Episode 1022

Along A Shining Path

by: Shawn P. Deal

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Sam looked around and saw only tall grass, the trunks of trees, bushes and dirt.  He was belly down on the ground crawling, the weight of a forty-plus pound pack pressing against his back and a rifle in his hands in front of him.  Sam didn’t recognize the make of the rifle, but it was an older model and not in the best of shape.

“Pablo!”  The disembodied voice yelled again.

Sam looked around him in vain; he couldn’t see much past the tall grass, just more grass and trees. He saw no one in the direction the yell had come from.  He didn’t want to stand up or even get on his knees; Sam had learned long ago that it was always best, in that first minute after leaping, to play along cautiously.

Stretching his head off the ground as far as he could, Sam looked around him. He clearly was in some sparse forest, and to his left he saw a hand shoot up from behind a bush about twenty yards away from him. The hand rapidly pointed forward but at a different angle than the angle Sam was currently crawling.  Sam adjusted his crawl appropriately.

Suddenly from behind him came the crashing, stomping sound of boots crushing bushes.  Sam felt himself yanked up on his feet by some strong force pulling on his pack, so unexpected it was that Sam dropped his rifle to the ground. Spinning around Sam came face to face with two men that looked Mexican or Latin American and whom pointed at his chest and head respectively two weapons Sam did recognize:  Uzi submachine guns.

“Oh Boy,” Sam uttered nervously.





Sweat ran off of Sam profusely as his mind tried to grapple with the situation now before him, a situation that could find himself shot and dead at any second.  He needed a plan but had no idea where he was or what he should do.

Both men were clearly Latin American with the jet black hair, brown eyes and deep olive skin color and a good half a foot shorter than him, the one to his left the broad-chested, burly one, spoke rapidly and in Spanish, a language he did not understand, with an accent that Sam did not immediately recognize, but was quite sure was not Mexican.

Where the Hell am I?’ Sam thought furiously.  And where the hell was Al?

Sam opened his mouth to say something, yet no words came out so he shut it.  He opened it again after the second man uttered another furious exchange in Spanish.

“I don’t speak Spanish,” Sam was able to mutter this time.

Both men looked at each other; both guns moved an inch or two closer to Sam.  Sam suddenly wished he had not said that, for clearly, by the agitation on their faces, he had said the wrong thing.
        The two men started gesticulating wildly with their guns, the message clearly being that they were going to march Sam off somewhere. Before Sam had time to react to their gesticulations, two large cracking sounds ripped through the forest echoing immediately.  Both men fell before him to the ground face first, blood rising from their backs.

Sam jumped back reflexively, tripped over an unseen decomposing tree branch and landed hard on his butt on the moist soft Earth.  A wave of shock crashed over Sam like a seventh wave from the ocean, and nearly took him under.

He quivered, both hands and legs trembled, all Sam could do was simply stare at the two bodies that lay face down in front of him.

What had just happened?  Was that what he had come to prevent?   Was this the wrong to make right?  Had he just failed?  Where the hell was Al?

Before sorrow could attach itself to a chamber of Sam’s heart, he heard the sound behind him he had been so desperately listening for since he arrived here — the distinctive swishing sound of the sliding doors of the imaging chamber.

“Thank God,” Sam said out loud.

“No. Thank Juan and Teresa,” boomed the voice of a tall, roguish thirty something man with a lean face and a scraggily peppered beard.

“Okay.  Thank you too,” replied Sam, not really knowing what to say, surprised that this Caucasian man had spoke English to him.  The girl next to Juan dropped down and hugged Sam tightly.

“I thought you had been shot by the way you fell,” she said speaking directly into Sam’s ear.  Teresa was a short woman, in her early twenties, Sam would have guessed.  She had brown hair that came down to her shoulders and appeared to have been last cut by a dull knife; she too was Caucasian.

Sam reluctantly hugged Teresa back.  She was a skinny, scrawny thing that could have used a few more meals.  As he did Al came into Sam’s view.  Al could not have been dressed more out of scene or context had he purposely tried.  Dressed in a green suit with saucer size black dots all over it and a hot purple tie, Al held his communication handlink with Ziggy in one hand, and the other he held one finger over his lips.

“Sam in about five minutes this little meeting is going to breakup.  We will be able to talk then,” Al said quickly.  Sam looked at Al and nodded ever so slightly, acknowledging that he not only saw him but had understood him as well.

Sam was relieved to have Al into the leap and hoped everything had not already gone terribly and irreversibly wrong.  Sam stared back at the two fallen men in front of him.

“Had that been absolutely necessary?” Sam asked Juan angrily.  Al waved his hands, trying to prevent Sam from asking the question or to at the very least soften his tone.

Juan looked puzzled for a moment, but than a huge grin hung on his face, he put out his arm for Sam to take.  Sam took it, standing up.

“Better them than you, huh Pablo?” Juan said and laughed as if everything that had just happened had been a big joke.

Sam stole a glance at Al before replying.

“Laugh, Sam.  Laugh,” said Al urgently.

Sam could not bring himself to any kind of laugh; it took all his effort to muster up a poorly shaped smile.

 Teresa clutched his arm.  Juan handed him back his rifle after picking it up from the ground.

“Oh, my, Sam.  That is a Russian AKA assault rifle.  I haven’t seen one of those in years.  A great weapon in its time,” Al said more off the cuff than to Sam.

By this time a group of others had surrounded Sam, all of them coming out of the woods, many shaking his hand or pounding him on his back, mumbling their congratulations. They were all Caucasian; twelve to fourteen people total a hand full of women and the rest men, all ranging in age from early twenties to early thirties.

“Well this makes it easier,” Juan said with a chuckle.  “Thanks to Pablo here, we don’t have to worry any longer about the forest patrol,”  Juan spoke with the air of authority; he was clearly the leader of this group. 

Sam looked around to see everyone’s face; many looked hungry and haggard, yet their eyes told the truth.  They were all determined, single minded and believed in what they were doing (whatever the hell that was).

“The station is only two hundred yards a head of us.  There will be only six guardia.  You all know what to do.  This will be a glorious step down the Shining Path.  To Tupac Amaru!  To Peru!  To Freedom!”  Juan said with complete and utter conviction.  Sam looked around at the smiles, the nods, and the truth they all heard Juan speak.

Zealots?’ wondered Sam.  Was he in some sort of religious war?  He desperately tried to remember his world history.  Damn his Swiss cheesed brain, nothing at all came to him.

“Pablo and Pedro break them out,” Juan said to Sam as Sam stared back at Juan not understanding.

Looking up from his hand link Al said, “He means open your pack Sam.  Open your pack.” 

Sam took the pack from off his back, placed it on the ground and opened it up; it was full of pipe bombs.  Sam looked to the red head next to him, the one they called Pedro.  He had an identical backpack filled with pipe bombs and odd wiring. Everyone rushed in and grabbed things until Sam was left with only two pipe bombs.

“Go spread out.  Surround it. We attack within the half hour.  We will be the hammer that all of Peru will feel,” Juan said.  Most everyone gave out a quiet cheer and then wandered into the forest. 

Teresa surprised Sam by kissing him on the mouth. 

“I’ll see you when this whole thing is over,” she said and Sam clearly recognized the sound of love in her words.  She too wandered off into the forest.  Sam looked immediately to Al.

“Walk this way Sam.  I’ll talk while we walk,” Al said, with pure tiredness in his voice.

“Where in the hell am I, Al?”  Sam asked in an exasperated tone.  Sam did not like the feel of this leap at all.  Everything seemed so strange, so completely foreign to him that he was having a hard time relating to anything.

“Sam, stay down.  Hide behind the trees.  You are going to reach a clearing soon, right before the station.”

Sam walked in a crouched position, hiding behind tree after tree.

Al floated next to him, pounding his palm on the handlink.

“Where am I, Al?” asked Sam as he hid behind a tree.

“You’re in Peru.  On the outskirts of Lima, technically you are in a city called Callo, but Lima starts just past the electrical station.  You’ve leaped into Paul Wendle, 29, who came to Peru six years ago to get his doctorate in Latin American History,” Al stated.

“You can’t tell me this is all about some class?” Sam asked.

“No, of course not.  Five years ago Paul was recruited by a terrorist organization called the Sendero Luminoso or in English, the Shining Path,” Al continued as he consulted his handlink.

“Terrorists!”  Sam exclaimed. “What are they after?”

“What all terrorists are after Sam - control.  Their ultimate goal is to topple the Peruvian government and place themselves in charge.  I don’t understand why they feel violence is there only recourse,” said Al, shaking his head with this last statement.

Sam placed his hand to his head trying to remember anything he could about the Sendero Luminoso.  His mind grappled at straws.

“What can you tell me about their philosophy?” Sam asked.

“Well ….” Al hit the side of the handlink hard with his palm.  “Not much I am afraid.  Ziggy is looking into it.  It took her a very long time to find you.  So long in fact, that as soon as she found you I jumped into the Imaging Chamber with almost no information to prep you with.  But here’s what we know:  The Sendero Luminoso traces its history back to the mid 1960’s at one of Peru’s major universities.  Student radicals banded together adopting a Maoist political structure combined with the Incan belief system to try to topple the Peruvian government.  They claim they want to bring back the glory that was the Inca Empire when Peru was last great.”

“So what’s happening now?” Sam asked as he rushed behind another tree.

“You are getting ready to bomb a major electrical station that provides electricity to over half of Lima, approximately 6 million people.”

“Oh shit,” Sam said reactionary.

“That about sums it up,” Al said.

“Al, I need you to find all the information you can on this movement, as well as some person named Tupac Amaru,” Sam said with some urgency.

“That could be troublesome, Sam.  We are already having some trouble trying to access the government of Peru’s records.  When this terrorist movement is finally put down, some 12 years from this time, there will be tribunals who will do every thing in secret Sam, very Spanish inquisition stuff. All records will be sealed or even destroyed.  Were getting what we can cobbled mostly from newspaper accounts from the United States, which paints with a wide brush,” Al said scratching the side of his face.  “This is going to be a tough one, buddy,” Al said, obviously concerned.

Sam nodded his head to agree and at that moment both him and Al heard the same words going through their heads.

‘From now on the leaps will become harder,’ those now immortal words of the bartender, God, fate maker, or what ever he was.

“So what does Ziggy think I am here for?” Sam asked after a long silence between the two old friends.

“He is efforting that right now, Sam.  We don’t have much to go on,” Al said staring at the handlink.

“Well what is Paul’s fate?” asked Sam.

A moment passed before Al answered. “Eighteen months from now Paul will be arrested with many other Sendero Luminoso.  One month after being arrested the jail that he is in, along with 47 of his fellow comrades, will burn down to the ground.  The only survivors will be prison officials and guards.  No inmate will survive the inferno,” Al said flatly.

“So I am here to save Paul,” Sam said aloud, not really asking a question, but rather stating his goal.

“Ziggy computes a 72.8% probability for that.  He also goes by Pablo; they have all chosen more ethnic names to fit in better, and to renounce their ties to the West.  God, I wish I had a cigar.  Why did I agree to stop smoking for the week?” Al said rubbing his head with his off hand and fidgeting.  “I will go back and debrief this kid.  See what I can get out of him,” Al said most determinedly.

“What does he get arrested for?”  Sam asked.

“I don’t know Sam,” Al responds a bit slowly as he stared at the handlink and dreamed of a nice Havana cigar.

“Go back.  Talk to the kid.  I will try to stop this attack from happening,” Sam said completely unsure how he would accomplish that task.

“Be very, very careful Sam.  You’re a terrorist.  There are going to be plenty of people trying to shoot you or worse, trying to kill you.  Remember they will have just cause,” Al said.

Sam had never seen such a serious or stern face on his best friend in all his life.

“Okay Al,” Sam said seriously, realizing for just the first time how hard and dangerous this leap truly was.

Sam watched as Al disappeared through the sliding doors of Imaging Chamber.  He wished, as he did every leap, that it were just as easy for him to walk through those doors.

Sam returned to his stealthy walk toward the station, desperately trying to come up with some sort of plan.





“Ziggy, what do you got for me?” asked Al Calavicci as soon as he came out of the Imaging Chamber, and back to his own time.

“Hola, Senor Calavicci.  Como esta?” came Ziggy’s unique synthesized, female voice.

 Al absently looked at the glowing orb, although he could hear Ziggy’s from the speakers that were embedded in every wall.  “What?”  Al asked, not really in the mood to have to contend with one of Ziggy’s ‘moods’.  Frankly he was worried, more worried than he had ever been on a leap before.  Oh hell, why beat around the bush, he was frightened for Sam.  Damn frightened.  Absently, Al scratched his left arm.  He wanted to get back to Sam as quick as he could, but he needed to get information first.

“Ziggy is currently learning Spanish, Admiral,” said head programmer St. John. He seemed a bit pleased and distracted at the same time, his eyes lingering on the admiral.

“Oh, wonderful,” Al said remotely, thinking that that might be useful.  Absently, Al reached to the breast pocket of his shirt pocket and felt the small box of breath mints that he used to toss Gooshie.  He stared at St. John, who was staring back at him. A slight shiver went up Al’s spine, which he shook off and addressed the glowing orb.

Taking a deep breath Al spoke, “Ziggy what have you learned about the Sendero?”

“I have been focusing myself on Peruvian language and culture.  I just finished 100 Years of Solitude.  A superior novel that utilizes a literary style known as magical realism…” said the disembodied voice.

“Ziggy! St. John!”  Al bellowed, his anger beginning to rise.

“I’ll make sure to get Ziggy re-focused,” St. John said, re-focusing himself, and knowing how hard a task that was going to be to do that to Ziggy. Wisely he chose not to share this fact with the admiral.

“Immediately, St. John. Immediately,” Al said with a sigh.  “I need to talk to this kid,” Al said with a growl exposing his growing frustration with this leap and his ever-deepening concern for Sam.

“Maybe you should take three quick breaths and than one deep one.  It would really be refreshing, clear the mind a bit,” came the chipper voice of Tina, who had just walked into the room wearing enough pink that she closely resembled a Pepto-Bismol bottle.

Al glared at Tina.  Tina smiled back and Al relented, taking in three quick breaths and a deep one.  He didn’t know about relaxing but it did make him feel a bit lightheaded.

“Has anyone been in there,” Al motioned to the Waiting Room, “to check on the kid yet?” 

St. John stalled a moment before replying; he loved the intensity in Al’s eyes. “Dr. Beeks was in there and the kid got briefed.  But she stormed off just before you came out.” 

Al nodded. He would have liked to talk to Beeks before going in but he had this overwhelming feeling that time was short on this one.  He glumly walked into the Waiting Room to find Sam all curled in a ball on the floor.

Well that wasn’t entirely true.  What Al truly saw was Sam’s body possessed by some being he had never met.  What he saw was his best friend, confused, maybe even in pain, yet what was there, Al knew, was a person of a very different ilk than his best friend.

“Hello, son.  My name is Al Calavicci.  I have a few questions for you,” Al said reaching into his suit and pulling out a small pen and note pad.

“Man, that is one loud shirt. That got batteries with it?” the kid said, staring at Al in disbelief.

Al didn’t appreciate the humor, especially since it was at him but he did acknowledge that it took bravery and a certain amount of strength to joke in a situation that you were completely foreign to.

“I want to help you.  I have come here to help you,” Al said trying to start everything off on the right foot.

“You’re not here to help me.  Let’s be honest you’re here to help your friend not me,” the kid said sullenly.

Al did not disagree with him.

“I am trying…” Al began before getting cut off.

“Yeah.  Yeah.  I got it from the funny looking guy with the bad breath.  My life is fucked up and you’re here to fix it or you friend is in my body,” the words came from Paul Wendle through Sam.  Al never quite got used to hearing all the different voices from his friend’s lips. He sounded so angry, this kid.  Al had to remember to keep his distance emotionally, it wasn’t Sam who was angry with him, but rather it was Paul, perhaps angry at the world.

“Well, let me tell you one thing.  I am here fighting for my convictions.  Fighting for my beliefs and ideals.  Peru has been hijacked by the West, the capitalist society, the great Uncle Sam, hijacked by Europe, by the crown of Spain, and I am one of the few with the balls enough to say stop.  Leave these people alone; let them take back their history, their culture.  Stop trying to impose yours on to theirs.  I am fighting to bring this country back to the time and the ideals of the Inca, they’re the people of which Peruvians had descended,” Paul spoke vehemently, Al could just imagine him up on a park bench somewhere a book in one hand, bellowing out this message.

“Paul,” Al interrupted him before he really got going on this tirade.

“You may not call me by a name that is sacrilegious and has no further meaning to me.  I am Pablo,” the kid declared.

“Okay Pablo,” Al said very slowly and deliberately, already perturbed.  “Who is Tupac Amaru?  Some sort of leader?”  Al asked.

The kid looked him dead in the eyes and laughed. “Man, you could say that.  Tupac Amaru was the last Sapa Inca, the last leader of the Inca people, the last great people that Peru has ever known.  Did you know that just previous to the Spanish landing, there had been over 200 years of peace under their rule, no starvation and crime was nearly nonexistent?”

Al just looked at him not answering, not wanting to get drawn into some sort of political debate with this kid.  He couldn’t afford the time.  Sam couldn’t afford the time.

“Tupac Amaru,” Pablo continued once he saw he was going to get no rise out of the old man who stood in front of him, “was captured by the Spanish taken to the Incan capital of Cuzco, where he was tied to four horses and quartered.”

Al winced slightly.

“He was only 18 years old and had eluded the Spanish for months before being caught.  When the Spanish murdered him, they unwittingly sent his body to the four corners of the Incan empire.  His spirit now lives in all of Peru and in every Peruvian.  He fought against the Spanish, the foreign aggressor, as my brothers, sisters and I fight against them now.  Peru has been ruined, been fucked over repeatedly by Spain and the U.S. for years.  It is time to return to the ideals of the Inca and a better life for these people.  It is time to rise and take back Peru from those who have corrupted and co-opted her.  We have chosen to follow the lead of Mao Tse Tung and the shining path he once paved for China.  We will follow one of our own that will lead us and the people of Peru back on the track of this destiny created by the Incas.”

Al began to see something in Sam’s eyes; he began to see this kid’s determination, his beliefs.  Al realized that there was now one question he had to ask.

“How far would you go for your cause?” Al asked dreading the response this kid was going to give.

“This is not a cause.  This is a crusade to save these people.  Have you even walked down a street in Peru?  Any street? Any city?  Have you seen all the street kids, running around without shoes? Doing any thing to survive from robbing, killing, pulling tricks, begging. And the mothers with their young children, with not a place to live, trying just to survive. There are no salvation armies over here.  If you are living on the street then that is where you are living and dying.  The government is too poor and corrupt to do anything for them, man.”  Pablo took a breath.

“Does that mean bombing Lima?  Killing people?” Al butted in, trying to get the kid to answer the question rather than go on another tirade.

“Don’t make it sound so indiscriminate!” Pablo huffed angrily.  “Everything is a part of a plan.  Every act gets us father down the Shining Path.  In order to get to the end of the Path, any act may need to be performed.  Drastic times account for drastic measures.” 

“That’s how far your group would go.  I want to know how far you personally would go,” Al said trying to clarify himself.

“I have killed to get down the Shining Path.  Sometimes it’s what we must do.  It sends a powerful message, man.” 

Al nodded on the outside and shuddered on the inside.

“What about Teresa?”  Al asked.  

“She’s great.  She will be a great follower.  And one day she may even make it down her own Shining Path,” Pablo said.

“Is there some doubt?” Al asked.

“No.  She’s just green.  I have just recently converted her,”  Pablo said with some measure of pride.  “She is a little too dependent on me, but she will get over it.” 

Al turned around to leave, noticing that the kid never mentioned that he loved her.  He felt sorry for Teresa.

“Hey, when can I go back?” Pablo yelled from behind him.

“As soon as humanly possible,” muttered Al more to himself than to the kid.

As soon as Al walked into the Control Room he was yelling, “St. John, get a new program set up for Ziggy.  Get Ziggy coming up with new alternatives, this kid is not it.  This leap is not to help him.  Make this fast, I got to get back to Sam; he’s in real danger.”

Al had never wanted a cigar more than he did at that very moment.  Why had he made that promise to his wife to quit?  Could he get away with breaking it? 





Sam had never been at such a loss since he began leaping.  How the hell was he supposed to stop this bombing?  He could stop himself from throwing the two pipe bombs he was carrying, but how was he suppose to stop the dozen of others from setting off theirs?

Could he just walk away?  What if he just took this kid home?  It would be easy.  Al could easily come up with his parents’ home address.  He could simply take him to the airport and fly as him home.  Couldn’t he?  It seemed so easy, but yet Sam knew that no leap was ever easy.  And what would that leave with the events here?  They would still continue with or with out Paul it seemed.  Could he do more good by staying and trying to stop it?  How was he going to do that?

Sam shook his head sadly.  He had to try to do something.  The power station was nothing more than one small cement building and about ten hectares of power generators all outside on the open ground.  There was a small rusted cyclone fence that surrounded the perimeter and Sam saw two maybe three Peruvian police, guardia, with Uzi’s walking around it.

Sam couldn’t believe how indefensible it was.  Looking down upon the power station from the edge of the forest, Sam had a good view of the opening V of the valley that seemed to begin with this power plant and filtered from there into the city of Lima, eight million strong.

“How the hell am I going to do this?” Sam asked himself out loud.

“Not having self doubts are you Pablo?” the female voice came from directly behind him.

Nervous already because of this leap, and never hearing her, Sam nearly came out of his skin in surprise.

Sam spun around to see the same young lady who hugged him earlier…. What was her name again? So many new names every leap to try to remember. Teresa.  Yeah, that was it.

“I didn’t hear you Teresa,” Sam said truly surprised.

Teresa looked gaunt and grimy; her blond hair was pulled back behind her, tied off with a piece of string.  She wore an alpaca sweater with a couple of big holes in it, a pair of horribly stained jeans and some sort of shirt underneath the sweater.  She looked like she could use a good hot meal, a hot shower, and a warm bed, in that exact order.  When she looked at Sam it was love, Sam recognized that look instantly.  She smiled and not only did it cover her face --  it brightened it.

In a second she hugged him again, pressed her lips to his and forced her tongue between them.  After making sure that Sam had had no recent dental work done, she came up for a breath.

“I’m so excited,” she said in a husky voice, something a whisper.

“I… I… am too,” Sam stumbled.

“I would have never done this, if it hadn’t be for you,” she said with a smile, “God I would have been in some class somewhere reading some shit in books, instead of here living life, finding out what was really happening in Peru.  Knowing how truly oppressed these people are, and me actually doing something about it.”  Her smile faded slightly and she dropped her eyes to the ground, “But Pablo I have to admit the whole thing scares me a little.”

Sam’s heart beat a bit faster.  He could appreciate her fear; in fact he shared it.

“Yeah, I’m scared too,” Sam admitted.

Teresa’s smile grew even wider, if that was possible.

“I’m falling in love with you, you know?”  Teresa said, staring deeply into Sam’s eyes.

Sam’s mind kicked into overdrive.  What to say?  What to say?  He responded with the first thing that came to his mind.  “I know,” Sam punctuated it with a smile and hoped that would pass.  By this time in his leaping career, Sam had become a professional in safe answers---those answers that minimized problems.  Direct answers without the input of Al or Ziggy were gambles at best, and the house was stacked to win.

Sam could tell that that was not the answer she had wanted or hoped to hear, and would have like to lean in and kiss him again.  Sam clearly saw the indecision in her eyes.

“I’m so glad you recruited me out of my innocence,” she said, reaching out to hold Sam’s hand.

Sam looked at her, smiled and nodded, another safe response.  When the hell was Al coming back?  To make it through this leap Sam realized he needed to know a lot more about Pablo and Teresa’s relationship.

“Why are you doing this?” Sam asked her in all sincerity, although the real person he wanted to ask was Pablo.

“Because I really do want to make a difference to those people in Peru.  You’ve seen them Pablo, most of these people are starving or going hungry on a daily basis, the government is just layers of corruption.  You taught me that.  The women and children in the streets begging for money, the filth and grime, it all breaks my heart.  I want to help,” Teresa said, a tear running out of each eye.

“Are you okay with what is about to happen?” asked Sam, not sure at all what was about to happen himself.

“I understand essentially what we are trying to do.  Blacking out Lima makes a statement.  It tells the government we’re a force to be dealt with.  It lets the people know that we are fighting for them, and it let’s them know that we can get to the government and the government cannot stop us,” she said as if dictating a statement that had been burned into her brain.

“But….” Sam prompted, hoping to get more out of her so that he might understand what was going on, and could come up with a plan to stop it.

“But….” she repeated hesitantly, again her glance left his and drifted to the ground.  “I don’t want anyone to get hurt, that’s all.  I believe in life.”

“Yes, I do…” Sam said about to agree with her until Teresa broke back in.

“Yes, I know what you are going to say.  Killing is a crucial part of it.  If one of the group got killed, they did it fighting, than they go down their shining path.  If a guardia gets killed its justified.  They are a part of the government — a part of the oppression,” Teresa stated but there was something in her voice that Sam picked up on.  This particular message was not so ingrained in her; in fact, he could tell that she wasn’t at all comfortable with the possibility of death.  Sam hoped she would never have to see any.  She seemed so young and so innocent.

“Yeah,” Sam replied, not knowing what to say.

It occurred to Sam that maybe thing were not hopeless after all.  He was sure he would be able to talk Teresa out of this if he worked the potential for people dying and if Teresa felt this way there was a good chance that others felt this way, if he could talk to the rest of them…. Maybe something could be done.

For a moment Sam had hope and then it was dashed.

Teresa looked down at her watch, “It’s almost time.  Group one should have the stationary bombs ready to go.”

“Group one?” asked Sam without thinking.

“Of course, they have the really dangerous job.  They must strike while we distract.  I felt much better getting assigned to group two — the decoy group,” Teresa said relieved.

Sam shut his eyes and inertly swore at himself.  He should have realized that there had to be a bigger plan.  What were two-dozen pipe bombs really going to do against a power station that size?  Keep the guardia busy for the real bombs to take affect — of course.

Now what was he going to do?  How was he going to stop this?

“Do you mind if I come with you?” Teresa asked shyly.

“No, not at all,” Sam said with a smile.  He didn’t know what to do anyway.  He needed a guide.

What was he to do now?

Where was Al?

As Sam worried about the state of his condition, and the problems with this leap he did not realize that Teresa had been talking to him.

“Are you all right today?” Teresa asked with genuine concern in her voice.

“You just don’t seem quite like yourself, today,” she stated.  “Does this have you spooked?”

“You could say that first part again,” Sam muttered under his breath.  Sam nodded his head to acknowledge the second part of her statement.  ‘Spooked’ was not quite the word he would have chose ‘totally freaked’, ‘at a complete loss’ were fairly adequate substitutes.

“I am surprised you seem so hard as a rock all the time, so devoted to it all, in such a single minded way.”  She smiled, “It is nice to know that you have a softer side.”  Teresa stared at him adoringly.  Sam reciprocated with a cautious smile back to her.  He had to be careful,

Sam had no idea how close these two were, or were going to be in the future.  If Dr. Beckett had learned anything in his time as a leaper he had learned that the little things mattered.  The wrong word said, tone implied, inflection in one’s voice could start a cascade of events that could lead to many more problems and this leap had more than enough.  Besides after Sam leaped from this one, Pablo would have to deal with any ramifications leftover.  Sam considered himself a guest every time he leaped, it wasn’t his life he was jumping into, it was someone else’s and he was always conscious of that fact.  Whatever decision he made now his host would have to deal with it at some point in the future.

“Do you believe that we will make it down the shining path?” she asked him.

Sam staggered, not knowing what to say.  He hated being so trapped by this lack of knowledge.  “Well, I don’t really know.  I hope so.  I guess,” Sam croaked out lamely.

Teresa looked at him quizzically but brushed it off and continued her thought.  “I want to complete my trip down the Shining Path.  It would be so great to be back among the Inca, to live their lives, to have Peru and its people be fed, sheltered, healthy and proud again.  To throw away all this capitalism, throw away all these foreign aggressors, to throw away all the technology to live simply as the Inca’s did once,” Teresa said with a dreamy look to her eye.

“You mean transform modern Peru to life as it was during the times of the Inca?” Sam questioned.

“Exactly,” Teresa answered looking quizzically at him again.

“So that is what is at the end of the Shining Path — a better life by brining the past to the present.  And so the Shining Path is everything that needs to be done to get there, and of course we’re the ones that know what needs to be done?”  It really wasn’t a question; it was more Sam working out the philosophy of this group out loud.

“Of course, sometimes it takes an outside view, or even someone from outside to effect the change that is needed,” she said.

“Well, thank god for us,” Sam replied.

“Now you are sounding like yourself,” Teresa came back.  She had obviously missed the sarcasm that Sam had laced the statement with.

He looked at her anew.  How deeply involved was Pablo in this cause?  How deep did he believe? 

“It is what we live for--what we spend nearly every waking moment struggling to do.  These people need us.  They are struggling just to live, just to survive.  They need someone like us to fight for them.  We are devoting our lives to them.  We live together, all on the run, we except the poor conditions that we live in, knowing that we are helping them.”

A silence grew between them, Teresa looked nervously at him.

The moment of silence between the two was suddenly interrupted by a loud crack that ripped through this triangular valley and up to the edge of the valley wall to the tree line, where the two of them stood talking.

Teresa’s eyes bulged and her face went slack jaw, in the blink of an eye.  Staring down at her watch she spoke frantically, “Pablo, we’re late. We’re suppose to be throwing our bombs right now.”

Sam looked at her with what he imagined to be frantic panic on his face.  Damn. Damn.  Damn,’ cursed the inner Sam, ‘I was unable to stop it.’

Teresa made a dash down the hill to the flats of the long grass, as she ran towards the station.

“Hurry, Pablo.  Hurry and we can still be of help,” she yelled back at him.  Only Sam did not want to be of help, none whatsoever.

‘What the hell am I going to do now?’ thought Sam, as he had yet to move a muscle.  Sam was caught up in the conflict of the moment.  His body wanted to run after the girl, his mind told him to stay, walk away from it.  From behind him he heard the all too familiar swoosh of the Imaging Chamber doors.

Al burst out of them at a run.  “Stop her Sam!  Stop her!  Yell at her to duck, get to the ground anything!  Now, Sam, now!”  Al’s face looked white, he was beaded with sweat. 

Sam and Al had been doing this long together for any kind of hesitation or mistrust to creep into Sam’s action.  This was his best friend trust was complete.  Without Sam putting any thought into it whatsoever, Sam yelled out:  “Drop, Teresa!  Drop now!”

There must have been close to that amount of trust between Teresa and Pablo, for Teresa dropped into the two-foot tall grass that very instant.  There was a mere second before bullets, fired from the post at the station, passed through the air where she had just been standing.

“Oh, boy!” Sam said out loud as he watched the scene take place, and the bullets continue to fly through the air trying to discover Teresa hidden in the grass.

Sam’s body acted before his hand and he ran to her.  He heard Al faintly, speaking in the background, although it took several seconds for Al’s words to have an impact.

“Sam!  No!  Wait!  Duck!  Get down!  You can be seen by the shooter!” Al was shocked, frantic and livid all in one moment.  What was Sam doing?!?

Al floated next to him yelling obscenities trying to get Sam to listen.  It was tough for Al to remember that Sam had no military training.  Sam was a doctor.  He spent his time with computers and books; combat, military tactics were not what Sam thought of, of course these were a part of Admiral Calavicci's foundation of thinking.

It wasn’t until the first shot ripped a hole through Sam’s back pack, arresting his run and spinning him one quarter of the way around, that Sam heeded his best friend's advice and dropped face down on the grass.  The impact bruised two of Sam’s ribs from his backpack landing straight down onto him.

“Sam, crawl out of the back pack!  The tower can see it!  Hurry, Sam!  Hurry!  March double time!”  Al screamed at Sam, a bit of the old military lingo filtering down from his mind to his speech.

“I’ve got to get to Teresa,” Sam spoke back, his words muffled by the fact that he spoke into the dirt.

“You won’t be able to if you are DEAD!  Crawl out of the back pack NOW!” Al voice dropped an octave and became rough and gravelly.  His voice was reminiscent of the one he used when he used to bark out orders to cadets and second year back in the Navy. Al was beginning to feel it, all those sensations that only came out during combat:  the sickening feeling in the pit of your stomach, your nerves on edge, and your senses heightened on complete alert for anything, the slightest thing unusual or out of place.  Al’s eyes darted all around keeping look out over a fallen comrade, instincts and years of training taking over.

Sam struggled to get out of his pack; to Al it looked like he was wrestling with it and losing.

“Keep down.  Keep down, Sam,” Al said encouragingly.  Another group of bullets ripped through the grass around Sam.

“Ahhhh!” Sam cried out, feeling a sharp, hot, blistering pain sear through his lower left calf.

“Damn.  If I had a gun I’d take care of that nozzle now,” Al said exasperated by the fact there was nothing he could do.

Looking down, Al could see that Sam had been hit in the last folly of bullets.  He couldn’t tell how bad it was since Sam was thrashing about so wildly.

“Hey. Hey.  Up there!  Here I am!” the female voice jolted both Sam and Al.

Al looked over the grass plains, and in a kneeling position waving her arms madly, was Teresa.  He was able to see her upper torso as it emerged from the grass.  If of course Al could see her so clearly than so to could the shootist.

“What is she doing?” Sam questioned, not believing what he hearing.

“Distracting.  And saving your ass,” Al replied.  “Crawl as fast as you can Sam away from your backpack.”

Sam crawled instinctively to Teresa’s location. 

“No, Sam, go opposite of her.  If you get too close the shooter will get both of you.  C’mon Sam, do this!”

Sam saw the logic of what his friend was saying even though it slapped him in the face with cold water against what he wanted to do which was save Teresa.  Sam vacillated for a second before he began crawling through the grass away from Teresa.

“How is she, Al?  How is she?” Sam asked through gritted teeth, as pain shot through his lower leg.

“She’s fine, scared shitless, but fine,” Al replied while staring at his hand link.

“Was she supposed to have died?” Sam said still crawling on his stomach, ignoring his leg and ribs.

“Yes,” Al replied. “In the original history of this event Teresa was killed, as was half the group.  Most died from his gun.”  Al pointed to the top of the tower.  “So you and her have got to move and keep moving,” Al said as he stared at the handlink trying to understand all the new information that flooding in from Ziggy.

Sam yelled out.

Teresa yelled back, something inaudible.

“Sam, she is scared,” Al said feeling a tug to his heart. This girl resembled his oldest daughter at that age, and seemed to have the same sense of idealism

“Teresa, it will be all right.  Just keep moving don’t let him get a bead on you.”

“Okay,” came the faint female voice.

“Cover your head, Sam!  Cover your head, Sam!”  A frantic voice came from Al’s panicked face.  Sam got rolled from the concussion wave of the explosion that toppled the tower.

The explosion ripped through the power station sending a cascade of white sparks one hundred feet into the air.  One quarter of Lima blackened in an instant effecting over 2 million people, and blazing the name of the Sendero Luminoso into the minds of every Peruvian with access to media.

Sam would have thought it was a pretty sight to behold, reminding him of summer nights and Fourth of July fireworks, had it not been for the underlying guilt he felt for not stopping this event in the first place.  In this had been the event he needed to stop he had failed at it, miserably.  Sam had failed to protect Pablo from this act.  Although Sam had kept Pablo from actually doing anything to endanger anyone’s lifes, or to cause harm, he doubted a tribunal would see it that way—doubted it very much.  He was a part of the group who did this; consequently he was a part of this, even though he took no willful action.  He was as guilty as anyone here.

“Al….” Sam tried to ask a relevant question yet the words would not form, and Sam’s mouth simply hung open.

“Sam, run, Sam.  Stand up and run.  The guard tower came crashing down.  There is no one to shoot at you now.  Although I am sure the Peruvian army is racing here with every intent to kill,” Al said.

Sam stood up and put weight on his left leg, lost his balance, succumbed to gravity and got back up to do another test on his leg.  He couldn’t see the wound through his pants, but the muscle still seemed strong, blood caked his lower pant leg but Sam didn’t feel woozy yet.

“Teresa, Run! Run!” Sam yelled at the top of his lungs.  He saw her in the distant emerge from the grass and run off, in his opposite direction around the power station.

“Where do I go?”  Sam asked wearily.

“Head Northeast.”  That took him on the other side of the power station.  Sam ran with a limp.





Sam ran and Al directed.  Sam couldn’t tell how long he had run - he guessed about two miles.  A point in time came when Sam had to address his leg wound.  Sam sat on the cold damp ground ripping away his lower pant leg to get to the wound.

“You lucky son of a bitch.  That nozzle nearly got you.  The bullet nicked the side of your shin.  One more centimeter it could have shattered it,” Al had exclaimed.

Sam had just nodded; tearing off a sleeve of his shirt that he tied over the wound, far from sterile this was the best bandage he was going to be able to manage.  It seemed to stop the bleeding well enough.

Sam ran well after that, if a little tenderly.

“Where are we going?” Sam asked the floating Al.

“The closest shanty town,” Al replied.

“What’s a shanty town?” Sam asked trying to get a bearing on where he was going.

“You are about to find out,” Al said gloomily, looking up from the handlink.  “You better brace yourself.”

Sam was about to ask what Al meant by that remark, but as they cleared the last of the trees he found out he really didn’t have to.

He didn’t know what he had expected to see in a shantytown. No image had instantly formed in his mind when those two words were put together, but this would not have been anything he would have imagined.

Stretching out in front of him, on the desert plain were rows and rows of makeshift tents.  They were put together by no more than pieces of wood and brown, flimsy cloth, which would not stop much of a wind let alone cold or rain.  In the middle of each quad of tents was a fire pit, with dishes of clay, the occasional pot and pan, although those were rare, and no glass at all.

People were everywhere, of all ages, most looking haggard and spent.  You could read the stories of their hard lives written in each wrinkle or pockmark on their faces.  Many children ran around with heavily calloused bare feet, all struggled to have a complete set of clothes on, most of the boys and younger kids wore no shirts; most were filthy covered with layers of dirt and sores.

Sam could not see a water source anywhere, not a stream, a creak or a well, but what could one expect in a desert.

“Where do they get their water?” Sam asked his holographic friend.

 “They steal their water from other towns.  What water they are able to come up with they ration to every man, woman and child,” Al said after consulting his handlink.

“And how much is that per person per week?” Sam asked.

“On a good week, maybe a pint a day,” Al answered stoically.

“A pint?” Sam said in an unbelieving tone.

“These are the poorest of the poor.  Most have come to Lima from the poor parts of the country — the Andes.  Their uneducated, big families, and have no real skills other than farming and herding.  Yet they come to live here and by far most think this is an improvement” Al elaborated.

“So what does the city do for them?” Sam asked.

“Nothing,” Al stated.  “Nothing at all.  To the Lima officials these people are squatters and nothing more.  They choose to ignore them and hope they go away.  Lima is a poor city that can’t take care of their own, let alone the thousands of squatters that come here every year.”

“So what do these people hope to gain?” Sam asked hoping there was a silver lining somewhere to this ceasing black cloud.

“They will squat here.  They will find work.  They will pool their money together over the next decade or so.  They will begin to build homes for everyone here.  They will tap into Lima’s electricity and water supply.  The government is overwhelmed they will not catch them at any of this, in twenty or thirty years Lima will acknowledge this squatter community and it will be named and incorporated in the city of Lima itself. 

"These people will never prosper here; they will always be poor, just eking out a living.  The death rate is extremely high here.  Lots of malnutrition and disease but it is better than where they came from, and hopefully, the next generation will not have to struggle as hard to live.”

Sam opened his mouth to say something but instead he chose not to and simply looked around.  He had never witnessed so much poverty or so many poor, sad people. 

After a long moment, Sam noticed that some residents staring at him.

“Why are they looking at me?” Sam asked, for everyone, including the children, whom he could see had stopped to stare at him.

“Well, Sam you do stand out,” Al said.

“Look who’s talking,” Sam replied glaring at Al’s wardrobe.  But Sam suddenly knew what he was talking about.  He was taller than everyone he could see by several inches at least; he was Caucasian, they all had straight jet, black hair, brown eyes.  They all stared at him.

“Mestizo,” Al said.

“What?” Sam asked.

“Mestizo is their race.  A combination of Spanish and the natives who were here when the Spanish came,” Al said.

“You mean the Incas?” Sam asked more rhetorically than to Al.

“Yes,” replied Al. “They have probably never seen someone like you in their lives.”

“Where do I go from here?” Sam asked.

Al looked at the handlink, “Follow me.”

Sam tried but it was hard.  His limp was pronounced, his muscles of his leg had stiffened up, but they didn’t cause him any pain, at least he never had a chance to think about the pain it was causing him.  Sam hobbled along walking through a burgeoning crowd, as many people came out of their tents to look upon the commotion at the electrical fields.

The adults he saw eyed him strangely, accusingly, like he was the cause of all of this, and thus to blame.  It was a natural reaction, Sam understood, as it would happen, they were right; Sam was to blame.

On the other hand, the kids were different, in that they did not make the same association as their parents and grand parents, so they ran up to Sam, most talking fast and non-stop, all reaching out their hands to try and touch Sam himself, his skin specifically.

They ran around him in circles, laughing, jumping and chattering.  Knowing no Spanish, Sam could not understand a word that was being said to him, but after a short while the infectious nature of the kids rubbed off on Sam and he to laughed and giggled.

Al laughed as well as he floated away from the mob.  “We’re almost there.”

Sam limped along after the hologram with kids circling around him and more and more adults glaring at him.

“Ziggy is now estimating only a 27.7% chance that you are here to save Pablo,” Al stated almost grimacing as he did.

“What?” Sam said and than he realized. “Of course not, I failed to stop that.  I may be stuck here,” Sam voiced the last of the sentence nearly sticking in his throat. 

“No Sam. We don’t think that is was Pablo at all,” Al said.  “He is totally devoted to the Sendero.  He has no reservations.  He fully believes that what he is doing is the best for Peru and its people.

“So I couldn’t just walk away.  Take him back to the states?”  Sam questioned.

Al quickly plugged in the conditions into his handlink.  He began shaking his head before speaking.  “Ziggy estimates a 90% chance that he would come right back as soon as he could.”

“Then who?  No wait where are you getting your information?”  Sam asked.  If the kids around him were bothered by Sam talking out loud, they didn’t show it.  Of course it probably helped that they didn’t understand one word he said.

“Mostly from sealed Peruvian documents about crimes against the state, tribunal and inquest records, and whatever newspaper articles we have been able to discover.  It took us forever to get the Peruvian government to unseal the documents so we could have them.  Then Ziggy insisted on learning Spanish, so she could do the translation.  Didn’t trust anyone else to do it?”  Al let the exasperation with Ziggy flavor his words.

“Did you check the American Embassy records in the states?” asked Sam.

“No,” Al responded, “What are you thinking?”

“Nothing, just playing a hunch.  It's another avenue to pursue,” Sam said.

Al typed furiously into his handlink.  “Ziggy’s on it.”

Al and Sam continued to weave around the makeshift tents.  A few of the kids began to flow back to their respective parents and tents.  Al continually looked at his handlink every minute or so to see if Ziggy had any new information.

Around the umpteenth tent, Sam saw the group he had seen when he first leaped into Pablo.  They were easy to spot.  They were gathered together about fifteen in number, most had guns on straps hanging over their shoulders, talking, laughing, and congratulating exuberantly.  Everyone was loud, gregarious and in a good mood.  Many were drinking out of hollowed out gourds.  Sam was welcomed with great revelry.

“Here comes the conquering hero!” exclaimed Juan, loud enough for the entire group to hear.

“Hero?” questioned Sam.

“Now is not the time to be modest.  Now is the time to bask in our success,” Juan said his arms out extended above his head to emphasize this grand gesture.  “What you did out there, you and Teresa, of course,” he motioned his head and before Sam could look around, Sam felt Teresa grab his right arm and give him a kiss on the cheek.

“The two of you rocked, drawing all that fire. That was gutsy, brave, insane and perfect.  This went so much smoother than anyone thought it would,” Juan said a big smile on his face.  He handed out gourds to both Teresa and Sam.

Sam looked at Al.

“It’s true,” Al said nodding his head.  “Half of these people standing in front of you never survived that battle.”

Sam smiled slightly.  He could not help himself; they were all smiling at him.  Well maybe Sam had done something good—changed the future for the better.

‘So, why am I still here?’ he thought.

Al looked conspicuously down at the handlink.  Yeah, but most now die in that prison fire.  Sam you saved them from some months at least,’ thought Al, not really wanting to pass on this news Sam.   Al frowned at the handlink.

Wait.  What was this?  Teresa didn’t die in the prison fire.

“St. John, run a track on Theresa Lynn Ramsey.  Tell me what you find out,” Al said into the air.  Al nodded, getting a positive answer back from St. John through the handlink.

It was then that all thoughts took a back seat for Al.  Juan lit up a cigar.

“Oh,” Al gasped out loud.

Sam saw the cigar instantly and shook his head at his friend’s fascination with them.

“I bet that is a Havana,” Al said, getting as physically close to Juan and his cigar as he possibly could.

Sam took a drink from the gourd, choked instantly and began having a coughing fit.

“What is this?”  Sam coughed out the words.

“Haven’t you ever had chicha?  It’s a corn beer they make that usually ferments in a llama’s stomach buried in the ground.  This one tastes like about 3 or 4 months or so.  Pretty cool huh?”  Juan responded blowing out cigar smoke that floated through his holographic friend. 

“Oh, I wish I could smell that. I just want a taste right on the lips.  Let my tongue get a taste of…” Al dropped off.  “Damn that promise.”

Juan wondered off as others asked him and Teresa about their earlier actions.

Al followed Juan staying downwind of the cigar smoke, letting it pass through him at every chance.

Sam wanted to stop him, but he was too surrounded.  He couldn’t say anything inconspicuously.  So Al floated off and Sam tried to deal with all the questions he was getting bombarded with.

Juan wondered off to a small group of comrades surrounded by some intense looking Peruvians.  Teresa let go of Sam’s arm and knelt down by the kids, trying to engage them in talk with her knowledge of broken Spanish.  Sam stayed surrounded by Sendero laughing, drinking, and talking loudly.

Al followed Juan gathering as much peripheral enjoyment of the cigar smoking as he could.  His moment of bliss was interrupted by the constant pulsing of the handlink, which was urgently letting him know that it had received a fresh download of new information.  Al ignored it for a full minute before his consciousness got the better of him.

“Oh shit!” Al exclaimed upon reading the new download.

“Where’s Sam?” he said out loud, frantically looking around and cursing himself for wandering off.

“La verdad es el Sendero Luminoso!  Tupac Amaru muerta para ti…” Juan was speaking loudly behind him to a growing crowd of upset Peruvians.  Al left him there with one last long look at the cigar.

“Ziggy put me back to Sam,” Al said into the handlink.

Al disappeared from Juan and reappeared by Sam.

“Sam we got it.  We know who you are here to help with 92.7% surety.”  Sam looked up at his friend.  The crowd was waning from him, off in their own little cliques; Teresa was off to his left in a circle of young kids, each one of them trying to talk to her. 

“Who?” Sam asked thankful for the information.

“Teresa,” said Al.  “We thought all this time she died from the sniper.  We only knew that she was found shot.  She was murdered.”

“By whom?” asked Sam.

“By you,” Al said.

“What?”  Sam said startled.

“At the time of the prison fire, the U.S. Government was trying to get him extradited for the trial,” Al said his eyes quickly darting over all the information that was pouring out of the handlink at him.

Sam looked at Teresa who was kneeling down by the kids; they were all laughing.

“Why?  She seems to truly love him,” Sam said.

“I don’t know,” Al said hitting the handlink repeatedly.  “St. John, what …” And Al disappeared in a second.

Sam was left there to stare out into space.

Al returned a half a minute later.

“Sam follow me, there’s a situation up here Ziggy wants you to check out,” Al said and floated off.

Sam had to run to keep up with him, which wasn’t easy since he had been standing a while and his leg had stiffened up.  Yet, Sam tried to keep up with him as best he could without complaint.



Juan had got into the conversation with all good intention expressing Sendero’s philosophy, educating these people to how wonderful this cause was, how wonderful their cause was, how wonderful Peru would be for them when they were victorious.  However the conversation turned heated and venomous words came from the Peruvian, saying such evils as the Sendero Luminoso were the problem and that they were causing them harm.

“Sacrifice.  We all must make Sacrifices,” Juan had yelled. 

“This is not your fight to fight.  You’re not Peruvian.  You are just here to usurp the Government and take charge.  One oppressor for another.  It makes no difference.  Power corrupts equally,” came the various responses from the crowd.

From there the conversation degenerated into a shouting match, with tempers rising on both sides.  By the time Sam got there, the four or five Sendero members were yelling back and forth with the crowd of Peruvians, fifty or more, in at least two languages.  The Peruvian crowd encircled the group of five Sendero, all of whom looked nervous except for Juan who was beat red with anger, and was wildly gesticulating with his arms as he spoke at the top of his lungs.


Sam began pushing through the crowd.  He wanted to get Juan out of there, calm him down.  Sam was forced to admire his conviction; his words seemed to ring with some sort of sincerity.  But could you really go back to the past?  Could you really take a country, kicking and screaming, with you?


Sam was pushing his way through but he could feel the synergy of the crowd and it was all negative.  Some of the people in the crowds held implements, scavenged items:  sticks, pieces of pipe and assorted things.  Sam pushed through the crowd harder; this situation could get ugly soon.

“Al, keep your eyes on Teresa.  Make sure she stays out of the way if this gets ugly,” Sam said to the floating aspiration that drifted through the people of the crowd next to him.

“Okay, Sam,” Al pressed two buttons on the handlink and was gone in an instant.

Meanwhile, Sam broke into the inner circle and immediately went up to Juan, grabbing his hands.

“Juan they are not hearing you.  They are not getting your message.  It is time for us to go,” Sam said in what he hoped was a calm and reassuring tone.

“I know, Pablo.  I must become the teacher,” Juan replied.  His voice was adamant and his demeanor strong.  “They fear.  Christ, look at them of course they fear.  They have grown up in a culture that has for generations that has kept them poor uneducated and has beat them down on a daily basis with rampant crime and starvation.  They fear change, and they have good reason.  They fear change because for them all change in the past has been bad.  We bring good change.  They just can’t see it, not yet.”  And with these two words his mouth twisted to form a smile.

“We should find a better time,” Sam said insistently beginning to pull him by the arm and make their way through the crowd.

Juan was not to be pulled.

“There will never be a better time,” he said flashing a smile.

Damn,’ Sam thought, ‘he is actually enjoying this.  What tactic do I take now?

“Now is not the time.  We must go,” Sam urged.

Juan was having none of it.  “No, mi amigo.  A lesson must be taught.  These fine people must be taught a lesson that all of Peru will hear.”

“We did that Juan.  We bombed the station.  God knows how much of Lima got blacked out.  They have heard that lesson,” Sam said, still feeling all the negative energy around him.

John took pause as he was thinking about what Sam had just said.  “Yes, that was a lesson but it didn’t reach this group.  That lesson was more for the government than for these everyday people.  They need to understand the lesson more personally.”

Sam though he was getting somewhere, the rage he had seen in Juan had dispersed. He was no longer red and no longer screaming.

“We will get caught by the guardia if we stay here.  We need to go back to head quarters or where ever,” Sam said ending the statement pretty lamely since he had no real idea where these people stayed or lived.’  Yet the statement seemed to hit a mark, Juan froze as recognition crossed his face.

At that time, Juan got hit by a flying piece of wood, the crowd was getting rowdy.  Juan was not hurt al all, but Sam saw his face grow red.

“A lesson has to be taught,” Juan said calmly.

Juan squeezed off a round from his gun before Sam even noticed he had gone for it.  The crowd immediately silenced and scampered.  Juan shot indiscriminately as did the other four encircled members.  Screams of fear and pain flew through the air with sounds of spraying bullets, stomping of panicked feet and Juan repeating the single word:  “Lessons, lessons, lessons.”

Sam reached to grab Juan’s gun but then he stopped and raised his free arm into the air.  The rest of the Sendero stopped shooting.

“A lesson has been learned,” Juan said passively.

“What lesson could have possibly been learned here?” Sam yelled at Juan incensed, struck by the shock of the horror of the situation.

“Pablo.  Everything.  This shows we are serious that we believe in our cause, that we will do anything for it. It shows them our importance.  It shows them we need to be respected,” Juan said with a wry grin on his face.

The shock would not leave Sam’s face.  What had just happened?  What had gone wrong?  How could he have prevented it?

Checking out the scene, Sam saw death, pain and blood.  Victims lay scattered all around them.  Women and children were weeping and screaming, men were yelling, swearing and few had broken down completely over a fallen loved one.  Sam saw at least ten bodies strewn out on the ground, another fifteen he guessed to be injured, and some he could tell critically by the size of their wounds and amount of blood that flowed freely from them.  Sam realized that they would all die.  These people had no first aid, no local doctor, no health education, no medical facilities, and no help coming, at least not soon enough to make a difference.

Everyone was moving now.  Juan led the group, Sam reluctantly followed until he saw Al kneeling over by Teresa.  Sam ran to them and sight he saw brought him to tears.

Teresa had blood all over her, all stemming from a bullet wound to the chest of one of the little boys that had been following them.  His face was stark white pale, his eyes were wide and bulged, his lips were parted and his mouth was clenched hard, a trickle of blood seeping through gaps in his teeth.

His body twitched twice, his jaw unclenched and the boy, who an hour ago had been laughing and running, died with his eyes open in Teresa’s lap.

Teresa was bordering on hysterics with her grief, mouthing the word ‘why’ over and over.

Al too was weeping, desperately trying to put his arms around the boy, yet losing the inevitable struggle as his holographic arms kept going through him.

Sam went over and hugged Teresa.

“We’re leaving now!” Juan’s scream was heard somewhere behind him.

Teresa hugged back so hard that Sam’s ribs yelled in protest and air escaped from him.

“We need to go,” he whispered gently in her ear.  He released her and he gently, caringly moved the boy off her lap. Sam closed the boy’s eyes.

He took Teresa in his arms and got her moving.  She could not take her eyes off the dead boy; she kept the boy in her sights as long as she could, sobbing the entire time.

Sam and Teresa walked slowly together, stammering and weaving between the tents.  Each scream they heard behind them brought yet another tear in their collective heart.  Juan led the group, Sam and Teresa, brought up the rear.  They all made their way out of the shantytown.





They all walked father into the city of Lima.  The closer the city’s heart they got the more the neighborhoods improved.  The tent town evolved into makeshift buildings, to buildings that actually incorporated cement or stone.  Yet everywhere Sam couldn’t escape the fact that his was a third world country, garbage was strewn in piles in streets, the sidewalks, and the alleyways.

The city was dark, at least this part of it was, and as far as Sam could see.  The streets were practically deserted, stores and little shops locked up, all vendors gone and the people sequestered in their homes.  It created a strange silence.

Sam and Teresa dragged their way through the town but it was disconcerting to hear the other Sendero members ahead of them practically gleeful, and not share the passionate pain over those they had just killed.

Sam’s soul wept. Teresa’s turned to anger and charged Juan, knocking him down onto the gravel road, that we had all been walking down the middle of. 

“You son of a bitch!  Murdering bastard!”  She screamed flailing fists into his chest with such flurry.

Two Sendero members close to Juan pulled her off him.

“We sent a message!” Juan yelled at her once he got to his feet.

“Yes.  That we’re murdering bastards that are as bad if not worse then the government we are trying to topple.  Yes.  We sent that message very loud and clear.”  Spit flew from her mouth, as she stared straight at Juan, shouting the words as tears flowed from her eyes.

“No.  We gave them a less on of how serious we are, how just our cause…” Juan tried to counter.

“No.  We taught them to fear us at all cost.  Join us or die!”  Teresa shouted back.

“Maybe that works too,” Juan said that sly grin sliding back on his face.

“You asshole!”  Teresa shouted and again began pounding her fist into him.  She had every intention to try to hurt him, but Juan seemed unfazed, almost amused.

“Fear is a powerful weapon.  Something we can use on our side.  Listen, Teresa what we did was good.  You knew when you joined us that there would come a time for sacrifice.  Well this was that time.  Those people sacrificed themselves for the greater good of all people in Peru.  Don’t you see Teresa, we took one very big step today – one giant step down the Shining Path,”  Juan said his eyes bright and intense.

“No.  I don’t see.  What we did was evil.  Those people didn’t sacrifice themselves because they didn’t choose.  You arrogant son of a bitch, you made that choice for them.  If anything they were sacrificed by you.  By all of you.  Do you really believe what you did back there was a good thing?  Do you?  Do any of you?”

Teresa looked around to see a lot of blank faces stare back at her.  Only one face shook his head and that was Pablo’s.  Her eyes glistened with a prolong look at Pablo’s eyes before looking back on the group.

“I did not join to kill innocent people — to kill the Peruvians we are supposedly trying to help.  I joined to make change,” Teresa said her grief pouring out of her.

“We changed many lives today,” Juan declared.

“We ended many as well, women, children…” Teresa could hold back no longer and burst into sobs, falling to the ground to sit and sob.  "I want to leave.”

The group stood and watched Teresa as she grieved.  No one moved to her to help her with her pain, although someone moved closer to Sam.  Al floated towards Teresa.

“You need to talk to her, convince her, show her how really right this was,” Juan whispered into Sam’s ear.

Sam couldn’t help it and laughed out loud.

“I don’t know that that is even possible at this point,” Sam said shaking his head.  Sam had said it to be flippant to show Juan that he was firmly on Teresa’s side, yet like so many things previously, Juan did not seem to take it with that intention.

“Yes, I suppose you are probably right.  But you know what has to happen next then.  You recruited her.  The duty will fall to you.  Try talking to her at least.”  Juan stepped away from Sam leaving him with that very cryptic statement.

With sudden understanding, like a lightning bolt from above, Sam knew.  Oh my God,’ Sam thought, ‘this is the moment I was meant to stop.

He walked over to Teresa and knelt down beside her.

He could hear Al’s handlink buzzing and saw it pulsing.  Al looked down and looked back to Sam with eyes wide and his mouth opened, but Sam cut him off before he had a chance to speak.

“It’s okay, I know,” Sam said softly to Al.

“You do?” Teresa asked back quietly in surprise.

“What are you going to do?” Al asked.  “Sam, do you have a plan?”  Al prayed that he did.

Sam simply ignored his friend; he needed to totally focus on Teresa.  This leap turned out to be all about her.

“I want out.  I want to go home,” Teresa whispered, her eyes pleading with him.

“You deserve to,” Sam said slipping his wallet into her hands.  “I have no idea what’s in it but you’re welcome to whatever can get you home.  Will you…?  Can you get home by yourself?”

Staring at Sam with bloodshot eyes, Teresa nodded.

“You will have to leave quickly.  Take the chance when you get it,” Sam whispered.

“I know the penalty for abandoning the path,” she said, not looking near as naïve as Sam had once thought she had been.

“I will do everything I can for you,” Sam said and stood up.

Juan came up to him as soon as Sam took one step away from Teresa.

“Is everything cool?”  Juan asked.

“Yeah, oh so cool!” Teresa said sarcastically.  “Can’t be much cooler than when you kill people, uh Juan?”

“You’re not with us are you Teresa?” Juan asked with a sigh.

“I am not with you.  That is probably the first thing you’ve said that was right all day.  I hate you, Juan.”

“Teresa!” Sam shouted out hoping she would stop.  This was not going well and she was not going to make his job any easier.

“No.  Pablo.  I need to say this.  I know what is going to happen to me, I am no idiot.  So if this is it, I should be able to say anything I want.”

Sam put his hands up in surrender.

Teresa continued, “I hate all of you.  But I especially hate what you did to me.  I hate what I became today—an accomplice to mass murder, a killer of all that was innocent, a killer of exactly what we came here to protect.  I am ashamed of all of you, and especially ashamed of myself.  I can’t associate with any of you anymore.  I’m leaving.”  Teresa turned and walked back down the street.

“Are you loaded?  Here use mine.  Do it here in public.  A lesson needs to be taught to the rest of the group,”  Juan said in a voice as cool as a cucumber.  Sam received the gun that had been slung over Juan’s arm.

Sam stared at the gun nodded, “Yeah.”

Sam turned and began to walk quickly over to Teresa, who simply walked down the gravel street in no hurry.

“Sam, what are you doing?  You’re not actually listening to this nozzle,” Al yelled flabbergasted.

Sam stopped and raised his gun to her back.

“Teresa,” Sam said in a loud voice.  In the middle of the road, Teresa froze and slowly turned around.

“Run!” Sam screamed.

Teresa smiled at him and ran behind the nearest building.

“Damn it, Pablo!  After her, now!” screamed an irate Juan to the rest of the Sendero.

Spraying bullets on the gravel road, Sam spun around.  The group of Sendero all froze.  Sam had to buy time.

“Way to go, Sam.  Show them who is boss,” Al yelled out his encouragement as he scanned the handlink.  “She needs more time Sam.  She needs to get far enough away so they won’t be able to find her.  She is running like mad and changing her course often.  But she needs time yet.”

Sam simply stood there waving his gun back and forth, trying to cover all of them.

“Pablo this was your cause, your entire life.  This is what we have been working day and night for the last five years.  What are you doing?” Juan asked vehemently.

“Letting her go,” Sam said calmly.

“Why!?” A blood red Juan yelled at him.

“Because it is what I do,” Sam said with a smile.

“Get him!!” yelled Juan.  A number of the members of the Sendero took a step towards him.  Sam sprayed the ground with bullets just ahead of them; this stopped them all in their tracks.

Juan pulled a .38 special from a hip pocket and pointed it straight at Sam.

“Drop the gun, Pablo!” Juan yelled.

“Promise not to chase after Teresa,” Sam responded.

“You are in no position to bargain!”  Juan yelled red in the face.

Al jumped up and down.  “Shoot him Sam!  Shoot him!  He’s going to kill you!  Shoot him Sam!” Al was frantic.

“How far away is she?” asked Sam.

Juan looked quizzically at him. 

Sam no longer cared what any of them thought anymore.

“She needs a few more minutes to get a few more blocks to make 100% sure, Sam,” Al said reluctantly.

“Then he will shoot me,” said Sam.

“You’ve shot before.  Remember your leap to Vietnam,” Al pleaded, “Just shoot him.”

“No, I can’t,” Sam shook his head.

“Why not?”

“Because I am not at war.  And because Pablo believes in what he is doing,” Sam said. “This is my only way to be true to him and save Teresa.”

“Sorry, Pablo,” Juan said a second before he pulled the trigger.

Al jumped in the way of the bullet; it passed right through him to strike Sam in the upper chest.  Sam fell over backwards sending out a spray of bullets into the air as he fell.  None of the group moved.

Juan walked over to Sam.

“Don’t you come any where close to him you nozzle!  I swear…” Al kneeled by Sam his arms reaching out to touch him, crying.

“Look here.  This is what happens to non-believers.  This is a very powerful lesson,” Juan said with a mixture of sadness and giddiness.

The bullet had entered high on Sam’s chest but ricocheted into the body, glancing off a rib, puncturing a lung and now he was bleeding internally.  Through gasping breath and with the taste of blood in his mouth Sam was only able to utter one request.  “Tell me about Teresa.”

Al looked down at the handlink.  Through tears Al smiled, “She's made it Sam.  She's made it.  She makes it back to the States.  She gets back into school.  Sam, she becomes a psychologist for children who have gone through traumatic events.”

Sam smiled up at Al.  Al continued to talk; Sam can no longer focus on the words.  It’s weird that he felt no pain and was suddenly so tired.  A strange silence crept over the world.  In that moment two events happen simultaneously:  Paul Andrew Wendle took his last breath and Dr. Samuel John Beckett leaped.




Dr. Sam Beckett, quantum physicist, was in the static blue-white nexus once more, resting between his time-traveling missions to put right what once went wrong.  He could feel nothing physically at the moment, just the sensation of not being bound by the laws of gravity.  Sam could not remember this place when he leaped nor the voice of the Other, the one who often spoke to him.  Those memories only stayed with him while in this stasis.

“Are you prepared?” the voice of the Other spoke to him.

“Am I going home?” Sam asked desperately, his desire to return to his own time as deep as ever.

“Not yet.  The objective is not yet accomplished,” came the reply in a tone that almost sounded stressful.  “You must leap.”

At that moment, Dr. Beckett could feel the twisting sensation enveloping him, and his world began swirling, swirling, until the familiar faint whining sound grew, and once again, he found himself in the past, his body occupying the aura of yet another host.

The time-traveler thought the effect of the leaping was taking longer than usual to wear off from the noise that still reverberated in his ears.  However, when Sam’s physical senses finally kicked in, he discovered that the sound of a crowd cheering was the new clamor.  He was not expecting, however, to find himself sliding, nor holding on to something that was sliding in front of him, almost dragging him along.  The cold air around Sam was a shocking change of temperature to his skin, and as he looked closer to his surroundings, he realized that he was gliding down a large stretch of ice.

“What are you doing, Jerry?!  Let go of the stone!” a voice called out from in front of him to his left.  Frantic, the leaper began trying to stop himself as he released the large, round object that he was holding onto by its handle, and ended up falling onto his side.  Sam spun like a top, crashing into the guy who jeered at him, who instantly joined Sam at ground level, unfortunately using the physicist as a landing pad. The crowd’s cheering turned to laughter and sounds of sympathy.

Letting out a sound of pain at the other man’s elbow digging into his ribs as he stood up, Sam was relieved when another person came over and dragged him off the ice.

“Great, the stone didn’t even make it anywhere close!  What’s wrong with you?” the rib-jabber complained, and glared at Sam.  Embarrassed, Sam Beckett moved his gaze to the ground and muttered, “Oh, boy.” 


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