Michael Knight (still_michael) wrote in open_high_ways,
Michael Knight

Blind Truth, part three

His office was, at last, silent. It'd taken time to calm April and to tell her that while she was (indeed, she was) fired from being Kitt's technician, there were other places for her in the Foundation if she would just give him time. But at last, he was alone to think about what had happened and what he'd seen.

That kind of closeness... That wasn't simply platonic. He had seen men and their wives near each other in that same way, and that was in no way platonic. For all Michael couldn't meet Kitt's gaze, Devon had seen it. And he sighed as he came to understand what it all meant. "Michael..." he muttered, shaking his head. His chair was facing the window, letting him see that the day outside was nice. That was all he could say about it - sunny and blue-skied, perfectly offsetting his mood. "You know he has no guard against you..."

And that, perhaps, was the crux of it. Whatever Devon's own views on the subject (and he'd let a hint of them slip, startled into a moment of poor taste), Kitt had absolutely no defenses against Michael. No way to say 'no' if Michael insisted on something. And Michael, blast him, could be insidious in getting his way-- Devon had more than once been on the receiving end of Michael's manipulations. He'd foolishly thought them harmless. A day off, a week off, permission to turn a personal matter into a case. If he'd done the same to Kitt, worked whatever charms he worked that granted him so many successes with women on Kitt...

Kitt would have had no choice but to give in. None at all, convinced he was wanted in such a way by someone they had made so very important. He had been led down an immoral path, pressed into doing heaven only knew what, and-- in not seeing, not foreseeing, what depths Michael could sink to-- Kitt had been unable to say 'no.' Kitt's designers, his programmers, Devon among them, hadn't given him a way to refuse such... requests... if they came from his driver.

Worse, they had given him the ultimate devotion. Even if he were faced with such facts as Devon could see, he'd deny them. What had they done? Had they actually started this much of a spiral? But there was, he told himself, no way that they could've guessed that Michael would do... such a thing, really. Or that Kitt would be so terribly caught by... a crazy man's wiles.

Now that he had the time to think, he found himself wondering. Michael and Kitt had taken quite a bit of time off in places undisclosed. Whether that meant they spent time in a hotel or if they had an apartment, Devon wasn't sure, but whatever Michael had chosen to do, he'd certainly had the time to do it, and the time to build the trust it would've taken for Kitt to accept it so very simply. The image that still haunted his mind made that clear. Kitt had been more the initiator in what he'd seen than Michael - given Michael's lack of eyesight, Kitt would've had to be the initiator. No matter Michael's protests that the contact was innocent.

Why would Michael want to lose what he'd built, after all? Even if it meant costing the innocence of a very young and impressionable AI. Perhaps Kitt's inhumanity was why Michael had... indulged his whims. Certainly Devon hadn't noticed any lack of female company in... however long.

... How long had it been going on? How long had the pair of them been conspiring to hide this? Kitt was willing, certainly, or at least believed he was willing-- he was following his programming, of course, putting Michael first, as he was meant to do. If only Michael had behaved as he'd been meant to, perhaps Devon wouldn't be forced to wonder the many, many unpleasant things he was wondering. How long, how much damage had been done to Kitt that would have to be undone, what would Wilton say if he'd known, had Michael at least had the decency to be faithful... But he hadn't, of course. There had been Katherine as recently as Christmas, shown off and made much of, and there had been another interlude with Stevie. It was unconscionable, in this dangerous day and age, to gad about like that, recklessly going from girl to girl.

And then, evidently, home to his AI.

Devon at least had one answer to his wonderings.

Wilton would have been incensed.

And that left him to things even more unpleasant. He was there to see to it that Wilton's dream was followed. Wilton himself had put so much into FLAG and had it nearly taken from him twice. Devon simply couldn't stand by and watch it disintegrate and let it happen. He had to step in. His personal honour demanded it, no matter the possible pain it could cause.

It would cause pain, though. He knew. He himself had put those few lines of programming in place - programming that was there since Karr, but they'd never had to use. He didn't look forward to it, either. Kitt would be crushed, even put out of comission. For how long, he wasn't sure. It would stretch past days, he was sure. Possibly past weeks, but in a few months, he would be right as rain. He would see what Devon had done as the gift it was intended to be, instead of the burden it had felt at first. And he would see to it that Michael had a decent enough severance package.

He would have to speak to him, though, and let him know exactly what had happened that was in the wrong. Why he was being let go. Michael must've convinced himself that, while there would be repercussions, it wouldn't be anything like this.

But then, Michael was so used to living without consequences. Women who never sought him out after he left them behind, cases he never really saw through to the end-- to the point where they could be turned over to the authorities, but only rarely did arraignments or trials factor into Michael's mind. He handled things thus far, then handed the dull final details off to other people. He grew bored and wandered off.

If he wandered away from Kitt... the result could be unthinkable. More unthinkable than the current reality. Weeks or months with Kitt out of commission would likely be enough to find and properly screen replacement drivers; they'd had Kenneth Franklyn in mind before Michael Long, they could find someone to follow him. But if Michael were to turn away from Kitt after twisting his mind so thoroughly... Better to have done with it. The contracts and legalities hadn't changed; if Michael was fired, Kitt reverted completely to the Foundation. And the Foundation was not infallible. Those few lines of code were a testament to that, that they knew they weren't infallible. They could no more allow a rogue driver to make off with Kitt than the military.

For Kitt's own good, then. For Michael's, too, if secondarily. There was simply nothing else to be done.

Nothing but papers to be drawn up and finalised, for their lawyers to look over and make certain were airtight. They could even find, perhaps, a perk to distract Michael from the loss of his job. Perhaps offer him a house somewhere of his choosing, within a certain price range. And perhaps a surgery to right what Michael had made clear had been percieved as a wrong - a surgery to make him look less like Garthe Knight. That would not only benefit Michael but benefit the Foundation as well. If he didn't look like family, perhaps he would have less credence to anyone if he returned and tried to claim any rights. They could arrange it. And Devon would have to see to it.

Starting now.
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