December 17, 1953
Outside New York City, New York

	The moans are what he noticed first, before his vision cleared of the 
blue haze.  Quantum leaping was like riding a runaway roller coaster 
sometimes; the last drop took his senses to the max and sometimes made 
him gasp in surprise as they trickled back to normalcy.  Dr. Beckett 
dared not move until he located the noise, because even when his vision 
cleared he was caught off balance by his surroundings.
	He was looking down at part of a white floor and white shoes that 
seemed to be on his own feet.  Stealing sideways glances before looking 
up he saw an endless white hallway, the floor shiny with use.  Finally 
daring to look up all the way, he saw sterile white walls that had 
yellowed slightly with age.  There was a handrail that ran the length of 
the hall, interrupted only by the many doorways.  Each door had a small 
window and each window was re-enforced with chicken wire.  At one end of 
the hall Sam saw a pajama-clad person slumped on the floor, leaning 
against the wall.  The moans weren't coming from that direction.
	Raising his head fully, he squared his shoulders and discovered that he 
was holding some books under one arm, a cup of water in the other hand, 
and standing in the middle of the hall. ' Where was I going?'  He 
thought to himself,  'And where is that noise coming from?' 

	The institutionalized feel of the place instantly set the hairs on the 
back of his neck on edge.  He looked more closely at his clothing and 
realized it was a white uniform.  A nurse's uniform.   A female nurse's 
uniform.  'At least she has sensible shoes,' he thought brightly. 
Turning around in a circle to see his surroundings in their entirety, he 
felt his heart beat faster realizing he was in a hospital of some sort 
and the nurses' station was right behind him.  Another nurse was 
scratching away on a medical chart, a dated cap on her head, and Sam 
watched as she angrily snapped on the radio next to her in an attempt to 
drown out the moaning noise.

	"How much is that doggy in the window?
	The one with the waggly tail?
How much is that doggy in the window?
I do hope that he is for sale!"
	The nurse started singing quietly to the familiar song, but the moaning 
could still be heard in the background.  This place and time had an 
'old' feel to Sam, and the addition of the nonsensical song added to the 
aura.  In a slight daze, Sam found himself drifting down the hall, 
following the rise and fall of the mournful wail.  When he reached a set 
of double doors at the end of the hallway, he took a deep breath and 
pushed them open with his hip.
	The moaning was much louder in here and Sam stood stock still, 
surveying the large room and its occupants.  He felt his mouth sag open. 
 "Oh, boy," he whispered to himself.  "I'm in the Cuckoo's Nest."

I'll Be Home For Christmas - Part I

	I felt like I'd been here before.  The faces were different, but the 
place felt the same as ... as what?  Because of my Swiss cheesed memory 
I would probably never remember the details of a similar place I'd been 
to in a previous leap.  Or maybe it was the holiday setting that was 
striking a chord.  I guess there were worse places to be for Christmas.  
Although at this moment I couldn't name one more depressing.

	The room was sparsely decorated for Christmas with worn garlands that 
barely glittered, and a tiny tree with a few ornaments.  Christmas music 
played softly in the background, drowned out by the wailing woman 
rocking back and forth in a rickety wheel chair next to the far wall.  
Sam had been standing in the doorway for just a fleeting moment when he 
heard a voice speaking loudly over the wailing of the old woman in the 
	"Janeen!" It said, "Hey, Janeen!  Nurse Perry! Hey!"

	Sam's head rotated around trying to find the voice with the feeling 
they were calling him.  He finally looked down at his nametag, which 
said  'Nurse Perry, Edgemoor County Mental Hospital'.

	He spun around, and finally found the speaker glaring at him and 
struggling with a white robed patient into the day room doorway. "Um, 
yes?" He said, not moving.
	"Help me here, will ya, for Heaven's sake?"  The smaller nurse was 
doing all she could to keep the patient on his feet and moving into the 
	"Sure, yeah," Sam sputtered, putting the books and cup down on a nearby 
cabinet.  He took the other arm of the young man who appeared to be 
heavily sedated.  "Wouldn't
a wheelchair be easier?" He grunted after half dragging the man to a 
The other nurse let out a grunt as she dropped the man in the chair. 
"Ha!" the nurse laughed. "Like we have a lot of those sitting around."   
She straightened her cap. "Thanks, Janeen.  Want me to take those for 
you? You're overdue for a break."  She indicated the cup and books.

Since Sam had no idea where they were to go, he nodded.  "Thanks," he 
said.  The man they had dropped in the chair simply stared out the 
distant window, unresponsive, so Sam backed out the doorway to the hall 
as 'Oh Come, All Ye Faithful' floated in the air.   Suddenly, he felt 
suffocated.  He needed to get some fresh air.  Looking around briefly, 
he found an exit door with a wide set of stairs that led outside to the 
front parking lot.  There was a bench off to one side of the lot, and 
Sam headed there, shivering.  The sweater he wore wasn't quite enough 
for this weather; there was about a foot of old snow off on either side 
of the walkway.  He decided if Al didn't show up in a minute or so he 
would have to go back inside.  When he reached the bench he decided it 
was too cold to sit, so he stood, stomping his feet and rubbing his 
hands together.
It was like he rubbed a genie's bottle, because the sound of the Imaging 
Room door greeted him instantly.  He turned to the noise and saw his 
friend and Observer, Admiral Albert Calavicci, retired, step through the 
bright opening.  He was moving cautiously, which struck Sam as odd.  Al 
looked carefully around before stopping his gaze at Sam.  His face was 
"Where am I, Al?" Sam said, his breath coming out as puffs of steam.  
"It's freezing, and I need to get back inside."
"OK, then, start walkin', because I don't have much."  Al hunched his 
shoulders and flipped his collar up as he fell in stride next to Sam.  
He jammed his hands in his pockets.  "Your name is Janeen Perry and 
you're a nurse for County Mental Health.  It's December 17, 1953.  
You're just outside of New York City, in the County area.  Ziggy doesn't 
know why you're here yet."  Al's voice was flat and unanimated.  His 
clothing was even somber for him, made up of dark greens and gray.

Sam turned his head slightly and studied his friend for an instant as 
they walked.  His gut instinct was telling him that something was wrong. 
 "Is there anything else I need to know?  Should I know this place?" he 
asked, frowning, searching his Swiss cheesed memory without results.
Al answered almost instantly. "We really don't know at this point.  Some 
of the records of this place were lost in a fire in early '58, so 
Ziggy's having a hard time with patient and employee information.  She 
has to go through the County records, which are a mess."
Sam was back at the door again, and reached for the doorknob.  Al 
stopped, and took out the hand link, instantly summoning the Imaging 
Room door.  Sam opened his mouth to protest his quick exit, but Al was 
through the opening before he could utter a complaint.

"I'll get back to you when we have more information, Sam.  Meanwhile, 
check the nurse's station for your shift times." The rectangle of light 
disappeared, leaving Sam standing there with his hand on the door and 
his mouth hanging open.20
'What was that all about?' He thought, giving the door a tug.  The 
building was nice and warm compared to the outside and Sam headed for 
the nurse's station, hoping for something hot to drink and to locate the 
schedule.  Sure, this place was depressing, but that was no excuse for 
his friend to ditch him like that.  He made a mental note have him 
explain his actions when he saw him next. 

Sam wandered through a door behind the nurses' station desk that led to 
a break room and hot coffee.  The schedule was posted on a bulletin 
board, and Sam noted happily that Janeen Perry was off duty at 3:00, 
which was only two hours away.  He casually checked the small lockers in 
the break room and found Janeen's.  Thank God there wasn't a padlock on 
The next two hours actually went rather quickly.  Sam kept busy helping 
other nurses when they called, so he didn't really figure out if he had 
regular duties or not. He was running around controlling situations, but 
never seemed to get the upper hand on any one thing.  It was perpetual 
motion, and he admired the nurses for the job they did.

About 2:40 Sam noticed an influx of nurses heading to the break room.  
He reasoned it was the next shift briefing for their rounds.  He was 
standing at the nurses' station, shifting his tired feet and rubbing his 
back, when a matronly nurse stepped up next to him and started flipping 
through charts.
"Aren't you supposed to be in with Dr. Beech doing meds?" she stated 
"Oh," Sam replied, surprised. "Yeah.  I forgot."  He started to leave 
the station for the exam room he'd seen earlier when the nurse spoke 
"Are you staying over tonight, Janeen?  Next shift is short again," she 
sighed and shook her head slowly while reading a chart.  "I don't think 
I'd know what we'd do with a full shift.  I haven't seen one in so 
Sam stopped short. "I wasn't planning on staying," he said slowly.  "I 
have, uh, something I have to do after work."
The nurse looked up surprised.  "I never thought I'd live to see the 
day!  Janeen Perry turning down overtime!"  The woman chuckled.  "It's 
OK, don't worry about it.  They'll survive.   It's not like you haven't 
done your share."  She initialed a chart, flipped it shut and went to 
the next one.  "Dr. Beech will be here for a couple of hours and can 
distribute sedatives to ease the load."
Sam tried not to look appalled. "Yeah," he replied, keeping his voice 
neutral as he walked to the exam room.  A Doctor sedating a patient to 
keep the nurses' workload down?
That went against all the training he'd had in med school, and it 
disturbed him.  He'd seen all sorts of mental illness here today.  In 
his time, most of these patients could function at home on medications, 
or live in group homes, but none of that was available in this time.  It 
was difficult to get used to.  There were Down's Syndrome patients mixed 
in with bi-polar  and paranoid-schizophrenics, and some Sam suspected 
were drug addicts or alcoholics suffering from withdrawals.  They were 
all clumped together and labeled 'crazies' and dumped in an inadequate, 
understaffed County hospital. He knew he was here to change something, 
and a lot needed changing, but nothing alerted his instincts yet. His 
gut feeling hadn't been triggered about anyone he'd met yet and he was 
starting to wonder if there was a point to him being here at all.  And 
where was Al?
	When Sam rounded the last corner to the exam room he saw a short line 
extending out the door into the hall.  He stepped in the room and saw a 
harried man in a Doctor's coat trying to move the line into the hall.
	"It's about time, Nurse!" he snapped.  "Get these people out of this 
room and close the door!"
	Sam did as he was told as he apologized for being late.  The door had a 
sliding window in it where the medicines were dispensed.  It was a lot 
easier keeping the crowd outside, but Sam was reluctant to be shut in 
the room with this man.  He had an uneasy feeling about him that he 
couldn't pinpoint, and Sam blamed the feeling on Janeen's residual 
thoughts.  He had to check the wristband of each patient while Dr. Beech 
found the chart, checked the doses, and issued his orders.  Sam's job 
was then to find the medicines and dispense them.  It was difficult to 
hold his tongue on some of the orders, and he had to keep reminding 
himself that most of the drugs he would prescribe weren't even invented 

	It was well past his quitting time by the time he got the meds set up 
for the room bound patients.  There were more sedatives here than Sam 
liked to see, but there was nothing he could really do about it.  He and 
Dr. Beech got in a comfortable rhythm and Sam actually got to like his 
manner.  He was just as over worked as the nurses, he discovered, and 
donated a lot of his time to the facility and patients.  He rotated his 
time here with two other Doctors, and none of them had too much one on 
one contact with the patients due to understaffing. 

After sending the trays loaded with medicines off to the next shift 
nurses, both Sam and Dr. Beech collapsed on chairs in the exam room.20
"Well," Dr. Beech sighed.  "That was more of a fiasco than normal.  What 
happened? You usually have everything ready to go before I get here.  
Bad day?"
'If you only knew,' Sam thought immediately.  "It got a little busy, and 
I lost track of time," he offered verbally. "Sorry."
"The holidays always get that way," he said, reaching over and patting 
Sam's hand.  "And this is only the beginning!  The next two weeks will 
be worse.  The patients know something's going on so tension increases.  
They are quite perceptive."  He rubbed his forehead.  Sam quietly 
slipped his hand into his lap so the Doctor wouldn't pat it again.  "I'm 
scheduled to work Christmas Eve. The Curse of the Single Doctor!" He 
laughed a pleasant laugh, leaned foreword and patted Sam's knee.  Sam 
stood up abruptly, alarmed and perplexed.
Sam didn't like what his instinct was telling him.  The last thing he 
wanted was to be involved in a romantic situation; being the man in that 
sort of situation was uncomfortable enough, but being the woman was 
really bad.  He was sure he must have been in a similar situation 
before, but he couldn't recall any details and didn't really care to 
recall them.  For once he appreciated his Swiss cheese memory.  He 
inched his way to the door.
"Maybe we'll be spending Christmas Eve together." He smiled warmly at 
Sam.  "Well, Janeen, how about the Beefeater for dinner tonight?  I'll 
meet you there.  And maybe something to drink to warm our bones!"  Dr. 
Beech stood up, stretched, and turned towards Sam.
Sam fought to control his panic as he grabbed for the doorknob, his hand 
sliding off the shiny surface.  Dr. Beech was right next to him, 
slipping his arm around Sam's waist. Sam closed his eyes and clenched 
his teeth, preparing for the worst.  Dr. Beech simply grabbed the 
doorknob.  "Here," he said.  "Let me get that for you."  He opened the 
door and stood aside, allowing Sam to pass.
Sam let out a breath he hadn't realized he'd held. "Thanks," he blurted, 
scurrying out to the hall.  "And I think I'll just go home." He started 
rubbing his back and looking pitiful. "My back is killing me.  Maybe 
some other time?"  He tried to make the smile look sincere.
Dr. Beech looked surprised then disappointed.  "OK, then," he said with 
a small, perplexed wave.  "See you soon, Janeen."
Sam waved back as the Doctor retreated down the hall. "OK, uh..Doctor?" 
He realized he didn't know the man's first name.  Sam hoped he didn't 
mess up something for the real Janeen.  One of the hazards of leaping, 
he thought.
It was past 4:00 before he actually got out of there.  He got funny 
looks as he left, and receiving the impression that it was unusual for 
Janeen to leave work so early.  He made his way down the icy stairs, 
holding his jacket hood closed around his face against the freezing 
wind.  He had dug car keys out of Janeen's purse, and was cursing Al for 
leaving him in a lurch.  How was he to know which car was Janeen's?  
Maybe her car wasn't even here!  His thoughts became focused on nasty 
comments for Al when he heard the Imaging Room door open.  As Sam jerked 
his head around to glare at his Observer, he slipped on the icy sidewalk 
and landed painfully on his rear.
"You gotta be careful, Sam.  It's icy," Al offered lightly.  "You OK?"
 "No thanks to you! Where have you been?" Sam struggled to his feet, the 
snug dress and his anger making it almost impossible. "Where's my car, 
Al? I'm freezing!"
"Jeeze, Sam, no need to bite my head off," he replied shortly.  Al 
tapped on the hand link as he chewed on an unlit cigar.  "It's the black 
one, over there."  He pointed to the north end of the lot.
Annoyed, Sam brushed off the ice and snow from his legs angrily.  He 
wanted to pace and yell, but knew either one was inadvisable.  He wanted 
to grab and shake the hologram of his friend, but he knew that was 
impossible. The only thing he could do was glare at him.
"They're all black," he growled between clenched teeth.
Al took a step back.  "Boy, if looks could kill they'd be diggin' my 
grave!" He replied grumpily.  He glanced around as if he was surprised 
to see what was around him.  "Oh, yeah! So they are! Boy, was this a 
boring era for color choice. Come on, hers is over here.  The Ford."  Al 
pointed to a car just a few feet away.  That was when Sam noticed Al's 
"Bermuda shorts?  In December?  And are those pineapples on your shirt?  
What's going on?  A luau??"  Sam stomped to the plain, black car and 
fumbled with the key before he realized that the car was unlocked.  He 
yanked the door open and crawled inside, the seat cold against the back 
of his knees.  He exhaled sharply at the shock of the cold seat on his 
nearly bare legs.
Al drifted to the seat next to Sam.  "You forget that the temperature is 
controlled where I am," he explained with a patient sigh.  "Yes, it's 
freezing cold outside, but Ziggy has taken control of the thermostat.  
She claims she's conserving energy."
Sam shook his head as he fought to start the stubborn engine.  "You're 
14 stories underground.  The temperature shouldn't vary that much due to 
the insulation from the ground!  She can't be conserving that much 
"That's not what I meant," Al replied, watching Sam struggle with the 
car.  "She's conserving energy of the staff.  They argue over the 
Sam looked at him, incredulous.
Al continued, not noticing. "Tina says it's too cold, Gooshie says it's 
too hot, Beeks changes sides daily, no, hourly.  You think a shrink 
could make a decision."  Al lit the cigar, then met Sam's eyes.  "What?" 
He shrugged.  "I don't get involved!  Hey, I think you flooded it."
"Huh?" Sam realized what he was referring to.  "I did not!"  He twisted 
the key again, and the motor finally caught.  Sam gave Al a smug look 
and wrapped his arms around himself as he let the engine warm up.  Al 
shrugged.  Sam then turned his eyes to his Hawaiian decked Observer.  
"Can you please tell me where I live? And how to get there? I'm not wild 
about driving in this weather, and I'm freezing. Be helpful for once on 
this leap!"
Al snorted.  "OK, OK.  Hang on a sec."  He adroitly hung on to the 
burning cigar as he pulled out the hand link and started tapping away.  
"I had it here before.  Oh, here we go."
The hologram guided Sam out of the lot, down the long, windy driveway to 
the main road.  It was actually a nice drive.  The two-lane roadway was 
practically empty and very pretty.  The lanes curved gently back and 
forth between clumps of trees and open meadows, and after awhile, ran 
through a small business district.  Sam followed Al's directions past 
the businesses and entered a housing area.
"This is a suburb of New York called Medfield.  There's a small 
apartment building just off the main drive here, on a street called 
Maple.  Isn't that quaint?"  Al pointed out the turn, sounding almost 
"So, how is the real Janeen doing? Is she any help?" Sam quizzed as he 
turned onto the street and looked for the address Al had given.  Sam 
noticed that Al was studying something out of his window and did not 
hear the question.  "Al? Hey!"
Al jumped slightly, then turned apologetically to his friend.  "What? 
Sorry, I was looking around.  What'd you say?"
Sam narrowed his eyes.  Something was up, but he wasn't getting into it 
here.  He wanted to get inside and thaw, so he slowly repeated his 
question about the visitor.
"She's very calm appearing, but her pulse rate gives her away." Al said, 
sounding rather mechanical.  "Beeks thinks she's avoiding a tranquilizer 
by behaving her self.  Nurses know all those tactics."

Sam hesitated a second, expecting a sexist comment about nurses in 
general, and was actually disappointed when none came forth.  He glanced 
sideways at his sullen friend. Something else was on his mind.  Should 
he say anything?

He didn't have a chance to decide before Al tapped on the hand link once 
"Janeen lives in number 14.  I'll be back in a little while, after 
you've checked the place out."  He hadn't even finished his sentence 
when the Imaging Room door opened, and he stepped through.  Al left his 
best friend sitting alone in the freezing parking lot, his mouth once 
again hanging open in surprise.


Project Quantum Leap
Stallion's Gate, New Mexico
December 23, 2000

	Al stood in the Imaging Room, unmoving, after the door closed.  In the 
brief time standing here he could be all alone.  No one demanding 
anything, no voices around him, none of that.  It was a relief, a calm 
moment in an otherwise hectic lifestyle.  There were so many emotions 
tugging at him from all directions of his psyche on this leap, it was 
difficult to center his thoughts.  His peaceful moment ended with the 
sound of Gooshie.
	"Ah, Admiral?" The voice asked apologetically via the sound system.
	"Yes, Gooshie?" Al responded tiredly.
	"Um, Dr. Beeks wants to see you? In her office?"
	Al raised a suspicious eyebrow.  Not so much at the request, but at 
Ziggy's silence.
"Why?" He asked slowly.
	"She didn't say.  She did say she would be expecting you. Especially 
since, um, she knows you're clear now."  Gooshie was obviously expecting 
a backlash from Al for notifying Beeks of his 'return'.  Beeks must have 
pulled that Project Doctor rank thing on the programmer.  Al also 
suspected Ziggy and Beeks were in cahoots about something, which would 
explain Ziggy's silence.
	"Fine." Al snapped.  She was the last person he wanted to see, and she 
obviously knew that.  Al felt like he was getting cornered, and didn't 
like it.  He stalked from the room and dropped the link at the main 
console, not bothering to acknowledge Gooshie who was now tending to 
some sudden and mysterious problem under the console.
He burst into the main hallway and the shocked look from a passing 
technician made him realize that he had to calm down.  He forced himself 
to walk slower although his mind was racing with a mixed bag of 
feelings.  Trying to focus on just one of the feelings was impossible, 
and Al concluded that he'd better get his act together before 
confronting Beeks.
	Al ducked into the first room he knew would be empty: Sam's office.  It 
was a comforting room, filled with memories of getting the Project up 
and running, and Al took advantage of the ambiance by plunking down in 
the worn, leather chair and focusing on the photos on the wall.  The one 
that held his attention was of himself, Sam, Donna and Beth, gathered 
close sharing a bottle of Champagne.  They were all laughing, happy at 
the news of finally securing funding for the Project.  'We all look so 
young,' he thought.  It was the women's faces that held him.  There was 
a feeling he couldn't pin down when he looked at their smiling faces; a 
feeling that it was a false memory, a forged photo.  Like it hadn't 
always been like that.
	The Observer knew these feelings may have validity, and it shook him to 
the core.  He didn't really want to think about an alternative timeline, 
but isn't that what was bothering him now?  It was time to be honest 
with himself.  This leap was too close to home.  Sam's current date was 
too much of a coincidence.  He felt he had to do something, but knew 
that it was against all the rules Sam had set for the Project: Don't 
Interfere With Your Personal History.
	He felt himself getting worked up again when he remembered Sam's 
specific orders in that area.  Trying to get his mind focused and calm 
once again he decided to think about his sister Trudy and how the memory 
of her was affecting him during this leap.  She was the basis of all his 
thoughts since the leap started, and no doubt the very subject on Beek's 
Where Sam was, Trudy was still alive and in another County institution 
only about 20 miles away.  And she would die in less than 48 hours.
	Al leaned back in Sam's worn chair and put his feet up on the desk as 
he pulled out a chewed cigar from the festive shirt pocket, and lit it.  
The thought of Sam's frowning face at his smoking in here made him smile 
briefly, but it was only a slight distraction to the memory flooding 
back into his mind. 

He recalled every detail of the reception area of the County Mental 
Health Office in Dearborn.  He remembered the small, wrapped purple box 
he had and the new set of clothes he had brought for her.  He recalled 
the pride he had in himself to have put away just enough money for these 
things, and finally being able to get her out of there on the eve of 
Christmas.  She was finally coming home, just in time for Christmas.  He 
wondered if his mother would be proud of him, and knew his dad would be. 
 The Navy would pay him just enough to care for her now, but he wasn't 
fooling himself either. It would be difficult, she being mentally 
retarded and all, but keeping the family together was important.
	For a moment, Al puffed on the cigar and examined the idealism of the 
young man he remembered.  He'd worked so hard for that goal.  Since his 
dad died, he had worked towards it every minute, assuming Trudy would be 
there to reap the rewards with him.  It wasn't to be, however, as he 
recalled the face of the nurse telling him his sister was dead.  
Pneumonia.  His memory blurred at that point, not remembering signing 
for her things and leaving empty handed and empty hearted.  He hadn't 
even been able to say goodbye; the County had cremated her per their 
policy, considering her an orphan.  Al had been working so hard to save 
her, he hadn't been able to visit her in recent years, and the 
consequences of  that decision would be impossible to live with.  That's 
why he couldn't go inside the hospital where Sam was working Janeen 
Perry's job.  It brought up too many bad memories.
	Al rubbed his burning eyes and was mildly surprised to find his hand 
wet from tears.  He laughed at himself, and put out the cigar.  So much 
has changed, he thought.  They even have a name for her affliction now: 
Down's Syndrome.  Today she would live in a group home, and do a lot of 
things for herself.  He could fix those past consequences during this 
leap.  That had to be why Sam was there, wasn't it?  But why hasn't 
Ziggy said anything?  He was walking a fine line here.  Was he supposed 
to interfere or not? 
	Knowing this conundrum would never be solved sitting here, he pocketed 
the cigar and stood to go.  He resolved to see how this played out, and 
take advantage of any opportunity.  Now if he could only get by Beeks.
	He gave the room one last glance and strode out with a sigh.  Beeks' 
office was right next to the Waiting Room where Janeen Perry sat, trying 
not to lose her cool.  Al knew how she felt.  He announced his arrival 
on the intercom, and Dr. Verbina Beeks opened the door from her desk.  
The door sliding shut behind Al made him stand up straighter, ready to 
take her on.

	Dr. Beeks was behind her desk, neat stacks of paper on either side.  A 
tiny Christmas tree flickered with fiber optic lights just behind her.  
She was a slight woman, but carried an air of authority about her that 
was only rivaled by Al himself.   It was the gaze that stopped Al in his 
tracks, feeling like a kid caught stealing cookies from the cookie jar.  
He refused to show that insecurity, and held her look with his eyes.
	"What do you think you're doing?" She asked calmly, putting her pen 
down to wait for a reaction.  She continued to observe him as she 
crossed her arms and leaned back in her chair.  She sure didn't beat 
around the bush.
	"Doing?"  Al responded, trying not to reveal anything.  He had to find 
out what she was thinking first.
	"Don't play this game with me, Admiral."  She answered humorlessly.  
"Ziggy has called to my attention an aspect of this leap we can't 
	"We? You and Ziggy?"
	She raised an eyebrow.  " 'We' as in all of us.  Are you paranoid about 
	"Paranoid? Me?" Al tried to look innocent.  "Of course not.  What 
'aspects' are you talking about?"
	Beeks sighed and dropped her eyes, reconsidering.   She stood and 
walked around the desk, then sat on the edge in front of Al.
	"OK."  She sighed.  "Let me start over by pointing out a few things.  
First, you know that Weitzman's aide is due here this afternoon."
	"Yeah.  He should be here in a couple of hours."
	"Second, Sam has leaped into a specific time that is sensitive to you."
	Al frowned, placed his hands in his pockets and rocked on his feet.  He 
fought to keep his face neutral.  How much did she know? "It wasn't such 
a hot year, no," he admitted.
	"Care to talk about that time?"
	"No, not really.  Is that why you pulled rank on Gooshie and called me 
in here?"
	"Well, it would probably help you a lot, but, no, that's not why I 
called you in."
	Al became more guarded.  "Would you mind telling me why, then, so I can 
get back to work?  Is it about Sam?"
	"No, it's not about Dr. Beckett."  Beeks regarded Al for a few seconds 
as she tapped the desk with a well-manicured nail, gathering her 
thoughts.  "Ziggy has supplied me with some information that she feels 
may effect this leap, and she is .... concerned.  Rightly so, I might 
	Al immediately thought of the picture in Sam's office.  Had he changed 
things before?  "What does this 'concern' have to do with Weitzman's 
aide?"  It was almost insulting to ask.  An idiot could figure it out.  
Although the memories of the original time lines faded from Al's memory 
like a dream, Ziggy had recorded it all, along with the decisions made 
at the Project during the time.  She had obviously shared some records 
with Beeks.
	"Admiral, Ziggy's records show you interfering with your personal 
timeline in a previous leap.  It almost cost a police detective his 
life." She held her hand up as Al started to interrupt.  "Ziggy has 
noticed similar behavior in you during this leap."
	"That's ridiculous!" Al roared, waving his arms.  "I haven't done 
anything to interfere!"
	"No, not yet.  But you haven't done much to help, either."  She stood 
up, right in front of the furious Al.  "Since this leap has started, you 
have been sullen and withdrawn.  You won't talk to me.  Past history has 
shown you have interfered before when the timeline concerns your family. 
 With Weitzman's aide coming, I have no choice but to pull you from this 
	"WHAT?" Al was shocked, furious and completely surprised.  "You can't 
do that!"
	"Yes I can, and you know it." The calmness of her voice was 
infuriating.  "I find you unfit to handle this leap, at least while the 
aide is here.  We can't take the chance that he'll observe something 
that could threaten the existence of this Project."
	Al stormed around the small room. "This is absurd!  I always protect 
the Project, and you know that!  You can't do this to me!"
	Beeks' eyes narrowed at that last statement.  "What do you mean by 
that, exactly?"
	Realizing what he'd just said, Al stopped his ranting.  He was 
cornered, and there was nothing he could do but stand there and glare at 
her. "I didn't mean it like that!" He protested, controlling his anger 
by clenching and unclenching his fists.
	"I'm not so sure about that.  But I can't take the chance, Admiral, at 
least not right now.  I've told Gooshie and he's preparing Dr. Fuller to 
be Dr. Beckett's Observer for the time being.  Dr. Martinez will cover 
for Dr. Fuller.  It's not perfect, I know, but it's the only way I can 
think of to protect the Project and Dr. Beckett."  She let that sink in 
for a few seconds.   "And just think of the personal attention you can 
give the aide."20
	Beeks' was actually using the authority she had as Head Physician of 
the Project, and Al knew she had every right to do that.  But he was 
expecting it to be used against someone else, not him!  "I'll show him 
personal attention, all right."  He mumbled.
	"Excuse me?" Beeks said, not missing a thing.
	"I said, is there anything else you want to punish me with?"

	"No.  Come on, don't take this personally, Al.  You must see that I 
have to do this."
	He couldn't really see too clearly right now, but he knew she was doing 
what she felt was right.  She always did, and that's what made her a 
valuable part of the team.   Maybe he was too close, but he wasn't 
giving up on Trudy yet.  He just had to have some faith.  It wouldn't be 
easy for an action-oriented guy like himself just to stand by and watch, 
but that's all he had right now.
	Al simply nodded and left her office.  He hesitated in the hallway, and 
stole an angry glance at the ceiling where he always envisioned Ziggy 
lurked.  "Traitor," he growled.
	"I did what I thought was right, Admiral," the feminine voice purred 
"It's a 97.42% chance Dr. Beckett is not there for your sister."
	"Well, who is he there for?"
	"I don't have enough information to calculate that yet," she pouted.
	"Well, you can at least keep me informed, can't you?"  He asked 
sarcastically.  Even his festive clothing couldn't lighten his mood as 
he stormed to his quarters.
	"Yes, Admiral.  The only area you are restricted from is the Imaging 
Chamber."  She replied nonplused at the tone of his voice.
	'This will be the fasted inspection on record,' Al thought as he 
started setting up a schedule in his mind.  The sooner this aide was out 
of here, the better.

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

	Dr. Sammy Jo Fuller was shocked at the news of her assignment.  She was 
so involved with the latest retrieval programming schematics that Ziggy 
had to call her twice, and even then asked Ziggy to repeat the message.  
Ziggy was not pleased at repeating herself, and took on an exaggerated 
tone of patience that made Sammy Jo smile.
	As she headed to the Control Room, she couldn't ignore her excitement 
at seeing Dr. Beckett again.  Would he remember her leaping to save him 
when he had leaped into disturbed twin teenagers?  Would he remember she 
was his daughter?  Always the professional, Sammy Jo knew she would have 
to keep these personal questions to herself.  'It must be tough to do 
that,' she thought.  'How does Admiral Calavicci cope with it, I 

	On her arrival Gooshie briefed her and fiddled with the implant that he 
himself had used the one time he had to fill in for Al.  It didn't work 
well, but it worked good enough to get the job done.  She asked if it 
would work better for her since she was genetically similar to Dr. 
Beckett.  Gooshie and Tina conferred for a few minutes, and agreed that 
it should, which is why Dr. Fuller was selected for the job in the first 
place.  She then waited patiently as the files were recalibrated for her 
bio statistics.
	She had to force herself to keep from pacing in excitement. Among the 
thoughts shooting through her mind she wondered where the Admiral was at 
this moment, and if she needed to apologize to him for these 


Medfield, New York
December 17, 1953

	Sam had bumbled his way to apartment 14, trying not to look lost.  It 
really wasn't that difficult as it was only a two story building with 
only about 24 units in all.  His place was at the top of the stairs, 
which were slippery with ice.  As he unlocked the door he saw the 
curtains of the window next door sway as the occupant peeked out and 
smiled from behind the window.  Sam smiled back then entered Janeen's 
	It was very neat and clean inside.  Either she was always this neat, or 
she was rarely home.  Sam thought either one of those ideas may be true 
as he quickly put on some water for a hot drink.  While he was looking 
though the closet for something else to wear, the phone rang. "I would 
kill for some sweatpants!" he mumbled as he picked up the receiver.
	"Hello?" he said cautiously
	"Janeen! I wasn't expecting you home so soon," a woman's voice softly 
said.  "I know you are probably tired, but can you come over for some 
nice, hot tea?  I've even made my mulled cider that you like so much!"
	"Oh!" Sam said, completely flummoxed.  How was he supposed to know who 
this was? "That sounds wonderful, but, I, ah..."
	"Oh, dear! You must have other plans.  When I saw you at your door, you 
looked so tired I thought you would enjoy a quiet visit to unwind."
	'This must have been the lady next door who peeked out the window!' Sam 
	"I'm so sorry if I bothered you.  Tomorrow, perhaps?" The woman sounded 
positively devastated, and Sam immediately felt guilty.
	"Not at all!" he heard himself saying.  "It would be very nice.  Can I 
bring anything?"
	"If you have any of those wonderful cookies from the bakery near your 
work, that would be lovely!"
	"All right, then," Sam said, glancing into the kitchen.  "I need to 
change first."
	"When ever you're ready, dear!" the woman replied, then hung up.
	Sam replaced the receiver and dug through the drawers, finally finding 
a pair of women's trousers and long under wear.   He put on the thermal 
undershirt after taking off the uncomfortable bra.

"Here's my contribution to women's liberation," he growled as he tossed 
the offending underthing on the floor and pulled a bulky sweater over 
the thermals.  He put on the white tennis shoes in the closet, thrilled 
at the fact he didn't have to wear high heels. 20
	Turning on the wall heater in the living room to take the chill off, he 
turned off the stove and started going through the kitchen to find 
cookies.  It was amazing how organized this woman was.  All the spices 
were alphabetized and all the paper bags neatly folded and filed in a 
drawer.  Sam was almost afraid to disturb anything.  He finally found a 
small bakery box filled with little, white cookies in the small pantry.  
'I hope this is it,' he thought as he put his coat back on and secured 
the box under his arm.  Then he took a deep breath and slipped out the 
	His neighbor's door opened as he prepared to knock.
	"Get in here, Janeen!  It's cold out there!" 

	Sam pushed the door open further and stepped inside a very cozy 
apartment.  There was a tiny, older woman in a flowered dress shuffling 
away from him towards the kitchen, humming happily to the big band tune 
on the radio.  There were shelves on every wall, filled with tiny 
knick-knacks and books, and a lacy doily on every piece of flowered 
upholstered furniture.  There were throw rugs all over the wood floors.  
The teapot whistled happily in the kitchen, and the comforting smell of 
cider hit his nose.  Sam felt like he was in his grandmother's house, 
and a broad smile crossed his face.  He raised his eyes to see the 
woman, her hair piled up in a braided bun on her head, pouring the water 
in a teapot.
	"Here!" Sam stepped up, taking the kettle from her.  "Let me do that."
	The woman laughed and took the box from Sam, "I'm not an invalid, 
Janeen, but I will take care of the cookies for you. Shall we sit in the 
parlor instead of the kitchen?  It's so much more comfortable."
	Sam's smile got bigger at the parlor comment.  She must mean the living 
room, he thought.  I haven't heard the word 'parlor' in, gee; I don't 
know how long! "Sure," he replied with a nod.
	The woman carefully laid out the cookies on a flowered china plate and 
Sam followed her carrying the tea tray.  She primly set the cookies on 
the coffee table, and Sam followed with the tray containing a mug of 
mulled cider and the tea set.   Sam wished he knew the woman's name; he 
wanted to thank her properly when he left.  The woman was pouring her 
tea when there was a knock on the door.
	"Miss Emma!" A man's voice called to Sam's relief.  "It's Larry!  Just 
want to say hi!"
	Miss Emma put the teapot down, smiling.  "Oh, that Larry!" she 
chuckled.  "He worries so! Excuse me, dear, will you?"
	"Certainly!" Sam answered, picking up the poured cup to warm his 
fingers while Miss Emma shuffled up to the door.
	"Larry, dear, I'm just fine!" She pulled he door open just a crack.  
"Would you like some tea?  Miss Janeen is here, and we would love your 
	"Why thank you, m'am, but I was just on my way out.  I wanted to know 
if you needed anything.  Weather report says a storm's coming in 
tomorrow and I want to be sure you have enough supplies."
	"Thank you, dear, that's so sweet.  I do need some more candles.  Let 
me get you some money!"
	"No, it's all right.  I'll pick them up and you can pay me then.  Will 
one box be all right?"
	"Yes, thank you, that would be fine.  You are such a gentleman!"
	Sam heard the man chuckle as he said his good byes and walked down the 
stairs.  He was starting to form an idea about Miss Emma, which he 
decided to check out.
	"These are the cookies you asked for, aren't they Miss Emma?" he 
inquired, sipping at the tea.
	"Why, yes," she replied as she shut the door firmly and shuffled over 
to the overstuffed chair next to Sam.  She sighed.  "I do wish they 
delivered.  But I understand, with the distance and all."
	"You have all your supplies delivered, don't you?  I mean, you don't 
have any problem with getting what you need?"
	"No," she said as she settled down in the depth of the chair, almost 
disappearing in its softness.  "Everyone is so kind.  I manage to get 
just about everything thanks to the Lord and the wonderful friends he 
has given me."
	Sam smiled at her.  "When was the last time you were outside?" he asked 
softly, and immediately regretted asking when he saw his host squirm a 
bit and frown.  It was obviously a touchy subject.
	"Let's talk about the storm instead, shall we?"  Miss Emma was going to 
forgive him the gaff.  "They say we should get several feet of snow."
	'She's agoraphobic,' he thought to himself, getting that familiar gut 
feeling that she was the reason for his leap.  'I wonder how long it's 
been since she's been outside?' 

"I'm sorry if I embarrassed you," he apologized out loud.  "Let's talk 
about the storm."
	Sam gladly stayed, thoroughly enjoying himself.  Miss Emma was an 
excellent conversationalist and well traveled in her youth.  She was 
well bred and from a prominent family originally from upstate New York.  
He realized that two hours had passed in no time, and asked if she 
needed help with her dinner.  She was responding when Sam was distracted 
by the Imaging Room door swooshing open, creating a bright rectangle 
right behind her. 

	It was difficult to contain his astonishment when a pretty, dark-haired 
woman wearing a white lab coat stepped through the rectangle of light 
and looked right at him. He felt his stomach lurch into his throat, and 
choked back a gasp.  What had happened to Al?  What had he changed in 
this timeline to make him disappear?  The woman returned the wide eyed 
look, then put her hand out to the wall beside her, smiling as it passed 
right through.
	"It's not that difficult to make, Janeen! Goodness, you look like I 
suggested making dinner for the Queen of England!  Would you like to 
stay and join me?" Miss Emma started clearing away the tea items.20
	"I .. I have to go now," Sam sputtered, tearing his eyes away from the 
hologram and jumping up.  "I appreciate the invitation, but I have some 
things to do. Thank you, though."
	His mind was racing as he forced himself to calmly walk to the door, 
pulling on his coat and giving the young woman a sideways look.  She had 
stepped foreword, looking at the furniture, and passed her hand through 
the flowered chair Miss Emma had just vacated.  Miss Emma then walked 
right though her on the way to the kitchen.  The hologram just smiled 
and politely stepped back so Miss Emma didn't pass through again as she 
let Sam out of the door.  Sam felt his heart pounding in his ears.
	Miss Emma opened the door.  "Oh! Let me get the rest of your cookies!"
	"No, you keep them," Sam said quickly.  "After all, I'm only next 
door!" He looked at the Observer as he said this, and she obviously 
picked up the clue because she nodded.  "Thanks again.  And good night."
	He showed great restraint as he held himself back from bolting out of 
the door to Janeen's place.  He fumbled at the doorknob, glad he hadn't 
locked it, and exploded into the room.  The woman was standing next to 
the wall she had just walked through from Miss Emma's, and was curiously 
looking around.  Sam saw that her colors were more faded than Al's, and 
she wasn't as sharply defined.  At some points he could almost see 
through her, but still, there she was!
	"All right," Sam demanded, keeping his voice down.  "Who are you and 
where's Al?"
	A momentary look of surprise, then sadness, passed through the woman's 
eyes.  She pulled out the blinking hand link from the coat pocket and 
calmly regarded him, her expression neutral.  "I'm Dr. Fuller.  Admiral 
Calavicci is here at the Project, and just fine.  There were some ..  
duties .. he had to fulfill, so I'm covering for him.  We've done this 
before, Dr. Beckett.  Don't you remember?"  That was a slightly 
misleading statement.  Gooshie had filled in for Al once before, but not 
for something as routine as an inspection.  Gooshie had to step in when 
Al left the Project grounds to pursue a killer that had escaped from the 
Waiting Room, but Sam didn't need to know those details.  She hoped the 
Swiss cheese effect of Sam's mind would save her any further 

	For some reason, her statements weren't reassuring, but there wasn't a 
thing he could do about it.  "Oh." Was all he said.  "What's going on?  
At the Project, I mean."
	The hand link beeped a few times and Dr. Fuller read the screen.  
"Ziggy says I can't tell you anything currently happening at the 
Project, but there's nothing to be concerned about.  Routine stuff.  
Now, what do we have here?"  She adeptly cut off Sam's line of 
questioning by giving him information.  "Ziggy has run a check on this 
address, and has a reason for your leap.  It seems that there is a fire 
at this building late tomorrow, and many people are hurt.  One person 
	Sam knew whom she was referring to before she even said it.  "It's a 
woman named Emma, isn't it?"
	Dr. Fuller looked up, surprised.  "Why, yes.  Emma Pothier, to be 
exact.  That's your neighbor here, isn't it?" She nodded her head in the 
direction of Miss Emma's. "Janeen Perry's place is destroyed, too, but 
she isn't here at the time.  Ziggy says it's a 96.8 % chance that's why 
you're here.  To stop the fire from starting."
	Sam found himself staring at the woman with an odd feeling of deja-vu.  
The face, the eyes, they seemed so familiar.  "Have we met before?" He 
asked awkwardly.
	The hologram smiled kindly.  "Yes, we have, but if your Swiss cheese 
memory doesn't recall where, I can't tell you.  The rules, you know."  
She looked a little sad.
	Sam was uncomfortable with the feelings he couldn't identify.  "So, 
when will Al be back?"
	"Soon," she replied evasively. "And I can tell you he wasn't happy 
about handing this one over, but he saw that he was the only one who 
could complete the other assignment.  Shouldn't take long.  In house 
stuff."  She felt bad lying, but it was partially true.  "Ziggy says all 
you have to do is leave work on time tomorrow.  Originally, Miss Perry 
stays over to cover the next shift and gets stuck at the hospital when a 
big blizzard hits the area.  Power and phones go down all over the area. 
 The Fire Department thinks the fire starts with a candle in Miss Emma's 
apartment.  You just have to prevent it."
	"That's it? Stop a fire?" He sounded suspicious.  "That sounds too 
	"Ziggy says it's closer to 99% now.  You'll save three lives, really, 
because two of the previously injured people die later because of the 
wounds suffered tomorrow.  This is according to the newspapers."
	"When does the fire start?"
	"Well, the storm hits a little before 4 PM, and the power and phones go 
out around 6:30.  The Fire Department arrives around 9, but the building 
is fully engulfed by then.  Ziggy estimates the fire starts between 7:30 
and 8:30."
	"OK," Sam answered.  He stood awkwardly, not knowing what else to say 
to this semi-stranger.  Dr. Fuller, picking up on his body language, 
called for the Imaging Room door.
	"Well, I guess I'm outta here for now, Dr. Beckett.  I'll check back 
with you tomorrow.  Have a good night's sleep!" She was making an effort 
to be cheery, but Sam could tell she really didn't mean it, and that 
puzzled him.
	"All right.  See you later."
	Sammy Jo Fuller kept her chin up as she stepped through the portal to 
the year 2000.  She still felt in her heart that her father remembered 

	~~		~~		~~		~~		~~

Project Quantum Leap
Stallion's Gate, New Mexico
December 23, 2000

	When Sammy Jo stepped from the Imaging Room into the Control Room, it 
was a bustle of activity.  She watched a pair of techs hustle by as she 
dropped the hand link off with Gooshie and Tina at the main console.
	"What's going on?" She asked, looking around.  "A drill?"
	"No," Gooshie sighed, much to her chagrin as she stepped back from his 
foul breath.  "The Admiral is on a rampage about this inspection.  He 
wants everything perfect and presentable 15 minutes ago."
	Sammy Jo suppressed a smile.  "I'm not surprised," she laughed.  "Guess 
I'd better straighten out my lab."
	"Only after you debrief him first.  Orders."  Gooshie looked 
	"And tell the Admiral to take a pill, won't 'cha?" Tina quipped between 
snapping her gum and adjusting readings on the console.
	Sammy Jo laughed and went off to find Al.  When she entered the main 
hallway she dodged another technician and directed her voice to the 
ceiling.  "Ziggy, where is Admiral Calavicci right now?"
	"The Admiral is currently in his quarters changing clothes." She 
sounded annoyed.
	"When is he going up to meet the aide?"
	"Fifteen minutes.  And inform the Admiral that I have finished my self 
diagnostics as he requested."
	"Why don't you tell him?" Sammy Jo started down the hall.
	Ziggy had a haughty tone.  "I have told him three times.  He tells me 
to do it again each time.  I find the repetition boring and poor use of 
my abilities."
	Sammy Jo suppressed a smile. "Fine.  I'll tell him."
	She was just about to announce herself at the Admiral's door when it 
swooshed open in front of her.  The Admiral, resplendent in his full 
dress whites and extremely intimidating in his demeanor, stepped from 
the doorway and met her eyes.  There was no mirth there, and Sammy Jo 
had to fight the urge to salute and back away.
	"Follow me," he snapped, striding in the direction of the elevators.  
She obeyed without question, resisting the automatic 'yes, sir' poised 
on her tongue.
	She had to lengthen her step greatly to keep up with him.  People 
parted like the Red Sea in front of him as they approached the 
elevators.  Two Marine guards waiting for him snapped to rigid attention 
and saluted as soon as Al was in their sight.  The Admiral barely 
acknowledged them.  "Let's go," he ordered.  They called the elevator 
for him.
	Sammy Jo noticed that there were dark bags under Al's eyes when the 
entered the lighted elevator.  Under that professional demeanor, he was 
tired.  Or stressed out.
	"What's up with Sam?" he asked in a calmer tone on the ride up.
	She briefed him on Ziggy's findings and the reason for the leap, and 
where Dr. Beckett was at this time.

	"Keep me informed on his whereabouts," he ordered.
	"Yes, sir," she responded, taken aback by his formality.

He must have noted her surprise.  As the elevator slowed he leaned over 
and said a bit more softly,  "This inspection will be over before the 
day is out, Sammy Jo.  I plan on being back on the job as soon as this 
nozzle's outta here.  But I'm glad you got to see Sam."
"So am I," she softly replied, relaxing a bit.
Al straightened up as the doors open his command presence was again 
fully in place.  He barked orders left and right to the guards, who 
scurried off to carry them out.  There was a double line of three fully 
decked out Marines at the door when Sammy Jo heard the helicopter land 
outside.  When Al figured most of the dust was blown aside, he ordered 
the door open.  His timing was impeccable.  The aide and his assistant 
were at the door as it slid open, and they stepped in along with a blast 
of frigid air.  The aide was not the least bit intimidated by the 
Admiral, and stepped right up to him, extending his hand.
Sammy Jo's first impression was that he looked like a ferret.
"Admiral Calavicci, Dan Wringer.  We met in Washington last year."
Al shook the hand formally.  "Yes, Mr. Wringer, I remember.  Is there a 
reason this inspection has to be carried out now, so close to Christmas? 
 Isn't the Senate off being good boys and girls somewhere?"
"Senator Weitzman feels that the press shows less scrutiny this time of 
year.  It's easier to move around unnoticed."
"Then shall we carry on?" Al didn't give him any time for further chat.  

The poor man and his assistant were destined to try and play catch up 
for the rest of the inspection.  Sammy Jo had to put her hand over her 
mouth, pretending to cover a cough, as she controlled her giggle.  They 
didn't have a chance.


	For the next several hours Al kept up a hurricane's pace.  Wringer's 
assistant finally had to plead for a break to catch up on his notes.  Al 
never broke out of his Admiral role, taking command of the inspection as 
if it was his own.  Wringer himself didn't say much, and kept his face 
neutral and his mouth clamped shut.  The illusion furthered Sammy Jo's 
ferret impression.  She slipped away to straighten up her lab after 
watching how Wringer inspected other labs.   By the time the team 
breezed through her lab, she was ready for bed.
She told Ziggy where she was going, and when she would be back to enter 
the Imaging Chamber, then collapsed in the quiet of her quarters, 
immediately falling asleep.
	Three hours into the inspection and right after the break, Al was 
leading the small entourage into the actual Control Center.  Gooshie 
gave his canned presentation to a quiet Wringer and his yawning 
assistant.  Questions were minimal.  It was close to 9:30 and after 
midnight to the D.C. based pair.  During Gooshie's presentation, which 
Al knew by heart, Al kept his mind alert by calculating the time where 
Sam was, figuring it to be about 4AM.  Trudy had about 30 hours left to 
her; Al started to fidget, his concentration broken for several minutes 
as he thought about her.
	Wringer must have noticed Al's break in demeanor.  When Gooshie paused 
in his tour, Wringer took the chance to get in the Admiral's face.  
"Admiral Calavicci.  Senator Weitzman will no doubt appreciate the 
extent and speed of this inspection so far.  You are well prepared.  But 
I still have several concerns I wish to discuss more in depth. As you 
know, funding for a project of this size must be well tracked and 
accounted for.  I intend to do that to the full extent of my ability, 
but not in one night.  If you will show us our quarters now, we would 
like to continue in the morning.  Say, 0800 hours?"  It was not phrased 
as a request.
Al started to have an inkling that he may have underestimated Mr. 
Wringer.  "That would be fine. Guard."  He instructed the guards on 
where to take the guests, and they parted company.  When they were out 
of sight and he was alone in the hall, Al sagged against the wall.  He 
was more tired than he cared to admit.  He rubbed his eyes, then 
continued to his quarters.  It would be both pleasing and comforting to 
snuggle with Beth for the night, but he knew that good sleep would be 
elusive.  He hoped she was still awake for a little talk, which would 
relax him, and walked with a little more bounce in his step thinking of 
her.   Knowing she was the only one who would understand how he felt, he 
also hoped to get an idea on his next step to save his sister, or if he 
should even try.  All he really wanted was for his brain to stop 
whirling for awhile.
When he entered his quarters the only lights greeting him were sparkling 
on the holiday-decked mantle and tree, and the flickering candles on the 
small dinette table. Ray Charles was playing softly as he loosened his 
dress jacket and let it slip from his shoulders.  When he tossed it on 
the love seat along with his hat he heard Beth humming with the music 
and the clink of glass from the kitchen.  A moment later she swayed into 
the room with two glasses full of dark wine in each hand.  Her eyes were 
sparkling at him, and she wore a diaphanous robe that showed her still 
perfect figure along with a teasing grin and a Santa hat.20
"Oh," she said softly as she handed him a glass and started to unbuckle 
his belt for him.  "You must be here for the inspection!"  He couldn't 
help but smile, every thought he had flying from his head. 20
Admiral Albert Calavicci had finally met his match at hand to hand 

	~~		~~		~~		~~		~~

	Al was arrived in the briefing room promptly at 0800 hours rested and 
refreshed, clad in clean dress whites.  His night with Beth had been 
both stimulating and cleansing.  She had helped his reaffirm his belief 
that God, Time, Fate or Whomever was the best one to direct Al's 
actions.  He wasn't used to placing his faith in something unseen, but 
knew that Beth would be there to comfort him if an opportunity to save 
Trudy didn't show itself.  Beeks had been right; it was too tempting to 
take the initiative, and he would tell Beeks that very thing himself as 
soon as this weasel Wringer was off his back.
	Doing a little research, Al had discovered that Wringer was a veritable 
wiz on Capitol Hill at tracking funds.  No wonder Weitzman sent him for 
a year-end check up.  Nothing would look better than a Senator 
suggesting a tax cut just before April 15, and the best way to cut taxes 
was to cut funding anywhere he could.  Wringer would be a bulldog.  
There was no one else near his caliber on Capitol Hill.
	Before arriving at the briefing room, he got the rundown from Ziggy as 
to Sam's whereabouts, knowing it must be close to the end of Janeen 
Perry's shift as well as close to the time Sam should be leaping.  He 
hated not being the one there.  Sammy Jo had already briefed Al on her 
visit with Sam this morning.  Al had then allowed her to go Christmas 
shopping far away from the Project so he could stall any request for 
observing her as she interacted with Sam.  Actually, he 'strongly 
suggested' she go, and Sammy Jo picked up on the hint.  Hopefully, Sam 
would leap and nix any observation scenarios completely.20
Wringer was waiting for Al, a list of questions in his assistant's hand. 
 As Al went over the list, he again thought of Sam and what he must be 
doing.  It was only natural after being his Observer for so long. As 
expected, high on the list was a request to monitor the Observer doing 
their job.  Al clicked his tongue and expressed his apologies at the 
impossibility of that task.  The meeting went down hill from there, and 
Al saw his hopes of finishing this inspection quickly vanish.  This was 
now a war of wills, and he didn't plan on losing.

	~~		~~		~~		~~		~~

Edgemoor County Mental Hospital
December 18, 1953

	Sam's day was as hectic as he expected, again quelling little 
disturbances before they got out of control.  Being close to the 
holidays just made it worse, so he understood from the other nurses.  It 
would be like this until the New Year.  The County would take in 
numerous patients, and shuffle them back and forth between the various 
Hospitals, trying to keep the workload even all around.  There was 
always a shortage of nurses, but there was a shortage of Doctors, too.  
They ended up taking turns rotating weekends and hospitals.  Tonight Dr. 
Beech would be here, and stay for the weekend, so any emergency cases 
from the other hospitals would be shipped here if he couldn't handle the 
orders over the phone.  It seemed to be an efficient use of manpower, 
but a pain in the neck for the nurses. Since there was a big storm 
expected late this afternoon, several new patients were transferred over 
early before the roads were impassable.   In addition to that, some 
nurses were leaving early for the County Christmas Party in New York.  
It had been going on since noon so the two day shifts could take 
advantage of it, and it was expected that part of the next shift would 
arrive late because of it.  Dr. Beech got there early in the afternoon, 
ready to dispense sedatives at the 2:30 meds call.  It was already a 

	~~		~~		~~		~~		~~

	The 10th Annual County Medical Services Christmas Party was very well 
attended. The ambulance drivers arrived a bit late because of all the 
between facility transfers at the last minute.
	"A blizzard on a Friday night," Stan Markum noted.  "What timing.  I'm 
pretty sure we're all caught up on the transfers, so it should be a 
quiet night for us!"  Stan was the ambulance supervisor, and had 
scheduled all the last minute runs.  He was at this moment surrounded by 
his crew near the punch bowl, finally getting a chance to relax.  He 
stuck his hand in his pocket and felt a crumpled piece of paper.  
Pulling it out stimulated his memory.
	"Oh, damn!" He murmured as he unfolded the note he had written to 
himself.  "I forgot about this.  Dan!"
	A young man still in uniform turned to face him. "Yeah?"
	"I got this transfer request as I was walking out the door.  Since 
you're on call, you get to handle it."  Stan handed him the paper.  
"Actually, it won't take too long.  You should be back here in no time.  
You'll probably even beat the storm here."
	Dan slipped the flask of brandy he'd been sipping into his back pocket, 
out of his supervisors' vision, and took the paper.  "Dearborn to 
Edgemoor, one female.  Paperwork's all ready to go, I hope?"
	"Yup.  It's an easy one.  Medical transfer, so she's pretty dopey.  
Shouldn't be a problem at all."
	"All right, then.  I'm off.  Save me some snacks, will you?"
	The rest of the drivers promised they would, happy they weren't the one 
on call for the night.  Dan trotted out the back to the County parking 
lot, hopped in the stand-by ambulance and started it up.  He pulled out 
the flask once more as the vehicle idled. 

	"I might as well warm up, too," he mumbled, taking a sip. 

	~~		~~		~~		~~		~~

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

	They battled their way down the list.  Wringer, fighting for every 
scrap of information, had to word his questions very carefully.  Al 
answered exactly what he was asked, using minimal words.  The last item 
left was observing the Observer, and Sammy Jo still hadn't returned.  
Inwardly, Al applauded her, but he also knew that Wringer wouldn't give 
up.  Finally, Al relented knowing Sam would be leaping anytime anyway, 
and told Ziggy to ready the Imaging Chamber.   The sooner this jerk was 
on a plane, the better.

	Entering the Control Room, Al turned Wringer over to Gooshie with an 
inwardly sly grin.  'Breathe that, you nozzle,' he thought as he picked 
up the hand link and escorted the assistant from the room against 
Wringer's wishes.  Al quoted the security level of this event, and that 
the assistant wasn't cleared at that level.  Wringer had to concede.  It 
was tough to tell who was winning this whole confrontation.
With the assistant in the hall, Al heard the hand link beep and looked 
down.  Ziggy was reminding Al of Beek's orders on the screen.  'She 
knows when to be discreet,' he noted.  Al typed in a response, basically 
telling Ziggy that he was over riding that order, and 'she could contact 
Beeks if she wanted, but to open the Imaging Room right now.  Sam was 
about to leap anyway, so what did it matter.  Unless, of course, your 
calculations were wrong.'  Insinuating incompetence always got her gears 
"Imaging Room ready," Ziggy purred out loud.  Only those well tuned to 
her voice patterns picked up the insulted tone. 

Gooshie looked at Al quizzically. "But aren't you...." He started.
Admiral merely shrugged in return. "Orders have changed.  Feign 
ignorance," he quietly suggested to the programmer.
"Admiral," Wringer said in a toned down voice.  "I hope you understand 
why Weitzman insists on this observation."
'Weitzman, my ass,' thought Al.  'This is your idea.'20
"And what reasons are they, might I ask?" Al politely said out loud.
"We have to make sure a project with this .. unique ability isn't 
misappropriated.  There are some that don't really believe what is 
happening here.  I, for one.  But it's not my place to make those 
judgments.  My job is to make sure everything works the way it should, 
and for the reasons I am given.  I'm sure you understand, being retired 
military." He slightly stressed the word 'retired'.
Al thought, 'Yeah, I understand everyone keeps their own secrets to 
better their position, you rotten bean counter,' but said out loud, "I 
understand completely."
They both stepped in the Imaging Chamber.  Wringer was directed to stand 
away from the silver disc and to keep his eyes shut until contact was 
made.  He didn't look convinced at that last suggestion, like he was the 
butt of some sort of joke.  Al said he didn't really have to keep them 
shut, but if he blew chunks on the floor, he was going to clean it up 
himself.  Wringer turned his back to the disc and shut his eyes.
"OK, Gooshie, we're ready!" Al called.


Outside Edgemoor Hospital
December 18, 1953

	It was difficult to leave the hospital on time.  Staffing was 
critically low, but all the scheduled nurses finally showed, tearing 
themselves from the County Christmas party.  They would all have their 
hands full tonight.

Sam hesitated at the exit door.  Although he hated thinking it, he 
rationalized that Dr. Beech could tranquilize the problem patients if it 
was called for, relieving the staff somewhat.  Sam shook guilt out of 
his mind as he pushed the door open; he'd trade inappropriate use of 
sedatives with saving a live.  No contest there.
	Carefully descending the icy stairs he could feel the cold of the iron 
railings even through his mittens.  He pulled the knit cap over his 
forehead and ears and turned up the furry coat collar against the wind 
as he awkwardly fumbled with the car keys.  He noted the dark clouds 
threatening snow and hoped the car would start without any trouble.  
Night was falling early in the typical winter way but the ominous clouds 
seemed to make the onset of darkness happen more quickly.  By the time 
Sam coaxed the reluctant engine to start, it was both black and snowy.
	He could see his breath inside the car where he decided to wait for a 
breath of heat from the vents before shifting into gear.  Driving very 
slowly out of the parking lot he noted how beautiful the snow was as it 
drifted down through the car's headlight beams.  It wasn't too heavy 
yet, and he hoped Al's prediction was right because he should be at 
Janeen's apartment before the heavy stuff hit.  How could he not be 
right?  This history had already happened!  Sam finally identified his 
worry with the fact that this leap seemed too easy.  Although he felt he 
deserved a simple leap, he had learned to be careful for what he wished 
for.  After all, God, Fate, Time or Whomever was running things here.
	Finally feeling a hint of heat on his exposed ankles, he slipped the 
car into gear and slowly exited the parking lot.  He tempered the urge 
to hurry, knowing he had plenty of time, but was unable to suppress the 
urgency he felt.  The gripped the steering wheel tightly and forced 
himself to focus on the roadway. 

	The bucolic scenery was covered in a black and white blanket of snow 
and night.  The clouds still spilled a dusting of the white stuff, but 
it wasn't bad.  The tracks of the last cars on the winding road were 
still visible and Sam followed them carefully.  He would be back at the 
apartment in plenty of time to head off Miss Emma's accident, and smiled 
at the thought of her.  Such a nice lady; she was lucky to live where 
she did.  Between Janeen and the other neighbors she made out all right, 
agoraphobia and all.  Her life was really quite fulfilling for someone 
who never left her home.  The neighbors made sure of that.
	He turned from the long driveway onto the two-lane highway, and settled 
on a safe speed.  Again, there wasn't another car on the road. Over half 
way to his home, Sam began feeling quite pleased with himself in this 
leap.  It was a physically difficult one, what with all the patients and 
all, but rewarding in all aspects so far.  He was running the details of 
a few patient histories through his mind when something in the roadway 
caught his eye; a set of tire tracks headed off the asphalt towards the 
woods in one of the turns.  The tracks looked fairly new, and knowing 
how seldom traveled this road was, he slowed to look for signs of tracks 
getting back on the roadway.  There were none, and the tracks were 
rapidly disappearing in the snowfall.  He braked slowly, his palms 
starting to sweat as his heart raced.
	His instincts told him this was something he had to investigate.  As 
his car came to a stop at the point where the tracks left the road, he 
peered into the brush to let his eyes adjust to the darkness.  All he 
noticed was a big, dark hole in the other wise snow-dusted foliage.  
Something big had made that hole.  He repositioned his car so the 
headlights filled the hole, and he saw the reflection of a car 
taillight.  Who ever it was, they were lucky Sam had come along when he 
did.  The tire tracks were now covered in a blanket of new snow, and it 
was starting to come down faster.
	He slammed the car into park and leaped out, not immediately noticing 
the cold, and walked to the edge of the road.  "Hey!" He called.  
"Anyone in there?  Are you all right?"  The taillight was at an odd 
angle, and Sam realized that the car was nose down in a culvert.  As he 
buttoned his coat he looked for footprints and didn't see any. Before 
starting down the icy slope Sam stood on his toes to see if any doors 
were standing open.  He didn't notice the doors; he did notice the word 
'Ambulance' painted on the side.  It must have been heading to the 
	Sam tried to be careful as he started down the hill, but the skirt 
minimized his leg motions and he found himself sliding on his side along 
the driver's side of the car.  The thick brush and car side mirror 
bumped him to a stop.  The lights didn't reach down this far, but he 
could see that the hood of the vehicle was crumpled up to the 
windshield.  The driver window was shattered, and Sam felt the interior 
with his gloved hands.  He found a form bent over the steering wheel and 
tore off his gloves to feel for a pulse.  The coldness of his fingers 
didn't match that of the driver.  Sam mentally ticked frostbite as one 
of the problems the driver would have.  The pulse was very faint.  This 
man needed help fast, and Sam noticed that the rising wind and the 
falling temperature would make this a difficult rescue.
	Sam worked to get the door open.  The sound of the Imaging Room door 
didn't even phase him, but on hearing Al's voice he struck a crooked 
smile, pleased.  Things were looking up after all.

	"Hey, Sam, I'm back!" Al said, glancing nervously over his shoulder.  
"What are you doing?  You've got to get....hey!  What's this?"  Al's 
voice was closer to Sam's ear as the hologram leaned over his shoulder.  
"Is he dead?" Al whispered.
	"Not yet!" Sam grunted, the car door screeching as he tugged on it.  
"I've got to get this open!"
	"You have less than a half hour to get home before the blizzard hits I 
hope you remember."
	"I know that, but I can't leave him here!"  Sam used his legs to push 
the door open just enough for him to do a better exam.  "Check in back, 
will you?  I think this is the only one in front."
	"Gladly," Al said with a shiver.  The guy looked dead to him.
	Al punched the hand link and found himself behind the driver area, but 
it was too dark to see anything.  He fiddled with the link, trying to 
access a light source as he heard Sam going over the driver.
	"He's got a head injury, possible broken ribs and arm.  I think his 
legs are OK, but I need to warm him up.  Is there a blanket back there?"
	"Just a sec," Al replied.  "I'm trying to get a light back here..." 
Just then a bright beam shot out of the hand link.  "There we go.  Yeah, 
there's a blanket.  And Sam, there's a patient here, too!  I can see a 
leg."  Al moved the beam up the leg towards the sound of raspy 
breathing.  "And the breathing doesn't sound too good."

	The patient had been on a gurney, which was now on it's side and jammed 
cross ways in the vehicle.  'The patient must still be strapped to it,' 
the Observer thought.  One leg was hanging over the side of the gurney, 
and part of a blanket dangled next to it.  The rest of the person and 
blanket were caught between the gurney and the driver's cab area. Al 
peeked over the edge of the gurney, reluctantly playing the light in the 
area where he thought the patient's head would be.
	"Is he hurt?" Sam grunted as he tried to move the driver.  He could 
feel glass and sharp metal scratching his legs as he moved and cursed 
the snug dress out loud.
	"I don't know. I don't see any blood yet," the hologram replied,  "and 
'he's' a 'she' by the looks of  ....."  Al's voice abruptly stopped.  
"Oh, my God!" Al's voice caught, and he gasped out loud.20
His friend's tone immediately caught Sam's attention; he'd never heard 
him sound like that before.  Well, there was one time, but he frowned 
when he couldn't recall the exact circumstances.20
"SAM! Get back here, quick!  She needs your help!"  Al was frantic, and 
his voice cracked. "Oh, honey, are you all right?  Trudy? TRUDY! WAKE 
UP!  You've got to hear me!  SAM!!" 20


              Written by A.J. Burfield