that one could time-travel within his own lifetime, Dr. Sam Beckett led an
elite group of scientists into the desert to develop a top-secret project
known as Quantum Leap. Pressured
to prove his theories or lose funding, Dr. Beckett prematurely stepped into
the Project Accelerator…and vanished.
awoke to find himself in the past, suffering from partial amnesia and facing
a mirror image that was not his own.
Fortunately, contact with his own time was maintained through
brainwave transmissions with Al, the Project Observer, who appeared in the
form of a hologram that only Dr. Beckett can see and hear.
evil ones do their best to stop Dr. Beckett’s journey, his children, Dr.
Samantha Josephine Fulton and Stephen Beckett, continuously strive to
retrieve their time-lost father and bring him home permanently.
Despite returning home several times over the last decade, Dr.
Beckett has remained lost in the time stream…his final fate no longer
in the past and driven by an unknown force, Dr. Beckett struggles to accept
his destiny as he continues to find himself leaping from life to life,
putting things right that once went wrong with the hopes that his next
leap…will be the final leap home.
thing that Dr. Samuel Beckett could count on after the blue light faded was
he would have to rely on his gut feelings to operate.
As he realized that he again had literally leaped into another’s
life, he was surprised to see that this leap, at least, was going to have
some level of familiarity. He
found himself, micropipette in hand, filling a small sample bottle with a
clear liquid. He assumed that
there could be safety considerations and was glad to see he was wearing
typical laboratory protective items including safety glasses, a lab coat,
and nitrile gloves. Looking to
his left he saw an open laboratory notebook with the name LifeStar printed
on every page. The page the book
was opened to the date indicated was February 11, 1993.
I know the date before Al gets here’.
Sam was pleased he now knew WHEN he was.
‘That’s one for me and zero
notebook had neatly written notations for, he assumed, the activity that he
was in the midst of performing. The
notes indicated 30 samples with data written regarding 29 of them.
In front of him, he saw a tray with 29 samples already prepared.
‘Thus,’ he deduced,
‘this sample vial in my hand must be the last one.’
The notes clearly indicated the amount of sample to be placed in each
vial and he quickly completed the transfer from the micropipette and capped
the vial, placing it in the small rack in front of him.
He noted in the book the information required for that vial.
around the laboratory, he noticed a woman standing at a laboratory bench
across the room. She looked to
be in her late 30’s and was busy keying information into the HPLC console
on the bench. Continuing his
quick scan of the room, he saw that it contained top of the line scientific
instrumentation. Having worked
with many of these instruments during his doctoral and post-doc research
projects, he felt a distinct wave of familiarity with the laboratory.
It was a place he knew he would not have to fake his way through as
long as his Swiss-cheese memory didn’t interfere too much.
woman turned to Sam. “Are
those samples ready yet?
looked again at the laboratory notebook and noted there were parameters for
the HPLC test written in the book. “Just
finishing now. What would you
like me to do with them?”
woman looked at Sam as if he had lost his mind (which considering the
Swiss-cheese affect the leaps caused was at least somewhat true).
“Why are you asking me? You’re
the one who bumped Clayton’s run to complete yours by this afternoon.
You told me the data was critical for your project’s FDA review
documentation for the new mucus inhibiting drug!
You said that’s why you wanted to set up the sampling vials
yourself. I’ve entered the
parameters on the HPLC as you’ve indicated.”
yeah… thanks,” replied Sam, hating the feeling he got when he had to
backtrack. “What I meant was,
is the HPLC ready for the run? I’ll
finish the setup and get these started.”
Sam’s scientific interest was piqued at the realization that he was
working on a pharmaceutical project. This
leap was starting out to look pretty interesting.
‘Oh boy! I’m back in the
doesn’t get a doctorate in both medicine and quantum physics if a certain
scientific curiosity is not present. Indeed,
some of my happiest hours have been spent working in a laboratory on my
projects, collaborating with colleagues, and generally pursuing a better
understanding of the workings of the world.
The whole reason that I am leaping from life to life is a direct
result of this scientific curiosity and now, it seems, I’ll be able to
indulge a bit in that area.
picked up the rack of vials and walked over to the HPLC the woman had
indicated. He loaded the vials
into the autosampler and checked the parameters input with the ones
indicated in the laboratory notebook. When
he was sure that everything was set correctly, he began the run.
He noted that the program was set to run three hours and decided that
his time would best be spent learning about ‘his project’ and why he had
leaped into his host. He had
started looking through the laboratory notebook and a file regarding the
project when he heard the familiar sound of the Imaging Chamber door and
looked up to see Al rush in.
usual, Al was wearing yet another example of his varied and colorful
wardrobe. Today’s choice found
him bedecked in a salmon colored suit with an azure shirt and black shoes
with salmon wingtips. A coral
and black bolo tie completed the ensemble.
Sam tried to remember if he’d ever seen Al wearing the same outfit
twice except when there was a difficult leap that prevented Al from getting
fresh clothes. He realized it
was unlikely he would be able to answer that since most of the time; he
really didn’t consciously remember much from previous leaps, even
something as vivid as the personal style of his best friend.
You don’t know how glad I am to see you in this lab!”
That was a strange opening line even for Al and Sam’s face
reflected his confusion.
see you at the three o’clock staff meeting, Ed,” the woman tossed over
her shoulder as she walked over to the lab’s door.
Sam watched as she pulled her badge from a holder around her neck and
passed it in front of a small box next to the door.
He assumed this was a security device to indicate when personnel
entered and left the room. An
audible click in the door confirmed this assessment.
ah….” stammered Sam, looking to Al for her name.
Al filled in quickly, reading from the handlink.
Thanks again for your help”
turned and smiled back at him. “Well,
if this drug is proven as effective in shutting down over-production of
mucus in the lungs as you believe it will be it will potentially help a lot
of people. I just hope this time
your test tells you what the impurity is.
Amelia walked out the door, Sam turned to Al.
“We’re alone for now so we can talk freely.
What can you tell me about this leap?”
was already looking down at the handlink, but seemed to be somewhat
agitated. “You’re Dr. Edward
Rawson, a project manager for an up and coming research pharmaceutical
company, LifeStar, located in
. The date is…”
jumped in. “February 10, 1993.
I already know that, Al.”
WHY do you DO that? You seem to
take inordinate glee in learning things before I get here!
Maybe I should be the one asking you what YOU KNOW when I first
Al, don’t get so huffy. I
really don’t get a lot of chances to just be me on these leaps.
It’s sort of fun to see if I can ‘beat the clock.’”
Sam looked as if he’d just been caught with his hand in the cookie
looked at his friend and realized that this activity had become a way for
Sam to deal with the constantly shifting reality that had become Sam’s
life. He felt a bit like
Scrooge, stamping on Sam’s joy with this simple game.
It suddenly dawned on him that this was one thing that Sam could
somewhat control if the information was there for him to see.
He decided that ‘playing along’ wouldn’t cost him anything and
if it brought a semblance of normalcy to his friend, it was worth it.
right, Sam. I guess you got me
on that one. To continue with
what I CAN tell you, LifeStar works in the area of cutting edge approaches
to disease control. As Amelia
said, you’re working on an agent which should shut down the over
production of mucus in the lungs. Ziggy
says there’s a 98% chance that you’re here to assure that the FDA IND
review prior to the phase one clinical trial to be held in two days will
result in clinical human trials. In
the original timeline, the reviewers indicated the need for more studies
before the first human clinical trial could start based on data showing an
unknown contaminant. All the
other hoops had been jumped through including the pharmacological studies,
the animal studies, and the mode of activity.
LifeStar was unable to continue funding this research which
effectively prevented this product from entering the marketplace.
In a few years will be a major outbreak of a new disease and a lot of
people die before THIS drug is shown to prevent the fatal symptoms.”
days doesn’t give me much time to go over the data and put it into a
proper format for the FDA reviewers.”
actually have even less time then that.
This is Wednesday and you’ll be taking a plane out to
tomorrow afternoon. The final
review itself will be held in
at the FDA Offices at 8 a.m. Friday morning.”
that only gives me a day and a half to learn about this drug, figure out how
to test for the contaminant, and then write up an addendum paper for the
FDA! This is cutting it a little
close. Maybe I can just convince
them to put the FDA review off for awhile and hopefully put Dr. Rawson on
the right track.”
Sam. You have to succeed on this
one even if you don’t have much time.
All those people need not have died.
If the disease had been caught earlier, Ziggy projects that only a
few people would have died, but only if this drug was on the market and
right, Al. I’ll get right on
it. Do you know where the
project files are? I have about
an hour and a half until the staff meeting,” he said, looking up at the
clock on the wall. “Hopefully
the meeting won’t last too long. This
HPLC run should be finished in about three hours and I should have
additional data to analyze.”
me show you. Sam, I don’t want
to put pressure on you but this is one leap you really need to get
that the person everyone saw as Dr. Ed Rawson left the lab and followed an
unseen visitor to his office.
Al led Sam to Dr. Rawson’s office, he left to check with Ziggy on some
data. Sam opened the office and
was pleased to find it relatively neat.
He’d had colleagues whose desk was nothing more than controlled
chaos. He remembered one
gentleman in particular who always knew exactly where everything was even
though files were stacked a foot high and the rest of the information was
scattered about the desk. This
colleague had lived by the motto “a neat desk is the sign of a sick
at the project, Sam liked to have at least some semblance of organization
even if the desktop definitely provided a ‘lived-in’ look.
Dr. Rawson’s office indicated a similar desire to control entropy.
Sam had a feeling he would like this man.
sat down behind the cherry-wood desk and noted that the chair was
ergonomically sound. There was a
monitor on the desk with a laptop docked into it.
A screensaver program was running with a marquee statement running
across the screen. Just don't
give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and
inspiration, I don't think you can go wrong. - Ella Fitzgerald, American
singer (b. 1918)
moved the mouse and a pop-up opened up requesting a password.
‘Oh boy… this may be a
problem. I’m going to need Al
to talk to the visitor about getting that password.
Hopefully, he’ll remember how to get into his computer.’
Sam decided that until Al came back, he’d acquaint himself with
the contents of the drawers and file cabinets.
opened the desk drawer in the front center and found the typical pens,
scissors, rulers, and other miscellaneous office supplies most people kept
in their desk. Looking to the
right side, he noted a double file drawer.
Sam opened the top drawer and found this contained files primarily
related to the administrative functions for his job.
The drawer below it contained files on the employees that Dr. Rawson
apparently supervised. Sam next
checked the left side of the desk which held two plain drawers on the top
and another file drawer on the bottom. The
plain drawers contained miscellaneous office supplies and some of Rawson’s
personal effects. When Sam
opened the file drawer, however, he hit pay dirt.
This drawer contained the main working files and a list of the
location of the research data which had been accumulated for the FDA review
of the project he was currently working on.
pulled out the thick file and began shuffling through the various reports
and data. As he read through the
data, he was pleased that the project documentation thoroughly covered the
research up to that point. Dr.
Rawson was obviously a man who expected his t’s crossed and his i's
was so engrossed in reading the project file that the ringing of the phone
on his desk startled him. He
picked up the receiver and said simply, “Hello?”
voice on the other end of the line sounded perturbed.
“You plan on joining us, Ed? The
staff meeting can’t be held up much longer.”
uh, right. I’ll be there in
just a minute. I was just
reviewing the progress on the mucus drug project.”
right but hurry,” the gentleman on the other end stated and hung up.
wasn’t sure how he was going to find the conference room when he heard the
imaging chamber open again.
where do I go for the staff meeting? I’m
not like you to be late, Sam. You
were always to prompt at both StarBright and Project Quantum Leap.”
Al smiled at the memory wishing Sam were still around to attend those
meetings. “The conference room
is at the end of this hall. You’ll
be there in seconds.”
Al. Hey, could you please go
back and check with the visitor? I
need his password for the computer.” With
that, Sam headed out the door to the staff meeting.
Al said he would do that then walked out of the Imaging Chamber into
the somber world Project Quantum Leap had become.
Calavicci sat in her office looking at the latest data on the disease
outbreak which had taken place one month before.
It was an absolute miracle that this drug was able to stop the
disease in its tracks. If
administered within twelve hours of exposure, the patient generally didn’t
even show the effects of the disease. If
administered within seventy-two hours, the patient generally got a severe
cough but nothing that couldn’t be controlled.
Even at one hundred-twenty hours, many of the patients could still be
saved. That would have been more
than enough to have prevented the mass majority of the 200,000 deaths, most
from the Albuquerque area, that were eventually attributed to this horrid
disease itself had existed for millennia and had been lurking under the
Puebloan soil just west of
. The disease had apparently
taken its toll on the local Native American population long before the first
European’s had arrived. Just
like the Bubonic plague had decimated the Old World years before, this
disease had affected the ancestors of the
but in a localized epidemic. The
survivors had developed a genetic immunity to the disease and had passed
that down through their families. That
immunity had protected all the people with Puebloan genetic heritage, a
rather large section of the population to be sure, but there were so many
Anglos, Hispanics, and others that did not carry the genetic protection so
that when this disease suddenly appeared, many succumbed.
it hadn’t been for the record drought that had hit the Southwest in recent
years, even the archeological dig may
not have allowed the fine dust to be picked up with the extreme winds and
blown into a population that was not prepared for the consequences.
As it was, digging deep into the soil to uncover the abandoned
had laid bare the level with the spores.
All it took was the winds whipping up the dust for the epidemic to
had started almost immediately. Anyone
without the genetic protection had started to become sick within hours of
breathing in the dust. Nobody at
that time knew about the genetic protection factor for it would take a few
days before the pathology was understood well enough to plot the
demographics most affected. Within
six hours of what seemed to be a simple dust storm, the hospitals began
filling up and a call was made to the Center for Disease Control in
. Two hours after that, the
first quarantine protocols were put into place since nobody was sure if
human to human transmission was a factor.
The National Guard was called in and all transportation entering or
leaving the city was effectively put on hold.
All persons that could be identified as leaving
within the eight hours before the quarantine were tracked and detained in
isolation units where they were found including those they had had contact
research had shown the reason for the large number of deaths.
If a person had breathed in even one spore, the disease would begin
its terrifyingly rapid progression. Within
five hours of exposure, the person’s lungs would begin producing
extraordinary amounts of mucus. This
situation would progress until the lungs would become totally filled and be
unable to provide oxygen to the rest of the body.
For most adults, this would be complete within six days.
Children, however, with lungs so much smaller, would perish much
quicker; some only took a fourth the time as adults to die.
The pathology meant that the affected basically drowned through the
actions of their own lungs. Being
put on artificial lungs would slow the rate to death but didn’t prevent
it. Unfortunately, after the
lungs were filled, massive infections would assure death.
after the disease began presenting itself, any and all drugs and procedures
that could be used to affect mucus production were being deployed with
limited success. By the second
day, even those drugs that had not undergone clinical trials were being
tried under emergency measures. By
day four, one drug, which had been put on the shelf in 1993 at LifeStar, a
pharmaceutical research firm, before clinical trials were performed was
tested and amazed everyone when it stopped the disease in its tracks.
Fortunately, production of the drug was fairly straight forward and
it was possible to save the remaining affected population, mostly only
adults at this point.
pinched the bridge of her nose. She
knew the headache she was feeling was directly related to the stress that
this outbreak had caused. Her
own daughter, Christa, had been one who had been put into quarantine at a
hospital after picking up a friend who had been on one of the first planes
. Beth still remembered that
day. Christa had called from the
isolation unit she’d been placed into.
I’m scared. We were picking up
the luggage from Bill’s flight when National Guard personnel came into the
area and told us we had to come to the hospital.
What’s going on? They
told me that this disease was worse than anything they’d seen before.”
was trying to stay calm herself and not alarm Christa while giving her what
news she had. “We don’t
know, baby. We’re hoping that
there won’t be any human-to-human transmission, but we simply don’t know
yet. You know I’d be there if
I could but they’ve grounded all the flights in a 300 mile radius around
, and no one is to be driving. Ziggy
has promised to keep a line open to your hospital constantly until this is
over. I know you’re scared,
but you’re in the best possible place you can be.”
seemed to take comfort that her mother would be there for however long this
ordeal was to take. Bill had not
shown any signs of distress, which, due to the rapidity of symptoms onset
boded well for them both. She
certainly was no stranger to hospitals, having been in and out of them since
and Christa had continued to communicate throughout the next 24 hours by
which time it became apparent that the human-to-human transmission of the
disease was not a factor. Fortunately,
the plane that Bill had been on was just taking off when the first of the
dust storm hit
. Due to the re-circulated air,
no spores had affected the passengers on that flight.
No one had gotten sick on that flight which eased Al and Beth’s
minds that no one in their immediate family had been touched.
slightly cringed at using those words ‘immediate family.’
As if not having this disease affect blood relations would have made
what happened any less tragic. After
all, Sam and Al’s relationship was in many ways closer than a blood one.
Since Al and Sam had become inseparable friends during the Star
Bright years, their families had been deeply entwined.
Beth and Al were ecstatic the day that Sam had sprung the news that he was
getting married to Dr. Donna Eleese. They
hoped that both Donna and Sam would find the happiness that they had both
experienced. While they had all
worked hard to bring Sam’s dream to fruition, they had also enjoyed a warm
and loving friendship. Beth and
Donna had become nearly as close as Al and Sam were.
the committee had forced Sam’s hand to prove his theories, he had taken it
upon himself to become the guinea pig in his own experiment, even though he
knew that the retrieval program was not yet ready.
Donna had been devastated that Sam had left. Although, in the
aftermath, she had remembered how strange Sam had been acting from the time
she’d gotten home from her trip the night before he leaped until he had
spoken up during that last committee meeting.
It was almost as if he’d had a premonition about what would happen
when he leaped. A few weeks
later, she’d found she was pregnant. It
was so hard for her during that first year Sam was gone between the morning
sickness, the hormones, and the stress of her husband’s leaping.
When she saw Stephen for the first time, though, she knew it was
IQ was on par with his father’s and that had made Project Quantum Leap
seem to be the perfect place for the little boy.
Stephen had soaked up knowledge almost from the day he was born.
His profound giftedness and the fact that everyone around him
accepted him as a colleague had allowed Stephen to make leaps in the
technology far beyond what anyone had thought possible.
Although Donna had considered leaving the project and putting Stephen
in a school in Albuquerque back when he was six, Al had convinced her it was
better that she stay.
though, there was that bizarre leap earlier in the year when Sam had leapt
into Stephen, then eleven years old. Sam,
himself, had convinced Donna that she needed to move to
with Stephen. He’d said
Stephen needed a chance to grow up with a balanced life.
He felt certain that Stephen’s childhood was at stake.
He’d also convinced Donna to continue her work on Quantum
Entanglement feeling that the key to fixing the retrieval program may be a
result of that research.
and Stephen had moved to
about three months after that leap. Donna
was working at Sandia National Laboratories and Stephen was attending the
. Sam’s suggestion had seemed
so on target. Stephen had been
making great strides in developing friendships and outside interests.
In addition to beginning martial arts training like his father, he
had joined a musical chorale and would have been singing in a special
upcoming program with the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra.
of that had changed suddenly, though, when the dust storm hit
. Both Stephen and Donna had
succumbed to the disease within three days of each other.
As bad as the situation was, the worst for Donna was that she knew
that Stephen had died before her. After
that occurred, her will to live had ended.
Beth was sure that although the disease was credited with her death,
she felt that a broken heart was at least equally to blame.
knew that Sam would surely blame himself if these facts ever came to light.
He would see his insistence that they move as proof he had put them
in harm’s way. It wouldn’t
make any difference that he couldn’t tell the future, that he had acted
for all the right reasons. It
was imperative that Sam succeed in his current leap or, she feared, someday
when he learned the truth, they would lose him too.
Calavicci had entered the Control Room.
Everyone in the room was showing signs of grief and depression.
The fact that they’d lost both Donna and Stephen was taking its
toll. Everyone knew that Sam’s
current leap could change all that and they wanted to do whatever they could
keep the Imaging Chamber warm. I’m
going to talk with our visitor.” Al
tossed the handlink to the project’s Chief Programmer.
met Al at the door to the waiting room.
She had a look of concern on her face.
wrong?” Al asked.
“Is our visitor okay? I
really need to get some information from him for Sam.”
not that anything is wrong, Al. It’s
more like this man is remembering more than usual.
Add to that, he recognizes Sam’s face and is putting things
together. Since his time is only
two years before Sam began leaping, I’m afraid if his memory stays intact,
we may have an issue when he returns to his own life.”
can’t be helped. If Sam is
going to succeed on this leap, I’ll need to get as much information as I
can as rapidly as I can. Sam
only has a day and a half.”
know that, Al. I just thought
you should be aware of some potential issues which may result from this
Verbena. Forewarned is
forearmed.” Al then opened the
Waiting Room door and walked in.
at his aura of his friend, Al was surprised at how this particular leapee
fit Sam like a glove. The
visitor’s eyes held the same intensity that Sam’s always had and the way
he held his posture only added to that feeling.
This was a man who was comfortable in Sam Beckett’s aura.
neat,” the visitor mused, gazing at this reflection in the mirror.
“It looks like somehow I’ve switched places with ‘the next
Einstein.’ Does that mean
he’s looking at my face in the mirror?”
didn’t see any reason not to confirm this.
The man had obviously figured out why he saw Sam’s face.
“Yes, he currently inhabits your life.
We call it Leaping. He’s
trying to fix something that will otherwise go wrong.”
are you? What do you do here?”
name is Al and I’m in charge of the Project here while Dr. Beckett is
this ‘leaping’ have something to do with the mucus drug project?
That’s all I’ve been working on the last few weeks.
Finding out what that contaminant is has been driving us all batty.
I fear if we don’t get it right, George, our Chief Scientific
Officer, is going to pull the plug on the research.”
Sam’s doing his best to deal with that issue.
One of the problems he has though is not being able to access your
computer files. He needs your
Edward Rawson paled at the statement. “That
is totally secret. If there was
an information breach…”
cut him off. “Dr. Rawson, I
can guarantee that this Project is not trying to steal proprietary
information from your company. Dr.
Beckett is truly just trying to help ensure that your mucus drug project
continues and is successful. I
really need that password.”
visitor looked down obviously thinking.
From Al’s point of view, it was eerily like watching Sam himself
thinking through a problem. He’d
seen that same look on his friend’s face so many times.
A shocking thought went through Al’s mind ‘If
this leap failed and Sam stayed in the past, this guy would be comfortable
taking Sam’s place! No, I
can’t think that way, Sam is going to succeed.
He has to.’
Rawson finally made his decision. “This
situation is too weird to be simple industrial espionage ploy.
Okay, Al. The password
is…” and he gave it to Al.
you, Dr. Rawson.” With that, Al left the room to reenter the Imaging
staff meeting had been a bit strained when he had walked in ten minutes
late. Although everyone knew
that the drug he was working on was a potential cash cow.
However, the fact was, his being late had impacted all of their
schedules. The latest project
business was discussed and Sam got the feeling that the personnel at
LifeStar were very committed and talented people.
the staff meeting broke, Sam went back to the lab to look at the data from
the earlier HPLC run. He looked
over the data realizing the design of the experiment was to find the right
parameters to separate the components. There
was one peak that was wider than it should be; indicating that co-elution of
two or more components was obscuring the contaminant.
jotted down his observations about the data he was analyzing.
He was sure that the solution to the problem most likely had to do
with the gradient of the mobile phase. He
planned on using a fast column to maximize the number sample runs he could
do. As Sam started thinking
about this problem he realized that he seemed to be remembering more on this
leap than usual. He decided to
test that theory and started running through some of the more complex
mathematical equations he could think of.
He was amazed that not only could he remember them, the information
he needed to know how to solve them was equally available.
continued to think about information and decided to point his mind in the
direction of the project. Okay, the Control Room staff. There’s
Tina and Goos…no he died. A
moment of sadness crossed Sam’s mind as he thought of the little guy with
the bad breath. Then he recalled
he’d actually met Gooshie again when he’d been one of the Bartender’s
leapers. That brought a smile to
his face as he remembered Gooshie’s pride at being able to help fix what
had originally gone wrong.
was continuing his focus on the people of PQL when he heard the door to the
Imaging Chamber and turned to see Al walking into the room.
I have the password. You may
want to write it down.”
pulled out a pad of paper and wrote what Al told him.
It was a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols so it would
have been darn near impossible to break.
are you planning, Sam?”
just an experimental design to help tease this peak apart.
If I can do that, I should be able to use a LC-Transform System to
collect the materials and then determine if it’s a known material by
analyzing it in an FTIR.”
had noted that Dr. Rawson had been trying various solvent systems to find
the right mix of materials. He
figured that by studying them, he might be able to see a pattern, a shift
that the previous analysis had missed.
walked towards the door.
are you going? If you haven’t
found the answer yet, why aren’t you doing any more testing?
good data analysis will lead to the right solution.
I’ll be up in the office studying what’s been done.
Hopefully, by tomorrow, I’ll have a plan.”
really hope so, Sam, I really hope so.”
opened the Imaging Chamber door on Dr. Rawson’s office and found Sam at
the desk asleep, having dropped off sometime during the night before.
The test data was laid out on the desk.
Sam had obviously been busy as Al noted a pad of paper that was
almost completely filled with Sam’s notations.
remembered many a day when he had arrived at PQL prior to Sam’s first leap
and found a similar scene. Sam
would wrap himself around a problem and tenaciously follow a line of logic
to an often brilliant discovery. It
was after such a marathon session that he had realized the key to creating
walked around to look at the pad and was shocked to see that the last page
Sam had been working on seemed more to do with PQL than an analysis plan for
the mucus drug. While Al was not
at all the mathematical genius and eminent physicist that Sam was, he did
know his way around a slide rule. He’d
seen too many of Sam’s equations when they were building PQL not to know
what he was looking at.
said under his breath, “OH….no, Sammy.
This isn’t good. You
shouldn’t remember this much about the Project.
You really need to be working on the drug analysis.”
hearing Al’s voice, started to open his eyes. “Hi, Al.
What time is it?”
you’ve been up all night. It’s
8 a.m. What time did you fall
think it was about three hours ago.” Sam
rubbed at his eyes. Suddenly he
remembered something and smiled brightly.
“But Al, I’m remembering things.
I think I’m losing the Swiss-cheese effect!
Isn’t that GREAT! I
think I’ve got a lead on something that might bring me home.
I thought of it as I was reading through the data for the drug
don’t need to be working on that, Sam.
Not right now. That’s
not what’s important. You need
to work on getting this drug approved.”
How can you say that? How
long have I been leaping now? Ten,
Eleven years? I finally have
enough memory back that I can see some things I missed before.
What do you mean it’s not what’s important!”
it just isn’t. You really need
to work on this drug project.”
how can you be so sure about that? I
know you said a lot of people died but this is serious too.
I might be able to get home. I’ll
be able to be with Donna and Stephen again.
How are they Al? I know
you can’t tell me anything if I don’t remember it myself but since I
remember it now, tell me how they’re doing.”
looked away from Sam and swallowed down the lump in his throat.
His face was drawn and he pinched at his eyes.
He couldn’t tell Sam the truth, it would devastate him and he
needed to be on his game for this leap.
By the time Al turned back to Sam, his face showed nothing of his
lied through his teeth. “Donna’s
fine Sam, doing some excellent work on quantum entanglement.
She agrees that it may play a role in getting you home.
And Stephen is thriving at the new school.
He’s even taken up chorale and martial arts training.”
great, Al. I knew that would be
the best thing for Stephen. For
both of them.”
it’s really great that your memory is returning,” Al said while thinking
‘Like hell it is, not right now, you don’t need this distraction
Right now you need to work on that drug so you can save Donna and
Stephen.’ “Sam, Buddy, you know I sure hope that this new theory
will help get you home, but you REALLY do need to focus on the mucus drug
I’d like to speak with Donna about this.
Could you get her to the project today?
She could come into the Imaging Chamber with you; I could let her
know what I’ve found.”
not in town right now.” Al
thought about how that was a truth on one sick level.
“She had to go to DC to meet with her committee.”
There he was, back to a lie again.
He hated himself.
she took him with her. She
figured that the Smithsonian and Stephen needed to get acquainted.”
Al wanted to cry as he desperately wished his lie were the truth.
He couldn’t afford the luxury.
He had to get Sam’s focus back on the drug project.
thought that sounded a bit strange. Why
would Donna pull Stephen out of the new school for a short trip when
they’d decided that building friendships and getting involved in
extracurricular activities was what Stephen needed most?
will she be back?”
it may take awhile. You know how
those committee nozzles can be.”
then use the handlink to scan these pages so that Ziggy can show them to
Donna when she gets back.”
reached over to the pad. Over
half the papers were addressing the equations and thoughts concerning the
retrieval program. Al scanned
the pages with the handlink, noticing that some work had been done on the
drug analysis. Al was afraid,
however, that it wasn’t nearly enough.
He was feeling a bit ill that Sam’s focus on getting home could
jeopardize the successful completion of this leap.
you figured out the experimental design to work on that co-elution issue?”
I’ve made some progress, but I still have some work on it.”
you really need to focus on the plan. You
only have a little time today. You
have a plane to catch later.”
KNOW that Al. It’s just that
this started making sense and I decided I’d better get it on paper in case
I forget it when I leap again. I
think that we can use Fractal theory to help see a quantum signature signal
in the noise at the end of a leap. If
we can use the concept of entangled particles to see a coordinated particle
at the beginning of the next leap and identify the same quantum signature
signal, then it might be possible to pull me back home before I leap in!”
Sam was really excited about this possibility.
that really is great, but please put it aside right now.
Right now, this minute you NEED to be working on the drug project.”
Al was getting agitated. He
was torn. God, would he love for
Sam to come home, but if Sam didn’t get the drug analysis completed, what
would he be coming home to? Two
graves. That was no homecoming
still don’t understand why we can’t just get the review rescheduled.
I’ll be able to leave the notes for Dr. Rawson to follow.
He’s a pretty sharp guy, Al. Then
I’d have more time to work on the retrieval program.”
knew that when Sam decided to focus on something, it was damn near
impossible to get him off it. During
the years that Al had known Sam, this had been an asset to the projects they
both worked on. Al always knew
that Sam would show progress which helped Al to maintain funding levels.
But now, it was a liability. He
decided to try another tactic.
don’t know, Sam…maybe you just can’t do it.
Maybe this drug problem’s just too big for you.
You just don’t want to tell me you’re stumped, right?”
was right. Dr. Beckett didn’t
take kindly to such a direct attack on his analytical abilities.
just give me an hour. I’ll
have the experiment design figured out!
I know I can get the data!”
Sam? We’ll see about
that…I’ll be back.” Al
turned and left the Imaging Chamber.
had immediately turned back to the drug analysis problem.
He’d never really stopped working on it, but rather had just put it
in a subconscious subroutine in his brain.
Now he pulled it back to full consciousness.
wrote up the experiment in the lab book and went down to the lab to set it
up. Noting that all the
instruments were in use, Sam wasn’t sure how close he could cut things.
He saw Amelia talking with a 20-something male colleague and went
over to find out about the schedule.
Amelia? When will the HPLC be
available again? I have a new
gradient program I need to run.”
going to have to wait, Ed,” the young male scientist spoke up.
“You bumped me yesterday and I need to get my run finished.
Yours isn’t the only project here, you know.”
remembered Amelia had said he’d bumped Clayton yesterday so he made the
assumption that was who he was talking to.
“OK, Clayton. When will
your run be completed though? I
have a plane to catch this afternoon.”
booked both HPLC’s until 11 a.m.”
looked down at the experimental plan. His
HPLC run would take 15 min to set up and two hours to run.
Assuming the co-elution resolved (he had every confidence it would
work), he’d first use the LC-Transform System to collect the materials
(another two hours), and then he’d have another half hour of FTIR analysis
to do. Total time, four and
three quarter’s hours. It was
only 9 am so he could get the analysis in time.
His plane wasn’t until 5:30 p.m.
The flight would take about five and a half hours.
He could write up the report then.
have you packed yet?” Amelia
looked at him curiously. “And
you look like you slept in your office again.
Why don’t you go home and get things together.
I’ll help get the prelim work done so you can start your run when
you get back.”
Amelia. That sounds like a good
plan. I’ll be back in about an
left the lab book with Amelia and headed off home to clean up and get his
bags packed for the flight later that afternoon.
He checked his tickets and found that his flight would take off from
. “When was it Denver
International went live? Let’s
see, 1994 I think. Glad I
don’t have to go there!” At
least he could cut his arrival to the airport closer if he needed to.
had taken the time the evening before to check his address on Ed’s
driver’s license. He asked the
receptionist if she had a map of the city.
She did and he checked to see how to get home.
LifeStar was in the
area close to I-225. He lived in
so it would be a quick hop up the interstate.
all he had to do was find his car. He
went into the parking lot was grateful for small miracles.
Being a project manager, he had his own parking place with his name
close to the building. The car
was a smaller size BMW. “Nice
got in and started up the engine. It
purred like any BMW would. Sam
enjoyed it when he got a chance to drive fine performance automobiles on his
bad this isn’t
and the Autobahn!”
made it home and pulled up to a smaller brick home in an older neighborhood.
The yard was kept up and he noticed there was mail.
He picked up the mail and went inside.
The house was obviously a bachelor’s home, but it appeared Ed
Rawson was as neat in his home as he was in his office.
realized he hadn’t eaten and went to the fridge to see what was there.
Finding bread, ham, and
cheese, he made a sandwich. He
found a can of Diet Coke too and popped the top.
He was just finishing his meal and heading to the bedroom to pack
when Al popped back in.
why aren’t you in the lab? You
gotta get with it!”
AL, I get it. You want me
working on the drug analysis. I
couldn’t run anything until 11 a.m. Clayton
is using the HPLC’s. But
I’ve got a plan and Amelia is helping me with it.
I had to pack for the flight later, or did you think I could convince
the FDA without getting some appropriate clothing?”
Sam was animated. “What’s
just feels like you’re not taking this seriously, Sam.
A lot of people’s lives are at stake!”
Not to mention your wife and
know. It will work out.
And I’m sure if I don’t convince the FDA, then Ed will be able to
Ziggy’s only predicting a 49.2% chance of your success right now.
That’s way too low.”
get off it. I’m sure my run
will resolve the issue. Ziggy’s
just showing low odds because it hasn’t been run yet.
I can write the report on the plane.”
sure about that?”
made it back to work at 11:10 a.m. after getting his bags packed.
He left the luggage in the car and made his way back to the lab.
Amelia had everything set up for the run.
She was quite the lab rat!
started the run at 11:20 a.m. and Sam figured everything would be finished
by 4:05 p.m. Tight, but
at 1 hour and 20 minutes into the run, the UV-Vis detector broke down.
They were able to track down a spare one, but the run had not reached
the co-elution peak. The test
would have to rerun. By 2:45
p.m. they were ready to start the run again.
It would be finished by 7:30 p.m.
asked the Admin Assistant, Carla, if she would see about getting him on a
later flight. Unfortunately, the
last flight would leave at 6:30 p.m. Just
as Sam heard this, Al popped back in. Sam
verbally pulled Al into a small conference room a couple of doors down so no
one would see him talking into thin air.
there was a snafu during the run. Couldn’t
be avoided. The detector went
out. Now the analysis won’t be
finished until after the flight leaves.
I think we should just postpone the FDA review and let Ed present the
data.” Sam decided that while
he could, he’d continue working on his retrieval program idea.
“Hey, Al…think you could at least get Donna on the line and patch
her through the handlink? I
could at least tell her my idea and she could look at the data when she
frustration had reached the breaking point.
His face turned bright red and he laid into Sam with a fury.
“DAMMIT, SAM! YOU’RE
NEVER GONNA TALK TO DONNA OR STEPHEN AGAIN IF YOU DON’T DO SOMETHING!”
looked dumbfounded. “Wha…Why?
shoulders and countenance fell at the same moment.
“The epidemic. The one
this drug will stop. The city
. It happened a month ago
face turned white. He sat in one
of the chairs. His voice cracked
as he whispered, “Donna? Stephen?”
I’m so sorry.” Al had to
force the words around the lump in his throat, and tears filled his eyes.
“They’re both dead. This
drug would have been their only hope.”
was grief stricken. He closed
his eyes as if that could make the horrendous news go away.
“No, No, NO! It can’t
be. Oh God, Al!
I sent them there to live! If
I hadn’t insisted they leave the Project, they’d have been safe.
I’ve killed my wife and son! I’ve
killed my family!”
head dropped into his hands and he started rocking.
Deep, wracking sobs escaped his body.
looked over to Sam, wanting to be able to touch him and comfort this man who
had taken care of so many others, himself included.
Both he and Beth had been grief-stricken themselves. Donna and
Stephen were family! Hell, the
entire project had been affected deeply.
Al remembered back to those wisps of memories of the losses he’d
had in previous timelines. He
could remember losing family members on many occasions.
Sam had changed that for him numerous times.
It hurt Al that he couldn’t reciprocate.
Not directly anyways.
looked up to Al, tear tracks down his face.
“Al, what have I done?”
didn’t…you couldn’t have known. This
epidemic came out of the blue. There
were no warning signs. It just
happened. The people who were
digging at the site were Native American, from the
. They had genetic immunity so
no one even knew about the spores.”
took this in, understanding how the site would be opened during a dig, the
soil sieved through to find artifacts. Bitterness
entered his voice. “Why
didn’t you tell me? How long
were you going to wait to let me know I’d killed them?”
good would it have done, Sam? Look
at you now! We knew this would
hit you harder than anything else. We
didn’t want to distract you, cloud your mind.
As long as you were leaping, THIS leap was possible.
And as long as you were working on it, you could get this drug into
human clinical trials. You can
still do this. You can still
make it work!”
stopped for a second, seeing his best friend in the most pain he’d ever
seen him experience. He said
plainly, “Sam, you can still save Donna and Stephen.”
looked up again, a flicker of hope creeping into his eyes.
Amelia could help. She could
watch over the run and send you the data at your hotel.
You can write the addendum after you arrive.
Use the business services at the hotel to get the reports copied to
take to the review.”
nodded. He went back to Carla
and had her reconfirm the new flight and to contact the hotel to give them a
head’s up on the services he would require.
He then found Amelia and explained the timeline issues between the
flight and the completion of the testing.
I’d been planning to go out tonight with some friends, but I understand
your dilemma. Yeah…I can help
you out, Ed.”
Amelia. Carla has the fax
information for the hotel. I’ll
check at the desk when I arrive. You
are an angel, Amelia.”
I don’t know about that, Ed. I
do know that you owe me a favor after this though!”
hoped that Ed would see that when she called in this favor, he’d honor it.
rest of the run went well this time and Sam even was able to take the HPLC
data with him on the plane. He
noted that the co-elution had indeed resolved itself.
He just hoped that the FTIR would be able to identify both materials
in the twin peaks. He left for
got to the plane just in time and settled into his seat.
He went back over all his notes and went over the HPLC data again.
Using his laptop, he started typing the addendum he knew he’d have
to finish that night. When he
got to the hotel, he checked at the desk for any faxes.
He was told they hadn’t arrived.
Sam was worried, but didn’t yet panic.
He called Amelia’s pager and left the number for the hotel.
She called back ten minutes later.
I sent the information about an hour ago.
It should have arrived.”
check with them again. Maybe
they just misplaced it. Did the
FTIR identify the peaks?”
about the two peaks that had co-eluted before?”
don’t remember. The data is
back at the lab. Do you want me
to go back in and get it?”
me see if the faxes are in yet. If
they aren’t, then I’ll have you go back and refax.
If they are here, there’ll be no need for you to go back in.”
Ed. I’ll keep the pager on.”
She hung up.
went back to the desk and told them the faxes should have arrived an hour
before and would they recheck. When
they did, they found that the fax had run out of paper.
Once they reloaded it, several faxes printed having been stored in
the memory buffer. They handed
Sam ten pages.
had been thorough. She’d not
only sent the data printout from the FTIR, but also had sent several pages
of Merck Index data on the newly identified constituents.
He called her back to both thank her and to let her know he’d
received the faxes.
took all the information to his room and continued to write the addendum.
At four am he was still working on it, and it was almost complete.
Al had stayed with him, going back and forth between Sam and Ed
Rawson. Ed had agreed to help
Sam with any questions he might have in developing the addendum so that it
would be best formatted for the FDA’s review.
Ed says that even if you present this tomorrow, there will be a 30 day
review by the FDA. While you can
add the addendum anytime in the process, the FDA will never give you a final
ok tomorrow. But, you’ll still
have to make a good case for them to approve the request.”
eyes held a determination that Al had seen on those occasions when Sam was
adamant about succeeding. “Al,
I’ll make the case. I HAVE
7:45 a.m. Sam had arrived at FDA Headquarters, briefcase in hand.
Inside were 15 copies of the report he had completed just three hours
before. At 8 a.m., the review
panel convened and the process began. After
an hour of the FDA asking questions and seeking clarifications about the
data they’d already reviewed, Dr. Phillips, the review panel chairman
Rawson, you can be assured that the submitted data received a thorough
review. We feel, though that
without the complete makeup of the formulation, we cannot give the green
light to run Human Clinical Trials. Do
you have anything you would like to add?”
said Sam, opening his briefcase. “I’d
like to submit some additional data which I developed after the submission
of the documentation to support human clinical trials.
I believe they will shed light on the complete formulation of the
drug. I respectfully request
that the addendum be included in this review.”
will put the final decision off 30 days, Dr. Rawson.”
know. I believe that this drug
has the potential to save thousands. Respiratory
issues related to mucus production can be extremely insidious or can be
quite fast acting. If this drug
were available as part of a treatment arsenal, lives will be saved, and the
quality of life for many will be enhanced.
I know that the drug will provide a level of effectiveness that will
raise the level of care multifold.
The unknown constituent, which you rightly questioned, has been
identified and confirmed. May I
provide this esteemed panel with the addendum?”
chair of the panel stated, “Of course, Dr. Rawson.”
passed the reports out. “You
will note in the Executive Summary the fact that the unknown constituent has
been identified as an inert, biocompatible material.
It has no adverse activity and should not interfere with the drug’s
effectiveness or efficiency.”
panel members indeed turned to the page that Sam had pointed them to. Having
reviewed the data that had been submitted and knowing that the reason for
holding up the trials had been based on the lack of this data, several of
the panel members grinned. Sam
felt the demeanor of the room change. Had
this data not been submitted, the drug would have been dead.
Now….there was a chance.
did it Sam!” Al had donned his
dress whites for the occasion. Although
he knew the review board couldn’t see him, he was so used to the protocol
of dressing this way before the multiple Washington Nozzle Committees, that
it had become second nature. “In
25 days, the letter arrives from the FDA giving the go ahead for the human
clinical trials. The drug is now
available at the onset of the epidemic.
Now there are only 300 deaths, mostly of people with previously
compromised immune systems.”
let out a breath he didn’t know he’d been holding.
He was saddened to hear of the 300 deaths but understood as a
physician that such a result was a success.
It was just over 1/1000th the number that had died
previously. He continued looking
to Al, the question of his family’s safety in his eyes.
Sam. They’re safe too.
Donna and Stephen are fine.”
he heard the words he most desired to hear, the blue light again engulfed
him and he leaped away.
did some really good work on the retrieval program equations.
He may be onto something.” Sammie
Jo was deeply engrossed in reading the equations.
but it is a rough approximation at this point.
If we were to use this idea as its configured now, there’d be a
98.4% chance we wouldn’t retrieve ALL of our father.”
Ziggy obviously thought it was important to point this detail out.
we can’t be 100% certain that ALL of my husband will be retrieved, I
don’t want to risk it,” Donna said this with total finality.
“I don’t plan to leave any part of Sam in limbo.”
said Sammie Jo, “we’re closer to understanding the solution.
How much closer? Only
time will tell.”
gentle calm of the blue surrounds me, helping to ease the tension that had
taken hold of me. For once in a long time I find myself at peace. I'm not
quite sure how I got here, but that doesn't frighten me, in fact it helps
relax me. This isn't the first time that I find myself in this blue room. I
take a moment and close my eyes, enjoying the serenity. However when I open
my eyes, I noticed something a bit… 'off'.
vision is slightly blurred. As I blink a couple times to fight it off, I
notice the walls starting to take on a darker color. At first it starts as a
slow trickle of... blood?... starts to run down from each corner of the
room, until each trickle meets the floor and joins together. I jump to my
feet as the slow trickle begins to turn into a full on flood. Everywhere
I... see red... blood!... pouring down, coating the walls and the floors. I
run to the only door I can find and start banging on it for help, but to no
avail. Then, just as the blood reaches my bare feet, I hear a voice... a
man's voice… calling to me, telling me the same thing I've heard every
time I find myself at this place.
failed, Edward. This is all your fault and now you shall be punished for
He bolted upright from the bed, the white sheets slipping off his chest. For
a moment he just sat there, blinking, trying to drive out the voice in his
head. It took him another moment to realize that his wife was calling his
Eddie, it's okay,” Christa Sharpe said gently, brushing back the
sweat-soaked hair that fell over her husband's face. “It's okay. Shhh!”
Turning his head towards her, she looked into his eyes with great concern.
“Honey, that's the second time this week you've woken up screaming. What's
dream,” was all that Ensign Edward Sharpe IV had managed to say after
several moments. Dread and fear still had its hold on him but he knew that
he was quite safe. What pained him even more was seeing the terrified and
concerned look his wife was giving him. He gently took her hand in his and
leaned forward, kissing her on the cheek. “I found myself back in the
Waiting Room, but this time... this time, it was much worse.”
was just a dream, honey,” Christa tried to assure him. Taking a breath,
she exhaled slowly, not liking the thoughts that were running through her
mind. “Maybe... maybe you should talk to Dr. Beeks about this.” When he
began to protest, she looked at him plainly. “Ed, this has been going on
for far too long! I'm worried about you.”
understand,” Eddie replied with a shake of his head, “but I don't need
Verbena Beeks thinking that I'm losing my mind. What if your father finds
out? I could be relieved of my duty and you know that I can't have that.
It's bad enough that I have to cover my ass half the time, you know. I can't
eat, sleep, or even work without flashing back to those horrible images!”
He pulled himself up and went over to the dresser drawer and leaned forward,
gazing at his reflection. “What the hell is happening to me, Christa? Am I
slowly stood up and walked over to him, gently wrapping her arms around him
from behind. “I don't think you're going insane, baby.” She sighed. “I
just don't think that you have to go at this alone. And Dad would
understand. He's had his fair share of nightmares too, you know.”
just shook his head at her words, bringing another sigh from Christa.
down, baby,” she whispered, gently getting him to his knees, facing her.
Carefully, she brought his ear to her round belly. “You hear? That's our
baby, Eddie. Nothing is more important to me that you and our baby.”
Seeing the look on his face, she bit her lip. “Please... talk to someone.
Me, Verbena, Dad... anyone you want, but you have to talk to someone about
these dreams or they're going to take you away from us.”
slowly nodded as he stood up, reaching out and holding Christa's face in his
hands. Smiling at her that same smile she claimed melted her heart the first
time she laid eyes on him, he said, “Trust me, honey. There's nothing in
this world that can take me away from you and our little munchkin.” Eddie
then knelt down briefly and kissed her round belly. “Can't wait to see
your cute little face,” he added. When he looked over at the alarm clock
and found that it was three in the morning, he chuckled. “Go figure. I
have to be up in two hours to report for duty.” When he looked back over
at a very concerned Christa, he said, “Okay. I'll compromise. Tomorrow
evening, I'll speak with Dr. Beeks. I'll tell her everything. Okay?”
hesitated at his words before giving him a gentle smile. “Okay,” she
finally relented. “I wish it were today but...” She glanced at the
clock. “You’d better hit the showers. Like you said, you have to go on
duty in a couple of hours. As for me... I have a date.” She wiggled her
eyebrows at him mischievously.
chuckled as he climbed back into bed, kissing his wife passionately on the