Episode 1221

To Help A Friend

by: Tom Nicklis


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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.




A voice, coming from everywhere and nowhere, said, “Sam, you have done very well. You have met all obstacles head-on and exceeded my wildest expectations.”

“Does that mean I can go home now?”

“Unfortunately, no. Your destiny has yet to be fulfilled.”

“I thought you said that I control my own destiny.”

“You do, but you have yet to accept that fact. Right now, it’s your own subconscious need to continue that is driving your leaps, and before you are done, it will take you on your most arduous leaps yet.”

“Do you mean the leaps are going to get even tougher? I don’t think I could handle it if they were any tougher.”

“You can handle it. Remember the past and apply what you have learned, and you will get through it just fine.”

Sam was just about to ask the voice what it meant when he felt the familiar tugging of an impending leap. “No, no, not yet. I’m not ready to go.”

“Good luck, Sam.”

Just like that, the voice was gone and Sam found himself in new surroundings. As they came into focus, he looked to his left and saw three cubicles. In each station was a computer terminal with a woman sitting behind it. Behind him and to his right, he saw an attractive young redheaded woman that looked to be about twenty-three years old and five feet nine inches tall, running a drive-thru.

Finally realizing where he was, Sam heard a voice say, “Hey Nate, are you going to give me my thousand dollars, or are you going to bring it home for me too?”

For the first time, Sam looked ahead of him and saw a balding man with a potbelly. This man was easily in his fifties and smelled slightly of alcohol. “Oh, sorry,” said Sam before quickly counting the cash. He counted one thousand dollars in hundred dollar bills before reaching up and tearing the gentleman’s receipt off the printer. Quickly glancing at the receipt, he saw that the man did indeed withdraw the thousand dollars and that his name was Bruce Trillo. “Here you go, Mr. Trillo.”

Sam handed Mr. Trillo the money and the bottom copy of the receipt but saw that the man was just standing there. “Is there anything else I can help you with today, sir?”

“Don’t you need me to sign the receipt?”

“Oh, right, sorry,” said a slightly red-faced Sam. Remembering a little too late that his own bank always made him sign for withdrawals, Sam put the top copy of the receipt on the counter.

Mr. Trillo signed it before saying, “What has gotten into you today, kid?”

Then, without waiting for an answer, Bruce Trillo turned and started to walk toward the door when he distinctly heard Nate say, “Oh boy.”





Thursday, December 30, 1999

Berlin, Connecticut


Relieved to see that there was nobody else in the lobby, Sam decided to look for clues as to where and when he was. He had already learned that his name was Nate—Mr. Trillo had been nice enough to clue him in to that.

The date was easy enough to figure out—it was on the computer screen. However, the screen didn’t tell him his whereabouts. Looking ahead of him, he saw some money envelopes. He picked one up and read the name ‘American Hardware Federal Credit Union’ off of it. According to the envelope, the main office was located in Plainville with branches in Berlin, Farmington, Southington, Thomaston and Waterbury, Connecticut. Not knowing which branch he was in, Sam looked at the telephone that sat at his host’s station. On it, there were phone numbers for every branch except Berlin so Sam assumed that his host worked in the Berlin branch.

Knowing his when and whereabouts, Sam decided to study the computer screen in his cubicle. Knowing that a member could walk in at any moment, he decided that he had at least better be able to do some simple transactions. After only a couple of minutes, Sam began to feel a little more confident about the possibility of having to do a transaction. The system looked to be pretty self-explanatory and after building Ziggy, it would be an absolute cakewalk.

Sam lost his train of thought when he heard the teller at the end of the line stand up and say to the young woman running the drive-thru drawer, “Madison, did you ever get in touch with that member that you shorted twenty dollars?”

“Yeah,” answered Madison. “He told me to put it in his checking.”

Hearing the exchange, Sam learned that the attractive redhead’s name was Madison. This got him curious as to the names of the other tellers. Looking at the girl that just asked Madison about the twenty dollars, he saw that she was only about twenty-eight or twenty-nine. She was of average height, about five foot five inches and slightly stocky. Reading her nametag, Sam saw that her name was Cindi and that she was a Senior Teller.

The next station down was another teller named Tammy. Tammy had blond hair hanging just past her shoulders. Her brown eyes spoke volumes about the girl and made her look much older than her approximate twenty-five years. To Sam, they spoke of an already hard life and he couldn’t help but wonder if maybe he was here to help this girl with her problems and make her life a little more manageable.

Next to Tammy and immediately to Sam’s left was Susan. Susan was older than the other girls—perhaps forty-five. She wore glasses and had her black hair cut just above her shoulders. Sam noticed as well that she had taken very good care of herself. She was well dressed and physically fit, something for which Sam gave her a lot of credit.

For the next several minutes, Sam continued to play with the computer system. He was mentally filing away what he was learning when he heard Cindi say, “Nate, it’s after four, aren’t you going home?”

Playing it off, Sam said, “Oh, yeah, right. This last half-hour just flew right by.” Mentally kicking himself for not studying balancing procedures, Sam placed his ‘Next Window’ sign up and began to try to balance his drawer. Not knowing what to do, he said under his breath, “Where are you, Al?”

Almost on cue, the Imaging Chamber door opened and Al walked out of it. Sam was pleased to see that Al was dressed pretty tame, at least by Al’s standards. He was wearing a red shirt and a red pair of pants, which were accentuated by a canary yellow blazer and tie. “Hey pal, how’s it going?” asked the hologram.

Sam looked straight ahead at the Project Observer; then covering his mouth, he cleared his throat and slyly asked his friend, “How do I balance?”

“What? Oh, how do you balance,” repeated the observer. Watching his friend’s face, Al saw the look of acknowledgement. “I don’t know.”

In no time flat, the look of acknowledgement turned to one of annoyance as Sam looked from Al’s eyes to the handlink.

“Oh. Ziggy,” Al said. “She’s depressed, so she’s not responding but we’re a couple of smart guys, we can figure this out.”

Al walked through the counter and took a look at Sam’s screen. Over the next several minutes, the two of them used trial and error to figure out how to balance the drawer. Sam was thankful to see that his host balanced to the penny, but he then realized that he didn’t know what was supposed to come next. Fortunately for Sam, Madison was done for the day, too. So Al watched what she did and then directed Sam to do the same.

When his cash drawer was locked up and all his work was put away, Sam followed Madison into the break room to get Nate’s belongings. He purposely hung back until Madison said, “See you tomorrow, Nate.” The two men then watched as Madison smiled at the man that she thought was Nate before walking out the door.

As soon as Madison left the room, Al said, “She can handle my transaction… anytime.”

Knowing that his friend was all talk, Sam ignored the sexual innuendo. He had long since gotten used to it, and at this point, even expected it. However, he had always known that Al would no sooner stray on Beth than leave his best friend stranded in Time alone. “So, what’s up with Ziggy?” asked Sam as soon as he was sure that they were alone.

“We don’t know. All she’s told us is that it is Thursday, December 30, 1999 and that your name is Nathan Shaw. Then, all of a sudden, she gets all huffy and says that it is bringing up bad memories. She’ll never admit it, Sam, but personally, I think it was that whole Y2K scare. She is still mad that we updated her for it. She took it as a personal insult that we didn’t trust her not to crash. I mean, we were just following orders, but she said that that one particular order was one that we shouldn’t have followed.”

“Y2K, what’s that?” asked Sam.

Before Al even had a chance to answer, both men heard the usual sultry voice of Ziggy say, “Y2K was when the year changed over from 1999 to 2000. People thought that every computer in the world would crash and… your staff… felt the need to update me as if I were a common household desktop!!!” Her full-framed holographic figure appeared, being projected from the handlink, and she had daggers in her eyes.

“Don’t badmouth desktops, you useless mass of microprocessors,” retorted Al. “They have several advantages over you. Not the least of which is that they don’t talk back!!!”

“And what exactly do you call an error message, you bag of bones!!!”

“Children, children,” Sam interrupted. “Can we focus on the task at hand here? Ziggy, why am I here? Does it have anything to do with that girl out there, Tammy?”

“Yes, Doctor,” Ziggy confirmed.

“Ok, now we are getting somewhere. What happened in the original history?”

“In the original history, an armed assailant walks into the Berlin branch of the American Hardware Federal Credit Union tomorrow at 11:08 in the morning with the intention of robbing it. However, during the course of events, he discharges his weapon, killing Tammy Stevens.”

Barely able to enunciate the words, Sam asked, “Is there anything else I should know about?”

“I have relayed to you the extent of the information that I have, Doctor.” Then with another threatening look at Al, Ziggy disappeared into the handlink.

“Al, I have a bad feeling about this one. Get back there and light a fire under Ziggy’s circuits, and get me some information.” Then without another word, Al opened the Imaging Chamber door and walked back into the future.





Stallion’s Gate, New Mexico


As Al walked out of the Imaging Chamber, there was an authority in his step that the project staff immediately recognized. This was not Al, the Project Observer; this was Admiral Albert Calavicci. “Ziggy, you shelve that overactive ego of yours on this leap and that is a direct order. I have a really bad feeling here and you are not going to give me any lip. Is that understood?”

“Yes, Admiral,” Ziggy’s answer didn’t have a tone of defiance. On the contrary, she seemed eager to help.

“I need you to search police records, criminal history, autopsy reports, eyewitness statements, and anything else you can think of. You even get extra credit if you track down the video of the robbery. I want to know everything there is to know about this guy. I want his name, age, place of residence, physical appearance, but most important, I want his toxicology reports. I want to know if this guy was using at the time of the robbery. Put it on a disc and have it ready for me in half an hour.”

“Right away, Admiral.”

“Sammie Jo, get cracking on the retrieval program. If we ever needed a miracle, we need one now. Give me that miracle.”

For just a second, Sammie could see through that tough Admiral exterior and saw the pleading in Al’s eyes.

“Tina, could you give Sammie Jo a hand?” Al suggested. “We need all the help we can get on this leap.”

“On it,” Tina replied.

“I’m going to the Waiting Room to have a word with our visitor. Keep me updated.” Without another word, Al walked out of the Control Room. He continued down the hallway and up the ramp to the Waiting Room. As he approached the door, it opened and out walked Dr. Verbena Beeks.

“Hello, Admiral,” Verbena greeted.

“Hey ’Bena, how’s our visitor holding up?”

“Pretty well, actually. He keeps saying that he is having an incredible feeling of déjà vu. He thinks he read about something like this in a book or saw it in a TV show, or something of that nature.”

“How much does he remember?”

“He’s not the most recollective visitor we’ve ever had, but he’s not far off.”

“Finally, some good news. I’m going to go have a word with him. Could you head back to the Control Room and put together a psychological profile on this guy that’s going to rob the Credit Union?”

“Right away.”

Al watched for a moment as Verbena walked away toward the Control Room before he turned and entered the Waiting Room. “Hi, Nate, how’s it going?”

The young man wearing the aura of Sam Beckett looked up at the flamboyantly-dressed man that had just walked in. “Honestly, I’m a little freaked out. Where am I?”

“Oh this, we call this the Waiting Room. This is where we house our visitors until they can go home.”

“How did I get here?”

“That’s a tough one. Why don’t we come back to that one later?”

“Are you holding me prisoner?”

“No, not exactly.”

“Then take me home.”

“Sorry, kid. I can’t do that.”

“Don’t call me kid. Then, take me out to get a cheeseburger.”

“Sorry. I can have a cheeseburger brought in here, but we have a rule. No visitor can leave this room.”

“So, I am a prisoner!”

“No, it’s for your own protection. Hopefully you’ll be out of here in a few days. Now I have some questions for you. The more you can remember, the sooner we can get you home.”

“What kind of questions?”

“Basic stuff, mostly. But why don’t we start with Tammy. Do you remember Tammy?”

“Of course, I remember Tammy.”

“Good, what’s her story? She looks to have a lot of emotional baggage.”

“That’s a little crude, don’t you think? But, yeah, you could say that. A couple years ago, she wasn’t like that. She was in a car accident. At the time, she was eight months pregnant with her son… her son. What’s her son’s name? I can’t remember.”

“Don’t worry, we’ll find out and let you know. Now, what happened in this car accident that took such an emotional toll on her?”

“She was going to dinner with her parents and her fiancée. They came up to an intersection just as the light was turning green, so they kept going. But a car coming from the opposite direction was trying to beat his red light. He didn’t get there in time. He was going way too fast to stop, ran the red light, and T-boned the car Tammy was in. It was a driver’s side impact that killed both her parents and her fiancé. Tammy got really messed up and went into premature labor.”

“That explains a lot. Poor kid, she doesn’t deserve that.” Not wanting to sound heartless, Al waited a moment to ask his next question. Normally, he would hold it for later, but the feeling in the pit of his stomach made him ask it. “Ok, what kind of procedures do you have in place in the event of a robbery?”

“Whoa, wait, back up. I can’t give you that type of information.”

“Nate, it’s important. If you’re worried about security, you don’t have to. Believe me, I have clearance. The more information you can give me, the faster we can get you back home.”

“You’re asking for a lot of faith here, pal, and I don’t even know your name.”

“Sorry. My name is Al.”

“Well, Al, how do I know that you didn’t drug me and bring me here? I certainly don’t remember walking into this room. Now you’re asking for robbery procedures. How do I know that you didn’t bring me here to get that information so you can rob the Credit Union?”

Al had to admit, the kid had a point. He hadn’t given the kid any reason to trust him. Although he hated to do it, Al knew he had to throw this kid a bone. “Alright, why don’t you sit down and I will tell you what is going on here.”

Never sure how much someone was going to remember, Al always tried to give the Visitor only the bare essentials of what was going on. However, as he watched Nate take a seat on the cot in the corner of the room, he thought that it might just take more than that to convince this kid to trust him. “What I am going to tell you, you’re not going to believe, but it’s the truth and I can prove it. I only ask that you don’t interrupt me as I’m telling you. Let me finish and then I’ll answer any questions I can for you. Deal?”


“Ok, here it goes. Nathan, you’re in the future. You are part of a time-travel experiment that went… a little ca-ca. As a result, you’re here, and my friend, Dr. Samuel Beckett, is in your present. To everyone here, you look and sound exactly like Sam. Just like Sam looks and sounds exactly like you to everyone in 1999.”

“This is ridiculous.”

“Nathan, you promised.”

“And you promised to tell me what is going on. Instead, you give me this cockamamie story about time travel. Do you think I’m an idiot or something?”

“Just hear me out and I will prove it to you, ok?”

“No, I’m done listening. I want out of here, NOW!!!”

“Come over here for a minute.” Al’s tone was not nearly as friendly as it had just been. He led him over to the reflective table placed in the center of the room. “Look in here and tell me that I’m lying.”

Rolling his eyes, clearly thinking that he was wasting his time, Nathan looked into the table and saw an entirely different man staring back at him. This man was much older. He looked to be in his early fifties. There was a streak of white hair above his left eye, but there was a kindness in his eyes that was hard to dismiss.

“See, you’re him and he’s you. He’s traveled back in time to change something that should never have happened.”

“Who are you guys to decide what should have happened? Who made you God?”

“Maybe the big guy himself, maybe Time, maybe Fate, we don’t know. But the only way for Sam to leap to another place, another time, is if he changes history for the better.”

“What happened? What is he there to change?”

“Are you sure you want to know?”

“If you want my help, you’ll be straight with me.”

“Ok then. On Friday, a man is going to walk into your Credit Union branch with a sawed-off shotgun. In the process of the robbery, he is going to kill Tammy.”

Nathan’s father had been a New York City police officer for twelve years before being killed in the line of duty by an armed assailant. But before he died, he taught Nathan how to tell if someone was lying simply by looking into his or her eyes. It had become second nature for him to do it, and he searched Al’s eyes for a moment. Seeing the truth in the older man’s eyes, he asked, “How can I help?”



An hour later, Al walked back into the Control Room with an idea. “Ziggy?”

“Yes, Admiral?” the response seemed to resonate through the room.

“Run a scenario for me. Nathan said that if the Credit Union loses power, they have to lock the doors. What if Dr. Beckett cuts the power?  If they lock the doors, this guy can’t get in and Tammy is saved, right?”

“That is correct, Admiral. However, I must warn you that I predict a 98.2% probability that if Dr. Beckett cuts the power, the perpetrator—one Peter Harvey—would then rob the bank across the street.”

“Based on Dr. Beeks’ profile, how would he react to getting to the Credit Union and finding the doors locked?”

“There is a 97.1% chance that it would result in the deaths of several employees and customers in the bank across the street.”

“Well, obviously that’s an unacceptable scenario. Damn it!” Now the stress Al was feeling was showing through. “There has to be a way around a confrontation altogether. What if Sam phones in an anonymous phone tip?”

Ziggy took a nanosecond to compute the scenario before saying, “There is a 98.4% chance that it would provoke a stand-off resulting in the death of everyone in the Credit Union.”

“Jesus, this guy seems hell-bent on killing someone. Was he on drugs when he robbed the Credit Union in the original history?”

“Blood tests indicate that Peter Harvey injected himself with heroin thirty-eight minutes prior to the robbery.”

“Well, that may be something we can use. I’m going to go update Sam. Keep working on this and keep me posted. Lofty, fire up the Imaging Chamber.” Then grabbing the handlink, Al stepped into the not-too-distant past.





Thursday, December 30, 1999

Berlin, Connecticut


Still in the Credit Union, Sam watched as Al stepped through the Imaging Chamber door to get some more information from Ziggy regarding the leap. With nothing else to do but wait, Sam decided to gather up his host’s belongings and leave.

Thankful that there were no locks on the lockers, Sam was quickly able to deduce which locker was Nathan’s by the lack of a purse inside. Then, thinking out loud, he said, “Well, at least I’m not a woman on this leap.”

“What was that, Nate?”

Mentally kicking himself, Sam turned to see Tammy walk into the back room. “Oh nothing, I was just thinking out loud.” Then realizing that this was an opportunity to try to find out a little more information without Ziggy’s help, Sam asked, “Hey, Tammy. Are you all right? You seem to be kind of down today.”

Answering in a distracted tone, she said, “No more than any other day.”

Taking a chance, Sam said, “No, today is different. You seem to be distracted by something.”

“Yeah, well, I wasn’t going to say anything, but tomorrow is the two-year anniversary of the accident.”

“The accident?”

“Nate, don’t play stupid, please, the one where David and my parents were killed.”

Suddenly, the look in Tammy’s eyes made complete sense to Sam. “Oh, yeah, that accident. I’m sorry. I should have remembered that it was New Year’s Eve.”

“Yeah, well, what’s done is done. It can’t be changed now. I just wish Zach could have met his father, you know.”

Hearing Tammy talk made Sam think about when his father died some time ago. Then, without thinking, Sam said, “Yeah, I know. Fathers are important. When my father died, I was devastated.” As soon as the words were out of his mouth, Sam regretted his temporary lapse in judgment.

“But there is a big difference here. Your father only died like five years ago. Zach will never get to even meet David.”

Searching for the words to make Tammy feel better, Sam stayed silent for a moment. He opened his mouth to say something, but he was cut off.

“Listen, Nate, I know you mean well, but I have to get back up there.”

She headed for the door and opened it before Sam stopped her.


Turning back to the young man that she thought was Nate, she said, “Yeah.”

“I’ll be home tonight if you need someone to talk to.”

Sam saw a genuine smile form on Tammy’s face, making her look her own age if only for a moment, and listened as she said, “Thanks, Nate. I may just take you up on that.” Then Tammy turned and walked out the door.



Outside, Sam looked through Nate’s wallet. This was one thing he hated about leaping. It always felt like he was invading his host’s privacy, but it was the easiest way to get an address of where he was supposed to live. This time, the wallet told Sam that his host lived in Bristol. Now, it was just a matter of getting there.

Pulling Nate’s car keys out of his pocket, Sam saw that he drove a Toyota and was thankful to see that there was only one Toyota in the parking lot. Getting in, he searched the glove box for any approximate whereabouts and traced his route to Bristol.

In almost no time, he was heading toward Bristol via 72 West. Exiting the highway, he did a very uncharacteristic thing. He pulled into the first bar he came to—a place called Rod’s. Walking in, he sat down at the bar and ordered a beer.

When the bartender put the beer on the bar, Sam took a sip of it then laid his head in his hands. This leap was weighing heavily on his mind and he couldn’t figure out why. All that seemed clear to him was a gut feeling that this leap was heading down a one-way street toward trouble.

He was just finishing his beer when he heard the telltale sound of the Imaging Chamber door opening. Stepping through the door, Al said, “Hey, pal. Ziggy’s got some more infor…” Al then looked at his surroundings and said, “Sam, are you in a bar?”

“What was your first clue?” was the Leaper’s response.

“Did you say something?”

Looking up, Sam saw the bartender looking at him from the other side of the bar. His mind must have been playing tricks on him, because for a moment, seeing the bartender, he thought he was in Al’s Place all over again. But after tightly shutting his eyes, he opened them and saw the bartender that was behind the bar when he had walked in. Then, answering the Rod’s Place bartender’s question, he said, “No. It’s nothing.”

“Sam,” Al interjected, “you had better get home or Nate’s mother is going to get worried.”

Whispering, Sam said, “What? Al, this kid is like twenty-four years old, and he still lives at home?”

“Twenty-five, actually. And yeah, he left college and came home after his father,” Al hit the handlink which let off a loud squeal, “a New York City beat cop, was killed in the line of duty five years ago. His mother took it really hard, so the kid takes care of her.”

Getting up, Sam left three dollars on the bar and walked out to Nate’s car. Relocating to the passenger seat of Nate’s car, Al waited a moment for Sam to get in before saying, “Sam, we have major problems here. Every scenario we come up with to get you out of this mess results in the deaths of either everyone in the Credit Union or in the bank across the street. It seems that any change you make will make things worse.”

“Al, you have to come up with something. I can’t help but shake the feeling that all this is going to end badly.”

“I know, pal. I have the same feeling. That’s why I have Ziggy running all these scenarios to get you out of this.”

“Alright Al, why don’t we start with what we know. Who is this guy that is going to rob the Credit Union?”

“Sam, this guy is a real nozzle. He’s an out-of-work electrician named Pete Harvey. He gets fired from every job he gets because he comes to work stoned off his gourd. Eventually, he turns to petty crime. Then, two months ago, he was arrested for robbing a gas station. A technicality got him off, so he doesn’t do any time.”

“And tomorrow, he goes big time.”

“Only this time, someone gets hurt. He… kills Tammy. Then the police show up and kill him.”

“Al, we can’t let that happen. I talked to Tammy quickly after you left earlier. Did you know that her husband and parents were killed in a car accident?”

“Fiancée, yeah, I did. Nate told me.”

“Did he mention that tomorrow is the two-year anniversary of their deaths?”

“No, I didn’t know that. That’s why she looked the way she did today, poor thing. Did she tell you she was in the car that day? She was pregnant at the time and the accident forced her into premature labor.”

“Yeah, she was mentioning how she wished that her fiancée David had been able to meet their son Zach.”

“Sam, this is your house here on the right. Why don’t you go on inside and I’ll see if I can come up with anything else?” Then without waiting for an answer, Al opened the Imaging Chamber door and stepped back into the future.

Watching his friend leave, Sam couldn’t help but notice that something about Tammy seemed to be affecting Al on a bit more personal level than usual during this leap. Deciding not to reflect on it, Sam shut off the car’s engine and entered the house.

Inside, he saw Nate’s mother lying on the living room couch. Going up to her, Sam said, “Mom, I’m home.” Seeing no reaction, Sam searched out Nate’s room. Finding it without difficulty, he went inside and took a nap.





Stallion’s Gate, New Mexico


Stepping back into his present, Al walked up to Sammie Jo and said, “What have you got for me, Sammie?”

“I’m sorry, Admiral, but there is no way we’re going to get this thing working in time to get Dad home before the robbery.”

“Well, we had to try, right?”

Then, seeing something in his eyes, Sammie Jo asked, “Al? Is everything all right? You look…distracted.”

“I’m fine, Sammie. It’s just that…your dad is in an explosive situation, and I don’t know how to help him this time.”

“You know what, Al? I’m not in the least bit nervous for Dad.”

That got Al’s attention. “Sammie, I don’t think you realize…”

“I realize the situation, Al. The reason that I am not worried is because you are with him. You have never once let him down and I know that as long as there is a breath in your body, you never will. You will always find a way to help Dad.” Then smiling a bit, she said, “You’re way too stubborn to give up on him.”

Smiling at the little ribbing, Al said, “Thanks, Sammie. I know you’re right. I’ll find some way to get your dad out of this. I promise.”

“I know you will.”

Walking away, Al continued into the Waiting Room. “Hey, kid…um, I mean Nathan. How’s it going?”

“It’s Nate and I’m pretty bored. Can I watch some TV or at least have a book to read or something?”

“I could probably dig up something for you to read. What do you like?”

“I’m not too sure. I know that I once read something about a gunslinger and some friends.”

“Do you mean The Dark Tower books by Stephen King?” Al questioned.

“Yeah, did he ever finish writing those books?”

“He sure did, they’re some of my favorites,” Al said remembering a few of the scenes from the books, then shivered.

“Do you have the last one in the series?”

“Sorry, I can’t bring in anything that hasn’t been written yet in your time. But I know a good Stephen King book. It’s called Bag of Bones. I’ll have it brought in here for you. In the meantime, did you remember anything else that could be helpful to me?

“Sorry, Al. I really want to help, but I can’t think of anything else that we could do to prevent the robbery. What if you just have this Sam guy try to convince Tammy to stay home tomorrow?”

“No go. I already ran that scenario. If she’s not there, he’ll kill someone else. We have to find a way to avoid a confrontation altogether.”

“Then I don’t know what to tell you.”

“Alright, thanks. I’ll have that book sent in to you.”

Al got up to leave when Nate stopped him. “Al, did you find out her son’s name for me?”

“It’s Zach.”

“Zach, that’s right. He’s a great kid, Al. He’s already lost his father. We can’t let him lose his mother too. He doesn’t deserve that. Neither does Tammy. She is an amazing person and a wonderful mother. We have to save her.”

“This runs deeper than just friendship for you, doesn’t it?”

“Yeah, it does.”

“We’ll save her, Nate. I promise.” With that said, Al left the Waiting Room and walked back to his office. Sitting behind his desk, he said, “Ziggy, what have you got for me?”

“I have located a tape of the robbery as you requested, Admiral.”

“Finally, some good news. Cue it up for me.”

Within seconds, a tape of the robbery began playing on the plasma TV in Al’s office. Watching closely, he watched as Peter Harvey walked up to Tammy’s window and stuck the sawed-off shotgun in her face. Not even ten seconds went by when Harvey looked out the lobby’s window and saw a police cruiser pull up. Almost immediately, he pulled the trigger and Tammy flew backward out of her seat.

Seeing this, Al winced, tears forming in his eyes. However, knowing that the answer they’d been searching for might be on the tape, he continued to watch. Within seconds of pulling the trigger, Al saw Peter Harvey falling down after being shot in the chest by the policeman that had pulled up only seconds before.

Not seeing anything helpful, he told Ziggy to cue up the tape again. Then after four hours of watching the tape over and over again, Al finally gave it up as a lost cause and headed back into the Control Room telling Dom to fire up the Imaging Chamber.  Grabbing Stephen’s handlink, Al stepped into the Imaging Chamber to give Sam the bad news.



Thursday, December 30, 1999

Bristol, Connecticut


Stepping through the Imaging Chamber door, Al said, “Hey Sam, we have to talk.” Then, looking up from the handlink, he asked, “Who are you talking to?”

Holding up a finger, Sam silently told Al to wait a moment. Then, speaking into the phone receiver, he said, “Hey Tammy, I have to go. But I’ll see you at work tomorrow.”

“Oh, alright. I’ll see you tomorrow then…. Hey Nate?”


“Thanks for listening. It means a lot.”

“Anytime. Why don’t you go ahead and get some sleep.”

“With my kid, yeah, that’ll be the day, ha-ha.”

“Well try, you need your rest.”

“Alright, hey, do you have any plans for New Year’s yet?”

“I’ll have to check, but off the top of my head, I don’t think so, why?”

“I was thinking that you could come over to my apartment. It’ll be just me and Zach here, and we’d love to have you.”

“Me, go over there, for New Year’s?” Sam looked over at Al with a nervous look on his face.

Answering Sam’s unasked question, Al said, “Go ahead. Nate is crazy about her.”

Speaking at the same time as Al, Tammy said, “You don’t have to if you don’t want to.”

“No, no, no. I want to. Like I said, I don’t think I have plans yet. I’ll find out for certain and let you know tomorrow.”

“Alright, great, then I guess I’ll see you tomorrow. Good night.”

Sam couldn’t help but notice that Tammy sounded happier in that one sentence than she had during the entire two-hour conversation. “Good night, see you tomorrow.”

Hanging up the phone, Sam turned to Al and asked, “What have you got for me?”

“It’s not good, Sam. That was Tammy?”

“Yeah, it was. Al, I’ve been talking to her for the last two hours. I don’t think she has ever talked to anyone about what happened. She has kept everything bottled up inside for so long, that as soon as she started talking, the floodgates opened. Towards the end of the conversation, she was really sounding much better. I think it helped to get it all out…. We have to save her, Al.”

“You don’t have to tell me twice, pal.”

“Yeah, I’ve been meaning to ask you. Your interest in Tammy seems to run a little deeper than just wanting to save her life.”

“It shows, huh? Sam, she has a two-year-old son that is going to end up in an orphanage if we don’t save her. I would hate to see that happen to the kid.”

“That’s part of it, but there’s more, isn’t there?”

“It’s a lot of things, Sam. I guess the biggest is…do you remember the leap where you saved my daughter Christa? She had been kidnapped.”

“Vaguely, it was Zoë that kidnapped her, right?” The look of hatred in Al’s face at the mention of Zoë’s name was more than enough answer for Sam.

“Yeah, well when she got home, she had withdrawn. She wouldn’t talk to us, and…” Al took a moment to compose himself. “Well, lets just say that the look I saw on Tammy’s face this morning, I saw it a hundred times on Christa’s. Heck, Tammy even looks like Christa.”

After a moment of silence, Sam asked, “Did you find anything new for me, Al?”

“Well, Ziggy got the tape from the robbery. I’ve been watching it over and over for the last four hours. Everything happened so fast, Sam. I mean he wasn’t even in the Credit Union a minute before he opened fire.”

“I’ve been meaning to ask you about that. Why would this guy rob the Credit Union? Wouldn’t the bank across the street have more money on hand?”

“Well, I think that he just happened to see the Credit Union first. He didn’t have an account at either place, so he wasn’t worried about being recognized over there. He probably just needed some quick cash for drugs. Only about forty-five seconds pass from the time he walks into the building to the time he’s killed. But he never gives any indication of going after the vault—which, by the way, Ziggy says that because of the Y2K scare, your branch alone is going to be carrying more than $1.2 million in cash.”

“Was he using at the time of the robbery?”

“Yeah, according to the autopsy report, he was. He is going to be extremely high-strung, so you have to be careful.”

“So, that’s why he kills Tammy.”

“That’s a big part of it. A few seconds after Harvey walks into the Credit Union, a police cruiser pulls up. Harvey sees it and must think that Tammy tripped the silent alarm, so he…” Unable to finish his sentence, Al ducked his head.

“It’s ok, Al. You don’t have to say it.”

After a moment’s silence, a noticeably distraught Al said, “Sam, why don’t you try to get some sleep. You’re going to need it for tomorrow.”

“I don’t know if I will be able to, Al. I tried to take a nap earlier and I couldn’t get to sleep. My mind wouldn’t stop racing.”

“Well, try, Sam. I’ll see you in the morning.” Without another word, Al stepped through the Imaging Chamber door and back into his own time.





Friday, December 31, 1999

Bristol, Connecticut


At 7:30 the next morning, the shrill sound of Nate’s alarm clock woke Sam with a jolt. Groggily reaching over his head in an attempt to silence the offending device, Sam was forced to shield his eyes against the blinding morning sunlight that was shining through the gap in the open curtains.

Sam’s prediction about the lack of sleep he would get the previous night was on the mark. Due to how physically exhausting leaping often was, sleep usually came regardless of what wrong he was there to put right. Last night, however, he couldn’t get his mind to shut down and the result was a nearly sleepless night. All told, he had slept for less than two hours.

Resisting the urge to return to blissful slumber, Sam got out of bed and took a shower. After his shower, he had a quick breakfast and was on the highway by 8:30. By 8:45, he pulled into the Credit Union’s parking lot.

The urge to turn around and run away from a leap had never been greater. Using all his willpower to keep going, he parked the car in the space it was in the previous day. Then, locking the doors behind him, Sam got out of the car and walked up to the foyer entrance. As he was stepping into the foyer, he heard the telltale clunk-zoom of the Imaging Chamber door.

“Hey Sam, did you get any sleep last night?”

“Not much, Al,” replied Sam honestly.

“Aw, Sam, why not? You have to be on your toes today.”

“I couldn’t help it, Al. I couldn’t stop my mind from wandering.”

“Well, I can’t say that I blame you. I didn’t get much sleep myself.”

The two men walked into the lobby and continued into the break room. Once back there, Sam began to say something to Al when all of a sudden he heard, “Hi, Nate.”

Looking for the source of the voice, Sam turned to see a much happier-looking Tammy closing the refrigerator door. “Hey Tammy, you look like you’re in a much happier mood today.”

“Thanks to you.”

“No, it was all you. I didn’t do anything.”

“Nathan, you did everything. You got me to open up. I haven’t been able to open up to anybody like that since the accident. I kept everything so bottled up inside that it was taking an enormous toll on me emotionally. I had to get that stuff off my chest. And now I have, thanks to you.” Then, walking up to Sam, Tammy gave him a gentle kiss on the lips. Then, blushing a bit, she took a couple steps back and asked, “Did you find out whether or not you’re free to come to my house tonight for New Year’s?”

“Yeah, I am.”

“Great, so then, why don’t you come to my house at 7:00 tonight?”

“I’ll be there.”

Grinning from ear to ear, she walked aimlessly backwards, knocking into the door and said, “Great, great. So I’ll see you tonight at 7:00?”

“Actually, I’ll see you in about thirty seconds when I go out there.”

Giggling now too, Tammy added, “Oh yeah, right. I’ll see you out there then.”

Sam and Al watched as Tammy finally made it through the door. When the door shut behind her, Sam said, “She’s a great kid, Al. A little lost maybe, but great.”

“Yeah, she is.”

“Do you have any useful scenarios for me?”

“Sorry Sam, nada. But I’ll be with you the whole time.”

“Thanks, Al. I better get up there.”

Sam walked out of the break room and up to the teller line. Saying hello to all the girls, Sam verified Nathan’s drawer.

At 9:00, the Credit Union was opened for business. Once again, Sam was thankful that the computer system was so user-friendly. Although he was hesitant at first, Sam quickly became comfortable doing the basic transactions.

For the first couple hours of the day, that was how it went. Sam did basic deposits and withdrawals, while Al looked over the shoulders of Nate’s co-workers. A couple of times, Al had to explain to Sam how one of the girls did something so that Sam could help his customer. In the end, the hardest thing he had to do was a bank check, which was almost as easy as a cash withdrawal.

Just as Sam was beginning to feel really comfortable doing Nate’s job, Al pulled him back to reality. “Sam, keep on your toes. He’ll be here in about three minutes.”

After a tense three minutes, Al said, “Here he comes, Sam.”

Looking at the door, Sam saw two men walking in. The first was a well-dressed man wearing a business suit. Sam watched as the businessman’s briefcase hit the leg of the man behind him. This made Sam immediately focus his attention on the second man.

The second man was anything but well dressed. The stubble on his cheeks said that he hadn’t shaved in about a week. His clumped-up, greasy black hair said that he hadn’t showered either. The clothes under his long black trench coat were battered and torn and there were holes in his sneakers.

As the man walked to the table to fill out his withdrawal slip, Sam noticed that he had a noticeable limp in the leg that was just hit with the other man’s briefcase. Deciding to ignore this, Sam gazed intently at the man’s hands.

Only a moment passed before Sam saw the man reach around his back for something under his trench coat. Watching intently, he noticed that the man was pulling a long solid object from under his coat.

Reacting instinctively, Sam leaped over the counter and charged the man. Vaguely, he could hear Al screaming something, but that no longer mattered. All that mattered was stopping the man that was going to hurt Tammy.

Surprising the man, Sam placed him in an immobilizing choke hold. He could hear the man drop what he was reaching for and a wave of relief washed over him. He realized that all his worry was for nothing and began to feel good for the first time since the leap in. Only when reaching down to pick up the object the man dropped, did Sam realize his fatal mistake.

While grabbing the man’s cane, Al’s words became crystal-clear in his ears. “SAM!!! THAT’S THE WRONG GUY!!!”

Turning slowly, Sam saw Peter Harvey—impeccably dressed in a pinstriped business suit—remove a sawed-off shotgun from his briefcase. He watched as Harvey pointed the gun at him and smiled. Then, seeing the coldness in Peter Harvey’s eyes, a thought came to Sam from somewhere in the deep recesses of his mind. Not knowing exactly whom he was thinking about, he still allowed the thought to consume him. “Donna, I love you.”

For Sam, everything happened in slow motion. He never even heard the gunshot, but he felt the warmth of the bullets as they entered his chest. The force of the shot at such a close range was enough to pick him up and send him flying backwards. Then, after an eternity in the air, Sam hit the ground in a heap.

Seeing his friend’s ever-limp body flying through the air, Al panicked. Rushing to his side, Al tried to pull Sam into his arms. Being a hologram, Al’s arms simply passed through Sam unobstructed.

Frustrated, Al looked into Sam’s bloodshot eyes. He barely noticed the hysterics all around him as a Berlin police officer shot through the glass door, killing Peter Harvey with one shot. Instead, he was watching the best friend he had ever had try to speak.

No sound came from Sam, but even through tear-filled eyes, Al was able to read his lips. Sam had just made the desperate plea of, “Al.”

“I’m here, buddy. I’m not going anywhere.”

Sam didn’t hear. His body went limp as he released his last gasp of air. Slowly, the hologram around Al began to fade before disappearing completely.



Stallion’s Gate, New Mexico


The next thing Al knew, he was kneeling in the corner of the Imaging Chamber surrounded on all sides by blue.

“Dom, open this door… NOW!!! THAT’S AN ORDER!!!” The Imaging Chamber door opened and Al rushed out. “Ziggy, get all senior medical personnel to the Accelerator Chamber S.T.A.T.!”

“Already done, Admiral,” replied the all business sounding computer voice.

Already close by, Al was the first one to the Accelerator Chamber. What he saw when he walked in; however, stopped him dead in his tracks. Sam was lying in a rapidly forming pool of his own blood.

Quickly recomposing himself, Al rushed to the Leaper’s side. Picking Sam’s head up and placing it in his lap, he said, “Don’t you give up on me, Sam! Do you hear me, dammit!! Don’t you give up! That’s an order!!”

No sooner did Al finish his sentence than Dr. Aurora Lofton rushed into the room pushing a defibrillator. Beth followed closely behind her pushing a medical cart. Then, grabbing a pair of surgical scissors off the cart, Beth handed them to Al and said, “Cut off his Fermi Suit.”

As Al was cutting off the top half of Sam’s Fermi Suit, Donna rushed in with Sammie Jo in tow. Crying hysterically, Donna dropped to her knees and screamed, “NO!!! Oh God, Sam, NOOO!!! Look at me. Please honey, look at me.”

Next to Donna, Sammie Jo was just staring at her father with a blank expression on her face. What she saw was not her father lying there. She saw the woman that made her and her mother’s lives a living hell when she was a kid. She saw the woman that had slit her own throat in their kitchen with one of their knives. She saw Leta Aider.

Somewhere in the distance, a small voice could be heard. “Dad? Is my dad in here?”

Somehow, Al heard the voice over all the commotion going on around him and yelled, “Lofty, keep Stephen out of here!!!”

Running interference, Lofty grabbed Stephen before he could get to the Accelerator Chamber door. Picking him up, he carried him kicking and screaming out of the Control Room. “Stephen, we need you to stay out here. We’ll let you know when we know something.” Stephen started to argue but got the door shut in his face instead.

When Al finished cutting the chest of Sam’s Fermi Suit open, Beth wiped the blood away from the wound. With a clear view now, she was able to see multiple entrance points. Standing back to give her recent replacement some room to work with, Beth charged the defibrillator as Aurora placed the paddles on Sam’s chest. Within seconds, the defibrillator was charged and Aurora yelled, “CLEAR!!!”

Quickly, but gently, Al placed Sam’s head on the floor and backed away. As soon as he was clear, Beth depressed the button to send the shock to the pads that Aurora was holding to Sam’s chest. Reacting to the jolt of electricity, Sam’s torso lifted in the air and fell back to the ground.

Pulling the paddles away, Aurora used her stethoscope to check for a heartbeat, but heard only silence. Placing the pads back on Sam’s chest, Aurora yelled, “Nothing! Charge ’em… CLEAR!!!”

Again, Sam’s body reacted to the electric jolt emitted from the paddles. Once again, they had no effect. He was completely flat lining.

The doctors in Beth and Aurora knew that once a patient was completely flat lining, there was virtually a zero percent chance of fixing it. But that didn’t stop them from trying one final time.

“Clear!!!” They shocked Sam a final time with no luck. Then with tears streaming down Aurora’s face, she nodded to Beth.

Acknowledging the nod, Beth said in a choked-up, barely audible voice, “Call it.”

“Time of death,” Aurora announced, “8:53 PM.”

“NOOO!” screamed Donna, crying profusely. Trying to comfort her, Al pulled her to him and tried to calm her down. Allowing it, she collapsed into his arms.

In the background, Sammie Jo was crouched in a corner hugging her knees. She was muttering indistinguishable words and rocking back and forth. Seeing this, Al had an instant understanding that Sammie Jo’s family history was finally catching up to her. Seeing her father like that had finally made her crack, like her grandmother and great-grandmother before her.

Turning back to Donna, Al could see that she was not in much better shape. She was in hysterics, her make-up smeared from the tears that poured down her face. While still holding Donna and crying over the body of the fallen hero, Al was assaulted by the memory of when he had returned from his simo-leap with Sam. He was outside the complex, with Donna standing beside him. Looking up at the star-lit sky, they were filling each other in on the events that had led up to that particular moment in time:


“He leaped into you. He realized that that was the only way to save your life, so he leaped into you.”

“But how? I was in ’45 and Sam wasn’t born until ’53!”

“Because some of your neurons and mesons merged when you simo-leaped, part of him was actually you and…”

“Part of me him, I remember. But how was he able to leap into me? I mean, how did he hit the bulls-eye?”

“He said that his subconscious mind must have been working on exactly that.”


Then the images that were playing out in Al’s head changed. He was no longer outside the complex with Donna, but in the Waiting Room, talking with a familiar-looking young Navy pilot:


“We’re going to put you in the Accelerator Chamber, and we’re going to leap you… into you.”

“You’re going to leap me… into me?”

“Yes—on Saturday, June 22, 1957. And no matter how Swiss-cheesed your brain gets from traveling through time, you keep one thought on your mind. Don’t let Chip out of your sight until dawn Sunday morning.”

“You’re going to put me into…”

“Now wait a minute. Don’t let Chip out of your sight until dawn Sunday.”



“You’re going to put me into a… nuclear accelerator chamber and send my body back into time?”


“Ha! Now even if I believed you, would you do this if you were me?”

“I am you.”


With all these thoughts racing through his head, Al was about to make a command decision—one that he had made without hesitation several years back. He didn’t need to this time, however, as he suddenly felt a familiar tingling sensation, starting from his hands and spreading down to his arms. Soon his whole body was tingling and he felt a strong pull coming from an unseen source.

Suddenly understanding what was happening, Al submitted to the pull and leaped.





Somewhere in Time


One minute, Al was crying over the body of his friend, the next, he found himself sitting on a barstool. Hearing someone whistle at the end of the otherwise empty tavern, Al turned his head to stare at the portly man at the end of the bar, cleaning a schooner with a dishcloth. There was something vaguely different about him this time—an almost ragged, sickly look about him. His hair was considerably grayer and he appeared to be physically worn out. Despite the noticeable change in appearance, however, Al knew unmistakably without a shadow of a doubt that the entity in his presence was the same one he and Sam had encountered on several occasions.

“Welcome back,” said the enigmatic Bartender.

Confused, the Admiral asked, “How did I get here? You brought me here, didn’t you?”

“In a sense, I suppose I did. But it was your own free will and determination that allowed me to… pull you here. You were ready to leap and thus came here of your own accord.”

“But how? I didn’t even step into the Accelerator Chamber.”

“You didn’t have to. You remember the alternate timeline where there was a nuclear disaster at the sight of Project Liberty, right?”

“Yeah, but what has this got to do with that?” asked the confused Admiral.

“Then you remember that Sam had to leap into the future to find a way to avert the disaster?”

“How could I forget? Because Sam was in the future, I had to leap in order to join him.”

“And when you learned what you needed to, Sam leaped to a point where he could change history and stop the explosion from ever happening. You, on the other hand, leaped back to a point that was one day before you stepped into the Accelerator.”

“We had to work together at the two ends of the timeline to fix it.”

“And when history was changed for the better, Sam leaped.” The Bartender supplied the obvious information.

With a look of understanding on his face, Al said, “But I didn’t. I remained one day in the past.”

“Bingo,” said the Bartender using the play on words.

“Bango, bongo,” was Al’s automatic response. “So, in other words, I’ve been displaced in Time ever since then.”

“Yes, by one day. I knew I might need your help again, so I allowed you to stay like that.”

“Uh-huh. Whatever you say, pal,” Al replied. Taking a moment to survey his surroundings, Al looked out the window and couldn’t help but notice the multi-colored haze and storm clouds that seemed to permeate the atmosphere outside the tavern. “So, why am I here? Is this supposed to be some sort of cosmic ‘pit-stop’ before I move on to my assignment or something?”

“I suppose that would be a fair assessment. Consider this place… a temporal haven, if you will.”

“Huh, some haven. It looks like a whopper of a storm is brewing out there. If you don’t mind me saying so, you don’t look so good yourself. I thought you were supposed to be omnipotent or something.”

“I will admit, there is indeed a storm coming beyond the horizon that threatens to ravage everything in its wake. Even this haven may not be safe for much longer. As for myself, I’m sure it’s just your imagination, Al,” the Bartender reassured with a jovial punch to his chest. “I’m as fit as a fiddle! Sam, on the other hand….”

The uncertainty in the Bartender’s voice didn’t go unnoticed by Al as he finished stating the obvious. “Yeah… he’s dead. What I don’t understand is how you could let it happen, if you’re so almighty!”

“I never claimed to be God or Time or Fate or anything that your project had theorized I was. I am just a simple barkeep, trying my best to help guide Sam on his long journey.”

“Yeah, a barkeep who just happens to have the power to transcend time and space with a snap of his fingers,” Al mumbled under his breath.

“Al, you’re the Ace up my sleeve. Now, with what has happened to Sam, it’s time to play my hand.”

“You’re leaping me into Sam, aren’t you?”

“He needs your help, and this is the only way to give him that help.”

“Then what are you waiting for!!!”

“Good luck, Al,” said the Bartender as he watched Al disappear in a flash of blue light.

Alone once again, the Bartender keeled over and began to succumb to the condition that had been afflicting him and the others of his kind for quite some time now. Although he had used every ounce of his waning strength to conceal this condition from Al, the Bartender was sure that Al suspected something was seriously wrong, if the storm outside was any indication. “I pray that Sam can be saved. I will use what power I have left to ensure that everything falls into place; but even if Al saves Sam, I fear it may already be too late to avert what is to come. However… there is still one last hope….”



Stallion’s Gate, New Mexico


One minute Sam was sitting behind the teller line waiting for the impending robbery attempt, the next he felt the telltale signs of an impending leap. That couldn’t have been right. He hadn’t changed anything yet.

But sure enough, changes in history or no changes, he found himself standing in the Accelerator Chamber of the project wearing the white Fermi Suit that he had been wearing the last time he stepped into the Accelerator Chamber.

Hurrying out, he saw Tina first. “Tina, why am I back here? I still have to save Tammy.”

Rushing over to Sam, Tina gave him a big hug. “Welcome back, Doctor. It’s so good to see you.”

“It’s good to see you too, Tina. But why did you bring me back? Tammy is still in danger. I can’t let Tammy die.”

“Perhaps I can answer that, Dr. Beckett,” Ziggy’s voice purred from everywhere. “Admiral Calavicci leaped.”

“Why would you let him leap?”

“We didn’t have a choice, Doctor. Admiral Calavicci did not step into the Accelerator. He just leaped.”

“How is that possible?”

“I believe it stems back to when you and he averted the nuclear disaster at Project Liberty. The Admiral had leaped to help you change history. On his end, he was one day in the past. After history was changed, he never leaped back out. Therefore, the Admiral has been living one day in the past. I can deduce with 100% certainty that Admiral Calavicci has leaped into you to save your life.”

Sam didn’t get the opportunity to ask for clarification as just then, Donna shot through the Control Room door like a bullet, followed closely by Stephen and Sammie Jo. Rushing over to her long-lost husband, Donna turned to him and pulled him into a long passionate embrace. After a moment, she released him, and Sammie Jo and Stephen crowded around.

“Dr. Beckett,” said the dreamy voice from nowhere and everywhere at the same time. “I hate to break up this long overdue family reunion, but Admiral Calavicci has less than five minutes before Peter Harvey enters the Credit Union, and I am projecting a 98.7% probability that the Admiral will be killed during the altercation.”

Breaking away from his family, Sam said, “Ziggy, exactly why did my life need saving?”

“Approximately fifteen minutes ago, in an attempt to save Tammy Steven’s life, you were shot and killed by Peter Harvey. Unfortunately, Admiral Calavicci will share the same fate as you unless you warn him.”

“Lofty, fire up the Imaging Chamber.”

Lofty did as he was told and a minute later, Sam was running through the door and back into the past.

Upon arriving, he saw Al sitting there with a confused expression on his face. “Al, get ready, Peter Harvey is going to be here in about a minute and a half.”


“Peter Harvey, the man who kills Tammy.”


“What?” asked the attractive young woman sitting next to him.

“Oh God, your brain got Swiss-cheesed. This is absolutely the last thing I need.” Then reading the information streaming across the screen of the handlink, Sam continued, “Al, don’t talk, just listen. In about a minute, a man is going to walk through that door with a briefcase. In that briefcase is a sawed-off shotgun. He is going to try and rob this Credit Union and in the process, Tammy,” Sam pointed to her, “is going to be shot and killed, leaving her son as an orphan. You have to stop him.”

“I remember,” Al said somberly.

“You remember what?” asked Tammy.

Looking over at the young woman, Al replied, “Huh, oh, nothing, I was thinking out loud.”

Accepting the answer, Tammy returned her attention to the screen.

Turning back to Sam, Al quietly asked, “How do I stop him?”

“Well why don’t you start by walking around to the customer side of the counter to be in a better position.”

Nodding, Al said to the girls, “I’ll be right back.”

Getting up from his chair, Al walked to the door and out into the lobby. Just as he was passing the front doors, Al saw Peter Harvey walk up from the outside and enter the lobby.

Pointing at the man with the briefcase, Sam said, “Ziggy says that that’s him.”

Hiding behind the door as Peter Harvey walked in, Al subdued the man with a choke hold. “Drop the briefcase, NOW!!!”

The man did as he was told as the girls behind the counter jumped up and started yelling.

“Nate, what the hell do you think you are doing!?!” Cindi yelled.

It took Al a moment before he realized that Cindi was talking to him. “This man has a sawed-off shotgun in his briefcase.”

“What are you talking about? You couldn’t possibly know that,” responded Cindi.

“Don’t ask me how I know, I just do.”

“Nate, I don’t want to hear it. Now let him go… NOW!!!”

As the man had already dropped his briefcase, Al pushed him away with as much force as he could muster. Then, quickly, he picked up the briefcase with the shotgun in it. Keeping it away from the man, Al said, “I’ll prove it. Throw me a letter opener.”

Tammy did as she was asked and Al used it to break the locks on the briefcase. Opening it up, he turned it to show the girls that there was in fact a sawed-off in there.

Suddenly, Sam and Tammy both yelled, “BEHIND YOU!!!”

Turning quickly, Al had just enough time to register the fact that Peter Harvey was pointing a handgun directly at him when he felt the bullet enter his chest.

Thrown back by the force of the shot, Al had a blank expression on his face as he reached up to feel the bullet hole. Falling to his knees, Al said, “Sam, help.”

A moment later, a bullet hole pierced the glass window of the Credit Union. Grabbing his chest, Peter Harvey fell to the ground, dead.

Rushing over to his friend, Sam said, “Al! Oh God, Al, it should be me lying there. Ziggy, why didn’t you tell us he was carrying another concealed weapon?”

“In the original history, Dr. Beckett, Peter Harvey was not carrying a backup weapon. However, an inventory of his car afterwards revealed a .45 Caliber Glock 36 Automatic Handgun in the glove compartment of his 1992 Pontiac Grand Prix LE four-door Sedan. I suspect Peter Harvey saw the Admiral make his way to the door and, anticipating trouble, grabbed the backup weapon from his glove compartment.”

“Al, don’t give up. Fight! Fight for Beth—you can’t leave her and your daughters all alone.”

“Dr. Beckett,” interrupted Ziggy. “If you call up my holographic interface, I can determine the extent of the Admiral’s injuries.”

Sam pushed the appropriate button, and the hologram appeared out of the handlink. She scanned Al’s motionless body for a moment before saying, “The Right Upper Lobe of Admiral Calavicci’s left lung has been hit by the bullet. I predict a 96.2% probability that the wound will prove to be fatal.”

With a dejected look on his face, Sam said, “Don’t worry, Al, I’ll save you.” Then, pushing the button on the handlink that opened the Imaging Chamber door, Sam ran out and said, “Lofty, fire the Accelerator back up, I’m leaping into Peter Harvey.”

Hearing this, Donna yelled, “No!!! You can’t. I just got you back!!!”

“Donna, Al is lying there right now because he tried to save my life. What kind of man would I be if I just let him die because of it?”

With tears in her eyes and dejection in her voice, Donna looked at her husband lovingly. She bit her lower lip then finally said, “Go.”

Running over to her, Sam gave her a big kiss, and then he hugged Sammie Jo and Stephen and said, “I’ll be back.” Then running to the Accelerator, he said, “Don’t bother with the countdown, just fire.”

Tina did as she was told. She placed her hand on the plate that activated the Accelerator. In an instant, Sam was back in 1999.



Friday, December 31, 1999

Berlin, Connecticut


Pulling into the parking lot of American Hardware Federal Credit Union, Peter Harvey watched through the window as a young twenty-something-year-old kid walked out from the back of the teller line.

He watched intently as the kid positioned himself by the door, seemingly talking to himself as he did it. Smelling trouble, Peter reached into his glove box and pulled out his Glock 36 Automatic Handgun and stuck it into the front of his pants. Then, getting out of the car, he headed for the entrance.

He didn’t even get two steps into the door when he felt the strong arms wrap around his neck and tighten. The pressure was enough that it forced him to drop his briefcase.

In the background, he heard someone yelling something, but he was not paying attention. All he was thinking about was how to get the upper hand on this strong kid that got the drop on him.

A moment later, the answer presented itself as the kid pushed him away hard. Falling to the ground, Peter took a moment to catch his breath. Then standing up, he reached into the front of his pants and grabbed the Glock. He pointed it at the kid when, all of a sudden, he started to feel a tingling sensation.

An instant later, Sam Beckett was standing in his place. Thinking quickly, he put the gun down and held his arms up. Turning towards the windows, he saw a police officer with his gun drawn and pointed directly at him.

Seeing the surprising turn of events, Al turned and looked out the window and saw the cop pointing his gun at the man he saw as Peter Harvey.

Making eye contact with Al, the cop pointed to the gun that Sam just dropped. He then motioned for him to cover Sam.

Understanding, Al placed the briefcase out of reach and picked up the Glock, a weapon he was well equipped to use. Then, pointing it at Sam, he watched as the cop quickly entered the building. “Nice work, Nate,” said the officer.

Handing the gun to the officer, Al responded, “It was nothing.”

Informing Sam of his Miranda Rights, the cop cuffed Sam’s hands behind his back and started leading him out the door.

As all of this was happening, Observer Sam witnessed everything with an equally confused expression on his face and said, “I don’t know what you did, but you changed history, Al. Peter Harvey does fifteen years in prison for the attempted robbery and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Nathan Shaw and Tammy Stevens are married in two years. Together, they are raising Tammy’s son Zachary. In addition, they have one child together and another on the way.”

“That’s great,” said Al. “That’s really great. They’ll make a great couple. They’re both really great kids.”

Hearing a weird noise coming from the handlink, Observer Sam then added, “Something weird is going on, Al. Ziggy says that… you’ll die unless I step into the Accelerator to save you? What the…? I have to check this out with Ziggy.” Then, opening the Imaging Chamber door, Sam stepped through it.

After seeing the observer step through the Imaging Chamber door, Al looked over at the man he believed to be Peter Harvey. He couldn’t help but wonder about what had happened. In the original history, Peter Harvey had been shot and killed, and then again he had killed Sam. Now he was just giving up; it didn’t make sense.

Standing there for a moment, Al replayed the observer’s last words in his mind: “Something weird is going on, Al. Ziggy says that…you’ll die unless I step into the Accelerator to save you?”

Then looking at Peter Harvey once again, everything suddenly made sense. “Wait,” yelled Al. He ran into the foyer and turned Sam around by his shoulder. Instantly, the auras of both men disappeared and their true identities were revealed to each other.

Then, with Al still touching his friend’s shoulder, they both leaped.





At the moment that Al leaped in, he became instantly calm. He had been nervous after seeing some of the precarious positions Sam had been put in during his leap-ins. This, however, was more than he could have possibly asked for. He was home.

He wasn’t home literally, but he was more at home in these surroundings than anywhere else. Staring out into the great blue yonder, he was completely at peace.

Then, looking down at the instrumentation in front of him, he could immediately tell he was the pilot of an F-4 Phantom II Fighter Jet. This was a jet Al knew inside and out. He had flown one occasionally during his first tour of duty in Vietnam.

Al suddenly became curious as to where Sam had landed. He wasn’t a pilot and would not be able to handle the F-4 Phantom II. Hearing a gasp of air coming from the seat behind him, he didn’t have to worry anymore. 

Addressing his friend, Al said, “Kick in the butt, ain’t it?” Al didn’t receive an answer. Sam was too terrified to speak.

Trying to calm his friend down, Al said, “Don’t worry, Sam, I know this plane like the back of my hand.”

“I’m afraid of heights, Al,” said the green-around-the-gills physicist.

“Really, then I guess you wouldn’t want me to do any of this,” said Al as he began displaying some advanced aerobatics.

Unable to control himself anymore, Sam vomited all over the back of Al’s seat before uttering those two simple words, “Ohhh boyyy!!!”


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