Disclaimer: Quantum Leap, Sam Beckett, Al Calavicci, Gooshie, Donna, = Sammi Jo, Katie and all other characters including PQL staff members from the QL series belong to Donald Bellisario and Universal Austin Bebrooks, Matt and Leone Tyler, Bernadette Davis, Bernie, Rosie Saint-James, Alfredo, Bruce Danielson, Pete, Peter Saint-James, Marie Olivera - Willis, Willard Olivera, Rickland - Rick, Ruben, Gus - Gustaphus, Corinne, Jimmy and Joel are characters created By Susan Johnson in respect of this Story. Senator Judith Dreasney, Jessie - Jessica Olivera, Yen Hsuieh-lung, Dr. Weasel Mikowski, William Riizliard, Tony Weyland are characters created by Ashley McConnell from the book "Prelude". CHAPTER 1 It had been exactly 2 weeks since Sam Beckett had returned to New Mexico. He sat in his lab, scanning through a pile of printouts. His eyes ached from the contrast of black on bright white. Sam hated florescent lighting, it made his head throb. Momentarily he looked up from the glare of the white sheets in front of him and rubbed his stinging eyes. The 0's and 1's didn't make any sense, he'd gone over them several times. There was a block of code that had no apparent meaning, they were just 0's and 1's in an haphazard array. "Ziggy," Sam sighed with near exhaustion, "can you check this code as I enter it." "Of course Doctor Beckett." Ziggy sounded very pleasant today, 'almost too pleasant', Sam thought. "Just one question Doctor, do I call you Doctor or Father?" Sam laughed at Ziggy's insecurity, "Doctor will do Ziggy, I'm not your father, you only have my brain cells, you're my creation. The only other organic material you have is a few of Al's cells, and don't ask me if Al's your Mother either." "Oh I never thought that at all Doctor, just keeping my data banks updated." "This code Ziggy, I don't want you to run it, just check it. I have a feeling something's not quite right here." Sam entered the code, and almost immediately Ziggy started objecting, "Doctor Beckett, are you sure you want me to check this. It is telling me to get today's date, and to subtract a random number between 1953 and the current year, and to substitute this number for today's date." "Eh, what was that Ziggy?" "That code is identical to that which is in the retrieval program. Giving you odds of 1 in 3025 or so, chance of hitting 2008, the current year, and those odds get more detrimental for each year you were leaping." Ziggy sounded rather pleased with herself. Sam placed a hand on the pile of dishevelled papers, "The retrieval program, this code is in the retrieval program, then there's no wonder I couldn't be retrieved." Sam thought back through all the years, all the years of developing his program, all the careful planning and preparation. There was no way he could have written this code, no way had he entered this code into Ziggy. Sam was looking at the clock, it was 4:17 am, but he did not see the time. Too immersed in thought even to feel the pain of fatigue, "Entered this code," he mumbled as realisation dawned, yes that was it, he didn't enter the code. His fingers rubbed the scar in his hairline, above his left temple. He remembered, the accident, the deaths, the near closure of the project, he remembered Jessie, Jessica Olivera. He stood and walked wearily to the bathroom and splashed cold water on his face. He caught a gimpse of himself in the mirror, he could not get used to seeing his own reflection, after all he'd been away for fourteen years. He'd gotten used to seeing other people, someone else, not himself. He shook away the droplets of water from his face and with it some of the fatigue. He needed a shave, he'd been so engrossed in the program that he'd forgotten, and was forgotten again. His thoughts went back, way back, back to Jessie. She had entered the data? Had she entered the code? Had she done it out of spite?. After that one night, Sam remembered that night, so full of passion. He had compromised himself, he couldn't bring himself, he couldn't face her, to let himself feel that way about a woman again, not after........ 'Donna.' Sam felt tears stinging his eyes. Through blurred vision he looked into the mirror once again. "Oh why, why Donna, why again?" He looked down as the water gushed out of the tap and swirled around the basin before disappearing into the plug-hole. He stood and watched, for an age it seemed. With a sudden jerk of his hand the water stopped flowing. He picked up a towel lying by the side of the basin and wiped it across his face removing the remaining water splashes along with the tears. He went back to the lab, but did not sit. He stood grasping the back of his chair looking, staring at, nothing, his knuckles white. "Ziggy, contact Al and tell him to meet me in the Control Room a-and erase that block of code from the retrieval program." Sam left the lab, the door swinging in his wake. Ziggy's voice echoed after him, "Deletion complete, establishing contact with Admiral Calavicci now Doctor." Sam turned this way and that, through the familiar corridors. Florescent lights illuminating his way through the underground complex. The Control Room door "whooshed" open as he approached and "whooshed" again behind him. He strode straight over to the control panel. "Have you contacted Al yet Ziggy?" "Yes Doctor, he is on his way down." "Yer know Ziggy, I love your voice, so much better than the one I programmed you with originally, can't get used to it, but I wish I'd thought of it first though." "I don't see what there is to get used to, one voice is so much like another." "Probably because it's a female voice, I never thought of you as female before. I always thought of you as being an extension of me." "Everything has to evolve Doctor." "It certainly explains a lot, your personality I mean." "Oh that really hurts Doctor, you chose the donors and I maturated from those donor cells." "Feelings too, you sure have evolved." "May I ask what you are planning?" Ziggy's tone was inquisitive. "I have to find Donna, to try and stop that accident eight year's ago." He occupied himself, checking settings and making final adjustments to dials. "What was the exact date of the accident Ziggy?" "Is that wise Doctor? You need to completely regain your memory before you venture into the unknown again." "I need her Ziggy, and besides it's not unknown. This is something I have to do, I was meant to do." He quickly changed into the white Fermi-suit he used in the Accelerator Chamber, "I'm not getting any younger, I'm 55, who's gonna take an old broken down, impulsive, naEFve, guy like me. There's only one for me, I have the capability to get her back, there's no-one else. Now what's that date?" Sam was absolutely resolute. "September 18 2000." "Where's Al, I can't wait any longer for him." He turned a couple of dials and pressed a key on the control panel. "Activate the Accelerator Chamber Ziggy." Sam almost ran to the Accelerator Chamber, "Ready?" "Ready Doctor." Sam stepped onto the metallic plate in the floor, he watched as another lowered to within an inch above his head. "Here goes Ziggy." Hydra-sonic wind swirled around Sam, he could feel the tendrils of kinetic energy, emitting spikes of elation throughout his body. Blue-white static crackled and enveloped him. Al, wearing only a bath robe and slippers, entered the Control Room and saw the bright, flickering lights from the Accelerator Chamber, he shouted out in disbelief, "Ziggy stop him, stop him now!" He turned to Sam, "Sam get outta there, get out." "It's too late Admiral, the program has taken over." The waves of static became stronger and Sam cried out in euphoria, "Take me, take me to my love." "How could you let him do this Ziggy, Can't you see he needs rest." "He needs peace of mind more Admiral, he's gone to find Donna." The blue-white light changed to pure white and faded, Sam was gone, he ceased to remain in this time.