Author's Note: Again, I want to thank everyone who's read this far and who's continued to support the story through their kind words (and death threats). We've come to the end of the road, folks… the last chapter. It's been real for me, and my only hope is that you don't feel like I've let you down with this one.

On another note, some people have written to tell me they hope that Fry doesn't die in this one or that they can't wait to find out if Fry or Riddick survives. If I hadn't made it clear in the summary or in the first chapter, this is some sort of PREQUEL or a Pre-PB kinda deal. Meaning, we're under the assumption that the events in PB (the movie) will eventually take place. This little ditty is just my take on what COULD HAVE happened years and years before that. Okay? Hokay then, shutting up now. :)

CHANCE ENCOUNTERS (The Final Chapter)
by Sullen Gurl

Oh dear God, Fry's mind implored. Please don't let this hurt.

Her body wound up so tight, it felt like a rubber band stretched to its snapping point. All she wanted was for this to be done and over with. With as little pain as possible

It should happen any second now.

Any second.

Now.

But there was no deafening explosion; no sharp pain in her chest. Instead, she heard something clatter to the floor a split second before she felt a force knock her over backward. Fry grunted as she hit the ground. Her eyes flew open and saw that it was Riddick who crashed into her. He was sprawled over her, unconscious. His weight made it difficult for her to breathe so she had to use what was left of her strength to push him off. With Riddick out of the way, she saw the Captain armed with a phaser, standing over them. She had to force her pupils to focus on his concerned face. Still on her back, Fry placed a hand on her forehead. Her breathing was ragged and her skin sheen with sweat.

"You alright, Lt?" he asked her calmly, picking up Riddick's gauge from the floor.

"Fine, " she wheezed.

Gallagher leaned down and extended a hand to help her sit up. Fry drew her knees up towards her chest and held her head in her hands like she had a terrible headache. For the nth time that day, she felt tears threaten to flow. She heard the Captain mutter something before softly walking out the room, presumably give her some time alone to pull herself together. As soon as she got a grip, Fry raised her head and surveyed the room. The three prisoners were down on the ground; two of them virtually unrecognizable. Blood pooled on the floor and some other unidentified matter dripped down the walls. It had been a gruesome bloodbath.

And right beside her was Riddick, spread-eagled on his back.

Without warning, the room started to spin and the lights began to dance in front of Fry's eyes. Everything she looked at seemed to be the color of blood-red. Slowly, she lay back down on the ground to wait for the dizzy spells to subside. Flat on her back once again, she blinked against the stark lights overhead. And as she did, hot tears spilled down the side of her face and vanished into her matted hair.

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Riddick stood still in the cryolocker; his hands bound and his neck clasped in a steel grip. There was a blindfold over his eyes and a metal bit in his mouth as well. Though he had been confined well over 30 minutes, sleep was the furthest thing on his mind.

Son of a bitch is takin' me to the Slam after all, he thought wryly.

He didn't suppose there was a way out of THIS one. He mentally berated himself for not having sensed the Captain sneak up on him. He didn't even hear the goddamned doors to the skiff open.

Score one for God, he thought bitterly. And for that, he had to admit he felt some kind of respect for Gallagher. In the Captain Riddick found a somewhat worthy adversary.

Everything had been going well too, but he hesitated. What if he just shot them all earlier? What if he didn't….

Riddick cleared his mind. It wasn't like him to dabble over what-if's or maybe's. Fuck that and move on. And never make the same mistake again. One thing was for sure, and that was vow to learn never to be blindsided. Never again. Even if it meant he had to find a way to see in the fuckin' dark. He supposed he could even pick up some tricks in the Slam; might as well learn something while he was in there. Because he promised himself he was never going to be locked up very long. Another opportunity was going to come his way, of that he was certain. And that next time, he was going to be more ready than he has ever been in his entire life. No hitches, no distractions.

Distractions. Carolyn Fry.

That second of restraint on his part certainly cost him his freedom. Women never caused him problems before. Not even beautiful, gutsy, skillful women like Carolyn. Usually, it was the other way around. What is it about her that…

Riddick clenched his fists, causing his wrists to ache in protest against the cold chains Gallagher had bound him so tightly in.

Never again, he promised himself.

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Fry sat in the mass hall alone. A blanket was draped over her shoulders and her hands were wrapped around a canister of hot beverage. Fry insisted that she was still fit to complete the mission, but the Captain would have none of it. He commanded her to recoup in the hall, but gave his word that he'd summon her when he needed help.

As for the bodies in the cargo room… Gallagher allowed her to help him drag them off to one corner, but suggested that they clean up everything else after they reached the Slam. However, he ordered Fry out of the room when he was about to place Riddick in cryolock.

It was a little humid in the room and the blanket was at least an inch thick, but Fry shivered nonetheless. She hugged herself but resisted the urge to rock back and forth in her seat. Her near-death experience definitely gave her a new perspective. She felt that she had been given new lease on life, and she'd be damned if she ever let go of it without a fight.

From this moment on, it's save your own ass, she told herself.

From the corner of her eye, she saw the plate that Delaney had been eating that weird porridge from earlier. She turned away and willed the image of his murdered co-pilot out of her head.

After some thought, she shrugged the blanket off and stood. Fry left the room and headed for the cargo deck once more.

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Standing in front of the steel doors, Fry felt a sense of déjà vu wash over her. She looked down the hall to make sure the Captain was nowhere in sight. Slipping inside, she noticed that he had turned down the lights earlier, probably to hide the blood stains that they hadn't cleaned up yet. It was so dim in the room that the only true source of luminescence came from the overhead light in Riddick's cryolocker. With Riddick's head upturned slightly to the light, his chiseled features were highlighted. Chained and locked away, he did not seem any less menacing to Fy. In fact, the chains, bit and blindfold just emphasized how dangerous this man could be.

She took one, then two steps toward the cryolocker. She moved slowly and quietly, as if afraid to wake him up and have him find her watching him.

He's out cold, for crying out loud, she scolded herself. Again, she marveled at how she could have possibly survived the ordeal than went down not one hour ago.

Thank God he hesitated, she thought. That one second was all the time Captain needed to save my life.

You saved my life too, she remembered, raising her hand to the cold glass. What is it about you that…

Just then, Riddick's head cocked to the side, towards her hand.

Fry gasped and stepped back. The movement was slight but unmistakable just the same. If it weren't for the blindfolds, she could swear he was looking straight at her right now.

"That's impossible," she whispered. The first five seconds of cryogas is sure to knock someone out, she rationalized.

Fry waited and watched carefully, but Riddick never moved a muscle again. But something told her that Riddick was awake.

Did he know she was right there, watching him? She wondered.

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6 years later.

"Heads up, Fry!" Owen yelled.

Fry jerked her head up just in time to see a clipboard hurling towards her face. She ducked and heard Owen's raucous laughter. She snatched the clipboard from the floor and gave Owens her best evil eye. He merely gave her a wicked grin. Fry couldn't help the smile that crept up on her face. She could never stay mad at Owens, and he knew it. Over the years, she'd built a close relationship with his crewmates. Owens could be naughty sometimes, but when it was time to work, he was as responsible and hardworking as the day was long. She relied on him and he on her during the missions.

"One of these days, Owens," she warned him good-naturedly, "you'll get yours."

She settled in back in her chair and flipped through the papers clipped together on the board.

"And this is?"

"Passenger list, Fry," he answered, twiddling some controls from where he sat. "Hold on to it for me while I check the gates. I'd hate to lose it."

"Like you did the last time, you mean."

It was Owens' turn to give her the evil eye.

"Found it again that time, didn't I?"

"After an hour you did," she reminded him, shaking her head.

"Yeah, yeah," he finally conceded, giving her a lopsided smile.

Fry turned her attention the clipboard in her hand.

"Anyone we know?" she asked him, running her index finger down the list.

"Don't think so," he told her. "Unless you count that guy who was hitting on you during boarding a while ago."

She raised an eyebrow.

"What guy?"

Owens stared at her like maybe she was just pulling his leg.

"Tall, blonde, blue-eyed? Looked like a cop? Do not tell me you didn't notice him checking you out. I'm a guy; I know these things."

Fry simple waved him off, and ran through the names listed to see if she knew anyone. She made out some vaguely familiar names, a couple of celebrities, a handful of Muslim names… She was about to flip to the next page when a name caught her attention.

Fry sat up in her seat and blinked a couple of times at the page.

Passenger 83. Richard B. Riddick -- Maximum Security Cryolock

No, she whispered.

She stared off into space, barely noticing the clipboard slip from her numb fingers and fall to the floor.

It's been 10 years. 10 years she tried to forget that name. 10 years she struggled to shove the memory of those men to the back of her subconscious. And she had succeeded.

But now… here at the ship. The sight of his name instantly caused the memory of that fateful night to flood over her.

Fry jumped when she felt Owen's hand on her shoulder.

"Fry," he asked carefully. "What is it?"

She looked up into his kind face.

"Nothing," she said faintly. "Just that the past has a funny way of sneaking up on you."

Owens looked at her quizzically.

"What do you mean?"

Fry forced a smile, but it didn't quite reach her eyes. She didn't want Owens to worry, and she most certainly didn't want to tell him about the experience she tried to forget about.

"Just babbling, I guess."

He didn't look satisfied with her answer and continued to watch her. Nevertheless, she just stood and handed him back the clipboard.

"I'll let you finish up in here," she told him before quickly leaving the room, leaving a befuddled Owens staring after her.

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Fry stood in the middle of the cargo room. All but three cryolockers were occupied and secured; hers, the Captains and Owen's. The Captain and Owns were doing a last-minute sys check. As the docking pilot, it was her job to make sure that all passengers were secure.

Standing in front of one particular cryo locker under maximum security, Fry felt a surge of déjà vu wash over her.

So we meet again, she said silently.

For the most part, he looked as she remembered him. There were some differences; he was more muscular and darker. Probably from the hard work he was subjected to in The Slam.

Judking form the kind of restraints he was placed in, she could only guess he had become meaner as well.

Like she had done so many years ago, she lifted her hand to the cold glass.

I know you're not asleep, she thought.

She waited for a beat but Riddick's body remained stock-still. Fry couldn't help but think that Riddick being in the same ship was a bad omen. She could only hope that she was wrong.

When she heard footfalls behind her, she quickly dropped her hand to her side.

"You all set, Fry?" Owens asked her.

"Yeah," she answered casually, turning to him.

His gaze flickered over to the cryolocker.

"Someone you know?"

Fry took a second to glance at Riddick then back at Owens.

"Uh, no," she said. "I thought it was… but I was wrong."

"We better get going then."

"Sure," she answered, but didn't make a move to leave the deck.

Owens reached out and clasped her arm with a warm hand.

"You okay, Fry? Got the pre-flight jitters?"

Fry shrugged and gave him an apologetic smile.

"Yeah. I guess that's what it is."

He squeezed her arm reassuringly before maneuvering them both out and into the hallway. Fry let herself be led away from the passenger deck, but allowed herself one quick glance at Riddick before he completely disappeared from her view.

"Don't worry," he told her. "Everything's going to be fine. You'll see."

THE END

Finally. To everyone who's read and given feedback, thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou! You don't know what your kind words mean to me. So. What did you guys think? You know I'd love to hear from you. Drop me a line at blasie007@yahoo.com and I'll be sure to write back. - SG