Episode 1127

And Then Darkness Falls

by: M. J. Cogburn


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The blue resonating light of the leap began to fade, leaving a confused Quantum Physicist in its place. He was dizzy, his brain still foggy from the leap in. His eyes blinked almost lazily as he stumbled slightly back into a cabinet, his pelvis coming in contact with it.  Sam bumped and then leaned back against it for support. He continued to try to get his bearings, but it was even more difficult than he initially realized.


He became aware of something in his hand - and that it was against his neck. His hand moved slightly and the object slowly moved with it. He rapidly blinked as he began to feel something moving down his throat. He moved his hand back away from his throat and peered at the article in his hand... and stopped short.


It wasn't just that he had a large sharpened butcher knife in his hand that had startled him. It was the blood that stained it that made his breathing sharp, his blood run cold.


He swallowed and prayed that he had been cutting meat - something that would make sense to him-- and glanced around the room to see nothing of the sort. He raised his left hand and touched his neck. The wet sticky sensation that he felt didn't calm his now racing nerves. Turning, he quickly grabbed at the counter; the large butcher knife clattering to the floor beside him – a rushing sound loud and thick in his ears. He glanced down and saw the blood beginning to seep into his shirt - not just a little, but an ungodly amount. Glancing back at the counter, he saw a dishtowel lying there. Grabbing it, he placed it against his neck and put as much pressure there as he could as he turned and started out of the kitchen.


The room was spinning and he felt his strength seeping from him. Entering the living area, he saw the cordless phone sitting on the table and stumbled over to it. Grabbing it up, he focused his thoughts as he dialed 9-1-1.


The operator that answered the phone sounded pleasant and calm as she asked, "9-1-1, what's your emergency?"


Sam tried to lower himself to the floor, but his equilibrium was thrown off and his elbow landed smartly on the coffee table, causing him to cry out in pain.


The operator's tone quickly went from pleasant and calm to direct and urgent. She began to talk over Sam's attempts to catch his breath and he only heard bits and pieces of what she was saying. "... someone is ... way.... stay .... for as long... possible... talk to me... what's wrong..."


"Please..." he managed to get out as he finally got a breath in. He lay back on the floor and looked up at the rotating blades of the ceiling fan above him and wondered what had happened in this person's life that was horrible enough for them to go to this measure. He never understood the reasoning behind suicide, and this just proved it to his morals even more so. "Please... help me."


"The ambulance is on its way. Talk to me. Don't hang up. Okay? Tell me what's going on..."


Even as Sam heard the ambulance sirens from some blocks away drawing nearer, he took a deep breath and glanced back into the kitchen where the large silver blade laid... the blood lightly dripping from the edge of the knife. He blinked at the surreal feeling that was engulfing him. The pressure that he had been putting on his throat was slowly lessening and he could feel his spirit wanting release. He took in another breath and let it out as he heard the door being broken down.


"Oooh boy," were the only words that he could sum up as his eyes slowly closed. The last sensations that he felt before he succumbed to the darkness were hands on him and people calling a name that didn't belong to him.





Project Quantum Leap

Stallion's Gate, New Mexico

May 7, 2006

5:00 AM MST


As soon as the body appeared in the Waiting Room, the claxons immediately began to ring throughout the complex; Ziggy's alarms calling every medical technician in the complex to full alert and to report immediately to the Waiting Room. Everyone on staff stayed out of the way as Aurora Lofton, Beth Calavicci, and the medical team rushed into the room to try to save the life that was ebbing away.


Words flew around the room, none of them making sense to the layperson, but to the medical team, the gibber jabber made perfect sense.


Al, dressed in his silver pajama bottoms and a polka-dotted black robe, pushed his way through the people that had gathered at the door, his attention riveted to the spot where it looked as if Dr. Sam Beckett was dying. "Sam," he whispered his best friend’s name then glanced back at the Imaging Chamber down the hall and grabbed at Dominic’s arm, tugging him back toward the Control Room. "You get that thing online, right now. I need to get to Sam. Let's go..."


Dominic Lofton’s head whirled, but he quickly got control of himself. He immediately began to get the Imaging Chamber online. But as soon as it started to come up, the power slowly ebbed and died away. "Ziggy! What's going on?"


"The power used from the leap in alone has taken a toll on the accelerator ring. It needs at least another 15.47 minutes to cool down before it can be run again."


"What!?" Al asked in amazement.


"I'm sorry, Admiral. It's the best that I can do," came the silky response.


Al looked at Dominic as he made a face and shrugged one shoulder up. "I'm sorry, Admiral."


Even as he apologized, the movement down the hall caused Al to turn to see what was going on. A gurney had been wheeled down as quickly as humanly possible and the team was coming out of the Waiting Room.  A medical tech was up on top of the gurney, busy resuscitating the life that had leaped into the future, as they wheeled whomever it was back down the hallway toward the Medical Bay.


Al's face paled. He knew that if that soul didn't survive, that Sam didn't have a chance of leaping back home. He couldn't believe this was happening. He ran his hand over his face and cupped his cheek for a moment. "Oh Sam... I hope that you're faring better than they are." He turned in a complete circle and looked back at the Imaging Chamber, feeling completely and totally hopeless. "Ziggy how much longer?"


"12.3 minutes, Admiral."


"Is there any way to boost the ring so that we can open the Imaging Chamber earlier?"


"No, Admiral."


Al began to pace his normal four steps and tried to think of what he could do to help his buddy trapped in time, who was apparently in dire straits. His mind raced as he thought of what might be happening to Sam on the other side of that door—in another time. His thoughts took a definite turn as he thought of his friend bleeding to death. "Dammit, I don't care what you have to do, just get the damn thing up and going ASAP!"


"I'm doing the best that I can, Admiral," Dominic said as he quickly began to try to re-route some of the non-necessary systems offline so that he could get more power to the ring.


"Well, do better!" Al barked at him, then looked up at the circular orb above him as the white lightning flashed through it. "Come on, Ziggy! Let's get this show on the damn road! Sam might be dying on the other side!"


Dom’s eyes opened in shock and the lightning that had been displayed in the orb suddenly seemed to diminish drastically. "Admiral..." Dominic replied softly as he blinked in reaction to the Italian’s words.


"Re-routing all auxiliary power, all other powers shut down except for the medical bay... the ring may go down with all the overload, Admiral, but the Imaging Chamber is online. Accessing... finding lock... found." There was a slight pause before Ziggy came back with. "The lock is steady, but faint. Admiral... " Her tone dropped low and a whisper floated down around the two men in the Control Room. "Make sure that my father is okay."





Al went hurriedly into the Imaging Chamber and entered a room of chaos. He couldn't believe what he was seeing! The way three medics were swarming in the living room over a body was enough to make him cringe. "Sam?" he called out slightly as the Imaging Chamber slowly slid down behind him.


The words that came back toward him weren't the ones that he wanted to hear: "... damn, BP's dropping... intubate... okay, okay... got it, get that IV started now.... oh no... she's defibbing...." The medical team present flew into medical emergency status. "CPR STAT!"


The medic that was blocking Al's view of the person that they were working on moved to start chest compressions and that was when Al got an eye full. His eyes opened in shock and surprise looking down at his friend, passed out on the floor, lying in a growing pool of blood, being resuscitated.


Immediately, Al went to his knees. "God, you can't do this... you... you just can't."  He bowed his head and clasped the handlink in between his hands. He closed his eyes and began to say a prayer that he hadn't said in a long time.


"Dammit," one of the medics said, his breath labored as he performed the chest compressions. "Come on... come on..."


"Wait!" the medic that was kneeling to the right of Sam said as he listened with the stethoscope to Sam's heart. "Got something..." a brief moment passed as the third medic continued to put pressure on the cut on Sam's neck. "We got a pulse..."


The team moved into a definite frenzy at that point, moving Sam onto a gurney, the third medic never moved his hand from the injury that Sam had sustained. They moved from the house to the ambulance and quickly started down the road before the two young men in the back of the ambulance had to begin CPR yet again.


Al followed his partner, watching the medics, praying and keeping an eye on them. They were doing everything in their power to keep Sam from the brink. Even as they reached the emergency room, they just barely brought Sam back from death's grasp once again.


Rushing him inside, the medics went directly into the ER with doctors and nurses gathering around them getting all of the data. The doctors took over and rushed Sam into the nearest ER room and began to work diligently to stop the bleeding and to save Sam's life.


As much as Al wanted to stay in the room with Sam, he couldn't. The way that they were talking, it didn't seem as if Sam had a chance to survive, but they didn't know his buddy the way that he did.


Al didn’t know how long he had paced outside the door of the ER.  He just knew that if he had actually been pacing outside the ER in the same time period that the nice red carpet outside the double doors of the Emergency Room would have been faded and well worn. 


When one of the swinging doors opened, Al saw the doctor that had been in charge of the surgery walk out of the ER looking more than a little pleased at his work.  “Is he okay? Please, God, tell me he’s okay," Al begged softly.


The doctor passed through Al and kept on going. Al peered inside the room and saw that they were finishing up with Sam, placing bandages on his neck before they began to move him into a recovery room. He sighed heavily as he felt relief wash over him.


Re-centering himself to be beside his buddy, Al looked down at Sam. "Oh Sam," he said softly and wished that there were something that he could do for him. "What happened?" he asked softly and wondered if he'd ever really find out.


The handlink softly whistled in his hand and he glanced down at it. The data displaying on the screen told him approximately what happened: There is a 99.4 percent chance that Dr. Beckett leaped in while Marilyn Hicks was committing suicide. The only thing that prevented her death was the phone call that Dr. Beckett made to 9-1-1.


Al looked back at his friend and sighed. "Oh Sam. You gotta make it through this, buddy. You... you just gotta." He shook his head and walked away from the bed to the side of the room. When his hand came in contact with the chair in the Imaging Chamber, it appeared beside him as he pulled it back over to the bed. He sat down beside the bed and took in a deep breath. "Don't worry, buddy, I'll be here when you wake up."



There was a haze that seemed to float everywhere around him and he blinked in the blue-white light that seemed to engulf him. Words from somewhere floated through the air, causing him to blink even more to try to see where he was. He couldn’t believe the words… because some of them were his own:


The lives you touched… touched others; and those lives, others. You’ve done a lot of good, Sam Beckett, and you can do a lot more.


I don’t wanna do more. I wanna go home.


Sam, you’ll only do this as long as you want to.


Are you saying that I could leap home anytime I want? What’s the catch?


The catch is that YOU control your own destiny.


The words slowly echoed away from him and new words seemed to fill the air around him, even more emphatic – penetrating through the haze. A song that he seemed to know so well at one point in time and now, it seemed to be haunting him.


Hear me heathens, and wizards, and servants of sin:

All your dastardly doings are past!

For a holy endeavor is now to begin

And virtue shall triumph at last!


“What is this? Where am I?” Sam finally asked, his words echoing in the room that he was standing in. When the intonations of his own voice ended around him, he blinked, looking in front of him at a blue, calming hue as another song seemed to encircle him.


To dream the impossible dream

To fight the unbeatable foe

To bear with unbearable sorrow

To run where the brave dare not go

To right the unrightable wrong


“I’m doing what you want me to do, aren’t I?” Sam questioned as he questioned the blueness around him.  “I’m righting the wrongs… at least… I try,” he said as he remembered Paddy Mulhill.  “Right?”


This is my quest, to follow that star

No matter how hopeless

No matter how far

         To fight for the right

Without question or pause

To be willing to march

Into hell for a heavenly cause…


“What are you trying to tell me?” he called out, his voice once again echoing back at him. He waited a moment for an answer to come but again, there was no answer. Confused, Sam lowered his head then turned in a circle and brought his head back up and his mouth dropped open.


“Sam…” The voice was kind, warm and loving. 


Sam almost didn’t recognize the man standing before him.  It was the man that this whole dream of Time Travel centered on… the one man that Sam wanted… needed approval from… the man that he loved more than anything.  Without saying a word, he took the few steps toward the man, grabbed him and pulled him into his embrace.  It was only then as he felt the man’s arms clap him on the back did he say softly, lovingly, “Dad.”


It was a long moment that they stood in the embrace before Sam finally backed away from the man that he adored. “Dad,” he repeated again.


“Sam,” John Beckett replied, and then turned back toward the light that was behind him, and then turned back to his son. “You have more to do here. A lot more.”


“But… I wanna go home,” Sam pleaded softly.


John put his hand out and touched his son’s shoulder. “I know, Sam… but when you’re finished with your tasks, then you can come home.”


A soft noise seemed to creep into the space, growing slowly louder. It almost sounded like… someone was snoring. Sam frowned at the sound and then looked up at his father.


John smiled at his son before he turned toward the light, taking a few steps before turning to face his son once more.  “I’m so proud of you, son.”


Sam closed his eyes, his emotions bubbling up so quickly at those words. “Oh, Dad…” he opened his eyes once more and quickly turned in a circle when he realized that his father was gone. “Dad? Dad?”


“It’s okay, I’m here,” a totally different voice replied. The timbre of the voice wasn’t one that he recognized and he slowly felt himself being pulled away from the special place where he’d just been.


“Dad?” he asked softly again then turned his head slowly to the right and opened his eyes once again.


A blurry mass was before him – looking like two different people - the colors melding and blending together. He blinked several times to clear his vision. Slowly, it did clear and he saw why he thought he saw two people. There were two people… one tangible… one a hologram.


The hologram was sitting to the left of the other, asleep, his head propped up on his hand, snoring loudly. The other was a man, his age undetermined but looking lovingly and concernedly at him. He scooted up on the edge of the chair and slowly took in a deep breath. “Marilyn… oh Marilyn,” he said softly as he took Sam’s hand in his. “I’m just so glad that you woke up.”


“Not now, Beth,” another voice chimed in that made Sam glance over at his holographic pal. “Another five minutes. Promise.”


Sam lightly smiled at his friend then glanced up at the man sitting next to him, holding his hand. “Dad?” he whispered, his voice weak, weary and tired.


“No… no. Don’t talk. Everything will be fine, Marilyn. Everything will be fine from now on, baby. Just…” he sighed then stood up and looked at the door. “Let me call the doctor.” He leaned over and pushed the call button and sat back down. “Everything will be just fine.”


Sam slowly moved his head up and down then glanced back over at the hologram that had just opened his eyes. He rubbed his face and yawned tiredly as he glanced over at Sam. Seeing that his buddy was awake, Al perked up and leaned forward in the chair. “You okay, buddy?” he asked softly.


Sam once again slowly nodded at the question asked of him. “I…” he softly began. “Where…”


The man sitting in the chair reached up and touched Sam’s cheek. “You’re in the hospital, honey. You had surgery and you’ll be just fine. Everything, baby, is going to be just fine. I promise.”


A squeal of the handlink from Al’s pocket made Al jump. He quickly dug the handlink out of his pocket and looked at the data screen. The information there was despairing. It read: Within twenty-four hours, Marilyn Hicks is found dead in her hospital bed, her neck slit in another apparent suicide.





The doctor came in a few minutes later with a small professional smile on his face.  He went to the end of the bed and picked up the chart hanging there and read the recent information that had been posted.  He hummed softly and nodded as he read, then replaced it before he regarded Sam.  “Well, young lady,” he began softly, “I’m glad to see you’re awake.”  He gave Sam a small grin, then came around to the side of the bed and tilted Sam’s head slightly and felt him tense.  “It’s okay, I’m going to look at my handiwork and make sure that there isn’t any infection.”


As soon as the man’s hands turned his head, a brilliant white-hot pain engulfed him.  It seemed that if he didn’t move, it didn’t hurt.  Sam couldn’t help but tense up, his fingernails digging into his palms as he did what the doctor asked of him.  There were a few things that he couldn’t quite figure out.  What had happened that required surgery?  He couldn’t quite remember.  All that he remembered was seeing a very bright light and his father giving him a hug and telling him that he was proud of him.  Nonetheless, he gritted his teeth as he felt the tape being lifted from his skin, the bandage next from his neck.  When did that get there?’ he wondered with a frown.  How did I get here?


Sam looked over at Al for the unasked questions and just saw his friend meet his eyes and smile gingerly.  His eyes made it over to the man that was Marilyn’s father and the man had the same look that Al had – melancholy and drab with a somewhat encouraged look.


Sam heard the doctor hum in satisfaction then felt a soothing medication being placed on an elongated area on his neck – an area that went from almost all the way from his jugular to his larynx - then felt another bandage being applied.  The doctor’s touch was gentle, but Sam couldn’t help but wince and slightly moan.  The area was very tender to the touch.  Once he felt that the doctor was finished, he turned his head to him. 


“Looks like everything is doing just fine.  You may have a slight problem with talking at the moment,” the doctor told him plainly.  “The surgery took longer than we intended.  The severity of the situation called for some out of the ordinary measures to stop the bleeding, but the pain that you feel at the moment will recede.”  Sam glanced at the doctor’s nametag and saw that he was talking with a Dr. Laromie. 


“Dr. Laromie,” Marilyn’s father called out, making the doctor’s head pivot to face him.  “Otherwise, Marilyn’s fine, correct?”


“Yes, Mr. Hicks, Marilyn will be fine.  She’ll of course have a scar there, but in time it will fade to where it’s not so evident.  I think as long as she gets some psychological help as well, then she’ll be just fine.”


Sam shut his eyes as he listened to them talking about the woman he had leaped into - Marilyn Hicks.  He racked his brain to find out what had happened to her to lead her to this place, to have slashed her own throat, to be in this hospital bed.  Just when it seemed as if he was about to reach it, he felt his hand have a slight squeeze.  He opened his eyes to look at the man beside him. 


“Did you hear that?”


Sam mouthed, ‘No.’


“The doctor said that you’d be okay, baby.  We’ll do everything that we can for you.  Don’t worry about anything.  We’ll get the best doctors that I can afford.  Listen, I’ve got to go home and get a couple of things squared away.  Your brother will be up here in a little bit to sit with you.  Okay?  I’ll be back.”  He glanced up at the doctor who still stood beside the bed, and then reached across Sam to extend his hand.  Shaking his hand heartily, he leaned down and placed a peck on Sam’s cheek.  “I’ll be back, sweetie.”  With that said, he turned around and walked out of the small hospital room.


Dr. Laromie ran his hand over his brown hair then rubbed at the tension in his neck.  He didn’t like what had happened to this young woman.  He had no idea at what had caused her attempt on her life, but he knew that had she not called 9-1-1 that she wouldn’t be here.  He scanned her face for a moment then said, “You know, Marilyn, if you need to talk to someone about what you did, I can get one of our psychiatrists to come down and talk with you about what happened.”


Sam frowned.  What did Marilyn do?’ he wondered to himself, and then vaguely a very real mental picture struck out from the corners of his mind. 


The blade of the knife was cold to the touch – oh so cold.  All it would take would be one swipe across the throat and it would be over.  Everything would be over.  No more pain, no more anguish, no more anything.  It would be done.  Everything.  A large kitchen butcher knife.


“No,” he managed to get out.  He tried to clear his throat, but the pain caused him to start coughing. 


The doctor went to a tray and poured a little water into the glass then walked back over to Sam and gave him a sip of it.  “Little steps…” he told Sam gently. 


The coughing fit under control, Sam looked up at the doctor curiously.  The doctor patted his shoulder gently then gave him a smile before he promised to come by and check up on him later.


Sam lay back on the pillow then realized that his partner in time was still with him.  He turned his head back to Al and looked at him sorrowfully.  “What…” he tried to speak but the pain overwhelmed him.


“It’s okay, buddy.  I know what you want to know.  It’s April 14, 1998 and you are in Austin, Texas.  You leaped into Marilyn Hicks, a seventeen year old who was originally found in her house from an apparent suicide.  You already changed history for this young lady, but she still appears to commit suicide within the next twenty-four hours while still at the hospital.”


Sam’s eyes widened in shock and surprise.  He couldn’t understand how someone could commit suicide.  There was an option.  There was a way out and suicide wasn’t one of them.  Not one at all. 


“But…” Sam’s hand went up to his throat and he gingerly fingered the bandage as he winced.


“Don’t talk, Sam. I know it hurts.  When I was in ‘Nam, I had more than a few cuts on my throat around my larynx.  It’s not pretty and it hurts like hell.  Listen, at least you’re over the worst part.  Just wanted to let you know what’s going on and who you were.  I’ll be back, okay?  I need a shower, something to eat and possibly a bed that’s softer than that chair for a little while.”


It was then that Sam realized that Al had been with him for some time if Al needed to get away for necessities.  All he could do was just nod his head and be thankful that he had such a good friend who would stay with him, even as a hologram, through the rough times that he had.  He watched as Al called up the Imaging Chamber door, smiled at him, then stepped through it and vanished.


Sam sighed and closed his eyes.  His mind wandered for a moment as he continued to finger the bandage at his throat.  What had caused this seventeen-year-old to try to commit suicide?  Why would she go to such lengths?  He knew that he had to find the answers to the question.  That thought was the last one on his mind as he fell asleep.



Stallion’s Gate New Mexico

Project Quantum Leap

May 7, 2006

11:45 AM MST


Albert Calavicci had barely gotten back to the complex when it was announced that there was a very important phone call waiting for him in his office.  Frowning, Al glanced up at Ziggy for a moment, his face full of wonder.  “Who’s on the phone, Zig?” Al asked as he tried to stifle a yawn.


“Your daughter.”


“Which one?” Al asked as he stretched his hands up over his head trying to rid himself of the crick that he had gotten as he slept on the chair in the Imaging Chamber.


"Julianna," the reply came.


Al's face brightened and he quickly headed down the hallway toward his office, almost at a jog.  He hadn't talked with Julianna or Jude since Christmas.  He beamed with pride as he thought of his grandson.  Hearing Jude calling him Papa Calavicci was enough to let his grandson wrap the Admiral around his little finger – for good.  Julianna had told him that since she had some things to deal with that she had to have her space, but she always called on the major holidays to let them know that she was safe, secure and well.  He just hoped that she was still on the phone when he opened the door and raced over to the phone.  Picking it up, he said breathlessly, "Hello, Jules?"


"Hi, Daddy," Julianna said, her voice reflecting a mixture of emotions: anger, fear, and sadness being the primary of them. "Dad... I'm..." She sighed. "God!"


Al frowned.  He didn't like the sound of her voice nor did he like the way that she sighed.  The Julianna that was normally high-spirited and optimistic wasn't the one that he was on the phone with.  Licking his lips, Al sat down behind his desk.  "Jules, what's wrong?  Don't beat around the bush.  Just..."


Her father had asked her to come straight out with it, so she did, interrupting him in mid-sentence.  "That bastard ex-fiancé of mine is suing me for custody of Jude!" she exclaimed in fury. She wanted to hit something. Anything! Oh, what she wouldn’t give for a punching bag!


Al's mouth dropped open as he thought of his grandson, Jude Albert Sherman-Calavicci.  He blinked in shock and he closed his mouth then tried to speak, but nothing came as he looked around his office.  Standing up, his anger flared up, sparking his fist as it came down on the desk.  It was then that his mouth released and he was able to speak.  "WHAT!?" he questioned hotly.  "What reason did that ass give you?  If it comes down to it... you can come back here... and Beth can take care of him.  She's officially retired now," Al rattled, as his brain came up with an immediate solution to the problem his daughter was having.  "If… if he can’t handle it… then… then… damn,” he muttered after a moment.  “If he takes Jude… I know that we haven’t seen him as often as we’d like to… but if that happens, we’ll never see him again," he finally said as the wind settled from the sails.


Julianna listened to her father rattle off in anger that diminished into worry - very reasonable worry at that. His worry helped to ease her anger in favor of concern for his emotional state. Al Calavicci wasn't as young as he would pretend to be; his health was one of the things that were always on Jules' mind.


"Dad... you know that I would never allow Thomas to keep you from Jude." She exhaled again. "Giving him to Mama Beth would only exacerbate the matter." She swallowed and, for the first time since she sat in that restaurant with Thomas Henson, she admitted, "I'm scared, Dad." It wasn’t an easy thing for her to admit, given her life in the Navy as a SEAL.


Al slowly sat back down in his chair and propped his head in his hand, his thumb and middle finger massaging his temples, his hand covering his eyes, as he thought of his daughter's dilemma.  He was silent for a moment, and then he swallowed and asked a forbidden question, "Would Jude be in a better environment with Thomas?"


Hearing an anger-filled, "God, Dad, what in the hell do you think?  Do you think that I don't love my own son?"


"Jules..." Al tried to break into her irritated monologue.


"What do you take me for?  I can't believe that you even..."


"JULIANNA!" Al yelled into the phone, causing his daughter to come to a halt.  "I didn't ask if you loved Jude.  I know that you do.  Now... listen to the question again.  Would the environment be better for your son?"


Julianna was still ramrod straight in her seat, an almost instinctive reaction from being yelled at by an admiral. As such, her answer reflected her posture, even if it was more informal.  "Dad, Thomas is an airline pilot. He spends most of his time flying from one destination to another. Thomas’ little mistress would raise Jude... I guess they're married now. But I met this woman, Dad. She doesn't give a damn about anyone but herself. So... would he be in a better environment? If you're talking about being loved and cared for by a person who would rather die than see him harmed, I'd say, hell, no, he wouldn't be in a better environment!" She huffed angrily. "And it's bad enough with Thomas accusing me of being a bad mother without you asking questions like that!"


Al sighed tiredly. After staying most of the day in the Imaging Chamber with Sam, watching over his friend in the hospital bed, Al didn't need this harassment from his daughter even when he had no choice but to play a little of Devil's Advocate.  Al so wanted to ask her where she was and just go and get her, but he knew that he couldn't leave Sam in a precarious situation, especially when Marilyn could die within the next twenty-four hours. 


Tsking slightly, Al let out another breath.  "Come home, Julianna.  I know that's probably not what you want... but you know that our door is always open to you and Jude.  We'll fight this together."


Jules sighed softly. "I wish I could, Dad. But the court order prohibits me from leaving the area." She gently rubbed her face. "Listen, I'm sorry I called. You sound awful, Dad. Rough day?"


Al slightly grinned.  He never could keep anything from that bloodhound.  "Don’t be sorry.  It was just … a very long one.  Our visitor was in the process of committing suicide when Sam leaped in."


Julianna gasped at his words, concern immediately filling her. "Are they okay?" she asked. Probably - no, definitely - an inappropriate question given that she technically didn't work at Project Quantum Leap anymore.


Al winced as he realized that he had leaked some information.  "Yes," he said plainly, knowing that Julianna wasn't going to go blab to Tom, Dick and Harry about what she had just heard.  "For the moment."  Al shook his head, blinked then licked his lips before a yawn escaped from him.  "I'm sorry, Babydoll.  You aren't boring me. Like I said earlier... it's been a long day already."


"Well, then, if I may borrow a habit from both of my mothers... go to bed, Daddy," she told him gently. "Get something to eat, get a hot shower, some warm milk, and then snuggle up next to Mama Beth and let her whisper sweet nothings in your ear." She paused. "And when I call again, you are going to HAVE to update me on what the heck is going on over there with Mama Beth, et cetera."


Al smiled at his daughter's words - especially when her words about snuggling up to Beth gave him another mental picture.  "All right, Babydoll.  I'll follow your orders.  As for the update..." Al sighed then shook his head with a slight laugh.  "You'll be surprised.  Nothing's the same."


"Since when was anything ever the same in that corner of New Mexico?" she asked with friendly sarcasm. She paused a long moment. "I love you, Daddy. Good night."


Al smiled warmly, tears lightly coming into his eyes at her words.  "I love you, too, Babydoll.  Sweet dreams," he said, his voice full of emotion and love.  "Kiss Jude for me and tell him the same."


"I will," Jules said gently before slowly hanging up the phone. It didn't help solve the major problem but talking with her father did help her emotionally, preparing her for the fight she was determined to win.


Al waited until he heard the dial tone in his ear before he hung up the phone.  Sighing, he stood up and shook his head.  "Damn him," he murmured then headed out of his office in search of something to eat and warm milk before he would go back to his quarters to finish off the rest of the instructions from his daughter.





Scott And White Hospital

Temple, Texas

April 14, 1998

1:30 PM CST


Sam tossed lightly on the bed where he was sleeping.  The movement on the bed caused him to wince and he moaned lightly, before he turned onto his side.



“Look, you don’t have to get into the car, Marilyn, but I really want you to, baby.  Come on.  I mean, you know how I care about you.”


“I care about you too, Derrick, that’s why I don’t want to get into the car while you’re drunk.  You shouldn’t be driving at all, especially since it’s raining cats and dogs,” Marilyn said as she ran her hand down his arm.  “Come on, baby, why don’t you let me drive?”


“You really wanna take care of me, don’t you?” He leaned in toward her, his hands sliding around her hips, and clasping together in the small of her back before he pulled her toward him.  “Come here, you,” he said with a smirk and enjoyed the smile on her face before he kissed her sweetly.  “I love you.”


“I love you, too.”


“Well, let’s go!”  He pulled the keys out of his pocket and gave them to her before he pulled out the umbrella and opened it as they stepped outside the door.  He walked her to the driver’s side of the car.  “There you go, Miss Hicks, soon to be Mrs. Davidson,” he said as he opened the door and allowed her entry into his four-door blue Mercury.


Marilyn giggled as she got settled and put on her seatbelt.  “Are we ready to go?” she asked, as he got in on the opposite side and belted in.


“Sure! Let’s roll!” 


Marilyn started the car and immediately turned on the windshield wipers to ward off the water that had cascaded on the windshield.  She put the car into reverse and pulled out of the driveway.  Soon, they were on their way back home from a small get-together at Brian Jenkins house. 


She wasn’t thrilled that Derrick had been drinking with his buddies, but she wasn’t about to put him down or in his place because of it.  He was eighteen after all, and he had a choice to do it.  She wasn’t going to lose him over something so trivial.


As she pulled the car out onto the freeway, Marilyn tried to put her attention on the road.  The rain was coming down something fierce and she was having trouble keeping the car on the road.  She glanced over at Derrick and saw him place his feet up on the dashboard, acting silly. 


Even as Marilyn turned her head back toward the road, the car hit a slick spot and began to spin wildly out of control.  She screamed out in panic and tried to turn into the spin, but Derrick grabbed her arm, forcing her hand out toward him.  He called out her name, watching as the world spun around them. 


All of a sudden, the car came to sudden, screaming, metal-crunching halt.  Glass flew everywhere and everything flew forward.  The driver’s side door flew open, and, after unbuckling the safety belt, Marilyn rolled out of the car.  Her head was screaming in pain and she crawled away from the wreck on her hands and knees, getting glass all in them.  She stopped some feet away and collapsed on the ground in the rain and passed out.  When she came to, she looked up at the wreck before her – her vision blurred, her head throbbing in pain.  As she sat up, she heard screaming.  Derrick!


She got up and ran to his side of the car and tried to open the door, but it was bent shut.  It was then that she looked in at him, seeing that his feet had come through the front windshield.  He was stuck inside the car!  She was frantic and got up on top of the hood and began to kick in the windshield so that she could pull him out that way.  She heard a heavy hissing quickly followed by a thick heavy sound like an explosion in a closed room, and then she was knocked clear off the hood.  A moment later, the car was engulfed in flames.


“Marilyn!  Marilyn!  God, help me!  Don’t… don’t let me die… not like this!  Marilyn!”


Sam's body flew up into a sitting position in the bed panting from the intensity of the dream.  It was in that moment that he realized exactly what Marilyn was trying to get rid of.  The pain in his own heart was enough for him, but this time, he understood.  He understood exactly how she felt.  Lying back on the bed, he softly began to cry.



Stallion’s Gate, New Mexico

Project Quantum Leap

May 7, 2006

12:30 PM MST


Dr. Aurora Lofton had seen plenty of cases in her lifetime as a medical doctor, but when the medical staff wheeled Dr. Beckett to the infirmary on a gurney in an apparent suicide case, her mind went into overdrive.  In what situation had he been in that suicide was the only answer?


She had barely heard Ziggy's report of the leap in amid the sounds of the claxons that alerted her and she had been prepared, but still her eyes seemed to bulge when he saw the slit across his neck.  "All right people, keep your eyes and ears open."


She needn't tell them that Dr. Beckett's opportunity to get back was at stake -- nor that the leapee's life was at stake.  She knew that her statement alone would keep them on the ball.


Even as the team as one had lifted Dr. Beckett's body to the stabilized gurney, she had been fully able to take the situation in hand.  She had been alert and with a steady hand worked carefully on the abuse to Dr. Beckett's neck.


It had been over seven hours since the young woman had been in her care and she still hadn’t regained consciousness yet.   Standing beside the bed with the young woman hiding inside of Dr. Beckett’s aura, Aurora Lofton lifted her eyes up toward the ceiling, knowingly.  "Ziggy?"


"Yes, Dr. Lofton?" the disembodied voice called out from seemingly everywhere in the room.


"Do we know the cause of why Marilyn was committing suicide?"


"I've been researching into her background Dr. Lofton and have come up with one scenario."


Aurora Lofton glanced up at the statement and mentally prepared herself for the inevitable but it didn't come.  She frowned, her brows furrowing then licked her lips impatiently.  "And that would be?" she prompted.


"It involves death," Ziggy announced plainly.  "On March 15, 1998, Marilyn Hicks grandmother, mother and younger brother -- Helen, Wanda and Daniel Hicks respectively, were killed in a airplane accident.  Then on April 1, 1998, Marilyn and her boyfriend Derrick were driving home from a party when the car hydroplaned, spun out of control, and careened with a concrete barrier."


"Oh my God,” Aurora breathed.


"Marilyn survived the crash.  She witnessed Derrick Johnson being burned alive in the car."


Aurora closed her eyes and bowed her head slightly.  She knew what mourning and depression could do to a person.  She had a bout of it herself when she was younger that she had to work through.  Without waiting for any more words from Ziggy, Aurora grabbed her patient's hand and bowed her head as she began to pray for the soul before her. 



Scott And White Hospital

Temple, Texas

April 14, 1998

1:35 PM CST


Dr. Beckett, the man who did his level best to correct past wrongs, wiped at his face trying to rid himself of the tears that continued to trickle from his eyes.  Marilyn Hicks’ raw, passionate and guilt-ridden emotions were overpowering.  He felt not only pity for the teenager he had leaped into – he felt as if her emotions were pushing and eating away at his stability in this leap.


He tried to think of a solid pleasing, blissful moment in his own life to battle against the despair, but he was having a tough time finding one with his memory full of holes.  It seemed as if Marilyn’s tsunami of pain and anguish was filling all of his lost memories with rock and cement.


The scientist within grasped at a solution to his current dilemma:  reason it away.  Glancing around the small room, Sam looked for a piece of paper and a pencil.  As his eyes fell on the bedside table to his left, he was rewarded when he found a pen resting beside a five by seven inch pad of paper with “Scott and White Hospital” blazed across the top of it.  Reaching over, Sam grabbed the pad and pen.  Swallowing, he slightly nodded to himself then murmured, “Reason it out… write it down.”


Licking his lips, Sam settled on the bed on his left side, propped his head up on his hand, then put pen to paper and began.  What the Quantum Physicist thought would be a way to reason it out was in reality opening the door to the unbundled catastrophic anguish Marilyn Hicks had not shown to anyone.


I’m writing this letter to try to tell myself -- it’s time for me to feel better, but – but how can I?  I was the one who wanted to go home.  He didn’t.  I was the one who drove in the downpour.  Not him.  He may have been drinking, but I was the one who lost control.  He was always there when I needed him, but I wasn’t there for him when he needed me.  He needed me – he called out to me and the flames – so hot – and I … dammit… I turned away.


Fresh tears spilled down Sam’s cheeks splattering on the paper, smudging a few of the letters he had written, as he paused for a moment choking back on the words, “He needed me… and I turned away.”  His chin quivered and he found himself writing even more.


Oh my God!  What have I done?  It’s all my fault!  I killed the one that I love!  He was the only one that I’ve wanted… I was there.  I should have done more.  I should have crawled in and pulled him free… but I was – I was scared.  My selfishness killed him.  Oh baby, I’m so sorry… please, forgive me for being the way that I am.  I didn’t want to be a social butterfly, like Marissa… I just wanted to be with you and I… oh God, why!  Why did I do this?  Why!?  I could have saved you!  I should have!  Why didn’t I?  It’s… oh God -- it’s my fault.  It’s all my fault.


Sam’s eyes blurred from the stinging humiliation and shame as the raw, unbridled sorrow enveloped him.  Just the sensation of an emotion gripping, tearing and penetrating him was something that Dr. Sam Beckett thought wasn’t possible.  A heart-wrenching sob escaped his lips as he uttered the few words that echoed through his heart, mind and soul, “It’s all my fault.”


As Sam pulled his arms in toward his body, hugging himself, the tears took their own vengeance on his body, leaving Sam exhausted.  Before sleep claimed him, he saw the last words he had written and voiced it once more, softly, halfheartedly, “My fault.” 


Less than five minutes after Sam fell asleep, the Imaging Chamber door opened in the far right hand corner of the room.  Al stepped back into 1998 wearing black slacks and a multihued long sleeved button-up shirt with a black string tie.  Shutting the door behind him, Al moved into the room, finding Sam asleep.  Al lightly smiled at his friend as he came up to him. 


Noticing the way that Sam had his arms around his upper torso, Al slightly frowned.  It was then that he noticed the pad laying a few inches away from Sam’s body.  Turning his head, slightly, Al read the words that Sam had written.


“Oh Sam,” he whispered then shook his head slightly before he pressed his lips together and then ran his teeth over his bottom lip.  Looking down at the handlink in his hand, he called the Imaging Chamber door back up.  “Hold on, buddy,” Al said sympathetically then turned and headed back to the project – one destination in mind.


The Imaging Chamber door had barely closed when the door of Sam's room opened and a figure moved quietly to the side of the bed where Al had just been.  Seeing the pad of paper on the bed beside the sleeping girl with fresh tearstains on her face, Sam's silent visitor carefully picked the pad up from the bed and read what he had written.  Turning slightly, his guest returned the pad to the bedside table with the pen then looked back at the teen, then left.




Stallion’s Gate, New Mexico

Project Quantum Leap – Infirmary

May 7, 2006

12:35 PM MST


Marilyn Hicks opened her eyes and blinked for a moment before she turned her head to the right. A movement caught her attention and she frowned as she saw the face of a caring, black woman looking back at her.  Swallowing and wincing from the pain, Marilyn placed her hand lightly on her cheek.  “Am… I…” she whispered.


“No, Marilyn,” Dr. Verbena Beeks said softly.  “You’re not dead.  You gave us quite a scare.”  Seeing her patient move her hands to the bandages that swathed her neck, Verbena said, “What happened that made you consider that option?”


Marilyn’s eyes met Verbena’s for a moment before she looked away.  Her voice was soft and murmured, “Pain.  Death.  I…”  Marilyn tried to lightly clear her throat as her eyes found her feet underneath the sheets of the bed she was laying on.  “I… was sur-surrounded by death.  Grandmother, mother, brother and now… my boyfriend.”


Verbena nodded at her words.  “I see…”


Marilyn’s eyes shot to the psychiatrist’s face and she glared at her.  “How presumptuous, Verbena,” Marilyn said a little too familiarly then turned to look at the portly woman standing on the other side of the bed.  In doing so, she missed the startled expression that came over Verbena Beeks face.


“You d-don’t see anything.  I… doubt you know the pain of losing everything you hold dear.”  Marilyn’s voice held a menace in it as her eyes cut back to Verbena then said, “Go to hell.”


In the time that Marilyn had turned her head to look at Aurora, Verbena had quickly reassumed an expression of professional calm. Though her expression appeared unmoved, underneath it alarms were going off at full volume.  “Marilyn…”


“No!” Marilyn shouted as she suddenly began to beat and slap at her head. “I don’t want your drugs.  I never wanted these drugs!  You… you did something to me! Why!?  Why can’t I remember who they are!”


Verbena was out of her seat and grabbing for Marilyn’s wrists the instant the girl’s hands came in contact with her head.  She knew that she had to prevent the clearly troubled girl from causing herself any more bodily injury than she already had.


“NO!  Let me go!  Dammit, Verbena, let me go!”  Marilyn screamed.


From across the room, Aurora Lofton grabbed at the syringe of sedatives that they always kept on hand.  As she approached the pair struggling on the bed, Marilyn’s eyes caught sight of the syringe and she shrieked, “NO!  Aurora, no!”


In the time that it took for Marilyn to suck in another breath to scream out again, the injection was over.  Together, Aurora and Verbena held down the struggling teen in the aura of Sam Beckett until they saw that the sedative was beginning to take affect. 


“You don’t understand!” Marilyn said, her words beginning to slur as the sedative slowly began to take effect.  Her eyes were already beginning to lose the battle against the drug and as her eyes closed, the words she uttered, made the doctors look at each other in astonishment: “How… how am I going to… save her?”



Stallion’s Gate, New Mexico

Project Quantum Leap

May 7, 2006

12:42 PM MST


Walking out of the Imaging Chamber, Admiral Albert Calavicci turned his head back toward the image of his friend on the bed before the door closed firmly behind him.  Continuing down the small hallway, Al motioned back toward the room he had just left.  “Keep that lock on Sam.  I’ll be back.”


“I cannot, Admiral,” Ziggy responded.


Al stopped short, demanding, “And just why not?”


“The Imaging Chamber has a variance that needs to be realigned.  A diagnostic is required.”


“It’s true, Admiral,” Dominic iterated.  “The diagnostic shouldn’t take too long for it to run.  It should be done when you get back.”


“How long are we talking, Dom?” Al asked curiously, his eyes narrowing slightly knowing just from the note that Sam had written as Marilyn Hicks that things in the leap weren’t going as he had hoped.  He didn’t want to not be able to get back to Sam when he was needed. 


“Twenty to thirty minutes, Admiral,” Dominic said optimistically. 


Al sighed, swallowed then licked his lips.  “Just have it ready when I get back, Dom.”


“You got it, Admiral.”


Shaking his head at the untimely necessity of a diagnostic needing to be run on the Imaging Chamber, Al started down the hallway to go to the infirmary.  The note that Sam had written worried him.  He knew that he had to talk to Marilyn. 


As he turned the corner, Al quickly went to the wall and pressed up against it as he saw Verbena and Aurora Lofton on either side of a gurney carrying the visitor in the aura of Dr. Sam Beckett.  He noticed that the visitor in the aura of his best friend was asleep.  “Where are you taking her?” Al asked curiously but before one of them could respond, Al felt a hand on his right arm and he turned to look at his wife, Beth.  “Beth, what’s…”


“They are taking Marilyn back to the Waiting Room, Al,” Beth told him as she saw her husband’s eyes looking at her.


“Is she okay?  I mean -- should she be moved already?”


Beth couldn’t help the loving look that she gave her husband.  He was always thinking of others – never of himself and she loved him even more for it.  “Yes, she can be moved.  She’s sedated at the moment.”  Seeing Al’s alarm, Beth licked her lips then said, “That is one seriously troubled teen.”


Al nodded to his wife’s words, and then asked, “Why were you in the infirmary?”


“I couldn’t help myself.  Old habits die hard,” Beth smiled back at him.  “I was just watching from the sidelines, Al.”  She saw him look down at her foot and she shook her head already negating the wonder from his thoughts.  “No, nothing’s wrong with my foot either, flyboy.  I’m fine.  I just wanted to see how Verbena and Aurora were doing with the situation.”


“So, why is she sedated?  Did something happen?”


Beth nodded.  “You know how all of the leapees have holes in their memories?”  Seeing Al nod, Beth continued, “Well, she thought that Verbena had done something to make her memories of her family fade.  She began to beat at her head and that’s when Aurora gave her a sedative.  I told them that it might be best if we moved her back to the Waiting Room.”




“Well, honey, it was somewhat odd.  Marilyn knew who Verbena and Aurora were.”


“What?” Al asked confused for a moment as he searched his wife’s face.  Seeing her hesitation, Al placed his hands on her shoulders and leaned his head slightly toward her.  “Beth?”


Beth met his eyes and she blinked.  “I could have sworn that it was Sam talking and not Marilyn.”


“Why do you say that?”


“It was her last words before Marilyn succumbed to the sedative.  She said, ‘How am I going to save her?’”


Al’s hands dropped from his wife’s shoulders.  “Oh God…” he uttered before he stepped forward, kissed his wife on the cheek then turned back in the direction from whence he came.  Racing down the hallway, Al was hoping that whatever was happening back in 1998 wasn’t as bad as he thought it was.


Entering the Control Room, he went up to the mainframe his chest heaving and demanded, “I need that Imaging Chamber up and running now, Dominic.”


“I’m sorry, Admiral.  We are still in the middle of the diagnostic, and…”


“How much longer…?” Al asked breathless.


“At least another fifteen minutes.”



Austin, Texas

Scott and White Hospital

April 14, 1998

2:04 PM CST


When Sam’s eyes fluttered open, he was still on his side, his body facing away from the chairs where Al and Marilyn’s father had been sitting.  His eyes glanced at the area on the bed where he had left the pad and found that it had been moved back to the bedside table.  Frowning, he wondered who might have moved it when he heard whispering behind him.  Wanting to know what was being said, Sam faked sleep for a little while longer as he strained to hear their conversation.


“I don’t know.  I just… dammit… I don’t know.  I just can’t see her doing this, Marissa.”


“She’s hurting, Andrew,” came back the edgy response.  “We all are.  I keep expecting Derrick to walk in the door an hour after I get home – just like always when he came home from practice – hot, sweaty and full of love.  You know, with Logan away at college, it’s too quiet in the house.”  For a moment, Marissa’s voice faltered and she paused.  “Listen to me, prattle on.  I shouldn’t have said that.  I know your family has dealt with even more pain than ours has.  I know that she loved Derrick, just like I do—did.”  Marissa stopped, her lips forming a thin line.  “Has… has she been taking her meds?”


“No,” Andrew said despondently.  “She says that she doesn’t want to be on drugs.”  Andrew brought up his hands and rubbed at his face for a moment then looked back at Marissa before looking back down at the floor miserably.


“I know.  Derrick told me that she didn’t want to get on those things when you found out about the airplane accident.”


Silence held the room for a several long moments and Sam was ready to turn over to stop the charade, when Marissa broke the silence.  “Has she been acting different?”


“No… maybe… God, I don’t know.  All I know is that I love my sister and I don’t need to lose another family member.”


“I know,” Marissa answered him as she watched him get up from his chair and slowly begin to pace before she mumbled, “I shouldn’t have either.”


Sam’s chin quivered.  Marilyn’s emotions were continuing to bombard his system and he barely held back the sob that he wanted to express.  See?’ the thought ran through his head, ‘I am a selfish person – not thinking of others and… I sure as hell didn’t think about Derrick.  It’s… my fault.  Sam’s eyes opened as the tears slowly trickled down his left cheek and over his nose, and came eye to eye with a brunette who was looking down at him.


“Hi, Marilyn,” Marissa said as she eyed the teen on the bed before her.


Sam took a moment as he let the intonations of her voice ring through his head.  Licking his lips, Sam winced as he murmured, “Hi, Marissa.”


Marissa turned her head as she heard the door close and tsked as Andrew left the room.  Marissa sighed glumly before she turned her attention back to the girl on the bed. As her eyes fell on Marilyn, Marissa’s expression hardened.  Swallowing once, she glowered at her then leaned down slightly so that Marilyn could see her eyes.  “Dammit, Marilyn, you self-centered egotistical bitch, tell me why you did this to your family.  Haven’t you caused enough pain and misery without adding to it?” 


Sam blinked in shock at the fiery words from the teen before him.  He wanted to ask the same sort of question, but he just looked at her, his mouth slowly opening in awe. 


“Or is that the whole purpose here?  Make everyone miserable?” 


“N-n-no,” Sam whispered back adamantly.


“Then why did you do this?!” Marissa hissed through clenched teeth.


Tears immediately came to Sam’s eyes and he bit at the inside of his cheek to stop them, but they spilled out.  “I-it h-hurts,” he whimpered before he closed his eyes and he felt the hollow emptiness that seemed to well up inside his chest.  It was as if in that moment, the dam that had been holding back the psychosynergizing effect between Sam Beckett and Marilyn Hicks burst and his whole being filled with her depression as well as her pain and loss.


“What hurts is that you took my brother away from me!” Marissa ridiculed the pain that she saw echoed in the other’s face.   “But what kills me is that you’re making this all about you.  You can’t be that selfish.  Can you?”  Marissa ran her hand through her hair not honestly believing what she was seeing as the leaper’s body filled with sorrow.


“I… I d-don’t wanna h-hurt… anyone,” Sam answered her back, his heart hurting, his chest heaving as he tried to overcome the sobbing that was wracking his body.  “I just… wanna st-stop hurting.  I… I’ll n-never stop h-hurting.”


“Oh, yes, you will,” Marissa stated with a sneer before she grabbed at the pad and pen from the bedside table and plopped it on the bed beside Marilyn. 

Sam glanced at the pad that fell before him then through his tears and guilt looked back up at Marissa as she started toward the door.  The pain in his eyes was raw and yawning into something beyond his understanding.


“You’ll stop hurting,” Marissa envisaged as she sent a hard cold glare back at the teen on the bed.  “It’s just a matter of time.”  Marissa then jerked open the door and walked out on the weeping girl on the bed.





Dr. Sam Beckett sat up in the bed, his emotions overwhelming him.  He felt as if he was being held over an abyss, a deep bottomless hole, and he was helpless to escape it.  He sniffed and wiped at his face as he looked down at the pad and pen that Marissa had handed back to him.  His eyes swept over the words he had written and he felt as if he had dropped yet another twenty feet into the endless chasm of despair and guilt as he read the words once more:  It’s all my fault.


Picking up the pen and the pad, Sam shifted slightly to begin writing again to try to rid himself of the emotions that were filling every part of his being.  He pressed down on the paper and began to write a few words when the pen skipped against something that was underneath a few of the pages of paper.  Frowning, he wiped at his eyes again then turned the pages to look at what was making the pen skip.  Under three pages of the pad was a small single razorblade. 


Sam just stared at the razorblade, unable to tear his gaze away from it for several long minutes. Lifting his head, he looked toward the door, but it was closed and there was no other person in the room with him. He scanned the empty room, suddenly more afraid to look down at the razorblade than he could believe.  It frightened him to the point that fresh tears welled up and began running down his face again.  There was a vast yawning chasm of emptiness into which he was falling and there was nothing to grab hold of to break his fall. There was nothing, not even a thread of hope to catch hold of and cling to. There wasn't anything...


He looked around the empty room... to the closed door...


"P-please," he whispered to the room. "Someone… someb-body… help me."  His eyes, now nearly blinded by tears, went back to the door. He tried to clear his throat then sniffled. Inside he begged someone to hear him, but the door remained closed.  After a moment, Sam shifted his legs a bit and the pad of paper started to slide off his lap. It was sheer reaction that made him grab it, and when he looked down at the paper, he saw that the razor was also held firmly in his grasp.




Despair that had risen up from the lull it had fallen into refused to concede, and it swept through the leaper like a tidal wave, sweeping away everything and once more sending him tumbling deeper...faster into that empty abyss.


‘It's your way out.’ 


Sam reached a shaking hand up to wipe his eyes. When he could see more or less clearly, all he could see was the razor that had somehow become the only object in his hand, held oh so carefully.


‘It will stop the hurting.’


"I d-don't wanna h-hurt," he wept. "Just want to r-r-rest. No more...p-pain."


Even as he looked at the razorblade in his left hand, he reached for the pad and pen.  Glancing dejectedly at the paper, he wrote the final words to the letter:  It will stop the empty hurt that I'm being pulled down into.  It will.  Andrew... Dad... I... I'm sorry.


Sam then shifted slightly as he looked back at the small sliver of metal.  Transferring the blade to his right hand, he raised his hand up toward the left side of his neck and swallowed.  "I... I'm s-sorry," he said softly as he sniffed.



After making sure that the spineless, selfish bitch in the hospital bed knew exactly what she thought of what she was doing, Marissa had stepped outside the room but didn't go far.  She went to sit on one of the chairs placed outside in the hall, choosing one that was closest to Marilyn's room.  Andrew showed up a couple of minutes later.


"I thought I'd go in and sit with her," he said when Marissa had stood up and started to follow him. "You don't have to come in with me if you'd rather not."


"Oh no, no," she said softly, taking a light hold of one of his arms, stopping him. Sighing softly, Marissa eyes were full of compassion as she looked into Andrew's dark eyes and said, "She just fell asleep a couple of minutes ago. I thought... since she's been so… upset that I'd come out here just so I wouldn't accidentally disturb her."


Andrew studied Marissa's face for a moment then reached to draw her into a hug. "You've been so good and patient with Marilyn," he whispered near her ear. "Especially after everything that's happened." Releasing her, Andrew stepped back to look into her eyes again.


A small smile touched Marissa's lips and she blinked rapidly a couple of times.  "Thank you," she said softly, accepting the Kleenex Andrew dug out of his pocket and offered to her. Dabbing at her eyes, she said, "I need something to drink," and started to move away.


"Sit," Andrew urged, guiding her to one of the chairs. "What would you like to drink?"


The pretty, teary-eyed teenager bit thoughtfully at her lower lip for a second then looked up at him. "A Diet Coke," she suggested softly. "Or, a bottle of water would be even better."  She started to get up. "I'll go get it."


Andrew gently took hold of his girlfriend's shoulders and pressed her back down in her seat. "I'll go," he told her firmly. "The drink machine down the hall doesn't have bottled water, but there's one on the first floor that does." Releasing his hold on her, he stepped back. "I won't be five minutes."


"Okay," Marissa smiled and settled back in the chair, watching Andrew Hicks as he walked down the hall.  Only when she saw him turn the corner at the end of the hall did she get up and move quickly to the door of Marilyn's room.  Sparing one last look around and not seeing anyone else in the hall, she gently pushed the door open and stepped inside. 



Stallion’s Gate, New Mexico

Project Quantum Leap


From the moment Dominic had told Al that it would be another fifteen minutes before the Imaging Chamber could be brought back online, Al had paced round and round the Control Room like a caged tiger.  Every time he glanced at the closed door of the Imaging Chamber and then over to Dominic and the other senior technician completing the last few checks before they could start the sequencer, everything that Al had seen and heard had continued to twist and turn his guts in knots.


He checked his watch for the tenth time and the antsy feeling crawling up the back of his neck wasn't to be endured a second longer.  Whirling around to face the Control Panel across the room, he ordered, "Dominic..."


"Beginning sequencing," Ziggy's voice purred. "The Imaging Chamber will be online in forty-two point seven three seconds."


Al barely swallowed the rest of what he'd been about to yell at the Chief Programmer, but he managed it nonetheless. While Ziggy counted down the remaining seconds, he rushed over to grab the handlink now being offered to him.  Snatching it from Dom's hand, Al turned and rushed up the ramp and into the Imaging Chamber, quickly stepping onto the small central pad in the vast chamber.


"Come on, come on," he muttered urgently.  "I've got a bad feeling about Sam."  Two seconds ticked by. "COME ON!" he yelled. As if it had been waiting for that cue, the large sound of the sequencer came to life and slowly a slow moving tornado of past time began to swirl around Admiral Calavicci.


"Hang on, Sam," he whispered into the increasing volume of swirling time and noise. "I'm coming, buddy. I'm coming."


Suddenly, the image swirling around the Admiral stopped and settled around him leaving him in the corner of the hospital room, facing the wall.  "Sam?" he called out as he quickly turned around.  His eyes grew wide in astonishment and his heart skipped a beat as he saw what his best friend was about to do.


"NO!  SAM!  NO!" he screamed as he started toward the bed.  "SAM!  PUT THAT DAMN THING DOWN!  NOW!"


Sam swallowed as his eyes slowly lowered toward the bed and he put a little pressure against his neck making him wince.  Feeling the blade puncture his neck then a warm trickle of blood down his neck, Sam heard a small clicking sound and his eyes went immediately to the door of the room. 


As the door whispered shut behind her, Marissa's compassionate expression faded to be replaced by one of cold revenge as her eyes fixed immediately on the sight of Marilyn -- sitting on the bed, the razorblade at her neck, blood already beginning to trickle, slowly then steadily faster and faster down her neck and starting to stain her hospital gown crimson.


"I wouldn't miss this for the world," was her only response to the frightened, emotionally exhausted and lost girl trying to call out to her.


"WHAT!?" Al exclaimed as he turned quickly to look at her.  "Why you... bitch!" Al screamed then quickly turned back to Sam.  "Sam... listen to me, buddy.  You don't wanna do this.  You don't!  Just... dammit Sam take your hand away! We can stop this! Sam?  Listen to me, Sam!"  Al called out in desperation.  Anger and frustration came to a head for Al rather quickly but it didn’t matter how much he tried, he couldn’t reach Sam.  "Dammit, he's not listening to me." 


Keeping her gaze on Marilyn's tear filled eyes, Marissa, completely unaware of the hologram screaming frantically at his friend, walked slowly to the bed.  She stopped at the foot of the bed and folded her arms across her chest looking calmly at the teen.


Sam looked at the teenager standing in the room, hearing her words then shook his head sadly, the tears falling faster as he said, "I... I'm sorry."  Then without thinking more about what he was doing to himself, he closed his eyes and with one quick motion swiped the blade across his throat. 


"NO!" Al screamed as he rushed to his buddy's side and tried to grab at Sam's arm.  If he hadn’t been a hologram, Al knew exactly what he would have done to prevent what was happening to Sam right now.  As his hand passed through Sam’s arm, instant hot tears came to Al’s eyes.  "God... no!  You can’t let this happen!”


Marissa didn't blink even once when Marilyn slashed the razorblade across her throat. Even when Marilyn's body slumped back against the pillow as the cascade of warm, crimson blood flowed down her body, Marissa didn't stir a muscle.


After a few seconds, Marissa dragged her eyes away from the horrific sight in front of her and down to Marilyn's hands lying limp at her side. Seeing the razorblade in the dying girl's right hand, she moved around to that side of the bed.  Using the Kleenex Andrew had given her, she carefully picked up the razorblade, taking special care not to get any blood on herself or touch the blade with her fingers. Wrapping the Kleenex a couple of times around the blade, she carefully tucked it in the pocket of her denim jacket.  That feat accomplished, Marissa spared Marilyn one last look.


"At last, you finally did something right," she said coldly then turned and left the room, resuming her seat in the chair in the hall outside.


Admiral Albert Calavicci, a man who had lived, conquered and withstood numerous events within his lifetime, never felt as helpless as he did at this point in time as he watched his best friend bleeding to death.  Sam’s name barely slipped through Al’s parted lips as tears slowly rolled down the Admiral’s cheeks.  Al searched his face for a long moment and he stepped a bit closer to his friend, wanting to say something lasting, but unable to find the words.  Swallowing, his vision clouded as new tears gathered.  His gravelly voice was thick with grief and sorrow as he said, “I wish…” Al didn’t finish his sentence about leaping into his best friend to save him, and for a brief moment, he regretted all the occasions that they had missed because Sam had been stuck in time.  “Dammit.”


“Al?” the questioned name was whispery soft, almost a sigh from the man on the bed.


“Sam,” Al said as he brought up a hand to wipe at the tears that had just fallen.  “You… you can’t…”


“I-I’m s-sor….”


“Don’t you do that,” Al whispered to him.  “Don’t you dare do that. Wh-When I first met you at Star Bright, before I got to know you, I thought you were nothing but a brainiac.  All brain – no muscle,” Al rattled, his mind moving a million times faster than he wanted it to as it flashed over the times he had had with Sam.  “God, Sam… you… you’re one of the strongest, kindest, caring men I’ve ever met, so… don’t… don’t you dare….”


As Sam’s eyes slowly, unwillfully began to close on him, his head began to slant in an odd direction as a minute smile appeared on his face. “Mmmy b-best f-fr-iend…”


The light blue background of the Imaging Chamber suddenly met Al’s gaze and he blinked several times as he thought of what that meant for the spirit of his best friend as he bowed his head.  He squeezed his eyes shut and tears silently fell.  After a few moments, Al took in a shaky breath then wiped his eyes on his sleeve.  Swallowing a few times, Al took a few moments to regain his dignity, knowing that he couldn’t be seen this way in the Control Room.  He could break down fully in the privacy of his quarters.


Starting toward the door of the Imaging Chamber, Al sniffled as he looked up at the ceiling of the Waiting Room.  Rubbing his face hard, he took in another shaky breath before he blew it out and started out of the Imaging Chamber.


As he came down the steps into the Control Room, Al looked up at the ceiling.  “Ziggy?”


“Yes, Admiral,” Ziggy asked apathetically.


Al didn’t want to hear the words from the parallel hybrid computer, but he knew that he had to know.  Looking up into the vibrant lights that flickered in the orb above the mainframe, he asked, “What happened?”


“Marilyn Hicks committed suicide on April 14th, 1998.  It was uncertain what she used to commit the act itself.  The instrument was never found.” 


Al bit at the inside of his cheek as he nodded his head.  “No, they wouldn’t have when it was an assisted suicide,” he said as he thought of the depraved teenager he had just seen in the hospital room.  Shaking his head, he licked his lips and bowed his head once again.  “And Sam?” he asked, his voice lightly breaking.


“Dr. Beckett leaped,” Ziggy replied.


Al’s head popped up at what Ziggy announced in shock.  “What?”


“Dr. Beckett has leaped,” Ziggy reiterated patiently.


Al quickly moved to the mainframe and blinked as he listened to Ziggy’s report.


“I’m sorry, Admiral, I can’t ascertain the time period the person is from.  There is someone in the Waiting Room, but they are in a comatose state.  Based on what I know, I cannot figure out anything regarding his newest leap.  Dr. Beckett is in the past, but I cannot find him.”





His eyes were closed, and his breathing, if it even seemed like breathing, was slow, deep, and steady as he felt serenity all about him.  All of his muscles were relaxed as he realized he was lying comfortably on a flat surface. Opening his eyes, Sam found darkness waiting for him.      


With a start, Sam rose upright on the platform.  His ears were not picking up any signs of breathing.  On top of that, he could physically tell he wasn't breathing.  There was no air intake or exhalation from his lungs.  Sam sat there and watched his chest and discovered there was no movement there, as if he had forgotten how to breathe but he wasn't suffocating.


In panic, Sam moved off the platform and stared at horror at what he could perceive in the dark room.  Where he had been lying was a medical examination table with a prone body still situated on it with wires attached to the head, chest, and arms.  At first, Sam thought the body was dead but then noticed it was breathing oxygen.  Moving closer, the leaper leaned over to get a better look at the body's face in the dark room and recoiled in shock.


The man on the table had Sam's face!


"Ohhh boy…" was all Sam could think of, not realizing that he now hovered a few inches off the floor.



Special thanks to Eleiece Krawiec and Katherine Freymuth for helping MJ Cogburn with her story in several parts.

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