Episode 1225


by: Mike Bloxam and Damon Sugameli


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Theorizing that one could time-travel within his own lifetime, Dr. Sam Beckett led an elite group of scientists into the desert to develop a top-secret project known as Quantum Leap.  Pressured to prove his theories or lose funding, Dr. Beckett prematurely stepped into the Project Accelerator…and vanished.


He awoke to find himself in the past, suffering from partial amnesia and facing a mirror image that was not his own.  Fortunately, contact with his own time was maintained through brainwave transmissions with Al, the Project Observer, who appeared in the form of a hologram that only Dr. Beckett can see and hear.


As evil and neutral forces alike do their best to stop Dr. Beckett’s journey, his children, Dr. Samantha Josephine Fulton and Stephen Beckett, continuously strive to retrieve their time-lost father and bring him home permanently.  Despite returning home several times over the last decade, Dr. Beckett has remained lost in the time stream…his final fate no longer certain.


Trapped in the past and driven by an unknown force, Dr. Beckett struggles to accept his destiny as he continues to find himself leaping from life to life, putting things right that once went wrong with the hopes that his next leap…will be the final leap home.




Key events from Season 12:

Sam leaps into serial killer Leon Stiles for the second time, while Dr. Maxwell Connors leaps into a U.S. Marshal that is escorting him to prison.  A blonde-haired woman, disguised as a reporter, attempts to kill Sam only to be stopped by Connors.  On their way to Oklahoma State Penitentiary, the transport bus carrying the prisoners crashes in the middle of the woods leaving Connors gravely injured.  As the two leapers put aside their differences and work together to get history back on track, Connors loses contact with Morpheus and detects a major anomaly forming in the time stream.  He reassures Sam that he’ll look into it and leaps out...  (*See “Killin' More Time”)

During a routine leap into a passenger aboard the sinking ocean-liner Everglade, Ziggy detects a disturbance in the past that prevents Al from getting a complete lock on Sam in the Imaging Chamber.  At one point, when Al’s hologram is fading and he asks for more power, he directs his request to the late Edward St. John VI, rather than Dominic Lofton—a “glitch” in time that no one seems to notice.  Although the “disturbance” is later revealed to be a result of a “dead leaper” whom Sam was there to help named Philip Bridges, it is now apparent that there is more going on than meets the eye...  (*See “Deadly Seas”)

At the murder trial of Patrick Cromwell (Sam’s host), Sam meets a beautiful blonde-haired woman who introduces herself as Lulu Logan.  She is at the courthouse to show support for the Defense’s key witness, Pastor David McKinney, but seems to react weird upon first seeing Sam.  After Sam is exonerated in light of new evidence, Pastor McKinney leaves the courthouse to get in his car when Ms. Logan calls out to him.  As he turns around, Lulu stabs him in the arm with a cyanide-laced hatpin without provocation, causing him to die almost instantly.  When Sam attempts to administer CPR, Lulu strikes out at him as well.  During the struggle, she manages to escape—her whereabouts unknown...  (*See “x 3”)

Al becomes a Leaper once again when Sam is shot and killed during a bank robbery gone wrong.  Upon leaping into Sam’s host, Al bumps Sam back to the Project before he gets killed.  When Al in turn is shot, the newly “resurrected” Sam subsequently leaps into the bank robber mere seconds before the shooting and surrenders, preventing Al’s death.  As the two friends touch, they both continue leaping together for a short time with newly promoted Rear Admiral Tom Beckett as their Observer...  (*See “To Help a Friend” & “The Great Blue Yonder”)

Their next leap takes them both to Alcatraz, where Al is an inmate and Sam is one of the guards.  Being confined in a small space causes Al to revert back to his POW days.  Only through Tom’s tragic news that Beth has died in a plane crash in the present (as seen in “The Great Blue Yonder”) does Al come back to reality, as he wills himself to leap into Beth right before the crash.  Although he prevents Beth’s death, he still receives a massive blow to the head.  After finishing what he and Al were sent to Alcatraz to do, Sam subsequently leaps into Al, bumping his unconscious form back to PQL.  Now in Beth’s aura, Sam manages to keep Julianna and himself safe until help arrives.  Back in the present, Al, on the other hand, has now fallen into a coma...  (*See “Alcatraz”)

With Tom now continuing as Sam’s temporary Observer, he uses his military weight to get some classified information when Sam leaps into a special agent of the Naval Investigative Service (NIS) in the year 1967.  During the investigation of a gruesome murder, Sam is shocked to learn the identity of the victim:  Lieutenant Commander Chip Ferguson, who was supposed to die while flying over Vietnam in the original history.  The “Black Widow” was the name of the killer that NIS was using to describe the string of murders that had been occurring the past few years with the same situation:  men found dead from knife slashes to the torso and face following sexual intercourse.  Sam eventually discovered it to be none other than Lulu Logan, now going by the name Loraine Logan, but failed in apprehending her.  Tom then announced the devastating news that Sam was going to die in 1969...  (*See “The Calm Before the Storm”)




While her husband lay in a coma in the hospital bed, an exhausted Beth Calavicci began to doze off while in an overstuffed recliner with a thin blanket over her.  She never slept deeply, wanting to be the first person that Al saw when he woke up.  Beth knew that it would happen eventually and she was willing to wait until the complex crumbled around her before she left Al’s bedside.

It had been an hour since their daughter Christa and her fiancé Eddie had come for a visit.  They all gave each other the support that the Calavicci family was built on, their hearts full of hope that their head of the family would recover soon.

Beth’s eyes were heavy with sleep and the first feelings of drifting into slumber came over her when she thought she heard a noise.  Listening harder, she heard another soft grunt.  “Al?” she whispered as she sat up straight and threw the blanket from her.  The dim light above the bed was always on and Beth turned on the bedside lamp.

“Al, are you awake?” she asked as she gripped his hand.  Another quiet grunt.  With her free hand, Beth dipped her finger into a cup of water and wet her husband’s lips slightly.

“Al, honey, can you hear me?  Talk to me, baby,” she encouraged and nearly shouted for joy when she saw movement behind his eyelids.  “That’s it.  Wake up, flyboy.  You’ve been in bed way too long.”  She giggled slightly and started feeling light-headed at the excitement.

Al Calavicci breathed hard through his nose and slowly opened his eyes, taking in the beautiful face of his loving wife.  “Beth,” he whispered through mostly-closed lips.

“Yes, Al, it’s me.  How do you feel?” she replied, eyes wide open.

“Sam,” he said.

Beth was confused by the reply.  Was he really hearing her or just having a waking dream?  “What about Sam?” she asked.

“I have to...save Sam.”



Sam Beckett could feel the abnormal eddying of temporal energy as he remained in the blue-white limbo.  His mind was preoccupied with how it could be possible to be killed in one timeline and yet still be alive in the dimension that healed him during the rest periods between time-traveling assignments.  There wasn’t much time to ponder his situation as he felt the familiar pull of an impending leap.

Blinking a few times as he began to adjust to his new surroundings, the first thing Sam saw was two large, identical buildings against a clear, blue sky.  “The World Trade Center?” he wondered aloud to himself.  “I must be in New York City.”

“Yeah, where’d you think ya were, pal?  Vegas?” a gravelly voice called out from his left.  Turning his head, the time traveler saw a very scruffy-looking man, obviously not in the best years of his life.  From his white hair and the deep-grooved wrinkles on his face, Sam guessed his companion was in his early seventies and hadn’t seen a home-cooked meal in a long time.  The homeless man’s expression, especially the look in his eyes, hinted that his mental capacity was questionable as he sneered at Sam.  His clothing was tattered and, upon inspecting his own attire, Doctor Beckett discovered that he was no better off.

“I’m homeless?” Sam squeaked.

“Nah, you ain’t homeless,” the older man said with a sarcastic laugh.  “You got the finest cardboard box outta all of us, Danny!”

Shaking his head, Sam dropped his chin to his chest before muttering his eternal catchphrase:  “Oh, boy.”





It was night and it was cold.  The thin glass in the windows allowed the wintry weather to filter right into the room as easily as the pale light from the full moon.  Through her chattering teeth, the young woman grabbed a firm hold on the white, metallic bars that covered the window and shook them with all her might.

“Turn on the God-damned heat!  I don’t know what’s colder, the walls or my bones!  I demand the basic comforts of human existence!” she cried out, her long, blonde hair tossing about as she threw her head forward and back.  “I’m not a prisoner!”

Hearing the cries from within one of the many rooms of the psychiatric hospital was Pamela Mahon, Registered Nurse.  Although she felt comfortable enough in the hallway and assumed that the rooms would be the same temperature, she took it upon herself to inspect the complaint.  Finding the key on her chain, the middle-aged nurse unlocked the door, which swung open slowly.  “Is everything all right in here?” Pamela asked with a caring tone as she stepped inside, noticing that it could only possibly be one or two degrees colder than in the corridor.

“You people are torturing me with these unbearable conditions!” the attractive woman declared as she whipped around to face the nurse, daggers in her eyes.  “I demand to see Doctor Burnham.  If he thinks that isolation therapy mixed with this numbing cold will ‘cure’ me, he’s got another thing coming!”

Figuring that the only thing the woman really wanted was to see her doctor, the nurse made a polite smile.  “All right, Miss Lanning.  Just stay calm an’ I’ll go get the doctor.”

Breathing hard from the extended use of her lungs, the mental patient watched as Pamela left and closed the door behind her.  “You’d better hurry!” she called out after her.  “I might freeze to death in here!  If I die, you’ll all pay!”

Shaking her head to herself as she moved down the hallway, Nurse Mahon headed for the office of her superior, Doctor Lloyd Burnham.  His door was open and she stepped into the doorframe, seeing the bespectacled man with thinning, grey hair reading something from a file folder on his desk.

“Doctor Burnham?” Pamela said quietly.  “Miss Lanning is adamant about havin’ you come see her.  She’s complainin’ about the temperature of her room.”

Sighing as he got up from his seat, the doctor narrowed his eyes at the nurse.  “Couldn’t you just get her an extra blanket, Nurse?” he queried with a twinge of annoyance in his tone.

The nurse watched as he rounded the desk and explained, “I don’t think it’s the temperature.  She’s only been here a week and you’re the one she’s seen the most.  She probably just needs some talkin’ to—you’re the one with the psychology degree.”

The doctor lightly chewed on his upper lip for a moment.  “I guess this is why I pull the nightshift, huh?” he replied with a wan smile, shoving away the irritation of the interruption.

Pamela chuckled lightly and stepped out of the way as the doctor left his office.  “Go on with your duties, Nurse Mahon,” he instructed before they parted ways.  “I can handle her myself.”

Striding down the corridor at a leisurely pace, the doctor came upon room 42 and peered through the small window.  The patient inside was sitting in the middle of her bed, hugging her knees to her chest.  He unlocked the door and opened it carefully.  “Miss Lanning,” Lloyd Burnham greeted.  “Is something troubling you?”

“Didn’t that bitch of a nurse tell you that I’m freezing in here?” the woman spat back as her doctor entered the small room.  “I need a warmer room and I want it now!”

The doctor furrowed his brow.  “Miss Lanning, the difference in temperature between this room and the corridor is negligible.  Are you sure it’s the cold that’s bothering you?”

Grinding her teeth, the patient nodded vehemently before answering in a more subdued tone.  “Yes, I need a new room.  I can’t feel my fingers!  My ears and nose probably have frostbite.  Don’t you know it’s the middle of January?”

Her gaze met the doctor’s and he saw that her expression had softened significantly from when he first stepped into the room.  “Okay, for now, let me get you some extra blankets.  Would that make you feel better, my dear?”  Although the doctor knew why this young woman was his patient, it was his philosophy to give everybody that entered the facility a new start and not allow a patient to be haunted by his or her past.  Treating her like a criminal would only hinder the therapy process.

“A little,” the young woman replied, still seething but not nearly in as much of a rage as when Doctor Burnham had arrived under a minute beforehand.  Without a word further, the psychologist left and locked the room, making sure that some heavy blankets would be brought to her room immediately.



Project Quantum Leap

Stallion’s Gate, New Mexico

Thursday, January 25, 2007

04:18 MST


Over four hours had passed since the news of Admiral Calavicci rousing briefly from his coma was announced in the Control Room, and only twenty minutes since Ziggy broadcasted throughout the complex that Doctor Sam Beckett had leaped once again.

“What is this place?” was the first question presented to Doctor Verbena Beeks, the Project’s psychiatrist, as she approached the visitor in the Waiting Room.  Whoever was behind the aura of Sam Beckett was obviously very amazed with what surrounded him as he stood beside the medical bed and looked around at the hazy, blue walls.

Used to such questions, Verbena smiled and said, “It’s all right, you’re safe here.  You’ll be back home before you know it.”

The visitor made a quick sound of amusement.  “Home?  Sister, I ain’t got no home.  Am I at some kinda shelter?  I wouldn’t mind stayin’ here, if at all possible.”

The psychiatrist briefly thought about the situation that would have to occur to entail the leapee’s desire.  They always said that if the visitor died that Sam would be stuck in the past as that person, so in theory the reverse was true.  She shook the thought from her mind and retained her professional “welcoming” expression.

“I’m afraid that’s not possible, but I can assure you that we are trying to help.  What would really get things moving along is if you could tell me anything you remember about yourself, such as your name, the date,” Verbena told the time-displaced person, going through the motions of Waiting Room interrogation.

“Danny Wallace is the name.  No fixed address,” he replied with a quirky grin, “but I call New York City my home.  I ain’t got no use for a calendar, so sure can’t give you the date.”

Even though the man seemed to be mentally stable and was certainly friendly, Verbena wanted to find out more about him before probing too deeply into his personal life.  “Well, it’s a start,” she replied.  “I’ll come back to see you very soon, okay?”

Nodding with an appreciative smile, Danny sat on the mirrored bed in the middle of the Waiting Room and watched the psychiatrist leave through a large octagonal door that slid up into the ceiling.  “Wow!  Lord, don’t let me leave here!  A comfortable room and pretty women all in once place!”

Doctor Beeks pretended to not hear the comment and made her way to the nearby Control Room, an amused expression on her face.  What she heard when she entered the nucleus of the Project caused her to lose any enthusiasm she had gained from questioning the visitor.

“What do you mean you lost Sam’s signal, Ziggy?” Admiral Thomas Beckett asked worriedly as he stood near the Imaging Chamber.  The parallel-hybrid computer had been working on obtaining a lock on Sam Beckett’s neurons and mesons when she suddenly announced that his signal had disappeared.

Doctor Donna Elesee, co-administrator of Project Quantum Leap and Sam’s wife, frowned as she studied the computer screen before her.  “Just what she said, Tom.  His signal...disappeared,” she reiterated.  The quantum physicist looked up, giving Verbena a quick smile of greeting, and said to nobody in particular,  “We just aren’t sure why.”

After an unusually long amount of time, Ziggy finally replied, “Something is...interfering with my...sensors.”

“‘Something’?  What kind of ‘something’?” the admiral challenged as he moved to stand between Dominic Lofton, the head programmer, and Donna.  “You just about had a lock on him.”

All of the scientists and technicians in the Control Room were buzzing about since Ziggy said she had lost the lock, trying to diagnose the problem while those at the main control board interrogated the computer directly.  Verbena remained at the entrance and observed, trying to stay out of the way.

Ziggy’s orb of blue energy sparkled and swirled without pattern as she worked continuously.  “Quite simply, I am detecting an anomaly that originates from the late Nineteen Fifties—more specifically, a victim of one of Doctor Beckett’s former hosts, Leon Stiles,” the feminine voice stated.

“Stiles?” Dom asked.  “That leap wasn’t very long ago.”

“I remember reading about Stiles when I was a kid,” Tom interrupted.  “Didn’t he murder all of his victims?”

In her velvety voice, Ziggy answered, “On the contrary, Admiral Beckett, his last victim, one Logan Lanning, managed to survive.  Her brutal assault at the hands of Leon Stiles led to a mental breakdown that she was never able to recover from.  In the original timeline, she was committed to a mental institution after Sheriff John Hoyt shot and killed Leon Stiles.”

“Why didn’t you detect this before, Ziggy?” Donna questioned.

“You didn’t let me finish, Doctor Elesee,” Ziggy huffed in simulated annoyance.  “After being committed to the psychiatric hospital, Miss Lanning was never released.  However, after Doctor Beckett leaped into Stiles for the first time and changed history, Miss Lanning killed Stiles after his sentencing in Nineteen Fifty-Nine.  She pleaded insanity and was institutionalized for life once again.”

Tom Beckett shook his head in misunderstanding.  “So if she was still institutionalized, how did she get out?”

“There are yet more changes to the timeline.  If I could finish without interruption, perhaps then you could start asking questions,” the computer answered haughtily.  “Let me know when you are ready to let me continue.”

Tina—who was at a diagnostic station to the right of the Accelerator—giggled at Ziggy’s attitude.  “C’mon, Zig, we’re just tryin’ to figure this all out.  Please go on.”

Ziggy simulated a sigh, which received a rolling of eyes by many, and proceeded with her information.  “As you will, Doctor Martinez-O’Farrell.

“When Doctors Beckett and Connors leaped into Leon Stiles and Marshal Archibald O’Neil, respectively, after Stiles’s sentencing in Nineteen Fifty-Nine,” the computer continued, noting the look of confusion on Tom’s face, “Doctor Connors stopped Lanning from killing Doctor Beckett.  In this timeline, Lanning was committed and treated for three years before her release.”  The computer paused, seeing that the acting observer was still puzzled.  “Do you require some clarification, Admiral?”

All eyes turned to Tom as he was addressed by Ziggy.  “I’m just not familiar with this particular leap,” he stated.  “I didn’t realize that there were other leapers still out there.”

Dom choked and began to cough at Tom’s statement.  “Are you kidding?!” the programmer declared before realizing that his tone of voice was verging on condescendence.  “I’m sorry, Admiral, I didn’t mean it to sound like that.  I figured that you would have been debriefed on Connors and the other leapers.”

The observer shook his head.  “I haven’t been here that long, Dom,” he replied, ignoring the former professor’s original statement.  “I’ve been fully informed of the ‘evil’ leapers and Doctor Connors, but I haven’t read about every single one of Sam’s leaps.”

Donna nodded in comprehension.  “That’s not surprising.  The only one here that could possibly remember every single one of Sam’s leaps is Ziggy,” she commented, seeing Tom smirk, before adding, “but Connors is still out there.”

“Keep it coming, Ziggy, and don’t stop until you get to the punch line,” the admiral said.

“Very well,” replied Ziggy.  “As I was saying, until recently, the history was that Lanning had been released in Nineteen Sixty-Three instead as a result of her not killing Stiles.  I could not access her medical records from this timeline because the files were closed after her doctor, Lloyd Burnham, authorized her ‘reintegration’ with society.  This changed when there was a shift in the time stream just before Doctor Beckett leaped out of Nineteen Sixty-Seven, or just over four hours ago from our point of view,” the computer explained.  The people in the Control Room were listening intently, trying their hardest to keep the different histories straight in their minds.

Tom cleared his throat before speaking.  “So that’s why you suddenly said Sam was going to die.”

“Correct, Admiral.  In any event, I believe that Doctor Beckett’s previous leap landed him in an alternate timeline where he had never changed the past, hence the absence of Buddy Holly in mainstream American society while he was leaped into Naval Investigative Services Agent Aaron Cunningham.”  Ziggy paused for two seconds as she recomputed a temporal variable.  “His discovery of Miss Lanning, going by the pseudonym of Loraine Logan, compounded with his previous encounter while her alias was Lulu Logan, has had an impact on both of the primary timelines that are currently competing for dominance.  After the shift in the time stream, resulting in our current timeline, I was able to access her records.  It seems that she obsessed with getting revenge on Leon Stiles, but her description of Stiles to her doctors resembles that of Doctor Beckett.”

Tom looked over at Donna as she breathed in with surprise while Ziggy continued to talk.  “Lanning escapes Hastings State Hospital by stabbing Doctor Burnham, but this time her murders are more in number...including the one of Doctor Beckett in December of Nineteen Sixty-Nine.”

Doctor Elesee held back the tears that were threatening to form in her eyes.  “So how can we make sure that our original timeline, the one before Lanning escaped, comes out as the real one?”

“I do not currently know the answer to that question, Doctor Elesee,” the computer replied with a tinge of sadness in her voice.

Shaking his head, Tom muttered, “Isn’t there any good news around here?”

The Control Room was silent for a brief moment before Tina called out, “I got a lock on Sam!”

The announcement was enough to get a cheer out of everybody, despite the dire words that Ziggy had just spoken.  Admiral Beckett picked up the handlink from its cradle and hurried up the ramp into the Imaging Chamber.  “Good enough for me!  Dominic, start up the Imaging Chamber.”

“Right away, Admiral!” Dom replied with equal enthusiasm.



Maxwell Robert Connors was adrift in the void, focusing all of his waning strength on surviving long enough to make it to what he knew would be the final destination along the string of his lifetime.  He didn’t know how long he had actually been trapped in the void—days...weeks...years—time literally had no meaning in this nexus of parallel dimensions.  What he did know was that he had seen the future...and it frightened him.

The tapestry of the continuum had been slowly unraveling ever since Max had begun his search for the anomaly.  However, his journey became much more difficult without the aid of Morpheus to guide him for the past two decades.  The dreadful loneliness had finally caught up to him and he didn’t know if he had had the will to continue on.  There were many times during his journey where he tried to end his life, but the void would always pull him back before he could act on his impulses.  ‘Why me?’ he would always think to himself.  Why did he have to continue suffering for his mistakes?  He never asked for any of the responsibilities that were bestowed upon him.  And it was only then that it finally dawned on him—the responsibilities were his because he made them his.  He could have chosen to reject his destiny, but he chose not to because of his own shortsightedness.  Now all of existence was going to pay the price for his failures.  He needed to warn them...someway, somehow....

As he had learned to do only once or twice before, Maxwell Connors cleared his mind of every worry, every fear, every failure, and mentally envisioned his destination.  Even with his eyes closed, he could see himself materializing within the walls of the complex as he began to feel the tingle of the impending leap.

Suddenly, without warning, a tremor shook Connors out of his self-imposed meditation as the leaping sensation subsided.  Opening his eyes, he looked around the void and saw an infinite multitude of parallel realities flashing in and out of existence at an alarming rate.  Among the possibilities:  a reality in which a young Ensign Albert Calavicci was executed in 1960 for murdering his commander’s wife... a reality in which Project Quantum Leap failed and Sam Beckett retired to teach at MIT... a reality in which Washington, D.C. was decimated in a nuclear explosion, throwing the world into the throes of World War III... a reality in which Nathaniel Lothoman reigned supreme over the world as a quasi-living hybrid computer named Lothos...  Connors couldn’t help but be fascinated by the images playing out before him.  It was as if all possible quantum realities co-existed simultaneously, overlapping one another and branching off into millions of different directions, creating a “web” of Time.

Then, just as quickly as the web formed, it began to crumble as thousands upon thousands of timelines began colliding with one another.  The shockwave that engulfed the rogue leaper felt like a tsunami, as his body got swept away in the Time storm.  It pulled him in every conceivable direction until he felt like his body had been shattered into millions of pieces and reassembled randomly.  Max’s screams of agony echoed across the walls of the rapidly deteriorating time corridor as a wave of pure white light washed over everything in its wake...





“Al, why would you eat that?”

“Why?” Captain Albert Calavicci responded to his best friend.  “Because it tastes good!”

“But you know it’s not good for you!” Dr. Sam Beckett retorted.  “Do you realize how many calories that burger must contain?  Eating something like that is a sure-fire way of clogging your arteries!”

“Hey, if Charlie couldn’t kill me, then nothing will!” Al retorted back.  “Besides, after surviving in that hellhole on nothing more than a daily bowl of weevil-infested rice for five [six] [eight] years, I think I deserve a nice, big, juicy cheeseburger with all the fixings every now and then, don’t you?”

“Charlie?” Sam asked, confused.

“The Viet Cong,” Al clarified.  “That was our little nickname for them during the War."

“Oh yeah, right,” Sam realized, momentarily thinking of his brother Tom, who knew a lot of good men that died in [who became a casualty of] that awful war.  Getting back to the subject, he continued, “I guess.  It’s just that...if my father had started eating healthier and stopped smoking, he might still be alive today.  He died at such a young age, and I’d hate to see you go before your time too.”

Al gave his friend a look of consolation before responding, “Don’t worry about me, buddy!  Ain’t nothin’ gonna put old Calavicci down for the count anytime soon!  Look at it this way...you got me sobered up long enough to prevent Adams from canning my hide.  That’s gotta be worth something, right?”

Smiling at that comment, Sam calmed down and said, “You’re right, Al!  I shouldn’t have snapped at you like that.  I guess I’ve just got a lot on my mind with that scientific conference in D.C. tomorrow, that’s all.”

“Hey, no harm, no foul, that’s my motto!”  Al continued eating his grease-filled cheeseburger, and decided to change the subject.  “So, when are you and Bobby leaving?

“Our flight is scheduled for five p.m. this evening.  Just got the last of my luggage packed away about an hour ago.  Bobby has some last minute simulations to run in the lab with SID before we head out.”

Al simply nodded in acknowledgment at the young quantum physicist’s statement.  “It’s too bad you couldn’t find a way to back out of this conference.  There’s this great little joint that just opened up in Albuquerque that I wanted to take you to, called ‘Perfect Ten.’  The women there have the biggest set of—”

Al!  What would Beth [Tina] and Donna think if they found out we went to a place like that?”

“Hey, relax, it’s not like they’d ever find out, Sam; they’re both out of town for the next few days.  And besides, it’s not like we’d be cheating on them or anything.  No harm in a little ‘window-shopping,’ as long as we don’t buy the goods.”

Sam simply smirked as he shook his head and replied, “You’re incorrigible, you know that, Al?”  His thoughts then drifted off somewhere else.

Al noticed his friend’s sudden blank expression and queried, “Boy, you weren’t kidding when you said you had a lot on your mind.  Something wrong, Sam?”

“Eh...nothing really; just daydreaming, I guess.  Whenever I think about the String Theory that Bobby and I worked out twelve years ago, I can’t help but wonder what certain things would be like if things had happened differently.”

“Like?” Al asked curiously.

“Like...well, you, for example.  How different would your life be if I hadn’t been here to vouch for you last year?”

“Who knows?  Washed up, my military career down the drain....  Maybe I would’ve ended up on the streets or somethin’....” Al trailed off before he shook it off and said, “Where is all of this coming from all of a sudden?”

“Nowhere, really,” Sam replied honestly.  “Just random musings, I suppose.  Chaos theory tends to be based on random occurrences anyway.”

Now it was Al’s turn to ask for clarification.  “Chaos theory?”

“A theory that complex natural systems obey certain rules but are so sensitive that small initial changes can cause unexpected final effects, thus giving an impression of randomness,” Sam recited from memory.  “Some people refer to it as ‘the butterfly effect.’”

“Okay, I’ll bite.  What the heck is a butterfly effect and how does an insect have anything to do with time travel?”

Sam chuckled as he explained, “Not in the literal sense, but basically a perfect example would be:  the wind generated from a butterfly flapping its wings in, say, Brazil could cause a tornado in Texas.”

“You’re saying that a damn insect could cause a natural disaster?  That’s kind of scary, Sam.”

“Not literally, Al.  The whole basis behind chaos theory is that no one can truly predict what might happen with one hundred percent accuracy.  So many different factors in nature make it impossible to calculate with absolute certainty what may or may not happen within our known universe.  The choice you make today could determine a whole new chain of events that will take your life down a completely different path.  Different percentages can lead to several different outcomes.  Chaos theory,” Sam re-emphasized.

Al just shook his head in bewilderment and stood up.  “I don’t think I’ll ever really understand all of this, but I have to admit, it is kind of interesting wondering about the path not taken.  But hey, why bother dwelling on something that’s buried in the past?  Live for today...that’s my motto!”

Sam got up from his chair as well as a curious expression came over his face.  “I thought your motto was, ‘No harm, no foul.’”

After a beat, Al replied, “Um...hey, I’ve got a few of them.”

Sam just laughed as the two men walked away from their seats, returned their food trays to the counter and left the cafeteria.


Al’s eyes flew open as he woke up on his gurney with the mother of all headaches.  For some reason, Al’s subconscious mind often went back to that mid-summer day at the Star Bright Project in 1985.  He always felt that that topic of discussion between Sam and himself had a deeper meaning.  It was trying to tell him something now, he was sure of it.  But for the life of him, he couldn’t figure out what that something might be.

“Al?  You’re awake again,” Beth said, the relief apparent in her soothing voice.  “Do you know where you are, honey?”

Looking around in confusion, Al responded, “I’m in the...Infirmary....”

“That’s right, baby.  Oh, thank God, you don’t seem to have suffered any permanent brain damage from your injuries.  You’ve been in and out of consciousness ever since you awoke from your coma.”

Al slowly rose to an upright position, the memory of him and Sam still fresh in his mind.  But there was something weird about it...what was it that Sam had said?

Al!  What would Beth and Donna think if they found out we went to a place like that?”

Al!  What would Tina and Donna think if they found out we went to a place like that?”

Turning his head toward his wife, he exclaimed, “Beth?!  We’re still married?”

Concerned, Beth looked deep into her husband’s eyes and answered, “Of course we are, Al.  Why wouldn’t we be?”

‘So then, why do I have other memories of hooking up with Tina?’  Before Al could ponder that thought any further, another part of the dream memory came back to him.

“...Surviving in that hellhole...for five years...”

“...Surviving in that hellhole...for six years...”

“...Surviving in that hellhole...for eight years...”

“No....  Make it stop!” Al screamed, holding his head in both hands as he squeezed his eyes shut trying to make sense of what he was remembering.


“The Pulitzer,” Tom repeated, thinking Sam was talking to him.  “I wish she’d have won the Pulitzer Prize.”

“She did,” Al repeated as well, “for her last photograph.”

Hearing that, a distraught Sam quickly got up from his chair and snatched Maggie Dawson’s last photographs from out of his brother’s hands.  As he shuffled the photos and found the last one Maggie had taken before her death, Sam saw a small group of POWs being led away to a prison camp by the V.C.  The last one in line, however, was looking back, directly into the camera lens.  Upon examining the POW’s face closer, Sam’s heart skipped a beat when he realized it was the much younger face of his companion, Albert.

“What the hell, I get repatriated in five years,” Al explained, tossing the fact aside like it was no big deal.

Still reeling from the shock, Sam said, “You could have been free!”

“I was free,” Al answered as he tapped the side of his head with one finger.  “Up here...I was always free.”


Still holding the milk bottle in his right hand, Al squinted his eyes and asked, “Why do I have this creepy, crawly, scary feeling?”

“Well, eh...it’s, uh, déjà vu, I think.  See, Al....” Sam answered, as he walked around the new leaper and tried to think of the best way to break the news to his best friend.  “You were M.I.A. in Vietnam for six years.  And after you’d been gone for four years...your wife...Beth, see, she–she was really...she–she was sure that you were...dead, so shh...she, um...well...”

“She remarried.  I remember,” Al finished sadly.


It had been a week since Sam leaped out of Anh Nguyen’s life and Al had spent that time thinking about the past, wondering if he would ever completely heal inside from the scars that Vietnam had put on his soul.  He did know one thing, though.  Sam’s actions had allowed him to come home a whole three years earlier than before.  It was a little weird for him as the memories were still trying to realign themselves so that he could remember only one timeline.


‘Three years earlier than what?’ Al thought.  ‘Nineteen Seventy-Three or Nineteen Seventy-Five—which is it?  I became a POW in Sixty-Seven...but why can’t I remember when I got repatriated?  Tom led Operation Lazarus in Nineteen Seventy...didn’t he?’

Beth clearly noticed her husband’s disorientation and worriedly asked, “Al, honey?  You’re scaring me.  Talk to me.  Are you feeling okay?  Al?!”

Unable to make sense of the inconsistencies and conflicting histories in his own mind, Al’s eyes fluttered back into his eyelids as he fell back into unconsciousness.



New York City, New York

Thursday, February 25, 1993

12:05 EST


“Spare some change, pal?”

Sam had heard that phrase over and over during the time he had spent with Larry, the old hobo that accompanied him on the streets of New York City.  He didn’t have the heart to get up and leave the man alone, but wasn’t about to start begging himself.  Even though the leaper had always had a concern about poverty, he had never been exposed to it aside from a beggar on the street.  There was never any obligation to give them any money, but he typically dropped a few dollars into the hat, cup, or whatever other receptacle the panhandler used to collect money.  Sam felt that he was well enough off that at least he was making a small difference in their lives.  Until he stepped into the Quantum Leap Accelerator, it was the best he felt he could do.

Unfortunately for Larry, very few people paid any heed to him, and out of those, a select few dropped some coins into the ratty cap he had turned up to the sky.  Each time there was some clinking, Larry would look up at the donor and say, “God bless you!”

The time traveler was grateful for the subject on which to dwell; it kept his mind off of wondering where his observer from the future, Al Calavicci, was and why it was taking him so long to show up.  Usually upwards of a half-hour would pass by before the first contact with Al, but it had been over forty minutes and there was no sign of his observer.

“Say, Danny, you ain’t lookin’ to get nothin’ today?” Larry commented as he rubbed at the pale skin on his cheek.

Sam shook his head and said nothing.  He was hoping that his companion wouldn’t notice that he wasn’t begging.

“Eh, suit yourself,” the old man replied and continued to ask passers-by for a small donation.

Feeling certain that Danny could find his way back “home” later on, Sam stood up and stretched.  “I think I’m going to go for a walk,” the leaper announced and started off down the street.  Larry grunted and watched him head south.

Having never leaped into a homeless person before, at least not that his Swiss-cheesed brain could recall, Sam was at a loss.  He felt awful even thinking about asking others for money, even if he knew it would eventually still be Danny’s.  As Sam Beckett passed a large store window, he stopped to look at his reflection.  Danny was a man of medium stature with—as Sam saw when he removed the tattered hat—grey tinges on his black, curly hair.  His dark-toned skin said that he was of African descent and was etched with wrinkles that showed his life had not been an easy one.

A sudden white light surprised the scientist as Tom Beckett stepped through the Imaging Chamber door.  Finding himself half-embedded in a store display of mannequins in winter clothing, Tom stepped out onto the holographic street.  “How’s it going, Sam?” he asked nonchalantly.

“Tom?  Where’s Al?” the leaper immediately replied.  He figured nobody would care that it appeared as though he was talking to himself—perhaps being homeless had its advantage on this leap.

The admiral shrugged his shoulders.  “He’s still unavailable, Sam.  I’m glad you at least remember me this time.”

Sam grimaced at Al’s continued absence.  “I remember the entire last leap, Tom.  Why am I here in New York City?  Is Logan here?”

Tom shook his head much to his younger brother’s dismay.  “No, she’s not here.  In the mid-Eighties, she just disappears off the face of the Earth.  We don’t know what happened to her,” the admiral explained.  “Anyway, the date is February Twenty-Fifth, Nineteen Ninety-Three.  Tomorrow at about Twelve-Hundred Eighteen Hours, members of the terrorist group Fuqra detonate a bomb in the parking garage of the World Trade Center.”

“Tom, how is a homeless man supposed to prevent something like that?  Shouldn’t I have leaped into a police officer or something?” the perplexed Sam demanded.

“Unfortunately, Ziggy says you’re not here to prevent the attack, even though six are killed and over a thousand are injured,” responded the observer.

“Then why am I here?” Sam countered with his teeth pressed together.

Pressing some keys on the handlink, Tom eventually placed it in his pocket and threw up his hands in frustration.  “No clue, little brother.  Ziggy’s too busy working on the instability in the timeline to tell you what you are here to do.”

Huffing out a breath of air, Sam turned and continued his way down the sidewalk at a high pace.  Tom hurried after him.  “I’m sure she’ll come up with something soon,” he said encouragingly.

The leaper stopped in his tracks abruptly and turned to face his brother.  “Look, is Al dead?  Is that why he’s ‘unavailable’ for two leaps in a row?  You can tell me the truth, Tom.  I can take it.”

Tom chuckled, realizing that Sam didn’t remember his two simo-leaps with Al into Viet Nam and Alcatraz.  “No, Al’s alive and kicking, I can tell you that much,” Tom said.  He saw relief in his younger brother’s eyes but could still sense the frustration of being told to not interfere with the bombing.

“Admiral, we need you in the Infirmary immediately,” Dom’s voice said over the Imaging Chamber’s intercom.

“Why, what’s going on?” he said toward the ceiling.

There was some brief hesitation before the reply came.  “I think we’d better discuss it out here, sir.”

Furrowing his brow, Tom pulled the handlink from his pocket and pressed the button to open the door back into the Control Room.  “Sam, I gotta go.  Project business,” he lied.  “Are you gonna be all right?”

“Yeah, just... hurry.  Please.”

The elder Beckett saw the look of dejection on his brother’s face and nodded with a grin.  “I’ll do my best, little brother,” he replied as he stepped back through the door, closing it once he was on the other side.  Tom hurried down the ramp and looked up at Dominic as he set the handlink down in the recharging cradle.  “What’s the problem here?” he demanded.

The programmer licked his lips and shifted his position before answering.  “I don’t know how, but we have an...unusual visitor in the Infirmary.”

Tom waited for the programmer to continue, but it looked like he had frozen in time.  “Damn it, man, who is it?” the admiral demanded.

Answering in lieu of Professor Lofton, Ziggy casually said, “Our guest is Doctor Maxwell Connors.”



Project Quantum Leap

Stallion’s Gate, New Mexico

Thursday, January 25, 2007

05:06 MST


“I’m coming with you,” Donna insisted as she jogged alongside her brother-in-law.  She saw the look in his eyes and was determined to defy the words that would come out of his mouth next.

Tom shook his head as they reached the elevator.  “I don’t know if that’s a good idea,” Tom replied, pressing the button for the lift.  “This man is dangerous.”

“Tom, Aurora reported that he could barely stand and they had to walk him to a bed.  I don’t think he’s a threat to any of us,” the physicist retorted.  The door to the elevator cabin opened and they both stepped inside.  “I want to meet the man who has been an enemy to my husband and ask him...”

The admiral looked at his brother’s wife with a softened expression.  “Ask him what, Donna?”

Donna Elesee tightened her lips and drew a deep breath in through her nose.  “Ask him why he couldn’t have helped Sam instead of trying to stop him.  Did you read about the leap where Connors killed a man just to ‘repair’ history?  Not to mention trying to poison Sam as well?”

“You mean Patrick Mulhill?  Yeah, I read that one.  I thought it was the last time Sam had to deal with him,” replied Tom.

The scientist shook her head.  “If only that was true.  It was until the recent leap with Stiles,” she explained.  “They actually worked together on that leap, but only because Connors wanted to make things as ‘original’ as possible.  I just wonder how he got here.”

The doors split apart and the two departed from the elevator, walking briskly toward the Infirmary.  Opening the door, they saw Al still unconscious and recuperating on the nearby bed while Beth sat next to him, holding her husband’s hand.  As they passed by and each gave her a comforting and reassuring smile, Tom and Donna continued toward the next bed where they saw Aurora tending to the barely recognizable form of the rogue leaper, Doctor Maxwell Connors.

“How is he, Aurora?” the admiral asked.

“Not good, Tom,” she replied.  “Nothing in my medical training can even come close to figuring out a way to treat his condition.  I’ve never seen anything like this before.  Tests show massive kidney failure; his heart is beating erratically; his right lung has collapsed due to extreme old age, but his left lung is as healthy as a ten-year-old, if not healthier.  It’s as if certain parts of Connors’ body have...‘de-aged’ while others have prematurely aged much faster than normal.”

“How the hell is that possible?” Tom asked in horror.

“You’re asking the wrong person, muchacho,” Aurora answered.  “The only theory I can come up with is that something happened to him during his trip through time that...affected him physically.  He’s dying, Tom.”

Before either one of them could add something more, a very weak voice said, “P...para...dox...”

“Connors?” Tom asked, as he, Donna, and Aurora stood watch over him.  For the first time, Tom got a good look at his brother’s on-again, off-again nemesis.  Aurora’s diagnosis didn’t even begin to do Connors’s physical appearance justice.  His hair—or rather, what was left of it—was completely white, and his face looked like pottery clay, as if it might literally slide off his skull at any moment.  His bare chest appeared to be healthy and strong, but his left arm looked like it belonged to someone in their pre-teens while his right arm looked like that of a one-hundred-twenty-year old.  “Good Lord!  What happened to you, Connors?”

“Tom, I think it would be best if I gave him a sedative to try and knock him out,” Aurora commented.  “He doesn’t look like he’s in any condition to talk right now.”

“No,” Connors countered.  “Need to speak.  M-must...save Sam...before it’s... too late...”

“Save Sam?!” Tom shouted, now practically screaming in Max’s face.  “What did you do to him, you bastard?”

Tom, calm down!” Aurora shouted back.  “This isn’t helping!”

The outbursts were enough to draw Beth away from her vigil over Al.  As she came marching toward them, she asked, “What’s going on?  What is he saying about Sam?  Let him speak, Tom.”

“Not me... at least, not...d-directly,” Connors began.  “Tried to...stop her...before she became a threat...but only made things...w-worse...”

“Stop who?” Tom demanded.  “Who became a threat?”

“L.... Logan...”

Again with this Logan woman?!  How the hell did she become such a huge threat to Sam?  She’s not even a time traveler, for Christ’s sake!” Tom exclaimed.

“Worse?  How did you make things worse?” Donna asked the rogue leaper patiently.

Taking in a deep breath, Connors began to explain.  “When Beckett and I leaped into...Stiles and that U.S. Marshal...she attempted to kill him—b-but I stopped her.  Unknowingly set off a chain reaction that didn’t...immediately take effect.  She already had...psychological trauma from...Stiles’s prior attack.  So when she approached Beckett, she saw...him, not Stiles.  Caused her already fractured mind to...completely snap.

“After that leap, I...made it my primary mission to...track down the source of the...anomaly that resulted from saving Beckett.  Found out more...about Logan and...leaped into a psychiatrist to try and help her so that...history could be put back on the right track.  But something went terribly wrong.  As a result, Logan became a...random element in the skein of time.  Began targeting and seducing young men that...fit Beckett’s physical profile.  Couldn’t...reconcile the conflicting images of Stiles and Beckett in her mind.”

Tom and Donna exchanged glances, both remembering what Ziggy had said earlier about Logan’s inability to discern between Sam Beckett and Leon Stiles.

“Went into a murderous rampage....  People injured or...killed who shouldn’t have been—like Charles Ferguson.”

“Oh my God!” Beth gasped.  She was the ‘Black Widow’?  You mean Chip was never supposed to die after all?”

“On the contrary...he got shot down over...Hai Phong in the original history...but that changed when Sam saved Lisa Sherman.  Her legal troubles with her...abusive husband a few years later...persuaded Chip to pursue a career as a...JAG lawyer.  But Logan’s presence in time changed that.  All she did was...kill him months before he was originally supposed to die.  Your memory must have been...altered when the timeline shifted.  Ironic, isn’t it?  That he would be saved from...his original fate only to have it be...restored in a different manner?”  Connors began laughing to himself, although everyone in the room was unsure whether or not his fit of laughter was a sign of satisfaction...or insanity.

Tom interrupted the conversation, first turning toward Beth then back to Connors, saying, “Excuse me a minute—not to make light of Lieutenant Commander Ferguson’s murder, Beth—but...what does this have to do with Sam?  How did a seemingly random woman like Logan become so dangerous so quickly?”

“After she stabbed my host,” Connors continued, “she drifted across the country for years...seeking out young men that resembled her ‘attacker.’  Wanted to make him...pay for what he had done to her but didn’t...know where to find him.  Seeing your brother’s face confused her... lost touch with any sanity she had left.  Don’t you see?  She won’t stop killing until she finds him....”

“But I just came back from seeing Sam in the Imaging Chamber,” Tom replied.  “His location doesn’t correlate with any of the documented Black Widow Murders.  In fact, he’s in the early Nineteen Nineties...many years beyond Logan’s run—no pun intended.”

“That’s not what I meant,” Connors clarified.  “It’s not...your Sam you need to be worried about....”

“Not our Sam?” Tom asked, confused.  “What do you...?”

“Oh no!” Donna realized.  “Now it’s starting to make sense.  Tom, I think he’s talking about a different Sam—the one from Nineteen Sixty-Nine!”

“It keeps changing!  Must go back...and stop Logan,” pleaded Max.  “I tried to stop the cataclysm that has haunted my dreams, but...I’ve made a...grave error.  I’ve been leaping around in time for over...twenty years trying to correct it.”

“Twenty years?!” Tom exclaimed.  “You’re from our future?”

“W-what’s left of it.  From what I’ve been able to discern...there are two major points of...divergence that are causing...a temporal shockwave.  The first one is in December, Nineteen...Sixty-Nine... the second one is...in Seventy-Three.  The later divergence is the...greater of the two, but...if you can put a stop to Logan in Sixty-Nine first, then...the second one will be cancelled out.  If neither can be stopped in time, then...all of reality is...in danger....”

“I don’t believe this!” Beth said in astonishment.  “All of this because Sam saved Stiles’s life all those years ago.”

Tom’s head felt like it was going to explode as he attempted to take in and comprehend all of what Connors had just said.  As a sudden wave of dizziness washed over him, he shook it off and announced, “Ziggy!!  Call all essential personnel and senior staff and have them meet me in the Conference Room at Oh-Seven-Hundred on the dot.  As of now, the Project is officially in crisis mode!”

“Af...fiirrrrrma...tive, Admiral,” Ziggy replied as her voice started to sound distorted.

“Pardon me for asking, Admiral,” a new male voice said, “but what about ‘our’ Doctor Beckett in the Imaging Chamber?  Surely he still needs our help?”

“Sam’s current leap will have to wait for the moment,” Tom answered.  “Besides, he’s in no immediate danger and— huh, that’s funny....”

“What?” the twenty-something man asked, confused.

Looking around the room and not seeing anyone else other than himself, the youthful doctor whose nametag read “Tyler,” Connors, Beth, and the unconscious form of Al in the nearby bed, Tom said, “I could swear there were two other women in the room with us a few minutes ago.  An older woman with short brown hair and a Puerto Rican woman...first name started with an ‘A’ or something...?”

“Must have been your imagination, Admiral,” Tyler replied.  “It’s been just the three of us talking with Doctor Connors this whole time.”

Suddenly, Tom felt very dizzy again and started swooning this time.  “Tom, are you alright?” Beth asked as she and Tyler quickly reached over to support his weight.

Feeling the two sets of arms around his upper body, Tom shook off the wave of dizziness that overwhelmed him and said, “Yeah, I’m fine.  I just...felt a little woozy, that’s all.  Must be the lack of sleep....”

“Well, I tried telling you to get some sleep, Tom, but you didn’t want to listen,” Aurora admonished, still supporting his weight in case he felt “woozy” again.

“There’s no time for sleep, Doctor.  Not when there’s a crisis going on.  Right now, my top priority is tracking down the source of these ‘points of divergence,’ as Connors explained them, and figuring out a way to repair them without making things worse.  I think it’s clear that the one in Nineteen Sixty-Nine is a result of Sam’s supposed ‘death.’  Besides which, you heard me just tell Ziggy to set up a staff meeting for Oh-Seven-Hundred.”

Seven hundred?” Beth inquired.  “Tom, I specifically recall you telling Ziggy to have everyone meet you in the Conference Room at eight hundred, not seven.”

“So do I,” Donna reiterated.  “I don’t think Aurora would have told you to lie down otherwise.”

“Wha—?”  Tom shook his head in confusion before looking up to the ceiling and asking, “Ziggy, what time did I arrange the staff meeting for?  Seven a.m. or eight a.m.?”

“Eight a.m., as Doctors Lofton and Elesee both told you, Admiral,” Ziggy confirmed before adding in her usual smarmy tone, “You really should try to pay more attention to your own orders, Admiral.”

More than a bit bewildered, Tom looked toward Donna then back toward the Puerto Rican doctor.  ‘What the heck is going on here?  Both Donna and Aurora disappear for a few seconds, replaced by Beth’s former medical assistant—who died with Edward St. John in a car crash, according to the project’s personnel files—only to then reappear as if nothing happened?’ he mused to himself.  Feeling a bit lightheaded, Tom scratched his head and eventually said, “You know something, Aurora?  I think you’re right.  I think I will lie down for an hour.  In the meantime, try to make Connors as comfortable as possible.  I may need to ask him more questions later.”

“Consider it done, Tom,” Aurora reassured, as Admiral Beckett left the infirmary and headed for his quarters.





Hastings State Hospital

Hastings, Nebraska

Thursday, January 31, 1963

21:05 CST


Max Connors floated in a nexus of yellow energy swirling all around his scattered being while awaiting his next leap.  Seemingly countless years had gone by since he had found out that he was the cause of the instability in the timeline—the very instability that he had made his mission to rectify.  If he hadn’t stopped Logan from killing his fellow leaper, Doctor Sam Beckett, perhaps his job would have been easier to repair the changes to history made by the time travelers from Project Quantum Leap as well as those sent out by Lothos.

‘I need to prevent Logan from being released,’ the scientist mused to himself.  ‘If she never gets out of that hospital, she can’t kill all of those innocent men.’

Feeling ready to move on to his next assignment, Max focused his concentration on finding that point in time where Logan could be stopped...and he leaped.  As his physical senses began to come to him, he heard a female voice speaking.

“Well, she certainly has come a long way in three years.  How soon do ya think she can be released, Doctor?” a woman with short brunette hair and dressed in a nurse’s uniform asked of him.

Max blinked a couple of times, unsure of how to respond to the apparently random question.  “Uhhh...” was all that he managed to get out, receiving a strange look from the nurse.  His brain hadn’t seemed to kick into gear yet and a nagging pain in the pit of his stomach didn’t speed up the process any.

“Doctor Burnham?  Lloyd, you all right?” Pamela Mahon queried in concern.  “You look a little pale.”

“Uh, yeah, I’m fine,” he replied quickly, forcing a weak smile.  Max took in his surroundings and wagered from the appearance of the corridor in which they were standing that it was a hospital of some kind.  “I guess I’m just not sure how much longer she should, um, stay here.”

Nurse Mahon nodded in agreement.  “It’s not always easy to tell, I s’pose.  Wouldn’t want to make any hasty decisions.”

“Of course not,” the leaper agreed.  Glancing at the door of the room in front of which they were standing, he saw the number 42 on top of the frame and a plate in the door stating “LANNING, L.” in black capital letters.

“Well, I’ll be on my way.  Have a good evening,” Pamela said with a sociable grin.

Nodding, Max retorted, “You too,” and watched the nurse turn and head away from him down the hallway.  Interested as to whom they had been discussing as he leaped in, the scientist looked through the small window to see a blonde-haired young woman standing by her window, gazing outside into the distance.  Studying her profile, Max knew that somewhere in his mind that he recognized the woman...but he just couldn’t remember from when or where.  Even though the decades of leaping had reduced the magnafluxing effects on his memory, there were still noticeable holes that likely came with age.  Deciding to investigate, he turned and walked in the opposite direction of where Pamela Mahon headed.

“My name is Doctor Lloyd Burnham,” he mumbled to himself, recalling the name that the nurse had called him.  The end of the corridor brought him to two large double doors at a T-intersection and, after passing through the doors, Doctor Connors turned left, going based on instinct.  A few doors down he found an office labeled for his host and went directly for the filing cabinet to search out L. Lanning’s folder.

Luckily for Max, his host was quite organized and he found Lanning’s file quickly.  Opening it, he studied the black-and-white photograph of the young woman he had seen in room 42.  “Logan Lanning,” he murmured, the first name sounding familiar.  “Logan...  Logan...”

The scientist read on, getting nothing from repeating the name.  It wasn’t until he saw the reason for her incarceration that it finally hit him:  Pleaded insanity in the case of assault with a weapon from an attack on Leon Stiles at the Oklahoma City Courthouse on October 16, 1959.  Sentenced to psychiatric care until deemed mentally fit.

“She’s the one who tried to kill Beckett!” he hissed.  “Logan Lanning is the reason I’ve been working all these years to fix the timeline.  She can’t be released... ever!”

Rising from his seat, determined to prevent the cataclysm of his future, Max left the office and nearly trampled down a nurse in his rush.  “Sorry!” he yelped, grinding to a halt as the nurse placed a hand on his shoulder.

“Doctor Burnham, where’s the fire?” she asked in a joking tone.

Shaking his head, he mustered a chuckle in an attempt to not seem suspicious.  He avoided the question by asking one of his own.  “Would there be any additional information on my patients other than in my office?  For, say, Logan Lanning?”

The nurse stuck out her bottom lip in consideration.  “No, Doctor.  You have all of the information in your office and copies of anything that isn’t directly done through you.  Is this about Logan’s assessment tomorrow?”

“Assessment?” the leaper instinctively queried, taking the time to glance at her nametag that read “R. Thompson, RN” in white letters on a navy tag.

“It is tomorrow, isn’t it?  February First?”

Pretending to know what the young nurse was talking about, he replied, “Yes, tomorrow.  I just want to make sure I have everything I need to know about her.”

Nurse Thompson nodded in understanding.  “Of course you have everything.  Pam wouldn’t let you be ignorant of anything happening with your patients,” she replied with a smile.  “Is Logan going to be released?  She seems to be back to normal.”

Max saw his opportunity and snatched it up.  “Absolutely not,” he replied grimly, seeing a look of astonishment on the nurse’s face.  “I’ve been studying her very carefully lately and I believe she is a sociopath.  She’s pretending to be ‘better’ in order to trick us into letting her back into society,” Doctor Connors explained, hoping that this would be the first step towards Logan’s eternal incarceration.

Now the young woman’s eyes were bugging out.  “Sociopath?  Wow, she sure has me fooled, Doctor Burnham.  I guess you’d know better.  Too bad, huh?”

The over twenty years of leaping had taught Max Connors to be an actor to best even those on Broadway.  “It certainly is.  The toughest part of my job is making a decision like this, but I’m afraid that’s how it’s going to have to be.”

Patting him on the shoulder, Nurse Thompson tried to reassure him.  “It’s all right, Doctor.  We’ll take care of her as best we can.”

“Well, I’d better get back to work.  Thank you, Nurse,” he said simply before re-entering Doctor Burnham’s office.  Thompson nodded and then left the area, heading to her original destination:  the isolation ward.

After making the normal rounds, the nurse eventually came to room 42.  She entered the room, seeing the patient sitting at her table.  “Hi, Logan,” she greeted and began to empty Logan’s garbage can.  Nurse Thompson’s nerves were a bit on edge after the discussion with Doctor Burnham about the likelihood of the seemingly sane woman being a sociopath.

“Hi, Rose,” Logan answered with a friendly grin and turned in her chair to face the nurse.  “Sorry for making so much trash.”

Not noticing that there were considerable pieces of crumpled paper in the trash can until after Logan mentioned it, Rose Thompson shook her head and flicked her wrist at the matter.  “No problem, dear.  You can draw as much as you like.”

“I can’t wait for the assessment tomorrow.  I feel ready to go back to the outside world,” Logan Lanning said almost dreamily.

Rose immediately frowned at the comment and tried to cover it up, but it was too late to hide it from Logan.  “Is something wrong, Rose?”

“Oh, no, nothing.  I would just say to not get your hopes up.  The doctors have to be absolutely sure that you’re back to normal,” the nurse replied, hoping that it sounded feasible.

Standing up from the chair, Logan took a few steps toward the nurse, a pouting expression on her face.  “Why would you say that?”

Nurse Thompson knew that she shouldn’t divulge any information, but Logan would find out eventually that her doctor was considering not releasing her.  “Well, you didn’t hear it from me, but Doctor Burnham thinks you shouldn’t be released...” she began, noticing that the patient’s expression changed into one of utter disappointment.  “At least not yet.”

Letting out a heavy sigh, Logan sat on the edge of her bed and looked up at Rose.  “That’s all right, Rose.  Maybe next time,” she replied, a blank face holding back both surprise and rage.

Not wanting to further fuel the woman’s depression, Rose bid her goodnight and continued on her way.  After the door closed and was locked, Logan Lanning ground her teeth together while she balled her hands into fists, the nails on her fingers digging into her palms.



The next morning, Max Connors arrived at room 42 to take “his” patient to the assessment.  He wasn’t sure what the event entailed and hoped that it wasn’t too complicated, but the leaper was confident in his ability to improvise.

“Good morning, Logan,” he said with a forced smile when he saw the young woman sitting at a table by the window.  Seeing the woman again frustrated him that he had ever stopped her from killing Sam Beckett, but he had to keep his emotions in check.

“Hello, Doctor Burnham,” Logan answered back, faking her pleasant demeanour as well.  “Is it time for the assessment already?”

Max nodded.  “Are you ready to go?”

Without a word, Logan got up from her chair and looked at the doctor expectantly.  He left the room and waited for her to exit before closing the door.  The leaper headed down the hall and she followed him, keeping her eyes open for any kind of weapon to help her escape.  As if the fates had shone their approval on her, one of the nurses was collecting breakfast dishes and Logan spotted a steak knife on top of a half-eaten Belgian waffle.  Since her doctor seemed fine with having her walk behind him, she picked up the knife and hid it up her sleeve.

When they reached the T-intersection and cleared the locked doors, the two turned right and walked down the quiet hallway.  Although usually confined to their room, the patients typically were allowed to take a walk through the grounds outside during nice weather and inside otherwise.  She was familiar with her corner of the hospital and knew that the fire exit would be her only chance to escape.

Max had explored the hospital during his time overnight and knew where he was headed.  After they were heading down the corridor toward the conference room, he made sure that he and Logan walked side-by-side.  There were no further locked doors so she could make a run for escape at any time.

“Doctor Burnham?” she suddenly asked.

“Yes?” the leaper replied, turning his head to look at her.

“Die!” she screamed, plunging the knife into his abdomen and shoving him to the floor.  Before Max knew what hit him, a fire alarm started going off in his ears as the searing pain of the sharp metal in his stomach mixed with the sight of Logan escaping caused him to cry out in anguish.  He tried to stand up to go after her, but three nurses who had heard the outburst kept him to the ground while one vowed to chase after her.

A few hours later in the sick bay, Nurse Pamela Mahon approached him.  “Lloyd, I have some bad news,” she said, swallowing hard.  “We couldn’t find Logan on the grounds anywhere.  She’s gone.”

“Damn it, I failed!” Max exclaimed as his eyes squeezed shut in rage.  “There’s only one last chance left...”

“One last chance?  What are you talkin’ about?” the nurse demanded as an unseen wash of yellow light enveloped Max Connors and carried him to the one destination he had been hoping to avoid:  the epicenter of the time-quake.



He was in a log cabin somewhere up North.  It was a cozy cabin isolated from the main population, far away even from the normal hustle and bustle of suburbia.  He didn’t know why he was here, only that he felt an evil chill in the air—a chilling presence that didn’t belong there.

He wasn’t supposed to be there either.  He should have been dead when the Chu Hoi led his squad straight into an ambush.  And yet here he was, alive and well.  But, again, why was he here?  Walking toward the mantle of the fireplace, he saw a framed picture of his brother, standing tall with a suit on and smiling.  Standing next to him with pride in his eyes was an older man with a heavy beard.  Where had he seen this man before?  It was before he shipped off to Vietnam, wasn’t it?  He mentioned something about... he couldn’t remember.

Suddenly, a single gunshot rang in his ears, the loud crack echoing off the trees in the woods outside.  Feeling his heart racing, he ran out of the cabin to track down the source of the sound.  He didn’t have to look far, as standing a few hundred yards away from him was a young woman with blonde hair that ran down to her shoulders.  In her right hand was the smoking gun in question.  Turning her head toward him, she grinned with wicked delight and began aiming the gun in his direction.

Without even thinking, he pulled a similar gun out of his jacket pocket and got off a shot before she had the chance to act.  The bullet hit her between the eyes and she collapsed dead.  It was upon seeing the victim’s body beside hers, however, that made him realize his victory was a hollow one.

He didn’t even have to see the victim’s face to know who it was.  Hot tears began trickling down his face as he raced to his brother’s side, realizing he had been too late.  He had failed.  What was the point of living if he had to trade his brother’s life for his own?

“Nooooo...” he cried out in anguish as he saw the blood on his hands.  “This can’t be happening!  None of this is right!  You can’t be dead!  SAAAAAAAM!”


Tom woke up in a cold sweat, his heart racing a mile a minute.  Tom looked around not immediately recognizing that he was back in his quarters where he had gone to lie down about an hour earlier.  It felt as if he had only just closed his eyes for two seconds when the dream interrupted his sleep.

Another few seconds passed before Tom heard the velvety voice of the parallel-hybrid computer saying, “Admiral Beckett?”

Shaking his disorientation off, Tom responded, “Yes, Ziggy?”

“Doctor Lofton has requested your presence in the Infirmary immediately.  She says it’s urgent.”

Thinking this couldn’t possibly be good, Tom answered, “Give me five minutes, I’ll be right there.”



Project Quantum Leap, Infirmary

Stallion’s Gate, New Mexico

Thursday, January 25, 2007

06:15 MST


Entering the Infirmary, Tom walked over toward Aurora who appeared to have a somber expression on her face.  “Aurora, Ziggy told me it was urgent.  It’s...not Al, is it?”

“What?” Aurora said.  “Oh...no, Al is fine, he’s just resting.  I called you here because of Connors.  I don’t think he has much time left.  Actually, he requested to see you.”

“To see me?” Tom asked, befuddled.  “That seems unusual.  Well, alright then.”

Making his way toward the rogue leaper, Tom could tell that he was in extreme pain.  Connors was visibly wheezing more and more with each breath he took.  “A-Admiral...” Connors tried to speak.

“I’m here, Doctor Connors,” Tom held his hand.  “What is it you need to tell me?  Do you know how to save Sam?”

“N-no, but...you need to...stop me.  S’all my fault...”

“I...I don’t understand,” Tom explained.  “You’re here now.  How are we supposed to ‘stop you’?”

“Out... out th-there...” Connors replied, pointing his left arm out into thin air.  “Stop...me...out...there.  And may God...forgive...m-meeeeee....”

With those final words, Doctor Maxwell Connors closed his eyes and breathed his last breath.

“No, damn it!” Tom shouted in frustration as a continuous monotone beep sounded from the EKG monitor indicating that the patient flatlined.  “I was hoping he could provide me with more information!”

“I’m sorry, Tom,” Aurora consoled him.  “There was nothing I could do.  It was just a matter of time.  It’s amazing that he lasted as long as he did given the condition he arrived in.”

Feeling pity for the man who had been a thorn in his brother’s side for the better part of two years, Tom rubbed his hand over his face and said, “Turn that damn thing off and call it already.”

Doing as she was told, Aurora turned off the EKG, looked up at the clock and announced, “Time of death:  six-eighteen a.m., Mountain Standard Time.”  As Tom turned around to leave, she placed a white sheet over Max’s body and offered up a silent prayer to God.





Somewhere in Time


“The time has arrived,” stated the Bartender, his balding hair completely white and his rapidly aged face withered and frail.  “I fear it may already be too late to prevent the cataclysm that Maxwell Connors has been foreseeing.”

“But surely these events can be changed,” Alia protested.

“I concur,” Gooshie reiterated.  “After all Sam’s done for us and the numerous lives he’s touched, it just cannot end like this...can it?”

“Unfortunately, it can...and it will,” Alexander Garner confirmed.  “I have also seen the future...or the past, as the case may be.  The shockwave is already consuming everything in its path, and it’s nearly consumed this realm as well.  It may be time for Albert to take out that ‘insurance policy’ he spoke of not too long ago.”

“I thought you were joking about that,” Alia turned back to the Bartender.

Si, as did I,” Angelita chimed in.  “I do not understand why it is you do not send me to protect him, Alberto.”

“Because as stubborn as Samuel may be in accepting certain things about himself, we can’t keep coming to his rescue,” Esther offered.  “It would defeat the whole purpose of everything we’ve been trying to accomplish with him since he first met Albert.”

“Yes, it is as I told him once upon a time,” Alberto explained, “Sam has finally taken the first step towards accepting and controlling his own destiny.  It has been a long and tumultuous journey, not only for him, but for his loved ones as well.  However, if we continue to intervene directly, Sam will never get beyond those ‘baby steps’ and learn that he can surpass the laws of time and space itself to do virtually anything.”

“Exactly,” Moe “Ziggy” Stein replied.  “Think of it...a super-genius like Sam, tapping into the full potential of the human brain, discovering abilities no one has ever dared to imagine or dream about.  Astral projecting himself across Time, breaking the barriers of the String Theory altogether and entering the realm of the String Collective Theory that binds the universe together!  Imagine the infinite possibilities!  Leaping back to the birth of Christ...the Prehistoric Age...perhaps even the Dawn of Creation itself.  Or even the End of Creation, witnessing firsthand the entropic effect that will usher in the Age of Human Ascension....”

“I not understand a single word you said,” Stawpah replied to “Ziggy” in his heavy Russian accent.  “But I know enough about this time-travel business to know that none of this ‘accepting destiny’ will matter if Sam not alive to accept it.”

“I don’t fully understand it either, but how can Sam have died if I don’t remember him dying?” John Beckett challenged.  “His death in the past would be catastrophic to history—to us!”

“That’s why Albert is suggesting that we ‘bend’ time in a way that will prevent a total collapse of the time stream,” Merry added.

“Plus, you forget, Jonathan,” Thelma Beckett reminded her husband, “Admiral Calavicci is always there to help guide Sam.  He would never let anything happen to our son.  Even Albert underestimated the Admiral’s resolve during the Project Liberty disaster.  He would do whatever it took to help a friend in need, even if he had to sacrifice his own life to save Sam’s—which he did recently when Sam was killed during a leap.  Everyone here seems to be forgetting about that.”

“Ah, yes, but might I also remind everyone that Albert had to use his powers of bending time once before,” Edward St. John VI interrupted.  “When the Admiral was executed before his time, it was my father who became the ‘alternate’ Observer for Samuel.  If Albert had not used his powers to restructure the time stream to accommodate for the time shift, we would not even be here discussing this situation now.  The universe itself would have ceased to exist and us along with it.  Using those powers again might prove to be fatal for Albert this time.”

“Well, whatever this new ‘time shift’ is, it needs to be fixed soon,” Philip Bridges explained as he looked toward St. John.  “During that recent leap where Sam helped me aboard the Everglade, you briefly appeared back at Project Quantum Leap for two seconds alive and well.  Admiral Calavicci never even realized he announced your name instead of Dominic Lofton’s.”

“Which brings us back to that ‘insurance policy,’” Garner said.  “If we pool together our combined strength within this nexus of parallel quantum dimensions, we might be able to steer all of the key players toward the best possible positions to either avert or negate the temporal shockwave.  Our previous encounter with Sam established that although he had begun reaching his full potential, he is still not ready for the next phase in his evolution.  And now, there are rogue elements in the time stream that threaten to unravel Sam’s destiny.  The time to act is now...before our enemies become aware of our weakened states and are able to destroy this realm forever.”

“Well said, Alexander,” the Bartender finished.  “Come gather round, my friends.  We must use the last of our combined strength to manipulate events and ensure that the timeline holds out long enough for our ‘last hope’ to do what must be done.  HE...must not be allowed to prevail over us as he almost did so long ago.  Sam dismissed it as a simple dream, but we won’t have the same luxury this time.”

As the Angels of Time formed a circle and focused their collective powers into one final chronal burst, they faded from existence as a wave of quantum blue energy flashed outward, rippling its way through the mists of Time...





Project Quantum Leap, Conference Room

Stallion’s Gate, New Mexico

Thursday, January 25, 2007

08:01 MST


“Okay, what are we looking at here, people?” Tom asked as all of Project Quantum Leap’s key personnel gathered around the conference table and directed their attention to the front of the room where the admiral sat.  Among the doctors who were seated around the table in a clockwise pattern, starting from Tom, were:  Donna Elesee-Beckett, Tina Martinez-O’Farrell, Verbena Beeks, Percy Alfredsson, Ike Bentenhoff, Dominic Lofton, Samantha Josephine Fulton, and the newest member of the Quantum Leap family, Stephanie Hartmann.

“Well, with Stephie’s help, I think I’ve been able to figure out enough to provide some insight into what we’re facing here,” Sammy Jo Fulton offered, as she got up and inquired, “If I may?”

“The floor is yours, Doctor,” Tom complied, as he sat in Sammy Jo’s seat to allow her the space she needed for her demonstration.

Sammy Jo walked over to a chalkboard and drew a straight line from left to right as she said, “Imagine that this line represents Time.”  First she pointed the chalk to the left end of the line and explained, “Let’s say that this end represents the beginning of Time, while the other end represents the end.”  She then pointed the chalk to the right end to differentiate between the two.

“Under normal circumstances, time moves strictly in a linear fashion from Point A to Point B to Point C, and so forth and so on, dictating how the course of history will unfold.  However, now we have someone like Sam who is able to travel back and forth along the string of his own lifetime according to the String Theory, which follows the same basic principle as what I just drew.  In this case, Point A represents his birth while Point B represents his death.  Tie both ends together, and his life becomes a loop.  Ball up that loop, and each day overlaps another day—thereby allowing him to leap backward and forward within his own lifetime.  Suddenly, that once linear timeline can become mutable, causing disruptions in the chronological flow of time.  An event can be altered, causing the main timeline to skew off into a new tangent and create an alternate timeline co-existing with our own.  So, let’s say that ‘D’ is the point of departure and ‘A’ is the point of arrival—in our case, a single leap into the past.





“Now multiply that by hundreds of leaps, and you begin to see what’s starting to happen.”  She drew more branching lines, each new line branching off into yet another line until the diagram became one huge mess of crisscrossing lines that overlapped with one another.

“My God,” Tom exclaimed.  “You’re saying that Connors might have been right all along?  That Sam is somehow causing more damage?”

“Not directly...but, in a way, yes,” Stephie commented.  “There are now so many alternate timelines in existence, many of which overlap and run parallel with each other as the diagram shows.  Elements of certain timelines are starting to intersect with others.  It’s reached the point where ‘glitches’ are starting to pop up that even Ziggy can’t keep track of.  And they’re occurring more frequently as time passes by.”

Sammy Jo continued, “The thing is that up until now, we’ve sort of been taking it for granted that some kind of higher power is at work in regards to what Sam needs to accomplish in each of his leaps.  Ziggy first hypothesized that this ‘higher power’ might be God or Time or Fate, or something to that effect—and as such, God, Fate, or whatever would never allow any kind of major paradox from occurring.  But then Dad met that mysterious bartender and a man he claimed was a ‘dead’ leaper.  That was when everything we thought we knew about time travel—and everything around us—started to change.”

“What do you mean?” Doctor Beeks asked.

“Well, as we now know, based on what Beth and Al have both learned over the years, my father changed history when he leaped back to San Diego and told Beth that Al was alive.  That one single moment of time created a major divergence in the flow of our own timeline.  Because it affected Al’s past so drastically, any number of timelines could have theoretically emerged from that focal point.  It’s quite possible that the reality we’re in now is just one of dozens, maybe even hundreds, of ‘virtual’ possibilities that branched off from Al and Beth getting back together.”

“But how does that have anything to do with our current crisis?” Donna asked.

“I’m getting to that,” Sammy Jo continued.  “Now if you may remember when we first dealt with the possibility of a time paradox occurring, Stephen and I explained that traveling through time in and of itself results in alternate timelines.  We know that history changes when Sam leaps because Ziggy is usually able to keep track of each timeline as it occurs.  If the changes had already been recorded in history before Sam even leaped the first time, then he would actually be creating the timeline we all know.  That’s called a predestination paradox.  In that scenario, we’d be dealing with one single continuous and immutable timeline.

“But as we know from Sam’s travels, this is not the case.  Our timeline can be altered in such a way that could theoretically endanger our own existence.  That’s often referred to as the ‘grandfather’ paradox.  Suppose you went back in time and killed your grandfather before he meets your grandmother.  Since they never met and started a family, you couldn’t have been born.  So then how did you go back in time to kill your grandfather if you never existed?  It’s for that very reason that most people believe that time travel could never be possible.  Of course, as we’ve proven, it is possible.  Which leaves us with the necessity to come up with a logical solution to the grandfather paradox.

“The most common theory in the realm of quantum mechanics is that the universe would split into two separate parallel universes:  one in which history has been altered, and one in which it remains intact.  By default, the time traveler would continue living in the alternate reality that he or she created at the point of divergence, or would return to the future of that particular reality.  From the perspective of the original reality, the traveler would simply vanish once they left for the past and never be able to return to their point of origin.

“Another theory:  there is only one single discontinuous timeline where minor changes can occur.  Instead of branching off into tangents, these changes might appear as ‘time bubbles’ that ripple outward like a river.  The time traveler’s memories would be altered along with the timeline itself and they wouldn’t remember why they traveled back in time in the first place.  The actual trip through time from arrival to departure might be recorded as a ‘pocket’ in Time that doesn’t interfere with the grand skein of Time.  This has also occurred with Sam and Al to a certain degree.

“Then there’s a third theory which is the one that is the most disturbing:  a disappearing timeline.  This theory says that once a causality violation is created in the past—we’ll mark that as a ‘V’—the new timeline will become the dominant one and the original timeline will cease to exist at the point of the time traveler’s departure.





“What complicates matters is that Ziggy, Al, and now Tom are linked to Sam during a leap.  The changes aren’t always instantaneous unless the probabilities reach one hundred percent.  What we’re looking at now is a chain reaction of events that are all resulting from one single divergence in Time.  Our best estimates indicate that it’s sending some kind of causality shockwave through the time stream in both directions.  So far, it hasn’t completely caught up to us because the probability hasn’t reached one hundred percent yet.”

“So, in a nutshell, what does all of this mean?” Tom inquired, trying to keep his brain from exploding.

“Quite simply, the barriers between the multitude of alternate timelines and realities is starting to collapse,” Sammy Jo replied.  “The more changes that are made to history, the weaker the space-time fabric becomes.  It’s like a film reel that keeps getting played over and over again—eventually, the film frays and snaps.  Ziggy’s program has been slowing down considerably for the past few days; I have a theory that the conflicting timelines are ‘confusing’ her.  If what Doctor Connors said is true, we’re looking at a catastrophic time paradox that will result from one or both of the two critical junction points in the timeline he mentioned.”

Dom took that opportunity to reveal his findings.  “So far, we’ve managed to narrow down the target date of the first temporal divergence to sometime within the first week of December, Nineteen Sixty-Nine.  Unfortunately, we can’t get anything more specific than that.  I’m not sure that’ll be much help to us, though.  The closest Sam’s ever leaped to that particular point in time, according to the archives, was when he leaped into himself at the age of sixteen—and he leaped out as soon as his basketball team won the state championships against Bentleyville.  So, we wouldn’t even be able to enlist his help if we could.”

“Well, like, what about ‘our’ Sam?” Tina suggested.  “Maybe we could, like, I dunno, try to modify the Accelerator coils and attempt to retrieve him again, only we, like, redirect his ‘quantum signature’ to where we need him to go?”

“The program still has too many glitches in it to try that,” Ike interjected.  “Do we know anything about that second point of divergence yet?”

“Negative,” Dom replied.  “All we have from what Connors told us is the year:  Nineteen Seventy-Three.  Other than that, we’re shooting blanks.  We don’t even know exactly why Logan was in Indiana in Sixty-Nine let alone how she got close enough to Sam to kill him.  He was only sixteen at the time.  We know for a fact that Logan’s M.O. was singling out brown-haired men ranging anywhere from their early twenties to their early thirties.”

“Okay, I’ve heard enough,” Tom interrupted after hearing all of the suggestions and theories.  “For the moment, let’s just assume that I know hardly anything about quantum mechanics or chaos theory.”  It wasn’t very far from the truth really.  “Bottom line:  what’s the worst-case scenario of what could happen to our ‘reality’ if we don’t stop Logan from killing Sam in time?  And don’t give me the sugar-coated version either.”

Before anyone had a chance to answer, the distorted voice of Ziggy responded, “If Logan is not stopped, Doctor Beckett will never create Project Quantum Leap, and thus will never leap back and change history.  Everything that Doctor Beckett has accomplished in the past twelve years will unravel, which I believe is already beginning to happen.  As a result, Sheriff John Hoyt will kill Leon Stiles in Nineteen Fifty-Eight, and Logan Lanning will never escape to become the ‘Black Widow.’  Henceforth, she will never murder Doctor Beckett, and he will continue living to create P-P-Project Quantum Leap in Nineteen N-N-Ninety.  Doctor Beckett will then eventually leap into Leon Stiles and prevent Sheriff John Hoyt from killing him, which will result in Logan L-L-Lanning escaping and becoming a serial killer.  As a result, she will murder Doctor Beckett in the past, causing everything that he has accomplished in the past twelve years to unravel, which I believe is already beginning to happen.  As a result...”

“Stop the explanation, Ziggy, I got the point,” Tom ordered, realizing that the hybrid computer was getting hung up on the infinite nature of the paradox.  ‘Well, that certainly does explain why Ziggy’s program is slowing down considerably.  She can’t figure out how to break the loop in order to reach the solution,’ he thought.  “What I want to know is, how will that ‘paradox’ affect us in the here and now?”

Sammy Jo finished by saying, “Best-case scenario:  Sam continues leaping within the alternate reality in which his younger self is dead while our reality branches off into a new tangent and remains intact.  Worst-case scenario:  the paradox will tear a hole in the space-time continuum and destroy the entire universe, as we know it.  There’s really no way of knowing what could happen until it actually happens.”

That was all that the admiral needed to hear.  Getting up from his chair with a renewed sense of determination in his aging face, Tom looked straight ahead and said, “Dominic, go back to the Control Room and get the Accelerator Chamber ready.  Set it for a random date starting from November Thirtieth up to December Seventh, Nineteen Sixty-Nine, in Elk Ridge, Indiana.  Hopefully, we’ll hit gold on the first try.  Tina, get me a Fermi suit.”  For a brief moment, everyone in the conference room looked at Tom with a confused expression until the interim Observer shouted, “Well, what are you all standing around for, people!  Let’s go!”

As most of the individuals in the room began scattering to their assigned posts, Donna walked up to her brother-in-law and asked, “Tom, what do you think you’re doing?”

“What needs to be done, Donna—I’m going to leap back to Nineteen Sixty-Nine and save Sam.  It’s not just his existence that’s at stake here—it’s ours as well.  Yours, mine, Sammy Jo’s, Stephen’s...we could all just blink out of existence, and then no one will ever remember there being a world with Sam Beckett.  I can’t let that happen.”

“How do we know if Ziggy won’t suddenly conk out on us?” Donna added.  “Having two active leapers is risky, as we’ve learned in the past when Sammy Jo first leaped all those years back.  And to top it all off, you’re talking about having two active leapers in two separate time periods—something we’ve never attempted before.  The strain on Ziggy’s power reserves would be enormous!”

“If you’ve got another alternative, I’d be glad to hear it,” Tom rebuked.  “This is the only way, Donna—plain and simple.  And if Al were here, he’d be saying the same thing.”

Realizing that Tom was probably right, Donna lowered her head despondently and asked, “So, who’s going to be your observer then?”

“That’s a good question.  The only two people at this project whose brainwaves are synced up with mine are Sam and Al—and Sam is not a viable option, for obvious reasons.  So, until Al gets back on his feet, I guess that Ziggy’s going to need to tweak Dom’s unique connection with Sam so that I’ll be able to see and hear him with no problem.”

Giving Tom a big hug, Donna whispered into his ear, “You’d better come back home, you hear me?  We’re not losing another Beckett!”

Reciprocating the emotions, Tom looked into Donna’s eyes and reassured her, “Don’t worry, I have every intention of coming back...once my ‘mission’ is over.  Do me one favor, though?”


“Make sure J.T. stays out of trouble?  I’m sure he won’t be too thrilled when he hears where I went off to.”

Donna simply smiled and nodded at Tom’s request.  She knew it pained him to leave his family behind, but it was something he needed to do.  Her husband had done so much for so many people over the past decade.  He couldn’t let a random psychotic woman take Sam away from this world anymore than she could.

Noticing that Sammy Jo was still in the room along with a few other people, Tom quickly walked over to her and said, “Samantha, I’m sorry to pull you away from your daughter’s side, but I need your expertise to help us through this crisis.”

“No need to apologize, Tom,” Sammy Jo said.  “I have a stake in this, too, you know.”

“Right,” Tom nodded as he continued, “I need you to pull up all of the data we have for the retrieval program and the leaping program.  I want to make sure that everything is as up-to-date as humanly possible.  I’m sure Doctor Hartmann will be able to assist you and Doctor Alfredsson.”

Sammy Jo looked at Tom in confusion as she asked, “Doctor Hartmann?  Who’s that?”

Now it was Tom’s turn to be confused.  “What do you mean, ‘who’s that’?  Stephanie Hartmann, the one who tried to help Doctor Albright return to the future a couple of months ago — she was...right here....” But as Tom looked around at the people leaving the conference room, Stephie Hartmann was nowhere to be found.

“Not sure who you’re talking about, Tom,” Sammy Jo said, “but to my recollection, no one by that name has ever worked here.”

Feeling momentarily dizzy again, Tom looked up and asked, “Ziggy, pull up everything you have on Sam’s recent leap into Josiah Hawley in late September of Two Thousand-Four.  There should be a file in that leap concerning Doctors Stephanie Hartmann and Theodore Albright.”

After about ten seconds, Ziggy responded, “I am sorry, Admiral, but no such file exists in my memory banks.  Likewise, there is no record of a Doctor Theodore Albright existing in the year Two Thousand-Four.”

It was then that his memories began shifting again, only this time, Tom remembered what had changed.  Sam’s leap where he helped Doctor Albright and Stephanie no longer occurred because Doctor Albright no longer existed to become trapped in the past to begin with.  And since there was no leap, Sammy Jo no longer met Doctor Hartmann in 2004 and recommended her for Project Quantum Leap.  Without the cause, there could be no effect.

‘Oh no, it’s already begun,’ Tom realized.  ‘There isn’t much time left.  Don’t worry, little brother, I’m coming.’



Project Quantum Leap, Infirmary

Stallion’s Gate, New Mexico

Thursday, January 25, 2007

08:15 MST


“He’s going to do what?!” Al barked, now fully alert and more clear-headed than he had been since first waking up from his coma.  “Not if Albert Calavicci has anything to say about it.  Get me off this damn gurney!  I’ve been out of commission for far too long.  Tom has no experience leaping.  Sam needs me!”

Beth had feared this since Al first regained full consciousness.  “Al, you need your rest.  You aren’t in bed with a case of the flu, you just woke up from a coma,” she said calmly.  “If you strain yourself, you might end up right back where we started.”

Although Al loved his wife with all his heart and knew that she was just trying to protect him from further injury, the ramifications of Tom Beckett leaping with Sam still lost in Time were just too much.

“I know what the risks are, Beth, but there’s more at stake here than my health,” the admiral stated seriously.  “Ziggy has enough trouble keeping track of Sam—we don’t need to worry about Tom being out there, too.”

The Project’s former chief medical officer swallowed the lump in her throat and watched her husband sit himself up.  “Can’t you let the people in the Control Room worry about that?  Plus, what do you think you’re going to do?  Leap again?”

Al paused for a moment as he contemplated his wife’s words.  “Why not?” he demanded with determination.  He threw back the white sheet before swinging his legs over the side of the bed and met the gaze of his love.

“Because you’re not physically fit, Al!” retorted a frustrated Beth as she got up from the recliner.  There was a hint of tears at the corners of her eyes as she spoke.  “No matter how much you think you’re still in your twenties, you’re not going to be able to leap with all of the trauma your body endured in the plane crash.”

“Beth, honey,” the acting director of Project Quantum Leap said in a hushed tone, only to have her turn her back on him.

Fighting back the emotions that were threatening to spill out, Beth replied, “You didn’t pull through that coma just to leave me again.”

Al examined the floor for a moment and then got to his feet, gathering the strength to walk over to his wife.  Placing his hand on her shoulder was the catalyst as she threw her arms around his neck and hugged him tightly.  “You know I love you with all my heart, Beth,” he whispered, returning the embrace.

“I love you, too, Al,” she said with a sniff, pulling back so that she could see his face as she placed a hand on his cheek.

“Then you should know that I’ll come back to you, no matter what.  Sam needs my help.”  The admiral looked into his wife’s eyes and pulled her closer, locking their lips in a tender kiss.

Beth let the embrace linger before placing her head on his shoulder and tightening the hold on her husband.  “You’re too good a friend, Flyboy,” she said softly.



Project Quantum Leap, Control Room

Stallion’s Gate, New Mexico

Thursday, January 25, 2007

08:27 MST


Tom turned toward his niece and asked, “Sammy Jo, are those upgrades to the leaping program still in place?  The ones you modified to minimize the Swiss-cheese effect back when you leaped?”

“Not completely,” Sammy Jo answered.  “I had to start over from scratch after Dad had used Doctor Garner’s Time Displacer Unit to leap back here two years ago.  On top of that, some of the data was corrupted when the evil leapers infiltrated the project.  I can’t guarantee that we’ll be able to get you back, or that your memory won’t be affected by the leap.”

“It’s a chance I’m willing to take,” Tom accepted.  “Sam saved my life once, maybe even twice; now it’s my turn to return the favor.”

“You’d better think twice, Beckett,” the voice of Al said suddenly.  All heads in the Control Room turned to the entrance, the sight of their long-time boss in the doorway causing a hush to fall over the room.

Julianna was the first to break the silence as she happily screamed, “Daddy!”  Holding her father in a tight embrace, she added, “Mama Beth and I were so worried about you!  Don’t you ever scare us like that again, you hear me?”

Laughing nervously, Al responded, “I’ll, uh, try not to, Jules.”

“Welcome back, Admiral Calavicci,” the silky voice of Ziggy cooed.  “I’ve missed you.”

Chucking, Al let go of Jules and approached Tom and Sammy Jo at the main control panel.  “Yeah, I missed you, too, you overblown microwave oven.”

Sammy Jo stood up and gave the admiral a warm hug.  “It’s good to see you on your feet, Al,” she said with a wide smile.

“Thanks, Sammy Jo,” the admiral replied as he eyed Tom Beckett.  Both men were dressed in their Navy whites and sized each other up for a brief moment before saluting one another.

“Admiral, nice to have you back,” Tom stated in an even tone.  “I assume you have heard about...”

“You thinking about leaping?” Al interrupted.  “Yeah, I heard about that, and as the administrator of this project I’m demanding an explanation of your cockamamie request.”

Placing her hand on the older admiral’s shoulder, Sammy Jo said, “Al, he’s our only choice.”

“She’s right, Al,” Tom Beckett agreed.  “You might think you’re Superman but it’s too risky to put you in the Accelerator.  I have to do this for Sam.”

Narrowing his eyes at his best friend’s older brother, Al retorted, “I may be retired but I still have one more star than you, Beckett.”

Restraining his aggravation with his fellow admiral, Tom opened his mouth to protest but was interrupted before a single syllable was uttered.  “That’s why I’ve decided to let you leap,” added Al with a grin.  “That is, after I go see Sam.  Fire up the Imaging Chamber, Sammy Jo!”



New York City, New York

Thursday, February 25, 1993

15:58 EST


Leaping around in Time has never been easy.  I’ve had my share of tough assignments, but sometimes the most frustrating of leaps are the ones when I know nothing about why I’m there.  So far, my leap into Danny Wallace hasn’t given me anything except some blisters.


After a few hours of wandering around Manhattan Island, keeping his eyes open for any possible danger, Sam found that his feet were beginning to cry out in pain – and Danny’s cramped shoes didn’t help matters any.  The leaper came across a group of three homeless men—following the same act as Danny’s companion Larry—and one of the men gave Sam a welcoming expression as he approached them.

“You look tired,” the man said almost excitedly.  “Why don’t ya sit down here?”

Figuring that this would likely be his only offer of hospitality, Sam Beckett took a seat on the moth-eaten blanket that separated them from the concrete sidewalk.  “Thank you,” he replied with a friendly smile.

The man, who looked to be in his sixties, just grinned and said, “No problem.”

Leaning his back and head against the cool brick of the building, Sam closed his eyes to help himself think.  The leaper felt himself beginning to doze off when a familiar sound caused him to jump back to consciousness.  His eyelids fluttered open and he saw before him a welcomed sight.

“Al!” Sam exclaimed, getting to his feet and widening his arms before remembering that he was only seeing a neurological hologram of his dearest friend.

Al just smiled and pressed a button on the handlink to close the door back to the Control Room.  “It’s good to see you again, Sam,” the observer replied, still grinning.  “I take it that Tom didn’t measure up to me, huh?”

Laughing, Sam shook his head in amusement but didn’t answer the question.  “Where have you been?  Tom would only tell me that you were ‘unavailable,’” the leaper demanded.

Scratching his finger behind his ear for a moment, Al shrugged and said, “Oh, you know, just some things back here that you don’t have to worry about, Sam.”

Before the time-traveling scientist could drill his observer any further, the homeless man who offered him a spot to sit spoke up.  His eyes were wide with wonder as he stared at the admiral in his uniform.  “Who’s that, Sam?  Where’d that white door come from?”

“You can see me?” Al asked the dark-skinned man.  He then turned to Sam and queried, “Who is this guy?”  Sam could only shrug in response.

“My name’s Tibby.  Tibido Johnson,” came the reply as Tibby got up from the sidewalk to shake Al’s hand.  Not wanting to tip off that he was only a holographic image, the admiral went for a salute instead to befit his current wardrobe.  Tibby returned the salute with a goofy grin, but Al’s expression was anything but amused.

“Uh, nice to meet you, Tibby,” Al said with some hesitation.  Turning slightly away from the older man, the observer said to his leaper in a hushed tone, “Sam, we gotta talk.”

Creasing his brow, Sam nodded and looked at Tibby.  “I’ll be right back,” he said with a reassuring smile.  Tibby gave them a wave and sat back down, watching the pair walk a little ways down the sidewalk.

“Is something wrong, Al?” the leaper asked with concern.  “You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

Gulping, the observer shook his finger at Sam.  “I think I have!  Don’t you remember Tibby, Sam?”  After Sam shook his head in negative response, Al let out a puff of air.  “According to Ziggy, during the leap when we helped Tibby, he was released from Havenwell Hospital, got a job, and went on to live a good life.  Nothing about being homeless!”

“Maybe it’s just a phase in his life?” Sam suggested.

“No, no way.  We have records of him being employed constantly,” Al replied.  “Something is seriously wrong here, Sam.”

Sighing, the leaper began walking back toward the man in question.  “What are you doing?” his observer demanded.  Sam said nothing until he returned to the man on the blanket with Al hot on his trail.

“Tibby,” the time traveler said casually as he crouched down, “where are you from?”

“Havenwell, Pennsylvania,” Tibby answered.  “But I been in New York for the past ten years.  Ain’t had a permanent roof over my head since...”  The homeless man stopped in mid-thought, a saddened look on his face.

“Since when?” Sam urged.

“Since about Sixty-One when I was released from the mental hospital,” he finished in a hushed tone, obviously embarrassed about having been a psychiatric patient.

Shaking his head in astonishment, Al quietly commented, “Oh, my God.  I was right.”  He began poking at the handlink for information, getting only a confirmation from Ziggy about what he originally said about Tibby.  “Sam, do you know anything about this ‘alternate timeline’ business?”

Straightening up to full height again, Sam looked at his partner in Time.  “I think Tom mentioned something about two major timelines fighting for dominance,” Sam answered.  “Does this have something to do with Tibby, too?”

Nodding, Al read from the handlink, “Ziggy says that these two timelines overlap at certain points in time, which is probably why I remember helping Tibby learn the alphabet, and yet here he is on the streets.”

“So that must be why on my last leap nobody had even heard of Buddy Holly except for me and everyone at the Project,” Sam replied.

It was starting to come together in Al’s mind.  ‘Sam’s very existence is at stake,’ he mused.  Setting his jaw, the admiral opened the Imaging Chamber door.  “Look, Sam, I should go back and talk this over with Ziggy and the others.”

“All right, Al.  Just don’t take too long,” the scientist said with a hint of concern.  Admiral Calavicci gave a curt nod and closed the door, moving quickly into the Control Room.

Seeing that more of the staff had assembled in the Control Room, Al wasted no time in issuing commands.  “Donna and Lofty, get the Accelerator prepared.  Sammy Jo, have the Retrieval Program as ready as possible.  Verbena, get ready for the possibility of two visitors in the Waiting Room.”

There was no hesitation as the Project’s nucleus started to hum with activity.  Tina approached the admiral with a sombre look on her face.  “What happened in there, Al?  You look really, like, fired up.”

“Everything Connors said is true, Tina,” Al replied, seeing Tom coming to join them.  “I just saw somebody out on the streets who we helped land a job and enjoy the rest of his life.  Tom, you’d better leap soon, ’cause I don’t know how much longer Sam has.”

Nodding in understanding, the elder Beckett looked to Tina.  “Do you have that Fermi suit ready yet?” he asked.  The technician bobbed her head and hustled over to a small closet, pulling from it the white one-piece.  Tom thanked her and excused himself from the Control Room.

“Do you think it’ll work?” Tina questioned, watching Sam’s brother leave.

“It has to,” Al replied.



Tom Beckett returned five minutes later wearing the skin-tight Fermi suit.  “Are we ready?” he addressed the room as everybody stood up from their seats.

“As soon as you are, Admiral,” Ziggy’s voice filtered from all around.

His face without emotion, the former Navy SEAL walked toward the entrance of the Quantum Leap Accelerator.  All eyes were on him as he stood at the bottom of the ramp, giving the Control Room one last glance.

“Good luck, Admiral Beckett,” Ziggy announced in a soothing voice.

Tom nodded once and ascended to the door into the Accelerator Chamber, which opened immediately for him.  Stepping into the middle of the room, the admiral had to only wait for mere seconds to pass before mist began to shoot up from the circular grate below him.  There was a tingle of electricity in the air as a whirring sound continued to get more and more intense.

As the blue quantum energy built to a crescendo, Tom’s arms began to float upward.  He couldn’t help but smile, as he finally knew the excitement that his brother felt.  ‘Now I see why Sam dreamed of traveling in time,’ he mused.  ‘My entire body feels like it’s juiced up!  It’s...exhilarating!’

Abandoning all of his doubts and worries, Tom welcomed the blue field that engulfed him as he vanished into Time.





The blue light that surrounded Tom quickly vanished as his vision came back into full view.  The first thing he noticed was the large shelf of books on the wall directly in front of him.  At first, he looked around in confusion, not quite sure of what had just happened.

‘We did it!’ Tom automatically thought before his smile quickly became a frown.  ‘Did what?  I... I can’t remember.  I can’t remember anything!  Who am I?  Where am I?’

A small part of his internal query was answered when he suddenly realized that he was in what appeared to be a local bookstore.  ‘Okay, I’m in a bookstore—and a small one, at that.  But, that still doesn’t tell me exactly where I am—or who I am!’  Then, as if Fate itself had intervened, one particular book caught Tom’s eye.  Pulling the book off the shelf and inspecting its cover, he read aloud the printed words on the front.  Waiting for Godot — A Tragicomedy in Two Acts... by Samuel...Beckett!”

It was at that point that some partial memories came flooding back.  Beckett!  Sam Beckett is...my brother!  And I’m...Tom Beckett!  I remember!  I leaped!  I’ve actually traveled back in time!”

Before Tom even realized it, a middle-aged-looking man with black hair and a full beard approached him, apparently having overheard the last part of the leaper’s one-sided conversation and exclaimed, “Traveled in time?  Sibby, what on Earth are you talking about?  You feeling okay?”

Startled by the sound of the other man’s voice, Tom quickly tried to cover his blunder but found himself at a loss for words.  “I... uh...”

As the man gave the leaper an inquisitive look, Tom muttered under his breath, “Ah geez...”




(Special thanks to M. J. Cogburn, Eleiece Krawiec, Katherine Freymuth, and Tom Nicklis for helping to set up the events that led into this.)


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