Episode 921


by: A. J. Burfield and Nic Mayer

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As 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.

"Pleasure doing business with you," the smaller man said, and the two of them left.

What 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. "Oh boy."




February 24, 1989

Oxford, England


Not 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.

Sam 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.

He 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.

"What?" he shouted over the noise.

The girl leaned over him and shouted in his ear. "Have you got them?"

It 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.

Sam 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.

The 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.



It 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 Al.

The 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."

"Never mind that, Al, look at this." He said, holding the one remaining pill up for Al to inspect.

"Where did you get that?"

"From two men in the bathroom. There was another pill, but there was a girl and she took it."

"That 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 away.

"Er, 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' on it?"

Sam 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."

"Somehow 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?"

"Maybe you could do the 'say no to drugs' speech."

"Very funny. I'm sure that would work really well when I'm the person supplying them"

Al consulted the handlink again. "Hm. Ziggy also says that there's going to be a raid."

Despite the cold Sam stopped and turned to face Al. "What?"

"A raid."

Sam looked to the sky, the vague memory of England being bombed at one point in time. "Air raid?" He asked with a confused expression.

"Sheesh, 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?"

"Um, well," Al hit the handlink, causing it to whine. "You useless computer," he mumbled under his breath. "Ziggy won't say."

"Oh, well, that's helpful."

"She can't get into the police reports, but she gives 75% odds on it being tonight."

Sam immediately turned round and raced back toward the club.

"Sam, where are you going?"
"Hannah's still in there. I've got to get her out before she gets caught."

          "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 that?"

He 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."


Ziggy's 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 right.

Sam 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.

He 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.

Hannah 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.

"Thanks for the invite to stay," she snorted when the taxi honked.

"See you tomorrow?" Was all Sam could think of to say in response.

"It is tomorrow, you idiot," she snapped as she flounced out the door.




After 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.

"I 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, Al."

          "I wasn't going to be that detailed."

          Sam shot his friend a look.

          "Why? What happened to you last night?"

          "Hannah did."
          "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 plan?"

          "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 again.
          "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 date."

Al's forehead furrowed. "Oo-kay."

"It 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 with this.

          "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."

Now 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."

Sam smirked. "It'll have to be something good."

"Well, at least better than an ecstasy high, I'd say. Later, Sam. Good luck."

"Same to you."

The Chamber door shut with a clunk-shoom.


Project Quantum Leap

Stallion's Gate, New Mexico


When Al returned to the Project he left the link with St. John and stretched.

"I thought I was done with these kind of talks," he sighed.

" 'Tis the nature of the beast, Admiral," St. John said airily.

"Yeah, 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.

St. John eyed the fist. "Good thing you had girls then, I guess, sir."

Al let loose a short laugh. "Yeah. Good thing. Instead of discussing football at dinner I learned all about the latest designer shoes."

"Lucky man!" St. John flushed at his outburst, and quickly turned attention to the consol. "I mean, that's too bad."

Al, 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.

When 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.

"So, what's your plan?" Beth asked, blowing softly across the top of the drink.

Al 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 him."
          "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 eyes sparkled.

Al grinned and waggled finger at her. "Stop that, or you'll be late to your next appointment, missy."

Beth looked innocent. "I don't have an appointment, dear."

"You're 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.

"Yes, Admiral. But I think 30 minutes is too long."

The pair hesitated. Al frowned and looked up. "What do you mean? Does something happen to Sam before then?"

"No," Ziggy replied smugly. "But based on your past performance, it usually doesn't take you that…"

"OK!" 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 harder.

All was forgotten when they reached their quarters, but Al did remember to turn off all monitoring devices.




Figuring 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.

He 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 course.

Finally, 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 be alone."

          "I don't know, Josh. That sounds nice, but why don't we do that tomorrow?"

          "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.



"Josh, 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 his shoe.
          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. 

Unfortunately, it was not something even Sam could change.



After 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.

"I hope someone has another idea. Talking doesn't seem to be doing anything."

"Actually, we - well, Beth and Verbena - do," Sammy Jo said brightly. "I'm just here to implement it."

Beth's 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."


"We're 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."

"And he'll never want to take ecstasy again?"

Sammy Jo nodded. Verbena looked neutral.

"Hangovers never work on alcoholics," Al pointed out.

"True, 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."



Not 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 hallucinating.

Al shook his head. This really was a bad plan. He sighed and opened the door.  


Outside, 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.

"But that's because he's generally their commanding officer," Verbena pointed out.

          "True." Beth looked at Verbena. "This isn't going to work is it?"

          "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 leaps."
          "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?"

Verbena 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?"



Sam 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.

They 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?"

"I 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.

The 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 mood.

"Thank 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 lasting effect.




Sam 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 teased.
          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 Hannah."
          "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."

          "I have?"

          "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 overdose."
          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 least."

          "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 . . . "

"Cuckoo's Nest."

". . . 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 later."

          "Bye, Al."


Al 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.

Josh 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 pretty."

          "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 outside. Ziggy?"

"Yes, Dr. Beeks?"

"Are you ready for your part?"

"Yes I am. I think I may enjoy this."

"Just don't overdo it, all right? We don't want him to go totally around the bend."

"Like you do to the rest of us," Al grumbled quietly.

"I 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 me."

          "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 time."

          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 secret!"

          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 voice.

          "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 Gogh. Mail it to your girlfriend. Hey, maybe you'll get hers in return! Wouldn't that be nice?"

          "NICE? No!"

          "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 HEAD!"

          "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 sing-song.

          "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 General?"

          "What? Where am I?"

          "Don't you think this is Heaven, Josh? I do!" Ziggy sounded nearly angelic.

          "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 drowsy."

          "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.

"Ziggy, 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 seconds."

          "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.




Al 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 it."
          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.

"Now don't do anything stupid, Hannah," Al told her. "Just wait for Sam to get here."

          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 him.

          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.


          "Go away!"

          "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 going."

          "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 anyway."

          Sam put his hands up and stayed where he was. "I do care, Hannah."

          "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 stomach.

          "Sam!" Al shouted. Blood seeped out from between his friend's fingers.

          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!"

          "You wouldn't," Sam managed to whisper, "but the ecstasy made you."

          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.



"I don't want to press charges," Sam said to the policeman.

"Are you sure, sir?"

"Yes. I'm fine now, and it was my fault. We were horsing around and we

fell. Really,"

"All right, sir, but if you change your mind you know where we are."

          "Thank you, Constable."

Once 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 about?"

          "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.




        Usually, 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.                                            

        Warmth fell 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.

         Sam moaned a moment, stretched and opened his eyes to find the fuzzy white face of a miniature poodle licking his face.

         “Hi, 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.

        Sam sighed. “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 booo-oooy!”    


Email A. J. Burfield & Nic Mayer