"SAM!  Tell them to give you the same shock as before!  THE SAME
SHOCK AS BEFORE, Sam--or I'll go away and never come back!"  Al
Calavicci looked down, terrified, at his best friend Sam Beckett as Sam
was strapped onto the gurney, next to the electro-shock treatment
machine.  Al knew that Sam had been through so much during this
leap--all of it starting when Sam had been given shock treatment and
had lost control of his identity, instead transferring memories of
people he had leaped into previously.  Now Al was determined not to let
Sam be lost forever.  Sam was not in his right mind now and he  needed
Al to be his conscience--after all, Sam was losing his psyche because
of the earlier shocks, and no matter how much it hurt Sam, Al was going
to make Sam take another shock.  It was the only way to save Sam.  It
would also be incredibly painful for his friend.
     But that was what best friends were for, right?  Best friends made
you face the pain, even GAVE you the pain, if in the end, you were
going to be a better person for it.  If Al didn't give Sam the pain
now, he was going to lose Sam forever.  Already Sam's brainwaves were
making it nearly impossible for Al to remain as a hologram.  If it got
any worse, Sam would be lost, forever, leaping alone.  Al couldn't
allow that.
     "Same shock as before.  Same shock as before!"  Sam called out to
the nurse, his face contorted by the pain he remembered as well as the
strain it caused his brain to concentrate.  His psyche kept shifting as
it was replaced by others who he had leaped into, and right now, it was
Jimmy, a boy with Down's Syndrome--making Sam's ability to concentrate
that much harder still.  "Time all gone....time all gone...."
     Al screamed at Sam to get her to do it, to hurry.  The nurse was
moving too slow--the doctor was going to notice it all and stop it
because she was setting the voltage way too high.  Sam was screaming at
him not to leave, not to leave.  Al hit the handlink, trying to find
some way to keep himself from flickering out.  It was too late--too
late--the Imaging Chamber was shining through the hologram, Sam was
gone, he'd blown it just like he'd blown it with Beth--lost everything
again--it was all his fault again--

LIGHTNING FLASHED.  Al was blinded, startled, and he screamed.

     Then he sat upright.  Darkness surrounded him.  Where was he? 
Where was Sam?  What was he doing bed?  Al glanced at a
clock that read the time and date--April 2, 1999, 1:32 A.M.  This was
certainly a little kaka, Al thought to himself.
     "Honey.  Hon, are you all right?"  Al looked over at the other
side of the bed.  Beth, his wife (a snatch of dream--just like he'd
blown it with her?--rattled in his head), was sitting there next to
him.  "That was one heck of a scream, honey," she whispered softly. 
"Must have been a serious nightmare."  She reached out and caressed his
face.  "But don't you worry, sweetheart, because it's all over now. 
It's all over and done with, and you're right here in my arms, just
like you should be."
     Al felt helpless as Beth drew him into her arms and back down onto
the bed.  Her hands slid across his with a familiarity that only
decades of being together could account for.

But Al felt none of it.  

     He was trying to believe it was a dream.  He was trying to
recognize that it couldn't have been real.  But in his head, in his
heart, it FELT real.  Another dream about Sam.  Another dream about
time-travel, about... 'leaping'.  There wasn't any truth to any of
it--there couldn't be.  So why did Al suddenly feel like he was
cheating?  Why did he suddenly feel like this wasn't real?
     Why did he suddenly feel like Beth was a lie, a nightmare he
gained at the cost of another--someone he had never met, and had no
idea about?
     Albert Calavicci lay in the arms of his wife, her soft and gentle
ministrations showering him with affection and love, the greatest he
had ever known.

Al wondered if he was going mad.


     Three days had gone by, and I was no closer to understanding what
was going on with this Leap.  I was in the Waiting Room, at my
project--at Project Quantum Leap.  I was in the body of Donna
Beckett--my wife, who until now I had never remembered.  Who Al had
never told me about.  In fact, just about the only thing I was
completely sure of was the fact that wherever this was--whenever it
was--it wasn't home.  It was a nightmare, Alice in Wonderland
mirror-twisted version.  It scared me more than any leap I could
     Even worse, however, was the fact that I was alone.  When I was in
graduate school, I heard of a playwright with the same name as
mine--Samuel Beckett.  He had once written a play called Waiting for
Godot, about two men who wait forever for the answers to their
questions.  There was no guarantee that the person who could answer
them would ever come, or if they would even know him if he did--and
yet, they waited and hoped and waited some more.

I knew how those characters felt, now.  Only I was waiting for Al.

     Samuel Beckett, the leaper not the playwright, stood at the door
to the Waiting Room.  He was trying, again, to remember how to get out
of the room.  He knew it was possible--he remembered someone he had
once leaped into getting out.  He also had a vague memory of sending a
message to Gooshie once in order to get out of the Imaging Chamber, but
that wasn't likely to work now.  No mailbox--no Gooshie (at least, not
that he'd seen)--and no memory of any special code for this door even
if there WAS someone out there who wanted to open the door for him. 
Sam shook his head, trying to bring up the past, trying to get through
the swiss-cheese of his memory.  It really ought to be called the
scrambled eggs effect, he thought.  For with every leap, his memories
were tossed into the air and he only got some pieces when they came
back down.  Sometimes he knew past leaps, sometimes not.  Sometimes he
knew what he needed, sometimes he had to remember.
     This time, he knew one thing he needed, and needed badly.  Admiral
Albert Calavicci.  Because on his own, Sam wasn't getting anywhere. 
He'd never even seen anyone bringing the food--it was delivered through
a slot in the door.  Verbeena Beaks--or the monster that LOOKED like
Verbeena Beeks of Sam's world--hadn't returned.  Sam literally had no
idea whether he was on the right track or not, or even if there was a
right track for this leap.  He could have fixed things already
(although how getting hit by Verbeena Beeks and then sitting in a room
for three days would fix anything, he couldn't figure out) or he could
be days from the necessary change.

Or hours.

Or seconds.

Or maybe he was stuck here, forever.

Sam didn't let that thought stick in his head at all.  

     Instead, he thought about the person he had leaped into.  Donna. 
Donna BECKETT, his WIFE.  In his leaps, he had forgotten her--and the
betrayal of not remembering her had him completely rattled.  How many
women had he kissed in those leaps?  How many times had he fallen in
love?  How many women had he spent the NIGHT with?  All of them when he
was in reality a married man.
     How could Donna have stood that?  How could she watch as that
happened?  Was that what this leap was about?  Was this leap a chance
to fix that and make sure that Donna never had to suffer for him?
     Sam immediately dismissed the idea coming from his guilt and not
from the facts.  Donna was IN the Waiting Room.  Sam had leaped into
the Waiting Room, and into Donna's body.  In Sam's future (if it still
existed, Sam was never sure about that, either--another thought he
tried to avoid), those Sam leaped into leaped into Sam's body, which
was in the Waiting Room.  Now SAM had leaped into the Waiting Room. 
That should mean that Donna was a leaper now, which created an entirely
new set of problems.  What on earth made Donna leap after Sam?
     Maybe that was the entire point.  Maybe Donna had leaped to GO
after Sam--to try and find him, to try and bring him home.  Sam nodded
softly to himself.  That might make sense, knowing how strong-willed
she was, knowing how she had tried to stop him from going back after Al
when he and Al had switched places and Sam had suddenly been able to
come back--Sam suddenly needed to take a deep breath as the realization
hit him.

He had come home, once.

     He had returned and seen everyone again.  He had slept with Donna,
and held her again, only to step back into the Chamber in order to save
Al.  He had been HOME.  And he had forgotten Donna again as soon as
he'd leaped.

His betrayal was much greater than he had realized.  

     Sam promised himself he would never forget her again--never let
her out of his mind, never forget the face that had cried softly as she
said yes to his proposal so mayn years ago.
     Sam had avoided looking at the table's reflection since that first
glance--it had been too painful to see the memory of his forgotten
love.  Now he braced himself to look long and hard, to memorize every
single detail so clearly that it would never escape him again.  He
promised himself that whenever he leaped out of here, he would remember
Donna, and he would send himself home.  After all, Al or The Bartender
or God or Whomever had told Sam that he could now control his leaps. 
When he was done with this leap, he'd see if that were really the case.
     Assuming, of course, that Al got here and told him what he needed
so he COULD finish this leap.  Assuming there was ever another leap and
another chance TO get home.  Sam took a deep breath.  At least thinking
of ways to make it up to Donna would occupy his time until Al arrived.
     Sam looked down at the table and gasped.  His legs gave way
beneath him from the shock of what he saw and he grabbed the edge of
the table to stop himself from falling to the floor.

The reflection in the mirror was not his wife Donna.  

     It was a brunette, a dusty-haired brunette with soft eyes and a
full mouth.  A woman he'd known before, yes, but not as his wife. A
woman he thought he had saved--a woman he had done everything he could
TO save.
     Sam looked at the table and watched in horrified fascination as
Abigail Fuller looked back.  Three times Sam had leaped to save her. 
Three times--and now here she was again.
     Sam closed his eyes slowly, the face looking back mirroring his
movement.  None of this was making any sense at all.  He had seen Donna
in the mirror, he was sure of it.  Beeks had CALLED him Donna Beckett. 
The voice with no inflection (You know that was Ziggy, somehow, a small
voice inside Sam said) had called him Dr. Beckett as well.
     Sam slapped his hand against the table in frustration.  What in
the hell was going on here?  Sam needed to know, and he needed to know
fast.  Because this was impossible, his very own version of Wonderland.
 Sam stumbled towards the bed in the corner of the Waiting Room and
crawled onto it.  He turned onto his back and closed his eyes.  He
tried to think things through and come up with the answer.
     First he saw Donna.  Then he saw Abigail.  He was in the Waiting
Room, but it wasn't home.  Beeks was insane and evil, the computer (it
could also be Lothos, that same little voice whispered) was without
compassion.  And Al had made no appearance in over 96 hours.

Sam Beckett tried to fit the puzzle pieces together again and again,
and wondered if he was going mad.

DATE:  May 12th, 2005

     Deep in the bowels of an underground base in New Mexico, The
Computer (the only name it used anymore) did its job with tremendous
efficiency.  It monitored everything that happened in the project.  It
monitored everything that happened in the world.  And, most of all, it
monitored everything that happened with the Revisions of Time.  
     There were time shifts happening most every day now, as it had
predicted.  The Project was going along quite well, and its programmer,
had he lived, would have been pleased.  Pleased that his theories had
been a success, anyway.  But The Computer also predicted with a 94.5%
probability that Sam Beckett would be very unhappy with what his
Project had been turned into after his demise.  Dr. Beckett had wanted
to use his theories of time travel for good.  Once the military had
gotten control of this project, that definition had become
very...specific.  The Computer found it very interesting--as It found
everything interesting.  But It suspected that Sam would have found it

Then again, Sam had always been idealistic.  It had been his
downfall--his tragic flaw--and for his own good, The Computer had tried
to make him see it.  When it was clear that Sam simply didn't realize
how much damage he was going to do when he leaped, The Computer did the
only thing it could do.

It never regretted It's actions.  Then again, It was never programmed
to do so.

     Keeping track of timeline shifts required only part of its memory
banks, of course, and so it also monitored each room, person, and event
within the facility.  That was how it was designed, and once the
designer was gone, that was how the Computer had continued.  Nothing
happened here at the Project that wasn't directly watched by the
     It had learned a greal deal about sex and love and anger and
resentment and hope through all it watched.  So when the Waiting Room
patient collapsed against the table, it was able to discern that the
person currently animating the body had recieved a shock of some kind.
     This was slightly interesting in a new data kind of way, for Donna
Beckett, the current person animating the body in the Waiting Room, had
already seen herself in the reflection of the table and had that shock.
 It was something that happened with almost every person who found
themselves here, in the Waiting Room, in someone else's aura.  They
were shocked and had to readjust themselves.  Some did it well, and
others became useless for the rest of the leap.
     Donna had taken it surprisingly well.  Of course, it had helped
that she was part of the Project to begin with (The Computer had almost
liked Donna, before the end.  If Donna were still alive, the Computer
might even have called her to let her know this was happening). 
Regardless, Donna had taken the adjustment very well.  She knew what
happened when someone leaped (well, The Computer amended, she had known
in THEORY, anyway), and she was easily able to recognize that she was a
person who had been bounced to the Waiting Room when someone else
leaped into her body.  She hadn't been happy to learn it had HAPPENED,
of course--but she had also not learned the true reasons why she had
been removed from her body in 1995, so she was certainly a great deal
happier than she could have been.
     So why would she have a second attack of shock when she looked
into the mirrored table?  The computer examined the records of the
Waiting Room throughout this leap, and realized something rather
startling.  Donna had not suffered only TWO shock--she had suffered
THREE--the first one, the one 3.5 minutes ago, and one roughly three
days, 4 hours and 16.2 minutes ago.
     This bore closer examination.  Already possibilities were forming
in its programs, theories appearing as the time-travel if-then
statements of its original designer began to run.
     The answers came quickly (as with the Computer, they always did). 
Theory:  Donna Beckett has a severe memory loss from leaping and has
not been able to remember her situation.  Therefore, she is shocked
each time she sees her face.  76%.   Theory:  Donna Beckett has not
truly adjusted to the situation, or has figured out what we are doing
on this revision, and is being overcome by her worries about the
purpose of when and where we leaped.  49%.
     Several others were listed, including one silly theory (there were
always at least one of these) about a NEW leaper leaping into the same
body, with the shocks resulting from a new person being IN the body.
     The Computer liked to examine the silly theories in its leisure
time (or more correctly, Its unused memory), and it would enjoy this
one, too, even as it was patently absurd.  Every leaper in this Project
was accounted for by The Computer's own databanks.  If another leaper
had leaped into the body in the Waiting Room, The Computer would have
known it instantly as it was logged in her files of current leaper
locations.  In other words, to believe this theory, The Computer would
have to be mad.
     In the silence of the deep underground base, as Project Revision
workers solved the problems they had been ordered to solve, The
Computer examined each theory in full, calibrating across eons.

And deep inside Its processors, The Computer wondered what it would be
like to go mad.