He had leaped beyond his lifetime! He was not supposed to do that! Not only was this going to make it harder for Al to find him, but it also meant he was likely beyond Ziggy's capacity for detecting him. Without Al, Sam had to do his own detective work. Within moments of saving the young heiress, Sam realized she was Rose Dewitt-Bukater, an obscure American debutante who had been living in Paris and was now traveling back to the United States. He was now someone named Jack Dawson, something of an artist from the artwork he found in his possession. The most stunning part was that he was on the Titanic, the great luxury liner that sank several miles off the coast of Nova Scotia on April 14, 1912. It was one of the most notorious events in the history of the world. Over three quarters of the ship's passengers and crew froze to death in the North Atlantic when it grazed the side of an iceberg. Because of it, both maritime laws and regulations were affected to keep it from ever happening again. It was all going to happen again, and Sam couldn't stop it. Instead, he focused on Rose to try and get her to be more assertive and in control of her life, falling for her as a result. As Al and Project: Quantum Leap searched for him, they began extending their search perimeters backward into history and got a lock. Once they found him, a deeply grateful Al Calavicci went to rejoin his buddy in the past through modern holographic technology. He found himself in a restored stateroom of the lost ship. Sam was there as well wandering around before noticing him.
"Sam…" Al entered the imaging chamber where he connected with Sam in the past. "My god… We've going crazy trying to track you down. You actually jumped off our grid. Sam, you're on the Titanic!!!"
"I know that! I know that!!" Sam reacted, looked to see if Rose was back then looked back to Al. "How did you find me?"
"Sam, Ziggy lost our lock on you." Al waned his comlink. "The only way we found you was through ALEX at USI. Both Thomas Andrews and Jack Dawson, the guy you leaped into, are in their ready room in Baltimore."
"Thomas Andrews…" Sam started recalling his Titanic history. "He's the guy who built and designed the ship…"
"Yeah," Al confirmed it. "That's who Jason leaped into; he's going through trying to drop hints about what's going to happen about how the iceberg popped the rivets, the flooding of multiple compartments, how the ship can't corner worth a damn and how it would be to just ram the iceberg than trying to go around it, but it's not working. History still says the ship goes down tonight with Jack and Rose still on it."
"Al, he can't do that!!!" Sam responded with disbelief. "Changing people's lives for the better is one thing, but… the sinking of the Titanic was a major, major event in history. Changing it could cause population explosions, major census changes, alterations in maritime law and procedure…"
"I don't think it matters. The ship still sinks tonight." Al sighed and watched Sam pacing back and forth. He noticed the moved bench and the sketchbook open to a blank page. The top illustration was missing, but he could see the bottom indentation of the picture of a naked woman resembling Rose. "Sam, what has been going here?"
"What, oh…" Sam turned round trying to think. "Rose had me draw a picture of her topless on the sofa. I didn't think I could do it, but I think a bit of Jack stayed behind in me, and…" Al was pulling up the recovered image from a dive on the ship the Nineties.
"Wait a second…" Al looked at Ziggy's file on the recovered Jack Dawson artwork. "This was the night she posed for that, and I missed it? Rats!!! We should have locked on faster!"
"Al!!!" Sam scolded him. "You've got to lock on to Jason and guide me to him so we can talk." Sam had to get to Jason and straighten him out despite his good intentions. "Look, we can't stop the sinking, but can save a lot more people if we work together…."
"I can't lock on to anyone, Sam." Al shook his head. "You're in their system until we can get Ziggy and ALEX working together efficiently. Their technology is still too incompatible of ours. Did you know that Jason almost always leaps out of his lifetime? He sometimes leaps as far back as 1200 BC!"
"You're kidding me?!"
"Sam, there's something else." Al waved and gestured with his cigar. "Ziggy has been talking a lot to ALEX, the project control system at USI, and there's apparently something about the explosion that trapped Jason in the past that they never told him." He paused a bit and Sam turned to listen. "It was a bit more than a system failure that lost him. His ex-girlfriend and her boyfriend broke into the institute looking for him and somehow made it into the project control room. In the fracas, their directional system keeping a lock on him was knocked off telemetry and damaged. Apparently, ALEX is able to get him back… but they're having a hard time locking on him because of the way he keeps leaping."
"Why wouldn't they tell him?"
"Personally, I think they're stringing him along to keep his donation checks coming, but ALEX has the theory that unconsciously…" Al paused. "Jason doesn't want to come back. That… he actually likes moving through time meeting these historical figures and changing history for the better." Al looked around and Sam took a moment to absorb that info. "However, Gooshie is working with the USI techs to hopefully merge the systems, our telemetry system with their locking technology to get you both home."
"How close are they?"
"Ziggy says we could have working program in a few days unless…" He reacted a bit worried. "Jason leaps and they lose contact with him again. The systems… just aren't exactly compatible." He looked at Sam again. "Meanwhile, Sam, Ziggy agrees with you and that you have to get as many more people off the ship as you can. Forget about Jason, he can't stop the sinking. Just help as many people as you can."
"Al…" Sam looked for Rose to finish changing clothes. "What about Rose? She makes it right?"
"Rose?" Al puffed his stogie and checked his comlink. "No, Sam… she doesn't make it."