Sam Beckett's senses returned after his leap in, the first thing that hit him
was the smell. Wherever he was, it stank. Then he realized he could hear a
muffled beat in the background. It was only when he felt some paper being pulled
from his right hand and something else put in its place that he knew where he
was. The toilets. That explained the smell. Two men were facing him. One of them
was pocketing some money, which was what Sam had felt being taken from him.
doing business with you," the smaller man said, and the two of them left.
business could they possibly be doing in the toilets? Sam wondered. He opened
his hand and peered at the contents: Two pills in a tiny baggie. It seemed odd
for a minute until he turned over the bag and saw the 'E' engraved on them.
really knowing what else to do for the moment he put the pills in the pocket of
his jeans. As he turned to leave he caught sight of his host in the mirror. The
face that looked back at him was not more than a boy, perhaps 20 years old. He
had short, dark hair, and looked innocent - too young and innocent to be
involved in drug dealing anyway.
turned away and opened the door and walked through. He almost thought he had
stepped into a sauna, albeit one with a terrible background noise. He identified
the sounds as what was known as dance music, and placed himself in the 80s or
90s. Sam wasn't terribly impressed
with the music itself, but he seemed to recall that there was some good music in
that time - this was just not it.
had barely gotten his bearings when a thin girl with long dark hair and about
the same age as his host came up to him. He saw her lips move as she said
something to him but the words were lost in the sea of sound.
he shouted over the noise.
girl leaned over him and shouted in his ear. "Have you got them?"
didn't really help - Sam still had no idea what she was talking about. When he
failed to reply and gave her a puzzled look she decided to answer her own
question and reached into his pockets. Sam suddenly realized what she said and
grabbed her wrists, said no, and tried to stop her. She wriggled free, however,
and slipped around behind him where she reached around and slipped her hands
back in his pockets, finding the pills. She pulled them out.
tried to turn around but the press of the crowd made it difficult. He could see
her over the shoulder of the sweaty body next to him and watched helplessly as
she opened the baggie and pulled out a pill. She held it up, offering it to him
with a questioning look, but Sam just shook his head. His Swiss-cheesed memory
couldn't quite remember what the pills were, let alone the side effects of
taking them, but he didn't think they could be good for her.
girl swallowed one pill with her pint of dark ale, and threw the other at him.
Sam managed to catch it among the heads bobbing around him, and saw in that time
she had stalked off in a huff and disappeared in the crowd. Sam took it as a cue
to leave and was relieved at that. The loud music was giving him a headache.
was cold outside, but pleasant in comparison to the heat in the club. He was
grateful for the sound of the Imaging Chamber door and with it the appearance of
hologram shook his head. "I'm so glad my daughters have left home and I
don't have to listen to their idea of music any more."
mind that, Al, look at this." He said, holding the one remaining pill up
for Al to inspect.
did you get that?"
two men in the bathroom. There was another pill, but there was a girl and she
would probably be Hannah Robbins. She's the girlfriend of Josh Bevan - he's the
one you've leaped into, by the way. He wasn't happy when he arrived. Convinced
his family had locked him up. Didn't tell us much. I can tell you that it's the
February 24th, 1989 and you're in England; Oxford to be precise. Ziggy says she
doesn't know what you're here for yet, though."
"Well how about this," Sam replied, having not yet put the pill
yes." Al hit the handlink. "Ziggy's now giving odds of 67% that you're
here to stop Hannah from taking ecstasy. That's what that pill is. See the 'E'
looked puzzled. "Why is the probability so low?"
Al peered at the handlink. "Not sure, but next highest is 3% that
you're here to stop Mad Cow disease from spreading."
I don't think that's a likely scenario since I've leaped into the middle of a
dance club. At least I think it was a dance club - it was more like a cattle
truck. Any suggestions on how to keep Hannah away from the pills?"
you could do the 'say no to drugs' speech."
funny. I'm sure that would work really well when I'm the person supplying
consulted the handlink again. "Hm. Ziggy also says that there's going to be
the cold Sam stopped and turned to face Al. "What?"
looked to the sky, the vague memory of England being bombed at one point in
time. "Air raid?" He asked with a confused expression.
Sam, that was 40 years ago! No, the police are going raid the club you were just
in for drugs. Apparently Josh and Hannah go there every weekend."
"When's that supposed to happen?"
well," Al hit the handlink, causing it to whine. "You useless
computer," he mumbled under his breath. "Ziggy won't say."
well, that's helpful."
can't get into the police reports, but she gives 75% odds on it being
immediately turned round and raced back toward the club.
where are you going?"
"Hannah's still in there. I've got to get her out before she gets
"If she's already taken the pill then she won't have anything
illegal on her for the police to charge her with."
Sam stopped. "You're right. But I still ought to get her out."
"Leave her there. She's enjoying herself."
"Al, she's on drugs!"
"And you think dragging her out here while she's still high will fix
had to admit, Al had a point. "I need to go and think about this. Why don't
you get Ziggy to run some odds on a few scenarios? I'll go back in and at least
keep an eye on her for awhile."
prediction didn't come true that night. There was no raid when the club finally
showed signs of closing. He followed Hannah outside, but she disappeared with a
group of girls in a small car waiting out front. He hoped she would be all
managed to find Josh's flat and couldn't help but smirk at the décor. He
remembered being in his twenties and not requiring a lot of space. Josh's place
had the bare necessities and not much else. Gratefully, Sam flopped on the
mattress on the floor and snuggled down. Even with the busy street sounds and
flashing lights entering the room through the barely covered single window, he
managed to fall asleep rather quickly.
A banging on his door and a shouting voice awakened him. His
body jerked in surprise and it took a moment for Sam to recall where he was and
the 'Josh!' being shouted for at the door was, in fact, him. He dragged himself
out of bed, untangled the blanket wrapped around his legs and stumbled to the
door. A glowing clock face on the wall said it was 3:32 and Sam groggily deduced
that was in the morning due to the darkness.
fumbled with the lock and upon opening the door he came face to face with
Hannah. She breezed in past him without a second glance.
"What were you doing?" she asked as she passed.
"Um..." was about all Sam could muster between confusion and
sleep. He rubbed his eyes.
"The 'E's." Her voice was quieter now. "You tried to stop
me from getting any. What's wrong with you, huh? Did you want it all for
yourself? Then you just ignore me! I thought I was your girlfriend! Anything
could have happened to me on the way here, you jerk!"
Sam closed and locked the door again. When she paused for breath he
finally got a word in. "You shouldn't be taking those things. You don't
know what they're doing to you."
She snorted and crossed her arms across her chest defiantly. "I know
exactly what they're doing to me. They're helping me have a good time - enjoy
myself. That's what Friday nights are all about."
"Hannah, they could kill you."
"Josh, what's wrong with you? If you are so worried about it, then
why did you get me started on them?"
Sam really didn't have a good answer to that. He raised his eyebrows in
surprise and kept silent.
stormed around the flat for a little longer. When she realized that Josh wasn't
going to be any fun, she prepared to leave. Sam made sure she at least had got a
cab, which seemed to anger her even more.
for the invite to stay," she snorted when the taxi honked.
you tomorrow?" Was all Sam could think of to say in response.
is tomorrow, you idiot," she snapped as she flounced out the door.
the dramatic scene Sam hadn't been able to go back to sleep. Instead he thought
of ways to convince Hannah how bad the ecstasy was for her. This proved to be
difficult when his Swiss-cheesed memory had forgotten the specific information.
He was glad when Al arrived at just after dawn.
suppose you spent the night sleeping comfortably," he growled, seeing Al's
unusually bright attire marginally brighter than normal.
"Actually, no. Beth and I went on a date last night."
Sam groaned, wishing he'd never asked. "Spare me the details,
"I wasn't going to be that
Sam shot his friend a look.
"Why? What happened to you last night?"
"Ah," Al grinned.
Sam tightened his jaw in exasperation for a moment. "No, that's not
what I mean," he sputtered. "Can you please get your mind out of the
gutter?" He began to pace and wave his arms as he spoke. "She came
here in the middle of the night, I tried to tell her taking ecstasy's a bad
thing, then she told me Josh started her on it in the first place."
"Oh. That would be difficult work around. So do you have a
"Apart from trying to talk to her again, no."
"Ziggy says the odds haven't changed at all, and doesn't think that
plan will increase them at all."
"No, I don't think it will work, either."
"You could always seduce her." That exasperating grin was back
"Al..." Sam started to say, then changed his mind. He sighed
and stopped his pacing. After a moment, his face brightened. "Actually
that's a good idea."
"It is? It was meant to be a joke."
"Well, no, not the actual seduction part, but I could take her on a
forehead furrowed. "Oo-kay."
would stop her from going clubbing and getting stoned for one night at least.
More than that - when's the raid supposed to be?"
"Ziggy says tonight."
"She's said that before."
"98% certainty this time. She found paperwork."
"So, we won't get arrested either?"
Al shook his head. "Not according to what was filed. What about
after the raid?"
"I've been thinking about that. As far as I can tell, Josh gets the
ecstasy for both himself and Hannah, right?"
"Yes," Al said slowly, interested in seeing where Sam was going
"So if Josh doesn't get any, Hannah wouldn't either."
"Um... Yes, I guess so."
"Al, you need to stop Josh from taking ecstasy too, otherwise he'll
just get Hannah back on them when I leap out."
The Observer snorted. "Any ideas on how to do that?"
"Maybe you could seduce him."
it was Al's turn to give his friend 'the look' before calling the Imaging
Chamber door on the handlink. "Very funny, Sam, but I don't swing that
way." The bright rectangle of light opened next to him. "I'll try
something else, if you don't mind."
smirked. "It'll have to be something good."
at least better than an ecstasy high, I'd say. Later, Sam. Good luck."
Chamber door shut with a clunk-shoom.
Gate, New Mexico
Al returned to the Project he left the link with St. John and stretched.
thought I was done with these kind of talks," he sighed.
'Tis the nature of the beast, Admiral," St. John said airily.
I suppose you're right. I lectured girls, though. I afraid it may be more
temping to pound the message into a boy's head." She made a fist with one
hand and lightly punched his other open hand.
John eyed the fist. "Good thing you had girls then, I guess, sir."
let loose a short laugh. "Yeah. Good thing. Instead of discussing football
at dinner I learned all about the latest designer shoes."
man!" St. John flushed at his outburst, and quickly turned attention to the
consol. "I mean, that's too bad."
knowing St. John's sexual orientation and also knowing the Englishman had a
slight crush on him, decided to drop the subject and retreated to the hall. He
sighed, straightened his bolo tie, and started toward the commissary.
he entered the small room, he saw Beth at the coffee machine. "Make it two,
honey," he asked as he plopped in a chair. When Beth delivered the steaming
cup he briefed her on his errand.
what's your plan?" Beth asked, blowing softly across the top of the drink.
hesitated, enjoying her pouty lips as she blew. He had to force his
concentration back to the subject. "I was going to try talking to
"That didn't work when Sam tried it with Hannah." Beth knew
exactly what was distracting him and licked her lips before she blew again. Her
grinned and waggled finger at her. "Stop that, or you'll be late to your
next appointment, missy."
looked innocent. "I don't have an appointment, dear."
about as much help on this as Ziggy," he said, trying to be serious. He had
to shift his position in his seat, however.
"Why don't you tell Verbena and see what she can come up with?"
Beth glanced at her wristwatch. "That should take her at least a half
hour." Her knowing grin and sparking eyes were too much for him.
"Now that is a good plan." Al stood and held out his hand,
grinning evilly. "Ziggy? Tell Verbena what I need, and that I'll meet her
in 30 minutes." Beth accepted the hand and rose. They both left the
forgotten coffee on the table as they left the room hand in hand.
Admiral. But I think 30 minutes is too long."
pair hesitated. Al frowned and looked up. "What do you mean? Does something
happen to Sam before then?"
Ziggy replied smugly. "But based on your past performance, it usually
doesn't take you that…"
Al yelled, realizing he'd been had. Beth covered her mouth to suppress her
laughter. Al put his arm around Beth's waist and maneuvered her down the hall.
"Smart ass metal brains," he growled, which caused Beth to laugh even
was forgotten when they reached their quarters, but Al did remember to turn off
all monitoring devices.
that Hannah needed sleep after her late night clubbing, Sam decided to kill some
time by going through Josh's work. He discovered half-finished pieces of
homework with deadlines long past and it looked like he hadn't been to a lecture
all term according to the dates on the notes he did find.
finished the homework - for him, undergraduate engineering was easy - in the
hope that Josh wouldn't get kicked out before they could change his life's
after organizing the papers and the desk a little, he picked up around the loft
and hoped Josh recognized the place. It was mid afternoon when he tracked down
Hannah's place, nearly being run over at least by cars that were driving on the
wrong side of the road to Sam.
He finally found the small building with Hannah's address, and located
her loft on the second floor. At first Sam thought he had the wrong room, as he
knocked and nothing happened. He was about to turn away when he heard a noise
and the door opened to reveal Hannah in pyjamas.
"I didn't mean to wake you up." Sam doubted she'd be very
receptive if he had.
"That's okay. I wasn't asleep." She smiled and motioned for him
to come in.
"I'm sorry if I upset you last night." Sam decided to start off
repentant and maybe get Hannah on his side. "I got you these to
apologize," he said, bringing the chocolate out from behind his back.
This seemed to have the right effect, as she beamed at him and threw her
arms around his neck in order to kiss him.
Whenever Sam leaped he was unsure about kissing someone else. He felt as
if they were being betrayed somehow, as the other person didn't know it was Sam
they were with. However, he had got used to it over the years. It also helped
not to have Al about making silly comments.
Hannah stepped back, and dropped on her bed, putting the chocolate on her
lap to unwrap it. "I don't know what I'd do without you, Josh."
Sam smiled for her benefit, but inside he knew exactly what Hannah would
do without Josh - she probably wouldn't have been on ecstasy for a start. But
God, Time, Fate or Whatever had placed him here after that event, and he had to
take it from here.
"I thought maybe we could go out somewhere tonight," he began.
"Well, of course, Josh. We always go out on Saturday nights,"
she said, distracted by a crunchy confection.
"Um, yes." He could guess where they went and what they did,
and that was precisely what he was trying to avoid.
"No, I mean something more...romantic. Just the two of us so we can
"I don't know, Josh. That sounds nice, but why don't we do that
"I'm just too tired to go clubbing. I'd really like to spend some
time with you tonight." Sam knelt down in front of Hannah and smiled his
most winning smile. "My treat."
She sighed and grinned. "All right. If that's what you really want,
I'll do it."
This time it was Sam who kissed her.
do you know what ecstasy does to you?"
"No, but I'm sure you're going to enlighten me, mister." The
last word was said as a sneer as if an Al was something Josh would scrape off
Al didn't like the tone Josh used, but carried on anyway, reading the
list of side effects from the handlink. "For starters it affects your
memory, kidneys and brain in a variety of ways. Then there's the depression,
confusion, paranoia and hallucinations. That's ignoring the fact that the
ecstasy, in combination with the heat in a club causes your body temperature to
rise, you to dehydrate and eventually die. Is that what you want to happen? Is
that what you want to happen to Hannah?"
"What makes you think I believe all this crap? Nothing has happened
to anyone yet, and it's not going to."
That, Al thought, was precisely the problem. In 1989 ecstasy was a new
drug. Josh had probably never seen anyone die from it and even Al had to admit
that in the same situation he'd probably find the idea pretty unbelievable, too.
It's sad people have to die before anyone understands the risks they were
taking, he thought, but that always seemed to be the way it was.
it was not something even Sam could change.
a long, unsuccessful meeting Al stepped into the hallway for a break. Sammy Jo
and Beth were talking with Verbena a little way down from the door, and the
Observer moved in their direction, rubbing his face tiredly.
hope someone has another idea. Talking doesn't seem to be doing anything."
we - well, Beth and Verbena - do," Sammy Jo said brightly. "I'm just
here to implement it."
spoke up. "We're going to try and scare him, make him think he's on bad
trip that could become permanent, and blame it on the ecstasy."
going to pump a small amount of a odorless gas in there that will make him feel
giddy, like he's high, and tell him it's a flashback."
he'll never want to take ecstasy again?"
Jo nodded. Verbena looked neutral.
never work on alcoholics," Al pointed out.
but we're going to enhance the trip a bit. And, it happens to be the only idea
we have," Verbena sighed. "And I think it may work better if you
'appear' to him in your uniform, Al."
long after Al found himself standing outside the Waiting Room in his uniform,
waiting for the extra gas to vent from the room. Verbena and Beth's plan seemed
to mainly consist of him shouting at Josh about what his life would be like on
and off ecstasy in an attempt to scare him. Then they were going to get Ziggy to
talk to Josh while everyone else ignored her. Hopefully, Josh would think he was
shook his head. This really was a bad plan. He sighed and opened the door.
Verbena and Beth winced at the Admiral's tone. When he spoke to the staff in
that tone, things got done in a hurry.
"There's not many people who'd argue with Al when he sounds like
that," Beth commented.
that's because he's generally their commanding officer," Verbena pointed
"True." Beth looked at Verbena. "This isn't going to work
"It never really had that high a chance of succeeding. I'm just not
sure how else to scare him. Nothing much seems to bother him."
After a moment of listening to Al rant, Beth said, "One of the
side-effects of ecstasy is paranoia and Josh was paranoid he'd been committed
when he arrived."
Verbena raised an eyebrow. "What are you suggesting?"
"Well, we said we would enhance the giddiness. I say we play on the
paranoia. Let's go with the second part of our plan and let Ziggy talk to him a
while. He'll think he's going nuts. Then we just wait until he cracks."
"It's a good idea, but we don't know how long we'll get before Sam
"We don't really seem to have much choice when that happens anyway.
We may as well do what we can, don't you think?"
nodded agreement. "Let's wait and see how Al gets on. Then we'll kick it up
a notch." Then Verbena grinned. "Hey, where's that straitjacket we had
a while ago?"
had asked the other people living in his corridor for advice on where to take
Hannah. The restaurant he chose seemed to be the right choice, because she
grinned and her eyes sparkled as soon as they pulled up to the valet parking.
When he opened the menu and saw the prices he could see why, he knew she'd
better be impressed. He just hoped Josh had enough left on his one credit card
to cover this, or it would be a whole embarrassing mess.
The waiter asking if they were ready to order interrupted Sam reverie. He
looked up to see Hannah with an evil grin on her face.
"I'll have the most expensive thing on the menu," she said,
primly closing the leather booklet without a second glance. She was going to
make him pay for this in more ways than one.
were barely through the soup course when Sam watched Hannah tip the rest of the
bottle of wine into her glass. So far he'd had one glass - Hannah had consumed
the rest. She was replacing ecstasy with alcohol.
"So what do you want to do after you graduate university?" Sam
asked her, more to stop her drinking than any desire to know the answer.
"I dunno." Hannah put her glass down, twirling it absently with
her fingers. "As long as it's away from home."
"Don't you like it there?"
"I just hate always having to tell my parents where I am and what
I'm doing. They watch over everything I do. It's so much better here."
"Well, you're grown up now, you can do what you like. Within
reason," he added.
Hannah's eyes suddenly turned suspicious. " 'Within reason'?"
Hannah repeated. "What do you mean by that?"
only meant that your parents do those things because they care about you. It's
the same reason we're here doing this tonight." Sam took her hand and
smiled. He was glad when Hannah smiled back at him. Aside from the drug taking,
he was found Hannah to be a nice, ordinary girl.
rest of the meal was a little tense as they both sidestepped any conversation
that had to do with ecstasy or her parents. Sam managed to keep her from
drinking any more wine, and by the time he got her home, she was in a happy
you Josh. I had a really nice time tonight."
"So did I."
They were stood outside the door to Hannah's building.
"Do you want to come in?"
It looked like the plan had been a success - she'd had a good time with
conversation instead of pills. The question was whether it would have any
woke up when he heard the Imaging Chamber door. After his initial jerk awake, he
noted the slumbering form of Hannah next to him and edged out of the bed.
"Ooh, Sam, haven't you been a naughty boy," the Observer
Sam groaned and put his hand over his eyes. When would Al ever grow up?
Unable to talk for fear of waking Hannah, pulled his trousers over his boxers
and walked outside into the corridor.
"Actually, no I haven't," he whispered. "When we got back
from our date last night, Hannah was in a good mood. We talked for awhile, and
she became depressed. I don't know why, so I just stayed with her while she
slept. I . . . I didn't feel right leaving her alone." He signed. "How
did you get on with Josh?"
"Not good. I told him why it was bad to take ecstasy, but he either
didn't believe me, or just didn't listen."
"That's not surprising, Al. It didn't work when I tried it on
"I know, but we didn't have any better ideas. We've instituted the
first part of a plan that Verbena and Beth came up with, though." He
glanced at his watch. "Operation Cuckoo's Nest, part two, has just begun.
How was your evening?"
"I think it may have worked. I'm just not sure how long for."
Al consulted the handlink. "You have changed history."
"Apparently the police raid at the club was last night. In the
original history Hannah and Josh got caught."
"What happened to them?"
"Not much. They got off with a caution for possession."
"That's it? No other differences?"
"They were getting the pills at the time and the police spotted
their dealer in the act and arrested him. He got ten years. Hannah stepped into
the gap that was created and took over his business."
"So what happens now?"
"Hannah drops out of university at the end of this year. According
to her police record she gets cautioned a few times until 1992 when she's jailed
for dealing. She slashes her wrists in 1994 when Josh dies from an
The two friends were both somber now. "Well, I guess I haven't done
a whole lot, have I? I have to do something to stop that, Al."
"I know, Sam. Ziggy says if you stop them from taking any more drugs
and everything else will follow."
"I just wish I had a good idea of how to do that."
"At least neither of them has a criminal record yet. It's a start at
"Not much of one, though." He sighed and ran his hand through
his hair. "I'm going to go back to Josh's room and sort out some of his
work so he won't get kicked out. So how is Operation . . . "
. . Cukoo's Nest going?" The scientist looked thoughtfully at the hologram
for a second, wondering if he should even ask the details of this Operation. He
shook his head and raised his hand in defeat. "Never mind. I don't want to
know the details. Good luck."
Al happily bounced on his toes and grinned. "Okay, buddy. See you
entered the observation area and found Beeks and Beth relaxed in a couple of
chairs, eyes fixed on the sole occupant of the Waiting Room.
was sweaty and panting, bound in the strait jacket and throwing himself
half-heartedly against the wall. The comments issuing from his mouth weren't
"How's he doing?" Al winced at the language he heard.
"Ouch! He kisses his mother with that mouth?"
"For this to have a chance of working Josh needs to be here longer.
We've only been doing this for a few hours."
Al opened his mouth to speak, but Verbena put her hand up to stop him.
"I know what you're going to say, Al. I know it's not up to us how long
Visitors stay. We're about to implement the Ziggy factor. I think the gas
effects must be must be reaching their peak now and he's about to jump out of
his own skin. He could be hallucinating a bit, too." Verbena bit her lower
lip. "I don't think he can hurt himself, but I'm glad the sentries are
you ready for your part?"
I am. I think I may enjoy this."
don't overdo it, all right? We don't want him to go totally around the
you do to the rest of us," Al grumbled quietly.
heard that, Admiral. You're lucky it's my curtain call." Ziggy's tone
brushed him off.
Physically exhausted, Josh slid down the wall and sat on the floor,
panting. The walls danced, like they did when he was high, but he was still in
control. "I'm going to sue big time when I get outta here," he
grumbled as he fruitlessly tried to wiggle his arms free.
Every time he moved, the walls danced a little faster and the lights
above him broke into fabulous rainbows. He stopped struggling to watch it.
"What do you see?" A voice asked.
"A rain . . . " the still in control part of him stopped his
tongue. No one else must know he was seeing things. "Nothing. I don't see
anything but a huge lawsuit when I get out of here."
"Excuse me, but I don't understand."
"Lawsuit. Big one."
"Oh. I see. I understand what a lawsuit is, but your words were so
slurred I didn't understand."
"My words aren't slurred."
"Yes they are."
"No they . . . hey." Josh wearily raised his head and looked
around the room. "Where are you?"
"I'm here, with you Joshua."
Joshua frowned and looked around again. "There's no one in here with
"No, I mean in you. I hear your voice and you hear my thoughts. I'm
in your head."
Josh began to blink rapidly and shook his head. "No, you can't be.
That's never happened before."
Ziggy sighed. "I know, I know. I've been waiting for the right
Josh's eyes grew as large as poached eggs. "Right time? What do you
mean by that? The right time?" He didn't feel the drops of sweat running
from his hairline.
"By 'right time', I mean now. You've altered your brain chemicals
just enough for me to get through. You know, make the connection I need."
"What? What?" His physical weariness disappeared with the rush
of fear-induced adrenalin and Josh wiggled to his feet, eyes wild.
"Chemicals? Connection? What?"
The Visitor jumped when Verbena opened the Waiting Room door. She stepped
inside, flanked by two smartly dressed Marines.
"I knew it!" Ziggy said, sounding shocked. "Those pills
are a government conspiracy! They want you to take them!"
"Pills? Pills? What pills?"
Verbena frowned at him. "I don't know what pills, Josh." She
scribbled on her pad and waved for the guards to stand by the door, which
whooshed shut. Josh jumped at the noise.
"Can't you hear her? She's talking about them!" He used his
head to indicate the guards.
Verbena looked around carefully. "Josh, I'm the only 'she' here, and
I didn't say a thing about them or any pills." Jeeze, Ziggy's really
getting into this! She thought.
"Josh, don't you remember? I'm in your head! She can't hear
me." Ziggy's voice dropped to a coy whisper. "It's our little
Verbena kept her face calm and put the notebook down on the bed. "I
knew it," she said. "I told you this would happen, Josh." She
spoke patiently and approached Josh slowly, as if he were a rabid dog.
"It's the ecstasy, Josh. Your body has built up the chemicals in your brain
and made you paranoid. We told you this would happen. That's why we put the
jacket on you. We expected it, and can't let you hurt yourself."
"Yes, Josh, if you were to hurt yourself, where would I be?"
Ziggy sounded petulant.
"You? Who cares about you?" Josh yelled at the ceiling.
"How. . . how would I hurt myself?" He asked Verbena in low, terrified
"Well," Verbena began. "I've seen patients pull out their
hair, or tear off their . . . oh, you don't need to hear this."
"Ears, Josh, she was going to say ears. You know, pull a Van
Mail it to your girlfriend. Hey, maybe you'll get hers in return! Wouldn't that
"And just think of the money you'd save on sunglasses. No place to
hang 'em on your face, you know. With no ears and all."
Verbena had to turn her back and clamp her mouth tightly shut. She
glanced at the Marines. Only the twitch of their jaws gave any hint that they
were having the same problem about laughing at Ziggy. Where was she
getting this material? Finally, she took pity on the guards and waved them out.
They darted out the door quickly.
"Look, Josh! You scared the blue boys!" Ziggy said gleefully.
"I don't WANT to scare the blue boys, you, you…GET OUT OF MY
"Josh, there's no one here." Verbena said calmly.
"You don't hear that??"
"No, sorry. I don't." Verbena tried to look sympathetic.
"You an me, honey! Just you an me!" Ziggy's voice was
"NO! GO AWAY!"
"Daisy, daisy, give your answer true! I'm half crazy over the love
of you!" Ziggy sang happily.
Verbena picked the edge of total panic in Josh's voice and turned
quickly, all business. "Josh, I can stop the voices you hear with
this." She pulled a syringe from her lab coat pocket. "But it only
works once. If you do ecstasy, or any mind altering drug again without a
doctor's supervision this condition will become permanent, and not even
this," she waggled the syringe, "will help you. This is a one-time
shot. We've been trying to warn you."
"We? You mean you and that guy in the military uniform?"
Verbena smiled warmly. "You mean you don't recognize the Surgeon
"What? Where am I?"
"Don't you think this is Heaven, Josh? I do!" Ziggy sounded
"No! Give it to me, doc! I can't stand this! Please!"
"All right, but you have to promise me, Josh. No more. And tell your
friends, or it will happen to them."
"I promise, I promise. Now stop the voice."
"All right. Sit down." Josh sat on the bed and Verbena injected
the vitamin booster and sedative in his thigh. "Now lie down. I'll take the
jacket off in one half hour, when this is fully in your system. You may feel
"Night, night, Josh!" Ziggy said sweetly.
"Good bye! I hope I never hear you again." By the end of the
sentence, Josh's words were slurred, and he dropped off to sleep.
Verbena checked his pulse, then his eyes to make sure he was out.
where were you getting that stuff from?"
"The Surgeon General," Ziggy said lightly.
Verbena rolled her eyes in response. "Al. I knew it."
"Some of it was my material," The computer sniffed. "I've
researched my part."
"How?" Verbena said, instantly regretting she'd asked.
"My biggest inspirations were 'Harvey' and '2001, A Space Odyssey'.
Listen!" Then her voice sounded exactly and chillingly like Hal when she
said, "Hello, Dave."
A chill raced up Verbena's spine and she glared at the ceiling.
"Knock it off before I go all Odyssey on your ass," she replied.
"Check 'Pulp Fiction' for that reference, smarty pants."
Just then Al walked in, a huge grin on his face. He looked from Josh's
sleeping form to Verbena to the ceiling as he rolled an unlit cigar between his
lips. "Looks like that just may do it, kids." He said gaily.
"I hope so," Verbena grunted as she turned the sleeping Visitor
to remove the jacket. "I certainly don't want to do that again. I'm sure I
broke every psychiatry ethic on record. Twice."
Al's retort was interrupted Ziggy spoke.
"Admiral, Hannah Robbins will slashed her wrists in 10 minutes, 43
"What! She's not supposed to do that until 1994!"
"What did Sam change?" Beth asked.
Al wasn't around to hear the answer, as he was already on his way to the
Imaging Chamber at a dead run.
had barely begun to close the door when he spoke. "Sam, Hannah's going to
slash her wrists!"
Sam leaped into action. The hall phone was by the front door, and he
dashed to it and called an ambulance, giving Hannah's address.
"What happened, Al?" He slammed the phone down
"We don't know. History changed, but we don't know what did
Sam started for the door. "Go check on her for me."
Al disappeared, and reappeared next to Sam, who was racing across the
campus on foot.
"She's got a knife, Sam. She's walking around and crying."
"Go talk to her, Al."
"What for? She can't hear me."
"No, but it would make me feel better."
Al left Sam and reappeared next to Hannah. She had moved to the bathroom
and was sitting on the toilet, moving the knife from hand to hand.
don't do anything stupid, Hannah," Al told her. "Just wait for Sam to
He remembered one of the side-effects of the ecstasy was depression. This
must be a part of that.
"If you just stop taking ecstasy," Al told the girl, "then
your depression will go away, I promise." He just wished she could hear
Just then he heard Sam outside shouting Hannah's name.
Al stuck his head through the door into the corridor and waved at his
friend. "In here, Sam!"
Sam burst through the corridor door and followed Al to the bathroom door.
There, he encountered a problem: She'd locked it.
"Hannah, I want to help you."
"No you don't. You want me to be unhappy."
"No I don't, Hannah."
"So why are you telling me to stop taking 'E's? I'm already going to
get kicked out of here and I have no money left. It's the only thing keeping me
"Hannah, if you don't unlock this door I'm going to break it down.
Then you'll have to pay for that, too."
There was silence for a minute.
Al put his head through the door into the bathroom. "I think she's
going to open it," he said.
Sam heard a click and slowly opened the door. Hannah was sitting on the
edge of the bath holding a steak knife to her throat and sniffing.
"If you come any closer I'll do it. Not that you'd care
Sam put his hands up and stayed where he was. "I do care,
"Then prove it."
Sam thought for a moment. "You're a bright girl. You know how to get
more money. But dealing drugs isn't the same as taking drugs. If they catch you
you'll end up in prison."
"I won't get caught."
"Can you be that sure? Do you really want to spend the rest of your
life looking over your shoulder, and not knowing whether to trust people in case
they hand you over?"
She looked down. He voice was soft. "No."
Sam saw the blade drop slightly away from her throat and decided to go
for it. He leaped across the room and tried to pin her arms, and they both
tumbled into the bathtub. Hannah's grip on the knife was still was still tight,
but Sam managed to bring her arms down to her sides. She wriggled and cried, but
he was stronger than she was and she wasn't able to rise. But she found some
strength from somewhere, because in an instant, Sam felt a sharp pain in his
stomach. He yelped and rolled aside, grabbing at the knife protruding from his
"Sam!" Al shouted. Blood seeped out from between his friend's
Hannah immediately scrambled from the tub, and knelt beside it. "Oh,
Josh, I'm sorry! I'm so sorry!" She cried. "I didn't mean to hurt
"You wouldn't," Sam managed to whisper, "but the ecstasy
All Hannah managed to do was cry while kneeling beside Sam, when Al heard
the welcome sound of sirens.
"I can hear the ambulance, Sam. It's on its way. Just hold on."
Sam nodded, and concentrated on not passing out while holding the knife
firmly. The last things they knew were shouts, pounding feet and men dressed in
green leaning over him.
don't want to press charges," Sam said to the policeman.
you sure, sir?"
I'm fine now, and it was my fault. We were horsing around and we
right, sir, but if you change your mind you know where we are."
"Thank you, Constable."
the policeman left Sam turned to Al, who had been standing by the hospital bed
the whole time. The scientist figured his friend hadn't left his side since the
stabbing, even when Sam had been unconscious. "What happens now?" He
asked, wincing as he tried to move to a more comfortable position.
Al consulted the handlink and broke into a smile. "Hannah's fine.
Both her and Josh go on to pass the year and they stay in university. Josh ends
up a manager at a big company in London. Hannah goes on to be a popular writer.
Wow! My daughters have all her books."
Sam was smiling as well. "That's great, Al. What does she write
"According to them it's stuff about the pressures of growing up,
going to university, taking drugs, etcetera. It's fiction based on real events.
She's won awards here and in England. Almost as big as JK Rowling."
"Harry Potter." Al was still rewarded with blank look from Sam.
"Ah, I forget you've been away for a while. But when you come home Christa
has all of them. I'm sure she'll let you borrow them."
"I'll do that, Al."
"How are you?" Both men turned to see Hannah stood in the
doorway, a light bandage on her neck.
"I'll be fine. Don't worry about me. How are you?"
"I'll live," she replied, touching her neck self consciously.
"I'm really sorry for what happened, Josh."
"I understand, Hannah. The ecstasy made you depressed."
"I know why you were trying to get me to stop now. I promise I'll
never take another."
"It'll be hard."
"I know. But you'll help me."
"Yes. We'll do it together, I promise."
He leaped as Hannah leaned over for a kiss.
everyone wakes up every morning knowing exactly who he or she is, what bed they
are lying in and what their plans for that day. Everyone except one Nobel Prize
winning physicist who opens his eyes with some trepidation not knowing the date,
the situation or even his hosts’ name. To say Doctor Samuel Beckett is not
himself under these circumstances is a major understatement since he is
constantly living another people’s lives. Leaping around Sam. Each leap is a
total stranger, friend or foe, waiting to be greeted when Sam peeks out to take
in the world around him, or rather someone else’s world.
across his face and light shone through his still unopened eyes. Yawning a bit
Sam hit his pillow, turned over and pulled his bedclothes up over his shoulders
falling into a deep sleep. Many restful hours later he was strolling down a
beach with an unknown blonde-haired woman who leaned over and kissed him on the
cheek. The kiss lingered until Sam realized that a cold wet rough tongue of some
animal was waking him up.
a moment, stretched and opened his eyes to find the fuzzy white face of a
miniature poodle licking his face.
there fellow! So who are you?” asked Sam smiling at the little white mop
curled up next to him on the pillow. Sam thought how well this leap was starting
off in a comfortable bed instead in the middle of some ruckus.
Picking up the
tiny dog and unconsciously petting him, Sam sat up in a bed in a modest modern
bedroom. In the mirror of the dresser he saw the image of a lovely twentyish
woman with brown hair, blue eyes and the face that reminded him of someone.
“Good morning Miss - or rather Mrs. from this wedding ring. You’ve got one
cute little puppy here.” Scratching him behind the ears, Sam stood up. A floor
length flannel nightgown cozily covered his body. The bedroom was decorated very
haphazardly and a vision of Sam’s own apartment in his bachelor days flashed
in his mind. At the foot of his bed on a small cot Sam saw a beautiful
six-year-old child with blonde hair sound asleep.
“Huh. Old Dr.
Beckett is a mother again. My mom would be so proud of me,” Sam joked to
himself. He reached down and pulled up the blanket to her chin and then stroked
her cheek. Blue sparks of static electricity jumped from her cheek to Sam’s
hand. The sparks danced on her face for a moment and then spanned out dissolving
her skin revealing another person beneath. The new image was of an adult male
who was in the midst of a very disturbed sleep.
“Al?” asked Sam as he put the dog down hastily on the bed. Again Sam touched
the cheek and felt the warmth of his skin. “Al, that can’t be you. Oh