Prologue Foreword... When Sam made his Leap to put right what went wrong in his friend's life in "Mirror Image," it was a brilliant, heartwarming success, but no success comes without its price, and no change is without its effects. In Sam's next Leap, he will learn this lesson, and also that there is more to a Leap that meets the eye... Somewhere beyond time . . . Sam Beckett floated in a great expanse of blue light that was everywhere, around him, in him, throughout him. He had a sense of being everywhere and nowhere at once. Time had no meaning here. Whether it was standing still or rushing past him eons at a time, he could not tell, and there was no sense in trying. He felt both mournfully alone and joyously united with everything at the same time. Alone because even after all of his Leaping, he knew he had a home, and he knew he was tied to the place. When he was Here, whatever that was, it was more painfully obvious than anywhere, for every memory was an open file to him. That always changed, of course, once the Transit was completed. And yet he felt, in some ways, as if he were one with the universe in some sort of nirvana, because of the awesome all-encompassing nature of the light. He knew all of the good he had done and he was proud of it. And that half of him felt compelled to do more. Unfortunately, he was divided fifty-fifty on the matter. And the Voice chose this moment of awful turmoil to speak to him in a Voice that came from everywhere, nowhere, and even within him. The effect was soothing and at the same time quite disconcerting . . . Dr. Beckett. He felt so small compared to this great Voice, so weak and frail. His own voice (if he'd truly had one in this state) was timid and cautious, a mere whisper. "Yes?" You are Here. "Yes. But . . . I want to go home." It came out sounding like a homesick child's plea on his first day of school. The Voice was neither approving nor disapproving. You have work to do. Sam wondered how many times he'd had this conversation. "I have things to do at home, too." His voice was edgy, impatient. Despite the greatness of the Voice, he felt that he would not be punished for what he said. The Voice was too benevolent and forgiving for that. Not now, Dr. Beckett. You are not finished. "Not finished?! I made the Leap! I changed history for the better. Al's happy now. He has Beth back, a wife he truly loves, and four daughters, to top it off." His voice dropped to a quavering whisper. "I put right what once went wrong! Isn't that enough for you?!" Yes, you finished your last Leap. Your work is to be highly commended. However, you have more to put right. That Leap was only a beginning. Now Sam really was pleading. "But . . . can't I go home, someday? Ever? Please...I've done enough." Someday. Someday, the Voice promised. However, you must turn your thoughts to your next Leap. Listen closely; this is important. You must be strong, Samuel Beckett. You will need it. Sam felt an awful chill that had nothing to do with the temperature, a concept that was irrelevant in this mid-Leap limbo, anyway. That had had the sound of a warning. A warning of terrible danger. "Why? What's going to happen?" Never had he received an outright warning from the mysterious Voice that spoke to him during the Transit, and it chilled him thoroughly. The Voice did not laugh in any way he could discern, but Sam was sure he heard laughter anyway. Since when is a man to know about his own destiny ahead of time? asked the Voice. Time. Right. Whatever that's supposed to mean, Sam thought. The time traveler felt himself drawing close to his destination. The Transit was almost over and a new Leap was about to unfold. And as the blue light began to fade, an echo of that dire, haunting warning sounded again in Sam's mind, as if a final parting gift from the Voice, something to hold on to and utilize when the time came. You must be strong, Samuel Beckett. You will need it . . .