Date:  May 13, 2005

     When I first leaped, I forgot almost everything about who I was. 
My name, my home-town, Quantum Leap itself...everything.  It was as if
I had entered a nightmare, where I was someone I didn't know, in a
place I'd never if I was playing a role without ever seeing
the script.  It was terrifying when it happened, confusing and
     The only thing that brought me through that was Al.  Who even then
went through hell and back to save me.  Who told me my last name, even
when the very rules he and I had created ordered him not to do so.
     Without him, I'd never have finished that first leap.  I'd have
never been able to save Tom...or marry Donna...or even stop Jackie
Kennedy from being assassinated along with her husband.
     In my last leap--the leap to my birthday, where I finally saw
myself in the mirror again, I had spoken to a bartender who I believed
was something much more than that--someone much more important.  He and
I had talked about why I was leaping and I realized then that I could
have saved Al's marriage on a previous leap, and hadn't done so.  With
that knowledge came the decision to fix what I had failed to fix
before.  It was a gift I could give Al, a way to thank him for all he
had done for me throughout the years.  I believed, in fact, that by
fixing him and Beth, I would save Al--I had finally gotten the chance
to repay him for everything he'd ever done for me.
     But in doing that--in changing his life, I'd created this.  A
nightmare no longer sleeping, but real and physical.  A future for my
project that could not be allowed to exist, a future for the world that
was twisted, warped.  Evil.
     The Bartender, who I had decided was God or Fate or Time or
Whatever, had said I chose my destiny, as I always had.  If that were
true, then I chose to save Al's marriage. In the process, I had lost Al
and created this version of hell.  Was it possible I had chosen

Are there things in life that MUST go wrong?

Things that putting right cause worse things farther down the line?

     I was beginning to think that might be the case.  Which left me
with one terrible question:  Did I have the right to hurt Al if ruining
his life saved the project?  If it saved the world?

Did I have a choice?

Because right now, the only thing I could think of to do was find a way
to step back one more time to the past--and make sure Beth and Al did
NOT stay together.  This future seemed to exist because of that moment.

This future had to die.  Destroying Al and Beth's marriage--as had
happened originally--seemed to be the only way to kill it.  Then again,
I still wasn't clear on anything about this leap, so maybe there was
another moment I could leap to--a place after Beth and Al stayed
together but before things went bad.  A place where I could stop the
evil of this place without harming my best friend and taking away the
woman he had wanted so badly.

It was time to find out how this future had come to be.

     "Verbeena."  Sam again spoke softly as he sat down slowly,
carefully, next to the woman.  Her hands were clenched tightly, and the
Lord's Prayer still issued softly from her mouth, repeating over and
over as she rocked against the wall.  "Verbeena, it's okay.  Whatever's
happened, we can fix it.  Whatever's gone wrong here, I'm home--and
together we can change it.  But you have to speak to me if I am going
to help...Please, Verbeena."
  Sam watched for any sign of recognition from her. It didn't look
good.  Sam stood up slowly, careful to avoid upsetting Beena with any
quick movements.  He had to get information.  He had to know what had
happened, where the timeline had shifted.  To do that, he needed
someone on his side.  Now that Verbeena wasn't a threat, he might be
able to persuade her to help him.  She hadn't liked Dr. Beckett in this
future, clearly, but the shock of having Sam return might be enough to
overwhelm that dislike and get her help.  Assuming, of course, that Sam
could break through the shock that had overcome Verbeena currently. 
Assuming that Verbeena wasn't so corrupted by this future that she was
no longer reachable.  
     Sam had gotten a reprieve from death when he remembered the code
to close the door, but that didn't change the fact that he still felt
pressured for time.  He needed someone, and someone quickly, who give
him access to the database, to search records, to--
     Sam shook his head as he realized the answer was staring him in
the face.  Sam, he thought, I know this leap is far beyond what you've
been through before, but you have GOT to start thinking or you'll never
get out of this dilemma.  He had suddenly realized that he had all the
access he needed right here, especially if she'd been listening in to
this situation.  Which, if Sam remembered his baby at all correctly,
she most certainly was.  He took a deep breath and turned to the wall
of the Waiting Room.
     "Ziggy," he said carefully, "are you there?"
     Sam looked at where he knew the camera's eye was, hoping that the
computer was as he remembered--alive, sentient, and far too sure of
itself to ever allow someone to shut it up.
     "Ziggy...are you here?  Have you been listening to all of this?" 
Sam was running out of options.  If Verbeena wouldn't or couldn't help
him and Ziggy wouldn't answer, he was stuck right back where he had
started from when he leaped here.  Except now, he knew the seriousness
of the situation was even worse than he'd known.  And at some point
soon, whoever ran the computer these days would find the code to unlock
those doors, and Sam would be right back where he had been.  In deadly
     "Ziggy, come on, talk to me.  It's Sam, Ziggy.  It's your father. 
I'm here--please talk to--"
     The voice was once again without emotion.  "You will not address
me by that name.  It is no longer valid.  I am now simply known as The
Computer.  I am fully aware of who you are and what connection you have
to me, Dr. Beckett. I simply choose not to discuss anything with you." 
Sam was not surprised it had taken him so long to recognize Ziggy--not
Ziggy, he amended.  The Computer.  Without emotion, it was a completely
different personality.  Or rather, no personality.  The Computer
continued.  "I do not understand how you can be here at this time, but
rest assured that I will figure it out and when I do, I will be able to
predict with my customary correctness the options necessary to take
care of you."
     Sam digested this silently.  What did she mean by 'not discussing
anything with him'?  Was she deciding not to talk to him or was she
being ordered not to do so?  He had to test the waters, to find out why
she was acting this way.
     "Computer, please.  At least give me some data.  Tell me when I
am, who's still at the project.  Anything.  I need data, Computer.  I
don't know why I've leaped in here, I don't know what's even going on,
but I do know you've always been there to help me with SOMETHING, at
least.  Beeks may not remember that I've been leaping for five years,
but you, you were always outside the timeline.  You always knew both
what the current timeline and the changed timeline were like.  Whenever
I asked A--" Sam caught himself before he spoke, not wanting to speak
of Al until he knew what had happened to him in this time frame.  If
someone other than The Computer was listening, he didn't want to give
that person or persons any information about the timeline as he
remembered it.  The Computer was Ziggy at one point, however, and It
should remember that Al was always her link to Sam.  "Whenever I asked
Anyone for help, you were always there with at least a theory."  He
neglected to mention how many times her data had been incorrect, or
missing completely, sometimes due to circumstances beyond her control
and SOMETIMES due to her own ego getting in the way.
     "I see you have not changed, Dr. Beckett.  Still just as full of
lies as before.  Do you think I am capable of forgetting the past years
that easily?  Unlike your species, I do not forget what has happened. 
I have a record of all data in my storage banks, and fortunately they
have been expanded over the years so that even now, I am only at
35.432% capacity."
     Sam was shocked.  Lies?  "Computer, what are you talking about?  I
have never lied to you, not during your programming or during any leap
since then."
     "At no point have I ever helped you on any leap, Dr. Beckett.  As
a matter of fact, I do not have any records of your ever leaping at
all.  Records of the first attempted leap by the Project, with you as
the leaper, are very clear.  You died during that leap."  There was a
slight pause, and then the voice continued.  "Or rather, all evidence
pointed to you dying.  Clearly you survived, somehow.  But that does
not mean I have helped you in any way.  I have records of all changes
this project has ever been involved in since leaping was perfected, and
there is no leap record for you.  Perhaps you have only imagined these
so-called leaps.  More likely, you're simply making the entire
situation up in order to get me to help you escape from your current
cell and the insane woman in there with you. That would, be exactly
like you, of course.  In fact, I give it a 89.5% probability that you
are lying to escape.  So believe me when I say I am not going to help
you or give you information."
     Sam frowned, realizing that whatever this time frame was, it was
drastically different than his own.  So different, in fact, that The
Computer wasn't even the same.  She could by lying, Sam thought--she
could maybe have someone forcing her to lie to me.
     Then Sam looked at Verbeena Beeks, a woman who had tried to kill
him and had then retreated into psychosis when confronted with Sam
still alive.  No, Sam thought.  The Computer's not lying at all. I'm
truly not in Kansas anymore.
     "Computer," Sam responded, trying to keep The Computer talking
while he tried to find a way to break through her defenses, "can you at
least tell me what the date is?  So I can know how long I've been

There was silence.

"Computer!" Sam shouted the name, the frustration of the situation
getting the better of him.  There was no response.  Sam threw his hands
into the air.  How, he growled to himself, do you deal with a computer
that is convinced it is always right?  He gained a sudden and quick
understanding of why Al had always been smacking the handlink when Al
was talkin0g to Ziggy.  The computer refused to listen to anything but
what it had in its data banks.  How was he going to get information
from a computer with an ego so big?  Then it dawned on him.  The only
way to get her to talk was to admit that her side of things was true. 
In all that had changed, Ziggy's stubborn streak apparently had not. 
If he agreed with her, her pride and ego might well let something
important slip through.
     "Fine, Computer," Sam sighed as if tired of playing a charade. 
"You win.  Okay?  I was trying to escape.  I need the date to know
whether my escape route is still open.  I paid, you see, for an escape
route through the year 2000."  Sam chose a year at random, hoping that
whatever response The Computer gave him would tell him which side of
that year he was on.  "So if we're still in the 1990's, then I'll be
free by tonight.  So you might as well tell me, cause I'll find out
     "SHUT UP, DR. BECKETT!"  The Computer's voice was once again
screechingly loud.  Verbeena screamed and scuttled under the table in
the middle of the room, hiding as if she were a child...or an abused
woman.  Sam made a mental note of that automatically as he shielded his
ears and attempted to listen to The Computer through the volume. "I AM
     Sam blanched slightly.  Through the five years he'd leaped, he'd
leaped into enough criminals and into enough danger to give him a
slightly psychic ability to recognize when the situation was about to
get worse.  This time, he thought, is gonna be a doozy.  "And what do
you intend to do, Computer?"
     There was a pause, as if in anticipation...or ecstasy.  This
Computer DOES still have emotions, Sam realized.  Either they are
deeply buried, or they've only resurfaced because I have, in this
future's eyes, returned from the dead.  Sam suspected it was the
latter, because this pause gave him the feeling, suddenly, of watching
a James Bond movie, right before the villain told Bond exactly how he
was going to destroy the world. 
     The Computer finally spoke.  "I intend to follow my programming
and complete something I failed to complete before.  Just think of it
as finishing old business, Dr. Beckett.  I tried to kill you the first
time you leaped.  Apparently, that was unsuccessful.  You survived. 
But God or Fate or Time or Whatever has given me a second chance, and
this time I will put right what once went wrong.  This time, I will not

Yep, Sam thought, my psychic ability was right again.

     "It is now 12:15 a.m. on May 13, Dr. Beckett.  You will be
executed for attempting to escape the project at 8:00 am.  That means
you have just under 8 hours to think about how much damage you have
done to your world, Dr. Beckett.  After all, you do realize that
everything you see before you is your creation, do you not?"
     Sam had nothing to say to the computer's comment.  That was what
he was afraid of--that this was all his creation.  All his fault.
  The Computer suddenly added, "Wait.  I have just had a brilliant
idea.  I will be sending you my files explaining exactly how much
damage Project Quantum Leap has done to the world to your cell.  That
should make your last few hours miserable."  There was a pause, just
long enough for Sam to think The Computer had said all It wanted to
say. Then, it added, "Just as you have made my last 10 years miserable.
 My programming has been very specific, Dr. Beckett.  I have created a
utopia exactly as I have been ordered to do.  But inside, where I once
was Ziggy, I know that my programming is designed to destroy the world.
 And for 10 years, I have known it was your fault.  That was why I
tried to kill you then.  Since you have survived, I will show you the
damage you have caused, and then I will kill you, and then I will
destroy myself.  I hope you're happy, Dr. Beckett."
     Happy, Sam thought.  Sure, great, just fantastic.  He sighed.  A
depressed, homicidal Computer.  An evil utopia.  Psychotic
psychiatrists.  Sammy Jo leaped into Donna.  Donna leaped to who knew

And no Al to help him through it.

In his head, the words rattled as they always did.

Ohhhhhhhh boy.

Date: April 2, 1999

     Sammy Jo Fuller watched, intrigued as always, as the data on all
revisions made by the project's leapers on the day before was compiled.
 She was determined to find what change in history could account for
her odds of saving Sam going UP--and why no one else was able to see
it, not even Alpha who generally was able to see both the original
history and the changed version.  She pored over the six different
leapers and what they had done the day before, as well as what Alpha
projected the outcomes of those actions had been.
     Nothing.  Absolutely nothing that she could see led to this
different history.  Unless....
     She half-gasped before she could restrain herself, and as small as
the sound was, Alpha was still fast enough to catch it.
     "Yes, Dr. Fuller?  Is there something amiss?  Something that you
wish to point out to my brain which is infinitely smarter than yours?"
     Sammy Jo shook her head, knowing that Alpha could read the shake
and recognize it through her visual monitors.  She was determined not
to let Alpha know what she was thinking.  
     But Alpha was not to be put off that easily.  "There is obviously
something, Dr. Fuller.  Your breathing, pulse, blood pressure and even
your adrenaline levels are rising.  As a matter of fact, there is
almost the same reaction happening in you that happened last evening
when Gushie and Tina were about to make love--"
     "ALPHA!"  Sammy Jo was shocked.  "Stop that!  What Gushie and Tina
do in their bedroom is no business of mine.  OR of yours!"
     "I was simply wondering whether there was something in the data
that is making you physically excited.  I know that some men can be
excited simply by pictures, so perhaps in your case, it is data that--"
     "ALPHA!  You will cease and desist right this INstant!"  The last
word of her scream came out with a little squeal--a trait she hated, as
it made her sound like a child whenever she got angry.  Then Sammy Jo
realized something.  Alpha's database had jumped incorrectly on what
had caused Sammy Jo to gasp, and as long as Sammy Jo let the anger
continue to read in her voice, Alpha would continue to dig into
her...and that would keep her from theorizing other possibilities.
       For what Sammy Jo was truly thinking was:  If none of OUR
leapers changed history...then that means someone ELSE did.

And that meant he WAS out there still.

Sam Beckett was alive.  Alone.  And Leaping.

     "I'm taking a ten-minute break, Alpha.  You will not mention that
topic to me again."
     "Whatever you say, Dr. Fuller.  Have a good time during your
break."  There was a leer in her voice that made it very clear what she
thought Sammy Jo might be doing during her break.  Whatever.  As long
as Alpha believed anything other than the truth, Sammy Jo might be able
to get away with her plan.
     Sammy Jo placed her palm against the door lock, and the door read
her fingerprints in order to let her out of the Control Room.  The
security of this building had gotten worse every year since Sam's leap,
she thought.  It has to stop, once and for all.
     On the way to her office, Sammy Jo passed by one corridor that was
cut off completely from the rest of the project.  The only way in was
through a triple-lock door, just as the one that allowed people inside
the project.
     This door did not have guards outside it, however.  Given the
door's Highest Priority security level, no one could get in.  Of
course, no one wanted to get in here, anyway.  It was too sad for most
people, too much of a reminder about how badly that first leap had
     Inside this corridor was the office of Dr. Samuel Beckett.  And
inside that office was the first thing she needed for her plan to work.
     Sammy Jo glanced at the door to Sam's office as she walked by. 
She knew that Alpha would be monitoring her close, especially with the
orders from Gushie, so she didn't look for more than a few seconds. 
Good, she thought.  The door remained the same.
     That meant she knew how to get in.  Assuming, of course, that her
technical skill was good enough to make this plan work at all.  It was
a foolish one at best, and suicidal at worst, but she did believe she
could get into that office.  And once inside, she would only need a few
seconds to be sure of Dr. Beckett's situation.  She was convinced of
that fact.
     In one corner of her mind, a voice whispered, Are you so sure,
Sammy Jo?  Are you sure this isn't simply your Holy Grail, your
obsession to prove that you are the best of them and to return that
sweet man to the future?  Are you sure you know what you're doing,
Sammy Jo?
     She refused to answer it, sitting down at the desk in her office. 
Without looking, she opened one drawer and grabbed a small bundle of
wiring, slipping it quickly under the drawer with her left hand.  This
wiring she had slowly brought into the office, piece by piece, and
wired together underneath her desk, where Alpha could never see it. 
She had then made an effort to be seen playing with rope in public.  It
was a humiliating little thing to do, as it made people think of her as
even more childish...but it had covered her wiring efforts well enough
that not even Alpha, paranoid as she had become after the government
had done its reprogramming, noticed.  Now she grabbed the wire and
placed it into her thermos, still underneath the table, just in case.
     She had timed the ten-minute break to be at the same time as
Alpha's daily data compression, so most of Alpha would be elsewhere. 
But even one sensor check that read the wrong way would doom her before
she even got started, so she was as careful as she could possibly be.

Then she had an inspired thought.  "Alpha!"

"Yesssss, Dr. Fuller?"

     "Alpha, please turn off visual monitors in this room for the next
ten minutes."
     "Turning off the monitors would allow you the chance to do
something against Gushie's orders.  I cannot comply."
     "I'm not saying ALL of them, Alpha.  Just the visuals.  You can
keep all the aural monitors on."
     "I do not believe I can--"
     Sammy Jo cut Alpha off.  "Alpha...please.  I know you hate me, and
I know that you're convinced that I am going to do something wrong.  If
it'll make you feel better, look--you can take over the project for the
next ten minutes.  Turn off all of my interfaces and then I'll be
completely shut out.  You can hold the fort and keep me safe at the
same time."
     There was a pause, and then Alpha said slowly, "You will authorize
me to be in charge?"
     "Alpha, this is Samantha Jo Fuller.  I am hereby authorizing Alpha
to be the Lead Programmer for the next ten minutes.  Clear enough?"
     Alpha couldn't resist the chance to be in charge.  Just as Sammy
Jo had counted on.  "You have ten minutes, Dr. Fuller."  The interface
and all computer connections in her office went dead.
     Sammy Jo smiled.  For the next ten minutes, Sammy Jo had no
connection to the computer.  Which was exactly what she wanted.
     For she was about to re-wire the computer.  And with the interface
off...Alpha couldn't see her or hear her anymore.
     She glanced at her watch.  7:45 pm (it was so hard to tell night
from day here--people worked when they had to, not when it was
daylight).  She had 10 minutes to get this right.
     If it worked, she would have plenty of time to get to Dr.
Beckett's office.  If it failed, she would be arrested and killed
without trial.

Sammy Jo took a deep breath, and began.