Team Knight Rider - Season Two
Chapter Six: Proteus
The elderly men in the white lab smock walked at a brusque pace through the military base towards the personnel quarters building. His ID tag read "Dr. Paul Crustus". He glanced over his shoulder suspiciously before he walked inside and went straight to his room. As soon as he got in, he sighed and started unbuttoning his coat. As soon as he had the coat hung up on a hook on the door, he sat down wearily on his small bed and stretched his arms. He then bent down to begin unlacing his shoes.
All of a sudden two men burst out of his bathroom and attacked him. The elderly man stood no chance as they slid the pointy end of a long needle into the soft, wrinkly skin on his neck. Seconds later the man’s eyelids closed and he went limp. The men then each threw one of the man’s arms over their shoulders and began dragging him away.
* * *
Military personnel stood at either side of the impressive steel door inside the compound. Both were armed with long, deadly-looking automatic rifles, and both stared straight ahead, unflinching. It was nighttime, and there was little activity about them. In fact they remained alone in the building, accompanied only by state-of-the-art defense systems.
Then both men heard a deep metallic moan coming from the entrance to the building, directly opposite them. They both frowned when they heard the noise, and glanced at one another. But they didn’t move. Then the sound repeated itself, louder this time. One of the guards took a step forward.
The door twenty feet ahead of them suddenly erupted inwards, plummeting straight at the two surprised guards. They both jumped to get out of the way of the rocketing door, which struck the wall in its path with a loud clang. Four men accompanied the imploded door, all carrying weapons and dressed in all black clothing and ski masks. Two of the men shot at the two downed guards, putting bullets through their skin. The other two approached the steel door they had been guarding and placed a large rectangular device over the locking mechanism. One of them then flipped a switch on the device. Seconds later there was a sharp click, and the door opened. The four men hurried inside.
The vault was relatively small and contained only one thing. In the center of the room was a waist-high platform, about 4X4 feet. Lying on top of the platform was a briefcase-sized metal device. On top of it the word "Proteus" was etched in black. It was protected by laser shielding.
One of the intruders aimed a small gadget at the laser beams that resembled a mix between a gun and a blow horn, and activated it. The beams instantly disappeared. As soon as they did, two other men grabbed the device and the four of them hurried out, ignoring the shrill alarm bells that began ringing.
* * *
"The Proteus is a top secret project developed by the military," Kyle said, "It's an advanced anti-terrorist weapon designed to be able to take control of any computerized or electrical equipment, from airplanes to missiles from a radius of approximately one mile. It has a very complex activation code known by only three people - its inventor, Dr. Crustus, the Secretary of Defense Alex Mills, and the President. It's also something a lot of people would like to get their hands on."
"Unfortunately," Jenny continued, picking up the story, "The Proteus was stolen last night by some unknown forces. Dr. Crustus was also taken. Two guards were severely injured during the theft."
"The government wants us to recover Dr. Crustus and the Proteus before the thieves can activate it," Kyle told them.
"So basically they want us to clean up their mess?" Erica asked.
Kyle looked at her.
"Basically," he agreed reluctantly.
Just then Trek arrived in the situation room and as inconspicuously as possible took his seat next to Duke.
"I miss anything important?" he asked.
Kyle shook his head, glancing at the young genius with a mixture of annoyance and amusement.
"Only the really important parts," Duke assured him.
"We were talking about the Proteus theft," Kyle told him, "FLAG wants us on it right away."
"Oh, that!" Trek said as if he knew all about it.
Kyle looked at him and frowned. Trek caught his gaze and slouched down a bit in his chair.
"I, uh, just happened to be playing on the Internet this morning and, uh, stumbled across it," Trek told them lamely.
"Uh-huh," Kyle responded without an ounce of belief in his voice. He chose to ignore it, however.
"Do we have any suspects?" Duke asked.
Kyle shook his head.
"Whoever committed the theft did it without letting anybody find out who they are," Kyle told them.
"Are you saying we have no leads?" Erica asked.
"Of course Kyle has a lead," Domino spoke up in her sexy voice, "Don't you, Kyle?"
"Actually..." he began.
"Hey, I knew Dr. Crustus," he said, "In fact, I helped him design some of the chips inside Proteus."
"There's a big surprise," Erica remarked sarcastically.
"FLAG believes these thieves have a specific motive for stealing the Proteus," Kyle told them, "We know they're somewhere in the area, since it would be virtually impossible to sneak the Proteus through any airport, and all roadways and transportation mediums are being checked thoroughly. They must have known there was no way out."
"Of course!" Trek exclaimed, "The Irving Satellite."
The others stared at him blankly.
"It's on a delayed rotation around the earth," he told them, "It's equipped with high-tech laser capabilities meant to contact the other satellites. Every seven days it comes its closest to the earth's atmosphere. From that range, if someone down here were to somehow activate a Geiger Satellite Dish they could make the Irving fire down onto the planet. It'd make a pretty mean weapon. They could literally destroy any city in the northeast quadrant of the states."
"That sounds like a start," Kyle agreed, then said, "Dante, how many Geiger Satellites in the area?"
"There are three," Dante informed him a second later, "One on a naval base eight miles away, the second is on an air force base only three miles away, and the third is located at a research facility six miles away called Deacon Labs. All of them are heavily guarded. All are within a twenty mile radius of the compound the Proteus was stolen from."
"If that's what they're up to, then it's only a matter of time before they make their move," Kyle said.
"The Proteus would have to be within five miles or less of the satellite," Trek told them.
Kyle nodded, then handed out assignments.
"Trek, Erica, you take the research lab and check it out," he told them, "Jenny, Duke, you take the naval base. I'll take the air force base. Try to see if you can detect any signs of the Proteus nearby, and let the people there know what's going on."
With that they all stood up and went to the garage to climb into their vehicles and drive to their different assignments. Kyle and Dante left first and drove towards the AFB.
"Who's in charge there?" Kyle asked his car.
"A Colonel Dirkson," Dante replied, "Would you like me to call ahead and make a reservation?"
Kyle shook his head.
"Don't bother," he decided, "We're only a few minutes away, anyway."
As soon as they reached the base they drove up to the gate to get in. They were detained for a short while until they were waved in. Kyle drove Dante through the base and parked it by the public relations building. A formal-looking man in his early forties wearing military attire strode out to meet him.
"Kyle Stewart?" the man asked in a crisp voice.
Kyle nodded. The man held out his hand and they shook.
"Colonel Dirkson," he introduced himself, "How may I help you?"
"I have reason to believe that the group who stole the Proteus might be planing on using a Geiger Satellite Dish to activate the Irving Satellite up in space," Kyle informed him, "Your dish is one of three possible targets."
"I see," Dirkson said, appearing calm and unconcerned, "I'll have security personnel situated by the dish around the clock."
Kyle grinned and nodded.
"That will help," he said.
"We'll keep a sharp lookout for those thieves," Dirkson told him, "I know how valuable the Proteus is, and how much chaos it can cause in the wrong hands."
"I'm hoping to retrieve it before anything bad happens," Kyle said.
"Let's hope you do," Dirkson told him, then continued, "It’s funny. The Proteus was designed to stop people like this. Now it’s being used for the opposite reason it was built for. The President had been hoping to implement it within the next month. It’s my opinion that this plot was created by some smart-alek in order to spite us."
"Could be," Kyle assented, "You don’t think it could be deeper than that?"
Dirkson grinned contemptuously.
"Son," he said, "with the criminals and terrorists we have now, blowing up buildings and killing innocent people just to prove some lame point, doing things just to prove how great they are, I don’t think any of ‘em are thinking too deeply. They see as far as their own noses and no farther. Their motives are contemptible and selfish. It’s my desire that America do away with these screwballs before they completely ruin our nation’s faith in our own government."
* * *
Kyle climbed back into Dante minutes later.
"Any sign of the Proteus?" he asked.
"None," Dante told him, "It's not anywhere near this base."
Kyle sighed and started the engine. They began their trip back to SkyOne.
"Anybody else have any luck?" he asked.
"Nothing here, Kyle," Jenny reported, "Duke and I are on our way back."
"Nada," Trek replied, "Except that they really need to clean their bathrooms."
"You're so disgusting," they heard Erica say.
Kyle thought a moment before speaking.
"I wish we had an idea of who these guys are," he said with an ounce of frustration, "Any ideas, Dante?"
"You're asking me?" Dante asked with mock surprise, "But I'm only a car."
Kyle rolled his eyes.
Dante was quiet for a few moments before he spoke again.
"I've detected a familiar vehicle ahead of us," Dante spoke up, "It matches the car James Arthur used when he stole the Superfuel."
"James?" Kyle asked, surprised.
"Shall we go after him?" Dante asked.
"He might be involved," Kyle decided, "Let's get him."
"I thought that's what you'd say," Dante said.
"Jenny, Duke," Kyle contacted them, "Dante and I have found James. Move to help us intercept."
"Right, Kyle," Jenny responded.
"I still owe him for using my override codes," Beast growled.
Moments later they caught up to him. James sat in the driver's seat of his convertible, the top down. As soon as Dante came close to him, James turned his steering wheel and detoured down a side street.
"He's on to us," Kyle said.
"No, really?" Dante replied.
Kyle and Dante followed James down the side street, allowing him to gain some distance. As James approached an empty intersection, he suddenly skidded to a stop as Domino and Beast moved in to block his path. Kyle and Dante moved up to box him in. Then all four drivers got out of their vehicles - James with some reluctance.
As the three TKR members closed in on James, the young criminal wore a partly annoyed, partly amused look on his comely face.
"Kyle, Jenny, Duke," James greeted them with a grin, "So nice to see you all again." He turned to the vehicles and added, "You too, guys."
This time it was Kyle's turn to be smug.
"Looks like your short-lived life of crime is over," he told the younger man. He reached into James' inner pocket and pulled out his gun.
James shrugged without concern.
"You have your good days, you have your bad days," he stated simply.
"Congratulations," Duke told him, "This is a bad day."
"A very bad day," Beast growled in agreement.
"Hey, Beast," James said apologetically, "Sorry about that override business. No hard feelings?"
"Stuff it, kid," Beast warned.
James just shrugged.
"Trust a truck to hold a grudge," he muttered.
"Come on," Kyle said finally, grabbing James by the arm and pulling him towards Dante. Kyle made sure James was strapped down in the passenger seat before he went around and climbed in the other side. The other two vehicles then followed as they drove to SkyOne.
"So," James said conversely, "How's Kyle been treating you, Dante?"
"I don't have to answer any of your questions," Dante replied shortly, "You're the one who has some explaining to do."
"Just trying the strike up some friendly conversation to pass time while we drive to SkyOne," James replied innocently, "That's funny, Dante. I thought you liked to talk. Aren't you the gossip of the group?"
Dante sounded genuinely insulted.
"Oh, I am, am I?" he demanded, "And where did you hear that? Domino didn't come on to you like every other man she sees, did she?"
"I resent that remark, Dante," Domino spoke up, "I do not flirt with known criminals."
"My mistake," Dante acceded.
"Don't blame anyone, Dante," James told him reasonably, casting a sly glance at Kyle, "I have my ways of finding things out."
Kyle returned his look with a no-nonsense one of his own.
"I'm sure you do," Dante replied.
James then reached forward for Dante’s glove compartment. Dante immediately tightened the seatbelt, reigning James in roughly.
"Hey!" James objected.
"And just what do you think you are doing?" Dante demanded.
"I was just looking to see if Kyle kept any chocolate bars in here," James explained, "I’m absolutely famished."
"You poor thing," Dante replied with sarcasm, "They don’t have chocolate where you’re going."
"Clayton doesn’t serve chocolate?" James asked with disbelief, "I would have thought it’d be on his dessert menu."
"Cute," Dante said, "I was referring to prison."
"Ah," James said, casting a glance at Kyle, "We’ll just have to see about that."
* * *
They arrived in SkyOne and immediately took James to the interrogation room. Kyle and Jenny led the interrogation while the others waited just outside.
"I told you," James was telling them, "I'm not working for anybody. I am in no way responsible for the theft of the Proteus. I only got into town this morning. Ask Dante to check it out on the airport computer."
Kyle looked at him disbelievingly.
"Dante?" he asked.
"It looks like he's right," Dante reported, "James arrived on a plane early this morning. He wasn't here for the theft."
James smiled smugly.
"That doesn't mean he's not still involved," Jenny said. Kyle nodded.
"You say you're not involved," Kyle told him, "So then what are you doing here?"
"Vacation?" James replied.
Both Kyle and Jenny gave him a look.
"All right, all right," James admitted, "I admit, I came here planning on becoming involved with the Proteus. But I haven't done anything wrong so far."
"Who stole the Proteus then?" Kyle demanded, "And don't tell me you don't know."
"I don't know him personally," he told them, "I only know his nickname."
"Which is?" Kyle pressed impatiently.
Kyle and Jenny exchanged glances.
"Trek?" he said into his com-link, "You and Plato get on this Chaser guy."
Kyle turned back to James.
"Do you know where he took the Proteus?" Kyle asked.
James shook his head soberly.
"Afraid not," he said, "Good luck finding them, though."
"So is it true they're using it to activate the Irving Satellite?" Jenny asked him.
James frowned and contemplated.
"Could be," he said evasively, "Like I said, I haven't had a chance to discuss things with them as yet."
"I say he's lying," Beast spoke up.
"Now that's not very nice!" James replied indignantly.
"Who said I was trying to be nice?"
"Hey James," Domino spoke up, "Do yourself a favor and help us catch these guys. Then maybe we'll be lenient on you."
"Thanks anyway, Domino," he told her, then added, "How's that singing voice coming along, by the way?"
Kyle and Jenny frowned and looked at each other, then at James. James suddenly realized something and slapped his forehead.
"Darn!" he said, "I wasn't supposed to know that, was I?'
"Jimmie?" Domino asked in surprise.
Kyle and Jenny looked closely at their captive.
"Jimmie Webb?" Kyle asked.
James grinned and shrugged.
"That was you?" Jenny asked.
"It is him," Domino said with some surprise, "The only reason I didn't notice was because when he was being Jimmie, he was using something to mask his voice."
"Well," Kyle said, leaning his fists against the table James was sitting at, "That raises all sorts of new questions. Like why you snuck on board SkyOne in the first place."
"I have to admit, it was almost pure curiosity," James told them calmly, "Plus the fact that I thought it would be fun."
"Fun?" Kyle asked skeptically.
"So that means that Alex was really Annie," Jenny guessed.
James smiled and nodded.
"Right you are," he told her, "Incidentally, she'd doing just fine."
"Why did you help us catch those hi-jackers?" Kyle demanded, "And why did you let me go back with Vasquez? You obviously don't hesitate to kill." He was referring to the Quad-Missile Incident James had told him about.
James' smile dropped, and his expression grew serious as he looked down at the table. He finally looked up and made eye contact with the TKR leader.
"Because I need you, Kyle," he replied.
Kyle frowned, puzzled.
"Need me for what?" he asked.
James again hesitated, then leaned forward over the table and motioned for Kyle to do the same. Kyle gazed at him for a moment before leaning down closer. James had a smug look on his face as he spoke.
"You'll see," he whispered mysteriously.
Kyle had had enough. He roughly grabbed James by his shirt collar and lifted him up a few inches so their faces were close.
"Stop playing games!" Kyle told him, "People's lives are at stake."
"I had realized that," James replied calmly.
Kyle glared at him, then unceremoniously shoved him back into his chair. James straightened himself up and fixed his collar, seemingly unabashed.
"Temper, temper, Kyle," James scolded, shaking his head. Kyle crossed his arms and looked away irritably.
Jenny glanced at Kyle, then turned to address James.
"Incoming!" Plato announced suddenly, cutting her off.
"Kyle," Trek spoke up over com-link, "We just got a call from that research institute. They found an abandoned van outside. Authorities think it belonged to the thieves."
Kyle glanced at James, then at Jenny.
"That means they're using the dish at the institute," Jenny said, voicing their suspicions.
"I figured as much," he said, "It's much easier than sneaking onto a military compound. Let's go."
"Going so soon?" James asked as Kyle grabbed his arm and pulled him out of the room.
"A cell is where you’re going," Kyle told him.
"Too bad," James replied wistfully, "I was so much enjoying our conversation."
They took James to a cell, then hurried to the garage to meet with the others.
"Trek," Kyle asked him, "If we find that Proteus device, and it's already been activated, can you stop it?"
Trek winced and shook his head.
"I doubt it," he admitted, "The Proteus is a highly sensitive device. If the thieves managed to get Dr. Crustus to give away the activation code, then the only thing that can stop it is the de-activation code, and I don't know it. If I try messing with it, then it could self-destruct and leave all the electronical equipment within a five mile radius going haywire. Not to mention blowing us up."
"Some genius you turned out to be," Beast spoke up, "Why don't we just crush this thing?
"Good old Beast," Domino said, "Always thinking with your laser cannon."
Plato spoke up, "Jailbreak!"
Kyle turned to Trek, unsmiling.
"Trek?" he asked.
"I guess that means James got away again," Trek told them.
"How did he escape?" Jenny wondered aloud.
"Systems check shows that James escaped by entering the unlock code from the inside," Domino told them.
"Where is he now?" Kyle asked.
"He’s escaping through the airlock again, Kyle," Dante told him, "He's locked out the controls, just like he did back when he was Jimmie."
"Boy," Erica commented, "He doesn't waste any time."
Kyle stood there for a moment, a frustrated look on his face, then came to a quick decision.
"That satellite is our priority," he said reluctantly, "We have to take care of that first."
"That's probably what James was counting on," Jenny said.
Kyle glanced at her, nodded once and climbed into Dante. The others then followed as Kyle led the way to Deacon Labs. It was late in the afternoon by this time, and the sun was just beginning to set over the horizon. When they approached the lab building, there were few cars in the parking lot and even fewer lights on inside. TKR was waved through the front gates no problem.
"Any activity near the dish?" Kyle asked.
"None," Dante reported shortly, "The area around the dish has been locked down. No one has been inside, and there are no signs of a break-in to the building."
"What about the van?" he asked.
"The van is unmarked," Kat reported, "I just read the police report on it. It's unregistered, and is not suspected of being stolen."
They parked their vehicles by the building and climbed out.
"Nothing in the area?" Kyle wondered, "No strong radio signals aimed at the dish?"
"None, Kyle," Dante reported.
"Even if they were already using the Proteus," Trek told them, "we wouldn't know it. Its signals are camouflaged, undetectable. We won't be able to find it from its signal."
"Can't we just unplug the dish?" Erica asked.
They all looked at her.
"It's not that easy, Erica," Kat told her driver, "Don't you think we would have tried that?"
"Sorry!" Erica said, throwing up her hands, "I'm not into all this computer stuff."
"If they were using the Proteus to activate the dish," Trek said, "Then the equipment in the control room would be activated. We could detect that."
"Unfortunately," Dante spoke up, "The equipment in the control room is dead."
"What about the other control room?" Kat asked, "I've looked over schematics of the building, and the satellite has a manual control center in sub-level B-2. The Proteus could activate the satellite through that, and it wouldn't activate the equipment in the main control room. Only our sensors aren't capable of detecting activity down there."
"Trek and I will check out the sub-level control room," he said, "The rest of you get up to the satellite and see what you can do to disable it."
They all nodded, then split up. Jenny led the way into the building and up the stairs to the fifth floor. From there they took an access stairway to the roof, where the control booth and the dish were located. They could hear the dish being activated before they saw it. It was moving slowly, getting into position. Duke spotted an axe hanging on a nearby wall and grabbed it. He then ran over to the satellite and swung at one of the wires that led to it. It severed with a loud crackle.
"That should do it," Duke said.
"Not if the satellite has a backup power cord located underneath the base," Kat spoke up.
Duke glanced heavenwards and tossed the axe on the ground.
"Why didn't you tell me?" he asked.
"You didn't ask," Kat said reasonably, "And you cut it before I could warn you not to."
Just then Jenny and the others heard a whirring noise coming from behind them. On top of the control booth was a mounted microwave laser, usually used for sending signals to other smaller dishes in the area. This one, however was being used for a much deadlier purpose. Erica jumped back suddenly as a shot of red light struck the ground at her feet and left a black burn mark.
"It must be the thieves with the Proteus," Jenny guessed, "They're using the laser to shoot at us."
"Then I say we run for cover," Duke suggested.
The three of them ran towards the satellite, ducking behind the thick base as the laser fired again, missing Jenny by an inch. The three of them barely squeezed together behind the contraption, and they were very effectively stuck.
"Domino," Jenny spoke into her wrist-com, "Is there anything you can do about that laser?"
"Sorry, Hon," Domino told her, "The Proteus has the controls locked. There's nothing I can do without the proper code."
"We're just gonna have to hope Kyle and Trek can shut it down," Duke said.
Erica flinched as another shot struck the base by her arm.
"So I guess that means we're gonna be here all night, huh?" she asked.
* * *
Kyle and Trek hurried through the dim hallways on the sub-level, which was lighted only by a single hanging light every fifteen feet.
"My guess is they don't get down here very often," Trek commented.
"Kyle!" Jenny voice came through over com-link. She sounded as if it were an emergency.
"What is it, Jenny?" Kyle asked quickly.
"They’ve activated the satellite dish," Jenny informed him, "But they also activated a microwave laser nearby. It’s taking pot shots at us. We’re pinned down."
"Hold on," Kyle told her, "We’ll stop it."
Kyle and Trek then quickened their pace.
"Take a right at the next T-junction," Dante directed them.
Kyle and Trek followed Dante's directions to the control room. Right before they got there, Dante gave them a warning.
"I'd be careful," he told them, "There's someone in there."
Kyle and Trek both slowed down. Kyle took the lead as they approached the open door to the room slowly. Making no noise they stood at the doorjamb and peered inside. The room was dimly lighted like the rest of the floor.
Inside there was a man working at the control panel industriously. He wore all black clothes and a black cap over his head, hiding almost white hair. He had a black backpack slung over one shoulder, and his back was to them as he worked. Kyle walked into the room slowly so as not to make a sound. Trek kept up with him, being sure to stay right behind his CO.
Before Kyle could even speak, the man suddenly turned around. Kyle recognized him instantly by his white eyes and facial scars.
"Hello again, Kyle," Codebreaker addressed him. He nodded at the young genius. "Trek."
"You're Codebreaker, aren't you?" Trek asked with curiosity.
Codebreaker allowed a half-smile to touch his lips for a brief moment before the poker-face reappeared.
"You needn't worry," Codebreaker told them, "Everything has already been taken care of. Now, if you'll excuse me, I must be leaving."
"I don't think so," Kyle said, moving to block him.
Codebreaker walked towards Kyle calmly. Kyle got into a defensive stance, but before he knew it Codebreaker flashed a hand to his neck and pressed down on the pressure points. Kyle winced and felt his knees buckle slightly and hit the ground.
"Sorry, Kyle," Codebreaker told him sincerely.
Codebreaker released Kyle, glanced once at Trek, then left the room. Trek then went to help Kyle up.
"You OK?" he asked.
"Yeah," he said, standing by himself, "Go check the controls."
Trek immediately went to the control panel and started flicking switches. What he found amazed him.
"I don't believe this," he said in awe, "Codebreaker used the link the Proteus had with this control system and managed to deactivate it from this end. He also changed the codes so the thieves can't use it anymore."
Trek turned around and looked at Kyle.
"He couldn't do that unless he had the exact code to the Proteus," Trek told him, "And there's no way he could have known that."
Kyle returned his look, then nodded.
"So everything's OK?" he asked, "Satellite dish is de-activated?"
"You know what this means, don't you?" Trek asked him.
"Codebreaker's the real thing," he said.
"That's also good deed number two," Trek said, "That means he must be a good guy."
Again, Kyle nodded, this time more slowly. Both times he had encountered Codebreaker, the younger man with the colorless eyes had shown a concern for Kyle's welfare. All the evidence pointed to Codebreaker being on their side.
"Jenny?" Kyle asked into his com-link, "Is everything all right up there?"
"We're OK," Jenny said, "The dish and the laser have both been de-activated."
The five human members of TKR made their way out of the building and regrouped by their cars.
"Are you OK Jenny?" Beast asked with concern as they arrived, "None of those laser blasts hurt you, did they?"
Jenny smiled, and the others all smiled knowingly.
"We're all fine Beast," she told the truck.
"Good," Beast said, "Now we just need to find the Proteus and that doctor."
"Police already checked out all the buildings within five miles of this place," Domino told them, "They found nothing."
"So we're stuck?" Erica asked.
"I'm open to suggestions," he offered.
"Too bad Codebreaker couldn't tell us," Trek lamented.
"What, he has ESP too?" Erica asked.
Trek gave her a phony smile.
"Kyle," Kat suddenly spoke up, "SkyOne is receiving a transmission from an unknown source. It's a message for you."
"Maybe this has to do with the Proteus," Duke suggested.
"Let's go," Kyle told them.
They all went to their cars to climb in. As Kyle opened Dante's door, he happened to glance up and see one of the lab's employees getting into his car. The man looked young, and had Kyle's basic build. Except when he happened to turn in Kyle's direction, Kyle knew he was no employee. Codebreaker met Kyle's gaze, gave him a small smile, then climbed into his car and drove off. Kyle deliberated going after him, but decided against it. They would probably meet again.
"Were we leaving today?" Dante asked him, "Or did you want to camp out here until morning?"
"Coming, Dante," Kyle said, climbing in.
"Oh, good," Dante told him, "I thought maybe you had gone into a trance."
Kyle smiled and pulled out of the parking lot.
* * *
"So what's the message?" Kyle asked once they arrived in the garage at SkyOne.
"You can access it on the monitor over there," Kat told him.
They all went to the monitor in the garage near Domino and watched as the screen portraying the TKR logo changed into a short little email message. The message only contained map coordinates and the letters CB.
"Gee, maybe he does have ESP," Erica remarked.
"That location is 4.6 miles east of the laboratory," Dante informed them, "But none of the current maps reveal any sort of structure there."
"Kyle, I have better maps," Kat told him, "The coordinates are in the exact same spot as an old weather station. It doesn't show on the maps because it was supposed to be torn down two years ago."
"Show-off," Dante accused.
"I can't help it if I'm better than you," Kat told him.
"He's telling us where Dr. Crustus and the Proteus are," Trek said.
Kyle nodded to the others.
"Let's go," he said.
* * *
They arrived at the small building only minutes later. They parked just outside and climbed out.
"How many inside?" Duke asked.
"Five," Beast said, "Want me to knock this little shack down with my missile?"
"Uh, better not, Beast," Kyle said, "We don't want anything to happen to Dr. Crustus."
They approached the only door and found it locked.
"I can melt the lock with my laser if you want, Kyle," Domino offered.
"Go ahead Domino," he told her.
It took only seconds for Domino's laser to melt away the locking mechanism on the door. As soon as it was done, Kyle nodded at Duke, who immediately went and kicked the door in. As soon as it was open, they all stormed inside. Trek lagged behind in the back.
The four ordinary-looking men inside the building got up quickly. Fortunately none of them were armed. Dr. Crustus, a small balding man tied up in the corner, watched as four of the TKR members attacked the three men. Kyle and Duke each took one while the two women handled the last. The men proved to be ineffective fighters, and the battle was won in short time. Trek went over and untied the spooked scientist, then laid his eyes on the stolen Proteus. The compact device was not much larger than a regular laptop and sat in the middle of the only table in the room. Trek ran a finger over it admiringly.
"Dr. Crustus?" Kyle said to the man, going over to him, "We’re Team Knight Rider, from the Foundation For Law and Government. We’re here to help you."
Dr. Crustus only gave Kyle a brief nod before rushing over to the Proteus. He sat down at the table and started typing.
"This is impossible!" the inventor exclaimed, "I don’t understand how this could happen! I’m totally locked out!"
Trek smiled, and Duke rolled his eyes.
"Inform the police we caught the thieves," Kyle told Jenny, who nodded and left.
* * *
Kyle and the others were seated around the situation room an hour later.
"Too bad we didn’t catch the guy behind all this," Erica commented.
"I didn’t expect him to be there," Kyle said, "Someone who could mastermind this wouldn’t leave himself open to be caught. He’s probably far away from here."
"Maybe we’ll be able to learn something from those goons of his," Duke suggested.
"Kyle," Domino spoke up, "I just got a message from the chief of police. He says that the four men we caught earlier have all been mysteriously killed. They were found electrocuted in their cells."
"Electrocuted?" Duke asked, "How?"
"They don’t know," Domino says, "No one got in to them, and there were no live wires anywhere nearby."
"Someone must have had them killed somehow," Kyle said.
"You think their boss didn’t want them to talk?" Jenny asked.
"Whoa," Trek said, "Talk about your extreme insurance policies."
"Kyle," Domino spoke up, "I’m getting another transmission. This one’s a call. And it’s no one we know."
"Put him on," Kyle said.
Domino complied. Soon they heard light breathing over the audio system.
"Hello everybody," a male voice greeted them. His voice sounded like a croaking frog.
"So," Kyle asked, "Who are we talking to."
"You can call me Chaser," the man contacting them replied.
Kyle and the others were immediately attentive, remembering the name James had given them for the person behind the Proteus theft.
"You ruined my plans," Chaser admonished them almost playfully, "Now it’s back to the drawing board."
"Too bad," he said insincerely, "But we did have help."
"Yes," Chaser said, "Codebreaker helped you yet once again. I suppose all the credit should really go to him, since he did all the work."
Kyle frowned and exchanged glances with the others.
"You know him?" he asked.
"Oh, I know him very well," the croaky voice replied, "In fact I knew all along he would try to stop me from using the Proteus."
"So he is on our side," Kyle confirmed.
They heard Chaser laugh.
"This time you’re wrong, Kyle," Chaser told him, "Codebreaker is on no one’s side but his own."
"If you knew he’d try to stop you," Jenny asked him, "then why bother?"
"Oh, Jenny," Chaser said, "I can’t give away all my secrets."
"Which ones can you give away?" Trek asked.
"Actually, I do have some information for you," he admitted.
Kyle looked up, surprised.
"You’re not going to give yourself up, are you?" he asked.
"Of course not," Chaser said, "I want to tell you about our mutual friend, Codebreaker. Or should I say, James Mason."
Kyle and Trek exchanged glances.
"What about him?" Kyle asked.
"He’s been a thorn in my side since he started his little crusade," Chaser told them.
"He doesn’t seem all that bad to me," Kyle said.
For some reason Chaser found that quite amusing.
"Do you ever wonder why he takes such great pains to help you?" Chaser asked them, "Why he seemed so concerned with your welfare? There’s a reason, you know."
"And what is that?" Kyle asked with curiosity.
"I think I’ll let you find that out for yourself," Chaser told them.
"You wouldn’t happen to know anything about those classified files on Mason, would you?" Trek asked.
"Actually, Trek," Chaser said, "I happen to know everything about them. In fact, they should be on their way to you right as we speak. I’ve also transmitted the codes to open them."
Trek immediately checked his monitor.
"Why send us this stuff?" Kyle asked.
"Sorry Kyle," Chaser told him in a greatly amused voice, "I don’t want to ruin the surprise."
A second later, the call was disconnected. Kyle turned to Jenny, who shook her head.
"The call was blocked," Jenny told him, "I couldn’t trace it."
"I have the opened file," Trek informed them, "It’s all on Mason."
"He really wanted us to know what’s in there," Duke observed.
Kyle hesitated, then nodded to Trek.
"What does it say?" he asked.
"It says here that Mason was an orphan," Trek told them, reading from the monitor, "He’s been through 6 foster homes, the Baker’s being the last. It also has information on him between the ages of 10 and 12. It says he was taken to a government research facility where experiments were performed on him involving bionics and DNA splicing."
"What’s that mean?" she asked.
"It’s the Six Million Dollar Man!" Plato announced.
"It means they tried turning his brain into a computer," Trek told them, "It also means they messed with his DNA. It says state-of-the-art, untested microchips were implanted inside his brain and eyes, but it doesn’t say what the outcome was."
"Could that be why he knows all those codes?" Duke wondered.
"That might explain it," he said.
"Experiments were also performed on his internal organs," Trek continued, "All in all it lefts scars over his left eye, lower skull and abdomen."
"That’s sick!" Jenny remarked with a disgusted look on her face, "I can’t believe that anyone would do something like that to a child."
"Might explain why he is who he is," Duke said.
"Poor kid," Domino spoke up with sympathy, "He probably had no choice in the matter."
"Even I find that awfully disturbing," Beast spoke up, equally sincere.
"Does it say who did this?" Jenny asked.
Trek shook his head.
"This sheet basically reads like a case file," he told them, "It does give Mason’s biological parents, though. His mother is a woman named Patricia Mason. She was proclaimed mentally insane right after his birth and sent to a mental ward in Detroit, where she’s been ever since. His father was—"
Trek suddenly broke off as his eyes widened at what he saw. The others looked at him curiously. Trek suddenly looked up at Kyle, his eyes wide with surprise. Kyle saw the look and figured whoever Mason’s father was, it was someone they knew.
"Who is it, Trek?" Kyle asked.
Trek hesitated, eyes still on Kyle, before finally assenting and turning back to the file.
"It, uh, it says that his father was an agent working for the CIA when Mason was born," Trek spoke haltingly, "Two years before he turned traitor and betrayed his country."
Kyle’s face dropped as he stared at Trek, something dawning on him.
"His name was Charles Stewart," Trek finished, looking back up at Kyle.
They all turned to Kyle, who at the mention of that name looked down at the console, unseeing, his face a mask of emotions. Most prominent was shock.
"That’s not all," Trek continued, "Charles Stewart, Mason’s father, was also the one who supervised the experiments on him."
This silenced the room. It was a few moments later before anybody spoke.
"Kyle," Jenny asked him, "Isn’t that your father?"
Kyle didn’t reply. Trek made eye contact with Jenny and nodded. Duke and Erica also appeared surprised at this.
"That would make Codebreaker Kyle’s little brother," Erica said, stating what the others had already deduced.
They all watched Kyle, who sank back in his chair, closed his eyes, and clenched his teeth.
* * *
On to #7 In Your Dreams - You'll want to read this!
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