Al was standing next to the window in the cafeteria, keeping watch for 
the plane, he turned to Beth. "Dunno what's keeping Sam, I called him 
over an hour ago."
"Al, you're silly, you know it's not a what that's keeping Sam " Jack, 
Dirk and a few others had just left the cafeteria, Beth was just 
clearing their tables.

"Should've known that, neither made an appearance last night. It must've 
gone well for him, Bernie I mean. Like I told you, he wants her to work 
with him on the project."

"I'm sure Sammi will show her the ropes. It'll give Sammi more time too. 
She'll be able to spend more time with Leone, she misses her so 
desperately, Joel's okay, he has his university studies and new friends. 
He gets home when he can, in fact I think he's home this weekend." Beth 
sighed, "It's Jimmy I feel for, he spends most of his time with Sammi's 
mother, I think he's even going to school over there now."

"Sam can't remember Jimmy, he has a vague recollection of Joel though. 
Dunno how Sam thought about him being family, it must be one of his 
feelings I suppose."

The sound of a light aircraft engine drew Al's attention back to the 
window. He could see a little speck of black dust in the distance. 
"Pearson's arriving." He turned to Beth. "I hope the new waitress is up 
to scratch, I forgot, it was the agency that sent Rosie. I hope this 
one's different."

"Not everyone has evil intentions Al, most are decent." Beth joined her 
husband at the window.

Al looked from the now clearly visible plane, down and across the car 
park, beyond the hanger, to the stretch of level ground. An immense, 
thick wad of tumbleweed and rubble had snagged in the middle of the 
runway. "Gawd! There's gonna be a Goddamned catastrophe if I don't get 
out there. Look, look at the runway Beth."

"Oh my!" Beth gasped, she bought her hands up, covering her mouth. "Al, 
the plane's early."

Al raced out of the cafeteria and across to the hanger, waving his arms 
frantically. A few of the technicians and engineers had gathered for the 
landing, the hanger blocking their view of the hazard littering the 

Beth watched as the plane flew in closer, Al's arms flapped with gusto 
as he kept pointing to the runway and trying to hold his ribs at the 
same time. "The runway" There's debris on the runway!" He shouted. 
"There's an obstruction on the runway!" He finally made himself heard.

Two men ran to the end of the hanger and beckoned to the others, they 
ran as the plane descended ever closer, too close. The pilot must have 
seen the debris as he began to slowly level out of the descent, only 
feet from the ground. The engines roared as he pulled into a steep 

All Al could do was stand, watch and yell, "Easy there, ease off the 
throttle, now. No, you're too steep, push the column forward, you're 
gonna stall it, you're gonna stall." He yelled.

The engines spluttered and the little plane seemed to stop in mid-air, 
the nose dipped downward and started to tumble, silent as the engines 
stopped. Suddenly the engines stammered back into life, Al breathed a 
sigh of relief as the pilot took control again. The plane circled and 
approached the now clear runway.

"What's all the kaffufle?" Sam said as he entered the cafeteria, Bernie 
by his side.

Beth, startled out of her trance of the horror she had just witnessed, 
whirled around. "It nearly crashed Sam, the plane, there was something 
on the runway, the plane shot up into the air to avoid it and the 
engines stopped. I thought it was gonna crash."

Sam strode over to Beth and she buried her face into Sam's chest. Sam 
looked out of the window and saw figures running about dragging a 
gigantic pile of debris to the side of the hanger.

"It was horrible Sam." She looked up at Sam, wide eyed.

Bernie joined them and placed an arm around Beth's shoulders, "Oh Lordy, 
looks like it's under control now though."

"Come on, we should be out there." Sam held a woman in each arm as he 
led them through the cafeteria and outside.

Al heard their footsteps on the gravely ground as they approached, he 
turned around. "Boy that was damned close, too damned close."

Sam could still see the distress in Al's face, "What happened Al."

"The pilot must've seen that heap of tumbleweed just in time, he only 
just had enough time to climb out, too steep though and the engines 
stalled. Good job he wasn't flyin' a larger plane, he'd never have 
gotten the engines back."

The wheels skidded on the rough tarmac as the plane touched down and 
slowed to a stop near the end of the runway. The plane turned and taxied 
back towards the hanger. Jack and Dirk moved the stairway into position 
and the door opened. Sam, Al and the women waited at the bottom, a large 
woman in her middle sixties descended the stairway first.

"That'll be Ms. Chilton, our new waitress, Lordy she looks formidable 
Sam." Al squirmed.

"I think she looks sorta Motherly, Al." Sam chuckled at Al's expression. 

"Well I think she's gonna put both of you in your proper places.... 
boys." Bernie laughed.

"I do declare, that was some finale!" The woman pronounced with a 
southern accent. "If I'd known we were goin' on a roller coaster, I 
wouldn't have eaten my breakfast."

Al held out a hand as she reached the final step. "Are you feeling all 
right Ms. Chilton? Sorry about the landing, it's not usually that rough. 
Good to have you join the team."

"No worryin' bout me, Lordy found it really exhilaratin', wouldn't do it 
each and every day though." She was almost breathless with excitement.

Sam offered his hand, and she shook it gently, "This is Al, he runs 
things around here, his wife Beth and my lady," he gave Bernie a hug, 

"So you must be Doctor Beckett. My, my, you's younger and more handsome 
than I was expectin'." She looked around at them, "And you's all must 
call me Colleen."

Gregory Pearson was halfway down the steps before anyone noticed. Sam 
took two giant steps towards him, smiling. "Mr. Pearson. I hope you're 
okay after the little incident?" Sam remembered Pearson's handshake and 
declined to offer his hand.

Al offered his though and regretted it afterward. "Yeah, sorry about 
that, highly unusual. The name's Albert Calavicci, but friends call me 

Pearson looked over Beth and Bernie, "And who are these delightful young 
ladies?" his gaze looking slightly promiscuous.

"Well you'll know Colleen of course." Al placed a hand on each of the 
women's shoulders in turn. "This is my wife, Beth and Bernie Sam's 

"Bernie, I've heard so much about you. Pleased to meet you, all of you 
at last."

"Despite it only being September and the sun" Al looked up at the clear 
blue sky, "the air is a little chilly today, shall we go inside 
gentlemen, after you ladies." Al commented.

Al and Sam lingered behind as the others entered the complex. "See I 
told you I was a good judge of character." Sam grinned at Al.

"He seems too smarmy to me Sam. There's something not quite right, he 
looks sorta, erm..... can't put my finger on it right now"

"No, Colleen Al, the motherly type."

"Oh right, thought you meant Pearson, I don't like him Sam, not one 
little bit." They followed the others into the building and into the 

Colleen looked around, "So this is where I'll be workin'. Hm-m, very 
nice." She saw the counter and walked over to it, "And this'll be the 
kitchen, I'm supposin'."

Alfredo came through the door and introduced himself, they both 
disappeared into the kitchen, closely followed by Beth.

"Shall we go into my office?" Sam asked, "it's more comfortable in 

"I would like to get straight down to business. If that's all right with 
you Doctor?" Pearson insisted.

Al looked at Sam disgruntled. Sam didn't notice.

"Sure. What about you Al, are you ready?"

"Suppose so Sam." Apprehension audible in Al's voice.

"Come on Bernie, your first lesson. I think Sammi's down there already." 
Sam took Bernie's shoulder and they headed for the elevator.

They stopped outside the elevator doors. "First thing, you have to place 
your thumb on the touch-plate for Ziggy to scan your print." Al pointed 
to a metal disk at the side of the doors. "Then, when we're inside, 
Ziggy will do a full body scan. Just a precautionary measure, you 
understand. No-one's allowed down here without Ziggy's authority."

"You keep saying Ziggy, who's he?"

"She's the parallel hybrid computer. She's the focus of this project, 
without her, or Sam the project wouldn't exist." Al explained. "You 
first Bernie."

Bernie placed her thumb against the metal disk, there was a low hum for 
a second, then stopped. Gregory Pearson hesitantly placed his thumb 
against the disk, after the humming stopped the elevator doors opened 
and they stepped inside, the doors closing behind.

There was a short buzz and a voice called out, "Firearm detected, scan 

Bernie pressed herself against the wall of the elevator.

Sam called out, "Who Ziggy?"

"That's Ziggy?" Pearson remained unperturbed.

Ziggy answered, "Mr. Gregory Pearson is holding the concealed firearm."

"Hand it over pal." Al held out a hand to receive the weapon.

"Uh, sorry, force of habit, New York yer know." Pearson handed the 
revolver to Al.

An aperture opened near the corner of the elevator and Al placed the 
revolver inside, immediately the aperture clicked closed.

"You can have it back when you leave." Al notified Pearson.

"Some security," Pearson commented, "I'd like to know the name of the 
firm who installed this."

"No security firm could install this, this is all down to Ziggy." Al 
laughed gingerly.

"Some computer Eh." Pearson looked about him.

"No other like it in the world." Sam smiled, still not noticing Al's 
distaste for Pearson.

"Commencing scan." The buzz began again, " Three scan complete."

"Why three Ziggy?" Sam asked.

"Just checking Doctor." Answered Ziggy.

The floor descended and Al smirked as he saw the reaction on Pearson's 
face, "Gets the new ones every time."

Pearson looked at Al awkwardly. The elevator stopped and the doors 
opened. Sam held Bernie's hand, laughing he half dragged her into the 
corridors of the underground complex.

She looked about her in awe. "Sam it's so...."

"Big." Sam finished her sentence.

"No, erm, fascinating." Bernie continued.

Sam pulled at her hand and they, almost running, skipped down the rest 
of the tunnel..

"Aint love grand, they're like a couple of kids, aint they?." Al almost 
smiled as he watched the two lovebirds together.

Pearson didn't comment he just followed the direction Sam was heading. 
Sam and Bernie were waiting at the entrance to the Control Room, the 
others turned the corner and caught up.

"Ziggy will do another comparison scan here, then the doors will open." 
Sam informed Pearson.

There was a quieter buzz and the Control Room doors whooshed open. The 
four entered.

Sam noticed Sammi Jo wasn't there, "Ziggy, where's Sammi?"

"She's in your office Doctor. Would you like me to contact her?" Ziggy's 
feminine voice filtered through the speaker.

"No it's okay Ziggy, I think we can arrange this little demonstration 
without her today." Sam walked over to a cabinet and pulled out a white 
Fermi-suit and began to strip.

"What's the costume for?" Pearson asked.

"It's a special suit," Al informed Pearson. "It stops the majority of 
the static and kinetic energy particles from penetrating Sam's body."

"Is the static and things dangerous?" Pearson looked from Sam to Al.

"Nah, not really, it's like X-rays, too much and it could be. That's why 
he wears the suit." Al turned the dial on the control panel and selected 
a date. "Any particular time Sam?"

"Erm, make it daylight hours Al. What date have you set it for?" Sam 
finished pulling on the Fermi-suit.

"Today's date, and erm, 1976." Al checked the dial.

"Why that year?" Pearson said as he watched Al.

"No reason, just a random number." Al turned to Sam, "Are you ready 

"Ready Al." Sam walked up the ramp and stepped onto the metallic disk. 
"Ziggy, activate the Accelerator Chamber."

The over head disk started to descend. As everyone watched Sam, no-one 
saw Pearson pullout a small, hard resin pistol from his inside pocket. 
He lunged forward, taking Bernie with him, he bulldozed Sam out of the 
Accelerator Chamber, Sam crashed against the wall, stunned. Pearson 
stood on the metallic disk the gun pointing to Bernie's head. The 
overhead disk continued to descend.

Al was mesmerised by what he'd just witnessed, he shouted desperately, 
"Ziggy deactivate the Accelerator Chamber."

"Sorry Admiral, I can't, the program has taken over." Ziggy sounded 
almost human with emotion.

Sam shook his head as a whirl of haze obscured his vision.

Pearson ripped at his face with his free hand, revealing his true 

"Saint-James!" Al yelled as latex hung from Saint-James's face and fell 
to the floor.

"Ha-ha," Saint-James laughed satanically, "I'm taking control of this 
computer, it's all mine now."

The Control Room door whooshed and Beth rushed in screaming, "The TV, 
Gregory Pearson's body had been found in a warehouse in Helena, Montana. 
He's an impostor Al."

"Stay back Beth, thanks for the warning, but I think it's a little too 
late." Al backed off, and pushed Beth out of the Control Room. "Can you 
pull the plug Ziggy."

"Let them go Admiral, trust me I know what I'm doing." Ziggy sounded 

"But we'll never retrieve them the program is only designed for Sam's 
genes." Al raged at Ziggy.

"Admiral please trust me." Ziggy sounded almost sympathetic.

Sam's vision slightly cleared and he shook his head once more. 
Struggling to get to his feet, he fell. He saw the bright blue white 
take over Bernie's form, he crawled, desperately trying reaching for 
her, his face distorted with effort.

"Nnnnnnoooooooo!!!!" He cried as they both vanished, leaving no body 
shells behind.