A Bad Thing
Heather looked a bit like a little kid caught with her hand in the cookie jar, KITT thought with some amusement. Borden and Drake were glaring daggers at her, while Jess and Raven simply stood to one side. Raven cast a glance at Drake, and the two left the room, Drake somewhat reluctantly. Heather seemed to relax at that.
"So I guess you want to know what happened, huh?" she murmured sheepishly.
Borden's eyes narrowed. "Dang skippy I do." he growled. "Who is Paul Travers and why haven't I heard of him?"
Jess opened her mouth to say something, but Heather beat her to it. "Paul is an ex-boyfriend of mine." she admitted. "I dated him back in seventh grade. Turned out he wasn't as sweet of a guy as I thought he was." She shifted a bit on her feet, and KITT saw anger and disgust reflected in her eyes. "I did something to piss him off – I can't remember what – and he hit me. I fought him off, but he left his bruises. I broke it off with him then."
Borden sighed, but KITT noticed his fists clenched. KITT was finding himself getting angry at this boy he didn't even know, the same way he got angry at Travis before he even got to know the boy. Paul had hurt one of his drivers. Add that to the fact that Paul was with FLAG, and KITT wanted nothing to do with the man.
"Why didn't you tell me?" Borden said quietly.
"I didn't think it mattered." Heather said just as quietly. "I mean, it had already been taken care of. He came over a few days later and tried to beg forgiveness, and Dad threw him out on his butt and threatened his life. About a week after that a couple of our friends found out about it" – at this she cast Jess a quick glance – "and they cornered him on his way home. I haven't seen him since until now."
Jess seemed mightily pleased with herself. "I told you no one gets away with hurting my sister like that. The guys were just handy."
"Yeah, if you could have done it you would have kicked his butt yourself." Heather shot back with a grin. "In any case, it's not like I'm still a helpless little girl. Let FLAG send him again if they want. I'll beat him off this time."
KITT spoke up. "You have trained?"
"Something like that." Heather said easily.
Borden sighed. "Heather, I don't care how good you are, that red belt still won't protect you against everyone." he pointed out. "You need some sort of backup."
"She's got me." KITT protested. "I may not be able to kill a human, but I can injure him."
Heather and Jess laughed. "I don't doubt that, KITT." Jess agreed. "But what happens if he catches her in an alleyway or inside a crowded building? You can't protect her wherever she goes."
"And I don't need him to." Heather said sharply. "Borden, I know what you're saying. Trust me, I'm not getting overconfident. But Paul isn't like Travis. He isn't going to go after Jess and Raven to hurt me. If anything, he'd go after KITT or me directly. And as long as there are no hostages, I can take him out."
"Before he takes you out?"
At that moment, Drake and Raven walked back in and the conversation was dropped. Drake didn't look to happy, but it wasn't the first time he had been left out of the loop. "So we've got KARR hooked up to Raven's computer." Drake said. "The question is, what do we do about FLAG wanting KITT?"
For a moment, there was silence. Then Borden spoke. "Can you make something that looks like KARR's CPU?" he asked the younger boy.
Drake shrugged. "Piece of cake. Why?"
Suddenly Heather laughed. "Genius, Borden. Pure genius."
"I'm lost." Raven said.
"They're going to make a copy." Jess said with a grin. "Give FLAG something that looks like KITT's CPU but isn't. Let them chase their tails for a while so we can figure out what to do."
Raven slapped herself in the forehead. "Jess moment."
Heather and KITT simply laughed.
It took two days for Drake and Borden to put together something that would pass minimal inspection. They really didn't expect Paul to examine the thing in detail the instant they passed it over to him, but passing minimal inspection was hard enough. A lot of it was simply gadgets that had been glued on to the outside of a plastic box.
Of course, to hear Drake put it, it was his crowning achievement. KITT had simply laughed at him. A black plastic box filled with washers to give it the proper weight, the washers wielded to the plastic and each other to keep them from rattling around and giving away the game, courtesy of Jess. Things were moving quickly, and KITT wasn't sure he could keep up. There was some sort of urgency here that he had never found at FLAG with the laidback Devon in control.
This was the urgency of someone who recognized that they were the underdogs, and were determined to do everything they could to fix that situation.
FLAG had all the advantages. The girls had to know that. They were working quickly so FLAG would never recognize their weakness.
KITT was flattered that they would go to such a length for him.
Right now he was parked in the garage, doing his best to look like an innocent, normal car. He was not an incredibly advanced AI, which meant he couldn't scan the area around them. At the moment, he was virtually blind and defenseless. Borden was underneath the engine, poking around but not really doing anything. Drake was crouched next to him, but like Borden, his focus wasn't on the noises they were making.
This was the lookout.
Paul stepped into the waiting room and stared at the girls. Raven and Jess had refused to let Heather handle this one alone. "Have you reached your decision?" he asked.
Heather nodded. "You can have the AI." she said. "But we keep the car."
Paul looked surprised. "You're giving up so easily?"
Heather made a show of looking disgusted with herself. "I wish I wasn't. But there are simply too many of you and not enough of us. I don't like fighting losing battles." She kept her head down, hiding her smirk behind a curtain of hair. KITT could hear them, but it annoyed him that he couldn't see what was going on.
Jess growled. "I just hope you treat him right." she muttered. "He's been good to us."
Paul nodded. "We will treat him with the utmost respect." he said, picking up the AI box from the table. He examined it a moment, and nodded to himself. "I'll talk to my superiors about letting you keep the Trans-Am. There's nothing in there we can't reproduce. I might have to come back to disable some of the gadgets on there. Wouldn't want you hurting yourselves, now would we?"
Raven scowled. "No, I guess not."
Paul nodded to them. "Don't leave town with that car." With that he was gone. The girls breathed a sigh of relief.
"Well, now what?" Raven muttered.
KITT came back online as the girls came back into the garage. Borden and Drake moved to sit in front of his bumper, the girls crouching in front of them. "The way I figure it, we have at least a few weeks before they realize what we did and storm all over us." Borden said. "That should give us some time to get the heck away from here."
"What about Dad and Mom?" Heather asked.
"I can get them to stay with Grandma up north." Borden responded easily. "You know Mom would love the chance to never have to cook again." Heather chuckled tiredly.
"That settles it." Raven said. "Jess and I will get our family out of here. We have relatives down south they can stay with. Once everyone else is in the clear, we'll get the heck out of dodge."
Drake nodded. "My family is already up north, so it's not like they're in the firing range, but I'll give them a call and alert them just in case."
"But where do we go?" Heather wondered.
"The desert." KITT said suddenly. "As far away from this town as we can get."
Borden agreed. "The desert it is then."
AN: This is it – the final chapter of this crackish story. There will be a sequel – soon to arrive as soon as I clear out the other stories I'm not actually going to finish. (sighs) You know the drill – review, and I'll get the sequel going as soon as I can.
In the meantime, I remain yours truly,