Chapter 6 - Traumlos (© Letzte Instanz)
„Kitt!" Michael could see the red tail lights of the car vanishing into darkness. "KITT!"
It was too late. He knew there would be problems. Not being the fittest anymore, it had cost him precious time to bring down those guards.
In the meantime, the young man was gone.
His decision to watch over him had finally manifested inside him. Kitt was a bloody beginner in being human, like a curious, naïve teenager without any prejudices to the world.
A world that had become much colder.
"Where are you now.." The cop let himself slip into his car, already knowing the answer. He had recognized the Mustang, being well informed about everything Dr. Graiman had launched.
So, his rather estranged son had taken his partner to the new HQ of FLAG. And he didn't like it at all.
HIS partner - no clue of the world he had been born into - would soon be in the hands of an organization willing to use him for whatever advantage it would bring them. That meant, if they believed him. If not, Kitt would get into more trouble than he already had.
In his heart, Michael had to admit that he just didn't WANT Kitt resuming Foundation business. He had had a hard time getting out of it, especially cutting off painful memories. And pain was something he'd spare him if he got the chance to.
No Foundation, no scientists had the right to use him. It was his personal duty to protect him!
Foundation HQ, 5:10 am
"Mike!" Sarah jumped from her seat when the black car drove onto its lifting platform, the driver's door slamming open. "Mike, what happened?! We lost contact!" The young woman ran towards the Ex-Soldier, instantly seeing the reason for his concerned face.
"I'll tell you later.." Mike tried to get the unconscious individual out of the car. "Maybe you can lend me a helping hand and call the doctor." He grinned.
"I don't know what is so funny about this.." Sarah called for a medical assistant to help them with the young man. As it stood, the bullet was not deep inside and could easily be removed from his arm. Now, they had to wait for him to reawake.
"What has happened? And who was that young man?" Dr. Graiman had heard the noise, his face hopeful. "Have you found it?"
It had been his idea to go for the treasure hunt. The data, the AI program, just every bit of it could be a great benefactor in making KITT safer and more stable than he was now. They had started from scratch.. and still got a lot of problems.
The brunette guy shook his head. "No. I mean.. maybe." He remembered Kitt's words. Impossible.
"What do you mean.. maybe?" the grey-haired man shrugged his eyebrows. "Have you found it or not?"
"Hm.. how to say that.." Mike scratched his head, a puzzled look on his face. "I was looking for this Hardware, like you told me," he inhaled a deep breath. "And then, this guy you just saw appeared like a ghost. Without any warning from KITT."
"Why did he not detect him?" Sarah tried to make sense from Mike's talk. "Mike, KITT is working perfectly fine!"
"Sarah, this stranger is.. special.. And if what he told me is true, I know why KITT couldn't see him."
"Special?" Graiman felt Mike didn't want to tell the truth. But why? "Please tell me what you know, even if it is too bizarre."
"Bizarre is no word for it," the brunette man finally sighed. "He told me his name is Kitt. You heard me right, the same Kitt we all talk about. The original one."
"This is impossible."
"Don't tell me," Mike grinned. "I'm not buying it. But his attitude was indeed.. strange. Like someone not made for this time. It may sound weird, but something is wrong with this guy, even if what he said is a lie."
"Could this really be possible?" Sarah had thought it over in a few minutes. "Are you sure you didn't mishear him?"
"Ask KITT if you don't believe me.." the Ex-Soldier grumbled, his pride hurt. "My ears are still working. And IS it possible, just theoretically?"
"Well.." Dr. Graiman cleared his throat, "I am not too familiar with a thing like this.. but given the right people and the right technology, why not? You can get microprocessors into a body nowadays."
Mike let out a sigh. "Anyway, we'll have to wait for him waking up. And then, you can ask him any questions you like."
"Indeed, I will," his boss nodded. "If that is true, we might get a unique opportunity to finally shed some light into what happened to FLAG. No one knows what became of the CPU, maybe not even the Knight 2000 himself."
"OK, and Sarah shall check KITT one more time," Mike said. "He said his signals were blocked. Not good."
"No, you should synchronize each other better," Graiman agreed with him. "I would be very sorry to have something bad happen to you both. And now we all get some sleep."
Mike and Sarah left the room. They had scarcely walked a few yards when Sarah broke the silence: "What else did you not tell my Dad?"
"Don't lie to me, Mike," she scrutinized him. "This guy has been shot. Why? And by whom?"
The brunette young man avoided her gaze. Sarah was still important to him, and sometimes he wished they could be together like they used to.. but you couldn't erase the past.
"Obviously, those people in the complex I was in knew about that guy. They wanted to catch him, specifically him. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time."
"Mike, I don't like it," Sarah pressed his arm. "He means trouble, right?"
"That's what I think, too." Mike pulled her into a gentle embrace, slowly rebuilding the trust they once shared. He still felt a lot for her. "Please stay away from him, ok?"
The young woman gave him a smile: "If you say so.. I will. And now, we better get a couple of hours sleep."
Victorville, CA, 2:24 am
# You lost him?! # Michael could hear Bonnie scream through his mobile. "Michael Knight, for once in your lifetime, can't you do something right?!" She was concerned, of course.
# Do you at least know who took him with him? #
Michael felt like a schoolboy, caught red-handed. Although it had been bad luck, it shouldn't have happened..
"I have a suspicion.." Michael informed her about the Mustang. After the death of Mike's mother, he had been drawn to the Foundation once more - but that had been the last time. After Devon was no more, his ambitions to work with FLAG had gone to zero. Yet, he had no other choice now to get Kitt back than to contact Dr. Graiman.
May the years have played him hard; he knew one thing for sure: Never again would his partner be taken from him. Under no circumstances. Kitt belonged to him, to no one else.
# You're going to FLAG? # Bonnie had guessed his mind.
"I'll have to.. after I get some sleep. It's still a two hours drive, and I want to make it alive."
# Be careful, Michael. #
"I will. I owe it to him."
Back in FLAG HQ, 10:09 am
"Dr. Graiman, I got a call for you," Agent Rivai handed over the mobile. "A Michael Knight."
The yawning man frowned; his look rather puzzled. THE Michael Knight? Why would he call him? And why now? A thought flashed through his mind.
"Give it to me, please!" He took the phone with cramping fingers. "Yeah? Graiman here?"
# Is it safe to talk to you? # he heard Michael's voice at the other end.
"Just a second," he switched to another channel, going far away from the nosy FBI agent. "Now we can talk. What is it?"
When a Michael Knight made a personal call, you could bet it was no trivia.
# Did Mike bring with him a young man, short, black hair? # the cop didn't waste any time. # Clothes all black? #
Graiman hesitated. Whence did Michael know about the unconscious lad?
"As a matter of fact, he has.." he decided to tell the truth, hoping that the former cop could provide him the answers to this very strange situation. "Do you know him?"
# Yes, I know him quite well. And whatever he is going to tell you, you better believe him. #
"At the moment, he can tell us nothing," Dr. Graiman couldn't suppress a mocking tone in his voice. "He's still sleeping, but don't worry. The bullet was not dangerous."
A short silence.
# Don't tell me about bullets, Dr. Graiman # Michael clenched his fist, a wave of anger coming up. Only because of him his friend was hurt! It was not right!
#And don't try to make him talk when he awakes. I will talk to you when I get there. #
"Why is that so important to you?"
Why was everybody talking in riddles these days? He was becoming too old for that, Graiman thought. Michael knew a lot more than he let him know.
# It's Foundation business. #
Now, it all made sense. "Tell me your arrival time!" he took the next pencil to write it all down. Maybe Mike DID hit the jackpot after all!
# Give me two hours, pedal to the metal # Michael calculated the route and time he would need with his car. # Correct address, please? #
"Santa Clarita Valley. Go for the old airport terminal with the airplane hangar. I'll be waiting there for you."
# Thank you, Dr. Graiman # Michael's voice was concerned, agitated. The click of his mobile signaled the end of the conversation.
Curiosity came suddenly. With a check on his watch, Graiman counted the time he had before his short meeting with Carrie Rivai. It was enough to get a better look at this young man Mike had brought along.
At the last second, he stopped in front of the door. What if he would be dangerous? He didn't even know him.. But the CCTV in the corner of the door still glowed with a red dot, so no reason to worry. Everyone would see what was happening here.
He took a chair next to the lad who now seemed to just sleep like a dead. He must have been very exhausted. Foundation business? He was only about mid-twenty, he had scarcely been born when Michael had been on duty. Where was the connection?
And Mike had been the only child he ever knew about.
The original one..
"You don't lie to me, do you?" Dr. Graiman propped up his chin on his hands, sighing deeply. "By God, I wish we could discover what really happened back then.. If you could tell us, it would be a miracle."
No answer came, and the old man called himself an idiot. It just couldn't be! They had the only KITT there ever was. Even if they had to start all over again.. the processor had a personality, but it was just not the same..
"Devon..?" the lad turned with a stifled grumbling, steadying himself drowsily on the bed. "Devon.. is it you?" He opened his ruby shimmering eyes, a hint of magenta in the bright room-light.
"No, I am not Mr. Miles.." Graiman decided to play his part in the game.
"Who.. who are you?!" Like a cat, the lad almost jumped backwards from the bed, in an instant wide awake. He had reacted before he had given his body the command to move. Was that what humans called a reflex?
He felt like a scaredy-cat, his heart pounding so heavy he could hear it in his ears. What was this place? Who was that man?!
"I am Dr. Charles Graiman," the stranger said with a silky voice, understanding that he had just frightened the young man half to death. "And you are in the Headquarters of the Foundation for Law And Government."