A T O N E M E N T
T H E C H R O N I C L E S O F R I D D I C K
Pitch Black and related characters and organisations are Copyright © 2000 by Gramercy Pictures
'Atonement' as a story, it's unique characters and unique organisations are Copyright (c) 2003 Generation X Australia
No permission is given to reprint this story in part or in full, or it's accompanying log. Both are copyright the author under international Intellectual Property Laws.
"Some of you think I'm evil. Something dark, unreachable, inhuman. You probably think you know all you need to know about me... "He's a killer, burn the fucker."
You don't know anything.
It must be nice in your ivory tower.
You're frightened of anyone who embraces the edge and happily walks across its razor sharp surface, willing to conquer their fear or to do what needs to be done to survive. If they don't tow the line, you're happy to let them drown - hook, line and sinker. You're one of those pricks, one of those self righteous arseholes who makes judgements left right and centre as if you have some holy right to be an obnoxious piece of shit. A big fish in a small pond frightened of rocking societies precious status quo.
Fuck you. I shattered it. Just remember, there's always a bigger fish.
You think you're right about me? You think you know what makes me tick? Spend an hour in my mind and I'll show you what makes me tick. I might even introduce you to that concept known as 'respect'. Heard of that? Didn't think so.
You don't know shit.
You're blind, and the saddest thing is you wouldn't know what it is to see even if you could.
Life ain't what they feed you on the nets, or over the news broadcasts. That's fucking propoganda, idiot. No matter what it's about. It's a spin. A fucking twisted take on reality, that some fucking politician or big business prick thinks you need to know and you swollow it like it's strawberries and fucking cream. They're only interested in keeping you in your cage, keep you playing your part as another happily stupid rat in the maze.
Open your fucking eyes, sister. Smell the decay. See the rot. Feel the shit slipping through your fingers that they tell you is gold.
And you blame me because I don't want to live that!
So I killed a few people. Did you ever wonder if maybe they had it coming? Live my life and then maybe I'll listen to your opinion.
Life isn't any better because you do what they want you to and spout the patriotic line.
Life is about revolution. Every fucking day. Changing yourself so you can grow and just maybe change the whole fucking deal.
Face facts, brother, the only person you ever have in your life to depend on one hundred percent is you. Frightening thought isn't it? Especially when you're an arsehole without a clue.
Life isn't what you see on some entertainment vid.
Life is about passion, integrity, surviving, compassion. Guess you might be surprised I know that word? I'd forgotten it, until two years ago.
Two years ago I was chased and hunted by trash who couldn't care less what I'd done. I was just another fee for them. They saw the money and didn't care that just maybe I'd had a reason. I was a killer. But that doesn't make me evil. I kill because I have to. Two years ago I came face to face with something that would make your heart stop and your breath catch forever in your throat and your fucking face drain of all colour. I had to fight to survive, and just maybe being a killer meant I had a chance the others didn't. But someone found me and probably despite her better judgement believed in me, and saw what I'd forgotten I was and helped drag me back.
She's dead now. She died saving my life. She showed courage you could only dream of, and faith you will never know.
Maybe life's about faith too?
There's a storm coming, the world we know, the galaxy we know has gone to hell, and it doesn't look like there's a way out of the fire. So what are you? Are you someone who walks the razors edge? Are you someone who sits in their ivory tower fiddling while Rome burns, judging your neighbour and slandering those you know nothing about? Maybe you're someone who thinks you have the right to dictate life, some fucking politician or fat cat business man designing this fucked up existence we've all been dragged into?
Whoever you are, whatever you are, the time to change has come. You can either roll with the punches, or get stomped on. If you're a fat cat, just maybe I'll find you grovelling around in the dirt with the rest of the filth, and just maybe I won't look where I'm treading.
It's judgement day, mother fucker. See you in hell."
"Come on, Riddick... there must be some part of you that wants to rejoin the human race?"
"Truthfully? I wouldn't know how."
Everything exploded in a warm, clingy erruption of blood. It splattered him with hot droplets of warmth and trickled down his body like a thousand tiny, rolling, crawling insects. He looked down at his hands and staggered backward, they were drenched in blood. His eyes went wide with shock and his mouth formed one silent word.
He woke up, throwing himself forward with a gasp. His body was wet, slick and warm. He looked down to see his chest glistening in the light of the stars coming through the oval window above his bed. His sheets had been thrown off. He leaned in, checking his body as the wisps of his nightmare continued to tease him at the edge of memory. It was only sweat and he sighed deeply and heavily, breath after breath fighting back to a normal rhythm.
It had been two years since the Hunter-Gratzner had crashed on a hell world. Two years since he had first met Caroline Fry, the beautiful young pilot who had held everyone together. Two years since he had felt the first stirrings of something he had not felt in what seemed like many lifetimes. Two years since Caroline had been taken from him.
In all that time not one night had passed without her standing before him, pleading with him to atone for his past and to help her save the remainder of the passengers of the doomed transport vessel. Just a couple of people hiding in a split in the side of cliff. Two years since that action, that act by her of compassion and loyalty that had ended her life. The feeling she had evoked from within him continued to haunt him just as she haunted him.
She had come back for him when no one else would have, and she died for him.
He ran rough hands over his shaved head and looked about the room with his enhanced vision. It was as bare as he felt his heart was.
The room contained nothing more than a few simple items. A single cot upon which he lay, connected to the wall by a series of iron brackets. A steel table by his bed. A wardrobe built into the ship bulkhead near the door, and a single mirror.
He shifted his bulk off the narrow bed and planted two feet firmly on the cold metal deck. The cold somehow soothed the heat that was pouring out of his body. He turned to stare out into the darkness of space, for a moment welcoming the thought of the oblivion that awaited a meter beyond the armoured hull of the frigate.
He had killed a number of people in cold blood, and sometimes he even felt remorse for that. Not as often as Iman would like, probably, but now and again. Now he wondered what that sweet absence of everything would be like as he stared into the black heart of the galaxy? It had become a dark and fucked up place, and maybe all it needed was another big bang, one huge purge. Riddick chuckled under his breath as he imagined a huge, universal sphincter muscle spasming and then crapping out everything humanity had come to know. It couldn't hurt. Life was not good for many people, the gap between the have and the have not's had been widening since the 20th Century and no one seemed able to stop the spreading chasm. Unless you were one of the elite, life was a struggle that unfolded slowly and painfully into the unknowable future.
He looked at the small digital clock on his bedside table. It flashed 0400 hours, still early morning according to ship time.
They had emerged from cryo-sleep four days earlier, and were simply awaiting their arrival at a non-descript, fairly average hunk of rock that masqueraded as a planet in the deep reaches of the Outer Fringe Territories.
It would be an hour until the crew of the transport he was riding on emerged from their quarters for breakfast.
Riddick walked to his wardrobe and pulled out a sleeveless top to throw over his muscled torso, and pulled on a pair of workout pants and sneakers.
For two years now he'd been jumping from one ship to other, crusing through the back lanes of space searching. For what he did not know and wondered if he would ever know, but he was compelled to try to find something that seemed to lay just beyond his grasp.
Some nights, before his dreams took him back to that point, that event that changed his life, he would hear his heart pounding as if he'd just run a marathon. But when he listened to his heart beat, when he quietened his ragged breathing, when he found the rythem of his body, he could make out a voice. A woman's voice calling him. Not Caroline, not anyone else he'd ever met, but a voice that was so familiar and haunting he felt as if he had known it his entire life.
It was filled with wisdom and compassion, and seemed to be carried on the air.
It calmed him.
It released him from the tension he felt every night as he made ready to swim once again in the memories that stained his past and haunted his future.