It's time to finally start posting this. For all of you eagerly awaiting the next installment of the 'Legacies' saga, sorry. That one's kind of stalled right now. But this should give you all something new to chew on.
I do not own 'Airwolf' and/or 'Knight Rider'. Not a thing. They below to their producers. No money is made off this in any way shape or form.
Credit must go to Rachell500 for allowing me to use her 'Lost Season' & 'Finding Family' Airwolf stories as background for this story, though with a minor AU element (from the last story in her set). Also I'm using Kosmos's Knight Rider stories as background. It's not important that you read them, but I heartily recommend them to all, both sets. The lack of response to my request I'm taking as tact approval.
The road wound on ahead of him, disappearing into the horizon where rock formations rose up into the darkening sky. There was almost no traffic about to note the passing of the jet black 3rd generation Pontiac Trans-Am as it seemed to glide over the asphalt. A set of lights ahead changed, and the car rolled to a halt at the line perfectly.
As it sat quietly idling, a passing youth looked over the sleek lines of the car. It was an old car, but it still looked the part. Every inch of its length screamed speed and power. He frowned when he noted the narrow slot in the hood near the front, within which a row of red lights lit up and dimmed in sequence, creating a sweeping red light. He shrugged it off as an after market accessory.
He'd more than frown had he seen inside the tinted windows. The dashboard had none of the dials or gauges that a normal car had. Instead it was a sweeping array of lights, buttons and digital displays, with a pair of small TV screens mounted near the centre of the car, orientated towards where the driver would sit. The gull-winged steering bar, instead of the normal wheel, reinforced the image of a futuristic aircraft.
But the most disconcerting thing of all was that there was no one sat in any of the seats.
As the car sat waiting for the lights to change, two more cars pulled up in a squeal of brakes and tyres. Both were smaller hatchbacks heavily modified with aftermarket body kits and 'tuner' parts. The front and rear fenders had been replaced with sculpted carbon fibre ones, while side skirts and oversized spoilers had been added. Garish paintwork was blazoned over the body work, and a barrage of profanity filled words spoken almost too fast to follow boomed out of them.
"Oh no..." A slightly electronic sounding voice spoke within the Trans-Am, with a light Boston accent. "Tricked up hatchbacks, horrendous paint work and bad rap music?"
One of the drivers, barely nineteen, looked across at the Trans-Am and chortled. "Hey, fellas! Check out this ancient ride!"
"Ancient?" The voice spoke from within the Trans-Am again.
The Boy-Racers didn't hear the voice over their own 'music'. "Woha, man, that things OLD! Dat's so lame!"
"Yea man, this shit belongs in a junk yard man!"
"I take great offense at that." The voice spoke up, much louder now, startling the young men. "For your information, I could leave those Tonka-toys of yours in the dust."
"Watch your mouth old timer!" The first yob snarled, revving the engine of his car loudly.
"Sounds like you've lost your exhaust." The Trans-Am replied. "But if I'm supposed to be impressed, you failed."
"Oh yea? Step outta the car..!"
"Hey bro, let's just smoke this punk!" The other driver called as the first opened his door. After a look at the road ahead, the first boy-racer grinned and jumped back into his car. Both yobs gunned their engines, eager to start the impromptu race.
"Why do I bother?" The Trans-Am spoke quietly.
After a couple more seconds the lights changed and all three vehicles tore away from the line. Both boy-racers were level, tires squealing, but the Trans-Am took off like a rocket. Before the other two had even fully crossed the line the sleek, black car was across the intersection, and within a few seconds vanished into the night.
The two boy-racers stared opened mouthed after the car, stunned speechless. It fell to one of their passengers to voice their collective thoughts.
Far ahead, KITT slowed down a little as he passed the Van Nuys airfield. Very little was happening out on the airfield. A few helicopters sat outside but most of the hangers were closed up. It was late in the day after all.
If he could have sighed KITT would have. It just wasn't the same without Michael. It had been eight years since they had last worked together on a case, and yet he still felt the empty space where Michael had sat. There was also a slightly fainter echo of loss from the passenger seat, where Bonnie had sat for the last two years of their partnership, and the four years after FLAG.
Michael and Bonnie had gotten together after an accident in which the Mobile Unit had been lost, rolled off the edge of a mountain. The three of them had lived through the experience; the semi's drivers had not. Their feelings for each other had grown from the day they met, and KITT had been behind them one hundred percent when they had finally admitted to them. With Devon Miles providing direction and support, their team had become even more successful at hunting down criminal masterminds. It had been a good nine years, despite the six rebuilds he had needed, since he'd first met Michael Knight, formerly Michael Long.
But things changed in July nineteen-ninety. The FBI had begun pushing in earnest for the Foundation to be brought in under their mandate... and their control. It was not totally unexpected, after the culling of the various intelligence agencies in the mid-eighties. Now it was the turn of the internal law enforcement agencies. Devon had fought to keep the Foundation, and in particular FLAG and KITT, out of the hands of the FBI. Over the next nine months his condition had deteriorated, age dragging him down far more heavily than before. Then came that fateful day...
The mobile unit was heading back to FLAG HQ, another case closed successfully. KITT was parked happily in the rear of the trailer, Michael chuckling as he watched Bonnie herd their twin little girls away from the racks of tools she used to maintain KITT and back to the sleeping compartment at the front. Devon was sat further forward, watching them all with a wide smile on his lined face.
"They really do take after you." Michael commented when Bonnie came back, brushing her hair back. "Not even three and already trying to work on KITT."
"Oh, I don't know." She replied with that tone that KITT had identified as her flirty, teasing one that she only ever used with Michael. "They do have a reckless streak..."
The married couple laughed and hugged each other, engaging in a little light kissing before Michael spoke aloud once more. "What do you think Devon?" When the older man didn't reply Michaels tone become worried. "Devon?"
KITT refocused his scanners on the older man. Devon appeared to be sleeping in the chair, head tipped forwards slightly, a large smile still on his face. But even before he scanned him, KITT knew there was something very wrong...
"Devon?" Bonnie spoke with audible concern as she broke her embrace with Michael to step over. Her hand dropped to his wrist... and she gasped.
"Michael..." KITT began, but Bonnie cut him off.
"There's no pulse!" She cried before her hand darted to Devon's neck, searching for something that wasn't there.
"Michael, Bonnie... He's dead..." KITT said slowly, sadly.
"No!" Bonnie cried, whirling to clutch Michael. Michael himself was staring in shock at Devon's body, his arms wrapping around his wife automatically. Soon their combined grief was too much, and he sunk to his knees, Bonnie sitting down besides him. Tears streamed from both their eyes.
KITT felt a tide of grief surge through him, both for Devon and for the pain that his driver and his technician were suffering. Sensing that the Mobile Unit was moving down a hill he released his brakes and allowed himself to roll forwards, over the line that he had never, ever crossed in the past nine years. His nose gently touched Michaels shoulder, and even as he locked his brakes Michael leaned back against him, drawing comfort from his partners presence and solid form.
With Devon gone, the Foundation for Law & Government had crumbled. The FBI had been quick to grab what they could, but even after death Devon Miles confounded them.
KITT had attended the funeral alongside Michael, Bonnie and their twin daughters, and afterwards had borne the coffin himself to Devon's final resting place. It was the greatest respect that he could give to the man who had helped him and his driver grow and survive, and nobody was willing to deny him that last chance to pay his respects.
Then came the will reading. All three of them had been there, along with representatives of the FBI and Jessica Knight, the last remaining child of Wilton Knight. They had learned that Devon had, in his last few days, managed to separate the Knight Foundation into a separate entity, as well as the grounds and facilities. The mansion, all the assets and funds, it all went to Michael, as the heir apparent for Wilton Knight, the original owner and founder. Devon had been charged by Wilton to hold those items in trust, until such time as Michael was ready to take on the responsibilities involved... or Jessica Knight came around. Bonnie Barstow Knight was tasked with the safe-keeping of all the files regarding KITT, including the original notes that Wilton Knight had made when he'd built first KARR, and then KITT. KITT, for all intents and purposes, belonged to her. Devon's last wish for the two of them was that they fill the mansion with children's laughter once more, and to keep the spirit of Wilton Knight's dream alive. Jessica hadn't been sidelined though: she still had control of the businesses her father had created. She had even admitted afterwards that she was relived that she did not have to manage the Foundation too: the aims of the Foundation were too different from a business. But the reading had allowed them to form a truce, and a partnership that benefited both parties.
The FBI had all the case details and leads handed over to them, along with contacts and other assets that the Knights wouldn't need anymore, but KITT was not included in the package. Instead, Devon had arranged for KITT to be recognised as an independent AI, and thus was eligible to be a US citizen. The paperwork had already been filled out, countersigned by Devon Miles the morning of the day he died. For the first time in his life, KITT was free.
He'd stayed at the mansion with Michael and Bonnie for a little over four years, doing domestic runs for them and watching over their children. He'd been there when Bonnie had birthed their third child, a son they had named Miles, after Devon, and had watched the tiny infant grow into a strong toddler. But he'd felt unwanted, a reminder of days long gone.
Strangely, it had been Michael who'd first seen the signs. He'd come down to the garage where KITT stayed, and over the course of the discussion they'd had, he'd encouraged KITT to take off, explore the country. He didn't have to stay with them all the time. KITT had protested, but when Bonnie had joined in on Michael's side he had relented. The two of them had reassured him that they weren't kicking him out, nor that he was unwelcome. They just wanted to see him grow some more, to experience his freedom. Bonnie had even put together a set of upgrades that truly enabled him to roam freely, including placing solar cells on his roof to use the sunlight to recharge his power cells, and a larger fuel tank to increase his already phenomenal range. Their final words before he drove off were that he was welcome anytime he wished to drop in.
And so KITT had started wandering, driving all across the United States. He'd weaved between the traffic in Washington DC, tore across the vast plains of the Midwest, and roamed the hills of Montana. A refuel was not often needed with his turbine, but one was only a call away. Bonnie had adapted one of the Knight Helicopters to be a flying tanker, complete with nozzle to fill him up. He'd also made a habit to stop by at the Knight Mansion every couple of months, both to get a check up and to see Michael, Bonnie and their children.
But... he still felt alone much of the time. Michael was only a call away, but KITT missed the easy banter the two of them had formed in their long partnership. With FLAG all but disbanded, he had no purpose anymore, no role.
Maybe that was why Michael and Bonnie had encouraged him to explore the world, he mused as he left the outskirts of LA behind. At least since he'd started wandering almost four years ago he'd found a purpose of sorts again. Over the years he'd seen many things, and when he could he'd helped people in need. Many people were alive today due to him, and Michael had often teased him about the stories that circulated on the internet about this 'mysterious black car that saved lives, then vanished before the driver could be thanked.'.
And yet... what was the point of seeing and experiencing so much when he had no one to share the experiences with? KITT tried to shake the thought off as he entered the lower reaches of the Valley of the Gods. In a couple of day's time he'd be pulling into the mansion and he'd see his family once more. Miles' birthday was the day after tomorrow, and KITT had promised to be there for the little one. A few minutes later his scanner identified an ideal spot for to park up overnight. He'd catch the early morning sun to help charge his power packs, and then set out once more. By this time tomorrow he'd be parked in his old garage once more, with Bonnie's gently hands going over his systems while Michael provided the easy-going, off the cuff banter that he was so good at.
Parking up, he shut down his turbine and locked his brakes. A few moments later his systems went into standby as he powered down to rest.
The graveyard was quiet, still, the main source of light the quarter full moon in the late night sky. To the south the sky glowed from the lights of Los Angeles. This small, out of the way graveyard was mainly used by pilots and grounds crew from the nearby airfields, as the final resting place of their own.
It started as a faint sound. It built until it became the roar of powerful turbine engines as a dark shape eased over the low trees that ringed the space. A downdraft whipped the leaves about and ruffled the grass as the sleek form eased forwards before slowly sinking to the ground. The landing was pinpoint perfect, the three wheels coming to rest in small depressions in the grounds... as if the craft had landed there often. The positioning was so exact that the nose wheel was barely an inch from the lip of the one grave, while the rear wheels rested just the other side of the path that snaked between the graves. The turbines shut down, the rotors slowing to a halt as the helicopter sat there, as if waiting for something.
She felt so alone. Hawke came to see her every now and again, but he had his family back... and his own growing one too. She didn't resent his devotion to them. It had been the single force driving him when they had first met. She remembered how he was back then, driven and insular. The changes in him had been warming.
But there had been losses too. And the most important one to her now rested in the grave before her. Or rather, what was left of him after... She knew just how much sand had been placed in the coffin to make up the weight.
He shouldn't have died, not like that. If he had to go, it should have been surrounded by his friends and family, peacefully in his sleep. It was what he had earned. If not that, then in combat, doing what he did best, flying. But to be taken out by a planted bomb...
A well spring of grief ran through her, tearing at her composure. Needing to leave she started the engines, the rotors spinning up quickly. After a few moments enough lift was generated to raise the helicopter into the air a little, the wheels retracting into the body.
For a moment the helicopter was still, the downdraft from its rotors whipping the grass. Then it drifted forwards a little, so that it was directly over the grave. With a hiss of escaping air a panel slid back on the pale belly, and something fell out ahead of the trio of tubes that lowered halfway before being retracted back inside the helicopter. More power fed into the rotors, and with a powerful growl the helicopter lifted into the night sky, before turning to the north-east, the first hints of sunrise catching highlights on the black armoured sides of the lean helicopter. A howling sound, like some demonic wolf, resounded as the helicopter powered away.
As the sounds of the helicopter faded a single shaft of early morning light slipped through the foliage to land on the clump of wild flowers that had been dropped onto the grave. The ends of the stalks were crushed rather than cut. The light lifted a little, playing across the face of the gravestone... and the words cut into the surface.
1924 – 1986