A Giant Leap, Chapter 12

Sam found himself beside Tola , both standing on a transporter alcove. They heard Captain Chav over the intercom, asking if they had all been beamed aboard safely. The transporter officer answered with an affirmative and told him that they had some guests. He ordered Tola to the bridge with their new guests, saying they were preparing to fire upon the doomed Klingon ship before it reached Earth's atmosphere. Al, Sam, Tola and Vickers quickly made it to the nearest turbo lift. Tola ordered it to take them to the bridge. They arrived just in time to see both the Enterprise and the Constellation fire simultaneously on the alien spacecraft. It exploded in a brilliant flash of light. Chav explained without looking at the new human arrivals that they couldn't let it crash into Earth. It would raise too many questions down below, and they had enough to deal with. The alien science officer was listening to old-style television and radio broadcasts from the surface, and none seemed to take notice of the blast in space. All were still commenting on the Arab Kamikaze attacks on the World Trade Center and its horrible aftermath. Also, it was very early in the morning, and most people were asleep, including the ones on the International Space Station. To avoid future questions about the origin of the debris from the Klingon ship, they had beamed it all into the cargo hold, each starship taking half. They must leave no evidence of their presence in this time period. After that, they both quickly raised their defensive shields so they would once again not be mistaken as UFOs. The captain turned to face his new guests.

"Gentlemen, welcome to the Constellation. I'm Captain Chav. Unfortunately, you already know too much about us, and we will have to erase your memories before we return you to the surface. Which one of you is Samuel Beckett?"

Sam smiled at Tola, and then stepped forward.

"I am, sir. I can understand your reason for wanting to wipe our memories, but who would believe us? Besides, I'm not the type of person who would use my knowledge of Earth's future for selfish gain. I'm a scientist, not a 'sniveling Ferengi'."

Chav grinned and the rest of the bridge crew chuckled.

"I'm sure you aren't, Mr. Beckett. However, we can't take that chance. Please accompany Tola to sickbay. Don't worry about the procedure. We will just target your memories of us and the Enterprise and what happened on Earth."

"There is no need for that, Captain." Al said. "When Sam leaps again, his memory of this incident will probably be purged anyway."

"Al, I'm myself again, for the first time in years. I want to stay for a while. Let them do the procedure."

"All right, Sam. It's up to you."

"Right this way, gentlemen" Tola said, gesturing towards the turbo lift on the right hand side of the bridge.

Sam and Al found they were alone on a stretch of highway and had no idea where they were or how they got there. They saw a large tour bus coming towards them and quickly stepped to the side. Neither noticed a beautiful black cat with a diamond-studded collar leap out from behind a cactus beside the road and scamper out in front of the bus, causing the driver to come to a screeching halt to avoid hitting it. When they finally did notice it, the cat just sat there as they approached the bus. The rising morning sun reflected off of the bus' windows as the door opened, revealing a tall thin man with shoulder-length black hair. He stepped out to greet the duo. He was wearing a black leather jacket, blue jeans, cowboy boots, and appeared to be in his early fifties. Sam suddenly realized that not all of his memories of the Enterprise had been purged. Although older and definitely human, the man bore a strong family resemblance to Lieutenant Alice VF Cooper, the Seventh. Sam introduced himself as well as Al and they were not too surprised to discover that this man was indeed the real Alice Cooper.

"Boy, are we glad to see you!" Al said to the rock star. "We are in need of some transportation."

"I would be happy to oblige, sirs. How did you end up out here in the middle of nowhere?"

"We are part of a top secret government project that met with disaster, due to mechanical malfunctions." Al answered with the false memory implanted in his brain. "The pumps supplying our facility with fuel backed up and sparks from a faulty gauge ignited the fuel, turning our fuel tanks into literal bombs. So, now we are stranded. If you could help us, Mr. Cooper, we'd really appreciate it."

The famous rock singer stood there silently for a moment, contemplating what he could do.

"Hop in. We are on our way to Phoenix for a benefit concert for Nine-Eleven victims tonight. Our other three buses, containing our equipment and a few roadies already arrived there last night. That means that they should already be unloading. I'll take you two along with a groovy chick who digs the sixties named Roberta who hitched a couple miles back in search of her cat. We'll drop you off at Phoenix so you can contact your superiors." Alice paused for a moment, and then concluded. "Phoenix is about two hundred miles from here, so I estimate it will take us about three or four hours to get there."

"We really appreciate your help, Mr. Cooper." Sam said, glancing curiously at Al as he watched Roberta pick up her cat named Isis and smile at them. Sam didn't recognize her, but smiled back and nodded in her direction. She was dressed like she just stepped out of the sixties. She had on a white blouse with puffy long sleeves and a tie-dyed mini skirt, white fish net stockings and matching go-go boots.

"Not a problem, gentlemen. We have some pop on board if you guys are thirsty. We have been on the road for a good twelve hours. It's nice to see some other people. We were kind of looking for an excuse to stop, and it was darn lucky that Miss Lincoln's cat came out when it did. We might be a little wired from the caffeine too."

"In that case, sir, would you mind if I drove?" Asked Sam. "I know how too much caffeine can make a person feel. I wouldn't want you folks to get into an accident."

"Thank you, sir. I wouldn't mind at all. It will give us a chance to unwind. By the way, I will give you the pop and you can take the cases back to your cleanup crews. I'm sure they are going to get thirsty out in the desert sun."

"I'm sure our crew would really like that." Sam agreed with a smile. "However, I don't think we could carry that much soda pop on our own."

"No need to worry about it." Alice replied. "Just wait here a moment." The rock star went back into the bus for a few minutes. During that time, Roberta, still holding Isis, quickly made her approach.

"Mr. Beckett, do you remember me?" Roberta asked.

"No, I don't believe I—"

"I do." Al interrupted. "You're Roberta Lincoln and that cat you are holding isn't really a cat but some sort of alien shape shifter."

"Right, but don't spread it around. I have a message for Sam, but, since he doesn't remember me, I will give the message to you, Mr. Calavicci. Tola told me to tell Sam that he would make a better taxi driver than a Starfleet officer."

Al and Sam chuckled as she smiled back and sauntered back onto the bus with Isis in tow.

Al and Sam got on the bus with Alice Cooper, not noticing that Roberta had activated her servo and vanished with Isis. They went back to Supervisor 194's secret headquarters, knowing that they would have to submit a full report to those in charge of temporal issues. Roberta knew that the remaining memories of the Enterprise and the Constellation would not be believed by anyone on Earth, being that what they experienced was very much like a famous science fiction television series that she, along with millions of others, had grown to know and love. She and Isis were pleased that their missions had gone so well.

The Enterprise and the Constellation both made it back to the twenty-fourth century, and both were now undergoing repairs at Utopia Planitia, after dropping off the Klingons on their home world. Alice Cooper the Seventh arrived at Lieutenant Tola's quarters, after having finished with the reports from his involvement.

"Greetings, Tola. I trust you are recovering from your experience."

"Yes, I am. I am curious about one thing, though. Do you think the Duras sisters survived and that they were in the ship that got away?"

"I honestly don't know, but, if they did make it back, I'm sure that we will hear from them again. They don't strike me as the kind who just disappears into the woodwork. Speaking of disappearing, I am curious about Miss Lincoln and especially her feline companion. What sort of creature is that Isis, anyway? Does anybody know?"

"I doubt that anybody but the mysterious Mr. Seven knows for sure, but my best guess is that she is a Dowd. They do have a gift of mimicry."

Alice smiled. "That sort of reminds me of a Bajoran girl I used to date in high school, who had the strange habit of stuffing her bra."

"That is not all that unusual for teenage girls."

"Yes, but what she stuffed them with is. She used tribbles."

"Tribbles?" Tola asked with an amused and unbelieving grin.

"Yep. I have to admit I didn't realize they were tribbles at first. At least, not until her breasts started purring every time I touched them. They sure felt real—at least through her clothing. She tried to convince me that the purring was a natural phenomenon for Bajoran females, but I didn't really believe her. So, I borrowed a medical tricorder from the school nurse's office and scanned her."

"So, what happened?"

"Well, later, the school authorities found out and she was suspended from school on charges or cruelty to animals. However, I have to admit that I lay up late at night in bed wishing that I could have traded places with one of those little critters."

At that, Tola burst out laughing. When her laughing subsided long enough for her to talk, she said "Thanks, Alice. I needed that. I was remembering poor Mr. Vogen when you came in."

"Yeah," Alice replied. "I thought you could use a good laugh. I did notice you seemed a little preoccupied since we returned from the past."

"I'm curious about something else, Alice. Who built Green's complex in Afghanistan?"

"Dr. Sammy Joe Fuller."

"You mean she built it for Green?!" Tola replied in a shocked whisper, having met Sammy while still in the guise of Sam Beckett. She had also learned from Al that Dr. Fuller was Beckett's daughter from a previous leap. "She was helping that mass murderer?"

"No, she never learned that Sam was her father. She didn't build that other complex for Green. She built it for the United Nations Scientific Council before Green took it over. She was killed when she tried to stop him from taking control of the complex."

"Poor Sammy Joe!" Tola sighed. "I'm glad that Isis killed that madman."

"Me too. I am also glad you are back in your own lovely little body, honey." Alice smiled affectionately. "I have really missed being with you, if you know what I mean."

"I know, and I feel the same way. By the way, did you hear the news about Chief medical officer Akemar of the Constellation?"

"What news is that?"

"She and her husband are expecting their first child in a few months."

She picked up a stray thought from Alice about 'banging a gong and getting it on' and it made her chuckle.