On Quantum Leap
has leaped into a familiar face in a remote wilderness retreat, and discovers he
is Al's half brother. Also at the retreat is Al's mother Jillian who Al has
never forgiven for leaving him and his sister when they were very young. Sam
discovers he's there to save Jillian's life, and Al doesn't really care if Sam
is successful. Will Al ever be able to move beyond his anger? And how can his
terrible, deep throbbing in his head brought him back to the world of the
conscious. Al Calavicci tentatively opened one eyelid, allowing for his eye to
adjust to any strong light that may greet it. Fortunately, it was dark wherever
he was. He opened his other eye.
eyes having been closed, it was easy for his vision to become focused in the
dark. It wasn’t completely dark where he was, but it was thankfully close. He
glanced to and fro, trying to determine where he was. Finally, he figured out
that he was in his own quarters.
he called softly, knowing that it was probably she who had brought him here.
you’re awake,” came Beth’s voice in reply. She didn’t sound happy.
I’m awake... but I’ve got a bad headache.”
I wonder why!” Beth said in exasperation. “What the hell were you doing,
leaving the Project like that? And drinking?! When did you decide to take
that up again?”
winced. “Could ya please keep it down?”
you’re going to try and figure out what’s wrong, don’t waste your time.
You ain’t gonna get anything out of me.”
sighed and stood. She walked into the kitchen, and a few moments later, came
back to the bed. She handed Al a glass.
this?” Al said as he tried to see what color it was. If he didn’t know
better, he’d say it was blood in the glass.
secret concoction that St. John gave me the recipe for. It’s for your
a secret. I promised St. John I wouldn’t tell.”
frowned. Sure, he had come to tolerate St. John’s presence, but he still
wasn’t comfortable enough about Gooshie’s replacement to drink something he
come on, Al. You do want to get rid of this hangover, don’t you?”
put the glass to his lips, hesitated a moment, then gulped down the drink.
Surprisingly, it didn’t taste bad at all. In fact, he rather liked it.
you still have the recipe?” Al asked quietly.
You’ll have to make this again sometime. It tastes great.”
glad you liked it.” Beth took the empty glass from Al and set it on the side
table. “Now, tell me what’s going on.”
Calavicci, you will not leave this room... you will not leave this bed
until you tell me exactly what is wrong with you. Is it something to do with
can’t tell you.”
can’t tell you.”
can’t you tell me?”
sat up and looked Beth in the eye. “Don’t Albert me, Elizabeth O’Dwyer
Calavicci. Don’t even.”
know, you’re lucky Teresa was at that bar. If she hadn’t been there, I would
never have known about this happening.”
was she doing there anyway?”
was meeting with a patient.”
was a patient she had previously worked with. They became friends and Teresa was
invited to spend the weekend so they could do some shopping.”
did Teresa call you?”
she did. You are very lucky that she cares so much about you. She once told me
you are her role model... and now look at you. What kind of example does this
set for someone who looks up to you so much?”
maybe she shoulda chosen someone better to look up to... like Sam.”
Calavicci?” Ziggy’s voice interjected.
sighed deeply. “Yes, Ziggy?”
will be in need of some assistance when he wakes up.”
on my way,” Al said, jumping from the bed.
you aren’t,” Beth protested. “Ziggy, have Sammy Jo temporarily take Al’s
straightened the jacket of his dress whites, which Beth had not changed him out
of after last night, and headed for the door. “Belay that order, Ziggy. I’m
reporting to the Control Room immediately.”
moved to intercept, but Al was out of the door and down the corridor before she
could reach the end of the bed. She sighed in frustration and crossed her arms.
She shook her head. When would he ever learn?
Valley Conference Center
cried out and sat up straight. “What the hell?!”
wakey, Sammy boy,” came the response.
Do you have to do that?”
if you’re gonna get up in time to raise the flag... yes.”
looked at his friend, and glared at what he saw. The Admiral was standing at the
side of Sam’s bed, trying to stand erect, but very obviously swaying. He was
adorned in his dress whites, but they were crumpled and dirty. Al himself did
not look any better. His eyes were bloodshot and struggling to stay open, his
hair was pointing in all directions, and his face was pale. He had obviously
instead of asking what was wrong, which Sam could very well guess anyway, the
Leaper inquired, “I’m supposed to raise the flag?”
Robert volunteered for today before you Leaped in.”
well, let’s go.”
took five minutes to wash up, put on some fresh clothing and walk to the lodge.
Al followed behind, taking his steps one by one, very slowly. Eventually, Al
just gave up and centered himself at Sam’s destination. Sam figured Al was not
paying attention, since he did not seem to give any reaction to Jillian going
along with Sam to the lodge.
minutes later, after the flag was properly raised, breakfast was ready. Sam
turned to Jillian. “You go on ahead of me, okay?”
walked up to the door and stepped inside. Before she let the door shut, however,
she got a strong urge to look back at Robert. Standing beside him was a man in
dress whites. She gasped as she studied the face of this man. It was kind of
blurry, and from this distance, she couldn’t make out exactly what he looked
like, but somehow the man reminded her of her dear late brother, Steve, who had
died in a tragic mining accident more than half a century ago.
was extremely strange. She reminded herself to ask Robert about it later.
Perhaps he could tell her who that familiar man was. She turned around and went
into the kitchen.
Al was making ready to leave. “Beth is insisting that I tell her what’s
going on with the Leap,” he told Sam.
I can’t tell her.”
I don’t want her to know about this.”
mean, you’ve been married to Beth forty years and you’ve never told her
about your mother?”
course she knows about my mother... I just don’t want her to know about this.”
He gestured about him. “I don’t want her to get all sympathetic with me and
make me go talk to Verbena.”
But could you at least lay off the booze?”
offense, but you look like shit.”
offense taken. Hell... I feel like shit. Might as well look it, too.”
With that, Al punched in the code to the Door. “See ya later.”
Valley Conference Center
day had been quite eventful for Sam. Following breakfast was the dedication
service for the outdoor Cathedral. After that was a softball game to kick off
Family Fun Day. Swimming relays were next, then lunch--a barbecue held in picnic
style out on the field--was served.
Time came after lunch; Jillian and Les slept, but Sam picked up a book Robert
had brought along for the trip. So, he spent his rest time reading “The Time
Rest Time, Sam partook in relay races and an obstacle course. He won second
place in the obstacle course, with Denise in first.
showed up briefly as Sam was getting ready to participate in a volleyball game.
The Observer looked much better than he had in the morning, and he told Sam that
Beth was pumping him with any and all drinks that did not contain alcohol. Sam
was relieved; he hated seeing Al drunk.
do you have any more information on the Leap?” Sam asked as he made his way
toward the flagpole for the lowering of the flag.
not yet. Beth’s insisting that I go talk to Robert, but I just can’t bring
myself to come face to face with him. I mean, he’s my half-brother, and he
looks just like me. It’d be too weird.”
just talk to him. You of all people should be able to get more information out
of him. In fact, he’ll eventually find out who you are anyway, so why not go
ahead and tell him? It may help him be more comfortable with his situation.”
I’ll do that. But before I leave, I’ll help you with the flag lowering.”
let Al guide him in the procedure then shooed Al along. The Observer reluctantly
left, and Sam went to dinner.
Gate, New Mexico
closed the Imaging Chamber door and looked over at Beth. The damned woman had
been hovering over him like a vulture over its prey since morning.
with me,” Beth said tersely, gesturing for Al to follow her.
are we going?”
unwillingly followed. He didn’t know how he was going to get through this. He
followed Beth down the corridor to the Waiting Room. As the door slid open, Al
braced himself. Inside, he found Dr. Verbena Beeks talking with the Leapee.
Al’s attention moved from the doctor to the Visitor.
enough, Robert Giovanni Walker bore such a strong resemblance to Al, that had
they been the same age, even Beth wouldn’t be able to tell them apart. Al
stood there for a few moments, looking at his brother in awe.
Al repeated in his mind. He couldn’t believe it. He actually had a brother.
He’d always wanted one, and his wish had finally come true.
led Al to the medical table in the middle of the room, where Robert and Verbena
were sitting. Verbena stood and smiled.
Al,” the doctor said cheerfully. “Feeling better?”
Beeks,” Al replied.
are you?” Robert asked softly.
Al. You could say that I run this place.”
you tell me what this place is? Dr. Beeks won’t tell me anything.”
gave a glance at both Beth and Verbena, a look that they knew well. They both
excused themselves and made their way out of the room.
Al said, taking a seat next to Robert, “where were we?”
was hoping you’d tell me where I am.”
I can’t divulge that information, but I can tell you that you’re perfectly
kinda figured that. So what is this, some sort of government run place?”
smirked. “You could say that.”
Uh, this guy I’ve traded places with. Is he your friend?”
lucky to have met him, much less be friends with him. I’ve always been
fascinated by his writings.”
so you’ve heard of Dr. Beckett?”
hasn’t? Ever since he won that Nobel Prize two years ago, everyone’s been
talking about him.”
well, he was definitely popular back then.”
what year is this, anyhow?”
can’t tell you.”
fine. I’ll guess. Uh, let’s see. 2004?” Al’s jaw dropped before he could
prevent it. “Ah-ha. I was right, huh?”
you’re awfully close, I can tell you that.”
you were born in 1934, so I figured you had to be somewhere in your upper
was completely stunned and could say nothing more than, “What...?”
know who you are, Al Calavicci. You’re my half-brother.”
No, I’m not.”
yes, you are. You look just like me. And your age is just right to be him. And
your name is Al. There’s no way it couldn’t be you.”
sighed and raised his hands in defeat. The man had figured him out. Not only was
his brother good-looking, young, and lively, but he was smart to boot. He took
after his mother, no doubt about it.
okay, okay. You’re right. I’m... your half-brother.”
God. This is amazing. You know that? This is absolutely, freaking amazing! Do
you know how much I’ve heard about you in my life?” His voice began to take
on an offensive tone. “That blasted woman could never stop talking about her
precious little ‘Allie-cat.’ She compared me to you constantly. When she
found out that I wanted to fly, she was thrilled because you were interested in
planes as well. When she found out that I had a weakness for women, she
immediately mentioned you. I’ve had to live up to her standards all my life.
If I couldn’t do something right, she’d go off about how well her Allie-cat
could do it. You, brother, have made my life a living hell!!!”
jumped up, not in anger, but instead to distance himself from Robert’s tirade.
Had he really caused this man that much pain?
I’m sorry. I didn’t know. She--”
it for someone who cares!” Robert exclaimed. “You were lucky she left you
when she did. You never had to grow up listening to her complaints when you
couldn’t do something as good as she expected you to.”
what is it Sam’s there to change? Verbena did tell me that he’s
supposed to change something in history.”
there to save Jillian from dying of a heart attack.”
you sure there isn’t anything else for him to do? ‘Cause my mother deserves
to die for all the pain she’s caused me!”
stepped away, taken back by the words coming from Robert. They sounded just like
his from the day before, and he realized how horrible they really sounded.
god....” Al whispered ashamedly. “My god, what have I done?”
seemed to be a bit surprised by this reaction. He raised an eyebrow. “Al?”
looked up at Robert, his mouth open, but no words coming out. He stood there
silent for many moments. Then he spoke. “I... Thank you, Robert.”
you?” Robert glanced at him incredulously. “For what?”
showing me what a horribly unfeeling bastard I’ve become.” Al strode to the
Waiting Room door. The door slid open. Al turned to get one last glimpse of his
brother. “You need to rethink your attitude.”
that, Al left the room. He whizzed past the door to the Waiting Room observation
deck. But before he could take two more steps toward the Control Room, he felt
someone seize his arm. He spun, surprised.
was Beeks. “Oh, no,” Al said, struggling to get out of the doctor’s iron
grasp. “No way.”
way,” Beeks growled. She tugged at Al’s arm. He tried to resist, but he was
still a bit weak from his little outing the night before. He gave up and allowed
her to lead him to her office.
Al was settled on the couch in her office, Verbena sat in the armchair nearby.
Al tried to sit up, but Verbena pushed him down. “Stay still.”
was in a terrible mess. She couldn’t believe he had allowed himself to get
this way. She couldn’t even begin to imagine what sorts of things were
happening during this Leap that would cause such strong reactions to come from
tell me what’s going on, or I’ll order Ziggy to have Sammy Jo take over the
role of Observer on this Leap.”
shook his head. “I can’t tell you, Beeks. It’s just... it’s too
personal. It’s none of your business.”
is so my business, Admiral Calavicci. The effects of a Leap on the psyche of the
crew of Project Quantum Leap are always my business. Now, do you want me to pull
you off-duty, or are you going to open up?”
was in his eyes. He looked ready to bolt, but Verbena’s harsh, cold stare kept
him firmly in his place.
Al finally burst. “I’ll tell you! But can I please sit up?”
nodded, and the admiral slowly lifted himself up on the couch. She waited until
he was fully settled and then gave him her undivided attention.
you know,” Al began slowly, “Sam has Leaped into my half-brother.”
much I know for sure.”
see, Robert’s not the only relative of mine where Sam is...” He hesitated
then whispered, “My mother’s there.”
gave a quick, satisfactory smirk that she executed after Al lowered his head.
She had guessed it had something to do with Al’s mother, considering she would
be the parent likely to have given Al a half-brother. “And?”
I guess I haven’t forgiven her for what she did to me and Trudy.”
abandoning us. I just--I just don’t get it, ya know? Why the hell would she do
something like that? What provoked her? She and Papa were in love. Then one day,
they had a fight, and the next thing I knew, she was gone.”
this is the first time you have seen her in over fifty years.”
And it’s killin’ me, Verbena.”
doctor raised an eyebrow. Al normally only used her full first name when in
extremely good spirits or when he was beginning to feel comfortable about
opening up to her. She remained silent so that the admiral would not feel
threatened and stop talking.
there to save her life,” Al continued, swiping a hand across his face. “But
I told him I wish he wasn’t.... I told him that I wish she would die. Robert
said that, too. And now I’ve realized how brazen I’ve been. I don’t know
what to do, Verbena. On one hand, I hate my mother with all I have in me for
leaving Trudy and me, but on the other hand, I would never wish death upon anyone.”
to me that you’ve been harboring this anger toward your mother for so long,
it’s begun to eat away at your own inner morals.”
she left us. She didn’t leave a note... nothing... nada, zip, zero...” He
hesitated for a second. Then he gave a quick smirk and added, “...zilch.”
couldn’t resist giving a quick smile at Al’s weak attempt at humor during
such a serious conversation. No matter what happened, Al Calavicci would always
be Al Calavicci.
think I can tell you what you want to know.”
looked up. Tears were forming in his eyes. This was truly haunting the poor man.
“Really? Could you?”
I believe I can make an assumption. You see, back in the Depression Era, people
were losing their jobs. This meant they were losing money and couldn’t care
for their children properly. When a mentally ill child was born into the family,
there was no hope for a treatment. One, because there was little or no money to
pay for treatment. And two, because many forms of mental illness, including Down
Syndrome, had either not been ‘discovered’ or had not been researched
thoroughly enough. Most families put their ill children in an institution and
left them to the care of the government. Most of those children died.
families, however, decided to keep their sick child and raise him or her on
their own. This is what your parents did with Trudy. They thought they could
raise her without any help. But just as it happens now--though it isn’t as
terrible now as it was--the children were teased and bullied and even the adults
would snub their best friends if they had a mentally ill child.
is probably what happened to your mother. Her friends deserted her, the children
teased Trudy, and you were always getting into trouble defending your sister.
Your parents’ marriage was probably not as perfect as you thought. If they had
a significant fight, and she had had enough, it’s quite easy to see how for
just one moment, she felt the urge to leave. She did, and then immediately
regretted it. But seeing as how she couldn’t get the courage to go back, she
stayed away to save you from any more heartache.”
sniffed. “She stayed away to save me from more heartache? Yeah,
right.” He laughed humorlessly. “You probably didn’t know this, but I
taught Trudy how to talk. I wanted her to be able to defend herself in some way
against bullies. She may have been a little mentally disabled, but she was a
fast learner... But she stopped talking after Mama left. Except... you
couldn’t possibly know what it was like when Trudy would look up at me with
those sad eyes and ask, ‘Allie? Will Mama be home soon?’ And I would answer,
‘Soon, Trudy.’ It was the only thing she ever said for several months after
Mama left. And she would repeat it, over and over and-- Do you have any idea
what I went through when Trudy went to the hospital? She asked me again,
‘Allie? Will Mama be home soon?’ And I had to answer... truthfully... ‘No,
squeezed his eyes shut and shook his head. Moisture leaked from the corner of an
eye. Al buried his face in his hands and his body shuddered. Verbena hastily
took a seat next to him and put her arm around his shoulders. At first, Al tried
to move out of her grasp, but as the seconds progressed into minutes, he slowly
leaned into Verbena’s arms. She embraced him tightly as his body violently
shook with every sob.
a few long moments, Al’s head slowly rose. His cheeks were flushed and
tear-stained. His eyes met Verbena’s for a brief moment. They reflected a pain
so deep, a sorrow so intense, that she had to glance away. Just then, the
Calavicci?” Ziggy unashamedly interrupted. “Dr. Beckett is in need of your
assistance. Please report to the Control Room immediately.”
slowly stood, Verbena giving him a helping hand. “Will you be all right?”
Verbena asked with concern.
I think I will be. I had never thought of the motives.... I had never realized
how painful raising Trudy must have been for Mama. I still don’t fully
understand why she left, but you’ve helped a great deal. Thank you,
smiled and nodded. “You’d better get going.”
Valley Conference Center
was in a dilemma. Denise had just informed him that he would be assisting her in
a snipe hunt. But there was a problem: he didn’t know what a snipe hunt was.
now, he was standing outside his cabin, Denise and her sisters at his side, with
several eager young children surrounding him. The kids had been quite well
behaved during the day, but that was probably due to their keeping occupied with
the games. Sam could only imagine what it was going to be like in the classroom
Sammo!” Al exclaimed in Sam’s ear. The Leaper jumped, and when he did,
several of the younger children giggled, having seen what Al had done.
you not do that, please?” Sam pleaded out of the corner of his mouth.
sorry, Sam. I didn’t think you were going to be so jumpy.” Sam looked over
at Al, and the Observer smirked and gave him a wink.
gotten into you?” Sam whispered.
happened to so drastically change your behavior?”
found out you’re going on a snipe hunt. I love snipe hunts!”
was an obvious lie, but Sam let it alone. Al was in a better mood, and that was
all that mattered at the moment.
now, Denise and her sisters had led the kids down the sidewalk, their flashlight
beams moving eerily through the shadows. Denise called out to Sam, and he called
back, “I’ll be there in a sec!” He turned to Al. “I don’t know what a
snipe hunt is!”
it’s easy, Sam. A group of adults take several children into the woods, armed
with flashlights, toothbrushes, and small paper bags. You have to keep the
flashlights off most of the time because snipes are afraid of the light; which
is why you can only hunt them at night. You capture the snipes with your
toothbrush and put them in your bag. Once everyone has caught at least one, you
all head back to the cabin. You go into the bathroom, shut the door, and let the
snipes loose so you can see them.”
what do snipes look like? I’ve never heard of them.”
never caught one.” He nodded in Denise’s direction. “You’d best go catch
up with everyone. I’ll be back in a while to check up on your progress.”
hesitantly walked off, and Al punched out. He walked out the door and into the
isn’t very nice, Admiral,” Ziggy reprimanded.
c’mon, Ziggy. I’m having a tough time with this leap as it is. Can’t I
have just a little fun at Sam’s expense?”
suppose, Admiral. But it still is not very nice.”
sit on this bench and rest a while, okay?” Denise patted the empty area next
sat. It had been fifteen minutes since the hunt began. Only one person had had
any luck capturing an elusive snipe, and Nicole was pretty excited to be the one
to do it. He and Denise had followed the kids and their escorts through the
trees until Sam couldn’t stand it any longer. He had to somehow separate
himself from Nicole, who had been hanging on to his leg for the whole fifteen
and Denise feigned restlessness and let the rest go ahead into the forest. So
now, he and Denise were seated on the same bench where Sam had first encountered
have you thought it over?” Sam asked.
your writing career.”
laughed. “Yeah, actually, I have. You seem so interested in me writing a book,
I figure that I’ll already have one fan when I get published, so why not? And
I think I know who I want to write about first.”
you don’t know him, but I met this awesome guy at a party in San Diego. It was
a bash being held to celebrate the start of some new government project. I was
there as a reporter for my school newspaper. Anyway, I met this guy who has done
so much in his life and has gone through so much. We talked for hours.
used to be a pilot and an astronaut, and he fought in the Vietnam War and was a
prisoner of war for several years. He came home, and his wife was still waiting
there for him--one of the few happy stories in that era. He told me about his
short time on the road as a young man, at the height of the beat generation.
this guy has done everything. Now he’s a decorated two-star Rear admiral in
the Navy. He’s accomplished so much. I have decided, I want to one day write
his story. An ordinary guy who has done extraordinary things.”
sat there in silence, absorbing what Denise had said. He wasn’t sure quite
what to make of it. Was she talking about the man he thought she was? Or was it
just a huge coincidence? Sam settled on the former. It was too much to be mere
coincidence. Before he could reply, however, Denise stood.
gonna go see how much longer everyone’s going to be. You just stay right
there. You still don’t know your way fully around this place, and you would
get completely lost in the dark. I’ll be back for you in a minute or two.”
be back for you in a minute or two,’” Sam huffed a half-hour later. “Yeah,
Imaging Chamber door opened and out walked Al. He gave one glance at Sam, looked
at the empty seat beside him, and burst into laughter. He slapped his knee.
“Ha ha! We gotcha good!!!”
frowned and narrowed his eyes. “What do you mean, ‘we gotcha good’?”
There’s no such thing as a snipe! Even you with that swiss-cheesed brain of
yours should know that! It’s all a game.”
a game. You take several kids with you, a few adults who have played before, and
one adult who has never been on a snipe hunt. You take them into the woods, con
‘em into staying put while they go ‘check on the others’, then they
hightail it back to their tents or cabins! It’s a hoot!”
didn’t look so enthusiastic about this. Al stopped laughing and shook his
head. “All right, all right. I’ll show you the way back.”
few minutes later, Sam was back at the cabins. He entered his, and awaiting him
was the entire hunting party. There was a moment of silence, then everyone began
to laugh. Al gladly joined in. Sam took it in stride. He finally got everyone to
calm down, and sent the kids and adults off to their cabins. He then told Al to
go away and let him sleep. Al obliged, and Sam curled into bed for a good
Gate, New Mexico
like to apologize for my behavior.”
looked at him curiously. “Please, don’t. I’m the one who should be
apologizing. I realize how much you must miss your mother. I should never have
believe me, it was actually good that you said it.” Al sat next to Robert.
“It showed me how bitter I was becoming. You actually helped me.”
“Well... I guess I’m glad that I did. But I still shouldn’t have
probably not, but that’s in the past now.”
uh... you gonna tell me any more about what I’m doing here?”
may have permission to speak with Mr. Walker about the basics of this Leap so
long as you do not give out any important information.”
widened his eyes and looked about, trying to find the source of the sultry
voice. “Who was that?”
that’s just Ziggy. She’s the computer that runs this place.”
computer that talks? No way.”
You’d be amazed at what kind of stuff is in store for you in the future.
Anyway, on to the important matters. As you know, Sam is there to save my mo--our
mother, from dying. It won’t happen until the day after tomorrow, but I
figure I should prepare you now. Sam will likely stay in 1982 until the danger
of Jillian dying has passed.
you Leap back in, you’ll likely be in a hospital. What I want you to do is
make sure that you contact me in your present and fill me in on what’s going
on, okay? If I’m stubborn at first, let Jillian talk to me. Tell her that she
can tell me everything she knows about me. It shouldn’t jeopardize my future
since by 1982 I’ve already met Sam and he’s probably already telling me
about his theories anyway. Just as long as she can get me to listen and to
forgive her at that point of time... it should be easier for me at this point in
worry. I’ll be sure to do that.”
you might not remember anything that went on here. But, just in case you
do--considering you’re genetically related to me--don’t say anything about
what you’ve seen and heard here. This is a top-secret government project, and
it could harm it immensely if you say a word about it. Besides, people would
think you’re nuts.”
laughed, and Al couldn’t help but join in. Al spent several more hours with
Robert, talking and laughing and getting to know each other a bit better.
was so much like the time that he had actually talked to his own younger self
when Sam had Leaped into him. It was great. They bonded, which was easy with
having so much in common with each other. Al felt that he was really ready for
whatever may lie ahead with Sam’s Leap... and he was glad.
Valley Conference Center
was having a heck of a time getting these kids to calm down. Luckily, they
hadn’t played as many “new teacher” tricks on him as he had expected. Just
some tacky glue on his seat, a worm in his apple, and his favorite--filling the
desk drawer with pop-out snakes and nailing it shut.
now, the kids were arguing and had taken sides. LJ and the kids who were too old
to see Sam for who he really was, were on one side of the room, Nicole and the
kids who could see Sam were on the other. They were arguing about whether
this was Robert or not.
arrived, and Sam breathed a sigh of relief. Hopefully, Al would know what to do.
“I can’t get them to sit down and shut up. What should I do?”
them on a nature walk,” Al suggested.
heard this and nodded her head. “Yeah! I wanna go on a nature walk!”
other kids heard her exclamation and they agreed. Sam was grateful the kids were
so interested. He nodded his head and raised his hands. The kids quieted.
Joey suggested the other day that we go to Tiona. Does everyone else agree?”
Everyone nodded their heads. “Okay, so, let’s go.”
marched the kids outside. He looked at Al. The Observer nodded. “Ah, okay...
I’ll get the directions for you.”
fed the directions to the handlink, and Al conveyed them to Sam. “Thanks,”
said Sam, a warm smile on his lips.
problem. Uh, I’m gonna go check on Jillian... just to, uh--you know, keep an
eye on her. I’ll see ya later.”
Al. See you in a bit.”
punched in a code and vanished.
was kneeling at the front of the Cathedral, her hands clasped tightly as she
whispered solemn words of prayer. This was the scene that welcomed Al when St.
John finished centering him where he had asked to go. Al sighed deeply as he
watched Jillian praying.
somehow must have heard that sigh, for she immediately whirled in Al’s
direction. When her gaze fell on him, a gasp escaped her mouth and she put a
trembling hand up to touch her lips.
eyes became saucers. “Uh... St. John?” he called out. “What the hell
St. John could utter a word, Ziggy replied to Al’s question. “Due to you and
your mother having almost identical brain waves, and the pockets of magnetic and
gravitational disturbances in this area, your connection with Sam has become a
little... wacky, for the lack of a better term. Thus, for these reasons, I
postulate that Jillian can see and hear you.”
rose from her position and slowly made her way over to Al. “You’re old,”
she said in amazement, bringing Al’s attention back to her. “Are you a
ghost?” At that thought, she quickly touched her forehead, breast, right
shoulder, and left shoulder.
I’m not a ghost,” Al answered.
visiting from the future, then, aren’t you? You’re here to exact revenge on
don’t want revenge, Mama,” Al said, gesturing for Jillian to sit on a pew.
He knelt, facing her with an intense gaze. “I’m here to help save you.”
me? What are you going to save me from?”
pocketed the handlink and sighed. “Well, actually, my best friend is going to
save you. See, he’s a scientist who travels through Time. One of his
experiments went wrong, and now he occupies other people’s bodies in the past
and must change something that once went wrong. This time, he’s here to save
you from dying of a heart attack.”
he chose to come save me?”
actually, he doesn’t have a choice as to where he goes. Whatever higher power
is keeping him leaping is the one who chooses where he goes.”
chose him to save me,” Jillian said as more of a statement than a question.
“I didn’t think I was worth it, after all I’ve done.”
you’ve done nothing wrong.”
abandoned you... your sister... your father. How much more wrong can you get?”
know you left us, but I’ve come to understand that you still loved us...” Al
had so much to say, and so little time. He decided to say everything he had on
his mind. “But I still wonder exactly why you left.”
couldn’t handle Trudy,” Jillian replied instantly, then immediately looked
guilty for the answer. “I know it sounds awful, but in those days, help for
parents of Down Syndrome babies was extremely limited. I was young and naive. My
friends ignored me... made hurtful comments and jokes. They thought she was
why did you run off with Les? You said you loved Papa.”
did... when I married him. But by the time your sister was born, your father and
I had grown apart. He was always at work while I was at home taking care of you
and your sister. I resented the fact that he didn’t have to deal with the
ignorant and hurtful things people would say about Trudy. He was never around
enough to help me deal with caring for your sister.
Les came to the door one day. You were at a friend’s house. I was holding
Trudy when I opened the door. Les thought she was adorable. He didn’t run from
the sight of her. We chatted, and though I had no money to buy books from him, I
still invited him inside to talk. We talked for hours. He told me about where he
was from, what church he went to, and we talked about Trudy.
didn’t know it, but Les began to come to our house every week. Soon, he was
there every day. He could give me what your father never had. Excitement,
mystery... love. Then your father and I had a fight--”
day before you left,” Al interrupted in a soft whisper.
I don’t even remember what it was about. But he had me so angry... The next
day, Les told me he was moving back to his hometown in California. I wanted to
get away from your father, from your sister, from my life. So I left Trudy at
Bill and Jan’s and left with Les without ever looking back.”
was at Tony’s house,” Al said quietly, the hurt and pain of that fateful day
slowly creeping into his heart. “Papa picked me up that evening on his way
home from work. We came into the house, wondering why the lights were off. We
looked everywhere for you and Trudy...” Al caught his breath, trying to
swallow the huge lump in his throat. “There was no note... nothing. You...
you...” A single tear rolled gently down Al’s cheek, and Jillian reached out
her hand to wipe it away.
alas, her hand swiped through Al’s face. As a look of shock, then sorrowful
disappointment, crossed Jillian’s face, Al could no longer hold back the tears
he had been trying so hard not to show in front of his mother.
didn’t say goodbye,” Al mumbled between sobs.
tilted her head. “Pardon?” she said, indicating she had been unable to hear
Al’s quiet comment.
didn’t say goodbye, Mama!” Al repeated loudly as he swiped at his eyes. A
sob caught in his throat, and a fresh wave of tears poured from his eyes.
Allie-cat...” Jillian said, her own eyes welling with tears. She held out her
hand to touch his face, but restrained herself.
saw Papa and me arrive home,” Al continued through his receding sobs, “and
she hurried over with Trudy. We were so relieved to see her... After that, Papa
tried to stay home with us, but his work kept him away too much. So Jan watched
us during the day. Then Papa had to go to the Middle East when I was nine. He
dropped me off at an orphanage and Trudy at an institution, promising to be back
left you?” Jillian exclaimed. She lowered her eyes and shook her head.
for a while,” Al replied immediately, trying to defend his father. “He did
a year later... But, he, uh... He got cancer.” Al squeezed his eyes shut and
ran his hand over his face. “He died soon after.” He took a shaky breath.
“I stayed at the orphanage ‘til I was eighteen. And then I joined the
Navy... as a pilot.”
smiled warmly. “I always knew you would be a pilot.”
retired now, Mama,” Al said, gesturing at the shoulder bars on his uniform.
“A two-star Rear-admiral.”
Lord! You’ve had a good life, then, hmmm?”
smiled wryly. “Mostly. Except I went to Vietnam, was shot down, captured and
remained a POW ‘til 1975. But my wife was still waiting for me when I got
back. We have four daughters now.” Al wiggled an eyebrow, and Jillian laughed.
about Trudy?” Jillian asked, suddenly becoming somber once more.
taken care of her ever since Papa died. Beth--my wife--visited Trudy at the
special home where she was living while I was away in Vietnam. Trudy lives
nearby now, and we see her during holidays.”
then, the handlink squawked. Al didn’t want to use it in front of his mother,
but Ziggy was becoming more and more insistent. Jillian looked at Al, questions
in her gaze. Al sighed.
a hand-held computer,” he explained as he drew the handlink out of his pocket.
“It gives me information about what my friend needs to do to leave.”
is your friend? What is his name?”
He’s a really, really brilliant scientist.”
Jillian echoed, her tone becoming thoughtful. “Sam Beckett, isn’t it?”
raised an eyebrow in subtle surprise. “Yeah, Sam Beckett.”
heard a few things about him. He’s supposedly the smartest man in the world,
with an IQ that’s off the scale.”
right, Mama. He’s been called the modern-day Einstein.”
occupying Robert’s body, isn’t he?”
he is, as a matter of fact.”
knew it. There was something about Robert that seemed to change after we got
glanced at the data scrolling across the handlink’s screen. Ziggy was urging
him to do something, because the odds on Jillian surviving had not ascended at
all during the conversation.
Al began, his gaze boring into hers. “You have to promise me something.”
close to Sam. He’s also a doctor, and he can help you when you... when...”
know, honey. You don’t have to say it.”
have to go right now, Mama, but I’ll be back, okay?” Al stood and made ready
to punch in the Imaging Chamber Door code. Jillian stood as well. She approached
Al and sighed deeply.
forgive me,” she said in a hushed voice.
tilted his head and lifted his hand to Jillian’s cheek. Blue sparks of light
filled the air, and Al’s tingling hand came in flesh-to-flesh contact with
Jillian’s cheek. Jillian’s eyes brightened as she lifted her own hand and
Al whispered, frightened at this strange phenomenon.
Jillian quieted Al. She closed her eyes and whispered to him.
smiled at the Russian phrase his mother had whispered to him every night when
she tucked him into bed. “Do not question a miracle,” is what it translated
into. He understood now what it meant.
forgive you, Mama,” Al said in a hushed and teary voice. “I forgive you.”
now.” Jillian let go of Al’s hand, and he let it drop to his side. More
sparks of blue light emitted from his hand as it tingled yet again. “You go do
what you need to do. I’ll go and stay with Sam.”
you, Mama,” Al murmured. He called up the Imaging Chamber door, took one more
sorrowful glance at Jillian, and then the past was gone.
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Beckett was in deep thought. He was sitting alone next to the campfire, and he
stared silently at the ashes in the fire-pit as he let his mind wander.
seemed to have been in a better mood the last time he had seen him, and Sam was
thankful for that. Al would likely never know how hard it was for Sam to go
through a leap that directly related to the admiral. It was hard for Sam to
watch his friend suffer so.
whoosh of air came out of the leaper’s mouth as he sighed. He was bored, and
he wondered why GTFW had chosen for him to leap in so far before his mission was
to be fulfilled. Then again, he seemed to recall a leap during which he had
spent the better part of a month waiting for his leap to be completed. He
wondered if he would ever remember why that particular leap had been so long.
twisted his body around on the bench and maneuvered himself to lie on his back.
Because the campfire area had been gutted of trees in a circular fashion, when
you looked straight up, you could see an almost perfect circle of light that the
tall trees surrounding the area created. Within that circle of light, Sam could
see a crystalline blue sky.
peaceful. So beautiful. If there were one place from all his leaps that he hoped
he would remember, it would be this wonderful place. He felt as though he could
talk to God and actually be heard. There was such serenity, such quiet.
And yet, if he lay still and listened carefully, he could hear the forest
become alive. The birds squawking, the tree branches creaking, the creek
rushing. A large blue jay flew over
and rested on the back of the bench. Sam sat up slowly and looked at the bird.
bird twisted its head, so that one eye gazed pointedly at Sam. It tipped its
must really love your home, huh?”
bird seemed to nod as it dipped its head, its eye never leaving Sam.
can understand. I would love to live in a place like this. When I get home--”
Sam paused as he realized he had used the word “when”, not “if”. “--I
want to visit this place again. Bring Al and Beth and their daughters. And maybe
had the name on the tip of his tongue. A vague image of a middle-aged woman with
long dark hair flitted through his mind’s eye, and he could almost hear the
mellifluous Southern-accented voice. He knew she was someone significant, but
was sure he would never know fully who it was until he returned home.
bird gave a small chirp, bringing Sam back to attention.
know, Mr. Bluejay, I’ve noticed that my swiss-cheesing hasn’t been as bad
this leap. Kinda funny, too, considering how swiss-cheesed Al said Robert was.
Maybe it’s this place. Denise did mention that the gravitational and
magnetic forces around here are a bit wonky.” He laughed at the word Denise
then, Sam heard the Imaging Chamber Door grate open. The bird heard it as well
and, startled, it took to flight. It made one round about the campfire, then
vanished into the trees.
Sam.” Glancing up at the circle of light and then around the small clearing,
Al smirked. “Looking for your fairy friends, Frodo?” He was beginning to
sound like himself again. Sam smiled in gratefulness for his friend’s sake.
Al. I was just enjoying the scenery.”
it is a nice place, isn’t it? I think I’ll have to bring Beth here for our
sure she’d love it...” Sam looked about. “So, anything new?”
really. Oh, except that you’re supposed to sing at the talent show tonight.”
am? Les hinted that Robert can’t sing.”
laughed. “Well, he probably can’t, but you can. Ziggy said that Robert had
signed up to sing. I guess he’s more confident in his talents than everyone
guess so. Will you be here?”
course.” Al bounced on the balls of his feet. “I wouldn’t miss this for
the world. Ziggy told me that the kids will be performing a song together.”
certainly be looking forward to that.” Sam stood. “Is Ziggy sure that there
is nothing else I’m supposed to change while I’m here? I mean, sitting here
waiting just seems to be a waste of time.”
GTFW decided to give you a sabbatical.”
halted at Al’s use of that word. He suddenly heard a voice softly say in his
mind, “...but they can also take sabbaticals...” Sam shook his head. If
there was one leap he didn’t want to remember right now, it was that one. He
just wasn’t up to thinking about it right now.
maybe he did,” Sam replied, “but I just can’t help but feel that there’s
something more. I changed Denise’s choice of groom, encouraged her into
pursuing her writing, and will save Jillian. But I feel like I need to change
if there’s something else for you to do, I’m sure you’ll figure it out
soon enough. But, in the meantime, I’m gonna go freshen up then I’ll be back
in time for the show.”
nodded as the Observer poked at the handlink’s buttons and proceeded to step
through the rectangle of light.
of these days...
Sam thought. One of these days, I’ll be able to actually walk through that
door and go where he gets to go every time.
heard a bluejay call out in the distance as he turned to walk up to the cabins.
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willed herself to calm down as more people wandered in and took their seats. It
was hard for her to keep still. She was so giddy after having been able to speak
with Allie. She could not believe he was really there. At least now she knew who
the man that looked like her brother was. She was amazed at the resemblance
between Al and his uncle.
she watched the performers prepare, Jillian smiled softly. Robert, or rather Sam
Beckett, was insisting that he perform in the talent show. She knew that Dr.
Beckett could sing; she had watched his performance at Carnegie Hall on PBS. But
she didn’t know if his talent would come through Robert’s aura. She hoped
for his sake that it would.
glanced around and caught sight of Al standing in the doorway, speaking with Dr.
Beckett. It was odd to see her own son in the flesh while knowing that inside it
was a complete stranger. She waved at Al, and he waved back as he grinned. Dr.
Beckett said something else to Al then walked off. The older man made his way
Mama,” Al greeted her as he seemed to sit on the chair next to her.
at the chair, Jillian began to ask, “How--?”
looked down and chuckled. “I’ve got a chair with me in here so I can sit
down and look like I’m sitting. It proves useful when Sam’s driving a car
like it. It makes you seem all the more real.”
walked up then and began to sit in the seat Al was “sitting” on. Jillian
stood and held her husband back. “No, dear. Sit on the other side.” She
patted the chair on her other side. “Right here.”
gave a look of questioning, but remained silent as he moved to the other seat.
Jillian took her seat once more, giving a quick smile to Al as Stacey Calahan
tapped on the microphone up front and spoke into it.
evening, ladies and gentlemen,” the woman said cheerfully. “I would like to
welcome you all to the Redwood Cathedral Camp Talent Show. We’ve got a great
show in store for you, so sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.”
of the participants were the children. Lee Jr., Joey, Jeff, Greg, Jessica,
Tracy, and Erin--costumed as Han Solo, Lando Calrissian, Luke Skywalker, Yoda, a
Stormtrooper, a Rebel Trooper, and Princess Leia, respectively--sang a humorous
Star Wars song parody called “Rebel Nights”, which was set to the tune of
“Summer Nights”. The performance garnered a healthy round of applause and
plenty of laughs.
sang a beautiful rendition of “America the Beautiful”. She continually
glanced at Dr. Beckett, and Jillian wondered if the young girl could actually
see through Robert’s aura. The girl hadn’t seemed to have much interest in
Robert before Dr. Beckett had arrived.
it was Dr. Beckett’s turn. Jillian glanced over at Al, who grinned and winked
turned out that Dr. Beckett’s talents were not in any way hindered by
occupying Robert’s aura. It was the first and only time Jillian had ever heard
her son sing “Amazing Grace” with such beauty and perfect tonality. Looking
at Al, she could see that he, too, was affected by Dr. Beckett’s singing. Her
son’s eyes were moist, and he was sneaking a sniffle here and there, trying to
hide his reactions however unnecessary. Dr. Beckett’s performance got him a
standing ovation. Jillian applauded as hard and long as she could.
and Wayne were next, the last performance of the show, and they had everyone
clapping and singing along to a medley of old-time country and gospel songs. The
show ended with a prayer and everyone was then able to mingle.
Beckett came over to Jillian and shook her hand. She whispered in his ear,
“You sing wonderfully, Dr. Beckett.”
gave her a confused look, glanced over at Al, then smiled in realization. He
leaned over and whispered back, “Thank you, and you can call me Sam.”
nodded her agreement then took Les’ hand. “Well, Les, I think it’s about
time for us to go to bed. Tomorrow is our last day here, and I’d like to be
honey.” Les patted Sam on the shoulder. “Well done, son. Whatever you did to
yourself, keep it up.”
try,” Sam replied with a laugh. “I’ll see you in the morning.”
right, sweetie,” Jillian said to Sam. “Good night, and God Bless.”
and Les left the building. Les turned on his flashlight and they headed up to
the cabins to sleep. Jillian had a feeling that tomorrow was to be a big day for
her... and everyone.
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knelt at the altar that stood at the front of the Cathedral of the Redwoods. He
folded his hands neatly in front of himself, setting them gently in his lap. He
turned his face upward and closed his eyes.
been a while since I’ve done this, God. I’m really not sure what to say.
Sure, I attend church every once in a great while, but usually, prayers there
are more formal and almost seem rehearsed. I’m not used to talkin’ to you
personally like this.
I really felt like I needed to tell you how grateful I am that you sent Sam
here. The events surrounding my mother’s ‘disappearance’... well, it’s
all been a burden on my shoulders for a very long time. And I just wanted to
thank you for allowing me to finally deal with everything.
know that today is going to be hard on everyone, including myself and Sam.
Please give Sam the strength to do what he needs to do. Let him be able to
remember enough of his medical stuff to keep Mama from dying.
let Mama not suffer too much. Please send any angels you can spare to help
comfort her in her time of need.
Robert remember at least some things about his visit to the Project. If not the
Project itself, then just me... our conversations. It was really nice to have a
brother to talk to.
yeah... could you somehow let my past self have some sort of idea of what’s
going on when he’s contacted by Robert? I don’t want something to go wrong
and ruin things here in the present.
while not completely affected, could you please send some extra angels to watch
over Trudy? I’m really sorry about not being able to see her more often.
It’s just that this work is really demanding. If I had the choice, I’d see
her every day.
you for taking time out of your very obviously busy day to listen to a puny
human like myself. Talkin’ to you out here makes me really feel as though
you’ve heard me.”
paused, swallowed hard, then finished. “Thanks bunches, Lord. You’ll never
jumped up and twisted about at the sound of Sam’s voice. “Oh, hey, Sam.”
morning, Al,” Sam greeted. “Did we interrupt you?”
was standing next to Sam, a gentle smile on her face. She looked perfectly
healthy, and Al wondered how she could possibly be destined to suffer a heart
Al replied. “Not at all. I was just finishing.”
frowned and narrowed her eyebrows. “If I’m going to be having a heart attack
today, why don’t you just drive me to the hospital right now?”
heart attack was unexpected,” Sam began to explain.
says your medical records have you in top health at this moment in time,” Al
of that,” Sam continued, “if we were to take you now, you would be tested
and then sent away because there would be nothing wrong with you.”
we’re going to take you to the hospital about twenty minutes before the
estimated time of death,” Al stated. “When the symptoms begin to appear,
we’ll take you into the hospital.” He glanced at the handlink. “Ziggy says
that’s the best way.”
nodded somberly. “It is a rather odd feeling, waiting to die.”
not gonna die, Mama.” Al rubbed the side of his nose with his thumb.
“We’re gonna make sure of that.”
know, honey, but it still feels awkward knowing I could have died had you not
me, I know how it feels.” Al smiled. “I’ve found myself in that position a
few times over the course of the past few years.” He looked over at Sam. “My
friend here seems to have a knack for leaping into situations that put my life
gave the Observer a playful-angry glare and chuckled. “Not my fault.”
I know.” Al checked the handlink. “Oh, well, St. John needs me to help him
with something. Tina’s still in bed, so he’s the only one workin’ in the
Control Room right now. I’ll be back later. I promise.”
and Sam nodded their good-byes. Al punched in the appropriate code, and within
seconds, he vanished.
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never let Jillian out of his sight for one second during the day. He had her
help him with his class, eat lunch with him, and he stayed awake while she slept
during Rest Time. The Leaper could not get rid of the feeling that something
wrong was going to happen. That something history was not telling Ziggy and Al
was going to occur. He wanted to be prepared for anything.
was now walking with Jillian to the cafeteria. They still had several hours
before anything was to transpire, so they had decided to spend their time
mingling with the children.
children told me yesterday that they wanted to practice their singing,”
Jillian informed Sam as they entered the cafeteria. All the children were in
here, spread out as they performed different activities. LJ and Tracy were in
the adjacent room, playing Ping-Pong. All the other boys were on the floor with
several board games scattered about. Erin, Jessica, and Nicole were in one
corner, trying on several shades of their mothers’ makeup.
amazing how children kept themselves so busy before computers became household
appliances,” Sam said in wonder.
is always good when a child can expand his or her imagination,” Jillian
replied softly. “These are the next leaders of the world.”
saw Sam and Jillian and ran up to them. “Hi, guys!”
ruffled Nicole’s blonde hair. “Hello there. Wanna practice some of your
The girl bounced in glee and turned to the others. “Hey, Sam’s gonna play
piano for us!”
furrowed her brow. “She knows who you are?”
children six and younger can see me and Al. It has something to do with them
being in an Alpha state; basically, they’re still innocent.”
went over to the piano, and soon all the children, including LJ and Tracy, were
gathered around the piano.
Sam told the children. “Let’s start with a simple song. How about...
nodded, and Sam began to play. He was amazed at how harmonious the children were
together, especially the children from the Conover family. The others were doing
a good job as well. But he noticed that Joey was singing completely off-key and
out of sync with everyone else. Sam stopped playing and scrutinized Joey.
you’re not staying in sync with everyone else.”
young boy looked at him with questioning in his eyes. “What’s ‘in
means that everyone is singing the same tune at the same exact time.”
continued his playing, and this time, Joey hit every note in-tune and in-sync.
He learned fast, Sam noted.
playing some requests, Sam took Jillian into the kitchen to get some snacks.
They talked with the Conover sisters, discussing everything from the weather to
the stock market. Then Sam and Jillian challenged LJ and Tracy to a game of
not very good at this,” Jillian admitted as LJ handed out the paddles.
worry,” Sam assured her. “I haven’t played it in a while myself.”
played it with Teresa’s brother, Kevin,” Al’s voice provided.
had to physically stop himself from jumping at Al’s sudden appearance. He
wondered how many more times his friend was going to sneak up on him this leap.
He gave Al “The Look”, silently reminding the hologram that LJ and Tracy
could not see him as himself. Al took the hint and turned to Jillian.
are you holding up?” Al asked, concern clear in his voice. Jillian flashed a
bright smile, her eyes twinkling, showing him her answer. Al smiled in relief.
handlink beeped. Al read the data to Sam. “Hey, Sam, Ziggy has an idea of why
you feel like there’s something left to do. Apparently, Mae and Wayne have
wanted to start a family show down in Branson, Missouri, for quite a while. They
just haven’t had the motivation to do anything. Ziggy says that if you can get
the kids interested in being in a stage show, they can convince Mae and Wayne to
go through with their plans. Ziggy says that Branson isn’t extremely large in
1982, but in the present, it’s called the Music Capitol of the World. Every
major old-country artist performs down there.”
tipped his head, covering with a sneeze. He dropped the ball on the table to
serve to LJ. “So, ah, LJ... You kids sounded pretty good together.”
you, sir. Our family’s been singing since before I was even born.”
know, there’s a great little town in Missouri called Branson. They have
theaters out there where people perform songs for tourists. It seems like a
great place. Maybe your whole family should start a show down there.”
That’s cool! We’d get to perform in front of tons of people, wouldn’t
and PawPaw have always wanted to perform for lots of people. That would be
really cool for them.”
grinned. “I’ll be sure to tell them about it!”
sure they’ll like--”
cried out. Everyone’s attention turned to her as she began to clutch at her
chest. Al froze and a terrific horror flared in his eyes. Sam grabbed hold of
Jillian as she collapsed. He laid her on the floor and began to administer CPR.
Sam called frantically in between breaths. “Get in here!”
came running, her sisters not too far behind. “What’s the matter?”
mom’s having a heart attack!”
gazed pointedly at Denise. “Listen. Do you have any Bayer aspirin with you?”
got some in my purse,” Edie said. “I’ll go get it.”
Now, Denise, go call 911.”
it.” She ran out of the room as Edie returned, a medication bottle in her
hand. Sam could hear the pills shaking slightly, and noted that Edie’s
complexion had become extremely pale.
took the bottle from Edie and quickly snapped off the lid. He poured several
pills into his hand and administered two to Jillian.
happening, Ziggy?!” Al demanded as he watched Sam try to revive Jillian.
“She wasn’t supposed to get sick ‘til tonight!”
cannot explain what is happening,” Ziggy replied calmly. “There is no reason
for this to be occurring.”
try to find out why this happened,” Al threatened as he dropped to his knees
beside his mother.
looked up at Al, her eyes amazingly clear when in so much pain. She could not
speak aloud, but she managed to whisper gently, “Allie-cat...”
held back the tears. He had to be strong for Jillian; he had to keep a cool
head. However, he couldn’t think of a way to keep himself calm.
Jillian whispered hoarsely.
understood the request. Summoning his courage, he folded his hands and began to
recite his mother’s favorite scripture. “‘The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall
not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the
still waters. He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness
for His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of
death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they
comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy
shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the
the moment that Al finished, paramedics rushed into the building. Things became
a blur after that. Al tried to keep up with everything, but they worked too
fast. He was grateful for the swiftness of the response.
Jillian was loaded onto the ambulance and was being hauled quickly to the
nearest hospital. Al stayed with Jillian while Sam, Les, and Denise followed in
hours later, Al was still pacing in front of the room Jillian had been taken
into. Although he knew he could look in at any time, he couldn’t bring himself
to see the doctors working on Jillian.
need to sit down,” Sam whispered, hoping Les and Denise would not hear him.
can’t,” Al replied as he began his trek across the hall for the hundredth
time. “I have to move.”
stood. “I’m going to the bathroom.” He gave Al his other “Look”, and
Al reluctantly re-centered himself in the nearest men’s restroom.
entered, made sure the room was empty, and locked the door. He turned to Al.
Ziggy know when I’m gonna leap?”
does it look like I’ve had the time to check? My mother might be dying, and
you want to know when you’re gonna leave?”
didn’t mean it that way, Al, and you know it.”
Sam. I’m just... well...”
know, Al. I know. I’m going to go back out there. You can come with me, but
only if you promise to calm down.”
dipped his head in acknowledgment. “Okay, okay.”
left the restroom and ran right smack into Les.
there you are, Bobby!” Les said frantically. “The doctor came out to give us
an update, but I wouldn’t let him speak ‘til you came back.”
let’s go see what he has to say.”
let’s do,” Al pleaded.
men walked to the waiting room and greeted the doctor.
am happy to inform you,” the doctor told Les, “that your wife is out of
danger and will fully recover from her ordeal.”
let out a deep sigh, Sam smiled in relief, and Al burst into joyful tears.
the doctor proceeded, “she will still be a little weak for a while, and you
will need to help her with any strenuous work, but she will feel fine after a
few more weeks. I do advise that you help her avoid overly-fatty and greasy
foods, as that could cause another attack.”
continually nodded as the doctor spoke, soaking in all information he was given.
you want, you can go see your wife. However, I would like for it to be one at a
time, and keep your visits short.”
was out of the room within five seconds. He came back fifteen minutes later and
told Sam that he could now visit with Jillian.
went to Jillian’s room and cautiously opened the door. He peeked around the
door. Jillian saw him and grinned. “Come on in.”
entered, and Al walked quickly through the wall, intent on seeing his mother.
Jillian laughed softly, careful not to cause more pain.
are you, Mama?” Al asked immediately.
doing wonderful, Allie. I’m really grateful you were there for me. And I would
like to thank you, Sam, for saving my life.”
in a day’s work,” Sam replied.
I need your phone number... I mean, the one you have in my time frame. I want to
shrugged and tapped on the handlink. “Okay. It’s area code 619-555-3536.”
you.” Jillian grabbed the receiver off the phone next to her bed and dialed
stood quietly, waiting. Jillian smiled as she apparently heard Al’s voice on
the other end.
Jillian said tentatively. “Is this Albert Calavicci? This is... My name is
Jillian Walker--I’m... I’m your mother.”
hesitated, obviously listening. Sam sat down beside Jillian’s bed and listened
as Jillian tried to explain herself to the Al of her time. It sounded as though
she was having a hard time convincing Al that she was being truthful.
several minutes, Jillian patiently laid the receiver onto its base.
Al the hologram made a sound of surprise. He had been wearing a red suit with an
orange tie and yellow fedora... but now he was donned in a black suit and tie.
His eyes widened in shock, then he took a sharp intake of air.
my god...” he whispered, his eyes glazing. He looked past Sam, as if looking
at someone else. Sam guessed it was Beth.
the matter, Al?” Sam asked in concern.
uh, history’s changed, Sam.”
what is it? What changed?”
The original history has just now shifted.” Jillian looked at the two men in
confusion. Al noticed and gestured toward the door. “Ah, Sam... let’s go out
there for a moment. There’s some stuff I gotta tell you. Sorry, Mama, but this
concerns the future, so I can’t let you hear this stuff.”
dipped her head in response. Al walked through the wall while Sam used the door.
As soon as the two men were back in the restroom, Sam was asking Al what had
here’s what I know, from the new memories,” Al started. “Les died in
January 1983 after a fatal car accident. Mama moved in with Beth and I. She
lived with us until I had to move to New Mexico for the project. Mama moved into
a rest home in Alamogordo.”
hesitated, looking down at his clothes. He sniffed, and he took a deep breathe
before continuing. “Mama died three days ago... right after you Leaped in
remained silent, but his sympathy was very apparent in his eyes.
funeral is in a few hours...” Al clarified. “That’s why I’m dressed like
so sorry, Al.” That was all Sam could think of saying.
shook his head. “Don’t be, Sam. I... I’ve got a lot of wonderful memories
of my mother now. We were mother and son for about two decades. That’s all I
ever wanted--to have my mother back.”
glad for you, Al. I really am.”
handlink bleeped and blinked, and Al lifted it up. “Ziggy’s telling me I
need to tell you what else has changed. I’ll start with Denise.” He lowered
the handlink and continued from memory. “She and Robert got married, of
course. They’re living in Dallas now, with their two kids... my two
nephews.” He smiled. “Denise ended up attending college, and now she’s a
world-famous author. At this very moment, Bobby, Denise and the kids are staying
at my place off the Project. Denise is currently working on her newest
biography...” Al grinned and revealed the next bit of information. “It’s
my life-story. You wouldn’t believe how it happened, Sam! I had ended up
meeting Denise at a party celebrating the opening of Project Star Bright. I
guess she found my stories fascinating and wanted to write my biography.”
laughed. “That’s great, Al. She told me about that, but never said who it
was. I had guessed as much, though.”
Lee Jr. told Mae and Wayne about his interest in starting a show in Branson, and
with a little convincing done by the kids, they moved to Branson and now they
and the families of Denise’s sisters have a huge family show down there.
It’s the biggest show there. And it’s wonderful... Beth and I went there not
too long ago.”
handlink whirred and Al consulted it. “Ziggy wants you to know that she found
out who Joey is...” As Al read the data, he began to laugh heartily.
“You’re never gonna believe this! Joey’s last name is Fatone... He’s the
Joey from the boyband *N SYNC!” Al slapped his knee.
SYNC?” Sam looked downright amused. “Please don’t tell me he was the one
that named the band.”
as a matter of fact, he was the one to first suggest the name. But all five came
up with the spelling.... Oh, that’s right! You leaped the same year the band
got together. You probably don’t even know who *N SYNC is.”
laughed. “You’ve got that right.” He flinched. “Ah... Al? I, uh, think
I’m about ready to leap.”
raised his eyebrows. “Oh, please, Sam... not yet. Not just yet!”
hurried out of the restroom into Jillian’s room. Al re-centered himself,
getting him there ahead of Sam by a few seconds.
Sam called softly, testing to see if the woman was awake. She was.
think I’m going to be leaving soon, so I came to say goodbye.”
I really wish you could stay longer.”
walked over to Jillian and took her hand in his. “I wish I could, too, but I
have to go on to other places... other times. I’ve gotta go put right some
more wrongs. But I’m willing to bet that you’ll eventually meet me as me in
beamed. “See you later, then. God Bless, Sam Beckett.”
stiffened slightly, but didn’t let the familiar words get to him. He leaned
over and hugged Jillian then left the room, leaving Al alone with Jillian.
slowly made his way over to Jillian’s bed. His heart was heavy, knowing that
he had just lost this sweet woman just three days before. He know this would be
the very last time he would ever see her alive.
you, Mama, for everything.”
didn’t do anything.”
will, Mama... you will.”
looked confused, but then seemed to understand the implication. “I will miss
don’t have to. You’ll be seeing me really soon, remember?”
past self, you mean. I mean that I will miss you as in the you I am talking with
at this very moment. The mature man who has grown much over the past few
days.” She eyed Al’s suit. “From what I have seen of you, and from the way
Sam reacted, I would venture to say that you do not normally dress so
sighed deeply. “No, I don’t usually.”
my funeral, isn’t it?”
god, Mama... you are way too smart for own good.”
take that as a yes.”
days ago,” Al said simply, nodding his head gently.
accepted this. “At least I will have many years to come to spend with you. To
get to know you.”
me, it will be highly worth it. The memories I have of our life together are all
good. I can’t seem to recall even one significant fight between us. We got
am so glad to know that, honey. I look forward to it.”
began to feel the energy and knew Sam was beginning to Leap. He stepped closer
to Jillian’s bed and leaned toward her. “I’ve gotta go now, Mama. I love
you with all my heart.”
love you, too, my Allie-cat.”
bent over, and as blue sparks flew through the air, he lightly brushed his lips
against Jillian’s forehead. He reached for her hand. He touched it and held on
as the world burst into a million pieces of energy and the Leap took over.
flashes of the cosmic equivalent of static electricity danced up and down the
body of Sam Beckett. Sam drifted into the disorientation that started each and
every leap across the vacuum of time and space. Crackling sounds danced in his
ears as Sam swayed to and fro being thrown side-to-side and bounced up and down.
Surrounded by men dressed in desert khaki outfits, they were uncomfortably
sitting in the back of a canvass-covered truck driving through the desert along
a very rough road. Behind them was a very dust-covered HMMV driven by two United
States’ Army soldiers in full battle dress, helmets and goggles. The men in
the truck appeared to be civilians in various states of slumber and weariness.
explosion behind them shook the vehicle, sending a shower of dust and dirt into
the back of the two and one half-ton Army truck.
scared the boomers off me, mate,” the thirtyish gentleman said next to Sam.
Sam nodded in agreement and pulled his arms tight around himself until he saw
the clear fingernail polish on his fingers. Pulling at his shirt he realized it
was tied high on his waist as many women did in the hot summer months back in
New Mexico. Another visit to the feminine side, thought Sam as he held
himself tighter and leaned back against the hard board that barely made an
adequate seat back.
the dust kick up behind the truck Sam thought he heard a high whine over the
racket made by the truck. As the whine became even higher and louder the Army
officers behind them looked up into the sky and yelled something that sounded
truck stopped with one massive jerk throwing a couple of occupants to the floor.
Everyone exited the vehicle pushed and shoved their way to the ditch on the side
of the road. The whine was very high overhead as Sam was thrown into the ditch
on top of large, flat rock.
as his head impacted the hard ground an explosion ripped through the convoy just
ahead of them throwing up flames and debris from at least two different
vehicles. Cries of humans could be head as the man next to him provided a very
good knowledge of his mother country’s curse words and finished with, “That
SCUD was too damned close!”
raised his dirty, dusty, bloody head, spit out some dust and mumbled, “Oh