Episode 1223


by: Tom Nicklis


printer friendly version

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.




This time, the leap out and the leap in were almost instantaneous. There was no stop at what Sam was beginning to think of as the way station between leaps.

When the blue light from the leap in dissipated, a very unwelcome sight immediately greeted Sam. Directly in front of him was a set of rigid prison bars. Nervous, he glanced down at his host’s clothing and was relieved to see that he was one of the guards.

‘Good,’ he thought, ‘at least I am not a prisoner again.’ Again…Again… He had leaped into a prisoner on death row once. At both the beginning of that leap and the end of that leap, he found himself sitting in the electric chair. That was one of Sam’s clearest memories of leaping. Even with a Swiss-cheesed brain, there are some things you just don’t forget. Well, at least he didn’t have to worry about that nasty little experience reoccurring this time, being a guard and all.

There was one thing however for Sam to worry about. Al was nowhere in sight. Where was he? He had to be somewhere. Walking forward, Sam started looking in the cells for his leaping companion.

This was obviously solitary confinement. A solid-looking steel door sealed off each cell. Each door had a smaller sliding door at about eye-level for checking on the prisoners. A little lower on the door was another sliding door that Sam assumed was for giving the prisoners their meals.

Slowly walking from door to door, Sam slid the eye-level doors open and peered inside each one. One by one, Sam saw that Al was not the occupant. He kept searching until he had checked all but two doors that were at the other end of the hall.

Spinning on his heels, Sam headed back the other way. Reaching the end of the hall once again, he checked the final two cells. In the last of the six cells, he saw the broken image of his best friend. “Al,” said Sam with hope in his voice.

What he heard in return dashed all those hopes at once. It was the voice of his best friend, sure, but there was a certain kind of defeat in his tone as he heard Al say, “Calavicci, Albert M., Lieutenant Commander, United States Navy. Serial number B-21-23-29.”

Realizing that the leap into solitary confinement had made Al relapse back to his days spent in a Vietnamese POW camp, Sam let out a very dejected “Oh boy.”





Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary

August 18, 1958


“Al, it’s me, Sam.”

His only response was, “Calavicci, Albert M., Lieutenant Commander, United States Navy. Serial number B-21-23-29.”

“Al, I don’t need your serial number. I need you to snap out of it. We are here for a reason and we have to find out what that reason is.”

“Calavicci, Albert M., Lieutenant Commander, United States Navy. Serial number B-21-23-29.”

“Al, listen to me. This is not Vietnam and you are not a prisoner of war anymore. We are in a prison of some sort. Now I need your help to figure out what we are here to do so we can leap.”

“Calavicci, Albert M., Lieutenant Commander, United States Navy. Serial number B-21-23-29.”

Reaching down, Sam found some keys clipped to his hip. One by one, he tried each in the door-lock until he found the correct one. When he heard the tell-tale click of a door unlocking, he opened it and stepped inside.

The sight was painful for Sam to look at. Al was huddled in the corner. His arms were wrapped around his legs and he was rocking back and forth. Sam could not remember ever seeing Al so defeated. This was not the Admiral Albert Calavicci that he knew. That Al was defiant to his core. This Al, however, showed little of that defiance.

“Al, listen to me. For your sake, for Beth’s sake and that of your dau—”

Sam didn’t get the chance to finish his statement. With a speed that Al had not shown in years, he was on his feet and grabbing Sam by the throat. “Don’t you dare talk about my wife or I swear I’ll kill you!”

Unable to breath, Sam shook his head and Al released his grip. When he did, Sam dropped to his knees and started coughing.

Seizing the opportunity, Al dashed through the still-opened door. Stopping dead in his tracks, he turned and saw the bars at both ends of the hallway. At one end, there were two other guards attempting to get through the doors, but neither could since they couldn’t seem to get the correct key.

Al started running towards the two guards as they finally managed to get the door open, but he didn’t get too far. Sam’s strong hand grabbed the back collar of his shirt causing Al to fall backwards.

Looking up, Al saw the two guards that had been trying to get through the door only a moment earlier. Each had a club in his hand. Then at the same time, they began hitting Al in the body repeatedly with them. In the process, he received quite a blow to the head, knocking him unconscious.

They only got off about four hits each when they got shoved back to the wall by Sam. “No, don’t hit him!”

“Tim, what do you mean ‘don’t hit him’?” asked a muscular guard with a crew cut. He was in his mid-thirties and was wearing a nametag that said J. WATSON. “He attacked you and tried to escape. You are usually the first one to take the billy club to someone for doing something like that.”

“No, he’s confused, probably from the solitary confinement. I think we should get him back to his normal cell as soon as possible. I’ll take full responsibility.”

“What are you talking about?” asked the second guard. This man was in his early thirties and had a decent build himself. His nametag said T. McMASTERS. “He attacked you. That is a mandatory week in the hole.”

“He didn’t mean it. He was talking craziness, that’s why I went in there in the first place.” Then, improvising another solution to getting Al out of solitary confinement, Sam pointed at Al, who was still on the floor, and said, “Look, he’s hurt. Let’s at least get him to the hospital wing.”

“You’re right, you will,” said Watson before storming off. McMasters gave Sam a sorrowful look before turning and following Watson.

Realizing that he didn’t know where the hospital wing was, Sam decided to try to take advantage of McMasters’ apparent remorse for what he had just done. “Hey, McMasters, would you mind giving me a hand with him?”

After thinking about it for a second, McMasters said to Sam, “Timothy, I don’t get you sometimes. You are usually telling me that I have to be harder on the prisoners. You say that it is the only way to get them to respect you. I finally take your advice and you tell me to back off. Then to top it all off, you want to go easy on this guy that just attacked you. What’s gotten into you?”

“Quite a lot, actually. I don’t know, maybe you’re right. Maybe there is such a thing as being too tough. Maybe I need to lighten up a little. I’ll start by getting this one down to the hospital wing.”

Together, the two men lifted Al up and dragged him to the stairs that led to the hospital wing. Once there, McMasters said, “There you go, I have to get back up there. I’ll see you tomorrow.”


“Yeah, your shift is over. That’s why Bret and I were there, we were replacing you and that new guy Howard.”

“Oh yeah, with everything that has happened over the last couple minutes, I completely forgot. See you tomorrow.”

McMasters got up to leave, but stopped. “Aren’t you coming?”

“Not right now, I want to make sure he’s all right first.”

“All right, suit yourself, see you tomorrow.”


Watching the man round the corner, Sam tried to get Al’s attention again. “Al, Al.” Shaking him got no response. Al was out cold.



Sam was starting to go stir-crazy. Nearly three hours had gone by with no word from the project. And to boot, Al was still unconscious. But finally, while Sam was agonizing over what he could have done differently that could have spared his friend from lying on this bed in the infirmary, Al started to stir.

Gently stirring his friend the rest of the way awake, Sam said, “Al, hey Al, are you all right?”

Upon hearing a voice say something that he couldn’t quite make out, Al stared through slit eyes at the person sitting in a chair next to him. Still groggy, Al said, “Oh man, did anybody get the license plate number of that truck?”

“Al, you’re ok. You’re in the infirmary of a prison. Which one, I don’t know. You were hit on the head and you’ve been unconscious for the better part of three hours.”

Finally opening his eyes all the way, Al said, “Oh, Guard Fallon. Could I possibly get some aspirin, boss?”

“What did you just call me?”

“I called you boss, boss.”

“Al, why are you calling me boss?”

“Who’s Al, boss? My name is James Harding.”

The realization of what had happened finally hit Sam as he heard the Imaging Chamber door open. Unfortunately, Al heard it too and looked in the direction of the door. What he saw made him freak out. Where a minute ago there was nothing, Al/James saw a door made of bright white light appear from out of nowhere, through which, a man walked out.

Thinking that he was dead, Al started freaking out. Seeing this, Tom, who had just stepped through the door, asked, “What’s up with him?”

“Tom, we have serious problems here. When Al and I leaped in, he ended up in solitary confinement. When I found him, he had regressed back to his POW days. All I could get out of him was his name, rank, and serial number.”

“Well, he doesn’t seem like he’s regressing now. So why doesn’t he know who I am?”

“When I went to check on him, he sucker-punched me and ran out of his cell. A couple of the other guards caught him and started hitting him with their clubs. I think he took a blow to the head. He has been out cold for the better part of three hours. He just now woke up and he thinks that he is the person he leaped into.”

After punching some buttons on the handlink, Tom said, “Ziggy says that Al’s regression to Vietnam is a side effect of being Swiss-cheesed during the leap. When he found himself in the tiny solitary confinement cell, his mind associated that with the cage he was in while he was a POW in Vietnam. But the blow to the head has kicked out his ego. Right now, he thinks that he really is James Harding. Ziggy predicts an 87.4% probability that if Al’s ego is not restored by the time you leap, that he will become lost in time.”

“And how exactly does Ziggy suggest that I restore Al’s ego?”

After Tom pushed a button on the handlink, Ziggy appeared out of the handlink and said, “Hello, Dr. Beckett. I predict a 92.7% probability that another blow to the head would reset his ego. However, I must warn you that there is a 79.1% probability that another blow to the head would also cause some brain damage.”

“So what do you suggest?”

“Find a way to reset his ego without causing brain damage.”

“How am I supposed to do that, Ziggy? You said that the only way to reset his ego was a blow to the head that would cause brain damage?”

“I never said that it would be easy.” With that said, Ziggy’s hologram retracted back into the handlink.

Punching some buttons on the handlink, Tom opened the Imaging Chamber door and said, “I’m going to go back and see if we can figure out any other way to help Al out.”

“Tom, wait a minute. You didn’t tell me what we are here to do.”

“Oh yeah, right.” Then punching some more buttons on the handlink, Tom closed the door and brought up the pertinent information. “The date is August 18, 1958. Your name is Timothy Fallon. You’re thirty-eight years old and a guard in Alcatraz Prison.” Tom pointed at Al who was now huddled in a corner muttering nonsense to himself. “Al is James Harding. He was sent here in 1953 on a thirty-year stretch for kidnapping an eight-year-old girl.

“In December, it is going to be proven that Harding was innocent when his business partner, one Stanley Calloway, is arrested for aggravated assault and murder. While searching for evidence, the police find a charm bracelet that belonged to the little girl Harding was accused of kidnapping. When questioned about it, Calloway confessed to the kidnapping.”

“So does that mean that Harding is released?”

“Unfortunately, no. See, in one day’s time, James Harding is going to be killed in a riot.”

“So I am here to save his life.”

“According to Ziggy, there is a 96.1% chance that that is precisely the reason you are here. I’m going to go. Just keep an eye on him, all right? You said that when he leaped in, he had regressed back to his POW days, right?”

“Yeah, all I could get out of him was his name, rank, and serial number.”

“Then I would maybe put him back into solitary confinement. That could maybe kick his ego back in without having to hit him upside the head. If it doesn’t, I would like to volunteer to be the one to hit him.”

Sam just gave Tom a glare that said go.

Chuckling to himself, Tom said, “I know, I know. I’m going. I’ll be back when I find something more.” Saying nothing more, Tom pressed the button to open the door and stepped back through into the future.





Somewhere in the New Mexico Desert


It had been nearly six hours since Beth had died. During those six hours, Jules’s demons were attacking her in full force. Old memories had surfaced from her time as a POW during the Gulf War and everything that those horrible guards had done to her.

Then there was Senator Weitzman. She had requested to be reassigned and, due to her SEAL training, she was made Weitzman’s bodyguard. Then there was that horrible plane crash. She had allowed him to die on her watch. She should have been able to save his life.

Allowing Weitzman to die was bad enough, but this was a million times worse. Not only had she allowed her Mama Beth to die, she had been the cause of her death in the first place. If she had just listened to what her Mama Beth had wanted, her body would not be lying down next to the wreckage of a plane covered by a picnic cloth.

The voices were back. The voices of her captors had plagued her off and on ever since Saddam Hussein’s men captured her during her attempt to assassinate him. Back then the voices were telling her that she deserved the treatment that she received because of what she had tried to do to their leader. They would yell these horrible things at her as they beat and raped her.

With the help of the drink, they had gone away for a while after she was repatriated. However, the demons returned after the plane crash that killed Senator Weitzman. This time they were telling her that it was her fault that he had died. If she had been a suitable bodyguard, he would have survived.

Again, turning to the drink, they had eventually subsided, but were never gone completely. Now the demons were back in full force. But this time it was worse, much worse. This time, the voices were not only the voices of her former captors; they were the voices of her mother, father, Mama Beth, and her stepsisters. She even heard Sam’s voice taunting her with the fact that he could have saved her Mama Beth.

She longed for a peaceful silence but she didn’t have any beer, or vodka, whiskey, brandy, bourbon, or any other type of alcohol to provide that silence. But she did have one thing that could provide the blissful silence she longed for.

Getting up, she headed back to where Beth’s body lay and opened the lockbox that she had retrieved earlier in the night. Opening it up, she pulled out the flare gun that she kept in case of emergencies. Flipping the gun open, she put the single flare that she had into it. Then closing it back up, she turned it over and over in her hand. It would be painful, of that she was sure. At that moment, she regretted leaving her gun at the project. But at the time, it seemed a ridiculous thing to bring to a beach.

But the voices were right. All she did was bring pain and death into people’s lives. The world would be much better without her. All she had to do was pull the trigger one time and everything would be all right. All the pain and torture would be gone.

But there was that one voice. It was a small one that she had trouble recognizing. It said, “Mommy, don’t. I love you.” It took her a moment to figure out that it was Jude’s voice.

As for Jude, he would certainly be better off having her father and stepmother raise him. She made a mental note to herself to ask her Mama Beth when she woke up if they would take care of him for her. Maybe she would ask her over a chocolate sundae with banana chips and sprinkles.

She would have to remember to ask her mommy when she got home if she would drive her to her Mama Beth’s house for an ice cream. She was sure that her mommy would say yes. Her mommy liked going to Mama Beth’s house almost as much as she did. Maybe she would even let her stay up past her nine o’clock bedtime tonight. After all, having recently turned six, Jules knew that she was a big girl.

Still thinking about the ice cream that she wanted, Jules looked down in her hands and saw the flare gun. Surprised, she promptly dropped it. Her daddy would get very mad if he knew she had been holding a gun, even a funny-looking gun like that.

But looking around, she saw that her daddy wasn’t there. There was just her Mama Beth playing hide-and-seek under the picnic cloth. For a second, she wondered if her Mama Beth really thought that she couldn’t see her, but that didn’t matter. What mattered was the toy gun that was now lying on the sand.

Picking up the toy, she pointed it at the plane and pretended to fire it, complete with sound effects. Then, still pointing the flare gun that she now thought of as a toy, she started walking backwards away from the plane. Then, tripping over her own two feet, she fell backwards and pulled the trigger. A flare emitted from the toy that scared Jules bad enough that she dropped the gun. Quickly getting back to her feet, she ran the other way.

There was no way that she would not get in trouble for that. Her Mama Beth was lying right nearby. She would tell her mommy and daddy. Jules started to cry at the thought that she was going to get yelled at. Plus, there was no chance of an ice cream now.

Then off in the distance, Jules heard a helicopter. Jules loved helicopters. She always would wave and try to get them to land. They never had landed before, but that didn’t stop her from trying to get them to.

So, Jules started waving her hands back and forth while jumping up and down. She couldn’t believe it. The helicopter was getting closer to her, and it looked to be landing.

It was landing. She was sure of it. It was only about ten feet from the ground and she had to shield her eyes from the sand that was blowing all over the place. Then, when it was on the ground, she ran over to say hello.

Seeing Jules run towards the helicopter, Daniel said, “Jules, thank God you’re all right. We were so worried. Where is Dr. Calavicci?”

“She’s playing hide-and-go-seek. She is hiding under the blanket, but don’t tell her I told you. She doesn’t know that I know that she is there.”

Daniel’s heart sank upon hearing Jules’s response. He had always been quite fond of her and it was very clear to him that Jules had reverted to her childhood. Then, finally registering her actual words, Daniel looked in the distance and, sure enough, he saw a body that he could, at the moment, only assume was Beth. Even at a distance, he could tell that she was dead.

Looking back at Jules, Daniel’s heart was breaking, but the soldier in him knew that he couldn’t allow himself to dwell on it. Knowing that he had to get them both out of there, he steeled himself to what he was witnessing and said, “Jules, I am going to get your Mama Beth and then I am going to bring you both home.”

“You mean that I get to go for a ride in that?”

“Yes, you do. Does that sound like fun?” Daniel watched as Jules shook her head yes before he said, “Well then, why don’t you get onboard. I’ll get your Mama and we will all go home.”

Jules didn’t waste any time in jumping onto the helicopter. Daniel, meanwhile, walked to where Beth’s body lay. Removing the tablecloth, he looked at Beth and had his worst fears confirmed. She was gone. Then picking up the satellite phone, he called Project Quantum Leap. Almost immediately he heard Ziggy’s voice on the other end.

“Ziggy, we found the wreckage, but we have a serious problem.”



Project Quantum Leap

Stallion’s Gate, New Mexico


“Admiral, the search-and-rescue team has located the wreckage of Captain Calavicci’s plane.”

Admiral Tom Beckett was sitting in his office when Ziggy’s voice came from nowhere. “That’s great, Zig. Are they all right?”

“Unfortunately, Admiral, no, they are not. According to Commander Fulton, Dr. Calavicci has died from the injuries she sustained in the crash. Also, it seems that the death of her stepmother has caused Captain Calavicci to lose touch with reality.”

“What do you mean ‘she has lost touch with reality’?”

“According to Commander Fulton, Captain Calavicci has reverted back to the mentality of a six-year-old girl.”

For a moment, Tom just sat there, silently trying to absorb the information he had just received. Beth was dead. He really had not expected that. Regardless of his personal feelings towards Al, he had never thought of Beth as anything but a sweet woman. The thought that anything like that could have happened to her was almost too much to bear.

Or, depending on your perspective, it was too much to bear. For Jules, Beth’s death had been the straw that broke the camel’s back. Jules had gone crazy.

Tom had a tough time believing that. From the moment that he met Jules, he considered her to be the toughest woman he had ever met. After all, with a father like hers, how could she be any other way?

She was the first female Navy SEAL. Being a former SEAL himself, Tom knew just how difficult that training was. And Jules being a woman, trying to open doors to a man’s world, it would have only made it tougher. She’d made it.

Then there was the time that she had spent as a POW during Desert Storm and what her captors had done to her. Add in the plane crash that killed Senator Weitzman, she had made it through it all.

‘But now you could add the death of her stepmother to that list of horrors.’ Tom understood that everyone had a breaking point, and for Jules, it was Beth’s death. Still, it was hard to believe that she had cracked.

Finally, after a couple of minutes, Tom spoke. “Ziggy, I want the project’s medical personnel standing by and ready to perform an autopsy on Dr. Calavicci the instant they get back.”

“Admiral, I estimate a—”

“Damn it, I don’t want another estimate, Ziggy! I want to know with one hundred percent certainty what killed Beth, not a guess of what might’ve killed her. And I want Dr. Beeks standing by to talk with Captain Calavicci. We have to try and help her at the very least.” Then standing up, he said, “Let me know the instant they arrive. I’m going to break the news to Lisa Sherman.”

“Certainly, Admiral.”

Exiting his office, Tom slowly made his way to the project’s guest quarters. He was not looking forward to this conversation, but being acting administrator in Al’s absence, it was up to him to break the bad news.

Knocking on the door, he heard Lisa’s voice say, “The door is open.”

Walking into the room, Tom saw that Sammie Jo had brought Jude to see his grandmother. Not wanting Jude to hear this, Tom asked, “Sammie, why don’t you take Jude down to the cafeteria for an ice cream or something?”

Reading the expression on her uncle’s face, Sammie didn’t argue; she just grabbed Isabella and Jude before leaving the room.

 From the expression on Lisa’s face, Tom could tell that she knew that it wasn’t going to be good news. “Ms. Sherman,” said Tom, “the search-and-rescue team has located the wreckage of your daughter’s plane.”

“And how are they?”

Taking a second before answering, Tom said, “Not too good. I don’t know how to tell you this, but Beth Calavicci has died as a result of the injuries she received in the crash.”

Hearing this, Lisa started to cry, “Oh no, Beth.”

“I’m afraid it gets worse. According to Commander Fulton, Jules has lost touch with reality. Apparently, she has reverted to the mentality of a six-year-old girl.”

Now Lisa was bawling. Feeling bad, Tom said, “They are on their way back as we speak. In the meantime, would you like to talk with Dr. Beeks? I can have Ziggy summon her here.”

All Lisa could do was cry. Tom really wanted to stay there and try to comfort her himself, but he was just way too busy with everything going on. So, silently, he made his exit. Once in the hall, he said, “Ziggy, could you have Dr. Beeks report to Ms. Sherman’s guest quarters? She could really use someone to talk to.”

“Right away, Admiral.”

Without further words, Tom walked back to his office.

Back in his office, Tom was having an internal debate. He didn’t know if he should tell Al what had happened or not. Being trapped in the past, there was nothing he could do. But still, he had a right to know.

Al had to know. It was then that Tom decided that breaking the rules, and telling Al what had happened, was justified in this case. However, he would not mention anything until they got Beth and Jules back to the project. It was not that Tom didn’t trust Commander Fulton; he just had to see it for himself first.



Two hours later, Tom had his head on his desk, fast asleep. The past couple of days had been so exhausting that he had passed out.

“Admiral Beckett,” chimed Ziggy. “The search-and-rescue team has arrived back at the project.”

Jolting awake, Tom asked, “What? What was that, Ziggy?”

With a bit of a huff in her voice, she said, “It’s good to see that you are finally awake. Now, as I was saying, the search-and-rescue team has arrived back at the project.”

“Good, where are they now?”

“Commander Fulton is escorting Dr. Calavicci’s body to Dr. Lofton for the autopsy.”

“And what about Jules?”

“She is with Dr. Beeks.”

“Ok, I’m going to check on Jules. Let me know when Aurora knows more.”

“Certainly, Admiral.”

Getting up, Tom smoothed out his uniform and proceeded to walk to Dr. Beeks’ office. Then, opening the door, he stepped inside. What he heard made his heart sink.

“Mama Beth wasn’t mad at me for taking the ride in the helicopter, was she? She didn’t say anything during the whole ride.” Jules’s voice was high-pitched like that of a young child.

Answering, Verbena Beeks said, “No, Julianna. Your Mama Beth isn’t mad at you. She was happy that you got on the plane and came here to see me.”

“I like it here. It’s funny.”

“What is it that you find funny exactly?”

A little sheepishly, Jules answered, “I don’t know, everything I guess.”

Looking over, Verbena saw Tom for the first time and said, “Julianna, I have to go and talk to that man for a second. Will you be ok for a few minutes by yourself?”

Shaking her head up and down, Jules said, “Yes, ma’am. I can be left alone. I’m a big girl.”

“Yes, you are. I won’t be long, I promise.”

Getting up, Verbena motioned for Tom to follow her out the door. When he did, she said, “Beth’s death has been very traumatic to Jules. I believe that she blames herself for it being that she was flying the plane. She has the mentality of a six-year-old girl as a way to cope.”

“So, what do we do now?”

“I am sending her to the Sunrise Mental Health Center in the Eastern New Mexico Medical Center. I know the head physician, Dr. Howard Spring. She’ll be in good hands. But I have to get back in there and it would be better if you were not there.”

“All right, I am going to go see how the…autopsy…is going. If you need me, I’ll be with Aurora.”

Without another word, Tom walked away.

A couple of minutes later, Tom was walking to the examination room to check on Aurora’s progress with Beth’s autopsy. Just as he was about to knock, Aurora opened the door. Immediately, Tom could tell she had been crying earlier.

“Hey, Aurora, how is it going?”

“It’s done.” There was something different in her voice. It didn’t have the chipper tone it usually did. To Tom, that was completely understandable.

“So, how did she die?”

“She had a brain hemorrhage caused by blunt force trauma to the head. If I had gotten to her sooner, I may have been able to save her.” Then after a moment, she asked, “So how is Jules?”

“Verbena is sending her to the Sunrise Mental Health Center of the Eastern New Mexico Medical Center.”

Voicing Tom’s exact thoughts, Aurora asked, “Are you going to tell Al?”

“Telling Al flies in the face of about a dozen of the project’s rules.” He waited a second before finishing, “Yeah, I’m going to tell him. He has a right to know. I just don’t know how I’m going to do it.”

“Maybe you should bring Verbena into the Imaging Chamber with you.”

“No, she has her Jules to take care of. I’ll do it.” Tom started walking away, but stopped. Then turning back to Aurora, Tom said, “Thanks, Aurora. I know how hard that must have been for you.”

Again choking back tears, she said, “It was hard, but she was my mentor and my friend. I wouldn’t have allowed anyone else to do it. I owe her that much.”

Smiling again, Tom walked back to the Control Room. Once there, he said, “Dom, fire up the Imaging Chamber.”

Dom did as he was told. “Ready, Admiral.”

Then, grabbing the handlink off of its cradle, Tom stepped back into the past.



Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary

August 18, 1958


Tom had been right. Throwing Al back into solitary confinement had reset his ego. Unfortunately, he was back to giving name, rank, and serial number again.

Not wanting to leave his friend alone, Sam had arranged to work the remainder of McMasters’ shift. When the man asked why, Sam said he wanted to thank him for his help earlier. When the man looked hesitant, Sam greased the wheels more and told him that he would make sure that he received a full day’s pay one way or another.

That was how Sam came to be standing outside of Al’s solitary confinement cage when he heard the Imaging Chamber door open. Looking over his shoulder, Sam saw his brother walk through it. Right away, he noticed the look that Tom wore on his face and could tell that something very bad had happened.

“Hey Tom, what’s going on?”

“Quite a lot actually. How’s Al? Did putting him back in here reset his ego?”

“Yeah, but he is back to refusing to say anything other than name, rank, and serial number again.”

“But it’s Al, at least in a form?”

“Yeah, he is.”

“Good.” Then without another word to his brother, Tom stepped through the solid steel door. Looking at the ground, Tom saw that Al was huddled up in a ball in one corner of the small cell. “Al, I need to talk to you.”

“Calavicci, Albert M., Lieutenant Commander, United States Navy. Serial number B-21-23-29.”

“Al, I’m not VC. I’m a friend of yours.”

“Calavicci, Albert M., Lieutenant Commander, United States Navy. Serial number B-21-23-29.”

Talking softly, Tom said, “Listen Al, I know that you are reverting back to your POW days, but I need you to listen to what I am saying right now. I have some bad news for you.”

“Calavicci, Albert M., Lieutenant Commander, United States Navy. Serial number B-21-23-29.”

Not letting up, Tom continued, “This bad news I have has to do with Beth and Jules.”

Lifting his head and moving with a speed that Tom would have thought was not in the Admiral anymore, Al charged the man and said, “Don’t you dare touch them.” But Tom being a hologram, Al passed right through his intended target. “What the hell?”

“Al, you have to calm down and listen to me for a minute.”

“The hell I do. I’m hallucinating. You’re not really here.”

“Then there is no harm in listening. Is there?”

“Leave me alone.” Al was now hugging his knees and rocking back and forth.

Realizing that he was not going to get Al to listen to him, Tom decided to just blurt it out. “Beth is dead.”

Al didn’t say anything, but he went rigid. That told Tom that he had absorbed the information.

Listening out in the hall, Sam was shocked. “WHAT!!!” Then, grabbing the key, Sam entered the cell.

Speaking to both of them now, Tom continued, “She was killed in a plane crash.” Even in the darkness of the solitary confinement, Tom could tell that Al was crying. That only made what he had to say next even more difficult.

“It gets worse. Jules was piloting the plane when it went down. She’s alive, but with what happened to Beth, it’s driven her crazy. She has reverted to the mentality of a six-year-old. She thinks that Beth is mad at her and that that is why she is not talking.”

“When did it happen?” Al spoke for the first time.

“Yesterday, the crash happened yesterday. That was the plane crash that I ran out of the Imaging Chamber for.”

“And you didn’t tell me?”

“Al, I couldn’t. You know the rules better than anyone else.”

“Then why are you telling me now?”

“To hell with the rules. I couldn’t keep this from you.”

Looking at Sam for the first time since he entered the cell, Al said, “Sorry, buddy, but I have a wrong of my own to put right. I’ll see you later.” Then Al leaped.





Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary

August 18, 1958


The fact that Al had just leaped took Sam and Tom completely by surprise. One minute he was there and the next, he was surrounded by a flash of bright blue light. In an instant, his former host sat in his place.

“What happened, boss?” asked James Harding.

“That’s what I would like to know,” replied Sam while looking at his brother.

“I don’t know,” Tom said back. “Your guess is as good as mine.”

“Well, ask Ziggy.”

“Who’s Ziggy, boss?” James Harding asked again.

Sam had almost forgotten that James Harding was there. “She’s just a friend of mine. Don’t worry about it.” Then getting up, Sam motioned for Tom to follow him out of the cell. When they were clear, Sam asked, “So, what’s Ziggy saying?”

“I don’t know. Let’s find out.” Tom pushed a few buttons on the handlink and Ziggy’s full-figured form appeared out of the handlink. “Ziggy, what’s going on?”

“Admiral Calavicci has leaped,” replied the hologram.

“Well that’s one way to escape Alcatraz,” joked Tom.

Giving his brother a dirty look, Sam replied hotly, “We know he leaped, Ziggy. What we don’t know is why he leaped. We haven’t fixed anything yet.”

“I estimate an 89.1% probability that the news of Dr. Calavicci’s death and Captain Calavicci’s fragile mental state has caused Admiral Calavicci to leap prematurely.”

“But where did he go?” asked Sam.

“Unfortunately, I am unable to achieve a lock on Admiral Calavicci’s current location at this time, Doctor.”

“Why not?” asked both Tom and Sam together.

“I was not built to be able to maintain two separate locks, on two separate people, in two separate times. I don’t have the necessary power resources.”

“Then how do we find him?” Tom asked the question that both he and his brother had been thinking.

“Since Admiral Calavicci leaped when Admiral Beckett was breaking the distressing news about his wife and daughter, I can deduce with 78.5% accuracy that Admiral Calavicci has leaped to a point in time before the plane crash that claimed the life of his wife and the mental health of his daughter.”

“Sam, I’ll talk to you later. I’m going back to try to get Dom to get a lock on Al.” Then, after opening the door, Tom stepped back to the future.



Somewhere over the New Mexico Desert


Jules and Beth had not said much since the small Cessna 310R airplane took off a little less than an hour ago. Each woman was hoping the other would be the one to break the silence. But, as of yet, neither had, so Beth just turned to stare out the window. Staring at the desert far below, Beth couldn’t help but think about Al.

She couldn’t take it. Her husband was trapped in the past and there was nothing she could do about it. Feeling tears begin to form behind her eyes, she was about to give in and let the waterworks flow. But before she could, she was engulfed in a bright blue light. A second later, her husband sat in the seat that she once occupied.

Shaking off the temporary disorientation, Al looked at his surroundings and realized that he was sitting in an airplane. Looking to his left, he saw his daughter Jules was piloting the aircraft and all the memories of the previous leap came rushing back as if someone had opened a floodgate. “Jules,” he said.

Jules turned towards whom she saw was her stepmother. There was something different in her tone that she couldn’t quite place. But the second she saw the woman sitting next to her, she began to get a familiar feeling in her gut. “Dad?”

Al smiled. He knew that she would be able to tell it was him. She had always had a sixth sense that told her when he was close by. Pushing the thought aside, Al returned his thoughts to the situation at hand. There was no time to spare her feelings, so he just blurted it out. “Jules, this plane is about to go down. I don’t know when or how it will happen, but it will be in the very near future. This plane is going to crash-land and your stepmother is going to be killed.”


“It gets worse,” said Al. “Her death is going to push you over the deep end. Now I know you. One single event, regardless how tragic, is not enough to make you go insane. So I am going to ask you this flat-out. Are you still fighting those demons of your past?”

That was one question her father had never asked her flat-out. She started to lie but stopped. There was no point in lying to her father. He could always read her like a book. “Yes. I still fight them occasionally, but I'm not drinking them away, Dad. I swear. But sometimes… I hear the voices.”

“When you get back to the project, I want you to start making weekly appointments with Dr. Beeks.”

“Dad,” said Jules, exasperated. “I don’t need a shrink.”

“Julianna Contessa Francesca Calavicci!!! Promise me!!!”


“No buts, Jules. I want you to make those appointments. I couldn’t handle it if…”

Just then, they heard a loud bang coming from the left engine followed by a rattling. Looking over her shoulder, Jules saw that the propeller was not spinning nearly fast enough.

Queuing the radio, Jules said, “Mayday. Mayday. This is Cessna N312DZ. We have a left engine cutoff…”

Cut off in mid-sentence, Jules saw the engine catch fire. Reaching forward, she pulled the fire extinguisher release latch, which promptly put out the fire. As soon as the fire was extinguished, Jules watched as the propeller stopped spinning.

“Promise me, Jules.”

Outside the plane, the right engine overcompensated for the defective left. It wasn’t long until the right engine gave way too.

“Mayday. Mayday. This is Cessna N312DZ. We now have a right engine cutoff as well. We are flying dead stick and we are going down. Mayday. Mayday. This is Cessna N312DZ. We have a right and left engine cutoff. We are flying dead stick and we are going down.”

Then, pulling off her headphones, Jules looked at her father in the aura of her stepmother and said, “I promise.”

Together, Jules and Al tried to bring the plane down safely, but it was nothing doing. The plane hit the ground with a jolt and once again ended up on its roof.

Inside the plane, both Calaviccis hung upside down, unconscious.



Project Quantum Leap

Stallion’s Gate, New Mexico


Walking into the Control Room, Tom said, “Dom, try and see if you can get a lock on Al. I’m going to talk to whoever is in the Waiting Room with Tim Fallon.”

“Admiral, there is no one in the Waiting Room with Timothy Fallon.”

“What, does that mean that Al hasn’t landed yet?”

“Actually, there is a 92.7% chance that he is somewhere in the timeline.”

“How is that possible, Ziggy? If he was in the timeline, someone would be in the Waiting Room in his place.”

“Admiral,” said Ziggy, “when dealing with Quanta, anything is possible.”

“But where would the Visitor go if they don’t arrive in the Waiting Room?”

“I have no way of knowing, Admiral. However, I can speculate that the Admiral’s current host is wherever Dr. Beckett goes between leaps.”

“And there is no way to get a lock on him?”

“No, Admiral,” replied Ziggy. “As long as they were in the same location, I was able to maintain both locks. But Admiral Calavicci was never meant to be a leaper. Therefore, his link to me as a leaper is not as strong as Dr. Beckett’s.”

“So, we know where Sam is, right? Cut-release his lock and establish one with the Admiral. When we find out where he is in the past, we cut it and re-establish Sam’s.”

“The risk of doing so is far too great, Admiral. If Dr. Beckett were to leap, he could be lost in time forever. There is also no way of knowing what would happen to our Visitor if the connection were to be lost.”

“What are you talking about?”

“I foresee three possibilities that each have a 30% probability of occurring. In the first, nothing would happen. We would simply release the lock, and the Visitor would remain here while we establish the link with Admiral Calavicci. Then we could simply re-lock on Dr. Beckett when the time came. No harm, no foul.”

“And in the second?”

“In that scenario, when we release the lock with Dr. Beckett, the Visitor would vanish from the Waiting Room. He would likely end up wherever Dr. Beckett goes between leaps. However, with no one in the Waiting Room, Dr. Beckett would be trapped in time.”

“And what about in the third?”

“In the third scenario, releasing the lock would trap Dr. Beckett in the past and trap the Visitor in our time. Dr. Beckett would live the rest of his days as Timothy Fallon, and Timothy Fallon would remain in our present as Dr. Samuel Beckett.”

“And those are the only possible outcomes of releasing the lock?”

“Each of the remaining possibilities has less than a one percent chance of occurring.”

“All right, let me know if anything else happens. I’ll be in my office,” said Tom as he exited the Control Room.



Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary

August 18, 1958


It was getting late and Sam had gotten hungry. Taking a little break, Sam walked down to the cafeteria. There he got some food and sat down for a bite to eat.

The whole time there, he was thinking of a way to save James Harding’s life. Mulling over the possibilities, the answer hit him. The simplicity of it all was enough to make Sam chuckle to himself.

He would simply make sure that Harding received extra time in the hole for attacking him. Granted, it was not James Harding that had choked Sam, but a little white lie to save a man’s life—it was the lesser of two evils.

Twenty minutes after he left the D Block, which was where solitary confinement was located, Dr. Sam Beckett returned to his post. Walking down the hall, he checked on the prisoners one by one. When he got to James Harding’s cell, he looked inside and saw that it was empty.

“Hey Watson, what happened to Harding?” he asked.

“I put him back into general population.”

“What do you mean ‘you put him back into general population’? He attacked me. That’s a mandatory week in the hole.”

“And you said that you didn’t want him punished, remember? You said, ‘No, he’s confused, probably from the solitary confinement. I think we should get him back to his normal cell as soon as possible. I’ll accept full responsibility.’ So he’s back in his cell and you are going to have to answer for it. Too bad, so sad.”

Sam was livid. He was about to say something when he saw Tom out of the corner of his eye. Instead, he walked to the other end of the hall, motioning for Tom to follow.

When they were out of earshot, Sam said, “He did that on purpose. He waited until I was off the block and he sent him back to his cell.” Sam remained silent for a moment as he mentally cursed Watson, then he said, “Can I really get reprimanded for not having Al punished?”

Punching some buttons on the handlink, Tom said, “According to Ziggy, there is a 99.8% possibility that you will be reprimanded. That nozzle must tell… Did I just say the word ‘nozzle’? Oh no, I’m starting to talk like Al.”

Sam laughed for a moment before saying, “Why are you here, Tom?”

“Oh, I was talking to our visitor. We were going over some scenarios on how to save James Harding. He said the fact that Al attacked you is worth a week in the hole. If he is in the hole, his life is saved. I was coming to tell you that, but he is already gone. So I guess that idea is out the window.”

“Yeah, I was way ahead of you anyway. I had that idea twenty minutes ago. I cut my supper short and came back here hoping to get a week added to his sentence.”

Tom just shook his head and said, “I guess I’ll go back and run some more scenarios by Ziggy. I’ll see you later, Sam.” Then stepping through the door, he was gone.



Somewhere in the New Mexico Desert


Jules had regained consciousness a little over an hour. In that time, she had managed to get herself and her father out of the crumpled plane, set up shade and tend to their injuries.

She knew that she had hit her head and lost consciousness for a while. When she woke up, she could see her father’s aura intertwined with Beth’s making it look like two people were in the exact same place. That told her that she might have a concussion, but she didn’t seem to have many physical injuries—cuts and scratches mostly.

Then looking over Al’s body, she could see that he didn’t have any physical injuries either. His previous experience with being involved in plane crashes probably played a part in that, but he must have hit his head hard. He still hadn’t regained consciousness and she was getting worried. She already knew from what her father had told her in the minutes leading up to the crash that her Mama Beth was going to die as a result of the plane crash. She didn’t think she could handle it if she had killed her father in her stepmother’s place.

“Please Daddy, be all right. I couldn’t stand to lose you. I need my father and Jude needs his grandpa.”

Al was unconscious. His breathing was shallow, but he was breathing. Looking at her father in that vulnerable position, she could feel her grip on reality trying to slip away. In that instant, she made the decision to make the appointments with Verbena not to humor her father, but because she genuinely needed to find a better way to deal with the demons.





Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary

August 19, 1958


The riot started at lunchtime. One inmate had approached another and hit him over the head with his tray of food. Friends of the inmate that had been attacked retaliated. All hell broke loose from there. In a matter of moments, all the inmates in the cafeteria were fighting with each other. The guards, Sam included, tried to make their way in to regain order. Almost immediately, the inmates stopped fighting with one another and started fighting the guards.

Little by little, the inmates forced their way out of the cafeteria and started swarming the prison. It wasn’t long before the entire prison was engaged in a full-scale riot.

All up and down the hallways, the inmates and the guards were engaged in fierce battles. After having made his way back to the D Block, Sam was trying to fend off three burly inmates with little success.

In the background, Tom was yelling advice to no avail. Being a hologram, he could be of no physical help either. For Tom, that was the toughest part about being the observer. He wasn’t used to feeling so helpless, especially where his little brother was concerned.

It seemed like an eternity, but in reality, the beating lasted a mere two minutes. That was when Guard Watson ran through the D Block doors. Almost immediately, the three inmates left Sam and turned their attention to Watson.

Tom knelt over his brother’s beaten and battered form as the three burly inmates turned their attacks towards Guard Watson. Watching the beating out of the corner of his eye, Tom desperately tried to get his brother on his feet. Then he heard the handlink squawk for attention.

Lifting the noisy device, Tom read the screen and all the color drained out of his face. “Uh-oh, Sam, it’s happening. They’re trying to get into Harding’s cell.”

Hearing this, Sam finally began to stir. Trying desperately to get to his feet, Sam stumbled and hit the floor hard.

With pleading in his voice, Tom said, “Come on, little brother. You can do it. Fight. You have to save him.”

Summoning all his willpower, Sam finally managed to get to his feet. Leaning back against the wall and holding his head, Sam said to his brother, “Where’s his cell, Tom?”

“He’s in B Block, at the end of the Michigan Avenue Hall.”

“Michigan Avenue?”

“All the hallways have nicknames. Michigan Avenue is the far hallway on B Block.”

“How do I get there?”

“The hallway immediately in front of you when leaving D Block is Times Square. Follow it to the end of the hall and take your right. That’s Michigan Avenue. Harding’s cell is the fourth from the end on the right-hand side. Ziggy says that you have to hurry. They’re nearly in.”

Stumbling, Sam started making his way to the end of the hall. He had just stopped to pick up his billy club when he heard the ruckus behind him. Turning, he saw that the inmates were still beating Guard Watson to a bloody pulp. “What about Watson? I can’t just leave him to the wolves.”

“Don’t worry about him. Ziggy says that he’ll be fine, a little worse for the wear, but no permanent injuries. Besides, that nozzle needs to be knocked down a few pegs. A beating like that will do him good.”

It took Sam longer to get to Harding’s cell than Tom would have liked, about five minutes. But he was still woozy from the attack he had just sustained. That together with the fact that he was dodging fights all up and down the hall, burning books, magazines, toilet paper and some other things Tom didn’t want to think about, he was kind of surprised that he got there as fast as he did.

By the time that Sam reached Harding’s cell, the attacking inmates had already made their way in. They were taking turns beating the smaller man senseless. Seeing this, Sam was glad that he had the forethought to grab his billy club.

He felt horrible taking the cheap shot he was presented with, but in his current condition, there was no way to win a fair fight against four hardened criminals. Sneaking up behind the first inmate, Sam used the billy club to crack the man in the back of the skull.

Surprised, the other three men stopped their savage beating of the smaller Harding and looked up. Seeing this, Sam reacted with a spinning heel kick, connecting square in the jaw with the closest inmate, who crumpled in a heap.

Tom was cheering Sam on in the background, but Sam wasn’t paying any attention to that. Even with two of Harding’s attackers down, there was still two to go. Trying to keep his momentum going, Sam tried to hit a third inmate with the billy club, but the man caught his arm and swung him around. Then the man grabbed Sam’s other arm and pinned them both behind his back. He then turned him towards the last attacker and held him there.

The last attacker rushed Sam. Thinking fast, Sam kicked up with his right leg and connected with the man’s nose, breaking it. Immediately, the man grabbed his nose and hit the ground.

Now it was one on one, but Sam’s arms were still pinned behind his back. Twisting and turning, Sam managed to kick off the bed and slam the last man against the cell’s bars. The blow was enough to force the man to release his grip.

Turning quickly, Sam managed to get away from his attacker but was barely able to regain his balance before the man charged him with his arms outstretched.

Thinking quickly, Sam grabbed the man’s thumb and pulled back. Immediately, the man dropped to his knees, immobilized by pain. Reaching down with his other hand, Sam grabbed the handcuffs that he had grabbed earlier and cuffed the man’s hands around the bars.

“That’s it, Sam,” said Tom, “you did it. James Harding spends a week in the infirmary. Then in January, he is released from prison and heads home to New York where he spends the rest of his days working to help free the wrongfully accused from prison.”

“What about Al? Has Ziggy found him yet?”

A little more solemnly now, Tom said, “No, we don’t know where he is.”

“I think I do,” said Sam. Then he leaped.



Somewhere in the New Mexico Desert


Jules had cried so much that her tear ducts had run dry. Hours had passed and there was still no change in Al’s condition. He had not regained consciousness and Jules was really starting to get worried.

Earlier she had retrieved the picnic basket and grabbed some of their water reserves. She then tore a piece of cloth off her shirt and wet it down. Over the past couple of hours she had been dabbing Al’s forehead with it in an attempt to keep him cool.

However, the heat had become a non-issue with the setting of the desert sun. Now the problem was the cold. The temperature had dropped to dangerous levels and it had become apparent that they needed a fire fairly quickly.

Scrounging in the plane for anything that they could burn, Jules had managed to come up with enough to get them through the night, if she used it sparingly. It took a couple of minutes but she managed to get the fire started using minimal materials.

As the fire started to burn, she caught a flash of blue light out of the corner of her eye. Quickly turning towards it, she saw the last instant of Sam’s leap into Al.

Jules was flabbergasted. She could see Sam as he really was, or a part of him at least. His aura was sort of intertwined with Beth’s as her father’s had been when she regained consciousness. But she could easily see that Sam had leaped into her father.

Opening his eyes, Sam surveyed his surroundings. In front of him, he saw a woman that he immediately recognized to be Jules Calavicci. That meant that he was right on target. Sam knew the instant that Al had leaped out of Alcatraz that he had leaped into Beth. They had a love that could transcend time.

“Sam, how did you get here?”

“Well…” Sam stopped dead in his tracks when he realized that Jules had just addressed him by name. “How did you know it was me?” asked the confused scientist.

“Because I can see you as you—well, a part of you anyway. I hit my head in the crash and was knocked unconscious. When I came to, I could see Dad as Dad. His aura was kind of intertwined with Mama Beth’s, just like yours is now. Then I saw a blue flash of light when you leaped in, too.”

“The blow to your head must have altered your brainwaves. You’re probably concussed.”

“Yeah, that’s what I thought too.”

After a second, Sam asked, “How was your dad doing before I leaped in?”

“He must have hit his head really hard. He was still unconscious when you leaped into him. Where is he now?”

“He would have been bumped back to the project the second that I leaped in,” replied Sam.

“Good, I’m glad. They can take care of him better there.”

“Yeah, he’ll be fine.”

“So, if you guys found out about Mama Beth, that means that we will be found soon, right?”

“Yeah, the search-and-rescue team will find us sometime tomorrow.”

Off to the side, Sam saw the Imaging Chamber door open to reveal his brother. Jules saw it vaguely too.

“Tom, what’s happening?” It was nice to be able to talk to the hologram without everybody thinking that he was crazy.

“Hey there, little brother. This will be a fairly simple leap. Ziggy says that you just have to sit tight until the search-and-rescue team gets here. You should leap as soon as Captain Calavicci and Beth are rescued.”

“And when exactly will that be?” asked Sam.

“Ziggy says that the search-and-rescue team will find the two of you at approximately six P.M. tomorrow night.”

Jules asked the hologram she could barely see, “Admiral, how’s my father?”

Confused, Tom asked, “What, she can see me?”

“Apparently she can,” Sam answered. “I think she is concussed, and I think that altered her brainwaves enough for her to be able to see us.”

Punching some buttons on the handlink, Tom said, “Ziggy gives that a 92% possibility.”

Reiterating her previous question, Jules said, “Admiral, my father. How is he?”

“He’s all right, Dr. Lofton is tending to his injuries as we speak.” Then, turning towards his brother again, Tom said, “Sam, I’m going to head back. Like I said, you just have to sit tight and wait till you get rescued. I’ll check on you periodically to see how you’re doing, all right?”

With that said, Tom opened the Imaging Chamber door and stepped back into the future.

As Tom had predicted, Daniel and the rest of the search-and-rescue team arrived just after six the following night. Then, as he was stepping onto the rescue chopper, he leaped.



Project Quantum Leap

Stallion’s Gate, New Mexico


Back at the project, Beth immediately inquired about her husband’s whereabouts. After getting directed to the proper room, Beth walked down the hall to check on Al.

Stepping into the room, Beth saw Aurora kneeling next to Al’s bed and asked, “How is he?”

“He could be better. But he could also be worse, a lot worse,” replied Aurora.

“So, he’s going to be ok?” Beth stole another glance at her husband and couldn’t help but notice the oxygen tubes coming out of Al’s nose.

“Honestly, I can’t say for sure. He has suffered a massive blow to the head and he hasn’t woken up yet. Beth, I don’t know how to tell you this, but…”

Very scared now, Beth said, “Aurora, don’t forget, I’m a doctor too. I can take it, whatever it is. Now, what’s happened?”

Reluctantly, Aurora answered, “It’s Al, he’s in a coma.”

Hearing this, Beth fainted.





As Doctor Sam Beckett remained suspended between leaps, something unusual was nagging at his thoughts.  It was as if the unknown force that controlled his journey through time was weakened; the blue-white nexus of energy had something “off” about it.

“Is something wrong?” Sam asked, hoping to receive a response from the other voice that often accompanied him during his rest period.  Although time was meaningless in the dimension, which was still mysterious to Sam even after all of his years of leaping, it seemed like ages before he received a response.

“Do you think something is wrong?”

If his body had not been scattered atom by atom, Sam would have sighed in frustration at his question being answered by a question.  Instead of losing his patience, the quantum physicist simply answered, “There’s something different....  I don’t know what it is, but this place feels...wrong.”

Hoping to hear a response, Sam waited once again.  The only warning he had that his impending leap was about to begin was the sensation of his being starting to reassemble.

The whining sound began to deafen him once again as his body prepared to take over someone else’s life in an attempt to fix their life for the better.

As the sensation of leaping in began to fade out, Doctor Beckett regained his senses and started to smell, see, touch, and hear his new environs, the first of which hit him immediately—it was the undeniable scent of death.  Glancing around, Sam knew immediately from his years of medical school that he was in an autopsy room.  There was nobody else in the room—nobody living, anyway.  The sight of a body with its chest peeled back hardly made Sam flinch, but the sudden sound from behind him startled him more than Al, his observer from the future, normally did.

“Agent Cunningham, I see you finally made it down here,” a middle-aged Caucasian man in a white lab-coat stated flatly as he passed by and went to the autopsy table.

“Uh, yeah, I guess I did,” answered Sam, trying to shake off the shock he was still feeling from the doctor’s sudden appearance.

Raising his eyebrows while he waited for the doctor to finish whatever it was he was doing at the table, the time-traveller was eventually presented with a sealed plastic bag with what looked like pieces of metal inside.

“As you requested for Forensics,” the doctor announced as Sam took the bag and inspected the contents through the clear plastic.  “I really don’t know why you’re so particular about this case.”

Searching for something to say in return, the leaper continued to look at the bag.  “I’ll tell you later,” he eventually said.  “Thank you.”

The doctor nodded and turned on his heels to return to his work at the autopsy table.  Figuring that was his queue to leave, Sam left the laboratory and entered an empty hallway before taking a second glance at the contents of the bag.  Fingering lightly at the pieces, he knew almost right away what they were:  bullets.  “Oh, boy,” he muttered.


Thanks to Damon Sugameli and Kat Freymuth for all their help with these stories.


Email the Author