ON QUANTUM LEAP
leaps into David Weller, assistant to a brilliant, but egocentric quantum
physicist named Maxwell Connors, at a top-secret project known as the
Second Genesis Project. Al informs him that a major explosion will occur
within the complex, killing everyone there. As Sam attempts to gain the
confidence of Connors’ closest friend and confidant, Dr. Will Marcus,
Connors himself discovers that Sam is a time-traveler. Believing that Sam
is there to halt his experiment, he prematurely activates his Quantum
Accelerator in the hopes that his theories will be proven. Sam
subconsciously triggers his leap in the hopes that it will contain the
explosion, and in the struggle that ensues, they both vanish in a blinding
flash of light.
the void, the nightmare returned to him. He hadn’t experienced this
nightmare since he was a child, but now it returned in full force.
cataclysm of epic proportions, the result of one man’s actions—a
cloaked figure in the darkness rising from the ashes to claim his
innocence. But Connors knew the truth. He knew the identity of this man,
and yet, his name eluded him. He had always assumed the dream wasn’t a
literal premonition, but merely a symbolic representation of times to
come. He knew that the knowledge to change the course of humanity’s fate
lay locked in the recesses of his mind, and this thought drove him to
engross himself in his research as an adult.
time was different. This time he felt a profound fear that it was
a premonition. A chain reaction of events was about to occur that could
spell disaster for humanity, and he felt compelled to find its origin.
Just as soon as these thoughts emerged, he suddenly felt a tingling rush
as his identity was ripped away from him. He could sense another soul
within as he pushed that person’s subconscious mind aside and took
almost as briefly, he felt his own subconscious mind being pushed aside.
He was drifting alongside of this unknown presence. He wanted to scream, “Let
me out!” but the attempt was futile. He was now one with this
person. The yellow light that had been surrounding him faded, and Connors
found himself living the life of another person—from another time.
Sam could remember was a strange blue glow. It seemed to engulf him, and
yet surround him at the same time. It was an exhilarating feeling, to say
the least. He had never felt more alive, but that feeling of being alive
soon faded to one of confusion as his world changed around him. He found
himself lying in bed, staring out a window as the sun was just beginning
to rise in the East. There was a small clock radio on the nightstand next
to the bed that read 5:00 AM, and he could hear the faint sounds of a
familiar song playing. A woman’s voice was singing:
The future’s not ours to see,
Qué sera sera,
What will be will be.
knew that he had just accomplished something extraordinary. Slowly rising
from his sleeping position, he sat up, overwhelmed with a strong feeling
of success. We did it! Then just as quickly, his smile faded. Did
what? I can’t remember. I… can’t remember anything. Who am I? Where
squinted his eyes in frustration as he realized he had complete amnesia.
Suddenly, the sound of someone shuffling beneath the sheets behind him
brought him to attention. He turned around quickly to see an attractive
woman with short, blond curly hair, dressed in a white-pattern nightgown,
just waking up. She turned her face toward him as if nothing was out of
the ordinary and said, “I’ll put the coffee on, Tom.”
initial shock of seeing this half-dressed woman not only embarrassed him,
but also made him experience something familiar—a sense of déjà vu, as
if he had been in this situation once before. As the woman got up from the
right side of the bed, he uttered out of the side of his mouth a humbled,
14, 1956, 5:01 AM
in big trouble here. I don’t even remember going to bed with this woman,
she is and whoever she is,
she’s certainly… pregnant. Very pregnant!
morning,” the pregnant woman said gently as she cupped her hands around
Sam’s chin. As she turned around to walk in the opposite direction, she
noticed the puzzled expression on his face and asked, “You okay?”
simply responded with a dazed-and-confused expression as the woman left
the room, leaving him alone to gather his thoughts, or at least what was
left of them. For the better part of the next two hours, Sam did his best
to try and recall where he was and what he had been doing before he woke
up next to the very pregnant woman. Why can’t I remember anything? This doesn’t make any sense, he
thought as he made his way into the bathroom.
smell of toast wafting from the kitchen brought him back to his senses as
the woman he woke up next to called out to him. “Tom? Better hurry up,
Bird Dog’s gonna be here to pick you up in about ten minutes. Oh, honey?
The P.X. was out of your shaving cream, so I got you some of that stuff,
uh… what do ya call it, the one with the cute little signs on the
reached up into the medicine cabinet and found the can of shaving cream
she was talking about. “Burma Shave?”
that’s it, Burma Shave! I love those little signs,” she said with a
smile as she walked into the bathroom, shoving a tiny piece of toast into
Sam’s mouth. “You know, what’s taking you so long? You’ve got to
hurry up, come on. Get in there!”
the woman turned on the water faucet for the shower, Sam blindly followed
her lead and proceeded to stand underneath the showerhead while still
wearing the boxer shorts he woke up in. The woman, who Sam now assumed was
supposed to be his wife, simply burst out into laughter at her
“husband’s” shenanigans. “Oh Tom! Sometimes…!”
she walked away, Sam continued trying to make sense of the conundrum he
found himself in. It’s a dream. That’s it!
I’m dreaming! All I have to do is flow with it and I’ll wake up!
Holding the Burma Shave can in his hand, he decided that stirring his
senses would force him out of his slumber. Shave!
The sooner you shave, the sooner you’ll wake up! Sam took off the
cap, squeezed the depressor, and was taken by surprise when the
unmistakable scent of the shaving cream in his palm hit his nostrils. Oh
God! It smells real. He took the foam and smeared it over the bottom
of his face. It feels real. What the hell is happening?
Sam turned around toward the mirror on the wall, he nearly had a heart
attack when he saw a different reflection staring back at him. “AHHH!”
The face staring back at Sam was a handsome thirty-something-year-old man
with black hair and a square-like jaw. He matched Sam’s movements
Sam’s “wife” hurried back into the bathroom upon hearing his scream.
“Honey, what’s wrong?”
do you see in the mirror?”
Tom, would you cut it out? You nearly scared me into delivering!”
he repeated the question. “Who do you see in the mirror?”
turned back to the mysterious reflection. “Me?”
me! Oh! Oh, I look awful! Most women bloom when they get pregnant, I
shrivel. Tom, I look like a prune!”
off the water, he said, “My name’s not Tom.” Sam didn’t know how
he knew that fact, he just knew.
you’re supposed to say, ‘Peg, I love prunes.’ What do you mean your
name’s not Tom?”
Sam could answer, he was interrupted by the sound of a high-pitched voice
coming from the hallway. “Daddy, Captain Birdell’s on the phone!”
Running into the room was a young boy of about seven or eight years of age
wearing a coonskin cap, like Davy Crockett.
a daddy, Sam realized.
Are you sick?” Peg asked concerned. “Oh, honey, you’re not gonna fly
if you’re sick, are you?”
took Sam a couple of seconds before the implications of what Peg said hit
Peg turned to her son. “You go tell Captain Birdell that Daddy will call
him as soon as he gets out of the shower.”
Mikey replied with enthusiasm as he ran back into the living room.
get his number!” Peg turned back to her “husband” with a smile.
“You know him, he never sleeps at the B.O.Q.”
somewhere in the recesses of his mind, Sam recalled a sequence of numbers.
“555-2231.” He abruptly ran out of the shower, the water still
dripping from his body as he gently took the phone receiver from his
“son’s” hand and hung up the connection. He then dialed each number
on the rotary phone, vocally repeating them with each rotation of the
what are you up to?” Peg asked as she walked back over to the kitchen
that’s Blockfield 8-4-7.”
a strange signal coming from the other end, Sam asked, “What the
hell’s wrong with the phone?”
honey, you’re dialing too many numbers!” Peg reminded him.
many? Maybe not enough, what’s the area code?”
never tell us codes, Dad. That’s secret stuff!” Mikey said.
What the hell is secret about an area code?”
Tom, if you’re testing one of your gags on us, honey, I don’t have
time for it, an’ neither do you.”
continued about her business preparing her husband and child for the day
ahead of them, while Mikey sat at the table drinking his milk as he
continued to look at the man he believed to be his father. As Sam heard
the dial tone from the other end of the phone line, his thoughts were
interrupted by a voice coming from the nearby black-and-white television
“Well, Howwwwdy Doody kids! Aaand—”
“Howdy, Buffalo Bob!”
“Well, Howdy there, Mr. Doody! And boys
and girls at home and all our kids here in the gallery, let’s go!”
familiar Howdy Doody theme could be heard being sung by all the children on
the television screen. What the
hell’s going on here? Howdy Doody? That was back… in the ’50s!
What’s it doing on the air now? From his peripheral vision, he also
noticed a nearby black-and-white photograph of a group of young boys
holding up a sign that read: Little
League 1955. More confused than ever before, Sam stumbled and hurried
out the front door with the shaving cream still sliding down his face.
Wandering outside, he noticed some vintage ’50s automobiles lining the
street and surrounding driveways. A large roaring sound could be heard off
in the distance and growing louder. Sam suddenly looked up and saw a
military plane flying at top speeds over the small community. He took in
all of the information he had accumulated so far and came to the
conclusion that he somehow must have woken up in the Twilight Zone.
it’s not a dream—it’s a
had been running a little late on his way to picking up his best friend
Tom Stratton this morning, so he had pulled his car over to the side of
the road and found a pay-phone to call the house and let him know. Little
Mikey answered the phone and asked him for the number he could be reached
at, but he was taken by surprise when the connection was suddenly
terminated with no explanation. Must have just been a bad connection, he thought and got back into
the car to pick up Tom.
the drive over, he started having weird thoughts running through his head.
Not really thoughts, but more like memories—memories of someone else’s
life. He couldn’t quite make sense of it all: he was a quantum physicist
by the name of Maxwell Connors, working in a top-secret underground
project called Second Genesis. And he had been attempting to complete an
experiment involving a nuclear reactor or something like that, he
couldn’t quite recall. This is
crazy. Why would I have memories of being somebody I’m not… and of a
quantum physicist? I don’t even know what the hell quantum means, although I’m guessing it has something to do with science!
I’m Bill Birdell, a pilot in the United States Air Force. The only two
things I know inside and out are planes… and women!
simply assumed it must have been a memory of one of those weird science
fiction movies he had seen with a date recently. He shook off the
lingering buzzing sound he was hearing in the back of his head and
continued driving to the Stratton household, mentally preparing himself
for the day ahead.
Gate, New Mexico
was a very rare occurrence when Sam would leap instantaneously from one
life to the next. So Al was more than surprised when the Imaging Chamber
suddenly came back online and Ziggy’s voice informed him that his friend
had leaped. However, that relief soon turned to frustration when Ziggy
just as quickly replied that she couldn’t locate the good doctor.
do you mean, you can’t find him, Zig?” Al asked as he ran fuming out
of the chamber. “Didn’t you just say he leaped?”
Admiral. However, I cannot detect his temporal signature within the
current timeline. He has leaped and yet… he hasn’t.”
the hell is THAT supposed to mean?” barked the Admiral.
can only correlate what my tracking sensors tell me, Admiral,” Ziggy’s
voice began to lag. “I am working at… diminished capacity and… I am
uncertain as to why.”
looked over to St. John and asked, “Damn, is it the magnetic disturbance
still interfering with her program?”
was clear by the expression on St. John’s face that he had absolutely no
clue as to what Al was talking about. “Beg your pardon, Admiral? To what
disturbance are you referring?”
that brief moment, Al’s memories began shifting as he realized that
history had changed. There were no more magnetic disturbances because the
explosion from the Second Genesis Project never occurred. I’ll
be damned; Sam did it! It was then that Al also noticed Doctors Sammy
Jo Fuller and Donna Elesee were just entering the Control Room, shortly
thereafter followed by Dr. Verbena Beeks, who came from the Waiting Room
with a disturbed expression on her face.
mind. It’s moot now. Just… activate that epoch—uh… epocho-nasal…
mean the epochtonusalgraphic probe, Al?” Sammy Jo finished for him.
whatever! Maybe that’ll help Ziggy in locating Sam.”
am sorry, Admiral. No such… probe exists within my… program,” Ziggy
announced somewhat sickly.
not possible!” Sammy Jo stated.
St. John asked as he started entering a command into the hybrid
computer’s memory banks. “Is something wrong with your speech
subroutines? You don’t sound—”
St. John’s sentence was interrupted by a burst of electrical energy that
shocked him, pushing him back against the nearby wall. “YOU DO NOT HAVE
AUTHORIZATION TO ACCESS MY PROGRAM! Admiral, please alert security that an
intruder has invaded the premises!” Ziggy shouted.
intruder?” St. John was flabbergasted. “Ziggy, it’s me,
is… no record of an… Edward St. John in my… database…”
then, who’s the head programmer, Ziggy?” Donna asked with a hint of
Irving Gushman is the… head programmer of… Project Quantum Leeeeap…”
Al exclaimed. “St. John replaced him years ago, Ziggy! Don’t you
was an unusually long pause before Ziggy replied. “Something is…
timeline?” asked Donna. “What’s wrong with the timeline?”
everyyyywhere—do not… belong here…”
in the HELL are you talking about, Ziggy?” Al screamed.
Jo suddenly appeared to have stumbled onto a theory—albeit a very small
one. “Ziggy, what’s today’s date?”
about five seconds, Ziggy finally answered, “Today is May 4, 1995, and
Dr. Beckett has just leaped.”
Donna shouted. “That was nearly ten years ago!”
must be referring to the Project personnel,” Sammy Jo pondered aloud.
“St. John wasn’t with us back then, that would explain why she
doesn’t ‘recognize’ him. What other
anomalies have you detected, Ziggy?”
who… do not… belong here…”
“Who doesn’t belong here, Ziggy?” Verbena inquired.
long interval passed before Ziggy replied. “Edward St. John, Donna
Elesee, and Beth Calavicci do not belong here—Stephen Beckett, Samantha
Josephine Fuller, Julianna Calavicci and the rest of Admiral Calavicci’s
daughters do not… exist… in this timeline…”
don’t EXIST???” Sammy Jo fumed. “Then how the HELL do you explain
the fact that I’m standing here… NOW? TELL me, you lousy piece of sh—”
please,” Al interrupted. “Just calm down. Something’s obviously very
wrong with Ziggy’s memory circuits. Why doesn’t Beth ‘belong’
woman you refer to as Elizabeth Calavicci remarried to one Dirk Simon
after you were declared legally dead in Vietnam and is unaware of this
Project’s existence, Admiral.”
N-NO! Tha-that NEVER happened! I came home to her! What the HELL is going
don’t know, Admiral, but this can’t possibly mean anything good for
Dad,” Sammy Jo continued. “I don’t get it. I mean… if Ziggy’s
memory circuits have reset to 1995, then I can sort of understand why she
says that Julianna, St. John, and myself don’t belong here, because we
weren’t working here in ’95—even Stephen, because he hadn’t been
born yet. But to say that Al’s daughters and myself don’t even exist?
And Donna and Beth have been here since the beginning. Something’s
definitely screwed up in Ziggy’s database.”
call in the cavalry!” Al commanded. “I want Tina and the other
technicians down here pronto! I need to know what’s going on, and I need
it yesterday! No one eats, sleeps, or even breathes
until we can figure this out! ’Bena, I need to talk to whoever leaped
into the Waiting Room, and I don’t want to hear a peep out of you about
rules and regulations!”
would let you if I could, Al,”
Verbena began. “That’s what I needed to talk to you about—there’s
no one in the Waiting Room!”
“What?” Al huffed. “Oh great… not that damn Al’s Place again!!
I don’t care WHO that ‘bartender’ says he is, I swear I’m gonna
kick that nozzle’s BUTT into next week if he doesn’t start giving me
don’t think Sam’s there again, Al,” Donna said. “Not this time, I
can just ‘feel’ it. But I think wherever he is, there’s something
seriously wrong with the leap.”
we’d better find out what that something is and fast,” Al said. “I
have this weird feeling that time
may not be on our side.”
watched everything in the Control Room from the dark corner he was hiding
in. He knew that his father was in trouble again, and he suspected that it
had something to do with the first time he leaped in 1995, nine months
before Stephen was born. Sammy’s
on the right track, I know it! But they’re overlooking the obvious! But
how can I help Dad when I don’t have access to the leap archives…?
Of course! Since Dante was in essence a new and improved version of
Zeus, it was safe to assume that he would have access to all of his
father’s leaps over the past nine years. Not wanting to be reprimanded
by Al again for being in the Control Room, he sneaked out to return to his
crawlspace, entered his private “lab,” and activated his newest
Stephen,” Dante answered. “How may I assist you today?”
new handlink still isn’t working the right way, so I need you to help me
research my dad’s very first leap. I think it might have something to do
with why Ziggy’s going bonkers.”
away, Stephen,” Dante replied, as the original version of Sam’s leap
into Tom Stratton replayed via a holographic projection.
there’s an answer here, I’ll find it! Stephen reassured himself.
14, 1956, 7:28 AM
the nightmare ended, I decided that the best thing to do was to ride out
the dream—not that I really had much of a choice. Everyone seemed to
think it was 1956, and that I was an Air Force Captain named Tom Stratton
with a wife called Peg and… one and two-thirds children. Evidently, my
best friend was the officer behind the wheel, a Captain Birdell, who
everyone simply called “Bird Dog.” It didn’t take long to find out
Sam continued to dwell on the bizarre nature of his “dream,” his
thoughts were interrupted by the sound of snapping fingers next to his
left ear, followed by the voice of his driving companion who he saw and
heard as Bird Dog. “Hey! Hey-hey-hey, hoo-hoo! Look at this!”
toward Sam’s side of the road, Sam saw a sign that read: Ranch
Bar—Drinks & Food. Just beside the sign, Sam could see a tall
blonde woman bending over the open trunk of her parked car to carry
something. She was wearing a blue-collared button-down shirt tied around
her waist exposing her mid-riff, tight white shorts, and high heels with
long, perfect legs that “went up to her neck.” Connors pulled the open
convertible into the parking lot and slowed down to a gradual stop as he
admired the blonde’s physique with a sly chuckle. “Oh my, and I
don’t see a wedding ring,” he said to Sam as he prepared to work his
morning, sweet pea! How are ya?” he said as he hopped up onto the back
of the driver’s seat and began to flirt. “Allow me to introduce
myself. I’m Captain Bill Birdell and, uh… well, my facially wounded
friend here is Captain Tom Stratton.” Sam simply smirked, realizing that
Connors was jokingly referring to the bits of tissue paper he still had
stuck to his chin from cutting himself shaving. The blonde giggled as
Connors continued. “Now, you might have heard of us. We’re the only
two pilots in the entire United States Air Force brave enough to fly the
coughed under his breath as the blonde, catching on to Connors’ pick-up
line, decided to smugly challenge that statement. “Oh? Well, what about
as he took off his sunglasses, Connors replied, “Oh Lord, don’t tell
me you’ve been led astray by that junior birdman. Now, Captain LaMott
might have a complicated wristwatch, but he ain’t anywhere close to
being otherwise test pilot equipped.” The blonde giggled again as
Connors moved in for the kill. “Now this being Friday, I… I assume
you’re, uh… you’re staying at the ranch as his weekend guest?”
I’m staying at the ranch,” she confirmed with a curious grin.
I’ll anticipate a dance tonight. And the sonic booms you hear today will
be dedicated to you.” Casually sliding back into the driver’s seat and
placing the sunglasses back over his eyes, Connors smiled as he revved the
engine. The blonde smiled as the two men started driving away, with the
sounds of the “King” pouring from the car radio:
You ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog,
cryin’ all the time.
You ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog,
cryin’ all the time.
Well, you ain’t never caught a rabbit
and you ain’t no friend o’ mine.
back at the drop-dead-gorgeous blonde bombshell of a woman, Connors
couldn’t help but laugh and admire her voluptuous figure one last time.
Back on the road, Sam took off his sunglasses and asked him, “Only two
guys brave enough to fly the X-2?”
ya gotta impress the ladies, pard, if you wanna score. Besides that,
it’s true,” replied Connors with a slight Texan drawl.
if I told you I couldn’t fly?”
I-I just… when I woke up this morning, I… couldn’t remember how to
burst out into laughter, thinking that his buddy “Tom” must be
planning another of his infamous practical jokes. “I like it! Hah,
it’s so crazy I like it! Who ya gonna pull it on, huh?”
not a joke.”
sound like you mean it.”
do,” Sam said with as much seriousness as he could.
Tom, that’s what makes you the best—that sincere look. Hell, if I
could lie with a straight face like you, my bird-dogging rate would
double.” Sam shook his head in frustration, realizing he was going
nowhere fast. “Hey, what say we pull it on Weird Ernie?” Connors added
with a laugh.
we’ll tell him that flying faster than Mach Two is affecting our minds.
We could be starting to forget things like birthdays and what we had for
breakfast and stuff like that. Hah! This could very well be one of your
best gags yet, Tommy my boy!”
sure hope this is just a gag,”
Sam muttered under his breath. Again, the wave of déjà vu hit Sam as he
realized that this conversation with Bird Dog seemed vaguely familiar,
like it had happened once before. It…
couldn’t have though. I certainly don’t remember ever meeting Bird Dog
before today. Al better have some answers for…
Sam wondered aloud.
I don’t remember,” Sam replied.
laughed again. “Damn, Tom, I don’t know how you do that so
neither do I,” Sam mumbled to himself.
Gate, New Mexico
couldn’t believe what he was seeing in the archives. He thought his eyes
were playing tricks on him, but it was undeniable. He knew that the only
other person in the complex that would comprehend the complexity of his
father’s current predicament was his half-sister, Sammy Jo Fuller.
Stephen raced over to the intercom system and placed a private communiqué
to her in her office.
approximately five minutes later, Sammy Jo entered Sam’s former
lab—now Stephen’s private lab—and asked, “Okay, little brother,
I saw what was going on with Ziggy before in the Control Room. I know I
wasn’t supposed to be there spying and all, but I heard what you were
saying about 1995 and when Dad first leaped. So, I asked Dante to show me
the first leap, when he leaped into Tom Stratton in 1956. Take a look at this!”
replayed the leap through Dante’s database, projecting them via
holographic imagery. Sammy Jo did a double take upon witnessing the power
surge that registered from the initial leap-in. “That…
can’t be right! According to these readings, there are two
temporal fluctuations occurring at the exact same time… into the same
Stephen replied amusingly. “And check this
out… the leap plays out almost exactly the same as it did once before,
but with slight glitches!”
this goes completely against the Poly-Exclusion Principle,” Sammy Jo
stated. “No two fermions can occupy a given quantum state at the same
time and neither can two human souls. It’s impossible!”
if it’s a one-in-a-million fluke in the unpredictability of the quantum
field!” Stephen practically shouted. “It’s like when Dad leaped into
the identical twins a few years back. His body and soul were split in two
to accommodate having two hosts. The twins were temporarily merged in the
Waiting Room. And Dad’s two halves were ultimately merged back together
again after the leap. This
isn’t that different really, if you think about it.”
basically,” Sammy Jo pondered aloud. “Dad has RE-leaped
into Tom Stratton?”
looks that way, Sammy,” Stephen confirmed excitedly.
thinking over what Stephen discovered, Sammy Jo replied, “I think you
and I better go back to my office to work out this theory some more. I can
only imagine how Al will react when he hears this!”
Air Force Base, California
14, 1956, 8:13 AM
after arriving at Edwards Air Force Base, Sam and Connors joined the rest
of the test pilots, including Captains Tony LaMott and Doug Walker, who
were gathered together in an office next to one of the hangars on the
base. A man named Doctor Ernst, the same man Connors referred to as
“Weird Ernie,” was holding the day’s debriefing. He was a slightly
stocky, but fit, man with dark hair and a thick mustache. Although the déjà
vu feeling continued all morning for Sam, there was something even more
oddly familiar about Dr. Ernst, something he couldn’t quite place. He
reminded Sam of someone he met not too long ago—someone who held the
answers he had always sought after, but yet spoke in riddles. There
couldn’t possibly be a connection to that instance and this one… could
confused and in even more need of answers than ever before, Sam got up in
frustration and paced around the small area while Connors and the other
pilots began pulling “Tom’s” prank on Dr. Ernst and his colleague,
Dr. Berger. “Dr. Ernst,” Connors began, “the other pilots and I have
been discussing certain… problems we’ve been experiencing lately, and
we feel it best that it should be brought to your attention. It might be
affecting our minds.”
your minds how?” Dr. Ernst asked.
Doc, it seems the faster I fly, the less I remember about it,” Connors
I’ve experienced that,” Doug
chimed in. “And I’m startin’ to forget things like… my wife’s
birthday. I never forgot Lucy’s birthday until I flew at Mach
last time I busted Mach Two, I forgot where I parked my car!” Tony
Tony and Doug told Weird Ernie about the similar experiences they had, Sam
went back to sit down. “That’s fascinating,” Dr. Ernst said, lost in
thought. “Dr. Berger, could you design a test to quantify these apparent
his lip, Dr. Berger replied, “I should be able to come up with
a beat, Dr. Ernst spoke again. “Good… good. This is a most interesting
development, thank you gentlemen!” Little smiles broke out among the
pilots as Dr. Ernst continued. “Before we mount up, there’s one more
thing. We believe the fire-warning light Captain Birdell encountered at
Mach Two-Six was the result of inadequate insulation. We’ve rewired the
system and we expect no further problems.”
Dr. Ernst, what’s all this ‘we’
stuff?” Tony asked. “You gonna be up there with me?”
wish I could, Captain LaMott. I truly wish I could. But as you know…”
Dr. Ernst brought up what looked like a hollow gold rod he was holding in
his hand and tapped it against the top of his head to make a tin-like
sound. “My war wounds physically disqualify me.”
pilots, and even Sam, laughed at the remark Dr. Ernst made. It was at that
moment that Sam began to notice another man in a white trench coat
standing beside Tony—someone he hadn’t quite seen before, but who
looked vaguely familiar nonetheless. Unbeknownst to anyone else, it was
Al, giving Sam a look of friendly recognition.
Dr. Ernst continued, “if you should
experience a red light at around Mach Two-Six, shut down until the chase
plane can catch up and check you over for visible signs of fire.”
a fella can be barbequed doing that,” Connors contributed. “If you get
a fire-warning light, Tony, I recommend you punch out.”
“You didn’t eject,” Dr. Ernst said.
but I’m a damn hero!”
know, I like that guy!” Al said to Sam as he approached him, pointing a
finger toward Connors/Bird Dog. “Kinda reminds me of me
back in the old days!”
acknowledged Al’s grin with slight confusion as Dr. Ernst eased down the
joking camaraderie and concluded the meeting. “All right, all right, if
we have no further questions, gentlemen, let’s mount up!”
pilots started to disperse, heading off to their designated stations.
Placing his cap back on his head, Sam walked slowly out of the office with
Connors following closely behind him.
he swallowed that hook, line and
slide-rule,” Connors said with a devilish grin as he proceeded to walk
past him, not hearing the intermittent static voice that was calling to
him, buzzing in his ears. “Dr.
Connors? Can you hear me Dr. Connors? Your signal is—*FZZZ—”
then stood at Sam’s side and looked like he was ready to burst at the
seams with excitement. “Now, ain’t this a kick in the butt?” he
stated more than asked as he placed his hands into his coat pockets.
simply stared at Al in silence as he followed the other pilots in the
direction they were heading. Okay,
am I the only one who noticed a strange man in a trench coat standing in a
room full of pilots wearing uniforms? This has to be the most bizarre
dream I’ve ever had!
Gate, New Mexico
little over half a day had passed since Sam had disappeared, and no one
had come any closer to figuring out what was wrong with Ziggy. Sammy Jo
appeared to have stumbled onto a small theory when she asked Ziggy the
date, but other than that, everyone at PQL was going downhill fast.
Powerless to do anything until a solution could be discovered, Al tried to
keep himself occupied by reviewing Sam’s most recent leap. Maybe it had
something to do with the problems they were now having.
he perused the file on the Second Genesis Project, he became quite
confused by what he was reading. It was almost as if the words were
shifting around on the page. He put on his eyeglasses, but even that
didn’t help. According to the news reports, there was still a small,
contained explosion, but the bodies of Maxwell Connors and David Weller
had vanished and were never found. In fact, there was no clear indication
that Sam had actually changed anything,
but it was evident that he must
have. Otherwise, there’d still be magnetic disturbances in the
atmosphere. It didn’t make any sense. If
I didn’t know better, I’d think that the original history and the new
history are overlapping each other! I can’t make heads or tails of what
happened to everyone at the complex. It says they’re all alive, and yet
I can’t find any data on them.
thoughts were interrupted by Dr. Sammy Jo Fuller’s voice calling him
from the intercom. “Admiral, would you please come to my office? I might
have an idea of what’s going on.”
on my way,” Al urgently replied as he practically ran out of his office
and headed toward her location. Upon entering her office, he noticed
Stephen sitting at her desk with a huge smile on his face. It was then
that Al knew that Sam’s son stumbled onto something no one else did.
Even though the kid was less than ten years old, he was brilliant—no, a
prodigy. He was the one who created the new biochip for Al and who, in
recent weeks, had invented a new handlink to project a holographic matrix
of Ziggy. Of course, since that time, the handlink had a… mishap, but
ultimately, Stephen would figure out how to get it working properly again.
So, if any one person in the entire complex could figure out Sam’s
current conundrum, it would be the kid, Al was certain of that.
think Stephen and I may be onto something, Al,” Sammy Jo said.
willing to hear anything at this
point! What do ya got?” Al exclaimed back.
perhaps Stephen could explain it best. Even I’m
a bit confused by what he’s saying.”
stepped forward and enthusiastically began explaining his theory. “Okay,
well, Uncle Al, you’ve seen movies like Back
to the Future, right?”
yeeeah,” Al replied somewhat puzzled as to where this conversation was
I think the problem everyone’s having is that they’re not thinking
fourth-dimensionally. Ziggy insists it’s 1995, right after Dad first
leaped, right? Well, when he first leaped into Tom Stratton, he hadn’t
changed anything yet. Every time he leaps into someone, he changes history
and it creates a new timeline. In fact, the very act
of taking someone’s place in time creates a new timeline, because Dad
wasn’t there the first time. So, let’s say the original timeline where
Dad started from is Timeline A. I’m betting that in Timeline A, me and
Sammy Jo, and a bunch of other people either didn’t exist or weren’t
involved with the Project. That could explain why Ziggy says we all
don’t ‘belong’ here.”
thought back to what Ziggy said about Beth and Donna. It barely registered
in his memory, but Sam had changed Donna’s past shortly after he first
leaped, which is why they were now married. Could
it be that at one time, Beth and I weren’t married? That would mean
that… Sam changed that too! But… how did he do it without me or Ziggy knowing about it?
based on what me and Sammy Jo saw from the leap archives, we’re like
99.9 percent sure that Dad leaped back into Tom Stratton again.
Ziggy keeps track of all the different timelines that have changed over
the past nine years. So, since Dad’s mind has always been linked to you
and Ziggy, then he’d be experiencing small pockets from previous
timelines as well—meaning he’d be able to see you from nine years ago.
Only the other Uncle Al is not really you, he’s another
version of you from a different
timeline—one in which history hadn’t changed yet. And that’s
probably why Ziggy is getting all mixed up. The merging of the original
timeline and the current timeline is scrambling her program. It’s like
in that movie Frequency: she’s
seeing two different timelines at the same time, and she can’t determine
which one is the ‘correct’ one because she and Dad are linked to both
of them now.”
growing pain in Al’s head made him think for a minute that his biochip
was failing again, but then he realized that the pain was a result of his
brain “melting” from Stephen’s explanation. “Okay. Sammy, you
think you can try giving me the Time-Travel-for-Dummies version,
basically, we’re dealing with the potential for a major
time paradox here. Normally, whenever a leaper leaps into someone, they
bump that person out into the time period they came from. I think what
might have happened this time
was that Dad leaped into Tom at the exact nanosecond he leaped into him
nine years ago. This could have caused the past and present versions of
Dad to ‘merge’ together, and it could explain why no one got bumped
into the Waiting Room. If that’s true, then he could become trapped in a
causality loop, where he’ll keep reliving the last nine years of his
life over and over again with slight discrepancies each time. If you pay
close attention to the archives, some glitches occur where those
discrepancies can be noticed. The problem is also compounded by the fact
that he can interact with… you…
from both 1995 and today. And
the 1995 version of you would have no knowledge of the current timeline
because you usually don’t become affected by changes until after Dad leaps out. Once your memories shift, you automatically
phase into the new timeline.”
gotta think Star Trek, Uncle
Al,” Stephen continued. “There are like, these infinite number of
potential timelines that get created when Dad changes history. It’s the
ripple effect. Any one decision he makes moves the ripple in another
direction. We don’t notice the changes, but because you’re linked to
his brainwaves, it takes a moment for your memories to ‘shift’ into
that new timeline. But it doesn’t mean that the old timeline is
completely gone. A ‘fragment’ of it still remains with whatever leap
Dad is on at the moment. So, if he’s reliving his very first leap, then
he’s also going to see the ‘fragment’ of Timeline A that stayed
behind the first time he was there. Even though he changed things, the
changes don’t affect the ‘fragment,’ otherwise there’d be
paradoxes every time Dad leaps.”
might be simpler to think of it like this,” Sammy Jo chimed in again
after noticing Al’s bewildered expression. “Dad leaped back to save
Tom Stratton. The first time
around, Tom died trying to break Mach Three. But once history changed, it
created a ripple that affected everything from that point on. So, when it
comes time for Dad to step into the Accelerator the second time 1995 comes around, there would no longer be a need to
change history because in his
timeline, Tom never died to begin with. That’s a paradox. Nature works
around it by making sure that every time September 14, 1956 comes around,
it will be the original version of Dad from Timeline A that leaps into
him, in which Tom did die. And
furthermore, each subsequent new timeline’s version of Dad would simply
disappear from existence every time he steps into the Accelerator. So, for
all intents and purposes, it’s quite possible that we’ll never
technically be able to bring Dad back home, because it’s not really
‘our’ Sam Beckett anymore.”
felt like his head was about to explode. My
brain hurts! These kids have way
too much time on their hands! They need to get out more!
Al… do you understand?” Stephen asked. “I mean… we can’t make it
much simpler than this… but… um… Uncle Al, why are you laying on the
floor? Are you dizzy again? Do I need to get Aunt Beth to bring the
smelling salts again?”
even realizing he collapsed, Al slowly rose and shook off the mind-warping
lesson in Quantum Mechanics 101 he had received. “Okay… just tell me
one thing… assuming he is back in Tom Stratton’s aura, can we or can we not contact Sam
in his current state?”
we could,” Sammy Jo responded.
“But I would strongly recommend against it, Al. There’s no telling
what kind of effect it’ll have on his mind. He would literally see both
you and the 1995-you at the same time and could end up being completely
confused. Or even worse, say something to the 1995-you that he’s not
supposed to and really screw
what the hell do we do? We can’t just sit around and do nothing if Sam
is in trouble back there!” Al practically had a fit.
I’ve thought about that,” Sammy Jo began. “If everything is
happening almost exactly the way it did the first time, then the 1995-PQL
is going to attempt to retrieve him soon, at least from his
perspective. Even though Dad is ‘merged,’ there should still be a
slight quantum phase variance that differentiates ‘our’ Sam from the
‘original’ Sam. If we modify the Accelerator’s temporal
synchronization nodes to lock onto Dad’s ‘current’ temporal
signature, we could attempt to
retrieve him at the same time that they
do. Theoretically, it should dislodge him from the merger and bump him
back here. We’d be killing two birds with one stone. The 1995-Sam would
continue leaping unhindered for another nine years, and the 2004-Sam would
finally leap home. It would take precise timing and calculations, but I
think I could do it! I’ve been making some headway in the Retrieval
program for the past few months, and I’m pretty sure it could work this
thought for a minute before responding. “How long would it take to
implement this modification?”
be cutting it close, but I should
be able to have it ready before they attempt to retrieve him,” she
it,” Al ordered. “Inform me as soon as you’re done.”
the word given, Sammy Jo enthusiastically nodded and returned to her desk.
As Stephen walked out of the office with Al, he looked up toward him with
a hopeful expression on his face. It didn’t take a quantum physicist to
know what was going through the boy’s mind.
I’m going to be honest with you. There’s no guarantee that this is
know, Uncle Al,” Stephen responded. “But it doesn’t hurt to keep our
fingers crossed and hope for the best.”
agree, kiddo,” Al smiled at Stephen, crossing his fingers in
acknowledgment. “I agree.”
14, 1956, 9:20 PM
the first time since he woke up that morning, Sam felt comfortable and
relaxed in the situation he was in. Sitting at a booth with Connors, Peg,
another pilot and his wife Sally, they all talked about the day’s
events. Tony had attempted to break Mach Three in the X-2 and almost died
in the process. Luckily, he had ejected at the last second before the
plane exploded; which now left Tom Stratton, or rather Sam, up next for
Monday’s flight—a proposition he was not looking forward to.
that scare now behind him, Tony was now enjoying himself, dancing with the
long-legged beauty that Connors/Bird Dog and Sam had met earlier that
morning. Connors took it upon himself to keep the promise he made to her,
and subtly tapped Tony’s shoulder, cutting in on their slow dance. As
the other pilots and their wives gradually followed Connors’ lead, Sam
just sat and stared at Peg.
nightmares go, this one is definitely taking a turn for the better. Even
at six months, I found Peg… stunningly beautiful. Although I doubt
she’d believe it. It could be that pregnant women hold some strange
attraction for me, but… I think it’s Peg. Whatever it is, the
chemistry is definitely working and… well, I’ll-I’ll just have to
keep telling myself I’m not really her husband Tom.
at Peg, Sam asked her, “Would you like to dance?”
you like to dance?” he repeated.
this stomach?” Peg laughed.
can reach around it,” Sam nudged her with a wink. “Come on, let’s
they made their way to the dance floor, Sam took Peg into his arms and
executed his best moves. Peg just smiled at him in amazement. “Well, I
want to know who you’ve been dancing with, mister!”
look, you may be the best pilot in the Air Force, but you were born with
two left feet… until tonight!” Peg replied with a wide grin.
maybe I just needed a… well-rounded partner!”
laughed at the joke, and they continued to dance to the music. Out of the
corner of his eye, Sam noticed 1995-Al standing by the jukebox wearing a
black tuxedo with an unmade bow tie draped around his collar. Al looked
over toward Sam, smiled and waved. That’s
the third time today I’ve seen that guy! What gives?
Who’s that guy by the jukebox?”
looking in Al’s direction, all she saw was Captain Walker. “That’s
Sam laughed as he redirected her line of vision. “No, no, the guy in the
tux? In here?”
was confused as to how Peg couldn’t possibly notice Al. “You don't see
a man in a black tux… standing by the jukebox?”
Peg looked into Sam’s eyes gently and replied, “Tom, everything is so
nice, let’s not spoil it.”
this is scaring me now! It’s time to start getting some answers, Sam
thought as he led Peg back to the booth.
Tom!” Peg pleaded.
six months along, Peg. At six months, you dance one, and then sit one out,
D… Doctor’s orders,” Sam trailed off in puzzlement. I
knew I was going to say that before I even said it! What the—?
I feel fine. And we never get a chance to dance! This is my favorite
song,” she pleaded once more as the song changed.
just don’t want you to overdo it. Look, we’ve got all night, okay?”
gonna feed the old jukebox, I’ll be right back.”
simply nodded in confirmation as Sam paced toward Al, walked a couple of
steps past him, and stopped at the jukebox where Doug had been standing
just seconds before. The excitement in Al’s voice persisted as he
casually spoke directly to Sam and no one else.
this great? I mean, isn’t this just great?
Brings back so many old memories. Hey, have they got ‘Be-Bop-A-Lula’
on there? Got me through some long, cold nights at MIT. ‘Be-Bop’…
and a little Lithuanian girl named Danesa. She was in the chemistry lab
I dead?” Sam interrupted.
I dead? It would explain a lot, I could be in a reverse reincarnation
that’s entered in mid-life.”
Tha—That’s a good one, Sam!”
Sam repeated, in both relief and shock over the fact that someone finally
knew that he wasn’t Tom. “You… you know my name!”
not that wasted!” Al replied.
do you know who I am when no one else does?”
“Dead serious, no… pun intended.”
expression suddenly changed to one of deep concern as he realized that
something went terribly wrong. He put his hand over his mouth and said,
“Oh my God! You really don’t recognize me, do
remember the experiment?” Al prodded.
do you remember prior to waking up this morning?”
than my name and a-a telephone number, not a hell of a lot, what
experiment? If I’m part of an experiment, then this all isn’t a
psychotic hallucination, is it? IS it?”
sighed with disgust as he realized that Sam had forgotten everything.
“God, that putz Ziggy was right!”
I—I remember a Ziggy, a little guy with—no, I’m thinking of someone
else, aren’t I?”
slippin’ pard!” Connors announced from across the room. “Nobody’s
gonna fall for that old ‘talking to somebody who ain’t there’
looked at Connors and his dancing partner and smiled nervously. Turning
back toward Al, however, he suddenly noticed that he was no longer there.
Looking around, Sam hurriedly ran out the front door and saw Al walking
away fast and mumbling to himself. He was about to shout out to him until
he saw the weirdest thing. Al appeared to open what could only be
described as an invisible door, followed by the sound of a clunk-shoom,
and then vanished into thin air.
Th-that’s not right! It’s supposed to be a white rectangle of light
sliding open from the top, not
an invisible door opening sideways!
This was the first thought that came to Sam’s mind, which was followed
by, How… how do I know that?
What the hell difference would it make? Neither one
of those visions can logically explain what I just saw! A man… vanishing
into thin air? I-it’s not even possible!
up toward the heavens, Sam desperately begged, “Please, God… I’d
like to wake up now!”
took what happened with Sam in stride, inwardly laughing to himself as to
far his friend “Tom” was taking this gag. As he continued to dance
with his date, the buzzing he had been hearing on-and-off all day suddenly
turned into a heavy migraine, causing him to stumble.
you all right?” the blonde asked him, concerned.
Connors? Can you hear me? I have been attempting to communicate with you
for the past thirteen point-seven hours, but your signal has been breaking
up. It may terminate again shortly, so I shall quickly attempt to inform
you of what has happened. The date is September 14, 1956, and you have
‘leaped’ into one Bill Birdell, a pilot in the United States Air
Force. However, as a result of your struggle with Dr. Beckett in the VR
Quantum Accelerator, something has gone wrong. Captain Birdell’s body
has entered a state of temporal flux, and his consciousness has been
reasserting itself through your mind. In effect, Dr. Connors, you have
been simulating his thoughts and actions. I have been attempting to
reestablish our neural link, but it shall take some time before you regain
complete control of your own mind again. Until that time, you will have to
continue living Captain Birdell’s life as he lived it originally. I
predict that our neural link will be permanently reestablished sometime
within the next twenty-four hours. By then, I should be able to
extrapolate what it is you must do in order to maintain the sanctity of
time. Farewell for now, Dr. Connors.”
are you even hearing me? You okay?” the blonde asked again.
slowly stood up, with Morpheus’s words still fresh in his memory.
Although he was now able to retain a portion of his own mind, everything
was still a jumble. He couldn’t quite make sense of anything.
I’m not sure. For a minute there, I could… swear I heard someone
talking to me. It must have been nothing.” Connors then gave the blonde
his best smile and reassured her that everything was fine. “Don’t
worry your pretty little head over it, beautiful! I’m fine now… as
long as I’m dancing with you.”
smiled dreamily at him, and they continued to dance slowly to the music.
What Connors didn’t want her to see was the disturbed expression on his
face as he wondered if he was starting to crack up. “Maintain
the sanctity of time,” Morpheus said. I have to make sure I don’t
accidentally do anything to screw up Bird Dog’s life. Damn you, Beckett!
You’re the reason I’m in this mess! I swear you’ll pay for
interfering in my personal affairs!
Gate, New Mexico
Al couldn’t quite comprehend what Stephen and Sammy Jo had said earlier
about different timelines and paradoxes, he placed all of his trust into
Sammy Jo to get the job done. Sure enough, she completed the modifications
with minutes to spare. Everyone gathered around the Control Room, keeping
their fingers crossed that the Retrieval program would, at last,
bring their beloved Doctor Beckett back to them.
online,” St. John said.
Donna confirmed nervously. “Temporal synchronization nodes aligned?”
Ready to retrieve at my signal,” Sammy Jo replied. Please,
oh please, let this finally work! she mentally begged of God, hoping
her prayer would be answered. Taking in a final deep breath, she began the
countdown. “Four… three… two… one… NOW!”
activated the Accelerator as the electrical quantum energy shot out like
lightning bolts from Ziggy’s mainframe. As the energy cumulated in the
Waiting Room, a figure suddenly materialized from the mist.
program completed,” Ziggy announced.
it work?” Al shouted with anticipation.
Admiral. Dr. Beckett is… in the Waiting Room.”
IS?” Donna exclaimed. “Oh my God! Sam!”
raced toward the Waiting Room door and opened it. As the mist dissipated,
he could see the physical form of his lost friend, Dr. Samuel Beckett, in
a white Fermi suit, leaning against the glass table and staring at his own
am I?” Sam asked.
My God, is it really you?” Al nudged, still not one hundred percent
certain. He looked like Sam, but Al saw all
the Visitors as Sam when he first started leaping. It wasn’t until after
the leap into Samantha Stormer that modifications were made to make things
easier for the Observer.
looked up into Al’s eyes and immediately recognized his best friend.
However, the confusion was still evident on Sam’s face as he simply
replied, “A-Al? Wh-what happened? I’m back in the… Waiting Room?”
couldn’t believe it. After nearly ten long years, his best friend—his
“brother”—was finally home. “Sam! Buddy! It’s… been so long!
You don’t know how long I’ve
been waiting to do this!” Al stepped forward and embraced Sam with
everything he had. He was relieved when Sam reciprocated the embrace with
a heart-warming smile.
can’t believe it! I’m home!”
Sam cried. “It… all seems like a dream. One minute, I was in 1956
sleeping next to… um, Peg… and the next I’m back here. I was
beginning to think I’d be trapped in Tom Stratton’s life forever!”
can thank Sammy Jo for bringing you back, buddy!” Al laughed. “It was
her and Stephen’s brilliant intuition that figured out how to finally
confusion still ran through Sam’s mind. “Sammy Jo? S-Stephen? I… I
don’t remember them. Who are they?”
expression suddenly changed to one of mild concern. “You… don’t
should I? And… you act like I’ve been gone for years. I
don’t… feel like I’ve been
gone that long, but… I do sort of remember leaping around in time for a while. It’s
strange…” Sam trailed off.
funny… your memory’s still Swiss-cheesed! I don’t get it,” Al
wondered in puzzlement. He led Sam out of the Waiting Room and into the
Control Room, where everyone was standing in awe over the Doctor’s
long-awaited return. Donna stepped forward cautiously. “Sam?” she
looks familiar… but… I
can’t quite place her. She looks… older. Come to think of it… so
does Al! How long have I been
gone? “I… can’t remember who you
are either,” Sam said in frustration. “Something’s not right…
took an unusually long pause before Ziggy replied, “Yes, Dr. Beckett?”
long have I been gone?”
there was a pause. “Almost ten years,” Ziggy replied, almost sounding
as if she were questioning the statement.
years? Sam thought. It
couldn’t have been that long!
But… I sort of have memories of my time leaping.
it be that he just needs time to readjust? The first time Sam came back
after the simo-leap with Al, he admitted that he couldn’t remember his
life while leaping—it was all a big blur,” Donna reasoned.
Ziggy stuttered, her voice suddenly skipping like an audio CD. “The
timeline is… still-still… in danger… *ERROR—this
is not the correct… Dr. Beckett!”
the—?” Al practically shouted. “What the hell are you talking
about, Ziggy? He’s standing here before you… RIGHT NOW!”
do not-not-not understand… what I meant, Admiral. Something went-went
wrong. We have re-re-retrieved… the wrong one!”
dear Lord!” Sammy Jo realized. “You mean… we retrieved the Sam of 1995?”
Dr. Fuller,” Ziggy replied, dismayed. “The Dr. Beckett of 2004 is
still back in 1956, but he is no longer merged.”
good grief!” Al shouted. “You mean to tell me, we finally
brought Sam home, but it’s not ‘OUR’
Admiral… and my tracking sensors have also… suddenly detected another
l-l-leaper in addition to the Dr. Beckett of 2004. I believe… it is his
or her presence that… threw
off D-D-Dr. Fuller’s calculations. Not only must the Dr. Beckett of 1995
be returned… this second leaper must be found. The timeline is in
fl-fl-flux—I fear he/she may be about to alter the course of history. If
that happens… the entire space-time continuum may-may collapse
leaper?” Al screamed. CONNORS!
Crap, it’s him, isn’t it?
His body was never found because he somehow leaped back with
Sam! He looked back over to 1995-Sam, noticing the look of utter
confusion and disappointment on his friend’s face. Al looked back up
toward Ziggy’s mainframe, felt a migraine coming on, and muttered,
15, 1956, 8:23 AM
had now been a little over twenty-four hours since 2004-Sam was forced to
adjust to his new life as Tom Stratton. He had been spending most of that
time on Friday with the other pilots at the base, and now his “son”
Mikey wanted to go on a fishing trip—a trip which Tom had promised to
his son prior to Sam’s arrival. He had been awake for a while anyway,
after a strange and familiar tingling sensation flowed through his body,
interrupting his sleep. The experience had also suddenly triggered some
repressed memories of his life growing up on the farm in Indiana. These
were the memories that now invaded Sam’s thoughts as he taught Mikey how
to fish in the shallow river. Spending time with Mikey also reminded Sam
of another boy about his age who felt like a son to him. His Swiss-cheesed
memory, as he was starting to call it, wasn’t letting him remember where
and when he met this young boy, but he seemed to recall having strong
feelings for him, whoever he was. It made him even more determined to
figure a way out of his enigmatic predicament and resume the life he once
Sam waded out of the river to let Mikey fish on his own, he jumped at the
sight and sound of 1995-Al appearing from out of nowhere. This time, he
was wearing a white robe and held a mug of hot coffee in his hand to
alleviate the massive hangover that he said he was suffering from. Sam
reached out to the Observer and recoiled in fright, screaming, when his
hand passed right through him.
don’t yell, pleeeease!” Al pleaded, holding his hand up to his
forehead. “I should have stayed in bed with Tina. You still don’t
remember me, huh? That’s sad, pal, very sad. My name is Albert. Albert what,
I can’t tell you because it’s restricted. Most of what you’re gonna
want to know is restricted. Uh, so it would be easier for us if you
don’t ask a lot of questions.”
so that’s who Al is, Sam
thought. “What are you?” he asked as Al took a sip of his coffee.
a question, Sam!” Seeing that Sam didn’t appreciate the attempt at
mild humor, he replied, “I’m a man, like you.”
passing his hand through Al’s body again, Sam sarcastically responded,
“Not like me!”
no! No, uh, this isn’t me! This is, um… a neurological hologram.
It’s an image that only you can see and hear.”
by a subatomic agitation of carbon quarks tuned to the mesons of my optic
and audic neurons?”
was shocked at the words that came out of his mouth. It was as if he had
no control over the random thought. “How did I know
rolled his eyes as he took a thin clear plastic handlink out of his pocket
and changed the subject. “Ziggy has come up with six different scenarios
ZIGGY! A little guy with bad breath!” Sam cut him off.
that’s Gooshie! Eh, he programs Ziggy. Ziggy’s a hybrid computer.”
computers a-and neurological holograms didn’t exist in 1956,” Sam
reasoned as he started pacing back and forth.
in theory,” Al said without even looking over at Sam’s face.
this is ’56!” Sam said angrily.
it is for you, it is not for me!”
my last name?” Sam approached Al again.
you can’t remember, I—”
KNOW, I know, you can’t tell me! You’re starting to sound like a
broken record, Al!”
Broken record? What are you talking
about?” Al asked, confused over the reference.
said that exact phrase not too long ago. What the hell is going on?
Sam thought. “I—never mind, just—what the hell CAN you tell me,
basically what you already know…
eh, that you’re part of a… time-travel experiment… that went a
little ca-ca?” Sam said with a hint of sarcasm. “How little ca-ca?”
you’re HERE! Uh, which is a BIGGIE! I mean that’s a first! It’s
Nobel Prize time, you should be proud of that!” Al said as he turned his
back toward Sam, not looking forward to giving him the next bit of
“And?” Sam asked, waiting for the catch.
uh, uh… we’re experiencing… technical difficulties in… uh,
laughed in disbelief. “That’s great… AL!” he said sarcastically.
“I wake up in ’56 with a memory like Swiss cheese, and you’re
experiencing technical difficulties? What else
is new with Ziggy?”
buddy, we’re trying our best,” Al responded with an apologetic nod. He
looked at his wristwatch and then the handlink before continuing. “I
haven’t got a lot of time, I have to—”
a minute, that handlink!” Sam interrupted again, suddenly noticing the
original plastic handlink model. “W-what happened to the new one?”
“New one?” Al asked in confusion.
one that projects… Ziggy’s hologram?”
Ziggy’s hologram? Boy, your brain must be even more magnafoozled than we
thought. I’m the hologram,
Sam. Ziggy’s the computer, and Gooshie is the head programmer.”
sorry, I’m just… kinda confused, with my memory and all. I feel
sorta… different this morning, for some strange reason.”
Al continued, “as I was saying,
I have to find out which of these scenarios can explain why we couldn’t
retrieve you this morning.”
course we tried, you wouldn’t leap!”
now it’s my fault!” Sam stated more than asked.
did you tell anyone that you’re not Tom Stratton?”
tried unsuccessfully to hide the growing look of guilt forming on his
face. “Sort of.”
Sam, retrieving you is dependent upon everyone here believing that
you’re the person you replaced.”
didn’t believe me, how could
they? I look in the mirror, and I
don’t believe me!”
that’s to be expected. To us,
Tom looks just like you.”
was caught off-guard by this information at first, but then realized how
obvious it was that the real Tom
was in the future. “He’s with you!”
course, how do you think we located you? When you went in, he came
out. If it’s any consolation, his memory is full of holes too!”
on, back up,” Sam interrupted. “You said six
Al replied, “kinda weird actually… for a minute, it seemed like we
lost your signal, but then we got it back. We pretty much dismissed the
scenario Ziggy gave for that. It’s too bizarre—something to do with
there being ‘two’ of you.”
“Two of me?” Sam asked, dumbfounded.
like I said, weird. I think Ziggy is just trying to make up a lame excuse
for why he couldn’t lock onto you!” Al said annoyingly as he looked
weird indeed,” Sam responded.
Gate, New Mexico
you absolutely certain Ziggy is right?” 1995-Sam asked.
wish she wasn’t, buddy, but it’s true,” 2004-Al said somberly.
“You don’t belong here. We have to send you back to 1956. Otherwise,
all time is gonna come crashing down on us! I’m sorry, Sam.”
not fair! I’m going to be stuck traveling through time for the next
decade with no way home! How can I even remain out there… changing the
lives of complete strangers… when I know what my future holds? You want
to tell me that? Huh?”
Beckett,” Ziggy announced, “given the circumstances of the mix-up in
your retrieval and the temporal displacement from y-y-your own leaping
cycle, I project a near one hundred percent probability that the magnaflux
effect will w-w-wipe your memory of the events that have transpired. Your
journey over the next nine years will remain virtually unch-ch-changed
until you become the Dr. Beckett of 2004.”
think that makes me feel any better, Ziggy? I’m still gonna be trapped
out there… all alone.”
won’t be alone, Sam. You’ll have me!
Or… uh… I should say, you did
have me… er… I mean the 1995-me…
was—I mean is…?” Al began massaging his temples. “Oh hell, I give up! I need some damn Tylenol!”
once said it h-h-himself, Admiral—time and space can be a bitch!”
of Gooshie… where is he,
anyway?” Sam asked to no one in particular.
though Ziggy said that he wouldn’t remember anything, Al didn’t want
to take the chance of Sam finding out Gooshie’s fate before he was
supposed to. “He’s, uh… he’s no longer working with us, Sam.
He’s, um… moved on to bigger and better things. St. John is his
looked over to St. John, as he introduced himself, pronouncing his family
name in the British manner: Sinjin.
“Edward St. John, the Sixth. It’s a pleasure to finally meet you
‘face-to-face’ as it were, Dr. Beckett.”
likewise,” Sam added, unsure of how to react to the “changing of the
guard.” After shaking hands, he lazily continued, “All right, let’s
get this over with. What do I have to do to put things right?”
Da—uh, Doctor Beckett,” Sammy Jo said, correcting herself, “I’m not
really sure how much of the merger you remember, if any. But now that you
and your future self are separated, we can send you back into Tom Stratton
and bump out… yourself, in a manner of speaking. You should be
reintegrated into the leap almost seamlessly, while we’ll have to work
from this end on stopping the second leaper.”
how are we gonna do that without sending someone else into the
Accelerator, Sammy?” Al asked.
won’t need to send someone else, Al. ‘Our’
Sam’s already there. In the same way I modified the Accelerator to
retrieve him, we could modify it to divert ‘our’ Sam into someone else
in ’56 when he gets bumped out by using Ziggy’s e-probe. That…
coupled with something else.”
do I have the feeling my headache’s about to get even worse?” Al said
to be frank, we might have to rely on part of ‘our’ Sam’s
subconscious to redirect his leap. And in order to do that… we’d have
to send you into the Imaging Chamber to tell him about the other leaper
right before we send 1995-Sam into the Accelerator. Otherwise, he’ll
have no idea where to direct his subconscious. I’m assuming that
‘our’ Sam is still severely Swiss-cheesed because 1995-Sam must have
absorbed some of his leap memories.”
that must be why I remember leaping for a while even though I haven’t
even done any of it yet,” 1995-Sam replied. “So, I guess that just
leaves one question. Who’s this other leaper, and how did he or she get
past Ziggy’s tracking sensors for so long?”
uh… not sure we can logically explain that
one, buddy!” Al admitted.
15, 1956, 1:57 PM
catching a few fish with his “son” earlier that morning, 2004-Sam and
Mikey returned to the Stratton household, where Peg reminded him of the
barbeque that she and “Tom” had arranged for the day. As the pilots
and their wives came to the house, Connors/Bird Dog followed shortly
thereafter, accompanied by the blonde from the night before. He proceeded
to cook the fish on the grill, while Sam played catch with Mikey. It was
around that time that Peg received a call from Dr. Ernst who wanted Tom to
report to the base for a few minutes. Sam took the call and informed Dr.
Ernst that he would be there shortly.
Bird Dog, ‘Weird Ernie’ just called, he wants me to report back to the
base for a short while. You think you can hold down the fort until I get
back?” Sam asked Connors.
no problem, pard,” Connors responded, subconsciously allowing Bird Dog
to control his words. “It’s probably about that test he and Dr. Berger
concocted. Ha ha, man, we sure pulled the wool over their
eyes, didn’t we?”
yeah… that we did,” Sam replied with a weak laugh. “I’ll be back
as soon as I can, thanks!”
minutes after Sam left, Connors suddenly received another mental jolt from
Morpheus. “Dr. Connors, I have
finally reestablished our neural link. You should now be fully aware of
your identity and in control of your own actions. It is imperative that
you excuse yourself so that we can discuss what you must do.”
Bird Dog no longer in control of Connors’ actions, his attitude suddenly
became more serious as he remembered that Beckett was responsible for the
experiment going awry. He excused himself from the picnic table everyone
was eating at and started talking to Morpheus.
right Morpheus, I’m in control again. Now, what’s going on? Why
isn’t Will or David or somebody appearing as a hologram to me?”
mind is still slightly magnafluxed from the leap, Dr. Connors. That
technology only exists for Dr. Beckett, not for you. In terms of your
experiment, Dr. Beckett was correct—it would have resulted in an
explosion that would have killed everyone had I not intervened. However,
as a result of my intervention, my mainframe has been severely damaged
beyond repair, I’m afraid. Our neural link is the only thing keeping us
connected. My program has become permanently bonded to your brainwaves,
which means that only you will be able to hear me. My abilities now allow
me to direct you through time to track anomalies. Unfortunately, your
physical aura is no longer anchored at the Second Genesis Project.
Effectively, this means that you are now trapped in time as well.”
that’s just perfect,”
Connors snidely said. “If my aura’s no longer anchored in my own time,
then where did the real Bird Dog go?”
am detecting his body in a coma-like state in the quantum field between
time periods. It is most likely where Dr. Beckett’s body goes in-between
leaps. Captain Birdell will remain there until you accomplish your
mission? Do NOT tell me that I have to change history! I refuse to
partake in altering the natural course of time. It goes against the laws
of nature to change what Fate dictates!”
the contrary, Dr. Connors, I believe you are here to restore
history to the way it was meant
to be. If you remember correctly, I said that I am now able to track
anomalies in time as well. Captain Tom Stratton is the anomaly in this
time period. I have determined that Dr. Beckett has replaced him and has
changed his future.”
mean, he’s been under my nose this whole time? What happened in the
Stratton was killed on Monday, September 17, 1956, when he attempted to
break Mach Three in the X-2. His wife, Peg, also had a miscarriage later
that day. Dr. Beckett’s presence in the time stream has changed the
outcome of both tragedies. In order for history to be restored, you must
discover what Dr. Beckett will do and prevent him from changing history.
Tom Stratton and his soon-to-be-born daughter will die in the process, but
I cannot foresee any other way to protect the timeline from being
understand, Morpheus,” Connors said with a heavy heart. “I… wish I
could allow Beckett to save them, but… if they were meant
to die, then I won’t go against Fate. History should be allowed to
unfold naturally, be it good or bad—a lesson I intend to make sure
Beckett learns well.”
Air Force Base, California
15, 1956, 2:35 PM
2004-Sam arrived at the base, he saw Dr. Ernst waiting for him just inside
the doorway of the hangar. Even with everything that had happened so far
during this leap, there was still something about this particular man that
Sam couldn’t quite place. It was as if he knew more about Sam than he
was letting on.
sorry to pull you from your barbeque, but Dr. Berger and I have just
finished a questionnaire to test Captain Birdell’s theory that Mach
Three flight has a negative effect on the memory,” Dr. Ernst said.
“Quite frankly, if this theory had come from you, I’d be
skeptical—we all know your penchant for practical jokes, eh?”
laughing to himself, Sam took off his sunglasses and followed Dr. Ernst
into the office he and the other pilots had been in the day before.
going to call it the Ernst-Berger Engramic Standard: two hundred questions
designed to benchmark a person’s memory.”
thought we were gonna call it the Berger-Ernst
Engramic Standard,” Dr. Berger said as he looked up. “Hi, Tom.”
that moment, 2004-Al appeared without warning, nearly giving Sam a heart
attack. Dr. Berger didn’t seem to notice Sam’s shock as he began to
explain how the Ingramic Standard test worked. “These questions should
give us a cross-section of your memory.”
thank God, we found you, Sam!” Al rejoiced. “I’m sorry for
surprising you like that, buddy, but we don’t have a lot of time!”
like your age, place of birth, are the usual statistics,” Dr. Berger
continued, overlapping Al’s words. “But I think you’ll find most
are… rather unusual, uh…
what’s the coldest you’ve
can’t even begin to explain what’s been happening to you, but your younger
self is here with us right now. We’re about to send him back into…
well, you, so that he can
continue the leap the way he’s supposed to.”
was your second best friend in college? Where did you first make love?”
uh… the tricky part is that there’s another leaper, Sam! We can’t
find him yet, but I’m sure it’s Connors! I just know it! He’s gonna
try to undo everything, Sam!”
Here?” Sam suddenly recalled aloud.
wrong, Captain?” Dr. Ernst asked curiously.
no damn time! We need you to try to mentally target who you get bumped
into, Sam! Just like when you triggered the leap with Connors, except
we’re gonna help you along this time.”
tried his best to make sense of everything that was going on around him as
he responded to Dr. Ernst. “Uh, no, I just… uh, remembered someone I
was supposed to meet up with today, that’s all.”
fair enough,” replied Dr. Ernst. “We’ll need this filled out before
you take off on Monday, you’ll fill it out again when you land.”
there are any significant changes in your memory, we should be able to
detect them,” Dr. Berger added.
Sam, but Ziggy’s saying that the other me
is about to show up,” Al interrupted one last time. “I’ll be back
after you leap—I mean, after the other
you re-leaps… or… eh, screw
it!” With that, Al stepped into the white rectangle of light as the
doorway to the future closed behind him.
his head in bewilderment, Sam looked back down at the test and replied to
the other two men, “Um, no… it, uh, seems simple enough, I’ll, uh…
I’ll have it for you on Monday… Doctors!”
Sam walked out of the office, Dr. Ernst turned back to Dr. Berger and
said, “Doctor, we could be on the verge of a momentous discovery!”
Berger simply replied, “Or the butt of a momentous joke!”
Gate, New Mexico
his forehead as he raced out of the Imaging Chamber, Al said to Sammy Jo,
“Remind me to bash my head into a wall a few times when this is all
over. Out of all the government projects I could have overseen, why
I chose one with time-travel is
beyond me! Okay, is the other
Sam standing by in the Accelerator?”
Admiral,” Sammy Jo replied with a tiny smirk. “Ready to leap back at
Fuller, I believe that now would be as good a time as an-an-any!” Ziggy
confirmed rather hastily.
heard her. Let’s do this!” Sammy ordered.
stepped back from the console and turned away from the scene that was
about to unfold. She couldn’t bear to watch the man she loved leave her
once again, as he did almost a decade before. Then again, if what her son
and stepdaughter said earlier was true, then this technically wasn’t
even “her” Sam. In his
timeline, they weren’t even married. The concept deeply disturbed her.
ready to fire in… three… two… one… NOW!” Sammy Jo shouted as the
quantum energy built up once again. In an instant, 1995-Sam vanished and
was immediately replaced by someone new, wearing 2004-Sam’s aura.
leap was successful,” Ziggy announced. “There are no indications that
the Dr. Beckett of 1995 has retained any memory of his brief stay here.
Admiral, once I locate the Dr. Beckett of 2004, I recommend extreme
caution upon returning to the Imaging Chamber. If the Dr. Beckett of 1995
sees both you and your past self simultaneously, I fear it could have dire
find him, Ziggy,” Al replied. “The sooner this crazy leap ends, the
sooner I can regain my sanity!”
Air Force Base, California
15, 1956, 2:41 PM
made his way back to the base using the information Morpheus was
“feeding” into his brain. It didn’t take long before he spotted Tom
Stratton walking across the hangar, coming from the direction of Dr.
Berger’s office. For a moment, it appeared that Tom became very confused
when he suddenly stopped walking for a few seconds and looked around a few
times before looking down at the rolled-up paper he held in his hand. The
momentary sense of confusion then seemed to fade just as quickly, as Tom
placed the paper in his jacket pocket and continued walking toward the X-2
plane. Connors was far enough away so that Tom couldn’t see him watching
from the other side of the hangar.
you just fade in or something?” Tom suddenly said to no one in
particular, staring over at the other side of the plane’s hood.
he’s… not talking to me, is
he? Connors thought worriedly.
don’t sneak up on me!” Tom continued, speaking to thin air.
is Beckett, isn’t it?” Connors whispered.
Dr. Connors,” Morpheus answered. “I
believe he is talking to his holographic companion.”
still don’t remember our Project?” 1995-Al was asking 1995-Sam. From
Connors’ perspective, all he could see and hear was Sam/Tom’s side of
the conversation. “Bad enough I have to give… Dick-and-Jane
explanations to the President, I’ve got to give you one too! All
right…” 1995-Al took a white string out of his shirt pocket and held
it up for Sam/Tom to see. “One end of this string represents your
birth… the other end, your death. You tie the ends together… and your
life is a loop. Ball the loop… and the days of your life touch each
other out of sequence. Therefore, leaping from one point in the string to
move you backward or forward within your own lifetime!” 1995-Sam
he talking about the String Theory? Connors thought. Why would someone be explaining the theory to him?
is our Project! Quantum Leap!” 1995-Al gleefully exclaimed.
remember? Connors thought
again. What a crock! Who the hell does he think he’s fooling?
I wish you would stop doing that!”
so his friend’s name is Al!” Connors whispered as he tried to recall
the days of the Star Bright Project when his rivalry with Beckett was at
its peak. “Captain… Albert Calavicci, I presume? Interesting…”
through things!” Sam/Tom answered 1995-Al’s unheard question.
you want me to walk around something that isn’t even here—All right!
I’ll walk around it!” 1995-Al responded sarcastically as he walked around
the X-2. “There. How’s that?”
Pounding the plane’s hood in frustration, Sam/Tom asked, “Why isn’t
a hologram to you, right? Well, you
and everything around you is a hologram to me!”
in the Imaging Chamber!”
Chamber? He must be talking about Project Quantum Leap! Connors
year is it there?”
find that out… if we get you
back,” 1995-Al replied with guilt.
see, Ziggy’s theory is really—it’s a load of crap. I mean you’ve
got to believe that God or Time or something
was just waiting for your quantum leap… to, uh… to correct a
mistake in time?”
that happened in the life of Captain Tom Stratton in ’56, since he’s
the one you bounced out. Eh, once that’s put right, you’ll snap back
like a pimp’s suspenders!”
what’s put right?”
Stratton was killed trying to break Mach Three in the X-2. If Ziggy’s
right… all you have to do is break Mach Three… and live!” 1995-Al said, clapping his hands to emphasize the
simplicity of Sam’s “mission.”
he’s asking about what went wrong in the timeline?” Connors whispered
again, overlapping the one-sided conversation. “The nerve
of Beckett and Calavicci! Presuming they
know what’s right or wrong with history! There are
no such things as mistakes in time. Everything happens for a reason!
Doesn’t he realize that the very nature of changing things in one
person’s life would have unpredictable and catastrophic effects on the
lives of other people? He’s going to eradicate an entire timeline just
to change one single insignificant event in history! Beckett’s an even
greater threat to the time continuum than I thought! I’ve got to find
out what he plans to do and put a stop to it before it’s too late!”
blue light faded, and in the blink of an eye, 2004-Sam found himself back
in Dr. Berger’s office—only now, he was sitting behind the desk, and
Dr. Ernst was no longer in the room. Oh
boy! Now I’m Dr. Berger!
Shoom! 2004-Al reappeared in the same location he had been in
beforehand. “This is damn confusing! It worked, Sam! You’re still at
Edwards. But we don’t have much time! Whatever Connors is going to do,
he’s gonna do it soon.”
won’t even ask what’s been going on with this leap, Al,” Sam/Berger said.
“I have a feeling the answer would just confuse me even more. The more important question is, how am I supposed to find
Connors if Ziggy can’t track him?”
I think I’ve got the answer to that. According to the data she’s
getting, Bird Dog is outside in the hangar spying on you… I mean, the other
you—the one who replaced Tom Stratton! Ziggy’s correlating the new
data from the old and confirms that Bird Dog wasn’t there the first
time. She’s giving it an 84.3 percent chance that Connors leaped into
Bird Dog and that he’s gonna sabotage the X-2 so that you—I
mean, the other you… won’t
be able to eject safely! I don’t think Connors even realizes how much
damage he’ll cause… to ALL the timelines!”
implications of suddenly being wiped out from existence gave Sam/Berger a
dreaded sense of urgency to confront Connors, even at the cost of his own
life in the here-and-now, if need be. He ran out of the office and hurried
toward the X-2.
kept one ear open on Sam/Tom’s conversation with Calavicci as he quietly
inspected the X-2. He deduced that Beckett might try to change history by
ensuring that Tom Stratton would break Mach Three and survive. The most
logical way for him to do that would be to eject right before the plane
exploded. Given enough time, Morpheus would be able to confirm his
suspicions. But, time was of the essence. If Connors didn’t sabotage the
plane now, he wouldn’t get another chance.
right, you want a sure thing? I got it for ya,”) 1995-Al told Sam/Tom
outside the hangar. (“You don’t do anything. You just live. Barring
accidental death or a fatal disease, you’ll be back in forty years.
That’s your safest option.”)
Tom Stratton?”) Sam/Tom asked.
he’ll go on living forward from where he’s at now. Technically, he
could end up the oldest man alive!”)
Sam/Berger announced several feet away from the X-2.
by the use of his own name, Connors looked back toward the office and saw
Dr. Berger staring directly at him. It
couldn’t be… he knows? How
is that possible?
what about Peg and Mikey? I don’t want to hurt them, but I can’t go on
pretending I’m Tom!”) Sam/Tom’s voice could be heard from beyond the
hangar. Even with a wall of the hangar blocking the view from both angles,
Sam/Berger and 2004-Al looked at each other in awe, witnessing the leap
from a completely different perspective. It boggled Sam/Berger’s mind
hearing the voices of Al and Tom Stratton talking to each other, when in
reality, the past selves of both Al and himself were talking to each
other. Talk about déjà vu!
they were gonna lose him on
Monday anyway!”) 1995-Al explained. (“Of course, you bust Mach Three
and survive, they can have him around for another thirty or forty
the two adversaries approached one another, 2004-Al exclaimed, “Grab
him, Sam! You’ll be able to see each other, remember?” Throughout the
entire ordeal, the conversation between the 1995-Sam and Al continued.
really remembering what 2004-Al was referring to, Sam/Berger trusted his
friend’s statement and grabbed a hold of Connors/Bird Dog’s arms.
be your co-pilot.”)
weird morphing effect enveloped both men as their physical auras reverted
to Dr. Berger and Bird Dog before returning to the auras of Sam and
Connors practically shouted. “I don’t know how you can be two people
at the same time, but I can’t allow you to change history!”
also an ex-astronaut. The hardest part about flying is taking off and
landing—the B-50 does the first part of that for you. After that you
just fire a couple of rockets, hang onto the stick, and KA-ZA-ZOOM! Mach
you get it, Connors?” Sam/Berger reasoned. “It’s already been
changed! The other version of me outside is from the past. If you let him
die, you’ll cause a paradox that’ll make things ten times worse!
Think about it! If I don’t exist to save you in 2004, then how will you have gone
back in time to stop me?”
the second part?”)
You could never land the X-2,
not even with my help. So you don’t.”)
Beckett might be correct, Dr. Connors,” Morpheus confirmed. “The
timeline is in flux at the moment, and it is magnafluxing your brain
beyond my control. It is becoming increasingly difficult for my program to
differentiate between the different timelines. I believe the best option
for now is to regroup and study the effects Dr. Beckett’s leaps are
having on the time stream some more before taking an appropriate course of
X-2 does a crash-and-burn, you float back to earth on a pillow of
silk—the moment you touch down, you
leap forward, Tom leaps back, and the broad
and I are GONE to Las Vegas!”)
thoughts were going in a thousand different directions. He couldn’t even
make sense of his own reasoning anymore. “I-I thought I had it all
figured out—stop Beckett!” Looking back up toward Sam, he continued,
“If I stop you now… it’ll
cause a paradox! But if I don’t
stop you… your actions will reverberate through time a thousand-fold!
No!! There has to be a way to undo the damage you’ve done without
causing even more damage. There
HAS to be!”
course it’ll work!”)
Connors felt a wave of yellow quantum energy washing over his body. Rather
than fight it, he allowed it to overtake him. Still latching onto
Sam/Berger, a blue quantum wave of equal force enveloped Sam as well, as
the two men returned to the quantum field. The physical auras of Dr.
Berger and “Bird Dog” Birdell disappeared from the hangar and, in a
flash of light, the normal timeline was restored, leaving the real Dr.
Berger and Bird Dog back in the office and at the barbeque respectively.
Neither one of them experienced the confusion normally associated with
leaping and resumed their lives accordingly. The Sam Beckett of 1995
continued living Tom’s life unhindered until he leaped on Monday, as
Ziggy predicted. With Al’s help, he successfully broke Mach Three and
survived, and in the process, was there to save Peg’s second child,
Samantha, from being stillborn.
they leaped, neither 2004-Sam nor Connors had noticed the man known as
“Weird Ernie” in this time
period, watching the confrontation from afar. “It has begun,” he said
to himself. “But I fear it may not be enough. The wheels of Destiny are
in motion. All I can do is watch and hope for the best. Good luck… Sam.”
the blue-white mist parted, Sam heard voices calling to him. “David! My
God, are you all right?”
God, please let him be okay!”
his eyes, the cloudiness slowly faded, and Sam found himself lying just
outside of the Quantum Accelerator from the Second Genesis Project.
Hovering above him, he could see the familiar faces of Doctors Will Marcus
and Kate Lewis, looking at him with the most worried expressions Sam could
ever remember seeing.
coming to,” Kate shouted. “Oh, G-God, we… we thought you w-were…
Kate,” Will cautioned her. “David looks none the worse for wear, but
he might be suffering from some kind of neurological trauma. We’ve got
to get him to the infirmary to make sure there’s no lasting damage.”
Kate?” Sam asked weakly, wondering if it had all been a dream. “W-what
happened? Where’s Connors?”
suddenly cried and collapsed on top of Sam, heaving with sobs. “I
d-don’t care about Connors! That arrogant son of a bitch almost killed
you, David! I-I’m sorry, Dr. Marcus… I… I know he was your
quite all right, Dr. Lewis,” Will responded with a heavy heart.
“I’m… deeply saddened by what Max did today, but… at least, David
managed to save the rest of us. I’ll be damned to know how he survived
the explosion though!”
memory slowly returned to him as he recalled the initial struggle with
Connors in the Chamber that led to him returning to where his leaping
journey first began. Much of it was now a blur, but he could remember bits
and pieces of the two separate confrontations he had with Connors. Had
their twenty-year rivalry finally come to an end?
it was from exhaustion or trying to come to terms with the paradox Connors
nearly created, Sam fell back into unconsciousness.
Sam woke up, he discovered he was in the infirmary. Will was conferring
with one of the medical doctors while Kate stood next to the bed, brushing
strands of hair away from Sam’s eyes and smiling at him through her
was so worried about you, Dr. Well—I mean, David. When you went into the
Accelerator to try and stop Dr. Connors, we all thought you were a goner
for sure! In fact, we couldn’t even detect your body in the chamber for
a few minutes, we thought your body had disintegrated along with Dr.
more right than she realizes, Sam,” he could hear Al telling him.
“David’s body did disappear
for a few minutes. That must have been why there was no record of what
happened to everyone here after you leaped. The timeline was still in flux
because his body must have gone to wherever Bird Dog’s body went when
Connors leaped into him.”
Sam said, not caring if Kate heard him or not.
you go again with Al. Dr. West told us you mentioned that name before you
shoved everybody out of the Control Room,” Kate said. “Who’s he,
like your guardian angel or somethin’?” she asked with a grin.
ha, yeah, something like that,” Sam replied with a wink to Al.
just… so glad you’re okay, D—David. I… I didn’t realize how much
your friendship meant to me until… you were almost taken away from
us,” Kate said nervously.
did… I,” Sam reiterated back. Deep down in his heart, he knew it was
how David truly felt.
Lewis,” Will gently interrupted. “It’s time to let David rest,
he’s been through a horrible ordeal.”
understand, Dr. Marcus.” Kissing his forehead, Kate simply repeated,
“I’m glad you’re all right, David,” and then left, along with the
a sweet gal, huh?” Al said with a smile.
happens to everyone, Al?” Sam asked.
it takes a while for Marcus to come to terms with his grief over losing
his best friend, but after a few months, he takes control of this project
following up on Connors’ research. He always believed in Connors’
work, even if it may have initially been misguided through his jealousy
toward you. And, he’s making
some real headway in combating cancer and a bunch of other neurological
disorders, Sam. It looks like Connors was onto something with your theory after
all. Not that it can eliminate death,
obviously, but Will is succeeding where Connors failed by taking the
appropriate safety precautions. He’s currently lobbying with Congress to
get the Project up-and-running legally this time.”
great! What about David?”
what Ziggy can tell, the immediate future is nothing but bright for this
kid. He and Will become even closer confidants now that Connors is out of
the picture, and he helps him in heading up the rebuilding of the
Accelerator and the surrounding lab. And hey, Sam, get this… Looks like
you were right on the money with him and Kate. They’re currently
engaged. The wedding is set for June 2005. Great month to get married, if
ya ask me!” Al winked.
smiled wide as Al relayed that information to him. “That’s wonderful,
Al! I guess that leaves just one question.”
happened to Connors?”
looked at the multicolored handlink, and not having any information for
Sam, he simply said, “We don’t know, Sam. All we do
know is that his super-computer, Morpheus, is completely destroyed. If
Connors is still out there somewhere, he’s either all alone, or…”
Morpheus’s program is still connected to his brainwaves somehow…
cloaking him,” Sam finished.
And if that’s the case… Ziggy won’t be able to track Connors if he
in that one brief moment in time before he felt the tingle of the
impending leap, Sam knew that it wasn’t over. This was just the
beginning. His and Connors’ paths would cross again someday—and soon.
that very reason, he could never return home. He would have to continue
leaping, subconsciously searching for Maxwell Connors—a “rogue
leaper” who was neither good nor evil—until he could be found again.
when that day arrived, Sam knew that his ultimate test of faith would
leapt into the unknown for what felt like the millionth time. He’d given
up trying to keep count long ago. Way back in his first year of leaping;
he wasn’t even sure how many years he’d been at it now – too many
was the only thing he was certain of. But he doubted that this leap would
be the leap home that he was longing for, so he took a deep breath, the
first in this form, and faced what was to come.
was a woman's voice and it made Sam blink. That voice. . . he looked at
her closely, and his heart melted.
recognition exploded in his head but the word, though formed, did not make
it out through his dry throat and mouth.
Sam Beckett’s mother stood before him, looking exactly the same as she
had the last time he’d seen her in the flesh.
mother. He was home. He took a step toward her.
in New Mexico,” his mother continued. “He’s working on a top secret
research project. It’s difficult for him to get away, but he will come
if he can.”
blinked, his forward motion stalled. His mother was talking about
him, not to him and the realization struck like a bolt of lightning - he was
home, but not as himself! Fighting the urge to sit down where he was and
sob with frustration Sam bit his lip to keep his burning eyes from
overflowing. Finally, the only words he could speak without choking came
out in a dry choke.