Episode 1231

April 17, 1954

Washington DC and Laurel MD


Tom leaps into Steve Andrews who has been called to testify before the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee to answer questions about Communist activity.  Who is he there to really save?

Written By:

Helen Gerhard

Theorizing that one could time-travel within his own lifetime, Dr. Sebastian LoNigro set out to prove the String Theory that he had co-developed with his former MIT student, Samuel Beckett—an incredibly gifted genius who was destined for greatness.  After Sam’s sudden and untimely murder in 1973, a distraught Doctor LoNigro formed a strong bond with Sam’s older brother, Lieutenant Commander Thomas Beckett, and together, they both strove to ensure that Sam’s theories would not be forgotten. 


Tom quickly rose in the ranks to Captain and eventually aided Doctor LoNigro in the development of a top-secret government project code-named Chrono-Leap, which was based off of a combination of the String Theory, and the work of the late Doctor Alexander Garner and his failed Time Displacer Unit.  During the initial test-run of the experiment, a malfunction occurred that endangered the lives of everyone inside the project.  In a bold attempt to shut it down, Captain Beckett bravely stepped into the Chronoton Accelerator...and vanished.


He awoke to find himself inhabiting someone else’s body in the past, suffering from partial amnesia and facing a mirror image that was not his own.  Fortunately, contact with his own time was maintained through brainwave transmissions with Doctor LoNigro, who became the Project Observer in the wake of the Accelerator incident, appearing in the form of a neurological hologram that only Captain Beckett can see and hear.


Trapped in an alternate timeline, Captain Beckett finds himself leaping from life to life, putting things right that once went wrong.  All the while, he is subconsciously aware that another leaper exists somewhere, lost in time like himself, who holds the key to restoring reality back to what it once was.  Until that day arrives, Captain Beckett struggles to recall his lost memories of a “World Without Sam Beckett,” hoping each time to alter the hands of fate so that his next leap...will be the leap home.




Tom had long become familiar with dropping into other people’s lives at incredibly inopportune times, but it was still disconcerting to him.  As the green light faded this time around, Tom Beckett realized he was sitting at a long wooden table.  There was a buzz of sound he identified as people in multiple conversations behind him. He noticed on the table were stacks of papers.  There was a nervous little man to his left who was sorting through one stack.


He heard an annoyed voice from in front saying, “Mr. Andrews, would you answer the question?”


Tom looked up.  He recognized his surroundings almost at once.  He was in a congressional hearing room.  He’d been in enough of them over the years, providing information or sitting in the gallery at hearing where he needed to know what others were saying.  There was something different about the room. 


He suddenly realized that the ever-present camera that would send the proceedings over C-SPAN was missing.  He’d thought for a moment that perhaps he might be in a hearing discussing secret information, but that would not fit with the large crowd behind him.  He glanced around the room quickly to get a better lay of the land.  He noticed several women sitting in the gallery, and that several had their hair arranged in styles he recalled being popular when he was younger.  He also noticed their dress, full skirts and fitted bodices.  There was a prevalence of pearl necklaces on the women in the room as well.


‘Must be the early fifties.’   “Uh… excuse me, but I’d appreciate if you would ask the question again.”


The man looked at him with absolute distain.  “Trying to get out of answering the question is not going to help you, sir.”  The man picked up the folder that had been sitting open in front of him.  “I have the information in front of me.  I just want to hear it from you.  You will answer the question.  And remember, you are under oath.”


Tom nodded.  “Yes.  I will answer the question, sir.  I just want to be certain I heard it correctly.”  Tom hated stalling for time, but when he leaped in during the middle of a question, he had no choice.  He again asked for the question to be repeated.  He had to know what had been asked to formulate a reply that would make sense.  He heard the man give a distinct “Hmmmph.”


Finally, the person who was expecting him to answer gave him a direct stare and stated rather loudly, “Very well, did you or did you not join the Communist Party in 1938?”


Tom was floored.


‘Ah geez….I might be a Communist.’





Tom noticed the nameplate in front of the dark haired man with the widow’s peak in front of him.  Sen. Joseph McCarthy, R-Wisconsin. 


‘Great, I must be at a hearing of Senate Internal Security Subcommittee.’  Tom had always enjoyed studying history and this particular issue had been interesting to him.  How one person could so totally cause a panic for little more than conjecture had bothered him.  So many people had their careers, livelihoods, and reputations destroyed during these hearings.  He knew this was the Senate equivalent of the House Committee on Un-American Activities.  He had gone into the Navy to protect this country that he loved and the idea that one person could turn democracy on its ear with innuendo was something he didn’t want to believe could be repeated.  However, for the moment, he had to live with this distasteful situation.


Tom looked to his left and found the nervous little man looking through yet another sheaf of papers.  The man whispered to him, “…tell him you never joined, but you did go to a couple of meetings just to see what they said.”


Tom kept his voice low as well.  “Is that true?”


“Well, the records from that chapter were destroyed in a fire in 1942.  There’s no record one way or the other.”


“But is it true?”


“Steve, it doesn’t matter.  But yeah, it’s true.”


Tom was about to say something when he heard the door of the Imaging Chamber open to his left hand side.  Glancing in that direction, he saw Albert Calavicci punching the multicolored handlink.  “Ziggy says to follow what this guy says.  It will work out for Steve Andrews and then you can get on to the job you’re here for.”


“Mr. Andrews, we are waiting.”


He looked over to Al who was continuing to punch the handlink.  “Uh.  I didn’t join.  I did go to a couple of meetings to find out what it was all about.”


The man to the right of Senator McCarthy whispered something to him.  The Senator nodded and turned back to Tom.  “Yes.  Well.  At least at this point, it looks as if that is corroborated.  While it was foolish of you to go to such meetings, the fact that you did not join would indicate that you did choose the right course.  You will, of course, let this committee know if you come across any persons who did not choose the right course.”


Tom wanted to let this demagogue have it with both barrels, but Al was telling him that if he did, he wouldn’t be able to complete his mission.  Instead, Tom stated firmly, “If there’s anything I feel this Subcommittee should know I will do so.”  It was distasteful to him to even allow anyone to think he would cooperate with this group.


“You are dismissed,” the man said it as though Steve Andrews had disappointed him. 


The small man gathered up the papers into his rather large briefcase.  As he stood up, he gave the Senator slight smile.  Tom followed him out of the room. 


When they had left the hearing room, the little man stated, “That went well, Steve.  It’s a good thing we didn’t have to go any deeper than those meetings back sixteen years ago.”


“Why?  I don’t have anything to hide, do I?”


“No, not you.  However if they knew that you knew more about the activities of the Thompson’s, they may have held you over to testify about them.”


Tom noticed that Al was indicating they needed to talk.  He noticed a line of payphones up against the wall.  “I need to use the phone…” Tom realized he didn’t know the man’s name.


“Frank,” Al supplied.  “Frank Waters.”


“…Frank.  Excuse me for a minute.”  Tom was happy he’d found someplace other than the men’s room to have a conversation this time.  Once seated inside the booth, he closed the wooden door to assure some privacy of conversation.  “What do you have Al?”


“Okay.  You’re Steve Andrews and you’re the owner of a drug….” Al hit the handlink which squealed at him, “…drug store… oh you’re the owner of a drug store, Tom, in Laurel, Maryland.  It’s April 17, 1954 and you’ve just finished giving a statement before the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee in Washington, D.C.  The Thompson’s are your next-door neighbors.  Apparently George Thompson had made friends with a bigwig in the local Communist party.  They have held meetings at their home on several occasions.”


“Is George a Communist?”


“No.  Not really.  He just liked knowing someone higher up in an organization.  Made him feel a little special.  This George works at the local wastewater treatment facility.  He and his wife are a little socially isolated.”


“Hmmmm.  So what am I here to do?”


“Well, in two days, another member of the group, Michel Polvik, accuses George’s wife Margaret of being a spy.  Since Margaret has family back in Russia on her mother’s side, the accusation is believed.  What few friends they had turn their back on them and Margaret is subpoenaed to appear before the subcommittee the next day but commits suicide instead, leaving their little boy, Peter, without his mother.  Ziggy predicts with 92% probability, you’re here to prevent her death.”


“Is there any evidence that she is a spy?”


“No.  Just a second generation American housewife.”


“Okay, Al.  Ask Ziggy to get what ever information she can find about the local Communist group.”  Tom hung up the phone he’d been pretending to talk into.


“Right, Tom.  I’ll get right on it.”  Al punched a few buttons on the handlink and the Imaging Chamber door opened.  “Oh… and Tom, your car is a 1952 Chrysler Imperial.  It’s in the parking garage across the street, second level.”  Tom watched at Al turned and walked through it, disappearing from view.


He left the phone booth and walked over to Frank who had been patiently waiting for Steven Andrews.  “Hey, Frank.  You think there is some way we can help the Thompson’s?”


“Steve, you do that, they’re going to come back on you again.”


“But since I have nothing to hide, it won’t matter.  I’d like to help out George and Margaret.”


“This is going to cause you more problems with the drug store, Steve.  Your pharmacist said that once people knew you were coming to speak here, quite a few of them moved their prescriptions.  It could really hurt your business.”


“Well, that may be.”  He repeated himself, making it clear to Frank Waters that his mind would not change.  “But I want to help George and Margaret.”


“Okay, Steve.  I’ll see what I can do.”


Tom felt this leap was going as well as it could be expected when he didn’t have enough information to really do anything.  He left to find his car, noting the cherry blossoms were in full bloom as he stepped out onto the sidewalk and looked at the trees that he knew could be found throughout the downtown area.  He’d always appreciated their beauty.  He continued into the garage to find the car that fit the keys in his pocket.  He looked forward to finding his way to Laurel and figuring how he would accomplish what the power that had leapt him here wished him to do.





After spending an hour searching for the car, Tom finally opened the door and stepped in.  He checked in the glove box and found a map of the area.  Laurel was located on the way to Baltimore, just outside of Washington, D.C.  He checked his wallet as well and found his home address.  So far so good.’  He noticed in the wallet two pictures.  One was of a woman and the other of two little boys that looked to be about five.  He figured that the boys were twins since they looked and dressed alike.  He pulled the picture of the boys out from the enclosing clear celluloid and looked at the back.  Robert and Roy, age 5, 1954.  He’d pegged the ages just right.  He tried the same with the picture of the woman but the back of the picture was blank.


He drove to Steve’s house, parked the car in the driveway, and headed into the house.  Noticing that the mail had been delivered, he picked it up, looking at what had arrived.  They looked to be mostly bills but found that one of the letters was addressed in longhand to Mrs. Michelle Andrews.  He assumed that was his wife.  Michelle. He looked in what he’d always been led to believe was heaven’s direction and mouthed a heartfelt ‘thank-you.’


As he entered the house, he heard a woman’s voice addressing him from what he figured was the kitchen.  At least that made sense to him since the odors wafting from that room were definitely food related.  He thought it might be spaghetti sauce he smelled.  He realized that he was getting a bit hungry.  He looked forward to the meal.  “Steve, is that you, honey?  How did it go?”


“Everything went fine.  They dismissed me about two hours ago.”


A woman walked out of the kitchen.  She was wearing a housedress similar to the one’s his mother had worn back when he was a kid.  It was in that unique mint green shade that he recalled was so popular back then.  He personally didn’t like the color.  She was wiping her hands on the half apron that covered the lower part of the housedress.  A pocket in the shape of a flower was stitched on the apron.


“I’m glad, Steve.”


“Uh, Michelle, a letter came for you.”  He handed her the letter.


“Ah, looks like Mom reached Aunt Violet’s house all right.”  She ripped open the envelope.  “She says that Aunt Violet is doing much better since they put her on penicillin.”


“That’s good.”  Tom changed the subject.  “Michelle, have you spoken with Margaret today?”


“No.  I thought you said we needed to keep our distance from Margaret and George.”


So it was already beginning.  “Well, I’ve changed my mind.”


Michelle’s face brightened.  “Steve, I’m so glad.  I saw Margaret in the grocery store yesterday.  She seemed so down.  I wanted to say something to her, but you said that it would hurt your business if we were seen with them.”


From the other room, Tom heard children’s voices.  They were a little loud.  He walked down the hall to the source of the voices.  Opening the door, he found three little boys playing with cast metal cars.  “What’s going on?”


“Tommy said that Peter is a Communist,” one of the twins stated.


“Why would you say that, Tommy?” Tom asked.


“He has a great-uncle that lives in Russia,” Tommy said this like it would explain everything.


“Just because someone lives in Russia doesn’t make them a communist.”


“Yes it does, my daddy said so.” Tommy was adamant.


“Well, Tommy, Peter is an American citizen.  He’s not from Russia.  Do you even know what a Communist is?”


 “They’re people that want to take over our country.”


“Hmmmm.  Well, I don’t think that Peter or his parents want to take over the country.  I think we’re pretty safe from them.  You’re friends with Peter right?”


“Well, I was.”


“Then I think you should give him a chance to show you that he’s not trying to take over the country.  I’m sure he just wants to play with cars like you boys.  You think you can do that?”


“I guess.”


“Okay.  You boys need to go outside for awhile.  It’s a beautiful day.  Too nice to be stuck inside.”  Tom felt a bit of nostalgia, remembering these very words being his mother’s instructions to he and Sam on so many occasions.


“Okay Dad,” the two twins said in unison.  They all headed outside.


Once the door shut, Michelle came up behind Tom and put his arms around him, laying her head on his back.  “You handled that pretty well, Steve.  What caused you to change you mind about all this?”


“It just not right to prejudge people because you’re afraid of how it will hurt business.”


“That what I said last night.”


“Well, you were right.”


She gave him a hug and headed back into the kitchen to finish the dinner.  Tom offered to help her and she set him to work cutting up vegetables for the salad.  A bit later, she called the boys into wash up.  They came quickly and both helped out setting the table.


Tom recalled the meals around the Beckett dinner table.  His parents had always insisted that meals with the family were an important part of the day.  Seeing the two boys seated again reminded Tom of him and his brother.  Though Sam was six years younger than he, he had been close.  Sam had dogged Tom’s every step when he was little, looking up to his brother.


Tom was generally glad for the Swiss-cheese effect that prevented him from thinking about his brother’s later life.  When Sam had been murdered, he’d been at the start of a brilliant career.  What Tom was doing was a legacy to the cutting edge concepts his brother had started to elucidate.  Being murdered on his birthday, in a drugged state, by a crazed woman.  It just wasn’t fair.  Sam should have had a full life.  Tom consciously put these thoughts to the side, not wanting to dwell on those feelings that would at times overwhelm him.


The family continued through dinner.  Tom had to admit, the spaghetti and meatballs were just what he needed.  The boys ate quickly, but their mother admonished them to slow down.  Still, they both cleaned their plate and drained their milk.  “Can we go out again?  Peter has a new kite he wants to show us,” said Robert.  Or was it Roy?


“Sure.  You can go out for a little bit.”  Tom smiled at how simple it was to find joy at age five.


Both boys cleared their plates, putting them into the sink.  “Thanks, Dad.”  They headed out together.


After dinner, the phone rang.  Tom picked it up.  “Hello?”


“Steve, this is Fred.  What are you telling my kid?  He came home and said you told him the Thompson’s weren’t Communist.”


“They’re not.”


“Then why do they hold meetings at their house?  Sure seems like they’re Communist to me.”


“I don’t think they really understood what it was all about.  They just saw it as a social activity.”


“Social activity?  You’ve got to be nuts, Steve.”


“You know George and Margaret, they don’t have many friends.  This was just their way to cope with that.  It wasn’t the best choice, but I can understand their reasoning.”


“Well, Steve, when you put it that way, I guess that makes sense.”  He stopped for a moment before switching gears.  “Hey, Steve.  We still on for the golf game on Saturday morning?”


“Yeah.  Wouldn’t miss it.”


“Okay then.  Talk with you later.”


Tom put down the receiver.  He knew that during this time in history things had gotten a bit out of hand.  Most of the people that had joined the Communist Party in the 1930’s and 1940’s had joined what they believed to be a basically mainstream organization that was trying to make things better for the working people of the United States.  It wasn’t until after Hiroshima and the apparent Russian desire to obtain nuclear weapons that Communism really took on a bad rap.  He certainly had never accepted the premise of the political dogma that was the underlying basis of the Communism.  But he accepted that in a free democracy, people could choose to follow what they wished, as long as they continued to work within the system.


In the political climate of the 1950’s however, choosing Communism was not a healthy choice.  It would take several years before people would not be looked at askance for choosing to be a member of this party.  He revised that.  From here on out, most people in the United States would not accept the Communist Party as a viable contender in the political arena.


Tom felt that he was in the calm before the storm and decided to take it easy, keeping his eyes open for changes in the wind.  He went over to the sink to help Michelle with the dishes.





The next day went by relatively uneventfully.  Several of the drug store customers had come up to complain about the Thompson’s being in the store.  Tom calmly stated that he planned to serve anyone who came into the store.  While a couple of the complainers left in a huff, the mass majority of them decided that they should give the Thompson’s the benefit of the doubt.


Al had come in to let him know they were still trying to ascertain information about the local Communist Party.  They had lost the mass majority of their records in 1942 when a fire had burned down the office where they stored documents.  The party had shrunk during the war and there were only a handful of people still going to the meetings.


The following day, however, Frank came by the store.  They went into Steve’s office to talk.  “Steve, Michael Polvik called me.  He said he didn’t like me helping the Thompson’s.”


“Isn’t he one the members of the local party?”


“Well, he resigned back in January claiming he didn’t really understand what they were about.  They’ve called him before the hearing today.  He said he’s going to make sure they know who they should be looking at and it isn’t him.”


Tom didn’t like the sound of this.  “Um, I’ll go to the hearing today.  I think it would be best if I hear what he has to say.”


The other man didn’t say anything for a moment.  “Steve, if you’re in the room again today, you’re going to draw attention to yourself.  You think that will be good for business?”


Tom looked up as the sound of the Imaging Chamber indicated that Al had returned.


“Again, Frank, I have nothing to hide.  I’ll be all right.  But I want to make sure that innocent people aren’t being hurt.”


“Are you sure that the Thompson’s are innocent, Steve?”


Tom looked over to Al, silently asking if he had any more data.  Al nodded.  “Yeah, they are innocent.  We looked into the situation and found that Margaret’s great-uncle was sent to Siberia in a Gulag in 1953.  He’d been outspoken against Kruschev.  He died there in 1955.” 


“They’re innocent, Frank.  We need to help them.”


Frank shifted in his seat, his body language indicating his discomfort with Steve’s plan.  “Okay, Steve.  I still think it’s a bad idea.”


“What time does Polvik appear?”


“Polvik is set to appear right after lunch, at 1:00 p.m.”


“Okay.  I’ll see you there.”


Frank picked up his briefcase and exited the office, leaving Tom at his desk.  Something was nipping at the back of Tom’s consciousness.  There was something not right about this Michael Polvik.  He wasn’t sure what is was, but he was sure it was significant.




During the drive to the capitol city, Al filled Tom in on what they had learned.  “Really very little information, Tom.  The party has been losing members for the last eight years.  Polvik is a low level clerk at the State Department.  He had joined the party during the war but left back in January.”


“He works at the State Department?  Weren’t there a few employees from the State Department that resigned during these hearings?”


“Yeah, but Polvik wasn’t one of them.  He continued to work there for several years until he retired in 1961.  Hmmmm… this is interesting…”




“Well, it looks like when Polvik retired, he moved to Florida.  He’d been able to purchase a sizable piece of property which he developed and became a millionaire.”


“What’s so strange about that?”


“He paid for the land in cash.  How did he come to have that much cash on his salary?”


“Al, I want you to find out more about this Michael Polvik.  I have the feeling something isn’t right here.”


“Right, Tom.  I smell something fishy myself.”  Al headed out to “follow the money” or at least to ask Ziggy to do so.  It was possible that the man had come into this sum of money honestly, but Al felt there was something more to uncover.


Tom continued into Washington, arriving about noontime.  He went to a local lunch counter in a restaurant close to the hearing room.  He smiled as he noticed the prices.  $1.50 for a BLT.  He wished the prices were still that reasonable in what should be his own present.  The last time he’d been in Washington, D.C., a person could barely get a meal for under $10.  He shook his head.  He ordered the BLT with a glass of tea and contemplated this leap.


He hoped that Al would come through for him.  Both Tom and Al had worked with government systems for years.  He knew that the pay wasn’t very good.  The idea that a man could amass enough money to purchase that much land and develop it using cash set of bells in his head.  He’d seen the same concern in Al’s eyes before he left.


Tom finished his sandwich and ordered a piece of pie.  Not as good as his mother’s but it was definitely homemade.  You could always tell by the crust.  He finished his meal, left a nice tip and headed out to see if he could help Margaret Thompson survive this time through.





The hearing room was again filled with people wanting to see and hear the persons that the Subcommittee had subpoenaed.  He noticed the man next to Senator McCarthy and recognized him as Robert Kennedy.  He was handing the Senator a stack of files, apparently indicating one file in particular.


Tom’s couldn’t imagine why Kennedy would be in the room.  Suddenly, though, a hole in the “Swiss-cheese” of his mind filled in.  He recalled that Robert Kennedy had been appointed as the assistant counsel to the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.  Another man, who Tom recognized as Roy Cohn called Kennedy over.  Cohn had come to prominence during the Rosenberg trials in the early fifties.  His cross-examination of Ethyl Rosenberg’s brother had lead to the most damning evidence against the Rosenberg, ultimately leading to their conviction and execution.  Later, it would be found that Ethyl’s brother had perjured himself and that the testimony was suspect.  Currently, Cohn had become the chief counsel for the subcommittee, appointed over Robert Kennedy.  He was known for his aggressive questioning of suspected communists.


Tom found a seat towards the back of the room.  Frank joined him a few minutes later.  A man in typical government dress of a dark suit, white shirt, and dark blue tie entered the room taking his seat at the table where Tom had sat the day before. 


“Michael looks confident.”


“Yeah.  Hey Frank, what type of lifestyle would you say Michael lives?”


“Well, he’s definitely in the middle class.  Lives a pretty boring life.  But he doesn’t have the wife or kids most of us have.  I guess living the life of a bachelor frees up a little cash.”


“Yeah.  Kids can be expensive.”


“You can say that again.  Janie is getting braces next month.  I just about fell over when the doctor told me how many those ugly things will cost.  But she has such crooked teeth.  They’ll be worth it in the long run.”


Tom nodded as the room was called to order.  Michael Polvik was sworn in promising to “tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth,” so help him God.


“Mr. Polvik.  You’ve been subpoenaed to appear before this committee due to your involvement with the Communist Party.”


“Yes sir.  I admit I was a member of the Party, but I didn’t really know what it was about.”


“You work for the State Department?”


“Yes, I’m a file clerk.  I have been since 1941.”


“You didn’t fight in the war?”


“I was 4F on account of my eyesight.  I wanted to go, but they told me no.”


“Why did you join this group?”

“I didn’t see anything wrong with them.  They seemed to be willing to help with people in the labor movement.  At the time, I thought that was a good thing.  I’ve since changed my opinion.”


“You have ended your association with this group?”

“Yes, earlier this year I officially withdrew, but I hadn’t really ever been what you would call an active member.  When I realized just how cozy these people were with the Russians, well, I’m no Red.”


“I see.”  The Senator looked into one of the files in front of him.  “How do you know that this group is as you say “cozy” with the Russians?”


“I know for a fact that one of the members, a Margaret Thompson has family back in Russia.  I believe she has connections with those Godless Reds.  I’ve seen her sending packages to Russia.”


“What else do you know about this woman?


“Well, I know that the group has met at their house numerous times.”


The buzz in the room took on a restless feel.  Another so called American housewife.  That’s what Ethyl Rosenberg had tried to portray herself as.  The fact that this woman blatantly sent things to Russia and hosted Communist’s in her home was all the evidence that they needed.  The people in the room obviously had decided what that meant.  Tom could feel the room change.  It was like sharks in an ocean when blood was present.  He shuddered.


“I see.”  The Senator handed a folder to Robert Kennedy.  A short discussion took place between them and Kennedy left the room, folder in hand.


“Mr. Polvik, what is your own relationship with the Communist Party?”


“I state categorically that although I may have foolishly joined this organization in the interest of helping American workers in our democracy, I never have supported their activities which would bring down our government.”


“You are dismissed for now, Mr. Polvik.  However, we reserve the right to call you before this committee in the future.”


“Yes sir.” 


Tom had heard what he needed to hear.  He told Frank it was his opinion that Margaret Thompson would be subpoenaed that day.  He wanted to offer her their assistance.  Frank agreed to do what he could.  Tom told him about Margaret’s uncle being in a Gulag due to dissention with the Communist Party in Russia.  Frank’s eyebrows had risen at this revelation.  He indicated this could help her.


Tom headed back to Laurel to let Margaret Thompson know she would not be alone to face the Subcommittee.  He hoped it was enough to save her.




When Tom returned home, he headed over to the Thompson’s home.  A petite woman, in her mid-twenties, met him at the door.  She had her blond hair in a bun and was wearing the ubiquitous housedress that was common for this timeframe.  Tom smiled.  “Margaret?”


“Hello, Steve.”


“Has anyone been here this afternoon to give you any papers?”


Margaret looked confused.  “Papers?  What type of papers?”


Tom realized she had not yet been served.  “Um, well, I was at the hearing in Washington earlier today.  Your name was brought up by Michael Polvik.”  Tom noted that Al had again joined him.  He continued speaking with Margaret, letting her know what had happened earlier and what was to come.  “He indicated your family has connections to Russia and the meetings you have held here at your home.  I think you’re going to be subpoenaed.”


Margaret turned white.  Tom helped her over to the couch.  “Margaret.  I don’t think you have anything to worry about.  Frank and I have agreed to help you get through this.”  Tom wasn’t sure she’d heard him.  Margaret’s eyes were fixed in front of her, as if she was in a state of mild shock.  “Did you hear me, Margaret?  You won’t have to go through this alone.”


The words finally registered in her consciousness and she turned to him, a grateful expression on her face.  “Steve, thank you.  I don’t know what I would do otherwise.”


A sharp rapping noise came from the front door.  Margaret rose to answer it.  When she opened the door, she found a man standing in the doorway, an envelope in hand.  “Are you Mrs. Margaret Thompson?”


“Yes.  How can I help you?”


The man thrust the envelope into her hand.  “These papers are for you.  Have a good day ma’am.”  The man then turned and walked away.


Margaret looked at the envelope.  Everything about it said “government.”  She opened it and took out the letter.  “I’m supposed to appear tomorrow at 2:00 p.m.  Oh, Steve, I can’t believe this is happening.  My Uncle Vlad is not a communist.  I only send him staples like tea and sugar.  I don’t understand why I’m being considered un-American.”


Tom walked over to her.  “Margaret, the country is scared.  People are afraid that a nuclear attack could destroy everything.  They just want to feel safe and sometimes that means not thinking through things.  Being willing to believe things about people that just aren’t true.”


Margaret nodded.  “Thank you, Steve.  It means a lot to me that you and Frank will be there with me.  I’m sure George will appreciate it as well.”


Tom smiled.  Margaret, that’s what friends are for.  “I’ll pick you up tomorrow morning.  Frank and I will go over what the day will be like for you.”  Tom looked over to Al, questioning what he’d found out. 


“Tom, you’ve saved her.  She’s not going to commit suicide now.  They will find that she’s not a communist sympathizer and definitely not a threat.  And she and George now leave the Communist Party.”


“Everything is going to be fine, Margaret.”  He got up to leave.  “I’ll see you tomorrow morning.”




Tom walked himself to the door.  As he walked back to his house, he turned to Al.  “If I’ve saved her, why haven’t I leapt?”


“Don’t know, Tom.  Obviously there is more you have to do.  Maybe there is something to the Polvik cash flow.  It seems there have been small deposits being made randomly into his account.  This has been happening since 1947 and continues all the way until he retires.  That’s where the money to buy the land comes from.”


Tom nodded.  When he reached the house, he called Frank and told him what he’d learned about Polvik.  Frank whistled.  “Wow, that could be something, Steve.  I’ll see if I can find out anymore.”


Tom explained his plan to work with Margaret the next day.  He told Frank he’d pick both of them up.  They could meet at his office to go over the information and help Margaret understand what she would need to do.  They could then drive into Washington together.  Frank agreed to the plan.


Tom again helped Margaret with the cooking.  She was making a baked chicken with stuffing.  Tom’s mind again turned towards the happier days at the Beckett household when the family had shared such times together.  Again Tom wished that things could have been different.  He again gave a small prayer that someday, he’d be allowed to change what had happened, that there was some way to make the wrong of his brother’s death right again.  That he would be able to again be with his brother in a happier time.




The next morning, Tom had met with Michelle.  She was dressed in her Sunday best, which included a hat that wrapped around her head with pink and white flowers.  He remembered his mother wearing a similar hat and smiled at the memory.


Margaret, Frank, and he had gone over what could be expected.  They let Margaret know that while it was normal to be nervous, she would be all right.


They arrived at the hearing room.  Tom again sat down behind the table where he had been a few days before.  He smiled that he was the only person to know that there were four people at that table rather than the three that could be seen.  Al was sitting next to him as well.


The hearing was called to order and Margaret was sworn in.  Tom was proud that she handled herself well, even though he knew she was terrified.  He also noticed that the Senator was giving him a look that he did not appreciate seeing him again, especially showing support for a woman the Senator felt was a Communist sympathizer at the very least.  Tom met the gaze head on.  He wasn’t going to let this man intimidate him.


“Mr. Andrews, why are you here?”


“I am here to help Mrs. Thompson.  She had requested both my and Frank Waters presence.”


“I see.  I will remind you that you are still under oath.”  Tom nodded and the Senator turned to Margaret.


“Mrs. Thompson.  Some serious accusations have been raised concerning you and the Communist Party.”


“So I understand.”


The Senator looked down at his notes.  “You have an Uncle in the Communist Party in Russia who you correspond with?”


“I have an Uncle in Russia who I correspond with but he is not a member of the Party.  Indeed, he has been persecuted.  He lives in a Gulag in Siberia.”


The room again burst with restless conversations.  This time, however, Tom didn’t feel the bloodlust that had been there before.  Rather, the feelings he sensed were conciliatory.  The Senator, though, was not yet willing to concede.


“Mr. Polvik has indicated that your own involvement with the Communist Party has been significant.  I understand that you have held meetings in your home for several years now.”


Tom spoke up.  “Mr. Polvik may have been attempting to deflect your interest in his affairs.”


The Senator looked annoyed.  “I was not speaking to you, Mr. Andrews.  I believe my question was addressed to Mrs. Thompson.”


Margaret nodded.  “I served coffee and cake at these meetings for my husband, nothing more.  George is a good man and had made friends with Harry Smite, the head of the group.  I don’t think he saw this as being a problem, just the chance to help out a friend.  I can see now that it was not the best choice to make.”


Tom again spoke up.  “I know that neither Margaret nor George are Communist sympathizers.  Indeed, the conversations I’ve had with them show they are as patriotic as the most red-blooded American in this room.”


Again the attitude in the room was supportive.  Tom decided to again point in the direction of Michael Polvik.  “Mr. Polvik, on the other hand, has been receiving monies from an unknown source for several years.  His position as a file clerk in the State Department allows him to access files that may be of ineptest to other governments.  I respectfully suggest that he should be the focus of your investigation, not Mrs. Thompson.”


The Senator’s face indicated his surprise at this revelation.  “Do you have anything to back this accusation up, Mr. Andrews?”


Frank handed him a folder.  “Yes, Senator McCarthy, I do.”  He took the folder to Senator.  The room grew quiet as the Senator looked at the data in the folder.  He turned to Robert Kennedy and quietly handed him the folder.


Al smiled as beeps and whistles issued forth from the handlink.  “Tom, prepare to leap.  That did it.  Polvik is now found to have been taking money from the Russians in exchange for documents.  He’s found guilty of espionage and spends the next 60 years in prison.  Serves him right for selling secrets.”


Tom smiled as a green electrical glow surrounded him.  The last thing he saw was the grateful face of the woman next to him.


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