A Unique Point of View
By: Christina Campbell

Chapter 8

Al and Beth Calavicci exchanged a curious glance as an incredulous 
smile broke out on Rachel's face.

"Uh-oh," said Al.  "This has all the ear-marks of a time-line change."  
He handed her the fork as she nodded, a stunned expression still on her 
face.  "May we sit?"

She blinked.  "Uh, yeah.  Sorry.  Um, what do you remember?  Just the 

Al considered this carefully.  "Before the Leap before this one, I 
wasn't married to Beth.  I've told her the basics.  I had to tell her 
something that explained why all of a sudden I didn't remember our 

Rachel nodded.  "OK.  From my perspective, there are three time-lines. 
The only one I have memories from is the one where you two aren't 
married, call it time-line A.  Time-line B happened between the Leap 
before this and the end of this one.  This is time-line C.  Names 
simplify things."

Beth looked at Rachel suspiciously.  "Yes, they do."

Rachel arched an eyebrow at her, then turned back to Al.  "Let me tell 
you about my week.  When Sam Leaped out of San Diego, I turned to look 
at you, and it was someone else.  Does the name Edward St. John ring a 

Al went white.  "I wasn't there?"

She nodded and continued to fill them in on the last few days.  Al and 
Beth were visibly shaken at the thought that they might have never met 
Sam.  When she gave them the basics of the Leap that just ended, Beth's 
eyes grew distant.

"Beth?"  Al was looking at her, curious.

She came back to reality, and smiled. "I believe I can clear up the 
time-line change.  Let me tell you how we met Sam in this time-line."


June, 1985

Beth smiled at her husband as he finished some amusing anecdote about 
the people at Star Bright.  He seemed a lot more relaxed now than when 
they had started this lunch.  She and he went out to eat at least once 
a week, and seemed to end up in this diner more often than not.

She looked up as the door opened, then looked again.  "Al, do you know 
who that is?"

He turned around.  "Umm, the woman works at Star Bright, but I can't 
remember her name.  The man is Sam Beckett.  He's one of the brightest 
people on the planet--six or seven doctorates, if you can believe it--
and started with us about a month ago.  Why?"

"He looks familiar, but I haven't put my finger on why.  I feel like 
I've met him, but I know I haven't."

Al looked at her, considering.  "Why don't we go over there and talk to 
him?  Maybe it'll help you sort out how you know him."

They got up and moved over to the table where the two of them were 
sitting, and introduced themselves.  Dr. Beckett seemed to immediately 
recognize Al as belonging to Star Bright, and made room for them in the 
booth.  At some point in the ensuing conversation with him, she asked 
what he really wanted to do.  His eyes lit up.

"Time travel."

Al and Beth exchanged a startled glance.  "Time travel?"

He immediately went into his string theory demonstration, using one of 
his shoelaces.  Somewhere in the middle of it, Beth realized where she 
had seen him before.  In 1969, in her bungalow in San Diego, he had 
been the one who told her that Al was coming home.  Of course,  he had 
been a lot older then.

Al, oblivious to her sudden recognition, was getting more involved in 
the demonstration.  Finally, he stopped the man.  "Sam, you have the 
theory, and seem to have the math.  Do you think that you could ever 
get the funding?"  Sam's blank expression seemed answer enough.  "Kid, 
if you think this will really work, I can get you the money."

"It works."  Sam was fully confident.  "Why do you want to help?"

Al shrugged, then smiled at Sam.  "I like you.  Not sure why, but there 
it is."  Sam smiled back at him.

Later, on the way back to Star Bright, Al turned to Beth.  "Do you 
think he can really do it?"

"Yes."  Her response was immediate and definite.

Al blinked.  "Would you like to explain that?"

"I realized where I had met him before."  Beth caught Al's eyebrow 
slowly raising.  "It was while you were in Vietnam.  He told me you 
were still alive and coming home.  He said he was a friend of yours.  
The thing is, he looked ten or fifteen years older then than he does 
now.  He had a single white lock right here."  She touched her 

Al took a deep breath.  "It really works?"

Beth nodded.  "It will."


Beth looked at Al and Rachel.  "The woman who was with him at that 
lunch was Lisa Faring."

Rachel leaned back and looked at the ceiling.  "GTFW, I apologize for 
all the nasty things I said to you last time-line.  Sometimes it takes 
more than one Leap to right a wrong."  Then something occurred to her.  
"Ziggy, what is the chance that Al would _not_ have met Sam during 
those three months they were together at Star Bright?"  She held her 

"3.6 percent."

She let out the breath she had been holding.  "Break it down for me."

"During that period of time, Miss Faring talked Dr. Beckett into 
leaving Star Bright for lunch two or three times a week.  She seemed to 
feel that it was her duty to see that he ate regularly.  They went 
consistently to that diner.  The chances are vanishingly small that 
they would not eventually run into the Calaviccis.  However, if some 
future change causes Miss Faring to not be at Star Bright, Dr. Beckett 
and Admiral Calavicci would once again not have met."

"And if something happens to Beth?"

"Then their meeting again returns to what happened in what you call 
time-line A."

"Good.  I was afraid that I would step out of the IC at some point in 
the future and again find myself dealing with Edward St. John and 
Alpha." Something seemed to strike her.  "Oh, Al, can I ask you a 

He shrugged.  "Sure."

"Sam Beckett is one of the smartest men on the planet, right?  He 
designed a hologram system that can reach not only through space, but 
also through time, and a way to time-travel that actually works, 

Al looked at Rachel with a confused expression, and nodded.

She grinned at him.  "So how could he design a computer with as much 
personality as Ziggy--and then name her Alpha?"

Al blinked at her in surprise and then started to laugh.  Beth and 
Rachel followed him, enjoying the abrupt lessening of tension.


Beth watched the two of them interact.  They were obviously good 
friends, and Rachel obviously knew a lot about Al.  Beth was still 
unsure as to why he had opened up to her in the former time-line, but 
knew that they weren't nearly as close in the time-line that _she_ 
remembered.  Beth abruptly drew her attention back to the conversation 
in time to hear Rachel ask Al, "So, fill me in on what's happened in 
the last week from _your_ perspective."

Al thought back.  "We were in the IC, watching Sam talk to Beth.  He 
looked up, smiled at us and then Leaped out.  You turned to me with a 
grin on your face, and I was...rather stunned at the time.  You stopped 
me from leaving the IC, and grabbed the handlink from me.  You told me 
that I was still married to Beth, and had four daughters.  You 
consulted Ziggy, then told me that Beth was waiting in the Control 
Room, and that I should try not to go into shock when I saw her.  Then 
you opened the IC door."

Beth cut in, feeling a little odd at recounting an event that Rachel 
had been there for, but had no memory of.  "He seemed a little out of 
it when he first saw me, like he couldn't believe his eyes.  Now, of 
course, I understand why, but it confused me then."

Rachel needed one more point cleared up.  "So, why did I Observe this 
last Leap?" Al looked at Beth and then turned back to Rachel.  He 
raised an eyebrow in a manner that Rachel obviously recognized, because 
she turned red.  "I see.  Maybe I shouldn't have asked.  Beth, why 
don't you tell me what you remember from the day that Sam told you that 
Al was coming home?"

"Well, I was supposed to have had a date--some cop whose name I can't 

"Jake Rawlings."  Rachel interrupted her.

Beth blinked.  "Yeah.  How did you know?"

Rachel winked at Al.  "Later.  Sorry I interrupted.  Please finish your 

"As I was saying, my date had abruptly taken off without me. For some 
reason, I decided to play 'Georgia on My Mind' that night.  It was 
something I had done many times in the past two years, playing the 
song, closing my eyes, and pretending that I was dancing with Al.  You 
know, it felt a little different that time, though, as if you were 
really there, Al, and dancing with me, and telling me that everything 
would be fine if I kept waiting."  Beth closed her eyes, remembering.  
"Soon after that, I could almost see you lean down and kiss my 
forehead."  She opened her eyes again, to see both him and Rachel 
looking very pale.  She raised an eyebrow curiously, but continued with 
her story.  "Then the feeling that you were there was gone, and that 
was a moment of almost complete despair.  I missed you so much.  The 
spell was broken when a man spoke from behind me.  He told me that he 
was here to help Al and me.  When I asked him if he was a friend of 
yours, he got this expression on his face that I didn't know then, but 
I now recognize as humor with a hint of melancholy thrown in.  He told 
me that he was your friend, and then proceeded to sit me down and tell 
me that you were alive and coming home.  He told me to wait for you.  
Then he disappeared in a flash of blue light.  Anyway, I was convinced 
that an angel had just visited me.  It was enough to get me through 
that dark time. The people around me thought I was crazy, and I was 
starting to believe them a year later...and then I saw  Maggie Dawson's 
last photograph."  She smiled at Al.  "After that, I never doubted for 
an instant that you would be coming home."

Al and Rachel both smiled at her, then turned to each other with a 
mysterious look.

Rachel spoke first, and Beth would have sworn she was speaking in code 
for all she understood of the comment.  "MIA and Mirror Image."

"Mirror Image?"

"Last one. You asked me before and I wouldn't."

Al's eyebrows went up.  "I can see why, now.  We've hit the end?"


"Ummm.  'Nam, too."

Rachel nodded thoughtfully.  "And a normal one to start.  Play Ball?"

"Well...That's about as normal as they get."

"If Vietnam then TLH."

"Is that too much?"

"Maybe, but it makes sense to have both.  Beth, you got five hours 

Beth blinked as they abruptly stopped speaking in code and turned to 
her.  "Only if you promise to tell me what you're talking about."

Rachel grinned rather mischievously, a rare expression on her.  "If 
you've got the time, you'll understand everything we just said."

Beth considered this, then nodded.  "I don't have five hours now, but 
later tonight?"

"Sure, that'll give me time to see how much has changed, other than you 
two, of course."

Credit where credit is due: Part of this chapter was inspired by 
Julie L Jekel's 'Hold On.'

Feedback requested!  What do you think of my story?

Christina C.