When the blue light faded and Sams senses started gathering information, he realized he was behind the wheel of a tan interiored, fast speeding car. The sound of a police siren blared in his ears. Ahead of him he caught a glimpse of the tail end of a late 60s Dodge Charger.
He then suddenly realized that the dirt road he was on turned sharply. Sam slammed the brake and swung the steering wheel to try to make the turn. The car skidded sideways and came to a sudden hard stop against a large bush. Sam looked up as the Charger disappeared down the road. As it went around the bend he saw the large black 01 on the door of the orange car.
I dont believe it, Sam said listening to the new voice he had. It cant be...he thought. Ive been here before. I know I have! Slowly, Sam turned his head to see the face in the rearview mirror.
What stared back at him were the incredible blue eyes of a man somewhere in his early to mid fifties. Sam took the black cowboy hat off to reveal a full head of grey hair in varying shades. Sam had this peculiar sense of recognition, half from a memory residual from who he had lept into, the other from his own memory.
Sam suddenly opened the door and stepped out of the car. He pushed it closed and stared at the gold star on the white door.
Hazzard County Sheriff.
Al?!? Al, where the heck are you?
Sam looked around the country side for the hologram of his friend.
Al! he hissed.
Suddenly, Al appeared at the back side of the Plymouth Fury.
Sorry about that, he said. Ziggy had a hard time pinpointing your location. Gooshie dropped me in the middle of town and at a bar before I finally got here.
Al, I was chasing an orange car, the-the-the-
Right. Im back in Hazzard County aint I?
Al was looking at the hand link. Yup. He paused and looked at Sam. Wait a minute. You remember being here before?
A little. I dont know how to explain it. I dont know if its the residuals Im getting or what but I know Ive been here before.
You have. The last time you were here you leapt into Bo Duke. And it was 1981.
I guess Im not a Duke now then?
Nope. Al punched a few buttons on the handlink. You are Sheriff Rosco Pervis Coltrane. Fifty-five years of age.
I knew the face looked familar.
And its December 28, 1986.
Okay, so what am I here for? What do I have to do?
Al was looking at the handlink. Ziggys working on it. I can tell you that the County Commissioner is about to call you on the radio.
There was enough time for a heartbeat before the radio in the patrol car crackled to life.
Rosco!! Have you caught them Duke boys yet?
What do I tell him? Sam asked after he reached in and grabbed the mike off the seat.
Repeat after me. Thats a negatory, uh, little fat buddy. They got away.
Sam laughed. I gotta say that with a straight face?
Sam pressed the talk button and trying not to giggle he said, Thats a negatory, uh, little fat buddy. They got away. He released the talk button before he snickered.
Sam flinched at Boss Hoggs voice thundering through the radio. Another memory residual from Rosco gave Sam the feeling he shouldnt try to apologize.
Alright, alright, Boss continued. You just get your butt back here to town on the double, ya hear?
Ten-four, Al said.
Ten-four, Sam said into the mike. He looked at Al. Where do I go now?
To the courthouse in town. Ill ride with you, Al replied.
Driving back to town, Al filled Sam in with what information Ziggy could get.
Okay, if you remember the County Commissioner is Jefferson Davis Hogg, also know as Boss Hogg, and Rosco is his brother-in-law.
Same paused. By way of who?
Roscos sister, Lulu. Shes married to Hogg.
Oh, Sam said, relieved that Rosco didnt have a wife that Sam would end up meeting, which usually could be very awkward.
Anyways, Al continued, Boss Hogg is as dishonest as they come. Always looking to make a quick buck by usually scamming somebody else.
I remember, Sam said. Wasnt he trying to put the man I leapt into and his cousin in jail?
Thats right. Take a right at this next road here.
Sam did. Oh wait, he said. Is that why Rosco was chasing them this time? Is Hogg trying to frame them for something?
Al checked the handlink, pushing buttons and getting a series of beeps and boops in return.
Yeah. According to Ziggy hes claiming they stole some jewelry from the jewelry store. Thing is, Hogg owns the store, had the jewels stolen, is going to try to fence them and then collect from robbery insurance on the jewels.
He has quite the gift for graft and for what they around here call shucking and jiving.
Sam smiled. I seem to remember the Dukes were pretty good at it in their own right. The vivid memory of Daisy Duke dumping a pitcher of beer on Rosco to help the boys escape came to mind. The weird thing was Sam could see it from both points of view. His own, as Bo, and Roscos.
Yeah, but you have to remember, Sam, Rosco isnt very often on the Dukes side. He gets a take from Boss Hogg, which means when Boss Hogg tells Rosco to do something, he does it. Otherwise, he could lose his job.
Great, Sam muttered.
Oops, speaking of the devil, hes waking up at Project.
Al, wait-- Before Sam could utter another word, Al disappeared.
It was no use. Sam was on his own for now until Al returned.
At least I made it town, Sam thought as he brought the patrol car around the square and stopped infront of the County building. Sam picked the black cowboy hat off the seat and put it on his head and then got out of the car.
After he came into the county building, Sam looked carefully at the stenciling on the doors, not even sure of what he was looking for.
I dont even know where the heck Im supposed to go, he thought as he cast his eyes upon the door to the booking room. Another memory residual from Rosco was giving him the feeling that this was the right door. Sam slowly pushed it open and peered in.
The booking room was empty, except for a basset hound lounging on a bench below the desk that was a level up. The basset was looking at him.
Sam paused at the bizarre recognition he had of the dog. Fl--Flash. He pushed the door open and came into the booking room. The basset watched him, then suddenly got to her feet.
She growled at him a bit as he approached.
Im not going to hurt you, Sam said as he reached his hand out to the basset in friendship. Im here to help Rosco. He gave Flash a rub behind her long ears and the dog accepted it, and him. He kneeled down closer to her and she lifted her head and gave his face a lick.
Sam smiled. I may need your help too.
Flash wagged her tail and gave a bark in affirmitive.
At that point the door to Boss Hoggs office suddenly swung open.
Rosco, will you get your butt in here now and stop talking to that miserable hound of yours.
Flash growled and sat back down on the bench. She rubbed her head against Sams hand, pushing it in the direction of the office, telling him to go on. Sam gave her a pat on the head in appreciation and turned towards Boss Hoggs office.
* * *
The two men Boss had hired, meanwhile, were sitting in their car a few
miles outside of town, looking over the jewelry they had just stolen.
I dont like it, the heavy set light brown haired man said. Weve got a fortune in jewels here and were gonna be stupid enough to just accept a pidly 30% cut from Boss Hogg?
What are you sayin, Cliff? the thin man with black hair asked, sitting behind the wheel. That we should fence them ourselves?
Exactly. Whats Hogg gonna do about it? Turn us in? He practically gave us the key to the front door of the store.
The thin man smiled. I guess we make an appointment to see the Reverend in Atlanta huh?
You got it.
* * *
The smell of cigar smoke stung Rosco's nostrils. "Boss?" he
moaned as he opened his eyes. His vision slowly came into focus on
the cigar in Al's right hand. He fought to make sense of the hazy image
before him, but his vision blurred again and his world went dark.
Al watched with concern as the man he stood over drifted between conciousness and sleep.
"Dr. Beeks," Al addressed the slender, smartly dressed woman behind him. He turned slightly to face her. "What's wrong? Why isn't he waking up?"
The woman shrugged. "We don't know yet, Admiral. There seems to be nothing physically wrong with him to prevent him from waking. There is a slight difference in his neural patterns, but they're within the norm."
Al growled softly and focused his attention back on the still form in front of him.
"Sheriff?" Al said. "Sheriff Coltrane?" he repeated as he lightly patted Rosco's face.
Rosco's eyes opened slowly, this time focusing on the dark, unfamiliar face before him.
"Who are you?" Rosco managed to whisper. "What did you do to Boss?" he asked insistently as his voice grew a bit stronger.
"My name's Al. Uhh.. you're in.. uh.. a hospital," Al explained, not sure if a man in Rosco's condition could take the shock of the reality of the situation.
As Rosco stared at Al seeking further explanation, Al told Rosco that he had been injured in the line of duty and assured him his Boss was okay. It was a lie, but it would be more believable to Rosco than the truth right now.
"MaryAnne? What about MaryAnne?" Rosco asked.
"She's fine, too," Al said as he placed his hand on Rosco's shoulder to keep him from attempting to get up. "You need to stay in bed...at least until we determine you're alright."
Al's words were wasted. The sheriff had already lost his latest battle with conciousness.
Al turned back to Dr. Beeks. "Well, I'm getting nowhere fast with him," he said, nodding toward their unconcious visitor. "I'm going back to check on Sam. Keep an eye on the sheriff and let me know if anything unusual happens."
Al barely had time to see Dr. Beeks nod as he marched out of the waiting room and toward the imaging chamber.
* * *
Sam was trying very hard to keep up with Boss Hogg, who was going off
about Rosco having let the Dukes get away, then wondering how the boys
were going to be caught to make sure Boss could still salvage his plan
to make a quick million or two.
When Boss started going on about how he suddenly remembered that the jewels the two men he hired to steal were paste, Al appeared.
Listen to him, Al said. This is gonna have an effect on why youre here.
...had paste put in the store and the real ones are in a safe in the basement of the store. If Cliff and Ricky try to fence the ones they stole theyre not gonna be happy to find out theyre paste.
Uh-oh, Sam said.
Exaclty. So you get back out there and get them Dukes. Meanwhile, I gotta try to get to Cliff and Ricky.
Hes too late, Al said as Boss went to the hat rack and grabbed his white Stetson hat. Sam got up as if to follow Boss out of the office. He followed him into the booking room then slowed to a stop and watched Boss leave the booking room. Sam then turned to Al.
Has Ziggy figured out why Im here?
Most of it. First of all, the two men Mr. Hogg hired are already on their way to Atlanta to try to fence the jewels. Its there that theyll find out the jewels are paste and theyre going to come back to Hazzard gunning for Boss Hogg. Literally.
So what do I do? Save Hogg?
No. Rosco has cousin, MaryAnne. Shes 29 years old and is one of his deputies. Its her you have to save.
Sam and Al glanced at her then Sam asked, How does she come into this?
Ziggy hasnt figured that part out yet. Only that you have a ten percent chance of saving her.
Ten percent?! What the heck kind of odd is that?
Thats only at this point. Something may happen that could improve the odds.
Or decrease them. Damn.
Flash howled again and made her way off the bench. She looked at Sam and Al, barked, then trotted toward Roscos office. She stopped at the door and barked at Sam and Al again. They followed the basset into the office. She pointed her nose up towards the table where a framed picture stood and barked again. Sam approached it and picked it up to look at.
It was a picture of Rosco, and another man and a woman in deputies uniforms. Al looked too.
"Thats her in the middle there, he said. The other man is... Al checked the handlink. Enos Strate.
Sam studied the picture of MaryAnne. She was an attractive woman with shades of her cousin in and around her eyes. In her hand was a leash that was attached to a proud looking black and tan German Shepherd police dog. They were standing next to one of the white Plymouth Fury patrol cars with Flash sitting on the hood and Rosco near her. Enos was standing behind the open driver door, the gold star decal facing the camera.
What else can you tell me about MaryAnne? Sam asked.
Al pushed some buttons on the handlink. MaryAnne lost her mother when she was five and her father passed way two years ago. She moved back here from Finchburg County last year to be closer to what she had left of family, which is Rosco. She has a brother, but hasnt seen him in years. Rosco became sort of an older brother and surrogate father to her. She means more to him then he even realizes.
Woof!! Flash barked. She turned to the bookcase and pointed with her nose again.
Sam looked. He saw the binding of a small photo album and pulled it off the shelf. Flash wagged her tail, signaling that Sam grabbed the right book.
Sam looked at the photo album. It was worn with age and he flipped it open to reveal black and white photos. He and Al studied them closely. Sam recognized Rosco in one of the old photos. The Sheriff was young, with a crop of black hair and angular facial features. He was dressed in a sheriffs uniform, with a black jacket, and he stood next to a 1955 Chevy patrol car. The date on the edge of the photo was 1961. In another picture from the same year, Rosco was sitting down in a chair in a living room with a little girl sitting on his lap. She had his black hat in her hand was looking at him with a big smile on
her face, as if to say, look what I got!
Thats her, Sam said on impulse. He looked at other pictures, stunned at the fact he seemed to recognize the people in them. Roscos parents, MaryAnnes parents, other relatives. He felt like he was invading someones privacy and he gently closed the photo album.
Whats the matter? Al asked.
Sam shook his head. Too much recognition I guess. He placed the photo album back on the shelf. I feel like Im being nosy. He paused. Look, what should I be doing now?
Well, until Ziggy can pinpoint more about whats supposed to happen, you better do what Roscos supposed to do, Al said.
Find the Dukes?
Flash barked at Sam and raised a paw to him. Sam looked at her and when she barked again, something clicked and he bent down to pick her up. He settled the dog into his arms, and along with Al, they walked out of Roscos office and out of the booking room.
Coming out of the courthouse, Sam watched as a second white Plymouth Fury came around the square.
There she is now, Al said.
After the car came to a stop, Sam watched the young woman get out. As she came around the car, she looked at him with ice in her blue eyes. Sam was suddenly hit with a memory residual from Rosco, that MaryAnne was mad at him about something.
Before he realized it, Sam was speaking. MaryAnne--
No, no, dont start, she spat. I heard you and Boss Hogg on the radio. Dammit, Rosco, you act like this is all some kind of game. I dont see whats so fun about breaking those boys probabtion and sending them to prison for something they didnt do. This is starting to really tick me off, Rosco, so you can forget about me helping you catch them. And I dont give a pigs eye if Boss fires me as a result! She stormed on to the courthouse door.
Sam stood in stunned silence for a moment. Ouch.
Yeah, shes not very happy with Rosco at the moment, Al said.
Thanks for warning me.
She doesnt like him being crooked, Al continued, and blames Boss Hogg for making him that way. Al looked at the handlink. Which is pretty much true. It was Boss Hogg that put Roscos pension on the chopping block 12 years ago. If Rosco had never lost his pension, he probably would have never gone crooked.
I guess trying to apologize would be pointless.
Sam sighed. He stepped toward Roscos patrol car and placed Flash into the car through the open passenger window. He settled Flash into the passenger seat and then turned to Al.
How is Rosco?
Hes all right, but he keeps going in and out of conciousness. He was fully awake long enough for me to tell him my name and that he was in a hospital. His vitals are normal but its like hes caught somewhere between waking up and staying out.
Sam thought for a moment. There might be a connection between that and the memory residuals Ive been getting.
Yeah, and theyre getting stronger each time.
Ill have Ziggy keep a close eye on Roscos neural patterns and run a check against yours.
Flash barked at Sam just as someone was walking up the side walk. Sam turned to Flash just as the person walked by.
Its going to look like Roscos talking to air, Sam said.
Al looked at the handlink. Well, heres something that might be helpful. Rosco talks to Flash here all the time.
Sam smiled. I can talk to her while answering to you, huh?
Hey, if itll keep Rosco from lookin like a loony it may be the best thing to do. In the meantime, you better get going. Ill tell Ziggy to keep a close eye on Rosco.
Okay, Sam said.
* * *
While Sam was heading out to the Duke farm, with Flash barking and pointing
with her nose to tell Sam what roads to take, Cliff and Ricky were
just entering Atlanta. When they arrived at the Reverends
place of business, they enthusiastically showed him the jewels. The
forty-something, red haired man seemed impressed at first, but upon
closer examination his good attitude quickly faded.
You think Im some kind of idiot? he said pointedly.
Cliff looked at him dumbfounded.
These jewels. The Reverend held up a string of pearls. Very nice. For being paste.
I cant believe you two would try something like this. He tossed the pearls on the table. Cliff grabbed the pearls and looked at them.
Hogg, he growled. He snookered us, Ricky.
Who is this Hogg? the Reverend asked.
Hazzard County Commissioner J.D. Hogg. He hired us to rob his jewelry store. Originally he was going to fence these and give us a thirty percent take.
The Reverend chuckled. This J.D. Hogg sounds like a shrewd business man.
Cliff threw the pearls on the table. Backstabber. Hes gonna pay for this.
From your tone it sounds like itll be dearly, the Reverend said.
Cliff looked at him. Very dearly.
* * *
Ziggy had just started to monitor the neural patterns of Rosco and compare
them against Sam when Rosco suddenly woke up. He called out, as if
in pain. Everyone in the holding area, including Al, swung around to
face him. He was looking around frantically, his eyes scanning the
ceiling and the room.
It was like he was caught somewhere in a nightmare. He tried to move but seem to be gripped with paraylsis.
Ziggy, whats going on?! Al demanded.
I am not sure, but he must be sedated. It is affecting Dr. Beckett.
Al turned to one of the members of the med team who immediately went to prepare a tranqulizer. When she returned, along with four other members of the med team, they approached where Doctor Samuel Becketts body lay. The four meds held a firm grip on Rosco and she injected the stream into the body.
In half a minute, the convulsions stopped. The eyes closed and Rosco was asleep again.
At the same time in Hazzard, Sam had just pulled up to the Duke farm. At the exact moment Rosco had woken up, Sam was hit with a terrible headache.
Ahh! He brought the patrol car to a sudden stop in the middle of the yard and put his hands to his head.
Flash wimpered in concern.
Sam grabbed the door latch and got out of the car just as Daisy came out of house. Sam couldnt even stay on his feet and he fell to his knees bending over and touching his head to the ground, as if the gravitational force of the earth would suck the intense pain from his head.
Rosco? Daisy rushed over to him.
Sam lifted his head a little. His vision blurred and the Duke farm faded into another farm house. A little girl in pigtails was looking at him and saying something but he couldnt hear. All he could sense was the grains of sand and dirt from the Duke yard in his hand. He curled his fingers in the dirt and then made a fist.
Rosco, whats wrong? Daisy put an arm around his shoulders and then touched a hand to his pale face. She gasped at how hot he felt.
Oh, Rosco, youre running a fever.
Sam turned his head to look at Daisy. He knew it was Daisy but that wasnt who he saw.
MaryAnne... he whispered. A lifetime of images flashed before him. Roscos lifetime. From childhood to the present.
The frightening image of MaryAnne being comforted by him as she lay dying on the street sent Sam reeling.
Noooo, he moaned. He tried to blink away the image but if refused to go. Help me, he said. Daisy, you gotta help me.
Of course. Do you think you can make it to the house?
Sam gulped. Ill try.
"Okay, come on. Daisy grabbed the black cowboy hat and helped Sam get to his feet. She walked him to the house with Flash following.
Sam stumbled through the kitchen and made it to the couch in the living room. Its like somebodys jabbin ice picks into my head, he said as he fell into the seat.
Daisy fixed the pillows at one end of the couch and then turned Sam to lay down. She put the hat on the coffe table and then loosened his necktie and top button on his shirt.
Youre gonna be allright, Rosco, she said as she rushed into the kitchen and grabbed a towel. She ran it under the cold faucet, completely saturating the towel. She rung it out a little, folded it in a rectangle strip and came back into the living room. She placed the cool, damp cloth on Sams forehead and then placed her fingers to his wrist to check his pulse.
His pulse was erratic and his breathing was becoming labored.
Oh, Rosco, hang on sugar, Daisy said and then turned to the CB set. She grabbed up the mike and pushed the talk button. Uncle Jesse, Bo, Luke? Somebody? Oh, anybody got their ears on out there? Please respond!
It was a couple of moments before Luke answered first.
Luke here, Daisy. Whats wrong?
Its Rosco. Hes here at the house.
Can you get out?
No! No, Luke you dont understand. Hes ill. Hes really ill, hes running a fever hot enough to burn this house down. You guys gotta get back here and help me.
Ten-four, Daisy. Were on our way. Cooter, did you copy that?
Thats an affirmitive yall. Ill go get MaryAnne and see you there in a few.
Okay, Daisy said. Okay, Im gone. She put the mike down and turned back to Sam.
His head was turned to one side and his eyes were closed.
Oh no, she said. She removed the towel and touched a hand to his face and forehead again. He was still hot with fever and his breathing had become shallow.
Oh Lord. Dear Lord, help him.
Al appeared at this point to check on Sam.
Flash howled at the hologram.
Hes okay, Flash, Al said while pushing buttons on the handlink. I know it doesnt seem it but hell be okay in a few minutes.
* * *
Cooter, cant you make this thing go any faster? MaryAnne
asked. She was holding on to Bandits collar as the tow truck
flew over the dusty road.
Its givin' everything its got, MaryAnne. This aint Maverick or the General you know.
I know. I just wish it could spread wings and fly thats all.
Were almost there.
When they drove into the yard, MaryAnne had the door open and was stepping out of the truck before Cooter even brought it to a complete stop. With Bandit running beside her, MaryAnne dashed to the porch door.
She came into the house and went through the kitchen to the living room where Jesse, Bo and Luke had just come in.
What happened? she asked anxiously as she kneeled down next to the couch and looked at Sam. He was still unconcious.
As Daisy explained to MaryAnne what happened, Al watched MaryAnne take Sams hand and gently touch her other hand to his face. Bandit was looking at the stranger who was lying on the Duke couch. He growled causing MaryAnne to look at him. The dog approached Sam and investigated a bit. MaryAnne watched as Bandit sniffed at Sams hand and arm and then suddenly seem to fine with what was there.
I dont know either, Bandit, MaryAnne said.
When Al heard Daisy say that Rosco called her MaryAnne one minute then Daisy the next, Al looked at the handlink.
Remembering what Sam had said about the residuals getting stornger, he returned to Project.
Next Chapter....Not Alone