VIRTUAL SEASONS EPISODES
ON QUANTUM LEAP
events from Season 12:
leaps into serial killer Leon Stiles for the second time, while Dr.
Maxwell Connors leaps into a U.S. Marshal that is escorting him to prison.
A blonde-haired woman, disguised as a reporter, attempts to kill
Sam only to be stopped by Connors. On
their way to Oklahoma State Penitentiary, the transport bus carrying the
prisoners crashes in the middle of the woods leaving Connors gravely
injured. As the two leapers
put aside their differences and work together to get history back on
track, Connors loses contact with Morpheus and detects a major anomaly
forming in the time stream. He
reassures Sam that he’ll look into it and leaps out...
a routine leap into a passenger aboard the sinking ocean-liner Everglade,
Ziggy detects a disturbance in the past that prevents Al from getting a
complete lock on Sam in the Imaging Chamber.
At one point, when Al’s hologram is fading and he asks for more
power, he directs his request to the late Edward St. John VI, rather than
Dominic Lofton—a “glitch” in time that no one seems to notice.
Although the “disturbance” is later revealed to be a result of
a “dead leaper” whom Sam was there to help named Philip Bridges, it is
now apparent that there is more going on than meets the eye...
the murder trial of Patrick Cromwell (Sam’s host), Sam meets a beautiful
blonde-haired woman who introduces herself as Lulu Logan.
She is at the courthouse to show support for the Defense’s key
witness, Pastor David McKinney, but seems to react weird upon first seeing
Sam. After Sam is exonerated
in light of new evidence, Pastor McKinney leaves the courthouse to get in
his car when Ms. Logan calls out to him.
As he turns around, Lulu stabs him in the arm with a cyanide-laced
hatpin without provocation, causing him to die almost instantly.
When Sam attempts to administer CPR, Lulu strikes out at him as
well. During the struggle, she manages to escape—her whereabouts
becomes a Leaper once again when Sam is shot and killed during a bank
robbery gone wrong. Upon
leaping into Sam’s host, Al bumps Sam back to the Project before he gets
killed. When Al in turn is
shot, the newly “resurrected” Sam subsequently leaps into the bank
robber mere seconds before the shooting and surrenders, preventing Al’s
death. As the two friends
touch, they both continue leaping together for a short time with newly
promoted Rear Admiral Tom Beckett as their Observer...
Help a Friend” & “The
Great Blue Yonder”)
next leap takes them both to Alcatraz, where Al is an inmate and Sam is
one of the guards. Being confined in a small space causes Al to revert back to
his POW days. Only through
Tom’s tragic news that Beth has died in a plane crash in the present (as
seen in “The Great Blue Yonder”) does Al come back to reality, as he
wills himself to leap into Beth right before the crash.
Although he prevents Beth’s death, he still receives a massive
blow to the head. After
finishing what he and Al were sent to Alcatraz to do, Sam subsequently
leaps into Al, bumping his unconscious form back to PQL.
Now in Beth’s aura, Sam manages to keep Julianna and himself safe
until help arrives. Back in
the present, Al, on the other hand, has now fallen into a coma...
Tom now continuing as Sam’s temporary Observer, he uses his military
weight to get some classified information when Sam leaps into a special
agent of the Naval Investigative Service (NIS) in the year 1967.
During the investigation of a gruesome murder, Sam is shocked to
learn the identity of the victim: Lieutenant
Commander Chip Ferguson, who was supposed to die while flying over Vietnam
in the original history. The
“Black Widow” was the name of the killer that NIS was using to
describe the string of murders that had been occurring the past few years
with the same situation: men
found dead from knife slashes to the torso and face following sexual
intercourse. Sam eventually
discovered it to be none other than Lulu Logan, now going by the name
Loraine Logan, but failed in apprehending her.
Tom then announced the devastating news that Sam was going to die
in 1969... (*See
Calm Before the Storm”)
her husband lay in a coma in the hospital bed, an exhausted Beth Calavicci
began to doze off while in an overstuffed recliner with a thin blanket
over her. She never slept
deeply, wanting to be the first person that Al saw when he woke up.
Beth knew that it would happen eventually and she was willing to
wait until the complex crumbled around her before she left Al’s bedside.
It had been an hour since their daughter
Christa and her fiancé Eddie had come for a visit.
They all gave each other the support that the Calavicci family was
built on, their hearts full of hope that their head of the family would
Beth’s eyes were heavy with sleep and the
first feelings of drifting into slumber came over her when she thought she
heard a noise. Listening
harder, she heard another soft grunt.
“Al?” she whispered as she sat up straight and threw the
blanket from her. The dim
light above the bed was always on and Beth turned on the bedside lamp.
“Al, are you awake?” she asked as she
gripped his hand. Another
quiet grunt. With her free
hand, Beth dipped her finger into a cup of water and wet her husband’s
“Al, honey, can you hear me?
Talk to me, baby,” she encouraged and nearly shouted for joy when
she saw movement behind his eyelids.
“That’s it. Wake
up, flyboy. You’ve been in bed way too long.” She giggled slightly and started feeling light-headed at the
Al Calavicci breathed hard through his nose
and slowly opened his eyes, taking in the beautiful face of his loving
wife. “Beth,” he whispered through mostly-closed lips.
“Yes, Al, it’s me.
How do you feel?” she replied, eyes wide open.
“Sam,” he said.
Beth was confused by the reply.
Was he really hearing her or just having a waking dream? “What about Sam?” she asked.
“I have to...save Sam.”
Sam Beckett could feel the abnormal eddying of temporal energy as he remained in the blue-white limbo. His mind was preoccupied with how it could be possible to be killed in one timeline and yet still be alive in the dimension that healed him during the rest periods between time-traveling assignments. There wasn’t much time to ponder his situation as he felt the familiar pull of an impending leap.
Blinking a few times as he began to adjust to his new surroundings, the first thing Sam saw was two large, identical buildings against a clear, blue sky. “The World Trade Center?” he wondered aloud to himself. “I must be in New York City.”
“Yeah, where’d you think ya were, pal? Vegas?” a gravelly voice called out from his left. Turning his head, the time traveler saw a very scruffy-looking man, obviously not in the best years of his life. From his white hair and the deep-grooved wrinkles on his face, Sam guessed his companion was in his early seventies and hadn’t seen a home-cooked meal in a long time. The homeless man’s expression, especially the look in his eyes, hinted that his mental capacity was questionable as he sneered at Sam. His clothing was tattered and, upon inspecting his own attire, Doctor Beckett discovered that he was no better off.
“I’m homeless?” Sam squeaked.
“Nah, you ain’t homeless,” the older man said with a sarcastic laugh. “You got the finest cardboard box outta all of us, Danny!”
Shaking his head, Sam dropped his chin to his chest before muttering his eternal catchphrase: “Oh, boy.”
was night and it was cold. The
thin glass in the windows allowed the wintry weather to filter right into
the room as easily as the pale light from the full moon.
Through her chattering teeth, the young woman grabbed a firm hold
on the white, metallic bars that covered the window and shook them with
all her might.
on the God-damned heat! I
don’t know what’s colder, the walls or my bones!
I demand the basic comforts of human existence!” she cried out,
her long, blonde hair tossing about as she threw her head forward and
back. “I’m not a
the cries from within one of the many rooms of the psychiatric hospital
was Pamela Mahon, Registered Nurse. Although
she felt comfortable enough in the hallway and assumed that the rooms
would be the same temperature, she took it upon herself to inspect the
complaint. Finding the key on
her chain, the middle-aged nurse unlocked the door, which swung open
slowly. “Is everything all
right in here?” Pamela asked with a caring tone as she stepped inside,
noticing that it could only possibly be one or two degrees colder than in
people are torturing me with these unbearable conditions!” the
attractive woman declared as she whipped around to face the nurse, daggers
in her eyes. “I demand to
see Doctor Burnham. If he
thinks that isolation therapy mixed with this numbing cold will ‘cure’
me, he’s got another thing coming!”
that the only thing the woman really wanted was to see her doctor, the
nurse made a polite smile. “All
right, Miss Lanning. Just
stay calm an’ I’ll go get the doctor.”
hard from the extended use of her lungs, the mental patient watched as
Pamela left and closed the door behind her.
“You’d better hurry!” she called out after her.
“I might freeze to death in here!
If I die, you’ll all pay!”
her head to herself as she moved down the hallway, Nurse Mahon headed for
the office of her superior, Doctor Lloyd Burnham.
His door was open and she stepped into the doorframe, seeing the
bespectacled man with thinning, grey hair reading something from a file
folder on his desk.
Burnham?” Pamela said quietly. “Miss
Lanning is adamant about havin’ you come see her.
She’s complainin’ about the temperature of her room.”
as he got up from his seat, the doctor narrowed his eyes at the nurse. “Couldn’t you just get her an extra blanket, Nurse?” he
queried with a twinge of annoyance in his tone.
nurse watched as he rounded the desk and explained, “I don’t think
it’s the temperature. She’s
only been here a week and you’re the one she’s seen the most.
She probably just needs some talkin’ to—you’re the one with
the psychology degree.”
doctor lightly chewed on his upper lip for a moment.
“I guess this is why I pull the nightshift, huh?” he replied
with a wan smile, shoving away the irritation of the interruption.
chuckled lightly and stepped out of the way as the doctor left his office. “Go on with your duties, Nurse Mahon,” he instructed
before they parted ways. “I
can handle her myself.”
down the corridor at a leisurely pace, the doctor came upon room 42 and
peered through the small window. The
patient inside was sitting in the middle of her bed, hugging her knees to
her chest. He unlocked the
door and opened it carefully. “Miss
Lanning,” Lloyd Burnham greeted. “Is
something troubling you?”
that bitch of a nurse tell you that I’m freezing in here?” the woman
spat back as her doctor entered the small room.
“I need a warmer room and I want it now!”
doctor furrowed his brow. “Miss
Lanning, the difference in temperature between this room and the corridor
is negligible. Are you sure
it’s the cold that’s bothering you?”
her teeth, the patient nodded vehemently before answering in a more
subdued tone. “Yes, I need
a new room. I can’t feel my
fingers! My ears and nose
probably have frostbite. Don’t
you know it’s the middle of January?”
gaze met the doctor’s and he saw that her expression had softened
significantly from when he first stepped into the room.
“Okay, for now, let me get you some extra blankets.
Would that make you feel better, my dear?” Although the doctor knew why this young woman was his
patient, it was his philosophy to give everybody that entered the facility
a new start and not allow a patient to be haunted by his or her past. Treating her like a criminal would only hinder the therapy
little,” the young woman replied, still seething but not nearly in as
much of a rage as when Doctor Burnham had arrived under a minute
beforehand. Without a word
further, the psychologist left and locked the room, making sure that some
heavy blankets would be brought to her room immediately.
Project Quantum Leap
January 25, 2007
Over four hours had passed since the news of Admiral Calavicci rousing briefly from his coma was announced in the Control Room, and only twenty minutes since Ziggy broadcasted throughout the complex that Doctor Sam Beckett had leaped once again.
“What is this place?” was the first question presented to Doctor Verbena Beeks, the Project’s psychiatrist, as she approached the visitor in the Waiting Room. Whoever was behind the aura of Sam Beckett was obviously very amazed with what surrounded him as he stood beside the medical bed and looked around at the hazy, blue walls.
Used to such questions, Verbena smiled and said, “It’s all right, you’re safe here. You’ll be back home before you know it.”
The visitor made a quick sound of amusement. “Home? Sister, I ain’t got no home. Am I at some kinda shelter? I wouldn’t mind stayin’ here, if at all possible.”
The psychiatrist briefly thought about the situation that would have to occur to entail the leapee’s desire. They always said that if the visitor died that Sam would be stuck in the past as that person, so in theory the reverse was true. She shook the thought from her mind and retained her professional “welcoming” expression.
“I’m afraid that’s not possible, but I can assure you that we are trying to help. What would really get things moving along is if you could tell me anything you remember about yourself, such as your name, the date,” Verbena told the time-displaced person, going through the motions of Waiting Room interrogation.
“Danny Wallace is the name. No fixed address,” he replied with a quirky grin, “but I call New York City my home. I ain’t got no use for a calendar, so sure can’t give you the date.”
Even though the man seemed to be mentally stable and was certainly friendly, Verbena wanted to find out more about him before probing too deeply into his personal life. “Well, it’s a start,” she replied. “I’ll come back to see you very soon, okay?”
Nodding with an appreciative smile, Danny sat on the mirrored bed in the middle of the Waiting Room and watched the psychiatrist leave through a large octagonal door that slid up into the ceiling. “Wow! Lord, don’t let me leave here! A comfortable room and pretty women all in once place!”
Beeks pretended to not hear the comment and made her way to the nearby
Control Room, an amused expression on her face.
What she heard when she entered the nucleus of the Project caused
her to lose any enthusiasm she had gained from questioning the visitor.
do you mean you lost Sam’s signal, Ziggy?” Admiral Thomas Beckett
asked worriedly as he stood near the Imaging Chamber.
The parallel-hybrid computer had been working on obtaining a lock
on Sam Beckett’s neurons and mesons when she suddenly announced that his
signal had disappeared.
Donna Elesee, co-administrator of Project Quantum Leap and Sam’s wife,
frowned as she studied the computer screen before her.
“Just what she said, Tom. His
signal...disappeared,” she reiterated.
The quantum physicist looked up, giving Verbena a quick smile of
greeting, and said to nobody in particular,
“We just aren’t sure why.”
an unusually long amount of time, Ziggy finally replied, “Something
is...interfering with my...sensors.”
What kind of ‘something’?” the admiral challenged as he moved
to stand between Dominic Lofton, the head programmer, and Donna.
“You just about had a lock on him.”
of the scientists and technicians in the Control Room were buzzing about
since Ziggy said she had lost the lock, trying to diagnose the problem
while those at the main control board interrogated the computer directly.
Verbena remained at the entrance and observed, trying to stay out
of the way.
orb of blue energy sparkled and swirled without pattern as she worked
simply, I am detecting an anomaly that originates from the late Nineteen
Fifties—more specifically, a victim of one of Doctor Beckett’s former
hosts, Leon Stiles,” the feminine voice stated.
Dom asked. “That leap wasn’t very long ago.”
remember reading about Stiles when I was a kid,” Tom interrupted.
“Didn’t he murder all of his victims?”
her velvety voice, Ziggy answered, “On the contrary, Admiral Beckett,
his last victim, one Logan Lanning, managed to survive.
Her brutal assault at the hands of Leon Stiles led to a mental
breakdown that she was never able to recover from.
In the original timeline, she was committed to a mental institution
after Sheriff John Hoyt shot and killed Leon Stiles.”
“Why didn’t you detect this before, Ziggy?” Donna questioned.
“You didn’t let me finish, Doctor Elesee,” Ziggy huffed in simulated annoyance. “After being committed to the psychiatric hospital, Miss Lanning was never released. However, after Doctor Beckett leaped into Stiles for the first time and changed history, Miss Lanning killed Stiles after his sentencing in Nineteen Fifty-Nine. She pleaded insanity and was institutionalized for life once again.”
Tom Beckett shook his head in misunderstanding. “So if she was still institutionalized, how did she get out?”
“There are yet more changes to the timeline. If I could finish without interruption, perhaps then you could start asking questions,” the computer answered haughtily. “Let me know when you are ready to let me continue.”
Tina—who was at a diagnostic station to the right of the Accelerator—giggled at Ziggy’s attitude. “C’mon, Zig, we’re just tryin’ to figure this all out. Please go on.”
Ziggy simulated a sigh, which received a rolling of eyes by many, and proceeded with her information. “As you will, Doctor Martinez-O’Farrell.
“When Doctors Beckett and Connors leaped into Leon Stiles and Marshal Archibald O’Neil, respectively, after Stiles’s sentencing in Nineteen Fifty-Nine,” the computer continued, noting the look of confusion on Tom’s face, “Doctor Connors stopped Lanning from killing Doctor Beckett. In this timeline, Lanning was committed and treated for three years before her release.” The computer paused, seeing that the acting observer was still puzzled. “Do you require some clarification, Admiral?”
All eyes turned to Tom as he was addressed by Ziggy. “I’m just not familiar with this particular leap,” he stated. “I didn’t realize that there were other leapers still out there.”
Dom choked and began to cough at Tom’s statement. “Are you kidding?!” the programmer declared before realizing that his tone of voice was verging on condescendence. “I’m sorry, Admiral, I didn’t mean it to sound like that. I figured that you would have been debriefed on Connors and the other leapers.”
The observer shook his head. “I haven’t been here that long, Dom,” he replied, ignoring the former professor’s original statement. “I’ve been fully informed of the ‘evil’ leapers and Doctor Connors, but I haven’t read about every single one of Sam’s leaps.”
Donna nodded in comprehension. “That’s not surprising. The only one here that could possibly remember every single one of Sam’s leaps is Ziggy,” she commented, seeing Tom smirk, before adding, “but Connors is still out there.”
“Keep it coming, Ziggy, and don’t stop until you get to the punch line,” the admiral said.
“Very well,” replied Ziggy. “As I was saying, until recently, the history was that Lanning had been released in Nineteen Sixty-Three instead as a result of her not killing Stiles. I could not access her medical records from this timeline because the files were closed after her doctor, Lloyd Burnham, authorized her ‘reintegration’ with society. This changed when there was a shift in the time stream just before Doctor Beckett leaped out of Nineteen Sixty-Seven, or just over four hours ago from our point of view,” the computer explained. The people in the Control Room were listening intently, trying their hardest to keep the different histories straight in their minds.
Tom cleared his throat before speaking. “So that’s why you suddenly said Sam was going to die.”
“Correct, Admiral. In any event, I believe that Doctor Beckett’s previous leap landed him in an alternate timeline where he had never changed the past, hence the absence of Buddy Holly in mainstream American society while he was leaped into Naval Investigative Services Agent Aaron Cunningham.” Ziggy paused for two seconds as she recomputed a temporal variable. “His discovery of Miss Lanning, going by the pseudonym of Loraine Logan, compounded with his previous encounter while her alias was Lulu Logan, has had an impact on both of the primary timelines that are currently competing for dominance. After the shift in the time stream, resulting in our current timeline, I was able to access her records. It seems that she obsessed with getting revenge on Leon Stiles, but her description of Stiles to her doctors resembles that of Doctor Beckett.”
Tom looked over at Donna as she breathed in with surprise while Ziggy continued to talk. “Lanning escapes Hastings State Hospital by stabbing Doctor Burnham, but this time her murders are more in number...including the one of Doctor Beckett in December of Nineteen Sixty-Nine.”
Doctor Elesee held back the tears that were threatening to form in her eyes. “So how can we make sure that our original timeline, the one before Lanning escaped, comes out as the real one?”
“I do not currently know the answer to that question, Doctor Elesee,” the computer replied with a tinge of sadness in her voice.
Shaking his head, Tom muttered, “Isn’t there any good news around here?”
The Control Room was silent for a brief moment before Tina called out, “I got a lock on Sam!”
The announcement was enough to get a cheer out of everybody, despite the dire words that Ziggy had just spoken. Admiral Beckett picked up the handlink from its cradle and hurried up the ramp into the Imaging Chamber. “Good enough for me! Dominic, start up the Imaging Chamber.”
“Right away, Admiral!” Dom replied with equal enthusiasm.
Robert Connors was adrift in the void, focusing all of his waning strength
on surviving long enough to make it to what he knew would be the final
destination along the string of his lifetime.
He didn’t know how long he had actually been trapped in the
void—days...weeks...years—time literally had no meaning in this nexus
of parallel dimensions. What
he did know was that he had seen the future...and it frightened him.
tapestry of the continuum had been slowly unravelling ever since Max had
begun his search for the anomaly. However,
his journey became much more difficult without the aid of Morpheus to
guide him for the past two decades. The
dreadful loneliness had finally caught up to him and he didn’t know if
he had had the will to continue on. There
were many times during his journey where he tried to end his life, but the
void would always pull him back before he could act on his impulses.
‘Why me?’ he would always think to himself.
Why did he have to continue suffering for his mistakes?
He never asked for any of the responsibilities that were bestowed
upon him. And it was only
then that it finally dawned on him—the responsibilities were his because
he made them his. He could
have chosen to reject his destiny, but he chose not to because of his own
shortsightedness. Now all of
existence was going to pay the price for his failures.
He needed to warn them...someway, somehow....
he had learned to do only once or twice before, Maxwell Connors cleared
his mind of every worry, every fear, every failure, and mentally
envisioned his destination. Even
with his eyes closed, he could see himself materializing within the walls
of the complex as he began to feel the tingle of the impending leap.
without warning, a tremor shook Connors out of his self-imposed meditation
as the leaping sensation subsided. Opening
his eyes, he looked around the void and saw an infinite multitude of
parallel realities flashing in and out of existence at an alarming rate. Among the possibilities:
a reality in which a young Ensign Albert Calavicci was executed in
1960 for murdering his commander’s wife... a reality in which Project
Quantum Leap failed and Sam Beckett retired to teach at MIT... a reality
in which Washington, D.C. was decimated in a nuclear explosion, throwing
the world into the throes of World War III... a reality in which Nathaniel
Lothoman reigned supreme over the world as a quasi-living hybrid computer
named Lothos... Connors couldn’t help but be fascinated by the images
playing out before him. It
was as if all possible quantum realities co-existed simultaneously,
overlapping one another and branching off into millions of different
directions, creating a “web” of Time.
just as quickly as the web formed, it began to crumble as thousands upon
thousands of timelines began colliding with one another.
The shockwave that engulfed the rogue leaper felt like a tsunami,
as his body got swept away in the Time storm.
It pulled him in every conceivable direction until he felt like his
body had been shattered into millions of pieces and reassembled randomly.
Max’s screams of agony echoed across the walls of the rapidly
deteriorating time corridor as a wave of pure white light washed over
everything in its wake...
why would you eat that?”
Captain Albert Calavicci responded to his best friend.
“Because it tastes good!”
you know it’s not good for you!” Dr. Sam Beckett retorted.
“Do you realize how many calories that burger must contain?
Eating something like that is a sure-fire way of clogging your
if Charlie couldn’t kill me, then nothing will!” Al retorted back.
“Besides, after surviving in that hellhole on nothing more than a
daily bowl of weevil-infested rice for five [six]
[eight] years, I think I
deserve a nice, big, juicy cheeseburger with all the fixings every now and
then, don’t you?”
Sam asked, confused.
Viet Cong,” Al clarified. “That
was our little nickname for them during the War."
yeah, right,” Sam realized, momentarily thinking of his brother Tom, who
knew a lot of good men that died in [who
became a casualty of] that awful war.
Getting back to the subject, he continued, “I guess.
It’s just that...if my father had started eating healthier and
stopped smoking, he might still be alive today.
He died at such a young age, and I’d hate to see you go before
your time too.”
gave his friend a look of consolation before responding, “Don’t worry
about me, buddy! Ain’t nothin’
gonna put old Calavicci down for the count anytime soon!
Look at it this way...you got me sobered up long enough to prevent
Adams from canning my hide. That’s
gotta be worth something, right?”
at that comment, Sam calmed down and said, “You’re right, Al!
I shouldn’t have snapped at you like that. I guess I’ve just got a lot on my mind with that scientific
conference in D.C. tomorrow, that’s all.”
no harm, no foul, that’s my
motto!” Al continued eating
his grease-filled cheeseburger, and decided to change the subject.
“So, when are you and Bobby leaving?
flight is scheduled for five p.m. this evening.
Just got the last of my luggage packed away about an hour ago. Bobby has some last minute simulations to run in the lab with
SID before we head out.”
simply nodded in acknowledgment at the young quantum physicist’s
statement. “It’s too bad
you couldn’t find a way to back out of this conference.
There’s this great little joint that just opened up in
Albuquerque that I wanted to take you to, called ‘Perfect Ten.’
The women there have the biggest set of—”
“Al! What would Beth [Tina]
and Donna think if they found out we went to a place like that?”
relax, it’s not like they’d ever find out, Sam; they’re both out of
town for the next few days. And
besides, it’s not like we’d be cheating on them or anything.
No harm in a little ‘window-shopping,’ as long as we don’t
buy the goods.”
simply smirked as he shook his head and replied, “You’re incorrigible,
you know that, Al?” His
thoughts then drifted off somewhere else.
noticed his friend’s sudden blank expression and queried, “Boy, you
weren’t kidding when you said you had a lot on your mind.
Something wrong, Sam?”
really; just daydreaming, I guess. Whenever
I think about the String Theory that Bobby and I worked out twelve years
ago, I can’t help but wonder what certain things would be like if things
had happened differently.”
Al asked curiously.
you, for example. How
different would your life be if I hadn’t been here to vouch for you last
knows? Washed up, my military
career down the drain.... Maybe
I would’ve ended up on the streets or somethin’....” Al trailed off
before he shook it off and said, “Where is all of this coming from all
of a sudden?”
really,” Sam replied honestly. “Just
random musings, I suppose. Chaos
theory tends to be based on random occurrences anyway.”
it was Al’s turn to ask for clarification.
theory that complex natural systems obey certain rules but are so
sensitive that small initial changes can cause unexpected final effects,
thus giving an impression of randomness,” Sam recited from memory.
“Some people refer to it as ‘the butterfly effect.’”
I’ll bite. What the heck is
a butterfly effect and how does an insect have anything to do with time
chuckled as he explained, “Not in the literal sense, but basically a
perfect example would be: the
wind generated from a butterfly flapping its wings in, say, Brazil could
cause a tornado in Texas.”
saying that a damn insect could cause a natural disaster?
That’s kind of scary, Sam.”
literally, Al. The whole
basis behind chaos theory is that no one can truly predict what might
happen with one hundred percent accuracy.
So many different factors in nature make it impossible to calculate
with absolute certainty what may or may not happen within our known
universe. The choice you make
today could determine a whole new chain of events that will take your life
down a completely different path. Different
percentages can lead to several different outcomes.
Chaos theory,” Sam re-emphasized.
just shook his head in bewilderment and stood up.
“I don’t think I’ll ever really understand all of this, but I
have to admit, it is kind of interesting wondering about the path not
taken. But hey, why bother dwelling on something that’s buried in
the past? Live for
today...that’s my motto!”
got up from his chair as well as a curious expression came over his face. “I thought your motto was, ‘No harm, no foul.’”
a beat, Al replied, “Um...hey, I’ve got a few of them.”
Sam just laughed as the two men walked away from their seats, returned their food trays to the counter and left the cafeteria.
Al’s eyes flew open as he woke up on his gurney with the mother of all headaches. For some reason, Al’s subconscious mind often went back to that mid-summer day at the Star Bright Project in 1985. He always felt that that topic of discussion between Sam and himself had a deeper meaning. It was trying to tell him something now, he was sure of it. But for the life of him, he couldn’t figure out what that something might be.
“Al? You’re awake again,” Beth said, the relief apparent in her soothing voice. “Do you know where you are, honey?”
Looking around in confusion, Al responded, “I’m in the...Infirmary....”
“That’s right, baby. Oh, thank God, you don’t seem to have suffered any permanent brain damage from your injuries. You’ve been in and out of consciousness ever since you awoke from your coma.”
Al slowly rose to an upright position, the memory of him and Sam still fresh in his mind. But there was something weird about it...what was it that Sam had said?
“Al! What would Beth and
Donna think if they found out we went to a place like that?”
“Al! What would Tina and Donna think if they found out we went to a place like that?”
Turning his head toward his wife, he exclaimed, “Beth?! We’re still married?”
Concerned, Beth looked deep into her husband’s eyes and answered, “Of course we are, Al. Why wouldn’t we be?”
‘So then, why do I have other memories of hooking up with Tina?’ Before Al could ponder that thought any further, another part of the dream memory came back to him.
in that hellhole...for five years...”
in that hellhole...for six years...”
“...Surviving in that hellhole...for eight years...”
“No.... Make it stop!” Al screamed, holding his head in both hands as he squeezed his eyes shut trying to make sense of what he was remembering.
Pulitzer,” Tom repeated, thinking Sam was talking to him.
“I wish she’d have won the Pulitzer Prize.”
did,” Al repeated as well, “for her last photograph.”
that, a distraught Sam quickly got up from his chair and snatched Maggie
Dawson’s last photographs from out of his brother’s hands.
As he shuffled the photos and found the last one Maggie had taken
before her death, Sam saw a small group of POWs being led away to a prison
camp by the V.C. The last one
in line, however, was looking back, directly into the camera lens.
Upon examining the POW’s face closer, Sam’s heart skipped a
beat when he realized it was the much younger face of his companion,
the hell, I get repatriated in five years,” Al explained, tossing the
fact aside like it was no big deal.
reeling from the shock, Sam said, “You could have been free!”
was free,” Al answered as he tapped the side of his head with one
finger. “Up here...I was
holding the milk bottle in his right hand, Al squinted his eyes and asked,
“Why do I have this creepy, crawly, scary feeling?”
eh...it’s, uh, déjà vu, I think.
See, Al....” Sam answered, as he walked around the new leaper and
tried to think of the best way to break the news to his best friend.
“You were M.I.A. in Vietnam for six years.
And after you’d been gone for four years...your wife...Beth, see,
she–she was really...she–she was sure that you were...dead, so shh...she,
remarried. I remember,” Al
It had been a week since Sam leaped out of Anh
Nguyen’s life and Al had spent that time thinking about the past,
wondering if he would ever completely heal inside from the scars that
Vietnam had put on his soul. He
did know one thing, though. Sam’s
actions had allowed him to come home a whole three years earlier than
before. It was a little weird for him as the memories were still
trying to realign themselves so that he could remember only one timeline.
‘Three years earlier than what?’ Al thought. ‘Nineteen Seventy-Three or Nineteen Seventy-Five—which is it? I became a POW in Sixty-Seven...but why can’t I remember when I got repatriated? Tom led Operation Lazarus in Nineteen Seventy...didn’t he?’
Beth clearly noticed her husband’s disorientation and worriedly asked, “Al, honey? You’re scaring me. Talk to me. Are you feeling okay? Al?!”
Unable to make sense of the inconsistencies and conflicting histories in his own mind, Al’s eyes fluttered back into his eyelids as he fell back into unconsciousness.
New York City, New York
Thursday, February 25,
“Spare some change, pal?”
Sam had heard that phrase over and over during the time he had spent with Larry, the old hobo that accompanied him on the streets of New York City. He didn’t have the heart to get up and leave the man alone, but wasn’t about to start begging himself. Even though the leaper had always had a concern about poverty, he had never been exposed to it aside from a beggar on the street. There was never any obligation to give them any money, but he typically dropped a few dollars into the hat, cup, or whatever other receptacle the panhandler used to collect money. Sam felt that he was well enough off that at least he was making a small difference in their lives. Until he stepped into the Quantum Leap Accelerator, it was the best he felt he could do.
Unfortunately for Larry, very few people paid any heed to him, and out of those, a select few dropped some coins into the ratty cap he had turned up to the sky. Each time there was some clinking, Larry would look up at the donor and say, “God bless you!”
The time traveler was grateful for the subject on which to dwell; it kept his mind off of wondering where his observer from the future, Al Calavicci, was and why it was taking him so long to show up. Usually upwards of a half-hour would pass by before the first contact with Al, but it had been over forty minutes and there was no sign of his observer.
“Say, Danny, you ain’t lookin’ to get nothin’ today?” Larry commented as he rubbed at the pale skin on his cheek.
Sam shook his head and said nothing. He was hoping that his companion wouldn’t notice that he wasn’t begging.
“Eh, suit yourself,” the old man replied and continued to ask passers-by for a small donation.
Feeling certain that Danny could find his way back “home” later on, Sam stood up and stretched. “I think I’m going to go for a walk,” the leaper announced and started off down the street. Larry grunted and watched him head south.
Having never leaped into a homeless person before, at least not that his Swiss-cheesed brain could recall, Sam was at a loss. He felt awful even thinking about asking others for money, even if he knew it would eventually still be Danny’s. As Sam Beckett passed a large store window, he stopped to look at his reflection. Danny was a man of medium stature with—as Sam saw when he removed the tattered hat—grey tinges on his black, curly hair. His dark-toned skin said that he was of African descent and was etched with wrinkles that showed his life had not been an easy one.
A sudden white light surprised the scientist as Tom Beckett stepped through the Imaging Chamber door. Finding himself half-embedded in a store display of mannequins in winter clothing, Tom stepped out onto the holographic street. “How’s it going, Sam?” he asked nonchalantly.
“Tom? Where’s Al?” the leaper immediately replied. He figured nobody would care that it appeared as though he was talking to himself—perhaps being homeless had its advantage on this leap.
The admiral shrugged his shoulders. “He’s still unavailable, Sam. I’m glad you at least remember me this time.”
Sam grimaced at Al’s continued absence. “I remember the entire last leap, Tom. Why am I here in New York City? Is Logan here?”
Tom shook his head much to his younger brother’s dismay. “No, she’s not here. In the mid-Eighties, she just disappears off the face of the Earth. We don’t know what happened to her,” the admiral explained. “Anyway, the date is February Twenty-Fifth, Nineteen Ninety-Three. Tomorrow at about Twelve-Hundred Eighteen Hours, members of the terrorist group Fuqra detonate a bomb in the parking garage of the World Trade Center.”
“Tom, how is a homeless man supposed to prevent something like that? Shouldn’t I have leaped into a police officer or something?” the perplexed Sam demanded.
“Unfortunately, Ziggy says you’re not here to prevent the attack, even though six are killed and over a thousand are injured,” responded the observer.
“Then why am I here?” Sam countered with his teeth pressed together.
Pressing some keys on the handlink, Tom eventually placed it in his pocket and threw up his hands in frustration. “No clue, little brother. Ziggy’s too busy working on the instability in the timeline to tell you what you are here to do.”
Huffing out a breath of air, Sam turned and continued his way down the sidewalk at a high pace. Tom hurried after him. “I’m sure she’ll come up with something soon,” he said encouragingly.
The leaper stopped in his tracks abruptly and turned to face his brother. “Look, is Al dead? Is that why he’s ‘unavailable’ for two leaps in a row? You can tell me the truth, Tom. I can take it.”
Tom chuckled, realizing that Sam didn’t remember his two simo-leaps with Al into Viet Nam and Alcatraz. “No, Al’s alive and kicking, I can tell you that much,” Tom said. He saw relief in his younger brother’s eyes but could still sense the frustration of being told to not interfere with the bombing.
“Admiral, we need you in the Infirmary immediately,” Dom’s voice said over the Imaging Chamber’s intercom.
“Why, what’s going on?” he said toward the ceiling.
There was some brief hesitation before the reply came. “I think we’d better discuss it out here, sir.”
Furrowing his brow, Tom pulled the handlink from his pocket and pressed the button to open the door back into the Control Room. “Sam, I gotta go. Project business,” he lied. “Are you gonna be all right?”
“Yeah, just... hurry. Please.”
The elder Beckett saw the look of dejection on his brother’s face and nodded with a grin. “I’ll do my best, little brother,” he replied as he stepped back through the door, closing it once he was on the other side. Tom hurried down the ramp and looked up at Dominic as he set the handlink down in the recharging cradle. “What’s the problem here?” he demanded.
The programmer licked his lips and shifted his position before answering. “I don’t know how, but we have an...unusual visitor in the Infirmary.”
Tom waited for the programmer to continue, but it looked like he had frozen in time. “Damn it, man, who is it?” the admiral demanded.
Answering in lieu of Professor Lofton, Ziggy casually said, “Our guest is Doctor Maxwell Connors.”
Project Quantum Leap
Stallion’s Gate, New
Thursday, January 25,
“I’m coming with you,” Donna insisted as she jogged alongside her brother-in-law. She saw the look in his eyes and was determined to defy the words that would come out of his mouth next.
Tom shook his head as they reached the elevator. “I don’t know if that’s a good idea,” Tom replied, pressing the button for the lift. “This man is dangerous.”
“Tom, Aurora reported that he could barely stand and they had to walk him to a bed. I don’t think he’s a threat to any of us,” the physicist retorted. The door to the elevator cabin opened and they both stepped inside. “I want to meet the man who has been an enemy to my husband and ask him...”
The admiral looked at his brother’s wife with a softened expression. “Ask him what, Donna?”
Donna Elesee tightened her lips and drew a deep breath in through her nose. “Ask him why he couldn’t have helped Sam instead of trying to stop him. Did you read about the leap where Connors killed a man just to ‘repair’ history? Not to mention trying to poison Sam as well?”
“You mean Patrick Mulhill? Yeah, I read that one. I thought it was the last time Sam had to deal with him,” replied Tom.
The scientist shook her head. “If only that was true. It was until the recent leap with Stiles,” she explained. “They actually worked together on that leap, but only because Connors wanted to make things as ‘original’ as possible. I just wonder how he got here.”
doors split apart and the two departed from the elevator, walking briskly
toward the Infirmary. Opening
the door, they saw Al still unconscious and recuperating on the nearby bed
while Beth sat next to him, holding her husband’s hand.
As they passed by and each gave her a comforting and reassuring
smile, Tom and Donna continued toward the next bed where they saw Aurora
tending to the barely recognizable form of the rogue leaper, Doctor
is he, Aurora?” the admiral asked.
good, Tom,” she replied. “Nothing
in my medical training can even come close to figuring out a way to treat
his condition. I’ve never
seen anything like this before. Tests
show massive kidney failure; his heart is beating erratically; his right
lung has collapsed due to extreme old age, but his left lung is as healthy
as a ten-year-old, if not healthier.
It’s as if certain parts of Connors’ body have...‘de-aged’
while others have prematurely aged much faster than normal.”
the hell is that possible?” Tom asked in horror.
asking the wrong person, muchacho,”
Aurora answered. “The only
theory I can come up with is that something happened to him during his
trip through time that...affected him physically.
He’s dying, Tom.”
either one of them could add something more, a very weak voice said,
Tom asked, as he, Donna, and Aurora stood watch over him.
For the first time, Tom got a good look at his brother’s
on-again, off-again nemesis. Aurora’s
diagnosis didn’t even begin to do Connors’s physical appearance
justice. His hair—or
rather, what was left of it—was completely white, and his face looked
like pottery clay, as if it might literally slide off his skull at any
moment. His bare chest
appeared to be healthy and strong, but his left arm looked like it
belonged to someone in their pre-teens while his right arm looked like
that of a one-hundred-twenty-year old.
“Good Lord! What
happened to you, Connors?”
I think it would be best if I gave him a sedative to try and knock him
out,” Aurora commented. “He doesn’t look like he’s in any condition to talk
Connors countered. “Need to
speak. M-must...save Sam...before it’s... too late...”
Sam?!” Tom shouted, now
practically screaming in Max’s face. “What did you do to him, you bastard?”
calm down!” Aurora shouted
back. “This isn’t
outbursts were enough to draw Beth away from her vigil over Al.
As she came marching toward them, she asked, “What’s going on? What is he saying about Sam?
Let him speak, Tom.”
me... at least, not...d-directly,” Connors began.
“Tried to...stop her...before she became a threat...but only made
who?” Tom demanded. “Who
became a threat?”
with this Logan woman?! How
the hell did she become such a huge threat to Sam?
She’s not even a time traveler, for Christ’s sake!” Tom
How did you make things worse?” Donna asked the rogue leaper
in a deep breath, Connors began to explain.
“When Beckett and I leaped into...Stiles and that U.S.
Marshal...she attempted to kill him—b-but I stopped her.
Unknowingly set off a chain reaction that didn’t...immediately
take effect. She already had...psychological trauma from...Stiles’s
prior attack. So when she
approached Beckett, she saw...him,
not Stiles. Caused her
already fractured mind to...completely snap.
that leap, I...made it my primary mission to...track down the source of
the...anomaly that resulted from saving Beckett.
Found out more...about Logan and...leaped into a psychiatrist to
try and help her so that...history could be put back on the right track.
But something went terribly wrong.
As a result, Logan became a...random element in the skein of time. Began targeting and seducing young men that...fit Beckett’s
physical profile. Couldn’t...reconcile
the conflicting images of Stiles and Beckett in her mind.”
and Donna exchanged glances, both remembering what Ziggy had said earlier
about Logan’s inability to discern between Sam Beckett and Leon Stiles.
into a murderous rampage.... People
injured or...killed who shouldn’t have been—like Charles Ferguson.”
my God!” Beth gasped. “She
was the ‘Black Widow’? You
mean Chip was never supposed to die after all?”
the contrary...he got shot down over...Hai Phong in the original
history...but that changed when Sam saved Lisa Sherman.
Her legal troubles with her...abusive husband a few years
later...persuaded Chip to pursue a career as a...JAG lawyer.
But Logan’s presence in time changed that.
All she did was...kill him months before he was originally supposed
to die. Your memory must have
been...altered when the timeline shifted.
Ironic, isn’t it? That
he would be saved from...his original fate only to have it be...restored
in a different manner?” Connors
began laughing to himself, although everyone in the room was unsure
whether or not his fit of laughter was a sign of satisfaction...or
interrupted the conversation, first turning toward Beth then back to
Connors, saying, “Excuse me a minute—not to make light of Lieutenant
Commander Ferguson’s murder, Beth—but...what does this have to do with
Sam? How did a seemingly
random woman like Logan become so dangerous so quickly?”
she stabbed my host,” Connors continued, “she drifted across the
country for years...seeking out young men that resembled her
‘attacker.’ Wanted to
make him...pay for what he had done to her but didn’t...know where to
find him. Seeing your
brother’s face confused her... lost touch with any sanity she had left.
Don’t you see? She won’t stop killing until she finds him....”
I just came back from seeing Sam in the Imaging Chamber,” Tom replied.
“His location doesn’t correlate with any of the documented
Black Widow Murders. In fact,
he’s in the early Nineteen Nineties...many years beyond Logan’s
run—no pun intended.”
not what I meant,” Connors clarified.
“It’s not...your Sam you need to be worried about....”
our Sam?” Tom asked, confused.
“What do you...?”
no!” Donna realized. “Now
it’s starting to make sense. Tom,
I think he’s talking about a different Sam—the one from Nineteen
Must go back...and stop Logan,” pleaded Max.
“I tried to stop the cataclysm that has haunted my dreams,
but...I’ve made a...grave error. I’ve
been leaping around in time for over...twenty years trying to correct
years?!” Tom exclaimed.
“You’re from our
left of it. From what I’ve been able to discern...there are two major
points of...divergence that are causing...a temporal shockwave.
The first one is in December, Nineteen...Sixty-Nine... the second
one is...in Seventy-Three. The
later divergence is the...greater of the two, but...if you can put a stop
to Logan in Sixty-Nine first, then...the second one will be cancelled out.
If neither can be stopped in time, then...all of reality is...in
don’t believe this!” Beth said in astonishment.
“All of this because Sam saved Stiles’s life all those years
head felt like it was going to explode as he attempted to take in and
comprehend all of what Connors had just said.
As a sudden wave of dizziness washed over him, he shook it off and
announced, “Ziggy!! Call all essential personnel and senior staff and have them
meet me in the Conference Room at Oh-Seven-Hundred on the dot.
As of now, the Project is officially in crisis mode!”
Admiral,” Ziggy replied as her voice started to sound distorted.
me for asking, Admiral,” a new male voice said, “but what about
‘our’ Doctor Beckett in the Imaging Chamber?
Surely he still needs our help?”
current leap will have to wait for the moment,” Tom answered.
“Besides, he’s in no immediate danger and— huh, that’s
the twenty-something man asked, confused.
around the room and not seeing anyone else other than himself, the
youthful doctor whose nametag read “Tyler,” Connors, Beth, and the
unconscious form of Al in the nearby bed, Tom said, “I could swear there
were two other women in the room with us a few minutes ago.
An older woman with short brown hair and a Puerto Rican
woman...first name started with an ‘A’ or something...?”
have been your imagination, Admiral,” Tyler replied.
“It’s been just the three of us talking with Doctor Connors
this whole time.”
Tom felt very dizzy again and started swooning this time.
“Tom, are you alright?” Beth asked as she and Tyler quickly
reached over to support his weight.
the two sets of arms around his upper body, Tom shook off the wave of
dizziness that overwhelmed him and said, “Yeah, I’m fine.
I just...felt a little woozy, that’s all.
Must be the lack of sleep....”
I tried telling you to get some sleep, Tom, but you didn’t want to
listen,” Aurora admonished, still supporting his weight in case he felt
no time for sleep, Doctor. Not
when there’s a crisis going on. Right
now, my top priority is tracking down the source of these ‘points of
divergence,’ as Connors explained them, and figuring out a way to repair
them without making things worse. I
think it’s clear that the one in Nineteen Sixty-Nine is a result of
Sam’s supposed ‘death.’ Besides
which, you heard me just tell Ziggy to set up a staff meeting for
hundred?” Beth inquired. “Tom,
I specifically recall you telling Ziggy to have everyone meet you in the
Conference Room at eight
hundred, not seven.”
do I,” Donna reiterated. “I
don’t think Aurora would have told you to lie down otherwise.”
Tom shook his head in confusion before looking up to the ceiling
and asking, “Ziggy, what time did I arrange the staff meeting for?
Seven a.m. or eight a.m.?”
a.m., as Doctors Lofton and Elesee both told you, Admiral,” Ziggy
confirmed before adding in her usual smarmy tone, “You really should try
to pay more attention to your own orders, Admiral.”
than a bit bewildered, Tom looked toward Donna then back toward the Puerto
Rican doctor. ‘What the heck is
going on here? Both Donna and
Aurora disappear for a few seconds, replaced by Beth’s former medical
assistant—who died with Edward St. John in a car crash, according to the
project’s personnel files—only to then reappear as if nothing
happened?’ he mused to himself.
Feeling a bit lightheaded, Tom scratched his head and eventually
said, “You know something, Aurora?
I think you’re right. I
think I will lie down for an hour. In
the meantime, try to make Connors as comfortable as possible.
I may need to ask him more questions later.”
it done, Tom,” Aurora reassured, as Admiral Beckett left the infirmary
and headed for his quarters.
Hastings State Hospital
Thursday, January 31,
Max Connors floated in a nexus of yellow energy swirling all around his scattered being while awaiting his next leap. Seemingly countless years had gone by since he had found out that he was the cause of the instability in the timeline—the very instability that he had made his mission to rectify. If he hadn’t stopped Logan from killing his fellow leaper, Doctor Sam Beckett, perhaps his job would have been easier to repair the changes to history made by the time travelers from Project Quantum Leap as well as those sent out by Lothos.
‘I need to prevent Logan from being released,’ the scientist mused to himself. ‘If she never gets out of that hospital, she can’t kill all of those innocent men.’
Feeling ready to move on to his next assignment, Max focused his concentration on finding that point in time where Logan could be stopped...and he leaped. As his physical senses began to come to him, he heard a female voice speaking.
“Well, she certainly has come a long way in three years. How soon do ya think she can be released, Doctor?” a woman with short brunette hair and dressed in a nurse’s uniform asked of him.
Max blinked a couple of times, unsure of how to respond to the apparently random question. “Uhhh...” was all that he managed to get out, receiving a strange look from the nurse. His brain hadn’t seemed to kick into gear yet and a nagging pain in the pit of his stomach didn’t speed up the process any.
“Doctor Burnham? Lloyd, you all right?” Pamela Mahon queried in concern. “You look a little pale.”
“Uh, yeah, I’m fine,” he replied quickly, forcing a weak smile. Max took in his surroundings and wagered from the appearance of the corridor in which they were standing that it was a hospital of some kind. “I guess I’m just not sure how much longer she should, um, stay here.”
Nurse Mahon nodded in agreement. “It’s not always easy to tell, I s’pose. Wouldn’t want to make any hasty decisions.”
“Of course not,” the leaper agreed. Glancing at the door of the room in front of which they were standing, he saw the number 42 on top of the frame and a plate in the door stating “LANNING, L.” in black capital letters.
“Well, I’ll be on my way. Have a good evening,” Pamela said with a sociable grin.
Nodding, Max retorted, “You too,” and watched the nurse turn and head away from him down the hallway. Interested as to whom they had been discussing as he leaped in, the scientist looked through the small window to see a blonde-haired young woman standing by her window, gazing outside into the distance. Studying her profile, Max knew that somewhere in his mind that he recognized the woman...but he just couldn’t remember from when or where. Even though the decades of leaping had reduced the magnafluxing effects on his memory, there were still noticeable holes that likely came with age. Deciding to investigate, he turned and walked in the opposite direction of where Pamela Mahon headed.
“My name is Doctor Lloyd Burnham,” he mumbled to himself, recalling the name that the nurse had called him. The end of the corridor brought him to two large double doors at a T-intersection and, after passing through the doors, Doctor Connors turned left, going based on instinct. A few doors down he found an office labeled for his host and went directly for the filing cabinet to search out L. Lanning’s folder.
Luckily for Max, his host was quite organized and he found Lanning’s file quickly. Opening it, he studied the black-and-white photograph of the young woman he had seen in room 42. “Logan Lanning,” he murmured, the first name sounding familiar. “Logan... Logan...”
scientist read on, getting nothing from repeating the name.
It wasn’t until he saw the reason for her incarceration that it
finally hit him:
Pleaded insanity in the case of assault with a weapon from an
attack on Leon Stiles at the Oklahoma City Courthouse on October 16, 1959.
Sentenced to psychiatric care until deemed mentally fit.
“She’s the one who tried to kill Beckett!” he hissed. “Logan Lanning is the reason I’ve been working all these years to fix the timeline. She can’t be released... ever!”
Rising from his seat, determined to prevent the cataclysm of his future, Max left the office and nearly trampled down a nurse in his rush. “Sorry!” he yelped, grinding to a halt as the nurse placed a hand on his shoulder.
“Doctor Burnham, where’s the fire?” she asked in a joking tone.
Shaking his head, he mustered a chuckle in an attempt to not seem suspicious. He avoided the question by asking one of his own. “Would there be any additional information on my patients other than in my office? For, say, Logan Lanning?”
The nurse stuck out her bottom lip in consideration. “No, Doctor. You have all of the information in your office and copies of anything that isn’t directly done through you. Is this about Logan’s assessment tomorrow?”
“Assessment?” the leaper instinctively queried, taking the time to glance at her nametag that read “R. Thompson, RN” in white letters on a navy tag.
“It is tomorrow, isn’t it? February First?”
Pretending to know what the young nurse was talking about, he replied, “Yes, tomorrow. I just want to make sure I have everything I need to know about her.”
Nurse Thompson nodded in understanding. “Of course you have everything. Pam wouldn’t let you be ignorant of anything happening with your patients,” she replied with a smile. “Is Logan going to be released? She seems to be back to normal.”
Max saw his opportunity and snatched it up. “Absolutely not,” he replied grimly, seeing a look of astonishment on the nurse’s face. “I’ve been studying her very carefully lately and I believe she is a sociopath. She’s pretending to be ‘better’ in order to trick us into letting her back into society,” Doctor Connors explained, hoping that this would be the first step towards Logan’s eternal incarceration.
Now the young woman’s eyes were bugging out. “Sociopath? Wow, she sure has me fooled, Doctor Burnham. I guess you’d know better. Too bad, huh?”
The over twenty years of leaping had taught Max Connors to be an actor to best even those on Broadway. “It certainly is. The toughest part of my job is making a decision like this, but I’m afraid that’s how it’s going to have to be.”
Patting him on the shoulder, Nurse Thompson tried to reassure him. “It’s all right, Doctor. We’ll take care of her as best we can.”
“Well, I’d better get back to work. Thank you, Nurse,” he said simply before re-entering Doctor Burnham’s office. Thompson nodded and then left the area, heading to her original destination: the isolation ward.
After making the normal rounds, the nurse eventually came to room 42. She entered the room, seeing the patient sitting at her table. “Hi, Logan,” she greeted and began to empty Logan’s garbage can. Nurse Thompson’s nerves were a bit on edge after the discussion with Doctor Burnham about the likelihood of the seemingly sane woman being a sociopath.
“Hi, Rose,” Logan answered with a friendly grin and turned in her chair to face the nurse. “Sorry for making so much trash.”
Not noticing that there were considerable pieces of crumpled paper in the trash can until after Logan mentioned it, Rose Thompson shook her head and flicked her wrist at the matter. “No problem, dear. You can draw as much as you like.”
“I can’t wait for the assessment tomorrow. I feel ready to go back to the outside world,” Logan Lanning said almost dreamily.
Rose immediately frowned at the comment and tried to cover it up, but it was too late to hide it from Logan. “Is something wrong, Rose?”
“Oh, no, nothing. I would just say to not get your hopes up. The doctors have to be absolutely sure that you’re back to normal,” the nurse replied, hoping that it sounded feasible.
Standing up from the chair, Logan took a few steps toward the nurse, a pouting expression on her face. “Why would you say that?”
Nurse Thompson knew that she shouldn’t divulge any information, but Logan would find out eventually that her doctor was considering not releasing her. “Well, you didn’t hear it from me, but Doctor Burnham thinks you shouldn’t be released...” she began, noticing that the patient’s expression changed into one of utter disappointment. “At least not yet.”
Letting out a heavy sigh, Logan sat on the edge of her bed and looked up at Rose. “That’s all right, Rose. Maybe next time,” she replied, a blank face holding back both surprise and rage.
Not wanting to further fuel the woman’s depression, Rose bid her goodnight and continued on her way. After the door closed and was locked, Logan Lanning ground her teeth together while she balled her hands into fists, the nails on her fingers digging into her palms.
The next morning, Max Connors arrived at room 42 to take “his” patient to the assessment. He wasn’t sure what the event entailed and hoped that it wasn’t too complicated, but the leaper was confident in his ability to improvise.
“Good morning, Logan,” he said with a forced smile when he saw the young woman sitting at a table by the window. Seeing the woman again frustrated him that he had ever stopped her from killing Sam Beckett, but he had to keep his emotions in check.
“Hello, Doctor Burnham,” Logan answered back, faking her pleasant demeanour as well. “Is it time for the assessment already?”
nodded. “Are you ready to
a word, Logan got up from her chair and looked at the doctor expectantly.
He left the room and waited for her to exit before closing the
door. The leaper headed down
the hall and she followed him, keeping her eyes open for any kind of
weapon to help her escape. As
if the fates had shone their approval on her, one of the nurses was
collecting breakfast dishes and Logan spotted a steak knife on top of a
half-eaten Belgian waffle. Since her doctor seemed fine with having her walk behind him,
she picked up the knife and hid it up her sleeve.
they reached the T-intersection and cleared the locked doors, the two
turned right and walked down the quiet hallway.
Although usually confined to their room, the patients typically
were allowed to take a walk through the grounds outside during nice
weather and inside otherwise. She
was familiar with her corner of the hospital and knew that the fire exit
would be her only chance to escape.
had explored the hospital during his time overnight and knew where he was
headed. After they were
heading down the corridor toward the conference room, he made sure that he
and Logan walked side-by-side. There were no further locked doors so she could make a run
for escape at any time.
Burnham?” she suddenly asked.
the leaper replied, turning his head to look at her.
she screamed, plunging the knife into his abdomen and shoving him to the
floor. Before Max knew what
hit him, a fire alarm started going off in his ears as the searing pain of
the sharp metal in his stomach mixed with the sight of Logan escaping
caused him to cry out in anguish. He tried to stand up to go after her, but three nurses who
had heard the outburst kept him to the ground while one vowed to chase
few hours later in the sick bay, Nurse Pamela Mahon approached him.
“Lloyd, I have some bad news,” she said, swallowing hard.
“We couldn’t find Logan on the grounds anywhere.
it, I failed!” Max exclaimed as his eyes squeezed shut in rage.
“There’s only one last chance left...”
last chance? What are you talkin’
about?” the nurse demanded as an unseen wash of yellow light enveloped
Max Connors and carried him to the one destination he had been hoping to
avoid: the epicenter of the
was in a log cabin somewhere up North.
It was a cozy cabin isolated from the main population, far away
even from the normal hustle and bustle of suburbia.
He didn’t know why he was here, only that he felt an evil chill
in the air—a chilling presence that didn’t belong there.
wasn’t supposed to be there either.
He should have been dead when the Chu Hoi led his squad straight
into an ambush. And yet here
he was, alive and well. But,
again, why was he here? Walking
toward the mantle of the fireplace, he saw a framed picture of his
brother, standing tall with a suit on and smiling.
Standing next to him with pride in his eyes was an older man with a
heavy beard. Where had he
seen this man before? It was
before he shipped off to Vietnam, wasn’t it?
He mentioned something about... he couldn’t remember.
a single gunshot rang in his ears, the loud crack echoing off the trees in
the woods outside. Feeling
his heart racing, he ran out of the cabin to track down the source of the
sound. He didn’t have to
look far, as standing a few hundred yards away from him was a young woman
with blonde hair that ran down to her shoulders.
In her right hand was the smoking gun in question.
Turning her head toward him, she grinned with wicked delight and
began aiming the gun in his direction.
even thinking, he pulled a similar gun out of his jacket pocket and got
off a shot before she had the chance to act.
The bullet hit her between the eyes and she collapsed dead.
It was upon seeing the victim’s body beside hers, however, that
made him realize his victory was a hollow one.
didn’t even have to see the victim’s face to know who it was.
Hot tears began trickling down his face as he raced to his
brother’s side, realizing he had been too late.
He had failed. What was the point of living if he had to trade his
brother’s life for his own?
he cried out in anguish as he saw the blood on his hands.
“This can’t be happening!
None of this is right! You
can’t be dead! SAAAAAAAM!”
woke up in a cold sweat, his heart racing a mile a minute.
Tom looked around not immediately recognizing that he was back in
his quarters where he had gone to lie down about an hour earlier.
It felt as if he had only just closed his eyes for two seconds when
the dream interrupted his sleep.
few seconds passed before Tom heard the velvety voice of the
parallel-hybrid computer saying, “Admiral Beckett?”
his disorientation off, Tom responded, “Yes, Ziggy?”
Lofton has requested your presence in the Infirmary immediately.
She says it’s urgent.”
this couldn’t possibly be good, Tom answered, “Give me five minutes,
I’ll be right there.”
Quantum Leap, Infirmary
Gate, New Mexico
January 25, 2007
the Infirmary, Tom walked over toward Aurora who appeared to have a somber
expression on her face. “Aurora,
Ziggy told me it was urgent. It’s...not
Al, is it?”
Aurora said. “Oh...no, Al is fine, he’s just resting.
I called you here because of Connors.
I don’t think he has much time left.
Actually, he requested to see you.”
see me?” Tom asked, befuddled.
“That seems unusual. Well,
his way toward the rogue leaper, Tom could tell that he was in extreme
pain. Connors was visibly
wheezing more and more with each breath he took.
“A-Admiral...” Connors tried to speak.
here, Doctor Connors,” Tom held his hand.
“What is it you need to tell me?
Do you know how to save Sam?”
but...you need to...stop me. S’all
don’t understand,” Tom explained. “You’re
How are we supposed to ‘stop you’?”
out th-there...” Connors replied, pointing his left arm out into thin
And may God...forgive...m-meeeeee....”
those final words, Doctor Maxwell Connors closed his eyes and breathed his
damn it!” Tom shouted in frustration as a continuous monotone beep
sounded from the EKG monitor indicating that the patient flatlined.
“I was hoping he could provide me with more information!”
sorry, Tom,” Aurora consoled him. “There
was nothing I could do. It
was just a matter of time. It’s
amazing that he lasted as long as he did given the condition he arrived
pity for the man who had been a thorn in his brother’s side for the
better part of two years, Tom rubbed his hand over his face and said,
“Turn that damn thing off and call it already.”
as she was told, Aurora turned off the EKG, looked up at the clock and
announced, “Time of death: six-eighteen
a.m., Mountain Standard Time.” As
Tom turned around to leave, she placed a white sheet over Max’s body and
offered up a silent prayer to God.
Somewhere in Time
“The time has arrived,” stated the Bartender, his balding hair completely white and his rapidly aged face withered and frail. “I fear it may already be too late to prevent the cataclysm that Maxwell Connors has been foreseeing.”
“But surely these events can be changed,” Alia protested.
“I concur,” Gooshie reiterated. “After all Sam’s done for us and the numerous lives he’s touched, it just cannot end like this...can it?”
“Unfortunately, it can...and it will,” Alexander Garner confirmed. “I have also seen the future...or the past, as the case may be. The shockwave is already consuming everything in its path, and it’s nearly consumed this realm as well. It may be time for Albert to take out that ‘insurance policy’ he spoke of not too long ago.”
“I thought you were joking about that,” Alia turned back to the Bartender.
“Si, as did I,” Angelita chimed in. “I do not understand why it is you do not send me to protect him, Alberto.”
“Because as stubborn as Samuel may be in accepting certain things about himself, we can’t keep coming to his rescue,” Esther offered. “It would defeat the whole purpose of everything we’ve been trying to accomplish with him since he first met Albert.”
“Yes, it is as I told him once upon a time,” Alberto explained, “Sam has finally taken the first step towards accepting and controlling his own destiny. It has been a long and tumultuous journey, not only for him, but for his loved ones as well. However, if we continue to intervene directly, Sam will never get beyond those ‘baby steps’ and learn that he can surpass the laws of time and space itself to do virtually anything.”
“Exactly,” Moe “Ziggy” Stein replied. “Think of it...a super-genius like Sam, tapping into the full potential of the human brain, discovering abilities no one has ever dared to imagine or dream about. Astral projecting himself across Time, breaking the barriers of the String Theory altogether and entering the realm of the String Collective Theory that binds the universe together! Imagine the infinite possibilities! Leaping back to the birth of Christ...the Prehistoric Age...perhaps even the Dawn of Creation itself. Or even the End of Creation, witnessing firsthand the entropic effect that will usher in the Age of Human Ascension....”
“I not understand a single word you said,” Stawpah replied to “Ziggy” in his heavy Russian accent. “But I know enough about this time-travel business to know that none of this ‘accepting destiny’ will matter if Sam not alive to accept it.”
“I don’t fully understand it either, but how can Sam have died if I don’t remember him dying?” John Beckett challenged. “His death in the past would be catastrophic to history—to us!”
“That’s why Albert is suggesting that we ‘bend’ time in a way that will prevent a total collapse of the time stream,” Merry added.
“Plus, you forget, Jonathan,” Thelma Beckett reminded her husband, “Admiral Calavicci is always there to help guide Sam. He would never let anything happen to our son. Even Albert underestimated the Admiral’s resolve during the Project Liberty disaster. He would do whatever it took to help a friend in need, even if he had to sacrifice his own life to save Sam’s—which he did recently when Sam was killed during a leap. Everyone here seems to be forgetting about that.”
“Ah, yes, but might I also remind everyone that Albert had to use his powers of bending time once before,” Edward St. John VI interrupted. “When the Admiral was executed before his time, it was my father who became the ‘alternate’ Observer for Samuel. If Albert had not used his powers to restructure the time stream to accommodate for the time shift, we would not even be here discussing this situation now. The universe itself would have ceased to exist and us along with it. Using those powers again might prove to be fatal for Albert this time.”
“Well, whatever this new ‘time shift’ is, it needs to be fixed soon,” Philip Bridges explained as he looked toward St. John. “During that recent leap where Sam helped me aboard the Everglade, you briefly appeared back at Project Quantum Leap for two seconds alive and well. Admiral Calavicci never even realized he announced your name instead of Dominic Lofton’s.”
“Which brings us back to that ‘insurance policy,’” Garner said. “If we pool together our combined strength within this nexus of parallel quantum dimensions, we might be able to steer all of the key players toward the best possible positions to either avert or negate the temporal shockwave. Our previous encounter with Sam established that although he had begun reaching his full potential, he is still not ready for the next phase in his evolution. And now, there are rogue elements in the time stream that threaten to unravel Sam’s destiny. The time to act is now...before our enemies become aware of our weakened states and are able to destroy this realm forever.”
“Well said, Alexander,” the Bartender finished. “Come gather round, my friends. We must use the last of our combined strength to manipulate events and ensure that the timeline holds out long enough for our ‘last hope’ to do what must be done. HE...must not be allowed to prevail over us as he almost did so long ago. Sam dismissed it as a simple dream, but we won’t have the same luxury this time.”
As the Angels of Time formed a circle and focused their collective powers into one final chronal burst, they faded from existence as a wave of quantum blue energy flashed outward, rippling its way through the mists of Time...
Quantum Leap, Conference Room
Gate, New Mexico
January 25, 2007
what are we looking at here, people?” Tom asked as all of Project
Quantum Leap’s key personnel gathered around the conference table and
directed their attention to the front of the room where the admiral sat.
Among the doctors who were seated around the table in a clockwise
pattern, starting from Tom, were: Donna
Elesee-Beckett, Tina Martinez-O’Farrell, Verbena Beeks, Percy
Alfredsson, Ike Bentenhoff, Dominic Lofton, Samantha Josephine Fulton, and
the newest member of the Quantum Leap family, Stephanie Hartmann.
with Stephie’s help, I think I’ve been able to figure out enough to
provide some insight into what we’re facing here,” Sammy Jo Fulton
offered, as she got up and inquired, “If I may?”
floor is yours, Doctor,” Tom complied, as he sat in Sammy Jo’s seat to
allow her the space she needed for her demonstration.
Jo walked over to a chalkboard and drew a straight line from left to right
as she said, “Imagine that this line represents Time.”
First she pointed the chalk to the left end of the line and
explained, “Let’s say that this end represents the beginning of Time,
while the other end represents the end.”
She then pointed the chalk to the right end to differentiate
between the two.
normal circumstances, time moves strictly in a linear fashion from Point A
to Point B to Point C, and so forth and so on, dictating how the course of
history will unfold. However,
now we have someone like Sam who is able to travel back and forth along
the string of his own lifetime according to the String Theory, which
follows the same basic principle as what I just drew.
In this case, Point A represents his birth while Point B represents
his death. Tie both ends
together, and his life becomes a loop.
Ball up that loop, and each day overlaps another day—thereby
allowing him to leap backward and forward within his own lifetime.
Suddenly, that once linear timeline can become mutable, causing
disruptions in the chronological flow of time.
An event can be altered, causing the main timeline to skew off into
a new tangent and create an alternate timeline co-existing with our own.
So, let’s say that ‘D’ is the point of departure and ‘A’
is the point of arrival—in our case, a single leap into the past.
multiply that by hundreds of leaps, and you begin to see what’s starting
to happen.” She drew more
branching lines, each new line branching off into yet another line until
the diagram became one huge mess of crisscrossing lines that overlapped
with one another.
God,” Tom exclaimed. “You’re
saying that Connors might have been right all along?
That Sam is somehow causing more damage?”
directly...but, in a way, yes,” Stephie commented.
“There are now so many alternate timelines in existence, many of
which overlap and run parallel with each other as the diagram shows.
Elements of certain timelines are starting to intersect with
others. It’s reached the
point where ‘glitches’ are starting to pop up that even Ziggy can’t
keep track of. And they’re
occurring more frequently as time passes by.”
Jo continued, “The thing is that up until now, we’ve sort of been
taking it for granted that some kind of higher power is at work in regards
to what Sam needs to accomplish in each of his leaps.
Ziggy first hypothesized that this ‘higher power’ might be God
or Time or Fate, or something to that effect—and as such, God, Fate, or
whatever would never allow any kind of major paradox from occurring.
But then Dad met that mysterious bartender and a man he claimed was
a ‘dead’ leaper. That was
when everything we thought we knew about time travel—and everything
around us—started to change.”
do you mean?” Doctor Beeks asked.
as we now know, based on what Beth and Al have both learned over the
years, my father changed history when he leaped back to San Diego and told
Beth that Al was alive. That one single moment of time created a major divergence in
the flow of our own timeline. Because
it affected Al’s past so drastically, any number of timelines could have
theoretically emerged from that focal point.
It’s quite possible that the reality we’re in now is just one
of dozens, maybe even hundreds, of ‘virtual’ possibilities that
branched off from Al and Beth getting back together.”
how does that have anything to do with our current crisis?” Donna asked.
getting to that,” Sammy Jo continued.
“Now if you may remember when we first dealt with the possibility
of a time paradox occurring, Stephen and I explained that traveling
through time in and of itself results in alternate timelines.
We know that history changes when Sam leaps because Ziggy is
usually able to keep track of each timeline as it occurs.
If the changes had already been recorded in history before Sam even
leaped the first time, then he would actually be creating the timeline we
all know. That’s called a
predestination paradox. In
that scenario, we’d be dealing with one single continuous and immutable
as we know from Sam’s travels, this is not the case.
Our timeline can be
altered in such a way that could theoretically endanger our own existence.
That’s often referred to as the ‘grandfather’ paradox.
Suppose you went back in time and killed your grandfather before he
meets your grandmother. Since they never met and started a family, you couldn’t
have been born. So then how
did you go back in time to kill your grandfather if you never existed? It’s for that very reason that most people believe that
time travel could never be possible.
Of course, as we’ve proven, it is
possible. Which leaves us
with the necessity to come up with a logical solution to the grandfather
most common theory in the realm of quantum mechanics is that the universe
would split into two separate parallel universes:
one in which history has been altered, and one in which it remains
intact. By default, the time traveler would continue living in the
alternate reality that he or she created at the point of divergence, or
would return to the future of that particular reality.
From the perspective of the original reality, the traveler would
simply vanish once they left for the past and never be able to return to
their point of origin.
theory: there is only one single discontinuous timeline where minor
changes can occur. Instead of
branching off into tangents, these changes might appear as ‘time
bubbles’ that ripple outward like a river.
The time traveler’s memories would be altered along with the
timeline itself and they wouldn’t remember why
they traveled back in time in the first place.
The actual trip through time from arrival to departure might be
recorded as a ‘pocket’ in Time that doesn’t interfere with the grand
skein of Time. This has also
occurred with Sam and Al to a certain degree.
there’s a third theory which is the one that is the most disturbing:
a disappearing timeline. This
theory says that once a causality violation is created in the
past—we’ll mark that as a ‘V’—the new timeline will become the
dominant one and the original timeline will cease to exist at the point of
the time traveler’s departure.
complicates matters is that Ziggy, Al, and now Tom are linked to Sam
during a leap. The changes
aren’t always instantaneous unless the probabilities reach one hundred
percent. What we’re looking
at now is a chain reaction of events that are all resulting from one
single divergence in Time. Our
best estimates indicate that it’s sending some kind of causality
shockwave through the time stream in both directions.
So far, it hasn’t completely caught up to us because the
probability hasn’t reached one hundred percent yet.”
in a nutshell, what does all of this mean?” Tom inquired, trying to keep
his brain from exploding.
simply, the barriers between the multitude of alternate timelines and
realities is starting to collapse,” Sammy Jo replied.
“The more changes that are made to history, the weaker the
space-time fabric becomes. It’s
like a film reel that keeps getting played over and over
again—eventually, the film frays and snaps.
Ziggy’s program has been slowing down considerably for the past
few days; I have a theory that the conflicting timelines are
‘confusing’ her. If what
Doctor Connors said is true, we’re looking at a catastrophic time
paradox that will result from one or both
of the two critical junction points in the timeline he mentioned.”
took that opportunity to reveal his findings.
“So far, we’ve managed to narrow down the target date of the
first temporal divergence to sometime within the first week of December,
Nineteen Sixty-Nine. Unfortunately, we can’t get anything more specific than
that. I’m not sure
that’ll be much help to us, though.
The closest Sam’s ever leaped to that particular point in time,
according to the archives, was when he leaped into himself at the age of
sixteen—and he leaped out as soon as his basketball team won the state
championships against Bentleyville. So, we wouldn’t even be able to enlist his help if we could.”
like, what about ‘our’ Sam?” Tina suggested.
“Maybe we could, like, I dunno, try to modify the Accelerator
coils and attempt to retrieve him again, only we, like, redirect his
‘quantum signature’ to where we need him to go?”
program still has too many glitches in it to try that,” Ike interjected.
“Do we know anything about that second point of divergence
Dom replied. “All we have
from what Connors told us is the year:
Nineteen Seventy-Three. Other
than that, we’re shooting blanks. We
don’t even know exactly why
Logan was in Indiana in Sixty-Nine let alone how she got close enough to
Sam to kill him. He was only
sixteen at the time. We know
for a fact that Logan’s M.O. was singling out brown-haired men ranging
anywhere from their early twenties to their early thirties.”
I’ve heard enough,” Tom interrupted after hearing all of the
suggestions and theories. “For the moment, let’s just assume that I know hardly
anything about quantum mechanics or chaos theory.”
It wasn’t very far from the truth really. “Bottom line: what’s
the worst-case scenario of what could happen to our ‘reality’ if we don’t stop Logan from killing Sam in time?
And don’t give me the sugar-coated version either.”
anyone had a chance to answer, the distorted voice of Ziggy responded,
“If Logan is not stopped, Doctor Beckett will never create Project
Quantum Leap, and thus will never leap back and change history.
Everything that Doctor Beckett has accomplished in the past twelve
years will unravel, which I believe is already beginning to happen.
As a result, Sheriff John Hoyt will kill Leon Stiles in Nineteen
Fifty-Eight, and Logan Lanning will never escape to become the ‘Black
Widow.’ Henceforth, she
will never murder Doctor Beckett, and he will continue living to create
P-P-Project Quantum Leap in Nineteen N-N-Ninety.
Doctor Beckett will then eventually leap into Leon Stiles and
prevent Sheriff John Hoyt from killing him, which will result in Logan
L-L-Lanning escaping and becoming a serial killer.
As a result, she will murder Doctor Beckett in the past, causing
everything that he has accomplished in the past twelve years to unravel,
which I believe is already beginning to happen.
As a result...”
the explanation, Ziggy, I got the point,” Tom ordered, realizing that
the hybrid computer was getting hung up on the infinite nature of the
that certainly does explain why Ziggy’s program is slowing down
considerably. She can’t
figure out how to break the loop in order to reach the solution,’ he
thought. “What I want to
know is, how will that ‘paradox’ affect us in the here and now?”
Jo finished by saying, “Best-case scenario:
Sam continues leaping within the alternate reality in which his
younger self is dead while our reality branches off into a new tangent and
remains intact. Worst-case scenario: the
paradox will tear a hole in the space-time continuum and destroy the
entire universe, as we know it. There’s
really no way of knowing what could happen until it actually happens.”
was all that the admiral needed to hear.
Getting up from his chair with a renewed sense of determination in
his aging face, Tom looked straight ahead and said, “Dominic, go back to
the Control Room and get the Accelerator Chamber ready.
Set it for a random date starting from November Thirtieth up to
December Seventh, Nineteen Sixty-Nine, in Elk Ridge, Indiana.
Hopefully, we’ll hit gold on the first try.
Tina, get me a Fermi suit.”
For a brief moment, everyone in the conference room looked at Tom
with a confused expression until the interim Observer shouted, “Well,
what are you all standing around for, people! Let’s go!”
As most of the individuals in the room began scattering to their assigned posts, Donna walked up to her brother-in-law and asked, “Tom, what do you think you’re doing?”
needs to be done, Donna—I’m going to leap back to Nineteen Sixty-Nine
and save Sam. It’s not just
his existence that’s at stake here—it’s ours as well.
Yours, mine, Sammy Jo’s, Stephen’s...we could all just blink
out of existence, and then no one will ever remember there being a world
with Sam Beckett. I can’t
let that happen.”
do we know if Ziggy won’t suddenly conk out on us?” Donna added.
“Having two active leapers is risky, as we’ve learned in the
past when Sammy Jo first leaped all those years back.
And to top it all off, you’re talking about having two active
leapers in two separate time periods—something we’ve never attempted
before. The strain on Ziggy’s power reserves would be enormous!”
you’ve got another alternative, I’d be glad to hear it,” Tom
rebuked. “This is the only
way, Donna—plain and simple. And
if Al were here, he’d be saying the same thing.”
that Tom was probably right, Donna lowered her head despondently and
asked, “So, who’s going to be your observer then?”
a good question. The only two
people at this project whose brainwaves are synced up with mine are Sam
and Al—and Sam is not a viable option, for obvious reasons.
So, until Al gets back on his feet, I guess that Ziggy’s going to
need to tweak Dom’s unique connection with Sam so that I’ll be able to
see and hear him with no problem.”
Tom a big hug, Donna whispered into his ear, “You’d better come back
home, you hear me? We’re not losing another Beckett!”
the emotions, Tom looked into Donna’s eyes and reassured her, “Don’t
worry, I have every intention of coming back...once my ‘mission’ is
over. Do me one favor,
sure J.T. stays out of trouble? I’m
sure he won’t be too thrilled when he hears where I went off to.”
simply smiled and nodded at Tom’s request.
She knew it pained him to leave his family behind, but it was
something he needed to do. Her
husband had done so much for so many people over the past decade.
He couldn’t let a random psychotic woman take Sam away from this
world anymore than she could.
that Sammy Jo was still in the room along with a few other people, Tom
quickly walked over to her and said, “Samantha, I’m sorry to pull you
away from your daughter’s side, but I need your expertise to help us
through this crisis.”
need to apologize, Tom,” Sammy Jo said.
“I have a stake in this, too, you know.”
Tom nodded as he continued, “I need you to pull up all of the data we
have for the retrieval program and the leaping program.
I want to make sure that everything is as up-to-date as humanly
possible. I’m sure Doctor Hartmann will be able to assist you and
Jo looked at Tom in confusion as she asked, “Doctor Hartmann?
it was Tom’s turn to be confused. “What
do you mean, ‘who’s that’? Stephanie
Hartmann, the one who tried to help Doctor Albright return to the future a
couple of months ago — she was...right here....” But as Tom looked
around at the people leaving the conference room, Stephie Hartmann was
nowhere to be found.
sure who you’re talking about, Tom,” Sammy Jo said, “but to my
recollection, no one by that name has ever worked here.”
momentarily dizzy again, Tom looked up and asked, “Ziggy, pull up
everything you have on Sam’s recent leap into Josiah Hawley in late
September of Two Thousand-Four. There
should be a file in that leap concerning Doctors Stephanie Hartmann and
about ten seconds, Ziggy responded, “I am sorry, Admiral, but no such
file exists in my memory banks. Likewise,
there is no record of a Doctor Theodore Albright existing in the year Two
was then that his memories began shifting again, only this time, Tom
remembered what had changed. Sam’s
leap where he helped Doctor Albright and Stephanie no longer occurred
because Doctor Albright no longer existed to become trapped in the past to
begin with. And since there
was no leap, Sammy Jo no longer met Doctor Hartmann in 2004 and
recommended her for Project Quantum Leap. Without the cause, there could be no effect.
no, it’s already begun,’
Tom realized. ‘There isn’t much time left. Don’t
worry, little brother, I’m coming.’
Quantum Leap, Infirmary
Gate, New Mexico
January 25, 2007
“He’s going to do what?!” Al barked, now fully alert and more clear-headed than he had been since first waking up from his coma. “Not if Albert Calavicci has anything to say about it. Get me off this damn gurney! I’ve been out of commission for far too long. Tom has no experience leaping. Sam needs me!”
had feared this since Al first regained full consciousness.
“Al, you need your rest. You
aren’t in bed with a case of the flu, you just woke up from a coma,”
she said calmly. “If you
strain yourself, you might end up right back where we started.”
Al loved his wife with all his heart and knew that she was just trying to
protect him from further injury, the ramifications of Tom Beckett leaping
with Sam still lost in Time were just too much.
know what the risks are, Beth, but there’s more at stake here than my
health,” the admiral stated seriously.
“Ziggy has enough trouble keeping track of Sam—we don’t need
to worry about Tom being out there, too.”
Project’s former chief medical officer swallowed the lump in her throat
and watched her husband sit himself up.
“Can’t you let the people in the Control Room worry about that?
Plus, what do you think you’re going to do?
paused for a moment as he contemplated his wife’s words.
“Why not?” he demanded with determination.
He threw back the white sheet before swinging his legs over the
side of the bed and met the gaze of his love.
you’re not physically fit, Al!” retorted a frustrated Beth as she got
up from the recliner. There
was a hint of tears at the corners of her eyes as she spoke.
“No matter how much you think you’re still in your twenties,
you’re not going to be able to leap with all of the trauma your body
endured in the plane crash.”
honey,” the acting director of Project Quantum Leap said in a hushed
tone, only to have her turn her back on him.
back the emotions that were threatening to spill out, Beth replied, “You
didn’t pull through that coma just to leave me again.”
examined the floor for a moment and then got to his feet, gathering the
strength to walk over to his wife. Placing
his hand on her shoulder was the catalyst as she threw her arms around his
neck and hugged him tightly. “You
know I love you with all my heart, Beth,” he whispered, returning the
love you, too, Al,” she said with a sniff, pulling back so that she
could see his face as she placed a hand on his cheek.
you should know that I’ll come back to you, no matter what.
Sam needs my help.” The
admiral looked into his wife’s eyes and pulled her closer, locking their
lips in a tender kiss.
let the embrace linger before placing her head on his shoulder and
tightening the hold on her husband. “You’re
too good a friend, Flyboy,” she said softly.
Quantum Leap, Control Room
Gate, New Mexico
January 25, 2007
turned toward his niece and asked, “Sammy Jo, are those upgrades to the
leaping program still in place? The
ones you modified to minimize the Swiss-cheese effect back when you
completely,” Sammy Jo answered. “I
had to start over from scratch after Dad had used Doctor Garner’s Time
Displacer Unit to leap back here two years ago.
On top of that, some of the data was corrupted when the evil
leapers infiltrated the project. I
can’t guarantee that we’ll be able to get you back, or that your
memory won’t be affected by the leap.”
a chance I’m willing to take,” Tom accepted.
“Sam saved my life once, maybe even twice; now it’s my turn to
return the favor.”
better think twice, Beckett,” the voice of Al said suddenly.
All heads in the Control Room turned to the entrance, the sight of
their long-time boss in the doorway causing a hush to fall over the room.
was the first to break the silence as she happily screamed, “Daddy!”
Holding her father in a tight embrace, she added, “Mama Beth and
I were so worried about you! Don’t
you ever scare us like that
again, you hear me?”
nervously, Al responded, “I’ll, uh, try not to, Jules.”
back, Admiral Calavicci,” the silky voice of Ziggy cooed.
“I’ve missed you.”
Al let go of Jules and approached Tom and Sammy Jo at the main control
panel. “Yeah, I missed you,
too, you overblown microwave oven.”
Jo stood up and gave the admiral a warm hug.
“It’s good to see you on your feet, Al,” she said with a wide
Sammy Jo,” the admiral replied as he eyed Tom Beckett.
Both men were dressed in their Navy whites and sized each other up
for a brief moment before saluting one another.
nice to have you back,” Tom stated in an even tone.
“I assume you have heard about...”
thinking about leaping?” Al interrupted.
“Yeah, I heard about that, and as the administrator of this
project I’m demanding an explanation of your cockamamie request.”
her hand on the older admiral’s shoulder, Sammy Jo said, “Al, he’s
our only choice.”
right, Al,” Tom Beckett agreed. “You
might think you’re Superman but it’s too risky to put you in the
Accelerator. I have to do
this for Sam.”
his eyes at his best friend’s older brother, Al retorted, “I may be
retired but I still have one more star than you, Beckett.”
his aggravation with his fellow admiral, Tom opened his mouth to protest
but was interrupted before a single syllable was uttered.
“That’s why I’ve decided to let you leap,” added Al with a
grin. “That is, after I go see Sam.
Fire up the Imaging Chamber, Sammy Jo!”
New York City, New York
Thursday, February 25,
Leaping around in Time
has never been easy. I’ve
had my share of tough assignments, but sometimes the most frustrating of
leaps are the ones when I know nothing about why I’m there.
So far, my leap into Danny Wallace hasn’t given me anything
except some blisters.
After a few hours of wandering around Manhattan Island, keeping his eyes open for any possible danger, Sam found that his feet were beginning to cry out in pain – and Danny’s cramped shoes didn’t help matters any. The leaper came across a group of three homeless men—following the same act as Danny’s companion Larry—and one of the men gave Sam a welcoming expression as he approached them.
“You look tired,” the man said almost excitedly. “Why don’t ya sit down here?”
Figuring that this would likely be his only offer of hospitality, Sam Beckett took a seat on the moth-eaten blanket that separated them from the concrete sidewalk. “Thank you,” he replied with a friendly smile.
The man, who looked to be in his sixties, just grinned and said, “No problem.”
Leaning his back and head against the cool brick of the building, Sam closed his eyes to help himself think. The leaper felt himself beginning to doze off when a familiar sound caused him to jump back to consciousness. His eyelids fluttered open and he saw before him a welcomed sight.
“Al!” Sam exclaimed, getting to his feet and widening his arms before remembering that he was only seeing a neurological hologram of his dearest friend.
Al just smiled and pressed a button on the handlink to close the door back to the Control Room. “It’s good to see you again, Sam,” the observer replied, still grinning. “I take it that Tom didn’t measure up to me, huh?”
Laughing, Sam shook his head in amusement but didn’t answer the question. “Where have you been? Tom would only tell me that you were ‘unavailable,’” the leaper demanded.
Scratching his finger behind his ear for a moment, Al shrugged and said, “Oh, you know, just some things back here that you don’t have to worry about, Sam.”
Before the time-traveling scientist could drill his observer any further, the homeless man who offered him a spot to sit spoke up. His eyes were wide with wonder as he stared at the admiral in his uniform. “Who’s that, Sam? Where’d that white door come from?”
“You can see me?” Al asked the dark-skinned man. He then turned to Sam and queried, “Who is this guy?” Sam could only shrug in response.
“My name’s Tibby. Tibido Johnson,” came the reply as Tibby got up from the sidewalk to shake Al’s hand. Not wanting to tip off that he was only a holographic image, the admiral went for a salute instead to befit his current wardrobe. Tibby returned the salute with a goofy grin, but Al’s expression was anything but amused.
“Uh, nice to meet you, Tibby,” Al said with some hesitation. Turning slightly away from the older man, the observer said to his leaper in a hushed tone, “Sam, we gotta talk.”
Creasing his brow, Sam nodded and looked at Tibby. “I’ll be right back,” he said with a reassuring smile. Tibby gave them a wave and sat back down, watching the pair walk a little ways down the sidewalk.
“Is something wrong, Al?” the leaper asked with concern. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
Gulping, the observer shook his finger at Sam. “I think I have! Don’t you remember Tibby, Sam?” After Sam shook his head in negative response, Al let out a puff of air. “According to Ziggy, during the leap when we helped Tibby, he was released from Havenwell Hospital, got a job, and went on to live a good life. Nothing about being homeless!”
“Maybe it’s just a phase in his life?” Sam suggested.
“No, no way. We have records of him being employed constantly,” Al replied. “Something is seriously wrong here, Sam.”
Sighing, the leaper began walking back toward the man in question. “What are you doing?” his observer demanded. Sam said nothing until he returned to the man on the blanket with Al hot on his trail.
“Tibby,” the time traveler said casually as he crouched down, “where are you from?”
“Havenwell, Pennsylvania,” Tibby answered. “But I been in New York for the past ten years. Ain’t had a permanent roof over my head since...” The homeless man stopped in mid-thought, a saddened look on his face.
“Since when?” Sam urged.
“Since about Sixty-One when I was released from the mental hospital,” he finished in a hushed tone, obviously embarrassed about having been a psychiatric patient.
Shaking his head in astonishment, Al quietly commented, “Oh, my God. I was right.” He began poking at the handlink for information, getting only a confirmation from Ziggy about what he originally said about Tibby. “Sam, do you know anything about this ‘alternate timeline’ business?”
Straightening up to full height again, Sam looked at his partner in Time. “I think Tom mentioned something about two major timelines fighting for dominance,” Sam answered. “Does this have something to do with Tibby, too?”
Nodding, Al read from the handlink, “Ziggy says that these two timelines overlap at certain points in time, which is probably why I remember helping Tibby learn the alphabet, and yet here he is on the streets.”
“So that must be why on my last leap nobody had even heard of Buddy Holly except for me and everyone at the Project,” Sam replied.
It was starting to come together in Al’s mind. ‘Sam’s very existence is at stake,’ he mused. Setting his jaw, the admiral opened the Imaging Chamber door. “Look, Sam, I should go back and talk this over with Ziggy and the others.”
“All right, Al. Just don’t take too long,” the scientist said with a hint of concern. Admiral Calavicci gave a curt nod and closed the door, moving quickly into the Control Room.
Seeing that more of the staff had assembled in the Control Room, Al wasted no time in issuing commands. “Donna and Lofty, get the Accelerator prepared. Sammy Jo, have the Retrieval Program as ready as possible. Verbena, get ready for the possibility of two visitors in the Waiting Room.”
There was no hesitation as the Project’s nucleus started to hum with activity. Tina approached the admiral with a somber look on her face. “What happened in there, Al? You look really, like, fired up.”
“Everything Connors said is true, Tina,” Al replied, seeing Tom coming to join them. “I just saw somebody out on the streets who we helped land a job and enjoy the rest of his life. Tom, you’d better leap soon, ’cause I don’t know how much longer Sam has.”
Nodding in understanding, the elder Beckett looked to Tina. “Do you have that Fermi suit ready yet?” he asked. The technician bobbed her head and hustled over to a small closet, pulling from it the white one-piece. Tom thanked her and excused himself from the Control Room.
“Do you think it’ll work?” Tina questioned, watching Sam’s brother leave.
“It has to,” Al replied.
Tom Beckett returned five minutes later wearing the skin-tight Fermi suit. “Are we ready?” he addressed the room as everybody stood up from their seats.
“As soon as you are, Admiral,” Ziggy’s voice filtered from all around.
His face without emotion, the former Navy SEAL walked toward the entrance of the Quantum Leap Accelerator. All eyes were on him as he stood at the bottom of the ramp, giving the Control Room one last glance.
“Good luck, Admiral Beckett,” Ziggy announced in a soothing voice.
Tom nodded once and ascended to the door into the Accelerator Chamber, which opened immediately for him. Stepping into the middle of the room, the admiral had to only wait for mere seconds to pass before mist began to shoot up from the circular grate below him. There was a tingle of electricity in the air as a whirring sound continued to get more and more intense.
the blue quantum energy built to a crescendo, Tom’s arms began to float
upward. He couldn’t help
but smile, as he finally knew the excitement that his brother felt.
‘Now I see why Sam dreamed of traveling in time,’ he mused.
‘My entire body feels like
it’s juiced up! It’s...exhilarating!’
all of his doubts and worries, Tom welcomed the blue field that engulfed
him as he vanished into Time.
blue light that surrounded Tom quickly vanished as his vision came back
into full view. The first thing he noticed was the large shelf of books on
the wall directly in front of him. At
first, he looked around in confusion, not quite sure of what had just
did it!’ Tom
automatically thought before his smile quickly became a frown. ‘Did what?
I... I can’t remember. I
can’t remember anything! Who
am I? Where
small part of his internal query was answered when he suddenly realized
that he was in what appeared to be a local bookstore.
‘Okay, I’m in a bookstore—and a small one, at that.
But, that still doesn’t tell me exactly where I am—or who I
am!’ Then, as if Fate
itself had intervened, one particular book caught Tom’s eye.
Pulling the book off the shelf and inspecting its cover, he read
aloud the printed words on the front.
“Waiting for Godot — A
Tragicomedy in Two Acts... by Samuel...Beckett!”
was at that point that some partial memories came flooding back.
“Beckett! Sam Beckett is...my brother!
And I’m...Tom Beckett!
I remember! I leaped!
I’ve actually traveled back in time!”
Tom even realized it, a middle-aged-looking man with black hair and a full
beard approached him, apparently having overheard the last part of the
leaper’s one-sided conversation and exclaimed, “Traveled in time?
Sibby, what on Earth are you talking about?
You feeling okay?”
by the sound of the other man’s voice, Tom quickly tried to cover his
blunder but found himself at a loss for words.
the man gave the leaper an inquisitive look, Tom muttered under his
breath, “Ah geez...”
(Special thanks to M. J. Cogburn, Eleiece Krawiec, Katherine Freymuth, and Tom Nicklis for helping to set up the events that led into this.)
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