"Ziggy's wrong!"

	"I'm only telling you what she says."

	"And I'm telling you she's wrong!"

	Sam stood, hands on hips, eyes burning, facing the Observer. His =
shoulders were set in stone, his face clouded with anger.

	"Don't take it out on me, " Al said, swiftly moving out of Sam's glare.

	"I can't have Leaped in here to insure that a man dies," Sam nearly =
shouted, "It just doesn't make sense."

	"You've done it before," Al reminded him.

	"Well, not this time. Ziggy's got to be wrong." Sam began to pace the =
hallway: six steps up and six steps back. Back and forth. He was =
beginning to make Al dizzy. "Go back and try again. Maybe Ziggy doesn't =
have all the pertinent data. You said this was a US government project, =
start your research there."

	"I said 'a' government," Al countered.

	"Fine. Just go back and go over the data, will you?"

	Al punched the appropriate buttons on the handlink. "Fine. Whatever you =
say." The Door opened and he stepped in.

	"Fine," Sam snapped.

	"Fine," Al repeated, then shut the door.

	"Fine," Sam mumbled to himself.

	"I think you would have outgrown imaginary playmates by now."

	Sam turned around a little too quickly. He was thrown off balance, and =
fell forward.

	"Whoa! I know you're attracted to me, but let's at least have dinner =

	Realizing he was in the arms of a stranger, he scrambled back out, =
mumbling, "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry."

	"Don't worry about it, Dr. Aldrich, not everyone can be coordinated. I =
would be more worried about your habit of talking to yourself."

	Sam looked down into those eyes again. "Excuse me?," was the only thing =
he could think of the say.  Damnit! I'm usually not this inept. What's =
wrong with me?

	Dr. Michaels smiled. "You said, 'Just go back and go over the data =
again.' Then you said 'Fine' twice."

	His guard immediately went up. "I was, well, just having an argument =
with myself." When Dr. Michaels laughed, and his hackles went up. "What, =
you never talk to yourself?"

	"Of course I do," she answered, smiling even broader, "but, I'd never =
have the guts to admit it to anyone."

	Returning her smile, Sam relaxed. "Where were you, anyway? I didn't see =
anyone in the hall."

	She pointed to a door just down the hall. The sign said 'Ladies'. Sam =

	If Dr. Michaels saw his embarrassment, she had the decency not to =
mention it. "I was going to come looking for you anyway. Dr. Canady has =
given me an extra assignment. Since you're new here, I'm to be your tour =
guide. You know, show you the sights, how to get 20 without killing =
yourself, which Kroger to shop at, that sort of stuff."

	"Dr. Canady?"

	She absently cleaned her glasses as she spoke. Her eyes were even =
browner than Sam had first noticed. A deep brown, with no flecks to =
suggest any other color. The purity of them amazed him.

	"Yeah, the old man knew you hadn't even taken the time to check into =
your hotel yet, and since I'm the only one on the team that has any =
social graces at all, I was drafted." She put the glasses back on, "Not =
that I wouldn't have volunteered."

	Sam smiled his most winning smile. "I would be delighted."

	"Dr. Canady sends his regrets, but says he has so much work to do that =
he would probably meet us coming in tomorrow morning."

	"Tell him to have the coffee ready."

	Dr. Michaels laughed as she began to walk away. "I'll tell him, but I =
really don't think you would want to drink what he makes. I'll meet you =
in your office in, say, half an hour."

	She waved her reply, then was gone around the corner.

	Sam watched her disappear, then realized that he was holding his =
breath. Not only am I a quantum physicist, I get the pleasure of =
spending the evening with her. If it wasn't for that nonsense about him =
dying in a fire, this was shaping up to be the perfect Leap. Putting the =
distressing thoughts about Ziggy's probabilities aside, Sam set off to =
find his office.

	Stepping out of the Imaging Chamber, Ziggy was on him even before the =
door had closed completely. "Admiral, there is something I need to tell =
you about Dr. Aldrich."

	"No more about your fire and death theories, Ziggy. Sam nearly bit my =
head off." Al walked wearily down the ramp towards the Control Room.

	"It wasn't that Dr. Aldrich..."

	"Where's Tina?" Al deposited the handlink in its place and suddenly =
noticed that he was alone.

	"She and Gushie, uh, retired early."

	But, the voice wasn't Ziggy's. Leaning over the console, he saw a pair =
of jeans clad legs poking out from underneath. "Hello?"

	A muffled voice answered. "We didn't know how long you would be with =
Dr. Beckett. I volunteered to stay, especially since Tina was, well, ya' =
know, so exhausted. Besides, it gave me the free time to do some Ziggy =

	Al didn't recognize the voice, or the legs, but both were definitely =

	:Admiral, there is some important data that I need to discuss with =
you," Ziggy cut in.

	Al gave the computer a 'Not now!' hand signal and slowly walked around =
the console. "Uh, do you need any help?"

	The voice laughed softly. "That is the first time you have ever offered =
to help me when I had my hands inside of Ziggy. Did something happen to =
you in the Imaging Chamber?"

	Squatting down, Al peered under the console. He still couldn't see. "No =
more than the usual, I guess."

	"Admiral Calavicci, it is imperative that I speak with you =

	"Ziggy," Al warned, "I told you not now."

	"Go ahead, Bingo, talk to her."

	Did she just call me Bingo?

	A hand stretched out from below. "But, give me a hand up first, will =
ya'?"	Al was more than willing to oblige. He grasped the hand and =
pulled. "You know she won't quit until she's had her way. Bother you all =
night. And if I remember correctly, you have other plans this evening."

	"Admiral Calavicci!," Ziggy nearly shrieked.

	The computer's shrill voice momentarily distracted Al from his task. =
With one tug he sent himself flying backwards, landing in a heap with =
the mystery woman on top of him.

	"We've never done it in the Control Room before, but I'm willing to try =
anything. Once."

	Al's protest of innocence was cut short as his mouth was suddenly =
assaulted by moist, warm lips and a tongue that tasted like ginger =
snaps. Her body was warm, no, hot, against his, and as her hips began to =
grind, he found himself growing less aware of where he was then with =
whom he was with.

	"Oh, Bingo," she breathed in his ear.

	She called me Bingo!

	His arms encircled her back, pulling her closer, deeper into him. The =
burning question of who this woman was was momentarily lost as the =
rushing in his ears grew louder. He was on autopilot now, his conscious =
mind having shut off just about the time she began to unbutton his =
shirt. Why did she call me Bingo?

	"Excuse me," Ziggy spoke up. "Far be it from me to interrupt , but I =
thought that you, Admiral and Dr. Aldrich, would like to know that in =
exactly 4 minutes and 12 seconds you will no longer be alone in the =
Control Room."

	"Oh, damn," she said, rolling off. She began to button her flannel =
shirt. "Talk about lousy timing."

	"It would appear that Admiral Calavici's timing was off a bit, also."

	"Ziggy," Al growled as he pushed himself up into a sitting position. =
Whereas moments ago strength and vitality had coursed through his limbs, =
now he was weak and shaky.

	"I only comment on the obvious, Admiral," Ziggy cooed. "You now have 3 =
minutes and 38 seconds of solitude left."

	Fully clothed again, Dr. Aldrich curled herself into Al's lap and =
straightened his tie. "We'll finish this later." She brought her mouth =
to his, gently tracing her tongue across his upper teeth.

	"2 minutes and 3 seconds."

	"Ziggy, couldn't you be just a little less intrusive," Dr. Aldrich said =
to the ceiling as she stood up. "Sometimes I feel like you watch =

	"Only what happens in public places," Ziggy replied smugly. "And from =
those observances, I could write numerous volumes about human behavior. =
Normal or otherwise."

	Laughing, Dr. Aldrich held out her hand to Al, pulling him up without =
much effort. "Just make sure you spell our names right." Wrapping her =
arms around him, she emphasized each letter with a squeeze. "That's B, =
I, N, G..."

	"Oh!," Al exclaimed when her hand pinched his butt.

	"See ya' later," she called behind as she walked away.

	Al stood there limply, not really sure if what happened had, in =
reality, just happened. "Ziggy," he began, but didn't know which =
question to ask first.

	"Admiral Calavicci, I would like you to meet Dr. Libby Aldrich."

	Who said computers don't have a sense of humor. "Why didn't you tell =

	"As you recall, Admiral, I did try. You wouldn't listen."

	"And Sam changed all this?", he asked as he absently buttoned his =
shirt. "He's only been there 6 hours, for Christ's sake!"

	"There are many variables at play against each other in this leap, =
Admiral. I am not quite sure yet which ones are correct." Ziggy almost =
sounded wounded.

	Approaching footsteps could be heard coming from the far hallway, and =
Al knew that his 4 minutes and 12 seconds were up. Smoothing his hair =
back into place, he walked nonchalantly past the entering technician, =
nodded his greeting, then passed out of the Control Room into the main =
corridor. It was there that a thought struck him and he stopped. =

	"Yes, Admiral?"

	"Sam's name in this Leap is Aldrich, right?"
	"Yes, Admiral."

	Unwrapping a cigar, Al rolled it back and forth between his fingers. =
"And we suddenly have a Dr. Aldrich among us."

	"Right again."

	"Seems like more than a coincidence."

	"One could say so, Admiral."

	"Check it out, will ya', Ziggy? I have a funny feeling this will be =

	"Anything you say, Admiral. In fact, I have already started." Ziggy =
gloated. "When I find something I will contact you immediately."

	Stopping to light his cigar, Al said, "No, Ziggy, that won't be =
necessary. It's late, and, well, I think I'll turn in now."

	"It would seem that we both will be working on the Dr. Aldrich problem =

	Al glared upward. "Ziggy..."

	"Pleasant dreams, Admiral."

	Taking advantage of Robby's recent arrival, Sam asked a few questions =
and was standing in Dr. Alrdich's office within 10 minutes, enjoying the =
new smell emanating from the furniture. There were suitcases on the =
floor, but Sam wasn't sure whether the real Dr. Aldrich had put them =
there or whether they had been dropped off by someone else. He guessed =
it didn't matter.
	Deftly bypassing the suitcases, Sam went straight to the computer. He =
was very anxious to see what kind of research being done here. It booted =
up almost instantaneously and Sam was suitably impressed. Someone is =
shelling out the big bucks, that's for sure. Quickly scanning the menu, =
Sam memorized as he went; he couldn't help it. His memory was =
photographic and he remembered everything that he read. Within recent =
history, that is. And he remembered only those things that his Swiss =
cheeses brain allowed. Of course, there were some things that he wished =
he didn't remember, and many things that he wished he could. It was the =
kind of mental round puzzle that would drive him crazy if he allowed it =

	Opening and closing files quickly, Sam soon garnered that this lab was =
run just about the same way that his Project was. There were word =
processing programs, accounting programs, inventory programs, all the =
mundane stuff that Ziggy deemed herself too good to deal with. Early in =
the Project Sam had had the foresight to install a separate server to =
handle the administrative duties. It was this system that the majority =
of the Project's personnel dealt with. Ziggy was everywhere, of course, =
and known to everyone at the complex, but only a select few were privy =
to what made Ziggy so unique. He came across files with Aldrich's name =
and book marked them to peruse later.

	"Well, no this is interesting." Sam perked up as he came across a =
restricted file. That in itself wasn't unusual; there was always =
information that shouldn't be left lying around for the masses to see. =
That was just good business. However, try as he might, Sam was unable to =
break through.

	"What's in you that is juicy that an iron wall has been constructed to =
protect you?," Sam asked the closed file abstractly. "Perhaps we can go =
in sideways."

	He opened an accompanying file, one that could possibly draw data from =
the restricted one. Not that way. He tried another, but still met with =
defeat. Frustration began to rise. His fingers began to beat the keys a =
little harder as his plan was going up in flames. Even though Sam had =
never taken the time to truly hone his hacker skills, not like Gushie, =
he liked to consider himself superior to any software program. But, the =
locks on this file were impenetrable. It had come down to trying =
passwords at random. He didn't hold out for much success, but it was his =
last resort.

	"Canady," he said aloud as he typed the name.

	Access denied flashed across the screen.


	Access denied.

	Access denied.


	Access denied.


	File open.

	"What are you doing?"

	"Oh shit," Sam said under his breath as he blanked the file. Spinning =
around he said innocently, "Nothing. Just playing around."

	Dr. Michaels stood in his office doorway. Her arms held tightly around =
her chest, a scowl etched her face. The openness that had previously =
defined her had completely vanished. In its place was a woman as closed =
as the file Sam had just tangled with.

	"Is there something wrong?," he asked, putting space between himself =
and the computer.

	She held her stony glare for a few moments, then shook her head. "No, =
nothing." Leaning down, she picked up one of the suitcases. "I don't =
feel much like going out this evening. I'm just going to drive you to =
your hotel, then go home."

	"Sure, whatever you say," Sam said as he grabbed the other suitcase. =
What the hell happened?

	He followed her silently down the hall, watching her back and trying to =
engage her in conversation. But she remained quiet until the parking =
lot. Motioning to his suitcase, she said, "Just put them in the back."

	The drive was as silent as the walk to the car and when she finally =
dropped him off at the hotel, Sam was more than glad to leave this moody =
woman behind. Weariness overwhelmed him as he entered the lobby. Maybe =
not going out tonight was a good idea after all, he thought as he signed =
the register. A good night's sleep and everything will be back to =
normal. But as the elevator rose to the 7th floor, Sam didn't want to =
pin his hopes on normal.

	The voice cracked. "We're making progress. I told you that. It's all in =
my report. Didn't you read it?"

	"Yes, I did," the soft voice on the other end of the phone said, "Every =

	Nervous laughter sped across the line. "Well, then you know how close =
we are."

	"Doctor, I have been in this business long enough to know that words on =
paper are just that, words."

	The man paused and twin lines of smoke trailed upward on each of the =

	"Success is imperative, Doctor."

	White knuckles began to appear on the hand that held the receiver. =
"What it if can't be done? Did you and your friends ever think of that?"

	The already cool voice turned icy. "That is not an option."

	The sound of exhaled smoke whispered through the phone. "I have the =
utmost confidence, Doctor. We all do."

	"Thank you," the reply was said with a shaky voice.

	"It wasn't meant as a compliment, Doctor, merely a reminder." Another =
drag, then, "Please do not disappoint us."

	The line went dead.