TEAM KNIGHT RIDER - SEASON 03
CHAPTER TWO: DAY OF DOOM TWO
It was two days until Mobius’ deadline, and Washington DC was a hubbub of activity. People from all over the world gathered to take on the threat of the evil man’s plot of global destruction. Most of the world leaders, after seeing Mobius’ videotape and realizing the genuine threat of nuclear catastrophe, had by now assented to his demands. The President of the United States welcomed the help from the other nations. Unfortunately a few of the nations were resisting, one of which being Cuba.
All of the US government agencies were focusing their combined efforts on finding Mobius in order to retrieve the Proteus and put an end to his plan. So far their efforts have been in vain. Neither Mobius, nor James, nor KITT had been seen or heard from since the delivery of the videocassette. Nothing could be learned from the piece of tape, and the fact that their nemesis was a former CIA employee also complicated matters. Charles Stewart, even when he was still loyal to America, was an excellent, highly intelligent agent. He managed to escape capture from his home nation, from Russia, Germany, and other nations, for the past 20 years with apparent ease. The present case was no exception to his prowess.
Team Knight Rider had also come to a dead end in their search for Kyle’s
traitorous father. Even with Scott and Annie’s help with their FBI resources, they could find nothing leading them to the deranged man. Kyle and the others were getting increasingly frustrated and impatient as the deadline drew near. When they got the news of Cuba’s absolute refusal to submit to Mobius’ demands, Kyle and the others were slightly worried.
"If Cuba doesn’t back down," Kyle said as soon as Annie came with the news, "Mobius will destroy them."
"We know that," Duke said, "but they don’t."
Kyle, Annie, Duke, Erica and the cars were all gathered in the garage. While Trek was in the situation room going over information on the Internet, Jenny and Scott had gone to Washington to maintain direct contact with the President and other officials at the White House, as well as FBI HQ.
"The President is talking to Castro right now," Annie told them, "He’s trying to persuade him to go along with it, if only until the deadline. He’s also going to encourage the others to do the same."
"A lot of good that’ll do," Beast spoke up, "So far as I know Castro doesn’t take advice from anyone, especially the US."
"He’ll have to if he wants to keep his little island intact," Erica said, leaning back against Kat.
"Well I hope he does before Mobius decides to punish him for not listening," Kat replied.
Trek’s image suddenly appeared on the monitor nearby.
"It may be a bit too late for that," he told them, "You better get up here right away."
* * *
They rushed into the situation room a minute later. As soon as they entered they saw their wheelchaired nemesis’ dark outline appearing on the view screen.
"Mobius isolated the private frequencies of government communications lines," Trek informed them, "He’s contacted the CIA, FBI, and the White House too."
"Greetings, most revered governments of the United States," Mobius greeted them once again, "I am happy to see that most of you have submitted to my requests. However I am unhappy to find that some nations are hesitating to comply, and that our dear little Cuba has refused to adhere. That, I am afraid, was a detrimental mistake on Castro’s part. I’m sure within twelve minutes he will be deeply regretting his mistake. On the other hand, he will no longer be around to see what destruction his error has caused."
Trek and Duke exchanged glances. Kyle just frowned.
"You remember that nuclear missile I have aimed at Cuba?" Stewart continued, "Well, I just set it off three minutes ago. It should be landing squarely in about…eleven minutes now. I hope that will help to persuade the other reluctant nations to obey my commands. Good day to you."
The communication was cut off. Kyle turned to Trek, who was already working furiously at his control panel.
"Trek---!" Kyle began.
"Yes, yes, I know!" Trek cut him off hurriedly, "I’m on it!"
They watched in tense anticipation as Trek scrambled to stop the missile from destroying thousands of lives.
"Plato!" Trek spoke up, "I need your help!"
"You got it, boss!" Plato replied.
Kyle brought his fist up to his mouth as he stood by his chair, waiting. Duke tapped the surface in front of him, watching as Trek quickly typed in commands.
"Is he going to be able to stop it in time?" Kat spoke up.
"He might," Dante replied, "if you don’t distract him."
"Well, you’re talking too," Kat accused.
"Why don’t you both just shut-up," Beast told them gruffly.
"Well excuse-me!" Dante retorted.
"Guys!" Trek exclaimed.
The cars remained quiet.
The time limit declined rapidly. Kyle, Duke, Erica and Annie all checked their watches regularly.
"Three minutes," Erica spoke up.
"Yeah, yeah, I know!" Trek replied absently.
"Have you almost got it?" Kyle asked.
"I think so," Trek told him, "I just…"
Trek’s voice trailed off. He typed in the last few commands, then sat back in his chair and took a deep breath.
"You did it?" Kyle asked him expectantly.
"Sort of," Trek replied.
"What do you mean, sort of?" Kyle asked.
"It was too late to keep it from impacting completely," Trek told them, "I just altered its course."
"Where did it land?" Kyle asked him, half dreading the reply.
"Uh, somewhere in the middle of the Pacific Ocean," Trek said.
The others frowned.
"Hey, don’t worry!" he assured them, "I made sure there were no vessels in its path. No one will get hurt."
"Still," Dante spoke up, "The tidal wave will most likely cause tremendous flooding and capsizing on any nearby vessels and coastal regions."
"I did the best I could," Trek defended himself.
"At least no one will be seriously injured," Kyle said, "You did a good job, Trek."
"Uh, Kyle," Trek told him seriously.
Kyle looked at him.
"If Mobius sets off another missile," Trek told him, "I won’t be able to stop it."
Kyle stared at him for a moment, then nodded.
"We’ll just have to make sure he doesn’t set off another one," he replied.
Domino’s display came up on the monitor.
"Kyle," she told him, "Jenny’s on the line."
"Put her on," Kyle said immediately.
Jenny’s face then replaced Domino.
"How are things on your end?" Kyle asked her.
"We have good news and bad news," Jenny told them.
"What’s the bad news?" Duke asked.
"Bad news is that we still have no idea where to find Mobius," Jenny told them, "And Dr. Crustus says there’s no way he can disable the Proteus."
"And the good news?" Kyle asked, absently rubbing his temple.
"The good news is that the other nation leaders have agreed to come to Washington," she informed them, "including Castro. They should all be assembled by tomorrow morning."
"I have a bad feeling about this," he said, "What’s the President have to say?"
Jenny’s look remained serious as she replied.
"He’s getting impatient," she admitted, "Right now every branch of the government is concentrating on this situation. So far the public hasn’t gotten wind of it, but the President is preparing a statement in case news of this leaks to the press."
"Let’s hope that doesn’t happen," Duke said, "We don’t need millions of panicky citizens runnin’ around."
"Scott and I are on our way back," Jenny told them, "We should be there shortly."
"That ugly sedan you’re driving isn’t giving you any trouble, is it, Jenny?" Domino asked.
Jenny managed a small smile before her face disappeared. Kyle turned to the others.
"All right," he said, "We have less than two days to find Mobius. What we need is a lead."
"What we need is for Mobius to call us with another clue," Trek suggested.
They all looked at him, just as the phone rang. Erica, who was closest, reached over and picked it up.
"Yeah?" she asked. Her face dropped when she heard the voice on the other end, and she gave Kyle a look. She then put the call on speakerphone. They heard familiar strained breathing on the other end.
"Greetings, Team Knight Rider," Mobius spoke to them, "Sorry I’ve kept myself away so long. Pressing business, you know."
"Why don’t you just tell us and get it over with?" Kyle asked him impatiently.
"Whatever do you mean?" Mobius asked in mock puzzlement.
"Come on," Erica told him, "You know you called to give us another clue."
"You see right through me, Ms. West," he replied, "I do in fact have another puzzle for you to solve. This one, however, will not be as easy as the last, I’m afraid."
"Get to the point, buddy," Beast spoke up.
"Oh I will," Mobius told them, "Eventually. But first, I have to ask, what do you think about my marvelous plan?"
"Ingenious," Kyle replied, "and more than a bit wacked."
"Most plans to take over the world are," Mobius agreed, uninsulted, "I see the President has all his cavalry looking for me. Pity to waste such manpower. I always felt that the Presidents were never really up to snuff."
"And you are?" Duke asked.
"Indeed," Mobius said, "I have at my very fingertips three very awesome weapons, each of which could do the job of thousands. Your little brother, for instance, is being very cooperative. In fact, he should be on his way to pick me up very shortly. You see, I’m going on vacation."
"Now?" Erica asked, "Aren’t you going to take over the world first?"
"That will take care of itself, I’m sure," Mobius replied in a greatly smug voice.
"So is it clue time yet?" Trek asked.
"I’m afraid I can’t waste much more time," Mobius told them, "My plane ride really will not wait. I’m really looking forward to getting away for a while. I was thinking of someplace sunny, with lots of fresh air. Perhaps near Kenny’s tomb. I’m sure Kyle will know what I’m talking about."
Kyle frowned as the others looked at him.
"I regret to say this will be my very last communication," Mobius apologized, "I don’t expect to see you again, but I will always retain fond memories of our encounters. Farewell, White Knights."
Mobius cut the communication. Kyle sat back in his chair.
"Trek? Plato?" he asked, "Any ideas?"
Trek shook his head helplessly.
"No clue," Plato replied disconsolately.
Kyle sighed and stared at his console.
"Mobius said you would know what he was talking about," Erica told him.
Kyle shook his head.
"Kenny’s tomb," he mumbled, "What the heck is Kenny’s tomb?"
"My guess, Kyle, is that Mobius never wanted you to guess that clue," Dante spoke up.
"Which just means I have to do all I can to figure out what he was telling me," Kyle said with determination.
* * *
Mobius, sitting limply in his specially-equipped wheelchair, sat waiting as the C-37A made its landing in the small, remote field. A voluptuous blonde in tight, revealing clothing stood next to him, a leopard skin suitcase sitting at her high-heeled feet. She had a hand resting on the back of Mobius’ chair and was smiling smugly. As soon as the aircraft landed, the rear ramp lowered right in front of them. Moments later James came walking down to meet them.
"Ah, James, my son," Mobius greeted him, "Miss Starr, meet my youngest son, James."
Miss Starr stepped forward and looked James over approvingly. She gave him her hand to shake. James only nodded to her, his expression remaining expressionless. From the look on her face, Starr found him more than a bit pleasing.
"My my, Charles," she told him, "You never told me your son was this handsome."
"Come come, Starr," Mobius admonished her, "You’re going to make me jealous."
Starr sidled up to James as the three of them ascended the ramp. As soon as they were in, Mobius went over to the immobile KITT.
"And how is my second most prized possession?" he asked as James retracted the ramp.
"Systems are functioning 100%," KITT replied.
Mobius chuckled as Starr ran her hands over KITT’s frame.
"He’s beautiful, baby," she told him.
"He’s magnificent," he agreed, "And he’s finally mine."
The three of them then went to the cockpit. James piloted the STOL into the air.
"It’s about time you took me some place tropical," Starr told her beau as they flew.
"I always told you I’d make you happy, Starr," Mobius replied, "Did you ever doubt me?"
* * *
Behind them, inside the main storage area of the aircraft, KITT sat quietly, monitoring the aircraft controls and listening to every word the three humans uttered. Inside, on his control panel, systems started activating. The words "Long-range Signal Override" abruptly appeared on the small monitor. As soon as it did, a tiny red button started flashing on and off sporadically.
* * *
Team Knight Rider got next to no sleep that night, and faced the next morning weary and frustrated. By that time all of the remaining world leaders had arrived in Washington and were beginning to gather in the White House for the meeting Mobius had arranged for 6PM that evening. Audio/visual equipment and satellite links had also been set up in the room the meeting was to take place, at Mobius’ insistence. It was assumed that Mobius would use this equipment to contact them at the deadline.
Kyle was both frustrated and perturbed. All night he had been up racking his brain over his father’s cryptic clue. He knew no one by the name Kenny, dead or not, so he had no idea where this guy’s tomb might be. But that wasn’t the only thing that was bothering him. Something had been nagging at the back of his brain ever since Mobius’ last call, but he couldn’t put his finger on it.
Kyle reclined in his soft swiveling desk chair and closed his eyes. He could swear he had a headache from thinking so hard. He was just starting to nod off when Dante spoke up.
"Kyle?" Dante told him, "Wakey wakey."
Kyle’s eyes popped open and he sat up in his chair.
"What is it, Dante?" he asked immediately.
"I just thought I’d let you know you should probably get to the Situation Room right away," Dante informed him, "Plato says he may have a lead - I think."
"Finally," Kyle breathed, pushing himself out of the chair.
* * *
The others were all present when Kyle walked into the Situation Room. As soon as he entered he took his seat.
"What have you got?" he asked.
"Plato detected a faint radio signal directed at SkyOne," Trek replied, "We think it’s emitting some sort of coded message."
"Plato and Kat are trying to decipher it now," Jenny told him.
"Where is it coming from?" Kyle asked.
Trek shook his head.
"We don’t know," he admitted, "Something’s blocking the signal on the other end."
"How long will it take to decode it?"
"Just a few more minutes, Kyle," Kat spoke up.
"I would have gotten it by now," Dante spoke up.
"Oh you’re just jealous because Plato detected it before you did," Kat accused.
"I’m not jealous," Dante insisted, "I’m just stating a point."
"Knock it off, guys?" Kyle asked, rubbing his temple.
"Don’t worry, Kyle," Domino told him, "I asked Clayton to bring up some coffee."
"I was going to," Dante spoke up quickly, "but you know how too much caffeine can be bad for your health."
Just then Clayton walked in. He looked crossly at Dante’s display on the monitor.
"Excuse-me," he spoke haughtily, "but I do not serve unhealthy food, for your information."
"My apologies, Clayton," Dante said, "I never meant to infer such a suggestion."
Clayton frowned and hesitated, then turned to the others.
"Freshly ground coffee, anyone?" he asked, offering the tray.
They all grabbed a mug and began sipping. For a moment there was nothing but silence in the room as the seven people savored the hot beverage. Clayton smiled in pride despite himself.
"Eureka!" Plato exclaimed.
Clayton, startled at the sudden noise behind him, jumped and dropped his tray. It clattered to the ground loudly. Trek almost spit out his coffee as he laughed. He clamped a hand over his mouth to keep it in. Erica gave him a disgusted look. Clayton, embarrassed, quickly gathered up his tray.
"I’ll be leaving now," he said, giving Plato’s image a dirty look as he left.
"What’s the message say?" Kyle asked, setting his mug down.
"It’s a message from KITT," Kat informed them.
They all frowned in puzzlement.
"KITT?" Erica asked, "I thought he was a bad guy now?"
"What does he say?" Kyle repeated.
"He says to go to Kauai," Kat replied, "That’s all."
"Kauai?" Kyle asked, thinking.
"Do you know a Kenny in Kauai?" Duke asked.
Kyle creased his brow in thought, then suddenly his face cleared.
"That’s it!" he exclaimed, "It’s not Kenny, it’s KENI. Kauai Edward Nellington Incident. It was my very first CIA mission. We were investigating a man named Edward Nellington. He had an illegal smuggling operation out of Kauai. His home base was a remote hideout somewhere in the middle of the Na Pali-Kona Forest Reserve. When we came down on his operation, the building caught fire and was totally destroyed. That’s what he meant by KENI’s tomb. Mobius is hiding out at Nellington’s old place."
"Why would he hide out in a pile of ashes?" Trek asked.
"The hideout had a concrete basement," Kyle told them, "A far as I know, it’s still intact. But we sealed it off before we left."
"I’ll tell JP to head for Kauai right away," Dante volunteered.
"Wait a minute," Duke spoke up, "Mobius has the entire American government on edge here, not to mention thirty-some-odd other world leaders. What’s he doin’ taking a vacation in Kauai?"
Kyle frowned as something began to occur to him.
"He sounded like he was in a hurry to leave," Jenny added, casting a sidelong glance at Kyle.
"You mean like he didn’t want to be anywhere near the US by his deadline?" Dante asked.
Kyle met Jenny’s gaze and nodded. Duke and the two FBI agents also appeared to have picked up on the clue.
"Oh my," Annie muttered, her face paling.
"Ooh boy," Trek said, finally understanding.
Erica frowned at them all.
"Oh wait, I get it!" she suddenly exclaimed, "You don’t mean…?"
Kyle nodded at her.
"Mobius fled the country because he’s planning on blowing it up anyway," Kyle said, voicing what everybody had already surmised.
"That means we have to get to Kauai and stop him - fast," Jenny said.
"We have to warn the President," Scott said immediately, going to the phone.
Kyle stopped him.
"No," he said.
Scott gave Kyle an angry look.
"What do you mean, no?" he asked, "What if we don’t stop Mobius in time?"
"If we tell the President," Kyle said, "Then his people will rush him out of the country. Not only that but the other leaders will get wind of it and hightail it out too. But no matter where they go, Mobius will know. With the Proteus he has access to all computer systems, even Air Force One communications. Once Mobius realizes they know, he’ll send off every single missile and atom bomb he’s got at wherever they land, and then some. Our only chance is finding him now."
Scott glared down at him, hesitating. Annie put a hand on his arm, but he shrugged it off. Then Scott suddenly cooled down and backed off.
"You’re right," he agreed, "That’s our only chance."
Kyle met his gaze, then grinned and nodded. Annie smiled.
"Let’s go get him," he said.
* * *
Only four hours until the deadline, SkyOne landed at the Barking Sands Airfield on the west end of the island of Kauai. Fortunately Gil had Dante and Beast back online.
The seven humans rode those two vehicles off the airfield and into the lush Na Pali-Kona Forest. Only a few miles into the sea of bright greenery, they ran out of road. Beast led the way, with Duke and Erica riding inside.
"Are you sure you know where we’re going, Kyle?" Beast asked as they prodded their way through the underbrush.
"Just keep going straight," Kyle replied, "It’s only a few more miles."
"That’s what you said a few miles ago," Dante complained.
"It’s been almost ten years," Kyle defended himself, "I don’t remember everything exactly."
"Now he tells us," Erica spoke up.
"You know you could have told us you had no idea where you were going thirty minutes ago," Duke told him.
"I know where I’m going!" Kyle insisted.
"I’m going to bust a chassey if we have to trample over much more of this foliage," Dante replied.
"If you two break down," Erica stated, "I am not going to get out and walk. There are probably tons of snakes out here."
"Actually, there are no snakes on the island," Dante informed her, "The only notable animals out here are wild goats, pigs, and several species of bird."
"You forgot the little lizards, Dante," Trek added.
Erica made a face on Trek’s com-link.
"Lizards?" she asked, "There’re just as bad!"
"No one’s gonna have to walk," Kyle told them firmly, "I know the way."
Jenny turned to look at him.
"I believe you, Kyle," she told him.
Trek smiled. Kyle sighed and squinted ahead of him.
"We should be passing a swamp sometime soon," he said.
"My sensors have picked up a swamp about two miles northwest of our position," Beast replied.
"What direction are we facing?" Erica asked inside Beast.
"East," Duke replied.
"Does that mean we’re going the wrong way?"
"Who would know?"
Inside Dante, Kyle took another look at the small map Dante had pictured on his monitor.
"OK," he said, "Beast, make a left about twenty yards ahead."
"Are you sure, Kyle?" the super-truck asked.
"I’m sure," he said.
They made the turn. The ground beneath them started getting more uneven. The passengers inside the two vehicles were bounced and rocked in their seats.
"I hope you know we’re driving to the middle of nowhere," Dante spoke up a moment later.
"Dante," Jenny said, "Kyle’s the only one who has any idea where this hideout is. We have to trust him."
"You’re right, I suppose," Dante said reluctantly.
"Kyle," Duke spoke up, "Beast’s sensors picked up a native statue fifty feet directly ahead."
"The statue!" Kyle exclaimed in recognition, "That’s it! I remember. We used that as a marker back on the mission when we were looking for Nellington’s hideout. The hideout is close-by."
"Are you sure this time?" Erica asked.
"I’m positive," he said, excitement building within him, "We should only be ten minutes away."
"Twenty if my shocks wear out," Dante amended.
Thirteen minutes later the two vehicles came out into a small clearing and stopped on Kyle’s command. In the middle of the clearing was a large charred area. Most of the ash had been blown or washed away, but the scar from the burning of Nellington’s old hideout still remained. Besides the scar and scattered chunks of rotting, burned wood and rusty metal, there was nothing else in the clearing. The seven people slowly climbed out of the two vehicles and scanned the area with their eyes.
"So where’s the entrance?" Duke asked.
Kyle looked around and kicked at some soggy planks.
"There was a trap door somewhere around the east side of the building," Kyle told them.
"Can you find it?" Duke asked his truck.
"Mobius probably has a barrier around the place like he did all the others," Erica said pessimistically.
"Actually, he doesn’t," Dante told her.
"The entrance is exactly six feet in front of you, Kyle," Beast told him.
Kyle took the steps, then he, Duke and Scott used their feet and hands to brush away the grass and leaves from the rusted steel trap door. It was very large, about 5 by 8 feet. The four men each grabbed the end of the door and pulled, but it was too heavy for them.
"That door is way too heavy for us to lift," Duke stated.
"Need a hand?" Beast asked.
"You up for a workout, Beast?" Duke asked.
"When am I ever not ready?" Beast retorted.
So they hooked up Beast’s rear winch to the handle of the door. Minutes later Beast was pulling the door with all his might. His tires strained and spun at the effort.
"Come on, Beast!" Duke urged, "You can do it!"
"Oh, just shut-up and let me do my job," Beast told him impatiently.
Slowly, inch by inch, Beast managed to lift up the heavy door. As soon as it was upright, Beast pulled it forward only an inch before it fell down to the soft earth heavily. The others gathered around the dark opening and looked down.
"Good goin’, Beast," Duke told him.
"It was nothin’," Beast replied modestly
"We’ll need flashlights," Kyle decided, peering down.
"Beast has one," Duke said, running over to the truck.
"I have two," Dante informed them helpfully.
Kyle went to grab the flashlights from Dante’s rear.
"Can you tell what’s down there?" he asked.
"I’m detecting three individuals," Dante told them, "KITT’s there as well."
"He’s not expecting us," he said, "That means we have the advantage of surprise."
Trek walked up to Kyle.
"I was thinking on my way over here," he began.
"So that’s what that noise was!" Erica spoke up before he could continue.
Trek gave her a look, then turned back to his leader.
"I think I might be able to stop Mobius’ mind-control," he claimed.
This time he had everybody’s attention. They all gathered around him.
"How?" Kyle asked.
"If I could locate the exact frequency the device in his ear is sending to his brain and short circuit the signal," Trek explained, "then I think that would block it."
"Wouldn’t it hurt him?" Annie asked.
"I’m not sure," he admitted, "It’ll probably give him a headache, but I don’t think it’ll do any serious damage."
Kyle looked at him a moment, considering, then nodded.
"All right," he said, "do it."
"What about KITT?" Duke asked.
Trek shook his head.
"That I can’t do a thing about," he told them.
"Dante," Kyle asked, "can you help Trek block that signal?"
"Do I look like I’m stupid?" Dante asked.
Kyle nodded, ignoring the remark.
"The two of you concentrate on that, then," he told them, "Erica, I need you to stay out here with Beast. The two of you monitor everything that goes on inside."
"You got it, Kyle," Beast replied.
"The rest of us will go in," Kyle said, nodding to the others.
Scott reached into his jacket and pulled out his gun. He checked to make sure it was loaded, then met Kyle’s gaze.
"We have to be ready for anything," he explained.
Kyle looked at the gun distastefully.
"No firing unless I say so," he said firmly.
Scott made no move to respond. Annie nodded to Kyle. Kyle checked his watch.
"Let’s go," he said, "We have an hour left."
Kyle, flashlight in hand, went to the edge of the opening and started walking down the steep ramp to the darkness below. The others followed, with Duke bringing up the rear.
The ramp led them down about twenty feet. At the bottom was a dark, damp, medium-sized room. Kyle, Duke and Jenny played their flashlights around. On either side of the ramp, rotting crates were stacked fifteen feet high, blocking whatever laid behind. In front of them stood what appeared to be a heavy garage door. Kyle located the switch and activated it. The door started rolling up slowly. Kyle and the others ducked around the side out of view of the open door and peered around the corner as soon as the door was up far enough.
The room inside was better lit and was definitely being used. It was much larger than the room they were already in, and was completely bare in the middle. A whole array of computer equipment hoarded the walls on every side. On the right wall was a small catwalk elevated three feet above the floor. It held access to a whole string of communications equipment and modems. Kyle and the others recognized the Proteus hooked up there as well. On the far wall was a large, flat TV screen that was currently blank except for the active countdown that revealed only 54 minutes left.
"Looks like Mobius set up shop," Duke observed.
They ventured in slowly, looking out for Mobius, KITT, James and the mysterious third person. As they entered the room, however, they saw that no one was there. They wandered into the middle of the room before Kyle brought his com-link up to his mouth.
"Beast? Erica?" he asked, "Where are they?"
"They should be down there," Beast replied, "I have KITT and three people about forty feet east of your position."
Kyle and Jenny exchanged glances.
"That’s behind us," Jenny said.
They all whirled around, just as KITT suddenly sped in through the doorway and came to a stop just inches from them. Behind him, Mobius came wheeling in, followed closely by James and a pretty blonde. Kyle, Jenny and Duke recognized Starr.
"They must have been hiding behind those crates," Duke guessed.
"My goodness!" Mobius exclaimed, "Look who it is! It’s Team Knight Rider! And they brought friends."
Scott raised his gun at Mobius and aimed squarely at his head.
"Don’t move, Stewart!" he warned.
Mobius just chuckled.
"KITT?" he asked, "If you please?"
In an instant KITT fired his front concentrated laser and knocked the gun out of Scott’s hand. Scott recoiled in pain.
"Don’t move," KITT warned in an ominous voice.
"As you can see my little toy is very loyal," Mobius told them, "As a matter of fact, they both are."
Annie kept her gaze aimed at James, who was standing by Mobius’ side without expression, hands clasped behind his back. Mobius’ mistress stood quite close to her beau’s son, a bit too close.
"I’m sure I know why you’ve all come to pay a visit," Mobius told them, guiding his chair closer to the large monitor, "You’ve come to watch as my ultimate dreams are fulfilled."
"Actually, we came to give you a wake-up call," Kyle told him.
"Pity," he replied, "I am afraid you will find that quite impossible. There is no possible way you can defeat me now."
"You sound a little cocky for a guy in a wheelchair," Scott commented.
"Only a little?" Mobius asked.
Kyle glanced around at the computer equipment, then turned to his father.
"So we were right," he said, "You are going to set off the missiles anyway."
"You get an A+ for accuracy," Mobius commended him, "I remember you were always an A student in school."
"So the reason you had all the world leaders gather in Washington was so you could kill them all in one shot?" Duke asked.
"Well, brains as well as brawn," Mobius commented, "Quite right, Duke. With all those important world leaders out of the way, there will be a lot of positions left open for entrepreneurs like myself who want to rule the world. Or what’s left of it once my bombs have gone off."
"So that was your true plan all along," Jenny said, "All this time we’ve been chasing you, that’s why."
"I admit it took years to orchestrate," Mobius told them, "With a lot of obstacles in the way, you being one of them. But I must say that my plan has succeeded even better than I ever dreamed. Soon all the citizens of the earth who are not destroyed 45 minutes from now will be bowing down to me."
"You know," Duke told him, "You’re one sick fellow."
"Not to mention a lot deranged," Scott added.
"Oh, I agree completely," Mobius told them amiably.
Starr left James’ side and went over to drape her arm around her boyfriend.
"Shouldn’t we tie them up?" she asked.
"No need," Mobius replied, "KITT here will make sure they don’t make any wrong moves."
"What about their friends outside?"
"They pose no threat," he told her shortly, "All of my equipment is sufficiently protected from any interference, even from their boy-genius. And your vehicles won’t be able to cause any more distractions to bail you out. No, I think we’re quite safe in here."
Starr draped her remaining arm around his wrinkled neck.
"I’m sure most of you know my lady friend," Mobius told them, "For those of you who don’t, her name is Miss Starr. She, along with James, will be my co-ruler in the New World I am going to create."
Starr looked at them boastfully. James, who was still standing beside KITT, made no response.
"That will never happen," Annie told him vehemently.
"Oh really?" Starr told her smugly, "Why don’t you tell her, baby?"
"Soon enough, your James will be no more," he said.
Annie, Kyle and the others frowned.
"What do you mean?" Annie asked, dreading the answer.
"The device in his ear is sending a signal to the computer chips in his brain," Mobius informed them, "It’s reprogramming him. In a matter of days the effects will be irreversible. He will be all mine, for the rest of his life."
Annie’s eyes moistened as she took in this information. She turned away from Mobius and looked at James.
"James!" she called.
James ignored her.
"James! It’s me, Annie!" she cried, trying to get through to him, "Your fiancée, remember?"
Still no response. Starr was positively gloating.
"James, I love you!" Annie told him desperately.
James’ eyes never moved as he continued to neglect her. Scott put a hand on her arm, but she shrugged it off.
"James, look at me!" she demanded.
James’ eye twitched and he turned to look at her. He looked at her blankly for a moment before he moved towards her. Annie’s face cleared. She stood waiting, hoping he was beginning to remember. James reached her and towered only a few inches over her, looking down at her face.
"James?" she asked quietly.
They all watched closely as James reached into his jacket and pulled out his revolver. Then they all watched in surprise as James pressed it right against Annie’s temple. Annie’s eyes widened.
"Shut-up," James told her in a threatening voice.
Annie just stared at him in mute shock. After a moment, James retracted his gun and slipped it back into its holster. He then turned and went to stand next to Starr and his father. Both Mobius and Starr laughed.
"Your efforts to win back your boyfriend are in vain, my dear," Mobius told her gleefully.
Starr moved up behind James and wrapped her arms around him. She then met Annie’s gaze and smiled smugly.
"I think James is more my type, anyway," she said.
Annie glared at her angrily. Kyle let his gaze fall on his father and gave him an ugly look. Jenny moved close to Annie and put a hand on her shoulder. Scott covered her other side. Annie refused to let herself cry, and instead sucked in her breath and looked at Mobius and Starr resolutely.
"You should invite your friends in, Kyle," Mobius told his son, "They’re going to miss the show."
* * *
Outside, Trek and Dante were both working furiously to stop Mobius’ mind-control of James while Erica and Beast listened to every word the evil mastermind said over Kyle’s active com-link.
"That man has got to be the sleaziest guy on earth," Beast commented.
"His girlfriend’s right up there with him," Erica agreed.
"It’d be nice if I could just go down there and run them both over," Beast said eagerly.
Erica checked her watch absently.
"How much time do we have left?" she asked.
"Seventeen minutes," Beast replied.
"That’s all?" Erica asked in surprise.
"Plus thirty-two seconds," Beast amended.
Erica raised her watch to her mouth.
"Trek? Dante? You two almost done yet?" she asked, "We only have seventeen minutes left before Mobius blows his wad."
"We’re not finished yet," Dante informed them.
"What’s taking you so long?" Beast asked.
"You know," Dante told them, "this is not an easy thing to do. I’d like to see you try - and fail."
"Keep it up, chrome-face," Beast threatened.
"Easy, fellas," Erica told them.
"We almost have it," Trek promised, his miniaturized face appearing on Beast’s screen.
"Are you sure?" Erica asked.
"Have I ever lied to you before?"
Erica breathed out deeply and sat back against Beast’s seat.
"Let’s hope this is no exception," she mumbled.
* * *
On to Part Two