Quantum Leap "A Time to Hurt, A Time to Heal" Chapter 1 SUMMER 1998 It was a typical day for a summer day in New Mexico. That is to say, it was hotter than hell, or at least so thought the average height, olive-complexioned man who stepped out of the heat and into cool, comfortable, air-conditioned corridors. The man gave a quick salute to a Marine guard, who stood just inside the doorway, before walking towards an elevator that led down to other, more highly guarded levels. The man went down six levels and exited the elevator. He then proceeded down a corridor to a door on the right. Stopping before it, he placed his hand on a silver plate by the door, causing it to open for him. "Good morning, Admiral Calavicci," a female voice greeted as the man entered the room. "How was your night?" Albert Calavicci smiled at the question and at the memory of the night in question. "It was very good, Ziggy. Thank you," Al replied to the parallel-hybrid computer. "Should I expect Dr. Martinez-O'Farrell to come in late today?" Ziggy asked. Al glared at the ceiling. He could have sworn that the computer was insinuating something sexual in the question. What really bothered him is that the computer would be correct in the insinuation. It wasn't a secret that Al and Tina Martinez-O'Farrell were an item. Everyone knew that Al and Tina often spent the night together. Last night had been one of those nights. "No, Ziggy," Al replied. "Dr. Martinez-O'Farrell will be coming in at her usual time." "As I thought," Ziggy commented in a sultry voice. Al tilted his head, making his glare at the ceiling have a stronger meaning. "Any messages?" he asked. "Dr. Beeks would like to discuss the situation with Dr. Hathorn. She requests to see you as soon as possible." Al nodded. "Okay. Anything else?" "Negative, Admiral," Ziggy replied. Al nodded again. He took a breath. "Anything on Sam?" "Negative, Admiral," Ziggy replied. "Dr. Beckett is still between leaps. I hypothesize, however, that his next destination will be San Francisco, California, 1967." Al huffed. "Ziggy, the last time you made an accurate prediction about where and when Sam would arrive was just before he leaped into that stuntman in the 1970s. You crashed shortly afterwards." "Nonetheless, that is my prediction," Ziggy told him. Al sighed. Regardless of Ziggy's confidence in her ability to predict Dr. Samuel Beckett's next assignment, the fact still remained: none of the predicted destinations were Stallion's Gate, New Mexico, 1998. "Well, let me know if you get anything," Al instructed. "Of course, Admiral," Ziggy replied. "Shall I inform Dr. Beeks of your arrival?" Al shook his head. "No. I'll take care of that. Thanks, Ziggy." "You're welcome, Admiral. Have a pleasant day." Al exhaled as he sat down at his desk and accessed the personnel files on his computer, looking for Dr. Hathorn's file. They'd been having some problems with him lately. The doctor seemed restless most of the time, unable to concentrate on his work, which focused on the possible physical effects quantum leaping had on the human body. Al perused the file. He huffed. Nothing in the file gave any indication for the reason of Dr. Hathorn's unusual behavior. Still, if Dr. Beeks was concerned, there had to be cause for alarm. Dr. Verbina Beeks was Project Quantum Leap's staff psychiatrist. As such, she had a huge responsibility over the mental health of the entire Quantum Leap staff and especially over the mental health of the guest in the Waiting Room and of Sam Beckett, the creator of Project Quantum Leap who was currently time traveling from one life to another. Because of her great responsibility, she knew it was wise to let minor problems slip by Al's attention. As Administrative Manager/ Chief of Security/ Assistant Director/ Observer on Project Quantum Leap, Al didn't have time to review every problem. If Verbina did bring a problem to his attention, it meant the problem was serious. Very serious. Al pressed a button on his desk, keeping his eyes on the computer's monitor. "Verbina Beeks," replied a soft female voice very much unlike Ziggy's. It was soft, gentle, caring and yet, Al thought, somewhat alluring. "'Bina, it's Al. Dr. Hathorn - what is it about him that bothers you? His record's almost perfect." He could hear Verbina sigh on the other end. "Could I see you in person about this?" Verbina asked him. "Sure," Al told her. "I'll come to your office right away." He disconnected the intercom line before shutting off his computer terminal and standing up. Leaving his office, he went to the elevator and started down to Dr. Beeks' office, one of the three occupied offices on the lowest level of the complex. The other two belonged to Al and Sam. Sam, however, wasn't around to use his office and Al preferred his sixth level office, since it was a close to being in the middle of the complex as possible. As the elevator door to the tenth level opened, Al was greeted by a salute from a Marine guard on duty. Al returned the salute as he stepped out of the elevator and then strode with ease down the corridor to a door marked: Verbina L. Beeks, Staff Psychiatrist. Without knocking, he entered the room and sat in a chair across from the office's desk. He waited patiently while Verbina finished writing a sentence. Once she had finished, she lowered her pen and looked at Al with intensely worried eyes. "It's that bad?" Al questioned at the gaze. Verbina nodded. "Dr. Hathorn needs help, Al. He's very sick but he won't admit it to himself." Al frowned. "What's the matter?" Verbina looked at Al seriously. "He has AIDS. He just told me last night after I pressed him about the results of his physical. He'd altered the results because he was afraid he's lose his job if it were found out that he has AIDS." Al sighed, closing his eyes and shaking his head. "How'd it happen?" he asked, looking at the black psychiatrist. She shrugged. "He won't say. He won't talk about it at all but it's obviously bothering him a lot or it wouldn't be effecting his work." Al looked down in thought. "Probably embarrasses the hell out of him," he added. "So, what do we do?" Verbina took a breath. "Well, one thing we have to do is assure him that, regardless of him having this, his job is secure." Al nodded. "Of course. And then?" "Try to get him to talk about it without pressuring him into it." Al exhaled. "Easier said than done, Verbina. He's ex-military and you know how quiet we officers can be." "That's why I want you to talk to him, Al. You're probably the closest friend he has. He listens to you," Verbina told him. "He respects you." Al shook his head. "And I know him too well. If he won't talk to a civilian, he sure as hell isn't going to listen to me, a Naval admiral. There are just some habits a person can't break." "At least try to get him to open up a little. His closing in on himself isn't helping either him or anyone around him." Al exhaled and nodded. "I'll talk to him." Verbina looked pleased at the answer. "Now," Al said, standing up. "If you'll excuse me, I have a lot of work piled on my desk which..." "Admiral," Ziggy's voice interrupted Al in mid-sentence. Al looked at the ceiling with a sigh. "I hate it when she does that," he commented. "I apologize for interrupting your conversation with Dr. Beeks, Admiral. However, I estimated that you would have left Dr. Beeks' office before I would have the opportunity to..." Al nodded. "Okay, Ziggy. What is it?" "Dr. Beckett has leaped." Al nodded again. "Have you got a lock on him or do you need additional data?" "I do have a lock on him, Admiral," Ziggy replied. "As I predicted, he has leaped into San Francisco, California, 1967." Al looked at Verbina with slight surprise. Verbina smiled in amusement. "Do you know into whom he has leaped?" Al asked. "Negative, Admiral. That will require interviewing the guest in the Waiting Room." Verbina stood. "Looks like we both have to get to work right away." The two left the office together and headed for the Quantum Leap Control Room, which was only a couple of corridors away and through a security door. They entered the large room that housed Ziggy to find Gushie, the head programmer, and Tina hard at work preparing the Imaging Chamber for Al's use. Al watched as the two bustled from one point to another, from one end of Ziggy's computer terminal to the other, quite a feat for Tina since her four-inch heel shoes limited her speed. Al smiled. Tina sure was something to behold. She always dressed for going out on the town. Her hair, a beautiful blondish-auburn, was always done up just right. Her make-up was always perfect. Yet, behind her model image was an even more beautiful mind, which quavered from genius to blond bombshell at a moment's notice. It didn't hurt at all that she also had, as Al would say, a very nice set of casabas. Tina noticed Al's gaze and smiled at him. "Hi, Al," she greeted warmly as if they hadn't just seen each other only three hours ago. "Hi, Tina," Al replied. "Gushie," he greeted the redheaded curly-haired scientist beside Tina. "Good morning, Admiral," Gushie replied as Al approached the control console. "Is it safe for Dr. Beeks to go into the Waiting Room?" Al asked. Gushie nodded. "The guest is still unconscious, though. Dr. Beckett apparently leaped into him while he was asleep." Gushie looked at Al. "Either that or the guest thinks he's dead." Al huffed in amusement. It wouldn't be the first time the guest in the Waiting Room had thought he was dead and had gone to heaven. Or hell even. "Go check on him," Al told Verbina. Verbina nodded and went into the Waiting Room. Al looked at Tina. "Is the Imaging Chamber ready?" Tina nodded as Al took a handlink from the control console. "All set," she told him. "Okay, then," Al said, walking towards the Imaging Chamber door. "Let's at least let Sam know we're here." He placed his palm on the censor plate by the door and entered the chamber. ******************** Normally, leaping into a person left Samuel Beckett, PhD to the sixth power, with an uneasy feeling. This time, however, it was different. It wasn't leaping into a bed that was different. He'd leaped into a bed several times before and, no matter how comfortable he was, he'd still feel that strange uneasy feeling. This time, though, Sam didn't feel dizzy or uneasy. In fact, he felt just the opposite. He felt as if he were floating on a cloud. He felt numb. What's more, he didn't care. He liked the feeling - very much. He opened his eyes. The room was bright and cheery. The shades were opened wide, allowing the sun to shine into the room. The furniture was made of well-kept solid oak and the carpet was no more than three years old. Sam smiled. *Whoever I've leaped into has really good tastes*, he thought. Sam shifted his legs over the side of the bed and sat up. He closed his eyes and swallowed. All of a sudden, he wasn't feeling very well, as if the leaping effect has suddenly hit him like a rock. LAY BACK DOWN, a voice in his mind told him. YOU WERE MORE COMFORTABLE THEN. Sam rubbed his eyes in an attempt to clear his head. *No*, he answered the voice. *I have to be somewhere. It's important.* THEN YOU'D BETTER TAKE YOUR MEDICINE, the voice told him. *Where is it?* IN THE NIGHTSTAND. Sam opened the nightstand's drawer to see an unlabeled prescription bottle full of pills. He picked it up from the drawer and examined it. He frowned. *What are they?* he asked the voice. A wave of nausea hit him. *Will they stop this awful feeling in the pit of my stomach?* TRUST ME. Sam sighed. He opened the bottle and took out a pill. He looked at the pill carefully. *Are you sure about this?* TRUST ME. I'M A DOCTOR. *So am I*, Sam told the voice. ALL THE MORE REASON TO TRUST ME. Sam couldn't argue with that. Or at least, he didn't want to argue. The nausea was getting worse. Keeping the pill in hand, he closed the bottle and replaced it in the nightstand. He stood up and staggered into the nearby bathroom. He then quickly poured himself a glass of tap water and washed the pill down his throat. He looked at himself in the mirror. The reflection that stared back at him was tired, haggard looking. He estimated that the man in the mirror was about five feet ten inches tall. He was thin, a little too thin for his height. *About thirty-eight years old*, Sam estimated. The man looked intelligent. *I have to be a doctor. Does that mean that voice is he?* "How's it going, Sam?" Sam jumped in shock at the voice. Only this one was different. It wasn't coming from inside his head. He quickly looked about and jumped with an exclamation at the sight of the man in the yellow pinstriped suit with black dress shirt and shoes. The man was holding a colorful calculator-like object. "Take it easy, Sam," the man told him. "It's just me." Sam looked at the man. For some reason, he couldn't recall the man's name, though Sam was certain that he knew him. The man looked back at Sam with concern. "Are you okay, Sam?" Sam swallowed and took a deep breath. "I'm fine. You just startled me, that's all." The man's concerned expression didn't change. "Are you sure?" Sam nodded. *What is this guy's name? * He looked at the man. "I'm fine, Al." *That's it! Al!* "Honest." It was obvious that Al didn't believe him, which was too bad because Sam was beginning to feel much better, the nausea was gone and that nice semi-numb feeling was returning. "I think you'd better sit down, Sam. You don't look so good." Sam nodded and returned to the bedroom, Al following. He sat on the bed and looked at Al. "So?" Sam asked. "So what?" Al replied, still watching Sam with some concern. "So, why am I here?" Sam asked. "Who am I? Where am I? All that." Al's eyes widened. He could have sworn he was talking to someone else a minute ago but now Sam seemed fine. "Well, we don't have a lot right now," Al told him, raising the handlink. "You're in San Francisco and it's July 11, 1967 and you've leaped into Dr. Byron..." He hit the side of the handlink. "... Zetter." Al frowned. There was something familiar about the name and an uneasy feeling in his gut told him that the memories associated with the name were not pleasant. "What's wrong?" Sam asked, seeing Al's expression. Al paced the side of the bed. "I just have a bad feeling about this leap." "Why? What am I here to do?" Al looked at Sam and froze at the sight of the aura. It was so familiar but he couldn't place where he saw that face before. What really got Al was that Sam's eyes, the only thing that let Al know Sam was really there, were cloudy and distant, the opposite of their normal brightness. "We're not sure," he finally answered. "Ziggy's still digging for information but, as soon as we get anything, we'll let you know." Sam nodded. "Okay. What do I do until then?" Al opened his mouth to replied but nothing came out. He shrugged. "We don't have anything on Byron right now so the only thing I can suggest is for you to take a shower, get dressed, and take a look around." Sam nodded. Sounded like a good idea. YOU HAVE TO GO TO THE HOSPITAL, the voice returned. Sam closed his eyes and rubbed his temples to clear his head. "What's the matter?" Al asked. Sam looked at him. "Where does Byron work?" Al shook his head. "We don't know that one yet, Sam." Sam nodded. "I'm sure I can find out. There's got to be something in this house that will let me know." "That's a good idea," Al told him, watching him carefully. Something was definitely wrong. "I'm going to go back and see if we can't help you out here." Pressing some buttons, Al opened the Imaging Chamber door and walked out, closing it behind him. Sam watched in fascination as Al disappeared into the white rectangular light. It seemed more beautiful than before. He smiled as the light disappeared and relished the sense of awe that was filling him. *As they say in the Sixties, that was groovy.* Sam laid back on the bed and stared at the ceiling, no concerns on his mind.