Part 2-Sense of control
                 I've had bad leaps. Watching that rapist walk out of
court laughing was one. Having my best friend reduced to a memory that
only a cigar wrapping could save from oblivion was certainly another.
Watching a rural, sweettalking drug dealer pull a gun on an innocent
child as though he were a bug to be squashed-Stop. With David's neurons
so much a part of me now, I'm obsessing-and growing angry. But with Al's
news, that this leap may mean- "Sam, aren't you listening? I said it's
the end of everything! Ziggy calculates that in multiple high-end
scenarios, Banner's Hulk destroys Quantum Leap!" I looked into my
friend's eyes and knew that's what he heard Ziggy tell him, anyway. But
"Al, Ziggy is like the Oracle at Delphi-ask the wrong question, and you
think"... I'd pushed Al, and he pushed back. "Don't you think, DR.
Beckett, that dumb old Al asked Ziggy what was meant by all that! That
is between nursemaiding everybody's nutburger instant best friend, David
Banner". Al stopped, and looked at me, the exhaustion, and then the
apology, evident in his eyes. "You're hardly dumb, Al. You're just
upset. Since I knew him starting back in 73, David Banner has always had
this effect on people. He charms them, and his joy becomes everyone
else's. So does his rage-no one can shake it off. Poor Elena used to
write me about it."  Straightening himself, Al looked at me "Sam, he may
be your friend, but I won't permit him to destroy everything we've
built. I'll find a way to kill him, first. Dooon't give me that line
about self-fulfilling prophecies, either. We got Verbeena talking to
Banner, calming him-introducing calming agents through the air vents-but
Ziggy says that, when the time comes, all probable scenarios still end
with" I interrupted my nervous holo-partner "With what? What were
Ziggy's exact words, Al?"  Al, a guy who does NOT have a swiss cheese
memory, took a moment to tell me. "Silicon Valerie said, in that
MechaStreisand voice you gave her ' The creature will likely rampage,
ending our ability to affect Dr. Beckett's sojourns through
time-forever. ' The rest was just tributary scenarios that fed into the
same ugly river. You'll be lost, Sam!" Al looked down. "Those jackals
from Lothos will probably find you-or worse! Don't stare off! Don't you
hear me?" I wasn't ignoring Al, but felt something odd about the fact
that "Al, Ziggy doesn't use words like "forever". I made the master
program capable of linear and non-linear thought, but the concept
ofanything immutable should be shunted out of the operating system".
"Saaamm"...Al then told me about Ziggy's monotheistic emergence. My
response was scholarly, and profound- "Oh, Boy!". I cleared my head of
my personal, personable Frankenstein's monster and concentrated on the
task at hand. "First priority, Al. Keep either David or myself from
changing into the creature. Second, see if we can ride out the doomsday
scenario until the probabilities swing our way, find out why I leaped in
here... "Sam" Al looked concerned.. "Ziggy thinks that the Gamma
Radiation infecting Banner, and now the two of you, drew you in. This
leap may not have a purpose." I stared hard at empty air where a mental
hologram seemed to be "That, my friend, is BINGO-BANGO-BONGO WRONG!
Every leap has a purpose, some more obscure than others, but it's always
there!" "Sam, how can you be sure?" I smiled, feeling more of myself
than I had in a week. "Al, our computer believes in him. Can we do any
less?" Our faith wasn't something Al and I often discussed, but his own
smile told me I'd picked the exact right time to bring it up. "Where is
David now, Al?", I asked, hoping the answer was sedation. It wasn't.
"Your friend is quite the physicist himself, Sam. He's helping to clean
up his mess-physically and scientifically. Ziggy fascinates him, and he
thinks he can help the theoretical chuck-wagon along to help retrieve
you-we haven't told him about the predictions." Good. Self-control for
David without a stress-induced mutation had always been a challenge,
with it a miracle, and we didn't need to pull away the curtain just yet.
"Sam, was there a third priority?" Yes, there was. "Make it happen, Al.
Arrange a face-to-face for me with David. There's been enough of an
exchange between us for him to use the handlink, with a little
tinkering. I have to know what I'm up against-What we're up against-with
this creature." "I don't like sharing this, Sam. It's my way of keeping
up with you. But I'll do it-" he said, "Here in Arizona" That
mischievous, I Got You smile appeared on my friend's face.

              A kind of clarity drifted over me, and I realized-"Quantum
Leap isn't in Arizona. It's in New Mexico! Why did I think.." Al
expected this, and caught me, "Because, Sam, Arizona is where you wanted
to build, where you told everyone it was your dream to build a time
machine..."  I picked up the slack, "And that's why we couldn't build it
there-top secrecy, no prying eyes. An-AAnd we tell all interested
outsiders we are in Arizona, even direct the calls through there. To
walk in all that heat.. Al laughed-"And to get lost, to boot. Sam, you
crossed into NM hours ago. We're only 60 miles from the work
site-tomorrow, that tabloid hack comes and snoops around, nearly fries
baby Ziggy-and himself. That's why-" Another breakthrough-"That's why we
had to go completely secret, and why those damned hearings nearly
finished us." Al smiled "Til there was you, we were at the commitee's
tender mercies", the smile faded," and all because Jack Mcgee wanted to
go legit again. You know, back when, the fighter pilots in Nam
considered him one of them, told it like it was. Now he's harassing
nice, nervous scientists with thyroid conditions. How the mighty do
fall!" Just then, a car traveling way too fast nearly ran me over. It
turned around, not to finish me, but to see if I was all right. Dazed,
but otherwise okay, I couldn't hear Al properly, only the driver saying
"Are you all.." The man stared, while Al screamed "Gupsem", "Getpsam"
"GET UP SAM" "It's Mcgee! He's seen your..." Al turned away, massively
upset, speechless.  McGee stood over me, his dog boy trophy, in silence.
"Well, John Doe, or should I say Doctor Banner, it's been a lot of phone
calls and corners and twin gangsters, but, after 13 years, I can pass up
a government fraud story and finally get my damned story! I'll testify
on your behalf at Elena Marks' murder trial-I know you don't have
control over the Hulk's actions". Mcgee seemed concerned about his prey,
but I couldn't allow him to stop me and verify David's story. So I ran,
with Al trying to keep up through the link. Jack Mcgee liked John Doe,
or David Banner, and genuinely wanted to help him in some way. But a
reporter's instinct is strong, and I was the story he couldn't let get
away again. That at least, is the reason I think he gunned the gas on
his rental. "Sam, wha'da we do?!" Al was panicked, and fading badly
through the strained link. I continued to run, and said "We don't do
anything" "You, Al Calavicci, exit the holo-projection matrix, and find
everything you can on the death of Elena Marks! GO, Al! Please!" My
friend faded out, reluctantly, with a worried look not on his face, but
as his face. It was then that Jack Mcgee's obsession, noble or
otherwise, crossed the line. A scream I took for my own, but which was
really Mcgee's, overwhelmed me the same time as his car smashed my
spine, hurling me facefirst onto skidding pavement. My head was turned,
somehow, toward the shiny hood of McGee's car. I could see David's torn
face, and his bloodied eyes-except they were mine, and I was in agony.
McGee was upset, kept apologizing, and then backed away. I thought, 'so
much for his concern', but then I saw, my eyes weren't bloodied after
all-they were dilated, and getting worse-I was changing, changing into
David's creature, and nothing could stop it. McGee stood mesmerized
"I've never actually seen.." Wisely, he got into his car and sped away.
Good, because,  God in Heaven, I don't want to become a