Chapter 15 Donna awoke with a start. She had been dreaming of Sam. He had seemed so real. He had told her in his dream that everything would work out okay. She had held him in her arms, and had kissed him. His body had smelled so sweet, it was hard to believe that it had all been a dream. She struggled to roll over and sit. She was still on the couch where she had fallen asleep the night before. Al. The memory came flooding back of her collapsing in his arms. She noticed that he had covered her with a blanket. Her face reddened. She never broke down like that. She made her mind up to see him today and apologize. Donna got up and took the blanket back to the bedroom. The baby kicked a few times to let her know that he was awake as well. Donna looked at the small bassinet set up in one corner of the bedroom. It wouldn't be long now. Donna turned on the bedroom radio. The announcer was saying that today was going to be stormy. It didn't rain often here in New Mexico, but when it did, it poured. Dissmissing the weather report, Donna went to shower and change. It was going to be a long day. **************** Al had awoken before Beth. He had slipped out of the bed carefully and hopped in a hot shower. After drying off and dressing in his favorite red suit, he had gone into the living area to access some of Ziggy's functions through the small terminal at his desk. Al called up some particulars on the leap and made some mental notes to tell Sam. This leap wasn't going to be easy. He figured he had about an hour before he had to check on Sam. He keyed off the terminal and went to start a pot of coffee for himself and Beth. **************** Verbena had been awake since early morning. She had her breakfast in her quarters today and was now heading on her way to check on the visitor. Dressed casually, she hoped the girl would open up to another woman. Maybe this leap wouldn't be so difficult after all. She passed a few technicians on the way, and they all greeted her with a 'good morning' and a smile. Reaching the main control room she found Gooshie already behind the terminal, bringing up details and feeding them into the handlink for Al. "Good Morning, Gooshie." she greeted. "You're up early." "I know. I figured that Dr. Beckett would be awake early with the baby, and that Admiral Calavicci may be down shortly to update him." He caressed the main control panel with one hand. "Besides, Ziggy needed a quick debugging. Seems she downloaded a virus while trying to access the older computers to get infomation on this Leap." He turned back to the computer and was imputting some commands. Verbena nodded to him. "Have fun." Then she turned and headed toward the Waiting Room. ******************** Sam had awoken before the baby. He stepped out into the kitchen to figure out how to make the formula before the infant awoke. He found four large cans of powdered formula behind a cabinet door. He took one down an began to read the directions. Soon he had a pan of bottles and nipples sterlizing on the stove, and was waiting for Al to show up to update him on this Leap. He didn't know if Jessica held a job or what was supposed to happen today. He hoped Al wouldn't be long. He made a quick breakfast of toast and eggs and waited for Al while he ate breakfast. ******************* Donna now dressed, went out in search of Al. She didn't want to disturb Ziggy this morning, so she went to check the commissary first, then she would check his quarters. The baby was very active today and Donna had been having backaches all morning long. She attributed it to her sleeping on the couch. Stretching once, she aimed for the commissary. A little food and a nice talk with Al, then a visit to her office before a nice talk with one of the numerous Senators would round out her morning. Little did she know..that was not what was going to happen. ******************* Beth had awoken to the smell of fresh coffee. She had dressed hurriedly and went to search out the source of the smell. Al was already up and had her coffee ready when she greeted him. "Morning, Beth." He handed her the steaming mug before picking up his own. "Morning. How are you feeling today?" She took the mug and sipped at the fragrant brew. "Fine, better than I have in days. I was just on my way out to go see Sam." "No breakfast?" "I'll grab a bite in the commissary on the way down." The commissary was on the third floor. Crew quarters were on the second, and the main Control Room was on the tenth. Beth nodded. "I'll check on Donna today too. Maybe see if she needs anything from town. I'm going to pick up a few things." Al finished his coffee. "Okay. Just have Ziggy page me if you need me." He kissed Beth goodbye and headed out. ******************** Verbena entered the Waiting Room. Jessica stared up with blank eyes. Verbena could tell she was scared. She pulled up a chair and attempted casual conversation. "Good morning. Can I get you something?" Jessica said nothing. Just curled up tighter into a ball on the bed. "Do you remember your name?" Jessica nodded but refused to speak. "It's okay to be scared. I'm here to help you understand, I won't hurt you." Jessica clutched her blanket tightly. She could remember very little after being pulled over by the cop. She was afraid she had fainted and that her baby had been taken away by Child Affairs. She had to be in some kind of hospital. The walls were pale blue, and there wasn't much in the room besides the bed and some machines. The nice lady spoke to her again. "If you change your mindand want to talk, just ask someone for me. My name is Verbena. Dr. Beeks. Okay?" Jessica nodded then turned to face the wall. She wasn't in any mood to speak. ******************** Al had entered the commissary and had gotten a bagel with cream cheese. He was on his way out when he spotted Donna sitting at a table. He went over to check on her. Donna was eating her own breakfast of oatmeal and an apple when a shadow fell across the table. She had been so lost in her thoughts, that she didn't hear anyone approach the table. She looked up and saw Al. Her face colored. "Morning, Donna. May I join you?" "Sure." she gestured. "I wanted to talk to you anyways." He sat opposite her. "Concerning?" He took a bite out of the bagel. "Last night." He chewed thoughtfully, swallowed then spoke. "Look, you don't have to say anything. I was wrong to push you. It is your choice. I won't say anything to Sam." She looked at him. "I wanted to apologize to you for acting the way I did. I don't know what came over me. I guess.. " she shrugged, "I guess I was just feeling sorry for myself." He took her hand across the table and gave it a gentle squeeze. "It's alright, Donna. I understand." She smiled a small smile. "And about Sam. I really think it is best that he doesn't know. I can see your point, but I hope you can see mine too." Al finished his bagel. "I can. Now, speaking of Sam, I better get my butt down to him. He needs the information for the Leap. Oh and Beth is going into town. She's gonna stop by and see you before she goes." "Ok. I'll have her pick up a few things for the baby. He'll be here soon." Al stood up. "Um, just curious. Did you pick out a name yet?" Donna smiled a big smile. "Of course. John Albert Beckett." The expression on Al's face was worth it. She had picked out the name weeks ago, just never told anyone yet. It had come down to either John Albert Beckett, or Samuel Albert Beckett. She had chosen the former, and Al knew why. "Oh Donna. I'm honored." He said with complete sincerity. "Thank you." "No, Thank you Al. For everything." Al smiled and went to so see Sam. ****************** Sam had followed the directions and made the formula. Six bottles were now in the fridge. The baby had awoken and Sam had changed and fed her. Now he was just sitting in the chair rocking her and wondering just where the heck Al was. "Al? oh Al?" He called out wishing he could summon up his friend that easily. "Yeah Sam?" Al's voice responded. Sam jumped up, almost losing his grip on the baby. He really hadn't expected an answer. "Where have you been? I need somthing to go on." Sam turned to look at Al. Al had Ziggy set him on the couch. "Come here, Sam. We need to talk." Sam put the baby in the baby seat. For once she was content to just sit. He checked Al out. Al looked more rested this morning, decked out in red, and he had his cigar. "You are looking pretty cheery. I hope you have good news?" Al looked down at himself then up at Sam. "Well, we got some news, not good, but it can be changed." He pointed at Sam. "And you gotta get dressed. Kelsey comes home today." "Kelsey?" "Yeah, Jessica's best friend and the girl next door. She has a 3 year old daughter. These two have been friends since 9th grade." Sam remembered the eviction notice on the door next door. "Where is she now?" Al consulted the handlink. "She is on her way back from a job interview. It was out of town, but she didn't get the job." Sam considered this. "So I'm here to help her get a job and a place to live?" Al took a puff on the cigar. "Not really, Sam. You see, three days from now, Kelsey and Laura, that's the little girl, are found murdered." Sam went to sit next to Al. "When does it happen?" "Ziggy doesn't have that information. She went out one day and never came back. On the 14th the bodies were found." Sam's face hardened. "Do we know who did it?" "No." The one word hung in the air. Al broke the silence first. "Sam, all we know is that sometime between tomorrow and the 14th, Kelsey and Laura are killed. Ziggy projects an 87.4% chance that if you save them, you'll leap." Sam was about to respond to Al when someone knocked on the door. A young girl called out, "Jess? Let me in.. Mark the Lark locked me out!" Sam got up and let the woman in. She was about 5'5", and was blonde with deep blue eyes. One hand held a suitcase, the other the hand of a small child, also blonde and blue eyed. "Oh Jess!" The woman wailed. "I'm being evicted." She took the child and went to sit her on the couch. The little girl let out a scream and tried to run away. "Laura? What's wrong with you? This is Auntie Jessie's house. Remember?" Sam went to intervene. Knowing full well that the little girl could see Al, and therefore Him as well. "Maybe you should just let her watch TV," he suggested. He went to turn on the set to Scooby Doo. "Cooby!" the little girl crowed, and went to sit in the rocking chair, keeping one eye on Al. Kelly was just watching all this commotion quietly, and Sam when to pick her up and put her to bed out of the reach of the active toddler. "I'll be right back, Kelsey. Help yourself to a soda." Kelsey murmered something, then went to the kitchen. Sam went to the bedroom and Al followed. "She can see us, Al!" Sam said when they were out of earshot. "I noticed." Sam glared at him as he placed the baby down. "How do I explain this to a toddler?" "Simple. Don't." "Don't? Al, I'm supposed to be female! You don't think she noticed that I'm not?" Al shrugged. "Just go along with what she says. No one believes toddlers anyways." He took out a fresh cigar having finished up the the other one. "Remember, I've had four of them." Sam tossed him an 'You've got to be kidding me' look. "Well, try it and see." He lit the cigar. Sam checked once more on the baby then went to see Kelsey. Al followed, ready to see what more excitement could possibly happen.