ON QUANTUM LEAP
himself back in Hope Springs, Virginia, Sam leaps into several people only
to find out that Paige Ilene Arlyss has been trying to crack a virus that
landed on her computer. Paige
persists to look for answers in any way that she can; even going as far as
researching Dr. Samuel Beckett. As
her interest in the virus continued, her father, Isaac Lane talked with
General Hawkins about what she had found.
Now, Sam’s present and the Project’s future are thrown into a new
twist, as Sam is about to visit the other project.
have you told anyone else about this?” Sam questioned in her hold.
leaned back from him. “Yes
sir, I told Shepherd, but he doesn’t know much about computers.
He… he’s just a guy who wants to take me to the Enchantment Under
The Sea Dance.”
Let’s leave this alone until we know more about it,” he told her
then glanced back at the computer screen as she came back into the circle of
in her embrace, Sam turned his head toward the monitor to see the question
up on the screen – a question that had been taunting him since he had
talked with the enigmatic bartender:
would Sam Beckett most likely want to go?
he answered to himself. ‘What’s going on?
What’s this all about?’ he wondered as he looked up at Al who
had cupped his hand against his cheek.
Releasing Paige, Sam smiled at her then glanced once more at the
computer. “All right.
I know that you’ve burnt the midnight oil and probably at both
ends. So… off to bed with
you.” He saw the look on
Paige’s face and he shook his head negatively.
“No arguments, young lady. You
and I both have a busy day tomorrow.”
lips thinned slightly before they came into a grin at his reminder.
Leaning forward, she placed a kiss on his cheek.
“Yes sir. I’ll take
my bath and then go straight to bed.”
up, Sam glanced around the messy room then with a wide berth of his hand
said, “And then tomorrow, when you get home from school, why don’t we
work on bulldozing some of this into where it needs to go?”
giggled, “Okay. I’ll clean
my room. Night, Daddy.”
night, Paige,” Sam said and started to go to the door and motioned for Al
to follow him.
did as requested and relocated himself out into the hallway as Sam shut the
door to Paige’s room to give her privacy.
“This is some hinky stuff, Sam.
I don’t know who would have written a program like what we just
saw. But whoever did it… they
knew what they were doing.”
know,” Sam agreed. He bit at
the inside of his cheek for a moment then shook his head then sighed.
“Well, we can’t do anything until tomorrow. Might as well get a good night’s sleep and prepare.”
eyebrow arched up and a grin spread across his face.
“You aren’t going to go uhm… play doctor with Dianne, are you,
opened his mouth to respond, closed it and crossed his arms over his chest
as he gave Al a look of disdain.
that’s what it looked like you planned on doing earlier with her.” Al waved his hand up in the air and shrugged his shoulders.
“All right, already. I’ll
go get some sleep. You
do the same. Sleep –
that is.” Al shot a stubby
finger up toward the Quantum Physicist and shook it several times before he
pulled up the Imaging Chamber. “Goodnight,
Sam,” he tossed back over his shoulder.
Al,” Sam said then turned and headed toward Isaac Lane’s bedroom.
Gate, New Mexico
clatter of the alarm clock woke Admiral Calavicci from his slumber.
He frowned as he reached for the annoying noisemaker and slapped at
the snooze button before rolling over and snuggling up to the sleeping form
of his wife. A small smile
appeared on his face as he felt her move back against him, then heard a
definite sigh. Al licked his
lips, nestled his head back on the pillow and was already on the verge of
falling back to sleep when he heard the irritating voice of the
Calavicci,” Ziggy’s voice crooned into the room almost motherly. “Admiral Calavicci, it’s time to wake up.
Remember, today you get a sneak peek into the complex that General
Hawkins has made.”
Al wished he could stay in bed with Beth, he knew he couldn’t –
especially when he had an opportunity like this one.
Opening his eyes, he sighed heavily then placed a kiss on Beth’s
shoulder before he vacated the bed.
After a quick shower, shave, and adorning himself with a multicolored suit
that would have made Bozo the Clown smile in appreciation, Al snuck out of
his personnel quarters and headed down toward the Imaging Chamber.
As he walked, his mind reviewed over everything that had happened
within the last couple of months and he shook his head.
With the way General Hawkins had swiped in and taken control, he
wondered who had been the think tank on this new project.
Sure, there were any number of intelligent people out there in the
world to think up something along the lines of Time Travel, but a constant
thought nagged at Al. ‘How
did he get it done so quickly?’ he wondered.
Central Control, Al brightened when he saw Dominic Lofton leaning against
Ziggy’s mainframe, his back to the door.
Although Dominic hadn’t been with the project long, Al had already
a soft place for the man who had replaced St. John.
It didn’t hurt that Aurora cooked some of the best Puerto Rican
I don’t know, Ziggy. If he
finds out, I…”
finds out what?” Al questioned as he started toward the mainframe.
quickly spun on his heel and turned to look at Admiral Calavicci, his eyes
wide, blinking. He looked down
away from Al quickly as he tried to think of something to say; but nothing
came to him. “Nothing to be
concerned with, Al,” he finally managed to say as he put his hand on his
heart. “You could give a
person some warning. You scared
me to death,” he said solemnly.
frowned. “Sorry, Dom. Didn’t mean to scare,” he managed to say as he grabbed
the handlink from its resting place. “Let’s
fire this puppy up. I’m ready
to see what I’m up against.”
precisely 5:45, Sam’s eyes popped open and he immediately jumped out of
bed and headed toward the shower. He
wasn’t sure if it was that he really wanted to wake up or if it was
routine for Isaac Lane. Either
way, he was glad to be up and about and in the kitchen making breakfast when
the Imaging Chamber opened to reveal the multi-colored hologram.
Sammy boy. Whatcha doing?”
Sam said as he broke an egg on the side of a bowl then threw the eggshell
away. Seeing that his bacon was
done, Sam scooped it up and placed it on a paper towel to drain before he
said, “Since it’s going to be a long day, might as well start off with a
good breakfast.” He poured
the beaten egg mixture into the hot pan, then said as he raised the spatula
up toward Al, “Mom always said…”
always said, what?” Paige asked as she stepped into the kitchen dressed in
jeans and a red sweater.
start the day with a good meal,” Sam said as he gave her a frown as if she
didn’t remember that.
nodded thoughtfully at her stepfather then shook her head slightly as if to
blow him off. “So, are you
ready for me to show this program to your boss?”
will have a conniption fit when he finds out that it’s about you, Sam,”
Al remarked as Paige brought up the subject that he wanted to talk about.
nodded at both of their words. “Yes,
I think that he might be interested in what you’ve got there.”
Sam scooped some of the scrambled eggs out of the pan, placed them on
a plate. Putting two pieces of
bacon and a piece of toast on the plate, he then handed it over to Paige.
“Go ahead and start eating.”
looked down at the plate of food handed to her.
“What made you decide to cook this morning?
I mean mom usually is the one who cooks breakfast.
Is… she isn’t sick is she?” Paige asked concerned as she sat
down at the table.
she’s not sick,” Sam replied as he glanced down intently at the pan
Al asked wickedly and noticed how the Quantum Physicist was doing everything
in his power not to look up at his holographic partner.
honey, you didn’t have to cook breakfast.”
trio looked up to see Dianne Lane coming into the kitchen, her hair in a
tangled mess and dressed in only her robe.
Dianne tightened the robe a little before she walked over to her
daughter and kissed her on the cheek. “Good
morning, sunshine. Your father
isn’t torturing you with his rendition of food, is he?”
mom, it’s not too bad this morning. You
must be teaching him something, right.”
ha ha ha,” Sam remarked before Dianne came over to him and gave him a good
him a sideways hug, Dianne purred loudly to him, “Last night was
You dog!” Al responded
Sam said a bit self-conscious as he glanced over at Paige who began to grin
like the Cheshire Cat.
it was and I’m not going to hide that.
I mean, come on Isaac, you have to do that for Paige.
I’m sure that she’d appreciate it, especially after some of the
hard days that she has.”
odd look fell over Al’s face and he did an abrupt about face to look at
tried not to laugh as he set two plates of food down, and then shook his
head as he went to get drinks for the three of them.
“Well, that’s only if she wants me to,” Sam said off-handedly
as he got the milk from the refrigerator and poured three glasses for them
Al exclaimed again in bewilderment.
looked up expectantly at Sam as he came back to the table. “Last night after I talked with you, your mother had a
really bad cramp at the bottom of her foot.
I massaged it out then gave her a back massage.”
rolled his eyes then turned in a circle away from Sam as he waved a
dismissive hand toward his friend. “A
true blue saint,” he murmured.
another day, Dad,” Paige said as she smiled at her mother.
“And you’d better hurry up and eat.
I’m ready to go and you’ve just started.”
on up and do any last minute fixings to makeup or whatever,” Sam said as
he ducked his head toward his food. “I’ll
be done by the time you get back and then we’ll go, okay?”
right,” Paige replied as she took her dishes to the sink then headed
watched as Paige left the room, stood and crossed over to her husband. She slid in between him and the table, settling on his lap.
Pulling his cheek toward her, she smiled at him.
I need to finish eating,” Sam said softly as he felt her fingers begin to
unbutton the shirt he was wearing. “She’ll
be back down in just a minute,” he warned.
know,” she said softly as the tiptop of her fingers lightly ran over his
chest. “You were so romantic
last night… I just hope that it continues on for the rest of the day,”
she said with a smile. “Remember…
you don’t need to bring any homework home tonight.
You got it, Mr. Lane?”
swallowed the little bit of food he had in his mouth then was surprised when
she kissed him yet again with urgency.
is sooo not fair,” Al remarked as he watched the couple.
“I had to leave Beth in bed…”
away from Dianne, Sam put his finger on her lips trying to stop her from
reaching for him yet again. “Honey,
I’ve got to go. You know how
Hawkins can get and I don’t want to get on his bad side.”
pout came over Dianne’s features but she reluctantly got up from Sam’s
lap. Standing, Sam took his dishes to the sink then turned to see
Paige standing in the doorway. “You
ready?” he asked with a grin.
about time,” Al murmured.
a glance Al’s way, Sam smirked then started toward Paige.
Smiling at her, he said, “You got everything you need to show this
thing to General Hawkins?”
do,” Paige said enthusiastically. “It’s
in my bag.” Paige gave the
bag in her possession a small pat then glanced over at her mother.
“Mom, Shepherd will call this morning when he realizes that I’m
not at school. Could you please
let him know that I’m okay?”
thing sweetie,” Dianne said with a smile, then pursed her lips in thought.
“You know. If he cares
that much for you then maybe…”
don’t start,” Paige complained.
okay. I was just going to say
is if he’s so concerned that you should at least give it a try. Trying it out won’t hurt.”
rolled her eyes at her mother’s comment.
“Okay,” she said softly before she turned back to her stepfather. “You ready to go?” Paige
asked looking for an escape out of her mother’s scrutiny.
ready,” Sam said.
Paige headed out the door. Sam
began to follow but he stopped at the hand that caught his arm.
Turning, he smiled at Dianne and kissed her lightly on the nose.
“I’ll see you tonight, honey.”
better, sweet cheeks. The night
is planned out…” Dianne said as her eyebrows went up and down
boy,” Sam said softly before Dianne snuggled up into his arms.
love you, Isaac.”
love you, too.” When Dianne
looked up into his face, Sam couldn’t help the feelings that overwhelmed
him for the woman in his arms. Leaning
down, he let the emotions carry him away as he swept her up into a
Al said then pursed his lips in humor as he watched his best friend getting
caught up in the moment. Deciding
to try for another tactic, Al cleared his throat.
“Sam, Paige is waiting out in the car… and uhm, Hawkins is
waiting for you at work.”
Hawkins’ name, Sam broke the kiss and leaned back to look at Dianne in his
embrace. “Ohh, I’ve got to
go.” Seeing the pout that
came up on her face, Sam leaned down and kissed her lightly once more before
releasing his hold on her. “I’ll…
I’ll see you tonight.”
smiled sweetly at him as he quickly turned and left the house to go to work.
entered the car and slightly blushed under Paige’s gaze before he started
the car and pulled out of the driveway.
Sam tried to think of something to say to the teen, but Paige
instigated the conversation.
don’t understand why she has to try to give me advice on boys.
I mean, geez, I had a boyfriend…”
from what I remember of the boy, he’s a jerk,” Sam replied abruptly. He frowned then turned his head toward her to see Paige begin
to nod her head. He was glad
that he wasn’t off the mark on that one.
Thanking Isaac for the information, he said, “I just want you to
know one thing, Paige. You’ve
first got to accept who you are and how you perceive yourself.
Once you’ve done that… if you like what you see… then don’t
listen to anyone else’s thoughts. What’s
inside is the most important thing that matters, right?”
Sam heard the directions from Al on how to get from the Lane’s house to
work, Sam glanced over at Paige to see her in thought.
Reaching over and tapping her hand lightly under his, he said, “I
know that you don’t want your mother messing in your love life, however,
your mother has had many boyfriends and has also had more experience than
you have. You may want to follow her advice.”
the slight nod, Sam turned his attention back to the road as he drove toward
the facility known to the townspeople of Hope Springs, Virginia, as Hanswik
Industries. As they passed the town square, Sam heard Al tell him what Ziggy
had dug up on the site itself.
to the Chamber of Commerce records, Hanswik Industries is a series of
warehouses that are being used for government storage.
What a name. He could
have thought up something more original instead of making an anagram of his
name… but then again, look at whom we’re talking about.
What a maroon,” Al remarked, sounding a bit like Bugs Bunny in his
description of General Hawkins. As
they approached the complex, Al blinked at the sight before him.
He couldn’t believe what he was seeing.
them, the warehouses that had once been owned by an illusive drug dealer
were now bound inside an electronic fence with curled barbwire atop it.
The manned guard station that sat outside of the electronic fence was
adorned with symbols of the American Government and as Sam approached it,
even he was surprised at the thoroughness of the setup. Hawkins obviously didn’t want anyone surprising him.
pulled up next to the guard station and rolled down the window to look up at
the security guard who stepped out of the station.
May I see your ID?” the young man asked as he scanned the occupants
of the car. “I’ll need to
see her ID as well.”
nodded as he turned his attention to Paige as she began to dig into her bag
for her driver’s license. Handing
it over to her father, she swallowed as she watched Sam hand her license to
with me, Lieutenant. General
Hawkins knows that she’s coming,” Sam responded when the guard’s
eyebrow rose as he looked at her license.
business does a teenager have in…” the guard began as he handed back
both of their license’s back.
snatched them away from the guard interrupting him. “Never you mind her
business, Lieutenant, unless you want to get your nose into the General’s
business. Do you?”
sir, Mr. Lane.” Reaching
inside the station, he pushed the unlocking mechanism to open the gate for
the car to pass through. “Have
a good day, sir.”
kid must have a death warrant to even think about messing with the
General’s business,” Al remarked from the back seat.
gave the guard one more good glare before he rolled up the window and slowly
pulled away from the station as he held out Paige’s license back to her. Hearing her blow out her breath, Sam looked over at her
curiously as she put her license back into her wallet.
“He’s new,” Sam remarked off-handedly.
“Sorry, Paige. That
was just S. O. P.”
O. P.?” she asked, her brow furrowing slightly.
nodded then swallowed as the car came to a stop at the building. She couldn’t believe that she was going to show what she
had found to someone with such high authority: a general. Even as she glanced back from their parking space, she was
even more nervous than she cared to admit.
Swallowing, she got out of the car, straightened her sweater then
smiled slightly at her father as he came to her side to walk her up to the
worry,” Sam said simply. “You’ll
do just fine.”
the front door another security detail paced slightly back and forth, his
eyes constantly searching the grounds for anything out of the ordinary.
As the car pulled into a parking space, he kept close watch on them
and waited for the two to exit the car before he planted himself firmly at
the bottom of the steps that led up to the entrance of Hanswik Industries
ready to question the reason why anyone would need to enter the premises.
“May I ask your… oh, Mr. Lane.
I apologize sir.” Stepping aside, the tall muscular young man stepped aside to
let the pair start up the steps.
nodded appropriately to the guard, and then tapped him approvingly on the
shoulder as he passed by. The
guard slightly grinned at the praise then immediately took his position yet
squawk of his walkie-talkie going off at his shoulder brought him to
attention and he immediately turned around as he listened to the other end
of the radio crackle in his ear. “As
soon as Mr. Lane and his daughter show up, Ms. Lane needs to be
the young guard took several steps to catch up with Sam and Isaac Lane’s
stepdaughter. “Excuse me, Mr.
Lane. There is a requirement
that I must do before you may enter the building, sir.”
that would be?” Sam asked as he turned back to the young man.
General has ordered that Ms. Lane be blindfolded before she enters the
frowned as she glanced between the two men before her.
“Blindfold me?” She
turned her head back to Sam then tilted her head to the side. “Why would I
need to be blindfolded before I entered a governmental storage facility?”
nodded his head then said, “You know, Sam, she’s right. She shouldn’t
have to be blindfolded. That’s
just going to raise questions and a lot of flags on her part.”
licked at his lips as he thought about her question.
Crossing his arms, he said, “Well, dear, you have to realize that
we have a lot of things here that shouldn’t be seen.
I’m sure that General Hawkins just wants to keep everything
confidential as it has always been. I
know that it sounds silly or odd to you, but if you wouldn’t mind….”
lips flattened into a thin line before she clicked her tongue and sighed
heavily. “I guess not.”
smiled at the young lady before him. “Thank
smiled wanly as she watched the guard bound up the steps and enter the
building. He quickly re-emerged
from it with a blindfold in his hands and approached her.
I help you with it?” the guard asked sheepishly with a
nodded then turned around and waited patiently as he slipped the blindfold
over her head. Making sure that
she couldn’t see him waving his arm lowly at her side, the guard looked
over at Sam and nodded approvingly.
approached Paige then took her by the arm and led her slowly up the steps to
the entrance of the old building. As
they walked slowly toward the entrance, Al heard the handlink bleep and
looked down at the information that Ziggy was giving him.
says that the reason why you leaped here is in this building, Sam. She can’t ascertain what it might be.”
nodded his head as he opened the door of the building and started to go in
before he helped Paige in through the door.
Once he made sure that Paige was in a safe place, Sam leaned toward
his holographic partner then whispered lowly, “Floor plans, would be great
here, Al. Do we have any?”
no. No floor plans. So… let’s just take the grand tour, shall we?”
both men started across the large open area of the main warehouse, both of
them noticed how the warehouse was crawling with armed guards.
Their eyes scanned the building thoroughly. Sam somewhat remembered Darius Dreck’s warehouse, but he
couldn’t believe how many guards were now stationed at the upper levels of
the building that now looked like they had been converted into computer
rooms and surveillance suites.
looked at the back wall and saw a metal staircase that led to the upper
levels. Close by were large,
wide stacks of crates that piled up to the ceiling and drew his attention. He felt strangely pulled toward them and knew that he
needed to go to them. Making
sure that Paige was securely at his side, he patted her arm gently and
headed toward the wall.
definitely has an obsessive compulsive disorder,” Al murmured as he turned
around in a circle looking at the warehouse as well as the personnel inside
of it. “Even the President
doesn’t have this much gun powder protecting his… Sam… where you
going?” Al asked.
thinking about what he was doing, Sam walked up to the farthest crate on the
right hand side then slid a small secret panel on one of the crates to
reveal elevator controls. Turning
his head to find Al standing by, Sam winked at him then hit the button.
you know about…?” Al began.
shrugged his shoulders and leaned slightly over to see if anything happened. A moment later, the front panels of two of the four bottom
crates slid up to reveal an open elevator car.
“Keep with me, Paige. I
know that it’s a long way… but bear with me, okay?”
right,” she said softly.
elevator car slowly slid downward. “They
must have dug out floors or something underneath this dump,” Al said as
the elevator came to a stop and the doors opened to reveal another guarded
narrow hallway. The marine
guard snapped a salute, and then fell back into position.
“Okay, maybe he’s neurotic,” Al said as both men began the walk
to what appeared to be another elevator at the end of the hall.
Sam passed by each room that was on this level, he noticed the signs on the
doors: Division 1, Division 2, Security, and Break room.
As they reached the elevator, Sam pushed the call button and waited
only a moment for the elevator to arrive; entered it with his entourage then
went on his way. The ride was
short and when Sam stepped out with Paige on his arm expecting to be in the
right place, he saw yet another hallway with two Marine guards blocking the
doorway at the far end. Sam was
beginning to feel a bit overwhelmed with the overabundance of guards that
were used and knew deep down that something else was going on in this
complex that someone didn’t want to own up to.
guards saluted Isaac Lane as Sam placed his hand on an identification
scanner mounted on the wall by the door.
The small red light above the scanner turned green and the door slid
to the side with a whoosh. The
sound was so familiar that Al had to do a double take to make sure that he
hadn’t been sent back to Project Quantum Leap.
they entered the room, both men were awe struck by the lustrous Control
Room. Computer consoles were
everywhere as were numerous technicians scurrying around as they
double-checked wiring and connections, as well as performing diagnostic
checks. One of the technicians, who were working in the middle of the
Control Room, shimmied out from underneath the multi-colored rectangular
cube. Al couldn’t help but
stare at it amazed at how it looked like Ziggy.
As he studied it a bit more, Al realized that it was Ziggy’s
outer hull of her mainframe – hell for that matter, it could be
Ziggy. Al pointed to the
mainframe and shook his head and blinked as did Sam until Al blurted,
“What the… oh shit… no… oh no… Dominic!”
technician that scurried out from under the console of the mainframe popped
up and Al immediately recognized him. “Sam!
That’s David Watkins. He’s
Arnold Watkins grandson. Remember…
the Midnight Marauder… his grandson!
David even trained under Dominic at the project. God… what’s
going on around here? What did
that pompous egotistical ass of a General do?
Steal the whole damn project?” Al questioned with a shake of his
head and debated on going back to the Project to interrogate Dominic Lofton
on what the hell had happened, but he knew that if he left that he would
miss out on what that disc held. He
was torn, but he knew that he would have to withstand it for a little while.
couldn’t answer the questions that Al was asking, but just from what he
could recall of his own project, the rooms were strikingly familiar.
The one thing that seemed different were the windows that slanted out
to the front of the room. Taking
Paige with him, Sam walked over to the windows and looked down.
His mouth opened in awe as he realized what he could recall from the
residual of Isaac Lane as well as what he could visually see.
he peered out of the thick glass windows, Sam got a good glimpse of the main
project below him. It was like
being in a press box looking out over a hockey rink.
In this case, the Imaging Chamber Grid appeared to be in a pit below. The door between the two sets of glass windows in the Control
Room led out to a narrow walkway ledge with railings that traveled all
around the chamber, leading to an elevator on the right side that led down
to the Imaging Chamber below. At
the elevator, Marine guards paced slightly back and forth, guarding it from
any intruders. Sam was sure
that the Accelerator Chamber was close by, but there was one thing in the
giant room that caught his attention and held it: suspended above the pit
was a giant blue sphere. “Ziggy,”
he uttered so softly that he wasn’t sure that he had even said it.
Turning his head back from where he had come, he saw the smaller orb
that was affixed to the middle of the Control Room and shook his head.
General Hawkins hadn’t just stolen a part of his project… he’d
taken it all.
can’t believe this!” Al uttered as he glanced around the Control Room.
“Nothing is sacred to that man.
Nothing!” he said as he caught sight of computer terminals that
housed video monitors that showed live video feeds from the Accelerator and
the Imaging Chamber Grid.
slightly away from the windows, Sam looked around the room uncertain of
where exactly to go from here. Taking
Paige by the arm once more, he walked slightly toward the mainframe to talk
to David Watkins, but the younger man was nowhere to be seen, however, a
very attractive, voluptuous, leggy female was bending slightly over the
mainframe looking at what seemed to be blueprints very carefully.
Al hadn’t been so flummoxed over the information stolen from Project
Quantum Leap, he might have said something shoddy about the way that the
blonde was stretched out over the console of the mainframe.
Instead, he frowned at the piece of paper that she seemed to be
Damn, those are the blueprints for Quantum Leap!” Al growled lowly
and tried to grab at the paper; his holographic hand unable to grab the
paper that was precious to him. He
hissed and kicked at the mainframe, but his foot went through it just as his
hand had through the paper.
footprints must have startled the blonde and she quickly stood and turned
her attention to them. “What
are you doing, Isaac? Who is
this? You know the rules about…” she began impatiently.
my daughter,” Sam said straightforwardly, “and we were called down here
by General Hawkins.”
going to take a look at the computer disc virus that I have,” Paige said
plainly as she turned her head toward her father, her eyes still veiled
behind the blindfold.
blonde tilted her head at the words then asked coyly, “Virus?
What disc virus?”
one that most people are calling Inconspicuous.
Rather an interesting program… it has some very interesting soft
parameters… and it’s all about…”
wait until we get to the Conference Room,” Sam suggested, not sure if the
woman needed to know about the information on the disc or not.
is it?” the blonde asked with a grin as she moved to stand before the
young woman. “My name is
Lexia -- Lexia Stafford. Come.
I’ll help you to the Conference Room and you can show us what you
mean about this virus.” Lexia
stepped up and placed her hand on Paige’s arm and began to lead her away
from Sam. Giving him a small
smile, she said as she started back toward the large window that led out
above the Imaging Chamber Grid, “I have just the computer for you to
followed the pair of women out onto the metal frame that surrounded the top
of the Imaging Chamber Grid. Lexia
turned left and walked to the end of the small walkway to the door clearly
marked, ‘Conference Room’. Sam
glanced at Al before he followed the ladies inside.
after Sam was sure that there wasn’t anything in the room that Paige
shouldn’t see did he finally take the blindfold off of Isaac Lane’s
stepdaughter. “Lexia, could you inform General Hawkins that we have
looked at Sam as if he had gone out of his mind.
A look that plainly said, ‘What do you think I am – your
secretary?’ was shot at him but that quickly changed.
Lexia walked over to the phone, picked it up, gave Sam one more
scornful look then phoned the General.
Hawkins? Yes, sir,” Lexia
said impatiently. “Sir, Mr.
Lane has securely brought his daughter to the conference room.”
There was a long pause before Lexia turned to look at the pair in the
room and smiled. “Yes, sir.
I’ll get it and set it out for use, sir.
Not a problem.” Hanging
up, Lexia turned to the duo in the room.
“General Hawkins will be right down.”
nodded simply then watched as Lexia Stafford went to the cabinet and pulled
out a laptop as well as the other essentials needed to set it up.
“Care to help a lady out?” Lexia asked as she turned to Sam.
watched as her stepfather helped with setting up the laptop and swallowed
and hoped that she wouldn’t get too nervous to explain what she had found
out so far. True, she hadn’t
officially cracked it, but without some help, no one would know what the
virus actually held in it.
to the end of the conference table, Paige opened up her purse and pulled out
the disc that held the information that they were trying to crack. “What information do you hold?” she asked it softly then
lightly tapped the crystalline casing around it.
“What am I going to learn this time about Dr. Samuel Beckett?”
she said simply.
Hawkins had watched Isaac Lane from the moment he had entered the complex
with his daughter. He didn’t
like it anymore than he liked the project in New Mexico saying that ‘God,
Time, Fate, Whatever’ was sending Samuel Beckett to fix people’s lives. The idea was preposterous.
So was this idea that a virus found on a teenager’s computer was so
damnable interesting, but he had said that he would listen.
he walked to the conference room, he was already set to just amuse the child
and then push her out the door. Straightening
his tie slightly, General Hawkins opened the door of the conference room and
placed on an insipid expression then entered.
Hawkins,” Lexia Stafford said as she went to his side.
“This is Ms. Paige Lane.”
Paige corrected slightly as she went with her father to stand in front of
the General to shake his hand. “It’s
a pleasure to meet you, General.”
Hawkins shook her hand then motioned to the table.
“Go ahead and have a seat, Ms. Arlyss.”
down into the chair opposite of the man in charge of Hanswik Industries,
Paige Arlyss gave the older man a small smile.
She was ready to show him what she had on the disc that she had
copied from her computer, but she wondered if he already knew what was on it
tell me, Ms. Arlyss, what did you find?”
I’ve found something very interesting.”
Paige swallowed and then cleared her throat.
Licking her lips, she added, “It may be something that may reveal a
secret operation that is in existence that the general public doesn’t know
Hawkins eyebrow arched slightly. “Really?
Why do you think that, Ms. Arlyss?”
she doing, Sam?” Al asked as
he moved around toward Paige where she sat behind the closed laptop
half shrugged his shoulders at Al’s comment as he slightly tilted his head
to the side and listened to Paige Arlyss talk about what she knew.
you realize, General Hawkins, that there are people out in the world who
believe in a Time Travel project? That
a man, a Quantum Physicist named Sam Beckett, has been time traveling in the
past putting things right that once went wrong?”
looked up at the older man who was sitting on the other side of the table.
The look on his face was one that she had seen before.
It was a look of contempt mixed with uncertainty and utter shock.
She had seen that look on other faces before, but seeing it on his
face told her just as much as the others had.
She had hit a nerve.
settled back in his chair and tried to wipe the astonishment from his
features and shot a look to Lexia Stafford as she sat down in the chair next
to him, a small smile on her face. A
quick small patronizing smirk appeared on his face as he asked, “Don’t
tell me that you’ve been reading those newspapers, Ms. Arlyss.
Have you been reading those small nonconformist media tabloids, like
the Inquisitor, have you?”
don’t read trash, General Hawkins,” Paige answered letting her eyes
speak volumes, but keeping her voice respectful as she stood up and pushed
the chair back away from the conference table.
“I do, however, know how to crack the code.
I did it with this virus… somewhat…
and if you don’t want to listen, then I’m wasting my time.”
Sam called her name somewhat in fatherly reproach making her cast a glance
door opened and two men walked in the door.
Everyone in the room turned to see who had entered before Paige
turned her head back to her stepfather even though his eyes were focused on
the two who had still entered the room, she had already had enough of the
ostentatious man sitting in the chair opposite her.
my God,” Al said as he blinked at the two men in shock.
“Tom? J. T.? What…
what the hell? Why are they
invited to this meeting? They
may work here… but… ”
Sam started to ask but before he could even start his question to his
brother and his nephew, Paige interrupted him.
not going to be criticized and treated like a child.
If he doesn’t want to listen… if he doesn’t want to know about
what this virus could or may do… then he doesn’t have to know and
I can take it to someone else in the government about Project Quantum Leap
and Dr. Samuel Beckett.”
to go, Paige, you tell ‘em,” Al said before he stopped himself then
slapped his hand to his forehead. “What
am I saying?” he rebuked himself.
didn’t say that I didn’t want to hear about what you found.
It just sounded like a bunch of …” Hawkins began as he stood up
from his chair as well. He
didn’t like where this was going and he didn’t want her to leave with
such information. She could
jeopardize his complex. He
couldn’t have that happen.
not listen to her, General Hawkins?” Lexia Stafford said softly at his
elbow. “She seems passionate
about it… whatever it is.”
Beckett? You found something
that had Sam Beckett on it?” the younger man who had entered asked as he
approached her. Jonathan Thomas
Beckett’s interest was piqued and he wanted to know more about what she
had found. ‘What else is
Uncle Sam into?’ he wondered.
I did,” Paige answered him back as she eyed him warily.
“Why? Who are you?”
T. held out his hand toward Paige and was surprised when she took it. She didn’t look like she was into pleasantries at the
moment. “Jonathan Thomas
Beckett. Behind me is Captain
Tom Beckett. Dr. Sam Beckett is
not only his younger brother, but he’s also my uncle,” J. T. answered
plainly. “Why don’t you
show me what you found? I’m
frowned as she turned her attention back to the General.
“Are you going to tell me that the information that I found about
Project Quantum Leap and Dr. Samuel Beckett is all from the Inquisitor or
some other type of scandalous magazine that needs to be banned?”
didn’t say that,” Hawkins said as he tried to defend himself.
implied it,” Paige said as she turned back to the older man.
“I don’t appreciate…”
better get a hold of your daughter, Lane,” General Hawkins said plainly,
his level of tolerance wearing thin.
gasped at the man then turned an accusing finger at him.
“Look, either you treat me with some respect, or I’m going to
take this disc, walk out of this building and find someone who will
listen to me. Which do you
can’t have that…” Lexia said as she stood up, trying to protect the
J. T. said as he brought up his hand in alarm.
He wanted to hear what she had to say.
Beckett, who usually stood back and watched the scene around him before
trying to jump into the conversation, took a moment to move toward the door
meaning to stop any of the escaping flock.
“I’m sure that if we just settle down…” he began.
isn’t good, Sam,” Al said as he looked down at the handlink.
“She doesn’t need to spread more information…”
right,” Sam said plainly.
Hawkins, Al, and Paige said in unison.
right,” Sam repeated. “She’s
got the information. Why not listen to what she has to say instead of being
condescending to her?”
it, Sam. You don’t want that
one on your hind quarters.”
grimaced as he looked at Al, and then gave Hawkins a look before he walked
over to where Paige stood before motioning her back to her chair.
“Tell them what you learned, Paige.”
T. Beckett stepped toward Paige, wanting her to stay to show him what she
had. He motioned to the chair
as well then sat in the chair beside it.
“I know that the two of us,” he motioned toward the brown-headed
man behind him, “would like to know what you have learned, Ms. … uh…
Ms…?” J. T. prompted.
Arlyss, but why would you want to know?
Don’t you know what your uncle has supposedly been doing?”
tell me,” J. T. said with a grin as he looked at her.
tilted her head slightly to the side. “Well,
if what is on the Internet is true – then your uncle, Sam Beckett, is my
hero?” Sam asked as he stepped back to look down at the teen before him
with a new interest.
Well, to me, he would be. Just…
think about it. If he’s
putting things right that once went wrong… he’s changing history for
those people. Right?” She
looked up to see Sam’s head bob slightly.
Turning her head back to the conference table, she said, “How is
that so wrong? I don’t know
the danger or the consequence of altering time, but if this is what Sam
Beckett is doing – letting people have more time with their families or
helping people live out a more richer, fuller life… then bless him.
I mean take a look at this world that we live in.
You have to admit that it would be worth a shot to let the world be a
a brief moment, the room was silent.
if you could change history, Paige, what would you do?” Tom Beckett asked
as he settled into a chair at the end of the table.
smiled at she looked at Tom Beckett. “Oh,
I don’t know, Mr… oh… Captain Beckett.
So many things could be done. Favorite
singers of mine saved… oh, and I don’t think that the world would be too
bad if JFK was around for a little longer.”
boy…” Al said softly as he remembered the leap where Sam had leaped in
to save Jacqueline Onassis instead of John F. Kennedy.
eyes slowly drifted down to the conference table as she said, “I guess if
you want specific changes that I’d make, let me see… Lennon and Martin
Luther King Jr. would still be dreaming, Elvis could shake his groove thing
a bit longer, and,” Paige paused, her eyes slightly misting over, “…
and my Dad…”
is preposterous,” Hawkins replied exasperatedly as he stood up from the
table, his eyes rolling slightly at her words, not hearing what she was
trying to say.
T. and Tom turned their attention to General Hawkins, grimaced then turned
back to the teen that was still trying to talk.
J.T. even held up his hand to the General to try to get him to be
quiet so that he could hear.
Dad…” Paige tried again a bit louder but was rudely interrupted again as
she looked up at the balding man across from her.
the air was amid a flutter of words from different sources.
get her out of…”
this doesn’t look good.”
Hawkins, listen to her.”
stood up so swiftly; she hadn’t realized she had overturned her chair
behind her as she slammed her hand down on the conference table and glared
at General Hawkins. “MY
DAD!” she got up over the din of the people talking in the room, making
sure that she had the General’s attention.
“My Dad would still be alive.”
Her voice was filled with adamant passion and tears immediately shone
in her eyes. She met each
person’s gaze then went directly back to General Hawkins, who seemed to be
frozen in place like a deer caught in headlights.
her voice at an even keel, Paige Arlyss laid it out to the man before her as
plainly and simply as she could. “General
Hawkins, you have a choice to make right here, right now.
You can sit quietly and listen to a teenager prattle on about what
she found on the virus that was sent to her computer, or…” she began
when she saw him open his mouth; she put up a hand to shut him up. “Or you can be a pompous, egotistical, patronizing, sorry
son of a bitch and I can take this damnable disc to… to whoever cares to
have it and let them use whatever is on it to their benefit. Which is it going to be, General? Choose.” Without
having to look around, Paige knew that everyone in the room had their mouths
hanging open in awe.
low whistle was let loose, and the only one that couldn’t be seen or heard
shook his head in amazement. “Out of the mouths of babes.”
General’s nostrils flared in anger and resentment of being told off by a
child. He was absolutely
flabbergasted that his staff had let the young lady talk to him the way that
she had. With a quick glance to
the other personnel in the room who were stunned and the holographic
observer who was rocking back and forth on his heels in sheer delight at the
man’s misfortune, General Hawkins swallowed then sat back down in his
chair opposite from Paige Arlyss. “Well,
then, why don’t you show us what you have on that disc that you are so
threatening to take to someone else,” he said hauntingly.
looked at him warily, one eyebrow arched up delicately as she stated, “I
didn’t threaten you, sir. I
was stating a fact. Now, if you
are willing to listen…”
she’s walking a fine line there, Sam,” Al warned.
“She’s probably lucky that he doesn’t throw her out right
stepped forward, stooped to pick up the fallen chair and cleared his throat
to get the young woman’s attention. “Show
them the program. We’ll talk
more about this… this episode when we get home.”
pursed her lips knowing that she was in trouble for addressing the General
in such a fashion, but she didn’t care.
She knew that he deserved every little bit that he got.
He was wrong. She knew
it and she was sure that the others in the room knew it as well; however,
she didn’t show it as she said, “Yes sir,” to her stepfather and sat
down in the chair. Opening her purse, she pulled out the crystalline holder;
tucked her purse back under her then reached for the computer.
watched the young lady as she inserted the disc into the laptop.
“Tell me, Paige, where did you happen across this virus?”
was sent to me. Norton
Antivirus picked it up on an initial scan, but it doesn’t seem to do
anything. It didn’t replicate
itself in any manner or try to for that matter.
It didn’t try to erase my hard drive.
It just didn’t do anything. I
did a little bit of research on this particular virus.
It was sent to many people throughout the world.
It’s labeled as: Inconspicuous.”
As Paige talked about the virus and how she received it, she explored
the contents of the laptop to open the disc that held the virus program
itself. “This is where the
fun began. You know when I
decided to try to crack it open to see what it was programmed to do.
That’s when I found the really interesting things on here that led
me to research Dr. Beckett.” Stopping for a moment, Paige glanced around
at the others in the room. “If
you’d like to gather around, you’ll be able to see what I’m talking
Tom, Lexia, Al, Sam and General Hawkins moved to stand closer to her, Paige
continued talking. Paige
glanced at J. T. beside her as she said, “You know how programs can either
have soft parameters or hard parameters?”
T. smiled as he nodded to her, his expression even becoming more enamored
and excited as she began talking in a ‘language’ that he understood.
parameters? Hard parameters?” Tom Beckett asked with a frown.
sorry. Let me explain,” Paige began.
“Hard parameters, you have to have a password, period or you
can’t get in. Soft means that
you feed it data to help you get into the system.
This virus package came with soft parameters.
You feed it the information and it walks you through several
questions.” Seeing Tom nod,
she turned back to the laptop before her.
moment later, Paige had the virus program up on the screen.
“Here we go. Watch.”
Paige pushed a button and the question popped up on her screen as it
had the other times:
has many experiences in their travels and
takes time for the prosperity of others?
shook her head slightly as she looked at the computer screen.
“I put in all kinds of answers here, but that was before I did a
search on the ‘net. I took a
chance.” Paige typed in: Sam Beckett.
computer’s screen went totally black, faded to a sparkling blue-white hue,
and then suddenly it turned a brilliant blood red, and then went to a black
screen once again. Several of
the people in the room closed in around Paige as they watched the screen.
A prompt appeared in the middle of the screen then the type printed
didn’t have any cause to not put her name behind the prompt and then
immediately the question popped up as it had before and answered it the same
are you interested in Sam Beckett?
she entered the words into the computer, she spoke them aloud.
“I am interested in Sam Beckett to find out why he has assisted so
many people in his travels.”
is the exact same thing that you did before?” J. T. asked softly as after
she finished typing it in.
got it. You ready?” she asked
and seeing his slight nod, she hit the enter button then let the computer
split into its own little world. Again,
the virus program split in two; the screen divided in half from top to
bottom. A request waited at the
top and at the bottom a question.
Tom answered softly as he leaned in over his son’s shoulder.
I really don’t like this,” Al said as he watched the way that the whole
troupe was gathering around the computer.
“This isn’t like a game of Tomb Raider.
I have a bad feeling about this.”
this is where it gets a bit confusing here.
The top half of the screen starts requesting information about Sam
Beckett that I don’t know all the answers to.
I was able to get through a little bit, but when the program realized
that I couldn’t answer them anymore, it said, ‘Nicely done,’ then it
started asking me questions that you just can’t answer. It was playing with me.”
have the same feeling,” Sam answered Al softly not wanting to get the rest
of the group interested in what he was telling his holographic partner in
with you?” General Hawkins asked, his voice totally in awe at what he was
It asked me how many seeds were in a watermelon.
It was a random question that can’t be answered.
Just a way for the programmer to irritate the snot out of a person
who doesn’t have the answers for the top.
I… I think that the main purpose of this program is that it’s
trying to find someone who knows the information in the top part so that it
has the authorization to give the information it’s hiding.
Does that make sense?”
almost make it sound like it’s alive,” Lexia Stafford said softly, her
voice giving away to the mesmerizing effect of what she was seeing on the
laptop before her.
essence… it is,” Paige said as she turned her head to Lexia with a grin.
tall blonde-headed programmer blinked and leaned forward on the conference
table and smiled lightly. “So,
how far did you get?”
a few… and they are random. I’ve
tried it often enough, I should know.”
Paige took a deep breath then turned to look at J. T. and Tom.
“So… are you guys willing to help me out here?
I mean, who better to answer the questions but the man’s family?”
watched as Tom and J.T. nodded then leaned in a bit further to see what the
first request was from the computer. As
the request or question came up, J.T. and Tom discussed it then Paige would
answer the question behind it. As
the questions continued to get harder, the color of the background changed
colors from the black shade to a brilliant blood red.
Beckett’s idol is …
the non-dead languages that Sam Beckett knows.
Japanese, German, Spanish.
received a recipe for griddlecakes. To
whom did it belong?
was his mother’s recipe.
type of computer operates Project Quantum Leap?
computer is a parallel hybrid computer.
is Jimmy LaMotta?
T. and Tom Beckett looked at each other for a moment and drew a blank.
They didn’t know the answer, and as far as they knew, they didn’t
know of a man named Jimmy LaMotta. “Who
would know of this man?” Tom asked as he looked at his son.
he have been someone that Sam leaped into?
I mean… Ziggy…” J.T. started off.
Paige asked questioningly. “Who’s
Sam. This … this isn’t
right,” Al said softly.
Well… uhm…” J.T. began. “That’s
the name that my uncle gave to his computer.” J.T. smirked.
“Ya know; I know that my Dad named his computer Bob.
J.T., come on…” Paige started.
true,” Tom answered with a grin getting a giggle from Paige.
go get that information. I’ll
be right back.”
General Hawkins left the room, Al stepped up to Sam and frowned.
“I don’t know what the hell he’s doing, Sam, but how on earth
would he be able to get that information?
Who’s going to tell him?”
gave Al a look knowing that he couldn’t really say anything to him.
Sam cleared his throat then with a subtle nod, told Al to follow the
man leaving the room.
Al said then immediately followed the General out of the room then said,
“Dom, center me on General Hawkins.” Popping into the room where General
Hawkins stood with the phone up to his ear, Al heard the following one-sided
UMBRA Clearance Number: 078-023-982.”
He paused briefly listening for a reaction then asked, “Who is
whom are you talking to?” Al frowned as he rounded the man who was on the
phone. “Who’s giving you
information about the project?”
you, Ziggy,” General Hawkins said with a smile as he hung up the phone
cutting off whatever else the parallel-hybrid computer was going to say to
Al exclaimed loudly. “Ziggy!
What in the hell are you doing?!” Pressing on the holographic
button to make the parallel-hybrid computer emerge, Al asked, “Why are you
telling Hawkins about Jimmy LaMotta?”
have not, Admiral.”
face dropped as he turned to the General who was leaving the room smiling in
satisfaction. Al knew that he
would have a long discussion with the parallel-hybrid computer.
“Center me on General Hawkins.”
to himself as he realized that he would have the information on the disc all
to himself, General Hawkins high-tailed it back into the conference room
relaying the information to the participants in the room.
back into the conference room, Al moved over to Sam. “Sam… I don’t know what’s going on, but… Ziggy’s
Sam questioned the man beside him.
“She’s lying?” he whispered. “She can’t lie.”
Al was relaying what he had just overheard to Sam, Paige was entering the
information that General Hawkins had found out: Jimmy LaMotta is a mentally retarded man that Dr. Beckett
leaped into to mainstream him into society.
watched as the laptop took a moment to process the information that it was
given. The brilliant red
sparkled, intensified then vanished into a royal purple that reminded Paige
of a royal heraldry being flown before a king or queen entered the room.
The royalty seemed to fade sending the split screen back into one
before the prompt came back blinking on the screen. Slowly the following
began to print across the screen.
granted to FBI and Pentagon Files: “Beckett”
small rectangular bar appeared on the laptop showing its progress on
downloading the information as well as a small percentage number showing up
telling how much more was needed to download.
and Al stared at the screen in complete and total awe. “What the…” Al
said as he turned to face Sam who had the same expression on his face.
“You have files in the FBI and the Pentagon?”
shrugged, feeling completely and totally in the dark. He had no idea what was going on and it blew him completely
out of the water.
watched as the information that was beginning to download from the disc was
taking its own sweet time. “Well,
it looks as if this information is going to take a while to download.”
Paige looked around at the people in the room and smiled slightly at
each of them. “I guess that
this is the place that this needed to come to.
You were the ones that answered the information.
I know that I would have never been able to get it.”
Pushing away from the table, she stood and stepped back to her
stepfather and wrapped her arm around his waist.
wrapped his arm around Paige as the lights in the conference room dimmed and
slightly blinked before coming back on in full force. A hum began to fill the room that seemed extremely familiar
to the good Dr. Beckett.
turned his head to Sam with another frown.
“That…sound…” he began.
Stafford stood and smiled warmly. “It
sounds as if Omega, our parallel hybrid computer, is coming online.”
Al asked incredulously.
the hum became a constant sound and feeling that seemed to permeate the
room, Sam began to feel the tingling sensation of the leap begin to pervade
his senses. He didn’t want to
go. He felt as if he hadn’t
done anything for anyone. Sam
did his level best to keep hold of his current host.
morning, Dr. Beckett,” a familiar voice filled the room, making its
presence known to all in the room.
opened his mouth wanting to respond as he heard Al say something
incomprehensible then felt the leap pull him away from Project Liberty.