DATE: May 12, 2005

     I lay in the Waiting Room that night, my mind a blur--thoughts,
faces, images, leaps--trying to put together what had happened.

I had changed Al's life.  I'd given him Beth back.  It had been the
right choice.

I had decided not to go home.  I wanted to do so, desperately.  But I
had known that Al needed me more.  It had been the right choice.

     Which meant that everything that was happening now was the result
of my decisions.  I had CHOSEN my destiny, from the moment I first
decided to leap.  Everything had happened because I said so.
     The question had to be asked, now, finally.  After 5 years of
leaping, after lives that had touched others, and those, others.  After
5 years where, as Al the Bartender said, I had done a lot of good...The
question still had to be asked.

Had it all been a mistake from the beginning?

     My choices had created this...nightmare.  My project, and yet it
wasn't mine.  I was HOME, but everything was wrong.

Was it worth the choices I made if it destroyed the future I once had?

God, I needed Al.  

But I'd begun to realize that maybe...this time...he wasn't coming. 
Maybe in this world, where I'd led myself with all my changes in time,
Al no longer existed.  Maybe, this time, I was truly lost.  And I had
no idea how to fix it.

Or if I even still could.

     The Computer watched with interest as the insane Doctor Beeks
slithered across the floor to the sleeping woman.  It enjoyed watching
Beeks kill people, as it gave the Computer a great deal of information
into the human psyche. 
     It was the Computer's greatest belief that you can learn most
about humanity from those who have lost it--and the most about the sane
mind from those who are no longer so.
     Besides, it was fun to see the people squirm as the drug strangled
them.  Maybe she should wake Zoey and invite her to watch as well. 
Zoey hated Sammy Jo just as much as Beeks did...

     A few more seconds and it's over, Beeks thought as she slid across
the room, always over-careful in case her victim happened to wake while
she was getting into place.  She looks dead to the world, Beeks
thought, chuckling quietly.  All I'm doing is making sure her wish is

     Sam froze, consciously making sure his eyes didn't react, even
closed.  Someone else was in the room.  He heard someone breathing
carefully.  How had they gotten into the room?  When Quantum Leap doors
slid open, they inevitably made the swoosh sound that Sam associated
with Al's appearing.  Didn't they?
     The bed shifted slightly, just barely enough to be noticed even
with Sam's martial arts training (which included, as all such training
does, balance and awareness of one's body).  Sam carefully opened one
eye, just enough to see through the lashes.
     In the near darkness of the room was an even darker nightmare.  A
black woman stood poised over Sam, a large syringe in one hand.  Sam
had only seconds as the woman snapped the syringe, quite suddenly,
towards his arm.

DATE: April 2, 1999

     THAT was a lucky break, Al thought as he drove down Interstate 10
towards Dr. Gyore's office.  It's not often you manage to get an
appointment with a psychiatrist that day. There must have been a
cancellation or something.
     Al had called Dr. Gyore as soon as he walked back inside, and an
appointment had been set for 2:00 that afternoon.  Al had taken a quick
shower and dressed in a polo shirt and dockers, as he normally did
unless it was a dress uniform event.  Then, before he had the chance to
change his mind and back out, Al had gotten in the car and started for
the office.  It would only take him about 20 minutes to get there, and
it was over two hours before the actual meeting, but Al knew he was far
too likely to chicken out of it if he didn't get moving.
     Al was not good at admitting when he needed help.  It was one
reason he had never had many friends.  It was also the reason Sam
almost had to hit Al before Al listened about his drinking problem.
     Al slammed on the brakes to his car, not even seeing how close the
cars behind him came to hitting him, as another false memory washed
over him.  Losing Beth had started a spiral in Al's life, and by the
time he and Sam were working on StarBright, Al was very close to being
fired because of his drinking problem.  It had taken Sam and a useless
attack on a vending machine for Al to realize maybe it was time he
stopped that vice, at least.
     Car horns blared, startling Al as he suddenly realized he had
stopped his car in the middle of the highway.  Shaking, Al started
moving again.  He took the nearest exit off and pulled the car into the
closest parking lot he could find.

It was half an hour later before Al was able to even think about
driving again.

DATE: April 2, 1999

     It was time.  He had enjoyed the night before immensely, and had
been more than willing to pretend to be Gooshie while having sex with
Tina.  She'd done things for him and to him that he'd never even known
of, and as far as he was concerned, he'd be more than happy to stay in
this body and do things with her forever.
     Unfortunately, it didn't work that way.  Lothos was watching
everything, and if he didn't finish what he was here for fast enough,
they'd send someone else in to finish HIM.  Like they had with that
other one...what had her name been?
     Alice?  Celia?  It was stuck on the other side of his
memory-losses, but it didn't matter.  The point was, if he didn't do
his job, he wasn't going to live to enjoy anything.
     Besides, if he did this right, he'd get to leap to other places. 
There would be a lifetime of sex and pleasure--from what he understood,
he would probably even get to experience sex as a woman if he wished. 
That would be amazing.
     Sliding gently out of the bed (and out from under Tina's
outstretched arm), he dressed quickly.  If he moved fast enough, he
might even be able to finish the job before the trip he and Tina were
supposed to take.  Then he could enjoy a full weekend of sexual
aerobics without work getting in the way.
     Wait...if he finished the job, then that would mean he'd LEAP
before that trip as well.  Better thought--set the plan in motion so it
would happen at the END of the trip--while he was with Tina elsewhere. 
Then he'd not only be free and clear when it was over but he'd also get
two more days of heavenly sensuality.  Yes, that is what he'd--

     "Samantha Fuller, report to Central Programming immediately. 
Samantha Fuller, report to Central Programming."  The voice boomed
through the room, startling Tina right out of a sleep and into a
standing position before she even realized she'd moved.  He wasn't even
fazed.  The torture he had endured before finally being given the
chance to come here had been far more brutal and far more surprising
than anything that could happen in this time era.  Before this project
took its truly dark turn.  Compared to what this project looked like
where HE came from, this timeline was Disneyland.
     "What was that, honey?  Why did Alpha--Alpha, are you there?" 
Tina turned towards the closest camera, a natural attempt to LOOK at
what one talks to, even though in Alpha's case, that was irrelevant.
     "Of course I am here, Dr. Martinez-Farrell.  I am everywhere at
this project.  That is part of my job."  Suddenly it was his turn to
jump  Tina looked over at him and smiled, apparently thinking it was a
delayed reaction of some kind.
     It's not that, though, he thought, shivering.  It's not that at
all.  It's merely that the voice of Lothos scared him, even though it
was nearly two years still before this version of the Computer would
become that.
     "Alpha, why did you announce something to the entire project that
is unnecessary?  You are aware of the implants that we--"
     "YES," Alpha interrupted.  "I am aware of the implants on you and
679 other people.  And hearing about the implants from over 400 of you
isn't going to make me any less likely to forget it!"  
     He was confused, now.  He hadn't know this computer had ever been
able to express emotion.  But it certainly sounded upset now.
     "Well, I apologize for being one of a group, Alpha," Tina stated
firmly.  "The question
still stands.  What was that all about?"
     Alpha seemed to take a deep breath.  He was once again surprised. 
Lothos was never this...human.  "Doctors," Alpha finally stated, "I
know that you are both taking planned vacation this weekend, but I must
repeat my worries over Ms. Fuller's capabilities when it comes to
running me or this Project for an entire weekend."
     "Alpha, baby," Tina crooned, much like she had when giving him a
back-rub the previous night.  "If we were not sure of Sammy Jo's
ability, she'd never be ON this project.  It's not only top secret, but
it's military now.  They only keep us on because they know we're the
only ones who understand it.  But they do a check up on all
non-military personnel every three months.  If there were any doubt
over Sammy Jo, she'd be long gone by now."
     "You have not watched her as I do, Doctor," Alpha countered.  "She
has mood swings, and runs random theories through me.  I have even
begun to suspect that she is attempting to create proof that the
project should return to the moment Dr. Beckett died."
     "She's...what?"  He watched Tina as she sat down heavily, her eyes
growing dark and uneasy.  "She does know that every attempt we have
made to return to that moment has been a failure, doesn't she?"
     "She has been there when we made several of them.  It is not
something she can possibly have missed.  On the contrary, I believe she
has become obsessive about that very fact--that we cannot even REACH
that day, much less revise it.  I believe she has decided that she is
going to prove everyone else wrong and solve the dilemma."
     Tina nodded softly.  "Sammy Jo always did have a fondness for Sam.
 Almost as though they'd been father and daughter.  If she wants to try
and create a theory as to why we cannot retrieve him, she's more than
welcome to try.  It's always bothered me, as well.  He's the man who
created this project.  It's not right that the only man we can't save
through time travel is the one who created it."
     "You are missing my point, Doctor," Alpha said with what sounded
to him like a tremendous amount of determination.  Especially for a
computer, even a self-aware one.  "I believe that Ms. Fuller intends to
use this weekend as time to TEST her theories--to attempt to bring Dr.
Beckett back.  Or perhaps to leap herself to get him.  I do not know
for sure which it is--only 43% for both.  But there is an 83% chance
that she will attempt SOMETHING this weekend.  I simply do not think
she is capable of being left alone."
     Tina looked over at him, concern etching her face.  "Alpha's
making a point, Goosh.  If we leave Sammy Jo alone and she tries
something stupid--it could damage the project, the leapers we already
have out there, the very timeline we are building.  It could even get
us removed from the project- or even worse, make one of us disappear. 
What do you think?"
     The doorbell rang.  Tina walked to open it, still unaware of her
lack of clothing.  He tried to tell her but she hit the door release
before he could speak and then it was too late.
     Standing on the other side of the door was Sammy Jo.  The look on
her face as she tried to avoid looking down was priceless.  Tina looked
at her, confused, and then suddenly laughed merrily and ran into the
bathroom for a robe.  Both Sammy Jo and he watched her run out.

Unbelievable, he thought.  UnbeLIEVable, she thought.

     Alpha spoke up.  "Now that you have all had your modesty moment,
would you please tell Ms. Fuller your decision, Gooshie?"
     Sammy Jo growled, "You already told them?" to the thin air, which
did not respond.  She looked at him.  "I know she's been trying to tell
you that I'm not capable of taking care of this Project.  I assure you,
Gooshie--I am ready and willing to do this.  Whatever rules and
procedures you wish--whatever it takes.  Please, let me do this.  I'm
     He looked at her, and smiled.  "Of course you can run Alpha this
weekend.  Shut up, Alpha," he said, as an electronic whine started
after his words.  "I only have two requirements.  One, you are not to
attempt to save Dr. Beckett."  Sammy Jo's face was frozen in innocence,
a clear sign to him that Alpha had been right in her assessment.
     "What is the second requirement?" she said, quietly.  He smiled. 
     "Document what you DO do this weekend, so I can be sure you
followed my first requirement."
     Sammy Jo glared at him for several seconds, and then said
tonelessly, "Of course.  If you'll excuse me."  She turned and stormed
out of the room towards wherever it was she was going to pout.  Such a
soft world they live in, he thought.  In his world, you never let
anyone know what you were doing--and you never let your face show the
truth if you were found out.  He'd have spent some time this leap
teaching her that lesson.

If he weren't already here to kill her.

     Speaking of lessons, it was time to join Tina in the shower he now
heard coming from the bathroom.  He now knew he had the time, as the
solution to his leap had just dropped into his lap.
     "Alpha," he said as he began undressing.  "I want this logged to
the CO of Security here at the project.  I have reason to believe that
Samantha Jo Fuller is going to attempt experiments this weekend that
are not on the list approved by myself or Dr. Martinez-Farrell.  These
experiments, if they happen, would be detrimental to both this project
and the timeline we currently live in."  He smiled and opened the door
to the bathroom.  "If Ms. Fuller attempts any such experiment, you are
authorized to use deadly force to stop her.  End notation.  Did you get
that, Alpha?"
     There was a long pause.  Then, just as he was about to ask again,
Alpha finally said, "Yes, Gooshie, I did.  Enjoy your sex."
     Looking at himself in the bathroom mirror, marveling at how it
wasn't him looking back, the leaper, whose name back home was Thames,
smiled.  "I intend to, Alpha baby, I intend to."  He stepped into his
wife's (at least until Sammy Jo died) arms and began in earnest.

Using the monitors staged throughout the Project, Alpha watched Sammy
Jo as she stormed down to the cafeteria and grabbed breakfast.  As
Alpha watched, she calculated the odds of Sammy Jo dying before the
weekend was out.

She was stunned--well, as much as a computer could be, anyway, when she
realized the odds were spinning from only 20% to as high as 99.7%.  The
odds went up and down almost faster than even she could process.

Something very, very strange was happening here.  Alpha decided she
would keep very close tabs on Sammy Jo this weekend.

     And on Gooshie.  He'd never sent an order specifying "Shoot to
Kill" before.  He had the right within his position to do so, of
course, even though he was a civilian.  So Alpha could not refuse to
send through the order.
     What she could do, however, was make sure she was aware of where
Gooshie was--the order to bug his and Tina's car was in the security
email inbox less than .03 seconds after she decided to do so.
     And she could also try and figure out why she had the feeling that
things had suddenly, and seriously, gone a little kaka...