Author's Note: Oopsies! I completely forgot about writing this chapter! Shocker I know, but I didn't really have this chapter planned out like the other ones were, and then there was the stress of the holidays, so everything's been hectic. And speaking of which, I hope that everyone's holidays were wonderful! This chapter, for some reason, also took me much longer to write than it normally would, so sorry about that as well. So, without further ado, on to the chapter!
Oh, and Happy New Years Everyone!
Summary: AU: Riddick's dead, or at least that's what everyone else is supposed to think. However, it's a race against time when some Mercs decide Fry's just the sort of bait they need to get Riddick out of hiding, the problem is; she doesn't remember him. R/F
Disclaimer: I do not own anything Riddick-related, that right belongs to Universal Studios and the people on their payroll, the lucky bastards…
"Fry, you here?" Jack was still a little miffed. Fry was supposed to have been back on planet earlier today, but she hadn't come to Imam's to get her like she always did. She set her bag down as soon as she stepped into the flat, and turned around to flip on the light switch, closing the door behind her as she went.
"Fry, did you fall asleep agai-?" Jack paused mid-word the moment her eyes finally fell on a knife imbedded into the wood of the small side table. It was a nasty-looking piece of work too, and Jack felt a cold shiver run down her spine at the very sight of it.
Quickly Jack ran to where Fry's bedroom was, with any luck, the blade was just something Fry had brought home with her. But when she saw that the room was empty, and noticed that all of her things that she'd taken with her off world were lying right there, the panic she felt suddenly kicked up a notch.
"Damn it!" She shouted as she headed back into their living room. The couch looked like it always did when Fry fell asleep there, but it wasn't the couch's state that she noticed first. The table, that Fry had been so adamant about having, was smashed. It looked as if someone had thrown something into it. Upon further investigation, Jack saw Fry's favorite mug, shattered into little pieces and covered in blood.
"Shit," she heard herself sob. Where was Fry? Why would anyone want to take her? Maybe she was just overreacting; it could just as easily be the blood of her attacker. This was Fry she was talking about, after all, the woman who got them off of that planet, their captain. Fry was probably on her way to Imam's right now, to come get her.
Going on auto-pilot, Jack headed towards the door, grabbing her bag as she went, but paused for a moment to cast a mistrustful glance towards the origin of her panic. And that was when she saw it; a vidscreen. Fry must've left it for her, in case she'd gotten home before Fry. After all, Fry was meticulous like that sometimes. Jack had had many a vidscreen left for her after she'd gotten home from school, or from Imam's, whenever Fry's plans suddenly changed and couldn't tell Jack in person.
With a deep calming breath, Jack set her bag back down at the entry, and headed towards the out-of-place side table. She picked up the vidscreen and pressed the 'play' icon. Any hope that she'd had, that Fry was safe and sound, was dashed to pieces in that moment, as the images on the screen continued to flash in front of her.
Oh Riddick, why did you have to leave us? Jack asked the same question that she always seemed to find herself asking, and like always, knew she would never get the answer to.
As soon as the message finished playing, Jack shoved the vidscreen into her bag and ran out the door. She slammed the door shut behind her, making sure that it was locked, and headed back in the direction of Imam's place. If anyone knew what to do in a situation like this, it was him.
The familiar streets of their district went by in a flash. She was running as fast as she could, pushing herself more and more with each step. Normally, the trip to Imam's house took at the very least 10 minutes.
Jack was there in four.
She was panting ragged breaths when she finally arrived at the doorstep, of the very place that she had just left. She threw her hand against the wood of Imam's door, banging as hard as she could. She would've shouted as well, but she could barely find the air to breath, let alone speak.
She continued to beat against the door, until she heard the sound of feet shuffling across the floor, towards the door. Lajjun pulled open the door looking at her with wide startled eyes.
"Jack, child, what is the matter?" Jack still didn't have the breath to reply, and simply maneuvered herself into the house, closing the door after her. Taking deep breaths, she asked Lajjun between gasps where Imam was. His wife told her that Imam was up in his study, preparing for tomorrow's lessons. Jack gave the woman her thanks, before she bounded up the stairs, two at a time, towards the older man's study.
Imam was the picture of a professor at work, all around him were papers and text books opened and scattered all over his desk. When Jack came in to the study, she quickly slammed the door shut behind her.
"Imam," she pleaded as the door shut. Her hair was all over the place and she briefly missed the shorter hair of two years ago.
At her plea, Imam turned towards her, a startled and worried expression twisting his normally calm features. She didn't take long to explain to him what happened, when she walked into her home, making sure to explain in detail the state of their flat. Somehow Jack had managed to tell him everything in what felt like one breath, finally ending her summary of the events that transpired with the revelation of the vidscreen and the blade that stood watch over it like a menacing gargoyle.
At the mention of the vidscreen, Jack reached into her bag and pulled the damn thing out. She handed the bit of technology to Imam, and once he had it in his hand, released it as if it was on fire. Imam turned the little piece of equipment over in his hands, and Jack held her breath as she watched him press 'play.'
'Hello fucks,' the message began with a nasally voice. 'Hope ya'll aren't too worried about your dear captain,' he was on what appeared to be in a poorly taken care of cutter, judging by the screens behind him. 'Naw, scratch that, I hope you're shittin' yourselves.' He grinned one of the most malicious grins that Jack had ever seen in her entire life.
'Now, you are probably askin' yourselves questions, like 'Where's Carolyn?' and 'Who is this devilishly good- lookin' bastard?' Well, the simple answer to that is,' he paused and held up his hand so that it was in the screen with him, counting off the points with his fingers, "1) She's with us, and 2) I'm the guy who gonna bring in Riddick.'
Jack watched as Imam flinched at Riddick's name, just as she had in their apartment. She could practically see the questions flit across his face, but she kept quiet as the man on the vidscreen continued.
'Yeah, you heard me right: Riddick. You thought you'd be able to hide him, but you shitheads were lazy.' He gave the screen another haughty sneer before he continued.
'Dear little Miss Carolyn Fry, has so graciously volunteered to act as bait for us, that is either Riddick comes to us, or Carolyn wishes that she really had died on that planet with the rest of 'em. And just in case it escaped you dumbasses, you will be the ones to give this little message to Riddick for us, we'll be waiting.'
With that, the screen shifted to a bunch of gibberish, which Jack could only assume were the coordinates to whatever shithole the merc wanted them to bring Riddick.
Throughout the recorded message, Jack had watched as Imam's confused expression had become grimmer with each passing moment. At its conclusion, Imam wearily laid the vidscreen down on his desk, heedless to the papers that fell to the ground because of his actions.
"Allah, help us," he said with as much desperation as Jack felt. And with those words, it was if something solid slammed into the pit of her stomach.
"Well?" She all but shouted at him, "What do we do now?" They needed to form a plan and hurry to rescue Fry. She was out there, trapped with those mercs. Just thinking about them made her stomach turn; she couldn't imagine how Fry was faring, up close and personal with the lowlifes.
"Imam," she pleaded, when he didn't acknowledge her. "How do we find Riddick?" Jack asked the question that had been swirling around in her head since she had left the flat. "He could be anywhere by now."
When he finally looked up at her, it was with hardened eyes. Eyes not unlike the ones that he'd had on that dark planet.
"I must hurry," he began, quickly standing from his chair and grabbing the vidscreen as he headed for the door. "Lajjun!" He called, and his wife almost instantly appeared by his side.
"What is it?" She asked with panic growing in her eyes at her husband's agitated state. Imam quickly took his wife by the shoulders and stared into her eyes, as if the eye contact would press upon her the importance of what he was about to say.
"My dear, I must go to find a friend of mine. He is lost, but I know where he might still be." That was sure news to Jack; she thought that just figuring out where Riddick might've gone would take weeks at the very least.
"It should not take very long, but I must leave now, time is of the essence in this matter," Imam seemed to add as he saw the question forming on his wife's face. She just looked at him for a few heartbeats more, as if in silent communication with her husband, before bowing her head and pulling her husband into her arms.
"Please be safe, my love," she told him. The two of them stood there embracing each other before Imam broke away, hurrying into his daughter's room.
"I'm coming with you," Jack told him before he crossed the threshold, and he slowly turned his attention towards her. "I may only be fourteen, but I've been through hell, the same as you Imam. I can't just sit here and wait, we're going to find him together." Imam just stood there looking at her, and when he opened his mouth to speak, Jack was already coming up with more reasons why she should come with.
"If there is anything that you need from your home, Jack, I suggest that now is the time to retrieve it. Meet me at the hanger, we leave tonight." With that, he turned back to his daughter's room to say his goodbyes.
To say she was shocked, would be the understatement of the millennium, but Jack knew better than to look a gift horse in the mouth. Quickly, she turned on her heel and headed towards the front door, but not before Lajjun grabbed her and pulled her into a hug of her own.
"Be safe child, and be careful," Lajjun said squeezing just a bit tighter. Jack told her that she would, all the while wondering if she would ever be hugged like that by Fry again. She shook her head to clear it of anymore thoughts along those lines, as she ran through the district towards her home (thankfully at a more conventional pace).
As she entered the flat, she ran straight to her room and dumped everything in her school bag out onto her bed, repacking it with a few clothes and anything that she felt she might need in their search for Riddick. She didn't know the exact reason why, but she snagged the picture that they'd taken of all of them together at her birthday a year ago. Lajjun had still been pregnant back then, but they were all smiling, even Fry, who always seemed just a little harder to pull a smile out of.
Jack shook her head again, now was not the time to be going off to La-La Land. Now was the time to focus. She finished packing her bag, grabbing that malicious blade that the mercs had left with her after they had taken her captain. Riddick might even know who the merc is, just by looking at the knife.
After two years she would be able to see him again, just the thought of that, despite the circumstances, made a smile spread across her face.
The hanger that Imam had referred to was none other than the very same port that they had arrived through.
The irony was not lost on her.
Imam showed up only a little while after she had, a small bag thrown over his left shoulder. He had several papers in his hands, as he spoke to several different hanger personnel. Jack wasn't quite sure what was going on, but Imam seemed eerily clam, so she let the holy man work and didn't bombard him with questions.
For instance, 'Where were they going?' or, the big one in her book, 'How did he know where Riddick was, while she was left in the dark?'
Finally Imam seemed to find the person he was looking for, who promptly showed him to a series of small ship, nothing really grandiose, but decent nonetheless. Imam paid the man, before quickly ushering Jack to the ship.
"Who's gonna pilot?" She asked, feeling a slight pain in her chest at a very similar memory from the time they were on M6-117. They'd been without a pilot then too, after Fry had gone running off into the rain to find Riddick. This time, though, they were the ones going off to find him.
"I will," Imam told her. At the look, he no doubt saw on her face, he quickly added, "Since we were stranded, I have learned how to pilot, in case such a need should ever arise again." Jack felt a smile break out across her face, it was really true, they were going to find Riddick, and save Fry.
Those mercs wouldn't know what hit them.
It didn't take long before they were out of New Mecca and heading towards the place that Riddick had told Imam he would be: Aquila Prime. The place was, apparently know for its rather disreputable gambling and whoring. The place was the brothel capital of the system, so it was no doubt that Riddick would be there. But that still left one question unresolved...
"When did Riddick tell you where he was going to be there hiding?" They were getting everything set up, before they went into cryo-sleep. It wouldn't be for very long, but it was still something that Jack was all too happy to put off until the last minute.
"It was while you were asleep, before the Titan came to our rescue. It had mostly been silence between us," he began, his eyes growing distant as his mind went back to that moment from two years ago. "When Riddick suddenly told me about some of the places that he had been to in the past, while on the run. He had told me that, after everything was said and done, that he would most likely 'be laying low' on Aquila Prime, under the name William Johns." Jack felt a shiver run up her spine at the mention of that name.
It didn't matter that she and Imam had told Fry that the only other survivor of the crash had been named 'Johns,' every time she heard that name the only person that came to mind was that bastard of a merc, who was willing to cut her up and use her for bait.
It was not long after that, that they went into cryo-sleep. And it was not much longer after that, that the two of them found themselves at one of Aquila Prime's ports. The only problem now was finding out where the hell Riddick was on this rock.
A/N: The reviews tell me that I'm doing a good job, and help to encourage me to get my butt to a computer and type. :)