CHAPTER TEN The Imaging Chamber door opened and Al entered running over to the control panel. Al looked around, Ethos was nowhere in sight. Beth was asleep on the chair. Al's voice was full of panic, "Ziggy, where's Ethos." Ziggy sounded almost apologetic, "Admiral, there's a message from Sammi Jo, she's going to be late in, Jimmy is very upset about his father, she is having trouble getting him to school." "Okay, when's she coming in?" "As soon as she can Admiral." "We're in big trouble here. Where's Ethos?" "Oh he went Admiral, after the program ran successfully, he left." "When's he coming back, do you know?" "No, Admiral, he did not say." Al shouted desperately, "Damned him Ziggy! Damned everything, it's all going ca ca again." Beth awoke, her voice sleepy, "What's wrong Al? Why are you shouting?" Al turned to see Beth and spoke softly to her, "Sorry honey, I didn't mean to wake you." Beth yawned, "I had the weirdest dream, I-I dreamt I was programming Ziggy with some obscure data. I'm feeling a little weary too." "It was no dream honey, you were, that is, Ethos was, he sorta borrowed you, so he could modify the code." "Borrowed me? How?" Beth stood up, facing Al. "Same as Sam does, when he leaps." "I can't remember anything, apart from this weird feeling." "As long as you're okay." He kissed Beth. "But... something's wrong. It was okay at first, now I can't see Sam anymore, and he can't see me and I don't know if he can even hear me." "How did that happen Al?" "I'll explain later, I fizzled out and poof, I was gone." Al articulated with his hands. "How could you just.... disappear Al?" "There must be an error in the data that Ethos entered. I've gotta find him.... Now how do you find someone in the future, especially if they don't leave a forwarding address. Have you any clues Ziggy?" Ziggy was her usual self, "No Admiral, I do not have any data on the future. How can I have data on something that hasn't happened yet?" "And where the hell's Sammi Jo? She's supposed to be in early this morning, she knows it's an important day, today. Ziggy get in touch with Sammi Jo, find out what's happening." "Will do that, contacting her now Admiral." "What time is it where Sam is?" "10:25pm Admiral and there is no answer from Sammi Jo." Al moved close to Beth, he leaned his head on her shoulder, his voice quiet, "What the hell's happening! It's all going wrong. Beth put her arms around Al, comforting him." Beth was worried for Al, "I don't know honey." The external door opened and Sammi Jo entered the Control Room. Al looked up and over to the approaching Sammi Jo. "Thank God, you're here." Sammi Jo looked at Al perplexed, "Why? What is it?" "Ethos changed the code to the program. Now I can't get in contact with Sam." "Changed the code? Who's Ethos?" "Erm, that's right you don't know about him, er, Ethos is from the future, he Quantum Leaps, like Sam, he's Sam's Great-Great whatever Grandson. He changed the code so that I could help Sam more, but it's not working, I've lost all communication with him. We can't locate Ethos." Sammi Jo prompted, "Is the original program still in tact?" "Yes, I think so." "Let's hope so, I'll run the original, I just hope it overrides the new data." Sammi Jo inserted a small, shiny disk into a slot in the console. "Keep your fingers crossed Al, let's hope this works, we need all the luck we can summon." Sammi Jo touched a key on the keypad. Ziggy whirred and whined as the program ran. "What's wrong with Jimmy?" "He's upset at seeing his father. He was all excited about going to school this morning." "So what's the problem?" "He wanted to tell his friends about his dad." "I see, that's a problem." "I told him that he couldn't tell his friends about his dad. I mean Al, he would be ridiculed at school, you know what kids are like, they wouldn't believe him. I think it was a mistake, taking him into the Imaging Chamber. He could blow the whole project sky high." "So where is he now?" "That's what took me so long, I've taken Jimmy and Joel to my mothers." "You didn't mention any of this to your mother did you? 'Cause Abigail doesn't know anything about Sam and you and erm..." "Of course not Al what do you take me for, I'm not stupid." "I didn't say you were." The whirring and whining stopped as the program finished running. Sammi Jo looked up at Al and crossed her fingers. "Here's hoping Al." "You too kiddo." Sammi Jo touched a key. Al rushed to the Imaging Chamber, opened the door and advanced inside the door 'whooshing' sealed behind him. Sam was lying on the cot. The Imaging Chamber door opened. Sam looked towards the sound as the observer entered. Sam started laughing uncontrollably. What you lafin' at Sam? Sam couldn't get up for laughing, "You look like a zebra crossing in a disco light phaser." "What?" The observer looked down at himself. "I can't see nothing wrong." "Woo-hoo, you've not fixed it yet then, hmm." "No, doesn't look like it, but Sammi Jo's working on it right now." Sam couldn't remember, "Sammi Jo? Who's Sammi Jo?" Sam rose to his feet and crossed the room towards the table. The observer put out a hand to lean on the table but his hand went straight through it, he had to catch his balance. "Hmm erm, don't you know who Sammi Jo is, right?" Sam's expression was of confusion, "No, I don't know her.... Do I?" "She's the Quantum Physicist working on the project now." "Oh right, you mentioned her before then?" "Yes Sam, I have mentioned her before." "Can you remember Ethos?" "Sure I remember Ethos, he was going to get my memory back, but all he's done is made things worse. Where is he anyway?" "We don't know Sam, he disappeared right after he thought the program was a success, we don't know how to contact him. The best thing we could come up with, was to run the original program, but it looks like it hasn't completely overridden the new one." The observer pressed a button on the hand-link. "Ziggy, how's Sammi Jo doin' on the program, cos we've got a few problems in here, Sam says I look like a disco laser phaser." The observer read the screen on the ' chirping' hand-link. "It's coming along okay, should be back to normal in no time." What time is it? The observer checked the hand-link again. "10:55pm. Sam." Sam looked at his companion sadly. "10:55pm, We've only got an hour Al." "I know, Ethos has really screwed this up." "We probably have less than an hour Al, the Imperial family's asleep in there. They're gonna be murdered, and you look like a fluorescent kaleidoscope." Sam shook his head, "I can't help anyone on this leap, it's too much of an impossible situation." "It's not like you to give up." "I'm not giving up! I've racked my brains on this, I can't come up with anything. Not a God damned thing." "I'll go take a walk, see if I can find somethin', anythin'." The observer walks to the Salon door, and left without opening it.