No Days for Knights
“Just give up and come quietly, Sauner,” Michael Knight glared at the lanky man he was currently grappling with.
“Do you really think it’ll be that easy, Knight?” Frank Sauner managed to throw the Foundation operative to the ground, then took off running for the door of the warehouse he had been using for a base of operations.
“Get back here!” Michael forced himself back to his feet, but a massive explosion rocked the warehouse and threw him back down. Why did the bad guys like to blow stuff up so much? Now not only was he sore, but all of the stolen tech in the warehouse was in bits.
“Michael!” with a crash, Kitt came careening through the warehouse’s wall and squealed to a stop beside his partner, “Are you alright?”
Michael coughed and used Kitt as support to stand back up “I’m fine. A little battered, but fine,” He dropped into the driver’s seat tiredly and fingered the large burn hole in his favorite red sweater. Another shirt in the trash.
“I see that Frank Sauner managed to escape,” Kitt smoothly shifted into reverse and left through the same hole he had created upon entry. As soon as they were out, the warehouse shuddered and collapsed.
“I hate that guy,” Michael muttered darkly, taking hold of the wheel as Kitt switched to Normal cruise, “He steals pretty much everything from the Foundation laboratories, and now we can’t even catch him.”
“I cannot pick up on the vehicle he used to escape,” Kitt commented, “It seems we will have to wait for him to make the next move.”
Michael sighed,” Well, let’s get back to the Foundation. Maybe Bonnie found something useful.”
“One can only hope.”
It was around 2 am when Michael fell asleep at the wheel. Kitt carefully reclined the seat, then checked their coordinates. At their current speed it would take at least another day to reach the Foundation’s headquarters, even on the little-used backroad they were following. Deciding that a few hours’ rest wouldn’t hurt anyone, Kitt pulled off the road and began putting his systems into recharge.
It was a mark of how tired the two were that neither noticed the small device that had been slipped into Michael’s pocket.
Several miles away, Frank Sauner was sitting in front a computer screen, an evil grin on his face. He had spent months working his way into the inner circle of Knight Industries technicians, secretly stealing technology to sell all the while, only to be found out and faced with arrest.
But the days of running from the Foundation’s precious agent were coming to an end. The device he had planted in Knight’s jacket had just sent a message saying it was ready. Car and driver were finally asleep, so it was the perfect time to strike. Frank pressed the activation key.
In Kitt’s cabin, a bolt of electricity struck the dash. Gauges and dials went crazy, and Michael arched in his seat as the electrical charge hit his body as well. Then, abruptly as it had begun, it stopped and the interior of the car was dark once more.
Frank snarled and slammed his fist on the small desk. On the screen in front of him a message flashed obstinately.
: ERROR NO DATA DOWNLOADED:
“What do you mean ‘no data downloaded’?” Frank typed furiously, but there was no response from his device. Obviously, the electrical charge it had channeled had also melted it in the process.
It had been a relatively simple plan. All the device had to do was create a large electrical charge so that the AI could be wirelessly downloaded while its defenses were off-line. And it had failed.
Wait. Frank took another look at the short bytes of information that had managed to transfer. The download had worked, the AI simply hadn’t been sent to his computer. But if the car no longer housed the AI, where had it gone? Well, wherever it was, Frank would get it. An AI that advanced would fetch a hefty price in any market.
Michael became aware of himself slowly, like coming out of a fog. He felt strange, as though he was on the gas at the dentist’s office. It was that floating feeling, like his body didn’t exist, only his mind. It was a pleasant feeling.
But it couldn’t last. As awareness returned, Michael could feel an almost tangible stream of information running as an undercurrent to his thoughts. Curious, Michael concentrated on the information stream. Almost immediately, there was a rumble and the familiar sound of Kitt’s engine starting.
Shocked, Michael opened his eyes.
“What is going on?!” he exclaimed, the engine turbine cycling higher.
Though he had fallen asleep in Kitt’s cabin, now he seemed to be in the desert, his peripheral vision fading in and out of clarity. Even more statistics flashed to the front of his mind. Wind speed, temperature, barometric pressure, latitude and longitude. Things he definitely shouldn’t know, but somehow did.
Though he still couldn’t feel his limbs, Michael attempted to jump to his feet. The engine roared louder and he shot forward, moving at an incredible speed only a foot or two from the ground. A cactus approached rapidly, causing proximity alerts to flash across his vision.
Suddenly, the full enormity of the situation hit him. Michael forced himself to calm down and slowly drifted to a stop. With a soft turbine whine, the engine shut off. It seemed impossible, but somehow he was in Kitt’s body.
Ten minutes later, Michael had managed to figure out enough about the advanced processors he currently inhabited to switch cameras to the interior view.
It was a familiar sight. The body of Michael Knight was reclined in the driver’s seat, chest rising and falling in slumber.
“Kitt?” Michael asked cautiously. He noted interestedly that his voice hadn’t changed, only acquired a metallic edge, “Kitt, buddy, is that you?”
There was a groan, and the man shifted restlessly.
The first thing that occurred to Kitt was that something wasn’t right. He tried to perform a systems check, but the function wouldn’t engage.
Kitt turned on his optical sensors and was greeted by a tinted, translucent pane that offered up a dim view of the sky. He started and suddenly found himself moving up and forward. The view changed, and now Kitt was looking at a glossy black surface adorned with multicolored buttons.
“My dash?” Kitt flinched when he heard his voice. It sounded like Michael’s, only a little higher in pitch with a hint of the accent Kitt always denied having. Slowly, Kitt directed his gaze downward. Instead of the comforting view of dirt beneath his tires, he was looking at a human body.
“Kitt?” Michael was now rather concerned. Upon waking, the man had sat straight up and stared at the dash for several minutes. Now he was looking at his hands in fascination, curling and uncurling his fingers.
At the sound of his partner’s voice, Kitt looked around, but did not see Michael, “Michael?” he asked softly, “What happened to me? Why am I human?” he paused, “And why does my voice sound so different?”
“I don’t know what happened to us, Kitt,” Michael admitted, “And your voice is different because you’re using my vocal chords.”
“I’m . . . in your body. And you’re in mine?” Kitt was now staring at the voice box his partner’s voice emanated from, “We need to call Bonnie.”
“She’s going to kill me,” Michael moaned. Whatever happened, Bonnie always thought it was all his fault, “Um, you should probably dial the Foundation, pal. I don’t know how to do it from here.”
“Alright,” Kitt gazed at the myriad of buttons decorating the dash, “How?” Kitt had never actually seen his own dash before, and though he had a schematics of his own body in his databanks, he suddenly found himself unable to access that information.
“The stuff for the phone is all on the ceiling.”
Kitt looked up, then raised a shaking hand to dial. He missed the first couple times, hand-eye coordination not being something he’d ever practiced before, but finally managed to call Devon’s office.
Michael shivered mentally. He could actually feel the call connecting in some distant part of him. It was strange, to say the least.
Devon’s office appeared on the vidscreen, Michael seeing the video link as a small box in the corner of his vision.
“Michael, my dear boy, how are you?” Devon asked anxiously, “Have you captured Frank Sauner yet?”
“Ah, no,” Not the for the first time, Michael was glad that Devon couldn’t see their end of the communications link, “But that’s why I called. Could you have the Semi come and pick us up? Me and Kitt have encountered some . . . problems.”
“Michael, what have you done to Kitt now?” Bonnie’s voice suddenly took over the conversation. Obviously, she had been listening in on one of the mansion’s other phones.
“Kitt is fine, I swear,” Michael insisted. There was no point in trying to explain what had happened over the phone, “Can you just come meet us?”
“Well alright then,” Devon was back on the phone, “If you drive to meet us, we can be there in four hours. We’ll see you two then,” And with that, the connection ended.
Michael gave an electronic sigh, “Well, now we get to try and drive. You want to have a go at it, Kitt?”
“You don’t want to drive?” Kitt was surprised. Michael almost always insisted on driving, at least on shorter trips.
“Well, at the moment, I’m not really sure how,” Michael said a tad sheepishly, “I’ve figured out how to switch between interior and exterior views, and that’s pretty much it.”
“Okay, but you’ll have to tell me where everything is.” Kitt glanced around the car interior again.
“You don’t know?”
“I’ve never seen my own dashboard before,” Kitt sounded embarrassed, “I . . . I can't seem to remember where all of the functions are located.”
“It’s alright, Kitt,” Michael reassured his partner, “First things first. The power button is to the right of the steering column . . .”
It was fortunate that the stretch of road they were on was absent of other drivers, because it took Kitt nearly twenty minutes to become comfortable enough with driving to maintain a constant speed.
For Kitt, it was incredibly nerve-wracking to keep a constant pressure on the foot pedal, and eye on the many dials and gauges, and his hands steady enough to keep driving straight ahead.
For Michael, it was the most incredible thrill-ride ever envisioned. Fifty-five seemed twice as fast when one was only a couple feet off the pavement.
As they drove, Kitt got a crash course in the location of all the buttons on the dashboard. Then, of course, they tested everything.
Several computer functions, like the IGP, had been damaged by the electrical charge, but most of the mechanical ones seemed to work fine.
The first thing Michael insisted they test was the Turbo Boost. Big surprise there. It wasn’t perhaps the smartest idea, however. As soon at the button had been pushed, a dozen different formulas flashed into Michael’s mind. Wind speed, arc length, trajectory, thrust power, angle of launch. Unfortunately, Michael had no clue what to do with all of this information, and they launched with an undetermined trajectory.
They hung in the air for what seemed like an eternity, both partners in similar states of horror, before crashing back down. Michael winced internally as his prow impacted pavement, then dropped back onto four wheels with a thump.
“Let’s not do that again,” Michael commented wearily, damage reports beginning to appear. The nosecone itself was fine, having been protected by the MBS, but several circuits had been jarred loose by their landing.
“Agreed,” Kitt unclenched his fingers and tried to get his borrowed body to relax.
Just as Devon had predicted, they reached the semi in the early-afternoon. Kitt managed to drive up the ramp without killing anyone, then the two partners sat in silence, unsure of what to do next.
After about a minute, Kitt opened the door and looked down at the metal floor of the semi as though it were a black hole about to swallow him up. Though Kitt wasn’t being as vocal about it, he was having just as much trouble coping with his new body as his partner was. Walking was a whole new challenge Kitt wasn’t entirely sure he was up to.
“Ah, Bonnie. Could you help me?” Kitt asked, trying to maneuver his legs out of the car.
“Is there a problem, Michael?” Bonnie seemed concerned as she lent down to help Kitt stand, “You sound different.”
Kitt didn’t respond as he focused all his thoughts on remaining upright. Not wanting to crush Bonnie, he leaned instead on his partner’s roof.
When he was reasonably certain that he wasn’t about to fall over, Kitt spoke, “The problem is that I’m not Michael.”
“What?!” Bonnie backed away slowly. When one worked for a foundation as unusual as FLAG, one learned that even ridiculous statements such as this should be treated with a reasonable amount of caution, “You had better not being playing a joke on me, Michael Knight.”
“It’s no joke, Bonnie,” Michael spoke this time, tone serious, “That’s not me, it’s Kitt. Something happened to us last night, and we switched bodies.”
Bonnie gaped openly for a moment, then composed herself, “You’re not kidding, are you?”
“Not in the slightest,” Kitt wavered unsteadily as he attempted to balance on human feet, “Now, could you help me over to a chair? I’m not sure I can hold this position for much longer.”
Fifteen minutes later, Bonnie had confirmed their story, as unbelievable as it was, with an in depth CPU scan and was forced to admit that Michael was indeed inhabiting Kitt’s processors. Kitt himself had been helped over to the office section of the semi and was currently enjoying his first-ever sandwich.
“You alright, Pal?” Michael yelped when Bonnie slammed the hood shut.
“The human body over there is fine, and Kitt is fine in it,” She said sternly, addressing the flickering scanner on the car’s prow, “It’s the car body you need to worry about. How did you manage to shift the transmission out of alignment?”
“Turbo Boost,” Michael replied meekly, quite aware that Bonnie had complete control of him as long as he was in this body.
“Even Turbo Boost shouldn’t’ve done this much damage!”
“It does when you don’t select an angle of launch,” Kitt commented blithely, mouth full of sandwich.
Bonnie was so furious that Michael feared for his life. Normally when faced with this sort of anger he would crack a joke and beat a hasty retreat. However, Bonnie was currently poking around under the dash with very pointy tools. Humor was probably not the best idea.
“Well, it appears that the two of you will need to get accustomed to your current bodies until you can be switched back,” Devon’s voice came from the kitchenette where he was pouring tea for himself and Kitt.
“How long will that be?” Kitt carefully accepted his teacup, then imitated Devon by blowing softly on the hot drink.
“I don’t know,” Bonnie admitted, shutting the driver’s door a tad harder than necessary, “I haven’t been able to figure out how this happened. And without that information I cannot even begin to build something to switch you two back.”
“Great,” Michael muttered, “that means going after Sauner like this, doesn’t it?”
The rest of the trip back to the Foundation was spent getting a feel for their new bodies. There certainly wasn’t anything better to do during the five hour drive.
In the office area, Devon was patiently helping Kitt walk around. It was a rather difficult task considering that the unsteady person was larger than their helper, and the two ended up on the floor more than once.
Michael wasn’t really faring any better. Bonnie was supervising him as he attempted to activate various functions and scanners. Occasionally, Michael would manage to engage an entirely different system than the one he was supposed to, necessitating the use of laser restraints to hold him in place. It wouldn’t do at all to have Michael reverse out the back of the semi, or forward for that matter, while trying to run a routine scan.
When they arrived at the Foundation, Michael felt confident enough to back out of the semi himself, Kitt following slowly.
“So what now?” Michael asked engine idling softly.
“Now you come with me to garage bay three,” Bonnie stated, sitting down in the driver’s seat, “I have more repairs to do, as well as some mathematical programs to rewrite.”
As they drove off, Devon put an arm around Kitt’s shoulders and steered him towards the mansion, “Let’s get you changed out of those clothes. It looks like Michael has been wearing those for days.”
“I think he has,” Kitt looked down at his burn-riddled red sweater. Michael would be disappointed to see the shirt go.
“Will you feel comfortable in Michael’s room, or should I have another room prepared for you?”
“I don’t think that Michael has anything that he would object to me seeing,” Kitt commented as he looked around the mansion with interest. He knew the floor plan of the mansion but, for obvious reasons, had never been inside. The variety of tasteful art and displays were fascinating.
When the door to Michael’s room opened, Kitt was surprised at how bare it was. The room could’ve belonged to almost anyone. There was nothing of his partner inside, save for two photographs displayed on the dresser against the far wall. A four-poster bed dominated the main part of the room, sheets hardly slept in, evidence of how little time Michael actually spent at FLAG headquarters. A door at the far end of the room led to a small, attached bathroom, and that was it.
Devon dug around in the dresser for some suitable clothing for Kitt to wear, while Kitt took the opportunity to look at the two photographs. He recognized one as the “family” photo they had taken two years ago after their first mission. Bonnie, Devon, and Michael were kneeling next to him, a big grin on everyone’s faces. Kitt smiled and looked at the other. It was at least ten years older than the first, and Kitt knew no one in it. Well, there was one face that seemed familiar. Kitt searched his memory banks, and finally came up with an answer. Michael Long, his partner’s former identity. But then all of the others in the photo must be Michael’s family. They all looked happy, Michael proudly displaying his LAPD badge on his chest. There was a caption written across the bottom- Graduated Police Academy 1973.
“Kitt?” Devon looked over, a fresh shirt and pants in his arms, then paused when he saw Kitt looking at Michael Long’s old family photograph. Technically, Michael was not supposed to have anything that could link him to his former identity, but Devon had decided to look the other way for the photo as long as it stayed safely in the mansion.
“Oh, thank you, Devon,” Kitt turned his attention away from the photographs, then attempted to shrug off his leather jacket like he had seen Michael do so many times before. Unfortunately, shucking a jacket in this manner is not the easiest thing in the world to do, and Kitt managed to get tangled with his arms behind his back.
Devon chuckled when he saw Kitt’s predicament and tugged the jacket off, “Now, will you be alright showering and dressing yourself?”
“I believe so, yes,” Kitt replied, taking off his ruined shirt.
“Good, then meet me in my office when you’re done,” And with that, Devon walked out.
Kitt stood in the center of the room for a moment, then continued to undress. For humans, this was routine. Every night they stopped at a hotel, Kitt watched Michael do the exact same thing. He could handle this.
Down in garage bay three, Michael was bored out of his mind. Bonnie had shut off every tactile sensor in his body so that she could dig around under the hood, leaving Michael to just sit.
“What does Kitt do all day?” Michael wondered aloud, not for the first time.
“Solve fractal equations mostly,” Bonnie replied absently, grunting as she slid a component into place, “Sometimes he reads.”
“He reads?” Michael tried to imagine Kitt reading a book, but couldn’t, “How?”
“There is a digital copy of several thousand different novels in his databanks. If you look, you can probably find them.”
Eager for something to do, Michael went searching.
It was strange to have one’s mind hooked up to a supercomputer. Kitt’s mind consisted only of his personality and memory banks, all other files had remained in his processor and were free for Michael to access. If he could figure out how, of course.
A freshly washed Kitt sat in Devon’s office, typing furiously at the computer in the corner as he tried to figure out Sauner’s next possible move. Though he had complained that doing it this way was inefficient, Kitt was much faster than even Bonnie.
If he were truly human, he would be considered a computer genius.
Devon watched the computer screen over Kitt’s shoulder, but wasn’t really seeing the information displayed. It was so strange to watch Kitt doing and saying things in Michael’s body that the real Michael Knight would never do. It was almost like those few months after Michael had first woken in the hospital bed, when Devon had to remind himself that this easy-going young man was not the criminal Garthe Knight that he so resembled.
“That’s interesting,” Kitt’s fingers suddenly paused on the keyboard as he reread what was displayed on the screen.
“What have you found?” Devon looked, but didn’t understand the data Kitt was so interested in.
“I’m looking at Bonnie’s repair logs,” Kitt said, not bothering to explain how he had gained access to such classified information, “Apparently, my systems registered a significant electrical shock at 4:13 am. That’s not long after I shut down for recharge last night.”
“So after you went into recharge someone, presumably Sauner, hit you with an electrical weapon of some sort.”
“Which somehow switched our bodies,” Kitt frowned as he leaned back, “But we still don’t know what kind of weapon it was, or what it was originally intended to do.” As he said this, a piece of metal fell out of his jacket pocket.
Devon picked it up and handed it to Kitt, “Well, this may answer at least one of those questions.”
“How could I have not noticed this,” Kitt berated himself as he peered closer at the little device. It was half-melted and appeared non-functional, but perhaps they could still glean some information from it.
Kitt cursed his current lack of analytical programs and stood up, “We need to go give this to Bonnie.”
When they reached the garage, Bonnie set the device aside to look at after she finished repairs. She was on a roll at the moment, and didn’t want to be distracted. Nearly every mathematical system in Kitt’s systems had to be re-written so that Michael could understand them. Not a difficult job, just time-consuming.
Devon went back up to his office, and Kitt dropped onto the battered old couch Michael had dragged into the garage a year and a half earlier. The ripped and faded old thing had led to a rather interesting argument between Michael and Bonnie.
“How are you, Michael?” Kitt reached out a hand and brushed the glossy black surface of what used to be his door panel.
It took Michael a couple of minutes to respond to his partner’s inquiry, “Oh, hey buddy. I’m doing fine, I guess.”
“Why did it take you do long to respond?” Kitt asked curiously. Was Michael having trouble with his audials?
“I was reading.”
Kitt visibly perked up, “Really? What?” He didn’t have any of Michael’s usual trashy dime-store novels in his databanks, which meant that his partner was actually reading a good book for once.
“Moby Dick,” Michael admitted a tad sheepishly.
Kitt allowed himself a soft laugh, “ ‘Call me Ishmael’’ Hmm?” he joked, referring to the case where that very phrase had saved Devon’s life.
“Kitt, come look at this!” Bonnie suddenly yelled across the garage. Obviously, she had gotten around to analyzing Sauner’s device, “Look at this,” she pointed at the string of data displayed on her computer’s screen, “It was too melted to know what it’s original purpose was, but it is sending out a signal. It’s faint, but I’ve managed to pinpoint it to this general area,” She hit a couple keys and a map appeared on a screen, a red circle blinking in the upper left corner, “It’s about ten miles northwest of the warehouse where we tracked down Sauner last time.”
“Alright!” Michael whooped, “Let’s go get him, buddy!”
“Not so fast!” Bonnie stepped right in front of Michael’s nosecone and glared down at his scanner sternly, “You two aren’t going anywhere!”
“What, why?” Michael pouted, momentarily forgetting that Bonnie had yet to re-attach his processor to the car’s functions.
“Because you’re not ready. Kitt can barely walk,” Bonnie pointed a finger at Kitt, who wobbled and fell back onto the couch, “And if you try to Turbo Boost you’ll most likely kill yourself. Now we can track Sauner, and we should have at least a week before he tries to make another move based on his previous strikes. Michael, you’ll be practicing on the test track with me, and Kitt will be learning human fighting techniques with Devon.”
Both partners gulped nervously. It was going to be a long week.
“I don’t want to hurt you, Devon,” Kitt stood nervously in front of the senior FLAG director.
Devon, for once, was not wearing a suit but casual work out clothes similar to the ones Kitt had found in Michael’s drawer that morning. It was an unusual sight to say the least.
“I assure you that you won’t,” Devon smiled congenially, “Don’t forget, I fought in the British army for many years. Besides, we’re only going to be working on your coordination, not sparring each other.”
“Still,” Kitt shifted his weight uneasily, “I have recorded almost every one of Michael’s past fights and committed them to my memory banks.”
“Yes, but seeing something and actually doing it are two different things.”
On the other side of the expansive Foundation grounds, Michael was going through a rather similar set of trials.
“Now, you should recognize the current layout of the track,” Bonnie was currently sitting in the driver’s seat, ready to take over if something went wrong, “I thought it would be best for you to try a course you’ve driven before.”
“Are you sure you’ve fixed everything?” Michael asked, trying to stall.
“Yes, I’m sure Michael. I’ve even altered the computer’s function equations so that you can decipher them easier. Now get it in gear!”
Michael sighed, then shifted into drive and pulled out onto the track. Sometimes he wondered how Kitt could spend so much time around Bonnie. Then again, they were both kindred spirits when it came to nagging him, so maybe it wasn’t that big of a mystery.
That night, both car and driver were lazing about in bay three, exhausted. Kitt was lying on the couch, carefully applying a fresh band-aid to his forehead. In addition to dealing with Devon the task-master, he was still having some balance problems and had face-planted the concrete floor upon entering the garage. Being sore all over was a new feeling, and it was one he really didn’t like.
Next to him, Michael was hooked up to a myriad of blinking machines as Bonnie worked under the hood. Apparently, the Turbo Boost functions hadn’t been dumbed-down enough yet. He had managed go straight over the target jump and into one of the Knight Industries hangers. It had taken Bonnie the better part of an hour to think up a good explanation for all the poor, terrified technicians they had nearly killed without revealing that it wasn’t Kitt who had just burst through the wall. After the incident with Sauner, they had decided to keep some stuff strictly “in the family” so to speak.
“Kitt, being you is hard,” Michael spoke through the commlink, trying to keep the conversation at least semi-private.
“Being you is not the easiest thing in the world, either,” Kitt whispered back, eyes closed, “Devon is actually a very good fighter.”
“Somehow I can’t see Devon anywhere but in his office,”
“How was Bonnie today?” Kitt shot back.
Of course, the two weren’t only having to deal with the physical aspects of being each other. There was a lot to adjust mentally as well. Michael was learning to think like a computer, while Kitt was working on relating to people.
Bonnie had decided that they wouldn’t go back out on the track until Michael had at least a basic grasp of physics, initiating what Michael referred to as the Math Class from Hell. It involved a large blackboard, complicated diagrams, and equations that made Michael’s processor hurt. Bonnie had even disabled the commlink so that Michael couldn’t beg Kitt for help.
In the meantime, Kitt was learning how to interact with regular people by accompanying Devon on menial errands into town. It was stuff like shopping that would normally be tasked to other people, but Devon felt that it was a great opportunity for Kitt to meet people. It was also rather humorous. Living with Kitt for three years had numbed the Englishman to Kitt’s peculiarities, all of which came to light whenever Kitt tried to talk to anyone.
Of course, at home Kitt was rather unconcerned about acting strangely around his family, something which caused a few awkward situations.
The second day after “the switch,” Bonnie trotted upstairs to get Kitt’s opinion on a new system she was considering. Upon reaching the door to Michael’s room, she heard the shower switch off, so she knocked loudly, “Kitt, can I come in?”
Kitt, who was currently toweling off his hair, called back, “Of course you can come in Bonnie.” Nudity was a purely human concept after all.
Bonnie’s shriek could be heard throughout the mansion. Slowly she calmed down and backed out of the room, arm over her eyes, “I’ll j-just come back when you’ve put some clothes on.”
“Oh,” Kitt looked down, as if realizing for the first time that he was completely naked, “I apologize Bonnie. I shall find some pants.”
“See that you do, Kitt.”
Later that night Bonnie was fuming silently at her desk. Michael had, of course, laughed uproariously at the story and asked if any of the mansion’s cameras had recorded the incident. Bonnie had responded by showing Michael a complex algorithm and telling him that Kitt wouldn’t be allowed in the garage until he solved it.
Bonnie glanced up at the clock over her desk and groaned when she saw that it was nearly 3 in the morning. She had gotten absorbed in her work again.
Michael was in recharge, monitors blinking slowly in accordance to his lower processor activity, leaving the algorithm unsolved. Well, maybe she had been a tad harsh. The problem was from one of her college textbooks, very high level. And she knew how much Michael and Kitt cherished their time together.
Bonnie resolved to let Kitt into the garage the next morning and was about to leave when there was the loud roar of an engine starting right behind her. She whipped around just in time to see Michael reverse right through the garage door, “Michael!”
The black car sat outside in the dark for a moment, engine idling, then the scanner flashed on and he slowly pulled back into the garage.
“Michael, are you all right?” Bonnie approached slowly, even as the car’s powerful engine shut off.
“I’m fine,” Michael finally answered, “Sorry about the door.” He began shutting back down into recharge.
“Oh no you don’t,” Bonnie was in full mother-hen mode, “Obviously you aren’t ‘fine.’ You just went from full recharge to blasting through the garage door. What’s up?”
“It was just a dream, okay,” It was clear that Michael did not want to talk about it.
“About what?” Bonnie pressed.
“None of your business!” Michael yelled, “Just.. just go and think up more stupid equations or something.”
“Michael, you know you can talk to me, right?” Now Bonnie was even more concerned, “Kitt isn’t the only person you can confide in.”
“Yeah, I’ll confide in the person who yells at me every time I return from a mission because Kitt has a little scratch,” This was something that Michael had obviously been wanting to say for a long time, “I don’t try to damage him, you know. We do get shot at, not that you care when I come back from a mission injured.” A pause, “At least April never yelled at me.”
The mention of her temporary replacement left Bonnie speechless for a moment, “Fine. I can tell you’ve been sitting on this for a while. I’ll just go.”
“No Bonnie, wait. Look, I’m sorry,” Michael’s voice was quiet, apologetic, “It’s been a long couple of days, and I guess I’m just feeling kind of stressed. If you really want to know, I still sometimes have nightmares. It’s no big thing.”
“No, I need to apologize too,” Bonnie sat down on Michael’s hood, “I can’t really expect you to talk to me when I’ve barely ever said two words to you, can I? Look Michael, I’m sorry that I get short with you sometimes, but it’s hard to watch you take Kitt out on missions,” she chuckled, “You know, the very first time I saw you, I decided I wasn’t going to like you. To me, you were a cocky know-it-all that wouldn’t respect Kitt at all.”
“I kind of was on that first mission,” Michael admitted reluctantly, remembering how rude he had been to Kitt on that first mission in Millston, “I’m not proud of who I was then. But, people change. I have, Kitt has, even Devon has. Do you realize that he referred to Kitt as an ‘it’ for our first three missions?”
“Yes, I’m the one who yelled at him for it,” Bonnie remembered with amusement, “Devon had never really interacted with Kitt, he just knew about all of the car’s features. I made Devon go down to the garage and have a nice, long talk with Kitt one night while you were in the medical wing.”
“Yeah, I bet you and Kitt have a right old time all by yourselves while I’m in Dr. Alpert’s care,” Michael was back to sounding bitter.
“Michael, you know I worry about you too,” Her voice was soft, but sincere, “Kitt can be rebuilt from almost nothing, you can’t. I guess I’m just not very good at showing emotions to people. You know, there aren’t a lot of girls that take automotive and computer classes in high school. The guys used to tease me and call me names until I graduated highest in the class.”
Michael laughed, then both fell silent when someone knocked on the door to the garage bay. The door creaked open and Kitt peered in, “Am I interrupting something?”
“Kitt, how did you get in here?” Bonnie hopped off Michael’s hood and shut the door behind Kitt.
“Bonnie, it is my own garage bay. The locks aren’t that much of a challenge.”
“Better question, why are you here? It’s 3:10 in the morning,” Michael questioned. Okay, so having an internal clock was kind of cool, “Human bodies do need their sleep.”
“I came down to see you,” Kitt admitted quietly, taking a seat on Michael’s beat up old couch, “I haven’t talked to you all day, Michael.”
“You can tell that to Miss Math over here,” This time, the comment was a friendly jibe.
“You laughed at me for two hours,” Bonnie defended, “Personally, I don’t think that walking in on what was basically you naked was that funny.”
“I am still very sorry about that,” Kitt said apologetically, “Human memory banks are not infallible, and I guess I just forgot to put something on.”
“How about you help Kitt shave tomorrow morning and we call it even,” Michael suggested.
Bonnie looked at Kitt and saw that he was indeed looking a little shaggy. Suddenly, a brilliant idea came to mind. “Sure. I can do that,” They had made up, yes, but that didn’t mean that she couldn’t still get a small bit of revenge.
The next morning, Michael onlined his optics only to see the fierce countenance of Garthe Knight glaring down at him from the doorway of the garage bay.
Michael stared with a mixture of terror and confusion. He had seen Garthe and Adrienne explode a year ago, hadn’t he? And if it really was Garthe, then how had he managed to get past all of the Foundation’s security?
Just then, “Garthe” tilted his head and asked innocently, “Michael, is something wrong?”
That voice, “Kitt?” Michael suddenly realized what had happened, “Kitt, go back to Bonnie and tell her to shave you properly this time.”
“Alright,” Kitt seemed confused by the order, but obeyed nonetheless and disappeared back into the building.
The first time Michael managed to land a jump successfully, Bonnie cheered for him proudly. It seemed like as soon as he managed to understand the equations that governed everything this body did, all of the special functions and abilities the car had came easily. Soon, he was controlling things like Turbo Boost and Ski Mode almost effectively as Kitt.
Kitt was experiencing similar success in his endeavors with Devon. Though perhaps not ready for the ring, Kitt at least would be able to hold his own in a street fight. And when they went into town, people didn’t stare at him oddly anymore. There weren’t any under-cover operations in his future, but Kitt knew enough to interact with store clerks on a short trip.
After six days of hard work, Devon was forced to admit that he could no longer keep Michael and Kitt at the Foundation. Frank Sauner needed to be found, and they were the only two that could do it.
When Devon gave the okay for them to leave, Michael couldn’t be off of the Foundation grounds fast enough. They were lucky there were no police cars around, because 150 was certainly over the speed limit.
“It’s good to be back on the open road again,” Michael had once said that he was a road person, and the statement couldn’t be more true. The Foundation grounds got stuffy after a while.
“Michael,” Kitt had his hands on the wheel, but was not making any attempt to take control, “Since I’m in the driver’s seat, shouldn’t I be the one driving?”
“Kitt, no matter what happens, I’m still Michael Knight and you’re still the Knight Industries Two Thousand.”
“ . . . And?”
“And I feel like driving right now,” Michael smoothly accelerated through a turn, then slowed down as they entered city limits.
It took the two of them nearly half an hour to figure out how to turn the radio on, mainly because that particular function was very well hidden on the dash. It was usually Kitt’s job to find a radio station while they drove, rendering an actual button superfluous. It was also one of the few things Bonnie didn’t feel important enough to show Michael how to do. The function was there, however, and once they had found it the reoccurring debate of what kind of music to listen to ensued.
“Why can’t we listen to rock and roll?” Michael asked in exasperation. This same argument happened every time the radio turned on, or whenever they passed out of the range of a particular station.
“That junk you call music is appalling,” Kitt maintained, “I would much rather listen to some nice classical music. You know, Devon leant me several of his tapes, they’re quite good.”
And so they fell back on the one kind of music they could both agree on; soft rock. Compromise at it’s finest.
Though he had been human for nearly a week, Kitt still hadn’t quite gotten the hang of human sleep cycles. So it was hardly surprising that at one in the morning he was still awake, and hungry.
Michael laughed when he heard his partner’s stomach growl, “Hungry buddy? I’ll pull over at that corner mart.” He hit the blinker and pulled the parking lot of a tiny gas station.
“Why do humans require fuel so frequently?” Kitt groused, stretching as he climbed out of the car. It was amazing that Michael could spend so much time on the road without ending up permanently hunched over, “I’ll be back in a minute,”
“Take your time,” Michael responded with amusement.
The little 7-11 was nearly empty, Kitt and a night clerk being the only people inside. He had grabbed a bottle of water and was searching for the salads when the commlink beeped, “Yes, Michael?”
“Kitt, look out,” Michael’s voice was quiet, but urgent, “There’s two guys in masks coming into the store. One of them has a gun.”
Kitt immediately dropped to the floor. He was at the back of the store, and could hopefully use the element of surprise to his advantage. The bell on the door dinged as it opened, and Kitt shifted until he could see the counter through a gap in a shelf. The gunman had leveled a handgun at the clerk while his buddy went around the counter to empty the till.
When the one collecting the money bent over to collect some dropped coinage, Kitt took his chance. Vaulting off the floor, he leapt onto the gunman’s back. One shot hit the ceiling, then Kitt managed to knock the weapon to the floor.
“Hey!” The second thief dropped his bag and went to help his accomplice. He had barely gotten over the counter when the night clerk pulled out a baseball bat and conked him over the head.
Michael sat outside feeling utterly useless. He had already called the police, and now the only thing to do was sit and watch the fight through the infrared camera. This left no way to distinguish between people, but it was better than nothing. Two figures were grappling on the floor when there was a gunshot and blood sprayed, “Kitt!”
Kitt stared down at the blood covering his hands. Next to him, the thief was groaning and clutching the bullet hole in his gut that was spurting blood. In the struggle to gain control of the dropped gun, it had gone off and shot the masked man in the lower abdomen.
It was then that the police showed up. The two would-be thieves were whisked away in an ambulance, and Kitt was helped to his feet. Him and the night clerk gave their statements to the police, then Kitt was allowed to wash up and leave. The clerk had even given him his purchases for free in gratitude.
Now, however, the salad and water sat forgotten in the passenger seat. Kitt was hunched over in the driver’s seat, staring down at his hands miserably. A week ago, he hadn’t even had hands. Now, though, all he could see was those hands covered in the thief’s blood.
“Kitt, are you alright?” Michael’s voice was apprehensive. His partner wasn’t usually the one in the thick of the fights battling armed men and all that.
“Michael, I almost killed that man,” Kitt clenched his hands, “He could still die in the ambulance, or at the hospital.”
There was the problem. Kitt had never seriously injured someone before, only given them a bruise or two, “Hey, now. It was self-defense. Besides, you stopped two thieves and saved that clerk.”
“Michael, my primary program is the preservation of human life. I’m not supposed to be able to hurt people like that.”
“Kitt, you’re not a computer right now. You’re human, and humans make mistakes,” Michael said patiently, “I was watching the fight, and that guy managed to shoot himself with his own gun. You were not at fault in any way.”
Kitt didn’t respond. He leaned against the window, and a few minutes later had dropped to sleep. Michael set his sights on the next town and continued driving. Kitt would get over it given a little time, he always did.
The next morning, Kitt was woken by the sun shining through the windshield. As he shifted, the radio switched on.
“It’s going to be a bright, bright, bright, sunshine-y day”
Kitt smiled. A night’s sleep really had made it better, no wonder Michael always like to ‘sleep on his problems,’ so to speak. “Good morning, Michael.”
Looking out the window, Kitt saw that they were parked in front of a restaurant.
“I figured you’d be hungry,” Michael said by way of explanation, “Your salad kinda wilted overnight.”
“Thank you,” Kitt stiffly got out and stretched, then walked into the restaurant.
Half-an-hour later, Kitt walked out of the restaurant looking slightly stricken. He opened the door and fell into the driver’s seat with a groan, letting his forehead drop onto the steering yoke tiredly.
“You okay, buddy?” Michael asked, pulling out of the parking lot and back onto the main highway.
“Do waitresses always make attempts to go home with you?” Kitt’s voice was muffled as he didn’t seem to want to raise his head.
Michael laughed as he pulled up their map of the area and found the nearest dirt backroad, “Ah the curse of good looks. Considering that there aren’t any pretty girls in the car, I’m going to assume that you got away.”
“By the skin of my teeth.” Kitt replied dryly.
“You’ll live,” Michael slammed the car into pursuit mode as soon as they had left the state-maintained highway, pushing Kitt back against the seat.
“Michael! You know Pursuit mode is only for emergencies,” Kitt chastised his partner.
“Yes, but the sooner we get to Sauner, the sooner we can get switched back to our normal bodies. I think that we can justify using Pursuit mode.”
Kitt merely grumbled and reached over to turn on the main monitor. He wasn’t really fond of the human vice known as television, but he had the feeling that Michael wasn’t going to be very talkative on this trip, and the radio got boring after awhile.
Nearly forty-five minutes into the trip, Kitt was actually enjoying a television show when he noticed that they were slowing down, “Is there a police officer nearby?” It was a rather rare occurrence for them to encounter law enforcement on the desert highways, but it had been known to happen.
“Stranded motorist,” Michael replied, “And it’s a cute one to boot.”
Kitt sighed. No matter where they were, Michael was capable of finding a pretty girl in need of a ride. Indeed, he could now see the smoking Subaru on the side of the road ahead. “Really, Michael?” Normally he wouldn’t protest as much, but Michael usually had the task of talking with passengers.
“Come on, Kitt. It’s the middle of nowhere. We could be the only people who pass by for days. We have to help her,” That kind of logic, combined with Kitt’s natural altruistic personality, was enough to make him give in.
“Oh thank god,” The woman sighed as Kitt pulled over and got out of the car, “I was beginning to think that no one was going to drive by.”
“Shall I call you a tow truck?” Kitt asked politely. He wasn’t exactly an expert on the workings of a normal internal combustion engine; and seeing how he was currently without a high speed hookup to computer databases there was little he could do.
“What, you have a car phone or something? Cause there aren’t any pay phones for miles,” She gave a light laugh, “Actually, if you could just give me a lift to the next town I’d appreciate it.”
“Sure,” Kitt responded reluctantly. It was an hour’s drive to the next town, and there was no way he’d be able to get away with sitting back and leaving the driving to Michael. Funny, in his own body he loved being allowed to drive, but in Michael’s he’d much rather just read a book or watch television. Or talk with his partner. Of course, that wasn’t possible either, no talking for Michael with a passenger in the car.
“Wow, I guess you do have a car-phone, and a lot more,” The woman remarked in amazement as she sat in the passenger seat, “This is like some kind of space craft. My name is Sandy Reeves, by the way,” She fumbled a bit looking for a seat belt, then realized there wasn’t one and frowned.
“I’m the.. “ Kitt stopped himself, ”I mean, my name is Michael. Michael Knight.”
“So, Michael Knight, what are you doing out here in the middle of nowhere?” Sandy asked after a few minutes of silence.
“We – I just like taking backroads.” Lying was not something he had ever been programmed to do, but three years of working with Michael had forced him to fabricate stories more than once.
“Really? Me too, I guess that’s what got me stuck out here in the first place. But I just love the scenic routes. My father used to always insist on it when I was a kid, you know?” Now Sandy was off and talking with no signs of stopping. All topics seemed to be fair game, though she kept coming back to what was apparently a very entertaining childhood.
Kitt, of course, had absolutely nothing to say on the subject. He just drove and tried to nod and interject the occasional “mmhmm,” in what seemed to be the proper place.
This seemed to satisfy Sandy, because she never once paused in her prattle, not even to notice that Kitt was far exceeding the speed limit in his endeavor to reach the next town as soon as possible.
“So, what about your parents? Did you ever do anything fun together?”
The question surprised Kitt, and he was speechless for several long moments while trying to formulate an answer. He knew little to nothing about Michael’s childhood, so he had to draw on his own. Not that he had ever had one, “Well, my father died before I ever really got a chance to know him.” Not a lie, Wilton had died just after his creation, “My mother and I still meet up with each other every once in a while,“ A bit more of truth stretching, as he and Bonnie spent a decent amount of time together, but still not a total falsehood. “Nothing really stands out.”
Sandy frowned, obviously not satisfied with the answer, but there was a gas station coming into view up ahead.
“Thanks for the ride, Michael,” Sandy grabbed her purse and reluctantly got out of the car. Obviously, she wanted to continue their somewhat one-sided conversation, “I’ll see you again, maybe?”
“Maybe,” Kitt hit the gas even before the door shut and they raced off, continuing northwest through the desert.
“Okay, she was a tad annoying,” Michael admitted after they had put a few miles between them and the small town behind them. “Even if she was really cute.”
Kitt shrugged, reaching forward to turn the radio back on, “At least she did most of the talking. I had nothing in my databanks about your past to relate to.”
“You really don’t have any information about my past?” Michael sounded surprised. He had always thought that Kitt had downloaded his entire life story before they met. The AI had been programmed with him in mind.
“I have information pertaining to the year you spent in Las Vegas before our meeting, but beyond that nothing,” Kitt informed him, “Though, I wouldn’t object to learning more.” The last part was said tentatively, as though he were afraid Michael would refuse the request.
“Why not?” Michael turned the radio off, “It’s not like I can tell anyone else about my life as Michael Long.”
Kitt smiled and leaned back. No matter what body he was in, talking with his partner was his favorite activity in the world.
- - - - - - - - -- -
Silence filled the cabin of the modified Trans-Am. Kitt and Michael were but minutes from reaching their target and were too nervous about what they would find to continue their earlier conversation.
Up ahead was their target, an old gray camper parked seemingly in the middle of nowhere. Scanners could’ve told them whether it was loaded with weapons, stolen technology, or just a computer, but Michael couldn’t interpret the data that the scanners were giving him. There were just some things that the human mind simply could not handle, and the huge amounts of data that Kitt’s more advanced scanners provided was one of those things. He could tell that something in the RV was putting out an electronic signal, sure, but nothing beyond that.
He, however, could tell that there was no one inside the motorhome, meaning that Frank Sauner was elsewhere. He didn’t seem like the kind of guy to just leave his mobile base sitting out in the middle of nowhere empty so where….
Several alarms went off at once, red alerts flashing across his vision.
“Kitt, I think Sauner has been expecting us,” Michael swerved to one side as a rather impressive missile shot past. This time, it seemed, Frank Sauner was pulling out all the stops. Behind them was a black All Terrain Vehicle like the military used, only this one was reinforced with an exterior rebar roll cage.
“Shall we face him head on?” Kitt asked, leaning forward in anticipation, “I somehow doubt that rebar can stand up to my MBS.”
“Well alright then,” Cranking the wheel, Michael executed a perfect one-eighty and raced towards Sauner.
The other vehicle swerved, but still clipped them, the impact spinning both cars around. Michael gunned the engine and raced after Sauner, who was firing at them with all he had. Obviously, Sauner had acquired more than just Foundation technology; because the high-powered weapons he was currently using certainly hadn’t been developed by Knight Industries.
“That must be the weapon that switched us,” Kitt breathed as a visible bolt of electricity shot by, barely missing them.
“Do you think it’ll switch us back?” Michael wondered aloud.
“I don’t know, but I really don’t think we should test that theory in the middle of a fight.”
Before Michael could respond, the dash exploded in a shower of sparks. They had been hit. Gauges and dials went crazy, system after system registering error as they shut down.
“Michael?” Kitt grabbed the wheel to steady the car as they began to weave on the roadway, “What’s going on?”
No response. Electricity arced over the hood, then the lights on the dash flickered off one by one.
“Michael, answer me, please!”
Still no answer. Michael was gone.
A tear rolled down Kitt’s cheek in a rare show of emotion, then he steeled himself and put his foot to the floor. Sauner wouldn’t get away with this. Racing ahead of the other mans’ big black truck, Kitt spun the car around to face them head on. This time, he didn’t even give Sauner a chance to swerve.
He smashed into the reinforced truck at full speed, bending, then crumpling the rebar and steel hood. Kitt then shifted into reverse and spun around, slamming his rear quarterpanel against the driver’s side of Sauner’s car. The entire side of the vehicle caved in, bulletproof windows shattering. Right now, Kitt didn’t have to worry about doing damage to his car body, there was no one there to feel the dents.
As soon as the two vehicles had shuddered to a halt, Kitt was out of the car and pulling a bloody Frank Sauner from his vehicle.
“I’ve lost contact with Michael. Tell me where he is,” Kitt demanded angrily, keeping Sauner pinned against his truck.
“What are you talking about?” Sauner was dazed by the impacts, but not totally out of it.
“Where is Michael Knight?”
Sauner laughed, “Have you gone daft, Knight?”
Kitt grabbed the other man by his lapels and slammed him back against his vehicle, “I am the Knight Industries Two Thousand. My partner was in the computer you hit with that electrical attack. Now where is he?”
Sauner gasped in sudden realization. So that’s where the AI had gone. It hadn’t downloaded into his computer because it had somehow gone into it’s partner’s human body. So then the personality he had just downloaded was actually . . .
He cursed. A human personality was of absolutely no use to him, especially one as self-righteous as Michael Knight. “If you want your partner back, I’ll need something in return,” he said coercively, “I want you.”
“Or I could just take your computer back to the Foundation and throw you in jail,” Kitt roughly shoved Sauner into the passenger seat of the Trans Am and activated the laser restraints. Then he called the Foundation and requested to be picked up.
Kitt turned up the radio loud enough to drown out Frank Sauner’s cursing, then sat on the hood and tried to calm down. Being in a human body was frightening. There were no restraints to keep him from hurting, or even killing someone if he got angry. He couldn’t wait to be back in his own body.
Three hours later, the Foundation Semi pulled up. Sauner’s wrecked vehicle was pulled into the back of the semi so that Bonnie could examine it, while Sauner himself was locked in the semi’s back room. More technicians were on their way to examine the RV and its contents. Leaving Kitt to make the long drive home by himself. It was a lonely trip.
The trip back to FLAG took the better part of a day, and by the time the mansion came in sight, Kitt was exhausted. He pulled into his usual garage bay and stared at the vocal indicator on the dash of the car, willing it to light up with Michael’s voice. Nothing, of course. Michael was no longer in the car body.
After a few more minutes in silence, Kitt finally sighed and opened the door. As he stood up, his head spun and his vision went black for a brief moment. Stumbling, he put a hand on the roof of the car to steady himself and try to keep from falling over.
“Kitt, are you alright?” The familiar, even voice of Devon Miles came from the door to the garage bay. Obviously, the semi had returned as well.
“Fine.” Kitt took a few deep breaths and blinked to clear his vision. “What about Michael?”
“Bonnie believes he was downloaded into a small computer that Sauner had in his vehicle.” Devon came over to put a gentle, steadying hand on Kitt’s shoulder, “Sauner, of course, refuses to cooperate, but I have faith in Bonnie’s ability to put you both back where you belong. Now come along, you look exhausted dear boy. Let’s get you to sleep.”
Slowly, Kitt followed Devon up into the mansion proper to the room he was borrowing from Michael. It was all in Bonnie’s hands now.
Without Michael to talk with, or a mission to train for, the days at the mansion dragged on very slowly for Kitt. He tried to assist Bonnie with her project, but being an AI did not make him a trained engineer. Attempting to reverse-engineer the beam that had switched their bodies in the first place was a bit beyond him, especially in this body without connection to limitless archives and information.
Bonnie had successfully downloaded Michael back into the Knight Industries Two Thousand frame, but so far had had no luck bringing him online. Her only theory was that being downloaded across the data streams was a fairly traumatic experience for a human mind, and that Michael was staying ‘unconscious’ out of self-defense. Currently, the hope was that putting him back into his proper, human body would be enough to set things right.
Finally, after a week, Bonnie announced that they were ready to try.
“We need to recreate the conditions under which you two first switched.” She instructed Kitt. “You will need to be sitting in the driver’s seat, and asleep. Once you are well into the REM stage, I’ll fire up the device.”
Kitt slid into the plush bucket seat and reclined it back, then took the two sleep aid pills and a cup of water handed to him. He was far too keyed up to find sleep on his own any time soon.
The pills did their job, though, and after half an hour, Kitt felt his eyelids dragging shut. Not long after that, he was asleep.
When Kitt awoke, he finally felt. . . right. Data and information streamed to his mental fingertips, informing the AI that he was well fueled, charged, and in good repair. Kitt opened his eyes. . .only he didn’t have eyes anymore. The scanner bar on the front of the car flashed and began to track, giving Kitt the familiar visual of the back wall of his garage bay along with temperature, humidity, and barometric pressure. Oh, it felt good to just know everything again.
“Michael?” Kitt turned his sensors inward, to the human body that lay sleeping in his driver’s seat. Heart rate was slow, but only because he was still asleep, and brain activity was minimal. But it was there. “Michael?”
“Kitt?” That voice. Not Michael. But Bonnie, approaching the car with a diagnostic scanner in hand. “Oh good, it looks like things worked. Kitt, can you run a self-diagnostic?”
“I am functioning normally.” Kitt reassured her after a quick scan. “What about Michael?”
“He might just need to sleep longer. Here, I’ll call Dr. Alpert in here.” Bonnie went over to the mansion intercom to page the medical wing. Kitt, meanwhile, kept all his focus on his human partner. Watching, waiting.
Dr. Alpert came down to the garage soon after he was paged, looking over Michael with a professional eye. The man was only sleeping, but very deeply. He had been through something rather traumatic, after all. Having his mind shoved from one computer to another and back again. It would probably take a little longer for him to settle back into his proper body than it had Kitt.
The doctor wanted to move Michael to the medical wing for observation, and reluctantly, Kitt allowed him to be removed from his cabin. As much as he wanted to keep Michael there, where Kitt could monitor him with every scanner he possessed, it was more logical for him to be kept in the medical wing. Kitt didn’t have the ability to hook up an IV, after all, or install a catheter. Though Kitt wouldn’t trade his vehicular form for anything, he did find himself faintly missing having hands.
Bonnie returned to the garage to sit down with Kitt and get to work re-writing some of his programs from the simplified versions made for Michael. Neither spoke much about the unconscious man lying in the medical wing, but both were doing the same thing. Worrying, and waiting. Kitt kept one long-range scanner trained on the prone body in the bed in the medical wing, an alarm set to alert him should there be the tiniest change in heart rate or brain waves. Mercifully, Dr. Alpert had left Michael’s commlink on his wrist, allowing Kitt to monitor his partner even from half the mansion away.
Three days passed before, in the dead of night, Kitt was jolted from his defrag cycle by one of his internal alarms. Michael’s brain activity had spiked. He was waking up. Kitt quickly paged Doctor Alpert, then, cautiously, activated the commlink. “Michael?”
There was a few moments of silence, before finally, “Kitt? Issat you?”
Kitt could’ve jumped for joy if he still had the ability. A fraction of his excitement even bled into his voice. “Yes, Michael, it’s me. Are you alright?”
“I’ve got one whopper of a headache,” There was a soft groan from the commlink, and the sound of sheets rustling. “But. I think I’m okay. How long was I out?”
“A week before Bonnie managed to switch us back. Then another three days.”
“Thank god for Bonnie.” Michael chuckled softly, stretching his arms above his head and relishing in actually being able to do so once more. “Feels good to be home.”
“Yes, Michael. It does.”