AUTHOR'S NOTE:  Special thanks to AMKT for pointing out that Beth was
taking thing too calmly, and to Monica, who pointed out a some awkward
spots that I had missed.

Chapter 5


	"Admiral," Ziggy addressed the Medical Director, "your husband wishes to
speak to you."

	"Yes, Al? You wanted to speak to me?"

	"No, honey.  I was just talking to Sam.  Tell Ziggy to mind her own beeswax."

	Verbena and Donna chuckled.  Beth smiled.  "Ziggy, pay more attention to
sentence syntax."

	The computer didn't respond.  Verbena hadn't expected her to.

	The three women sat alone.  Al had left, with Gushie, Tina, and Sammie Jo
in tow, to wake Sam.  Beth had just finished the report Verbena had given
her earlier.  She made no comment on the contents.

	Beth picked up a copy of the transcript of the initial meeting between
Leaper and Observer.  Though the older woman had been present in the
Control Room at that time, she was not aware of the full content of the

	Donna and Verbena exchanged worried looks.  Neither woman was entirely
convinced of Beth's emotional state.

	Verbena had read about cases involving nurses.  Several of the individuals
had, over the course of their careers, learned to shove their personal
problems aside to deal with the crisis at hand.  They could only do it for
so long, before the problems started to catch up and cause nervous breakdowns.

	It had been a number of years since the former admiral had been in a
situation as stressful to her as this: the missing Dr. Beckett, a husband
with a bizarre form of amnesia, the presence of her brother, and the news
of another life.  On an average leap, Beth never had to get too involved.
When she did, it wasn't likely to cause her severe distress.  Mostly, she
stood by Donna when things were rough, and helped out in the Waiting Room.

	Verbena watched as her boss turned visibly pale. *The part where Sam
reminded Al that he didn't even try to save the marriage the first time,*
Verbena guessed.  A quick look at Donna had confirmed that she had the same

	The psychiatrist waited patiently, fully expecting her to open her heart
to her friends.  Beth had already expressed a wish to speak to her in
reference to George.

	Beth closed the folder containing the transcript.  Without any preamble,
she turned to Verbena.  "I think you should check on the Visitor, Dr.
Beeks."  She handed the file on Al back to Verbena.

	Verbena, momentarily startled, looked her in the eyes.  Calm, still a
little pale, and no hint of faltering in her voice.  Beth never resembled
her father more than in that single moment.  Adam would have been proud.
"Are you all right, ma'am?" she asked, continuing in the same formal tone.

	"I'm fine, Dr. Beeks," she replied.  "I'll be in the Control Room.  Donna?"

	"I'll be there in a few minutes," Donna replied.

	Beth didn't even waver.  She knew what would happen when the door closed
behind her.  She nodded, turned, and left.

	"She's been married to him too long," Verbena commented drily, "She's
beginning to sound and act just like him."


	Al stepped into the Control Room and saw that, with the exception of Tina,
the staff was assembled.  His eyes immediately sought out his wife's face.
The small smile she gave him told Al that she was worried about something.

	Donna stepped forward and handed him something gold.  "Here, you left this
in Sam's office.  I didn't want you to lose the second one."

	Al felt a bizarre mixture of familiarity and strangeness as he slid the
wedding band on his finger.  "Thanks."

	"How is Sam?" Donna asked.  Even with the transcripts, Al's personal
observations were more meaningful to the staff.

	"Oh, he's fine, I guess.  He was a little troubled by his dreams though."



	"Speaking of which," Beeks said, from behind Beth, "I learned just
recently," here she gave Sammie Jo a reproving look.  The younger woman
winced. "That there is a chance that your daughters will be here, sometime
this week."

	"Ninety percent probability," the computer supplied.

	Al became uneasy.  The holes were filling and he was now able to remember
things like the first time he held Alberta, and Faith's wedding day.  But
it wasn't going to be enough.  "I suppose avoiding them would be out of the

	Verbena nodded.  "It would make them suspicious, and they would feel hurt."

	"It isn't Trudi, Hope, Faith, or the Whitmores we need to worry about,"
Sammie Jo interjected. "Bertie is the one with access to the project."

	Al had been watching Beth as Sammie Jo spoke.  Her brows were furrowed,
and she looked even more worried than before.  Verbena caught his eye and
she flashed a concerned look at Beth.

	"Is there any guarantee she'll be one of the party?" Beth was saying,
anxiously, to Sammie Jo.

	"No," chorused Ziggy and Sammie Jo.

	Al became all business.  "This can wait.  I'm sure we'll get some kind of
advanced warning before it happens."

	"But--" Sammie Jo started to protest.

	Al cut her off.  "We don't have time for this, folks.  Sam needs
information.  Sammie Jo, I want you, Donna, Gushie, and Ziggy to work on
Sam's situation."

	"What do you and Beth remember from 1960?" Donna asked.

	"Only what I put in the statement I made," Beth replied.

	"Same here," Al added.

	"Will this have any effect on your relationship in 1960?" Verbena asked.

	Al looked at this wife.

	As with Lenora's death, Kelly's hit her hard.  More so, because she was
closer to the read-head.  Al had been close to her, too.  She was one of
the few women he hadn't had to have a sexual relationship with to be close
to, or love.  As far as what the impact would be, if Sam saved her life, Al
wasn't entirely sure.  "Well, we were already in love by then."  He
continued to watch her.  Beth gave him another small smile.  "I don't think
she could change that."

	Beth nodded in agreement.  "She liked us, but she never had any designs on

	"Mrs. Calavicci?"

	"Yes, Ziggy?"

	"Dr. Hood is waiting for you in the infirmary.  I believe you have an
appointment to finish reviewing the hand receipts, Admiral."

	"Tell him I'm on my way.  Donna, if you need me for anything, I'll be in
my office the rest of the day."  She gave Al another smile and left the
Control Room.

	Before Donna or Verbena spoke, Al turned to Gushie.  "Where's Tina?"

	"Uh. . . .Running maintenance checks on Ziggy, sir," the little man
replied nervously.  "Would you like me to send for her?"

	"No, she's doing exactly what I wanted her to do."  One of the very first
changes that came over him was, he now saw Tina as nothing more than a
co-worker, a part of Sam's team.  It was eerie at first, but as more and
more memories started to change, he began to think of her in the same way
he thought of Sammie Jo.  After all, Tina was only a few years older than
his own daughters.

	"Al?" Verbena said, calling for his attention.

	"What's up?"

	"Donna and I are worried about Beth.  She seems to be handling things too

	"I think, for my sake," Donna added, "She's been keeping herself together,
just in case."

	"And I think she's starting to lose grip, now that we have a lock on Sam
and things are returning to . . . normal here," Verbena 
put in.

	Al nodded.  "She seemed fine earlier this morning, but she did look
anxious to me, too, just now." He paused.  "Well, Beeks?"

	He obviously startled her.  "Don't hover over her.  You hover over people
too much, Al.  It's more annoying than anything."


	"Now what?"

	"Your administrative assistant, Ms. McNeill,  requests your 
presence in your office."

	"What's she doing working on a Sunday?" Al asked.

	"Well, you haven't been in the office for the last few days, so I told her
not to work," Donna explained.


	"Well, now you have a perfect excuse to hang around the offices." Verbena
pointed out.

	"Yes, do some paperwork before Ann Marie starts a mutiny," Donna added,

	"Right.  Let me know when Sam wakes up."

	Once in the corridor, he asked, "Did anything change regarding Ann Marie?"

	"No, Admiral.  She still knows what Project Quantum Leap is all about;
however, she is unaware of the events that transpired in the last few days."

	*Good.* Things were already confusing enough in his life.  It was nice to
know some things hadn't changed.

	The first thing he noticed as he entered the main office are, was the
stack of videos sitting on the corner of Ann Marie's desk.  On top of the
stack, were those party hats with the annoying rubber band straps.  Ann
Marie was nowhere in sight.

	Before Al could get nosey, the young woman emerged from the back
conference room.

	"Good morning, Admiral," Ann Marie said cheerfully.

	"Good morning, Ann Marie," Al replied.  "Is it someone's birthday today?
I've been out of touch the last few days."  Al made 
it a point of personally wishing a happy birthday to every member of the
project.  Unlike other organizations, Al encouraged birthday parties,
holiday parties, and luncheons.  It was good for morale, and the morale at
Project Quantum Leap was very important.  Besides, Al loved parties.

	Ann Marie looked slightly confused as she led the way into his office.
"No, sir.  Not that I'm aware of.  Dr.  Fuller's is on the 15th.  March is
a slow month for birthdays.  Why do you ask?"

	"Oh, I saw the party hats on your desk."

	"Oh!" she said coloring slightly.  "That.  We're having a mini movie
marathon, in honor of our favorite actor.  It's his birthday today, sir."

	Al couldn't keep up with who was the hunk du jour, so he didn't bother
asking.  "Ah.  Who's we?"

	"Oh, mostly just a bunch of us ladies from Records, Research, Program and
Budget, Personnel, and maybe Dr. Fuller, if she's available later."

	"Well, I'll try not to keep you here long, especially on a Sunday."

	"Oh, I don't mind, sir," Ann Marie replied turning her attention to the
stack of paperwork for his signature.  She proceeded to go over, briefly,
every item requiring his signature.

	Al signed the leave request forms, the only items not requiring a closer
examination, first.

	She took them from him.  "Last month's status report will be ready
shortly, sir.  I'll come back for the rest of this when I bring the report."

	As she turned to leave, Al said, "Inform me when my wife returns to her
office, please?"

	"Yes, sir."

	Once the door closed behind her, Al looked around.  The walls were covered
with pictures of his daughters, Faith's children, his nieces and their
families, and art work from his two-year-old grandson,  Jackson Beckett,
Jr.  On his desk, was a recent black and white photo of his wife. *Probably
Edward's handiwork.*

	He studied the woman in the photograph, and began to wonder what he could
do about the present circumstances.

	The first few years of their marriage hadn't changed.  Yet, anyway.  They
had spent them constantly apart.  The rest still had too many holes, but it
was safe to bet that things had been rough.  Four daughters, one a
certified genius, came with a whole catalog of possible opportunities for
marital woes.

	In 1985, according to Ziggy (since his memories were still fuzzy), Adam
responding to the pressure of certain politicians who wanted Bertie in a
think tank, finally told them the truth.  Al realized that wouldn't have
made all things easier: on the one hand, the girls were well-provided for,
should anything ever happen to their parents; on the other hand, such an
announcement opened a whole new can of worms.  It was also at this point,
still according to Ziggy (and Sam), that Al first met Sam; however, the two
families had known each other for years, through Tom and his family.  Sam's
deep involvement in his work and school had kept him from meeting Al and
his family until that fateful day at Project Star Bright.

	Regardless of how rough it might have been, somehow they managed to stay
together.  Al was honest enough to admit that he was an expert on ‘how to
ruin a marriage in three easy steps'.  But he loved Beth, always had and
always would. Miraculously, he must have done something right.  He knew the
little things made her happy: helping around the house without being asked,
surprising her with flowers or cards, or a romantic stroll along the beach.
 Even before he was shot down, Al would surprise her, if she had to work
late, by cooking dinner and doing the dishes.  Those were the types of
things that sometimes made all the difference in a marriage.

	Somewhere along the way, they must have reach a point where the biggest
issues were whose turn it was to go for the dry cleaning in town, or who
gets to use the shower first.

	*Though, that doesn't seem to be an issue at all.*

	He looked at the picture again.  The best thing to do, would be 
to get away from the project for a few days.  Al could kick himself for not
coming to terms with things days ago, so they could have had time together
without worrying about Sam.

	*Beth wouldn't have left Donna while Sam's fate was unknown,* Al thought.
*Neither would I, come to think of it.*

	There was always their home, just a few miles up the road, 
outside Stallion Springs.  With the possibility of house guests, that was
ruled out as well. *Back to square one.*

	"Admiral?" Ziggy said, softly.

	Al still jumped.  "Yeah?"

	"I would suggest that you finish the paperwork Ms. McNeill has left you,
before she returns with the report."

	Al sighed, and turned his attention back to the paperwork.

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

	Beth returned to the main office area, noting Ann Marie busy at her
computer terminal, and the door to Al's office closed.

	"Is there anything you need, ma'am?" the younger woman asked her.

	Beth shook her head before entering her office.  She left her door open,
as was her habit.

	She sank gratefully into her chair and propped her head up with one hand.

	Her head hurt.

	From the first moment Sam had ‘disappeared' a few days ago, Beth had put
her own emotions and concerns to one side for Donna's, and Al's, sake.  Her
years as a critical care nurse had taught her that; it was second nature.

	Now, it was business as usual: Sam had ‘reappeared', a Visitor was in the
Waiting Room, and Donna could once again receive up-to-the-minute reports
on her husband.  Al, it appeared, had come to grips with the situation, now
that Sam had reassured him.

	Ziggy's words echoed in her aching head.

	^* "In 1969, after the death of Marine Corporal Andrew Lewis, you met a
lawyer, Dirk Simon at the Marina.  Shortly after, convinced that your
husband was dead, you had the Navy officially Killed in Action, and married
Mr. Simon.  In the Spring of 1996, Dr. Beckett leaped into the narcotics
detective, Jake Rawlins.  The admiral attempted to alter that history, and
was unsuccessful."*^

	There was more, but that alone was more than enough.  She could not
believe what she was told.

	*Declared Al dead?*

	*Married that lawyer?*

	Al had always been afraid of being abandoned, and she had done just that,
however unintentionally.  Instead of loathing her, he went on loving her
and even tried to get her back.  Sam wouldn't do it.

	^* "Beth, I don't think I'm supposed to be here."*^

	But something made him change his mind, and here she was.  But the man she
had spent the last twenty-seven years with had disappeared in a blink of an

	*Yet he's still here, too.*

	The man who had made love to her earlier had made her feel young and
desirable. The passion brought back memories of their honeymoon and the
days after he was repatriated.  Not that she *ever* had any reason to
complain.  Years of listening to her divorced (and still-married) friends,
she realized she was one of the lucky ones.  Of all the reasons that she
could come up with for divorcing Al, lack of interest was never one of them.

	But this man had four broken marriages and a string of infidelities with
his girlfriend.  As long as Al still remembered the old past, there were
plenty of opportunities to hurt her, even if it was unintentional, and the
possibility existed that he could grow tired of her and seek out
entertainment elsewhere.

	Then there were the girls.  Al and their daughters shared a close bond.
Al had always been a good father.  Having help raised his sister, had made
him a natural.  After Nam, Al served less time on sea duty, and by the time
Bertie was born in 1976, both of them had jobs with more- or-less stable
hours.  This allowed them both to be there for the children more than they
would have had they not changed their career paths slightly.  It would
break her heart if Al suddenly became a stranger to his own daughters.

	To top all this off, Sam had leaped into her own brother.  Even if George
didn't recognized her, she could not tell her about his daughters.  She
couldn't tell him about Theresa's death, or about Theresa's son, Michael.
He couldn't know about Georgia or her daughter, Aurora.  He wasn't allowed
to know that Alessandra had suffered through two miscarriages and was now
nearly full-term with his second grandson.  He would never believe that his
father had loved him to the day he died, no matter what George did in the
years to come.  And she couldn't tell him she was his sister.

	And if her nieces did come to New Mexico, she would never be able to tell
them their father was close by.

	Beth was tired.  She was tired of this project.  She would never voice her
thoughts to anyone about this.  She wanted to retire.  She wanted Al to
teach her golf.  Spend time with her grandchildren, Jack and little
Theresa.  Take the *Sea Princess* (the yacht her father left her and Al)
and cruise the Med with her husband.

	But as long as Sam continued to leap, Al would not leave the project.  And
leaving Al because of this, was unfair and somewhat selfish: Sam was a
friend in need of Al's help; if it wasn't for that, Al would have left the
project long ago.

	Beth's head was pounding harder with every thought.

	Without preamble, Beth burst into tears.

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

	Al signed the last evaluation as Ann Marie came in with the report.  "Here
you go, sir.  I've marked the places where you might be interested in
reviewing first."

	"Thanks.  Is she back yet?"

	"No, sir.  Anything else I can do for you?"

	"Uh, no thanks, Ann Marie.  You can leave for the day, if you want."

	"I still have a few things I need to catch up with, sir, so I'll still be
out there if you need anything," she replied heading for the door.  "I'll
let you know if Admiral Calavicci returns."


	His assistant was the post-it queen.  She not only marked the spots, but
the post-it notes also had summaries of what he was looking at written on
them.  In a relatively short time, he read the report and signed it.  He
tossed it in his Out box.

	He got up from his desk and looked at the pictures on the walls.  With his
hands in his pockets, and peering at each picture, he resembled a tourist
in a museum.  Al had hoped the pictures would jog his memory.  Some did,
some didn't.

	The door opened behind him.  "Your wife's back in her office, sir."

	"Thanks, Ann Marie."

	Al didn't want to run right over.  He would wait a few minutes and
casually drop in on her.  Make lunch arrangements.  Discuss the possibility
of getting away next weekend.

	He was about to call up Ziggy, but decided against it.  He really didn't
want to spy on his wife.

	He went back to his desk and noticed something furry on the computer stand
behind his chair.  At first he thought it was a cat, but it was the wrong
color to be Ferdinand.

	Al peered at it and realized what it was.  Unless he was mistaken, there
were four Tribbles on his stand.  They immediately brought the classic
episode to mind: Kirk's expression, as he stood buried in a mound of the
furry creatures, was priceless.

	Someone had taken the time to put miniature bows on a tuft of hair of each
Tribble.  Al knew what the four Tribbles, each with a different bow, was
meant to represent: the red was Alberta (it was her favorite color), the
pea-green with neon orange polka dots was Trudi (she looked the most like
Beth), the white lace was Hope (who looked enough like Lady Catherine
Whitmore to pass as her sister), and the black with shot through with gold
was Faith.

	Al chuckled, and picked up ‘Trudi', who began to purr.  "Ain't that a kick
in the butt," he murmured, amazed.

	The door banged open, and Ann Marie stood in the doorway with a concerned
look on her face and a box of tissues in her hands.  "Sorry, sir, but your
wife's in tears!"

	Al strode out of his office, with Ann Marie on his heels.  He startled two
young ladies standing at his assistant's desk as he marched across the main
reception area and into his wife's office.  He didn't even pause to yell at
Ziggy for not warning him.

	Beth's head was buried in her folded arms, her body shook with her sobs.

	Al tried to moved toward her, but Ann Marie was trying to pry something
from his grip.  He released the forgotten Tribble, and his assistant handed
him a wad of tissues.

	"Close down for the day," he ordered her, without turning.

	"Yes, sir," she replied softly.

	Al gathered up his sobbing wife into his arms.  She immediately clung to
him.  If it wasn't for the fact Donna sometimes needed a shoulder to cry
on, Al would have been severely out of practice with this.

	He didn't try to speak to her.  He just held on and let her cry.

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

	Al studied the makeup stain on his jacket and wondered if the dry cleaners
would be able to get it out.  Not that it worried him.  He had more than
one set of dress whites.

	Al had changed out of his uniform in the closet, so he would disturb his
sleeping wife.

	"Admiral?"  The computer was taking pains not to speak too loud.  Even so,
Al closed the door before answering the machine.

	"Why didn't you warn me that she was crying?" he snapped.

	"You had requested that Ms. McNeill keep you informed of Admiral
Calavicci.  I felt my services were not required."  Ziggy sounded slighted.

	"You're upset that I asked Ann Marie and not you?"

	The computer did not answer.

	"All right.  What's so important that it couldn't wait?"

	"First, Dr. Beckett has awakened."

	"Great.  Tell them I'm on my way."

	"Second, Dr. Beeks is in the corridor.  She is concerned about Admiral

	"So am I, Ziggy, so am I," he replied as he pulled on the dove grey jacket
over his white shirt.  When he had picked it out earlier, he ‘remembered'
it was Beth's favorite.

	"Third, I have confirmed that your four daughters, two nieces, and all
their spouses and children will be arriving in New Mexico.  I have received
a flight plan from Dr. Calavicci's pilot.  The Lear will be landing at this
compound sometime within the next four to six hours."

	*Great.*  "Anything on the leap?"

	"Only what was in the investigation reports and the newspapers.  However,
I determined that Dr. Beckett must manipulate Lt. Hardy's social engagement
for this evening."

	"Gee, thanks Ziggy.  I could have told Sam that right from the beginning,"
he told the computer drily, opening the door.

	Al approached the sleeping figure and placed a kiss on her forehead.

	As informed, Beeks was waiting.  He saw her push the elevator's call
button (a pointless gesture as Ziggy could send the elevator herself) when
he stepped into the hall.  He thought about taking the stairs, in an
attempt to avoid her, but he was concerned for his wife and she was the
best person to talk to about that.

	"How is she?"

	"She's sleeping now.  I gave her something for her headache."

	"Did you give her sleeping pills?"

	"No.  She's was tired already, Verbena.  Emotionally, 
physically, and mentally.  She talked herself to sleep."

	Beth had voices her fears, and the other things that had been on her mind
for the last few days.  Al had held on to her and listened.  Many of the
things she said were on his mind as well.  She wanted to get away from the
project, too.  He told Beeks some of what she told him.

	Beeks listened and then asked the inevitable, "And how are you handling
things, Al?"

	He didn't answer.


	"Look, Verbena, I'm fine.  Really.  I'm just worried about Sam and Beth.
Right now, I have to go see Sam and tell him his brain-child wants him to
‘manipulate Lt. Hardy's social engagement'.  As a favor to me, would you
look in on Beth, please?  If she wakes, will you tell her the girls are
definitely coming?"

	Verbena sighed.  "Yes, Al."

	As they entered the Control Room, Al asked, "How's George?"

	"Still ranting.  He wants to speak to someone in charge, so Donna went in.
 He insists on seeing the admiral."

	"David Robinson doesn't work here," Al replied, drily.  It earned him a
dirty look from Verbena.  Robinson, an Annapolis graduate, played for the
San Antonio Spurs, and was nicknamed, ‘the Admiral'.  "So, what does he want?"

	"The same thing they all want: to leave the Waiting Room and go back
home," replied Donna.  "I explained things to him and he's still not

	"Too bad," Al remarked.  With everything else that was happening,
pampering the Visitor was on the bottom of his list.  Even if it was his
own brother-in-law and former best friend.  "So, any ideas on ‘manipulating
the social engagement'?"

	Tina, of all people, spoke up.  "Like, why not a double date?"

	"Safety in numbers?" Donna asked.

	Tina nodded and handed Al the link.  "All checked out."

	"But, according to the reports it wasn't even the boyfriend," Sammie Jo
pointed out.

	"Well, we'll find out for sure, won't we,"

	"If this doesn't work, we can always go back to the kidnaping scenario,"
Sammie Jo remarked as Al head for the Imaging Chamber door.

	"Very funny, Sammie Jo.  I'll tell him you said that."