Sam has leaped into Janeen Perry, a 20-odd year old nurse at Edgemoor 
County Mental Hospital outside New York City on December 17, 1953.  He 
finds the County Mental Hospital system under staffed and both doctors 
and nurses are over worked.  Over time is expected, and Janeen regularly 
does her share.  Sam discovers that Janeen lives by herself (to his 
relief) in the nearby small town, Medfield, in a cozy, friendly 
apartment complex.  He discovers that his elderly next door neighbor, 
Miss Emma Pothier, is agoraphobic and can't recall the last time she 
left her warm and homey apartment.
	Al realizes immediately that Sam has leaped into an area and time too 
close to his heart.  In less than 48 hours his sister, Trudy, dies in 
the very same hospital system.  Al remembers a nurse telling him that 
she had died from pneumonia, and had been cremated.  A sullen Al assumed 
she died at Dearborn Mental Hospital, about 20 miles from where Janeen 
Perry worked.
	While Al wrestles with his conscious about interfering with this leap 
to save Trudy, Ziggy informs Dr. Beeks of Al's past history of trying to 
influence leaps connected to his personal life.  Dr. Beeks invokes her 
privilege as the Head Physician of the Project and pulls Al from the job 
of Observer, moving Sam's daughter, Dr. Sammy Jo Fuller, into the 
position instead.
	To add to the tension, Senator Weitzman's aide, Dan Wringer, arrives at 
the Project for a year-end inspection, hoping to cut the Project and 
save money so the Senator can push for a tax decrease and insure 
reelection.  Dr. Beeks fears for the future of the Project if Al makes a 
move to change his personal history and Wringer gets wind of the plan.
	Meanwhile, a blizzard is moving into Sam's time and Ziggy calculates 
that he is there to save Miss Emma's life when her apartment catches 
fire during the storm.  Unlike Janeen in the original history, Sam 
manages to leave work in time, but on his drive home discovers an 
ambulance has crashed into a ditch.  Sam stops to help the occupants and 
Al manages to worm his way into the Imaging Chamber once again and joins 
Sam at the scene after making peace with himself and putting his faith 
into God, Time, Fate or Whomever to decide Trudy's future.  Just as the 
blizzard arrives, who should found to be in the back of the doomed 
ambulance but Trudy herself, unconscious and sick.

Can Sam save both women in the fury of the storm?  And will Al doom the 
Project because of his actions?


Project Quantum Leap
Stallion's Gate, New Mexico
December 24, 2000

	"Uh oh," Gooshie exclaimed, his hands flying over the console of the 
control board.
	"Did he say what I think he just said?" Tina commented, also surprised.
	"Yeah, and right in front of Wringer.  This isn't good."  Gooshie could 
hear Al's voice pleading for Sam to help him, and knew he had to notify 
Dr. Beeks.  The preverbal shit was about to hit the fan and she was 
their last chance to head off disaster.  "Ziggy, inform Dr. Beeks of 
this event.  I think she needs to be here."
	In the Imaging Chamber Wringer's eyes were fixed on Admiral Calavicci, 
shocked.  The Admiral was on his knees trying to embrace some invisible 
thing, the hand link squealing and flashing in the dimness of the 
Chamber.  Wringer was a skeptic on the validity of this Project to start 
with, and this turn of events made him immediately re think his 
position.  The Admiral wasn't one to let himself go like this; either he 
was having a complete mental breakdown, or he was really seeing 
something happening in another reality.  Knowing the Admiral from his 
research, the former idea was unlikely.  That left the latter.
	"What's happening?" Wringer demanded out loud.  "Admiral!  What is 
going on?"
	Al didn't acknowledge him at all, and was pleading with the unseen Dr. 
Beckett to help him with someone else.  Trudy.  That's what he'd said.  
He frowned and concentrated on the scene playing out in front of him, 
trying to hear over the squealing hand link.
	"Look! She's unconscious!  Come on, Sam! Get back here!"  Al's tone 
wasn't quite hysterical, and with each passing second he became more 
focused on his target, his demeanor becoming typical of a military 
officer handling a perceived crisis.  His voice dropped, and Wringer 
didn't miss the aborted sideways glance in his direction. "This is why 
you're here, Sam.  To save her.  Come on, get back here!"  There was a 
pause where he seemed to be listening to a response as he focused at a 
point on the floor. "You're here to save Trudy.  Can't you see that?"
	As the hand link started squealing again, Wringer looked up to the 
ceiling and shouted, "Ziggy, who is Trudy?"
	The hand link immediately became silent, and there were several seconds 
of quiet.  Al didn't seem to notice.

	"Trudy was Admiral Calavicci's sister," Ziggy responded 
	"Was?" Wringer exclaimed, straightening, and pointing at the exit.  
"Stop this right now and open this door.  Gooshie! Open this door now!"
	Gooshie and Tina looked at each other for a few seconds, both knowing 
this could be the beginning of the end and there was nothing they could 
do about it.  Slowly, Gooshie powered down the Chamber and opened the 
door.  Wringer stormed from the Chamber, his face livid and his mouth 
clamped shut.  The Control Room door slid open and Dr. Beeks strode in, 
colliding with Wringer at the console.
	"I will be in my quarters, Dr. Beeks, contacting Senator Weitzman and 
making my report.  I do not want to be disturbed."  Wringer met up with 
his assistant in the hallway, and marched off with a Marine guard in 
Beeks watched him go with a stunned look, then turned slowly around to 
face Gooshie and Tina, who were fidgeting in place at the console.  
Before she could say anything, Al stepped from the Chamber and defiantly 
met her eyes.  He then turned to Gooshie and said, "Ready the Imaging 
Chamber.  I'm going back."
Gooshie shifted uncomfortably and looked at Beeks, who rescued the 
programmer.  "Don't make me do this, Admiral," she said softly but 
Al's jaw tightened and he said quietly, "I have to.  You must 
understand, Verbina."
"I understand all too well, Al, but I can't let this continue."  She 
faced the guard by the door.  "The Admiral is medically unfit for duty.  
I am ordering him to his quarters for rest.  Please escort him there 
where he will stay until further notice."
The Marine nodded and stepped forward, his eyes soft but his demeanor 
unquestionable.  Al knew that if he refused to go, he'd be dragged from 
the room.  Gooshie and Tina uncomfortably studied their shoes, but 
Verbina Beeks met his eyes squarely to convey her sorrow.

Al quietly complied with a tight nod and the guard followed him from the 
room, the door sliding shut behind them.
As the pair walked down the hall Sammy Jo rushed from the elevator and 
up to Al.  She glanced at the Marine, then back at Al, questions written 
all over her face.
"It's all right, Sammy Jo," he said, patting her shoulder.   "Go help 
Sam, will you?  And keep me informed?"
She gave him a quick nod, and a quiet "sure" as the guard followed him 
down the hall.  She watched their retreating backs for a few seconds, 
then rushed to the Control Room to get updated on what just happened.

	~~~			~~~			~~~			~~~

Outskirts of Medfield, New York
December 18, 1953

	Sam had covered the injured driver with a heavy coat he found on the 
floor of the cab and checked his vitals once more.  He had been 
temporarily stunned by Al's demeanor concerning the passenger and then 
his abrupt departure.  He had a lot of questions, but no one to direct 
them to, and couldn't recall the last time he felt so absolutely alone.  
Unable to reach the passenger from inside the cab, he crawled out the 
driver door and was shocked at the amount of snow already built up.  He 
fought his way to the back and wrestled the back hatch open.  He 
couldn't feel his fingers anymore and his nose burned as he fell into 
the open back onto the gurney and winced.
	His thick fingers fumbled with the gurney strap and the freed patient 
slumped back into the corner.  Sam pushed the gurney aside and 
straightened out the blanket on the young woman. Al had obviously known 
her.  As he checked her vitals he studied her lax face and recognized 
the telltale signs of Down's Syndrome.  She appeared to be somewhere in 
her early teens, with wavy brown hair.  He cursed his Swiss cheesed 
memory for not being able to identify her and her importance to Al as he 
gave her a cursory physical.
	The gurney had saved her from any impact damage, but there was bruising 
around her waist from the restraining strap so Sam couldn't yet rule out 
internal damage.  What concerned him the most was her breathing.  
Without a stethoscope he couldn't be sure, but he thought he heard the 
warning rawls of pneumonia in her lungs.  She needed treatment soon, 
which is probably why she was on her way to Edgemoor.  Dr. Beech was the 
on call doctor tonight.
	The snow was falling heavily.  The culvert was shielding them from the 
worst of the winds, but Sam could hear it whistling through the trees 
above.  He had to act quickly, the future of Miss Emma also on his mind. 
 This so-called simple leap had twisted into a nightmare.
	Sam pulled off the mattress from the gurney to use as a backboard and 
sled.  There were extra restraining straps hanging on the gurney, and he 
removed those, laying them under the mattress.  He carefully maneuvered 
the girl onto the mattress, wrapped her in the blankets he found, and 
strapped her in.  With the angle of the car, it was difficult to keep 
everything in place, but he finally managed.  Snow had drifted inside 
the ambulance, but the exertion made Sam sweat under his heavy coat.  He 
pushed, pulled and lifted the woman out of the ambulance into the new 
snow, then drug her up the slope to his car which was still idling on 
the road.   His lungs burned with exertion.

	He had just hauled her to the side of the road when the sound of the 
Imaging Room door made his heart leap.  He was so exhausted he felt his 
eyes start to tear up at the relief of some company.  He quickly wiped 
them away, his fingers frigid on his face. He was on his hands and 
knees, shaking from the cold.  A hologram couldn't help him, he 
realized, but at least he wasn't alone anymore.
	"Oh, my God, Dr. Beckett, are you all right?  You've got to get 
inside!"  The realization that it wasn't Al speaking made him hesitate. 
"Dr. Beckett? Do you hear me?

	"Fuller, right?" he gasped, unstrapping the girl and gathering her up 
in his arms.
	"Yeah. I wish I could help you," she sounded frustrated.

	"So do I," he grunted, lifting the patient and opening the back door of 
the car with full hands.  He placed her in the back seat, and checked 
her vitals again.  Then he checked her head and found a lump in the 
back.  "At least the car is warm.  She needs medication."  He warmed his 
hands over the vent for a moment and pulled on the gloves in his pocket. 
 It didn't help much in this freezing wind.  He closed the door and 
turned back to the ambulance, which was barely visible.  "I can't see 
anything!  I have to get one more person out!"
	"I'll guide you!" Sammy Jo yelled, tapping away on the link.  In the 
meantime she had Ziggy plot out exact directions back to the apartment 
building.  Sam would be driving blind in these conditions.
	Sam slid back down the slope with the mattress and straps in tow, not 
sure they would even help.  When he got back to the driver, he was 
moaning and rolling his head, dried blood now frozen on his forehead.  
Sam knew he had to hurry.  "Hey! Can you hear me? Wake up!"  He forced 
the door open and tried to get his arms under the man's armpits.  The 
motion made the driver yell.  "You have a broken arm!  I know it hurts, 
but you have to help me.  We need to get out of here!"

	The driver responded by weakly using his legs to push.  It was a 
struggle, but Sam finally pulled him into the snow.  He leaned over to 
zip up the man's jacket and caught the sour smell of alcohol on his 
breath.  "Great." Sam mumbled.  "Just great."  He used the gurney straps 
to immobilize the broken arm, strapping it tight across the man's chest. 
 "Come on," Sam said between chattering teeth.  "Push with your legs."
	"I..I .. can't fffeel mmmy legs.." the man chattered back, Sam barely 
able to hear him because of the wind.  The snow was falling thick, fast 
and with more force than before.  He was constantly shaking his head to 
clear his eyes.
	"Can you hear me Dr. Beckett?  Come towards my voice!" Sam heard Dr. 
Fuller shouting from the roadside.  He focused on her location and after 
what seemed like an eternity, got to the road.
	"Stand up!" Sam shouted in the man's ear.  His strength was about gone, 
and he couldn't feel his own feet or hands.  Ice was forming on his 
eyelashes and around his nose.
	The driver got to his knees and Sam pushed him towards the headlights, 
which were mere flickers of light in the storm.
	"This way!" he heard a sweet voice call.  Sam guided the crawling man 
to the driver door, pulled it open and half-pushed, half lifted him into 
the front seat.  The sudden warmth was just as shocking as the cold, and 
Sam started shaking uncontrollably as he shoved the man to the other end 
of the seat and collapsed behind the steering wheel.  It was an effort 
to pull the door closed.
	All the windows immediately fogged up.  Sam felt his eyelashes melting 
and dripping down his face.  He pulled the wet gloves off his shaking 
hands, shocked at the blanched color of his skin.  Holding his hands up 
to the heating vents, he worked his fingers and looked around for Dr. 
Fuller.  He found her in the back seat, looking at the girl's face.
	"Is she going to be OK?" she asked.
	"I don't know," Sam replied honestly.  "I've got to get her dry and 
inside somewhere.  She needs medication.  What time is it?"
	Dr. Fuller looked at the link.  "It's almost six o'clock."  A worried 
look crossed her face, and she opened her mouth to say something, but 
	"I haven't forgotten about Miss Emma," Sam said.  "You have to guide me 
out of here."
	"I can't see my watch," the injured driver mumbled.  "I can't see 
	"Yeah, I know.  Just sit there, then," Sam replied shortly, but gave 
him a worried glance as he slumped over.  "Great.  I don't know if he 
has a concussion or a hangover."  He put the car in reverse, and slowly 
backed up, recalling how he had parked the car.
	"You mean he's drunk?" Dr. Fuller said, incredulous, as she punched 
that information into the hand link.
	"Smells like it, but I can't be sure."
Sammy Jo looked at the readout.  "There's nothing here about an 
accident, but a lot of records are lost in that fire. Don't know what to 
tell you, Dr. Beckett.

"That's OK.  Help me, here, will ya?"  He indicated the lack of 
visibility outside.  The car headlights were practically useless.
	Dr. Fuller tapped on the link, and blinked out of site, re appearing 
directly in front of the left headlight.  She had her back to the car, 
and was studying the hand link closely.  The snow was very deep, and Sam 
wondered how far they could get.  Dr. Fuller waved at him to follow her 
and she started walking.  He kept her in the beam of the headlight. 
	It was an eerie sight.  The glow from the hand link just illuminated 
her fuzzy outline with colored lights against the heavy snowfall.  When 
the conditions were close to white out, she moved back until half her 
body stuck out from the hood of the car, giving her a weird, centaur 
look, but she kept walking and directing Sam.  He couldn't see a thing 
except for her, glowing in the dark-and-whiteness.  Soon she was just a 
ball of light to Sam.  The wipers didn't do a whole lot of good clearing 
the snow from the windshield; the occasional blast of wind seemed to 
help the most.  He knew that they were working against the clock, and 
felt his anxiety growing.
	Sam could hear that the girl's breathing was getting worse.  He reached 
back once and felt her face, alarmed at how warm she was.  Fever.  
Reluctantly, he turned the heat down and pulled the blanket back from 
her chest. 

His fingers ached from gripping the steering wheel, and it was hard to 
focus his eyes.  It seemed like hours since they had started driving.  
The injured man was in and out of consciousness, or that's what Sam 
wanted to believe.  There was no way to check the man's blood alcohol to 
be certain what his problem was.  He didn't complain much, to Sam's 

Sam found that it was becoming more difficult to concentrate on Dr. 
Fuller.  His eyelids felt droopy and it was getting harder to keep 
awake.  'Must be from exhaustion,' he reasoned, then cracked the driver 
window open to let a blast of cold air hit him in the face.  That 
helped, and he decided to keep it open a bit.  He had no idea where he 
was, trusting Ziggy and Dr. Fuller to get him closer to help. 
He thought a moment about Dr. Fuller and cursed silently to himself for 
making that rule about delving information.  She was so familiar, 
especially around the eyes and mouth.  And her hair....he felt sure he 
knew her.  He just couldn't recall where from right now.  Maybe it would 
come to him; she certainly wasn't telling.
Sam's realized his thoughts were drifting off again, and shook his head. 
 He frowned, determined to keep his attention focused, when the car 
suddenly bumped into something and nosed up, grinding to a stop.  Sam 
whacked his forehead on the unforgiving steering wheel and momentarily 
saw stars.  Dr. Fuller was next to him in an instant, half of her body 
floating between him and the passenger.
"Are you OK? You got a little blood there," she pointed at his forehead. 
"You've run into a snow bank.  We're just in town now and the wind 
blowing between the buildings has built up this, well, snow dune I guess 
you'd call it, in the street."  She rubbed her eyes, which were tired 
from studying the hand link so closely for so long.
 Sam touched his head, bringing away some blood on his fingertips.  
Something wasn't right here, he thought as he looked at his fingers.  
"My blood looks wrong," he said out loud.  "It's too red?" His lips felt 
That caught Dr. Fuller's attention.  "And your voice is slurred.  Dr. 
Beckett, turn off the engine.  There's too much carbon monoxide in 
Sam's thinking felt muzzy, and he fumbled with the keys, finally getting 
the engine turned off.  Then he opened his window all the way, his lap 
instantly full of snow.  That woke him up even more, and he felt his 
thought processes clearing.  He immediately reached through the hologram 
and shook his passenger.  "Hey! Wake up!" He reached over and rolled the 
window down a bit and the man grunted.  Sam shook him again.  "Breathe! 
Take in some air, pal!"

The man's eyes fluttered open.  "Close the window! It's cold out there!" 
he slurred.
"Not a chance.  Stay there."  Sam crawled over the seat to the back and 
knelt on the floor, putting his hands on either side of the girl's face. 
 She was still breathing, but they were ragged, forced breaths.   Her 
cheeks were burning hot, and her limbs limp.  He pulled a wet mitten 
from his pocket and dabbed her forehead.  "I need to get her cooled 
down.  How far to the apartment?"
"Not too far.  You're about eight blocks away.  There's no open 
businesses between here and there, so you need to go the full distance."
Sam's mind was whirling.  "What time is it?" he said quietly.
Dr. Fuller's eyes were big.  "It's just past seven.  Ziggy has 
calculated that the fire starts closer to eight, so you may have some 
time.  She used burn rates for the building materials and compared the 
Fire Department notes to similar instances.  She feels her prediction is 
"She would," Sam snorted.  "I've got to get help.  Hey!" He shook the 
man's shoulders.  "You have to help out here.  Are you awake?"
"Are you talking to me?" the man slurred slowly.

"Yeah! What's your name?"
"Dane. Miller."
"Well, Dane, we need to get a plan going here," Sam checked Dane's eyes 
and found that the pupils were slow in dilating, and also found a lump 
just above the hairline of his forehead.  He could have a concussion; 
that would explain his drowsiness.  Or he could still be drunk.  The 
smell of alcohol wasn't as strong anymore.  "I have to go get help.  You 
need to take care of her, OK?  I think you have enough blankets, but 
don't turn on the heater, you hear me? Dane?"
"Right," he struggled to sit up, groaning at the pain in his arm. "Yeah, 
I heard.  No heater."
Dane was more alert now that the car had aired out. "Make sure the girl 
doesn't get chilled. Can you do that?"
"Yeah.  Sure.  My head hurts."
"I bet it does.  I'm keeping the windows cracked just a little for air.  
I'll be back."
"Yeah, OK," the young man rubbed his eyes with his good hand, and 
appeared to be making a real effort to wake up and pay attention. "OK," 
he said a little more clearly.  "Go."
Sam gave him one last look over, then caught Dr. Fuller's eye and nodded 
to the door.  He had to use his legs to force the door open in the snow 
bank, and discovered it was a bit of a drop to the ground.  He forced 
the door closed after falling thigh deep into fresh snow, gritting his 
teeth against the coldness on his legs.  His muscles also felt wobbly 
from exertion.
"Wearing a dress in a snowstorm is about the stupidest....." he didn't 
even finish his sentence because his attention was drawn to fighting his 
way through the snow.  Dr. Fuller was a multicolored glow in the storm, 
and Sam kept his focus on her as he struggled to what must have been a 
sidewalk.  He turned to look at the car, but it was all white everywhere 
he looked.  The snow was falling so heavily he could less than a foot in 
front of him.  The only thing he felt was the cold wind against his 
cheeks and legs and the shivering of his tired body.  "Let's go!" he 
The glowing ball that was Dr. Fuller started moving off and Sam 
struggled to follow.  It was slow but steady travel.  Without the 
hologram as a guide, he would be lost in an instant.

Sammy Jo found this to be a nerve-wracking job.  Her eyes were stinging 
from concentration.  The hand link provided precise measurements of the 
street and where they were, but she couldn't see anything, either.  
Gooshie fiddled with the program and was using a kind of sonar through 
the hand link to sound out where the buildings were then cross 
referenced the information to the maps. Sammy Jo just wanted to hand the 
link to Dr. Beckett and gets a cappuccino.  Better yet, a hot, mulled 
wine.  She shook her head at the thoughts, blaming it on fatigue due to 
concentrating on this tiny display.  A wave of guilt came over her when 
she looked back at her father struggling through the snow.  He was the 
one who was really suffering!
Finally they reached the entryway to the apartment building. Sam kept 
one hand on the building and felt his was in to the center court.  He 
knew what it looked like in his head, but right now it was nothing but 
white snow and black night.  Dr. Fuller had stopped next to the stairs, 
and Sam started to pull himself up.

"Tt..time!" he gasped, his body aching.
"It's almost 7:45.  You can make it!"
"Cc...ccenter on hher.." Sam's lips felt frozen, so he waved up the 
"Sure thing.  Hold on." She tapped on the link. "Gooshie!  Center me on 
Emma! Hang in there, Dr. Beckett!"  She blinked out of sight and Sam was 
engulfed in billowing white as he felt his way up the frozen stairs.
Sammy Jo popped into Emma Pothier's apartment and complete darkness.  
"The power's out," she said out loud to Gooshie as she rubbed her eyes.  
After being in the whiteness for so long it took several seconds her 
eyes to adjust to the darkness.  There was a small glow across what she 
recalled was the living room, and stepped towards it.  A stubby candle 
flickered on the kitchen counter, but Miss Emma was not around.  
"Hello?" she called for her own comfort, knowing she couldn't be heard, 
then jumped back, startled, when Miss Emma popped up from behind the 
counter, oblivious to the holographic visitor.  Apparently she had 
dropped something on the floor, and had just picked it up. 
Sammy Jo saw that she had on a robe along with a blanket draped over her 
shoulders.  The blanket dangled down from her arms, and the Observer 
instantly knew what caused the fire as Miss Emma reached over the candle 
to put something on the counter.
"Oh, no," Sammy Jo uttered, completely unable to stop what she was 
witnessing.   She couldn't help but scream, "NO! Don't!'
The dangling blanket draped over the candle and burst into flames along 
with the sleeve to her robe.  Miss Emma stepped back, shocked and threw 
off the flaming blanket, which landed on the sink, igniting the 
curtains.  The old woman batted at her arm, a gurgling sound of fear in 
her throat, and turned in circles trying to put out the growing flames.  
Her arm was totally engulfed.
"Oh, God! Gooshie!"  Her fingers flew over the keys and found her self 
instantly next to Sam, who had just topped the stairs.  He was on his 
hands and knees, feeling for the wall to the building. "She's on fire!  
Hurry!  Over here!"
Sam's felt a burst of energy as his heart jumped to his throat.  He 
leaped up to Dr. Fuller's side, felt a doorknob, but found it was 
locked.  He felt the wall, remembered the window, and shattered it with 
his elbow.   Fingers numb to the pain of the broken glass cutting him 
through his gloves, he pulled himself into the room, glass shredding his 
legs.  He stumbled towards the glow in the kitchen and ran into Miss 
Emma who had just lost her balance.  He caught her as she fell.

Sam pulled up one of the throw rugs on the floor and wrapped it around 
her, rolling her back and forth. He could see the flames growing in the 
kitchen, and the thought passed through his mind that he may have saved 
her, but he may be too late for the others in the building.
"Oh, my Lord!  Oh, my Lord!" Sam heard Miss Emma crying hysterically.  
He yanked off the rug and saw that the flames were out, then pulled her 
into the living room.

"You're OK, Miss Emma! You're OK!"  He propped the terrified woman 
against the flowered couch, her arm smoldering and exposed, and left her 
to see if he could save this timeline from the flames.


Project Quantum Leap
Stallion's Gate, New Mexico
December 24, 1999

	Al, dressed in a somber suit of gray and green, walked down the hallway 
of the Project hand-in-hand with his wife.  She, too, felt the somber 
importance of this meeting and gripped his hand tightly, biting her lip. 
 Their life was about to change forever.
	They reached the briefing room door, which was flanked by a pair of 
Marine guards, and Al pulled her to a stop. He took both of her hands, 
and looked at her beautiful, concerned eyes.
	"This isn't over, you know," he said.  "It'll be a long, hard fight, 
but I won't give up.  You understand?"
	She smiled softly, and touched his face.  "I would expect nothing less 
of you," she replied, and gave him a hug.
	He had a silly notion that if he simply didn't show up, nothing would 
change, but knew that was just a pipe dream.  He stood straighter as 
Beth adjusted his tie, and they entered the room with his head up and 
his wife a half step behind him. He was the last of the Project 
administration to arrive, except for Donna Elisee-Beckett.  It had 
become traditional for her to go to her family this time of year because 
it was too painful to spend yet another Christmas without her husband by 
her side.  Now she may be staying there indefinitely.
	Everyone else was there, glumly sitting in the haphazardly arranged 
chairs.  Gooshie and Tina were holding hands, staring straight ahead.  
Verbina was standing in the back, her arms crossed, and gave Al a feeble 
smile as he walked in.  He returned it, then sat in the chair saved for 
him in the front row.  Beth sat beside him.  The Christmas decorations 
looked out of place with the somber reason for the gathering.  
Apparently he wasn't the only one who thought that; no one had bothered 
to turn on the colorful lights.

	He couldn't help but think about Sam.  What would happen to him when 
the Project was closed?  Could he complete his leaps without an Observer 
to help him?  Al got a chill every time he thought of how his friend 
would feel being abandoned in time.  This couldn't happen; it wasn't 
fair.  And it all was his fault.
	The door whooshed open, snapping Al from his thoughts, and a frowning 
Dan Wringer strode in with his assistant at his heels.  He stopped at 
the conference table, which had been pushed against the wall, and 
dropped a folder of papers on top of it.  The assistant stood against 
the wall, his hands behind his back, head bowed.  Wringer faced the 

	"My preliminary inspection of this facility is now complete, and I have 
voiced my recommendations to Senator Weitzman."
	Al heard uncomfortable shifting of chairs in the room as Wringer held 
up a file and opened it. "First...."
	The room wavered in front of Al's eyes, and everything became unfocused 
for a split second.  When it cleared, he was looking at sparkling 
Christmas lights and Gooshie raising a champagne flute in a toast.
	There was a warm breath in his ear.  "....be the first to congratulate 
you on a world record inspection time!" Beth giggled, clinking her flute 
against the one in his hand.  Al gaped at the glass, then at Beth.  
"Where's Wringer?" he sputtered.
	"Wringer?  Whose Wringer?" Beth looked puzzled and glanced around.
	Al realized his memory of the man was fading quickly.  "Wringer!  The 
inspector aide guy!"  He frowned, now unable to recall what the man 
looked like.
	"The aide?  His name was Conner, not Wringer.  And you gave him the 
inspection of his life, dear!"  Beth giggled as she sipped the 
champagne.  "I think they had just enough time to refuel the aircraft 
before he was out of here.  Well done!"
	Al blinked, speaking before he had time to think.  "Ziggy, check 
current D.C. listings for a Dan or Daniel Wringer, W-R-I-N-G-E-R," he 
spelled. Beth looked confused again, and Al kissed her on the nose.
	"Whatever you say, Admiral," Ziggy replied pleasantly.  Then, "There is 
no listing for that name in the D.C. area."
	Al smiled,surprised, then raised his glass.  "That's great!".  There 
was something else he wanted to say, but darned if he could recall what 
it was at the moment. The reason for his inquiry to Ziggy was gone from 
his memory. 
It was a tradition to have a toast at the end of each successful 
inspection, and this one was just a bit sweeter because it was Christmas 
Eve.  He and Beth would be leaving the complex later for the rented 
townhouse away from the Project, and all four of their girls, along with 
their significant others, were due there this evening to celebrate 
Christmas with them.  Al was very excited.
	"Admiral," Ziggy purred, backed by the sound of Christmas carols.  "You 
are needed in the Control Room."
	"On my way."  He gave Beth a peck on the cheek.  "Stay here and have 
fun!" He winked at her and she pinched his butt in reply. 'Women and 
champagne!' He thought with a grin as he left the room.
	The thought that something had changed nagged at him.  As the Observer, 
and while in the Imaging Chamber, memory of the change would linger much 
longer but the fading-dream effect would still occur as it just did.
'That means Sam should be leaping soon,' he thought as he walked quickly 
down the hall. 
	Then it hit him.  Trudy.  She was with Sam in the back of an ambulance; 
had anything changed for her?  He also recalled Beeks yanking him from 
the leap at that point.  Did Sam realize who Trudy was?
	"Ziggy," he quickly said, "Check the name Gertrude Calavicci.  Any 
listings in this area or New York?"  His step quickened with 
	"Checking," the hybrid computer replied.  "Nothing found with that 
name.  I assumed you were referring to you sister, Admiral, so I checked 
all data bases."
	He slowed.  "Thanks."  Crestfallen, he allowed himself to wallow in 
sadness for about ten seconds.  After all these years, he'd learned to 
deal with the disappointment, and chastised himself for still holding 
hope.  That was old history.  There was no sense in wishing for more.  
But then again, if Sam had just changed history, why hasn't he leaped?  
He hated not being out of the loop.
	He shifted his weight anxiously in the elevator as it took him to the 
Control Room. He stepped out, finding Tina at the console.  She was 
frowning as she studied the readouts, snapping her gum unconsciously.
	"What's up?" Al asked, keeping his voice level.
	"There's been a shift in the timeline, but Dr. Beckett hasn't leaped," 
she said as she chewed furiously.   Al had noticed in the past that the 
speed of her gum chewing was an indication of her concentration. She 
sure was focused now.
	"What happened?"
	"He saved the lives of three people.  Stopped a fire." Her fingers flew 
over the console.  "But he's still there."
	Al's heart leaped.  "Dr. Fuller hasn't reported in yet?"
	"No," Tina replied.
	"Let me hear."
	Tina stopped and cocked her head at Al.  "Dr. Beeks said you weren't to 
have access to the Imaging Chamber.  Audio is access."
	Al was about to protest when the Control Room door slid open and 
admitted Verbina Beeks.  She was one of the few people in the Project Al 
couldn't intimidate; the calm, collected persona was always in place.  
She coolly approached the console and nodded an acknowledgment to the 
Admiral but her eyes were soft with understanding.
	"Admiral, I know the inspector is gone, but I have to keep the status 
quo until Sam leaps.  You know the rule about interfering.  We've been 
lucky so far."
	" 'Bena, I don't think luck has anything to do with Sam's leaps, and I 
think you suspect the same thing."
	"Even if that's so, there's nothing you can do as an Observer that 
Sammy Jo can't.  Except influence Sam."  She watched Al, her eyes 
showing that she was making a decision.  When she spoke again, her voice 
was soft.  "If it is God, Fate, Time or Whomever or even just Sam 
Beckett doing this, they've been doing just fine up to now.  Let them 
continue.  I'll allow access to audio, if you wish, but I want you to 
think about this first."
	She has Al's attention.  This was why he was called to the Control 
	Dr. Beeks continued with her hand on Al's forearm.  Tina turned her 
back to give them further privacy.  "If Sam doesn't leap, and he is 
there to help Trudy, things will go just fine.  If not," she patted his 
arm.  "Can you stand here and listen to her die?  She's already gone in 
our time line.  You've accepted that and moved on.  Do you really think 
you want to start this again?  Especially with it being Christmas Eve?  
It will always be connected in you mind.  Is that what you want?"
	"What about the hope I feel?" he stated calmly.  " I'm going through it 
already, 'Bena.  If that hope dies, it's the same thing."
	"Hope goes hand in hand with faith.  Go home, Admiral.  Let this unfold 
as the Powers see fit; which ever Power you believe in."
	Al turned it over in his mind.  Before Dr. Beeks even finished the 
sentence, he knew which Power his money was on: Sam Beckett.  He also 
made a decision to let the cards fall as they will, and be with his 
family.  That's something Sam wasn't able to do, he thought as a pang of 
sorrow filled his heart for his friend.  Be thankful and appreciate what 
he had now, because after studying the picture in Sam's office, he knew 
deep inside that Sam had done enough for him already.
	"All right," he sighed.  "You win."
	"I didn't realize we were in a war," she smirked, releasing his arm.  
"Go home, and give your girls hugs for me.  Sammy Jo can handle things 
here, er, there, or, you know what I mean!"
	Al grinned.  It was always amusing to see Dr. Beeks fumble for words.  
She was just like the rest of us!
	"Will do, boss."  He gave her a quick hug.  "And Merry Christmas.  You 
too, Tina."
	"Sure, Admiral. Ho, ho, ho and every thing!"  She continued to crack 
her gum with a toothy smile, waggled her fingers at him and returned her 
attention to the console.
	Trudy Calavicci's fate was now in Sam's hands.

	~~~			~~~			~~~			~~~

Medfield, New York
December 18, 1953

	Sam had managed to knock down the curtains into the sink, breaking 
another window in the process, and smothered the fire with another throw 
rug that Dr. Fuller pointed out in the darkness.  The cabinets were 
scorched, as were the counter and ceiling.  He was coughing viciously 
from the smoke and fumes, and ducked low below the cloud of smoke 
gathering on the ceiling.  He worked his way to Miss Emma, thankful that 
the wind was able to clear the place out.  Snow, however, was now 
blowing in from all the broken windows.  They had to get out.
	"You did it!" Sammy Jo stated.  "That's it! Everyone survives now. You 
did it!" She looked up from the remote.  "How is she?"
	Throat and lungs burning, and feeling light headed, Sam crawled his way 
to the whimpering Miss Emma and carefully hugged her.  He felt her 
wince.  Through watering eyes he tried to examined her but it was too 
dark.  "I bet that stings," he commented, coughing.
	"Thank you, Janeen," Miss Emma whispered. "I could have died!  You 
saved my life!"
	"You still may freeze to death if we don't get out of here," Sam 
commented, ignoring her panicked expression. 
"Whoa! That's true!" Sammy Jo had just noticed the snow piling up in the 
living room.
Sam went to her bedroom and brought out a coat, gloves and hat, and had 
her put them on.  Then he helped her up and lead her to the door.  Snow 
was swirling around in the living room.  Sam felt her stiffen as they 
approached the door and he looked to Sammy Jo for help.  She tapped away 
on the link.
	"Oh! I don't think I can," Miss Emma whimpered.  Sam could feel her 
	"Beeks says to have her use imagery to relax," Sammy Jo read off the 
link with a frown on her face. Sam looked at her with a perplexed 
expression, and she looked back at the flashing device.  "Oh! I get it.  
You know, have her close her eyes and think of something nice and 
peaceful.  Put her self in a safe place, mentally."
	Sam nodded.  "Miss Emma," he said calmly.  "You just missed dying and 
nothing is scarier than that, right?"  That got a little smile in 
response. "I want you to pretend that there is a big hole in the wall 
between our places.  Close your eyes, OK?"  She complied.  "Now, take a 
deep breath and imagine the hole.  Imagine my place, which looks just 
like yours, on the other side.  There's a pot of tea waiting for us.  
And it's nice and warm.  See it?"
	She smiled softly.  "Yes!  I do!"  She also clutched Sam's arm tightly.
	Sam opened her door and they stood there side by side for a few 
seconds.  "Imagine us walking through the wall now," and he lead her out 
through the snowdrifts.  "Keep moving, Miss Emma, and keep you eyes 
closed.  Think about my furniture.  It looks just like yours."  He 
fished out his house keys from his frozen pocket, alarmed at the 
clumsiness of his grip.  Miss Emma's breaths came in frigid gasps, and 
her grip tightened, but she kept her eyes closed.  Dr. Fuller 
illuminated the doorknob for him and he finally got the door opened.  
"Welcome to my home, Miss Emma."  He pulled her inside and quickly 
closed the door.
	The old woman opened her eyes slowly.  "It does look like my place!" 
she commented quietly still gripping his arm. "Completely dark!"
	Sam laughed at her attempt at humor.  Then he took her coat off and sat 
her down, locating a flashlight in the kitchen to dress her wounds.  
There were first and second degree burns all the way up to her neck, and 
her hair was singed and frizzy, but she would be fine.  He used white 
pillowcases to wrap up the arm, and gave her a warm, thick robe to wear. 
He also pulled off her shoes and gave her dry socks.  He didn't dare 
light any candles.
	"Here," he said, handing her the flashlight.  "Take this while I get 
	"But you can't see in the dark!" The woman protested. "Larry should be 
getting the generation going any time now.  He's very efficient."
	"Thank goodness for that," Sam said as he glanced at Dr. Fuller, who 
lit up the hallway for him with the hand link.  "It's OK, I know this 
place like the back of my hand!  Be right back!"
	He pulled off the damp, smelly clothes he was wearing, noting the pink 
bloodstains on the white nurse's uniform.  The cuts on his legs and 
hands were starting to throb and bleed again as he warmed up.  He dumped 
the entire wardrobe in the bathroom tub and pulled on a clean thermal 
shirt and underwear.  There were some clean, white sheets in the linen 
closet that he carried back to the living area, and asked the elderly 
woman to tear them into bandages for him.
	"I'm going to check on the other two," Sammy Jo said, feeling useless 
at the moment.  Sam nodded.
	Miss Emma had looked a little ashen and nervous before Sam gave her the 
task.  She perked up immediately, eager to help, and told Sam a story 
about how she nursed people during the Spanish flu epidemic when she was 
a young girl.  She felt it was her calling to be a nurse, but her rich 
parents forbid her to go into such a 'blue collar' field.  She had 
always regretted not following her heart.
	Sam was impress by her touch and skill as she cleaned and wrapped Sam's 
legs.  She clucked her tongue, saying how some of them needed stitches, 
but knew that would have to wait. Sam told her all about the others in 
the car, and Miss Emma's eyes went huge.
	"Why, you have to get them in here!  They won't survive the night!"  
She stood up and reached for the phone, then realized the line was dead. 
 "I know Larry's home," she murmured, and just on cue the night light in 
Janeen's hallway lit up. "Ah! He's got the generator going.  His boy 
Willie can tend to the generator.  Larry and Bud can help, I'm sure.  
Get bundled up, child, we've got work to do!"
	As Sam dressed he heard Miss Emma rifling through the kitchen.  "My, 
you certainly are organized!  Let's see, some tea and broth, wash cloths 
for the fever..." He shook his head in amazement and admiration, knowing 
she was keeping busy to cover her anxiety at being out of her home.  She 
was a real trooper.  Sam knew the place would be ready for Trudy and 
Dane.  He just had to do his part and get them here.
	He had buttoned the last button and pulled on his boots and gloves and 
had stuffed every pocket with extra clothing when Sammy Jo blinked back 
to his side.
	"They're pretty cold, Dr. Beckett.  Dane is actually doing a pretty 
good job of monitoring her, but you'd better hurry."
	"I'm going now," he said out loud. "I'll send someone back to help you, 
	"It's very bad out there, Janeen.  Be careful!"
	"I will, m'am," Sam said as he pulled open the door and stepped into 
the frigid darkness and whirling snow.
Sammy Jo was again a colorful, glowing ball to Sam as she lead him to 
Larry's and Bud's apartments.  They were reluctant to venture out, but 
the thought of people in need outweighed any of their objections.  They 
were alarmed at what happened to Miss Emma, and Larry's wife volunteered 
to check the damaged apartment now that the power was back to make sure 
it was safe, then to sit with Miss Emma.  It made Sam feel warm at the 
unselfishness of everyone; they truly pulled together in a time of need.
	Sam rigged a stretcher with curtain rods and blankets, and lashed extra 
blankets on it for good measure.  Both Larry and Bud were skeptical that 
Janeen could lead them to the car, but had to admit she found her way 
here.  They bundled up, and were ready to go in no time.  Larry insisted 
they tie themselves together so they didn't get separated.
	Sammy Jo was careful to keep in Sam's sight.  Sam found the going a 
little easier now that he was properly dressed, and was soon warm under 
his layers.  His hands and legs throbbed as they warmed up, but he kept 
going.  Sammy Jo didn't find the return trip any easier, and she had a 
slight headache when the finally reached the white lump she identified 
at the car.  Dane had kept the door area clear so it was fairly easy to 
remove them from the car.  Larry and Bud were amazed that Janeen had 
found it in the whirling storm.
	They bundled up Dane in the extra clothes.  Sam would help him walk 
back while Larry and Bud hauled the well-wrapped girl.  Fatigue was 
eating away at Sam's concentration, and he felt himself drifting 
mentally as he tried to keep his eyes locked on Dr. Fuller.  Sammy Jo 
noticed this, and kept right under Sam's nose on the way back, hollering 
and waving in his face.  The return went very slowly, and the storm 
showed no sign of letting up.  Sam had no idea how long they'd been in 
the elements.  He could only take this one step at a time, the trusting 
men following his lead. 
Larry had just voiced a doubt as to their location when they stumbled 
into the side of the apartment building.  He took control of the group 
when Sam collapsed into the snow, totally spent.  Dane pulled vainly on 
his arm in an attempt to keep him on his feet, and the unnoticed 
hologram yelled his name over and over.
The last thing Sam recalled as he sank into the fluffy snow was that 
finally he felt warm and cozy.


	When he finally drifted back into consciousness the first thing he was 
aware of was the quiet hum of conversation and soft laughter.  When he 
reached up to his face, he felt bandages on his hands, and slowly opened 
his eyes. The bandages were fresh and clean. He was lying on a couch, 
and his entire body ached.
	"I tell you, I don't know how she did it," he heard a man's voice 
whisper.  "But there wasn't any hesitation or bad turns.  She got us to 
that car and back in no time.  I know I couldn't see a thing!"
	Sam smelled the wonderful scent of coffee, and a woman's voice answered 
quietly, "Well, she must be like a homing pigeon or something.  Some 
people are like that.  Never need to ask directions."
	"But it was a white out!  You couldn't see your own hand in front of 
your face!" The man insisted.
	"Sshh!" the woman shushed.  "I think she's awake now."
	A face leaned over Sam. 
	"Janeen honey?  How are you? Would you like some coffee? Or broth?"
	"Yes," Sam croaked, struggling to sit up.  "The coffee smells great."		
The woman, Larry's wife Linda Sam recalled, helped him sit up and get 
comfortable.  Sam looked out the kitchen window and saw that it was 
still dark.
	"The storm?" He croaked.
	"It looks like it letting up a bit," she said, pouring a cup and 
bringing it to Sam.  Larry came in and sat in the chair across from him, 
and Linda sat on the couch next to Sam.  Sam's hands shook a little, and 
he felt incredibly weak.  His lips were sore from exposure and the 
coffee stung them, but it tasted great.
	"What time is it?" Sam asked.  He tried to ignore Larry studying him.
	"Almost dawn," she replied.
	His memory flooded back and he quickly put the cup down and looked 
around the room.  "Where's Miss Emma? And the girl?" he started to rise 
from the couch, but Linda pushed him back down.
	"They're both in your bedroom, Janeen.  The girl's really sick.  Miss 
Emma hasn't left her side.  That woman is a wonder; she's managed to 
keep the fever down some, but I don't thinks there's much we can do 
	"I think she has pneumonia," Sam said, looking down the hall, frowning. 
 "Miss Emma's been taking care of her?"
	"Yes.  She wanted us to stay here with you."
	"I think I'd like that broth now, if you don't mind."
	Linda smiled and patted her knee.  "Sure.  You need your strength."
	Larry continued to study Sam through squinted eyes.   Sam smiled, 
dropped his eyes, and sipped the coffee.
	Larry shook his head and stood.  "I don't know how you did it," he 
mumbled as he pulled on his jacket.  "I'm gonna check the generator.  
Power should be back on as soon as the storm's over."
	When he opened the door to leave, Sam could see it was a bit lighter 
outside, and an enormous amount of snow was blown up on the side of the 
building.  His observation was overridden by the swooshing of the 
Imaging Chamber door, and he frowned when he saw Dr. Fuller yet again. 
Where was Al?
	"When the snow stops, I have to get her to a hospital," Sam said a 
little louder.  "Will the roads get plowed quickly?"
	Linda let out a laugh as she dissolved a bouillon cube in some boiling 
water and supplied an answer before the hologram even lifted the hand 
link.  "As fast as you want.  Bud drives the plow, and it's parked 
across the street in the County lot!  Didn't you know that?"
	"Oh!" Sam said with a smile. "I guess I forgot, with all the 
	Sammy Jo shrugged and looked apologetic.  "You look much better, Dr. 
Beckett," she commented.
	Linda came over and handed him the beef stock.  Sam downed it, not 
recalling the last time he ate.  He felt much better and ventured into 
the kitchen where he poured more coffee and found some crackers.  After 
eating a bit, he felt strong enough to check on the patient.  He left 
Linda sipping on her coffee in the living room.09
	Miss Emma had pulled a chair next to the bed, and was gently wiping the 
pale girl with a damp wash cloth.  Her face was both concerned and 
content, as if this is what she was meant to do.  The girl was wheezing 
pitifully, each breath a struggle.  It pulled at Sam's heart.  He had to 
do something.
	"She's quite a fighter," the elderly woman said softly.  "So much 
heart.  I wonder where her parents are?"
	Dr. Fuller merely bit her lip and shook her head as she looked at Sam.
	Sam sat on the edge of the bed across from Miss Emma.  "She's one of 
the hospital's patients.  Her name is Trudy, and I think she's an 
orphan." Sam recalled Al's reaction when he had seen her.  How did he 
know her? "Where's Dane, the driver?" Sam asked.  Once again the 
information did not come from the Observer.
	"He's asleep at Larry and Linda's.  He was such a help, even with his 
injured arm.  He helped us settle you and her down, and told me what to 
do with her.  A nice boy."
	'Yeah, who probably is responsible for all this,' Sam thought to 
	"So tell me about Trudy, here."  Miss Emma was truly enamored with this 
patient as she patiently kept her wet and cool.
	Sam told her all about Down's Syndrome.  He told her the cause and the 
result, and the relative abilities of each afflicted person.  Miss Emma 
was transfixed.
	"You mean some of them can actually hold jobs? And take care of 
	"Yes."  Sam went on to explain the current treatment of such patients, 
and how that could be different.  He presented the concept of group 
homes that were supervised as an idea that hadn't been pursued, but had 
lots of potential.  He also knew the prejudices of the era, and that 
this type of mainstreaming was years away.  Miss Emma took it all in 
with a quiet nodding of her head.
	When Sam looked up again, it was light outside.  He opened the curtain 
and saw the snow had stopped coming down, and quickly went to the living 
room.  "I'm going to find Bud," he said, pulling on his jacket.  "She 
needs a doctor."
	Linda just had time to gape at him in surprise before he was out the 
door.  Sammy Jo wondered why she bothered to show up.

	~~~			~~~			~~~			~~~

	Between Larry and his son, and two other men in the apartment building, 
there was a path shoveled to the sidewalk in no time. Sammy Jo finally 
made herself useful and lead Sam and two of the men to the buried car.  
They dug it out quickly, and heard the sound of Bud and the snowplow 
shortly thereafter.

He pulled up next to Sam and hollered over the engine noise, "I have it 
cleared up to the apartment building.  I'll start on the road to the 
hospital now!"  And off he went.
The shoveling men helped Sam get the car out of the snow bank, and on 
the cleared road.  He drove right up to the entryway of the building, 
and left the engine running as the men piled out.  They all went up the 
stairs to help move Trudy and Dane.  Sam supervised the moving of the 
girl, again using the curtain rods and blankets as a stretcher.  She fit 
comfortably in the back seat.  Dane looked much better than when Sam had 
last seen him, and was waiting for them in the front seat.  His arm was 
still lashed across his chest. 
"It hurt too much to move, so we just left it," he said quietly.  At 
least he has the decency to look ashamed, Sam thought.
To Sam's surprise, Linda was helping Miss Emma to the sidewalk as Sam 
slid behind the steering wheel.  The old woman looked pale and scared, 
but managed a weak grin at Sam.
"I have to stay with her, Janeen.  Please?"  Her voice was shaky, but 
her eyes locked with Sam's and refused to let go.
Sam saw Dr. Fuller's jaw drop in surprise, and she started typing 
furiously on the hand link at this request.  Sam hadn't bothered to ask 
why he hadn't leaped when he saved Emma's life.  He knew he wasn't going 
anywhere until the girl was safe, too.
	"Sure," Sam said.  "Want to ride in back?"
	Miss Emma beamed.  Linda opened the door and arranged for Trudy's head 
to rest on Emma's lap for the ride so she could continue to wipe her 
face with a damp cloth.

	"I think her fever is even worse," she said to Sam, biting her lower 
	"We're doing all we can," Sam replied.
	"Dr. Beckett, you're not going to believe this.  Ziggy says that you've 
changed history big time."  She started to read off the link.  "Miss 
Emma here?  She's loaded.  You'd never know by the way she lives, but 
she came from very wealthy parents.  Never married.  Originally, when 
she died in the fire, all her money went to her sister.  Now, thanks to 
you, she's the founder of the Freedom Foundation."
	Sam drove carefully along the plowed road, frowning, and gave Sammy Jo 
a sideways look.  The name obviously didn't ring a bell.
	"The Freedom Foundation is the group that starts group living homes for 
those afflicted with Down's Syndrome!  She opens the first home next 
year, and lives in it herself to help supervise and train the staff and 
residents.  It's a big step towards mainstreaming.  She's quite the 
pioneer.  There are Foundation homes all across the country."
	A big smile broke out on Sam's face.  He had lots of questions, but 
couldn't ask them at the moment. 
	Dr. Fuller continued.  "The Foundation is still around, and has lots of 
political clout for rights of the handicapped, especially since her 
great-nephew took over after her death in 1974.   Seems he had a knack 
for lobbying." Dr. Fuller's jaw dropped again and a big, goofy smile 
came over her face. "His name is Daniel Wringer."
	Sam looked at her with an expression that clearly showed total 
confusion. Was he supposed to know this guy?  Sammy Jo glanced up, 
catching the look.
	"Ah, it's funny, um.." she stuttered.  "It seems I've met Mr. Wringer 
before, but that's a personal thing."  She wiped the glee from her face 
and got back to business.  Ziggy would be extremely annoyed for missing 
that one.
	In Sam's mind there was only one more thing left.  What happens to 
Trudy?  Does she survive the day?  With a glance in her direction, Sam's 
doubts grew.  She looked bad.  And when they got to the hospital, it 
would take time to figure out if they could treat her, because her 
medical records, complete with diagnosis and drug allergies, were in the 
	"I wonder if the phones are still not working," Sam hinted.
	Dane shrugged his shoulders.  They weren't when we left," he replied.
	"No, the lines are still down," Dr. Fuller informed him.
	Sam glanced at Dane.  "Do you know where you went off the road?"
	Dane reddened at the question.  "Ah, no.  Not really.  It all looks the 
same to me out here."  He shifted uncomfortably.  "I'm a city boy," he 
said, almost ashamed.
	"We're almost there," Sammy Jo said.  "About a quarter mile.  There's a 
bend in the road..." The car entered the turn. "And it's right, here!  
Right here."  Sam stopped the car.
	"I think the ambulance and her records are right here.  Will the papers 
be in the front, where you were?"   Sam asked the driver as he belted 
down his coat tighter.
	"Yeah.  I carry them on the seat next to me."
	Dr. Fuller blinked out of sight, and Sam spotted her half way down the 
embankment as he waded his way through the snow.
	"Yeah! I see the papers on this side.  Watch it! The hill starts.."
The warning was too late as Sam stepped off the edge and disappeared in 
the snow.  "Dr. Beckett?"
	The snow boiled as Sam slipped down the hill, stopping at the still 
open driver door.  He dug his way in, and the hologram pointed out a 
clipboard with papers attached.  Amazingly, they were mostly dry.  Sam 
picked up the papers, and wiggled his way out of the vehicle and back up 
the hill.  He was layered with snow, which he mostly brushed off before 
getting back in the car.  By the time he was going down the road again, 
the heater had melted the snow and he was wet.  Again.  He felt like he 
had been constantly wet, or cold, or both on this leap.
	Finally, they reached the hospital.  Bud had cleared a path right up to 
the front door, and Sam inwardly cheered him.  Dane hopped out before 
they had actually stopped.
	"I'll get the gurney out here," he said, carefully negotiating the icy 
steps.  Sam felt that he was genuinely remorseful for his actions of the 
previous day.
	"What happens to him?" He asked quietly.
	The Observer punched a few buttons.  "Well, originally, he was fired, 
and they covered up the accident.  That's why we never knew about the 
transfer.  He had menial jobs after that.  Now, he partners up with Miss 
Emma there.  Does the physical work on the houses for the Foundation, 
and is the all round go-fer guy and driver.  He was a board member when 
he retired two years ago.  Very well respected."
	Sam was shivering when he got out of the car and opened the door for 
Miss Emma.  Two orderlies came out with the gurney, followed by Dr. 
	"Janeen! Get inside or you'll get sick, too!" The doctor seemed 
extremely concerned, and the feeling about his and Janeen's relationship 
came to the surface again.  
	"Hey!" Sammy Jo let out a laugh.  "You, I mean Janeen, and Dr. Beech 
here get married next year!  Isn't that nice?"
	Sam shifted uncomfortably, and Miss Emma informed Dr. Beech about 
Janeen's wounds as they transferred Trudy to the gurney.  Dr. Beech 
ordered Sam inside with a stern, doctorly look.
	Trudy looked bad.  Her face was flushed with fever, and she showed 
little signs of awareness.  Her breathing was hideously ragged, her 
problem obvious.  "Take her in now," Dr. Beech barked.  "We'll have to 
chance that she isn't allergic to penicillin."
	"Wait!" Sam interjected.  "I have her records, right here!"  He reached 
in the car and pulled out the clipboard.  Before Dr. Beech took it from 
his hands, Sam saw the patient's name: Gertrude 'Trudy' Calavicci.  He 
gasped in surprise, following her with his eyes as she was rolled in the 
hospital door.
	"Al's sister!" He whispered as Dr. Beech took his elbow.
	Then there was a blue haze, and he leaped.


December 25, 2000
Near Stallion's Gate, New Mexico

	Silver Bells was playing softly in the background as the warm fire 
crackled in the hearth. Gold bunting trimmed with lace covered glass 
balls shimmered in the soothing light, throwing a calming cast over the 
room.  Shadows danced as a delicate hand wielding a long match touched 
the candle wicks on the wooden mantle.  Extra candlelight warmed the 
mood of the room even more.   The sparse snow and grayness of the sky 
outside was easily forgotten standing in the gaily decked and cozy 
living room.  The small Christmas tree off to the side was beautifully 
decorated with white ribbon and bows and gold ornaments; the brightly 
lit star on the top chased away the shadows from the top of the tree.  
It was impossible to look at the star and not remember the meaning of 
the season.
	There were six colorful stockings already hanging on the mantle, each 
one graced with a single name, as a seventh hook waited to be filled.  
Admiral Albert Calavicci carefully removed the final stocking from its 
padded box.  Its colors weren't as bright as the others, obviously faded 
by time.  Some of the lace trim had holes, and most of the glitter had 
worn off.  He smiled.
	"She would rub the glitter, and each year a little more would come 
loose," he said fondly as he gently smoothed it out and hung it on the 
last nail.  "I would spell out her name, and point to each letter," he 
said, smiling, touching each letter on the cuff once again.
	"And she would be so excited, she wouldn't remember the letters, would 
she?"  Beth stood behind her husband and wrapped her arms around his 
waist.  She lay her head on his back and admired the tree as she 
	"No," he laughed, "she wouldn't."  He put his hands on top of hers and 
gazed at the stocking, lost in thought.  "This year I would have gotten 
her one of those suede jackets with all the zippers.  In purple.  And it 
would be in a big box, wrapped in purple paper with a big, purple bow."  
Al accented the p's, making popping sounds as he spoke.  Beth laughed 
lightly, and he smiled.  "Because purple..."
	"Was her favorite color!" They finished together, ending their 
simultaneous thought in soft giggles.
	Beth wiggled her way to the front of her husband and they held each 
other gently as they regarded the old stocking and swayed to the soft 
music. She couldn't help it, either.  Slowly, she reached out and 
touched each of the letters that made up Trudy's name, as her husband 
slowly rocked her, deep in nostalgic thought, the 'what ifs' unspoken.
	Al's hands lay on top of the arm Beth had wrapped around his waist.  He 
saw her other hand reaching out to touch the tattered stocking when an 
odd wave rolled over him.  He didn't actually feel anything, but his 
vision was slightly blurred, as if under water, for just a fraction of a 
second.  When his sight cleared again, there was Beth's outstretched 
hand.  At this moment, however, her fingers were reaching out and 
lifting a brightly glittering, new stocking stuffed with goodies, from 
the nail over the hearth.  The name 'Trudy' stood out in shiny gold 
piping.  He heard Beth's light laughter and the sound of ripping paper.
	"We'd better give her this to keep her busy!   I'm sure she'll want to 
run outside to show the neighborhood her jacket!" Beth laughed as she 
released Al and walked away.
	Al spun around, inhaling sharply, his heart pounding.  There, by the 
tree sparkling with lights, purple wrapping paper was settling down 
around a seated woman who was smiling gleefully as she reached into a 
	"Trudy!" Al whispered, his voice cracking after the first syllable.  He 
could feel the tears welling in his eyes as he stood, transfixed, 
watching his sister pull out the jacket and squeal with delight.  He 
heard other people entering the room, laughing, and knew his daughters 
were home for the holidays.  As he watched Beth kneel down next to Trudy 
and hand her the stocking, and saw his sister and wife embrace in a hug, 
he knew this wasn't the way it had always been.  He knew this was 
something both remarkable and blessed, and that he was the luckiest man 
alive. But as the seconds ticked by, the fleeting thoughts of another 
life, of another set of circumstances, faded like a bad dream.
	And before the dream faded completely from his memory, Al wiped the 
tears from his eyes and whispered,  "Thank you, Sam."

			Written by A.J. Burfield