CHAPTER FOUR Sam and his friend stood at the top of the stairs. Laughter and cheering from the guards below echoed through the empty hall. Sam looked around, "Al, Where's the bathroom?" "Why? It's through there... " A smile of realisation came to the observer's face. "Yer mean yer haven't bin since...." His tone was mocking Sam. Sam felt embarrassed, "Yeah, sure I have. In a pot, so damn degrading. Everyone here's treated like scum, it's disgraceful. I mean they're royalty in there and they're treated like-like no, worse than animals." The observer looked at his friend, sensitive at his friend's embarrassment and feeling foolish at the same time. "It's a sign of the times yer know, there is a revolution going on." "Always knew you'd be sympathetic." "I've seen people endure lot worse conditions than these in my time I can tell yer." His face turned very solemn. Remembering Vietnam. "It's even worse for the women, they're humiliated even more, they can't do anything without the guards being present, get my meaning Al?" The observer was almost apologetic, "Sure do, must be terrible for them." They heard raised voices and footsteps on the floor below. Both men hurriedly moved back towards the Salon. "Hurry," Sam told the women, "hide the jewels, the guards are coming." The voices and footsteps on the stairs became louder as the guards approached, the women quickly hustled around gathering up the sewing equipment and hid it inside the chest. Jewels safely hidden, they settle down again with different sewing material. "Better get back in here..." The observer pointed towards the Dining Room door. "...before the guards get up here." Both left the Salon and Sam closed the door silently behind him. Olga started sobbing again when the guards appeared in the Salon. "That was a good move Sam. You got them doing something really constructive in there." "No, not really, it was just a thought that came to me." "That idea about sewing the jewelry into their under-garments, priceless. They wouldn't dare to look there for anything." "I wouldn't be too sure about that Al." The footsteps were getting louder, coming closer and a key turned in the lock. One of the guards retorted, "That's unusual, the door isn't locked." Sam sat in one of the chairs and rested his elbows on the table. The door suddenly burst open and a guard rushed into the room, another stood solemnly in the doorway. "What is going on in here? I thought I heard voices." The guard looked about the room. "I was just talking out aloud, I do that a lot." Sam looked at the guard standing in the doorway, without thinking Sam retorted, "Erm, come and join me in a er-er, cup of erm, water, you too Tschaikovsky." The other guard entered the room nervously. The observer questioned, "How'd you know his name?" Sam shrugged his shoulders at his companion, and gave him an uninformed glance. Tschaikovsky asked Sam, "How are you today Sir? I was so concerned for you yesterday." "I'm okay, erm, I mean I'm feeling good thank you Tschaikovsky." Sam's eyebrows raised. Tschaikovsky smiled at Sam, "Good to hear it Sir." Another guard entered the room followed by Nicholas, Alexandra, Alexei, Tatiana, Maria, Olgar, Anastasia, Jemmy the dog and the three servants. A further guard stood menacingly in the doorway. Olgar and Titiana were crying. Sam looked over to Alexandra "What is the matter?" Alexandra said very haughtily, "A privacy problem Dr. Botkin, I am afraid." Alexandra glared at the guards sternly. Nicholas silent, hung his head low, his eyes on the ground. Alexandra explained, "There was a disturbing occurrence in the bathroom with these two, erm impertinent fellows." The observer eyed up the guards. "See what you mean Sam. Those guards look a bit dubious to me you've gotta keep an eye on 'em, no tellin' what'll happen." Sam turned to one of the guards "Every-one should be allowed a little privacy, can't you let them at least have that." The guard spat at Sam's feet, "Shut that mouth, old man, you want some privacy, you can leave right now. Never shot a man in the back before, eh-eh, trying to escape, you can try it. Ha-ha." The guard's laughter was crude and bellowing. Alexandra moved closer to Sam, "Leave it Doctor, they are not worthy of your attention. We will have to make do with this bad state of affairs, things will better themselves in time, when everyone comes to there senses." She placed a hand on Sam's shoulder. Anastasia's bright eyes confronted Sam's, "Dr. Botkin, we know you are only trying to assist, but please don't make this worse for us." Tschaikovsky moved secretively towards Anastasia and gently touched her arm, she smiled at him. One of the guards turned to leave the room the other turned defiantly to everyone. "Enough of this banter. It's nearly midnight and we all need some sleep." The other guard turned back into the room, "Right, get to your rooms." The Romanov family slowly and obediently moved forward towards the door to their room, while the servants go to the door on the right. Anastasia turned and smiled at Sam, lowering her eyes she turned back, following her family, the door closing behind them. The guards check over the dining room. Sam and his friend look questioningly at each other, having no clue as to what the guards were looking for. The three guards noisily leave the room, closing the door with a clank, this time the door was not locked. "How'd you know his name Sam." The observer repeated. Sam looked up from the door, "I dunno, it just came to me." "Must be Dr. Botkin's memory kicking in." "I guess so." "You get some rest, now, I'm gonna go back and see if Sammi Jo has got to H.Q. yet." "Sammi Jo, who's she?" The observer realising that he had put his foot in it, had to think fast. He didn't want Sam to find out about Sammi Jo, his daughter, well not just yet anyway. "Oh she's working on the Project now. She's the one that wrote the program that found you. Sammi Jo is a Quantum Physicist too." "Right." Sam started thinking. "Where's Gooshie then?" "Oh he's no longer with us Sam. He's gone to higher planes." "Where? I didn't think he would ever leave us." The observer was stumped for words. "He-he died Sam." Sam's mouth dropped, "Gooshie's dead? How?" "I'll tell you all about it later, I've got to get back." The observer pressed a button on the hand-link, The Imaging Chamber door opened with a 'whoosh' and he stepped in. "Al, don't go just yet. I need to know...." Sam was too late the observer had gone. Sam sat there, a bewildered look on his face, staring at the spot where his friend had just vanished. Sam wiped a shaking hand over his saddened face. He stood and walked over to the rough cot and lied down. * * * * * * The door to the Imaging Chamber opened and Al entered the Control Room. Sammi Jo was sitting next to the control panel, a pen in one hand, a clipboard in the other. Al walked over to Sammi Jo, "Oh you're here good, I've found Sam." Sammi Jo raised her head and looked at Al, "Great, Ziggy told me she'd located him, how is he?" "Oh he looks rough but I think it's just the situation he's in. Do you have a printout from Ziggy yet?" "Yes, it's here. How bad is it?" "This is the Taj Mahal compared to that place. It used to be quite a pad, but it's been pilfered, all of the good stuff's gone. Just an empty shell really. Damn it's cold too." "You shouldn't feel the cold there, should you?" "Can't help it, there's so much snow. Ha-ha, snow in July." Sammi Jo handed the printout to Al. "I think I may have caused a couple of problems with Sam." "Why's that?" "I inadvertently mentioned you, and of course Sam being Sam, curious as he is, asked me about Gooshie." "What did you tell him?" "I told him the truth, but I did leave out a few facts, I told him you were a Quantum Physicist and, erm, that erm, Gooshie was dead." Sammi Jo looked alarmed at Al, "You told him that Gooshie was dead?" Al whispered, "Erm, yep." "And what did he say to that?" "I dunno, I didn't give him the chance to ask." Sammi Jo was even more alarmed, "You left him there, after telling him that one of his closest friends was dead?" "Ah, yer don't understand, I had to get outta there." "I can understand that, but I can't understand why you had to leave him alone." "I feel bad enough about it. Can we just drop it! I'm goin' back, aren't I? What's Ziggy come up with about Dr. Botkin?" Sammi Jo looked through the printout, "Well, in the original History, his body was found at the house a few days after the assassinations, he'd not been shot though. He'd been dead about a week when they found him on, lets see, July 20,1916, a presumed heart attack." Al looked at the hand-link he was so used to carrying, his mind racing. "We all thought that Dr. Botkin had been shot with the Romanov family, but Sam must have changed that history the moment he leapt into Botkin. Hmm, he'd been dead, a week you say?" "Yes, why are you asking?" Al became excited, "If he was found on July 20, then that means he must've died on July 13, don't you see?" "No, I don't." "That's why there's no-one in the Waitin' Room." Al pointed a finger skyward. "He has Botkin, that's why he's not here." "Then Where's Sam's body?" Al's mouth fell open in disbelief. "Oh my God! Hadn't thought of that."