Episode 1013

Second Genesis I

by: Damon C. Sugameli

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Once again, the blue-white energy of the quantum field dissipated, and Dr. Samuel Beckett felt the tug of reality seep back into his senses. The first thing he felt was the coldness that seemed to be coming from the walls that he was surrounded by. It was a coldness that he hadn’t felt in quite a while, but one that was familiar nonetheless. As he looked around at his surroundings, a sense of confusion kicked in as he realized that the bluish hue of the leap was still surrounding him. That can’t be right, Sam thought to himself.

Suddenly, he realized what he was actually seeing and why it felt familiar. He was inside a bright blue-white room almost identical to the Waiting Room. My God, could it be? Sam pondered with enthusiasm. Have I finally leaped home?

Just as Sam finished that thought, he heard the mechanical whoosh-zoom of a door opening behind him, followed by the voice of a concerned man. “Dr. Weller. You’re still here? I thought you were leaving to give that report to Dr. Connors.”

Startled, Sam turned around to see a distinguished-looking man, who appeared to be in his late forties, wearing a white lab coat. He was looking directly at Sam. Since no one else was in the room, Sam assumed that he must be this Dr. Weller person whom the man was addressing. What’s going on here? Sam thought. Have I leaped into someone else at the Project?

“David? You seem lost, are you okay?”

Sam simply replied, “Yeah, I’m just… uh… trying to get my bearings. Now, if I could just find that, uh, report?” he asked more than stated. Sometimes, Sam thought, it would be nice to get a briefing on a situation before I leaped into it.

“Isn’t that it you’re holding in your hand?” the man, who Sam now assumed to be a scientist, asked as he pointed to Sam’s right arm. Sure enough, in Sam’s right hand was a clipboard with what appeared to be a typed report attached to it, with written notes scribbled on it. He hadn’t even noticed it when he first leaped in.

“Oh… right. Sorry, I’ll get right on it,” Sam apologized.

The scientist looked at Sam impatiently and replied, “Wake up, David. This experiment is in the final stages of completion. And Connors will have both our heads if he catches us slacking off.”

“Yes, don’t worry, I’ll get it to him right away,” Sam stuttered as he left the chamber. As he walked down the corridor, he could recall how the corridors of the Project looked. The architecture was slightly different, but there was no denying it—this complex had a similar “feel” to it. If I’m not at the Project, then where the hell am I?

Sam took a few seconds to look at the information on the report he was holding. The heading at the top read:


Second Genesis Project

Director: Dr. Maxwell Connors


And almost directly underneath, he saw something that shocked him to his very core:


Status Report of VR Quantum Accelerator:

94.2% Probability of Success


“Quantum Accelerator?” Sam whispered. What situation have I leaped into now? Following that thought, all Sam could utter was his familiar phrase, “Oh boy!”





Second Genesis Project

February 29, 2004


In all my leaps through time, there’s always been one constant thought that has driven me onward—maybe my next leap will be the leap home. Although I wasn’t always able to place names and faces to my own time, in the back of my mind, I always knew that I’d recognize “home” when and if I finally saw it. Unfortunately, this wasn’t home, and I most certainly was not back in my own aura again. Apparently, I was a scientist named David Weller. But if this wasn’t my project, then why was I holding a status report about a Quantum Accelerator? Was it possible that someone else had discovered a way to travel in time? And if so, were their intentions good, or for personal gain?


Sam walked aimlessly down the corridors for about fifteen minutes, not quite knowing where this Dr. Connors could be found. He didn’t pay attention when he first heard the name, but now that he was thinking more clearly, something seemed very familiar about the name Maxwell Connors. Had he heard that name before? Sam attempted to read more of the report he was holding to try and get more insight into this new situation. As he turned a corner, he nearly knocked over a young woman coming from the opposite direction.

“Oh, excuse me… I… wasn’t paying attention to where I was going,” Sam admitted.

“That’s quite all right, Dr. Weller,” the woman replied with a smile. “I think most of us have been distracted these past few days. Dr. Connors has been running around like a madman lately now that he’s coming so close to finally proving his theories.” She paused for a second or two as she looked down at the clipboard in Sam’s hand. “I take it that’s the status report he’s been asking for.”

“Uh… yeah—yes, I… I’m supposed to be bringing this to him,” Sam muttered under his breath, hoping that perhaps this fellow scientist could point him in the right direction.

“Well, I haven’t seen him in this area recently. You’ll probably find him in his office.” Sam still had a clueless expression on his face, and the other scientist noticed it. “Back the way you came, Dr. Weller,” she said matter-of-factly as she pointed behind Sam in the direction he came from.

“Right,” Sam responded as he turned around. “Heh heh, don’t know what’s with me today, I seem to be a bit out of it.” Where are you, Al? Sam nearly wondered aloud.

“Are you feeling all right, Dr. Weller? You seem a bit… confused,” the nameless, but attractive, woman said with a hint of concern in her voice.

“Yes, I’m fine, I was just a bit disoriented from le—uh… almost bumping into you just now. It’s okay; I’m on top of things. I mean, uh, I-I’d better get this report over to Dr. Connors before he tears me a new one.”

Sam darted away as he retraced his steps, leaving the young woman without a name pondering the strange behavior she just witnessed in Dr. Weller. She assumed it was most likely due to the stress of Connors’ erratic behavior in recent days, putting everyone on edge.

As Sam continued back the way he came, still not having a clue as to where this Dr. Connors’ office could be found, he suddenly heard the familiar clunk-shoom of the Imaging Chamber door as Admiral Albert Calavicci walked through.

“All right, St. John, I’ve got him,” Al said as he looked up to the ceiling. “Hi, Sam, I got here as soon as I could.”

“Thank God, Al,” Sam replied. “You’ve got to tell me where I’m supposed to go. I can’t find my way around these corridors. They all look the same. This place, it… it looks just like the Project.”

As Al looked at Sam’s surroundings, he understood exactly how Sam felt. “You’re telling me, Sam. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think you were back at the Project.”

“Well, I know it isn’t. I know that much already. According to this report, I’m somewhere called the Second Genesis Project?”

“Uh, yeah, Sam, this is it, alright.” Al started punching information into the handlink as he continued, “It’s a good thing my hunch was correct, otherwise, it might have taken us a hell of a long time to find you.”

“A hunch? What do you mean by that?”

“Well, when Beeks found out who you leaped into, his name sounded familiar, so I had Ziggy do a quick background check on all the major news stories from the beginning of the year up to now. This project was the subject of an intense investigation a few months back, and the story was leaked to all the major news networks. The guy you leaped into is David Weller, a twenty-four-year-old scientist who is the assistant of the quantum physicist who heads this facility, Dr. Maxwell Connors.”

“Connors…” Sam started. “That’s the man I’m supposed to meet right now. I’m supposed to bring this status report to him, but I have no idea where his office is. I’ve been looking for the past twenty minutes.”

“Well, don’t look at me, Sam! Ziggy doesn’t have the foggiest idea of the layout of this place. This project was even more secret than Quantum Leap.”

Sam glared at Al for a few seconds before he continued, “Then, how did you find me in the first place if this place is so secret?”

“Well, as I was going to say before you interrupted me, once this investigation began, the project’s existence went public. And when Verbena found out who you leaped into, I put two and two together, and, voila, St. John was able to get a lock on you.”

Sam took in everything Al had told him, and after a few seconds, he remembered that the report mentioned something about an accelerator. He was about to ask Al about it when another scientist turned the corner of a nearby corridor and ran toward Sam.

“Dr. Weller, there you are! Dr. Connors sent me to find you. He’s screaming his head off asking where you are.” Sam looked at the young man who looked like he could have just been out of college. He had short brown hair and was wearing glasses. He could almost see the beads of sweat forming on his brow. What was it about this Connors guy that was making everyone so nervous?

“Ooo, this doesn’t sound good, Sam,” Al stated the obvious. “I think you’d better high-tail it to his office before Connors busts an artery.”

Sam turned his head toward Al with an annoyed glare as he reminded him under his breath, “I would, if I knew where his office was!”

“What are you talking about? It’s right at the end of this corridor.” Sam didn’t realize he spoke loud enough for the young man to hear him, but fortunately, it finally gave him the information he had desperately needed. “I’d better lead you back myself. I don’t want Connors thinking I’m running around aimlessly trying to find you.”

As the two scientists and the invisible Observer walked to the end of the corridor, Sam’s guide placed his hand on the intercom outside the doorframe. A very irate-sounding man shouting, “Yes?” could be heard from both the intercom and from the other side of the door.

“Um, Dr. Connors?” the young man began nervously. “It’s Dr. West. I found Dr. Weller, as you requested. He’s here with me now.”

After about five full seconds of dreadful silence, Connors finally replied, “Very well, Dr. West. Send him in.”

The door opened with a swooshing sound, in much the same way as at Sam’s own project. Connors looked up from his personal computer and gazed upon Sam with a stern look. Sam looked upon the features of this man who was apparently very peeved at his tardiness. He was an average-built man, appearing to be in his late forties. He had short black hair with a touch of gray starting to show, and although he couldn’t tell from his seated position, he appeared to be about Sam’s height as well. There was also something in the man’s eyes that made Sam experience a profound feeling of déjà vu, as if he had seen this man once before. He couldn’t recall where and when though.

Not saying anything for close to thirty seconds, Connors looked back down to his computer screen and finally said, “You are excused, Dr. West.”

Dr. West looked back to Sam sympathetically, put his hand on his shoulder, and simply said, “Good luck.” He then turned around and disappeared down the corridor.

Sam stepped into the cramped office with his trusty holographic companion following closely behind. Somewhere in the back of his Swiss-cheesed memory, he recalled how similar in size his own office was back home. It brought a small smile to his face, but that smile quickly turned to a worried frown as he looked at Connors staring at him. If looks could kill, Sam would be dead where he was standing.

“Dr. Weller,” Connors began. “I asked you for that report a half hour ago. Would you like to explain to me where you’ve been?”

Sam looked over to Al, hoping he could help him come up with a good excuse to use. When Al shrugged and shook his head, he looked back to Connors and decided to try and bluff his way through the conversation. “I, uh, wanted to make sure these results were… conclusive before I brought them to you,” Sam said as he gestured toward the clipboard he was still holding in his right hand.

“When I contacted you, you told me they were conclusive,” Connors replied, annoyance clear in his voice.

Remembering the percentage of the status report being close to one hundred percent, Sam explained, “Ah, yes, but I felt that, with the results being… what they are, and… well, seeing as how your… theories… are coming so close to being proven, I felt it would be best to double-check the results.” After a brief pause, he added, “Just to be on the safe side.” Waiting to see if that excuse would be satisfactory, he extended the arm that held the report over Connors’ desk, hoping he’d grab it and send him on his way.

Connors looked at Sam curiously, thinking it over and finally said, “Very well.” He then snatched the report from Sam’s fingers and scanned over the results that were printed on the sheet. Sam just stood there in silence as Al slipped a cigar into his mouth and began punching in more data into the handlink. Connors’ expression quickly changed to one of enthusiasm as his eyes scanned the percentage. “94.2 percent! You’re sure about this, David?”

“Yes, quite sure.” Sam hoped that his answer was correct.

Connors suddenly stood up in excitement as he pored over the results. “This is the closest we’ve come yet to proving it will work. One or two more tests, and it should be done. Thank you, David. If you don’t mind, I need to run some more calculations, and then I’ll join you and Dr. Marcus in the main lab.”

Ah, so that must be who spoke to me when I first leaped in, Sam thought. “You’re welcome, Doctor.” Sam was a bit baffled over Connors’ sudden mood swing, but decided not to look a gift horse in the mouth as he turned to make his way out of the crowded office.

“David,” he heard Connors say, as he turned back to him. “I appreciate you making sure the results were correct, but the next time I ask for your findings, I expect them in a reasonable amount of time. Timing is crucial in the final phase of this experiment. I can’t afford to have you second-guessing yourself. We’ve come too far to have this fail on us now.”

“I understand,” was all Sam could say in response.

“Good. Then I’ll meet you in the main lab at twelve hundred hours. Carry on.” With that, Connors returned to his computer screen, rapidly punching various keys on the keyboard.

Sam stepped out of the cramped office as Al popped into existence just outside to join him. “Well, I’d say you handled that rather well, Sam.”

“Yeah, I suppose. Something seems familiar about Connors. It’s the look in his eyes. Have I met him somewhere before?”

“You know the rules, Sam. If you don’t remember, I—”

“Yeah, I know, you can’t tell me,” Sam interrupted. “You’re starting to sound like a broken record, Al.”

“Hey, don’t blame me, kid. They’re your rules, not mine.”

“Well, is there anything you can tell me about Connors? Like what his experiments were about?”

Al held his cigar between two fingers as he tried to get more data from the handlink. “Ziggy doesn’t have much on this project, Sam. On this end of the timeline, much of the research that was being conducted here is still sketchy, at best.”

“You mentioned an investigation. What happened? Maybe that has something to do with why I’m here.”

“I tend to agree with you on that one, given what we know about what happened here. And the date can’t be a coincidence either. Ziggy says it’s February 29, 2004.”

Sam did a double take when he heard that information. “February 29th? It’s a Leap Year?”

“Hah! Yeah, weird, huh? I’m not sure that’s ever happened before, but I could be wrong, you’ve had over two hundred leaps. Anyway, from what was revealed in the news reports, there was a freak accident that occurred in the main lab of this complex on that date. The explosion that resulted practically destroyed the entire facility and killed everyone inside. Close to a hundred and fifty people were working here, Sam. What a waste!”

“Oh my God!” Sam exclaimed.

“It gets worse. Apparently, Connors was able to get the power he needed by harnessing a large amount of solar radiation from the sun. How, we don’t know yet, but his experiment—whatever it was—created an energy overload that resulted in the explosion. Now, normally that wouldn’t have resulted in any long-term effects, but toward the end of last year, there was some increased sunspot activity resulting in a series of small geometric storms that continued on and off for the next few months. And you know what happens during a geometric storm, of course.”

“It creates magnetic disturbances that can result in scattered, and sometimes delayed, electronic signals.”

“Right. Well, whatever Connors used to harness the energy must have contained enough power to create a sort of vacuum in the location where this project originates near the Hawaiian Islands. It’s believed there might have been some kind of solar eruption the day he ran the experiment, which threw off his calculations. The magnetic disturbances were then pulled into this vacuum and sustained indefinitely, resulting in a lot of electronic malfunctions across the West Coast and some neighboring states. The malfunctions have been intermittent for the past few months, but they haven’t gone unnoticed. It’s been creating some slowdown in various computer operations, and even shutdowns lasting for days, in some extreme cases.”

“In other words, a chain reaction that’s wreaking havoc on the day-to-day lives of a lot more people,” Sam realized. “My God, Al, I must be here to prevent that explosion then. I mean, what other reason could there be?”

“Ziggy’s currently giving that an 87.2 percent chance. She says it should probably be higher, but she’s having some ‘problems’ and can’t come up with anything else at the moment.”

Sam thought about what he had read on the status report. His instincts were telling him that Connors had stumbled onto something beyond his comprehension. “Al, go back and have Ziggy analyze every detail of the news reports. I think Connors stumbled onto something he might not have realized the full implications of. The status report I gave him mentioned something about a Quantum Accelerator.”

Al nearly choked on the cigar he had just placed back into his mouth. “WHAT? Are you serious, Sam?”

“Yes, it was practically staring me right in the face when I first leaped in. The report said, ‘Status of VR Quantum Accelerator: 94.2% probability of success.’”

“Jeez, Sam, you don’t think he was conducting some kind of time-travel experiments, do you?”

“I don’t know, Al. But he’s definitely on the verge of a breakthrough on whatever he’s trying to prove. Just run it by Ziggy, see what she can come up with. If you have to, ask Dr. Weller in the Waiting Room. Maybe he can remember something.”

“Will do, Sam,” Al replied as he entered the commands to open the Imaging Chamber door. “Just hang in there, buddy. I’ll be back as soon as I can.”

“Okay.” And with that, Al disappeared into the near future. Sam then began walking down the corridors, determined to find his way back to the main lab without help. Maybe he could do a little bit of research on his own and find out what Connors was hoping to accomplish.



Connors had suspected something unusual with Dr. Weller after their conversation and made sure he wouldn’t be seen while he quietly spied on him from the doorway of his office. Why is David talking to himself as if he doesn’t know what’s going on? he wondered. Perhaps this requires some further investigation…

“Morpheus?” he called out.

“Yes, Dr. Connors?”

“Would you please run a complete scan of Dr. Weller’s brainwave patterns? I don’t know what it is, but… something doesn’t seem right. He’s acting oddly, and I fear that something may be wrong with his mind, whether it’s from stress or something else. Inform me if you discover anything out of the ordinary.”

“As you wish, Dr. Connors. Do you require any further assistance?”

“No, I’m fine for now, Morpheus. Thank you.” After giving the order to the voice that only he could hear, Connors returned to his desk, sat down, and went back to his work.





Project Quantum Leap

Stallion’s Gate, New Mexico


Al walked through the Imaging Chamber door and placed the handlink back into its receptacle on the main console. As the holographic matrix of the hybrid computer sputtered to life, Al jumped back in surprise upon seeing Stephen tinker with the “new” handlink from behind the control panel. He still couldn’t get used to the idea that there was now a partial image to go with the inflated ego. Even as he glared at Stephen for making him jump, the boy quietly giggled to himself. I’ll have to have a little talk with that kid later about messing with the hologram in the Control Room. Either that… or ban him from the Control Room altogether. Hmmm…

“Ziggy?” Al asked, still keeping a watchful eye on his best friend’s eight-year-old son.

“Yes, Admiral?” the silky silicon voice responded.

“Have you been able to—?”

“Project more data on the relevance of Dr. Connors’ research and extrapolate on what Dr. Beckett is there to do?” Ziggy finished for him.

“Yes,” Al replied dryly.

“No. And quite frankly, Admiral, I don’t see why you need my input anyway. You managed to find Dr. Beckett just fine without my help,” Ziggy huffed. It was obvious from both the tone of her voice and the rolling of her eyes that she was annoyed that Al had found Sam through a hunch, and not through her profound wisdom. “I am just a simple computer program with no ‘instinct,’ as you so eloquently put it earlier.”

“Cut it out, Ziggy. Right now, I need information, not sarcasm. Has our Visitor been able to provide us with anything new?”

“I’m not sure, Admiral,” St. John answered for her. “I believe that Dr. Beeks is still in there with him though, if you want to check for yourself.”

“Thanks, I’ll do that. Oh, and St. John? Try to remember to keep Stephen out of trouble, okay?”

“Yes, sorry about that, Admiral,” St. John replied innocently.

Al made his way toward the Waiting Room and input the security code to open the door. Dr. Verbena Beeks stood there, noticed Al, and slowly walked toward him.

“How’s he doin’, ’Bena?” Al asked her.

“A little disoriented, but otherwise, quite alert,” she replied. “Although his memory is still pretty hazy. It may take some time for him to remember some of the information you’re looking for.”

“I’ll take my chances. Thanks.” And with that, Al took the vigil over Dr. Weller as he slowly sauntered over to the twenty-four-year-old man with short blond hair who inhabited Sam’s aura.

“Who are you?” Weller asked, scared out of his mind.

“Uh, my name is Al. We’re not gonna harm you. We just need you to try and remember as much as you can.”

“Well, it’s as I told your psychiatrist there, whatsername… Dr. Beeks? Last thing I remember is being in a room kind of like this, and the next thing I know, I start feeling a tingling sensation and, wham, I’m here.”

“Hmm, that’s more than most people can recall,” Al pondered. “Do you remember the experiment you were working on?”

Weller thought about it for a minute before responding, “I… I’m not authorized to give you that information. Max was very strict about that.”

“You mean Dr. Connors? You remember him, huh?” Al asked somewhat surprised.

“How could I forget him?” Al noticed the expression on Weller’s face and wondered if his initial impression of Connors was correct. “Don’t get me wrong, I consider him one of my closest confidants, even a friend, but the man can be very… egocentric. Especially when it comes to his research. And to be honest…” Weller stopped himself from what he was about to say.

“What is it, David? Go on, you can tell me,” Al pleaded calmly.

“To be honest… lately he’s been scaring me. He’s become so obsessed, like nothing else matters. He’s determined to prove his theories, even if he has to accelerate his own death to do it.”

That was all Al needed to hear. I only hope Sam can find out more than I’ve been able to, he thought.



Second Genesis Project

February 29, 2004, 11:59 AM


I had managed to find the main lab on my own, but what I found there didn’t help me to figure out what Connors’ research fully entailed. The scary part was how easily I seemed to be adapting to the work that was expected from me, minus the occasional blunder. And through it all, something was nagging the back of my mind. It was Connors—the familiarity I felt when I first saw him face-to-face wouldn’t go away. In just one brief conversation with the man, I had felt both genuine respect and a small level of hostility, almost as if we were competing with each other. I couldn’t tell if it was just a residual from the real Dr. Weller, or my own experience with the man. But my instincts were telling me it was the latter. So, if that was the case, then it meant I must have known the man personally at one time or another; but where and when?


“Heads up, David. Connors just arrived, punctual as always,” warned the man Sam now knew as Dr. Marcus.

Sure enough, Sam looked over to the digital clock at his workstation. As the digits blinked from 1159 to 1200, Connors entered the room almost in sync. Connors walked over to both Sam and Dr. Marcus with anticipation in his eyes. “Any progress, Doctors?”

“Well,” Dr. Marcus began, “we’ve managed to bring the percentage up to ninety-five, but I still think it may take a few more weeks before anything conclusive can be determined.”

“I don’t care what you may think, Dr. Marcus,” Connors replied sternly. “What I want is for everyone to ensure that this thing will work properly.”

“I think what Dr. Marcus is trying to say,” Sam chimed in, “is that there are also safety issues to consider before we try anything.”

Connors glared at Sam for a few seconds before replying. “There are always risks involved in experiments such as these. You, of all people, should know that by now, David. This is the closest we’ve ever come to proving the Accelerator will work. I don’t intend to let this opportunity slip away.”

Something about this argument sounded very familiar to Sam. “All I’m saying is, it wouldn’t hurt to run a simulation first.”

“I concur with Dr. Weller,” Dr. Marcus agreed. “At the very least, let us activate the safety protocols before you step into the chamber.”

Sam looked over Connors, and for a second, it appeared as if he was listening to someone speaking to him. Connors caught himself, however, and responded, “I guess you’re right; better safe than sorry, I suppose. Prepare the simulation.”

As Sam began making the appropriate modifications, he heard the familiar sound of the Imaging Chamber door opening and the footsteps of his best friend following behind it.

“Hiya buddy! How’ve you been making out?” he asked.

As Dr. Marcus brought the simulation chamber online, the noise was loud enough to drown out Sam’s whispering. “Well, all I’ve found out so far is that this Connors guy seems to be obsessed with his research.”

“Hah!” Al remarked out of the corner of his mouth. “Obsessed is putting it mildly!”

“What do you mean?”

“Sam, from what was known about him, this guy was off-the-wall loony. I’m talking crackpot here! I shouldn’t be telling you this, but since he’s the most likely reason for you being here, Ziggy thinks it’s okay; it might help jog your memory. Connors was a well-respected member of the scientific community back in the early ’80s. He was the most brilliant man to come along since—”

“Me!” Sam suddenly recalled.

“You remember?” Al nudged.

“Some of it, yeah. He was one of the pioneers of the first experiments with cell-stem research or something like that, wasn’t he? But, that’s a far cry from quantum physics.”

“That was just one field of expertise he excelled in, Sam. The man had seven doctorates, just like you. Some people claimed he might have been smarter than you, if that’s even possible.”

That information stunned Sam. “Smarter than me? I-I thought you once told me I was dubbed the next Einstein.”

“You were. What set the both of you apart was the fact that his research started taking on dangerous aspects. He theorized that nuclear energy could be harnessed through our bodies in a way that could eradicate various diseases, or some other such nonsense. What he proposed was considered extremely dangerous, and the government ultimately censured his work, shunning him from the scientific community.”

“I remember now,” Sam continued as he entered more codes into his console. “He was a major opponent of my research while you and I were still on the Star Bright Project. I always thought it was just a rivalry.”

“In a sense, it was, but it was more complicated than that, Sam. He was trapped in your shadow, ever since you won the Nobel Prize. He tried unsuccessfully to disprove your String Theory, saying time-travel was a bunch of malarkey that should remain in science fiction. And once he was censured, he went into seclusion for many years. He supposedly inherited his family fortune and must have used it to create this project.”

“So, this is all privately-funded then? That’s how he’s able to continue his research under their noses.”

“You got it, kid,” Al confirmed. “And it’s also why we can’t get any further data on the specifics of his recent research. What gets me is how closely this all resembles Project Quantum Leap. Even that simulation chamber over there that Dr. Marcus brought online looks like the Accelerator.”

“Dr. Weller?” a voice interrupted Sam’s train of thought. It was the voice of Dr. Marcus trying to get Sam’s attention. “Whenever you’re ready, Doctor.”

“Right, sorry. Safety protocols online, awaiting Dr. Connors’ signal to proceed,” Sam recited as if he had done this a million times already.

“Affirmative,” Dr. Marcus replied. “Stand by to fire Quantum Accelerator.”

Sam and Al watched in both fascination and surprise as Connors stepped into the simulation chamber wearing a skin-tight white suit.

Sam was speechless. “Al,” he whispered. “That’s a Fermi suit he’s wearing! Is that a coincidence?”

“I don’t know, Sam, but you’d better activate the simulation. Dr. Frankenstein over there doesn’t seem to appreciate you stalling,” Al said, pointing his cigar over in the direction of Connors.

Looking down quickly, Sam moved his hand over the entering command and watched as a mist of quantum energy began filling the chamber. The color of the mist rapidly changed from one end of the spectrum to another and back again, creating a myriad of colors like a rainbow effect.

“Don’t worry, Sam, this doesn’t cause the explosion,” Al reassured Sam. “Ziggy says that won’t happen for at least ten more hours.” Almost on cue, the handlink produced a squealing noise as new information scrolled across the tiny screen, leaving a resigned look on the Observer’s face. He shook it off as his eyes returned to witness the simulation play out to its finality.

As Sam looked on to Connors and the energy cumulating around him, a brief memory flashed across his brain—a memory from a time that now seemed to be a lifetime ago.

“He’s leaping! Ziggy says no, but Sam’s leaping!”

It was the voice of his old colleague and friend Gooshie. Sam had tricked him into thinking he wouldn’t do something drastic, but he locked Gooshie out of the Control Room and did anyway. Pressure from the Committee caused Sam to do the unthinkable and step into his Accelerator before it was tested. He recalled the simultaneous feelings of joy and sorrow he felt as the energy engulfed him—joy in knowing, in one instant, that he was succeeding; sorrow in knowing he would be leaving his closest friends behind. Sam wondered if Connors had anyone who would miss him if he suddenly vanished without a trace. Was there a decent, honest man behind the obsession he witnessed?

And then another thought entered Sam’s mind. Was anyone able to see beyond my obsession in the days before I leaped? Was I as bad as Connors near the end? Did I leave someone important behind other than Al? Maybe we’re more alike than I’d like to admit.

His thoughts were interrupted as the simulation died down without any results. “No!” Connors screamed. “No, this HAS to work! David, run the simulation again!”

“Dr. Connors, we used up a lot of power,” Sam answered. “The chamber needs time to recharge.”

“NO… we’re so close! We have to try again!” Connors continued to protest.

“Max,” Dr. Marcus announced through the intercom. “David is right. We need to wait at least a couple of hours before we try again, otherwise there could be a core breach. I’m sorry, Max. Why don’t we all take a break and resume working on the problem after lunch, okay?”

Connors lowered his head in defeat and paused before replying through the intercom, “Fine! You all take a break if you insist. I’ll stay here and work on the problem.”

“Max, you’ve been working yourself around the clock, you’ve barely slept, you’ve barely eaten,” Dr. Marcus explained. “I think you should seriously consider taking a break for a few hours. Exhaustion and an empty stomach won’t help your concentration.”

“Dr. Marcus,” Connors replied with a hint of frustration in his voice. “If you don’t mind, I’ll decide what’s best for me. Just… leave me be. Go! Take a break, all of you! I’ll be fine.”

Sam reluctantly left his console as Dr. Marcus approached him, speaking softly enough for Connors not to overhear. “I don’t know, David. Max is scaring me lately. I fear he’s gonna do something drastic if we don’t produce some significant results soon. God knows I’ve tried talking with him.”

Sam focused his attention on the monitor screen’s image of Dr. Connors and tried to reassure Dr. Marcus. “I’ll try and talk to him. You go on ahead, Dr. Marcus. Relax for a while,” he added with a smile.

“David, you’ve been here for almost a year now. You can call me Will,” he added with a smile back.

“Oh, right… sorry, Will. I’ll catch up with you later.”

As Will Marcus walked away, Al began to intercede with more information. “Come on, Sam. We need to talk. Ziggy just came up with some new data concerning Connors, Marcus, and the guy you leaped into.”

“In a minute,” Sam muttered under his breath, his attention still focused on Connors. He slowly approached the simulation chamber where Connors was still lost in deep thought. He activated the opening mechanism and tried to get through to the scientist. “Dr. Connors?”

Connors didn’t look up, but Sam decided to speak anyway. “I know this is frustrating for you. We just don’t want to see you make a foolish mistake by rushing things unnecessarily. Theories take time to prove.”

“Time? What do you know about time, David?” Connors muttered under his breath.

You’d be surprised, Sam thought to himself.

“Time is something I’m finding dwindling away from me more and more each day. Success is so close I can taste it. And the longer I wait, the harder it becomes to prove my theory before…” he stopped himself from saying anything further.

“Before what?” Sam asked.

“Nothing, David. No need to concern yourself with it,” Connors replied. Then with a slight smile, he added, “Now go on! Take a break. Be back here in one hour, alright?”

With nothing else to say, Sam simply replied, “Okay,” then turned to walk out the corridor to join Al. He was now fairly certain that he was here to convince Connors to slow down with his research. It might be the only way to prevent the disaster that would soon follow and kill over one hundred good men and women. And if he couldn’t convince him, Dr. Marcus seemed to be the next best candidate.



Connors looked back as Dr. Weller’s aura left the room and a vague recollection from his past resurfaced—a recollection of an old rival who had the same annoying boy-scout attitude that David was now exhibiting. His thoughts were interrupted by the voice he heard earlier.

“Dr. Connors? I believe I should inform you of something… odd I have discovered.”

“Odd?” Connors wondered. “What about?”

“It is Dr. Weller. I have scanned his brainwaves and…”

“And what, Morpheus?”

“And they do not match the prior scans taken ten months ago when he first came on staff. It is as if he is someone else.”

The information left Dr. Connors dumbfounded. “Someone else? You mean an imposter?”

“I do not know, Dr. Connors. I am simply projecting a 99.2 percent probability that Dr. Weller is not who he says he is. It is the only explanation I have at this time.”

Connors was now beyond curious about his so-called “assistant.” This would definitely require further investigation. In the nearly three years since “he” had first come online, Morpheus was never known to be wrong.





Even with what I remembered about Connors, something still wasn’t sitting right with me. Sure, he may have been a brilliant, arrogant, and even egocentric quantum physicist with a grudge against me, but it still didn’t explain the odd feeling I was getting. It was almost like a premonition—that his obsession was leading him down a path I feared would lead to an even greater disaster. Somehow, either Dr. Marcus or myself had to get through to him—no matter what it took.


“All right, what do you got for me, Al?” Sam asked anxiously.

“Well, you might find this interesting, buddy-boy!” Al began. “It seems that we’re not the only people who have noticed Connors’ odd behavior of late. After talking with Weller in the Waiting Room, I had Ziggy do some digging. Turns out that Connors had been acting strange for the better part of the past year. You—I mean, Weller, and Marcus weren’t the only ones who noticed.”

Sam thought back to something Connors had mentioned to him earlier. “Connors said something about not having enough time. You said this project was privately-funded, right?”

“Uh… yeah, according to the news reports. Why?”

“Well, if that’s the case, then it’s not an issue of the government threatening to shut down his project. Part of the reason why I was pressured to prove my theory was because the government wanted to pull the plug on us.”

Al squinted his eyes with a curious expression as he said, “What’s your point, Sam?”

“My point is that there has to be another reason why Connors is rushing to prove this theory of his, whatever it is. What do we have on him so far?”

Al lifted another unlit cigar into the side of his mouth as he brought the handlink up out of his pocket and punched in more data. “Well, let’s see here: Maxwell Connors, born September 11, 1956, only child of Robert and Janine Connors. He attended MIT at the age of sixteen, where he met a young William Marcus. They quickly became close confidants, which I guess is why Connors recruited him to help him head up this project when it apparently began over six years ago.

“Anyway, Connors graduated with full honors in ’75, earning seven doctorates, as I mentioned before. Then up until the mid ’80s, he was heading up a government-funded project called the Genesis Experiment. Hmm, this is interesting.”

“What is it?” Sam asked.

“There were rumors that the experiment dealt with the origins of life on the sub-atomic level. Many of his colleagues believed he was attempting to trace all life back to a single source.”

Sam’s expression was one of shock as he realized the implications of what Al was telling him. “You mean he was literally trying to discover the genesis of… humanity?”

“That was the general consensus among many people, Sam. You ask me, I think he wanted to unlock the secrets of our genetic code. You see, he believed we all had some kind of latent power within our bodies that could literally make us immune to various diseases or afflictions—even old age. I think he said it was ‘the next step in our evolution’ in an interview about twenty years ago.”

“He was trying to eliminate death,” Sam realized.

“I think so, Sam. Some of his theories showed promise too, until he started to suggest that nuclear energy could be harnessed to trigger those dormant abilities on the sub-atomic level. What he proposed was considered too dangerous, and well, you know the rest.”

Sam thought for a couple of seconds before he continued, “I think it’s safe to assume then that this project must be an extension of his prior research. Has Weller said anything more?”

“Not much beyond what we’ve already seen for ourselves—that Connors’ obsession will result in his death if someone doesn’t stop him.”

Sam’s thoughts suddenly turned back to his own past. A brief flash of memory returned to his mind as he remembered the events leading to his first leap back in 1995. Although they were vague recollections from a short time ago, these memories were now haunting him, weighing him down like a ton of bricks.

Al noticed Sam drifting off and quickly lifted his fingers up to his mouth to remove his unlit cigar. He knew the look on Sam’s face—it was one of guilt. He nudged, “Sam?”

“Is that what people think happened to me, Al? That I’m… dead?”

Al thought for a second before answering. “Some people do. But your family and everyone at the Project know you’re alive. We’ve never given up on you, buddy.”

“Al? Was I as obsessed as Connors before I leaped? Did people think I was a… crackpot?”

“Damn, Beeks warned me this leap might trigger some memories of your life before you leaped.” Al looked down at his feet before continuing. “You were no more obsessive than was considered normal for you, Sam. Sure, you might have gotten moody and absorbed in your work, but you took time out to remember what got you to where you were and the people who helped you get there. You never lost your compassion for life, Sam. Not everyone always understood your theories, but you tried your best to involve them in your work whenever you could. And your intentions have always been to better mankind. That’s what sets you apart from Connors. He was always out for himself, for the glory. He felt he was always second-best next to you and it drove him nuts.”

“I just…” Sam didn’t quite know how to say what he wanted to say. “I feel like I’ve somehow let everyone down. I left you all behind. In a moment of weakness, I only thought of myself when I stepped into that Accelerator. It’s been so long, Al. And part of me knows that I could will myself home somehow, but I just don’t know how to.”

“You’re only human, Sam. No one expects you to have all the answers. And you haven’t let anyone down. You’re gonna make it home someday, I know it!” With a smile, Al added, “Now come on, stop wallowing in self-pity, and let’s think of a way to stop this project from going kablooey.”

“You’re right, Al,” Sam smiled back. “I guess this whole thing with Connors is just so similar to my own experiences. Maybe Connors has some kind of file on his theories in his office. I hate having to snoop around in someone’s private files, but I can’t think of any other choice I have, can you?”

“Nope. I’m surprised you thought of it though. It’s not like you at all, Sam. Maybe there’s hope for you yet,” Al commented with a mild smirk.

Sam laughed as they both made their way back to Connors’ office. Sam noted the time he still had before his break would be over and made it a point to tell Al to be on the lookout in case Connors came back unexpectedly. “Maybe that report I handed to him earlier…I never got a good look at it. It might mention something about the experiment, you think?”

“It’s worth a try, Sam. Is it still on his desk somewhere?” Al replied while still keeping a lookout.

Sam rummaged through piles of paper, carefully keeping everything in order so as not to make a mess. If Connors was as smart as Al told him he was, he would definitely notice if something was amiss in his office. After searching for about two minutes, he found the clipboard he had been looking for. “Here, I found it, Al.”

“What does it say? Anything?” Al asked.

“Let’s see here… ‘Second Genesis Project’… ‘VR Quantum Accelerator’… that must stand for ‘Virtual Reality.’ That would explain why it has safety protocols that can be disabled,” Sam said. He continued to skim over the details of the report until he stumbled across the two words that made his heart jump. “‘String Theory’?”

“WHAT?” Al exclaimed as he paced over to where Sam was standing. “He actually mentions the String Theory?”

“Listen to this, Al. ‘Phase One of the experiment centers on proving what the original Genesis Experiment failed to prove: that the String Theory, once proposed by Dr. Samuel Beckett, does in fact hold merit to eliminating various cancer-causing agents or other forms of disease. While it is not the opinion of this scientist that time-travel actually exists, I propose this theory can be applied to the regeneration of dead cells—in effect, a rebirth of the human genome. Upon death, a nuclear acceleration of quantum particles can be harnessed through the physical body, eliminating the cause of death, and restarting the process of life. This is the basic principle of the Second Genesis Project.’ It then goes on to say that Phase One was completed and that Phase Two is now in the testing stages.”

“Saaam, I’m getting a bad feeling about all this,” Al stated nervously. “He’s putting a bend on your own theory to fit into his mold. What a nozzle! No wonder the government put a kibosh on his research. He’s trying to play God, attempting to re-create life from death—a literal second genesis!”

“Al! Do you realize the implications of this if it were to work?” Sam suggested. “It would put an end to death! No one would have to die of AIDS, or cancer, or anything else!”

“Even old age? It’s insane! Death is a part of life. It has to happen to make room for new life to be born. Sam, you have to stop and think about this for a minute. Connors is so caught up in trying to see if he can do this, he’s not stopping to think if he should do this. Trying to eradicate disease is one thing, but to actually reverse death… it could never happen, Sam, no matter how much we may want it to. Even you have to realize that.”

The Observer’s speech was interrupted by a voice yelling, “What the hell are you doing in my office, Doctor?”

Startled by the unexpected appearance of Connors, Sam stuttered trying to come up with a reasonable explanation as to why he was snooping around. “I-I-I’m sorry, D-Dr. Connors. I was just, uh…”

“Don’t look at me, Sam. Ziggy gave me no warning Connors was on his way back here. Damn bucket of bolts!” The handlink squealed in protest at the Observer’s insult. “Yeah, same to you!” he yelled back.

“You were snooping around trying to get information on this project, weren’t you, Dr. Weller? If that is who you say you are,” Connors replied.

Confusion passed through Sam’s mind at those words. Connors couldn’t possibly know who he really was… could he? “I… I’m not sure what you mean by that, Dr. Connors. I’m your assistant David. Why would I be anyone else?”

“I don’t know. Maybe you’re an imposter sent by the government to spy on my research,” Connors replied smugly.

“A little paranoid, aren’t we?” Al said. “This guy needs a serious reality check. He’s gonna end up killing everyone in this complex because he thinks he’s on the right track with his insane theory!”

As Al spoke, Sam noticed the expression on Connors’ face change. It was the same expression he had in the main lab, when it appeared as if he was listening to someone. There was definitely something more to this project than just an experiment. Connors was hiding something. “Dr. Connors—Max… I’m not a government agent. I’m sorry for coming in here without your permission. I was looking for the report I gave you earlier to check something I might have missed, and I thought you would have been back here. I was going to ask you first, but then… I-I just saw the report on your desk and wanted to take a quick look. That’s all, honest!”

He couldn’t tell if Connors was buying his explanation, but Sam was dismissed with a stern warning. “All right, David, you can go. Your break is just about over anyway. You, Dr. Marcus, and the others should be going back to work. I’m telling you this just once, Doctor… if you enter my office without permission again, I’ll see to it you never work here or at any other research facility again. Do I make myself clear?”

“Perfectly. Again, I apologize, Dr. Connors,” Sam said somewhat shamefully.

Al stood in front of Connors for a few seconds giving him a snide look as he lit the cigar he had been holding and flicked some holographic ashes toward him. He then used the handlink to relocate himself outside the corridor to meet up with Sam.

“Great! Now he thinks I’m trying to sabotage his experiment,” Sam said to Al.

“I hate to break this to you, Sam, but you may have to. If Connors can’t be reasoned with, that’s a possibility you may have to consider. You’ve done it before.”

“When?” Sam asked.

Al’s thoughts returned to that tragic time when Gooshie had been lost as a result of the evil Lothos project. “If you can’t remember, then I—sorry, I know… broken record.”

Sam glared at Al even as he realized that his friend might be correct. If Connors couldn’t be stopped, innocent people would die. Not only that, the current solar activity would be amplified by the impending explosion and cause technical and magnetic disturbances for months to come. “There has to be a way to reason with him, to get him to at least hold off on his experiment. You said he and Marcus go back a while, right? I’ll try talking to him. Maybe he can talk some sense into Connors.”

Al looked at his handlink again. “Ziggy agrees with you, Sam. Marcus might be the key to turning this Project around. I’ll go back and try to get some more info out of Weller. In the meantime—huh?” Al entered the command to open the Imaging Chamber door, but after opening halfway, it suddenly stopped. “What the—? St. John, what’s happening?”

“What’s going on, Al?” Sam asked nervously.

Clunk! Shoom! The door opened all the way this time, but Al was still hesitant. “That’s weird. For a second or two, Ziggy didn’t have enough power to open the door all the way. Must have been a minor glitch. Don’t worry, Sam, I’m sure it was nothing.” He continued on. “In the meantime, make sure you don’t get on Connors’ bad side anymore than you already have.”

“I’ll do my best,” Sam replied.

With a nod, Al disappeared into the near future, leaving Sam staring at a blank wall. He started toward the main lab, determined to talk with Dr. Marcus. He was second in command, and Sam knew that he would put the safety of the Project above anything else, and if need be, would have the authority to temporarily relieve Connors of duty.



Connors couldn’t fathom what Morpheus had told him when he had confronted “David.” It didn’t make sense. An apparition? Standing next to “David”? There were no such things as ghosts.

“Morpheus, there has to be a logical explanation for the apparition you detected. I do suspect that it has something to do with ‘Dr. Weller.’ It can’t be a coincidence.”

“You are correct, Dr. Connors. I have just uncovered a new piece of information I believe you will find interesting. It concerns your old colleague, Dr. Samuel Beckett.”

A look of shock fell on Connors’ face. “Beckett? What does he have to do with all of this? Other than his supposed ‘String Theory’?”

“It appears that in 1995, he went into even further seclusion than he had when he first created his top-secret project, Quantum Leap. Many people outside of the government suspect that he has been dead for the past nine years.”

“Quantum Leap? You mean, the project that supposedly dealt with time-travel? What happened? Are you saying he faked his disappearance to make people think his time-travel crap actually worked?”

After a slight delay, Morpheus responded, “If what I am detecting is true, then Dr. Beckett’s theory may not be ‘crap,’ as you put it.”

“What? That’s impossible. Explain.”

“I have been programmed to track physical and neurological anomalies in human beings. And I also have the ability to expand beyond my original programming.”

“Yes, I know, Morpheus. I created you, remember?” Connors said with slight annoyance.

“I detected a second anomaly within your office, Dr. Connors. And this anomaly was, for lack of a better word, paranormal in origin. It originated from ‘Dr. Weller’s’ brainwave patterns. That means that only ‘Dr. Weller’ could see and hear what I now believe was a holographic projection.”

“Holographic?” Connors inquired. “Projected from where?”

“I now believe with 99.8 percent certainty that the signal originated from another time period. Part of Dr. Beckett’s work also focused on holographic technology that would theoretically be considered ‘paranormal.’ He not only theorized that he would be able to successfully travel through time, but he also conceived the idea for a parallel-hybrid computer that would establish a neural link with someone at his project. Therefore, using that data, I have extrapolated that Dr. David Weller is in fact Dr. Samuel Beckett, and the holographic projection was someone at his project communicating with him as a neurological hologram from his own time.”

Connors couldn’t believe what Morpheus was telling him. He spent a majority of the past twenty years trying to disprove Dr. Beckett’s theories. He always assumed that Beckett had the String Theory all wrong. Time-travel was a fantasy—a dream first conceived by H.G. Wells, nothing more. People were meant to learn from their past mistakes, not find a way to change them from occurring. And besides, it didn’t make sense. If time-travel were possible, then history would have been over-run by visitors from the future changing things for their own benefit. And with the world being in the condition it was in, he just couldn’t comprehend how certain historical events would have gone ignored: the Holocaust, the Vietnam War, the September 11th attacks—if there were people traveling through time, wouldn’t they have prevented these things from occurring?


“Morpheus? If David is really Beckett from another time, then… what do you hypothesize is his reason for coming here? Could he be trying to halt my progress?”

“I am uncertain as to Dr. Beckett’s true intentions, Dr. Connors. But I hypothesize that this holographic projection is providing Dr. Beckett with information about the future. He could be using this information to alter the course of history, whether it is for better or for worse.”

Max Connors took a few long minutes before he finally accepted the truth. Could it truly be possible? Dr. Sam Beckett somehow broke the time barrier? I remember him once saying he wished to observe time, but he didn’t say anything about interacting with it. But now that he has, why hasn’t he done anything to change our world for the better? There are people out there who are sick and dying every day, and HE’S gallivanting around the cosmos on a joyride through the fourth dimension doing whatever the hell he pleases? Regardless of why Beckett was now here, Connors knew that he couldn’t allow him to interfere with the experiment he was conducting. It held the key to saving humanity from itself.

“Morpheus, maintain your scans of Dr. Beckett. If he attempts to do anything that directly threatens my research, initiate a lockdown in his location and inform me immediately.”

“As you wish, Dr. Connors.”

“And try to obtain as much information as you can about this Project Quantum Leap. I want to know where and when in time Beckett came from and the reason why he’s here.” Success was nearly in his grasp; and he wasn’t about to let some holier-than-thou quantum physicist take that away from him.





Project Quantum Leap

Stallion’s Gate, New Mexico


“Any progress with our Visitor?” Al asked the Project psychiatrist.

“That’s actually what I wanted to talk to you about, Al,” Verbena replied. “Within the past hour, he’s started becoming more agitated. It’s almost as if the closer we get to the accident occurring in Sam’s time, the worse he gets. It’s like he senses something terrible is about to happen. It might be the anxiety Sam is feeling bleeding through into David.”

“Do you mind if I talk to him again for a few minutes?”

“I think it’s okay if you do, but be wary of what you say. It took me a good half hour just to calm him down.”

“I’ll try my best. Thanks, ’Bena,” Al said as he left the Observation Deck and entered the Waiting Room. “Hey, David. You feeling any better?”

“A little. Dr. Beeks explained that I’m part of another experiment. A time-travel experiment! It’s unreal… I never would have thought it possible. But I still have this terrible feeling. I-I can’t explain how I know. It’s… Max. He’s going to be responsible for something terrible, isn’t he, Al?”

Al took a moment to think about his response. He often had to make judgment calls on whether or not to tell certain Visitors what would happen. In this instance, Al felt that Dr. Weller needed to know.

“Yes, David. There’s going to be an accident at the project and a lot of people will die unless Sam stops it. Once he does that, you should go back. That’s why we need you to remember as much as you can tell us.”

“I… I want to help,” Weller replied. “I’ll do whatever I can.”

“Okay,” Al continued. “Can you think of any reason why Connors feels pressured to prove his theory as soon as possible?”

“He… he kept saying… time… no time left…”

“Why doesn’t he have a lot of time? Is something going to happen to him? Try and think, David. You and Dr. Marcus know him best.”

“No wait,” Weller interrupted. “That’s just it! Will doesn’t know. He doesn’t know that… Max is dying.”

“Dying?” Al was shocked. Suddenly, it all made sense: Connors’ obsession with reversing death, to eradicate disease. “It’s cancer, isn’t it?”

“Yes,” Weller confirmed. “He-he didn’t want me or Will to know, but I found out about two weeks ago. I went into his office one day to ask him something, and he wasn’t there. And then I saw it on his desk—the medical report that said he had had it for a few years and was gradually deteriorating. He’s been trying to hide it from us, but he’s been snapping at everyone for the past few months, over the smallest things.” Weller looked Al directly in the eyes as he came to another realization. “My God, that’s it!”

“What?” Al demanded. “What’s it?”

“That’s why he’s rushing the experiment. If it works, it will be like a virtual ‘fountain of youth.’ He’s going to test it on himself without the safety protocols. But if there’s even the smallest error, it could destroy everything. You’ve got to stop him, Al!”

“Thanks, David,” Al said as he marched out of the Waiting Room. Directing his voice toward the ceiling, he shouted, “Did you get all that, Ziggy?”

“Affirmative, Admiral. However, I estimate that Dr. Beckett still has eight hours, forty-one minutes and twenty-two point-three seconds before the explosion will occur,” Ziggy’s voice announced through the corridor’s loud-speakers.

Al quickly returned to the Control Room and began barking orders. “St. John, get ready to activate the Imaging Chamber. I’ve got to get back to Sam pronto.”

“Yes, Admiral,” St. John replied. However, at almost that exact moment, several lights on the control console began to flicker, then shut down. “Admiral, something’s wrong. The main controls are shutting down. I can’t access the Imaging Chamber door!”

“WHAT?” Al screamed. “Ziggy, what’s going on?”

“Unknown… Admiral. I am getting… interference,” Ziggy stuttered as her matrix faded.

“Interference? From where?”

“I believe it is… originating from the vacuum created… by the remnants of the Second Genesis Project in our time. The magnetic field is having an… effect on my systems. I am losing poweeeeeer…”

“Admiral, it’s a side-effect from the explosion months ago,” St. John confirmed. “The ‘pocket’ that was created is interfering with computer systems and power grids along the West Coast, and it’s spreading east. Even Ziggy’s enhanced program is not completely immune. I might not be able to get a lock on Sam for another hour, maybe more.”

“Perfect! The very accident Sam is there to stop is preventing us from communicating with him,” Al said more to himself than to St. John. “Divert power from all other systems, even environmental controls if you have to. The sooner I can get back there, the better! I just hope Sam can figure out how to stop Connors before it’s too late.”



Second Genesis Project

February 29, 2004, 2:17 PM


For the next half hour or so after the incident with Connors, Sam continued with his research while trying to find the first opportunity to talk with Dr. Marcus. Unfortunately, he was running back and forth so much that he barely had time to think, let alone take a few minutes to speak with the man. In that time, Connors had not returned to the main lab, which Sam took as a good sign, for the moment. Despite Al’s reassurances, this scenario was hitting too close to home for him, and he was determined to prevent another experiment from ending prematurely.

The youthful scientist Sam remembered earlier as Dr. West approached him with a new clipboard in his left hand. “Dr. Weller, I’ve got the latest test results from Dr. Marcus’s simulation.”

“What did he find?” Sam asked.

“Well, you can read it for yourself, but the latest results are still showing a five percent margin of error. He asked me to tell you that he wants to discuss his findings in more detail with you in his office.”

Just the opportunity I’ve been looking for, Sam thought. “Thank you, Dr. West.” Although he would have preferred if Al were around to keep another lookout for Connors, Sam felt fairly confident that even he wouldn’t interrupt a private meeting with Dr. Marcus as long as it involved work.

Being here for the past several hours, Sam knew that Dr. Marcus’s office was just down the corridor, so he began the small journey. Approaching the open doorway, he noticed a concerned expression on Marcus’s face, as if he was lost in deep thought. He announced himself to the man. “You wanted to see me, Dr. Marcus? I mean… Will?”

Marcus looked up from his far-off gaze and asked, “Is Max around?”

“Uh, no. I think he’s still back in his office.”

“Good, I’d rather not have Max involved in this discussion. Please, sit down, David,” he said, extending his hand toward a chair in front of his desk. Sam pressed a key on the control panel on the wall to close the door and then sat down in the chair.

“I’m sure you’ve seen the report on my latest findings. Do you concur with my data?”

“Yes, I didn’t find any errors in your analysis.”

“I’ve been going over the data again and again, and I can’t find a way to increase the percentage any further. It needs to be at one hundred percent, and until we can find a way to harness this energy safely, I don’t want to run another simulation until we can guarantee the safety of this Project.”

“I agree, Will. But I’m not sure what Dr. Connors will say about that.”

“That’s exactly why I called you in here, David. I’m… concerned about him. He’s been acting erratic these past few months, more so than usual. I’ve known him longer than anyone here, and yet, he feels like a stranger half of the times.”

“Actually, I’ve been meaning to speak with you about his… behavior,” Sam said. “Doesn’t he seem overly… obsessed about his work?”

“Yeah, I’ve noticed. I’ve tried to be sympathetic about it. He just wants to prove his theory. I can understand that.”

“Will… have you ever stopped to think about what it is we’re doing here? The ethics behind his research?”

“I know his theories may be a bit… unorthodox, but he’s always had the best intentions.”

“Are you sure about that, Will?” Sam took a couple of seconds to think of the right way to word his thoughts without sounding like Weller had been ignorant. “Look, I’ll admit, when I first realized the implications of the research being done here, I was overwhelmed by its potential. But, now that I’ve had time to think about it, I can’t help but feel like we’re playing with Pandora’s Box. And if we’re not careful, we could unleash a power we’re not capable of controlling.”

“Don’t you think I realize that, David? This is a question of loyalty. Max has been my closest friend and colleague for over twenty years. I’ve always supported his decisions.”

“Is loyalty enough of a reason to put innocent lives at stake?” Marcus thought about that statement for a moment before Sam continued. “You said it yourself, Will. The safety of everyone at this Project comes first. Until we can guarantee that, the research being done here should be put on hold.”

“But what can I do about it, David? This is his project. He calls the shots around here. I’m only second in command.”

“That’s just it, you are second in command, and therefore, you have the right to question if he’s in the right frame of mind to be undertaking this work right now.” Suddenly, without warning, one of Weller’s memories rose to the surface and Sam realized what that frame of mind was. “He… he’s dying, Will.”

“What?” Marcus asked in shock.

“He has cancer,” Sam answered. How did I know that? Sam thought, before he realized that a residual of Weller’s mind was taking over. “I… I must have discovered it not too long ago and not said anything,” he mumbled, but just enough for Marcus to hear him.

“It all makes sense now… the erratic behavior… the obsession to prove his theory…” Marcus thought out loud. “He wants to test the theory on himself and be reborn. How could I be so blind? The cancer’s been affecting his judgment, and he needs help.”

“It’s not too late to try to help him, Will,” Sam said. “You can talk to him, try to make him realize he’s going about this the wrong way. Just because his research has stalled doesn’t mean it needs to be stopped altogether. It just needs adjustment, that’s all.”

“You-you’re right, David. But he needs to hear it from me. Effective immediately, his research is being put on hold until he gets the medical attention he needs,” Marcus said solemnly.

“I think you’re making the right choice, Will,” Sam replied.

As Marcus got up from his desk and started to walk away, he turned back to Sam and said, “Thank you for informing me of this, David. It’s made my decision much easier. I just hope Max will understand.”

So do I, Sam thought as Marcus turned again to leave to inform Connors of his decision. However, in the back of his mind—or perhaps a residual from David—he had a feeling that it wouldn’t be enough.



Even though Marcus knew Connors for a long time, he knew that his friend wasn’t going to like what he had to say. He prepared himself mentally for the conversation as he hit the intercom outside Max’s office. “Max? Are you there? It’s Will, I need to talk with you.”

About five seconds went by before he got the response, “Very well, but make it quick.” The electronic signal of the door then sounded, indicating he could open the door to come in.

Marcus walked into the office as he had walked in many times before for the past ten years, but this was the first time that he felt so nervous, like someone punched him in the stomach. Connors noticed his discomfort and asked, “Is something troubling you, Will?”

Marcus took a deep breath and just came out and said what he now knew needed to be said. “Yes, Max. It’s you, to be honest. Many of us have noticed your erratic and obsessive behavior in recent months, and well, I’m getting worried that it might be interfering with your ability to think rationally about your research. You’re starting to take unnecessary risks which might threaten the safety of this project.”

“I told you before, DOCTOR Marcus,” Connors said, somewhat annoyed. “Risks are always a factor in trying to prove theories work. My job is to make sure this experiment will succeed, especially now that it’s so close to being proven.”

“And it’s my job to ensure the safety of all those involved, including yourself, Doctor,” Marcus shot back at him. “Max, I know about the cancer. David found out and told me. I don’t think he wanted to, but he felt it was necessary to inform me.”

“Oh, he did, did he?” Connors said angrily.

“Yes. And quite frankly, I’m hurt that you felt you had to keep this information from me. How long have we known each other, Max? We’ve confided in each other about everything in the past. You’ve been there for me just as I’ve been here for you. And now, to find out you’re dying of a terminal illness… now I know why you’ve been so obsessed.”

Connors knew where this conversation was heading. “Will, listen to me,” he pleaded. “I don’t know what else Dr. Weller told you, but it’s all an act. He’s trying to stop me, and now I think he’s trying to use what he found out to get you to take his side. David is not who he says he is, you have to believe me when I tell you that. His only concern is to halt my research.”

Marcus was completely dumbfounded by the statement. “Max, do you hear yourself? My God, you need help. The illness is affecting your judgment now, and it’s becoming a danger to everyone in this complex. Max, I’m sorry, I’m your friend, but I’m also the second in command here.”

“So what are you trying to say, friend?” Connors snidely commented. “That my experiment is being put on hold until further notice?”

He stalled for a few seconds before he responded, “Yes, Max. I’m sorry.” He felt like he was betraying his friend’s trust, but he kept telling himself that this was the right decision. “I didn’t come to this decision lightly. Please try to understand, Max, this is for your own benefit. No one wants to see you make a stupid mistake that could ruin everything. You need some time to rest and to be treated. Your work will still be waiting when you’re able to return to it.”

Connors knew Marcus as well as he knew himself, and he knew that there was no point in arguing the case further. He resigned himself to the decision and said, “I understand, Will. I… appreciate you coming to me first with this. Now, if you don’t mind, I’d like to be alone for a while. Could you inform the others about the status of the experiment?”

“Of course. And Max, don’t worry, you know that your condition will stay between David and us. Again, I’m sorry.” And with those words, he left to make the announcement.

Connors sat back in his chair in shock over how things fell apart so fast. Beckett! He did this! For whatever reasons, HE’S decided that my research isn’t worth continuing, and he’s doing everything in his power to put a stop to it. Well, he hasn’t finished me yet. I’ve still got…


“Yes, Dr. Connors?”

“Prepare my private lab. Despite what Dr. Marcus has said, the final phase of the experiment will be conducted from there.”

“As you wish, Dr. Connors. What if Dr. Beckett tries to stop you?”

“He won’t be able to stop me, Morpheus. I’ll make certain of that.”





Second Genesis Project

February 29, 2004, 4:30 PM


For the first time since Sam had leaped, he finally had a real break, now that the announcement had been made about the research being put on hold for safety reasons. Marcus didn’t go into specifics with everyone, but Sam knew that Marcus wanted to keep the knowledge of Connors’ condition between the three of them. He suspected that there was still something he was here to do—otherwise he would have leaped as soon as the announcement had been made. Without Al though, he couldn’t figure out what it could be. So, he decided to make the most of his time off and go to the cafeteria to get some much-needed food into his system. As he sat there nibbling away, he noticed someone standing over him out of the corner of his eye.

“Do you mind if I join you?” It was the woman he had talked to right after he had first leaped in.

“Not at all. Please,” Sam gestured toward the chair across the table.

She smiled as she pulled the chair out to sit down and laid her food tray on the table. She was a pretty young woman who looked to be in her early twenties. She had short blond hair and some freckles on her face. Something in her eyes and her spunky attitude reminded him a little of Tina back at the Project. Now, how come I can remember her, but not anyone else? Swiss-cheese memory is damn frustrating! He also felt a strong attraction to this woman, which he deduced might have been another residual from David.

“I feel like this is the first real break I’ve gotten since I started working here,” she laughed.

“Huh, tell me about it,” Sam echoed. “How long have you been here now?” He hoped that Dr. Weller wasn’t supposed to know the answer.

“Only three months, I think I might have told you once before.”

“Ah. Well, I tend to forget sometimes. Things have been so busy around here.”

“No worries. I know what you mean about being busy. I’ve been working my buns off trying to make a place for myself, just being out of college and all. Dr. Connors can be very intimidating.”

Sam tried to reassure her, “Well, I don’t think he was always like that. He’s been under a lot of pressure lately.”

“I was kind of relieved to find out Dr. Marcus would be in charge for a little while. I kind of wish he was running this place. Don’t get me wrong! I, like, really respect Dr. Connors and the work he’s trying to do here, but as long as I’ve been here, he’s been rather…”

“Obsessed?” Sam finished for her.

“Ha ha, yeah,” she laughed. “Not to mention opinionated as well. It’s hard to try to give your best to a man who insists on being right all the time. Reminds me of my dad. Even though I love the man, he can sometimes be as stubborn as a mule.”

“I know that feeling,” Sam responded. At that moment, he was relieved to hear the familiar, if not slightly strained, sound of the Imaging Chamber door.

“Sorry, Sam, we’ve been having some technical problems. Oh, who’s this lovely creature?” Al remarked with a grin.

“I was hoping you could tell me,” Sam mumbled.

“Tell you what, Dr. Weller?” the woman asked.

“All right, I can take a hint,” Al grumbled as he began punching keys on the handlink.

“Uh… I was hoping you could tell me more about your relationship with your father. I’ve had similar issues,” Sam replied to the woman.

“Well, it’s nice to know I’m not the only one,” she smiled back.

“Let’s see here… well, all Ziggy can come up with at the moment is Dr. Lewis, age twenty-two, and she started working here in November after graduating from Cal Tech at the top of her class. Wow! Beauty and brains! What a package!”

Sam rolled his eyes at Al as he continued speaking to Dr. Lewis. “Sometimes, it helps to talk to others about our feelings. Keeping them pent up inside can do more damage.”

“I know, psychology was one of my majors,” she replied with a wink.

“Uh, Sam, sorry to interrupt here, but if you’ve got a minute, we need to talk,” Al said.

“Okay. Well, if you’d ever like to talk about this stuff more, I’ll do my best to listen, Dr. Lewis.” He hoped that there was a part of David left behind that would comply with that.

“I appreciate that. Oh, and please, call me Kate,” she shyly smiled.

“Only if you call me David,” he smiled back.

“Deal!” she replied enthusiastically as Sam got up and placed his empty tray on a nearby counter.

Walking alongside Al in the mostly empty corridors, he finally noticed that something was definitely wrong with his image. It appeared to be fading. “Al, what’s going on? I can see through you. Does this have something to do with what happened with the door before?”

“That’s what we need to talk about, Sam. That ‘vacuum’ created from the explosion is starting to cause some magnetic disturbances again. It’s starting to drain Ziggy’s power reserves. Whatever you have to do, you’d better do it soon, buddy. Otherwise, we might not be able to contact you for quite some time.”

“I’m not sure what else I can do, Al. I spoke with Dr. Marcus and convinced him that Connors’ research should be temporarily halted until we can ensure the safety of everyone here. Marcus is now in charge of the Project, at least for a short while.”

“Then this is odd. According to Ziggy, you should have leaped by now.”

“Well, I’m obviously still here. So, it has to be something else, but what?”

“I’m not—” Suddenly, the handlink went nuts in Al’s palm as numerous high-pitched squeals began to emanate from the device. “What the hell? Are you sure, Ziggy?” he barked at the ceiling.

“What? What is she saying, Al?” Sam demanded.

“Crap, the explosion wasn’t supposed to occur for at least another five hours, but now Ziggy says it happens in less than ninety minutes!”

“Damn! Where’s Connors? You’ve got to find him for me, Al!” Sam practically screamed.

“I’m trying, Sam, but it’s not just the power drain. Something in his vicinity is interfering with a lock! Hold on… St. John,” Al yelled out.  “I need a boost from wherever you can spare the power.”

Within five seconds, Al’s image began to flicker, then become solid again as an audio confirmation of Connors’ location emanated from the handlink. “Got it! He’s somewhere on the lowest level of the com—the Com? Huh?” He hit the side of the handlink as the readout scrolled to the remainder of the message. “—plex… Complex! He’s on the lowest level of the complex. Ziggy can’t pinpoint the exact location though. After correlating all the new data she found, she thinks Connors might have set up some kind of secret lab down there somewhere. You’ve got to get down there now, Sam!”

Before Al even finished his sentence, Sam was running toward the nearest elevator, pushing the button that would take him to the lowest depths of the Project.



As Sam made his way down the darkened corridors of this subterranean level of the complex, somewhere in the deepest recesses of his Swiss-cheesed brain, he knew where to go. Had Weller discovered this lab by accident as well? Or could it be that the two men were so similar that he now knew how Connors thought? Whatever the reason, Sam abruptly stopped in front of a sealed door with Al following shortly behind him.

He swiped the keycard he needed for high-level clearance into the nearby slot, but to no avail. “I don’t have access, Al. How the hell do I get in there to stop him?”

“Maybe he has some kind of password he uses to get in?” Al wondered aloud.

“Great! How am I supposed to figure out what his password is?”

“I don’t know, Ziggy’s working on it, Sam, but she’s losing power fast, and you’re starting to fade again!” Al furiously punched in as much information as he could think of into the handlink in the hopes that Ziggy or St. John could pull off a miracle.

At that moment, a lockdown within the corridor occurred, and the door suddenly opened as Connors’ voice spoke, “Don’t bother, Doctor. I’ve been keeping my eye on you. Please, come in.” Sam and Al looked to each other with questioning looks, but Sam wandered into the darkened lab regardless. Before he could take many more paces, however, Connors stepped out of the shadows pointing a gun toward him. He was wearing his Fermi suit underneath his lab coat.

“I knew you might try to stop me, Beckett, so I came prepared. Don’t move!” Connors said.

“He called you Beckett? H-he knows?” Al exclaimed in shock. “What? How…?”

“Beckett? What are you talking about, Max? It’s me, David,” Sam attempted to deny the allegations.

“Don’t play dumb with me, Beckett. I figured out your little deception. I suspect you’ve also got your holographic friend standing beside you there somewhere too,” Connors replied as Al’s eyes widened in disbelief. “Am I correct in my assumption, Morpheus?” he asked, directing his question to something behind him.

“You are correct, Dr. Connors. I am detecting the same paranormal anomaly that was in your office earlier,” replied the electronic-sounding voice that both Sam and Al could now hear as well. Connors stepped to the side just enough for the two men to see exactly where the voice originated. Sam’s heart jumped out of his chest when he saw a large multi-colored cube glowing with yellow electrical energy, much like the bluish glow of Ziggy.

“What the hell…?” Al shouted.

“It’s a computer,” Sam said in awe.

“Dr. Beckett, allow me to introduce you to my greatest creation: Morpheus—the most intelligent super-computer known to man.”

“Or so he thinks!” Al exclaimed.

“Morpheus has been detecting us,” Sam realized.

“So that’s where Connors has been getting power for this project. From… Him… It… whatever!”

“And that’s why history’s been changing!” Sam added. “You weren’t supposed to conduct this experiment for another five hours.”

“Thanks to you, my hand has been forced,” stated Connors. “I cannot allow you to hinder my work any further. That’s why you’re here, isn’t it? To put a stop to my research, just like the government tried to do years ago?”

“This guy needs some serious help, Sam. He’s convinced there’s a conspiracy out to get him,” Al said.

“No, Connors. I’m here to stop an explosion from occurring that will kill everyone in this facility, including you. You have to stop this. I know now why you’re consumed with reversing death, Connors. You’re dying and you feel pressured to prove your theory. I can understand how that pressure feels, believe me. But this is not the answer. You’re going off half-cocked, and it’s gonna result in innocent lives being destroyed.”

“I’m not an idiot, I know exactly what I’m doing. You underestimate my intelligence, Beckett. You were always the more respected scientist—the one who received all the awards, the one who got all the recognition. I had to do whatever it took to get out of that shadow and create this project so I could resume my work in peace. And I’m NOT letting you take it away from me again! I don’t know why you couldn’t leave me alone with your time-travel experiment or why you picked me to be your guinea pig, but I’m going to prove my experiment works and you can’t stop me!”

“I… I didn’t pick you, Connors. I can’t control where and who I leap into. Don’t you get it? We’re the same! I was so desperate to prove my theory that I stepped into my Accelerator prematurely, just as you’re attempting to do now! I ended up getting stuck traveling back and forth within my own lifetime with no way home. And the only way I can continue leaping is to put right a mistake in time that once went wrong. This time, I’m here to stop you from making the same mistake I did, except this mistake will result in many deaths. I’m just trying to help you. Can’t you see that?”

The expression on Connors’ face was one of complete arrogance and contempt. “You expect me to believe that? Are you trying to tell me that some… thing is controlling your actions, sending you on some ridiculous crusade to right the world’s wrongs? You really must take me for a fool, Dr. Beckett. That’s a cop-out that people use when they don’t want to accept responsibility for their own actions. What right do you have to presume that what I’m doing is wrong?”

“Just like you presumed my String Theory was full of crap?” Sam shot back, remembering the conflicts the two men had about it during the Star Bright years.

“Okay, fair enough, I was obviously wrong about that. But that doesn’t mean I’m wrong in my conclusion that the theory can be applied to more than just time-travel. Who’s to say that my experiment will ultimately fail?”

“Because the explosion has already happened. It’s affecting things now… in my time. I’m losing contact with my own Project because of it!”

“You’re trying to tell me you’re from the future? Morpheus has done some research, Beckett. He discovered that you disappeared in 1995. You mean to tell me that you’ve been traveling through time for nearly a decade and still haven’t gone home yet? Forgive me, Doctor, but I find that very hard to believe. If you really wanted to go home badly enough, then you could have figured out how to do it years ago. Instead, you act like some self-proclaimed god by changing people’s lives for what YOU say is for the better. Well, you have NO right interfering with mine! You’re wrong about my outcome, and I’m going to prove it. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have an experiment to finish!” As Connors finished his speech, the gun suddenly went off without warning and hit Sam in the right leg.

Sam staggered backward and gripped his thigh.

“SAAAM! You bastard!” Al screamed as he started swinging at Connors, but forgetting he was a hologram, the effort was futile.

“Ahhh… Connors… whyy?” Sam cried as he slipped to the floor.

“It’s only a tranquilizer gun, Beckett. I had no intention of killing you. I’m not a violent man. I apologize for this, Doctor, but I can’t have you warning anyone of what I’m about to do. Farewell!”

As Sam felt the effects of the tranquilizer flow through his body, he struggled to find the strength to stop Connors from leaving the lab. It was pointless, however, as his eyes rolled back into his head, and he sank into darkness to the sounds of his holographic friend screaming out his name.



“SAM! Wake up buddy! Come on, kid, snap OUT of it! You’ve got to HURRY!”

The Admiral’s voice continued to stir Sam out of his brief slumber as he stumbled to stand on two feet. “How long have I been out, Al?”

“A little over an hour, Sam! You have to get up to the main lab now! The explosion occurs in less than ten minutes, but Ziggy doesn’t have enough power for a lock!”

“My legs are… wobbly, Al. I… I can’t…”

“Yes, you CAN, Sam!” Al’s voice went into military mode as he barked orders. “ON YOUR FEET! You can do this! You HAVE to do this! Over a hundred people will die if you don’t!”

Sam struggled to make his way toward the sealed door, but it wouldn’t open. “Morpheus, open the damn door!”

“I’m sorry, Dr. Beckett! Dr. Connors has given me strict orders to keep you confined until his experiment is complete which should be in approximately nine point-two minutes.”

“It’s not going to work the way he wants it to, Morpheus. You know what I’m saying is true, don’t you? I know he’s your creator and he gave you orders to comply to, but you have a responsibility to safeguard this Project as well. I know you do, because I created my parallel-hybrid computer, Ziggy, the same way.” He looked over to Al for reassurance, and the Admiral simply nodded.

“I assure you, Dr. Beckett, if Dr. Connors’ life was endangered, I would detect the fluctuations through his brainwaves.”

“Brainwaves? You-you’re linked to Connors’ mind, aren’t you? Just like Ziggy is to mine. But what neither one of you knows is that there’s a strong solar storm occurring in the ionosphere right now that hasn’t been taken into account in Connors’ calculations. It’s going to cause a massive power overload. You can prevent it from destroying the entire complex!”

“Jeez, you’re right, Sam! If Morpheus is anything like Ziggy, he should be able to scan for the disturbances and try to compensate.”

As if in response to Al, Morpheus announced, “Scanning… you are correct, Dr. Beckett. I have detected an unusually strong solar current in the Earth’s atmosphere, which I was unable to detect earlier. But I cannot abort the experiment, Dr. Beckett, unless Dr. Connors orders me to.”

Sam thought for a moment before responding. “Wait a minute! I programmed Ziggy with an override command that would automatically kick in if the Project were in danger of catastrophic failure. It’s happened once before if I remember correctly. I’m sure that Dr. Connors has programmed a similar code into you as well. You can initiate a shutdown of the Accelerator’s power core to contain some of the damage, but you have to let me out of here to try to stop him. Please!”

Several seconds went by before Morpheus finally opened the door. “As you said, Dr. Beckett, the safety of this Project is my top priority. I will do whatever it takes to prevent a disaster, but my loyalty still remains with my creator. Remember that.”

“Thank you, Morpheus,” Sam replied as he raced back to the elevator. “Al, even if I manage to break into the simulation chamber, how the hell am I supposed to stop the explosion now?”

“Ziggy has a wild theory that might actually work. She says that the residual leap energies in your body might be used to help contain the nuclear energy Connors is harnessing. She thinks that if you can get inside the chamber and grab onto him as the energy consumes his body, it might be enough to accomplish your mission and leap. It’s like a domino effect: the combined energy of your leap and Connors’ power source will theoretically counteract one another and cause an implosion, rather than an explosion. You’ll leap out, and the explosion will be averted. It’s a shot in the dark, but it’s all Ziggy’s got!”

“And what’s to guarantee that I’ll actually leap, Al? We’re counting on a whim of fate here!”

“Honestly… I don’t know buddy! Somehow, I think that part will be up to you!” he admitted as he jabbed a finger toward Sam’s brain.

“You mean I have to somehow trigger the leap myself? Can I do that?”

“Maybe… maybe not. I think it’s all in ‘His’ hands now, “Al pointed upward.

“Or maybe,” Sam realized as he remembered what both Connors and another vague stranger told him long ago. “I’ve had my destiny in my own hands all along.”



Chaos seemed to be breaking out all over the main level as Sam finally arrived with close to five minutes left to spare. His legs still felt like lead because of the tranquilizer, but he was determined to save these people from annihilation. Running into the main lab, he found Marcus kneeling down beside Dr. West, apparently helping him to get up.

“What happened?” Sam demanded.

“It was Dr. Connors,” Dr. West replied. “He… he wanted to get back into the main lab. He tried convincing me that Dr. Marcus gave him clearance, but there was something in his eyes. I… I just knew he wasn’t telling the truth. H-he must have knocked me out when I turned my back on him to find Dr. Marcus.”

“Damn it, I should have seen this coming! He tricked me!” Marcus said. “He’s running the experiment. But how?”

“He’s running the procedure from a private lab on the bottom level,” Sam explained. “I found him down there, and he shot me with a tranquilizer gun to prevent me from warning anyone.”

“No… Max has gone completely out of his mind.” He ran over to the main console to see exactly what Connors did. “We have to do something! Max disabled the safety protocols! I can’t abort the experiment! He’s gonna get us all killed!”

“Sam!” Al started. “Ziggy says you might be able to bypass Connors’ lockdown by—*ZZSTT*—Weller’s securi—*ZZT*—cl**rance number…”

“AL!!” Sam shouted above the noise of the VR Accelerator. “I’m losing you!”

“Who’s Al?” Dr. West shouted.

“—losing—ower, Sam! Connors was rushing to get the exper*ment running that he forgot to—*ZZT*—able the other security overrides—” Al vanished before he was able to finish what he was saying, but Sam was able to make out what Al was implying.

“Will! Check the manual override system for the chamber door. Can I bypass the lockdown?” Sam asked as he did a quick once-over on Dr. West to make sure there were no lasting injuries.

“Yes, I think so. But we’re cutting it awfully close. We won’t be able to get Max out in time!”

“Let me worry about that! You lead the evacuation. Get everyone as far away from the main lab as possible!”

“But David, you’ll be—”

“Just do it! GO!” Sam practically shoved Doctors Marcus and West out of the room and went to work on bypassing the security lockdown.

Thank God for my photographic memory, Sam thought as he recalled the security clearance code he used several hours ago when Connors first attempted the experiment and it failed. Even without Al’s information, he knew he had less than a minute before all hell broke loose. He would save the project, history would change, and Ziggy would be back at full power again. Sam Beckett wasn’t going to let one obsessed man suddenly stop his journey dead in its tracks.

After moving his fingers, typing the code as fast as he could, the door finally opened, and Sam raced into the chamber to grab onto Connors.

“NO! STOP!!” Connors shouted as the kaleidoscopic energy began to engulf his body. “You’ll ruin everything!”

“CONNORS!” Sam screamed as he grabbed him by the shoulders.

Connors struggled as hard as he could, as the energy maintained a yellowish glow and grew to a crescendo around both men. “BECKETT!! Whatever it takes, I WON’T let you stop me! YOU HEAR ME?”

It’s happening! I have to leap, Sam thought. I have to… believe in myself. I can do this!

The physical struggle continued as the energy built to a fever pitch, but Sam’s subconscious mind won out over his own self-doubts. He felt the impending tingle of the leap overtake him, while at the same time Connors felt the changes in his own body occurring. He felt the energy cleanse his body of the disease eating away at it, but the sensation was short-lived as the merging of the blue and yellow quantum energies overtook both men and mutated the expectant results. For both Sam and Connors, their world became an implosion of cerulean blue, and they vanished into nothingness.



Dr. Sam Beckett felt himself drifting in the blue void, unsure of what just happened. He was more disoriented than usual, but he still managed to hear the Voice.

“You did well this time, Sam. I’m proud of you! You’ve finally taken the first step toward controlling your own destiny. It may take much longer for you to fully accept the path you’ve taken, but now the next phase of your journey can begin.”

“The next phase? I… I just want to go home! Please!”

“There is still much more for you to accomplish, Sam. The road ahead is filled with great turmoil. You now have a new adversary to contend with, unlike any you have faced before. He is your equal, Sam. And his actions will unravel the thread of time. Only you can prevent the String from being severed. Prepare yourself, Doctor Beckett. The journey begins anew.”

“Huh? What do you mean, the string being sever—?” Suddenly, he felt a new sensation, one that was unfamiliar to him. In all of Sam’s leaps through time, he had never experienced what could only be described as a feedback loop—drifting alongside with… himself?





Within the void, the nightmare returned to him. He hadn’t experienced this nightmare since he was a child, but now it returned in full force.

A cataclysm of epic proportions, the result of one man’s actions—a cloaked figure in the darkness rising from the ashes to claim his innocence. But Connors knew the truth. He knew the identity of this man, and yet, his name eluded him. He had always assumed the dream wasn’t a literal premonition, but merely a symbolic representation of times to come. He knew that the knowledge to change the course of humanity’s fate lay locked in the recesses of his mind, and this thought drove him to engross himself in his research as an adult.

This time was different. This time he felt a profound fear that it was a premonition. A chain reaction of events was about to occur that could spell disaster for humanity, and he felt compelled to find its origin. Just as soon as these thoughts emerged, he suddenly felt a tingling rush as his identity was ripped away from him. He could sense another soul within as he pushed that person’s subconscious mind aside and took control.

Then almost as briefly, he felt his own subconscious mind being pushed aside. He was drifting alongside of this unknown presence. He wanted to scream, “Let me out!” but the attempt was futile. He was now one with this person. The yellow light that had been surrounding him faded, and Connors found himself living the life of another person—from another time.



All Sam could remember was a strange blue glow. It seemed to engulf him, and yet surround him at the same time. It was an exhilarating feeling, to say the least. He had never felt more alive, but that feeling of being alive soon faded to one of confusion as his world changed around him. He found himself lying in bed, staring out a window as the sun was just beginning to rise in the East. There was a small clock radio on the nightstand next to the bed that read 5:00 AM, and he could hear the faint sounds of a familiar song playing. A woman’s voice was singing:


The future’s not ours to see,

Qué sera sera,

What will be will be.


He knew that he had just accomplished something extraordinary. Slowly rising from his sleeping position, he sat up, overwhelmed with a strong feeling of success. We did it! Then just as quickly, his smile faded. Did what? I can’t remember. I… can’t remember anything. Who am I? Where am I?

He squinted his eyes in frustration as he realized he had complete amnesia. Suddenly, the sound of someone shuffling beneath the sheets behind him brought him to attention. He turned around quickly to see an attractive woman with short, blond curly hair, dressed in a white-pattern nightgown, just waking up. She turned her face toward him as if nothing was out of the ordinary and said, “I’ll put the coffee on, Tom.”

The initial shock of seeing this half-dressed woman not only embarrassed him, but also made him experience something familiar—a sense of déjà vu, as if he had been in this situation once before. As the woman got up from the right side of the bed, he uttered out of the side of his mouth a humbled, “Ohhhh boy!”


To be continued…


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