Chapter 34 Unexpected meeting
Onix’s military facility. Riddick.
According to the standard security protocol, they had been separated once they had reached the military base, but that was something that Riddick knew full well. He had been moved to one of the basements and Jack had been escorted to the main guest’s building. He was sure that they wouldn’t hurt her at all, but he wasn’t so sure about his own fate. Riddick had been searched and they had removed all of his shivs. That didn’t really bother him at all. He was still lethal without them. He had been locked in a cell without any windows or ventilation. It had just one door that was voice activated and all the panels were situated outside of it, to make it impossible to hack them. There was nothing inside of the cell apart from him, so Riddick had taken a seat on the floor, and waited patiently for the fun to start.
A couple of hours later he heard men approaching the cell as they loaded their guns. No paralyses ones this time, in the end, he was now inside of the biggest military facility in the galaxy. It was a place that Riddick knew well, it was here where he had been trained to become a Spec Op soldier many years ago. In fact, he remembered really well the complex maze of hallways and levels that made up the base. Riddick grunted in anticipation and made himself comfortable where he sat. A moment later he heard General Owens’ voice and the door was unlocked. Riddick knit a brow, grinning. He hadn’t forgotten how Lieutenant Owens had beat the shit out of him for hours, trying in vain, to pull Riddick’s fake confession out; it was in a cell much like this one, but 15 years ago.. He had never forgotten how much his evil grin could unnerve Owens. Back then, Riddick had made a mental note to pay the General back. Now he was a little busy with other matters, but Riddick’s plans concerning Owens hadn’t changed a bit. Soon, Owens, Riddick thought silently. Soon, his mind echoed as his beast whimpered in frustration.
General Owens entered the cell followed by two Spec Ops soldiers. Riddick glanced at him with no expression at all on his face, just his cold mask. General Owens narrowed his eyes and motioned for him to follow them. Riddick grinned evilly as he slowly got to his feet. General Owens narrowed his eyes even more in suspicion as soon as he saw Big Evil’s grin. Even behind his goggles, General Owens could sense Riddick’s inner beast stalking him like a blood thirsty predator, hidden in the shadows, waiting for any sign of weakness to jump upon its prey, tearing it apart. Riddick smirked devilishly as he cracked his neck to both sides. The noise of his bones popping loudly pulled General Owens out of his own thoughts, causing his expression to harden and to go on guard. In response, Riddick chuckled silently and headed to the door of the cell. Soon, Owens. Fucking soon.,
The group made their way along the endless corridors in the direction of the elevators, the whole time the soldiers were pointing their guns directly to his head. Riddick chuckled silently once again as he walked surrounded by them; his inner beast still locked in its cage, but rumbling with excitement and ready to attack in seconds. He didn’t know at this point where the events were going to lead him, but Riddick had decided that he was going to sit back and wait, at least for now. He didn’t need his shivs to kill the soldiers, or Owens, and he knew full well that the General was fully aware of that fact as well.. The soldiers were another story, Riddick suspected that these two behind him belonged to the elite unit of Spec Ops, and Riddick couldn’t help but feel flattered for that. Oh, Yeah, Rick… the best of the fucking best for you, Big Evil. You are worthy of no less. He grinned as his beast snarled.
Once they reached the elevator, General Owens inserted a code and turned his attention to Riddick. “He wants to talk with you.” He said as the doors of the elevator slid open. Riddick smirked and entered. “See you later, Richard.” General Owens added as the door closed, leaving Riddick inside and on his way down, but not before Riddick had smirked evilly.
As soon as the elevator reached its destination the door slid open and Riddick could see a large room in front of him. The lights were dim, but he kept his goggles on. Riddick stepped out and moved forward just a couple of steps. Immediately, the lift’s door closed again at his back, but he noticed how it didn’t move from that floor. He just stood there motionless, watching the man sitting in front of him behind a wooden table.
Alexander Koemborn smiled slightly as he made himself more comfortable in his armchair. He stared at Riddick through narrowed eyes. He had to admit to himself that he almost couldn’t hide his excitement every time he was face to face with the killer. It had only happened once before, but he remembered each and every single detail as if it had been that morning. Riddick’s body radiated an aura of danger all around himself, even though he was just standing there. He was looking nonchalantly at him with no expression on his face, just his cold hard mask, and his head tilted to one side. Alexander Koemborn found himself secretly admiring the exceptional man who was Richard B. Riddick as a sardonic smile graced his lips.
“Please, Richard, made yourself at home.” Alexander Koemborn said politely as he lifted a hand, showing him an armchair situated on the other side of his table. Riddick arched a brow and walked to the table, he looked around himself and fixed every detail in the room to memory.
For a second, Riddick had the sensation that he had made a trip back to the past. There weren’t any kind of implements which would remind you of the century in which they were living. All the furniture was made of wood. The walls, that had been covered with panels made off wood as well, were hung with frescos and oil paintings. Of course, with his now shined eyes, the pallet of colours were a slightly bizarre view, but Riddick still recognized some of them; he had seen those same paintings a long time ago on the Web. He even remembered that a few of them had been shown at museums on the old Earth though. Heavy curtains were situated on each side of two fake windows, tied up on both sides with two ornamental think strings. Three chandeliers were hung from the ceiling, situated strategically to create a subtle ambiance. All of them seemed to have been made with the finest glass, simulating waterfalls of tears, like they used to be made in the twenty first century. Riddick then glance at the floor of the room and found different carpets spread all over, covering a floor that had been made with wood as well. Riddick chuckled to himself. Alexander Koemborn was a bizarre motherfucker, surrounded by all kinds of indecently expensive antiques.
As Riddick made his way to the table, his boots were leaving a trail of dust behind him on the expensive carpet. Riddick couldn’t help but think about Paris Ogilve, the antiques dealer who had died on T2. That poor bastard would have been able to amass a fortune selling his shit to The Firm’s president, if he hadn’t of been eaten alive five years before.
Riddick sat in the armchair in front of Mr. Koemborn and narrowed his silver eyes. Mr. Koemborn nodded in appreciation and began to speak. “I remember when my grandfather used to tell me stories about the old Earth. I was just a little child but I was fascinated by them. I used to pretend that I was living in that past time. That is the reason why I have always been surrounded by beautiful things that would fit better in the 21st century.” He explained as he made himself comfortable in his chair and his lips let out a heavy sigh, just remembering those days of his full of joy and happy childhood. “I do hate these times, Richard. I do hate all the high technology that is surrounding us at every turn. All those computers, the A.I, the lasers, chips, codes, protocols, hardware and software that are meant to be supposedly make our lives better, easier and safer than they already are.” Mr. Koemborn added as he slowly he stood. “May I offer you something to drink, Richard?” He asked as he headed toward one of the cabinets, he pulled out a bottle of cognac and lifted it up slightly. Riddick followed him through his goggles and smirked. He hadn’t dragged his ex-convict ass here just to hear this nostalgic motherfucker talk about his fucking tastes concerning bizarre shit. He wanted answers.
“Why the fucking doc?” Was all Riddick said as he tilted his head to one side. Mr. Koemborn chuckled and looked at him.
“You, better than anyone else, should know that I am a man without any scruples, Richard. We both know what really happened one night fifteen years ago not that far from here.” Mr. Koemborn said as he opened the bottle of cognac. Riddick knit a brow and grunted. “A painful loss though. I have to admit. Theresa was probably one of the most compliant concubines in the Galaxy.” He added sarcastically as he turned his head to look at Riddick. “But, of course, you already knew that, Richard.” Mr. Koemborn finished as he turned his attention to his cognac.
Of course this fucking bastard, who was The Firm’s president, knew full well what happened fifteen years ago. Riddick was sixteen years old back then and he had fallen in a trap set by Tess and Alexander to get his own brother Maximiliam out of the way.
Mr. Koemborn inhaled the cognac’s essence deeply, filling his senses as he closed his eyes, enjoying the spicy fragrance. After a moment, he opened his eyes and poured two glasses. Mr. Koemborn turned on his heel with the glasses and headed back to his armchair. He then left one of them in front of Riddick and took a seat. Once there he carried his glass to his nose and inhaled deeply, swirling the delicious elixir slightly as he continued speaking. “My goals are control and power, and I do not care about what I have to do to reach them. I have no conscience and I don’t need one either. But, in no way do I tolerate disrespect at all from any one.” He stated, his voice cold and emotionless, and then took a sip of cognac.
Riddick tightened his jaw as a deep growl escaped his lips. “You knew I wouldn’t kill her.” He growled as he stiffened in his seat. Mr. Koemborn smiled slightly.
“We both are like predators in a jungle. Wild, dangerous and with a powerful survivor born instinct, but I have to admit to myself, not with out a slight trace of amusement, that even beasts like us also have feelings.” He paused and drank from his glass, relishing the taste of the cognac for a few seconds, then continued. “Although it is a certain and an undeniable fact that we do select with extreme carefulness those in which we place our trust and love.” Mr. Koemborn explained as he stared at Riddick, who in response grunted deeply. Mr. Koemborn grinned. “The Firm had no interest at all in killing her, quite the opposite, Richard. Miss Travis is a really worthy property. If I would have ordered her death it wouldn’t have been an intelligent decision at all, and believe me, Richard, I’ve been gifted with an intelligence out of the ordinary, just like yourself.”
At the sound of his words concerning Jack, Riddick’s lips let out a deep growl. This fucker was speaking about his little Jack like she was a thing, and not a person. Immediately his hands closed into fists so tight that his knuckles turned white. “Why the fucking doc, Alexander?” Riddick growled without emotion to make sure that his question was answered this time.
Mr. Koemborn went silent for a moment, licked his lips, and relished the taste of the cognac still on his palate and thought about his next words. Finally he fixed Riddick with a cold gaze and spoke. “Only a Koemborn had sat on The Firm Board president’s seat over the years, and that is a fact that is not going to change. I do not care about Miss Travis more than I care about anyone else, but Maurice Morris is a fat motherfucker with an excessively disproportionate thirst for power.” Riddick didn’t move or speak. Mr. Koemborn continued. “Alain Morris was sent to prison more than thirty five years ago. Back then he was for a danger to our interests and still is today. His skills are unique and I am completely sure that those same skills have been what brought you here directly after your little mess on Zul. But “The Hacker” is a man with a powerful reason to live and survive. Maybe the most powerful reason of all, apart from love of course; revenge.” Mr. Koemborn stopped and lifted his glass, looking through the thick expensive glass.
For a long moment both men were silent, thinking about their own thoughts. Mr. Koemborn cleared his throat and shook his head slightly. “Some members of The Board think that I am oblivious to their internal conspiracies and that I am obsessed with our standard security protocols. But the truth is that Miss Travis is a unique specimen. She has in her bloodstream more viruses’ and their antidotes than I would be able to count. And that’s the only reason why I have been taking care of her, so that no one in the galaxy would be able to connect Miss Travis with you, Richard. Not even someone like Alain Morris. The last thing we needed was mercs after our little priceless property.” Mr. Koemborn added with a grin, his voice cold and full of sarcasm.
All of sudden the pictures of those children that had died over the years, their bodies being used like lab rats for The Firm’s experiments, popped into Riddick’s mind, torturing him and causing his inner beast to roar in anger. Riddick growled deeply and fought the urge to slash The fucking Firm’s presidents’ throat with his bare hands. Instead, Riddick did his best to remain as cold as ice itself and focused on business, and at the same time kept his beast which at this point, was roaring with unleashed rage, locked down. It wanted the blood of Mr. Alexander van Koemborn III more than anything at that moment.
“Who hired me?” Riddick growled as he narrowed his silver eyes behind his goggles.
Mr. Koemborn smiled slightly and continued talking. “As I told you before, Richard, I am a man without scruples or conscience, but I am also a man of my word. No one would dare to go against my own decision, not even the rest of The Board’s members. Maurice Morris tried to kill his own wife, when he discovered that she was ready to help us in exchange for her freedom, he hired a merc to kill his brother as well. With those two loose ends tied up on his way to The Board’s chair, there was just one other loose end. Audrey Jacqueline Travis, now alias Jack B. Badd.” Mr. Koemborn cleared his throat and stiffened slightly in his comfortable armchair.
It was beyond his comprehension why a beautiful woman would choose such a bizarre name to refer to herself, but again, Mr. Koemborn suspected that it had to do with Richard B. Riddick. He then continued. “Our deal is still in force and I think that the time has came where you should have a meeting with Dr. Maurice Morris, who, in case you hadn’t guessed by now, is your accidental paymaster, Richard.” He said as he gulped the rest of his unique cognac in one draught.
At the sound of Mr. Koemborn’s words, Riddick’s lips spread in an evil grin, just thinking about Dr. Morris’ death. He had started to think about how he was going to pay that fucking doc back, and Riddick felt in the mood to make a slight change in his personal trade mark concerning death and blood. All of sudden, a vision of Jack popped into his mind. “Where’s Jack?” He growled suddenly and fixed Mr. Koemborn with a menacing gaze.
In response, Mr. Koemborn watched Riddick for a long moment. One second it seemed as if the killer were thinking about his target, next he was asking about his woman, and all in a matter of seconds. Even he had to admit that Richard B. Riddick was an inscrutably mysterious man as well as his killer’s mind.
“Miss Travis is still on Onix, if that is what you are worried about, Richard.” Mr. Koemborn said as he stood. Riddick slowly stood as well, and in one fast move he rushed Mr. Koemborn, stopping just a few inches away from him. In response, Mr. Koemborn just stood there motionless, staring at Riddick through narrowed eyes. He could sense the beast within Riddick on high alert, and he smirked. “Miss Travis has been escorted to our guest suite, and I figure that she will be waiting for you.” He said as he moved backward. Then, Mr. Koemborn pressed a button on his table and a few seconds later a door situated to his left was opened. Riddick grunted deeply and looked at The Firm’s president over from head to toe. “There’ll be a reception tonight in honour of our special guest, Dr. Maurice Morris, maybe Miss Travis would love to present her respects to him? Wouldn’t you say it would be appropriate according to their past relationship, Richard?” Mr. Koemborn asked him, face emotionless even though his voice had was full of sarcasm.
Riddick smirked as he turned on his heels and headed toward the elevator. Before he reached it, he stopped dead in his tracks and turned his head. A woman had entered the room silently. Riddick narrowed his eyes and fixed her with his mercurial gaze. She went motionless and stared back at him. Riddick’s lips let out a soft growl as he tilted his head to the side and grinned.
She was as tall as Jack and somewhere in her fifties. She was wearing a loose black dress and her hair had been tucked up in a simple bow. Her hair had a few tufts of white spread in it. But Riddick could tell that when she was young the colour had been similar to Jack’s. Her body radiated charm and class. Riddick couldn’t help but find himself staring at her body.
The woman’s eyes were wide as an uncontrollable shudder crossed her body from head to toe, but she didn’t move back. Behind his goggles, Riddick narrowed his eyes and stared into the woman’s eyes. They were sparkling with a unique brightness that immediately brought to Riddick visions of his little Jack’s eyes, but also those eyes were reflecting a deep sadness. Interesting. Riddick thought, lost for a second. His grin widened as he gave the woman the look over. Even at her age, the woman’s body was in perfect shape and she was really beautiful. A soft growl escaped Riddick’s lips. She sensed his intense gaze and gasped with shock.
The woman looked at Mr. Koemborn and smiled slightly. He then bowed his head, showing her his respect. “Would you be so kind as to escort Captain Richards to our guest suite, my dear?” He asked, grinning. In response, she nodded and then headed toward the elevator and waited for Riddick.
Riddick slowly lifted his goggles and made them rest on his forehead. Turning his head, he locked eyes with Mr. Koemborn and flashed him with a cold glance. His face was a hard emotionless mask. Riddick spoke in his most menacing tone of voice. “If my woman dies, yours die.” He growled to make sure that Mr. Koemborn wouldn’t have any doubt about his resolution.
Riddick wasn’t shitting though. The woman shivered at the tone of his voice and gasped silently. Obviously, “Captain Richards” had thought that she was Mr. Koemborn’s wife. She couldn’t help but roll her eyes. Alexander van Koemborn III, The Firm’s president himself, shivered with fear at Riddick’s words. After a few seconds, he nodded in agreement and Riddick continued walking to the elevator. Mr. Koemborn knew full well that Richard B. Riddick wasn’t a man to mess with, and he was determined to keep an eye on Riddick for the rest of his life and even after his own death.
Riddick entered the elevator and the doors slid close. He grunted deeply as he felt the elevator ascending, and he covered his eyes with his goggles. Riddick then inhaled the woman’s essence deeply, it was a mix of lilac tinted with a hint of fear. The woman swallowed hard and cleared her throat. “Mr. Koemborn asked me to help you with anything you would need and to make sure that you both were comfortable, sir.” She explained to him as she rubbed her hands nervously.
Riddick arched a brow in amusement and chuckled. “Yeah, sure as hell that fucker is all ready to make our wishes come true.” He growled and then smirked. The woman frowned slightly at the tone of Riddick’s voice in response, but kept silent. Slowly, Riddick raised his goggles and made them rest on his forehead, and faced her. She gasped and stared at his silver eyes, for a moment unable to look away from those two mercurial pools that were piercing her soul. He then knit a brow and stared at her eyes, for a second puzzled and lost in thoughts about this woman.
“Does it hurt?” The woman asked suddenly and swallowed hard, pulling Riddick out of his thoughts. She cleared her throat and swallowed again. “I mean your eyes.” She added gently, but her voice sounded with a hint of fear.
After a moment, the lift came to a stop and its door slid open. Riddick frowned deeply, this floor was different from the previous one where he had been detained. His inner best started to pace its cage rumbling and agitated. “Not anymore.” Riddick growled and grinned. In response, the woman nodded and stepped out of the lift; he followed her.
Immediately, the doors slid closed and the elevator descended silently. Riddick knit a brow as he looked around himself. It was a large hall decorated in a much similar way as Mr. Koemborn’s office. There were two hall ways situated at opposite sides of the elevator. Riddick stood there for a few seconds, still lost in thought. He certainly wasn’t expecting this sudden change of events, but once again, fate seemed to be more than able to play.
Riddick then focused his attention on the woman in front of him, grinning. “There’s someone you should meet….. Mariel.” He said as he tilted his head to one side, licking his lips.
Mariel’s eyes almost popped out of her face at the sound of her name. It had been more than thirty years since the last time she had heard someone pronouncing her real name. Her mind started to race with all kinds of ideas. Mariel had been living under Mr. Koemborn’s close protection for the last thirty years. But she also knew that Maurice was on Onix, and all of sudden she shuddered in panic, thinking about the possibility that Maurice would have hired a man to kill her, ignoring once again The Firm’s interests.
Mariel moved backwards, scared, and covered her mouth with one hand to prevent a scream of panic. Riddick frowned slightly and shook his head, cursing silently. He should have known that she was going to have this kind of reaction.
Onix’s military facility. Jack.
Jack was pacing back and forth around the suite like a caged animal. From time to time she glanced through the large window and looked down. From her position, Jack could see all the whole military center with its hundreds of soldiers training all over the area. She couldn’t help but wonder if Riddick had gone completely nuts when he had planned this craziness. She was lost in thought when the door of the suite was opened. Jack turned around quickly and pulled out her shiv, staring at the figure in front of her. Riddick.
Immediately Jack rushed to him and smiled broadly. Her smile lit his heart in seconds. Riddick grinned and encircled her body, capturing her lips in a demanding kiss. They were kissing the other as if they had been separated for years, even though it had only been just a couple of hours. Mariel was forgotten until she cleared her throat.
“Maybe I should leave you both alone.” She said softly. “I’ll be back later.” Mariel added, as an unconscious grin graced her lips.
Riddick released Jack’s lips but didn’t move. Their foreheads pressed together. Jack sighed with relief as she made herself comfortable in his arms. “I love you, big guy.” She murmured softly as she hugged him tightly. Riddick grinned and sighed hard. For a second he hadn’t been sure if he would see her again.
“I love you, kid.” He replied as he kissed her lips softly. Riddick then turned his attention to Mariel. Jack tensed as she looked at the woman. She couldn’t help but think that this woman had something about her that seemed familiar, even though she was sure she had never seen her before. All of sudden, her heart started to beat faster and her eyes narrowed slightly. Riddick noticed Jack’s reaction and he lifted a hand and pulled the necklace out of Jack’s shirt.
Mariel’s eyes almost jumped out of her face as soon as she laid eyes on Jack’s necklace. Without being aware of it, Mariel lifted a hand and rubbed her own neck. “Oh my God!” She mouthed as her other hand covered her mouth, feeling immediately an undescribeable emptiness tear her apart. An uncontrolled shudder crossed her spine and Mariel walked, mesmerized, to Jack’s side. Tears already rolling down her cheeks.
Grinning, Riddick moved forward with Jack still in his arms. “He gave the necklace to Jack.” Riddick growled gently as he tightened his embrace around Jack’s body. In seconds the woman’s eyes filled with fresh tears and she let them run free down her cheeks. Jack frowned in puzzlement and fixed Riddick with a questioning gaze. In response, he nodded. She then looked back up at the woman and realization dawned.
“How…? I thought she was…I mean, Alain thinks that she’s…” Jack trailed off as soon as her mind conjured a vision of Alain’s tears, and her throat closed with that invisible knot.
Riddick growled as he released Jack from his arms. When he was a kid he couldn’t stand to see women crying, and now he found himself surprisingly annoyed at the sight of two women crying silently and staring at each other eyes. It was definitely too much, even for him, at that very moment. So Riddick did what he thought would be the best; he left them alone. Riddick supposed that they would like some kind of privacy to speak, and sure as hell, he wasn’t in the mood for a woman to woman chat.
“I’m gonna take a shower.” He said as he bent his head and kissed Jack’s neck softly then he turned on his heels. He headed to the bathroom of the suite and closed the door behind him. Riddick leaned against the door and closed his eyes, sighing hard. All of sudden, Riddick remembered the red disc with the black skull that the old man had given him. Grinning, Riddick thought about it as he had an idea. An evil smile graced his lips. Hacker, you’re gonna own me one forever. Riddick thought. “We won’t be even after all, old man.” He murmured and then grinned as he headed to the shower and pulled off his t-shirt.
Outside, in the salon of the suite, both women were staring into each other eyes. Jack took a deep breath and cleaned her cheeks, she then moved forward and sat on the couch, sniffing slightly. Mariel swallowed hard and stood there unable to make a move at all, still sobbing. Jack cleared her throat and swallowed hard. “I… I don’t know what to tell you, M…Mariel.” Jack said softly as she looked down at her lap. Mariel smiled sadly and heaved a hard sigh. After a moment of hesitation, she moved forward and took a seat next to Jack. After that, she sighed hard and took Jack’s hand in hers and started to stroke it gently.
“I… I think it would be a good start if you could tell me when….how….A..Alain…” Mariel trailed off as she felt fresh tears fighting to be released. Jack looked up at Mariel and swallowed.
“Alain gave it to me. He said…he said you wouldn’t be mad if I had it.” Jack said softly, blinking away tears as she saw how Mariel’s eyes were fixed on the necklace. “He still loves you, Mariel. After all these years, he is in love with you.” Jack managed to say, forcing the knot back down her throat. Mariel smiled sadly and locked eyes with Jack. “You should keep it though. Because it belongs to you and”
Mariel cut her off. “Your eyes…” She started and then felt her throat close. After a moment, she cleared her throat and found her voice. “You could be our own daughter, Jack. If… if Maurice…” Mariel trailed off, lost in thoughts about her life, she squeezed Jack’s hand gently and sighed.
In the end, Mariel had been living a nightmare since the day Alain had been sent to Slam city. She had spent the first couple of years pretending to be the perfect wife in public and she had almost fooled Maurice. But all those days had nights as well, and Mariel had to pretend harder on those occasions. Forcing her nausea back every time she laid eyes on her “husband” Maurice Morris. Shutting her eyes tightly and clenching her teeth so tight that she didn’t know how they hadn’t broken. Night after night, Mariel had been forced to comply with Maurice’s wishes. Back then she had been so desperate that she thought about putting a full stop to her life, until Mr. Koemborn came on the scene.
Mariel discovered by accident that Maurice had continued with other experiments that hadn’t been authorized by The Firm. She knew full well that she was risking more than just her life, but at the time, she hadn’t cared. All she wanted was to pay Maurice back for all the unnecessary damage he had caused to Alain and herself. Mr. Koemborn agreed with Mariel’s petition in exchange of Intel about Maurice’s secret experiments. Mariel just asked in return to keep Alain safe wherever he was. Mr. Koemborn made Mariel write a note that said “Forget her”, adding the necklace. Mariel had agreed, anything to keep Alain safe and sound. After that, The Firm simulated Mariel’s death, making Maurice believe that she had been killed following his own instructions, in order to help him with his investigations, keeping the only witness out of sight.
Mariel heaved a hard sigh. She had always known that Alain was still alive somewhere. But she never asked where he was locked up. However, Mr. Koemborn would never have shared the Intel with her. Nevertheless, he found himself protecting Mariel from the galaxy’s eyes and he moved her to the military facility where she had been living ever since.
Mariel shook her head and looked at Jack, smiling slightly. This girl in front of her was wearing the same necklace on her neck that more than thirty years ago Alain had gifted her with. At that very moment, Mariel couldn’t help but think about the irony. Only two women had carried such a stone, and both of them had been living in a Hell, and all thanks to Maurice’s ambition. Mariel blinked and focused her attention on Jack. “Alain is…is he …?” Mariel asked, almost in a whisper, but she didn’t know what she was really asking for. What information she wanted to know about the only man she had loved.
Jack stared at Mariel’s eyes. They were full of sadness and Jack new full well the reason why. “The first time Alain saw me he told me that it had been a long time since he had seen such sadness in a beautiful woman’s eyes. Back then I thought he was talking about myself, now I know that Alain was talking about you. He was talking about his woman.” Jack explained to her and frowned slightly. Mariel’s eyes filled with tears as she blushed slightly. Jack lifted a hand and slowly cleaned Mariel’s cheek gently. She then continued. “He saved our lives, Riddick’s and mine, and… and he told me something, but I’m not sure if he told me this in my dreams though, but Alain said to me that my love for Riddick would be my only anchor against the galaxy, and that I was the only one who can save him from himself.” Jack added as she cleaned her own cheeks of new tears that had been shed without her notice. She then locked eyes once more with Mariel. “I’ve been thinking a lot about those words lately, and I’m sure that he was talking to himself more than to me.” Jack frowned at her own words. She then stroked Mariel’s cheek. “He said he had made a terrible mistake letting you out of his life.” Jack finished as she heard the door of the bathroom being opened.
Mariel smiled shyly and lifted her hand to stroke Jack’s hair. She then leaned over and kissed Jack’s forehead gently, like only a mother would be able to kiss a beloved daughter. “Thank you, Jack.” Mariel murmured as she lingered with her caress. Jack closed her eyes as silent tears were shed unrestrained.
Riddick entered the room and went motionless. His heart skipped a beat when he saw how Mariel was kissing Jack’s forehead, and his vision blurred slightly. Riddick blinked furiously and shook his head. He then swallowed hard and cleared his throat. Jack smiled sadly as she turned her head to look at him. He frowned slightly as a deep growl escaped his lips. Jack stood and went to his side, encircling his waist and pressing her cheek against his chest. Riddick grinned as he stroked her back up and down.
He knew full well that it was the first time that Jack had been able to feel the closest thing to having a loving mother. That kind of love had nothing to do with the love they shared. Riddick looked at Mariel for a second and understood that for both women, that kiss had meant more than just a show of affection or gratefulness. Jack had never met her own mother, and Mariel had never had kids. Riddick couldn’t help but grin, he knew at that moment that the emptiness that that lost had caused to both women would no longer be such a problem after today. In some bizarre way, the necklace had joined them with a powerful connection and Riddick felt his heart skip its rhythm one more time, not only to match Jack’s, but also because after so much time, Jack had finally found a mother.
Riddick then focused his mind on the business ahead of them. There would be plenty of time afterwards to deal with feelings and emotions. Riddick grabbed her head gently with both hands and tilted her head back, locking eyes with Jack. “Now, now, Jackie girl. Do you feel like playing who’s the best fucking killer?” Riddick asked as he stared at her eyes, grinning evilly and cleaning away her tears with his thumbs. Jack’s lips mimicked his evil grin as she turned her head to look at Mariel, sniffing softly.
“Sounds like a plan, big evil.” Jack said as she smiled broadly, even if her voice still held a slight trace of sadness. Riddick grinned and turned his attention to Mariel. In response Mariel cleaned her cheeks and stood. Swallowing the knot in her throat, she spoke.
“I only have two requests, Riddick.” Mariel said as she took a deep breath, clearing her throat. When she spoke, her voice sounded colder than she expected. “Make it last, and as painful as possible. And let me be a witness to Maurice’s death.” She said and shivered at her own words. In response, Riddick’s lips curved with an evil grin that sent shivers down Mariel’s spine. She then took a deep breath and headed towards a closet. Mariel pulled out a black cocktail dress for Jack and turned her attention to her. “Let’s play then.” She said as she grinned her own devilish smile.