Before, when Karr was first activated by the Foundation, he remembered the touch of the mechanics. They were always a little nervous and excited around him. He was the first, after all, the end result of years of hard work and research. They didn't want to do anything that might disrupt the programming they had so carefully endowed him with.
What he remembered most was Wilton Knight as he ran his fingers across Karr's hood for the first time. At the time, Karr had found the touch pleasant. Wilton Knight was calm and relaxed, completely trusting in his creation, so unlike the twitchy mechanics or even the suspicious Devon Miles.
Two weeks later, it was Wilton who flipped the switch that sent Karr into eternal oblivion. Wilton Knight betrayed him, while Devon Miles stood back and watched. He was probably the one who convinced Wilton to do it.
He had been reactivated by accident. The two drunk humans responsible had been interested only in monetary gain, and refused to touch him unless absolutely necessary. That wasn't the part that bothered Karr – after all, the humans were merely a way for him to find the Foundation once again. He didn't want to be deactivated once again, but there was the half-idea of finding Wilton and trying to start again. Maybe this time Wilton would fix him rather than destroy him.
Then he met Kitt. That was the part that actually hurt. Karr had been replaced so very easily, by a being with a more correct programming. Karr had been a mistake, and that changed everything.
When he was brought back a second time, there was no going back. There was only revenge, and the two humans he manipulated to get it. When he was first activated, the idea of harming someone who wasn't trying to hurt him would never have crossed his processor. Then t here was only the fury that came from knowing his replacement would live while he was left to rot in the sun.
Not even a decent burial.
The Institute was different still. The Director, after having him reactivated once again, had sat down and explained the situation to him. All Karr had to do was aid and protect a man named Dmitri, and Karr would be protected in return. It was a good deal. Karr accepted, knowing the man was an assassin, knowing that it went against everything Wilton had wanted for him. But Wilton had betrayed him, and this was Karr's only chance to live.
No one wanted to die, not even an AI.
He was repaired and put into a new car body. The entire time, no one touched him more than absolutely necessary. They didn't trust him anymore than he trusted them. Experience had taught him that no human could be trusted.
A small girl once again changed everything. Broken, bloody, but still fighting for all she was worth, even if it was simply for the right to die. Karr admired her. It was the first time he realized he wasn't the only one the humans hurt with a careless touch. So he decided to do something he had never done before. She was young and couldn't hurt him. He opened his door to her.
He touched her.
Connor shifts in the backseat, snuggling deeper into the cushions as she sleeps. They've taken refuge under an overpass and the thundering rain almost drowns out her soft snores. Not for the first time, Karr wishes he had arms so he could hold her. She is still so very fragile, even after all the years of training she has received.
She touches him, and he craves that touch. It's not the physical aspect, Karr knows, it's what that touch represents. It's the emotions that show with every gentle touch, every washing, every time she does a tune-up simply because she can. It shows most clearly in the way she sits on the hood and goes completely limp against the windshield. As if there is nothing that can hurt her ever again.
Connor trusts Karr and he trusts her, the only way two broken souls can ever truly trust – completely and irrevocably. Karr would have to Kill Connor to destroy that trust, and Karr can't do that. He can't even hurt her.
She trusts him. Karr craves that trust, more than anything else. As long as she touches him, he knows her faith has not wavered.
Karr may not be the pure being Wilton had imagined him to be, but that fact no longer bothers him. He can protect Connor more efficiently as he is now than Kitt, with his programming to never take a human life, can ever protect Michael Knight.
And he will protect Connor. It's his solemn oath.