This story, Descent Into Panic, is a standalone. It is not placed firmly in either the pre- or post- Mirror Image Universe, nor is it linked to the Virtual Seasons or my 5-story arc.
It was written specifically as an entry for the LeapBack 20th Anniversary Convention fan fiction competition. As such, it differs from my other stories in that it was written to a deadline. Hence it is shorter than most of my works. In fact it was my second submission, Bourbon on the Rocks [also published here] being the first.
I normally shun the pressure of writing to a deadline, especially with the many demands of Real Life to distract me. In this case, it can't have done too much harm.
Both stories were shortlisted to the final ten. Bourbon on the Rocks was ultimately placed 6th, while Descent Into Panic had the honor of coming 3rd.
This previously modest scribbler is now thrilled to be able to say "I'm officially an award-winning writer!" The certificate has pride of place on my office wall at work, where I can show it off to anyone and everyone who comes in. There was even a small article about me in the local paper – my fifteen minutes of fame!
Greater still is the thrill of knowing that printed copies of the top three stories were given to Scott Bakula, Don Bellisario and Deborah Pratt in their convention bags. Whether or not any of them actually read the stories I guess I'll never know, but it is cool to think they may have done, especially since I was unable to attend in person.
My usual 'thank yous' apply as always.
To the creators and stars of Quantum Leap – Don, Deborah, Scott, Dean and the whole team, my heartfelt gratitude for viewing pleasure, inspiration, and new found friends [and fame!] Thank you for literally changing my life for the better, which is at the heart of QL after all.
To my friends and beta readers, you know who you are – my undying gratitude for help and support when it was needed most.
The Internet was invaluable as ever, with much depth of information for me to research on lift design and operation, not to mention the symptoms – and first hand experiences – of claustrophobia.
And of course this time I have to thank the voting committee for placing both my stories in the top ten, and allowing me the tremendous honor of being in the top three finalists.