CHAPTER 7 Austin Bebrooks opened the door to the cafeteria, when he saw Sam and Al he hesitated in the doorway. He looked like a petrified rabbit caught in the headlights of an oncoming car, his face somber, an ashen white. Al beckoned him over, unwillingly he moved slowly towards the table. Sam smiled at him as he neared the table, his expression changed and the colour returned to his face. "I'm sorry Doctor Beckett, Sam, I truly am sorry, I can't apologise enough. I should never have remonstrated about your computer, I should never have said those things." "Think nothing of it Austin, I should never have reproached you as I did, you must accept my apologise too." "I don't blame you at all, it's kept me awake most of the night thinking about it, my fault entirely." "Well at least we've got that sorted out." Al gestured towards Bernie, she ambled over to the table "Mr. Bebrooks would like to order breakfast." "Just a light breakfast for me, toast and eggs please." Bebrooks looked uncomfortable at Bernie, "oh and coffee please, thank you." "Please excuse me for a minute, I'll be right back." Sam sauntered over to the counter and took Bernie by the arm, spinning her round gently, "I didn't mean to be rude back there, it's just that it was a bit awkward, I do really want to talk to you, get to know you better. Sorry, I'm not very good at this." "Sam, you're a very busy man, I can understand that, I don't want to impose." "N-no, no you're not imposing, I want to get to know you, you to know me." "Okay I get off at three this afternoon, we can talk then." Sam held her by the shoulders, "Thanks, thanks for that." The relief was clearly visible on Sam's face. "See you at three." She smiled, "See you at three." She turned and entered into the kitchen, when she returned Sam was in conference again with the other two men. She took over Bebrooks' order. "Well that's all agreed then," Al took out a cigar and was about to light it until he saw the expression on Sam's face. He returned the object of Sam's disapproval to it's container and placed it back in his pocket. "I've something to show you, both of you." Sam's voice held an excitement he could not contain. "It's not about Sammi Jo's little fluke is it?" Al's eyebrows twitched. "No, it's not about that, I'm not ready for that yet." "Is it about what you were doing last night, after you were supposed to be tucked up in bed and sound asleep?" "Something like that, yes. I was working on the code, like I told you Al, it's all sorted now, it's working. I want to give Austin a demonstration." "You've tried it out then?" Al's tone was uncertain. "No not yet, but it'll work I know it will." Sam looked very confident. "What about it Austin, do you want to see a demonstration?" "Yes, sure I do, I want to see what I'm getting for my money." * * * * * At 8:45 am, they entered the Control Room. Sam quickly changed into the Fermi-suit and started checking the dials on the control panel. Al explained to Bebrooks what Sam was doing. "What date shall I set if for Al?" "I dunno, we never did this before. Where do you want to go?" "I've not really thought about a date. What date Austin?" "What about when I first took my Bar exam, Washington DC, July 12 1982. Is that okay?" Sam set the dials, "Activate the Accelerator Chamber Ziggy." "Are you sure about this? I mean you've not verified this before." "It's got to be done, it's now or never." Sam walked over to the Accelerator chamber and stepped onto the metallic disk. "Ready Ziggy?" "Ready Doctor." Ziggy confirmed. "Oh Al, I've got to be back before three, I've got a date, don't forget." "No I wont forget." Al looked at Bebrooks raising his eyebrows. Sam watched the metallic disk above his head lower into position. The hydra-sonic wind swirled around him, he felt the familiar tingle as the inert energy flowed through his body. "Is this safe? It looks very dangerous." Bebrooks' voice held a tremor and he looked very nervous. Blue-white static crackled and enveloped him. As the blue-white light changed to pure white Sam could feel a floating sensation. Al was almost confident, "Sure it is, watch." The brilliant white light faded, Sam was gone. "He's still there." Commented Bebrooks. "His body is, but his soul has gone, what you see is an empty shell." Al explained, "When Sam finds his place in time another soul will occupy Sam's body and Sam, theirs." "How, when will we know?" "Ziggy will know. She'll tell us." "Ziggy, do you have a lock on Sam?" "Not at this present time Admiral. Scanning has been initiated." "Let us know when you do." "Affirmative, Admiral." Ziggy confirmed. "What do we do now?" "Wait, this is the tedious part, the waiting." "How long does it usually take?" "Anything from a couple of minutes to, erm, nine years. Ahm." Al cleared his throat, " well that was the longest, the last time, that was an exception though, before that it was only a week, but he's been working on the program since then, so it shouldn't take much longer." Al found himself babbling, he thought he had better shut up before he went off the rails. 'Come on Sam, where are you?' He looked at Ziggy trying to mentally persuade her to hurry up the procedure. Al was not at all sure as to what would happen this time. The leap from two day's ago had left him feeling worried, Sam had modified the program again since then, hoping beyond hope that everything went to plan this time.. What were Sam's plans? Sam had never told him what they were. He picked up the hand-link from the shelf and looked at it. Was he going to need this again? He didn't know. The two men turned as the door 'whooshed' open, Sammi Jo entered, "Oh sorry, I didn't think anyone would be here. What's happening?" "Sam's doing a little demonstration for Mr. Bebrooks." Al tried to give a little discrete shush to Sammi Jo but she didn't notice. "After what happened last time, I'd have thought he would have had more sense Al." "He's modified the program since then Sammi." "When?" "Last night, yeah I know, he came back down after we'd took him up. You know what he's like." "What modifications has he made?" "I dunno, he didn't tell me." "Did he do a test run?" "Not as far as I know of. We're waiting for Ziggy to get a lock on him, we know the period he's travelled to this time, just waiting for the who." Al continued his thoughts, 'I think.' "Shouldn't we get Sam ready in the Waiting Room?" "No, not yet." Al turned to Ziggy, "Can we deactivate the protective shield yet Ziggy?" "Not until we have a lock on him?" Ziggy replied. "What's this shield?" Bebrooks asked. "It's there to protect Sam whilst he leaps, there can't be any external interference whilst he's leaping. It could kill him." Sammi Jo looked concerned at Al, she knew the dangers all too well. "Deactivating protective shield, I have a lock on Doctor Beckett." Ziggy's voice sent a sigh of relief though the three spectators. Sammi Jo and Al entered into the Accelerator Chamber, followed by Bebrooks, they carried Sam's limp frame down the corridor and into the Waiting Room. Sammi Jo left, leaving Bebrooks and Al to discover who would occupy Sam's body.