Disclaimer: I don't own Pitch Black or The Chronicles of Riddick, nor do I own any of the affiliated characters.

Background:

Set after the events of Pitch Black. This story takes off on the emergency skiff with Riddick, Imam and Jack still recovering from the nightmare. I plan on avoiding the CoR altogether and go to a different place. I found it interesting that all the fanfics, I had read, that had Jack go with Riddick ended up with some sort of sexual relationship. I thought it would be interesting to see how far I could push the plutonic friendship barrier. But be warned some explicit chapters later on.

Rated for violence, sexual content, language...You have been warned

He died somewhere on that planet

Despite the blood loss he wouldn't dare drift to sleep. Even with his eyes closed he could see the final moments of Carolyn's life, as though she was dying all over again in front of him. Sure, he'd seen a hell of a lot of people meet their bloody end, in most of those cases he was the goddamn grim reaper but in all of his days he'd never had someone die for him, die to save him.

For the first time in so long he'd felt something close to a human being.

"How long until someone finds us out here?"

He'd kept the conversation limited to no more than one word replies but still the kid had kept talking. In the last few hours she covered every fucking topic, from the new deep space transmitters to the weather on Helion. God had some kind of humor, he'd gotten off one hell only to get himself stuck in another.

The holy man was asleep, if only Imam knew his luck. Jesus this kid had him bordering on murderous. He'd survived through patience and self control and this kid was wearing him down to a pile of frayed nerves.

"JACK!!...asking ain't gonna make anything happen, so sit tight"

That little outburst seemed to quiet her down a tad. The sharp sudden throb brought his attention back to his leg. Putting his hand to it he found that it was still bleeding, fuck!

Before he could ask her to take a look, she'd already begun to pull out the small storage spaces looking for an emergency medical kit. He doubted if this piece of disposable shit had anything close to what he needed to clean up the open wound but he'd learned to make do a long time ago.

"This was all I could find!"

For an emergency skiff the medical supplies would be sufficient for anything other than an actual emergency. A roll of bandage, a needle and thread but that was it, no painkiller, and only a drop of disinfectant.

Without something to keep the wound clean, infection was sure to set in.

He didn't even have to say it because the look of defeat on his face said it all. He could see his own misery reflected in the startlingly green eyes that sat in the chair beside him.

"We could use a little of the water..."

The hunk only had a small in built reservoir that recycled water but that would only last so long. Besides, water wouldn't prevent infection.

"Listen kid...water's pretty fucking useless for anything other than drinking. Ain't gonna do shit to help me!"

He resisted the urge to lie back against the headrest of the chair and just die. He'd survived shit that would give Satan himself nightmares and here he was residing himself to death. He'd never felt so pathetic.

Closing his eyes for a brief second the clang of metal against metal startled him out of his thoughts.

"What the fuck!!"

The kid had opened the panel under the console and had her upper body stuck in. She was looking for something.

"Kid..."

Much to Riddick's annoyance there was no reply.

"JACK!!"

A head appeared with a very questioning look plastered across the face.

"Yeah...Riddick what is it?"

He didn't bother saying anything, too anxious about losing it completely. Riddick just pointed to the maze of wires she'd just been tangled up in.

"I'm just...looking for a secondary battery."

He didn't know what to ask first, what a secondary battery was, why she needed to find it or how she knew what a secondary battery was in the first place.

"I think there's a few things you need to explain to me kid!"

He wanted a few answers and he wanted them now. The creased brow and the low involuntary growl that followed the sentence left no illusions as to his present mood.

"I'll explain...I swear, but just give me a minute."

The look in her eyes was determined but pleaded with him all the same.

Reluctantly he sat back in the chair, he wasn't known for his trust and the thoughts of a thirteen year old girl screwing around with the wires on the only thing between him and the dark cold of space; that was not a comforting thought.

A few minutes later and the girl heaved a large square object out from all the wires. Her hands were covered in tiny scratches and she was oozing blood from a tiny cut above her eye. In all the rummaging around she must have caught herself on some sharp corners.

"Now...you wanna explain all this to me?"

Although it was phrased as a question you'd have to be fucking wasted to not recognize an order.

"The secondary batteries are charged by the cells and supply power to the console. Any direct power from the cells would fry the controls so main power charges the batteries and that powers the ships consoles."

Riddick had to tighten his jaw to hold back a smile, so the kid had talents. If something went wrong she would be very useful.

"And why is it out of the console?"

Jack got a very worried look in her eyes as she went to explain the reason behind that.

"Well... I might be able to fix the locator beacon but I need a low power energy source, direct from the cell, the transmitter would just fry."

All impulse of hiding his shock and relief vanished, as he recognized how much a beacon would improve their chances of survival. He took back everything he'd said earlier about wishing this kid got left on the rock.

"Kid... where did you learn about such complicated things? And I wonder as to why you didn't offer such useful skills to help back on the planet?"

The girls jaw tightened and Riddick could tell she was about to lie before she could even say a word.

"My father was a mechanic...and...you all got on fine without me."

Riddick locked eyes with her. His silver predatory gaze unflinching as he spoke.

"Remember who you're talk'in to kid"

To Riddick's disbelief she didn't recoil. He'd gotten used to his stare cracking the hardest of shells that he'd always assumed it would work. Despite her frail, weak appearance she was made of harder stuff.

"You don't believe me...fine...It's not as if I give a shit, and you ain't gonna get another answer. So...believe what you want"

The beast in Riddick rose just for a second to bask in the outward defiance. On some level the animal recognized the hidden claws and teeth, no way did you grow a set like hers coming from a happy home.

Riddick shot forward, his face just inches from hers,

"Really...I'm not going to get another answer, am I? What about if I turn this thing around and set you back down on that planet...you think I might get an answer then?"

The girl was obviously frightened, fuck it, she wasn't dumb, but what was more concerning wasn't the fear, it was the anger. Riddick could smell it roll off her in waves.

"Oh yeah...you could do that, but this thing would probably break up in atmosphere."

Riddick gave her a slight grin,

"What about if I just ghost you right here."

The innocent air around the kid crumbled right before Riddick's eyes. You could have the cutest animal in creation, but back it into a corner and you find that even kittens have claws.

"And if a merc ship picks you up...what then...you tell them we slipped and fell on your shiv. Beside, we're the only proof you got that the, notorious, Richard. B. Riddick, murderer and escaped convict, died on that planet. Whether you like it or not, you need us more than we need you."

If he hadn't already been clenching his teeth he would have been slack jawed. While he didn't like to dwell on her last point too much; it somewhat upset him to think he needed anyone other than himself, she'd already confirmed what he'd guessed. The only way you learn to think that fast, is on the street. It made sense, the boys clothes, the attitude, even the way the kid looked up to him.

"So... where ya run'in from kid."

His immediate reaction to her face was to laugh, it was fucking comical.

"Why...do... you think I'm running."

The girl tried to hide the nervousness in her voice with a small forced laugh.

"Listen kid...I ain't gonna argue about this...and I sure as hell ain't in a position to give you advice."

A genuine smile crept into his features,

"I'll leave that to the holy man when he wakes up...now... really, where'd you learn all this shit?"

Riddick wasn't going to give up just because threatening her hadn't worked effectively.

When she took a deep breath and cleared her throat he was confident she would tell him the truth. He expected it to be somewhere along the lines of, abusive family, street runaway, the usual story. He couldn't believe the reality.

"You want the long mushy, or the short version."

The look on Riddick's face displayed a rapidly waning patience. She figured that meant that short story was her best bet.

"My parents where killed when I was seven, they were unlucky enough to get caught in the middle of a gang war. I got slung into about half a dozen foster homes, which I hated."

Riddick could understand that, nowadays most foster homes are run by greedy people who do it for a tax cut or for the small government checks. Some even slave out the kids

"I was already pretty handy with all kinds of technology and by complete accident I fell in with a group of hackers when I was just ten. They thought me the ropes and I learned pretty quick, I even crashed a few government systems when I was twelve ...but the fun didn't begin until I decided to try my hand at the latest software."

Riddick noticed her hands begin to twitch a little and that bothered him a whole lot more than he wanted. She was scared of his reaction.

"You ever hear about an underworld group called the Pegasus syndicate."

The only words that went through Riddick's head where extremely explicit profanities.

"Well...when a new software is developed it usually goes to the highest bidder, and I'm sure you know that the wealthiest bastards in the universe tend to be criminals. It just so happened that the Pegasus syndicate was the owner of said latest software and I kinda hacked them."

Riddick shook his head. He knew all about the syndicate, they where about gambling and slave trade, two of the most lucrative businesses in the universe and it was run by some of the most psychotic fucks in the galaxy. They had twisted ideas of entertainment. He'd heard stories about little kids being thrown to starving dogs just so these freaks could watch the kid get ripped apart. He may not have much of a conscience but he has a code and unnecessary torture ain't on his list of acceptable behavior.

"So let me hazard a wild guess and assume you tried to break their system and they caught you"

Jack let out a frustrated chuckle,

"I fucking wish, I didn't try anything...I fucking crashed their systems on ten different planets, and I lost them over five billion creds."

Riddick had to push his chair back from the console so he could turn and fully face the kid. Fuck, even he'd heard about that and he'd been in solitary at the time. They'd said that some genius had brought the syndicate to their knees. They also said, that apparently, the leader was so pissed he shot the nearest person to him five times in the chest when he heard the news. It didn't help Riddick's, already, troubled mind when he remembered that the nearest person to Marcus Simons at the time had been his seventeen year old son.

"Kid...you know much about the syndicate?"

Jack apprehensively shook her head. Nervous with regard to even talking about it. The night they'd tracked her down was at present battling against her time on T2 for the top spot in her future nightmares list.

"Count yourself lucky kid, because if they catch you your gonna spend every last second of your life wishing you'd died back on that piece of shit planet."

The girl shuddered,

"I know"

Riddick left it at that, Christ, he'd better not tell her about the unofficial bounty of twenty million creds they put on the head of the Pegasus hacker. Jesus he thought he had problems with merc's. This kid, if word got out, would not only have merc's, but every son of a bitch with a ship and a gun on her ass. Riddick had to admit it to himself, he was way past jealous. The bounty on his head never went past 900 k.

"Get some rest kid."

He didn't have to say it twice, she was already out cold.

Turning back to his wound he cut away a part of the pant leg and got the first good look at the nagging injury. He laughed at himself, it wasn't anywhere as bad as he'd thought.

"I'm fucking losing it"

The cut was about two inches long and a half and inch deep, it just so happened that it'd nicked an artery.

Hence all the blood.