Title: A Glow in the Darkness
Author: Stephanie Anderson
Email: glowriter AT cox.net
Rating: ADULT
Summary: A Pitch Black Sequel.
Disclaimers: All Pitch Black Characters are copyright USA films and co. they belong to them and I make no claims to them. This fanfic was written for entertainment purposes only. All other characters, planets, ships and storyline are copyright Stephanie Anderson.
Author's Notes: This is my continuation story to Pitch Black. Just a word before you continue on though: Not all of you may agree with the storyline or where I'm going with this fanfic, but it's my personal opinion and I ask that you respect that. I also want to point out that this story contains sexual content, adult themes and strong language so read at your own risk.

I also wanted to add that I wrote this story right after Pitch Black came out. My writing style has changed dramatically since then. I was new to writing at the time and I'm afraid it shows. Very little editing was done to this fanfic and it was posted one chapter at time, so the text is different each chapter. I was doing a lot of experimenting with different ideas just to see what I could come up with, so please take that into consideration as you read this. I do hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Thanks!

 

 

Riddick heard her voice before he actually saw her. Carolyn had blood running out of her mouth as she pointed accusingly toward him. "You let me die, for you!" She moaned in pain as the aliens finished ripping her apart one limb at a time. "Riddick! Save me!" She screamed as the aliens did their dirty work. Riddick tried to get to her, but for every step he took she moved further away from him. "No!" he moaned as he sat up quickly in bed. Another nightmare, he told himself as he woke up. He threw off the blanket and went into the bathroom. He threw cool water on his face and looked at his reflection in the mirror. Could he have saved her if he'd tried harder? He asked himself. He barked at the light to shut down and wandered into Jack's room. She was sleeping soundly in her bed. He doubted anything could wake that girl up; she was the soundest sleeper he'd ever known. He was actually feeling guilty for letting her stay with him. Imam had strongly urged that she go back to Earth with him, but she begged to stay with Riddick. He knew her life on earth with Imam would be much better, but he allowed her to stay with him in the end. Maybe it was selfishness on his part, not only was she the only person who cared about him, but she also reminded him of Carolyn. And even if he would never say the words out loud, he cared for Jack. He made a promise to Imam to send her back to earth in six months time, so she could then decide what life she wanted to live.

Their readjustment to society went rather smoothly after they left the planet. Riddick kept the name of Johns, but didn't keep the job identity. No way he wanted to be around anymore prisons. He took a job on an Alerian Ore processing ship, and while it wasn't the most exciting job, it held a certain amount of stability for him and the girl. There were lots of families on board and Jack actually thrived soon after they got settled. In the three months since they came on board, Jack had let her hair grow back and managed to get some clothes more to her liking. Riddick had forbid her from talking about anything in her past. So therefore a lot of rumors circulated as to how they came to be there. He spoke to as few people as possible and eventually he became feared by men and women alike. It was the eyes, they would whisper as he passed. What did he do to his eyes? They all wondered. He liked to keep them apprehensive of him, at least that way no one messed with Jack while he was down on whatever planet they were mining. The Tolstoy may have been a more secure ship, but it still had its lurking dangers. At least Jack knew some of his best moves in case she ever were to be in danger and he wasn't around.

Riddick entered the kitchen area and noticed Jack had already made breakfast, as usual. "Oatmeal," She said handing him a bowl of it as he entered the kitchen. It was the same every morning, but she never complained, and he admired her for that. She realized they would have to start over from scratch and that money credits would be hard to come by at first. "It's better than prison food any day." He said taking the bowl from her. "Riddick, I think I found a way to earn some extra money credits after school." She said sitting down. "How's that?" He asked taking a bite of oatmeal. "The other kids want to learn some of the things you taught me, you know, self defense that sort of thing," She said hopeful he would agree. He looked at her for a moment. "That sounds profitable. Just so long as you don't teach them everything I taught you. Or they'll turn on you and use it against you." He replied knowing full well that's how people ticked most of the time. "I won't," She said getting up from the table. He stood and put his empty bowl in the sink and headed for the door. "And make sure you get the money credits first." He paused to remind her. "I don't have to worry about that, everyone is so scared of you they wouldn't think of ripping me off," She smiled proudly. "Let's hope we keep it that way," He replied as he gave her a short wave goodbye.

 

Riddick took his lunch tray and sat down away from the others. No one in particular noticed him since it was the usual routine for him to eat alone. A small group of new recruits sat together at one table within earshot of him. They were being loud and disruptive but no one dared interrupt them.

"I had me a wild one the other night." One of the men said. "Darn near broke my neck," he said with a touch of self-pity. His buddies picked up on that. "awwwwwww poor Timsly, he got himself a neck pincher," One said in mocking. The others joined in and eventually the subject changed. "You guys all remember Captain Hirshorn don't ya?" one of the men said in awe. "Yeah he had that harem of women, he claimed they were his bounty or something, didn't he?" The others grunted in agreement. "Right, sure they were!" One laughed smacking his buddy on the back. "I saw his newest arrival a few months back and she looked pretty banged up, he must be rough on the gals when he catches them. He seemed quite fond of his new catch as I recall." One said more softly. Riddick smirked at the guys sudden caring for some woman he did nothing to help out, Coward. He thought as he picked at his food. He had heard of men like that Captain. They captured women and claimed they were wanted or had committed some crime, then they made them into sex slaves promising to let them go after a certain amount of time passed. Of course it was considered illegal, but many of them got away with it when on long journeys in deep space. "What did he call that cute blond?" "Which one? A voice asked. "The one that was all cut up, looked like she had a tangle with a wild animal or something." Another answered. "Oh that one." One laughed. "He called her Carolyn the wild one."

Riddick stopped his fork in mid bite. Did he just say Carolyn? He asked himself not sure he heard the guy right. He jumped up from the table and approached the men. "What did you just say?" He asked, his voice low and tight. The men looked at him as if he were some crazy intruder. "What's it to you?" One of the men asked. "Just answer my question," He said menacingly. The men looked at each other wondering if they could take him. "Depends, what's your question?" one of the men said giving his buddies a look that said to back off. "The girl you spoke of, Carolyn. What did she look like? Did you hear her last name?" He asked, keeping his voice calm. "Cute looking blond, short hair, petite, she had been cut up pretty badly when he brought her on board. Never did catch her last name." He added. "Know her?" He asked curiously. "Where can I find this Captain?" Riddick asked ignoring his question. "Well he'd be in the Trask sector by now, a class 10 shuttle launcher went down on some planet around there. He's quite fond of seeking out downed ships before anyone gets there to retrieve anything." Riddick was on his way before the man finished his sentence. "What a chump!" the man said loudly, once he was sure Riddick was no longer within earshot.

 

Jack entered the cabin expecting to find it empty. Instead Riddick was quickly moving about collecting his gear. "What's going on?" She asked slightly nervous. "I'm going somewhere," he said not looking at her. "Where are we going?" She swallowed. "Not we, just me. I got to go alone," he more or less demanded. She knew that tone meant there was no arguing with him about the subject. Tears welled in her eyes and she collapsed onto the floor. "Imam said you'd might abandon me, but I didn't believe him!" She cried, the tears flowing freely now. Riddick stopped what he was doing and approached her. "I'm not abandoning you. I have to take care of some business and I don't want you to get involved. I'll be back for you." He said more gently. She looked up at his face in hope of seeing if he was telling the truth or not. She tried to kept her panic in check. She'd been in worse situations before. If there was one thing she had learned about Riddick it was that he had a pure honesty. He said things as they were, and never pulled any punches. If he said he'd be back, he'd be back. "How long do you think you'll be gone for?" She asked wiping away the tears. "I don't know, hopefully no more than a few weeks." He replied as he continued getting supplies. "It might be a good idea for you to see if you could stay with a friend while I'm gone." He said finally looking up at her. It was at that moment that he wished she'd kept her tomboy looks, as she was now very feminine looking and that might lead to trouble. He considered taking her with him for a brief moment and then shot that idea down. He wasn't taking any chances of some pervert getting his hands on her. At least here on the ship she'd have more security. "I will Riddick." She obeyed him. He was finally ready to go and together they found the shuttle he'd rented. Her heart was pounding so hard she thought it might explode. They'd been together for nearly three months straight and she never wanted him to leave her. But here he was about to disappear on a shuttle to who knows where. "Remember all I taught you and you'll be fine. What's my number one rule?" He asked testing her. "Always keep my guard up." She replied quickly. His steel eyes stared at her a moment longer. "And always be one step ahead of everyone else." She dutifully continued. Riddick took her chin in his hand. "You never did tell me your real name." He grinned. "It's Audrey." She whispered. "I'll see you when I get back then, Audrey," He said turning and heading into the shuttle. She watched it take off as the tears fell again. She wondered if she would ever see him again.

 

Riddick yawned and stretched. He had been searching the Trask sector for nearly five days and so far no sign of the Captain. He was beginning to wonder if it was all just their imaginations. He was starting to think it was crazy to believe it could possibly be his Carolyn. From what he saw the aliens had taken her from his arms but he never actually saw them kill her, nor did he hear her cry out. Maybe somehow she had survived and was alive on that Captain's ship. Of course if she had been raped repeatedly for the past three months she would probably not be the same woman he knew. It was the lesser of two evils when given the choice of death by alien or being enslaved by human's. A beeping from the panel brought his attention back to the screen. A ship was close by and it was large enough to be the Captain's, but he wouldn't know until he was practically up on it.

By the time he was close enough to the ship to find out he was hailed by them. "Unknown vessel, state your purpose in this sector." A dull voice demanded. A chill ran up his spine as he realized he'd found the ship. No one else would be so bold as to demand that of an Unknown vessel. "Just out for a little ride, looking for someone to trade with," He said feeding the bait to the crew. A long pause ensued before a reply came. "You may dock for supplies or repairs if needed." The voice said taking the bait. Riddick grinned to himself. They have no idea who they're dealing with, and if they do have Carolyn they're in for much worse. He told himself.

"Leave all weapons on board your vessel." A guard at the gate told him. He held his arms up so they could scan him for any weapons. When he was clean they allowed him to enter all the way. "The Captain would like to invite you for lunch, please follow me." A more professional looking man told him. They weren't beating around the bush and that meant the Captain must be desperate to hear what he had to trade. He prepared some fake story on his way to meet him and hoped it would buy him enough time to find out what he needed to know. "Welcome!" the plump Captain said as he entered the room. A brief image of this fat man attempting to force himself on Carolyn angered Riddick. "I'm captain Hirshorn, what can I do for you?" He motioned to sit while getting right to the point. "The name's Johns, and I have something to trade." Riddick said as he sat down. The Captain motioned for him to eat and he refused. "Not hungry." He replied not taking his eyes from him for a moment. Hirshorn brushed him off as he sucked down three clams in a row. What a pig, Riddick thought to himself. If he hurt Carolyn in any way, he'd slice that fat belly of his wide open. "I'm looking for women," Riddick said point blank. Hirshorn stopped abruptly and looked at him cautiously. "Understandably, but a fine looking man such as yourself shouldn't have any trouble finding a woman." He countered. Riddick smirked. "It's the eyes, women are afraid of the eyes." He removed his goggles and allowed Hirshorn to see his eyes. "I'm willing to trade a high amount for a blond, you know how hard it is to find a blond these days," He said giving him a fake smile. Hirshorn wiped his mouth and sat back in his chair, food far from him attention. "I might know a blond or two. What do you have to trade with?" It was Riddick's turn to sit back in his chair. "Let's just say I happen to know of a very recent crash on a desolate planet not far from here. I checked the files; its last shipment was weapons, among other things." He kept his eyes piercing Hirshorns in hope of getting him to trust him. "And where exactly is this new crash?" He asked breaking his eyes away from Riddick's. "Now if I told you that it wouldn't be much of a trade now would it," he grinned at him. The captain stared at him for a long moment, attempting to size him up. "I might be willing to give up a few gals in exchange for information." He finally said. Riddick nodded. Hirshorn motioned for a servant. "Take this gentleman to suite A, make sure he's kept comfortable." The servant nodded his head. "Yes sir. If you will follow me sir, I'll take you to your room," The servant said to Riddick.

As easy as things had gone for him, he was pretty darn sure he could not trust the Captain and he kept his eyes open for ways of escaping. The room they put him in contained all the comforts of home. He was instructed to sit on a couch that faced a wall. The Captain sat next to him. "Bring em in!" He demanded. Riddick felt sick to his stomach as one by one women were brought before him. Each woman looked terrified, some were young girls around Audrey's age. He felt his fist clench up and forced them to relax. He had to keep focused, there would be time enough later on to deal with the other captured women, and he only had one on his mind at the moment. He held his breath as one by one the women were dragged in front of him. None of them were Carolyn, or even remotely looked like her for that matter. The Captain nudged him periodically pointing out good things about each woman. Riddick wanted to reach over and squeeze his fat neck until he couldn't move anymore. He disgusted him. He was about to give up when the last woman was brought in. She stood there crying in fear. Her eyes pleaded with him not to pick her. "Now I've had this gal, so she's no longer a virgin. I like my gals to be virgins," He said giving Riddick a knowing look. "In fact, I have a nice ripe gal that I've been holding out on, keeping her around for the right time." He cleared his throat proudly. Riddick glared at him. "How much for her?" He asked. "No, no, I wouldn't trade her or sell her for anything. She's my little wild one and I'm enjoying training her." He replied smartly. Riddick's heart beat a bit faster at that revelation. Could it be Carolyn? His thoughts raced quickly. "I'll take her," He said referring to the girl standing in fear in front of them. The captain was surprised. "I would have figured you as liking virgins." He wheezed as he got up off the couch. "Take her for tonight, see if she is to your liking. If you are satisfied by morning, she's yours." He huffed as he left the room. The men grinned as they threw her onto the couch before exiting. She gasped and put her hands up to defend herself from Riddick. He immediately undid the ropes that tied her hands. He leaned over her and she flinched. "Way I see it you have two choices, help me and I'll take you with me, don't help me and I'll leave you here," He said point blank. She stared at him completely confused. "I don't understand." She shook her head. "What do you want with me?" He put an arm around her and pulled her into his grasp and she struggled to get loose. "I don't want sex from you, I want information." He whispered in her ear. She relaxed a bit and looked into his steel eyes. "What information?" She asked. "Have you seen this wild one he refers to?" A flicker of recognition flashed in her eyes and she nodded. "Yes, she was in the room where he..he...where he raped me. He made her watch," She said looking down at her hands in shame. Riddick clenched his jaw in anger. If it was Carolyn that man was as good as dead. "Do you think you could show me where she is being held?" He asked calmly. She slowly nodded her head. "If I show you, will you take me with you when you go?" She asked cautiously. Riddick shook his head yes. Her entire continence perked up and she stood up from the couch. "Let's go then," She said determinedly.

As much as Riddick wanted to find the woman, he knew they had to wait for the Captain to go to bed. He went over the plans with the captured woman, whose name he discovered was Bianca. She was so determined to escape she was willing to die to do it. And he was reminded of Carolyn's words. "Yes, I'd die for them." She had said. He had tried to keep her from having those feelings and if he had succeeded she would not have risked her life to save him. "Ready?" Bianca asked breaking into his thoughts. He nodded and headed for the door. Luckily the halls were darkened, as everyone seemed to be shut up tight for the night. Together they crept down the halls, Bianca leading the way. Outside of a few guards there seemed to be very little security. The Captain must really think he's got everything under control. Either that or it was a trap and he was completely prepared for that situation. "Here's the room." Bianca whispered as she stopped in front of a door. Riddick easily broke the case open and released the locks. Together they pushed the doors open. Once inside the darkened room Bianca led him to the room where she had last seen the woman. The doors were locked and again he had to release them. This room was slightly lit up and he noticed the woman right away. She was barely dressed in a flimsy gown, her arms and legs were chained to the bed and her blond head was turned away from him. He rushed to the bed and sat down on it. The first thing he noticed was the large scar on her back and arms. Someone had used a cauter knife to fix some nasty cuts. He thought as he reached over and gently moved the blond hair away from her face to get a better look at her.

He felt a shock rush through his body when he realized it was Carolyn. Her hair was longer and she had scars on her arms and neck, but it was definitely her. He sucked in large amounts of air as the realization sank in. "Carolyn," he whispered shaking her lightly. She rolled onto her back and slowly opened her eyes. They opened as big as saucers when she saw him. "Riddick?!" She said in disbelief. She reached her hands up to touch him. "Is it really you?" She asked unsure if he was just a figment of her imagination or not. "It's me Carolyn," He said breaking open the shackles with his bare hands. When she was free she reached her hands around his neck and hugged him. "I don't belie.. I can't believe it.." She said in shock. In one swift move Riddick picked her up in his arms. "Believe it," he said as he carried her to the door. Once they were back inside the main room again, Bianca eyed the Captains door. "Keep going I'll catch up," She said pushing them toward the door. Riddick put Carolyn down. "No, this is something I should do," He said standing between her and the Captain's door. Fry grabbed his arm. "Let's just leave, I don't care about him. We'll turn him in when we get back and they can deal with it. What's worse than death Riddick," She said staring into his eyes. He knew what she was implying. If the Captain was caught with all the illegal activity going on he'd probably get life in prison and Riddick knew that fate was far worse than death. He nodded in agreement. "I promised Jack no more killing anyway," He said taking her hand. "Bianca, here's your chance to escape. I suggest you take it," He said over his shoulder as they left. The choice was hers. They rushed down the halls and managed to make it to the shuttle with very little trouble. The one guard was sleeping peacefully and Riddick had no trouble knocking him out. He released the docking clamps as Fry entered the ship. "Wait for me!" Bianca yelled as she raced to the shuttle. "Thought you wanted to stay," He said following her inside. "I had to stop and get a souvenir." She grinned as she held up two large white objects. "I'm afraid he won't be getting far without these," She said tossing them lifelessly onto the floor of the shuttle. "I couldn't take the chance of him escaping," She said as her joy turned to tears of relief.

Once they were on autopilot, Riddick looked over at Carolyn. Her face was lit up with the glow of the panel lights. She looked at him still half believing she would wake up and discover this was all a dream. "Is this a dream?" She asked him seriously. He shrugged. "If it is, we're sharing the same dream," He said softly. "Want to tell me what happened to you?" He asked feeling awkward talking to her. Taking a deep breath she sat back in the seat. "It happened so quickly I wasn't sure what was going on. One minute you and I were heading for the ship and the next, I see you growing dimmer as I was swept away by an alien. Almost immediately a fight broke out over me and as the alien swooped it lost its grip on me. I fell to the ground and when ship taking off distracted them I was able to crawl to a storage shelter. I was bleeding so badly I knew I was as good as dead, but at least they wouldn't get me. So I blocked myself inside and waited for the end to come. The next thing I know I'm being taken on board a ship. I actually thought it was a rescue vessel, instead it was a flying torture chamber." She scoffed angrily. He tensed up at the thought of her alone and suffering while he was flying away. "I learned later on that the Captain went after the crash site and after they pretty much took care of the aliens, they searched the place for loot, finding me instead of anything of value." Riddick shot her a glance. "I think of you as quite valuable," He said seriously. She could tell he had changed a lot since she last saw him. And she was so relieved to be with him again. He gave her such a sense of protection and safety that she never got from any other human. "How's Jack?" She asked smiling. "She's changed, she actually looks like a girl now," He said grinning as he pictured her seeing him walk in with Carolyn. "She'll be surprised to see you." He added. "I can't wait to see her," She said dazed by all that had happened in the last hour.

 

Fry tried to ignore the odd looks she was getting as she walked down the corridor. She had thrown on an extra shirt of Riddick's and now looked half-dressed and half-naked. She longed to get a hot solar shower and into some normal clothes for once. That Captain had made her wear skimpy clothes so he could ogle her when he felt like it. Bianca, ignoring the looks she got, headed off to tell the proper authorities about Hirshorn. "Here it is." Riddick said stopping in front of their cabin. He opened the lock and they both went in. "Audrey?" He called out. The place looked deserted and he hoped she was okay. "Riddick!!" Came a cry from behind them. Audrey had entered the room and noticed them both at the same time. He saw the conflict in her eyes as to which one she would run to first. "Carolyn?" She whispered as the confusion set in. "Jack," Fry said, her eyes tearing up. "Look at you!" She said taking her hands. "You look so different." Audrey looked at Riddick for an answer. "It's her," He said nodding his head in affirmation. Audrey threw herself into Carolyn's arms. "I thought you were dead." She cried happily. Fry held her tightly and never thought she would ever be so happy, she had figured her life was over and now it was just beginning. When she finally let her go Audrey wiped away her tears. "I never thought I'd see you again." She replied sadly. "Or you." Audrey added looking up at Riddick. "I told you I'd come back. You've got to work on that trust kid." He grinned at her. She perked up. "Does this mean I don't have to go back to earth?" She asked smartly. Fry and Riddick both looked at each other and grinned.

Audrey went into the kitchen area to make Fry a cup of tea, leaving the two of them alone for a moment. Fry had a million things she wanted to say to Riddick, but found herself too exhausted to try at the moment. She felt so drained inside. "Did he hurt you?" He asked looking intently at her. She shook her head. "He just kept me chained up. He let me eat and shower, that was about it. But he didn't physically hurt me." She looked away from him feeling odd by all that had happened. "He didn't rape you did he?" He asked quietly. Fry shook her head. "He never did that, thank god." He was glad no serious harm had come to her. His attention then turned to her wrists and ankles. They were bruised and cut by the shackles. "Better get the doctor to take a look at you," He said as he got up from the couch. She nodded in agreement and all three of them headed for sick bay. People stopped and stared in awe at the three of them as they passed and she wondered what they were thinking. She must look pretty rough at the moment. They were probably assuming Riddick did it to her and was now taking her to the doctor. That thought brought about a flush of anger inside her.

Fry watched as the doctor repaired the scars on her body. It didn't take long for him to blend her skin back to normal. "There you are, all done." The Doctor put the instrument down. "How did you say you got these wounds?" He asked as he picked up her chart disk. "I didn't." She replied as she put her shirt back on. He gave her a defeated look when her answer was not to his liking. "So, How long have you been away from your husband?" He asked pretending to look at her chart intently. She gave him a long stare. "If you're implying my husband cut me up, or some other ridiculous bull.." She started to snap at him in defense of Riddick. "No, No..not at all. That wasn't what I meant at all. I apologize." He shook his head vigorously. "We are just simply curious about you. You see, your husband and sister said nothing to us of their situation. So I thought I might be able to put an end to the rumors. That's all I meant," He said sincerely. She could tell he was speaking the truth. Even though she allowed him to believe a complete lie. Not only was Audrey not her sister, Riddick was definitely not her husband. She cringed at the thought of telling Riddick that the entire ship would now believe they were married. How would he react? She wondered as she finished getting dressed. When she came out Audrey was the only one there. "Riddick had to go back to work," she said in explanation. Fry was disappointed that he wasn't there but she understood. It was so odd for all of them. They really didn't know all that much about each other. Only time would change that, if Riddick stuck around anyway.

Bianca met them in the hall as they headed home. "How'd it go?" Fry asked. "As good as expected. They're sending an enforcer ship to check it out. I'm going with them. I have to know that he's finished and that the other's are free again," she said as her eyes watered. Fry put an arm around her. "Thank you Bianca for all you've done for me, I can never repay you. I wish you well in your travels." She replied. "Hey, it's you I should be thanking for saving my life. After all it was you Riddick was after, he never would have been there if not for you. You're a very lucky woman to have such a man in your life. If only I could be so lucky," she laughed sadly. "But I have a second chance at life and I'm going to take it." She added with determination. "I understand that feeling." Fry nodded. "I'll say goodbye to Riddick before I go and try to drop you a line when things have settled down a bit," she explained as she hugged Fry one last time. "See you around the galaxy." Fry replied as Bianca turned to head off down the hall. She wondered if this was the last they'd see of her. One thing was for sure Biance was right about Riddick, she was lucky to have him in her life. Even if it might be for a short time.

 

The hot solar shower was just what Fry needed to ease away the tension. She closed her eyes and let the water wash away all the sadness from the past three months. Never in a million years had she expected Riddick to find her. She had it in her head that she'd never see him again. After all, she knew he'd go into hiding after they were rescued from the planet and finding him after that would prove impossible. Finding Audrey with him was somewhat of a surprise for her. She was pretty sure he'd let Imam take her off his hands. But he had allowed her to stay and gave her a secure home as well. While they weren't living the life of luxury, it was still a home. It was definite proof that he wanted to rejoin the human race.

She stepped from the shower and into the air dryer. Once she was dry she slipped on some nightclothes she and Audrey picked up after the doctor's visit. Running a brush through her hair, she paused at the mirror and contemplated cutting it, then decided to keep it the length it was. Since she didn't have to worry about travelling all over the universe anymore, she wouldn't have to worry about keeping it a short length either. That thought made her smile. She had felt her life held no meaning just going from one end of the universe to the next and now she was hopeful she'd have a chance to do some actual living for once. A chill ran over her body as a thought popped into her head. What if Riddick had gone after her just to repay her for saving his life? What if that was his only objective and now he would leave Audrey with her and disappear into the vastness of space? Her heart sped up as the thought of losing him raced through her mind. She had no right to expect him to stick around. After all, he hadn't been a free man for a long time, and now he was not only free, but he could also start over again. Who said he'd want to share it with her and Audrey? Even if he had kept Audrey around, she had the oddest feeling he was planning on leaving them. That thought was scary for her. As hard as life could get at times, It never hurt to have someone by your side when the bad times did come around. She forced herself to calm down and decided she would ask him point blank what his intentions were. He wouldn't lie to her about it. That she was sure of.

Leaving the bathroom she entered Riddicks room. It was simple, containing the basics..a bed, a chair, a metal dresser and a mirror. A pair of dark goggles lay on the dresser and she picked them up. She'd do just about anything to read his mind at that moment. She put them back down and approached the bed. It looked so inviting she couldn't resist lying down on it. Just for a moment. She told herself. She could smell Riddicks sent on the blankets and it made her feel secure. It wasn't but a few minutes and she fell sound asleep.

 

Fry sat up quickly. Confused for a moment where she was, she looked around the darkened room. "Have a nice sleep?" Came Riddicks voice from the darkness. She gasped loudly. "Jesus Riddick! You have to stop doing that to me," she said holding her hand to her chest. "Sorry, wasn't expecting you sleeping in my bed," he said, his deep voice tinged with sensuality. "Dims!" She yelled at the lights and a soft glow filled the room. It was low enough not to bother Riddicks eyes, but bright enough to ease her discomfort of being alone with him. He sat in the chair across from the bed and she realized he'd been sitting there watching her. For how long? She wondered. "You should have woken me up," She said giving him a somewhat embarrassed look. "I could have slept with Audrey." She replied quickly getting out of his bed. "What, and miss sleeping with your husband?" He said sarcastically. Fry hunched her shoulders and looked at him apprehensively. "You heard already?" She asked amazed at the speed of the rumor. Riddick kept his eyes on her not saying a word. "Look, I thought the doctor was accusing you of cutting me up. I'm sorry, it just came out." She stood there in the semi darkness and waited for his response. "How interesting." He said calmly. A huge grin crossed her face as she recalled the last time he'd said that to her. "Well, I'm glad you see it that way." She replied with humor in her voice. "I'll let you get to bed," She said feeling bad for preventing him from getting his sleep.

His hand shot out and grabbed her wrist as she passed him. "You're not afraid of the dark, are you?" He asked. And she knew by his tone that he meant himself and not actually the dark this time. She leaned over to within inches of his face. "Not anymore." She whispered making eye contact with him. He released her and she left the room. Her heart raced at the feelings he generated inside her. She had felt some of the same feelings when they were alone in the escape ship together. He was so close to her and she had been both terrified and excited at the same time. One thing was for sure; she never wanted a life without him in it. Whether or not he felt the same way was a whole different matter.

Riddick picked up one of the pillows and placed it to his nose, breathing in her scent. That scent he would remember for as long as he lived. There was something about surviving almost certain death with another person that created a bond that was hard to break. He tried to tell himself that was the attraction he had for her, but he knew deep inside there was more to it than that. It had started the very moment he saw her. There was no stopping it after that point. That's why he'd entertained the notion of her going with him in the escape ship. He was dying to explore just how far the feelings would go. Now he had a second chance and was wondering if it was the right thing to do. Maybe she deserved someone better, someone who didn't have a criminal record. He frowned, tossing the pillow angrily onto the bed.

Fry woke up hours later and found Audrey gone. She got dressed and entered the kitchen area. The two of them were in there already. "Good morning!" Audrey said happily. She smiled back at her. "Morning." She replied sitting down. She looked over at Riddick. He returned her look but said nothing. Audrey placed a bowl of oatmeal in front of her. "I'm going to check around, see if I can find a job today." Fry announced. Riddick quickly looked up at her. "You sure?" He asked noticing the dark circles under her eyes. She nodded. "I gotta get back on the horse. The sooner the better." She added taking a bite of oatmeal. Audrey quickly sat down. "You're not going to leave are you?" She asked her voice rising slightly in panic. Fry took her hand. "No sweetie, I'll find something on the Tolstoy. I'm not planning on being a pilot again anytime soon." She replied with reassurance. Audrey let out a breath of relief. Poor kid, Fry thought. She was so used to being afraid of people leaving her that she constantly had to worry. Fry reminded herself to talk to Audrey about her family when she got a chance. She looked at Riddick curiously wondering if they had talked at all about their pasts.

He returned her look and got up and put his bowl in the sink. "I'm sure I don't have to tell you to keep quiet about our past," He said firmly. She nodded her head. "How much do we really know of each other's pasts anyway?" She replied daring him to open up. He stared at the two of them waiting for his reply and it suddenly dawned on him he had taken on a large amount of responsibility. First by taking in Audrey and now by Carolyn's arrival. He was many things in his life, but a family man was not one of them. Not that either of them couldn't take care of themselves. They were both tough and smart women that had made it alone for a long time. But the responsibility of being there for them emotionally was not something he'd considered. He was not experienced in emotions. All he knew most of his life was anger and hatred. Could he handle love and happiness? "See you tonight." He replied avoiding her dare. Fry watched him go and felt a pang of fear. He was going to leave them. There was no doubt in her mind anymore.

 

Riddick entered the cabin and was surprised by the aroma that filled the place. As always, Audrey raced to greet him. "Hey guess what we're having for dinner?" She said hardly able to contain her excitement. "Real meat!" She continued not waiting for a response from him. "Where'd you get it?" He asked suspicious of how she might have acquired it. "The Captain gave it to Carolyn," She said returning to the kitchen. Fry passed her on the way out. "Ready for a real meal for once?" She asked smiling at him. "Although I'm not much of a cook, so I might have really ruined it." She added with a bit of embarrassment. "How did you get it?" He asked giving her a suspicious look. "I got a job. I went to the Captain to see if they needed anyone and he said no, not on the bridge anyway. But he did get me a job in the loading docks." She replied happily. "And the meat?" He asked still wanting an answer. "It was a starting bonus." She added more quietly. She wasn't lying. It was a starting bonus, just not for everyone who started.

Fry quickly realized the Captain found her attractive and used that to their advantage. Riddick saw right through her. "I guess the Captain thinks quite highly of you, to offer such a bonus," He said accusingly. She frowned at him. "Don't worry, I made sure he realized I was very married and quite in love with my husband." She said smartly. Her words had affected him more than he let on. He knew the marriage title was a façade but did she really feel love for him? "Are you going to eat with us, or just watch? She asked a bit miffed at his lack of excitement. Not that he ever showed excitement anyway. "I'll eat." He replied gruffly. He wasn't happy how they got the meat, but he wasn't about to pass it up.

Once Audrey had gone to bed Fry sat down across from Riddick. "I need to know what your intentions are," She said nervously pushing her hair behind her ears. He was reminded of how her hair smelled and longed to touch it. "What are my intentions?" He echoed her words thoughtfully. "Are you going to leave us?" She asked her voice wavering. She wondered if she could handle his response. "Why is it you two can't trust me? After all I've done, you still don't." He replied gruffly. "Maybe You're right," she said sincerely. "The man who raised me once told me that after you go through a traumatic situation with another human, you form a bond that no one else can fill. I guess that's why I'm afraid you're going to leave us. Not to mention I know next to nothing about you. All I know is that you're a convicted killer, you never lie, and you scare the hell out of most people," she added with frustration.

His expression softened a bit at her honest confession "You first," He said quietly. Their eyes met and she knew he was asking her to tell him about her past. "All I know about you is that you're a pilot whose dealing with issues." He replied with a smirk. She sighed and sat back on the couch. "What's there to tell. I was born on Earth, had two parents. They were dirt poor and as soon as I was old enough they traded me for a ship of their own. The man they traded with raised me. Best damn thing that happened to me. He was more of a parent than they ever were. He taught me how to be a pilot. After he died, I took up with the Hunter-Gratzner. From there I worked my way to the top. Guess I had a pretty boring life, at least up until I met you that is," She said grinning. "Your turn." She added more seriously.

He stared at her for a few moments and she wondered if he was going to tell her or not. ** "I was found in a Dumpster with the cord wrapped around my neck. Guess you'd say I was an accident. I grew up on the streets and when I was sixteen years old I was taken in by a Commander that made me an Elite Company Ranger assigned to the Sigma Galaxy. In other words, I was known as a sweeper. I had to clear the mining tunnels of spitfires. Nasty ass aliens much worse than what we encountered on that planet. After a few years of that I was promoted to Strikeforce Academy on Sigma 3's moon, where I learned all there was to know about killing. Then I was turned loose to enforce security on Sigma 3. Which was just a pit of slavery. All the murder and torture became too much for me and I finally ratted them out. Instead of helping anyone out, I was branded a criminal. All the evidence I'd gathered disappeared and I was put in deep storage at Slam City. After several years I over powered a guard, took his uniform and slipped free. Once outside, I killed two guards and a pilot and took off with the prison planets space freighter. The company immediately put a million-credit contract on my head and just about every bounty hunter and bushwhacker came after me. Each assassin I eliminated was added to my list of serial killings. Johns had been the smart one. He blasted two children to get my attention and threatened to do two more unless I surrendered. Johns was sure to get full credit for my capture. And the rest you know," He said shrugging.

Fry looked at him in total surprise. "You were innocent." She whispered as if she always knew. She wanted so badly to take away the pain he'd suffered. But realized the last thing he'd want was her pity. He had, in essence, been forced into becoming a murderer, with the hopes of having some form of a life dwindling each day that passed. She leaned over and stared him square in the face. "I'll never hurt you, you have my word on that." She said determinedly. He leaned over to within inches of her face. "Never say never Carolyn." He replied ominously, his silver eyes glowing in the darkness.

 

"Johns!" a voice yelled behind Riddick. He turned to see the foreman motioning for him to come forward. The others watched as he passed them and wondered if he'd gotten into trouble. "Yeah?" He asked once he was face to face with the foreman. "The Captain wants a word with you," He said jabbing a thumb upward toward the Tolstoy. Riddick had no idea why the Captain wanted to speak to him. He'd never even met the guy. Barely a week had passed since he and Carolyn sat in the dark telling their life stories and things were beginning to feel what he could only guess as normal. He knew from the way Carolyn talked that the Captain wanted her for himself. He did nothing to hide his affections for her. Blatantly giving her expensive gifts and asking her to have dinner with him. She of course, never accepted anything else to avoid his attention toward her, but that didn't seem to slow him down one bit. Even though Riddick decided that Carolyn deserved someone like the Captain over him, he found he didn't like the attention he paid to her. It angered him to no end and he took on more and more work to attempt to earn enough credits so they could leave the Tolstoy, and the clutches of the Captain.

Once he arrived at the Captains quarters he was sent right in. "Ah Johns, you're here. I'm Captain Brunt," He replied holding out his hand to greet him. Riddick ignored his hand and just stared at him. He could clearly tell the Captain was faking his friendly nature. "First, Let me tell you how grateful I am to have your wife in my employee. I don't know how I'd manage without her. She's quite the handful." He added trying to imply there was more going on with Carolyn than just work. His words did anger Riddick but he kept it well hidden. "Did you need to see me for a reason?" He asked gruffly. The Captain seemed disappointed that he had failed to upset him. "Yes I did," He replied firmly, the fakeness now gone. "I have a job for you, if you're interested that is." He taunted him. "I'm listening," Riddick said. "I've been asked to take on a somewhat tricky job. It's in the Phoenix Sector. I won't beat around the bush, I'm sure you know the dangers of that sector. This is going to be a very dangerous job. And only the best are being offered a chance to take on the work.

The pay is 500 thousand credits Per week..." The Captain waited to see the shocked expression on his face and was once again denied. Riddick was indeed surprised. That was way more credits than he'd ever see after a lifetime of working the mines. With those credits he could buy his own ship the three of them could live on. In fact, he could even buy a ship large enough to run his own mining company. "What's the job?" He asked calmly. The Captain gave him a nervous glance. "Mining Ticklor gel," He said quietly. Riddick had heard of Ticklor's before, They were aliens who lived in above ground caverns and laid their eggs in a gel solution. Just one drop of the gel could be turned into a fuel much stronger than anything else used. He could see the trouble in going after it, there were a lot of dangers involved. The aliens were vicious when their territory was invaded. The Ticklers got their name from the fact that they resembled large ticks on earth, as well as the fact that they "tickled" their pray with a poisonous web of material that immobilized the victim. Then the Tickler could leisurely proceed to suck the insides of the prey out while it was still alive. Certainly not the way he wanted to go.

Among other problems, the cavernous areas where they liked to lay the eggs was a deathtrap, and worst of all, the gel itself was completely unstable at all times. Not to mention other undesirable humans were often sent to kill off the miners and steal the gel. If he took the job there was a chance he'd never come back. And that he was sure helped the Captain in choosing him for the job. Anything to make Carolyn a widow would suit Brunt just fine. Of course, Riddick was one of the few who could actually pull it off. Not only could he see in the dark, he was well trained in self defense, and he'd had experience with aliens before. All those things were in his favor. "If I take the job, what reassurances do I have I'll get paid?" He asked, not trusting Brunt. "You'll get paid at the beginning of each week that you decide to stay. In the event that you should perish in the caverns I'll be sure to see to it that Carolyn and her sister get your pay. Riddick snorted. That was probably the first truthful thing he'd said since they met. Brunt would be more than happy to get both Carolyn and Audrey as well as Riddicks share of the credits. Just move right on in and play the sympathetic Captain. He wouldn't be a bit surprised if Brunt hired someone to kill him once the job was done. In fact, he could almost guarantee that to be the situation. "Of course the work could last for a month or more, so if you have second thoughts on leaving your wife alone.." Brunt started to say. "I'll take the job." Riddick interrupted him. A large grin covered Brunts mouth. "Somehow I knew you would," He said rudely. "I'll get a contract disk sent up to you by this evening." He added motioning him to the door. Riddick left and wondered how in the hell he would tell Carolyn and Audrey about his new job.

 

Fry smiled at the baby in her arms. His chubby little legs kicked as he squealed in delight. This was one of the very few times she'd ever touched a baby let alone held one and she liked how it made her feel. It was like his smile healed her weary soul. "Carolyn, you're so good with him. You really should consider having one of your own," Her new friend Tanya replied. Tanya was a young bubbly woman that lived near their cabin. She had five kids already and still wanted more. She had pretty much taken Fry under her wing and they became instant friends. "Ah.. No, no, no." She laughed as she imagined Riddick burping a baby. My husband and I are definitely not the parent types," She said smiling at the baby. "Maybe you're right, considering the job your husband took, you wouldn't want to be pregnant now." Her words caused Fry's smile to drop. "What do you mean?" She asked confused. "Oh, it's okay if we talk about it. I know it's supposed to be a secret, but a lot of us know about it anyway. Word gets around fast on this ship," She said rolling her eyes. The baby started to cry and Tanya took him from her. "Tanya, tell me what you heard. I just want to make sure my husband isn't keeping anything from me," she said as a feeling of dread crept up her spine.

Fry paced up and down in front of the door. She made herself swear not to get upset, but it was getting harder not to each minute that ticked by. Audrey had come home to find her pacing and she managed to send her on an errand without sounding too upset. Ten minutes later Riddick came home. She was so upset by that time she barely got out the words. "Were you going to bother to tell us, or just leave?" She snapped. "I mean, I understand if you want to leave, you're a free man," she said waving her hand angrily as she continued to pace. "I just would have liked to know that you were leaving, that's all I'm asking." She continued, not looking at him.

He stared at her for a moment. "I was going to tell you when the time was right," He said softly. Her expression changed from anger to apprehension. "Riddick if you go there, you're going to die. I just know it," She said pleading with him. "What would that matter to you anyway, you'll get my pay either way," He added testing how she'd react to that statement. She looked up at him with shock in her expression. "I thought you realized.." She stopped in mid sentence. "Realized what?" He asked holding his breath for her answer. To his surprise she ran a hand lovingly over his cheek. "I care about you." She whispered, her lips just mere inches from his. "I care about you a lot. Is that so hard to believe?" She added before turning away from him. He was not expecting a revelation like that from her and it filled him with an odd feeling inside that he'd never felt before. In fact, he didn't know what to say in response to her words. No matter what they'd been through together, he wasn't the right man for her. Maybe he wasn't the right anything to anyone. Hell, Brunt would be better for them. "You'd be better off with someone like the Captain." He replied quietly. He certainly didn't deserve her. A look of pure disgust flashed on her face. "You know I don't want him!" She bit out angrily. "Maybe I don't want anybody." She added bitterly. He causually sat down on the couch. "I get the feeling taking this job will help us to think more clearly about the situation we find ourselves in." That revelation included Audrey's fantasy of them being a family together. "And what situation is that?" She asked knowing full well what he was referring to. "I think you know." He said smoothly. She nodded her head in understanding. "yeah, I guess I do."

Fry sat in the gardens and stared out into space. She had no right at all to be upset with Riddick. He made his own decisions and she had no part of them. Nor should she expect to. She was taking the whole marriage scam to heart. Sure, she cared a lot for him. Maybe it was stronger than that even. But she had to realize it was just a dream, a fantasy she could never have. When Tanya had mentioned Fry having a baby with Riddick, she was surprised by how badly she really desired that, but she had laughed it off. The way things looked now there was no chance in hell of that ever happening.

She came back to the cabin to find him still sitting there. He looked up at her grimly. "I was thinking," she said sitting down next to him. "Why did you decide to take the job?" She asked him quietly. He turned to look at her. "I thought we could buy our own ship with the credits. Start new lives." He replied truthfully. His words filled her with hope. He had said we could buy our own ship, not I. He still intended for the three of them to stay together. She wanted to tell him how much those words meant to her. But the fact remained he was still going. And that could easily mean his death. "I respect your reasoning Riddick. But I'd rather be poor and have you alive, than rich and not have you at all." She sighed as she plopped back against the chair. His face softened as he realized she wanted him with her. That just added more determination for him to succeed in the job. Now he had something to live for.

 

The expression on Audrey's face was one of disbelief. Her arms hung limply at her side as she plopped down wearily onto the chair. At first Fry thought she was taking the news just as expected. But then her expression changed sharply into one of anger. "Go ahead and leave!" She snapped bitterly. "I'm sick of not knowing if you'll be there when I come home. In fact, I'm quite tired of you." She added more forcefully. Fry was shocked by her words to Riddick. She had expected tears and pleading, not anger and bitterness. How he was taking it was not clear to her. "Sorry you feel that way," He said quietly. Was there a tone of sadness in his voice? Fry thought to herself. "I won't bother to say goodbye to you," Audrey said getting up and heading for the door. "Not that you'd care either way." She mumbled as she left the cabin.

Fry looked over at him and noticed he was tapping his fingers nervously on his leg. That got to him. She thought almost with excitement. Audrey had always looked up to him and took his word as law, now she had forged a new opinion of him, even if it was said because she was hurt and wanted to hurt him back. And that got to him. She didn't want him to feel bad, but she did want him to regain the emotions he'd lost in his past. Maybe this was the first step for him. Maybe he'd even cancel the job. "I'm sure she doesn't mean what she said," Fry said putting a hand on his arm. "One thing I learned at slam city..no one says anything they don't mean," He replied sarcastically.

 

Riddick's eyes continually watched the door each time it opened. Fry knew he was hoping it would be Audrey. "Audrey might not come," she said unsure of what she would do. She had gone after her and attempted to explain Riddick's reasons for taking the job. But it did no good. She was set in her anger toward him. Fry knew that if she didn't come and see him off, she would regret it the rest of her life if he died. "It took spunk for her to say what she did. Guess I'm rubbing off onto her afterall," he said proudly. Fry gave him an incredulous look. "If I live forever I'll never figure you out. I'm sure of one thing though, you are capable of caring, I've seen it," Fry said somberly. "And that is exactly why Audrey said what she did." She sighed annoyingly. He smirked at her reply and she realized he knew that as well. He was just messing with her again. That was enough for her to beg him to stay. Why was she letting him go? They had been reunited for such a short time to be separated yet again.

They sat down on a window chair to wait. Three other men and two women also waited for the transport and Fry looked at them suspiciously. She leaned close to Riddick's ear. "You do have a weapon hidden on you somewhere, right?" She asked. "I don't trust these people, they all look like criminals," she said not fully comprehending her words. Riddick leaned his head back and gave her a hearty laugh. When it dawned on her what he was laughing at she joined him. "I guess I don't see you as a criminal anymore." She added with a smile. "But you do have a weapon, right?" She asked her demeanor serious again. "I wouldn't be surprised if one of these people has been paid to kill you once the mining is over." She whispered leaning close to him. He gave her a surprised look. "I was thinking the same thing myself," he said. "We both know what you mean to the Captain, you're better to him as a widow," he growled leaning back against the seat. "Let's just be sure I don't end up a widow," she said giving him a sad look. Riddick nodded in agreement. "Don't worry about me, I'm well protected. Just be sure to get my credit key each week." He reminded her. She nodded just as a loud scraping sound announced the arrival of the transport as the doors opened.

Fry stood with Riddick as the others got on board. Their eyes met almost exactly like they did the night she was swept away by the alien. He looked so different that night, just as he did now. "I want you to give this to Audrey when you see her again. She may not watch it, but I had to say goodbye to her," he said handing her a communication disk. She took it and slipped it into her pocket. "I'll give it to her," she said sadly not able to look up at him, not into those eyes of his. "Hey Johns! We ain't got all night. Kiss the broad goodbye already!" One of the pilots shouted as he headed into the shuttle. Riddick ignored him and smiled at her. He leaned down and kissed her softly on the cheek. She wrapped her arms around him and hugged him tightly and he did the same to her. She never wanted to let him go. She wanted time to freeze like that forever. "Please come back to us." She whispered more as a prayer than a plea. "We'll meet again Carolyn." He grinned as he let her go. He didn't look back as she watched him saunter into the darkness of the shuttle.

Audrey stared at the communication disk Fry placed on the table. "When you feel ready to watch it, it will be here for you," she said patting her on the back to comfort her. Audrey looked at it unemotionally before leaving the cabin. Fry sadly watched her go and felt her heart sink further. The place seemed so empty now that Riddick was gone. Every single day she'd be filled with the fear of getting the news that he was dead. While on the other hand she realized he was strong enough to survive the job and that calmed her fears. Right now she would concentrate on getting to the bottom of Audrey's troubles. She was old enough to understand why he was doing it, so her behavior confused her. There must be something else there that got her so angry, and she would find out what that was.

 

Fry and Audrey walked to the cabin arm in arm. They had spent the afternoon in the oceanic bay and were red from the sun lamps. Almost a week had passed since Riddick's departure and Fry felt it would be best to take things slow with Audrey. The communications disk had stayed exactly in the same spot on the table untouched or bothered by Audrey. Fry groaned as they turned the corner to find Brunt smiling away as he waited for them to get there. "Hello lovely ladies," he said cheerfully. "What's he doing here?" Audrey asked loudly, not bothering to hide her contempt for him. Brunt smiled at her as she entered the cabin. "Cute kid," he replied to Fry as she approached him. It didn't take a rocket scientist to hear the annoyance in his voice. "What do you want Brunt?" She asked placing an arm in front of the door to prevent him from entering the cabin. "I just wanted to let you know that your husband made it to his destination with no trouble." She perked up at the news. "That's good to hear." She replied happily.

Brunt's face fell slightly at her reaction. "I thought maybe I could take you out to eat in celebration," he added more seriously. She quickly shook her head as she entered the cabin. "I'm sorry, Audrey is having some trouble being separated from Johns. I need to be with her. You understand," she said politely. He shook his head yes, but his eyes said no. "Sure, next time you'll be better prepared to accept my offer." He replied giving her a look that said she couldn't refuse. She was sickened by his insistent attitude. He had pressured her to go out with him the same day Riddick left. She refused. At the very least she had expected him to give her a few days before hitting on her. Now he was implying she could no longer refuse him and that pissed her off. "See you around," she replied quickly before ordering the door to close. She leaned wearily against the door and wondered how she would manage to deal with him. She could not afford for the two of them to get kicked off the Tolstoy, not with Riddick off who knew where. "Why don't you go tell him to bag himself?" Audrey asked as she munched on a cookie. "It's not that easy. Suppose he throws us off the Tolstoy. How would Riddick find us again?" She said firmly. Audrey rolled her eyes "I don't think that's going to be a problem. It's not like he's coming back anyway," she said smartly.

Fry grabbed Audrey firmly by the arms forcing her to sit down on the couch. "I want you to tell me why you are acting like this." She said slightly annoyed. Audrey fought saying anything to her for a moment before giving in. "Do you know why I was hiding on the Hunter G?" She asked as her eyes started to water. Fry shook her head no and waited for her to continue. "My father left my mom when I was nine and he never came back. She eventually divorced him and we managed to get along pretty well without him. At least until mom caught the Rezulian C disease while working on Saturn." She paused and took a deep painful breath as her mind went back to that time in her life. Fry knew what the Rezulian C disease did to a person. It was most dreaded on Saturn and could only be spread through ingestion. That's why food and water was so highly monitored on that planet. Of course, if someone wanted you out of the picture that was an easy way to do it. It was an untreatable disease that pretty much slowly devoured a person from the inside out. Some scientists actually believed Rezulian C was actually an alien species just trying to survive. Most victims committed suicide to avoid the painful end. "Well, the symptoms take a while to show up and she was so worried about who would look after me, so she was relieved when her boyfriend Tron asked her to marry him. He was an okay guy, so I wasn't all that upset, yet." She added ominously.

Fry was not sure she wanted to hear what was coming next. "When he found out she was dying he became very cruel toward us, especially me. Sometimes he would pound me for no reason at all. He even blamed me for my mom's death." Fry clinched her jaw in anger. She couldn't bear to imagine someone hurting sweet Audrey. "Mom got weaker and sicker and soon she was unconscious most of the time. Tron knew she was as good as dead and that's when he kidnapped me, enslaving me on some planet to do his dirty work. That's when I found out he had hundreds of kids as his property. He married women and killed them off, then took the kids to work wherever he found fit." Fry gasped in disgust. Was there anyone in the entire Galaxy that knew of kindness to a child? She sat next to Audrey and wrapped an arm around her to attempt to help ease her discomfort. "I was there for two years before I managed to escape. I smuggled myself off the planet inside a space freighter and then changed my looks to avoid being detected. I eventually made my way to the Hunter G." She stopped and wiped away the tears that had formed in her eyes. "I never saw my mother again. Although I know she's dead," she replied as the tears continued to fall down her cheeks. Fry held her in her arms and let her cry. She had been alone so much that she probably never got a chance to let that out. Fry began to piece together what she felt was the reason for Audrey's grief with Riddick. "Are you afraid that Riddick will leave you like your father did?" She asked her quietly. Audrey shook her head yes without leaving Fry's arms. "And that the same thing that happened to you with your mother will happen with me now?" She added. Again Audrey nodded. "And now that the captain likes you..." "You're afraid that history will repeat itself." Fry finished her sentence for her. Again she nodded affirmatively. She couldn't blame her for fearing that. It was a hard life for her and a lot of sadness was involved. "Well, If I ever were inclined to get married, which I'm not, It certainly won't be the Captain that I marry," She said shaking her head in disgust at the thought.

Audrey picked up her head and gave her a relieved look. "As for Riddick..I don't know what his plans for the future are. I wish I could tell you that he'd come back and together we'd start new lives, but I can't. But I do know that he cares about you and what happens to you. Why else would he have saved your rear on that planet? Or have you stay with him here on the Tolstoy? Not to mention leave you a communication disk." She nodded in the direction of the disk lying discarded on the table. A look of guilt mixed with sadness flashed on Audrey's face. "I was so mean to him, he'll never forgive me," she said as if it was too late to make amends. "I didn't even say goodbye to him." She added regretfully. Fry stood up and ran a hand over her hair. "You live, you learn," she said gently. "I think I'm gonna pay a visit to Tanya for a while, give you some time alone." She sighed before leaving the cabin.

Audrey walked to the disk and looked at it for a moment. She was not sure she wanted to see what was on it. What if he was mad at her and let her have it? She reached out for the disk with a shaking hand and put it into the wall screen unit. Riddick's face flickered on and her heart began to race. "Aud, if you're watching this then you were too much of a coward to come see me off." He paused to give her a grin before continuing. "I don't blame you for thinking that I'm not coming back. Hell, I'd feel the same way if I were you. Remember you can't count on anyone in life, I didn't have to teach you that." He added more seriously. "If I know anyone in the universe you can count on it's Carolyn. Stick with her and you'll have it made." He started to turn off the message and paused a moment. "Couldn't have asked for a better sidekick than you kiddo. See you on the other side." He added with a smile before the image went blank. Audrey stared at the blank screen for a moment. She couldn't decide whether to laugh or cry. It was pretty much a goodbye message, but he also used it to let her know he cared about her. In his own way of course, but it was still there.

 

Riddick pulled Orion Tanner into the darkness, just as a Ticklor came around the corner. Once it was gone she gave him an appreciative smile. "Sometimes I'm damn glad they made me your partner," she said relaxing a bit. Riddick would never admit it but he was glad they made her his partner as well. She was the only one of the group he felt he could trust. Or at least turn his back to dig Ticklor jell and not find a knife at his throat or in his back. He had been paired with Tanner three weeks earlier just moments after landing on Titan 2. She was not at all like he expected her to be. She had long brown hair, and big brown eyes that occasionally showed her fear in the dark. Riddick had been forced to cut a large portion of her hair off not three days after their arrival when it got caught up in a Ticklor's antennae. She had come pretty damn close to becoming a Ticklor snack that day. Although she was definitely not Carolyn, she had many admirable qualities, one being a damn good mechanic. She was quick to fix any broken piece of equipment, especially the light's main reactor. But she was there for a reason. While her body was of average size, she had turned herself into a human weapon capable of killing a person with any number of her body parts. That's how she ended up mining Ticklor jell. It was her penance for killing a man who had challenged her to a fight to the death. She was the last one standing. Her competitor's widow made sure the death was pinned on her. Even with all the evidence pointing to a fair contest, she was given a choice; prison or mining Ticklor jell. She took the Ticklors. She felt she had a better chance with the aliens than the criminals. Of course, the only reason he knew her life story was due to her fear of the dark. She kept talking to keep her mind from imagining the worst. He didn't mind her talking all that much. Due to how well it managed to drown out the dull humming that resonated all over the planet. It was a constant metallic hum that never stopped. It was enough to drive a person crazy. He was surprised that none of his fellow workers had gone crazy, or maybe they were already crazy and that's why it didn't affect them.

He hadn't bothered to find out anything about the others, but had learned all about them from Tanner. They bunked together in the same quarters and she would ramble on throughout the night. Petra was the other female and apparently was a bit of an easy girl, making extra credits on the side by comforting the men at night. Tanner disliked her immensely, feeling that the other men would start to believe she was also of the same mind to provide comfort. While being fortunate to be Riddick's partner, it was actually her past history that kept the men at bay. He had no doubt that if the need arose she'd defend herself to the death. Rygran was the name of one of the men. He only had one eye and wore a necklace of various body parts around his neck. He roamed around the place constantly reminding everyone of his past history. Riddick was unimpressed. He'd seen men much worse than him. He was all talk. Sawyer was his partner and the quiet one of the bunch. Keeping to himself and staying out of trouble. Riddick believed this was the man that Brunt sent to get rid of him once the mining was over. It was always the quiet ones that could never be trusted. Then there was Merrick. He had been paired up with Petra. A friendly enough man, always pulling pranks and cracking jokes on everyone. But his lack of concentration would get both of them killed. His greed knew no bounds. He constantly worried about his credits or where his next job would be coming from. Riddick wondered how many credits the guy needed to be content. This one job would be enough to put Riddick, Carolyn and Audrey in the clear for life.

As for the aliens on the planet, Riddick was surprised to find them not at all like their reputation led them to believe. They were slow and easy enough to avoid if you had someone watching your back. They had only a few minor occurrences with them so far. In the three weeks they'd been there it seemed as if the two species had become somewhat used to each other. They'd lie more jell and the humans would proceed to harvest it. It was almost too easy.

 

Tanner continued to scoop the jell from a crevice in the rock and place it in the container Riddick held out to her. "You know we've known each other for what..three weeks now. And I still don't know a thing about you," she said pausing to look at him. "Now what would you want to know about me?" He asked sarcastically. "Lot's of things. Where you from? How did you end up here? Is there someone significant in your life?" She said the last one as nonchalantly as she could, but he could still hear the slight nervousness in her question. "Significant?" He questioned her, knowing full well what she was asking. He just felt like tormenting her over it. "Yeah, a woman." She replied more seriously. He shrugged. "More like two women. Why? You want to join them?" He asked taunting her. He could see the heat fill her face with his shined eyes. And without another word she set about her work again. At least her reaction gave him reassurance she wouldn't bother to question him again. The unusual silence gave him time to think about Carolyn and Audrey. He missed them a lot more than he thought he would. There were times he wished he could just hear Carolyn's voice. Or feel her near him. They had so little time together before he took the job and he hoped to remedy that once he got back. Many times he wondered if Audrey was still angry with him. Her outburst was a sign that she was coming into her own. And that made him proud of her. He shook his head and concentrated on keeping a look out for Ticklors. If he wanted to get back in one piece he'd need to keep them out of his thoughts, for the time being anyway.

Tanner tossed and turned for hours not saying one word to him. Her silence had to run much deeper than their conversation that day. "Something on your mind?" He asked into the darkness. Her response was not what he was expecting. "I was just wondering. Why do you think the Ticklor's got such a bad reputation? I mean they seem pretty docile to me. What do you think?" She asked him seriously. He rolled over onto his side so he could see her form in the darkness across the room. "I figure it's due to the lack of people who've seen them in person. Someone has an encounter with one, and then changes the story to make it more exciting. And then the person they told the story to passes it on. Before long it ends up sounding like some indestructible bad assed alien." "I guess you're right, I just have a feeling there's more to it than that though." She replied deep in thought. "Johns, Have you ever seen a nasty alien before? I mean, been right up in the face of one and knew your time was up?" She asked as if thinking back to a time in her past. Riddick looked at her in the darkness and wondered what made her say that. "Matter of fact I have. Why do you ask?" He replied suspiciously. "Because if you lived through it and I lived through it, then maybe together we can live through this as well." He could tell she meant more than just mining Ticklor jell. "Do you have something particular in mind that we should live through?" He asked firmly. "I feel something's coming, something bigger than us all," she said, her eyes meeting his in the dark. He couldn't argue with her there, he had felt it as well. As if something wasn't quite right about the place, something was missing. He only hoped they were long gone before that something showed back up.

 

Fry sighed with relief when the credit key showed the 2 million credits Riddick had earned in the month he had been working. She hoped every day she would hear word from him, but so far she remained in the dark on how he was doing. She removed the key and placed it back around her neck. She never showed anyone that the key was there nor did she ever remove it. As long as it was on her body, she knew where it was at all times. "Carolyn?" Brunt's voice said behind her. A dirty look flashed on her face before she turned around to face him. "Yeah?" she asked giving him a nervous smile. She hoped he hadn't seen her put the key back. He motioned for her to take his arm and she took it feeling utterly ashamed that she had to give in to his demands. He had found the perfect bait to lure her in with, communicating with Riddick. He made a deal with her that when the next communication phase came up he'd let her talk to Riddick wherever he was. But she had to spend time with him until then. She tried to get out of every occasion but found he became extremely angry when she refused. This was not her style at all. If he didn't have something she wanted, she would have kicked his ass long ago. She was dying for the chance to make him pay for causing her to suffer like he had. She just had to hold on from one day to the next and hope for the best. Audrey had started a rumor that Fry was pregnant in the hopes of keeping him at bay, but that fueled his obsession even more. He even demanded she be scanned in the med tube to disprove the rumor, she refused. Instead making him believe she was indeed pregnant. "Where are we going?" She asked him as they walked. "To my cabin, we need to get some things sorted out." He replied ominously. An overpowering instinct to run came over her and he seemed to sense that. "Audrey's waiting for you there." He added in warning. She stayed with him unsure what exactly was going on. Did he somehow get Audrey to talk? She wondered frantically as they took the final steps to his cabin.

The moment she saw Audrey she knew something was terribly wrong. Audrey sat on his couch not looking up. Tears were running down her face and the room was filled with guards. Brunt sat down at his desk and instructed Fry to sit down in front of him. She numbly did as her stomach began to flip flop. "Audrey, you okay?" She asked her, but Audrey didn't seem to notice her there. "What the hell did you do to her!?" She snapped angrily at Brunt. He smiled smugly at her and began to drum his fingers on the desk. "Nothing that won't wear off in an hour or two," He said smugly. Fry jumped up to go to Audrey but found herself slammed back down into the seat by two guards. That seemed to please Brunt. "Now you will listen to me. As long as you do as I tell you no one will get hurt." He replied more gently. "Well at least no one in this room that is." He chuckled ominously. "Brunt why don't you just tell me what's going on," she replied with annoyance. He stopped laughing and gave her a dirty look. "I put Audrey into the mind release chamber and found out all sorts of things about you three." He snapped angrily. The color drained from her face as her mind began to race. "Among them, the fact that not only are you not married to Johns, but that he is not Johns at all. But an escaped criminal by the name of Richard Riddick, who killed the real Johns and took his name!" He yelled as he stood up.

She sat there unsure of how to get them out of there. "Look Brunt, it wasn't his fault. Johns was going to allow us to be killed, Riddick saved us," she said quickly. The terror that now raced through her mind was clouding her judgement. She had to snap out of it or they'd be done for. Brunt walked around the desk and stood before her. "I know you're not pregnant and for that little lie you will pay dearly. I've contacted Audrey's guardian and he's on the way to pick her up," he said pointedly. Fry jumped from her seat again and was once again pushed back down. "No! Brunt you can't do that! He will hurt her!" She cried out in panic. He gave her a look that showed his satisfaction at watching her squirm. "I'll do anything you ask me if you will just let her stay with me," she said glancing at Audrey who still sat in a daze on the couch. "Anything?" He asked pleased how things were going.

She nodded her head clearly defeated. "Then if I propose we marry, you won't object." He stated. She looked up at him shocked by his request. Slowly she nodded her head in agreement. "Well that's quite admirable of you, but no deal. I want you all to myself, without that brat getting in the way." He replied giving Audrey a dirty look. "I've taken the liberty of sending someone to take care of Riddick. The reward out for him is dead or alive. I prefer dead." He replied smugly. His words sent her adrenaline into overdrive. Her body moved before her mind knew what was going on. She kicked her leg up into his groin as hard as she could. Then jabbed an elbow into the face of one of the guards and managed to get out from under the other guard. She was almost to Audrey when she felt something shoot her from behind. A stun blast had got her. She went down in an instant. Only able to see and hear but not move. Brunt held his crotch as he stood over her. "Get that brat out of here! And put Carolyn in a cell!" He bit out angrily. Carolyn could see them leading Audrey away but could not do anything to help her. Tears rolled down her face uncontrollably as the guards lifted her off the floor.

Fry sat in her dark cell and stared at the wall. She had been in the prison for over a week. Brunt had visited her daily making sure she heard the news that Riddick was dead. His assassin had checked in stating Riddicks head was on the way to the Tolstoy. She didn't believe the news, not for a minute. But in the back of her mind she wondered if indeed someone had managed to do him in. Never in her life had she felt so dead inside. All that she held dear in the world was being taken from her one at a time. Her heart felt like it had been replaced with a huge black hole. She no longer even had the ability to cry anymore. At least she had managed to keep the key a secret. That was something. A part of Riddick that she could keep with her.

The sounds of the doors opening made her quickly lay down in hopes of catching whoever it was off guard. It was the middle of the night so she was unsure of who it could possibly be. She held her breath ready to make her move. The figure entered her cell and sat on her bunk. She kept her breathing regular and attempted to size up where exactly the person was. A hand pressed over her mouth. "Just let this happen and I won't have you killed." Came Brunt's voice. He began to kiss her on the neck. And just as she reached up to strike him off her, a blast gun was placed against his head. "Don't even think about it mother fucker!" Whispered Bianca angrily. Fry pushed him off and looked at Bianca in shock. "How'd you get in here?" She asked. Bianca smiled. "I don't think the guards much liked me using their own stunners on them," she said with a smile. Fry smiled back at her. "God I owe you." She replied gratefully as she jumped off the bunk and raced to put a pair of constraints on Brunt's wrists. "Tanya notified me of what was going on and I headed back to see if I could help you out." She replied. "I have to look for Audrey!" Fry said heading out the cell door. Bianca caught up to her. "She's gone. Tanya saw the whole thing. She tried to stop it but they just threatened her." She added sadly. "That man has her!" Fry whispered angrily. Bianca grabbed her arm to slow her. "We have no idea where he's taking her. If we go traipsing all over the universe looking for her, Riddick will never find us again." Bianca said torn as what to do. Fry bit her lip. "We get Riddick first, then go after that bastard and get Audrey back." Fry said angry to have to make such a choice. She hated herself for abandoning the search for Audrey. But she had a better chance of finding Riddick and then together they could find Audrey. "I do know where Riddick is, it's not all that far from here. I looked it up on the main computer base." Bianca said in the darkness. "Then this piece of garbage is going with us." Fry said motioning to Brunt. Bianca nodded in agreement and together they headed for her ship.

Bianca sighed. "There's nowhere to land. It looks as if that black stuff is covering everything. I can't risk not being able to lift off again," she said aggravated by their predicament. They had arrived at Titan 2 and discovered the planet was covered in a thick black ooze of some kind. Brunt seemed surprised by the state of the planet but gave them no further information. That led them to believe that the planet wasn't always like that. "Let's try to land this baby on that rocky crag over there," Fry said pointing to a heavily rocky terrain. "It's gonna be a tight squeeze, I'll need your help." Bianca replied firmly. Fry nodded as they headed for the rocks. It took several attempts but in the end they managed to land safely. Although Fry didn't recommend they stay long. Bianca dragged Brunt off the floor and hoisted a gun to his back. "Any funny business and I'll ghost your ass in a millisecond." She threatened him. Fry opened the hatch and checked her gun for ammo charges. She didn't want to run into any unknown creatures while unarmed. Not after what happened last time. Slowly they crept onto the rock. It seemed both hard and soft at the same time and gave Fry an uneasy feeling. Bianca must have felt the same thing based on the unsure look that graced her expression. Fry just wanted to find Riddick and get the hell out of there. They carefully moved along the rock making sure to check every crevice and crack before crossing it. It reminded her of the time when Johns was searching that alien creatures bones for Riddick, only this time she had no idea what she was looking for. A sudden rumbling that seemed to build up inside the rock shook them as it began to shake the planet. Bianca lost her footing and stumbled down the rock into the black ooze. She began to sink before she could get up and panic took over causing her to attempt to swim in it, failing miserably. "Fry!" She cried out. But Fry was already making her way quickly down the rock to get to her before she sank all the way. Suddenly Brunt came up behind her attempting to knock her into the black ooze as well, only he wasn't expecting her to pull him down with her. Fry cried out in surprise as they both fell headfirst into the blackness.

Fry felt herself being sucked down into the ooze as her survival instincts kicked in. She waved her hands in an attempt to regain her buoyancy in the sea of ooze. When her hand struck the ground she realized it wasn't that deep. Forcing her feet to touch the bottom she stood up and came up out of the ooze. Bianca, who also discovered it wasn't that deep, was heading toward her. They were almost entirely covered in the stuff and only the whites of their eyes remained untouched. Together they pulled Brunt from the ooze and told him to stand up. He did what they instructed and regained his composure when he realized how shallow it actually was. It came up to their stomachs and it took some effort to make their way back to the rocks. Just as they approached the rocks a loud hissing sound came from all around them in the ooze. She shot Bianca a look of apprehension as they hurried up. Finally they managed to climb out of the ooze and lay down in exhaustion on the rock. A bubbling in the ooze forced them to move further up the rock. They looked down into the darkness making sure to keep their distance. Out of nowhere a large black object shot from the ooze onto the rock. Fry gasped and covered her head as yet another large object flew past them. Bianca grabbed Fry and together they jumped down behind a large serrated rock. Brunt lay there trapped in the open and cried out for them to help him. Ignoring him, they stayed in that position as more of the black things flew at them. It was as if they were under attack. Nothing natural was causing this to happen, it had to be something intelligent. And that thought terrified Fry.

Once things quieted down they managed to pull Brunt to safety, but not without getting an earful of what he thought of them leaving him out there. Fry ignored him making her way instead to one of the black things that had landed nearby them. She circled the thing for a moment unsure of what she was seeing. "What is it?" Bianca asked as she approached her. Fry shrugged. "I'm not sure, it looks like some sort of shell or something." She replied trying to get a look at it through the black ooze that now covered it. "It's a Ticklor's shell!" Brunt exclaimed loudly from where he sat. Bianca and Fry looked at him at the same time. "How do you know that?" Bianca asked. "I've seen one before, and it looks just like that. But that one has been eaten out of its shell." He added his voice shaking with nervousness. Fry's heart began to race as she looked at Bianca. "Are you saying that whatever it was that spit them from the ooze, ate all these Ticklor's?" She asked motioning around them at the more than two dozen Ticklor shells. Brunt shook his head quickly as slowly his resolve fell apart. "Fuck!" Fry snapped. Can I land on a planet for once and not have hungry aliens waiting to eat us?!" She yelled angrily. Bianca placed a hand on her shoulder to calm her. "It's getting dark, we have to decide. Keep looking or leave now." Her eyes told her it was her decision. Fry chuckled sarcastically. Bianca looked at her unsure if she was going nuts or what. Fry sat down on a rock and looked away from them. "This isn't the first time I've had to make this kind of decision." She replied quietly. "Last time I was in this sort of situation I had to decide to either leave with Riddick or risk my life to save two humans surrounded by deadly aliens." She angrily wiped away the black ooze from her face. Bianca knelt in front of her. "What did you decide to do?" She asked uncertainly. Fry locked eyes with her. "Audrey was one of those people." She stated in answer to her question. Bianca smiled in relief. "Riddick asked me if I was willing to die for them. I told him I was, but not for him." She paused, thinking back to that moment, the night she almost died. She was willing to die for him, she just didn't want him to know that. Her decision had already been made before Bianca asked. It was an unconditional response to risk her life for Riddick. In her heart she knew she'd die to save him, she loved him. "I say we stay." She said looking to Bianca for a reply. Bianca stood and held out a hand to her. "Then we better get going, daylights wasting." She smiled in agreement.

Keeping Brunt in front of them, they made their way deeper into the rock through a hole they found. Fry tensed up as thoughts of the last time she felt inclined to just jump right on in some unknown hole. It had almost gotten her killed, this time she was sending in bait headfirst. That should give them enough time to escape if they needed to. But once inside the cavern they were not met by aliens, but instead a beautiful waterfall that ran down the side of the cavern. Bianca jumped into the water first, more than ready to wash off the black goo that was all over her. Fry was not far behind and even Brunt seemed happy to get washed up. Once they were satisfied, they climbed out of the water and sat down to dry off and rest a bit. Fry caught Brunt staring at her and that's when she noticed her shirt clung to her body and was now nearly see through. "Look at your own chest!" She yelled tossing a rock at him. Bianca laughed as she wrung her shirt out. "We should get going," she said looking for the nearest exit.

They found a well lit tunnel that had lights built into the walls and knew they had found one of the caverns they had probably been mining. "Riddick!" Fry yelled as her voice traveled down the cavern tunnel. Bianca nudged her arm. "Jesus Fry, tell me next time before you're gonna do that, you nearly gave me a heart attack." She scolded. Fry gave her an apologetic look. "Sorry, I didn't think." She replied as her attention was soon back on the tunnel. They walked on for several minutes not finding any signs of life. Some parts of the tunnel had no lighting and it created dark shadowy places along the tunnel walls. It gave Fry the distinct feeling they were being watched. She nudged Bianca in the dimness. "You get the feeling we're being watched?" She asked her softly. Her voice seemed to echo loudly down the tunnel. Bianca opened her mouth to reply but the pressure of a gun to her back forced her to gasp instead. Fry looked to her concerned and was shocked to find a large man wrapping his arm around her. She took a step forward and the man chuckled. "Keep back now, I don't want no one getting hurt," he said in a friendly tone. "Now toss the weapon over there," He instructed Bianca. She obeyed and tossed it exactly where he instructed. "Nix!" Brunt yelled annoyingly. "What took you so damn long!" He snapped kicking dirt angrily at him. The stranger turned Bianca around so he could face Brunt. "I had to make a sneak attack, going at them from the front would have been a mistake." He replied ignoring Brunt's outburst. Nix let Bianca go, directing her to stand across from Fry. He next approached Brunt and undid his restraints. Brunt immediately grabbed Fry and asked for Nix's gun. He handed it over without an ounce of emotion. Bianca attempted to help Fry but found herself held tightly in Nix's grip. It was like being held in a steel vice she thought as she angrily gave up the struggle. He moved her auburn hair out of the way and leaned close to her ear. "Don't fight me, just go with it." He replied confidently. She was confused by his words but felt there was more to him than met the eye. She had a feeling he wasn't just another cold-blooded killer. "Don't let him kill her." She pleaded with him. He paused a moment as if waiting for something. "No need to worry." He replied calmly.

Brunt placed the gun to Fry's head and she knew her time was up. This waste of space human was going to ghost her just because she didn't want him. "I'm going to kill you, but first I wanted you to meet the man who managed to kill your precious Riddick. Ladies meet Nix, the nastiest assassin I could find in the galaxy." He replied proudly. Nix nodded his head in greeting. Bianca felt sick to her stomach to have this scum's hands on her. "Yeah, you're right about that. But there's one thing you forgot to check on" Came a voice from the darkness. Fry's heart sped up as she knew immediately it was Riddick. He stepped forward into the light of the tunnel and grinned. "Just who he shared a cell with at slam city." He finished ominously. Fry immediately looked to Nix for confirmation and he also grinned at her. "The bastard saved my ass too many times to count," Nix said with a smirk. Bianca let out a sigh of relief to hear the news that he hadn't killed Riddick. Fry smiled at Riddick never happier in her life to see him standing before her. Brunt pulled her back as he shoved the gun harder into the side of her head. "Back off or I'll kill her." He said nervously. Fry knew it was almost over for him. The moment he became nervous and unsure that's when Riddick was at his best. Riddick stopped short and crossed his arms. "Go ahead," he said motioning his hand for him to continue. "No!" Fry screamed as she tried to kick Brunt.

A loud rumbling started to reverberate through the tunnel and the ground shook below them. That seemed to panic Brunt even more and he pulled the trigger. Fry closed her eyes prepared for death to come. When nothing happened she opened her eyes again. In those few moments Riddick moved within inches of her. Brunt gasped as Riddick grabbed Fry from his grasp. "Know what the penalty is for trying to move in on another mans girl?" He asked sarcastically. Brunt shook his head as Riddick slowly pulled Fry into the darkness with him. "Death." He whispered as he disappeared with Fry into the safety of the shadows.

Brunt stood there completely baffled as Nix also pulled Bianca into the shadows. He hadn't expected them to just let him go so easily. Riddick had told him he'd get death. He was angry at being betrayed not only by Fry but also Nix, who he'd paid a hefty fee to. He stood there for a moment unsure if he could turn and run without finding a knife in his back or a gun blast fired at him. He couldn't see them in the dark and was not even sure they were still there. He slowly started to back up as he felt more confidant each step he took. He planned on stealing Bianca's ship and he laughed at the idea of leaving them all on the planet.

Riddick held Fry tightly from behind. "Riddick." She said with relief as she tried to turn to face him. He firmly kept her as she was. "Not this time. This time I'm keeping your back to me." He whispered into her ear. Her heart began to speed up as she realized he was talking about her getting stabbed in the back by that alien. Did he mean the Ticklor's this time? She wondered as held her tighter. "Do you trust me with your life?" He asked seriously. She nodded. "Yeah..why?" She asked wondering why he was acting so strangely. "Then don't say anything in the next few minutes and just follow my motions, understand?" He asked. She nodded yes even though she didn't understand. He moved her hair away from her neck and slowly began to move his lips over her neck. She gasped, startled by the jolt of pleasure that coursed through her body. He kissed her neck harder, nibbling lightly as his tongue moved its way along her neck down to her shoulder. A heat flashed through her body as she felt more aroused by his kisses. He wrapped one large arm tightly around her waist while his free hand made it's way over her body. He moved up her thigh, then over her pelvis and along her stomach. She felt her legs go limp as the passion inside her began to grow. He moved his hand along her breasts and her nipples hardened in response. She attempted to turn her head to find his lips with hers, but he kept her firmly in front of him. "Riddick." She whispered under her breath. How good he felt against her body. She moved her hands along his firm ass, stroking him lightly as she roamed his body. He paused for a moment as if surprised by her reaction. She moved her hands from his rear to his thighs and managed to almost reach the now large bulge that pressed tightly against his pants. His hands quickly grabbed hers and prevented her from going any further. For a moment she thought she'd done something wrong. "That's enough." He whispered huskily into her ear. She was confused by his reaction and about to ask him what the hell was going on when a large group of Ticklors came rushing down the corridor. Not far behind them was a river of that black stuff, it moved in fast and Riddick pulled her up into a hole in the wall just as it began to cover the ground. The ooze not only caught the Ticklors up in it, but the escaping Brunt as well. He fell into it and screamed almost immediately as one of his arms was ripped out of the socket. Blood shot out everywhere as he reached to find the now missing arm with his good arm it too was ripped from his body. The ooze began to bubble and Fry heard Bianca cry out as a giant fish like creature jumped from the ooze taking Brunt's head off in one bite. Fry started to panic and Riddick whispered soothingly in her ear. "It's okay, we're safe." He said calmly. Just as quickly as the black ooze got there the Ticklors and Brunt were consumed. The creatures were savage in their work. When there was no more food left to eat, the black ooze slowly began to ebb back down the tunnel. Leaving in its wake the completely clean bones of Brunt and the Ticklor's shells. Riddick slowly prodded her to step down onto the ground. She did, but was surprised to find her legs were shaky. Whether it was from the feelings that Riddick brought out in her or the aliens attack, she wasn't sure.

Once on solid ground, Fry looked down the tunnel cautiously. "Just what the fuck happened?" She asked feeling a bit overwhelmed by the last several minutes. Bianca stumbled over to Fry and she helped steady her. "You okay?" Fry asked. Bianca nodded looking over at Nix oddly. "Would someone mind telling us what's going on?" She asked breathlessly. "Those fish creatures are what we figure are Ticklors nature enemy, and the real aliens the Ticklors got their bad reputation from," Riddick said as he motioned for them to keep walking. "But we went for a swim in the stuff, why didn't those things eat us then?" Fry asked. "They hibernate during the day and come out after nightfall. You can appreciate that Carolyn." Riddick said cockily referring to the other aliens they encountered. "Then why the lesson in love?" Bianca asked glancing over at Nix shyly. "We found out the fish are repelled by human pheromones. It keeps them from attacking." He replied as they continued to walk. Fry frowned at him. "And all this time I thought you just wanted me." She smirked. He leaned close to her. "You couldn't tell I wanted you?" He replied referring to his arousal. A shiver of excitement crept up her body as she realized he was serious. "What are you doing here anyway?" He asked as she walked beside him. "Brunt found out about us." She sighed. Riddick stopped and looked at her, concern etched on his face. "Where's Audrey?" He asked firmly. Nix and Bianca moved on ahead as the two of them stopped. "They took her from me." She replied angrily. "He notified her guardian and he came and took her while I was in the ship's prison." Fry could see the veins in his neck bulge out as the anger began to build up. "That mother fucking..." He said under his breath as he ran a hand over his head. "Where did her take her?" He asked attempting to calm down. "I don't know. All I know is his name is Tron and that her mother married him on Saturn."

He shook his head as if trying to clear it. "Why didn't you go after her? I can take care of myself, she's just a kid." He snapped at her. A hurt look crossed her face and then turned to anger. "Actually, I don't know why the fuck I came looking for you first. Maybe it's because I thought we'd have a better chance finding her." She snapped back as she ran on to catch up with the others. Riddick regretted what he said the second the words left his mouth. It was a tough choice for her to make and he should have just left it at that. He knew all about Tron and his treatment of Audrey and he hated the thought of her back in his grip again. He had been dying to see Carolyn and when he does, he goes and hurts her. What he said would set back his relationship with her and now he'd have to repair the damage he'd created.

Fry approached Nix and Bianca knew right away that something was up. "What happened?" She asked pausing to follow Nix up a narrow staircase of rocks. Fry shrugged her off, pushing her on ahead instead. "I don't want to discuss it right now." She replied firmly. Bianca knew it wasn't the best time and took the hand that Nix was holding out to her. Fry attempted to climb up but the rock was rough and slippery and she slid down the few feet she managed to take. Riddick was there to catch her and she roughly shook him off. He jumped up the rock and held a hand out to her. "You won't get up without my help." He said gently. She weighed the circumstances and decided she'd rather be with the others than the aliens. So she reached out and took his strong hand. Wordlessly they made it to the top and into a cavern there. A tough looking woman ran to Riddick wrapping her arms around him. "Riddick, you had me worried a second there." She smiled warmly at him. A sick feeling filled Fry's stomach and she felt like vomiting then and there. He had found another woman. It was clear by the look of total love on the woman's face that something had gone on between them. "Everything's under control." He said calmly to her as he moved her arms from him. He walked past Fry giving her a guilty look as he passed. She watched him enter another adjoining chamber without another word. Fry's face filled with heat at the thought of him making "pheromones" with that woman. "I'm sure glad to see you." Tanner said happily taking Fry's hand in hers. "I'm Orion and this is Sawyer." She added motioning to a man sitting on a rock nearby. He gave her a small wave of his hand as he went about his business. "I thought we'd be trapped here with those aliens forever." She then moved on to shake Bianca's hand. She seemed pleasant enough. Under different circumstances she probably would have even liked her.

Once introductions had been made, Bianca approached Fry. "Go talk to him before you draw your own conclusions," she said knowing exactly what she was thinking. Fry hesitated and Bianca frowned. "Don't let something like this ruin what you have with him." She added. "He doesn't want me around anymore I'm sure." She countered. Bianca smiled at her. "Then why did he go off into that other chamber alone? He wants you to follow him," she said as if she had everything all figured out. Fry paused a moment before turning and going into the chamber. If she could face aliens, she could face what he had to tell her. She told herself as she entered the chamber.

Riddick was sharpening a large knife when she came into the chamber. He looked up at her and she thought a flicker of relief crossed his face. She sat on a rock across from him and watched him intently. "Sorry about what I said to you in the tunnel. I didn't mean it." He replied stopping and looking up at her. She was actually surprised by his words. Of course he probably just wanted to clear the air so he could break the news to her that Tanner was his new love. "I thought you were dead." She replied in explanation, I had to know what happened to you." She added gruffly. So much had happened in the past month and to then find out he had found another woman was too much for her. He dropped the knife and pulled her into his arms. "You don't have to explain to me. I know," he said. She allowed him to hold her for a few more moments before pushing him away. "You shouldn't hold me like that." She replied bitterly as she stepped away from him. He looked surprised by her reaction. "After what happened in the tunnel I think we can manage a little closeness," he said following her. She kept out of his reach and glanced at the access to the chamber. He looked over at what she was looking at and grinned. "You're not going to run away from me are you?" He asked humorously. She gave him a disgusted look. "No, but you wouldn't want Tanner to catch you running around after me would you?" She warned him. He stopped and looked at her confused. "Why not?" He asked. "Because she's...she's...you know." She gave him a sickened look for making her come out and say it point blank. "C'mon Carolyn spit it out. Because she's what?" He asked in earnest. "I suppose you discovered that pheromones worked by being intimate with her." she quickly blurted out. He leaned his head back and laughed. "You think she's my lover?" He asked in that deep voice of his. She nodded. "Well what would I expect the way she threw herself at you when she saw you." She said keeping out of his reach as he inched closer to her yet. "Actually it was another woman who discovered that little piece of knowledge with one of the other miners. Only she wasn't lucky enough to put two and two together fast enough." He replied more seriously.

She felt embarrassed by the fact that she had jumped to conclusions like that. "Haven't you figured it out yet? You're the only woman for me Carolyn," he said huskily as he moved in close to her. She didn't move away or stop him. She wanted him so badly it hurt. He placed his hand on the back of her head and lowered his mouth to hers. "Riddick they'll be time for lovin later, come take a look at this!" Nix yelled from the access way. The two of them were startled from their near kiss by the commotion in the other chamber. They glanced at each other almost ashamed for what they were about to do. Here they were getting intimate when all the while poor Audrey was lost out there somewhere. It couldn't be helped. He had waited for so long to see Fry again. Lying there in the dark he had imagined her coming to him in the night, he'd made love to her so many times in his mind he didn't want to wait anymore. Fry was glad to learn he wanted her. She would have been blissfully happy if Audrey was safe and sound with them. But in the back of her mind she thought of what she might be going through that very moment and her happiness vanished.

Once they approached where the others were, they realized they were looking out a hole in the top of the rock. A large massive ship was just floating in the atmosphere of the planet. It was a huge ship and was hauling in the fish creatures by the netful. They were fishing. "Where'd that ship come from? I don't recognize the make from anywhere." Fry said to the others. "It's not human, that's for sure." Nix said as if an expert on the subject. Riddick nodded in agreement. "I suggest we get off this rock before they find us here," he said guiding Fry from the hole. She took his lead and headed for the way back down. Everyone followed close by and soon they were rushing down the tunnel toward Bianca's ship

 

Taking off seemed to be no problem as they left the atmosphere unhindered by the mysterious ship. Bianca piloted as Nix jumped into the seat next to her. Bianca didn't think he was the ugliest mug in the galaxy; he had dark gray eyes that went well with his white-cropped hair. He was slightly built, but not as much as Riddick was. He was tall and agile enough. Although she recalled his grip feeling like steel at the time he had his arms around her. But that might have been caused by the odd sensations he forced her body to go through. The only man she'd ever been with Captain Hirshorn, who raped her. And that was about all the sexual contact she wanted with any man. But Nix did intrigue her. There was something about him that she found erotic, possibly the dark side of being a criminal brought out her animalistic urges. She shook her head to keep her mind on the task at hand, which was to get as far away from that planet as possible.

Fry placed the map viewer on the area surrounding Saturn and glanced at Riddick. His brow wrinkled with the strain of concentration. She knew he wanted to find Audrey as quickly as possible and it was her only objective as well. She looked around the ship at the new "psycho fuck family" she had been tossed together with. There was Bianca and Nix up front. Nix seemed okay. She felt she could trust him since Riddick did. He might have been a prisoner and assassin but there was something to him that made him different. She had a good feeling about him. Then there was Tanner and Sawyer. Tanner often watched Riddick and seemed to want more from him than he was willing to give. Fry knew she was in love with him, and that made her want to shake the woman and tell her to leave him the hell alone. But she'd leave that to Riddick to deal with. He'd told Fry point blank that she was the only woman for him, and she knew it was the truth.

Now Sawyer was totally different from the other men in the group. His longer dusty brown hair and matching mustache gave him the appearance of a gentleman. Or maybe it was his doefull eyes that made him seem so kindly. Either way he didn't say much, using instead hand gestures and eye contact to communicate. Fry wondered if he could talk at all. A nudge from Riddick brought her attention back to the map as he put the coordinates into the ships computer. "You know we're going to have to enter cryosleep on the way to Saturn." He replied quietly. She nodded in agreement. "Yeah I know. Let's just hope this time we don't crash land on some alien infested planet." She smirked. "I'm sick to death of alie" Fry was unable to finish her sentence as a jolt to the ship forced her to land roughly in his lap. "What the he" She was cut off as Riddick's hand covered her mouth. "Listen." He stated as he strained his ears to listen for any further noises. Fry also stopped and strained her ears to listen for anything unusual. An odd humming noise seemed to surround the ship and Fry looked to him for an answer. "The ships engines are straining, something's holding us back." He stated grimly.

Fry jumped up and headed for the bridge just as Bianca and Nix entered the room. "They got us!" She yelled as she roamed the room pulling switches and punching buttons. "I have to give the engines more power!" She yelled again. "Who's got us?" Fry asked not sure what was going on. "That damn alien ship, it came after us and is somehow pulling us inside," Nix said as he handed Riddick a gun. Bianca was getting frantic each time she gave the engines more power and it did no good. Finally Nix pulled her away from the control panels. "It's no good, we're inside the ship by now. Grab a weapon." He ordered her firmly. Bianca paused for a moment before sinking onto the floor in defeat. Fry sat down across from her. "It's okay, we're all going together." She replied soothingly. Nix looked at her in shock for a moment. "What's going on?" He asked kneeling down next to her. "Last time this happened, she was enslaved by the ships captain and then raped by him." Fry stated angrily. Nix nodded his head before running a hand through his hair. "I'm sorry that happened Bianca, but this is a really bad time for you to get scared," He taunted her. Bianca shot him a defiant look. "I'm not scared!" She snapped at him. He stood up and put a hand out to her. "Then fight by my side," He said his eyes piercing hers with a fierce determination. She took his hand and a new sense of pride came over her. He handed her a small gun and she took it.

"Now wait a moment here. What if they are peaceful? We go in shooting and we might start a war or something." Tanner replied. Riddick approached her. "And they might skin us alive and eat us for breakfast." He stated ominously. "We can't go in holding hands and singing songs," Nix said agreeing with Riddick. Tanner seemed reluctant to arm herself but went along with them knowing she was outnumbered. A scraping thud rocked the ship as it came to its final resting-place inside the alien ship. Riddick grabbed Fry's sleeve. "Stick close," He said as they headed for the doorway. Fry nodded in answer and noticed the hurt look on Tanner's face. "He meant both of us." She replied awkwardly as she pulled her close to them. Fry had a few seconds to glance at Bianca before the doors were forced open.

They held their fire as a bright light was shined inside at them. Everyone covered their eyes as the light slowly dimmed. A humanoid alien that had to be at least 8 feet tall ducked as he entered the ship. They all stood there staring in awe at the uniqueness of the alien. He had a large bald head, small eyes, no ears and webbed hands and feet. His clothes were completely sheer and Fry could see what she guessed to be his penis. A blush crept up her cheeks as she noticed how large it appeared to be. The alien greeted them with a large smile. "Please do not be afraid. We will not harm you." He said pleasantly. "Then why the hell did you force our ship onto yours?" Bianca spit out angrily. The alien smiled at her as if he cherished her presence. "We simply wanted a chance to meet with you. I'm afraid we are not used to your culture." He replied bowing his head. "We hoped to make a trade with you." He added perking up again. "What trade could you want with us?" Riddick asked firmly. "Please come inside and speak to our leaders, I am just a messenger." He bowed again. "Feel free to bring your weapons with you." He added with a smile. "Why do I get the feeling we can't say no." Tanner said nervously. They waited for the alien to exit the ship before cautiously following him. Once outside the ship they were met with no other aliens. They passed many other ships that appeared human and a feeling of comfort relaxed them some. "Are other human's on board?" Fry asked the alien as she approached him. The alien turned and smiled at her. "Yes, many human's are here." He replied kindly. "As guests or the main course?" Bianca asked sarcastically, her resolve fully restored. The alien smiled at her but seemed unfazed by her comment.

They were led through many corridors and passageways before coming to a large room. It was all white except for the occasional decoration or window and it made Fry feel uneasy. They were invited to sit down but no one did. Three alien males entered the room all with large smiles plastered on their faces. "Greetings to you all. I am Solan. This is Gloren and Xel." The one in the middle said happily motioning to the nearly identical aliens by his side. "We are all pleased you are here." He continued. Riddick stepped forward. "Nevermind the pleasantries, just get to what you want." He said firmly. Solan spoke again. "As you wish." He replied with a bow. "If you and your mates will just have a seat" "We're not their mates." Bianca snapped angrily at him. The main alien shot a glance at his two counterparts before looking back at them again. "Then you will be most helpful in our desperate situation." He added pleasantly. "What desperate situation?" Nix asked suspiciously. "We are in need of women." The alien said seriously, his demeanor now quite somber. It only took them mere seconds to have their guns aimed at the aliens. "I don't think so." Riddick said knowing full well what their plans were.

Metal claws came from out of the chairs grabbing the men and forcing them to sit down. Their weapons fell uselessly onto the floor with a loud clank. Large needles entered the men's necks rendering them unconscious. Fry looked shocked at the image before her and it took her a split second to point her gun and fire at the aliens. But nothing happened. She quickly checked her ammo before she finally noticed Bianca and Tanner were having the same problem. She looked at the calm aliens before tossing her now useless gun onto the floor. "What is with you aliens!? Can't you just leave us alone?!" She screamed angrily at them. Bianca was already attempting to release Nix from the metal claws when a bolt of electricity sent her to the floor. Tanner helped her up and looked at Fry nervously. "What do you want from us?" Fry asked knowing they had them right where they wanted them. The alien smiled at her. "You are very important to us. We need women like you to help rebuild our species." He said seriously. "You will be joined with the last three males alive in a battle to the death in your honor." Xel explained. Bianca crossed her arms in front of her. "I won't be a part of this barbaric contest of yours." She snapped angrily. "I think you will agree to participate once you've seen the fate of other females who have denied us." He replied motioning for guards to lead them away. Fry strained to see Riddick one more time before they were escorted out.

They were taken down many more corridors before coming to a large window. Fry gasped when she saw what was taking place inside the room. Many different women were inside. Nearly all of them were swollen with pregnancy. They looked up at them from inside and Fry was shocked by how dead their eyes were. "These women refused to participate, so now they are simply breeders. Once they give birth, the father takes the baby as his child and the woman is given to another male and impregnated again. They get no respect, no honor, and no love. If they just had agreed to participate they would have all those things and more. Now look at them," Solan said with disgust. Bianca turned around and vomited on the floor. "Do you agree to participate?" He asked firmly. Fry nodded. "What choice do we have?" She said quietly. "I knew you would agree." Gloren said happily. Fry wanted to jab a knife into that big head of his. "The good news is the males you came with will have a chance to fight for you if they want. But I'm sure they won't survive long enough to win you." He added confidently. Fry shot him a dirty look before following the guards who led them away. She wanted to yell at them that they had no idea who they were dealing with when it came to Riddick. But she wasn't even sure if he'd fight for her. She wanted to believe he would, but she wasn't one hundred percent sure. For all she knew all three men could refuse, and where would that leave them?

Riddick's faced showed no emotion as the alien explained the situation to them. Nix cursed at Solan angrily, having no affect on the alien. "Of course the choice to fight is entirely up to you three. Do you wish to participate?" He asked calmly. Riddick glanced at Nix a moment before grinning at the alien. "Looks like I have nothing better to do," He said sarcastically. "But only for Carolyn." He added looking to the other two for their replies. "I'll do it, for Bianca." Nix bit out between clenched teeth. The alien looked finally at Sawyer who seemed quite reluctant to fight. After a moment he shook his head no and looked away ashamed. No one would be fighting for Tanner. Riddick's first impulse was to force Sawyer to try, but that would do no good in the end. He'd only end up dead and they'd still get Tanner. Whatever happened to her would be up to fate. Riddick approached the alien. "Tell me something. If you are in such need to keep your species going then why a fight to the death? Doesn't that sort of contradict what you are attempting to do?" He asked. "We find these fights help to lower the male population, which is mostly all we have left. The new babies that are born are still too young to breed with." He said sadly. "We hope someday we will no longer need to roam the galaxy looking for females to breed with." He added before opening the door. "We will be back for you when it's time." He said over his shoulder before leaving the room.

Nix and Riddick both looked at Sawyer at the same time and he kept his face turned from them. He couldn't blame him for not wanting to fight. He was not at all prepared in that sort of thing like he and Nix were. He would probably be killed not five minutes into the fighting. Nix must have been thinking the same thing as he patted Sawyer on the back. "Don't beat yourself up over it, she's not your responsibility," he said trying to calm him. Sawyer gave him a defeated look before nodding his head in understanding.

 

Fry looked at the gown they gave her to wear and shook her head. "I have my own clothes to wear." She replied handing the gown back to the young girl who brought it for her. It wasn't that it was ugly or anything. It just wasn't something appropriate to wear in public. It was a long silver and crème colored gown made out of a sheer sparkly material. It had long flared sleeves and a low cut neckline. She was sure that once she had it on everyone would be able to see her naked body underneath. Bianca also was looking at the gown brought out to her and frowning. "This is completely ridiculous," she said staring at it like it was a piece of stinking garbage rather than a silky gown of royal blue. Hers had short sleeves and a gold belt that would at least provide her some coverage. Tanner's gown was a gold mesh type of material and by far the most revealing of the three. Fry was actually grateful they hadn't given her that one. After more arguing ensued it was the threat of being put in with the "breeder" women that had them putting the gowns on.

Once dressed Fry felt like a complete idiot. Bianca was having memories of when the Captain made her wear similar clothes. Fry noticed her expression and approached her. "I'd rather kill myself than go through that again." Bianca said to her with determination. Fry had no doubt she'd fight to the death to defend herself and she didn't blame her. The thought of her first time being with some alien rather than Riddick made her feel the same way. She gave her an understanding smile as one of the helpers placed a light metal link headpiece over her hair. The dangles fell over her forehead and she longed to throw it off. They then placed a matching sheer veil over her head and face and by that time she felt quite ridiculous. When they were fully dressed an odd looking bracelet was placed on all three of their wrists. "What's this?" Fry asked as she studied it. "These are joining bands. Once the fighting is over the winner will be joined with you. As long as you wear the bands you can never be parted with your mate, except in death." Instantly she was overcome with a sense of claustrophobia. She and the other two attempted to get them off but to no avail. "Please don't do that!" One of the women helping them said frantically. "They will detonate if you remove them on your own." She added more quietly.

Fry stared first at her then to the band. "Son of a bitch." Bianca cursed angrily "Don't worry, we can get these off later, when we escape this madhouse." Fry told her confidently. She said it more for her own benefit than theirs, but they nodded their heads in agreement. Solan entered the room and looked them over carefully. "You look quite fine. They will really fight hard for your honor. Follow me," he said ushering them out the door. They followed him and soon found themselves inside a huge auditorium. It was filled with hundreds, maybe thousands of beings. Most were the alien species males with earth females, but a few were human males. When they were taken to the viewing booth the crowd cheered and clapped. Fry felt very uncomfortable at all the attention while she was dressed so brazenly. She attempted to keep herself covered and the others did the same. At that moment she wanted to kick one of those aliens ass for making them go through that. She belonged to no one but herself. And any alien that came within five feet of her would discover she was not worth the trouble, when they found a knife in their guts. Right now she'd just bide her time, soon they would be able to make their move.

The crowd cheered again when Solan stood up to speak. "My people, tonight we have three fine human females that would make wonderful mates. They are named Carolyn, Bianca and Orion!" He shouted getting the crowd all wound up. One by one they were lifted out of their seat and escorted to a platform so all could see them. "Those interested in fighting for the right to mate for life with one of them, please enter the forum now." He added as Bianca was last to be taken back to her seat. Her face was a bright shade of red, not from embarrassment but from pent up blind rage at the treatment they were forced to endure. Fry nudged her when she saw Nix and Riddick step into the forum. Riddick had on a black leather type of outfit with matching black boots. Fry noticed he was looking right at her and he nodded his head in greeting. She thought he looked quite handsome in the getup. While Nix was dressed in a tan colored outfit. Both of them each had one weapon. Riddick a large knife and Nix a nasty looking club with spikes on it. "Oh they should have never given him a knife." Fry smirked sitting back confidently. "I've seen with my own two eyes what Riddick is capable of with a simple bone shiv." She added with a grin. It was Tanner's white complexion that snapped her quickly out of her grin. "What's wrong?" She asked grabbing her arm gently. "If Nix and Riddick are the only two out there, then I'm sure they will fight for you two, but who will fight for me?" She asked firmly. Fry searched the group of men for Sawyer. Tanner jumped up from her seat before they could stop her and approached Solan. "I wish to fight for myself!" She demanded him. Solan actually looked shocked by her request. A dull silence filled the arena. Solan looked to Xel and Gloren for advice. "You said no one could be denied the right to fight." She quickly added before he could refuse her.

Solan approached the other two and they spoke quietly for a moment. Fry held her breath as they waited to see what they'd say. "As it is our rules that all can enter, we will allow it." He said unhappily. The crowd went wild and it took several moments to get them to calm down. "With one exception." He continued. "When you are pinned down by an opponent you have lost and you agree to give yourself freely to him. It would be worthless to have you dead in the end." He said firmly. Tanner nodded her head. "I agree." She said confidently. "Then follow Toran and he will prepare you." He said motioning for her to leave. Tanner glanced back at Fry and Bianca and nodded a farewell before leaving. Solan then approached Fry and Bianca. "Do not request the same, for you will be denied. Orion is the first and the last female that will ever request to fight on her own behalf." He replied, angry that a female had outsmarted him. Fry turned her attention to their opponents as they waited for Tanner to get in place. Most of them were large in size, but the nervous looks on some of their faces gave her confidence. Several of the hundred or so males looked like trouble, but there was one thing those others didn't have, and that was someone they could count on at their backs. Riddick, Nix and Tanner would have each other to depend on. And that made for excellent odds.

Tanner took her place next to Riddick and Nix brandishing a mitt that was covered in razor sharp blades. Fry felt that was probably a good choice of weapon. Nix leaned over and said something to her pointing out different places in the arena. Probably explaining to her the best places to be when the fighting started. She nodded periodically and braced herself for the fight. Solan stood up and looked out over the fighters. "Let this contest begin!" He shouted as the crowd was on its feet in excitement. Immediately Riddick, Nix and Tanner took positions with a wall at their backs and created a half circle between the three of them. At first they were not generating too much attention as the aliens went after their own kind. That suited Fry just fine. The less they'd have to fight in the end the better. The eventual bloodbath that ensued made Bianca look away for a moment. The alien's blood was not red but a greenish color and that made it all the more disgusting to look at. Soon some of the smaller aliens started in after Riddick. Fry was on the edge of her seat as she witnessed them attempt to clobber him with their spiked weapons. Nix was on them in an instant as Tanner drove her glove across their bellies or backs, spilling their insides all over the arena floor. She seemed to have more of an advantage over the aliens since no one wanted to harm her. So when they turned to avoid her they found her weapon in their backs. Fry was shocked by the brutality in her fighting. But understood she was fighting for her life and no mercy would be spared.

Bianca grabbed Fry instinctively when a larger, more menacing alien knocked Nix so easily to the floor. It lifted its weapon to do him in when Riddick grabbed the alien from behind and attempted to break its neck. When that didn't seem to work, Nix jumped up and brought his club down on the alien's skull, breaking it open in a shower of green blood. The crowd seemed to like that move and that's when they discovered the alien's weakness. Their thin and weak skulls. The bodies began to drop rather quickly as the trio moved about working together to bust open skulls. They were just coated in the green blood and Fry felt sick to her stomach. The smell of death floated up into the stands and she was sure it had to be far worse down there. They were not prepared for when a group of the alien's stood together to take out the trio. The three of them were separated and Tanner found herself alone. Three large aliens seemed to guard her as the fighting continued. She fought at them with all her strength, but could not get past them. A lone human male with dark tan skin and jet black hair pulled back in a pony tail, casually approached the aliens and motioned for Tanner to get their attention. She had no idea what his plan was but anything was better than being trapped there. She fought at the aliens as the human simply walked up behind them and jabbed them with a gloved finger. One by one they all fell to the ground. Either dead or unconscious, it wasn't clear. The human approached her. "I like how you fight." He said smoothly. Tanner gave him an impatient glance before searching out Riddick and Nix. "I have a proposition for you." He continued as if he had her undivided attention. She stopped and looked at him for a moment. "Allow me to stand with you and your friends in the fight." He said firmly. She snorted at his proposal. "And what will happen when it's down to the four of us? You will still have to die." She said rudely. He smiled at her and shook his head. "Not if I pin you." He said confidently. She gave him a threatening look. "I'll kill you before that happens." She said bringing her weapon up. He stared at her calmly. "I have no interest in joining with you or anything else for that matter. I just want to strike up a brief partnership. I pin you, the contest is over, I survive, you survive, and so do your friends." He replied easily. "What's in it for you then?" She snapped. "I walk away a very wealthy man. I've made a lot of bets that I would be one of the last men standing in this fight and I intend to win," he said giving her a look that said he meant it. "We can either do this the easy more peaceful way or the hard and violent way. It's up to you." "No deal!" She yelled. "I will not allow any man to pin me!" She snapped as she continued to fight off the alien's. It was her conversation with the stranger that allowed one of the aliens to trip her. She landed on the ground with a sharp thud, her weapon falling off in the process. She immediately turned over to keep the alien from pinning her. The stranger came around and stood over her head. "My plan is probably looking really good right about now." He smirked. "Just say the word and I'll take care of this goon." He added soothingly. She fought the alien until she knew she could not hold out any longer before agreeing. "Okay, you win. Now help me!" She screamed at the stranger. He quickly stepped behind the alien and jabbed him with a gloved hand. The alien fell down like a wet sack of potatoes. The stranger kicked the alien aside and held out a hand to her. She took it and he pulled her up. She gave him a mistrustful look before they began to fight side by side.

Riddick was starting to have bad memories of the night he was left alone to fight with those aliens. He had taken some bad hits, and he knew he was cut in several places. While the other aliens seemed to be everywhere, he at least could see better then than he could now. The lights were not glaring bright, but they were bright and he was having some trouble seeing. He mostly fought by his instincts. It felt like he had been fighting for days as the killing began to wear him down. If Tanner and Nix were still there it would have been a lot easier. "Riddick!" Tanner yelled as she made her way to him. He noticed the stranger with her and prepared to fight him. "Wait!" Tanner put her hand on his arm to stop him. "He's with us, I made a deal." She said with some disgust. He looked at the stranger for a moment attempting to size him up. "First sign that you're turning on me, I'll gut your ass." Riddick said as a matter of fact. The stranger nodded firmly and turned to jab an alien that got to close to him. Riddick noticed the ease of which he had killed the alien and gave him a curious glance. "Baking powder." The stranger shrugged in explanation. "It's deadly to them. Just one stick into the skin with it and they're as good as dead." Riddick actually grinned at him. "You haven't got a spare on you by any chance?" He asked as he fought and then gutted an alien attacker. The stranger reached inside the heavy black coat he had on and tossed him a matching glove. Riddick slipped his knife into his belt and put the glove on. Tanner gave the stranger an angry look. "I could have used that after we met you know." She bit out. He ignored her comment and went about fighting alongside Riddick.

It wasn't long before they made their way to Nix who wasn't looking so hot. Blood was running down his chin and he was covered in dirt. He gave them a relieved look when he saw them coming. The four of them became an impenetrable fighting force as the alien and human enemies began to drop like flies. After more than an hour of fighting they were down to no more than six or so. Fry was feeling more confident than ever that it was coming to an end. "I wonder how this is going to turn out?" Bianca asked Fry. "Either that stranger that's helping them will have to die or pin Tanner. And I doubt seriously she will allow him to do that." She said motioning to the stranger. Fry nodded. "I was thinking the same thing. I guess we'll find out soon enough." She replied as it was now down to three attackers. A dull roar filled the arena as the last three dropped leaving just the four of them standing in a makeshift graveyard of dead alien's and human's. It was a hideous sight to see and one Fry didn't hope to see ever again in her time. The crowd calmed down and all eyes were on the arena to see who the last one to die would be. Riddick and Nix looked at the stranger prepared to fight him. Tanner stopped them. "I made a deal with him. I'm gonna let him pin me." She replied glancing at the stranger. Riddick seemed slightly surprised by her announcement. "We made a deal Riddick. He pins me, then lets me go after the fight." She explained. The stranger watched them carefully not sure if he could still trust them or not. Riddick grinned and stepped back. "It's your deal Tanner." She looked to Nix and he nodded in agreement as well. "It has to look convincing, or it won't count." The stranger said firmly. Tanner rolled her eyes before turning and running away from him.

The crowd went crazy as he chased her down over bodies and lost weapons. She managed to get several feet from him before he caught up to her. She pretended to trip and fall as he easily turned her over and straddled her waist. She feigned a struggle for a few moments before finally allowing him to hold her firmly down. An odd fluttering in her stomach caused her to look at him oddly. "You okay?" He asked when he noticed her expression. She slowly nodded. "Yeah, just glad this is over." She replied allowing her body to relax. As they waited for Solan to make the announcement of her officially being pinned, the stranger looked at her as if seeing her for the first time. "What are you looking at?" She asked him feeling the heat rise in her face by his closeness. "Nothing." He quickly replied looking desperately for any sign he could let her go. Solan stood and faced the arena. "Tanner you have been pinned by Ulrich. This fight is now over!" He yelled loudly. The crowd roared with cheers. Ulrich gently got off Tanner and helped her to her feet. She swayed slightly and he steadied her. "I'm perfectly capable of helping myself!" She snapped as Riddick and Nix approached them. "Names Riddick." He said as he held out his hand to him. "Mark Ulrich." He replied as he shook his hand, and then Nix's. "I heard the three ladies names announced but just which one is my new blushing brides first name?" He asked smartly. "I don't plan on being your wife long enough for you to need to know." She snapped as aliens led her away. "We shall see." He mumbled quietly as he watched her go.

The men were getting cleaned up and much needed medical treatment when Solan entered the room. "I won't hide it from you, we are most disappointed you have won the fight. We are most desperate to breed with them. We ask you to allow us to obtain at least one offspring from them before you leave us forever." He finished sadly. Nix opened his mouth to object but Riddick kicked him in the boot. "We might be able to work something out." He replied easily. "But can we at least have a few nights with them first?" He asked calmly. Solan beamed at his reply. "Yes, yes of course!" He said happily. "It is your right as their joined mates." He added nodding proudly. "I'll leave you to your preparations." He smiled as he rushed out to tell the others the good news. "Are you crazy Riddick!" Nix whispered roughly. "You know the women would kill us if we did something like that to them." He added with a forced smile to keep his demeanor. "Yeah and I don't hold any rights over Orion, so I can't take part in this." Ulrich replied. Riddick grinned. "Relax, if Solan thinks we're going along with them they won't do anything foolish. That will at least buys us a few days to get the hell off this ship." He explained. Nix nodded in understanding. "I see your point."

 

Fry paced back and forth as Bianca chewed her nails. "Fry please sit down you're making me crazy." She said annoyingly. Fry shot her a quick glance. "Sorry, I can't help it. It's not everyday you're forced to get married." She replied as she sat down next to her. "It's not for real, so it doesn't count," she shrugged. "This counts." Fry motioned to the band on her arm. "Unless we can find a way to get them off, we are stuck with them." She said as she stood up again. "The husbands or the bands?" She asked with a smirk. "Both!" Fry responded impatiently. The door opened abruptly as Tanner was escorted into the room. She was back in her gown and hardly had a scratch on her. "Tanner!" Bianca said happily as they approached her. "Did you see the others?" Fry asked. She shook her head. After the fight I was led away to get cleaned up and prepared to be joined." She replied rolling her eyes. "Yeah what's up with that? Why didn't you fight that guy?" Fry asked. "His names Ulrich, he knew how to kill the aliens so I made a deal with him. If I let him pin me he'd let me go free afterwards." She shrugged as if it was already a done deal. Suddenly the door opened again and Solan entered. "Carolyn it is time for you to be joined." He said with a smile. She swallowed hard as her feet suddenly felt like lead weights. She gave Bianca and Tanner a nervous glance before following him. He took her down the corridor and into a large room. She had expected an entire room of spectators watching the joining. But outside of a few people, the room was nearly empty.

Down at the end of the room stood Riddick, Nix and Ulrich. Riddick was watching her every step she took and she swallowed nervously as she walked to stand next to him. She felt slightly embarrassed by the idea of being so close to him in such a sheer gown. He could probably see everything. Outside of that she was quite glad to see him. "You okay?" She asked when she was finally there. "Why wouldn't I be?" He said with a grin. She gave him an annoyed look before being interrupted by Solan. "Riddick, do you choose this female to be your mate for life?" He asked him. Fry's heart leaped at his words and she felt herself start to sweat. "Definitely." Riddick replied taking her hand in his. Her body became warm at his reply and she felt an overwhelming wave of emotions wash over her. He only said one word, but it spoke volumes. He gently began to rub her fingers between his and she wondered if it was a nervous reaction. Riddick nervous? No way. She scoffed to herself. "Carolyn, do you accept Riddick as your mate for life?" Solan then asked her. A small nervous laugh escaped her as she pictured the two of them dressed as they were taking vows of marriage together. They were the last two in the galaxy that should ever marry, yet here they were. She grew more serious when she saw how intently Riddick was looking at her. "I do accept him." She replied truthfully. Solan nodded as he placed a band on Riddick's wrist. "You are now joined for life." He stated sadly. Fry felt so odd to hear those words. While they were not legally married by earth terms, it was still odd to hear it said out loud. Riddick let go of her hand and she found herself missing his touch. They were allowed to stay and watch the other two joinings and Fry was glad she didn't have to miss them.

First Tanner was brought in. The scowl on her face was priceless. Fry would have laughed if not for the completely admiring look Ulrich was giving Tanner as he stood calmly waiting for her to join him. Tanner shot Riddick a sad glance before standing up next to her husband to be. Refusing to accept his hand when he offered it. "Ulrich, do you choose this female to be your mate for life? Solan asked once again. "You bet I do." Ulrich replied smugly. Tanner looked away in disgust as Solan turned to her. "Orion, do you accept Ulrich as your mate for life?" He asked. She paused for what seemed at least several minutes before responding. "If I have to, yes." She finally bit out distastefully. Ulrich frowned at how unemotional she was about the whole thing and reminded himself it was just a deal made between them. A band was placed on his wrist as well. "You are now joined for life." Solan said less enthusiastically to them. "Thank god that's over." Tanner replied as she stepped away from him. "Remember Orion you must stay within one mile of your mate or your band will detonate." Solan replied coolly. She gave him an incredulous look before quickly walking back toward them. "This is barbaric!" She snapped angrily as Bianca was brought in. She managed to calm herself as Bianca walked slowly down the aisle toward Nix. She was filled with mixed emotions. Sure she thought he was attractive and he sure had brought out odd feelings inside her when they were making pheromones together. Feelings she was unable to shake. But this was like marriage and that was something she took seriously. If she knew him at all, he would keep this strictly as a necessary situation and not treat her as his wife. After all, they weren't really getting married.

When she stood next to him he gave her a warm smile. Solan repeated the vows once more. "Nix do you choose this female as your mate for life?" He asked more casually than the first two times. Nix nodded. "Yeah, you bet." He said with a smirk. Bianca almost laughed out loud. He was playing out the charade to the fullest and she had to admire him for that. "Bianca, do you accept Nix as your mate for life?" Solan asked looking at her as if he were about to yawn. "Geez I don't know, what's in it for me?" She said in jest. Solan's head snapped to attention and he gave her a stern look. "We can always join you with one of our kin.." "I accept Nix." Bianca interjected quickly. "You aliens sure don't know how to take a joke do ya?" She asked shaking her head in disgust. Solan looked quite disappointed at her accepting Nix and he paused a moment before placing the band on Nix's arm. "You are now joined for life." He replied halfheartedly. "Now you may be taken to your quarters to consummate the joining." He added motioning for them to be led away.

"He doesn't waste any time, does he?" Fry mumbled to Riddick as they were led to their quarters. She was more nervous than she'd ever been in her life. Would he expect anything from her? What would she do if he did? She did love him and decided she would not turn him down if he made a move on her. She was pleasantly surprised by their quarters, which were elegantly decorated, with layers of fur for a bed. The room was filled with warm candles giving it a comforting glow. Curtains hung from the walls adding a dressy look. But all those things went out the window when they were locked inside. Riddick lay down on the bed of furs as she kept messing with the door. She couldn't bring herself to actually look at him so she kept her attention on the door. "Might as well give it up, we're locked in." He replied huskily. "Why don't you come over here and sit with me." He added patting the furs next to him. She then turned to the band on her arm and began to fidget with it. "I want this thing off me." She replied nervously. Riddick got up and walked over to her. "Relax." He said as he took her hand in his. He slowly started to massage the area where she had fought to get the band off. "It's okay...Richard." She replied using his first name for the first time. He gave her a surprised look. "Richard?" He said with a smidgen of surprise. "That's the first time you've called me by that name." He added with a whisper. "Why now?" She shrugged. "You call me Carolyn, you always have. I like that." She smiled at him. "And here I thought it was because I'm your husband now." He grinned mischievously. He put one arm around her body and pulled her close. She felt both nervous and excited at the same time. She wanted him. More than anything in the Galaxy she wanted him. From the first moment she saw him on the Hunter G she knew it to be true. Of course him being a criminal at the time made her realize it could never be, but that time had passed and things had changed.

He reached a hand up to her face and she took a nervous breath. He stopped for a second. "I won't hurt you Carolyn." He whispered, his lips just mere inches from hers. She nodded. "I know. I'm just nervous." She answered her voice the slightest bit shaky. "What makes you feel nervous?" He asked softly as he lightly ran a finger over her chin and down her neck. She realized he was teasing her, making her admit she was afraid of making love to him. "I think you know why." She replied more boldly. He gave her an innocent look just as his finger made it's way down her chest. Finding the necklace he paused. "What's this?" He asked quietly. She suddenly recalled the credit key and gasped. "Oh god, the credit key!" She said pulling it up for him to see. "I completely forgot about it!" She laughed. He took it in his hand and gave her a surprised look. "I thought those credits were gone for good." He replied softly. "No way I would let that happen. You worked so hard for those credits. I wanted to make sure you got them. All two million of them." She replied happily. Riddick looked first at the credit key then to her. "Did I ever tell you how great you are?" He said pulling her into his arms.

She looked up at him just as he leaned down to kiss her. She closed her eyes prepared to feel his warm lips on hers. When nothing happened she opened her eyes. He was looking down at her with a huge grin on his face. At first she was upset thinking he was just playing with her, but the look on his face said otherwise. "Do you want me?" He asked sensually. She slowly nodded her head yes. "Say it Carolyn, tell me you want me." He demanded in a husky voice. What remained of her nervousness dissipated instantly and she looked him in the eye. "God I want you so bad I can't wait any longer." She whispered as she put her arms tightly around his neck. That was all he needed to hear as he covered her mouth with his. It was as if a bolt of lightening raced through her body as his tongue slid inside her warm mouth. She openly kissed him as her legs began to feel shaky. Nothing in her life had ever felt as good as being kissed by him.

She felt a swirl in her belly as his hands lifted her gown, raising it until he could lay his hands against her bare thighs, then against her hips. Until he could grasp her bare bottom and pull her against his arousal. She gasped and pulled away from his mouth for a second. He took the opportunity to move the gown down her shoulders exposing her breasts. His mouth immediately moved to suck firmly on a pert nipple. Again she gasped. The world began to fade away and all she saw and felt was him. His smell and his touch brought out the animal in her and she quickly pulled his shirt off. She laid her palms against his chest. So strong, so hard, and yet she could feel his heart beating against her hand. It thudded in his chest just as hers did. As though they were one even now, before they were joined, before he was physically a part of her. She continued to move her hands over his hard muscled chest lightly kissing as she moved downward. She ran a tongue over one of his nipples as she undid his pants. He took over the job of removing them the rest of the way. She felt his large erect penis throbbing against her abdomen and reached a hand down to touch it. She was amazed by how smooth and firm it felt. She wrapped her hand around it gently rubbing up and down. Riddick sucked in a mouthful of air before pulling her hand away. "You make me crazy you know." He replied with a light chuckle. She looked up at him with a grin. "You make me feel good." She countered. "I'm only getting started." He whispered as he slowly dropped to the furs pulling her down with him, so that she sat across his thighs.

He quickly pulled the gown over her head, tossing it carelessly aside. Sitting in his lap, she kissed his mouth, his neck and down to his smooth chest. "I feel like we've waited forever for this." She breathed, lifting her eyes to his steel ones. He answered her with a deep kiss, as he slipped his hand between her legs. She moaned when he touched her, and spread her legs wider for him. She held nothing back, showed him no reluctance, no uncertainty. He had been prepared to seduce her if need be, but she came to him as if they'd been together many times before. His fingers gently pushed their way inside her warm body and he knew she was ready for him. Wet and so hot, she rocked easily against his hand. Giving herself completely over to instinct. Riddick watched her face, the growing wonder there, and the desire that filled her eyes. He didn't doubt her innocence. He knew no man had ever touched her but him, had ever brought that desire to her eyes. She brought her lips roughly to his as he pressed deeper inside her warm body. Fry deepened the kiss, held on to him tightly, rocked against his hand. He felt the tremble that worked its way through her body, touching her harder and faster, until she cried out against his mouth. "Richard.." She gasped while the blinding pleasure travelled her body. Moments later slight tremors still moved through her body as she leaned back slightly to give him a most seductive smile. She placed her hand in his lap finding his erect penis.

It was at that moment that he saw the first sign of doubt on her face. "Are you absolutely positive about this?" She asked breathlessly. "Absolutely," he whispered confidently. Her doubt fled as he lifted her up setting her above him. She straddled his hips and lowered herself slowly, torturously slowly. She was wet, and so tight it was all he could do to wait. He wanted to plunge deep inside her, to have her now. But he didn't. He allowed her to take him slowly, until he met the barrier of her virginity. She paused for a moment and it was long enough for him to take over. He folded his arms around her and thrust so deeply inside her she would never be able to deny that he possessed her. She bit down on her lip as the pain coursed through her body. It was a pain like no other. Sharp and almost unbearable at first, it then turned to one of pure pleasure. She was still for a moment and it was all Riddick could do to remain motionless inside her. When she began to move again it was with a sure rhythm. He grasped her waist with his strong arms and thrust deep inside her over and over again. He grunted with each thrust as the pleasure became greater.

Fry placed her arms on his shoulder and matched his thrusts time after time. He heard the quickening of her breath as she began to move faster, more urgently against him until powerful tremors rocked him as he came inside her, sending his seed deep within. Fry held on as if to let go would mean death. She cried out softly and convulsed in his arms once more, and Riddick clutched her in his arms, afraid to let go, afraid for this to end. She collapsed against his chest, laying her head against his shoulder and breathing deeply. He was still inside her, still a part of her. He pulled her with him as they lay down together on the furs. "Jesus." She whispered in awe as she moved her legs but kept him inside her still. She liked how it felt; she liked to be a part of him. "I take it you're satisfied?" He said as his breathing slowly leveled out. Although he had been with a few women in his day, none of them had been like Carolyn. She was as sweet as a ripe peach back on earth. He knew he'd never get enough of her if he lived forever.

Life without her seemed unbelievable to him even more so now. He smoothed her damp blond hair off of her face and kissed her forehead. "Definitely." She smiled at him, mimicking his "wedding vows" before returning the kiss. Like this, it was as if they were two completely different people. Would Riddick be like this tomorrow? She wondered as she looked at him. Hopefully they would be on Bianca's ship heading out to deep space when she found out. She wanted off this ship in the worst way. She had a bad feeling things weren't as they seemed and she longed to be miles away from there. There would be time enough to talk about that later, right now she was comfortable in his strong arms and longed to close her eyes and sleep. Feeling the same way, Riddick pulled her close as they both fell asleep exhausted and satisfied from the long days activities.

 

Bianca gave Nix a nervous smile as she sat down on the furs. He leaned against the wall and looked at her thoughtfully. He hated to admit it, but she was growing on him. And that was not a good thing. He was not a one woman sort of man. But he was intrigued with her from the moment he saw her from his hiding position in the tunnels. She had just climbed out of the water and he could see her lithe wet form in the light from the setting sun. She was breathtaking. It wasn't until he came in contact with her that he was filled with erotic thoughts of taking her in the darkness of the tunnel walls. It was difficult to keep things on a respectable level as bad as he wanted her. She seemed the perfect woman and it was as if she were made for him. But the ugly truth was that he was still an assassin and he was not the sort of guy that a woman settled down with. He'd killed more men than even Riddick. Of course Nix was an assassin and that was his job. But did she have feelings for him? Outside of the fact that he'd saved her life twice, and then married her, he wasn't entirely sure. It was at that very moment that he realized he would have to nip any chance of a relationship in the bud. He had to make her hate him without a reason of a doubt. He would get over her soon enough. Afterall there was an entire galaxy of other women that could get her out of his head.

Bianca looked up at him slightly. She could swear he was loving every minute of her squirming, and decided things would be discussed up front before he tried anything. It wasn't that she didn't trust Nix, she did. Maybe he was the first man ever that she did trust. It was just not right to be thrown together like they were. "Nix." She started. He crossed his arms and smiled. "Yeah?" He asked casually. She paused for a moment as she realized how attractive he looked leaning there in the dimness of the room. She recalled those large hands of his touching her body in the darkness of that tunnel. At first she had fought him, wanted to escape him. But he held onto her with a strength that she had yet to see in a man. Nix, in his attempt to save her life in the tunnel, had made her feel so alive, so full of passion. How he had managed to make her blood run like hot lava through her veins was way beyond her. She had told herself it was just the adrenaline of the moment, but somehow it had been more. She actually wanted him to want her. It was almost like she couldn't bear to have him want another woman. He had volunteered to fight for her. That was a sign he felt something for her, wasn't it?

"Hello?? Anybody there?" Nix asked waving a hand in front of her face. She snapped to attention and jumped up off the furs that he was now sitting next to her on. A hand shot out and caught her wrist in a split second. "Whoa there, where you going in such a hurry?" He asked as she looked down at him. "I don't think it's wise for us to share the furs." She blurted out quickly. He turned his head as a grin crossed his mouth. "What the hell is so funny?" She asked annoyed with him for thinking their situation as funny. "You are so sure I want you aren't you?" He asked giving her a serious look. His words cut deeper than she wanted to admit. So he didn't have an interest in her, it was all just a misunderstanding. She attempted to conceal the disappointment that she was now feeling at his admittance. "I never said that!" She snapped angrily. "Sure had me fooled." He laughed out loud. "In fact you were just begging for it in that tunnel." He replied smugly. Instant anger rushed through her body and she leaped at him planting a firm smack on his face for making her feel so ashamed. He was surprised by her attack, but only briefly. He was to his feet in seconds flat. She kept her distance never taking her eyes from him. "I save your life twice and this is how you repay me?" He bit out angrily. Of course he wasn't really angry. Her swat across his face was barely a nuisance. Secretly he was glad she had done that, it was a perfect excuse to get her to hate him.

Bianca kept her distance from him. He was more than angry with her, he was enraged. She could see the threat in his eyes. It was at that moment that she regretted her outburst of violence. She could have just walked away, ignored him. In fact considering how little she knew of him she should have. What had he done to end up in prison with Riddick? She thought as she wished she had bothered to ask him early on. He seemed like a different man than when she first met him. He was so easy going and carefree, but now he looked every bit the criminal. "This is how you treat your husband?" He continued as they circled each other menacingly. "You are not my husband!" She cried out in a voice that almost didn't sound like her own. "I think you are in need of a lesson in keeping your hands to yourself." He added as he quickly moved toward her. She backed up to the door and banged on it, hoping someone would come and help her. She knew how to take care of herself, but feared she was no match for him. Not as angry as he was at her. "Now Nix, there's no need to get all upset. You must admit you did deserve it." She replied as sweetly as she could. "Oh really." He growled as he jumped forward stepping on her gown to stop her. She turned to escape him and fell down instantly, cursing as she hit the hard floor. Before she could get up Nix was on top of her from behind. He leaned in close to her ear. "You're quite the handful aren't you." He replied as he pulled her gown back down over her bare behind. He just wanted to scare her off, not terrify her. Just the sight of her nude body made him aroused and he fought it with all his might. "Get off of me!" She snapped angrily. He did as she asked but kept one knee firmly across her back. "First tell me your sorry." He replied snidely. She snorted. "Never, I'm glad I did what I did!" She yelled as she struggled to get up. "Okay, fine, have it your way." He replied ominously. "Ever hear of an eye for an eye?" He asked giving her one more chance to say sorry. "You wouldn't dare smack me in the face!" She said in near panic. "No, not in the face..." He replied letting the words linger long enough to worry her. She let out a yelp when the sting of his hand on her rear was felt. He gave her several more hard smacks before letting her go. She jumped up quickly and shot him a deadly glare. "No.. no.. Man touches me like that! I'll get you back for this, I swear it!" She fumed as she headed for the facilities. "I hope you aren't a heavy sleeper." She added ominously before allowing the door to close behind her.

Nix watched her go and normally would have been happy that his plan worked. But not this time. He knew she'd never forgive him for what he'd just done to her. What woman would? He thought as he plopped down on the furs. She was a strong independent woman and he had just humiliated her. He shook off the bad feelings that crept into his heart. It was better this way he reminded himself. It was better for both of them. She would be so glad down the line that they had this fight. She would look back and realize how lucky she was not to have gotten involved with him. He'd feel the same way as well, once he was away from her. He still found himself wanting to go to her and attempt to reconcile and he longed to be out of that room and far from her. He recalled when Riddick told him how he'd busted that light so he couldn't go back after Fry and the other two people he'd left in a small cavern on that alien planet. His conscience had nagged at him so badly he knew he had to take desperate measures to avoid his emotions from getting involved. But in the end it was the strength and determination of Fry that had led him back to the human race again. Nix shook away the thought angrily. He was an assassin god dammit, not some husband. Unlike Fry and Riddick, things would be better for them to remain apart.

Bianca splashed water on her face and looked in the mirror. What had happened to the Nix she knew before the fight to the death? He was like a different man. She figured he must have been pretending to be this charming and easy going assassin who had heart. Maybe only Riddick knew he was keeping the real man from showing through and that pissed her off even more. She could just imagine the two of them laughing and joking at her expense. She rubbed her tender rear and felt the urge to find something to go after him with. At least he hadn't beaten her up, or killed her. He had pulled her gown down as if not wanting her to feel threatened. Would a cold-blooded assassin do something as considerate as that? She shook her head angrily. No, he had no right to do that to her, surely her smack on the face hadn't hurt him. He'd sustained more in the fight to the death than her little swat. There was no need of him to so brazenly spank her like a naughty child. A red heat filled her face as she recalled being held down by him. How could this man so easily get to her like that? She thought as she wished to be far away from him.

 

Tanner tossed and turned a few more times before sitting up and looking over at her new husband. He slept on the floor not five feet from her. Ulrich had voluntarily given up the bed of fur to her as he made a makeshift bed on the floor. Once that was done, he stripped down to his boxers. She was immediately taken in by his firm bronze body. She had allowed her eyes to look him over as he undressed. Now that he was asleep she felt she could look him over even better. He had well chiseled facial features and tattoos on his arm, but she couldn't make out what they were. "Getting a good look?" He asked her without opening his eyes. She blushed in the light of the candles and looked away from him. "Don't compliment yourself. I just can't sleep. It's hotter than hell in here. Don't you think?" She asked secretly patting herself on the back for such a smooth save. He placed his arms behind his head and opened his eyes to look at her. "I'm used to the heat." He claimed proudly. "Sure, I've heard it's hot in hell." She replied smartly. His expression remained serious and she rolled her eyes at him. "I notice you do that an awful lot, do you have some sort of eye problem?" He asked sarcastically. She shrugged choosing to ignore him instead of replying. She was too hot to start any trouble. Besides why bother, soon he'd let her go and she'd never see him again.

Ulrich watched her every move in the dark. So innocent he thought. She had no clue what evil was heading into her life at that very moment. It wasn't by any accident that he happened to meet her in the fight. Nor did he enter the fight because of any bets he'd made. He had only one thing in mind for her, getting the reward for her capture. It was just over two months ago that he was approached on earth by a very wealthy brother and sister pair that went by the names of Audra and Axel..Not only were they brother and sister but lovers as well. The very thought made his stomach churn, but the offer they made him was unbeatable. His perfect recovery record had created quite a reputation for him on earth. He had become a tracker in his late teens on the reservation and now at the age of 28 he excelled in it, becoming one of the top people on Earth who were good at it. It was a way to earn enough credits to help support his family. But the credits he'd received so far for nothing in comparison of what he'd get from the brother and sister pair. In exchange for tracking down Tanner, he would be given a planet named Hellfire.

Hellfire was a clean, unpoplulated, newly discovered planet, very much like earth and he wanted it. He planned on moving over two thousand Native American's to this planet to start over fresh. He had dreamt of nothing else all his life. And now it was just a matter of time before he saw that dream. Sure he felt bad for what was going to happen to Tanner, the couple would probably torture her to death. Normally he'd think twice about handing a woman over to them like that, but a planet was not something he was prepared for them to offer. Besides they had informed him she was a cold-blooded killer, not some innocent woman. It was their brother she had killed in that fight to the death. And they had not been happy to hear such a light sentence for her. But before they could fight the decision she was sent away to an unknown location. It took him nearly the entire two months to find where she was, and he'd gotten to Titan just as they were leaving. He followed them once they'd docked with the ship they were now on. It was just a guess she was with them. He had studied her holopic so many times he was actually surprised to find her much more attractive in real life, something he hadn't counted on. She was a fighter, a survivor and a pain in the rear. He had to like her didn't he. He scoffed. He reminded himself of how happy his people would be on Hellfire, which he would rename as soon as it was in his possession. That was the thought that kept him focused on his job. One life for many he reasoned. It was a good trade. Now if he could only tell his conscience that.

 

Fry rolled over and noticed Riddick was not there. She bolted upright and checked the room for him. He was gone. She looked at the band on her wrist and cringed. She hoped that wherever he was he was watching how far away he was getting from her. If that thing started beeping she wouldn't have long to get back within range of him. It would have been nice of him to wake her up and let her know he was leaving. Apparently it just wasn't something that crossed his mind. Typical Riddick she smiled to herself. She would have been disappointed if he had changed after their little romp last night. She loved him the way he was. Yawning she climbed off the furs and headed into the bathroom. A young girl was already inside preparing a bath for her. "Oh!" Fry said slightly startled by her presence. "What are you doing here?" She asked gently. The girl smiled. "Solan wanted you to be ready for when he came to speak with you." She replied as she felt the water temperature. "Speak to me? About what?" She asked as she stuck a toe in the water. "You know, about you staying and providing an offspring for one of the aliens here." She replied innocently. The blood instantly left Fry's face as she stared in shock at the girl. "What?" she whispered barely audible. The girl was looking away from her busy preparing a new gown for her. "Your mate and the other men agreed to allow you and the other two women to stay and have children for the aliens." She replied casually.

Fry nearly fell down into the water at the news and the girl turned to check on her. Her face became an instant expression of worry. "Are you okay? You look very ill." She exclaimed nervously. "I'll fetch a medtech!" She replied throwing down the clothes in her arms. Fry quickly grabbed the girl as she passed. "No! I'm fine. The water was just a bit cool." She answered smoothly, wildly attempting to maintain a look of ease. The girl looked her over carefully. "Oh no, I'm so sorry! Solan will kill me for doing something like that," she said with worry. Fry forced a calm smile. "No problem at all, I'll just add some warm water. Okay?" She added as she attempted to ease the girl's trouble. She seemed content with that and went about her business as Fry sat in shock in the water. She had to tell the others, she had to warn them of what the men had done.

She just could not believe Riddick was capable of doing that to her, why? Why would he? After last night, she thought he cared about her. Surely the girl had been mistaken. He fought for her, why would he just hand her over and leave after doing such a thing? Unless all he had wanted was one fling with her first. Maybe he had to know what it was like to have sex with her. Maybe all she ever was to him was just some sick obsession. And now that he'd finally got what he wanted she was useless to him. That would explain why he wasn't there when she woke up. He was probably making plans with the others to leave on Bianca's ship. She shook her head roughly. No...No...she couldn't believe that. She wouldn't believe that. He wouldn't do that to her. Would he? She hated herself for doubting him. In fact she had finally resigned herself to finally trust him, without a doubt. Now here she was not a few hours into their "marriage" and she was already doubting him. Would this never end? She wondered as she stood out of the water. Grabbing a towel and quickly drying off, she frantically came up with a plan to get Solan to allow her to meet with Bianca and Tanner. Maybe they had more information on what was going on.

Fry didn't have long to wait. Not an hour after she was prepared to meet Solan he entered the room with a smile. "Well I see you're ready." He replied happily. She smiled back at him. "Sure am. Do you know where my mate is?" She asked as nonchalantly as possible. He nodded. "We've been busy making plans. He's offered to allow us to obtain an offspring from you. He and the others plan on leaving you here for the duration of your pregnancy, but will come back after the babies are born. Riddick said something about finding a girl named Audrey..." He seemed to drift off into his own world for a moment as if deep in thought. That proved it, If he knew about Audrey then Riddick had talked to him. Solan was probably imagining adding Audrey to his harem of slave females. The blood in Fry's head pulsed as the anger grew each word her spoke. "Anyway, I'm sure they don't want to see you while you carry another males baby. Of course we will release the bands from the men so they can leave." He stated matter of factly.

Inside Fry was burning with a barely controlled anger. She wanted to wrap her hands around that wimpy throat and stop his voice from coming out. But considering they didn't seem to have the same layout that humans had, she'd be better off bashing in that thin skull of his. She wanted to, for the first time in her life she was angry enough to take it out on someone. Enough had happened to her to last a lifetime. Like she needed this on top of it all. And to think she'd kept the credit key safe for Riddick. That thought made her hand shoot to her chest in search of the key. It was gone! She nearly panicked and had to use all the strength she had to keep her expression calm. Riddick had sold her out! She thought frantically. That bastard! And now they were at the mercy of Solan and his people. She smiled calmly at him. "Yeah, I see their point." She choked out a laugh. "Oh I was wondering Solan, do you think it's possible I could see Bianca and Tanner. You know just to discuss our future here, that sort of thing." She shrugged as if it were not that big of a deal. "Why yes, that would be a good idea!" He replied happily. So gullible she thought as he walked to the door. "Come with me." He motioned for her to follow him. She numbly stood and took one look back at the room where both love and disdain for Riddick had collided. She fought back the tears that filled her eyes and followed Solan to the others.

Bianca was not looking any better than Fry by the time she wrapped her arms around her in a hug. They gave each other grave looks as Solan left to get Tanner. "I am so glad to see you. You will never believe it, but Nix and I had a bad fight last night. I thought he was going to kill me for a minute there. He had the nerve...no, the gall, to actually spank me!" She bit out angrily reliving the moment in her mind. When she noticed just how bad Fry looked she turned her attention to her. "Have a good night?" She asked trying to figure out what happened. Fry immediately began to cry as she sat down on the furs. "That good." Bianca replied sarcastically as she sat down next to her. "The bastard sold me out!" Fry sobbed angrily. She looked at her in shock. "What!? Are you sure?" Fry nodded her head as she wiped away the tears with her sleeve. "Solan told me that Riddick and the other men are planning on lending us out for breeding purposes." Fry replied nastily. Bianca stared at her blankly as if she hadn't heard her correctly. But before she could reply a very angry Tanner was escorted into the room. Fry turned away so Solan couldn't see she had been crying. "I knew we'd have trouble with you Orion." He snapped as the three large guards pushed her inside. "I'll leave you to get aquainted with the idea of your future duties." He replied as he left them.

Bianca put her hands up in frustration. "Will someone please tell me what is going on?" She asked completely confused. Tanner didn't wait for Fry. "We're being left here by the men to breed with the aliens, give them some goddamn offspring. Well it will be over my dead body!" She exclaimed loudly toward the door. Bianca grabbed her arms. "Calm down, we'll find a way out of this. Just start at the beginning and tell me all you know." Tanner relaxed a bit at her words and sat down next to Fry. "Well last night was tolerable. Ulrich kept to himself and pretty much avoided me, which I was happy about. But it was this morning that got me. He was gone when I woke up, but he came back later and seemed all nervous like. He grabbed his gear and that's when I questioned him. I mean we have these damn bombs strapped on us so naturally I was concerned about him leaving. He shot me a grave look, but refused to say anything to me except that he was sorry and that he had no other options. Then he left. There were guards at my door and they let him pass but not me.

Later, Solan came to see me and told me what was going on. He said we were to be used to provide offspring for them and not to think of escaping since these stupid bands will still be active after the guys leave, only that we will be attached to the ships computer. I don't know about you guys, but I suggest we come up with a plan to get the hell of this ship, and quickly." She replied firmly. "And to think I thought they'd be peaceful, now I know we should have gone in firing. I've certainly learned my lesson." She replied shaking her head in disgust. "Did Nix say anything to you Bianca?" Fry asked. Bianca shook her head dumbfounded by the news. "No, nothing. After the fight I slept in the facility room. When I got up he was gone." She shrugged as if unsure of what to think. "Ladies, we've been taken. We should have expected this to happen eventually." Tanner replied calmly. "Got any ideas?" Bianca asked softly as they sat there in defeat. Bianca felt so stupid. Nix was willing to hand her over to the aliens, just like that. She had him pegged completely wrong from the start. How could she have been even the slightest bit trusting of him? She would never make that mistake twice.

What a mess they were in now. They had to find a way out and fast. How to do that was a whole other story. "I'm not sure, we're trapped here as long as these stupid bands are on us. We have to get them off and get to Bianca's ship all before they leave with it." Tanner replied hand on her chin deep in thought. "Maybe we can get one of the girls to help us, they seem to get free range of the place." Fry spoke up. "Yeah but they might also tell Solan what's going on and then we're really screwed," Bianca said. "What if one of us sweet talks Solan into letting us roam free? I mean he seems to trust you Fry. Then we can find a way to escape." Bianca looked to them for their reaction. "I think that's all we can try at the moment." Fry agreed. Tanner nodded also.

 

Fry sat in Solan's quarters and looked around nervously. She had to hide her emotions inside to keep them from showing. Her thoughts constantly shifted to Riddick and how he went behind her back to betray her like he had. She actually thought he loved her, or at least cared about her. Knowing she had been mislead hurt as much as him not loving her. "Ah my dear Carolyn." Solan said as he greeted her. She gave him a kind smile. "Thanks for letting me see you," she said as sincerely as possible. He nodded. "When I heard that you wanted to learn more about us and were glad to help us out, I was more than happy to see you." He added taking her hand in his. She felt sick to her stomach by his touch and wanted to pull it away from him. She held fast and kept her composure. "After the men leave..... ummm when exactly will they be gone?" She asked not wasting anymore time with pleasantries. "They will be leaving tomorrow first thing. Tonight we will be having a dinner as we discuss the plans for you three." He replied as he sat down.

Fry took in that information and nodded. "Well in that case it's a done deal. Would it be possible, if you feel it's okay, that we can now roam the ship freely? I mean we can't go anywhere anyway." She shrugged as she smiled sweetly at him. He looked surprised by her request and she was worried she'd overstepped her boundaries. "I thought we could spend more time together, get to know each other." She added in hopes of keeping him on track. "I never even asked if you had any offspring" She replied hinting at him of the possibility of her being his mate. He seemed to take the bait as his face lit up. "I would be honored if you provided me with a child." He bowed solemnly. "You and Bianca may have free range of the ship. But not Orion, she is not to be trusted." He replied more testily. Fry jumped up out of her chair at the news and managed to give him a graceful bow. He seemed to like that and ushered a guard over. "Make sure everyone knows Carolyn and Bianca are free to roam the ship." The guard bowed and motioned for Fry to follow him.

Bianca and Tanner waited patiently for Fry's return. They hoped beyond everything dear that she would succeed. It was the only way they might escape. An odd scuffling sound at the door made them jump up in anticipation. A grunt outside the door caused them to look at each other curiously. The door slid open and there stood Sawyer. The guard lay at his feet unconscious. "What are you doing here?" Tanner replied in complete surprise as she pulled him inside. "I heard what was planned for you. I'm here to help." He whispered. Tanner happily hugged him. He pushed her away. "I don't deserve your kindness." He added looking away from her. Bianca noticed the guard and pulled him inside before anyone saw him. "Why not? You have certainly done more for us than the other men have." Tanner replied angrily. She noticed Bianca dragging the guard and helped her pull him into the facility room and lock the door. "Look Sawyer, we can discuss this further once we're off this ship. Right now you have to hide until they bring Fry back." She explained as she pushed him inside the facility room with the guard. "Try to keep the guard unconscious in case he wakes up at the wrong time." She added before closing the door behind him. Bianca had already locked them back inside the main room. Just mere minutes later Fry showed up. She could tell that something was up just by their expressions alone. Something good it appeared. "Well?" Tanner asked. "He has allowed our freedom, just not Tanner's. He thinks you will try to escape." She added with a small smile. Tanner returned her smile. "I sure would. At least we got you two freed that's a good start." Once the guard left them they released Sawyer. "What's the plan?" Tanner asked knowing he had something in mind already.

 

Riddick was pleased how things were going so far. While he was bullshitting with Solan about handing over the women to him, Ulrich distracted the guards as Nix was busy getting the ship released from the docking clamps. They couldn't afford any surprises while they were escaping. It amazed him how easily Solan accepted their word as good, as if he'd ever give Carolyn away to another man. He was heading to retrieve her from their quarters when he discovered she was gone. He almost panicked at the thought of Solan taking her away to be impregnated before they could leave. He rushed down the corridor toward Solan's quarters, hoping he wasn't too late. He turned the corner just in time to run full force into Sawyer. He was knocked to the ground while Riddick was only slowed. "Sawyer." He acknowledged as he reached a hand to help him up. Sawyer began to sweat immediately and Riddick noticed his overpowering nervousness. "What's up?" He asked curious of why he was acting so jittery. "uu..ummm n..nothing," He said looking away from him. Riddick could easily tell he was hiding something from him. He also realized he would not get an answer from him anytime soon. Best thing to do would be let him go on his way and follow him. It always worked for him on Slam City. "I'm gonna go find Carolyn, you coming?" He asked as if unaware of Sawyers nervousness. He quickly shook his head. "No. I..I..just saw her, she was with Bianca. I've got things to do still..you know, before we leave." He answered as he walked away from Riddick. He shrugged and allowed him to go. After waiting a few moments he crept down the hall after him.

He entered a large kitchen area and Riddick shadowed him inside. Fry was there along with Bianca and Tanner. Sawyer acknowledged them briefly before procuring a vile out of his jacket. Tanner took if from him and held it up to the light. "So how much are we supposed to put in the glasses?" She asked thoughtfully. Riddick noticed Fry chewing nervously on her lip. She seemed agitated and upset. Sawyer shrugged. "Just put in abou" "We're not doing this!" Fry interrupted harshly. Tanner put the vile down and looked at her. "Why not? They are the ones who decided to leave us here to breed like rabbits. Is that what you want to do Fry? Have one of those aliens kids?" Tanner bit out angrily. "I just don't believe Riddick would do that to us. I trust him, with my life." She replied confidently. "Hell we haven't even found out if what we heard was the truth or not. I say we confront them about this." She added firmly. Tanner paused a moment rolling the liquid back and forth in the vile. "Maybe you don't want to believe that Riddick would do that to you. Isn't that what you're really implying?" She said coolly. "Did you ever stop to think for one moment that he might have feelings for another woman? I mean we spent a lot of time together, alone. He was my partner. We even slept in the same room together." She replied as she stepped closer to Fry. "Really, then where were you when he was making love to me last night?" She said stepping closer to her as well. Bianca quickly stepped between the two of them. "Wait, I agree with Fry. We should ask them instead of just betraying them like this." Tanner gave her an exasperated look. "Oh all right." She huffed upset that her plans were now ruined. "I can't fight you both." She added handing the vile back to Sawyer. "You two get the ship ready and I'll find the men." She barked. Fry scowled at her. "It's almost time for them to eat, don't do anything until we get back." She snapped as she headed for the door. Bianca gave her a nod in agreement before following her. "Hey." Tanner replied getting their attention. Fry looked at her as she tossed a weapon to her. "Try not to shoot yourself with it." She replied snidely. Bianca shot Tanner a dirty look before pushing Fry out into the hall before she kicked Tanner's ass.

On the way to the ship Bianca stopped her. "I'm gonna go find the guys. I don't trust Tanner. She gave in way too easily. I don't know what's up with her, but she's starting to worry me. Get the ship ready and I'll meet you there." Fry nodded in agreement and made her way to the ship avoiding as many aliens as possible along the way. She thought about Tanner as she got closer to the docking bay. Why was she so desperate to betray the guys? It was as if she had turned coldhearted over night and was no out of control. Her heart sped up as she made sure the weapon was indeed capable of firing, she didn't trust Tanner at all anymore. It seemed as if her total attitude had changed after the fight. It was like she was a different woman entirely.

Once they were gone, Tanner looked at Sawyer. "Okay please continue with the instructions on how to drug them." She replied firmly. Sawyer cleared his throat nervously. "I didn't think we were going to drug them." He stated confused. "I just said that to shut them up. As soon as they get back we will have the men drugged already, and they won't be able to do anything about it. I'll leave them here with the men if I have to. I don't trust them, I know they are planning something," she replied suspiciously. He gave her an unsure look and she shoved her gun in his gut. "Talk or die." She demanded. He cleared his voice in shock. "Just put in about two drops in the blue cups to be served to the aliens that should knock them out for at least ten hours." "And the men?" She asked. He withdrew another vile and handed it to her. "One drop in the red glasses should work to keep them unconscious for half that time." He nodded. "Good, I don't want them to have a chance to go after us." Tanner turned without another word and grabbed two glasses on a nearby table. She held them out to Sawyer who shot her an unsure look before putting the correct drops in each of the cups.

Riddick watched the entire scene with great interest. So Fry finally trusted him. But not without her nearly betraying him first. He hadn't really expected the rumor to get spread so quickly. If she had been in her room earlier he would have explained things to her. But she had already heard and now suspected him of willingly giving her away. He reminded himself to make her squirm for believing him capable of doing something like that. Why would he do that? She was quite a woman, he thought. She sure had her moments. She was always keeping him on his toes. Regardless he had to make sure she never got the notion to remotely betray him again. At least in the end she had decided against the plans they had made. He crept back out into the hall and headed to find Nix and Ulrich. They had a change of plans in order.

 

Tanner watched from the kitchen area window as the men were served their drinks. She wanted to make absolutely sure the correct cups were given to them. They all toasted to the agreement and drank down the liquid. She didn't feel as guilty as she thought she would when she saw how pleased the men seemed to be with the agreement. Especially Riddick, he appeared totally unemotional, maybe a tad evil looking even. The aliens almost immediately started to succumb to the drug and quickly they fell onto the table with a loud thud. The men took a bit longer but finally also dropped to the table. Tanner smiled smugly as she approached the table to check out her handy work, unaware the men were not actually unconscious after all.

 

Once Fry arrived she stepped into the docking clearance booth. The alien gave her an odd look as she approached him. "Do you have clearance to be here?" He asked as if sure he'd caught her doing something wrong. She pulled the gun up and held it on him. "According to this weapon I do." She replied sarcastically. The alien didn't seem too upset over the gun and he reached a hand over to alert the others and that's when she shot him. He dropped quickly and she opened the door to the docking bay. Bianca's ship was right where they left it and she felt somewhat relieved. She manually opened the side entrance and jumped inside. It was as dark and clammy as a tomb. "Lights!" She said to the computer. Nothing happened. She sighed at the trouble and grabbed a manual light before heading for the cockpit. She could work better from there. Bianca's ship was not an overly big ship. It was way smaller than the Hunter G but a lot bigger than the escape skiff. When she arrived in the cockpit she went quickly to work attempting to get the ship warmed up. It was acting so sluggish she decided to check the main battery charges. Feeling the urgency to hurry growing stronger, she rushed into the next room and looked over the batteries. They were working fine according to the computer. She stood with her hands on her hips attempting to figure out what was wrong. Nothing seemed to be working and she was beginning to wonder what they had done to the ship to make it so dead. She walked quickly back to the cockpit and leaned over the seats to punch a few buttons on the control pad. "Looks like you're planning on leaving." Came that very familiar deep sarcastic voice she knew so well.

She stood up straight unsure if she heard his voice or not. Her heart racing she whipped around to face the darkness. "Riddick?" She whispered unable to see if he was there or not. Slowly he stepped from the darkness and she could see his gleaming eyes before the rest of him came into view. He approached her menacingly and she backed up against the back of the seats. She was reminded of the exact same situation as when they were on the skiff and were locked inside together. "Richard I'm..." was about all she could whisper. "Ssshhhhhhhhhh don't say one more word." He lightly warned as he placed his finger over her lips. She clamped her mouth shut and decided to do as he said. He leaned over her face and she could feel his breath on her cheek. "Now let me figure this out. You three decided to drug us and then leave us here, is that correct?" He asked waiting to see how she'd respond. She quickly shook her head. "No! well..at first that was the plan..but then I decided we would confront you guys instead." She cringed at how bad that sounded and was filled with way more remorse than before. "Riddi.." She started to say but he shot her an ominous look. Fry couldn't believe it was possible, but she was actually more afraid than the other time they were trapped together on the skiff. Maybe because this time emotions were involved. "Either way my Carolyn, you will pay for even considering leaving me and the others here. All you women will pay." He replied calmly. "It's not like that at all. It's just a huge misunderstanding." She shook her head quickly hoping to defuse the situation. "You call attempting to drug us so you could leave us here a misunderstanding?" He asked shaking his head in disagreement.

She instantly wished she was just dreaming and that she'd wake up and find herself still in bed with him. "I didn't betray you or drug you. I told them we weren't doing it." She replied quickly in defense. He shook his head. "Doesn't matter, you were still going to do it up until the last minute." He replied getting within inches of her. She wanted so badly to reach out and touch him but was unsure of how he'd react. She wouldn't be able to stand it if he pushed her away in disgust. "But we didn't." She countered. He shrugged as if it still didn't matter. "Things are going to be different between us from now on," he said more solemnly. "And I was so looking forward to continuing the honeymoon we started." He added running his finger lightly over her chin. For a moment she thought he looked as if he might kiss her. "It still can continue." She whispered not able to look at him. Riddick almost changed his mind about making her squirm when he saw how disappointed she looked at his news. Hell, he didn't want the honeymoon to end either. But he had to make her feel sorry for what she almost did. Of course since she didn't actually go through with it, he wouldn't make her suffer long. It was Tanner that needed a lesson in betrayal now. That woman was a danger to them all and he had no clue as to her change in attitude. He knew she cared about him, but never expected it to make her crazy when he refused her. Nix had wanted to abandon her here, and Ulrich seemed happy with that idea as well. But Riddick knew something was wrong and wanted time to get it worked out. Regardless of her behavior she was still an asset to the group.

"How will things change between us?" Fry asked holding her breath. A loud banging on the hull interrupted them and he leaned over Fry and opened the hatch with one hand. "You'll see." He whispered to her as Ulrich and Nix entered the ship with the others in tow. Bianca gave Fry a worried look and she realized the men had been completely prepared for their plan. "Sit down." Nix barked as he pushed Bianca into a seat. Tanner also sat down and glared at the men angrily. "What you have done is unforgivable." Nix replied looking at them more than a little peeved. "Hey! Bianca had nothing to do with this." Fry jumped in to defend her. Nix shot her down with a glance and she looked to see Riddicks reaction. He crossed his arms as if amused by the situation.

Ulrich seemed uninterested in what they had to say. He kept looking back out the hatch as if his attention was on something else. "If you want to come with us, this is how things will be from now on." Nix barked. "The bands, which we were going to remove from you had you not betrayed us, are now going to be your personal prison. We have already unarmed them on our side, while yours are set for shock. The range is no more than 20 feet from us at all times. You get outside the range and you get shocked. You tamper with the band, you get shocked. You so much as remotely argue with us, you get shocked. You disobey a direct order, you get shocked," he said firmly. Fry was angered to no end but also felt it was a well-devised plan of punishment. They had everything planned out perfectly didn't they? She thought to herself. Now they would be their personal slaves and they couldn't do anything about it. Tanner stood up angrily. "I will not be a party to this stupid punishment idea you have come up with. I also demand that you release these stupid bands from us right now!" She demanded. Nix came within two inches of her face and grabbed her arm firmly. He dragged her outside into the loading dock and left her out there. "Then you can stay here!" He yelled as he reentered the ship. She attempted to follow him but the door closed before she could get on board and Fry almost felt sorry for her. "Wait!" She screamed after them. Nix opened the door and looked at her. "I agree." She mumbled in defeat. "What was that? I don't believe I heard you." He mocked her. She shot him a dirty look. "I said I agree, just don't leave me here." Her voice didn't hide how scared she really was. Nix made her squirm a bit before stepping aside and allowing her to enter.

She immediately approached Ulrich and attempted to knock the band off his wrist. He was far swifter and managed to keep out of her reach. Instead he grabbed her by the arm. "Don't even think about it my dear wife." He bit out between clinched teeth. She saw the look that told her not to do it and she backed off. "You zap me with that and I'll" "You'll what?" He replied ominously holding his finger over a button on his band. Bianca gave her a look that said to back off. "Nothing." She snapped crossing her arms in defiance. "That's what I thought." He added victoriously. "This is crazy Riddick. There is no need to keep us like slaves." Fry started to say. Riddick also placed a finger over a button on his wrist and held it there. She put her hands up in frustration and walked away. A beeping sounded from her band and she stopped and looked back at him. He waved a finger at her. "Uh Uh Uh no more than twenty feet." She stopped and shot him a dirty look. She sat down next to Bianca and ran a hand through her hair. "I don't know about you Bianca, but this is going to be one long trip." She replied totally unsure of what to expect next.

Riddick watched Fry and longed to take her to a cabin so they could be alone, but he decided to stick with his plan of action. Even if that meant they couldn't do anything sexual. He didn't want to push her away, just make her trust him for sure. What better way than to spend some good quality time together. After all, that is all he wanted from the first moment her saw her. To spend time with her and explore the chemistry between them. Making love to her had been one of the greatest moments in his life and considering his life up until that point he wanted more. He could almost imagine having those feelings on a more permanent basis and craved to be with her completely again. But that would be discussed soon enough. Right now they had to get as far away from that ship as possible.

Ulrich watched as the door slowly closed. He was leaving behind his transport so he could stick close to Tanner. Compared to a planet it was expendable. She was far too valuable to let out of his sight. He realized she would not stay behind nor would she leave with him in his transport. So he finally decided to instead leave with the others. Besides, the jerry-rigged bands would keep her with him at all times as well as keep her in line by zapping her if he needed to. Nix had assured him it was just a simple sting and not anything remotely dangerous. They were going to leave them on just long enough to teach the women a lesson, then remove them. Once they were underway he would contact the brother and sister and let them know where they were headed. They would not be pleased with his news, but would deal with it. "So where to next?" He asked breaking the cold silence. "Saturn." both Fry and Riddick responded at the same time. They glanced at each other sharing caring looks for their destination. They were going to get Audrey back.

 

Fry wiped her sweaty palms on her shorts and looked at the cryotubes nervously. The last time she had been in one of these she came pretty close to death. So many had died in one just like it. She slyly looked toward Riddick who was standing next to her in front of his tube. If he was feeling nervous she couldn't tell. "Piece of cake." He replied nudging her to let her know he understood. That made her feel more at ease, but still, for the first time in her life she contemplated staying awake the entire trip. Which would not be good for her mind or body, it was better to travel in the tubes. Once everyone started to get inside she checked the stats on the system for at least the tenth time in the last hour. Moans elicited from the cryobeds, as the others grew tired of her constant checking and rechecking. Riddick shot them dirty looks in support of her and they shut up. She finally approached her tube again and looked at him. He pulled her into his arms for a tight hug. "See you on the other side," he said with a grin. His attitude always seemed to give her an instant calm, just part of the many aspects about him that made her love him so much. She slowly climbed inside the tube and reached out a hand to him and he took it. Squeezing it in support before letting go just as the doors began to slowly close, encasing them instantly as they were put under.

 

When Fry felt her body finally start to get back in control she breathed a sigh of relief. After three months of floating in cold space, the ship was still intact, as were all the cryobeds. Riddick opened her bed and helped her out giving her a grin she knew all too well. Without him saying a word, she knew he was just as relieved as she was that they had made it. Saturn loomed larger than life in the viewport window and Fry felt excited to get Audrey back. She prayed she was unharmed when they found her, but no one could be certain what had happened to her after she was taken away. Saturn was a dangerous planet as were most planets that had been discovered so far. Being mostly Hydrogen based, as well as having a magnetically charged atmosphere, Saturn was not a popular planet to live on. It was mostly mined for natural resources like so many inhabitable planets were.

Being covered in thousands of feet of Hydrogen, most people lived beneath the surface deep within the extremely hot rock core. An expansive city, Tantalus, flourished and grew to be bigger than any city on earth. Some called the planet "the closest place to hell you can get" In fact, the word Tantalus actually meant Condemned to eternal torment. And Audrey would be down there, amid all that riff raff that seemed to prefer to live there. "Ready to get her back?" Riddick asked as he approached her with a reflective suit. It was necessary if you wanted to survive the trip down to the planet and to the city deep below. She smiled. "You bet I am." She replied assertively as she put on the suit. He and Nix both donned the suits as well, as they were the only ones going with her down to the city. Nix made sure to disconnect himself from Bianca's band before they left. Once they got booked on a transport to the surface it was all underground from there.

They docked with Calypso, one of Saturn's many moons, and prepared to get passage on the next transport down. No weapons containing metal were allowed on the planet and Riddick was glad he still had his bone shiv. Of course they had to purchase two specially made pulse rifles for Nix and Fry. No one went to Saturn without a weapon of some kind. The transport was also specially made. Not only did it have to get past the magnetic atmosphere, but also had to be able to weather the over 1,100 mile an hour winds that whipped along the planets surface. Which made for a very bumpy ride. Injections were offered to those who felt they needed to prevent getting sick en route. Fry was anxious to get to the planet. Of course, they had no idea if they'd even find Audrey or Tron down there. And that thought fed her anxiousness even more. The transport arrived after over an hour wait and soon they were getting strapped into their seats. No one spoke as the pilot gave instructions to the passengers. The trip down sounded quite eventful. Being an experienced pilot gave her an upper hand in what the captain really meant by his instructions. She had been through far worse than what they were about to go through now and she was unconcerned by what the pilot said. Riddick and Nix seemed quite at ease as well.

The transport made it to the planets surface with no more problems than usual. They were dropped off on one of the many entrances to the city. It was hotter than they expected and Fry began to worry how Audrey could possibly live in such heat. They rode the nonmetal elevator down through the Hydrogen surface and she felt a little more than claustrophobic. Riddick put an arm casually over her shoulder and she instantly was back at ease. How that man managed to make her always feel better was way beyond her, but he was almost addictive for that reason. After many minutes in the Elevator the doors opened with a loud thud and they were at their destination. Inside, the actual city was much cooler. Large deposits of ice were often found in the tunneling process, which allowed them instant air conditioning. The recycled air seemed a bit harder to breathe, but at least it was somewhat comfortable. The atmosphere generators made it possible to obtain gravity, so they could move about just as they would on earth. It was so dimly lit that Riddick had no need of his goggles. "Need a lift?" Came a voice from behind them. They turned to find a kind looking man in a Hawaiian shirt. He motioned to his cab and Riddick approached him. "Depends. Were looking for Tron. Know him?" He asked firmly. The cabby sized him up before responding. "Yeah, but it will cost you 500 credits..up front." Riddick shot him his steel eyes. "You'll get half up front, the other half once we get there, or no deal." The cabby looked uncomfortably away from his eyes and nodded in agreement. They all climbed inside and were soon on the way.

Fry was amazed by how big the city was. This was her first time to Tantalus and it was not what she had expected. In her mind she had thought it would be much smaller. It was a lot like New York, except it was definitely more closed in. The surrounding rock was very unsettling. Not to mention the air and water were recycled. That's why it was so easy to pass diseases around. She was hopeful to get Audrey back and get out of there as quickly as possible.

Riddick kept his eyes peeled on exactly where they were going and what direction they were taking. He was not personally familiar with Tantalus, but he knew enough about it to keep his guard up at all times. The cabby could very easily be setting them up. He was more than anxious to meet with Tron. He'd pay with his life if anything happened to her on this godforsaken rock. Maybe he should have had Tron taken care of as soon as he heard Audrey's story. It would have almost guaranteed she would be left alone the rest of her life. He now regretted his decision and wished he'd done it even if Audrey had made him promise no more killing.

The cab pulled up in front of a large building that was being constructed. "You'll find him in there," the cabby said hopeful to be rid of them. "Give me my credits so I can leave." He added more nervously. Riddick nodded to Nix who jumped out and made his way inside the building. "We'll leave as soon as it's verified that he's inside," Riddick said cautiously. The cabby looked pale as sweat began to bead up on his face and neck. "If he finds out I brought you to him, he'll kill me." He replied pleading with Riddick to let him go. "And if you don't take me to him, I'll kill you. Tough choice." Riddick responded with a shrug. Fry smiled slightly at his way of reasoning. He had such a way with people; he was a natural born leader. Nix rejoined them a few moments later and verified that indeed Tron was inside. They paid the cabby and he sped off before they were fully away from the cab.

Nix led them inside the building and right through it. "They said he was supervising an expansion of the city." He replied as they made their way to where the work was being done. Fry noticed the occasional young child pushing wheel barrels full of rock and other heavy objects and the anger began to build inside her. Those children would be free by the time she left here, or she would not leave. If there was one thing in the universe she couldn't stomach it was human slavery. Even if it was disguised as though they were his children. She stopped one of the kids when she thought it might be Audrey. The girl couldn't be more than thirteen years old. She was dressed appropriately for digging, but her hands were nearly burned to the point of uselessness from the hot rock she was forced to move. Had Audrey suffered the same fate, or worse? Fry looked with shock to first her hands, then to Riddick. Who must have been thinking the same thing she was due to the look on his face. The last time he'd looked that concerned were when the aliens had backed him into a corner.

"How long have you been doing this?" Fry asked gently. The girl looked around nervously and seemed terrified to respond. "Three months. Plea..please help me." She finally replied as tears came to her eyes. Fry took the girl in her arms and hugged her tightly. "We will, don't you worry," she said as she rubbed the girls arms to comfort her. She shot Riddick a pleading look and he nodded. "It won't do any good. Tron will never let me go, he'll never let any of us go. Once, a girl escaped and went for help. When the authorities finally got here, he paid other kids to pretend to be us. They believed them and left while we remained locked up from view. He'll never let us go." She repeated with defeat. "Excuse me, can I help you with something." Came a threatening voice behind them. They turned to see who they perceived to be Tron. "We're looking for Tron." Nix replied casually. "I'm Tron. I'm in charge here, If you're interested in buying one of the children, I'm not selling." He added as if guessing what their intentions were.

Riddick gave him an ominous grin. "We're not interested in buying one of your kids..." He let the sentence drop off as he made two steps closer to him. "We're interested in taking them, without paying." He added fingering the bone shiv at his side. Tron balked and gave him an incredulous laugh. "I'm sorry, I don't know where you got your information, but I don't give anything away for free." He scoffed taking a step back away from him. Riddick in turn took a step forward. "You have a girl in your custody that was taken from me and Carolyn against her will.." Riddick began, motioning toward Fry as he spoke her name. Recognition sparked on Tron's face as he looked more closely at her. "Audrey." He replied unemotionally in response. "I'm afraid she is no longer with us," he said smugly. "She didn't have what it took to survive." He added rubbing salt into an already open wound. "But don't worry, her death was a quick one." He continued with a smile.

Fry let go of the girl and rushed at him. Knocking him to the ground. She planted a fist in his face several times before a stunned Riddick pulled her off. But instead of comforting her, he took her place grabbing Tron by the front of the shirt as he pulled the bone shiv free. "Hope you like how it feels to die!" He spit out at him as he drove the shiv deep into his gut. Tron screamed in pain as the shiv was driven home a second time. Fry was instantly shocked to the core at witnessing Riddick killing someone in cold blood. "Stop! Oh god stop!" Fry heard the words come from her mouth but did not recall saying them. Riddick did indeed stop when he heard her. He looked down at his bloody hands as if seeing blood for the first time. He threw down the shiv and she walked numbly to him.

He wrapped his large arms around her body and together they sank to the ground in shock. Nix checked out Tron and was surprised to find him still alive. He was saddened for his friends loss and reminded himself that was why he was a loner. Too much was at stake when it came to human emotions. "Mr. Riddick stop!" Came a cry several feet away. They all turned to see who it was that knew Riddick by name. "I pray to Allah I am not too late!" approached a breathless Imam. Fry was never so glad in all her life to see him. "Imam!" she cried out in surprise. Imam looked at Tron hopeful he was still alive. "He lives." Nix replied with disappointment. "By Allah be praised." Imam replied in relief. "I've come with the authorities. They are not far behind me, you must leave now!" He whispered as he pushed them away. "Meet me in the alley behind the Shooting Star, I'll come as soon as I can." He added as he turned to watch for the authorities. Nix swiftly picked up Riddick's shiv and gently pushed them toward the dark street.

By the time they had finally reached the Shooting Star, the news that Tron had dealt them was fully sinking in. Riddick hadn't said a word as he leaned up against the wall. He seemed deep in thought as he wiped Tron's blood off his hands. Fry knew he had to be thinking the same thing she was. Was Audrey dead? Would Riddick have finished Tron off if she hadn't stopped him? Why killing Tron seemed so wrong to her after Riddick had killed so many, people and aliens alike, was not something she understood yet. Maybe it was the ferociousness of which he went to kill him that startled her. Or maybe it was that she wanted to kill Tron herself and that thought worried her. Whatever it was, they could deal with it later. Right now she wanted to see Imam coming down that alley. He'd know how to make things right again, somehow. He had done it time and again on the planet as his own kids were killed off one by one.

Nix watched the two of them hoping they wouldn't flip out on him again. He roamed down to the end of the alley to look for this Imam person and give them some privacy. He'd never met this Audrey girl they talked of, but she must have been pretty special for Riddick to be so upset. He'd never seen him like this before. He had seen him kill, but never stop in the middle of a killing and question what he was doing. It had to be Fry and Audrey who had changed that in him. What was that saying they used on earth? Never underestimate the power of a woman? Let alone two women. He had to admit he was glad Riddick had gotten a chance he seemed to have missed most of his life. Whether he wanted it or not, he got it. His thoughts suddenly flashed on Bianca and he roughly pushed her from his mind. He couldn't afford to get all emotional on some woman he hardly knew. Maybe it would work for Riddick, but not for him.

 

Fry slowly approached Riddick and he brought his eyes up to look at her. "You okay?" He asked her solemnly. "No." She replied as tears fell down her cheeks. He quickly grabbed her holding her tightly against his chest. "I wanted to find her so badly, I wanted to hold her in my arms and take her away from here," she said mournfully. "So did I." he replied his voice cracking. She looked up at him and for the first time she wondered if he could still cry after the shine job. Had he ever cried in his entire life? "Least I still have you. As long as you can accept the fact that I will always be a killer." He added quietly. She looked up at him. "Don't. Don't consider what just happened as part of your reasoning. I wanted to kill him too, does that make me a killer as well?" She asked wiping away the tears. "Didn't see you driving that shiv into his guts," he said with anger toward himself. "If you hadn't said anything I would have finished him off without an ounce of remorse." He added. She paused a moment and thought about what he'd just said. "Do you regret that you didn't kill him?" He looked down at her with his piercing eyes. "For once in my life, no. He should die, but I couldn't do it, not to avenge Audrey. She wanted me to never kill again, how could I do it in her name?" He stated. Fry looked up at him. "I think she'd be happy to hear you say that," Fry said somberly.

"My dear friends." Came Imam's voice as he approached them. He embraced Fry tightly. "I was so pleased to hear the news that you were still among the living. Allah be praised for such a gift." He replied happily hugging her again. She managed a small smile as he then turned toward Riddick. "My good friend." He replied, patting his shoulders happily. "It is good to see you. I was concerned I'd be too late to prevent you from harming Tron. But no worries, he is still alive and will most likely survive." He added preferring to skirt the issue of Riddick still being a killer. "That bastard was responsible for Audrey's death, he deserves to die." He snapped angrily. Imam looked at him oddly. "Audrey's not dead," He stated with a smile. "What?!" both Riddick and Fry replied together. "Audrey was able to contact me on earth and let me know they were sending her to another planet. But she wasn't sure when they were sending her out, so I had to come here first to look for her. I'm pleased to note we found the records that state she left Saturn alive and well. Tron will not be able to hide his wrongdoings any longer I'm happy to say," Imam said firmly. Riddick shot Fry a hopeful look. They still had a chance to find Audrey.

They should have realized she was way more resilient in her own personal survival to die so easily. "Where is she? What planet?" Fry asked catching her breath. Imam gave them both a disgusted look. "XTC." He stated as if the word were a bad one. "XTC?" Fry asked having never heard of the planet before. Nix, who had been silently watching them greet Imam, approached her. "It's a paradise planet. The entire planet is tropical in nature." He replied with a smile. She knew that smile well having seen it on Riddicks face a few times, especially in the more sexual moods he was in. "Not a sex planet!" She exclaimed rolling her eyes. Riddick snorted. "Hardly. More like a vacation spot. Classy sort of place." He added. She shot him a questioning look as he and Nix exchanged knowing glances. "Well whatever the hell it is, Audrey's there and that means we're as good as there." Fry replied heading down the street.

Imam fell in place beside her and she was instantly reminded of that planet they had met on. "Jac..pardon me, I mean Audrey, told me how you managed to survive. It is a miracle. One I am glad occurred." He replied squeezing her arm lightly in response. "Thanks Imam. I was lucky. Not just to have survived, but to have such great people in my life now because of it. I guess all things do happen for a reason," she said thoughtfully looking over at Riddick. Then she recalled that his children didn't make it and she was filled with remorse. "God I'm sorry. How insensitive of me to say such a thing." She replied stopping him with her hand on his arm. "Do not worry Carolyn. They are in a blessed place and I will see them again someday." He replied calmly. He showed no sadness, only happiness. Maybe he was right, but she wanted to get to Audrey before she was added to the list of casualties.

 

Everyone on board the ship looked at Imam curiously. They had been expecting a young girl, not an oddly dressed man. Once introductions were made, they sat down to map out their new destination. Since XTC wasn't so far away from Saturn, they didn't have to get back into the cryotubes again and Fry was grateful for that. She realized her fear would dissipate eventually, but for now she had to deal with it. It would take over two weeks to get there but it would be a much shorter trip than most were in space. The cabins were pretty small and there were only three, but it was decided they would group up in each of them. Fry insisted that she and Bianca share the captains quarters while they were being "punished". It's not that she didn't want to sleep with Riddick, it was just that he wanted to play the little game of wills of holding out on sex, and two can play that game very well. Not to mention the fact that Bianca didn't want anything to do with Nix. Riddick roomed with Nix and Imam, while Tanner stayed with Ulrich and Sawyer at Ulrich's insistence. Fry was completely shocked at how complacent Tanner seemed to appear when he voiced his demands. That was not like her at all Fry thought casually.

Fry was especially tired after the long stressful day and she felt her eyelids getting heavier each minute that passed. The ship's coordinates were set and Fry followed Bianca to the cabin. She was just about to enter it when Riddick touched her arm. "Hey Carolyn," he replied softly. She stepped aside as Riddick led her down the corridor. He stopped and turned to her. "What happened today with Tron.." He started to say. She put her fingers over his mouth. "You don't have to say anything. What you did was understandable. I felt like doing the same thing to him. That doesn't make us mass murderers. Just human." She replied taking his hand gently in hers. She longed to feel his touch and for a split second she almost caved in. He nodded thoughtfully and she knew he was thinking the same thing. "Sometimes I wonder why you put up with me." He replied letting his guard down for once. Her eyes shot to his and she smiled. "Because I love you." She replied softly. "I think I always have from the start," She added assuredly. The words were so simple but they hit him like a ton of bricks. No one had ever said that to him in his entire life. He had known she cared for him, but loved him? That wasn't something he expected to ever hear from a woman, especially her.

For once he was speechless and he gave her an incredulous look at her confession. That was enough for her to want to jump into his arms and follow him to bed. Nix or no Nix. But she maintained her composure only because of how tired she was. "I don't want you to feel you have to respond the same way. When you say those words to me I want you to mean them," she said breaking eye contact with him. "Carolyn.." The word stumbled from his mouth. "I think we're both tired." She cut him off abruptly before he had a chance to say something she did not want to hear. "Good Night Richard, see you in the morning." She quickly replied as she headed back to the cabin. She almost expected him to follow her, but he didn't. Once inside the cabin she kicked herself for being such a coward. She should have listened to what he was about to tell her. Now she'd never know what he was going to say. And that would make her crazy with wondering.

"What's wrong?" Bianca asked as she sat up in the bunk. Fry gave her a regretful look. "I just told Riddick I love him." She replied slapping a hand over her face as she sat down on the bunk. "Stupid, Stupid, Stupid!" She repeatedly groaned. "About damn time," Bianca said as she lay back down again. "Of course, from now on he might avoid you like the plague, but other than that..." "Oh! I am such an idiot!" Fry groaned in regret. "Why I had to say it..why?" She asked in disgust. Bianca shrugged. "You have plenty of time to figure that out. Two weeks time to be precise," She added with a yawn. Fry kicked off her boots and roughly removed her clothes. She climbed into the bunk and pulled the covers up to her chin. "Lights off!" She snapped. When they were in total darkness she found herself not as tired as she was before her little confession. Her thoughts were only of Riddick. Today proved he was changing. He didn't kill Tron and that had really surprised her. The shock of thinking Audrey was dead was much tougher to take. And the elation they felt that she wasn't dead was more than her body could handle. She needed rest, as she assumed Riddick did as well. It would remain to be seen how Riddick was really feeling from her confession of love and she dreaded the next day. It would be a long trip if he decided he didn't want anything more to do with her. She groaned again as she wondered what he was thinking at that very moment.

Riddick put his hands behind his head and lay there in the dark. The soft snores coming from Imam were comforting to him for some reason. He hadn't slept one minute since Carolyn told him how she felt about him. It was so unusual to think that a person actually loved him. At first he was going to tell her that it would be for the best if she didn't, but she had cut him off before he could say it. Maybe she knew him well enough to know he would say that. Now that a few hours had passed, he was glad she had cut him off. He could get used to it. Better she love him than hate him. A sick feeling crept over his stomach and he felt guilty accepting her love. Did he deserve it? Why was he given such a chance? After all, only bad things had seemed to follow him around most of his life. He snorted to himself as he imagined what Imam would say. Probably something to do with god and how good he was. It was a little too late for that in his opinion. God had his chance and blew it, no second chances.

He rolled onto his side attempting to get more comfortable in the small bunk and wondered how Carolyn was holding up. She was probably tossing and turning as well. Probably had the same sick feeling wondering if he'd stick around or turn tail and run out on her. That was something he'd never do to her no matter what she admitted to him. He didn't know if he'd ever say those words to her, how could he when he didn't really know what love felt like. He knew enough to know the way he felt about her and Audrey was the closest he was ever going to get.

 

Fry stalled leaving the cabin until she could no longer stand to be in there. The ship almost seemed deserted as she entered the hall. She walked to the kitchen and found Riddick, Imam and Ulrich having breakfast. Imam stood with a smile and held a seat out to her. She numbly sat down making sure to keep her eyes from Riddick. She just couldn't stand it if he looked anything but reassuring of her affections. She stayed awake almost all night imagining the worst. "Sleep well Carolyn?" Riddick asked with a touch of secret undertones. She forced a smile for the other's benefit and managed to look up at him. "Sure. How about you?" she asked in return hoping to get an idea of where she stood with him now. He shrugged nonchalantly. "I've slept better," he replied casually. That was some information at least. If he had slept better then that means something had kept him awake last night. Was he thinking of ways to dump her? He was the only man she ever loved, but based on other's experiences that four-letter word, love, always seemed to send the men packing. Whatever it had been she was dying to know. He had his goggles on and she longed to at least see his eyes. They'd tell her more than his voice and body posture had so far.

 

Bianca crawled under the steam pipe making sure to avoid the hot pipes. The ship was in need of some repairs and she had plenty of time to fix them. She knew it helped ease Fry's worries that something might go wrong. She managed to get the wrench to the right spot and get the bolt removed, but when she went to pull her hand back she found it was held firmly in place by something. She shined the light up to her wrist and noticed the band had become wedged tightly between the ship wall and a large metal pipe. She sighed impatiently as she tried to get her wrist free. "Stupid piece of" She grunted as she found herself still stuck firmly. It was at that moment that Nix entered the room. The first thing he saw was her firm legs sticking out from under the pipe. She had on a pair of tight black pants and he found himself enthralled by the sight of her wiggling around on the floor. "Fry is that you? I need some help," Bianca said trying to sound completely in control. Nix crossed his arms and grinned at the thought of being the one to come to her aid. "Need some help?" He asked. Her legs stopped wiggling at the sound of his voice and he knew she was probably shooting him a hateful look.

When she didn't say anything he looked to make sure she was still all right. "Guess you don't need my help then." He replied waiting for her to ask him to help her. "Your stupid band is wedged in between the wall and a pipe and I can't get it out." She snapped at him. He was amused by her predicament and almost felt sorry for her. Out of all the people on board that could help her, he ends up being the one at the right place at the right time. "Have you tried turning your wrist to pull it out at another angle?" He asked getting more serious about her situation. "Yes! I've already tried turning it at another angle!" She snapped angrily repeating his words. "Tsk, Tsk, no need to get all upset. Maybe this would be a good time to give you a little punishment." He replied coolly. "Don't you dare!" She yelled back. He had a good mind to give her a zap. Hell it might even jar her loose. It certainly might get her to keep her mouth shut. He never really intended to use the band in the way it was created. He was hard on punishment for those he was sent to kill, but not to innocent women. And when it came down to it, Bianca was an innocent. She had been hurt and used by enough men already. He would not be another one.

He noticed she was covering her rear with her free hand and it was then that he realized she thought he had intended to spank her again. Getting zapped wasn't something she even considered apparently. Did she trust him that much? He got down on his knees and leaned down to look under the pipe at her. She looked more uncomfortable than anything. He then attempted to crawl in next to her and soon found himself almost on top of her in the cramped space. Her body felt good under his and he reminded himself to keep his mind on the task at hand. He punched a few buttons on the band and it instantly released her wrist. He then was able to pull her hand free. She had a few cuts in her attempt to get her hand free and he felt instantly responsible for that. He pulled her hand to his mouth and kissed her wounds lightly. She quickly sat up in surprise and managed to then smack her head on the hot main pipe. "Oh god!" She moaned as she held her new wound in pain. He noticed the red swelling on her forehead and crawled out. He grabbed her legs and gently pulled her out. She sat up slowly as her body readapted to an upright position. He hoisted her up and looked at her wound, which he was also responsible for. "C'mon let's get some ice on that." He stated firmly. She was surprised that he was concerned for her and allowed him to lead her to the kitchen without complaint.

Fry looked up at Bianca and Nix when they entered the kitchen. She was holding a hand on her forehead and frowning in pain. Fry jumped out of the chair. "What happened?" She asked helping Bianca sit down. "I got stuck under a pipe when my stupid band got wedged between the pipe and the wall." She replied with a grimace. "How did that manage to burn and bump your forehead?" She asked giving Nix an accusing glance. "Nix was trying to help me and he startled me. I sat up and hit my head." She shrugged as if it were no big deal. Fry noticed the gentle way with which Nix applied the ice to her forehead and she almost could imagine them as a couple. Maybe that's why Bianca wanted to avoid him so badly. She was afraid of having feelings for him and having to take a risk of being hurt again. And Nix was a formidable sort of man, while also having a compassionate side to him as well. Even if he preferred to hide it. She gave Riddick a sideways glance to see what he was thinking of the situation. He showed no emotion really, but he did have the slightest smirk on his face.

Ulrich watched Tanner from across the room and she scowled at him. She was the oddest woman he'd ever met. Occasionally her face would soften and she'd appear to be thinking of something fondly. Then her expression would change back to the scowl just as quickly. He had managed to notify the siblings of their new destination to XTC and he was almost glad to soon have her off his hands. But not glad to be handing her over to them. The guilt was getting to him more and more each day. He was a tracker not a trader. But visions of his family and friends on the new planet kept his guilt at bay and he moved forward with his plans.

Bianca looked at her wrist and watched Nix place a bandaid on the larger cut. She hated to admit it but she actually liked his gentleness toward her. He had seemed genuinely concerned for her and that was something she'd never encountered in a man before, especially him. When he was finished he cast her a quick glance before tossing the band into the nearest disposal vent. She gave him a small grateful smile as she headed into the corridor. Fry moved to follow her but when she got down the hall and passed her 20-foot radius from Riddick the band began to beep in warning. "God dammit!" She yelled as she took the appropriate steps to get back into his realm. She entered the kitchen fuming and was even angrier as she noticed Riddick sitting back all smug in his chair, arms crossed in front of him. A large grin crossed his face and she stalked up to him. "If Bianca no longer has to wear her band, that means that I...." "Not a chance." Riddick interrupted her. She shot him an angry look and headed out the door. She would not stay in that kitchen with him.

Normally she would have been really pissed off at his reply. But his response told her that he wanted her close to him, and that was a very good sign. He fell instep with her just mere seconds later and she glanced at him. "I wish I'd never said what I said to you yesterday." She stumbled over her words wanting this conversation to be over with. "What was that?" He asked knowing full well what she was referring to. She gave him another annoyed look. "Don't make this harder for me than it already is," She said in warning. He paused a moment. "Why do you regret what you said? Because I won't remove the band?" He asked removing his goggles as they headed into the darkest part of the ship.

She stopped and turned toward him. "Because I don't want you to think you owe me anything." She replied seriously. He looked down at her thoughtfully. "I don't. Although It's a shame you regret what you said, considering I was just getting used to it." He replied in that deep husky voice of his. She looked at him in shock and felt elation replace her annoyance toward him. He wasn't going to dump her! She cried out inside. "Oh." She stated practically speechless. "I just know now some men are so afraid of that wo..." She was unable to finish her sentence as his lips unexpectedly met hers. She instantly melted as the warm pleasure of his every movement slowly made it's way down her body. He backed her up against the wall and kissed her harder. She allowed his lips to roam her neck and shoulders for a brief moment longer before breaking away from his grasp.

He looked at her confused for a moment and waited for her to explain. "You have some nerve." She started. "Unless you're willing to release me from this stupid band, you will get no such pleasure from me," she said firmly. He was taken aback for a moment when he realized what she said. Here they were on a ship out in space, plenty of food..water..and time, with basically nothing to do for two weeks and she wasn't going to allow any intimacy between them?! His first instinct was to remove the band, but then he realized she wanted him as much as he wanted her and if she were looking for a war of wills, he'd be damned if she'd win over him. No matter how badly his body screamed for her. He let her completely go and backed away from her holding his hands up in front of him. "Suit yourself. If you feel the need, you know where to find me." He replied huskily before turning and walking away. She stared after him instantly regretting stopping him. It would be so easy to just remove the stupid thing, but it was a matter of principle. Both of them felt they were right, but if neither of them gave in, this would turn out to be one long trip.

 

Fry grinned mischievously as she looked over the top of her cards at Riddick. Three uneventful days had passed since she'd told him she loved him and although they were holding out on each other, their passion seemed to continue to grow at an alarming rate. "Full House!" She claimed proudly tossing her cards onto the table. Nix and Bianca groaned as they tossed their useless cards down. Riddick carefully folded his cards together and placed them on the table. Fry smirked as she scooped up her winnings. It was an odd assortment of useless knickknacks that the four of them managed to scrounge up on the ship. "Care to go again?" She asked them as Imam entered the lounge room. "ummmmmmm, how about no." Bianca said wrinkling her nose at the thought. "This is the sixth straight game we've played, do you ever stop?" She added. "Not when I'm winning," Fry said gleefully.

Imam chose some music from the computers database and approached them at the table. "The music is just right for dancing. Nix, why not ask Bianca to dance." He smiled at the simple request. Nix glanced at Bianca as he took a sip of his drink. "No thanks." He replied casually. Imam didn't skip a beat in attempting to repair the embarrassment he caused Bianca. "Good, then I will not be in need of a partner. Bianca, would you do me the honor of dancing with me?" Bianca stood and took the hand he offered. Of course she felt slighted by Nix, but not surprised by his reply. All eyes watched them go toward the space bay windows and Imam placed his hand on her waist in the most gentlemanly manner. Fry shot Riddick a knowing glance as she picked up the cards. He glanced at Nix briefly before returning his attention back to her. She could tell by the look on his face that he had other things on his mind, one being sex. "How 'bout we go back to my cabin." He replied, his eyes never leaving her face for a second. She paused a moment and leaned back to stretch making sure the band on her wrist got ample attention. "Geez if my arm wasn't so tired from always lugging this metal thing around I might be so inclined.." She replied looking to him for an answer. He frowned at her as he stood up from the table. "Where you going?" She asked. "To get some exercise," He growled.

She scowled at him in return. Anywhere he was going she had to go as well, since most of the ship would lead him more than 20 feet from her. "Well maybe I don't want to exercise," She said annoyingly. "Tough," he said as he headed for the door. She stood and followed him like some stray puppy. "I mean it Richard, I don't want to exercise right now!" She snapped. He ignored her and entered the corridor. She, of course, was forced to follow him out of fear of being zapped by the band. "You make me so angry sometimes you know," She hissed at him. He ignored her as he made his way to the exercise area. She quit complaining once she discovered he was ignoring her. Paybacks are a bitch she reminded herself as she followed him.

Fry gave in once she got there and decided some exercise would do her some good to help vent her frustrations. Riddick acted like he was the only one being deprived of sex. She wanted it too. Resisting that body of his was the hardest thing she ever had to do. She opened the locker and took out some exercise clothes. She was heading for one of the changing areas when she stopped. She could do it there right in front of him. Perfect form of Payback for dragging her in there against her will. First she kicked off her boots and Slowly removed her pants making sure to take her time sliding them off. Her panties came off second, and she slid them down her body even slower than the pants. He gave her a sideways glance as if not wanting her to know he was looking. It wasn't until she began to lift her shirt up that Riddick gave her his full attention. She pretended not to notice, but she felt his eyes on her body as she removed the shirt all the way. She had no bra on so her breasts were bared for all the galaxy to see, or mostly just Riddick. She turned allowing him a slight glimpse from the side as to give him enough to get aroused, but not so much that he couldn't stand it.

She quickly donned the exercise clothes and sat down across from him. She spread her legs as she stretched her arms and then her legs. Making sure he got full view of her erotic positions. She let out a groan that sounded more in pleasure than in discomfort. Riddick was taking in her seduction all too well. He had to admit the need to grab her and take her right then and there was extremely tempting. In fact it was almost unbearable. Instead he decided to turn the tables on her. He headed for the weight lifting area and smoothly pulled his tank top off in one swift movement. Fry watched him with great interest. His hard muscles seemed to taunt her as his sweat began to bead up. She could imagine his hard body up against hers and it made her shiver with anticipation. Could another man ever be as magnificent as he was? Never! She thought as he sat down at the weights, easily lifting the heavy dumbbells. Each time he thrust the weights up, his muscles tensed and she soon found herself getting warm. It couldn't be from exercising since she had yet to even do anything. A slightly familiar flutter filled her stomach as she longed to climb on top of his waist. How good he'd feel right about now, she thought as she stared at him in awe.

It was at that moment that she realized he'd managed to seduce her rather than the other way around. All she had managed to do was get totally turned on by him. She knew it was his intentions and after what she put him through she couldn't blame him. Feeling totally exasperated she got up off the floor and approached him. "Why are we doing this to each other?" She asked putting her hands on her hips. He glanced up at her. "It's your decision." He stated lifting the weights. "My decision?" She asked unbelievably. "More like it's entirely your decision." She mumbled crossing her arms in front of her. "Exactly." He stated triumphantly. She turned and shot flames at him. He knew he was pushing her, but she was doing the same to him, so they were even. She was so flabbergasted by his response all she could manage to do was walk away.

She worked out for over an hour trying to vent her frustration in her exercising, but found she was still mad as hell at him. She seriously considered giving in just to end the confrontation. It wasn't worth all the grief it was creating. She could swallow her pride for once in her life. But his stubbornness was far too arrogant to ignore. If he'd shown any kind of negotiating attempt at all she might have just given in, but as to the fact that he wanted it his way or no way at all, she would not be giving in. Bianca had managed quite easily in getting Nix to release her, but that might partly be due to the fact that Nix wasn't serious about the stupid band in the first place. He mostly did it to teach them a lesson, one that only required a short amount of time to prove. Riddick apparently needed more.

 

Nix watched them dance and noticed how gently Imam was holding her. A woman like Bianca would have to be held firmly. He thought unable to help feeling he could do it better. She was unlike any woman he'd ever met. At times he would catch himself wondering how it would feel to run his hands over her soft skin, or feel her hair brush against his bare chest in a moment of sex. He told himself it was just the long trip without having any sex that caused him to think like that. But then she'd go and do something outrageous and he'd have to laugh. She seemed to like getting his attention, so he never let on fully that she had his attention. He allowed a few more minutes to pass before getting up and approaching them. "Have you changed your mind about dancing?" Imam asked. Nix nodded. "I guess I have," he said. Imam bowed and released her to Nix, who proceeded to take her firmly into his arms. He pulled her close and tight against his chest.

She was actually surprised that he changed his mind about dancing with her. Her mind told her to refuse him, but something else made her accept him. Being so close to him now, her lips were just a few inches from his. She yelled at herself for longing to kiss him and have him kiss her in return. Why was she thinking such thoughts about him? His body was warm and firm and she found herself feeling quite relaxed and contented. She moved her hands over his back as she got more comfortable. "Comfy?" He asked her with a smirk. She smiled at him and nodded. "Actually yeah I am. And that doesn't happen very often. So consider yourself lucky." She replied matter of factly. It was at that moment that Imam excused himself and left the room. Bianca swallowed, she had to admit she was a bit nervous at being all alone with Nix like they were. "Nervous?" He asked her. He knew nervous all to well. He could smell it when his kill knew their time was up. But he never felt it with a woman before. Most of the women he had were of the easy type. But since she was not easy, that just made him want her even more than before.

He knew of her past, and just by showing her that she had nothing of a sexual nature to be nervous about, especially with him, would be quite an undertaking for the next two weeks. "Me? Nervous? Never." She scoffed, even as her heart betrayed her words by speeding up in her chest. An unspoken connection passed between them and Nix slid his hand beneath her hair pulling her face even closer to his. When she didn't immediately resist him he knew then and there he had a chance with her. He could read it on her face. She had changed her opinion of him somewhere down the line. "I'm not the marrying type." He reminded her in warning. "I'm not either." She responded the same.

He wondered if she understood fully what he was implying. "I'm not a one woman kind of man either." He replied firmly. "I'm clear on that," she bit out as she pushed him away. "You know, I'm not like other women. I understand the true nature of men. I know what their one goal in life is." She fumed, the mood now gone. "And what's that?" He asked her, curious of what she thought. "To have as much sex as humanly possible, while maintaining a life free of responsibility and commitment to anything outside of maybe their ship or credit chips." She huffed with a wave of her hand. Nix was in her face not one second after the words left her mouth. "You shouldn't speak of things you know nothing about!" He snapped before stalking off. Her face filled with warmth as she watched him go. What did she say that made him so angry? She wondered. All the men she'd ever met were the same way. Never wanting to settle down, always assuming that's what all women wanted. Maybe not all women did want that.

Maybe some just wanted to feel needed..desired..appreciated. Just to have someone near them. One thing was for sure, she'd managed to piss him off and now she wondered how she could ever approach him again.

 

Fry glanced longingly at Riddick before they entered their prospective cabins and he motioned for her to join him in his. She took a step toward him and he looked hopeful for one split second. Then she stepped back and entered her cabin without another glance back. Bianca was standing right inside, with her hands on her hips. "You two are idiots." She replied in disgust. "You have each other and you're wasting all this time, and for what? Nothing! No reason at all!" She snapped loudly. Fry knew Riddick could hear her through the thin walls and she motioned for Bianca to lower her voice. "Jesus, what's got into you?" She asked concerned why she was acting so upset. Her expression lightened and she plopped down onto the bunk. "Something happened between me and Nix today. I don't know what to make of it either." Fry pushed aside her problem momentarily and sat down on the bunk next to her. "Tell me about it. Maybe I can help somehow." Bianca gave her an unbelievable look. Fry and Riddick weren't doing much better, and she was offering advice?" Fry frowned. "Well then maybe it will help you feel better just by talking about it." She shrugged.

Bianca told her all that had happened and Fry was also at a loss for the reason of his outburst. Sure she had insulted all men of being rakes, but Nix usually found Bianca's comments good confrontation dialogue. Bianca sighed. "You guys really have to give in on this little tug of war you got going. Don't waste time fighting when you could be doing other things together," she said sadly. "Don't worry, I was going to give in anyway. Knowing him he'd never give in and we'd spend the rest of our lives fighting over it." Fry laughed. When she didn't respond the same Fry touched her arm. "You don't think you have feelings for Nix do you?" She asked softly. Bianca looked up at her. "I don't think so." She replied unsure of anything at the moment. "I don't know what I feel. I just know that he is the first man to come along that I want to be with. I haven't had sex sinceyou know, that one time..." She replied somberly. Fry knew she was referring to when the captain had raped her over seven months ago. And while Bianca probably would never get over what had happened to her, to think she had hope of repairing that damage was a big deal. Maybe Nix could help her to release her fear of intimacy. "Well no sense on dwelling on our problems all night. We'll figure something out tomorrow. Let's just get some rest now." Fry replied giving her a light hug. "Yeah, you're right. Surely sleep will do us some good." She agreed as she grabbed her night clothes.

Riddick and Nix glanced at each other as the women finally went to bed. They heard almost every word they had said to each other through the thin wall. Riddick knew all to well what was bothering Nix about what Bianca said, but he made no comment to him about it. That would only make things worse at that point. He was surprised to hear Fry was giving in. He never expected her to do that. He made up his mind right then and there to beat her to the punch tomorrow and remove the band before she agreed to give in. He knew he won just by her words to Bianca, no sense on making her go through with it. She never had to know he knew her plans. He gave Nix a firm pat on the back to let him know he understood the situation. He would not get involved with his friend's trouble unless he asked for advice. Nix nodded in thanks to him and climbed into his bunk.

Things were now taking a turn in his intentions of Bianca. He was the first man she wanted since her attack and that instilled a very new feeling inside him. A feeling of wanting to help her, of being there for her. Something he swore never to do again. For once in his life could he actually help someone, rather than harm? He thought those days were long gone. But there he lay, wide-awake wondering what it would be like if he did help her. Although when the time came for him to leave her, would that make things better or worse than she was now? Only time knew that answer, the answers to all their problems.

 

Fry's scream was in unison with Bianca's as both of them raced from their bunks in terror. "Lights! Lights!" Bianca cried as nothing happened. The door was opened mere seconds later as Riddick, Nix and Imam rushed into the cabin. "Lights!" Nix barked unsure what was wrong. The lights refused but Riddick was by their side in seconds. Fry grabbed him tightly and he was instantly concerned for her. She was shaking uncontrollably and gasping for air. He removed her from the cabin and took her into the corridor and Nix and Imam did the same with Bianca.

At first Riddick thought she was choking or something. But the look of pure terror on both of their faces told him otherwise. His eyes scanned the dark cabin searching for anything out of the ordinary. A flash of blue darted out of his vision and through the wall just as he scanned the corner of the cabin. The lights Bianca had yelled for unexpectedly turned on nearly blinding him in the process. He returned his attention to Fry. "What happened?" He asked methodically. She was shaking so badly that it took her a few seconds to respond. "I don't know." Was all she could get out. "Let's get them into the kitchen," Nix said hefting Bianca up off the floor. Riddick nodded in agreement.

Nearly an hour later everyone, with the exception of Tanner who seemed unconcerned about them, sat in the kitchen trying to piece together what had happened. Riddick refrained from mentioning what he saw for the moment. Fry was better but found it difficult to talk about as tears glistened her eyes. "I..It was like something dark and extremely painful was trying to enter my soul. That's all I can say to explain it." She accepted another cup of hot tea from Imam, but she was shaking so badly Riddick had to hold the cup to her mouth for her. "It felt like an endless blackhole of pure pain." Bianca stated numbly. She started to cry suddenly as if her emotions were finally catching up to her. Sobs racked her body as the unexplainable pain she experienced sank in. Nix put a concerned hand on her back and she blindly grabbed him tightly. He wrapped his arms around her and shot the others a grave look.

"Could it possibly have been a dream or something?" Sawyer asked. Fry shook her head. "Couldn't be." She replied. "Both of them having the same horrible dream at the same time? I think that's too coincidental," Nix replied shaking his head. "Something was there, I saw it." Riddick responded as he tried to reason what it might be. "What'd it look like?" Nix asked even more concerned now. "It was like a freeformed mass of some kind. It moved through the wall." He answered. Once he saw the scared looks on just about everybody's face he wondered if it was so wise to speak of it after all. "A Ghost?" Sawyer whispered, his voice cracking in fear. "No sense getting worked up over something we know nothing about." Riddick replied trying to calm them down. "Let's all go into the lounge room and try to get some rest. Tomorrow we can see what the computer finds. It knows every inch of this ship and will tell us if something is wrong." Nix suggested.

 

Hour's later Fry was still shaking a little. Riddick tried to warm her up by wrapping his arms around her. That seemed to help, but she still couldn't fight the darkness she felt inside. She glanced over at Bianca who was also wide-awake. Nix had her tucked snugly into a chair attempting to keep her warm as well. "You still cold?" Riddick asked as he rubbed her arms. Her body shivered in response to his question. "I just need to get warm," she replied quietly. "Maybe a hot shower instead of the solar booth would help," She suggested. He kicked the covers off and helped her off the couch. The ship only had one shower that used actual water and it was in the back part of the ship. That's where the water could be heated from part of the ships engine. It was seldom used, but the hot water might be enough to ease her discomfort.

They made their way down the now eerie corridor and into the back part of the ship, which was also the darkest part. She was grateful to have Riddick with her. At least he could see if anything were creeping up on them. She approached the shower and cautiously pulled back the curtain. Nothing was waiting to pounce on them so Fry turned the water on and adjusted it to a hot temperature. She removed her sleeping clothes and Riddick grabbed her. "Hold up," he said as he turned her toward him. He removed the band from her wrist and tossed it aside. "No idea how water might affect it." He shrugged in explanation. Whether or not he was really concerned about that or if he just felt sorry for her remained to be seen. She gave him a small smile and returned to the shower.

Riddick watched her form from behind the curtain and wondered what the hell had happened to her and Bianca. It was so odd. He'd never heard of anything like it. Sure he'd had lots of nightmares from nearly losing her and what happened to them on the planet. But this seemed different. From what she'd explained so far, it was as if something had tried to reach inside her and tear out her soul. The sound of the water shutting off brought his mind back to the present and he handed a towel to her behind the curtain. She took it and wrapped it around her body. He slowly slid back the curtain and gave her a hopeful look.

The hot water did indeed help remove the chill, but something remained inside her body, or more like her soul, something dark and foreboding. She needed to find a way to fill that darkness or she'd never feel complete again. "Better?" He asked her as she stepped from the shower. She nodded. "A little." He began to dry her off with a towel and it was at that moment that she finally figured out what she needed. "Make love to me Richard," she replied suddenly. She wrapped her arms around him, letting the towel fall away. He was surprised by her words and looked down at her unsure of what she said. "I think it's the only way I can feel better." She continued. "You sure?" He asked wondering how that could help. She nodded looking up at him. "I feel as if there is a big black hole inside me, I have to fill it or I'll never be the same again." She replied kissing his lips.

He paused as if leery to have sex with her. She stopped her kissing and looked at him. "It's okay, this will help, I just know it," She whispered attacking his mouth with hers. It only took him a few more seconds to give in. He was unsure of what she was hoping for, but he figured a little lovemaking never hurt anyone. He gently eased her to the floor and kissed her softly at first. Then as she seemed to need more he hardened his kiss. Her hands grabbed him around the waist, pulling him close to her. She roughly pulled his shirt off. "Come inside me," she whispered wanting him inside her so badly she could hardly wait. He was surprised by her haste and stopped to look at her eyes. "What's the rush?" He asked questioningly. She stopped and looked at him as if seeing him there for the first time. She covered her eyes with her hand in shame. "I can't bear to feel like this anymore. I can't stand it Richard. It hurts so much." She cried in frustration.

He felt totally useless to help her. She had an injury he couldn't see or feel for himself, but she felt it all to well. "Shhhhh.." He breathed against her lips. He softly kissed her mouth as he pulled her tightly against his body. He ran his lips down her neck and onto her chest. Cupping her breasts with his hands, he took one of her nipples into his mouth and lightly suckled it, then the other. She gasped as she arched her back needing more. He made his way down to her stomach, stopping to quickly remove his loose pants. He continued his path down her stomach and to the soft blond patch of hair between her legs. She spread her legs wide as he used his tongue to part her lips, easily locating her clit. He used his tongue to play and toy with it as she moaned in pleasure. She grasped his head and pressed him to do more. Due to worrying about her health, it took him a few moments to become fully aroused. He worried about hurting her somehow, but when things seemed to be going as natural as possible he lost more and more of his inhibitions. He took her entire clit into his mouth and suckled it flicking his tongue over it at the same time. He reached up a hand to fondle one of her breasts and she grabbed it, instead taking his fingers into her mouth. She firmly sucked on them tasting the salt on his skin. No other woman had ever done that to him before and he found he liked the sensation. Her mouth was both warm and moist, almost like a woman's vagina felt when penetrated. He lightly thrust his fingers in and out of her mouth as she began to writhe in ecstasy at what his tongue was now doing to her, as he became more and more excited by her actions. He ran his tongue over her moist opening and lightly thrust it inside her, tasting her wetness with an animalistic groan. She raised her hips to meet his mouth as a powerful orgasm quickly racked her body. She cried out against his fingers as the pleasure spasmed through her body. For one split second she felt a wave of pleasure and love like never before.

Once she finally came back to reality she felt her whole body was limp like jelly. She kept her eyes closed as she basked in the warmth Riddick gave her. He leaned up to her face and kissed her mouth again. She felt his stiff penis rub against her belly as he waited patiently for his turn. She took it in her hand and gently rubbed it. Spreading her legs she gently guided it into her body. She let out a breath of air as he entered her in one thrust, driving deep inside her body. She wrapped her legs around his waist and helped to thrust him inside again. It was more than she could stand. The first time they had sex was painful for her so it detracted from the entire pleasure. This time she was feeling a different pain that appeared to be slowly dissolving. But now, it was the most blinding wonderful emotion she'd ever felt. He placed his hands under her rear and back, lifting her each thrust he made. Driving deeper inside her each time.

She felt a euphoria so powerful the world around her seemed to melt away and all she knew was Riddick, deep inside her body as he devoured her entirely. She let out a low moan from the exquisite torture he brought about inside her. He was close, she knew it, could feel it. She spread her legs wider for him allowing him full access to her body. Riddick closed his eyes as he relished the hot warmth that welcomed his penis inside her womb. He was aware of every sensation she felt and his own as well. Nothing in life could ever be as perfect and blissful as sex with her was. He drove inside her as hard and as deeply as he could. His moans matched hers, as he felt that explosion of unexplainable pleasure race from his penis over his entire body. He gasped with each thrust, allowing his semen to ejaculate fully inside her. She wrapped her arms tightly around him holding him close to her.

His body was moist with sweat as he rested on top of her for a few moments as he regained his senses. She was amazed by how good she now felt. It was as if he drove away that blackness that was creeping inside her. "Do you two mind? Some of us are trying to get some sleep." Came Tanners voice from the doorway. Fry gasped in surprise and wondered just how long she'd been standing there. Had she watched them having sex? She wondered as she decided it would be better not knowing that answer. Riddick acted unfazed as he sat up and motioned for Tanner to leave. She crossed her arms in front of her chest and shot him a dirty look. Once she was gone, Fry glanced at him. "I don't know what has happened to her, but she is not the same woman." She replied playing casually with the hair on his leg. He nodded in agreement. "I noticed." He replied turning his attention back to her. "Apparently you are feeling better." He replied both pleased with himself and the fact that she appeared much better.

She shot him a grateful smile. "I can safely say I feel like my old self again and then some." She laughed happy to be back to normal again. "Now it's Bianca's turn." She added more seriously. "How do we know it will help her too?" He asked with a frown. She shrugged. "I have no idea, but it's worth a shot, right?" she asked him wondering if in Bianca's case it was worth the risk. Either way they had to try. "And just who do you plan on getting to do this little deed?" He asked with a smirk. She gave him a sly look. "Who else but Nix." She shrugged. He gave her an unsure look. "I don't know if he'll do it, but I'll ask him if you want me to," He said running his hand over her soft shoulder. "Thanks, if he won't do it then we still have three men that might." She added hopeful to fine help for Bianca as well.

 

By the time Fry woke up in Riddicks arms she was feeling much better. It appeared that her idea of making love to him worked to alleviate her misery. Not to mention the tension between the two of them. Her mind wandered to thoughts of Bianca still suffering. Would the same thing help her? "Feeling better?" Riddick asked when he noticed she was awake. She sat up and looked down at him. "Quite possibly the best I've ever felt." She smiled leaning down to plant a quick kiss on him. He grabbed her firmly making the kiss last longer than she expected. She was easily taken in by him but managed to break away before they got too excited. "There will more time for that later, we have to help Bianca now," she said seriously. She jumped up off the floor before he could talk her out of it. Under normal circumstances she would have been all over him.

As she was getting dressed, he leaned back casually taking in the sight of her with great interest. She felt his eyes watchinig her as she got dressed and shot him a quick glance. "You coming?" She asked as she slid on her pants. He shrugged and got up off the floor. "I'm not entirely sure Nix will do what you ask." He stated as he threw on his shirt. "There's no choice in the matter, it has to be Nix." She said firmly as she threw on her shirt. "You know as well as I do that there is something between them. They're just keeping it from each other." She added in explanation as she slipped on her boots. Riddick stopped her. "There's something about him you don't know about." he replied cautiously. Fry stopped and looked at him concerned. "What?" She whispered. He let her go and started down the corridor. "I shouldn't have even mentioned that much." He replied firmly. Fry caught up to him. "It's not like we don't all have something to hide. No one knows what ghosts from the past we're hiding. Not everyone on board knows of our past..." She let the sentence hang knowing he got her meaning without saying the actual words. "That I'm a convicted murderer?" He added with a smirk. She shot him an annoyed look. "That I was willing to kill dozens of people to save my own neck," she said letting him know she was referring to herself more than anything.

"Just tell me one thing, will this secret end up possibly hurting her?" She asked needing to know at least that much. "Not physically." he shrugged. She bit her lip knowing that had to mean Bianca would get hurt no matter what. "I'm willing to take that chance." She replied. "Yeah, but is she willing?" Riddick asked her pointedly. She gave him an unsure look before entering the lounge room. Everyone was present and all eyes looked to them as they entered. Fry was actually shocked by Bianca's appearance. She looked like death had dragged her to hell and back. Bianca noticed how good Fry appeared to be feeling and shot her a questioning look. "What happened to you?" She asked her quietly. Fry put her arm around her and guided her from the room. She waited until they were down the corridor before speaking. "Richard and I had quite possibly the best sex ever last night and now I feel much better, in fact I feel completely healed. Maybe you should consider doing the same." Fry suggested. Bianca shot her a surprised look. "You would actually consider sharing Riddick with me?" She asked innocently.

Fry paused a moment as she realized Bianca had misunderstood her suggestion. She was obviously not thinking clearly due to the pain she was trying to maintain. Fry stifled a smile that threatened to come out. "No...not with Riddick.." She let the sentence hang in mid word as she waited for her to realize who she meant. Bianca turned abruptly toward her. "Not Nix! He can't stand me!" She whispered loudly. Fry nodded in understanding. "Yeah, but this is a matter of medical attention.Surely he wouldn't deny you the chance to be healed. Would he?" She asked feeling a tad unsure of what he'd do. Bianca shivered at the thought, not out of fear or distaste, but out of a new feeling she felt. One she was unfamiliar with. Could it be anticipation? A free excuse, a chaste one, for them to let down their guards and do whatever they wanted with each other. Bianca was willing to do anything to make the heavy pain be released from her soul and if it helped Fry, why not her as well. "I want to try Carolyn." She stated hopeful to be cured. "Good because right now Richard is attempting to get Nix to want the same thing." Bianca gave her a terrified look and Fry rubbed her arm to comfort her. "Don't worry, I'm pretty sure he won't say no." She said hoping she was right.

Riddick approached Nix and he nodded in greeting. "I checked the computer and it didn't find anything unusual. It shows no record of any foreign beings, just human's. And there are no unusual penetrations to the ship. Whatever you saw is either gone now or not recognized by the computer, which is a strong possibility." He paused to hear Riddick's suggestions. Riddick nodded his head as he took in the information. "Then we'll do a thorough search manually. Making sure to cover everything." He replied checking the ships layouts on the computer panel. "My thoughts exactly." Nix agreed. After a few moments of silence passed Nix glanced at Riddick. "I see Fry is positively glowing, I take it she's feeling better," He said with a smirk. He knew they'd snuck off to be alone last night. "Yeah, and Fry thinks you can do the same thing for Bianca." Riddick replied turning to face him. "Are you saying what I think you're saying?" Nix asked lowering his voice. Riddick nodded. "Sex seems to be the cure to the disease.." He replied smoothly.

Nix balked at Riddicks suggestion as he ran a hand over his face in frustration. Riddick could only imagine what he was thinking. "Why does Fry think this is the solution. What is it about the sex that seemed to help her?" He asked, wanting to make sure this was the only way. Riddick shrugged. "No clue." Nix took two steps deep in thought before turning back to Riddick. "I admit at one point I wanted Bianca, but just for sex. After I found out she wanted me as a way to help her, things changed. I don't think I can take that kind of risk again. That she might have real feelings for me." He added somberly. "I can't do it." He replied almost angrily. Riddick crossed his arms in front of his chest. "Then one of the other's will have to." He stated frankly. Nix nodded in understanding as Riddick went to give Fry and Bianca the news.

Bianca felt far worse than before when she got the news that Nix had refused her. The tears fell down her face uncontrollably. Fry tried to comfort her to no avail. Even Riddick felt bad for her. "The sooner we get this over with the better." She said to Bianca as she tried to go over the remaining options with her. "How about Ulrich? He is good looking and has a good sense of humor." She asked her, feeling a tad uncomfortable pointing out the good qualities of the other men in front of Riddick. Not that he had to worry about his manhood being questioned. Bianca felt she couldn't think straight. "I..I don't know." She cried out holding her head in her hands. "Okay, Okay.." Fry soothed her. "Don't worry about anything, we'll figure something out. You just try to get some rest," Fry said motioning for her to enter Riddick's cabin to lie down.

Once Bianca was inside Fry shot Riddick an angry look. "why?! Why did he refuse her? Men are always going on about how they don't ever get enough sex and now here is a chance for him and he says no. I don't understand him. This is a way for Bianca to get better from whatever the hell happened to us and he says no." She began to pace angrily and he let her fume for a few more moments before interrupting. "I told you there was a chance of him saying no. There are other men on the ship, we'll just have to ask them." He replied easily. She looked at him and had to smile. He always seemed to have an answer, the truth never eluded him nor did he shy away from it as most people did. He faced it head on and then took care of the problem at hand. They entered the lounge and she prepared herself for what she was about to ask.

Fry stood before everyone and sighed. "Bianca isn't getting any better." She started. Tanner snorted uncaringly from the darkest part of the room. "Haven't you figured it out yet? There is no help for her. She should just accept her fate." She replied gravelly before leaving the room. Everyone looked at each other confused by her behavior. Fry ignored her for the moment, needing to keep the focus on Bianca. "I have an idea that might help with Bianca, but I will need one of you men to follow through with something for her. Or more like with her.." She mumbled softly, her face slightly flushing with embarrassment. Nix stood looking out at deep space not sparing her a glance. "Tell us what we must do to ease her pain, I will do all I can to help." Imam stated ready to lend a helping hand. "Um..well..last night..Uh..Richard and I made love and that seemed to help ease the pain I was feeling. I don't know how exactly..but I think doing the same for Bianca will prove to be helpful as well." She finished trying to sound like a doctor explaining a treatment.

All three of the men looked at her in disbelief. "I was going to suggest a drawing to decide who would help her out." She said fully embarrassed by what she was asking them to do. Imam rubbed his chin deep in thought. "Is it not her being assaulted by a stranger that caused pain in her soul before this happened?" Imam asked. "If we then do something like this to her I cannot see her getting better. We may make things worse. Is there no other way to help her?" Fry walked over to him. "I don't know Imam. I just know that I can't stand to see her slowly dying inside like she is. It helped me, what would make the difference with her?" "Could it be the difference of love?" Imam stated, his turn to face truth head on. "Maybe it was a sense of love or caring you felt for Mr. Riddick that was able to fill your soul with life again?" He asked hitting closer to the mark than she expected. That led back to the problem at hand. Nix was the closest to love or caring Bianca had ever felt for a man and for whatever reason, he refused to help her. "I've considered that." She replied looking to Riddick for help. "Way I see it, we don't have much choice. Do we?" Riddick replied waiting for someone to come up with a better idea.

One by one the men's names were placed inside a bowl and Fry dove her hand inside it before someone changed their mind. She pried the piece of paper open to discover the name Sawyer listed. She opened it and held it up for them to see. Sawyer began to sweat immediately and he swallowed hard. "I..I didn't think it'd be me." He replied nervously. Fry gave him a comforting smile. "You'll be fine," she said trying to sound confidant. "She's alone in Richard's cabin." She added gently guiding him toward the corridor. He didn't move to quickly and Fry felt so awkward for what she was planning for Bianca. Imam knelt on his rug to pray for the healing of Bianca. Sawyer entered the corridor with Fry and together they walked to the cabin. "I..I don't think I'm the one to do this. I've not been with very many women.." He tried to explain to her as they walked down the hall. Fry felt horrid for what she was doing. The man didn't even want to do it, and neither did Bianca, yet she felt compelled for them to try, no matter what the costs. She knew all to well how Bianca was feeling and she wouldn't wish that on her worst enemy. "Sawyer, could you please just try. That's all I ask, that you try. No one will judge you if it doesn't work out." She replied unsure of what the hell to say anymore. He fumbled with his hands before nodding in agreement.

Fry entered first and sat with Bianca on the bunk. "Sawyer has agreed to..um..help you like Richard helped me. Do you feel like giving it a try?" She asked feeling horrible for what she was trying to do. Maybe this wasn't the way to go with her, maybe she needed another way. She might snap out of it on her own. "You don't have to do this if you don't want to." Fry numbly heard Sawyer say. He had managed to maintain his composure and was showing her great consideration. She looked first to Fry and then back to Sawyer. Undecided what she wanted to do. "Will it work for me too?" She asked wondering if it was worth doing. She did not want to have sex with him and her mind screamed for her to say no. "Honestly, I don't know." Fry stated waiting for her to make her decision. "I didn't want this.." Bianca replied starting to cry again. Fry felt so horrid for her. "I wish I could find another way to help you, but this is the only way I know how." Fry patted her on the shoulder as she stood to exit the cabin leaving the two of them alone together.

Fry returned without Sawyer and Nix knew he was in there with Bianca. He beat himself up inside at the thought of Sawyer being with her. Right now Sawyer was the one that touched her body and helped to comfort her pain. He'd be the one who she would look to afterwards for future affection. He fought the battle in his head to not picture her being pleasured by him. "Son of a Bitch!" He snapped as he stalked past Fry and Riddick toward the corridor. He only hoped he wasn't too late to stop them.

Fry grinned happily at Riddick. "I knew he'd change his mind." She said hopefully. He gave her a slightly surprised look as he watched Nix pass them. He was surprised that he changed his mind. Nix almost plowed right into Sawyer in the corridor and he looked at him questioningly. "Don't worry, we didn't do anything. I just couldn't." Sawyer replied hanging his head in shame. Nix gave him an understanding glance before entering the cabin. Bianca looked up at him from the bunk and he saw a flash of hope on her face. He sat down next to her and studied her carefully. "They seem to think I can help you. What do you think?" He asked her seriously. "I think you are the only one who can help me," she said running her hand lightly over his cheek. "In that case.." He started to say as he leaned in close to her. She felt his mouth cover hers and was surprised by how gentle he felt. His hands soon began to move over her body as he pulled her closer. She felt that feeling of warmth and pleasure that coursed through her body in reaction to what he was doing to her.

He slowly started to unsnap her shirt and she was numbly aware of his hands removing it. She felt a moment of panic as she realized what was about to happen. He felt her panic building and stopped to look at her. "I won't do anything you don't want me to do. Just say stop and I will. We clear on that?" He asked her softly. She let out a ragged breath of relief and nodded. "I needed to hear that." She replied more relaxed. He felt she was already feeling better by the little they had already done and wondered how she'd feel after they had done much more. He gently guided her to lie back in the bunk. Her skin was indeed as soft as he'd imagined and he took his time slowly kissing and tasting her sweet neck. She let out a shiver and he paused a moment. When he felt her hand running through his hair he knew it was a good sign. He continued his kisses down her neck to her breasts. He softly kissed each one not wanting to over do it at first. She gasped in surprise at the sensation and longed to feel more. "More." She managed to whisper. He did as she asked and took one of her nipples into his mouth, lightly suckling it. Again she gasped as he undid her pants with his free hand.

She was so enthralled with what he was doing to her breasts that she hardly realized he was removing her pants. He sat up and pulled her pants off in one smooth movement. She was now completely nude and was surprised to find she enjoyed it. She enjoyed the warmth of Nix on top of her and the feel of his hands and mouth on her body. He also was enjoying himself. He found he wanted her more than he thought, but kept things slow and easy for her sake, and his own. This was the only time he'd have sex with her and he wanted to relish the moment. He slid off his pants looking down at her naked body sprawled out on the bunk totally open to him. Her blond hair played about on her shoulders and he longed to feel it in his hands as he took her. A look of passion was definitely on her face as she waited for him to continue. That look was enough for him to want inside her, badly. To claim her as his before another man had the chance. Even if in the end he wouldn't stay with her, he wanted them both to think back to this moment and remember it.

She pulled his mouth back down onto hers with a fierceness that surprised him. She spread her legs welcoming him inside. He was tempted to take her up on the offer, but knew she wasn't entirely herself. Instead he pressed his lips to her stomach and tasted her sweet skin. She was the most perfect woman he'd ever been with, and for the moment, was all his. He reached his hand down past her pubic hair and gently slid his fingers inside her warm slit. She was beyond wet and he knew she had been ready for him for a long time. A soft moan escaped her and that was almost his undoing. She pressed her body harder against his fingers as he smoothly thrust them inside her. Unwilling to hold out any longer, he removed his fingers and laid down on top of her. Spreading her legs wide he slowly prodded his penis against her wet opening easily sliding inside. She gasped in surprise and he stopped worried something was wrong. She bit on her lip as if trying to keep from crying out. "Don't stop." She whispered as if it was killing her to wait any longer.

When he was sure it was pleasure she was feeling he thrust inside her again. The warmth of her body felt so good. Never had sex ever felt so damn good to him. She was so human in comparison to the other women he'd had sex with just to be having sex. He smoothed a hand through her hair as he thrust even harder inside her. His mouth met hers again and she kissed him with vigor, driving her tongue inside his mouth. He had to admit he was surprised by her total abandon to him. He liked that, liked that she gave herself to him. He thrust even harder until he was matching moan for moan with her. He held her tightly in his arms as he grew closer each thrust. The blinding pleasure drove them both to move in unison as he moaned against her mouth. A sudden powerful force of pleasure traveled her body as she felt the spasm between her legs. It was like no other feeling on earth and she let it take her away.

Several moments later, Bianca felt him inside her, on top of her, taking her like he was, and felt it was a dream. Never had she experienced anything that felt as good as he did inside her. She had wanted him, wanted him from the start. She told herself it was okay to admit that now as his body entered hers. His thrusts were close together and she felt so blissfully happy she had no words to describe it. He cried out against her neck as he finally let go and came inside her. His thrusts were quick and hard as his body's liquid flowed into hers. Once he had calmed down a bit he rested on top of her for a few moments before rolling to the side not wanting to crush her. He breathed heavily for a while taking in the moment. He looked toward her and she smiled at him. That was a good sign she was better, but he was almost afraid to ask her the words.

She felt her heart beating in her chest and knew she was better already. "Fry was right." She stated carressing his chest. "About what?" He asked knowing she was referring to sex being the cure. "I feel wonderful. Thanks for being there for me." she said gratefully. He was not comfortable having a woman, especially her, thanking him for sex. "Don't thank me too soon." He stated in warning. She did not like the sound of that. "Why not?" She asked not wanting to hear what he was about to say. "Wait, don't answer that. I don't want to know." She replied putting a hand up. She sat up and threw her shirt on and he ran a hand over her back. "It doesn't have to be like this. We could just take this for what it was." He said gently. She shrugged his hand off and stood up. "Sure, no problem. In fact I agree with you. This was nothing more than a romp in the hay." She bit out. That wasn't really the case. She felt more with him and wanted more. But she knew in the back of her mind that wasn't possible. At least he had cured her and she'd never forget what they shared. And that would be the hardest part to put behind her now.

Nix sat up and reached out for her, he hated to end it like this. He had never intended to bring this up so soon in the first place. But he'd opened his fat mouth and now it was too late. She kept from his grasp and managed to shoot him a smile. "No worries, everything is fine now that I'm feeling better. Thanks for you help." She managed to say before quickly leaving the cabin. He knew he'd hurt her just like he figured he would, but what he hadn't expected were the feelings that were now generated inside him. Now that he'd had her he didn't want to give her up. And he hated himself for that.

 

Everyone sat around the lounge trying to act like they weren't thinking about what was going on in one of the cabins. While sex was a normal part of life, it was still awkward when you knew it was going on nearby. Fry sat at the table and toyed with her cup looking around the room. Riddick and Sawyer sat at the table with her. Sawyer was looking pretty bad and she felt horrid for it. "I'm sorry for my part in what happened." She whispered to him. The silence was deafening and she felt her words echo through the room. He looked at her and then looked down at his hands resting on the table. "I understand why you wanted me to do what you asked. You care about Bianca and just wanted to help her. So no apology is necessary." He nodded. She smiled in reply feeling better about things between them.

Ulrich pulled up a chair and turned it around sitting in it backwards. "Hey," He said in greeting. Fry and Riddick looked at him knowing he had something on his mind. "Riddick, I wanted to ask you about Tanner, since you seemed to know her before any of us did. Was she always how she is now? I mean we can't go around forever ignoring how she's been acting." He replied facing the problem head on. Riddick sat back and crossed his arms. "No, she wasn't always like she is now. She killed some guy in a fight to the death and was sentenced to mine ticklor jell. She certainly cared more about people when I met her, but she's changed since then." He replied with hidden meaning. Ulrich nodded his head as he took in all Riddick said. Fry also took in his words, as did the rest of the crew. She always wanted to ask Riddick how much had gone on between them since Tanner always seemed to want him. "So why the sudden change then?" Ulrich asked looking around the room for an answer. "She seemed to change after we left the alien's ship, could they have done something to her?" Imam walked over to the table and rubbed his chin in thought. "I have been noticing her a lot over the last week and I could almost see her personality change in a moments notice." "Yeah..yeah me too." Sawyer chimed in.

They sat there looking at each other for a moment not sure what to say. "Could it have something to do with what happened to Bianca and me? I mean, we still have no clue what happened. Maybe she has special powers we aren't aware of." She shrugged. "Would the computer not notice such a thing? Imam interjected. "Computer's aren't perfect." Riddick added. "Perfect about what?" came Tanners gravelly voice behind them. Fry jumped slightly at her instant presence. Had she heard them discussing her? She looked them all over with a nasty scowl before plopping down in a chair. Ulrich stood and circled her chair watching her suspiciously for a moment. He looked at the others before clearing his throat. "In light of all that has happened." He paused a moment telling them all instantly he was referring to Tanner. "I'd really like to know who my crewmates really are." He boldly replied. Outside of Nix and Bianca, no one knew of how Riddick, Fry and Imam came to know each other. Fry had long since told Bianca all that had happened to them and Riddick's past. And of course Nix knew of Riddick and that left the others in the dark. The three of them looked at each other asking with their eyes if they should speak about it. Riddick shrugged and motioned for Imam to do the honor. Imam looked at them both pausing in case either one of them changed their minds. Fry also nodded. Imam sat down next to Tanner and stood up again when she practically growled at him. He moved to another chair and folded his hands together thinking before he spoke. "Captain Fry managed to crash land us safely on a planet none of us had heard of. Only a small group of us survived..."

Once Imam finished the story of the group and how they came to survive the planet, everyone remained silent. All eyes were now on Riddick, especially Tanner's. Imam had explained, in a most delicate manner, of Riddick's situation and he hoped it sounded tame enough. But now attention was directed toward Riddick and he gave him an uneasy look. Ulrich leaned forward in his chair and looked at him. "I certainly hope you are not the same man you were, I wouldn't be able to sleep at night without your reassurance." He said calmly. Riddick looked at him with his dark goggles on and grinned. "Long as no one messes with me, I'm fine. Otherwise..."

"Would anyone care to share something of their past with us in return?" Imam quickly interrupted. Ulrich wasn't willing to divulge his career to them, that would only lead to trouble. But he was willing to tell a bit about his life. "I grew up with my father on a reservation on earth. Ever since I left it's been my dream to move my people to another planet. That's what I was doing out here in deep space." He added motioning around the room in reference to space around them. It was a half lie, yes he was needing a planet, but he wasn't just going to find it, he was going to trade for it. Trade a human life for it, and based on Tanner's attitude it would be an easier trade than he thought. Fry nodded at him when he was finished. "I hope you find what you're looking for." She said sincerely. He looked away from those eyes of hers. It was hard for him to lie to them about his true intentions.

He looked to Sawyer. "What about you?" Sawyer looked nervous and slunk down in his chair. "There's not anything worthwhile to say about me." He stated firmly. That confirmed the fact he had something to hide. Something so bad he couldn't tell them about it. Fry felt nervous about not knowing what he was hiding. Of course how did she initially feel about first meeting Riddick? She had been scared of him to be sure, but she also had felt an excitement she'd never known whenever she looked at him or talked to him. Maybe it was fate that made them crash that day. Had they not crashed landed on that planet she would not have Riddick today. All eyes moved toward Tanner and she got up off the couch. "I killed a man and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it." she drawled seductively as she left the room.

Ulrich ran a hand through his hair and gave them an annoyed look. "What are we going to do about her?" He asked them hoisting his thumb in her direction. "Do about what? A bad attitude?" Riddick replied before heading for the kitchen. Fry watched him go and hated the feelings that were brewing in her. Was he defending her? Looking out for her? What had they really shared down on Titan 2? "You cannot deny she is a danger to the crew, she's gone insane or something." Ulrich replied following him. Fry had to agree with Ulrich on that. Everyone was in agreement with that, everyone but Riddick. She frowned as she watched them argue and decided she would not stick around to listen to them. She entered the corridor and walked past the cabins. Everything sounded quiet and still. She continued on past the crew cabins and made her way to the back of the ship. She walked past medical and that's when she heard a soft sobbing coming from inside. She slowly walked inside and knew it was Bianca as she raced to her side.

She was slunk against the wall crying her eyes out. "What happened?" Fry asked rubbing her shoulder. Bianca hugged her tightly. "He doesn't want me." She cried between sobs. Fry felt totally responsible for her condition. This was a risk that was taken and the worst had happened. "Did you two have sex?" She asked softly. "Yes." Bianca whispered. "How did you feel afterward?" She continued. Bianca let her go and looked at her. "I felt better, complete again. In fact, I felt like I never had before in my life. I can only describe it as pure bliss." She said wiping her eyes. Fry knew what she had felt, having felt it herself with Riddick. "But then he immediately let me know he didn't want me. I tried to respect and even agree with him on that, but it's too late for that now. I want him and now I have to feel this emptiness the rest of my life, knowing he can't return the feelings." She replied her tears stopped for the moment. Bianca had hardly shed a tear in her life until she met Nix, now ever since that day she's cried a lifetime of tears.

"I feel so responsible for this.." Fry started to say. Bianca held her hand up to her. "No, this was still our decision, Nix and I. You just gave us the suggestion to do it. I wanted to feel better and I do. But now I have to deal with the natural loss that invades my heart. And that has nothing to do with your actions." She replied firmly with a smile. Fry knew it took a lot for her to smile and she appreciated the gesture. "You'll get through this." Fry replied feeling like it wasn't the words that could heal her, or even help her. But it's all she could do at the moment. Being there for her would be what helped and she intended on doing just that.

Riddick and Ulrich were still heatedly discussing Tanner in the kitchen when Nix entered the room. He saw Sawyer and Imam sitting in the lounge and nodded to them before going into the kitchen. Both men stopped and looked at him when he entered the room. Ulrich kept his mouth shut and left without another word. He was hoping to get Riddick to agree to dump Tanner off on some space station or something. Then he could stay behind and get his nasty business over with. But Riddick stuck to her side firmly. Maybe he knew something about her he didn't or something. After all he was her partner on Titan 2. He didn't feel it was out of affection or love really, just a feeling of obligation for him. Maybe they had made some pact and he wasn't about to break it. Whatever it was he couldn't be sure, but it was messing up his plans. Nix downed a shot of scotch and then did another. Riddick sat back against the counter and waited for him to finish. When Nix stopped to get a breath Riddick chimed in. "I take it things didn't go well." He replied seriously. Nix wiped his mouth and shot him a disgusted look. "No they didn't. In fact things are worse than before." He stated as he saw that hurt look on her face played out over and over again in his mind. "Don't tell me you have feelings for her." Riddick said in surprise. Nix shot him a warning look. "Why wouldn't I? She's everything you could want in a woman and more." "But you're not willing to take any chances are you?" Riddick interrupted knowing his friend all too well on the subject. He didn't respond and Riddick left the kitchen to leave him nursing his wounds. Nix looked numbly down at the bottle. It would take more than that one bottle to get him to forget her face, her body, her voice, all those things that made her who she was. He would have to get away from her somehow. He only had a week to go before they hit XTC and there he could escape her. He'd take any woman who'd have him to get the thought of her out of his system.

 

Two days had passed since Bianca was cured and the ship continued on it's way toward XTC. They all spent most of the last few days manually searching the ship for anything that would explain or match the description of the thing that Riddick had seen, which possibly had hurt Fry and Bianca. They had found some interesting items in their search..an antique playboy issue from 1998, probably worth a fortune on earth, a unique map chip that showed an unfamiliar territory of space, They were guessing the ship's last crew had created it, And a pistol filled with bullets, no ship should be without one. But no blue mass or anything out of the ordinary. Riddick headed off to get in a shower as Nix and Imam finished checking out the lounge room. The others sat around the kitchen table tired from the day's searching. Moving a scanner detector over every inch of the ship was hard work. Tanner did little to help and preferred to stay in her cabin all day. Which suited everyone just fine anyway.

Riddick ran a towel over his chest and was glad for the shower. Why they did away with real showers was beyond him really. He knew solar showers were much easier in space travel, for the people and the ship, but it was better to have a water shower anyday. He wrapped the towel around his waist and headed back to his cabin. He hadn't taken more than twenty steps before Tanner slunk from behind the corner and into his path. He stopped surprised by her appearance. She had on no more than a white low cut shirt, that was completely see through. He could obviously tell she didn't have anything on underneath it. He didn't avert his eyes from her, but he maintained his focus on her face instead. "It's about time. I've been wanting a chance to get some time alone with you." She said. He was instantly reminded of the time he'd said similar words to Fry on the escape skiff. "And why's that?" He asked unsure of what her game was. She walked up to within inches of him. Her breast barely skimmed his chest. "I think you know, have always known, I want you." She purred lightly running her fingertips over his strong arms.

He took a step back and looked at her questioningly. "Wanting and getting are two different things." He replied in a low voice. She placed her hands on his waist and he removed them from him. "That's it. I'm taking you to medical, let the med tube check you over." He barked as he roughly grabbed her arm and began to pull her down the corridor. "No!" She screamed. "No! I won't do it!" She howled. Riddick ignored her and easily forced her down the corridor. "Stop let me go!" She demanded in a voice that sounded nothing like Tanner. Riddick stopped and looked at her. "Then tell me who the fuck you are!" He barked at her. A sly grin crossed her face and she motioned for him to let her go. He let one of her arms go, but kept his hand on the other. She stepped up close to him as if to whisper the answer to him. He was expecting that when instead he felt her lips against his in a powerful kiss. She wrapped her arms firmly around his neck and refused to allow him to pull away.

Fry looked over at Nix and Imam as they scanned the wall and an unexpected rustling came from behind the liquid dispenser. Nix paused and began to run the scanner over it when a creature flew screeching from behind the machine and toward Fry. She managed to dodge it and smack it aside. "A Goddamn space rat!" she yelled. Space rats were similar to rats on earth only by their nature. Their looks on the other hand, were not at all like rats. They looked just like huge giant spiders with leathery bodies that were capable of getting into the tightest spots. They were bright yellow in color and had sharper teeth than rats on earth did. They came equipped with eight spindly legs like a spider would have. They loved to hide on ships and eat out all the wiring, rendering the ship a floating piece of junk in space. The problems with them were more than a nuisance. They not only could live in both space and in gravity, but if they were female and about to give birth, which was usually the case, the babies alone could eat the ship out from under them in a matter of hours. Fry could see the telltale signs that this particular space rat was round and very pregnant. The rat raced out the door and into the corridor frantically in search of a new hiding place to have it's babies. Fry raced out the door and after the rat and the others weren't far behind her.

Ulrich also knew of these space rats and what they were capable of all too well. They all ran down the corridor attempting to grab it when they turned the corner. Fry stopped immediately upon seeing Riddick and Tanner in a passionate embrace. The others also stop in complete surprise. The space rat continued on toward Riddick and Tanner. In one quick movement Tanner swooped it up into her hands and proceeded to bite the head of it, showering it's dark green blood down her body and onto the floor. The others watched in total shock as she spit the head out and then ripped its belly open and proceeded to suck the babies from its body. The green blood and guts of the unborn babies ran down her chin and Sawyer immediately vomited his lunch. Fry forced back the vomit that threatened to come and looked away in utter disgust. Even Riddick seemed completely shocked by what she was doing.

They all stood there staring at her in total shock as she continued her meal barely sparing them a glance. "This is not normal!" Fry snapped at Riddick. He regained his composer and grabbed her by the arms. She dropped the dead space rat and shoved him away. He slammed into the wall in complete surprise by her strength. He bounced back and wrapped a hand around her throat tightly squeezing her air supply off. Ulrich jumped in to help contain her, she was no good to him dead. For a brief moment her expression changed from one of unemotional to one of complete fear and pleading. "Ri..dd..i.c..k ..do..n't k..il..ll.. m..e.. She managed to gasp out. Ulrich barked at Riddick to let her go. Riddick ignored him, instead waited until she passed out before finally letting her go. He caught her limp body and carried her the rest of the way to the medic bay.

Once she was inside a secure field, they allowed the computer to do its work at finding out what was wrong with her. The scanner ran up and down over her body, beeping and accessing data. Soon it finally stopped and Nix looked over the readings. The computer could not pinpoint any particular problem, but it did find an unusual reading near her heart. A blue mass seemed encircled around it. All eyes shot to Riddick who recognized it as the mass that left Bianca's cabin. "So that's where it's been hiding." Bianca said breaking the silence. "The damn things been living inside Tanner." Nix barked, angry they didn't even consider looking inside the humans for it. They even knew this blue form had somehow invaded Bianca and Fry, but they only checked the two of them over, not the other crew. "How long do you think it's been inside her?" Bianca replied sadly. "She started to change after the fight to the death on the alien's ship, maybe she got it during the fighting." Fry replied. "Perhaps another alien somehow transferred it to her." Sawyer said quietly. "It matters not how it got there, we must now concentrate on getting it out of her." Imam said a bit firmer than his normal tone. "Anyone have any suggestions?" He asked.

Ulrich, who knew just about every Achilles heal to every recorded alien species, stepped forward with an idea. It was a risk, but one he was willing to take. In order to save Tanner, she would have to die.

Ulrich filled a syringe with the correct amount of drugs. He was guessing of course, but he felt that the alien might leave her body if it felt she were dying. The drug would slow Tanner's heart down so slow that she would almost actually be dead. He would only give her enough to last for half an hour at the most. He didn't want to kill her, but he did want the alien out of her. He was about to shut the field down when Sawyer grabbed his arm. "Wait. If that creature is the same thing that caused Bianca and Fry to have that emptiness feeling by just a few minutes of contact can you imagine what she will feel like after it's been in her for nearly two weeks? I'm not sure she will survive if we force the alien out," He said looking at her still form. Fry understood what he was getting at. "If that creature has her trapped and is making her life a living nightmare, I think she'd rather we try to release her and have her die than to always be controlled by some creature," She said knowing exactly how it felt. "I agree." Imam replied nodding for Ulrich to continue. "I will pray to Allah to give her strength now." He added as Ulrich proceeded. He let the field down and they kept a watchful eye on the alien. He injected the drug and went back behind the field. The computers monitor on her heart began to slow down as her heart rate dropped. Soon it was only one beat every few minutes. The creature didn't budge and kept inside her still. Everyone seemed to be holding their breath as minute after minute slowly passed. The alien remained steadfast inside Tanner, refusing to budge.

Fifteen intense minutes passed and still nothing happened. Ulrich seemed distressed the most having not succeeded in forcing the alien out. Fry looked over at Riddick searching his expression for how he might be feeling at Tanner being so near death. His expression was unemotional as he stood watching. Seeing Tanner in a deep kiss with him nearly killed her. That proved he did have feelings for Tanner he was keeping a secret. What had happened between them when they shared quarters on Titan 2? Bianca placed a comforting hand on her back and she looked at her grateful for her presence. "Nothing is happening. Is there anything we can do to force the alien out?" Imam asked agitated. Ulrich looked at him and shook his head. "You got any ideas I'm all ears. I've done everything but officially kill her." Imam nodded slowly in understanding. Fry looked at Tanner's pale, still body and realized she would probably rather be dead than alive and controlled by some alien. There was probably little chance of her surviving now. Fry pushed back the feelings of happiness at that thought and felt horribly guilty. Maybe it was because she never liked Tanner or maybe it was because she wanted Riddick and it appeared he returned the feelings. Either way it was now in fates hands.

Ulrich was irritated by the alien's determination to keep its host and he wanted it dead. He had no time to be concerned by some unknown entity's life, he needed Tanner alive and well. It was at that second that it dawned on him what to do. Ulrich looked down at the band he was still wearing and felt like smacking himself. He should have thought of that first thing. "Maybe a shock will get the bastard to leave." He replied angrily as he reset the band to shock. He set it at the highest setting and without a second thought pressed the button. Tanner's body jolted off the table for a second or two and the alien stayed inside. "Hold the button down longer." Nix ordered. "It may not be able to fight long periods of electricity." He added. Ulrich did as he asked and cringed as Tanner's body continually jolted up and down on the table. After several minutes he let go and waited. Still nothing happened. Tanner's heart rate was dangerously unstable now, with an occasional heartbeat the only thing left to prove she was alive. He was about to try it again knowing it would probably kill her when Tanner suddenly sat up violently. She leaned over the table as if in a trance of some kind. She opened her mouth and black soot like material began to pour from her. It ran out of her like sand in an hourglass covering the floor. Everyone stared in surprise as it continued to leave her body for what felt like several minutes but was only a few seconds. She gave one last heave before flopping back down onto the table. The computer registered her heart rate as a high pitched flatline. "We have to get in there and help her!" Imam demanded. Ulrich held him back as Nix placed a forcefield around the black mess on the floor. There was no sign of the alien inside Tanner anymore, but that didn't mean all was safe. As soon as he was done he let down the force field around them and they raced to attempt to save her.

Nothing they tried seemed to help so they placed Tanner on the computers life support system. It breathed for her and soon her heart rate was back to normal. But that didn't necessarily mean that Tanner was still alive. She could no longer breath on her own, nor did she seem to have life in her. But her brainwaves were still strong, which gave them hope she was still alive. Once she was somewhat stable, Nix and Riddick vacuumed what was left of the alien creature out into space. Imam instantly began to pray for Tanner, and Fry really did hope it helped. She watched Riddick briefly before leaving medical. If he and Tanner were hiding a secret love for each other, she would not be able to stay on board to witness that. She entered the lounge and was glad it was empty. She took a seat next to the window to think. "I've been looking for you." Came Riddick's voice from the darkness. She didn't look up at him as he made his way toward her. He sat down in front of her and removed his goggles. "You trust me?" He asked making eye contact with her. She looked at him and nodded. "Yeah, I do." She replied. "I didn't want that kiss, nor did I instigate it." He said referring to the kiss Tanner planted on him in the hall. "I believe you." She smiled at him. He was not one to lie about anything. "I wonder if Tanner even wanted it. I think it was the alien that made her do what she did." He added taking her hand into his. She felt relief wash over her body at his words. "Are you sure you don't want her? Because if you do, I want to kn.." Her words were cut short when he grabbed her and planted her firmly on his lap. "No, I don't want her." He replied firmly. "Only you Carolyn." He whispered, his lips gently brushing over hers. She knew he was telling the truth, she just had to hear him say it.

She placed her hand behind his head and pulled his lips against hers. They kissed passionately for several moments before someone clearing their throat reminded them where they were. They looked up to find they were no longer alone. Imam was intently looking at them. Fry thought he looked agitated. "I think it best if we stop to get Orion some help at a medical facility." He blurted out as he sat down across from them. Fry stood up and sat next to him. "XTC is the nearest facility I'm afraid. Once we get there they will take care of her. So try to relax." She added patting his hand. "Since when did she become your responsibility anyway." Riddick asked as he rose and poured some water. "I didn't say she was my responsibility, I just want to make sure she is given all the help she can get. I know I'd want no different if it were me." He replied clasping his hands together. Fry got the feeling he was seeing Tanner as one of his children that he lost on that planet. That would explain his urgency in getting her more help. At this point all they could do was let the computer keep her alive while they made their way to XTC. Once there she would get more than enough medical attention.

 

Fry kicked the blanket away and sat up in the bunk. She felt uncomfortable for some reason and couldn't quite put her finger on it. She looked over at Riddick who was just as awake as she was. He ran a hand comfortingly over her back. "What's up?" His deep voice asked in the dark. "Just got the butterflies." She explained. They were just twelve hours from XTC and she was past anxious to find Audrey. The more apart they were from her, the more she worried. The last week went so slowly. The crew finally got some peace as no other problems arose. Imam stayed by Tanner's side praying nonstop for her recovery. Ulrich stayed in there with him off and on keeping watch. Bianca and Nix avoided each other like the plague. Sawyer kept to himself and Fry and Riddick made plans to find Audrey the moment they landed planetside. "Do you think she's okay?" She asked as she looked down at him. He sat up and looked at her with his silver eyes. "We'll find out soon enough," he said pulling her back down with him. "I think you said that last time." She grinned chiding him. "And look how that turned out." She added more seriously. He looked at her without saying a word. Sure he was concerned about Audrey, but he was never the type to worry about something that was out of his control. That was the only way he knew how to live, any other way would be foreign to him.

 

Fry felt her heart beating a bit faster as XTC came into view. It appeared to be a beautiful planet, with most of the surface being water it was a brilliant array of blues and greens. They had already received orders to land and Bianca was now entering their orbit. They landed with ease and Fry exchanged glances with Riddick before they debarked. Fry was immediately taken in by the cool air that breezed over them in the open docking bay. It couldn't be more than 75 degrees and there was a fresh clean smell about the place that set her at ease. Like flowers and ocean mist. The warm sun felt so good on her skin that she realized just how much she really missed earth. She felt Riddicks hand on her arm as he guided her through the groups of tourists that were also arriving. Once they entered the docking terminal they were greeted by a completely nude male. "Here we go." Bianca replied sarcastically. "Now's where we find out about the aliens that want to suck our brains or force us to bear their children.." "Or where we have to hide at night when the real nasty aliens come out to feed." Fry interrupted and they both looked at each other and laughed. "Welcome to XTC," He said bowing. "How can I be of assistance to you?" He asked them. "We need medical assistance as well as transport and a place to stay." Nix barked glad to be off that ship for once. The man looked them over with concern. "Is someone among you injured?" He asked confused. Imam stepped forward. "One of our crew is still on board and needs immediate medical care." He replied anxiously. The man nodded politely and motioned for them to follow him. "This way please." He replied kindly. They followed him to another desk where a young naked woman was standing. "Tana will help you from here on in. Tana, these guests need medical attention and transport." He replied to her before turning back to them. "Welcome again to XTC, have a blessed stay." He smiled as he returned to his post. Tana looked them over with a large grin of her own. "What is the nature of the injured person?" She asked. Ulrich stepped forward. "She had an attack of some kind, we have her stabilized on the ship but she needs medical attention." He spoke up. "Tana pressed some buttons on a panel in front of her and looked back up at them. "We will need one of you to stay behind with her as she is transported." She replied waiting for a volunteer. "I'll do it." Both Imam and Ulrich said in unison. Ulrich looked at Imam and nodded. "We will both accompany her," He said in response to Tana. Although he didn't want anyone else around when he handed her over to the siblings he felt he could easily get rid of Imam while the deed was done. If Tanner were unconscious that would be even better for him.

A man and a woman dressed in medical garb arrived in a transport to pick them up just moments later. Once they were gone Tana once again focused on those remaining. "What else can I do for you?" She asked politely. Riddick, who was now goggled from the sunlight, spoke up. "We'll need transport of our own as well as a place to stay." He replied handing her his credit key. She ran it through the system and handed it back to him. "Due to how busy we are this time of the year, we only allow two cabin's per party." She replied still bearing her smile. Nix snorted and crossed his arms unhappily. "We'll take both of them." Riddick replied ignoring his friend's angst. Fry placed a hand on Bianca's arm to keep her from saying anything. She could just feel her about to burst out in anger at Nix. "Please be sure to let the rest of our crew know where we are." Fry replied just as the transport arrived. They climbed into the back and it quickly took off.

The planet was far more beautiful than Fry or Bianca had imagined as they pointed to things going on around them. Most of the people were nude or partially nude. You could tell new arrival's apart from those who lived there based on the fact they were all darkly tanned, while the tourists were white from the travel. There were shops and art for sale along the roads and plenty of places to get something to eat. Fry felt her stomach flop at the sight of some of the seafood on display. She looked away uncomfortably for a moment and Riddick took notice of her. "See something you don't like?" He asked with a smirk. "Yeah, seafood. I've never been much for food from the ocean." She replied pushing that thought aside as she centered on Audrey. "Where do we look first Richard?" she asked him knowing he knew the place. "When we get to our cabin we'll use the computer to try and locate her. If that doesn't work then we'll start asking around." He replied, already having a plan in place. He and Nix both knew a man that was excellent at tracking people down, but he came at a price. If he were still around, they might need his expertise.

The cabins were located on one of the many beaches the planet had. While the ocean was nice to look at, Fry was already starting to feel a bit seasick. Deep space was the only ocean she knew and was well adapted with it, now she had this to get used to. Each cabin had one bedroom and was simple in design. They both had identical living rooms, kitchens, bathrooms and one bedroom. Not a lot of room for seven people, especially with two of them no longer talking to each other. Once they were settled, Nix immediately left to run an errand. Or so he claimed. Bianca kicked herself for wondering where he was going. She would get him out of her head if it killed her. She sat down on the front porch to watch the sun set over the ocean. The planet felt alive with activity and she longed to join in, if only to forget.

Riddick scanned the computer database for a list of people that had been brought to XTC in the last month. He then centered it on any people by the name of Audrey. It brought up a dozen or so names but none of them were near her age. Fry chewed on her nail as the screen searched for any groups of anyone under the age of 18 that had been brought planetside in the past few weeks. "They probably didn't use her real name," She said as the names scrolled down the screen. Riddick nodded in agreement. "Then we hit the streets next." He replied. They both hit the door at the same time and seeing it pitch dark outside they stopped in their tracks. Fry was actually nervous of the dark and looked to Riddick who removed his goggles. "That was fast..See anything out of the ordinary?" She asked in reference to the darkness. He slowly shook his head no. "Looks clear." He replied with a smirk. Fry nudged him and laughed. "Ha Ha." She replied sarcastically. She knew he was repeating what he'd said to Johns on that planet and appreciated the joke. "Let's go." He added firmly as they picked up Bianca and headed out into the dark planet.

Riddick was in his element as the three of them made their way downtown by foot. A cold chill from the ocean made Fry shiver and Riddick motioned for them to enter a store. It was filled with clothes of all kinds and Riddick handed her a jacket. She didn't recognize the material it was made out of but it was warm so she tried it on. The material was lightweight and brown in color. "That's made out of a fish in our ocean. It will keep you warm as well as protect you from the water. It's made to be used around water and on land." The shop owner said as he approached them. He was fully dressed and had on a similar jacket. Fry noticed he had gills on his neck as well as webbed fingers and an odd film that moved over his eyes as he looked at her. She found herself unable to look away. The shop owner grinned at her amazement. "I'm an aquatican." He replied in explanation. Fry gave him a confused look. "I take it you've never been here before. This planet belongs to my people, who live in the oceans. This is actually planet Aquatica but we allow the humans to live here." He replied handing Riddick a black jacket. He took it from the shop owner and Bianca chose a multi colored blue one. Once they had the jackets paid for they set out into the crowds of now completely dressed people.

There were many fires lit and music played all around them. People were dancing, drinking and having sex just about everywhere they went. Bianca kept her eyes away from those having sex out of fear of one of them being Nix. She wasn't a fool as to where he might have gone. They set out asking people if they've seen a girl that looked like Audrey. Fry looked around at all the debauchery that was going on around them and snorted. "Richard, why do the Aquaticans let human's use their planet like this? Even allowing them to rename it." She asked, appalled they allowed such a thing. Riddick glanced at her as they walked. "They are mostly a peaceful people, but if pushed they can be deadly. The human's here know that and abide by their rules to live here." She managed to step out of a hand that grabbed her leg as they walked. During the day it was not at all like this, but at night a sense of craziness took over.

 

Hours later, they still had no clue as to what happened to Audrey. They decided to call it a night and try again early in the morning. Riddick put an arm around Fry and Bianca as they walked to keep anyone from hitting them up for free sex. Things got pretty ugly around there after dark. Men and women both looked toward them as they walked by in hopes of a new partner, but one look at Riddick and his shined eyes and they turned their attention elsewhere. Once they arrived at the cabin they were greeted by Sawyer and Ulrich who brought them dinner. It was fresh beef and off vegetables that he had cooked over a campfire. They sat around the table and ate as he told them the news. "Tanner is resting comfortably. But they can't do anything to help her. They recommend we keep her on life support for a few weeks and see if she comes out of it on her own. If not, they think we should consider turning it off and let nature take its course. Imam refused to hear any of that and wanted to stay by her side to pray." Ulrich said with slight annoyance in his voice. "What do you think we should do?" Fry asked him curious of what he'd say. "It's not up to me, she's not my responsibility." He replied looking down guiltily at his food. "Then whose responsibility is she? Are we to just let them keep her as we continue on merrily with our lives?" Bianca snapped as she threw down her fork in anger. Ulrich felt a pang of remorse travel through him as her words sank in. If they only knew what was really in store for Tanner they would be even angrier with him.

Bianca got up from the table and went into the living room. She didn't mean to bite Ulrich's head off she was just upset at not knowing what Nix was out there doing, even though she had a pretty good idea. He probably grabbed the nearest woman or two and had sex repeatedly with them. Fry followed her and sat down next to her on the couch. "Know what you need?" She replied with a smile. "A nice hot bath and to get some rest in a real bed on stable terra firma." She nudged her. Bianca did indeed feel that was what she needed. But not at the expense of Fry and Riddick's privacy. They also needed a break. "Yeah that does sound good, but I'll use the other cabin, you guys can have this one to yourselves." Fry did like the sound of that. Of course that left Bianca sharing a cabin with Ulrich, Sawyer and Nix if he ever came home. "Well are you sure you don't mind sharing a cabin with two men?" She asked making sure she was really okay with that. "Don't worry about a thing, I can take care of myself." She smiled as she got up off the couch. "I think I'll head over there before they get there and get that bath in." She added actually looking forward to it. Fry reentered the kitchen and sat down. "Is she okay?" Sawyer asked as he took another bite. "Yeah, she went to the other cabin to take a bath. She's decided to sleep there tonight, hope you two don't mind." She added letting them know they had no choice. After all it was Riddick's credit's that paid for the cabins. They both nodded in agreement knowing they couldn't complain about it.

Bianca toweled off and threw on a nightshirt and undies. The bath had indeed helped her to relax. She grabbed a brush and headed into the living room. Sawyer and Ulrich were both there watching a viewscreen of the planet's "television". The last time she watched television was when she was a small girl. She laughed when she saw it and sat down next to Ulrich on the couch. He held a bottle of some kind of liquor she wasn't familiar with. "Want a drink?" He asked her when he saw her look at it. She took it from him and swallowed a large mouthful nearly choking to death as it burned down her throat in the process. Ulrich patted her on the back to attempt to help her. "Whoa there, no need to kill yourself with it." He replied with a laugh. Once she was back to normal, she sat back and drew the brush through her wet hair. The warmth from the liquor eased through her body and she felt herself start to relax. Regardless of Nix, she knew she'd sleep well tonight.

"Sorry about how I treated you at dinner." She said to him as she pulled her feet up underneath her. He looked at her and waved his hand. "That? That was nothing. Don't worry about it." He said smoothly. "I'm sorry I made you leave your dinner hardly touched. I brought you leftovers." He replied holding up a plate of food. She was glad he'd done that, she was famished. She smiled and took it from him. "Thanks." She replied as she took a bite of beef. She watched the viewscreen for a while as a news show was doing a story on preventing pollution in the oceans that belonged to the Aquatican's. Apparently some companies were secretly allowing pollutants to be flushed into the oceans as a way of disposal. Spokespersons from Aquatica were investigating the allegations. The news didn't appear that much different than on Earth, only on this planet there were people living in the oceans, along with the animals. A loud shout from outside the window brought their attention from the viewscreen as the voice passed by. "This place sure turns wild at night. I'm glad I'm not sleeping alone tonight," Bianca said feeling a bit nervous by all the activity. All she needed was some freak trying to rape her in her sleep.

"So Nix is planning on sleeping here tonight?" Ulrich replied taking another swig from his bottle. She looked away from him for a moment. "No. Unfortunately Nix has decided against any relationship with me." She responded, not bothering to keep the disgust from her voice. Ulrich looked her straight in the face. "Then who will be sharing your bed tonight?" He asked straightforward. She looked at him for a moment before grabbing the bottle from him. "We're all adults here, I can share the bed with one of you." She replied before taking another deep swallow from the bottle. She handled that one better and Ulrich didn't have to assist her that time. "What do you say Sawyer, want to arm wrestle for the bed?" He asked nudging him. "Nope, I'll take the couch. The bed's yours." He said without looking up at them.

"Speaking of bed, I'm exhausted. I think I'll get to sleep." She replied, glad the sleeping arrangements went as well as they did. She got up off the couch and put her plate in the kitchen. She entered the bathroom and closed the door. The two swallows of that stuff Ulrich was drinking was already making her feel a bit woozy, she should have asked him what it was first. Once she brushed her teeth and went to the bathroom before heading into the bedroom. She closed the door behind her and turned to get into bed. Ulrich was already there. He had his shirt off and was lying on top of the covers. He held his bottle of drink, which was now half empty, and patted the bed. "C'mon in. It's nice and soft." He grinned at her. She swallowed hard before taking the necessary steps to the bed. She pulled the covers back and jumped under them. She pulled them up to her chest and gave him a quick smile. "You sure are different with a little liquor in you." She laughed nervously. "I don't think so. Maybe this is the real me and I'm letting my guard down for once." He replied totally serious.

He did want to relax a little. He was so close to getting the deal done and now he wanted to get a breather in. "I would have thought you'd want to go off playing." She almost added the words "like Nix", but bit her tongue. "That's not my style." He responded with a wave. "I'm more a homebody type." He shrugged. "I guess when you go so long without a real home you appreciate the chance to get the next best thing." She nodded in understanding. "Yeah I know what you mean. I was taken from my home when I was a young girl. My parents were killed in a fire and I ended up alone. I managed to keep alive by accompanying rich girls on deep space trips. Until one of the girls father gave me to a captain as a "gift"." She looked at him sitting there listening to every word she was saying and was surprised that she had told him that. Not even Fry knew about that. "I can only imagine what he did to you." He replied handing her the bottle.

She took it from him and took a swallow. She had no idea how much he knew about her, but he seemed to have picked up some. "Sometimes I wonder how I survived at all. I wanted to be dead rather than live like that. Did you know he even had the gall to sterilize me. I think that is what made me nearly give up for good." She felt the sting of tears in her eyes and felt it had to be the liquor that was allowing her to speak so freely. "He made you incapable of having children?" He asked in shock. She nodded as she wiped away a stray tear. "I got used to the idea eventually, but it still haunts me." Ulrich was angered by what he was hearing. "How could someone be so cold as to take away a woman's chance to bear a child?" He asked as it dawned on him that was what he was doing with Tanner, taking away not only her chance to have children, but her chance to live. A powerful wave of guilt washed over him and he took another swig of liquor. "There's a lot of coldness in space I've learned. It's good to be warm every so often." She replied glad to have a warm body next to her in bed.

"What's your plan with Tanner?" She suddenly asked him. He sent a calm look at her and wondered how she could know he had plans for her. "What do you mean?" He asked firmly. She grinned. "I know you spend a lot of time with her, up until the alien took over her body you seemed to like her." She nudged him. "I promise you, there's nothing going on between us." He laughed sarcastically. "Just making an observation." She shrugged casually. "All right, it's your turn now." Bianca said handing the bottle back to him. "My turn? For what?" He asked her. "I told you something about my past, it's your turn to tell me something from yours." She demanded as if he owed her one. "There's not much to tell. I grew up on a reservation and became a tracker to feed my family." "A tracker? Of animals or what?" She asked not familiar of what exactly a tracker tracked. "People. I track down people. For a price." He replied studying her face for a reaction.

She didn't seem all that surprised to him. "What about a girl?" She asked. "I track down either sex, male or female, it doesn't matter to me." She grinned shyly. "What I mean is do you have a girl back home on earth?" He was taken aback by her question and he looked into her face curiously. "Nope, no girl. Why do you ask?" He was curious as hell as to why she wanted to know. "Just seems to me a man such as you would have a girlfriend or a wife. Are you not interested in a relationship?" She asked boldly. "On the contrary. I'm quite interested in settling down. Like I said, I'm a homebody." He stated again. "Well that's a refreshing change." She mumbled under her breath. Ulrich looked at her in the oddest way and she began to feel uncomfortable. "Well I better get some sleep. A long day is ahead of us if we are to find Audrey." She excused herself as she got comfortable under the sheets. She could feel his eyes on her as she turned on her side away from him. "See you in the morning then." He replied. She almost felt as if he wanted to say more but changed his mind. A few moments later she felt him get off the bed and remove his pants. She wondered what he had on and couldn't help but imagine him naked. She was taken in by his chest when she first saw him but managed to push that thought out of her head. Now her mind was imagining all sorts of sights. It was the liquor she told herself as she tried her hardest to fall asleep.

 

Fry wanted to leave the front door unlocked in case Bianca changed her mind about bunking with two men. And in case Imam or Nix decided to sleep there as well. But Riddick assured her they could easily knock on the door and wake them up if necessary. She agreed with him as she pulled the sheets back. "God I wish we had found Audrey. All I can think about is all the different things that might have happened to her. None of them good I might add." She sighed as she fluffed a pillow. Riddick plopped down on the bed and swiftly pulled her down with him. "I think we need something to help keep our minds off things." He replied as he kissed her neck. "Oh really? She replied huskily, knowing exactly what he had in mind. This really was the only time they'd found any real peace and Fry liked it. "Richard, remember when I first set eyes on you? Johns had chained you to a wall and I was terrified of you. Well mostly terrified. But I was also very excited by the sight of you all tied up and unable to do anything to me. Care to relive that little meeting?" She asked knowing he would never refuse her. He gave her one of his taunting smiles. "You think you can handle me, give it your best." He replied huskily.

She grinned as she jumped off the bed and entered the living room, returning with two cords she retrieved off the curtains. First she tied one of his wrists to one side of the bed end and then tied the other to the other side. Once she determined they were secure she slipped off her nightshirt very slowly. Making sure he didn't get a full view at any one time, she quickly straddled his thighs keeping his penis snug between her legs. First, she proceeded to nibble on his ear making sure her nipples brushed his chest when she bent over him. Then down to his lips where she sucked on one of them longingly. He let out a low moan and she was pleased with her work so far. Moving down to his neck she proceeded to lick and suck her way down making herself impatient for his touch. She slowly took one of his nipples in her mouth and suckled it lightly. He moved his wrists as if testing the strength of the ropes.

Of course, she hadn't made them that tight, just tight enough to play with him at a pace. She could feel his erect and very hard penis pressing against her wet vagina. Slowly she moved to allow him to enter her body. She rolled her head back and gasped in pleasure as he thrust himself inside her. She sat full on his penis as he thrust inside her time and again. She placed her hands on his chest as she began to move in tune with his body. The bed began to bang against the wall as each thrust caused them to work hard on each other. Her breast heaved with each thrust and Riddick easily pulled both his hands free to fondle them. They both were so busy trying to pleasure each other they hardly noticed how loud they were being. Fry cried out as she felt blinding waves of pleasure travel her body. Riddick rolled her onto her back and began to thrust harder than before. She moaned out loud with each thrust and soon he was matching her moans as he came inside her. He held onto her body tightly as he emptied inside her. She loved the way that felt, it was as if he owned her for that one brief moment. The world melted away and she felt nothing but pure ecstasy. He moaned as he continued to thrust lightly inside her as the pleasure still coursed through his body. Being inside her like that was the closest to heaven he was ever going to get. He stayed on top of her for a few moments before rolling onto his side of the bed. He pulled her to him and she rested her head on his chest. Moment's later they were both sound asleep.

Bianca was totally shaken by the sounds coming from next door. She knew it was Fry and Riddick having sex and she was thoroughly embarrassed. Was Ulrich able to hear them as well? She wondered as she realized there was no way he wouldn't be able to hear them. She rolled onto her back and sighed. If Ulrich was affected by the sex going on in the next cabin he didn't show it in any way. Maybe he was already sound asleep due to the liquor he drank. She began to feel uncomfortably hot and she kicked the blankets off. Whatever they were doing to each other sure sounded like they were having a good time, a very good time. She began to get sweaty and her nightgown started to stick to her body. She proceeded to fluff the shirt to move some air through it. She couldn't take it off that was for sure. "They sure are loud tonight." Came Ulrich's voice in the dark and she gasped in surprise. "Yeah, apparently." She stumbled over her reply. "Want to go outside for a while until things cool off in here?" He asked her, stressing cool off to imply other things. She jumped from the bed at the invite. "Yes I sure do." She replied glad for a chance to escape.

Once they were outside on the porch the cool air felt good on her skin. They sat down on the porch swing and she let the air move through her hair. Neither of them said anything at first but when she finally managed to look at him they both burst out laughing. "Now that was awkward," She said relieved to be out of range of hearing the two of them having sex. Ulrich nodded in agreement. "Sure was." He agreed. "They do have the right idea though." He added more quietly. She turned to look at him and he smoothed a loose piece of hair out of her face. Such a touching gesture made her realize just how badly she longed to be cared about. Really cared about, by a man that would stand by her no matter what. She felt herself shiver as the air soon turned chilly. Ulrich reached for her putting an arm around her shoulders. She didn't pull away and allowed him to continue what he was doing.

She found she liked how he felt, liked it a lot. They sat like that for several moments and Bianca thought of Nix. She imagined him pleasuring some strange woman and that was enough for her to lose any guilt she might be having. He told her to her face there was no chance of a relationship so she was totally free of him. She looked at Ulrich who pulled her face to his, planted a kiss on her lips then released her. "What was that?" She asked him, completely surprised by his actions. "If you don't know by now.." "I know it was a kiss, what I meant is why did you do it?" She interrupted him with a light nudge. "Because you seemed to need it." He replied running his hand over her cheek. "I never noticed just how beautiful you really are before. Guess I had too much of my attention elsewhere." He professed. She was definitely unsure whether or not to believe him. Maybe it was the booze talking and not really him. "Did you mind it a whole lot?" He asked. She shook her head. "No, I didn't mind it. Not a whole lot." She mimicked him. "Then you wouldn't mind if I tried again would you?" He asked even as he pulled her back to his lips again. She was ready that time and returned the kiss passionately. He returned the fervor as he openly kissed her. Her heart began to race like never before and she felt so dangerous doing that with him. He wrapped his arms around her back and pulled her closer.

 

Nix pushed the sleeping woman off his chest and climbed from the bed. He looked down at her sleeping form and wished it were Bianca there instead. That thought angered him as he realized his plan of finding another woman to get Bianca out of his mind hadn't worked. He pulled on his clothes and headed out into the night. He wondered if Bianca had waited up hoping he'd show back up before she went to bed. He didn't go back to the cabins for that very reason. The sooner she realized he was out of reach the sooner she'd start to get over him. He had taken a campsite up in the mountains and made his way there now. He would be staying there the entire time he was on XTC. The better to avoid Bianca he told himself. He could still grab a few more hours of sleep before heading back to the cabins to join Riddick and Fry in searching for Audrey. He hadn't done anything to help them in the short time he'd been there and he really did want to help them find the girl. The planet was a pretty peaceful place to be, if anything the girl was probably made some servant somewhere. Probably cleaning rooms at one of the many hotels and resorts on the planet. He had no doubt they would find her. It was just a matter of time. He yawned as he plopped down on the cot in his tent, it wasn't the most comfortable thing to sleep on but it was better than the alternative, which was sleeping in the same vicinity as Bianca. He recalled how her body felt and longed to touch her again. There was something different about her that no other woman he'd met had. What it was exactly he couldn't actually say but now he wished more than ever that he'd never met her.

 

A loud banging on the door jolted both Bianca and Ulrich awake at the same time as Fry came to get her. Bianca jumped from the bed and made it about two steps before she realized she was buck-naked. She yelped in surprise as she quickly grabbed the sheet off the bed to cover herself with. Once she was securely covered she gasped as she noticed Ulrich lying there completely nude to the world. "Bianca? You in here.." Fry said as she opened the bedroom door. When she saw the two of them in the state they were in she covered her hand over her mouth and backed up out of the room closing the door behind her. Bianca's head was throbbing as she double-checked to see that she was indeed naked. "Did we do something?" She asked frantically as the color drained from her face. He shrugged. "No clue, but based on appearances..." He drawled as he climbed from the bed and pulled his pants on. He was just as surprised as she was to wake up naked with her. They had stayed up drinking and talking, among other things, and that was the last he remembered. Bianca ran a hand over her face and entered the bathroom. She looked at herself in the mirror and felt like screaming. What the hell was she doing? Had she lost her mind? "Oh my god." She said out loud as she splashed water on her face. Now her problems were doubled. She would not only have to deal with Nix but now she would have to get out of the trouble she was in with Ulrich. It's not like she needed another challenge. Maybe Ulrich would be forgiving and willing to put it behind them without any grief. After all it was probably just the liquor that made them do what they did. Bianca turned on the shower and quickly jumped in knowing that Fry was probably going nuts waiting for her. At least she wasn't the only one who got laid last night.

Ulrich entered the living area and found Sawyer watching TV. Fry was nowhere to be found as he suspected would be the case. "Sawyer, did you see or hear anything going on between Bianca and me last night?" He asked him point blank. Sawyer shook his head. "Not to my recollection. I slept quite soundly last night." He added. Ulrich was bummed by the fact he couldn't recall what had happened that night. If they had had sex he was equally bummed that he didn't get to enjoy it like he would have wanted to. Which ruined the whole thing for him. Of course, now Bianca probably would start ignoring him like she did Nix and that was something he did not want to happen. He liked her and after last night he liked her even more. That's why he was going to wait for her and discuss the situation before it escalated into something ugly.

Fry made up an excuse to avoid telling Riddick what she saw next door. He didn't seem all that affected by her not returning with Bianca. "What's the plan?" Nix's voice came from behind her and she yelped in surprise. "Excuse me?" She asked him meekly. "The plan on finding Audrey." He responded, immediately noticing her nervousness. "Is something the matter?" He asked her curiously. "No, nothing, I'm just ready to get started that's all." She mumbled as she headed for the front door. The best thing to do now would be to keep Nix far away from Bianca and Ulrich and concentrate on getting Audrey back.

Fry nodded politely to the store clerk as Riddick approached him. They had been searching for Audrey for over three days now and she was beginning to wonder if they'd ever find her. Riddick asked the man about Audrey in the usual manner and as usual the store clerk shook his head no. He hadn't seen her either. Fry ran a hand through her hair in anguish when she noticed a pregnant girl motioning for her to meet her outside. Fry was the only one who saw the girl, so she tugged Riddick's shirt on the way out and he followed close behind her. Once outside the girl led them to a back alley. Fry waited patiently as the nervous girl made sure they were alone. "This girl you ask for, well I saw her." She whispered as she looked around. Riddick took one step toward the girl and gently held her arms. "Where?" Was all he asked. "She arrived a few weeks back and was put in with me and some other girls waiting to be delivered." She replied somberly. "Delivered? Delivered to where?" Fry asked her. "I'm sorry to say this, but she was chosen as a sex provider. Rich men come from all over the place to be with younger girls." Riddick's fist clenched up and he released her.

He took two steps away from her as the news sunk in. Tears came to Fry's eyes as she realized what the girl was saying. "Where did they take her, do you know?" She asked trying to keep it together. "Yes, they were taking her to the pleasure palace." A loud shout coming down the alley made her jump and she gave Fry a sad look. "I have to go. I hope you find her. She said she knew you'd come for her." She added as she rushed off down the alley. Fry turned to Riddick who looked as if he might snap at any minute. He yelled in anger as his fist violently met the wall. "GOD DAMMIT!" He howled. Fry jumped back at his outburst and knew better than to approach him. She could see his bloody hand and knew he had broken something. She waited patiently for him to calm down.

After several very intense minutes past his goggled eyes looked over at her. "She won't be the same." His voice almost didn't sound like him. "Are any of us the same? I certainly don't feel the same." She reasoned with him. He stood as he regained his composure. "You know that's different." He replied firmly. She did know that was different, she just wanted to believe it wasn't. She wanted to believe they'd find her and she'd be the same Audrey she'd always been. "What's done is done, let's go get her." He added with determination as he headed out of the alley. "We have to stabilize your hand first." She demanded as she fell in step with him. He didn't say anything as they made their way back to the cabins.

 

Nix watched Bianca and Ulrich from the porch as they approached the cabins and wished he hadn't told Riddick he'd meet him there. He wasn't stupid, he could obviously tell Bianca and Ulrich were closer than before. A pang of hatred flowed through him as he realized Ulrich was probably going to get her to fall for him, if he hadn't already. Bianca looked up at him in passing and waved a quick hello to him. She seemed uninterested in his presence and that bothered him even more. It didn't take her long to replace him. He thought sourly as they entered the cabin.

Bianca managed to keep her excitement at bay when she saw Nix sitting there on the porch. She hadn't seen him in over three days and didn't realize what his presence would to do her. She wanted so badly to go to him, to try and convince him to give their relationship a chance. But it was way beyond that point of return now. She would never degrade herself to a point of begging him to take her back. Besides, after the night she and Ulrich had slept together he hadn't left her side. Ulrich had made sure to let her know that he didn't want that night to ruin the relationship and they decided to take things back a few steps. While she enjoyed Ulrich's company, she still found herself wishing he were Nix. No man would ever take the place of Nix.

"You okay?" Ulrich asked as he gathered his gear. She glanced at him. "Yeah, I'm fine. No problems here." She lied. He nodded in affirmation as he went about finishing his task. They were preparing to head to the hospital again and as usual Ulrich took his gear with him. "Why do you always take that gear?" She asked as she sat down on the bed. He grinned at her as he grabbed his jacket. "You never know." He replied. She figured he was right about that, after all the hell they'd been through it was always good to be prepared. He handed her jacket to her as they headed back onto the porch.

She tried to prepare herself for seeing Nix again but found it unnecessary as all attention was on Riddick and Fry as they came up the walk. "What happened?" Bianca asked as she noticed his bloodied hand. "We found out where Audrey is." Fry replied as they entered the cabin. "That's great news!" she replied happily. "I doubt you'll think that once we tell you." Fry added as she pushed Riddick into a chair. "What's with the hand?" Nix asked, more concerned with his friend than the girl. "Let's just say it had a run in with a wall." Fry replied as she returned with a bone grafter. "I'm sure it's broken." She said with disgust as the machine was placed over his hand.

As soon as it was mending the damage she sat down with a sigh. "Audrey's been sold into slavery, sex slavery." She replied angrily. "Oh no." Bianca gasped. "Not that." She added breathlessly as she sat down next to Fry. "Yes that." Riddick growled. "Where's she at?" Nix asked roughly. "Pleasure Palace." Fry answered. Nix stalked over to the computer to get the address. Riddick removed the bone grafter and flexed his now mended hand. He approached the computer and waited for the address to appear. "Got the address, let's go get her." He said as he headed for the door. "I'll go with you guys." Bianca said as she followed them. Fry stopped her. "I need for you to tell Imam what's happened and where we're going. We'll meet you back here okay?" She asked her. Bianca nodded in agreement and the three of them left to get Audrey back.

The pleasure palace was one of the fanciest places on the planet and they could tell it made a lot of money. The three of them approached the desk and asked for the owner. A finely dressed human woman greeted them with a knowing look. "I see you three would like a fourth partner to join you." She smiled kindly. "No, we're not here to have sex." Riddick barked. The woman's expression changed slightly and she motioned for them to enter her office. "Sorry, no. We'll do our business here if you don't mind." Fry said bitterly. She felt they'd get more of a response while in public. "We're here to pick up a young girl by the name of Audrey. We were told she was sold to you." Nix replied as he gave her his best glare.

The woman took their hostility remarkably well and showed no fear or intimidation. "Ah yes, the Audrey girl. I'd be more than happy to sell her back to you, except for one thing." "And what's that?" Riddick asked in a very threatening voice. "She was kidnapped from us by a group of Aquatican rebels." She replied with a sigh. "Aquatican rebels? Who are they and what do they want with the girls they took?" Fry asked wanting to slap the woman. "Aquatican rebels are half human, half Aquatican and they have been spurned by both species on the planet. They live underwater and I hear they eat those they kidnap to stay alive." She added with a nonchalant wave of her hand. "And how do we find these rebels?" Riddick asked hoping to get more out of the woman. "How should I know? I already gave you more than enough information. I think you should leave." She snapped as she motioned for the guards. "Don't bother." Nix barked at her as he motioned them out of there. "I know someone who can help us find the rebels." He replied as he waved over some transportation.

Fry and Riddick waited outside as Nix made a deal for transportation underwater. The man he would be dealing with was a bit of a nervous fellow and too many people around might ruin the deal. Fry looked over at Riddick and could see the determination on his face. They were going to find Audrey, she knew it. Her attention turned to the water and she was already feeling seasick at the thought of traveling underwater. It was so deep and dark looking, anything could happen down there. "Do you really think they eat human's?" Fry said out of nowhere. Riddick snorted. "Doubt it. But what reasons they had to take her I'm not sure of." He added as he looked toward the water. "It's all set." Came Nix's voice from behind them. "He'll prep the ship and bring it around in a few hours." He replied motioning to a docking bay a few yards away. "I'm going to let the others know where we're headed. Who knows how long we'll be gone for." Fry added glad for the excuse to get away from the ocean for a while.

 

Bianca and Ulrich entered the hospital and one of the nurses smiled at them. They had seen enough of them to know who they were by now. Upon entering Tanners room they were amazed by her condition. She was actually awake and sitting up this time. "Good news my friends. Tanner is quite improved since yesterday," Imam said happily. "She is breathing on her own and conscious. Although she cannot speak she is remarkably better." He beamed and Bianca gave him an odd look. "What happened to her, since yesterday?" She asked completely surprised by her condition. He pressed his hands together in prayer. "Allah has bestowed us with a miracle. I told you the power of prayer was strong." He added with a grin. Ulrich felt like moaning out loud. She was awake and conscious now. And with the siblings close to arriving this was not good news. He was hopeful if they had found Tanner in such a state they would consider her too far gone to bother with and leave it at that.

He was completely against trading her over now. But it was too late. They would have to leave the planet within a day or two to escape them. And even if he backed out now the siblings would look for him on earth and if they didn't find him they'd go after his family. That was not an option, and he would have to hand her over in the end. He looked over at Bianca guiltily. Ever since he became closer to her he felt more protective of her. Even if she always pined away for Nix, he still cared for her and wanted her to be happy. "Well now that Tanner is better, can we bring you some decent food for once?" Bianca asked Imam. He nodded in agreement and she felt relieved. He had cared more for Tanner the last few days than he did for himself and it was beginning to show. She smiled at him as they left to get him some food.

Bianca had been going to the same shop for the past three days and today was no exception. Only today the shopkeeper, Edom, who was aquatican, was acting very oddly. He was giving away food and supplies to anyone who wanted them. Bianca smiled at him and he stopped suddenly when he saw her. His face was whiter than usual and he grabbed her arm roughly pulling her into the backroom. Ulrich was right beside her. "Listen to what I have to say before you speak. I want you to leave this planet right now, don't pack anything just leave. I like you. I want to help you. So do as I say and leave within the hour." He whispered. Bianca looked at Ulrich and back at Edom. "Why? What's wrong?" She asked almost afraid of what he would say. "I can't speak of it, but if you do not leave, then get underwater or get to the highest mountain you can find. You have less than an hour now. I must go, take care my friends." He added as he raced out the back door. Bianca hollered after him but he didn't even look back.

Ulrich already had a hold of her arm and was out the back door. They made it back to the hospital in record time and told Imam what the shopkeeper had said. Imam agreed they should listen to the man, just to be safe. They got Tanner out of bed, but she was too weak to walk so Imam carried her. They made it back to the cabins and had less than half an hour to get to safety. "Where's the others?" Ulrich asked Sawyer. "They didn't find the girl at the Pleasure Palace, so they were heading for the mountains to talk to a guy about finding her." He replied looking at them oddly. "What's wrong?" He asked as Imam and Bianca loaded up food and supplies. "We have to leave, now!" Ulrich replied as he rushed out the door. The others were close behind as they waved down transportation and instructed the driver to take them to the mountains. They only hoped they got there in time and survived whatever fate was awaiting them.

The underwater transport ship came into view and Fry was relieved by how sturdy it looked. It was far newer than she had imagined it would be. Once they were on board she felt for sure she would lose her lunch. Not two minutes after taking off she did just that. Riddick helped her into the bathroom on board and soon she was feeling a bit better. A sharp jolt to the ship forced her to try and balance herself. She made it out of the bathroom just in time to see something coming toward them in the window. "What is that?" She asked just as a huge wave of water hit the craft. It threw the ship upside down and they were tossed about inside like rag dolls. Fry hit her head on a metal bulkhead and was knocked instantly unconscious. Riddick tried to get to her, but the ship was rocking and groaning at the pressure it was under. By the time the wave passed and the pilot returned the ship back upright they were taking on a lot of water. Fry was bleeding a great deal from the side of her head and Riddick applied pressure to the wound. The ship had no means of first aid and he knew she needed mending.

"What the hell was that?!" Nix barked as he looked at the panel. "It was a wave of some kind, never seen anything like it. Hate to see what happened to those on the main land." The pilot replied unsure what exactly was going on. A jolt of terror passed through Nix has he imagined Bianca and the others drowning. "We've sustained a lot of damage, I'm not going to make it to the main underwater city. I'll dock with an abandoned part that's closer." He added as he set the coordinates. Nix had a bad feeling in his heart about Bianca, But he had to know one way or the other if she was still alive.

The part of the underwater city they docked with was very run-down and unstable looking. The abandoned docking port was leaking as they exited the ship. Riddick carried the now limp Fry down the corridor. Single dull bulbs lit the way in the near darkness, although Riddick could see exactly where he was going. The pilot joined them in finding the rebels still living and hiding out in the run-down part of the city. It didn't take them long to run into a patrol group. The pilot showed himself and explained the situation to them. Once they noticed Fry they allowed them to continue on. "Don't look like cannibals to me." Nix mumbled to Riddick who nodded in agreement.

Once they turned a corner it was like they were in a different part of the city. It was more improved compared to the rest of the city they'd seen so far. "Please follow me to our Doctor" A young woman with gills replied with concern upon seeing Fry. He nodded and she motioned for him to follow her. It didn't take them long to arrive at their destination and an older woman met them at the door. "What happened here?" She asked as she tilted Fry's head to get a better look at her wound. "Our transport was hit by a wave and she was thrown around.." "Hitting her head in the process?" She finished for him with a kind smile. "You're not to worry, I've healed much worse. I'm sure she'll be fine." She replied as she motioned for him to bring her into the room.

He laid her carefully on one of the free beds and that's when he noticed just how pale she had become. A fear crept along his spine and bad memories forced themselves briefly back into his mind. "I said I'd die for them, not you!" Her voice repeated in his head. He realized that wasn't the truth at all, she was totally willing to die for him just as he was for her. He was knocked back into the present when Nix nudged his arm. The female doctor pushed the two of them out of the room. "You two wait out in the hall, I'll take care of her and let you know how she's doing when I can." She replied seriously, getting things prepped to repair Fry's head wound. Riddick took one long look back at Fry and felt that somehow things would never be the same after today.

Nix noticed the look on Riddick's face and recognized it all too well. "I'm sure Fry will be fine, they seem to know what they're doing." He replied looking up at his worried friend. "I know, it's just a small head wound." He added more sharply than he meant to. He realized Nix was worried about Bianca, but had no idea how to console him. All he could think about was Fry dying. He'd been in situations before where he thought she was dead, but things were different now. "When I think of her hurt like that it feels no different than when I'm hurt." He stated confused why he felt the way he did. "That, my friend, is love." Nix replied as he let out a deep breath. Riddick shot an unbelievable look at him. "Love?! I don't love anyone." He denied. "Do you feel like you can't breathe at the thought of losing her? Or that you can't go on, nor would you want to go on without her?" Nix asked sadly. Riddick nodded after a long pause. "Guess I do." He replied softly.

"That's love Riddick. Sorry to say it, but you love her and from what I can tell, the Audrey girl as well. Or you wouldn't be trapsing all over the galaxy looking for her." He huffed, slightly upset at Riddick's refusal to accept it. "Love can be your maker or you undoing. You know my experiences with it. You can't ignore it or avoid it, it grabs you and sucks you under with it!" He yelled jumping up from his seat and pacing in front of him. "You either live with it or you don't and sometimes the decisions not up to you." He added as he calmed down. Taking out his frustrations on Riddick was not something he wanted to do. A loud murmur in the room down the hall caught their attention and they both went to find out what it was.

"It's been confirmed. The Aquaticans have judged and sentenced the human's. A massive tital wave has destroyed most of the land, covering it with enough water to drown all those above." A young rebel Aquatican replied sadly as he addressed a large crowd. Soft sobbing could be heard as those who had friends and loved ones mourned their deaths. "They never had a chance to save themselves!" Someone shouted from the crowd. "That's not all, we've just received word that this part of the city is to be destroyed next. They want to be rid of all human elements on their planet. I guess that includes half human's as well." "What do we do now Cain!?" Came another voice. The panic in her voice was obvious. "We've done all we can here, now we leave. We find the transport ships hidden in the mountains and we leave. Let these Aquaticans have their precious planet, we'll live somewhere else!" He shouted getting the crowd riled up. Riddick was impressed with the boys leadership abilities, his youthful features, blond hair and rugged tan skin told him he couldn't be more than seventeen years old. It's amazing what a young person can do when put in a tough situation.

"Do you think she's dead?" Nix asked somberly as they headed back down the hall. Riddick looked over at him and knew he spoke of Bianca. "Most likely." He replied softly. He knew Nix well enough to know he really cared for her. She was the first woman he had allowed to get to him since his wife was killed. He remembered that day all too well. They were in the cell together when Nix got word that his wife had been killed by one of his enemies. A man he had been chasing for years, who finally got tired of being chased. Nix had bottomed out and Riddick thought for sure he would kill himself in the night. Instead, he kept visions of killing the man who had taken his wife's life, continually in his mind. Conserving his energy and building his strength he prepared for revenge. Riddick had no doubt he'd avenge his wife's death. In the end Nix vowed never to love another. But Bianca put an end to that vow. "You know I'll have to find out for myself." He added without looking up at him. "I know. I'd do the same in your place," Riddick said. "Guess I'll be heading up top with the rebels then." Nix replied knowing his friend would stay behind to find the girl. Riddick nodded in understanding.

A hand on his arm brought Riddick's attention to the owner. It was the doctor. "All finished. It was a small wound and there were no internal injuries so there's no need to be worried. She and the baby are both fine." She patted his arm comfortingly. He looked at her as if she'd sprouted wings. "What baby?" He whispered as the words came from his mouth on their own. "You didn't know?" She asked as if unsure of his confusion. "Well, she's pregnant. I just assumed it was yours." He stood there staring at her not saying a word as waves of unexplored feelings came to the surface. "It is mine." He mumbled in shock. He turned away from her and ran a hand over his face. A baby. Fry was going to have their baby. A life was going to be his responsibility for as long as he was alive. There were no words he could use to describe how he was feeling at the news. His mind screamed out a million questions and he had no answers. "Did you discuss this with her?" He asked without looking at the Doctor. "I didn't have a chance, she's still unconscious." She replied looking down at her webbed hands. "Look, she probably didn't even know herself. She's only a few weeks along. I was wrong to assume she knew and had told you already." He finally looked up at her and knew she was telling the truth. "Don't mention it to her, I'll do it." He replied softly. "Not a problem, considering I'm leaving. I suggest you three do the same. The aquatican's will kill you just like they did to those on the surface," She said as her assistant met her in the hall. She nodded a farewell as she headed down the hall where others were going as well.

Nix approached him and patted him on the back. "I know how shocked you must be right now, but you have to push your thoughts aside. We have to get out of here or your kid will not even have a chance to be born." He said sharply. He had to get Riddick's mind back on the task at hand or they'd never survive. "You get Fry and I'll see if I can find us some passage." He added. Riddick nodded silently and Nix followed the others down the hall. He would send Fry up top with Nix and stay behind to search for Audrey. He knew Fry would object, but she had to escape if their baby were to have a chance.

 

Riddick had been sitting by Fry's bed watching her sleep when she began to come around. He had barely half an hour to allow the news to sink in, not nearly enough. She sat up quickly and her hands immediately went to her head. "Ow!" She stated unsure of what had happened. "You hit your head." He explained as he looked at her silently. She winced as she looked at him. He seemed odd somehow and she wondered if things were as they should be. "Is something wrong?" She asked attempting to guess what was up before he told her. "The others are dead." He added softly. At first she thought he was telling her he had killed the others and now she was next. A terrified feeling that he had been pretending to be redeemed all the while they were together raced through her body and she nearly panicked. Maybe all along he was really the killer Johns said he was.

He realized by the look on her face that she was thinking he was the killer and that's when he snapped out of his daze. "I didn't kill them Carolyn." He scolded her. "The Aquatican's did. They sent a tital wave over the land. The same wave that hit us as we were going down." A new onset of pale set over her face and he instantly wished for the color back. "Bianca!" She yelled as she jumped from the bed. Before he could stop her she ran straight into Nix. "Get out of my way! I have to find Bianca and the others!" She yelled attempting to push him aside. He grabbed a hold of her and lightly squeezed to keep her still. "Hang on there! That's what we're doing." He added gently. "I found a transport. It's with that kid we saw earlier. His name's Cain." He replied as he released Fry. She seemed a bit confused and Riddick was concerned for her. "Cain? Who's he? Where the hell am I?" She asked as if she just realized where she was. "I'll tell you on the way. Right now we have to leave." Riddick replied as he helped her to move down the hall.

Riddick kept his eyes on Fry the entire time they were rushing down the hall. He had wanted to tell her about the baby, but wasn't sure how to say it. How would she react? Would she be happy? He tried to imagine her all round with their baby and found it hard to believe. A part of him still didn't think it was true. A voice continually told him the doctor might have made a mistake. Therefore he wouldn't tell her until it could be verified for sure. "Cain told us to meet him at his quarters, it's just down the hall a little further." Nix replied as they hastened their pace. The place was nearly totally deserted and they would be trapped there if the kid left them. They rounded a corner and found Cain waiting for them. "Good, you made it. We were just about to leave." He replied with relief as he stepped back inside his quarters. "I'm not going. Fry, you and Nix head up top without me." Riddick said firmly. Fry grabbed his arms. "What?! Forget it Richard, I'm staying with you this time and I won't accept no for an answer!" She snapped at him as they entered the room. "I'll find Audrey, you have to get to safety!" He snapped back as he pushed her toward Nix. "Wait! I'm here!" Came a soft excited voice from behind them. Both Riddick and Fry whipped around to find Audrey standing there. "Audrey!" they both yelled in surprise as they rushed to her side. She had dark circles under her eyes and appeared very weak. Her skin was clammy and pale in color. She did not look like the same girl they'd last seen.

Riddick took two steps toward Cain and shoved him up against the wall. "What the fuck did you do to her!?" He barked. Cain pressed his hands up against Riddicks chest and attempted to shove him away. Their eyes locked in a power struggle and Riddick was surprised to see no fear in his eyes. "Riddick stop!" Audrey screamed as she attempted to pull him off Cain. "He didn't hurt me, Tron did!" She snapped as a coughing fit came over her. Riddick immediately released Cain as his concern over Audrey kicked in. He held her in his arms as her fit passed. Fry rubbed her back as she looked at Riddick with concern. "I'm so sorry for how I treated you." Audrey looked up at him with tears in her eyes. He ran a hand over her hair smoothing it out of her face. "That's in the past, forget about it." He replied gently. "I've missed you guys so much.." She said as more tears threatened to fall. "We've missed you too." Fry replied with a smile. "I'm so glad we're together again. And that you will be with me when I die." She added looking at Cain sadly. "We have no time for this!" Cain snapped as he gathered up his gear refusing to look at her. "We have to leave or we're all dead!" He growled as he headed for the door. "He's worried about me." Audrey added as Fry and Riddick exchanged weary glances. "I'll explain everything, but now we have to leave." She replied weakly.

Once again they found themselves rushing down the corridor. Only this time Riddick's attention was on Audrey. She looked two steps from deaths door. Whatever Tron did to her it didn't look good. Cain carried her when she could no longer keep up. His attention toward her didn't get passed Riddick. He knew Cain cared for her. And that made him an instant ally in his book.

They made it to his transport and everyone got on board. Cain jumped into the pilot seat and Riddick sat next to him. He noticed his webbed hands and the gills on his neck and looked toward Fry who was busy tending to Audrey. "So your Riddick," Cain said looking him over cautiously just as Riddick had him. "Audrey said you'd be coming for her." He added as they took off. Riddick nodded in agreement. "Guess she knows me well." He answered. "How did she end up living in your quarters?" Riddick asked him firmly. Cain looked over at him with his glossy eyes. "It's not what you might be thinking." He replied with disgust. "One of my best comrades lost his girl to the slave traders. Audrey just happened to be one of the girls chained up with her when we rescued her. I met her after the rescue and took her in. She began showing signs of her disease a week ago and I'm afraid it's getting worse." He replied softly. "They say there's no cure, but I won't let her just die." He added more strongly.

"What is it?" Fry asked coming up behind them. "It's Rezulian C." He replied angrily. "The same thing that killed her mother on Saturn." Fry snapped knowing Tron had probably given it to her before she left. "But there's no cure." She added as she looked thoughtfully toward Audrey. "We have one more chance to save her." Cain said almost to himself. "When I was in an Aquatican prison, my cell mate always used to tell me of a machine hidden in the mountains that could cure people. He said that the aliens that lived on the planet, before the Aquaticans showed up, used it and left it behind when they moved on. He even had a map. I took it from his body when he was killed. I had no reason to chase down this fantasy of some crazy man, until now." He replied looking back at Audrey, who gave him a weak smile. It didn't take a super genius to see that Cain had serious feelings for Audrey. "We're almost to the surface." Cain replied as he put on a pair of dark goggles at almost the same exact time Riddick put his on. Riddick slowly looked at him questioningly. "I'm only half human, I have Aquatican eyes but I wasn't born with the protective eye film the other Aquatican's have. I can't see that well in the daylight. But I'm fine underwater..or in the dark." He added. Fry looked from Riddick to Cain. "The two of you could be twins." She smirked. Riddick shot her a dirty look and she sat back taking Audrey's hand in hers and leaned over to her. "He's cute. Sort of reminds me of Riddick, wouldn't you say?" She teased her. Audrey managed a smile in reply and Fry knew she felt the same way.

A sudden jolt to the ship brought back instant fear to Fry and the five of them looked out the window for any signs of another tital wave. But instead of a wave of water, the ship encountered dozens of dead bodies as some of them thudded against the window. A shock passed through the group as Audrey screamed. Fry was breathing hard as she pulled Audrey's face against her chest so she didn't have to see them. Nix sat down hard as he looked away. He couldn't bear to think one of those bodies was probably Bianca. Tears began to trickle down Cain's face at the sight of all the dead. Some of those bodies out there were good human friends he'd grown to love. He was not prepared to see such a horrific scene and it was hard for him to keep the ship on course. Riddick helped the boy keep the ship moving through the bodies. He couldn't blame the kid for reacting like he was, the sight was horrifying even to him. It was a mass execution of the worst kind and no machine was going to bring them back to life. There was nothing they could do to help them. As cold as it may seem, all he was concerned for now were those alive inside the ship, namely Audrey. They would search for that machine in the mountains, and if it was there, make it work one more time.

 

Bianca looked back over the water and felt a chill run up her spine. If not for the warning from the store owner they would have surely perished with the others on land. They had made it to the mountain just as Sawyer noticed the massive wave that was building up. Together, with the driver, they ran up into the mountains unsure if they would make it or not. No one looked back as together they pushed themselves to make it to the top before the wave got to them. Never had any of them seen such a sight. The water nearly covered all the land and they wondered how the Aquatican's could so easily control it like that. They all helped to get Tanner up the mountain as the air began to thin. Imam had helped her most of the way, but it took all of them to keep things moving quickly.

Now, just hours after the wave washed over the land, they were still trying to regain their bearings. There were others with them, mostly people who had been living in the mountains or also had seen the wave coming. Those people were able to make a fire and attend to those injured in the climb. Bianca tried her hardest not to think of Nix, Fry and Riddick as being dead. They had searched through the survivors and were disappointed to find them not there. One of the survivors had found a cave and everyone was encouraged to take shelter to avoid being detected by the Aquatican's. There was no telling if they would come after them or not.

Once inside they found separate areas away from the others and made sure Tanner was comfortable. Ulrich tried to comfort Bianca but gave up when he found she couldn't sit still. She had to keep busy or she'd go nuts with worry. She took over the task of searching for food in what little forest was on the mountain and Ulrich refused to allow her to go alone. Sawyer followed them in search of wood for the fires they would need when the cold night air blew in on them. It would be far colder than before now that the water was all around them.

They weren't gone longer than half an hour or so and were surprised, upon their return, to find Tanner even better than before. She was now able to talk. Even her movements seemed more agile. She was improving. Imam suggested it was the will to live that made her get better faster. But even though she could now speak, she was only able to profess how much pain she was in. The same thing that Bianca and Fry had gone through. "I know it hurts Tanner. Just try to hang in there," Bianca said as she tried to comfort her. She motioned for the others to meet her away from ear shot of Tanner. "You all know she's suffering what Fry and I had. Maybe even worse due to how long the alien was inside her. I don't mean to be blunt...But someone will have to have sex with her." She added as she crossed her arms. Ulrich shook his head implying he was out. Sawyer looked like he was going to pass out and Imam looked very nervous. "Well?" Bianca asked waiting for someone to speak up.

Imam turned and walked a few paces before returning to them. "I must make a confession." He replied quietly. All eyes looked at him waiting to hear what he had to say. "I've been making love to her ever since we arrived here," he said, the shame apparent in his voice. "What?!" Bianca replied loudly then lowered her voice. "Was she conscious?" She asked him, not seeing him the type to do something like that. "I did not do anything with her until she was awake. It was through my prayers that I believe she began to come around. I believe it is love that makes a person well. It was my love of her that helped her to get better. I only began to make love to her when I felt it would help ease her suffering. She was in so much pain, just as she is now." He replied looking over at her, worry firmly etched on his face. "How many times have you done it?" Ulrich asked. "Only three, I'm guessing she will need more time due to how long the alien was inside her." He looked firmly at Bianca as if he was sure she was judging him. She knew what he was thinking. "Don't worry Imam, I'd probably do the same thing if the tables were turned and it was..." She stopped mid sentence as she realized she was about to say Nix right in front of Ulrich. She glanced at him for a split second and quickly turned the subject back to Tanner.

"Well, you better keep doing what you're doing. She seems to be in far worse pain than we were." She replied as she brushed past Imam and approached Tanner. Tanner actually forced a smile for them. "Tanner, I know you and Imam have been having sex. Do you know that is because he wants to help you?" She asked her, worried Tanner was feeling molested. Tanner shook her head firmly. "I..wwant hhim to do iit." She stuttered. "Ttoo much ppain." She gasped out as she held her stomach. Imam knelt beside her and began to rub her shoulder. Bianca patted him on the back. "We'll give you some privacy." She replied motioning for the others to leave with her. Bianca knew all too well the pain that she was feeling and that horrible sensation of wanting to do anything to make it stop. That wasn't a thought she wanted to have at the moment. She couldn't bear to think of Nix right then. He had made love to her and caused her pain to go away, only to be replaced with another pain. One that would last a lot longer. Ulrich looked down at Tanner and then over to Bianca. He had to tell them about the siblings who were on their way at that very moment. Things had gone too far for him to not warn them. He never meant to care about anyone, but now he did. He placed a firm hand on Bianca's shoulder as he led her outside.

Bianca rubbed her arms as the cool air whipped around them. Ulrich held her close to his body to keep her warm. "You know, I realize you care about Nix. You don't have to hide it from me," he said to her as they looked out at the water. Bianca gave him a small smile. "None of that matters now." She mumbled sadly. "We have to think of here and now, and that means our survival. How long do you think it's going to take for the Aquatican's to find us and kill us?" She asked putting on her tough face in an attempt to avoid the subject of Nix. Ulrich removed his hands from her and walked a few feet away. "I'm not sure. But that's not all we have to worry about. There's something I need to tell you." He replied gravely. She gave him a leery glance. She wasn't sure she wanted to hear what he had to say. Based by the look on his face, it wasn't good news and bad news was not something they needed at the moment. "What is it?" She whispered. He frowned and swallowed hard. "I'm not the person you think I am." He started. Her lungs filled with air as she waited to hear the worst. "I didn't meet you and the others on accident like it appeared." He made his way back to stand in front of her.

Bianca swallowed hard as she saw the guilt in his eyes. "You see, I was sent to find Tanner. She killed a man in a fight to the death and that man's family wants to avenge him." Bianca stared at him so firmly he was afraid to stop talking. "I found her about the same time you did, and I followed you to the alien's ship. Once I met Tanner in the fight it was easy to join your little crew. None of you could know what I had planned. It was my goal to find her and hand her over to the siblings." He paused for one moment to see her reaction and found her fist in his face. The impact was fast and blunt and he was surprised to find himself on the ground. "You Bastard!" She screamed at him. He felt the blood pouring from his nose as he sat up. "How long?" She bit out at him. "How long for what?" He asked unsure of what she meant. "How long until they show up here to pick up Tanner?" She snapped at him. "Anytime now." He replied wiping the blood away as he stood up. "That's just great! That's wonderful! Like we need this now!" She yelled smacking him on the chest angrily. He grabbed her hands and kept her from hitting him anymore. "I don't know why you are so upset. This doesn't even affect you or the others at all." He explained. She looked at him in shock. "What the hell do you mean it doesn't affect us?! Imam is in love with her! And she might be with him. Since when do you think I'd just stand by and allow someone to hand over another human being like a piece of property?!" She added.

He stopped and looked at her as if just remembering her past. "Bianca, I didn't mean it like that at all. I meant that I'd take care of the problem when it came time to. I won't allow them to take her. My god, it's been eating me up inside the entire time I've know Tanner. Before the alien took her over anyway." He mumbled the latter. She crossed her arms and looked at him unsure of his trustworthiness. "How can I believe that? If you'd of told me sooner, I might believe your sincerity. Now I don't know. I don't know anything anymore and I hate it! I hate how I feel!" She snapped as she entered the cave. Ulrich followed behind her and prepared for her to tell the others.

He stood a few feet from her as she explained the situation to them. "It appears as if we have more trouble than we thought. Come to find out Ulrich didn't run into us on accident. He was sent to track down Tanner and hand her over to the family of the man she killed. They will be here anytime now." She replied keeping her eyes from Ulrich. Tanner jumped to her feet in terror and Imam kept her from running away. "There is no place to go Orion." He whispered soothingly to her. Tears came to her eyes and Ulrich wanted to shoot himself for the misery he'd caused. Imam looked at Ulrich firmly. "I appreciate you telling us. We are now prepared to defend ourselves." He helped Tanner sit back down again as he was already thinking of ways to defeat them when they arrived. "Why the hell aren't you pissed off Imam? He tricked us, lied to us. And you don't seem at all upset by that." Bianca waved her arm angrily toward Ulrich as she spoke. "Mr.Ulrich did what he thought he had to do.We all must decide our own paths and he has come forward in order to help us. Now we must use that to our advantage and not waste our energy with anger or regret. Look into your soul and decide who it is you are angry for. Is it really Orion or perhaps yourself?" He replied with reason. Bianca's mouth fell open in shock at how calm he was over the whole situation they found themselves in. She was forced to really look at the situation and decide if it was indeed Tanner, a woman she hardly knew, who she was defending or her own hurt feelings. She looked at them quietly for a moment before turning and walking off. Ulrich was just as surprised as Bianca over what had, or hadn't happened, from his confession. He quickly turned and went after her. This was the last secret he had between them and now that it was out he wanted to smooth things over as soon as possible.

 

Riddick and Nix climbed from the ship first and took a quick sweep of the mountain top for any signs of danger. Fry was close behind them. Never before was she so glad to find herself on firm ground. "God, if I never see an ocean again, it will be too soon. Maybe now the seasickness I've been having will go away." She mused. Riddick snorted in response and she glanced at him curiously as he and Cain helped Audrey out next. Other ships were already at the surface as even more began to show up. Cain pointed out the caves and together they headed toward them. "Most likely the survivors would go to the caves to find shelter. If your friends survived they'd be there." He added as he put his arm around Audrey to support her as they climbed. The closer they got to the caves the more anxious Nix began to feel. What if Bianca wasn't there? What if the others survived but not her? How would he be able to live with losing another woman he loved? He watched Fry as she made her way ahead of him. Soon she would be having Riddick's baby and that caused a pang of regret inside. Why had he thrown so much away? Fear of a repeat show of what happened to his wife, he guessed. If he got a second chance with Bianca, he wouldn't make the same mistakes twice.

 

Bianca ran to the edge of the cave entrance and stopped when she noticed movement heading toward them. She couldn't tell who, or what, it was from where she stood and longed to shout a warning to the others. She yelped in fear as someone grabbed her shoulder. She turned quickly to find Ulrich. "Damnit Ulrich, you scared the crap out of me!" She whispered loudly. "Someone's coming." She added quickly and they both looked out toward the insuing darkness. It only took a moment longer for her to notice it was Fry and the others and she bolted from the cave excited to greet them. "Carolyn!" She cried out as she wrapped her arms around her tightly. Fry returned the hug as soon as she realized it was really her. "I was so worried you were dead!" Fry shouted with relief. It only took a few seconds for Nix to pull her out of Fry's arms and into his. He squeezed her so tightly she could hardly gasp out a sentence. She was immediately taken in by his scent and the feel of his strong body against hers. Was she dreaming? Was he really alive and hugging her to death? She asked herself, as if not sure it was really happening. When Riddick pointed out the fact that Nix was suffocating her he released her. Nix wanted so badly to kiss her, to feel her heart beating with life. But she gave him a look that told him to back off. He released her and stepped away. He didn't want to scare her off.

She immediately noticed Audrey and ran to give her a hug. "They found you! Oh Girl, it's so good to see you again!" She cried as she hugged her weak little frame. She knew things weren't right, but didn't ask anything. She noticed Cain and gave him a curious look as she nudged Riddick in the arm in greeting. "That's Cain, he helped us escape." Riddick explained. She gave him a smile and nodded. "Good to meet you Cain, I'm Bianca." She stuck out her hand and he shook it. The webbed hands and gills on his neck didn't go unnoticed by her. He was apparently a different sort of Aquatican. One who didn't want the humans dead. It wasn't until she had greeted everyone that she recalled Ulrich. Fry was hugging him warmly and he looked more nervous than ever. "This is Audrey," Fry said to him and he shook Audrey's small hand. "Nice to finally meet you." He replied with a smile. Bianca rolled her eyes and motioned to them to follow her. "Come inside, the others will be so glad to see all of you. You won't believe the difference in Tanner." She replied putting an arm around Fry's waist as they made their way to the cave. Cain stopped them before they could continue on. "I'm going to see to the transport of the others. That'll give Audrey a chance to rest up. I'll meet you back here as soon as I can." He replied before gently kissing Audrey on the cheek. "I'll be back before you notice I've left." He whispered to her with a smile. Riddick nodded in understanding as Cain left to help his people.

Nix glanced at Ulrich and clearly noticed how nervous he was acting. Something obviously had happened while they were separated and he intended to get fully informed about anything new that had come up. They approached the others in the cave and Audrey ran to Imam excited to see him. "Imam!" She yelled as she hugged him. "Audrey, it is truly wonderful to find you among us again!" he said with a smile. He was surprised to see the condition she was in. She did not look like the same girl he once knew. "I'm dying Imam." She replied as if answering his mind. Imam was startled by her admission and had to swallow to keep his voice from cracking with emotion. Audrey didn't deserve such a fate at such a young age, especially not after all she had been through. Imam gave her a comforting smile as he turned to Fry and Riddick. "Once again we are reunited my friends. Allah has blessed us all." He shook Riddick's hand and hugged Fry in greeting. "This is Audrey," Fry said to the others. "The others here are Tanner and Sawyer." She introduced to Audrey. Fry was surprised to see Sawyer nod in greeting at them. He looked relieved to be a group again.

"Not all of us are blessed." Bianca huffed as she glanced at Tanner. "Why? What's up?" Fry asked as she looked from Bianca to Tanner. "Apparently, Mr. Ulrich has been sent to track down Tanner and now those who hired him are close at hand." Imam quickly interrupted Bianca before she could explain in a less peaceful manner. "Run that past me again?" Nix asked ominously, wanting a better explanation. Ulrich stepped forward. "I was sent by the family of the man she killed to track her down and turn her over to them. They'll be here at any time. I was just doing my job, but that was before I really knew any of you." He replied bravely, knowing he'd probably get the crap kicked out of him. Nix grabbed him by the shirt just as Tanner jumped between the two of them. "No! No one fights because of me!" She snapped as she pointed angrily at herself. "I haven't been the nicest person in the universe, I deserve what I get. All that time I had that alien inside me I could see and hear all the things I was doing but couldn't stop them. I've hurt nearly all of you here, you can't let this become your problem." She added holding her chest in pain. Imam helped her to sit down before she fell down.

"Sorry, but I won't do that." Sawyer replied kneeling next to her. "I knew you before the alien took over, you're a good person. I'm waiting this out with you," he said firmly. Nearly everyone gasped at his response. It wasn't like him to get involved with the others but now he was standing up for one of them. "Why the change of heart?" Fry asked him. "I've been running for years, running from something so horrible there are no words to describe it. I'm a terrible person, not Tanner. She shouldn't suffer for defending herself." He added firmly. "I agree, we don't leave one of our own behind." Nix snapped as he walked past Bianca. She watched him thoughtfully as he passed. There was something definitely different about him, but she couldn't quite tell what it was. "There's no reason to worry, as soon as Cain gets us passage we'll be gone before those people even show up," Audrey said in her cheerful voice. Riddick frowned at her. "We don't have the passage yet kid. Besides your forgetting we still need to heal you first. That means some of us stay behind." He reminded her. "How could I forget." She shrugged as she sat down next to Tanner. "So you're that kid they've been looking for?" Tanner asked weakly. Audrey nodded proudly. "yeah, I'm that kid." She smiled. "You got spunk. I can tell we're gonna be friends already." Tanner added nudging her. Audrey looked around at all of them together like they were. Even as bad as her health was, never in her life had she felt more safe and protected. Somehow Fry and Riddick had built a family in their search for her and she wanted it to last forever.

Audrey finally got a moment to rest and Fry felt compelled to join her in a nap. She was so tired from all that had happened that day and longed for a nice warm bed in a comfortable home to rest in. But for now, those she loved most in the world were around her and she found it easy to sleep. Riddick sat next to her as she got comfortable and it was obvious to her he had something on his mind. He seemed different to her somehow. It was as if he wanted to say something but the words never came. "I'll wake you as soon as Cain gets back." He added before letting them get some much needed rest.

 

By the time Fry woke up she was completely alone and found the eerie silence unsettling. She threw the blanket off and headed for the cave entrance. Many people were gathered there and she saw Audrey and the others and made her way to their side. "Why didn't you guys wake me?" She asked slightly annoyed by being left out. "Riddick told us to let you sleep as long as possible." Imam replied. Fry frowned at his words. "Where is Richard anyway?" She asked him as she looked out at the small crowd that had gathered outside. "Cain came back and Riddick and Nix left with him. They think they've found the entrance to the machine." Audrey replied quietly. Fry wrapped an arm around her shoulders. "How are you feeling?" She asked. Audrey shrugged. "Pretty much the same. But I'd feel better if Cain and Riddick were back." "So would I kiddo, so would I." Fry added under her breath. Why Riddick had told them to allow her to continue to sleep was beyond her. It was just a quick nap, it wasn't like life or death depended on it or anything. But as long as they were close to finding the machine that's all that mattered. "Why is everyone out here exposed like this anyway?" Fry asked as if realizing the people for the first time. "Cain instructed the ships to make room for the others, they are waiting for passage off this death planet." Bianca replied crossing her arms. "What about us?" Fry asked worried about the siblings coming. "Cain instructed them to return later for us...Ah..here they come now." Imam added waving his hand to get their attention.

Riddick noticed Fry right away. "You're awake." He stated as he dropped a coil of rope. "No thanks to you." She smirked. "Why didn't you wake me?" She asked him as Audrey hugged Cain warmly. "I just thought you could use some extra rest." He replied without looking at her. His voice seemed softer somehow and she felt he was preparing her for some godawful news. "Richard, you'd tell me if something bad was going on, wouldn't you?" She asked him in her demanding voice. He stopped what he was doing and looked at her through his dark goggles. "You have my word." He replied firmly. That was enough for her to feel more relaxed. When in the past had Riddick not told her the bad news? Not once that she could recall.

Once it was decided that they would all stay together on the planet, the rest of the skiff transports were on their way. One was going to come back for them as soon as the passengers were safely tranferred, but that was hours away. The map showed exactly where the machine was located, but there was only one problem, it was now under several hundred feet of water. Cain's plan was to swim down to the entrance, find the machine and then find a dry way back to the surface. It was up to him to get Audrey to the machine and he was determined not to fail. He would find a way.

Audrey held her arms nervously as Cain prepared to dive into the water. She didn't know for sure what she was nervous about considering he could breath underwater just as well as she could breath on land. He was an experienced fighter and more than capable of defending himself if the need arose. "It shouldn't take me more than a few minutes to get to the entrance, from there I'll see if I can find a way inside." He explained to them. Riddick nodded as he handed him the coil of rope. "If you can't find a way inside, don't spend all your energy looking. Come back up and we'll find another way." He ordered. Cain nodded in agreement and turned toward Audrey. "Good luck." She whispered to him. "I won't let you down." He replied giving her a hug. Imam said a quick prayer as Cain effortlessly dove into the water without another word.

Not long after Cain left Audrey felt the need to lay down and rest some more as everyone settled in to wait. Nearly two hours had passed since he left and everyone was getting edgy. Fry ran her fingers lightly over Audrey's hair trying to sooth her as she rested. Riddick noticed the motherly reaction and suddenly he could so easily see their baby in her arms. It was as if the baby existed before they even met. Fate he figured. He jumped up off the floor and mumbled to the others that he would keep an eye out for Cain. Fry nodded to let him know she heard him. He hated himself for not telling her right then and there that she was pregnant. So what if everyone else heard him, what did it matter? They would all find out eventually anyway. Part of him wanted her to find out on her own and then tell him about it. But he couldn't in good conscience allow her to carry the burden of that. He had to find a moment tell her, she deserved to know about it in case she were to get into a situation and had to protect the unborn child. He found a place on the rocks outside the cave to wait for Cain and tried to muster up a plan of action to talk to Carolyn.

Tanner looked over at Sawyer and recalled what he had said earlier about being a terrible person and willed herself to talk. "Sawyer, what did you mean by what you said earlier about being a terrible person?" She asked before she lost the courage. For a split second she thought he was angry at her for asking. But in the next moment his face softened and he glanced over at Imam who was sitting next to her. Imam could tell he wanted his support and directed his attention toward him. "I've never told anyone what happened, I guess it's time people heard my story." He paused a moment as if reflecting on something. "I was twenty-five when I married my wife. She was as perfect and wonderful as they come. A few years later she gave birth to our son Benji. He grew so fast I hardly knew where the time went. He was as perfect as his mother..." He trailed off deep in thought. "A little over a year ago, not long after his tenth birthday, Benji came home sick from school. At first we thought nothing of it and soon his symptoms ended and life went on like normal. Then my wife had it as did I and that's when we went to the doctor. All of us were diagnosed with a level 5 Barrow virus." Everyone flinched at the words as he continued on. "We were of course locked up in a stasis center to die with all the other infected people. Of course you all know there was no way they could help us..my son took it the hardest knowing he would never have a life." He stopped at that point as tears slipped from his eyes.

Everyone looked toward Audrey and Fry urged him to continue unwilling to think of Audrey like that. "What happened next?" She asked him. He swallowed hard and forced himself to continue. "It was late one night and my son came to me in the final stages of the virus. He asked me to end his suffering before he lapsed into the last stages, which is memory loss, followed close behind would be several months of suffering while waiting for death to come. I told him I loved him and would not be able to do that, but it was a lie. I couldn't stand by and watch the two people I loved the most die like that. I suffocated them in their sleep that night." His words boomed over them in a silent fashion. Bianca wiped away the tears that now ran down her face. There were many times in her prison that she wished for death rather than face the constant threat of rape and abuse at the hands of her captives. Her perseverence to live had eventually led her toward a better life.

Fry kept her emotions in check for Audrey's sake. This was not the sort of thing she should be hearing at the moment and she regretted Tanner asking him about his past. "Didn't they find a cure for that Virus a year ago?" Tanner asked just as it sank in as to what happened. "Yes, about two months after my wife and son's deaths. I was given the cure and when my mother in law found out what I'd done she pressed murder charges against me. The judge was understanding and only gave me a sentence of mining ticklor gel for a year. I wish it would have been death. How can I go on after what I've done? I should have waited, if I had just waited..." He placed his hand over his eyes as he sobbed.

Bianca raced to his side and pulled him into her arms. Tanner and Imam followed her and also tried to give comfort. Nix, completely uncomfortable talking about dead wives, ducked out to find Riddick. Ulrich sat there in silence as Fry leaned down to see how Audrey was doing. To her surprise Audrey replied to Sawyer's story by sitting up and vomiting blood, lots of blood. Fry gasped as everyone scrambled to help her with Audrey.

Nix found Riddick leaning casually against a rock and they nodded in greeting. "Riddick, I was wondering what your thoughts were on what to do with Ulrich. He did double cross us, I think he should be left behind to fend for himself," Nix said gruffly, crossing his arms firmly. Riddick looked at him for a moment and smirked. "That the real reason why you want to get rid of him?" He smiled as he turned his attention back toward the water. "Yeah, what other reason would there be?" He asked annoyed by Riddicks attitude. "I don't know, maybe a certain person by the name of Bianca, who you've ignored talking to since we got back." Nix bristled at how close to the mark he was. "Like you can talk, and does Fry know she's pregnant yet?" He replied cornering him right back. Riddick shot him a glare and then looked away unwilling to discuss it. "We can use Ulrich to our advantage when the siblings show up. No sense making him an enemy when he can be part of our group." He replied forcing the subject back to Ulrich. "C'mon Riddick, you know damn well we can take those two when they show up. Hell, we've got them outnumbered already." He reasoned with him. "I agree, but we still aren't dumping Ulrich." Riddick replied as he turned his attention back to looking for Cain. Nix knew by his stance that the subject was closed and that angered him all the more, without Riddick it would be hard to get the others to leave Ulrich behind. "Riddick!" Ulrich's frantic voice came from behind them. "Speak of the devil," Nix mumbled as he approaced them. "Fry sent me, Audrey's taken a turn for the worse." He replied out of breath from looking for them. Riddick sprinted toward the cave with Nix and Ulrich close behind. He only hoped he wasn't too late.

Riddick was not prepared for the state Audrey was in after such a short time. She had lost a lot of blood and Fry was trying to keep her from choking on it as it oozed from her mouth. Everyone was gathered around her as she looked up at him desperately. "Richard!?" She cried out hoping he could help. "What happened?!" He asked as he took Audrey into his arms. "She just sat up and started vomiting blood. God Richard, way too much blood. What's causing this?" She asked frantically. "They must have eaten away at her stomach or intestines, I'm not sure." He replied wiping the blood away from her mouth. He gave Fry a grave hopeless look and she kept her tears in check. If Audrey died before Cain got back, she didn't want her last moments to be sad ones. Although as unconscious as she was from lack of blood, it probably didn't matter at that point.

 

Half an hour had passed since Audrey's attack and they had her resting as comfortably as possible. Luckily the bloody vomit had stopped and they hoped she would hang in there. Riddick asked Bianca to watch Audrey as he helped Fry up by her hands. She looked back at Audrey as the two of them made their way out of the cave, feeling a sharp pain in her gut at the sight of her pale, limp body. As soon as they were alone Fry broke down and Riddick held her. "She's not going to make it! God Damnit, after all she's been through and she's not going to make it!" She sobbed into Riddick's chest while smacking his back with her hands. He let her do what she needed in order to work it out. He knew where she was coming from. His heart hurt like never before at watching Audrey die. Her tough witted attitude and loving personality had helped him become the man he was today and now she was slowly dying before him and he couldn't do a damn thing about it.

After several moments passed Fry left Riddick's arms and leaned up against the mountain wall. Riddick looked at her unsure if he should tell her about the baby or not. Considering Audrey's condition he felt the urgent need to tell Fry now. He had wanted a way to confirm the news before he told her, but realized she had to know there was at least a chance. He braced himself with one muscled arm against the mountain wall and moved in close to her. "Carolyn, I know this isn't the best time, but there's something I've been meaning to tell you." He started. She gave him a stark look of fear. "Yeah?" She asked trying to keep the nervousness out of her voice. "I don't know exactly how to say this, so I'm just going to say it. While you were unconscious the doctor who was treating you told me you were..." His sentence remained hanging in midair as the wall behind Fry opened up and she tumbled backward into it falling onto her rear with a grunt.

Riddick reached for her but it was too late and she glared at him from the darkness. It was nearly pitch black, but he could clearly see Cain heading toward them in the darkness. Riddick grabbed Fry and pulled her up off the ground looking her over for any wounds that she might not be aware of. "I'm okay Richard." She replied grunting as she rubbed her rear in pain. "Are you sure?" He asked as he ran his hands over her arms to see if there was any damage. "I said I was okay Richard, it's my body, you'd think I'd know if something were going on." She replied annoyed by his sudden over protectiveness of her. "Whatever you say, you know what's best." He growled with equal annoyance as he let her go. He cursed inside as he realized how close he had come to telling her. Now it would have to wait until they got another moment to discuss it, right now Audrey was top priority. Cain gave them a sheepish look as he approached them. "Sorry about that, I had no idea she was leaning against one of the entrances." He apologized, fearing it was his fault they had snipped at each other. When Riddick didn't reply he pepped up. "I found it. I'm not sure what it is, but's it's definitely not from this planet." He replied breathlessly. "Let's get to it then. Audrey's much worse since you left, and I don't think we have much time," Riddick said gruffly. Cain gave Fry a worried glance before following Riddick to get the others.

Cain's expression was not surprising considering how bad Audrey now looked. He kneeled beside her and gently placed a finger at her neck to locate a pulse. For a moment there he was almost expecting to feel nothing, but she still had a weak one. He went to pick her up when a firm arm stopped him. He looked up at Riddick questioning why he stopped him. "You need to lead the way, I'll carry her." He replied firmly. Cain realized it would be better for Audrey if he concentrated on getting them to the machine. He nodded in response and headed for the door. When they all arrived at the door and one by one entered the tunnel, Nix tapped Ulrich firmly on the shoulder. "Just so you know, I wanted to leave you here. But no one agreed with me on that, why I don't know. But considering the circumstances I'm not going to make any waves, at least for now.." He left the latter of the sentence dangling ominously as he pushed Ulrich into the tunnel ahead of him. Bianca, who had seen the entire conversation, gave Nix a disgusted look before stepping inside to join Ulrich. Although he didn't show it, Ulrich rejoiced in the cool way he managed to stay in her graces while Nix was now in even more hot water. Nix however, didn't bother to hide his contempt toward the situation as he barked for everyone to get moving.

It was so dark inside the metal tunnel that flashlights had to be used by those who could not see in the dark. Cain and Riddick led the way as they quietly continued on. No one said much but Bianca felt Nix's eyes on her as she walked. They hadn't said one word to each other since they were reunited and Bianca was dying to get him alone for a few moments. He seemed glad to see her and that raised hope in her like never before. She was unsure about getting close to him again after what he did so she refused to speak to him. If he wanted her back, he'd have to work for it.

Ulrich walked beside her and was well aware of Nix at their backs. He could just feel his eyes boring into them. It didn't take a genius to realize Nix wasn't fighting on behalf of Tanner, Nix just wanted him out of the way, which was proof in itself that he still cared for Bianca. Ulrich had prepared himself to ask her to live with him on his new planet, but now that he lost the planet he no longer had that excuse to attract her with. Considering the way Nix greeted her he had a lot more against him now, if Nix wanted her back and she wanted him, it was all over.

Tanner felt much better but still had major guilt to deal with, they weren't trapped there or anything, but the sibs were still on their way and that put them in danger. She felt Imam's firm grasp of her hand and could tell he was the sort of man who could be depended on. All her life she had always managed to pick the worst men of the lot, and where did that lead her? To crime and eventually murder at her own hand. Now here was a man who loved her, for whatever reason, and she was surprised by how much she liked it. She always took care of herself but was glad to get a break for once. He had stayed by her side throughout the entire alien ordeal and she felt a deep caring for him, a caring that filled the black hole that alien had created. Dealing with the pain had taken it's toll on her emotionally and now that she was nearing the end of the worst of it, she was more grateful than ever to have Imam, the entire crew, there for her.

The rest of the journey down the dark metal hallway was quiet as everyone was just anxious to get there. It wasn't long before they finally came to the room with the machine. The door was already open and they all entered. "Lights?" Fry spoke into the darkness, unsure if they would come on or not. They Instantly popped on like normal as if they had been used everyday. Cain approached the machine, which was along the wall, and commanded it to turn on. A dull whining started up as the machine came to life. A tube like space about the size of a closet was nearby the machine and Bianca wondered what it was. "I think that's the medical diagnoses chamber," Cain said noticing her attention on it. "I tried to read how this thing operated before I came to get you and I've figured some of it out. You're supposed to stand it in and it will diagnose your problem and access that info to the machine here. "Will it work for Audrey?" She asked wondering how a machine could fix a problem like hers. "That's what we're here to find out," Riddick said as he placed Audrey gently into the tube.

A whirring sound let them know it was doing it's job. A lazer scanned her entire body, beeping and clicking as it paused here and there. The chamber grew dark again as the machine's voice began to read off her ailments. "Unknown organism invasion of entire bodily region..Broken radius bone in arm...puncture hole in left earlobe and right earlobe..." "Stop computer." Cain replied anxious to get started. The computer obeyed and Audrey was placed on the metal bed. The computer sensed her presence and began to explain the procedure. "Only Life forms needing medical assistance will be allowed inside the LRU(lifeform repair unit) area while it is in operation. No deceased life forms are permitted. Reviving of deceased life forms does not compute. Life form must lie still on metal bed, no unauthorized use of the LRU is permitted. Place Life form on table behind LRU scanning bay area marked in red before activating LRU." It finally paused and they proceeded to the table.

Riddick placed Audrey on the cold metal table and her body quivered for a moment. That sign of movement was both a blessing and a curse for them, since it could either be a sign of life or a sign of death. Riddick was just about to push the table into the machines parameters, which were clearly marked on the floor by red markings, when a lazer blast near his feet stopped him. He turned quickly to see what was going on, imagining some sort of booby trap, and was not that surprised to see the siblings and their crew standing at the entrance. They had at least twenty rough looking men and women with them. Nix shot him a knowing glance. Considering Riddick, Fry and Imam had gone up against literally thousands of dangerous aliens he wasn't too worried. All he cared about was getting Audrey into the machine. "Do you mind!" He barked angrily at them. The female of the two, dressed in very tight black leather, stepped forward. "Not at all, Just hand over Tanner and we'll be on our way." She replied with a snarl. Ulrich stepped forward at the same moment Imam did. He had no idea what Imam was planning on saying but he spoke up first. "Tanner's no longer the woman you knew. An alien has invaded her body and she is no longer there. You can't possibly punish an alien being for something Tanner did. Why would you want to? How can you possibly consider that revenge?" He replied calmly.

Bianca was impressed with his ability to remain cool under pressure, but concerned by how easily and convincingly he could lie. The brother then stepped forward placing a loving hand on his sisters shoulder. "If this is true then you won't mind if we do a scan on her then." He demanded. Ulrich was bargaining that the emissions of the alien that had occupied her body were still there, enough that it appeared as if an alien was there. The Brother scanned the machine over her body and looked at the readings. Tanner acted dazed in hopes of convincing them she was invaded by an alien. A nasty look crossed the brothers face as he looked at his sister. "Well?" She asked him waiting for a response. "She's invaded all right, but not by any alien. She's pregnant with a human fetus." Tanner gasped and shot a look at Imam. A new look of determination crossed her face, she would not allow them to kill her with a baby inside. Imam rushed to her side and took her hands in his. "Allah be praised, we are blessed today." He smiled as he kissed her. For one brief moment his concern for the siblings was nothing more than a distant memory. Riddick scowled, if only they would have scanned Fry as well he'd have one less thing to worry about. But telling Fry was the least of his trouble, now he had to figure out a way to keep Fry and the other's safe.

A lazer blast to the ceiling brought everyone back to the present as the siblings grew more impatient. "I don't think I need to remind you just who's in charge here." The brother said as he pointed the gun at Tanner. "Shoot her! Shoot her now!" The sister snapped as her eyes lit up with craziness. The brother placed his finger on the trigger and Imam stepped in front of Tanner. "I will not allow this to happen." He stated firmly. Ulrich stepped in front of Imam. "C'mon, just let them go. She's going to have a baby for Christ's sake. The baby is innocent." The brother looked at him and began to lower the weapon. "What in the Hell are you doing?!" His sister snapped incredulously. "This is just about Tanner, not some baby. I won't shoot a pregnant woman in cold blood." He replied. She gave him a nasty look before pulling her own weapon. "She killed our brother, are you just going to let her go because she's pregnant. It's not our problem she got knocked up, shoot her damnit!" She screamed at him. It was obvious to Fry just who wanted revenge the most, the brother hardly seemed into it, but the sister was beyond obsessed about it.

The computers sudden voice broke in right at that moment. "Warning! Warning! Life form is nearing the deceased state. It it recommended you progress immediately." The brother put his gun down and his sister turned to the group. "Everyone get on the floor, I won't have anyone ruining this for me!" She yelled waving her gun toward them. Riddick and Fry were not about to let Audrey die just because of these people. But when one of the siblings crew grabbed Fry and held a gun to her head, Riddick's attention was torn between the two of them. "Step away from the machine." The crewman threatened as he began to choke Fry to death. Bianca was filled with anger at the thought that Audrey was going to die because they were holding Fry hostage. She realized that if Fry survived and Audrey died she would never be the same and that was not something Bianca would allow.

While they had their attention on Riddick and Fry she made a mad dash for the table managing to push it all the way into the red zone before a lazer blast to her back knocked her to the ground inside the parameter. The pain was like burning knives being driven into her and she knew her time was short. She was able to roll over onto her back and whisper. "Nix." with her last breath of air. Although it was only one word, it spoke volumes to Nix. With not one moment of hesitancy he bolted to the machine avoiding lazer blasts the entire distance. He smacked the machine on just as he was hit. He crumpled to the floor at the same moment Riddick leaped at the man holding Fry. In a split second Fry was free and the crewman was lying on the ground with a broken neck. Fry fell to her knees attempting to suck in much needed air. She realized Riddick was now back in the killing mode and would not stop until things were back in his control. She saw Bianca's limp body and tears sprang to her eyes. She had given her life to save Audrey and there was nothing they could do to help her now.

The brother gained her attention as he shot the man who had shot Nix. "I will not tolerate anymore firing without orders, is that understood?!" He yelled at the crew. "Yes Sir!" came a cry in unison. He then turned back to a glaring Riddick who was the most dangerous person in the universe at the moment. The brother realized that in an instant. "This is not what we came here for." He started. "Let us have Tanner and we'll leave you in peace." He added never leaving Riddick's eyes.

Riddick smoothly produced a knife from his boot and shook his head. "It's way beyond that now." He replied coolly as he crept quickly toward the brother. "Richard don't." Fry cried out in panic. "They'll kill you too." She added as she approached him. He put his hand up toward her. "Don't come any closer," He commanded her and she stopped in surprise. He said that to her with not an ounce of emotion. It was as if he was a total stranger that didn't even know she existed and that scared her more than anything. Imam's touch was numb to her as he pulled her out of harms way.

"Kill them!" the sister began to scream again. "Just kill them all!" She shook his arm to get the brother to start firing. "No! These people have no business with us, I won't just kill them!" He yelled back shooting her a warning glare. That only made her angrier and she placed her handgun at his temple. "I said kill them." She replied threatening him. His eyes finally left Riddick's and turned toward his sister. "You know I don't take threats." He replied ominously. The sister began to show a genuine fear as she realized her mistake.

But before she could make her next move the entire room began to shake violently as a loud explosion rocked the place. "It's the Aquatican's, they've found us." Cain replied with disgust as pieces of the roof began to cave in around them. Everyone tried to protect themselves from falling debris with little effect. The place was going to be destroyed and them along with it. The next explosion was rougher than the first as a large chunks of dirt and rock landed on several of the crew including the sister. She went down like a sack of potatoes and the brother was by her side in an instant. The explosions came one after the other now and the room began to shake uncontrollably. The remainder of the crew headed for the exit as Riddick approached the brother. "Richard No!" Fry cried out to him knowing exactly what he was about to do. He paused briefly without looking back at her as if contemplating her pleas before continuing on.

Cain grabbed her roughly by the arms. "We have to get Audrey!" He shouted over the loud crashing sounds around them. Fry's attention was abruptly brought back to those who needed her. "Yes, get her. Ulrich, get Bianca I'm not leaving her here like this." She commanded him. He already had that thought in mind as he nodded to her. Cain shut the machine down just as the malfunctioning computer began to speak in a fast squeaky voice informing them it was finished. He scooped her up off the table ducking to avoid large pieces of ceiling falling down around them. Ulrich picked Bianca up off the floor and turned to the exit. They had to get to the surface before they were entombed inside. As they headed for the exit, Fry stayed behind searching for Riddick in the foggy chaos. He emerged from the dust like a phantom and she noticed the blood on his shirt immediately. "What are you still doing here?!" He snapped pushing her toward the exit. "Get going I'm right behind you!" He ordered her as he went back for Nix.

She stumbled over her own feet as the way out grew dimmer in the dust. She took several steps before stumbling over what she thought were bodies. Instead she found it was the siblings. The brother was in a daze as he held his sisters dead body in his arms, but he wasn't dead. Riddick hadn't killed him. "You're alive!" She cried out over the roar that filled the air. He blankly looked over at her. "She's dead." He replied simply. Fry grabbed him by the arm. "C'mon, it's not too late for you." She screamed as she attempted to get him to move. He stayed firmly in place. "I'm staying here with my sister. She needs me." He added with tears in his eyes.

Fry realized he was not going to budge and was about to leave him when he grabbed her. At first she thought he was trying to keep her there with him and she smacked his hand away. He grabbed her hand and placed an object in it before pushing her toward the direction of the exit. She grasped it firmly more out of anxiety than wanting to keep it safe. "Get out before you're killed." He yelled at her before directing his attention back to his sister. She nodded and crawled away from them. By the time she made it to her feet she could see a beam of light from across the room. She followed it until it led to the others who were trying to help lead her to them.

Once she made it, they all blindly began to run down the tunnel as the occasional light bounced off the wall from whoever was carrying the flashlight. "Is everyone here!" She heard Sawyer ask in the darkness. Numbly she did a quick checklist in her head hoping no one was left behind. But she never saw or heard Riddick as they made their way down the hall. "Richard?!" She yelled as she stopped. No reply came from those in the group. Everyone passed by her as she blocked the passageway. "Has anyone seen Richard?!" She screamed over the loud explosions that rocked the tunnel. When no one replied she turned to head back down the tunnel. Imam stopped her dead in her tracks. "No Carolyn, remember what happened last time I allowed you to look for Riddick?" He replied firmly. Never had she considered the guilt he must have felt at her "death" when she had gone after Riddick on that planet. Still, she would not leave Riddick this time either and she brushed his hands off. She hadn't made it three steps from him when the roof began to cave in. Instantly the passage was blocked and she had no choice but to continue on. A deep pit of despair grew in her heart each step she took. She could not live without him. He was her too big a part of her life now and to be without him was unthinkable.

She came out of the tunnel not far behind everyone else. The remaining crew of the siblings headed for their ship just as she spotted one of Cain's ships on the ground close by. It was firing on the Aquatican's who were firing at them from the water. Explosions hit the ground close to them and she felt her heart racing in fear. Just one of those bombs would kill them all if it hit just right. She scrambled up the ramp helping Ulrich carry Bianca. Not surprising, everyone was covered in dirt, debris and blood. Once they were on board Cain used the communication panel to order the pilot to take off again. "No!" Fry screamed as she ran to Cain. "We have to wait for Richard!" She ordered. Cain shot a look toward Imam. Imam nodded in agreement with her. "We must wait a few more moments. He may still make it." Cain sighed and instructed the pilot to hold the takeoff for five minutes longer. Fry gave him a weak smile of appreciation as she set her attention on the cargo bay door.

The minutes ticked by more quickly than she wanted them too and as each one passed she longed for another one to take it's place. Imam gave her a look that said he didn't believe Riddick was alive. She ignored the look and kept a lookout for Riddick. Suddenly the cargo bay doors slowly started to close. "Wait!" She screamed at them as if the doors would obey her command. She turned her attention toward Cain. "It hasn't been five minutes yet!" She cried. He seemed surprised that his people would disobey him but as the ground began to shake unsteadily beneath them he understood why they were taking off. Cain grabbed her forcefully. "We have to take off or we all die!" He yelled back at her.

Fry watched hopelessly as the cargo bay doors slammed shut, cutting off any chances she had left of Riddick surviving. Imam pushed her into a seat and secured her as they began to take off. She watched hopelessly through the portal as the ship began to move farther and farther from the planet. For one brief moment she understood what he might have felt when he left her behind on that planet filled with aliens. Nothing could stop the flow of tears that now fell down her face. She had lost everything now, what did she have left to live for?

 

They docked with the mother ship that held all of Cain's people and medical aids rushed inside to help. Fry numbly watched as Cain placed Audrey on a stretcher which was quickly wisked away as they went to work checking her vitals. Cain ran along side them as it disappeared from view. Bianca was next to be taken away. Ulrich followed close behind them hoping she could be saved. Fry wanted to be there beside both of them but found her legs hard to move. Imam and Tanner headed down the ramp and Imam turned back toward her. "Carolyn?" He replied sadly. When she ignored him Sawyer motioned for him to continue on. Slowly he undid Fry's straps and sighed. "You'll find you can keep on living." He told her as he lifted her up out of the seat. Her legs buckled but he held her up. "I'm living proof of that." He continued as he led her down the ramp. She could feel his presence and hear his words, but it was as if he was in another realm. Everything was loud and echoed inside her head as he took her down the hallway to the medical bay.

Fry sat on the exam table as everything that had happened began to sink in. A medic entered and nodded in greeting. "Do you have any injuries that need immediate attention?" He asked her as he looked for any abrasions that might need attention. She shook her head no. "All right then, take a shower and put on this gown. I'll come back and we'll look you over better." He added as he handed her a simple white cotton gown. She nodded as she took it from him. She made her way to the shower room and began to remove the torn and dirty clothes she had on. That's when she noticed the item the brother gave her still within her hand. She looked it over for a moment realizing instantly it was a micro information disk, which would need a player to read. She had no idea why he gave it to her nor what was on it. Unconcerned with it she placed it on the sink and continued to get undressed. She briefly looked her body over for any damage. There were a lot of bruises and scrapes but nothing life threatening. She then looked at herself in the mirror. She was shocked by the sad looking creature that stared back at her. Warm tears slipped from her eyes as she placed her hands over her face. Slowly she sank to the floor wishing she had died on Aquatica.

She had no idea how long she sat on the floor in a daze, but somehow she managed to get back on her feet and step into the shower. The shower was warm and soothing, but nothing could remove the pain from her heart. She toweled off and threw the gown over her head. There was nothing she could do but put one foot in front of the other and keep moving. If she stopped she would never start up again. She'd seen that happen more than once in her life. Other's would need her now, just as she would need them. And that's what would keep her from giving up.

The room was empty when she returned and she discarded her old clothes in a waste disposal unit. She glanced down at the info disk for a moment before putting it into the wall unit. The picture flashed as the brother's image appeared. "Ulrich, here is our half of the bargain. The planet "Hell Fire" is now yours. You will find the deed on this disk and the whereabouts of the planet as well. My sister and I thank you for a job well done. Sirus out." Fry removed the disk and thought about the brother for a moment. She thought Riddick was going to kill him, but he didn't. Maybe he finally had returned to the human race. She liked to think he saw Sirus holding his sister in misery and changed his mind out of pity for the guy. Fry decided that would be how it happened, that's what she would tell people when they asked about Riddick. That he gave his life to help others.

The soft swooshing of the doors let her know the medic was back. "I hope you don't mind I used your panel.." She started as she turned toward him. "I had to look at something on this dis.." When her eyes didn't meet the medics, but the smooth silver eyes of Riddick she stopped mid word. "No problem at all." He replied smoothly with a large grin. "Richard?!" She questioned out loud unsure if it was really him. When he didn't disappear in a puff of smoke she numbly walked to him and wrapped her arms around his waist, hugging him. When she felt his strong chest next to hers she knew he wasn't just in her imagination. "You're alive." She whispered. "They made me leave you behind, I wanted to wait for you but the ship left." She added as she looked up at him. He held her face in his hands and lightly kissed her. "I know Carolyn. Nix and I were cut off from the exit, but the explosions made holes big enough for us to crawl out. We weren't too far from you when we got to the ship. The pilot opened the side door and we jumped inside and took off. Once we arrived here I couldn't make it to you due to the chaos." He explained. "When no one could tell me what room you were in I began looking in all of them." He added smoothing her wet hair out of her face.

"You mean, Nix isn't dead?" She asked. "No, only stunned. He came around once I started to pick him up. For a while there though, we both thought it was over." "That is such a relief." She replied hugging him again. "This time I thought you were dead for sure." She replied as she let out the nervous breath she'd been holding. "Haven't I got it through your thick skull yet, I'm not leaving you." He paused a moment gently placing his hand over her abdomen. "Especially not with you pregnant with my kid." He added slowly. Fry looked up at him in confusion. "What?" She asked unsure if she had heard him correctly. "Are..are..you trying to tell me I'm pregnant?" She asked feeling overwhelmed with emotions at all that had happened. He nodded his head. "I found out when we were with the rebels. I've wanted to tell you ever sense but I wasn't sure how you'd deal with it." Fry stepped away from him for a moment deep in thought. Riddick's baby was inside her body, a part of her at that very moment, growing and forming as they spoke. She was surprised she didn't know it.

Should she have known? Sure she had missed a few periods, but that was normal for women who traveled in cryosleep. There was nothing that could let her know she was pregnant, not yet anyway. In the time it took for her to comprehend his words her mind screamed in warning how he had said it. "What do you mean "how I'd deal with it?" She asked firmly. "If you're asking me to terminate the baby you can forget it! This is our kid and I'm having it whether you like it or not!" She stammered. It took Riddick a second to understand what she was so upset about. "That's not what I meant Carolyn!" He snapped as he grabbed her shoulders. "I just didn't know if you wanted a baby or not, especially one from me. I was worried you wouldn't want it." He added more gently.

She began to relax at his revelation. "Worried I wouldn't want it? I'd never feel that way about your baby. I do want it Richard, more than anything." She replied with a smile. "Does this mean you want it as well?" She asked holding her breath. His words implied that he did, she just had to hear him say it. He looked at her with those silver eyes of his. "I've had a lot of time to think about it...." He started as he ran a hand over his chin in thought. "If I were to not want it, I'd be no different than my parents. I won't do that to our kid. I don't know what kind of father I'll make, but our kid will have it better than I did." He finished holding his hand out to her. A surge of life raced through her veins at his admission. "Thank you Richard." She replied taking his hand. "For what?" He asked. "For making me the luckiest woman alive," she said with relief. "I only hope the others are as lucky as me." She replied seriously. Riddick nodded in agreement. They had yet to hear the news of the others.

 

Riddick stood near the exam table as the medic gave Fry a complete checkup. "I see no internal damage and the baby is doing fine." The medic replied as he put the computer scan down. Fry let out a sigh of relief. "However, I do detect some stress on the baby. I highly recommend you slow down. You can't be at risk all the time, it's not good for you or the baby. My advice to you is to find someplace comforting and get some must needed rest. All right?" He asked as he washed his hands. "You can be sure of that." Riddick interjected with a touch of guilt in his voice. "I can't agree with you more." Fry nodded as she got off the table. She picked up her new clothes and turned to the medic. "Can you tell us anything about the others in our group?" She asked holding her breath. The medic paused for a moment to dry his hands before replying. "I don't have any news as yet. Other medics are seeing to them, you're free to go if you feel up to it." He replied. "I feel fine, thank you." she answered him. He nodded in reply as he headed out the door. Fry glanced at Riddick nervously. "What if Audrey's dead?" She whispered. "We'll deal with that when we know for sure," He quickly replied. He didn't want to think about it until it was verified.

Fry continued to get dressed as Riddick watched her thoughtfully. "Richard, what happened between you and that brother in all the chaos? I thought for sure you had killed him." She asked him as she pulled her pants on. He looked at her surprised she knew he hadn't killed the brother. "How do you know I didn't kill him?" He asked smoothly. She shot him a look before answering him. "Because I found the brother on the way to the exit and he was fine. That's how I know." She added as she slipped on her shoes. "I was going to kill him. But when I saw him sitting there with his dead sister all I could think about was all that we had been through. We've come too far for me to take us back now." He replied seriously. "Besides I had a kid to think about." He shrugged as he handed her a shirt. She stared at him silently for a moment without saying a word. It must have taken a lot for him to admit that to her, she wasn't about to ruin the moment with a lot of talk. "Understood." She replied simply as she put the shirt on and zipped it up. It was his turn to stare at her for a moment. There was more to that comment than she realized. She did understand him, more than anyone probably. And would continue to understand him the rest of his life. And that was the very reason why he was capable of loving her against all the odds. She turned and grabbed the info chip off the table. "Ready?" She asked him confidently. He nodded and together they headed into the hall.

It didn't take them long to run into a familiar face. It was Nix and he was just sitting on a bench in a daze. "Nix? Are you all right?" Fry asked him sure his state of mind had something to do with Bianca. He slowly looked up at her. "Bianca's alive." He replied with relief. "The Doc just told me a few minutes ago. Apparently that machine saved her life. I thought she was dead for sure." He added quietly. "Bianca's alive!?" Fry shouted in surprise. "Where is she!?" She added trying to locate where she might be. "Ulrich's in with her now. She asked for him as soon as she woke up." He replied bitterly. It was at that moment that she understood his lack of enthusiasm. Even though she was alive, he had still lost her. She placed a comforting hand on his shoulder. "I'm just glad she's alive." He added solemnly. "I know." She said glancing at Riddick. She felt the same way he did.

"Excuse me?" A medic interrupted them. "Sorry to bother you, but I was told we could give you the news on the young girl brought in here." Fry and Riddick locked eyes and prepared for the worst. "She's dead isn't she." Fry replied with a touch of anger in her voice. "Actually no, she's quite well. In fact I'd say she's a very healthy fourteen year old." He added questioning why they'd think she was dead. Fry grabbed Riddick's arm in surprise as their eyes spoke volumes to each other. "I take it you'd like to see her?" The medic asked confidently. "You're damn right we do," Riddick said breaking the happy silence. Fry was glad at least to not have to tell Audrey that Riddick was yet again in danger. Since she had been unconscious throughout the whole ordeal she wouldn't know. Unless Cain had told her. Knowing him the little that she did she realized he wouldn't bring something like that up so soon, which made Fry confident Audrey didn't know a thing.

Audrey was pulling on her socks when Fry and Riddick entered the room. She looked at them sadly as she blindly hugged them both. Her soft sobbing didn't go unnoticed. "What's going on?" Riddick asked hoping it wasn't over him. When she stopped crying long enough to speak she looked up at them. "It's my fault they're dead." She replied wiping away her tears. "Who's dead?" Fry asked unsure who she was talking about. Audrey sat down on the bench and held back the tears that still wanted to come. "Rezulian C..isn't a disease at all, they're aliens. While I was on that table the machine began to communicate with them. It explained to them that they were killing people, other living organisms. When they found out what they were doing to me they killed themselves," she looked numbly down at her hands. "They spoke to me, they told me they were sorry. I could hear them as they were dying." She paused as if hearing them all over again. "They died because of me and it wasn't even their fault in the first place. Once they were gone the machine destroyed their remains and fixed the damage they'd caused to my body." She added sadly. Fry was horrified to hear the news. With all that Audrey had been through already this has to happen to her as well. She would never forget those aliens who died for her. And at the same time she realized they were the same creatures who killed her mother. It would probably tear at her soul for the rest of her life.

"Audrey, I want you to listen to me now," Fry said as she sat down next to her. "We're going to get you through this. You'll see, your life will be normal from now on. Richard and I will see to it. I don't want you to worry about anything anymore. Do you hear me?" She asked gently as she put her arm around her warmly. Audrey looked first to Fry then to Riddick. He nodded, confirming what Fry said to be true. Slowly she nodded her head in understanding. "Yeah I hear you." She replied wiping the tears away. When Fry was confident she was going to be okay she stood up. "Where's Cain?" She asked realizing he wasn't in the room with her. Audrey's face fell again and she kicked at one of her shoes angrily. "I was so upset about the aliens dying that I told him to get lost and leave me alone. I didn't mean it." She added regretfully. Riddick chuckled softly as he put an arm around her shoulders. "Good to have you back kid." He said with a grin. Fry smacked him in the arm. "I'm sure he knows you weren't well Audrey." Fry soothed her as she shot Riddick a look.

"He's a smart boy." Riddick added for good measure. "He'll know to stay clear for a few hours but I'm sure he'll be back." He replied trying to ease her worry. The sound of the door opening drew their attention hoping it was Cain. Instead it was Imam. "Riddick my friend! We were told you and Nix had survived." Imam replied with excitement as he entered the room. "Once again, I'm most pleased to see you and Nix are alive and well," He said as he took Riddick's hands and shook them happily. Riddick thanked him as he released him. "Is it true what the siblings said about Tanner?" Fry asked him with a grin. "Yes, it is true. Tanner was just examined and it is indeed the case. I'm afraid she is not happy with the thought. She's gone off alone to think, at least that's the reason she gave me. It will take many prayers to get through this." He added as he looked down at his hands thoughtfully. Fry took his hands in hers. "You always have us, just in case." She replied letting him know they were there for him. "Maybe it will help her to know that I'm also going to have a baby," She replied hopefully. Imam's face lit up like a million stars at the news. "You and Riddick are going to have a baby?" He asked, the happiness for them evident on his face.

Audrey let out a squeal louder than expected as she dove for the two of them. "I can't believe it! An actual baby?" She asked with glee. Her mood was greatly improved by the news. She already saw herself taking care of the kid, taking it places, teaching it things she knew, telling it stories of times before it was born. She would be just like a big sister to it. "Yes, usually they are actual babies." Fry confirmed with a laugh. It felt good to laugh like that. To laugh over happiness and good times for once. There were times with Riddick that she had laughed like that, but this time everyone was alive and counted for. Quickly Audrey finished getting dressed so they could go locate Cain. She would set things right with him if it killed her.

 

Bianca sat up as the medic finished her exam. She had no recollection of being shot or of dying. Ulrich had recounted the story of what had happened to her and she was touched by Nix risking his life for her. That more than confirmed the fact that he cared for her. She knew she cared for him as well, no matter what they had been through she would try and get things going between them again. Ulrich sat next to the table as the medic began to put his instruments away. "From the story I've been told you are a very lucky woman." The medic replied recording his findings into a wall computer. "I know." She said humbly. "Did you have any ailments before being put into the machine?" He asked her curiously. "Well, I did have some scars..but they are no longer there," She said as she looked over her body for the missing scars. "And there is another thing..." She paused terrified to say the words. "What's that?" The medic gently prodded her to continue. "I was once sterilized..against my will..." She left the words dangling as the medic took in the info. "Well, that's not a problem anymore. You have a perfect reproductive system now." Bianca felt the breath escape her lungs at the news. The machine had fixed everything, literally everything. She would now be able to have a child if she wanted to someday. Ulrich took her hand and squeezed it to let her know he was happy for her. The medic, now pleased to deliver such good news, took the info with a smile and told her she was free to go.

After the medic left she looked over at Ulrich while she got dressed. "Thanks for everything Ulrich. I really mean it. I never could have got through all I did without you." She replied looking away from him guiltily. Ulrich knew what was coming next. "But you aren't in love with me, are you." He replied knowing it to be true. Bianca stopped and forced herself to face him, he deserved that much. "I found something with Nix that I've never experienced before and I want that back again. I think he does also." She replied hoping not to crush him. Ulrich gave her a forced smile. "I think he does too. You know I want you to be happy and if Nix will give you that, I'll be happy as well. I admit it will be hard to see you with him, but I'll manage." He replied sincerely.

Bianca wondered how Nix would react to seeing her again, after all he had saved her life and given her back the chance to have children. "I never meant to hurt you Ulrich. I guess we were so caught up in the moment that we didn't realize it wasn't real." She pleaded. He had to agree with her. In the back of his mind he realized it was a feeling of obligation that made him want her. After they had inadvertantly slept together that night he felt the need to be there for her. "I completely agree," he said with a grin. They stared at each other uncomfortably for a moment before Ulrich cleared his throat. "Well..I better get Nix in here before he thinks the worse." He quickly added hoping to get out of the room with some of his dignity intact. "Thanks Ulrich. For everything." She smiled at him grateful for how good he was about the whole thing. She owed him a lot for all he'd done for her. He gave her one last smile to acknowledge he heard her before heading out the door.

Ulrich headed out into the hallway preparing to give Nix the news. It would be hard to hand her over to him, but he knew it was for the best. Bianca would never love him like she loved Nix, that was a fact. And if he stayed with her for his own selfish reasons he only end up ruining her life. He only hoped Nix wouldn't hurt her again. He stepped out into the hall and Nix looked up at him immediately. "Is it true?" He asked firmly as he jumped up to meet him. "That Bianca is alive, yes. That she's okay, no. But I think she will be with you." He replied somberly. Nix gave him a look that told him he better explain and quickly. "Nix, she wants you. She always has. Even if you don't want her I still couldn't be what she is looking for. It just wasn't meant to be." He replied breaking eye contact with him as he turned away. "Are you trying to tell me she still wants me?" He asked finding it hard to believe after all he'd done to her. "That's what I'm saying." Ulrich replied as he headed down the hallway with not a glance back. Nix stood there as his mood changed dramatically. She still wanted him, it wasn't too late. His mind screamed at him to move as his feet carried him to her room.

Sawyer met Ulrich in the hall as left Bianca's room. "Everything okay?" He asked Ulrich upon seeing his expression. "I guess so." He answered somberly. "I guess I never expected things to turn out like this." He added almost talking to himself. "Things never turn out as you might think they will. That's just a fact of life." He replied. "That goes for the good and the bad things." He added. "I know you're right, it just doesn't help me to feel any better about it." Ulrich bemoaned. Sawyer realized it would take time for him to get his second wind, but he'd get it. "Say, have you heard anything about the others? I've been hearing rumors everywhere I've went but no one seems to have any concrete answers." He complained as they headed down the hall. "All I know is that Nix and Bianca are fine, I haven't heard anything else on the others yet." He mumbled softly. "Oh." Sawyer answered, left to wonder about the rest.

Riddick, Fry, Audrey and Imam met Ulrich and Sawyer in the hall and based on the solemn look on Ulrich's face Fry immediately knew what had happened. Bianca had made her decision. Inside she was happy for Bianca and Nix, but now Ulrich was miserable. But not for long, in her hand she held the key to cheering him up. "Hey Ulrich, how's it going?" Fry asked him slyly. He forced the worst fake smile she'd ever seen and greeted Riddick with a handshake. "Glad you made it Riddick," He said happy for them. "I imagine you're not as happy to see that Nix made it," Riddick replied frankly. "Actually, I am happy he made it. The two of them were meant to be together. I just can't help but feel I've lost everything." He replied as he ran a hand through his hair in frustration.

"Not everything Ulrich." Fry replied holding out the info disk to him. "What's that?" He asked her. "This just so happens to be the deed to Hellfire," She replied with a smile. His eyes grew wide in surprise as he gently took it from her. He held it as if at any moment it would dissolve into dust. "How?" Was the only word to leave his lips. "I found the brother on my way out and he wanted you to have it," She answered. Suddenly he grabbed her in his arms and yelled in relief. "Hey, careful." Riddick stepped in and Ulrich let her go turning his attention to Audrey next. "This is the best news," He said letting Audrey go before Riddick pounded him. "Do you know what I will be able to do with an entire planet? Imagine the possibilities, Hellfire is three times larger than earth and totally uninhabited." He said enthusiastically. "I think I'll call it Twilightworld." He replied almost dreamily.

Fry smacked herself on the forehead with her hand. "Oh brother. Just do me a favor Ulrich, make sure it's uninhabited before you move in. Especially if you're gonna name it that." Fry said patting him on the arm as she made eye contact with Riddick. "I agree, last time we thought we were on an uninhabited planet, people died soon after twilight set in." Imam interjected. "Don't worry I'll be thorough in checking the place out. Twilightworld is a rite of passage my people have followed for many years. I believe it is a good name." He replied trying to calm everyone's fears. "I think we've taken a rite of passage just to get here." Fry replied thoughtfully. "Maybe this is a sign of good things to come." She added finally agreeing with his choice. Everyone nodded silently in agreement.

 

Bianca was finished dressing by the time Nix entered the room. She glanced at him for a moment, almost bashfully at first. She had no clue what the next words out of his mouth were going to be. "You okay?" He asked her unsure if he should attempt to hug her or not. Her stance gave him no indication of how she was feeling. "I'm okay, thanks to you." She answered him with a smile. He nodded in reply. "I was worried they had killed you," he said making eye contact with her.

"Would it have bothered you that I was dead?" She asked putting him directly on the spot. She wanted this out in the open, now wasn't the time to be indirect. A slight look of anger showed on his face briefly. "Yes! It would have bothered me. No matter what has happened to us in the past, I would never wish you dead." He replied with frustration. "Actually, I never want to live without you. That's why I risked my life to save you," He stopped as he noticed the look of disbelief on her face. That look was all it took for him to make the distance to her.

Gently and cautiously placing his hands on her shoulders, he pulled her closer. "Bianca, I was afraid to love you before. My wife died because of me and I couldn't take the risk of putting you in danger. So I tried to stop the feelings before they grew. But they didn't stop, I just grew to love you more. Do you understand what I'm trying to tell you?" He asked hoping she did. He didn't know if he could explain it better. She chewed on her lip before opening her mouth to reply. "I want to be with you, but not if it will mean you will hurt me the rest of our lives." She replied moving away from him to sit down. Her legs felt wobbly and she didn't want him to see that. He watched her walk away and turned toward her. "If you're asking me to never hurt you, I can't guarantee that. While I'll never physically harm you, we will always have problems on occasions. Can anyone in any relationship keep from hurting each other? Take Fry and Riddick for example. Do you think they have a perfect relationship?" He motioned with his hands as he spoke. Again she chewed on her lip. "We're not Fry and Riddick." She replied firmly.

He ran a hand through his hair and kneeled before her. "Look, all I'm asking is for you to give me another chance. Just a chance, that's all. We don't have to rush into anything, I wouldn't ask you to do that after all we've been through." He reasoned. A glimmer of hope flashed on her face and he knew instantly that he had won her. "I would like to try again. I definitely care about you, but we have to take it slow, are you willing to do that?" She asked him her eyes showing hope for the first time in a long time. "I can do that, for you I'd do anything." He sighed with relief. She was giving him another chance. "You did save my life, for that I owe you a second chance. So, we'll stay together and see what happens," She said with a smile. Nix took her hand in his and placed a kiss on it. "I look forward to it." He replied with a grin. She was not used to affection from him and that made her feel a bit uncomfortable. They had a long way to go in their relationship before they could feel completely together. "Well, we better get back to the others." She replied jumping up from the bench. "We wouldn't want to be left behind." She added as she headed for the door. Nix nodded in agreement and followed her out into the hall, a new feeling of hope was shared between them.

The group were on their way down the hall to find Bianca and Nix when they ran into Cain. He looked right at Audrey first thing. Fry watched as Audrey's entire face lit up like a light. "Hey Riddick, I was happy to hear you and Nix made it after all. Sorry I had to leave before knowing you were on board," He said with sincerity. "I'd do the same in your shoes." Riddick responded, letting him know he was okay with his decision. Hell, he respected the kid even more for what he did. "I just wanted to let you all know that the ship wasn't completely ready for take off. We'll be doing repair work off and on and that will mean some places of the ship will be in total darkness. While that will be no problem for me and my people, nor Riddick." He nodded in respect to him. "The rest of you will have to be patient." He added. Everyone nodded in understanding as Cain pulled Audrey aside.

The rest of the group continued on to give them some privacy. "You look in better spirits," Cain said to her. "Cain, I'm sorry for what I said to you." Audrey blurted out uncomfortably. Cain stopped her. "Hey, it's not a problem. I just wish I could have helped you somehow." He replied regretfully. "I guess I can't help everyone." He added coming to a conclusion about himself. Audrey groaned inside. In one minute she had managed to shoot down his resolve. A resolve he had built up by helping so many of his people to find happiness. "Cain, don't you understand? You have helped me. Just because I showed some emotions about something doesn't mean you didn't help me. I can't even imagine what the last few weeks would have been like without your help. I was lost and you found me." She said with admiration. "I was shocked and horrified when the aliens died because of me. It's something I'll have to deal with on my own. You being here for me helps me. Understand?" She asked him hoping she made some kind of sense.

He slowly nodded as he searched her face making sure that was really the case. "I'll always be there for you." He replied looking away from her. Immediately she knew something was up but for the moment she wanted things to remain just as they were. "And I'll always appreciate that." She added putting on a cheerful face. "Hey, something else good came out of all this." He nudged her as they walked. "What's that?" She asked him. "Well now you know what causes Rezulian C. Now you can prevent it from happening again and keep others from being infected. Those aliens didn't die for nothing. They just provided you the answer to saving both species." He replied taking her hand. Audrey stopped when she realized what he said was true. Those words alone removed so much of the pain she felt from killing the aliens. "You know what Cain, you're the best." She smiled at him. Without another word he squeezed her hand tightly and together they caught up to the others.

It wasn't long before Riddick prodded Fry. She looked over at him and realized he saw something the rest of them hadn't. "Tanner." He whispered to her and motioned to a darkened area to the right of the hall. She was there you just had to see in the dark to find her. Fry slipped out of the group and motioned for them to continue on giving the excuse that she had forgotten to ask the medic something. As soon as they were out of hearing range she entered the darkened part of the hall. "How are you Tanner?" She asked her tentatively into the darkness. She had no idea how she'd react to her. "Damn Riddick's shined eyes." Tanner replied with annoyance at being found out. She stepped out into the hall so Fry could see her. "I'm not ready to face Imam yet." She replied firmly. Fry could understand her uneasiness at the moment. "That's understandable," she said simply. "You think your all alone in the world and suddenly you have a man and a child to worry about. It's overwhelming. You even question your sanity over the decisions you have to make." Fry sighed. Tanner looked at her surprised she knew exactly how she felt. "It's not that I don't like Imam. I do. I appreciate all he did to help me. It's just that I don't know anything about him really. What if we have this baby together and it doesn't work out?" She asked. Fry shrugged. "None of us ever know if it will work out. You just have to go with your gut instincts." She replied. Tanner backed up against the wall in frustration. "Yeah, only my gut instincts have a baby in them," she rolled her eyes in exasperation. "Mine do too," Fry smiled at her. Tanner immediately looked to her belly. "You're pregnant too?" She asked feeling even more in tune with her. "Yep, just found out." The two of them looked at each other in silent respect.

"Here's what I know Orion. When I first met Imam he was on his way to New Mecca with his three sons. By the end of that trip he had lost all three of them. His wife died on earth a year before that. I was by his side when he lost each of his sons. Since that happened he has prayed many times for his Allah to guide him back onto the right path. He never once gave up his faith, not once. Maybe you're a part of that plan. Maybe it was fate that led you here to where you are now. Are you so sure you want to go in the opposite direction before finding out if it's true or not?" She asked her pointedly. Tanner stared at her for a moment accessing the information. "No. No I don't." She replied pursing her lips in thought. She walked a few feet away from Fry and then turned toward her. "I suppose I don't have to make any decisions right now today. I could have the baby and we could raise it together, even if we aren't together romantically." She reasoned.

Fry smiled. "If I know Imam at all, he would be grateful for that," She said putting a comforting hand on her arm. Together they started back down the hall. "Fry, I wanted to tell you how sorry I am that my evil side went after Riddick. I did have a crush on him when we were together, but he never returned the feelings. When I saw him with you I knew my feelings were a waste of time. I guess that alien fed on that information and used it to it's advantage." She concluded. Fry looked over at her knowing she was being honest. "Thanks for telling me that Tanner, I appreciate it." She replied as they continued on.

Everyone halted as Fry and Tanner approached them. Imam looked at Tanner waiting for her to speak. "Fry!" Bianca interrupted them as they raced to greet each other. Tanner and Imam stayed behind to talk. "Do you need more time to think?" He asked her tentatively. The last thing he wanted was to pressure her. "Imam, you and I are as different as night and day but by some miracle we created a baby in the midst's of all this. It's so confusing because I don't know much about you really. All I know is that you are a kind man who cared about me in the worst of circumstances. I'm not used to kind men caring about me. I understand violence in relationships not kindness or love." She replied frankly. Imam flinched at her words. "I am truly sorry that you never had those things in your life. I am also sorry that I put you in such a situation. Maybe it would be wise to start from the beginning as if we just recently met for the first time." He reasoned. She stopped and looked at him relieved by his response. "That is the best idea I've heard in a long time." She smiled happily. "As long as you don't mind a big belly getting between us that is." She added with a laugh. Imam, pleased that she liked his idea, returned the laugh. "I shall have no problem with that." He smiled. "Seriously Imam, no matter what happens between us romantically, I want this baby to have its father. Be assured I will always feel that way." She replied sincerely. He nodded in appreciation of her words. They meant more to him than she realized. He would be a father again and that was a true gift from Allah.

Fry hugged Bianca warmly as they were reunited. "Are you all right?" Fry asked motioning her eyes toward Nix, questioning if everything was okay between them. Bianca gave her a small nod in secret reply. "Thanks to that machine, and Nix, I'm in perfect health." She replied grabbing Fry's arms as she spoke. "How are you?" She asked in return. Fry gave her a sly smile. "Turns out I'm a little bit pregnant." She told her putting her hands on her belly. "No kidding!?" Bianca cried as she hugged her. "That is great news. For both of you." She added including Riddick. He gave her a grin as he put a proud arm around Fry's shoulder. "So where do we go now?" Audrey asked the group as she realized they were finally safe and sound together. Ulrich stood between them all and held out the info chip. "How about a little unknown planet by the name of Twilightworld?" He asked with a grin.

 

Audrey walked quietly across the ground pausing occasionally to listen for any sounds out of the ordinary. She had to be careful when in any uncharted areas of the planet. She took a look through her binoculars and scanned the area for anything unusual. Nothing appeared to be out of the ordinary. But that didn't mean she was out of danger. Carefully, she laid out her paper on a large boulder and began to add the area to the unfinished map. So far, she had been the proud discoverer of many species of animals and plants. Naming them had become her primary job on Twilightworld, or TW as they so fondly called it now.

Not long after arriving, all the adults began to pull together to build shelters. Fry stayed up on the mother ship the first month and a half hoping to scope out the entire planet before they made residence there. Audrey understood how she felt completely, at first she was worried about the same thing, but eventually she overcame all that and just couldn't stand by and not get involved with her new home. There were a lot of wild animals that were totally new to them and it took some time to get acquainted with them, to discover which were dangerous and which only appeared dangerous.

Even with all the wildlife, the Native Americans were sure to bring animals from earth to breed on TW. Buffalo, horses, chickens, pigs and many other species were brought along to build up on TW. A loud howling noise came from the sky above her and she looked up just in time to see her large Allater land in the nearby field. Audrey whistled for the beast and it came to her side. She pulled on the reigns leading the beast to the water. He snorted in displeasure and she cooed soothingly to calm it. The Allater was one of the first creatures they came into contact with on Twilightworld and Audrey knew she had to tame one of them. Not only could the beasts fly, but they were the fastest animal on land that she'd ever ridden.

When they trotted on their strong hind legs they appeared a heck of a lot like miniature T-rex's mixed with dragons. At first sight of them flying through the air toward them Audrey was ready to go back to the mother ship. After watching them from afar for a few days she got the urge to tame one for a pet. So far, no one else was willing to deal with them just yet. They had other things to take care of, like building shelters. Audrey had tried, really tried to help out, but she only seemed to make matters worse. Cain had been busy helping to build underwater facilities for his people so they had little time to be together in the past seven months. So Audrey set about choosing the best Allater for her pet and upon choosing Black Nyte, she set out attempting to tame him. It took nearly five months to get him in control but it was definitely worth it.

The Native Americans were so impressed seeing her flying around on Nyte they named her Sky Flyer. She was proud of her new Native American name and stayed true to its meaning, flying everywhere she went. She tamed one or two more of the beasts, with Riddick, and often times they would go off searching together. But Nyte was the best of the bunch, his scales were jet black and he had the goldest wings she'd ever seen. Making him the most magnificent looking creature. She never tired of watching him soar through the sky, his gold wings glittering in the sunlight. Flying, for her, was now second nature and she couldn't see her life without it. Often times she wondered how she lived with just the ability to walk or run.

It was funny to her how things could change so much in such a short time. Here she was now, living on a new and exciting world, with three adopted parents, a budding romance with Cain and a wild beast that could fly. It didn't get any better than that, she told herself as she mounted Nyte. TW was her home now and she wanted to stay forever. The sound of a horse approaching brought a frown to her face. She turned with a smile to find Black Bear and Dew Lily shooting her dirty looks. They were the first Native American's her age that she met and they immediately became good friends. They were twins, one girl, one boy and both were as different as night and day. Many times they asked her to tell the story of how she had survived the aliens on that planet and how she had smuggled aboard the Hunter G. "Sky Flyer, you're going to get us in trouble!" Black Bear whined. "Why can't you just ride horses like the rest of us?" He continued with furthur annoyance. Audrey shot a look at Dew Lily for support and she shook her head. "Not this time Sky, you're on your own," she said crossing her arms in mock anger. "You know we have to be back before the sun sets and it's already getting dark," she added with a touch of worry.

Normally Audrey wouldn't be concerned about getting back before the sun set. She felt protected by Nyte and was beginning to learn the land well. But things were no longer as they were back on Saturn. She now had Riddick and Fry to deal with. They had made a few rules for her that were understandable, considering the circumstances. Never go anywhere alone, never go near a new animal without learning about it first, and never ever stay out past sundown, just to name a few. She'd catch hell from both Fry and Riddick if she were out and about after dark. Although Fry was more adamant about the latter than anyone. Audrey understood why the rules were there and everyone had to follow them, not just her. Even with all the equipment on the mother ship examining and studying the planet, it was still a wild and new place full of danger.

Audrey looked over at the setting sun and then back at her friends. She didn't want to get them in trouble, if they were in trouble so was she. Their father, Talon, would punish her along side them and no one from her camp would do a thing to interfear. "Okay, Okay, no need to persuade me further, lets get going," she finally gave in with a grin as she nudged Nyte to take off. Nyte obeyed as he flapped his massive wings and took to the sky leaving her friends alone in the dust as their slower horses ran to keep up, to no avail.

 

Fry laughed at Riddick as she splashed water at him. The warm bathing hole was one of Fry's favorite places on TW. It helped to soothe her aching back and swollen ankles and seemed to help relax the baby as well. Riddick made the distance quickly and pulled her into his arms planting a warm kiss on her mouth. Fry groaned in response. "Richard, why do you do that when you know we can't do anything about it," she playfully complained. Ignoring her comment, Riddick stood back and put his hands on her belly. Rubbing it gently as he washed it with water. They hadn't had sex since she started showing and it was beginning to get to him. But impatience to have sex was nothing in comparison to seeing his baby. He wanted to see their baby more than ever now and the wait seemed to last forever. Every medic visit they were told anyday now, and still no sign of the little spud. "Hey kid, do me a favor and come on out of there," he said to her belly. "I'm afraid it isn't that easy Richard," Fry laughed again.

Tanner wasn't far behind her and the entire group was abuzz with excitement. What would the first born on the planet be? A girl or a boy and who would have it? Fry wasn't concerned with who had whom first, she just wanted a healthy baby.

She had decided to stay on board the mother ship for the first few months partly to get rest, and partly out of fear. She wanted to be doubly sure that nothing crazy would happen once they were on planet. It was not just her life she had to watch out for, but her and Riddick's unborn baby. Riddick agreed wholeheartedly with her decision and he set out to build their cabin from the wood found on the planet. Nix and the others were always there to give him a hand when he needed it. And he did the same for them. They could have put up predesigned metal homes but by the time the materials arrived they could have natural cabins built already. Cain stopped by to help out and make sure Audrey was doing well, but he and his people had just as much work to do getting set up underwater.

Fry recalled the day when she and Riddick sat him down and explained how it would be with Audrey. She was far too young yet to have a serious relationship. And most importantly Fry and Riddick wanted her to relax and be a kid for a while, while she still could. It was important that Cain understood to take things slow. Fry realized that Audrey wasn't ready to get involved too seriously. She was more interested in making friends, studying, and taming Allaters than romance. At the moment, her new home was more exciting to her than anything. With the exception of Fry and Riddick's baby, due at any time.

Fry and Riddick both realized that would change soon considering she was turning another year older the next day. A surprise birthday party had been well in the works already. "By the way Richard, do you have Audrey's present all ready for tomorrow?" She asked as she got down to the business of bathing. "Of course," Riddick replied with a grin. He had built her a saddle and safety harness for Nyte. Far too often he'd seen Nyte make a quick drop or turn and Audrey barely hung on for dear life. While it wasn't in his nature to complain to her about it, he decided to give her the equipment as a gift. She would know there was no refusing them. If she did, he'd simply forbid her from flying anymore. There was no sense on thinking about that, he realized she was a smart girl for her age and she'd be grateful for the extra equipment. "Do you think we have enough food for everyone?" She asked as she paused to take a mental count of who would be there. Riddick grabbed her hands in his and kissed them. "Yeah, we have enough food. We have enough everything, don't worry," he smiled as he pulled her close again. "All right, time to get out," she replied, as she shot him a look before turning to get out. Riddick followed close behind her and pushed her up the embankment by her bare rear. "I said cut it out Richard," she replied without looking back at him. He followed close behind her watching her nude glistening body with a huge grin on his face.

 

Bianca handed a cool glass of water to Tanner before sitting back down next to her. "What a day," she sighed as she wiped her forehead. "I think if I had to clean another thing I'd pass out," she complained. "Trust me, I'd change places with you in a second if I could take a break from this huge body of mine. I look like a buffalo," Tanner complained in turn. Bianca laughed at her idea of how she looked. "You do not look like a buffalo, you carry the baby well. I know that's what Imam has been telling everyone since you first started showing," she said with a smirk. "I know, I know, don't rub it in," she waved her off as she readjusted herself in her chair. A lot had happened to the two women since arriving on TW. Tanner's belly grew more and more each day and with each day so did Imam's pride and excitement over the baby. It made Tanner feel the best in spirit to see him so happy. And the more she felt the baby growing inside her the more excited she was to have it. The spark she thought she felt with Imam grew more and more along side the baby and within three months she and Imam were married. That day was hands down the best day of her life. She felt so happy for the first time in a long time.

Bianca, on the other hand, was taking things more slowly. Together she and Nix built separate cabins for each other. Even though their passion for one another grew to almost an alarming stage they both managed to keep things slow. Many, many, times she wanted to sneak over to his cabin and crawl into bed with him, but she didn't. He had admitted to her of having the same thoughts and that very idea had excited her. They were definitely having a good time trying to out seduce each other. Even as both her friends grew larger and more cumbersome in size she was secretly happy to be free to tease Nix. A baby could wait, at least for a few years anyway. As if her thoughts of him made him appear, Nix came around the front of the cabin. He had been out chopping wood and his hard chest was glistening with sweat. A lump formed in her throat and she longed to run and throw herself into his arms. "Down girl," Tanner whispered to her knowing exactly what she was thinking. Bianca swallowed and shot him a smile. "You look like you could use a nice glass of water," she said turning to go into the cabin. "I'm beyond that now, I'm just going to jump in the lake and get washed up," he said throwing his shirt over his shoulder. She could hear the invite he was giving her as clear as day and she stopped and looked back at him from over her shoulder. She was unsure if she could see him like that one more time without giving in to temptation. "All right, I'll see you when you get back then," she said sweetly before entering the cabin.

Tanner got up and waddled in after her leaving Nix alone with his sweaty body. "Damn!" He cursed to himself as he headed down to the water. Score three points for her that day and only one for him. He knew he had her when she first looked at him as he approached the cabin. He wasn't trying to pressure her, in fact, for the first time in his life he felt more alive than ever. The love he felt for her was strong. It was never the conquest after all, it was the fore play that he enjoyed. Hunting her and attempting to seduce her was the greatest thrill for him. He was having as much fun as she was and it just got better each day. There were many times when they didn't have sex on their minds as well. They ate together, went swimming, hunting and many times worked in the fields. Many times they decided on designs of furniture and other necessities of living and built them together. They had really grown to trust and depend on each other as friends first, now it was time to be lovers. All in good time he told himself as he headed for the lake.

Ulrich and Sawyer passed Nix on the way down to the lake and nodded in greeting to him. Ulrich and Nix had put the past behind them and started over fresh. They found they had a lot in common and the two of them hunted and fished together. Nothing like seven months to bring a group of people closer together. Sawyer had helped the Indians to get their camps set up and was therefore made a part of their tribe. It wasn't long before they all were made a part of the tribe. It was a good way to keep them all in unity, or so the medicine chief had said.

Riddick was immediately given "Shined Eyes" as his name due to his eyes, which fascinated the entire tribe. Audrey came second with "Sky Flyer", due to Nyte. Fry was called "Golden One", mostly due to her blond hair. Bianca was given "Star Gazer", since she made it her business to map out the stars and keep all the ships in working order. Nix came next with "Strong Arm", due to his muscular build. Cain was given, "Swims like a Fish". Imam received "Praying Man" due to all the praying he did. Tanner was blessed with "Speaks True" because she always said what she wanted no matter what. Sawyer was given "Spirit Warrior" for his ability to be there for anyone in need of help. In only seven months the indian's had helped to heal is soul and then in turn taught him how to use his skills to help others whose spirits were haunted by something they had done in the past. And lastly, Ulrich's name was really "Beast Tracker" due to his uncanny ability to track animals when he was a young child, that gift grew as he got older as it then changed to tracking humans.

The two men, hands heavy with goods, headed up the cabin porch and knocked before entering. Bianca grinned as she noticed all the food. "Thanks guys!" she said happily as she unloaded the food. "Fry is going to be able to relax now that the food is here," she added as she put everything in its proper place. There were lots of fruits and Vegetables from Earth, but just as many new foods found on TW as well made it a complete mixture of everything. "What time are you guys gonna be here tomorrow?" Tanner asked as she slowly stood up to help. Ulrich grabbed a carrot and sat down as he bit into it. "Well, it depends on how fast Riddick distracts Audrey away from the camps. And if I know Audrey at all it shouldn't be too difficult. We'll head over here as soon as they are away," He added with a grin. Just about everyone on the planet would join together as one group to celebrate Audrey's 15th Birthday, it would be a historical occasion that would be remembered for all time on Twilightworld. It made him feel proud of what they had accomplished in such a short time. What they all went through to get to that point would always be remembered as long as TW existed. "Okay, I'll let Fry know," Bianca added as the men headed back out the door. Everyone had their job to do, soon it would be time to bring everything all together.

 

Fry yawned as she looked in on Audrey. She had another long day and was now sound asleep. Fry wished she could do the same. The baby had been so active she could not get to sleep. Little pangs of pain had begun to ripple through her and she thought about waking Riddick up. So many times in the last week or so she had gone through the same thing and each time they went to the medics they were sent home due to false labor. Once the pains stopped she headed back to bed again. When the baby calmed down she was then finally able to doze off.

The next morning Fry waddled into the kitchen to find Audrey and Riddick ready to get going on their exploration day. Riddick would keep them busy for at least three or four hours, which should give them plenty of time to get things ready for the party. "Happy Birthday Honey!" She smiled proudly at Audrey as she gave her a huge hug. "You're growing up so fast," she added with a pat on the back. "You don't want me to live here forever do you?" Audrey teased her with a smile. "Do you think anyone will give me a present?" She asked rubbing her hands together with excitement. "I've never gotten presents on my birthday before," she said as Riddick put an arm around her. "I don't know, I hadn't thought about that," he took his turn to tease her. She gave him a look that said she didn't know if he were joking or not then shrugged. She didn't need presents to have a good day, today she turned Fifteen and it was great to be alive.

Fry approached Riddick with his goggles and gave him a nice long kiss and a wink to show him how excited she was for the party. So much work had gone into making the place livable and now it was time for some fun. "How are you feeling?" Riddick asked her, his brow bunched up with worry. "I feel great, really I do," she told him truthfully. He was unsure about leaving her alone for such a long time but she had assured him if anything were to happen there would be plenty of people to take care of her. That was enough for him to feel secure enough to be gone for a few hours. "You're worrying for nothing. It takes hours, even days, for the labor process to evolve. You two go off and have fun. Name something after me," she smiled at the two of them as she turned back to the kitchen to get something to eat. Riddick watched her for a few more moments before ushering Audrey out the door. He had an odd feeling nagging at him that something wasn't right, but he pushed it aside blaming first time fatherhood for making him worry extra.

Fry entered the baby's room and looked at the crib. Handmade by Riddick, it was a good sturdy bed for the baby. She felt a sudden urge to double check to make sure they hadn't forgotten anything. With all the things that people made for her and the baby there wasn't a thing missing. It gave her a secure feeling to know everything was in place and soon a little squirming infant would be here making good use of the room. A sudden kick, followed close by with a surge of pain, caught her off guard and she sat down in the rocking chair to catch her breath. That was the strongest surge of pain she'd had yet and it filled her with concern. Riddick had been gone nearly an hour and she wondered if he should have stayed. Carefully she got back up out of the chair and headed into the kitchen. She went to the only computer in the house and attempted to contact Bianca. When there was no answer she realized Bianca and Nix were on their way to pick her up. Most of the cabins were at least half a mile apart, so it shouldn't be too long a wait. She gathered a few items she might need and headed out onto the porch.

Bianca and Nix showed up an hour after Riddick and Audrey had left and Bianca could see that Fry was in pain. She jumped out of the hovercraft and headed for the porch. "How far apart are the pains?" She asked Fry as she took the stairs. "About ten minutes, maybe less," Fry gasped as she held her stomach. Fry was really glad to see them. The pains had quickly come on her, growing in strength each time. Bianca kept things calm and orderly having plenty of time to prepare for this very thing. "Let get you to the hovercraft and then to the medic bay," Nix said as he helped her up. Fry leaned on him for support as he carefully helped her down the stairs and into the craft. It would take at least half and hour to get below the water and find the medics and at the rate that Fry was having contractions he was sure they wouldn't make it. So he instead headed back to the Indians camp. Surely someone there would be ready and able to deliver the baby with no problem. The real problem was finding Riddick and getting him back to the camp before he missed the blessed event.

 

Riddick caught the grommert in mid air, snapping it's neck in one smooth movement. Audrey applauded him in his catch. It was hard to catch them and they were really tasty cooked. They were small creatures that almost resembled frogs on earth. Only Grommerts were a lot bigger and didn't have any eyes. They were often found in underground caves and tunnels. Riddick had the gift to find and catch them easier than the others, only Cain was able to catch them like Riddick did. Audrey licked her lips at the thought of having Grommert for her birthday dinner. Sawyer had a way of coating them so they were like Fried Chicken, only better.

Riddick stuffed the Grommert in his bag and looked up at Audrey. Even with his eyes goggled she knew something was wrong. "What's wrong?" she asked him nervously. He paused for a moment before approaching her. "Don't know," he stated pursing his lips. Nyte approached the two and nudged Audrey roughly in the back letting her know he agreed with Riddick. That was enough of a sign for him. In one smooth move he was seated on Nyte. "Let's get back," he ordered, pulling her up behind him with one strong arm. "Do you think somethings wrong?" She asked him as they took to the sky. When he didn't answer her she knew there was.

 

Fry held her stomach as Nix helped her to the tepee. The women laughed and smiled as they realized the time had come for her to give birth. Bianca had to laugh at how sick looking Nix had gotten at the thought of the baby coming. "Why are you so nervous? You're not the father," Bianca nudged him. He swallowed and gave her a nervous look. "I promised Riddick I'd look after Fry if he wasn't around when the baby was born. I just never thought he'd not be around," he added as he wiped his forehead. Bianca laughed and patted him on the chest. "I'd be willing to bet he'll show up, that man can sense just about anything. I swear he's got psychic ability," she added as Fry called out for her. "I'm here Carolyn," she called out as she approached her.

They entered a very large tepee as the women gathered the things needed for the birth. Fry attempted to walk off the pains as yet another wave washed over her. "Get Richard," she gasped to Bianca. "Don't worry, I'm willing to bet he's on the way already," she comforted her. When the flap was opened up Fry and Bianca both looked hoping to find Riddick, instead it was Imam. "I just wanted to see if you needed my assistance for anything," he said, moving out of the way of the women moving about in the tepee. "I think we've got it Imam, but thanks," Bianca smiled at him. He nodded and headed back outside. He met Tanner as she approached him and he placed a warm hand on her swollen stomach. Soon he would hold his new baby in his arms and be a father again.

Fry bit down to keep from crying out as the pain now flooded her entire body, or so it seemed. "Remind me to never ever do this again!" she snapped at Bianca when the worst of it came over her. Bianca laughed. "I doubt you'll be saying that when you hold this kid in your arms," she answered. "By the way Carolyn, just how long have you really been in labor?" Bianca asked her getting a feeling it was a lot longer than a few hours. "I think I actually started having the labor pains yesterday, mid afternoon I'd guess. I didn't say anything since I was afraid to waste everyone's time for false labor again," she reasoned. Bianca rolled her eyes and gave her a tisking. "You should have told someone, especially Riddick, he'll be so pissed off if he misses this," she added just as the tepee flap opened again. Once again they both looked up hoping to see Riddick, instead it was Cain. "I heard the baby was on the way, need any help? He asked, concern etched on his face. "Good Lord! If the next man who enters this tepee isn't Richard I'm going to rip his head off!" Fry yelled. Bianca left her side for a moment to lead Cain out. "Just keep a lookout for Riddick, that will be most helpful," she told him calmly. Cain smiled showing he realized how far along Fry was. "I'll take care of it," he nodded as he headed back outside.

By the time Bianca turned back to Fry she was getting closer by the minute. "Why don't you lie down now, I have a feeling it won't be long," Bianca said, helping Fry to the ground. "I'm not having this baby without Richard here!" She snapped as the baby got closer. "Riddick or not, this baby is on the way," Bianca replied just as firmly. For the third time the tepee flap opened and finally it was Riddick. "Richard!" Fry cried as she saw it was finally him. Bianca sighed with relief as he approached the two of them. "I'll take it from here," he said seriously as he relieved her. Bianca wiped her sweaty forehead as she stepped away. Fry wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him to her. "I thought you wouldn't make it on time," she said as the sweat dripped down her face. Riddick pulled her sweat filled hair out of her face. "And miss out on all the fun?" He joked with her as she felt an urge to push. "What do you say we get this kid out," he said as he let out a nervous breath. Fry nodded in total agreement.

"Okay girl, give us a nice long push," Bianca said as she got in place to deliver the baby. She had trained on this very moment to help the medics when the time came, only now it was her and the other Indian women that would do the delivery. Fry nodded as she closed her eyes and pushed with all the strength she had. She could feel the baby moving out of her body and was filled with an odd exhilaration. "That was a good one, rest for a second and lets have another, okay?" Bianca asked her again. Fry nodded. "Take deep breaths," Riddick instructed her as he moved in behind her to give her extra support. She listened to his voice and it calmed her. "I gotta push," she told them as she began to push. She held the next one longer than the first and was hopeful she had made progress. "I can see the head!" Bianca cried out in excitement. Riddick tried to see the baby but was unable to with so many people in the way. "It's close Carolyn, keep it up," Riddick replied trying to keep her going. She scrunched her face up as she pushed again hoping to finish the birth. "Good Fry, just one more and I think I'll have it," she said happily.

Fry took a deep breath and pushed again feeling as if she were being torn in two. Oddly enough, thoughts of when those aliens took her from Riddick's arms flashed through her mind as the last year of her life seemed to come full circle. "Here we go, got it," Bianca replied seriously as she caught the baby in a blanket. "Where is it? Is it okay?" Fry asked straining to get a look. Riddick didn't say anything but he was straining to get a look as well. A strong cry came from the baby as Bianca cleaned it off. She rolled it onto it's back as she wiped it off and a huge grin covered her face. "It's a girl!" She replied as a tear flowed down her cheek. "And she is so beautiful!" She added as the other women cut the cord. Slowly Riddick helped Fry lay down as Bianca placed their baby girl in her arms. The two of them peered inside the blanket at their new little baby. She was wrinkled and red and looked at them as if she had just been to hell and back but she was the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen. Fry looked her over for anything unusual before looking up at him in awe.

Riddick didn't say a word as he gently took his daughters little hand in his. An overwhelming feeling of love rushed through him as he looked first at his daughter and then to Fry. "I can't believe this, we have a daughter Richard," Fry said as tears poured down her face. Riddick kissed her on the cheek as he looked back down at the baby. He just couldn't believe this child was part of him, he took part in creating her life and now she was theirs. "She's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen," he said numbly. He was at a loss for words and all he wanted to do was sit there and look at her forever. Bianca began to get cleaned up as she opened the tepee flap and went outside to get some fresh air. Audrey met her two feet from the door. "What happened? Is it okay? When can I see it?" She asked frantically. Bianca patted her on the arm. "Everything's fine Audrey" she comforted her. "It's a girl!" She announced to everyone waiting for the news.

Audrey's face lit up like a Christmas tree as Cain gave her a huge hug swinging her around in the process. "I wish I'd of been there," Audrey added more softly as she realized what she'd missed. Bianca gave her a smile knowing once she saw the baby she'd forget all about missing the birth. "Give them a few minutes and I'll see if you can go in," she added as Nix approached her. He placed his arm around Audrey's shoulder. "You wouldn't have wanted to see it anyway, I almost threw up at the thought. You were better off out here with us," he said trying to cheer her up. Audrey put on a happy face and sighed. "I guess you're right. There probably wasn't enough room for me anyway." She reasoned. Bianca nodded in agreement and turned to go back in.

"Hey guys, Audrey's dying out there, can I let her in?" Fry looked at Riddick worried that they had left her out of the whole thing. He nodded at Bianca to let her know it was fine. Bianca opened the flap and nodded for Audrey to go in. She raced inside excited to see the baby. She stopped a few feet inside as the sight of the little slimy baby came into view. Fry held out her hand to her and tears came to her eyes as she took it and sat down next to them. She looked at the baby in awe and then up at Riddick. "I knew she'd be a girl, I knew it!" She said happily "And we even share the same Birthday!" She added smugly. Riddick messed her hair with his free hand. "You just knew it," he teased her with a grin. He felt like a new man that day. Audrey went to Riddick's side and leaned her head against his chest. He wrapped his arm around her and pulled her close. For some reason she just had to feel close to him now. As if she wanted to take part in his transition to the human race. The three of them sat there together in silence as they watched the squirming infant. Nothing from that day on would ever be the same for any of them.

They sat there in silence for Fifteen minutes before Bianca popped back inside again. "Hey everyone's getting restless to see the first born on Twilightworld. Riddick and Audrey do you want to take the baby outside as we finish up with Fry?" Bianca asked with a smile. Riddick looked nervous at having to hold his little girl, but he didn't hesitate to take her in his arms. With Audrey in tow, he placed a small kiss on his baby's cheek as he carried her outside. A loud cheer followed his exit and Fry laughed. "People are acting as if a princess was born or something," she said to Bianca as she readjusted herself on the blanket. "In a way she is, she's the first born on the planet, so that singles her out as different. Not a bad different, just different. And how many kids do you think will have a father like Riddick? Not many you can bet," Bianca said with a laugh.

Fry and Riddick waited patiently as the medic's did a scan on their daughter. Even though they had assured them that the baby was in excellent health before she was born, they were both glad to hear it now that she was here. Once the exam was over and all was well, Fry could feel her eyelids getting heavy as she fought to keep from nodding off. She was more tired than ever before in her life and longed to close her eyes and sleep. Noticing Fry, Bianca took the baby from the medic and put her in the makeshift crib the indians had prepared for them. It didn't take long for the baby to fall fast asleep, she'd had a rough day too. As soon as Fry saw the baby was asleep she gave up the fight and fell asleep herself. Riddick sat down across from them and tried to take it all in. He was a father now and that was the last thing he ever thought he'd be. What kind of a father would he make? He found it odd that now that the baby was actually here he was a lot less worried about the future. He was excited to teach her all he knew about life and the world. No matter what, their daughter was going to have a good life. He'd personally see to that.

 

Two days later, once they were securely back at home, Fry realized they had totally missed Audrey's birthday party. Her concern over not wanting Audrey to feel left out put her into a complete party mode. Everyone else joined in to help her out and soon they were hours from the party. The only thing different this time around was that both Audrey and Riddick were present and accounted for. Fry was decorating the cabin porch with balloons as Tanner watched the baby. A loud wail from the cradle brought Fry immediately to her side. She opened her shirt as she picked her up and began to breast feed her hungry daughter. Tanner watched her thoughtfully and Fry realized she wished her baby were there as well. "It won't be long now Tanner, try to hang in there," Fry said knowing what she was thinking. "I know, I guess I'm more afraid than anything. What if something is wrong with my baby?" She asked looking down at her round belly. "Well, the medic's have kept a close eye on you and the baby. They may not have all the technological equipment they did back on XTC but they know what they're doing. I wouldn't worry too much about it, I'm sure you're both fine," Fry added trying to calm her fears.

Tanner sighed and looked out over the land before them. "I hope you're right. This baby was conceived in such bizarre circumstances. No telling what that alien did to my body," she said as she rubbed her belly. Fry looked over at her unsure of what to say. She was right, who could say for sure what the aliens had done to her body. With Bianca and Fry it was in their bodies for a few moments. "You know Carolyn, this barbeque party was a great idea. Audrey will have a great time," Tanner added attempting to break up the uncomfortable silence. "I know, it will be great to have everyone all together again," Fry replied as she noticed people coming down the path. "Here comes everyone," she smiled, glad for the interruption. She waved from her seat on the porch and everyone waved back. There was no need for her to go down to meet them as Audrey, quite winded from running, greeted them excitedly.

Audrey gasped as she opened the present from Riddick. "They are perfect Riddick!" She yelled immediately hugging him. "I can't wait to put this on Nyte and see how he feels about it." She added as she held up her gift so everyone could see what she had gotten, especially Fry who sat on the porch steps while the baby slept in the bassinet near her. She nodded to let Audrey know she had seen it. That being the last present to open everyone headed for the large banquet of food that had been prepared. Fry headed for the table just as the baby started to cry. Riddick saw her turn to go and stopped her. "I'll get her, you get some food." He replied to her as he handed her his plate. The baby was crying much harder by the time he got to her side. "Hey now, what's all the fuss?" He said to her as he slid his hand under her tiny little head and gentle picked her up out of the bassinet. He cradled her in his arms and she instantly stopped crying. "How do you do that every time?" Bianca asked in awe. "That's something we don't question, but we're really glad he can do that," Fry interjected with a smile. "I'll bet you are," Bianca returned.

"Speaking of the baby, when are you two going to name her?" Imam asked as he picked up a slice of beef. Fry looked over at Riddick as he glanced at her. "Well, we have thought about it, but nothing really sounds like her. We want it to be a special name," she said looking fondly at her little daughter. Imam paused for a moment as if thinking back to another time. "I have always been fond of the name Zayda, it means fortunate or lucky one in my language." Imam replied. "And I believe she is quite lucky to have you two as parents, and Audrey as a sister," he added with a nod in her direction. "Zayda," Fry said out loud. "That is pretty. What do you think Richard?" Fry asked him. He looked down at the baby. "What do you think of that name?" He asked her. She smiled at him in response. "Well, she's smiling so I guess she likes it. Zayda it is then," he said as Fry came to his side. "Zayda Fry Riddick has a nice ring to it," she said as she ran her hand over her daughter's fuzzy blond head of hair. "Thank god, now we can stop calling her the baby. I was afraid she'd get stuck with baby as a nickname or something," Audrey said with relief. Everyone laughed as they went about filling their plates. It was turning out to be a great day.

By the time darkness fell, a huge bon fire was lit and the Indians danced as the party continued on. They had chosen a name for Zayda now that she had been given her birth name. Fry's heart raced as she watched them dance very intricate dances that many generations of their families had in turn taught them. Their legacies would continue on and she was happy for them. Once the dancing stopped, Talon approached Fry and Riddick and took Zayda from them. "The first child of this planet has been born," he started as he bounced her lightly in his arms. "When we were thinking of what to call this child, my children, along with Sky Flyer, thought long and hard about how she came to be. Sky Flyer thought back to when they were on that terrible world where they almost lost their lives and she recalled how the darkness scared her. She also mentioned that now Zayda was born she would always keep them from fearing the darkness for she would always be a light that would fill the darkness. So now we give Zayda the gift of an Indian name, A glow in Darkness," he replied. "She will be her parents legacy," he said with pride as he held her up for all to see. Fry wiped away the tears that trickled down her cheek as she looked at Riddick. While he didn't show any emotion on the outside, he was quite moved by the name. The words held a lot of meaning for the original four. They had chosen a name well suited to Zayda and he was proud of his daughter.

Fry wrapped her arm around Audrey and pulled her to the two of them. "Thank you Audrey," She said as she hugged her. "All I could think of were those slugs that lit up that cave. If they hadn't been there we would have died for sure. And Riddick would never be who he is now. I guess Zayda will be like those slugs, in a good way and all," she shrugged trying to keep from crying herself. "Good thinking kid," Riddick added to Fry's sentiments. "What are sisters for?" Audrey said attempting to break up all the mushiness. By the time Talon returned Zayda to her parents she was sound asleep. "Looks like someone's ready for bed," Fry replied as she took her inside.

Once Zayda was snugly tucked in for the night, Fry rejoined everyone out on the porch. It was getting late and the party was beginning to die down. Most of the people had gone and all that was left were the main group. Audrey had begged Riddick to let her put the new gear on Nyte and since it was dark he went with her to see how things worked out. Audrey rushed off to greet Nyte with Riddick close behind, and the others remained to chat on the porch. A flicker of a torch lit up the pathway and everyone looked out to see who was coming. Fry could make out a woman and two men but did not know who they were. When the woman finally got into the light they all stood up to greet her. "Can we help you?" Nix asked, not happy about some strangers showing up out of the blue. "Yes, I believe you can. My name is Elena Johns," she said as if knowing they would recognize her name. Fry held her breath as the familiar name sunk in. She maintained her composure as she stepped down the steps and approached her. The others weren't far behind.

"What's your purpose here?" she asked not wanting to let on she knew the last name well. "I have been trying to find the whereabouts of my husband. His name is Lawrence Johns, but he mostly goes by his last name, Johns." Fry looked over at Imam and was at a loss of what to tell her. "He was sent to bring a dangerous murderer named Riddick back to slam city and I never heard from him again." She continued. Fry swallowed hard and maintained her cool. "He was on my ship when we crash landed on a planet, I didn't know him all that well. I'm sorry to be the one to tell you, but I'm afraid the aliens on that planet killed him." Fry replied solemnly. "A look of shock crossed Elena's face as her footing wavered and she was held up by the two men with her. Fry instantly felt awful to see her take it so badly. She had to have been looking for answers for over a year now. And while Johns may have been a bad human, that didn't mean his wife was a well. "Are you sure that Riddick didn't kill him?" She asked, her voice firm. Fry shook her head as Imam took her arm to give her support. "No, Um...Riddick died on impact, Johns died later on. He tried to save us all," Fry lied through her teeth. She eased her conscious by telling herself the past was gone, there was no sense on hurting the woman.

Apparently she had no clue what her husband was really like. Fry tried valiantly to keep her eyes from darting around seeking out Riddick. Surely Elena knew what he looked like, the shined eyes would give him away in an instant. And that would mean they would have to either silence the woman or Riddick would have to leave them forever. The option of heading into space again in the hopes of finding a new home was out of the question, as much as she loved Riddick, they could not raise Zayda as a runaway criminal. She knew Riddick would agree with her on that.

Elena smiled to herself as she realized they were falling for her story. She knew Riddick was alive and well on the planet. She had followed his trail ever since Imam received word from Audrey. After she discovered who the other passengers on the Hunter Gratzner were and found Imam on earth she knew he was the key to finding Riddick. But simply killing Riddick would be too easy; she wanted him to suffer all his life for killing her husband. Johns had become obsessed with Riddick, turning away from her when he had escaped from slam city. It was Riddicks fault that Johns became so violent. Sure he had an evil streak before he even heard of Riddick, relying on drugs to get through the day, but it was Riddick that turned him into a monster. She had been almost three months pregnant when her husband left to find Riddick. Her own drug habit grew more and more every day Johns didn't return. Her unborn baby died a month later. She never gave up trying to find Riddick and make him pay for the loss of her family.

"Sorry we cannot help you more, but only a few of us survived on that planet," Imam replied seriously. "I see," Elena said nodding her head as if she understood. "Well then I guess I've wasted my time in coming here," she replied more coolly. Fry felt a trickle of sweat on her forehead and hoped it didn't portray her nervousness. She felt a terrible urge to jump the woman and her companions to keep them from telling others about TW. Elena now gave her a bad vibe and Fry's defenses rose. "I guess we'll be going then, please continue on with what you were doing," she said as they turned to go. While Fry felt a bit more relaxed at their departure she was still on guard. It was almost as if somehow they were there to distract them or something. Outside of her reaction to the news of Johns, Elena really never seemed fully into the conversation when she spoke. They watched them go until they couldn't see them anymore and Fry got a terrible feeling they had kept them busy as they captured Riddick. She asked Bianca to watch after Zayda while she and Nix went to look for him.

Visions of finding a dead Riddick and Audrey fueled her step when a shrill scream from the cabin drew her back. Bianca stumbled down the steps as she raced to her. "Zayda's gone!" She screamed. "No one has her, and her cradle is empty." Bianca cried. The blood instantly fled her face as a sheet of white replaced it. "Oh God! My baby! They took our baby!" Fry screamed as a sickening fear like no other shocked her into running blindly to find Riddick. She fell many times, as she couldn't see where she was going that well. Her heart beat harder with each step, what if they had killed Riddick and Audrey and taken Zayda, or worse killed her too. She was beyond panicked when she found Nyte and no one else. "Richard!" She screamed as Nix and Bianca finally caught up to her. "Carolyn!" Riddick called as he heard her terrified scream. He was by her side in mere seconds with Audrey in tow. "What's wrong?!" He asked firmly as he took her by the arms. "They took Zayda!" She cried as she gasped in air. She felt as if her lungs would explode as horrified as she was. "Who did?!" He growled. "Johns wife was here Riddick, they came and asked about you and then they left. Now Zayda is missing from the cabin," Nix responded when Fry was unable to get the words out clearly. Riddick let Fry go and scanned the terrain. He could clearly see an unknown vessel taking to the sky with his shined eyes. Immediately he jumped onto Nyte and Fry jumped on behind him. Nyte, sensing something was wrong, took to the sky at full force. Fry had never ridden him before but now she trusted him to help get to their baby, and that was all that mattered to her.

Nyte's strong wings carried them quickly to the vessel and it appeared as if they were undetected. Nyte kept them by the vessel as Riddick used the outside emergency latch to open the side hatch. Before it was fully open Fry leaped inside knocking one of the men to the floor. She pulled the weapon from his hands when he drew it on her and turned it toward him. "Never fuck with a mother! Now where's my baby?!" She screamed at him trying to be heard over the winds that now filled the cabin. He pointed a finger toward the front of the vessel and Fry knocked him out cold with the butt of the weapon. Riddick looked almost surprised by her actions as together they headed to the front of the ship. The next room was small but Zayda was in a small cryotube in the wall. Fry stepped toward her just as the soft whoosh of a door opening drew their attention. It was Elena and she looked surprised to find them there. Fry pointed the weapon at her just as another man came from behind them. "Get them Isrial!" Elena yelled at him. When Fry turned to look at the man she was calling out to, Elena knocked the weapon from her hands. Fry leaped at her with all her strength managing to knock her to the ground. She grabbed her by the hair and beat her head against the floor. "She's our baby, not yours!" Fry barked over the wind as she smacked her in the jaw. "You killed my husband and my baby, you owe me!" Elena yelled back as blood began to ooze from her mouth. "It was his own damn fault! He got what he deserved!" Fry screamed back as she finally knocked her unconscious. It was at that moment that Fry realized what she was doing. She let her hair go and crawled away from her. She joined Riddick who had already taken care of the unarmed man that had come after him. They assumed all that was left was the one piloting the vessel who couldn't let go of the controls due to the loss in cabin pressure. "Let's get Zayda and get out of here!" Fry yelled trying to keep her voice above the shrill wind.

Riddick ripped open the cryotube with ease and took her out. She seemed no worse for wear and they were both relieved to find her okay. "You're not taking her Riddick, she's mine," Elena said from behind them. Apparently she was faking her unconsciousness and had managed to get to her weapon that was now pointed at them. "There's no way I'm handing her over to you!" Riddick barked. Elena wiped the blood from her mouth and stared straight at him. "Then I guess I'll have to kill you both and take her," she said pulling the trigger. A sudden sharp jolt to the side of the vessel jostled them around and the beam of fire barely missed Riddick as it hit the side of the ship. Yet another jolt hit them and everyone attempted to regain their footing. It was as if someone, or some thing had run into them. When they all regained their balance, it happened again. "Nyte! He's trying to help us!" Fry exclaimed. Elena shot them an annoyed look before opening the door that led to the side hatch. She maintained her footing while propping the door open with one foot as she shot at Nyte from the doorway. "Damn animal!" She screamed as she kept her eyes on Riddick and Fry.

When the vessel stopped rocking she smiled. "Guess I showed him," she smirked. "Now, hand over the kid," She added coolly. "Not a chance you crazy fuck," Riddick replied. Elena's face turned beat red as she fired at them again. This time Fry ducked and the laser beam struck the metal wall. A curse came from the pilot on Elena's wrist communicator as the vessel began to lose altitude quickly. "Didn't anyone teach you never to fire a weapon inside a ship?" Riddick mocked her with that wry sarcasm he knew so well. "Elena! Get up here and help me, we're losing altitude!" the pilots voice yelled from her wrist. She pointed the gun at Riddick. "Get up there and help him!" She ordered. He shook his head no. "I'm tired of this shit, I'd rather take my chances and jump," He bit out at her. She watched them closely as she took one look at them and then to the front of the vessel. She pointed the weapon at them again and fired. They both took their cue and bolted for the back of the vessel. The doors hissed shut just as the beams hit. Fry looked out the side hatch and was horrified to find Nyte was gone. "Oh God!" she screamed. "He's gone!" She looked at Zayda with fear in her eyes. They had come too far just to die like this.

They shared an equal look that said they were glad they would die together. "Maybe you could land this piece of junk like you did the Hunter G," Riddick half joked with her. She let out a sarcastic laugh knowing the vessel would not crash land as well as the Hunter G did, if you could call it well. "Are you kidding?! This vessel would come down like a meteor," she screamed over the wind. A thud to the bottom of the vessel brought them both to attention and sure enough it was Nyte. He was bleeding but not dead by any means. Fry jumped on first and took Zayda and Riddick followed. They left the vessel just as it started a flat spin toward the surface. At the rate it was falling, the vessel would reach the ground at the same time as they would. As pissed off at Elena as Fry was, she almost felt sorry for her. Elena's life just wasn't meant to turn out well and that was sad for anyone.

Nyte landed on the soft dirt beside the cabins just as the vessel collided into the earth, causing the ground to explode in reaction. Everyone had been watching the skies for any sign of them and began to race to their side as soon as they landed. Audrey got to them first and grabbed them both before they could even get fully off of Nyte. "You made it!" Bianca yelled as she hugged Fry. "We were most concerned this was finally the end for you two," Imam replied with relief. Zayda yawned in reply and Fry was relieved she wasn't hurt. "I hope like hell that's the last of our demons to haunt us," she said to Riddick. "I don't think you have to worry, although the way you took care of business up there, I'm concerned for my own safety," Riddick joked with her to attempt and calm everyone down. "Oh no! Nyte! You're bleeding!" Audrey yelped in worry as she noticed the yellow blood flowing down his chest. "She shot you?" She asked him sadly as she looked at his wound. "It's not too bad a shot, we'll get him back to normal before you know it," Riddick said trying to get her to stay calm. "You know, he saved our lives Audrey. We'll treat him like a king around here from now on," Fry added patting him on the neck. Nyte let out a snort as if trying to tell Audrey he would indeed be all right. "I just wish everything could stay nice and boring for a while," Bianca said shaking her head at all the excitement. "Let's hope, but first we're going to have to clean up that mess," Nix said hoisting his thumb toward the burning vessel. Everyone nodded in agreement. The evidence had to be removed, if they were ever to have peace on TW. "We'll have to take care of it at daybreak, it's so late now," Bianca added thinking of all the work that had to be done. "Uh, you better count me out," Tanner said as she held her belly. "I just went into labor. Too much excitement I guess," she shrugged with a grimace as everyone gave her their undivided attention. Imam acted quickly getting her back to the cabin and into a shuttle to Cain's underwater city.

 

Nearly twenty-four hours later, Tanner still hadn't given birth and even though Imam refused to leave her side, everyone took turns sitting with her in the medic bay. At the moment Nix and Bianca, having pulled their shift, were now walking along one of the lakesides. Nix took her hand in his and she smiled at him in response. "I've been thinking Bianca" he started as together they sat down on a large rock. "Yeah Nix, bout what?" She asked knowing he had something heavy on his mind. "After Riddick and Fry returned alive, it really made me think of how short life really is. I mean, my wife's death pretty much showed me that before. But now after being with you these past months, it's made me see things differently," he replied looking away from her for a moment. "What are you trying to say?" She asked feeling her heart speed up a bit. He seldom showed a shy side. In fact this was the only time she'd seen him act like this. "I guess what I'm trying to say is why don't we drop this separation game we're playing and move on," he said looking directly at her. She immediately let his hand go. "Oh God," she replied as the tears formed in her eyes. He was dumping her. The fear of being with her was too great for him. "Bianca, I'm asking you to marry me," he explained shaking his head at her misunderstanding. "I'm not very good at this sort of thing, sorry it came out so wrong," he added with a tilt of his head.

Bianca's emotions shifted dramatically and she looked up at him almost as if she didn't hear him correctly. "Really?" She asked with genuine surprise. "Yes, Really. I think being apart is stupid; it's time we moved on with our lives. Maybe had a kid or two who knows," he responded with a sly shrug. Bianca laughed at how giddy she now felt inside. She had never imagined anyone would propose to her. "Is that a yes or a no?" Nix asked getting a bit nervous for laying his emotions on the line like he had. "You bet your ass it's a yes!" She yelled jumping up into his lap and planting a large kiss on his mouth. "God I love you!" She yelled with a laugh. He slowed enough to take her face in his hands. "Love you too," He responded and the two of them fell to the soft grass in a strong embrace. Laughing in between kisses, the two of them immediately became aroused by their closeness. Bianca pulled his shirt off over his head and tossed it aside. Running her hands over his tight chest she snickered as he pulled her shirt off. It didn't take long before they were as naked as Adam and Eve. Bianca's hair came loose and Nix ran his hand through it pulling her close to him. Slowly he made his way down her body and she knew exactly what his intentions were.

She wasn't shy; spreading her legs wide for him welcoming the intense pleasure he was about to bring to her. He suckled at her moist folds knowing exactly what he was doing. He hadn't been at it long when she was taken by surprise by how easily he was able to find the right spots and bring her to a hard orgasm that seemed to last forever. She pressed her body harder against his mouth as her body spasmed by the exquisite feeling. By the time he made his way back to her breasts and took a nipple into his mouth the two of them were as wild as animals and took each other with the same voracious appetite. Nix, not being able to wait any longer, hoisted her legs up and quickly slid inside her waiting opening. She let out a sigh of pleasure and closed her eyes to better experience feeling him inside her. He filled her entirely with each thrust and she let out a little yelp in response. How she had longed for him to take her like this, down in the grass, naked and alone to the world.

The coolness of the rain as it began to sprinkle down on them only added to the intense pleasure they were sharing. She looked up at him and ran a hand down his wet cheek. They were now getting drenched, but that wasn't a concern to either of them. Nix leaned down and kissed her openly, sliding his tongue inside her mouth, which caused her to want him even more. She responded by thrusting upwards against his thrust. They pounded each other like they were making love for the first time. The wetness from the rain made it all the easier for them to ride each other's slippery bodies until they couldn't take it anymore. She could feel Nix speeding up and knew he was close. He let out little grunts as he held her tightly to him as he thrust deep inside her body, finally coming in a blinding pleasure that couldn't be described in human terms. When he was finished he collapsed gently onto her body as the pleasure still coursed through him. She ran her hands over his back and wrapped her legs around him tightly. They stayed there in that tight embrace for several moments neither of them willing to let it end just yet.

 

Fry wiped her wet brow as she stepped from the underwater vehicle. Riddick was two steps behind her with Zayda in hand just as Nix and Bianca approached them. They were not only flushed and giddy, but also completely drenched by the rain that had now stopped. Both Riddick and Fry knew what they had been up to and looked at them with envy. Fry was still unable to have sex yet and time was the only cure. "What have you two been up too?" Fry asked, not bothering to disguise her teasing tone. "Oh nothing much," Bianca replied with a hearty laugh. "Nix just proposed!" She blurted out unable to keep it to herself any longer. "What?! Fry asked in complete shock. "When did this happen?" She added giving her a hug. "About two hours ago, she's been going nuts waiting for you to come back so she could tell you," Nix said.

"We asked Talon if he would do the honors and he agreed!" She added almost like a young excited schoolgirl. "The first wedding on the planet," Fry replied with a laugh glancing over at Riddick for a reaction. His brow knitted up and she realized he was worried about something. "Isn't that great news Richard?" She asked him with a nudge. He gave a grunt of agreement as Nix shook his hand. Fry had no idea what had him so worked up, but she was determined to bring it up when they were alone. Bianca could also sense something was up and quickly changed the subject. "What news is there of Tanner and the baby?" She asked almost abruptly. Fry shook her head. "Nothing yet, the little guy just isn't ready to appear. Tanner is trying to hang in there but she fears the aliens have somehow harmed her or the baby. No matter how many times the Medics keep reassuring her she just doesn't believe them," Fry shook her head sadly. "I'm sure once the baby is born and everything is as it should be it will be long forgotten," Bianca said with a smile. "I agree, it can feel so out of control when you're in labor but when it's all over things seem back to normal," Fry agreed. "Well, it's our turn to visit with them for a while, so I guess we should get going. We'll talk later?" She asked Fry as she headed for the vessel. Fry nodded in response. "You bet, just come find me and we'll discuss the wedding arrangements," she added as she stepped away from the vessel to allow them to pass. Nix patted Riddick on the back as he passed him and followed Bianca inside.

Once they were gone Fry glanced over at Riddick. "Okay, what's up?" She asked him as they headed for the cabin. "And don't tell me nothing, I know that brow of yours all to well," she added quickly before he could respond. "I never expected Nix to marry again," he said matter of factly. She looked over at him and just knew there was more to it than that. "And?" she asked wanting him to continue. When he didn't reply she touched his arm and he stopped walking. Even through his goggles she could tell he was about to say something he felt was not a good thing. "I'm not sure about marriage," he said calmly, softly. Fry was surprised by his words. The thought had never crossed her mind and he was worried about it now that Bianca and Nix were taking that first step. Fry snorted and waved a hand at him. "That's what you're worried about?" She asked him with relief. "Believe me Richard, I'm not sure about it myself. We don't have to rush into anything," she added more gently touching his arm to let him know how much his worry meant to her.

"That's the whole thing, because I know I love you, I know that now. And I don't want to lose you," he added much more seriously looking her directly in the eyes. Her complexion actually changed from one of pure white to a pleasant pink. "I can't believe you just said that. I never thought you'd be able to say that," she replied in a surprised whisper. Had he really said he loved her? Actually said the words? "As much as I know what the words mean," his deep voice continued. "When Zayda was born I felt it more then than ever before, it was like a light turned on inside. Once I understood what it felt like I realized I love you and Audrey as well. Does that sound right?" He asked, finally finding himself in unfamiliar territory. "That sounds exactly right Richard. I don't think there are any words than can actually explain love; it's just something you feel," she replied with a shrug. "I just never thought I'd hear those words from you. I always felt it, but I never thought I'd hear you say it," she smiled and hugged him waking Zayda from her nap in her fathers arms. "Just don't think for one minute my not marrying you has anything to do with my feelings toward you. I want to be with you two, and Audrey, for as long as I'm capable," he added motioning to Zayda in his arms. "And I feel exactly the same way you do, I know that together we will be a strong force in this world. We were meant to be together like this. Besides, legally we're already married, well sort of.." Fry teased him as she tapped her wrist. Riddick immediately recalled the day those aliens had joined them. Were they already married? He wondered. Fry laughed as she could see the concerned brow scrunch up again. Joined or not, Fry was happy to have him as her partner.

 

Fry and Riddick had barely made it back to their cabin when a frantic Audrey raced through the door. Tears glistened her eyes as she looked at them. "Come quick, something's wrong with the baby," she gasped out as her panic sank in. Fry felt sick to her stomach as she instinctively took Zayda from Riddick. Tanner had been correct in the assessment of her baby. Without another word they all headed to Cain's underwater world to hear the bad news. "Start from the beginning Audrey, what happened?" Fry asked. Audrey swallowed and placed her hands calmly in her lap. "The baby was finally coming and I was about to go find you guys when the medics became upset about something. They were running all around the bed as all these alarms went off. I heard one of them say the baby had no heartbeat.." Audrey could barely continue as speaking the words out loud brought forth a terrible emotional outburst. Riddick took her in his arms and cradled her head to his chest. She grabbed onto his shirt for dear life. In her mind she had envisioned Zayda and Imam's baby growing up together with her as their guide, now it was beginning to seem that Imam was not to be blessed by god ever again. Fry felt the pressure of tears as she thought the same thing. After he lost so much, to lose even more. How would he ever cope? Fry and Riddick's eyes met and they both looked down at Zayda, They had their baby, a normal healthy little girl and everyone celebrated. If Imam's baby died there would be a great time of mourning by all. The underwater cab seemed to take an eternity to arrive and Fry hoped not to hear the worst when they got there.

A teary eyed Bianca, now completely subdued, met them at the entrance. "What's going on?" Fry asked as she hugged her. "The baby is here, but its poor little heart just won't stay beating. They're doing all they can, I just don't know if it will be enough," she shook her head as she began to cry. Losing the baby would be a blow to all of them. They had come to love this planet and wanted it to remain a happy place. Being one person short because the baby died would be a tragedy. "How are Tanner and Imam?" Fry asked as they continued to walk. "Tanner's health is in no danger, but she blames herself for the baby being in trouble. Imam is praying by her side in hopes that god will help the baby. Its gut wrenching to see this," Bianca let out a sigh. "And here I was all happy about Nix proposing," she said. Fry took her arm. "Don't feel guilty for being happy, you deserve to feel that way about being in love. These are two totally different situations. We'll get through this no matter what happens," Fry said confidently. Bianca nodded in understanding. Fry was glad she sounded convincing to her, she wished she believed that herself.

Once they rounded the corner they were met with several pairs of sad eyes. Sawyer, Nix, and Cain looked up at them with relief. "Thank god you're here," Sawyer said jumping up to greet them. Audrey left Riddick's side to join Cain. He put his arm around her shoulders and whispered soothingly to her. "Any news?" Riddick asked Nix. "Nothing yet. It's been pretty quiet here lately. I hope that's a good sign," he said looking down at his clasped hands. Silence could be a sign of both good and bad, hearing which one was the hard part. Slowly everyone sat down for the long hard wait. Minutes ticked by and felt like ions instead. If only someone would come out and give them some news, Fry thought frantically as she looked down at her sleeping baby. At least Zayda had remained quiet and calm. Having her fussy or crying would not be good at that moment. Suddenly the whoosh of a door brought everyone out of their seats as a solemn Imam approached them.

He took out a cloth and wiped his face and neck before taking a deep breath. "It appears that he is finally out of danger, for the moment anyway," he said with relief. Everyone immediately began to congratulate him and he put his hands up to stop them. "Please, allow me to explain what is happening," he said as he sat down. All eyes were on him as he took a deep breath. "It's a boy. He was born with a beating heart, but soon after it began to falter. The medics could find no reason why his heart was stopping and starting like it was. It was as if a battle for his very life was taking place inside him. It looks as if he has won. The medics ran tests on him and discovered some residuals left over from the alien that had taken over Tanner's body. They are a part of his cells now and will be all his life," he paused a moment to catch his breath and Fry jumped in. "What exactly will this mean for him?" She asked wondering how that would affect his quality of life.

Imam ran a hand over his eyes in exhaustion. "We don't know yet. We probably won't know until he grows older. The medics have speculated he may have extrasensory perception in one or all of his normal human attributes. He may possibly see better or hear better than normal. His sense of smell may be more heightened or he'll be more sensitive to touch. No one will know for sure until he grows," he said finally growing silent. "That's not a totally bad thing, is it?" Audrey perked up. "I mean it's not like he will have a disability or anything," she added innocently. Imam patted her on the hand grateful for her belief that he would be all right in the end. "We shall see Audrey, time will tell. For the meantime he will stay here until they are positive his heart rate will remain normal," he replied standing up. "I better go to Orion now, she is having a hard time with this. Please come back and visit us tomorrow, things will be better then," he added hopeful it would be the case.

 

Fry and Bianca sat on the bed as Tanner nursed her son. Two days had passed since his birth and he was doing much better. The dark circles under her eyes said a lot. Fry and Bianca had tried everything to get her to feel better and they were finally getting somewhere. "I hope he continues to eat this well," Tanner said as she gave them both a weary glance. "He seems to be doing very well," Bianca said with a smile. "Yes, we will be able to take him home soon. I just wish I knew" Tears sprang to her eyes as she once again wondered about his future. "I don't know. I have the strongest feeling he'll be okay Orion," Fry said giving her a firm nod. Tanner let out a jagged breath and smiled. Bianca looked over at Fry and realized the power she had to keep people calmed down. She wondered if half the time Fry was as calm inside as she appeared. "No matter what happens we'll all be there for him and you two as well, you know that," Fry added for extra measure. Tanner rubbed her baby's tiny head before grabbing Fry's hand. "Thank you, both of you, I'm so glad I have you with me now. I know the same goes for Imam," she said feeling stronger in spirit already.

 

Fry placed the stiff frilly white dress over Zayda's head and she let out a loud wail in disagreement with her mother. "I told you she wouldn't like it, that's just not her style," Riddick replied as he took a bite from a yellow fruit. "Richard, she's a baby. How does a baby have a sense of style?" Fry asked as she gently removed the dress. "She just does," he added smoothly. Fry shot him a glare as she motioned for him to choose her outfit. He sauntered over to the dresser and rummaged around for a bit pulling out a light blue cotton dress with small buttons down the front. "Here, she'll like this," he said as he tossed it to her. Fry was not happy with how casual the dress was considering the occasion but wanted to get going before they were late. "I swear, you are going to spoil her rotten and she'll love you for it," she added with a grin. He gave her a smirk before heading back into the kitchen. It was two weeks since Tanner and Imam's baby was born and today was his day to enter the tribe. So far he showed no signs of illness and maintained a happy baby exuberance, which relieved both parents as well as everyone else. His birth name would be given and most likely the Indians would name him too. Fry just wanted Zayda to look her best so when they would be placed side by side together they would be perfect. She laughed at the silly white dress and was glad Zayda had fought her on it. Only a few weeks old and already she had run of the household. Fry laughed to herself. She definitely had gotten the spitfire from both her parents, one day she would prove to be a tough woman.

The ride to the naming was a peaceful one as Audrey tried to guess what they would call him. "Do you think they would consider Jack? I've always been partial to Jack," Audrey mused as she looked out the window. "No kidding?" Riddick teased her. "I would never have guessed that," he added with a chuckle. She reached over and smacked him in the arm. "Cut it out," she teased him back. "I had you going for a while, until, you know.." She felt like she had walked into a trap with that subject. Riddick hadn't known she was a girl when they first met, at least not until she started her period and then he had kept her secret for as long as he could. She respected him for that and would all the rest of her life. The only reason he finally brought it up was for the safety of the others. Everyone dropped the subject as they all thought back to that time nearly a year and a half ago. It seemed more like several years ago than just a year or so.

Once there, everyone who had already arrived greeted them happily. Audrey smiled as Cain noticed her new dress. She hardly ever wore dresses since the planet was still pretty rough. He placed an innocent kiss on her cheek and she blushed slightly. Riddick's eyebrows shot up and Cain backed off a few paces. Fry shot him a glance and let out a hearty laugh. Tanner approached them with baby boy in hand. Fry tickled the little boy in the belly and gave him a little baby talk. Audrey rolled her eyes and ran off with Cain to grab a seat. "You're here!" Imam called out with joy. "Then we can begin now. Everyone! Please gather around, as the ceremony is about to start," A stern Talon announced.

Imam held his son in his arms as together with Tanner they stood before the gathering. "We are so blessed on this day to be surrounded by all our friends and loved ones to announce our sons arrival and to give him his name. While his birth was a bit alarming, we are pleased he is now in perfect health. We believe our son is a fighter and will remain so all the rest of his life. So now, we present to you all, our son, Jack Ali Hassan Suleiman Tanner Imam. His name holds many meanings. Jack is for the courage a certain young woman had in the face of danger." He said looking directly at Audrey, who was beaming ear to ear. "But it also means the lord is gracious and he is truly gracious. Ali, Hassan, and Suleiman are for my sons lost. They will always be alive in our son," he added as Tanner reached for his hand to comfort him. His voice cracked for a moment before he calmed. "We are so blessed to be here together with all of you in the naming of Jack. May we all find peace in our hearts and happiness in our lives," he replied with a firm nod.

Talon took Jack from Imam and approached the group. "It has only been a few weeks since we welcomed A Glow in Darkness to the tribe and now we are so blessed to add one more. Soon this planet will be alive with more new additions as we join the other planets in the universe. Right now, at this moment, we are here together to name the newest arrival. When we met to name Jack, immediately we all had the same name in mind, a name that would bring him strength and power. A name that would drive away anything that wishes to bring harm to him. We give you the gift of the nameThunder Spirit. He held Jack up for everyone to see and the gathering cheered. Imam and Tanner beamed with pride. "Things will always be changing, but we will always remember the naming of A Glow in Darkness and Thunder Spirit," Talon added before handing Jack back to his parents. Everyone clapped and cheered as the Indians began a new dance in honor of Jack.

 

Fry looked over at Riddick and took his hand. It had been a long three weeks as everyone became more used to the babies. Both Zayda and Jack were in excellent health and Fry was so grateful to have the medics. She hated to think where they would be without them or the Indians. So many of the Indians had given them advice and helped them out that she just couldn't see life without them. Finally, enough time had passed that Fry's medic had suggested she get a checkup and get set up with birth control. Riddick had asked to come with her, feeling he had to be there for her every step of the way, plus he wanted her in close proximity once she had the news she could resume sex again.

Fry held still as the medic ran a scan on her. "I'm happy to tell you that everything looks great. The birth control is now in place, you can have sex whenever you want," the medic nodded. Fry jumped off the table a little more quickly than she wanted. Thanking the medic she briskly headed into the hall to find Riddick. She didn't have to look long when she found him right outside the door. Their eyes met and Riddick knew they could have sex again. Riddick took her into his arms and kissed her passionately. She never got used to feeling his strong arms wrapped tightly around her. "Not here," she whispered as she looked around hoping no one noticed the two of them. Without another word Riddick took her hand and together they raced down the hall toward the Water Shuttle. Luckily Zayda was at Tanner and Imam's while the two of them were at the medics. Which meant they would have some free time to themselves as soon as the Water Shuttle landed. They were finding it difficult to keep their hands off each other as the shuttle driver glanced at them every so often.

Once on dry land, Fry ran on ahead and Riddick easily caught up to her. He wrapped his arms around her waist from behind. "Alone at last," he whispered in her ear. She felt a shiver of excitement move over her body and turned to meet him. Putting his hands behind her head he pulled her to him and kissed her hard. She could taste his lips, the moistness of his tongue, and moaned as she unbuckled his pants. She slid her hand inside and found his rock hard penis quite easily. "Is this for me?" She asked teasing him. He let out a soft growl in reply to her taunt. She felt his smooth penis in her hand and couldn't resist rubbing it slowly between her fingers. Riddick leaned his head back as he allowed her to play with him for a moment. When Fry straddled his hips by jumping into his arms he carried her over to a large rock setting her down in front of it.

Slowly he pulled her pants off, kissing and licking her body on the way down, making sure to pause at her soft mound. Separating her lips with his tongue he found her sensitive spot quite easily making sure to taunt her as she had him just moments ago. She sucked on her lip in an attempt not to cry out. She felt her legs shake as the pleasure grew to be almost too much. Not wanting to take her too far yet, Riddick turned her around so she bent over the rock and braced herself with her hands. It was at that moment that she realized he was going to take her from behind. She began to roughly pull her shirt off and he finished helping her the rest of the way. Fondling her breasts as they were exposed to the cool breeze he managed to pull his pants down enough for him to be free of them. He grabbed her hips and gently prodded his penis inside her. Moving slowly he leaned down to her ear. "Feel okay?" He asked her worried he might be hurting her. "Oh yeah, keep going. Don't stop!" she said as she moved her hips forcing the rest of his large member all the way inside. Once he realized she was in no pain, he moved more quickly. She let out a low moan from the exquisite pleasure. She braced herself against the rock as he moved harder and harder in and out of her body. Each time she forced herself back to match his thrusts. They grunted in unison with each thrust as Riddick reached his hand between her moist folds rubbing her in just the right way. It only took her a few moments before she had an explosive orgasm. He grabbed onto her waist and really pounded into her. It only took him a few more hard thrusts before he let loose and came inside her with a pounding orgasm. He gasped out as he slowly moved in and out of her feeling more ripples of pleasure as he did so. When they had both come back down he laid down on the ground pulling her to him.

They lay together looking up at the sky without saying a word. Riddick ran a hand lovingly over her shoulder and she closed her eyes for a moment. It was so peaceful, so quiet. She wanted it to stay like that forever. Both of them knew they couldn't stay like that for long. There was a good chance Audrey might see them flying around on Nyte. "We better get back," she sighed as she reached for her pants. "We don't want anyone to think we've abandoned our daughter," she smiled as she tossed him his pants. He grinned in return as he pulled his shirt over his head. "God, I hope we don't look like we just had a romp in the hay," she added as she attempted to smooth down her hair. "I'm sure they'll know either way," he replied sarcastically. "You're right, who am I kidding," she laughed as she jumped up and planted a kiss on his warm lips. "I think you're worth the bad reputation," she teased him as he wrapped a casual arm around her shoulder. "Glad you feel that way," he added as they made their way to pick up their daughter.

If Imam or Tanner knew what they had done they never showed it. Zayda was fast asleep and secretly Fry and Riddick both were hopeful to get more loving time in before Audrey came home. It would take at least several weeks of heavy sex to make up for the time lost while she was pregnant. The only problem was now keeping quiet enough that they didn't disturb Audrey or Zayda. With Bianca and Nix's wedding coming up in a few days, the house would be full of activity, but after that, things would be back to normal. They just had to be patient a little longer. Then their sex life could resume in full force. Fry smiled to herself just thinking about it.

 

Audrey lifted her silk gown off the ground to avoid getting it dirty before the ceremony started. She held the fragrant Tazillia's close to her body to keep them from getting ruffled in the breeze. Bianca had asked her to be her flower girl the same day Jack had been named almost three weeks earlier. Audrey was more than happy to take the task and was allowed to choose the flower to carry. Considering the fact she knew the foliage better than most, she was a wise one to pick for the job. She finally arrived at the bride's teepee and ducked inside.

Once inside she found Bianca sighing as she fidgeted with her wedding attire. Fry scolded her to stop messing with it as she peeked out the tent flap to see if it was time to start. Audrey giggled at Bianca's state of near panic. Fry had to smile as well. Staying as far away from tradition as possible, Bianca had created her sea blue silk wedding pantsuit all by herself. The top was a tube shirt with straps that she covered with a floor length sparkling sheer jacket, which managed to slightly hide the tube shirts bareness. The pants were silk as well with matching pumps. On anybody else it might not have worked, but on Bianca it was glorious. Her wedding would be as unique as they came. Married by an Indian Chief on a strange new world in her wild sea blue silk wedding outfit, she was definitely one of a kind. Fry and Audrey were dressed in matching slip gowns that complimented the blue in Bianca's suit.

When Fry noticed Talon motioning her to begin she turned and looked at Bianca. "Is it time?" Bianca asked her with a wavering voice. Fry nodded with a grin. "Hey, C'mon, you'll be fine. This is the first wedding on this planet you know. That means it will last forever," Fry said as she helped smooth her jacket out. "The planet will last forever or the marriage?" Bianca asked almost too seriously for Fry's liking. "Look at me Bianca," Fry said taking Bianca's arms. "From the moment Riddick found you on that ship, this was your destiny," she added more seriously. Bianca nodded in response before straightening up proudly. She wouldn't let them see her so nervous. "Don't worry Carolyn, I'm ready," she said. Fry flipped back the flap and stepped outside. Audrey went first, trying to walk as serenely as possible. Fry followed close behind her as the Indian drums beat a rhythm to the step. Fry looked at Riddick as she approached them and shot him a wink. He nodded in reply as all the attention turned toward Bianca's grand exit from the teepee. She stepped out and nearly everyone gasped. Either in surprise or admiration, it was not known. Either way it was Bianca's day.

Once Bianca arrived by Nix's side they joined hands. Nix seemed calm on the outside but his eyes betrayed his nervousness. "The two of you have come together in witness of your friends to be joined in marriage. Bianca, do you take Nix as your husband?" Talon asked her as he held his hands up around the two of them. Bianca smiled as the ceremony took on an eerie feel to when those aliens joined them. "Yes, I take Nix as my husband," she smiled at Nix in reply. "Nix, do you take Bianca as your wife?" Talon asked him in return. "I do take Bianca as my wife," he said returning the grin. Talon raised his hands up around them. "Then take her to your home, you are married," he said pleased his job was now done. The drums began to beat again as Nix swooped her up in his arms and carried her off to their cabin. Everyone ran alongside them or behind them cheering as they walked. Bianca threw her head back and laughed heartily as they entered the cabin. Everyone turned away once they were safely inside and headed for the wedding banquet that had been prepared. It was another good day on Twilight World.

By the time everyone had gorged themselves with food, it was getting dark out. Torches were lit and Riddick was able to remove his goggles. Tanner and Imam sat with Riddick and Fry with the two babies on a blanket between them. Audrey was dancing the night away with Cain and many other young men. Moments later Audrey plopped down beside the babies on the blanket. She was out of breath from dancing so much. "Where's Cain?" Fry asked. "Oh, he had to get up early tomorrow to work on that new damn they are creating," she said with a yawn. Which made Fry realize just how late it was. "We better get home," Riddick said as they all stood up. Tanner smiled as she looked down at the two babies together. "Don't they just look so sweet together like this?" She asked almost speaking to herself. Fry nodded in reply as she looked down and noticed the two babies had clasped hands. Imam looked right at Riddick as if he was about to let out a huge secret he had been keeping. "There was a time you questioned where my god was, do you see him? He's here with us all, in our children, this planet, and our friends around us. Do you see him now?" Imam asked. Riddick's expression softened for a moment as he searched Imam's expression with his shined eyes. Without saying a word he softly squeezed Imam's shoulder in response before leaving with his family back to their cabin. Imam watched him go and Tanner looked at him oddly. "What's his answer?" She asked him curiously. "That, my dear wife, is something only he knows," Imam replied with a large smile.

They walked in silence as each of them thought about what Imam had said to Riddick. Fry was dying to know what he was thinking but kept her mouth shut, as did Audrey. Had he finally come back to the human race? Was the cycle complete? She wondered in silence. None of them may ever know, only he would. If Riddick knew what they were thinking he never let on. "You know I was thinking the other day about how things work out, do you guys ever wonder what would have happened to us if we'd never of met?" Audrey asked cheerily. Fry and Riddick both looked at her. "Aud, I hate to think about that," Fry said with a sigh as they stopped in front of the cabin. Audrey nodded waiting an extra few seconds to see what Riddick would say. "One things for sure, I'd never get to tell you how much I love you kid," he replied seriously. It took Audrey a few moments to comprehend the words he'd just said to her but when they sank in tears sprang to her eyes. "Thanks," she managed to squeak out past the tightness in her throat. She paused a moment before nodding in understanding and quickly heading into the cabin.

His admittance of his love of her was good enough for her to know he had come back to the human race and that was all she needed to know. Things would be different for her from then on. The future was open and anything was possible. Riddick and Fry loved her as their daughter and she loved them. No matter what happened she would have the family she always dreamed of and nothing could take that away from her.

Riddick felt a change take place over him as soon as his words to Audrey left his mouth. It had taken him a long time to get to the place he now found himself. He turned to look out over the land that was now his home, would probably be his home for the rest of his life. Many animals scurried about, including Nyte, who was out for his nightly feeding, but nothing of danger could be found. This is where they belonged; he felt it in his bones. There was no doubt about it anymore this was his home.

Fry watched Audrey go and smiled. "God Richard, I think you stunned her. I know exactly how she feels," she replied. When Riddick didn't respond she turned to look at him. His attention was directed out over the darkness of the land. She was instantly alarmed by his stance. "Richard, what do you see?" Fry asked concerned by what he was looking at. Turning back to her, he touched Zayda lightly on the cheek before putting a comforting arm around Fry's shoulder. "Nothing, nothing at all," he replied in that deep voice she knew so well.

 

 
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