Episode 1118
Eternal Shadows: The Emergence 

February 13, 2006

Hope Springs, Virginia



Sam’s present and the project’s future are thrown into a new twist as an old threat surfaces from a virus program that an obsessed computer whiz hacked.

Written By:

M. J. Cogburn  




Finding himself back in Hope Springs, Virginia, Sam leaps into several people only to find out that Paige Ilene Arlyss has been trying to crack a virus that landed on her computer.  Paige persists to look for answers in any way that she can; even going as far as researching Dr. Samuel Beckett.  As her interest in the virus continued, her father, Isaac Lane talked with General Hawkins about what she had found.  Now, Sam’s present and the Project’s future are thrown into a new twist, as Sam is about to visit the other project.





“Have… have you told anyone else about this?” Sam questioned in her hold.


Paige leaned back from him.  “Yes sir, I told Shepherd, but he doesn’t know much about computers.  He… he’s just a guy who wants to take me to the Enchantment Under The Sea Dance.”


“Okay.  Let’s leave this alone until we know more about it,” he told her then glanced back at the computer screen as she came back into the circle of his arms.


While in her embrace, Sam turned his head toward the monitor to see the question up on the screen – a question that had been taunting him since he had talked with the enigmatic bartender:


Where would Sam Beckett most likely want to go?


‘Home’, he answered to himself.  ‘What’s going on?  What’s this all about?’ he wondered as he looked up at Al who had cupped his hand against his cheek.  Releasing Paige, Sam smiled at her then glanced once more at the computer.  “All right.  I know that you’ve burnt the midnight oil and probably at both ends.  So… off to bed with you.”  He saw the look on Paige’s face and he shook his head negatively.  “No arguments, young lady.  You and I both have a busy day tomorrow.”


Paige’s lips thinned slightly before they came into a grin at his reminder.  Leaning forward, she placed a kiss on his cheek.  “Yes sir.  I’ll take my bath and then go straight to bed.”


Standing up, Sam glanced around the messy room then with a wide berth of his hand said, “And then tomorrow, when you get home from school, why don’t we work on bulldozing some of this into where it needs to go?”


Paige giggled, “Okay.  I’ll clean my room.  Night, Daddy.”


“Good night, Paige,” Sam said and started to go to the door and motioned for Al to follow him. 


Al did as requested and relocated himself out into the hallway as Sam shut the door to Paige’s room to give her privacy.  “This is some hinky stuff, Sam.  I don’t know who would have written a program like what we just saw.  But whoever did it… they knew what they were doing.”


“I know,” Sam agreed.  He bit at the inside of his cheek for a moment then shook his head then sighed.  “Well, we can’t do anything until tomorrow.  Might as well get a good night’s sleep and prepare.”


Al’s eyebrow arched up and a grin spread across his face.  “You aren’t going to go uhm… play doctor with Dianne, are you, Sam?”


Sam opened his mouth to respond, closed it and crossed his arms over his chest as he gave Al a look of disdain. 


“Well, that’s what it looked like you planned on doing earlier with her.”  Al waved his hand up in the air and shrugged his shoulders.  “All right, already.  I’ll go get some sleep.  You do the same.  Sleep – that is.”  Al shot a stubby finger up toward the Quantum Physicist and shook it several times before he pulled up the Imaging Chamber.  “Goodnight, Sam,” he tossed back over his shoulder.


“Night, Al,” Sam said then turned and headed toward Isaac Lane’s bedroom.




Stallion’s Gate, New Mexico

Project Quantum Leap

February 13, 2006



The clatter of the alarm clock woke Admiral Calavicci from his slumber.  He frowned as he reached for the annoying noisemaker and slapped at the snooze button before rolling over and snuggling up to the sleeping form of his wife.  A small smile appeared on his face as he felt her move back against him, then heard a definite sigh.  Al licked his lips, nestled his head back on the pillow and was already on the verge of falling back to sleep when he heard the irritating voice of the parallel-hybrid computer.


“Admiral Calavicci,” Ziggy’s voice crooned into the room almost motherly.  “Admiral Calavicci, it’s time to wake up.  Remember, today you get a sneak peek into the complex that General Hawkins has made.”


Although Al wished he could stay in bed with Beth, he knew he couldn’t – especially when he had an opportunity like this one.  Opening his eyes, he sighed heavily then placed a kiss on Beth’s shoulder before he vacated the bed.

After a quick shower, shave, and adorning himself with a multicolored suit that would have made Bozo the Clown smile in appreciation, Al snuck out of his personnel quarters and headed down toward the Imaging Chamber.  As he walked, his mind reviewed over everything that had happened within the last couple of months and he shook his head.  With the way General Hawkins had swiped in and taken control, he wondered who had been the think tank on this new project.  Sure, there were any number of intelligent people out there in the world to think up something along the lines of Time Travel, but a constant thought nagged at Al.  How did he get it done so quickly?’ he wondered. 


Entering Central Control, Al brightened when he saw Dominic Lofton leaning against Ziggy’s mainframe, his back to the door.  Although Dominic hadn’t been with the project long, Al had already a soft place for the man who had replaced St. John.  It didn’t hurt that Aurora cooked some of the best Puerto Rican food around.


“… I don’t know, Ziggy.  If he finds out, I…”


“Who finds out what?” Al questioned as he started toward the mainframe.


Dominic quickly spun on his heel and turned to look at Admiral Calavicci, his eyes wide, blinking.  He looked down away from Al quickly as he tried to think of something to say; but nothing came to him.  “Nothing to be concerned with, Al,” he finally managed to say as he put his hand on his heart.  “You could give a person some warning.  You scared me to death,” he said solemnly.


Al frowned.  “Sorry, Dom.  Didn’t mean to scare,” he managed to say as he grabbed the handlink from its resting place.  “Let’s fire this puppy up.  I’m ready to see what I’m up against.”




Hope Springs, Virginia

February 13, 2006


At precisely 5:45, Sam’s eyes popped open and he immediately jumped out of bed and headed toward the shower.  He wasn’t sure if it was that he really wanted to wake up or if it was routine for Isaac Lane.  Either way, he was glad to be up and about and in the kitchen making breakfast when the Imaging Chamber opened to reveal the multi-colored hologram. 


“Hey, Sammy boy.  Whatcha doing?”


“Breakfast,” Sam said as he broke an egg on the side of a bowl then threw the eggshell away.  Seeing that his bacon was done, Sam scooped it up and placed it on a paper towel to drain before he said, “Since it’s going to be a long day, might as well start off with a good breakfast.”  He poured the beaten egg mixture into the hot pan, then said as he raised the spatula up toward Al, “Mom always said…”


“Grandma always said, what?” Paige asked as she stepped into the kitchen dressed in jeans and a red sweater.


“To start the day with a good meal,” Sam said as he gave her a frown as if she didn’t remember that. 


Paige nodded thoughtfully at her stepfather then shook her head slightly as if to blow him off.  “So, are you ready for me to show this program to your boss?”


“Hawkins will have a conniption fit when he finds out that it’s about you, Sam,” Al remarked as Paige brought up the subject that he wanted to talk about.


Sam nodded at both of their words.  “Yes, I think that he might be interested in what you’ve got there.”  Sam scooped some of the scrambled eggs out of the pan, placed them on a plate.  Putting two pieces of bacon and a piece of toast on the plate, he then handed it over to Paige.   “Go ahead and start eating.”


Paige looked down at the plate of food handed to her.  “What made you decide to cook this morning?  I mean mom usually is the one who cooks breakfast.  Is… she isn’t sick is she?” Paige asked concerned as she sat down at the table.


“No, she’s not sick,” Sam replied as he glanced down intently at the pan before him.


“Sam?” Al asked wickedly and noticed how the Quantum Physicist was doing everything in his power not to look up at his holographic partner. 


“Ohh, honey, you didn’t have to cook breakfast.”


The trio looked up to see Dianne Lane coming into the kitchen, her hair in a tangled mess and dressed in only her robe.  Dianne tightened the robe a little before she walked over to her daughter and kissed her on the cheek.  “Good morning, sunshine.  Your father isn’t torturing you with his rendition of food, is he?”


“Actually, mom, it’s not too bad this morning.  You must be teaching him something, right.”


“Ohh ha ha ha,” Sam remarked before Dianne came over to him and gave him a good morning kiss. 


Giving him a sideways hug, Dianne purred loudly to him, “Last night was incredible!”


“Sam!  You dog!”  Al responded in surprise.


“Dianne,” Sam said a bit self-conscious as he glanced over at Paige who began to grin like the Cheshire Cat.


“Well, it was and I’m not going to hide that.  I mean, come on Isaac, you have to do that for Paige.  I’m sure that she’d appreciate it, especially after some of the hard days that she has.”


An odd look fell over Al’s face and he did an abrupt about face to look at Dianne.  “What!?”


Sam tried not to laugh as he set two plates of food down, and then shook his head as he went to get drinks for the three of them.  “Well, that’s only if she wants me to,” Sam said off-handedly as he got the milk from the refrigerator and poured three glasses for them to drink.


“What?!” Al exclaimed again in bewilderment.


Paige looked up expectantly at Sam as he came back to the table.  “Last night after I talked with you, your mother had a really bad cramp at the bottom of her foot.  I massaged it out then gave her a back massage.”


Al rolled his eyes then turned in a circle away from Sam as he waved a dismissive hand toward his friend.  “A true blue saint,” he murmured.


“Maybe another day, Dad,” Paige said as she smiled at her mother.  “And you’d better hurry up and eat.  I’m ready to go and you’ve just started.”


“Run on up and do any last minute fixings to makeup or whatever,” Sam said as he ducked his head toward his food.  “I’ll be done by the time you get back and then we’ll go, okay?”


“All right,” Paige replied as she took her dishes to the sink then headed upstairs.


Dianne watched as Paige left the room, stood and crossed over to her husband.  She slid in between him and the table, settling on his lap.  Pulling his cheek toward her, she smiled at him. 


“Dianne, I need to finish eating,” Sam said softly as he felt her fingers begin to unbutton the shirt he was wearing.  “She’ll be back down in just a minute,” he warned. 


“I know,” she said softly as the tiptop of her fingers lightly ran over his chest.  “You were so romantic last night… I just hope that it continues on for the rest of the day,” she said with a smile.  “Remember… you don’t need to bring any homework home tonight.  You got it, Mr. Lane?”


Sam swallowed the little bit of food he had in his mouth then was surprised when she kissed him yet again with urgency. 


“This is sooo not fair,” Al remarked as he watched the couple.  “I had to leave Beth in bed…”


Moving away from Dianne, Sam put his finger on her lips trying to stop her from reaching for him yet again.  “Honey, I’ve got to go.  You know how Hawkins can get and I don’t want to get on his bad side.”


A pout came over Dianne’s features but she reluctantly got up from Sam’s lap.  Standing, Sam took his dishes to the sink then turned to see Paige standing in the doorway.  “You ready?” he asked with a grin.


“It’s about time,” Al murmured.


Casting a glance Al’s way, Sam smirked then started toward Paige.  Smiling at her, he said, “You got everything you need to show this thing to General Hawkins?”


“Sure do,” Paige said enthusiastically.  “It’s in my bag.”  Paige gave the bag in her possession a small pat then glanced over at her mother.  “Mom, Shepherd will call this morning when he realizes that I’m not at school.  Could you please let him know that I’m okay?”


“Sure thing sweetie,” Dianne said with a smile, then pursed her lips in thought.  “You know.  If he cares that much for you then maybe…”


“Mom… don’t start,” Paige complained.


“Okay, okay.  I was just going to say is if he’s so concerned that you should at least give it a try.  Trying it out won’t hurt.”


Paige rolled her eyes at her mother’s comment.  “Okay,” she said softly before she turned back to her stepfather.  “You ready to go?”  Paige asked looking for an escape out of her mother’s scrutiny.


“I’m ready,” Sam said.


Quickly, Paige headed out the door.  Sam began to follow but he stopped at the hand that caught his arm.  Turning, he smiled at Dianne and kissed her lightly on the nose.  “I’ll see you tonight, honey.”


“You better, sweet cheeks.  The night is planned out…” Dianne said as her eyebrows went up and down suggestively. 


“Ohh boy,” Sam said softly before Dianne snuggled up into his arms. 


“I love you, Isaac.”


“I love you, too.”  When Dianne looked up into his face, Sam couldn’t help the feelings that overwhelmed him for the woman in his arms.  Leaning down, he let the emotions carry him away as he swept her up into a passionate kiss.


“Sam…” Al said then pursed his lips in humor as he watched his best friend getting caught up in the moment.  Deciding to try for another tactic, Al cleared his throat.  “Sam, Paige is waiting out in the car… and uhm, Hawkins is waiting for you at work.”


Hearing Hawkins’ name, Sam broke the kiss and leaned back to look at Dianne in his embrace.  “Ohh, I’ve got to go.”  Seeing the pout that came up on her face, Sam leaned down and kissed her lightly once more before releasing his hold on her.  “I’ll… I’ll see you tonight.”


Dianne smiled sweetly at him as he quickly turned and left the house to go to work.





Sam entered the car and slightly blushed under Paige’s gaze before he started the car and pulled out of the driveway.  Sam tried to think of something to say to the teen, but Paige instigated the conversation.


“I don’t understand why she has to try to give me advice on boys.  I mean, geez, I had a boyfriend…”


“And from what I remember of the boy, he’s a jerk,” Sam replied abruptly.  He frowned then turned his head toward her to see Paige begin to nod her head.  He was glad that he wasn’t off the mark on that one.  Thanking Isaac for the information, he said, “I just want you to know one thing, Paige.  You’ve first got to accept who you are and how you perceive yourself.  Once you’ve done that… if you like what you see… then don’t listen to anyone else’s thoughts.  What’s inside is the most important thing that matters, right?”


As Sam heard the directions from Al on how to get from the Lane’s house to work, Sam glanced over at Paige to see her in thought.  Reaching over and tapping her hand lightly under his, he said, “I know that you don’t want your mother messing in your love life, however, your mother has had many boyfriends and has also had more experience than you have. You may want to follow her advice.” 


Seeing the slight nod, Sam turned his attention back to the road as he drove toward the facility known to the townspeople of Hope Springs, Virginia, as Hanswik Industries. As they passed the town square, Sam heard Al tell him what Ziggy had dug up on the site itself.


“According to the Chamber of Commerce records, Hanswik Industries is a series of warehouses that are being used for government storage.  What a name.  He could have thought up something more original instead of making an anagram of his name… but then again, look at whom we’re talking about.  What a maroon,” Al remarked, sounding a bit like Bugs Bunny in his description of General Hawkins.  As they approached the complex, Al blinked at the sight before him.  He couldn’t believe what he was seeing. 


Before them, the warehouses that had once been owned by an illusive drug dealer were now bound inside an electronic fence with curled barbwire atop it.  The manned guard station that sat outside of the electronic fence was adorned with symbols of the American Government and as Sam approached it, even he was surprised at the thoroughness of the setup.  Hawkins obviously didn’t want anyone surprising him.


Sam pulled up next to the guard station and rolled down the window to look up at the security guard who stepped out of the station. 


“Morning.  May I see your ID?” the young man asked as he scanned the occupants of the car.  “I’ll need to see her ID as well.”


Sam nodded as he turned his attention to Paige as she began to dig into her bag for her driver’s license.  Handing it over to her father, she swallowed as she watched Sam hand her license to the guard. 


“She’s with me, Lieutenant.  General Hawkins knows that she’s coming,” Sam responded when the guard’s eyebrow rose as he looked at her license. 


“What business does a teenager have in…” the guard began as he handed back both of their license’s back.


Sam snatched them away from the guard interrupting him. “Never you mind her business, Lieutenant, unless you want to get your nose into the General’s business.  Do you?”


“No sir, Mr. Lane.”  Reaching inside the station, he pushed the unlocking mechanism to open the gate for the car to pass through.  “Have a good day, sir.”


“That kid must have a death warrant to even think about messing with the General’s business,” Al remarked from the back seat.


Sam gave the guard one more good glare before he rolled up the window and slowly pulled away from the station as he held out Paige’s license back to her.  Hearing her blow out her breath, Sam looked over at her curiously as she put her license back into her wallet.  “He’s new,” Sam remarked off-handedly.  “Sorry, Paige.  That was just S. O. P.”


“S. O. P.?” she asked, her brow furrowing slightly.


“Standard Operating Procedure.”


Paige nodded then swallowed as the car came to a stop at the building.  She couldn’t believe that she was going to show what she had found to someone with such high authority: a general.  Even as she glanced back from their parking space, she was even more nervous than she cared to admit.  Swallowing, she got out of the car, straightened her sweater then smiled slightly at her father as he came to her side to walk her up to the building.


“Don’t worry,” Sam said simply.  “You’ll do just fine.”


“I hope so.”


At the front door another security detail paced slightly back and forth, his eyes constantly searching the grounds for anything out of the ordinary.  As the car pulled into a parking space, he kept close watch on them and waited for the two to exit the car before he planted himself firmly at the bottom of the steps that led up to the entrance of Hanswik Industries ready to question the reason why anyone would need to enter the premises.  “May I ask your… oh, Mr. Lane.  I apologize sir.”  Stepping aside, the tall muscular young man stepped aside to let the pair start up the steps.


Sam nodded appropriately to the guard, and then tapped him approvingly on the shoulder as he passed by.  The guard slightly grinned at the praise then immediately took his position yet again. 


The squawk of his walkie-talkie going off at his shoulder brought him to attention and he immediately turned around as he listened to the other end of the radio crackle in his ear.  “As soon as Mr. Lane and his daughter show up, Ms. Lane needs to be blindfolded.”


Blinking, the young guard took several steps to catch up with Sam and Isaac Lane’s stepdaughter.  “Excuse me, Mr. Lane.  There is a requirement that I must do before you may enter the building, sir.”


“And that would be?” Sam asked as he turned back to the young man.


“The General has ordered that Ms. Lane be blindfolded before she enters the complex.”


Paige frowned as she glanced between the two men before her.  “Blindfold me?”  She turned her head back to Sam then tilted her head to the side. “Why would I need to be blindfolded before I entered a governmental storage facility?”


Al nodded his head then said, “You know, Sam, she’s right. She shouldn’t have to be blindfolded.  That’s just going to raise questions and a lot of flags on her part.”


Sam licked at his lips as he thought about her question.  Crossing his arms, he said, “Well, dear, you have to realize that we have a lot of things here that shouldn’t be seen.  I’m sure that General Hawkins just wants to keep everything confidential as it has always been.  I know that it sounds silly or odd to you, but if you wouldn’t mind….”


Paige’s lips flattened into a thin line before she clicked her tongue and sighed heavily.  “I guess not.”


Sam smiled at the young lady before him.  “Thank you.”


Paige smiled wanly as she watched the guard bound up the steps and enter the building.  He quickly re-emerged from it with a blindfold in his hands and approached her. 


“May I help you with it?” the guard asked sheepishly with a  small smile.


Paige nodded then turned around and waited patiently as he slipped the blindfold over her head.  Making sure that she couldn’t see him waving his arm lowly at her side, the guard looked over at Sam and nodded approvingly.


Sam approached Paige then took her by the arm and led her slowly up the steps to the entrance of the old building.  As they walked slowly toward the entrance, Al heard the handlink bleep and looked down at the information that Ziggy was giving him.


“Ziggy says that the reason why you leaped here is in this building, Sam.  She can’t ascertain what it might be.”


Sam nodded his head as he opened the door of the building and started to go in before he helped Paige in through the door.  Once he made sure that Paige was in a safe place, Sam leaned toward his holographic partner then whispered lowly, “Floor plans, would be great here, Al.  Do we have any?”


“Uh… no.  No floor plans.  So… let’s just take the grand tour, shall we?”


As both men started across the large open area of the main warehouse, both of them noticed how the warehouse was crawling with armed guards.  Their eyes scanned the building thoroughly.  Sam somewhat remembered Darius Dreck’s warehouse, but he couldn’t believe how many guards were now stationed at the upper levels of the building that now looked like they had been converted into computer rooms and surveillance suites. 


Sam looked at the back wall and saw a metal staircase that led to the upper levels.  Close by were large, wide stacks of crates that piled up to the ceiling and drew his attention.   He felt strangely pulled toward them and knew that he needed to go to them.  Making sure that Paige was securely at his side, he patted her arm gently and headed toward the wall.


“Someone definitely has an obsessive compulsive disorder,” Al murmured as he turned around in a circle looking at the warehouse as well as the personnel inside of it.  “Even the President doesn’t have this much gun powder protecting his… Sam… where you going?”  Al asked.


Without thinking about what he was doing, Sam walked up to the farthest crate on the right hand side then slid a small secret panel on one of the crates to reveal elevator controls.  Turning his head to find Al standing by, Sam winked at him then hit the button.


“How’d you know about…?” Al began. 


Sam shrugged his shoulders and leaned slightly over to see if anything happened.  A moment later, the front panels of two of the four bottom crates slid up to reveal an open elevator car.  “Keep with me, Paige.  I know that it’s a long way… but bear with me, okay?”


“All right,” she said softly.


The elevator car slowly slid downward.  “They must have dug out floors or something underneath this dump,” Al said as the elevator came to a stop and the doors opened to reveal another guarded narrow hallway.  The marine guard snapped a salute, and then fell back into position.  “Okay, maybe he’s neurotic,” Al said as both men began the walk to what appeared to be another elevator at the end of the hall. 


As Sam passed by each room that was on this level, he noticed the signs on the doors: Division 1, Division 2, Security, and Break room.  As they reached the elevator, Sam pushed the call button and waited only a moment for the elevator to arrive; entered it with his entourage then went on his way.  The ride was short and when Sam stepped out with Paige on his arm expecting to be in the right place, he saw yet another hallway with two Marine guards blocking the doorway at the far end.  Sam was beginning to feel a bit overwhelmed with the overabundance of guards that were used and knew deep down that something else was going on in this complex that someone didn’t want to own up to.


The guards saluted Isaac Lane as Sam placed his hand on an identification scanner mounted on the wall by the door.  The small red light above the scanner turned green and the door slid to the side with a whoosh.  The sound was so familiar that Al had to do a double take to make sure that he hadn’t been sent back to Project Quantum Leap.


As they entered the room, both men were awe struck by the lustrous Control Room.  Computer consoles were everywhere as were numerous technicians scurrying around as they double-checked wiring and connections, as well as performing diagnostic checks.  One of the technicians, who were working in the middle of the Control Room, shimmied out from underneath the multi-colored rectangular cube.  Al couldn’t help but stare at it amazed at how it looked like Ziggy.  As he studied it a bit more, Al realized that it was Ziggy’s outer hull of her mainframe – hell for that matter, it could be Ziggy.  Al pointed to the mainframe and shook his head and blinked as did Sam until Al blurted, “What the… oh shit… no… oh no… Dominic!”


The technician that scurried out from under the console of the mainframe popped up and Al immediately recognized him.  “Sam!  That’s David Watkins.  He’s Arnold Watkins grandson.  Remember… the Midnight Marauder… his grandson!  David even trained under Dominic at the project. God… what’s going on around here?  What did that pompous egotistical ass of a General do?  Steal the whole damn project?” Al questioned with a shake of his head and debated on going back to the Project to interrogate Dominic Lofton on what the hell had happened, but he knew that if he left that he would miss out on what that disc held.  He was torn, but he knew that he would have to withstand it for a little while.


Sam couldn’t answer the questions that Al was asking, but just from what he could recall of his own project, the rooms were strikingly familiar.  The one thing that seemed different were the windows that slanted out to the front of the room.  Taking Paige with him, Sam walked over to the windows and looked down.  His mouth opened in awe as he realized what he could recall from the residual of Isaac Lane as well as what he could visually see.


As he peered out of the thick glass windows, Sam got a good glimpse of the main project below him.  It was like being in a press box looking out over a hockey rink.  In this case, the Imaging Chamber Grid appeared to be in a pit below.  The door between the two sets of glass windows in the Control Room led out to a narrow walkway ledge with railings that traveled all around the chamber, leading to an elevator on the right side that led down to the Imaging Chamber below.  At the elevator, Marine guards paced slightly back and forth, guarding it from any intruders.  Sam was sure that the Accelerator Chamber was close by, but there was one thing in the giant room that caught his attention and held it: suspended above the pit was a giant blue sphere.  “Ziggy,” he uttered so softly that he wasn’t sure that he had even said it.  Turning his head back from where he had come, he saw the smaller orb that was affixed to the middle of the Control Room and shook his head.  General Hawkins hadn’t just stolen a part of his project… he’d taken it all.


“I can’t believe this!” Al uttered as he glanced around the Control Room.  “Nothing is sacred to that man.  Nothing!” he said as he caught sight of computer terminals that housed video monitors that showed live video feeds from the Accelerator and the Imaging Chamber Grid. 


Turning slightly away from the windows, Sam looked around the room uncertain of where exactly to go from here.  Taking Paige by the arm once more, he walked slightly toward the mainframe to talk to David Watkins, but the younger man was nowhere to be seen, however, a very attractive, voluptuous, leggy female was bending slightly over the mainframe looking at what seemed to be blueprints very carefully.


If Al hadn’t been so flummoxed over the information stolen from Project Quantum Leap, he might have said something shoddy about the way that the blonde was stretched out over the console of the mainframe.  Instead, he frowned at the piece of paper that she seemed to be staring at.


“The blueprints!  Sam!  Damn, those are the blueprints for Quantum Leap!” Al growled lowly and tried to grab at the paper; his holographic hand unable to grab the paper that was precious to him.  He hissed and kicked at the mainframe, but his foot went through it just as his hand had through the paper.


Their footprints must have startled the blonde and she quickly stood and turned her attention to them.  “What are you doing, Isaac?  Who is this?  You know the rules about…” she began impatiently.


“She’s my daughter,” Sam said straightforwardly, “and we were called down here by General Hawkins.”


“He’s going to take a look at the computer disc virus that I have,” Paige said plainly as she turned her head toward her father, her eyes still veiled behind the blindfold.


The blonde tilted her head at the words then asked coyly, “Virus?  What disc virus?”


“The one that most people are calling Inconspicuous.  Rather an interesting program… it has some very interesting soft parameters… and it’s all about…”


“Paige, wait until we get to the Conference Room,” Sam suggested, not sure if the woman needed to know about the information on the disc or not.


“Paige, is it?” the blonde asked with a grin as she moved to stand before the young woman.  “My name is Lexia -- Lexia Stafford.  Come.  I’ll help you to the Conference Room and you can show us what you mean about this virus.”  Lexia stepped up and placed her hand on Paige’s arm and began to lead her away from Sam.  Giving him a small smile, she said as she started back toward the large window that led out above the Imaging Chamber Grid, “I have just the computer for you to use.”


Sam followed the pair of women out onto the metal frame that surrounded the top of the Imaging Chamber Grid.  Lexia turned left and walked to the end of the small walkway to the door clearly marked, ‘Conference Room’.   Sam glanced at Al before he followed the ladies inside. 


Only after Sam was sure that there wasn’t anything in the room that Paige shouldn’t see did he finally take the blindfold off of Isaac Lane’s stepdaughter.  “Lexia, could you inform General Hawkins that we have arrived?”


Lexia looked at Sam as if he had gone out of his mind.  A look that plainly said, ‘What do you think I am – your secretary?’ was shot at him but that quickly changed.  Lexia walked over to the phone, picked it up, gave Sam one more scornful look then phoned the General.


“General Hawkins?  Yes, sir,” Lexia said impatiently.  “Sir, Mr. Lane has securely brought his daughter to the conference room.”  There was a long pause before Lexia turned to look at the pair in the room and smiled.  “Yes, sir.  I’ll get it and set it out for use, sir.  Not a problem.”  Hanging up, Lexia turned to the duo in the room.  “General Hawkins will be right down.”


Paige nodded simply then watched as Lexia Stafford went to the cabinet and pulled out a laptop as well as the other essentials needed to set it up.  “Care to help a lady out?” Lexia asked as she turned to Sam.


Paige watched as her stepfather helped with setting up the laptop and swallowed and hoped that she wouldn’t get too nervous to explain what she had found out so far.  True, she hadn’t officially cracked it, but without some help, no one would know what the virus actually held in it. 


Walking to the end of the conference table, Paige opened up her purse and pulled out the disc that held the information that they were trying to crack.  “What information do you hold?” she asked it softly then lightly tapped the crystalline casing around it.  “What am I going to learn this time about Dr. Samuel Beckett?” she said simply.





General Hawkins had watched Isaac Lane from the moment he had entered the complex with his daughter.  He didn’t like it anymore than he liked the project in New Mexico saying that ‘God, Time, Fate, Whatever’ was sending Samuel Beckett to fix people’s lives.  The idea was preposterous.  So was this idea that a virus found on a teenager’s computer was so damnable interesting, but he had said that he would listen.


As he walked to the conference room, he was already set to just amuse the child and then push her out the door.  Straightening his tie slightly, General Hawkins opened the door of the conference room and placed on an insipid expression then entered.


“General Hawkins,” Lexia Stafford said as she went to his side.  “This is Ms. Paige Lane.”


“Arlyss,” Paige corrected slightly as she went with her father to stand in front of the General to shake his hand.  “It’s a pleasure to meet you, General.”

General Hawkins shook her hand then motioned to the table.  “Go ahead and have a seat, Ms. Arlyss.”


Settling down into the chair opposite of the man in charge of Hanswik Industries, Paige Arlyss gave the older man a small smile.  She was ready to show him what she had on the disc that she had copied from her computer, but she wondered if he already knew what was on it already. 


“So, tell me, Ms. Arlyss, what did you find?”


“Well, I’ve found something very interesting.”  Paige swallowed and then cleared her throat.  Licking her lips, she added, “It may be something that may reveal a secret operation that is in existence that the general public doesn’t know about.”


General Hawkins eyebrow arched slightly.  “Really?  Why do you think that, Ms. Arlyss?”


“What’s she doing, Sam?”  Al asked as he moved around toward Paige where she sat behind the closed laptop computer.


Sam half shrugged his shoulders at Al’s comment as he slightly tilted his head to the side and listened to Paige Arlyss talk about what she knew.


“Do you realize, General Hawkins, that there are people out in the world who believe in a Time Travel project?  That a man, a Quantum Physicist named Sam Beckett, has been time traveling in the past putting things right that once went wrong?”


Paige looked up at the older man who was sitting on the other side of the table.  The look on his face was one that she had seen before.  It was a look of contempt mixed with uncertainty and utter shock.  She had seen that look on other faces before, but seeing it on his face told her just as much as the others had.  She had hit a nerve.


Hawkins settled back in his chair and tried to wipe the astonishment from his features and shot a look to Lexia Stafford as she sat down in the chair next to him, a small smile on her face.  A quick small patronizing smirk appeared on his face as he asked, “Don’t tell me that you’ve been reading those newspapers, Ms. Arlyss.  Have you been reading those small nonconformist media tabloids, like the Inquisitor, have you?”


“I don’t read trash, General Hawkins,” Paige answered letting her eyes speak volumes, but keeping her voice respectful as she stood up and pushed the chair back away from the conference table.  “I do, however, know how to crack the code.  I did it with this virus… somewhat…  and if you don’t want to listen, then I’m wasting my time.”


“Paige,” Sam called her name somewhat in fatherly reproach making her cast a glance toward him.


The door opened and two men walked in the door.  Everyone in the room turned to see who had entered before Paige turned her head back to her stepfather even though his eyes were focused on the two who had still entered the room, she had already had enough of the ostentatious man sitting in the chair opposite her. 


“Oh my God,” Al said as he blinked at the two men in shock.  “Tom?  J. T.? What… what the hell?  Why are they invited to this meeting?  They may work here… but… ”


“Why…” Sam started to ask but before he could even start his question to his brother and his nephew, Paige interrupted him.


“I’m not going to be criticized and treated like a child.  If he doesn’t want to listen… if he doesn’t want to know about what this virus could or may do… then he doesn’t have to know and I can take it to someone else in the government about Project Quantum Leap and Dr. Samuel Beckett.”


“Way to go, Paige, you tell ‘em,” Al said before he stopped himself then slapped his hand to his forehead.  “What am I saying?” he rebuked himself.


“I didn’t say that I didn’t want to hear about what you found.  It just sounded like a bunch of …” Hawkins began as he stood up from his chair as well.  He didn’t like where this was going and he didn’t want her to leave with such information.  She could jeopardize his complex.  He couldn’t have that happen.


“Why not listen to her, General Hawkins?” Lexia Stafford said softly at his elbow.  “She seems passionate about it… whatever it is.”


“Sam Beckett?  You found something that had Sam Beckett on it?” the younger man who had entered asked as he approached her.  Jonathan Thomas Beckett’s interest was piqued and he wanted to know more about what she had found.  What else is Uncle Sam into?’ he wondered.


“Yes, I did,” Paige answered him back as she eyed him warily.  “Why?  Who are you?”


J. T. held out his hand toward Paige and was surprised when she took it.   She didn’t look like she was into pleasantries at the moment.  “Jonathan Thomas Beckett.  Behind me is Captain Tom Beckett.  Dr. Sam Beckett is not only his younger brother, but he’s also my uncle,” J. T. answered plainly.  “Why don’t you show me what you found?  I’m very interested.”


Paige frowned as she turned her attention back to the General.  “Are you going to tell me that the information that I found about Project Quantum Leap and Dr. Samuel Beckett is all from the Inquisitor or some other type of scandalous magazine that needs to be banned?”


“I didn’t say that,” Hawkins said as he tried to defend himself.


“You implied it,” Paige said as she turned back to the older man.  “I don’t appreciate…”

“You better get a hold of your daughter, Lane,” General Hawkins said plainly, his level of tolerance wearing thin.


Paige gasped at the man then turned an accusing finger at him.  “Look, either you treat me with some respect, or I’m going to take this disc, walk out of this building and find someone who will listen to me.  Which do you want, General?”


“We can’t have that…” Lexia said as she stood up, trying to protect the complex.


“No,” J. T. said as he brought up his hand in alarm.  He wanted to hear what she had to say.


“Lane…” Hawkins warned.


Tom Beckett, who usually stood back and watched the scene around him before trying to jump into the conversation, took a moment to move toward the door meaning to stop any of the escaping flock.  “I’m sure that if we just settle down…” he began.


“This isn’t good, Sam,” Al said as he looked down at the handlink.  “She doesn’t need to spread more information…”


“She’s right,” Sam said plainly.


“What?” Hawkins, Al, and Paige said in unison.


“She’s right,” Sam repeated.  “She’s got the information. Why not listen to what she has to say instead of being condescending to her?”


“Lane,” Hawkins warned.


“Watch it, Sam.  You don’t want that one on your hind quarters.”


Sam grimaced as he looked at Al, and then gave Hawkins a look before he walked over to where Paige stood before motioning her back to her chair.  “Tell them what you learned, Paige.”


J. T. Beckett stepped toward Paige, wanting her to stay to show him what she had.  He motioned to the chair as well then sat in the chair beside it.  “I know that the two of us,” he motioned toward the brown-headed man behind him, “would like to know what you have learned, Ms. … uh… Ms…?” J. T. prompted.


“It’s Arlyss, but why would you want to know?  Don’t you know what your uncle has supposedly been doing?”


“You tell me,” J. T. said with a grin as he looked at her.


Paige tilted her head slightly to the side.  “Well, if what is on the Internet is true – then your uncle, Sam Beckett, is my new hero.”


“A hero?” Sam asked as he stepped back to look down at the teen before him with a new interest.


“Yes.  Well, to me, he would be.  Just… think about it.  If he’s putting things right that once went wrong… he’s changing history for those people.  Right?” She looked up to see Sam’s head bob slightly.  Turning her head back to the conference table, she said, “How is that so wrong?  I don’t know the danger or the consequence of altering time, but if this is what Sam Beckett is doing – letting people have more time with their families or helping people live out a more richer, fuller life… then bless him.  I mean take a look at this world that we live in.  You have to admit that it would be worth a shot to let the world be a better place.”


For a brief moment, the room was silent.


“Well, if you could change history, Paige, what would you do?” Tom Beckett asked as he settled into a chair at the end of the table.


Paige smiled at she looked at Tom Beckett.  “Oh, I don’t know, Mr… oh… Captain Beckett.  So many things could be done.  Favorite singers of mine saved… oh, and I don’t think that the world would be too bad if JFK was around for a little longer.” 


“Oh boy…” Al said softly as he remembered the leap where Sam had leaped in to save Jacqueline Onassis instead of John F. Kennedy.


Paige’s eyes slowly drifted down to the conference table as she said, “I guess if you want specific changes that I’d make, let me see… Lennon and Martin Luther King Jr. would still be dreaming, Elvis could shake his groove thing a bit longer, and,” Paige paused, her eyes slightly misting over, “… and my Dad…”


“This is preposterous,” Hawkins replied exasperatedly as he stood up from the table, his eyes rolling slightly at her words, not hearing what she was trying to say.


J. T. and Tom turned their attention to General Hawkins, grimaced then turned back to the teen that was still trying to talk.  J.T. even held up his hand to the General to try to get him to be quiet so that he could hear.


“My Dad…” Paige tried again a bit louder but was rudely interrupted again as she looked up at the balding man across from her.


Suddenly the air was amid a flutter of words from different sources. 


“Lane, get her out of…”


“Sam, this doesn’t look good.”


“General Hawkins, listen to her.”


Paige stood up so swiftly; she hadn’t realized she had overturned her chair behind her as she slammed her hand down on the conference table and glared at General Hawkins.  “MY DAD!” she got up over the din of the people talking in the room, making sure that she had the General’s attention.  “My Dad would still be alive.”  Her voice was filled with adamant passion and tears immediately shone in her eyes.  She met each person’s gaze then went directly back to General Hawkins, who seemed to be frozen in place like a deer caught in headlights.


Keeping her voice at an even keel, Paige Arlyss laid it out to the man before her as plainly and simply as she could.  “General Hawkins, you have a choice to make right here, right now.  You can sit quietly and listen to a teenager prattle on about what she found on the virus that was sent to her computer, or…” she began when she saw him open his mouth; she put up a hand to shut him up.  “Or you can be a pompous, egotistical, patronizing, sorry son of a bitch and I can take this damnable disc to… to whoever cares to have it and let them use whatever is on it to their benefit.  Which is it going to be, General?  Choose.”  Without having to look around, Paige knew that everyone in the room had their mouths hanging open in awe.


A low whistle was let loose, and the only one that couldn’t be seen or heard shook his head in amazement. “Out of the mouths of babes.”


The General’s nostrils flared in anger and resentment of being told off by a child.  He was absolutely flabbergasted that his staff had let the young lady talk to him the way that she had.  With a quick glance to the other personnel in the room who were stunned and the holographic observer who was rocking back and forth on his heels in sheer delight at the man’s misfortune, General Hawkins swallowed then sat back down in his chair opposite from Paige Arlyss.  “Well, then, why don’t you show us what you have on that disc that you are so threatening to take to someone else,” he said hauntingly.


Paige looked at him warily, one eyebrow arched up delicately as she stated, “I didn’t threaten you, sir.  I was stating a fact.  Now, if you are willing to listen…”


“Oooh, she’s walking a fine line there, Sam,” Al warned.  “She’s probably lucky that he doesn’t throw her out right now.”


Sam stepped forward, stooped to pick up the fallen chair and cleared his throat to get the young woman’s attention.  “Show them the program.  We’ll talk more about this… this episode when we get home.”


Paige pursed her lips knowing that she was in trouble for addressing the General in such a fashion, but she didn’t care.  She knew that he deserved every little bit that he got.  He was wrong.  She knew it and she was sure that the others in the room knew it as well; however, she didn’t show it as she said, “Yes sir,” to her stepfather and sat down in the chair. Opening her purse, she pulled out the crystalline holder; tucked her purse back under her then reached for the computer.


Lexia watched the young lady as she inserted the disc into the laptop.  “Tell me, Paige, where did you happen across this virus?”


“It was sent to me.  Norton Antivirus picked it up on an initial scan, but it doesn’t seem to do anything.  It didn’t replicate itself in any manner or try to for that matter.  It didn’t try to erase my hard drive.  It just didn’t do anything.  I did a little bit of research on this particular virus.  It was sent to many people throughout the world.  It’s labeled as: Inconspicuous.”  As Paige talked about the virus and how she received it, she explored the contents of the laptop to open the disc that held the virus program itself.  “This is where the fun began.  You know when I decided to try to crack it open to see what it was programmed to do.  That’s when I found the really interesting things on here that led me to research Dr. Beckett.” Stopping for a moment, Paige glanced around at the others in the room.  “If you’d like to gather around, you’ll be able to see what I’m talking about.”


As Tom, Lexia, Al, Sam and General Hawkins moved to stand closer to her, Paige continued talking.  Paige glanced at J. T. beside her as she said, “You know how programs can either have soft parameters or hard parameters?”


J. T. smiled as he nodded to her, his expression even becoming more enamored and excited as she began talking in a ‘language’ that he understood.


“Soft parameters?  Hard parameters?”  Tom Beckett asked with a frown.


“I’m sorry. Let me explain,” Paige began.  “Hard parameters, you have to have a password, period or you can’t get in.  Soft means that you feed it data to help you get into the system.  This virus package came with soft parameters.  You feed it the information and it walks you through several questions.”  Seeing Tom nod, she turned back to the laptop before her.


A moment later, Paige had the virus program up on the screen.  “Here we go.  Watch.”  Paige pushed a button and the question popped up on her screen as it had the other times:



Who has many experiences in their travels and

yet takes time for the prosperity of others?


Paige shook her head slightly as she looked at the computer screen.  “I put in all kinds of answers here, but that was before I did a search on the ‘net.  I took a chance.”  Paige typed in: Sam Beckett.


The computer’s screen went totally black, faded to a sparkling blue-white hue, and then suddenly it turned a brilliant blood red, and then went to a black screen once again.  Several of the people in the room closed in around Paige as they watched the screen.  A prompt appeared in the middle of the screen then the type printed out: 


Identify yourself.


Paige didn’t have any cause to not put her name behind the prompt and then immediately the question popped up as it had before and answered it the same way. 


Why are you interested in Sam Beckett?


As she entered the words into the computer, she spoke them aloud.  “I am interested in Sam Beckett to find out why he has assisted so many people in his travels.”


“This is the exact same thing that you did before?” J. T. asked softly as after she finished typing it in.


“You got it.  You ready?” she asked and seeing his slight nod, she hit the enter button then let the computer split into its own little world.  Again, the virus program split in two; the screen divided in half from top to bottom.  A request waited at the top and at the bottom a question. 


“Whoa,” Tom answered softly as he leaned in over his son’s shoulder.


“Sam, I really don’t like this,” Al said as he watched the way that the whole troupe was gathering around the computer.  “This isn’t like a game of Tomb Raider.  I have a bad feeling about this.”


“Well, this is where it gets a bit confusing here.  The top half of the screen starts requesting information about Sam Beckett that I don’t know all the answers to.  I was able to get through a little bit, but when the program realized that I couldn’t answer them anymore, it said, ‘Nicely done,’ then it started asking me questions that you just can’t answer.  It was playing with me.”


“I have the same feeling,” Sam answered Al softly not wanting to get the rest of the group interested in what he was telling his holographic partner in crime. 


“Playing with you?” General Hawkins asked, his voice totally in awe at what he was seeing.


“Yes.  It asked me how many seeds were in a watermelon.  It was a random question that can’t be answered.  Just a way for the programmer to irritate the snot out of a person who doesn’t have the answers for the top.  I… I think that the main purpose of this program is that it’s trying to find someone who knows the information in the top part so that it has the authorization to give the information it’s hiding.  Does that make sense?”


“You almost make it sound like it’s alive,” Lexia Stafford said softly, her voice giving away to the mesmerizing effect of what she was seeing on the laptop before her. 


“In essence… it is,” Paige said as she turned her head to Lexia with a grin. 


The tall blonde-headed programmer blinked and leaned forward on the conference table and smiled lightly.  “So, how far did you get?”


“Only a few… and they are random.  I’ve tried it often enough, I should know.”  Paige took a deep breath then turned to look at J. T. and Tom.  “So… are you guys willing to help me out here?  I mean, who better to answer the questions but the man’s family?”


Sam watched as Tom and J.T. nodded then leaned in a bit further to see what the first request was from the computer.  As the request or question came up, J.T. and Tom discussed it then Paige would answer the question behind it.  As the questions continued to get harder, the color of the background changed colors from the black shade to a brilliant blood red.


Sam Beckett’s idol is …

Albert Einstein


Name the non-dead languages that Sam Beckett knows.

French, Japanese, German, Spanish.


He received a recipe for griddlecakes.  To whom did it belong?

It was his mother’s recipe.


What type of computer operates Project Quantum Leap?

The computer is a parallel hybrid computer.


Who is Jimmy LaMotta?


J. T. and Tom Beckett looked at each other for a moment and drew a blank.  They didn’t know the answer, and as far as they knew, they didn’t know of a man named Jimmy LaMotta.  “Who would know of this man?” Tom asked as he looked at his son.


“Could he have been someone that Sam leaped into?  I mean… Ziggy…” J.T. started off.


“Ziggy?” Paige asked questioningly.  “Who’s Ziggy?”


“Ohhh Sam.  This … this isn’t right,” Al said softly.


“Ziggy?  Well… uhm…” J.T. began.  “That’s the name that my uncle gave to his computer.” J.T. smirked.  “Ya know; I know that my Dad named his computer Bob.  Right Dad?”


“Oh… J.T., come on…” Paige started.


“It’s true,” Tom answered with a grin getting a giggle from Paige.


“I’ll go get that information.  I’ll be right back.”


As General Hawkins left the room, Al stepped up to Sam and frowned.  “I don’t know what the hell he’s doing, Sam, but how on earth would he be able to get that information?  Who’s going to tell him?”


Sam gave Al a look knowing that he couldn’t really say anything to him.  Sam cleared his throat then with a subtle nod, told Al to follow the man leaving the room. 


“Gotcha,” Al said then immediately followed the General out of the room then said, “Dom, center me on General Hawkins.” Popping into the room where General Hawkins stood with the phone up to his ear, Al heard the following one-sided information.


“DOD UMBRA Clearance Number: 078-023-982.”  He paused briefly listening for a reaction then asked, “Who is Jimmy LaMotta?”


“To whom are you talking to?” Al frowned as he rounded the man who was on the phone.  “Who’s giving you information about the project?”


“Thank you, Ziggy,” General Hawkins said with a smile as he hung up the phone cutting off whatever else the parallel-hybrid computer was going to say to him. 


“Ziggy?!” Al exclaimed loudly.  “Ziggy!  What in the hell are you doing?!” Pressing on the holographic button to make the parallel-hybrid computer emerge, Al asked, “Why are you telling Hawkins about Jimmy LaMotta?”


“I have not, Admiral.”


Al’s face dropped as he turned to the General who was leaving the room smiling in satisfaction.  Al knew that he would have a long discussion with the parallel-hybrid computer.  “Center me on General Hawkins.”


Smiling to himself as he realized that he would have the information on the disc all to himself, General Hawkins high-tailed it back into the conference room relaying the information to the participants in the room.


Popping back into the conference room, Al moved over to Sam.  “Sam… I don’t know what’s going on, but… Ziggy’s lying now.”


“What?”  Sam questioned the man beside him.  “She’s lying?” he whispered. “She can’t lie.”


While Al was relaying what he had just overheard to Sam, Paige was entering the information that General Hawkins had found out:  Jimmy LaMotta is a mentally retarded man that Dr. Beckett leaped into to mainstream him into society.


Everyone watched as the laptop took a moment to process the information that it was given.  The brilliant red sparkled, intensified then vanished into a royal purple that reminded Paige of a royal heraldry being flown before a king or queen entered the room.  The royalty seemed to fade sending the split screen back into one before the prompt came back blinking on the screen. Slowly the following began to print across the screen.


Access granted to FBI and Pentagon Files: “Beckett”



A small rectangular bar appeared on the laptop showing its progress on downloading the information as well as a small percentage number showing up telling how much more was needed to download.


Sam and Al stared at the screen in complete and total awe. “What the…” Al said as he turned to face Sam who had the same expression on his face.  “You have files in the FBI and the Pentagon?”


Sam shrugged, feeling completely and totally in the dark.  He had no idea what was going on and it blew him completely out of the water.


Paige watched as the information that was beginning to download from the disc was taking its own sweet time.  “Well, it looks as if this information is going to take a while to download.”  Paige looked around at the people in the room and smiled slightly at each of them.  “I guess that this is the place that this needed to come to.  You were the ones that answered the information.  I know that I would have never been able to get it.”  Pushing away from the table, she stood and stepped back to her stepfather and wrapped her arm around his waist.


Sam wrapped his arm around Paige as the lights in the conference room dimmed and slightly blinked before coming back on in full force.  A hum began to fill the room that seemed extremely familiar to the good Dr. Beckett. 


Al turned his head to Sam with another frown.  “That…sound…” he began.


Lexia Stafford stood and smiled warmly.  “It sounds as if Omega, our parallel hybrid computer, is coming online.”


“Omega?”  Al asked incredulously. 


As the hum became a constant sound and feeling that seemed to permeate the room, Sam began to feel the tingling sensation of the leap begin to pervade his senses.  He didn’t want to go.  He felt as if he hadn’t done anything for anyone.  Sam did his level best to keep hold of his current host.


“Good morning, Dr. Beckett,” a familiar voice filled the room, making its presence known to all in the room.


Sam opened his mouth wanting to respond as he heard Al say something incomprehensible then felt the leap pull him away from Project Liberty.


To Be Continued…



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