A Leap For A Knight
A Quantum Leap - Knight Rider Crossover Story
by Sandy Adams
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Author's Note: This story is a work-in-progress.
Author's Note #2: I've borrowed the idea from the QL novels that when Sam Leaps, he exchanges minds/spirits/souls with the 'Leapee', rather than physically taking their place. The discriptions of The Project also come from the novels.
Updated: May 29, 2000
A Leap For A Knight
A Quantum Leap -- Knight Rider Crossover
by Sandy Adams
It was just past 2 a.m., and the highway was dark and empty. A lone black automobile streaked through the desert night, its high-beams cutting twin swathes in the darkness.
Inside the car, the whine of its powerful turbines was muted. The myriad lights of the dashboard read-outs cast strange, shifting shadows over the features of the handsome young man slouched in the driver's seat.
He fit neatly into what might otherwise have been expected to be a tight squeeze; the car's cockpit had been custom redesigned for his 6' 4" frame. He could reach any of the controls without straining, usually without taking his eyes off the road. Not that it would really matter much if he did...
Right now, his hands lay idle at his sides. The driver's seat was reclined to its fullest, permitting him to stretch out as much as his long legs allowed.
He was snoring softly.
Obviously, this was no ordinary car.
From the outside, there were few clues. A casual observer might note the red sensor light set into the car's prow, between the headlights, and wonder at its function. What the casual observer could not see was, however, far more important. They could not see that the car's glossy surface was actually a specially formulated, molecular bonded shell that protected the car and its driver from virtually anything short of a small missile. Nor could they spot the Artificial Intelligence currently in control of the modified Trans Am as it cruised along at a sedate 55 mph.
His creator had named him the Knight Industries Two Thousand; his partner, sleeping peacefully in the driver's seat, called him Kitt.
Kitt was the brain child of the late billionaire-industrialist Wilton Knight, who had created the A.I. for a single purpose: to protect the life of the man Wilton had chosen to become, in a way, his heir. The heir of his dream -- to show the world that one man can make a difference.
Now, through discreet sensors in the cabin, Kitt watched that man sleep.
With nothing else to occupy him, Kitt's thoughts drifted back to their first meeting. It had been a less-than-auspicious beginning. An ex-cop, Michael was headstrong, impulsive, and fiercely independent. The idea of a car with a mind of its own -- and one that talked back to him, as well -- did not sit well with him. For his part, Kitt had been both hurt and insulted by Michael's lack of consideration for his new partner. In the beginning, Michael had seemed to think Kitt was little more than a car with way too many options. And more often than not, when Kitt tried to offer helpful suggestions or advice, he was told to shut up.
But time passed, and as the partners got to know one another better, they each developed not only respect but genuine affection for the other. Now, they were not only partners, but friends.
That happy thought warmed Kitt as he steered the car around a rough patch in the highway. His passenger shifted a bit at the unexpected jostling and mumbled something in his sleep. Kitt watched him anxiously for a minute, but Michael didn't wake, and the A.I. relaxed again. Michael needed his sleep.
Their latest assignment had been a particularly complicated one, and rough on both partners. Michael had been chased, shot at, beaten up, and narrowly avoided being run down by the people they were after. He'd gotten very little sleep over the last few days, and Kitt knew that Michael's body was a mass of bruises, even though Michael had shrugged off his injuries and refused to see a doctor. Kitt planned to make certain that, when they arrived at the Foundation, Dr. Alpert would be on hand to corral Michael and give him a thorough examination. He didn't like taking chances with his partner's health.
Even as he thought it, the point became somewhat moot -- though Kitt had no way of knowing it. Since he didn't know to look for it, he did not see the sudden flash of blue-white energy that swept through Michael's body, a quantum surge that burned brightly for less than a single heartbeat, then was gone.
And so was Michael Knight.
As the blue-white surge of energy dissipated, Sam Beckett gradually became aware of his surroundings. He was seated -- almost reclining -- on a soft surface. It was dark and quiet, with the hum of a superbly-tuned engine and the distant whisper of pavement beneath fast-moving tires the only sounds. The seat cradling him rocked gently with the motion of the car.
Yawning mightily, he sat up a bit and looked around. A glance confirmed that he was indeed inside a moving vehicle, cruising along a dark stretch of highway at 55 mph, according to the digital readout on the dash.
Sam blinked and did a double-take. The dashboard had enough gadgets, lights, and odd devices to serve as a prop in a science fiction movie.
Great, he thought. I'm driving the Death Star.
And then it hit him.
Who was driving? Because it certainly wasn't him.
With a strangled yelp, Sam shot bolt upright in the seat and grabbed for the steering wheel. His first effort missed -- because the wheel (actually an aviation-style yoke) moved of its own accord, negotiating a slight curve in the road.
"Michael?" The voice came out of nowhere. "Is something wrong?"
Sam looked around wildly, but there was no one else in the car. He was completely alone...with a disembodied voice. He shot a quick look up through the smoked panel of the sunroof, then caught himself. After all this time, it seemed unlikely that God, Time, Fate, or Whoever would chose now to start communicating directly. And if He, She, or It did decide to talk to him, They probably wouldn't call him by another man's name.
"Michael?" Concern was beginning to creep into the smooth, softly-accented, mystery voice. "Are you all right?"
Sam's gaze darted around the interior again, and was drawn inevitably to the high-tech dashboard. He finally noticed the small panel near the wheel, with a trio of red LED bars that lit and fluctuated in synchronization with the speaker's words. He could feel his jaw beginning to drop.
Concern was giving way to fear; Sam could hear it plainly in the...well, it had to be car's voice, didn't it?
"Michael, please. Talk to me!"
Sam shook his head, not so much in denial as in derision of his own hubris. Had he really believed only he could create a genuine artificial intelligence? Because if he had, here was incontrovertible proof of his folly. But...why put an A.I. inside a car?
He shook his head again, this time with a wry smile. Well, why not? After all, he'd put one in a man-made cavern in New Mexico and used it to travel through time...
"Michael, if something is wrong, please tell me," the computer pleaded, it's Boston accent becoming more pronounced as its worry grew. "Do you need a doctor?"
"No...." Sam shook himself; he'd have to do better than that. He cleared his throat and tried again. "No, I'm fine. I, uh, had a bad dream."
"Oh." The computer sounded puzzled. After a brief pause, it added, "If you're sure you're all right -- "
"I'm fine," Sam said firmly. As all right as he ever was at the beginning of a new Leap, he qualified to himself. "Really."
Apparently, the computer decided to believe him. "Then perhaps you should try to go back to sleep. We're still several hours from home, and you haven't slept much in the last 72 hours."
The crisp voice softened noticably as the computer added, "Frankly, I'm surprised you're holding up so well. According to your vital signs, you're exhausted."
As if in agreement with that assessment, Sam's borrowed body picked that moment for another huge yawn.
"I rest my case," the computer said drily. "And so should you."
Sam couldn't help but smile. So it even possessed a sense of humor...His admiration for whoever had programmed this machine went up another notch.
"You may be right," he said, settling back a bit in the surprisingly comfortable seat. While he had no intention of going to sleep, it did seem best to let the computer continue to control the car. After all, Sam had no idea where they were heading or how to get there, and Al still hadn't shown up for the usual 'start of the Leap briefing.'
Gradually, Sam's head tilted back until it rested against the headrest. Just because he was staying awake, there was no reason for him to be uncomfortable, was there? And it surely couldn't hurt anything just to close his eyes for a second or two....
Before the car had travelled another mile along the highway, Sam Beckett was fast asleep at the wheel.
At first, his mind had been a blank. Then, slowly at first but gaining momentum with each new image flickering up from the gray depths, his memory had returned. Now, he thought it was almost complete, with only a few minor holes left here and there. He knew his name, his address, the names of his friends and co-workers....
He had no idea where he was or how he'd gotten there, but he didn't think that was a function of memory loss. He had a clear picture of where he'd been immediately before this: drowsing peacefully in Kitt's driver's seat, on their way home. One minute he was there, the next...he was here. Wherever here was.
Michael sat on the edge of the hospital-style bed and, as he'd done for most of the time since awakening, studied his surroundings, looking for a clue to his whereabouts. And how to get out of them.
It was a large room, apparently furnished by a minimalist with a fetish for white: white bed, white chairs, a white table. White floor, white walls, a distant white ceiling. It was like being trapped inside an iceberg.
And he was trapped.
There was one door (white), and it was locked from the outside. He'd spent the better part of an hour trying to force it open. He sighed in frustration. Kitt could have had the door open in seconds. Automatically, he glanced at his wrist, but the comlink was gone. No comlink, no way to contact Kitt.
The thought of his partner rekindled his concerns for the A.I. Where was Kitt? Was he all right? Michael didn't have a clue as to what his captors wanted from him, but he was confident he could handle whatever they might throw at him. He could take care of himself. But how could he take care of Kitt, if he didn't even know where Kitt was? He had to find his partner. And that meant getting out of this room.
Only there was no way out.
Wherever he was, however he'd gotten there, Michael Knight did not intend to remain a prisoner for long.
To be continued...
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