CHAPTER ONE Blue light flashed from the control panel of the hybrid computer known as Ziggy. Strange noises were being emitted by the whirling and whining of Ziggy's processors. The female voice of Ziggy echoed through the vastness of the room. "Admiral, I have located Dr. Beckett." Albert Calavicci, wearing a white lab coat turned quickly towards the computer "What!" His tone was more of surprise than anger, then added questioningly, "Are you sure Ziggy?" So many times had Albert Calavicci heard this over the past years. "Yes Admiral.." was Ziggy's conformed reply. Needing no further encouragement, Al raced to the Waiting Room only to find it empty. Peering from around the Waiting Room door, Al looked over to Ziggy, a question curving his lips "Ziggy?" "Yes Admiral." contorted Ziggy. Al's face looked solemn "There's no-one in the Waiting Room." "I definitely have a location, Admiral." Ziggy's tone sounded more conceited than usual. Al picked up the hand-link and pressed a few buttons, he stared at it, eyes wide in astonishment. He dashed to the Imaging Chamber shouting at Ziggy. "Ziggy, centre me in on Sam." the Imaging Chamber door 'swished' closed behind him. The Imaging Chamber doors open and the observer stepped out unnoticed in the crowded street. He looked about him anxiously, the street was a good foot deep in snow and it was still snowing. He could not see his friend, and shivered at the sight of the snow. Still looking for his friend, the frozen snow crackled around him, outlandishly dressed, weary people trudging through the freezing snow, walking through the observer. The observer turned and watched miffed at a passerby as he emerged from within the observer, unfelt. Frustrated at not being able to find Sam the observer shouted at the top of his voice "Darn it Sam! Where are you?" but his words fell silently on the passersby's ears. How many times had he shouted these words? How many times had he felt this pain, felt this sorrow? A strange language came from the lips of everyone around him. Head cocked, he listened for a while. A few presses on the buttons of the hand-link revealed his location. He looked at the hand-link in astonishment for quite some time. "Oh my God!" He moved a nervous hand to his sweating brow. His mouth moved but only a feint whisper left his lips, "Russia, July 14, 1918." The observer returned to the Imaging Chamber door, pressed a few more buttons on the hand-link. The Imaging Chamber door opened with a 'whoosh'. The observer looked about him once more as the door closed behind him. Al rushed over to the hybrid computer and impatiently slammed down the hand-link with a crash. "Careful Admiral, it's the only one we have since er..." Al looked at the hand-link on the counter and gently touched it with a finger. "Gooshie, yes I know." Sadly Al raised his eyes to the Imaging Chamber door, "Ziggy! Sam's not there! I thought he might be this time. It feels different somehow." Ziggy sounded very agitated, "But I cannot be wrong Admiral. He is where he is. According to the data he is right where I said he would be, give or take a few hundred metres, or so." Ziggy's lights start flashing again showing that she was getting more agitated. Al could have sworn that if Ziggy'd had fingers she's be chalking 'one' up for herself. "Okay! Okay! Don't blow any more microchips. I'll have another scout around." "Thank you Admiral that would be a very sensible thing to do." Ziggy's tone was triumphant. Again Al imagined another chalk mark, "Sensible! Nothing about this, this situation is sensible." Al was annoyed, "Do yer know the date Sam's leapt into?" Ziggy's response was cool, "Yes Admiral, July 14, 1918. Two days before the assassination of the Imperial Family of Russia." "Yeah! He's right in the middle of the Russian revolution and you're acting like Sam's just leapt into a swimmin pool. Yer know if you weren't Sam's creation, I-I'd have pulled the plug on you long ago." Al nervously puffed on his cigar, smoke billowed around him. In his imagination Al chalked a point up for himself, why was everything down to points where Ziggy was concerned. "Admiral tell me one thing. If you pull the plug on me, how will you find Dr. Beckett?" "Arg!" Another one for Ziggy. Al waved his hand to dismiss the remarks. He picked up his overcoat and grabbed the hand-link and headed once more to the Imaging Chamber. "Ziggy, see if you can get a nearer location for Sam. It's 50 below out there, and set the Audio Translator to Russian. I can't understand a damned word they're sayin'." The Imaging Chamber door closed behind him. The door opened once more and the observer stepped out. After several button clicks of the hand-link he could understand what everyone around him was saying. He pulled the overcoat up around his neck and started walking the length of the long street, the snow silent under his feet. The Observer walked into the distance, fading into the crowd. A three storey building, dirty pink in colour, surrounded by a high, roughly built wooden fence came into view. The hand-link beeped and chirped. The observer looked about him and then back at the building. "Are you anywhere nearer to locating Sam?" He pressed a single button, and the hand-link showed him his current location. "Are you sure Ziggy, this is erm, I mean this is Ipatiev House, the final dwelling of the Russian Imperial family. Is this right Ziggy?" The hand-link beeped once more. He looked down at the object in his hand, his face was full of anguish and sadness. He turned and stared at the house, eyes full of tears. "Is Sam in there?" The hand-link emitted a familiar sound. He whispered almost silently, "Centre me in on Sam." The observer disappeared.