VIRTUAL SEASONS EPISODES
that one could time-travel within his own lifetime, Dr. Sam
Beckett led an elite group of scientists into the desert to
develop a top-secret project known as Quantum Leap.
Pressured to prove his theories or lose funding, Dr.
Beckett prematurely stepped into the Project Accelerator…and
awoke to find himself in the past, suffering from partial amnesia
and facing a mirror image that was not his own.
Fortunately, contact with his own time was maintained
through brainwave transmissions with Al, the Project Observer, who
appeared in the form of a hologram that only Dr. Beckett can see
As evil and neutral forces alike do their best to stop Dr. Beckett’s journey, his children, Dr. Samantha Josephine Fulton and Stephen Beckett, continuously strive to retrieve their time-lost father and bring him home permanently. Despite returning home several times over the last decade, Dr. Beckett has remained lost in the time stream…his final fate no longer certain.
Trapped in the past and driven by an unknown force, Dr. Beckett struggles to accept his destiny as he continues to find himself leaping from life to life, putting things right that once went wrong with the hopes that his next leap…will be the final leap home.
ON QUANTUM LEAP
leaps into Danny Wallace, a homeless man living on the streets of New York
City, and is horrified when he comes across someone familiar to him and Al:
Tibby Johnson (“Shock Theater”).
The shifting timelines changed Tibby’s history so that Al never
taught him the alphabet and it is now Sam’s mission to find a way to get
Tibby off the streets.
at the Project, a much older, deformed Maxwell Connors shows up to foretell
a cataclysm that would destroy the universe if somebody doesn’t put a stop
to Logan Lanning, the random element in the space–time continuum.
Tom eventually decides that in order to save Sam from dying in 1969
that he must leap. After Al
confirms that he will be Tom’s observer, the Accelerator Chamber is
powered up and another Beckett is sent into the mists of 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
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,
December 1, 1969
Flushed with embarrassment, Tom quickly turned toward the voice of the man who spoke to him and sheepishly replied, “Oh, I, uh...was just reading something from one of these books and, um...I guess I read it out loud.” There was something familiar about the man’s face, but Tom couldn’t place where he had seen it before.
The other man, who was holding an antique-looking book in his left hand, smiled at Tom’s excuse. “I’ll admit that I talk to myself, too, when I’m figuring out complex mathematical equations in the comfort of my own lab back in Cambridge. But in a small-town bookstore such as this one, people might think you’re a bit crazy talking to thin air...and I would hate for anyone to think that of my only nephew,” he added with a wink.
‘This guy is my uncle?’ Tom realized. ‘He’s got to be at least twenty-five years younger than I am!’ Not knowing what else to say, Tom responded with, “I’ll, uh...I’ll keep that in mind...Unc.”
Tom’s “uncle” just smirked at him as he added, “You don’t mind if I continue browsing around for a little while longer, do you? I just found an extremely rare first edition of Nietzsche’s The Will to Power, and I want to see if there are any other rare tomes such as this one floating around on the shelves.”
“Uh...no, not at all,” Tom replied. “I’ll just be walking around, um...browsing, myself.” As Tom began wandering down one of the aisles toward the back of the store, he noticed a medium-sized rectangular mirror hanging on the back wall. Upon looking at his reflection, he saw the image of a brown-haired teenager, approximately 5’11” or so, staring back at him. ‘Why does this kid look so familiar to me, too?’ Tom silently mused as he tried sifting through his Swiss-cheesed brain to locate the elusive memory.
After about ten seconds of attempting—and failing—to remember, Tom decided to rejoin his “uncle,” whom he noticed was now asking the bookstore owner a question at the front of the store. As he got closer, he could hear what sounded like a news report being broadcast over the small transistor radio situated on top of the counter.
“It’s tragic, I tell ya,” the bookstore owner said to both Tom and his “uncle.”
“What? What’s going on?” Tom asked.
“It’s that ‘Lethal Logan’ woman,” he answered. “News reports are saying the local authorities are following a lead that she was spotted just outside of Elk Ridge about a half-hour ago.”
“L–Lethal Logan?” Tom exclaimed, slightly confused.
Giving Tom a perplexed look, the bookstore owner explained, “Where’ve you been, boy? That blonde bombshell’s been all over the news on and off for the past two or three years. I would think everyone and their mother would have heard of her by now. She was known as the ‘Black Widow’ until some investigator who worked for the Navy or somethin’ literally ran into her in D.C. and connected her to about a dozen other unsolved murders. Once the authorities discovered her past aliases, the media began dubbing her ‘Lethal Logan.’ Her last victim was some college student down in North Carolina or somethin’, named Johnny Olson, I believe. Same M.O. as most of the others: naked body was found in a motel room with his limbs tied to the bedposts and blood everywhere. Poor bastard never knew what was comin’ until it was too late.”
Tom’s “uncle” listened to the news report and the bookstore owner with deep concern. “I certainly hope they’ll finally be able to put a stop to her this time. Because she’s a woman, hardly anyone would ever suspect someone like her to be capable of being a sexual predator. I keep wondering what could have possibly happened to this woman to make her become such a cold and calculating serial killer.”
In the back of his mind, Tom knew that he somehow knew the answer to that question. For whatever reason, the answer was eluding his memory for the time being. Something told him, however, that he would find out soon enough.
Gate, New Mexico
January 25, 2007
“Did it work?” Admiral Albert Calavicci asked as the Accelerator powered down.
“Affirrrrmative,” Ziggy said distortedly. “Admiral Beckett’s physical body has replaced someone else’s body in the past, however, I cannot yet pinpoint the exact space-time coordinates my program needs to synchronize our timeframe with his. Try me again in–in–in—”
“Ziggy, what’s going on?” Marilyn Hines asked worriedly.
“Oh great, Ziggy sounds completely lost,” Commander Fulton complained. “She’s getting worse by the hour. This is all that son of a bitch Connors’ fault!”
“Calm down, Daniel,” Tina calmly responded. “Like, dwelling on Doctor Connors ain’t gonna make things any better. The poor guy’s suffered enough.”
“She’s right, Daniel,” Al concurred. “Listen, why don’t you just go home and be with your wife and daughter for a few hours? Julianna can hold down the fort while you’re gone.”
All eyes were suddenly on Al as every person in the Control Room began to wonder if the Project Administrator had suffered brain damage during his coma. Marilyn was the one who seemed the most disturbed by Al’s statement. “Are you feeling alright, Admiral?” she asked.
“Never better, why?” Al asked back, not wanting to let on how he really felt, lest he appear weak in front of his subordinates.
“Well, first of all, I don’t have a wife and daughter,” Daniel explained. “And second of all, who’s Julianna?”
Now it was Al’s turn to be confused as he turned back to the chief of security and clarified, “Captain Julianna Sherman-Calavicci—my daughter? And your wife is Doctor Samantha Josephine Fuller. You both had a daughter named Isabella back in August.”
“Admiral, I think you’d better go back and let Doctor Gonzales look you over,” Marilyn recommended with a small hint of resentment in her tone. “There’s no one here by the name of Doctor Fuller, and you and Beth only have the four daughters...at least, that’s what you’ve told all of us.”
“Yeah, I’m single, Al,” Daniel confirmed. “The only woman I’ve got eyes for is Marilyn. We’ve been dating for a good number of years now. You’re the one who set us up, Al!” That statement seemed to turn Doctor Hines’s concerned frown into a reassuring smile.
For a moment, Al thought he was in the Twilight Zone. Could his memory have been “magnafoozled” from simul-leaping with Sam? “Ziggy!”
“Yeeeeesssss?” the parallel-hybrid computer asked flirtatiously.
“Give me all information pertaining to Samantha Josephine Fuller, Isabella Fulton, and Julianna Sherman-Calavicci.”
“There are no records of a Samantha Josephine Fuller or Isabella Fulton existing in my database,” Ziggy replied without emotion. “Likewise, there are no files pertaining to a Julianna Sherman-Calavicci. If they did exist at one point, that is no longer the case.”
It was at that point that Al’s memories began shifting around again as he came to the startling realization that more of Sam’s changes in Time were coming unglued. Fighting back the tears that threatened to overpower him, Al looked upward at the swirling blue globe—which now appeared to be growing dim—and said, “Let me know the instant you locate Tom, Ziggy. I’ll be in my office.”
“As you wish, Admiral,” Ziggy cooed. As Al stepped into the elevator hatch, everyone in the Control Room looked at each other in worry over the admiral’s sanity.
York City, New York
February 25, 1993
“Where’d your friend go?” Tibby Johnson asked with wonder in his expression as he stared at the space where the Imaging Chamber door had just closed. “I ain’t never seen nothin’ like that door before.”
Sam barely heard the question as his mind raced, trying to figure out the complexities of the apparent temporal paradox that apparently threatened his very being. Al said that he had helped Tibby on a previous leap by teaching him the alphabet, which allowed the now-homeless man to go on and have a decent life. Now Sam was there, sitting beside Tibido Johnson on a sidewalk in New York City.
When there was no answer to his query, Tibby readjusted himself and faced the leaper, intense curiosity still evident in his demeanour. “Sam? Where’d you come from?”
Despite himself, Sam Beckett chuckled at the question and shook his head slightly. “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”
“Sure I would,” Tibby replied. “You don’t look like the kinda man that’d lie.”
Touched by Tibby’s trust in him, Sam’s smile widened. “Would you believe me if I said I come from the future?” he asked in a half-whisper.
The homeless man nodded enthusiastically with bright eyes. “Is Al from the future, too?”
“Yeah, Al’s from the future, too,” the scientist admitted with a slight chuckle. Then, trying to give a simple answer to Tibby’s first request, he said, “He comes through that door to help me out.”
“Wow! I wish I had a friend like that,” Tibby exclaimed before his expression turned sombre. “I been pretty much on my own since my folks left me at the hospital as a kid.”
Sam frowned at the statement. “Your parents never came back for you?”
Tibby shook his head sadly. “Too many kids, not enough food.” The leaper’s frown increased and the vagrant quickly added, “But I ain’t mad at ’em: they did what they had to do. I’m just grateful to be alive.”
“Your family never tried to find you?” queried Doctor Beckett as a large group of noisy teenagers passed by. The hobos that accompanied Tibby called out for some change but received no recognition whatsoever as the crowd meandered further down the sidewalk.
“Nope, I ain’t seen any of ’em since they put me in Havenwell,” he said in response, moving his gaze toward the street. “For all I know, I could be a great-uncle.”
The leaper let out a sympathetic sigh through his nose. Remembering that he himself was a grandfather and feeling appreciative that he at least knew that he had a granddaughter—or at least, as far as he could remember—Sam wondered if maybe he was here to help Tibby... again. Neither Tom nor Al had said why he had leaped into Danny Wallace and Ziggy had apparently ruled out the prevention of the bombing at the World Trade Center’s parking garage. With the conflicting histories between his current reality as Danny and that which he remembered, the time-traveling quantum physicist could only wager that Ziggy was unable to precisely predict what events needed to be changed.
“Do you want me to find out for you?” Sam proposed.
“You can do that?” Tibby questioned with amazement.
Doctor Beckett nodded. “I can try. When Al comes back, I’ll ask him to find out about your family... that is, if you want to know.”
The homeless man looked thoughtful for a moment. Before he could answer, a passer-by placed a five-dollar bill in Tibby’s upturned hat and distracted him from the conversation. “Thank you very much!” he called after the anonymous donor, who continued to walk away without a backward glance. Tibby picked up the bill and shoved it in his pocket, giving Sam a glowing grin. Sam thought that he recognized the form of the slightly overweight person but shook his head, chalking it up to his Swiss-cheesed brain playing tricks on him.
“How’d you end up on the street, Sam? You don’t look like you’ve been homeless for very long,” Tibby pointed out.
“Well, Tibby, like I said, I travel through Time. I’m only here for a little while,” the leaper responded. Normally the fact that he was a time traveler was one of the last things he would reveal to somebody, but since Tibby was already aware of Al and could see Sam for whom he was, Sam saw no risk in giving away his real identity. Beyond that, Tibby was living on the streets – even if he went around telling people about a man travelling in time, he wouldn’t be believed by many.
Tibby rubbed his shirt and scratched his head—greasy fingers smearing shabby clothes and messing up salt-and-pepper hair—then pursed his lips. “Why did you come from the future?”
Again, Sam couldn’t help but laugh lightly at the intrigue that the vagabond held for him. Although Sam had many reasons for stepping into the Quantum Leap Accelerator, he decided to go with the one that topped his list. “I wanted to help people, Tibby. People like you.”
“You’re here to help me? You came all the way from the future to help Tibby?” he asked excitedly.
“That’s what I think,” Sam answered. “That’s why I have Al: he tells me what went wrong in somebody’s life and then I try to fix it.”
Nodding eagerly, Tibby continued his line of questioning. “But Al said you already helped me before. He taught me the alphabet, he said. Why don’t I remember that?”
The almost casual ambiance of their conversation disappeared at the reminder of the paradox and Sam’s expression became serious. “That’s a very good question.”
Noticing the sudden air of gloom that enveloped Sam, Tibby swallowed and looked away, feeling a little guilty for upsetting his newfound companion. He winced for a moment while a brief flash of pain surged through his brain, foreshadowing one of his recurring headaches. The years had not been good to Tibido Johnson, but here was a man before him who said he was there to help him. “Who else have you helped, Sam? I’m not the first person, am I?”
“No, Tibby, you’re not the first,” the scientist replied. Being modest by nature, Sam really didn’t want to go into detail about how many lives he had affected during his years of traveling in the past. “I’ll do what I can to make things better for you, Tibby. I promise you that.”
December 1, 1969
Nearly thirty minutes had passed since Tom had found himself living someone else’s life for the first time. It was definitely a surreal experience for him, looking into a mirror and seeing a different reflection staring back at him. How had Sam not lost his mind over the course of the past twelve years? For that matter, how was he able to deal with constantly forgetting important details about his own life? For the first time, Tom truly understood why Al and Donna never wanted to tell Sam about his family.
Coming out of his reverie, Tom walked back over toward his “uncle,” who now seemed rather fascinated with a science book he had discovered dealing with quantum physics, of all things. Still seeing the bookstore owner listening intently to the radio report about the woman named “Lethal Logan,” Tom gently nudged his “uncle” and asked him, “Are you going to be here for a while still? I thought I might step out for a few minutes and check out another store or two.”
“Oh, by all means, don’t let me stop you, Sib,” the younger man said. “Let me guess: you want to make sure I’m not around when you buy my Christmas gift so that you could surprise me with it before I head back to Boston, right?” he added with a wink.
“Uhh, yeah, something like that,” Tom answered with a nervous chuckle. “I’ll just be a few minutes.” Giving a friendly nod to the bookstore owner, he opened the glass door, which made a chiming bell sound as it opened and closed, and stepped out onto the main street. For a moment, Tom just stood there looking around at the people walking up and down the sidewalk. He was experiencing an incredible feeling of déjà vu about the small town he was in, but his slightly Swiss-cheesed brain still couldn’t sort through all the details.
Suddenly, the rectangular white door of the Imaging Chamber opened, revealing the visage of Rear Admiral Albert Calavicci. “Oh, thank God, it worked!” he announced as he stepped all the way through and punched one of the three buttons on the sleek Stephen Beckett model handlink to close the door shut. He still looked a little weak from his coma, but being the stubborn admiral that Al was, he pushed his discomfort aside and put on a good face. “Hi, Tom.”
Squinting his eyes in deep thought for a few seconds, Tom finally said, “Al?”
Breathing a sigh of relief, Al replied, “Well, you remember me. That’s good, Tom. You’re already doing much better than Sam did on his first leap; he couldn’t even remember his own name. It took them a little over an hour to do, but somehow, Dom and Ziggy managed to recalibrate the Imaging Chamber to switch back and forth between you and Sam without losing the neural link to either one of you. Of course, it’ll take up enough power to light up Las Vegas for the next year, but they did it. There are two people in the Waiting Room, just like when Sam and I leapt together. The kid that you replaced finally arrived here about a half-hour ago.”
Before the time traveler had a chance to say anything more, an attractive teenage girl with short curly blonde hair walked through the holographic observer and almost bumped into Tom, interrupting their conversation. “Oh, excuse me, I didn’t...” Whatever else the girl was going to say was cut off when she looked at Tom’s face and immediately recognized him. “Oh, Sibby, it’s you! I didn’t realize you’d be in town today.”
“Oh, well...me and my uncle were just, uh, doing some shopping before he goes back to Boston,” Tom explained, repeating what he had been told earlier.
Nodding at Tom’s response, the girl continued, “I’m doing some shopping myself before I head home. Only twenty-four shopping days left until Christmas, after all.” Lowering her head for a few seconds, she shyly looked back up into the time traveler’s eyes and asked, “Um...I was just wondering...has Sam asked about me by any chance?”
Tom did a double take upon hearing Sam’s name being mentioned. ‘Is it possible she could be referring to my brother?’ he pondered. “W–why would he be asking about you?”
“Well, I did kiss him after you guys won the game against Bentleyville last Friday,” the girl supplied, blushing with embarrassment. “When I saw him in school this morning, he still acted shy like he didn’t remember anything about it.”
Both Tom’s and Al’s eyes lit up when the girl mentioned Sam’s game against Bentleyville. “Oh, hey, Tom! It’s Lisa Parson! I thought I remembered seeing her somewhere before; it was when Sam leaped into himself to win that game, which was only...wow, three days ago from your perspective. She’s a real cutie!”
“I’m back in Elk Ridge!” Tom finally realized, forgetting that Lisa was still standing there.
An odd look crossed over Lisa’s face as she replied, “Of course you’re in Elk Ridge! Are you okay?”
Shaking his blunder off, Tom answered, “Yeah, I’m fine, I was just...thinking about the game and how, um...me and Sam and the rest of the team are all probably going to be playing against other teams in Indiana now that we beat Bentleyville. So...we might be doing some traveling to other counties, and I was thinking how nice it’ll be to come home afterward and say, ‘I’m back in Elk Ridge!’”
“Boy, you were really reaching with that one,” Al commented sarcastically.
Seeming to accept Tom’s explanation, Lisa smiled as she took out a slip of paper from her purse and said, “Well, if you see Sam, could you give him my phone number and tell him to call me?” She took Tom’s hand and passed him the paper with the number scrawled on it.
“Sure,” Tom simply replied as he put the paper in his pants pocket.
“Thanks. I guess I’ll see you in class tomorrow. Bye!” Lisa finished, waving goodbye with her fingers as she continued on down the street.
“I can’t believe it,” Tom whispered to Al. “That was Lisa Parson!”
“Wild, huh?” Al told him with a slight chuckle. “Now you know how Sam felt when he first leaped back and got to see all you guys again. You know, if it hadn’t been for Sam’s winning shot, Bentleyville would’ve moved on to become the state champs instead of Elk Ridge and Lisa would’ve married that nozzle, ‘No Nose’ Pruitt. It appears as if the ‘new’ history is still intact for now.”
“‘No Nose’?!” Tom exclaimed. “You’re kidding, right?”
“What, you think you’re the only one whose life was changed by that overgrown Boy Scout brother of yours?” Al took one last look at Lisa walking down the street before turning his head back toward Tom and commenting, “She seems like a real sweet girl, though; sort of reminds me of my third... fourth... no, my third daughter, Vicki, the younger of the two twins. Huh, that’s funny, why would I be thinking I had five daughters?” For a split second, Al had a fleeting memory of...something. Shrugging it off, he continued, “Well, anyway, she was always a bit shy when she was a teenager, but not shy enough to stay out of trouble when it came to approaching the boys, if you know what I mean.”
“Al,” Tom stressed, trying to get his observer’s attention.
Unfazed, Al continued to drift off. “Kept me and Beth on our toes, that’s for sure. I wasn’t too thrilled when she married that stripper, Mitchell Davidson... no, wait a minute, she’s married to Jeff Stephens, they even have a kid together. But she still has that foot injury.... How is that possible?”
“Al!” Tom shouted this time, not realizing the significance of the inconsistency with Al’s daughter. “If you don’t mind?”
“Hmm? Oh, right, sorry about that,” Al apologized as he looked back down at the multi-colored “gummi-bear” model handlink he had been holding and began reading off the information that scrolled across its small screen. “Let’s see here, your name is...Sibby Lo... Lo.... Damn, I can’t make it out.” Straining his eyes to read the small words, Al reluctantly gave in and took his reading glasses out of his shirt pocket, placing them on the bridge of his nose. He then smacked the side of the handlink for good measure, producing a squealing sound. “Ah, that’s better: Sibby LoNi...gro....”
Both hologram and leaper looked at each other in disbelief as the full name was read off. “LoNigro?” Tom practically shouted. “Oh, geez, I thought Sibby’s name sounded familiar. Sibby LoNigro...he was one of Sam’s best buddies during high school. Him and Herkie.”
“Herkie?” Al asked in bewilderment. “Who in their right mind would name their kid ‘Herkie’?”
“That was his nickname, Al. Can’t remember his real name offhand. But anyway, yeah, I remember Sibby. He and Sam hung out a lot, both on and off the basketball court. His uncle was the professor I met up with before I shipped off to ’Nam, the one who told me that Sam had the kind of brain that comes along once in a generation, or maybe even once in several generations. Oh my God, that means that my uncle back there in the bookstore is—”
“Doctor Sebastian LoNigro!” Al finished for him. “I can’t believe it! It’s Bobby! I never knew he had relatives in Elk Ridge. He must have been here for the holidays. Ziggy says that it’s Monday, December First, Nineteen Sixty-Nine.”
“Nineteen Sixty-Nine,” Tom interrupted. That was the trigger for Tom’s brain to kick back into full gear. “Al, I just heard something on the news about Logan. They’re calling her ‘Lethal Logan’ in this era. There’s supposedly some kind of manhunt going on for her right now. She’s been spotted in the Elk Ridge area, but I don’t remember ever hearing about any kind of incident with her.”
The observer relayed the information to Ziggy via the handlink and waited for a response. Five seconds later, he got it. “Okay, according to Ziggy, we’re approaching the first temporal junction. Ziggy’s having trouble pinpointing the exact location where it’s gonna go down, but she gives it a ninety-one point four percent chance that Logan is gonna strike sometime within the next two hours. She can’t find any info on Sam’s whereabouts in this time, though.”
“Well, why can’t Ziggy just activate—?” Tom stopped as he looked at Al’s handlink with confusion. “Wait a minute... what happened to the other handlink?”
“What other handlink?” Al asked in equal confusion.
“The one that Stephen— never mind. It’s not important,” Tom replied, just as another memory came flooding back. “Actually, we don’t need Ziggy. I know exactly where Sam is.”
“You do?” Al asked.
“Yeah, he’s with...me!” Tom exclaimed. “I mean, the young me! I remember now, we were both in town looking for gifts for the family, seeing as how I wasn’t going to be there for Christmas that year. Plus, he wanted to spend some more time with me before I left for ’Nam. In fact, I don’t think we’re— um, I mean...they’re too far from here.”
“Well, go back and get Bobby, or tell him you need to leave, I don’t care, but find Sam and stick to him like glue; Ziggy says the odds of Sam getting killed have just gone up to ninety-five percent! If it reaches one hundred, it’s all over.”
“I know what’s at stake, Al,” Tom shot back annoyingly. “Look, I can handle this for now. Have Dominic go back and check up on ‘our’ Sam, see how he’s holding up in Ninety-Three.”
“Alright, I’ll do that,” Al agreed, as he pressed the button on the handlink that opened the door leading back to the future. “I’ll be back as soon as I can.” With that, the observer stepped through the door as it closed behind him.
Tom proceeded to run back into the bookstore without a moment’s delay. Unbeknownst to him, if he had waited a few seconds longer, he might have caught Logan walking quickly down the street wearing a gray trench coat and a hat to match, with her hands in her coat pockets. But alas, she continued to make her way down the street undetected, hoping to elude capture once again.
York City, New York
February 25, 1993
Somewhere in the distance, a church bell rang off the hour, telling Sam that it was six o’clock. Darkness had fallen on the city and the temperature was dropping, bringing with it some light flurries. Sam was thankful for Tibby and his supply of blankets, but all he really wanted was for Al to return and inform him of his mission. It seemed like helping Tibby to some degree was a certainty.
here to help me? You came all
the way from the future to help Tibby?”
The words played in the leaper’s head over and over, and he kept hoping that he was right. At the very least, he would have his observer check the census records and find out where Tibby’s relatives had ended up.
“Where are you, Al?” Sam Beckett whispered to himself.
“Don’t worry. He’ll come back,” Tibby said cheerfully, overhearing the leaper’s musings.
“I know he will. I guess I just get impatient sometimes,” replied Sam with a weak grin. He was actually amazed with how optimistic the homeless man was, considering the hardships that life had handed to him. As if being abandoned by his parents at a mental institution when he was a child wasn’t traumatic enough, not being properly treated at the hospital landed him a prime spot at the bottom of the poverty scale.
The chill of the air coursed through Sam’s being and he shivered involuntarily. “How do you survive in this weather?” he questioned of the vagabond.
“Warm thoughts,” Tibby replied knowingly. “Just imagine that you’re in a big, comfy bed somewhere, even if you’re here on the sidewalk under an old blanket.”
“You must have a big imagination,” Sam rejoined. “Haven’t you ever thought of staying in a shelter?”
The suggestion seemed to hit a nerve with Tibby as he suddenly took on a dejected expression. “I–I can’t stay in shelters,” he stuttered.
“Why not?” Sam asked curiously.
Tibby fidgeted with his fingers and worked up his mouth for a moment as the sound of the Imaging Chamber door opening distracted them. The white light illuminated the two men on the sidewalk and Sam watched, in surprise, as Project Quantum Leap’s head programmer Dominic Lofton stepped through, the “gummi-bear” handlink gripped in his left hand.
“Dominic? Where’s Al?” demanded Sam, getting to his feet. “For that matter, where’s Tom?”
Dom had prepared himself for the question that he figured he would face first when making contact with the leaper. “I’m afraid I can’t discuss it, Sam,” he said evenly. “They’re both involved with something else here at the Project.”
“Anything serious?” Doctor Beckett asked.
The programmer shook his head and forced a convincing smile. “No, it’s just an administrative thing. Don’t worry, I’m just temporary.”
“You have another friend from the future?” Tibby proclaimed, also getting to his feet.
“Dom, I’d like you to meet Tibby,” Sam said with a grin. “Tibby, this is Dominic.”
“Right, Al told me about Mister Johnson,” Dom replied as he looked at the vagabond. Again, Tibby offered his hand to Sam’s holographic observer. Acting on instinct, Dom reached out and realized his mistake when their hands passed through each other. Tibby blinked a couple of times as his jaw dropped.
“H-how’d you do that?!” the homeless man exclaimed as he backed away.
Sam put his hand on Tibby’s shoulder in an attempt to calm him down. “Dominic comes from the future, just like Al,” he explained in a soothing tone. “They communicate with me using a holographic image – he’s not really here. That’s why your hands couldn’t make contact.”
Wearing a slightly embarrassed expression on his face, Dom nodded in agreement with hopes that he hadn’t frightened Tibby to the point of not cooperating. “I’m sorry, I should have...” the programmer started.
“It’s all right, Dom,” Sam said, stopping him from continuing. “Do you have anything about why I’m here?”
Nodding, he turned to the handlink and pressed a couple of keys. “Ziggy says that even with the current...instability, there’s a sixty-four percent chance that you’re here to help Tibby adjust to living in a homeless shelter,” he started, then seeing an adamant shaking of Tibby’s head at that, added, “and an eighty-three percent chance that you’re here to help Tibby find his family.”
“So you are here to help me!” said Tibby in a whisper.
“Have you ever tried finding your family before?” the leaper asked, immediately forgetting the mention of living in a shelter.
Tibby nodded and replied, “Yeah, but there’re so many Johnsons in the phonebook, and I ain’t tried in so many years....”
“Well, then you’re in luck, sir,” Dominic piped up. “Your older sister, Jeany, lives right here in Manhattan. She’s been retired for six years after her career as a secretary. Her husband, William King, spent his life as a janitor until he won the state lottery in December of Eighty-Six.”
Amazed at how his sister’s life turned out in comparison to his own, Tibby opened his mouth in astonishment and quickly covered it with his hands to keep himself from making an outburst. Not only had Sam and his futuristic friends found his sister, she had ended up rich!
“Is it far from here, Dom?” Sam queried. Then, lowering his voice, he quickly added, “And is Ziggy sure that Jeany and her husband will accept Tibby after all these years?”
“No to both questions, Sam,” answered the former professor, also in a hushed tone, “but the odds of getting Tibby together with his family are too good to pass up. There’s always convincing him about shelters if it fails.”
Agreeing wholeheartedly, the time traveler turned his attention back to the homeless man. “Tibby, do you want us to take you to see your sister?”
Tibido Johnson was practically beside himself. He had told himself to not get his hopes up when Sam said he could put him in contact with his long-lost family, but actually meeting one of his siblings sounded almost too good to be true. “You know where she lives?” he asked, looking between the leaper and the observer.
“It’s about a thirty to forty-minute walk from here,” replied Dom. “I’ll gladly show you the way.”
Still moving his gaze between the two time-displaced men before him, Tibby weighed the pros and cons of the situation. The worst that could happen was that his sister would turn him away and he’d be back where he was that morning.
“Please, Dominic, lead the way!” he eventually cried out.
York City, New York
February 25, 1993
our appearance, I managed to convince the doorman to allow us into the
building, under his condition that one of the security guards accompanied
us. We took the elevator up a
number of floors to the apartment of Tibby’s sister and were led to a
door—a door that would hopefully lead Tibby to a new life.
The four men—Sam, Tibby, Dom, and the guard—stood outside of Jeany and William King’s apartment. Tibby was hesitating to knock on the door as butterflies began fluttering in his stomach. “I dunno about this, Sam,” he said quietly. “What if she doesn’t recognize me? It’s been over fifty years.”
“This is totally up to you, Tibby,” the leaper replied in an equally hushed tone, “but you’ll never know unless you try.”
Pressing his lips together, Tibby raised his hand to knock on the door, hesitated as he swallowed the lump in his throat, and then rapped his knuckles against the wood. “Who’s there?” came a female voice.
“Great work, Sam,” Dom put in as he tapped at the sleek handlink that Stephen had developed. “Ziggy says the chances of this working out are high, but it’ll depend on your helping Jeany remember her little brother.”
While Dominic was speaking, the guard identified himself and said that the doorman had allowed the two men to speak with her. The leaper mentally nodded at his observer’s words before feeling a wave of disorientation flow through him. When the sensation passed, he found Tibby standing beside him as the door slowly opened to reveal an elderly woman in very fashionable wardrobe.
“May I help you?” Jeany King asked, looking surprised to see two destitute African-American men standing at her doorstep with an armed accompaniment.
“J-Jeany?” Tibby stuttered out. “Is it really you?”
The woman creased her brow in confusion and nodded. “And you are?”
Sam glanced over at Gooshie for a brief moment. When the observer gave him an encouraging nod, the quantum physicist decided to jump in and steer the conversation. “Ma’am, this is your brother, Tibido Johnson,” he stated in a calm voice. “He’s been looking for his family for the past forty years and we finally found you.”
Disbelief crossed Jeany’s face as her head shook slightly. “Tibby?” she squeaked.
“You look just like Mama,” Tibby commented with a grin. He wanted to give his sister a tight hug, but something about how close Sam was standing to him made the vagabond hold back his emotions and wait for his sister’s reaction.
Squinting her eyes, Jeany took a few steps toward her long-lost brother. “Tibby.... My Lord, it really is you! You’re the spitting image of John and Kelvin! If you ain’t my brother, then may God strike me dead right now!”
Brother and sister finally let down the barrier of hesitance and embraced each other. Gooshie couldn’t help but chuckle at the scene: a homeless man hugging a millionaire. “What a touching scene, Doctor Beckett,” he commented before poking at the thin calculator-style handlink.
When the two let go of each other, their hands clasped together, Jeany turned to Sam. “And who might you be, bringing my brother back to me?” she questioned with tears in the corners of her eyes.
“Oh, this is my friend Sam. He helped me find where you live,” Tibby interjected with a wide grin.
Figuring more explanation could wait, the older woman then turned her attention to the guard. “I think I can handle things from here,” she said with a smile. Tipping his hat, the security guard left the family to their reunion.
“Now, why don’t you two come on in?” Jeany offered, stepping out of the doorway to let them inside. Tibby didn’t hesitate and walked on in. “You too, Sam.”
He was about to protest, but realizing that Gooshie hadn’t said that the mission was a success yet, the leaper nodded. “Thank you, ma’am,” he replied, crossing the threshold and allowing Tibby’s sister to close the door behind them. Jeany then led them to a red-toned sofa and told them to wait while she brought them some tea. After she disappeared into the kitchen, Sam turned to Tibby. “Now, remember, you can’t tell her anything about me being a time traveler or about Gooshie or how we got the information. We don’t want to give her the impression that you’re—”
“Crazy?” Tibby finished for him. “Don’t worry, Sam. I know how crazy it sounds. I may be a little slow, but I’m not stupid.”
The leaper chuckled and nodded. “Okay, you’re right. I’m sorry.”
Tibby brushed off Sam’s reservations and watched as Jeany returned with a serving tray containing three steaming cups of tea, placing the tray on the glass-top coffee table that sat between the two couches. “Tibby, why in the world did it take you so long to find me? Mama and Papa put you in that hospital so long ago... they never told us what happened to you,” she said sadly as she sat down on the opposite sofa.
“After they left me at Havenwell, I never heard from anyone,” Tibby answered with equal melancholy. “I tried to find you folks when I got out, but everyone had gone from Pennsylvania. I been on the streets ever since.”
Jeany shook her head, wondering how she had such a good life while her brother endured homelessness. “At least there are plenty of shelters here in the City,” she put in.
The younger Johnson shook his head vehemently and again Sam asked, “Why can’t you stay in the shelters, Tibby?” Quickly, he moved his attention to Jeany and added, “He has been literally on the streets, ma’am.”
Tibby chewed at his lips for a moment as the other three people in the room stared at him expectantly. “Well, they remind me of the hospital. I feel much better under the stars,” he replied.
“Well, you won’t have to worry ’bout that anymore, Tibby. Will an’ I can set you up with a nice apartment...” Jeany said, trailing off when she saw a perplexed look on Tibby’s face. “That is, if you want us to.”
Tibby shook his head. “I didn’t come here to take your money, Jeany. I just wanted to find out what happened to my family and know that I wasn’t the last one of us still alive.”
Jeany let out a slight chortle and waved her hand at her brother. “Tibby, I changed your diapers when you were a baby an’ looked after you when Mama was too busy with the other kids. It’s a big sister’s duty to take care of her younger siblings.”
“But I’m a grown man, Jeany. I should be able to take care of myself,” Tibby replied, though very grateful for his sister’s charity.
“I won’t have it no other way, Tibby! If you could take care of yourself, you wouldn’t be beggin’ on the streets, now would ya?” The younger Johnson’s face softened as he realized that, despite the half-century of being apart, his sister still cared deeply for him.
“If you’re sure it ain’t too much trouble...” Tibby said before he started to choke up. Jeany rose from her seat and embraced him again, ignoring the musty smell that emitted from both of her visitors.
“What about your husband?” Sam asked.
Jeany looked at the time traveler and smiled. “Oh, Will’s just out on some errands. Believe me, we have more money than we know what to do with. He ain’t got no family, so he’ll be glad to meet another of mine and help him out.”
Gooshie pressed some keys on the handlink as it made its characteristic noises. “Doctor Beckett, you’ve done it. Tibby gets an apartment in this building and lives out his days in a very close relationship with his sister,” the temporary observer interjected, his holographic image flickering all the while.
Nodding at both Tibby’s sister and his holographic aid, Sam got to his feet only to receive another dizzying feeling. He sat back down and received worried glances from the Johnson siblings.
“You all right, Sam?” Tibby asked.
“Yeah, just felt a little lightheaded,” the leaper replied with a reassuring grin. Again he got up from the couch. “Well, thank you for your hospitality, ma’am. I’ll be on my way now.”
Jeany stood up and grabbed his arm. “Sam, I don’t know how or why God sent you to help my brother find me, but you can’t just walk away and say, ‘My work here is done.’ You have to be rewarded, you know.” The woman spoke with a kindness that warmed Sam’s heart. It was a great feeling to know that there were people in the world that were extremely wealthy and yet didn’t allow it to change their attitude toward life.
“I couldn’t accept a ‘reward’ for just helping my fellow man,” Sam replied, placing his hand on the one that was holding his arm.
“Tsk,” Jeany retorted with a grin, “will you at least clean yourself up? We got three bathrooms here. I think the first thing you two need is a warm bath and some clean clothes.”
Tibby took no time to stand up and give his sister an energetic hug. “Please, Sam, do as my sister asks,” he said with a smile.
Rolling his eyes in mock annoyance, Sam nodded and allowed Jeany to lead the way. She took each man to a separate bathroom, each fully equipped, and left them to their business.
“Well, Sam, Ziggy’s not sure why you haven’t leaped yet,” Dominic said as the door closed behind them. “You’ve got Tibby well on his way to enjoy the rest of his life in luxury, which was a bonus to having him reunite with his sister.”
“Does it have to do with Danny? Or the bombing at the World Trade Center?” the leaper asked as he stripped down to Danny’s long johns and tee shirt. “Until I came across Tibby, all she could come up with was that I wasn’t here to prevent the bombing.”
The programmer shook his head unhappily. “Ziggy says that Danny dies in a few days from natural causes. There’s nothing you can do to help him except maybe make his last few days comfortable. I guess the best thing to do would be to wait and see what Tibby’s sister can offer you in the way of accommodations.”
Shrugging, Sam crossed his arms and gazed at the floor. “Well, why don’t you go back and talk to Ziggy. I think I need a long, hot bath,” the leaper said with a smirk as Dom nodded in understanding.
“Sure thing, Sam. I’ll be back as soon as I can.” The door into the Control Room opened and Professor Lofton stepped through only to find Al waiting for him.
“Disengaging lock on Doctor Beckett,” Ziggy’s voice said silkily.
Giving the handlink to the other observer, Dom grinned and asked, “Changing of the guard?”
“You might say that,” Al replied, simply to humor the programmer. Knowing that the minutes were counting down until Tom would have to encounter Logan, the admiral was not in a good mood. It didn’t help matters any that Ziggy had privately informed him about various discrepancies and time anomalies which were continuing to cause ripple effects in the chronological flow of time. Apparently, there were some fluctuations occurring that both Sam and Tom were unaware of from their ends of the timeline, and others that both Al and Ziggy didn’t notice. The idea that even he and Ziggy weren’t immune to reality shifting around them without their even knowing it was unnerving to the admiral.
Dom nodded as he passed the handlink over and headed to the main control panel while Al stepped into the Imaging Chamber. He stood in the middle of the large, blue room and waited as the swirling tornado of images spun around him.
“Engaging lock on Admiral Beckett,” Ziggy announced as the hologram formed in front of Al’s eyes. What he saw before him was indeed a surreal sight. Tom Beckett, Leaper, was standing next to Professor Sebastian “Bobby” LoNigro outside of a record store, and coming out through the front door directly in front of them was the young twenty-three–year-old Lieutenant Tom Beckett, Navy SEAL.
“Hi, Tom, I’m sorry I couldn’t get back here sooner, but Dom was helping out Sam,” Al offered. “I see you’re about to come face-to-face with...yourself! Kick in the butt, ain’t it?”
“You can say that again,” Tom whispered as his younger self approached the two men with a surprised look on his face.
“Well, what do ya know!” the young Tom said, grinning widely. “How’s it going, Sibby? Great game you guys played last Friday! I can finally die in peace now that you guys helped me get my revenge.” Then, he turned toward Bobby and extended his right hand. “Professor LoNigro, it’s an honor to meet you again!”
Bobby accepted Tom’s offer of a handshake and replied, “The honor is all mine. Sibby’s been telling me you’re going to be shipping off to Vietnam soon to fight for our country.”
Chuckling at the comment, Tom responded, “Well, not for another day or two. Sam is just helping me get some gifts for the family since I won’t be here.”
At the mention of his friend’s name, Al inquired aloud, “Speaking of Sam, where the heck is he, Tom? I thought you said that you and he were together.”
As if on cue, Bobby asked almost the exact same question. “Where is the genius anyway? I’ve heard so many great things about him from you, Sibby and his teachers, but I’ve never had the chance to meet the young man personally.”
“Oh, he’s still inside looking for a gift for Katie,” Young Tom answered both questions. “She’s a huge Beatles nut. Sam said there’s a new album that came out not too long ago called Abbey Road that she still doesn’t have yet.”
Al began punching some more keys on the multi-colored handlink as new information came scrolling across the tiny screen. “Something’s wrong, Tom. This doesn’t make any sense....”
“What doesn’t make any sense?” Leaper Tom whispered, placing his hand over his mouth to cover for talking to “thin air.”
Before Al could explain any further, a gunshot fired from inside the record store. Immediately, all four men simultaneously shouted out, “SAM!!”
Racing through the door, they saw the record-store owner lying dead on the floor, a huge gaping gunshot wound in his chest. Standing over the man’s corpse was a blonde woman in a gray trench coat with her hat on the floor, and holding the still-smoking gun. Before anyone even had time to react, she reached over and pulled the shocked Sam Beckett close to her, using him as a human shield. She then pulled a butcher knife out of her inside coat pocket and held it against his neck.
“Oh my God, it’s her!” Bobby exclaimed. “‘Lethal Logan’!”
“Damn it, history’s changing, Tom!” Al announced. “The odds are rising that Sam still dies, but now Bobby dies trying to save him, too!”
Tom’s eyes opened wide with fear as he said, “Aw, hell....”
December 1, 1969
“No one come any closer,” Logan ordered with malice in her eyes, “or this kid won’t live to see another sunrise!” To stress the point, she applied pressure to the knife against the teenage Sam’s neck, drawing a trickle of blood.
For a moment, Tom was speechless. Here he was, his little brother in the flesh, completely unaware of the destiny that awaited him—or at least, would await him if he made it through this alive. He couldn’t help but wonder if Sam would be able to see beyond the aura of Sibby and subsequently see Al as well.
“Shit, Al, what do we do?” Leaper Tom whispered in horror.
Frantically punching the keys on his handlink to get more information, Al did a double take when he read off what Ziggy supplied. “This is odd, Tom. Ziggy says that history is changing again. Sam no longer dies today!”
“What?!” Tom nearly exclaimed in relief. “Well, that’s great, Al!”
“It’s not that great,” Al countered. “Now there’s an eighty-nine point five percent chance that Sam will die four years from now...on August Eighth, Nineteen Seventy-Three. My God, that’s his twentieth birthday! That was only a couple of days after he and Bobby worked out the String Theory.”
Tom’s smile quickly turned into a frown as he realized what the deaths of both Bobby and Sam meant. “That would mean that...the String Theory never gets proven. Project Quantum Leap will never get developed!”
“Logan is so consumed with revenge, she doesn’t even understand that her actions are causing a ripple effect in Time.” As the handlink made a sudden chirp, Al looked down at it again and his face turned as white as a ghost. “Oh, no....”
“What now?” Tom asked worriedly.
“It’s...Beth,” Al answered sadly. “She and I are...no longer married. It’s changed back! My daughters...they never existed. Damn it! Why couldn’t that have been the one thing I forgot during the time shifts!? Oh God....”
As much as he and Al butted heads from time to time, Tom would never have wished anything like that on his fellow admiral. “I’m sorry, Al. I know you loved Beth deeply. I swear to you, whatever it takes, I’ll set things right.”
“Hey, you!” Logan yelled, focusing her attention on the leaper. “Yeah, that’s right, you! Who are you talking to?”
“Easy, Tom, we don’t want to get her all riled up,” Al offered, holding up his hands as if it would make a difference in keeping Sam safe.
“N-no one, I...just want to set things right with you,” Leaper Tom began calmly. “We’ll do whatever you want, but please, let my friend go. He hasn’t done anything to you.”
“Tom, Ziggy says the record-store owner recognized Logan’s face from the television news reports and made an anonymous call to the local law enforcement in Elk Ridge. Once she found out what he had done, she shot him dead right in front of Sam. That was right before we ran in here. The authorities should be arriving in about five minutes, so she’s going to attempt using Sam as a bargaining chip to make her escape. You need to keep Sam and Bobby alive as long as possible. Now Ziggy’s projecting two possible times of death for Sam.”
“Logan, listen to me, you don’t want to do this,” Tom pleaded. “Killing an innocent sixteen–year-old boy will only make things worse for you. The local authorities are already on their way. Turn yourself in now and no one else needs to get hurt.”
“You think I’m stupid?” Logan blasted back. “They all think I’m INSANE! Like I’m some kind of homicidal MANIAC! No one understands! They let that murderer Stiles live instead of giving him the chair like he deserved. I’m only trying to mete out justice. If they would just turn Stiles over and let me kill him for what he did to me, I wouldn’t have to try and lure him out by killing all of these ‘look-alikes’!”
“Ummm...ooookayyy, Tom, this chick is definitely cuckoo for cocoa puffs!” Al said nervously as he twirled his finger around the side of his head.
“I am NOT ‘cuckoo for cocoa puffs,’ whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean!” Logan shouted back, her grip on reality fraying more and more with each passing second.
Both Tom and Al looked at each other in shock after hearing Logan’s exclamation. “She can hear me!” Al said, to which he then added, “I guess that makes sense considering the fact that Logan is a complete LOONEY TUNE!!!”
“STOP CALLING ME CRAZY!!!” Logan screamed, looking around the entire room in an attempt at finding the mystery voice. That distraction was the opportunity the leaper needed as he lunged toward Logan, shoving Sam down to the ground.
While Leaper Tom was temporarily keeping Logan restrained, Young Tom pulled Sam up off the floor and led him outside the store. Bobby, on the other hand, couldn’t just leave his “nephew” to fend for himself. “Sibby, get away from her! She’ll kill you!” he protested as he began running toward Logan.
Hearing Bobby’s voice, the leaper turned around quickly and said, “No, Uncle Bobby, go with Tom and Sam. Run! I’ll be right behind you guys.”
“TOM, WATCH OUT!” Al screamed as Logan slashed her knife across the leaper’s shoulder, causing Tom to scream out in pain.
“Get away from me, boy!” Logan scoffed as she pushed the leaper down to the floor. “You’re not my type! Perhaps in another four years,” she added with a smirk.
“You sadistic BITCH!” Bobby shouted in fury as he ran to Tom’s aid and struggled to get the lethal blade away from Logan. Somehow, he managed to twist Logan’s right arm around until it made a popping sound. Screaming with rage, she lashed back with her other arm, slashing Bobby across his lower ribcage. Instinctively, he placed his hand over the wound, giving the killer just enough time to drop her knife and run past his collapsing form, cradling her dislocated arm.
“Tom, what are you doing? Get up!!” Al yelled. “That psycho is getting away!”
Before Tom could respond or even inquire about Bobby’s fate, his younger self appeared in the doorway, blocking Logan’s escape route. If looks could kill, Logan would have been dead on the spot. “After what you did to my little brother and my friends, you’re not gettin’ away that easily, you bitch!”
“Wait a minute,” the leaper said, realizing full well that his younger self was determined to kill her. “Uh...er, Tom, stop!”
But the younger Tom didn’t hear “Sibby’s” warning. As the sounds of police sirens could be heard off in the distance, Young Tom struggled with Logan, knocking her to the ground with one well-placed punch. What neither he nor the older Tom realized, however, was that the gun was still on the floor just within Logan’s reach. Within a matter of seconds, the leaper’s world turned upside-down. Right before his eyes, he saw Logan grab the gun off the floor, turn around and shoot Young Tom directly in the left kneecap. Everything seemed to move in slow motion as the Navy SEAL fell to the ground holding his knee in excruciating pain.
It was at that exact moment that Sam came running back into the store and saw Logan gun down his brother. “TOM!!” he screamed out as he raced over to his older brother’s side. “Oh God, no! Please be okay!”
Logan bent down to pick up her hat and placed it back on top of her head, concealing her short blonde hair. She was still supporting her dislocated arm as she looked back at the wounded individuals and licked her lips seductively. “It’s been fun, boys, but I think it’s time I got out of Squaresville. I’ve got places to go, young men to kill...you know how it is.”
“Damn it all to hell, she’s getting away!” Al exclaimed in frustration as Logan slipped out the front door. The holographic observer began pounding on all the keys of the handlink, desperately trying to find any data concerning the “new” history of Elk Ridge, Indiana, December 1, 1969.
As the sounds of the police sirens grew closer, Admiral Tom Beckett mentally blocked out the pain of his shoulder wound and ran to the aid of his younger self. “Al! This can’t be happening! Tell me this isn’t happening!” Tom exclaimed, as he tried his best to tie a tourniquet around his younger self’s bloodied leg until the more knowledgeable paramedics could arrive.
“Who in the hell are you talking to, Sib?” Young Tom asked, biting his bottom lip to get through the excruciating pain.
“Never mind,” Leaper Tom replied as he looked at a tear-filled Sam, then back over to Bobby, who was leaning against the wall still holding the side of his ribcage but apparently toughing it out. Directing his attention to both his younger self and his observer, Tom added, “I’m just...concerned about you and my uncle.”
Ignoring the young naval lieutenant, Al frantically punched the keys on his handlink to acquire any information Ziggy could provide. “Everything keeps changing around! The good news is that you—I mean, the young you—and Bobby don’t seem to suffer any permanent damage. However, you spend the next five to six months in the hospital enduring physical therapy for your knee injury, eventually making a full recovery. Your first tour of duty in Vietnam is delayed because of that, and—aw no....”
“What?” Tom asked ignoring the strange glances he was getting from Bobby and the younger versions of both himself and Sam.
“You won’t be there to lead Operation Lazarus...which means that most of your squad now gets killed in that Chu Hoi ambush. But, I remember Sam leaping into Magic and saving you. Now Ziggy’s saying that leap never happened! What the hell is going on here?!”
“Th-that’s not possible!” Tom exclaimed in disbelief.
“What’s not possible, Sibby?” Sam asked through his tears.
Tom never got the chance to clarify as the local police and paramedics came storming into the store at that precise moment. The captain of Elk Ridge’s police department began barking orders at his men as crowds of onlookers began forming outside the store. “This is a crime scene, everyone! Please stand back and let us do our jobs,” one of the officers could be heard telling the people.
One of the paramedics approached the injured party and after seeing Young Tom’s knee injury, he winced and ordered, “We need a gurney over here!” As the medic began treating the injury, he asked, “What’s your name, son?”
“T-Tom B-Beckett,” the young lieutenant supplied, gritting his teeth.
“Well, just hang in there, Mister Beckett. We’re going to get you to a hospital right away.” Then the paramedic looked over Bobby’s and the older Tom’s injuries and added, “You both seem to have gotten by with minor flesh wounds, but I’m still recommending you both be brought to the hospital as well, just to make sure.”
As Young Tom was hauled off on the gurney, Sam followed close behind him, holding his brother’s hand. Al took that moment to confer with Ziggy’s new projections. “You’ve only delayed Sam’s death by four years. Now that you’ve averted one paradox and saved Bobby, Sam’s twentieth birthday seems to be the origin point of the shockwave. I don’t know how, Tom, but you’ve got to get yourself to leap there somehow. Several top personnel members of Quantum Leap have already started fading from memory. Time is running out!”
“I feel my body tingling, Al,” Tom replied. “I’m being pulled back into Time. Don’t worry, Sam, I’m coming!”
Those were the last words he spoke as he welcomed the blue light that enveloped his being... and leaped.
Tom Beckett was still cursing himself for not being able to capture Logan as he floated through the great blue expanse. Even though he had prevented Sam from being killed, Bobby LoNigro still got injured, his own past had been directly altered, and the multiple-murderer was still on the loose. The worst of it all was that Al told him that Sam’s death had only shifted forward almost four years.
Focusing all of his energy as temporal electricity coursed through him, the new leaper concentrated on leaping into his younger brother on Sam’s twentieth birthday. The pull of the impending leap was almost painful as Tom found his being reassembling for his second mission.
Blinking his eyes a few times, Admiral Tom Beckett found himself sitting at a round wooden table in what appeared to be a cabin. There was a glass of orange juice in front of him and the quiet murmur of voices. Taking in his surroundings, Tom verified that the voices were coming from the kitchen and just as he was about to stand up to investigate, somebody who he didn’t expect to see again anytime soon stepped out of the kitchen holding two plates.
“Breakfast is served,” Professor Sebastian “Bobby” LoNigro said with a grin as he placed a plate of steaming food in front of Tom. “Thanks for making the bacon.”
“S-sure,” Tom replied, still in shock as he recalled how he had been Bobby’s nephew in the previous leap. Was he still Sibby, or had he managed to leap into somebody else?
The professor sat down at the table beside Tom while another person, somebody unrecognizable to the leaper, came in with two more plates and set them at the table. He looked like he was in his early twenties and his blond hair appeared as though it had been hastily combed after getting out of bed.
“Where’s our fourth?” the young man asked of Bobby as he took the chair to Tom’s left, his words slightly accented.
Chuckling, Professor LoNigro shook his head in amusement. “I think I heard him getting up, but I thought we could let him sleep in today. It’s his birthday, after all.”
There was a creaking of a door and the person in question stepped into view. “Speak of the devil,” Bobby commented. Tom was awestruck as, in a chorus, the professor and the other man cried out, “Happy birthday, Sam!”
“Ah, geez,” Tom muttered.
in the Berkshires, Massachusetts
August 8, 1973
Sam Beckett blinked a couple of times and rubbed some more sleep out of his eyes. “Thank you,” he said with a sheepish grin, “but why didn’t anybody wake me?”
Professor LoNigro shrugged. “Thought you deserved a bit more sleep today,” he answered with a playful smile. “Plus, we’re leaving today. Hard to believe the week is up already.” When Sam still stood there in a slight daze, the professor urged, “Come, sit down. We all pitched in and made a birthday breakfast for you.”
The young version of Sam didn’t think twice and took his seat at the empty chair. Everyone except Tom progressed to eating. Realizing that it would be conspicuous for his host to just sit there—and before anybody could take notice of his reluctance—the leaper slowly chewed on some bacon.
‘Here I am again, with Sam and Professor LoNigro,’ he thought to himself. ‘Does that mean I’m here to save Sam from Logan for good? Did I actually leap to where I have to be?’
Although there were many holes in his memory, the fact that Logan Lanning was out to murder his brother had stayed with him this time. The warnings that Connors had given them about two points of divergence carried with him as well, and Tom knew that the first point had already been changed. Now he just had to make sure that the second one did as well.
“Sean, you all right?” Bobby questioned when he saw Tom lost in deep thought.
“Uh, yeah, I’m fine,” the leaper answered with a reinforcing grin when he saw the professor looking in his direction. “Just thinkin’ about...something.”
Bobby chortled and nodded. “I know it’s a quantum physicist’s job to keep his brain busy, but I think we should agree to keep today’s thoughts strictly extra-curricular. If we’re going to celebrate Sam’s birthday, talking about stuff like the Pauli exclusion principle isn’t exactly the best way to set the mood, now is it?”
The other two students laughed and agreed audibly while Tom nodded in accord just to go with the flow. He knew how much Sam had looked up to Sebastian LoNigro, but he had never realized how he almost seemed like a father figure to the three students at the table.
The remainder of breakfast was eaten as they discussed topics of the day, chiefly how the last of the Watergate hearings had been aired on television the day before. Sam and the other student occasionally caught their tongues before they almost mentioned an aspect of their research.
“I’ll clean up the dishes,” Sam offered once everybody had finished. “It’s the least I can do since you all cooked.”
“Yeah, just because it’s your birthday doesn’t mean we do everything for you, Sam!” the third student remarked.
Sam laughed and said sarcastically, “Thanks, Armas,” as he took the plates and silverware into the kitchen.
Just as he had felt on the previous leap, Tom Beckett was anxious to talk to his brother as if Sam could actually see him for who he really was. Even if this younger version of his brother believed in time travel, Tom highly doubted that Sam would believe that his brother was the one visiting the past.
The leaper decided he might as well start fishing for clues. “So what’s the plan for today, Professor LoNigro?” Tom asked.
“Well, Mister Alsterson,” the quantum physicist replied in a tone that indicated to Tom that his host was on a more personal level with his mentor, “as I mentioned last night, I thought we could all go for a nice, long hike to finish off the break. The body needs as much exercise as the brain.”
Glad to know his full name now, even if by blind luck, Tom nodded and hoped that it wasn’t the hike that would have Sam meet his doom. He would just have to follow everybody else until Al showed up to give him more details.
“I think the scenery here is almost as beautiful as my hometown in Finland,” Armas commented. “I can’t wait to walk amongst it.”
“I’m sure we’ll all find it breathtaking,” Bobby replied with a smile. “It’s one of the reasons I decided to get a cabin up here. A place like this, far from society, gives one a chance to reflect on things from a different perspective. The hike will be a great way to rejuvenate ourselves.”
Armas stood up and excused himself to the shower as a white rectangle of light opened beside him, only visible to Tom. The silhouette of Al Calavicci stepped through and the door closed as he pressed a button on the handlink.
“I have to say I’m impressed,” the holographic admiral said. “On your first try, you leaped in where you were supposed to.”
Keeping any reaction he had to himself for the time being, Tom addressed the professor. “Bobby, I think I’m going to get some fresh air,” the time traveler told him, getting a nod in response while he sipped at his coffee.
Walking through the door, followed by his observer, Tom meandered away from the cabin down the stony footpath.
“Hey, Tom, I think we’re far enough away already,” Admiral Calavicci complained in a joking manner. “The Imaging Chamber is only so big, you know.”
Tom stopped and turned around. “So why am I here? Does Logan find Sam when we’re hiking and kill him then?” he demanded, recalling the horrific dream he had had about Logan shooting his little brother in the woods.
Shaking his head, Al poked at the handlink. “Sam dies tonight in Boston and his body is found in a forested area in the Back Bay Fens. They never found the killer, but you can bet your ass it was Logan Lanning,” replied the observer. “The autopsy found traces of Ketamine, which can be used as a date-rape drug, in his system. I don’t think we can prevent Sam from going out to celebrate his birthday tonight, so you’d better be on him like stink on a water buffalo.”
“A water buffalo?” the leaper repeated before shaking his head. “Never mind. Do you know who I am yet? I only know that my name’s Sean Alderman, or something like that.”
The eyes in Al’s head nearly popped out of their sockets. “Sean Alsterson, you mean?!” he declared.
“Yeah, that’s it,” Tom confirmed, noting the other admiral’s surprise. “Why? What’s the deal?”
The observer shook his head and chuckled slightly. “I knew I recognized the kid in the Waiting Room. I just couldn’t put the name to the face. He sure put on a lot of weight by the time I met him,” he explained. “You know, Sam once said...”
“Al, the leap?” Tom interrupted. “Who is this Sean guy and how am I going to stop Logan from killing my brother?”
“As I was trying to say,” Al replied, acting annoyed, “Sean and Sam were roommates at M.I.T. and remained friends afterward. They both worked closely with Bobby LoNigro on separate research projects dealing with various aspects of quantum physics. In fact, Sam and Bobby came up with the basic building blocks of the String Theory on August Fifth, just three days before you leaped in. But they won’t be able to fully develop the theory until later this month.”
Admiral Beckett pondered that point for a moment. “Then if Sam dies, Bobby’ll never be able to complete their research?”
“It’s possible, but the chances of that happening are almost slim to none,” Al replied sadly. “That’s why you have to stop Logan tonight for good.”
“You said that they go out for Sam’s birthday. Where do they go tonight?”
Al consulted the handlink again. “According to Sam’s friends, they were at the same bar for the entire evening after having dinner at a nearby restaurant.”
“A bar? Sam’s only turning twenty. Isn’t the drinking age twenty-one?”
“Hmm, good point,” replied the hologram as he scratched his head. “Oh! Ziggy says that Massachusetts changed the drinking age to eighteen earlier this year.”
Tom shifted his stance and thought for a moment. “Well, I guess the only choice I have is to stick to Sam’s side and keep an eye out for that murderous bitch.”
Admiral Calavicci nodded. “I guess so. Sean and Sam may be good friends, but I doubt the rest of their group will let Sam spend the night in his dorm room. Especially Doctor Fagerstrom back there,” he said, jerking his thumb at the cabin. “He’s quite the partier; met him a couple of times when he visited us at Star Bright.”
“Who? You mean Armas?” the leaper asked.
Slapping his forehead, Al nodded. “Yeah, I guess he wouldn’t have his doctorate yet.”
Tom was starting to get frustrated. “Keep your mind on this time period, would ya? Sam’s life is at stake!”
“You think I don’t know that?” Al replied, his tone also getting dark.
Admiral Beckett seethed for a moment, then spat out, “Just...make yourself useful and go back to the Control Room.”
Al ground his teeth at the comment and was about to retort when Tom started to storm back toward the cabin, calling over his shoulder, “See what else Ziggy can come up with. I have a nature walk to go on!”
Gate, New Mexico
January 25, 2007
Al barged back into the Control Room from the Imaging Chamber, huffing with each step he took. He practically tossed the handlink onto the main console without even missing a beat.
“Something wrong, Admiral?” Gooshie asked curiously.
“It’s just Tom, that’s all,” Al established. “He means well, but sometimes he can be such a monkey butt.” Taking in a deep breath, the admiral looked up at Ziggy’s globe, which was now considerably darkened. “Ziggy?”
It took a few seconds for the parallel-hybrid computer to respond, and when it did, its voice was much lower than it had ever been before. “Yes, Admiral?”
“Have there been any new developments with Sam since the last time we paid him a visit?”
Another few seconds passed. “None that I can detect, Admiral. It is night time for Doctor Beckett... therefore, I estimate that he will not be needing our services for at least another twelve hours.”
“And what about Tom?” Al added.
Yet another slight pause before Ziggy replied, “Also no change. Doctor Beckett’s murder does not occur for at least another thirteen hours.”
“We’re doing everything we can, Admiral,” Gooshie offered. “Doctor Beeks is with the two men in the Waiting Room. And you look like you’ve been over-exerting yourself too hard since you woke up from your coma. You should take a break for a few hours, Admiral. We can handle any further crises that may develop over the next twelve hours.”
Al pondered what the head programmer with bad breath told him and said, “You might be right, Gooshie. But I don’t think I’ll be able to get any rest. Do me a favor and keep the rest of the project running at minimal power as long as you can. There’s someone I need to see.”
Al rang the doorbell, waiting for the occupant inside to answer. When the door opened, he felt relieved to see that the one person he knew he could confide in hadn’t faded out of existence...yet. “Hey, Donna. Do you have a few minutes?”
“Sure. Come in, Al,” Doctor Elesee welcomed him. As the admiral walked through the door, Donna closed it behind him and asked, “How are you feeling?”
“Not one hundred percent, but I’m still on my feet. Thanks for asking,” Al replied, as he sat down on Donna’s couch.
It didn’t take long for Donna to join him as she asked, “You’re worried about Sam, aren’t you?”
Nodding his head in response, Al said, “I hate to admit it, Donna, but...I’m scared. This whole project only exists on a string of probability, which could snap at any moment. I never imagined anything like this could ever happen.”
“No one could have imagined it, Al,” Donna comforted. “There’s only so much we can do on our end. We just have to wait and hope for the best.”
“That’s the problem. Lately, it seems like our best isn’t good enough: Patrick Mulhill, Marilyn Hicks, David McKinney... we failed all of them when they truly needed us.”
“You’re being too hard on yourself, Al,” Donna tried to reason with him. “I’d like to believe that everything happens for a reason, be it good or bad. I feel confident we’ll make it through this. I just can’t accept that everything we’ve accomplished these past twelve years will be erased forever. God, Time, Fate or whatever will find a way to make things right somehow.”
“I wish I had your confidence, Donna. As it stands now, we’ve got two Becketts lost in Time. Even if by some miracle Tom manages to stop Logan, there’s still the question of getting him back home.”
“Tom can take care of himself,” Donna reassured Al. “Besides, you’ve leaped a few times in the past and you always managed to find your way back.”
Al thought about that for a moment and realized that his friend’s wife made a good point. “I guess you’re right.”
“I know I’m right,” Donna reaffirmed with conviction. “And maybe that’s why destiny brought Tom back to the project. He might be able to do what you or Sam can’t.”
The admiral simply nodded and gave Donna a big hug. “Thanks, Donna. You always know how to lift my spirits.”
“You know I’m always here for you, Al. It’s the least I can do for all the times you helped me get through Sam not being here.”
Kissing her on the cheek, Al stood up and said, “Give my regards to Stephen, okay?”
It was at the mention of Stephen’s name that Donna gave Al a funny look. “Stephen? Who’s Stephen?”
‘Aw, no, not the kid, too,’ Al silently mused to himself.
O’Brien’s Irish Pub
August 8, 1973
a leisurely dinner at one of Sam’s favorite restaurants, Bobby told his
companions that he needed to head back to the campus in Cambridge to follow
up on some research. The group,
consisting of Tom, Sam, Armas, and five other men, began making their way
down the street toward a bar to continue celebrating.
Faking not feeling well, Tom had abstained from the wine that was
served at dinner and planned on simply keeping a watchful eye while everyone
else enjoyed the evening.
had tried to convince them to go to a different part of town to try
somewhere else but was met with opposition.
It was Sam’s birthday, after all, so they had to go to a place they
knew he liked.
party entered an Irish-themed pub and sat themselves down at a large booth,
which apparently had been reserved by Sean himself.
Pitchers of beer were ordered immediately as conversation floated in
the air. Tom had managed to
keep himself next to Sam and was seated on the end of the bench, meaning
that Sam would have to go through him to get anywhere.
Sammy, how’s it feel to be just starting your third decade and already
doing graduate work?” one of the guys, Don, asked.
that Sam was modest about his intelligence, Tom wasn’t surprised when his
brother blushed slightly and waved his hand as if to dismiss the question.
He didn’t get a chance to answer it as the waitress brought them
their pitchers of beer and eight mugs.
Armas poured everybody’s glass and then raised his own. “Here’s to Sam!” he cheered.
Sam!” everybody else, except Sam, rejoiced.
They all took a drink, including Tom, although he promptly placed his
mug on the table and shook his head.
knew I wasn’t feeling up for alcohol,” the leaper lied.
“Someone else can have mine.”
been told before by Al about how Armas enjoyed his alcohol, Tom wasn’t
surprised when the Finn didn’t hesitate to claim the proffered glass of
beer. While everybody else was
talking about various subjects, Admiral Beckett started to scan the room,
hoping to spot Logan Lanning and take her down before anything could happen.
Unfortunately, he didn’t spot the blonde woman anywhere from his
vantage point. The pub was full
of people and the waitresses were being kept very busy, making it difficult
for Tom to view everybody at once.
half-hour passed and Tom remained vigilant.
As he continued to survey the patrons, the Imaging Chamber door
opened in the middle of the throughway and Al Calavicci stepped through.
you seen her?” Al demanded, seemingly out of breath.
shook his head and creased his brow. Why
was Al so upset?
we gotta talk,” said the observer. When
Tom glanced over at Sam, figuring he wouldn’t have to leave his
brother’s side, the retired admiral barked, “That’s an order!”
be right back,” Tom said to his brother, who nodded and turned back to the
conversation. Ignoring Al for
the moment, he looked around for Logan as he headed for the restroom.
Finding the bathroom empty, the leaper immediately turned to face the
holographic projection of Al. “All
right, spill it, Calavicci,” he hissed.
“Every second I’m away from Sam gives Logan a chance to kill my
jabbed at the handlink and shook his head.
“Ziggy says she’s here, Tom.
We can’t get a lock on her exact coordinates, but she’s in the
building. The odds of Sam dying
are now up to ninety-eight percent.”
Tom could tell that Al was holding back his emotions. He was, too. Both of them cared deeply for Sam Beckett and knew that Logan had to be stopped tonight.
Sam acknowledged Tom, whom he saw as Sean Alsterson, get up and leave without missing a word of the conversation. The sound of a baseball game on the television was interrupted by a news update, but nobody at the table seemed to pay any attention to it, as they were so engrossed with the topic of discussion. Apparently, not too many other people in the bar paid much attention to the report either as the words WCVB-TV NewsCenter5 Special Report flashed across the small television screen, followed by the image of a news anchorwoman with short blonde hair.
evening, this is Maggie Dawson reporting a late-breaking bulletin:
the elusive serial killer, ‘Lethal Logan,’ formerly known as the
‘Black Widow,’ has apparently struck again after nearly a year of no
murders. Officials say the male
victim, appearing to be in his early twenties, was purportedly staying in a
room at the Best Western Inn in West Warwick, Rhode Island, where his
mutilated body was found late this morning.
are still sketchy at this time, but reports say the victim, whose name is
being concealed until his family can be notified, matches the physical
profile of Logan’s other victims: short
brown hair and a well-toned physique, ranging in age anywhere from their
early twenties to early thirties, and allegedly engaged in sexual activity
right before being brutally murdered. The
victim is reported to have been found tied and bound to the bedposts, naked
from head to toe, with lacerations and deep puncture wounds across his
entire upper body and lower abdomen. Officials have ruled out the possibility of a copycat killer
and are warning all young men fitting the profile to be on the lookout for
picture of the blonde woman then flashed across the screen as Maggie Dawson
supplied a further description of Logan’s profile.
stands at approximately five-foot-seven and has been known to use various
aliases across the country, including Lulu Logan and Loraine Logan. Authorities warn that she may be hiding out in the Boston
area and that she will aggressively seek out and try to seduce her prey.
She is wanted in connection with the murders of at least sixteen men
and critically injuring at least four others across the United States, and
should be considered armed and extremely dangerous.
A ten thousand dollar reward is being offered for any clues or tips
that may lead to her capture.
will keep you updated as new information develops.
And now, back to the Red Sox game.”
As the game came back on, most of the bar’s patrons focused their attention back to the television screen, cheering and screaming whenever a player would either score a run or make an error. Meanwhile, at the birthday table, the conversation continued to hit full swing as the pitchers of beer kept coming. Sam was feeling pretty good and finally started to relax until he felt one of his friends gently nudging his shoulder. “Hey, Sam, that chick’s checkin’ you out,” Don Sanders said, pointing the top of his beer mug toward a table across the room. Sam moved his gaze toward the woman and saw her raise her eyebrows at him.
Nervousness immediately crept over Sam and he averted his eyes, turning back to Don. “She is?” he nearly squeaked.
“Yup,” he replied with a goofy grin. “C’mon, Sam, go talk to ’er. The worst that’ll happen is she’ll say, ‘Sorry, I was looking at the hunk beside you.’”
Rolling his eyes at Don’s comment, Sam took a second glance to see that the woman was now concentrating on her drink. A moment passed before she looked up again and smiled at him flirtatiously.
“Go on, Sam! At least say hi to her,” Don urged, pushing him from the booth. Figuring that he’d never hear the end of it, Sam got up and took his glass of beer with him. The brunette woman was sitting alone at a table for two, sipping some kind of red drink in a martini glass. As Sam approached, she pushed the other chair out with her foot and winked at him.
“Care to sit down?” she offered in a sweet voice. Sam couldn’t believe how much more beautiful she was while he had gotten closer to her table. Perhaps the beer was influencing his judgment, but he nodded and took the seat offered to him.
“My name’s Sam,” he said with a friendly grin as he held out his hand.
She shook his hand and nodded. “Leila,” she returned. “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
The noisy bar caused Sam to lean over the table slightly so that he could hear the woman’s words. “Looks like your friends are enjoying this,” she commented. Sam turned around to glance back at the booth, seeing that three of the guys were watching. They all gave him the thumbs-up before he turned around again to see Leila closing up her purse.
“So, what do you do, Sam?” she asked him in a breathy voice.
Trying to stave off the uneasiness he felt with speaking to a complete stranger, Sam took a sip of his beer and swallowed it carefully. “I’m a post-graduate student at M.I.T.,” he replied.
“Really?” Leila asked with enthusiasm. “Already working on your degree and you don’t even look a day over twenty,” she added with a wink. Noticing the odd expression that produced from Sam, she clarified, “I heard your friends wishing you a happy twentieth birthday before.” After Sam nodded to her explanation, Leila continued, “You must be pretty smart. What are you studying?”
“Quantum physics,” Sam said, noticing her hand moving closer to his. “What about you?”
“Oh, you flatter me, Sam. I’m not a student,” Leila said with a giggle as she danced her fingers on the back of his hand. “Although I’m sure I can teach you a few things.”
Normally, Sam would have jumped up from the table and ran the other way. He wasn’t used to this kind of direct attention from a woman and had always been very shy around women; however, there was something about the way this particular woman spoke. Sam Beckett felt different at that moment in time and blinked once at her words.
“What kind of things?” he blurted out as she removed her hand.
“Let’s finish our drinks and maybe I’ll show you, birthday boy,” she replied lecherously.
Since Sam’s beer was already below the halfway mark, he took a large gulp from the mug. “But I just met you,” he said.
Leila took a sip from her glass, emptying it. “That’s all right, Sam. I feel like I’ve known you for years. You have a very familiar face.”
The quantum physics student’s cheeks got rosier, both from the comment and the intake of alcohol. He, too, finished off his drink and placed the mug down on the table. There was a certain aura of disorientation in his mind as he allowed Leila to show him the way out of the bar while his friends watched in awe as Sam Beckett left a bar with a beautiful woman he just met.
Tom and Al’s conversation had been interrupted numerous times as they argued about the situation. The leaper was standing in the stall farthest from the entrance, hoping that he could whisper to his observer, but the neighboring toilet seemed to be in continuous use and knocks at his door were frequent.
“Is that everything now?” Tom said as they were left alone again. “I think I’d better get back out there.”
“It’s been ten minutes, Tom. The boys will keep an eye on him out there,” the hologram commented.
The elder Beckett rolled his eyes. “That’s what happened before without me and see where it got him?”
Al shrugged. “Ziggy still says it’s a ninety-nine percent probability. I think you’ll have to be there when it happens in order to stop it.”
“Fine. You have your theories and I have mine. I’m going to go keep an eye on my little brother.” Without a word more, Tom exited the stall and the bathroom, heading back to the booth. His face went ashen when he found his brother missing.
“Where’s Sam?” he demanded as Al popped in beside him, a frown on his face. “Where’d he go?”
The guys all laughed and looked at Tom. “You’d have to’ve been here to believe it, Sean. Sam actually picked up a girl! Guess they’ve gone to really acquaint themselves!” Don cried out, the entire table obviously intoxicated.
“Damn it! This is your fault, Al!” the leaper hissed.
“My fault?! You’re the one who was arguing...” Al started, getting cut off when Tom placed both fists on the table.
“Where’d they go?” he demanded.
Don snorted. “Why, you wanna join ’em?” he quipped, getting snickers out of the others.
Infuriated, Tom grabbed Don by the collar. “Listen, Sam’s in danger. Where’d they go?” He was breathing heavily but steadily as he brought Don’s nose close to his.
Don swallowed the lump in his throat and shrugged. “We don’t know! They just left, her taking Sam in tow.”
Tom released his hold and fired off another question. “What did she look like? Was she blonde?”
Everyone at the table shook their head. “She was a brunette,” Armas commented. “Very sexy lady, I must say.”
Glaring at Al, Tom turned around and stormed out of the pub.
“Crazy Aussie,” Don jeered as they continued on with their celebrations. Al re-centered himself on Tom, who was standing outside of the tavern now.
“I can’t get a lock on either of ’em,” Al said. “Ziggy says the odds are nearing a hundred.”
“I don’t give a damn what that computer says!” Tom said with anger. “Which way to where they found his body?”
Al tapped the query into the handlink. “Just north of here in the Back Bay Fens,” he answered as the hologram around him fizzled for a moment. “What’s happening, Ziggy?”
“Admiral, I believe you should check on Doctor Beckett. There was just a spike in his vital readings,” the silky voice replied.
“Which one!?” Al demanded.
“Which one what?” asked Tom, not knowing that Al was directing his question at the hybrid computer.
An artificial sigh echoed through the Imaging Chamber before Ziggy answered. “The Doctor Beckett that has been lost in Time for the past twelve years. Control Room staff members are engaging a simultaneous lock so that you can switch between Admiral Beckett and Doctor Beckett seamlessly.”
“Tom, there’s something wrong with Sam. I gotta go check on him. Are you gonna be all right?”
Tom nodded. “Go. I’ll find Sam myself,” he replied evenly.
“You’d better,” Al said encouragingly before the hologram melted into another before his eyes.
As Tom made his way toward the Back Bay Fens area, he was surprised when he saw the form of Sebastian LoNigro approaching once again. “Bobby? I thought you were heading back to the campus lab.”
Although he seemed to be distracted for a moment, Bobby looked at Tom and explained, “I was, but...I turned back around. I had this...weird feeling that Sam was in trouble. Sounds kind of crazy, huh?”
“Actually, not at all, Bobby,” Tom replied, confirming the professor’s suspicions. “I was just leaving the bar to try and find him. Don and Armas and the others told me that some woman picked up Sam and left with him. I think I know where she was taking him.”
Professor LoNigro seemed almost relieved upon hearing that information. “Thank God! Then by all means, lead the way, um...Sean. Two against one sounds like better odds to me, would you agree?”
“I most certainly do,” Tom responded honestly. “Let’s go!”
York City, New York
February 26, 1993
Although it had been a struggle to fall asleep in the second of the two guest bedrooms in Will and Jeany King’s apartment, Sam eventually succumbed. The bed was comfortable, yet the leaper’s dreams were plagued with visions of destruction. He was in the blue expanse where he resided between leaps. Torrents of energy swept all around him, impacting each other and causing blinding explosions as images of people near and dear to him cried out in pain and begged for his help, seemingly being wiped out by the blasts.
The sound of the Imaging Chamber door broke Sam out of his nightmare, and his eyes shot open as he sat up in bed.
“Sam, you okay?” asked the concerned voice of Al Calavicci.
Letting out a heavy breath, the leaper swallowed hard and nodded. “Just a bad dream, that’s all,” he replied.
“Thank God you’re still here,” Al whispered, glad that Sam didn’t overhear the comment. “Listen, Sam, Ziggy’s got some new data. It turns out that you’ve changed history for the Kings.”
Furrowing his brow, Sam threw back the covers and stood up. “In what way, Al?”
“Well, she says that you showing up here with Tibby changed William’s actions for the day. Now he gets caught in the bombing at the World Trade Center and dies almost immediately,” the observer reported. “You’ve gotta somehow keep him here until the explosion.”
“How am I gonna do that?” Sam asked as he began to get dressed.
The observer shrugged and poked a button on the handlink. “Ziggy also suggests that you should let Tibby know about the real Danny before...anything happens,” Al relayed, wincing as he paraphrased the words that appeared on the screen which read, “...before he leaps or is erased from existence.”
Sam simply nodded at the information, the dream still haunting his thoughts, as he finished putting on the borrowed clothes. He exited the bedroom and found Tibby and Jeany looking through a photo album as they sat on the sofa.
“Good morning,” Jeany said with a warm smile. “Did you sleep well?”
“Yes, ma’am, very much so,” Sam lied. “I was wondering if I could speak to Tibby for a moment, in private?”
Jeany closed the album and set it on the coffee table. “Of course.” She got up and went into the kitchen as Sam heard the sound of running water and clattering dishes.
“Hi, Sam. Hi, Al,” greeted Tibby as the leaper took a seat.
“Hi, Tibby,” Al replied grimly.
Sam blew out a breath and pressed his lips together. “Tibby, I’m going to be leaving soon. I just want to let you know that someone will be coming to replace me. His name is Danny Wallace,” Sam explained in a hushed tone. “Everybody except you sees him as me, so you’re going to have to pretend that he is me, okay?”
Tibby quirked his lip and creased his brow. “You mean nobody sees you except me?”
Sam nodded. “They all see Danny. I want you to make sure that nobody calls me Sam anymore, all right? It’ll just confuse Danny when he comes back.”
Although Tibby wasn’t sure exactly what Sam was talking about, he nodded in agreement. “Okay, Danny.”
“You also have to make sure that Jeany’s husband doesn’t leave here before twelve-thirty. It’s very important.”
Again, Tibby nodded. “I’ll do my best, Sa—er, Danny.”
Laughing lightly, Sam nodded. “Thanks, Tibby.” Shaking his hand, Sam walked back over to the other side of the room, leaving Tibby to memorize what he had to tell his brother-in-law.
“Well, it looks like you’ve done it, Sam,” Al revealed when they were out of earshot of Tibby. “Ziggy says here that Will no longer gets caught up in the explosion and that Danny passes away peacefully in Tibby’s guestroom. It’s a pretty close approximation of what happened to Tibby the first time we helped him.” An urgent sound suddenly came from the handlink and Al pressed a couple of buttons to see what the problem was. His heart was in his throat when he saw three numbers appear on the screen: 100. “One hundred percent? Oh no,” he whispered.
Sam leaned forward to see what his observer seemed so upset about as the familiar pull of the leap began to tug at Sam’s extremities. “Take care of yourself, Tibby,” Sam said as he glanced back at him.
“You too, Sam,” the previously homeless man replied.
“Sam,” Al said, bringing the leaper’s attention back to him. The holographic image began flickering and fading rapidly. “I’m so sorry.”
The sensation of the leap was lasting longer than normal and was starting to become painful. “Sorry for what, Al?”
The tears were starting to form in Al’s eyes as he bit his bottom lip, unable to speak the words. “I’m sorry,” he whispered hoarsely. The blue light finally enveloped Sam Beckett but it began to twist and turn abnormally, causing him excruciating pain as the atoms of his body began to tear apart from each other.
Al watched in terror, feeling a flashback to Sam’s first encounter with Alia, as the blue light bent Sam back and forth before exploding in a flash of white light.
For a brief second, Al was back in the blue Waiting Room. Tears obstructed his view, and after he wiped his eyes, a new hologram was before him, making what he had just experienced seem twice as horrifying.
After Al disappeared, both Tom and Bobby sprinted northward. Thankfully, the Back Bay Fens were easy to find and Tom commenced to calling out his brother’s name. The forested area seemed to be devoid of any human presence as he continued to search around, listening hard for any voices.
“I think we’ll cover more ground if we split up,” Tom suggested. “They could be anywhere and I have a...feeling Sam doesn’t have much time left.”
“You and me both,” Bobby reiterated as he pointed toward the right path and said, “Okay, I’ll go this way; you look for them in the opposite direction.”
“Sounds good to me,” Tom concurred before adding, “If you find them before I do, shout out my name as loud as you can and I’ll come running.”
“Same here,” Bobby agreed as he reached into his pants pocket and pulled out a fully loaded .45 caliber revolver.
Tom’s eyes shot open upon seeing the weapon being produced. “Where...? Where did you get that gun?”
Bobby looked down at the gun in his hand and appeared to be thinking for a moment before answering, “Oh, I, um, had this gun at the cabin for when I go hunting. I usually keep it in the Berkshires to use for target practice, but like I said before...I just had a weird feeling that I might need it tonight, so I brought it back with me this time.”
Tom didn’t completely buy the explanation, but it was plausible enough to not question the professor about it any further. Besides, saving Sam’s life was the more pressing issue at the moment. “Okay, good, we have a slight advantage now. Let’s go find Sam!” Before Tom ran into the wooded area, he turned back around quickly and added, “Bobby!” As the professor turned his head around, Tom said, “Be careful. Don’t hesitate to use that thing if you have to!”
“Don’t worry about me, Sean. I’ve run into Logan in the past. Now it’s payback time!” With that, Bobby disappeared into the woods, leaving Tom alone once again.
‘Now I wish I hadn’t been so quick to shoo Al away,’ he mused to himself as he began his search. ‘I could sure use his help navigating my way around here in the dark. I’m not as young as I used to be!’
The former Navy SEAL continued hunting around until he heard some giggling. Quietly, he approached the scene and found a man and a woman in an intimate embrace. “Sam!” he called out from about ten feet, startling the young couple. The faces he saw did not belong to either Logan or his brother.
“Sorry,” he replied and quickly made his exit back into the wooded area. A minute later, he heard some heavy breathing and the smacking of lips. In a small clearing, he saw Sam and some brown-haired woman kissing each other deeply. It almost looked as if his brother was in some kind of trance. ‘It’s the Ketamine!’ he realized.
“Sam, get away from her!” Tom called out, seeing him fall back to the ground as the woman pushed him down.
“Damn you!” Leila screamed as she slipped a switchblade out of her front pocket. Tom could see that Sam was sluggish and wouldn’t be able to defend himself, so he charged the woman and grabbed at her hands. He managed to get a firm grip on her left hand and waved his other hand around to make it more difficult for her to cut him. Eventually, Tom’s hand came into contact with her hair. Yanking hard in an attempt to subdue her, he was shocked to find the woman’s hair had come off in his hands.
‘A wig!’ his mind told him as he took a closer look at the attacker’s face. “Logan!” he hollered. “Bobby, I found them!!” he shouted at the top of his lungs, hoping to God that the physics professor would hear him.
“Die, you little prick!” Logan screeched as she took advantage of Tom’s temporary shock to plunge the knife into his abdomen. The breath slightly taken out of him, Admiral Beckett released his grip on Logan and landed on his butt. He quickly moved to get to his feet when he saw the murderer remove a pistol from her purse.
The smirk on her face told Tom that she was beyond help. “Say goodbye to Mister Sam Stiles,” she sneered as she took aim at the drugged Sam. The up-and-coming quantum physicist tried in vain to move out of the way but had lost all coordination.
“Nooo!” the leaper called out as he got to his feet and again charged at Logan, hoping he could somehow outrace the bullet that would end his brother’s life.
Without warning, the sound of a gunshot could be heard and, for about one second, Tom thought he had been too late. But then he saw that Logan’s right shoulder began bleeding, indicating that the bullet came from another direction. Out of the corner of his eye, Tom saw Doctor Sebastian LoNigro standing near a large tree and holding the smoking .45 caliber revolver in his hand.
Logan screamed out in pain as she dropped her gun and fell to the ground in a fetal position, holding her arm between her thighs. All the while, Sam continued stumbling in a drugged-up stupor, not fully aware of what was happening around him. Bobby marched toward Logan until he was standing directly above her, and aimed the gun at her face, a look of pure hatred in his face.
“You’re going to kill me, aren’t you?!” Sam’s would-be killer spat at him. “Well, what are you waiting for? Blow my brains out and put me out of my misery, you bastard!”
“I intend to,” Bobby spat back with equal conviction as he clicked back the hammer on the revolver and buried the muzzle into her forehead.
“Bobby,” Tom said. “It’s over. The police are already on their way,” he pointed out, as the sound of police sirens could be heard not far off in the distance.
“No! You don’t get it! She almost ruined everything. She should have never been allowed to escape the institution! I have to make this right!”
“Professor, what are you talking about?” Tom asked in confusion.
Before he could get a reply, two street cops arrived on the scene, having received the call about a gunshot being fired in the park. “Sir, drop the weapon,” one of the officers ordered in a slight Bostonian accent. “Logan’s finally been caught. Let us take her into custody so that she can answer for her crimes.”
Tom could see that Bobby was struggling with indecision and used that opportunity to continue along the same train of thought. “He’s right, Bobby. Killing her out of revenge for what she did to you and Sibby will only bring you down to her level. You don’t want that, do you?”
Bobby just stared at Logan’s tear-filled face, unable to decide his next course of action. It seemed as if Tom was reaching him, though.
“Let her pay for her crimes and bring closure to her victims’ families,” Tom pressed on. “She may be a cold-blooded killer...but you’re not.”
Bobby’s hand shook as he heard what Tom was telling him. For a few more seconds, it seemed as if he was going to ignore everyone’s plea. But ultimately, he pushed the hammer back into place and backed away, allowing the two officers of the law to approach and apprehend the criminal at long last.
Dropping the gun to the ground, Bobby began swooning as his emotions got the better of him. Quickly, Tom reached over to grab the professor and immediately began experiencing a tingling sensation. As the two men looked into each other’s eyes, the moment became frozen in time as their auras morphed, revealing their true identities to one another.
“What the...? Connors?!” Tom exclaimed. “It can’t be! I saw you die!”
A slightly healthier-looking Doctor Maxwell Connors looked around in confusion, not exactly sure whom he was talking to. “Y-you’re a...leaper, too! But...you’re not Beckett.... W-who are you?”
“What do you mean ‘who am I’? I’m Sam’s brother Tom, don’t you remember? The one you specifically requested to see at Project Quantum Leap right before you died!”
Connors looked as if someone had just stepped on his grave. “I...died? No, no.... T-that can’t be right! The last thing I remember is leaping into Hastings State Hospital as Logan’s therapist, trying to make sure she never escaped. Then she...stabbed me, or something. My memory’s a bit...hazy....”
“Oh my God,” Tom realized, “you’re an earlier version of Connors—one from before you showed up at Quantum Leap! Have you been Bobby this whole time?”
“I’m not sure... I only arrived here about an hour or so ago. I heard a news report about Logan being in the area and turned around from wherever it was that Doctor LoNigro was headed.”
“Hey,” the other officer said, interrupting the leapers’ conversation. “You two guys sound almost as nutty as this fruit loop! Just figured I’d let yous know before the fellas in the white coats come an’ take ya both ta the funny fahm, too.”
Just as the two officers of the Boston Police Department were preparing to place Logan’s wrists in handcuffs, she screamed, “NO!!” as she suddenly and unexpectedly freed herself from the one officer’s grip. She used the switchblade to slash his throat, then spun around and critically wounded the other officer. That single moment of distraction was just enough time for Logan to grab her gun and take her shot. “Justice must be served!”
Tom quickly dove for Max’s gun just as Al suddenly popped into existence between Sam and Logan. The sound of the gun going off was almost deafening, and Tom watched as the bullet hit Sam directly in the heart. Sam’s head hit the ground as a pool of blood started to form behind his back.
“Sam, no!” Al called out as he watched Tom pull the trigger and put a bullet into Logan’s skull, directly between her eyes. Her eyes rolled up into her sockets as she collapsed onto the ground, finally bringing Logan’s reign to a bloody, tragic end. Unfortunately, it was too little, too late.
Tom dropped the gun and raced to his brother’s side, holding him in an attempt to keep him alive.
“T-Tom?” Sam whispered, able to see his brother through Sean’s aura but unable to move his body.
“Hang on, little brother,” Tom urged as his eyes began to get wet. “You’re gonna be okay.”
Sam swallowed and said, “G-goodbye, Tom.”
Tom shook his head. “No, Sam! Don’t give up on me!”
Crouching down, hoping that Sam could see him even if he didn’t know him yet, Al begged, “C’mon, Sam, you can make it!”
Two haggard breaths later, Sam Beckett was dead.
Tom 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!”
“Oh my God, no,” Al cried, as he felt a surge of extreme pain course through his entire being. “Arrrghh!! Ziggy... what— w-what’s happening to mmm...?” he asked as his image began to twist and contort before fizzling out of existence.
“This isn’t possible,” Connors said in complete shock. “It wasn’t supposed to happen this way....”
Almost instantly, lightning began to light up the sky overhead, overlapping with the booming sound of thunderclaps that felt like they were going to cause the Earth to crumble. Tom laid Sam’s body down on the ground and looked up at Connors with deep hatred in his bloodshot eyes. “Well, I hope you’re happy, you son of a bitch!! You finally got what you wanted... Sam is dead and everything’s unraveling because of it!”
“No! Please, you’ve got to listen to me,” Max begged as Tom slowly rose, channeling his anguish into murderous rage. “You don’t understand! I–I thought that Sam’s death would prevent Armageddon, not cause it! I never intended to unleash Logan’s wrath on the world. I beg of you, give me another chance to put things right!”
“You’ve used up all your chances, Connors! In case you haven’t noticed, it’s already too late. The timeline is falling apart all around us. So, it looks like you and me are going down with it!”
Tom lunged forward, fueled by a strength he never knew he possessed, as he wrapped both hands around Max’s neck. His goal was nothing less than throttling the very life out of the rogue leaper.
“P-pleeeease... sssstoppp...” Max wheezed, his entire life flashing before his eyes. In those last few seconds before the end of everything, he saw the apocalyptic vision one last time. And this time, the symbolism behind the images was crystal-clear. A world being torn apart at the seams, billions of lives getting wiped out of existence in the blink of an eye, and a cloaked figure emerging from the darkness. Max had always believed the figure to be Sam Beckett ever since he first discovered that his rival was traveling in time. As the figure pulled back the hood, however, Connors finally realized just how wrong he had been. Staring back at him was...himself, laughing at him just like all of the other kids did when he was a little boy.
“You pathetic little man!” the “other” Connors mocked. “You caused the very thing you were trying to prevent! You’re a failure, Maxwell!”
Connors recoiled back in shock as the greatest mystery of his entire life had finally been solved. The cold, tight grip of death brought the rogue leaper back to reality as the temporal shockwave began engulfing everything in its path. “Good God, what have I done?” he whispered.
Those were the last words he spoke as both he and Tom felt the pull of a totally new kind of leap. All of reality seemed to become enveloped in a blue-green leaping effect of crystalline-like quality as chronal waves rippled through the space-time continuum, causing everything to shatter like fine china.
All Tom and Max saw was a blinding flash of white light as their bodies were pulled back into the maelstrom of a metamorphosing timeline.
The white light dissolved as Tom slowly opened his eyes, seeing nothing but a blue-colored ceiling. Realizing he was lying on his back, he pivoted his head downward in an attempt to take in his surroundings. Almost immediately, he recognized that he was in a hospital and that he was lying on a hospital bed. Not knowing how he got there or why he was there, he tried getting out of the bed, not noticing the wires and IVs that were attached to his arms and parts of his body.
“Whoa, whoa there, easy,” a female voice called out. Tom looked up to see a woman in a nurse’s uniform running into the room toward his bed and placing a medical chart down on the nearby table. “I know it’s a bit uncomfortable, but the doctor said you shouldn’t get out of that bed for at least another eleven hours. You’re still too weak to stand.”
Placing his hand on hers, Tom asked, “Where am I? What happened?”
Tapping a pen on her bottom lip, the nurse’s expression turned to one of concern as she replied, “Oh dear, Doctor Bauer was afraid this might happen.” Pulling a chair up to the bed, the nurse sat down and began to explain the patient’s situation. “You were involved in a hit-and-run incident. The driver was speeding around a corner just as you were crossing the street and you were knocked unconscious. We examined you and found no trace of any life-threatening injuries or broken bones, but you received a major blow to the head.” The nurse sighed as she finished supplying the diagnosis. “Sir, there’s no easy way to tell you this, but...you have amnesia.”
“I... I have...amnesia?” Tom repeated.
“Yes, we told you this two days ago when you were first brought in, but apparently, you’ve regressed a little bit,” the nurse established. “We were hoping you’d be able to remember the name of a family member, or a friend, or anyone who might be able to tell us who you are. Unfortunately, you had no identification on you when the paramedics arrived to bring you here: no wallet, no driver’s license, no social security card...nothing.”
Tom absorbed that information for a few seconds, then said, “You mean that I’m a...John Doe?”
The nurse offered a sympathetic smile to the leaper as she nodded her head and squeezed his hand. Standing up and picking up the medical chart off the table from where she left it, she attempted to raise Tom’s spirits. “Don’t lose hope. We’ll do our best to find out who you are and if there’s anyone we can contact. In the meantime, if you can remember anything—anything at all—don’t hesitate to page me or one of the other nurses and doctors. We’re also leaving a pen and a notepad beside your bed so that you can write things down in case something comes back to you.”
Looking into the woman’s bright blue eyes, Tom responded, “Thank you, Nurse.”
“You’re welcome,” she said reassuringly. She then carried the chart underneath her arm and walked out the door, presumably moving on to her next patient.
Tom just laid there for a few minutes, taking in everything that the nurse had told him. Somehow, he knew in the back of his amnesiac mind that this wasn’t his life—it was someone else’s. And he also knew that...something had happened that changed everything. It felt as if the vague snippets of memory that were floating around in his brain were realigning themselves with some kind of new “alternate” reality; he didn’t know how else to describe it. All he did know was that the solution to the problem was lying somewhere in the farthest corners of his subconscious mind, and that there was one other man out there somewhere that he needed to find who held the key to “restoring” whatever it was that had been lost.
No matter how long it took, no matter what dangers might cross his path, no matter what obstacles he might face, he would find this man and set things back on the right path. No matter how long it took....
Doctor LoNigro sat at his desk perusing over the latest paperwork concerning the project’s budget for the next fiscal year. He hated to admit it, but things were not looking good. Some bigwig four-star general over in Washington, D.C. was starting to make a big stink that not enough resources were being put into using the project to help make the country a safer place. Bobby kept trying to tell all of those “bureaucratic buffoons,” as he called them, that the project was developed for the betterment of mankind as a whole, not just the country. Ever since that tragic day in Boston, he had made a solemn promise to keep his former student’s dream alive in some form or another. The Committee, on the other hand, didn’t seem to care about loyalties and dreams, but rather how the technology could be used to secure the nation’s security for the Twenty-First Century and beyond. He couldn’t just let them come in and wrest control of mankind’s greatest discovery away from him without a fight—he wouldn’t let them. He would do whatever it took to make sure of that.
A chime at his door interrupted the quantum physicist’s train of thought as he said, “Enter.”
In walked an attractive woman with mid-length light brown hair in her early to mid-fifties, holding a clipboard. “Bobby, I have the latest numbers on those retrieval equations you had me analyze.”
Looking up from his ever-increasing mound of paperwork, Bobby folded his hands in front of his face. “What’s the verdict?” he asked, already knowing what the answer would be.
“Unfortunately, I have to agree with ALPHA’s projections,” the woman said despondently. “Based on the fact that Captain Beckett’s memories of both the project and his own identity had to be jogged all over again during the last leap, the chances of retrieval have gone down to about four point eight percent.”
Sighing, Bobby stood up from his chair and said, “I figured as much. Every time we seem to make some kind of breakthrough, something pops up to throw a wrench in the works. And now with Washington breathing down my neck, who knows how much longer it’ll be before the Committee comes in and takes over this place.” The acting Project Director walked over to a large bookshelf against the sidewall and looked at several of the framed pictures that were displayed on top of the mantelpiece next to it. One such picture was of Bobby standing next to an eighteen–year-old Samuel Beckett on the day he graduated summa cum laude at M.I.T. He had never been more proud of his student than he was on that day. To this day, he still felt somewhat responsible for Sam’s tragic death two years later.
Bobby continued looking down the line of photographs, many of which showed various eventful moments in his scientific career: from his days at the Star Bright Project, to the winning of the Nobel Prize for his exceptional work in quantum physics and the String Theory, to the day he, Tom and Gooshie had successfully launched Project Chrono-Leap and created ALPHA—the Artificial Logarithmic Parallel-Hybrid Apparatus.
“Is everything all right, Bobby?” the woman asked, concerned as she went over to him and placed a hand lovingly on his back.
Not realizing he had drifted off yet again, Bobby turned around holding the last picture and replied, “Oh, yes, I’m fine, Donna. I was just thinking how ironic it was that Tom leaped into someone with almost complete amnesia and then got almost complete amnesia himself. Now that he’s leaped out, hopefully things will get back to normal on the next leap—or at least as normal as things can be around here. Everything used to be so much simpler before the Chronoton Accelerator malfunctioned during its initial test run and sent Tom hopping through time. I wish he were here now.”
Donna gave her husband and best friend a sympathetic smile. “We all do, Bobby. Don’t give up hope. He’ll return someday... I’m sure of it.”
Taking one last look at the framed picture in his hand, Bobby placed it back on the mantel, thinking back fondly on his confidant and hoping that someday his next leap would indeed be the leap home. “I sure hope so, Donna,” he responded as he turned and took her into his embrace. “I sure hope so.”
And so begins...
Back to Top