And here's something that's new for me - I've never written a Knight Rider story before. I hope I've gotten everyone in character...I watched a LOT of episodes to get the gist of their acting...

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Disclaimer: Of course I don't own Knight Rider!

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"KITT…I smell a rat."

No need to clarify that statement. The last echo of the explosives detonating behind us is more than sufficient to indicate where Michael's concerns emanate from. Unfortunately, there is nothing for it but for us to move along, as they say.

At the border between rocky shrubbery and open sand, we pull to a halt. The incoming vehicle has barely registered on scanners when Michael says, "You see…what I see?"

A momentary scan, and…

"It appears to be a large…my goodness. Large isn't the word – it's enormous!"

Michael nods.

"'Goliath'," he replies.

An apt name, that.

"I believe it's time for a strategic withdrawal, Michael."

Michael shakes his head.

"Not so fast…let's see what Garthe's got in mind."

…It soon appears that what Garthe has in mind involves moving towards us at high speed. This leaves ample opportunity to scan his 'Goliath', which is an extraordinarily oversized vehicle I might add…a Peterbilt, if my memory banks are not mistaken. In addition to that…

"My sensors detect that the vehicle in question is armored with my protective shell. Michael, surely you're not planning to go nose-to-nose with that behemoth!"

Michael shifts the car into 'Drive'.

"That's what I want Garthe to think, Pal…but if we're quick enough, we can knock out his right front wheel."

Michael sends us forward, sand flying out from under my tyres and pelting my undercarriage. This will not be good for my circuitry, no matter what result this gamble brings.

My scans tell the precise distance between Goliath and ourselves: half a mile and closing...five hundred yards…two hundred fifty yards…one hundred yards –

Impact! Edge of the other's grill down the hood, alloy tearing like paper, circuits firing wildly with this feeling – is this pain? Is this what Michael feels every time – and now the wheel, sending their smaller shell rolling away, the frame groaning to hold itself in –

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Sudden transition. Sand and shrieking metal turn instantly to pale sunlight.

Jarring.

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"KITT…I smell a rat."

No need to clarify that statement. The last echo of the explosives detonating behind us is more than sufficient to indicate where Michael's concerns emanate from. Unfortunately, there is nothing for it but for us to move along, as they say.

At the border between rocky shrubbery and open sand, we pull to a halt. The incoming vehicle has barely registered on scanners when Michael says, "You see…what I see?"

A momentary scan, and…

"It appears to be a large…my goodness. Large isn't the word – it's enormous!"

Michael nods.

"'Goliath'," he replies.

An apt name, that.

"I believe it's time for a strategic withdrawal, Michael."

Michael shakes his head.

"Not so fast…let's see what Garthe's got in mind."

…It soon appears that what Garthe has in mind involves moving towards us at high speed. This leaves ample opportunity to scan his 'Goliath', which is an extraordinarily oversized vehicle I might add…a Peterbilt, if my memory banks are not mistaken. In addition to that…

"My sensors detect that the vehicle in question is armored with my protective shell. Michael, surely you're not planning to go nose-to-nose with that behemoth!"

Michael shifts the car into 'Drive'.

"That's what I want Garthe to think, Pal…but if we're quick enough, we can knock out his right front wheel."

Michael sends us forward, sand flying out from under my tyres and pelting my undercarriage. This will not be good for my circuitry, no matter what result this gamble brings.

My scans tell the precise distance between Goliath and ourselves: half a mile and closing...five hundred yards…two hundred fifty yards…one hundred yards –

Impact! Edge of the other's grill down the hood, alloy tearing like paper, circuits firing wildly with this feeling – is this pain? Is this what Michael feels every time – and now the wheel, sending their smaller shell rolling away, the frame groaning to hold itself in –

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Again, that sudden transition.

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"KITT…I smell a rat."

...believe it's time for a strategic withdrawal, Michael."

Michael shakes his head.

"Not so fast…let's see what Garthe's got in...

...vehicle in question is armored with my protective shell. Michael, surely you're not planning to go...

...the precise distance between Goliath and ourselves: half a mile and closing...five hundred yards…two hundred fifty yards…one...

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And again…

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nothing for it but for us to move along, as they…

"It appears to be a large…my goodness. Large isn't the word…

sends us forward, sand flying out from under my tyres and pelting my undercarriage. This will not be good for my circuitry, no matter…

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And again…

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"KITT…

what I want Garthe to think, Pal…but if we're quick enough…

pain? Is this what Michael feels every time – and now the wheel…

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And there is it again; the sudden transition from shrieking metal alloy and whirling sand and grit – to early morning sunlight and Michael's unhappy words.

This time, however, I can force out enough power to silence the memory loop before it drags me under again. It is surprisingly difficult…and does nothing to ease the residual ache from impact…

From impact…impact with that gargantuan, overblown battering ram! I reach out, trying to access my sensors, my scanners – anything that can tell me whether Garthe Knight or that brutish monstrosity is coming around for another pass!

My urgency is swiftly rewarded – by waves of static and a mass of error reports. From what little useful information I can filter from the mess, however, I am relieved to find that neither machine nor driver is in the vicinity.

…Wherever this is, at any rate. To determine that requires more effort. I busy myself with self-diagnostics, shutting down power to the systems that are nonfunctional, determining what I have left to work with…while all the while wondering if Michael is all right.

Surely, he must be all right. He was in the car, and the impact was on the opposite side from the driver's seat. He must be…he has to be…Michael's very resilient, so he should be all right.

What do I have left to work with? The primary scanner is barely functional, with the interior scanners in hardly any better condition. Most of my functions are damaged, in fact, and a great deal of my Alpha circuitry has blown out or torn loose…this checklist is becoming increasingly depressing.

What does work? Obviously my CPU…Michael would be able to give me a better readout than my sensors are giving me in this condition, honestly…I really must look quite dreadful. Where is Michael? Is he still inside the car? I'll just check my general interior scanner…at the very least I'll be able to see if he's…oh.

Oh, no.

Michael is…Michael is…halfway out the window. And he's not moving. And the equipment that can monitor his condition isn't functioning. And I can't see whether he's breathing with this scanner. And he's not moving.

Is he unconscious? If I call out to him, will he wake up? I'm fairly certain my vocal unit is functional enough for me to make myself heard…but…

What if he doesn't wake up? What if…no, I don't really want to think of the possibility that Michael might…that he might be…

…I can't call out to him. Not yet. If I call out and Michael doesn't wake up…I can't do it. I don't want to know what will happen if I call out to him and he doesn't wake up.

It's illogical reasoning, I know it's illogical reasoning, and I still can't do it…

…I'll go back to investigating my circuitry. I'm picking up some images from the main scanner – it's barely functional, but it is working well enough that I can pick up a grainy picture or two. The images are rather strange…there appears to be nothing but air beneath my tyres, and the car itself pressed against a wall close enough for physical touch. From what I can deduce from the images, the wall's composition appears to be a mixture of sand, rocks, some desert vegetation…

Oh. The car must be on its side. Michael is half inside the car, and half outside on the ground that the car is lying upon. That makes sense…

And Michael is still not moving.

Let's see, what else is working? Not my chronometer – it's flickering uncertainly between 42:57 PM and 21:09 AM. I have neither any idea what time it is currently, nor do I know how long Michael and I have been lying here since our encounter with Goliath.

And Michael is…still not moving.

…My communication equipment is down, which means that I can't contact anyone. Michael's comlink is broken, unsurprisingly. They break down with some frequency…I wonder if it would be possible to coat future comlinks with my protective shell? It would certainly reduce their frequent breakdowns…coating Michael in my protective shell might not be a bad idea either…

…And Michael…is still not moving…

I'm starting to feel quite uneasy about this. Bad enough that Michael…that Michael is in this state, but in my own state there isn't a thing I can do about it. I can't drive him to a hospital…I can't radio for help…I can't even turn on my air conditioning…

What can I do? Just wait and see if Michael wakes up. I'm useless in this condition…there's nothing I can do but keep my scanner trained on Michael and hope that he wakes up before my power runs out…

…That's a new issue. What will happen once my powerpacks run out of power? I certainly can't recharge them at the moment. If the power fails…that will leave the car as nothing more than a ruined hulk left to rust out here. What a waste…

At least by cutting the flow of power to my nonfunctioning equipment, I can conserve enough power to last me quite a while. There's no way for me to say for certain how long I'll last, of course, until my chronometer is repaired, but it should be more than enough to keep me going until Michael wakes up.

If Michael wakes up.

No. When Michael wakes up. Michael would not be happy if he knew I was having these negative thoughts. He prefers optimism, no matter how unrealistic and illogical it is under the circumstances. So I must think positive. Think positively…

…Michael?

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Michael…please

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…You're scaring me.

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"…KITT…"

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…Wait…what was that?

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"KITT! …C'mon, Buddy…talk to me, huh?"

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Michael? Is that you?

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"…S'my fault…I overmatched us. I overmatched you. I'm sorry…"

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Michael…you're all right!

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"…I'm afraid we…zigged when we should have zagged…Michael."

"Hey," Michael says – and even my malfunctioning audios can hear the smile in his voice, "You're all right, huh?"

I'm pressed to keep a bit of a smile out of my own voice – wavering as it is – as I chide him, "'All right' hardly seems appropriate, Michael…"

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