Knight Rider © Glenn Larson.

AN: This is the prequel to the Dangerous Alliance series, and most likely the starting point of completely rewriting the series. With a little bit of luck, I'll better answer questions that came up in the last go at this and clear up some misunderstandings.

ch 1

The hospital was closed to visitors for the night. The hallways were dark and the rooms dimly lit. Two men and a doctor stood just outside of one room, watching the single occupant. The doctor ran his fingers through thin blond hair and sighed. "I don't know what to say, Director." he said quietly. "She's around six years old, malnourished, and smaller than she should be at her age. However, that's the least of her worries. Looks like someone beat her and then left her for dead. She has two fractured bones in her left arm, crushed ribs, and massive internal bleeding. We lost her once on the operating table, but it looks like she's going to pull through now."

"She's a fighter." the Director mused. "I like that." Clear grey eyes crinkled in what might have been a smile. The doctor simply shrugged.

"Or she's lucky."

"Luck doesn't save people who are already almost dead." The Director turned his attention to the second man. He stood a good six inches taller than Director, long and lean, not an inch of fat anywhere on him. Dark eyes and darker hair contrasted a pale, angular face. A jagged scar ran underneath his right eye. The Director smiled faintly at him. "What do you think, Dmitri?"

Dmitri shrugged. "I think she'll be a nusance. I don't know why Rumov bothered to save her."

"Perhaps Rumov saw something worth saving." the doctor said softly.

Dmitri snorted. "You don't know Rumov very well, do you? The most he saw was a new toy, if he bothered to think it through at all. He should have left her to die."

"Does she have a name?" the Director asked, cutting across Dmitri and effectively silencing him. The doctor shrugged.

"If she does, she'll have to tell us." he said. "I had Mary run her prints through the system. Nothing came up. There's not even a missing persons file matching her description."

"Mary knows to erase the search, right?" Dmitri demanded.

"Of course. Just because you don't trust Mary Reich doesn't mean she's not trustworthy." the doctor snapped. "She is my sister, after all." Dmitri glared at Dr. Reich. Dr. Reich glared right back. "I mean what I say. I would never have brought her into this if I thought she was sloppy."

"Enough posturing." the Director said mildly. "You will inform me when she is healed, correct?"

"Yes, Director." Dr. Reich said immediately. "As far as the hospital is concerned, a six year old Jane Doe never came through here tonight. She'll be moved to a private wing as soon as 609 becomes available. The patient there is on his way out."

The Director arched an eyebrow. "Oh really?"

Dr. Reich shrugged. "He's old with no family to speak of. Only his lawyer. No one will question a heart attack or a stroke."

The Director chuckled. "I like the way you think, Doctor."

Dmitri merely scowled.

/-/

She had the most beautiful amber eyes.

It was the first thing the Director noticed about the girl five days later when she finally woke up. Her long hair was thick and black; one of the nurses took the time to brush it out while she was still in the public hospital. She was still small, still so thin the Director thought he could break her with a mere push. Her eyes, however, were distinctive. Bright amber, and as cold and hard as the stone itself. He smiled.

"Do you know who I am?"

She nodded. "You're the Director. Dr. Reich told me about you."

The Director nodded. "Very good. Do you know why I'm here?"

"No."

"It has been brought to my attention that you have no home." he said simply. "No one can find you in any system, therefore it seems you are a misplaced little girl in need of someone to take care of her. And since it was my employee who found you, I would like to keep you."

She simply stared at him coldly. "For what cost?"

"You assume there's a cost?"

"There's always a cost."

The Director chuckled. "Oh, you are a smart one. Not so much a child anymore, are you?" He didn't bother to wait for her response. "I will have you trained, of course. You would pay me back as soon as you're old enough to work for me." She still didn't respond. He continued. "Unless, of course, you'd rather go back to the streets?"

She snorted. "Director, if you think that's a threat, you're stupid." she said flatly. "The streets would be safer than any place I've ever stayed."

"Back to your parents, then." the Director responded. "Or into foster care, which can be just as bad. I'm offering you safety – or at least stability. You will always know where you stand with me. What do you say?"

Still, she said nothing. This time, the Director merely waited. She would give him her response in due time.

"I'll do it."

He smiled. "Good girl."