Part 1-All the Rage Things were all kaka, but Admiral Al Calavicci didn't need to tell anyone that. The wreck that had been the waiting room minutes ago was best evidence of that. The fact that the howling, incoherent, strung out on PCP? psychotic thing wore Sam's face made it no easier to deal with-or stop. It was a sword that cut both ways-Sam leaping into a paraplegic didn't cost him his legs, and a psycho leaping into Sam did not become a rational, loving genius. Like a pencil in the water, time bent the leapee's image to look like Sam's, but the same person remained underneath-if this was a person. Surveying the damage, Al thought Sam must have leaped into an asylum for the criminally insane, maybe Arkham itself. It had all started out so well. The guy, who refused to give his name-understandably, Al thought-just wanted to know where he was. Al tried to sympathize, was very often surprised by how much info people would give up so quick in an unknown circumstance. "In the tiger cages, you gave the Cong the site of you-alive-to tick them off one more Day", Al said to no one in particular. A preternaturally smug voice said "Admiral, our friend smashed up some of my eyes and ears, and a full report would be appreciated-Now!" For the first time in his life genuely needing a nicotine rush, Al inhaled hard on his Guantanomo cigar. "Give it about 5 minutes, Ziggy." The computer Ziggy, the closest thing to organic life in silicon, did not care for this; "Admiral, my capablities aside, my duties are many. Locating Dr. Beckett WITHOUT this individual's help, for example. 5 minutes stretches the edge of acceptablity". Al brought his frustration up to its full height and shouted "THEN DON'T GIVE IT FIVE MINUTES, ZIGGY! SEE IF I CARE!" Al caught himself, offered a half-apology, while Ziggy spoke of understanding human foibles. Unlike some rage in his life, Al understood where this all came from. The now-unconscious psycho had brought up a wellspring of rage in all of them, just by being there. Donna couldn't take being apart from Sam, and was shut up in her office. Gooshie suddenly felt like he was in High School again, not his best time. Al felt bamboo in his feet for the first time in years, and he couldn't shake it. Worst of all, Sam, his friend, who wouldn't-what wasn't it Sam wouldn't do for him? Beth or the girls always had a good insight into these things. He would talk to them when he got home-next week, at this rate. Viewing the Sam-Psycho as he was placed under multiple sedatives, Al said "Oh, well, honey. You waited for me for years on a stranger's say-so. You'll wait till Mad Jack here is safely gone." Feeling the need to both focus and vent, Al turned to the massive mainframe and said "Ziggy, about that report..." August 15, 1991-The hell had passed, and I was-me-again. Which raises the hard question: Who was I when I wasn't me? My wardrobe seems worse for wear, like I'd gained and lost 400 lbs. in 3 hours. I was incredibly disoriented, I felt a rage-like Oswald's-cleaner, but still a heart-rending rage. I was exhausted, shaken, half-naked, and previous leaps had taught me, that when, in this condition, you can count on one thing-" Hey, you! Freeze!"-the local constabulary. Being dissheveled doesn't merely attract their attention-it pulls them in from miles around. Not that they're not doing their job, but sometimes I feel like a cartoon character, capable of being robbed but incapable of jaywalking without martial law being declared. Still, some cops, like this one, were much better than others, particularly if this wasn't the chain-gang era. "Boy, he tagged you good, didn't he?" A professional. All concern, not a former high school bully or nerd, each with issues to work out by way of nightstick.I know there are very few of those headcases on any given PD, but they always seemed to find me. This guy, though, wanted to help, and I could use help, preferably from someone no one else can see. Right now, I'll be grateful if the officer has a cup of coffee he can spare. "Near tore you to pieces, he did!" I spotted chaos and destruction in the market square beyond the alleyway I awoke in, and thought aloud "That Giant". The officer, whose name I learned was Stan Kirby, merely nodded his head in agreement. "Straight outta the tabloids! Tearin through like he was Solomon Grundy hisself" I didn't ask the gentleman whether he meant the nursery rhyme or comic book Grundy. He was good for my coffee, a sandwich, a shirt and a pair of cheap shoes, in exchange for my promise not to loiter. I fixed his TV, which he felt squared things, but I don't overlook rare generosity, so I got out of town as asked. Instinctively, I knew where I was. A good 100-150 miles away, but in that flat landscape, I knew those mountains too well. 8 years from a mixed bag first test, and hard to get to in the August Arizona heat. But Quantum Leap was within viewing range, and that, I sensed was where this person was going, to see me in 1991, seeking-a cure? The name on these scraps of paper in the pockets-David Beckett. At least my mystery man had a sense of humor. That was good, because blackouts followed by tabloid giants and utter devastation left me without a sense of humor. I do remember being angry before the blackout-I just don't remember getting angry. I wanted to look in a mirror while in town, but instinct told me that when that giant appears, I must go. Otherwise Mcgee would-Mcgee? Jack Mcgee? The idiot whose "Government Waste" articles nearly shut down the project, stranding me in time? If this person didn't like Jack Mcgee, then I already liked him better. When Mcgee knocked over those chemicals, starting a fire that nearly fried the Ziggy prototype, It was all Al and I could do to keep from strangling him. It was back-in August 1991, about the 25th. Could I be here to draw him away from the project, stopping his interruptions? Or is it to stop this giant from the supermarket checkout line? One way or another, I'd give McGee a piece of my mind. But there's another acerbic individual I'd like to hear from. (Looking around, seeing no one is around for miles, knowing it is pointless, and not caring, he screams) AAAAAAAALLLLL! "What was I saying, Zig", Al motioned dejectedly. "Summation: You brought the subject in and sat him down, and Lieutanant Tad Ross urged him to remain where he was. Subject complied at first, then attempted escape, which Lieutanant Ross thwarted. Together with Lieutanant Talbot, they restrained him-quite roughly. The subject did not respond well to this." Al was not happy. "My fault, Ziggy.After that serial killer escaped some weeks back, I told them to err on the side of safety-blasted LAPD cutbacks! I knew they weren't ready!" Ziggy countered " You're concerns are multitasked, Admiral. Our safety, the public's safety, and certainly Doctor Beckett's possible conveyance of return, God willing". Al raised an eyebrow "Since when do you believe in the Almighty?" "Why, Admiral, I am nothing more than a large metal watch created by a small fleshy watch. At least one more level of watchmaker is not contraindicated. Perhaps, somewhere in time and cyberverse, I will meet God and invite him in." "Ziggy, you may be in for one hell of a dissapointment!" "It's all in the striving, Admiral, like our destructive friend." Al looked once again at the thing with Sam's face, turned down and shook his head. "You're still telling me that somehow his struggle with our baton-twirling guards gave him 50% more mass, all around, and now that mass is gone? Where? Compacted? Extradimensional?" One by one, Ziggy's sensors came back online, the voice becoming stronger as they did; " I can't say anything for certain, Admiral, except this: As for our leapee, so for our leaper. Much more exchange than usual occurred this time, perhaps rivalling your own leap and that of the pernicious Lee Harvey Oswald." Al's eyes looked fit to bug out. In the end, he, too, was a scientist. Not an egghead, like the others, but he knew what things meant, without having to be told twice. Still, he wanted this truth to be bingo-bango-bongo dead wrong. He asked "You're saying that, except for the imagery correction, Sam turned into a howling maniac, whereever he is, with mega-strength?" "And a greenish tint" Ziggy added, quite nonchalantly, indicating gamma radiation redshifted by some as-yet unknown X...". Ziggy was now lost in thought, and direct communication would be impossible til this was done. Al was far from done, though, and even though he would be gentler than the guards, this guy had info Sam desperately needed. Anything for Sam-no questions asked. Al could never forget that, when Al and Beth needed help, and Sam's widowed colleague needed help, Sam had chosen Al. His wife had waited for him-hadn't she?-of course she had, nozzle-remember, the four beautiful bratqueens at home, all with octopus boyfriends. His wife had waited for him, but captivity had broken Al. Al Calavicci needed help climbing out of the pit, and so did Sam's friend. Given the chance, Sam would've helped them both, but the choice was made when the friend pulled away from the world. Sam didn't like failure, so Al didn't bring it up-never even knew the guy's name. His name was David Bruce Banner, and he was slowly stirring in the rarely-used holding chamber. If you asked David Banner what was going on, you couldn't hope to get an answer, for he didn't know himself. He could tell you, though, that leaving a modem-linked terminal near someone who shook off sedatives like they were a cocktail soda was a bad idea. A side effect of his curse, one of its only benefits, considering just how many people had ready syringes in this world. Quickly typing in Phenom*AT_AT, he contacted one of the only friends he had on Earth. "Q:W,W,WWWW+H" David responded by typing "A:GreenKnight". The response was exuberant. "Oh, my first love, I feared you lost!" David shot back "Am lost-space lost, time lost Location and date for reference" The response was excruciatingly slow. "You're at a MAJOR black ops I do outsource work for, in Arizona. Know friends there. Ask for Gooshie. Dragon, I call him. August 15, 16 months before my killer Millenium Party! Oh, Sir David! Do come! I want my little princess to meet the gracious Green Knight! " It struck David, hard. 16 months before the Millenium, and the awkward, sweet girl he had known was now a proud mother. The child he had rescued from a black ops was now doing work for them, feeling enough in control to do so. She still loved medieval themes, though. "Get away from the terminal, pally! I won't hurt you, but this place is definitely incommunicado." The man in the Admiral's uniform motioned for another man, a short fellow with abominable breath, to check out the terminal. Bad breath? No, worse-dragon brea- "Phenom can vouch for me! She calls Gooshie here, Dragon!" Gooshie looked at the terminal. "So You're her Green Knight, eh!", Gooshie said, right in David's face, with breath that made him wonder if even the Hulk could take it. An exquisite woman stood in the doorway, saying, "Back at school, you and the Turtles were all she talked about-The Noble, darkling Green Knight. Al, if this is him, we have nothing to fear. Phenom doesn't trust people easily, after what those intelligence sickos did to her." Al was still unconvinced, but Dr. Sammy Jo Fuller was as good a judge of character as her father- Dr.Sam Beckett. A pity neither of them knew about it. A woman who did know entered the room with an insistent little girl in tow. "Auntie Donna, is that Jessica's Green Knight?" Dr. Donna Beckett responded, "Jess is Phenom's little girl, and they've both heard so much about you, you'd think you were Captain Galaxy!" The unafraid child ran up and hugged David. He felt connected to this beautiful creature, and for good reason. This was Abigail Fuller the 2nd, grandchild of Sam Beckett, and therefore a part of him as well. The girl then ran back to Sammy Jo, her mother, saying, "Wait'll I tell Jessy!" David then realized he had seen someone there before, but couldn't quite place it. Al had hung back as long as he could stand." Look, Sir Smashalot, all this is well and good, but what you did out there-" David started "Donna Beckett" Al overrode him "Yeah, that's her name, but don't think knowing its going to-Say, how Do you Know It?" David took a chance "Look, is this place a time-transference facility? Whose the scientist in charge of all this?" Finally, Donna spoke. "That would be my husband, Dr. Sam Beckett" Al looked at her quizically, but she motioned that they were in too deep, anyway. She held up a mirror "Right now, you're wearing his form" ( A form, you angry bastard, you nearly used to wreck everything he built, she thought, but did not say). David was incredulous, but not upset. "Where is Sam?" Al felt in control of events for the first time, and so played it thusly. "Wherever you were, no-name, that's where he is now" Now David was upset; "Don't play games! I was on my way to this project, anyway, to see..." Donna interrrupted, her eyes wide with realization "To see if Sam could help you with your condition!". David with Sam's face smiled, "Sam had always said he'd build his time machine in the Arizona desert, even back when I was a green student teacher, it was all he could talk of." Al realized this fellow was for real, finally, and in a mess of pain. He moved to ask him questions. "Look, my first concern was for the project-Sam's project. If I came on rough, it was for Sam, nothing else. But what is your name?!" David pulled back." Sam and Donna know me, tried to help me. Maybe if I had accepted their help, I wouldn't be what I am. The past is....well, I'm not sure what the past is, anymore. But past, present, or future, my name is... I could be here for an older couple to see their estranged children again. I could be here for a man who decided not to blow up Hoover Dam along with his militia pals. I could even be here to check up on Frank and Jimmy, for all I know. But until Al shows up, the project site is as good a destination as any. It means traveling at night only, but I don't mind. Maybe it'll take me 8 years to get there, and I can fix the retrieval program surreptitiously-naaahh. Most days, I find a group of thick rocks, make sure I'm not on sacred ground, and bring enough water to survive the incredible heat of the pre-ozone rebuild years, at least in Arizona's test zone. The problem is, this is not most days. I'm so close to the project, I know I'll find something that-"Saaaaamm". "Al?" Not an illusion-illusions have no presence." AL, It's about time" "I'm sorry Sam, but this is big!" "Who in blazes did I switch with? Does he know he suffers from a metabolic mutation?" Al took another look at his handlink;"Sam, the guy says his name is Doctor David Bruce Banner, an half the project vouches for him!" Sam shook his head, "No, Al, he's not. David Banner is dead in 1991-Yeah, I know the date-I attended his funeral in 78'-his and Elena Marks. The tabloids said-Oh, God! Al, he is that creature, and now, SO AM I! We linked,WE LINKED! DAVID, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO US? WAS A CAR DOOR WORTH THIS!?" Al saw his friend's eyes dilate, and grew frightened. Al spat out "He was disbarred! SAM! He was disbarred! The nozzle attorney who defended that pimple rapist! The one who ripped you in court! When you beat that worm up, his lawyer's tricks didn't work anymore! The punk had a breakdown on the stand, got sent away, and rich daddy had his lawyer pal disbarred! Eventually, even the jerk's fiancee apologized to that poor kid! YOU WON, SAM!" Al almost fell down from speaking so fast. Sam, now much calmer, looked up. "You're really not supposed to tell me that, you know. Our rules. " "To hell with the rules, Sam, I needed to calm you down." "You knew I was concerned that stinking thug would get off again, using the same tactics, claiming he was only visiting to show 'No hard feelings', smirking all the while". "Well, he didn't, and you know, and the time-space continium stands-for now. A solid win, Sam-we don't get many." Sam looked up at the noontime sky, oblivious to the heat. "David Banner wanted strength, and I wanted time. Now we're both drowning in them. Al, I can feel the damned thing inside me, like a cancer. It wants out, and I think its gonna win" Al cleared his throat. "It's gonna do more than that Sam. I don't know why this leap occurred, because Ziggy has about 19 real-possiblity scenarios, each above 93%, that David Banner's creature is going to destroy the project!"