Quantum Leap
"A Time to Hurt, A Time to Heal"

Chapter 2

      Summer 1967. The Summer of Love, as it had become known. The summer of
the Monterey Pop Festival and Woodstock. The summer people in the United
States celebrated peace while there was a war being fought by American
troops across the Pacific Ocean. The summer Al joined those troops only to
be captured a year later.
      But something else happened that summer and Al couldn't quite remember
what. He came out of the Imaging Chamber mulling over the problem.
      "Byron Zetter," he muttered to himself. "Damn, that name's familiar."
      He looked up to see Verbina waiting at the bottom of the Waiting Room
door's ramp. *And I thought the look she had in her office was  bad*, Al
thought as he approached her.
      "What's the matter?"
      "I'm really worried about the guy in the Waiting Room, Al," Verbina
said gently. "His behavior scares me."
      Al instantly thought of Sam. "What do you mean?"
      Verbina hesitated, trying to find the right words. "His behavior is...
erratic. Uncontrolled." Verbina exhaled. "He acts as if he's going through
      "Withdrawals?" Al asked with confusion. "From what?"
      Verbina shrugged slowly. "I don't know. He won't let us get close
enough to him to examine him for anything, not even a standard physical."
She sighed. "But it's obvious that he's going through something. I think
it's serious."
      A thought came to Al. He closed his eyes. *Dear lord, I hope I'm
      "'Bina," he said, looking at her, "is it possible that some of what is
happening to Zetter could happen to Sam too?"
      She looked at him with concern. "Al, what do you mean?"
      Al took a breath. "Sam isn't acting like himself. He's distant, as if
he were on another world or something." He looked firmly at Verbina. "I
think the leap gave Sam something from Zetter that's effecting his
      Verbina paused. "Al, Byron Zetter is suffering from withdrawals.
Are you suggesting that the drug that was in his system is now in Sam's? You
know as well as I do that that's impossible."
      Al frowned. "Then how do you explain all of this? It wouldn't be the
first time Sam's picked up physical attributes from the person into whom
he's leaped."
      "Al, we're not talking about a stutter of a limp!" Verbina exclaimed.
"You're saying that Sam may have a substance, most likely an addictive
substance, in his system!"
      "You don't think I don't know that!" Al retaliated. He closed his eyes
with realization. "I'm sorry, Verbina. You're right. If what I suspect is
true, we are dealing with something a lot more serious than a stutter or a
      "Okay. Now, let's just try to think this out logically." Verbina
gathered her thoughts. "Let's assume that Zetter is an addict of whatever
drug." She took a breath. "We both know it's impossible for a chemical to
remain in the past if the chemical's owner comes into the future. The
chemical is a part of the person's own body. Let's also assume that Sam
somehow now has Zetter's addiction."
      Al sighed. "Not a pleasant thought," he muttered.
      "I agree but let's just assume for the sake of this train of thought
that Sam has Zetter's addiction."
      Al nodded. "Okay. How did he get it?"
      Verbina looked at Al. "Drug addiction is mostly a mental problem, a
psychological problem. Now it could be that Zetter was going through some
minor withdrawals when Sam leaped into him. If that's so, some of the mental
trauma of that withdrawals might have been incorporated into
Sam's psyche."
      Al thought about what she was saying. "You mean that, even though
Sam himself wasn't going through any kind of drug withdrawals, his mind
could have caused his body to believe that he was?"
      Verbina nodded slowly. "The power of the mind is very strong.
      Al shook his head. "But when I saw him, he didn't have any signs that
he was going through with withdrawals from even caffeine."
      Verbina sighed. She started pacing. "This isn't good. This isn't good
at all."
      Al watched her pace with concern, waiting for her to explain. She
turned to him.
      "Tell me about him," Verbina requested. "What did he look like?
What did he act like?"
      Al rubbed his face. "I don't know how to describe that. He... He just
wasn't himself. I could swear that, for a moment, he didn't even recognize
me or was even the same person. It's like his and Zetter's minds have been
merged together." He stopped when he heard himself say those words. "Oh, my
gawd!" he whispered. He looked at Verbina with concern.
      Verbina touched his shoulder. "Now, Al, let's not assume anything. We
don't have enough proof that anything is at all wrong with
Sam. First thing we need to do is verify whether this hypothesis of ours is
correct or not and, if it is correct, we need to find out just how badly Sam
has been affected."
      Al nodded. He looked at her firmly. "But first, I want to find out
just exactly who Dr. Byron Zetter is."

      Dr. Alexander Hathorn sat in the chair in front of his lab table with
a sigh. Lately, it was getting harder and harder to work. He just didn't
seem to have the energy to do the most simple of tasks.
      He opened the latest folder of data on Sam's previous leap and started
to examine the file. There wasn't anything different with this set of
readings as compared to the last set. But still... He turned on his
computer, opened the file he needed and started to input data.
      He heard a knock on hard wood as he worked.
      "You can come in if you want," he said, not looking to see who it was.
"Just don't expect me to pay attention to you."
      "You'd better," came the response. "I make sure you get a paycheck."
      Alex smiled but didn't turn from his work.
      "Come on in, Admiral," Alex told Al. "Just inputting some data from
Dr. Beckett's last leap. What brings you this way?"
      "You," Al replied. "Dr. Hathorn, we need to talk."
      Alex was glad his back was to Al because then Al couldn't see the
panic that was in his eyes.
      "Yeah," Alex replied hastily. "Uh... I know my report was late and..."
      "It's not about the report, Doctor," Al interrupted. "I just read the
report on your latest physical and, according to is, you're a very sick
      Alex closed his eyes and took a breath.
      "What do you mean, Admiral?" he asked, continuing as if nothing were
      Al slowly approached him. "Alex, I know what you have and I know what
you did to try to cover it. If you think I'm going to fire you  over this,
you really don't know me as well as I hope you do."
      Alex tried to ignore him, focusing on his work.
      "Want to talk about it?" Al questioned.
      "Not really," Alex told him.
      Al exhaled. "Too bad because, if you don't do something about this
attitude you've developed because of this, I'll be forced to fire you based
on lack of progress."
      Alex swallowed. "I'll have this report ready by the end of the week,
      Al sighed. The man just wasn't getting it.
      Al walked to Alex's side and looked at him. Alex tried his best to
ignore Al's presence at his side as he typed. However, Alex's military
training told him never to ignore a commanding officer when he or she
demands attention. Therefore, Alex saved his work and turned to Al.
      "Yes, Admiral?" Alex asked.
      Al huffed. "Oh, for Pete's sake, Alex!" he exclaimed, pulling up a
chair and sitting down. "Can't you see what's happening to you here?"
      Alex looked at Al firmly. "Of course, I see what's happening to me,
Al. I'm dying."
      Al's eyes widened.
      "Surprised, Al?" Alex asked. "I was when they told me that I had
AIDS." He looked at Al with intensity. "Despite what Dr. Beeks said to you,
I have accepted it very well. I just don't want anyone else to know." He
turned back to his computer.
      "Then why'd you tell her?" Al questioned.
      "She already knew," Alex told him as he inputted more data. "No use
keeping something a secret if they already know."
      "How did you get it?" Al asked.
      "I don't want pity, Admiral," Alex told him.
      "You should know me well enough by now to know that I don't give
pity," Al replied.
      Alex didn't say a word as he continued to work.
      Al nodded. "I see. You haven't accepted it. Not really." He stood up.
"I hope you can soon, Dr. Hathorn. I'll be available when you have." He
walked away, leaving Alex to think about what he said.

      It wasn't difficult for Sam to figure out where Byron Zetter worked.
Byron was apparently more than a doctor; he was a surgeon. Or so Sam
gathered from the awards that lined Byron's library. It was in that room
that Sam found Byron's appointment book, in which Byron had meticulously
marked his appointments. Today, Byron needed to go to the hospital for a
meeting before going to the University of California at Berkeley to give a
lecture to medical students.
      It wasn't difficult either for Sam to discover the subject of the
lecture. Byron was teaching an undergraduate class on human anatomy,
something on which Sam could easily lecture.
      The day went by with ease for Sam. The meeting at the hospital was a
bore but it went quickly. The lecture, on the other hand, was a pleasure,
especially since the students were actually interested in what Sam told
      "Hey," a man, in a simple black suit, no tie, and a white shirt, told
Sam. "Great lecture, Byron."
      "Thanks," Sam answered as he collected his notes and displays.
      "Listen," the man said. "Mario's going to hold a sit-in tonight.
You want to join in?"
      Sam looked at the man with curiosity. "Mario?"
      The man smiled. "Very well. Mr. Savio. Don't tell me you're turning
into one of those stiff-lip establishment guys?"
      Sam smiled. "Of course not."
      The man feigned a sigh of relief. "Good. So, are you going to join
      Sam shook his head. "Wish I could but I really have got a lot to do
tonight. Maybe the next time."
      "You'd better," the man told him, pointing at him to emphasize his
statement as he left.
      Sam smiled and finished packing his briefcase.
      "Sam Beckett turns down an invitation to go and be a part of one of
Mario Savio's famous sit-ins at Berkeley," Al commented from behind Sam.
"Typical. What's so important that you have to do for you to turn down the
chance of a lifetime?"
      "Did you go to one of Savio's sit-ins?" Sam asked, turning around to
look at Al.
      "I had just got back from my first tour of duty in Vietnam," Al told
him. He shook his head. "I wasn't much in the mood for advocating free
speech in a city several miles away from my home in San Diego. Besides, my
wife wouldn't have liked it very much after being separated from me for a
year." He looked into Sam's eyes carefully. Sam still had that distant look
in his eyes. "Sam, is there something you want to tell me?"
      Sam laughed. "Nothing. Why?"
      Al hesitated. He wanted to believe Sam but his instincts told him
Sam was lying.
      "I just want to make sure you're not doing anything you might regret
      "Like what?"
      Al hesitated again. He didn't want to ask but he knew Sam's reaction
would give him the answer he needed even if Sam didn't.
      "Sam, have you been taking anything during this leap?"
      Sam glared at Al. "You mean drugs, don't you? Like LSD or marijuana."
      "Yes," Al told him bluntly.
      Sam's glared became more intense. "Get out," he told Al with
controlled anger. "I can't believe you'd think that of me. I'm a doctor! I
know better than these dope-heads around me than to take that crap!" He
turned his back on Al and picked up the briefcase. "Just get the hell away
from me." With a final glare at Al, he left the classroom.
      Al watched Sam leave, his heart wounded by Sam's words. He sighed with
a mixture of anger and sympathy.
      "You may not be taking LSD or marijuana but you sure as hell are
taking something," he said aloud, knowing Sam couldn't hear him.
      "Al," Verbina's voice came over the Imaging Chamber's speakers.
"We need to talk. We found out who Dr. Byron Zetter is."
      Al pressed a button on the handlink, opening the Imaging Chamber door.
"I'm on my way out," he told her, taking a last look at the direction in
which Sam had left. He then turned around and walked out of the Imaging
      "What's up?" he asked.
      Verbina was walking up to him with a look of concern. "You first.
You look like you've just seen someone die."
      Al closed his eyes. "I hope not," he muttered. He looked at
Verbina. "We really have problems. Sam's been taking something, probably the
same thing Dr. Zetter was taking."
      "Oh, no," Verbina commented sadly. "Are you sure?"
      Al nodded. "I'm sure. He won't admit it but his reaction to my asking
him if he was taking anything told me everything. He got angry."
He looked into her eyes. "Sam doesn't get angry at an accusation unless
there's an element of truth to the accusation against him."
      Verbina lowered her head and closed her eyes. Al knew her action had
something more to it than a reaction to his words.
      "What is it?"
      "It's Dr. Zetter," Verbina told him. "He's definitely going through
withdrawals." She paused. "From morphine."
      Al looked more than a little shocked by her answer.
      "Ziggy found a newspaper article on Dr. Zetter dated July 17, 1967,"
Verbina continued. "It states that Dr. Byron Zetter was arrested for the
second degree murder of a little girl. She was his patient and she had died
on the operating table on July 15th."
      Al closed his eyes. "He was stoned on morphine."
      "I'm afraid so," Verbina answered. "All Sam has to do is take
Byron's place until we can get him clean. Unfortunately, that means that Sam
may have to perform the surgery. Since Sam has picked up Byron's addiction,
that could cause some serious problems."
      Al hesitated. "So, Sam's there to save the little girl's life and to
straighten out Zetter's."
      "Yes," Verbina told him.
      Al swallowed with mental pain. "And he has Zetter's addiction."
      Verbina sighed, sharing Al's pain. "Al, what Sam has isn't Byron's
anymore. It wasn't Byron's the moment he took Byron's morphine.
It's his addiction now."
      Al started pacing. "So, what do we do?"
      "He needs you help, Al," Verbina said gently.
      Al huffed in helpless frustration. "I'm a hologram to him. What can I
possibly do?"
      Verbina looked at him. "Regardless of everything, Sam is still
Dr. Samuel Beckett. He may not like what you say but he'll listen to you."
She paused. Al was still pacing. "Al, I'm scared too. But you can do this.
Sam's counting on you and so is that little girl."
      Al nodded, stopping his pace. "And what if you're wrong?"
      Verbina took a breath.
      "Pray that I'm not."