Why? Why was he back in Jack's life? Sam was bewildered at this. He figured it must be a new record for most leaps involved with the same people. Trouble must follow this Jack guy around pretty much wherever he goes. Sam couldn't figure why someone who has so many loved ones around him should need this much from the ultimate life-changer. At some point, Sam figured, Jack will have the perfect life. Either that or he'll end up in a gutter somewhere, panhandling on the streets with nothing but a maraca to summon the masses for any spare change they might have. Don't be so negative, he thought. It can't be that bad. It won't, not if I have anything to do with it. As long as I'm here for you, he continued to mutter in his mind, everything will be all right. It will. Not to worry. "You in a daze about something?" Jack asked of his best friend. "I'm all right," Sam replied. "You nervous about tomorrow? You shouldn't be. You got this test nailed. I'm the one who should be nervous." If all I'm here to do is pass a test, Sam thought, I'm home free. Being a genius and all, Dr. Sam Beckett had the problem well in hand. Tests are easy when you know pretty much everything about anything, and the good Doctor knew a hell of a lot. Sam tried to play the role. "I guess I'm a little nervous," Sam told Jack. "If I don't pass this exam, I'm pretty much screwed." He figured it was a safe bet that was the case. "I wouldn't say that, big guy," Jack told him. "You'll still get a job. There are people who get jobs before getting board certified." If only Sam knew what kind of board certification he was looking for. Was it for education? Nursing? On the previous Jack leaps Sam never attended a single class. If he's going for board certification he must have graduated. Where the hell is Al? "So are you gonna take me home or not?" Jack asked. "Sure," Sam replied. "I'll pick up my car tomorrow morning before the exam. I'll pick you up." The sound of the Imaging Chamber door. Finally, Sam thought. "I gotta go, uh, you know," Sam said shyly. "What? Piss? Go ahead," Jack replied. Sam motioned for Al to follow him. A touch of a button and the Admiral was in the john. Sam walked in and couldn't find Al, who had accidentally teleported to the women's restroom. When he finally arrived, he apologized. Accident my ass, Sam thought. "So am I here to pass a test?" Sam asked the Observer. "That's all, kid. You are to be board certified in elementary education." "Why didn't Matt pass?" "He choked. Nothing much more to it. Matt's a smart kid, but he merely succumbed to the pressure." "Did Jack pass?" "Yep. He passed. Don't worry, Sam." "There's something more to this," Sam thought out loud. "There has to be. There always is. Don't you know the pattern?" "Don't worry, Sam," Al said, trying to ease his partner's anxieties. "Ziggy's not giving me anything else. It's May 12, 2000. Your name is Matt McCrackin, but you already knew that. And all you have to do is pass the boards tomorrow at noon and you'll leap outta here." "But not out of Jack's life," Sam said. "Don't worry, Sam. All the bad stuff is behind us now. I'm gonna leave. Tina's getting pissed at me because, according to her, we never go anywhere anymore. I told her that all the time in the bedroom is as quality as it gets." "Al," Sam said, trying to calm his friend's hormones. "All right Sam. I'll talk to you soon." The door opened and closed with great swiftness, and the Admiral was gone. Sam met up with Jack in the parking area. They made plans for the next day. Jack would pick up Matt, or Sam, at 11:00, and the test was at noon. The conversation on the way home was nice, Sam thought. Everything from politics to religion to music to women were welcome. There was an openness that Sam loved. He saw it before, and it became clear that these were some of the most genuine people he has ever had the pleasure of meeting. He would do everything in his power to make things right for this terrific group of people.