Episode 1213
Running Against Time

September 30, 2004 

Stallion’s Gate, NM


After being trapped in the past, Sam, Sammy Jo and Stephie Hartmann must save the Project and everyone who works on it while also working on a new retrieval system.

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.




Sam leaps into Josiah “Hoss” Hawley, a multi-talented individual portraying a pilgrim at the Plymouth Plantation in Quincy, Massachusetts. As Sam and Al try to figure out what Sam is there to do, they encounter a mysterious scientist called Dr. Theodore Albright who claims to be a visitor from Sam’s future. Taking a flight back to Napa Valley, California, Sam is greeted by Dr. Albright’s assistant, Stephanie Hartmann, as the two of them help Dr. Albright complete his “tower” that will allow him to contact his time and be retrieved. However, an Air Force officer named Colonel Henshaw decides that this future technology must be confiscated and turned over to the U.S. government and commandeers PQL, ordering Al to go into the Imaging Chamber and tell Sam to turn over Dr. Albright to the local authorities. When Sam refuses, Henshaw executes both Beth and Al, leaving Sam stranded in the past as Hoss with no observer to guide him.





Now Sam Beckett was truly alone. The greatest fear he had next to being killed during a leap was being trapped in the past, in one place and one time in a life that was not his own. For all he knew, Quantum Leap and its personnel no longer existed in the future—whatever the year was. He was a stranger in a strange body in a strange land since he had lost Al, his only connection with his time, but he still felt that time was on his side. It always had been and he planned to use that advantage once again.


With the winery now in ashes and the civil authorities approaching very soon, Stephie, Sammy Jo and Sam Beckett—in the disguise of Hoss Hawley, a twenty-something college student—left Napa Valley and began to hitchhike south before they had to answer questions that no one would believe was the real truth. Only one place could help them now and their mutual destination was Stallion’s Gate, New Mexico, and the home of Project Quantum Leap—a place that’s very existence and future was in doubt.


Sammy Jo Fuller returned to the project and provided an abbreviated report on the disaster in Napa Valley to the director of the project, Albert Calavicci. Several daunting tasks lay before her. Number one was to prevent the destruction of the Project Quantum Leap facility and the deaths of at least two of her colleagues. Included in that list was possibly her death and that of her fiancé. Second, she had to stop this fellow named Colonel Henshaw, whom she knew nothing about. Should they prevent him from interfering now, or wait until the worst might happen? Third, what was the fate of future time traveler Doctor Theodore Albright? Finally, what would Sam Beckett and Stephanie Hartmann do since they currently had no place in this timeline or in the environs of Stallion’s Gate, New Mexico? And she was their only contact in this massive puzzle. Could they fix history without Ziggy, Al or Fate? Her mind was a swirl as all the possibilities flew around that brilliant brain of hers trying to match up problems with solutions, rejecting them and starting the process all over again.


Her own head started to spin around as the Admiral entered his office and inquired about Sammy Jo’s health. She looked up at Al with a noncommittal expression and uttered, “Oh boy!”





Stallion’s Gate, New Mexico

September 30, 2004, 4:15 PM


Al Calavicci sat down looking at the confused face of Sammy Jo Fuller, his number one quantum scientist and friend. He knew something was wrong, so he waited a minute and then cleared this throat to break the tension in the air.


“Hmm. ‘Oh boy’? You are definitely Sam’s daughter, my little lab rat. Now, tell the doctor what’s really troubling you.”


Shaking the multiple possibilities from her head, she gave Al a half-hearted smile and replied to his question, “Nothing. I’ll be fine—just a big headache coming on. I can feel this one coming from a mile away.”


Al leaned back in his chair and put his feet up on his small desk. He hated those self-important supervisors who had to make their visitors feel small behind a large piece of furniture that didn’t add one iota to their job. “Be sure to stop by and see Beth when we’re done, Sammy Jo. Our project medical officer should be able to help you out with that. Now what in blazes is going on out in California? I can’t turn on CNN without seeing pictures of that scorched landscape.”


Sammy Jo took a deep breath and replied, “Our project components were not as adaptable to the future technology as Sam originally thought. Trying to modify them as best we could, everything went well for a couple of days. Our initial tests had shown the dimensional stability was well within projected parameters.”


Al looked up at the ceiling. “English, please, Sammy Jo! I just run this place. I don’t know how it works! Please!”


She turned up one side of her mouth and then began again. “His mechanism, or time beacon, drew power from across several dimensions. His aim was to send his SOS across these dimensions by warping time and space.” She stopped when Al again looked totally lost. “Sorry. In the simplest terms, the mechanism Doctor Albright and Doctor Hartmann had built seemed to use our project parts. Integration was accomplished without any problems that we couldn’t handle. Everything looked fine except for an occasional spike in the meson grid. As the fluctuations increased to the hazardous levels, Doctor Albright sent us away to make a final attempt to adjust his device before he shut it down completely. Unfortunately, his tinkering did not succeed and you saw the final results on CNN,” explained Sammy Jo quietly, not looking Al in the eye.


“You could have contacted us, Sammy Jo. Ziggy could have helped,” said Al, worried about his best quantum scientist and daughter of his best friend. “Thank God only one person was killed in the explosion!”


Sammy Jo shifted in her seat looking quite uncomfortable. “Ziggy wasn’t really up on this level of technology. Doctor Albright did all the systems level analysis. The three of us never really understood more than the individual components. Doctor Albright is the only one who knew the whole system. In the end, he was determined to take the responsibility himself and he paid the final price. It was a tremendous loss to man and science,” lamented Sammy Jo shaking her head.


Al nodded in agreement and then dropped the other shoe. “And what happened to Sam? Did he move on in the way he was supposed to? Did he finish his leap?”


Sammy Jo shook her head no. “He didn’t leap, but he and Doctor Hartmann left to find lives elsewhere. He told me to tell you that you have another Sam Beckett to worry about who has other leaps yet to complete. So, Admiral, you may get to see him again somewhere, sometime,” said Sammy Jo smiling sadly.


Al looked off into the distance. “That’s Sam for you: doesn’t want to get in the way of history. Now we know what his final fate is. Well, if he ever needs a place to stay, he always has a home here, no matter who he looks like,” said Al. “Thanks, Sammy Jo. Go get some rest. We’ll need you back tomorrow. Good night,” he said, returning to his unending paper work.


Leaving promptly, Sammy Jo quietly said, “Good night, Admiral.” She was very uncomfortable lying to the Admiral, but she had to be the keeper of the secrets until the timeline was played out fully. She had the added burden of the lives of everyone at the project on her back, including her own beloved fiancé, Daniel Fulton.




Stallion’s Gate, New Mexico

October 3, 2004, 4:15 PM


Stephanie Hartmann and Sam Beckett had booked themselves into a small rundown tourist camp on the west side of town that had changed very little in fifty years. Old worn-out buildings dotted the state road that wound through the desert, eventually running into US Route 60. Across from the Roadrunner Court that still had the faded “We’re Air Conditioned!” sign swinging underneath it, stood the Crossroads Diner. Sam and Stephie obtained jobs in the ancient stainless steel structure to make enough money to keep them financially solvent. Sam worked as a short-order cook, while Stephie worked the tables as a waitress. While Sam had no real experience, Stephie had worked in the old Student Union at Stanford during her undergraduate days. Their plan was to stay near the Quantum Leap complex not only to save Al and company, but also to stay out of their colleagues’ way.


After a week, Sammy Jo bounced into the diner looking for her two friends to help them begin their plotting and planning. Sam and Stephie joined her in the back booth that was usually reserved for the coffee-drinking, cigarette-smoking employees on their breaks.


“I’ve got two old laptops that they will never miss. We usually have them stacked four feet high in the computer lab utility closet. Each of you can get a free third party email account on the Internet where we can communicate and store our data safely and securely,” said Sammy Jo, putting two satchels on the table. “You two should probably look for an apartment in town, too.”


Stephie remarked, “Hopefully, they have fewer rats than in the place we’re staying in.”


Sam agreed. “We’ve got to find a place to hold out in. It’s almost two years until D-day. And to keep our secret, the less we are seen together the better.”


Sammy Jo nodded in agreement. “That sounds like a plan. I will be missing you guys though,” said a sad Sammy Jo.


Stephie agreed. “Likewise. You’re the only friend I have in town—and almost anywhere.” She looked at Sammy Jo who then looked back at her. Sammy Jo could not miss that Stephie took Sam’s hand into her own and looked deep into his eyes. After what seemed like a lifetime, but to Sam was about one minute, Stephie continued, “Sam, despite all your arguments, I really don’t see why we don’t go explain everything to Admiral Calavicci now.”


Sam looked at her sympathetically, but shook his head in the negative. “First, we don’t have enough information to give him an accurate description of the situation. How did Henshaw even come to be at Quantum Leap? We don’t know. It would be all hearsay as far as he would be concerned. Second, there are still almost two years until it occurs and we need to keep this timeline as viable as possible. The three of us are already random elements affecting this timeline. Sammy Jo, you can minimize the damage by continuing to work at Quantum Leap.”


“I’ll do my best not to spill the beans,” remarked Sammy Jo. “It’s awfully hard being the keeper of the deep dark secret.” She sounded a bit nervous for she had to keep it not only from her dearest friends and colleagues, but also from her own family who could be seriously impacted if they should fail.


Trying to calm her, Sam said, “Everything should turn out all right. It’s tough, but I’m used to it. Just remember that I am the biggest random element since Sam Beckett isn’t supposed to be here and student Josiah Hawley is supposed to be in Quincy, Massachusetts. He’ll just have to remain missing for the time being.”


Sammy Jo wondered, “And you think that waiting will give us a better shot at being successful?”


Sam’s eyes lit up. “Precisely. Most of our changes in history during my leaping had to attack the problem at the target and not at the source. If we stopped a random element such as an unstable person from doing one thing, the new timeline might present him with the opportunity to act elsewhere doing something similar with even greater consequences. So we have to stop this ‘person’ at the time of his action and have him put away,” said Sam. “Then the timeline can be put back on its correct course and everything will be as it was meant to be.”


A strange look came over Stephie’s face. “And if we find him, why not just knock him off?” asked Stephie. “He certainly earned that punishment with all the death and destruction he caused, or will cause.” Her affection for Teddy Albright, whom was like a father to her, almost justified that action, though not completely.


“Murder? I don’t work that way,” explained Sam, shaking his head. He may have been the participant in some taking of lives in past leaps, but Sam Beckett was not going to be judge, jury and executioner for anyone, no matter how mad they were.


“And he has not done anything yet,” remarked Sammy Jo, who was very proud of her father. “Should we go back and eliminate Adolf Hitler just because of what he did during his tenure as the Fuëhrer? That would have dire consequences on the last two-thirds of the twentieth century. A completely different world would develop over the next sixty years. And it could be worse than what was actually experienced. Who are we to judge what course history may take? That is the true crime of this Henshaw. He was using the past for his own personal agenda. We can’t fool around with the past, no matter how guilty we feel he was.”


Sam nodded his head. “It’s not my job to punish the guilty. That comes from the courts or from a higher authority,” said Sam. He did not want one more life on his conscience.


“And that’s why he does what he’s been doing these many years,” said Sammy Jo smiling proudly at her father, boss and mentor.


Stephanie realized the same thing and just beamed in the presence of this wonderful man.




Stallion’s Gate, New Mexico

November 25, 2004, 6:15 AM


After two months in the rundown Roadrunner Court, Sam and Stephie rented a small apartment further in town. They found a second floor one-bedroom walkup over the local music store on Main Street. Waking up for the hundredth time in the same bed in the same leap, Sam found himself stretching on the living room couch, stiff and achy since he’d had the luck of being scrunched up at one end of the couch curled up in a ball. Stretching as far as he could, he looked around the depression-era apartment, which was noisy during the day due to the constant music lessons being taught in the store below. Though having lived there for the past four months, an observant eye would note the lack of personal touches indicating any personal interests or past lives, though Sam personally had had hundreds of them. Sam stood up tall and started some isometric exercises to get his blood circulating while Stephie stood in the bedroom door. Sam swung around and smiled.


“Morning. Sleep OK?” she asked, stretching herself.


Sam noticed she was doing the same exercise and shook his head. “Not so good. This old back of mine is bothering me some. I’ll be OK in a minute. Ninety-eight. Ninety-nine. One hundred. There!” sighed Sam, letting loose mentally and physically. “Are you OK, Stephie?”


Stephie walked over to the good doctor. “Yep. Just still not used to being on my feet all day. It’s been a long time since I worked the tables at the Student Union.” Stephie walked up to Sam slowly with a cute little half-smile on her lips. “You know, I’m still trying to get the sleep from my eyes and I could use some—”


“Coffee? Coming right up!” Sam called out as he headed for the kitchenette, glancing back at her. “Be just a minute.”


“Thanks,” Stephie replied as she slowly followed him. “I’ll start the eggs. Scrambled or sunny-side up?” she asked, reaching into the refrigerator and then rolling a couple of eggs around in her small hand.


Watching Stephie, an electric shock seemed to run up and down Sam’s spine. He told her to surprise him as he pulled the old coffee mugs from the worn-out cupboard. He glanced over as she stood there still rolling the eggs in her hand somewhat absentmindedly staring off into the distance. Or was it Sam she was looking at? She kept this up for half a minute and then realized she had lost herself.


She blushed slightly and exclaimed, “Oops! Lost in thought. I do that a lot lately. Sorry, Sam. Any way, you say? Then scrambled it is! Ready in three minutes. How about you?”


“Coffee coming up. I guess I get lost in thought a lot, too. Seems it happens to a lot of us scientists. Being Swiss-cheesed in the mind doesn’t help either,” replied Sam. “Though lots of things are coming back to me.”


She grabbed the frying pan and replied, “Not trying to blow my own horn, but all us geniuses tend to do that. You know, seeing solutions in all manner of odd things to help us figure our problems out. Sammy Jo does that, too,” reflected Stephie.


Sam finished getting the coffee started. “She has a wonderful mind. The project and her husba— I mean, her fiancé are both equally lucky,” commented Sam.


Cracking the eggs, Stephie agreed thinking that her friend Sammy Jo was very lucky. Sammy Jo seemed to have everything while personally she herself had been reduced to near nothing. She no longer even had her research to pass her time. Finishing up the eggs, she brought them over to the old rickety kitchen table which Sam had finished setting. Dishing them out, Sam sat down noting Stephie’s mellow mood. Taking a bite, he threw her a compliment.


“Boy, you sure know how to fix these. They’re great,” exclaimed a very lighthearted Sam.


“Thanks,” Stephie replied, playing with her own eggs.


Sam put down his fork. “Hey, is there anything wrong, Stephie?” he asked.


She shook her head slightly as Sam reached over to take her hand. Sparks flew between them as their hands touched. Stephie pulled her hand away.


Sam exclaimed, “What?”


“No, it’s OK,” she said, turning away from Sam.


“Come on, Stephie. You can tell me. I know that mood of yours,” said Sam, tilting his head.


Stephie snapped around. “There, now you did it again. You know me; I know you, Sam Beckett. You know how I like my coffee; I know how you like your eggs. We make each other laugh. We each know what the other one thinks.”


“We’ve, been cohabitating for quite a while,” said Sam who could not get himself to say that they had been living together.


Stephie shook her head and looked Sam straight in the eyes. “It’s not just that. It’s not just familiarity here. You and I have similar experiences, similar intellectual backgrounds. We see the world the same way, not like most other people. Sam Beckett, you and I are the same. Don’t you see it?”


”I know, Stephie. I can’t help it, but I really respect you. You are one hell of a girl,” Sam admitted, giving her a big Beckett grin.


“Respect? Sam, don’t just put me up on a pedestal. This is not a brother-sister thing here. Don’t you feel it between us?” she asked, looking deep into Sam’s eyes.


Sam tried to turn away but he couldn’t. Stephie took both his hands and held on tight. “I know you can feel it between us. You’re shaking a bit. Sam, here we are thrown together. You and I. Don’t you know it? Don’t you feel it? I’m deeply and madly in love with you, Sam Beckett!”


Sam finally broke her gaze, looking down at his hands but not letting go. He rubbed her hands, as she seemed to melt in his. “I know. Of course, I know. Stephie, this isn’t the first time on a leap I’ve felt this way.”


Stephie started to look hurt. “Isn’t it different this time?”


“Yes and no. Yes, you’re probably the best thing I’ve ever run into. No, I’ve never been able to do anything about it in the long term. My leaps always end. Nothing is permanent. I’m like a sailor in port, Stephie. No matter how I feel about you, I’m always shipping off,” Sam said, shaking his head. He never felt the loneliness of leaping more than at this moment.


Stephie tightened her grip. “Yes, but you’re in this here-and-now. You’re with me, taking a sabbatical from your leaping. Grab onto it, my darling. Stay here, if you can. Leave, if you must. But don’t ignore what’s right in front of you. Don’t lose the moments we can have here now!”


Sam stared into her eyes for what seemed like forever. “Steph, something tells me that I can’t get involved. I’m sorry,” exclaimed Sam with his voice cracking. Deep down something was holding him back, though to his knowledge, he had no one else in the world besides Sammy Jo.


Stephie shook her head no. “Don’t do this, Sam. We are two very lonely people. We have to rely on each other,” she said.


Sam agreed with her. “Stephie, you know I do that.”


“But then, why can’t we rely on each other together? Forget about tomorrow. Why can’t we be...TO...GE...THER...NOW?” Stephie cried, just on the verge of tears.


Sam’s face went blank. “I don’t have a reason. It’s just a feeling. I’m really torn up inside. You mean a great deal to me—more than anyone that I can remember. It might even be love. Everything points to us being one. I wish there was more I could say other than I’m sorry. If you ever need anyone to talk to...”


“Talk? Talk? Fine then,” she said as a few tears fell. “Then that’s the way it has to be. But the way I feel about you, I am going to talk your ears off, Sam Beckett!”




Stallion’s Gate, New Mexico

November 29, 2004, 11:25 AM


Sam Beckett threw down two more burgers on the wide hot grill. The whole kitchen, though sparkling, still smelled of everything that had been broiled or burned at the Crossroads Diner over the last several decades. Sprinkling a few spices over the browning meat patties, Sam seemed to recall through his Swiss-cheesery that his Dad used to do the same thing back on the farm in whichever state he was from.


Looking over at the faded pictures mounted on the far wall depicting some Western icons, Sam saw some buffalo, two crossed six-shooters, a cowboy roping a horse and two...


“Indians. Indians? No, Indie-an-ians! Indiana. I’m from Indiana!” exclaimed Sam out loud to the startled look of the dishwasher and handyman. ‘Let’s see... the town of Elk Ridge or Elkhart or Elkhorn,’ thought Sam, who was amazed that the longer he was in his leap, the more he remembered about his past life. Of course, the mental exercises, mathematical computations and re-education he had at the Xanadu Winery helped quite a bit, too. Between his repressed feelings for Stephanie Hartmann and his renewed memories, Sam had never felt so alive, so normal, so much like the person he felt Samuel Beckett was. He was beginning to finally feel like a whole person, or well on the way to again becoming the man he was when he left in 1995. Smiling to himself, he went back to the work that he was almost beginning to enjoy at the diner.


Sam heard the little bell over the front door tinkle as a pretty fifty-year-old brunette and her small eight-year-old child came in and sat down in the booth on the far left. She picked up a menu while the boy played with a set of blue plastic sticks that formed a complex sphere. Stephie got up from her coffee and approached them.


“Hi there,” she chirped to her latest customers.


“Morning,” replied the mother. “Are you new here?” she asked with a big smile.


“A few months. Work’s steady, but I’m looking for something else,” she admitted. “Coffee?”


She looked up and smiled. “Please. With milk and that pink artificial sugar.”


“Cheese. Macaroni and cheese for me,” exclaimed the child who had not appeared to be listening. He immediately went back to reconfiguring his toy.


The woman gave him an unhappy look. “Stephen Beckett, it is not polite to interrupt people when they’re talking. Just because you are out of school doesn’t mean you should not be on your best manners. Apologize to the nice lady!” she said sternly.


Stephen looked up and down. “Sorry. May I have some macaroni and cheese, please?”


Stephie wrote down the request looking a bit flustered. “OK. Mrs. Beckett?” she asked with a flutter in her voice loud enough that Sam could hear her.


“Yes, that’s right. I’m Donna Beckett. Have we met?” she asked trying to place the face.


“Not that I recall. And Doctor Samuel Beckett?” she asked as Sam left the kitchen and walked over to behind the counter.


“He is my husband, though he is away,” she said with a hint of sadness in her voice. “Where do you know him from? You’re not from around here, are you?” she asked, not expecting that this waitress and Sam traveled in the same circles.


Stephie looked over at Sam with longing and sadness in her eyes, and then looked back quickly when she saw that Donna Beckett recognized something in her face. “Oh, just as everyone else. Some kind of Stephen Hawking or such as I recall.”


“That’s right. He is a physicist. He and I work over at the Mitchell complex,” explained Donna.


Sam approached their table as Donna looked up at the young college-aged student. “This place is full of new people,” said Donna. “It’s unusual to see all you young people way out in the sticks.”


Sam was unsure what to make of this woman who was claiming to be his wife, but he decided to introduce himself. “Hi, I guess like Stephanie here, I’m an occasional fan of Doctor Beckett’s. Hoss Hawley,” he said, offering his hand. “I’ve studied a bit of his work back at M.I.T.”


Donna smiled at Sam, not knowing he was the love of her life. “Hi... nice to meet you. Sam doesn’t usually find fans, but I’m sorry he couldn’t greet you personally. He also went to M.I.T. Your hand is sweating,” she said after shaking his hand. “He’s off working on new forms of energy nowadays.”


Sam let go of his wife’s hand. “Sorry. Occupational hazard; kind of warm back there in the kitchen. And this is your and his son?” asked Sam, who knew that his hand was clammy due to his own nervousness.


Donna tried to get her son’s attention. “Stephen, meet Hoss and Stephanie,” she said.


Stephen looked up abruptly. “Hi! Can I have my macaroni and cheese?”


Sam smiled, looking at someone that had a faint resemblance to his brother Tom. “Sure. Just a minute... what have you got there?” he asked, looking at the small plastic toy.


Stephen kept looking at it, turning it over and over, never letting up his concentration as he replied, “Well, it started out as a cesium 136 isotope, and then it reminded me of my own lifeline all balled up together. You know, with one point on it always touching another.” He turned it over one more time with a big grin on his face. “Now I think it’ll be a Star Wars Battlestation,” he said, now holding it up for Sam to see.


Sam smiled and then looked deep into the complex layers of trusses that made up the little toy. Stephen had a glimmer of his own string theory somewhere in the back of his immature mind. He cocked his head to one side. “Maybe,” he said out loud. “Just maybe.” The two women looked at Sam expecting a conclusion to his thought as he backed off. “Quite an imagination your son has,” he said to Donna, looking proud of the boy in front of him.


“Sure, if you’re a first year grad student,” Stephie said under her breath. Finally she turned to Donna and said, “I’ll get your order started. Hoss, you have some orders, dear!” she said a bit annoyed, wishing that the boy could have been theirs and not his and Donna’s.


Sam looked over at the annoyed Stephie, seeing her distress. “Coming. It’s nice to have met you both. Hope to see you here again. So long, Stephen,” he said, giving him a slight wave.


Donna, who felt something, replied lightly, “You might see him again. He was out of school for a dental checkup. Nice meeting you, Hoss.”


Stephen looked up and waved as Sam took his position behind the window taking Stephie’s order.


With just a bit of ice in her voice, Stephie quietly said to Sam, “I guess there’s your unseen reason. What else are you holding out on me, Sam?”


Sam spoke very quietly. “I had no idea. They existed only as a fleeting feeling and nothing more, Steph.”


She looked at him a bit icily and then with the same adoration and love she had come to have for him. “I’d say they’re more than a fleeting feeling, darling. You won’t have to worry about me. I’m not a home wrecker, even if you are on a sabbatical from your real life. I respect you too much to make you do something you don’t feel is right. They are your family, Sam. And that little guy is definitely your son. He’ll make you very proud someday,” she said, still wishing that they had a child together.


Sam took a deep breath. “You know, I just met him and I’m already proud of him. Stephen Beckett?” he said shaking his head, imagining himself as a father. All his work on Project Quantum Leap and he still had time for a wife and family. “Why would I have ever left them in the first place?” Sam asked himself. Of course, what he didn’t realize was that when he first left, he had no wife or family.


Sam looked off into the distance. “I have a son. It’s funny. All of a sudden, I feel like I’m my own father. He had one—no, two sons...and a daughter, Katie. It seems like that’s the true passing of the generations. When one hand is handed off to the next generation.”


“SAM!” exclaimed Stephie in a tone reminiscent of Al the observer’s warnings. “You have to finish the ‘you-know-what,’” she said pointing down to the grill, trying to end his daydreaming about the family he had forgotten about.


“Oh right!” Sam exclaimed, coming back to reality. Though Sam Beckett knew more than most people in that reality, timelines and history were often shifting. Starting Donna and Stephen’s orders, he flipped another burger, dressed it and put it up on the counter window. Then Sam began to clean the griddle until he noticed the pattern left in the grease. One circle made from the last hamburger was accompanied by a complicated pattern that was somewhat reminiscent of the chromosomes in a cell nucleus.


“Oh boy!” exclaimed Sam Beckett as he grabbed out an order pad and scribbled some notes down on the back of the form. He jotted down several equations and a rough figure that looked like Stephen’s little toy. Stephie looked up seeing Sam even more excited than he was with his newfound family. “Have we got something to discuss later!” he said very excitedly, quickly making a call to Sammy Jo’s private cell phone line.




Stallion’s Gate, New Mexico

December 2, 2004, 7:25 PM


Around the rickety kitchen table in the small apartment, Sam had several pieces of paper scattered about covered with masses of calculus and quantum equations. Two laptops were busily blinking away conducting calculations and Internet searches. Sam sat down with Sammy Jo, and Stephie anxiously looked over his shoulders as he started to explain his new ideas.


“You see, we always tried the retrieval systems on a basic three-dimensional format—well, four dimensions, with time as a variable factor. But through all Teddy had taught me about the interrelations of the various dimensions, we can identify a singular path between PQL and a subject in another time sphere and pull back the subject with far less energy. And with an algorithm that is much simpler and less prone to error,” exclaimed Sam as he quickly sketched a large sphere with several additional planes that met to form two equilateral triangles.


Stephie tried to concentrate while standing over the other two scientists. “Sam, I worked with most of these same equations for years, and I still don’t see the connection. Besides, our work with Teddy dealt with sending electromagnetic messages through time across the various dimensions.”


Sam nodded in agreement. “That’s right. His machine is still too far advanced for us to use, but his concepts can still be adapted for use at PQL. And the whole concept was inspired by Stephen’s little toy... though his little sphere was far more advanced in concept than I think even he imagined. It must have been his subconscious possibly helping us out.”


“Or someone else sending us clues,” Sammy Jo added. “That’s not the only time Stephen has helped us out, Sam. That kid is a boy wonder. I’ve heard from your brother Tom that he’s doing more advanced stuff than what you did at that age. Of course he has much more of an advantage than you did back on the farm. At the project, Stephen and some of the scientists and Ziggy are like that,” she said, putting two fingers together. “He’s probably going to pass through high school by the time he reaches the age of ten.”


Sam broke into a big smile thinking about his son’s bright future. “That’s great. His mind works so fast. I would never have known unless they walked into the diner.” Sam stopped for a minute. “How come no one ever told me, Sammy Jo?”


Sammy Jo looked up sheepishly. “We’re just not supposed to tell you what you don’t know. Sorry, Sam. Donna wanted it that way. And if you want to keep this timeline viable, she can’t know about you—or Stephie.”


“What about the rest of the project?” Stephie asked.


Sammy Jo brightened up a bit as she turned to her father and said, “Well, maybe we can develop your idea with Ziggy’s help. She is always dealing with various timelines. She can remember what happened even after you change things. And I can put an ‘Eyes Only’ classification on the study so that Ziggy will think it’s my work. This certainly is a new approach, but it needs a lot of development before it’s really practical. I’ll help you with it where I can.”


“And I’ll help you too, darling,” Stephie said, though having him return to his family was not what she really wanted him to do. She would help this brilliant man who had done so much for her.


“Great. I think it does need a lot of theoretical work that I can do here. How is the search for the infamous Colonel Henshaw coming?” Sam asked Sammy Jo.


Sammy Jo took a deep breath and then began to explain, “Well, working on his life has not been as hard as trying to penetrate the Air Force secrecy surrounding Teddy’s work in San Francisco. Henshaw was the project security officer in the cleanup investigation. He seems to be a single-minded martinet who believed he knew what was best for the country—not unlike that guy involved with Irangate, Lieutenant Colonel North. They would have worked well together if their egos didn’t destroy each other first. Fortunately for Colonel Henshaw, every time he played cowboy with some issue, it always failed until that fateful night at Quantum Leap headquarters.”


Stephie interjected, “What a monster! And we have to stop him. I don’t want him to succeed with the number of people involved.”


Sammy Jo looked hopeful. “There is another possibility. If we can get this radical new retrieval idea to work, then Sam can be sent home before it ever happens.”


‘Go home or save home? That is a race to change history. And we never thought we would do that?’ thought Stephie.





Stallion’s Gate, New Mexico

December 12, 2004, 4:25 PM


On a slightly warm evening out on a bluff overlooking the desert around Stallion’s Gate, Sam and Stephie strolled on an odd Friday night off. Watching the colors change as the sun reached the horizon, they could hear the night birds singing and the nocturnal desert animals begin to come out into the coolness of the evening. Sam and Stephie had come to an agreement to balance their friendship and affection for each other and the mission they had to succeed with. Sam had made significant progress on his new retrieval system equations, but they were still not ready to leave the safety of his home computer and be simulated using the advanced faculties at Quantum Leap. He and Stephie went for a walk just to get out of the apartment. Holding each other, though not too closely, they watched the shadows slowly climb up the hills in the distance. Admiring the view, Sam backed up and ran into somebody.


“Oops,” a high screeching cry could be heard from a voice that sounded like breaking glass. “Whoa! Whoops! Nearly dropped her. Tee-hee!”


Sam turned around and helped a woman on very high heels fumbling with a camera that bounced between each hand until she finally caught it.


“Got her!” she squealed.


“You all right?” asked Sam. The woman appeared to physically be in her early to mid-forties, although she had the energy and perkiness of a teenager. She had a cascading head of very light blonde hair and seemed to still be dizzy even though she was holding tightly onto Sam. “Don’t fall there, miss.”


“Oh. All right. I’m OK... sorta, sweetie. You’re awfully cute,” she said, still trying to balance on her high heels in the rocky sandy soil. “Guess, I wazzent lookin’ there, handsome,” she said, looking Sam up and down until she saw Stephie and pouted in obvious disappointment. “Sorry, mister,” she said in a high-pitched little girl voice.


Sam looked down at her and then seemed to look beyond her to a point in the distant past and asked, “Tina?”


“Uh-huh... honey? Where did I ever run into you? I sure wouldn’t let you get away,” she said, again looking over the twentyish college student that Sam appeared to be.


“Um, just think I saw you around town, Miss O’Farrell,” said Sam who walked over and took Stephie’s hand.


Tina thought for several moments. “You’re right there, handsome. So, who are you guys?” she asked cocking up one eyebrow that showed a bit of intelligence behind her sky blue eyes.


“Hoss and Stephie. We work over at the diner in the west end of town,” replied Sam, pointing to the general direction of the Crossroads Diner.


Tina shook her head looking like something had disagreed with her. “Oh, I don’t ever go there—much too much grease. I’m a vegetarian and I usually make up my own salads and slushies. Lots of good thingies in them: mangos, bananas, kiwi, papaya....”


“Yeah, I noticed all the grease, too. I work the grill, Tina,” explained Sam. “Stephie is a waitress.”


Tina suddenly looked horrified, feeling she had insulted this cute guy. “Oh. Stupid me. I shouldn’t talk like that. That is, it’s your job and I shouldn’t make you feel uncomfortable about it, Horse,” she said, looking down at her feet.


Sam corrected her. “Um, Hoss. Don’t worry about it. You’d be surprised how many different jobs I’ve had. So what are you doing way out here?” Sam asked trying not to chuckle.


“And in high heels?” Stephie asked sounding surprised.


Tina looked shocked and then looked down at her feet. “I guess I should have changed. They make me kinda rocky around these rocks. Tee-hee. Just not a sneaker gal, I guess. I’m taking pictures. See my camera? Her name is Cleo, after Cleo Knight. She kinda got me into the pictures, sorta like,” Tina giggled again.


“Yep, I caught it. You memorialized your camera,” said Sam looking over to Stephie, trying not to snicker.


Tina nodded her head with excess enthusiasm. “Yea. Well, she and I are taking pictures. I shoot pictures for the paper out at the place I work. Over on the east side of town at—well, I can’t say,” she said, suddenly looking shy.


“Mitchell Airbase?” asked Sam.


“Yea, that’s it,” she said looking quite startled. “Just lots of su-krete stuff. I wanted to get some sunset pictures for our paper. Tonight, the sun sets between the two Diablo Peaks. The Indians used it as a bookmark on a calendar to mark the beginning of the winter hunt.”


Sam looked at her as she exhibited another peak of intelligence between her lows. “Well, it’s a good night. You better take them fast. The sun is disappearing.”


“Oh yeah. ’Scuse me,” she said, turning around and snapping. “I wanta good one, Cleo!”


“One of our technicians over at the project,” Sam whispered to Stephie. He seemed to remember Al had an interest in her. ‘Or was it Gooshie?’ he asked himself thinking back across many leaps and changes in history.


“There’s a good one. Wanta walk back?” she asked.


“Maybe without those three-inch heels,” suggested Stephie pointing to her shoes.


“Four-inch. You wanta try them on?” she asked as she reached over to take them off.


Stephie shook her head in the negative. ”Thanks, but my feet aren’t as dainty as yours. I’m strictly a flats girl. I can’t remember the last time I had dressed up like that, or even had a reason to,” admitted Stephie.


“You know, you’d must be doing something right to have a young boyfriend as cute as Horse here. You two sure are in love. I can tell,” she said, looking more than a bit jealous.


Stephie was about to say something else when Sam waved her off. She returned with, “Well, that’s sweet of you, Tina. I guess we’d better get going before it’s too dark. Nice meeting you.”


“Likewise, I’m sure. Bye, guys!” she said, waving wildly to the two lost scientists.


Sam waved to her, and then took Stephie close in the approaching cold. “Wonderful girl full of contradictions... and quite a guy magnet. She worked in the Control Room as I recall, and I ran into her somewhere in my leaps. I seem to run into a lot of my old acquaintances.”


“Can I say I’m glad we ran into each other? You’re making quite an impact on my life,” said Stephie quietly.


“Let’s hope we can do that for everyone,” said Sam looking off into the distance. Or was it their future? Picking up their pace, they headed back to their home above the music store.




Stallion’s Gate, New Mexico

March 23, 2005, 11:25 AM


Zipping around the southern outskirts of Stallion’s Gate, Al Calavicci dropped his Corvette into fourth gear, going faster than he should on the back roads driving Sammy Jo with her hair blowing behind her. Al drove pushing the envelope like a man many years his junior.


“Yee-haaaa!” he screamed as his tires first pivoted and then squealed on the hard gravel ground. Up one small slope he flew twenty feet through the air landing without slowing down. “Yes sir. Houston! We’re now in orbit. Hoo-yah!”


Sammy Jo first found the speed exhilarating, but after the last bump, which would have sent her flying were it not for her seatbelt, she screamed at him, “AL! Stop! This! Car! NOW!”


Al shook his head no. “We are celebrating! Man, that leap was a rough one. Sam was lucky—three tricky missions in three states at once? And Sam was only an adopted four-year-old Chinese girl in Duluth! We are going to let off some steam, my dear Miss Fuller! Yee-haaaa!”


Sammy Jo had one hand on the dashboard and another hand on the roof “T” screaming much longer than Al. “Eeeeeee-aaaaaaaa-oooooowwwwwwww! Al! Lunch you said you were buying me, not a harp!!!!!!!”


“And that I will!!” he shouted as he put the car in a double spin and then came to a complete stop.


Even in Sammy Jo’s state of fright, she still figured she was doing three and a half G’s from the centrifugal force. Even after her stomach caught up, her whole body was still vibrating from the fright and exhilaration.


Al had a big grin on his face as he reached in the glove compartment for his road-hauling cigars. He grinned and then saw Sammy Jo still trying to catch her breath. “Wasn’t that a kick in the butt?”


“More like my stomach! Are you a maniac?” she said trying not to sound too peeved.


“Yeah, ain’t I? Still got it in me—and in my old friend here. Thirty-eight years and counting and it can still turn on a dime. I apologize for the Fear Factor game. I had a LOT of steam to blow off and I forgot about my passenger,” he said, lighting up. Three puffs and he tossed the match into the ashtray.


Looking at Al, she said, “Ninety miles an hour on the unpaved back roads, Al? I think... I think...”


Suddenly, his contentment with the La Corona turned sour. “You’re right. I should do this by myself. Look, Sammy Jo, I’m a pilot first and last. And after three days in the underground tomb with fifty-three hours in the Imaging Chamber, sweating bullets for the last eighty-five minutes according to Ziggy, I needed to get up into the air and feel the wind in my face!”


Sammy Jo finally caught her breath. “We were really flying, Admiral!”


Al smiled at her and agreed. “Well, as best as we could on level ground. Never argue with a gal who knows the physics of the moment. You see, that’s the point. Pilots know their aircrafts, but don’t worry about the physics part. Hit the sky, hit the deck, it’s all the same. God is my co-pilot, my little lab rat. Any way you look at it, I don’t like to be confined.”


“I think I’d like to get out of here myself, Al. And where is here?” she asked, not paying attention to her surroundings until she saw the Crossroads Diner sign. “Why here?” she asked sounding worried.


“You’ll see, Doctor Fuller! You’ll see!” said Al with a twinkle in his eye as he pushed the gearshift into park.


While Sammy Jo gingerly climbed from Bet the ’Vette (named for his wife), Al jumped out and landed on the gravel, slipping while catching himself on the car. “That was also easier forty years ago. Ow! My manual reflexes are still great, but landing on these old dogs of mine! Jeez. OK, I promise going back down Main Street and driving nicely-nicely in front of the sheriff’s office.”


“THANK YOU,” replied Sammy Jo as she almost kissed the ground that she happily walked across.


Though his joints didn’t feel so well, Al stood up straight and began to stroll toward the restaurant. “OK, lunch is on me. Remember last week you said you’d never had a good greasy burger before? Wait till you try this one. Carlos is one hell of a chef!”


“Admiral, I think...” Sammy Jo started to say, eying her friend Stephie through the large plate-glass window.


Al shook his head. “Nonsense. I said it’s on me, and besides, I have a point to make. And Beth would kill me if she knew I was here after that last little session I had in the emergency room.”


“Then maybe you shouldn’t, Al,” cautioned Sammy Jo.


“No, I am going to enjoy myself this noon. Anyway, I promise on my mother’s grave that I’ll stick to rabbit food for a week. Just one more and then back to the project catacombs,” he said, looking over at the diner.


Entering the diner, Al surveyed the dining room taking a booth near the front door. Stephie took a step back as she saw both the Admiral and Sammy Jo sit down. Stephie motioned to Sam who smiled when he saw Al. Coming out of the kitchen, Sam walked toward them as Sammy Jo waved them off. She waved her hand wildly to have him go away until the Admiral caught her.


“That hungry? This will be a treat. Waitress!” he called out. Stephie came over as Sam watched from behind the counter. “Good Morning. Two Cactus Burgers, two cups of java and a large basket of fries.”


Al looked over at Sammy Jo who was still trying to get Sam into hiding. Al saw a worried look on her face and misinterpreted it. “No? All right. Scratch the fries; two green salads. Happy now?”


Sammy Jo broke into a very nervous half-grin.


“Well, this is the best in town—grease and all. Carlos is the best short-order cook in town,” exclaimed Al gesturing broadly.


Stephie bit her lip nervously. “Um, Carlos is working the night shift now,” said Stephie apologetically. “I can assure you that our day shift cook will give you a very good lunch.”


Al glanced over at Sam. “Looks too much like a kid to me. Well, my order stands. Tell that kid to come over here.”


“Hoss?” called out Stephie. Sammy Jo’s nerves went ballistic as her father joined them.


“Hey!” said Sam. “I hear you’re looking for the best burger in town. This is the place and I’m the flipper. They’ll make your mouth and eyes water with the best of them!”


Al’s smile turned to a “huh” expression. “What? An old friend of mine used to say the same thing at our barbeques.”


Sammy Jo realized that Sam was about to blow his cover with Al. “OH boy, am I hungry now! How about throwing on one of those easy,, thingies!” she said, trying to sound enthusiastic as her stomach started to feel queasy. Her eyes bugged out at Sam who took the hint and excused himself.


“My thoughts exactly, though I never used the word ‘thingy’ to describe anything edible. Chef du jour, bring on your cuisine,” said Al indicating the Formica-topped table. “And make it snappy!”


Steph and Sam left as Sammy Jo smiled and muttered that next time she would pick the cuisine and at a less stressful place to have their lunch.


Al seemed pleased with the situation, took a deep puff and then asked his companion, “So, Sammy Jo, you look awful stressed out! Shake yourself away from that computer terminal you’re chained to, Sammy. You need more color in your cheeks. Now where are those delectable burgers?”




Stallion’s Gate, New Mexico

April 2, 2005, 8:00 PM


Deep on the lower recesses of Level Nine near the massive memory core of Ziggy was a small office that was once the site of the core maintenance chief whose job had long ago been contracted out during one of Congress’ cutbacks of the Quantum Leap program. Hunched over a computer was the flowing reddish-brown hair of Sammy Jo Fuller, who was working in her own little world. Whenever she needed her privacy away from people, phones, faxes, email and all the other associated communication modes of the twenty-first century, Sammy Jo would come down here and work on her projects both big and small, including the Compusat project that had recently been cancelled. Lately with her engagement to Commander Fulton, she had spent less time here, but now working with her father in a project that no one could know about until the appropriate time came, she again disappeared into her cubby-hole.


“Doctor Fuller,” asked Ziggy, the one entity that could access her in her hidden office.


Sammy Jo looked up. “Yes, Ziggy?”


“Doctor Elesee is ready to start her meeting to discuss the latest temporal anomalies encountered on Doctor Beckett’s leaps over the last quarter,” replied Ziggy with quiet confidence.


Sammy Jo sighed. “Thank you, Ziggy. Please send her my regrets. I am quite certain that the Quantum Science Lab can handle everything,” replied Sammy Jo as she immediately went back to her analysis of the equations Sam had devised. Retrieving the good doctor looked plausibly easy using this new approach, though they had had no success in the past. She was about to come to a breakthrough in her analysis when...


“Doctor Fuller?” Ziggy said through Sammy Jo’s complicated string of thoughts.


Her body tensed up. She looked in the direction of the speaker and then decided to not snap at the inquiring electronic tinderbox. “Yes, Ziggy?” she asked standing up abruptly.


“Doctor Fuller, I can see you’re really upset. I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly and take a stress pill,” remarked Ziggy with a hint of concern in her voice.


Sammy Jo took a deep breath, walked two steps out of her office, took two more deep Yoga transcendental breaths and returned to her small cluttered office. “Thank you for your concern, Ziggy. I would rather not use drugs to calm myself. I can do perfectly well by other means, thank you. Now what is it?”


“Is there anything I can help you with? You have been putting considerable time on your project without the use of my processing unit. I have considerable speed and analytical advantages over any stand-alone desk computer,” exclaimed Ziggy proudly.


“I know that is true, but I’m not ready to do that yet, Ziggy. The project is highly classified. Though, what did you find out about the other classified matter we’ve discussed?” she asked, leaning on the desk and flexing her muscles in another attempt to relieve her unending stress.


“Nothing new to report. After breaking through encryption levels Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta, I haven’t learned anything new about the San Francisco incident. All the data must not be computerized, though that makes retrieval very inefficient,” she said with a hint of superiority in her comment.


“Thank you, Ziggy,” replied Sammy Jo as she returned to her computer.


“Doctor Fuller?” asked Ziggy.


Sammy Jo began feeling that this was likely what it would be like to have a toddler asking her questions if her and Daniel ever had kids someday. “Yes, Ziggy?” she replied.


“Why must this search have an Alpha-Three Classification?” Ziggy asked.


Sammy Jo put down her notebook. “Because this project deals with a situation that if others knew about could disrupt...”


“This timeline?” Ziggy broke in.


“Yes, that’s right,” replied Sammy Jo, never surprised at the intuitive ability of Ziggy.


Ziggy continued. “That is not uncommon. We have changed history often enough that its disclosure often could be disastrous to Project personnel. The things I know could curl your hair,” she said, a bit more flippant than usual.


Sammy Jo usually didn’t mind jousting verbally with Ziggy, but the pressures from keeping Sam’s project and whereabouts from PQL were taking its toll on her. She took a deep breath and replied, “Yes, I can imagine. However, the texture of my hair is quite fine for me. Please excuse me while I finish up. Good night, Ziggy.”


Ziggy waited a moment and then replied, “Good night, Doctor Fuller!”




Stallion’s Gate, New Mexico

April 27, 2005, 11:25 AM


Not running into her PQL colleagues with Sam’s current alter ego around had become increasingly more difficult since Sammy Jo started to realize how small a town Stallion’s Gate really was. Most of the residents either worked at Mitchell Airbase or directly supported them. If the Starbright and Quantum Leap Projects had not been here, this town might cease to exist. So wherever she met with Sam and Stephie, someone would see her. If they worked together on the new retrieval system, then she would be able to make must faster progress on it. This week, Sam met her at the old Palace Theater that still showed only one movie at a time, though they were usually second and third-run motion pictures that had been out on DVD for a while. Beneath the faded stucco and painted ceiling covered with muses and goddesses, Sam Beckett was watching a very old science fiction picture with someone’s view of the future that never came to be. While munching on some popcorn, Sammy Jo sat down next to Sam Beckett.


“These giant machines are taking over the world,” whispered Sam. “And there’s this one guy and a girl reporter trying to figure out the puzzle. You know, that’s kinda like us,” said Sam, watching the picture intently.


Sammy Jo shook her head. Since her life was already on the edge of science fiction, she never found the SF stories interesting, so she lost interest quickly. “Yeah, well, this is reality, Sam. I’m working like crazy on those equations you gave me—really radical stuff. Everything is set up for testing, but I really need your help on a day-to-day basis. All those leaps of logic you have had need your special abilities close at hand to finish the retrieval project.”


“So how do I get into Quantum Leap on a daily basis?” asked Sam, still watching the movie.


“Simple. You need get a job at the project. Then in your off-hours, we can work on the retrieval system together. I know I can hire Stephie for my department. She has the right technical background and I have a promise to keep to her. I’m afraid you’re going to end up in maintenance, Sam,” she said sympathetically.


Sam shrugged. “Been there many a time, Sammy Jo. Leaping sends me into a world of professions. How’s the Henshaw project?” he asked, changing the subject.


“Nothing new,” sighed Sammy Jo. “Ziggy is so frustrated at it that she won’t take any of my commands. She is really growing quite obstinate!”


“Well, tell her how much you need her help. Flattery does work with her neural net or, if you like, her ego. Of course, if we can refine the retrieval system, then maybe stopping him won’t be necessary and I can head home!” said Sam sounding hopeful.


“Well, we’ll see. And if that doesn’t work, then maybe we can stop Henshaw. One way or another, we’ll get it done,” said Sammy Jo. “I’ll have you on the project payroll by Christmastime.”


“See you, Sammy Jo,” said Sam as he gave her a quick kiss and returned to the movie.


Sammy Jo waved to him and then left the way she had come, not noticing the person in the back watching her closely.





Stallion’s Gate, New Mexico

November 23, 2005, 11:25 AM


Picking the last of the turkey off her plate, Sammy Jo hummed a bit of “Heather On the Hill” from Brigadoon while sitting in her office in the Cosmic Physics Laboratory with her two newest employees, Stephanie Hartmann and Hoss Hawley (otherwise known as Sam Beckett). The day before Thanksgiving when most of the staff was taking off for a long weekend, Sammy Jo was doing her usual job of filling in for everyone else as did most of the principal employees of the Quantum Leap Project. There was very little rest when God, Time or Fate didn’t punch a clock in Sam’s travels through the cosmos. But this year was going to be different. She was heading home to her fiancé to celebrate the recent discovery that she was with child, if only for one day.


“I told you I’d get you in here, my friends. This is good!” exclaimed Sammy Jo. “And you’re not spending time in the janitor’s closet, Sam. The intern program fits your talents just fine.”


Stephie sat next to Sam. “Working here is a dream job, Sammy Jo. Thank you so much!”


“You’re entirely welcome! This project needs some positive energy with everything that’s happened here over the past few days. I hope Sam doesn’t mind starting at the bottom of the technical ladder,” she said, putting down her last bite.


Sam shook his head. “Nope. With most of my mind restored, it’s like being back among my work, my friends and my colleagues even though I’m incognito.”


Sammy Jo took her feet off her desk and turned to Sam. “Keep a low profile down here. It’s not that hard to do things when it’s your department. And you have unlimited access to the computers and Ziggy.”


Sam shook his head. “I just still can’t get used to the fact that she has a holographic matrix to go with her program. All those years as a disembodied voice, and now she can interact with me and Al in the Imaging Chamber.”


“Just steer clear of Al and Donna. You are my employee here on Level Three. That wasn’t bad at all. Clementine can roast a mean turkey. And now I get to try it on my own. If I had off, I’d usually dine with Donna and Stevie. Now with my own child on the way and living with Daniel, being a real housewife and mother is going to be a challenge. The little lab rat has really gone domestic!” she said looking a bit worried.


Sam chuckled a bit. “I used to call my sister Katie a mud rat. She used to...”


“Sam, I know the story. It’s all here in our files. I’ve had a special interest in your family history. Envy, I guess,” mused Sammy Jo, though she was really digging into her own father’s family history that was also her own history.


Stephie looked a bit more melancholy. “Not much family left for me either. Thanksgiving was always a sadder time than any other holiday. More family-related, I guess,” she said sadly.


Sammy Jo grabbed her coat to leave. “You have family here now, Stephie. Yes, well, I’m off. I think I’m leaving everything in good hands. Sam, use my computer to your heart’s content. All the basic equations you gave me are stored in the hard drive. I’ll be back first thing Friday morning. Happy Thanksgiving, you guys!” said Sammy Jo walking from her computer lab with an extra joyful skip in her step.


Her two sleuthing friends waved as Stephie asked, “So Sam, do you feel like you’re home?”


“More than you might think. It’s like being back in my old room on break from college with the door shut. Safe and sound though not quite connected to the same life I had when I was growing up. Now, we have a lot of work to do. Let’s see what Ziggy can do to help us!” he said as he logged on to complete his quest to find his way home.




Stallion’s Gate, New Mexico

November 28, 2005, 11:25 AM


Using Sammy Jo’s alternate office, Sam rifled through reams of paper printouts trying to separate the equations governing six different dimensions and the multiple unknowns that defined their interactions. No matter how fast Ziggy’s CPU was, Sam still recognized the patterns he had first seen in Stephen’s toy faster than his souped-up calculator.


Frustrated again, he was about to throw three days’ work into the recycling bin when he heard a knock at the door.


“Anyone in here?” asked a distinguished voice, breaking through Sam’s frustration.


Sam looked around and saw Doctor Verbena Beeks standing in the doorway wearing a long tailored red suit.


“Oh, I was looking for Doctor Fuller. She usually hides here,” she said with a bit of whimsy.


“’Bena?” asked Sam, smiling at his former confidant and sounding board back in the days before he had ever leaped.


’Bena reached up and touched her forehead trying to recall his face. “Um, do I know you? You seem awful familiar to me, young man,” she said, returning to her more distinguished demeanor.


Sam quickly recovered as he had learned to do so often in his chosen leaping profession. “I’m sorry. You are Doctor Beeks and I’ve heard Sammy Jo—Ms. Fuller—refer to you as that. My apologies, ma’am,” said Sam who was actually a little older than her.


“That is not a problem, young man. Perhaps we can become more familiar in the future. Are you new here?” she asked, trying to memorize a new face.


“Yes, ma’am. I’m Hoss Hawley. I work in Doctor Fuller’s lab as an intern. She is nice enough to let me borrow her computer when I need some quiet time. Good thinking place down here,” explained Sam pointing to the cluttered cubicle he was in.


She raised her eyebrows in a knowing fashion. “I can see that. You’re in the deepest recesses of the project. I’ve just never known Doctor Fuller to loan it out.”


Sam turned up one corner of his mouth thoughtfully. “I believe that it’s because of her interest in my retrieval program.”


’Bena looked quite skeptical. “To get Doctor Beckett home? We’ve tried that several times, Mr. Hawley. In fact, we recently did get him home before he was forced to leave us once again.”


Sam shrugged his shoulders. “Maybe this time?”


She broke into a big smile. “Yes, maybe this time. We can only hope and pray. But that’s for you math and software...” continued Verbena, stumbling for the right word.


“Geeks?” asked Sam slightly amused, for his project psychiatrist was seldom at a loss for words.


“Professionals,” she retorted. “I’ve great respect for your talents. My field of expertise is in the mind and I always have to make my best guess at what goes on in people’s heads. Math is so precise,” she said.


“We’re still applying mathematics to the unknown cosmos. It’s not really as exact as you might think. The software may do what you expect it to do—the equations are the same way—but will it interact with the universe the way you expect? No amount of work and preparation can beat the real thing. I may know that two and two are always four, but the interactions between space and cosmic particles is still only a matter of probabilities,” explained Sam, breaking into a lecture on the cosmos.


’Bena shook her head ever so gently. “True, I suppose. Well, I must run along. Stop by sometime and we can continue our discussion. I used to enjoy talking to Doctor Beckett that way. So long, Mr. Hawley.”


“Goodbye, Doctor Beeks,” called out Sam. Under his breath he said, “I know. I remember, ’Bena.”


After working for another half-hour, Sam finished up on the subset of his Mackenzie probability equations that had a linear co-efficient problem. He shut down Sammy Jo’s computer, pushed back his chair, rubbed his temples and then turned off the lights. As he headed for the elevator, he could hear footsteps approaching from behind, echoing on the empty corridor. Turning around he saw one of the project guards in the classic dark blue suit with light blue shirt and tie.


“Hawley!” he called out, looking around to see if anyone was nearby. “I want a word with you!”


Sam saw that his nametag read Fulton. Sam gave him a nervous smile and then offered him his outstretched hand. “Sure. Daniel, isn’t it?”


He brushed Sam’s hand aside. “Forget about that! I’ve seen you around Doctor Fuller! Way too much for my tastes, sonny!”


Sam sheepishly replied, “Uh, yeah. We’ve been working together closely.”


Daniel came up to Sam, staring him square in the face in the most defensive manner. “Too much! Too closely! You were seeing her even before you ever came to this installation, Hawley!”


A streak of fear ran up Sam’s spine, since that was true. Sam squinted at him. “How would you know that?” he asked.


Daniel thrust a thumb in his own chest. “I’m head of security around here! I’ve seen your file. I don’t know how she got you a Top Secret clearance so fast, but...”


Sam tried to calm the officer. “Daniel... Officer Fulton...”


“COMMANDER Fulton!” he said, raising his voice and pointing to the shield on his hat.


Sam raised both hands toward him. “Fine. Commander Fulton. She is just a friend and colleague,” replied Sam in almost a whisper.


The commander shook his head. “I don’t think so. Not the way she looks at you,” he said, almost sounding hurt.


“We haven’t done anything, Commander Fulton. I only consider her a friend,” said Sam, holding up one hand. “On my honor, she is nothing but a good friend!”


Fulton shook his head and then began to stare down Sam. “You two have been sneaking around town for over a year, Hawley. I heard and I have seen, home wrecker!” he said, poking Sam in the chest.


“Nothing has been going on between us!” explained Sam quietly.


“If I’d thought you had, you’d be on the floor right now. You don’t look hard to deck, college boy. You leave my fiancée alone! DO you understand?” Daniel said almost nose to nose with Sam.


“Yes,” replied Sam barely looking into his eyes, hoping not to further provoke him by remaining silent.


Daniel’s anger finally boiled over as he gave Sam a slight push, though he had wanted to floor this young punk. Wagging his finger at Sam, he warned him, “Remember! You leave DOCTOR FULLER alone! I’ll be watching you!”


Sam stepped aside as Commander Fulton passed him walking away with an extra swagger in his hips. Sam had dealt with jealous people before, but the chief of security at Quantum Leap Headquarters could be a major problem.





Stallion’s Gate, New Mexico

November 30, 2005, 9:25 PM


Dropping her keys on the catchall table, Sammy Jo sighed heavily and then dropped her briefcase next to the well-worn antique. Tonight she wasn’t going to pick up where she left off at work. No “homework” for this little lab rat. She just wanted to be near the man she loved. The never-ending weight of balancing the fate of Quantum Leap and the secret of her father’s presence was wearing down the usually very resilient Sammy Jo. The three secret co-conspirators were making no progress with the Henshaw investigation and finding multiple loopholes with the retrieval program, resulting in working late with Sam for the fourth night in a row. And finally she was home again!


“Danny!” she called out getting no answer. She walked down the hallway of the 1980’s-era ranch house built during the early stages of PQL for its employees that she shared with her fiancé. Though nothing fancy, Sammy Jo was very glad to have someplace to finally call home.


“Danny!” she called out again and heard some rumbling coming from the den. She walked in and saw Daniel curled up in his big leather easy chair in front of the still warm television. He seemed to hear her come in, but he just kept staring off into the darkness.


“There you are. How come you didn’t answer me?” she asked, walking over to him and putting her hand on his shoulder.


“I thought I had heard something, so I turned off the idiot box,” he replied flatly, not looking up.


Sammy Jo tenderly gave him an unreturned kiss. “Sorry I’m late, Danny.”


“More lab work?” he asked, looking up at her and slightly furling his brow.


She gave a loving ironic nod. ”Hopefully this project will be finished up soon. I am SOOOO tired of it—these endless hours. Thanks for taking up the slack. You’re a treasure, Danny,” she said, leaning over and hugging him.


“Hm. Working with him again?” Daniel asked with disdain.


Sammy Jo stepped back and looked confused. “Hoss? He’s the reason the project is as far as it is.”


“Another retrieval system? Right. I think the missing Doctor Beckett is permanently lost. That’s the way I feel,” her fiancé said, staring off into the distance.


They wandered from the den as Daniel brought up the rear with his hands stuffed deep into his pockets. Sammy Jo took his arm and walked him down the hallway. “Now why do you seem so lost?”


Daniel gave her an icy glance and then pulled away. He looked at their portrait together and then at Sammy Jo and asked, “You were with HIM again?”


Sammy Jo did not try to approach him. “Hoss? Believe me, he’s harmless. I can handle him. He’s just another colleague, my darling!”


“That’s what I’m afraid of. Pretty young and handsome... and brilliant by the way you can’t stop describing him,” he said very quietly.


Sammy Jo’s mouth dropped open. “What? You’re jealous? I am not having an affair with him. Just take my word, Daniel.”


His eyes began to blaze. “Can I accept your word on that? You’ve been sneaking around with him! I saw you at the Palace Theater last fall.”


Sammy Jo’s eyes opened wide with fear. “WHAT? I was meeting with him just to discuss a job concerning this retrieval project!”


Daniel continued, “There’s more to the story. You met him in California and he followed you here. And I saw him kiss you right there in the Palace Theater!”


“Oh God! You saw that?” said Sammy Jo biting her lower lip.


“Yessss,” he hissed.


She put her hands on her hips and leaned forward, trying to sound innocent despite the evidence. “Besides, he kissed me. I am not having an affair with that man. He is my father!”


Total disbelief crossed Daniel’s face. “Father? You’re old enough to be his mother.”


Her mouth fell open again. Never had such a jab at her come from her beloved fiancé. “I am not! Well, maybe if I was a very early bloomer. That man is Sam Beckett. My FATHER leaped into Josiah Hawley over a year ago, and he’s here working on a new retrieval program so he can leap home. I am his daughter. I am not having an incestuous affair with my own flesh and blood, Daniel! I love you! I will love you from now till the day I die. And I do love Dad, but only as a daughter!”


“That’s Sam Beckett? Even with my non-technical job, I know that he only leaps for a few days at the most, and that guy has been following you around for over a year,” he said, starting to sound like a prosecutor.


Sammy Jo raised her voice to her husband. “NO! You are just too suspicious. If you don’t believe me, we can take a blood sample from him and me and you can send it to Washington; that will SHOW YOU that I am his daughter. Check with Ziggy. He leaped into him last year and is still there. Other than a psychological profile, there is no other way to penetrate the aura that surrounds him. He is Hoss Hawley to the world now, except to those who truly know him or believe in him. You have to believe deep inside of you. You have to believe in Sam Beckett, the way I do. And I would hope and pray that you would trust me on that point. Though it appears that YOU don’t!”


He took a half–step back and then let out one long breath. “I guess there’s still a lot I don’t know about this leaping business. You’d submit to a blood test? That would take weeks!”


“Darling, you have got to believe me,” she said, taking a step toward him.


He scratched the back of his head. “Well, that is one explanation of the facts. I think the jury will be out on that for a while. But you’re right... if I love you, which I do, I should give you a chance, which I will. But why couldn’t you confide in your own fiancé?”


Sammy Jo still didn’t feel she should upset him with her knowledge about Colonel Henshaw, but she felt she could share part of her knowledge. “I’m just glad to be able to tell you. The pressure of not sharing with anyone else has been hard on me. Dad didn’t want too many people to know. He still exists on another level in the Imaging Chamber. He doesn’t want his current presence to influence the ‘him’ already in the past. Then you get into paradoxes that you don’t want to know about, my darling,” she said, now holding him tightly.


Daniel squeezed Sammy Jo tightly. “I’ll leave all that space-time stuff for you to worry about, Samantha. How could I have ever really doubted your faithfulness? Especially with our baby on the way?”


She gave him a quick kiss and then patted him on the chest. “You better not ever think that way again, Daniel Patrick Fulton. I’ll love you forever. And I am glad to be able to tell you; helps me carry my burden. All of it is true. Sam did leap into California last year and he’s trying to develop another retrieval program. He sort of leaped into Quantum Leap.”


Daniel pulled her even closer. “Well, I want to talk to him myself about this wild story.”


“Absolutely, but keep his presence at the project quiet, darling,” she said as she received another passionate kiss, worrying that the knowledge of Sam’s presence was spreading.


Daniel finished the kiss looking worried. “That could be a problem. I may have discussed my suspicions with the Admiral, making him rather suspicious as well.”


Sammy Jo buried herself in his chest. “Oh boy!”




Stallion’s Gate, New Mexico

January 3, 2006, 10:00 AM


Work had never been a chore for Doctor Samantha Josephine Fuller, but working with her father again made coming to work fun as well as challenging. Sam Beckett, who only considered Sammy Jo a good friend and very capable colleague, could see things she never could. And he had this unique sense of humor that really required someone in his field to understand, something that was so often beyond Al and the other nonscientific PQL members. Donna had seen that spark in him when they first met. Sam had avoided most of his close friends in the months he had been around PQL again. Only Sammy Jo, Daniel and Stephie knew the truth—a truth that Sammy Jo found easier to bear with her fiancé. Unfortunately, she was still holding back an ultimate secret and truth about the fate of PQL from her fiancé, helpmate and true best friend.


Finding that one of Ziggy’s isolinear chip assemblies could not handle the volume of information, Sam and Stephie went back to building makeshift parts in the auxiliary computer lab so as not to have their computer hardware staff raise questions to Donna Elesee. Normally not used except when there was an overflow of work from Donna’s computer department, Sam and Stephie were free to work in the lab with only minimal interruption from the staff technicians.


“We’ll have this circuit assembled in no time,” exclaimed Stephie. “Sure beats working with those used parts I scrounged up. Nice to have brand new components to work with, Sammy Jo.”


Sammy Jo shook her head. “We’re still robbing Peter to pay Paul. One wrong part taken from the wrong place and Ziggy could be toast! We could cause any number of problems.”


“If everything works out, then Ziggy should be running just fine,” said Sam. “Donna will see to that.”


Sammy Jo joined them at the workbench, looking over Sam’s shoulder. “OK. Let’s get that last IC pad wired in there,” said Sammy Jo as Sam picked up the soldering iron.


“Not so hard. I perfected a pretty good technique back at Xanadu,” said Sam as he looked over at Sammy Jo.


Sammy Jo looked impressed and then worried. “Watch OUT!” she screamed. Sam looked over, slipped, and tried to catch the hot soldering gun before it ruined thirty hours of work. As fate would have it, it slipped, flipped and landed in the palm of Sam’s hand, grazing his skin and falling to the fireproof mat.


“Ye-oowwwWWWW!” screamed Sam, pressing his hand to his shirt as searing pain ran up and down his arm.


“Get some ice!” yelled Sammy Jo as Stephie ran for the staff refrigerator. “Let me see that!” she exclaimed, trying to pull his hand toward her to examine it.


Sam shook his head. “No! I’m fine. I am a doctor!”


Stephie came running back with the ice in a clean rag. “And medical doctors make the worst patients. Please, let me see your hand, darling!”


Sam looked miffed and then lowered his hand. His flesh was only slightly white. Stephie plopped the bag of ice on his palm curling his hand back over it lovingly. She would never stop caring for this befuddled genius. She looked up and smiled at the hurt little boy expression on his face.


“Now off to the infirmary with you, Sammy Beckett,” she said, pushing him toward the door. “You are going to get cared for, no matter what!”


Sammy Jo looked at her father with amusement at the reaction to his problem. “I’ll finish up here. But be back quickly!”




On Level Three of the underground complex, the PQL infirmary reminded one of a small hospital complete with a half-dozen fulltime beds, a CAT scanner, an x-ray table and a full-scale operating room. Due to the unknown nature of what their leapers might encounter and the unknown conditions of their visiting hosts, the PQL medical staff had to be ready for anything.


Stephie brought in the unusually quiet Sam Beckett and called out to the empty examination room. “Anyone on duty? Please. We have a burn patient here!”


Sam could barely hear the sounds that changed to hushes from the adjoining office. Out came Chief Physician Elizabeth Calavicci quickly brushing back her dark hair with a strange look of contentment on her face. Behind her in the doorway stood her husband with a sexy look on his face. Instead of watching whoever had entered the infirmary, he was obviously watching the lower portion of his wife walking away from him.


Sam looked up and saw the woman of sixty plus, who had taken excellent care of herself, with a simple content smile on her face. The expression changed as she saw the burn on Sam’s hand.


Shaking her head, she remarked in a motherly tone, “Gracious, that is a bad wound. Whatever did you do, young man?” She reached for his hand, holding it closer to examine it.


“Soldering iron, ma’am,” said Sam politely, trying to ignore Al in the adjoining doorway.


Stephie interjected, “We came right here.”


“It’s good I was working here late tonight. The staff medic is only first aid certified and that is a bad burn,” she said, shaking her head.


“And working we were,” said Al quietly to himself as he came into the room. He still looked content and then looked at Sam and Stephie as a look of recognition crossed his face.


Al furled his brow and then pointed at them with his cigar. “Don’t I know you two? I never forget a face. Names yes, but never a face. Maybe places, where I am, what my last drink was, but I never forget a face.”


Sam and Stephie looked at each other worried.


Al concentrated even harder. “You’re working here in the kitchen? You’re not with the food service staff, are you?”


Sam shook his head as even Beth started watching this exchange with interest. “No. We’re on Doctor Fuller’s staff,” replied Sam looking a little too guilty.


Al looked like his head was hurting and then a light came on. “Sammy Jo... Wait a minute. Yes! You and Sammy Jo at that diner... Crossroads. That’s it! You talked to me about those greasy hamburgers.”


“Albert!” exclaimed Beth, wagging her finger at him. “You shouldn’t be eating...”


“No, you must be mistaken,” retorted Stephie.


“No. There’s something else. You were in my dreams. No, Sam’s dream. No, that’s not right either. His leap!! There have been so many of them. Hawley is it? Ziggy,” he said hitting the communication unit on the wall.


“Oh boy!” exclaimed Sam.


“What is it, Admiral? It is awfully late and you should be in bed!” exclaimed Ziggy.


“I have been trying to sleep,” exclaimed Al, looking over at his wife who had turned a bit red in the face. “Ziggy, what’s your reference unit say about a guy, twenties, named Hawley?”


Ziggy instantly replied, “Three politicians and one clergyman. All deceased.”


“No, no, no. Facts associated with Sam,” replied the Admiral slightly peeved.


“He has yet to leap into a Josiah Hawley, but he did contact the project in this persona on September 23, 2004. Currently working at Project Quantum Leap. Welcome back, Doctor Beckett,” Ziggy said graciously.


Al snapped his fingers at Ziggy’s reminder. “That’s it! When Sammy Jo went out to California the year before last! Stephanie Hartmann is it? You were helping some way-out wacko that claimed to be from the future.”


Stephie look at Al and sneered, “He was no wacko!”


“Well, the jury’s still out on that point. And you’re Sam?” Al asked, trying to stare through his aura. Beth looked up startled and stared into Sam’s face.


A slight smile appeared on his lips. “Guilty!! Do we have to go through that same ‘Impossible Dream’ story we discussed when I called last time? Remember when you sent us some of Ziggy’s bits and pieces?” asked Sam.


Al shook his head. “No, Sam—um...Sam.... Sammy Jo said you went your own way after she returned,” said Al, remembering that sad day when Sammy Jo reported on her experience.


“Sam, is that really you?” asked Beth, looking deep into his eyes. “Yes! There’s some of that Beckett spark in those eyes. I could run some tests on him.”


“Thanks, sweetie, but that’s not necessary. Sam is right. We went through all this pseudo-macho-security bullshit the last time he contacted us,” replied Al as he turned to Sam. “Sam, it is really you under that leap-induced Halloween costume, isn’t it!”


“Yep. It’s good to see you all—in the flesh,” he said, playfully poking at his best friend.


Al gave him a quick hug and then stepped back. “You do make it back here on a pretty regular basis. Instead of leaping, it’s more like you’re on extended business trips. This is amazing. We’ve got to tell Donna.”


Stephie gasped while Sam shook his head no. “Let’s keep this low-key—the fewer people who know, the better. I am really here on my own mission. With no help from God, Fate or Time,” said Sam seriously.


Stephie interjected, “Maybe a little help from them. You did make it to here, Sam.”


Sam agreed. “That’s true. But let’s keep it between us.”


“Got it!” agreed Al. “Now what’s the back-story here?” he asked, crossing his arms and puffing introspectively on his cigar.


“The best we can figure is that it all started around October of this year. I leaped into...” said Sam as he started to fill in the details.




Stallion’s Gate, New Mexico

January 4, 2006, 6:05 AM


Early the next morning in Al’s office, the six co-conspirators sat around his desk trying to stay awake after a long night of explanations.


Al yawned first followed by Sammy Jo and then Stephie Hartmann. “So you need my help in finding out about this wacko officer. If Ziggy hasn’t broken into his records by now, it probably will take a more human intelligence approach. Much as I admire our extra-intelligent computer — Don’t EVER let her know I said that! — I think some more human spy channeling is necessary. And I am just the man to do it.”


Beth took a moment for it to sink in. “Albert, you are not going to turn into James Bond!”


“And a new leap could happen very soon,” explained Sammy Jo. “We can’t let Sam down.”


Al brightened up looking over at Sammy Jo. “Absolutely! Sammy Jo, you handle any observer duties. Sam may be used to it,” Al said, handing her a handlink.


“No problem,” she replied, turning on the handlink to check out its circuitry.


Sam remarked, “I do remember Sammy Jo helping me out on four separate occasions.”


Al looked at him a bit surprised. “That’s pretty good. Your memory—”


“—has returned pretty much intact after all this time in one spot,” said Sam, pointing to his highly superior brain.


“Unfortunately, I don’t think we can simulate those conditions during each future leap,” said Sammy Jo. She herself had experienced the Swiss-cheese effect and had never found a way around it.


Beth reminded them, “And where do you think you’re going, Albert?”


Sammy Jo and Sam snickered lightly at Beth’s slightly peeved demeanor.


Al put up his hands in defense. “Look, I’m not going behind enemy lines, although there aren’t many of those in the world anymore. I am going to Washington to call in some old favors. I know a few old Air Force buddies from my days at NASA and my work at Wright-Patt. This side trip isn’t going to be dangerous!” Internally, he looked up to the sky hoping nothing would go wrong with his “spy” mission.


“No cloak-and-dagger stuff?” she asked, casting a worried eye at her husband.


“Just a bit of stealth. I know I still have it in me,” he said looking confident, while Beth still cast the same worried look at him. He took two very satisfying puffs on his cigar and picked up the phone. “Brenda, get me on the next flight to Reagan National.”




World War Two Memorial

Washington D.C.

January 5, 2006, 7:10 AM


The long shadows from the stately columns all pointed west as two lone figures walked in and out of the shadows cast by towers representing fifty plus states and territories. In the cold frosty morning, Al kept close to himself as he walked with another slightly younger man wearing a dark blue Air Force uniform.


“Damn it, Al! You’re bringing up things I can’t discuss. You know the drill as much as anyone working on whatever that top secret project was,” the other man said in hushed tones.


“Look, Skinny, this is a matter of life and death—mine and a lot of people that work with me. You worked in Section S back in the eighties. We can’t locate anything about this, um... Let me call it an incident.”


The Air Force officer with three stars on his shoulder had very defensive body language. “No, Al! Not a word! Section S doesn’t even exist on the books. I don’t even know how you could have heard of it.”


Al began moving faster in the chilled morning air. “On Starbright, we got involved in all aspects of the military sciences, and the scientific work in Section S interested us more than once,” said Al as he rubbed his hands together.


“And you won’t hear anything more about it. Nothing was kept in the computer files,” he insisted.


“That’ll make Ziggy feel better,” said Al more to himself than to his shadowy companion.


“And most of the remainder of the files were destroyed in the attack on the Pentagon. Al, I can’t discuss anything more than that. We’ve known each other since Hector was a pup, and if it means our friendship is at an end, then so be it!” he said, turning to leave the memorial.


Al bit his lip. “Look, John, I need to know more. This guy Henshaw... please, clue me in on something,” Al said quietly.


The officer’s face turned two shades redder. “Nothing, Al! I can’t say a thing! And this ends our conversation, Admiral Calavicci!” he said as he began to walk away.


Al turned up the left side of his lip and then called out, “I do remember a certain little lady named Nam Du who did you a lot of very personal favors in Hanoi. Tell me, Skinny, was that back in ’69 or ’70?”


The officer stopped in his tracks. He returned, stamping very hard in the snow. “Damn you, Calavicci! That was another world down there in the hellhole of the Hanoi Hilton. I never once betrayed my country or those wonderful boys that were prisoners with us.”


Al looked down at the officer’s feet. “So you say. Still, in some circles, even refreshing one’s bodily urges is still considered collaboration with the enemy, Skinny.”


“Skinny” looked directly in Al’s face, poking him in the chest. “I did nothing that I feel betrayed my country, Calavicci. I have a spotless military record...”


“That could very quickly go down the latrine hole,” Al interrupted him. “Remember, I was the one that caught you with that little Asian trollop. Certain not-so-well-respected newspapers might turn it into a national scandal very quickly!”


The officer fumed while staring at Al. “Then I’ll just tender my resignation and....”


Al tried to sound accommodating. “John, do us both a favor. Save your career and help out an old friend who has been backed into a corner.”


“Double damn you, Calavicci! You are no friend of mine. Just threatening me in my book ends our friendship here and now. But for the sake of my family, I’ll submit to your blackmail!” he said, turning an even deeper shade of red.


Ignoring the last comment, Al replied with gratitude, “Thank you!”


“Civility from a blackmailer? You make me sick!” the officer spat back at Al.


“If the circumstances were different, John,” he said, trying to apologize.


“Forget it, Calavicci! Don’t try and justify yourself. Now what do you want to know?” the officer asked.


Al put up his hands ending any type of smoothing over of this awkward situation. “Fine! Please tell me what you can about Colonel Henshaw.”


“Henshaw is a fanatic megalomaniacal son of a bitch. Took his job way too seriously. When they closed up the case file on the San Francisco incident, he went ballistic. Tried to blow the whole operation. Only the intervention of his supervisor saved him. He was shipped off to some base in Alaska. If he’s still involved, as you say, then he must have worked his way back up,” he reported without any emotion.


“But what did they find there?” asked Al.


The officer shrugged his shoulders. “Puzzles. Nothing but puzzles: parts of machines that didn’t or shouldn’t have worked, crazy radiation readings... nothing toxic, but nothing that should have been in downtown San Francisco. Things were so weird that they just classified it. There might have been a hint of... I don’t want to say anything more.”


Al pleaded, “Please!”


The officer lowered his voice. “Extraterrestrial invasion.”


Al nearly dropped his cigar. “What?”


The officer drew very close to Al. “I never saw any of the reports, but it was the biggest example of finding, let’s say, parts of UFO’s, or whatever they were, that the Air Force had ever seen—at least, nothing they could identify. And the Air Force didn’t want to start up the UFO hysteria again. Sometimes a small amount of information can cause more problems than an alien spacecraft landing on the Ellipse here in Washington. Too much fodder for the press as I see it, Calavicci,” he said, taking out a cigarette.


Al lit it for him and then asked, “I haven’t seen any hint of aliens—at least not the kind that so worried the Air Force! What’s the Pentagon’s position and how does Henshaw fit in?”


“The Pentagon wishes it would stay buried. To Henshaw, it’s probably still a thorn in his side. HE never let it go. There’s nothing more that I can tell you from my own personal experience. That’s it!” he said, crossing his hands and cutting Al off.


Al’s face softened as he offered the officer his outstretched hand. “Thanks, John.”


The officer looked at his hand and then turned away in disgust. “Don’t thank me. Just never contact me again, Calavicci,” he said, puffing very quickly and walking off into the morning sun.


“Sorry I had to do it,” Al said silently, rolling his cigar between his fingers. Even with the sun rising higher in the sky, Al felt another burst of cold wind penetrate his coat that chilled him down to his bones.




Project Quantum Leap

Stallion’s Gate, New Mexico

June 15, 2006, 8:00 AM


Given the amount of time Sam had been working on his marvelous new retrieval program, he could not lick the last of the dimensional interspatial anomalies. Even a certain prize-winning physicist could not take the science from what Sam figured was two hundred years in the future and adapt it to his primitive twenty-first century technology. All the brainpower between Stephie and the Becketts—including the newly wed Mrs. Fulton—couldn’t solve all the problems. So Sam was forced to turn to the biggest brain on the project, with the possible exception of his own wife: Ziggy.


Sammy Jo and Sam sat in the new Doctor Irving Gushman Computer Lab. The project had replaced the twenty-year-old lab left over from the Starbright project and incorporated the latest in input/output technology, display techniques and holographic projectors. All the major computer work was accomplished here. Unless the work was done at one of the smaller satellite sites, like Sammy Jo’s lab, this room was the main connection with Ziggy. And although they had been wishing to avoid her, they hoped that Ziggy could solve their final problems with the retrieval system.


“That’s the last of it. Eleven months of brilliant work all edited, filed and ready to be downloaded into the main processing unit,” sighed Sammy Jo.


“Only if it works. Otherwise, it’s a lot of coleslaw. Nothing is finished until the very end, Sammy Jo. Go ahead and let Ziggy look at it,” said Sam, crossing his fingers.


Sammy Jo entered her final key-in sequence and pressed enter. “OK, Ziggy. It’s all yours. It should take several minutes until she has...”


“Doctor Fulton?” asked Ziggy, who then appeared on the holographic platform next to the main input console.


“Done already?” asked Sammy Jo looking quite pleased and surprised.


“Not quite yet, Doctor Fulton. I am merely compiling the components and reviewing the logical syntaxes. It appears that much of this work was performed by Doctor Samuel Beckett,” she said proudly. “It doesn’t appear to match your pasty efforts, Doctor Fulton.”


Sammy Jo looked at the surprised expression on Ziggy’s face. “Um, how...?”


She raised one eyebrow like it should be very obvious. “My analysis of computer code is almost as detailed as any one person’s fingerprints, Doctor Fulton. No two programmers or scientists have exactly the same algorithms. And after twenty years of handling Doctor Samuel Beckett’s work in my various stages of development, I would think I am an authority on it. Though this work must contain some of Doctor Albright’s work from 2004. It is quite fascinating.”


“I did most of the work, Ziggy,” interjected Sam.


“That is part of the prime function in my basic moral code,” Ziggy replied. She seemed to sigh. “It is a pleasure to be working with you again, Doctor Beckett. I should have realized much earlier that you have been working at the project this whole time. There must be a glitch in my programming.”


“What about the downloaded information, Ziggy?” asked Sammy Jo while she monitored Ziggy’s progress on the main computer console indicators.


Ziggy replied, “I will work on it with the highest priority!”


Sam relaxed and exclaimed, “Thanks!”


Ziggy replied, “But it will take months!”


“That’s cutting it close,” sighed Sammy Jo.





Project Quantum Leap

Stallion’s Gate, New Mexico

October 14, 2006, 7:00 PM


Working from Sammy Jo’s lab, Sam had been working on new theories with the help of Ziggy. Although, no one outside of Sam’s little circle of trust knew Ziggy had been working much more efficiently since she had spent several months with her creator, Sam Beckett. The thing Ziggy had missed most was the philosophical discussions she had had with Sam: Where does life begin? What’s the real secret of the universe? And most dear to Ziggy’s parallel-hybrid heart, where does her own heartbeat end and real life begin? One thing Donna Beckett had wondered about was the incessant noise coming from Ziggy’s speakers in the Control Room. The techs could find no problems, but it sounded like Ziggy was whistling. She was so happy to have her father back for an extended stay. And if she could fix the retrieval program, he would stay for good.


Sam was deep in concentration working on his improvements to Ziggy when Sammy Jo derailed his train of thought. “Sam— I mean, Hoss. It happened. Just ten minutes ago. You leaped into that weird little pilgrim village,” announced Sammy Jo.


“Really? Great! What’s so weird about it?” asked Sam.


“Just pretending to be people you aren’t. We are what we are and we can’t change it. Pretending to be someone else doesn’t help out your own life, Sam,” explained Sammy Jo, looking more than a bit flustered.


‘Still the old math and science expert,’ thought Sam. “Well, everyone has their own calling.”


Sammy Jo quickly backtracked. “Oh, I’m all for that. Just not into wearing old clothes and tromping around sounding like the King James Version of the Bible, Sam. That’s what is weird about it.”


“You need to get out of the lab more, Sammy Jo,” suggested Sam lovingly.


Something hit Sammy Jo like a bolt of lightning. “Why does everyone keep telling me that? I like my lab. I like my work. And watching a reenactment of the battle of South whatever’s-ville is just not for me!” she raved. “Now come on down to Gooshie’s lab so we can monitor your last leap from there without running into Donna!”




Project Quantum Leap

Stallion’s Gate, New Mexico

October 17, 2006, 3:00 PM


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.


From the Gushman Lab, Sam, Stephie and Sammy Jo watched the drama unfolding. “So that’s the infamous Colonel Henshaw? Now we can keep an eye on him,” said Stephie.


Sam listened intently and then remarked, “And Al has to play along or we’ll never catch the guy. Who knows where else he might boil over in another timeline?”


Stephie looked worried. “But we still have to finish your retrieval program, Sam. That could be a possible solution, too.”


“Looks like that’s not in my fate. Ziggy needs another couple of weeks just to finish the first complete analysis. Looks like I’m going back on the old time express,” explained Sam as he looked off into his uncertain future. “And I have to accept that!”


“But I still don’t see why we don’t apprehend Henshaw now! He’s on a government installation and we have full control over him,” insisted Stephie. “He’s right there now in the conference room without any protection from his invasion force.”


Sammy Jo shook her head. “That’s the problem. He hasn’t taken over the complex yet. He hasn’t committed any crime.”


Sam took Stephie’s shaking hand. “Only some sort of self-appointed Messiah tries to control the future, like Henshaw did—or will do. We aren’t going to become him. We’ll keep him close enough to make sure everything turns out right. It will all be over soon, Steph. Very soon!”


Stephie took his other hand and then held him tightly, burying her head in his chest. “I don’t want to lose you, Sam Beckett.”


Sam whispered in her ear, “You won’t. I’ll be back. Someday, someplace.”




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 2½ 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.


A very confident Al Calavicci smiled and replied, “No, Colonel. I’m going to ask you to do the same. Major Falstaff!”


The Colonel’s men turned around to see two detachments of Navy SEALs accompanied by a company of Unites States Marines exit the reception building and come from behind the building.


“I’d say we outnumber you about four to one. Henshaw, have your men drop their weapons and spread eagle on the ground. That is a direct order, KER-NAL!” commanded Admiral Albert Calavicci.


At first the Colonel glared at Al who just returned the stare. “Disarm, men! Drop to the ground,” said the Colonel. The commandos complied.


“Major Falstaff, do your duty,” Al said flatly to the Marine Major.


Major Falstaff snapped to a salute and exclaimed, “Yes, sir. All right, line up. Hands over your heads, single file. Up. Move it! Now march. Hup, hup, hup, hup!” ordered Major Falstaff as he marched the Air Force commandos into the warehouse.


‘This nozzle is for me,’ thought Al. “Colonel, just tell me why in the blazes did you do it?” he asked. “Money, God, country, power, fame? What?”


The Colonel stood at attention looking straight ahead and not at Admiral Calavicci. “I do my duty to my country as I see fit. And I saw a true opportunity for a greater America. You, Admiral, stood in my way. And I would do the same if I had another chance!” said the Colonel.


“Self-appointed demigod. Take him from my sight,” said Al. “You will not get another chance to do it, Henshaw. You will be put away in Leavenworth for a long, long time. Not another chance!” Al yelled at him. Then quietly, Al said to himself, “Well, not a third chance, that is.”


Al pulled out one of his finest cigars, lit it and looked up at the clear crisp desert sky. “Beautiful. Thank God I lived another day to see another night like this,” he said as he headed for the elevators.


Down in the Gushman Computer Lab, Stephie, Sam and Sammy Jo waited for Al.


“Invasion stopped thanks to you three. You have all done yourselves proud.” Al pulled out his handlink to check with Ziggy on the implications of their ambush of Colonel Henshaw’s troops. “Doctor Albright will, or rather did, return to his own people without incident. And history is back on its best course—at least, the best course in the opinion of this holographic observer. Doctor Stephanie Hartmann, you took a position here at Project Quantum Leap and have been here for the last two years—or at least, you will after Sam leaps, which should be very shortly. And the last two years will vanish as the cosmic time recorder hits rewind. Sam, a brilliant job as always, and this time, everyone here at Project Quantum Leap owes you our lives,” explained Al. “Thank you, old buddy.”


Stephie looking up at God, Time or Fate and thanked Sam and Sammy Jo for all they had done for her.


“I may forget about all of this, but thank you all. It’s good to have been home,” said Sam as a familiar tingling started to come over him.


“Take it easy, Doctor Braintrust,” said Al, waving to him as Sam Beckett broke into a million pieces of blue quantum light and disappeared into infinity.


“So long, Dad,” exclaimed Sammy Jo. “It was good to have you home.”


 And the course of time resumed, erasing the last two years as Sam also resumed on his journey for his adventures were about to begin again.




Xanadu Winery

Napa Valley, California

September 26, 2004, 9:50 PM


Dressed in his green traveling clothes, Doctor Theodore Albright greeted his working group of intellectual geniuses for the last time. Normally quite reserved, the futuristic doctor was just this side of giddy as he looked over at his friends. “Samuel,” he said, looking deep into his eyes. “You have helped me beyond measure. My little project was doomed to never be completed without your help. May your continued journeys be free from defects. Good luck, my friend.”


“Goodbye,” exclaimed Sam. “It’s been a wonderful experience, Doctor Albright!”


“And my dearest Stephanie. I only wish I had a daughter who is as intelligent and as brave as you. Bless you,” Doctor Albright said getting a bit misty-eyed.


“So long,” she said, now bursting into tears. “I will miss you so much. God go with you!” she said, hugging him like she’d never let him go. Afterwards she stepped back next to Sam taking his hand tightly.


Then Doctor Albright approached Sammy Jo, who was only planning to wave goodbye to someone she had just met. He approached her and hugged her very tightly. Not knowing what to do, she hugged him back.


“Thank you for coming,” he said barely above a whisper. “May your future be bright!”


“Sure. I’ll never forget it. Good luck, Teddy,” she said. Then she noticed a ring on his finger—an old gold one with a bright blue topaz in it topped by an antique “F.” It was so noticeable to Sammy Jo because she wore a similar one, though not as worn as the one on Teddy’s finger.


“My, what a unique ring. I have a similar one here,” she said, holding out her hand.


Teddy looked down at it. “Yes, well, it’s been in my family for years. I must take my leave,” he said, as they all waved at him. “The ring was my grandmother’s. Goodbye, my friends. Thank you all. Farewell,” he said before vanishing in the blue sparkles that Sam had become so accustomed to.


“Grandmother’s?” said Sam out loud. “Grandmother’s?!”


Sammy Jo looked down at her ring. “Then if that’s the same ring...he’s one of my descendants? ‘F’ for Fuller? Or ‘F’ for...FULTON? Jeez!”


“Or he got the ring from someone in the future,” remarked Stephanie.


Sammy Jo’s mind began to swirl. “Jeez, that could go either way. He really shouldn’t let you know about the future.”


“But the possibilities are very intriguing, Sammy Jo. Just like the future always is,” said Sam with a big smile.


Watching the whole process was Al Calavicci, the holographic observer, who decided to jump in. “The important thing is that you let him move on, whether he was a wacko or not. If what he says is true, then we know that the project all of us are involved with does go on. Not a bad legacy, Sam. And speaking of going on, Sam, according to Ziggy, you should now be leaping. Leaper number two is now leaving for parts unknown.”


Stephie grabbed Sam as he waved to Sammy Jo. “You are one precious guy, Sam Beckett. I won’t ever forget you. AND I’ll make sure all your journeys are good ones,” she said.


As Sam started to say something, he vanished into bright blue quantum particles and was off again on the time express.





The blue glow faded and Dr. Samuel Beckett came to his senses slowly.  He was in a moving car, front passenger seat.  His hand gripped the door handle tightly.  He turned his head to glance at the driver, a large black man with a shiny baldhead, who, even in the darkness, looked decidedly pissed.  “You open that door, Domino, and I’ll kick your ass.  I’m not taking any shit from you tonight.”  A strong right hand flashed out and grabbed Sam by the jaw, jamming his face against the cold window.


Through the glass, rain soaked city buildings flashed by, lit by the occasional street lamp.  Sam decided that this was one instance when outside was better than inside.  He jerked the door handle and threw himself out of the car.  He landed hard and rolled into a gutter churning with frigid water, trash, and leaves.  His head smacked the curb.  “Oh, . . .” he said, and passed out.



 Back to Top