A Giant Leap

Chapter One

Sam awoke in the darkness, thinking that finally, this was a peaceful leap. He pushed himself to a sitting position on the edge of what appeared to be a bed. Confused and uncertain of his surroundings, he slowly got to his feet. Not knowing where he had leaped to, he slowly explored the room, noticing a light that seemed to be streaming through the bottom of a door that led to another room. As he approached the door, he jumped back, a little startled, as it automatically slid open, bathing him in light. Relaxing, he began to realize that the doors were probably programmed to open as they were approached. He noticed also that his skin seemed to be a light blue color. It must be the light in here, he thought to himself. He stepped into a bathroom, and, as was his custom, looked for a mirror. When he found it this time and looked directly into it, nothing he had experienced before prepared him for what he saw. Confused and a little frightened, all Sam could manage to do was exclaim "Oh, boy!"

Sam had ended up in many strange places and many unexpected situations during his many leaps. He had been men, women, children, and even animals on occasion. Not only had he experienced life as different genders and ages, he had also been people of different races and creeds. However, nothing had prepared him for what he saw in the mirror now. He stared with dismay at the image.

The first thing he considered by way of an explanation, was that he was in another science fiction television show, like the time he was in an actor who played a character named "Future Boy" in a cheaply produced show for children in the nineteen fifties. Perhaps that is what he was dealing with here. Maybe he was now an actress, playing "Future Girl". However, that theory was quickly ruled out when he couldn't detect any cameras or stage lights. As he left the bathroom, shaken, he half-expected to hear a director yell "Cut!" but none materialized. Instead, with the aid of the bathroom light, he could see another person's form in the bed he had just exited. The light must have disturbed the other person, for he or she stirred in the bed. Sam heard the other person ask, in a distinctly male voice, "Are you coming back to bed, Tola dear?"

"Oh, boy, oh, boy,oh,boy!" Sam muttered to himself. Then, as he usually did, he thought quickly. "Not quite yet. I might be a little while. Don't wait up for me. Just go back to sleep…honey." He had added the last word since the man in the bed had called him 'dear'. It was then that Sam noticed the soft, gentle, whispery, almost snake-like quality of the voice of the woman he had leapt into. As he stepped back into the washroom, the door closed behind him again. It had been a strange, but pleasant-sounding voice. Obviously, this woman's vocal chords were different. However, as he returned to the mirror, he still wasn't ready to give up the idea that he was a regular human female wearing rather strange makeup. Maybe she and her husband, if that was who that was in the other room, had come back from a costume party, and she had been so tired that she had fallen asleep without taking her costume off. At least he now knew her name. "Tola," he whispered to himself wonderingly, getting a feel for the name. Strange, but pleasant, like her voice.

Testing his costume theory, he first pulled on Tola's white hair, hoping it was a wig, only to discover otherwise. She must have bleached it! Sam guessed to himself. He then picked up a bar of soap and figuring out how the faucet worked, scrubbed at the blue skin on her face and hands, but the color didn't come off. Starting to seriously doubt that this Tola person was wearing makeup, but, unwilling to give up hope, he reached up and grabbed a knobby antennae and gave it a yank. However, instead of coming off, all that happened was that Sam suddenly got a blinding, skull-pounding headache. "Jeez, she must have put these suckers on with Crazy Glue!" Sam moaned, as tears of pain welled up in his eyes, now thinking this woman must be insane and that he just leaped into an asylum. But, who was that guy in her bed? By his demeanor, he couldn't be her doctor. That would have been unprofessional conduct on his part. However, he finally convinced himself that Tola's reflection revealed her true nature when he once again reached up to the still throbbing antennae and pinched the rim of the disk-like protrusion at the end, only to experience another sharp pain. He quickly pulled his hand away and looked at the long fingernails on the thumb and forefinger he used to pinch the antenna with. At the tips of them, he saw an inky blue fluid that looked like dark transmission fluid from a car, a fluid that could only be blood. "Oh, boy…." He groaned again. "I must be some kind of Martian. Al, where are you?"

Admiral Al Calavicci left the waiting room in Project Quantum Leap, only to have Gushie almost run into him as he made his way over to Al as quickly as he could.

"Have you confirmed our…uh…guest's story?" Al asked. "Is she for real?"

"So it would seem." The short scientist replied as he pushed his slipping glasses up on the bridge of his nose.

"How is that possible?" Al asked. "Sam is only supposed to leap into people who lived during his lifetime! How does Ziggy explain this?"

"Well," Gushie replied, "Ziggy said that Dr. Beckett's life consists of a future as well as a past."

"Yes, I know, but I find it impossible to believe that, even if Sam gets back, he'll live for another three-hundred and sixty-six years!"

"True, but Ziggy claims that it is quite possible that, since Sam presently exists outside the normal space/time continuum, he is able to exist in infinity, having no set date for the end of his life. Existing outside linear time, he is caught in a time loop that must extend into infinity, even though he has a set date of birth. However, since he has no set date of his demise, he is apparently able to travel anywhere in the future."

"So, what you are saying is that Sam is immortal while leaping?" Al asked with a skeptical grin.

"Well, that's putting it rather simplistically, but I guess you could say that."

"And what odds does Ziggy give this possible explanation?"

"She gave it a one hundred percent probability rating."

"Really?" Al answered, surprised. He had never known Ziggy to be so absolute about anything before. "So why hasn't Sam ever traveled into the future before?"

"Ziggy can't answer that." Gushie replied. "Maybe whoever or whatever is in control of Sam's leaps had never considered it necessary before."

"Then why now? Does Ziggy have any idea why Sam's in the future now?"

"Ziggy has three possible reasons for this. She says that there is a sixty percent chance that Sam is there to prevent a future disaster that will change the course of history, a twenty-four percent chance that he is there to prevent people from the future from changing the past on Earth, and a sixteen percent chance that he is there to discover some future technology that will help him leap home once and for all."

"Wow," Al replied, as he headed back to the imaging chamber. "I'd better not keep Sam waiting."

"Where have you been, Al?" Sam immediately asked as the admiral finally appeared in Tola's bathroom. "I'm some kind of Martian named Tola!"

"Well, she's a Martian in a figurative sense. She is of a violent race. However, she's pretty harmless. She's actually an Andorian from a planet called Andor."

"So...I'm here to stop these...Andorians...from invading Earth. I figure I must be aboard a spaceship." Sam said thoughtfully. "I can sense motion."

"Yes, you are on board a spaceship" Al replied, glancing out a port window, seeing the stars streak by. "As a matter of fact, Sam, you are aboard the Federation starship USS Enterprise-D, of an outfit called the United Federation of Planets. Because of the very familiar sound of the starship's name, I seriously doubt that you are here to stop these people from invading Earth." He paused for a momentand listened as Tola gave him more information. "Earth is their base of operations as well as the seat of this Federation government. The Earth-our Earth-is the main founding world of this Federation."

"How is that possible?" A shocked Sam asked in a whisper.

"You're going to find this hard to believe, Sam, but it appears that you are in the year 2367 A.D.."

"That's impossible!" Sam gasped forcefully.

"Not according to Ziggy or this alien woman." Al grinned.

"Why? What does she say?" Sam asked, still worried. Al then explained to Sam everything Ziggy told Gushie concerning how he could be in the future, as Sam, weak-kneed and shaken from shock, plunked down in a sitting position on Tola's toilet. Lucky thing the lid was down. "You're going to have to get more information from this woman in the waiting room, especially if I'm going to pose as her. For one thing," Sam grinned. "Who's that guy in her bed? Are they living in sin?"

"That man's name is Alice VF Cooper, the seventh. As for them living in sin, they have no concept of our old Earthly morality. He's your...or I should say, Tola's lover. Lover, boyfriend, significant other, whichever you prefer. His rank is Lieutenant and he is a security officer. This is incredible, Sam! He's a direct descendant of the rock singer! He even looks like our Alice Cooper, except for his pointed ears and upswept eyebrows. Now, don't act surprised when you see him in the full light."

"Well, it's obvious that we are going to need this Tola's help more than we've ever needed the help of any other guest we've ever had in the waiting room, especially since Ziggy won't be able to assist us much with historical records as she usually does. We are in totally uncharted waters here."

"Agreed."

"What does Tola do aboard this ship?"

"She's also a security officer. They're both under the command of another alien named Worf. He's a big scary-looking dude called a Klingon. He's the chief of security on this vessel."

"I see. Al, I think it would be a good idea to be totally honest with Miss Tola. Tell her everything she wants to know and answer all her questions honestly."

"Do you think that's wise?" Al asked.

"Sure" Sam replied thoughtfully, in a reassuring voice. "After all, Tola's of the future, so she doesn't fall into the same category as our other visitors from the past. We don't have to worry about her changing our past if she remembers Quantum Leap when she returns to the future. Besides, our complete honesty with her will hopefully convince her of our good intentions and encourage her and whoever the captain of this ship might be to help us with whatever I am supposed to do here."

"Tola told me that the captain is a human named Picard." Al informed him. "I guess what you said before makes some sense. In that case, I'll go and see what she can tell us about the time we are in, in addition to what she's already revealed to us."

"Yeah, like how I'm supposed to pose as a security officer on a starship." Sam sighed helplessly as Al disappeared. "My stars!" He muttered to himself "I really am Future Girl!"