pt. VII

September, 2000
Santa Fe, NM

  The guard never knew what hit him. He heard the door open and then he felt
something slam into the side of his head and he was out cold before he could
even form a coherant thought.
  Christina gave a grim smile. "Good luck."
  Her companion returned the smile, pausing for a concerned look at the
fallen man. "You too."
  Ingalls walked slowly down the hall, listening intently for any sounds of
pursuit. She travelled for a full three minutes before encountering anyone.
Hands tensing around the gun she had taken off the guard, she ducked inside a
nearby storage closet, thankful that she had on soft-soled shoes. She bit her
lip, thinking a ferverent prayer until he passed. She wasn't used to
handling, let alone using, guns, but there was no way she wasn't going to use
it to try and get out of this place.
  Finally, having followed the directions Christina had given her, she
reached a hall lined with offices, most of which, she hoped, were empty. If
she was lucky, no-one was working late today and all of the rooms were.
Taking a deep breath of the refreshing cool air that she had been denied for
some time, she lifted the gun and fired three shots at one of the locked
doors. The handle blew off and the hall was suddenly alive with lights and
the sound of the security alarm. She dropped the gun and ran.
  Elsewhere, Christina listened to Thames, the Head of Security, come over
the guard's radio telling them all to abandon their posts and secure the
South Wing to trap their prey. He moved to obey and she slipped out the now
unguarded exit.

September, 2000
Stallions Gate, NM

  A groan. "I'm _up_! Geez...." Al forced his exhausted body into submission
and propped himself up on his elbows. "Sam didn't leap already, did he?"
  "Oh....good." Al slumped back into the bed and pulled the covers over his
head. Tina rolled over and attached herself to his arm.
  "Admiral, you have a phone call."
  "Ziggy?" Tina mumbled, raising her head slightly.
  "Go back to sleep, hon." Al untangled his arm and wrapped it around her
waist. She sighed in contentment. "That's what I plan on doing."
  "Admiral..." Ziggy's voice was a warning, like a scolding parent.
  "Ziggy, What time is it?"
  "Oh-two hundred," she replied sourly. "And you have a phone call."
  "From who?" he demanded, his words muffled by the pillow he refused to move
off of.
  "She wouldn't say."
  "What line?"
  "She's on line your office."
  He rolled his eyes. "And you wouldn't be able to transfer it here
  She sniffed. "With that attitude?"
  Al groaned again, but still made no move to get up. "You telling me someone
got ahold of my office number in a top secret project, she calls at two in
the morning, and she won't say who's calling?"
  "That's right." Her tone had changed. Now she sounded smug. Stupid
computer. Actually, brilliant computer. And that, Al thought, was the
  "Well, go back and tell her that she needs to give her name and one good
reason that I should leave this bed to talk to her or she needs to call back
at at civil hour." With that, Al pulled himself, if possible, even further
into the warm cocoon of blankets.
  Silence reigned for a total of two minutes.
  "She says that she will not give her name to anyone but you and that,
believe you her, you will want to get up because this is well worth it." He
could almost hear the sly grin. "Is this something I should have kept from
Tina? I say dump her."
  Al sighed. "Why doesn't she..." he fumbled around for a moment. "Why
doesn't she just go jump in a lake?" So he was tired....
  "I'll ask her," Ziggy replied.
  "Ziggy," he warned, swinging his legs over the side of the bed and reaching
for his pants.
  Moments later, he arrived in his office and picked up the phone with little
less than an overworked temper. "Look lady, do you own a watch, because it is
_way_ past my bedtime!"
  "Admiral Calavicci?" she asked.
  "Well who the hell else would I be?" he exploded, dropping himself into his
chair and rubbing his eyes.
  "Admiral, I do apologize, but this is Dr. Christina Meth."
  Suddenly wide awake, Al sat up and was momentarily at a loss for words.
"Dr. Meth?" he confirmed.
  "Yes. Admiral, I really need you to meet me someplace right now. I have
some information for you and both I and a friend of mine risked our lives to
get it to you." She sounded nervous and scared.
  He resigned himself to the inevitable. "Where do you want to meet?"

September, 2000
Santa Fe, NM

  She hoped it had been enough.
  In front of her, Senator Franklin smiled. Idealy, it would have been nice
for her to get back to the room where she had been held, but she knew her
chances for that were a million to one. But if she had done her part well
enough, the woman, who's name she didn't even know, would be on her way to
talk with, she hoped, Admiral Calavicci. They never actually discussed what
infomation she had or who she was planning to take it to; there hadn't been
enough time for that.
  Thames stood beside the senator, his height and build seeming to dwarf the
other man, had it not been for the fire in his eyes. "And just what," the
senator asked slowly, "were you planning to accomplish?"
  She stared at him, resisting the urge to spit in his face. Strong hands
held her still and she was praying just to get out of this alive.
Antagonizing him would not have been a good idea.
  He backhanded her anyway and she felt the sharp sting of his knuckles on
her cheek. Unable to stop herself, she let out a sharp cry, then fell silent
  Thames smiled. "What would you like me to do?"
  She was glad he had spoken because Franklin then turned his anger on him
instead. "First of all, get that dolt of a security officer out of here. Deal
with him. Then, I want her tied up this time. I can't believe I didn't do
that before. It's a good thing she didn't do any real damage. And put two
guards on her door." He turned back to her and she was afraid he would cut
loose his rage on her again, but he just glowered and then walked off. "Take
care of her. And remember," he looked back at Thames, "I know how much you
enjoy interrogations and such but we need her alive, so just bring her
straight back down and tie her up. Then I want a full report to make sure no
damage _was_ done. Am I making myself clear?"
  "Yes, sir," Thames answered with a grin.
  Ingalls felt her arm pulled behind her with incredible force and she winced
in pain. All she could do was pray that her partner had found the help she'd

September, 2000
Just outside of Santa Fe, NM

  A coffee shop was the last place Al expected to have a meeting, but he
figured if she was out and looking for him, there were probably people after
her. Who would think to look in a coffee shop?
  He walked slowly down the stairs and opened the door, trying not to jump at
the small bell that rang out as it hit the glass door. He let the door shut
behind him and scanned the small shop. In the far corner was a woman, bent
over some papers. She had long brown hair that tumbled out of the bun it had
once been in. She brushed it out of her way impatiently as she studied the
forms. Seeing no other women here by themselves, he took a chance and walked
over to the table.
  "Excuse me," he said, leaning on the chair opposite her.
  She jerked her head up, startled. "Admiral?" she asked cautiously.
  He shrugged out of his jacket, draping it on the back of the chair and
pulled out his wallet, peeling out his identification card and sliding it
across the table to her. She picked it up and heaved a sigh of relief.
  He sat down and leaned back in his chair while she returned the courtesy.
"What information do you have for me?" he asked, deciding to use the direct
  "I know where the project is. Well, perhaps we should start at the
beginning. You see-"
  Al cut her off with a wave of the hand. "I know there's another time travel
  She looked startled that he even knew that much. "How?"
  "Sam's run across them," was all he said.
  "Sam Beckett," she murmured. He watched her steadily.
  "Do you know the location?" he asked.
  She looked up at him. "Yes. And I know the way to shut it down. I-I never
meant for this to happen. But before we do that, we have to help a friend get
out." Her voice was insistant.
  "I...don't know her name," she admitted. "But she helped me get out and she
could have died because of it."
  "Hold it. Let me get this straight. You are going to help me shut down this
project, but before we do you want me to risk everything to go in and help
this friend of yours who may be dead?" He laughed uneasily. "Why don't you
just expose the project?"
  "Senator Franklin isn't a fool," she said tightly. "We expose him, he
exposes you."
  Al turned that over in his mind and realized she was right. "Okay, well how
do we shut them down?"
  "First my friend. They are going to use her for the experiment. _My_
experiment. It's all my fault that this is happening, and I need your help to
stop it."
  "Like Alia," Al murmured, missing the end of her statement.
  "Alia?" She moaned. "I didn't even realize that's who they meant. Oh...."
  Al was starting to feel bad for the woman and he offered a reassuring
smile. "She's with us. At Project Quantum Leap."
  "Could I see her?"
  "I'm afraid I can't take you there," he said. "Well, let's get your friend
out. And how, exactly, do we do this?"
  Christina sighed in relief and pulled out the papers she had been reading
from under her elbows on the table. As she went over page after page of
blueprints and personel files she had managed to get ahold of over the past
year, an idea began to form in Al's mind and the sooner he could impliment
it, the sooner he could shut down this project once and for all.