Author's note: This story contains slash, meaning a male/male pairing, between Harry Potter and Riddick. Don't say I didn't warn you. :) Otherwise, warnings for violence, discussion of psychological torture, and a slight AU of the Harry Potter series after the seventh book. I suppose I should warn for an AU of Pitch Black too, because while at first Harry's presence might seem to be the only change, my story will not run perfectly parallel to the movie by any means—I'm doing something new for the purpose of this story, and so don't expect people to die when you think they will, or for events to play out just like how they did in the movie. I hope you enjoy. :)
Disclaimer: Neither Harry Potter nor Pitch Black belong to me, nor will they ever. Consider me disclaimed, because I only write this out once per story. Suing me will only get you a couple of rings and two dollars in change, anyway, so please don't bother.
The term cryo-sleep was, technically speaking, inaccurate.
It had been called cryo-stasis, at the start, back when it was first invented in the twenty-third century by three ambitious scientists. The first cryo-sleep pods, which were twelve feet tall and six feet wide, had been marketed that way: cryo-stasis pods, for effortless, painless travel, the slogan had gone. Most thought the initial commercial failure of those pods was caused by their inconvenient bulk, and this was partially the case; moreover, though, there was an overwhelming negative response to the name. Cryo, meaning frozen, and stasis, meaning an abnormal state of motionlessness, came together to form something that sounded, to most, too much like death. To lie in those bulky, mechanical, inhospitable pods was nerve-wracking enough—that process capped with the name cryo-stasis had made people uneasy about the method of travel. The next model of pods was smaller, only seven feet long by four feet wide, more comfortable, and also renamed. Cryo-sleep, in which long journeys seemed to occur overnight. Sleep was familiar: sleep was safe, where stasis was not.
That still didn't mean, though, that time spent inside the pods was spent sleeping. Sleep implied total unconsciousness, an utter lack of awareness in every part of the mind. Inside the pods, only the conscious mind slept. Marketing this minor detail would not have gone well, and so it remained an open secret. Still, the truth was widely known; in the pods, the snarling, feral force of what had once been called the id remained awake, conscious, and caged.
On board the cargo ship called the Hunter-Gratzner, forty living souls existed within this base state. Each of them had entered the ship a month before, for reasons of their own, and shuffled into cryo-sleep pods to prepare for the journey. The ship had launched from the interplanetary harbor on the blue planet Apollo, programed to follow a set trade route which would skim three planetary systems before touching down on Magdiel. It was not the most direct of routes, but it was, in a sense, the safest; away from any interstellar pirate fleets or merc ships looking for a take, the Hunter-Gratzner would pilot its way safely through the black without any danger of intercept. All those onboard, as they settled into the pods, were assured of their security by the captain over the comm system, as he read out the standard speech concerning passenger safety and emergency procedure. Having completed his checks, the captain ended the message by expressing the hope that the passengers would sleep well, before setting his ship to launch and situating himself inside his own pod. As soon as the ship left the ground, an automatic signal was released, activating the cryo-sleep pods and plunging forty souls into that semi-conscious state.
Some of the passengers settled quickly. Imam Abu al-Walid, peaceful in his faith, dropped into what was very nearly utter unconsciousness, with his apprentices following after. John "Zeke" Ezekiel and Sharon "Shazza" Montgomery, prospectors both, fell deeply into that resting state, though one might see, from time to time, a hint of a grimace cross Shazza's lips, or a growl begin to reverberate in Zeke's throat. An antiquities dealer named Paris P. Ogilvie also entered a near sleep, the only signs of his wakeful side being occasional quivers and shakes. Less deeply slept the fighters, whether by profession or nature; Carolyn Fry, in the pod allotted to the emergency docking pilot, clenched and unclenched both fists and teeth even as she slept; in the first passenger compartment, a man named William J. Johns, who wore the badge of an officer of the law, tossed in his rest, eyes darting under closed lids as if taking in his surroundings; a stowaway, teenaged child named Jack, who had been sent to sleep by the cryo-signal despite not being properly fixed in a pod, twisted and turned in the fashion of the guilty.
Of the entire Hunter-Gratzner passenger capacity, however, only two souls fought the pull of sleep entirely, clutching to the last remnants of wakefulness with a snarl. One of these two was the murderer Richard B. Riddick. Alert but bound, utterly immobile, Riddick watched his fellow passengers through the haze of the pods and thought, dreaming without sleep of escape. Riddick was strong, determined, deadly—no scholar, but his was a sharp mind when it benefited him. Which way were they going, what could he do, who could he exploit, was there enough time, howwhenwhere? A million questions, a million possibilities. Think and discard, choice to choice to choice; it was a long way to Magdiel, and Riddick would bide his time...
The second mind which lay awake did not belong to any of those in the passenger pods. In the second compartment, amongst such cargo as a pile of ancient weapons, a box full of crumbling yellow letters from time long passed, and a sarcophagus full of alcohol, there lay a pod secured to the floor. Across the pod stretched tape marked with the bold, bright-lettered words: DO NOT OPEN. This pod, unlike the new models which vertically lined the walls of the ship, was seven feet tall by four feet wide, unnecessarily bulky in the time of the Hunter-Gratzner. The glass of the pod, which was traditionally transparent enough to permit a view of the people inside, had been painted over with three layers of thick black paint, thoroughly obscuring the body held within. This pod, one of the oldest still in existence, had recently been on a long journey, one which would not end on Magdiel, but rather the planet Helion Prime; this ship was only a connecting flight for the pod which was never supposed to be opened, which held a soul which was never meant to be woken.
Inside the black-painted glass, a body lay. The form was male, black haired, and looked to be around twenty-five years of age—looked, but was not. When last he had been awake, the male had counted his age to be twenty-nine. He had not been awake for an almost impossibly long time. Neither, though, had he been asleep. Behind the closed eyes, a mind feverishly threw itself again and again at the restrictions of cryo-sleep, fighting and failing to claw its way into full consciousness. Like Riddick, the male in the black cryo-pod waited, without knowing the route on which he traveled, for a chance at escape. Unlike Riddick, the male was not bound within the cryo-pod. Instead of assuming the stillness the murderer Riddick had been forced into, the man in the black cryo-pod twisted and cried out in his rest, each movement causing a metallic clink as the dog tags around his neck were disturbed. H.J.P., they read in the dark. Harry James Potter, once hailed savior, fought against the bounds of his prison and motivated his struggle with half-recalled memories of sunlight, waiting for a chance.
Both these wakeful souls would get their wishes. The M-344/G planetary system was one of those the Hunter-Gratzner had been programed to pass; indeed, the ship had passed it a hundred times before in similar runs, at a bare minimum. That trip, however, a comet passed through the sky just as the Hunter-Gratzner approached the system, leaving a trail of debris behind it. On auto-pilot, the cargo ship lacked the necessary authority to reroute itself, and simply followed the pre-programed coordinates, propelling itself directly through the field of debris.
What followed was painful, chaotic, and largely inevitable. The hull was breached, the captain skewered, gravity set in, and on the bridge the docking pilot looked first to herself. The Hunter-Gratzner fell out of the black like a wounded bird, automatically attempting a landing on the nearest planet which could possibly support human life—planet number two of the system, a desert planet called Hades. The ship was too heavy, Carolyn Fry too frightened, and the switches all too easy to pull. Off went one compartment, another, and almost a third before the navigator sacrificed himself to save the passengers. A sliding crash ensued, with twenty-eight of the forty souls on board lost to a more permanent unconsciousness. It was then, as the Hunter-Gratzner was slowly destroyed by the impact with the planet's surface, that the ship's computers carried out the last of their automatic functions, releasing a pulse which released the hold of the cryo-sleep pods on the minds of the passengers. Generally encoded, the ship woke every living passenger, regardless of situation or status; slowly they came awake in the aftermath.
Riddick, who had never slept, found his cryo-pod conveniently opened by the damage caused upon landing. Even as the Hunter-Gratzner skidded to its final, shuddering stop, he stumbled out of the pod, bound but free. It would have been all too easy, then, to kill Johns outright before the man ever woke—Riddick considered this. Then, with a shark's grin to his teeth, Riddick turned and made for other parts of the ship. Johns would have to chase him this way. Made things more interesting.
(Didn't stop Riddick from taking Johns' gun, though—he wasn't an idiot. The grin got a little wider.)
In the second compartment, which had been jettisoned just before the cargo ship hit ground and so had come to rest not far behind the main body of the Hunter-Gratzner, a second cryo-pod received the signal to wake. Behind a layer of black-painted glass, Harry James Potter opened almost unnaturally green eyes.
As of this moment, I have four more chapters of this story written. That means I can't update really fast, but also means that I can promise another update later this week, and another week of the same before I could even possibly run out of material. I'll try to keep this story updating regularly twice a week, especially because some of the chapters are quite short.
Please review! I love hearing from my readers. I write for myself, but I publish these online for you guys—if you get back to me and tell me what you think, that makes it easier for me to make sure everybody enjoys. I promise I'm going somewhere new with this story, something not usually seen in this fandom. You won't be disappointed. :)