Riddick is Dead
Written by Kevin F. Pickett
Chapter 3 - Awakening
I awoke in a brightly lighted room. The walls were empty and white. The smell of sterile cleaners was overwhelming. It felt like a laboratory. I tried to stand but I was being restrained. Someone had strapped me down to a table. It must have been an examination because I was the center of attention for the viewers. The whole room was blurry but I could see there were people working on me. They were all worried about something, something terrible from the way it sounded. I tried to get up but someone zapped me with a cattle prod. The shock sent a sharp painful sensation to all of my nerve endings. My eyes went dark again and then the room was covered in a red glow. I could smell meat. The aroma was spreading all over the room. My hunger was growing by the second. I hadn't had anything to eat since my capture. I had to resist. There were more important things to deal with then finding food. The more I fought the hunger the more it swelled in me. I looked around for the smell but all I heard were screams and all I saw were people screaming at me.
That's when I heard one of the nurses say, "But he's dead!"
Zahara! Set the ship down behind those mountains. Riddick is here and we have to start looking somewhere.
When I climbed out of my ship I could feel the swampy surface beneath my feet. This planet is disgusting. Only Riddick would hideout on a world so grimy even Mercs would think twice about following.
When I arrived at the city the streets were empty. I could hear screams coming from all directions. At least I was smart enough to have gone back to my ship to pick up one of my favorite toys. The M-99 pulse canon was my best friend. She only came along for special occasions.
This was my first visit to Mortuaria Luna and I had no idea there were cities and better yet zombie corpses roaming about. Zahara said this place was called Graves End. It was a fitting name for a city on a graveyard planet. According to the ships computer, Zahara, this was the last surviving city on this rock. The other cities had died off from unknown circumstances. This place was definitely giving me chills.
I surveyed the streets and buildings for anyone to offer some information on Riddick's whereabouts. Riddick might not even be here anymore. He could have secured discrete passage on a ship out of here as soon as he saw me land.
I was about to give up and head back to my ship when a man approached me. He came out of a side street alley walking fast towards me. He was covered in torn clothing and he kept his head down. My first instinct was shot first and maybe ask questions before he died. This was a big city and I needed a lot of detail.
When he got close he didn't stop to keep a proper distance but continued until he was in my face. He raised his head revealing his blood stained mouth. I leapt back in panic but also managed to get off one shot. As I fell down to the street I saw the man's head exploding from the impact from my pulse cannon. I never shot someone at close range with it before. The splash of blood when his head split open was astounding. I had gobs of flesh covering me as I lied in the street. This is how it was going to be.
I got up and ran for the nearest building. It was an old cruiser repair shop. When I got inside I could see it was already looted for anything valuable. To make myself safe I chained the front doors. Surprises were not something I needed right now. I searched the garage and found a partially rebuilt quad runner. This was going to be a long night and I was going to utilize every minute of it finishing this quad.
By morning I had the bike running like a newly christened battleship fresh out of space dock. Since I didn't know the streets I got a map from the garage wall. The lady said he was infected so he would likely have made to a hospital. The closest one on the map was also the largest. It was about two miles east, deep center into the center of the city.
I made it to the hospital but not before killing three of those zombies on the road. I needed to conserve ammo. Who knew what I would need to get out of here? Was Riddick really worth all this? Half a million credits is worth more then my dead husband.
A couple of armed guards stood watch at the entrance. I waited for awhile a finally saw a doctor come outside for a smoke. He might be worth my trouble.
"Hey Doc. I need to know if a baldheaded soldier type was brought in recently. "
The two guards looked at each other and laughed at my expense.
"I wasn't talking to you two idiots. Something told me you would be so forthcoming with that information."
The bigger of the two spoke. "You're right we don't really care but there is something you could do to make us talk."
I hoped off the quad and started slowly walking up to them. I pulled back the side of my trench coat to show a little leg. They were giving me the attention I wanted but not the attention I needed. Before I could get off a shot at these two morons a horde of dead-walkers can rushing down the street.
The guard screamed, "Let's lock it down."
The other guard said, "I'll man the turret while you lock down the entrance."
He turned to turned to the doctor and politely said, "Time to go back to work Sir. We'll keep the entrance secure."
The Doctor couldn't even look at me. He pivoted on his feet, turned and walked inside with his head down. Isn't it just like men to leave a woman to fend for herself. The two guards tried to close the door before I could get in. I threw my pulse cannon in between the doors to stop them.
"I can help you guys fight hem off. Please let me in." The mob of dead-walkers was feet from me when I turned and shot the heads off of two of them. The guards were obviously impressed because they opened the door for me after that. I climbed next to the mounted heavy gun on the turret. I stuck my pulse canon out the window and during the melee I managed to take out about twelve dead-walkers while the heavy gun took out the rest.
The guards were now my battle buddies and more then happy to tell me that Riddick was taken down to the research department a few days ago. They gave me directions and radioed in the clearance I needed to get to the basement levels. I would have rather killed these guys but sharing a fire fight with them and getting what I needed was almost like sex.
The basement level was filled with blaring red alert sirens when I got there. I tried to find the administrator but I ran into a nurse who was covered in blood and visibly shaken. I asked her what was going on. She told me a patient went berserk and was ripping apart the dead-walkers with his bare hands.
She wasted no time and ran for the elevator. I needed more answers so I headed in the direction of the Administrators office.
The Administrator was a short squirrely fella. Not cute by my standards. Administrator Tulsa was his name. He saw my guns and body armor and probably assumed I was some kind of military support. He asked me to follow him as he was in a rush to get to the Chief Medical Officer. He needed to get him the security file on a patient they were detaining who was also the reason for the red alert. I asked him to describe the patient. His description fit Riddick to a Tee. Tulsa told me that Riddick was brought down here a few days ago. He was infected and arrived dead. Riddick woke up during the autopsy and went crazy. He started attacking everybody. Well, that's what they thought at first and then realized he was only attacking infected people.
We arrived at a room marked Research Lab. The Chief Medical Officer was standing in the lab. He was another short squirrely fella.
The only lights came from the monitors on the lab tables. There were several digital readouts and graphs on the monitors. One had a 3-Dimensional image of Riddick's body.
The Chief pointed to the 3-D image of Riddick and said to us, "I just finished analyzing the results. I have never seen anything like this. An infected humanoid that has developed aggressive, anti-viral toxins in his blood. The toxins kept the virus from spreading but it also triggered an aggressive defense mechanism."
He pointed to the digital graph on another monitor and explained, "At first he was clinically dead. This state allowed the body to fight the virus. When he woke him up he started attacking infected hosts. It's almost like his body is fighting the virus at the molecular level and also the genetic level."
I had to ask, "Have you tried talking to him?"
I was thinking like a merc. I just might be what they need to get Riddick to cooperate.
"He seems aware but he isn't stopping for idol chit chat. He just throws us to the side. If we attack with force, well then that's another story. He's already crippled two of my best security guards. We thought the dead-walkers were bad. They're nothing compared to the mess this guy started."
This just raised more questions in my head. If I can help out here, there might be money in it for me.
The administrator interrupted by throwing the file he was holding down on the Doctor's desk. He pointed at me and said, "She's here for that thing we have trapped in the clean room. He's an escaped fugitive and from the looks of it, any other details are classified. We got a military conspiracy sitting in our lab."
I had to change the subject before they escorted me out the hospital, so I asked, "When did this virus outbreak start? To the looks of it you've been dealing with it at most a few weeks."
The Chief turned away and stared at the wall.
He said, "My colleague was the first to identify the virus strain. She isolated it and then she disappeared about a week ago. She left with her research notes. So we're flying blind here."
The administrator grew frustrated and yelled out, "Chief! This makes no sense."
The Chief sat down in a chair and leaned back with his hands folded behind his head.
He continued, "We found your 'Riddick' a few days ago. A pure infected specimen and he was dead. I had them bring him directly to me so that I could do an autopsy. I was able to extract samples for testing but that's when he woke up. Now he is destroying any and all infected bodies he runs into. It's like he can smell them. We have him contained but soon he will finish with the corpses on this level and work his way out into the city. I need more samples of his blood to replicate a cure."
Now I had my leverage. They had something I needed and I could get something they needed.
I said to the Chief, "Doc, all I ask is that you let me talk to him. You'll get your sample and I get to leave with him no questions asked."
"How can you be sure you can communicate with him?"
The Doctor had no faith so I assured him by saying, "Riddick and I have history. He'll 'communicate' with me."
The Doctor hesitated briefly but said, "Deal."
We shook hands and then his guards escorted me out of the room.
I entered an observation room with a glass partition separating the room. Riddick was pacing on the other side. His eyes were sparkling like red crystals. His hands were covered in blood. He was examining the walls and glass. I could tell his mind was devising a way out. I knew how he thought. Riddick stopped when he saw me.
"Zoe!" he said and smiled.
"Yeah killer, it's me.", I pulled a chair up to the glass and sat down.
"I tracked you here all by myself, Riddick. I must say you picked a really filthy planet this time. Who would come here chasing you?"
"Cut the bullshit Zoe. You already know I killed him. He just let me take over his ship and fly it into a sun. I know you got heart Zoe. You're just waiting for your chance to ghost my ass for revenge."
"Same ole Riddick. I can't fool you. Yes, it is just revenge I got on my mind. So, let's get to the point. You're infected with a virus."
"Virus? I've never been sick in my life."
"A virus from this planet. You were infected previously somehow. Maybe when you landed."
Riddick put his head down to think then said quietly to himself, "That lake."
"Riddick, your body killed off the virus but it did so by producing a viral toxin that your body is crawling with. You're not yourself and that's why they have you caged. They just want a large sample of your blood and then we can go."
"Go where? Back to the slam? Fuck you!"
"I can wait all day, Riddick. I want that sample and then you're getting bagged for transport."
"Come in here and get me, Zoe. You think they got anything that can stop me. I can wait all day."
He was even more stubborn then when I first met him. I had to let him in on my plan.
I whispered, "Wanna make a deal?"
His attitude changed and he responded with, "Whatcha got in mind sweetness?"
Riddick leaned closer to the glass.
I whispered more, "You let me get a sample of your blood and then I negotiate the selling price. Then we split the profit. I'll give you twenty percent and a one day head start off this world. I don't give a fuck about these people or this planet. What do you say?"
Riddick pulled away from the glass and yelled out, "You gotta come in here first Zoe. Maybe we can have that goodbye kiss you never got."
I shot the glass with my pulse cannon. I was outraged at his remark. The glass had a large burn mark where Riddick's face was, but the glass and Riddick were unharmed. The expression on Riddick's face was well worth the trip to this scum infested planet.
Shocked at my actions, the administrator got up and said, "That's a titanium derivative translucent alloy. Nothing can get through that. The entry airlock is outside the room."
Administrator Tulsa stepped outside the room and pointed towards the airlock "Shall we."
Four armored guards converged on the airlock door ready for it to be opened. I turned the port wheel and the door hissed open. I stepped in to find Riddick sitting and waiting. His eyes were still blood red and sparkling in the dimly lit room. The Chief handed me a syringe and Riddick stuck out his arm for extraction. I was able to extract four vials of blood with no problem from Riddick.
He leaned close to my face and said, "How about that kiss Zoe?"
I knew she was going to cross me but I didn't know when. Getting close enough to smell the fear was all I needed to know she was about to try something.
While I was close enough to her for that kiss she said, "Yeah Riddick. How about that kiss?"
Zoe plunged a syringe with black liquid into my neck. She pushed the plunger and emptied the entire vile into my blood stream. I felt the hot shot flow in my veins and then reach my heart instantly. I was frozen. She dosed me with Dark Dream. Nothing but a new age narcotic used by kids to enter pseudo hyper sleep for dance clubs. I'll be awake in a few minutes. She didn't know I was immune to the stuff.
The darkness over took me again. My mind became overwhelmed with rage. In the darkness emerged a red sun. In seconds everything was red. Almost like the world was painted in blood. I saw walls and doors blocking my path but I bulldozed my way through them.
I was free. Daylight was all around me. I think I was outside the hospital. For some reason I was not in control. My body would not go where I wanted to go. I knew my only escape was to find Zoe's ship but that's not where I went. My body took me deeper into the city. As I got deeper into a tree filled park in the middle of the city, I saw legions of dead-walkers huddled together. My body continued to get closer and closer. They were feeding on people. The horror of it was that the people were alive. I could hear their screams. I could hear the crunching of bones and cartilage between the ghoulish teeth of the dead. The mob of dead walkers had created a mound of blood, flesh and bone. I could see separated limbs moving and dismembered bodies still clinging to their humanity. Some cried at the site of their disemboweled bodies. This was hell. I finally could see the hell of this universe and it was in this small microcosm of existence. I died.
My rage grew like a furnace blazing with hot coals. The beast like rage took complete control and all I could see were dead-walkers being ripped apart by my hands. The rotten blood and flesh was tearing from the bones like paper dolls. It was almost calming to hear the screams stop. I heaved the smashed skulls and torn limbs of the dead-walkers into my own pile of bloody death. As I zeroed in on the nexus of the legion, I could see people alive and fighting back. They fought with everything they had. Some were on the verge of death but the survivors were struggling to live. I crushed the skull of the last dead-walker with pleasure. I compressed his head with my hands. I heard the skull crack and then the pop of his brain exploding in my fingers. I wiped the brain fragments and skulls off my hands over the pile of bodies I had made. That was the last one. I was free again. The red rage subsided. I couldn't have imagined how I looked to the survivors standing atop the mountain of dead rotting bodies cleaning my hands off. It was time to go.
Captain Zoe reporting in from Mortuaria Luna. My ship is now leaving orbit. Request all charts and tracking information on all ships leaving this sector in the last six hours. When I finished my hail to all federal ships
I heard a voice from the cargo pod, "I thought you'd give me a day's head start?"
"Riddick!", I exhaled.
"So you stowed away on my ship. Why would you do that knowing I would kill you? Your bounty is still substantial if you're dead."
Riddick steps into the cockpit and sits at the navigation station.
"I thought about that Zoe and realized that you did come into some riches recently. It took me awhile to figure out why you weren't right behind me when I escaped the hospital."
Riddick smiled and glared his incandescent eyes at me, then said, "You had to negotiate a price. Obviously they paid you more then my bounty. That would make any girl retire. So stowing away was obvious. Zoe had it hot for me but she was rich now. Why temp fate and risk your life for me?"
He was never an average fugitive. Riddick was ex military. From the brief look I had at his files, you could tell from all the deleted information that he was some form of covert ops. He was always thinking. Always making the right decisions. He was right this time. I didn't need that bounty anymore. I was chasing him so that when I caught up with him I could see his face when I pulled the trigger. I reached for my pulse canon but it wasn't there. I looked at Riddick's hand and he was holding it in his lap. I jumped for the gun but his grip was too tight. I was straddled across his lap wrestling him for the gun. That's when it happened. I kissed him.
It was the goodbye kiss I was promised. He squeezed me around my waist while kissing me harder and pulling me closer. He looked at me again with those reflective eyes then said, "Thank you Zoe."
I closed my eyes and said my last words, "No, thank you." I grabbed the pulse canon and shot out the airlock. I grabbed Riddick tight again and kissed him. We both flew out of the airlock into space. We held each other, not once disconnecting from our kiss. Then everything went black.
Zoe. She was one of a kind. She had all that money but all she really wanted was a goodbye kiss. She got her kiss and now I'm floating through space holding onto a female corpse. I was dead three times today but that never stopped me. I think I see a space freighter approaching.
THE END BUT THE CHASE CONTINUES