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Title: No Good Men
Fandom: Chronicles of Riddick/Serenity
Warnings: Spoilers for Serenity
Summary: River wasn't the only creation of the men with blue hands
Richard B. Riddick was a mystery wrapped in an enigma. Nobody knew much about him and that wasn’t likely to change since he never talked about the past and only talked about the present in terms of oncoming bloodshed. He didn’t care about money and only worked jobs when his little family needed food or some other sundry. He’d lived his life hand to mouth for years and didn’t want that for his Daughter Jack or his first mates fledgling family, particularly little Ziza.
He was willing to do things he didn’t want to do and bend his admittedly loose morals to take care of his ship and his family but the one thing he wasn’t willing to do was work for or with the alliance. Rumors ran rampant about the story behind that inescapable and unchangeable fact. Riddick usually found the rumors amusing seeing as they very rarely held even a shred of fact. The only thing he’d ever heard them get right was his eyes and even that only happened a couple times.
Most of the time people figured that the Alliance had killed the person he loved and maybe they were right after a fashion but he hadn’t loved her like that and she wasn’t truly dead. She just wasn’t the person he’d cared for and viewed as his own sister. She was a mad woman, a walking weapon stripped of her gentle nature and all her memories of him. They both had to find their own way in the world now and he could only hope that she’d been as lucky as he was.
Jack was pretending to be working on her schooling while she hacked the Cortex when he saw it, a picture of his girl all grown up and with a kill order on her head. That was something he wasn’t going to stand for. She might not know it but she was family and he wasn’t going to let the Alliance get another crack at her. In short order he had the crew getting ready for a fight and had their bird heading towards Persephone. According to his sources it was the regular port of the Firefly class ship River had found berth on.
By the time they got there the place was crawling with Alliance scum and there wasn’t a smuggler ship in sight. That was alright with Riddick he’d had dealings with more than one smuggler and didn’t need his past coming back to haunt him. He didn’t want anyone knowing that he was about and getting the Alliance on his tail.
It took some digging but he found a man named Badger who was willing to give him some information on his missing girl, or at least he was once all of his bullyboys had been taken care of. A job Jack had taken on with obvious delight, she always had been a blood-thirsty girl.
It seemed his girl knew something that the Alliance was willing to do anything to hide and given the fact that he wasn’t on the to kill list it had to be big, bigger than even the blue hand brigade. Big enough that it could blow the Alliance out of the water sounded like his kind of job. He could tell that Badger had figured out he was someone the Alliance would be interested in given the questions but a good jaw shattering right hook took care of that problem. After all he couldn’t tell anyone anything if he couldn’t talk.
Despite the Alliance presence, it was easy enough to get off planet again. They were looking for smugglers and the Kira was none for running a clean Alliance friendly business. Once in the black he knew were to go. It might have been years since he was on the move against the Alliance but he still knew their headhunter’s MO and more importantly he knew River’s.
If Badger was to be believed and given how scared he had been Riddick didn’t see a reason not to, River was aboard the Serenity a smuggler ship run by a ex brown coat captain named Reynolds. He knew enough about the Rebels to know that a Captain that had survived this long would be able to run far enough to leave the Alliance behind. Which meant only one thing, the alliance would burn every rat hole that Reynolds had ever used. Their headhunter wouldn’t be able to know which hidey-hole their prey would run to so they wouldn’t be there to catch Serenity when it went to ground. He on the other hand was a smuggler with intimate knowledge of River’s needs. He knew exactly what type of hiding place they ‘d need, now it was just a matter of tracking the alliance’s movements and hiding out where the Serenity was going to.
When they arrived on Haven they were greeted with obvious suspicion and far more fire power than he’d expected. These people obviously knew dangerous when they saw it and were weary enough to know what was coming for them. It took some time but the shepherd who ran the place recognized his eyes and what that meant. Just as Riddick recognized the way he handled his weapons. It seemed that River had picked up a staunch protector in the form of an ex alliance headhunter which explained how he knew what to expect.
Unfortunately, for all the knowledge Shepherd Book had he had very little actual firepower. Which meant getting everyone they could off planet and onto Kira. They were going to take everyone that wasn’t needed to make the destruction look authentic and hide off-planet. He couldn’t watch as the men bid their families good bye in the hope of making their deaths worthwhile it was a sight he’d seen too often back when he worked as a rebel operative. His only consolation was that this time at least the women and children would survive the destruction of their planet.
They’d been back on planet a day, working to bury the dead and nurse the wounded when the Serenity arrived. Captain Reynolds obviously hadn’t been expecting company if the number of guns leveled at him was anything to go by. The three holding the guns were obviously fighters and he was willing to bet that the man in the lead was the infamous Captain Reynolds. He didn’t think it was likely that anyone else would have the gall to walk around wearing a brown coat when he had a Alliance bounty on his head. Not to mention the fact that he hadn’t moved his eyes off of Riddick despite the fact that his backup couldn’t keep their eyes off the destruction that surrounded them.
Reynolds was hard enough that Riddick might have been concerned about facing him and his crew without backup of his own. Having Imam at his back with a sniper rifle was a real confidence giver, a confidence that Reynolds seemed to sense a fact that upped his worth in Riddick’s eyes. They were at a stalemate and they both knew it but were unwilling to cry Uncle. They watched each other like animals every twitch and shift of their body noted and categorized as an attack or defense, each waiting for the other to miss a cue and leave themselves open for a bullet.
Riddick didn’t know how long the stalemate would have lasted if Jack hadn’t arrived with the Sheppard in tow. The fact that the Sheppard didn’t have any objections to their presence seemed to know some of the hostility out of Reynolds stance but Riddick wasn’t fool enough to think that Reynolds wasn’t still tracking him with every sense but his sight. One false mood and Reynolds would fire. Not that it would do any good but he didn’t want the fact that he could dodge bullets just as well as River coming out. He valued his secrets to much to let them go so hastily.
It only takes a few minutes for Book to calm Reynolds down enough to get him to listen and then its only me and the guard dogs. No sign of the passengers but I’m not expecting to see them until Reynolds gets his panties unbunched which seems to be happening right about now. He must trust Book a lot to listen to him that fast. I’d been expecting to wait a few hours before seeing River but Reynolds is calling off his dogs and yelling into the ship’s maw for the crew to get down here. They come down the Firefly’s ramp like a pack of puppies all rushing to find out if Book is all right and not paying attention to much else. Even River doesn’t appear to be paying him any mind not that he really believes that to be the case. She has ahold of a bubbly girl that hasn’t stopped talking to the Shepherd since she disembarked and he can see the signs of possessiveness River’s giving off and feel her distrust rattling around in his head even if nobody else can. She obviously knows how precious her lover is and isn’t taking chances that anyone will interfere with their relationship. He can’t help thinking its endearing after all River has nothing to fear from him on that count.
Riddick was about to turn away and leave them to their reunion when he caught a flash out of the corner of eye. It’s Simon and he’s standing there pretty as you please not seeming to care that he was killed years before after a disastrous test showed him to be one of the blue hands failed experiments. He tells himself he’s dreaming that his mate can’t be back from the dead but the fact that Simon looks past him with no sign of recognition proves that supposition incorrect. It Riddick’s dreams Simon always remembers him. This is the real deal and as much as it hurts it looks like he’s going to have to play second fiddle to Reynolds. The fact that Simon is fussing over Reynolds health shows that he’s loyal to the man and it would take longer for me to break whatever conditioning Simon was subjected to than for the Alliance to find them. Which meant throwing his lot in with whatever crazy scheme Reynolds came up with.
That night Haven’s sky was black with the smoke of funeral pyres. He can’t say he liked Reynolds’ plan but he gets it and more importantly he can’t think of a better plan. Nothing like desperation to get a group of upstanding smugglers to consider cannibalism a good idea. Oh sure they weren’t actually eating the bodies but Riddick isn’t sure that this isn’t more degrading. These people were good people who had died to protect their families he’s sure none of them wanted to go on sacrificing themselves after death.
He’s made deal for sanctuary with Shepherd Book and got Simon to give him some sedatives. Simon had been understandably weary of giving him the drugs but that weariness had turned to respect when he explained why he needed them. Simon knew what it was to protect family at any cost and he respected the fact that Riddick shared his philosophy. He and Imam would be the only ones shipping out to Miranda with the Serenity’s crew the next day.
When they arrived on Miranda it only took Riddick a few minutes to recognize the work of the blue hands. Which explains why River is considered such a threat to the Alliance. It’s easy to explain away a few isolated cases of human experimentation but not a whole world. Particularly not one that has a Pandora’s box like the Reavers floating above it and he’s not stupid enough to think that there is a chance in hell that a world full of dead people and a sky full of crazy people aren’t related.
He’s proven right when they find the scientist’s transmition. Her horror is obvious and he wonders how long the paxilon epidemic was going on before the blue hand couldn’t hide it anymore and he wondered what they’d done to make sure that the facts didn’t come out. He was sure it hadn’t been pretty. Unfortunately he was willing to bet that something unpretty was going to happen to the Tams and anyone related to them unless they chose to keep Miranda’s secret, something that he didn’t think was going to happen.They were angry and disinheartened they wanted to make the Alliance pay for its crimes. They were honorable and foolish not realizing that there weren’t any good men in this fight, just monsters. He’d support them for the sake of his lover and almost sister in law but once this mess was taken care of he was going to take the Tams and that Kaylee girl and disappear. He had enough on the blue hands to keep them off his back and he wasn’t risking his family for anything. Not even a brown coat’s dreams of a better verse.