"Fate's Wide Wheel" is now online!


Project QL Assistant
Sep 11, 2010
Auburndale, FL
Hello everyone!

It's been a very long time since I've had an update on the final story in my "Rogue Leaper" arc for The Virtual Seasons. So, for those of you who may or may not remember, I had started writing for The Virtual Seasons during Season 10 way back in 2004 with my first 2-part story called "Second Genesis" which introduced a new character named Maxwell Connors. The initial idea behind his character was to give Sam a nemesis that was his equal in almost every way with one fundamental difference: he was guided by science above all else and shut out the possibility of "God, Time, Fate or Whatever." Because of this, he saw Sam as a threat to Time rather than a savior. He didn't think that Sam or the evil leapers had any right to change history for the better or the worse and made it his mission to try and "fix" all the changes that were made. (SPOILERS AHEAD for those who have not read TVS...)

That first 2-part story was testing the waters to see if readers would respond to the concept, which they seemed to. I had initially pitched to MJ Cogburn and AJ Burfield an outline for a season-long 3-phase arc for the following season (11) that would continue Dr. Connors' story and culminate in a huge multi-part finale that basically would see Sam getting erased from existence (sort of like an extended version of "A Leap for Lisa" where Al gets replaced by a different Observer temporarily). Sam would be gone for multiple episodes replaced by Connors as the main Leaper in an alternate timeline before Connors eventually realizes how much damage he's caused and resolves to restore the status quo at the expense of his own existence. This arc was ultimately put on hold for a year for MJ and Greg Carey's "Project Liberty" arc.

Subsequently, I ended up writing a trilogy of stories (under the umbrella title "Lifetime") based on three separate ideas I had during QL's original NBC run: Sam leaping into his own future, his past on the Star Bright Project, and being leaped into in the present by the "evil leaper," which had always been envisioned as a season-ending cliffhanger. The timing worked perfectly to use that last story to kick off Season 11 and set up the "Project Liberty" arc for Greg and MJ. (Little did I realize at the time we would end up using another character from that story to tie up all the loose threads from seasons past in the arc's finale which I helped co-write!)

Meanwhile, Greg and a couple other writers, namely Mike Bloxam and Erin Bauer, agreed to help keep Connors' story relevant by including him in some of their stories that season as well (with minor notes from myself). It allowed his character to show up a few more times to set up what was planned to be an ambitious story arc for Season 12. With Sam's brother Tom becoming a key player during the "Project Liberty" storyline, my original outline began to change and evolve as I realized that Tom would be the better (and more popular) choice to replace Sam in the altered timeline. So I needed to come up with a way to get Tom more involved and not have his existence threatened by Sam not being there to save him during Vietnam.

Enter the character of Logan Lanning, a young woman who survived an attack by serial killer Leon Stiles (from "Killin' Time") but was mentally scarred from their encounter. Sam leaps into Stiles about a year after he was apprehended, and Connors leaps in to a U.S. Marshal seconds before Logan attempts to kill Stiles out of revenge. In the scuffle, Logan sees Sam instead of Stiles due to her already fractured mind and goes completely insane. She herself is now a rogue element in the timeline, targeting men throughout the 60s and early 70s who look like Sam (finally killing Sam in 1973). Connors eventually realizes his presence as a "rogue leaper" is what caused this chain reaction of events to occur, but he is unsuccessful in his attempts to stop Logan's rampage. Due to Al being out of commission in the present (thanks to Tom Nicklis's trilogy of stories), Tom steps into the Accelerator to try and stop Logan before she can kill Sam in the past. This was the set-up for "World Without Sam Beckett," which was meant to be the final phase of the "Rogue Leaper" arc that would culminate in this final 2-part story.

And then... real life got in the way and hit me... hard. I think coming up with all of those ideas within a relatively short period of time (only 2 years) burnt my creativity out for quite some time. Even with Mike as my co-writer, I just couldn't "see" how to get myself out of the corner I wrote myself into. We had essentially written Part 1 but hit a dead-end on Part 2. Granted, I knew how Connors' story was supposed to end, I just couldn't see how exactly to get him there. Eventually, MJ was forced to move on and skip us over to get the series back on track under the assumption that everything got resolved and Sam was back in action. I know TVS continued for another full season before going on indefinite hiatus. I tried for many many years to finish what I started, but life always seemed to find a way to stop me in my tracks.

14 years, a nervous breakdown, and several midlife crises have passed since we began writing "Fate's Wide Wheel." In that time, I've been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, more recently borderline Asperger's Syndrome, struggled with obsessive-compulsive tendencies while trying to maintain steady work, met and married my wife Amada (married on Leap Day 2016, no less), lost my younger autistic brother Luke in 2016, lost my father-in-law to cancer in 2017, discovered the Irish half of my mother's previously unknown biological family (a half-uncle, half-aunts, and a boatload of cousins that we never knew about) in 2018 through Ancestry DNA, lost my mother to metastatic cancer in 2019, and experienced the joy of the birth of my first son Ciro on June 15, 2020 in the middle of a global pandemic! A lot of roller-coaster ups and downs, and I know a lot can happen in 14 years for anyone, so it's still no excuse for me taking so damn long to finish a fan-fiction story. But hopefully, that puts some things into perspective for the fans who've been waiting all this time to read this finale. I can now say that, with the help of Katherine Freymuth, both parts are finally published and here for the QL community to enjoy!

On a side-note, there was another story that I had wanted to finish for The Starbright Project that was meant to be a prequel showing how Sam and Connors met (along with the catalyst for what propelled Connors along his original path), but I've decided the best thing to do is to scrap it, as I hadn't gotten very far and it's not really as important to the narrative as I initially thought. I would need to rewrite the prologue to it anyway. Perhaps if enough people request it, I'll go back and finish it as well; but I'm not sure I really see that happening. (Some "flashbacks" had been carried over into the last couple of stories I wrote anyway, including this one.)

So, without further ado, here is the complete list of my TVS stories, one last time:

"Second Genesis"
"Second Genesis, Part II"
"Lifetime: Future's End"
"Lifetime: Past's Prologue"
"Lifetime: Present's Convergence"
"Give Me Liberty" (co-written by: M. J. Cogburn)
"Give Me Death" (co-written by: M. J. Cogburn)
"Killin' More Time" (co-written by: Mike Bloxam)
"Shockwave" (co-written by: Mike Bloxam)
"Shockwave, Part II -- Severed String" (co-written by: Mike Bloxam)

And finally, the premiere of the long-awaited "lost" episodes:
"Fate's Wide Wheel" (co-written by: Mike Bloxam & Katherine Freymuth)
"Fate's Wide Wheel, Part II -- The Butterfly Effect" (co-written by: Mike Bloxam & Katherine Freymuth)

Scattered throughout both parts are references, parallels, and story beats from all of the previous stories. Admittedly, there was quite a lot to cover and resolve in a short amount of space. I hope you all enjoy it! :)