A/N: As some of you may have gathered this story has been on hiatus for a while (in fact all my stories have!) I never meant four years to pass before I updated but a little thing called real life intruded. Anyway I'm finally back and raring to go – so let's get on with this shall we?
Disclaimer: You all know the drill - I don't own any part of Team Knight Rider – let's just say that if I did it wouldn't have been cancelled.
The person on the intercom at the gate had been distinctly unhelpful, Kyle decided as he drove Dante up the long gravel drive to Judge Drewton's house. Describing the property as a house might have been an understatement; mansion would have been closer to the mark. For the first time in a long while Kyle felt underdressed as he stepped out of the silver SUV and surveyed the building in front of him.
"Big isn't it," remarked Jenny as she slid out of the passenger side of the car.
Kyle turned and offered her a quick smile before walking briskly to the front door and ringing the doorbell.
He had to admit to himself that the maid who answered the door looked less than friendly. She looked over both TKR members with barely concealed contempt and kept them waiting on the doorstep while she carefully examined the ID they had offered. Finally allowing them inside, she sullenly told them to wait where they were and not touch anything while she disappeared through a side door.
Kyle looked at Jenny and raised an eyebrow sardonically. Without a word the two operatives began to examine their surroundings.
The entrance hall was vast and richly, if tastefully, decorated. Jenny looked up from a vase she was inspecting.
"You know FLAG really doesn't pay us enough."
Kyle regarded his beautiful team-mate quizzically.
"What?" she asked defensively.
"Sorry," Kyle responded, "it's just that for a second there you sounded just like Erica."
Jenny laughed – a sound which Kyle had to admit to himself was one of his favourites.
Both TKR members turned as someone behind them cleared his throat purposefully; a sound quite obviously intended to attract attention while managing to convey a whole world of disapproval at the same time.
Kyle swung around, automatically dropping into team leader mode. The man in front of him was short and stocky with a rigid posture and iron-grey close cropped hair. Despite the sweltering heat he was dressed impeccably in shirt, tie and blazer, and Kyle once again felt the unpleasant sensation that he was somehow underdressed.
John Drewton was regarded as something of a high flyer in the legal world. A judge before his fortieth birthday, he had presided over some of the most difficult cases in legal history. Whilst being highly regarded by his peers, he had lately come under fire for his tough sentences and intolerant politics. Unfortunately he was also one of FLAG's most outspoken critics, referring to TKR as "a bunch of undisciplined vigilantes". Thinking about this as he moved towards the Judge, Kyle began to have real doubts about the success of what he and Jenny were here to do.
"I understand you wished to speak to me," said Judge Drewton, ignoring Kyle's proffered hand.
"I'm sorry to disturb you. My name's Kyle Stewart and I'm with..."
"I know who you are," Drewton cut in. "Now what gives FLAG the right to think they can interrupt my family's Saturday afternoon?"
"We've received details of a possible threat to you and your family, sir," began Jenny.
"And the gallant members of Team Knight Rider have swept in on their white horses to save me," Drewton laughed sardonically. "Go on, Miss Andrews. Tell me about your 'threat'."
Jenny looked surprised.
"How do you know my name?"
The Judge favoured her with a cold smile.
"I've made it my business to find out as much about your group as possible. As far as I'm concerned your activities are little better than those of some of the criminals who come before me in court. If it weren't for the fact that you enjoy the protection of our current administration I would personally ensure that you were brought to account for your actions. I will be standing for Congress and you may be sure that once elected I will work to remove your legal protection and to stop all funding for FLAG. It's about time someone took a stand against ex-officio vigilante groups like yours."
Kyle frowned deeply.
"Judge Drewton, we've come here in good faith to warn you about a threat to your safety," he began. "We're well aware of your opinions on our work but whether you choose to believe it or not we are here to help you."
The shorter man turned slightly and glared at Kyle pugnaciously.
"Well go on then," he said. "What's this great threat to my safety?"
"Your wife's former husband, Dr Jacobs..."
"Livingston?" the Judge barked a short laugh. "Your great threat is Livingston?"
As he spoke a pretty woman came out of a side room. Judge Drewton turned and held his hand out towards her.
"Come here darling. These people are from Team Knight Rider. They've come here to warn us that your ex-husband is posing a threat to our safety." He turned back towards Kyle, all traces of good humour draining from his face. "Now you listen to me, Mr Stewart," he said. "Livingston Jacobs is a sad little man who refuses to accept that Mary no longer wants to be with him. He's not a threat, he's just pathetic. I receive threats all the time from serious sources and I'm not about to react to a spurious warning from a quasi-legal group who, as far as I can see, are merely making a pathetic attempt to change my opinion of them."
"You have one minute to leave this house before I call the police and have you charged with trespass."
Kyle and Jenny exchanged a helpless look. The TKR team leader turned back to Drewton.
"Thank you for seeing us your honour," he said. "I'm sorry you feel we've wasted your time."
With that they turned and left.
Back on Sky One Kyle called a team meeting.
"So how'd it go with the Judge?" Duke asked once they were all seated.
"The man's an idiot," she said.
Kyle frowned at her.
"Well he is," Jenny argued. "He hardly let us talk and when we did it was clear he didn't believe a word we were saying. He thought that we'd created a possible threat to try to change his mind about FLAG."
The team leader sighed.
"Well we're just going to have to stop Jacobs and Steel without Judge Drewton's co-operation. Have we got any further finding out where and when the attack will happen?" He turned towards Duke.
Duke frowned and shrugged helplessly.
"Nah," he said. "Without more information I'm still at square one."
"I guess it was too much to hope for that anything about this case would be easy." He looked around the table. "Does anyone have any good news for me?"
The silence around the table was palpable. Kyle sighed again.
"Ok does anyone have anything else to add?"
"Money makes the world go 'round," Plato interjected.
"What's he on about this time?" Erica looked confused.
"Trek?" Kyle turned to the young man for an explanation.
"Liza Minnelli, Cabaret, 1972," came the answer. "Plato you're brilliant!"
"And are you planning on telling us why he's brilliant?" the team leader asked.
The boy ignored him, already staring intently at the screen in front of him, fingers flying on his keyboard.
"Trek?" Kyle said exasperatedly, trying to get his youngest team-mates attention.
"What? Oh sorry. What Plato meant was that if we can trace Dr Jacobs' money we should be able to trace Dr Jacobs. And if we can find where he's based..."
"We can stop him," Duke finished.
"Ok," said Kyle, "what help do you need?"
The young man blinked in surprise.
"Um, I think Plato and I can pretty much handle it," he said.
"Right," Kyle answered. "If we can't find out where and when the attack will happen, I think the rest of us need to see if we can identify any further targets. Let's not focus so much on Judge Drewton that we blind ourselves to any other possibilities."
The basement room was dark and dingy. Hardly the sort of place you would expect a brilliant award winning scientist to have his lab, Livingston Jacobs thought to himself. Still he supposed his activities over the last ten years meant that the scientific community would remember him with contempt rather than respect. But it would all have been worth it if he could just see Melissa again; all his sacrifices, the ridicule, the contempt, selling his services to the highest bidder, all worth it.
One last job and then he would be done. Lewis Steel would pay him well enough that he could afford to disappear and start a new life with Melissa. Steel would gain his freedom and plenty of money into the bargain, Jacobs would get the life he wanted, and as a bonus John Drewton would be dead.
Carefully, Livingston Jacobs took a vial from a lock-box. In a vacuum chamber he prepared a capsule which he inserted into a syringe driver. That, in turn, was inserted into a doll, the needle barely poking through one vinyl hand. He wrapped the doll up well – after all he didn't really want some unsuspecting postal worker to become infected rather than the intended recipient.
Turning to the remaining vials he began to make his preparations.
"Got him!" Trek's cry was almost exultant. "See what I did was..." he trailed off at Kyle's tolerant glare. "Well I guess it doesn't really matter what I did. He's in a town called Havenford not far from here."
Kyle turned to Duke.
"I think it's time to let the Beast out of his cage," he said.
The house Trek directed Beast to was a few miles outside town. The road had petered out to be little more than a dirt track some way back and the house had a distinctly abandoned look to it, with the shutters hanging loose from the windows.
"Are you sure about this, Trek?" Duke rumbled.
"Of course I am," the kid answered. "Dr Jacobs' financial records led straight here... Of course if I'd have been trying to hide I'd have bounced the money around a bit more and made sure no-one could trace it to me," he added with a sniff.
Erica snorted from the back seat.
"Want me to take this place out with a missile, Duke?" Beast growled.
"No," Trek yelped. "If he's got the airborne form of Tarsus inside, a missile could release it into the air – you'd kill everyone within a ten mile radius."
"Better not, Beast," said Duke. "Can you scan the house for me please?"
"There's no-one inside," the truck answered.
"Stay here," the ex-cop said, "and try to stay out of sight."
"What's the point of driving a super-truck if all you ever want is for me to stay out of sight?" Beast grumbled.
Erica laughed as the three operatives ducked inside the house.
The mood in the Situation Room was sombre as Duke reported to Kyle what they had found in Jacobs' house.
"We didn't miss him by much," the large man stated. "He'd only been gone for an hour or two but he'd taken every trace of Tarsus with him."
Kyle swore. All the luck they'd had on this case had been bad. He and Jenny had made one final attempt at cracking Lewis Steel while the others had been searching for Jacobs – it hadn't gone well.
Before Kyle could respond any further, Dante interrupted them.
"Kyle," he said, "you have a telephone call... from Mary Drewton."
Kyle exchanged a startled look with Jenny.
"Hello?" the voice was sweet and more than a little frightened. "Is that Mr Stewart?"
"Kyle Stewart speaking, Mrs Drewton."
"My husband doesn't know I'm calling you," Mary Drewton said hurriedly, "but after you came to see us today..." she left the sentence hanging.
"How can we help you?" Kyle asked.
"It's my daughter, Melissa. You see she didn't come home last night. John doesn't know. He's always so hard on her. I thought she was just acting up – they don't exactly get on. Melissa's not a bad girl but she and John have been fighting a lot lately," she paused. "You coming to see us made me think. You see whatever John says Livingston doesn't want me back. He wants our daughter. He always has," she paused again, taking a deep breath.
Kyle looked around the table.
"Please help me, Mr Stewart," Mary Drewton said, her voice throbbing with emotion. "Melissa's only sixteen. Please. Help me find my daughter."
To be continued………