The familiar blue-white light appeared and he was floating,weightless in a kaleidoscope of colours. He hoped beyond hope that this time he would arrive home, that whoever or whatever was moving him aroundthrough space and time would have had enough and finally his adventure would be over.
Abruptly the sensations ceased and he felt the familiar bump that signified the end of his tumble through the space-time continuum.Dr. Sam Beckett surveyed his surroundings. He had no idea where or when he was but he did know one thing - his ordeal was not yet over.
The room was spartan. Three photographs on the wall showed various views of a submarine slicing through the ocean waves. The wall by the door housed a TV monitor and safe. Along another wall was a bed, separated from the main room by a pair of green drapes. In the middle of the room was a desk on which stood a telephone, intercom, light and a neatly stacked pile of files and papers. Two doors left the main room and Sam opened the nearest one. He found himself entering a compact bathroom.
Looking in the mirror above the washbasin he studied his reflection. The man that stared back at him was tall, good-looking, blond and blue eyed. He wore a khaki uniform with insignia on the collars. The uniform was vaguely familiar. Sam searched his Swiss cheese memory for an answer and it dawned oh him; he was wearing the uniform of a US Naval officer.
His thoughts were interrupted by a voice from the main cabin. Startled, he turned around and was relieved to find that the voice had come from the intercom on the desk. He needed to find out who and where he was. He searched through the papers on the desk for a clue to his identity.
The intercom crackled to life again. "Mr. Morton, please report to the control room immediately." This time the voice sounded irritable.
Sam opened one of the files in front of him and his eyes picked out the name Commander Chip Morton.
The voice spoke a third time, even more irritable than previously. "Mr. Morton, report to the control room immediately".
Sam reached for the intercom, finally realising that the caller was seeking him. "I'll be right there." He said into the speaker. -Wherever there is,' he added to himself.
He left the cabin and headed for where he hoped the control room would be. He wandered down one corridor after another, each looking just like the last. After what seemed like an eternity he stumbled across a staircase and found himself in what he presumed to be the control room. The room was a hive of activity, blue and red jumpsuited men were stationed around the room, their attention focused on the instruments in front of them. He looked to his right and what he saw took his breath away. Through four windows he could see a view the like of which he'd never seen - myriad species of fish milled around, seemingly oblivious to the mighty submarine carving its way through them.
A tall, black-haired officer was working at the plot table and he glanced up as he sensed Sam's arrival.
"Ah, Chip, I was beginning to think that you'd got lost." The young man said amiably.
"Er, no, I, er, was side-tracked on my way here."
"Well you're here now. Take the con. The Admiral and I are going to take the flying sub out and scout out some prospective sites for the survey. Prepare FS1 for immediate launch."
"Aye sir." Sam responded. And just how do I do that?
Where was Al? Sam wondered. Al Calavicci was Sams' only contact with the future. He was the link between Sam and Ziggy, the hybrid computer that Sam had designed in the late 1990s, the heart of the Quantum Leap project. He appeared to Sam in the form of a hologram and provided him with invaluable advice in his journey through time. Unfortunately advice was the only help that Al could offer since he was in an imaging chamber in the New Mexico desert sometime in the future.
Sam climbed down the ladder into FS1s interior. He heard the familiar sound of a door opening, a door to the future - a sound that signified the arrival of Al.
"It's about time that you showed up," he said, relief evident in his voice.
"We've been having a few problems with Ziggy. It has taken us until now to track you down." Al explained. He took a good look around the flying subs' cabin. "Wow, what sort of ship is this?" he asked, awestruck.
"Apparently it's some sort of flying submarine. Where am I? What year is this?"
Al ignored the question. "A flying submarine? I'd love to take this baby out for a test flight."
"Al ..." Sam prompted, exasperated.
"Oh, yeah, right." Al responded, turning his attention to the matter in hand. He pressed some buttons on the handlink he held. "Let's see, it's September 1985, you're aboard the submarine Seaview in the Atlantic Ocean. You are Commander Chip Morton, the subs' Executive Officer. The Captains' name is Lee Crane ..."
"I think I've met him. I made a terrific first impression with him."
"Never mind. What else do you know?"
"The Seaview is a research sub, out of the Nelson Institute of Marine Research in Santa Barbara. It's designer is ..." He broke off annoyed, hitting the handlink. "You know, I'll have to get Gushie to repair this thing." Sam shot him an exasperated look. "Oh yeah, here we are. The designer is Admiral Harriman Nelson. He's aboard." Al raised an inquisitive eyebrow. "Don't tell me you've messed up with him as well."
"I haven't met him yet."
"That's probably just as well." Al said sarcastically.
Sam ignored him. "What am I doing here?"
"I don't know, Ziggy's still working on that one. I'll let you know as soon as he comes up with anything." He pressed a button on the handlink and the door reopened.
"Wait a minute Al. What do I know about being an Executive Officer on a nuclear sub?"
Al took another look around the small ships' interior. He had piloted many planes in his time in the Navy but he had never seen anything like this one. "Just be careful what buttons you press." He answered. The door closed and Al was gone, leaving a bemused Sam behind.
Later that evening Sam retired to Morton's' cabin. He had spent an uncomfortable evening dining with Nelson and Crane. The officers had spent most of the evening discussing their plans for the survey and Sam had found his scientific curiosity aroused - there was no doubt that Nelson was a scientific genius. He soon realised that the other two men were close friends and he suspected that Chip Morton was a good friend to them both. Sam didn't want to do anything to arouse the suspicions of the two men so he decided to adopt the policy of silence. He was rather glad when the meal was over and he could make his excuses and retreat to the solitude offered by his cabin.
The following morning Nelson and Crane led a diving party to collect the samples that the Admiral required. They set to work collecting samples of water, marine plant life and rock formations. They made steady progress, and after 45 minutes the officers sent Kowalski and Patterson back to the submarine with the specimens while they continued the collection.
Sam Beckett watched the detail from the luxury of the Seaviews' control room. He had never been particularly fond of the ocean and was happy that so far this leap was turning out better than most.
The door opened and he turned around to find Al standing behind him. Al motioned Sam to move closer to the observation windows so that they could talk without being overheard.
"Al, where have you been?"
"I've been in the waiting room talking to Commander Morton. You know he doesn't seem to be at all confused by what's going on, although he does ask a lot of questions. It's rather disconcerting."
"What have you found out?"
"Oh yeah", Al consulted the handlink. "Within 24 hours Admiral Nelson and Captain Crane will be killed. Ziggy says that there is a 98% probability that you are here to save them."
"How do they die?" Sam asked, glancing at the two men still in the water. He began to regret his earlier confidence.
"Ziggy hasn't been able to find out yet. Just keep them out of trouble."
"From what I've seen that won't be easy."
"Admiral, that's enough for now, we're getting low on air. We'd better be getting back." Lee said, checking his tank gauge.
Nelson agreed. He went to pick up the net containing the rock samples that he had collected. As he did so he failed to notice the moray eel concealed among the rocks. Alarmed by the intruder in his domain the eel slithered along the ocean floor, coming to rest some distance away. Startled, Nelson fell backwards, landing heavily on his tank. The tank ruptured, spilling its precious contents in a matter of seconds. Crane swam quickly over to aid his friend. He removed his mouthpiece and fed it between Nelsons' teeth. The Admiral took several deep breaths before regaining his composure. He removed the regulator and handed it back to Lee. They had only one chance - they would have to share Lees' tank. It was going to be close though - they were still some 500 meters away from the Seaview and the tank wouldn't last long with both of them using it.
Alerted by a crewman, Sam rushed over to the monitor and was shocked by the scene unfolding before them. He exchanged a horrified glance with Al before reaching for the intercom.
"Missile room, get a rescue party out there to bring the Admiral and Captain back on board." He cleared the channel and called sickbay. "Doc, get down to the missile room with resuscitation equipment, on the double." He dropped the intercom and headed for the missile room without bothering to wait for an acknowledgement.
By the time Kowalski and Patterson reached the officers, Lees' tank was empty and both men were on the verge of passing out. The two crewmen swapped Nelson and Crane's empty tanks for full ones and they recovered quickly. The four men then made their way slowly back to the submarine.
The atmosphere in the missile room was tense, the assembled crewmen unable to do anything to help their commanding officers. Time seemed to stop - it seemed an eternity before the escape hatch drained and the green light appeared. Chief Sharkey cycled and opened the hatch and the officers were helped aboard. They collapsed onto the deck, exhausted.
"Are they okay Doc?" Sam asked anxiously as Jamieson started to check them over.
"They should be, but I want to get them to sickbay to be sure." At a signal from Jamieson four crewmen stepped forward and between them they helped the officers to sickbay, ignoring their attempts to convince everybody that they were both fine.
After breakfast the following morning Sam made his way to the control room. He was quickly joined by Al and he closed the crash doors so that they could talk in private.
"How's it going?" Al asked.
"Terrible, these guys have got a death wish."
"Maybe this will help. Ziggy found out how Nelson and Crane died."
"The flying sub crashed into the sea, trapping both men inside. The Seaview picked up their distress signal and rushed to their position but they were too late - by the time they arrived both men had drowned."
"My god, they're planning on taking out the flying sub later this morning."
"Then you've got to stop them."
"How, I don't think either man is the type to change his mind."
"Then you'll have to persuade them."
Unseen, Lee Crane started down the steps into the observation nose. He stopped halfway down when he realised his exec was already there and was mildly disturbed to find his friend talking to himself.
"Chip, are you all right?" he asked, making his presence known and continuing down the stairs, coming to a stop beside the plotting table.
Sam was startled. "Er yes Sir, I'm fine".
The Captain nodded, but Sam could see that Crane thought otherwise.
"Is the flying sub ready for launch?" he asked, prepared to give his friend the benefit of the doubt.
"Yes Sir. Sir, are you sure that you need to take the flying sub out today? We're in position to collect the second set of samples. We can send out a fully equipped diving party. I can't see any reason for taking FS1 out today."
"The Admiral analysed the samples we collected yesterday and he's not happy with the results. He wants to try another site we found on our reconnaissance flight. It's about 50 miles from here, so to save time we'll take FS1 out while you continue the current schedule with Seaview."
"But Sir, I don't ..."
"Chip, what's wrong with you?"
"Sam, this isn't going very well." Al put in.
"Tell me something I don't already know." Sam thought. Aloud he said. "Nothing. I just thought that after yesterdays incident it might be wise for you and the Admiral to stay onboard today."
"I'm touched by your concern Chip, but Jamie gave us both a thorough examination and there's no reason to delay this mission."
"That's enough Chip. The Admiral and I are taking the flying sub out and that's final." The conversation finished, Lee turned away from Sam and picked up the intercom.
"Admiral, this is Crane. All preparations are made for the mission."
"Very well Lee, I'll be there in ten minutes."
"Aye sir." Lee replaced the intercom in its holder and, without looking at Sam, climbed the stairs and headed in the direction of his cabin.
Once Sam was certain that Lee was out of earshot he turned to Al.
"I told you that they wouldn't listen. Any more bright ideas?"
Al remained silent, casting a withering look at the bulkhead.
Thirty minutes later the flying sub was arching gracefully through the midday sky. Nelson was at the controls with Crane acting as navigator.
"We'll be at the co-ordinates in two minutes." Lee reported, double-checking the instruments with the charts spread on his lap.
"Right, I'll start our descent." He pushed both joysticks forward and the two men felt the familiar sensation that accompanied the crafts rapid but controlled descent. As they approached and altitude of 1500 feet the officers were thrown about in their seats as the sub lurched wildly. Both men instinctively grasped the joysticks and fought for control of the ship. It was a losing battle though and they were alarmed to see the water approaching at a rate far too fast for comfort. Lee turned in his seat and glanced at the control panel and was dismayed to see smoke pouring from it. He unfastened his seat restraints and fought his way over to the panel. He grabbed a fire extinguisher from the bulkhead and trained the CO2 stream on the smouldering panel.
Nelson shouted into his throat mike. "Nelson to Seaview, we're in trouble. We're going down."
Sam chose that exact moment to emerge from his hiding place under the bunk. Nelson was astounded to see his exec. "Chip, what on earth are you doing here?"
"It's a long story sir." Sam stated, reaching for the co-pilots controls.
The Seaview officers were beginning to regain control of the craft when the control panel exploded. The cover was blown off, striking Crane in the chest and he fell to the ground stunned. As the sub lurched again Nelson and Sam lost the remaining control they had. The ship plummeted toward the ocean like a stone.
"It's no use, we're going to hit. Brace for crash."
Nelson and Sam had time to respond and Sam managed to strap himself into the co-pilots seat. There was nothing that either man could do to help Crane. The Captains unconscious body was thrown about by the erratic motion of the sub. The flying sub slammed into the water and everything went black.
"Sam, wake up! Come on, you've got to get out of here!!" The voice slowly penetrated as consciousness returned. He opened his eyes to find the holographic image of his friend before him. It took a few moments before he remembered what had happened. He fumbled with the seat restraints and, after several attempts, finally succeeded in freeing himself.
The force of the impact had been tremendous. Items that had been neatly stowed throughout the ship were now strewn messily about. The crash had caused some of the bulkhead seams to rupture and the ship was slowly but steadily filling with water. But most alarming was the sight of Lee Crane. He had landed on his back in the middle of the deck. The boarding ladder had been torn from its moorings and had landed on top of the officers' chest, pinning him to the deck. Sam rushed to his side. He felt for Lees' pulse and was relieved to find one, albeit weak and irregular. Sam had to get him out quickly, there was already two inches of water in the bottom of the sub and the Captain was in imminent danger of drowning. Sam tried to raise the ladder but it was no use - he was going to need help to free him. He looked over to Nelson but the Admiral was still unconscious and would be of no use in the immediate future.
"Sam, over here." Al said urgently.
Sam looked to where Al was indicating. Although only a hologram he certainly had his uses - he had found some scuba gear among the debris.
"Al, you're a genius." Sam told him appreciatively. He picked up the set and returned to Cranes' side. He wasn't a minute too soon; the water was by now swirling up around the Captains' ears. He quickly positioned the mouthpiece between Lees' teeth. Sam breathed a sigh of relief, he had bought a few minutes grace but knew that they had to get out of there otherwise it would be too late for them all. He went to Nelsons' side and slapped him gently around the face to bring him around.
Nelson woke with a start. "What?!! Oh, Chip, it's you." At first Nelson seemed disorientated, but as his memory returned so did his concern for his Captain. "Lee, how is he?" he asked, afraid of what the answer might be.
"He's not good. We've got to get out of here as soon as possible."
The inert form lying on the deck, by now almost completely submerged by the incoming water caught Nelsons' attention. He was horrified by what he saw.
"I've tried to free him but I can't do it alone. I need your help."
The Admiral grabbed one end of the ladder while Sam took the other. With their combined effort it started to move.
"Wait, this isn't going to work." Nelson realised.
"What do you mean, it is working?" Al said, frustrated. As much as Sam wished that Al could offer more than just verbal help, Al wished that he could give it. It was awful standing back letting somebody else doing all the work all the time.
Sam looked at Nelson questioningly.
The older man explained. "Even if we raise the ladder high enough we still need to move him to one side. That means that one of us will have to let go, and there's no way that one of us can hold this beam long enough alone.
Sam realised that he was correct. "Any other ideas?" he asked. He hoped that the Admiral had because he had none.
The Admiral didn't answer for a minute. He then hastened to the one storage cupboard that remained intact. He removed two ropes, handing one to Sam. He tied one end securely around the ladder pinning Lee and passed the rope over a supporting beam. Sam quickly realised what Nelson had in mind and he did the same thing with the other rope.
"I hope that this beam wasn't damaged in the crash." Sam said.
"Well, we've no choice. We'll have to find out."
The two men grabbed the ropes and pulled for all they were worth. The extra leverage they obtained caused the ladder to rise steadily. Once it was sufficiently clear of Cranes' chest Nelson tied off his rope around the wheel on the watertight hatch to the aft of the tiny craft. He then rushed to Lees' side and gently moved his friend to one side. Once Sam was happy that the Captain was clear he let go of his rope and went to the other men.
"We have to get out of here quickly." Sam urged.
"I'm not sure that Lee will survive a dive." The Admiral pointed out anxiously.
"If he stays here much longer it won't matter anyway." By now the water was up to their knees and it was coming in quicker now.
Nelson looked at Sam and nodded grimly in agreement. A glance at the depth gauge confirmed that. "One hundred feet and falling steadily. If we don't get out soon we'll be beyond safe escape depth. I'll assemble the survival gear. Get a set on."
"What about a wetsuit?"
"The water's warm and we'll only be in it for a couple of minutes. We shouldn't need them."
Nelson grabbed all the gear that he thought they might need, including the first aid kit for Lee. The Admiral then strapped on the remaining scuba tank and went to open the escape hatch. It took the combined efforts of both men to get Crane out of the hatch, but once in the water Sam assisted the unconscious Captain to the surface while the Admiral carried their gear. At the surface Nelson inflated the liferaft and clambered aboard while Sam held Lee above the water. Between them they got Cranes' limp body aboard and Sam then flopped down beside him.
Sam examined Crane. He could feel Lees' ribs grate against one another on his right side. He peeled back an eyelid and was horrified by what he saw - the officers' pupils were fixed and dilated. He felt urgently at his throat for a pulse but was unable to find one.
"Damn it, don't do this."
Sam began chest compressions while Nelson took over Lees' breathing. After what seemed an eternity to both men but in reality couldn't have been more than a minute their efforts were rewarded - Lees' chest rose and fell unaided and Sam was relieved to find a pulse.
"Er Sam, I think we've got another problem. Ziggy says that there is a 94% chance that Captain Crane isn't going to make it." Al reported.
Sam grabbed the first aid kit and was pleasantly surprised to find it well equipped. He removed the stethoscope and listened to Cranes' chest. His breathing was laboured and he needed to check something.
"Damn! Admiral, get that shirt off him." He ordered urgently.
"What's wrong?" the older man asked, but nevertheless did what he was asked.
"He's got a haemothorax. One of the ribs has punctured a hole in his lung." Sam explained, assembling the necessary items.
Nelson put a restraining hand on his arm. "What are you doing?"
"I'm trying to save his life."
"We ought to wait until we get him back to Seaview. As soon as they picked up our distress call O'Brien would have plotted a course for our last known co-ordinates. At flank speed they should be here in less than an hour."
Sam glared at Nelson, although he could understand his hesitance. Nelson and Crane were good friends and the Admiral was understandably worried. When he looked at Sam he saw his executive officer, not a man with 6 degrees, including one in medicine. He spoke to the other man with as much patience as the situation allowed.
"Admiral, right now Captain Crane probably hasn't got an hour. If I don't do this, now, he won't survive long enough to reach Seaview."
Nelson took a long look at his friend and realised the truth in Sam's' words - Crane was getting worse by the minute. "Okay, go ahead and do what you can for him."
Sam and Al exchanged a look, but no words were necessary.
Sam was finished in a matter of minutes. He cut down between two of Cranes' ribs and eased a length of tubing into the lung. The tube did its job and the bottle it led to immediately began to fill with blood. The surgery had an immediate effect and the Captains' breathing improved dramatically.
Sam looked at Al and raised a questioning eyebrow. Al punched some buttons on the handlink. "He's going to be okay Sam, well done." He reported happily.
Nelson couldn't quite believe what he had just witnessed. He refrained from commenting however - there would be time for questions later. Lee was alive and that was all that mattered for now.
As soon as the Seaview picked up the officers Dr Jamieson whisked Lee away to sickbay for further treatment. Once Nelson was happy that Lee was in safe hands he turned to Sam.
"You'd better come to my cabin, Commander. I've got a few questions for you."
"Aye sir". Sam acknowledged reluctantly. He turned to Al, puzzled. He should have leapt again as soon as the two officers were safe. But he was still here, which meant that there was still a job for him to do.
Once in the privacy of Nelsons' cabin the Admiral turned on Sam.
"Just who on earth are you?"
The question took Sam by surprise. "Sir?"
"I don't know what's going on here, but I do know one thing - you are not Chip Morton. Chip Morton might be one hell of an executive officer but there's no way that he could have performed that little miracle. I want an explanation."
"Oh oh." Sam heard Al say. "Sam you can't tell him. That's against the rules."
"I know Al, but I don't seem to have much choice."
Nelson was puzzled. "Who's Al?" he wanted to know.
"Admiral, I'm going to tell you something that you're going to find hard to believe."
"Since I've started sailing on the Seaview I've learnt to believe the unbelievable. Try me."
"I'm Sorry Al." Sam apologised and Al threw up his arms in disbelief. "My real name is Dr Sam Beckett. I am the subject of a time travel experiment that went badly wrong. The aim was for me to observe any historical event over the last 40 years, to find out the truth of what really happened. Somehow I ended up being part of that event, taking over somebody's body and having to change history in some way for the better. Normally when I succeed I leap again into another body but for some reason that hasn't happened this time."
Nelson was dumbstruck. "And what of the other body, the one you leap into? What's happened to Chip Morton."
"He's fine. He's in our..." he sought for the appropriate word, "... laboratory in the future. Once I leap he'll return unharmed, although he may be a little confused."
"Who decides where you go next?"
"I've no idea. Perhaps it's fate. I just find myself waking up as somebody else. It gets very confusing."
"I'll bet it does. How long as this been going on?"
"I'm not sure." He turned to the hologram. "Al?"
"Sam, I can't tell you that."
"Forget the rules for once Al. I'm fed up playing by the rules. How long?"
Al knew his friend and that look only too well. He had no choice but to answer the question. "Four years."
Sam repeated the answer for Nelson to hear.
The admiral repeated his earlier question. "Who's Al?"
"Al is my link to the future. He only appears to me, and apparently young children and animals. He's the one who tells me what it is that I have to do to make things right."
"Just what was it that you had to put right here?"
Sam paused. Although he was flouting his own rules there were still some things that he was reluctant to divulge. But he had come this far, he couldn't turn back now.
"In the original history you and Captain Crane died in the flying sub today."
Nelson was stunned, he couldn't respond for a moment.
"Well I'm certainly grateful for your help," he said when he found his voice. "And for what you did for Lee in the liferaft. Is there anything we can do to help you get home?"
"No Admiral." Sam replied dejectedly. "My colleagues on the project have been trying to get me back for the last four years - it's hopeless."
"Maybe not. You said yourself that you should have leaped by now. Perhaps this is what's meant to happen. Besides I think I owe you a favour. And I'd quite like my real exec back."
Sam looked at Al for his opinion. "What he says makes a lot of sense - it can't hurt. He might come up with something that we've missed."
Sam grinned at Al and then turned to Nelson. "I think you're wasting your time, but okay."
"Right. First you'd better get something to eat and some sleep. We'll start work first thing in the morning. i'm going to check on Captain Cranes' condition"
The Seaview continued on her mission with O'Brien at the helm. For three days Nelson and Sam worked constantly on the problem. They stopped only to eat, sleep and pay frequent visits to sickbay to check on Cranes' condition. There was no question that he would have died without Sam's intervention. He was making steady progress but he was far from recovered. One thing that Sam had been worried about was infection - a liferaft in the middle of the ocean is not the ideal place to perform surgery and the site had become infected. Dr Jamieson had Crane on a course of antibiotics and they appeared to be doing the trick. As soon as Crane had heard the truth about Sam he had pleading with Jamie to let him get up and help - but the Doctor was having none of it.
They made slow progress. Leaping through time played havoc with Sam's memory and he could not remember all of his original theory. Al travelled backward and forwards between the Seaview and the future providing Nelson and Sam with the information they needed.
On the fourth day they made the breakthrough they were looking for. As Al had thought might happen Nelson spotted something that Sam's colleagues had overlooked - a simple error in the original computer program. Al travelled to the future once more and instructed Gushie, Ziggy's programmer to make the necessary changes. The theory seemed to check out, but there was only one way to make sure.
Lee persuaded Jamieson to let him go to the lab to witness the attempt to return Sam to his own time. Reluctantly Jamie had agreed, although the Captain had found himself confined to a wheelchair.
"Sam, are you sure you're ready to try this? There are more tests that we should perform, we don't know how successful it will be." Nelson pointed out.
"We could test the theory forever Admiral. The only way to find out for sure is to test it personally. I'm prepared to take that chance."
Nelson was unhappy, but knew Sam was right. If their positions had been reversed he would have done the same thing, and had found himself in similar situations before. But sitting back and letting somebody else take the risks was something that he had never liked doing.
In the short time he had known Sam he had discovered a common bond between them and had grown to admire the man tremendously. He was a genius, there was no question about that and Nelson found his theory of time travel fascinating. If the Seaview didn't require so much of his time that was an area that he would like to study further.
"Good luck, Sam," he said simply. He wanted to say more but found that he was unable to do so.
Then it was Lees' turn to say goodbye. "I really don't know how to thank you."
"Don't worry about it. I'm sure you would have done the same thing for me."
"I'll look you up in the year 2000. I think I owe both you and Al a drink."
"I'll look forward to that Captain."
Al cleared his throat to attract Sam's' attention. He wasn't really into emotional goodbyes but in this case he wished he were able to join in. He had seen Sam suffer much over the last four year. He prayed that this time it would work, that Sam would return where he belonged. "Good luck Sam. We've got the champagne on ice for you."
"Thanks Al." Sam replied.
He signalled to Al that he was ready. Al pressed some keys on the handlink - the signal for Ziggy to start the program. Nelson and Crane watched transfixed as the blue-white light enveloped Sam Beckett. They saw his body for the first time. They were further astounded when an image appeared of a man in a purple suit with a white and yellow polka dot tie clutching an object resembling a TV remote control - Al? Sam and Al disappeared as quickly as they had arrived.
The light abruptly disappeared and the men were amazed to see Chip Morton standing before them. He glanced around at his surroundings.
"Chip. Is that really you?" Lee was the first to find his voice.
"Lee, Admiral, I'm glad to see you. You'll never believe where I've been."
"It worked." Nelson announced ecstatically. To Chip he said. "I wouldn't be too sure about that Chip. I think we'd better get you down to sickbay, I'm sure that Doc will want to check you out. And as for you Captain, Jamie said that you coming down here was conditional, that you had to return to sickbay as soon as the excitement was over."
He was floating, weightless through a kaleidoscope of colours. He hoped that this time they would be successful, but he didn't dare raise his hopes too high for fear of disappointment.
Abruptly the sensations ceased. He looked around the room he now found himself in and, to his utter astonishment, realised his dreams had been fulfilled. He had at last returned home. He left the Quantum Leap accelerator more quickly than he would have thought possible. He threw open the door to the neighbouring laboratory and the sight he saw was one that he'd given up hope of ever seeing again. His emotions threatened to overwhelm him.
The entire staff of the project was assembled, eager to welcome him home. His eyes picked out Al approaching.
"Welcome home, Sam." He greeted, thrusting a glass of champagne at him. His expression said it all.
The celebration started - it was to last all night and well into the next day. It was some time later when Sam finally managed to have a quiet word with Al.
"It's great to be home Al. I'd just about given up hope of ever getting back here."
"I told you that we'd get you home eventually. Just promise me one thing - no more time travel experiments."
"I can promise you that." Sam replied fervently. "What happened to the Seaview."
"The Seaview. Oh yeah, she's still sailing, albeit with some major alterations. She's one 4-research submarines that the Nelson Institute operate. Admiral Nelson his enjoying a well-earned retirement, although he still plays an active role in the Institute. Captain Crane, or should I say Admiral Crane, took over running NIMR 8 years ago. His son looks to be following in his footsteps, he's just started at Annapolis."
Sam smiled. He was finally home, and he was glad that things had worked out for Nelson and Crane too. He hoped that what Crane had said was true and that they would meet again. There was much for them to discuss - although he wasn't sure who would be buying the drinks.
In the final episode of Quantum Leap it was stated that Sam Beckett never went home. I remember thinking when I first watched the show that this didn't seem right and I decided to find a way to send him back. And who else better to help him than our own Admiral Nelson? I hope that fans of QL will allow me this degree of artistic license.
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