Disclaimer: Knight Rider © Glenn Larson. All non-recognizable characters and organizations belong to me. Please don't use them without my permission.

Dark Alliance: Hit Man

The Institute was a small, square-ish building in the middle of the busy downtown area of the city. The walls were whitewashed and bare except for a small, black-lettered sign by the door that read Institute. Only people who knew about the place ever went there. It wasn't even the real location of the Institute – just a front to keep people guessing.

Sometimes the Institute operated with the law. Most of the time it didn't. Crime bosses had deeper pockets than government officials did. This time they were with the law, if only briefly.

The inside of the building was really nothing more than a hollowed-out shell. There were no furnishings, nothing to make it hospitable. Three people were in the room. A tall, thin man stood by the door, sharp blue eyes guarding the only exit from the room. Brown hair cut neat and trim, clothing designed to blend in. He was a spy and an assassin, whichever the Institute had more need for. There were others like Dmitri, but he was the best as far as skills were concerned.

Standing in the center of the room was a short, squat man with thinning grey hair and dark brown eyes. He wasn't dressed as a business man, although that's what he was. If anything, he looked more the part of a street thug than Dmitri did. He was known simply as the Director, which was something of a misnomer. The true leader of the Institute – the entire reason the Director existed, the reason he had created the Institute and everything it stood for – was sitting cross-legged on the floor in front of him. It wasn't always the profit, and if the Director was in an honest mood, he would freely admit it.

A lot of it was simply the joy of being someone's mentor, and the young woman was the perfect pupil.

Long dark hair hung in a braid to the small of her back. Her eyes were a clear amber and currently locked with the Director's. Her long, slim body was clothed in a black tank-top, black low-rider jeans, and black boots. Her only visible accessory was an amethyst pendant she had been given not too long after the Institute had taken her in. No one had questioned where it came from. The Director had the distinct impression he already knew.

The Director was dangerous because he had power. The young woman was dangerous simply because of who she was and who she allied with. She smiled at the Director, and he smiled back. "So what do we have today?" she asked.

"An outside case, Connor." the Director replied gamely. "A few hundred miles away, a man by the name of Corey Matthews is smuggling in illegal firearms and selling them to the highest bidder. He's creating a lot of chaos for the locals, if I read the reports correctly."

Connor grinned. "And we care – why?"

"State-of-the-art sniper rifles." the Director said. "I think they have a few standard machine guns – the M16 and the AK-47, to be precise – and the sniper rifles are being sold underneath. Last I checked, they were Savage 10FCP McMillans." He smiled as Connor's eyes lit. "I thought you'd like adding one of those to your collection."

"Do you want me to take them out while I'm at it, or just get a gun?" Connor asked.

"Taking them down would be preferable. No point in getting a good weapon if you aren't the only one who has it, am I right?" he chuckled. "You'll be working with the local cops on this one, but that's a good start for your first solo mission. If something should happen, they'll back you up."

"We're more than ready." Connor assured him.

"That's what I'm afraid of." Dmitri muttered, speaking up for the first time.

Connor shot him a dirty look. "We're ready. We've trained for ten years for this."

"Yes. And during those ten years, you've changed." Dmitri pointed out. "He won't let you out of his sight now, will he? You check in on him every ten minutes to make sure he's still there. As far as I know, you still sleep in his cabin." The disgust in his voice was evident. "I wonder how your unique relationship will affect how well you perform."

"I have no doubt they will perform remarkably well." the Director said mildly. Dmitri shut up. Connor sighed and got to her feet.

"Is there anything else I should know?" she asked.

"He'll fill you in on the way."

Connor nodded and walked past Dmitri, exiting the dark building in favor of the bright midday sun. A black Ferrari Enzo waited for her on the curb. Connor smiled warmly as she slid into the driver's seat. "Looks like we're playing the good guys this time, Karr."

Lights flashed on the dash as the car activated. A deep, masculine laugh filled the cabin. Connor was probably the only one to ever hear that laugh. "Inasmuch as we are ever the good guys." Karr retorted gamely. "So, where has the Director sent us this time? Hopefully somewhere away from this city. I know the streets like my own processing units."

"Far enough." Connor assured him. "Madison County, a city called Sarasota. Apparently we're supposed to put an arms dealer out of business."

"And the fact that they're selling the one sniper rifle that you don't have means absolutely nothing?" Karr couldn't hide the amusement in his voice.

Connor grinned. "I always have ulterior motives. As you well know."

"I taught you well." Karr commented proudly. "I've plotted us a course. It should take us only six days if we go nonstop."

"Six days it is." Connor agreed. "Let's get this done."