This story is way late in the making by about fifteen years, but no one knows when an idea will come. Better late than never. Right?
Every Starman Needs A Knight
A Starman/Knight Rider story
Michael Knight was tired. Too many years had passed and too many battles had been fought since the late multimillionaire patron, Wilton Knight, rescued him as the rookie policeman, then known as Michael Long, from a nearly fatal gunshot to the head, and gave him a new identity turning him into a crime-fighting crusader. The concept was simple. One man can make a difference. The extremely wealthy old man devoted most of his life to building an empire and creating an institution, the Foundation for Law and Government, specifically designed to fight those criminals who were “above the law” and managed to escape justice. Secondarily, but equally important, the Foundation helped the innocent victims. To fight the battles, Wilton Knight also gave him all of FLAG’s technological, monetary and legal resources to use as weapons, but the supply of seedy low-lifes, white-collar corporate crooks and high-stakes criminals seemed endless. It was like weeds on a lawn - for every one he caught and put behind bars, another surfaced to take their place. The noble crusade was getting old. Worse yet, the lines distinguishing criminal from victim were getting blurred. Lately, even the innocent victims weren’t so innocent. Were there any truly guiltless victims out there?
Michael cruised down the main street of the small town in K.I.T.T., the special car Wilton Knight designed specifically for him. It was basically a Pontiac TransAm on the outside, but inside was where the similarities ended. An advanced interactive computer, the Knight Industries Two Thousand, replaced the standard driver’s instrument panel. K.I.T.T. was no ordinary computer. It was capable of ‘thinking.’ And it talked. Michael smiled as he remembered the first time K.I.T.T. spoke to him and scared him out of his wits. It didn’t stop there. The skin of the car was sheathed in special armor plating, impervious to acids, bullets, dents - almost anything. The glass was similarly protected. And there were other little surprises built into the car to assist him with his task: a turbo boost for jumping obstacles or extra power, smoke screens, multiple scanners, etcetera. The whole car had one purpose: to protect human life - his life in particular. Together they became a team, like horse and rider. But there was one thing Wilton Knight missed in his lofty plan for Michael: fatigue. His trusty faithful knight was getting worn out fighting battle after battle.
There was hardly any traffic on the road this lazy autumn afternoon.
“Quiet little place,” Michael said to K.I.T.T. “I think I’d like to retire in a place like this someday.”
“Retire?” the Knight Two Thousand answered. “You mean you want to stop doing our mission?”
“Someday, yes,” Michael said, and then added with a grin, “Don’t worry. I’m not ready to put you out to pasture just yet.”
“That’s a relief,” K.I.T.T. replied. It decided to analyze Michael’s physical condition, taking his heartbeat, breathing and blood pressure readings. It found them outside the norm. “You’re tired and stressed. You need rest.”
“What I need is a long vacation, or a very big distraction,” he countered.
“Why not let me take over driving for a while?” K.I.T.T. offered. “I can play some soft classical music to soothe you. Or if you prefer, I’ll even put on some of that awful noise you call rock ‘n roll?”
Michael chuckled and shifted in his seat. “No, thanks. I’ll stick with it a little while longer.”
“As you wish.”
o O o
Scott Hayden ran as fast as he could across peoples yards, taking a breath with every other step while scaling occasional fences and crossing empty side streets, carrying all his possessions in a single duffle bag. When will this end? he wondered and cursed. Everything was just beginning to settle down in school and he had just started to make friends and relax in this laid-back town when Federal Security Agent George Fox, and his partner, Benjamin Wiley, somehow found him and his father again. He didn’t know or care how it happened anymore. There was hardly any time to think about it as he gathered his clothes, schoolbooks and a few personal items, stuffed them into the bag and got out of the apartment before the agents burst in. He listened as his father’s footsteps fell further and further behind him. Scott slowed down and waited for his dad to catch up, but his father urged him to keep going. He was fast approaching the main street of the little town. There were two choices to make. Turn either left or right and continue running down the sidewalk, attracting attention, or take a chance and dart across the road, hoping no cars were coming. If he made it, then he’d keep running across peoples yards, hopefully disappearing somewhere in the neighborhood. Scott hadn’t seen any cars pass by yet.
Starman/Paul Forrester breathed heavily as he did his best to keep up with his son’s speedy flight for freedom. Paul wished he could reason with the government men, but it was out of the question. George Fox wouldn’t listen. If he stopped, he could kiss his life, and Scott’s, good-bye, for he was sure that was the final outcome that awaited him and his son based on their previous experiences with the man. Only seconds behind him, he heard Fox urge his partner to run faster and catch him. Paul pressed onward, his lungs aching with each labored breath. Scott had just darted out from between the parked cars and ran across the road. It was a highly dangerous maneuver, one he’d never consider doing under normal circumstances, but these weren’t normal circumstances. Thankfully, Scott was successful. It was his turn.
Michael Knight’s eyes opened wide seeing a teenager run out almost a hundred feet in front of him and cross the street without even stopping to look for oncoming traffic. “Did you see that K.I.T.T.? That kid’s going to get himself killed someday,” he commented.
“Yes, I agree. Michael! Brace yourself!” K.I.T.T. warned and applied the brakes as a tall dark-haired man burst out from the same place the teen had and foolishly attempted the same reckless stunt.
Michael’s heart froze at hearing the screech of tires trying to grab pavement and stop. His chest felt like it had turned to ice when he heard the unmistakable crunch of metal hitting flesh and bone. His face reflected his shock and horror as the impact sent the man flying onto the hood of the car and his shoulder and head hit the windshield. When K.I.T.T. finally stopped, the man rolled off and landed limply on the road.
“Oh, my God! We hit him!”
“Michael. I’m sorry. I couldn’t stop in time.”
“It’s not your fault buddy.”
“It is my fault! There must be something wrong with my microprocessors. You know I’m programmed not to hit anyone or anything unless you order me to.”
“So, we’ll have Bonnie check you out. Right now, call the local police and ambulance,” he ordered. “Give me a scan of his injuries and call Devon,” Michael said as he opened the door and stepped out of the car to examine the victim.
Knight looked up to see two men dressed in gray suits come bounding out and stop in front of him. The taller of the two men kneeled and immediately focused on checking the stranger lying on the ground.
“Wiley?” the shorter man asked with obvious concern.
“Forrester’s alive, sir,” the man answered in heavy breaths.
“I couldn’t stop,” Michael spoke up. “He just came running out right in front of me,” he explained.
“Wiley, call for an ambulance,” Fox ordered, temporarily ignoring the driver of the vehicle.
“I already did from my car phone,” Knight replied. “The police are on their way, too.”
He directed his attention to the tall curly-haired man kneeling beside his fallen prize. “Who are you?”
George pulled out his identification and briefly showed it to the man. “George Fox, Federal Security Agent,” he announced. “And this is my partner, Benjamin Wiley.”
“Paul Forrester,” Fox answered recovering his breath. “He’s a fugitive I’ve been chasing for years. I didn’t expect to catch him this way, but….”
“What’s he wanted for if I may ask?”
“Illegal immigration,” Fox said abruptly.
Everyone turned to look as the victim uttered a painful moan.
Scott heard the high-pitched screech of tires skidding on asphalt, but kept running. “You make it alright, Dad?” he called over his shoulder and listened for a reply.
A chill overcame the teen when no answer came. He immediately stopped and looked behind him. His father wasn’t there. “Dad!” he cried and hurried back the way he came.
“Easy, Forrester,” Wiley whispered as he held Paul’s head still in his hands. “Can you hear me? Don’t move. You’ve been hurt. Do you understand?”
Michael watched with concern. The man didn’t answer, but stared straight up at the sky with eyes glassy from pain and shock. “I’ve got a blanket in my car. I’ll get it,” he said and went to the trunk. “K.I.T.T. Pop the lid,” he whispered into his combination watch/communicator.
The computer obeyed his command and he reached inside for the blanket.
Devon Miles, head of the Foundation and Michael’s employer, had been watching and listening to the whole incident courtesy of K.I.T.T.’s video and audio scanners. “Michael, what have you gotten yourself into this time?” he demanded.
“I’ll tell you everything when I can, Devon,” he said. “K.I.T.T., what can you tell me about Paul Forrester?”
The computer showed its owner a photo and bio of the victim on the small television screen on the dash to the right of the driver’s seat. “He’s a famous photographer. He’s had a book of his work published, and has had a rather - how shall I say it - colorful past. His life was sort of normal up until two years ago when the Federal Security Agency issued a warrant for his arrest. He’s been wanted since then.
“I did a scan of his injuries. Both of his legs, his left shoulder and collarbone are broken. There’s a bad bruise forming on his head where he hit my windshield. His pulse, breathing and heartbeat indicate he’s in shock. Michael, there’s something very unusual about this man. I’m getting a very strange energy reading coming from him. And there’s a round ball in his pants pocket that’s emitting the same strange energy.”
“Hey! Where’s that blanket?” Fox yelled.
“Coming! Thanks K.I.T.T.”
Michael closed the trunk and went back to kneel by the tall agent. He gave the man one end of the blanket and he and Ben proceeded to cover Forrester.
People were starting to gather around the scene of the accident.
“Wiley, where’s the kid?” Fox asked and looked around, hoping to spot the alien’s offspring.
“I don’t know. I guess we lost him.”
“No. I know him. He’s sure to be around here somewhere. Scott wouldn’t leave his father.”
Michael listened to the exchange and looked around for the boy. That must have been the kid who went flying across the street seconds before I hit this man! “He took off that way,” he said and pointed the direction for the agents. They turned at hearing the siren of a police cruiser arrive. The officer stepped out and began his investigation.
Scott cautiously tried to blend into the crowd and see if he could catch a glimpse of his dad. At the same time he tried to hang back and not be noticed by Fox, Wiley or the police. Approximately twenty minutes later, an ambulance arrived and the emergency technicians placed his father onto a backboard and stretcher and loaded him into the vehicle. Scott watched anxiously as Fox climbed in back to ride with his dad and the EMT. The driver turned on the siren and the ambulance headed for the nearest hospital.
Michael Knight got into the back of the police car after giving the officer his license and other information. Witnesses corroborated his account of the accident. Still, the officer had to take him to the police station for processing and his car would be impounded until he could make his phone call and Devon arranged his and K.I.T.T.’s release.
Scott ducked into the nearest open business establishment as the crowd thinned out. Once inside the little cafe, he asked to use the payphone and directory. The teen turned the pages of the book and checked the local listings for hospitals. There were two in the city. Without money for a bus or taxi, walking or hitching a ride was his only option.
Agent Wiley scanned the area looking for Forrester’s son as his boss instructed him to do, but he knew it was hopeless. The kid was invisible when he wanted to be. Ben started down the same route he came, to where he and Fox left their rented car and began the foot chase. He’d catch up with his boss at the hospital, and if his hunch was correct, Scott too.
o O o
George Fox was frustrated and wished his partner would hurry up and arrive. Filling out countless consent forms was not something he was fond of. That’s what Wiley was for, taking care of the paperwork and red tape. To his relief, the simple-minded agent walked in and spotted him in the emergency room trauma unit. He promptly handed the man the clipboard and told him to finish filling in the missing information. “And call General Wade,” he said while he watched over his prisoner. It was going to be a very long night.
o O o
Two hours later, Devon Miles greeted Michael Knight inside the police station. They walked to the Foundation’s mobile unit, a black tractor-trailer truck with a knight’s helmet painted in gold on its side, parked in the street beside the small station. They entered the trailer through the side door.
“K.I.T.T. couldn’t stop in time,” Michael repeated.
“Yes, I know. K.I.T.T. recorded the entire incident. Bonnie and I have been watching it on the monitor. I was concerned. You know he’s not supposed to hit anyone.”
Mechanic Bonnie Barstow gave the tall crusader a warm hug. “Glad to have you back,” she said, and then she proceeded to scold him for abusing the car. K.I.T.T. was her pride and joy and she hated it when he put the car through anything that would require her services to repair.
“Nice to see you too,” he sarcastically replied. “How about you buddy?” he addressed the car. “Are you happy to see me?”
“Yes, I am Michael. It was awful being in that impound lot with those stolen, dented, rusty criminal types.”
“Did you find out what’s wrong with him?” he asked Bonnie.
“Nothing? How can that be? We hit a man.”
“No? Bonnie, there’s a man lying in the hospital right now with two broken legs, a broken shoulder and collarbone,” he argued.
“I know,” she agreed and went on to explain. “You’re right about K.I.T.T. being programmed not to hit anyone, but there’s nothing we can do if someone decides to jump out directly in front of him,” she told him. “K.I.T.T. can take evasive action, and he did, applying the brakes, but watching the incident, it was unavoidable.”
Michael ultimately concluded the same thing. “What can you tell me about Mr. Forrester?”
“There seems to be a great mystery surrounding him after the FSA issued their warrant,” Devon said. “The case is classified, but we’ve been doing some poking around. What we’ve been able to find out is Paul Forrester is a natural citizen of the United States, so the illegal immigration story is a cover up. That scan K.I.T.T. took of Mr. Forrester shows some kind of unknown energy force inside him, almost like his body’s full of something radioactive, but it’s not radioactivity we’re detecting. The FSA file says that boy, Scott is wanted too, but looking through birth records, Forrester has no children. There’s something fishy going on. I suggest we go to the hospital and find out how Forrester’s doing and maybe get some answers from him.”
“Sure. Any news about the kid?” he asked as he prepared to get in the car.
“No. The police have been unable to find him,” the man told him in his distinctly English accent. “And you’re not supposed to drive until after the court hearing,” he reminded the crusader.
“Oh, yeah. Right.”
Michael went over to the passenger side and Devon slipped behind the wheel of the TransAm. Bonnie lowered the back tailgate ramp of the trailer and waved as K.I.T.T. eased out onto the road.
On the way to County General, Michael spotted a teenager walking along the side of the road carrying a duffle bag, sticking his thumb out to passing cars begging for a ride from anyone willing to give him one. K.I.T.T. scanned the young man and informed Michael and Devon the boy was the same kid who darted across the street earlier today, and he had the same unusual energy signature emanating from him as well as from Forrester, but to a lesser degree.
“Maybe he can give us some answers to what’s going on,” Michael said.
“Maybe you’re right,” Devon agreed and pulled K.I.T.T. over to the curb.
Scott started to run to the car, grateful to whoever was driving for stopping, but he suddenly stopped when he recognized this vehicle as being the same one that hit his father, and the tall man getting out of it as the man he saw talking to the police and agents Fox and Wiley. He took off running down a side street.
Michael gave foot chase to the teen. With his long legs, he easily caught up with Scott and tackled him to the ground, pinning and holding him there until Devon showed up with K.I.T.T. He picked the boy up, holding the young man’s arms behind his back and bodily shoved him into the car.
“Let me go! Let me out of here! This is kidnapping!” Scott protested.
“Not until you tell us what kind of trouble you and your father are in,” Devon replied.
Scott calmed down a little bit and leaned back against the seat. “I’m not telling you anything. And you wouldn’t believe me if I did tell you.”
“Try us,” Michael said. “Maybe we can help. I’m Michael Knight and this is Devon Miles. We’re from the Foundation For Law and Government. We help people who are in trouble.”
At the mention of the organization’s name, Scott became desperate and once more tried to find a means of escape.
“Hey, take it easy! We want to help,” Michael said trying to grab the teen’s jacket, but the boy was in a total panic.
“Please stop that. You’ll only hurt yourself,” K.I.T.T. said as Scott tried to smash the hatch window with his fist.
“Who said that?” Hayden asked, startled and looking around for the source of the strange voice.
“Go ahead and tell him,” Devon ordered.
“Very well. I told you to stop. I’m the voice of the Knight Industries Two Thousand computer.”
Scott finally ceased struggling and turned around, taking a closer look at the interior, and in particular the driver’s instrument panel. He could hardly believe his eyes. He’d never seen a car with such sophisticated instrumentation. “What kind of car is this? And who are you people?”
“Why don’t we go back to the mobile unit and discuss this there, shall we, Mr. Hayden?” Devon proposed and started back to the truck.
“How did you know my name?” the teen recoiled. “I didn’t tell you what my name was.”
“Relax, Scott. We’ll tell you everything we know after you tell us what we want to know,” Michael said.
“No! I’ve got to find my father!” Scott cried. “Let me out of here!”
“All in good time,” Devon responded.
With growing curiosity, the teen sat back and watched where these two men were taking him. They were approaching the rear end of a black tractor-trailer. Scott was surprised to see the rear doors slowly lower down into a ramp. He looked on nervously as the older man took his hands off the steering wheel and let the car drive itself up and into the trailer, all while they were moving down the road. They wouldn’t let him out of the car until the trailer doors closed shut.
“Hi. I’m Bonnie,” the thin brunette woman said and smiled at the frightened young man. “Come this way.”
Scott reluctantly followed her through a door to the front of the trailer. He stood there mesmerized by the electronic equipment in the little room. He froze when he spotted a picture of his father on a computer screen.
“Please, sit down Mr. Hayden. Now, why don’t you tell us what’s going on?” Devon demanded.
Scott was very nervous and hesitant to cooperate, but ultimately decided he had to trust someone. He needed help to find and rescue his father. He reasoned he had nothing to lose by telling these people his story, so he did.
“What kind of fools do you take us for?” Devon replied, irritated after the teen finished. “That’s the most ridiculous tale I’ve ever heard.”
Scott regretted his decision to confide in these people. “But it’s true!” he argued.
“We weren’t born yesterday,” Michael added with equal disappointment. “There is no proof of alien life out there. You need to do better than that. Now tell us the truth.”
“I am telling you the truth!”
“He is,” K.I.T.T. interrupted.
“What?” Devon, Michael and Bonnie asked in stunned unison.
“He’s telling you the truth,” the Knight Two Thousand computer repeated. “I’ve been scanning him since he started telling his story. He’s not lying.”
There were several seconds of complete silence before Bonnie and Michael let out a low whistle. Even Devon sat silent in his chair, unable to find an appropriate reply.
“Illegal immigration is an understatement. So, let me get this straight. Your mother is from here. Your father is from out there and you’re half alien too?” Bonnie had to ask, as if she expected him to change his story.
“Yeah.” Scott leaned back in his chair with relief, hopeful now that he’d somehow be able to rescue his father. “I can prove it.” He pulled out his sphere. “This is a gift from my dad. It’s made from elements found on his world. It let’s me do stuff normal people can’t do. Only Dad and I can make this thing work. I’ll show you. Watch.”
“Let me see that,” Devon said before the boy could begin his demonstration.
Scott hesitated, but gave the man the orb to examine.
He shifted the object around in his hand. “Feels heavy, like lead,” he said and passed it to Michael and Bonnie.
“It’s too shiny to be lead. Looks like steel,” the female mechanic said and handed the ball back to the teen.
“That object’s emitting that same strange energy,” K.I.T.T. informed them as he monitored the conversation.
“I’ll warn you, I’m not that good with this thing yet. Dad’s been teaching me, but we haven’t been able to practice much.” He activated it.
Scott tried to do something simple, like turn off one of the computers, but the machine ended up crackling and smoking in a shower of sparks. “Oh no! I’m sorry! I told you I’m not that good with it,” he pleaded, scared, and quickly deactivated the marble. “I didn’t mean to blow it up. I only wanted to turn it off.” He looked at the older man with desperation written on his face. Tears were forming in his eyes. “Please. You must help me get my dad out of the hospital and away from Fox. If Fox moves him, I’ll never see him again. Fox will kill him.”
Devon looked again at the smoking mess that one minute ago was a computer monitor, and then at the boy. Scott was truly remorseful, and terrified. He sympathized with the young man. “Just take it easy,” he said. “I should think the FSA and the military would want to talk to your father first, not kill him.”
“No! You’re wrong!” the teen blurted angrily. “They want to kill him, and me too. I know because I’ve seen what George Fox will do to us. You want to know what will happen? I’ll tell you. They’ll take us to an Air Force base in New Mexico. It’s called Peagrum. There’s a building there called Building 11. Inside there’s a secret laboratory waiting just for us. They’ll strap us down on a metal table and put us inside a glass coffin, and then they’ll experiment on us until they kill us. I know ‘cause Fox captured us and took us there once before. He poked and prodded us, took our blood every hour on the hour and stuck us with needles. It was awful. We escaped with the help of my uncle.” Scott paused to catch his breath and reflect on the painful incident. “Dad even stopped and helped Fox when he had a heart attack during our escape, but it didn’t make any difference. He doesn’t know Dad helped him,” he said angrily. “Dad should’ve left him to die,” he added with bitterness. “We’d be free by now if he did.”
Scott was emotionally exhausted and it showed. The anxiety written on the boy’s face released itself in red teary eyes. He leaned back heavily against the chair, and in a tired voice, said, “All I want is for Fox and the government to leave Mom, Dad and me alone. I had no choice who my parents were. I didn’t ask to be born. Mom fell in love with him, even though she knew who and what he was. I love him too. He wouldn’t hurt anyone. Please,” he asked again, “help me rescue my father before it’s too late.”
Devon faced a quandary. Aiding and abetting a fugitive would be against everything the Foundation stood for, but in this case it was the same government who was acting criminally, persecuting a boy simply because of who his parents were.
Bonnie and Michael watched with nervous concern wondering which way Devon would decide.
Knight recalled asking if there were any truly innocent victims out there. This kid is one. His heart went out to Scott. “I vote we help him.”
Bonnie seconded the vote.
“It isn’t up to you,” Devon sternly reminded them.
They silently waited for what seemed like forever for Miles’ decision. They were relieved when the Foundation’s president agreed to assist the boy.
Scott released a thankful breath. “Dad has one of these too,” he said and held out the inert silver ball. “If he can get it from Fox, he can heal himself with it. Then we can run.”
“One step at a time. First we need to find out where they’re holding your father. Second, we need to learn what Fox’s plans are,” Devon said.
o O o
Fox stood by Forrester’s bed as the nurses finished hooking the alien to various monitors. The doctors had showed him Forrester’s x-rays. The injuries the alien received from the collision were extensive. It was lucky to be alive. It lay there, semiconscious from the drugs they’d given It during the operation to set the numerous broken bones. He looked up as Wiley walked into the intensive care unit. “Did you call the general?”
“Yes, sir,” Ben softly answered. “General Wade congratulates you on Forrester’s capture.”
“Did you tell him about the accident?”
The mild-mannered agent said he did. “He wants to know when you’re going to fly Forrester to Peagrum. He said he’ll have a jet waiting at the nearest airport when you’re ready to move him.”
“That’s not going to be for a few days at the very least. We’ll wait until the doctors say we can move him out of intensive care. We can’t risk a blood clot breaking loose and killing him. Any word on Scott’s whereabouts?”
Fox grunted his disappointment. “Then why don’t you relieve that officer standing guard outside the door for a while,” he suggested and went back to watching the alien as It struggled to regain consciousness.
“Yes, sir,” Ben answered and looked sympathetically at the Starman.
Paul finally managed to keep his eyes open and was startled to see George Fox standing over him, watching him.
The two adversaries looked at each other for a long moment, neither one saying anything to the other.
“How do you feel?” George finally asked.
“I feel terrible. I hurt, and I’m thirsty,” Forrester replied in a dry scratchy voice.
The agent pressed the call button for the nurse and waited for the summons to be answered.
“Yes? How may I help you?” a female voice came over the speaker on the wall above the patient’s bed.
“This is George Fox. Mr. Forrester is awake and say’s he’s in pain. He also says he’s thirsty.”
“I’ll be right there.”
A few minutes later the nurse came into the room with a syringe and a small paper cup filled with water. She injected a pain-killing medication into the IV drip attached to the back of Forrester’s hand. “That should take the pain away for a while,” she told the patient and the government agent hovering over him. She bent the flexible straw and brought it to Forrester’s lips. She held the cup for the handsome man as he took a couple small sips of water.
“I’ll leave this on the table. If you want more….”
“I’ll give it to him,” Fox told her.
The nurse nodded. “I’ll be back shortly to check on how the medication’s working,” she said and left the room, closing the door.
Forrester and Fox looked at each other again. “Where’s Scott?” Paul asked, and prayed his son was still free.
“Well, uh, don’t worry,” Fox told the Starman with his toothy smile. “We’ll find him soon.”
“I hope you don’t,” he replied, relieved, and grimaced as he waited for the drug to take effect.
“I promise you Forrester, no one will hurt him.”
“I’ve learned your promises are not to be trusted.”
“Yes. Really. You’ve hurt him before. And me.” He locked his eyes on Fox’s. “What do you intend to do with me? Will you take me back to that laboratory in New Mexico?”
George looked away. He couldn’t tell the alien that’s exactly what he planned to do.
“I thought so,” Paul replied sadly. “I’m asking you, please, don’t. I don’t want to die and leave my son alone,” he begged.
Fox turned and was surprised to see real fear on the alien’s face and hear it in Its voice. “I’m not going to kill you.”
“You might not intend to, but you will if you take me there,” Paul explained. “It won’t happen immediately, but it will happen. I will not survive your experiments.”
“We want, no, we - need – to study you.”
“You have no right.”
George spun on the Starman. “We have every right to defend our planet from the likes of you! What gives you the right to study us?” he growled in a low voice filled with contempt.
“We’ve earned it,” Forrester said and took a deep breath. He immediately regretted it. The bruises he received from the impact with the car hurt and his headache was pounding. Still, now that he was actually talking with Fox, he tried to keep the dialog going, however unfriendly the conversation had turned. Maybe he could ease the agent’s fear and change the man’s mind about him and Scott. It was worth a try, even if the chances of his succeeding were remote.
“What do you mean?”
He pondered how much, and what, he could tell the agent. He was forbidden to give specific information, but perhaps a general explanation would suffice. “There are many different peoples in the universe. You are not alone. I am proof of that. Some of the peoples out there are very old and advanced, like my race. We have been exploring space and studying other peoples long before the first human ever walked on Earth. Other races are very young and inexperienced, like yours. Young races frequently make mistakes. Studying other species by hurtful methods is one. We do not physically harm other people when we study them.” He paused a moment to let the man absorb what he told him, then continued, “If you go on exploring space, know that you will be closely watched. What you do down here and out there, and most importantly, how you do it, will determine whether the other peoples in the universe will greet and welcome you as friends, or consider you an enemy and avoid you.”
Paul noticed Fox seemed to prefer the latter option. He finally asked the obvious question. “If you didn’t want us to come, then why did you invite us here?”
“I didn’t invite you. The scientists and the bureaucrats did that. I told them they were making a mistake.”
“Why do you think it’s a mistake?”
George felt the sudden need to leave the room before he had to admit his worst worries. As he reached the door, Forrester gave him more food for thought. “We mean you no harm. We would never harm Earth’s people. We are not aggressive, unlike you. Please take notice, we have not made any hostile moves, or taken action against you, despite what you have done to Scott and me. Lastly, I will remind you, it was you who fired the first shot against us. We did nothing to warrant it.”
Fox stared long and hard at the Starman before exiting the room.
Paul lifted his head and looked down the length of his body assessing the damage he sustained and analyzing the possibility of escape. His hopes fell and he closed his eyes after seeing both of his legs encased in a hard shell covering, as were his left arm and most of his upper torso. A sheet partially covered him, but otherwise he was naked. He assumed his clothes were tucked away in the small closet in the wall. And he was certain the agent had taken his sphere and wallet.
Paul reasoned he would be in the hospital for a little while longer. Fox wouldn’t transport him until he was sure he was well enough to survive the trip with minimal risk of complications. He overheard Fox tell Wiley the biggest risk right now was a blood clot breaking loose and killing him. That meant he still had time to work on the paranoid agent. Most of all, he hoped Scott would stay away and not try to rescue him. There was too much security around him for his son to succeed.
George was surprised, and a little curious, to see the man that hit Forrester talking to his partner. He hoped Mr. Knight hadn’t been out there that long and that Wiley hadn’t told the man too much.
“Mr. Fox,” Michael greeted. “I just came to see how Mr. Forrester was doing.”
“He’ll live,” he said abruptly. “He won’t be running away anytime soon, not with two broken legs. By the way, I want to thank you for helping me capture him.”
“It was an accident,” Knight replied, stunned. “I didn’t intend to hit him.”
“No, of course not. Never the less, our country is grateful for your assistance. ” When he saw the man wasn’t leaving, he asked, “Is there something else?”
“Yes. May I see him? I’d like to tell him how sorry I am.”
“No. I’m not allowing him any visitors. But I’ll pass along your apology.”
Michael surmised this was the end of the discussion. Before leaving, he reminded the agent the court hearing concerning the accident was in two days. “I need my license back, Mr. Fox. My job depends on it.”
“It’ll be taken care of. There’ll be no contest.”
Knight acknowledged him and left.
“Wiley, you watch Forrester for a while.”
o O o
Devon was waiting in the hospital’s parking garage for Michael. He asked K.I.T.T. to contact the mobile unit where Bonnie and Scott were waiting.
Michael was still upset by Fox’s insinuation. “I couldn’t believe he said that,” he told them. “I think he was happy that I had hit Forrester.”
“He was happy,” Scott icily confirmed. “He doesn’t care how he gets my dad. He’d be even happier if you had killed him,” he spat.
“You know, I think I believe you,” Devon agreed, glancing at the boy on the TV monitor as he drove the TransAm. He felt ashamed that an agent of the government would take such pleasure in hurting these two.
“What else did you find out? Did you get to see him?”
“No,” Michael replied, sorry to disappoint the teen. “Fox wouldn’t let me in the room. I did find out from that other agent that they’re not going to move him until he’s stable enough. So, we’ve got a little time to put a plan together.”
By the time Michael and Devon arrived at the mobile unit with K.I.T.T., Bonnie was already busy on the computer, programming it to watch for any transport requests from Fox and County General Hospital for an ambulance to move Forrester. Likewise, she also had a similar lookout at the nearest airport for a chartered plane with medical personnel aboard.
o O o
George was more concerned than ever writing Forrester’s statements in his report to General Wade. My God, they’re watching us! And according to the alien, it was not just his people observing Earth, but who knows how many others. Damn those scientists! They had to include an invitation to aliens to visit us. I knew this was asking for trouble. Well, they got their wish. Their alien is here. How many others are here too? he wondered. He couldn’t wait for the general to read his report. Surely now, he’d get as much funding as he needed to keep the search going. Earth must be cleansed of this alien infection.
In Fox’s paranoia, completely absent was Forrester’s lesson about moral conduct and peace.
o O o
The next day Fox returned to speak with the alien.
“Did you think about what I told you yesterday?” Paul asked, curious if what he said had any impact.
“And?” he prodded when no reply seemed forthcoming.
“And you’ve confirmed what I’ve always believed. You’re the most dangerous thing alive on our planet.”
Paul’s face reflected his genuine shock.
“General Wade is very anxious to see you.”
“I want to see him.”
George smiled. “You will soon enough. As soon as the doctors say its safe to move you, we’re going to take that little trip.”
“To Building 11?” Paul asked with legitimate fear.
Fox didn’t say anything one way or another.
“What part of ‘we mean you no harm’ don’t you understand?”
He leaned over the alien, and coldly told him, “You don’t fool me with your ‘we come in peace’ talk.”
“But we do come in peace,” Paul reiterated.
Fox ignored him. “How many ships are out there waiting for your signal to attack? Where are they hiding, Forrester?” he growled. “Are they behind the moon, or Mars, or the other planets in our solar system?”
The gentle star man looked into the short agent’s eyes with deep sadness. “There are no other ships,” he softly said.
Paul took a breath to calm himself and organize his next response. “I do not lie. Since you want me to tell you something, I’ll tell you this. You’re making a grievously wrong conclusion based on totally false misconceptions. The people of Earth have been poisoned by their own fear. The parties responsible for this error are your entertainment industries and writers. Almost all your films and books portray alien life as evil invaders out to conquer and destroy your planet. I’ll name a few examples: War Of The Worlds, V: The Miniseries, V: The Final Battle, Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, 1,000,000,000 Years To Earth, Project UFO, Alien, The Invaders, The Outer Limits, The ….”
“Enough! How do you know so much about our movies and books?”
“Television signals do not stay on Earth, Mr. Fox,” Forrester plainly told him. “Your broadcast signals have been traveling into space since the first program was aired; Adolf Hitler opening the Olympic Games to be precise. As for the books, I merely read what my son’s read. I’m telling you, it’s not true. Unfortunately, humans would rather believe in the lies of science fiction than in the truth of science fact. You included.”
George’s face reddened and he clenched his fists at the insult. He turned and walked out, sending Wiley in.
Ben and Paul eyed each other.
Wiley glanced at the partially open door, and after making sure his boss wasn’t standing there listening, softly said, “I heard what you said to Mr. Fox. I’m ashamed to admit I’ve been poisoned by the media too.” Forrester merely looked at him, remaining quiet. “I’m willing to swallow the antidote though. I’d like to believe there are more friendly aliens like E.T. and Alf out there than evil monsters.”
Paul smiled. “I’m glad to hear that.” Maybe there was some hope after all.
o O o
Michael presented visual evidence of the accident recorded by K.I.T.T. to the judge. After viewing the tape, minus the audio track, it was agreed by both sides there was nothing he could have done to avoid hitting Forrester. Knight’s driving privileges were restored and all charges were consequently dropped. Finally, with insult added to injury, Paul was additionally charged with jaywalking on top of being a fugitive.
o O o
Two days later at the Foundation’s main headquarters, Bonnie was rewarded when the computer alerted her to a request for a private jet with a doctor onboard. It was due to land at a small California airport. Its destination was New Mexico. The time had come to put their plan into action.
Scott was surprised and impressed when he saw Bonnie Barstow come into Devon’s office dressed in an Air Force nurse’s uniform bearing the rank of Lieutenant. Her hair was colored black and colored contact lenses changed the color of her irises. He noticed the nametag read Stowbar. “Is this gonna work?” he asked her, still afraid of failure.
“Think positive,” Devon said, grinning with approval at the female mechanic’s dramatic change in appearance.
“Yes, Scott. Think positively,” Michael agreed. “In a few hours your father is going to walk through those doors.”
“You don’t know how much I hope you’re right.”
Bonnie gave the teen a much-needed hug. “I do know,” she softly told him. “Now, I’ve got to get going or we will fail.”
George Fox watched nervously as Forrester was readied for transport. The ambulance assistants had already transferred the alien onto a stretcher. All that was left was signing the release orders. There was a knock on the door and a woman dressed in military uniform entered. He cautiously regarded her.
“I’m Lt. Elizabeth Stowbar,” she said to the agents and looked at the Starman. She immediately directed her attention back to Fox. “I’m here at General Wade’s request to assist you in transporting the patient.”
George visibly relaxed. “Yes. I’ve been expecting you.” He creased his brow in confusion however as he told her, “I thought we were supposed to meet you at the airport on the plane?”
Bonnie shrugged her shoulders. “My orders were to meet you here.”
George dismissed the variance. He felt better to have the woman along in the ambulance to watch his prize.
Fox rejoiced seeing the private jet waiting for them. In another couple hours, this whole ordeal would be over. The alien would safely be in the government’s custody, permanently. All that would be left is finding Its half-breed offspring and capturing him too. Then he could relax and get on with his life. He stood off to the side as the EMT’s unloaded the stretcher from the ambulance and onto the plane.
Bonnie took a deep breath as she entered the jet. Don’t screw this up. Scott’s counting on you, she thought. She tensed as she saw the doctor approach her.
“Lieutenant… Stowbar?” Doctor Shale said and read her nametag. “I wasn’t informed there would be anyone else joining us on this trip.”
“General Wade’s orders, sir. I’m to accompany you watching the patient,” she answered, and hoped he would buy the explanation.
George listened to the exchange and felt a slight twinge of alarm at the back of his neck. He remembered General Wade telling him about the doctor who would be monitoring Forrester waiting aboard the plane, but he couldn’t recall any mention of a nurse meeting him at the hospital and riding with him to the airport, or being on the flight. And by the sound of it, the doctor wasn’t expecting the nurse either. Something was amiss. “Maybe I should check with the General,” he said.
Uh-oh. I can’t let him do that. If he does, the whole plan will fall apart. The doctor unexpectedly came to her rescue.
“I don’t think that’s necessary, Mr. Fox,” Shale said. “The General probably took the extra precaution to make sure nothing happens to Mr. Forrester en route from the hospital to the airport. Covering all the bases you know. The flight’s only two hours,” he emphasized. “I feel better having the both of us onboard instead of just one of us.”
“Yes, you’re right,” he agreed. He told himself he was worrying for nothing. Still, he kept a close eye on the woman.
The pilot informed them they were ready for takeoff just as soon as everyone was seated and buckled in, and Forrester’s stretcher was locked down.
Paul looked at Fox gloating at him and turned his head to look out the window. He never expected the agent to let him go, but he had hoped he convinced Fox to change his mind about taking him to Building 11. He was sad he failed. His heart sank lower as he felt the jet lift off the runway and climb into the air.
When the plane reached cruising altitude, Bonnie immediately went to check on Forrester. Shale watched as she took his pulse and blood pressure.
She gave the doctor the figures. “A little high, but still normal, sir.”
He nodded in agreement.
Bonnie removed the cuff and looked sympathetically at Paul. She attributed the elevated reading to Forrester’s obvious nervousness. She went back to her seat.
Fox was relieved to hear the alien was okay. He counted down the minutes until they reached the Air Force base.
Ben looked at the Starman and sympathized with him. As much as he wished he could help Forrester, he was still an agent of the government and duty-bound to obey orders. Even if he considered helping Forrester escape, it was too late for that now anyway. The only thing he figured he could do was speak to General Wade on Forrester’s behalf and try to persuade him to reconsider his decision to incarcerate Forrester permanently, or worse.
Forty-five minutes into the flight, Lt. Stowbar went to check on the patient again. “Would you like something to drink, Mr. Forrester?” she asked and winked at him.
Paul declined. He was in no mood for food or anything else. The only thing going through his mind at the moment was preparing to say good-bye to Scott when his body was “going out.” He stared at the woman trying to decipher her gesture. Is she going to help me escape? At the moment, that guess seemed wrong. Is she just displaying good bedside manners, or does she merely find me attractive? He concluded that was the most probable explanation. He noticed he’d had an almost magnetic effect on nearly every woman he’d had relations with.
She went to Agents Fox and Wiley. “Would either of you like a cup of coffee?”
Fox couldn’t refuse the offer. He lived on the drink like a hardcore drug addict. “I take mine black.”
“I’ll have one, Lt.,” Ben said and smiled at her. “A little cream and one sugar.”
“Don’t mind if I do, Lt.,” the doctor said. “A little cream for me too, no sugar.”
“I’ll just ask the pilot and co-pilot if they’d like some too,” she said and went to the cockpit.
Bonnie was in the small kitchen at the rear of the plane. She brought out the tray with six steaming cups of the dark brown beverage. She smiled as the doctor and the agents took their cups, and then went to the cockpit to deliver the last two to the pilots. She took her seat and lifted the steaming brew to her lips, careful not to ingest any of the hot liquid. She patiently waited as she watched the others drink theirs.
Approximately twenty minutes later, having emptied their cups, Fox, Wiley and Doctor Shale were fast asleep. Bonnie went to George’s seat, and after slipping on a pair of medical examination gloves, she went through his jacket pocket, finding two sets of keys. She went to Forrester’s side, unfastened the restraining straps, unlocked his handcuffed wrist from the stretcher and smiled at him, then went back to Fox. She inserted the other key into the briefcase lock and opened it. She found a manila envelope inside and removed the contents, then turned around and held up a silver marble for him to see.
“Scott said if you had this you could heal yourself.”
Paul looked at the woman in surprise. He took the offered sphere. “Who are you?” he asked and looked closer at her nametag.
“A friend. My name is Bonnie Barstow. I work for the Foundation For Law and Government. We fight crime and help victims of crime. Scott is waiting for you back at the Foundation’s headquarters with my friends.”
He looked at the slumped forms of the FSA agents and the doctor.
“Oh, don’t worry about them. I just put some powerful tranquilizers in their coffee. They’ll wake up in a few hours.”
“I saw you bring some coffee to the pilots too. If they’re asleep, then who’s flying this plane? And who will land it?”
“The plane is on autopilot. And I can land it. Now, can you heal yourself with that silver ball like Scott says you can?”
Paul smiled. “Yes.” He activated the metal orb and a soft blue glow enveloped his body.
Bonnie looked on in fascination as Forrester concentrated on fusing the broken bones. He seemed totally relaxed and at ease.
While the Starman went about his healing, Bonnie removed Fox’s wallet and began going through it, taking pictures on microfilm of anything that contained useful information, such as the agent’s government ID. She carefully replaced everything as she found it and did the same with Wiley’s wallet.
The glow diminished and Paul told her the healing was complete.
“We land in a little under thirty minutes. My friend Michael is waiting for us on the Foundation’s plane at a little airport close to where we were supposed to land. He’s got the tools we need to take those casts off.”
“That won’t be necessary,” he said and grinned. “I can remove these casts with this,” he said and held up the sphere. He activated it again and a pencil thin beam of light, like a laser, made its way in a line down the length of the leg casts. He did one side and then the other on both. The shoulder cast was a little trickier requiring three cuts.
Bonnie pulled the hard shell off Forrester’s chest and legs. She chuckled as he promptly began scratching himself.
“It’s itchy inside those things,” he sheepishly told her.
She looked on in amazement as he sat up and bent his legs and arm with no hint of pain. Having seen his x-rays from K.I.T.T.’s scans, she knew exactly how badly he’d been hurt. Lastly, he pulled off the bandage covering his head bruise. It was gone as well.
“If you’ll excuse me, I’d like to dress please,” he said eying the storage compartment where Wiley put his duffle bag.
“Uh, yes,” she said and blushed. “I think I’ll go up front and fly the plane. I’ll need your help moving the pilot out of the seat.”
Paul told her to give him a minute and he’d be there.
With Forrester’s assistance, Bonnie removed both men from the cockpit and placed them in one of the many empty seats, then she and Paul settled into the pilot and co-pilot’s seats respectively.
“Tell me more about this Foundation For Law and Government,” Paul asked her with increased curiosity.
“It was started by the late Wilton Knight,” she began.
Bonnie called the tower and requested permission to land. She followed the airport ground technician’s hand signals and shut down the engines after securing the parking brakes. “I’ll collect all the coffee cups. We’ll take them with us on the Foundation’s plane. Your casts too. We don’t want to leave behind any evidence for them to find.”
She opened the plane’s door and smiled at seeing Michael coming to her from the Foundation’s jet. She went to give him a hug. “I got him. See for yourself.”
Knight looked up with relief and amazement. The tall man was standing, watching them from the entrance of the plane. “I’m Michael Knight. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Forrester.”
“I’m pleased to meet you too.”
“I’m sure you’d like to get going as quickly as possible. Follow me.”
After a hasty “sanitization” of the other jet, Bonnie, Michael and Paul were soon airborne again.
“First, I’d like to tell you again how sorry I am about hitting you with my car,” Michael apologized. “You just came running out so quickly, I couldn’t stop in time.”
“It’s I who should apologize,” Paul said. “It was entirely my fault. Under ordinary circumstances, I would never have done that.”
“Yes, I’m sure.” He glanced at Bonnie. “I assume she’s told you all about us.”
“Yes. Thank you for helping me…and Scott.”
Knight smiled. “Speaking of that, I’ll call Devon. I’m sure you’d like to talk to your son.”
Paul told them he’d like that very much.
The picture came up on the small television screen. A well-dressed gentleman in a business suit, and a younger man in a t-shirt and blue jeans sat across from each other at a heavy wooden desk engaged in a game of chess. By the looks of the remaining pieces on the board, the boy was winning.
“Scott,” Michael announced. “I think I have someone who’d like to speak with you,” he teased and moved aside to let Forrester into the camera’s view.
Paul smiled with gladness seeing his son’s face light up with delight.
“Boy, am I ever happy to see you and hear your voice! I’ve been bouncing off the walls waiting to hear if everything went okay.”
“Yes. He’s been rather, anxious shall we say, to hear from you,” Devon replied.
“I thought I’d lost you forever,” the teen said.
“Me too,” Paul reluctantly admitted. “I’m glad you’re all right.”
“So, how much longer until you get here?”
Michael stepped in to answer the question. “Not for a few more hours, Scott. “We’ll be landing in Cheyenne shortly. K.I.T.T.’s waiting there for me with the mobile unit. Then it’ll be a few more hours driving back to Foundation headquarters. I imagine we’ll be arriving sometime late this evening.”
The boy looked disappointed, but put on a smile. “I’ll be waiting, Dad.”
“You sure you won’t be driving Devon crazy?” Michael teased.
“I think we can keep him occupied with another game or two of chess,” the older man replied in defense.
“Beat the pants off him kid!” Knight egged him on.
“Easy. He’s been letting me win.”
Michael and Bonnie laughed and he cut the connection.
“Thank you,” Forrester said, relieved to see his son again.
Bonnie told him it was their pleasure.
He noticed the woman kept staring at him with a look on her face like she found something puzzling or amazing. “What is it?” he finally inquired with a smile.
Knight noticed the expression on her face too and eagerly awaited to hear her answer.
Bonnie blushed. “I’m just astounded.”
Paul cocked his head. “Why?”
“That should be obvious. Only an hour ago you were lying on a stretcher in the other plane with a bunch of broken bones. Look at you now. It’s like you were never hurt at all! And you healed yourself with a silver ball that glowed with a blue light. It’s incredible! Please. Tell me more about that sphere.”
He smiled wanly. Before he said anything, he asked her, “What did Scott tell you about it?”
She and Michael recalled everything they could remember that the teen said.
Forrester grinned. His son had kept the description simple. He would try to do the same. He pulled the object out of his pants pocket and gestured for her and Michael to give him their hands. He placed the marble in Bonnie’s open hand and put Knight’s under it, then cupped both of their hands in his. “It’s only energy, like heat. Do you understand?”
“So far I do.”
He activated the sphere and felt them recoil slightly. “It won’t hurt you. I promise. I would never hurt you,” he said and noticed them nod. ‘Now close your eyes and I’ll show you who and what I am, and where I come from.”
“Do you see the blue light?”
“Yes,” Bonnie and Michael replied.
“That’s me as I really am.”
The image shifted to a giant planet with a magnificent ring around it. “And this is my home.” He felt their fascination and awe at the sight of it. He gradually let the picture fade and go dark.
“Far out!” Michael exclaimed.
Bonnie looked at him. “No kidding. That’s an understatement.” She studied the inert marble lying in her hand. The ever-inquisitive side of her urged her on. “How do you activate it, and what makes it glow?”
“I think about what I want it to do and it does it. The glow is the visible part of the energy when it’s activated.”
She shook her head. “No. I mean technically, how do you make it work? How does it do what you want it to do? How did it mend your broken bones?”
He grinned. “I’m afraid you wouldn’t understand. Only time and evolution will give you those answers.” He took the sphere and pocketed it.
Bonnie was disappointed he wouldn’t tell her the specifics, but agreed the explanation was probably way above her level of comprehension. “Scott was right about you. I’m glad Devon made the right decision to help.”
“Yes. Please tell me more about how Scott found you,” Forrester asked, curious to learn how his son wound up with these people.
Michael cleared his throat. “Actually, it’s more like we found him. After Devon posted my bail….”
The three of them exited the jet and made their way to where the Foundation’s tractor-trailer truck was parked. The black TransAm was beside the semi.
“Hi there buddy. Have you been waiting for us long?” Michael asked K.I.T.T.
“I’ve been here for precisely fifty-two minutes,” the car answered.
Starman arched his eyebrows.
Michael Knight caught Forrester’s surprised expression. “Paul, meet the Knight Industries Two Thousand. K.I.T.T. for short.”
“Hello?” he said, intrigued.
“Hello, Mr. Forrester. I’m pleased to meet you.”
He looked at Michael. “A talking computer?”
The crusader laughed. “Oh, K.I.T.T.’s more than that. He thinks.”
“Really? I didn’t know humans had reached that level of technology.”
K.I.T.T. told him, aside from his creators, they haven’t yet. “I’m the only one of my kind.”
Michael suggested they get in the car, instead of standing talking to it on the outside. Knight gave Bonnie a farewell hug. She would join up with them at the Foundation’s headquarters later. He and Forrester began the last leg of the trip home.
“I’m glad to see you’re in much better health than the first time we met, Mr. Forrester,” K.I.T.T. told the Starman. “I want to apologize for hitting you and breaking your bones. Human bodies are very fragile.”
“Yes, they are,” he agreed. “Apology accepted. I’m sorry to have run out in front of you, but the circumstances were unusual.”
“Take over, K.I.T.T.,” Michael said.
The car engaged the autopilot drive.
Forrester watched with fascination and alarm as Knight removed his foot from the gas pedal and his hands from the steering wheel, then crossed his arms and reclined in the driver’s seat and closed his eyes.
Michael took a quick glance at Forrester. “Don’t worry, Paul. K.I.T.T’s in complete control.”
“This is very interesting. I’d like to learn more.”
“You tell him, buddy,” Knight said and yawned, already familiar with the long story. “I’m going to take a nap.”
“Well, it started when I was built in Detroit….”
o O o
George Fox awakened from his involuntary sleep and immediately noticed several things. There was no engine noise and the familiar suspended feelings accompanied with the forward g-force of motion were absent. We’ve landed. He looked where Forrester’s stretcher should be and saw it was gone. How did the base personnel remove the alien and not even awaken him? Butterflies were turning in his stomach. He unfastened his seatbelt, stood up, went to the door and opened it. One look outside confirmed his worst fears. This is a civilian airport! He looked back and noticed the doctor asleep in his seat. He also saw the pilot and co-pilot sleeping in seats in the passenger compartment. Nurse Lt. Stowbar was nowhere in sight. Oh, God, no! “Wiley, wake up!” he shouted in alarm.
Ben slowly responded to his boss’ prodding. Fox sounded extremely upset. He cringed when he saw the empty space where the stretcher was. He turned his head and saw the unconscious doctor behind him. The female Air Force nurse was missing. Uh-oh. Secretly, he was glad Forrester escaped and wished him good luck staying free. Someday when this hunt is over, I hope we meet again. I’d like to know what’s really out there.
I knew I should have called General Wade, Fox thought with bitter dismay. He noticed his briefcase was still in the empty seat next to his. He quickly searched his pocket and found the key. Hopefully he still had the alien’s power source. His hopes fell when he opened the case and saw the manila envelope containing Forrester’s wallet and sphere were gone. George promptly gave his partner orders to see if he could track down the female accomplice who helped the alien escape.
The search proved fruitless. There was no Elizabeth Stowbar in any branch of the military. Fox gritted his teeth in anger as he prepared to face General Wade and explain the loss of the alien again. Who was she? How did she do it? How does she know about Forrester? Why does this always happen to me? he asked himself again and again. He had no answers.
o O o
Scott heard footsteps coming from the hallway and looked up from the chess game. He beamed a great big smile seeing his father step into the room and hurried to hug him.
Michael and Devon looked on in warm affection as father and son were reunited again.
“I’m Devon Miles. I’m very pleased to meet you, Mr. Forrester,” the president of FLAG said and offered his hand.
“I’m pleased to meet you, too,” Starman replied, and added, “Please, call me Paul.”
“You must be exhausted after that long trip. Can I get you something to eat or drink?”
Forrester admitted he was hungry and tired.
Devon summoned one of the servants who worked in the house and had her bring Paul anything he wished. “Melinda will take your bag and show you to your room after.”
He thanked the woman and the man.
While they waited for the food to arrive, Devon talked of plans for the future. “I have a proposal for you Paul,” he said. “Scott and I have been discussing it.”
“I’m listening,” Forrester answered, curious.
“I’m prepared to offer you and your son sanctuary here at the Foundation for as long as it takes until the case against you is closed.”
The gentle alien raised his eyebrows. The offer was very tempting and seemed like a dream come true. “I’d like to accept, but we can’t.”
“Why not, Dad?” Scott asked, confused. “Didn’t you hear him? They’re willing to hide us from Fox and the government. They have places we can hide out all over the country.”
“Right on both counts,” Devon said.
“How will we find your mother if we stay?” Paul pointed out to his son.
“They’re willing to help us find Mom,” the boy readily came back.
“Right again. We’ll do everything we can to keep you safe from the FSA and locate Mrs. Hayden.”
He still had reservations. “How can we afford to stay here if I have no job or income?”
Miles told him, “We’re not asking you to pay for staying. The offer to shelter you and your son is free. If you wish to pay for living here, we can most certainly find something you can do and put you on our payroll. Doing that however, will leave a record for the IRS that the FSA can use to trace you here.”
Paul reluctantly agreed. Apparently he was still trapped taking under the table jobs until the case was closed.
“Scott tells me you have quite a talent for gardening. If you want, you can be a groundskeeper here or at any one of our other locations.”
“Doesn’t someone else have that job? I don’t want that person to lose their job because of me,” Paul argued.
Devon told Forrester the present head groundskeeper was retiring after this year and they were still looking for a reliable replacement.
“Say yes, Dad. Please?” Scott begged. “Just think about it. We wouldn’t have to run again. I’m so tired of running. Aren’t you?”
“What about your schooling? How will you complete your education if we live here?”
“That’s easily taken care of,” Devon said. “He can be taught here.”
Paul looked at his son’s longing face and eyes. There was one more point to address, but an important one. “What about meeting friends your own age, Scott? You can’t do that locked behind these walls.”
Why is Dad being so difficult? “I don’t need them. Bonnie, Michael and Devon are my new friends,” the teen countered. “Please, Dad. Stay. I’m sick of living in fear of Fox. For once in my life I want to taste a little freedom from fear. These people want to give us that freedom. Don’t throw it away.”
Scott watched his father carefully think over the proposal. He decided to give his dad his decision regardless of which way his father chose. “You can run again if you want to, but I’m staying here.”
“You know what they say, Paul. Every Starman needs a knight in shining armor for protection,” Michael lightly injected.
“They do?” he asked, and arched an eyebrow, then displayed a broad smile. After weighing all the options, listening to the desperation in his son’s voice and the ultimatum the boy laid down, the decision was easy. “All right, we’ll stay. And I would be more than happy to do grounds keeping, for free.”
Scott tightly hugged his father again. “Thanks, Dad.”
Paul turned and thanked everyone.
“No problem,” Michael said and welcomed the Foundation’s newest members to the family.
The crusader was on the road again en route to Albuquerque, and then Chicago, to recruit allies to fight his next battle. He wasn’t fatigued, but energized with a renewed sense of purpose, thanks to Scott Hayden and Paul Forrester. The teenager and his gentle star man father overturned his great depression at fighting endless wars of injustice. He tapped his jacket and smiled. In the inside pocket were two envelopes from Forrester to be delivered to Scott’s uncle and Liz Baines. Together, they would work to defeat George Fox and the FSA.
K.I.T.T. scanned his owner’s physical condition and found it greatly improved. “Michael?”
“Yeah, K.I.T.T.? What’s up?”
“I heard what you told Mr. Forrester.”
“What’s that buddy?”
“You said every Starman needs a knight. I was just thinking, the reverse is also true.”
“Every knight needs a Starman?” Michael replied.
The crusader thought about it, grinned and then laughed. “You know something K.I.T.T.? You’re absolutely right.”
A great big thank you goes to my editors, Todd and Linda for helping me write this story.
Every Starman Needs A Knight is an amateur production for the enjoyment of Starman and Knight Rider fans and is in no way intended to infringe on any copyrights. All similarities to real characters and actual events are strictly coincidental. This material may not be reproduced in any form, in whole or in part, without the express written of the author. Copyright September 2003. All rights reserved.