Yeah, I've decided that I would make a pretty good villain if I put my mind to it. I just keep torturing all the characters I like most. If you don't believe me, go check out some of my other stories. Emotional, mental, and physical pain for everyone! I also apparently have a fondness for series with characters without biological origins. "Digimon", "Transformers", and now "Knight Rider"? You have to admit there's a pattern.
My updates are almost guaranteed to slow down, regardless of the story. Sometimes I write fast and other times I have very slow updates. So don't worry if you get stuck with a horrible cliffhanger for months at a time. That's just how it turns out sometimes. But feedback is always a wonderful motivation to try and write faster.
As Kitt came back on line once more, he was met with errors and a general sense that something wasn't right. He knew they did something to him before he went offline however long ago, but he couldn't immediately tell what. They'd changed some part of his programming and now it would be in effect. The broke in and altered him in some way against his will. And now he couldn't be certain what they did because the change to his programming would affect who he was.
Bonnie, whenever she needed to work on his programming, always told him what she was doing before she began and made sure that it wouldn't be too great of a difference. Mostly her concern was to keep him safe from the evolving threat of computer viruses and hackers, to make sure that he could interact with new systems that might be added to the vehicle, and to download information that would be useful for whatever the current mission might be. But she always had his consent and he always knew what the change would entail.
Those intruders didn't. They crashed their way in and did something to him. He didn't know what yet, but they succeeded in their goal. Even if it turned out to only be a small change, they still rewrote part of who he was. And he was powerless to stop them.
Growing annoyed by the continued cycling of errors as two pieces of programming clashed, Kitt shifted his attention what was causing the problem. He found it easily enough. Two pieces of coding were clashing against each other, working in complete conflict with each other. It only took a nanosecond for him to realize that one of the two must be the change the hackers caused. At least, that was assuming they only managed to make one change to his program. It was hard, but possible to alter his programming back to normal when the changes were still in progress. He wasn't sure he'd be able to do it properly after it went into effect. Not to mention he would first have to determine which of the two pieces of coding was the original and which one was new addition.
As more of his systems began to come back on line, Kitt realized they were probably intending to have another conversation with him. That would give him less time to try and sort out the conflict in programming. The AI quickly examined the two.
The first, given the higher priority, stated he was to obey the orders of the head of Lab 42. The second one stated he followed the commands of his driver, Michael Knight. In theory, they shouldn't be conflicting as much. The first one held precedent and the second was now invalid, so why did they keep cycling between the two in a continuous error? He shouldn't have been able to even notice that the alteration was with one of these two lines of code.
A brief comparison of his memories, thankfully untouched at the moment it seemed, quickly showed a logical conclusion of which would be the new programming. He'd known of Lab 42 only for a short time period while Michael had been his partner for years. There would be no reason to make obedience to someone unknown to him as the higher priority. Furthermore, Harris tried to gain ownership in the past, but Kitt didn't leave with him obediently. Logically, that programming wasn't in place at the time of his first encounter with Harris and that meant that was what they altered.
He didn't have time to try and dismantle that string of code now. His sensors were already showing him that he had an expectant audience watching him. Hopefully the cycling of errors, as annoying as they were, would keep the tampered programming in check until he could try fixing the problem.
Harris was standing in front of his hood with another young man than the one before. This one looked more confident than Pierce. The technicians in the room seemed to be less at ease, hiding behind their stations. There was also a difference in hair length for several of the familiar faces in the room, indicating that he was at least offline long enough for some of the have required a haircut.
Kitt tried to access his various systems and was frustrated to discover that, in addition to those that were offline last time they had a discussion, he could no longer drive himself. They had physically disconnected that feature. Apparently he'd worried them after their last encounter. Michael would have said something about how that meant that they were doing their job right then if they were making the enemy nervous.
Were they the enemy? When did he decide on that? He never realized he'd categorized the group as such, but he'd apparently made that decision at some point. Likely around the time they started breaking into his CPU and twisting around everything about him.
"Knight Industries Two Thousand, are you on-line?" Harris asked, his tone firm.
"Yes," responded Kitt, keeping his voice calm and controlled.
The man continued, "I am Robert Harris, the man in charge of Lab 42."
As the altered piece of programming tried to respond to that statement and force the AI into obedience, Kitt forced it back into the continuous loop that was swallowing up a portion of his processing power. After he was certain that it was back under control, he devised a response.
"I am quite aware of that, Mr. Harris. In case you were unaware, my memory is not nearly as faulty as that of the average human's brain. I have to wonder about your mental capacity if you honestly thought I would forget your identity that quickly."
Harris frowned briefly before apparently deciding to proceed, "As said leader of Lab 42, I command you to accept Anthony Jackson as your new driver."
Again, the new programming to obey the orders of whoever was in charge of Lab 42 warred against the original programming that told him to follow Michael's instructions instead. Kitt forced the loop to continue, preventing either coding from gaining full influence. It was far too distracting and it was a struggle to resist the urge to obey the man's order. Without his primary programming to block it from complete influence, the AI didn't know if he'd be able to stop himself.
His voice mildly tense, Kitt responded, "You really do have a poor memory. We already had this discussion. The answer is 'no', Mr. Harris."
"Excuse me?" asked the man, crossing his arms while his intended driver began to look less confident.
"I will not accept another driver. I do not have to take orders from anyone who isn't Michael Knight," he elaborated, a hint of anger edging into his voice. "And I do not appreciate your attempts to change my decision by hacking into my programming. So please stop wasting everyone's time."
"Listen," the man glared down at the hood of the car, "you belong to us now. That means—"
The activation of the grappling hook firing between Harris and Jackson managed to stop the conversation quite effectively. Both men dove out of the way of the unexpected projectile, though neither of them was in any danger of being harmed. The grappling hook didn't have anywhere to attach, so it bounced off the wall behind them and crashed into the closest computer. Kitt felt mildly happy about the machine's destruction.
"That means, Mr. Harris, that you would be wise to listen to me," stated Kitt. "When I tell you that something is futile, I mean it. Stay out of my CPU and stop trying to give me another driver. Michael Knight was my partner and no one will take his place. I don't know how I could make this anymore clear to you."
Harris managed to recover first, straightening up and helping Jackson to his feet. Once he seemed mildly certain that there wasn't going to be any further retaliation at the moment, the man turned towards one of the technicians hiding behind the equipment.
"Turn it back off. We'll have to try something new," he ordered before glancing briefly back at the black Pontiac. "If we can't do this the easy way, then we'll have to try something else. Start altering the recorded memories. If it won't work for anyone except its original driver, give it a 'new' original driver. If Jackson has lost interest, I'll find another candidate for the job. Just be careful to leave the rest of information intact. It would be such a waste to lose all that experience."
Kitt couldn't even manage to verbalize his horror in response to that order before they cut him back off from the rest of his systems. And then they shut him back down again, bearing the knowledge that he might not come back on-line with any memory of Michael.
Derek pondered the new challenge that he'd been handed. They needed to rewrite the memories stored by the AI, but they also couldn't risk destroying them in the process. Harris wanted the experience it already possessed so that it would be more effective whenever they decide to use the thing in the field. Derek knew that if he or any of the other technicians did anything to corrupt the integrity of the recorded experience stored in the AI's memories, and thus reducing the value of the entire project, it would be his neck that would be on the line. He'd learned that fact shortly after his promotion. Leadership in any format, even if it was mostly in name only, meant all the blame would fall on him. And he didn't even have enough seniority to be able to point fingers at a lower-level computer programmer or a new technician. All the responsibility would fall on Derek and he doubted that Harris would handle the loss of any useful data very well. And with all of them trying to pry their way in and fight their way past the AI, such a thing was a real possibility. There was a reason that important information should be backed-up for emergencies.
That thought was just enough to inspire a solution. The man quickly moved across the room to see what sort of storage units that might be at their disposal. He wasn't certain if they had the resources to download the entire AI into another system or even if any other system could handle the unique creation without corruption of the rather intriguing code that encompassed the Knight Industries Two Thousand. It was truly a work of art and it might take years for anyone in the room to truly be able to unravel its secrets or to even dream of replicating it. The people who created it were beyond brilliant. They were technological artists and this was a masterpiece. He held no doubts that no one except the AI's creators might have the technology and knowledge to transfer or repeat the creation of this work of art. Not to mention it was stubborn and very tricky to manipulate since it fought back against their attempts. No, making a duplication of the programming and the AI itself was beyond their abilities for the time being. But the recorded memory might just be simple enough to copy without fear of degradation of the information. It might not be perfect, but it should be enough to serve as a back-up so that they could compare the original memories with the revised ones in order to watch out for unintended alterations. It would also provide a point of reference so they could determine which memories they would need to target before they were forced to combat the AI's defenses.
He couldn't immediately find an empty and unused system of storage that would have enough space to hold what he intended to download. But he could send in a request to have it supplied. Harris would almost certainly approve of the order. Derek could also use the time to list any other pieces of equipment that could make the task easier. For the moment, funding wasn't too much of an issue, so it would be best to fill out the paperwork for unusual requests as soon as possible. He'd hate to be dealing with trying to crack through the advanced systems with outdated hardware and software after all. If they wanted to make the most of their AI, they would need the right tools for the job.
Michael didn't really know how he ended up in front of Jennifer Traceur's door. It wasn't planned and he certainly didn't know what he should do now that he was facing it. He'd somehow just ended up drifting in her direction.
He'd been wandering around almost randomly for a few months already, lacking direction and purpose. He'd visited a few familiar locations, explored some new locales, and avoided anyone who might know his face. Most of the time, he'd either walked or took public transportation. He probably could have found a better way to travel other than buses. He certainly had the funds available once he'd bothered to check. He probably should send Devon a thank you card next time he thought about it. But every car felt wrong because they weren't him. If he had the time or energy to go near a computer, Michael knew he'd likely have a similar irrational hatred against them too.
Technology in general felt soulless and cold after his time around Kitt. It wasn't like he could expect much conversation or friendship from an ATM. Rather than a surprisingly expressive voice, all he would find were a few clear and concise sentences asking how much he'd like to withdraw. That didn't stop him from glaring at the screen as if the thing was taunting him by not being his partner.
Michael was very much aware that he likely wasn't handling things in a particularly healthy manner, but he really couldn't care less at the moment. Time might heal all wounds, but that didn't mean it would heal quickly or easily. Last time his entire life was ripped away from him, he'd focused on revenge and justice against those who tried to kill him. This time, that wasn't an option. Those responsible for destroying his partner were already captured and dealt with according to Devon. What the government would end up doing to them, Michael didn't know for certain. But it wouldn't be enough. It would never be enough. And it wouldn't bring back Kitt.
He was mildly surprised that, even with all of his wandering and the lack of any resources beyond the tidy sum of money that Knight Industries was still providing, the man couldn't quite stop trying to make a difference. It was definitely on a smaller scale than before. An interrupted mugging here. A discouraged break-in there. Even a small-time thief was dragged to the police station after an overheard conversation from an elderly woman who lost her deceased husband's watch to the criminal. Michael just couldn't help feeling like he should interfere. He'd been essentially a professional meddler for years, getting mixed up in various crimes and threats all over the country. Granted, all of that meddling in the affairs of others caused him to accumulate quite a few enemies over the years he was with FLAG, but that was life. He was simply someone meant to interfere. It was a hard habit to break, even if it felt wrong to be in action without Kitt's voice commenting over the comlink.
Regardless, he needed the distraction. As long as he was moving, as long as he was trying to do something in the world, he didn't have to think. He didn't have to think about his past or his future. He didn't have to think about Bonnie or Devon and what they might be doing now. He didn't have to think about how he should be sitting in a black Pontiac Trans Am, arguing about which radio station they should listen to next. He didn't have to think about how alone in the world he truly was.
Maybe that was how he ended up on Jennifer Traceur's doorstep. He needed a familiar face, but not someone as closely connected to Kitt. He was in desperate need of someone that knew who he was and cared about him, but Michael also needed someone who wasn't shattered by loss and grief. She would be sad to learn what happened and supportive, but she wouldn't break from the news. Michael didn't think he could manage to be comforting to anyone else at the moment. It was hard enough trying to be strong for Bonnie. He was tired of trying to maintain a solid façade.
Over the years, Michael had met plenty of women connect in one way or another with the missions for FLAG. Some were victims. Others were helpful bystanders. And yet others were simply people who also wanted to make a difference to the world. A few of these women ended up as friends while others tended to result in more romantic relationships.
Dating was a challenge with the mildly-nomadic quality of his and Kitt's work. Some of the more interesting women ended up living half a country away from the Foundation's headquarters. Thus, Michael ended up with plenty of one-night stands and other short-term relationships. Most of the time, he was lucky to get a third date with her before he either ended up on the move again or else they were simply unable to adapt to a lifestyle that included a talking car and people trying to kill them on a weekly basis. Besides, after what happened to Stevie, he knew that trying for a long-term relationship with any woman could very easily end in disaster.
Jennifer Traceur was one of his longer lasting girlfriends though. He and Kitt met her when investigating a drug-trafficking ring. She'd been trying to chase them out of the neighborhood her own way, which included threatening anyone trying to sell to local kids with a baseball bat. She didn't appreciate the idea of drugs in the neighborhood and she practically forced Michael to let her help get rid of them. She also warmed up to Kitt fairly quickly, which was always a good quality in a woman. The man never told his partner how many of the relationships ended prematurely when a potential girlfriend couldn't seem to grasp how important the AI was. But Jennifer did understand better than some, so they dated for a little while. And it was nice while it lasted, but it eventually did end during another long stretch of time while FLAG was operating on the east coast. Still, they parted on good terms and Michael needed a friendly face.
He finally managed to ring the doorbell. The long wait for a response made him momentarily wonder if she wasn't home or if she'd moved recently. After all, it was over a year since he last saw her. Anything could have happened.
Eventually, the door opened and Jennifer greeted him with a smile before her expression morphed into one of surprise. The brunette woman looked exactly how he remembered her, though perhaps a little more tired than before. She even managed to pull him into her home and wrapped him in a hug before he could get a word in. Honestly, he really needed that warm embrace at the moment.
"It's so good to see you again," she remarked, finally letting go. "How have you been? I take it things at the Foundation have been keeping you both busy. Please, have a seat." She led him over to a green couch. "I didn't see Kitt out there. Didn't he come with you?"
Michael opened his mouth, preparing to tell her the awful news, but a soft cry interrupted him and Jennifer vanished from the room. He glanced around in confusion before spotting a small and unexpected object sitting on the coffee table. A baby monitor.
Further inspection of the room showed a laundry basket full of small clothes, a diaper bag in the corner, and a basket of soft toys. None of these things were here the last time he'd managed to visit her over a year ago. A couple of possible explanations flickered through his mind and while it was possible that she was just watching someone else's child, the far more likely scenario opened up a whole world of questions and potential problems.
A few minutes later, Jennifer returned to the living room with the source of the crying in her arms. The baby, dressed in a blue outfit and with fine brown hair across his head, was now calmer and focused on the pacifier in his mouth. At this point it was difficult to judge who the child looked like and it wasn't like Michael's current face was the one he was born with anyway, but the man didn't waste time by trying to deny how Jennifer could have become a mother. Unexpected parenthood was always a possibility he'd kept in the back of his mind, but not one he'd necessarily thought would truly come to pass.
"What's his name?" he asked simply.
She smiled, "Mike. I thought you might like that."
"You know, you could have called," he pointed out. "We parted on good terms I thought. And you know I would have tried to help."
"I know you would. You always try to help everyone," answered the woman. "Both you and Kitt do so much to help make a difference to the world. I didn't want to add to that burden." She sat down beside him, rocking the baby slowly, and continued to explain, "I was going to tell you someday. I didn't know how, though. This isn't exactly news that you should tell someone over the phone or in a letter. I guess I was waiting for the next time you came into town so I could tell you in person."
She paused for a moment to smile down at the infant in her arms. Even in his state of shock at the news, Michael could appreciate how happy she looked as a mother. It also made him sadly reflect about what it would have been like to have Stevie sitting there holding his child. Or Bonnie…
"I also knew that if I told you too soon, you might try to do the noble thing and marry me," she stated. "And, as much as I still care for you and vice versa, we both know that would be a mistake. I couldn't ask you to give up everything and settle down. You're not ready for that and we have already established that we're better off as friends than as a couple. Let alone husband and wife."
"Not to mention it might be a little odd if you shared a name with my sort-of adopted sister," he chuckled slightly, thinking of Wilton Knight's daughter.
The woman smiled at his joke, "That too."
"I still would like to help somehow," he continued, a little more seriously. "There's a reason they invented child support. And if he's anything like I was growing up, you deserve all the help you can get."
Jennifer frowned momentarily, "I suppose you could help us try to get moved to a different neighborhood. Remember how we met?" When he nodded, "I think some of those people are either getting paroled early or else they've contacted help. There's been some very unpleasant-looking people in the neighborhood recently and I think they've been watching the house. I think that those involved in the drug-trafficking ring might hold a bit of a grudge. Against me and you."
That sent Michael's mind into overdrive. He had enemies. Lots of enemies. He knew that. Part of the reason he'd left his old life as Michael Long behind was that it made it harder for his enemies to target family and friends. It protected them. He'd become a man who didn't exist and with no past. There were no connections for them to locate and use against him. But he'd been Michael Knight for several years now. It wasn't a long time relatively speaking, but it was long enough for to accumulate both more enemies and known associates for those enemies to take advantage of.
He knew that those closest to him were quite likely to end up in the crosshairs, even if he tried to keep them safe. Stevie dying on their wedding day certainly proved that. Then he lost Kitt, who was practically indestructible. It was far too easy to imagine someone, the remnants of the drug-trafficking ring or any of the other countless people he'd helped stop in the past, coming after Jennifer and his son. Even coming to visit to visit her was selfish of him and could very easily make things worse for them. The name "Traceur" might currently be unknown to most of the people who would love to see him dead, but they might figure things out in time. He didn't even have Kitt around to help keep an eye out for trouble. Michael couldn't stand the thought of losing anyone else he loved simply because they were connected to him. The best thing in the world for him to do in order to keep them safe would be to stay as far away from them as possible.
And Jennifer was smart. She knew what sort of danger there could be if someone figured out Mike was his son. That was probably yet another reason she'd hesitated to contact him. She was just polite enough not to mention it.
"I might be able to help you find somewhere safe for you and Mike to live. Somewhere that you won't have to worry about those goons or anyone else that might even think about coming after you," he stated slowly. Pulling a pen out of his pocket, Michael quickly scribbled down the phone number for FLAG on the corner of a magazine sitting on the coffee table, "Call this number and ask for Devon Miles. Tell him that I sent you. Explain to him about Mike and tell him that you need to disappear. That man has the connections and ability to navigate through even the worst bureaucratic mess that he could give you a new and better life somewhere with absolutely no one the wiser."
"Really?" she asked skeptically, raising an eyebrow.
"I've seen him do it. He could make you both into completely new people if he needed to. If you both keep a low profile and he gathers up the right paperwork, no one will ever realize that you ever poked your nose into that drug-trafficking ring or that you once met Michael Knight. Tell Devon that, whatever the cost in time or money it takes to set you up in a safe and secure new life, he can take it out whatever cash I have at my disposal. I'd say that should work as child support, don't you?"
The woman gave him a sad smile, "I'm never going to see you again, am I?"
"It would probably be the safest for you and our son. I've seen too many good people get hurt because of me and what I've done."
"If it was just my life, I would probably argue. I knew the risks when I decided to date you. I'm not an idiot. Guys with talking cars and a knack for rescuing bat-wielding damsels in distress are guaranteed to have a few issues to handle. Ticked-off drug dealers and the goon squad were just part of the package."
"But it isn't just your safety on the line anymore," he pointed out kindly.
She nodded, "I know. That's why I'm taking you up on that offer."
The pair of them sat in silence for a few minutes, deep in their own thoughts. Michael thought about so many different things. What Mike would be like as he got older. How the child would do without a real father in his life. What Kitt would have thought about all of this…
Kitt. He would have enjoyed meeting his son. Children always seemed to like Kitt and the sentiment was generally returned. If things were different, it might have been great to see Mike grow up with the AI. The kid at least would have always had plenty of help with his homework. It would have been a nice future for all of them.
Instead, Kitt was dead and Mike would have to grow up without his father in his life. The world wasn't fair. It was a cruel and lonely place at times, one in desperate need of Wilton Knight's dream of one man making a difference. But that one man couldn't do it anymore. The burden was too great to do it alone and the price was too high. Without his partner, all the man could do to make a difference was to stay away from those he cared for so that they would be safe.
"Would you like to hold him?" Jennifer asked, interrupting his thoughts.
Michael couldn't find the words to respond, so he just nodded. She carefully transferred the baby into his arms, making sure that he was supporting the head properly. Mike gave a slight whimper of protest at the change in position, but settled down fairly quickly. He weighed more than the man expected.
Once again, he thought about what it would be like to actually raise his son. To watch him learn to walk and talk. To send him off to his first day of school. To teach him how to ride a bike. To take him to a baseball game. To give him advice about girls. To help him learn to drive a car. To essentially be a parent. But Michael knew it would be better for everyone if he stayed out of the kid's life.
Not to mention he wasn't currently in any condition to be a father for anyone. He couldn't even convince himself to stay in one place for more than a day or to contact Bonnie and Devon. He was fighting the urge to go to an auto supply store and buy parts for a Trans Am as if he could fix everything if he could just find the right pieces to put Kitt back together again. If he was lucky, Jennifer would find another man to love and they could be the family for Mike that the kid deserved. He needed someone who wasn't a wreck and mourning the loss of his care and best friend.
They were clawing away at him. Kitt could feel them ripping out parts of his memory and trying to replace it with ill-fitting fabrications. They would only bring him on-line long enough to yank out another chunk before shutting him down to keep him from trying to salvage the damage. They weren't giving him much of a chance to fight back this time. There were too many attackers, too many foreign computers being operated by the technicians. He couldn't get a proper firewall in place before one of them would gain access long enough to tear away another piece of his past. He already had to put up with the errors caused by their initial attempt at meddling with his programming, which made it all the more difficult to react to the invasions into his mind.
But he tried. He struggled against every assault, refusing to just let them rearrange his mind unhindered. Resisting the alterations to his memory was unpleasant, even painful in a manner that he still couldn't find the human word to describe, but what he was losing in each attack was even worse for him to endure.
They were stealing Michael. Every recorded image or sound of his partner was being taken away. They were deleting his memory of his friend and trying to pass off another person as the original. But the replacement didn't fit. The AI could tell that the new addition to his memories didn't belong. They might as well try hiding a penguin among a flock of pigeons. It was simply wrong. He could tell what was real and what was fake. But he was still losing Michael. They were stripping his presence out of Kitt's systems and leaving behind the pale imitation. And he couldn't stop it.
Trapped in silence and darkness, lacking any input except for his rapidly morphing memories, the AI tried to focus on spotting the mistakes they left behind in their attempt to change the past. He needed to be able to tell the difference. They might replace Michael's appearance and voice with their substitute, but they couldn't make the stranger fit properly into his partner's place. But Kitt was afraid of what might happen if he someday couldn't tell the difference. He was forgetting Michael against his will, but he could still tell where he belonged in those gaps in his memories. But what if they eventually changed enough that he truly believed their alterations? What if he began to think their replacement was actually his partner?
His entire existence was defined by Michael Knight. The man's demise already left the AI without a purpose and feeling broken. Without even the memories or knowledge of his friend, would there be anything left of who he was? The technicians would just keep breaking into his systems over and over, violating his mind with false images and warping his programming into something he was never meant to be. Harris was too stubborn to give up and he would never let those who work for him stop. It would have been wiser to bend to his will and to stop fighting back, but Kitt still had enough pride and loyalty to Michael that he couldn't bring himself to make that choice. But he couldn't help wondering what would be left by the time they were done. Would he still be himself or just a pale imitation of the Knight Industries Two Thousand? Was that his fate? To be a poor copy of himself with a substitute partner?
Growing frustrated with that line of thought, Kitt abandoned his current doomed-to-fail attempt to protect his memories and struck out against one of the attacking computer systems. The others quickly sliced into another portion of his past, but the AI's efforts completely crashed his target. He spared a nanosecond to feel smug, knowing he'd done enough damage to the software that they would likely have to replace the whole thing. Before he could try his luck against the other attached computers, one of the technicians apparently decided to cut the power. With his last instant of awareness, Kitt decided to consider it a draw instead of complete loss.
So you got your first glimpse of the next generation of "Knight Rider" characters, though Mike was just an infant in this chapter. Too bad he's going to grow up without his father in the picture, though Michael at least is trying to keep his kid and ex-girlfriend safe. The man has lost a lot of people to his lifestyle and isn't eager to add his own flesh-and-blood to that list. So we got that nice glimpse of how Michael is doing without his partner. Not to mention we get to watch more attempts to mess with Kitt's mind. Basically, I get to make everyone miserable and to see how far I can push them before they break. But I've already mentioned that I'm evil, so that shouldn't surprise you. Thanks again for the feedback and I hope that you're enjoying the story.