"Point of View" pt. I Act I, Scene I Al barely had time to blink when the sound of gunfire erupted all around him. A police car had pulled up behind him and opened fire, putting him in the dead center of the conflict. What really worried him was that the two thugs had started shooting back, and they weren't so particular about avoiding him. Ducking for cover, Al dove behind a nearby dumpster, finally locating the gun as he dumped out the contents of the purse. By the time he started shooting, another man had come to the edge of the roof and was shooting at the two criminals from there. They suddenly threw down their weapons just as one of them was shot. "We quit, man! We're sorry!" one of them was shouting. "Got it covered, Scaggs?" an officer asked. Scaggs climbed down from the roof and waved. "Yeah, I got 'em." "We quit!" They were still insisting, as if afraid the police would continue firing anyway. Al leaned back against the wall, breathing hard. It would take more than a few seconds for the adrenaline to stop pumping through his veins. "Jake!" he heard someone call. He was pretty sure that was him, but he didn't care. He tilted his head back against the wall and closed his eyes. "The pig shot me!" "Your partner okay, Scaggs?" someone asked suddenly at Al's elbow. He opened his eyes and started to lean forward. "I dunno - he may have a concussion." "We'll have the paramedics look at him." "I'm bleeding," the wounded criminal bellowed. "I got a _right_ to be looked at first!" "You have the _right_ to remain silent," an officer retorted. *Please,* Al agreed mentally. Scaggs helped him to his feet and they started to walk out towards a car. "You know, I froze once," he said quietly. Al glanced at him, his heart sinking as the man began to describe how a baby was used to lure him into an ambush. *Vietnam,* he thought somberly to himself. His own memories of the place were just as unpleasant. "So I figure if a man's lucky, he gets to freeze up once in his life and live to talk about it," Scaggs was saying. "But not twice." Al took a deep breath as he watched the man get into his car. He knew enough not to ask what had happened to the baby - that much he understood about war. There were never any happy endings. ^----^----^----^----^ Act I, Scene II Al entered the locker room to a series of catcalls and whistles as he stumbled his way behind Scaggs. *Already, this leap does not bode well.* He ignored the commotion as best as he could until his partner turned to the left and found the appropriate location to dump his junk. Al foundered until he saw Sam standing at the end of the row, a wide grin on his face. "Ya look great in pink, Al," he cooed. Al grimaced. "And the earrings...oooh, classy touch." "Hey, listen, Lisa wants to meet you," Scaggs said beside him. Al perked up. Maybe this leap was improving after all. "Lisa?" he asked, tossing in a seductive grin, just to draw an exasperated look from Sam. Instead, Sam just grinned wider. "His wife," he explained. *Oops.* "Oh, yeah, your wife. Sorry." "Hey, don't talk like that about your partner's wife, man, it's not respectful." Al winced. "Sorry," he said again. "Smooth," Sam commented. "Just help me find my locker," Al hissed, pulling the shoes off one at a time, savoring the motion. Sam leaned forward and scanned the row. "Here," he said, motioning to a name written in on a white piece of paper and taped to the locker. Al looked at it doubtfully. "I'm penciled in," he pointed out. "So much for job security." "Well, you're still new. Just made detective. I'm sure, in time..." "You know, Sam," Al said in low tones as he reached for the door, "this leap already looks bad. I don't mind the shedding of women's clothes, but not when _I_ was the one wearing them. That's too kinky, even for me." Sam shrugged elaborately. "Hey, you're an undercover cop - it's all part of the job. Look at it this way, at least no-one was out looking for action." Al sighed dramatically. "All right, you've had your fun. Smart- mouth hologram," he added under his breath. He was about to continue when the locker door swung open to reveal an assortment of tasteless clothing better hookers around the country would have been ashamed to wear. Silence fell in the locker room. Sam snickered, but Al just grinned. "Perfect," he crowed, "one for each girlfriend." Sam shook his head; everyone else laughed. When the commotion had died down and the attention was back off Al, he turned to the hologram. "What am I here to do?" "Patience. Your name," he began, holding up the colorful terminal, "is Jake Rawlins and that's your partner, Roger-" "Scaggs. Yeah, I got that," Al interrupted. Sam cast him an exasperated look. "Right. He's got the best arrest record in San Diego." *San Diego...I used to live in San Diego, I seem to recall.* Al cast his temporary partner a slight, admiring glance as he pulled off his top. "At least I've got a good partner as Rawlins." He smiled innocently at Sam. "Uh-huh," Sam said absently, fiddling with the 'link. "And as for you...you graduated from USC in '65 with a BA in criminal." Sam frowned and shook the handlink. "Just whack it," Al instructed patiently. "It's delicate machinery," Sam protested. "Oh, _please_!" Al rolled his eyes. "Here we go. Criminal justice. You graduated second in your class and have since received two commendations. One was for saving the life of a wounded fellow officer during a shoot out in an attempted armed robbery by shielding him with your body-" "Jake," Al corrected. "Right. Jake's body." Sam shrugged. "Semantics. The second was for devising a file system." Al put a hand over his heart. "And he got a _commendation_? The man deserves a purple heart!" Sam made a face. "It supposedly saved thousands in storage fees." "I've obviously leaped into a genius," Al muttered, shaking his head. "So what am I doing in San Diego in..." "Oh, 1969. April 1, 1969." "April Fool's Day?" Al demanded. "That explains my leap-in." "Yeah. Well you, or Scaggs, really, arrested two guys today, right?" Al leaned in. "Yeah," he confirmed. *April 1, 1969,* his mind repeated to him. *Why's that date important?* "Well, in two days, they're gonna shoot and kill Roger Scaggs." *I wasn't even in the country - I was in Vietnam. Nothing there I want to remember.* Al pulled on a polo shirt. "So all I have to do is stop them from killing him?" "That's it," Sam confirmed. He shrugged. "Doesn't sound too tough." *I didn't even start living again until I came home and...* "Al? Are you okay?" *Name...the name's in here somewhere, I know it...* "Al?" "What?" Al asked suddenly, snapping himself out of the thoughts. "I asked if you were okay. You look like death warmed over." "I'm fine." Sam looked doubtful. "Are you sure?" "Yeah, it's just...Scaggs had told me about his time in Vietnam earlier...guess it got to me more than I'd care to admit." Sam's expression became instantly understanding. "Okay, Al. Sorry that's one thing you had to remember." "Yeah," Al agreed slowly, still wracking his brain. "Me too." *April 1...something in a letter saying she'd...she'd...something on April 1, 1969. Her, and some lawyer guy... Dirk Simon.* Why was it he remembered the name of the shyster, and not hers?! "Well, what you have to do has nothing to do with that, Al, so just try and put it out of your mind." "Sure, Sam." Sam still looked hesitant. "I'm gonna go back and see if Ziggy can't recommend some good ways to stop these two thugs, and I'll get back to you soon, okay, pal?" "Okay." The Imaging Chamber Door slid open and then slammed shut and Al jolted back as if he'd been physically slapped. *Beth.* The name brought back a barrage of memories. Beth Calavicci - his first wife, the woman he loved more than life itself, the woman who'd given up on him, gave him up for dead. The woman he would have sacrificed anything to get back. "Jake, you ready to cut out?" Scaggs asked from behind him. Al glanced up. "Yeah," he confirmed. "Can we stop somewhere first?" ^----^----^----^----^ Act I, Scene III The bay swept by beside her as she drove. The car radio played some uplifting song, but she lurched forward and shut it off. She couldn't think about anything so unimportant right now. He was dead. Beth Calavicci was so certain - had been so certain - that he would make it. The kid was so full of life, so full of spirit. He was so determined to survive. What had happened today just proved that sometimes the will to survive didn't mean anything, that in the end fate was going to get you anyway. She blinked back tears as she made a turn. This was _not_ going to get to her this badly. She'd been a nurse for years; she knew about detachment. Problem was, knowing about it and implementing it were two different things. Andy had sucked her in with his charm and love of life before she'd even realized it and the next thing she knew, all of her spare time was dedicated to talking with him, taking care of him, healing him. Making sure he lived. But he hadn't. He'd been so strong, so determined. Just like- The car jolted as the distinctive sound of a tire blowing erupted from one of the back tires. She pulled quickly over onto the side of the road and shut off the ignition. Yep, definitely the tire. She got out of the car and stared at the damage. It was one more thing that needed her attention - one more thing that needed fixing. And she couldn't handle it. Every activity, no matter how far removed from anything she associated with her husband, seemed to intensify the pain of being separated from him. Dammit, why had she let him go?! She should have begged, pleaded, insisted, _something_. *He would have gone anyway. Serving his country was more important than-* "Stop it," she commanded herself out loud. She'd thought...she'd thought whatever had happened to him, he could handle it. He could take it because he'd had one of the strongest wills she'd ever seen in anyone. He was strong and determined and dedicated. Like Andy. How could she take this kind of pain without him? How could paying bills or going to work or changing a flat seem important or necessary? Nevertheless, she opened the trunk and pulled out the jack and a spare tire. As she struggled to loosen the lugs, the tears started to fall. The only thing that could possibly stop them, that could soothe the agony they represented, were her husband's arms around her. She started to cry harder. "You need a hand?" asked a kindly voice to her left. She jerked away, embarrassed and nervous. She stood up. "What's wrong?" the man continued. "You're not this upset about a flat tire, are you?" "I'm sorry," she managed, wiping at her eyes. "I'm not usually such a baby." "Yeah, I can believe that," he said. "It's not the tire - it's, um, it's a lot of things," she said, her voice starting to quiver again. "The tire's just the proverbial straw." He smiled at her. "I don't know what I can do about a lot of things, but...I can fix the straw." "That would be very nice, thank you," she said shyly. He crouched down and then glanced up at her. "Dirk Simon," he introduced himself. She offered her hand. "Oh, Beth Calavicci." "Oh! Italino?" "My husband," she explained, managing to stumble over the word without falling, "or his father, rather, was from Italy." "Too bad..." She smiled uncertainly. "Oh, you don't like Italians?" "Oh, no, no, I love Italians," he corrected, smiling up at her. "It's...it's too bad you have a husband." A warning bell started to go off at the comment, but she was feeling so hurt and vulnerable that she ignored it. Somewhere inside her she knew...this was the beginning of the end.