It was almost time to go. Kyra shoved a multitude of supplies into her canvas sack. The sack was wearing out. The rough fabric was thin and tiny holes had worn through in some places. She would need to replace it soon. Thinking back about how she’d acquired it, she remembered the forested moon and its strange dark landscape. She felt no pangs of nostalgia for it but she did wonder how Flicker was doing, if the creature was still alive.
Into the sack went several pairs of clothes, a small collection of various tools she’d learned to use, a set of lockpicks, an empty canteen, a few spare blades and her extra straps to use when attaching them in certain places on her body. Those blades she chose to wear went into hidden spots somewhere on her person, with one exception. Strapped to her thigh in its holster sat the familiar weight of her big hunting knife, bared for all the ‘verse to see. Riddick had also moved a few supplies such as food and water into her ship from the Adder a few days ago. Thinking of him reminded her of what had happened between them yesterday.
It was early morning and the sun was just beginning its low arch across the sky, hanging fat and orange just above a rocky hill in the distance. High overhead, the Helion system’s points of light winked down at her while she made her way to the cave that served as a hangar for the two vessels parked inside. One was the intimidating Adder, its sleek serpent-like bulk towering over the smaller ship beside it. The other ship was a low, squat single-person vessel designed for medium range travel that vaguely resembled a scorpion. The word “Stinger” was printed in black lettering just below the pilot’s window beside an emblem of a scorpion.
They had acquired the second ship during a quick supply run three months ago when the generator had given out and needed a replacement belt. Just before heading back, they had been attacked by a small group of eight pirates intent on killing them and taking their ship. They lasted about a minute. One of those men had tried to escape by running to the Stinger, which had been his at the time, and when he was dead Riddick had taken one look at the vessel and told Kyra to pilot it back with them. When Kyra had asked him why he’d simply replied with, “in case I need you to run to the store.”
Now the smaller ship was dark and empty. Not in there, then. Kyra was looking for Riddick because he’d mentioned not long ago that he needed to talk about something. Riddick didn’t really talk about things so she was curious about what he might have to say. Since her training had petered off in the last few weeks Riddick had grown, for lack of a better word, antsy. He had been using the Adder’s console to search for something, look up information, but whenever Kyra tried to spy on him to find out what it was he sensed her and shut it down. She knew he would be there now even though she couldn’t see into the shadowed cockpit.
Kyra entered the ship as quietly as she could through the hold and snuck up to the cockpit, using every technique she’d learned to avoid making noise or shifting too much air. She’d practiced enough to successfully sneak up on Riddick twice before but he continued to catch her most of the time. Now that she knew about his unnaturally heightened senses she supposed that, with him, it would always be nearly impossible.
As she came to the door and stopped, she waited and listened this time instead of peeking through it as she had during the last few attempts. She heard a man speaking through the ship’s console, presumably to Riddick. She listened intently.
“If you’d told me what it was you were looking for in that little letter of yours, this would have gone differently. We might have helped. But I can’t change their minds now. You have two weeks to show yourself or they’ll consider this abandonment of duties and begin ascension rights.”
“You don’t want me gone, now do you,” replied Riddick, “Vaako? And here I thought we were friends.”
“What I want, Lord Marshal, doesn’t matter,” the other voice said stiffly. “The only thing that matters is the sanctity of the throne and the faith. Neither of which you seem to subscribe to.”
“It matters when some other stupid fuck is gonna get my seat instead of you. Ain’t that right?”
The other voice was silent for nearly a minute. Kyra took the moment to peek around the corner very slowly and quietly. Riddick was sitting in his pilot seat with a video communication pulled up on the view screen in front of him. In it, she saw a man in ornate Necromonger armor standing in the center of a ship’s bridge. It was the man with the weird haircut she had seen in the message Riddick had been watching shortly after taking off from IG-4. And now that she had a better look at him, she knew exactly who he was.
A chill ran down her spine. This man, this Necromonger, was the same one that had tried to kill them all at the hangar on Crematoria. And he was talking to Riddick now as though they knew each other. As though they were allies. The thought of Riddick being one of them, being a Necromonger, made her gut twist horribly. Had he been lying to her this whole time? Had he been the one to kill Imam after all?
On the screen, Vaako opened his mouth to say something but stopped, his eyes flicking over to where Kyra was standing now partially revealed in the doorway. His features flooded with sudden understanding. Riddick wheeled in his chair the moment the man’s expression changed and spotted her. His hand moved to the button that would end the transmission. As though he had anticipated this, Vaako spoke first.
“Helion. Two weeks,” he said curtly and then ended the transmission himself.
Riddick had no expression on his face. He rose slowly to his feet and began to take measured steps toward her. Kyra was staring at him as confusion and horror constricted her spine.
“Kyra,” he said very softly, as if saying it any louder would break her.
Even then, it broke her paralysis. She turned and fled from the ship, hearing Riddick’s boots behind her. She was faster than him, her one true advantage over him, and instead of returning to the hideout they shared she took off across the rocky landscape. She lost him in a matter of minutes and just kept going, running blind and knowing only that she needed to escape.
Her mind couldn’t wrap itself around what she had seen. These Necromongers had nearly killed Riddick, they had killed Imam, and they nearly destroyed the entire Helion system and half the galaxy in their vicious conquest. They were spoken of with fear and awe in the shadows of the ‘verse and they were considered the enemy of all human life. Why the fuck would Riddick be working with them? If Kyra knew him at all, she thought he would have come to them with all his fury and slaughtered every last one until their blood stained the very stars. And what the hell was Lord Marshal supposed to mean? Did Riddick hold some title of power with them?
Kyra was starting to cry now, her vision going blurry as she came to a small crevice created by the two halves of a massive split boulder about the size of a small apartment building. The crevice opened into a low, round natural amphitheater of stone. Kyra had been here before when she needed to be alone. She stood in the middle of the space and stared up at Helion’s faint stars above, wishing with every fiber of her being that she could see Imam again. That he would give her some fatherly advice or tell her that there was a purpose for all things.
She let the tears come then. She hadn’t cried, really cried, since her time in the hold confronting her demons. She had never really taken the time to grieve for the loss of her friend, either. Riddick had kept her so busy while they were here that she hadn’t had a chance to dwell on anything else. Now, she was crying for all the people who had died to save her on M6-117 when she would otherwise have been eaten by bioraptors. She was crying for those who had died on Helion Prime, for Imam, and for the sake of his now fatherless family. She was crying for those who had died helping her escape from Crematoria. And when she’d cried enough, she stopped crying and turned around. And Riddick was there.
He was standing just inside the amphitheater, watching her with his goggles on in the daylight. He didn’t come close or make any attempt to console her. He simply waited. Waited for her to speak, to curse him or tell him to leave or tell him that she hated him. Kyra didn’t hate him. She loved Riddick and no Necromonger army would ever change that. She knew it was true that he had never lied to her. Perhaps not given her the entire truth but never lied. If he was working with the Necromongers, there had to be a reason for it. They were his enemies, or so she thought. Maybe she didn’t really know what his relation to them was. Would he even tell her if she asked? Probably not. And there was only one thing she wanted to ask right now anyways.
Riddick didn’t reply for a few minutes. Kyra couldn’t tell what he was thinking, if he was trying to decide how much to tell her or how to spin it to his advantage.
“They got something I want. Something I can’t get anywhere else,” he said simply without elaborating further.
“What,” Kyra pursued.
“Furya,” he said.
Kyra hadn’t heard him mention anything like this before. This was something private. Something close to him that he never let others in on. She wondered if she should press him for more. Whatever it was, the Necromonger’s had it and he wanted it so he was using them to get it. That made sense.
“What are you, to them,” she asked.
“Does it matter?”
Riddick crossed his arms over his chest and sighed.
“I’m the Big Guy,” he said. “Fucking head honcho. Lord Marshal, if you ask them.”
Kyra balked at that. Riddick was their leader?
“How,” she asked incredulously.
“I killed the guy who tried to kill me. The guy I thought killed you. The guy that killed everyone,” he said. “They have a nice little rule that says you get to keep what you kill. So I kept it.”
His explanation was so simple it was almost funny. He’d killed their leader and in doing so he had just … stepped right up to the throne and taken the crown.
“And when you get what you want from them,” Kyra asked.
“After that,” he shrugged, “not my concern. They can all go fuck off to their underverse for all I care.”
Kyra felt a sudden surge of anger.
“So that’s it,” she spat. “You just get what you want and disappear? After what they did? So they can do it again?”
Riddick was silent again for a long time. Then he uncrossed his arms and came to stand in front of her, practically in her face.
“What are you expecting me to do, Kyra,” he asked in a very low and measured tone. “I ain’t a nice guy. I ain’t some fucking hero. I’m a murderer and an animal. You know that. The only thing I care about is me and mine. Some asshole fucked with that, so I killed him. And I got a free private army out of it, so fucking what?”
Riddick wasn’t showing his emotions but Kyra could feel the anger radiating off of him in waves.
“But that asshole took something else from me that I’m gonna get back. And somewhere in that army is the info I need to get it. And when I do, I don’t give a shit what happens to them or the rest of this fucked up ‘verse. So long as I have me and mine, that’s all that matters. That’s all that’ll ever matter.”
Kyra felt so small before his fury. He was right. She did know that about him. And it wasn’t that she expected him to become some great hero and destroy the Necromongers for justice. She just had a thing for taking vengeance against those that had wronged her. It was a Jack thing. And in her mind it had been the entire army that was responsible, not one man. But he was right about that too. The army itself was just a tool. And it was a tool that was now in his hand, to use as he saw fit. The fact that they weren’t still slaughtering entire planetary systems said something to that. Maybe Riddick was kinder than he realized.
“Where does that put me,” Kyra asked in a small voice.
“Mine,” he said with a possessive growl.
Before Kyra could respond to that Riddick wrapped an arm around her and lifted her up over his shoulder. He carried her slung over his shoulder like a sack all the way back to the hideout. Every time she tried to struggle or ask him what the hell he was doing, he would slap her ass to shut her up. When he got her inside, he entered the mess and plopped her unceremoniously down on the table.
Kyra flopped back on the smooth metal surface and tried to sit up. As she did so, Riddick yanked her to the edge of the table and pushed himself between her thighs. Kyra saw that he was already hard and straining against his pants. He tore his goggles off and leaned forward to slide his arms under her torso, pulling her up and against him. Instead of kissing her, he locked his eyes on hers and lifted her arms up over his shoulders where she wrapped them around his neck.
“There’s something I need you to do for me,” he said.
Riddick stepped back only long enough to remove Kyra’s pants. He was against her again the moment they hit the floor. Kyra was having difficulty staying focused. He always had a way of making her brain go fuzzy at times like this.
“You’re asking me to leave, aren’t you,” she said with a hint of sadness.
Riddick unfastened his pants and freed himself, pressing the head of his cock against her entrance.
“Where I’m going next,” he said, “you can’t follow.”
Without looking away, he pushed into her. Kyra gasped and placed her forehead against his.
“I’m strong enough,” she said.
Riddick began to thrust against her, fast and hard. Kyra thought he might be taking some of his anger out on her. She would let him this time.
“It ain’t about being strong,” he said.
Kyra knew it was true. Riddick was sending her away to protect her. She just didn’t want to accept it. Riddick brought a hand down to stroke her as he increased his pace. She spread her thighs a bit wider and locked her ankles behind him.
“What if I disappear,” she hissed as her body began to approach climax.
Kyra felt her fingers curling, digging into his skin. She clenched her teeth as her body tensed, breath coming quick and fast, in time with his movements.
“I’ll always find you, Kyra,” he growled, muscles flexing as his own climax built.
She finally broke away from his stare when the orgasm hit, arching her back and closing her eyes against it, surging pleasure clenching her walls. A few seconds later Riddick came as well, thrusting hard and frantic, muscles trembling and his face burying in her neck again. When he had calmed a bit, he met her eyes again. She kissed him then, once and gently, in a way she had never done before. It was her goodbye kiss, though he may not have known it then.
Riddick released her and they separated. Nothing about what he’d said spoke of finality. She would leave, as he wished, and she would just have to trust that when the time came he would find her again. Until then, she would be his animal, stalking the dark places of the ‘verse and waiting to hear his call.
“So what is it you need me to do,” she asked when she was dressed again.
Riddick told her.
Hoisting her sack, Kyra slipped the memory away to relive later when she was alone and thinking of him. She had no idea how long it would take for Riddick to find what he was looking for and come for her. Maybe if she finished her tasks before he did, she would go find him. This time without getting tossed into a triple max. She walked out to the Stinger and loaded her meager belongings into its small storage space. Her own tasks could take on the order of years if you considered cryosleep time. She had a long way to go and a lot of places to stop. But first, she thought she might swing by New Mecca and see Lajjun and Ziza.
Kyra closed the hatch and settled into her seat. The ship was small on the inside and definitely not meant for more than a single person but the lack of passenger space gave it more room for fuel storage and engine capacity. Plus, it had a few guns retrofitted to its hull and was incredibly maneuverable. She started it up and began pre-flight diagnostics, entering the coordinates for Helion Prime in the ship’s navigation console. From here, it was only a nine day trip.
As she was preparing, she felt a small twinge of regret for not actually having said goodbye to Riddick. She still had a little childishness in her and probably always would, so she had avoided it. If she saw him again now, it might stop her from leaving. Kyra powered the engines and steered the ship out of the cave, raising the nose to climb up and away from the planet. No matter how much she wanted to, she didn’t look back.
Somewhere out on the rocky landscape below, Riddick crouched as he watched Kyra’s ship tear up and away into the sky. It was a relief knowing she’d be far away when he returned to the Necromongers. Vaako knew about her existence but he had no details. As long as she did what he asked and gave him time to settle his business with them, she wouldn’t be at risk for becoming a tool or a victim. When her ship disappeared, Riddick grinned. Kyra was as trained and strengthened as he could make her in the time they’d had here. God help any poor fucks who went up against her now.
Maybe when all of this was said and done and he had Furya at last, he would bring her to it. He looked forward to the time when he could search for her again. Knowing there was another animal out there just like him filled him with a savage glee and he knew that tracking her down wouldn’t be easy. But it was better that way. When the time finally came, it would be his greatest hunt yet.