Project Quantum Leap
Stallion’s Gate, New Mexico
January 27, 1996
“All right, now *how* did you get in here?” Admiral Al Calavicci was furious as he paced in front of the four intruders. His fists were clenched tightly, one around a smoking cigar. He was only thankful that Sam was between Leaps–he didn’t think he could handle dealing with this and acting as Observer at the same time.
The two men and two women before him looked uncomfortable. Finally, the lankier of the men reached in his pocket and pulled out an ID. “I’m FBI Special Agent Fox Mulder, and this is my partner, Special Agent Dana Scully–“
“I know who you are,” Al snapped. “And I know how you got past the MPs and the clearance checkpoints…” He stopped briefly to fix each person in the room with a fierce glare, not excluding the guards. “But how the hell did you beat the implant scan?! That elevator should have turned around and dumped you off on the surface as soon as it–“
“Admiral, I let them in,” a female voice, that seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere, interrupted him.
Lois, Clark, Mulder and Scully looked around, startled, trying to locate the source of the voice.
The Admiral’s eyes drifted up to the gleaming globe over their heads, staring at it in disbelief. “You *what*??” he addressed it.
“I let them in,” whoever it was responded calmly.
There was a brief pause, and when the voice continued, it seemed almost hesitant. “I’m afraid I’m not free to reveal that to anyone except yourself and Agent Scully.”
All eyes shifted to Scully, who in turn looked at Al. “Me?” she almost squeaked, a stunned look on her face.
Al stared at the globe for a few more seconds, then nodded curtly. “You, come with me.” He gestured for Scully to follow him, then turned to the MPs. “Take those three up to level one and keep an eye on them until I tell you otherwise.”
He strode in the direction of the elevator and the female agent followed reluctantly, casting a worried glance back over her shoulder at Mulder. The doors closed behind them and she was left alone with the still agitated Admiral.
When the elevator reached the second level, it stopped and they disembarked silently into a long, sterile blue-white hallway lined with offices. Near the end of the hall, they turned into one with the name “Rear Admiral Albert V. Calavicci, Project Observer” on the door. Once inside, Al sank almost angrily into a blue-cushioned chair behind the steel desk, and gestured for Scully to do the same.
“What’s this about, Ziggy?” he demanded sharply as soon as the red-haired woman across from him had seated herself. “Why did you let them in?”
The same voice that had spoken earlier came again. “I’m afraid I had to, Admiral. Agent Scully is supposed to be here.”
So, that’s Ziggy… Scully thought to herself, remembering Mulder’s mention of an AI system that ran the Project.
His eyes narrowing, Al leaned forward in his seat. “What do you mean?”
“In a previous timeline, Dr. Beckett brought Agent Scully here during a Leap, because he believed that there was something in the past that needed to be changed that he was incapable of altering. I have a message that that Agent Scully left for me from the past, so that I would be sure of bringing her here to fill the same task and prevent a paradox. Unlike Dr. Beckett, who would continue Leaping regardless of the changes he has made in the past, Agent Scully’s motivation to do so disappeared with the completion of her task, and therefore another reason had to be found to bring her here and get her into the Accelerator.”
“What???” Al practically jumped out of his seat. “You want me to put her in the Accelerator??”
“Yes, Admiral. I’m afraid it is necessary.”
Scully’s head was reeling with what the computer seemed to be saying. They wanted *her* to travel back in time? She must be hearing things wrong…
“But you say ‘in a previous timeline’–if that’s so, why don’t I remember it?” Al demanded.
“Because, apparently for us, it hasn’t happened yet. At some point in the future, Dr. Beckett will Leap into a young FBI Agent named Harlan Yates, who was assigned to work with Agent Scully after her partner died.”
The agent sat up suddenly, her face going white with fear. “Mulder’s going to die?” she asked sharply.
“Actually, according to your message, Agent Scully, by this point in time, he already had died.”
Scully shook her head in disbelief, trying to ignore the mental voice that was subtly pointing out that this would explain her deja vu…
“I think we’d better hear this message,” Al decided curtly.
There was a brief pause, then the agent shuddered as she heard her own voice coming from Ziggy’s speakers.
“Ziggy, my name is Dana Scully. I’m a Special Agent with the FBI, and in case you’re wondering how I got the access codes to upload this message to your memory, you gave it to me. You see, I’m from your future, the year 1996, one year after Dr. Beckett will step into the Accelerator and begin Leaping randomly through history. With a little help, I’ve programmed this message not to run until that date, so I don’t accidentally give you the information to prevent Dr. Beckett’s initial, unexpected Leap. He has to make that Leap–it’s his…” She laughed. “Destiny. Something I didn’t even believe in a year ago. But back to me.
“Sometime during the month of January, you must find some way to bring me to Project Quantum Leap, and persuade me to step into the Accelerator. If I succeed in what I mean to do in this time, I won’t be a very easy person to convince, which is why this is a voice recording, instead of a written message that could be easily falsified. But you must only play it for me, and the Admiral, so he can approve my decision. I know he won’t want to let me, since he won’t want to risk losing me in time like they did with Dr. Beckett, but I don’t believe that will happen. I believe that God, or whoever is controlling your Project, only has this one task for me. If I’m wrong, so be it, I’m willing to take the risk.
“Dana–God, it sounds so strange to be addressing myself–I know you are having trouble believing this, but Mulder’s life depends on it. And I know you’ll make the right choice, especially after I tell you what I’ve become–what you will become if he dies.
“They don’t call me ‘The Ice Queen’ at work anymore, or ‘Mrs. Spooky.’ My current nickname is ‘The Exorcist.'”
There was a slight pause, and Al saw Scully’s eyes widen in amazement.
“If this makes any sense, I’ve lost my faith in everything, but at the same time, I’ve become a believer in the darkest things this world has to offer. And what I know you’re thinking now is right, that’s a lot like Mulder, only people aren’t kidding when they say I’m worse.
“It’s because he died unjustly. He was killed for his quest, because he wouldn’t abandon it. He was murdered because he wanted to know the Truth. I guess if They’d known I’d become the way I am, They would have killed me too, but because They didn’t, I have a chance to right that wrong, to save his life. And he has to live. You…I…can’t do the work of both of us, and that’s what I’ve been trying to do.
“Mulder died on April 1, 1995. Carl Heinrich, the man who killed him had a great sense of irony.” Her voice was very bitter. “Heinrich specializes in destroying people who get too close to what they aren’t allowed to know, either by shattering their careers, or killing them. Mulder was one he couldn’t break. So he murdered him. And I never forgave myself for not being there, because maybe I could have saved him. That’s why I’m here. That’s why I’m acting out the part of this Carmen Juarez, playing the psychic and sticking to Mulder like glue, so you don’t have to go through what I did.”
Commissary, Minimum Security Level
Project Quantum Leap
Mulder was pacing, an intensely worried look on his face. Nearby, Lois and Clark sat silently at one of the tables, their hands intertwined, their eyes watching the restless agent. All three of them were both curious and worried about whatever it was that Scully alone could be allowed to find out.
“Can you hear what they’re saying?” Mulder asked suddenly, turning to face them. Fortunately, he was speaking softly enough that the MPs watching them from the doorway didn’t hear. Still, Lois glared at him as a reminder that Clark’s secret was not something that could be treated so carelessly. The agent deliberately ignored her, fixing his worried hazel eyes intently on her fiancé.
Clark sighed. “I could, but if we’re not supposed to know, it might not be a good idea.”
“I’ve spent most of my life trying to find out what I wasn’t supposed to know, Mr. Kent,” Mulder replied sharply, showing more emotion than he had in the entire brief time they’d known him.
“I’m not surprised,” the reporter replied quietly. “But you know the people at this Project better than I do. Would they conceal something without a significant and *right* reason?”
The agent hesitated visibly, then let out a resigned sigh. “No.” With that acknowledgment, he came over to the table and sat down with the two reporters, his hands clenched tightly in front of him.
At that moment, the door of the Commissary slid open, and Al and Scully walked in. Her face was white as paper, and the Admiral’s didn’t have much more color.
Mulder stood abruptly, fixing his eyes on his partner, who saw him and…shivered. Al too gave the agent a puzzling look, then turned to the MPs in the doorway.
“You can leave,” he told them curtly.
As soon as they were gone, Scully glanced back at the Admiral with what looked like a silent plea for support.
Mulder was worried. Dana Scully was a strong woman–he didn’t often see her this shaken.
“What do I tell them?” Scully asked.
Al shrugged. “As much as you want to. As much as you think they need to know.”
Nodding, the redhead turned back to her partner, fixing her eyes on him with a sad smile. “Mulder…promise me that if…if I don’t come back right away…you’ll find someone else to help you continue with the X-Files. I can’t ask you to put your life’s quest on hold for me, but I don’t want you trying to do it all by yourself. It’s too much for one person.”
Except for the Observer, all the other occupants of the room stared at her, stunned by her words. Mulder found his voice first.
“Back from where?”
Scully took a deep breath, and an odd look crossed her face. I can’t believe I’m saying this…I really can’t believe I’m doing this! “From the past. Tomorrow morning, I’m going into the Accelerator. I’m going to Leap.”