assist T and G here in making sure this Captain Liberty
does not interfere with my plans for the Memorial Day Festival.
Make sure this ‘hero’ doesn’t touch up your faces like what
happened last night. Now get
out there and find this guy. Eliminate
him by any means necessary.”
shut the door to his guest quarters and whirled on Al.
“All right, Al, let’s have it?” he huffed.
it easy, Sam. I know I
haven’t been around in awhile to fill you in on things, but events have
what? Catching up on your life
that you missed while babysitting me?”
looked up from his handlink and glared at his friend.
“That’s not fair, Sam. Things
are happening and you really need to know about it.
The question is where do I begin?”
starters, Al, why am I still here? What
am I supposed to do?”
a few taps on the handlink, Al replied, “Ziggy still doesn’t know why
you are here.”
that’s just great.” Sam
started pacing around the room. “I
probably already missed what I am here to do and now I’m stuck in this
doesn’t think so, Sam. She
thinks there is something you must do yet.
In fact, this is a surprise. There
is a 67% chance that telling Garner about your identity might actually be
beneficial to this leap.”
leaper sat down on the bed. “What
am I supposed to do for Brad?”
are, uh, supposed to do what Brad would normally do.”
Sam ran his fingers through his hair. “That’s
ridiculous. I don’t need to
be here in 1985 if I am just copying someone’s life.
Brad can do that on his own. The
guy is unemployed, am I supposed to find him a job?”
exactly, Sam. Just make sure
everyone believes you are Brad, in a manner of speaking.”
of speaking? What are you
getting at, Al?”
observer took a puff on his cigar and pointed to the bundled costume on the
dresser. “You have to wear
the suit, Sam.”
from the bed, Sam paced around the room again.
“Wear the suit? Who
came up with that? Ziggy?”
“No. Not Ziggy.”
Al interjected, “You’re not gonna like this.”
don’t like this already. This
is insane. I am not gonna wear that thing.
It made me sweat horribly and my hair got all itchy.
Besides, I almost got killed wearing that thing because some hoods
wanted to kick my superhero behind. No
way, Al, I’m not doing this.”
down, pal. You don’t have a
choice in this.”
eyes widened. “This is coming
from something else other than Ziggy?”
got it. Remember General
remember the name. Something
from a previous leap?”
“Yup. You probably remember him by his nickname.
returned to Sam. “Shockey?
Yeah, the guy who was hit by a bolt of lightning at Dr. Garner’s
experiment with his Time Displacer Unit.
He’s a general now?”
for us both, yeah. He has
assumed control of the project and he is invoking Presidential authority and
this and that.”
eyes narrowed. “The ‘this
and that’ refers to him calling the shots over Ziggy?”
nod confirmed the answer to Sam’s question.
“He can’t do that, can he?”
rules have changed, Sam. Ever
since 9/11, the government has seized control of a number of projects.
The President has finally been brought into the fold on Project
Quantum Leap. So, yeah, Hawkins
can do that. And what’s
worse, he is demanding that for some reason you do whatever is normal for
Brad to do, and that includes wearing the suit.
Ziggy believes that before you changed history and prevented Brad’s
death last night, this guy habitually prowled the streets at night looking
for crimes to prevent. Hope you
don’t have any plans this evening?”
Sam could protest, the handlink made a loud beeping sound that he had never
dammit, what now?” Al pushed a series of buttons and a female disembodied
head floated over the handlink. “What
is it, Ziggy?”
requested that I inform you if the situation worsened,” the floating
female head stated.
Al ignored the questioning look from Sam as he continued, “What’s
presence is requested immediately at the ground exit for the landing
field.” Ziggy’s face
dissolved into a myriad of colors and dissolved.
opened the door to the Imaging Chamber.
“Um, look, Sam. I
don’t know how long this will take. Spend
some time this afternoon in town; get to know what is where, buildings and
streets and all that. Do some
reconnaissance and then spend tonight as Captain Liberty.
Remember, Sam, you have your orders and I have mine.”
The hologram rushed through the door and it slammed shut, leaving Sam
wanting more answers than what he was just given.
Quantum Leap – New Mexico
out of breath, Al rushed out of the elevator door and raced down the hallway
to the exit that led to the helicopter pad.
More guards were stationed at the doors.
One was peering out of the one-way shatterproof window nearby with a
pair of binoculars. Everyone
saluted as the Admiral arrived on scene.
someone give me a report,” Admiral Calavicci barked.
I can, sir,” said the guard with the binoculars.
“About an hour ago, we had confirmation that intruders breached
this project’s security systems. Unauthorized
vehicles found a way past most of the safety protocols.”
ingenious,” Al mused. “What
does that mean specifically?”
was smart enough to know how to find us and used computer technology to jam
most of the security systems and bypass most of the alarms.”
been hacked?” asked the Admiral.
was damaged as far as the computer experts told me.
This project has one of the most state-of-the-art systems I have ever
seen and I have spent my share of time on ops missions.
Whoever did this was almost completely successful.
There were a few algorithms that he missed.”
was growing impatient. “What
are we looking at here? Numerous
vehicles, one of them possibly hosting this hacker.
No possibility of weapons or any other threat to this
that we can determine, sir,” replied the guard.
“Under normal conditions, this would look like a vacation spot.”
spot?” Understanding crept into Al’s thoughts.
“Give me those binoculars.”
Complying, the guard handed them over.
Al rushed over to the window and looked out.
the helicopter that brought Hawkins to the project were a few dozen
trailers, mobile homes, and vans. Surrounding
this convoy were numerous soldiers, rifles trained for any sign of hostile
act. One mobile home stood out to Al because it had a huge
satellite dish mounted on the top and looked like it was rigged with other
electronic hardware. Near this
trailer were more soldiers having a conference with General Hawkins, all of
them animatedly gesturing.
the binoculars, Al tried to get a good look at the other trailers for signs
of activity. One other vehicle
caught his attention. An
occupant was putting up a handmade sign in the front window.
In large red letters, it read: PLEASE LET US SEE DR. BECKETT.
there any signs of them being terrorists, Admiral?” asked another guard.
was a sign, all right,” replied Al with a heavy sigh.
“These people aren’t terrorists.
They are everyday people whose lives were affected by this project
and now they want answers.” Well, J.T., this is the damage you’ve caused, he thought.
muttered the first guard. “These
people are civilians? Too bad
that guy who almost figured out our security is gonna fry when they arrest
him. It’s a pity he never
enlisted in the forces. Could
have used him on a few ops missions. That
guy missed his true calling.”
true calling, Al said to himself. All
those people, innocent participants of a time-travel experiment gone ca-ca,
who bound together to form a pilgrimage in search of answers.
those people, it was a destiny being fulfilled.
leapees were returning.
SPRINGS – outside of Washington D.C.
Dreck stood in front of the window of his office that looked down over the
warehouse. On the ground level,
it was a legitimate enterprise. The
warehouse stored and shipped legal merchandise to and from vendors.
Below the ground level was the other warehouse.
It extended down a few levels and his other paid employees earned
their living down there. In all
appearances, a very lucrative drug empire.
There were people down in the lower levels in charge of refining,
packaging, and trafficking the drug shipments.
For years, Dreck was the kingpin of the drug industry in that area of
late, his thoughts had constantly lingered on the masked menace that was
threatening to bring his empire down. His
hired goons worked the streets at night, making sure it was safe for his
business transactions to take place. That
novice hero was going to be a thorn in his side once too often and it needed
to be removed.
of watching the warehouse workers in action, he closed the blinds and turned
towards his desk. Before he
could pull the chair out to sit down, a wave of nausea hit him full force.
A yellow aura surrounded him and his office dissolved.
new now stood where Darius Dreck had been standing.
as Captain Liberty
by Greg Carey