VIRTUAL SEASONS EPISODES

Episode 829
Mercenaries

March 24, 1999 Somewhere in the Appalachian Mountains

In order to save lives in an attack against the government, Al has to convince Sam to let the host guide his actions.  The argument and fight that results both helps the hest heal psychologically and saves lives from a bombing. 

Written By:

M. J. Cogburn and Katherine Freymuth

 

PROLOGUE 

      

          He felt as if he was being held over a chasm -- a silent void between the leaps and it was always peaceful there.  It gave him time to think through everything that had occurred between the first leap up until this moment in time, even if all he could remember were bits and pieces of his past.  Suddenly, though, the thoughts were yanked from him as he was pulled toward his next assignment.

            As the tingling sensation decreased, he realized that he was in mid-step, walking in mire. His equilibrium was thrown off from the leap and his left foot slipped. He quickly put his right foot down, which threw him forward - landing flat bellied and face first in the mud with a graceful humph.  Sam pushed himself out of the mire then parked his behind in the same muck.

            A loud laugh came from just to the right and behind him. It was most definitely male and it seemed he was enjoying the sight more than he should. "Brilliant, Guy. Just absolutely brilliant. I'm sure that they'll run in fear with the sight of you now."

            Lifting his hands, Sam shook them trying to rid them of some of the grime, then scraped at the mud that was covering his eyes and slapped it to the ground.  He turned to see the man walking up to him. "Think it'll win awards?" He asked sarcastically as he flung more of the mud away from his face.

            "Maybe for most inventive camouflage," the man answered, his grin grew as he offered his hand to Sam. "Here, grab hold, unless you like living in a hole."

            Sam looked at his hands and saw the muck still on them.  With his front and rear end covered in mud, there wasn’t a way to wipe them off.  Sighing, he grasped the man's hand and began to heft himself up along with the five extra pounds of mud caked to him.  The extra weight was enough to undermine both men’s equilibrium.  Both men tried to compensate by pin-wheeling their arms, but the sudden movement did little to help them.  Both fell into the mud -- the unknown man landing on his side and Sam landing this time on his back.   The man chuckled slightly at the predicament. "Damn, Guy, with a brother like you, who needs enemies?"  

 

 

PART ONE 

March 24, 1999

Somewhere in the Appalachian Mountains  

              Sam chuckled as he sat up once more, this time his back coated as well as his front. "Well, at least we'll have soft looking skin once this washes off," he said looking at the thick mud that was on his hand. 

            The man narrowed his eyes and glowered at him.  "What do they teach you in that hoity-toity school down there? How to be a pansy?"  He struggled to his feet, then brushed at the mud on his camouflage top and pants.

            Sam mimicked the man, trying but not succeeding in getting the mud off. "I learned plenty. And no … they didn't teach me to be a pansy.”  He felt himself slipping away as the person he leapt into took over the situation.  "And watch it, George. I can sure kick your ass from here to the lodge.”  As soon as it started, it was over.  Sam blinked at the sensation.  He never knew when that sensation would happen, but sometimes, it helped – odd or not.

            Okay,’ Sam thought to himself.  I'm Guy.  He's George. Well it's a start. Now if Albert will just show up and let me know what I'm here to do, then it can get done and I can get a bath and some food,’ Sam thought as he heard his stomach rumble.

            George nodded with approval. "That's the spirit! Come on! We have a lot to do to prepare for the mission."  He turned around and, after carefully getting out of the mire, started at a brisk march away from Sam.  "What's takin' ya, slow poke? Move your lead-filled toes!" George shouted at Sam.

            Sam quickly stood up and started after him. "It's not lead! It's mud!" Sam hollered back at him and began trudging after him across the unfamiliar terrain. "Hey … when's lunch, I'm starved," he said not really knowing if it was lunchtime or not. He had a watch on, but with all the mud, he couldn't tell what time it was.

            George looked up at the sky, stopping for a moment. He seemed to be concentrating very hard, as if he were trying to see one of the neighboring planets just above the high treetop roof. "Can't tell. We're too far into the forest. Gotta get to the lodge to tell ya that one."  He lowered his eyes to Sam.  "Besides, it's good training. We may not be able to get three square meals a day if the enemy blocks us off from our supplies. In which case, we'd have to ration. Now, you tell me. How long do you think seven strong men are going to survive more than a week on three meals a day with limited supplies?"

            Sam frowned. He didn't like the sound of this. Enemies? Missions? What? Were they missionaries? Revolutionaries? Or did he stumble upon something more than he had bargained on? He sniffed and felt mud go up his nose, which caused him to cough. He wiped at his nose, and then said, "Not very long.”

            "Damn right, not very long," George pointed out firmly. "So we have to be prepared for any possibility. But if you're not up to this … well, then you can go on back to that pantywaist school of yours. You with me, little brother?"

            Sam nodded at his words knowing that he was probably in this for the long haul until he leaped. But again, before he had a chance to reply, Guy came blaring through. He barreled up to George, getting into his personal space. "Let me get you straight on one thing here, George. I'm in this for money … nothing more. Don't piss me off!" Guy then pulled back, leaving Sam to fend for himself against the burly man he stood nose to nose with.

            "A true patriot," George said with a bit of sarcasm. "But I guess that's what we're fighting for, eh? Your Constitutional right to be greedy? I'm telling you right now, if you side with those imperialistic Stalin wanna-bes, I'll kill you right here on the spot."

            "That's a beautiful sentiment from a brother, isn't it?" Al stated sarcastically from just behind and to the right of Sam.

            Sam stumbled back from the man as he heard Al's comment. He bent down examining his foot as if he had injured it in the fall. "Why would I want to side with them, George? You heard what I said," Sam said also throwing the question to Al at the same time. He finally stood and faced George squarely.

            George chuckled at his words. "And you better mean it, little brother. Because this ain't no picnic we're going on. This is a war. It's us against them and it'll make you one hell of a rich man." He turned and started to march again. "You coming? I'm sure Ambrose has some stew cookin'."

            Sam's stomach growled at the mention of food. He whimpered and divided a look between the man marching away and Al. "Uh … I've gotta … ya know…” he stammered for a moment hoping that George would understand.

            Al puffed at his cigar, giving George the dirtiest, meanest look he could conjure up, as he waited for Sam to rid himself of the moron in the camouflage so that they could talk.

            "Suit yourself!" George shouted back. "Just don't expect much left when you get to the lodge!”

            "Save me some, dammit!" Sam hollered at him then blinked as Guy left again.  This flipping back and forth between Guy was going to get old really quick if it was going to continue on throughout the leap.  He shook his head slightly and turned to look at Al.

            Al raised an eyebrow at him. "Gees, Sam, you must really be hungry to eat the slop Ambrose calls stew."

            Sam took the backpack from his shoulders and dropped it to the ground. He plopped down on the ground and looked up at Al as he rubbed his eye with the back of his right hand. "Al, I don't like this. Guy's residual here is very strong. He keeps popping in when it's unexpected." Sam shook his head then rubbed his other eye with the back of his other hand. The mud was beginning to dry and he could feel it beginning to harden on his skin.

            Al sighed slowly at his words. "Great," he said sarcastically. His statement softened a bit as he looked at his friend. "Well, try to keep Yankee Doodle Dandy from getting in the way too much."  Folding his arms across his chest, he glanced down at his cigar then to Sam as he remarked offhandedly, "You know . . . mud baths are usually taken without the clothes on."

            "Great. This is just peachy. I'm covered in mire and my best friend wants me to keep Yankee Doodle out of the way when I don’t know how, when or why he shows up in the first place." Sam eyed Al through slits. "And if I wanted a mud bath, which I didn't,” he iterated, “I would have at least gone to a spa to do it," he growled flustered.   Knowing that his little rant wasn’t going to phase Al in the slightest, he crossed his hands over his muddied camouflage outfit and finally asked, "What am I here to do, Al? Who are these guys?”

            Al's expression instantly became serious upon the question. "Bad news, Sam, that's what they are. And I'm being overly-vague on that point because my thoughts about these nozzles would have your ears ringing for a year." He started pacing as he puffed on his cigar.

            Sam watched Al as he paced. He cocked his head to the side and motioned his hand in a circle fashion for Al to continue. "Yea … and?" he asked impatiently.

            Al stopped and looked at Sam questioningly before realizing that he wasn't really giving his partner anything to work with. He dug into his trouser pockets and pulled out the handlink, promptly pushing buttons and hitting it with his palm to force information out of the small device.

            "Your name is Guy Hamilton …" Al looked at the handlink oddly.  "And your brother's name … I mean, Guy's brother's name is George Hamilton." He shook his head. "They may be nozzles but you have to feel a little sorry for them for being named after actors. George Hamilton?" He shook his head. "Who in his right mind would name someone after . . . ”

            Sam looked at Al quizzically as well as in a confused manner. "Al . . .  stop … Al!" Sam interrupted him.

Al looked at him with annoyance. "What?"

            "I don't need information on George Hamilton, whoever he is actor wise. I need information about this." He motioned between the woods to his left where George had disappeared and back to himself. "And if you're not going to give it to me, I might as well go get something to eat," Sam said as he stood up grabbing the backpack, irritated.

            "Oh," Al said simply. "Sorry." He gave him a weak smile. "Okay, okay, calm down, will ya? I'll tell you what you need to know. Okay?"

            Sam maintained his balance by fixating himself over his feet. He wasn't paying attention to Al. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath and slowly let it out. When he opened his eyes, he turned toward the woods and started into them, leaving Al behind him.

            Al growled at Sam’s actions.  Lifting the handlink, he centered himself on Sam and continued to float beside him. "Sam? Listen, I know you're hungry but you've never been rude."

            "Admiral, I believe that Guy Hamilton's residual is in control of the situation at the moment," Ziggy informed him lightly.

            Al growled lowly at the computer's diagnosis. "Terrific," he muttered. "Got any ideas?"

            "I’ve been keeping a record of events happening in this leap already, Admiral.  If this data continues, there is a seventy-eight percent chance that if Guy Hamilton continues to interfere, Dr. Beckett will not succeed."

            "No shinola, Zig!" Al told the computer with a frown. He centered himself in front of Sam and, remained ahead of him, trying his best to get Sam’s attention. He waved his arms, yapped at him, then after a moment looked down at the information on the handlink.  “Come on, Sam, you don't really want to kill twenty-seven ATF agents in cold blood, do you?" he almost shouted.

            Sam's feet immediately stopped, but his forward momentum along with the extra weight on his back caused him to fall to the ground yet again. He landed on his hands and knees and shook his head. "I … I couldn't kill anyone," he said softly. "Not in cold blood, anyway."  Looking up at Al, he frowned in confusion.  "ATF?"

            "Finally!" Al said, more of a prayer of thankfulness than anything. "Sam, you're really starting to scare me! You've got to control this guy.  Yeah.  The ATF, Sam, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms."

            Sam winced as he slowly pulled himself up. "I'm tired of falling, Al." He arched his back causing it to pop in three different places at once, causing him to noticeably relax.

            Al winced at the sound. "Bet that hurt."

            "Actually, that felt wonderful," Sam told him. He looked at his hands and began to rub at them. It hurt to put any pressure on his left hand, and he protectively put it against his chest as he looked at Al.

            "You okay?" Al asked with concern, seeing his actions.

            "I'm fine," Sam lied. "Go on … how did they kill twenty-seven ATF Agents?"

            Al accepted the question, though he knew that Sam wasn't fine. He exhaled and shook his head. "Remember that comment about imperialism back there?”  Sam nodded at his question. “Guess who the imperialists are?"

            "The government," Sam said more than questioned.

            "Give the man a cigar.  I’d give this to you if I weren’t a hologram," Al told him as he held out the cigar toward him.

            "Great. This is just great. And he said that he'd kill me if I showed any empathy for the imperialists. Great."

            "Damn nozzle is a nice word … words to describe these guys."

            A thought came to Sam as he looked at Al. "Al, he kept calling Guy’s school a pansy’s school. What school was Guy going to?"

            "MIT," Al told him, looking into his partner's eyes. Sam's jaw dropped open in awe as Al continued. "Guy's studying to become a computer systems engineer. Apparently, big brother doesn't like government-funded schools. Or any schools for that matter. He thinks they brainwash the people into accepting things as they are."

            Sam frowned. "Al," he began as his brain shifted gears. "What happens to Guy? Does he …" He left the sentence opened ended as a question.

            Al shook his head. "No data." Al raised the handlink and pounded it again before information began to pour from it. "Two days from now, though, the Hamilton’s and their allies declare war on the United States government. They bomb the CIA building in Boston. It didn't do too much damage but three CIA agents were put in the hospital for eight months from first degree burns."

            "When do the twenty-seven ATF Agents die?" Sam questioned not understanding where they came in.

            Al took a breath, lowering the handlink. "Two days after that, having intelligence that there was an army of renegade revolutionaries hiding in the Appalachian mountains, the ATF Agents sent some men up to get them out. They were killed. The attack prompted Georgie Porgie to set another bomb in the middle of Annapolis … and that's when the rest of them died.” He rubbed his hand over his face, obviously upset by the memory.

            Sam took in the information and leaned back against a tree. "Okay … so what do I have to do to stop it?" he asked hoping that Al would know the answer.

            Al shook his head. "We don't know," he said quietly. "We think that maybe you have to keep the bomb in the CIA building from even being planted but Ziggy only gives that a thirty-four percent of preventing any bloodshed." He toyed with the handlink, wishing he could strangle more information from the computer.

            Sam frowned. "Oh boy."  

PART TWO  

             The lodge was a rather large building with a steel roof and log cabin sides. Something about it bothered Sam.  He wasn't sure exactly what it was. It was almost as if he could remember something about the lodge itself from Guy. The feeling that this lodge gave him was more along the creepy-crawlies, and he finally shivered from the thought that evaded him. Something had happened there, but he couldn't quite grasp it.

            "Doesn't look like Grand Central Station for a revolution, does it?" Al questioned as he guided Sam toward the building.

            "No, Al, but I don't like it. I don't like the feeling that I'm having. It's … it's almost like I've been here before. And it's not that warm fuzzy feeling, either." Sam shook his head and took the backpack from his shoulder as he started toward the lodge.

            Al looked at him through narrow eyes. "Must be residual from Guy," he muttered as concern filled him for his friend.

            The door to the lodge opened to reveal a tall, muscular man with a bushy moustache. He looked as if he could wrestle with a bear and not get a scratch in the process. He looked at Sam with a growing smile.

            "So … how does it feel to be part of the real Americans, Guy?" he said with a friendly tone.

            An odd grin came across Sam's face as he looked at the man. "Ambrose, it feels damn good." He quickly went up to the man and roughly hugged him. "God, what in the hell have you been doing? Eating steroids for meals?"

            Ambrose laughed heartily at his words. "Nah, haven't had the chance to stock them up." He slapped Sam's back hard. "Come on in and grab some grub. Your brother nearly hogged it all but I saved you a good two servings. You know how I am.  No one is going to tell me who I can let in my kitchen." He walked with Sam to the cabin door, then held it open for him.

            Sam walked in the lodge, placing his backpack on the floor beside the door and headed toward the kitchen. "It's a damn good thing that you didn't eat my servings you asshole," Sam remarked toward George who was still sitting at the table eating. "You'd have to get Ambrose and Arnold both to hold me back then.  I'm starved.”

            Al walked beside him not liking how Sam was reacting at all. He was pounding on the handlink by the time he walked into the lodge trying to get information. "Ziggy! Up the juice or something. I don't care. We need Sam in charge here, not Guy."

            George rolled his eyes. "Sure, whatever, little brother. But we all know who's in charge here." George raised his head and looked at him warily. "Well, you said you're starving so have at, already."

            Sam looked at George incredulously. "Are you nuts?  Ambrose didn't invite me in the kitchen yet. And I know that I don't want my butt kicked by him. I'm smarter than you think." He grinned lopsidedly at the other men and waved at them. "Jack, Harold, Arnold, Dave … hey, how you guys doing?"

            The men echoed a hello back with wide grins and motioned Sam in and offered him a chair.  Two of the men looked at each other then back at Sam with a nod.  “Glad you’re here,” Jack piped up. 

            “Yeah, someone needed to have brains in this mess, didn’t they?” Harold asked as he came up and slapped Sam on the shoulder.

            Before Sam could respond, Ambrose went toward the kitchen. "Whatcha need, boy? A card to RSVP? Get your butt in here!"

            Sam didn't need any other calling from Ambrose. He quickly entered the kitchen and grabbed the bowl from the counter. "Food, Ambrose. I don't give a damn what kind … just give me food." The rumbling in his stomach was loud enough for Ambrose to hear.

            "I can tell. You grew a bear in your belly," the burly man commented as he placed a large bowl of stew in front of him. "Help yourself to the biscuits, too."

            Al circled the table, still worried about how Sam was acting. "Ziggy,” he said in a warning tone. "Come on! This isn't good! Give me something to get Sam back!"

            Sam grabbed four biscuits and grinned at Ambrose. "You're a lifesaver, Am. You really are." He placed the biscuits in a mound on top of his stew and grabbed one more before going to the table to sit down. Even before his butt hit the chair, he had half of a biscuit in his mouth, eating hungrily.

            Ambrose nodded with approval before starting the act of cleaning up the rest of the meal.

            "Am," Sam said as he swallowed. "Leave them biscuits. I'll eat 'em." He stood up and headed back toward the swinging doors to the kitchen, and grabbed a beer from the refrigerator then headed back to the table to eat.

            The handlink squawked in Al's hand.  Ziggy indicated a few moments ago the mention of the ATF Agents had brought Sam back, and that he should try that again.  Al nodded, figuring that it couldn't hurt. He came closer to Sam and lowered himself so that he was face to face with him.  “Sam, listen to me. You're not Guy," Al emphasized, as he watched as he moved toward the kitchen. "You're not like these nozzles." He exhaled, watching him with concern. “You’re not a murderer!"

            Sam's body was hunkered down over the plate, his elbows on the table, eating like he hadn't eaten in a week. He was in the middle of taking a drink of his beer as it suddenly spewed from his mouth.

            George stood from the table, having finished his meal and turned to Sam a bit aggravated at his actions. "Ain't got the taste for a good beer anymore?" he said with a raised eyebrow. "Typical." He marched out of the dining room without waiting for an answer.

            Sam shook his head slowly and straightened up, and then sat back in his chair looking up at Al with a befuddled and scared look on his face.

            Al sighed with relief. "This is getting really scary, Sam. Guy had taken over again and I didn’t like what I saw."

            Sam ran his hand through his hair, even though it was still caked with mud. He quickly looked around to see if anyone was in the room and saw Ambrose walk in from the kitchen.

            Ambrose shook his head at Sam as he picked up a couple of empty beer mugs. "You Hamiltons," he commented, looking at him. "You don't even have the common decency to wash up for dinner." He pointed at Sam’s bowl. "If you get mud in your stew, don't blame me."

            Sam looked down at himself and grinned. "Sorry, Ambrose. I … I guess I was hungry."

            "Don't make a difference now," Ambrose told him, grabbing another empty beer mug. "Except I hate to think that you could be related to a wildebeest." He nodded his head toward the kitchen. "Finish that up and you can get seconds after you clean up.”

            Sam nodded to Ambrose. "Okay. Thanks Ambrose. Hey, don't worry about the rest of the dishes. I'll get them, okay?" Sam said as he motioned to the rest of them lying on the table.

            Ambrose looked at him with a raised eyebrow.

            "Yeah, I know, you don't want anyone in your kitchen but I won't even put them up. Just wash them. All right?" Sam questioned him.

            "Suit yourself," Ambrose said with a shrug and he carried his handful into the kitchen.

            Sam continued to eat.  Ten minutes later, he finally turned to Al.  He knew that he had been watching him eating the entire time and getting impatient with him. "What?" he finally asked. "I'm hungry."

            Al raised one eyebrow. "Just making sure Guy doesn't show up unexpectedly."  He raised the handlink and hit it roughly. He didn't like this situation at all.

            Sam looked at him oddly. He wasn't sure exactly what he was talking about. He didn't even feel the change over this time. He lightly shook his head. "I don't know what you're talking about Al. Guy isn't here. I am.  Have you had enough sleep?" he asked worried for his friend.

            Al frowned at his words. "Plenty. With Jules breathing down my back, how can I not?" He focused on the handlink yet again. The sooner that Sam leaped, the happier he would be.

            "I'm not so sure, Al. You look a little tired and flustered.  Are you sure you’re okay?" He sat there and nibbled at his biscuit as he looked at Al.

            Al sighed, then closed his eyes. He was beginning to get another one of those headaches but there was no way he was going to let Sam know. The time traveler had enough things to worry about than a simple headache.

            "I'm fine, Sam. I'll be even finer when we get you away from these wackos," he said, opening his eyes and looking at him. He raised the handlink and punched in the exiting sequence. "I'm gonna go check with Ziggy. We're missing something here, like why a smart guy like Guy …"

            "Is doing with his crackpot brother?" Sam finished for him with a grin.

            "Exactly," Al told him firmly.  "George is more of a crackpot than his namesake!" He took a step back through the door.  "Just be careful, Sam.  Promise me you won't do anything until we've figured out how to get you out of this situation."

            "I'll do the best that I can, with the little information that I've acquired.  Go on, Al.  I'll be fine.  I've winged it so many times before, why should this be any different?" He said as he looked down at his bowl, twirling the spoon so he could flick at the meat and potatoes in it.  "I'm not going anywhere."

            Al hesitated, hating the look in Sam's eyes. "I'll be back ASAP, Sam."

            Sam bopped his head back and forth before he finally nodded to his statement. "Whatever," he said softly, frowning as he took another spoonful of stew.

            Al raised an eyebrow, looking at his friend with concern before closing the Imaging Chamber door, leaving Sam in the past.

            "Admiral, there are some significant items that you forgot to mention to Dr. Beckett that pertains to this leap," Ziggy cooed at him.

            Al marched down the ramp toward the Control Room. "Like what he's there to do, I know."  He glared at the blue sparkling sphere hanging down in the control room. "It would help if you actually gave me more info than the history that I already know by heart."

            "I apologize, Admiral, but it is beyond my control.  There is a problem with the binary information that was corrupted in the bombing.  It has some security blocks that will take some time to uncover. I will get the information that you requested as soon as it comes available to me." Ziggy sounded almost upset with him.

            "Sooner is preferable with this leap, Zig," Al said slowly.

            St. John turned to Al as he came up to the Control Grid. "I've been monitoring the events that just occurred, Admiral. It seems that every time Dr. Beckett is ‘thrown to the curb’ so to speak, his body temperature drops a few degrees and his blood pressure comes up. From what Ziggy could decipher out, Guy doesn't want to be there as much as he is claiming to."

            Al nodded.  "Finally something that makes some sense," he muttered.

            "There may be some psycho-analytical reasons behind this change. Dr. Beeks is performing some tests on Guy even as we speak, sir." St. John then turned back to the monitor, crawling underneath it to look at the circuitry.

            Al nodded again at his words. He sighed. He was feeling extraordinarily tired, unusually so. The headache he had gotten in the Imaging Chamber had not left him. Taking a deep breath, he turned and was about to voice that he would be in his office when he saw Jules near the door.

            Jules looked at the people in the room with a smile. Her smile faded as she looked at the Admiral.  He looked miserable.  She leaned against the wall with her shoulder and angled her head, crossing her arms over her chest. Her eyebrow rose lightly as she peered at him.

            Al gave her a forced smile as he walked up toward her.  "What's up, Jules?”

            “You mean other than me pregnant enough to pop?”  She grinned at him, then stated plainly, “The complex is as secure as it’s going to get, and my father should get some rest.”

            Al couldn’t help but grin at his eldest daughter and he shook his head.  “Rest is something that is a luxury at this complex, and I don’t have the time at the moment.  I don’t like what’s going on with this leap, Jules.  Guy is taking over much too often, and I  . . .  I just have a feeling  . . . ” Al let the sentence trail off.  He knew that she would know exactly what he was talking about.  His gut feeling was something that he always went with.

            She sighed softly at his response.  “Yeah, I know how you get when you get a feeling.  Anything I can help with?”  She knew that it was a long shot, but when it came to her father, she would do anything to help him sleep occasionally.

            Al didn’t know exactly how she could help, except get the congo beating midget out of his head.  “Well, Jules, I don’t know if you can help or not,” he told her with a sigh.  “But, thank you for the offer.  I... I gotta get some data to tell Sam.  He’s not very happy with what’s going on, either.  In fact, I think that maybe if I talk to Guy that . . . ” Al stopped as he brought his hand up to his head. ‘Dammit, I wish he’d go away,’ he thought as he closed his eyes and squeezed them shut for a moment.  But even as he made the movement, he knew that he shouldn’t have done it in front of Jules.  He knew.  He knew that he would open his eyes and see her looking disdainfully at him.  “Don’t even start, Jules,” he told her softly.  “I don’t have time for this.  All right?  I’m very busy.”  He shook his head gently.  Why do I even try to stop her?  She’s just going to say it anyway.’

            Pushing herself away from the doorframe, she took a few steps toward her father, her hand supporting her back.  “You’re not too busy to go into the Waiting Room when someone else can, so you’re not too busy to march yourself up to your quarters and get some sleep.  Gees, dad, I’m pregnant, not blind, and I can tell you’ve got either a hangover or a stress headache and either of those options warrant that you take a nap.”

            Al opened his eyes and looked at her for a brief moment.  “Jules, you know that I have to do my job.  A little headache is not going to make me stop doing just that.  I’ve had them before, and, anyway, when did you become mom of all?” he asked her with a grin as he turned to start to go to the Waiting Room.  “I’ve got to talk to Guy.”

            Julianna hurried to catch up with him and put a hand on his shoulder.  “I’ll talk to Guy.  You get some rest.  That’s an order, Admiral.”

            “Jules, you can’t order me around.”  He took her hand off of his shoulder.  “Listen, I’ll go rest after I talk to Guy and report to Sam what in the heck is going on.  Okay?”  Knowing that he couldn’t worm his way out of the situation at hand, he decided that reasoning with her would have to work.  A compromise.  “It’s either that or nothing,” he said as he patted her hand then moved his hand to her stomach.  “Anyway, you’re the one that needs rest.  That’s my grandson in there.”

            Jules folded her arms and looked at him for a long silent moment before sighing.  “Dad,” she started, but when he gave her the look that said ‘listen to your father, child’, she stopped for a brief moment.  “Just promise that you’ll rest right after you see Sam, please.”

            “All right, Jules, I promise,” he told her softly.  “Okay?”  Seeing her nod and grin, he rubbed her stomach lightly then bent down to it.  “Your mom is such a pain in the . . . ” he looked back up at Jules who looked at him warily.  “... neck.”

            Straightening up, he leaned forward and kissed her on the cheek then turned to go to the Waiting Room.  I’ve got to get Guy to stop butting in.  If I don’t, we’re in big trouble.  Big.  

 ********************  

Guy had been sitting in the bluish-white room with little to do other than reading ancient books when he heard the door open.  Raising his head, he saw Al entering the room.  He looked at the older man and saw that he didn’t look so well.  When he had talked to him earlier, it was to answer odd questions that he couldn’t find the answers too.  He glanced behind Al to see the lady standing in the hall.  An angel . . . a very gorgeous and very pregnant angel,’ he thought as he smiled at her.  Too bad.  She’s probably married.

            Jules glanced in at Guy and smiled at him.  “Try to help Sam, Guy.  He needs it.”

            Guy frowned not quite sure of what she meant.  Even as Al approached him, he asked, “Who . . . who's the angel?”

            Al glanced behind him to see Jules walk away and he grinned.  “Actually, that’s my daughter.  But, that’s not why I came in here, Guy.  We need to talk.”  Al approached the bed where Guy was sitting and leaned his hip against it.  “Remember me telling you about Sam?”  Seeing him nod, he continued on, “Well, you aren’t helping matters any by butting in.  You keep fading in and out and we need you to stop or there will be lives lost.”

            Guy frowned.  He remembered the conversation from earlier about this whole ordeal was some kind of experiment involving himself and this guy named Sam, but it was hard for him to believe that he was messing things up.  “What do you mean, I’m butting in?  I’ve been here in this room for hours.  I haven’t moved an inch because you people won’t let me.”

            “Guy, I know that you haven’t moved from this room.”  Al paused thinking about how he could explain it to him.  “Okay, listen, do you ever feel like someone is thinking or talking through you, and that you’re just the one mouthing the words?  That you’re not really saying it, but someone else is?” he asked, then thought about what he had just said.  He raised his hands; flustered, and let them drop to his side.  “Great.  This is just great.  Now, I’m nuts,” he muttered under his breath.

            Guy turned his head and looked at him as he thought about what he had just said.  “No, I don’t think that you’re nuts,” he told him quietly.  “In fact that about explains what’s been happening with me,” he frowned.  “Are you saying that this Sam guy . . . has control of my mind?”  The idea of that was scary enough and way too Twilight Zone for him.

            Al looked up with interest.  So, he has been feeling it too.  Thank God,’ he thought miraculously.  “No, Guy, he doesn’t have control of your mind or visa versa.  Listen, what’s going on is that in certain situations, you take over, like when your brother is concerned.  You tend to ‘appear’ when you get irritated at him.  What we need you to do is just relax while you’re here, and don’t think about what’s happening back at home.  Okay?  Let Sam do the work.  Not you.”

            “Yeah, well, Sam doesn’t know George like I do.  He’s . . . well, let’s just say that he isn’t the friendliest guy in the world.”  Guy thought about something that Al had said before.  “You said people were going to get hurt?”

            Al took a deep breath and ran his tongue across the back of his teeth.  “Well, they will if Sam doesn’t stop what your brother is planning.  Yes.  Guy, I’m not going to stand here and tell you that everything will be peachy.  I mean, twenty-seven people died because of that bomb that your brother built . . . ”

            “Bomb?!” Guy exclaimed as he stood up rapidly.  “George made a bomb?!  Twenty-seven people?!”  He started to pace.  “Oh my God!  I knew he was crazy but, I didn’t think he was capable of . . . dammit!”  All the memories of his youth seemed to crash down on him, causing him to find security in a corner of the room.  

            Al watched as Guy walked over to the corner and curled up into a ball, his face blank of expression but he could tell that he was thinking about everything he had just been told.  Going over to him, he placed a reassuring hand on his shoulder.  When he finally looked up at him, he asked, “Will you at least try to let Sam do this?”

            Guy swallowed tightly and forced himself to breathe before responding.  “You . . .  you don’t understand.  George doesn’t like outsiders.  He . . . barely tolerated me.”  He closed his eyes tightly, wishing he could forget.  “Hell, toleration is a kind word for our . . . relationship, if you can call it that.  He has a cruel streak in him.  As long as he gets his way, he’s fine.  But, if he doesn’t get his way . . .” Guy quickly wiped at the tears that were slowly starting to roll down his cheek.  “Damn, all those terrible things he did to me.  I don’t want him hurting your friend like he hurt me.”

            Al nodded understanding exactly what he was saying.  How can you stay out of the way when you don’t know how you got in the way in the beginning?’ he thought sadly.  “Okay, kid, you’ll be okay.  Everything will be okay.  You gotta hope for the best here.”  He patted his shoulder then started toward the door.               

                                                   

***************  

 March 24, 1999

The Hamilton Lodge 

11:30 PM  

             Sam was so drunk that he didn’t care about anything.  He half-sat, half-slouched in one of the wicker chairs in the lounge of the lodge, a half-emptied bottle of beer being held by his fingertips.  He was chuckling as if someone had just said the funniest thing in the world.

            “Hey, Georgie Porgie, toss me another one, will ya?” he shouted out, forgetting that he hadn’t even finished the one already in his hand.

            Although George was standing in front of the open door of the refrigerator, he screwed up his face.  I don’t remember turning black, nor do I remember being owned by Guy,’ he thought, annoyed.  “Get your own damn beer!  I ain’t your damn slave, boy!  The last time I checked, I was pure white.”

            “At least your ass is,” Ambrose chuckled as he leaned over and hit Sam on the arm.  “And it just about blinded all of us.  Make sure you keep your pants pulled up!”

            The Imaging Chamber door slid up in the middle of the room, and when Al stepped into the middle of the lodge, he shook his head as he realized what he had walked into – a group of men getting completely and totally drunk.  “Ah, gees.”  He looked around disdainfully and shook his head.  “Sam, we need to talk.  Come on outside . . . okay?”  He asked Sam, but Sam didn’t seem to hear him.  He was too busy chuckling then downed the rest of the beer in his hand before he got up and started for the kitchen.  “Sam?”

            Sam half-sauntered, half-swayed into the kitchen and moved past George to get to the refrigerator.  As he reached out to open the door, he changed directions and headed outside the side door of the lodge to go outside.

            “Where the hell are you going?”  George demanded.

            “Gotta leak,” Sam told him plainly.  “Why?  You wanna come with?” he taunted back at him before going through the door, down the stairs and out toward the woods.  Stopping some distance away from the cabin, he didn’t even notice that Al had popped in beside him.

            After Al relocated back on Sam, he looked back toward the cabin and saw that no one was following Sam out.  At least that was a good sign.  “Sam, Guy gave us something to work with.  We need to get Ambrose on our side.  Maybe if we get Ambrose  . . . we can stop George from making that bomb.”  Al stopped and looked at Sam for a moment and could tell that he wasn’t listening to him at all.  “Sam?  Did you hear me?”  When he didn’t respond quickly, Al finally questioned him again, “Sam?  Sam?”

            “I hear you, Al.  Can’t a guy have some privacy occasionally?” Finishing up what he had actually gone outside to do, he turned back to Al.  “Now, what is it that you want?”

            Al sighed.  “Soooorrry,” he whined at Sam.  “But you have to realize in the past couple of hours, you’ve been switching back and forth with Guy and I wasn’t sure who was here.”  He rocked back on his heels and looked down at the handlink in his hand.  “Listen.  Guy told me that it would be in your best interest that you get Ambrose on your side.  Once he’s there, then you can maybe talk Ambrose out of doing this, then he can talk George out of it.”

            Al still wasn’t sure if Sam comprehended everything that he had just said or not.  From what he could tell, Sam was swaying back and forth so badly that he probably didn’t even know what he was talking about.  “Sam?  Did you hear and understand me?  Or am I just talking to air now?”

            “I don’t know,” Sam slurred to him.  “Actually, if you want to get technical, you always are talking to thin air.”  Sam nodded at him.  “And so do I.  Techn'lly.”

            “Great.  Just great.  Now he’s being logical,” Al murmured.  “Logical and beer don’t mix, Sam,  it’s an impossibility.  If it was logical to get wooked off on the stuff and have a hellacious hangover the next day, don’t you think that I’d be doing it too?”  Al shook his head and brought up his hand up to his head.  “Damn congo drums . . . ” He muttered lightly about his headache as it started to become stronger.

            Sam frowned as he watched him.  “Seems to me that you already got a hangover.  Who’s playing the congos?”

            “Never mind, Sam.  Just . . . just go inside and go to bed before you get sick all over the place.  Okay?  I’ll just come back in the morning and update you as I yell it into your brain,” Al said with annoyance.  “Go.”  Al watched as Sam took a few staggering steps.  “Gees, Sam.  This really isn’t like you.”

            Sam stopped at his words, swaying a moment.  “Well, maybe not.  But if you had a brother like I do, you’d be drunk too.”  He pointed at Al and frown at his own words.  “Or is that if I had a brother like you do?”  He shook his head and tried to clear it.  He looked up at Al with obvious confusion on his face.  “Whose brother do I have?”

            This is going to be impossible.  This leap is getting to me.  I think that I just might go have a beer myself,’ Al thought to himself.  “Listen Sam, don’t worry about it.  Go to bed.  You need to have plenty of rest for tomorrow so that you can try to talk to Ambrose and to Georgie Porgie in there.  Okay?”

            Sam nodded wildly at his words.  “Dokie Hokie,” he told him and started back toward the lodge before turning again to look at Al as he heard the Imaging Chamber door open.  “Al?  You’s a good guy.  Ya know that?  And ya got a helluva set of shoes.”  Sam turned and staggered toward the cabin again, wishing the stairs would stay in one place long enough for him to climb them.

            Al shook his head and placed his hand on his cheek as he listened to Sam.  Watching him, he said lightly, “Man is he in for it tomorrow.”  He stepped back through the rectangle of light.  “I don’t envy him at all.”

            Coming out of the Imaging Chamber, Al looked up to see Jules walking through the Control Room toward him.  He didn’t even get a word out before she grabbed the handlink from him, and took it back to it’s resting place on Ziggy’s console.  She walked back over to him and grabbed his hand.   Al knew that he wasn’t going to win in this battle with his daughter so he just smiled at her and enjoyed her presence as she walked him down the corridor to his quarters. 

            “Night, daddy.”

            “Night, honey.”  He leaned over and kissed her cheek then opened the door of his quarters.  He waved at her again as she smiled at him, then shut the door.  He stripped off his shirt and tossed it in the chair, then sat on the bed and took off his shoes.  “Ziggy, I want to know the minute that Sam wakes up.  No 'ifs', 'ands' or 'buts'.  Understood?”

            “Yes, Admiral Calavicci,” Ziggy purred.

            Al lay back on the bed and yawned tiredly.  Jules was right, he was tired, and hopefully this rest would help get rid of the little midget pounding in his head.  Just the thought of the congo-man made him think of Sam and how he was going to feel in the morning.  “Good luck to you, Sam, you’re gonna need it.”  

PART THREE   

March 25, 1999

9:37 AM  

            Al looked around the room and tsked loudly at the mess.  Beer bottles, chips, and other snackables were tossed around the room.  He walked toward Sam who was still sitting on the floor.  “So, which phase are we in?  Spinning, rising waves of nausea, or the thump thump thump of the heartbeat in the head, or is it both?  Or is it worse?  Is the headache so bad that the lights are making it pulsate?” he asked.  Al remembered exactly what it was like from before he went into the military, and he was really bad about pulling those kind of drinking binges then. When Sam didn’t answer, he got even louder.  “Saaaaam?  Aren’t you going to talk to me, Sam!?” He couldn’t help the smile that spread out over his face.  “Or do you still think that I have a helluva set of shoes?”

            Sam frowned at his words then moaned at how loudly he was speaking.  “Quiet, please,” he pleaded desperately.  “What do you mean?”  Sam looked up at him with only one eye, trying to keep the light out.  “I told you that you had a set of shoes?”  He put his hands on his head and moaned again, wishing the little drummer boy would stop playing so loudly for a few minutes.  “What did I do last night?” he asked quietly.  “Gawd, what was I drinking?”

            Al grinned as he looked down at Sam.  “Well, you decided to drink with the guys. I have no idea what you were drinking or how many you had but I have never had you comment on my shoes before.  That was a new one on me."  Al told him with a chuckle.

            Sam moaned lightly, trying to get to his feet.  “I didn’t decide to drink with the guys.  Guy did.  I wish he hadn’t.  I was already too drunk to care when you got through to him,” he raised his head and forced himself to look at Al.  “I’m assuming that you did.  Didn’t you?  I remember something about Ambrose.”

            “Yeah, Guy said that you need to get Ambrose on your side.  Once you get him on your side, then you might have a chance to stop any of this from happening.”  He told him for the third time.  “So, get up and let’s get going, Sam,” Al told him impatiently.

            “What do you think I’ve been trying to do?”  Sam complained as he finally succeeded in standing.  He wished that he hadn’t stood up but he knew that he had a job to get done and a cup of black coffee was calling out to him from the kitchen.  “Okay, you go check out the situation.  I’m in desperate need of a shower.”

            “All right, Sam,” Al said as he pulled up the handlink.  A second later, he was in the middle of the living room watching the guys as they milled around, all of them looking like they had hangovers from hell, except for Ambrose.  He was up in the kitchen, making breakfast and humming.  Re-centering himself into the kitchen, he looked down and saw the eggs and back that he was cooking.  “Oh goody . . . breakfast.  Can you make me some too, there, Am?” Al asked even though he couldn’t hear him.

            As Sam entered into the kitchen fresh and clean, Ambrose looked up at him with a grin.  “Told ya to lay off.  Bet there’s a whole jungle of drums in that head of yours.”

            "Well, I'm sure he has the brass band going on good in there. So, just give the boy a cup of coffee and some Tylenol and befriend him so he can leap the hell out of crazyville.  Okay?"  Al asked sourly.

            "Make that a whole continent," Sam told him softly.  “Do you have coffee ready? And could I have a glass of saltwater?" The look Ambrose gave Sam told him how unusual the request was.   "For the headache. I'm pretty dehydrated."  Sam gave him a weak smile as he searched for a chair to sit on.

            Ambrose looked at him oddly, then turned around and grabbed a glass from the cabinet and put water in it then handed him the salt.  "Go for it Guy.  Just don't get sick in my kitchen, okay?"

            Sam laughed slightly. "I already got sick in the bathroom," Sam told him as he put some salt in the water and then began to drink it down slowly. He figured that now was as good as any to broach the subject. "Am? Could I ask you a few things? Between us?"

            Ambrose looked at Sam for a long moment then shrugged.  “Sure.  What's on your mind young man?  Or shall I ask who is on your mind?  You always did come to me for womanly questions,” he said offhandedly.

            Sam chuckled nervously.  "Well, this does have to do with someone but it's more like a George question than a womanly question."  He looked up at him for a moment before asking, "Do you know what this is all about? I mean, really about?"

            "Well, you know your brother better than I do, Guy.  But, then again since you've been at MIT, I guess that you may have missed the last couple of years.  He, well, he just doesn't like the system, you know?  He thinks it should be run differently.  I just told George I'd help out when it came to making the bomb.  You know your brother isn't good with electronics.  So I volunteered my services.  You never know when a change is needed."

            Sam closed his eyes before looking at Al for some support. He shrugged as if to say 'you got me' and Sam sighed.  Looking back at Ambrose, he took another breath. "But, why do you need a bomb to instigate change? All he's going to do is hurt a lot of people. And then who will listen to him?"

            "I don't know why he wants a bomb.  You need to ask him that, Guy.  I just said that I'd help him put it together.  As for who'll listen to him, sometimes if you scare people enough, they'll do what you want them to do."  Ambrose shrugged and opened another package of bacon and slapped a few more pieces in the pan before wiping his hands off on a nearby towel.

             "And what if you kill people enough?" Sam asked him as he approached him. "Am, George isn't thinking very clearly. He thinks using violence is going to create a revolution when all it's going to do is get a lot of people killed and himself in prison."

            "That may be true.  But he'll get some notice.  That's all he wants, Guy.  I know that he's not a bad guy.  He just wants to have a chance to have his say.  Is that so bad?" he asked as he used the spatula to press down on the bacon.

            "It is if he has to kill people to get noticed. He can get notice if he publishes his thoughts.  I'm telling you, Am, George has lost his sense of right and wrong."

            "Well, Guy, what the hell do you want me to do?  I'm not his keeper, you know.  You're his brother.  Why don't you talk to him?  You know you could probably set him straight."  Ambrose slapped his hand on Sam’s arm.  "You're one of the educated ones here, Guy. You tell me, why are you here?"

            Sam had to think seriously on Am's question. ‘Why was Guy here anyway? Why would he even want to come back to a place that held such bad memories for him?’ he thought.  “Maybe I just wanted something I can't have," he finally said.   He shook his head.  "Am, George isn't going to listen to me. He hasn't before; why should he now? On the other hand, he does listen to you." He looked into Am's eyes. "I need your help, Am. Please."

            Ambrose looked at the young man standing beside him and growled low in his throat.  He wasn't the type to just give in to anyone's whims, but Guy was someone that he had known for over fifteen years.  What he was saying was true.  George never did listen to him.  In fact, George usually found a way to put him down, and knock him down several notches either by words or fists. 

            Moving around him, he ran his tongue over his front teeth and picked up his glass of water.  After taking a drink, he took a deep breath.  "What is it that you need help with, Guy?  I mean, what exactly do you want me to do?"

            Sam ran his hand over his mouth, glancing at Al to request assistance, but didn’t get any.  “George is going to use that bomb on the CIA building in Boston. It'll kill a lot of people  - people not that much older than me. Now, I know how you feel about the government and I'm not arguing that with you.   But I don't think innocent people should be hurt, do you?"

            "Oh, that's good, Sam,” Al said encouragingly.

             "No."  Ambrose told him plainly. "People don’t need to be hurt.  You know how I feel about my own son.  And he's twenty-five now, only three years older than you.  I... I can't imagine him getting hurt, let alone die.  All right, Guy.  What do you want me to do?"

            Sam looked at Al, hoping for more insight.   Now that he had Ambrose on his side, he needed to know the next step.     Al shook his head and raised his shoulders. 

“Don’t look at me, Sam.  I’m just as lost here are you are.”

            Sam took a deep breath.  "Talk to George and try to convince him not to make that bomb. Try to convince him to try nonviolent tactics in getting his message across."

            From what Sam had just told him, Ambrose knew that Guy wanted him to make a total change in George's plans.   He had heard George talking about how he wanted violence, that he wanted to get those 'asses in Washington' to look up and take notice.  "You're asking an awful lot, Guy.  But, I'll try.  I'm not promising that I can stop him from doing anything.  But, I'll try."

            “That's all I'm asking, Am," Sam told him, putting his hand on his shoulder.   "Let's go talk to him."  He gave Ambrose a reassuring smile.

            "Have you completely lost your mind, Guy?  I have to finish cooking breakfast.  You know I have to get something on the table before I have all of those guys in my kitchen and you know I don't like that one bit."  Seeing Sam grin, Ambrose headed back over to the stove to rescue the bacon from burning.  "You know, I can stand one person, but six people?  I'm sorry, not gonna happen."

            Ambrose watched Sam as he got a coffee cup down from the cupboard, poured him a full cup then headed out of the backdoor.   "Guy?  If I talk to him, I'll talk to him alone.  I know George just about as well as I know you.  If you're there, he'll think it was your idea anyway.  You don't need to be the fall guy."  Then without missing a beat, he turned back around and flipped the bacon once more before placing it on a plate.

            Sam just looked at Am for a moment and nodded before going outside a short distance.  Coming across a bench, he sat down and looked up at Al.  "Does Ziggy have anything?" he asked, sipping on the coffee.             

            Pulling out the handlink from his pocket, Al looked at the screen where data should be pouring out and saw nothing.  Hitting the side of the handlink, it squealed out loudly.  “Well . . . no.”  Pursing his lips, he knocked on the handlink again, and asked Ziggy for percentages. “Ziggy says that now, there’s a fifty-fifty chance that the bomb will still go off.  Well, that’s better.  I mean, at least you got it to fifty-fifty.  It was at a ninety-five percent earlier.”  Looking up at Sam, he could see that he was not thrilled with that answer.  “Well, whaddya want, Sam?  A miracle?”

            Sam sighed.  “It would be a start,” he muttered leaning back on the bench.  “Al, if getting Ambrose on my side only reduced the odds to fifty-fifty, now what do I need to do?”

            "I don't know, Sam.  I just don't know what to tell you."  Al started to pace in front of him and began to babble.  "You know, it was hard going in and seeing Guy.  It was like he was scared of his own brother; telling me that their relationship was  . . . wait . . . " Stopping, he clapped his hand against the side of the handlink once more and plugged in the question running through his mind.  "Bingo.  Sam, remember that feeling that you had when you first saw the lodge?  That eerie, 'not home' feeling that you felt?" 

            “Yeah,” Sam said as he stood up beside Al.

            "Well, it seems that when George and Guy were teens, that George decided to have some sort of initiation for Guy; sort of a coming of age for him.  According to the psychiatric reports that Guy has been going to in the past year, George brought Guy out to this lodge and beat the hell out of him every day for two weeks.  Leaving him somewhere called 'the room'; said it was underground somewhere here, and not feeding him anything for that time period.  It was two years later that Guy left to go to MIT.  Maybe this isn't about a bomb, Sam.  Maybe this is about just the two of them."

            "George's way of trying to torment Guy further by attacking the institutions Guy believes in?" he asked.  He nodded slightly, the whole thing making sense now: Sibling rivalry to the nth degree and deadly unless stopped.   “Problem is George will not listen to his brother."

            "Exactly," Al told Sam plainly.  "Ziggy, make a percentage on the data given to us about what would happen if we allowed Guy to interfere and pound some sense into his brother?"  Seeing the look on Sam's face, he held up his hand.  "I'm curious, okay?"

            "There is a twenty-two percent chance that allowing Guy to interfere will prevent the bombings. I hypothesized that, given the chance, Guy will not act against his brother in this matter. Dr. Beeks agrees,” Ziggy purred.

            Al didn’t like that answer.  “Well, there went that idea down the drain," he scowled, but when Sam looked at him questioningly, he told him, "Twenty-two percent."

            "However," Ziggy interrupted, "that is calculating Guy's current state of mind. I believe that if convinced that he could defeat his brother, the odds will increase in Dr. Beckett's favor."

            As he listened to Ziggy, an idea formed in Al’s mind.  "Okay, Sam, you go back inside and help Ambrose with breakfast, that is if he'll let you. I've got to go talk with Guy.  Okay?"

            Sam nodded slightly and watched as Al left in an array of white light.  

PART FOUR  

 Project Quantum Leap

Stallion’s Gate, New Mexico

February 24, 2003  

            Walking out of the Imaging Chamber, Al looked up at Ziggy's glowing blue orb from where it hung in the Control Room.  "All right Ziggy, my main squeeze, tell me exactly what would convince Guy that he could kick his brother's butt?"

            " 'Main squeeze'; I like that," Ziggy said mostly to herself.  "Guy needs to be convinced that George is ‘the class bully’, as it were."

            "Ah, the classic class bully syndrome.  Don't you just love those guys?" Al asked to no one in particular.  "Okay. And the odds on this, my dear, are what?  Please, please tell me a high number there, Zig."  Mentally, he crossed his fingers.

            "If Guy Hamilton is convinced that he can confront his brother, then Dr. Becket will leap.  However, if not, there will be a sixty-four percent chance that George will escape capture and successfully plant the bomb at Annapolis.  However, there is an eighty-three point seven two five percent probability that Guy will succeed in his endeavor.  Actually, Admiral, if this is the case, Guy will prevent the deaths of the ATF agents who were sent up the mountain to secure George Hamilton."

            "Okay, so we deal with one thing at a time.  First, I need to talk to Guy." 

            Turning toward the Waiting Room, Al stepped up to the door and placed his palm on the lock.  As it opened, he waited only a moment before he stepped into the room and walked toward the bed where Guy Hamilton sat reading a book.  "Guy, I have a question for you.  If you had an opportunity to get back at George for all the abuse that he's put you through, would you take it?"

            "Get revenge on George? In a heartbeat!" he said positively.  But he quickly shook his head. "But I can't. I... I can't!" he protested.

            "And why not?" Al asked blatantly.  "Are you scared of him?  I mean, honestly, Guy.  You're twenty-one years old now.  You can defend yourself.  You weren't able to defend yourself when you were eight.  Why can't you?"  Al looked firmly at the young man sitting on the bed. 

            “You don't know George. You don't know what he's like when he gets angry. If I even try . . . he'll . . . he'll kill me. Or worse." Guy brought up his legs against his body and lowered his head.  "He might put me in that place again."

            "Oh, I see," Al said as he began to pace back and forth in front of him.  "So, you're just going to let him bully you around for the rest of your life?  You're just going to stand by and let him walk all over you and hurt innocent lives just so that you won't have to stand up to your brother?  Is that it?  Why on earth did you even go out there to the lodge then, Guy?  Huh? Why are you out there?  Are you a part of George's plan?"

            "No!" Guy protested loudly, quickly standing at the accusations. "I'm not part of that    . . . that insanity!" He watched as Al paced, his bearing intimidating. "I'm not a psychotic wacko who thinks the government is out to take over our minds."

            "Why did you go out there?"  Al stopped pacing and walked right up to him, getting up into his personal space.  "You tell me right now, Guy, or I'm going to be the one that bullies you.  Tell me.  Why are you out there with George?" he yelled at him.

            "I don't know!"  Guy shouted back at him in frustration and anger.

            "Bullshit!  You do know.  You're just being a five-year-old and not wanting to face up to the fact that you're in on this.  Just tell me, dammit!  Why?!"  Al was so close to him that he could probably count the number of freckles on Guy’s cheeks, but he knew that if he backed down now, he wouldn’t get an answer, and he was going to get an answer come hell or high water.  "What do you want me to do here, Guy?  Get a gun before you tell me?"

            "I want you to lay off!" Guy shouted at him. "I want you to let me go back so I can give George a taste of his own medicine, all right!" Guy was pinned against the bed with nowhere to go other than through the man before him.   “You want to know what I'm doing there? What I was doing there?"

            "Yes, Guy, I wanna know, and now."  Al demanded forcefully.

            "All right!  I'm going to kill him! I hate him!"

            Raising one eyebrow, Al looked at him warily as he took a step back from him. "I believe that you'd like to kill him, but I don't honestly think that you have the guts to do it, Guy.  Like you said, you aren't a wacko or a psychotic. Only those people can go out and kill for the purpose that you are looking for.  No, I think that you just want revenge.  That, my friend, I can help you with."

            When Guy turned his head to look at him, Al smiled slightly.  "Remember when I told you not to worry about what was happening at the lodge that you were interfering with Sam's work?"  Al watched as he nodded.   "Well, here's your chance.  Work through Sam,” Al told him plainly.  He wasn’t sure if he understood, but from the slight change in his expression, he could tell that he was catching on rather quickly. 

             "How?"

            "I'm not sure on the how, but whatever you were doing before, just do it again.  Think back on it, Guy.  I'm sure that you'll remember something.  Do you?"  Al asked softly.

            Guy sat down upon hearing his question. "I... I was thinking of how I could get George alone. You know? How I was going to get him into that small dark place and make him stay in there for days on end without anything to eat or drink."

            "Well, Guy, you go ahead and think on that some more and let's see what happens.  I think that you are the key to this one.  Just maybe . . .  maybe .. you may save twenty-seven people's lives."

            He nodded.  "I hope so." He laid down on the bed and looked up at the ceiling.  “Cause the last thing I want is George to get his way with anything."

            Moving over to Guy, Al laid his hand on Guy’s shoulder.  "You're a good kid, Guy.  You'll go far in life, someday.  You’ll help a lot of people.  I don’t know how I know, but I know.”  Turning, he left the room, and left Guy to his thoughts.

            Al strode down the hallway, and as he entered into the Control Room he asked Ziggy, "Ziggy, what happened to Guy in the original history?"

            "Unknown. Guy Hamilton disappeared. His last known whereabouts before Dr. Beckett leaped into him were at MIT.  His roommate said that he was going home to be with family." Ziggy paused as she calculated a reasonable theory on all the information. "It is possible that Guy confronted his brother and was killed at the lodge and his remains were never found."

            "What about Ambrose and the others?  What happened to them?"  Al wanted to know all scenarios before he went back to Sam.                                                      

"Ambrose Calhan and the others in George Hamilton's party were later arrested for the bombing of the Naval Military Academy at Annapolis. I postulate that none knew about Guy Hamilton's murder as they were very likely already off of the mountain at the time of the murder."

            "All right then," he nodded at her theories.  "I need to see Sam right away, St. John.  Get it up and going,” he paused as he raised his hand to his head and rubbed his temple.  He really didn't need another headache right now.  Dammit . . . go away little congo man!’ But even as he started toward the Imaging Chamber, a hand stopped him.  "What the . . . " he began.

            Holding firmly to her father’s shoulder, Julianna looked at her father worriedly.  “I’ll go,” she told him softly.  “Or Sammie Jo will.  But you’ve been up for over thirty-six hours and you need some sleep.”

            Al rolled his eyes at his oldest daughter.  "Jules, I don't have time for this right now.  Sam needs me in there and I'm not going to stop and leave him out on the line.  He could die, Jules.  And he needs me."  He peeled her hand away from his shoulder and took another step toward the Imaging Chamber but again she stopped him. "Jules . . . " He warned.

            "I know.  Sam needs you," she said plainly.  "I also know that look in your eyes that says I'm not going to talk you out of it. So, I'm going in there with you."  She raised her hand to ward off any protest that he might give.  "You put me in charge of security here and I even though I’ve found someone else to be your bodyguard while I’m pregnant this is not going to stop me from keeping you from killing yourself from stress.  Period. You want me to go into labor from my own stress?"

            "No.  I don't, honey, not after what happened the last time.  I don’t want you to miscarry either," he told her softly.  "Fine.  Come on with me."   Raising his arms, he took a slow deep breath and blew it out before dropping his arms.  "Gees, and they said that being a father was hard. Try being an Admiral to boot," he murmured as he walked up the ramp to the Imaging Chamber.

            Jules grinned. "Try being a daughter with a very hardheaded father and have him being an Admiral to boot." She followed Al into the Imaging Chamber.   Before stepping through the door she gave a nod to one of the guards under her command, telling him with just that nod to be prepared in case she gave any orders.

            It only took a moment for the image to coalesce around them.  What they found surprised both of them.  George had Sam pushed up against the wall, yelling obscenities at him that Al thought even the baby could hear. 

            "Get away from him you nozzle!" Al yelled out as he rushed up to Sam.  "Sam, hit him!  Get away from him!"

            Julianna spoke at the same time as Al did, the same words in a slightly different manner as she moved toward the two men fighting.  "Sam!" she called out.  "Come on, baby. Get some distance!"

            Hearing a woman calling his name and calling him ‘baby’ astonished him and yet somehow motivated him.  Striking George hard against his kidneys a couple of times, he managed to do exactly as the woman had said and got some distance between himself and George.

            "Enough, George!" Sam told his nemesis.

            "Screw you!"  George yelled back at him.  "It don't take a scientist to figure out who talked Am into trying to talk me out of making the bomb.   I know it was you, you ass!  Just why the hell are you here in the first place?"

            "He was here the first time around to kill him, Sam.  Guy came here to kill George!"  Al told him quickly.

            "What?" Sam exclaimed in shock. "Why?"

            Jules rolled her eyes at his questions.  "Ask questions later, Sam. Now is not the time. Get distance so we can talk without the Incredible Hulk here getting in the way."

            "Who?" Sam asked confused.

            "What in the hell are you doing boy!?" George questioned hotly.  "Have you gone completely freakin' nuts!?"  He stepped up toward him again and landed a couple of punches to Sam’s stomach before Ambrose came running into the room and pulled George off of Sam.  "Let me go Am!  The little shit deserves what he gets."

            "No, no he doesn't George.  Go on now and get washed up.  And don't you get blood in my kitchen, either!"  Ambrose told him as George started stalking toward the kitchen.  "At least he knows who not to rough up.  I'll kick his ass from here to the mountains."

            Sam couldn’t help but smile at Ambrose's choice of words and he held his side, trying to keep the ache at bay as he straightened up.   "That would be right out the door, Am. We're in the mountains."   Licking his lips, he looked up into Ambrose’s eyes thankfully.  “Thanks."

            "Not a problem, Guy."  Ambrose slapped his arm firmly and grinned as Sam fell against the couch.  "Not a problem at all.  But, one of these days, you're going to have to stand up for yourself.  You can't let him bully you around all the time."

            "Exactly!  That's what I was just telling Guy!"  Al said as he pointed at Ambrose then to Sam.  "That's what Guy needs to do exactly, Sam.  He needs to stand up for himself, and kick some butt."

            Sam nodded at both Al and Ambrose.  "I intend to do just that, Am."  There was a loud bang from the kitchen, as if something is being slammed shut.  Sam gestured toward the kitchen. "George isn't too happy, I take it."

            "Are you nuts?"  Ambrose asked him.  "He just about tried to throw a punch at me, Guy.  And you know that ain't the most brightest thing to do at the moment.  But, then again, if he messes up my kitchen, I'm going to kick his ass.”  Ambrose turned and started toward the kitchen.  “George!  Dammit, man, leave the kitchen alone.  If you wanna beer go ahead and get one and get the hell out!"  Turning back he glanced back at Sam half-sitting on the couch and pointed to him.  With a smile, he gave him a thumbs-up sign and returned to the kitchen once again.                     

            Sam exhaled loudly as he leaned back against the back of the couch before looking at Al and the woman who seems to be dogging him. "That went well," he commented with a grunt as he readjusted his position on the couch to be more comfortable. "What have you got, Al? And who's the bulldog? No offense," he added toward the woman who merely smiled and nodded at him.

            "What I've got is that we're going to let Guy take over.  You see, Sam, Guy was coming up here the first time to kill George, and  . . . "

            "Why?" he interrupted before Al could continue.

            "You know if you'd let me finish telling you something, this might go a little faster,"  Al said with obvious sarcasm.

Jules chuckled slightly at the tone her father used and shook her head at both men.

            "Sorry," Sam muttered as he closed his eyes and leaned his head back against the couch. "This is all because of 'the room'," he stated more than asked.

            Al looked at Sam warily.  Was that Guy, or was it Sam?  It was difficult to tell which was which sometimes; it was like the Memorex commercial.  "Sam?" he questioned lightly as he walked around to look down at him, but it didn’t look like he was paying attention to him.  "Sam?"

            "Yeah?" he said softly. "Al, I've just gone four rounds with that man. Give me a break, okay? So, we're going to let Guy take over? What if he can't follow through?"

            "Oh, I think he'll follow through," Jules said rocking on her heels in a manner so very similar to her father.

            "Sorry, Sam," Al told him softly.  "Just wanted to make sure it was you still."  Al looked over at Jules as she began to rock on her heels.  “You know, you keep doing that and you’re going to fall over especially with that little guy in there,” he grinned at her.  Seeing her roll her eyes, Al couldn’t help but smile and lightly chuckle.  “Okay, Sam.  Now, listen.  We need to just let Guy take over.  He needs to take care of his brother.  Ziggy says that once that is done, then there's a good chance that the 27 Marines don't get killed."

            Sam opened his eyes and looked at Al. "You serious? As easy as that?"

            "Simpler than Jell-O pudding," Jules said with a smile.

            Sam pointed at her with a grin.  "Who is she?"

            Al grinned at her statement.  "Well, Sam, that's  . . . that's Jules.  She's a good kid, huh?  Remind you of anyone?"  Al couldn’t help but play with Sam’s mind for a moment.  Sometimes the Swiss-cheesed effect was something that he definitely liked.

            Sam looked at her for a moment and then nodded. "Yeah, she reminds me . . . " Sam shook his head, his face turning red from embarrassment.  He wasn’t about to tell Al that she reminded him of someone that he knew on another leap – someone that he had been intimate with.  Glancing down at her protruding belly, he closed his eyes and shook his head.  Oh boy!

            Julianna could see the discomfort on his face and took a step back. ‘Does he remember things as I do?’ she wondered.

            Al looked at Sam for a long moment and saw the way that Sam was looking at her then took a slow deep breath. "Jules, maybe you should go."  But by the look on her face, there wasn’t a chance in hell that she was going to leave.  "Okay, never mind.  Well, I do think that . . . Sam, are you listening to me?  Sam?"  Al had to block his view of Jules to make Sam actually look at him. "I think that we need to figure out a plan here. I mean, what you're going to do after Guy takes over."

            "Okay. Sure," Sam said softly as he put that little niggling sensation to the wayside. "Reminds me a little of you," he finally said.

            "Sam, come on. You need to concentrate on me." Turning quickly to Jules Al mouthed to Jules, "Go now!"

            Julianna could see from the look in her father’s eyes that it wasn’t a request.  Slowly, she nodded and held her back to support her weight of her six-month pregnancy as she started toward the door.  As she left the Imaging Chamber, she asked Ziggy to keep her updated.

            Al watched as Jules left and dropped his head forward.  He shook his head as he heard her ask Ziggy to keep her updated.  “I swear  . . . ” he began as he turned back around.  His eyes grew wide as he saw George behind Sam with the fireplace poker above him,   “Sam! Sam!  Watch out!!”  Al winced as the poker made contact with Sam’s skull.  “Dammit!  This can't be happening!”

            George smiled as he dropped the poker back into its slot near the fireplace. Glancing around he made sure that no one had seen him.  He quickly grabbed some rope from the firebox and firmly tied Sam’s hands and feet before carrying him to the cellar door. 

            Al watched as George tied Sam up, and began yelling at him, knowing that he couldn’t hear him.  "Damn you!  Just leave him alone.  No! Don't you take him down there!  Why are you doing this to your own brother?  Why can't you leave him alone!?"  Al questioned as he walked along with him down into the cellar.  "Sam!  Get up and hit this nozzle!"  Al yelled down at his friend's unconscious body. 

            He turned when he heard the Imaging Chamber door open and he looked up and saw Jules come rushing back inside.  “Dammit, Jules, I said leave!” he yelled at her.  “Can’t you follow orders, young lady?”

            "I'm not leaving if Sam is in trouble," she told him stubbornly. Looking down at Sam, she said softly, “Oh, God, Dad, he's hurt pretty bad. There's a nasty gash on his head."

            "I know there's a nasty gash on his head.  I saw George hit him on the head with the damn fireplace poker!"    Al ran his hand over his mouth and leaned down beside Sam.  “Sam, come on buddy, stay with me here.  Come on, wake up!"

            After making sure that his brother was tied up, George quickly gagged Sam and left the cellar, making sure that all the doors were locked.

            Jules knelt down beside Sam and looked at him carefully.  “I’ll stay with him,” she told Al softly, her hand running over his image. 

            "All right, Jules. I'm gonna see what big bad and ugly is going to do."  Al told her gently then relocated himself to see George getting into the car along with the others save Ambrose, and drive off away from the lodge.  

            Al watched as they headed toward Boston.   His anger for the man driving the car was growing stronger with every passing minute, but he had to admire the man for his cool under fire.  He had pulled over on the side of the road and dressed himself as a custodian.  Leaving his pals on the side of the road, he told them to spread out and act as lookouts.  George then got back in the car and managed to get through the high level security of the CIA building as a custodian much to Al's disbelief.

            Al smacked his head and mumbled, "These morons need to be bombed for their lack of security."  He watched as George went through the rounds with a maintenance cart, which hid the bomb.  As soon as George was in the deep bowels of the building, he placed the bomb with a smirk of satisfaction in an innocuous linen closet.

            Al couldn't see for when the timer was set but George gave himself plenty of leisurely time to get out of the building.  George then left, picked up his partners and dropped them off in town to obtain ammunition for the assault that he knew would be coming because of the bomb.

            "Admiral," Ziggy announced through the handlink. "Dr. Beckett has apparently changed history again. His confrontation with George Hamilton moved George's timetable up by two days. The bomb he is set will explode within one hour and injure five young men as they pass the linen closet in which the bomb was placed. I'm afraid Dr. Beckett will not regain consciousness for another thirty-two point nine minutes after which time he will not have time to prevent the explosion."

            "I figured as such, Ziggy, and thank you for the update."  Shaking his head, he knew he couldn’t do a damn thing to stop this man before him who was now headed back to the lodge.  He decided to go back to Sam. 

Relocating back to the cellar, he stood there for a long moment watching Jules as she sat on the floor.  "He won't remember, Jules," he told her softly.  "Don't hurt yourself all over again."

            "I know," she said softly, looking at the face of the unconscious leaper. "But I can't help being in love with him. And I guess I'm just looking. After Thomas left me at the alter like that,” she huffed and laughed hollowly. "The one person I finally fall head over heels for and I've known him since I was 25 years old. Typical."

            Going to his daughter, he put his hand on her shoulder.  "Jules, you'll find someone, someone who isn't married, who isn't lost in time, who'll love you as much as you love him."

            Jules laughed at his choice of words, not from bitterness but from a hint of amusement. "I suppose," she said finally then sighed. "I heard what Ziggy said. Guess we have awhile to wait."

            "Jules, why don't you go ahead and go back.  I'll stay here with Sam.  I know that you don't want to go but I'm asking you, not ordering you. Please go.  You don't need the stress and I don't want you to have that kid before he's done baking," he said lightly to brighten her mood. 

            "I don't need the stress, huh? What about you?" she asked gently.  "I have my own orders, too, you know, from someone who outranks you in such matters."

            Al ran his hand over his face and through his hair.  Why does she have to be hard-headed like her father?  "Oh yeah?"  He asked her softly.  "Who?"

            Julianna looked at him with a smile.  "The Chief of Medicine of Project Quantum Leap."

            "Jules, " Al began, knowing that she wasn’t going to listen to him.  "I'm fine.  Just . . . just go back and quit bothering me."  He moved back to a corner of the Imaging Chamber and sat down and rubbed his temples lightly.

            Julianna noticed how her father moved to a corner and she looked at him with concern before struggling to her feet and going over to him.  She knew that posture of sheer stubbornness and the way he was rubbing his temples.  Very carefully, she leaned over and kissed his cheek.  “Promise me you will rest.”

            "Jules, you know that I take care of myself, and I will rest.  Okay?"  He reassured her, but the way that she was acting with Sam here, it just bothered him even more. "You need to rest more than I do."

            Julianna exhaled slowly. "Okay, daddy," she said softly. "Okay. But if you don't, you know Mom will rip you a new one."  She gave him a soft smile. "Night, daddy."

            

"Don't I know it," he told her evenly.  "Night sweetie."  Giving her a kiss on the cheek, he watched as she straightened up then left the Imaging Chamber.  Once he was sure she was gone, he brought his hands up to his head and began to massage at the pounding in his brain and hoped that Sam would be okay.  

PART FIVE  

            Al opened his eyes when he heard the low groan from across the room.  “Sam?”  He quickly stood up and went to Sam.  Looking down at him, he was relieved to see Sam finally open his eyes.  “Oh thank God,” he said softly.

            "Al?" Sam managed to mumble behind the gag.

            "I'm here, Sam.  I'm here.”  Al said softly.  “That ass hit you on the back of the head with a poker.  Then he went and planted the bomb. It doesn't kill anyone, but it does hurt a few people.  But he's going to be back here pretty quick, so you need to try to untie your hands and feet."

            Sam rolled his eyes as he tried to get leverage to sit up. "How?" he asked through the gag as he finally got in a more comfortable position.

            "Okay, let me look at your hands here.  Ah, it's a simple knot there, Sam.  Just see if you can reach it and start working with it.  You don't want to have your hands tied behind your back when that nozzle shows back up," Al told him plainly.  "See? You can reach it . . . yea . . . that's it . . . now start to pull at that cord . . .  " Al told him as he watched his fingers begin to slowly undo the knot.  "You almost have it, Sam.  Keep going."

            Sam’s head was swimming as he worked at the knot but with Al’s encouragement, he had his hands and feet free in less than ten minutes.  He tried to stand, but a wave of nausea hit him rather hard.  Quickly removing the gag, he tossed it to the floor and leaned against the wall.  “I think George gave me a concussion,” he told Al.  “The floor doesn’t seem to want to stay in one place.”

            "Yea, I'm sure that he did.  Why don't you sit down and just talk to me, okay?  Keep talking."  Al waited for a moment then watched as Sam slumped to the floor.  "Okay, now, what is it that you think that you need to do to leap out of here, Sam?  Talk to me, buddy."

            "Well, if it were my choice . . . " he said, his hand on the back of his head to ward off the pain. He flinched at the pain of his own touch and felt the stickiness of the blood that had congealed in his hair and down his collar.  "If it were my choice, I'd rip George apart," he said hoarsely.  He looked up at Al and gave him a small smile.  "But first, I need to get out of this cellar."

            Pulling out the handlink Al punched in the question to Ziggy, and got a quick response.  "Actually, you need to stay here, Sam."  Seeing the incredulous look on Sam’s face he said,  "I'm serious.  You can hide behind something and get a good shot in before he knows what hit him then get out of here and call the cops."

            After a moment, Sam nodded. "Okay, I'll stay here," he said softly and winced in pain. He looked around the room. "How long until he arrives?"

            "Actually, he'll be here in about five minutes.  By that time, the bomb will have already gone off hurting those five people.  This whole leap, Sam, is driving me nuts.  This guy really needs to be put away.  I heard him talking to Ambrose and the others on the way there, telling them about how the President is running the country all wrong and how this is their 'Boston Tea Party'.  Saying how the government is taking over the people's rights.  I tell you what, he's absolutely nuts, Sam.  They're taking this Thoreau thing a bit far."  Seeing his confused and awed expression, Al told him, "You know, Thoreau; and his 'sucking the marrow of life'."  He shook his head and looked down at the floor for a moment.  "Honestly, I think he needs serious mental help.  Maybe he'll get some when and if he goes to jail."

            Sam nodded slightly in agreement. "I hope so," he murmured as his eyes started to drift shut.

“Sam, come on, Sam, you can't go to sleep right now.  Come on, get up," Al told him as he stood up.  "You have to get outta here and you can't do that by sleeping.  You have to fight George!  Come on!"

            "I'm awake, Al. Just, tired." Sam forced himself to get up to his feet and looked around the room once again.  There weren’t a lot of options for weapons or hiding places in the room.  "Ideas?" he asked Al, gently covering the wound on his head.

            "Well, he does think that you're tied up, so that's going to be one thing on your side. You'll take him by surprise."  Finding a large box in one of the corners, Al told him, "Move this box over there, by the stairs, and hide behind it and then you can jump him from behind."

            Sam nodded again and slowly moved the box.  He hoped that this concussion wasn’t going to get in the way of what he needed to do.  Crouching behind the box, he waited. 

            "All right now, Sam, he's in the lodge." Al told him as he heard the front door slam shut.  "He's going to be coming down the those stairs right there in just a few minutes.  Make sure that you catch him off guard.  You want him down here, not you."

            Sam could hear George’s footsteps coming closer and he positioned himself a little better behind the crate.  The door opened above him and he heard footsteps coming down the stairs.  The moment George touched the floor of the cellar Sam lunged at him and wrapped his arms around his neck, intending to choke him unconscious. 

            "Okay, Sam, you got him, I think.  Just don't let go!" Al hollered.  "Don't let go!"

            Gripping him tightly, Sam grunted against the effort. "You bastard," he growled at George as he worked to render him unconscious. "All those years of abuse! Well, look who's on the wrong end now!"

            Al nodded at what he heard.  Hearing Guy speaking through Sam was just what he wanted; what Guy needed to do to finally put the past behind him.  “Come on, Guy, don’t let this nozzle get you!”  Al bopped around a moment as he watched the two of them go at it. 

            George choked and coughed, Sam’s arms cutting off his air supply. "I . . . don't . . . think . . . so," he began as he tried to twist around to get a grip on Sam.  "You  . . . just . . . screwed  . . . up . . . you piece . . . of  . . .  " he growled loudly and bent over, picking Sam up off the floor. "Get . . . off . . . of me!"

            "Not a chance in hell!" Sam shouted at him, tightening his grip. "I'm not eight years old anymore, George, and I’m not going to let you hurt anyone else!"

            "Like hell!"  George gasped and took his elbow and moved just enough to ram his elbow into Sam’s stomach.  Hearing him grunt loudly, he did it two more times until his grip began to slip.  "I'm  . . . gonna . . . kill you!"  He yelled at Sam.

            "Sam, don't let him get out of your grip!  I think that you might have him if you . . . " Al began, but his sentence faded as he watched George ram his elbow into Sam's gut.  "Damn!  Don't let him do this!  Fight him!"

            Sam grunted again as George hit him in the stomach again, weakening his grip.  Guy's fury gathered even more fire at the threat, mostly because he knew he would go through with it, and he growled loudly as he dropped from George's back and punched him hard in the kidneys. He smiled with satisfaction when he saw George fall to his knees.

            George seemed a bit surprised at how hard his brother was hitting him.  When in the hell did my little brother get strong?’ he wondered to himself.  Grunting, he fell down on his hands and knees and massaged his throat.  “Damn you, Guy. You think you can beat me?”

            “I’d bet the farm that I can and will,” Sam growled at him, readying himself for anything that George might plan to throw his way.  At the same time, though, he slowly started to move toward the stairs.  “I’m not letting you get away with your BS anymore.”

            Slowly, George stood up.  Rubbing his neck, he glared at Sam.  “Oh really?  Well, aren’t you the big man now?” he said sarcastically.  “When did you grow balls, Guy?  While at that pansy school?”  He knew how much he liked that school, and wanted to egg him to fight with him.

            Sam glared at him.  “What would you know about it?  You don’t even know how to spell your own name!”  Sam told him with a sneer.  “I should have kicked your ass ages ago.”  His feet had touched the stairs and he took a step up.  He may be ticked off but he wasn’t stupid.  Fighting a man who was twice as strong as he was just a dumb idea.

            “Like you could have done it!” George snarled at him.  “There’s not a chance in hell that you could ever have done it.”  George watched as he took a step up, trying to get out of the cellar.  Before Sam had a chance, George rushed him and grabbed at his feet knocking him down.  “Get used to it, Guy. You’ll never win!”

            Sam growled loudly in anger and pitched himself at George with all of his and Guy's fury.  Both men fell to the floor and rolled a few feet as they both punched and hit at each other.  Sam finally got the upper hand and punched George several times in the jaw and stomach.  He couldn’t seem to stop the rage flowing out of him like a torrential rain.  “I should have killed you when I had the chance!”

            “Then do it!  If you’re man enough, do it!”  George yelled as he managed to get some air in his lungs.

            Having expanded his energy on George, and once satisfied that he wasn’t going to get up anytime soon, Sam stood and moved slowly away from him, facing him.  “I’m man enough not to do it.  That’s the difference between us.  Only cowards kill to get a point across - just like you will kill to tell the world what an ass you are.”

            Al nodded at Guy’s words flowing from Sam’s mouth, and at his decision not to kill his brother.  “That a boy, Guy.  Now, get the hell out of Dodge and call the cops,” Al told him as he started toward him.  Even as he walked around George, he lightly tapped the ash from the end of his cigar at George.  “Sam?  Are you in there?  Come on out, buddy, Guy took care of him, just like we knew that he could.”

            Marching quickly up the stairs, Sam turned and locked the door behind him to ensure that George wouldn’t get out of the cellar until the police took him out.  Taking a deep breath, he slumped on the couch and sighed as he closed his eyes. 

            It was like waking up from a very vivid dream. Sam could see his actions but felt like he had no control over them as Guy seeked his revenge and took care of George  “Yeah, I know, Al,” Sam finally said as he was allowed to come back to take over once more. 

            “You okay, Sam?”  Al asked a bit concerned.

            Sam nodded, leaning wearily back on the couch. "Just hurting a little from the confrontation.” He gave Al a weak smile. "So, what next?"

            “You need to call the police and let them know what happened.  Tell them what you know, and about what George has done, then you get to leap outta here,” Al told him softly.  “But if you need to rest, then go ahead.  You definitely deserve it.”

            Pulling out the handlink from his pocket, Al looked down at the data pouring out of it.  “Oh, uh, well, this isn’t good.  You changed history.  George does go to jail, but so does Guy.  What?” he asked with a confused look on his face.  “Ziggy, what the heck are you talking about.  Guy didn’t do anything!”

            "What?!" Sam exclaimed sitting up. "What do you mean Guy goes to jail? What was he arrested for?"

            Ziggy’s voice floated down around Al.  "I'm sorry, Admiral, but Guy Hamilton is now charged for aiding and abetting George Hamilton in the CIA bombing.  According to police reports, George Hamilton said that he only placed the bomb, but that Guy made it.  Thus . . . "

            “But, he didn't have a damn thing to do with the bomb!"  Al yelled up at the ceiling.  "Ziggy, there's not a chance! It's circumstantial evidence."

            "True.”  Ziggy said in a calm tone.  “But it still happens, Admiral, circumstantial or not."  She paused for a long moment.  "However, if Guy had someone claiming that he didn't have anything to do with it, it might change history."

            "Well, hell, who would be available to claim that he didn't have anything to do with the bomb?"

            "Ambrose," Sam state plainly as he looked at the floor before him.  He then looked up at Al. "Where is he, Al?  Did he go with George to plant the bomb?"

            "He . . . actually, he went to the store to get some supplies when George and the others left to go to the CIA building.  But would he do it? Would he admit that he had something to do with it?"  Al asked, but even as he asked it, the door of the lodge opened and Ambrose walked in. 

            Ambrose looked around the room and saw Sam sitting on the couch, the blood from his nose and head wound soaking into his shirt.  “God, Guy, what happened to you?  Don't tell me that George did this to you!" he said angrily.  "He did, didn't he? Damn him, he could have killed you!"

            “Yeah, well, he didn't." Sam gave him a bit of a smile at the expression on his face before sighing. "But I don't think my standing up to him is going to keep him from trying to kill me. He'd probably, I don't know, pin me for making that bomb."

            "But you didn't have anything to do with the bomb!  You even asked me to talk him out of it.  Damn!  What is the deal?  I go to the store to get a few groceries and everyone leaves?  Where is everyone?  Where's George?”  Slowly he heard the faint calling from underneath the floor.  Looking up at Sam with a grin, he licked his lips.  "Is that George in the cellar?  Is he locked in the cellar?"

            Sam’s smile widened.  “I figure if he can handle locking people in there for hours on end without food or water, he can handle being down there himself."

            Ambrose shook his head.  “Understandable.  So, where are the others?  Wait a second."  It hit him right after it came out of his mouth.   "He planted that damn thing, didn't he?"  Seeing Sam nod his head, he rolled his eyes and shook his head and cursed loudly.  "And he wants to blame it on you?" 

            Again, he saw another nod, and heard George from below yelling, "I'll take you down with me, little brother!"

            "It won't happen, Guy.  I'll tell them what you did, what you asked me to do. You won't go to jail.  I won't stand for it when you tried your damndest to stop it."  Turning his attention downward, he yelled at George, "Shut the hell up, George.  It won't happen!"

            "Well, Sam, you know, it's interesting how things work out, huh?"  Al asked Sam briefly with a smile on his face before turning back to glance at Ambrose.  "You're not such a bad guy there, Am."

             Looking back at Sam, he saw the questioning look.  Knowing exactly what Sam wanted he looked down at the handlink, and punched at the buttons for a moment.  Then he began reading the data pouring back out of it. "Bingo, Sam. Ambrose gets probation for his testimony.  George lands in prison for the next twenty years, and Guy ends up . . .  oh . . .  Sam . . .  you're not going to believe this!  Guy Hamilton graduated, then ran for office at the age of 38, got elected and is one of the youngest Representatives in the Senate.  He also had a hand in the Project.”

            Sam’s head popped up at that.  “Remember when we had been asking others to help fund the project when we started off?  Oh, of course you wouldn’t remember,” Al said as he looked at Sam with a smile.  “Anyway, we kept getting funding from an outside source. It was always signed G. Hamilton.  It’s Guy!  Ziggy says that somehow, Guy must have remembered something from the leap, because he says that a woman, a beautiful pregnant angel had spoke to him in a dream, telling him that he was there to help Sam.  When your name plopped down before him one day, he told his secretary that to find out what kind of project Sam Beckett was involved in and was told that it was a theory on Time Travel.  When asked why he wanted to help fund such a project, he said that he just had to help.  This is how we get extra funding every year, Sam!”  Al said excitedly. 

            Sam tried hard not to chuckle at what Al had been telling him.  "A beautiful pregnant angel?" Sam questioned Al and hummed to himself with a warm smile.

            “What?” Ambrose asked him with confusion.

            “Oh, just a dream that I had.”  Sam reached for the phone on the table beside him and looked at it thoughtfully before turning back to Ambrose.  “You’re a good man, Ambrose.”  He held out his hand to him and shook it firmly.  “Thanks man.”

            Ambrose smiled back at him.  “No, Guy, thank you.”

            Sam turned back to look at the phone in his hand before he dialed 9-1-1.  As soon as he heard the female voice say, “9-1-1, what’s your emergency?” he looked up at Al.

            “Well, ma’am, I know who bombed the CIA building this afternoon.  Care to come get him?”

            Al looked at his friend as he pocketed the handlink.  “See ya, Sam.”

            Sam felt the energy pulse through him as he felt that same self-gratitude of a job completed.  Closing his eyes, he let the sensation whisk him away in a blue haze.  

EPILOGUE

             Leaping into any situation is difficult and disconcerting but even more so when you leap into the middle of a stormy night, and your eyes are fixed onto the cold, frozen stare of a dead man.  

            Sam’s heartbeat heightened as he stooped down to assess the man’s injuries.  As lightning flickered across the sky, Sam discovered several startling facts.  The first being that the naked man had been shot in the chest.  What bothered Sam was that the wound was fresh.  However, when Sam felt something substantially hefty in his right hand, he glanced down and found a silver shotgun.  Gasping, he dropped it in shock. "What's going on here?" he asked as he stood and stepped back bumping into a tree.  He could hear the baying of wolves as the thunder rumbled through the sky, making the terrain he was standing in even more threatening than before. Another flash of lightning illuminated the area and he could see that he was in a wooded area, possibly a forest.

            Sam was so distracted by the weather as well as the body before him that he didn’t hear the woman slipping up behind him. “Did you kill it?”                        

            Sam jumped when he heard the female voice from behind the tree.  Turning hastily, he backed away from the voice.  Unfortunately, the movement caused him to trip on a limb. Sam twisted his body to try to catch himself and he cried out in alarm as he landed on the lifeless body - once again gazing into the cold, frozen, fear-filled eyes.  Scared senseless, Sam crawled away from both the woman and the body.

            The vision that appeared from behind the tree was so startled by his reaction that she put her hand to her chest and was breathing as rapidly as he was.  “Dammit, Clay!  Stop playing around here.  Did you get the damn werewolf or not?”  Her foot tapping gave evidence to the fact that she didn’t appreciate him scaring her.  “I don’t like having the be-jeesus scared out of me.  Did you do it?” she asked as she looked down at the body at her feet as she lightly kicked at the left arm of the deceased. “Is it . . . is it dead?”

            "W . . . Werewolf?" Sam asked her, his confusion obvious on his face.  He divided a glance from her to the body and then back to her again.  Exhaling shakily, and unsure of what else to say in such a situation, he muttered, “Oh boy.”

 

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