Episode 1124

I Left a Little Piece of Myself on the Farm Part III:


by: Mike Bloxam and Erin Bauer with Damon Sugameli


printer friendly version



Finding himself being taken in by a family of farmers, Sam at first is frustrated when Al and Ziggy can’t tell him why he has leaped into Martin Adler, a drifter from Indiana who ended up in South Carolina.  However, when the overbearing man in charge of the farm, Tom, heads out on an errand, Sam finally discovers what his mission is:  to identify the corpse buried in the Mulhills’ barn…

Once Tom finds out that Sam had come upon the body of Hank Mulhill in his barn, he imprisons the leaper in the farmhouse cellar.  Meanwhile, that prevents Sam from saving Paddy, who had an accident with insecticide that lands him in the hospital.  Not only that, but history is being changed by another leaper who is working to keep Tom out of jail.




Tuesday, June 7, 1960

22:04 EDT

The Mulhill farm near Carlisle, South Carolina


“… So basically, you have to somehow get out of this basement and to that hospital if you’re gonna save Paddy.  I guess you did achieve something after all so far:  this cursed family at least has some closure on Hank’s death, but I don’t know if they can deal with another death so soon, Sam.”

The leaper was horrified at the turn of events.  “How am I supposed to get out of here?” Sam mumbled through the gag, but it was no use.  Nobody could understand him.



About twenty minutes later, after getting Helen safely home and driving back to the Mulhill farm, Maxwell Connors walked back to the house.  He had taken advantage of following Helen home to have a more in-depth discussion with Morpheus, and all he needed to do was file the case as suicide the next morning in order to leap.  Tom was sitting in the kitchen, nursing his third brew when the time-traveler entered.  “I hope you still have that feather bed fluffed up for me,” he announced, trying to be friendly.

“O’ course,” Tom responded with a smile and then took a sip of his beer.  “I’m sure ya could use Paddy’s bed for the night.  I’m guessin’ they won’t be back ’til tomorrow sometime, given that he’s up t’ snuff t’ come back home.”  Taking another sip of his beer, Tom glanced at the other man.  “Ya want one before headin’ off t’ bed?”

Since it seemed like a pretty simple leap, Max shrugged his shoulders and figured a drink wouldn’t hurt.  “Sure, why not?”

Tom pulled another bottle of beer out of the refrigerator, opening it before setting it on the table.  “I—I don’t know how to thank you, Bill,” he said quietly.  “We been friends for near long as I can remember.  I guess y’ could say my life is in yer hands.”

“Well…” Connors said, taking a good swig of the beer while coming up with some words that would bind the sheriff to keeping the secret.  “It’s weighing on my conscience, but I say after this is behind us, we don’t ever mention it again.  Friends like us don’t come along every day, but this is one thing that we’ll need to keep between us and take to the grave.”

“So long as that drifter don’t say nothin’,” Tom added, having told Billy before that Sam had been on his way.  “If’n we’re lucky, ain’t nobody in town bothered listenin’ to ’im.  Maybe he’s long gone to somewheres else, even so far as Carem or Monarch if he’s hitchhikin’ or ridin’ the rails.”  Now Tom did have to worry about getting rid of his prisoner.  Quietly, he added, “I jus’ wish he coulda stayed in Indiana.”

The leaper simply nodded at his statement, unsure as to how to respond without feeling awkward.  He finished his beer and stood up.  “I think I’ll turn in now.  We’ll have clearer heads in the morning.”

“Sounds like a plan to me,” Tom responded, turning his bottle up and downing the rest of the brew inside.  They took the stairs up to the bedrooms and the farmer showed his second guest to Paddy’s bed.  He didn’t dare suggest Hank’s room.  Not that he needs it anymore anyway, Tom pondered darkly before beginning to head off to his own bedroom.  “G’night, Billy,” he said as he closed the door to Paddy’s room behind him.

“Good night,” returned Max.  He felt tired enough to sleep, so he laid down in the comfortable bed right away, and was sleeping in minutes, unaware that he was not the only quantum leaper residing in the Mulhill home that evening.



Mick Mulhill woke up to a crick in his back the next morning from sleeping in a chair all night.  He glanced at the little clock by the bedside and it read “8:00.”  The farmer couldn’t believe that he had slept so long since he was usually up at four in the morning, but he guessed without the pressures of the farm, his body had decided to take advantage.  Yawning, he raised his arms above his head, stretching out his body.  He then looked over at Paddy and saw that his brother was sitting up.  The nurses had apparently come in and helped him up, also giving him a bit to eat, although Paddy had hardly touched his food.  Still, he looked better than he had when Mick went to sleep.

“Paddy, how ya feelin’?” Mick asked him.  The patient tried to crack a smile, saying that he was not one hundred percent, but the pain had subsided significantly.  Mick thought that himself and Tom would have to finish the spraying, because he doubted Paddy would want to go out there again anytime soon.

Despite the smile, Mick noticed that Paddy looked a bit disturbed.  He figured it was just his condition, but then Paddy looked at his older brother with a seriousness in his eyes that he knew was more than just from how he was feeling.  “Mick, I gotta tell you somethin’,” he said with a small tremor in his voice.  “If’n I hadn’t been thinkin’ on it, I mighta never ended up in this dang-blasted place.”  He went on to tell Mick that shortly before Marty had left the farm, he had told Paddy about finding a body in Midnight’s stall and indicated that Tom was involved with the gruesome business.

Mick figured Paddy was delirious from the pesticide that had gotten in his system, but he was pretty persistent about it.  “Okay,” Mick agreed, not wanting to upset the bedridden man.  “When you get outta here, we’ll go have a look just to ease your mind.  How ’bout that?”

Paddy agreed, feeling extreme relief at finally telling someone about what Sam had mentioned to him in the field.  Mick then realized that Tom would want to know how Paddy was, so he began to dial the phone.  “He’ll want to talk to you.”  Mick smiled with his horrible teeth, trying to reassure his brother.  The phone began to ring…



Tom rose around seven o’clock, a couple hours later than his normal time, but it had been a tiring day the day before.  Checking in on Billy’s room, he saw that the man in the bed was still sleeping.  The kitchen was the farmer’s first destination as he prepared a pot of coffee to share with Bill.  Tom was no cook, but he managed to scramble up some eggs with a side of bacon and some toast.  It was quarter past seven when he heard footsteps coming down the stairs.

Maxwell Connors awoke the next morning, not remembering exactly where he was.  As his tired eyes got used to the surroundings, a rush of the previous night’s events came back to him.  It had been a good rest, but he wasn’t sure how long he had slept.  Getting out of the bed, the leaper dressed himself in Sheriff Boone’s clothing once more and headed downstairs to use the restroom, first smelling bacon and eggs.  After a quick pit stop, disgusted at the condition of the bathroom, Max entered the kitchen.  Tom, who was cooking, greeted him and immediately urged him to sit down at the table.  He sat at the place where a cup of coffee was sitting, and Doctor Connors took a sip.  “Morning,” he said evenly.  Despite all this man had been offering him, Max was anxious to leave the house.  Hanging around with a murderer was not exactly his idea of fun.

“G’morning, Bill,” Tom replied.  “Sleep well?”

Max nodded.  “As well as could be expected.”  He let a beat pass.  “Listen, Tom.  I think it would be best if I head back to town right away.  I need to get to the station, especially to be there by the time you make your call about finding Hank.”

“How we gonna explain that drifter’s call yesterday?” Tom asked.  “He called in t’ report findin’ Hank.”

The time-traveler was amazed at how Tom could easily have been talking about last week’s baseball game.  Nonetheless, he pressed on, using information that Morpheus had supplied to him the night before.  “No one knows about that call except for me.  Deputy Harris was out of the office at the time, so I was the only one answering the phones.”

Tom breathed a sigh of relief.  “All right.  So you’re wantin’ me to wait for ya to get to the station first… well, whenever yer full, head on inta town, and I’ll call an hour after ya’ve left.  Sound good?”

“Sure, sounds like a plan.  That should give me some time to settle in,” Doctor Connors suggested.  Though there was still food on his plate, Max was unable to force himself to eat it.  The excitement of foiling whoever had changed this timeline was getting to him and he just wanted to get to Carlisle to file the report.  “Don’t worry, this’ll all work out.”  Without a word more, the leaper got up and headed toward the door with Tom following behind.  He got into his cruiser and took off down the road.

Tom was still somewhat disbelieving of the sheriff’s willingness to help out under such circumstances.  Billy probably knew how much Tom hated Hank because of the older brother’s resentment toward him, so maybe Sheriff Boone was more understanding than anyone else could be.

He finished up the rest of his own meal, taking it slowly since he didn’t feel like doing anything that day except think about how to dispose of his captive and to visit Paddy.  It was nearly eight o’clock by the time he put the dishes in the sink and the phone started to ring.  Thinking it was going to be Mick or Doctor Henderson with the news about Paddy, Tom rushed out to the desk.


Mick heard the phone ring a couple of times before Tom’s voice came across the line.  “Hi, Tom, this is Mick.  Just wanted to let you know that Paddy’s doin’ much better.  He has t’ stay today yet so the doctor can watch ’im, but they hope to send ’im home tomorra.  D’ya want me to come back, or stay here?”

“That’s great to hear ’bout Paddy, but ya might as well stick around there, I guess.  I can drive on up later to bring ya home instead of havin’ t’ put the burden on anyone else,” Tom responded.  He tried to keep his tone light as he spoke to his younger brother.  “Is Paddy there?  Can I talk to ’im?”

“Okay, that sounds fine.  Yeah, Paddy’s right here.”  Mick handed the phone over, holding it to Paddy’s ear since his arms were still pretty swollen.

“Hey there, Paddy, how’re ya feelin?” Tom asked when he heard a quiet hello.

“Oh, better than I was yesterday, Tom.  Hopin’ to come home purty soon, ya know, though I ain’t got no plans to be doin’ anymore sprayin’.”  Paddy was still a little shaken up from telling Mick about the dead body that Marty had claimed to find, still hoping that Mick would help him in verifying whether the drifter had been telling the truth or not.  After reporting to Billy that they had been cruel to their animals, Paddy was unsure if he should believe anything the stranger had said, but it still felt wrong not to tell someone else about something so dreadful.

Tom was relieved that Paddy was able to speak, a whole lot better than he was yesterday.  He guessed the folks at the hospital did their job pretty well, despite the family’s track record there.  “I’m glad yer feelin’ better, brother.  I’ll see ya later today, okay?”

“Sure, g’bye Tom,” replied Paddy, and after he said goodbye, he nodded at Mick to hang up the telephone.  “Tom’s comin’ t’ see me today,” Paddy relayed to his brother in the hospital room.

“Yeah, he told me,” Mick said, hanging up the phone.  “He’s gonna bring me back with ’im to the farm afterwards.”  Mick paused, not wanting to bring up the accusations that Paddy had mentioned earlier, but found no way around it.  “Look, Paddy, I think it best you not mention nothing ’bout that body biznis to Tom.  He’ll jus’ get mad.  You and me can look at the barn later if you really want to check out the drifter’s story.”

Not wanting to waste any more energy talking, especially since it got his saliva working up, Paddy simply nodded at what Mick said, letting his eyes reveal his feelings.  The elder farmer could see that the hospitalized man was concerned, but he also looked tired, so Mick decided to let him rest.  “Get some shut-eye, little brother.  I’ll be back a little later.  I’m gonna go grab some grub from the cafeteria.”

Again, Paddy nodded in response and his eyes began to close as Mick headed out of the hospital room, and he was released into merciful slumber.

After Tom hung up the telephone with Paddy, another wave of relief came over him, glad to hear that his youngest brother was going to be all right.  Tom decided to busy himself with washing up the breakfast dishes and enjoying another cup of coffee before giving Billy a call.  Dialing the number to the sheriff’s office, one that Tom knew by heart, he was relieved when he heard Billy’s voice on the other end of the line.

Connors had been acquainting himself with the office, and before he knew it, the telephone on his desk began to ring.  Thankfully, Carlisle seemed like a quiet place, and it was Tom Mulhill on the other end of the line.  He figured putting on a show for the deputy might be a good idea to put some credibility into the situation.  “Now calm down, Tom, just tell me what happened.”  He could see Deputy Harris staring, knowing something was up.  The leaper made up a lot of things during his conversation with Tom, and then told Harris the story.  “I have to get to the Mulhill Farm again, Ronnie.  You stay here and mind the office.  That poor family has nothing but tragedy,” Max stated with a sad shake of his head.

Inside, however, Doctor Connors was ecstatic that matters were progressing so perfectly.  If it took him his entire life, he would undo the damage caused by Sam Beckett and any other time-travelers.  A sinister grin crossed Max’s lips as he stepped into the sheriff’s cruiser once again.



After getting off the phone with whom he thought was the sheriff, Tom Mulhill returned to the barn to ensure that there were no remaining pieces of evidence to suggest that he did not burn Hank whole.  Not finding anything in or around the pigsty (they seemed to have enjoyed the midnight snack he gave them), the farmer started about the daily chores.  The animals were used to routine and seemed a little put off that he was late in their feeding.

About a half-hour into feeding the livestock, Tom heard a voice at the barn door.  Maxwell Connors, in the aura of Sheriff Boone, was standing there with a small container in his hands.  It felt morbid to Max, but he had to push on with this if he wanted to leap.  “These are for the ashes, Tom,” he told him.  “I’ll make the report that Hank incinerated himself and leave it at that, telling them I made a full investigation.”

Tom nodded in agreement and took the urn over to the furnace.  He shoveled any ashes from the furnace that he could since not all of Hank was burned up, and not knowing how much a human body would produce anyway, he was a little liberal in the collection.  Placing the lid back on the urn, he handed it to Connors.  “I’m not sure if that’s enough or not, but you jus’ do whatever it is y’ want with it,” Tom told him.  “Oh, and ’fore I forget, I went and told Paddy and Mick that the drifter had called ya to report that we’d been abusin’ our stock, so if it ever comes up, that’s the story.”

Doctor Connors nodded and hoped for that one memory to carry over to Bill Boone when his body returned.  Checking the urn’s contents, it appeared to be in order.  “Well, Tom, I guess that’s everything.  I’ll take care of things from here,” said Max.  The farmer nodded and then the leaper added, “Just promise me that you will never do something like this again.  And I don’t mean just murdering someone, which of course I’d expect you never to do again, but keeping secrets from your best friend, too.”

“O’ course, Billy.  Thanks again,” Tom replied, the gratitude obvious in his expression.  Connors gave him a reassuring nod and went back to the police vehicle.  He placed the urn in the passenger’s seat and returned to Carlisle.

When Deputy Harris immediately asked him what had happened, Connors gave the made-up report of events.  The deputy accepted his words as fact, and as Max set the urn down on Sheriff Boone’s desk, his task complete, he leaped out.





Wednesday, June 8, 1960

10:59 EDT

The Mulhill farm near Carlisle, South Carolina


A couple of hours later, nearing on eleven o’clock, Tom returned to the house.  There had been plenty of time while he was alone tending to the livestock to think about what Martin Adler’s fate should be.  Billy said no more murdering.  Tom had never really planned on it, and he would never even have considered it a second time if it hadn’t been for the drifter coming onto the farm in the first place.  Tom chastised himself, figuring he should have just left the man out in the cold, but then again, the soft spot in his heart for outsiders clouded his judgment.  He himself had felt like an outcast since Hank blurted that he was a “bastard child.”

Removing the key from his back pocket, still safely there, he unlocked the cellar and left it in the lock this time since nobody was going to be coming to the house anyway.  Slowly, Tom descended the stairs, obviously blinding his detainee with the light once more.

Sam was surprised to see light again after what had felt like a whole day.  To his surprise, he had another visitor in addition to Tom, this one being a holographic projection from the future.  The Imaging Chamber Door blinded him nearly as much as the natural light filtering from the stairway.  “Sorry, Sam,” Al apologized meekly.  “I have some good news, though.  Ziggy and I spent all night trying to figure out what you’re here to do, and it looks like stopping Tom would do more harm than good.”  The farmer reached the bottom of the steps at that moment, glancing down at the leaper.  The observer offered Tom’s silhouetted figure a glare, but continued on.  “You need to save Paddy from dying of pesticide poisoning on June tenth, Nineteen Sixty, as well as ensure that Martin Adler can land a job as a hired hand here at the farm.  That was the original history, and right now, that’s the only way you’re gonna leap.”

Sam felt more relieved to have Al there, even though he knew he couldn’t do anything against the person reaching the bottom of the stairs.  Doctor Beckett looked up at Tom Mulhill, trying to look defiant, but it was difficult to keep his eyes open after being in the dark all that time.  He felt absolutely miserable, not only from the situation with the Mulhill family, but also his own physical discomfort.  The dampness around his crotch told him that his bladder had not held up, and he also had no feeling in his hands or feet.

“So, Marty, y’ thought ya could put me away?  Hank deserved what he got ’s far ’s I’m concerned,” Tom said glaringly.  He could see that the man on the ground was trying to be brave, but he could also tell that he was in a lot of pain.  Almost a full day of laying down there in the same position—no food, no water, and a gagged mouth—would make anybody ache.

Sam could see Al’s snide look as he continued to glower at Tom.  He probably would have knocked the farmer senseless if he weren’t a hologram.  As tough as Tom was, Sam doubted he could go against a Navy admiral, especially one who had suffered through being a prisoner of war.  Sam had been down here only a day and was in sad shape, and after all this time couldn’t imagine the pain that Al must have gone through for all those years.

Tom continued rattling on, but the leaper groaned as loud as he possibly could, even knowing it would sound like a muffled moan through the gag.  It got Tom’s attention and he stepped closer to Sam, looking down at him with a gleam in his eyes and an evil look on his face.  Doctor Beckett was afraid he was going to be kicked again and heard Al protest in the background, but was absolutely surprised when the farmer instead leaned down and started to undo the gag from the back of the time-traveler’s head.

“You’re jus’ lucky ya caught me in a jovial mood, Marty.  Thang is, I have a dilemma… and that’s what to do with you now that I got away with murder.”

Right after the gag was lifted from his mouth, Sam started coughing; his throat tickled and was dry with thirst.  “Take it easy, Sam, just give yourself some time,” Al coaxed, trying to mask his anger for how his friend was being treated.  He managed to clear his throat enough after a minute to answer.  The scientist decided he was going to try to pretend like he was on Tom’s side… at least until he could get an upper hand.  He could agree to help him and hold his secret, maybe even be his hired hand if that was Marty’s original destiny, claiming he had nowhere else to go.

“I’ll do anything… please… water… food… bathroom,” the leaper pleaded.  It was true, of course, that Sam needed these basic necessities, but he wanted it to sound even more desperate than it really was, which wasn’t by much.  He wanted it to appear like he would do whatever Tom said just to get out of the situation.

Tom smirked again, looking like he was really enjoying the groveling.  This is too good… he’s beggin’ me jus’ to use the bathroom! the farmer mused in his mind.

“Tell ya what,” Tom began, an impish smile on his face.  “I’ll give ya some water and let y’ use the toilet, simply so ya don’t go wettin’ yerself any more.  However, I’m not gonna go trustin’ ya anytime soon.”

“At least ask for a change of pants,” Al threw in, receiving a glare of his own from Sam, as the farmer bent down to grab ahold of the chair to which Sam was attached.  Setting the chair back up on its legs and putting Sam upright again, Tom began to remove the tape that bound the leaper to the chair.  Doctor Beckett knew that Tom would be keeping a watchful eye on him though, so he would have to figure out a way to gain Tom’s trust again, which certainly would not be easy.

It took a few minutes before Sam was free, and his head had stopped swimming by that time.  He had to take a few more minutes just to rub his wrists and ankles to get the blood flowing more freely through them.  Finally, the leaper managed to get off the chair, and embarrassingly, he ended up wobbling and falling into Tom from being in a sitting position for so long.  Tom snickered again and helped the time-traveler stand, but it didn’t take long for him to feel a cold barrel in his back once more.  Tom really was not taking any chances.

“Upstairs,” the farmer said simply, pushing Sam toward the cellar stairs.  He obeyed and slowly began to walk, pain rushing through all parts of his body.  Tom followed Sam the whole way up with the pistol digging into the scientist’s spine.  They made it back to ground level without any trouble, and Tom continued to follow Sam to the bathroom.  Despite the fact that there was no window, the farmer ordered as Sam entered, “Leave the door open.  Jus’ empty yer bladder and be done with it.”

Sam could hardly move he had to urinate so badly… again.  He also wasn’t happy one iota about keeping the door ajar, since obviously this was a private issue, but he had to go too badly to care.  Sam hurried up with it, washed his hands and face, seeing that Tom had no protest with that, and then walked out again.

“Feel better?” Tom questioned without feeling, snickering and then pushing the gun in the leaper’s back again, directing toward the kitchen.

The admiral had not much to say and had to restrain himself from getting too worked up, for the sake of his blood pressure and for Sam.  The odds for the mission were not changing, so he figured he might as well give some advice to the leaper.  “Don’t worry, Sam, I don’t think he’ll actually use that thing.  I’ve seen cowards like this in my time.  Just be calm with him and he might let his guard down.  Might.”

“Yeah,” Sam answered both of them, just grateful to get some water once they got to the kitchen.  He could smell remnants from the morning’s breakfast and his mouth was beginning to water.  He didn’t dare ask for food though.  “So what now?” Sam asked to Tom, curious about how this would go.  “I’m willing to negotiate if you are.”

Tom appeared to be pondering Sam’s question when, instead of walking to the kitchen, Al popped up right behind the farmer.  Sam glanced at the observer quickly and wished he hadn’t, because Tom no doubt wondered what he was looking at.  Tom Mulhill turned his head slightly only to see nothing, and turned back to Sam.  They were standing by the sink, the leaper still sipping on his water.

Sam had to get his captor talking… first he needed to establish that he would “keep” Tom’s secret, and then nonchalantly ask where Mick and Paddy were so that he could follow up on the alarming information Al had given him in the cellar.  Sam didn’t know how he was going to convince the farmer that he “knew” Paddy was in danger of dying from pesticide poisoning, so he had to try to gain his trust.  A man’s life depended on it.

“Negotiate?  What can ya possibly do for me, Marty?  Y’ saw what ya thought was a body out in m’ barn and called the cops… y’ shoulda come to me first, y’ know?  Things’d be a whole lot easier if’n ya hadn’t gotten Billy involved,” Tom said to him, a bit of anger seeping into the farmer as he finished his sentence.

Ideas started to flow through Sam’s head, from acting like a desperate drifter to trying to convince Tom he was harmless to— Aha! Sam proclaimed in his thoughts.  This is way off base, but it might just work.  He was going to play a little loony, like after he had received shock treatment, although this time he had control over things.

Sam turned on a fearful expression and this time looked straight at Al, then back at Tom.  “I know, I should have come to you first, Tom.  But he told me not to.”  Sam pointed in Al’s direction.

The observer’s eyebrows shot up.  “What are you doing, Sam?” he demanded, only to have the leaper ignore him.  Tom looked in the direction of Al and because he could not see him, Sam could tell he already had the farmer’s attention.

“Yeah… the… the… ghost of Hank.  He led me to Midnight’s stall, spooked the horse, and showed me where you buried him.”  Sam figured if Tom wanted to see this for himself, Al would be able to persuade Midnight to make a little noise, since animals could see the holographic observer.

Sam then turned back to Tom.  “Hank’s not happy with you,” he explained.  “He feels you not only let him down, but Mick and Paddy too.”

Doctor Beckett waited to let this sink in.  He figured if Tom thought he was dealing with a madman, he might soften up a bit, and then he could somehow sneak in that “Hank” was telling him that Paddy was in trouble.  It certainly was not how he usually handled his leaps, but these were God-fearing people in these parts, and he figured it might just work.

Tom’s mind started working overtime.  I never told him that I killed Hank, did I?  How in the Hell did he know?  Marty seems like a real bright guy, though, so maybe he jus’ put two and two together, or overheard me and Billy’s conversation, the farmer debated internally.

When he told Tom that he had let down his two remaining living brothers, Tom raised one eyebrow in criticism.  “C’mon, Marty, ain’t no such thing as ghosts.  I dunno what yer up ta, but if ya be keepin’ it up, ya just might be joinin’ Hank in the bone yard,” Tom said sternly.  The other explanation could be that the drifter had lost it from being down in the cellar for almost a daytemporary delusions from dehydration and hunger.

Sam looked slightly nervous now, so Tom kept talking, asking the question that he figured would be all-telling.  “But since ya seem t’ believe Hank’s ghost is here, why cain’t I see ’im?  He was my half-brother after all.”

Although Tom had not really fallen for the ghost story, Sam figured he would have to stick with it now.  He looked at the farmer and shrugged.  “Because he doesn’t want you to see him.  As I said, he’s understandably upset with you.  But… that’s not what he’s here for now.  He told me that your brother Paddy is in the hospital with pesticide poisoning.  The doctors think they have it taken care of, but he’s going to relapse, so we need to contact them right away and catch it before it’s too late.”  Sam waited for that comment to sink in.

Tom looked like he was contemplating Sam’s words.  The leaper was not sure that he believed a word he said, and Al was just slapping his forehead in disbelief, but the mention of Paddy in danger did seem to disturb the farmer some.  After all… what if he ignored Sam and something happened to his brother?  Then that would be on his head too.

“Now how would I know that if a ghost hadn’t told me?” Sam questioned him after a moment, unwavering.  “I’ve been locked up in the cellar for nearly a day, and I had no inkling about what was going on up here.”

When Tom said nothing and just stared with narrowed eyes, Sam took another sip of water.  “Look, I’ll make a deal with you.  If I’m right about Paddy, and Hank assures me I am,” Sam said, glancing over at Al again, who was just rolling his eyes and mumbling to himself at the approach Sam was taking, “then you let me stay on as a hired hand.  I’ll keep your secret if you give me a place to stay and work.  I really have nowhere else to go.”

“Now listen here, Marty, you ain’t in no situation to be makin’ demands,” Tom returned, his anger beginning to rise more.  “There ain’t no ghost o’ Hank floatin’ ’round here, that’s for damn sure.  Now about Paddy, you musta been hearin’ all the goin’s-on last night from the cellar.  That’s all there is to it, all right?!”

Sam backed off a little but was still determined to follow through with his proposed plan.  Tom continued tearing apart the leaper’s story.  “An’ just how does ‘Hank’ know he’s gonna relapse?  Shouldn’t them doctors know what they’re doin’, after all?  Sure, I’d like another pair o’ hands on the farm, but yer probably thinkin’ about tellin’ the boys about the whole Hank biznis, ain’t ya?”  Tom sounded paranoid, but to him, he needed to keep the real story of Hank’s death secret no matter what, and some insane drifter wasn’t somebody he was going to trust very much.

Sam Beckett could see that his plan wasn’t exactly working and was just getting Tom irritated.  Al shrugged his shoulders, a mix between an “I told you so” and an “I don’t have any better ideas.”  Sam frowned at his observer but tried to keep his attention on Tom.  He was in this and could not backtrack now.  He understood why the farmer was skeptical, and Sam knew he wouldn’t believe it if someone said a “ghost” was telling him things either, but Paddy needed help, and telling Tom he knew all about Hank and about Paddy’s danger should have at least made him seriously consider that he had gotten his information from an otherworldly source.  After all, Sam did hear a lot from the cellar, but certainly not so acutely as to find out about the whole pesticide incident or that Tom had confessed to Hank’s murder.

Sam decided to take a different approach.  “Look, Tom, I know you don’t trust me, but I’m still asking you to believe me.  I have some secrets of my own… why do you think I ran away from Indiana?  They had me locked up in some asylum because I ‘saw’ things… and it scared them since I was usually right.”  This was spinning a tall tale if there ever was one.  “I don’t want to go back there… they’ll just lock me up again.  So… can’t we just help each other?  What do you have to lose on checking out my story about Paddy?  I promise, if I’m wrong, you can kick me out and I’ll move on without a word to anyone… but if I’m right, will you hire me on?”

The leaper watched the farmer’s face closely and hoped he was getting through to him, as convoluted as the story sounded.  From the other man’s expression, Tom felt that there was some truth in there somewhere.  After a couple of seconds of silence, Tom decided things couldn’t get much worse than they already were.

“All right, Marty, but remember that I’ve got my eye on you.  You so even start mentionin’ Hank and that biznis and you’ll find yourself in the hospital, too.  We got a deal?” he proposed, offering his hand.

Sam wanted to crack a smile when Tom accepted the proposal, but he kept a straight face and nodded, shaking hands with a man who ten minutes ago could have easily killed him on the spot, despite Al’s statement.  “Thanks, Tom,” Sam said.  “I take it you were going to visit Paddy today anyway, so I would recommend we don’t wait too long to do it.”  He could still see a glimmer of skepticism in the farmer’s expression.  “I assure you, I’m right about this.”

“Yeah, I was gonna go visit ’im in ’bout a half-hour.  Hank tell you that, too?” he responded snidely.  “But considerin’ yer goin’ t’ be so cooperative, an’ I hope yer a man of yer word, Marty,” Tom said as he eyed him, “we might as well be headin’ there now.  The boys’ll be mighty confused about yer bein’ there, so how’s about we tell ’em ya came on back here since ya figured I might help ya agin.  Ya can stay here so long as ya don’t tell a soul nothin’ ’bout Hank.”

Doctor Beckett nodded at the conditions.  Tom figured that he could hold over Marty the fact that Billy was just a phone call away to get in touch with the institutions in Indiana.  Sam’s stomach let out a loud growl and his face turned red as he tried to disguise his embarrassment by downing the rest of his water.  The noise did not go unnoticed by Tom.  “Listen, there’s some leftover bacon in the fridge.  Yer free t’ have it, I s’pose.”

Nodding appreciatively, the leaper removed the food from the refrigerator and gobbled it down, not bothering to warm it up.  On the inside, Tom was laughing at how quickly Sam gobbled down the bacon.  He figured he shouldn’t be fainting in the truck or at the hospital or something from malnutritionthat would only cause more problems.

After allowing Sam to get a change of pants, formerly belonging to Hank much to the leaper’s chagrin, the two men boarded Tom’s 1956 Chevy and sped down the highway.  The country music that Tom played on the way made him almost forget how much trouble his passenger had caused, whereas Sam almost wished that he were back in the basement to be spared the tunes emitting from the radio.

“Well, Sam, as much as I’d love to stick around and enjoy the music,” commented Al with a teasing tone, “I think I’ll head back for a while and see if there’s anything else from Ziggy.  Not to mention, I’m starving.”

Though the leaper could not respond verbally, not wanting Tom to think Hank’s spirit was permanently around, he nodded his head softly to the observer, who promptly disappeared as the Imaging Chamber shut down.



Tuesday, March 28, 2006

00:25 MST

Stallion’s Gate, New Mexico


“Has anything changed, Ziggy?” the admiral questioned as he walked through the blue room toward the Door, which promptly opened before him.  The computer did not respond until he was standing in the small alcove between the Imaging Chamber and the Control Room.

“Negative, Admiral.  Doctor Beckett is still there to prevent Patrick Mulhill’s death and to keep Martin Adler from becoming a full-time criminal.  I am projecting those scenarios with eighty-two-point-three percent and seventy-nine-point-seven percent certainties, respectively,” the disembodied female voice said in a velvety tone.

Sucking in some air between his teeth, Al continued on into the Control Room, seeing Dominic Lofton and Tina Martinez-O’Farrell at the controls.  The former swallowed hard and forced a smile while the latter smacked on her gum and gave the admiral a warm grin.  “Beth’s lookin’ for ya,” the pulse communication technician stated before blowing a large, purple bubble.

“Thanks, Tina,” he said and promptly left Control, keeping the handlink with him for the time being.  He knew that Sam would need him again soon if the way this leap had been progressing continued in the fashion so far.  As he sauntered down the hallway, he was about to ask Ziggy where his wife was, but quickly closed his mouth when he turned the corner and saw Donna Elesee up ahead.  She gave him a wave and had a familiar look on her face.

“How’s he holding up, Al?” Sam’s wife asked right away, stopping in her tracks.

“As well as can be expected.  I think he’s a little bummed at how the leap’s been going, but we both know he’ll be happy when he leaps out and has done his job,” Al told her, smiling slightly to encourage his words.

Donna nodded her head in agreement and grinned in return.  “Oh, before I forget, Beth’s in your office waiting for you.  Something about a missed dinner appointment?”

Admiral Calavicci rolled his eyes.  “She knew I was busy with Ziggy all day.  It must have slipped my mind,” he replied, glancing at his watch.  To his disbelief, it was nearly half-past midnight.  Returning his gaze to Doctor Elesee, he thanked her and continued on his way, and she hers.  Hearing her sigh as she moved on, Al wondered how much longer the woman could wait for her husband to return for good.

Entering his office, Al saw his wife leaning against his desk, with a pretend look of disappointment on her face.  “Are you cheating on me, flyboy?” Beth teased.  “I heard you decided to spend the celebratory dinner that you suggested with a younger woman… a co-worker no less.”

“Well, Ziggy’s a demanding woman,” the admiral said with a devilish smile.  He glanced at the single crutch leaning against his sofa and moved to put his arms around Beth’s waist.  “But I could go for a quick bite now.  Sam has about an hour before he’ll need me again, and being rid of one of your two extra limbs is certainly a call for celebration.”

“As long as we don’t do any dancing, I think I’ll be just fine,” Beth giggled, planting a kiss on her husband’s lips.  “Despite what Aurora says, my ankle’s feeling pretty much back to normal now.”  She freed herself of Al’s comforting embrace and took the crutch under her arm.  “Shall we?”

Nodding eagerly, realizing how empty his stomach really was, Al took her free hand and the couple exited the office, slowly walking down the corridor to the elevator.



Wednesday, June 8, 1960

11:46 EDT

Wallace Thomson Hospital, Union, South Carolina


Earlier in the morning, Mick had just come back from the cafeteria.  Paddy was still sleeping peacefully, although shaking a bit.  The room was not cold, but Mick suspected that Paddy’s condition had brought on fever.  The older brother took the blankets and covered Paddy up, hoping that would make him more comfortable.  The movement caused the patient to stir, and he opened his eyes to look at his visitor.

“How ya feelin’?” Mick asked him, noticing that Paddy’s eyes didn’t look very good, and actually seemed slightly worse than in the morning.  Not being a doctor, Mick just figured it was part of the healing process.

“Hot… too hot,” whispered Paddy in answer, his throat feeling sore.  The heat was starting to become unbearable for him.  Mick decided to take the blankets back some, not all the way, and hoped that a doctor would be in soon to check up on Paddy.

“You just hold still, li’l brother,” Mick comforted him.  “You’ll be better soon.”  As much as he wanted to believe that, he could not help but recall how both of his parents and another brother, George, had all died at different times in the very same hospital.

“I sure hope so, Mick,” Paddy rasped in response, feeling sweat beginning to form on his forehead.

Both men looked up when they heard movement at the door.  Doctor Phillip Warren, M.D., the physician in charge of Paddy’s care, walked into Room 304, finding Patrick sweating in bed while refusing blankets from his brother.  “G’mornin’, Patrick.  How’re ya feelin’ right now?” the doctor asked as he checked his patient’s chart to see that at seven thirty he was looking fine, though he was sleeping at the time.

“Not so good, Doc.  I feel like I’m on fire all over again,” Paddy managed to get out before a sharp pain ran through his being, causing him to cringe.  Doctor Warren asked with concern what was happening, but the youngest Mulhill brother could not manage a response.  The pain was too much.

“I'll be right back,” Warren informed the two men and walked briskly out of the room to the nurses’ station down the hall.

“Nurse Hatcher,” he said to the portly nurse behind the counter, “have full doses of these three medications delivered to 304, stat.”  He pointed out the three on Paddy’s chart and she nodded.  Betty-Lou Hatcher memorized the medicines and told him to take the chart back with him.

Re-entering Paddy’s room, Doctor Warren found no change.  “Where is the pain, Patrick?” he asked, leaning closer to the patient so that he would not have to strain to speak.  When no voice came but a hoarse whisper, the doctor diagnosed a serious sore throat.  Paddy squinted tightly at the pain shooting up his spine, which only worsened his headache.

“Is he gonna be okay, Doc?  He looks mighty bad… he weren’t this way last night.”  Mick stared at him expectantly.

“Yes, Mick, he’ll be just fine.  I think the nurse this morning mighta just plum forgot to re-administer ’is medication.  I’m gonna give ’im ’is shots soon as Betty-Lou gets here with ’em,” the doctor responded, just as Nurse Hatcher entered the room with some needles.  Mick shivered at the sight.  He hated needles, but put on a brave face for his ill brother.

“Now, Pat,” Mick said softly, “these here healers gonna fix you right up.”  Paddy could only mumble an affirmative response in answer to Mick’s attempt to comfort him.

“Here ya go, Doctor,” the nurse said, handing him the syringes she had filled with medication.

“Thank you, Nurse.  Are the soothing balm and the I.V. bag on their way as well?” he asked as he prepared the first syringe.  As he injected it into Paddy’s arm, the doctor could see that his patient was not appreciative of the prick in his arm and Mick tried not to squint when he saw the needle go in.

After both doses from the syringes had been administered, Nurse Hatcher returned with a small container and an I.V. bag.  She proffered the jar containing the balm to the doctor and then attached the bag to the I.V. pole beside Paddy’s bed.

“Thank y’ kindly, Betty-Lou,” Doctor Warren replied with a smile as she hung the I.V. bag on the tree.  He placed the salve on the bedside table and then took a look at Paddy.  “Now, I’m gonna be leavin’ you in the tender care o’ Nurse Hatcher here,” he commented, trying to get his patient to manage a grin.  “She’ll take good care o’ ya.”  Paddy did break a small smile at that, and the doctor nodded at him before plunking the chart into the bin at the end of the bed and heading off to make the rest of his rounds.

The nurse promptly proceeded to apply the cream to Paddy’s face, bringing instant relief to the suffering man.  He could feel his skin cooling and the fever coming down, though it was still a little too warm for comfort.

“Now, you just lay back and relax here, Patrick,” she said, fluffing up his pillow a bit.  “I’ll be back later to check on ya.”  The nurse then nodded to his brother.  “And you look like ya could use some shut eye, too, young man,” she told him.

Mick smirked politely and said, “I reckon I could, ma’am.”

With a sideways smile, the nurse nodded again and headed out the door to attend to other patients.  Mick sat back in his chair, already feeling exhausted, but he could only imagine how poorly Paddy was feeling.  The nurse had said maybe he should get some sleep too, and seeing Paddy looking pretty comfortable now, Mick didn’t think that was such a bad idea, and without knowing it, he dozed off as well.





Wednesday, June 8, 1960

12:30 EDT

Wallace Thomson Hospital, Union, South Carolina


They were moving along in the pick-up truck about as fast as Tom felt safe on the road, about ten miles per hour over the speed limit, and he just wanted to get the charade over with and have Martin Adler committed back to Indiana.  He figured they didn’t need any more mental cases in South Carolina than they already had.

They arrived at the hospital and pulled into a parking spot, and Tom was the first to speak after disengaging the engine.  “Well, Marty, I shure hope yer wrong ’bout Paddy.  I don’t want that brother o’ mine in any more trouble than he already must be.”

Wordlessly, Sam nodded and followed Tom into the hospital.  A nurse at the main desk directed them to the third floor and they took an elevator up.  Approaching a corpulent nurse at another desk, she told them Paddy was in Room 304.  The two men walked in that direction, and as they entered the room, Sam watched Tom closely.  The man was very sharp, so the leaper knew he was really going to have to make sure he played his cards right.

When Mick woke up, he glanced at the clock and saw it was half-past noon.  Paddy was still in a state of semi-sleep, and after rubbing his eyes, Mick heard a noise in the doorway, expecting the nurse to be returning.  To his surprise, it was his older brother, Tom, followed by whom he saw as the drifter Marty.  “Tom… I… you…” he sputtered out, eyeing up Sam.  “I’m glad you’re here, Boss.  Pat’s in an awful fix.”

“Now just calm down there, Mick.  And ya don’t need t’ call me ‘Boss’ when we ain’t on duty; ya know that,” Tom responded calmly, trying to smile at him.  It was hard on the farmer having a stranger with him while looking at his youngest brother in pain, lying in a hospital bed.  Paddy seemed to be sleeping with his face all scrunched up.

“What’s wrong with Patrick here?” Tom continued as he met Mick’s gaze, wanting some definite answers.  “He’s gonna be all right, ain’t ’e?”

Mick wanted a darned good explanation as to why Marty was at the hospital, but for the moment, he answered Tom’s question.  “I’m thinkin’ so.  The doctors were here a couple o’ hours ago and gave him some other medication; said some nurse forgot to give it to ’im earlier.  He wasn’t lookin’ so good ’fore they gave him that, though.  Seems to be sleepin’ peacefully now.”

Sam, no longer able to contain himself from taking a first-hand look at Paddy, went behind Tom and around toward the bed, and began to look over the youngest Mulhill brother.  Al popped into existence all of a sudden, saying that Ziggy did not have any good projections on Paddy’s condition.  The odds of his survival were falling, and that didn’t make much sense to Sam, considering that he was there at that moment.

“What?” the leaper declared out loud before he realized what he had done.  Tom gave him an evil glance and Doctor Beckett quickly cleared his throat, turning his attention back toward Paddy on the bed.

“I don’t know what to say, Sam.  You’re gonna have to play this one out carefully,” was all the observer could offer before joining Sam at Paddy’s bedside, stifling a yawn.  Patrick Mulhill didn’t look good at all.  Of course, Sam hadn’t seen what he looked like when the accident had first happened, but the leaper could only guess that Paddy had gotten worse.  He really needed to talk to a doctor and find out all the details.

Tom also closed in on the bed to get a better look at Paddy.  From his perspective, Paddy was looking much better than the day before:  the swelling had gone down and his color was better than the red irritation he had had the previous night.  When he looked back to Mick, he was staring at Sam, still highly curious about the additional visitor.

“Marty here come back to the house this mornin’; got lost after I sent ’im out yesterday.  I couldn’t very well leave ’im alone at the farm, so I figured I might as well bring ’im here with me,” Tom lied, though convincingly.  He was adept at making things up by this time.  “Did the doctor say yet when we can take Paddy back on home?”

“Doc didn’t say.  I s’pect ’e could be here another day though with this mix-up with the meds.”

“Cain’t they do a damned thing right around here?” Tom cursed, getting an agreeing nod from Mick.  He then watched on in surprise as Sam began to inspect Paddy.

Sam leaned down and carefully lifted Paddy’s eyelids, feeling the heat coming from his skin.  The pupils were dilated, which wasn’t a good sign.  Paddy stirred a bit as Sam examined him, and he could only guess that his temperature was somewhere in the danger zone of over 103 degrees Fahrenheit.  Sam looked back at Tom and Mick.  “He’s not going anywhere for a while.”

Tom glared at him wildly.  “What, you some kinda doctor now?” he demanded, suspicions rising once again.  They had agreed that Tom wouldn’t reveal Marty’s “situation” in Indiana as long as Sam would keep quiet about Hank.

“I’ve done some… doctorin’ in my time.  You have to trust me on this,” Sam replied.  Whether Tom thought that Sam was getting this info from Hank’s ghost or was a madman or whatever, the bottom line was that he at least believed the leaper enough to get some help.  “I suggest that one of you go and get a doctor.”

Mick couldn’t believe that the drifter was giving orders now to Tom, or that Tom had let him back after he went off telling Billy that the Mulhills had been abusing their livestock.  At the same time, Marty seemed pretty concerned for Paddy.  Mick looked to Tom for guidance… he felt if a doctor was needed, they should get on it right away.

Tom shifted in his position, considering what Sam had said.  He seemed dead serious about having a doctor come look at Paddy, and Mick was staring at Tom.  Nodding toward Mick, the elder Mulhill said, “Go get the doctor,” and Mick rushed out of the room.

Once alone, save Paddy, Tom turned to the leaper.  “You’d better know what yer doin’, Marty.”

Sam watched as Tom sent off Mick to grab a doctor.  He could only hope that the doctors here knew what they were doing.  Sam assured Tom that he knew what he was talking about.  “I don’t lie about important matters,” the time-traveling physicist said.  “If your brother is going to live through this, he’s going to need something more than what they’ve given him.”

Tom still looked skeptical as he glanced down at Paddy.  Sam knew the farmer was not going to recognize the signs of extreme sickness, but it would be obvious to anyone with eyes that Paddy was in bad shape, in his opinion.

While they waited for Mick to come back with the doctor, Tom asked why he had yelled “What?” earlier.  Sam knew that was coming.

“Nothing… just…” Sam answered, glancing at Al for guidance.  The observer simply shrugged his shoulders and frowned.

“Hank’s ghost?” Tom jeered, scowling.

Sam cleared his throat.  “Well, so far he’s been right on everything he’s told me,” said Sam defensively.  After all, he was going to keep up this charade as long as he could.  What did it matter as long as it got the results he needed?  Sam noticed Tom pat the gun in his pocket, almost by reflexive action, as he glared at the leaper.  He prayed that the doctor who came would be able to figure out what he already knewthat Paddy wasn’t going to get better without further treatment.

Paddy, in his muddled mind, could hear voices around him.  One, to his relief, was Tom’s, and was glad to hear his voice despite how hard he was on them at the farm.  The other one was familiar, but he couldn’t quite place it… then he heard a third accompanied by some kind of unnatural squealing noise.

Opening his eyes, Paddy saw three men staring down at him.  He was right, one was Tom, and to his surprise one was Marty, the accursed drifter.  The third man he had never seen before and was dressed up in a purple suit topped with a fedora and a bright, green tie.  Paddy blinked a couple of times and met the third man’s gaze, who got a look of shock on his face before disappearing all of a sudden.

“Hey, where’d the guy in the ugly suit go?” Paddy questioned wearily.  It still hurt for him to speak, and his skin was feeling worse than before the nurse applied the cream.

Sam was taken aback.  “Al?” he said on impulse, looking instinctively behind himself, but the hologram had disappeared.

“Al?” Tom looked at him strangely.

Sam turned back toward him, hoping that his cheeks weren’t completely red due to his embarrassment of letting that slip.  “Aaa…’ll bet Paddy’s just delirious.  But I’m glad he’s awake.”

Now Tom’s suspicions were rising further.  Had Sam been Southern, he could have accepted that as an accented “I’ll,” but he was from the Mid-West, so something else was being covered up.  Maybe the ghost he keeps talkin’ about is named Al, not Hank.  Wait, what am I thinkin’?!  There ain’t no ghosts in this room nor anywhere else! the farmer raged inside of his head.

Sam couldn’t believe it:  Paddy could see Al!  This new information might prove to be detrimental.  Paddy certainly wasn’t mentally ill, and obviously he wasn’t a child under five or an animal, so the only explanation was that his severe condition had altered his brain patterns enough for him to detect the hologram’s presence.  Sam knew that occasionally people were on a similar brainwave pattern as him, such as the Scrooge-like guy and another man he couldn’t quite place, but that was rare.  Whatever the reason, it was going to take some explaining, and Sam was already in pretty deep with Tom.  Hopefully he would just let it go and think that Paddy was just hallucinating.  Sam looked down at him.  “Paddy… you’re okay,” said Sam, just ignoring the question.  “It’s Marty… I know you’re surprised to see me, but I’m here to help you.”

“Not… okay,” Paddy managed to say, his skin feeling worse than even right during the accident.  He felt so weak, the words taking every ounce of strength for him to push out.  Marty’s being there confused him, and his brain wasn’t feeling much better than his skin, which he could feel was starting to sweat again… the fever was back.  The shots Doctor Warren had given him had helped, but now he felt like things were getting worse again.  “More crea…” he croaked out.

Doctor Warren was just heading out of the door of his office to have lunch with a few of his colleagues when Mick Mulhill nearly ran him down in a panic, telling him that Paddy needed attention immediately.  Rushing back to Room 304 alongside him, they found two men looking over the patient and the doctor assumed that they were more relatives.  One of them said that he was there to help, and Warren interjected.  “I think a doctor might be more helpful to ’im at the moment, sir,” he said politely as he stepped beside him to take a look at the now-reddened Patrick Mulhill.

Sam was impressed that Mick had found a doctor so promptly.  It was obvious how much he cared about his brother from the look on his face.  The doctor rushed over to Paddy, and Sam was thankful he looked as concerned as he felt.  “His skin is even more red than when we got here,” the leaper told him, hoping to get a clue as to what treatments they had administered.

Doctor Warren looked over Patrick Mulhill, noticing that he indeed looked worse than when he was admitted the night prior and just about as bad as he was three hours before, after finding out he didn’t have his seven thirty dosage.  Figuring that he needed more of the healing salve, he pressed the nurse’s call button.  Nurse Hatcher appeared in the doorway five seconds later.  “I think we need some more of that there salve for Mister Mulhill here,” he told her.  She nodded and started to leave the room.  Doctor Warren was new to the hospital and to doctoring in general, but he had seen pesticide poisoning in his day.  Some more of that cream and bed rest would help his patient get through this.

When the nurse returned, it was getting crowded in Room 304.  There were two more men besides Mick Mulhill who had apparently come to visit along with the doctor in there as well, making Betty-Lou feel nearly suffocated.  They cleared a path for her though, and she re-applied the cream she had earlier to Patrick’s skin.  To her, he looked even worse than earlier that morning, but she knew that if his skin needed fewer itches, this salve was the thing to do it.  Paddy was grateful, because, as with anything, when a good thing wears off, one always wants more, and there are few things worse than burning, itchy skin to get one down.  The nurse finished with the job, nodding to the doctor.

Sam watched on as the nurse applied ointment to Paddy’s skin.  Before that, he had been scratching at his arms incessantly from the itch, which made them even redder than they already were.  Suddenly something occurred to the leaper… when Paddy whispered he had said something about “more crea…” was he saying “more cream”?

Doctor Warren also watched on as Betty-Lou gave Paddy another application of the healing cream.  He was not sure what was in it, but it was recommended in the manual for pesticide exposure as a way to soothe the burning skin in serious cases such as this one.  When Betty-Lou nodded to him, he made a small grin and thanked her.

Sam had a hunch, and he was not happy about it since he had just seen the nurse reapply the balm all over Paddy again.  He turned to the doctor as the nurse left the room.  “Excuse me, but did you just start putting that cream on him this morning?”

“This is the second application, yes.  Unfortunately, the one meant to be first applied was missed at seven thirty this mornin’.  It’s standard for cases such as Patrick here,” he explained to whom he saw as a young man, who could not possibly have any medical knowledge from his appearance.

Paddy’s relief knew no bounds when Nurse Hatcher gave him another covering of the cream.  The smell wasn’t much to yearn for, but the way it cooled his skin was a worthwhile trade-off.  He heard Marty and the doctor talking about the cream and noticed that Tom and Mick were both strangely quiet, even more so out of the norm for Tom.

Tom could not find his voice as all of the commotion was going on around him.  His thoughts were focused on what had gotten into Marty.  He was almost acting like a doctor himself.  The farmer was still trying to figure out the “Al” business… a guy in an ugly suit… maybe Paddy had been just hallucinating, and Marty was a little touched, thinking of one of his imaginary friends or something.  All he could manage to do was watch as the drifter conversed with the doctor, hoping that Paddy was in good hands.

The leaper was beginning to suspect that Paddy was having an allergic reaction to the salve.  It probably appeared that Sam was acting like a know-it-all in front of everyone, but after all, he did know that Paddy was going to die if he didn’t find out what was causing his relapse.  Sam had to risk angering the doctor or Tom, but it didn’t matter, as long as he could get them to take a closer look at this situation.

The leaper sighed and politely nodded at Paddy.  “Well, I may be no expert, but I think Paddy might be having a bad reaction to that cream you put on him,” he said to the doctor.  “Sometimes people experience the sensation of needing more of something that is already causing problems… such as using a lip balm that dries out your lips so you keep having to reapply it in a never-ending cycle.”  Tom was just staring at Sam, thinking that he was desperate enough to prove his theory about Paddy that he would do anything.  The scientist was hoping that the doctor would at least consider what he was saying though.  Even if he was wrong about the cream, if Doctor Warren would examine Paddy more closely, he might see that what they were doing wasn’t working.

“Good work, Sam!  Paddy’s odds of surviving have just jumped up almost twenty points,” called out Observer Al, who was standing in the doorway of the hospital room and speaking around Nurse Hatcher.  “Right now, there’s a good chance of Marty staying at the Mulhill farm, too.  He stays out of jail and leads a good life as a farmer.”

Doctor Warren listened to what Sam had to say while Sam was busy hearing his hologram’s proclamation, indicating that perhaps the patient had an allergic reaction to the ointment.  He himself didn’t even know the ingredients, but there might be a point to his suggestion.  Betty-Lou had stopped by the door, looking on as they discussed Patrick’s situation.

Without a word to the man, the doctor turned to the head nurse of the third floor.  “Nurse Hatcher, would you be so kind as to give Doctor Henderson in Carlisle a call an’ find out what Mister Mulhill here might be allergic to, and also get the ingredients fer this here cream.  If’n there’s somethin’ in it that our patient cain’t handle, well, we’ll have to plum find another way to ease the pain.”

Tom kept his gaze on Sam, wondering where in the world he was pulling his words from.  Paddy wasn’t allergic to anything, none of the Mulhills were… well, except for him; he couldn’t go anywhere near a dog, which was why they didn’t have one on the farm.  He blamed that on his biological father, whoever that son of a bitch might have been.

Tom hadn’t seen Paddy in any danger and it seemed like they had things under control there.  From what Tom could see, Sam was taking a big stretch to try to meet the conditions of their agreement.  Before the nurse headed out of the room, Tom announced, “Paddy ain’t allergic to nothin’.  Yer just wastin’ yer time botherin’ ol’ Doc Henderson.”

Nurse Hatcher looked to Doctor Warren, not sure what she should do.  Doctor Warren gave her a look of “Well, what are you waiting for?”  Betty-Lou got the message and continued out of the room.

Sam’s heart sank when Tom announced that Paddy wasn’t allergic to anything and that it would be a waste of time to get the other doctor.  The leaper realized that he should have known this wasn’t going to be easy.  He nodded to Tom, acting like he was at least considering his comment.  “I can understand your position, Tom, but I’m sure Doctor Henderson wouldn’t mind just taking a look at Paddy.  After all, you’d hate for him to die because you hadn’t done everything you could, right?  And things happen in the hospital all the time; people die because they seemed fine when they really weren’t.  I’m just asking that you do this… for your brother.”

Tom’s face was scrunched up and he looked pretty angry with Samagain.  However, Doctor Beckett didn’t think it was just because of Paddy… something he had said hit a nerve.

The farmer thought back on how both George and their father had been the same… they seemed on the mend, but suddenly took a turn for the worse.  Their mother, on the other hand, had a bad case of tuberculosis and never looked well toward the end…

Tightening his face in an effort to keep from exploding in an emotional maelstrom, he took a look at Sam, then Paddy, then the doctor, and then walked out of the room, not wanting to be a part of the situation anymore.

Now Sam was torn… should he go after Tom, or stay and watch things here?  Somehow he felt he hadn’t done much good with this leap so far, as hard as he had tried.  Sometimes that happened… it wasn’t easy trying to make things right, especially when they were as complicated as this was.  It wasn’t just Paddy in the hospital or the knowledge that Tom had killed Hank.  It went deeper than that.  This was a troubled, tragic family, and Sam had a feeling that in the end, his job here was to bring them closer together despite all that had happened… all that was done and couldn’t be undone, even with his help.  Sam was a stranger to them all and Tom sure as Hell didn’t trust him very much, so getting everything to come together was going to be difficult.  But he had to try.

Sam nodded to the doctor and thanked him, saying that they would be back later after grabbing some lunch.  “Mick, I think we need to go get something to eat,” Sam said to Mick Mulhill, who was just standing in the room, looking unsure of what to do.  The leaper gently nudged him toward the door and they walked down the hall to the waiting area, where they saw Tom sitting on a chair.  He was swaying back and forth, trying to contain what was probably a mixture of sorrow and anger.

“Uh, Sam, I think I’ll head back and go over some more scenarios with Ziggy.  Maybe there’s something we’ve overlooked here,” Al Calavicci said as he looked on at Tom Mulhill with a mix of compassion and disgust.  Sam nodded and barely noticed as the observer stepped through the white rectangle of light and vanished.

Storming down the hall toward the waiting area, Tom had taken up a chair and put his face in his hands, trying to ignore the feelings that were bubbling to the surface.  After taking a few deep breaths, he put his hands together between his knees and moved slightly forward and backward, just trying to calm himself down.

“Damn that Marty!  Damn him!” he cursed under his breath.  “God, please, help Patrick.  He doesn’t deserve this… I deserve it if anybody.”

Tom didn’t stop his swaying during this time, and out of the corner of his eye, he saw Mick and Marty coming down the hallway.  When they stopped in front of him, he looked up and Mick asked, “Tom, do you… want to go get some grub?”

“I… I guess so,” Tom managed to answer, swallowing hard after speaking.  Sam let out a subtle breath of emotional release and walked behind the two men toward the elevators.





Wednesday, June 8, 1960

13:03 EDT

Wallace Thomson Hospital, Union, South Carolina


Once the three men arrived at the cafeteria, they got in line and all ordered the day’s special:  turkey, potatoes, and carrots, with chocolate cake for dessert.  Being that they were visiting a patient, the cook gave them a discount.  Mick paid for all three of them, seeing that Tom still seemed in a half-trance and figuring Marty had no money.  The rotund farmer was just as confused as ever as to why the drifter was there, and if Paddy was going to be all right… if Tom was going to be all right.  They certainly did not need any more tragedy in their family, and Mick was unsure if he could handle anything else.  He found himself wishing that Hank were there.  The oldest brother would know what to do.

Tom, Mick, and Sam sat down at one of the tables to eat.  Sam disciplined himself to hold back his extreme hunger and tried to eat at a normal pace.  Still, he was eating pretty quickly, especially compared to Tom and Mick who were merely picking at their food.  The leaper looked back and forth at them, waiting for someone to say something.  He didn’t quite know how to address anything that had gone on in that hospital room.

Sam finished his meal first, finally feeling full and satisfied.  Tom was still sitting in his seat, saying nothing.  Something was obviously wrong with him.  Up until that point, he hadn’t held back his opinions on any topic and had seemed pretty strong, no matter what came his way.  But something had changed.  Sam thought he was genuinely concerned for Paddy but maybe… maybe he was feeling some remorse about Hank?

Sam and Mick sat beside each other at a table in the cafeteria, with Tom across from Mick.  Tom was not about to start talking—he didn’t have anything he wanted to discuss with anybody.  Mick, on the other hand, was getting uncomfortable with all the silence, so he figured it was about time to bring something up.  “Tom…” Mick began, cautiously.  “I was just thinkin’… maybe I could call that there conference center in North Carolina and tell Hank to come home.  I think he’d wanna be here for Paddy rather than finish out the expo.  Wadda ya think?”

Tom was fully enjoying the lack of conversation, and he could not help but be annoyed at Mick’s sudden suggestion to call Hank.  Sam had just taken a bite of chocolate cake when Mick broke the silence and asked Tom if he should call and tell Hank to come home, with Paddy the way he was and all.  Sam choked on his cake, spitting the mouthful back onto the plate and experiencing a coughing fit.  The two farmers stared at the leaper with wide eyes until he took his napkin and tried to stifle himself.  Mick made sure he was all right before turning his gaze back to Tom.

“No point in botherin’ Hank; he’ll be home in a couple o’ days anyway.  Ya don’t want ’im thinkin’ we cain’t take care o’ the farm while he’s gone, do ya?  Plus, Paddy’s gonna be jus’ fine,” Tom responded levelly, managing to calm down during the silence of the meal.

Mick accepted that, but something else was still bothering him.  “Well, I reckon it can wait then, but there’s somethin’ else.  Maybe it was just Paddy’s sickness talkin’, but when I was with him earlier this mornin’, he went off talkin’ ’bout Marty here sayin’ there was a body buried in Midnight’s stall.  I just thought you outta know, even though I’m sure it was jus’ crazy talk.”

Sam had finally finished coughing and took a couple gulps of water.  He no longer wanted the cake.  Tom seemed to drift back to his old self, coming up with an excuse to not call Hank.  But then Mick pulled something he had completely forgot to watch for with all the commotion about Paddy’s condition.  He said that Paddy had told him about the body in the barn and that he was the one who mentioned it.  Sam had to try to veer this away as soon as possible.  “No… uh… he must have been hallucinating,” the leaper managed to get out.  “I never saw anything in the barn… besides that wild horse of yours.”

Doctor Beckett tried to laugh things off lightheartedly, hoping that Tom would let it slide by.  Sam already knew he wondered about “the ghost” and didn’t trust about anything that he said, and Sam couldn’t be getting in any deeper trouble with him than he already was.

Tom also couldn’t believe what he was hearing… Marty told Paddy about seeing the body?  Well, it didn’t matter anymore; that whole issue had been taken care of.  Thankfully, the drifter stepped in and said what Tom was about to say, but coming from the other man, it was probably more believable to Mick.  The farmer didn’t say anything to either of them until Mick nodded at Sam’s response.

“Billy and me was out in the barn last night and ain’t seen nothin’ outta sorts,” Tom added, allowing Sam’s response to bring full merit.  “Even laid a fresh bed o’ hay for Midnight yesterday afternoon and everything looked fine t’ me.”

Satisfied with the response he received, Mick nodded.  The whole idea of a body in the barn had been weighing on his mind quite a bit.  “Well, I reckon I’m glad that’s straight now,” he told both of them.  He had picked at most of his meal, but the cake looked pretty good, so he began to eat that at a steadier pace.

Sam sighed with relief that Tom took his word for it and just backed up the story and that Mick seemed to believe every word of it.  The leaper really didn’t need any more complications right now, and with Paddy the way he was, this really wasn’t the time for Paddy and Mick to find out that Hank was actually dead, not away at a farm exposition.  Sam couldn’t believe how convoluted all of this had become.  He watched as Mick started eating his cake and sat back, just watching the two of them, and hoping he could somehow save this family from more tragedy.



After the three men left the room, Doctor Warren did a more in-depth examination of Paddy.  Maybe the young man was right… as he took a closer look at his patient’s skin, it looked like a different type of irritation than the pesticide had given him.  Paddy could have had an allergic reaction to the cream that Betty-Lou had been applying.

When he heard footsteps enter the room, he looked up to see Nurse Hatcher.  She told him about what she found out from Doctor Henderson’s office in Carlisle, that indeed Patrick Mulhill had no known allergies.  “Despite that, I think Patrick here jus’ might be allergic to that salve.”  Betty-Lou’s eyes widened at his statement.  “Would you be so kind as t’ call the company that makes it and get the ingredients?  It’s of the utmost importance if’n he’s allergic in any degree.”

The nurse complied and returned to her desk at the nurses’ station.  Twenty minutes later, she reported to Warren’s office with her findings.  He was just finishing off a slice of chocolate cake (from the meal one of the nurses brought to him from the cafeteria after missing his lunch appointment) when she stepped in.  “Well, the manufacturer said it contained the following,” she told him, handing him a list:


base of olive oil

thickener of beeswax

herbal ingredients: comfrey, plantain (plantago lanceolata – lanceleaf plantain – a common garden weed)

cooking sage (salvia officinalis)


Looking over the list, he saw nothing that seemed out of the ordinary, so he handed it back to her.  “Attach that to Mister Mulhill’s file for Doc Henderson t’ take a look at when he gets here, and try to obtain a sample o’ each of them there ingredients so we can run an allergy test.”

Betty-Lou was feeling like a “gopher” when Doctor Warren asked her to obtain the ingredients individually and get them prepared for an allergy test, but she only nodded and returned to her desk.  After writing out a copy of the list, she placed the original in Paddy’s file and then headed with the copy to the pharmacy lab.  It was there that many pharmacists were employed to do this very thing with raw ingredients that they had available at the hospital.

When Nurse Hatcher came upon the lab, she found only one person on duty.  “Pro’lly the poor sap who had to stay here in case of emergency,” she mused, realizing that lunch hour was still going on.  She handed the list over and told the pharmacist to make sure the samples were ready by six o’clock that night and were to be delivered to Room 304.

The pharmacist accepted the list from the nurse, and disguised a confused look from covering his face, as she told him to prepare the ingredients.  He had just gotten there and didn’t know what his exact duties were yet.  “Certainly,” he agreed with a warm smile.  The nurse walked out, looking a little ticked off that she was being sent on errands too.  He knew the feeling all too well.  When the nurse was gone, a voice echoed in the pharmacist’s mind.

“Doctor Connors,” the smooth voice said.  “You have returned to June 1960 in Union County, South Carolina.  It appears that history is still being altered by another force.”

“What is it this time, Morpheus?” Max Connors asked.  He had leaped in merely five minutes ago, finding himself in a lab coat.  His host had been running some drug tests.

“If you recall the situation with the Mulhill family near Carlisle, you prevented Tom Mulhill from being incarcerated for the murder of his oldest brother, Hank.  Since we were unable to change the fate of Patrick Mulhill from enduring a poisoning from insecticide, I am projecting that he must die as a result,” the computer sentience reported without emotion.  “However, there are two highly probably timelines currently forming, one in which Patrick survives.  As unfortunate as it may sound, you are here to ensure that he perishes.  I also give an eighty-percent chance that you are to confront whoever has been meddling with this era and put a stop to them.”

Connors thought over the dire report… would he really have to kill the brother of a man that he just spared from a life sentence in prison?  Was that the trade-off for ensuring the preservation of the space-time continuum?  If so, it had to be done.  Whoever this was, changing things around, he or she would pay for their meddling.

“I… I understand, Morpheus.  I wish it didn’t have to be this way, but… I must keep the bigger picture in mind, even if it means allowing an innocent person to die.  What is the most effective way to speed things along?”

There was a pause before Morpheus replied.  “A highly-concentrated solution of ricin will achieve death within a half-hour.  Patrick is in a severely weakened and susceptible state.”

Nodding in understanding, Max headed to the stash of raw materials, quickly finding a container labeled “Castor Bean Mash (RICIN).”  He removed it, created a solution with formic acid, and prepared a syringe, which he promptly slid into his lab coat.  Meanwhile, Morpheus gave him the background on his host, Pharmacist Kara Williams.

Satisfied, he headed off down the hallway, trying to look as inconspicuous as possible.  He smiled politely as he asked the front desk clerk which room held Patrick Mulhill, as he was to deliver something there.  She told him Room 304 and he chuckled to himself, thinking that the plump nurse from before had been good for something after all.  He made his way to the room, where he saw a man who was badly reddened, lying in a half-daze.

“Hello, Patrick.  I’m Pharmacist Williams,” the leaper said as he leaned over the sick man and brushed his hair back from his face.  Paddy looked up at him, not quite understanding what was going on.  Connors stood over Paddy’s bed for about fifteen seconds, wondering if perhaps there was another way to fix things.  After internally struggling with his decision and seeing no other way around it, Connors pushed his feelings of guilt aside and took out the syringe filled with ricin.  “This will make you feel better,” he continued, inserting the deadly needle into Paddy’s upper arm.  Glancing up at the clock, which read thirty minutes past one, Max forced a warm smile.  “In just a mere half-hour, you won’t be suffering anymore.  I promise.”

With that, he waved goodbye to the doomed man, and headed back out into the hallway.  Connors momentarily felt nauseous in the pit of his stomach as he attempted to regain his composure.  He couldn’t be sure if it was his cancer-ridden body that made him feel sick or if it was the knowledge of what he had just done that was weighing down on his conscience.



Sam thought it was about time they got back to see how Paddy was.  He initiated it by getting up from the table, taking his, Tom’s, and Mick’s trays and bringing them toward the trash can to deposit their leftovers.  “Maybe we should go back and keep Paddy company,” Sam suggested.

Mick and Tom got up to follow Sam to the garbage bin, surprised that he took their trays as well.  “Sure, that’s why we’re here, ain’t we?” Tom chastised Sam as they headed out of the cafeteria.  It was past one thirty, and there was work to be done at the farm, but Tom was worried about Paddy now more than ever before, especially after hearing that there could be an allergy.

Doctor Beckett could see that the two farmers were really concerned about Paddy, as was he.  He also was wondering where Al had gone.  He hadn’t seen him since before lunch, and really needed the observer’s advice now.

He let Tom lead the way back to Paddy’s room, and it seemed to take an eternity with the slow-moving elevators.  Finally, they got to Room 304 and found Paddy’s breathing rather shallow.  He looked far worse than when they had left to go to lunch.  Where was the doctor?

Paddy felt like he was alone for days before Tom, Mick, and Sam came back.  They all looked at him as if he had a second head when they entered the room.  The one he had was pounding as much as it was, and he didn’t need a second one to add to the pain!  “Hi,” he managed weakly.  Ever since that Williams woman gave him the shot, he had been feeling worse and worse, having no strength to call for any help.

Tom couldn’t stand to see another member of his family like this.  “Patrick, how’re ya feelin’, buddy?” Tom asked as he pulled one of the chairs close up to his bed.  “Anyone been in t’ take a look atcha lately?”

As Tom sat with Paddy, Sam felt powerless.  Things were obviously getting worse… but what could have happened between when they went to lunch forty minutes earlier and now?  Certainly he hadn’t gotten more cream.  Sam was extremely flustered, but then he heard Tom ask Paddy if anyone had been in to see him.  He was hoping this might give him a clue.

Mick could see Paddy looking like he was failing.  He remembered their father looking the same near the end, and he was praying it wouldn’t happen to Paddy.  He looked to the ceiling and asked God to help; they were good people, and Paddy didn’t deserve this.

“Williams,” Paddy said with a grating voice to Tom’s question.  “Gave me… shot.”  Looking into his older brother’s eyes, he could see that Tom understood what he was saying, but wasn’t sure what to do with the information.  So, he rang the nurse’s call, hoping to get the chubby nurse in here again.  She seemed to know everything that was going on around there.

Overhearing Paddy tell Tom that someone named Williams had come and given him a shot, Sam made sure that he would tell Al to run a check on this new name.  When the nurse came inonce again Betty-Lou HatcherSam immediately asked her who Williams was and why he gave Paddy a shot.

“Well, I don’t know.  I didn’t authorize any shot, an’ the only Williams I know works in the pharmacy lab,” the nurse responded to Sam.  “I just told her not too long ago t’ collect some samples for Patrick’s allergy test.  She certainly wouldn’t have given him a shot.”

When the men stared at her in disbelief, she quickly excused herself to get Doctor Warren.  Tom was now standing, ready to blow his top.  “This damned place is cursed!” he screamed out, wanting to destroy anything he could get his hands on.  He had tried so hard to keep his emotions in check, but now it had caught up with him.  Sam got up from his seat and tried to calm him down.  He actually felt sorry for the oldest living Mulhill… for Paddy too, of course, but seeing Tom like this, despite knowing he had killed his own brother and taken Sam hostage, the leaper still felt an obligation to help him.  Tom took in a few shaky breaths as Sam placed his hands on his shoulders, and he looked at the ground and swallowed, trying once again to get a handle on his emotions.  Tom knew that he shouldn’t act like this in front of Paddy; it would only make him feel worse.

“Look, we’ll find out what happened.  I’m sure the doctors know what they are doing,” Sam said, but something did seem extremely fishy.  What would a pharmacist be doing administering a shot?  The whole situation was becoming more mysterious by the minute.  Suddenly, Paddy started to convulse, just as Nurse Hatcher was bringing in the doctor to take a look at him.

“Nurse, get a team in here right away!  And bring me that Williams girl!” Doctor Warren ordered as he reached Paddy, trying to hold him down.  Sam broke away from Tom and aided Warren in keeping Paddy from injuring himself further, and was beginning to wonder if someone really had it out for this family.  He was either having another negative reaction to a medication, or it was deliberate sabotage.  If someone was really trying to kill Paddy and had given him a lethal dose of something, then there was nothing the leaper could do.

But I’ve never failed on a leap… have I?  No.  Never.  What would happen if I did? Sam mused silently when Paddy finally settled down.  He didn’t want to think about it.  Failure was not an option.  God, Time, Fate, or Whatever is responsible for my leaps wouldn’t let that happen, would it?



Max continued pretending to do some work in the pharmacy.  He was still the only one there anyway, so he really could have twiddled his thumbs all day had he wanted to and no one would have cared.  But he felt the need to be doing something… a half-hour seemed like an eternity away.  Also, it was not his intention to disrupt Kara Williams’ life any more than it needed to be.

Just playing with a couple of samples just to see what reaction he would get, Connors brought his attention to a nurse who had entered the room, demanding that he come with her to Room 304.  He nodded and began to follow the woman, quietly whispering to himself, “How did they find out?  Maybe that fat nurse was suspicious of me.”

“You told your name to Patrick, Doctor Connors,” Morpheus reminded him.

Shit, you’re right, he replied, this time in his thoughts.  No matter, I’ll just handle this with the classic ‘I was just following orders’ excuse.  I just need to stall for a half-hour and I’ll leap.  What implication does this have on Kara’s life?

“Many scenarios are possible at the moment, Doctor.  Best of luck.”





Wednesday, June 8, 1960

13:45 EDT

Wallace Thomson Hospital, Union, South Carolina


Maxwell Connors approached Room 304 at Wallace Thomson Hospital when Morpheus spoke to him once again.  “I am detecting another leaper in the vicinity.  From previous experience, I believe it is Doctor Beckett.”

Beckett!  I should have known that he was the one changing things here!  Well, once Patrick Mulhill is gone, I’ll finally have my revenge on that self-proclaimed do-gooder, Connors thought back with spite.  He entered the hospital room and could not pick out which one of the country bumpkins within was currently inhabited by the body of Sam Beckett, but was determined to find him.  There was a team of three medical personnel, along with a doctor, working on hooking Paddy up to monitors, while Sam, Tom, and Mick watched on.

As soon as the doctor turned around, there was fire in his eyes as he approached who he thought was Kara Williams.  “Who the Hell do you think you are, giving this man a shot without proper authorization?” Doctor Warren demanded.  He had not lost a patient yet during his short practice and was hardly expecting to under the conditions in which Patrick Mulhill’s was brought in.

“But I had proper authorization, sir.  It came straight from the top,” replied Max calmly.  “One of the charge doctors pulled me aside and handed me the syringe, asking me to administer to Patrick Mulhill right away.  He seemed in a mighty hurry, and I just brought the needle up with me and gave it to him.  Is there a problem?”

Warren grabbed the leaper by the arm and dragged him outside with him, closing the door behind them.  Connors was not very happy with the doctor touching him, but he had to play the part of a scared, innocent rookie.  “Yes, there’s a Goddamned problem.  That man is now dying because of your shot!” he proclaimed, trying to keep his voice from the occupants of Room 304.

Connors knew it was time to put on an act.  He worked up his face and tried forcing some tears.  “I’m… I’m sorry, Doctor… I had no idea he would react to the shot like that.”

“Well, who gave you the syringe?  Who told you to do it?!”

“I don’t know.  I’m sorry, I’m new at this hospital and I don’t know all your procedures yet.  I just wanted to help people, and when the doctor asked me to administer this shot, he was my superior and I felt I better do it.  I just wanted to help out, so I never thought I was doing something wrong.”  Max was making a convincing display for the doctor, and Sam Beckett was hearing every word from behind the door as he pressed his ear against it, until the familiar, illuminated rectangle of light appeared at Sam’s left and Admiral Calavicci stepped through.

“Sam, Ziggy says there’s a huge problem.  There’s almost no chance of Paddy coming through this.”

“No,” Sam whispered desperately.  “That’s gotta be wrong.”

“I am afraid not, Doctor,” Ziggy said apologetically as her holographic representation appeared automatically.  “You can not blame yourself.”

“But it is my fault,” Sam continued, making sure nobody in the room heard him, but they were all concentrated on the dying man in the hospital bed.  A tear slipped down his cheek.  “I should have stayed here to make sure Paddy was safe.”

“Doctor Beckett, like I said, this is not your fault.  There is another leaper in the vicinity.  He or she has altered events so drastically that Patrick Mulhill’s death is certain by two o’clock this afternoon.”

Sam swallowed hard, shaking his head slightly.  “Al, find out who the other leaper is,” he said with determination.  Nodding, the observer began poking at the handlink while Sam turned his attention back to the conversation in the hallway.

“Damn it, girl, ’cause of you, a man is gonna die!  Tell me who gave ya the damned, bloody needle right now!” the doctor hollered, not holding back any of his anger.  Patrick Mulhill’s case was a simple one when he came in, and now his liver was failing, with several more organs to follow soon.

“I—he didn’t tell me his name.  All he said was ‘Miss, could you please give this to the patient in Room 304?’” the rogue leaper lied, licking his lips.

“An’ you thought that was acceptable, some doctor y’ don’t even know askin’ y’ to administer some mysterious shot to a patient y’ have no authority over?!” Warren screamed, his eyes burrowing into her skull as he ground his teeth.  The doctor then lashed out his hands to grab Max by both arms.  He was certain that they had heard him inside the room, and figured the hospital would be lucky if the family didn’t sue for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Connors forced another wave of tears.  It was his first leap into a woman, and it felt somewhat… different.  At least it helped him with this act.  “I… I didn’t know… please, I didn’t mean to… I thought I was doing what was right.  I’m… sorry.”  The doctor still had a grip on his arms, and he slumped to show that he was so guilty over this that he didn’t know what else to do.

Pushing her away out of his grasp, the doctor watched as the pharmacist took a few steps backward before regaining her balance.  Warren put a finger and thumb to the bridge of his nose, pinching it in an attempt to release some stress, but it certainly did not work.  This was an absolute tragedy to befall not only the poor family in there but the hospital as well.

“Well, I have t’ go back in there, but you’d best stay out here.  Nurse Hatcher!” the doctor called down the hall, seeing the portly nurse rush over.  “Keep an eye on this… this… girl while I’m in there, please,” he said, avoiding from making any profane remarks about the pharmacist.  He opened the door to Room 304 and Sam stumbled sideways.  The doctor made no note of him as he joined the medical team at Paddy’s bedside.

Sam could certainly sympathize if the pharmacist had made a mistake… she was just trying to help people, like he was.  In the end, they had both failed Patrick Mulhill, but Sam was still placing full blame of the man’s death on his own shoulders.  Leaper or no leaper, he should have maintained a constant watch on Paddy until he recovered.  Now, that would never happen.  It had cost a man his life.  It also meant that Sam had failed his assignment.

Watching his time-traveling friend, Al knew what he was thinking.  “Sam, do not blame yourself for this.  You tried your damned best, Beckett, and some time-traveling S.O.B. screwed things up here, not you.”

The leaper shook his head, unsure what to think.  He didn’t spend much time dwelling on it as Paddy regained consciousness.  A quick glance at the clock told him that Patrick Mulhill did not have much longer on this Earth.

Paddy didn’t know how long he had been out, but there were three or four people hovering around him, and he felt tubes up his nose and… down his throat?  It was extremely uncomfortable, and his insides felt like they were on fire.

“Mick… Tom…” he managed to say hoarsely.

Sam could feel his eyes starting to water when Paddy called out to his brothers.  They both went over to his bedside, Mick taking his hand and Tom remaining standing where he was.  Sam walked over to him and quietly said, “I know how you feel, Tom.  It’s hard to lose a family member so close to you.  I myself lost my father and almost lost my brother in Viet Nam.”

“In where?” Tom asked.

“Um… I meant Korea,” the leaper quickly corrected.  “Anyway, Paddy needs you now… he doesn’t have long.”

The farmer bit his upper lip and agreed, sitting on the bed beside Mick.  The leaper went to his other side and took Paddy’s other hand, leaning down and whispering, “I am so sorry, Paddy.”

“Sorry ’bout what, Marty?” Paddy wheezed, feeling his voice come back a little as he looked at him.  Everything was a little hazy, but he could still make out faces and voices without a problem.  “You ain’t done nothin’ ’gainst us ’cept tellin’ Billy we was abusin’ the livestock.”

Sam chuckled a little about the lie that Tom had told Paddy about him.  It seemed so small now.  “Yeah, I shouldn’t have said that, Paddy.  You just… you just rest.  We all care about you and even just in the short time I’ve known you, I consider you a friend.”  Doctor Beckett was trying his hardest to fight back any more tears.  He had a huge knot in his stomach, but looked down at Paddy and said, “Tom and Mick and I will stay right here.”

Paddy then squeezed Sam’s hand really tightly and started to groan in pain.  “Marty… am I gonna die?” he asked.  

Sam forced a wavering smile, not answering his question directly.  “You just rest, Paddy.  I’m going to stay here with you.”

“Tom…” Paddy managed to say as another shot of pain ricocheted through his body.  “Tell… everyone… I love ’em.”

Not sure how much longer he could stay in this room, Tom could only nod at his dying brother’s words.  After a moment he said, “I promise.”

Sam had to get out of the room and find somewhere private to talk to Al, despite what he had just told Paddy.  He turned to Mick and Tom and said he would be right back and that he just had to use the restroom.  Al gave a nod of his head in understanding and disappeared.  The leaper left the hospital room and, after glancing at the pharmacist, who was looking very bored, and the nurse watching her, he headed down the hall and turned a corner, out of sight.

“This can’t be happening, Al.  Please tell me this is all a horrible nightmare!” Sam hissed, his hands shaking from emotion.  “That man in there does not deserve to die.  It isn’t fair!”

The observer nodded in agreement.  “I know that, Sam.  It’s not fair.  Life isn’t fair.  Sometimes no matter how hard we try, we just can’t change the past for the better.”

Ziggy was watching them, a thoughtful expression on her face.  “I have located the other leaper.  Heand yes, I determined his genderis inhabiting the aura of Kara Williams, the pharmacist who administered Patrick’s deadly shot.  I do not know who he is, however.”

Sam’s eyes grew wide and he wanted to sprint down the hallway and have his revenge for Paddy’s demise.  Al’s deepened voice stopped him from moving.  “Sam.  Remember, it’s his fault this is happening.  The only thing you can do is to try to stop that bastard from killing anyone else.  Hear me?”  The admiral’s voice was authoritative, but compassionate.  The leaper swallowed hard and forced himself to walk at a steady pace back to Room 304.

It was with difficulty and a lot of discipline that Sam Beckett did not jump on the person hiding behind the pharmacist’s aura and beat him senseless.  He was nearly at the door to Paddy’s hospital room when Al coughed.  “Sam, uh…” he began, but didn’t need to finish.  An ashen Tom Mulhill exited the room and was slowly walking toward Doctor Beckett.

“Tom?” Sam asked, concern growing on his face as he addressed him.

“Paddy’s gone,” he said, in a near whisper, and then he moved away down the hallway toward the waiting area, intending to make use of the restroom.  Nurse Hatcher got up from her seat at the news and rushed into the hospital room, closing the door behind her.

Sam wanted to go after Tom, but Al stopped him in his tracks once more.  “Let him be, Sam.  His brother is gone; he needs some time alone.”  They just watched as the destroyed farmer entered the public bathroom.

Doctor Beckett took in a long, shaky breath before pivoting around to face the other leaper who was leaning against the corridor wall.  “So, what did Lothos have against that man, huh?  What in the world could a farmer in rural South Carolina possibly do to deserve death?” he demanded, his voice rising in anger as their gazes met.

“Uh, Sam, there is no Lothos anymore,” Al reminded him.  “Unless… nah, it couldn’t be,” he added, remembering when he and Sam encountered versions of the evil leapers from before their deaths.  “What are the odds of that happening twice?”  Sam, however, thought the brand-mark on his torso argued otherwise.

“What?  What are you talking about?” Connors asked, genuine confusion coming over his face.  Sam Beckett did not answer and instead grabbed him by the arm.  There was a brief moment of disorientation for both men before their auras dissipated.  They could now see each other for who they really were.

Doctor Beckett was amazed at who appeared before him and dropped his hand away.  “C-Connors?”

“Ah, Beckett.  Good to see you again,” Max returned as a menacing grin crossed his lips.  “I should have known that you were the nuisance screwing up this timeline.”

“You’re alive!  But… I saw you get shot,” Sam recalled.  (*See “True Callings, Part III”)

“A minor setback, old friend,” Connors retorted.  “The leap out of Darius Dreck must have healed my wound somehow.  It’s the only explanation I have.”

“You… tried to kill me—the younger me!”

“And I would have if you hadn’t convinced me that doing so would have made things worse,” Connors explained.  “I’ll admit that I wasn’t in the right frame of mind then.  But it still doesn’t change the fact that your leaping around in time is doing more harm than good.  Why don’t you just go home and give this life up?  You’re only making more work for me.”

“More work for you?  Is that how you view it?  I’m helping people.”

A smug expression appeared on Max’s face.  “Really?  Then why did Tom Mulhill escape jail?  And his brother, Patrick… well, you know.”

Anger flashed through Sam’s being at how lightheartedly his adversary was treating the situation.  “I have a feeling you have something to do with all of this.  Nobody deserves to die like that, and what about the woman you’ve leaped into?  I’m sure that doctor in there’s already branded her as a murderer, thanks to you.”

“Kara Williams is cleared of all charges but never finds work again in the medical field,” Ziggy interjected.  “The Mulhills end up suing the hospital and—”

Sam cut her off, turning around to share some of his anger with her.  “Shut up, Ziggy!”  It was just enough of a distraction for Connors to extract his back-up syringe.

Noticing the sudden action behind his friend, Al became instantaneously nauseous.  “Sam, watch out!” he cried, but it was too late.  Connors managed to grab Sam’s arm and stick the needle into his exposed arm, injecting the cocktail under his skin.  The leaper cried in pain and landed a punch across Max’s face that sent him sprawling to the floor, the needle clattering to the ground.

Rubbing his left cheek, Doctor Connors sneered at Doctor Beckett.  “Well, it looks like I killed two men with one solution,” he quipped with a quick chuckle.

Fuming, Sam grabbed the other time-traveler by the collar of the lab coat and shoved him up against the wall.  “What was in that needle?” he demanded angrily.  When Max simply sniffed, Sam shook him.  “What was in it?!”

“Ricin, if you must know.  Unlike that backwoods hick in there, you have two to five days left to live, being as healthy as you are.  That is, assuming you won’t leap due to failing your ‘mission’!”  His attitude was one of victory.  “Face it, Beckett.  I’ve won.  I repaired the timeline as much as I could here, and now I’ve put a stop to your interference of the past.”

“Why, you… you Satan-worshipping asshole!” Al cried out.

“What the Hell has happened to you, Connors?” Sam demanded of his nemesis.  “You were once a good man when we first met all those years ago.  Now you’ve become a cold-blooded murderer.  How can you live with the knowledge of what you’ve just done?  I thought I started getting through to you the last time!”

“Shut up, Beckett!” Connors shot back as his emotions began to overwhelm him.  “You think I wanted to kill that man?  I never asked for any of this!  All I wanted was to make a difference in the world—to put an end to disease and death.”  Feeling a dull pain shoot through his chest, Max started coughing uncontrollably before continuing.  “I’m dying… slowly and painfully dying.  Because of you, I no longer have access to the healing energies of my Accelerator.  Even though it worked the first time, only continuous exposure to it can eradicate the cancer from my system completely.  I don’t know how much time I have left, but I’ll devote my remaining days to repair all of the damage you and those other ‘evil’ leapers out there have caused, if it’s the last thing I ever do.”

A familiar tingle began to pull at Max’s extremities.  “I’ll take my leave now, Beckett.  Enjoy your final days.  I know I will.”  Before Sam could retort, a flash of yellow electrical energy swept over his enemy’s body, and Kara Williams returned, shocked to find herself being restrained against the wall.

Realizing that nothing could be done to bring Connors back, Sam quickly set the woman down and apologized.  “Kara, I’m sorry… just, don’t blame yourself, all right?  Nothing here was your fault.”

Bewildered, the young, and now thoroughly confused, pharmacist watched as a young man picked up a syringe from the ground and sauntered down the hallway.

“You should be telling yourself the same thing, Sam,” said Al when he centered his and Ziggy’s hologram on the leaper, who had entered an empty hospital room.  He deposited the used needle into a biohazard disposal bin and sat on the edge of the vacant bed.

“What’s going to happen to me, Al?  I failed, there’s no denying that.  Tom’s getting off Scott-free with murder and Paddy… Paddy’s dead.  I couldn’t even make Connors pay for what he did!” Sam replied, tears of grief and frustration sparkling around the corners of his eyes.

The observer felt horrible for what had happened, too.  He consulted the handlink and gave Ziggy a glance before saying anything.  “Maybe you should let Ziggy finish what she was saying before, although at a really inopportune time,” he consoled, throwing in the accusation at the end toward his fellow hologram.

“I apologize for that, Father.  However, you have improved the life of the surviving Mulhills.  Their farm had been failing the past couple of years, but they now receive compensation from the hospital, and one of their sisters moves back to the farm permanently with her family.”  Ziggy paused for effect.  “You have brought this family closer together than they were before.  It is simply unfortunate that Patrick did not live through his ordeal to enjoy it as well.”

Fury began to mix in with Sam’s emotions.  “‘Simply unfortunate’?  You call a man dying ‘simply unfortunate’?  Money means nothing if a life is lost.”

Al grimaced.  “Well, at least they are reunited with their sister.  The farm is successful, and they’re all still alive today, Sam.  Originally, none of the brothers lived to see the new millennium.”

“Yeah, and now two of them don’t even live to see Nineteen Sixty-One,” the leaper retorted spitefully.

The observer knew a circle of grief when he saw one.  Not meaning to ignore the situation, the fact that Connors had succeeded in stabbing Sam with the needle was worrying him.  “What about him, Ziggy?  Ricin is a pretty serious thing, isn’t it?”

“Yes, but as with all other injuries sustained by Doctor Beckett, he will heal in-between leaps.  I am certain that the ricin will be cleared out of his system before his next leap-in.”

“It doesn’t matter.  I failed.  I’m going to spend the rest of my life as Martin Adler, what little is left of it,” Sam responded.  “It’s as simple as that, Al.  I failed.”

Before either hologram could convince him otherwise, blue energy engulfed Sam Beckett, and he leaped.





          As the haze of Leaping dissipated, Sam was aware of a number of contrasting feelings. His eyes were closed, and some instinct told him not to be in any hurry to change that just yet.

          He was lying down on his side, and relaxed - his host had been asleep. Yet he instantly felt tense, more than the unfamiliarity of a leap-in warranted. He could feel warmth and softness to either side of him, furry covers, yet a chill touched his naked flesh. A growl from his bedfellow when he moved to pull the wrappings over him warned him she (he hoped it was a she!) was in no mood to share. The ‘bed’ itself, beneath his body, was hard - not firm, but hard - and rough like concrete.

          Sam drew in a deep breath; the air was cold to his lungs and made him gasp.  He also smelt his companion’s breath, and ‘she’ definitely needed the benefit of some toothpaste!

          He gingerly opened one eye, just a slit at first, then wide with incredulity. Suddenly, he was wide-awake and sitting up, but not daring to move any further. He was outdoors, though within an enclosure of wire fencing, and his bedmate and the covers were one in the same – he found himself stark buck-naked sandwiched between two adult gray wolves!

          Wondering what he had got himself into now, the time-traveler uttered his time-honored phrase:  “Oh boy!”


Email the Authors


Divorce Attorneys