You'll Get Used to It
Author's Note: I'm not planning to make this more than a one-shot to get the plotbunnies out. If it evolves into something more, great, if not, that's okay, too, but I can't concentrate on "Black Hawk Skimming" while this idea is kicking around in the back of my head. Talk about annoyance. So please bear with me while I just put this one out there! I don't expect it to be great, just something to get the stupid bunny out of my head so I can stop sneezing. I'm allergic.
The kettle whistled shrilly in the kitchen attached to the garage of the Foundation's property for a good half minute, waking the man sleeping on the couch. He spun, pulling out weaponry as he did so, only to stare at the young woman pulling her short brown hair up and tying it off while making her way to the kettle. He made a move to angrily go into the open kitchen, but the deep growl of an angrier engine stopped him short. Kitt was sitting peacefully, double-scanner running smoothly back and forth. He turned further and saw a new Pontiac Firebird, the engine snarling at him, advancing very slowly, a golden scanner making its way back and forth at a quicker pace than Kitt's.
The Knight Industries Three Thousand spoke. "Mike, I don't think that it's a good idea to be holding that gun right now."
"You gonna get my back?"
"Not against him."
A young voice called out, "Karr! You leave 'im alone or I'll wait another day to get that mud out of your grille and engine!" She walked out with two mugs, holding one out to Michael Traceur and moving past him to step between him and up to the still-snarling Firebird, resting her shins against the bumper and yawning. Mike held the mug of black coffee in his left hand while his right held his gun loosely.
A voice deeper than Kitt's spoke smoothly to the young woman. "You wish for something that I cannot guarantee. He still holds weaponry."
"Junior, could you get your driver to at least put the safety on?" the young woman laughed, hazel eyes almost green as she looked to the Mustang.
"Mike, I believe that it would be wise to listen to her. I cannot predict any of the outcomes of this situation."
"Morning, Mi— oh dear Lord."
"Good morning Mr. Graiman!" came the bright chirp from the young woman while she climbed onto the black hood of the Firebird, settling to sit cross-legged and holding her mug of blond coffee between her hands. "I know that you asked me to call before I came over, but Karr needs a bit of work done as soon as possible, and I really didn't think that any normal garage would understand how to handle him correctly."
"Nobody handles me!" Karr growled, causing Mike to freeze up mid-sip of his coffee, trying to decide to run up, grab the girl and get behind Kitt or to get into Kitt and attack.
Anticipating his driver's pending decision, the Mustang moved to gently herd Mike away from the black-tempered Karr. The young woman looked over at the movement, watching Mike, then looked up at the older man who was walking closer, his voice low. "Karr . . . easy now. You're here for upgrades, and I am honored that you trust your driver enough to come here. Please calm down."
Recognizing the aged voice of one of the original creators, Karr's engine immediately calmed down to a purr, but still a bit of a dangerous one. Walking up to the Trans-Am, Charles reached out fearlessly to smooth his hand over the black paint. "You still have the old molecular-bonded shell, correct?"
"Yes, Mr. Graiman."
"Woah, woah here . . . old what, now? And who is the girl?" Mike had put the mug down on a cleared workbench while coming to stand in front of Kitt's fender.
"Ease up, Mike," Sarah said in a laugh, coming to stand beside him. She had been right behind her father, and her eyes were wide and happy to be seeing this new-to-her AI. Karr "snorted," his engine almost stalling in the expression, but didn't move when the young genius leaned against his fender, her hand resting upon the black paint.
The sound of a third engine rumbled as one final black car rolled into the garage. A man just past middle-age cut the engine and stood out. Mike frowned.
"Am I on time?"
"I believe your timing is impeccable, Mr. Knight," Sarah said as she moved away from Karr to lean against the Mustang that she almost considered to be her baby, but at the same time a good friend who was cocky enough to make you grin, but not so conceited to make you want to take a baseball bat to his headlights.The adjunct professor nodded to the younger woman, giving her the floor. The hazel-gazed young woman slid off of the black Firebird and smirked at the former FLAG operative, who shoved his hands into his pockets and leaned against his car. Mike stared hard at it for a moment before looking up at the voice of the girl who had been in the garage before he had woken up. "My name is Gabrielle Knight, Mike. I'm your half sister."
"Wait, what?" The young man snarled at their father, "So you abandoned me, but kept the little girl?!"
"Hey, hothead," she said, her voice almost as dangerous as Karr's had been in the last five minutes. "Lemme finish. I grew up without him around, too. You were the lucky one. You were planned for. I wasn't."
"Dad, I know. You've said that twice a day for the last two years." She sighed and smiled at the former operative who was watching her with worry clearly evident upon his face.
"She's right, Michael."
Everything in the garage stopped at the voice.
Karr swung away from his driver to stare at the smaller, older Trans-Am. A red scanner that had been dark, hidden, ran back and forth once with a soft whoosh before the car rolled forward a few feet non-threateningly to come to a complete stop a few feet away from Gabrielle. "Hello, Miss Knight."
"Kitt, I thought you were . . . that you were gone. Deactivated," Charles said softly, walking closer to the car.
"Why thank you for your concern, Mister Graiman. I will be sure to express the same sentiments in return if ever I find you in a similar situation." The familiar, harmless sarcasm rolled over the older man.
He smiled, then clasped his hands behind his back. "What do you need done, old friend?"
"Overhaul. My neuro-processor is slowing down, and I cannot protect Michael in the state that I am currently being reduced to." The first Kitt gave a very human sigh. "It is disconcerting to be unable to interact with a situation with a lowered rate of information processing rate than when I had been first activated."
Karr growled, coming to rest bumper-to-bumper with the first Kitt, resting at an angle from the second AI. "Brother . . ."
Kitt-the-younger spoke up. "I am not sure that I am understanding the entirety of this situation, Mister Graiman."
Smiling, Gabrielle took the hint from the nod she received from the old man, and turned to look at the Mustang. "Junior, you're looking at your namesake . . . who could arguably have been called your father. The Knight Industries Two Thousand. The newer Firebird is the Knight Automated Roving Robot. Karr. Just like you and Mike are partners, and how Kitt and Michael are partners, Karr is mine, my partner. He was the original AI that Knight Industries produced and activated, however there was initially a problem with the original programming that had been fixed over time and through human contact."
"They called it more than a problem," Karr said quietly. "They called me murderous."
Her hand went out to rest upon the black hood, and she leaned against it, then changed the conversation. "Mr. Graiman, I can work with Dad on cleaning Karr if you want to focus upon Kitt."
"Which Kitt?" Mike asked, still half-glaring at everyone around him, feeling like a tornado had just touched down upon his world. There was a new person who was apparently as well-versed in the realms of having an AI around them at all times, and the fact that she moved as naturally around the black monsters as Graiman and Sarah did was only a little disconcerting.
She turned to smile at him benevolently. "I call the Three Thousand by 'Junior'."
"And I might end up resenting that nickname," was the Mustang's growl.
Mike sighed. "Buddy, I might end up being annoyed with everyone calling you that, myself."
"Rookies," Kitt the elder said with amusement. "They'll get used to it, Michael."
Michael chuckled and walked up to rest his arm against the roof of the car. "Trust me, Pal; if they need help 'adjusting,' you think that you'll be up to it?"
"If not me, then Karr. Of course . . . we all know who will be the more gentle between us."
Gabrielle chuckled and moved away while Karr followed behind her, never more than two feet away. "I almost pity them. C'mon, let's hook you two old geezers up to the diagnostic machines and see what Kitt's problem is, and what's personality disorder of the week Karr has."
"Hmph!" Karr jerked forward, scooping her up onto his hood to cruise over to the work area of the garage, causing tension to rise again, even though Gabrielle's laughter immediately dissipated it. She perched upon his hood and then stood, legs braced so that when he stopped before a machine, she vaulted onto a workbench to reach up and grab a few cables, jumping down to catch the popped hood that Karr shoved upwards. Propping it open and then reaching into the complex engine to plug in a few cables, she pulled her hands out to take her sweatshirt off and toss it onto a stool a few feet away.
Michael and Kitt came over in a more stately, tired fashion, and she hooked Kitt up as well, while "Junior" and Mike followed them cautiously. Sarah and her father read the screen at the same speed, then instantly burst into motion and babbling at Kitt, who answered all their questions as quickly as he could.
Mike sighed and came up beside Gabrielle and their father, seeing the similarities between their forms and faces. They might not have had the same mother, but there was a lot that their father had given them in looks . . . and Mike knew that his and his father's fighting spirit were one and the same. He wondered what his . . . his sister was like under the gruff exterior. Gabrielle looked at her half-brother. "Is that an expensive shirt? Or a favorite one?"
"Good." She grinned, reached into Karr's engine, and tossed a hunk of mud at his chest. He stared down at the brown stain, then blinked and picked it off to toss it at her back with a grin before asking, "Since when do AIs go off-roading?"
"Since we had to get to a house that had no paved road," Karr growled while he felt his driver reaching in and pulling muck out, putting it into a bucket while Michael just stood by. The last time that he had tried to help her clean Karr out . . . well . . . he had bruises for two weeks, and let's leave it at that. "Michael, are you serious that this is your offspring? The male, that is. He seems to be lacking even half the intelligence that you normally possess."
Gabrielle smirked and didn't even call her car on that one. Grabbing a brush and dunking it into a bucket of clean water, she stuck her thin, strong arm into the engine to begin to brush some components off, repeating the dunking to clean the bristles while she went for a thorough cleansing of the mucky engine block.
". . . did your car just insult me?"
"You'll get used to it," Michael and Gabrielle chorused, grinning.
Author's Note 2: I hate plot-bugs that bite at you until you can't WAIT to smack 'em. This will be less than five chapters at most.