Chapter 11


	"That's it," Donna announced angrily, entering the conference room where
Beth and Verbena sat, quietly discussing the events of the past few days.
Donna had just come from the Waiting Room.  

"Bena, I'm through trying to talk to that--" She caught herself.

	Beth gave her friend an understanding smile.  Donna plopped down in the
seat next to Beth, rubbing her forehead.  "If Al wasn't with Sam right now,
I'd drag him down to the Waiting Room to deal with his friend, personally."

	"There is another way," Verbena informed them.

	Beth knew what she meant by that.  After all, she and Beeks had just
discussed the possibility of visiting the Waiting Room, if she was up to it.

	Donna snorted, still a little angry.  "If she goes down there, he'll treat
her the same way he did you, me, and Sammy Jo."

	"Ah, but Beth has an advantage over us," Verbena pointed out.

	"What? Sibling hood?"

	"No, Donna.  George wants to speak to the admiral.  Let's give him one."

	Donna smiled, quizzically, "Of course!  Why didn't I think of that?"

	"Are you up to it, hon?" Beeks asked Beth.

	Beth sat back, considering.  If she didn't do this now, she may never get
the chance again.  And she would regret it, if she was still able to
remember that Sam had leaped into him.  Beth nodded, slowly.  "Al's always
saying he wished he could get the same chance Sam had, to spend time with
his sister and his father again, Bena.  I shouldn't throw this chance away."

	Beeks patted her hand.  "You'll be fine.  If it gets to be too much for
you, just leave."

	Beth stood up.  "Well, I better not dwaddle.  Sam could leap at any moment."

	"There is one thing, Beth." Verbena said, also standing.


	"It won't do any good to go in there and claim to be an admiral, if you
don't look the part.  Heck, any of us could say we're admirals.  I think
you should change into your uniform."  Donna nodded in agreement.

	Beth thought about it.  She never considered herself a real admiral.  Real
admirals commanded ships and troops, not hospitals.  Al was her idea of an
admiral, and he would be George's too, for that matter.  If nothing else,
the uniform would serve to distract George, and prevent him from being less
than respectful.  "I guess you're right."

	* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

	A short while later, Beth moved purposely through the corridors of the
project, to the Waiting Room.  The two Marine guards outside, came to
attention and saluted her.  If they were surprised, they never showed it.

	The door slid open and she found herself face-to-face, literally, with
Sam's aura.

	Beth gasped, startled.

	The Marine guard reacted, instantly, drawing their weapons and flanking
Beth.  George stepped back several steps into the room, never taking his
eyes off the weapons.  He had no way of knowing they were tranquilizers.

	Beth signaled to them, and they holstered their weapons.  The immediate
threat gone, one returned to his post, the other stayed at her side, watchful.

	George came to attention and saluted her.  She did not return it.  Hands
clasped behind her back, she advanced into the room, trailed by the Marine.

	Though Al was more at ease with commanding, it was in Beth's blood.  She
gave the man wearing Sam's aura a cool, once-over.  "What, precisely, were
you doing, lieutenant?"

	"I was attempting to open the door . . ." He appeared to struggle with
what to call her: sir or ma'am.  "Admiral," he finally said, firmly.

	"Why?" she demanded.

	"Because I believed I was being held against my will, Admiral."

	There was no recognition in his voice or his expression.  Beth was
actually disappointed.  "You believe you are a prisoner, lieutenant?"

	"Yes, Admiral."

	"Lt. Whitmore-Jones," she said crisply.  "I was led to believe that you
were briefed about certain things concerning your stay here.  Am I correct?"

	"Yes, Admiral."

	"I was also told that you repeatedly demanded to speak with someone in
charge, and when  the situation here was further explained, you still
demanded to leave this room.  Am I correct?"

	He didn't answer as quick.  "Yes, Admiral.  I was told there was an
admiral here and requested several times to speak with you."

	Beth pinched her own wrist, still hidden behind her back, to keep a
straight face.  "No, lieutenant, I am not the one the others were referring
to.  That admiral is my husband.  He's been busy, lately, and relies on the
others to carry out their duties here in the Waiting Room, without having
to respond to every crisis they encounter.  He can't always make a personal
appearance."  This was only partially true.  This leap, and the
circumstances surrounding Sam's previous one, had kept Al from the Waiting

	She gauged George's reaction to her explanation before continuing.  "You
cannot leave this room, lieutenant.  You will cooperate with Dr. Beeks. You
will not make demands.  You may ask questions, but do not expect answers.
If my husband does make an appearance, because you have caused his staff
more problems, I assure you now, he'll make you regret it.  Do I make
myself perfectly clear, lieutenant?"

	George clenched his jaw.  "Yes, Admiral," he replied through gritted teeth.

	She sighed.  This wasn't going the way she had hoped.  The admiral facade
dropped, and she crossed her arms over her breasts.  "Oh, George."

	He looked at her in confusion.  In her mind's eye, she pictured the look
on George's face, not the aura's.

	"May I ask the admiral to identify herself?" he asked hesitantly.

	Beth didn't answer.  She just smiled.

	An instant look of recognition spread across Sam's features.  "Beth?"
George said weakly, nearly missing the chair behind him as he sat down

	She nodded and took a seat across from him.  The Marine guard retreated to
the door, but did not exit.

	George continued to gape.  "So  . . . Donna? . . .was telling 
me the truth?  This is the future?"

	Beth nodded.

	"What happens to me?"

	"I'm not at liberty to tell you that, George.  I'm sorry."

	"How did you ever end up on a project like this?"  He didn't seem to
notice she hadn't answered his question.

	Beth carefully worded the answer.  "My husband and Dr. Beckett are very
good friends."  She knew what the next question out of his mouth would be.

	He didn't disappoint her.  "Who's your husband?"

	George had told her that he'd always known, from the very moment he met
her, she would be the one Al would marry.  This leap would just reinforce
that belief in his mind.  Beth just smiled again.

	Again, George knew the meaning behind the smile.  "So, Al's an admiral.
You know, I told my father once that Al would one day wear stars.  How many?"


	"What are his chances at the fourth?"

	Beth laughed.  "Zero.  They don't promote retirees, George."

	He winced.  "And you?"

	"The same.  Besides, it was rare that they promote a nurse to three, let
alone four, George."  She always suspected the reason behind her third star
had something to do with her parentage.  It irked her, but it also put her
in a position to do things that improved both the nurse corps and the Navy
medical community.

	He studied her, still a little awed by the revelation, for several
minutes.  She endured his scrutiny.  Beth and Verbena had discussed whether
or not to mention the relationship to George.  Based on his reaction to the
news, originally, Beeks wanted to discuss the father/son relationship with
George first.  Since he had given her a hard time, she never got the
opportunity.  Beth promised that she would not tell him, until Beeks gave
the go-ahead.

	"You're not going to answer my questions, are you?" George said, suddenly.

	"It depends on what you ask.  Most Visitors ask question we cannot answer."

	"Is JP all right?"

	Beth smiled.  "Don't worry.  Sam's a medical doctor and he wouldn't let
anything happen to JP while he's there.  And he's not the reason Sam's in

	George sighed in relief.  "Well, I guess I should just sit back and relax."

	"Is there anything else?"

	"Since you can't reveal my future, and the past is filled with holes,
there really isn't much to talk about, is there?"

	"No, there isn't."  Regretfully, she stood up to leave.  He automatically
rose with her.

	"When you see Al," George said, hesitantly.  "Say hi for me.  Oh, and
congratulate him for me on his stars.  You too, by the way." He grinned
suddenly.  "I suppose I could work on my Best Man toast, couldn't I?"

	Beth smiled, fondly.  "Yes, you could.  And thank you. You won't see me
again, before Sam leaps out, George, so I'll say good-bye now."  Then Beth
did something that surprised both of them.  She gave him a quick kiss on
the cheek, and left.


	Al crossed into the Control Room, trying to keep his temper. *I warned him.*

	After informing Sam of Kelly's fate, Al had Ziggy center him on the nurse
to hear her side of the conversation.  She never once mentioned the
incident with ‘George' to Henry.

	On a hunch, Al also dropped in on Henry , after checking back with Sam,
letting him know where he was going and what Kelly had said.  Al was hoping
to catch him doing something, anything, he and Sam could use.

	The guy had his nose stuck in a book.  Some electrics manual, Al supposed.
 Henry had approximately five minutes from the time he hung up on Kelly to
the time Al showed up, to either make another phone call or hide anything
that would point fingers.   Al hung around for half an hour watching him
read, and trying to find some incriminating evidence.  Al even checked
outside his apartment, looking for henchmen monitoring Henry's every more.
Nothing screamed "Mafia", so Al reported back to Sam his lack of findings,
and returned to the project.

	"Ziggy," Al called, handing the link to Tina, "What do you have?"

	Ziggy had the good sense not to play dumb.  "I have recently checked into
Mr. Carson's financial situation.  He is currently living above his
reported income."

	"Don't we all?"

	"And he pays for many luxury items in cash."

	"So?  Maybe he doesn't like banks or plastic?"

	"His car, for instance."

	That caught Al by surprise.  "That's more like it.  But it's not really
enough.  We need hard evidence.  Something Sam can get his hands on, with
little or no difficulties."

	"I will continue my research, Admiral.  Anything else?"

	"Yeah.  Do you have the files on the most recent version of her death?"

	"Yes, Admiral."


	"The circumstances are identical to the original history."

	Al narrowed his eyes.  "How identical?"

	"Same restaurant, same scenario in the parking lot with Mr. Carson's old
friend, the airtight alibi Mr. Carson. Mr. Carson and his friend spent
several hours at the bar."  She paused.  "Before you ask, Admiral.  It will
still take me three days to compile the data on him and present a plausible

	"Damn!  I've got to find away for Sam to convince Kelly not to go tonight."

	"Admiral, I predict a 100% probability of failure."

	Donna and Beth entered the Control Room.  Al noticed his wife's uniform
and troubled expression.  "I heard history changed, Al."

	Al nodded grimly.  "What's with the uniform?"  As soon as he asked, it
occurred to him that Sam may have affected history in a way that influenced
her choice of clothing earlier.

	"I just came from visiting George.  He won't give Bena a hard time, now."

	Donna went to confer with Ziggy and Gushie.  Al pulled Beth to one side
and she related the encounter in the Waiting Room.  "I'm glad I did it, Al,
but I also wish that he and I had more things to talk about."

	"It's rough, I know," he told her soothingly, "but you've got a chance to
do something other's can only wish for and dream about."

	Her expression became thoughtful.  "JP.  I'd like to see him, if you could
manage that."

	"I'll see what I can do, honey."

	"Al, " Donna called.

	Al and Beth walked over to the main terminal.  "I think it would be best,"
Donna announced, "if Sam let's her go on the date, and the pair of you wait
in ambush for her attackers."

	He hated that solution, but the more Al thought about it, the more he
realized it was the only option left.  He sighed.  "All right.  Sam's with
JP at the moment.  We'll still run the scenarios and do the research.  If,
by 1700 hours, Pensacola time, we've got nothing concrete, I'll advice Sam
of the plan."


	Sam had a rough day, and he knew it was going to get worse.

	Al had left him, earlier, without verbally telling him ‘I told you so',
and Sam went to visit JP.  Not long after, while he was reading to JP, Al
appeared again this time with Beth.

	The couple ignored him, and instead, stood silently watching JP as Sam
read aloud.  Forewarned of the relationship, Sam realized that this was
Beth's only chance at seeing the man she knew was her paternal grandfather,
while he still lived.  They stayed for about fifteen minutes and then left.

	Sam returned to the barracks and was sitting on the steps, replaying the
events that transpired in front of the Nurses' barracks.  Al had been right
and Sam had cut their research time from six days to six hours.  Sam hadn't
seen the Observer since the brief visit with JP.

	Sam did see Al though.  Not long after getting back to the pilot's
barracks, the familiar black corvette pulled into the lot.  Beth was
pulling the double shifts on Sunday, so the couple had dinner, and then she
had retired for the evening.  Al came and sat by him for a few minutes,
listening to him try to explain the situation with Kelly.  The young pilot
was sufficiently upset when Sam told him what he suspected about Henry.  Al
asked him if he could prove it.  Sam admitted that he couldn't.  Without
proof, Al the younger was reluctant to make a move.

	Now Sam was alone again.

	He hauled himself up and headed for the car.  He decided on going back to
the barracks and try again.

	There were certain leaps, Sam recalled, when he had revealed his true
identity without dire consequences, as a last ditch effort to right the
wrong.  He didn't know if it would work or not, but he was desperate enough
 to give it a try.

	He was halfway there when Al popped in beside him.  Al looked exhausted.
Sam knew, without asking, that the Observer had spent the last five hours
or so, tracking down evidence.

	"Anything?" Sam asked quietly.

	"Henry has some unusual banking and buying habits.  Ziggy can't say for
sure where that extra money is coming from.  He could be taking bribes or
embezzling.  Sorry, Sam."

	"Don't apologize, Al.  It's my fault we've lost a week."

	"The current consensus from the project is that we ambush her attacker at
Bob's Diner."  Al looked out the window, realizing where they were headed.
"Why are you going back?"

	"I'm going to tell her who I am, Al."

	"Sam- -"

	"Please, Al, don't get on my case.  It's worked before, without causing

	Sam expected an argument.  Either Al was too tired to argue, or he wasn't
going to waste his breath arguing about something he believed wasn't going

	Kelly, as it turned out, refused to see him.

	Sam didn't push the issue.  George was already going to have his hands
full when he returned.  There was no point in making things worse.  As Sam
walked back to the car, where the Observer stood, he wondered if he had
leaped into the most appropriate person to accomplish this leap.  

	"I guess we do the ambush thing, huh?" Al commented quietly.  It was the
closest he came to telling him off.

	"I've leaped into the wrong person, Al" Sam told his Observer, leaning
against the car.

	"You don't get to choose who you leap into, Sam.  That's not stopped you
before.  What makes this so different?'

	"Everything.  I screwed up this leap.  I'm so sorry, Al"

	"Sam, we still have a chance to save her tonight."

	Sam shook his head.  "We don't know how many, or who, had a hand in this
plot.  I have a feeling that if we try to ambush her, we'll scare off the
plotters.  We'll be back to her dying next weekend or worse, they'll come
after me." Sam looked over at the barracks.  "There's only one person who
can save Kelly's life," he commented.

	"Who?" Al asked, quizzically.

	Sam didn't answer.  He stood up straight, abruptly, startling Al.  Ziggy
was chirping frantically.  Sam knew why.  The all-too familiar sensations
of a leap out washed over him.

	"Al, I'm leaping!"


~This isn't over yet.  One more chapter....