CHAPTER 8 The door to the Waiting Room sealed shut, it 'clanked' as the automatic door-lock shifted into place. "Why are we locked in here?" Bebrooks asked. "Just a precautionary measure, we don't know who's going to occupy Sam's body. When they come here they're in a state of confusion, many think they've been abducted by aliens. Once we had a guy here, a killer. I don't know how, but he'd gotten hold of a gun, he escaped and caused a hell of a lot of trouble. We have to find out what state of mind they're in, that's where Verbena comes in." "Who's Verbena?" "Verbena Beeks, she's the shrink, erm, the psychologist, she assess, advises and instructs everyone who comes through Sam, into here." "Sam looks dead." "Well I can assure you that he's not, he's in a semi-comatose state, and will remain that way until the leapee enters Sam's body." "The leapee, that's the person from the past right, the person taking over?" "Yes that's right." "I'm sure pleased I stayed with Law, never did take to all of this science stuff. Too complicated for the likes of me." "Well each has his own vocation." * * * * * The familiar tingle and floating sensation started to leave Sam. He felt heavy as the weightlessness subsided. The blue-white haze dispersed and his vision became clear. He was sitting in a library, an old-type library, piles of musty smelling books surrounded him. He picked up the book that lay open in front of him and looked inquisitively at the spine. 'Criminal Law', was the title, he looked at another, 'Judicial's Of The Psychopathic Killer' and another, 'Judicial Procedures'. Sam thought to himself 'These are all Law books,' he looked around, it was quiet, the silence was deafening. He stood and walked around, trying to find the exit. He found a sign and headed for the washroom, as he entered he saw the reflection of a young Austin Bebrooks facing him in the mirror. "Oh boy," he whispered, the reflection mirroring his words. * * * * * Bebrooks stood with mouth ajar as the blue-white light faded from Sam's body. "It's....." "Yeah it's you, and if he sees you, Lord knows what will happen," Al was anxious to get Bebrooks out of the Waiting Room, "Ziggy release the door, Bebr.... erm, Mr. Bebrooks is coming out." The door-lock released and Bebrooks backed towards it, not moving his eyes from himself, turning he hurriedly opened the door and left. The door swung shut and automatically locked behind him. The young Bebrooks opened his eyes, "What the... where am I?" He glanced around him, not knowing what he saw. He sat up suddenly and stared at Al, "What am I doing here?" "You're here, Austin, that's....." Al tried to explain but was interrupted. "You know my name, how? Who are you?" "My name's Albert Calavicci, but that shouldn't concern you. I can't tell you why you're here, well not for the moment at least." "Mr. Calavicci, why can't you tell me?" He stood up and started walking towards Al. "Oh call me Al, everyone else does, and I can't tell you about this 'cos it's top secret. You've been bought here to prove a theory, a top secret theory." "Top secret eh, what do you need me for? I can't help you, and besides I'm supposed to be taking my Bar exam later today. Last thing I remember is studying in the library. I can't even remember getting here." "Oh don't worry about the exam, you'll be back in plenty of time for that," 'he hoped'. Al looked over Bebrooks' head, "and besides you've helped more than you can imagine already, just by being here." Suddenly the young Bebrooks turned as white as a sheet, and crumpled to the ground, he lay there motionless. "Ziggy get Verbena in here, and like yesterday, Bebrooks has collapsed." Al kneeled alongside Bebrooks' immobile body and loosened his tie and collar, moments later Verbena rushed into the Waiting Room, bag in hand. "What happened Al?" Verbena kneeled beside Al and felt Bebrooks' pulse. "Nothin', we were just talkin' and he keeled over. Is he gonna be all right?" "Yeah, he'll be just fine, he's only fainted." "Can I leave him with you? I wanna see how Sam's doing." "Sure, go and see Sam, he will be okay in a couple of minutes. Oh what's his name Al?" "Oh sorry, it's Austin Bebrooks." "Isn't that the name of the guy out there in the Control Room?" "Ha-ha Verbena," Al laughed, "you noticed, this is his younger self. Ahm." Al returned to a more somber mood. "Go and see Sam, leave this to me." "Ziggy I'm coming out, open the door." Al left the Waiting Room and Verbena. He saw Bebrooks coming towards him. "How is he, me, er, am?" Bebrooks looked at Al confused. "Oh, he, you will be okay, you've only fainted." Al felt as confused as Bebrooks did. "I'm going in to see Sam, do you want to join me?" "Yeah sure Al, I think?" Al looked at Bebrooks, head cocked, "That's the first time you've called me Al." "Is it, I didn't realise, oh sorry Al." Al picked up the hand-link "Now when were inside, you have to hold on to me, that's if yer wanna see anything that is." "Why's that?" "Well my neurons and masons are tuned into Sam's, that's how-come I can see him, when no-one else can." He headed for the Imaging Chamber, Bebrooks followed. Once inside Bebrooks placed a hand on Al's shoulder, "Hey I can see Sam!" Al turned to Bebrooks, "Sure you can," then turned his attention to Sam, "Hello Sam, Mr. Bebrooks is observing too today, how you doin'?" "I'm doin' okay seein' as though I've been waiting in the toilet for over half an hour." "Sorry about that Sam, we had a little problem." Al discretely pointed to Bebrooks. "Yes, um, I, my younger self, ha-ha, fainted in your Waiting Room awhile back. Hey that's the washroom at the....." Al interrupted. "He's okay Sam, Verbena's looking after him." "Do they know you're me?" Bebrooks directed the question at Sam. "They see Sam as you." Al interrupted again. "We see Sam as Sam. Sam sees you when he looks in a mirror." Sam moved to the mirror next to the door and reflected Bebrooks image. "I see I've put a little weight on around the middle in the last twenty-six years." Bebrooks commented. "How's the memory Sam? Is it okay?" Al asked. "No Swiss-cheese effect if that's what you're referring to, Al." Sam's frowned, "Is this enough of a demonstration for now, I have a date, remember Al." "I'll just check with Ziggy, see if everything's okay in the Waiting Room." Al pressed a button on the hand-link, "How's things with Verbena?" The hand-link chirped and cheeped, "He's come to, everything's great, we'll go back to the Control Room and run the retrieval program. See you back in our time Sam." The Imaging Chamber door opened Al and Bebrooks disappeared through it and the door closed. "You can let go of my shoulder now." Al said and Bebrooks moved his hand. "Oh sorry Al, didn't realise." Bebrooks felt a little foolish, Al believed differently, 'jerk,' he thought. "Ziggy, run the retrieval program." Ziggy's processors 'whined' and 'whirred'. There was a flash of blue from the Accelerator Chamber, crackling echoed into the Control Room, then all was quiet. Al waited a few moments then walked up the ramp to the Accelerator Chamber, it was empty. Al turned to Bebrooks, "He's not there. What's happened Ziggy?" "Nothing Admiral." Ziggy's voice was cool. Al turned back as he heard the door to the Waiting Room open. Verbena walked out, Sam held his arm around her shoulders. As they passed the Accelerator Chamber Sam bent and kissed Verbena's cheek, "You're a diamond, what would we do without you?" Sam waved to Al, "We did it pal, it worked, perfectly. What time is it, I'm not late am I, for my date I mean?" "No Sam you're not late, it's only 10:50, you have plenty of time." "Oh boy it's great, being out there, being back, I feel so good Al." "That's great pal, I knew you'd get there in the end." "Think of all the possibilities we have now, what can be achieved is anyone's guess. The past is an open book, open for all of us to read. I have to get on with my life now, no more changes to my past, no more regrets, what's done is done." Al grabbed Sam's arm and pulled him round to face him. "What about ....." "Donna." Sam finished Al's question. Sammi Jo was right, I couldn't save one without saving another." "What, has Sammi been talking to you?" "She didn't have to Al, I heard. I heard it all from the Imaging Chamber, I know all about Matt and Leone." Of course Sam hadn't, he'd overheard someone in the cafeteria. It was common gossip that Sam was going to spoil Sammi Jo's life and bring back her former husband, but Sam wasn't going to tell Al that. "But you ...." "Forget it Al, I have my memories, the rest of my life has to be lived, no regrets." Still in the Fermi-suit, Sam walked to the Control Room, waved to Sammi Jo and Bebrooks and through the door to the corridors. He took the lift up to the ground floor and went to his quarters, he flopped onto his bed 'no regrets', his last thoughts before falling asleep.