Chapter 13: The Prologue Ends, The Story Begins
It would not be until afternoon of the next day before anyone returned to the Foundation headquarters. Marissa had to stay in the hospital overnight for observation, as well as to set one leg and wrap the other in an ACE bandage. Devon refused to leave her side the entire time, so the doctors set up a bed for him in her room. At first, the doctors had wanted to take her comlink, but changed their minds when her uncle put his foot down on the subject. Michael and the others visited, and when it was close to dinnertime, he and RC came in with covered packages. When the two men uncovered the items, the faces of the Englishman and the little girl lighted with surprise. Michael had gotten Marissa a simple cheeseburger meal with the works while RC had gone and picked up something more along Devon's tastes, and it was still at the proper temperature. The older man had grumbled about sneaking in food, although that was spoiled by the sparkle in his eyes and the little, grateful smile that tugged at his lips.
When they returned, Marissa was in a wheelchair. Dr. Alpert had told Devon that until the swelling in her right foot went down, she would need to be in it, but afterwards she would be on crutches. He had also said that she would need help getting about for things that the wheelchair would be unsuitable for, but her uncle would not let that bother him at all and said so.
In the evening a couple days later, Devon and Marissa were outside in the outdoor patio, simply talking and waiting for dinner when Michael found them.
"There you are," he greeted them.
"Oh, hello," the older man had said with a quiet smile, "Is something wrong…?"
"Not really. I was just wanting to see how the little patient was doing—"
"Michael," his tone darkened, knowing a lie when he heard one.
He sighed, then said, "There was an attack this morning at the jail. It looked like a jailbreak, but… that isn't what it was. Parkson was extradited to Canada to face murder and kidnapping charges, so the attackers missed him by a few hours."
"What happened?" Marissa asked.
"Dr. Alpert's secretary and the phony limo driver weren't quite so lucky. They're dead."
Devon nodded quietly at this.
"How is Kitt?" he asked.
"He's okay…a little shaken, but he's all right." Michael then looked at the older man sympathetically and asked, "Are you okay, Devon?"
"Just…stunned, my dear boy. I find that I keep telling myself…that it's finally over. Parkson's on his way to Canada to stand trial and Rissie's here with us."
"I think Mom can rest now," she said quietly.
"I hope so."
Devon sighed and closed his eyes for a long moment. "Hard to believe that almost two months ago, it started with dreams…Rissie dreaming of Kitt, me dreaming of first her, then Verona…and she had been calling for help."
Michael nodded, "A lot can happen in two months…heck, a lot did happen. Kitt's changed, he found Marissa and saved her life…Verona's killer's been caught. Now you two can really start new lives." He blinked, "Speaking of which, you go to court tomorrow, right?"
"Yes, to begin the adoption process." The older man sighed again, then added, "I know for certain that I can't imagine how life would be if even one of you were gone. Rissie, Kitt, Bonnie, and most assuredly you, Michael."
The younger man smiled and nodded. "Same here, Devon…same here."
Devon opened his eyes and found himself…somewhere strange.
He looked about and saw that he was in somewhere rather dark, perhaps closest to black. He didn't know if it were his eyes playing tricks on him, but at times it seemed as though waves of darker black would splash across before his eyes. All about him, though not loud, was the sound of a heartbeat.
It startled him when he heard the sound of footsteps, then a little voice ask, "Here again?"
He looked and saw Marissa standing beside him, in her nightgown.
"This is impossible…you can't stand, much less walk right now," he uttered in disbelief.
"You're here too, uncle?"
He nodded. "You've been here before…?"
"Is that really you two?" another familiar, male voice remarked.
Both turned and saw Michael walk towards them and then stand beside Devon.
"Yes, it's us…but I thought I was asleep…"
Beside Marissa was what seemed like Kitt…although the familiar Trans-am also had a human outline that would appear at times.
The little girl didn't look surprised at all by his appearance and simply laid a hand on his hood, smiling quietly.
Bonnie appeared beside Kitt, first in nightclothes, then in her normal, white jumpsuit. She looked confused, as well as surprised to see everyone else there.
"Any idea just what's going on here? This is a dream, but why am I seeing all of you here?" she asked.
Before anyone else could answer, a golden glow began to surround them all. Again, the only ones not surprised to see it was Marissa.
"You're all here," a voice, coming from nowhere, spoke. It was feminine and had the exact same accent as Devon.
This caused everyone to look about, surprised (well, Kitt's scanner swished about rapidly).
In front of them, a woman materialized. She was as tall as Devon, yet younger. She was shapely even though she appeared to be in her mid-30's, with flame-red hair that went down to her back. She wore a stylish, floor-length white dress that would be more for the ball or a classy function. Her eyes opened, and everyone could see they were green, with a very small touch of gray in them.
"Michael," she said as she slowly turned, "Bonnie, big brother…Kitt…thank you."
"For what? And who are—" Bonnie started to ask, then gasped. "Y-you're..!"
Marissa looked at her and gasped as well. "Mom…?"
Devon nodded, "Yes…this is my sister, Rissie's mother, Verona Miles."
"Yes," she replied, "I am Verona. I want…to thank you. All of you. Thank you for helping my little girl."
"Don't mention it, ma'am," Michael replied, "But the real thanks should go to Kitt. He's the one that found her."
"Yes, I know. But while Kitt found her, all of you protected her and placed Doug Parkson in the hands of justice. Now…now I can rest easier, knowing that you're in good hands with these people, my little Rissie." She walked towards Kitt and lightly tapped on the hood with her open hand. "And my thanks, especially to you."
"I merely did what I felt was right, Mrs. Miles."
"Please, Verona is fine."
"Very well, Mrs—Verona."
"Better," she smiled, then said, "Kitt, I want to talk to the others now. Remember that I am eternally grateful to you."
Kitt hummed for a moment, the scanner swishing in a manner that they all knew was a touched smile before he slowly faded away.
Verona waited until Kitt had faded completely away before she said, "Now…I truly need to talk to all of you about a serious matter. I seek a favor on something, and it'll take all of you to do it."
Devon asked, "What is it?"
His eyebrows shot up, while Michael's jaw dropped and Bonnie's mouth opened and closed a couple of times.
"Come again?" the younger man asked.
"I said exactly what I mean. A very important time has come for Kitt; a critical time has just begun. I don't speak of the car, but the AI himself. I need you, all of you, to protect Kitt and nurture him. He will need all the help that he can get."
"Mom, I wish I could understand," Marissa said.
Verona replied, "You don't need to right now…you will eventually."
"How long is this critical time supposed to last?" Devon asked.
"Even I don't know that, big brother, just that it will be some time, more than a year. But it must be done…and at the end of the time, you will all see the results…results that will shape all of your lives."
There was a long pause before Devon nodded. "I don't speak for anyone else but myself, but I'll do it, Verona. I promise, and you know I keep my promises."
Michael replied, "Of course I'm going to help Kitt. He's my buddy and my partner."
Verona smiled, "He will certainly need you, Michael, more than before."
"I'm in. I helped develop Kitt, so I consider him my baby. I'm not about to abandon him, and if I get the gist of what you're saying, he's going to need us the most."
The woman nodded, then turned to Marissa.
The little girl replied, "Kitt helped me, he saved my life and sanity. I'm not gonna desert him. Not now, not ever."
She smiled. "Fine responses from all of you. Very well, I entrust Kitt and the future to all of you."
"V-Verona," Devon said, "Please…not yet…"
She smiled and walked over to him…then surprised the older man by hugging him.
"I'll be watching over all of you, and I won't be the only one. You'll understand that later on, too."
He nodded and hugged her back, unable to keep a tear from his eye.
When she moved back, she turned to Marissa. "You'll be starting a new life now, dear. You have good friends and an even better family here. Never forget it."
"I'll remember, mom."
Verona nodded and moved back until she was facing all of them, then swept an arm in front of her.
The surroundings around them disappeared in white light.
The next morning, Devon, Marissa and Michael were eating breakfast outdoors, all eating their favorite things. Marissa was trying pancakes with blueberry syrup, instead of maple.
Bonnie came in, looking a little bedraggled.
"Morning, Bon," Michael grinned and waved, "What happened? Hot date last night too much for you?"
She shot him a frosty look, replying, "I didn't even go out last night. But for your information, I had a really weird dream last night."
"A dream?" Marissa asked, "What about?"
"Well…this is going to sound crazy, but I was somewhere pitch black…and I saw Devon's sister."
"Verona Miles, in front of us?" Michael asked, "Kitt having a human outline?"
"Marissa standing, even though her leg was broken?" Devon asked.
"You guys too!" she asked, "Now that's just plain strange."
"Tell me about it. Verona mentioned that a critical time for Kitt had just begun, and that we're all to protect and nurture him. I thought about it and still can't even start understanding it."
"Don't feel bad, my boy, neither can I."
Michael then pressed a button on his comlink and raised it. "Hey buddy, did anything strange happen last night?"
"Yes, actually. During recharge, I had a type of hallucination. I saw Devon's sister and everyone else. She thanked us for helping Rissie, then said that she had to talk to the rest of you. Everything returned to normal after that."
"I'd say we had a visitor in the night," Bonnie replied, "Kitt, how are you feeling?"
"I am functioning within my normal parameters, Bonnie."
"Kitt…I'll talk to you about that…later."
Cathy came out, holding a message in her hand.
"Mr. Miles," she said, "Someone in Miami, Florida called. It looks like another case."
Devon nodded, "I'll be in shortly."
She nodded and left.
Michael chuckled, "Back to normal, eh Devon?"
He shook his head, "No…it'll never again be normal, Michael. Business, though, yes."
The others had to agree about that. Things would never be the same ever again.