Al bent his head low, saddened by the thought of his friend's leaving. 
Why hadn't Sam discussed this with him?  Sam had spent all of his time 
since his return in the lab, going over his notes and printouts, never 
speaking to anyone.  He had thought it best to leave him alone, let him 
adjust.  Now he knew he shouldn't have done that, he should have 
insisted that Sam take time-off, get away, leave the project for a 
while.  Never once did Sam ask him how he'd kept the project alive, kept 
it running.  Sam never knew of the years he'd endured battling with the 
High Court.  This battle had been more fierce than any he'd undergone in 
all of his career in active service.  News monger's had somehow 
infiltrated the legal system and the project went public.  There had 
been an outcry from government bodies and a formal investigation was 
held.  Project Quantum Leap was no longer "A Top Secret Project" it had 
been a "Public Spectacle".  Two years ago the investigation was wound 
down after there were no satisfactory conclusions.  The government 
dropped all funding and the project closed.  There were a few, however, 
who had taken the Nobel Prize winner to their hearts, one being Austin 

Austin Bebrooks was a powerful and wealthy magistrate, he'd gathered 
together a sympathetic business conglomerate, they had taken over the 
funding, and Project Quantum Leap.  Now all Al had to worry about was 
how to inform Austin Bebrooks that Sam had gone again.  Austin would be 
here tomorrow, he'd arranged this meeting to discuss with Sam the 
technicalities of the project.  Al hadn't told Sam of this meeting, he 
hadn't seen him.  He was going to tell him later today, but never had 
the chance, would never have the chance.

"Ziggy do you have a location yet for Sam?" Al's utterance broke the 
silence in the Control Room.

"Not yet Admiral."

"What's takin' yer so long, yer know the year he's leapt back to?"

"There's no trace on him yet for the year 2000."

"What do yer mean?  We know he's there."

"I cannot locate him."

"Aw, not again Ziggy, where's he gone this time?  Do a complete scan, 
right from 1900, use Sammi Jo's program."

"Already initiated Admiral."

"Humph, biggy two shoes." Al muttered under his breath.

"It will take quite some time, I only deduced the known facts as far as 
1918 the last time I ran the program, and there is an abundance of 
statistics to recover from this period onwards."

"Okay, let me know when you locate him, I'll see if I can get some rest 
before tomorrow, boy it's gonna be a toughie."

Al walked back to his accommodation, deep in thought.  He meandered 
through the accustomed maze of underground corridors making his way back 
to his quarters.  Once inside, he looked at Beth sleeping.  Not 
disturbing her, he lay back on the bed, he could not sleep, too many 
thoughts intruded into his mind.  His eyes kept straying to the clock, 5 
am, 5:10, 5:15.  At 5:30, he conceded to the thoughts and returned to 
the Control Room.  "Ziggy contact Sammi Jo and get her down here, I have 
a feeling that it's all gone ca-ca again."  Al paced the Control Room 
uneasily, waiting.

Fifteen minutes later Sammi Jo entered, "Al what is it? Couldn't this 
have waited until morning?"

"No it can't wait 'til morning!"  Al snapped.

Sammi Jo sensed the frustration in his voice.  "What's happened?"

"Sam's leapt again,"  his eyes looked pleadingly into Sammy Jo's.

"I don't understand, why would he leap again after all these years?"

"Ah, the usual," Al wafted a hand, "he's gone to save Donna.  He's gone 
to stop the accident eight years ago."

"But he can't do that, he's gonna change our history.  What about Matt 
and Leone?"

"I know, that's what I was thinking.  Ziggy can't get a position on Sam. 
 How does your program find where Sam is in time?"

"The program checks for minor changes in history, I mean Sam can't do 
exactly the same thing or affect the same people as in the original 
history.  As soon as Sam does something different or influences a 
change.  The program detects that change and the location is made, but 
it can't find him until a change has been made."

"Sounds pretty simple, ugh."

Sammi Jo walked over to the control panel and checked the settings.  
"He's set the date for September 16 2000, we'll just have to keep 
monitoring the middle part of September."

"What if he doesn't change anything?  Would that be good?"

"I suppose so, but what if he leaves it to the last minute, we maybe too 

"Knowing Sam, he'll not be able to resist anything, especially changing 
something."  Al shook his head, hoping he knew his friend as well as he 
thought he did.  "I know you're worried what Sam's gonna do, so am I.  
I'm worried about Matt too, he's been so good for you since Bruce died."

"I loved Bruce, you know I did, I'd love to have him back," Sammi Jo 
twisted at the ring on her wedding finger, "but I love Matt too and 
Leone, she's just a baby.  Oh Al, what a mess."

Al could see the tears forming in Sammi Jo's eyes, he pulled her close 
and squeezed her tenderly.  "I know kiddo, life can be so cruel, but if 
Sam knew about Matt and Leone he wouldn't change that.  We didn't tell 
him, we never had the chance, he shut himself away in that lab of his."  
Al took Sammi Jo by the shoulders and looked her straight in the eye.  
"Look, all we can do is wait.  In the meantime you have a think about 
Bruce and Matt, it's gonna have to be your decision.  Who knows if Bruce 
does come back, you may still have Leone, but we can't be sure, it's up 
to you to decide."

"Oh Al, how can I decide, you know it'll be up to Sam, how could he save 
Donna and the others and not save Bruce.  You know Sam wouldn't do 

"Yeah I understand Sammi, I think I knew it all along.  I just didn't 
want to upset you any more.  Come on, we've got work to do, we've got a 
Nobel Prize winner to find.  Bebrooks  is due later today and he'll be 
mad as hell if Sam's not here when he arrives."

"Perhaps we can stall him, I know enough about this project to bide us 
some time, maybe I could talk to him."

"You could try, but I don't think he'll have it, yer see I've talked 
with him before, he likes to deal with the top gun."  Al walked away 
from Sammi Jo, he nervously rubbed his chin.  "He knew Sam was here and 
he made it quite plain that he wanted only to speak with Sam.  I think 
we have a problem here."

"I can all but try Al, what other choice do we have, if we can't locate 

"Ziggy, do you have any trace on Sam yet?"

"No Admiral, I've drawn a blank, nothing has changed in the history of 
2000." Ziggy sounded disconcerted, "I'm still checking through the other 
years though."

"Good, er, I-I mean erm, oh darn it. I don't know what I mean." Al felt 

"I know what you mean, some things are hard to explain."

"Yeah, like Sam's disappearance again, that's really gonna be hard to 
explain to Bebrooks, he wants results, that's what he's paying for, him 
and his cronies.  I don't know who's the greater evil, him or the 

"At least you don't have Senator Dreasney breathing down your neck every 
five minutes, and what was it with her aide, what's her name, erm, 
Jessie.  She was so-so complex."

"Oh Sam had a thing with her, before the project really got off the 
ground.  Of course he didn't know then who she was, that's what made it 
so embarrassing for Sam.  He'd never been able to talk to people, 
especially women, he didn't know how to react.  He took everything so 
personal.  I mean when Donna jilted him at the altar the first time, he 
blamed himself for his inadequacies, but what Sam didn't realise was, it 
wasn't him, but the fact it was Donna who was insecure."

"I never realised he felt that way."  Sammi Jo looked down at her feet.

* * * *

Sam felt the accustomed tingle of the leap subside, he looked around at 
familiar white walls.  He was in the Accelerator Chamber of Project 
Quantum Leap.  He ran out to the Control Room but it was dark and empty. 
 "Ziggy, lights."  There was no response.  "Ziggy, lights."  He 
repeated, but nothing happened.  He made his way in the darkness to the 
control panel.  Feint lights indicated that Ziggy was still connected so 
why wasn't she responding.  "Ziggy, speak to me."  Still no answer.  Sam 
squinted at the dim diodes on the control panel and found the key to 
turn the lights on manually.  He pressed it with a finger, there was 
nothing there.  He waved his hand he couldn't feel the control panel, he 
couldn't touch it.  He could see it but couldn't touch.  A sudden wave 
of realisation ran though him, making him shudder.  Was he a hologram?  
He moved forward, through the control panel to the other side.  This 
confirmed it, he was a hologram.

His eyes slowly became accustomed to the darkness and he steadily walked 
around the control room.  He noticed the clock on the wall, it was 3:04. 
 Was it night or day?  He had no way of knowing in this underground 
compound.  He left through the door into the natural tunnels, all was 
pitch black.  The motion detectors didn't react to his presence, so he 
stood there in complete darkness.  Imprinted in his brain was the map of 
the tunnels but he was unsure, he had never made this journey in 
darkness before.  Al had been afraid being caught in the darkness of the 
corridors and had made provisions for such an occasion.  Every one 
hundred yards there was a cabinet which held torches and batteries, but 
these could not help him now.  He knew the corridors were four strides 
wide, so with his arms outstretched in front he took four strides 
forward.  He could not feel the walls.  He took another two, still he 
felt nothing.

Suddenly overcome with fear he strode back the six paces, turned around 
and went back into the Control Room.  After being in the pitch black he 
could see more clearly, he could see outlines to objects.  On a shelf by 
the control panel he saw the hand-link, unanticipating this situation, 
he had gone into the Accelerator Chamber without the hand-link.  The 
code which had been deleted from the program had changed more than his 
retrieval, it had changed his semblance.  He was mad at himself for not 
having the hand-link, but why should he be, he'd never need it before, 
it had always been Al that'd had it, the hologram.  Instantly he 
remembered, this was his intention in the first place, to observe, there 
was no error in the coding, just his own stupidity at forgetting the 
hand-link.  The one object he needed to communicate to Ziggy.