EAD: Fury’s Promise

Title: Fury’s Promise
Author: Kylia
Fandom: Riddick Universe
Genre: AU
Relationship(s): Richard B. Riddick/Vaako
Content Rating: PG-13
Warnings: Canon-level Violence, Misappropriation of Canon events

Vaako entered his quarters and made his way into his Dame’s rooms in the back. She was seated in front of her vanity with a glass jar in front of her, her gaze focused on her own reflection. She didn’t avert her attention when he stepped closer, but Vaako knew she sensed his approach even though his steps were silent and he wasn’t yet close enough to appear in the mirror.

“Well?” She asked, opening the small jar and lifting the lid to reveal a tiny eye dropper.

“The Lord Marshall is unsettled,” Vaako admitted. “Especially so, when my soldiers captured the Air Elemental.”

His Dame smirked. “I told you having your men bring her aboard in chains would disturb him.”

Vaako watched as the Dame huffed softly before tilting her head back and placing a single drop of the purple liquid in each eye. He saw the way her body tensed and then the way she released that tension with what he knew was a conscious act of will.

When she opened her eyes, she had the look of any other Necro Noble, cut off from their emotions, separated from anything that made them worthy of the gifts they sought to take. She met Vaako’s eyes in the mirror. “The time is upon us, Vaako. I have seen it.”

“You have seen many things, Mayani. Not all of them have come to pass.”

“No.” She agreed, looking away from the mirror, “but the dreams come every night now.” She turned in her chair so she was facing Vaako directly. “The time is at hand.”

Vaako nodded. “I have been ordered to go after Riddick. Be ready for our return.”

“How will you get him to follow you?” Mayani asked.

“Let me worry about that. You, stay here and deal with our little bird.”

*

Aereon was amused as she was led out of the room Zhylaw had left her in by one of the Necromonger Dames. She could feel the chains Zhylaw had attached to her dragging behind, but they were no real trap. Aereon watched the soldiers still in the Basilica and wondered if the way the Necromongers were always fighting among themselves for better position, even after converted was a method the Lord Marshall’s used to control them, or something left behind from who they used to be, but ultimately it mattered little in her calculations. She had wondered if the reason women had so little control and purpose in Necromonger society was because of their view of conversion as the only method of propagation. This too, was just an idle thought, as her calculations would see to the end of the Necromongers, one way or another.

“I am curious.” The Dame said softly, “that with worlds, falling at his feet, the Lord Marshall can’t seem to kill one Air Elemental.” She maneuvered them into a blocked off area of the ship. There was no security except the one Necromonger standing behind the Dame. She took another step forward and pulled a lever and the floor opened up.

Aereon was swift enough to brace herself. She wasn’t worried. Elementals were a hearty species and no Necromonger was going to get the better of her. It was true there were a few races out in the universe that were capable of killing Elementals, but it was doubtful any of them were converted, successfully.

“You don’t believe in our God, you don’t believe in any God, I hear.” The Dame said.

Aereon looked at the Dame and smiled. “Balance is everything to Elementals. Fire to Water. Earth to Air. We have thirty-three different words for it.”

“Yes, that’s true.” The Dame smiled and Aereon felt a pressure in the ship beneath her feet. She looked away and then back up at the Dame. “And the one for what’s about to happen now? That’s Vahruhn. You do remember what that means, Aereon, don’t you?”

Aereon’s eyes widened as the very air that made up the molecules in her body were smothered with a layer of dense Earth.

Balance, even in death.

*

Dame Vaako stared for a long moment before she nudged the chains left behind until they slipped through the open trap door and then returned the lever to its original position. She stepped back and turned to face the Necromonger Captain at her back. “Take care of anyone that might have seen her leaving her room that can’t be relied upon.”

“Yes, Dame.” The captain left to see to his orders.

Dame Vaako watched him for a moment, her keen eyes looking around for anyone who might be watching. After a moment she moved towards the purification chambers. The head Purifier was off with Vaako, hunting down Riddick, but there were others, and if Vaako was successful, she needed to be ready.

*

Lord Vaako watched Riddick fight his men and felt the stirring under his skin. His Legacy wanted to reach out and touch. Only his iron control kept it at bay. He felt as if he knew this Furyan, but that was…impossible. Beyond impossible. Still, it was more than just prophecy at work. The fire in his blood was alerting him to…something, just beyond his senses, but not whether it was friend or foe. His Opa had once told him that he would master the gifts he was given, he only had to trust. Vaako was still working on that part.

He stepped forward as the last two of his men fell, and Riddick struggled to get to his own knees. Vaako got almost close enough to touch, but not quite. “So, you can kneel,” Vaako smirked.

There’s a moment when Vaako thought Riddick was going to try and get up and maybe fight him but then everything sort of froze. Vaako wasn’t sure, but it felt like someone reached out for him across a thousand stars and a million cycles all in the space of a second. Then it was gone, and Riddick was unconscious. Vaako debated for a micron wondering if maybe he should check on him but then realized he could still sense him, under his skin, somehow.

Instead, he turned and grabbed the Liratean before she realized his intention and stabs the sensitive cluster of nerves at the base of her spine, knocking her out. He paused once she wasn’t fighting him any longer and turned to face the shadowed area where the Purifier still stood. Their gazes locked as the Purifier began to pull Riddick into the safety of the shadowed area the Prison ship is in and nodded his head once before turning to make his way back to his own ship.

*

Riddick opened his eyes and even though he could see still see the afterimage of his vision, he could feel an echo of the power resonating in him in a way he never had before. He wasn’t sure what he was supposed to do with that power. The woman from the vision…he knew her name was Shirah, though he didn’t know who she was or how he knew that, wanted Furya to be avenged. That, at least, he could do.

Riddick got up and looked around. The Purifier was watching him quietly as he removed parts of his Necromonger armor.

“We were all something else, once.” The purifier said softly.

Riddick stared at the Purifier impassively. He was not interested in what he was selling. It didn’t matter what the Necros were now, nor where they had started. If they got in his way they would be just as dead.

“Wait.” the Purifier held up a hand to halt him. “I was to deliver a message to you if Vaako failed to kill you. The Lord Marshall wanted you to know that if you stay away from Helion Prime if you stay away from him, he will stop hunting you.”

That wasn’t happening. Riddick knew, down to his bones that the Lord Marshall was responsible for what happened on Furya. Riddick raised a brow and waited.

“Vaako has no doubt reported you dead. He could do nothing less.”

Riddick watched as the purifier started to take off the pieces of his armor. He watched him in interest for a moment before he spoke. “He didn’t fail to kill me. He made a choice,” That was something else he knew down to his bones, though how he knew that was something he wasn’t going to think about. Yet.

“Perhaps.” The purifier nodded once as he took the last piece of his armor off. “Either way, this is your chance. To do what no one has ever done before. They will not be expecting you.”

“Where will they take the girl?” Riddick asked because it seemed as if the Purified was expecting a response.

“To be purified. To the Lord Marshall, of course. He’ll do to her what he does to us all.” He placed a hand on his own chest, the movement an echo of a barely remembered dream as he moved towards the open area where the blistering temperature of the planet was still rising. “The Necromonger in me warns you to stay away. But the Furyan in me…” he paused once more and looked at Riddick. Riddick can see the glow of a hand-print on his chest, just like the one on his own chest, as the purifier whispered the last words, “…hopes you won’t listen.”

Riddick watched as the purifier walked away from the safety and shelter and stepped out into the extreme heat of Crematoria. He felt it when the Purifier’s life-force winked out as if they had been connected on some level.

We all began as Something else.

The words echo in Riddick’s mind and he wonders how many of the Necromongers are from dying races. How many species did the Necros wipe out in their search for the Underverse? Did it even matter?

As Riddick thought, it was all circling the drain.

*

Lord Vaako waited for the ship to achieve orbit before he made his way to the back. He checked on the girl and seeing her stasis pod was untampered with he left her alone while he moved towards the few men who had been left on his ship. He had had just reached the doors to the ship’s sparring ring when he hit the floor as a wave of energy crashed over him.

He stiffened as his knees buckled. He could hear an echo of a voice whispering, as though on the wind of a long distant planet. He felt the fire under his skin trying to break free, to reach out, if he’d only release his tight hold on the Legacy. Vaako closed his eyes and focused on his control. When he felt he could manage it, he opened his eyes and turned towards his men. His dead men.

Whatever that wave of energy was, the other Necromongers hadn’t fared so well. No matter. It had saved him the trouble.

*

When they were only fifty microns from Necropolis, Vaako began to wake the girl up. He wanted her conscious and alert enough to listen to him.

*

“I may have lost a purifier, but I have gained a First Among Commanders.” The Lord Marshall said as the new cloak was draped across Vaako’s back. “Well done. This is a day of days.”

“Obedience without question, loyalty ‘til Underverse come,” Vaako answered almost by rote.

The Lord Marshall handed the headpiece to Vaako and swept out the room, his retinue following after him.

Vaako waited until his footsteps could no longer be heard before standing and turning to look at Mayani. She was staring at him in that way that told him she was analyzing his report to the Lord Marshall for any discrepancies or weak points. For anything, Zhylaw may return to question him about. After a moment she turned and left. Vaako’s own eyes took in the corners of the room before he followed after her.

“Thira said you brought someone to the conversion chambers.”

“Yes. an adult Liratean. I detected an active sibling bond in place between Riddick and someone else when he was in the Regression with the Quasi-Dead.”

“Jack,” Mayani said softly, remembering the report.

“Kyra now.” Vaako agreed. “When I realized she had been sent to Crematoria, and our trails had him heading there as well…”

“He’d gone to rescue her.” Mayani nodded. “What now?”

“I left her with Troval. He’ll keep an eye on her while the new recruits from Helion are being sorted. My story with the Lord Marshall will hold until Riddick arrives.”

“He was still alive when you left, wasn’t he?” Mayani asked.

“Who?”

Mayani frowned. “The Purifier. You told the Lord Marshall he died in the battle with Riddick, but…he was still alive when you left…wasn’t he?”

“Have you seen something?”

Mayani stared at Vaako for a long moment before looking away. “I went to the purification chamber on our way to Helion Prime.”

Vaako frowned. “Did the Purifier touch you?”

“He was but a step away from doing so when he hesitated.” Mayani shivered as she recalled the moment in the purification chamber. “He looked…not like himself, for a moment. His eyes were…they were as clear as yours when you allow the Legacy freedom.” She paused, “but then the clarity was gone, and I…Vaako, I knew, I could feel it, that he would not be a Purifier for long, though I could not see the why of it.” She stood and stepped closer, her fingers barely touching over his armor and then her hand wasn’t soft and supple skin but had a denseness to it and yet it went through Vaako’s armor without pause and the briefest of touches glanced over his chest. She could feel the heat from within, even though as a Necro, he should have been cold, emotionless, numb. Vaako, however, had never been truly converted, and he was rare, even among his own species. In the years since they had come together, she had learned when to push, and when not to. She stepped back. “Zhylaw’s time is coming to a close, Vaako. We have to prepare for what happens next.”

Vaako took a breath and reigned in the power of his people. It wasn’t yet time to show his hand, but soon.

*

Riddick slipped back onto the Necromonger ship easily enough. Their armor was bulky but made a useful disguise. He didn’t spend as much time examining the structure as on his first visit, though he did notice that things weren’t exactly as the appeared on the surface. There were a lot of soldiers ready to go out and convert the next new world. Riddick had passed two large Conversion chambers, like the one he’d seen on his first visit. This wasn’t the only ship either, so the Necros had the numbers, but as he’d come through the different areas of the ship he’d noticed that every section had someone keeping things running. He’d been noticed, more than once. A couple if times he could let it pass, as his disguise, but some of the sections of the ship, no one with full armor would need to be.

Either the Lord Marshal was expecting him, or someone else was.

*

Dame Thira Toal paused outside the meeting room where the Lord Marshall was making plans for the next campaign. She waited but a moment for her husband to pause in his explanation to the Lord Marshall before moving on. She had received what she came for.

The acknowledgment that all was as it should be with the commanders. They all had their parts to play, and they were too close to victory to allow for defeat.

Thira turned down the corridor that would lead to the Lord Marshall’s private rooms. His women would need to be handled, and Mayani had entrusted that task to her.

*

Riddick followed his senses towards a smaller room off one of their conversion chambers. This one didn’t seem as much a factory set-up as the one he had seen earlier. It was quiet and without all the garish statues the place seemed to have everywhere. There was some sort of chair set up on a track that moved this way and that. The chair was empty but there was a couch against another wall and Riddick could see a body lying still against its cushions.

Riddick took a step closer. He knew it was Kyra. He could smell the scent of her. It was the same scent he’d smelled on her back before the ship had crashed on M6-117. He’d known then, as he cataloged the various scents of the survivors, what she was, and if she wanted to keep that to herself, he didn’t blame her.

Now, her base scent was different. Different than it has been on Crematoria too. There was a layer of…something over it. Not quite death, but something damn close. He didn’t like it. There was something else too, but he couldn’t quite get the measure of it, not at this distance. He took another step closer.

“That’s far enough.”

He whipped around, the knife he’d take off the dead Necro who’d killed Imam leveled at the intruder. Vaako was standing in the far corner of the room, shadowed in the dark. He wasn’t wearing his armor, but Riddick could see he wasn’t relaxed either. If Riddick attacked, the Necro would be ready.

“She’s not a Necro,” Riddick said, turning back to Kyra, while still keeping his senses training on the warrior in the corner.

“She’s not?” Vaako asked. “What makes you say so?”

Riddick stepped back a minute and took off his own armor. “Scent. She smells mostly like she should. A little like she’s been rolling around in Necro sheets doing things I didn’t think you people got up to.” Okay, that was a lie. At most, Kyra smelled like she was wearing someone else’s clothing or that she had been given something, maybe to put her to sleep. She did have a similar scent to the other Necros. Not the metal scent of their armor or the trashy statues or the ship itself, but a more pervasive scent of death that seemed to hang over everyone like a masque. On Kyra, it wasn’t as deeply seated, but he still recognized it.

“She’s not converted, no.” Vaako admitted, “but at first glance, she will look like she has been.”

“Why the ruse? Why not just go in there and ghost him?” Riddick asked.

“Because of the souls of the people he’s taken,” Vaako said. “If he’s not killed in a specific manner, I can’t restore what was lost.”

*

Lord Marshall Zhylaw took a final look at the battle plans he’s made with his Commanders. “Excellent. I want to pullout out of the system within the hour. Have these three ships meet at this point at the edge of the system.”

“Lord Vaako sent Packyl out on a mission to retrieve something. They’re to meet us in the next system.” Toal informed the Lord Marshall. There was nothing unusual in his voice.

The Lord Marshall nodded. “Very well. Scales, you can take lead with the Armada.”

Scales looked up from the map across the table. “Yes, Sir.”

The Lord Marshall left the two commanders alone to organize their battle plans.

*

“The Elemental who brought you to Helion Prime. What did she tell you?” Vaako asked. They had moved from the private conversation chamber to the quarters Vaako shared with Mayani, though she was out doing Dame’s business now.

“Breezy?” Riddick smirked. “Not much. Just that the Necros converted or killed every race they came across. And this Lord Marshall was afraid…heard a story he’d be ghosted by a Furyan so he ghosted the whole planet.” He looked across at Vaako. “Where is she now…ol’ Breezy?”

“Dead,” Vaako answered. “My Dame didn’t like something she…said.” He paused. “She didn’t tell you that the story about a Furyan killing him, came from her. Thirty years ago in this very system, the Elementals sent an envoy of five, one representative from each of the five disciplines, to speak to the Lord Marshall at that time, Kryll. But they were betrayed.”

Riddick stared at Vaako. He wasn’t sure if he really cared about Necro political drama.

“In the end, only Aereon remained free, Zhylaw was the new Lord Marshal, and she led him to the Underverse. Worse, she showed him how to step onto the other side, how to absorb the souls of the people living in this universe, who haven’t crossed over. Every person he converts, is a soul he’s absorbed, a soul that’s lost and trapped.”

“I’ll ghost him. They’ll be free, everyone wins.” Riddick shrugged.

“If we’re not at the Threshold when we ghost him,” Vaako stated, putting emphasis on the pronoun, it won’t matter. All I’m asking for is a little cooperation.”

Riddick stared at him. “I’m not exactly what one would call a team player.”

*

Kyra woke up somewhere strange. She wasn’t in Crematoria anymore, but she wasn’t in cryo either. She felt like she might have been on a ship, but what ship and where? The Necro who had taken her off Crematoria told her that she’d be safe until Riddick caught up to them.

Riddick. She’d known that if he survived he’d come after her. Even if she had no reason to trust the Necro soldier who’d taken her, he hadn’t harmed her, and he seemed more interested in Riddick than her. Though, that was typical. Everyone always wanted a piece of Riddick. This guy though, he was after something in particular.

“Good. You’re awake. Come with me.”

Kyra started at the voice. A woman had entered the room. She was tall and thin with her hair swept on top of her head in a tight braid. “My name is Drea.” She stepped closer and helped Kyra to stand, taking a careful look at Kyra’s face and the indentations on the sides of her neck. “You’ll do. Come with me. Mayani is waiting.”

“Who’s Mayani?”

“You shall see. Let us go.”

Kyra took the cloak Drea handed her and followed her out of the room, hoping that this Mayani, whoever she was, would have some answers to her questions.

*

“How long until we get to the Threshold?” Riddick asked. He was leaning back on what passed for a bed in this monstrosity.

“If we take the normal route, at the normal speed, a few months.” Vaako answered. He was facing the lone window, though nothing was visible at their current speed and distance from anything resembling a star system.

“There’s an option?”

“Yes. But it’s dangerous.”

“Seems to me, this whole fucked up plan is dangerous. The quicker we can ghost Zhylaw the better.”

Vaako turned around and raised an eyebrow.

“You think I can’t handle danger, Sexy?”

“I think you’ve never been inside a star that went supernova, so you can’t judge.”

*

Kyra followed Drea but she made note of the path they took. They seemed to be taking a circuitous route but Kyra wasn’t sure if that because of her or for another reason. Eventually they came to a corridor that was less busy. There were only two doors leading off from it, neither had any sort of security outside that Kyra could see.

“Come. We won’t have a lot of time.”

Kyra followed. She’d already learned that Drea wouldn’t answer any questions. She wished she knew where Riddick was. Or even that other Necro. He seemed straight-forward.

Drea opened a panel and the door in front of them slid open. She stepped aside and waited for Kyra to enter ahead of her.

Once inside, Kyra looked around. The room looked like someone’s personal quarters. Utilitarian, in a way, not overly comfortable, but not like you’d expect in a shelter or prison either.

“Welcome.”

Kyra startled as she looked up from her examination of the room to see a woman entering from the opposite side. She was beautiful, but there was something remote about her at the same time.

“Who are you?” Kyra asked.

“Dame Mayani Vaako.” The woman smiled.

“Vaako.” Kyra murmured. “The soldier who brought me from Crematoria, his name was Vaako.”

“Yes. We required Riddick’s…attention. There was a prophecy involving Riddick and our…Lord Marshall. Some of us, are very dedicated to seeing it come to pass.”

“Vaako is your husband?” Kyra asked. She wasn’t sure why she cared, exactly.

Mayani’s lips twitched. Her eyes moved to Drea. “For Necromongers, a joining is a marriage, yes. Drea and her Lord, Scales are joined, regardless of what happens next. Lord Toal and his Dame, Thira are similarly joined.”

“But not you and Lord Vaako?” Kyra asked.

“No.” Mayani agreed. “I am bound first and foremost to my element, and to my sisters and their vengeance. But even if that was not the case, Vaako is meant for another, for something far greater than I. He has a greater destiny than the task before us now.”

Kyra nodded. She wasn’t sure exactly what that all meant but she figured that was all she was going to get for now.

“It’s important you stay here until someone comes to get you. Don’t answer the door for anyone. There is one other Dame who knows of your specific location, Thira. One of us will bring her by soon so you will know her. You may hear some fighting or something that concerns you. Pay it no mind. Stay here.”

“What’s going to happen?” Kyra asked.

“We’ve left the Helion system.” Drea spoke for the first time. “We are on our way to the Threshold. However, that is against the Lord Marshall’s orders. He has ordered us to a nearby system to replenish the ranks.” Drea said Replenish the Ranks as if it was a foul phrase.

“He won’t notice the detour?” Kyra asked.

“He may. “ Mayani agreed. “He’ll most definitely notice the fact that all three of his wives have been murdered in his bed.”

*

“Where is he?” Vaako asked as he entered the command deck.

“He left awhile ago.” Toal ran a scan on his monitor. “Three floors down. It looks like he’s in one of the private suites near the conversion chambers.” Toal’s lips twisted in disgust.

“Deploy three teams, trusted officers only.”

“What are you going to do?” Toal asked, but wasn’t surprised when he received no answer.

Vaako was halfway down the third level when he felt his shadow. “I don’t need a bodyguard. In fact, having you here would be the opposite of helpful.”

Riddick chuckled. “I just want to watch you fight when you’re not trying to kick my ass.”

“I might believe you, if I was actually going to fight. This requires something a little more subtle. Something I’m not sure you know anything about.”

Riddick raised an eyebrow but didn’t disagree. When they reached the suite, Riddick disappeared into the shadows.

Vaako’s teams were already there waiting on him. Vaako took a deep breath before placing a hand on two different walls. He bent forward and leaned his forehead against the door and breathed out slowly. Ice crystals began to form, first in the sections he was touching then they spread out until the entire hall and room was covered in them.

Vaako stepped back and nudged the door slightly with his boot and the whole thing crumbled. His teams swarmed inside. Vaako entered last, clearly not concerned about what he would find inside.

Riddick came out of the shadows and looked over his shoulder. The Lord Marshall and some newly converted morsel was frozen solid. “Hmm. Not how I remember Cryo, but I’ll take it.”

“Return the girl back to the chambers. Have Toval examine her. Take the Lord Marshall to the room we have prepared. Mind the path you take.”

They eventually made their way make to the command deck, where Vaako ordered Toal and Scales to separate the Armada.

“Are you sure that’s a good idea?” Toal asked.

“We’re taking the Basilica directly to the Threshold, but the smaller ships won’t survive our method of getting there.”

“So, we’re to follow then?” Scales asked. “What of those that ask about the systems and worlds we pass?”

“Tell them the Lord Marshall’s orders were to go directly to the Threshold. He’s not available to countermand those orders.” Vaako looked at them both. “This is what we have been waiting for. Just a little further.” He turned and started to leave.

“What of the Quasi-Dead?” Toal asked before Vaako could leave.

“They too, will be unable to survive the trip.” Vaako answered.

*

Vaako headed directly to the room he and Mayani had prepared in advance just in case it had been needed. Vaako hadn’t been sure they would need it. Their plans had been in flux for many years. It wasn’t until Zhylaw had order the armada to New Mecca suddenly, even though their original destination had been a planet in the Racine system, that Vaako had realized that Zhylaw’s feared destiny was upon him.

He had known that Zhylaw would balk at a return to the Threshold. His original journey to the Threshold cemented his place as the sixth Lord Marshall, and he wouldn’t accept a return until it was his Due Time.

When Zhylaw realized they were at the Threshold, and that Riddick was with them, still alive, and not converted, he would expect the Guardian and his warriors to do their duty and protect the Threshold. By the time he realized why that was unlikely to happen, it would be far too late.

Vaako stopped in front of the door. This section of the ship had been used once by Kryll’s favored wives but no one had ventured here since their execution. He entered the room and found Mayani standing outside the circle she had built.

Zhylaw was in the center of the ring. The ice-crystals were still visible on his skin. Three of Mayani’s sisters, lay head-to-foot in a triangle outside of Zhylaw’s frozen form. They were little more than a shadow of their former selves. Aquila’s skin was practically translucent. There were water drops along her arms and across her chest, but she had lost a lot of the vitality Mayani remembered in her Water-Elemental sister. Rurah was a shadow of her former self. She looked more ghost than flesh and blood. Spirit Elementals always had a foot in the next plane, so Mayani was lucky she had survived the years since the attack. K’indra’s skin looked flushed by comparison, as though she had spent too much time in the sun. Her body temperature was naturally higher than than either Aquila’s or Rurah’s, but that was the way of Fire Elementals. Their core temperature wasn’t too different from Vaako’s species, neither suited to the life of a Necromonger.

“How are they?” Vaako asked after Mayani had checked each of her sisters.

“Well enough for this, but I fear this will take the last of their strength.”

Vaako nodded but didn’t offer anything further. He knew that there was a slim chance that the Elementals would survive the task set before them. Mayani herself might not survive her final task, but they had all chosen this path long ago.

“You should go. You’ve done your part. Now it is up to us to keep Zhylaw where he dreams until it is time to wake him. You’ll be needed in the engine room.”

Vaako nodded and left the room.

*

Vaako made a last circuit around the ship, ensuring that everyone meant to be offloaded to other ships in the armada had followed instructions, and that those staying behind were where they were supposed to be. He wasn’t too concerned. The commanders left behind were ones who could be trusted to follow his commands, but one never knew when something might happen to upset the tre’on cart as his Opa used to say.

When he entered the secondary command deck he found two of the junior commanders manning their stations.

“The Armada has departed as ordered. Lord Packyl just docked and is awaiting orders on where to stow his cargo.”

“I’ll meet with him directly. Finish your scans and get to your designated posts. This level will be locked down once I reach the Engineering deck.”

“Yes, Sir.”

Vaako eyed them for a moment longer before walking out. “Come. Packyl’s cargo won’t sleep for long.”

*

“You want to tell me exactly what you’re planning?” Riddick asked after he had followed Vaako down two levels and they were approaching the only docking bay still active.

“After we handle your cargo.” Vaako answered.

“My cargo?” Riddick asked, stopping Vaako from taking another step.

“My Dame said you’d left something behind on Crematoria. I send one of my commanders to retrieve it. It may be some time before you’ll be able to get back there your self.”

Riddick stared at him for a long moment, not sure what Vaako’s Dame could have told him. He let go and waited for Vaako to lead the way. They approached the ship which had several cages loaded onto some sort of electrified cart.

“Did you have any trouble?” Vaako asked the Necro Commander that was checking on the cargo.

“No. I used Dame Thira’s sedative, and they have been asleep the whole journey. They should wake soon.”

“And the planet?” Vaako asked.

“Destroyed.”

“Very good. You may return to your ship and follow the Armada.”

Packyl bowed slightly and returned to his ship without giving the cargo another glance. Riddick waited until he heard the ship’s docking clamps unmoore before he turned to Vaako and the cages. “You sent one of your commanders to Crematoria to retrieve the Hellhounds?”

“Come. They’ll wake soon, and they should be settled in your rooms before then.” Vaako entered the information into the carts automated system so it would have a destination.

“Your rooms.” Riddick corrected.

Vaako paused for a moment before correcting the coordinates. “Very well.”

By the time the hounds were removed from the cages and were coming out of the sedation, Vaako had left him alone. Vaako had done…something to the hounds. Riddick wasn’t exactly sure what. He’d just said that it would protect them from what was coming next. Riddick wasn’t sure why he trusted this Necro, but he did.

Riddick had wanted to follow Vaako to whatever fool thing he was going to do next, but he agreed with Vaako that leaving five Hell Hounds to wake up in a strange place was probably not the best idea.

He closed his eyes for a moment and he could almost feel the touch of someone, reaching out from…somewhere. He could feel the press of fur around him, the rumble of their fierce growl, nothing he himself hadn’t felt.

“It’s time.”

Riddick opened his eyes at the soft words. Crouched in front of him was the woman from his visions. She had a soft smile on her face, but it was tinged with sadness.

“Shirah.” He whispered.

“You remember.” She whispered.

“I…who are you?” He asked.

“I was the last Alpha to share a bond with a Valekei. Zhylaw came to Furya before I could name a successor, and the Valekei…they no longer share their gifts the way they once did. They have abandoned the world, as they have been abandoned. You must seek one such out to end the threat of Zhylaw and his ilk for all time. Only then will the world be made new, and Furya will be made whole once more.”

Shirah placed both hands on Riddick’s head and whispered, “Remember where you come from.” There was a flash of fire and pain and then everything went black.

*

Vaako entered the engineering deck and took a look around. The room was empty, as he had ordered. All the systems were running automatically, or completely shut down. What he was about to do would either completely break the systems or would cause them to go into some sort of stasis. It was better for them to start out that way.

He went to the com system and made sure everyone in the ship, no matter their location, so long as their were conscious could hear him. “We are about to enter a trans-dimensional tunnel to reach the Threshold ahead of normal traveling routes. Please be aware that we will be traveling through multiple celestial bodies, some of which are not dead, and therefore you may experience some unfortunate side effects. Do not deviate from the prearranged plans that were provided to you, or you will not survive the trip. Vaako out.”

He stripped out of his Necromonger uniform and placed a hand flat on the top of the engine core, now just sitting idle, in a static state; then placed his left hand on a second machine, also static, and let his entire body lose cohesion. There was a bright flash, and the ship began to move.

*

On one of the upper levels the Quasi-Dead began to shriek. As the Basilica moved through the heart of a head star they started to die, their minds ripped apart, their bodies quickly following.

*

When Riddick opened his eyes he was no longer in Vaako’s quarters. At least, he didn’t think so. He could no longer feel Shirah’s touch, or the sense of the Hounds nearby. He couldn’t see anything either. Wherever he was now, was nothing but light and heat. It almost felt like he was standing inside the center of an explosion.

…or the core of a star.

The unusual thing was the light didn’t hurt his eyes. It took him a minute to realize he wasn’t wearing his goggles. In fact, he wasn’t wearing anything.

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