Knight Rider © not mine.
For Those We Trust
To say Michael was pissed off would have been an understatement. Kitt had never seen his driver so angry, and certainly never on his behalf, and definitely never at Bonnie. Kitt had seen Michael take out his frustration on Devon numerous times. Kitt himself had used the old Englishman as a handy ear when he needed to vent about things he didn't want Michael to know. Never had either of them troubled Bonnie with their issues.
Except this time the issue was Kitt, and Michael wasn't sparing anyone.
"What do you mean, all missions are suspended?" Michael demanded. "There are a hundred things we could be doing, and you're leaving him locked up in the garage!"
"It has nothing to do with what you think it does." Bonnie said tersely.
"Prove it!" Michael challenged. "Let me take him out. I've got a date tonight anyway – it would do him good to get away from this place for a while." He crossed his arms, his expression daring Bonnie to disagree with him. A lesser woman would have backed down and let Michael take Kitt out. Bonnie was not a lesser woman. She glared right back at him.
"It would be best if Kitt stayed here for the duration." she said levelly. Michael's fists clenched, and for a brief moment Kitt was afraid his driver would strike the woman. He wondered if he should intervene, but decided against it when the yelling started again. "What do you expect us to do, Michael? It's a safety precaution, nothing more!"
"Oh, is that what Devon told you?" Michael bit out. He was standing next to Kitt now, keeping one hand firmly on the Trans-Am's hood. His pulse was racing as his anger grew. "I'm sure that would be fine and dandy, but he's not treating this as a safety precaution. Devon's already talking about making 'other arrangements'."
If Kitt could flinch, he would have. He knew full-well what 'other arrangements' meant. Devon was already considering scrapping Kitt and making another AI.
Who could blame him? No one thought it was possible for the AIs to turn on people. Even if Karr was not programmed the same way Kitt was, there was always the slight chance something could go wrong. Devon wouldn't be one to take the chance.
"Karr could have killed you, Michael!"
It was almost sweet. Michael hated it when people doubted Kitt's abilities, even Kitt himself. Kitt understood his driver, more so than any of them did. He understood what Michael would do to prove to them that Kitt was no killer. Kitt just feared what would happen to Michael if he went too far.
When he went too far.
"You don't know that!" Bonnie sounded desperate. "All we want to do is a few diagnostic tests, just to prove Kitt's programming is up to par! It's more just to reassure ourselves that whatever went wrong with Karr won't go wrong with Kitt."
"I don't need that reassurance." Michael said darkly. "I trust him."
"Michael." Kitt spoke quietly, but it was enough to catch his driver's attention. "It's all right, Michael. They are just doing what they feel they have to do."
"It's not all right, buddy." Michael said just as quietly. "They shouldn't be doubting you like this. It's not right." He turned and pressed his back against the door, reassuring Kitt as much as he could.
It still didn't pass Kitt's notice that he was standing on the passenger side.
It was a simple test run around the track. It was all he was allowed to do, and while Kitt never thought he would tire of testing his systems, it grated that they wanted Bonnie to drive him. Kitt had refused outright, and now she watched him drive around the foggy track from the sidelines. Her computers were tuned in to his frequency, but she was not sitting in his cabin, and that was how it was going to stay. He would not allow any of them to open the doors, and only rarely did he allow Bonnie to look under his hood.
Michael protested in his way. Kitt protested in his own.
Bonnie's voice rang in his sensors, not allowing him his peace.
"All right, Kitt, let's go again, double speed."
Kitt didn't respond. Bonnie wasn't expecting him to. Despite the fact that she was taking Devon's side in this, Kitt liked to think she recognized the injustice being done to the AI. He picked up speed, thoughts racing through his processor as he paid only half-attention to the track. There was nothing on there that he hadn't encountered before, and his sensors pierced the fog better than any human eyes ever could.
He remembered driving this track with Michael in the driver's seat, reassuring him and pushing him past what he thought he was able to go not long after his unfortunate encounter with the waste pit. He remembered how scared he had been, especially when they approached the brick wall. How angry Michael had been with him for doubting himself. How Michael continued to push him all through that mission. He also remembered other missions, ones were the roles were reversed and Kitt was reassuring him, telling him over and over that he would survive and everything would be fine.
He wished things would go back to normal. He doubted they ever would. There was truly no test to prove that Kitt wouldn't turn out the same way Karr did.
No test to prove it to Devon, but Kitt took solace in Michael's faith in him. It was something he cherished, especially in times like this.
Not that he would ever tell Michael that.
"Time to come inside, Kitt."
He broke his silence. "No."
Bonnie sounded shocked. "Kitt, there's nothing more we can do today. It would be more helpful if you would allow us better access to your systems."
"No." Refusal was stupid, but logic had lost its hold on the AI a while back. Probably around lap three. Wilton Knight had not designed Kitt to hold up well under boredom. And even then, there were only so many times one could play chess against a computer. Kitt won every time.
At least with Michael playing him it wasn't as boring a win.
Nothing was boring around Michael, and they were keeping him from his driver.
He sped up.
A sigh, something he'd picked up from all the humans he worked with – mostly Devon. "Bonnie, I refuse to go back in there so you can continue to poke and prod me. I am going to stay right out here, where I can at least stretch my tires."
"Kitt, you have to come in. Devon insists."
"I don't care."
He sped up again. 450 mph was faster than he usually preferred to go, but he could do twice this around this simple track. There weren't even any cones out today like there usually were. This wasn't a test of agility.
His scanners picked up on something 500 yards in front of him, around the next turn. He almost ignored it. Then –
The stupid human was simply sitting in the track, right in his path, and he was going far too fast, too fast to stop to do anything oh no he was going to kill him –
He slammed on his brakes, the tires screaming in protest as he shot around the corner and spun, missing Michael by a wide enough margin. He came to a screeching halt with his driver's side door facing Michael's back. The young man was simply sitting there, a serene look on his face.
Kitt was going to scream. Or cry. Times like this he envied the humans. They had a much wider variety of ways to express emotions. Kitt really wanted to shake right now. He settled for calling Bonnie. "Bonnie!"
"What happened, Kitt?"
"Michael!" It was all he could get out. Shock overruled everything at the moment.
Bonnie ran out onto the track, watching in utter shock as Michael simply stood up from his spot by the car. "Michael! What were you thinking?!" Bonnie's face was sheet white. Kitt had never seen her so scared.
Michael simply smiled at her. "You do realize Karr would have just run me down?"
She hesitated. "Yes?"
"Kitt didn't." He leaned against the car. Kitt was grateful for the contact.
Bonnie opened her mouth to make a retort, but suddenly stopped. Her eyes flickered from Michael to Kitt, and sudden comprehension dawned on her. Even with Kitt's programming, any tech could tell that hadn't been programming that stopped Kitt from simply plowing over Michael.
That had been something else entirely.
Michael nodded in satisfaction as Bonnie struggled for words. "Give that test result to Devon and see where it gets us." He turned to Kitt, completely disregarding Bonnie. "You all right, pal? I think you lost half your tires on the track."
"Michael, don't you ever do that again!" Kitt demanded, his electronic voice shaking just a bit. Just enough for Michael to pick up on it. "Do you realize how close I came to killing you?!"
Michael smiled as he got in the driver's seat. Kitt locked the doors, keeping him inside. "Kitt, you would never hurt me. I know that. That's why I did it."
"That was the dumbest thing – "
"Kitt." His calm voice stopped the car's tirade. "I wouldn't have done it if I thought there was even the slightest chance that you wouldn't have done exactly what you did."
I trust you that much.
"Thank you, Michael."