Chapter 7 Las Vegas, Nevada, April 21, 1955 11:03 AM After dropping off Sharon at her apartment, Sam went back to Norman's apartment to try to think how he was going to keep Bob from killing both Sharon AND him. Just the thought of it made Sam sweat all over. Where's Al? Sam thought to himself. It was now 11 o'clock, and it had been 3 hours since he'd seen Al. Sam sat down in an overstuffed chair in Norman's livingroom and stare in to space as he fret some more. Then he heard the sound of the imaging chamber door and shot up to face Al. "Where have you been, Al?!" "I've been with Beeks and Ziggy trying to figure out how to get you out of this mess! What do you think I was doing?!" "I don't know Al. I'm sorry. I'm just worried about tonight." "I know pal. I'm sorry it took so long, but in the middle of our brainstorming discussion I got a phone call." "Was it Beth?" "No! I wish it was." "Who was it then?" "Maxine, to ball me out about hanging up on her lawyer. Now she says she's going to sue me for everything I've got, including--and these were her exact words--"my ugly multi-colored wardrobe" if I don't grant her $10,000 more a year in alimony. Do you believe that?!" Sam started laughing. "It's not funny, Sam!" "Yes it is." Sam laughed some more. "What?! You don't like my clothes?" Trying not to laugh but smiling at Al. "I like your clothes Al. They're verrry--colorful." Then Sam started laughing again. "Oh, HA, HA." Al said as he glared at Sam. "What did you come up with?" Sam said as reality started to take hold of him again. Al, seeing the fear in his friend's eyes, couldn't be upset with him. He knew that by teasing him about his clothes was Sam's way to relieve the stress and fear that had been consuming him since this morning. "Well, after running some scenerios through Ziggy, we found one possible idea that has an 85.7% chance of working." "Only an 85.7% chance?" "I'm afraid so." "Well, what is it?" "You have to convince Sharon not to go see Bob tonight." "How do I do that? She's looking forward to seeing him tonight before he goes home." "I don't know, Sam. You'll think of something. But you have to keep Sharon away from Bob tonight." Sam thought for a few minutes. "Al--ask Ziggy what the odds are that if I convince Randy Johnson to take her out tonight, we won't get killed." "Okay Sam." Al consulted the handlink, hitting it when it didn't respond, which causing it to squeal in protest. "Sam, Ziggy says that only has a 55.6% chance of that working. In fact, she says that if Randy Johnson takes her out tonight, Bob will kill all of you." "All of us?!" "Yes." "Al, I don't understand this guy! What exactly makes this guy tick?!" "I don't know, Sam. If we knew that, we could stop him. You'd be surprised what jealousy does to some people though." "I know Al. I just can't understand how someone could kill someone they love because the person doesn't love them back. My mother always told me that 'if you love someone enough, you'll let them go'. Al, I don't know what this guy Bob thinks love is, but his idea of love is NOT love. I guess the only thing I can do is face him." Al consulted the handlink. "Sam, if you confront him, there's an 80.35% chance that he will kill you." Sam gulped; but at the same time, having a hard time swallowing. The fear he had felt earlier was consuming his thoughts and body once again. "It's my only chance, Al." Just then the phone rang, and Sam picked up the receiver. "Hello." "Norman, guess what?!" It was Sharon. "What?" "I ran into my old classmate, Randy Johnson, again. Remember I introduced you yesterday?" "Yeah." Well, he's coming along tonight too, if that's alright with you." Sam looked up at Al, and Al looked back in puzzlement. "Yes, but is that such a good idea Sharon?" "Why wouldn't it?" "Because of Bob." "Oh, that's the other thing I was going to tell you. He called me after you dropped me off at home; and said him and his army buddy decided to go to Reno tonight. He asked me if it would be all right if he could see me tomorrow night instead." "Tomorrow night?" The fear Sam was experiencing began to subside a little, but the words 'tomorrow night' stuck out in his mind. At least he'd have more time to figure out what to do; he hoped. "Is that all right with you, Norman?" "What, Sam?! What's going on?" Al asked with eagerness. "All right, Sharon, so we'll be meeting Bob tomorrow night instead at the same place and time?" Sam said trying to answer Al and Sharon at the same time. "Yes." "Okay... so what time are we meeting Randy?" "8 o'clock." "Do you still want me to pick you up?" "Sure." "What time?" "7 o'clock." Al was consulting the handlink as "Norman" and Sharon said their good-byes until later that evening. "Uh Oh." Al explaimed. "What?" "I don't understand it, Sam; but now Ziggy's saying that you, Sharon, and Randy are all going to disappear anytime between tonight and tomorrow night. And...Uh Oh." "What?" "...then in 1993, Norman, Sharon, and Randy's bodies were found...in the desert...between here and Reno." Sam and Al looked at each other. ***************************************************************************** Bethesda, Maryland, June 26, 2000 11:59 AM Beth had had the cab driver stop at an inn just outside of Bethesda, Maryland. She had checked in under the assumed name of Janice Montgomery to discourage Dirk from being able to find her; and the clerk had given her a strange when she didn't have any luggage with her. That was something she would ask Al to do for her when she talked to him, to pick her luggage up from the airport. She dug for her phone card and Al's phone number in her purse again and sat on the bed, grabbing the phone from the nightstand. She dialed 9 and continued to dial, using her phone card as her form of payment. The phone began to ring. "Hello, how may I direct your call?" The sultry voice of "the receptionist" asked. "Admiral Calavicci please." "And your name?" "Beth." "One moment, Beth, and I'll page him." Ziggy informed her. Sam and Al were still looking at each other in awe of Sam's predicament when Ziggy interrupted. "Admiral, a woman by the name of Beth is on the telephone." "Beth?" "What is is Al?" "Beth is on the phone." Al said as he opened the imaging chamber door. "Al, what am I going to do?" "I don't know, but sit tight and don't worry pal. We'll figure something out." "Well, what am I suppose to do in the meantime?" "I don't know. You could go try to find Randy Johnson and convince him to woo Sharon. According to Ziggy, that's still part of your mission." "How am I suppose to do that?" "I don't know, Sam. You'll figure it out." "Al!" But it was too late. Al had already shut the imaging chamber door and was on his way to speak with his one and only true love.