Albert Calavicci bounded up the stairs two at a time. His face was covered with
strong concern, or rather almost panicked worry. Normally, he would take the
elevator up to the infirmary in an emergency but, in this case, the elevator was
far too slow for his liking.
any kind of warning to those on the other side of the stairwell door, he burst
onto the level and ran down the hallway, forcing people to move to the side and
make way for him. He busted though the infirmary door, panting hard and
shouting, "Where is she?"
Assistant Chief Medical Officer slowly walked over to him, his hands up in an
attempt to calm him down.
hell I will relax! Where is she? How is she? What happened to her, damn
doctor didnít allow Alís volatile temper get to him. Instead, he remained
calm, speaking to the Admiral in soft tones. "She experienced a slight
heart murmur and weíre just keeping her here for observation. Knowing the
problems she has had before, we just want to make sure there are no
exhaled, a little calmer but still anxious. "Where is she?"
in Room B. Your wife is in there with her."
started for the door quickly.
the doctor interrupted his actions quickly.
turned and looked at him with question.
donít think you should go in there in an agitated state. It might not be good
for her. Wait a couple of minutes to collect yourself."
was about to make a comment about his not being agitated, about needing to see
her. He stopped, however, when he realized the doctor was right. He nodded
before waiting at the door, forcing his heart to slow to a normal rate. Then,
with a deep breath, he entered the infirmary room.
he entered, Beth Calavicci turned her head to look at her husband with gentle
eyes. Her actions were followed by the young lady in the infirmary bed. The
latter beamed at Al and extended a hand towards him.
she called out to him with a pleased smile.
hurried to her side, unable to keep the look of concern from his face.
"Christa, honey, are you okay?" he asked as he took the extended hand,
sitting on the side of the bed and looking at his youngest daughter with loving
fine, Dad," she tried to assure but the paleness of her skin indicated that
she wasnít as fine as she was proclaiming.
looked at his wife with an exasperated smirk, indicating to her how he felt
about Christaís obvious lie. Beth just gave him a gentle smile, dissipating
happened, sweetie?" Al gently asked his daughter. "When I heard you
were rushed here, I was worried sick."
still are, Dad," Christa pointed out. "I had a little pain in my
chest. Thatís all. Itís not like nothing like this hasnít happened to me
brushed her hair. "Youíve got to take it easy, sweetie. Okay? You canít
overexert yourself in your condition."
sighed in frustration. "Why canít I have a normal life like a normal
teenager?" she asked in a sad mutter.
Al and Beth looked at her with knowing sympathy. Al squeezed her hand gently.
donít you get some sleep, sweetie?" He stood up slowly. "Maybe, in a
couple of days, youíll be well enough to go home."
sighed again. "Okay. Is it okay if I call Alan and let him know I wonít
be able to make our date tomorrow?"
smiled. "Iíll see what we can do." He kissed her forehead gently.
"Get some rest."
nodded gently before Al looked to his wife and indicated that she should follow
him out of the room.
stood up at Alís indication and kissed Christaís forehead.
dreams, honey," she bid her before following Al.
Beth," Al said as soon as the door was closed behind them. "What
exhaled. "She was mowing the lawn."
gritted his teeth in frustration. "And you let her?"
frowned at him. "Al Calavicci, you know me better than that. I wasnít
even home. I was grocery shopping. When I came home, I found her on her knees,
on the front lawn, holding her chest."
what the hell was she doing mowing the lawn?" Al queried in a loud voice.
was trying to help us out."
risking her life? By doing something she knows she canít and shouldnít do?
She has a heart condition, Beth! What the hell was she thinking?"
gently took his hand in hers while touching his cheek with her free hand.
"She was probably thinking of how much she loves us. Donít be so hard on
her, Al. She was only trying to be helpful."
sighed, closing his eyes. "Well, she can help us out by taking it easy and
letting us to the hard work."
eighteen years old, Al," Beth pointed out. "Old enough to vote, to
move out, to go to warÖ"
donít remind me," he put in.
doesnít want to be cooped up in the house all day. She has had very few
friends since the incident and she likes helping us out. You canít expect her
to just do nothing."
exhaled in frustration of his own helplessness. "I wish she wasnít so
damn stubborn," he complained.
smiled at him gently. "Like father, like daughter. Sheíll be all right,
Al. She just needs a little rest." She kissed him gently on the lips.
"And so do you. You wear yourself out, Al. You should take it easy more
said than done, Beth," he pointed out.
know," she said gently. She took his hand again. "But now is a good
time to rest. The leap is over so you donít have to worry about Sam. Just
spend some time with Christa. She needs her father."
nodded slowly before kissing Bethís forehead. "You are a truly remarkable
woman, Beth Calavicci."
smiled at him gently as he went back into the infirmary room.
slowly returned to the bed and sat beside it, watching the slumbering teenager
under its covers. Christa had once been such a beautiful girl. Her bright brown
eyes had shown off her curly brown hair and rosy cheeks. Most importantly, she
had been so innocent, evil being only something found on television shows she
didnít even watch. She was never interested in those crime shows; her favorite
show was the Disney "Avonlea" series.
shortly after the Calavicciís had a family picture taken together, Christaís
innocence was lost after the incident that had cost them all dearly. The
physical and emotional scars that Christa now bore had been placed on her
purposefully. Al was glad that his little girl couldnít remember the details
of what had happened. Knowing that it had happened was enough to make the
coldest heart shudder.
brushed her hair gently, thankful that the act didnít wake her.
dreams, honey," he whispered lovingly. "And never forget that itís
whatís on the inside that counts." He bit his lip and forced back his
emotion of sympathy for the girl.
continued to sleep soundly, her head snuggled against the bed pillow so that her
scarred face showed under the dim fluorescent lighting.
let us go!" the voice pleaded from behind the door. "Please! We
havenít done anything wrong!"
Beckett slowly walked towards the door, uncertain of the situation in which he
suddenly found himself. The voice sounded very frightened, almost alarmingly so.
Sam was almost certain that he had heard that voice somewhere before and that
alone, along with the padlocked door in front of him, gave him a terrible
feeling in the pit of his stomach that told him the whole situation was very
Sam came closer to the door, it shook as something pounded it hard from the
other side, causing Sam to jump backwards with surprise.
us out!" another voice screamed from the other side. "You donít know
who you are dealing with! My father is a very important man! If you donít let
us go right now, youíll regret it!"
started for the door again, ready to obey the demand. He had to be there to
release those children Ė he was certain that they were children Ė and he
didnít see a reason why he shouldnít do exactly that.
thought I told you to keep those brats quiet!" another voice growled
angrily from behind him as he heard the sounds of harsh footsteps. The owner of
the voice grazed past him, shoulders touching, before roughly opening the door
of the room in which the children were being held captive.
redheaded woman, who for a moment Sam could have sworn had blonde hair, grabbed
a nearby object before entering the room. A moment later, Sam heard screams and
crying, causing him to instinctively hurry towards the door.
the hell up!" the woman shouted at them. "Unless you really want me to
hurt you!" She stormed out of the room, blocking Sam from entering in the
had barely had a chance to look into the room, much less enter it, but what he
saw through the closing door was enough to shock him from moving.
room was small, windowless, and completely barren of any comforts. But what
really caught his eyes and tore at his heart was the girl. She was raising
herself from the floor, her eyes streaming with tears. Her cheeks were bleeding
from cuts she had received and her clothes were splotched with blood. She looked
directly at Sam with intense pleading.
Sam! Please!" she cried out as the door shut and was locked from the
geezus!" Sam whispered appalled by the situation - especially since he was
certain he knew the girl who had called out to him.
woman turned towards him with a glare, her eyes flaming with such intense
hatred. No, not hatred, Sam corrected his thoughts. Evil. Intense evil. He
shuddered involuntarily at her glare, certain that he had seen that glare in
those eyes before.
spoke slowly and intensely, making shivers go up Samís spine. "You may
look like him but donít you dare start acting like him. We have a job to do
and Iíll be damned if Iím going to let you ruin it because you suddenly
caught his conscience." She looked at him carefully. "Youíve dyed
your hair like I told you. Good. The more you look like him, the better."
She looked directly into his eyes, causing yet another shiver to go up Samís
spine. "I thought you said you couldnít wear contacts."
guess they donít irritate me as much as I thought they would," Sam
replied, forcing his voice not to quiver in fear. He wasnít sure why he was
afraid but he somehow knew that he had to make sure he didnít get on this
womanís bad side, especially when he had no absolutely clear idea why he was
there other than to free those girls.
huffed slightly. "Iím returning to bed. Keep them quiet," she
ordered, her accent distinctively British to Sam. She forced an object in his
hand. "Put it away," she ordered plainly. With that, she turned and
walked away down the hallway.
waited until she was out of sight before he looked at the object she had given
him. He frowned at it as he flicked a switch, causing a small bolt of
electricity to spring from one metal prong to another. A taser, he realized. His
eyes widened in horror. She used a taser on those children?! "Geezus!"
he whispered, quickly putting the taser on the small table where the woman had
procured it. He took several quick steps from the table, as if trying to
distance himself from the electrical device.
have to get those children out of here!í he thought with desperate
determination. He quickly examined the padlocked door. It didnít take very
long for him to realize that he wouldnít be able to open the door without a
key and that the key was in the possession of the redheaded British woman.
could here the murmur of voices from the other side of the door and he leaned
close to it to hear what was being said. What he heard tore at his heart.
gawd! Weíre going to die! Weíre going to die!" one girl cried with
fear. To Samís surprise, it was the voice of the girl who had spoken strongly
about her fatherís influence.
be okay," the other girl, the one Sam was sure he knew, spoke gently.
"You know, any minute now, my dad will send the cavalry to save us. I know
he will." She spoke bravely but her voice also held a hint of confusion.
own uncle didnít!" the response came.
not my real uncle, Leslie," the voice was filling with hatred. "Heís
not related at all. In factÖ I hate him."
pulled away from the door in shock. ĎShe
called out to me and yet she hates me?í
doesnít hate you, Sam," a raspy voice, filled with sadness, replied to
his thoughts. "Sheís just angry and confused, not surprising given the
had been unprepared for the voice and had to stop himself from jumping in shock.
He turned to the source and looked at the Observer with confusion mixed with
the hell is going on, Al?" he asked with a shaky voice. "Two girls
locked in a room and a red-headed woman with a taserÖ"
winced at the last word, not surprised to hear it but nonetheless appalled.
"Yeah, I know." He frowned after a second. "Wait a minute. The
woman who kidnapped the girls was a blonde," he said with conviction.
this woman is a red-head and I think sheís British or Australian or something
and she had theseÖ eyes," he said the last word with a shiver.
eyes?" Al questioned cautiously.
Sam searched for the proper word to describe them. "Evil," he finally
said, shivering again. "I swear she actually enjoyed hurting those
closed his eyes tightly, swallowing down fear and anger. "Are the girls
okay?" he asked in a whisper.
pursed his lips. "I donít know." He looked towards the locked door.
"I canít get in there to find out. But theyíre really scared. I know
that much. One of themÖ we made eye contact andÖ" He forced himself not
to cry at the memory. "She called out to me, Al. She begged me to help her
and IÖ I couldnít move. I wanted to help her, Al, but I couldnít."
His voice was filled with shame for his previous inability to act.
swallowed tightly, unsure what to say to his friend. He knew giving him
assurances was pointless; they wouldnít help Samís conscience. Neither would
Al remain silent; that would make him seem cold to his friendís feelings and
to the situation.
took a deep breath, readying his thoughts into words.
you may have saved her life and yours by not doing anything," he told him
By letting that woman torture her?" Sam retaliated with force, not raising
winced strongly, more from the words than the tone.
think I know her, Al," Sam continued, pacing slightly as the soft sound of
crying seeped through the door. "Iíve seen her before but I canít
remember where or when." He looked at his partner with force. "And she
called me by name, Al!"
did she say?" Al whispered, trying to keep his voice from quivering.
said ĎUncle Sam! Please!í She knew who I really was, Al! She knew me! And I
didnít help her!"
took a breath. "Youíre not listening to me, Sam," he told him
pointedly when he noticed the scientist was still on his guilt-trip. "If
you had tried to help her, that woman might have killed her. Itís a good thing
you didnít help her, Sam. It gave you both time to figure out how to get out
of this hell." He took a deep breath, something still nagging at his mind.
"Sam, are you sure the woman was red-headed?"
turned at Al with disbelief. "What matter does it make? Those
be in more danger than before," Al interrupted firmly. "Is she a
is definitely a red-head and she definitely has a British accent," Sam told
him, frustrated with Alís seemingly pointless persistence.
face became a clear picture of fear and near panic. "Dear God, please, tell
me Iím wrong," he prayed as he punched buttons on the handlink.
sight of his friend being so frightened caused Sam to ignore his own feelings.
He took a step towards Al while frowning with concern. "Al?"
gawd!" Al whispered, his eyes staring at the handlink, at the information
Ziggy was providing him. "It wasnít supposed to happen! All these years,
all the therapy sessions, all the pain and it didnít even happen
originally!" He couldnít stop the tears from finding their ways down his
left cheek. "They did it to her to get to me! To hurt me! To punish me for
things I hadnít even done yet!"
frowned strongly with confusion and concern. Al wasnít making much sense to
him, seeming to act irrationally. It scared Sam greatly.
what are you talking about?" he questioned firmly, commanding Alís
looked at him with tear-filled eyes. "The girl is my daughter, Sam! And the
woman is a leaper!"
found that he was having trouble standing, his legs buckling from underneath
him. He backed away from Al and found support by leaning against the nearest
he whispered painfully.
closed his eyes at the single word. "You remember her."
sheís my godchild. She was the only one of your girls who called me Uncle
IS the only daughter who calls you that," Al corrected. "She isnít
dead, Sam!" He spoke with a hint of anger.
closed his eyes tightly. "Iím sorry," he said genuinely. "What
bit his lip to control the rage that was building. "The bastards used her
affection for you to kidnap her and Leslie." He took a shaky breath.
"They torture Christa to show what they would do to Leslie if her father
didnít pay their ransom." He was crying now, obviously on the verge of
breaking down completely. "All Beth and I knew was that the girls were
missing and being held captive by a wacko. That bastard of a Senator never even
told us what the kidnappers were doing to Christa." He wiped his cheeks
quickly of the salty tears that adorned them. "When we finally got her
back, Christa suffered constant health problems. Still does. Not to mention the
suicide attempts she made."
gawd!" Sam exclaimed in shock.
took a slow breath, trying to regain himself. "Lately, itís been her
heart. I tell her not to over-exert herself but she just doesnít listen. This
is the second heart attack sheís had since all this happened."
eyes widened with fright, as if hearing about the suicide attempts wasnít
enough to shock him. "Sheís had a heart attack? Is she okay?"
exhaled. "The doc says she just needs some rest. But, damn it, Sam! She
doesnít deserve this just because of me!"
stood erect and looked directly into Alís eyes. "Iíll get her out of
here, Al. I promise."
nodded his head to Samís words, sure of his partnerís promise.
Sam continued after a moment. "Is ChristaÖ mentally handicapped?" he
looked at him with shock. "What? No! What the hell gave you that
looked at him, worried about how Al would react. "She could see me as
exhaled with understanding. "Sam, I think you should look in a
blinked for a moment, slowly walking down the hallway, afraid of leaving the
locked door. It was then that he realized he couldnít hear anything coming
from the other side of the door.
cried themselves to sleep," Al explained with sad eyes. "Go look in
nodded and walked down the hallway. He appeared to be in a small, dirty house.
The floor was marked with footprints that broke the dust overlay. The hallway
had three doors on its sides. One, on his left side, was shut, obviously the
room in which the other leaper was now sleeping. One of the doors on his right
led to a small bedroom, which only had a cot and a table in it. The other led to
a bathroom, the only room that seemed to be taken care of lately.
entered the bathroom and turned to look at himself in the mirror. The sight
caused him to stumble backwards in shock as he forced himself not to scream.
isnít it?" Al said without humor.
my gawd!" Sam said, forcing himself not to speak too loudly for fear of
waking the sleeping leaper. He took slow steps to the mirror and touched its
sleek surface as confirmation of what he was seeing.
leaped into Kim Harper, a convicted rapist who was hired for this scheme to
ransom Senator Brackenheinís daughter, Leslie Brackenhein, for $2.5
Brackenhein," Sam said quietly. "I know that name."
was Christaís best friend. The idea was to get her to go with a friendly face
Ė yours." Al took a breath. "They say everyone has a twin somewhere
in the world. Looks like yours is Kim Harper."
Christa thinks Kimís me," Sam said with shock.
nodded. "Itís only after all this is over that she realizes she was duped
by this nozzle. Thus, the various emotional problems and the suicide
looked carefully in the mirror. Kim Harper certainly looked very much like him.
The hair was a bit too dark, the eyes were brown instead of hazel green, and the
chin wasnít quite right but Sam knew that, with a little hair dye and some
contact lenses, it would be hard for anyone to tell the difference between him
and Kim Harper. He could see that there had once been dye in Kimís hair but it
had been washed out.
does Harper wear contacts? I mean, did he wear contacts whenÖ" He let the
meaning of his question be understood by Al without having to say the words.
shook his head. "No. Not once. Heís allergic to them."
got a thoughtful look on his face as he left the bathroom to return to the
locked door. "Whoís the woman?" he asked.
froze. "The red-head or the blonde?"
actually," Sam replied. "The blond first."
took another breath, putting his hands in his pockets. "Francine Raoul.
Called Francie. The way I remember it, she was the one who cooked up this scheme
and sheís the one who hired Kim to impersonate you. According to Ziggy, in the
original history before that other leaper changed it all, Francie never got into
any kind of seriously illegal activities, just an occasional tiff with the law.
And Harper had changed his life around instead of breaking his parole.
Originally, he too only had a few tiffs, most of them speeding tickets."
the red-head?" Sam asked with trepidation.
was quiet with that question. "Ziggy isnít sure. Sheís still trying to
figure out how you could see her without having touched her."
did touch," Sam said with realization, the thoughtful look still in his
eyes. "She brushed my shoulder when she was going toÖ" He swallowed
slightly. "I donít think she noticed. She seemed to think that Harper
finally dyed his hair and put in contacts to look like me."
Al said firmly. "The longer she thinks youíre Harper, the better. Then
maybe we can end this nightmare as soon as possible before Christa really gets
hurt." He looked towards the locked door and swallowed. "IímÖ
ummÖ Iím going to go back and see if we canít figure out how to end
this." He punched the exit code into the handlink. Before stepping through
the Imaging Chamber door, he looked at Sam gently. "Take care of the girls,
will you, Sam?"
nodded gently in return. "I will. I promise."
moment later, Al disappeared into the future, leaving Sam alone guarding the
girlsí makeshift prison.
and shine, sweet cheeks! Mmm! Thatís one fine looking aura you have
glared at the black man as she rolled out of the bed, showing off her perfectly
shaped body. If it hadnít been for the aura of Francine Raoul, which was
practically flawless in every way, one would have seen a noticeably large scar
across her abdomen. The scar ran from the bottom of her ribcage and ended just
short of her belly button. She considered it a battle scar, something to drive
her towards her ultimate goal.
the view? I thought having the real thing in the Holding Chamber would help
quench the lust in your eyes," she commented to the black man as she
readied to shower.
your aura surrounding her? Donít get me wrong, baby. Youíre a treat for the
eyes butÖ I enjoy perfection."
turned on him with a much stronger glare. "I had been perfect once, until
Beckett spoiled our operations. Speaking of which, how is our look-alike
last I saw him, he was sitting by the room, looking too sad to bear," he
told her, his voice feigning sympathy. "You know, ZoŽ, I donít think he
is as into this idea as he used to be."
huffed. "If he ever really was." She walked out of the bedroom and
into the bathroom, glancing towards the locked door to see Harper leaning
against the door, asleep. She frowned slightly. The fact that he was asleep
didnít bother her as much as how he was sleeping. His position indicated that
he was trying to keep something out of the room rather than something in. He
looked protective rather than malevolent. She didnít like that look one bit.
There was something else as well that she couldnít put her finger on Ė
something about what happened last night between them.
she said in a commanding voice as she stepped towards the shower. "I want
you to keep an eye on Harper. Thereís something definitely different about
him. Also, keep an eye on the Calavicci girl. If she is anything like her
father, she is going to be trouble."
about Brackenhein?" Thames asked. "What are you planning for
gave a half-smile as she turned on the shower, checking its temperature.
eyes widened slightly. "Nothing? What about your mission?"
glared at him. "I havenít forgotten the mission. That doesnít mean I
canít have a little fun while Iím at it. Think about it, Thames. We have
Calavicciís daughter. We have a practical twin of Dr. Beckett. Who says we
even have to touch Brackenhein to get her father to pay $2.5 million for her
release?" She smiled wickedly. "No, I think Christa Calavicciís
screams will be sufficient to make the Senator surrender the money if he
believes that his daughter would undergo the same treatment if he
smiled with admiration. "And I wondered why Lothos was so adamant about
saving your life. ZoŽ, baby, you are an absolute genius." He moved closer
to her, his holographic body centimeters behind her. He put his head closer to
hers, his lips beside her ear. "I canít wait to see what you do to
gave a thin smile. "Go watch Harper," she ordered gently.
stepped away from her, a sly grin on his face. "As you wish." Slowly,
he lifted the pyramid-shaped handlink and pressed some buttons before
Springs, New Mexico
it were possible to feel more helpless, Al Calavicci didnít know how. He paced
nervously in his living room, having already checked out every possibility he
could think of but getting only negative results. It was hard enough dealing
with his own daughterís disappearance without Senator Brackenhein accusing him
and Christa of causing Leslieís disappearance as well. To Brackenhein,
Christaís "bad" influence was the catalyst to the girlsí
disappearance and, therefore, Al was responsible because of Christaís
"lack of discipline". It took everything Al had not to go to the
Senatorís house and knock the arrogant man senseless.
watched as her husband paced, her own eyes filled with worry. Of the two of
them, she was the one that tended to stay calm under pressure, mostly due to the
years of stress she endured as a nurse and mother. However, it was hard for her
to stay calm now when her youngest child was who-knew-where, possibly hurt or,
God forbid, dead.
walked slowly up to Al and guided him to the couch to sit, unable to handle
watching him pace anymore.
are we going to do, Al? I feel so utterly helpless." She leaned her head
onto his shoulder as Al wrapped an arm around her waist.
sighed gently. "I know you do. Me too."
doesnít just get lost," Beth stated firmly, her voice edging towards
hysteria. "She would call. Sheíd tell us where she was. Somethingís
happened to her!"
held her a little more tightly, gently shushing her back to calmness.
"Everything will be okay, Beth. The police will find both her and Leslie
and theyíll be all right."
were both quiet, holding each other even as the phone rang. The moment it did,
Al hurried to answer it.
Calavicci?" a garbled voice spoke over the receiver.
got a knot in his stomach. He had a very bad feeling all of a sudden, especially
when the person on the other end of the line disguised his voice. Her voice. Al
wasnít sure which.
he said carefully, his attention focused on the voice.
nothing to find your daughter and she will be returned to you once we have
finished with her. I know you have already called the police. Call them
frowned at the words, anger growing on his features. "You want me to give
up on her?! I canít do that! Sheís my daughter, for Godís sake!"
you do not do as we say, your daughter will not survive what we will do to her.
I trust your love for her will help you to make the right decision." With
that, the phone line went dead.
slowly hung up the phone, shaking physically from the conversation.
was already at his side. "What did they say?" she demanded. When Al
didnít answer immediately, she repeated the demand, this time with much more
swallowed before he slowly recounted the brief conversation to her. She took a
step back in emotional shock.
gawd! Oh, my gawd! Theyíre going to kill her!" She started to scream her
words, repeating them and pulling at her hair viciously.
quickly yet carefully removed her hands from their assault on her hair before
holding her firmly by the shoulders.
donít get hysterical," he ordered. "Calm down." Yet right. You
down?! Sheís our baby!"
know," Al whispered painfully. "And we want her back alive. Weíll
just have to do as they say. Donít worry, Beth. Weíll get her back. I
can you be sure?" she whispered with fear in her voice.
merely hugged her tightly. "Because I have to be."
Gate, New Mexico
smiled gently as he stepped into the infirmary room where his daughter lay
sleeping. Not wanting to wake her, he watched her sleep, her chest gently moving
up and down as she breathed. Even as he watched, though, his eyes showed great
and painful sadness, compelling him to slowly approach the bed. He sat carefully
beside her on the bed, examining her features.
rolled on her side, unconsciously showing her scars to her father. The right
side of her face showed evidence of being burned in such a way that only a
madman or, in this case, a madwoman was capably of inflicting such on a child.
It had taken over a year for her eyebrow to grow back though her eyelashes never
really did. Her right eye had been removed due to the damage it had received
from the burning, the original being replaced with a false eye that almost
perfectly matched her left eye.
short curly hair had once been scorched off, the traces still evident at her
hairline. For nearly a year, she had had to wear a wig to cover her baldhead. It
had taken longer than that, though, for her to cope with what had happened to
her. Even now, Al could see the emotional scars whenever he looked into her
bright brown eye. Every time he saw those scars, both physical and emotional, Al
felt a surge of anger for the people who had turned Christaís life upside down
just to get an arrogant bastard of a Senator to pay a ransom.
his anger was far worse than it had ever been before because he now knew that
her injuries were an act of revenge against him. ZoŽ Ė he was certain it had
to be her; he could think of no other leaper who could want revenge on him Ė
didnít even have the courage to confront him face to face.
moaned as she flinched, her face distorting slightly. Al took a shaky breath. He
knew when someone was in the thralls of a nightmare. He slowly started to stroke
her hair as she shuddered and moaned again, fear in every move and sound she
okay, sweetie. Itís over," he assured her. "They canít hurt you
anymore." But his mind questioned whether he was certain that was the
Help me!" she pleaded in her unconscious unrest as she began to thrash with
the blankets that covered her. She screamed loudly, as if in agony.
acted without really thinking, his paternal instincts kicking into high gear. He
took her quickly into his arms and spoke loudly and with repressed panic.
wake up! Wake up, sweetie! Itís just a dream! Itís all over!" He
repeated his words over and over until, finally, she shuddered physically as her
eyes snapped open. She screamed in terror of the nightmare before succumbing to
sobs, holding Al tightly.
she cried, her mind still like a twelve-year-old due to the intensity of the
dream. "Look what they did to me!"
gazed at her with sympathy, grazing his hand across her left cheek. "I
know, sweetie. I know."
rolled down her left cheek, brushing past Alís hand. "Iím going to die
before Iím thirty and Iíll always be a freak!"
gently took her whole face in his hands. "Christa, you are not a
I am!" she insisted. "Iím a one-eyed, leather-faced freak! I wish I
pulled her into a tight hug to make her stop screaming. "Christa. Listen to
me. I donít know what brought this up so suddenly after all this time but you
are not a freak. Do you hear me? You. Are. Not. A. Freak. You are my daughter
and a beautiful human being. Are you listening to me?" When she nodded
slowly against his shoulder, Al could tell she was now calm enough to think a
little more rationally. He rubbed her back gently. "Honey, you havenít
had a nightmare in a long time. Something happened to bring it on and make you
so angry. What happened, sweetie?"
hugged Al tightly. "AlanÖ dumped me," she sniffled. "He said
the only reason he went out with me in the first place was because his friends
bet him that he wouldnít take out the class freak," she said the words
with tears in her voice. "Thatís what he said, Dad. He called me the
sweetheart," Al whispered sadly. "Iím so sorry."
sobbed into his shoulder. "I hate my life! I hate it!"
rubbed her back again, slowly and steadily. "Christa, sweetie, let me tell
you something. Alan and his friends are idiots. They donít know you. In fact,
they donít deserve to know you."
adjusted her head so that it laid face-out on his shoulder. "Iím just
tired, Dad," she said plainly. "Iím tired of having to struggle my
way through this world. Iím tired of the taunts and the insults. Iím tired
of the medications I have to take every day. Iím tired of it all, Dad."
was silently for a moment. He understood the feelings all too well. What
frightened him was that he knew, just by his own experiences, that Christa was,
once again, seriously considering suicide.
me a favor," he said gently as he separated her from him. He looked into
her eyes, both false and biological. "Hang in there for me. Okay? Donít
let go of hope."
a second, Christa nodded slowly. Having gotten his answer, Al slowly stood,
giving her a wide smile. He bent down and kissed her forehead with great
love you," he stated with all of his heart.
love you too, Dad," Christa answered, her voice devoid of much feeling
other than depression, her hands clutched tightly.
watched her for a second before slowly leaving the room. Once outside the
infirmary, he leaned against a wall and rubbed his hands slowly across his face,
trying to remain calm and composed despite the situation. After a moment, he
looked up towards the ceiling.
God, help her," he begged, on the verge of tears.
woke due to the feel of a boot kicking at his ribs with a hint of aggression but
not enough of one to cause damage to said ribs. He quickly looked up at his
assailant as he sat up against the door. The woman looked down at him with a
frown, obviously annoyed.
wrong?" he asked, trying to keep his voice calm and unsuspicious.
gave him a slight, un-amused smile. "Whatís wrong?" she repeated the
question for clarification. Without waiting for an answer, she continued.
"Youíre here to do a job, Harper, not to sleep when the prisoners could
frowned at her. "Theyíre children."
huffed. "And what if one of those childrenís fathers came in to rescue
them? We would both go to prison, especially you. I doubt the parole board looks
kindly on rapists that break their parole and ransom children for $2.5
million." She gestured her head upwards. "Go get something to
eat," she ordered. "And donít take too long. We need supplies and I
want to make sure those brats are well-secured before I leave."
stood up, noting what she had told him. ĎThis
could be my chance,í he thought. If I could get the children out of here
while sheís awayÖ However, he knew that things rarely came about so easily,
especially with an adversary out to ruin Christaís and Leslieís lives. With
just a brief nod of acknowledgement, he walked away from the door. He wasnít
comfortable with leaving this woman guarding the children but neither did he
want to bring up her suspicions.
Sam," a female voice said somberly as he entered the kitchen.
jumped in shock and quickly turned to see the source of the voice, fearing for a
moment that it could have been the Evil Leaper. Who he saw, however, made him
even more afraid.
he questioned with shock. "Whereís Al?"
usually very calm and composed psychiatrist looked like she was on the verge of
bursting into tears at his words.
in the infirmary," she said quietly, biting her lip.
swallowed tightly, afraid of what the problem could be. "What
happened?" he asked quietly.
took a quick breath, swallowing slightly. "Itís Christa," she
continued in the same tone as before. "SheísÖ She somehow got hold of
some Valium andÖ" She closed her eyes tightly. "Sheís dead,
Sam," she said with tears in her voice.
Sam whispered with disbelief. "She canít be." He quickly searched
for a chair to sit in, his legs unable to hold his own weight anymore.
she swallowed enough pills to make her heart stop completely. Dr. Nath tried to
get her heart started again but he couldnít. AlÖ"
gawd!" Sam whispered in pain. "No!" He buried his face into his
hands, hiding his tears from the world around him.
took a shaky breath. "Iím sorry, Sam," she whispered, wishing she
could wrap her arms around him to give him the physical comfort that they both
remained silent for a few moments, allowing themselves a time to mourn before
they had to focus on hardening themselves for the task they had to complete.
about Al and Beth?" Sam finally asked, his voice croaking with sheer
swallowed, thinking how to respond. "Neither are doing well. Beth refuses
to leave Christaís side. SheÖ sheís an emotional wreck. AlÖ he blames
himself for what happened." She hesitated a moment, hating to tell Sam just
how bad things were. "Heís in an infirmary bed. When he found out what
happened, he passed out."
looked at her with wide and worried eyes. "Passed out?"
closed her eyes painfully. "Heís delirious, Sam. He insists that it
didnít happen and that itís all his fault." She shook her head.
"Heís not making any sense at all and itís scaring everyone half to
death, especially Beth." She took a calming breath. "I think thatÖ
that the changing timelines are affecting his sense of reality. Ziggy told me
all of the histories concerning this date and I understand the confusion and
hurt Al is in now."
carefully wiped his tears from his eyes. "Tell me how to get Christa and
Leslie out of here," he said with determination.
she started, obviously deeply concerned about his emotional state, foregoing her
own feelings on the matter.
I can keep Christaís suicide from happening," he took her gently.
"It all started here, when she was kidnapped. She was traumatized by her
kidnap, wasnít she?" he stated more than asked.
just looked at him with a frown. She couldnít understand how Sam could think
of the leap giving the circumstances.
looked at her sadly. "Whatís happening here affected Christa, caused her
to have emotional problems and even caused her to become suicidal." He
swallowed. "I need to get her out of here before sheís hurt like she was
by that other leaper."
Verbena whispered. "Ziggy says that itís ZoŽ."
looked at her as firmly as he could, given his emotional state. "Verbena,
how do I get the girls out of here?"
took a breath, forcing herself to check the handlink for the information that
not sure you can without endangering your own life," she told him gently.
about me being in danger!" Sam insisted firmly. "How do I get those
girls out of here?" He took a breath. "ZoŽ mentioned she was going to
pick up supplies. What about when she leaves?"
need the key," Verbena pointed out. "And itís probably on ZoŽ at
shook his head. "Forget the key, then. Just what are the chances of the
girls getting away from here if I can get that door open?"
pushed some buttons to find the answer. "Ninety-seven percent. But, Sam,
the chance of you getting that door open without a key is only thirty-one
percent and then chance of you not being caught in the act is lower than
looked at her firmly. "And what are the chances of me getting that key off
of ZoŽ and successfully using it?"
sighed. "Weíd better find a way to open that door without a key,
then," she commented.
nodded in agreement, standing from the table. "Why donít you look around
and see if thereís anything around here I could use to get that lock off. I
have to go back on guard duty before ZoŽ becomes suspicious."
nodded. "Good luck, Sam," she wished, her eyes damp with sorrow for
all that had happened that day.
too, Verbena," Sam replied. He took a breath. "Tell AlÖ tell Al
Iím sorry." He bit his lip, forcing himself to control the urge to cry at
news and bad news, darling," Thames said silkily as he appeared at ZoŽís
turned from the door, key in hand, obviously prepared to enter the room to start
really working on her mission. She looked at her associate, waiting silently for
him to continue.
tailed Harper like you requested. He is at this very moment having a
conversation with an invisible person. Seems your suspicions were warranted.
Harper is really Dr. Beckett."
gave a wicked smile. "I knew it! It will be a pleasure to have revenge at
more, love," Thames put it before she could continue. "Seems that
Admiral Calavicci is out of commission some time in the future. Dr. Beckett is
speaking to someone named Verbena. Weíre assuming that this is the delectable
Dr. Beeks. Apparently, the Admiral is in the midst of a family crisis. Christa
Calavicci has just committed suicide."
chuckled with glee. "Oh, this is just too good!"
Thames began, interrupting ZoŽ. "Dr. Beckett knows that youíre Francine
Raoul and is determined to stop you from hurting poor little Christa. I should
warn you, ZoŽ. There is nothing more dangerous than a wounded animal and you
have severely wounded Dr. Beckett."
looked at Thames pointedly. "There is also nothing easier to kill. I have
both Beckett and Calavicci where I want them Ė helpless and desperate."
She gave Thames a smile. "Relax, Thames. One way or the other, it all ends
if it ends for you rather than Beckett?"
at the very least, I wonít be leaping anymore."
Sam returned to the guard station, the first thing he noticed was that the door
was open. Immediately, his suspicions and concerns were aroused. He slowly made
his way to the door, watchful for the now missing ZoŽ. There was no indication,
however, that ZoŽ was anywhere near the area.
slowly entered the dark room only to find a blonde-haired girl shivering with
fear in a corner.
Sam asked gently, afraid of scaring the girl further than she already was.
didnít answer, watching him with frightened eyes.
okay," he assured as he lowered himself to look less intimidating. "I
wonít hurt you. Iím here to help you. I promise Iíll get you out of
hesitated to speak for a moment. "And Christa?" she asked with
nodded slowly, even though a sense of urgency ran through him. "And
Christa. Where is Christa, Leslie?"
hesitated again, obviously afraid she might be punished for answering the
question. "She took her," she said plainly.
heart and throat tightened at her response but he forced calmness in his voice.
you know where she took her?"
shook her head, afraid to speak.
took a breath. "Okay, Leslie. I want you to do something for me." He
searched himself and found a pen in his shirt pocket. He slowly pulled it out.
"Iím going to write a phone number on your hand. I want you to go into
the living room and call this number." He gently took her hand and wrote
the number on the back of it, thankful he hadnít Swiss-cheesed it for this
leap. "Ask for Admiral Calavicci. Thatís Christaís dad, remember? Tell
him everything you can. Okay, Leslie?"
hesitated before she nodded and stood to obey. She stopped for a moment and
looked at Sam. "Youíre not Christaís uncle, are you?" she stated
more than asked.
swallowed and shook his head. "No. Iím not Sam Beckett," he lied,
knowing that, when he leaped, it would be the truth.
gotten her answer, Leslie hurried to obey, not questioning her captorís change
trying to find Christa," Verbena provided without being asked, having
centered on Sam during his brief conversation. "Sheís having a little
difficulty due to some kind of electrical interference." Her voice was
filled with concern.
blocking our search and lock," Sam surmised, remembering that he and Al had
once done the same trick to ZoŽ when they were rescuing Alia. "Can Ziggy
break through the interference?"
trying," Verbena answered, pushing buttons with desperation. "The only
thing she can come up with is that sheís with ZoŽ and that theyíve left the
hurried out of the room and stepped outside. He had seen a car outside of the
kitchen window before. The car was now gone. There was no indication of another
source of transportation.
it!" he exclaimed. Thereís no way I can catch up with them now! he
thought grimly. Nonetheless, he immediately started to search for a means to
phone call had definitely caught his attention as he drove towards Albuquerque
in his desperate search. Despite what the kidnappers had told him, Al Calavicci
refused to let the whole situation just lie. His exact words to his wife were
"Iíll be damned if Iím going to sit here and just hope for the best.
Iíve got to do something."
so that was what he was doing Ė something. He knew there was only a one in a
million chance that he could find Christa by just stumbling across her but he
needed something to help him feel as if he had some kind of control with the
situation, even if it was a futile act.
phone call, however, changed everything. Ziggy had patched it through to him,
telling him that is was Leslie Brackenhein. He had listened to everything the
girl had said with interest and controlled impatience, trying to keep Leslie
calm while at the same time keeping himself calm. At least he knew Christa was
alive still. And he knew that Ziggy was tracing the call as the two spoke.
he had hoped, however, was not to be. Christa was no longer where Leslie was.
She had been taking by a woman away from the house to God knows where. The news
almost made Al scream.
now, though, the only thing Al could think of was to get to the house where
Leslie was. Perhaps there was some kind of clue there as to where this woman had
taken Christa and why.
he came closer to Albuquerque, he began to pass a familiar road. He had often
taken the road with Christa to a little hideaway only she and he knew about. He
couldnít wait to take her up that road again so that they could sit on the
rocks and tell stories to each other, so that Al could enjoy time with his
youngest daughter without being disturbed by the real world.
nagged at the back of his brain as he passed the road and continued towards
Albuquerque. He wasnít sure what it was. Beth would have called it a sixth
sense reaction. Al would have called it his guts telling him something. But,
either way, he knew he had to turn back. He had to go up that road without his
daughter for a change.
if he didnít, he would never go up that road with her again.
had somehow got the old, worn-out Buick started and on the road, following
Verbena's guidance. They now had a general idea of which direction ZoŽ had gone
with Christa and they also knew that, with a few shortcuts, they could take some
time off of the distance they had between them and their adversary.
far?" Sam demanded of the psychiatrist.
hit the handlink with her palm, almost in a strange imitation of Al.
"Youíre about ten minutes away from them now. But this car isnít
handling the stress of this highway very well. If we donít slow down, itíll
overheat in no time at all."
if I slow down, Christa could die," Sam said firmly, pushing harder on the
gas pedal. "I canít let her hurt her, Verbena. I canít."
nodded with understanding and agreement. "Then Iíll start praying that
this thing keeps running until we get to her."
was silence between them for a moment as Sam tried to push the car to its
you think Ziggy has enough information that you could go be with her?" Sam
finally asked gently.
hesitated a moment before nodding. "Sheís breaking through the block. She
has a lock on her. You have to leave the city." She took a breath.
"Iíll go keep an eye on her for you," she told him gently.
nodded. "Thanks, ĎBena," he whispered.
gave him a gentle smile before disappearing.
struggled with the ropes that dug into her wrists and ankles, trying to scream
through the gag that encompassed her mouth. The one thing she desperately wanted
at that moment was to cry but she couldnít find the tears necessary to do
that. She also wanted to get out of the car and run. Anything to get away from
the woman in the driverís seat who looked at her with eyes that frightened her
more than her fatherís when he was angry Ė and she had considered that very,
smiled at her, her eyes having that gleam which indicated she was anticipating
her plans for the child.
must calm yourself, Christa," she instructed the girl with round, soft
tones that did nothing to sooth. "Thereís nowhere to run out here and
your pathetic excuse for an uncle is far behind us. He will never catch up in
time." She noticed the surprised look on her face. "Oh, I see.
Youíve noticed that he doesnít quite look exactly like your Uncle Sam. He
wasnít Sam Beckett when we kidnapped you but he is now. Didnít your father
ever tell you what he does when he goes to work? Didnít he ever tell you why
Uncle Sam doesnít visit anymore? No, of course, he didnít. Top secret
government stuff. Canít take it home to the family. That sort of nonsense when
it isnít as secret as they would like it to be." She smiled yet again at
the girl. "Your dear uncle is traveling in time, little girl, and heís
come to your rescue. Unfortunately for you, heís failed and nowÖ" She
carefully brushed her cheek with the knuckle of her right index finger.
"Now, my dear child, your father and mother will grieve for a very, very
moved as far away from her as she could, pressing herself against the door.
chuckled at her reaction. "Please, Christa, you really donít believe that
that will work, do you? Youíre an intelligent child. Surely you know itís
impossible to escape from me now."
turned off of the main road and continued for a few miles in silence as they
approached their designation. ZoŽ had chosen this place specifically for this
task, knowing that Admiral Calavicci would eventually find his way there. She
could almost see him holding the small body in his arm, weeping continuously for
the loss of his sweet daughter. It was a beautiful sight in her mind.
a long while, she finally stopped the car and got out, carefully walking around
to open the passengerís side door.
out," she ordered the girl.
slowly moved her legs out of the car, still seated in it. She couldnít do much
more than that, she found, with her ankles tied as they were.
out," ZoŽ ordered again.
looked at her with fear and uncertainty. Surely this woman didnít think she
could move with her legs so.
growled in anger, grabbing the girl by her shirt and pulling her out of the car,
causing her to drop to the ground a few feet away from the car. ZoŽ slammed the
door closed before turning towards the girl.
want you to understand this very clearly, Christa. If you disobey me in anyway,
I will make sure that you suffer greatly. Your death will be exceedingly painful
and you will wish that you had obeyed me from the start. If you do as you are
told, I will make sure that it is very quick and painless. Is that
that very moment, Christa had denied the possibility that she could die.
However, the look on ZoŽís face convinced her that not only could she die but
that she would die. Today. She couldnít help herself. She began to cry as she
had wanted to before, streams of salt water adorning her cheeks, stopped only by
the gag in her mouth.
grinned at her tears. "Excellent. Iím glad we have an
understanding." She approached her slowly. "I am going to untie your
ankles. If you do anything, remember what Iíve just told you."
was motionless as ZoŽ untied her ankles, allowing her the chance to move her
ZoŽ commented, helping the girl onto her feet. "Letís go," she
ordered. "I think you know where." She forced the girl forward, urging
her to lead the way.
Verbena centered on Christa, watching with
worried eyes as she was forced away from the car, her hands still bound and the
gag still in its place.
on, sweetie," she said with a trembling voice. "Samís on his
way." I pray, she added mentally.
continued her slow march through the rocks and granite, quivering with fright.
ĎGod, I donít want to die! Please,
help me!í She sobbed, stopping briefly when her tears kept her from seeing
where she was going.
shoved her back, forcing her forward and causing her to fall face-forward into
didnít say you could stop, little girl," she growled. With a quick
movement, she grabbed Christaís hair and raised her forcefully to her feet.
"Thatís going to cost you, darling." She quickly removed the gag
from her lips and untied her hands before taking several steps away. "No
matter. I think right here will do nicely," she told the girl as she slowly
took out a small pistol from her waistband. "Now, let me think. Where to
shoot you first?"
Christa cried, shaking uncontrollably. "Please, donít kill me!"
chuckled a bit. "And spoil my little present for your father? I donít
eyes went from one to the other, frantic in her eyes. If Christa died here, now,
she would never be able to forgive herself. She would never be able to face the
man in the infirmary suffering from an emotional breakdown or to face the woman
who was gently coaxing her husband, reminding him that Christaís death was not
Sam, where are you?" she pleaded as she looked at the handlink. The odds of
Sam getting there before ZoŽ pulled that trigger were less than twenty percent.
the knee?" ZoŽ questioned, her head tilted in such a way as to indicate
she was asking someone other than Christa. Verbena didnít doubt that at all.
Of course, ZoŽís Observer had to be here to watch this tragedy unfold.
smiled at the question. "It would be very painful for her."
do you think, my dear? Where should I shoot you first?" ZoŽ asked, turning
her attention completely to Christa.
girl didnít say a word, crying loudly, afraid to move and also afraid not to
fired a round at Christaís feet, causing the girl to scream in fright and jump
asked you a question, Christa!" she demanded.
finally spoke, her voice small and shaking. "I donít want to die."
huffed. "Too bad, child." She took her aim at Christaís heart.
was a loud bang and Christa screamed again in terror.
stood absolutely still for a moment, looking at her Observer with wide eyes of
surprise before slumping forward to the hard ground, her face scratching against
the gravel. Thames immediately turned around and looked at the source while
pushing buttons frantically on his handlink.
stood a few feet away, his gun still raised; waiting to make sure that the
person he had shot was not going to get up any time soon. At the same time as he
lowered the gun, Sam hurried onto the scene, looking with frantic before he
realized that it was Al who had fired the shot. Al looked at him quickly,
freezing for a moment at the sight before he snapped out of his wonderment and
hurried to his daughterís side.
he said with deep love as he took her into his arms. "Christa, sweetie, are
you all right? I was so worried!"
the girl cried into his shoulder, hugging him tightly.
two remained in each otherís arms for a long time, causing Sam to smile with
great relief. He looked towards the fallen body to see an older Al standing
beside ZoŽís still form.
gave him a grateful smile. "Thanks, Sam." The hidden tears of joy in
his eyes said so much more.
slowly walked towards him, giving him a gentle smile. "Are you okay,
nodded slowly. "Iím okay."
both turned their attention to the body on the ground. Very slowly, Sam lowered
himself and turned ZoŽ over.
was still alive but not for long, it seemed. Her eyes roamed the area to see the
three figures that surrounded her. Just to her right was Thames, who was still
fighting with his handlink to get Lothos to retrieve her before it was too late.
Admiral Calavicci stood at a slight distance at her feet, looking at her with
disdain and obviously waiting for her end to finally come. She couldnít blame
his sentiment. In fact, she understood it all too well. Why shouldnít he hate
her? She had almost succeeded in killing his youngest daughter.
face that did surprise her was Sam Beckettís. He lookedÖ sorry for her. She
couldnít understand why. She had never done anything good for him Ė just the
opposite. At every chance she had, she thought of ways to ruin his life forever,
had even tried to kill him three times already.
swallowed weakly. "This is it, then," she whispered.
sorry," Sam told her, much to the surprise of the others around him.
Al exclaimed. "Sam! This womanÖ"
continued, despite Alís exclamation. "Iím sorry that your life brought
you to this point. Iím sorry that the only thing you can do is hate
others." He took a breath. "I forgive you."
chuckled, wincing at the pain the action brought. "You forgive me. You
shouldnít." She looked at him as firmly as she could. "Mark my
words, Dr. Beckett. You are a hunted man. Wherever you are, we will find you
again. And when we do, we will finally defeat you. It doesnít matter if I live
or die. Someone will find you and kill you." She slowly closed her eyes
just before a flash of red crossed over her body.
has leaped, leaving an unconscious Francine Raoul in her place.
had taken a while to explain the situation to the Admiral Calavicci of 1995 but
Sam was certain that no charges would be brought up against Francine Raoul and
Kim Harper. He knew, after interviewing Christa and Leslie, that the girls were
so frightened by ZoŽ that they shifted into an Alpha state whenever she was
around them. Therefore, they had never even seen Francine Raoul before Ė only
ZoŽ. As for Kim Harper, both of the girls spoke favorably of him as a person
who, although he had assisted in the kidnapping, was also responsible for their
rescue. It didnít take much to convince Al that Kim Harper had acted out of
fear of the mysterious redheaded woman who had tormented the girls.
for Francine Raoul, Al tried not to explain why she wasnít hurt when he shot
her. In fact, he couldnít say for certain that it was Francine whom he had
shot. His mind was so focused on rescuing his daughter; the identity of
Christaís would-be murderer hadnít even registered in his mind.
the moment, Sam sat on the dilapidated couch in the house, waiting for the
police to clear up the situation as neatly as possible. He watched as officers
searched the house and the makeshift prison cell for further evidence of the
mystery woman. Sam, however, knew the only thing that they would find was a
taser. Possibly even some ropes. Everything was winding up rather neatly, all
the little pieces fitting in place, other than the missing culprit.
am I still here, Al?" he asked quietly of his Observer, who watched his
younger self and his wife carefully and lovingly hold Christa.
Al questioned, turning slightly towards him.
sighed softly, understanding the distraction. "Why am I still here?"
Umm." Al searched for answers from the handlink. "Ziggy isnít sure.
Whatís the big rush, Sam?"
sighed again. "I donít know. I guess Iím just feelingÖ vulnerable. I
guess. After what ZoŽ saidÖ"
looked at him with concern. "You really think that theyíll try to kill
you?" he stated more than asked. It was a thought he didnít want to
investigate. He couldnít imagine what he would do if the other project sent
someone and killed his friend.
shivered. "Perhaps," he whispered.
took a deep breath. "Sam, look at me," he ordered. Sam obeyed slowly,
looking into Alís determined eyes. "I will not let that happen," Al
told him firmly. "I promise."
as Al made this promise, Beth approached Sam, tears in her eyes, Al and Christa
just behind her. "Mr. Harper?" she asked for his attention gently.
raised his head slowly to look into her teary gaze. He said nothing, giving her
the chance to collect her thoughts.
just wantedÖ" She took a shaky breath before gently kissing his cheek.
"Thank you," she whispered with all her heart. Then, without waiting
for a response, she gently guided Christa out of the house.
younger Admiral remained, looking at Sam with worn yet grateful eyes. "I
think what she did says it all," he said plainly but genuinely. He turned
to leave but stopped, turning back to look him in the eyes. He said nothing for
a moment, just looking into Samís eyes.
kid," he finally said, his eyes sparkling.
eyes widened as Al slowly left the building. Just as the Admiral stepped through
the door, Sam leaped in a blaze of blue lightning.
a blue haze Dr. Sam Beckett could see he was holding something in his hand. The
hum of humanity bustling around him distracted him momentarily, and when he
finally focused in on his hand again he saw what it was he was holding: a plane
ticket. Beyond his hand he saw a leather satchel sitting on the floor by his
feet. Then he heard a womanís voice over and intercom announce, "Last
call for flight number 211 to Dallas, with continuing service to Los Angeles and
San Francisco, now boarding!"
He looked up to see that he was leaning against a marble pillar inside an
airport terminal. He saw a jet parked outside the huge window, with a wheeled
ramp rolled up to the hatch. ĎThis is a
time before tube ramps,í he thought to himself, noting his classic style
of dress and dark fedora atop his head. "The 50ís?" he spoke aloud
softly, looking around at the clothing styles. He also noticed the pert,
uniformed blonde standing in the exit doorway, smiling at him, a confused look
on her face. She whispered to a uniformed man, who then slipped out the exit and
up the planeís ramp.
had the feeling they were talking about him. He looked at the ticket, and saw it
was for flight 211, so he grabbed the bag and stepped up to the lady, a few more
passengers scrambling in line behind him.
thought you were on this flight, sir!" she said brightly, tearing his
ticket. "Right up the ramp! Have a good flight!"
smell of airplane fuel on a brisk wind hit him in the face as he stepped from
the building. A majority of the planes on the tarmac were propeller styles, but
the one he was directed to was a jet. He recalled that the jets started flying
commercially in the late 50ís, and knew heíd at least partially answered the
Ďwhení of this leap. All that was left was the what, who and why.
walked up the ramp and found the copilot standing just outside the cockpit to
greet him. "Good day, sir," he said with a smile. Sam got the
impression that he was sizing him up. The uniformed man the woman had spoken
with earlier was standing aside, waiting to disembark, but wouldnít meet
did I do to make them nervous?í he thought, dragging the satchel down the
aisle. He found his seat, and stuffed the bag under it. He looked up to see the
copilot studying him for a second, then return to the cockpit. Sam shook it off,
and settled in his seat. He saw the name ĎJon Kyleí on the ticket, and noted
the date as being October 9, 1959. He also saw that he was a young, white male
by the look of his hands. There wasnít a wedding ring, and he let out a sigh
of relief on that non-discovery. When he put the ticket back in his coat pocket
the stewardess approached him and reminded him to buckle his seat belt.
As Sam went to oblige, he felt a hard lump in his
armpit. He peeked inside his jacket and saw the butt of a gun in a shoulder
holster. His eyes grew wide, and he quickly closed the jacket. "Oh, boyÖ
am I a good guy or a bad guy?" he said softly to himself as the faint hope
that Jon Kyle was going on vacation dropped from his mind.