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
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
completely 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 in the blue expanse, Sam would
have sighed in frustration at his question being answered by another
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.
None came before he felt a familiar tug as the only warning he had
that his impending leap was about to begin, the tug that 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 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 see, smell, touch, and hear his new environs, the
second of which hit him immediately: it
was the undeniable scent of death. Glancing
around, Sam knew immediately from his time at 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
guide 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
autopsy table. Sam noted that his garment bore a black nametag reading Smythe
in white capital letters.
yeah, I guess I did,” Sam answered whilst trying to shake off the shock he
was still feeling from the doctor’s sudden appearance.
Raising his eyebrows while he waited for Doctor Smythe 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
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.
I don’t see any connection to the serial killer.” Searching for something to say in return, the leaper
continued to look at the bag. “I...
just want to make sure,” he eventually replied, trying to sound
convincing. “Thank you.”
simply 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,”
Gate, New Mexico
January 23, 2007
Calavicci had barely left her husband’s side in the infirmary ever since
he had been rescued along with her stepdaughter Julianna.
Rear Admiral (upper half) Al Calavicci, retired, hadn’t moved under
his own will in over five days. Although
there was brain activity, the injuries he sustained during the plane crash
prevented him from regaining consciousness.
All that Beth could do was wait until her husband showed signs of
improvement, all the while hoping and praying that every following minute
would eventually bring good news.
Why him?” she whispered to herself for the thousandth time as she
brushed a few stray locks of Al’s greying hair gently with her fingers,
while the fingers on her other hand maintained a strong grip on his left
hand. The former chief
physician of Project Quantum Leap could feel tears beginning to well up as
she looked upon the admiral’s peaceful expression.
“I would give anything to gaze into his beautiful brown eyes right
her husband’s hand tighter, Beth wiped away the salty water that was
beginning to slide down her cheeks. They
had been married for over forty-six years and she was going to be damned if
either of them didn’t live to see their golden wedding anniversary.
Memories of all the years they had shared together continuously raced
through her mind... their courtship, engagement, marriage, times of
separation, reunions, the birth of each of their daughters. “Our children,” Beth said in a hushed tone.
All four of the girls and their own families came to the complex as
quickly as they could when they heard the news.
With plenty of extra guest quarters, all of the Calavicci family was
determined to be near their patriarch’s side until he regained
from the family, many people around the complex were naturally worried about
his condition, about what would happen to Sam and the Project if Al didn’t
make it through the coma... at that point in time, she could have cared less
about Quantum Leap. Beth
Calavicci only wanted her husband to wake up.
Investigative Service Headquarters
had no idea where he was going. The
doctor in the autopsy room mentioned that the leaper’s host had requested
the bagged items for forensic evaluation, so that gave Sam some clue as to
what he was to do with the bloodied bullets contained in the plastic bag he
held tightly in his right hand. He
would just have to find someone to give him some direction, which usually
fell on his observer, Al. The
time traveler stood in the hallway for a good five minutes, hoping that
somebody would walk by to aid him, but nobody came.
he gave up and approached the elevator.
The silver doors gave a distorted reflection of his host, but he
could see that Agent Cunningham was of similar height and build of Sam
himself. After a moment of
trying to get a better look at the leapee’s face and failing, he pressed a
metallic button that lit up a tiny red light in the middle of it when he
released his finger. The doors
to the lift opened right away and he stepped inside, finding that the
buttons on the panel within were only labelled with numbers for floors.
“Oh, boy,” he mumbled and decided he might as well go for the
the doors opened for him again, he exited the elevator cabin to find himself
in an office with desks lined up, almost exactly like in the old police
movies he used to watch when he went to the movie theatre in Elk Ridge as a
kid. Whenever he wasn’t
watching the newest science fiction flick, his attention was drawn to the
world of cops and robbers. Half
of the desks were occupied with men dressed in suits, some with their sport
jacket draped on the back of the wooden office chairs and a hat placed on a
corner of their desk. “What
was the name he called me? Cunningham?”
Sam mused as he glanced around at the nameplates that sat on the front of
every desk. He eventually found
Cunningham’s desk toward what seemed to be the “back” of the office,
given that all desks were facing the same way.
down at his temporary desk, which was made of a heavy wood that had been
stained an even-heavier color, Sam placed the bag with the bullets carefully
toward the middle of the desktop and began the search for Cunningham’s day
planner. To the leaper’s
further chagrin after flipping through everything on the desk and searching
all of the drawers, it seemed that his host had no such item. “Must keep a mental schedule,” the scientist muttered to
just a recommendation, Aaron,” said a voice from behind with a chuckle.
“But keeping a written schedule sure won’t get in Pearce’s good
books if some Soviet spy gets ahold of it.”
turned in his chair to face the person who interrupted his innocent
self-directed comment. The man
had thick-rimmed black glasses and dark-blonde hair that was strictly
slicked back, and he sported a friendly, if goofy, grin.
He had the same cookie-cutter dark-toned suit and white shirt that
everyone else in the office was wearing, except that his tie was a bright
yellow in stark contrast to everyone else’s subtle blues, greens, and
shades of grey. “Yeah,
you’re probably right,” the leaper agreed.
Glancing at the evidence bag before meeting the hazel eyes of the
other man again, he hoped that maybe his newfound companion would help him
out. “I was supposed to take
this evidence to Forensics, but I couldn’t remember if I had something
else to do now. Guess I need some more coffee to wake up.”
smile on the other agent’s face widened slightly.
“Not a bad idea. We
were up pretty late last night working on that fresh body that Smythe has
down there...” he said, letting his sentence trail off before stepping
closer to take a better look at the evidence that Sam was talking about.
“So these are the bullets from our John Doe?”
it wasn’t a lie, Sam nodded his head reached to pick up the bag.
He was surprised when the yellow-tied agent beat him to it and
dangled it in front of him. “I’ll
take these on down to Forensics. I
was on my way there anyway,” he stated cheerfully.
“Don’t worry ’bout a thing, Aaron.
Your old buddy Elliott’ll take care of this one since we’re
finally working on a case together again.”
Before the leaper could even give Elliott his thanks, the agent
turned around and jeered, “You just get your coffee and figure out your
day!” before heading off for the elevator.
his head with a smile at the amount of energy the man seemed to almost
emanate, Sam got back up from the desk and searched out a source of coffee.
There was a kitchenette not too far from his desk where he found a
small refrigerator, a water cooler, a toaster oven, and the appliance for
which he was seeking: a coffee pot. Taking one of the generic mugs from the cupboard above, he
filled it with the black brew and inhaled some of the scent before taking a
small sip. Finding it too
bitter for his tastes, he added some cream and sugar.
“How did I take my coffee
before I started leaping?” Sam thought, wondering if the “real”
him preferred his coffee black or with sweeteners added.
For some reason he now found himself wanting a hot cup of tea.
“Did I even drink coffee?”
in his thoughts, the leaper headed back to his host’s desk and
consistently worked on getting the caffeine into his system.
Although Sam himself felt wide-awake, the little white lie he had
spun to excuse his “forgetting” Cunningham’s schedule for the day had
to look realistic. Again, the
time traveler’s thoughts floated back to his occupation for the past dozen
years. How many lies, no matter
how large or small, had he told in order to get out of a sticky situation?
He certainly didn’t remember doing that in his pre-leap days.
As a scientist, one of the most important aspects of the job is to be
absolutely truthful about your research, your findings, your opinions.
To do otherwise would ruin your credibility and possibly cost other
people their jobs or even their lives, especially when it came to medical
research. Even though Sam’s
primary field of study had been quantum physics, he kept up with the medical
journals and how certain medications were flawed because of greed or
ignorance on behalf of some corporation.
Beckett lived his life as honestly as he could before that fateful day in
1995, and yet he found himself thinking back on all of the falsehoods that
he had invented in order to get to a certain goal during a leap.
He recalled calling Al an angel, a ghost, a figment of other
people’s imagination... his coffee was empty by the time the various
thoughts had sifted through his Swiss-cheesed memory and was wondering if he
could be cured of his chronic lying when he finally returned home.
called an angry voice that shook the quantum physicist out of his reverie.
Sam saw the body that matched the bellow begin barrelling down the
corridor between the rows of desks toward him, the fists of the man balled
up tightly. The leaper started
to rise from his seat before the slightly overweight man dressed in a white
shirt and a black tie approached him. “Don’t get up. I
know you and Ross were up late last night, so I’ll excuse your second
coffee break this morning,” the man said with a sneer before settling down
somewhat. “As soon as he
shows up, I need you two out in the parking lot.
We got another murder to investigate.”
startled at the complacency toward the mention of a murder, Sam just nodded
his head and said a respectful, “Yes, sir.”
As quickly as he arrived, the man sped off in the direction from
which he came and turned a corner before disappearing from Doctor
Beckett’s line of sight.
the heck is Ross?” Sam grumbled as he went to take a sip from the mug of
coffee, getting annoyed when he recalled that it was empty. Heaving out a sigh, he set the cup back down on the desk and
rested his cheek on his fist.
minutes later, Sam Beckett found himself standing in a snow-filled parking
lot with Agent Elliott Ross, the man who had delivered the evidence for Sam.
They both had on heavy overcoats, black Fedoras, and leather gloves
as they waited for the rest of the team in the freezing weather and Elliott
seemed to lose his cheerful mood once they stepped outside into the bright,
sunny day. The chill in the air
was consistent despite the sunshine that the two men were bathing in, the
rays of light bouncing off the white snow making it a little difficult to
had no ambition to start any conversation, feeling that he had to learn more
about where and when he was first. It seemed that his host didn’t carry a wallet, which struck
him as rather odd. “Probably
another measure to prevent ‘Soviet spies’ from infiltrating the
agency,” he had complained sarcastically to himself after searching high
and low for it before Elliott’s return.
three other people, including the one who had instructed Sam to be out in
the parking lot and Doctor Smythe, joined them behind the headquarters for
the Naval Investigative Service, though the fact of the location was still
unbeknownst to the leaper. They
were all dressed in similar apparel to Sam and Elliott, and the one that Sam
hadn’t seen before walked right by them as he headed toward a large
Virginia State Police currently have the crime scene under control,” the
man whom Sam assumed was their superior stated as the roar of an engine
coming to life echoed off the back of the building.
“All they could really tell us was that the victim is a Navy
van pulled up beside the group and they boarded the vehicle.
The doctor that had startled Sam upon his leap in spoke up once they
settled inside the van, addressing Sam’s boss.
“Bill, did the police say anything about how the lieutenant could
grimaced for a moment before speaking as the vehicle pulled out onto the
street and passed the front entrance of the building.
All of the signs were all covered in snow and ice as the sunlight
glared off of the frozen water, yet Sam inspected the signs as
inconspicuously as he could in an attempt to find out where he was, all the
while listening to the words coming from the front seat.
“They didn’t touch the body, Rodge, but from a purely visual
observation, they said he must have been stabbed numerous times in the
Smythe and Agent Ross both gasped slightly and Sam clued in that there was
supposed to be some kind of common knowledge about this.
“You don’t think it’s the ‘Black Widow’ again, do you,
sir?” Elliott questioned hurriedly.
having been one to jump to conclusions, the leader of the team now regretted
even repeating to his agents and medical examiner what the police had told
him. “I sure hope not, Ross.
This is just preliminary stuff, so don’t go thinking too hard about
it yet. Until we see the body
for ourselves there won’t be any jumping to conclusions.”
Sorry, sir,” said Elliott. Sam
was hoping that more would be revealed from the conversation, such as who
the “Black Widow” was. Unfortunately
for him all conversation ceased on the topic, but that gave him time to
think about his situation once more as Doctor Beckett was still at a loss as
to for what branch of the government he was an “agent”.
He wanted to venture a guess at either the FBI or the CIA, but
something in his Swiss-cheesed memory told him that both were wrong.
the vehicle continued along the roads and eventually onto the expressway,
Sam discovered from the road signs that he had leaped into Washington, D.C.
and was currently on his way toward Virginia.
Judging by the style of the other automobiles he could guess that he
was somewhere in the Sixties, but neither piece of information was helping
Sam Beckett very much. He
needed his observer from the future, Admiral Al Calavicci, to show up and
give him some definitive information. The
leaper’s patience was beginning to draw thin.
was pleasantly surprised when the NIS vehicle took an exit sooner than he
expected. Not too much longer after getting off the expressway, they
were stopped at a one-floor motel that looked like the rooms were rented out
by the hour. Police vehicles
had an entire strip of rooms blocked off and yellow tape was surrounding the
area. An officer of the local
police force approached the van as the agent that was driving rolled down
his window. “We’re from the
Naval Investigative Service,” the driver said and flashed a badge at the
police officer, who nodded and waved them in.
Navy has its own investigation agency?” Sam
thought to himself. At least Al would have some idea of what capacity the NIS
operated in and perhaps even, with what case Sam was getting involved.
group disembarked from the vehicle and another police officer approached
them. “First Sergeant Jim
Kilpatrick, Virginia State Police,” he greeted unemotionally as he
extended his hand to whoever decided to take it first.
Agent Willis Pearce, Naval Investigative Service,” said Sam’s boss,
squinting slightly in the bright sunlight.
The sergeant then instructed them to follow him to the scene of the
Sam grumbled to himself as he also learned the name of his superior and a
verification of their agency.
was that, Aaron?” Elliott questioned as they started walking toward the
nothing,” the leaper replied as he forced a convincing grin.
Agent Elliott Ross shrugged and they continued on their way toward
the crime scene. Doctor Smythe
and the agent who drove, apparently Smythe’s assistant, caught up behind
them just as they crossed the threshold into the dingy motel room.
The sergeant was explaining that they had only made visual
observations and had discovered that the victim was a lieutenant commander
in the U.S. Navy from seeing the stripes on his uniform.
Ross, who had a camera around his neck, started to photograph the scene.
Sam decided to join Smythe and his assistant at the side of the bed
where a man in his late twenties or early thirties was tied to the bedposts,
both feet and hands, with blood soaked into the white bed sheets that
covered the lower half of his body. There
were multiple stab wounds to the chest, and as Sam took a closer look at the
victim face, he gasped in absolute shock.
The memory of the man came to him very clearly despite the slight
aging and, more dishearteningly, the slashes that marred his face.
he squeaked. “Oh, boy.”
Gate, New Mexico
January 23, 2007
Admiral (lower half) Tom Beckett, presidential liaison to Project Quantum
Leap, left the Infirmary feeling worse than he had before going in.
Even though he was not expecting Al to be any better than the last
time he had visited, he was hoping that Beth Calavicci would have taken some
time away from her husband’s bedside.
From what the medical staff told him, she was taking what little food
she had been eating in Al’s private room and sleeping in the reclining
chair that she seemed to never move from except to use the bathroom.
It had been five days since the crash and the only time she left for
more than ten minutes was when the chief medical doctor, Aurora Lofton,
forced Beth to return to her quarters to take a shower and get a change of
situation with Admiral Calavicci had the entire complex under stress.
Such a sudden tragedy had upset many people and, even after days of
reconfiguring the Imaging Chamber so that Tom could fill in for Al’s
observer duties, everybody still had an air of concern about what would
happen to the Project. Most
lost themselves in their duties, trying to make sure that productivity
wouldn’t fall just because the acting director of the Project was in a
coma. The best example that Tom
saw was the tireless efforts of Professor Dominic Lofton, the chief
programmer, as he worked to perfect the new settings for the Imaging Chamber
with Doctor Tina Martinez-O’Farrell, the pulse communication technician,
and Doctor Ike Bentenhoff, the head of Imaging Control.
Beckett’s daughter, Doctor Sammy Jo Fulton, had offered to fill in as the
observer, but as Dominic and Sam’s wife Doctor Donna Elesee had concluded,
(along with Ziggy’s support,) Tom was Sam’s brother and his genes were a
much closer match than those of anybody in the complex, making him the most
suited to communicate with Sam back through Time using the holography of the
Imaging Chamber. Tom had also
pointed out that with her infant daughter Isabella at home, Sammy Jo would
likely not appreciate the hours that an observer has to keep in order to
contact Sam. The usage of the
Emergency Holographic Observer, created by Sam and Donna’s son Stephen,
was also ruled out, as it required too much power to run for any length of
time needed to properly observe the leaper.
continued his way down the corridors of the complex, wondering if his
temporary duties as the Project observer would become permanent.
His thoughts were interrupted when the klaxon signifying that there
was a visitor in the Waiting Room went off for a solid minute.
Ziggy addressed Tom as her voice seemed to come from everywhere at
once. “Admiral Beckett, you
are needed in the Control Room. Doctor
Beckett has leaped.”
on my way,” he answered and headed for the nearest elevator.
Arriving on the control level, he found the Project psychiatrist
Doctor Verbena Beeks coming out of the stairwell.
not quick enough for you?” Tom joked as he cracked a friendly grin.
smiled weakly and breathed out through her nose.
“Just trying to get some exercise,” she replied as the two walked
beside each other down the hallway. “Are
you heading to the Control Room?”
admiral nodded in response. “That
I am. Shall I accompany you to
the Waiting Room first?” he offered.
Although he was familiar with the staff at Project Quantum Leap, Tom
didn’t feel that he was “buddies” with anybody yet and hoped that he
could build some bridges whenever opportunities arose.
psychiatrist shook her head. “That’s
all right. I’m sure they’re waiting for you in Control,” she
answered with a genuine smile. “Thank
time,” replied Tom as he stopped at the entrance to the Control Room and
Verbena continued on her way further down the corridor.
Inside was the normal hustle and bustle that came with the beginning
of each leap. There was
somebody in Sam Beckett’s aura in the Waiting Room and it was up to the
staff in Control, along with Ziggy and anything the visitor could tell them,
to find out where and when Sam had leaped.
Dominic, Tina, and Donna at the main controls, Tom greeted them before
getting to business. “What do
we have so far?”
much,” Dom answered. “The
visitor just arrived a few minutes ago and seems to think that he’s
dreaming. From what we can
tell, Doctor Beckett’s somewhere around Nineteen Seventy, plus or minus
nodded in understanding. “How
long will it take to get a lock on him?”
head programmer shook his head. “Until
we learn more from the visitor, it’s hard to really say.
It shouldn’t be any more than a half-hour.”
From the look he received from all three of the scientists, he realized that
he would just be in the way until they could find Sam.
“I’ll be in my office. Let
me know when you’ve found him,” Sam’s older brother replied before
turning around and leaving the Control Room without giving anybody a second
glance. He headed straight for
his office, formerly that of General Hawkins, and even longer before that it
was Gooshie’s, and settled down at his desk.
Fifteen minutes ticked by as he idly reviewed the headings of the
procedures for observing:
#1: The time traveler may not be told anything about his own life
if he doesn’t remember it on his own.
guess he doesn’t know about Mom then,” Tom thought sadly before he
#2: The time traveler may not
alter events in the past that will directly affect his life or those of
Project Quantum Leap personnel.
elder Beckett’s eyes widened at this rule, knowing that his younger
brother had significantly changed the way Tom’s life had played out up
until that point. He found it
hard to believe that there had been a history where he was dead... shot dead
in Viet Nam and never came home, never had a family.
Does that mean without Sam he would have been one of the too-many
names on the Memorial Wall in Washington.
Shaking his head, Tom moved on down the list.
#3: The observer must keep the time traveler properly informed
based on the projections given by the parallel hybrid computer.
#4: Only the observer may be in the Imaging Chamber while communicating with
the time traveler.
#5: . . .
as he started to feel his eyes droop, Ziggy’s voice floated into the
office. “Admiral Beckett,
Doctor Beeks requests your presence in the Waiting Room.
She seems to think that you are able to, as she put it, ‘pull
rank’ on the visitor.”
like he was getting more exercise in one hour than he normally would in a
day, Tom Beckett pushed himself up from the chair and heaved a sigh.
“Thanks, Ziggy,” he said as he straightened his uniform and left
for the Waiting Room. Upon
reaching the large airlock-style door, he found Verbena already waiting
outside for him.
she greeted him. “I was
wondering if you’d help me out with the visitor.
He says that he’s an agent for the Naval Investigative Service.
Ziggy said that places him anywhere between Nineteen Sixty-Six and
nodded at the information but was still puzzled.
“What’s this got to do with me ‘pulling rank’?”
Beeks chuckled slightly at Ziggy repeating her choice of words.
“I would think that a Navy admiral would have more authority over
an agent for the NIS than would a psychiatrist such as myself,” she told
him, appearing a little annoyed at the fact.
“After he wondered to himself as to ‘where NIS had sent’ him,
he clammed up, so I left and consulted Ziggy.
She said that NIS likely stood for Naval Investigative Service, so as
soon as I heard the word ‘Naval’, I figured you would be perfect for the
admiral licked his lips and grinned. “I
guess you do have a point there, Doctor,” he replied before breaking out
in a larger smile. “Maybe in
the future we could arrange to get you your own admiral’s uniform.”
The balding man continued on and asked Sam another question.
“Now, why don’t you tell me everything that you can remember
happening on Saturday night?” he said, more a demand than a request.
Sam was about to open his mouth when three subsequent knocks came at the
door and, without waiting for a reply, in walked a young man dressed in
the same style of uniform as Commander Dobbs.
The door closed behind him, the officer excused his intrusion. “Uh, sorry to interrupt, sir, but it’s important.
If I could have a word with my wingman in private, sir?”
The young man was fidgeting with his fingers as he spoke, obviously
uneasy about barging in.
The commander from the Navy Reserves gave no direct response and turned
his attention to Sam. “May
I, uh, use your head, Ensign?”
After a slight hesitation, Sam responded.
“Sure.” Hugh Dobbs
snapped shut his notebook as he stood up from the chair, placed the book
on a nearby table, and then entered the bathroom while Sam and his visitor
watched him go.
Once the coast was clear, the other man looked at Sam with a hint of
Look, I know he’s a Hollywood lawyer eleven months out of the
year, but this month he’s a commander in the Navy.”
“I gotta remember I’m in the military,” was all Sam could answer
with, more chastising himself than trying to make an excuse for his
“Yeah, I’d say so,” the other man responded sarcastically. Then softening his tone, he asked, “So how ya doin’,
Even though the leaper was glad to know that his visitor, who bore a
little bit of resemblance to Sam himself, seemed to be on his side, he had
just leaped in mere minutes before...
and it was no regular leap-in, having found himself in his host’s
dream. “Oh, I’m a little
confused,” replied the time traveler.
“I think I can fix that,” said his host’s friend as he pulled out a
cigar from his pant pocket, and his voice lowered to a whisper. “How’d you like to see Lisa?”
“Lisa?” Sam questioned.
“Yeah, I tried to sneak her in here, but that dry Marine guard at the
door looks like he’s on business...
so I told Doctor Berger about that sex show we saw in Tijuana last
Thursday, and I promised him I’d take him there if he puts you
and Lisa in a room together.” The
young man’s voice level raised as his sentence progressed obviously
excited about helping out the person into whom Sam had leaped.
No less confused than he already was, Sam stuttered out, “An-an-and how
do we do that?”
“You gotta get sick,” came the matter-of-fact reply.
Looking over at the photograph of the young woman in a Navy nurse’s
uniform that Commander
Dobbs had asked him about before, the realization came to Sam.
“Lisa’s... a nurse.”
Then the dream came back to the leaper in full swing as he finished the
other man’s phrase, “Bango...
bongo,” and began walking toward the picture of Lisa.
Before he got very far, Dobbs came back from the bathroom and
closed the door behind him as the sound of the toilet flushing faded.
“You gentlemen finished?” he asked light-heartedly.
“Yes, sir. Thank you,
sir,” answered Sam’s visitor with an appreciative grin.
“You’re Ensign Ferguson, aren’t ya?” the Navy lawyer asked as he
pointed at the young man.
Ferguson seemed a little surprised that the commander knew who he was.
“Yes, sir,” he replied.
Dobbs continued in his friendly manner.
“I’ll, uh, need to ask you some questions when I’m finished
Now the ensign appeared even more surprised.
“Question me, sir?”
“Well, you two were together at the Officers’ Club last Saturday,
weren’t ya?” the lawyer pressed on, getting a head start on his
questioning of the other officer.
“Ah, yes, sir. About half
the squadron was at the Club that night, sir...
and Bingo was not the only one to dance with Marci, sir.” Commander Dobbs placed his hands on his hips as Ensign
Ferguson continued to speak. “Uh,
Commander Riker’s wife, sir.”
Just as Sam was starting to feel left out of the conversation, his
host’s friend brought him back into it after a glaring pause in
conversation. “Say, Bingo,
you don’t look so good,” he declared.
their conversation about getting him to meet Lisa, Sam played along.
“Well...” he started, looking between the two men, “it’s nothing,
it’s just a... little
stomach thing I’m feelin’.”
The commander became concerned and asked, “Somethin’ you ate?”
“I don’t know sir, uh,” he said as he walked toward his host’s
bed, pressing two fingers into his abdomen.
“Excuse me, I... wow... I’ve had this kinda dull...” he continued, trying his
best to look like he was suffering from an inflamed appendix, “pain
all night around my umbilicus, and every time I press on the McBerney’s
point I get a sharp... pain.”
The lawyer was amused at Sam’s description and laughed. “You go to medical school?” he asked as he crossed his
arms in front of his chest.
“No, sir. No, sir. I had a cousin who was a doctor; she taught—he told me a
lot,” Sam answered, correcting himself when he presented the idea of a
female doctor. Something told
him that the timeframe he was in still perceived men to be the majority to
practise that particular profession.
“Well, we’d better get him to Sickbay,” Commander Dobbs announced as
they heard the sound of an overhead fighter jet coming closer to their
building. The ensign was
impressed with his companion’s acting skills and the fact that the
lawyer had fallen for it. “That
is an excellent idea, sir,” he replied as the jet’s engines roared by
Sam put in as he began to rest his head on the pillow, listening to the
fading noises of the jet.
you know this man, Agent Cunningham?” Doctor Smythe asked, his eyes
hard, Sam nodded, although he barely heard the query through the memory of
the first time he met the man in question.
“Chip Ferguson. I
first met him when he was an ensign,” he answered, still not believing his
eyes. Didn’t Al say that Chip
had died during wartime? The
admiral’s voice whispered in Sam’s mind, “Me and Chip were tailpipe
buddies. We flew together for
ten years, on and off, until he caught a SAM missile over Haiphong...”
not supposed to die here,” the leaper whispered to himself.
the medical examiner shook his head sadly.
“Well, I’m afraid that can’t be changed, Aaron,” he answered
with a touch of sympathy in his tone.
began to step back from the bed as his stomach was starting to churn.
Elliott was taking photographs of the mutilated body while Smythe and
his assistant were preparing to do some preliminary medical inspecting.
Suddenly finding himself to need some outside air, the time traveler
excused himself and left the motel room.
He leaned against the window with his face in his hands, totally
engulfed in grief and confusion.
least dying in combat was for something...
this was murder!” the scientist said quietly and angrily as a
strong breeze nipped at the exposed skin on his face.
Removing the gloves from his face, he gazed out into the distance as
flurries began to filter across his field of view.
“What did I change to make this happen?”
Beckett had only a few minutes to himself before Willis Pearce appeared at
couldn’t help overhearing that you know the victim,” the team leader
said quietly as he removed a cigarette from the pack inside of his coat.
As he lit the cigarette, the agent continued speaking, though
slightly muffled. “I can
transfer you to another case if need be.”
that Chip Ferguson’s unexpected death was perhaps his reason for leaping
into Aaron Cunningham, Sam shook his head.
“That’s not necessary, sir.
I want to work on this case.”
sat between them for a few moments as Agent Pearce enjoyed his tobacco.
The second-hand smoke was, thankfully, blowing away from Sam as the
wind had picked up, and it looked like the weather was changing to reflect
the leaper’s mood. Whereas
before it was a sunny yet cold day, now the clouds had moved in and appeared
heavy with snow.
you’d better get in there and get your sketches of the crime scene done.
Smythe and Bentley are waiting to examine the body,” Pearce finally
in compliance, Sam entered the motel room once again, his mind clouded with
dread. He removed his gloves and shuffled through Aaron’s tote bag
for a sketchpad and a pencil, finding them with ease. “Now if only I could find some drawing skills in this
bag,” the leaper murmured to himself.
Sam Beckett’s inability to draw, something came over him as he scanned the
room, and he found himself producing sketches of the disfigured form of
Lieutenant Commander Charles “Chip” Ferguson and the room’s environs.
After he had filled ten pages of the sketchbook, he gave Doctor
Smythe and his assistant Bentley permission to go ahead with their duties.
Gate, New Mexico
January 23, 2007
Cunningham sat on the medical bed and watched in amazement as the large
octagonal door opened again, spilling in white light from wherever it led
to. This time, instead of a
Negro doctor entering it was a... Navy officer?
The blue haze that made up the walls of the strange room he found
himself in caused the man in his white uniform really stand out as the door
closed behind him.
are you?” Aaron demanded as he stood up defensively.
“And where in God’s name am I?”
was taken aback by the immediate question.
Venturing a few more steps toward the visitor, whom Tom could see as
both his brother and a man who appeared to be in his late twenties, he
maintained a professional air. “To
answer your first question, I am Admiral Beckett,” he answered as he
continued his approach.
agent screwed up his lips at the response.
An admiral? “Nice to
meet you, Admiral. Now, how
about my second question?”
standing a few feet away from the visitor, Tom pressed his lips together
into a fine line. “I’m
afraid that’s top secret, but don’t worry – you’re safe here.
This is a government installation,” he clarified as he kept eye
contact with the younger man. “Now,
I know you’re an agent with Naval Intelligence.
What’s your name, son?”
Aaron was sceptical about the man’s explanation, he could only imagine
what kind of trouble he would get into if he didn’t co-operate with an
admiral at a top-secret installation. He
also wasn’t fond of being called “son”.
Aaron Cunningham, NIS, homicide division,” he responded as his hand
automatically went for his badge. The
absence of his personal belongings (and clothes!) begged the question, “If
I may ask you something else, Admiral...
why am I dressed like this? Is
this some kind of experiment?”
had never dealt directly with a visitor like this before and was not used to
these kinds of return questions. He
knew that Verbena had not gotten very far with him, but had hoped that she
had at least filled him in on some of the details.
might say that, Agent Cunningham,” the admiral replied as he stayed
professional. “But don’t
worry, no harm will come to you. I just need you to answer some questions for me.
You’ll find that some things will be hard to remember, but don’t
get frustrated. Just tell me
what you can.”
there is one thing... I know
that if I’m not home for dinner tonight, my wife’s gonna kill me, but
I’m not sure why,” Aaron answered with a wry smile.
When he saw the admiral grin slightly, the agent gained a little bit
of trust in this complete stranger. “Uh,
other than that... the word
‘black widow’ sticks out in my mind for some reason.
I dunno what to tell you, sir.”
at the information that seemed useless to him, Tom decided to take a more
direct approach. “All right,
how about the date? The names
of your co-workers? Where you
were before you came here?”
eyes narrowed at the last question. “There’s
something else I’ve been meaning to ask...
how exactly did I get here?
Last thing I remember was I was in Autopsy waiting for Doctor...
Doctor Rodger...” he said, trailing off when he couldn’t remember
the name of the medical examiner. “Anyway,
I was waiting for some doctor and then everything when blank for a while
before I woke up here. Maybe
Elliott and I should have called it quits earlier last night.”
Tom encouraged, hoping not to get back to the issue of how Aaron arrived at
Project Quantum Leap. The
visitor seemed to be disoriented enough to be guided away from the topic.
nodded energetically. “Yeah,
Agent Elliott... ummm... anyway,
we were working on a case until pretty late.
Must be why I’m having such a hard time remembering, huh?”
admiral cracked a smile. “Yeah,
probably. How about the date? Can
you recall that?”
hummed and hawed for a good ten seconds before a quiet squawk came over the
speakers, indicating to Tom that he was needed elsewhere.
“Listen, Agent,” he said and interrupted the visitor’s train of
thought, “I’m needed elsewhere. If
you remember anything that you think’s important, just ask for Doctor
Beeks. She has full authority
at this facility and can pass on the information to me.”
Admiral,” the NIS agent replied, sitting up a bit more erect as Tom also
straightened his back before turning around and leaving the confused man
behind him in the Waiting Room. He
found Verbena standing outside with a grin on her face.
are you smiling at?” Tom asked the psychiatrist.
bad for an amateur,” she quipped before walking through the open doorway
through which Tom had just come. Laughing
a little bit to himself, and impressed with the way Agent Cunningham was
swayed by his rank, Admiral Beckett continued away from the Waiting Room and
down the corridor to the Control Room.
sorry to have taken you away from the visitor, Admiral,” Ziggy announced
as soon as Tom stepped into the nebulous of the Project Quantum Leap
seems to be the problem, Ziggy?” the temporary observer questioned.
After having worked at Project Liberty and talking to Omega, the
parallel hybrid computer that was a clone of Ziggy, he was used to
addressing a computer as if it was a human being.
swirling blue energy in Ziggy’s orb danced in unpredictable patterns for a
moment before she answered. “I
am afraid that it will take longer than anticipated to find Doctor Beckett.
There is a strong ‘current’ of sorts in the time stream that is
interfering with my sensors.”
bewildered, Tom approached the main control board.
“What’s she talking about?” he demanded of Dom and Tina.
she’s sayin’ that some kinda new history is overwriting the current
one,” Tina Martinez-O’Farrell answered with a ditzy smile as she spoke.
“It’s like they’re fightin’ to become the one true timeline. This ain’t like normal where there are all kinds of
timelines possible from Doctor Beckett’s current location in the past.
Our current history and an alternate history, startin’
from as far back as the Civil War period, are the two major contenders.”
Lofton nodded in agreement. “That’s
the best way to describe it. We
don’t know how this ‘other’ timeline differs, but it’s causing some
problems. We’re working on a
his relatively successful encounter with the visitor, the news he was
hearing got his blood boiling. His
little brother was travelling in time, helping people fix their lives, and
now it seemed like his very existence may be in danger, if having problems
in finding him was any indication. “Well,
work harder, damn it! The
sooner we find him, the sooner I can get into that friggin’ Imaging
Chamber and help him leap out!”
sudden outburst shocked everybody in the Control Room.
It wasn’t that Admiral Calavicci never had fits of anger, but that
was usually later on during the leap when everybody was equally frustrated. Nobody dared say anything in return... except Ziggy.
Beckett, could you please try to not upset everybody?
I am very depressed about Admiral Calavicci’s current state and
your negative attitude is not helping,” the computer’s voice said sadly
but with the standard amount of egotism.
shut up, you overblown calculator!” the angry admiral retorted.
made a huffing sound before saying, “There is no need to imitate Admiral
Calavicci. It will not cheer me
ground his teeth for a moment before glancing around the room.
Most of the staff were working hard (and doing their best to keep
from laughing aloud) while trying to avoid his line of sight, especially the
timid Percy Alfredsson who was filling in for Sammy Jo at her station. Without a word more to human nor machine, the admiral strode
out of Control and headed for the nearest elevator. He needed some fresh air to clear his head.
and the rest of the investigative team had spent most of the afternoon at
the scene of Chip Ferguson’s murder.
When the only evidence they could produce was Chip and his
belongings, along with verification from the Navy about his being enlisted,
Pearce instructed Sam and Elliott to begin asking around about the
lieutenant commander’s recent activities.
Luckily they had an NIS car to themselves from the noon-hour arrival
of some more agents to help with the investigation.
first stop was the headquarters of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps
(JAG), where Commander Ferguson had been working as a lawyer. Chip’s co-workers told them that he had gone home with a
“blonde bombshell” the night before while they were enjoying drinks at a
local bar, where Chip’s closest friends were currently mourning the death
of a good man. After obtaining
an official photograph of the commander and a full description of the woman,
Sam and Elliott thanked them for their help and left.
sounds like the ‘Black Widow’ to me, Aaron,” Agent Ross commented as
they exited the building. The
snow was coming down heavier now and dark clouds blocked out the sun. “It’s the same description of a woman in her late
twenties, very attractive, blonde hair...
they’d better be able to help us out at this McMurphy’s place.”
just nodded in agreement and kept the details fresh in his mind by repeating
them repeatedly. The two got
into the white Ford silently and drove the short distance to McMurphy’s
Tavern. With the discovery of
Chip’s murder and the absence of Al, the leaper was feeling a mixture of
emotions, mostly depression and anger.
how’d you know this fella, Aaron?” Elliott asked innocently.
“I didn’t know you had any friends in the Navy.”
Beckett shrugged. “It was a
while ago when I met him. I
wouldn’t say we’re friends, but seeing him dead just like that... and at
the hands of a serial killer...” His
sentence trailed off, not sure if he could say anything more without losing
agent’s lips tightened before he swallowed.
“I know what you mean, bud. Don’t
worry, we’ll get her and make sure she pays for what she’s done,” he
his companion was right, the time traveler let out a sigh as Agent Ross
parked the vehicle beside the saloon. They
got out of the car and entered through the front door, finding the place to
be half-filled. The lighting
was a little dark and there was tobacco smoke in the air to accompany the
quiet din of conversation. Sam
took charge and approached the bartender, slapping the photograph of Chip
down on the oaken bar. “Do
you recognize this man?” he asked matter-of-factly.
bartender studied the snapshot for a moment before nodding.
“Sure, that’s Chip. He
just came in last night for the first time in a few weeks.
I think he said he’d been out west workin’ on a case.”
He met Sam’s eyes and furrowed his brow. “Is somethin’ wrong with Chip?”
could say that. He’s dead,”
the leaper replied, his tone bordering on cynicism.
“Did you notice if he left here last night with anybody?”
the shock left his face, the corner of the barkeep’s lip twitched before
he answered. “Sure, it was
Loraine he went with. Real sexy
girl with a very particular taste in men.
She’s been hangin’ out here almost every night for a couple o’
weeks, tellin’ me that she was waitin’ for ‘the right guy to come
in’. You’re not tellin’
me that she killed Chip, are ya?”
shook his head. “No, but she
is a suspect. We were told that
some of the commander’s companions were here.
Could you point them out to us?”
bartender’s hand immediately came up as he pointed to two men in Navy
uniforms at a table in the corner. “They
were here last night with Chip and came in earlier without a word to me.
Nearly inseparable, those three,” he commented with a grim look on
an appreciative smile, Agent Ross thanked the man and hurried to catch up to
Sam who had moved as soon as he spotted the two officers.
Both of the Navy men had a mug of beer in front of them and the air
of gloom hung in the ambiance.
two knew Lieutenant Commander Ferguson?” the leaper asked, trying to be
sensitive to the situation. Both
officers glanced up at him with questioning looks on their faces.
what’s it to you?” the taller of the two asked, whose stripes indicated
he was a commander. His brown
eyes were hardened but showed obvious pain at the news of his friend’s
from NIS,” Elliott piped up, flashing his badge.
“We’re investigating the commander’s murder and was wondering
if you could help us with, well, anything.”
other officer, another lieutenant commander, shrugged his shoulders.
“Only thing we know is that Chip was finally ‘the one’ for
Loraine,” he stated acidly. “That
girl’s been here since the end of November and didn’t give anybody
a second glance ’til Chip came in last night with us.
She was all over ’im.”
his lips, Sam fired off another question, moving his gaze between the two
men. “Who is this Loraine?”
commander answered, running his fingers through his dark hair before saying
anything. “Nobody could pick
her up. I saw at least a dozen
men every night approach her, try to buy her a drink, and get rejected on
the spot. She barely gave
anybody a chance, usually saying, ‘You’re not the one.’
Kinda queer, so we figured she was just picky about looks. Guess Chip was unlucky enough to meet her standards.”
Ross then gave them the description given by the other JAG officers and they
confirmed the identity. “Yup,
that’s here,” the lieutenant commander said.
“She didn’t talk to anybody, ’cept for ordering drinks from the
barkeep and rejecting men.”
you two?” the leaper asked.
me; I’m married,” the commander answered, shifting in his seat.
“But many a JAG man got the big ‘no’ from her.
We only learned her name from Tim the bartender there, and that was
about all he could get from her aside from her favorite drink.
Every time we were in here, she’d be up there at the bar drinking a
Soho martini. She’d nurse
that thing all night, occasionally looking over the crowd as if she was a
hunter looking for prey.”
about her last name? Where she
came from?” Sam queried, desperate for answers.
men shook their heads. “She
had a hint of a Southern accent, but that was about all we could tell about
where she came from,” the brown-haired lieutenant commander put in.
“Other than that, the woman was a complete mystery.”
removed three business cards from his wallet, giving one to each of the men. “If you remember anything else, please let us know.”
two JAG officers gave their assurances that they would do so and the NIS
agent left the third card with Tim as they left the tavern.
wasn’t a whole lot of help, was it?” Doctor Beckett grumbled as they got
into the car. “Loraine from
the South leaves a lot of names to search.”
we’re that much closer, right? At
least we have a name now,” Elliott answered as he started up the car.
“Just think, with that information going out to every police agency
in the country, we just might find her.”
hope so,” Sam replied as he gazed out the window at the falling snow.
Investigative Service headquarters
decided to recall the team to headquarters for further examination of the
evidence and allowed the state police to continue with any investigating
they wished to carry out. While
Sam continued to research the lead on Loraine and Chip’s background, he
found nothing that would indicate that he “deserved” such a death.
It looked like he just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong
of the talk he had heard during the day of the “Black Widow” and her
stream of murders got him interested in what exactly had transpired. Apparently, there were at least twelve murders attributed to
her, all of them involving sexual intercourse with her victims before they
perished, and all of them bearing knife wounds to their torso and face.
There were no photographs of the victims readily available, and
apparently only three before Chip had been enlisted in the Navy or the
Marines. That was enough for
NIS to acquire all cases that could be related to their murders.
at his watch, the leaper wondered when quitting time was.
Nobody had indicated to him that it was time to go home so he just
kept on reading and reading, hoping to find some connection between the
murders and perhaps even come up with more on the suspect.
However, since there was no evidence left behind at any of the
scenes, Sam was as unsuccessful as the professionals who had already gone
over all of the evidence. He
was near his wit’s end with worry about why he hadn’t heard from Al.
At least with Ziggy’s help they could establish some kind of
pattern and predict the murderer’s next move.
Aaron,” greeted Elliott as he sat down at the desk neighbouring Sam’s.
“Found anything interesting yet?”
shook his head. “There
doesn’t seem to be any consistency. It’s
like she leaves a calling card and nothing else.”
Ross bobbed his head as if he had heard it all before.
In fact he had, with every new addition to the string of murders,
nothing new seemed to be added except another body in the morgue.
“Well, some day we’ll get her.
Nobody can run forever, right?”
guess you’re right, Elliott. I
just hope it’s sooner than later,” the time traveler replied grimly.
at his watch, Elliott made a show of stretching before he got up and began
dressing for the weather. “That
snow sure came in quick and heavy, eh?
I hope they got the ploughs out there, otherwise my car won’t make
it two blocks before giving up.” When
Sam only made a weak smile, Elliott continued speaking.
“Even worse, you’d better hurry home in that little red
‘beast’ of yours. Janet
isn’t going to be very happy about you being late for your anniversary
dinner. Speaking of which,
Betty said she called to let you know you forgot your wallet at home this
morning, in case you were wondering what happened to it.”
leaper’s eyes nearly bugged out of his head.
“I’m married?!” he exclaimed in his mind. “At least the case of the missing wallet is solved.”
nodded in appreciation for the news. “Oh,
yeah, she’ll understand that I was working late,” he answered as he also
got up from his seat.
to himself, Elliott put on his grey leather gloves.
“I hope so. Well, just
be sure to duck any frying pans or rolling pins that may come your way when
you walk in that door,” he joked. “See
ya tomorrow, bud.”
ya,” Sam replied while he struggled to get the heavy overcoat on without
the sleeves of his sport jacket scrunching up.
After donning all of Aaron’s winter gear, Sam went out to the
parking lot and took the brunt of a strong burst of wind, hoping that his
was the only red vehicle in the lot. He
came across only two, an Oldsmobile and a Dodge.
The odds were in Sam’s favour as the keys fit right away into the
lock of the Oldsmobile.
snow was still falling heavily and Sam’s black coat was white in a manner
of minutes as he began brushing the snow from Aaron’s car.
He was nearly done when the familiar white rectangle of light
appeared before him. The
quantum physicist’s mouth was ready to admonish Al Calavicci for being so
late, but those words died before they even reached his tongue when he saw another
Sam,” Tom greeted with a big grin as the door closed behind him.
leaper creased his brow before asking, “Who are you?”
Gate, New Mexico
January 23, 2007
though it was the middle of winter, Tom was able to bear the serene, cool
night air while he stood on the large patio at the Project Quantum Leap
complex. His outside
temperature had fallen, but inside he was still burning mad about Sam’s
sure picked a good time for a ‘vacation’,” Tom muttered to himself as
he glanced up at the stars. The
wind had picked up during his time outside and he was considering going back
inside for a nap. “Might as
well be rested for whenever those people find Sam.”
as he was turning around to go back indoors, he heard the howling sound of a
formidable wind approaching. Although
it was night, the moon gave off enough light in conjunction with the
security lighting to illuminate the wave of sand that was approaching.
Tiny particles began to strike the admiral in the face as the winds
picked up and he made quick tracks for the doors, only to find them locked.
going on here?” he cursed as he yanked hard on the doors, squinting to
keep the sand from his eyes. The
doors wouldn’t budge.
he cried out. “Open these
voice of the hybrid computer came over Tom’s communication bracelet.
“My apologies, Admiral, but power to certain systems has been
diverted to my nano-search. I
will inform Logistics to redirect power to the patio doors temporarily.”
made no response as he waited for the purr of energy to return to the
electrically locked doors. The
wall of sand was nearly upon him when they were finally reactivated and he
dove inside, bringing some blowing sand in with him, and quickly shut the
the excess sand from his face and his uniform, the admiral looked up at the
ceiling. “You did that on
purpose, didn’t you?” he said accusingly.
Ziggy didn’t answer, Tom Beckett could swear he heard a soft chuckling
that could only be attributed to the computer.
was many hours later when Tom was woken up in his quarters by Ziggy and
summoned once again to the Control Room.
Many bleary-eyed programmers and technicians greeted him.
finally got a lock on him, Admiral,” Dominic announced when the acting
boss stopped at the main control board.
“We’ve already activated the hologram, so all you have to do is
step into the Imaging Chamber.”
in appreciation, Tom thanked the staff for their hard work and headed toward
the ramp. He stopped in his tracks when Dom spoke up again.
“We’re still working on accessing the NCIS database.
It turns out Director Shepard froze access a few days ago after a
security breach and is denying any external requests.”
began to well up inside of Admiral Beckett again.
Turning on his heels, he returned to the control panel.
“Professor Lofton, you tell Director Shepard,” he began in
a low tone, spitting out the name, “that a presidential liaison has
requested this information, and if she doesn’t comply that she’ll have
to answer to the commander-in-chief himself!”
blinked a couple of times and nodded. “I’ll
call her myself, sir!”
placed his hand on the chief programmer’s shoulder and gave it a friendly
shake. “Thank you,” he said with a grin. Removing his hand, the admiral walked across the room again
and up the ramp toward the glowing lights that surrounded the portal into
Sam’s realm. After pressing a
button on the handlink, the door into the Imaging Chamber opened and Tom
whispered, “Here I come, little brother.”
through the doorway, Tom was amazed at the scene before him.
There was snow everywhere and it was still falling from the sky as if
someone had left a popcorn popper on without placing a bowl underneath the
chute. So astonished was Tom
with the scene that it took him a moment to see his brother, Sam Beckett,
dressed up so warmly that he could only see his face.
Sam,” Tom greeted with a big grin, hitting a handlink key to close the
glowing door behind him. He
knew he had to follow the rules and not directly tell Sam who he was, but
hoped that the leaper would remember him.
creased his brow and asked, “Who are you?”
The admiral stood there in for a moment, not sure how to answer.
are you?” Sam repeated to the stranger as he took some steps
closer. He could only remember
a few people replacing Al in the past...
Gooshie, Sammy Jo, Dominic... those
people all worked at the Project. The
person in the Navy uniform was totally unfamiliar to him.
um, well, I’m filling in for Al. You
remember Al, right?” Tom asked, hoping that his brother didn’t lose all
of his memory on each leap. That
wasn’t something anybody had ever mentioned to him.
time traveler looked at the admiral incredulously.
“Of course I remember Al. He’s
my guide. You, on the other
hand, I don’t know at all. Are
you with the Project?”
nodded in response. “Yes.
You can call me Tom,” he answered, figuring that Sam couldn’t
just refer to him as “Observer” the entire time.
Tom... I know someone
named Tom, don’t I?” Sam asked, trying hard to remember.
Sam, but you know the rules. If
you can’t remember, I can’t tell you,” the admiral replied, keeping
his disappointment hidden. He
thought that Sam knowing who he was would mean there would be an immediate
bond of trust between them.
leaper sighed heavily in exasperation.
“Well, Tom,” Sam began as he started to pace, “why am I
here? If it’s to stop the
murder of Chip Ferguson, I’m too late.”
blinked a couple of times, hoping that Ziggy would be able to fill him in
soon. “Who’s Chip
Al was here, he’d be flipping out,” Sam went on as if he didn’t hear
the question. “I mean, what
kind of drastic change happened to make his life end like that?”
The leaper stopped and looked at his older brother.
“Chip Ferguson was Al’s best friend in the Navy.
For some reason I remember that he originally died while flying Viet
Nam... Ziggy didn’t tell you
any of this?”
admiral shook his head. “We’re
having trouble accessing the NCIS database.
I can tell you that you’re Agent Aaron Cunningham with the Naval
Investigative Service and the date is December Eighteenth, Nineteen
Sixty-Seven,” he said, seeing Sam nod at every piece of information.
already knew that,” he answered, walking away from the hologram as he
returned to brushing off the car. “Did
you know that today is Aaron’s wedding anniversary and that I’m late for
dinner with his wife? Do you
think Ziggy can get me directions to their house?”
stayed in his place as he punched in the requests on the handlink.
“No, but she’s hopeful that we will have that information soon,
Sam,” the admiral replied, slightly amused at his little brother’s
frustrated attitude. He walked
over to the car and watched him brush off snow.
“Almost as bad as those Elk Ridge winters, huh?” he commented
before realizing what he had let slip out.
leaper paused all motion for a moment when he heard the passing statement.
“How do you what Elk Ridge is like?” Sam asked cautiously as he
turned to face the replacement observer.
Beckett swallowed and licked his lips.
“Well, I know a lot about you, Sam,” he said convincingly.
“It’s my job to help you until Al gets back, so I wanted to make
sure I did my research.”
scientist was wary of the response and his chance to further interrogate Tom
was interrupted by Ziggy’s hologram appearing automatically out of the
handlink. The beautiful
brunette was dressed in a red parka, with white trim, that fell just above
her knees, showing enough skin between there and the tops of her black
the Hell?” the observer exclaimed as he fought to hang on to the handlink.
Sam was chuckling at both Ziggy’s attire and Tom’s surprise,
despite his current annoyance with the lack of information he had received
up to that point.
just getting into the Christmas spirit, Admiral,” Ziggy cooed as she
looked around at the falling snow. “Only
six shopping days left, Doctor Beckett.”
leaper laughed again before forcing himself to become serious once more.
“What can you tell us, Ziggy?”
made a show of clearing her throat before answering.
“We have been given limited access to the NCIS personnel database
and now have all pertinent information on Agent Aaron Cunningham, born
August Twenty-Fourth, Nineteen Thirty-Eight in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Today is December Eighteenth, Nineteen Sixty-Seven and is the sixth
wedding anniversary for Agent Cunningham and his wife, Janet Cunningham.
Missus Cunningham, born May Sixteenth, Nineteen Thirty-Nine, is a
lecturer at Georgetown University in the music department.
I foresee that this leap has nothing to do with their marriage.”
Beckett took in the information and stored it for any possible future use.
“Then what does this leap have to do with?
Am I here to solve Chip’s murder?”
frowned at the interruption. “Lieutenant
Commander Charles Ferguson was murdered approximately fourteen hours ago
from your perspective, Doctor. Although
there was a strain of murders attributed to the ‘Black Widow’, also
known as Loraine as you discovered today, none of the cases were ever
solved. I am predicting with
over eighty percent probability that you are here to solve the commander’s
murder and apprehend the criminal.”
am I going to do that? I spent
all afternoon going over reports an’ documents and anything else I could
get my hands on that remotely had anything to do with the serial killer.
Now that you have access, can’t you do some kind of
pattern-matching algorithm to find out where she could be from and where
she’s going next?” Sam was
adamant, waving his arms as he spoke. The
irritation of the situation was really getting to him.
am in the process of doing that, Doctor Beckett, but as I said, I only have
access to personnel records at the moment.
I shall leave you and the admiral now in order to conserve power,”
the holographic representation of Ziggy announced before giving a smile and
Sam got into the car without a word and started it up.
Tom pressed some buttons on the handlink and centred himself in the
vehicle. “I didn’t know she
could show up whenever she wanted,” the admiral commented lightly.
leaper closed his eyes and sighed, opening when his lips turn to a grin.
“At least we have something more to go on,” he said
encouragingly. “Now, would
you mind guiding me home?”
drive to the Cunninghams’ house was slow going but uneventful.
The snow had kept many people off the roads since the ploughs had yet
to clear the streets. Although
Tom was closer physically to his brother than he had been in over a dozen
years, the barrier of being a hologram prevented him from giving Sam a
strong hug. He tried to keep
his thoughts off the personal situation by continuously relaying data that
Ziggy reported as her investigation proceeded.
into the driveway of the Cunningham home, Sam engaged the emergency brake
and turned off the vehicle. “Thanks,
Tom,” the leaper said as he turned to the observer.
that’s my job, right?” the admiral answered with a good-humored grin and
getting an agreeing chortle from the younger Beckett.
He departed from the car as Tom walked through the holographic
representation, amazed at the technology.
walked in through the front door and shook off his coat before hanging it on
the coat hook. The sound of
“Donna” by Ritchie Valens playing quietly on a phonograph from the
neighboring room had a calming effect on the leaper.
A voice floated from somewhere in the house, calling out Aaron’s
name. “It’s me!” Sam called back.
By the time he had removed his shoes and placed them on the mat to
dry, a slender young woman with light-blonde hair descended the staircase.
anniversary, sweetie,” Janet Cunningham said as she embraced whom she saw
as her husband. Sam returned
the hug with a friendly squeeze and gave her a peck on the lips.
I’m late,” he began, but Janet put her finger over his lips and shushed
you worry about that. Dinner’s
just about ready, so you’re right on time,” she said with a loving smile
before turning and heading toward the kitchen.
The quantum physicist sighed, relieved that Elliott’s prediction of
flying rolling pins was far from the truth.
into the living room where the phonograph was playing, Sam admired the
record collection while Tom quietly poked at the handlink and also took in
the surroundings. Everything in
the room was decorated in preparations for Christmas, including a small pine
tree in the corner with ornaments hanging and colorful lights illuminating
it. Glancing at the coffee
table, he saw two wrapped presents sitting in pride of place.
“Looks like you don’t have to worry about finding the wife a
last-minute gift,” the observer commented, jerking his head toward the
table when Sam turned to face him. He
approached the table and picked them up, one addressed to Aaron in a square
box and the other to Janet in a similar style.
they get each other the same thing?” the leaper wondered aloud as he
picked one up then the other. “They
weigh the same and have the same shape...”
shrugged. “I don’t think it’s of much consequence, Sam.”
Benjamin Cunningham!” Janet’s voice rang out in mock anger as she
returned, causing both Beckett brothers to freeze in surprise. She now had
an apron over her blue sparkling dress.
“You weren’t going to open it without me, were you?
I thought we were going to do that after dinner.”
put her gift back on the table and made a show of looking guilty.
“I’m sorry, I was just... thinking,
why not open them now?”
admiral creased his brow and smirked at the leaper, unsure of what he was up
to. “You’re lucky this
young lady seems so easy-going, Sam,” Tom commented as she crossed the
room and put her hands on Sam’s shoulders, guiding him to sit down.
open yours first,” she said with a wide closed-mouth smile and handed him
the present wrapped in silver paper. Sam
accepted it and began to tear into the paper, and stared at the plain brown
box that was inside. He glanced
up at Janet with question and she wordlessly encouraged him to open it.
The scientist lifted the lid and found inside a record album, which
he took out with care.
The Big Bopper’s newest album!” she exclaimed with excitement as the
Ritchie Valens song faded off. Without
a second glance, she got up to change the record on the phonograph.
“I know you’ve been wanting it ever since it came out, and I
figured it would be a better anniversary present than Christmas present.”
was speechless as he looked between the record, which looked authentic, and
his observer. “B-Big Bopper? Didn’t
he die in Nineteen Fifty-Nine?” the time traveler asked, directing his
query at both Tom and Janet, the former of whom immediately began to type
keys on the handlink after crying out, “Yes, he did!”
Janet Cunningham demanded synchronously while her expression showed complete
confusion. “You must be
thinking of someone else, dear.” Passing
off the comment, she placed another record on the player and a song by The
Beatles began to emanate from the speakers.
Aaron’s wife promptly returned to the sofa and looked Sam in the
eyes. “Do you like it?”
a façade over his grave concern, Sam Beckett nodded and forced a smile.
“I love it. Thank you,
Janet,” he answered and gave her a lingering kiss in an attempt to be
convincing. She seemed to
accept his answer as she picked up the wrapped present addressed to her. Carefully, almost painfully for Sam who really wanted to
speak with Tom in private, she unwrapped the yellow-and-pink paper so as to
not tear it. Inside was a box
similar to the one that Sam opened to reveal the alarming Big Bopper record.
we didn’t...” she began as her lips formed an “O” after opening the
box. Removing the item from
inside, Sam saw that Aaron and Janet had purchased records for each other.
It was the artist of this album that made his stomach churn.
“No way! The new
Ritchie Valens album!”
to Sam, she saw that he had a severely serious expression on his face.
Her joy was immediately squelched and she took his hand lovingly.
“What is it? Do you think he’s dead, too?”
out a quick huff, the leaper nodded. “Yes! Don’t you remember? February
Third, Nineteen Fifty-Nine! ‘The
Day the Music Died’?!”
squeezed his hand tighter and her breathing quickened.
“Aaron, you’re starting to scare me.
pulled his hand free of Janet’s grip and quickly stood up from the couch.
“Yes! Buddy Holly,
Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper all died in a plane crash! Damn it, I remember!”
in the Hell is Buddy Holly?” Janet demanded frustration obvious throughout
her being. “I teach music, Aaron, so I think I’d know what I’m
talking about!” she cried in a shaky voice.
Tears began to form in Janet’s eyes and she placed the Valens
record, still in the box, back on the table and ran upstairs to keep herself
from making a scene. Little did
she know that Sam also was wet around the eyes, more so from the aggravation
of the situation. He turned to
Tom and met the observer’s gaze, keeping his tone to a whisper. “What is going on here?!
My mind isn’t just... just...
making this up, is it? Am
I going crazy, Tom?!”
Tom Beckett shook his head. “No,
Sam. I don’t know what’s
happening, but I’ll make damn sure I find out.
Maybe you’d better just apologize to the little woman and tell her
you’re stressed out... confusing a dream with reality, or something like that,”
the observer advised as the white rectangle of light appeared behind him.
Sam nodded his head and swallowed hard before wiping the water that
threatened to fall from his eyelids, watching Tom disappear back into the
Investigative Service headquarters
apologizing to Janet Cunningham for his sudden outburst and somehow passing
off a lie that he was just thinking of a dream that felt too real to be
fake, combined with the stress he was actually feeling, Sam and Aaron’s
wife enjoyed a quiet evening at home. They
even listened to the gifts that the couple had given to each other and Sam
found it very hard to comprehend what had happened to the timeline.
Somehow there was no longer a plane crash in 1959 that killed three
of the music industry’s top stars, allowing The Big Bopper and Ritchie
Valens to continue their careers successfully, but Buddy Holly was no longer
on the scene.
night long, Sam Beckett continuously dreamed of the time he had spent with
Chip Ferguson during that leap so many travels beforehand.
man, I – I didn’t burn a hole in your upholstery, did I?” Chip asked
with a serious look on his face.
shook his head slightly. “No.
Stub was in the ashtray, Chip –” the leaper wiped his nose and
continued “– right where you left it on Saturday night after you
dropped me off at the Sea Breeze Hotel.”
Ferguson’s composure seemed to crumble slightly after hearing that fact.
“Yeah, I – I guess so.”
A beat passed and Chip tried to lighten the mood with a grin, but
it was a nervous one. “I
don’t see the problem, Bingo.”
Sam asked, pausing. “The
problem is today that Commander Riker testified that he saw me rape his
man. I know he’s tryin’ to hang ya on this, but to claim he
was there?” the ensign replied, obviously not sure of his statement.
was there,” replied Doctor Beckett, his tone serious.
Chip’s expression was suddenly stunned as the time traveler
continued to speak. “He
followed the Corvette to the beach; from the cliff he mistook you for me.
What happened, Chip?”
was a long silence in the room that belonged to Ensign Al Calavicci while
Chip took a seat. The silence
was broken by the sound of a fighter jet as it flew overhead.
“She was a tramp... a
real tramp, but I loved her. I
loved her from the first time we slept together,” the young officer
explained, stopping to take a breath.
“First time, last time – the way she played it.”
happened, Chip?” Sam pressed on.
I dropped you off at the hotel to meet Lisa, I went to the O. Club.
For a second she thought I was you.
She wasn’t gonna get in, then I offered her a drink, and I asked
her where she wanted me to take her.
She said somewhere where she could run naked.
It’s what she said: somewhere
where she could run naked,” Chip explained, obviously having flashbacks
to the night in question. He
saw her running along the beach and he took her into his arms, bringing
her down to the sand, and started to kiss her passionately.
When she got up to run, he grabbed her ankle and she fell, smashing
her head on a jagged rock. “It
was like an old black-and-white film, only this time I was saying, ‘It
was an accident.’”
frowned at the story but was glad that Al’s friend was willing to tell
the truth. “Let me work this out,” he said.
asked Chip as both men stood up. “You
can’t undo what’s already been done.”
the leaper began as they walked toward the door, “it never hurts to try.
Trust me; now go get some sleep.”
ensign was heartbroken as Sam began to escort him out of the room.
“I never wanted you to take the fall for me, Bingo.
I just wouldn’t...”
interrupted before things could get any more emotional.
“I know that,” he replied and clapped Chip on the back.
His entire drive from Aaron and Janet’s house was occupied with trying to
push the memories out of his mind. If
he was to find out who killed Chip, mulling over dreams would not help him
any. Sam arrived at the office
well before the majority of the other agents and quickly got to work on
reviewing all of the case files once more.
A half-hour had passed before a portly middle-aged woman approached
him with a file folder.
“Mornin’, Aaron,” she greeted with a familiar smile.
“Here’s the photos you asked for yesterday of the victims.
Hope it helps ya out.”
“Thanks, Betty,” the leaper answered with a weary smile. She nodded and left the desk while Sam began to pour over the
photographs, finally able to place names to faces. A few minutes passed before Betty was at his desk again with
a cup of coffee in her hands. She placed the mug down and said,
“Figured you could use somethin’ to wake ya up.”
Grateful, Sam gave her a warm grin and thanked her with sincere gratitude.
She left him alone and was nearly out of site when Tom Beckett
appeared again through the glowing rectangle of light.
“Good morning, Sam,” the admiral said, trying to be
light-hearted. “Did you get
“Huh?” Sam asked.
know, the early bird gets the worm,” the older Beckett explained with a
goofy grin as he slipped the handlink into his pocket.
the leaper replied and went back to viewing the photographs.
He was not in the mood for humor.
“Did you find out about what happened last night with those
took a few steps to his right and glanced down at the desk.
“Uh, yeah... Sam, you’re not going to like this, but the people here at
the Project say that there’s some kind of temporal fluctuation that
you’re caught up in. For some
reason, Buddy Holly never gets discovered where you are, and the Beechcraft
Bonanza with serial number N3794N, carrying him, Ritchie Valens, and J. P.
Richardson, A.K.A. ‘The Big Bopper’, never crashes.”
why do I remember it happening, Tom?” Sam shot back, his eyes aflame as he
looked up at his older brother.
calm down, Sam. I remember it,
too. So does everyone at the
Project. It just seems that
you’re in some kind of... alternate
timeline, according to Ziggy.”
leaper shook his head. “How’d
I get into this ‘alternate’ timeline?
If that’s true, shouldn’t anything I do here be pointless since I
should end up in the right timeline after I leap?”
Beckett couldn’t help but chuckle. “You’re
askin’ the wrong man here, Sam. With
any luck, you carry on as usual and things will work out.
Maybe it’s just a ‘kink’ of sorts.”
the time-traveling scientist replied, turning his gaze back to the pictures
on the desk.
to change the subject, Tom followed his brother’s line of site.
“Ah, you got the pictures of the victims.
Even though I called up an old friend of mine at NCIS and got access
to the rest of their records, it seems that they’re behind on scanning
photos into their database. I
guess we all owe Jethro a favor now!”
The admiral paused for a beat while his brother looked at him
expectantly. “Mind if I scan
them with the handlink?”
idea,” Sam replied, trying to forget about the complexities of time travel
for the moment. “Ziggy should
be able to compare the images of the victims and the locations of the
murders to see who the sick, demented person could possibly be.”
sure we will, Sam,” the admiral encouraged as they started to scan the
images and files. “Otherwise
your leap here will be for nothing, right?”
Chip is the reason I’m here. Has
anybody asked Al yet about him?” Sam questioned.
Even through his Swiss-cheesed memory, he was certain that Admiral
Calavicci mentioned that Chip Ferguson had died in combat.
Beckett shook his head. “Like
I said before, the admiral is unavailable.
He’ll be back with us as quickly as he can,” Tom said, hating
that he couldn’t tell Sam what was really happening at the Project.
The leaper was visibly annoyed, but they continued.
they got through all of the photographs, Tom set Ziggy and the team in the
Control Room to immediately find any links between the murders in addition
to the research on the mysterious Loraine.
“All right, it shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours.
In the meantime, maybe you can keep on working on this end to figure
it out. You always were a quick
study,” the admiral commented, getting a strange look from Sam.
“Err, or so I’ve been told.”
wanting an escape, Tom pressed a button on the handlink and the rectangle of
light appeared again. “Anyway,
I’ll come back as soon as we find out something conclusive.
Hang in there, br—uh, buddy,” the observer said, nearly letting
another clue slip out, and he returned to the Control Room.
in there, he says,” Sam mumbled and continued on with the seemingly
Gate, New Mexico
January 24, 2007
Tina, and Ike, along with a handful of other scientists and technicians,
slaved over the photographs and information about each murder, including the
John Doe case that Aaron had been working on the night before Sam leaped
into him. That case, however, ended up having no connection to the
“Black Widow”, a name that was now well known to the researchers at
Project Quantum Leap. Tom
checked in every so often to see how things were progressing.
Hours passed before he made his last trip to the Control Room on the
do we have, people? I thought
Ziggy would have had this finished in minutes,” the admiral said with
levity in his tone.
the risk of hurting Ziggy’s ego, not everything can be done by
computers,” Dominic stated. “The human touch is needed once in a while.”
hummed at the statement before saying, “That’s all right, Professor.
I know that despite your inefficiencies, humans may sometimes, in
very rare occurrences, see things that parallel hybrid computers do not.”
his brow at the computer’s comments, Tom joined Dom and Tina at Sammy
Jo’s console when waved over. Ike
was sitting at the station, bringing up various information and giving a
brief description of what the team had done before moving on to the images.
The temporary observer maintained his patience throughout the
needless explanation – he just wanted answers.
thing is, we found one major... well,
I’m not sure how to put it,” Doctor Bentenhoff said, looking to his
comrades for help.
say it like this,” Tina said, turning to the admiral.
She was nervous and idly fiddled with one of her blinking
globe-shaped earrings. “I’ll
be, like, blunt. Like, all of
the victims kinda look like Doctor Beckett.”
Beckett stared at her intently for a moment before she shifted her feet
uneasily. Dom broke the awkward
silence. “Admiral Beckett, we
don’t know this for sure, but we think that the killer might be associated
with Doctor Beckett in some way... and
somehow, don’t ask me how, this ‘Black Widow’ is seducing and
murdering men with similar facial features and body build as Sam. Her killing spree spans from the mid Sixties well into the
is ridiculous!” the observer shouted.
Taking in a deep breath, he calmed himself down and met Dominic’s
unwavering gaze. “Are you
former professor nodded solemnly. “There’s
a three-percent margin of error.”
cursed to himself quietly. Without
a word, he headed over to where the handlink was kept to recharge and picked
it up from its cradle. “Start
the Imaging Chamber. I have to
team in Control scurried to follow the observer’s orders and in a few
minutes’ time, Tom was back with his brother.
He had barely stepped through and closed the door before his brother,
sitting at a table in a diner with Agent Ross, looked up at him with
I have some information for you,” the admiral said levelly, but was
interrupted by Elliott’s near-continuous conversation about his wild drive
home from work the night before.
boy, I thought I was done for when the wheel locked up and I skidded down
the street. I sure was lucky that nobody else was around but my bumper
sure took the brunt of hitting the light post,” the agent explained while
holding onto a half-eaten sandwich. “Any
problems with your drive home last night?”
Beckett was enjoying the company of Elliott Ross, who seemed like a very
decent person and a close friend to Aaron.
However, he was really anxious to return to the office and do more
research. His appetite could
suffer as far as he was concerned.
no problems,” Sam replied politely. “Will
you excuse me? I have to use
thing, bud,” Agent Ross replied with a grin before attacking his sandwich.
holographic representation of Tom Beckett didn’t move for a moment before
he realized that he was supposed to follow Sam to the bathroom.
They were almost there when Tom saw Sam stop in his tracks at a
corner table next to the fire exit, staring intently at a woman whose eyes
were concentrated on the small salad before her.
know her from somewhere,” he whispered, barely audible.
As he approached the table, the woman looked up at him and studied
I know you?” she asked, blinking her eyes a few times.
For once, Sam’s Swiss-cheesed memory did not fail him.
and George met up with Pastor McKinney, who was talking with a rather
attractive, nicely dressed blonde who kept batting her eyes at the man
“I had heard that you were coming down to Texas to help out in a trial.
So, I thought that it was the best way to show my earnest desire in
backing you in your endeavours, Pastor McKinney,” she said simply as she
looked him up and down before she turned to the men who had approached
from the side.
The woman glanced at the men who approached and did a double take
as she looked at them before she stuck out her hand to them. “Lulu
Logan,” she introduced herself. “I'm one of Pastor McKinney's
fold and I wanted to let you know that I'm a prayer support for you in
this time in your life,” she said as she stepped up in front of Sam.
was about to shake hands with the young woman when one of the other people
in the gallery brushed past them, pushing them further apart.
Lulu Logan,” he stated, mystified.
woman chuckled and stood up from her seat, approaching Sam as he stood there
almost mesmerized. “You got
my last name right,” she said lecherously as she trickled her finger down
Sam’s dress shirt, “But ‘Lulu’?
I go by Loraine.”
It’s her!” Tom shouted, giving the leaper a start.
“She’s the killer!”
realization had hit the quantum physicist as soon as Logan said her name and
he grabbed both of her arms with his hands.
She shrieked at the skin-to-skin contact, getting the attention of
the diner’s patrons. “It’s
you again! Stiles... how
did you hide yourself?!” Logan screamed.
the leaper replied with confusion before another memory slapped him in the
O’Neil continued through slowly with a firm grip on Sam’s right arm,
not letting anybody stand in his way as the leaper kept his gaze toward
the ground. Riley, the lawyer, was following closely behind, giving
the occasional single-word answer. They were almost through the
throng of reporters when Sam felt a strange sensation course through his
being—a sensation that he had only experienced on a small number of
occasions. Looking up at the man with the grasp on his arm, his jaw
dropped when the person standing there was no longer the bailiff that had
escorted him from the courtroom.
Sam hissed, his eyes burning with anger as he ground to a halt, some
memories of their most recent encounter coming back into his Swiss-cheesed
mind. Luckily for him, most of the media had their attention on the
attorney instead of the marshal and his prisoner.
Maxwell Connors replied quietly, temporarily confused after his leap in
and immediately seeing another time-traveler. “What are you doing
might ask you the same thing,” Doctor Beckett shot back in a low tone.
When he took a second to look ahead and saw the main entrance still a good
walk away, he realized that standing in the middle of the hallway was
probably not the best of ideas. “Keep walking. We don’t
want to raise suspicion.”
it was the rogue leaper’s mission to keep history as it was originally,
he took Sam’s advice and they continued on immediately. Only a few
yards later, they were stopped again when a woman in the crowd, with a
press pass pinned to her blouse, dropped her camera and charged at Sam
with a knife.
deserves death!” she shouted.
let go of Sam and stepped in front of him, grabbing the crazed woman’s
wrists in an attempt to wedge the knife from her grasp. Members of
the media turned their attention to the struggle as cameras began to flash
in their direction.
me go!” she screeched while she eyed Sam Beckett in the aura of Leon
Stiles, who was approaching her, using what little mobility he had with
his hands to aid Connors in disarming the blonde-haired fury.
Flashbulbs continued to fire off, making the scene feel like it was taking
place during a violent thunderstorm.
the rogue leaper continued to hold her steady, Sam retrieved the knife
from her hand as they heard heavy, quick footsteps approaching them.
As she glowered at Sam, her expression suddenly turned from one of
complete despising to one of utter surprise. “W-who are you?”
she asked, keeping her eyes fixated on Sam’s face. “You’re not
Sam could answer, three of the guards that had been on their way tackled
him to the ground and disarmed him, thinking that he wanted the knife for
his own reasons. The other guard placed handcuffs on the confused
and raving woman who continued to proclaim that the man being brought back
to his feet was not Leon Stiles. Sam watched as she was dragged away
by two of the officers while the other two each maintained a strong grip
on his arms.
going on, Aaron?” Elliott demanded as he charged to the scene.
With one look at the woman, a realization dawned on the agent.
“Is she the ‘Black Widow’?”
you do it, Logan? Why’d you
kill Chip and all the others?” Sam Beckett demanded, shaking her as he
murderer broke out in a throaty laugh.
“I pretended they were you, Stiles.
I would think you’d understand that, being a murderer and rapist
what’re you folks doin’?!” a voice came from behind.
Sam and Elliott turned to see one of the kitchen workers standing in
the aisle with a greasy, white apron on.
“If you don’t unhand the lady I’m going to have to call the
took the brief opportunity of distraction to knee Sam in the stomach.
Caught off guard and with the air taken out of him, the leaper
released his grip on the killer and couldn’t defend himself as she pushed
him into Elliott and ran for the fire exit.
The fire bell began to ring immediately as the patrons of the diner
started to yell “Fire!” and scattered in all directions.
her!” Sam hollered at Tom, who immediately ran through the exterior wall
in pursuit. Elliott, who thought the order was addressed to him, helped
Sam back to stability and they charged through the fire exit, ignoring the
calls from the kitchen helper.
it was snowing heavily and the two men couldn’t see any footprints in the
alley. “Where is she?” the scientist demanded.
Sam, she was gone when I got out here and Ziggy can’t get a lock on
her,” the observer reported apologetically.
“She disappeared into the crowd on the sidewalk.”
his brother’s statement, Sam charged out from the back alley and onto the
busy sidewalk with Agent Ross at his side.
He scanned the swarm of people that moved up and down the street and
couldn’t see her anywhere.
it!” the leaper cursed. “She
got away again! I can’t
his hand on Sam’s shoulder, Elliott tried to console his partner.
“Don’t worry. We’ll
get an APB out on her now that we know her name.
You’ve done good, Aaron. Pearce
will be impressed.”
and Tom’s gazes met and they frowned at each other.
“Let’s get back to the office,” Sam suggested as the sound of
sirens from a fire engine began to sound.
returned to his desk after giving the name of Loraine Logan and the theory
of her killing only “look-alikes” to Agent Pearce.
The photos that he and Tom had been scanning before were still on his
desktop, and they were now surrounded by other agents at their desks.
After a few minutes of glancing over the photos again, Sam looked up
at his brother morbidly.
really do all look like me,” Doctor Sam Beckett whispered as he
stared into the distance. Tom
swallowed hard when he realized that his brother had reached the same
conclusion as an entire team of people with the aid of computers had in the
same amount of time.
what I came here to tell you originally, Sam,” the temporary observer
stated. “Our team back here
said it’s pretty certain that this person somehow goes after people who
look like... you.”
trance was broken when Elliott sat on the edge of his desk.
“Well, Aaron old boy, looks like you were right.
Pearce is scratching his head wondering how nobody spotted this
before. All of these poor saps
all have similar facial features and build.
He’s already setting up a meeting with the other agencies to make
sure we get any similar case from across the country into our hands. The police are on the hunt for the suspect.”
his companion appeared unexcited by the news, Agent Ross placed a hand on
the leaper’s shoulder. “Heck,
even ol’ Rodge cracked a smile when he heard the news.
It was so obvious but none of us saw it, except you, that is,”
Elliott said encouragingly.
a smile, Sam said, “Well, I just hope it helps us find this twisted
Elliott shoved himself off the desk and headed off from where he came.
The handlink produced some gentle tones and Tom took it back out of
his pocket. When the
holographic screen popped up to report the information, the admiral’s
heart jumped into his throat and he felt every skin cell in his body tingle.
Whoa, Tom, what is it?” Sam asked when he saw the ashen expression
of the replacement observer.
blinked a few times and shook his head quickly.
“No. No, it – it’s
nothing, Sam. Don’t...
don’t worry about it.”
his eyes around to make sure he wasn’t being watched, Sam stood from the
chair in an attempt to read the screen, but Tom quickly hid the handlink
from him. “Is it Al?
What’s wrong?” the leaper demanded in a hushed voice.
it’s not Al,” Tom replied. “Sam,
say it, Tom! I’m a grown man;
I can take it!” demanded Sam.
admiral closed his eyes and let out a long breath to regain his composure.
“Sam, Ziggy... Ziggy
says that history has changed again. She,
oh God.” The normally strong
Navy admiral choked back his tears as he and Sam’s eyes locked on each
almost two years from now, you... this
can’t be right, but Ziggy says that you...
you become a victim of the ‘Black Widow’.
Logan kills you.”
face lost all color when Tom finally told him what was so dire.
For a second he forgot how to breathe and sat down in his chair.
Tom crouched down slightly beside him and tried to maintain eye
can’t be,” Sam announced in a hoarse whisper.
“If I’m killed in Nineteen Sixty-Nine, then how do I go on to
create Project Quantum Leap? How
am I here now?!”
it’s this whole double timeline thing that Ziggy mentioned.
Sam, you’re alive now, so that’s all that matters, right?” Tom
reasoned as Sam stared into the distance again.
were beginning to overwhelm the time traveler.
“No! If History is so
screwed up that I’m alive when I should be dead, or dead when I should be
alive... I have to fix this.”
don’t remember you being killed, so this must just be a fluke.
I’ll have the technicians give Ziggy a complete diagnostic,” Tom
said, trying to comfort both his brother and himself.
do you mean you don’t remember me being killed?” Sam asked.
“Who are you?”
fixed his eyes on Sam’s once again before setting his jaw in
worry, I’ll get to the bottom of this. Nobody’s going to kill my little brother as long as I have
a breath in me.”
Sam repeated and blinked his eyes. “Tom...
Tom!” The leaper
finally understood why his temporary observer had been so secretive.
“Oh God, Tom, why didn’t you just tell me?”
up, Tom shook his head and shrugged, struggling to keep back his emotions. “You know the rules...
I can’t tell you what you don’t already know about your personal
life.” Pressing a few keys on
the handlink, the holographic screen shut down while the rectangle of white
light appeared behind Tom.
don’t go,” urged the leaper as he stood up to face his brother.
have to, Sam. I have to get to
the bottom of this. Don’t
worry, everything’ll be fine, little brother,” Tom said with an
encouraging grin as he stepped backward into the light, which promptly
Sam looked around the office before whispering to himself, “I sure hope
Beckett then leaped.
Gate, New Mexico
January 25, 2007
her husband lay in a coma in the hospital bed, an exhausted Beth Calavicci
began to doze off while in an overstuffed recliner with a thin blanket over
her. She never slept deeply,
wanting to be the first person that Al saw when he woke up.
Beth knew that it would happen eventually and she was willing to wait
until the complex crumbled around her before she left Al’s bedside.
had been an hour since their daughter Christa and her fiancé Eddie had come
for a visit. They all gave each
other the support that the Calavicci family was built on, their hearts full
of hope that their head of the family would recover soon.
eyes were heavy with sleep and the first feelings of drifting into slumber
came over her when she thought she heard a noise.
Listening harder, she heard another soft grunt.
“Al?” she whispered as she sat up straight and threw the blanket
from her. The dim light above
the bed was always on and Beth turned on the bedside lamp.
are you awake?” she asked as she gripped his hand.
Another quiet grunt. With
her free hand, Beth dipped her finger into a cup of water and wet her
husband’s lips slightly.
honey, can you hear me? Talk to
me, baby,” she encouraged and nearly shouted for joy when she saw movement
behind his eyelids. “That’s
it. Wake up, flyboy. You’ve been in bed way too long.” She giggled slightly and started feeling light-headed at the
Calavicci breathed hard through his nose and slowly opened his eyes, taking
in the beautiful face of his loving wife.
“Beth,” he whispered through mostly-closed lips.
Al, it’s me. How do you
feel?” she replied, eyes wide open.
was confused by the reply. Was
he really hearing her or just having a waking dream?
“What about Sam?” she asked.
have to... save Sam.”
episode is dedicated to the memory of Charles Rocket (1949~2005).