Al had the feeling of deja vu as he stood over Rosco, watching the man try to wake up again.
...couldnt save her, Rosco mumbled as his head turned from side to side. Why couldnt I save her? Rosco opened his eyes and looked at the blurred figure that stood next to him. Tell me it didnt happen.
Al paused, not wanting to upset Rosco especially in the state he was in. But the truth be told, at that moment MaryAnne Coltrane was dead.
Rosco, however, saved Al from having to explain when he fell unconcious again.
Al turned to Doctor Beeks. Its happening again isnt it?
I believe so, she replied. His neural patterns are just slightly off compared to last time.
Which means he could wake up like he did last time and render Sam unconcious.
Great, Al muttered. Alright, Im going to go back and check on Sam. I want to know immediately when Rosco here wakes up like he did last time. If possible, maybe we can make sure Sam is by himself when it happens. We cant run the risk of anyone seeing him because itll be worse off for Rosco.
The doctor nodded as Al began to walk out of the holding area.
Just a moment, Admiral, Ziggy spoke up.
Al stopped. What is it, Ziggy?
I have determined a possible course of action to put Sheriff Coltrane back together again from the two time periods. The odds of success, however, are about forty percent.
Whats your idea?
We attempt to send Rosco back in a targeted leap to 1986 at the moment after the other leaper has succeeded in saving MaryAnne and just before the other leaper leaps out.
Thats cutting it just a bit close isnt it, Ziggy?
The window of oportunity will be roughly 10 seconds. If Sheriff Coltrane were to leap into himself in 1986, then the other leaper would bring the other half of Sheriff Coltrane from 1987 back to 1987 and Dr. Beckett would leap on as well. Although, if successful, the half from 1987, that being Sheriff Coltrane as he was as a result of MaryAnnes death, would no longer exist so it wouldnt really matter.
Youll be able to tell when the other leaper succeeds or not? Al asked.
But you have no other information on them?
Al made a face. I really wish we could find out who this other leaper is.
I believe they do not want us to know who they are, Ziggy said.
But how do we know we can trust them?
We can trust them.
Al turned his head back slightly. Ziggy...
It would be difficult to explain, but they can be trusted. I am sure.
Al sighed. Alright. How long until the shootout?
Five hours and twenty-seven minutes.
Alright. We better start to prepare to put Rosco in the acceleration chamber. Assuming we can keep him concious long enough to do it.
* * *
When Sam came into the farmhouse, he paused a moment and looked around.
Faded images came and went as Sam stepped toward the living room. A
little girl running to him with her long ponytail flying. A man sitting
in the living room who bore a striking resemblence to Rosco, which
Sam knew even though he hadn't looked into a mirror to see the lepee
Nothing had changed. The images Sam saw and the room he stood in were the same. It was familiar, it was comforting and it was all Rosco felt he had left.
There's nothing left for me back in Hazzard.
Sam shook his head and then looked towards the little hallway that led to the kitchen. On the wall was a stainglass mirror which Sam caught a reflection out of as he started to pass. He stopped and looked.
Rosco hadn't shaved in almost two weeks. His blue eyes were shadowed in sadness and exhaustion. His grey hair was tossled and unkept and, according to the residuals Sam was getting, a little longer than usual. Rosco didn't care. He just didn't care at all.
Sam turned away. How could he help a man who didn't even want to help himself? How was he going to find whatever it was that made Rosco want to go back to Hazzard, when everything that was here was all Rosco felt he needed?
Sam looked back to the living room and saw a bookshelf in the corner near a window, lined with old books. Sam walked over and reached for one of the books. When he pulled it off the shelf, he saw it was a plain maroon hard cover book. He turned the cover open and saw the name written in flowing hand.
SarahMae Ellsworth Coltrane.
Sam saw an image of a young woman with short dark brown hair, holding an infant baby girl with her older son peering into the blanket at his new little sister.
Gently, Sam closed the cover of the book and returned it to the shelf. He spotted a small photo album and pulled it off the shelf. He carefully opened it and the first picture was of MaryAnne in a dark brown Sheriff's deputy's uniform, standing next to a dark brown police car that said Finchburg County on the door.
Sam paused at the residuals he got. Pride, fear, guilt, sadness. A cousin. How could it be that a cousin could mean so much, could have so much power over somebody? She may have just as well been Rosco's daughter. They certainly acted like father and daughter after she moved back to Hazzard. He worried about her too much, she told him he was being foolish. And now Rosco felt he hadn't worried enough, for if maybe he had, she'd still be alive.
Sam turned the page to the next two photos. It was almost as if Rosco was trying to prove to Sam that everything he needed was here in Finchburg County and that it would be pointless to go back to Hazzard. But as Sam turned each page of the photo album, the defense mechanism Rosco had set up, the memories of the past, started to break down. Sam started to become overwhelmed by the absolute feeling of lonliness that Rosco was experiencing. Sam turned to another black and white photo and saw MaryAnne at about seven or eight sitting in the front yard of the farm house with two tiny golden retriever puppies on her lap.
Shelby and Sadie.
The image of two other dogs suddenly came to mind. A basset hound and a German Shepherd. From the residuals Sam was getting, Rosco had left them behind in Hazzard and he started to feel sorry he had done that.
Maybe...there's something still left...
Sam closed the photo album and closed his eyes as Rosco started to cry. Even in death, the little girl still had a hold on him. It was as if MaryAnne herself, through the picture, was telling Rosco to go back to Hazzard, and Rosco was starting to believe it.
Sam opened his eyes and put the photo album back on the shelf. Rosco had had enough of crying for the last two weeks. The more he cried, the worse he felt. But he was willing to go back to Hazzard, although he wasn't sure how much of a difference it was going to make.
Following the impulses from Rosco, Sam found the single suitcase and repacked the few clothes Rosco had brought with him. He then left the farm house, and Sam paused as Rosco took one last look at the farm house and the surrounding area. Sam then placed the suitcase in the back of the Firebird and got into the car. He started the car and having only the impulses from Rosco to trust to get him to Hazzard, he drove out of the yard.
Next Chapter...Homeward Bound