The feel of hands turning him over on his back and the concern in a male voice saying, "Perry..are you okay? What happened?" let Sam know that he was in control again. Opening his eyes he blinked, focusing on the roundish face of the man kneeling beside him. "What happened? Where am I?" Sam asked haltingly as he slowly sat up. "Who are you?" The expression of the young man with carefully combed red hair and wearing horn- rimmed glasses was concerned. "It's me, Mr. Pernier.. your French teacher. You're in school, Perry." He studied the dazed, confused boy watching him. "I heard something in the hall, and when I checked, you were passed out on the floor." Sam started to get up, but the man prevented him. "Just sit still for a few minutes. Catch your breath," Edward Pernier said, then repeated his earlier question. "What happened?" "Guess I must've...fainted," Sam offered the first and only plausible reason that came to mind. Both looked up when the classroom door nearest them opened. Caroline MacGruder, a woman of about fifty wearing a plain navy suit and flower print blouse, her gray-streaked dark hair done up in a tight French knot stepped into the hall, pulling the door to the stenography class closed. "What's going on?" she asked, her eyes darting to the French teacher still kneeling beside Sam. "It appears Mr. Kirkwood fainted," he said. "Can you get up?" she asked. "I think so," Sam said, and got up carefully. He took the books and notebook the French teacher handed him. "Thanks. I'd better get to class," he said, starting to move away, but was prevented by both teachers. "You need to see the nurse," Mrs. MacGruder stated firmly. "I agree," Edward Pernier said. "Come on, Perry" he said, putting a hand on Sam's arm. "I'll walk with you to the first aid room." In spite of his protests that he was okay, Sam spent a half hour in the first aid room under the nurse's eagle eye, having his temperature taken and drinking some orange juice when he admitted he hadn't eaten breakfast. It gave him time to check his notebook and found that Perry had written his class schedule on the inside cover. When the nurse was satisfied that he wasn't going to pass out again, she insisted on walking him to his class. Handing him a note for the teacher, she said, "Make sure you have some lunch." Sam nodded and watched her walk away. He was about to open the door to the classroom when he heard the Imaging Chamber door open behind him. Moving quickly away from the door he turned to face the Observer. "What the hell is going on?" he demanded as loudly as he dared. He didn't wait for Al to respond. "The last thing I remember is brushing my teeth. Next thing I know, I open my eyes and find myself laying on the hall floor at school. What's going on, Al? Where have you been?" "I've been talking to the..lady in the Waiting Room," Al replied, taking a slow puff of his cigar. The puzzled look that replaced the irritated greeting told him he had Sam's attention. "I'm the one with a Swiss-cheesed brain, Al," Sam said, "and even I know there isn't a woman in the Waiting Room. A nineteen year old boy, yes; a woman, no." "I didn't say "woman"," Al said quietly. "I said "lady". There's a difference." He took another puff of the cigar, exhaling a stream of its uniquely scented smoke. He glanced down the hall just as the nurse's trim figure turned a corner and disappeared. "Why was the nurse here?" Sam's irritation had evaporated with Al's cryptic reply. Over the years of leaping Sam had learned to read his friend's expressions and moods with swift clarity. One of the things he'd learned about Al was that when he was deliberately vague or cagey, the situation usually held hidden danger. Looking closer he tried to read the hologram's face, but Al's expression was closed. The considering look in those dark eyes coupled with the fact that his friend hadn't made a single comment about the nurse's sleek, hourglass figure, only intensified his curiosity. What is it, Al?" Sam asked, his tone more reasonable. "Too involved to go into here," the Observer replied. "When do you have lunch?" Sam checked his notebook. "Perry has lunch from eleven forty-five to twelve thirty." He glanced at his watch, then the notebook again. "It's nine twenty. After this class, I've got calculus and economics." "I'll be back in a couple of hours," Al said, summoning the Imaging Chamber door. "And, Sam..." "Yeah?" "Pay attention in all your classes," Al said. "Don't let your mind wander. Keep focused." Sam watched the Observer step into the Imaging Chamber and disappear. Shaking off the uneasiness that the cryptic parting words gave him, he entered the classroom.