Riddick had doffed his shirt and given it to Esmina. It was a little big, more like a dress once she had put it on, but she gratefully hugged it about herself. He could read the question in her eyes. How are we to get out of here?
“There’s a control panel on that wall over there.” He said softly, hand on the small of her back to guide her.
She padded over in bare feet, mindful to avoid the blood stain on the floor. The control panel was flush with the wall, with no raised buttons or switches. Touching the panel only produced discordant tones. “Break it.” She said.
She stepped back out of his way as Riddick cocked his arm before then slamming his elbow into the panel. The cover splintered and shards fell to the floor. Reaching in, Riddick dislodged more so that Esmina could access the inside of the panel.
“I can trigger the door, but once the circuit breaks, it won’t stay open.”
“Then you better be quick.” He growled.
As soon as Esmina touched the appropriate wires together, the door slid open. Riddick quickly lodged his bare shoulder against it, holding it open, reaching for her at the same moment. He pushed her through the opening and followed a step behind, the door almost closing on his foot.
The corridor outside the cell was empty. For the moment, anyway, but someone was bound to notice the short-circuit in his cell and come looking. Riddick quickly glanced down both ends of the dimly lit corridor, smelling the air almost. Taking Esmina by the hand, he led her off to the right.
* * *
Riddick led her on a winding course through what they were sure was a space station. There were no windows or viewports to speak of, but Esmina could tell from the way that the power conduits were set up. There were several redundancies built-in, as well as built-in fire extinguishing equipment. In case of a spark, bulkheads would drop and CO2 was to be rapidly pumped into the space.
At one point, Riddick ducked back the way they had come, holding Esmina pressed between him and a bulkhead as a group of guards passed. Riddick listened intently to their footfalls as they went on down the corridor. Only when he was satisfied that they had gone around a bend farther on did he continue.
The closer they came to the docking bay, the more patrols they began to encounter. So when a pair of guards passed by, Riddick decided to take action. Ducking out behind them on cat-like feet, he slammed one into a bulkhead before grabbing the other in a sleeper hold. The man struggled briefly, but Riddick’s grip was too much for him and eventually he slumped to the deck. When the first man began making a move to get up, Riddick kicked him in the face and he was still again. Riddick and Esmina then dragged the two into a utility room before going through their pockets.
Their guns Riddick rapidly field stripped, amazed that they would be so stupid as to carry live ammo on a space station. But then again, they were nothing more than common mercs, so that didn’t last for too long. Their knives Riddick pocketed eagerly. He liked the element of surprise, and a knife was so much more elegant than a firearm. It lent a sense of fairness, as well. A survival of the fittest quality, as it were.
Esmina, meanwhile, was more interested in getting the pair of pants off of the smaller man. His boots were too big, making them useless, but the legs and waistband of his cargo pants could be rolled to suit her smaller frame. Once she had them on, she immediately began to check all of the pockets, searching for any bits that could be useful. Encountering a wad of fabric, she pulled it out, and then stared at it in shocked horror. It was the underwear that she had been wearing.
She made no move to stop him as Riddick took one of the knives and promptly buried the blade into the man’s neck. There was a gurgled whistling as blood gushed into his windpipe, but then it faded. Only then did Esmina realize that she was breathing heavily, hyperventilating almost. She still held her shredded underwear clutched in her hand.
Riddick pulled her into his arms, making shushing noises as he began to sway back and forth. “Don’t look, don’t look.” he murmured, turning her face away from the dead body. They could not afford it if she should happen to lose it now.
“It’s alright.” he said softly, prying the torn cloth from her clenched fist and throwing it aside. “Mina, look at me.”
Her gaze was tear-filled when she met his. He promptly took her face in his hands, using his thumbs to wipe her cheeks as he pressed his forehead to hers.
“We’re going to find a ship and get the hell out of here.” Riddick said, smoothing her hair back from her face. “But I need you to stay with me. Do you understand?”
When she nodded, he pressed his lips to hers before then leading her back out into the corridor.
* * *
They were nearing the hanger, Riddick could smell the scents of coolant and grease. And gun oil.
“Trap?” she breathed, having noticed Riddick stiffening as he hugged the wall. In response, he pulled his hand away and gestured for her to stay put. He then edged toward the opening to get a better look.
They were, in fact, keeping a guard on the hanger bay. Whether because they had learned that he had escaped from his cell, or because they knew that he would seek a ship to get away, it mattered little. It was going to be a hard fight to get clear.
He turned back to Esmina, signing to her that he was going to go in first, and that she was going to wait to follow after him. Before she could make a move to protest, he was around the corner. Esmina edged to the doorway, watching as he approached the nearest guards.
No sooner as he had taken out the first man, the guards cried out for the attention of all the others, who immediately began shooting. One of the shots ricocheted off of the doorway just above her head. She took a quick peak to get her bearings, and then she darted out.
She kept to the perimeter, using supply crates and equipment as cover as she made her way to the nearest ship. It was barely big enough to be considered as a star-jumper, but it would have to do. Entering the ship through the rear hatch, she jumped into the pilot’s seat of the cockpit, flipping switches and pressing buttons to begin the start-up procedures.
As soon as the engines began to fire up, the guards started to fire upon the ship as well. Esmina instinctively ducked down, covering her head as the lethal rounds thudded against the hold.
The mercs were trigger happy, but they were slow and stupid. It was like they had no idea who it was that they were up against. Riddick toyed with them, using some for human shields when the need arose. But then they started shooting at the ship. Or more specifically, Esmina.
“Come on Riddick, move it!” Esmina bellowed over the ship’s megaphone.
Just as Riddick had taken out many of the guards and was on his way to join Esmina on the ship, an alarm began to sound. They were going to have more company rather quickly.
“Damn it!” he roared. He had done it again. Because of him she was at risk again.
Riddick quickly moved to eliminate the shooters, heedless of his own safety in his fury. He felt shots graze him, but he kept going, kept fighting. Then there was a burning in his leg, and he stumbled. He rolled to one side, crawling behind a crate. His leg was bleeding profusely, and possibly the artery had been nicked. Riddick then couldn’t help but wonder if this was going to be how it was going to end for him.
“Riddick!” Esmina cried, dropping down his side.
He turned, eyes blazing. “Get out of here.” he hissed.
“Not without you, now get up!” Oblivious to the blood, she took the side of his wounded leg and helped him to his feet. They then made for the ship at a hobbled crouch. “Come on, almost there.” she urged.
“You should have left me, Mina.” He said.
“I wouldn’t have blamed you if you had.”
“You don’t tell me what to do.” She said, shrugging him up into a better hold. “Now butch up and get ready to move your ass.”
It was ten feet to the ship. There was nothing for cover, and there were still a few guards able to shoot at them. They only had one chance.
Keeping their heads down, they waited until many of the mercs needed to reload before they began to move. Riddick grit his teeth against the pain as he limped. He refused to allow Esmina to help him on this last leg, using his body to shield her as they ran.
And then the unthinkable happened.
A merc then stepped down from the ship just as they drew near. It was TJ. He had his gun leveled at them, finger on the trigger. Time came to a standstill.
Riddick moved to put himself between Esmina and the merc, but she was no longer there. She threw herself at him just as the gun fired, taking the bullet point blank. Riddick roared in rage, launching himself at TJ, knife drawn. Blade plunged into flesh up to the hilt, puncturing a lung and severing an artery.
Riddick turned, meaning to get to Esmina. To see if she even lived. But a hail of merc bullets rained down on him, preventing him from reaching her. Tears streamed down his face as he closed the hatch after him, bullets thudding against the hull.
It killed him to leave her there. To leave her behind. She hadn’t left him behind, so it was horribly wrong for him to so with her. But even if he could to get her, to bring her on board, to hold her, there was no way. She was gone, and he had to leave.
Esmina had already thought to gain the access code to the airlock, needing only for him to slam the button for the override. “Good-bye.” he whispered, as he brought the engines to full power, and accelerating out through the open airlock.