Date: April 1, 1999

     In a flurry of electrical energy, he arrived.  The first thing he
saw was a garlic and onion bagel, loaded with cream cheese.  The first
thing he heard was a voice issuing over a speaker system. 
     "All persons without proper identification will be charged with
trespassing."  The voice was atonal, a recording probably.  He looked
around, stunned.  It had actually WORKED.  For once, they hadn't been
lying to him.  This wasn't just another test--another attempt to
torture him or abuse him to the point where he quit the program.  No,
this time it was absolutely real. It had actually worked.

He had just traveled through time.  

     Here he was, sitting in a cafeteria.  He was someplace completely
different from where he'd been seconds before.  He closed his eyes, to
give himself time to adjust to a new reality, and felt a smile crossing
his lips. The nightmare was over--the weeks and months of refusing to
give into the harsh training program were finally complete.  His life,
from now on, would be hard--but it would be a piece of cake compared to
where he had already come from and what he had already gone through to
get here.
     Speaking of his lips, he wondered if they really looked like
someone else's, now.  He had never quite believed the idea of looking
like someone else in the past by stepping into someone else's aura--or
stepping his aura into someone else's body (the technicians claimed
that for some reason, it was never clear which it was).  He supposed
he'd have to go and check a mirror in a minute or two and see if they
were correct about the reality, if not the theory behind it.
     The moment of travel had been instantaneous, at least, just as
they had promised it would be.  One breath THERE...and the next a
tingle of electrical energy and he was HERE.  That was a relief, the
first positive thing that had occurred since this whole psychotic mess
had started.  The pain, the torture he had received was unbelievable,
and it hadn't changed anything.  "Incapable of helping with
Adjustments," they had labeled
     They'd locked him away again, and left him alone in one of those
damn blue-lighted rooms.  God, how he hated those places.  At the time,
he'd nearly given up, but now he knew that telling him he was worthless
was merely another game in their sadistic attempts to either drive him
out of the program or turn his mind into something they could use. He
decided once more that if he ever got home--truly home and not merely
back to where he came from--


     The voice in his head was his own, he was sure of that. 
Nevertheless, it had sounded very similar to the voice of the
computer--without inflection and with just a hint of impending doom for
anyone who refused to listen.  He hoped he was sure it was his own
voice, anyway.  He had never understood why a computer with that much
intelligence refused to have any personality.  After all, it had a
NAME, for crying out loud.  It was self-aware, wasn't it?  So how come
the computer had never gained a personality?  Why was it just called...
just called...

He had no idea what the computer's name was.

     He HAD known it, before.  He was sure of that.  But now, suddenly,
he had lost it.  He hoped that wasn't the only thing he'd forgotten. 
He'd heard stories of those who failed or forgot--and he was as
terrified of the punishments as anyone else in the program had been.

     "All personnel leaving the project this weekend will report to the
exit officer by 1800 hours today.  This is an order."

     He opened his eyes and looked around the cafeteria as he started
replaying the mental list of what he needed to know.  Instantly, he
realized how bad the change had truly been.
     He had no idea what his name was.  He knew WHO he was...kind of,
anyway.  He was a doctor--actually, he held several doctorates, of
varying degrees.  He was here change something, yes, that was
right.  To put things right, to make sure the future was the correct
version.  He went on to see what else he remembered.  He wasn't from
here--he was a time traveler.  What had they called it?

That's right.  He was a leaper.  

     He smiled, as other pieces fell into place. He had proven them
wrong, and won the tests they gave him, the ones designed to knock him
out of the running for good.  He had proven that he was PERFECT for the
adjustment, that no one else would EVER BE as strong a candidate as--
     "Now what is that smile all about, honey?  I hope it's cause we're
going to Tahoe for the weekend."  Suddenly there was a flurry of
movement, a dazzling display of glittering jewelry and fair skin as a
woman sat down next to him.  She was dynamically pretty, and he
realized that she had asked the question.

And she'd asked it to him.

     "So," she continued, her voice a silky purr.  "Come on,
honey--you're grinning from ear to ear, so spill."  Her eyes flashed
with amusement and then concern and then anger, almost faster than he
could follow.  "It's not because of the new secretary is it?"  Even in
anger, her voice was designed to melt men's hearts.  "I swear," she
growled, "if your eyes have started to roam one more time, I am going
to lock you out of our bedroom forever and write out the divorce
proceedings tomorrow!"  He watched, helpless as the woman beside him
became more and more excited.  Finally, when she paused just long
enough to take a breath, he spoke.
     "No, no, no.  You have it all wrong.  Um. baby."  Her mouth
clamped shut and her eyes narrowed slightly, watching him.
     "Really," she said.  "Then why haven't you told me about the
smile?  You're hiding something, I can see it in your eyes."
     He glanced away and then realized that would make him look just as
guilty as she believed him to be and looked back.  After all, she HAD
to believe he was who she thought he was for his mission to work. 
Everyone here did, but given that she was clearly his girlfriend--or
wife or lover or something--it was even more imperative that he pull of
the charade of being someone else with her.  Every mission a leaper was
sent on required the leaper never be found out.  He took a deep breath
and made sure his voice was calm.  "I'm not hiding anything, darling. 
Not at all.  I was just embarrassed to say what I was thinking."
     She leaned back in her chair, doubt still clear in her pose. 
"Embarrassed?  Why?"
     He leaned closer, and smiled again, as seductively as he knew how.
 Unfortunately, he hadn't seduced anyone in years, and it looked more
like needing a laxative.  "I was thinking about what we're going to be
DOING at Lake Tahoe," he whispered.  "Tonight."  She clearly didn't
understand what he was saying.  "In bed..."  Finally, her eyes lit up
as she saw his direction, and she giggled deep in her throat and leaned
     "Well, now, I wouldn't want you to get all embarrassed over that,"
she whispered back at him.  "After all, an embarrassed man can't play
well."  Her hand traced across his arm, under the table, and towards
his inner thighs.  "And if you can't play, then I can't play."  He
gasped suddenly and clamped his legs together.  She chuckled.  "As long
as I still make you feel that way, then you can smile all you want to."
 Her hand slid away from him, and he relaxed.  "See you soon, tiger. 
You're so CUUUTE."  The woman got up and walked away from the table,
her hips exaggerated for his effect.
     He watched her walk away, his feelings a profound relief.  Thank
God they were so close.  If he'd had to call her by name, he'd have
been in real trouble.  He couldn't remember that, either.

It was like his memory was swiss-cheesed or something...

     Sammy Jo Fuller dropped food onto her plate without really even
seeing it as she moved through the cafeteria line.  What could the
cigar she had found possibly mean?  If timelines had changed that
radically, wouldn't there have been a greater indication somewhere? 
Then again, maybe there WAS a greater indication--just not here at the
Project.  She promised herself that somehow she'd make sure to get a
chance to check the research archives later in the day to see if there
were any noticeable changes in history.
     Of course, any changes that HAD been made she might not notice, as
her memories of the world and the timeline should have changed with
them.  At the same time, she HAD found the cigar.  And as silly as that
sounded, that might mean she was outside the changes this time.  She
might be able to spot things that were different.  She might even be
able to affect things because of that difference.

She might even be a focus for the new timeline.  That would be
exciting.  It could also be very dangerous.

     "Hi, Sammy!"  Sammy turned her attention back to reality, and saw
Tina Martinez-Farrell walking away from her husband, Gooshie.  Tina was
swaying her hips outrageously, Sammy Jo noticed, obviously trying to
entice her husband out of his usual rude and obnoxious state of mind.
     Sammy Jo just didn't understand what Tina saw in him.  They fought
constantly, threatened divorce easily three times a week, and separated
every other month.  Yet in the end, they always remained together. 
Tina said it was as if Time or Fate or Destiny or Whatever had made
them for each other.  Gooshie said it was because she was incredible in
bed.  Man, sometimes she really wished someone would leap into GOOSHIE
and revise him.  
     But that wasn't something she said to Tina--it was too important
for Tina to be fighting FOR Sammy Jo at the project.  Otherwise,
Gooshie would long ago have won out with his fight against her and
she'd have been kicked out, losing her clearance and any chance of what
she was trying to do here.  So she put a smile on her face and turned
to Tina.
     "Hey, Boss Lady," Sammy Jo said brightly.  "How's the ole'
sourpuss?"  She kept the tone light, so Tina would believe it a joke
and not Sammy Jo's real feelings.
     Tina smiled.  "He and I are spending the weekend in Lake Tahoe." 
She batted her eyes melodramatically and said, "Somehow I think we're
going to spend most of it near the fireplace.  Isn't he just the cutest
     Sammy Jo smiled.  Or tried to, anyway.  "Cute as baby's behind,"
she said, mentally adding the addition 'after it's had an accident.' 
Then she realized what Tina was really saying. and blurted out, "You're
both leaving town this weekend?"  Tina nodded, grinning like a cat
who's got a room full of mice and an empty stomach.  "Then who's going
to be in charge of Alpha?  Who's going to run all the tests and control
the research and necessary theories for the revisions?"
     Tina smiled even wider.  "The chain of command is perfectly clear
on that, darling," she said.  "If the Head Programmer and Head Designer
are both out of town or unavailable, then the person in charge of Alpha
is the Assistant Program Head."  She reached out a delicate hand with
it's bright-blue nail paint and tapped Sammy Jo on the shoulder.  "In
other words, dear--you.  Have fun playing chess or thermonuclear war or
whatever you do with it, Sammy Jo.  I've got to get the lingerie
packed!"  Tina left the cafeteria at a dash, and Sammy Jo sat down
heavily at a table.  Her mind was already making plans.
     With the two of them gone, Sammy Jo could deal directly with
Alpha.  No one in between.  No one to tell her the figures were
incorrect or that her theories were insane.  For forty eight hours,
Sammy Jo would have Alpha all to herself.  And she could spend all that
time figuring out what the cigar meant--figuring out whether it was a
serious problem, a chance for a solution or something she hadn't even
considered.  Best of all, she could see if it had anything to do with
the goal she spent all of her free time (and much time that wasn't
free) trying to reach.

For an entire weekend, Sammy Jo could finally focus on trying to find
the first leaper, Sam Beckett.

Because no matter what anyone else said, Sammy Jo didn't believe that
his first and only leap (nearly 4 years ago now) had killed him.  She
was convinced he was still out there, somewhere.  She was convinced he
had SUCCEEDED...and that he was leaping around, putting things right
that had gone wrong.  Project Quantum Leap had once been designed for
the good of mankind--and Sammy Jo believed that Sam Beckett was still
following that goal.  If he knew what the project had become, if he
were here now, he would be horrified to find out what his once noble
goals had been twisted into without his leadership.  Sammy Jo knew that
the only chance she--or indeed, anyone--had was to get Sam Beckett back
here, so that he could stop this nightmare that had been torn from his

But in order for that to happen, Sam Beckett could not have died in
that first leap--he had to be alive. She intended to prove that this

And then she intended to bring him home.

She prayed to God 48 hours would be enough time...