Team Knight Rider - Season Two
Chapter Nine: Friend and Foe
This time they all went to the R&D lab, including Annie and Scott. Like the main office building had been, CSI’s research lab was just as dark and empty-looking. There were no security guards outside or inside, and no security system on the entrances. When TKR and their two FBI allies exited the four vehicles, it was 2:35AM and still dark out.
"Erica," Kyle told her, "you and Annie stay out here with the vehicles. I want you all to keep tabs on the place. The rest of us will go inside."
Without another word Kyle led the others inside. Trek got them through the door with ease since the locking mechanism was so simple. As soon as they entered, they turned on their flashlights and looked around.
"Let’s split up," Kyle said, "Jenny—"
"I’ll go with Jenny," Scott spoke up before Kyle could continue.
Jenny glanced at Kyle uncertainly. Kyle looked a bit annoyed, but he shrugged. Jenny and Scott then split off from the rest of the group. Duke and Trek then paired off and Kyle went on his own.
Jenny and Scott made their way to the offices and started going through the filing cabinets.
"Your boss doesn’t seem to like me very much," Scott spoke up as he flipped through a file.
"He’s just under a lot of pressure," Jenny told him, "I mean, he just found out his own father was responsible for not only conducting inhumane experiments on his little brother, but for hiding his existence from him. Not to mention everything else he’s done. I’d be a little upset too."
"I guess so," he agreed, "I have to admit, it’s all a bit odd. We came here to catch James, but what we found was so much more."
"I know what you mean," Jenny agreed, "For some reason I feel like this is all over our heads."
Scott smiled at her and stepped a bit closer.
"Now I have a hard time believing that," he told her.
Jenny glanced at him and smiled awkwardly. She then took the file she was holding and returned it to the cabinet drawer.
"Let’s go check on the next room," she suggested.
Scott kept his eyes on her as she walked out, then followed.
* * *
"Dante," Kyle asked him, "Do you detect anything that might be important?"
"Nothing, Kyle," Dante told him, "Not even any alarms."
"Something’s gotta be up here," Kyle muttered.
They did a thorough search of the whole floor, but with no clues as to any illegal business. Not even the few computers that were there contained any relevant information. Kyle met up with Jenny and Scott a short while later.
"There’s nothing here, Kyle," Jenny told him, "If this place was used for anything, they packed up and left long ago."
"Jenny’s right," Scott agreed, "This is a waste of time. We should head out and follow some real leads."
Kyle gazed at him evenly as Jenny looked back and forth between them uncertainly.
"Kyle," Kat spoke up urgently, "There are four men inside the building, and they’re almost on top of you."
The three of them frowned and looked around, just as Scott was suddenly struck and knocked to the floor. All at once four men in dark uniforms attacked them. Before another man could get the drop on him, Kyle instinctively retaliated. Jenny did the same.
Scott wasn’t on the floor for long, and proved just as experienced a fighter as the others. He kicked his opponent in the stomach, knocking the man back onto a lab table. Scott was on his feet a second later and attacked with full force.
Kyle and Jenny were handling two of the other men just fine, but the fourth stood right behind Kyle and was about to attack when a heavy glass beaker was broken over his head. The man collapsed to the floor.
"Nice work, Dukie," Trek commented.
Duke tossed the remaining piece of the beaker to the floor and moved to help the others, but found it was not needed. All four men were lying unconscious. Scott’s was still sprawled across a lab workbench.
"Nice technique," Scott told Jenny appraisingly.
"You’re not so bad yourself," Jenny told him. She then turned to Kyle. "They just came out of nowhere," she said.
Kyle raised his com-link.
"Dante," he asked, "where did those guys come from?"
"Well, they didn’t come from outside, or we would have seen them," Dante told him.
"My sensors showed that the men just popped out of one of the walls," Kat reported.
"They walked through a wall?" Duke asked skeptically, "Are you sure you’re not malfunctioning?"
"I can assure you all of my sensory equipment is working just fine," Kat told him in a huffy voice.
"Kat’s right," Erica reported to them, "They came from inside."
Trek immediately hurried away to the long corridor leading to the small offices. The corridor was made of thick, shiny steel on both sides, except one side was painted over and had doors every fifteen feet. The left side was totally bare. Trek started feeling along the surface of the wall while the others watched him as if he were out to lunch.
"Am I almost at the spot where they came out?" he asked.
"About six more feet," Kat told him.
Trek moved, going slowly, hands running over the smooth steel.
"Bingo!" Plato exclaimed.
"Aha!" Trek shouted a moment later. He pushed hard on one small section of the wall, and while the others watched in surprise a large section 4X8 feet separated from the rest of the wall, revealing a doorway, and behind it a set of stairs leading down into darkness.
"It’s a hidden stairway," Trek told them excitedly, "I knew it!"
Kyle gave him a short grin and moved to stand in the doorway, peering down but seeing nothing.
"All right," he said, "we’ll go down."
"Kyle," Dante told him, "Our sensors cannot penetrate the wall. Whatever is beyond is being protected by some sort of barrier. If you go down there, we won’t be able to communicate."
"All right," he said, "See what you and the other cars can do about penetrating that barrier. We’ll go down and check it out."
"Fine," Dante said, "But be careful. There could be more men down there."
Kyle nodded to the others, then aimed his flashlight down and started his descent. The others followed. The stairway was narrow and windy and took them down about twenty-five to thirty feet before they reached the bottom. Kyle played his flashlight around the room. It appeared to be very small. The only feature was a door opposite the stairway that was made of thick steel and was connected to a security lock.
"Trek," Kyle told him, nodding to the lock, "See what you can do."
Trek immediately went over and bent to inspect the lock. He turned around moments later with a discontented expression on his face.
"I can’t do anything, Kyle," he told him, "This lock works on vocal recognition."
"Damn," Kyle muttered.
"Now what?" Scott asked.
"Too bad we couldn’t just have Beast come and knock it down," Trek said wistfully.
"All right," Kyle said regretfully, "We’ll go back—"
He was cut off by a deep metallic sound coming from the other side of the door. Kyle motioned for them all to be quiet, then shut off his flashlight and took a position against the wall next to the door. The others did the same. A moment later the door opened slowly, and a man wearing the same dark uniform as the others had appeared. As soon as he was halfway through the door, Kyle grabbed him and flung him across the room. With Jenny help he knocked the guy out while Duke held the door open. Then Kyle led the way in warily, expecting anything.
They left the tiny little space and came into a room the size of a basketball court. The entire floor area was bare steel. A single overhead light illuminated only small sections of the room, casting the rest into shadows. They could see that the far wall contained more electronic equipment than they had on SkyOne, including a high-powered communications array. To their right the wall was bare as far as they could tell in the dim light. The entire left end of the room was enveloped in darkness.
Kyle stepped into the center of the room slowly, wary of a trap. They could see no one.
Then suddenly more overhead lights snapped on, brightly illuminating the right end of the room. They could now see the eight sets of magnetic manacles lining the right wall, much like to ones Olivier and James had used on them in their final hideout. The five allies gathered together, looking around them and expecting armed guards to surround them at any minute. But no one came. And then they could hear the amused chuckle that was being magnified over a speaker system.
"Who are you?" Kyle demanded.
"You mean you don’t know?" the man asked him in surprise.
Kyle’s face cleared in recognition.
"Chaser," he replied.
"Sometimes," the man told him, "Actually, that’s only one of my nicknames. You know, I’m surprised at you, Kyle. I really hadn’t expected you to find me so soon. I’m very impressed."
The voice seemed to be coming from the left end of the room. Kyle and the others looked and saw the vague outline of a man lost in shadows. Kyle was startled when he realized that this shadowy figure was the same as the one in his dream.
"So," Kyle said, squinting in curiosity as the figure, "This really is your base of operations."
"One of them," Chaser admitted, "Actually, I have another one that’s far more updated. After tonight, this one will be of use to me no more."
"So what is it that you do?" Trek asked, "Besides genetically mutating innocent children, that is?"
"My experiments on human DNA is just one of my many hobbies," Chaser told them, "And yes, the software company was a front for that. I’m happy to say those experiments ended nine years ago, which is why that office building you visited earlier tonight is so empty."
"Why?" Kyle asked, "Why do those experiments? What were you hoping to accomplish?"
"I have a dream, Kyle," Chaser told him, "And part of that dream is creating a race of super-humans in order to amass a super-army that will someday soon help me fulfill my every desire. Unfortunately, I was not completely successful."
Chaser hesitated dramatically before continuing in a slow voice.
"You see, Kyle," he told him, "Your little brother was my only success."
Kyle gritted his teeth and took a step closer.
"So you helped do that to him," Kyle accused.
"Of course," Chaser told him openly, "Mason was my prodigy. I wanted to use his abilities for my own plans, but Mason made other plans and escaped before I could retrieve him. Ever since then, he and I have been chasing each other, trying to get one up on the other. I’ve been committing these heinous crimes so that Mason would follow me and try to stop me."
"Looks like he’s been pretty successful," Duke commented.
"Ah, Duke," he said, "Of course he was successful. I wanted him to be."
Kyle and the others frowned.
"I wanted Mason to build up his confidence," he told them, "so that when the time came to collect him, Mason would be overconfident and unprepared."
"What are you planning on doing to him?" Kyle demanded.
"Oh, don’t worry, Kyle," Chaser assured him, "I have absolutely no intention of hurting the boy. I just want to use him."
* * *
Back outside, Erica, Annie and the vehicles were getting worried.
"They’ve been gone for over 30 minutes now," Domino spoke up worriedly, "I just know something went wrong!"
"Relax, toots," Beast told her, "If I know my Jenny, she can take care of herself."
"Any luck de-activating the barrier, Dante?" Erica asked.
"This will take some time," Dante told her, "It’s a lot more difficult than it sounds, you know."
"Fine, fine," Erica told him, then sighed and jumped off Kat.
"And where do you think you’re going?" he motherly motorbike asked.
"If something’s wrong," Erica told her, "someone’s gotta go down and rescue them."
"Oh, and you think you can?" Kat asked skeptically.
Erica nodded to Annie.
"I’ll take her with me," she said.
"You know what Kyle said," Kat reminded her, "He explicitly told you to stay here."
"Yeah, well, Kyle’s not here right now," Erica said, "Besides, if he were here I’m sure he’d order me to save him."
Kat gave up.
"Oh, you never listen!" Kat told her irritably.
Erica patted her vehicle.
"Isn’t that what you love about me?" she asked, then turned to Annie and nodded. Annie nodded back, and together to two women headed in.
"Be careful!" Kat warned them.
"Don’t do anything stupid, girls!" Beast added.
"That’s being supportive, Beast," Domino commented.
"What?" he appealed.
* * *
Erica led the way down the stairs to the small anti-chamber. Behind her, Annie followed with her gun at the ready. They went to the door and tried it, with no luck.
"We could really use Trek right about now," Erica spoke up in a whisper.
"How did the others get in?" Annie wondered aloud.
Just then there was a hollow metallic click behind them, and the sound of a gun cocking. Erica and Annie looked at each other, then sighed and raised their hands.
* * *
Back in Chaser’s underground hideout, Kyle took another step closer.
"You’ve got something up your sleeve," Kyle told him, "I want to know what it is you have planned."
"So enthusiastic, Kyle!" Chaser exclaimed, "I’m pleased you’re so curious about me."
"Cut it," Kyle said shortly, "I’m not in the mood to play games."
"I promise, Kyle," Chaser told him, "No more games."
Kyle frowned at him. Something about the guy was familiar.
Kyle was about to take yet another step closer when the steel door they had entered through opened and Erica and Annie stepped in. They were followed by Walter, who held a gun to them. Kyle stopped in his tracks. Erica gave him an apologetic look. Annie just looked frustrated.
"I suggest you retrace your steps Kyle, and join your friends," Chaser told him, "I would much prefer it if you were all immobilized. You see those manacles on the wall behind you? I’m sure you remember how they work."
Kyle glared at Chaser’s shadowy form and joined his team at the far wall, where Walter made sure they were all fitted nice and snug in their wrist-restraints.
"Now if you’ll excuse me," Chaser told them, "I must be leaving for a while. I have some very important arrangements to make. I’ll trust you in Mr. Walter’s care."
"Wait!" Kyle yelled.
The shadow then faded until it had disappeared. Walter grinned at them evilly.
"Well," Trek spoke up, "it could be worse."
"Oh yeah?" Erica asked him, "How?"
"They…could be beating us with whips and chains," he suggested, "Or worse, they could be making us watch Barney."
Erica shook her head, then winced as her wrist chaffed against the steel cuffs.
* * *
James stepped out of the bathroom in his hotel room early that morning, whistling to himself. He wore only a pair of old denim jeans and a towel around his neck. He grabbed a parcel on the desk and ripped it open. It had just arrived that morning by courier. James opened the small box and peered inside, grinning.
"Perfect," he mumbled to himself.
He was just about to take the box and its contents back to the bathroom when something was suddenly slipped underneath his door. James eyed it for a moment, then went and bent down to snatch it up. It was a plain piece of folded white paper. James opened it up and read the contents, then breathed out deeply, his face dead-sober. After gazing at the paper for a few moments longer, James crumpled up the message and tossed it into the trash.
"Here we go," he muttered.
James then returned to the bathroom and shut the door behind him.
* * *
The five TKR members, Annie, and Scott were held in Chaser’s hideout for over an hour. By then it was most likely morning. At that time, Walter was being joined by Philip Brooks, who sneered at Kyle as soon as he entered.
"So where’s your boss?" Duke asked him.
"He’ll be back shortly," Philip promised them.
"You’re not really the president of any software company, are you," Kyle said, "You’re just another one of Chaser’s flunkies."
Philip came closer to Kyle and glared at him.
"I’m Chaser’s right hand man," he said.
"I’m sure you are," Duke said.
Philip looked peeved.
"Down boy, down," Chaser’s voice returned.
They could see Chaser’s shadow had returned at the far end of the room. Philip immediately backed away and went to stand next to Walter. He never stopped glaring at Kyle.
"Oh, good, you’re back," Erica spoke up in a relieved voice, "Look, Mr. Chaser or whatever your name is. Do you think you could let us go? I mean, these metal thingies are really bad for my skin."
"Sorry, Erica," Chaser apologized, "but I’m afraid those ‘metal thingies’ are necessary."
"Mr. Brooks," Chaser addressed him, "Has the message been sent?"
"It has, boss," Philip reported.
"Excellent!" Chaser replied happily, "Mr. Brooks, Mr. Walter, kindly go and fetch our dear Dr. Lugae."
The two men both left through a door in the darkness that the others couldn’t make out. Chaser then addressed the others in a positively glowing voice.
"I am very pleased to announce that we’ll be having a visitor very shortly," he told them.
"Who’s Dr. Lugae?" Trek asked.
"Dr. Lugae is an old friend of mine," Chaser told them, "He is the one who actually designed and conducted the experiments on Mr. Mason and the others. In fact I wouldn’t be here today without him."
"Too bad," Kyle said.
Chaser just laughed.
"Not even your dreary remarks can dampen my spirits now, Kyle," Chaser told him.
"What are you planning on doing with us?" Jenny asked.
"Well," Chaser began, "first I’m going to use you all as hostages. But after that, I believe I’ll turn you over to the good doctor. Why, just the other day he was telling me that he was dying for some new lab rats."
They all exchanged uncomfortable glances.
"I think I’ll have him start with Jenny," Chaser continued, "I’ll save you for last, Kyle, so you can watch your friends suffer."
"I don’t understand," Kyle told him, "Why do you want me to suffer so much?"
"I assure you, Kyle," Chaser told him in a serious voice, "my reasons are purely personal."
Kyle frowned. Chaser hesitated for a moment before he spoke up again with excitement in his voice.
"He’s here!" he announced, "Our VIP guest has finally arrived!"
"He sounds like he’s about ready to pee his pants," Trek commented in a whisper.
The lights above them were shut off, enveloping them in darkness so only a small single light illuminated the area over the steel door. The others watched and waited.
The door opened. They all watched as a dark figure emerged, shutting the door behind him. His back was to them. From what they could see in the dim light, the man was wearing all black, which contrasted heavily from his white-blond hair. At first Kyle and the others thought they recognized who he was, but then he turned around and they recognized his face instantly. It was James.
"So nice to finally see you, James," Chaser spoke up, "I’ve been expecting you for some time now."
James turned and saw the shadowy figure barely visible in the darkness. He glared.
"I’m not surprised," James replied in an even voice, "I got your message."
"I hoped you did," Chaser said, "We both knew it was only a matter of time."
"Yeah," he agreed, "and it’s about time, too."
"I couldn’t agree more," Chaser told him.
"You really put me through my paces," James continued, "Especially these last few months."
"I try," Chaser responded, "You’re not easy to keep up with. I thought I almost lost you once. How long has it been now, James. Five years?"
"Something like that," James replied, crossing his arms, "You’re not easy to find, you know. I would’ve found you sooner if you hadn’t caused so much of an uproar. I had to spend half my time just cleaning up your messes."
"Oh, you poor thing," Chaser lamented, "But that’s all over now. No more playing around, no more chasing each other, no more competing. Here we are, together at last."
James nodded, then unfolded his arms and took a step closer.
"You know what?" he said, "I think it’s about time you showed your ugly face so we can put an end to our little game of cat and mouse."
"I would like to, I really would," Chaser told him, "but not right now."
"Why not?" he asked irritably.
"Because," Chaser told him, "I believe I have some good friends of yours who are just dying to see you."
James’ frown deepened, and his brows wrinkled in puzzlement. Then the lights over Kyle and the others were turned back on so they were clearly visible. James turned around and saw them immediately. His expression was at first surprised, but then it turned into anger as he turned a nasty glare onto Chaser.
"James," Chaser told him, "I believe you have a lot of explaining to do."
James tore his eyes off the evil man and turned back to the others. He took a few steps towards them before Chaser halted him.
"I wouldn’t try anything," Chaser warned, "If you try to free them, your friends will be electrocuted and turned into charred sticks."
James sighed deeply and stopped. He didn’t make eye-contact with any of the others, but just looked down, shaking his head.
"I’m surprised," Kyle spoke up, "I figured you’d be happy to work with someone like Chaser."
James grunted angrily.
"I don’t work with psychotic jerks like him," James replied shortly.
"Oh, you wound me!" Chaser exclaimed with mock-injury.
James turned to Kyle.
"I thought I told you to stay out of this," he told him.
Kyle frowned, confused. James then seemed to realize something and appeared slightly embarrassed.
"Oops, sorry," James apologized, "I was thinking I was someone else."
"What happened to your hair anyway?" Trek asked, "You see a ghost?"
A hint of a smile appeared briefly on James’ face, reminding them of his old, cocky self.
"It’s amazing what you can do with a little box of hair color," he replied.
"I would have to agree," Erica said.
"Why are you after Chaser?" Duke asked him curiously.
"You said something before about family business?" Erica told him.
James glanced at Annie, who was staring at him with mixed feelings.
"Chaser is my father," James finally told them.
They all stared at him in surprise while Chaser just chuckled at this. From the look on James’ face, he didn’t appear too proud to have him for a father.
"You’re father?" Annie spoke up in a quiet voice.
James turned to her, sadness in his eyes.
"Why couldn’t you have stayed out of this?" he asked her.
"You knew I couldn’t," she told him.
James looked at her a moment longer, then nodded.
"I guess I always knew you’d have to do your job sooner or later," he told her.
"You knew?" she asked him.
"That you worked for the FBI and were assigned to spy on me?" James asked her, "Of course I knew. What do you think I am, an amateur?"
Annie stared at him, processing this information.
"Why don’t you just escape and let us die?" Kyle asked him then.
"Um, Kyle," Erica told him quietly, "That may not be the best method in getting us out of here."
Kyle ignored her and watched James for a response. James eyed him coolly.
"First of all," he told them, "I didn’t come here just to escape. Second, even if I wanted to escape, I can’t just let you die."
"What about when you shot Jenny?" Duke asked.
James glanced at him without concern.
"I knew she was wearing a vest," he told them, "I knew she was safe. Who do you think activated her tracking beacon?"
Jenny looked at him, then exchanged glances with Duke. Kyle, however, wasn’t convinced.
"OK," he said, "How about the Quad-Missile bombing? You said yourself you had a hand in that. Don’t tell me you’ve changed your ways because you suddenly started having regrets."
James started to look very annoyed at the mention of this. He took a step closer to Kyle and nodded.
"You know what?" he said, "I do have regrets. I lot of them. I regret not finding out about the whole thing sooner. I regret I only had time to stop one of the missiles. And I regret that so many people had to die because of my father!"
James nearly spat out the last sentence, then turned away and seethed in the direction of Chaser’s shadow. Kyle and the others stared at him in shock and disbelief.
"You mean, you diverted the fourth missile?" Trek asked him.
"Wait a minute," Trek continued, "Does that mean you also stopped Vasquez’ missile?"
Again, James nodded. Kyle was still not convinced.
"So you’re saying you’ve been on our side the whole time?" he asked skeptically.
This time James chuckled humorlessly before responding.
"Not exactly, Kyle," James told him, "Like Chaser told you. I’m on no one’s side but my own."
This only confused them.
"So wait," Duke spoke up, "Have you done any other good deeds we don’t know about?"
"And if you did," Trek added, "How did you manage to accomplish it all?"
James hesitated at these questions, unwilling to respond.
"Go ahead, James," Chaser spoke up in a widely amused voice, "Tell them who you really are. Don’t be shy!"
James sighed, then turned resignedly and started to claw at his face while the others watched in something close to distaste. Erica wrinkled her face.
"Ew!" she said in disgust, "Is he ripping off his face?"
Pieces of skin fell to the floor at James’ feet seconds later, and he slowly turned around to face them. They all stared at him at first in shock, then in startling realization as they recognized the now-visible scars on his face.
When Chaser spoke, his voice was positively delighted.
"Kyle," he told him, "meet James Mason, your brother. Also known as the Codebreaker."
Kyle and James made eye-contact. Kyle remained mute in shock while James on the other hand seemed to have already known of their kinship.
"If you’re really Codebreaker," Trek spoke up, "then you’re the one who’s been helping us all this time."
James nodded defeatedly.
"I learned about Kyle at the same I learned about my father," James admitted, "That’s why I snuck on board SkyOne. I wanted to see him."
"Wait a minute," Jenny spoke up, turning to Kyle as a new realization dawned, "If James is your brother, and Chaser is his father, then that means…"
Her voice trailed off as Kyle’s jaw clenched in the same realization. He turned his gaze to the shadow.
"You are correct," Chaser spoke up, "I am the very proud father of these two fine-looking young men."
The shadow then stepped forward and came into view, revealing a figure from Kyle’s past that he instantly recognized. The elder Stewart was the same height as his sons, with graying dark hair and a skinny, wiry build. Both Kyle and James looked at their father in hatred.
"You can all call me Charles from now on," he told them, "Now that we all know so much about each other."
Charles Stewart glanced at his eldest son apologetically.
"I must admit I was not always purely faithful to your dear mother," he admitted, "I met Patricia 22 years ago. James here was the result."
Charles then turned to James and clasped his hands in front of him.
"I planned on using James in Dr. Lugae’s experiments ever since we began them," he continued, "I waited until he was 10 before taking him away from his foster family to the lab in Houston where Dr. Lugae began turning him into the Codebreaker. The results a year and a half later were unexpected, but rather pleasant. James seemed to have more knowledge and insight than we ever thought him capable of, and we found he even had the ability to improve upon the abilities we gave him. We sent him back to a home so he could grow up and have time for his capabilities to mature. Unfortunately he caught on to our plan and fled only a few months before we were to retrieve him."
"That’s true," James agreed, "That and I didn’t really like the Baker’s."
"I can’t really blame you on that one," Erica spoke up, glancing at Trek who nodded in agreement.
James turned back to his father.
"My plan was to establish myself, become completely anonymous, find you, uncover your operations, and destroy you."
"My my, aren’t we ambitious?" Charles responded, then continued, "I admit I lost track of you - that is, up until eight months ago when the name James Arthur kept showing up frequently in my operations."
Charles then turned to the others to explain.
"You see," he told them, "Both the names Arthur and Stewart are James’ middle names. I named him after myself, of course. I wanted to use James so that we could become partners and conquer the nation as father and son. By that time Kyle was much too old to be easily influenced and too seasoned to be caught easily. Unfortunately, James turned out to have a good heart and more initiative, resourcefulness and courage than I ever gave him credit for."
Just then a door somewhere behind Charles opened and seconds later Philip hurried into the room.
"Dr. Lugae is ready, sir," he reported, "He’ll be here shortly."
"Excellent," Charles said, then turned to his youngest son, "I’ll be using your friends as guinea pigs now. That is, unless you agree to work for me."
"You think I don’t know better?" James told him, "You’ll just kill them anyway."
"I supposed you’re right," he said, "I knew it wouldn’t be that easy to persuade you. You won’t work for me, willingly or unwillingly, and even if you did give in, you would only escape once your friends were safe."
Charles then nodded to Philip, who immediately went to the nearest wall and began flicking on all the computer equipment along it. A monitor activated, with the FLAG symbol sitting in the middle of the screen.
"I need you to access some restricted, heavily sealed data files for me," Charles told James, "from FLAG."
"Why?" Kyle asked, "What files are you after?"
Charles smiled at him.
"Files that no one in FLAG will ever admit exist," he told them, "Top secret files only James can access."
James glanced at the equipment, then turned to Charles.
"No," he told him.
Charles laughed, then walked a bit closer to James.
"I’ve been waiting for this moment a long time," Charles told him wistfully, "The moment I can finally start to fulfill my dreams. I’m glad you’re finally here, my son."
"Sorry I can’t say the same," James replied.
Charles took on a look of mock-anguish.
"But why?" he asked.
"Two reasons," James told him, "One is that I have despised you ever since I learned about you. Second, I can’t really say I’m glad you’re here…"
James suddenly whipped out his gun and aimed it at his father. Philip was startled and the others thought he was going to shoot. But then he checked his aimed and shot at a small black box on the ceiling. As soon as the box was destroyed, Charles’ image blurred and then blinked out.
"…when you’re not," James finished, lowering his weapon.
"It was a hologram," Scott spoke up, stating the obvious.
"I apologize I couldn’t be there in person," Charles spoke up through the speaker system, "I am a busy man you know. Besides, that hologram wasn’t a genuine image of me, anyway. I took it from a video of myself taken about fifteen years ago. Ahh, the good old days. In my present condition I’m lucky if I can get out of the house."
"What do you mean?" Kyle asked.
"You mean you haven’t figured it out?" Charles asked in surprise, "Here, maybe this will help."
A moment later heavy, belabored breathing could be heard taking the place of Charles’ voice. The five TKR members recognized that breathing immediately.
"Mobius!" Duke spoke up.
"Really," he admonished them, "I thought you would have figured all this out sooner. James is only 21 and he knew it all."
"I should have known," Kyle said, shaking his head.
"Don’t hit yourself over the head, Kyle," his father told him, "It’s not your fault."
"This is getting to be just too much," Erica spoke up, "It reminds me of a warped kind of soap opera."
Just then Kyle’s restraints were suddenly released, and Kyle was able to step away from the wall. He rubbed his wrists, then took a few steps forward. But then Walter raised his gun and aimed it at Kyle, who stopped in his tracks. James immediately raised his own gun on Walter, just as five other men rushed in from the same entrance Philip had used and held their weapons on Kyle.
"I’d think twice about that, James," Charles spoke up.
James and Kyle made eye contact for a moment before James reluctantly lowered his gun and surrendered it to Philip, who took it eagerly. Four of the men then grabbed James and hauled him over to the computer equipment. A man then entered the room and walked right over to James. He was a short, boney man in his late sixties who had a hunched back and glasses perched on the end of his long, pointy nose. His face was blank as he reached James. James regarded him with a strange expression on his face.
"Lugae," he said, recognizing the man who had fiddled with his body for almost two years of his life.
"I’m sure you all will remember a recent invention of mine," Charles spoke up, "I managed to create it with the help of my very good friend, Miss Starr, along with a few lackeys who are now safely in prison."
"You mean the mind-control device?" Trek asked.
"The very same," Charles said, "You all thought that the mind-control device was a ruse, a con, a distraction so I could get into SkyOne. Well, you were half right."
"Did you board SkyOne?" Kyle asked.
"Indeed I did," Charles admitted, "You see, you were wrong about the mind-control device. It wasn’t a con. In fact, it worked perfectly in getting me on board SkyOne undetected by any of your personnel. Only I never really planned on using the satellite for global mind-control. I only ever planned on controlling one person - James."
James glared at him as Lugae began hooking him up to apparatus. He took a small pea-sized device out of his pocket and placed it in James’ ear while the young man could only sit back and let him do it helplessly. The others also watched, now fully aware that Charles planned on controlling James’ mind. Kyle watched helplessly, wishing there was something he could do to help his brother. But with two very nasty looking guns aimed right at his head, there was nothing he could do.
"Damn you!" James cursed at his father.
They could hear as Charles Stewart laughed in pleasure.
As soon as Lugae had the device inserted properly, he activated it and backed off. James suddenly winced in pain and fell to his knees, holding his head. Annie watched with tears in her eyes. His pain only lasted for a few moments, though. After a few short seconds the pain seemed to ease, and he dropped his hands, closing his eyes and breathing heavily.
"James has implants in his brain that would usually prevent any interference such as the mind-control device," Charles told them, "But the good doctor managed to get past that and figure out a way to program James’ brain."
A small section of the floor in front of them opened up then, and a small pedestal with a capsule-shaped piece of equipment raised up out of the floor. They could all see the four initials on it reading "KITT". Kyle’s face cleared when he recognized it.
"That’s KITT’s CPU," he said.
"Isn’t that Michael Knight’s car?" Trek asked.
"The very same," Charles told them, "KITT is more than twice as powerful than all of your cars combined. And soon he will be even more so. This is what I stole from SkyOne. Someone at FLAG thought it would be safe there. Lucky for me."
The red lights on KITT’s CPU then started flashing as his voice suddenly spoke up.
"You won’t get away with this, you know, Stewart," KITT told him in a confidant tone, "They’ll stop you."
"They’ll be dead before you’re even re-installed!" Stewart replied shortly, "James!"
They all turned to James, who laborously stood up, taking in a deep breath. He appeared to be a bit dazed.
"James," Charles told him, "Go to the computer and access the FLAG files on KITT."
Without any hesitation James did what he was told. Seconds later the files appeared on the screen.
"James, stop!" Annie called to him.
"Wake up, James," Kyle also spoke up.
Charles just chuckled.
"Too late, I’m afraid," he told them, "James is now under my complete control." Kyle’s muscles tensed, and he was itching to just attack. But he couldn’t.
"I plan on using James to re-program KITT since he’s the only one in the world who can break KITT’s own defenses," Charles told them, "I have a prototype vehicle for him already being built. Soon KITT will be under its hood and as good as new."
"How do we know that mind-control thing really worked?" Scott asked.
"You want a demonstration?" Charles asked, "Fine. I’m sure our Annie here knows that James would never hurt a fly, isn’t that true, Annie?"
Annie gritted her teeth, refusing to answer.
"No matter," Charles continued, "Mr. Brooks? Kindly return that weapon to its rightful owner."
Philip reluctantly handed James back his gun. James took it and loaded a bullet into the chamber.
"Since I plan on making James my second in command," Charles told them, "I have no more use for Mr. Brooks. James? Please dispose of him for me."
Philip looked at James in terror. James brought up the gun and shot him point blank before Philip could even try to escape. Charles’ ex-employee fell to the ground, a pool of blood accumulating around him. The others stared at the corpse in horror. James’ face was blank and uncaring as he holstered his gun.
"Are you convinced yet?" Charles asked them.
Suddenly the room started going haywire. Lights started flashing on and off, and the equipment all started to short-circuit and explode, causing sparks to dance across the room. The restraints holding the others were de-activated, releasing them. At the disturbance, Kyle took the opportunity to surprise Walter and overtake him. Jenny, Duke, Scott, Erica and Annie all helped with the other guards.
"James!" Charles spoke up quickly, "Quickly, bring KITT and escape! Hurry!"
James obeyed and grabbed KITT’s CPU, carrying it under one arm while he clutched his gun with the other. He then protected himself and Lugae as they made their escape.
"Sorry it took so long, Kyle," Dante spoke up, "We’ve managed to de-activate the barrier and create a diversion."
"I’d just like to say he couldn’t have done it without me," Kat spoke up.
"Yeah, whatever," Kyle said hurriedly, "Look, James is on his way out with KITT’s CPU. You have to stop him, and the man he’s with. But don’t hurt James. He’s on our side!"
"Am I missing something, Kyle?" Dante asked.
* * *
Outside, James and Lugae ran out of the building right into the path of the four TKR vehicles.
"Hold it right there, you two," Dante told them.
"Emergency audio override Jenova 358," James said in a monotone voice. Then in quick succession he also read off the overrides of the other vehicles, including the brand new one for Beast.
"I can’t believe this is happening again," Beast grumbled.
James and Lugae then safely climbed into James’ blue convertible with KITT and sped away. Moments later the others rushed out to join them.
"Let me guess," Duke said when they noticed James and Lugae were gone, "James used the override codes again."
"That is really starting to tick me off," Beast told him.
Kyle slammed his hand against Dante’s hood in frustration.
"Excuse-me," Dante told him, "but if you dent it, you fix it."
Annie went over to Kyle.
"We have to find him," she told him firmly, "We have to get James back."
"I know," he told her, "and we will."
"Would someone mind telling us just what is going on?" Dante asked them.
Kyle stared in the direction James had gotten away in and glared, remembering in exact detail everything that had transpired down below.
"It’s time to end this once and for all," he said in almost a whisper.
* * *
End of Season 02.
Look for the premiere of season 03, coming soon!
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