TEAM KNIGHT RIDER - SEASON 03
CHAPTER TWO: DAY OF DOOM TWO
Inside, the countdown was getting dangerously close to the zero mark. Kyle and the others watched the glowing red numbers receding with unease, hoping Trek and Dante would pull through for them soon.
"James," Mobius told him, "activate the satellite relay from the White House. Bring it on-screen."
James walked up onto the small catwalk and went to a set of controls. The others watched as he began typing. Moments later the large screen went staticky, then cleared. The picture revealed a large, ornate meeting room with about forty men and women sitting around a long oval-shaped table. They all recognized their President. The Prime Minister of Canada was seated next to him. Most of the other world leaders were also recognizable to those looking at the screen. Each one of them appeared both impatient and apprehensive as they waited. The countdown had been replaced to the lower right-hand corner of the screen. It showed only thirteen minutes left.
"Excellent!" Mobius exulted, "They’re all there. Soon, however, they won’t be."
Mobius started to chuckle happily, and Starr quickly joined him. He was positively glowing, and would probably be bouncing in his seat, if he could bounce.
"In only a matter of minutes, I will have a firm grasp on the entire world!" Mobius announced.
Starr massaged his shoulders, watching the screen.
"You’re doing it, baby," she told him proudly, "I always knew you would do it."
"What did I tell you?" he said, equally pleased, "All these years of wanting and waiting are finally coming to an end. And my two sons, not to mention the woman I love, are all here to share in my triumph."
Suddenly James cried out. They all whirled to see as the young man’s face contorted in pain. He put his hand over his left ear and fell to the floor in agony. They all looked at him and concern. Annie was about to rush over, but Scott and Jenny held her back. Even Mobius looked concerned with as much facial expression as he could manage with all those tubes hanging around him.
"What’s going on?" he demanded, flicking switches on his wheelchair control pad.
The pain only last for a moment. Seconds later they could see James’ face clear as the pain in his head subsided and he relaxed. He stood to his feet and faced them, his face angry, his eyes glowing red.
"It appears your friends outside are being more troublesome than I predicted," Mobius finally surmised, "Your boy-genius is trying to de-activate the mind-control device."
Kyle and the others looked hopefully at James, but James still didn’t look too happy as he glared at them.
"Don’t get your hopes up," Mobius warned them, noticing their looks, "What Trek is attempting is not possible. Our late Dr. Lugae made sure of that."
Mobius turned his wheelchair to face the black Trans Am.
"KITT," he ordered, "Kindly go outside and take care of our troublemakers."
"Yes, Master Mobius," KITT complied.
They watched as KITT backed out of the room and disappeared. Kyle and the others turned back as they heard Mobius chuckling softly.
"That was a very dumb move on their part," he said, "I’m sure they’ll be paying for it in just a few moments."
Kyle, Jenny and Duke all exchanged glances. They each knew that Dante and Beast stood little chance against KITT.
* * *
"What happened?" Erica demanded, peering out the window at the gray SUV.
Inside Dante, Trek looked down at the monitor and winced.
"Uh-oh," he said.
"Uh-oh?" Erica repeated.
"That doesn’t sound good," Beast remarked.
"What did you guys do, Trek?" Erica asked.
"Just a little minor mistake," Trek replied, trying to sound light.
"Trek takes full credit," Dante spoke up, "I was just following his lead."
"Gee, thanks, Dante."
"Can you fix it?" Erica asked.
"Yeah," Trek said, "But it’ll take a few minutes."
"I have bad news," Beast replied shortly, "You don’t have a few minutes. I just picked up KITT coming this way. He should be here in about ten seconds."
"Stall him!" Dante told him, "We almost have it."
"I’ll do the best I can," Beast replied, then added, "Erica? You better get out."
"Are you sure you’ll be all right?" Erica asked hesitantly.
"I’m surprised, Erica," Beast said, "I was sure you’d jump at the chance to get out of harm’s way."
Erica grinned and shrugged.
"I can be dangerous every once in a while."
KITT could be seen backing out of the trap door. Erica saw him and frowned.
"Erica?" Beast said, "Get out."
Erica complied and climbed out of Beast’s cab. She then sprinted all the way to Dante’s passenger side and hopped in. She watched closely as Beast went to intercept. Trek was working furiously at the controls.
"All right, tough guy," Beast challenged, "Come and get me."
KITT responded by firing front missiles straight at Beast’s hood. Beast quickly dug his tires into the ground and backed out of the way. The missiles hit a group of trees, exploding and causing a burst of flames. Beast retaliated by firing his roof rockets at the formidable legend. KITT didn’t even attempt to get out of the way. He let the rockets impact his tough shell. The collision and acceding explosion left only a trace of white powder.
"This guy is really starting to annoy the hell outta me," Beast grumbled.
Beast decided to just go all out. He turned around so he faced KITT, then compressed the gas pedal as far down as it would go. His tires whistled against the ground below as they first spun, then grabbed and propelled him forward. Beast then closed the space between him and the other car rapidly and crashed head-on into KITT. The impact sent them both back several feet. KITT was pushed up against a tree that leaned over backwards against the weight.
"You got him!" Erica yelled from inside Dante.
She spoke too soon. KITT sent off four missiles directly into Beast’s grill, sending Beast sprawling back about thirty feet.
"Beast?" Erica asked.
There was no response from the super-truck. Trek spared a moment to make eye-contact with Erica. Then they both turned and looked out the windshield to see KITT driving toward them.
"Uh, we better hurry," Dante warned.
"I still need time!" Trek told them in a panicky voice.
Trek kept working as Dante threw all he had at the approaching car. He sent six missiles and numerous laser blasts at the mighty vehicle, but nothing stopped its approach. KITT returned Dante’s attack with one of his own. He targeted Dante’s hood and fired. Trek and Erica were thrown back in their seats at the explosion, raising their arms to shield them as the windshield cracked and shattered. Many of the electronic components under Dante’s hood were destroyed. The control pad Trek had been working on only seconds earlier crackled and exploded in an array of sparks.
Sparks fell on Erica’s skimpy jacket and started to smoke. Erica let out a small whimper as she batted at the forming flame to put it out. Once done, she then looked mournfully down at the burn mark. Meanwhile Trek let his gaze fall on the control pad, which was now utterly destroyed.
"Dante, are you OK?" Trek asked.
"I’m still here," Dante replied, "barely. But KITT isn’t finished with us yet."
"Hasn’t he done enough?" Erica appealed.
KITT aimed at the two humans inside Dante and prepared to fire. Before he could get the chance, however, Beast stirred and fired his laser at KITT’s tires, stopping him in his tracks. He then aimed his second rocket at a nearby tree and fired. The large tree tottered and fell right across KITT’s roof, burying him under leaves and branches.
"Beast! You’re OK!" Erica exclaimed.
"Of course I am," Beast replied, "Someone has to save Dante’s butt."
"My sincerest appreciation," Dante told him insincerely.
Erica turned to Trek.
"So were you able to stop the mind control device in time?" Erica asked him.
Trek just looked at her.
* * *
The countdown reached eight minutes. Kyle and the others were starting to get antsy. Mobius picked up on this.
"Soon your homes, your families and your country will be no more," he told them, flaunting.
All he received in return were hostile glares.
"Why destroy America?" Duke asked, "I would’ve thought that’s the prime place to rule from."
"I prefer more tropical climates myself," Mobius replied immediately, "I was thinking Bermuda, perhaps."
"Mm, sounds perfect, Lovey-dovey," Starr cooed.
Mobius turned his chair slightly to face James, who was standing with his back to them, leaning against the computer console in front of him.
"James," Mobius commanded, "Activate the missiles and prepare for final countdown."
"James, don’t do it!" Annie cried to him vainly.
James ignored her and complied immediately to Mobius’ demands, typing in commands. Mobius and Starr both turned to regard the TV monitor revealing the still-waiting world leaders. Their backs were all to Kyle and the others.
Kyle and Duke made eye-contact. Kyle nodded his head towards James, and Duke nodded. The other four then watched as Kyle slowly and silently made his way over to the catwalk. Neither Mobius, Starr nor James detected him. Kyle edged his way up the two steel steps onto the catwalk. James’ back was still to him. As soon as Kyle was within a few feet, he pounced.
The two brothers collided and landed on the floor. James reacted quickly, struggling against Kyle’s efforts to restrain him. Surprisingly, James was much stronger than Kyle had guessed. Kyle exerted all his strength trying to keep James down, but James pushed his older brother off with an almost off-hand shove. Kyle was knocked backwards and landed on his rear end. Both men scrambled to their feet at the same time. Kyle took a fighting stance. James didn’t. He just whipped his hand inside his jacket and pulled his gun on Kyle. Kyle’s face fell as he raised his hands in defeat.
Mobius, who had been watching the fight with not even a hint of concern, chuckled.
"Now, now, Kyle," he scorned his eldest son, "I know you’re jealous of your little brother, but there’s no need to throw a tantrum. Now sit back and relax. There’s nothing you can do."
Kyle looked at his father, then at his brother. James returned his look with a no-nonsense gaze of his own. Kyle complied and backed off reluctantly, rejoining the others. As soon as he did, James put his gun away and returned to his work. He finished typing moments later.
"Damn," Kyle muttered under his breath.
Jenny put a hand on his arm. Kyle glanced at her and put an arm around her shoulders, knowing that she was, like him, concerned for all those who would die because of Mobius. Duke and Scott also looked defeated. Annie just stared at James with unshed tears in her eyes.
"Missiles are away," James reported then. A separate countdown appeared on the left-hand of the screen.
"Excellent," Mobius replied, "Soon my enemies will all be dead. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if your friends outside were dead already, Kyle."
Kyle gritted his teeth and cast his father a hateful glare. Mobius laughed.
"Even your death-looks can’t darken my mood now, my son," he told him, "My hour is at hand!"
The first countdown reached zero. All the world leaders could be seen staring at the screen expectantly. Mobius turned to face the video camera pointed at him. A red light activated a moment later, signaling it was activated.
"Greetings, most revered ladies and gentlemen," Mobius said, speaking formally, "I’m ecstatic to see you all obeyed my little request."
Most of the men and women on the other end looked annoyed.
"Stewart," the US President demanded, "What’s this all about?"
"Oh, just a simple matter," Mobius replied off-hand, "Merely the fact that in a matter of minutes I will become supreme leader of the entire planet."
The gathered leaders expressed their surprise and puzzlement.
"What the hell are you talking about?" the President demanded.
"There’s going to be a very large opening for world leaders in just a short time," Mobius told them, "My estimate is about 45 seconds. You remember those nuclear missiles I told you about?"
The President didn’t reply, only gazed at him.
"Well, they’re already on their way," Mobius revealed gleefully, "One of them is aimed right at Washington. You have about thirty seconds left now to live."
The President and all others gathered frowned and expressed looks of fear and astonishment. Mobius just laughed happily at their consternation. None of the world leaders attempted to leave or escape, since they all knew it was worthless to try. They all just waited for the inevitable. Mobius watched them as if he were watching a great comedy. He could barely contain his excitement.
Jenny looked down, unable to watch. Kyle squeezed her shoulders. Scott also comforted Annie, who was shaking her head, upset. Duke just put his hands on his hips and turned his head, unable, like Jenny, to watch the destruction.
* * *
Trek and Erica both sat forward in Dante’s front seat and watched through the empty windshield as KITT struggled to free himself from the tree that was pinning him down. Both Beast and Dante had used their last strength to back away from the awesome car to the edge of the forest clearing.
"That’s not going to hold him much longer," Trek said.
"Are you sure you didn’t get through to James?" Erica asked again.
"I already told you," Trek said with a depressed sigh, "I only needed about five more seconds."
"Five seconds," Erica muttered, putting a hand to her forehead.
"You tried your best, kid," Beast spoke up helpfully.
Trek didn’t reply.
With a sudden rustling of leaves and twigs, KITT finally managed to extract himself from the tree. Once he was clear he automatically re-inflated his tires and changed position to face them. He then revved his engine menacingly.
"We’re in trouble," Trek predicted.
"Are we really?" Dante replied.
* * *
The countdown to the missile impact counted down the last five seconds. Mobius and Starr both watched the screen eagerly, waiting for the inevitable break in communication that would signal the demise of Washington and all of the gathered world leaders. James stood, also watching the monitor, with his arms crossed over his chest.
The final countdown reached zero, and Kyle closed his eyes, unwilling to watch the triumph of his insane father. He expected to hear a burst of static, but instead found himself waiting and hearing nothing. He waited a few more seconds, but still nothing. He opened his eyes. The world leaders were all still there, safe and sound. He and Jenny exchanged puzzled glances. Mobius, meanwhile, was outraged. He whirled his chair around to face his youngest son.
"James!" he cried, "What went wrong?"
James tore his gaze off the screen and gazed down at his father.
"It seems that your masterful plan failed," he replied, a smug grin appearing on his face, "Looks like I win our little game, after all."
Mobius cried out in frustration. Kyle and the others, realizing what had happened, recovered from their shock and grinned happily. James turned to them and winked. He then reached up and yanked the mind control device out of his ear with a short wince, then flicked it towards his father. It landed at the foot of Mobius’ chair. He let out another burst of outrage.
Duke lifted his com-link to his mouth.
"Trek! Dante! You did it!" he exclaimed into the watch.
"Duke? Is that you?" Dante replied in a harried voice, "We could use some help out here. KITT is about to annihilate us!"
Kyle frowned and quickly turned to James.
"James!" he called, "Can you stop him?"
James looked at him, then wrinkled his face in thought. Only half a moment later he hurried to one of the control panels and began entering commands. He then frowned and turned back to them.
"Mobius has locked out the controls," he told them.
Kyle turned to his father and immediately ran over to him. Mobius attempted to back away, but his chair was too slow. Kyle reached him and yanked the control pad away, pulling the wires out of their sockets. James then turned back to the computer.
"You won’t be needing this anymore," Kyle said, tossing the equipment to the floor.
"And to think I was once proud of you," Mobius hissed.
"Ditto," Kyle retorted.
* * *
"This is it," Dante said as KITT targeted his missiles at them, "It was nice knowing you all."
"Stuff the sentimental crap, Dante," Beast growled.
Trek and Erica huddled together, arms embracing. KITT came forward another two feet, then stopped and remained still. They waited a few moments for him to destroy them, but he never made another move. Trek and Erica both frowned, suspicious.
"Why isn’t he killing us already?" Erica wondered aloud.
"I’m terribly sorry," KITT suddenly spoke to them in his normal voice, "I had no choice but to attack you. I am pleased to report that James is no longer under the influence of the mind-control. The missiles are also quite safe, and Mobius’ plan has been foiled."
Trek, Erica and the cars took in this information and slowly relaxed. Erica, noticing the position they were in, suddenly pushed Trek away from her and straightened her clothes.
"It’s about time something started going our way," she said.
"I’m just glad tank-boy’s on our side now," Beast said.
"You four wait here," KITT told them, "I’ll go in and retrieve the others."
* * *
Annie ran right to James, and he caught her in an embrace. They kissed almost immediately. Jenny met Kyle’s gaze and smiled. James and Annie did not rush through their kiss and let it last. When they reluctantly pulled apart, they smiled at each other.
"I thought I’d lost you forever," Annie told him.
"You won’t be that lucky," he told her with a grin. His face grew more serious as he continued, "I’m sorry I didn’t tell you the truth sooner."
Annie looked up at him with equal severity.
"Remind me to kill you when this is all over with," she told him.
They both then smiled and kissed again.
"It may be over a lot sooner than you think," Mobius warned them.
Kyle and the others turned to him. Mobius and Starr had both backed themselves against the far wall at a spot that was bare. Starr looked smug. Mobius reached over with one crooked, weak hand and flicked a switch on the arm of his wheelchair that Kyle hadn’t destroyed. An alarm suddenly went off, and red lights started flashing all over the room. A panel in the wall behind Mobius and Starr opened up.
"It looks like I have the last laugh after all," he told them as he and Starr ducked through the small opening.
Kyle lunged for the opening and reached it just as the door was halfway down. He grabbed underneath the edges and tried with all his might to lift the door, but the weight was too strong. He finally had to let it go. As soon as it fell, Kyle slammed his fists against the wall angrily, a frustrated cry escaping from his lips. He hammered the wall a few more times for good measure.
Duke looked around at the red warning lights and turned to the others.
"My guess is this place is rigged to blow," he told them.
Jenny turned to James.
"James," she asked, "how much time do we have?"
James turned to her.
"Oh, uh, two minutes," he replied.
"We have to get out of here," Scott said.
Jenny turned to Kyle, who was still fighting with the wall.
"Kyle!" she yelled.
Kyle ignored her. Jenny rushed over to him and grabbed his arm.
"Kyle we have to go!" she told him, "Now!"
Kyle looked at her, then at the wall, then nodded. They joined the others and started for the sliding door, just as a steel wall slammed down and blocked their path.
"Now what?" Duke asked.
Kyle turned to James.
"Can you open it?" he asked.
James, who appeared utterly calm, shook his head.
"The control pad for the door is on the other side," he said.
"Is there any other way out?" Annie asked.
James shook his head. Kyle looked at him, noticing his cool exterior.
"What’s up your sleeve?" he asked.
James looked at him.
"I think we’d better stand back," he told them.
There was a rumbling sound on the other side of the wall, and the others jumped back, startled as KITT suddenly crashed through the steel wall almost effortlessly.
"KITT!" Kyle exclaimed.
"Hello Kyle," KITT greeted them, "Everybody. Sorry I’m late. You should all hurry, there isn’t much time."
KITT backed out of the opening he’d made to allow them to pass through. One by one the six people ducked through the opening. Kyle and James went through last and brought up the rear as they escaped from the doomed hideout. As soon as they were out in the fading sunlight, they all ran for the two battered vehicles. James lagged behind. Kyle noticed and joined him as the others went on unawares.
"He’ll get away if one of us doesn’t go back and stop him," James told him.
Kyle nodded, then started back for the hideout. James grabbed his arm and stopped him.
"No," he said, "I have a better chance."
"I can’t let you go," Kyle told him.
James smiled his cocky smile.
"You know I’m glad we’re brothers," he said, "and I’m glad we had a chance to meet."
Kyle’s brows furrowed at he looked at his little brother. James patted him on the back.
"Take care of Annie for me, OK?" he asked.
James then ran back to the hideout and disappeared inside. Kyle looked after him, deliberating whether or not to go after him. Annie solved that decision for him. She looked back and saw James duck inside the trap door, and immediately doubled back to go after him. Kyle intercepted her and held her back.
"Let me go!" she demanded.
"No," he told her, "Don’t be stupid. James can take care of himself."
Jenny joined them and helped Kyle nudge James’ reluctant girlfriend back to the cars. They ducked behind Beast and Dante and waited for the imminent explosion. KITT, who had come with them, turned himself around.
"I’m going to help James," he told them, right before he took off for the entrance and drove down.
"He could be destroyed too," Beast said.
Kyle clenched his fists. A few moments later, the ground in front of them erupted.
* * *
One Month Later
Kyle sat disconsolately in his room, staring with unseeing eyes at his computer screen. It had been a month since his father, James, Starr and KITT had all been destroyed. The hideout had been completely obliterated, along with the Proteus, and everything had been burned to a crisp so no bodies were found.
Kyle actually didn’t mind so much about his father’s fate. Deep down he was sad, because Charles Stewart had once been a good man. And he had also been his father, at least for the first sixteen years of his life. Kyle did not wish death on anyone, not even the man Charles Stewart had become. But America and the rest of the world was safe now that he was gone.
Kyle deeply regretted his brother. He never got a chance to talk to James or spend time with him. The only times Kyle and James were ever together, it had been as enemies. If Kyle had only known about James from the beginning, he was sure things could have turned out better. But James chose his own path, and he chose to die stopping their father once and for all rather than let him escape and perhaps, someday, try again. And now Kyle would never know his little brother.
Kyle was also upset about KITT. He wished the infamous car could have been salvaged, but not even a scrap piece of metal from the vehicle had been found. It was a shame, since KITT was a legend, and had helped them even after being disassembled.
Kyle leaned his head back against the headrest and shut his eyes. He didn’t feel like writing up reports right now. Just a few days before, he had talked to Annie. James’ fiancée had taken temporary leave from the FBI to mourn over her loss with her family. Kyle felt close to her, and hung onto her every word when she spoke of James since she was the only one who really knew him.
Dante’s image appeared in the corner of Kyle’s computer screen.
"Are you still grieving, Kyle?" Dante asked.
Kyle opened his eyes and sat up.
"Just thinking," he replied.
"I know nothing I say will make you feel any better," Dante told him, "But I’ll give it a shot anyway."
Kyle managed a small grin.
"He did what he thought was right," Dante continued, "Perhaps it wasn’t the right way. But he probably saved thousands, even millions of lives. What he did, his memory will always live on."
Kyle’s grin grew a little.
"You’re being very sensitive and sincere," Kyle told him, "I think I like you this way."
"Don’t get used to it," Dante warned, "As soon as you feel better, I’ll be back to my sarcastic self."
Kyle smiled as the chime at his door sounded.
"Come in!" he called.
The door opened and Jenny appeared. Kyle felt himself feel better as soon as he saw her. She came in and walked over to him.
"How are you doing?" she asked.
"I’m OK," he replied.
"He’s been moping in his room the whole time," Dante spoke up.
Jenny rested a hand on the back of his chair and looked down at him.
"I don’t know what it’s like to lose a brother," she told him, "but I can only imagine. Especially one you never got a chance to really get to know. But from what little I do know about James, I know he wouldn’t want you to be sad. He’d want you to be happy, and to move past it."
"I know," he said, then added in a melancholy tone, "I just wish I’d known about all this sooner. I wish he’d told me. Instead I spent most of our relationship hating him for things he didn’t do."
"But you didn’t know," Dante reasoned.
Kyle sighed and looked down. Jenny moved her hand to his shoulder. Kyle managed an appreciative smile and put his hand over hers. Then the chime went off again. Kyle looked up, puzzled.
"You didn’t bring everyone with you, did you?" he asked Jenny.
Jenny shook her head.
"No," she said, "I came alone."
The chime sounded again. This time it seemed more insistent.
"Come in!" Kyle spoke up.
The door opened and a man in a gray uniform and mail bag walked in. He placed a white envelope on Kyle’s desk.
"Delivery for you, Mr. Stewart," the mailman told him.
He then spotted Jenny as Kyle picked up the envelope.
"Are you Miss Andrews?" he asked.
Jenny nodded. The man reached into his bag and handed her a similar envelope. He then nodded to them both and left.
"What’s this?" Jenny wondered aloud, looking over the envelope, "It’s not mail day."
Both envelopes had only a mailing address and no return address. The words were typed. Kyle and Jenny exchanged glances before opening their mail. For some reason, Kyle felt peculiarly strange as he dug his fingers under the flap to tear it open. As soon as he did, he reached in and pulled out the only contents. It was a card. A plain white card. Jenny got the same thing.
Kyle opened the card, then frowned at what he saw. It was a wedding invitation:
You are invited to the wedding of
Annie Stiles and James Mason
on the 3rd of April of this year
at 4:00 in the afternoon.
You are also commissioned as the groom’s
for this joyous occasion.
There was an address below. Kyle couldn’t believe what he saw, and read it over twice more before turning to Jenny, who was also frowning in confusion.
"Is this a joke?" she asked.
"If it is," Dante said, "it sounds like one James would pull."
"Kyle," Domino spoke up, replacing Dante’s image on the computer screen, "The rest of the team got the same invitations."
Kyle shook his head, staring at the invitation.
"April 3rd," Jenny said, reading off the card. She turned to Kyle. "That’s today."
"Wouldn’t James or Annie have told us by now if James made it?" Domino asked, replacing Dante’s image on the computer screen.
"You’d think so," Jenny said.
Kyle kept his gaze at the invitation, then looked up.
"We’re going," he decided, getting up.
* * *
The address on the invitations lead Team Knight Rider to a quaint little park in southern Florida. One whole area had been cordoned off for the impending wedding. At one spot, chairs were set up facing the ocean. Kyle and the others parked the vehicles on the grass nearby. They then climbed out and walked toward the decorated area. They walked through the aisle made by the two groups of white painted chairs to the front. There was nobody in sight.
"Are we early?" Duke asked.
"It’s 3:45," Kat replied.
"Maybe we’re the only guests," Beast suggested.
"I better not have dressed up for nothing," Duke stated.
Both Duke and Kyle wore black suits, and Jenny and Erica were wearing flattering dresses. Trek decided to be original and wore an old 70’s suede sports jacket with elbow patches, and jeans.
"I keep expecting someone to jump out with a video camera," Trek spoke up.
"Smile!" Plato exclaimed, "You’re on candid camera!"
Kyle did a 360 of the area and turned in time to see a young man wearing a white suit and sunglasses walking towards them. Kyle’s face cleared and became amused when he recognized James. James wore his characteristic cocky smile as he reached the awaiting team.
"Long time no see, huh guys?" he said, greeting them. He looked critically at Kyle. "Geez, Kyle, you look like you’re going to a funeral."
"Speaking of funerals," Trek said, "Why weren’t you at yours?"
"Lucy, you got some ‘splainin’ to do!" Plato told him in his best Dezi Arnez voice.
"What happened?" Kyle asked.
Kyle and the others watched James for his response. James removed his shades and regarded them all calmly.
"I managed to escape after KITT and I stopped Mobius," James told them, "I went through the hidden tunnel he and Starr were planning on leaving through."
James smile widened as he continued.
"You should have seen the look on Annie’s face when I came back," he told them, "After she got over the initial shock, I actually thought she was going to kill me."
"Can you blame her?" Jenny asked.
"I suppose not," he agreed, "But she got over it, and here we are, about to get hitched."
"Why didn’t you tell us earlier, James?" Domino asked.
"Sorry, Dom," he replied, grinning slyly, "I wanted to surprise you."
"We’re surprised," Erica told him.
Kyle grinned and shook his head at his little brother. James extended hands and they shook.
"I think we started off on the wrong foot," Kyle told him.
James nodded in agreement.
"It’s not like you had much choice but to hate me," he replied, shrugging.
"Well we’re all glad you’re OK now," Jenny told him.
James smiled at them all, then reached into his jacket and pulled out a small ring case. He handed it to Kyle.
"Thanks for being my best man," he said, "And thanks for coming on such short notice."
"You’re lucky we just happened to be available," Dante told him.
Some people started wandering from the direction James had come from. They were all dressed up for the wedding. James only gave them a short glance.
"Annie’s family," he explained, "Wedding should start in a few minutes. But we can talk afterwards."
So the others took seats while Kyle and James remained standing. Kyle stuffed the ring in his pocket. He recognized Ramon Riguerez among the guests, the man he and Dante had seen in South America. Riguerez smiled widely at him and waved. Kyle nodded and waved back.
"Buenos dias, Señ or Stewart," Riguerez greeted him.
They shook hands.
"Mr. Riguerez," Kyle replied.
"Oh, please, call me Pablo," the man told him, clapping him on the back, "You are brother to my best amigo. James is like family to me."
"Pablo and I have been partners for four years now," James explained, "I wouldn’t be where I am without him."
Pablo laughed heartily and put an arm around James.
"You are too modest," he told the younger man.
Pablo went to sit with the rest of the team, and the five of them constituted James’ whole section, along with the cars who stood in a semi-circle just behind the chairs. Kyle stood next to James and put his hands in his pockets.
"You know Dante," James spoke up, "when Kyle gets married, I’m going to be his best man."
"You most certainly are not," Dante replied indignantly, "If anyone deserves to be Kyle’s best man, it’s me."
"Don’t be inane, Dante," James told him reasonably, "A car cannot be a best man."
"Car my foot," Dante told him, "I happen to be a sport utility vehicle, and perfectly capable of being a best man."
"Oh yeah?" James challenged, "And how do you suppose you’re going to hand him the ring? With your antennae?"
"I am a highly intelligent being," Dante told him calmly, "I’m sure it would only take me a moment to figure something out."
"All right, all right," James told him, "How about you be best car?"
"Are you trying to be insulting?"
"I don’t know about you two," Domino spoke up, "but I’m going to be maid of honor at Jenny’s wedding."
"Excuse-me!" Jenny objected, "Since when was I getting married?"
"Yeah," Beast agreed, "Maybe Jenny doesn’t want to get married."
"Well maybe Kyle doesn’t want to get married either," Kat joined in, "Did you ever think of that?"
"Can we just stop this conversation, right now?" Kyle pleaded.
"James started it," Dante replied sulkily.
"Oh, all right."
Then Annie arrived in her wedding gown and stopped any further conversation. The ceremony began.
* * *
Trek stood in the atrium talking to Annie’s younger sister, April, while Erica fended off the advances of Annie’s cousin Neill. Jenny was in deep conversation with Annie and Pablo, and Duke was speaking with Annie’s father, who happened to be an ex-cop.
Meanwhile Kyle and James had wandered off on their own.
"It’s about time we had a chance to talk," Kyle said.
"We have lots of time now," James told him, "I think we should both have more spare time now that our mutual father is no longer wreaking havoc."
Kyle nodded soberly.
"The disease he had crippled his mind as well as his body," he said, "He went more insane each day."
"Man, I hope that’s not genetic," James said, attempting humor.
"I already think you’re crazy, James," Dante spoke up helpfully.
Kyle and James both grinned.
"We have a lot to talk about," Kyle said.
"Yeah," James told him, "But a lot of it will have to wait until after the honeymoon."
Kyle smiled and nodded.
"Annie and I are moving out of the country to a nice private little place," James informed him, "I’ll give you a call in a week or so. Here," James dug a small card out of his pocket and handed it to him, "This is my number."
"Thanks," Kyle said, taking it.
"You know," James said, "I don’t really have any static future plans for any espionage. I’m more than willing to lend a hand if you guys ever need my help with anything."
"And here I thought we were enough," Dante said, insulted.
"I appreciate it," Kyle told his brother, "I guess I should be thanking you for all the times you helped us in the past."
James shrugged it off.
"I just wish I could’ve been straight with you and the others from the beginning," he said, "I feel a bit bad for some of the things I had to do."
"Like holding a gun on Kyle?" Dante asked.
"Or shooting Jenny," Beast added with a slight edge in his voice.
James smiled and nodded.
"We understand," Kyle told him, then frowned and asked, "By the way. Whatever happened to KITT?"
"He helped me stop Mobius," James told him, "But he wouldn’t fit through the tunnel. He was destroyed in the explosion. I’m sorry. I know how much he meant to you and FLAG."
Kyle narrowed his eyes at his brother for a moment, then nodded.
"He helped us out a lot," Kyle said, "It’s a shame he’s gone."
Kyle turned back to the others and began to walk back, but James grabbed his arm and stopped him.
"Just a sec, Kyle," James said.
Kyle turned back to his brother.
"I have a small favor to ask," James told him.
Kyle narrowed his eyes at him suspiciously.
"What kind of favor?" he asked.
James shrugged casually.
"No big deal," he said, "I know you wrote in your report that I died. I was hoping you could keep what happened today out of any future reports to FLAG."
"You want me to cover up the fact that you survived?" Kyle asked.
"You know that’s against FLAG regulations," Dante warned.
Kyle gazed at him a moment, then grinned.
"As far as I’m concerned, I spent the whole day in my quarters writing up reports," he finally replied.
James smiled widely, then threw his arm around his brother and led him back to the rest of the group. They rejoined Annie and the others shortly. A moment later a limo pulled around to pick up the happy couple, and James and Annie had to say their good-byes.
"So are you going to retire from crime-fighting now that your father’s gone?" Jenny asked James as they shook hands good-bye.
James gave her a cocky half-grin and shrugged.
"Maybe," he said evasively, "I’m so used to it, I might get bored."
"Just be sure to let us know when you plan on helping again," Kyle warned.
"Why of course, Kyle," James told him with mock indignation.
"I’ll make sure to keep him in line," Annie promised them.
James rolled his eyes.
James turned to the cars.
"Later, guys!" he called to them, waving.
"Aren’t you gone yet?" Dante asked.
"Watch it, Dante," Trek cautioned, "James still knows your override codes, you know."
James just grinned as Dante remained silent.
"Well I for one am going to miss you, James," Domino spoke up.
"Me too, Dom," James assured her, "Maybe Jenny’ll let us go for a ride some time."
"I can hardly wait."
Jenny smiled and crossed her arms.
James and Kyle turned to each other.
"Guess this is it, big bro," James told him, "Good luck hunting bad guys."
Kyle nodded and smiled as they shook hands in parting.
"Enjoy your vacation," he told his younger brother.
James smiled slyly, casting a glance at the awaiting Annie.
"I don’t think that’ll be a problem," he stated.
Annie blushed and rolled her eyes. She went up to Kyle and gave him a good-bye hug which he returned. She then returned to her husband and took his arm.
"Guess we should go now," James said to his wife, grinning.
He helped her into the limo, then turned back to the others one last time.
"I’ll see you guys again soon," he promised, giving them one last wave, which the team returned.
"Somehow I think he really means that," Duke said as they watched James climb in.
The limo pulled away moments later. The team watched it go for a moment before returning to their own vehicles.
"If I know James," Kat spoke up, "then he’ll be back sticking his nose in things in no time."
"You mean like someone I know?" Erica asked.
Jenny sauntered over to Kyle, who was leaning on Dante’s hood, hands in pockets.
"So are you feeling better now?" she asked him, a knowing grin on her face.
Kyle returned her expression.
"I have a feeling that having James as a brother is going to be very interesting," he replied.
"Like it hasn’t been so far?" Dante asked.
Kyle and Jenny smiled at the SUV before separating to climb into their vehicles. Kyle buckled himself into Dante and started the engine.
"I’m glad you found your brother, Kyle," Dante told his driver in a much softer tone.
"Thanks, Dante," Kyle told him, "Me too."
They pulled out of the parking lot, leading the others back to the highway which would eventually lead them to the airport and, ultimately, to the huge luxury C-5 Galaxy transport that each of them now called home.
* * *
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