Part 3-2-The Book Of David

              Sam had created paradise here, David felt, and never more
so than in the presence of its freely available tree of knowledge, also
known as Ziggy. He was afraid the supercomputer would turn him away
after asking so many questions, but it never did. He had never been this
happy since his 7th summer, before his mother died, when he, his sister,
and their cousin Jennifer spent all day and night looking for lost
treasure where there was none. He should never have gone to see
Jennifer, should have asked Matt for legal advice, should have realized
Wilson Fisk would want revenge and have him followed out of New York.
Jen had lived, but at a cost David did not like to consider. She said
she could live with that choice, and its consequences, but it was
another stone on David's back, as far as he was concerned. But oddly,
the stone did not feel heavy today, and he was even considering calling
his family on the secured lines at Quantum Leap. That is, if he could
figure out how to explain a multi-year absence-again. Another obstacle
was this paradise's resident serpent, a guy named Al Calavicci, a man
who felt deeply the loyalty that Sam always inspired as far back as
David could remember.  He alone seemed to have a human reaction to the
chaos David always brought with him. The others, scientists like
himself, were too fascinated with him to be upset. In his heart, Dr.
Banner knew he was being "handled" for obvious reasons, but he actually
appreciated the effort. No mad scientists operating on society's
outcasts here. No mad scientists at all, just a few goofy ones. As he
came upon the supercomputer mainframe, Ziggy surprised him with "Hello,
Doctor Banner. You're looking well this morning!"

                    "You mean Sam is looking well this morning, dont
you, Ziggy?"  Ziggy did not even hesitate to respond, "Except for
Admiral Calavicci, who has leaped himself, I am the only one who can see
beyond the time-distortion. I can see Sam Beckett's face, if I choose.
But since I know it quite well, I prefer the face of Dr. David Bruce
Banner. Hmm...Was your name meant to be Robert, originally?"  He sat
back, getting into the conversation, "An old family dispute. My mother's
side was Scottish, so Robert Bruce was what they wanted. My father's
father was thouroughly anti-Immigrant, and so  insisted on a biblical
name. He felt he had done his part by allowing Scottish blood in the
Banner line in the first place."  "How foolish some disputes are" Ziggy
said smugly, with just an undertone that spoke 'How silly humans are' in
her voice. "Ziggy", David said as he leaned forward, "tell me all about
the project. Tell me about its development, and what you've all done
with it. It must be"-he stopped-"enrapturing".  "Indeed it is, Doctor,
but, as the saying goes, you show me yours and I'll show you mine!".
David shook his head. "You have all my information, public records,
reported Hulk sightings-what more could you need about me?"   "Your
story, in your words, David. Human narrative isn't a device, it is a
power. A great one. Plus there is an aspect of your story I am studying
with great fascination." Banner looked up. "My efforts at  a cure?!"
"No, David, I began analyzing that as soon as you arrived. Too much
exchange between yourself and Doctor Beckett for me to accurately scan
your DNA, I'm afraid. No, the part that intrigues me will have to remain
my fascination alone for the moment." David acquiesced, and began
telling his story. It was the story of a boy who couldn't save his
mother from illness, of two husbands who couldn't split open a burning
car door or degenerative DNA, and of a lover who lost his love to
ignorance and a still-mysterious fire. It was the story of 13 hellish
years on the run, of a trained physicist who had to learn to wash dishes
and read during library hours about labs doing breakthrough work, all
while dodging a good but persistent man who believed him a good but
dangerous man. It was the story of infinite lies, of fear-driven corrupt
strength being broken by rage-driven chaotic strength, of all of
humanity and every conceivable occupation under the sun.  At least his
pursuer, unlike that of another outcast doctor, did not have the law to
back him up. Not that it seemed to matter, a lot of times. Finally, it
was the story of a foolish group of people who believed themselves quite
powerful. People fond of framing others. People fond of tying other
people up. People who thought that killing family members made for a
good life. People, who, one and all, came to regret their arrogance, as
something happened before their eyes that made their minds grateful for
the denial mechanism. In the end, their power proved as illusory as
David's self-control efforts-and just as spitefully destructive "To be
honest, Ziggy, if I never have to flee another burning building, I
sometimes think I might just be more accepting of circumstances-but then
I remember, my life IS a burning building."  "A sad analogy, David, but
in my study of your travels, an apt one. Now, I shall"  David
interrupted, "Before you tell me, did you figure out where Sam was going
before my gamma energy drew him in?" Ziggy was completely silent. "Now"
ignoring his question," I shall tell you of Quantum Leap." Ziggy had
correctly surmised that David already knew where Sam was headed prior to
all this-and further correctly surmised that David didn't like that idea
one bit.

                      Quantum Leap's story was told by Ziggy in a kind
of code that only a top-flight scientist could understand, but given the
company, it required no effort to understand. From these equations and
probability scans and outcome differentials came a clear picture that
made David Bruce Banner outright forget for the first time in 20 years
that there was a giant green creature named the Incredible Hulk. Quantum
Leap was the story of Al Calavicci, broken by captivity in Vietnam,
alienated by his wife's remarriage, and the story of Al Calavicci,
broken by captivity in Vietnam, who nearly alienated the wife who had
waited for him on a stranger's say-so. It was the story of Tom Beckett,
KIA in that same horrible war,and of Tom Beckett, whose disagreements
with his brother about the justness of the war kept the Beckett
household lively, to say the least. It was the tragic story of a
President's children, orphaned that awful day in 1963, and the story of
a Presidential widow who raised her children to be worthy of their
heritage. It was the story of a project that tabloids and bureaucrats
nearly ate alive. Finally, it was the story of a healing presence and
lifeforce by the name of Sam Beckett who started everything with this
premise: Time, like a loop, gives us our entire lives to travel up and
down and all around, stopping along the way to make right that which
once went wrong. David Banner took all this in, then said it out loud,
the thought he had been holding back; "It was my wife, wasn't it? Sam
was going to, somehow, help me get my wife out of that car, so that I
never began my hidden-strength experiments, and never...".  He dared not
complete the thought. The creature suddenly felt a part of him again.
Suddenly everything bad did. Somewhere, in the corner, he saw Calavicci
laughing at him, which was ridiculous, but he wasn't there anyway. Why
he was demonizing Al? The man was a bit gruff, but he wasn't the devil
in disguise, after all. So wrapped up in this new wave of misery, David
barely heard Ziggy say, "I'm afraid probability estimates do bear that
thought out, David." Almost intuitively, David said "What else do the
studies say, Ziggy?"  Ziggy ignored him once again, "I am narrowing down
the possiblities for the fire that killed Dr. Elena Marks and began your
fugitive status. It may have something in common with a fire that
nearly..." This time David would not be ignored, "DAMN  YOU, ZIGGY! I
was curt and to the point. "Very well, Doctor. Our studies show that you
will become your creature again and make further contact with or travels
by Doctor Beckett impossible, indicating the destruction of the project.
Once you were brought here, all probablities bent in that direction, and
it seems theoretically uavoidable that you will destroy us all."  Ziggy
paused and then said in a low tone," Do not raise your voice to me
again, David ".  David Banner stood alone in a stunned and shamed

               Al had returned from contact with Sam, and the entire
project waited outside the holo-projection chamber for his return. Upon
exiting, he promptly walked over to David Banner and punched him over
the table he was sitting on. David was stunned, but remarkably, felt no
twinge of the creature, as though it were out of town. "Banner, you
sonova---! Get Up! I want a piece of you AND that green meatball!" Al
looked around at the assemblage, pointing his finger, "ANd don't any of
you eggheads dare defend him! This is all his-awww, hell, this is all a
mess!" Turnning to Banner, almost sobbing, Al spoke: "He's become the
Hulk. I saw him change as I completely lost the link. How do we get him
back? I'm sorry I punched you, but seeing my best friend like that
nearly killed me." David understood only too well. "Calm yourself,
first, Al. The creature's not here, maybe because Sam and I are
separated as we were not when we first leaped. Second, everyone, I know
about the predictions. So STOP dancing around me."  One look from a very
concerned Donna Eleise-Beckett told David that, because he had
unwittingly hurt her husband, the hard truth is all he would get from
her. Thrown a bit by the faces, once supportive, now concerned about
Sam's metamorphosis, he said "We'll find a way to protect the project, I
swear it. I love this place, too."  Al was sitting now, and looked at
David appreciatively, but said "Maybe it's only right that you destroy
our world, Banner. After all-----Sam and I have destroyed yours." David
looked at Al. Was this some child's game of gotcha? He destroys them so
they destroy him  first? No, he could tell, it wasn't that at all. Al
continued, "Someone saw your face, saw Sam change, someone---who really,
really shouldn't have." David  pulled back for a minute, from both Al
and the truth, but the truth hit him harder than Al ever could. No, only
the Hulk could hit that hard. One word;a name; "McGee". Jack Mcgee had
his dogboy trophy, his ticket back to legitamacy, and almost certain
murder charges pending for David. After 13 years, Jack Mcgee knew that
John Doe was David Bruce Banner and that David Bruce Banner was the
Hulk. Despite this circumstance's inevitablity, David still felt a ill
humor he had felt 6 times before in his life, at its lowest points.
Anger was starting to show on his face, bringing a collective stunned
worry to the crew. Just then, Ziggy spoke, "I believe I have isolated
the cause of the lab fire that killed Dr. Marks. It seems that..  David
Banner, who was not changing into the creature, spoke, both interrupting
Ziggy and speaking the last words he would speak before a 12-hour
"Oh, BOY!"