A Quantum Leap Fan Fiction Story, A Leap In Anger, by Rob Morris, Rob4654@WebTv.Net, featuring characters owned and created by Belisarius Productions and Marvel Comics Epilogue- Who Can Change The Course Of Mighty Rivers? August 8, 2004- Pushy, insistent, and utterly incomprehensibly briliant at 9 years old, Abigail Fuller the 2nd had full run of the government's secret time management project, Quantum Leap. It's aim was to attempt to keep track of the project's second successful leaper, and to make sure that no other time projects ever emerged. Arguments about genies and bottles aside, the uncertain technology was simply too dangerous for anyone to gain. If it weren't for the sake of the 2nd leaper, the project would have been scrapped, ironically, for being too successful. A CIA file had literally tens of thousands of stories that spoke of "times when people could do no wrong"- due to the confirmed and speculated presence of Quantum Leapers. There was certain power even bureaucrats didn't want, and this was it. Part of the reason for Abigail's total access to the project was that she secretly handled all bureaucratic questions by E-Tranz. The bean-counters and paper-pushers were kept happy without knowing the age of their contact. The other reason, announced at Auntie Phenom's Faboo Millenium Party 3 years back, was that she was the Project Head's Granddaughter. It had taken Sam and Sammy a while to deal with this fact, but Abby had brought her mother around by pointing out that, as secret Dads go, Princess Leia had it a lot worse. Sometimes her youngish Grampa could be a pain, though, being so wrapped up in his work that it was hard to wrap him around her finger. But she got to spend the summer here instead of at Aunt Katie's, so it was still possible. And if Grampa, failed her, Grandma would have to do. Abby Fuller the 1st was long gone, but Donna Eleise-Beckett made a great spoiler for a little girl. In fact, Donna would give Abby just about anything if only she wouldn't call the young woman; "Gram?!" She continued to look around, then saw her working at the titanium console Al had given her as a gag gift "In case Sam and Dave decide to go at it again". She loved her Grampa, but Abby always had more fun with Al-his family was just so BIG! It was Al who had persuaded Sam to let Abby take care of the "n'zels" as Al liked to call them and all their inquiries. Once, they had to coax a sexually abused little girl out of her shell to complete one of David's leaps. Then, it was Abby, not Grampa or Al, who took the handlink and pretended to be the girl's imaginary friend til' she identified her abuser. It was a taste of the excitement, danger, joy and sadness that both Sam and David had had to endure. Abby loved it-after all, it was in her genes. Still, she had to live in the here and now, and in the here and now, Donna was ignoring her. Abby walked up and screamed right in Donna's ear: "GRAM!" Donna started, rubbed her ear, scowled, then scooped Abby up and started to tickle her unmercifully, and the little girl loved it. She loved playing with her "Gram" almost as much as she liked taking care of Albert David Beckett, her two year-old uncle by Donna. "I asked you not to call me that, " Donna told her little visitor. "But you ARE my Grandma!" , protested Abby, "I love you". "Abby-Babble, I don't mind BEING your Grandma, so long as you don't call me that. I'm kind of young to be.." Abby sunk her little head into Donna's chest "But that just means you'll be around a long time. I like that." Dr. Eleise had to concede, the kid knew how to play dirty pool. She wondered what cigar-smoking friend had taught her how to manipulate her Grandparents so well. To her 9-year-old mind, having won the argument, Abby changed the subject. "Is he coming to his Birthday Party?" She meant Sam, of course, this being his 51st birthday. Donna hesitated. "Grampa and Al are working on something, honey, along with your Mom. It's really important." That was an understatement. "Can I talk to Ziggy?", Abby asked, testing a theory she had. Donna walked right in to the tiny terror's trap. "Ziggy's tied up right now, kiddo. Same big thing." Closing the trap, the 9-year-old said "Well, then. I'm going to talk to the person in the waiting room. That's always fun!." Slammed shut. "The-the-person in the waiting room is sick, Abby. We don't want to risk cross-infection from future to past". "I got you, Gram! I already checked out the waiting room, and the only one there is Mintie. Mmh!" Donna had to laugh at that name. The first sign of Abigail's brilliance had been a conversation that she overheard between Tina and Verbeena about Gooshie's breath. No halitosis cure had ever had an effect on him, but Abby literally came up with something from her chemistry set that did the trick. It's patent was the project' s major source of income. >From then on, Abby said, Gooshie was Mintie, and, he, a good deal more sensitive about the breath jokes then he ever let on, gladly took the name to please his young helper. Stifling the laugh, Donna said "What did Mintie tell You?" "He didn't tell me anything, but he didn't need to, either." Abby now actually seemed upset "Gram, where in time is he? Where is Doctor Banner?" Having no answer, Donna said "7PM. Birthday 51. Be there, Silly!" She mock-bonked the little one on the head. As she left, Abby asked," Gram, should I say a prayer for David?" Ready to check on her extended family's efforts to locate the ex-Hulk turned Leaper, Donna Eleise merely said "Honey, that sounds like a really good idea." "Well, then, he must have leaped through as himself. I did it, when I came back. It's the only explanation." Al listened to Sam's words, but he wasn't buying-not entirely. "That nearly killed you Sam. It was a month before you were up and around, three months before you could get Ziggy's tracking program back up, and six before we could even attempt to retrieve David-and each time..." Sam frowned, "We had to send him back, I know Al. He started dying, just like I did. And Time, or whatever drives all this, wouldn't accept me or you-or anyone else." When Sam said 'anyone else', Al knew what he was talking about. "Sorry for the umpteenth time, Sam. How was I to know Abby was gonna pull that on me? It's my girls-they taught her how to get away with ANYthing. Heh-a 6-year old leaper. The implications are staggering!" Al's amusement wasn't shared by Abby's grandfather, but he let it go, and got back to the search for the timelost David Banner. "I should have upgraded the tracking program, dammit, Al! We've become entirely too dependent on the leapee as an aid to David's whereabouts. What if this had happened to me? What then?" Al said, without a hint of hesitation, "We would have found you, Sam. End of what if. We would have found you." Sam seemed to calm a bit, at that. "I know you would have, Al. But the entire reason for David going and me staying was that, presumably, being Quantum Leap's creator, I should be able to better help the leaper. That scenario hasn't emerged." Al waved his hands in a dismissive gesture. "Like hell, it hasn't happened, Sam. Your experience as Leaper and mine as guide has speeded things up for Banner on so many occasions, it seems like we're in and out faster. Almost as though,well.." Al grew silent, but Sam had the same thought, and completed it. "Almost as though David is somehow a better leaper than I ever was. It's all right, Al. I have no ego on the subject." Al took out his cigar. "Right, Sam, no Ego on the subject. And before Beth, I was a one-woman single guy, without any roving eyes." The sarcasm was fairly overflowing, and Sam was glad it wasn't acid. "All right, so I do wonder about it. I do ask why my old friend does a better job of staying on target than I ever did. I sometimes feel jealous, and then resent myself for it. I think of all the people he's helped, and I feel stupid and petty." Al wouldn't allow Sam's self-pity to go unchecked. "Somebody else is better-possibly better-than you at something you put your life into, and you wonder why you're jealous! Worse, you wonder why he has an easier path! Simple, Sam! I'm ashamed of you for not thinking of it yourself." Sam sat down, and bid Al do the same. Al sat with the chair turned around, as always. Then he began,"One-He has us. Don't you dare discount that. Experience helps. A lot. Two-He spent over a decade keeping his secret. He knows how to fit in so well it seems like he belongs there, like he's always been there. Leaping into a person already in that situation only enhances what I called his instant friend power. It has the same effect on people here at the project. Sometimes we forget your time away, and I apologize for that. But David Banner did us all such a big favor by letting you come back, our gratitude overwhelms us. If we take you for granted, its only because Banner's favor made things right again here at the project-and you are its heart. Never forget that. Lastly, the unknown force wanted him-and somehow, I think it wanted him for something only he could do. Not you, not me-eh, maybe Abby, someday, but not now." Sam smiled but shook his head, "That'll be the Day!" Sam knew Abby had it in her to be a leaper, in fact was the direct descendant of a successful leap. But thinking of sending his little heart into eternity made him repeat, "That'll be the day, Al. Oh-did you get the tickets?" Al pulled out his wallet, and flashed those selfsame tickets. "All ours, Sammy. Buddy Holly and All the Original Crickets, with a special appearance by Governor Valens-Presidential campaign allowing." Sam and Al sang together "If you knew-Peggy Sue-then you'd know why I feel blue-bout' Peggy-my Peggy Sue. Peggy Sue-Peggy Sue-Pretty-pretty-pretty-pretty Peggy Sue". Although David Banner was still on their minds, they laughed their first laugh in days. A combination of David's stubbornness and Al's piloting skills had made this concert possible. "I kept telling him to leap, Sam, but no go. All I saw was that snow and that Iowa cornfield. But David stuck it through. A bad touchdown, and some frostbite, and we still lost the Big Bopper...but I remember the first time I heard the Valens/Holly duet 'And the Snow All Around'. I still get goosebumps." That David had been a force in musical history as well only redoubled the resolve in Sam and Al's hearts to find him. But for now, "Ziggy's workin' teratime on this one, Sam. So let's you and I abscond to a big old, surprise-type birthday party before some angry female-types drag us in by our- "Al!" "Heh! Still a bit of a prude, Sam! Good to know some things don't change." Putting aside for 5 hours their quest for their missing friend, Sam and Al went to fill up on cake, cold cuts, and companionship. David Banner was still a presence, though, one nobody wanted to shake-or could, if they tried. In the background, Don Mclean's classic "American Pie" spoke wistfully of "The Day the Music Joyed". August 8, 1943- Whenever I Quantum Leap, I feel the displacement of the other, whoever they are. Sometimes, I just sense them. Other times, if they are particularly good or particularly evil, I feel that, too. In this case I felt nothing. DId this person die? Or, I was forced to admit, was there no one else? I was outside a tavern, a nice, if worn-down Bar and Grill, somewhere in what looked like a mining town. Entering, I recieved a shock. The face in the Mirror. It was not a woman's face, a disfigured face, or any ethnicity not my own. The person looked familiar, and yet-I hadn't seen it in five years-by one measure of counting time. The face in that mirror, there could be no doubt was my own face-the well kept 61-year-old face of Doctor David Bruce Banner. Even more remarkable, the "swiss cheese" Al's term-that was my memory was clearing up rapidly. I suddenly remembered everything and everyone. Having been a fan of John Lennon's music since I stopped a demented autograph seeker from taking his life in late 1980, I just started "There are faces I remember..." Suddenly, a voice completed, "Some are dead, and some are living, in my life, I've loved them all." I turned to see my backup was the innkeeper/bartender. "You like the Beatles?", I asked, hoping for a clue to my time location. "My name's Al, and yes, I always have. What's your name, stranger?" I went to lie, but the bartender was so very friendly, so casually nice, I couldn't. "David Bruce Banner. Although I haven't always used that. " Why was I telling this man all this? Why did I trust him? Why did I feel like I had come home? What this new Al rattled off next put me even more off my balance. "Brewster, Banyan, Beckett, Brill, Bunman, Bauman, Mcginty, O'Reilly, Mahoney, O'Malley, Mcallen, Malone. Sorry. I just loved that old song. You know, about the Irish immigrant who returns to his home and family. His mother lists all the neighbors names rapid-fire." But, "Al, some of those names were ones I used at one time";I raised my voice slightly;" How could you know?" The barkeep looked casually, and said, "Don't Hulk out on me, David. I like my tavern intact, thank you very much." I could tell he was joking by his jovial face, but I still protested, "I don't become the Hulk anymore, I'm cured, I have been for five-How do you know about me? About the Hulk?" Washing a glass, Al merely said "Oh, word gets around, David. You know." No, I didn't know. I was taken aback in a way I hadn't been since first seeing a picture of the Hulk and knowing it was me. "You look flushed, David. Howzabout a tall, frosty Coke, along with a grilled ham and cheese-no,no-It's on the house. Take about 15 minutes. Walk around, take my little place in. I think you'll become intrigued. The food and drink sounded very good, but "I think its a little late for me to become intrigued, Al." The big man seemed to respond to any humor very well, like he had invented it. Perhaps he had. Wandering his place, I thought I saw the aforementioned faces I remembered. It was always out of the corner of my eye, though, never straight up. One woman I did see was a dead ringer for Donna Eleise-Beckett, talking to thin air in a very familiar way. "No, Beth, I do NOT want to know what they say about a man's shoe size. With comments like that, why Al waited for you to return is a mystery to..." She stopped, looked at me. "David Banner-Marks? But Elena and you died in the fire associated with She-Thing back in..Beth, stop sizing him up!NOW!" Both this Donna and her invisible libidinous friend just vanished in a familiar wave of blue light I sometimes saw in mirrors as I leaped. I heard voices outside the tavern. It was Al and Sam! I heard Al say "Gonna get you out of here, Sam! I promise!", then he vanished, through the doorway. Sam remained behind. I ran to him, "Sam, over here! Oh, God, it's been so strange! I am glad to see you!" I noted him staring at me much the way the other Donna had. Shaking his head, he said, "David Banner, you, too? What is this? Is everyone I ever knew here? Al, what is this place?" I hadn't noticed Al#2 was with us. "David, your food is ready. Sam, let's talk." As I went in, I noticed Al shaking Sam's hand. He was no hologram! Before Sam vanished, I heard Al say, "God Bless, Sam." I knew somehow that there was a lull in mining activity in the town, due to an accident, just as I knew those other people I saw WERE Sam, Al, and Donna-just not the ones I knew. As I ate the best Coke and Grilled Cheese with ham combo I had ever had, I also knew something else-It was August 8, 1943, my date of birth.The Beatles Al claimed to love were toddlers in WW2 Britian. Finishing my meal, I said out loud, "August 8, 1943 isn't the date. It's a doorway, an access point to-" Al was back behind the counter. "My tavern". He became slightly more serious. "David, usually I go through some formalities with my guests. But in your case, I'm going to make an exception. Here are some-sorry-incomplete answers. But you'll get some mileage out of them, I promise you that." I had been awaiting these answers for some time, ever since my failure to stop Princess Diana's car accident, so I listened in rapt attention.