When he finally walked out of the Imaging Chamber after 
Sam leaped, Al marched quietly through the control room, past 
Verbena and Gushie and the other personnel, heading for the 
Waiting Room.

	In the doorway of the wide, quiet room he paused, staring 
at the bed in the center of the room. After a moment he crossed 
to it.  Verbena entered a few minutes later and found him standing 
at the foot of the bed, staring at it.

	"How was Perry just before he went back?" Al asked quietly.

	"We talked the whole time you were in the Imaging Chamber 
with Sam," she said.

	"What was his attitude?" Al persisted.

	"He knew..more or less...what would be waiting for him 
when he returned home." Verbena said.  Putting a hand on Al's 
arm closest to her, she waited for him to look at her.  "He's 
really much stronger than you might think, Al.  He'll be fine."

	Being alone in the Waiting Room with Verbena, Al felt 
enough privacy was theirs for him to let a bit of his own 
feelings out.

	"It was too close, Bena," he said, not even aware of the 
tremor of emotion in his voice.  "It was too damned close.  
We could have lost him."

	"That's a possibility with every leap," the psychiatrist 
reminded him gently. 

	"No," Al shook his head, "This would've been different.  
His mind, everything thing that makes Sam who he is, would 
have been lost forever.  His body being used by someone else's 
personality.  He might have been killed by his own father," 
he said with a frightened passion that rarely surfaced in the 
presence of other people. "Sam...his body...could have spent the 
rest of his life locked up and forgotten in a mental institution."

	Verbena put a hand on his shoulder and waited for him to be 
still and meet her eyes.  "It could have happened that way...but 
it didn't."  

	She let him think about that for a moment then said, gently, 
"Don't stay in here too long.  You look like you need about a 
week in the sack...alone." She smiled and winked at him, then 
left.  He heard the door open then close with a soft whooshing 
sound.  Still his eyes never left the temporarily unoccupied bed.

    "Wherever you are, wherever you're sent, I'll be there, Sam,"
 Al said over the empty bed.  "Only God will ever stop me from 
being there when you need me. And whatever it takes, however 
long it takes, I'll get you home." 

	Feeling a tear slip down his cheek, Al hastily wiped it 
away and headed for the door.  When the door opened, he paused 
and looked back. 

	"Maybe He'll even let me be here when you finally come 
home," he whispered into the stillness of the large quiet room, 
then stepped through the door and headed for his quarters.

	Once more the solitary bed in the large quiet white room waited.

					THE END.