Episode 1107

True Callings:  The Two Sams 

by: Greg Carey 

(with Damon Sugameli)


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In 2006, an e-mail message has been circulated to a vast number of people in an attempt to unite any living leapees to find answers to their questions at Project Quantum Leap.  J.T. Beckett, Sam’s nephew and a former leapee, replies through a chat room link in the e-mail and tells all he knows about the project, and then decides to meet other leapees there with Tom Beckett in tow.

Sam finds himself in a town called Hope Springs just outside of Washington D.C.  The year is 1985 and Sam is Brad Bennings, an out-of-work actor who used to make public appearances as a fictitious television superhero impersonator by the name of Captain Liberty.  Apparently, Brad took the role seriously as he recently had begun patrolling the city at night to fight crime.  Meanwhile, Admiral Calavicci has his hands full trying to figure out who sent the e-mail all over the country, and having to deal with General Hawkins who has taken a rather strong interest in Sam’s current leap.  Because Hawkins realized Sam’s project worked in a previous leap, the General has now brought the President into the loop, and through Presidential authorization, Hawkins has instituted a lockdown of the project until Sam’s leap is completed.

Shortly after the leap-in, Sam is attacked by a couple of hoods named T and G who work for Darius Dreck, the man in charge of crime in Hope Springs.  Wounded in the attack, Sam managed to get away and was picked up by none other than Dr. Garner, who was on his way back from seeing the Sam Beckett of 1985 give a physics lecture in D.C.  Sam had met him before in a leap in 1959 (*See “Guinea Pig,” Parts I & II), and before long, Dr. Garner realizes that it is Sam again.  Meanwhile, General Hawkins has ordered Sam to maintain the illusion that he is Brad, and that means wearing the Captain Liberty suit at night to fight crime.  To make matters worse, the leapees had begun to arrive at the project, somehow bypassing the lockdown security codes…





May 25th, 1985

Hope Springs – outside of Washington D.C.

1:03 PM


Darius 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 the country.

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.

Tired 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.

Someone new now stood where Darius Dreck had been standing.

Feeling that he was going to throw up, Dr. Maxwell Connors, rogue time-traveler, reached for the waste basket next to his desk and dry-heaved a couple of times.  Feeling also that the wave of dizziness had finally passed, he sat down behind the desk and stared around him.  He was in a plush office with surveillance monitors along the far wall and behind him was a set of blinds obscuring the view beyond.  The heavy noise of machinery made it clear he was in a factory or warehouse.

Along the wall to his right was another smaller room.  Upon walking over, Connors discovered that it was a lounge area complete with large screen TV and a bathroom.  Inside the bathroom was a mirror, which the rogue leaper quickly stepped in front of.  Turning on the light, a reflection of a large, hefty man in a formal white suit, black shirt, and white tie stared back at him.  The eyes seemed to exude a villainous nature as they looked back at him from underneath a shaved head.

A loud buzzing noise inside his head made Connors back up suddenly, his hands clutching his temples.  It was as if an amplifier was generating feedback from a microphone at high intensity.  A few moments later, it disappeared, only to be replaced by a disembodied voice.  —there, Dr. Connors?  Please respond.”

Memory seemed to flood back as the man winced.  “Dr. Connors here.  Morpheus?”

Yes, it is I, Doctor.  It would seem that your brainwaves are slightly magnafluxed once again.  Maintaining our neural link took slightly longer than expected.

“Longer than expected?  Please elaborate.”

Connors shut his eyes to tune out the image of the reflection in the mirror as Morpheus, the computer sentience that was bonded to his brainwaves, continued, “With each successive leap you make, more of your memories and personality traits reassert themselves, which in turn strengthens our neural link.  Up until now, the purpose of your past leaps was to simply observe and determine if the timeline was severely damaged.  You were the only anomaly present in your timeframe, which made it relatively easy to maintain control over your host.  Right now, I am detecting another temporal anomaly besides you.

“Beckett,” Connors spit the name out like venom.

Based on my prior analysis from your first leap into Captain Birdell in 1956, I am 98.9% certain that this other anomaly is indeed Dr. Beckett.  The last time my program reacted in this manner was when you and he leaped into the vicinity of Edwards Air Force Base in the same time period.

“Yes, I remember now,” recalled Connors.  “I was attempting to test my Quantum Accelerator when Beckett broke into the chamber and grabbed hold of me.  I felt the energy beginning to cleanse my body of the cancer that was ravaging it.  But that energy must have interacted with the temporal energy that was stored within Beckett’s body, and changed the results.  Everything went a bit haywire, and we both ended up simultaneously leaping backward in time.  It took nearly a day and a half for me to fully regain control of my own thought processes.  I had just assumed the reason for the disorientation was because it was my first leap.”

Partly, Dr. Connors.  I hypothesize that Dr. Beckett himself, and the unique set of circumstances that placed both of you there, were the main catalysts for that first leap going ‘a bit haywire.’  He has not appeared in any of your leaps since then; therefore, I have no other experience with which to base a different hypothesis at this time.

A scowl formed on Connors’ face.  “So it is safe to assume that the overgrown Boy Scout is in this current year then?”

Highly probable.  I would even hazard the possibility that he is within a few miles from your present location.”

“And that location would be where, Morpheus?”

Hope Springs, a town located ten miles outside of Washington D.C.  During the 1970s and ’80s, it was a successful town in terms of industry.  The town expanded into a niche of being a warehouse leader for many businesses and even for the government.”

“Charming,” Connors growled sarcastically, “ but what does this have to do with me, might I ask?”

You are Darius Dreck, in charge of a small criminal empire in the D.C. area.  Drugs are his main area of expertise.  Dreck was known for having considerable wealth and for increasing the crime rate in the Hope Springs area.  Further records of this town seemingly ceased to exist sometime during the 1990s.  No information on whatever happened to Dreck.

Sighing, Connors opened his eyes.  “Can you please get to the point and explain to me exactly why I am here?”

        “I would have thought it obvious.  The chances are highest that Dr. Sam Beckett is here in this area in this time period.  It is with 94.75% probability that I calculate you are here to stop him from altering history.


January 22nd, 2006

Project Quantum Leap – New Mexico

11:52 PM


Admiral Al Calavicci stood with the security guards near the locked doorway that under normal circumstances would have led to the landing field just outside the project.  But now, security had been breached and a few dozen vans, trailers, and mobile homes were parked outside, each one containing leapees from some of Sam Beckett’s earlier trips through time.

Hearing footsteps approaching from behind, Al turned to see a security officer escorting Sam’s nephew, J.T., towards him.

“As you requested, Admiral.”  The security guard saluted and walked back down the hall.

Al stared at J.T. with unmasked anger but the troubled young Beckett refused to acknowledge him.  “Take a look around, J.T.,” he pointed at the one-way window that showed what was going on outside. “The guards, the security breach, all those people outside in those vehicles with their fates undecided, all of this because of you.”

J.T.’s shoulders slumped, but he kept his gaze to the floor.

“Dammit, J.T.,” snapped Al, “look up and see what you’ve done.  Was it worth it?  Going online and telling everyone about your uncle’s work?  You may just have brought this project to an end.  General Hawkins might not let those people just turn around and leave.  If any one of these people goes public to the media and brings them back in here past security, it will be one of the biggest breaches in national security this country has ever seen.  Most important is the fact that without this project running you will in all likelihood never see your uncle again.”

J.T.’s face slowly lifted upward, revealing the early signs of tears beginning to form.  “I didn’t mean for this to hurt anyone.”

Al did his best to refrain from yelling.  “Why did you do this then?”

Sniffling, J.T. ran his fingers through his hair.  “I did it because of dad and Uncle Sam.”

“You have to do better than that,” the Admiral frowned.

“I—You wouldn’t understand.”

“Try me,” Al shot back.

“It’s about being a Beckett.  Growing up with a drill sergeant for a father and living in the shadow of a famous uncle.  I always felt like I had to prove myself that I belonged in the Beckett family.  Just seemed like nothing I ever did was good enough for my father, that I could never do the right thing around him.  Especially after dropping out of the Air Force Academy, the need to show I had some semblance of honor became stronger.  I needed some way to show it and then the e-mail arrived on my computer.”

A thought came to Al but he remained silent.

“Being a leapee, I instantly recognized what that letter was all about.  Having just pieced it all together after the discovery of my dad’s journal, I knew this was a chance to take care of everything.  To do the right thing regarding those people outside who needed answers like I once did, to show my dad that I could make adult decisions to regain his respect, and finally to get even with Uncle Sam.”

Al’s eyes widened with concern.  “Get even?”

“Yeah,” J.T.’s face tightened.  “My dad’s journal contained a lot of information about this place.  When he was considering running for public office, he was gonna use it to bring this place down.  Then for some reason, he abandoned that idea and walked away from it, shortly after the experience.”

“The experience of your uncle leaping into you?” interjected Al.

J.T. nodded.  “Whatever happened when Uncle Sam was with my father changed his views somehow.  That event has hurt me more than you’ll ever know.  Something that once was unexplainable was now changing my life.  I could barely sleep, suffering from recurring nightmares I could not remember anything about.  It was a living hell to know that a piece of time from my life was taken without knowing why.  As a result, it drove me away from the Air Force and I barely could hold a job more than a few months.  Recently, I found dad’s journal and read it, and all the missing pieces fell into place.  My uncle had switched places with me, and a piece of my life was taken without permission.  He had no right to do that.  When I discovered it was him, I grew angry and wanted to get back at him for the downward spiral my life has taken ever since.  To spite my uncle, I gave those people the knowledge they lacked about what had happened to them.  In that chat room discussion, it was decided that they would try to come here because many wanted to thank him for the positive changes in their lives.  I didn’t expect that reaction.  I assumed these people would accept what I told them and close the book on that chapter in their lives and move on.  This reunion outside was not part of the plan.”

Al stared at J.T. for a few moments before stating, “All these years of Sam bouncing around in the past, it never occurred to me before.  We have been so single-minded in purpose here about changing people’s lives to bring your uncle home, that we never really gave much thought to the people that leap back after Sam is gone.  We congratulate Sam on a job well done because someone has had a change in life for the better.  Then we pat ourselves on the back that Sam will move on to his next challenge, never thinking that these people have to readjust to the changes they will return to.  Those people have been included in this project against their will and nothing we can do will change that as long as Sam continues to leap.”  The Admiral gazed thoughtfully out the window.  “What you did was inexcusable though.  Anger is never a reason to act out against someone, especially family.  All you did was stir up a hornet’s nest of trouble and make a lot of people mad at you, myself included.  However,” Al’s tone seemed to soften slightly, “I do not blame you entirely for this.  The ones responsible for the e-mail and the security hacking are in a lot of trouble too.”

“What will happen to the rest of them?”

Al took a deep breath.  “I really don’t know.  This is uncharted territory we are in.  Can’t just erase their minds, and I don’t know what General Hawkins will do short of eliminating witnesses.  Luckily, there was not a huge response to that e-mail.  The more respectable media is not covering this story, and the tabloids will be ignored.  As long as no one else gets in, the damage can be kept down to a minimum.  Hopefully, most of them will be debriefed and let go if Hawkins has a heart.  Considering they never really set foot inside here and didn’t see anything, they have no proof other than they broke into a government facility.  Hope you didn’t sign your name in that chat room because it looks like your credibility will be shot if these people broke in for nothing.”

“You don’t know these people, Admiral.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“Think about it,” J.T. answered.  “These people have come from all over the country to be here to see Sam and his project.  They will not leave without getting answers.  You send them home, they will try to come back again.”

“What are you saying?”

“What I have been trying to say.  The right thing to do with these people is to give them the whole truth.”  J.T. looked the Admiral in the eyes pleadingly.  “Let them in.”

Al’s jaw dropped.  “Are you crazy?  I do that and Hawkins will fire me.  Your uncle needs me, and I am not gonna let Sam down.  I will remain at my post until Sam is home for good.”

        The two turned and stared out the window, looking at the late evening view of recreational vehicles bathed in makeshift spotlights, each one surrounded by armed soldiers.  Both of them wondered who was out there under guard.  Who had made the journey to come back?



May 25th, 1985

Hope Springs – outside of Washington D.C.

3:34 PM


Sam Beckett stood at the edge of town.  Most of the afternoon, he had spent driving around, learning street names and locations of buildings to better help him later on as Captain Liberty.  Dr. Garner had lent him one of his cars, a Pontiac Bonneville, and gave him some cash for food and whatever else Sam might need.  But now after a few hours of driving, Sam had pulled over and stepped out of the car to stretch his legs, his stitches pulling slightly as he climbed out.

On the outskirts of the city was a sign that read:



Established 1858

May It Stand ETERNAL


Wincing at the bad pun on the sign, Sam climbed back into the car and headed downtown to the main drag.  Parking in front of the town drugstore, he began walking down one side of the street.

“Hey, Brad!” a voice yelled out to him.

Sam looked over and saw an older man standing in the doorway of a hardware store with the name “Taylor’s Hardware” painted on the glass window.  “Hello, er, Mr. Taylor,” Sam guessed.  A smile from the man told him he was right.

Continuing on, the leaper passed a number of different stores, each with interesting signs in the windows.  An electronic store had a sign that said, “CDs now in.  Choose from a few dozen titles.  $29.99 each.  Superior digital sound quality!!!”  Beneath the sign was a CD for Phil Collins’ No Jacket Required.  “I’ll stick to cassettes any day, thank you,” said a woman passerby who looked at Sam.  “Oh, hi, Brad,” she greeted him and kept walking.

Any chance of returning the greeting died on his lips as the woman had already walked out of hearing range.  Shrugging his shoulders, he traveled past a toy store advertising the upcoming arrival of Nintendo game consoles and came to an intersection where a movie theater stood on the corner.  Witness and Out Of Africa were listed on the marquee and in the Coming Soon window were posters for Goonies and something called Back to the Future.

“A time machine out of a car?” Sam chuckled as he crossed the intersection.  On the other side, two people approached him: a sheriff and a young girl about ten years of age.  “Howdy, Brad.”  “Hi, Mr. Bennings,” they both said.

“Hi, Sheriff,” Sam responded while nodding his head towards the little girl.

“Almost don’t recognize her, do ya, Brad?” the sheriff smiled.  “My little Lorraine is growing up quick.”

The young girl shuffled, clearly embarrassed by the attention, causing Sam to smile.

“Almost reminds me,” the sheriff went on, “have you considered my suggestion of applying to the police academy?  Since you quit your job at the prison and all, I figure you could get certified and work for me.”

“I’ll think about it,” was all Sam could say.

“Good.”  The sheriff started to lead the girl forward.  “Well, I gotta run.  Promised Lorraine she could spend her allowance at the music store.  Wants to buy something called Wham!  Lord knows what the hell that is.”

Sam watched them go, only to have someone behind him tap him on the shoulder.  He turned to find a postal worker with a few envelopes stretched out towards him.

“Hey, Brad,” said the postal worker whose name patch said George.  “Figured I’d give you your mail now.  Couldn’t help but overhear, but did Martin McPhearson offer you a job to work for him?  He’s a good sheriff; you’d fit right in working for him.  Anyway, here’s your mail.  Looks like overdue bills, I’m afraid.”  George handed the envelopes to Sam and walked off.

“Strange town,” Sam muttered to himself.  “Everyone knows everyone here.”  Walking past a few more buildings and a big banner announcing the annual Memorial Day Festival celebration that was scheduled to start Sunday afternoon and into Monday, Sam finally found the one he was looking for.  Putting the envelopes of Brad’s mail in his pocket, he entered the shop.  The door jingled as he stepped in and a room full of people yelled, “Brad!”



January 23rd, 2006

Project Quantum Leap – New Mexico

1:13 AM


A groggy Al stepped out of the elevator and walked down the hallway past his own office.  At the end of the hall was the location for the recently converted office that General Hawkins now used.  Since Hawkins wanted more input as to the nature of what Sam would do in his leaps, the General had ordered that a room be prepared for him where he could have a computer and a monitoring program that gave him full unlimited access to Ziggy’s stored data.  Originally, the General had wanted Sam’s unused office, but Al had won a hard-fought battle and in the end, Gooshie’s old office was deemed satisfactory.  Dom Lofton, the head programmer, had spent hours of his free time hooking up everything that Hawkins would need.  Dom rarely used the room he had inherited, so he willingly offered it as a compromise.

Al was so tired that he collided into the door to the office.  “Come in,” was the curt reply from the General.

Stepping into the room, Al was quickly ordered to sit.  Hawkins sat behind a large desk with a large computer mainframe sitting on it.  Other computers were situated around the room.  Hawkins had the access to Ziggy in the palm of his hand it looked like.

“I asked you to report to me minutes ago,” rumbled Hawkins.

“My apologies, General.  I had to escort J.T. Beckett back to his quarters.”

“Amazing coincidence that Dr. Beckett’s family shows up right before all those other people, isn’t it?”  The General noticed Al squirming slightly in his seat.  “I need to thank Mr. Lofton for allowing me access to Ziggy’s mainframe.  Over the last few hours, I have done some investigating, and your project’s super-computer provided me with a few details.  Let’s start with your e-mail account, shall we?”

“Anything on my account is my property.  For you to access that without my permission is a violation of my rights.”

“Tut-tut, Admiral.  Anything on these computers inside the project is government property and therefore within my boundaries to examine as I see fit.”  Taking a deep breath, he read off the screen, “‘Experienced lapses in time you cannot explain?’  Interesting e-mail you have there on your account.  I spoke with Ziggy on this matter, and she tells me that in all likelihood, this e-mail concerns this project.  If my account weren’t protected by firewalls, surely this message would have found me sooner.  Also of interest is a link to a chat room with a typed postscript of what was discussed in there.  Low and behold, someone on that site went to great lengths to discuss the technical operations of this project, even revealing the location of it.”  Hawkins leaned across the desk.  “If you have any knowledge as to who is responsible for this, I want to know NOW!”

Al looked Hawkins squarely in the face.  “Your guess is as good as mine, sir.”

The General gave Al a look that showed he wasn’t convinced.  “I hope for your sake, you are right.  I plan to talk to the Becketts tomorrow morning, and then I plan to question each one of those people sitting outside this project until I find out what the hell is going on.”  Shifting back in his chair, Hawkins changed the topic.  “Have you anything new to report on Dr. Beckett?  You did inform him that he is to proceed as this Bennings person until instructed otherwise?”

“Yeah, I told him.  It’s mid-afternoon for him right now, but tonight he will be moving about town in the suit.”

What passed as a smile crossed the General’s face.  “Excellent.  Make sure he sticks to that.  If I find he has failed to carry my orders out or that you convince him not to, I will have you removed immediately from this facility and possibly brought up on charges.  With my access to Ziggy, she will let me know.  It wasn’t too difficult to explain to her that I can pull her plugs or worse yet, terminate this project and strand Dr. Beckett in the past.”

Al shot up from his chair waiting for a reason why he should punch the General’s lights out.

        “Please,” Hawkins motioned for him to calm down.  “I am not a monster.  There is no desire on my part to carry through on any of those threats.  Especially right now.  The last few hours, I have analyzed the data concerning Dr. Beckett’s leap, and it seems there is something else he must do while he is back in 1985.  I need him to go to Washington D.C.”





May 25th, 1985

Hope Springs – outside of Washington D.C.

7:55 PM


Armed with Brad’s mail and the bundled-up Captain Liberty costume, Sam was finally able to figure out where his host resided.  Driving around the city earlier had paid off as Sam quickly pulled up to a small apartment building on 12th Street.  In the fading daylight it looked different, but Sam quickly realized where he was.  It was the building he had fallen off of after he had leaped in last night.

Not planning on repeating that escapade, Sam entered the building through the front door.  It was a narrow hallway with mailboxes on the wall to the right and a staircase leading upwards to his immediate left.  The hallway in front of him continued down to a set of apartments on the ground floor.  The mailbox confirmed what the mail had stated: Brad Bennings, 3rd FL. Room 302.

Wishing the building had an elevator, Sam winced as he made his way up the flights of stairs to his floor, his stitches pulling at his side as he slowly progressed to his floor.  At the top of the stairs on the third floor, Sam made a quick scan of the apartment door numbers and surmised that his apartment was at the right side on the other end of the hallway.  By the time he made it down to the end, his stitches began to get itchy.  Sam gritted his teeth and refused to give in to the annoying sensation.

Soon, he was standing in front of Room 302 and then realized he had no wallet and no key.  The doorknob looked old and before Sam could figure out if it was possible to jimmy the lock, he noticed a padlock attached to it and an eviction notice taped to the door.

Dejected, Sam turned around and painfully made his way back down the staircase.  Upon exiting outside, he turned around the corner of the apartment building into the alley that had served as a battlefield for him the night before and looked around.  Except for the splintered wooden board on the ground, there was not much evidence that a fight had taken place here less than a day before.

Looking around, Sam saw the metal ladder of the fire escape that stretched upward to the roof of the building.  A quick estimate showed him that the fire escape ran past what should be the window to Brad’s apartment.  Knowing his side would bother him, Sam clenched his teeth and began to climb up the ladder.

Eventually, Sam found himself high up the ladder next to the window on the third floor.  Hoping his hunch was correct, Sam braced himself on the ladder. With one hand reaching out, he found that the window slid easily up.  Carefully, he swung his feet over and climbed into the apartment room.

The apartment was tiny but messy.  Clothes were in piles everywhere.  Food wrappers littered the kitchen table and counter areas and the sink was filled with dishes.

“This superhero could use a butler,” Sam muttered to himself dryly as he walked through the kitchen to the bedroom just beyond.  On the bed were piles of clothes and the sheets were barely tucked onto the mattress.  There was a dresser and a mirror on the far side of the room.  The mirror was coated with newspaper clippings taped to it.

Pulling a few off, Sam quickly glanced over them.  The articles were all about Brad’s exploits as Captain Liberty and his attempts to fight crime.  None of the stories had any pictures, apparently no one seemed to capture Brad on film yet.  Putting the articles down on the dresser, Sam took a moment to stare back at Brad’s reflection to see if he liked the new change to his look.

Behind him, there was a flash of light and a whoosh as Al stepped through the Imaging Chamber door, carrying a cup of coffee and looking almost dead to the world.  “Hi, Sam, we need to talk.”  The observer’s voice trailed off as he saw Sam’s face.  “Geez Louise, Sam, what the hell happened to your hair?”

Sam patted his new hairdo with his hands.  “I got it cut pretty short.  If I have to wear that costume, that hood is not gonna make my hair itch or feel uncomfortable.”

Al raised an eyebrow.  “It’s different, I’ll say that much.  You almost look like that guy from that science fiction show Stephen watches.”

“Stephen?  Who is that?”

“Stephen is, uh,” Al flapped his hand as he tried to come up with an explanation.  “Well, Stephen is this young genius we have at the project and he is always watching Star Trek.  I gotta admit with that hairstyle of yours, you look like the guy who plays the starship captain on that one show.”

“Tell this Stephen to tape a few episodes for me so I can watch it someday.”  As he talked, Sam began to remove his shirt to check on his stitches.  The piece of gauze taped over the wound showed some signs of mild bleeding.

“Looks like you aggravated that a little bit,” remarked Al as he watched Sam peel away the gauze to reveal the stitches beneath. Suddenly the sight of Sam’s injury made Al turn away as the hologram noticed the stitches intersected with a branding scar obtained in a recent leap.  To justify his action, Al began hitting buttons on his handlink.  “Speaking of aggravating, Sam.  I have an update for you from General Hawkins.  Whoops, shouldn’t have said that.”

“Shouldn’t have said what, Al?”

“The hills have eyes.  Or in my case, the General has eyes…and ears.  He’s got Gooshie’s old office full of computers and he has the ability to monitor your leaps and our conversations.  Ziggy’s under Presidential orders that supercede yours to assist Hawkins in any way possible.”

Sam frowned.  “Why do I have the feeling you aren’t here for a normal conversation?  Do I still have to wear the suit?”  He finally noticed Al’s tired expression.  “If I had a chair, I’d offer it.  You look exhausted.”

“Haven’t had much time to sleep with the General around and all the other hell breaking loose.”

“Other hell?”

Al took a sip of his coffee.  “I’ll get to that, Sam.  Right now, I have some information for you concerning this leap.  This evening, you proceed with the plan.  Dress up as Captain Hero whatever and make your rounds tonight.  Don’t work too hard, we need you bright-eyed for tomorrow afternoon.”

The leaper shot the Admiral a quizzical look.  “What’s tomorrow?”

Al’s eyes started to close, but then he snapped out of it.  “Oh, that’s right, I have to fill in your Swiss-cheesed memory.  You don’t remember too much of what you were doing in 1985, do ya?”

“1985?” Sam concentrated hard on his memory.  “I’m sorry.  Can’t seem to remember what was so important.”

“Well, Sam,” Al started to place his coffee cup on the nightstand in the room and quickly realized it would fall through to the floor.  “You were doing a lot of touring and speeches back in 1985 trying to sway scientists and government officials about your ideas for time-travel and generate funding for the Star Bright Project.”

“Speeches?  Yeah, I remember now.  Dr. Garner said he attended one of my speeches last night in Washington D.C.  Am I giving one again tomorrow?”

“Bulls-eye!” Al rubbed his eyelids.  “Damn, this is worse than one of my hangovers.”

“General Hawkins needs me as Brad to go to D.C. tomorrow for some reason?”

“Your high IQ strikes again,” yawned Al.  “Hawkins worked with Ziggy to come up with this one.  Do you remember someone from a previous leap named Dr. Philip Andrew Braden?”

For a change, Sam’s Swiss-cheese memory did not fail him.  After a few seconds, memories flooded through him.  “I remember him.  Dr. Braden drugged me for information about Project Quantum Leap, then he tried to kill me.”

“Tried?  Sam, the man shot you, left you for dead, and then destroyed Garner’s experiment.”

“The whole thing is a bit hazy.  What I really don’t remember is what happened to Braden?”

Stifling another yawn, Al answered, “He got away from that project.  General Hawkins believes that Braden took all of Garner’s research and whatever he got out of you when he interrogated you.  He spent years on the run with all those secrets.  In fact, for years, he spent time near the top of the CIA’s top priority list so they could try to get all the stuff back that he took.”

“He’s not a priority anymore?  What happened to him?”

Al rattled off what his handlink was now providing him. “Intelligence suggests that he spent his time moving around, trying to sell those secrets to make a fortune to interested millionaires and world powers.  His body was found in England sometime in the mid 1990s, although according to autopsy reports, he had been dead for over five years, the documents he took were never found.  Ziggy even has this whacked-out theory that the project that was in charge of leaping Alia around came about from secrets that Braden sold sometime in the past.”

Sam slumped down on the bed as realization crept in.  “So the evil leaper project is my fault.”

“Don’t blame yourself, Sam.  You were drugged.  There was nothing you could do about that.”

“Yes, there was,” said Sam, shaking his head.  “Because Ziggy had no information for me, I gambled that revealing myself to Garner and using my knowledge to help make his time-travel machine work would be beneficial to the leap.  It felt wrong, but my instincts told me I had to do it.”  Tears came to Sam’s eyes.  “An evil project came from all of it.  People’s lives changed for the worse, not to mention the hell those leapees must have gone through in that Waiting Room.”  Sam momentarily thought of his scar.  “What’s worse, your daughter was kidnapped by those evil people.”

If the hologram could put a comforting hand on his friend’s shoulder, he would have.  “I don’t blame you, Sam.  I blame that bitch, Zoë, and that Lothos computer.  Sometimes, Sam, I think your selective memory can be a curse.”

“Here I am, leaping around in time, Al, and there’s not a damn thing I can do about it.”

“Until now.”

Sam looked up as Al continued, “How would you like a chance to put things right?”

“Ziggy’s come up with a way to stop Lothos from ever existing at all?”

Al help up a finger.  “Hear me out, Sam.  Ziggy has another scenario for you besides living the life of a superhero.  Tomorrow, you have to go to your lecture; I mean, the you-from-1985’s lecture.  I’m not crazy about one aspect of this assignment, but it can’t be ignored.”

“Let me guess.  Hawkins is dictating this one, too?”

The hologram nodded.  “Yeah, but for once, and I can’t believe I am saying this, I agree with the noz—him.  Hawkins has some shaky intelligence that Braden was spotted at your lecture trying to sell his secrets.  If you nab him, you might change a lot of things.”

“And in the process, I could do something that affects my younger self, in which case, you and I won’t be having this conversation.”

“That’s the aspect I’m not crazy about.”

“What if I did change my past?”

“Sam…” warned Al, not liking where this was going.

“Stay with me, Al.  Maybe I can dissuade myself from stepping prematurely into the Accelerator and wait for the Retrieval Program to be perfected.  You know, find a way to get the funding that would have been denied us and make the project the way it was supposed to be.  Going back in time to strictly observe it.  If Quantum Leap never existed, the way that it is now, the evil leapers would never exist.  Your daughter would not have been kidnapped, I wouldn’t be trapped in time, and I’d be with my friends and family and actually remember their names.”

Al couldn’t believe he was hearing this.  “What about Brad, huh?  What about all the other lives you saved?  What about your brother Tom?  You prevent yourself from going into the Accelerator and you forfeit Tom’s life and the life of your nephew J.T., in spite of what he recently did.”

“That’s not fair, Al.”

“Who said life was fair?  You want to come home, then do what you want.  If it means your brother gets killed in Vietnam, so be it.”

“I never asked for this.”

“That’s bullshit, Sam, and you know it!  Deep down, you enjoy this.  Moving from life to life, playing the hero.  That is your destiny.  That is your true calling.  I’m convinced the day you come home for good, you’ll have regrets because you won’t be able to save people’s lives anymore.  Tomorrow is gonna be a tough decision for you.  No matter what you choose, your brother or your nephew will be affected.”

“My nephew?  What’s going on with him?  Al, wake up?”

With a start, Al’s head tilted up.  “Sorry.  I really need sleep, bad.  The other hell I mentioned earlier refers to J.T.”

“What happened to him?  Is he OK?”

“For the time being, he is fine.  That all depends though on what happens at the project.  In my present, there was an e-mail circulating around in an attempt to get anyone still alive that you once leaped into to meet in a chat room to figure out what happened to them.  J.T. figured everything out a few years after you leaped into him and he went to this chat room and spilled his guts about everything he knows, including where the project is.  A few hours ago, someone hacked the security codes, and now there are a few dozen vehicles parked on the front lawn with people looking for you.”

“That could threaten the safety of the project.  If someone figures out J.T. is responsible…”

“So far, no one has, Sam.  But Hawkins is gonna know sooner or later, and then who knows what will become of the kid, or the people outside.  It’s almost like you have a cult waiting to see their leader.”  Al glanced out the window, noting that the sun was starting to set.  “As much as I would love to watch you in action, I gotta get some sleep or I’ll be useless to you tomorrow.  It’s getting dark, Sam.  Time for your rounds.”

Reluctantly, Sam walked into the bathroom and began to search through the cabinets.  Finding what he needed, he applied fresh gauze to his side and then began to change his clothes.  Sucking in his gut, he found he was able to squeeze into the costume.  The tight suit irritated his stitches somewhat, even with the new bandaging, but relief came to him when he placed the hood over his head and noticed that his hair felt comfortable underneath and not pulled on.  Sam’s face was one of embarrassment as he gave himself the once-over with Captain Liberty staring back at him in the mirror.

“I feel foolish doing this,” he complained.

“I’m sure you’ll be great, Sam,” Al’s voice floated in from the other room.  “Just spend a few hours prowling the rooftops.”

“Hope my fear of heights doesn’t come back,” Sam muttered.

“Then walk the streets.  Just keep up appearances to appease Hawkins.”  Al stood in the doorway to see how his friend was doing.  “Too bad no one will believe me.  Sam Beckett, the overgrown Boy Scout, fighting for truth, justice, and apple pie.”

“Well, that puts things in perspective, Al.”  Sam looked down to see his hands were shaking.  “Look at this, I’m so nervous, I don’t know if I can do this.”

“No choice, Sam.  Orders.”

“I’m getting doubts about going out like this.  I don’t know anything about being a superhero.  There’s no instruction book that comes with this suit.”

The handlink in Al’s hand began to beep at the observer.  “Sam, Ziggy says Hawkins is monitoring this conversation.  If you don’t leave now, the General will kick me off the project and take our funding away.”

With a heavy sigh, Sam walked past Al and headed for the window he had entered through earlier.  The sun was now gone from the sky, and darkness was enveloping the city.  Without looking back, Sam crawled out to the fire escape and was gone.



Down below the apartment building, a brown rundown Buick was parked in the street with two men inside.  One of them had a pair of binoculars in his hand.

“See anything yet?” the other one asked.

“No, G, not yet.  But I figure if we ran into this joker last night in this area, he might show up around here again.”  T raised the binoculars upward towards the alley.  “Well, lookee what we have here!”

“What is it?” inquired G.

“There’s our man.  He’s coming out of some apartment window.  He’s climbing up the fire escape ladder to the roof.  Looks like he’s heading to the next building.”  T handed over the binoculars and climbed out of the car.  “Follow him in the car, G.  I’m gonna check on the apartment he just crawled out of.  Meet me back here in a few hours if you haven’t taken him out of action before then.”

G grinned maliciously as he slowly steered down the street with the binoculars trained on Sam while T wandered into the alleyway, slowly climbing up the metal ladder of the fire escape.





May 25th, 1985

Hope Springs – outside of Washington D.C.

8:41 PM


Trying to quell his fear of heights, Sam took a deep breath as he stared down over the side of the roof where he had fallen over the night before.  He could feel a slight sensation of wanting to climb back down the fire escape ladder, but after a few moments, he was able to overcome it.  Eventually, he turned away and walked to the other side of the roof.

There, he came to a ledge where just a few feet down was the roof to the next building.  Since the two buildings were built pressed up against one another, there was no gap or alleyway in between.  Knowing what he had to do, Sam lowered himself down to the next level.  The jolt from dropping a few feet again brought a slight discomfort to the leaper’s side.

Sweat started to form on Sam’s face from the combination of the weather and the costume.  Mopping himself with his wrist, he made his way across yet another rooftop that housed a large-looking shed, apparently used for storage for the building superintendent.  Below, the street was crawling with traffic and pedestrians, the sounds of the city chirping like insects in a garden.  Scanning around, he watched all the activity unfold below.  So far, so good, Sam thought.  Maybe this will be a quiet night and I can get out of this outfit in a few hours.

No sooner had he said that, he stared down a few buildings across the street.  Two suspicious looking young men walked into the convenience store, both of them constantly looking around them in a state of paranoia as they passed through the door.  A few seconds later, the sign on the front door switched around to CLOSED.

The leaper knew he had to do something and get there as fast as he could.  There was no ladder to climb down to get to the street below.  He began to run back the way he came to climb up to the next roof in the hopes of using the ladder on Brad’s building.  Taking the long route did not appeal to him and he knew he had no time to spare.  Racing past the storage shed, he got an idea.

On the door to the shed was a lock that looked like it had seen numerous years being out in the elements.  Rust coated it heavily.  Sam marched up to it and kicked it as hard as he could.  The door began to give in, but the chain managed to hold.  A few more kicks and the door smashed open, the chain snapping in pieces.

Inside, Sam saw different types of tools, pieces of lumber, buckets of paint, and other bits of things needed to maintain a building.  It was hard to see inside, and to make matters worse, the light bulb socket was empty.  Stumbling around in the dark, he finally managed to find what he was looking for hanging from a hook on the far wall and grabbed it.

Running back outside, he raced to the edge of the roof overlooking the convenience store.  There was a flurry of activity inside of it, and Sam could not tell what was going on or if anyone was in immediate danger.  Wasting no more time, Sam unburdened the heavy coil of rope he had slung over his shoulder and began to fasten it to a set of ventilation pipes.  Testing the knot, Sam was convinced it would hold.  Without thinking of his own personal safety, he grabbed the rope, flung the remaining length of it over the side of the building, and began to rappel down the side.

“Don’t look down, don’t look down,” he continually repeated softly to himself.

Slowly, one backward step at a time, he lowered himself one floor at a time.  Most of the windows he passed were closed with the blinds down, which was good since he didn’t want anyone seeing him like this.

“Wow, it’s Captain Liberty!”

Sam almost lost his grip on the rope as he looked to his side where the voice came from.  Two windows over to his right, a man in his thirties was leaning out of it.  “Are you after any criminals, Cap?” the man asked.

Somewhat embarrassed, Sam weakly grimaced.  “Making my, uh, rounds,” he gasped, trying to hold on to the rope, his feet pressed against the building.

“I’d be really careful if I were you, Cap.”

Still lowering himself down slowly, Sam yelled over short on breath, “I’ll try.”

“No, I mean it,” continued the man, pointing near the leaper.  “You’re running out of rope.  You won’t reach the bottom at the rate you’re going.”

Just as the man cautioned him, Sam had reached the bottom of his rope.  His hand failing to find another piece below him to grab hold of, Sam found himself dangling with one hand like a spider on a cobweb.  Yelling in panic, he lost his grip on the rope and plummeted downward.

Like the night before, Sam found himself falling again, his arms flailing outward.  A few seconds later, he let loose a loud, “Oooff!” as he collided with the awning of the building a few floors down.  Miraculously, it didn’t collapse from the impact, and just as Sam thought his fall was coming to an end, he found himself rolling over the side of the awning, dropping a few yards into a small area filled with bushes that lined up alongside the sidewalk entrance of the building.

Lying there panting, Sam managed to drag himself up out of the bushes.  Upon inspection, he assessed no damage to himself or to his costume.  Getting back to the task at hand, he discerned that nothing appeared to have changed inside the building, but he still could not tell who was in danger.

Inside the convenience store, the two robbers, wearing dark jackets and ski masks, were almost done with their operation.  They had waited for the customers to leave before entering the establishment.  Quickly, they had no trouble overpowering the two employees.  The male worker, they swiftly tied up with some duct tape and shoved into the bathroom while the female employee they both drew guns on.  One of the robbers ran to the front door to lock it and change the open/closed sign.  Then he stood guard at the door while the other robber ordered the worker to empty the register and the safe into his bags.

“Hey, man,” said the first robber at the door with just a hint of panic in his voice.  “Are we almost done here?  I don’t like this standing around.”  Had he looked out the window instead of looking at his partner, he might have noticed a costumed person run across the street.

“Shut up,” snapped the second robber.  “You!” he snarled at the scared woman employee who was dumping money out of the register.  “Hurry up and get this bag filled.”  He pounded his fist on the counter, making the woman scream.

“Quit your damn screaming and fill the bag!” the first robber yelled back from the door.

“It’s filled.  There’s no more money left,” wailed the young woman, almost in hysterics.

The second robber grabbed her hands and the roll of tape, and ignoring her screams, he bound her hands and wrists, and then shoved her forcibly to the floor.  “Go ahead, I’m gonna make sure everything is done here!” he screamed.  The first robber backed away from the door and headed to the back employees’ room where the rear exit was located.

Outside, Sam, in his Captain Liberty costume, waited with baited breath.  If his hunch were correct about this being a robbery, the criminals would not walk right out the front door where witnesses could see them.  His nerves were tied in knots as he felt the rush of adrenaline kick in.

Trying to stay focused, he almost took too long to realize that the back door was opening.  Out came the first robber, looking around nervously.  Luckily for Sam, he managed to duck behind the store’s trash dumpster situated ten yards from the door.

Seeing that the back area of the convenience store was secure, the first robber grabbed a small block of wood and wedged it to keep the door from locking shut behind him.  “Come on, come on,” he kept muttering to himself.  Growing impatient, he stuck his head inside the door to see what the delay was.

Taking advantage of the opportunity, Sam crept up on the criminal and tensed up for the confrontation.  Right after the thief closed the door against the wooden block, the leaper pounced.  With one hand, Sam spun the robber around and with his other, he landed a staggering hook to the jaw.

The robber staggered backwards, clutching at his face.  Recognition appeared on his features.  “You?!  I thought you were a myth.  Something created by the newspapers to cut down the crime rate in this town.”  He leveled his revolver up at Sam.  “This is where the adventure ends, hero.”

Just as the robber pulled the trigger, Sam jumped around the side of the dumpster.  The whine of the bullet ricocheting competed with his heavy breathing as he waited for the robber to make a mistake.  His footing became uneven as Sam realized he was standing on a pile of empty unused cardboard boxes, which gave him a chance to reach the top of the closed dumpster lid.

A second later, the robber yelled and stepped in front of Sam’s hiding place, firing his gun three times.  His jaw dropped as he realized he was shooting at empty space.  Hearing a noise slightly above him, he failed to understand what had happened.

Leaping off the top of the dumpster with his arms stretched out, Sam looked like a giant bird with his cape billowing out to both sides.  The robber managed to fire off two shots, one of them shooting out the overhead light above the back door, plunging the back area into darkness.

A noise to his right caused the criminal to fire his last bullet.  As the whine of the ricochet echoed and died, a large shadow appeared before him.  Terrified, he screamed as a dark-gloved fist connected and laid him out cold.

Without hesitation, Sam raced back to the door and entered through it into the employee backroom.  Peeking into the store, he saw the second robber behind the register counter checking the industrial tape that bound the woman’s wrists.  Deciding he needed to reinforce the tape, the criminal set the gun down on the counter and peeled off another strip.

Racing time, the leaper ran down the aisle and jumped over the counter.  Before the criminal knew what was happening, Sam had already grabbed him and thrown him forward over the counter, onto the floor between the register and the front windows.  As the man got back up, he reached for the gun on the counter, but a slap from Sam sent the gun flying down the aisle towards the back of the store.  With strength he didn’t know he possessed, Sam grabbed the robber by the collar and picked him up off the ground.

Fear could be seen in the man’s eyes through the slit of his black ski mask as he stared down at the figure in the dark suit.  Sweat was dripping into his eyes, stinging them as he waited for the crime-fighter to finish him off.

Breathing became harder for the thief as he tried to find the strength to talk.  In a high shrill voice caked with fear and hysteria, he squeaked in a coarse whisper, “What are you?”

Pulling him in closer, Sam replied in a gravelly voice almost filled with anger and excitement, “I’m Captain Liberty!”  A strange look came over Sam’s face as he realized there was a sort of rewarding sensation coming over him.  In confusion, he dropped the robber to the floor.

“What has come over me?” Sam wondered aloud.

In the confusion of the thoughts and emotions pouring over Sam, the robber took the time to crawl away, get up on his feet and run around the corner down the aisle for the gun.  Picking it up, he turned and fired.

Sam managed to move aside as the bullet barely missed him and smashed into the front window.  Crack lines appeared around the hole caused by the shot.  Pedestrians outside scattered in panic as they heard the shots from within the store.

Instinctively, Sam dived again as two more bullets hit the front door.  The leaper found himself in the snacks and magazine aisle.  Another aisle ran perpendicular at the far end leading back to the frozen drink coolers.

“Get out here where I can see you,” screamed the robber hysterically from the register counter.  “I think you should know, I have a hostage, and I’ll kill the bitch if I have to!”

Sam made his way back down the aisle just far enough that he could see the register.  The thief now had the woman up on her feet, her arms still bound by tape.  Another piece was placed across her mouth.  The robber had a gun to her head, the woman looking to die of fright any second.

“That’s it,” the robber ordered.  “Get out where I can see ya.  I need a good shot here.” As Sam came forward, the robber trained his gun on the emblem of the liberty bell on Sam’s chest.  “Doubt that suit of yours is bulletproof.”

Sam tensed, knowing there was nowhere to run.  If he fled, the woman would be killed.  If he didn’t, his leaping days would be over.

As the gunman pulled the trigger, the woman stomped down hard on his foot.  Yelling in pain, he fired a bullet into the ceiling and then fired off a horrible shot at Sam who dived back into the snack aisle.

“Damn you, bitch!”  Slapping the woman hard to the floor, the robber sized his gun up to fire his last remaining bullet at her forehead.  At the last second, a large jar of peanuts slammed into the side of the man’s face, his gunshot missing the woman by inches.  Howling in pain, the thief lost his grip on the gun and it dropped to the floor.

A sudden rush of anger flooded through Sam, and he rushed up to the counter and grabbed the man.  Without thinking, he threw him hard down the snack aisle.  “How does it feel to be knocked around?” Sam growled as the man whimpered and crawled toward the back of the store.

Sam picked him up again.  “Picking on women, how dare you!”  With a lot of force, Sam slammed him into the glass of the soda cooler.  The criminal’s head collided into the cooler and he was literally out cold.  Picking up the unconscious man, Sam carried him up to the front and began tying his wrists with tape.

As Sam turned his attention to removing the woman from her bonds, the sound of sirens approaching caused him to look outside where two cars had pulled up, their roller bars blazing.  The woman Sam had just freed ran to the door to let the officers in.  “Thank God, you’re here, officers!  There’s one right here on the floor.  Someone needs to help my co-worker.  He’s tied up in the employee restroom.”

“Calm down, ma’am,” said one of the officers as another went to search the restroom.  “You’re safe now.  Was there anyone else besides this one?”

“Yes, officer,” the woman replied excitedly.  “He got out the back, but I think Captain Liberty took care of him.”

The officer scratched his head.  “Captain Liberty?”

“Yeah, he saved my life.  Tell him, Captain…” The words trailed from her lips as she turned around.  There was no one there.



January 23rd, 2006

Project Quantum Leap – New Mexico

3:14 AM


Sammy Jo Fuller couldn’t sleep.  Tossing and turning, she could not find a sleeping position that helped alleviate her headache and nausea.  Despite her fatigue, she crawled out of bed, put on some decent clothes, and decided to make her way to the cafeteria to make herself a small snack.

Getting into the elevator, she stared at the lit-up buttons on the wall.  She knew which number to press to go to the cafeteria, but something inside her suggested she go somewhere else.  Following her heart, she made her choice.  Moments later, she found herself in the hallway leading to the chopper pad exit.  Immediately, security guards came over to intercept her.

“You shouldn’t be here, ma’am,” one of them scolded her.

“Couldn’t sleep,” Sammy Jo mumbled.  “Besides, I felt drawn to be here.  Is there any change?”

“No, ma’am,” replied the guard.  “Looks like all those people have bedded down for the night.  General Hawkins is expected to interrogate them tomorrow.”

Sammy Jo peered out and saw that a large tent had been set up away from the recreational vehicles.  “I suppose that’s the interrogation chamber?” she queried.



May 25th, 1985

Hope Springs – outside of Washington D.C.

9:57 PM


With a huge grin on his face, Sam crouched along the top of another building, peering down into the city.  Since the convenience store robbery, the town seemed pretty much quiet, yet Sam had trouble drowning out the thoughts flooding through him.  He had been a superhero and he was enjoying it.  Somehow, the whole experience didn’t feel right.  It wasn’t anger, but some sort of powerful aggressive force almost seemed to dictate his actions and he went on instinct putting those thugs out of commission.  He had to be careful, there was almost an intoxicating addiction to it.  Sam was beginning to understand Brad’s fascination with being a hero.

Peering over to the right, he noticed an elderly woman standing on the corner.  She looked nervous, obviously uncomfortable being there, waiting for the light to change so she could cross the street.  To Sam, it looked like an open invitation for trouble.

The woman glanced repeatedly at her watch; she was in a hurry to be somewhere.  Humming nervously, her hand kept reaching to the other side, checking to make sure her purse was still with her.  As she started to softly sing to herself, a young punk raced by and snatched the purse, breaking the strap.

The young hoodlum would have had it made, except for one thing.  Sam Beckett was waiting around the corner.  To the punk, it was a costumed superhero.  Without even putting up a fight, the kid threw the purse back at Sam.

“Take it,” the young thief yelled, running off into the night.

Sam picked up the purse and walked over to the woman who witnessed the whole thing.

“Bless you, Mr. Liberty,” the woman gushed with praise.  “I’m glad someone has the courage to fight back against the streets.  That’s why I’m out this late.  I lost track of time at Millie’s house, Millie being my friend and all.  Where are my manners?  My name is Mrs. Haverstead.  Because of you, the streets aren’t as fearsome as they once were.  Not saying it doesn’t make me a little nervous, though.”

“Glad to help,” Sam growled in his deep voice and turned to walk away.

“Excuse me, Mr. Liberty?” the woman called after Sam.

The leaper turned back to face the woman.

“Can you do me one more favor?” she asked.

Sam nodded his head for her to continue.

“My bus will be arriving soon.  The 10 PM.  It’s the last one of the evening, luckily it’s running a few minutes late.  Could you help me across the street?”

         Trying to hide his smile, which besides his eyes was the only thing visible under his mask, Sam escorted the lady across the street where the bus stop was located.  He stood with her for a few more minutes until she safely made her way onto the bus.  The bus driver and the passengers on the bus gave Mrs. Haverstead and Sam amused looks as the bus slowly pulled away.  After the bus turned the corner and disappeared, Sam decided to call it a day and head back to his apartment.



It was an uneventful day for Maxwell Connors, rogue leaper.  That morning, he had leaped into the life of a criminal named Darius Dreck.  His neural link, Morpheus, had informed him that his nemesis, Dr. Samuel Beckett, was somewhere within a few miles radius.  There was no other explanation for his being here other than to eliminate that meddlesome leaper Dr. Beckett and repair the damage caused to the space/time continuum.

All afternoon, Connors had driven around town in what he assumed was Dreck’s Rolls Royce, trying to get a lock on wherever his foe was.  The glove box of the car contained a gun, and he was ready to use it when his prey was found.  After hours of searching and no further assistance from Morpheus, Connors returned to his warehouse office and made himself at home in the side lounge room.

Apparently, Dreck often resided here besides his regular residence.  One wall folded down to form a luxurious bed while the closet was full of suits.  The bathroom had a shower and the closet contained a robe and some towels.

After refreshing himself, Connors donned the robe and climbed into the bed, covered in fine sheets.  A remote control he found on the bed turned on the television set.  Flipping through channels, he finally stopped on an early evening news program out of Washington D.C.

Dr. Connors watched with amusement as events of the day in 1985 were reported.  The top stories included updates in the trials concerning the bombing of Ramona Africa and her MOVE cult in Philadelphia, Mikhail Gorbachev adapting to his role as the new Premier of the Soviet Union, the arrests of the John Walker family who were caught spying for the Russians, and the preparations for some July event called Live-Aid.  As the anchorwoman was droning on about the happenings of 1985, Connors’ eyes began to droop until one last story jarred him awake.

“…In our events calendar, the scientists’ convention at the D.C. Sheraton will conclude tomorrow afternoon.  Since Wednesday, physicists from around the world have been in attendance listening to lectures from some of the top young scientists.  Dr. Samuel Beckett, who many believe to be the next Einstein, will lecture tomorrow for the second time this week.  Limited seating is still available.  According to one prominent official at the convention, ‘it promises to be a bold leap forward in bringing young minds together with fresh ideas in the field of science.’”

Connors turned off the TV and sat in silence.  Fate was sending the ball in his court.  If he couldn’t find the leaper Sam Beckett, perhaps he would have a chance to take out his rival in another fashion.  He laid back, eyes wide, as schemes began forming in his head.

“Morpheus?” he called.

Yes, Dr. Connors, I observed the newscast.

“Good.”  A cold smile began to appear on Connors’ face.  “Tomorrow will be a busy day.”



Sometime later, Sam made his way back to his building.  His feet were killing him in those boots, and he welcomed the chance to slip out of uniform and get some rest.  As he approached the alleyway, Sam had the sensation that someone in a brown Buick was watching him.  A quick look over showed that no one was there.

Grabbing the metal ladder of the fire escape, he quickly climbed up to his window ledge.  For some reason, Sam had assumed that the window was entirely shut when he left, but now it was open a slight crack.  With the lights in the apartment off, Sam cautiously pushed the window open and climbed in.

Taking a few steps into the room, Sam thought he heard a creak on the floorboards behind him.  Turning, he was too late from stopping the handle of a gun from hitting his neck, knocking him to the floor.





Sam felt the wind knocked out of him as he collided with the floor.  For a few seconds, all he could do was lie there in the dark as he tried to figure out what was going on.  He had a feeling his questions were about to be answered as footsteps approached him and a flashlight was aimed directly into his face, blinding him.

“We meet again, hero,” said a voice behind the light.

Raising a hand in front of his eyes, Sam tried to identify his assailant.

“Don’t worry, it will all be over soon,” said a second voice climbing in through the window.  Apparently, he was with the attacker as Sam heard the newcomer move towards the man with the flashlight.  “Too bad you stopped paying your electric bill, then again, maybe not.  Might be better if you don’t see what we’re gonna do to you.”

Before Sam knew what was happening, a pair of arms seized him and hauled him up to his feet.

“Keep him still, G,” ordered the one with the flashlight.  With the other hand, he slipped the pistol into his belt and pulled out another object from his pants pocket.  The unmistakable sound of a switchblade clicked open as Sam struggled to break free of the hold he was in.  It took everything his captor had to make sure Sam didn’t break loose.

T came forward close enough that Sam could smell his stale breath.  “Guess I owe you one, hero,” began T.  “Ever since I was a kid reading the comics, I always wanted to be the one who unmasks a hero.”  The criminal’s hand reached out and with a great deal of force pushed the hood back off of Sam’s face.  Immediately after, the flashlight found itself in his face again.

“I know you,” exclaimed T.  “Not by name, but I’ve seen you around town.  Guess it doesn’t matter now.  Imagine, G, Dreck hiring those two Italian goons to do our job for us.  They haven’t been able to come up with anything.”  The switchblade was now approaching towards Sam’s neck.

As T’s hand swung across himself to move the knife in a backhanded slashing motion towards Sam’s throat, the leaper let himself become dead weight, the momentum bringing G between Sam and the knife.  A howl of pain escaped G as the blade slashed his cheek.  With an elbow to G’s solar plexus, Sam was free of the hold.

G lay there clutching at his face and the blood seeping between his fingers wailing, “My face!” as the other one advanced on Sam, wielding the knife like a maniac.  T lunged at Sam to stab him in the chest.  The leaper managed to dodge the blow and grabbed his attacker’s arm, twisting it around until the blade fell with a clatter to the hardwood floor.

Wasting no more time, Sam ran for what he thought was the window.  Two shots rang past him as T pulled his gun back out and opened fire.  Moving quickly, Sam began to climb out onto the fire escape ladder.  Halfway out he felt a pair of hands grab him.  Looking back, he saw G, his face enraged and covered in blood from an angry long cut from near his mouth to just before his right eye.

“Get out of the way,” Sam could hear T yelling.  “I can’t get a clear shot.  You’re blocking me.”

But G was determined to get back at Sam as he tugged on the hood of the Captain Liberty costume.  Sam hung on to the ladder with one hand as he tried to release G’s grip with the other.  The hood was now beginning to choke Sam, and he started gasping as his breathing was being cut off.

In desperation, Sam began to climb up the ladder to the roof, the choking pressure increased but it also dragged G halfway out of the window.  Sam was almost bending backwards as G tugged hard on the hood.  Spots danced before the leaper’s eyes as he began losing vision, his face turning red.  Inching up the ladder a little bit more, Sam made his move.  His elbow was now at face level with G and with all his strength, smashed it into the other man’s face.

Screaming, G lost his grip on Sam and instinctively brought both hands up to grab his bloodied face.  Halfway out the window and nothing to hold on to, G fell forward, his momentum sliding him out of the window.  Before Sam could try to stop his descent, G hurtled downward to the pavement below.  He landed with a sickening thud and lay still.

“Now you join him,” T said, aiming the gun out the window at Sam on the ladder.

Sam inhaled, waiting for the moment he knew would come, the end of his adventures.  He had nowhere to go, and it was impossible at this range for T to miss.  Closing his eyes, he waited for the inevitable.  God or Fate or Time will not leave me here, he thought.  I will fear no evil.  I will fear no death…

Suddenly, there came a loud knocking on the apartment door.  “Whoever is in there, open up!” a male voice commanded.

It was the distraction Sam needed.  As T turned towards the door, Sam grabbed the ladder with both hands and swung his feet inside the window, knocking T across the room.  Crashing into a shelf full of books, he fell dazed as the front door to the apartment burst open, and the landlord rushed in.

“Who are you?” the landlord asked, keys dangling in his hand, but got no answer as T ran past him and out the door.  Other tenants began poking heads out of doors, and the landlord stepped outside to order them back in their rooms until the police arrived.  Had the landlord stayed, he would have witnessed Captain Liberty climb in through the window, pick up a set of car keys off the counter and sneak back out.



“You were smart to come here, Sam,” Dr. Garner said, handing the leaper a cup of tea.  It had been an hour since Sam drove away from the apartment ambush and headed straight for the only person right now he knew and trusted.  Sam had filled the doctor in on his night’s adventures and was now in need of some sleep.

“I had Wellington fix up the guestroom for you,” Garner offered.  “You may sleep in as long as you like.  I’ll make sure you are not disturbed.”

Sam shook his head.  “I need to be up early.  There is a slight chance that I know why I’m here.”

“Why you’ve switched with Brad, you mean?”

“Maybe,” Sam replied, taking a sip of the tea.  “I have to go to Washington D.C. tomorrow.  Someone we know is gonna be in town.”

“Someone we both know?  Must be a scientist in town for the convention.”  Garner’s eyes widened.  “You’re going to your own lecture, aren’t you?”

Nodding, Sam let him in on the rest of it.  “General Hawkins has deemed it necessary for me to go there.”

“Hawkins?” blurted the doctor.  “Shockey Hawkins?  A General?”

“Yeah,” muttered Sam with a lack of enthusiasm.  “I wish it were someone else.”

“Is he doing a bad job running your project?”

“As a result of leaping into Ohdee, I changed history, and now Hawkins has got the government calling the shots on my project.  When I first met you, the project was in danger of being shut down, all funding lost.  Somehow, he managed to convince some Congressional committee to give us funding.  I don’t trust him.  Something inside me says that Hawkins will pull the funding at any time to serve his purposes.”

“And you’re thinking Hawkins might be riding shotgun on your mission here to further his own agenda?” Garner surmised.

Sam nodded affirmatively.  “Apparently, there is, or was, speculation that Dr. Braden will be there tomorrow trying to sell secrets…”

“Secrets?!” Garner cut in, not hiding his agitation.  “Our secrets from the New Mexico project.  He’s going to sell them to make a profit?  My God, what if the wrong person buys from him?”

“I know.  Stop Braden, and I change something for the better at the risk of aiding Hawkins’ plans.”

“I would think that if something good comes out of this mission, then it is worth it, no matter what Shockey does.  What is the alternative if you decide against doing this?”

Sam closed his eyes.  “There is a lot at stake here.  Because of Braden, something terrible will happen.  Imagine me as one end of a spectrum.  Someone who goes around in time with good intent to change things for the better and make the world a better place.  Now imagine there is another end of it.”

Fear showed in Garner’s eyes.  “Lord, you’re saying there is a project like yours?  An evil project run by people who want to inflict pain and suffering by ruining the lives of others.”

“It’s somewhere in the British Isles, but I don’t know where.  I leaped into the facility once but never saw it from the outside.  This project of evil can be stopped if we find Braden tomorrow.”

Sam’s host sized him up.  “There’s more than what you are telling me, Sam, isn’t there?  Something else that could happen tomorrow?”

The leaper remained quiet, staring downward as Garner continued.  “You have a chance of changing a lot more than just what Braden will cause.  You’re gonna talk to the other Sam Beckett, aren’t you?”

“The thought occurred to me.”

“I can’t allow that, Sam.  No matter what trapped you in time, you obviously changed people’s lives for the better.  You can’t take that away.  You are in a unique position to help people where you can.  You’ll find a way home someday, Sam, I know it.  The answer is up here,” finished Garner, tapping his skull.  “Don’t think for one second I won’t be coming with you tomorrow.  You need me to help you avoid the temptation of seeing yourself.  Now get some sleep, I feel we will both need it.”  He turned to go and then looked back at Sam.  “If you and this other project are at both ends, is there anything in the middle?”



Sunday, May 26th, 1985

Hope Springs – outside of Washington D.C.

8:45 AM


Refreshed from his shower, Dr. Connors found a dark navy blue suit with white tie and got dressed.  Making sure his reflection in the mirror looked presentable to the public, he made his way out to the main office area of the warehouse.  To his surprise, he found three people waiting for him.  Two were tough Italian-looking tough guys and the third was a short Hispanic-looking punk.  Somehow, Connors got the feeling they were waiting for him, so he crossed to Dreck’s desk and sat down.

“Speak,” he commanded of them.

The two Italians, Bruno and Vincent, looked over at T with a look that said, ‘Don’t speak before we do.’  Bruno, the taller and more muscular of the two Italians, cleared his throat.  “Well, boss, we’ve spent all night looking for that costumed son of a bitch and came up empty.  Apparently, he stopped a robbery at a convenience store, but by the time we got there, the place was crawling with cops, so we bugged out.  That’s our report.”  Vincent, the shorter and younger of the two, and a fan of covering himself in tattoos, nodded that they were finished.

Connors shook his head as if he understood what they were talking about, then turned his attention to T.

Nervously, T wiped at a few beads of sweat on his forehead.  “Um, yeah, about last night, man.  G and I ran into him.  We waited for him last night at his apartment, and he showed up.  We fought, but in the end, G fell out of a window.  He’s dead, that mother killed him, and before I could finish that costumed freak off, he got away and I had to leave before the cops came.  On my way out of the apartment building, I matched up the door number with the name on the mailbox, man.  Seems our guy goes by the name of Brad Bennings.  If I’m right, that’s who this Captain Liberty guy is.  I say, we go hunt this bastard down, and kill him!”

        Connors held up a hand.  “You might have a chance another time.  That does not concern me now.  There is something that has recently come to my attention that is far more important, a matter that must be resolved.  The three of you will come with me to D.C. immediately.”



No sooner had Sam gotten himself dressed in Garner’s guestroom bathroom, than the Imaging Chamber door opened.  Al hurried through, dressed in his military whites.  With the lockdown in place, he didn’t want to feel underdressed.

“Looks like you survived the night, Sam.”

“I don’t know how Brad did this for more than one day,” the leaper remarked, an electric razor running in his hand.  “People shooting at me, trying to kill me.  Those two guys who started a fight with me the other night came back for another round.”

“You don’t seem too upset about it, Sam.”

Sam stopped shaving for a second.  “What are you getting at?”

Al paced behind him.  “Come on, pal, admit it.  You enjoyed the hell out of it.”

Putting the razor down, Sam turned to his friend.  “OK.  Maybe I did a little bit.  At times, I had these feelings of satisfaction and enjoyment beating up thugs.  I wonder if I was mind-merging with Brad.”

“Highly doubt it, Sam.  Brad’s been on tranquilizers big-time since he showed up in the Waiting Room.  The guy is still scared of having his identity blown.”

“Ziggy still doesn’t know what I am here to do for Brad?”

Al held up the handlink.  It was strangely silent for a change.  “Nada.  Zip.  Zilch.”

Sighing, Sam finished getting ready and turned to walk out of the guestroom.  Dr. Garner was standing there waiting for him in a gray twill suit, an amused expression on his face.

“How much did you hear?” Sam asked sheepishly.

“Enough,” Garner chuckled.  “Talking to Shockey?”

“My friend, Al, actually.  Italian guy, early seventies.”

Recollection came to Garner.  “Was he the same man who showed up out of nowhere back in 1959?”

“Man has a good memory,” Al remarked.

“Yeah,” Sam confirmed.

“Hard to forget him.  The man kept screaming, I could barely think to work the Time Displacer Unit controls.”

“On second thought about this guy’s memory…” Al began.

“It’s time we headed out, Sam.  Wellington has the Cadillac ready out front.  Sorry it’s not a limousine, but I try not to bring too much attention to myself in this town.”

Sam looked over to Al who popped the Imaging Chamber door open.  “I’ll be back in a bit, Sam.  Gotta use the little observer’s room and touch base with Ziggy.”  The Admiral stepped through and was gone.



Sunday, May 26th, 1985

Washington D.C.

10:15 AM


Traffic was surprisingly light on this particular Sunday morning as Wellington parked the car in the visitors’ lot of the Sheraton.  They had arrived just over an hour before the convention’s brunch and Sam Beckett’s lecture.  Not wasting time, they left Wellington at the vehicle and proceeded into the hotel’s lobby.  A floor sign with an arrow pointed which way to go to the banquet room.

The hallways were crowded with guests and scientists present for the convention.  Idle chitchat filled the halls as Sam and Dr. Garner passed on by.

“I wonder which ones are Feds,” mused Garner.

Sam turned to him with a confused look.

“Sorry, Sam, I forgot to mention.  I took the liberty of calling a friend of mine who has connections with the CIA.  Braden is still on the Priority list.  Undoubtedly, there are a few undercover agents here right now, or so I was assured.  They need to wait until Braden tries something, if indeed that intelligence report you got from the future is reliable.  He may have changed his appearance, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he is already here somewhere.”

A few minutes later, they arrived at the entrance to the banquet hall.  There was a table outside with convention personnel checking IDs and handing out nametags.  Garner walked over and signed in.  Soon after, he returned with a nametag for Sam in Brad’s name.

“I also phoned ahead here and got you on the list to be here,” Garner explained.



The kitchen for the banquet hall at the Sheraton was busy.  Servers were bustling about making sure napkins, silverware, and plates were all taken out to the tables.  Food preparation personnel were making sure the salads and fruit cups were ready while the chefs made their finishing touches on the roast beef and chicken entrees for the buffet.

One server collected some fruit cups onto a wheeled serving cart and began to push it towards the banquet room.  Not paying attention, he nearly collided with a busboy that ran in through the swinging double doors.  A couple of bowls of fruit salad slid off and clattered onto the floor.

Ignoring the mess on the floor, the server headed for the doors.  A stream of profanities in a foreign tongue sounded behind him.  The server turned and saw one of the chefs yelling and pointing to the floor.  Gesturing that he was too busy to clean up the floor, the server rushed out to the banquet area with the cart.  Keeping up his image, the server began to place fruit cups on one of the tables, trying to keep the sleeves from rolling up and revealing his tattoos.  Looking around, he saw that the other three were in positions around the room, setting up for the guest speaker.  Vincent focused on the job he was asked to perform and went back to keeping up appearances.



January 23rd, 2006

Project Quantum Leap – New Mexico

7:16 AM


The guards once again stopped Sammy Jo from stepping outside for a breath of fresh air.  Despite her arguments that the civilians outside the exit were no threat, she wasn’t going to win this battle.  The connection to those people still felt strong with her, and she wanted to meet them and talk with them.

Without notice, all the guards suddenly saluted.  Sammy Jo turned to see General Hawkins march up to the exit door.

“Let me through,” he barked at the closest guard.  “I just spent a miserable half an hour trying to get information out of those Becketts to no avail.  Now I gotta worm information out of those people, too.”  He started to head towards the now open exit door and stopped.  “What is she doing here?” he asked the guard, motioning at Sammy Jo.

“Project personnel.  She wanted to step outside.  We were just about to send her back inside the project.”

“Belay that,” Hawkins stated to the guard.  “Having a woman might be beneficial.  Maybe a nice feminine face will open these people up to talking.  You,” he said to Sammy Jo, “come with me.”

         Elated at the chance to meet the leapees, Sammy Jo followed Hawkins outside to the tent.  The exit door sealed shut behind her.



Sunday, May 26th, 1985

Washington D.C.

11:29 AM


By now, all the guests had been seated and they had begun eating their salads and fruit cups.  Sam and Dr. Garner sat at a table near the back of the room, watching and looking around.  They could not see anyone that looked like Braden at all, even with a possible beard or change of hair color.  If he was here, the British doctor was inconspicuous.

The banquet room was filled with dozens of tables, each holding eight guests.  At the front of the room was a large stage area with steps on either end.  On top of the stage were a podium and a small table with an overhead projector.  Large guest tables were situated on either side of the podium.  A large projector screen was pulled down behind the stage.  On the left side of the room was a photojournalist from a D.C. TV station, filming the proceedings to get footage of Dr. Beckett, the guest speaker.  The far right wall contained a long table covered with steaming trays of food and a large slab of roast waiting to be carved.

At about 11:33, a man at one of the head tables received a message from a hotel employee.  Finishing his salad, he wiped his mouth off with a napkin and marched up to the podium.  “May I have your attention, please.  I hope everyone has enjoyed their appetizers, and I would like to say hello to everyone in attendance here today, it looks like a packed house.  Before the main course is served, it is my great pleasure to announce that our guest speaker has just arrived.  Ladies and gentleman, Dr. Samuel Beckett.”

The side door nearest the stage opened and a very young Sam Beckett entered the room, escorted by hotel security.  With a cheery smile, he waved and greeted the people in the room, who answered him with thunderous applause.  The man at the podium urged the crowd to be quiet as younger Sam approached.  “Please be seated, everyone.  As soon as everyone has been served and finished eating, we will have our special guest presentation.”

Sam sat at his table and watched himself in wonder as his younger self was brought a large plate of food.  There he was, young with his future ahead of him, only a short time away before Star Bright would take up a large piece of his life.  Young enough to be his own person, to be himself, not trapped in time.  The temptation to meet himself began to manifest itself.

Just then, Garner grabbed Sam’s arm.  “Look over in the back right corner table.  Is it him?”

Sam looked over to where Garner had pointed out and saw a table with three people sitting at it.  One man in a fancy expensive suit had his back to him; another man with Middle Eastern features was talking animatedly as he looked through the contents of a briefcase before him.  The third person was in a basic gray suit and tie and looked like he was living out of a suitcase.  His hair, which once was black, now had lines of silver in it and was cut extremely short; a thick pepper-colored beard covered his face beneath a pair of dark framed eyeglasses.  Braden’s face lit up with joy, as the man with his back to Sam pushed a briefcase in the direction of the British scientist.  Not looking inside it, Braden quickly placed the new briefcase under the table.

The leaper’s heart sank.  It was Braden, he was sure of it.  The man was selling his secrets right out in the open at the banquet hall, ironically in the presence of a young Beckett who had yet to test his time-travel experiments.  If I could talk to myself, this will never happen, he thought.  Braden is probably here to make sure I get support so that someday he’ll get rich off of me.  Before he could think about that any further, a steak knife appeared at his throat.

“Fancy meeting you here, hero,” whispered T into Sam’s ear.  “I thought you looked familiar, Mr. Bennings.  Just sit back and watch the show.  When my boss gets through with that guy on the stage, I’ll take care of you personally.”

Sam’s eyes widened at the implication of what was about to happen.  Boss gets through with the man on stage?  Someone was about to go after his younger self.  But how?  Until this morning, nothing with his leap as Brad had anything to do with himself.  How could this be happening?

Just a few tables ahead, Dr. Connors dressed like a chef, motioned for Vincent and Bruno, positioned on both sides of the room dressed as servers, to advance to the front of the stage.

Garner looked on in horror as Sam was held at knifepoint, not knowing that two of the other banquet servers and a chef were advancing towards the stage, targeting the younger version of the man sitting next to him.

“Ohh, boy…” groaned Garner.




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