A Price on Life

tag to Knight of the Drones

"Michael, that's unnerving."

Michael smiled. He was sitting on the couch back at FLAG headquarters, watching as Kitt took a rest in the garage. "What's unnerving?" he asked.

"That. You're simply staring at me." If Kitt could shift on his axles, he would be. It was almost funny how nervous he was making the AI, but the humor was dim compared to the question burning inside him. He shifted back on the couch, averting his gaze to the ceiling. Kitt seemed to relax. "All right, what's wrong?"

"What makes you think something's wrong?"

"Well, for one thing you're avoiding the question." Kitt teased. "That's always a bad sign."

Michael laughed, but it faded quickly. "Kitt, I have a question for you."

"All right."

Michael glanced at Kitt, hesitating. Kitt seemed to tense. He really didn't want to do this now when the memory was still so fresh. But if he waited, he would never ask. "Kitt – why didn't you dodge the missile?"

Now it was Kitt's turn to hesitate. "Do we have to talk about that now?"

He almost smiled. "Now you're avoiding the question."

Kitt let out an electronic sigh. "There was no time. Any attempt to avoid the missile would have caused damage and therefore endangered your life."

It was the technical speak Michael was familiar with. Kitt always did that when talking about something that made him uncomfortable. "Endangered my life. My life is always endangered."

"If it were any more threatened, you'd be on the endangered species list." came Kitt's dry response.

"The point is, you could have killed yourself." Michael overrode him. "Why would you do that?"

The silence wasn't as long this time. "You really need to ask? Once I would have called it programming. Now I think that would demean the relationship."

"What?"

"You are my friend, are you not?"

Michael nodded. "Yeah, Kitt. You know I am."

"I know. That's why I did it."

Michael felt his blood freeze. Greater love hath no man that this, that one would lay down his life for his friends. "I – thank you."

"You're welcome, Michael."

Michael smiled and closed his eyes. He wondered, briefly, if Kitt knew he'd do the same for him. After all, the only price a person could put on a life was another, and Kitt was worth that sacrifice.