Chapter  5

     Sam finished cleaning the worst of the coagulated blood
from his face, then moving carefully, returned to the bedroom.
Seeing Thomasina's purse on the floor beside the bed, he went
through it, finding only a wallet, a compact and lipstick, a
comb and a small address book.  Thumbing through it, he found
the number he was looking for and dialed it.

     "Who are you calling?" Al asked, moving closer.

     "Her doctor," Sam replied.  "If I go to the emergency
room looking like this, the cops will be called in."

     "That sounds like a damned smart thing to do, in your
case," Al said.

     Sam carefully shook his head as he waited for his call
to be answered.  "I don't think so.  This...what's his name?"


    "...Derek is, as you put it, a loose cannon.  I don't know
what it was that set him off just before I leaped in, but
whatever it was, if the cops show up and start hassling him,
he's gonna take it out on me. And...Hello?" Sam responded to
the speaker at the other end of the line.

    "Dr. Conroy's office. May I help you?"

    "Yes," Sam said. "This is.." he drew a blank on his host's name
and looked frantically to Al.

    "Thomasina Emerson," Al supplied.

    "..Thomasina Emerson," Sam finished. "I need an appointment
to see the doctor, today."

    "Just a moment Mrs. Emerson," the woman at the doctor's=20
office said.  "What seems to be the problem?"

    "I..I was standing on a chair trying to reach a high shelf,
and I fell.  I think I may have broken my nose," Sam finished,
hoping that the story didn't sound as lame to the nurse as it
did to him.  The long pause at the other end of the line made
Sam a bit edgy, but he relaxed when the nurse told him, "The
only thing I have open is a nine-forty five appointment.."

    "I'll be there," Sam said quickly then blurted, "Where's
the office?"

    This time the answer was a bit slower to come. Sam could
almost see the frown furrowing the woman's brow.  "149
Meadowdale Drive," the nurse said carefully.  "Are you okay,

    Al didn't like the startled look on Sam's face. "What?"

    Sam put a hand over the mouthpiece and said softly, "She
knows me.. Tommie!" Then, to the nurse, "Uh, yeah, I'm okay.
Well, except that I think I broke my nose when I fell. Nine
forty-five, right?  Okay, I'll be there. Bye," he hurriedly
finished the conversation and hung up the phone.  He glanced
at the clock on the bedside table; four minutes after eight.

    While Sam found underwear and a simple pullover dress to
put on, Al had Ziggy run a background check on Tommie
Emerson's family and acquaintances. "Focus on her medical
history, Gooshie," Al said to the chief programmer.  "Find out
who in this Dr. Conroy's office knows Tommie on a first name

    "Anything else, Admiral?" Gooshie asked.

    "Yeah, I want you to sync me in to this Derek's brainwaves,"
Al said.  "He's one sick bastard and I want to know where he is
at all times."

    "Will do, sir," Gooshie replied.  "If you want, I'll have Ziggy
start a life function analysis on him."

    "Yeah!" Al said. "I like that idea.  And if you see where he's
about to blow a gasket, you signal me so I can check him out."

    By the time Sam was ready to leave for the doctor's office, Al
was decidedly uneasy about the way he was acting.  The Project's
Director was moving very carefully, and pausing too frequently
because of dizziness for his peace of mind.

     "Sam, I think maybe you should call a cab," Al said.  "You
really don't look in any shape to be driving. In fact..," he pulled
out the handlink and punched in a code as he said aloud,
"Gooshie, find the number of a cab service near this address."

    "I'm...." Sam began then just held onto the back of the
couch while the room swirled crazily around him. "Ohhh," he
whispered as he felt his stomach begin to churn as his
susceptibility to motion sickness kicked in. Closing his eyes
he held tightly to the couch until he felt the swirling in his
head ease.  Once it passed, Sam moved around and sat down,
thankful that there was a phone on the coffee table. He dialed
the number Al gave him, asking that the driver come to the door
to help him out to the cab, then leaned back and closed his eyes
to wait.

    "Sam!" Al said sharply when he saw his friend close his
eyes. "Get up!"  He didn't like startling Sam, but knew it was for
his own good as he watched him get up again.

    Fifteen minutes later, there was a knock at the door, and a
man's voice responded to Sam's query before opening the door,
"Golden Cab Service. You called for a cab?" The time traveler
smiled weakly at the man's shocked, "God Almighty, lady,
which crosstown bus hit you?!" as he locked the front door.

    Putting his arm around the battered young woman, the cab
driver helped her down the steps and into the cab. "Where to?" he
asked, getting behind the wheel and putting the cab in gear.=20
"The Emergency Room?"

     "149 Meadowcrest Drive," Sam said. "I want to go to Dr.
Conroy's office."  It was a short ride to the doctor's office,
and Sam was grateful again when, after collecting his fare, the
cabbie insisted on walking Sam into the doctor's office and
seeing him seated in the waiting room.

     "Thank you," Sam said taking a couple of bills from his
purse and handing them to the cab driver.

     "You'll be okay, now..," the man said with a smile that
made the lines around his dark eyes crinkle. "...I hope," he
said under his breath as he returned to his cab.

     "Tommie! My God what happened?" exclaimed the nurse/
receptionist at the window.  She was a tall woman with short
cropped red hair and brown eyes, dressed in rose colored scrubs.
She charged out the door leading back to the examining rooms,
making a beeline to Sam. "Oh, honey...."
     "I'm...okay," Sam began, but his attempt at replying was
cut short as the woman took his face gently between her hands
and took a closer look.

     "Did he hit you again?" the woman (Sam sneaked a quick
glance at her name tag...Joanna) demanded sharply. Then before
Sam could reply, "Wait until Dr. Conroy sees this!  He'll go
through the ceiling!"

     Joanna was right. Dr. John Conroy, usually an equably
tempered man, had come close to loosing his calm, easy going
demeanor when he opened the door to the examining room, and
got a look at the battered face of a young woman he had
helped bring into the world twenty-four years before.  Over
the years he had seen and cared for too many results of hot
tempered husbands and boyfriends taking their anger out on
the women in their lives.

    "What was it this time, Tommie?" he asked, glancing at the
notations on the chart he'd taken from the slot on the door. "You
forget to make his coffee?  Or did you forget to pick up his
jackets at the cleaners?" John Conroy asked as calmly as he
could as he took Sam's face between his hands, looking
carefully at every inch of what he knew was normally a pretty face.

     "I...uhh!" Sam sucked in his breath at the sharp pain that
seemed to radiate over his whole face when the doctor gently
probed the bridge of his nose. "..No. I was standing on a chair
trying to reach one of the high shelves in the kitchen, and lost my

     "Uh huh," the doctor murmured, unconvinced by the story.
Taking the pencil flashlight from his pocket, he checked Sam's
pupil reaction carefully. "What did you hit on the way down?"=20
Next he checked Sam's ears.  "No blood in either ear."

     *Thank God* Sam thought with relief, then rushed to respond
to the question. "Uh..the counter," he tried to think quickly
but reply as calmly as he could. "The big can of..peaches I was
after fell and hit me right between the eyes. Doctor..."

    "Be still," Dr. Conroy said as he continued his minutely
thorough examination, running his fingers through Tommie's hair
until he found the small bump on the back of her head that he
knew he would find. *Not as big as the last time* he thought.

     Turning his attentions to Tommie's body, his sharp gaze caught
the bruises around the base of her neck, and he felt the muscles
of his face tighten. "Must've been one aggressive can of peaches,"
he said.

    "What do you mean?" Sam asked nervously. He jerked, startled
when the Imaging Chamber door opened at that moment. He tried to
read the Observer's face, but Al wasn't talking as he moved
closer to him.

    "The damned thing left bruise marks on your neck when it
tried to strangle you," the doctor replied tartly. "I think you
better try a different canned fruit.  Peaches just don't seem to
like you."  Stepping to the door he opened it a bit and said,
"Amy, come in here, please." Turning back to Sam he said, "Okay,
I want you to lie down," he said, moving to help Sam stretch out
on the examining table.

     When Amy, an older nurse came in, Dr. Conroy carefully
examined Tommie for other signs of bruising on her body that
would've been hidden by her clothing. The inch long cut on her
abdomen, just above her pubic area was the final straw.

     "What's this?" he asked, lightly touching the cut that still
bore fine bits of coagulated blood. "The TRUTH..Tommie!"
he demanded. "Don't demean my intelligence or yours with
any more lies. How did you get this cut?"

     Sam looked desperately up at Al, but still the Observer
remained silent.  A slight quirk of one dark eyebrow was the
only response he got. But then he must have had a change of
heart when he said, "Tell him the truth, Sam."

     "I can't!" he tried to whisper as softly as he could as looked
up at Al.

     "Tell him!" Al snapped.


     "Tell him, Sam!" Al barked sharply. "Tell him everything that

     "Why?" Sam whispered, confused by Al's sudden blunt attitude.

     Dr. Conroy caught the whispered question. "Because if you
don't, the next time I see you it'll be at the morgue to identify your
body after Derek kills you!" he said harshly.  "My God, Tommie,
this is the third time in four months that you've come in here with
bruises on your throat where he's tried to strangle you!  You've
got a concussion..again ..from him slamming you up against a wall."

     Sam could only stare as Dr. John Conroy voiced his frustration
about Tommie's handling of her situation.  Only the doctors who
exposed their hearts to the hurt that caring personally about their
patients and what went on in their lives, reacted as this man did.
 *Don't get involved* was one of the unwritten credos that some
doctors and nurses lived by.  Yet there were far many more than
those who lived by that creed, who strove in the opposite direction,
who each day in some small way opened their hearts and lives up
to the hurt and pain of really caring about those who sought them
out for healing.  But what they gained in spite of the daily doses of
pain that the "bamboo shoots under the fingernails of their lives"
that such caring brought, was a daily enrichment in their souls and
spirits that they truly were living their lives to the fullest as they
strove to give the utmost of their skills and knowledge to the
suffering.  And in that striving more often than not, giving hope
and encouragement to the dispirited and hopeless.  But the
ultimate payment for those who daily put their hearts in the line of
battle for their patients was, more often than not, the heartfelt
 "Thank you". It was a payment that Sam, some wisp of memory
reminded him, which he had received a time or two.  And now,
Sam saw in the face and attitude of Dr. John Conroy that same
 =93daring to care" as he strove to make the badly battered young
woman before him understand, that someone did care about her.

      As the realization of his thoughts crystallized, Sam felt like
maybe GTFW was giving him some unexpected help as what
seemed to be one of his most dangerous leaps was getting
started. Pushing himself up to a sitting position, he modestly
pulled the paper sheet draped over his lap up against the open
front of the paper gown he wore.

    "The first thing I remember is him backhanding me," Sam
began a careful recounting of every slap, punch, body slam,
and incident of intimidation that had been inflicted on him just
a couple of hours earlier. *God only knows what he did to her
before I Leaped in* Sam thought as he watched John Conroy
make detailed notes on Tommie's medical chart.

    After the doctor finished writing his notes, Sam received
treatment for his injuries, including an X-ray of his head ("Yeah,
your nose is broken"), and a mild concussion was diagnosed.=20
"Though it's against my better judgment," the doctor said, "I'm
going to let you go home.  But only with the understanding that
you are not to go to sleep, not even a nap, until at least nine
o'clock tonight."

    "Okay," Sam agreed, as he watched the doctor make more
notes on Tommie's chart.

    "I know your head's pounding right about now, but don't take
anything stronger than aspirin or Tylenol for pain," he admonished.
"And no alcohol.  And if you start to experience dizziness or
nausea, get to the Emergency Room pronto!"

    "I will," Sam promised as he sat in the chair beside the
examining table still wearing the paper examination gown. He
glanced at Al who had been unusually quiet during Sam's entire
examination and treatment.  He noted that the Observer stood
at an angle so that he was slightly to the right and a bit behind
him.  "Can I get dressed now?"

    "Yes."  John Conroy paused, one hand on the door knob and
turned back to Sam.  "I'll help you anyway I can, Tommie. But until
you decide to press charges, there's nothing I can do."

    "What's eating you?" Sam addressed the question to Al's
turned back as he pulled his dress over his head and settled
it down over his hips.  He moved around so he was facing the
Observer. "You've been acting...odd since you popped in.
What's wrong Al?"

    "While Ziggy was running background checks on the personnel
here at Conroy's office, she came across something...interesting
about Tommie."  Al said.  "By the way, Joanna, the receptionist,
she's one of Tommie's closest friends, so that's how she knew you.
Besides the fact that she's also worked for Dr. Conroy for the last
six years."

    Sam listened but was more interested in the other thing Al had
mentioned.  "What did Ziggy find that's so interesting?"

     "She's been working for "Sparkle & Shine", a cleaning service,
for the last three years," Al began. "It didn't pay a lot but, it helped
her get what she wanted....her independence from daddy."

      "Why?  Did her father abuse her?" Sam asked, leaning back
against the examining table.  Purse in hand, he was ready to walk
out the door should anyone inquire, but for the moment he waited,
listening to what Al was saying.

      "No.  But she was an only child of well to do parents.  Lara
Teal Chastaing, her mother, died five years ago, and her father,
Albert,  about six months ago.  And it wasn't until after her old man's
funeral that Derek started beating her."


      "Well, from what the police dug up on the guy, in the original
history, is that he was mad as hell when old man Chastaing's will
was read and found out that he'd left almost the entirety of his
estate to charity.  All he left to Tommie was a lump sum of twenty
three thousand dollars which was according to the will...." Al
paused, punching codes rapidly into the handlink, then read from
the tiny screen, "..."a thousand dollars for every year of your life
up to and not to exceed the date of your marriage..."


      "Seems the old man didn't really care for his daughter's choice
of a  husband, and let's see it is.  The old man
added a codicil to his will the day after Tommie and Derek got
married. In that codicil he amended his bequest to her, as well
as making his feelings about her choice of Derek plain and sharp
as a slap in the face. It said..."On the day of your marriage to Mr.
Emerson, a singularly conceited and angry young man who
believes the world owes him everything, you were twenty years,
five months and six days of age, an adult of sound mind, but, not,
in my opinion, of sound judgment.  And inasmuch as you willingly
spoke the vow.."for richer or for poorer", now let your husband
provide for you the rest of your life. In as much as you have
chosen to lower yourself from the status into which you were born,
by taking Derek Floyd Emerson's name, so do I now chose to
lower that which I had so carefully planned and prepared to be
yours upon the event of my death. To my daughter, Thomasina
Victoria Chastaing Emerson I leave the lump sum of twenty-three
thousand dollars, a sum which equates to a thousand dollars for
every year of your life up to and not to exceed the date of your

     "And he rapes and murders fifteen more women because of
Tommie's inheritance being cut down some? That doesn't make
any sense.  And I also don't see how it could have any connection
with many was it... eight women raped and murdered
over the last seventeen months," Sam said his tone incredulous
at what he was hearing.  "That doesn't make any sense," he repeated.=20

     "I..don't know about those first unfortunate women, Sam," Al
said slowly. "But for the ones he'll kill over the next two years, it
might, if you take into account the fact that if Tommie had gotten
her father's entire estate, which is how his will was originally
written, she would have received nearly one and three-quarter
million dollars after inheritance taxes and the like.  And being
a native of Louisiana, and knowing that there's a thing called
forced heirship, meaning that he couldn't just cut her completely
out of his will, the old guy was smart enough to make sure that
the will abided by that, but was still ironclad to the point that it
was incontestable." He paused. "For some, like Derek, it would
be reason enough."

      "Have you got anything on him yet?" Sam asked. But
hysterical screams somewhere in the doctor's office made man
and hologram jump. Sam grabbed the door open and ran out.

     "NO! NO!" Amy, the older nurse with salt-and-pepper hair
sobbed as Dr. Conroy, Joanna and a couple of men in dark
suits tried to restrain her struggles to get free from them. "IT'S
NOT TRUE!  NO! NO!" she screamed again as tears flooded
down her shock-paled face as she frantically pushed and
twisted, trying to reach the door that led out into the waiting room.
"SHARON!" she screamed, "SHAARRONNN!" the raw reality of
her grief made her screams bounce off the walls and echo
throughout the small office.

     "Joanna, get me two milligrams of Valium IM!", the doctor
shouted to be heard above Amy's hysterical screams.

     Disentangling herself from the struggling knot of humanity,
Joanna flew past Sam, who hastily stepped back.  He pressed
against the wall again when she flew back by less than thirty
seconds later with a capped syringe. "Hold her still for about
three seconds", Joanna said.

     Sam watched as she flicked the cap off the syringe, but in
that same instant, the syringe was knocked out of her hand by
her hysterical colleague's struggles.  In a flash, he darted forward,
and grabbed it up. Without a word he turned and in a smooth,
practiced move plunged the needle into the older woman's arm,
depressed the plunger, then withdrew the needle, and stepped
back.  He moved back to stand beside Al, now in the hallway,
the look on his face telling Sam that he knew the reason for
Amy's grief.

     "What happened?" he whispered.

     "Ziggy's ninety-nine percent certain that those two parish
detectives just told her that her daughter, Sharon's body was
found about an hour ago," Al said quietly.


     Al nodded as he continued.  "According to an article in the
local paper, Sharon Allegretti Cramer, age twenty-five, was
found dead in her home, in the bathtub, on April 7, 1987." He
met Sam's eyes.  "Her neck was snapped. According to the
autopsy report, the coroner said it was a quick, clean break,
done either by a professional, or..."

    Sam hated when Al paused in the midst of grim information.

     "...or someone very big and very strong.  There wasn't any
sign of struggle, so they figured she knew the person who killed

     "None?" Sam frowned.  "In the bathroom and there wasn't
any sign of struggle at all?"

     Al shook his head. Putting his cigar in his mouth, he continued.
"They even analyzed the water she was found in; she had been
taking a bubble bath.  There was also a single long-stemmed
white rosebud tucked between her breasts."  He paused. "There
were vases of white roses all over that bathroom."

     "That's it?"

     "No. There's one other thing," Al said. "Her body had been

     Sam felt his skin begin to crawl again when the Observer
said, "Her nose had been cut off. Coroner said it was a very
clean removal, done either with a scalpel...or a switchblade."