Episode 1212
Time Travelers' Aid Society

September 15, 2004

Napa Valley, CA / Stallion’s Gate, NM


Sam must help a fellow time traveler return to his own time and save his friends at Quantum Leap.

Written By:

Douglas Laird

Theorizing that one could time-travel within his own lifetime, Dr. Sam Beckett led an elite group of scientists into the desert to develop a top-secret project known as Quantum Leap.  Pressured to prove his theories or lose funding, Dr. Beckett prematurely stepped into the Project Accelerator…and vanished.


He awoke to find himself in the past, suffering from partial amnesia and facing a mirror image that was not his own.  Fortunately, contact with his own time was maintained through brainwave transmissions with Al, the Project Observer, who appeared in the form of a hologram that only Dr. Beckett can see and hear.


As evil and neutral forces alike do their best to stop Dr. Beckett’s journey, his children, Dr. Samantha Josephine Fulton and Stephen Beckett, continuously strive to retrieve their time-lost father and bring him home permanently.  Despite returning home several times over the last decade, Dr. Beckett has remained lost in the time stream…his final fate no longer certain.


Trapped in the past and driven by an unknown force, Dr. Beckett struggles to accept his destiny as he continues to find himself leaping from life to life, putting things right that once went wrong with the hopes that his next leap…will be the final leap home.





Doctor Samuel Beckett shook his head as the last effects of his previous leap dissipated and his head began to clear. Throughout his many time-traveling escapades, he would physically adjust to his new surroundings faster than his mental adjustments. As his consciousness returned, Sam could not shake the fuzziness that filled his brain and morphed into a pounding headache that occupied his twin frontal lobes. Sam rubbed his eyes, shook his head and started massaging the back of his neck trying to ease the pain while nervously shifting his feet on a loose gritty surface.


“Have thee an illness, Master Williams?” inquired a young female voice.


Sam stopped his self-induced massage, barely opening his eyes afraid of what he might observe. He was standing on a dirt floor in a sparsely furnished clapboard house that contained a table, a bureau, three wooden chairs and a huge stone fireplace. The atmosphere smelled of meat cooking in a large pot over the fire, spices and burning embers. The woman sitting on the chair near Sam was dressed in black with a black bonnet and large white collar looking up at Sam having put down her mending.


For the millionth time, Sam began his leap by sheepishly asking, “Excuse me, but will you repeat that?”


The woman looked up at Sam quite concerned as she restated the question, “Master Williams, are thee well?”


Sam hesitated and looked down at himself. He was wearing black boots, black pants and coat and a white collar. Reaching up to his head, he removed a tall black hat with a large buckle on it.


As if the hat became incredibly hot, Sam dropped it, looked up to the shingled roof and exclaimed, “I’m a pilgrim? Oh booooy!”





My string theory of quantum leaping was based upon traveling through time within one’s own lifetime, but something must have gone very wrong. Early American history was not one of my strong points, but here I was standing in a house, possibly in the colony of Massachusetts Bay, three hundred plus years before I was born. I have jumped into a wide variety of weird scenarios, but this one was the strangest and most perplexing I had ever faced.


“Ah, yes. Yea, verily sayeth I. Thy fog that covers mine eyes have seen the glorious sight once again,” said Sam, stammering with his lack of knowledge of seventeenth century English vernacular. “Methinks thou concern doth not be with thyself, Miss Goodlady.” Sam broke into a half-hearted smile throwing his hands out in a less than satisfactory exclamation.


The young woman placed her hand on her chest as her eyes opened wide with fear. “Thou speaks strangely, Master Williams. Art thou head curse with demons?”


Quickly Sam shook his head, trying to think of the proper thing to say to calm this young woman, whomever she was—wife, sister or daughter? The young woman had striking red hair, green eyes and perfect teeth for a resident of the seventeenth century. Based upon her speech pattern, Sam replied, “My head hath cleared, Mistress.”


“It pleases me greatly,” replied the woman with a sigh of relief as she returned to her sewing.


Sam smiled back as the door opened without as much of a knock or request to enter and into the house walked four people all dressed in jeans and carrying cameras. The father wore a checkered shirt, the mother a halter-top that did not reveal as much as the top of the other female, who Sam assumed was their seventeen-or-so-year-old daughter. The final member of the family was a twelve-year-old son wearing a backwards baseball cap and listening to a portable CD player, moving to his music and oblivious to his surroundings. This scene really blew Sam’s theories of time travel, as he had never witnessed the mixing of two time periods centuries apart. The appearance of these tourists reminded Sam more of the science fiction stories he had read as a kid rather than something that broke all the logic of the leaps that he had experienced these last dozen years. The real Twilight Zone aspect was that he seemed to be the only person that thought that this ludicrous mix of cultures and timelines was anything out of the ordinary.


The female pilgrim stood up and greeted the tourists with no apprehension. She smiled and showed them to a place by the fire as the family scrutinized the furnishings and fashions of Sam and his companion. “Greetings to thee. My husband and I welcome thee to our humble home. Please pardon the appearance of our home for we have only been wedded this fortnight. My husband, the tinsmith of Plymouth Plantation, is a very good man and....”


The woman recited her entire history including her adventures on the Mayflower, her arrival in the New World and agreeing to wed her husband this past winter. She looked to Sam to continue the story, but she finished it when Sam stood there dumbstruck. The family of tourists asked a couple of obvious questions about life in the seventeenth century to which she graciously replied. After Sam and his wife’s picture were taken together with the two kids, they thanked them and left. Sam sighed and was relieved once they had left, then went over to the wooden door and opened it. Outside was an entire town of clapboard houses encircled by a stockade with pilgrims and tourists who wandered the town having no problems with the clashing cultures. As Sam closed the door, a vertical hydraulic sound could be heard behind him. Through the large bright white rectangle that marked the entrance to the Imaging Chamber, in walked Al Calavicci holding his cigar in the left hand and his handlink in the right hand. He looked around at the pilgrim homestead and at Sam with unbridled amusement.


“Hiya, Sam! Going to a turkey shoot? I’ll have some chestnut dressing and yams with mine,” exclaimed Al chuckling to himself at Sam’s costume though Al himself was wearing a suit and hat with wide brown and aqua stripes and a large orange cravat.


Sam tried to ignore his wisecracking companion and observer, telling his female companion as he headed for the front door, “I’m going to take a break. I’ll be back in a few minutes!”


“Do not tarry, Master. Thou hast taken time from thy duties once earlier this morn!” she replied in antique vernacular. She looked slightly annoyed to be left alone, but took it in stride and returned to her mending.


“You bet,” replied Sam as he headed out the door. Walking behind the dark brown clapboard houses, Sam was wished a “Good morn!” several times. Entering the large building in the front of the wooden stockade, Sam found a door marked Employees only. Inside Sam sat down on a bench in the employee locker room that smelled much less inviting than the homey scents inside his previous residence. Sam let out a sigh of relief and finally spoke, “Al, where is this place? For about two minutes I thought the laws of quantum leaping had been rewritten! Unless since I left we’ve started sending tourists back through history!”


Al looked up from his handlink and then pointed to his surroundings. “Yeah, I can see that. Quaint around here, isn’t it? You happen to be employed at Plymouth Plantation, a recreation of an authentic pilgrim village. Here, it’s supposed to be the year 1627. Each employee is portraying a real-life pilgrim. This little tourist attraction isn’t too far from your alma mater, M.I.T. Time to visit these local tourist sights didn’t exactly fit into your class schedule, so I doubt you ever heard of this place while you were hard at work earning a couple of those many doctorates. Anyway, today is the fifteenth of September 2004. Your name is Josiah Hawley. Everyone calls you Hoss. Maybe you’re here to find Adam and Little Joe,” joked Al as Sam gave him a dirty look.


“And then, maybe not. Anyway, you’re twenty-three years old, and you live in Quincy, Massachusetts. Besides being employed as an extra at Plymouth Plantation, you also coach soccer, work at a fast-food joint, paint cars, drive a limo, work with rape victims, teach science at a local community college, pump gas, repair computers, work at a recording studio, act in a local theater, build model ships, write children’s stories, fly a plane, work with the Boy Scouts, paint houses, do landscaping, sing in a local doo-wop group...” continued Al as his eyes widened with amazement as Ziggy’s information never seemed to cease on Sam’s host.


Sam held up his hand interrupting him, “OK, OK. He’s very talented, I get the message.” Sam quieted down as another male pilgrim entered the employee locker room and he motioned to Al to join in the far corner.


Al took several puffs on his ever-present cigar. “You know, he’d make a great quantum leaper with all of those talents—and only twenty-three years old? I should be so lucky,” said Al still punching up more information. “There’s no end to this guy’s talents.”


“And so what am I here to do?” asked Sam, quietly throwing his hands in the air.


Al went back to his cigar while making noise with his handlink for the next two minutes exhibiting a full range of negative facial expressions. “You know Sam, that’s a good question. Ahhhh... Ziggy has lots of suggestions, but none of them have a probability of more than one-and-a-half percent. You know, walk little old ladies across the street and other Boy Scout good turns like that. Let’s see... Hoss has a friend who needs a ride, a girl he knows needs her bedroom painted, one colleague can’t decide whether to go on vacation to the mountains or to Disney World, that girl you met in Daniel Boone’s cabin there needs some advice on which guy to date... not exactly the usual leap-related problems. It’s almost like you’re not even supposed to be here. That’s it. I don’t know what is going on here, Sam,” said Al, going back to his cigar wishing these quantum leaps hadn’t been getting harder.


Sam looked up to the ceiling at the flickering light fixture hoping for some inspiration. “And the number one reason is to join a car pool? There’s nothing here that seriously needs to be put right? This Josiah Hawley is into so many things that there must be someone who really needs my help. Someone whose life is going wrong and needs to be put right! Run a check on all his co-workers and acquaintances with his various jobs and his volunteer work and, if you have to, everyone in the town of Quincy, Massachusetts,” said Sam as he headed back to his little pilgrim house. The aching in Sam’s head returned, as he could not fathom why God, Time or Fate brought him to this place and time for any good reason.


“No problemo there, Miles Standish. Ziggy is already working on it,” replied Al as he blinked out.




At the end of the workday of speaking with bored tourists and dealing with rambunctious little children, Sam found himself exhausted. Walking out to the parking lot in front of the Plymouth Plantation stockade, Sam found Al watching the young ladies passing by.


“Anything new, Al?” asked Sam while leaning on a late model Chrysler with inset headlights.


Sam watched a college-aged blonde cheerleader-type wearing very little walk by. She smiled and waved to Sam.


“Cowabunga!!” mumbled Al as her pretty rear end slowly sashayed away. “Jeez, if you weren’t two years in the past and I wasn’t h-h-h-h-happily married— Did you see the motion in those luscious beanie boppers?”


Quietly, Sam yelled, “AL!”


Al quit his own form of sightseeing and shook the fog from his eyes. “Oh, yeah, right. Being a hologram allows me to stare a bit more than one should, and wish and wonder.... Now, on the news from the front, or rear like that great little tush... nada... nothing new with his friends and acquaintances. ‘Hoss’ himself wasn’t any help either. In the Waiting Room, he swears that he’s having a psychosomatic reaction to breaking up with his latest girlfriend and that I’m the inter-cosmos matchmaker that’s going to help him find the right girl. Like I’m an intergalactic Dear Abby! That’s a new one for our guests. Maybe we need to get Doctor Ruth back here to help him. As to your needs, Ziggy is working overtime on it. We’re still trying to break into the tax rolls of Quincy, Massachusetts and check out all the residents. That will take a little while longer,” explained Al, reading over his colorful little information wonder.


Sam put his hands on his hips, looked up to the sky briefly and slowly let out a heavy sigh. “So now what?”


Al raised his eyebrows and gave Sam a noncommittal stare. “Back to Mr. Hawley’s life, or in this case, his apartment. His—or rather your—car is the blue-gray 1967 Dodge Dart with the PJB-377 license plate. Hmm. Maybe you need to go get him some new wheels, huh, Sam?” jested Al, pointing to the partially rusted car. “I had a cousin from Iowa who always kept his cars till they were one big rust bucket. There was this 1967 Chrysler Newport that he had for twenty years. He got so sentimental about his cars that he almost had a shrine to them on the wall in his study. Why, he and I were pulling the transmission one time on this—”


“AL!” cried out Sam as he fumbled around looking for the correct car key.


Al looked up. “What? Oh, sorry. Cars like that always get to me, especially since I got my ’Vette back off the blocks! I had it up to two-forty in the desert just last week.”


Sam looked up at him quite distracted. “What, Al?” he asked, climbing into the car.


“Kilometers an hour! You know us old pilots. Speed is our high, though sex does have its good points too!!” he said looking off toward that young college girl.


Sam put on his seatbelt and started up the car. “Come on, Al. No cracks. I have to live this guy’s life till then. Please come up with another scenario list.”


Al went quickly from lecherous to fatherly. “Sure, kiddo. Head up Route 3 till you see the Quincy turnoff. Make a left on Mount Pleasant. He lives in Apartment 12B at the Grecian Arms.”


“Thanks. I’ll see you later, Al,” said Sam already very nervous about this leap. He backed the car out; it coughed twice and Sam headed out into Josiah Hawley’s life.




Josiah Hawley’s Apartment

Quincy, Massachusetts

September 15, 2004, 5:00 PM


The life of Sam’s leap host was as full as the small one-bedroom apartment Josiah Hawley lived in. Time in his life was spent outside his apartment in his varied pursuits while his abode was seldom occupied, seldom picked up and seldom cleaned. Among the cast-off leftover food containers and unfinished fast-food bags, Sam found some leftover lasagna in the refrigerator.


Searching through the bookcase which had books stuck in corners and piled sideways and on top of the bookcase, Sam surmised that “Hoss” was interested in just about everything from philosophy to science to sports to art. Stuck in one corner of the bookcase was a book of scientific essays containing an article on the relations of quantum mechanics and the elemental forces written by a Doctor Samuel Beckett.


Sam finished his dinner and jumped onto the couch looking through the article that he wrote so many lifetimes and leaps ago. Thumbing through the detailed analysis and multitude of footnotes, Sam was lost among the strange facts and scientific principles that had been obscured by his Swiss-cheese memory. A profound sense of loss came from deep within Sam Beckett as he realized how much of himself he had lost from his leaping and how much he yearned to be whole again.


Whoosh went the door of the Imaging Chamber, and into the apartment walked Al Calavicci though the bright rectangle of white light wearing flannel pants, a T-shirt and a bathrobe. “Hi, Sam!” said Al yawning, rubbing his eyes and then running his hand through his unkempt hair.


Sam laid down the book and snickered at his friend’s appearance of an unmade bed. “Where’s the sleepover, Al?”


Al looked at Sam momentarily not understanding the question. “Oh this?” Al yawned sleepily. “I’ve been waiting for Ziggy to finish her computations and so I sacked out in the BOQ on Level Five. Ziggy called me just a few minutes ago. I’m downloading the information...” he yawned again, “...right now. OK,” explained Al as he punched up the latest probabilities on his handlink.


“Uh-huh. Hmm. Not much better, Sam. There’s an accident at the corner of Gaffney and Fourth tomorrow at four PM. The probability of trying to save a Mrs. Laura Blake, aged seventy-eight, is five-point-four percent. And then there’s Luke Gordon, a retiree who has a heart attack alone at home and dies, because no one finds him in time. That’s three-point-two percent. God, that’s a horrible way to die—alone without a soul in the world! Then the next suggestion falls to less than one-point-five percent. Not a big improvement, Sam. You can still make time...” Al succumbed to another yawn, “...tomorrow to put in Hoss’ shift at Burger Barn and save Mrs. Blake at four. And that’s the early edition. ‘Man Saves Local Widow. Film at eleven.’ Nothing that looks like it needs your unique quantum leaping qualities.” Tears slowly swam down Al’s cheek as another yawn attacked his system. “That’s it, ‘Hoss,’” said Al sleepily.


The latest update did not improve Sam’s dark opinion of his current adventure. “That’s just great! I’ll take that scenario unless something else really important stands out. Thanks, Al. I know you’re putting a lot of time in on this leap and I do really appreciate it. Don’t worry. I’ve always leaped and, God willing, I will again this time,” said Sam, crossing his fingers and looking out the window toward the heavens.


Looking for a cigar, Al replied nervously, “Yeah, but there’s never been so little data, Sam.” Al yawned again before continuing, “You could be stuck in this guy forever. And then you are lost in time! I’m also kinda worried about this leap, Sam.” Al realized that he hadn’t remembered to grab a cigar off his night table, so he threw up his hands and started to pace.


Sam looked up at Al as he strolled back and forth, walking through one piece of furniture after another. “Being this guy could be worse. He’s talented and articulate, but Ziggy needs to keep running those scenarios. Unless someone comes up to me on the street asking for help, she is my only chance, Al,” Sam said, trying to reassure the nervous Albert Calavicci.


Al stopped and gave Sam a suspicious look. “I’m so glad you’re taking it calmly. I’m a wreck and Ziggy has blown a few multiplex transducers!” said Al, pretending to shoot some invisible computer components with his finger. “You never saw such a nervous computer,” Al added before yawning yet again. “All the paychecks came out with pink slips. She fired everyone in the complex, including me. Verbena is trying to settle the old girl down. And don’t forget we have the real Mr. Hawley in the Waiting Room.”


Changing the subject, Sam inquired, “Did you ever read this article I wrote?”


Al looked over Sam’s shoulder. “Elemental Quantum Force Relations? A little beyond my own leisure reading, Sam. Let’s see,” said Al, checking with Ziggy on his handlink. “That article goes back to 1983. You were working here at M.I.T. I never read it, but Ziggy says there are several flaws in the article and a Doctor Henry Winklestein published a more detailed thesis on that subject in 1999 completely refuting your conclusions. Huh. I guess it’s way out-of-date by now,” Al supplied before another yawn overtook him.


Sam looked with an ironic expression. “I’m way out-of-date here. The proverbial dinosaur,” lamented Sam.


“You’ve had well over a decade of leaping, old friend,” replied Al sleepily.


Sam looked over at Al as he tried to pull up some fuzzy memories. “Has it been that long? A lot of the world has passed me by. I’m becoming an anachronism... a lost cause... an old encyclopedia on a dusty shelf that’s missing several volumes,” replied Sam wearily as he threw the book on the overcrowded coffee table.


“Hold it, Sam. True, we have to keep you up-to-date, but that’s why we’re here to help you out. Me, Ziggy, Verbena, Donna... uh, all of us back at PQL headquarters.” After another yawn, Al continued, “And remember all the good you’ve done on hundreds of leaps. The world and time is a much better place since you ventured out into infinity. Don’t be down on yourself, Sam Beckett. And when you get home, you will be whole again. And you can take that to the bank, Sam!” said Al quite emphatically. “We’ll see to that!” he finished before yawning once again.


Sam looked down at his feet and cracked a half-smile at all the passion his friend could muster even in his sleepwalking condition. “Sure, Al. Someday I’ll be whole again. But let’s get through the muck and mire of this leap first. Guess I could use some sleep too. Tomorrow is another day, you know.”


“I’ve heard that one, Sam. I’ll take your advice and get some more sleep myself,” said Al, yawning one last time.


“Night, Al!” said Sam.


“Good morning, Sam,” said Al with a little lilt in his voice since the project headquarters was in a completely different time zone than Sam was, and Al was already into the wee hours of a new day.




Duke’s Donut Emporium

Quincy, Massachusetts

September 16, 2004, 3:50 PM


At the appointed hour, Sam was at the corner of Gaffney and Fourth in the hamlet of Quincy, Massachusetts. He sat in a donut shop looking through the huge window at the passing scene as Al approached and walked through the large plate-glass window.


Al’s mouth watered as he saw his friend enjoying his snack. “I’ll have one of those glazed, apple-filled. Boy, do they look good,” exclaimed Al as he reached for a pastry on Sam’s plate.


Sam shook his head as he gave Al a slightly smug grin. “Hmm. No. Not only is it mine, but also, you’re a hologram. Besides, they won’t let me eat anything at the Burger Barn and I’m hungry. I had a long shift, Al,” said Sam, chomping down on his late meal.


Al shot Sam a dirty look and then zinged him. “No problem, burger boy. I just finished dinner and Beth just cooked the best Marinara Alberto she ever made. It’s my favorite. She knows the way to my heart is through her own culinary specialties. Oooh, Ziggy just sent me a warning. Mrs. Blake is two blocks away. So get ready, Sam,” said Al, pointing down the street to the left.


Sam took the hint, scarfed down the last of the donut, and headed for Fourth Street. Looking in the direction that Al had pointed, Sam saw a little old lady walking towards him dressed in sneakers, a blue jogging suit and using a cane. She looked like she was just out for a stroll, not paying attention to the world around her.


Al popped out on the sidewalk and motioned to Sam, “That’s her, Sam! Go help her out!” He waved his cigar motioning wildly toward her.


“Here goes nothing,” replied Sam, shaking his head and crossing his fingers.


Sam walked up to Mrs. Blake to get her attention. “Mrs. Blake!” he called out. The woman looked up, appeared annoyed and continued on down the sidewalk.


“Sam, quick!” said Al. “She’s almost to the curb,” warned the holographic observer who began to perspire.


Sam followed behind her as she sped up and reached the corner. The traffic light turned red in her direction to a street devoid of automobiles. As the crosswalk sign turned green for her to proceed, a blue pizza delivery car came speeding down the street and made a sudden right turn in front of Mrs. Blake. Sam reached out and grabbed her as she tried to step off the curb. The wheels of the delivery car squealed as he passed by and then sped off down the street. Sam breathed a sigh of relief knowing that she would be all right. Mrs. Blake looked dazed and shook her head trying to recover from the sudden life-threatening experience.


Sam felt good and, still huffing and puffing from the excitement, inquired, “Are you OK, Mrs. Blake?”


Shaking her head again, she looked annoyed—again—and then yelled angrily at Sam, “YOU? I could have been killed there. Back off, buster!” Swinging hard, she hit Sam in the head with her cane quite hard for such a small woman. “Get out of my way, kid!” she said as she hobbled across the street muttering incoherently. Reaching the other side of the street, the traffic light changed and traffic proceeded without disruption.


Al stepped up behind Sam as he rubbed his sore head. “Don’t worry, Sam. Not everyone knows that you helped him or her. They seldom realize the alternate fate that you saved them from. She is probably more worried about strangers coming up to her at her age,” said Al punching up some revised data. “Hmm.”


Sam gently touched the contusion that was swiftly forming on his forehead. “I wouldn’t worry about her. I would worry about any mugger that went up against her. She knows how to use her cane. Oww!” said Sam rubbing his head. ‘Leaping was not only becoming harder, but more dangerous,’ thought Sam.


Al took a small puff and then softened to his leaping friend. “AND I sure hope that delivery guy gets where he is going without getting a tip!” said Al. “Those kind of maniacs shouldn’t be allowed on the road. Let’s see... Mrs. Blake is still alive and living in Quincy—if you can call that living. That’s about it. Now you should leap. Bye, Sam,” said Al, waving to him. Al went back to his cigar enjoying it less as the minutes ticked by.


Sam just stood on the street corner for several minutes. First looking up, then down and then at the pedestrians on the sidewalk for two minutes. “Al, I am STILL here!” he cried out, disgusted and frustrated with his unanswered questions concerning this leap.


Al checked his handlink five different times giving it a good slam twice looking for the answer. “Come on, Ziggy. Damn. You took care of number one. Let’s see.... The list of probabilities hasn’t changed that much. The next possible errand is at Luke Gordon’s house on East Wellington. At eight tomorrow night, he will have his heart attack and....” Al continued pumping away on his handlink.


“Al, there must be something else. WHY AM I HERE?” Sam cried as a group of people stared at him yelling to nobody in the middle of the sidewalk at the corner of Gaffney and Fourth.




Burger Barn

Quincy, Massachusetts

September 17, 2004, 11:50 AM


The next day just before noon at the Burger Barn, Sam stood at the indoor counter taking orders right and left as the local college crowd arrived for lunch. The smell of frying burgers that at first caused his mouth to water was reduced to a long stale greasy smell accented by the scent of the oil from the French fry cooker. Dozens of young people dressed in the latest fashions ordered junk food while ignoring the Nobel Prize-winning physicist that was taking their order. A tall distinguished man with a full head of white hair and dressed in jeans and a flannel shirt that was completely out of place with the rest of the young people milling around, came up to Sam’s counter position. He eagerly looked deep into Sam’s eyes after other customers had ignored or, at the very least, looked through Sam most of the morning.


Bored to death, Sam asked for the hundredth time, “Can I take your order?”


“I need your help, Doctor Beckett,” the newcomer said in a warm gentle voice looking quite pleasant.


“Huh, ah. What did you say?” said Sam, snapping out of his boredom by a cold splash in the face.


The gentleman paused a moment and then replied, “Doctor Beckett, Doctor Samuel Beckett. I need your special abilities while you’re here in this place and this time. It is very important that I speak to you, Doctor Beckett.”


Sam fell back on the premise that he had to keep living and working in the disguise of his host. “I’m sorry, but my name is Joshua Hawley,” said Sam impatiently. “Do you want to order something, sir?”


A small sympathetic smile came over the gentleman’s face. “I’ve waited a long time to meet you. A little while longer won’t hurt. I’ll have the double veggie burger and a bottle of water. When you’re free, Doctor Beckett, come over and see me,” he said indicating the booth in the corner. “This is a very urgent matter, Doctor.”


Sam punched up his order wondering whom this strange man was who knew far too much about the ways of this quantum-leaping scientist.





Burger Barn

Quincy, Massachusetts

September 17, 2004, 1:00 PM


After an hour of extreme curiosity about this surprising visitor, Sam took a break and walked over to the corner booth. The gentleman had eaten his sandwich and was just finishing his bottle of water as he looked up at Sam.


“Too bad this wasn’t a seafood restaurant... much easier on the digestion. The food in these little establishments is so over-processed,” he said, wiping his mouth while speaking off into the distance. “I’m Doctor Theodore Albright, or Teddy to my friends,” he said, offering his hand. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Doctor Beckett. I’m a great admirer of you and your work.”


“Ah, a pleasure. You know me?” asked Sam, straining to remember him from his past life or from another leap, but as usual, his Swiss-cheese memory failed, leaving him clueless. Sam sat down very stiffly looking deep into the gentleman’s blue eyes. He gave Sam a very reassuring smile that rid Sam of part of his uneasiness.


Doctor Albright started to recite a partial biography of Sam. “Doctor Samuel Beckett, expert on quantum mechanics, medicine, ancient languages and many other subjects; ‘The Next Einstein,’ according to Time magazine back in 1983; inventor of quantum leaping, the fourth-generation hybrid computer and the genius that opened up whole new worlds for the scientific community. You’ve been bouncing around in time for over ten years helping people out. I have summoned you here because I need your expertise, Doctor Beckett,” explained Doctor Albright. “And your help.”


“My expertise?” asked Sam, scratching his head.


“Yes, my dear doctor. You see, I’ve been trapped here for fifteen years and have been trying to get home. I need your help to finish my project. I’ve been trying to catch you and bring you into my present for three years now,” explained Doctor Albright in hushed tones. “You see, Doctor Beckett... confidentially, I come from your future.”


“My future?” asked Sam stammering, almost falling off his bench. “From—from when?”


The doctor thought for a moment, looked down at his hands and then explained, “Now that would be telling. I believe you set up the rules on that before you started your many journeys, Doctor Beckett. You shouldn’t be too surprised since you’ve seen many unusual things leaping around time. I believe your friends back at your project have had visitors from the time before them. As for myself, I like to keep a low profile. You probably understand about not wanting to spread around your real identity while you’re leaping,” explained the futuristic doctor.


Sam started to sound giddy. “This is incredible! Can you prove it? No, of course you can’t. I never can without revealing the future. I... hmm... So what are you doing here, Doctor?” asked Sam as his eyes lit up with wonder.


Doctor Albright placed both hands on the table in front of him contemplating how much he could tell the great Doctor Beckett. “Technically, I’m an observer, much like your own holographic assistant. Unlike your first travels trading places with individuals across the fourth dimension, we physically travel to the past to watch errors being made, observe, or sometimes find things that were lost in the past. It could be finding the motivation that brought about some pivotal event in history or finding a lost bit of information, invention, or document that interests those in my time—really quite ordinary things that are obtained under extraordinary circumstances. And most of our science is based upon the discoveries and creations that came from the Quantum Leap Project. You are literally the founding father of all those future time travelers. That’s why I am such an admirer of your work and that’s why you’re the only person who can help me here in this place and time,” he said calmly placing his hands together.


Sam cocked up one eyebrow looking slightly perplexed. “But what is it that you need from me? If I started everything in the science of time travel, surely science has progressed far beyond anything I can do for you,” replied Sam intriguingly. “And my memory is very poor for even the basics of physics due to...”


“The memory-lapse effect. Yes, I am familiar with that phenomenon from our early time-travel experiments. That was eventually overcome with our field journeys into the past. And I believe we can help you with it on this leap. As to the level of our science, the principles you need to understand it can be taught to you. You are familiar with the level of science in this day and age, and that is the technology that I must deal with. Believe me that your expertise would be invaluable to me. I have two airplane tickets and am hoping you would return with me to California. After we have finished our project, you should leap, Doctor Beckett,” suggested Doctor Albright.


Even though the word of a total stranger did not begin to stand up against the small percentages that Ziggy had provided, Sam decided to rely on his instincts and trust the strange doctor.


Al blinked into the fast-food haven and saw Sam talking to Doctor Albright. He was determined to move Sam along in this leap even if he had to get out and push Sam Beckett through time and space himself. As Al plugged away on his colorful personal information machine, he motioned to Sam to get his attention. “Ah, Sam. Excuse yourself. We need to talk. Ziggy thinks if she extends her parameters to include the eastern quarter of the state, we can push at least one of the probabilities up to twenty-five percent,” said Al. “Who’s the old guy? Reminds me of an Admiral I met back in Norfolk. Boy, the trouble I gave him as an ensign. Whoa!”


Sam glanced over quickly at Al as Doctor Albright took note of Sam’s action.


“Please tell Admiral Calavicci that you can talk in front of me,” said Doctor Albright, turning toward Al Calavicci’s holographic representation.


Al fumbled and then almost dropped his handlink. “Whoa! Can he see me? Ah, does he know me? Sam?”


“That’s what it just looked like!” said Sam, smiling like a Cheshire cat. He was always amused when Al showed his quirks, ticks and idiosyncrasies.


“It’s really no great surprise. Doctor Beckett and I have had a very interesting conversation here about the whole Quantum Leap project,” said Doctor Albright. “You see, I have been monitoring your travels for the last couple of years. And I can see both you and Doctor Beckett’s true self as easily as this tabletop here.” Teddy knocked three times on the white Formica tabletop in front of him. “We found early leap auras are quite easy to see through as are their observers’ holographic images.”


Al took two steps toward the futuristic doctor, squinting at him. “Ah, this is awfully freaky here, Sam. WHO...ARE...YOU?” asked Al loudly, leaning toward Doctor Albright.


Doctor Albright reacted with some disdain and replied, “My hearing is perfectly fine, thank you.”


Sam decided to explain what he knew to Al and Ziggy. “This is Doctor Albright. He claims to be from our future and he needs my help. It looks like we’ve found my focal point for this leap. He has been waiting for me.”


“That is correct, Admiral,” said Doctor Albright nodding in agreement. He hoped he had finally gotten through to the brilliant Doctor Beckett, though he was still skeptical about the Admiral.


“No way. I don’t believe it. This is ridiculous. He is not from the future!” said Al, waving his cigar indicating a negative response. “That strains all my levels of credulity.”


Sam looked directly into Al’s eyes and replied calmly. “Think about it, Al—we have seen lots of things that have no real rational or scientific explanation. One time, I leaped into a vampire,” said Sam, nodding toward his holographic observer.


Al interrupted, “The guy thought he was a vampire. There was no real proof....”


“Just before I leaped out, I didn’t see my reflection—or rather his reflection—in a mirror. We have also met alien spacecraft, Bigfoot and several ghostly or poltergeist-type phenomena. Why not somebody from our own future history? I’m from the future here, aren’t I?” asked Sam. “Come on, Al. Take a chance and dream a little. You can do it!”


Ziggy broke in over the handlink, “Admiral, may I remind you that we here at Project Headquarters have also had visitors from our future.”


Al gave his handlink a bigger whack than usual and sarcastically thanked Ziggy for the help. He walked over to Sam purposely putting his back to the older man. “Sam, we take enough chances with you being back here in time. Who knows what this guy’s real intentions are? It could be a fluke or, even worse, a trap. He could be one of those evil leapers in disguise. Sam, Ziggy and I both feel you should stick with our normal SOP and go with her probabilities like we always do.”


Sam shook his head. “Al, we’ve both had a bad feeling about this leap since I arrived here. I’m going to stick with my instincts on this one.”


Doctor Albright waited and then broke into their argument. “Doctor Beckett. Do you need any more time to think about helping me? I am returning to California on the redeye from Logan at eleven PM,” said the doctor getting up to leave.


“Ha! How do you know what a redeye is if you’re not from this time?” asked Al looking proud like he had just won the grand prize on a game show.


Teddy took a deep breath. “I’ve been living here in your time for many years and learned a great deal about your lifestyle. My only purpose here today is to persuade Doctor Beckett to help me return to my own time. I think Doctor Beckett can relate to that! Doctor?” asked Doctor Albright raising his eyebrows. ‘The time leaping fraternity is a very lonely one,’ he thought to himself.


Nodding his head, Sam said, “Yes, yes I can. Since there doesn’t seem to be any overwhelming reason for me to stay in Massachusetts, I will be happy to go with you to California, Doctor Albright.” Sam gave the future doctor a squeeze on the arm, which was returned by a hearty handshake.


Al’s jaw opened and stayed open. “Ah, Sam? Is this right? Let’s see what Ziggy says. The odds that this quack is from the future are ten thousand to one. And that going to California has only a thirteen percent chance of being the right thing to do,” said Al plugging away at his handlink. “Thirteen percent? That’s funny. It’s higher than any other probability we’ve gotten.”


Sam held up his hands and shrugged his shoulders. “Sounds good to me. It’s the best odds that Ziggy has given me yet,” said Sam getting up to leave. “Doctor Albright, I’d be happy to help send you on your way.”


Doctor Albright replied, “I thank you deeply from the bottom of my heart. It’s been a long time since I was home.”


“Now wait a minute, Sam. That is also an eighty-seven percent probability of being wrong. Sam, don’t go off the deep end with this deadbeat. You don’t know who this crazy guy is!” said Al as he began to pace.


Doctor Albright replied somewhat annoyed, “I assure you that I am completely sane, Admiral. I will meet you at the airport at 2100 hours, Doctor Beckett. Admiral. Good night.”


Sam waved good-bye as Al, looking very angry, punched up his exit and stomped out of the Imaging Chamber.




TWA Flight 367

Over Columbus, Ohio at 37,000 feet

September 18, 2004, 12:20 AM


‘Flying late at night on an airplane is not unlike spending the night in a bus terminal after midnight,’ thought Sam. The lights were low and most people were either trying to read or fall asleep. After leaping for several years and traveling everywhere instantaneously, Sam found that traveling by plane was the longest ride to anywhere that he could remember. He couldn’t sleep or concentrate on his magazine, thinking of all that this tall distinguished scientist had told him. Al and Ziggy both had no faith in what he claimed to be, but still Sam headed west with him. Helping this self-proclaimed emissary from the future was what Sam’s gut told him would allow him to complete his mission.


“So how did you get stranded in this here and now?” asked Sam nervously trying to start up a conversation.


The doctor put his fingertips together, sighed and filled in some of the details of his tale. “I was involved in a project in San Francisco many years ago. Working out of an old building in the old Marina district, I had my observation station set up in a basement apartment. This peculiar project didn’t start out right from the beginning. Much of my data was damaged before I even materialized. Confident that I could still carry out my mission, I set up my workstation, communication net and retrieval beacon. All went fine for five months until an earthquake hit San Francisco badly damaging the building I was using.


“You see, part of the information I had lost was the physical environment data for that time period I was visiting, including the reports of the San Francisco earthquake of 1989. Most of my equipment was irreparably damaged. I was trapped in a place and time where I didn’t belong,” sighed Doctor Albright. “I salvaged some of my equipment and left just prior to the arrival of your military establishment. Your government authorities must have picked up my damaged equipment signatures. I have been trying to reestablish a link with my colleagues ever since,” explained Doctor Albright looking off into the distance. “And that was fifteen years ago.”


“Al?” asked Sam, speaking to his observer friend standing next to him in the cabin aisle.


“I’m on it!” said Al trying to prove that this guy was a fraud. He played with his little souped-up pocket calculator until he exclaimed, “Here it is. The Air Force did report confiscating some military radio equipment in one Marina district building shortly after the earthquake in San Francisco. They found no time travel machine!” said Al sarcastically. “Maybe I should try talking to H. G. Wells?”


“And do you think the American Air Force would admit to it?” asked Doctor Albright. “There has never been solid public evidence of time travel before Doctor Beckett began his Quantum Leaping.”


Al shook his head. “We have the highest security clearance in the United States Government. No time machine or funny futuristic equipment was reported,” replied Al, still being very skeptical. “The Department of Defense has found no evidence of any time-traveling wackos until our own Doctor Samuel Beckett started it all! Oops, sorry, Sam.” Al quickly went back to his handlink to avoid Sam’s eyes after insulting him. “You’re certainly not a time-traveling wacko like others present!”


“Al! Please go on, Doctor Albright,” said Sam, who was starting to have doubts about his own hunches.


Doctor Albright ignored Al’s comments and continued, “No, we were very careful to keep our missions quite clandestine, Admiral. Very careful until I erred and should have returned home immediately. That was a grave error on my part, Doctor Beckett.”


“But truly an unforeseen circumstance,” Sam said trying to empathize with Doctor Albright.


Doctor Albright continued, “I traveled north and set up a workshop at a small winery in the Napa Valley. Using the salvaged components, I tried to build a communication device to contact my people, but it was very slow trying to construct parts using your backward technology. After constructing the first major components, my equipment detected you leaping back and forth across time. I was able to monitor your leaping between time spheres fairly accurately over the last couple of years. You send out very distinctive propagation waves over the space-time continuum and they were easy to track. What I couldn’t do was predict when and where your next leap would be.”


Sam inquired, “And you knew where I was and who I had leaped into?”


Doctor Albright shifted in his seat to get more comfortable and continued. “Not always who. I refined my search patterns and developed the algorithms to use my equipment to attract your quantum particles. I was able to pull your quantum particles into the current time sphere successfully by generating a negative flux that brought you in like using the opposing poles of a magnet. It was not one hundred percent successful since you still ended up on the other side of the North American continent, but I am very happy with the results,” said Doctor Albright sincerely.


“So this isn’t a real genuine leap for me?” asked Sam looking a little confused.


Doctor Albright sighed deeply. “I suppose since you have certain rules and regulations about your stops in time, they should still apply here and now. Its like when one goes fishing for the sport only to release the fish again,” said Doctor Albright. “You will most likely continue your leaping once we are done here.”


Al’s face had turned slightly red with the fish story he thought he was hearing. “This stuff is a lot of carp, Sam,” said Al, slapping his face in exasperation.


“Al, please. This is really fascinating. That must be why Ziggy couldn’t pinpoint any specific task for me to do. Can you tell us how you caught me? We could use the same technology to refine our systems back at the project and even get me home. And we could help specific people at specific times and locations in history. Pin point leaping!” said Sam very excited.


“I don’t think I can do that. I am not supposed to interfere with the past, though my contacting you does interfere a bit,” said Doctor Albright admitting another transgression.


“So you aren’t so high powerful and great,” said Al taking a satisfying puff.


Doctor Albright looked over at Al with a bit of impatience and then admitted, “Well, my very being here with Doctor Beckett violated that principle. I merely reinterpreted it so I could contact my people, be retrieved and put things back the way they should be. Time will follow its best course along the path of least resistance.”


Al continued to poke at him. “You broke your own rules is the way I ‘reinterpret’ it.”


“No, he just bent them the same way we do sometimes, Al,” said Sam looking peeved at his friend. They had not always followed the book on each and every leap and sometimes it even helped contribute to a successful leap.


“Precisely,” replied Doctor Albright. “And I need you to help me finish my little project and osculate my dual-demo hyper-accelerator meter. The graviton matrix is very unstable and the mono-dynamic rotoscope keeps hitting its own natural frequency and falling apart,” explained Doctor Albright, using his hands to demonstrate his predicament.


“Hmm. Interesting. That sounds possible to fix,” said Sam trying to envision the problem in his head. “But then my data banks have been selectively wiped over the years.”


“And you’re going to help him ‘phone home’?” asked Al very sarcastically while still very distrustful of this fellow.


Sam looked over at Al. “Yeah, I guess you’re right. Then afterwards, I will leap?” asked Sam.


Doctor Albright thought for a moment. “Maybe. I would think that the probability would exceed fifty percent, my dear Samuel. I don’t have the power or equipment to send you anywhere else myself. My retrieval will be from my power source in the future, just as your own facility has to retrieve you. I may have another task you can do that is in your line of helping out people in your leaps. It’s really out of my line.”


“Does this guy ever give up? Another Mr. Quantum-Fix-It project?” Al said acting out dramatically.


Sam threw Al an angry glance. “Al, please! Let me finish with Doctor Albright here. So what else do you have for me to do?” inquired Sam, still working in his head on the first problem.


Doctor Albright replied, “No, we can discuss it later. It would be best explained at my lab.”


Sam thought about what Teddy had said and longed for just a hint of what was going to come. “I realize we can’t really talk about the future, but as the ‘father’ of all your time-traveling sciences, I am quite curious. Isn’t there anything you can even hint at?” asked Sam with his heightened scientific curiosity.


Doctor Albright thought for a moment. “Hmm. The future is not as marvelous as you might think. Science progresses. Technology advances. People and their everyday lives don’t advance as much. Even with all the new electronic gadgetry, their lives are basically the same. The general public knows about time travel, but tight reins are held on it. Too much is at risk stumbling around in the past. Everything you started continues. I feel I shouldn’t say more, Doctor Beckett.”


“Thank you,” replied Sam after a little of the weight of this leap was removed from his shoulders.


“If you’ll excuse me, I must get some rest. Good night,” said Doctor Albright as he closed his eyes and went to sleep.


The Boeing 737 droned on into the night, as Sam could not sleep. He pondered the words of Doctor Albright and the future that was the result of his work and those that worked with him at Project Quantum Leap.




San Francisco International Airport

San Francisco, California

September 18, 2004, 3:15 AM


With a small pack slung over his shoulder, Sam Beckett bounced down the jet way at San Francisco International with his futuristic friend full of anticipation for the adventure ahead. In the main waiting area, a woman in her mid-thirties with brunette hair and enticing violet eyes approached Doctor Albright wearing jeans and a t-shirt that read, “We’re listening! Beam on down!”


She gave Teddy a big hug and then broke into a big smile, shaking Sam’s hand. “Doctor Beckett. I’m Stephanie Hartmann. You can call me Stephie. I’m a great admirer of your work. I based my doctorate thesis on a paper you wrote, ‘Applying the Dunlop Principle to Microscopic Black Holes.’ Brilliant work! Without your wonderful breakthroughs, quantum leaping would be fifty years off at least. Congratulations, Doctor Beckett. That is truly the greatest achievement in science since the practical application of the first of Einstein’s relativity equations,” said Stephanie, pumping Sam’s arm until it ached.


Al, who had followed them down the jet way, threw up his hands in despair. “Is there anyone here that hasn’t heard of our top secret project? Maybe we should all get a booking on Letterman!”


Sam, pulling back his well-used hand, asked her, “Thank you. That is a good question. How do you know so much...”


Stephie interrupted Sam. “...about your work? Through Doctor Albright. I’ve been helping him with his project at a vineyard that my father owns an interest in. And don’t worry; your secret is safe with me. We’ve been working together since I finished graduate school. It is very fascinating, but not very practical outside of communication with certain parties and of course your own work at Mitchell Airbase in New Mexico. Please come with me and I’ll take you to Xanadu,” said Stephanie as she grabbed Sam’s bag and headed toward the terminal exit.


Sam was taken with the enthusiasm of this woman whose eyes sparkled while discussing her quantum studies. “To where?” he asked with a look of astonishment on his face.


“Why, to the Xanadu Winery up in the valley—Napa Valley. You’ll love it up there. Come on, Doctor Beckett,” said Stephie smiling as she picked up Doctor Albright’s little suitcase.


Sam gave Al an amused look at Stephie’s enthusiasm and took off at a quick pace following her.




Xanadu Winery

Napa Valley, California

September 18, 2004, 6:30 AM


The California wine country looked just as Sam Beckett expected it would look from the travel folders: rolling hills with quaint old Victorian houses and miles and miles of vineyards. On the northern edge of the valley stood a house that reminded Sam more of a haunted mansion than some of the other quaint turn-of-the-twentieth-century country estates. The manor house was covered in fainted shades of blue and green as the shutters banged against the house in the wind. Though the estate appeared to be a working winery, time had not been fair to the manor house and other buildings haphazardly placed about the exotic locale known as Xanadu.


“We have a bed for you in the bunkhouse with Doctor Albright,” explained Stephie Hartmann, pointing to a one-story building not far from the main house. “The accommodations are not the Fairmont, but they’re comfortable. We try to keep a low profile around here.”


The trio, followed by the project observer, walked over to the old building. “That’s fine, thank you,” said Sam, throwing his backpack on the bed. The inside of the bunkhouse would fool anyone, as its interior was much better kept than the dreary weathered wooden exterior. Over a dozen male vineyard workers lived in bunk beds, though Teddy had his own bed in the converted closet at the end of the building.


“Thank you, Stephie, for getting us back here. We should both rest after that long ride. Doctor Beckett and I are still on Eastern Daylight Time and we could use the sleep. See you in the tomorrow, my dear,” said Doctor Albright with a tired smile on his face. “Doctor Beckett, it is good that you are here.”


“Pleasant dreams, Teddy,” Stephie replied as she turned, flashed Sam a big smile, and left the two men alone.


Sam turned to his futuristic companion, “She is a very nice woman, Teddy.”


Doctor Albright agreed, “You are very perceptive, my friend. She is kind, brilliant, and very helpful in my work. Unfortunately, she is deeply troubled.”


“Troubled? She seemed well-balanced to me,” said Sam sitting down on his bunk.


Doctor Albright joined Sam on the bunk. “Oh, she is very private and hides her troubles extremely well. She never wants her problems to show. Others mustn’t see the cracks in her armor,” explained Doctor Albright. “Though she is very outgoing and friendly, she keeps everything deep inside herself. She must always be in control. Not that she is obsessive about it; she just needs order in her life. Our work here gives her that order. I have found myself relying on her so much that she is like a daughter to me. I’ve told her things that I could not tell another soul on earth in this time period. And there lies the problem. I am a friend with a woman who has a brilliant mind that has helped me immensely. Unfortunately, she cannot share this knowledge with anyone. Her own people can never benefit from her research and accomplishments. All of her years of work will have to be destroyed when I leave. She will have no place to go and no experience to give others. Her highly trained scientific mind just can not accept this,” explained Doctor Albright while Sam began to unpack.


Sam had many of the same problems since he could never really be himself on any of his leaps. He had to portray the person he had leaped into or his host’s friends and colleagues would become suspicious. Feeling sorry for Stephie, Sam asked, “She has no friends or relatives? No other people to work on similar efforts with? No one else in the world?”


Teddy shook his head. “A couple of passing friends here at the winery, but I have been her whole world for many years. She is very dedicated and very loyal, but because she knows she can’t disclose anything, she has learned she is lonely and totally isolated from the scientific community here in the twenty-first century. If she stays on this course, then I don’t know what will happen to her emotionally after I leave,” said Doctor Albright. “Do you think you can talk to her? I believe her experiences are similar to your own. You both have brilliant minds and are experienced in intellectual isolationism.”


“Sure, I’ll talk to her, though I don’t know what I can do for her,” explained Sam. His heart did go out for this woman that he had just met.


Teddy sighed, stood up and patted Sam on the shoulder. “You’re both research physicists. Find some common ground, Doctor Beckett,” said Doctor Albright. “I have great faith in your intellect and your humanity.”


“Sure. But let’s hit the sack. I’m bushed,” said Sam. “Good morning, Doctor Albright.”


“Teddy, please. Not so formal,” said Doctor Albright. “We are going to be working closely together.”


“Sure, Teddy!” smiled Sam as he looked over to Al, who was sending him hand signals.


“Sam, how about a little walk before bed?” asked Al, who had been listening in. “It’s very nice outside.”


Sam indicated the door. “I’m just going to go out and....”


“Talk to the Admiral. He may have some interesting facts,” said Doctor Albright.


Walking out behind the cask storage building, Al could be seen playing with his handlink making electronic music in the early morning sunlight.


Al took several puffs on his cigar and looked slightly pleased. “This leap has finally started to come together, Sam, though we still have the craziest assumptions about Doctor Albright and his friend, Doctor Stephanie Hartmann. She is a quantum physicist, graduated from Stanford and Princeton. Generally disappeared from the academic world following graduation, but is known to reside here in the Napa Valley supposedly working on obsolete Russian technology liberated from the old Soviet Union. Leaves here in two months trying to secure work in both Silicon Valley in California and the Research Triangle in North Carolina. Then she makes the rounds of universities and government laboratories. No luck with any positions worthy of her fine mind. Finally she withdraws to the wilds of Maine. Reported missing three months ago. Local authorities assumed that she is dead. Sounds like someone your special talents can help, Sam,” said Al, puffing away on one of Prince Albert’s finest.


“Al, I’m a physicist, not a psychiatrist,” said Sam, shaking his head. He had little faith in his ability to help very subtle mental problems.


Al took a couple of puffs while looking up at the clouds rolling by. “Sam, you do have a degree in psychology. Ziggy gives you a fifty-three percent chance of leaping if you can help out this lady. You’re not going to get any better odds this leap,” said Al. “I’d go for it. Verbena can give you a hand if you need it.” Al put away his handlink as he strolled around admiring the acres of vineyards that covered the surrounding hillsides. “All this good alcohol fodder and not a good bottle of scotch in sight! God, I could use a drink!” exclaimed Al out loud.


Sam tried to bring Al back to earth. “Al? And what about Doctor Albright? What does Ziggy say about him?” asked Sam, kicking the dirt with his foot.


Al shook his head for a moment. “Him? Nada. He never existed, at least not under the name he gave us. Though the story he told about San Francisco does come to a blank wall with the Air Force. Something happened involving the Air Force that week in Bay City. Everything about that incident is so classified for national security reasons that even our clearances don’t seem to get us into those files. Ziggy is working on it. Maybe she knows an adding machine in accounting at the Pentagon,” chuckled Al as he glanced back up at the sky.


While heading back to the bunkhouse, Sam looked at Al strangely, exclaiming, “Funny. I have got a big day tomorrow. See ya, Al,” said Sam.


“Yeah, I’ll check in with you later, Sam,” said Al as the familiar white rectangle opened up and Al disappeared through the shimmering brightness.




Xanadu Winery

Napa Valley, California

September 19, 2004, 10:50 AM


“Doctor Beckett, you are about to see something that no one else but Stephie and myself have seen. You should find it really quite amazing,” explained Doctor Albright as he unlocked a big oak door in an outbuilding that had once been a machinery storage shed.


Inside Sam saw benches full of familiar and unfamiliar components, soldering irons, an oven, circuit cards, personal computers and one large assembly of lights, wires and electronic boxes in the center of the building that looked alien even to Sam. The strange machine stood six feet high and was roughly hexagonal in shape made of large panels full of dials, screens, switches, and gizmos wrapped in miles of multicolored wire. Lights were blinking on and off as it made an unearthly low humming sound that waxed and waned up and down the musical scale.


Sam put his hands on his hips and slowly walked around the electronic device stopping halfway around with his mouth falling open. “Fascinating! You are using electronic components and assemblies in ways I never even dreamed of. An analytical Hansen converter coupled into the Wankelstein radial interpolator. And this strange gizmo connected up to the hyper-accelerator meter through some kind of regenerative induction coil. Wonderful,” said Sam sounding like a kid opening up his presents on Christmas day. He started to reach out and touch a Newton delineator that was sparking when he quickly pulled his hand back and stuck it in his pocket thinking better of himself.


Teddy joined him as he pulled out the panel that contained the sparking component. “I am impressed, Sam. You have already found one of the problem pieces I need your help with. The major problem is on the other side,” said Doctor Albright, indicating a silver-coated component at the bottom of the stack.


With the doctor’s invitation, Sam began to trace the wires. “So you must be sending your message across hyper-space much like I leap from decade to decade,” said Sam fidgeting with the wires. “We have something similar in the acceleration chamber to help create a dimensional vortex.”


Doctor Albright squatted down next to Sam. “That is partially correct. We travel and communicate using more than the fourth dimension,” explained Doctor Albright. “Besides bending the spatial coordinates, we make use of many other dimensions.”


“So you could travel through time as well as space. Great! Why didn’t your colleagues just go back in time and pick you up right after the earthquake or even before the earthquake so that the incident never occurred?” asked Sam, now inspecting the top of the alien stack of components.


Doctor Albright shook his head. “With all of the advanced technology of my era, our beliefs are fundamental. We wish to leave history to those in the past. There is one course for better or for worse that history followed. Our journeys are very finely planned. We know what times and places we can go to minimize our effect on the past and leave the course of time intact. That is the Principle of Minimal Interference. If one of our observers loses contact with our present, he or she is assumed to be lost. Massive search parties from our time are not considered in line with our doctrine. The lost individual must reestablish contact so that he or she can be pinpointed and retrieved. This may be hard for you to understand since you are constantly changing your own history,” explained Doctor Albright.


Sam found a differing view on the principle of time travel quite refreshing. “I can see your point. We all have to accept the canons of others. Everyone has the inherent right to his or her own beliefs, be they Christian, Moslem or some future civilization. Not only is it a part of our culture, but I firmly believe that myself,” explained Sam.


“Thank you for your understanding, Sam. I fear that most people I encounter would not be so liberal with your views, but knowing what I know of your personal history, I felt I could trust you,” replied Doctor Albright as he leaned forward to see what was fascinating the good doctor.


Sam circled the entire system scratching his head and asked, “Where do you dissipate all your heat? The combination of all these components must generate millions of BTU’s.”


Doctor Albright explained, “The generated heat is recycled and is used to power the unit.”


“So you have another outside power source? I would think you’d need Hoover Dam to satisfy the fluctuating power requirements. I don’t see any external electric power cables. Any internal power source that size would violate the law of the conservation of energy,” said Sam pacing around and around the alien contraption.


Doctor Albright started talking with his hands as he began to get excited himself talking to someone close to his own intellectual level. “The conservation laws don’t always apply when inter-dimensional mechanics are involved. We have more than forty dimensions to draw our power from. You should have seen that from your own studies. Stephanie, Sam needs to learn some of the basic principles of inter-dimensional physics as it applies to future quantum technology,” suggested Doctor Albright to Stephanie.


Sam climbed down from the alien mechanism, wiping his hands on an old rag. “Actually, I could use some re-schooling even on the basic principles, too. My mind no longer retains everything I learned from day one,” replied Sam. He really wanted to put himself back together since so much of himself had been lost over the many leaps he had had. Sam was also eager and willing to learn about this alien technology, too. Soaking up knowledge was one of Doctor Beckett’s greatest passions.


Stephie went over and took Sam’s arm. “Great! Let’s get started. Have I got things to show YOU!”





Xanadu Winery

Napa Valley, California

September 21, 2004, 11:20 AM


Two days later while Sam was fidgeting around with a recycled circuit card, Al walked through the wall with a perplexed look on his face. “Sam, Ziggy is going nuts with all this mumbo-jumbo this guy is feeding you. She doesn’t even see how that pile of junk is even functioning in neutral, let alone actually working in overdrive,” said Al while reading his handlink.


Sam pulled out a computer printout and looked up startled, not realizing that Al had joined him. “Hi, Al. Right, well... I didn’t see you there. I guess this is really beyond Ziggy’s original programming. Doctor Albright has wondered about the systems and power requirements at the project, too. He asked me how we got through some of our leaps without blacking out the city of Albuquerque,” remarked Sam, never looking up toward Al.


Al took a sudden half-step back. “How did he know about that?” asked Al, staring at Sam looking like something didn’t agree with his stomach.


Sam looked up with his memory failing him once again. “We did that, Al?”


“Yeah, three different times. Once when we needed Verbena visible in the Imaging Chamber, once when...” replied Al counting on his fingers. Al always seemed to conveniently forget about certain embarrassing failures at the project. “Then there was that time we had the two simultaneous leapers...”


Sam continued to look over his printout when a light bulb must have gone off over his head. Very excited, Sam shouted, “Look! This is amazing. If these figures are right, we can increase the efficiency of the project by one thousand percent. Using the energy flux from the leaps propagated over the decades of time travel, we could generate enough power to run Ziggy for years from just one leap—if we could only figure out how to store the chronoton and graviton particles. Do we have a roentgen-stat diametric field generator?” asked Sam, looking up at Al with a big Beckett grin on his face.


A half-ironic, half-tired smile crept across Al’s face. “I’ll check and see if there’s one in the supply cabinet! Come on, Ziggy, give me the poop. Hmm! Yeah. Right. Maybe. OK. Ziggy stated that the University of Moscow has developed the first nanocore for this type of device, but a C-size battery can store more power at the present time. Come back and see us in a century or two,” said Al, smiling with satisfaction. The demands for this leap were taxing everyone at the project, including Ziggy and the Admiral.


Sam tossed down his printout. “Great. All this knowledge and technology and nothing I can use it for. Stephie was right. No wonder she is so frustrated. Tomorrow is staring us in the face and the world doesn’t know how to handle it,” said Sam, banging his hand on the table.


“Slow down, old friend. Maybe the world shouldn’t move too far too fast. Tide and time are already spinning ahead so fast that man can’t keep up with it or contemplate the consequences of our own technology today. Man wasn’t meant to have technological leaps handed to him on a silver platter without having to fight and claw his way to the top. But first, we have to get Doctor Albright out of here, one way or another. Have him beam up, blasted through time or send him to the loony farm. Leaping to your next assignment should be your highest priority, Sam. That’s certainly ours here,” Al reminded Sam. He bit his lip and looked very determined as he bit the tip off his next cigar.


Sam calmed down a bit and looked over at his holographic friend. “Thanks. Sometimes I just need to be brought back to earth. Any more on those Air Force reports?” asked Sam, taking a break by leaning on his workbench.


Al brightened up for once this leap since he had a positive answer for Sam. “Ah yes. A Colonel Franklin Henshaw, formerly of the Air Force Scientific Intelligence Unit, is flying down to the project. He has some of the artifacts from that San Francisco apartment house fire. They still will not admit it, but he seemed very interested in helping us out. That’s the Air Force for you. Deny everything even in the face of facts,” said Al. “I’m hoping he can give us a good understanding about Doctor Theodore Albright.”


Sam acknowledged Al, excused himself and went back to the workbench full of used electronic components.




Project Quantum Leap

Stallion’s Gate, New Mexico

October 17, 2006


In the sterile white room too small to be called a conference room, Colonel Franklin Henshaw stood stiffly, tapping his foot impatiently. Admiral Calavicci entered as the Air Force Colonel snapped to attention and saluted. Al returned a half-hearted salute partly out of practice due to the nonmilitary atmosphere of Project Quantum Leap Headquarters.


“Admiral Calavicci,” snapped Colonel Henshaw with a noncommittal expression.


“Colonel Henshaw,” replied Al shaking his hand warmly, but getting in return a very cold reception.


Colonel Henshaw started, “Admiral, let me be frank. The Air Force has taken a lot of flak and ridicule at its own expense over fictitious scientific breakthroughs and supposed UFO sightings for decades. Your project leader has stumbled onto the best chance we have to recover from all the previous negative publicity. This incident could be of mutual benefits to both our organizations.”


Al took an instant dislike to Henshaw and began with a deep breath. “Colonel, the Air Force has already had a great deal of experience with things like Project Bluebook and UFO sightings. With all those rumors about bodies of spacemen frozen in huge refrigerators and new super secret weapon technology stolen from crashed alien spaceships, I realize the hardships and publicity problems you guys must face. However, the Air Force never admitted anything and always had these wild explanations,” said Al, surprised at the frank discussion from an Air Force officer.


The Colonel put his hands behind his back and took a defensive stance. “Two reasons for the denial campaign: public perception and hysteria. During the Cold War, we needed to avoid public panic and show that the United States military was in control. No one in the Air Force wanted to have the country think that the UFO problem was a communist trick, or worse, an alien threat. The same thing applies to uses of alien technology and advanced machinery from the future. Besides, we had no physical evidence that such things did exist. Now we not only can tell the public that something does exist, but we can obtain the proof!” explained Colonel Henshaw quite coldly and efficiently.


Al’s back stiffened as he tried to not show any disdain for the impudent Colonel. “Colonel, you are not here on a hunt for time-traveling renegades,” said Admiral Calavicci. “You are here for one reason and one reason only, to provide background information on the Air Force incident in San Francisco in 1989 and any other observations based upon your experiences with the Air Force Scientific Intelligence Unit. Our number one priority at this installation is the life of Doctor Samuel Beckett and to have him complete his mission. Nothing else! Is that clear, Colonel?” said Admiral Calavicci in his most commanding voice. Al worried about this gung-ho excuse for an Air Force officer.


The Colonel snapped to attention saying, “Yes, sir! I understand!” There was a cold calculating look in his steel-gray eyes as he surveyed the room.


The two officers stood eye to eye for almost a minute. “Good. Now after we complete your security check and give you a basic briefing on this installation and its operation, I’ll show you something that is probably advanced even to you defense science guys,” said Al as he took him to see Ziggy, the Acceleration Chamber and the Imaging Chamber.




Xanadu Winery

Napa Valley, California

September 23, 2004, 10:45 AM


Doctor Sam Beckett had completed his crash course in futuristic quantum technology and filled in some of his knowledge of quantum mechanics that he lost due to his Swiss-cheese memory. Luckily, he had not physically lost any of his great intellect that had allowed him to conceive of Project Quantum Leap, his great fascination with learning new things and his open-mindedness to accept and look beyond the basic laws of the universe. In addition, he was feeling better about himself and feeling more whole than he had in many a leap. For once, Sam Beckett could just be himself.


“Hand me that number twelve hex wrench,” asked the quantum-leaping doctor to Stephie as he gently took out a rack of components from the “tower,” as Stephie called the mass of everyday twenty-first century components, and the hybrid futuristic components.


“There you go, Doctor,” said Stephie, smiling at Sam. Stephie was really enjoying the company of a human being closer to her own time period for once. Even though he was older than her, they had much of the same experiences and temperament. Each could easily get lost for hours investigating whatever last crossed their brilliant minds. Stephanie found him intuitive, caring, funny, and also quite handsome.


Sam looked over the rack that to most everyone would have been a pile of junk. Sam wondered out loud, “We need to test all the piece parts and subassemblies of this... this...”


“Time relation quasi-meter, according to Teddy. I just consider it an inter-dimensional transmitter. Or even a thing-a-ma-jig. Looks like something my Dad worked on in the garage back in Duluth,” reminisced Stephie.


Sam looked up. “Thing-a-ma-jig it is. I know what you mean. My Dad liked to tinker like that, too. There is no telling which part is causing the instability. This whole rack is a jumble, but I think I can figure it out and fix it,” said Sam tinkering with the crazy wiring pattern and mix-match of parts.


Stephie joined Sam, looking over his shoulder. “If you have any questions, just ask me. I pretty much built it from scratch using Doctor Albright’s specifications,” said Stephie. “Anywhere in particular you want to start, Doctor Beckett?” she said teasingly, looking amused at Sam’s expression.


“Sam. Call me Sam, Stephie. Let’s see. I can’t believe the variety of parts you combined here. You have parts from a DVD player, a nuclear power plant steam regulator, an automobile computer, several micro-computer components, and what is that?” asked Sam, pointing to the tube on the far corner of the equipment rack.


Stephie stopped looking at Sam and followed his finger through the modernistic wire sculpture she had created. “That is an HF135 vacuum tube from a 1967 RCA Color Television. It was just what we needed to disrupt the electron flow. A little old, a little new, a little borrowed technology, a little...” teased Stephie.


“Blue? No! You’re not saying...? What in here is blue?” asked Sam, putting down the rack and thumbing through a mass of wires representing every color in the rainbow.


A slight silly smile came to her face. “The third circuit card on the left. The printed wiring cardboard is navy blue. From some kind of old automotive test set,” laughed Stephie. She had not had so much fun in ages. ‘Sam Beckett was quite a fellow,’ she thought.


Sam put on a big Beckett grin and leaned on the workbench. “You certainly have a... a... I don’t know. You’re either a certifiable genius or a junkyard Edison or a little bit of both. I really don’t know.”


She sat down on the bench next to him. “Sometimes I just think I’m crazy,” she said quietly, looking at her feet.


Sam took her hand. “Maybe like a fox. You see possibilities in things no one else does. You can leap beyond what others can’t even dream about. Where do you get all these ideas?”


Stephie looked up feeling a bit funny. “Besides the coaching from Doctor Albright and my own quantum physics background, I do a lot of searching and chatting on the Internet. I make suggestions to other college students; garage tinkerers and research scientists and they help me out, too. We’re kind of a support group for weird and unexplained miscellaneous bits of technology. Reusing things that normally get discarded in this ‘use it and toss it’ society. You never know how many backyard inventors there are out there,” explained Stephie.


Sam cocked his head to one side and wondered, “And no one ever suspected you’re harboring a fugitive scientist from who-knows-when?”


Stephie saw a strange glow appear about Sam’s head as she shook her head no. “No one has found us to date, and since your project didn’t know what we’re really doing here, we must have covered our tracks pretty well,” said Stephie. She shook the last of her dreamy haziness about this lost scientist and got down to more serious matters. “All I’m really worried about is that if too many others know, someone might betray us.”


Sam smiled and said, “Well, I’m not talking. Besides, I’ll be gone in a while and will probably forget about everything anyway.”


“I know. That will be my personal loss,” she said quietly. “I trust you.”


Trying to help Stephie out, Sam turned the subject around and inquired, “Do you get to know any of the people you chat with on the Internet when you exchange information?”


“Ah, no, not really,” she said quietly, looking down. “Everyone uses an alias. Our need for secrecy is great and there is nothing here I can really tell people about. The locals think we’re trying to exploit some secret Cold War Soviet technology. I’m the local oddball. Most people stay away from me. So that, as they say, is that,” said Stephie shrugging. “It’s just Doctor Albright and me working on the ‘tower.’”


“And you don’t get, um...frustrated?” asked Sam. “You’re very talented and you don’t get any...”


Stephie turned to Sam as her eyes flashed. “Recognition? Do you think I’m doing this for MYSELF? I have the greatest opportunity in the history of science here! I’m looking at things that are so far advanced that they won’t be seen for decades or centuries. I have knowledge that... that... that will unfortunately never even exist in my lifetime!!” said Stephie standing up abruptly.


“And you can’t do anything about that, can you?” asked Sam sympathizing with her.


Stephie stopped in the middle of her lecture and just stared at Sam Beckett. She suddenly realized what Sam had said was true.


Sam continued taking her hand. “That’s what is eating you up inside, isn’t it?”


“Yes,” she said, breaking into tears and falling into his arms. “All this work and time and effort, and I can’t help anyone with it. When Doctor Albright leaves, I will have lost my life’s work and will have NO place to go. Ten years and I’m back where I started.”


“Do you want to go with him?” wondered Sam. That possibility was something Sam would find very tempting himself.


Stephie just stared at Sam for half a minute. “Yes, no, maybe! I don’t know,” said a very confused Stephie. “He said that travel to his time would be too dangerous. It’s designed for those who are observers and I wouldn’t even survive leaving my own time period using his technology. So after he leaves, I will be many years past my doctorate with no visible academic progress. I’ll probably end up teaching physics at some community college in Boise, Idaho,” she sighed.


“You know, I always admired teachers when I was growing up,” said Sam. “They teach young minds to think and push on to other things.”


Stephie’s eyes softened and looked at Sam for a moment and then closed. “But I have SO much I could offer the world, and all those technologically-advanced companies will just think I’m some flake trying to get back in the industry after a long period of hermit-hood,” she said sniffing a bit.


Sam sat down next to her. “Secrecy can make one’s life difficult. I kind of understand that with my own work,” said Sam, thinking about all the problems he had at Starbright and at Project Quantum Leap.


Stephie, now in tears, asked, “How can you?”


“Ever think you’re the loneliest person in the world?” asked Sam who held her tightly.


“Constantly!” said Stephie, letting go emotionally. Somehow, the very human Sam Beckett had finally touched her in the one spot she refused to go to, or at the very least refused to acknowledge even to herself.


Sam smiled at her. “Same here. I am always somebody else and I can never be Sam Beckett. I can never be myself. So even though I am in a room full of people who know and adore the person they think I am, I still can’t be me. I’m alone. My security or the face I have to put on for my host can’t be breached. So you see, I feel like the loneliest person in the world even in a room full of people. I know what you’re feeling,” explained Sam. “And I guess you feel the same loneliness, too.”


Stephie smiled at Sam through her tears. “You are lonely just like me. I think I do understand you pretty well, Doctor Samuel Beckett.”


“Well, I’m pretty lost myself,” exclaimed Sam smiling. “But here and now, it’s so wonderful to be able to be myself again—to be able to work again with my first love: Science. Math. Physics.”


Stephie stopped crying. ‘And you,’ she thought, but only said it with her eyes. She put her hand on Sam’s chest. “It’s just wonderful to have someone to listen to me. And I’ve let off some excess steam. Your life is what you make of it and mine may need some major work, but we have a project to finish and we have to get you and Doctor Albright both on your way. You’re quite a guy, Sam,” said Stephie as she went back to the workbench and her soldering iron.


Sam just looked at her and sighed wondering how he was going to help this beautiful brilliant woman fix her life that may be reaching a dead end, while also making sure that his life didn’t dead-end here either.




Project Quantum Leap

Stallion’s Gate, New Mexico

October 21, 2006


A constant humming noise could be heard coming from Ziggy’s massive blue orb, which shined light throughout the Control Room like a big blue disco ball. Al entered the Control Room with the representative from the United States Air Force as the staff looked on intently.


“So as you can see, Colonel, you can monitor whatever is going in the Imaging Chamber, but I am the only one in contact with Doctor Beckett directly. By projecting an image only visible through his optical neurons, Doctor Beckett is the only one who can see me at his present location and time,” explained Al standing next to Ziggy’s master control console.


“Interesting, but still very confusing. This techno-babble is just electronic gobbledygook to me,” admitted Colonel Henshaw looking just a bit annoyed. He strolled around the room glancing at the control panels and some of the Control Room staff. Sammy Jo looked up with a start as he peeked over at her cubicle wall. The Colonel grumbled an inaudible excuse and then returned to Admiral Calavicci.


“How about the samples you brought us? Is there anything you can tell us about Doctor Albright and the Air Force’s experience?” asked Al, puffing on his usual stogie.


Colonel Henshaw retrieved some samples from his briefcase and spread them out on the nearest desk. Sammy Jo and Donna joined them, but visibly steered clear of Henshaw. He glanced back suspiciously at the two women.


The Colonel cleared his throat as he began a lecture he seemed to have made many times before. “We only had the slightest hint of the level of their technology. Our defense labs learned mainly about their materials science. Anything more complicated in the areas of communications, transport, life support, and command and control systems was effectively destroyed. This sample is of a metal that defies all efforts for us to learn about it from our technical examinations. It cannot melt, dent or be x-rayed. Even after the fiery destruction of his laboratory, it is still shiny without a blemish on it.


“Now this piece of conglomerate is completely different and has suffered the effects of high heat. Our microscopic spectra-analysis has identified eighty-five of the ninety-two natural known elements in it in combinations that are not possible in this day and age. And there are traces of radioactive elements that should have decayed years ago, and yet they are in some kind of flux that keeps them from decaying so they continue to radiate power. The purpose of this piece of debris is unknown. Their power and energy producing science is phenomenal. So Admiral, you see a great deal can be learned from these people,” concluded Colonel Henshaw as he passed around the samples.


The Admiral examined the surprisingly light metal that looked like a big chunk or rock to him and then handed it to Sammy Jo. She turned it over, sniffed it and scratched it with her fingernail. Finally she pulled out her car keys, poked it in several places and then returned it to the desk. “Interesting, but then materials isn’t my specialty. I’ve never seen such an artificial conglomerate before. It must have been subjected to a radioactive seasoning or some kind of super-cold temperature electrochemical treatment. We could have Gibson down in our electro-microscope lab take a look at it.”


Al looked even more confused as he quickly redirected the conversation. “Thank you, Sammy Jo. Make it so. And thank you, Colonel. Unfortunately, any gains we learn about their sciences must be secondary to our primary mission. Mankind will have to wait until these advances come to be. Time and tide, my dear Colonel. Did you get that input, Ziggy?” asked Al looking up at the fourth-generation hybrid computer.


“Yes, Admiral,” replied Ziggy. “I have nothing to add until I can review the analysis reports.”


Al turned toward the Imaging Chamber door. “I am going to contact Doctor Beckett, Colonel. From the Imaging Chamber, I will contact you if I need your help. You can respond through Ziggy,” said Al as he grabbed a handlink from the main console.


Colonel Henshaw saluted stiffly and replied, “Affirmative.”


Al sighed deeply and looked over at Henshaw. “Very good. Dom, fire up the Imaging Chamber. Colonel,” said Al heading up the ramp. “There’s something I don’t like about the guy,” said Al muttering to himself.




Xanadu Winery

Napa Valley, California

September 23, 2004, 2:00 PM


Sam was bent over one of the workbenches working with a soldering iron trying to connect two items that Al couldn’t identify. One of them appeared to be the heating unit of an old Mr. Coffee drip coffee maker.


“So how’s the Doc Brown of the junk set? I hear Steven Spielberg is looking for a good yarn,” joked Al, still a bit skeptical about the whole leap. Afterwards he looked over his handlink and began to hum two choruses of “Johnny B. Goode.”


Sam removed his goggles and turned to Al while wiping the sweat from his brow. “Good afternoon, Al. We are still working on that stability problem, but I think the three of us can lick it. Ziggy uses a similar processor in her neo-neural net. I think with a couple of simple modifications, I can adapt it for Doctor Albright. And there are a few other similar components we could use at Quantum Leap,” said Sam, picking up a list he had made.


Al’s mouth dropped open at the suggestion to contact their facilities and in essence fool around with their own past. “Haven’t you tried Time Machines ‘R’ Us? Maybe the local Wal-Mart can help out,” said Al. “Even after all the work you’ve done with him, this guy still gives me the creeps. Everything is just too pat, too perfect, too much coincidence.”


Sam put up his hand to calm his holographic observer. “Al, please. We need a few very specific items that you use at Project Quantum Leap. They should be in our spare parts inventory. At least these items were there when I first leaped. Also, with PQL helping Doctor Albright, it will keep the secrecy element intact,” said Sam. “Here’s what I need,” said Sam, showing him a list.


Al activated Ziggy’s hologram so that she could directly transfer the list to her database. “What if Ziggy breaks down at a critical moment without these parts?” he asked Sam.


Ziggy immediately broke into the conversation. “Admiral.”


“Yes?” Al asked.


“Everything Doctor Beckett requires I either have a backup system for or I can compensate in the unlikely event that I do have a system failure before the replacement parts are procured. Remember, I constantly run status checks on all of my systems and I can identify failures before they occur,” said Ziggy in her usual effective non-emotional slightly conceited female voice.


Al sighed deeply since he knew that Ziggy was usually right about her own capabilities. “OK. I get the idea. I just hope I had the budget to replace them,” said Al, mumbling again about the government bureaucracy he had to deal with everyday.


“And Doctor Beckett?” continued Ziggy.


Sam looked at his creation with curiosity since he was being addressed personally. “Yes, Ziggy?”


“It is a pleasure to be working with you again, Doctor Beckett. I am pleased and proud to be able to contribute to your efforts,” announced Ziggy with some conceit in her voice. “Even if it is in an earlier time sphere.”


Sam smiled. “Likewise, Ziggy. Al, is there any problem with me contacting the Quantum Leap facility in this time period?” asked Sam.


Al stuck his stogie back in his mouth and started making beeping and pinging sounds with his handlink. “Let’s see. On this date at Project Quantum Leap Headquarters, Ziggy was undergoing a major system diagnostic while you were between leaps. You started your next leap in two weeks. So you can contact us without disturbing any of your work.” Thinking ahead, Al spoke through the handlink and said, “Dom, punch up the security codes we used for the fourth week of September in 2004.” Returning his gaze to Sam, he explained, “It could help you identify yourself to me back then.” He knew he had to convince himself that Sam was Sam and not some kind of imposter.


“Thanks,” smiled Sam as he took down the information.




Project Quantum Leap

Stallion’s Gate, New Mexico

September 23, 2004, 3:20 PM


Al and Beth Calavicci came rushing down the corridor of Level Three into the auxiliary computer room. “Seventeen days and no sign of Sam. I am a wreck, Beth. And half of Ziggy’s search algorithms are down so it takes twice the amount of time to search across the same lifespan... Donna, Donna!” screamed Al into the intercom.


“Easy, darling. You’ll give yourself another heart attack,” said Beth lovingly. She had worried about his tension level since he had a mild attack the year before.


“Yes, Admiral?” replied Donna Elesee over the telephone intercom.


Al spoke quickly, “Is there anyway we can speed up this maintenance cycle? Diagnostics are a nightmare! Sam could be in deep trouble by now.”


Donna paused to reflect to try and calm Al down. “Al, Ziggy has been working night and day since Sam originally left us and she really needs this downtime to check out all of her systems. We could put a third shift on the work, but it will run our budget for the month way into the red,” explained Donna.


Al momentarily felt squeamish in his stomach. “Budget! I wish I had never heard that word. Bureaucratic hogwash. Just get it done, Donna! Have Sammy Jo lead up the graveyard shift,” said Al wiping his brow. Ever since Sam had first leaped, Al took over both the project director’s job as well as being the main Quantum Leap Observer.


“She could use the time off,” replied Donna.


Al shot back, “Check with her first. If she can’t do it, get her Diagnostics Lab Chief to head up that team. Got that?”


“Absolutely. I’m on it. Thanks, Al!” replied Donna.


Al sat back in his chair as Beth began massaging his neck to ease the stiffness from his tired joints. “That’s great. Hmmmmm. Poor Sammy Jo. It’s been rough on her ever since the DoD cancelled her Compusat Automation Project. She just threw herself into her work and never came up for air. Just like her father,” wondered Al. “Maybe some quiet time working nights will help her. All part of the worries of being the boss!”


“She’s not the only workaholic around here, Al my darling,” whispered Beth in tones that drove Al wild.


Al reached up to caress Beth when the intercom buzzed with the project operator announcing, “Admiral Calavicci. There is an outside call for you from a Samuel Braintrust.”


Al motioned for Beth to stop and then asked, “What? What sort of name is that? I used to call Sam that when— Sam? Vicki, I’ll take it in my office!” As he headed for the elevator, he added, “This could actually be important!” Al wondered if it could really be his leaping friend, tinged with a bit of skepticism.


Beth sighed as Al took off again, probably sending his blood pressure to new heights.


In Al’s cramped little project office surrounded by naval mementos and Project Quantum Leap souvenirs, he picked up his headset. “This is the project director. Can I help you?” asked Al, wondering whether this crackpot was his crackpot.


“Al,” said Sam in an unfamiliar voice, “Al, it’s me, Sam Beckett. I’m in California and I leaped into a college student a week ago. You see, I’m helping out this doctor with a problem and I really need your help.”


Al knew the intonations in his voice sounded like Sam. “Ah, you aren’t the only person who has called up claiming to be the supposedly missing Doctor Samuel Beckett,” explained Al very cautiously.


Sam paused for a moment. “Yeah, that’s probably true, Al. Here it goes. Maybe some facts and figures will help. You’re Albert Calavicci, Project Director, who took over after my first leap. We’ve known each other for twenty years. You were an orphan, a Navy pilot, a Vietnam prisoner-of-war and my best friend during those grueling years that we were getting Project Quantum Leap started. We met working together on Project Starbright during that incident with the vending machine. Your wife’s name is Elizabeth and you have four daughters named Jackie, Liz, Vickie and Christa. My first leap was into Tom Stratton, an Air Force test pilot. That leap saved his life and set a new world air speed record,” explained Sam, running off various random facts that had returned to him in recent days.


“Go on,” said Al, not completely believing that Sam had leaped into “today.” He put his elbows on his well-worn gunmetal gray desk listening intently.


Sam continued, “Right now my name is Josiah Hawley and he lives in Quincy, Massachusetts. He is a college student at M.I.T. and works at the Plymouth Plantation portraying a pilgrim. At the project, your current communication security code is 21ASOFOQHAL93. Your emergency disaster code identification is 560000273 and the combination of the lock on Ziggy’s computer room is 65 90 22 37. Does any of that sound familiar? You gave me that information as my holographic observer just a few minutes ago. Do you want to know what flavor of soda is in the cafeteria vending machine on Level Five?” asked Sam who busily tapped his foot to the point of almost developing a nervous tic.


“No, that’s not necessary. Ziggy? Did you get all that?” asked Al into the intercom on his desk. He himself was nervously tapping his desk with his cigar hoping everything this guy said was true.


“Yes, Admiral. Based upon the information provided and the subject’s speech patterns, there is a ninety-seven point four percent probability that Doctor Beckett has contacted us,” replied Ziggy flatly. “Greetings, Doctor Beckett.”


Al let out a monumental sigh of relief. “Thank you, Ziggy. One last question,” he asked Sam. “Just after Ziggy was first fired up, you and Ziggy sang a song that the whole staff joined in on,” replied Al, tapping his cigar on his desk for emphasis.


Sam easily remembered the incident and responded, “Sure. ‘The Impossible Dream.’”


Al’s eyes lit up. “Correct. Now what was my comment about that at the celebration after you sang it?” asked Al. “The real Doctor Beckett and I were having a very private conversation at the time.”


“Al, that was over ten years ago!” said Sam, sounding a little peeved at all of Al’s personal firewalls.


“I know, but I need to hear from you something that only Doctor Beckett and I know. So what was it?” asked Al, sitting back and twirling his cigar.


Sam asked a little embarrassed, “Was it about the lab technician in the see-through blouse that was dancing on the piano in the fourth level lounge?”


Al dropped his cigar. “How the hell did you remember that, Sam?” said an astonished Al Calavicci, who smiled remembering that dance routine and, more importantly, the dancer. ‘It was one hell of a party,’ thought Al. She had cuddled up to Al giving him a good shot at cheating on Beth, though he would never do that.


Sam let out a very deep sigh of relief. “Sam. You called me Sam!” he exclaimed. “THANK YOU, AL!!!”


Al was pretty sure it was Sam, but he still tried to sound like things were business as usual. “Yes. Well, maybe I believe you, but still please answer the question,” said Al leaning toward the phone speaker.


“You thanked me for the faith I had in you after you recovered from your alcoholism and that you hoped you wouldn’t be the ‘unbearable sorrow’ that I had just sung about,” said Sam quietly. “That was quite a confession from the always straight-laced Albert Calavicci.” Sam shook his head thinking about how far they had come in all those intervening years.


Now Al softened up. “That’s very true, Sam. I’m not usually that introspective. It’s certainly good to hear you outside of the Imaging Chamber. Now what can I do for you?” asked Al picking up his cigar and re-lighting it.


Sam went into details on which parts he needed and what modifications needed to be done to them for use in Doctor Albright’s magical “tower.”


Al finished writing down the list. “I got it. We’ll ship them out by express mail tonight. This is weird though since we’re directly involved in your leap. So what are you building up there? A leap-repeating station? An electric lighthouse for manic-depressive aliens?” asked Al.


Astonished, Sam replied, “Not too far off, but we’d best leave that question to the future, Al. It’s best to follow the rules.”


Al gave Sam’s words some extra thought. “Yeah, you’re right. That’s why we wrote them, to avoid timeline problems. If you need anything else, call me on my private line. I’d come up there myself, but this place is a zoo right now,” said Al who really wanted to see his old buddy. Time off was not a luxury he could afford at this time.


Sam smiled also wishing he could really see his old friend. “That’s OK. You’ve been great. And it’s good to hear your voice, Al. Take care of Beth. Bye,” said Sam quietly.


“I will, Mr. Braintrust,” said Al. As he put down his phone, he thought about the real Sam Beckett—the same individual he nicknamed “Doctor Braintrust” back during the Starbright Project. Not the holographic image, but the one that was his real and true friend. Al knew that sometime in the future, Sam was still bouncing around in time and hoped that someday he would get home. “Godspeed, Sam,” the normally not-too-religious project leader wished his friend.




Xanadu Winery

Napa Valley, California

September 24, 2004, 10:30 AM


Late the next morning, a shiny yellow taxi pulled up to the old tool shed at the Xanadu Winery. Sam heard the screech of tires on the gravel and looked through the old dirty window at the yellow Checker cab and turned to Stephie. “Is that how express packages are delivered?”


Stephie walked up behind Sam, put her hand on his shoulder and stared out the same dirty window. “Sometimes if they are too far off their normal route, but that isn’t the case around here in Napa,” replied Stephie. She almost took Sam’s hand and then headed for the door.


Looking up from his workbench, Doctor Albright warned his able assistants, “Be careful, my friends. Be wary of strangers.” He was not used to having unknown people disturbing him during his work sessions.


Outside, a thirtyish woman with long brown hair paid the taxi driver who had just pulled two large crates and a small suitcase out of the trunk. Sam and Stephie went outside and approached her cautiously. She picked up the suitcase and walked over to Sam. “Doctor Beckett?” asked the woman, looking strangely at him.


“Ah, yes?” said Sam, furling his brow after having been addressed by his proper Christian name for the third time this leap.


She shook her head slightly. “Don’t you recognize me? Doctor Samantha Josephine Fuller. I couldn’t resist coming up here to see you in the flesh. After eight years of just watching Admiral Calavicci from the Control Room, I had to see you quantum leaping in person, so to speak. This is the first chance I have had to meet you during one of your leaps,” she said very excited, leaving her identity as his daughter a mystery to his Swiss-cheese memory.


“Ah, hi,” said Sam, not too sure who she really was. He looked over at Stephie and then back to this bright-eyed woman who reminded him of someone from somewhere in all of his leaps. What Sam could not fathom was how much Sammy Jo looked like her mother and one of Sam’s leaping loves, Abigail Fuller. “This is Doctor Stephanie Hartmann,” said Sam introducing his colleague.


“Stephie, please,” she said cautiously. “Doctor...?”


She broke out into a big smile that reminded her of Sam’s friendly grin. “Sammy Jo, please. I am so curious about your project here,” said Sammy Jo. “And I could use the time off from my own work schedule, too. You can’t imagine the ups and downs at the project. Why, I am so glad to look into something new that...”


Stephie turned to Sam, taking his hand and interpreting the enthusiastic Sammy Jo. “I don’t think this is too good of an idea, Sam. Too many cooks, you know,” said Stephie starting to look nervous.


Sammy Jo’s smile became forced as she could see that her presence may have been a mistake. “You mean you don’t have room for one more quantum physicist? I understand,” said Sammy Jo disappointed, but still smiling. The last thing she wanted to do was mess up one of her father’s leaps after contributing to the success of so many others.


Sam turned first to Stephie and then back to Sammy Jo. “I’m sorry, Sammy Jo. This is their project and I’m just Mr. Fix-It around here,” said Sam apologizing. “So you are a quantum physicist?”


Sammy Jo had the same feelings Al had when he had to give Sam the same basic facts over and over again, leap after leap. “Yes, Doctor Beckett. V.P.I. So you’re in quantum physics too? What’s your specialty?” Sammy Jo asked Stephie.


“Probably about the same as yours,” said Stephie nervously as she backed away.


Sammy Jo’s eyes opened wide. “You specialized in quantum leap technology?” said Sammy Jo. “Fascinating!”


Stephie looked very uncomfortable and replied, “Uh, I’d rather not say. I think I’d better go, Sam.”


Sammy Jo took the hint and stepped back toward the taxi. “Oh well. At least I got to see Doctor Beckett,” said Sammy Jo. Sam stepped toward her as she stared at his face. She reached up and ran her hands over it.


Sam looked over at Stephie looking a bit embarrassed. “What if there are changes in the specifications about the components she brought that I don’t remember? Sammy Jo can help us out,” said Sam. “What are you doing?” he asked Sammy Jo sounding more intrigued than annoyed.


She quickly withdrew her hands as her face turned a slight shade of red. “I’m just doing a little field research. Seeking the contours of your face, that is. They seem to resemble the Sam Beckett I remember. And they don’t match the aura I see. Even the height is wrong. This is incredible to witness firsthand after previously only seeing you in the Imaging Chamber,” exclaimed Sammy Jo. Changing the subject, she turned to Stephie. “I can understand your hesitancy. The MAC transport is waiting for me at Napa Municipal. Just help me with these crates and I’ll be on my way,” said Sammy Jo as she shook Sam’s hand and then reached for the first large box.


Something tingled in the back of Stephie’s mind. Working with Sam Beckett had created a need in her to be with people and to make more contacts with the outside world, and this bubbling woman from Sam Beckett’s world seemed to peak her own interest. “Wait! Doctor Albright may require some convincing, but I think your presence might speed up his departure,” said Stephie. “You are entirely welcome, Sammy Jo. You can bunk in my room. I would love the company.”


Putting down the crate, Sammy Jo was still hesitant but did feel some warmth in Stephie’s invitation. “Thank you, Stephie. You’re very kind. Whose departure are we talking about? Is this project transportation-related? Or is it Doctor Beckett’s departure you’re concerned with?” asked a very curious Sammy Jo.


With a twinkle in his eye, Sam said, “Come in and see.”


Inside, Sammy Jo found the distinguished-looking doctor leaning over a workbench busily soldering components onto a circuit card. He wiped the perspiration that had formed underneath his mask, and then looked up with curiosity when he saw the three PhD’s entering his workshop.


Stephie approached him with Sammy Jo. “Teddy, let me introduce Doctor Fuller. She was kind enough to bring us the components from Project Quantum Leap and has offered her services to us in their integration into the ‘tower.’ Is that acceptable to you?” asked Stephie, smiling yet a little unsure of his reaction.


“Hi. Sammy Jo,” she said, offering her hand to Doctor Albright.


He whipped off his mask, staring at her. “Doctor Fuller? Doctor Samantha Josephine FULLER?” He suddenly dropped the mask to the floor, as everyone looked down a bit startled.


“Why, yes. Do you know me?” she asked very curiously cocking her head to one side. There was something familiar in his face, but she could not place which feature it was. Most of her academic career had been with the Quantum Leap project and she was not very well known to the academic community like her illustrious Nobel prize-winning father was.


Doctor Albright shook his head and then replied, “All the research doctorates at Quantum Leap are well-known to me. That was the beginning of everything I have ever worked with, Doctor. It’s just such a pleasure to meet you,” he said shaking her hand very hard.


Sammy Jo could tell that his smile was forced, but somehow quite sincere. “Likewise. Where did you hear about me? Our project is so classified that we do not rate much notoriety, Doctor Albright,” replied Sammy Jo, blushing just a bit. She had never been the recipient of such admiration before.


Sam approached Sammy Jo with some hesitation. “Our host has traveled from the future and we’re helping him reestablish a link with his colleagues in his time,” explained Sam. “Everything I said was true, Sammy Jo.”


Sammy Jo stood there in shock while Stephie looked at her, nodding her head. “That is amazing. So our work at PQL does go on from here? Wow! So it is some sort of a time beacon you are working on here?”


Doctor Albright could not stop looking deep into Sammy Jo’s eyes. “In the simplest sense, yes. We can get into the details later. Please show ‘Sammy Jo’ the ‘tower.’ If you’ll excuse me, I must finish this assembly and then I will join you. Sammy Jo, it will be a pleasure to work with you. You are most welcome,” he said turning back to his workbench. His hands shook as he picked up the first inductor and then dropped it. He picked it up with his other hand, placing it next to his work while staring off onto the distance.


Sammy Jo, Sam and Stephie went over to the large jumble of wires while Stephie gave another introduction to the world of science that did not yet exist. “Now, Sammy Jo, if you can picture space as a multi-folding napkin...” Stephie started to explain.


Back at the workbench, Doctor Albright did not hear Stephie, as he was deep in thought. His mind went back to a memory from long ago. He thought to himself, ‘You were always welcome. And so you are again, Grandmother Fulton.’





Xanadu Winery

Napa Valley, California

September 24, 2004, 10:45 PM


That evening in the sparsely furnished bunkhouse, Stephie sat on Sammy Jo’s bed sipping the local vino and learning a bit more about the visiting doctor.


Putting down her glass, Sammy Jo fanned herself. “Not bad. A little tart for my tastes, but strangely refreshing.”


“My father owns a minority share in the winery, so we practically lived off it when I was in school. He also got us this place to work in rent-free. My dad is really great,” said Stephie while sipping her glass of wine.


Sammy Jo looked down. “I never really knew my father when I grew up.”


“Did you ever meet him?” asked Stephie seeing that Sammy Jo looked slightly depressed.


Now Sammy Jo had to use some tact since she had seen that Stephie was probably more than fond of her dad. Of course Sam Beckett got along with most everyone and often attracted the opposite sex with his hangdog personality. This also helped him fit in with all his hosts on his leaps. She decided on, “I have met him, but he didn’t know who I was. You’re lucky your dad does things for you.”


“I guess yours was not there when you grew up. Mine would do most anything for me. He’s been a lifesaver for Teddy Albright. Ten years and he still thinks we’re going to make a fortune on this or that equipment from Russia. We actually used parts from a Russian Soyuz rocket engine last year. That’s about the closest to Borsch this old enterprise ever got,” she said loosening up a bit. She even had a hint of a smile on her face.


“And you have been working with Doctor Albright for over ten years? Incredible. And with a research scientist that knows what’s going to happen in all kinds of technology. No one will ever believe me,” said Sammy Jo smiling to herself. She had worked for so many years on the past during Sam’s leaps that the future always seemed like another dimension.


Stephie looked grim. “And no one must ever know. Even after he is gone, this knowledge could mean worldwide consequences to business and politics, let alone the possible religious implications. Sammy Jo, this would be the first publicly known contact with a time traveler from the future and I don’t think human beings are ready for that. Any information he possesses could be disastrous to us and to his people in the future. Just one unscrupulous person who could get his hands on the wrong information could cause problems. Are you really comfortable with that potential possibility?” asked Stephie looking deep into Sammy Jo’s eyes.


Sammy Jo looked away for a moment and thought. “I don’t know. We have to deal with that possibility with Sam on every leap. Wow! This is the most exciting thing that has happened to me since Sam first left us. I mean, who would ever have believed real time travel in the twentieth-first century would exist with opportunities to change the past, if only in small ways. I’s like...fiction coming to life. It’s like all of your fantastic childhood storybook characters coming up to you and saying hello,” said Sammy Jo excitedly.


“Right! Everything you ever had in your dreams and they meet all of your expectations, too. Or at least some of them,” said Stephie excitedly, agreeing with her. She had felt the same way working on scientific principles that she had only read about in science fiction when she was a little girl.


Sammy Jo said gleefully, “Exactly. And you feel like you can really accomplish something, too.”


Stephie’s excited look quickly changed to sorrow. “That’s where we part company, Sammy Jo. What can I do with all this work? Can I really accomplish something? My options are very limited after Doctor Albright leaves,” said Stephie. “And my resumé will look pretty bleak.” Stephie’s shoulders slumped as she let out an exhausted sigh.


Sammy Jo pursed her lips. “So you need someone who believes what you did. You would like to continue your work in quantum mechanics and expand the boundaries beyond normal everyday science,” said Sammy Jo.


“Yes, that’s it,” perked up Stephie. “But how can I fulfill all of those dreams with the limits placed on my knowledge here?”


Sammy Jo got a gleam in her eye and replied, “Why don’t you join us? I could use someone to run the particle theory department. We are trying to reverse the flow of some of the secondary basic particles to help bring Doctor Beckett home.”


Stephie backed off a bit and said, “No, I couldn’t impose.”


Sammy Jo brightened up like a 1000-watt bulb. “What with all the experience you have? You’ll be teaching us. Besides, our staff is a little sparse of the genius quotient since Doctor Beckett left us. You don’t have to betray Doctor Albright’s secrets. Just point us in the right direction and help us expand what we already know,” said Sammy Jo, who was now talking very quickly and was so excited about working with Doctor Stephanie Hartmann. She was finding a kindred spirit in this crazy lab-workaholic world of theoretical physics.


The world looked like it had just collapsed on Stephie. “I don’t know... ah... I... ah... Oh, of course...yes. YES! YES! YES! Thank you, Sammy Jo! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! God, I don’t know what to say. You are truly sent to me by the Almighty. I mean...I might even have a future now. Oh, God, this is just GREAT!” said Stephie hugging Sammy Jo, who was bonding very quickly with Stephie.


Sammy Jo had to catch her breath after Stephie’s excited embrace. “Hold it there. Now you realize we have to get you a security clearance and convince Admiral Calavicci to put you on the payroll, but you have my strongest recommendation,” said Sammy Jo smiling at her newfound friend. “And I think the Admiral would be willing to cooperate, too.” Her options for friends had been very limited at the isolated PQL base, except for meeting her fiancé.


Stephie took her hand. “Thank you, Sammy Jo. You are a true friend. I never really knew what I was going to do after Teddy left. It will be great working with someone as smart and friendly and together as you are,” Stephie said, hugging her again. She thought it would be nice to get out in the world again after all of this was over.


Though Sammy Jo welcomed the friend, she had to explain everything to her. “Sure, it will. But I have my problems, too. Mainly being a workaholic. When I get involved with a project, they can’t drag me away for days. I am, like, so focused that I don’t eat or sleep. That’s especially true since the project I’ve worked on for two and a half years was cancelled,” explained Sammy Jo. She had worked on a new system of secure communications to link all the defense and intelligence satellites, which was cancelled due to the recent budget cuts at the Pentagon.


Looking straight at Sammy Jo, Stephie exclaimed, “I assume that you have those at the project that care about you. You just have to learn to balance life. Be in charge of it.”


“I know. I try, but the project always seems to get in the way. Even at home at night, I can’t stop figuring out my latest problem. My mind races so fast that it’s always working on my research projects twenty-four hours a day,” said Sammy Jo, twirling her finger around to indicate how fast her mind kept going.


Stephie took her hand and looked deep into Sammy Jo’s eyes. “You need to apply some of this brainpower to your personal problems too. There is life beyond the lab out there. You have to get out and smell the roses sometimes. Take a day off. Go play tennis or hike or just lie down in a park and watch the clouds roll by,” said Stephie enthusiastically.


Sammy Jo looked up at the ceiling at some imaginary clouds. “With my luck, I would see the solution to my random quark emissions problem in the clouds. It also sounds like you could use the same advice,” said Sammy Jo cocking up one eyebrow.


Stephie nodded her head in agreement. “Yep. Look, if we do get to work together, we will take some time off together. Two frustrated scientists that need a little sun in their complexion. Get out from under that fluorescent lighting. Right, partner?” asked Stephie putting out her hand.


Sammy Jo took it and grasped it firmly. “You got it, friend. Maybe together, we will lie down and watch those clouds roll by.”




Xanadu Winery

Napa Valley, California

September 26, 2004, 12:20 PM


Working furiously for two days, Sammy Jo, Sam, Stephie and Doctor Albright modified and installed the Project Quantum Leap components and successfully solved all of the interface problems. When all of the green GO lights on the “tower” turned on, everyone hugged and received a hearty congratulation from their futuristic friend.


Sam stood back with his arms crossed, admiring the “tower” as if it were his own personal work of art. “That should do it! We are fully stable in the neutral mode. Now the question is if it will work at full throttle,” said Sam. “It sure is a beautiful sight,” exclaimed Sam with a tear in his eye.


Sammy Jo shook her head in amazement. “That is the most amazing and aggravating pile of junk, future technology and multi-dimensional multi-phasic hardware. I would need to have Ziggy run the simplest components on simulation for days before we could completely understand just that one part,” said Sammy Jo admiring their handiwork. “But we did it!”


Sam put his hand to his chin as the wheels in his own mind began to turn. “You know, with the proper adjustments, we could convert the tower into a molecular size transporter,” said Sam. “And that could eventually lead to a practical site-to-site transportation system. Who knows?”


Sammy Jo was very intrigued. “Is that possible? Really ‘beaming’ people from place to place? Think of the power requirements,” said Sammy Jo, as her mind was totally stumped.


Sam shrugged his shoulders. “That’s the beauty of it. An infinite amount of power in almost null space spread over several dimensions. Power pulled from multiple realities and used here to send signals or people across hyperspace. The principle is really childlike once one works out the heat transfer problems. The possibilities are phenomenal and revolutionary,” explained Sam gesturing every which way. He had not had such a satisfactory intellectual challenge since they had had the acceleration chamber working not long before he first leaped. Nor had he felt so much together and one with himself.


Stephie broke in and agreed, “The applications are incredible, but mankind needs time first to get used to the idea of this level of technology.”


While witnessing the celebration, Admiral Calavicci wandered over to Sam. “And it looks like everything is turning out OK, Sam. Sammy Jo fixed your little lonely-hearts project. Stephie is still working at the project and whoever the resident at Xanadu is leaves sometime in the next two days. You should be leaping very soon,” said Al, lighting up a fresh one to celebrate. “Never doubted it for a minute,” announced the project observer.


Sam shot Al a dirty look over his constant insistence that Doctor Albright couldn’t possibly be who he claimed to be.


“What’s up?” asked Sammy Jo, knowing whom Sam was having a conversation with. She picked up on others talking to ghosts and imaginary friends very easily.


Sam sighed and then a look of great satisfaction crossed his face. “Al says that everything turns out fine. And my remaining time here is short,” said Sam greatly relieved. “I can finally move on. And it sounds like Stephie, you move on, too.”


First she blushed, and then she walked over to Sam. “Yes, that’s great. Thank you, Sam Beckett,” she said jumping up, holding him tight and kissing him on the cheek. “You’re a treasure,” she whispered in his ear. Though that was one treasure she wished she could hold onto.


Sammy Jo looked on quite bemused while Sam blushed. “So Doctor Albright, will you contact your people now?” asked Sammy Jo, trying to change the subject.


“Later tonight when I am alone. It really is better that way. Then they can get a precise fix on my position in time and space without the interference of other biological signatures. Shortly thereafter, they can initiate retrieval. Thank you, Doctor Beckett and Doctor Fuller. You have made me very happy—my full gratitude to all three of you, especially my little Stephanie. Bless you,” he said, shaking their hands and then giving Stephie a big hug.


Stephie had to recover for the fairly proper doctor had never shown that much emotion to her before. “Do you want me to stay with you, Doctor Albright?” asked Stephie brushing her hair back.


Teddy shook his head no. “My dear, I must speak with them on my own. I’m sorry. I won’t be leaving too soon, so take your friends to dinner and celebrate for me. Open up a bottle of champagne and think of all that we’ve accomplished here. This is truly a miracle. Good night, all,” he said, turning back to the “tower.”


“OK,” Stephie asked, “Chinese, anyone?”




Project Quantum Leap

Stallion’s Gate, New Mexico

October 24, 2006, 6:00 PM


Al left the Imaging Chamber door shaking his head. “Everything points to Sam leaping and yet nothing. Ziggy, any comments?” asked Al, chomping down hard on his well-used cigar butt.


“The probability of Doctor Beckett leaping is still under fifty percent and will stay that way until Doctor Albright leaves sometime in the next forty-eight hours,” said Ziggy. “I would like to continue to monitor the electromagnetic and chronotonic effects of his departure.”


Al sighed, “Sure, Ziggy. Whatever you want. Otherwise, I guess we’ll stay on alert until then. Send out for coffee, Corporal Miller. It still may be quite awhile. I don’t like being so uncertain this close to the end of Sam’s leap.” He put his handlink back in Ziggy’s control panel and tried to find a fresh cigar. “Corporal, also grab a couple of cigars from my office to help me pass the time.”


Shannon, the programmer, turned to Al. “Admiral, I’ll put off Ziggy’s matrix recalibration until then. We will have to brief the next shift. I’ll arrange a late staff meeting.”


Al looked up distracted. “Oh, right! Please do that. Now I have to go and—”


Colonel Henshaw, who remained in the background, walked over to Al and said, “Admiral, I will take your leave. I really have nothing else to add. Congratulations on a successful mission.”


“Ah, what? Yes, I understand,” said Al who was still distracted. “Thank you for your help. I appreciate your contribution. Have a safe trip back to Washington, Colonel.”


He looked coldly at Al, slightly squinting his eyes trying to gauge the state of the Admiral. “Good-bye, sir. It has been...educational,” replied Colonel Henshaw who abruptly shook Al’s hand. He was then escorted to the main elevator and out the front gate of Mitchell Airbase.


Al breathed a bit easier now that the cold and calculating Colonel had left. “Ziggy, run every scenario you can think of. I need to know if we missed something,” said Al scratching his head. “There is something bugging me and for the life of me, I can’t figure what that is.”


Ziggy exclaimed, “Admiral, Doctor Beckett’s leap has been full of so many convoluted probabilities based upon subjective assumptions, that the possible number of scenarios is approaching infinity. I will run all available data again to narrow the probabilities.”


Al turned to the Control Room staff and said, “OK, let’s run through everything again from the start. We are going to make sure that Doctor Beckett is on his way and soon!”




Project Quantum Leap

Stallion’s Gate, New Mexico

October 25, 2006, 3:00 AM


At 0300 hours at the front gate to the old abandoned Billy Mitchell Air Base that served as the entrance to the Project Quantum Leap Headquarters, an Army 2 ½ ton truck pulled up as a lone officer stepped down from the cab and approached the guard shack.


“Stop and state your business!” shouted Sgt. Max Rueben as the officer approached the gate. The guard stood stiffly with his hand on his pistol since no new arrivals were expected to arrive that late at night.


The officer snapped to attention. “I am Air Force Colonel Franklin Templeton Henshaw. By order of the Chief of Military Intelligence, I am taking control of this installation,” he ordered as eight Air Force military policemen jumped from the back of the truck in full riot gear and quickly surrounded the PQL security guard.


The soldier took one half-step back trying to not lose control of his station. “Colonel, sir. You must leave this installation immediately,” said Sgt. Reuben as he pushed the hidden floor button, signaling a full alert. Two of the MP’s immediately knocked down and disarmed the lone PQL sentry.




Down on Level Five of the complex, Al and his staff sat at a table covered with coffee cups and half-eaten donuts mulling over a half-dozen laptops. They were exhausted with the overload of data that Ziggy had provided. The overhead lighting went dim for a moment and the red tint of the emergency lights came on while the screeching of a buzzer could be heard.


“Now what’s the problem?” asked Donna walking over to Al.


Al snapped his laptop shut probably harder than he should have. “What in the name of— Security, what the hell is going on?” demanded Admiral Calavicci over the intercom.


The squeaky voice of a teenaged private could be heard. “I don’t know, sir. The full alert signal came from the front gate and the front gate monitors immediately went dead,” said the Officer of the Day at the reception desk.


Al shook his head in desperation. “Not another glitch! I need to get an appropriation to upgrade that twenty-year-old security system,” said Al as he headed for the main elevator. The halls were full of frantic people running back and forth racing to their alert stations. Al was going to investigate the alarm himself. ‘Probably some left-wing cult wanting to use the base for their commune,’ thought Al. Few problems occurred at their isolated military base.




Walking out of the old warehouse that doubled as the reception center and elevator shaft’s machinery shed, Al found himself in the cool desert night air accompanied by most of the Project Quantum Leap security force. Strapping on a sidearm, he stared into the cool night air seeing nothing beyond the lights of the building he had just exited from.


“Lieutenant Mosler, follow me,” ordered Al as he walked out to the front gate and saw Colonel Henshaw surrounded by the complex guards who had disarmed Henshaw’s men.


“Colonel! I’m not even going to ask for an explanation. Get off this installation now before I contact the Pentagon and demand a formal court-martial. Now!” barked Admiral Albert Calavicci. “MOVE IT!” yelled Al, now more furious than he could ever remember being.


The complex lights went dark for several seconds and then came back on. For the first time, a smile came to Colonel Henshaw’s face as Al and the PQL guards now found themselves surrounded by forty of the Air Force’s best commandos all dressed in camouflage clothing and pointing their M16A2 Rifles at them. The ill-equipped guards and other employees were now the prisoners of Colonel Franklin Templeton Henshaw.


“Admiral, I do believe I have the advantage now. We have important things to discuss inside. Tell your men to turn over their weapons or my men will advance on your position,” ordered the Colonel.


Al Calavicci, who had been in combat, did not want a bloodbath on his hands among his friends and colleagues at Project Quantum Leap. He was in an impossible situation since his young guards were no match for the crack Air Force unit. “Lieutenant, disarm your men,” Al ordered, throwing down his cigar in disgust.


The Colonel smiled again as he approached Al and ordered, “Admiral, your pistol.”


Discharging the shells onto the ground and throwing it at the Colonel’s feet, he spat, “There! If I ever get it back, the round in the first chamber will have your name on it, Colonel!” said Al turning red in the face.


Using his command voice, Colonel Henshaw ordered, “Inside now, all of you!”




Back in the large Project Quantum Leap conference room surrounded by the Colonel’s men, Al and his staff nervously sat around the table. The Air Force commandos sealed off the underground installation, taking over the entire complex. Sammy Jo and Donna sat next to Beth trying to keep their distance from their kidnapper. The Colonel stood at the front of the room facing them surrounded by five of his armed guards.


Al stood up pointing directly at Henshaw. “Henshaw, have you gone mad? This is a United States government installation—the kind of installation you’ve taken an oath to defend!” yelled Admiral Albert Calavicci.


The Colonel stiffened his upper lip and grunted. “Negative. Conditions warrant this action. I have the authority of the highest echelons within the intelligence community. Such disregard for the welfare of the American people I have never seen. You, Admiral, are a traitor to YOUR oath as a United States Naval officer and a defender of the United States Constitution. You, sir, threatened me with a general court-martial when you, sir, should be executed as a traitor to the United States of America, the President of the United States your commander-in-chief, the Department of Defense AND the American people. You threaten our very society and the defense of these same people. We, sir, are here to make sure that this traitorous act, this abomination against the United States Constitution, the American flag and the Spirit of ’76, be stopped before irreparable harm is done. Sir!” concluded the Colonel, now standing even stiffer at attention.


Al had this wild look of disbelief across his face. “What did you say? Irreparable harm? And you talk to ME about the Constitution! Henshaw, who authorized this illegal action? Under whose authority are you here?” said Al, foaming and playing with his hands minus his usual cigar that he had lost at the front gate.


Colonel Henshaw stood at attention and replied, “By Major General John Pershing McDonald, Chief of the DoD Security Branch S, Special Operations.”


Al’s eyes opened wide as he recognized the name. “Mac—that is, General McDonald—has been retired for eight years. And he hasn’t been in the Pentagon since 1994. I should know since he was our security advisor for this project after he left the Pentagon,” replied Al. “So YOU have no legitimate authorization to perform this madness, KER-NAL!”


Colonel Henshaw looked peeved and replied, “Pentagon Security General Order 1990-234 clearly states that all necessary actions will be taken in the San Francisco incident should the security of the United States be threatened. The Pentagon knew the potential threat this future time person was, and I have seen the full potential of that threat by the actions of Doctor Beckett and this same person of unknown origin.”


“Does ANYONE else know about this illegal incursion into our project here tonight?” pointed out the Admiral, wondering which other madmen were involved.


“Pentagon Security Order 1990-234 still exists and has NOT been revoked. I was the Special Security Officer for the San Francisco incident and have retained that capacity. I am an Air Force officer carrying out my orders, sir,” said the Colonel sharply.


Al shook his head in disgust. “The Pentagon has countless orders that are issued and never receded. You are way out of line, Colonel. You have NO authority to take over this installation and to hold my people. Now release them and leave this base. AND THAT’S AN ORDER, KER-NAL,” yelled Admiral Albert Calavicci.


Colonel Henshaw was taken aback a bit by the last exchange. “No, sir. As a traitor of the United States of America, YOU have no authority here, sir,” replied Colonel Henshaw politely. “I am in charge at this installation.”


Al’s face turned blazing red as he abruptly stood up. “BULLSHIT! HOW are we guilty of TREASON? We hardly know anything about this crazy time traveler’s visit into 1989 San Francisco. In some terms, he’s a stranger or an illegal alien, so to speak, and we’re helping him vacate the premises. Find that in the Constitution!” said Al smiling, a little proud of himself.


Colonel Henshaw responded, “SIR! You do have knowledge of the San Francisco incident and of the potential of this powerful adversary. You do have knowledge of sources of power that can solve any and all problems of the American people. And you are dismissing it entirely and allowing this technology to slip through our hands. The American people would be very interested in knowing how this project that has generated nothing for their benefit is now throwing away the greatest discovery since atomic energy.”


Al’s eyes opened wide as he realized what the Colonel was after. “I’m starting to see where this madness came from. And as a United States Air Force officer, you are SO WORRIED about the energy resources of the American people? Does the name HIROSHIMA ring a bell? It would make quite a bang for the buck too, wouldn’t it, Colonel? Looking for a new type of weapon?” asked Al very sarcastically, still acting nervous without his usual cigar in his hand.


Colonel Henshaw’s brow tightened as he looked at Al through his bloodshot eyes. “Mine is not to reason how our defense scientists and engineers would use this technology,” said the Colonel sounding very noble.


Cautiously, Al asked, “And I suppose you plan to share this wonderful new technology with the rest of the world?”


“Foreign powers might not be able to deal with it. How that is handled will be up to the President of the United States. It is not in the purview of a Unites States military officer to dictate or comment on the foreign policy of the United States of America. If the Executive Branch of our government decides to safeguard this secret as a matter of national security, then it will be up to the military to defend it to the last, Admiral,” said Colonel Henshaw, still standing at attention.


Al stood up abruptly and yelled at the top of his lungs, “National security! National security!? I thought we learned enough about that with Watergate and Irangate. You are a loose cannon, Henshaw—a megalomaniac, a...”


Verbena put a hand on Al’s shoulder and remarked, “Admiral, I suggest a little more tact. This situation could quickly escalate into a deadly confrontation.”


Beth whispered to Al, “Remember your blood pressure. This ‘nozzle’ is not worth throwing a fit over, Albert.”


Al had become more livid as his face turned scarlet. Though he never had any love for the bureaucracy of the federal government, he still would give his life to live up to his oath to the United States Navy he had taken forty plus years before. “Blood pressure? Tact? In a pig’s eye. All right, Colonel Henshaw. You are in charge, but only for the moment. What does your sick mind want? I assume you’re not going to continue this seminar on civics indefinitely!”


The Colonel stood stiffly and replied while taking charge. “No, sir. You will contact Doctor Beckett and instruct him to turn the time traveler and his technology over to the Air Force immediately,” said the Colonel.


Standing up again, Al declared, “Sam Beckett would never do that knowingly! He would never change the course of history just for either personal gain or national interest!”


The Colonel’s voice sounded more foreboding. “Then it’s up to you to persuade him or trick him. I am not against the use of force in the best interest of the United States of America,” warned the Colonel, pointing to his well-armed commandos.


Al slammed down his foot. “You maniac! You would hurt innocent people for this self-appointed crusade? I won’t cooperate, and I am the only link you have to Doctor Beckett,” said Al smiling smugly though he knew other observers had contacted Sam in the past.


Henshaw quickly pulled out his pistol, defiantly waving it in the air. “Perhaps you need further persuasion, Admiral Calavicci. Perhaps we will start executing your staff,” warned the Colonel. “Their deaths will be on your conscience, Admiral.”


Al could no longer take it. “YOU ARE INSANE! THESE PEOPLE have done NOTHING to you! And WITHOUT THEM, we can’t run the Quantum Leap facility. Your threats are flawed and they will not help you achieve your mad goals!” said Al as his voice began to break.


The Colonel began to slowly stroll around the table. “Then shall we start with those people not needed to run the project?” He walked by Sammy Jo, Donna, stopped at Verbena, then passed Shannon, Dominic, Daniel Fulton, the maintenance chief, and stopped at...


“Such as your wife?” said Colonel Henshaw, sounding even more menacing. He motioned for her to be brought to the front of the room. He followed her closely with his gun in her back.


“Beth! No, you...” cried out Al, losing any authority in his voice.


She was pushed to the front of the room, and then she stood up straight with all the grace and dignity she could muster under this trying situation. “No, Albert, don’t do it! Stand your ground, my darling. I am also an officer of the United States Navy, just like you!” cried Beth as she was pushed to her knees and the Colonel pushed his pistol into the back of her head. Beth looked scared but defiant.


“No, I can’t. I can’t!!” cried Al as he fell to his knees. “B-B-Beth!” he said as his word petered out.


“You can still contact Doctor Beckett with one less physician,” said the Colonel. Beth closed her eyes and started to make peace with her maker. Though never in combat, Beth was willing to give her life for her country.


Sammy Jo and Donna held on to each other tightly.


“NO, NO!” pleaded Al. “I beg of you!”


“I will count to ten. 1... 2... 3...” counted the Colonel.


“Beth!” he said weakly. “I can’t!”


“4... 5... 6...” the Colonel continued.


“Don’t do it, Albert!” said Beth. “I love you!” she called out to her husband.


“7... 8... 9... 10...” Henshaw said, finishing his count.


Al grabbed his head and fell forward as he could hear the metallic sound of the trigger being pulled, but only halfway. The Colonel turned and looked at Al crumbled up on the floor, trying to determine his next move.


“All right! You win, Henshaw. I will contact Doctor Beckett. Release my wife!” said Al, hoping to buy a little time. Maybe he and Sam could figure a way out of this hostage situation.


Beth, whose heart had stopped at the sound of the trigger, said almost breathlessly, “Albert. You mustn’t!”


Al looked up at Beth. “This is the only way. I can do nothing less. Now, Henshaw, release my wife!”


Henshaw shook his head no. “No, sir. She is still my insurance that you will follow my orders to the letter, Admiral. Now take us into your little holographic world,” ordered the Colonel.





Xanadu Winery

Napa Valley, California

September 26, 2004, 9:50 PM


Sam returned from the best dinner he had had in any memory he could fathom through his holey brain. Stephie had treated them, and the three musketeers had joyously celebrated. The food, the laughter and the jocularity flowed, affecting everyone at Wang Lee’s Mandarin Restaurant. As they laughed and cried on their way back to the bunkhouse, Sam could hear the familiar sound of the Imaging Chamber door opening behind him.


Sam was very happy to see his best friend and project observer. “Al, any news on me leaping? Dinner was great, but I am really looking forward to leaving,” exclaimed Sam. He smiled until he saw the unusually quiet demeanor of the project observer.


Al stood in front of Sam sweating profusely without a cigar. Also for some unknown reason, he kept glancing to his left. “Ah yes, Sam. Hi. I have some disturbing news for you. We were all wrong about this leap. Nothing is as it seemed. The odds shifted drastically after that big-lighted thing-a-ma-jig started up. Everything went to hell in a hand basket. Ziggy came up with new figures and projections and has concluded that this guy Doctor Albright is an illegal alien. And, have to turn him in. He is a real threat to our national security,” said Al nervously.


Sam took a causal, but obviously disbelieving stance with Al. “What? One man? A threat to the entire United States? Al, everything has pointed the other way since we got here,” said Sam looking at Al strangely. His voice was trembling and he had developed a brand new twitch of his right eyebrow.


Al waved his hands wildly in the air and then pointed toward the tool shed. “Well, completing his project has changed everything! We have a ninety-nine percent probability that this is true. According, you have to contact the Chief of the DoD Security, Branch S at the Pentagon and hold Doctor Theodore Albright for the authorities. Confiscate all of his equipment and hold Doctor Stephanie Hartmann, too. In fact, Sammy Jo and you should go with them too. And then you’ll leap. I have the Chief’s telephone number. It’s 804-555-7986. So go find a cell phone and call him, Sam. Quickly. Please, everything depends on this. Please, Sam,” said Al, begging his friend as his trembling and twitch became more pronounced.


Puzzled, Sam asked, “Al, are you all right? You sometimes sound unsure of the facts, but I’ve never heard you scared before.” Sam was very worried about his friend who kept shifting from one foot to another.


“Scared?” said Al, standing up straight and attempting to change his demeanor. “No. I’m fine. You have your orders!” said Al stiffly. “Now carry them out!”


Stephie and Sammy Jo joined Sam looking off in Al’s direction even though they could not see the holographic Admiral. Sammy Jo looked up at her father. “What in heaven’s name is the Admiral telling you, S-Sam?” asked Sammy Jo, who knew deep down she was interacting with a portal to the project’s and her own possible future.


“Sam?” asked Stephie taking his hand for reassurance, as Sammy Jo looked startled. For Stephie, all the nervousness and secretiveness that had been pent up inside her for so long felt like it was about to boil over.


“Orders? From who? Ziggy gives us suggested scenarios with assigned probabilities only. We still have the ultimate human control over our actions, Al. And what you are asking goes against all of our principles we jointly set up for the project. Why should we turn him over to the Department of Defense? And why that office? What does one single man do that is a threat to the American government?” asked Sam. He shifted to another foot and put his hands on his hips.


Al started to visibly sweat. The holographic drops of water ran down his face and then disappeared once leaving his holographic form. “Ah, he plans to ruin the national economy. You know, not take over the country, but by manipulating the stock market, he will cause a panic and all public confidence will be gone, and the whole American economy will collapse. That’s it! That big gizmo is going to disrupt communications and send viruses into our banking and investment computers,” said Al, trying to sound confident.


Sam shook his head hoping that it was April Fools’ Day back at the project. “From this one future quantum physicist who seems to want nothing but peace and to be left alone? Al, really!” said Sam cracking a smile. “Are you putting me on?”


“That’s all a crock, Sam. It’s right here in the history books in the time ahead of you,” said Al, throwing his hands up trying to indicate the future.


Sam lost his smile and turned dead serious. “Why would people from the future want to ruin the economy of this country and risk ruining their own civilization by causing history to run down a different timeline? It just doesn’t add up,” said a perplexed Sam. He was beginning to question the sanity of Al for the first time in all his various leaps.


Al, now sounding pitiful, pleaded, “Please, Sam. Call the Pentagon. I beg of you.”


“WHAT is going on back there, Al?” asked Sam, crossing his arms on his chest and staring at his friend.


Both Stephie and Sammy Jo were holding on tightly to Sam, getting very scared at the one-sided conversation of their friend. Stephie almost whispered in Sam’s ear, “You can’t betray Doctor Albright.” Sam gave her a reassuring look.


Al looked like he was going to drop to his knees. “I beg of you, Sam. Look, I’m doing my best. He’s very stubborn and dedicated,” Al said again, turning to the left. Then Al’s eyes lit up as something was placed next to his head. A flash of white light appeared and then the Colonel appeared before Sam with his pistol resting on Al’s temple. Colonel Henshaw said something and Al repeated him. “Sam, we have very specific instructions. The entire complex has been taken over, and you are required to contact the Pentagon and turn over the doctor and all of his equipment to the personnel of Air Force Section S. Disobey these orders and the Quantum Leap staff will be executed.”


Sam stared at the holographic invader as he turned and stared back at Sam. “Oh God! Damn you, whoever you are! The answer is no. Quantum Leap is not a personal meat-slicer for those who wish to alter the past for their own purposes. I won’t do it. I will not submit to terrorist-type threats,” said Sam defiantly.


“Then everyone at Quantum Leap is doomed. Beth and I are the first two on Colonel Henshaw’s execution list,” said Al stiffly. “He just told me that the next move is up to you, Sam.”


“Threats? Who is threatening your people?” asked Stephie who now held tightly onto Sam, also taking Sammy Jo’s hand.


Sam turned to the two scared women. “They are being held by an Air Force officer who is ordering me to turn Doctor Albright, you and his research over to the authorities, or the Quantum Leap personnel,” said Sam with great difficulty. He looked back at Al whose knees were about to buckle.


“But that will not be for a long time in the future,” said Stephie looking confused.


Sam sighed. “Yes, but they live in a parallel timeline co-existing with ours. Our actions tonight will define whether they live or die tonight,” explained Sam. He kept looking toward the tool shed and then back to Al.


“And that time is running short, Sam,” said Al, reminding him of what Sam knew all too well. “Henshaw is giving you one last chance, Sam!”


Stephie replied very nervously, “You can’t! We can’t betray Doctor Albright’s trust in us! Lord, I knew something like this would happen!”


“Everyone at the project?” asked Sammy Jo choking. “Including me?”


Al swallowed hard and then replied, “Yes, Sammy Jo and Stephie, too.”


Sam turned back to the women. “I am afraid so, Sammy Jo. And you too, Stephie,” said Sam, looking a very scared Sammy Jo in the eye.


Sammy Jo let go of Sam, staggered back and fell to the ground upon learning of her fate. Stephie helped Sammy Jo back up as she began to tremble uncontrollably.


Stephie cried out in a very weak voice. “Oh my God. Oh no. This can’t be happening. Now I know why you shouldn’t learn about your own destiny,” she stammered as Sammy Jo and Stephie both crumpled up on the ground. A pain ripped through Stephie’s soul, as she looked the Grim Reaper straight in the face.


Sam looked at Al who was not moving a muscle, too scared to even blink. Sam, with a bold look of determination, turned to Al who knew what he had decided to do. Al nodded that he understood, and Sam took off for the tool shed. Sammy Jo and Stephie both helped each other up and ran after him.


“Dom, center me on Sam,” said Al very carefully as the image of the two of them vanished.


Sam had made it to the door of the shed as Al and the Colonel appeared behind him. Sam made sure he didn’t look at Al and walked into the shed.


“Doctor Beckett, I did not expect you back tonight,” said a startled Doctor Albright who was now dressed up in a dark green suit made of some unknown shiny material that Sam assumed was part of his time-traveling gear. “Is there a problem?” he asked from the determined look on Sam’s face.


“Yes. How soon will you be underway?” asked Sam as the Colonel and Al walked through the wall of the tool shed.


Doctor Albright looked startled. “Oh dear, this is not a good situation. My colleagues will not be ready for ten or eleven hours until all of the dimensional planes are in the right position.” He glanced over at Al and looked unsettled at the sight of Admiral Calavicci being held prisoner.


Sam glanced over at Al and then looked at the doctor. “As you can see, we have a hostage situation back at Project Quantum Leap. They want you and your equipment turned over to the Unites States government. I cannot interfere with you and your time just as your people don’t feel they can interfere with ours,” explained Sam. “That is the only right thing to do.” Al stood stiffly knowing that Sam would not change his course of action.


“Come, Doctor Albright. Run away with me,” said Stephie. “We can start all over again in another place,” she added, putting out her hand. “Please. Don’t let it end here!”


Teddy shook his head no. “I’m afraid since the gentleman in uniform is aware of my existence and has the time travel capabilities, I really am not safe anymore. I was always afraid this might occur. We must prevent the worst from happening, and this must be accomplished immediately. I thank you for all you have done, my friends. Your efforts were most admirable, but you must leave quickly,” Doctor Albright said as he turned to the “tower” and began to remove some of the wires.


“Doctor Albright!” called out Stephie. She did not want to lose her one true friend this way.


Sammy Jo realized what was about to happen and started to pull Sam and Stephie from the shed. “We have to go! He’s beginning to remove the safeties.”


Al called out with his voice cracking, “Sam, for the sake of all of us, STOP HIM! This maniac is serious!”


Sam nearly lost it as both situations rapidly deteriorated. He could do nothing from stopping either disaster from happening.


Colonel Henshaw turned around and disappeared as Al cringed. “No! Beth! Oh God! YOU BASTARD!” yelled Al as he lunged for him. A bullet hit Al in the chest as he fell to the floor. His image disappeared as his brain waves ceased and the neural link with Doctor Beckett was severed.


“Al!” cried out Sam in pain. “Our project wasn’t supposed to come to an end like this! Oh, Al! Beth! What have I done to you?” cringed Doctor Beckett as he balled up his fists and bent over in physical pain.


“Oh, Admiral,” said Sammy Jo silently. “This is not right! Rest in peace. Sam, we HAVE to go!”


Teddy finished sabotaging the “tower” and turned to Stephie. “I have finished removing the safety devices to the power grid, which will overload in less than five minutes. The resulting destruction will create a five hundred-ton yield explosion. Please, my friends. GO. GO!” said Doctor Albright, now begging himself.


Stephie hugged him quickly as she and the others took off running. Across the yard, up the hill and into a gully, the three lost scientists threw themselves down and waited.


The night air was still until a blinding flash lit up the sky from the direction they had come. Seconds later, the concussion of the explosion rocked the countryside. Looking up, Sam saw a black mushroom cloud rise from the spot where the tool shed, Doctor Albright and all of his wondrous inventions had once stood. The smell of burnt rubber replaced the earlier sweet smell of late spring.


Stephie held tightly onto Sam and cried on his shoulder. “Goodbye, Teddy.”


A bold determined look came across Sam Beckett’s blackened face. “What a waste! Al, it’s not over yet,” promised Sam. “I swear to you, it’s not over yet!!”





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