A/N Please see bottom for full author's note...

The rain hadn't let up any. It blanketed the sandy earth like a love lorn companion, beckoning the horrible, twisted creatures that wished to leash death upon us. I could feel my panic start to rise, as I realized we would have to go outside to even reach the two ships. Then there was the little problem of the power nodes...

"So what's the plan?" Vargas voiced the silent question the group had been waiting to ask.

All eyes turned to the now free Riddick. He casually walked over to one of the metal tables along the walls and grabbed his gear and goggles. He slipped them over his head, hiding his silver eyes beneath the darkness of the glass. Even though they were covered, I could still feel his intense gaze.

"We move as one. Cover each others backs and make our way to the ships. Dahl, how far away from then entrance are they?" Boss Johns re-adjusted his scope as he spoke.

"Fifty feet or so. Easy enough." Dahl answered.

"Ya...easy if there weren't an army of monsters between them and us." Vargas scoffed under his breath.

I had been silently watching the group as they struggled to form a semi concrete plan for our escape; my hand coming to rest on Pard's head. Pard sat at my feet like a guardian, calming my already shot nerves. I would never admit to how scared I was. It's true that I had been running my entire life, and I was used to danger...but this seemed like a whole new ball field. I was on my own...Sasha wasn't here to hold my hand or watch my back. I needed to grow a back bone and quick. My gaze fell on my only (some what) ally. Riddick had strapped his armour into place and was loading a rather large gun. I knew he would watch out for me, but I couldn't help but have a small sliver of doubt, that he would leave me if I became to much of a burden.

As if sensing my inner turmoil, Pard pressed himself closer to my side and let out a low whine. I smiled down at him and patted his head again...no...I wasn't alone.

"I need a gun." I said suddenly. I fell under scrutiny, as all eyes turned towards me. When no one said anything, I repeated, "I need a gun."

Boss Johns regarded me for a moment. "No."

"No?" I exclaimed, "What do you mean 'no'?"

"You're not trained enough for one. You're more likely to hurt yourself, then defend."

"That's not true and you know it!" I said angrily. Sure I may be young, but I had survived the harshness of this and other worlds just fine. "Haven't I proved myself to you people yet?" My grip had tightened on the hilt of the sword as I spoke; my agitation at being brushed off rising.

Boss Johns looked at me with a critical eye, his mouth set in a stubborn line. Before he got the chance to protest again, Dahl interrupted.

"Having another eye to watch our backs could prove useful. If you're so worried, then just give her a small one."

I blinked in surprise. Dahl stepped forward and produced a small pistol and handed it to me. I gave her a small smile, and she nodded in return. I looked down at the small weapon in my hand. It wasn't anything special, but I bet it could pack a hell of punch.

"If you girls are all done bonding, can we please get the fuck out of here?" Vargas said anxiously.

Riddick went to the door and pushed it open, the group quickly following. He paused for a moment, scanning the area. The rain had lessened, and there didn't seem to be any monsters in the immediate area. Pard stayed close to me, as I moved closer to Riddick subconsciously. I was close enough that I could feel the heat radiating from his back. There was moment where I wanted to press my face against his back and basque in his heat. I quickly shook my head, as my face heated up. I quickly looked out into the night to distract myself.

Pard let out a low growl as he crept forward. Riddick silently glided out a couple of steps, before motioning us to move forward.

"Where the fuck did they go?" Diaz practically growled.

Riddick let out a low chuckle that sent shivers down my spine. "Don't you know? Predators like to play."

I gulped as I frantically looked around, trying to be alert for any sudden movement. My grip on the gun tightening. I nearly yelped when I felt a presence to my left. Luna held up his hand apologetically.

"See anything?" I whispered to him, fearing that the creatures may hear me, over the light rain.

"No. Have faith...we will get through this."

I held back my eye roll. Oh to have the faith of a holy man...

We had made it about ten feet from the door to one of the ships.

"Hang on. I'll get it open." Diaz said as he made his way over to the side panel. After a couple of tense moments, there was a whoosh, and the door opened. There was a light that illuminated the ramp, and I let out a relieved sigh. I smiled at Luna, to which he returned with a smile of his own. I could feel someone glaring daggers into my head. I turned slightly to see Riddick's goggled eyes bearing down on Luna. Luna paled and shuffled away from me. I gritted my teeth, and sent Riddick a glare back. His infuriating half smirk returned before he turned away to look into the ship.

"Huh...wasn't so hard." Vargas began.

No sooner had the words left his mouth, then a great shriek cut through the air. A small, pointed tail, shot up from the puddle next to Vargas' right leg. It latched its self on him and pierced his flesh. He screamed and shot it off. The small creature writhed in pain for a few short moments, before dying. Vargas hoped on one foot before falling onto his back. I rushed forward, but Riddick stopped me with a firm, but surprisingly gentle grip. I looked up at him, but his gaze was focused on the fallen merc. Vargas began breathing heavily and his limbs becoming more wooden like.

"What the fuck is wrong with him?" Diaz was leaning over his friend, with his brow furrowed.

"Poison." Riddick answered in a dead pan tone. "Takes over the body in mere seconds." He then moved toward the ship and went up the ramp, totally unmoved by the mercs death.

My eyes grew wide as I watched the life leave Vargas' body. I was momentarily shocked...not by his death, but by the fact of how numb I had become to watching death. The poison in the creatures was swift, but painful. I swallowed and took a cautionary step away from the puddles that surrounded us. Riddick came back down from the ship and came to stand in from of Boss Johns.

"Now what?" Boss Johns questioned quietly.

"No nodes." Riddick said simply.

"What the fuck? How the hell are we supposed to get these running without nodes?" Dahl almost screamed in Riddick's face. He raised an eyebrow.

"Simple. We don't."

Dahl looked like she was about ready to murder him, as frustration marred her features.

"Where are they?" Boss John's remained calm. The man must have nerves of steel.

Riddick let his gaze go out towards the now wet dunes of the desert.

"You mean the nodes are out there...with all of them?" I said, as my gaze followed Riddicks. My fear was slowly rising as I could faintly hear the cries of the monsters out in the distance.

"Okay. Here's what's going to happen." Boss Johns turned towards the remainder of our group. "We split up. Dahl, you and I will stay here with Luna and Reana, while Riddick and Diaz take the two remaining power bikes and get the nodes."

I was shaking out of my stupor, my stomach twisting with the thought of Riddick leaving. I spun around and faced Boss Johns. "Let me go with them." I said quickly.

"No. We need you hear." Boss Johns argued.

"I can help! I'm small so I can get to the nodes faster."

"You're right...you're small, so you would make the easiest target." Boss Johns said firmly.

I was about to argue again, when I felt a strong hand on my shoulder. Riddick pulled my back firmly against his front, as he leaned down to take a breath in my hair. I nearly shivered, but gritted my teeth to stop the action.

"Don't be a hero. Hero's never last." His deep voice vibrated through my back.

"I-I've got a bad feeling. It's to dangerous." I said in a low voice.

Riddick chuckled and spun me around to face him. He grabbed my chin firmly, and crashed his lips to mine. The kiss was quick, but held all the dominance he had as an alpha and it sent my heart fluttering. "Don't ya know...I live for danger." He smirked at my dazed expression and quickly let go. He sauntered over to the second power bike and started it up. Diaz did the same with his. He lifted his eyes to meet mine...his gaze darkened for a second, and he flew off into the darkness. With one more look towards me, Riddick sped off after him. I took a couple deep breaths to steady my nerves. Riddick had the ability to annoy and arouse me, all at the same time. Cursing myself for being so easily distracted, I walked back over to the ship and stood next to Luna in the light. He looked down at his feet uncomfortably...no doubt having seen our little exchange.

"Come on. We need to get these up and ready for when they come back." Dahl shook her head and heading into the ship. Luna quickly followed, and I was about too, when my stomach dropped. I let out a loud whistle and Pard came racing over. I breathed a sigh of relief as he went up the ramp. I turned back to look out into the darkness...I knew Riddick could handle himself...but the look in Diaz's eyes had a feeling of unease settle into my stomach...something was wrong...

A/N Hey...so I know it's been a while. I sincerely apologize for that fact. I haven't given up on this story...believe me...I love writing. There has been a lot going on in my life at the present moment. My father was recently diagnosed with cancer...so that threw for a loop. We are doing okay, and we are moving forward. Even though it has been tough, seeing all the favorites, follows and reviews has put me in a better frame of mind. So I would like to say a great, big, THANK YOU, to everyone who has stuck by me and this story. Your support and kind words, mean a lot. As always, I hope you enjoyed and I hope you continue to read. I should have new chapters coming out very soon! xxxooooo