A Unique Point of View
By: Christina Campbell

Chapter 2

Al sighed as he walked into Rachel's lab.  Sam had just Leaped again 
and he was glad that he had gotten out of that last one OK.  It had 
been almost a month since Rachel had gotten here, and that had been the 
second Leap.  He had talked to her more than a few times at meals and 
such, but hadn't had time to see her in her lab before.  He was 
startled to find that 'The Impossible Dream' was playing over the 
speakers. She was staring at what looked to be Sam's calculations for 
Quantum Leaping, and taking notes.

She looked up as she heard the door open.  "Hello, Al."

"Hello, Rachel."  Then he briefly looked at the ceiling.  "Man of La 

"I asked Ziggy what S-Dr. Beckett liked to work to.  Half of 
deciphering someone else's programming is understanding how he thinks.  
That's also why I'm working through these equations, with Sammy-Jo's 
help."  Rachel sighed and leaned back in her chair.  "She's so smart.  
I just wish I had anywhere near her brains.  I know I'm intelligent, 
but not anything on that scale."  Rachel took another look at the 
equations on the table, then started pacing.   "Al, S-Dr. Beckett was--
is--a genius!  I've never really known anyone like that!  Sammy-Jo's as 
close as I've come, and I've only known her for a few weeks.  The 
number of steps that he skips in those equations because the links were 
obvious to him is staggering! Sammy-Jo's helping me to fill in those 
blanks, but--" She shook her head.  "If I were to think up these same 
equations--which I couldn't in a million years--I would have about four 
times the number of lines that he does.  Music off!" Silence fell, and 
she sat back down and put her head in her hands for a second.  Al 
approached her and she looked back up at him.  "Al, I hope you don't 
expect any immediate modifications from me.  I need to know where he's 
coming from, mentally, before I can really decipher his programming, 
and it'd help if I understood how he left so I can help to get him 
back.  And that doesn't even include the GTFW factor."

"GTFW factor?"

She gave him a half-hearted smile.  "God, Time, Fate, or Whatever it is 
that Leaps him after he fixes something." Abruptly she realized that 
she'd been ranting.  "I'm sorry, Al.  I shouldn't have gone off like 

He shrugged. "Everybody needs to blow off a little steam once and a 
while.  And, by the way, I don't think that anybody's ever thought the 
way Sam thinks.  Don't feel depressed when you can't."

She smiled at him again and he found himself liking that smile.  
"Thanks, Al.  I think I want to keep going through these calculations 
for another week or so.  If I don't feel any closer then than I do now, 
I'll want to put this on the back burner and work on something a little 
less critical and a little farther away from Dr. Beckett's direct 
touch.  When I come back to this, I'll probably be closer than I am 

"I'll think of something else to put you on.  Now, it's about lunch 
time--will you join me?"

She shrugged.  "Sure."


Rachel walked into the Control Room during a break, curious as to what 
was going on.  Tina looked up at her as if she was a godsend.  "Here! 
Take this!" Tina pressed a handlink into Rachel's hands.  Rachel looked 
up at her, confused.  Tina went on.  "Al must have, like, banged his 
too hard.  It won't give him the readouts he's, you know, asking for.  
That's, like, the backup.  He's in the imaging chamber."  Then Tina 
moved back to the main console, obviously helping Gooshie with whatever 
it was that was wrong.

Rachel shrugged and took the thing into the Imaging Chamber.  "Al?"

"Yeah?"  He seemed rather distracted.

"Tina said you wanted this."  She handed the backup handlink to him.  

He threw her the broken one.  "This is your new assignment.  Get some 
hardware people together and find out what's wrong."  Rachel just 
looked at the handlink, studying it, as Al read off the things Sam had 
fixed in a jubilant voice.  Then the image dissolved as Sam Leaped.

Rachel, still pondering the handlink, left the now empty Imaging 
Chamber.  She walked through the Control Room without stopping.  "Tina, 
Al told me to fix it.  Could you send some hardware-type people up to 
my lab, please, when you get a chance."

Rachel didn't see it, but Tina looked distinctly relieved at not having 
been given the assignment.  She had enough things to worry about right 

It wasn't until she got back to her rooms that night that she realized 
that she had been able to see--albeit blurrily--the images in the IC.  
A feat that was supposed to be impossible--if you went by the show.


A few days later, Rachel looked up as a strange woman entered her lab.  
The woman came up to her and sat down.  "Rachel?"

Rachel looked at the woman in confusion.  "Yes?"

"Have you been avoiding me?  We usually have lunch together once or 
twice a week."

[I feel swiss-cheesed!  Who is this woman?  Well, let's try an excuse.  
Act like Sam, and pretend you know what the heck is going on.]  "I'm 
sorry.  You know how I am when things get on my mind.  I'm still trying 
to track down the glitch in this thing."  Rachel pressed her lips 
together.  "But I promise I'll eat with you tomorrow." [As soon as I 
figure out who she is!]

Rachel went up to Al's office after the woman had left, satisfied with 
Rachel's answer.  As Sam was still in-between Leaps,  Al was catching 
up on the ever-present paperwork.


He looked up, blinking.  "Yes?"

"A woman I've never met before just came into my lab and said I'd been 
avoiding her."  Rachel was very confused by this time.

"That happens to me sometimes.  Not that I mind."  Rachel glared at 
him.  "All right, all right!  What did she look like?  Maybe I can give 
her a name."

"Fairly short.  Medium-length brown hair.  I couldn't tell you her eye-
color, I never notice that type of thing.  She was pretty."

Al smiled.  "This her?"  He took a picture off his desk.  It was a 
wedding photograph of a sandy-haired man and a dark-haired woman.  Al 
was off to one side, looking resplendent in his dress whites.


"She's Dr. Donna Eleese Beckett.  Sam's wife."

Rachel's eyes widened.  "His wife!  But she knows me!  I know I've 
never seen her before today!"

"You were in the imaging chamber when Sam Leaped, right?"

"Yeah, so?"

"Well, Donna isn't here all the time.  Just most of it.  I don't know 
how the changes Sam makes effect whether or not they get married, but 
they do.  In the original history, she left him at the altar.  One of 
the Leaps that Sam made early on changed that."  Al sat back in his 
chair, considering.  "I don't know why I get exempted from the changes 
by being in the IC, but it sometimes happens.  Occasionally, it happens 
when even when I'm not in there, but that's another story.  Right now, 
I have two sets of memories, both self-consistent.  One where they're 
married, one where they're not.  I never know which time-line I'm in 
until I see that picture--or don't."

Rachel frowned.  "When I first arrived, you asked Ziggy to get Donna, 
but she said that she was gone.  You had forgotten which time-line you 
were in?"

"Exactly.  The more time you spend with her, the more likely you are to 
remember past conversations and associations.  Sometimes, you get the 
new memories right away--though the old time-line still persists for a 
while. And sometimes it takes a long time to remember.  If the time-
line stays consistent for long enough, you won't remember the old way 
at all, and you'll probably come to me wondering why you didn't 
recognize her today."  Al frowned a bit.  "Actually, if the time-line 
changes again, and you're not in the IC, you won't remember having this 
conversation at all, because Donna would never have entered your lab 

Rachel laughed.  "Time travel makes for an interesting life."

"It gives you a unique point of view. Well, not so unique anymore.  Do 
you know, that I never know what my relationship to Tina's supposed to 
be?  Sometimes she and Gooshie are married, engaged, or dating.  
Sometimes she and I have been an item for the last three years, and 
sometimes she's married to someone off-Project.  Sometimes I feel the 
way Sam must feel, with everyone thinking that I'm going to react in a 
certain way and getting worried or offended when I don't."

Rachel smiled, understanding.  "Thanks for answering my question.  I 
wasn't quite sure how to bring it up with Ziggy, and I sure couldn't 
ask Donna!  Oh, and by the way, do you want me to just fix that 
handlink or try to improve it.  I can think of several things that I 
can do to make it faster and less glitch-prone."

"Just make sure I can hit it.  It'd be kind of frustrating not having 
anything safe to bang on when Sam's in danger."

She grinned.  "I'll make sure that it'll still be safe to hit.  The 
fact that you hit it to make it better implies a hardware problem, but 
programming errors and hardware problems often go hand in hand.  In 
that case, it'll be about three weeks.  Designing takes longer than 
just fixing."  She waved good-bye and headed back to her lab.


The next day, Sam landed again.  Rachel had gotten into the habit of 
asking Ziggy about the Leaps, trying to keep the time-line from the 
television series in sync with real life.  As soon as Ziggy knew what 
was going on, she reported it.  "Hey, Rachel.  I got the new 
information.  Dr. Beckett is currently a teenaged boy named Alan Harris 
in 1990."

Rachel started to laugh.

Ziggy's silence was slightly offended.  "What?"

"Not until after the Leap, Ziggy."

Rachel quietly resolved to avoid Al until after the Leap.


Feedback requested!  What do you think of my story?

Christina C.