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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.”
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.”
it’s me, Sam.”
only response was, “Calavicci, Albert M., Lieutenant Commander, United
States Navy. Serial number B-21-23-29.”
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.”
Albert M., Lieutenant Commander, United States Navy. Serial number
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.”
Albert M., Lieutenant Commander, United States Navy. Serial number
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.
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.
listen to me. For your sake, for Beth’s sake and that of your dau—”
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!”
to breath, Sam shook his head and Al released his grip. When he did, Sam
dropped to his knees and started coughing.
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.
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.
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.
only got off about four hits each when they got shoved back to the wall by
Sam. “No, don’t hit him!”
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
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
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.”
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
right, you will,” said Watson before storming off. McMasters gave Sam a
sorrowful look before turning and following Watson.
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?”
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
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.”
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.”
your shift is over. That’s why Bret and I were there, we were replacing
you and that new guy Howard.”
yeah, with everything that has happened over the last couple minutes, I
completely forgot. See you tomorrow.”
got up to leave, but stopped. “Aren’t you coming?”
right now, I want to make sure he’s all right first.”
right, suit yourself, see you tomorrow.”
the man round the corner, Sam tried to get Al’s attention again. “Al,
Al.” Shaking him got no response. Al was out cold.
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
stirring his friend the rest of the way awake, Sam said, “Al, hey Al, are
you all right?”
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
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.”
opening his eyes all the way, Al said, “Oh, Guard Fallon. Could I possibly
get some aspirin, boss?”
did you just call me?”
called you boss, boss.”
why are you calling me boss?”
Al, boss? My name is James Harding.”
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.
that he was dead, Al started freaking out. Seeing this, Tom, who had just
stepped through the door, asked, “What’s up with him?”
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.”
he doesn’t seem like he’s regressing now. So why doesn’t he know who I
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.”
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
how exactly does Ziggy suggest that I restore Al’s ego?”
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
what do you suggest?”
a way to reset his ego without causing brain damage.”
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?”
never said that it would be easy.” With that said, Ziggy’s hologram
retracted back into the handlink.
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
wait a minute. You didn’t tell me what we are here to do.”
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.
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.”
does that mean that Harding is released?”
no. See, in one day’s time, James Harding is going to be killed in a
I am here to save his life.”
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?”
all I could get out of him was his name, rank, and serial number.”
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.”
just gave Tom a glare that said go.
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.
in the New Mexico Desert
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jules run towards the helicopter, Daniel said, “Jules, thank God you’re
all right. We were so worried. Where is Dr. Calavicci?”
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.”
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.
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.”
mean that I get to go for a ride in that?”
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.”
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.
we found the wreckage, but we have a serious problem.”
Gate, New Mexico
the search-and-rescue team has located the wreckage of Captain Calavicci’s
Tom Beckett was sitting in his office when Ziggy’s voice came from
nowhere. “That’s great, Zig. Are they all right?”
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
do you mean ‘she has lost touch with reality’?”
to Commander Fulton, Captain Calavicci has reverted back to the mentality of
a six-year-old girl.”
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.
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.
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?
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
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.
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.
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.”
I estimate a—”
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
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.
on the door, he heard Lisa’s voice say, “The door is open.”
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
the expression on her uncle’s face, Sammie didn’t argue; she just
grabbed Isabella and Jude before leaving the room.
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
how are they?”
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.”
this, Lisa started to cry, “Oh no, Beth.”
afraid it gets worse. According to Commander Fulton, Jules has lost touch
with reality. Apparently, she has reverted to the mentality of a
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.”
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.”
further words, Tom walked back to his office.
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.
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
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.
Beckett,” chimed Ziggy. “The search-and-rescue team has arrived back at
awake, Tom asked, “What? What was that, Ziggy?”
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.”
where are they now?”
Fulton is escorting Dr. Calavicci’s body to Dr. Lofton for the autopsy.”
what about Jules?”
is with Dr. Beeks.”
I’m going to check on Jules. Let me know when Aurora knows more.”
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
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.
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.”
like it here. It’s funny.”
is it that you find funny exactly?”
little sheepishly, Jules answered, “I don’t know, everything I guess.”
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
her head up and down, Jules said, “Yes, ma’am. I can be left alone.
I’m a big girl.”
you are. I won’t be long, I promise.”
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.”
what do we do now?”
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.”
right, I am going to go see how the…autopsy…is going. If you need me,
I’ll be with Aurora.”
another word, Tom walked away.
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
Aurora, how is it going?”
done.” There was something different in her voice. It didn’t have the
chipper tone it usually did. To Tom, that was completely understandable.
how did she die?”
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?”
is sending her to the Sunrise Mental Health Center of the Eastern New Mexico
Tom’s exact thoughts, Aurora asked, “Are you going to tell Al?”
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.”
you should bring Verbena into the Imaging Chamber with you.”
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.”
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
again, Tom walked back to the Control Room. Once there, he said, “Dom,
fire up the Imaging Chamber.”
did as he was told. “Ready, Admiral.”
grabbing the handlink off of its cradle, Tom stepped back into the past.
had been right. Throwing Al back into solitary confinement had reset his
ego. Unfortunately, he was back to giving name, rank, and serial number
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.
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.
Tom, what’s going on?”
a lot actually. How’s Al? Did putting him back in here reset his ego?”
but he is back to refusing to say anything other than name, rank, and serial
it’s Al, at least in a form?”
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.”
Albert M., Lieutenant Commander, United States Navy. Serial number
I’m not VC. I’m a friend of yours.”
Albert M., Lieutenant Commander, United States Navy. Serial number
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.”
Albert M., Lieutenant Commander, United States Navy. Serial number
letting up, Tom continued, “This bad news I have has to do with Beth and
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?”
you have to calm down and listen to me for a minute.”
hell I do. I’m hallucinating. You’re not really here.”
there is no harm in listening. Is there?”
me alone.” Al was now hugging his knees and rocking back and forth.
that he was not going to get Al to listen to him, Tom decided to just blurt
it out. “Beth is dead.”
didn’t say anything, but he went rigid. That told Tom that he had absorbed
out in the hall, Sam was shocked. “WHAT!!!” Then, grabbing the key, Sam
entered the cell.
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.
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.”
did it happen?” Al spoke for the first time.
the crash happened yesterday. That was the plane crash that I ran out of the
Imaging Chamber for.”
you didn’t tell me?”
I couldn’t. You know the rules better than anyone else.”
why are you telling me now?”
hell with the rules. I couldn’t keep this from you.”
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.
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.
happened, boss?” asked James Harding.
what I would like to know,” replied Sam while looking at his brother.
don’t know,” Tom said back. “Your guess is as good as mine.”
Ziggy, boss?” James Harding asked again.
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
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?”
Calavicci has leaped,” replied the hologram.
that’s one way to escape Alcatraz,” joked Tom.
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.”
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
where did he go?” asked Sam.
I am unable to achieve a lock on Admiral Calavicci’s current location at
this time, Doctor.”
not?” asked both Tom and Sam together.
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
how do we find him?” Tom asked the question that both he and his brother
had been thinking.
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.”
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.
over the New Mexico Desert
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.
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.
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
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?”
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.”
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?”
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.”
you get back to the project, I want you to start making weekly appointments
with Dr. Beeks.”
said Jules, exasperated. “I don’t need a shrink.”
Contessa Francesca Calavicci!!! Promise me!!!”
buts, Jules. I want you to make those appointments. I couldn’t handle it
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.
the radio, Jules said, “Mayday. Mayday. This is Cessna N312DZ. We have a
left engine cutoff…”
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
the plane, the right engine overcompensated for the defective left. It
wasn’t long until the right engine gave way too.
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.”
pulling off her headphones, Jules looked at her father in the aura of her
stepmother and said, “I promise.”
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.
the plane, both Calaviccis hung upside down, unconscious.
Gate, New Mexico
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
there is no one in the Waiting Room with Timothy Fallon.”
does that mean that Al hasn’t landed yet?”
there is a 92.7% chance that he is somewhere in the timeline.”
is that possible, Ziggy? If he was in the timeline, someone would be in the
Waiting Room in his place.”
said Ziggy, “when dealing with Quanta, anything is possible.”
where would the Visitor go if they don’t arrive in the Waiting Room?”
have no way of knowing, Admiral. However, I can speculate that the
Admiral’s current host is wherever Dr. Beckett goes between leaps.”
there is no way to get a lock on him?”
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.
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
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.”
are you talking about?”
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.”
in the second?”
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.”
what about in the third?”
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.”
those are the only possible outcomes of releasing the lock?”
of the remaining possibilities has less than a one percent chance of
right, let me know if anything else happens. I’ll be in my office,” said
Tom as he exited the Control Room.
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
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.
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.
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.
Watson, what happened to Harding?” he asked.
put him back into general population.”
do you mean ‘you put him back into general population’? He attacked me.
That’s a mandatory week in the hole.”
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.”
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.
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?”
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.”
laughed for a moment before saying, “Why are you here, Tom?”
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.”
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
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.
in the New Mexico Desert
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.
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.
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.
Daddy, be all right. I couldn’t stand to lose you. I need my father and
Jude needs his grandpa.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
this, Sam finally began to stir. Trying desperately to get to his feet, Sam
stumbled and hit the floor hard.
pleading in his voice, Tom said, “Come on, little brother. You can do it.
Fight. You have to save him.”
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?”
in B Block, at the end of the Michigan Avenue Hall.”
the hallways have nicknames. Michigan Avenue is the far hallway on B
do I get there?”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.”
about Al? Has Ziggy found him yet?”
little more solemnly now, Tom said, “No, we don’t know where he is.”
think I do,” said Sam. Then he leaped.
in the New Mexico Desert
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
how did you get here?”
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
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.”
blow to your head must have altered your brainwaves. You’re probably
that’s what I thought too.”
a second, Sam asked, “How was your dad doing before I leaped in?”
must have hit his head really hard. He was still unconscious when you leaped
into him. Where is he now?”
would have been bumped back to the project the second that I leaped in,”
I’m glad. They can take care of him better there.”
he’ll be fine.”
if you guys found out about Mama Beth, that means that we will be found
the search-and-rescue team will find us sometime tomorrow.”
to the side, Sam saw the Imaging Chamber door open to reveal his brother.
Jules saw it vaguely too.
what’s happening?” It was nice to be able to talk to the hologram
without everybody thinking that he was crazy.
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.”
when exactly will that be?” asked Sam.
says that the search-and-rescue team will find the two of you at
approximately six P.M. tomorrow night.”
asked the hologram she could barely see, “Admiral, how’s my father?”
Tom asked, “What, she can see me?”
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.”
some buttons on the handlink, Tom said, “Ziggy gives that a 92%
her previous question, Jules said, “Admiral, my father. How is he?”
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?”
that said, Tom opened the Imaging Chamber door and stepped back into the
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.
Gate, New Mexico
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.
into the room, Beth saw Aurora kneeling next to Al’s bed and asked, “How
could be better. But he could also be worse, a lot worse,” replied Aurora.
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.
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…”
scared now, Beth said, “Aurora, don’t forget, I’m a doctor too. I can
take it, whatever it is. Now, what’s happened?”
Aurora answered, “It’s Al, he’s in a coma.”
this, Beth fainted.
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.
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.
you think something is wrong?”
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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
yeah, I guess I did,” answered Sam, trying to shake off the shock he was
still feeling from the doctor’s sudden appearance.
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.
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
for something to say in return, the leaper continued to look at the bag.
“I’ll tell you later,” he eventually said.
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
“Oh, boy,” he muttered.
Thanks to Damon Sugameli
and Kat Freymuth for all their help with these stories.