“Look lady, we’re not the local police force,” Riddick drawled at the severely dressed blond woman in front of him. “And while the Necros did some damage before I joined’em, they’re a whole different animal now.”
“I understand, Lord Marshall-“
Riddick growled, but was impressed when she stood her ground.
“We were impressed by the work you’ve done on other planets recently. Our observations have shown you to be highly skilled, disciplined warriors.”
“We went to those planets for our own benefit. The soldiers like some real action once in a while, and the resources we got there were needed at the time. It was coincidence the planets happened to need some assistance.”
“Of course,” she said, almost patronizingly. “Good soldiers need experience to learn and keep their skills up.”
Vaako smirked at her words, while keeping a tight hold on Riddick’s arm. “So that’s what you’re offering? Assistance with our training?”
“In a way, yes. You would be on call as a police force when we need it. There would be limitations, of course, or guidelines. We want all our forces to act similarly.”
“All?” Riddick asked. “If you’ve already got people then why would you need us?”
“The universe is large, Mr. Riddick, larger than you know. In order to keep the peace we need a consistent presence throughout.”
Riddick turned to Vaako. “What do you think,” he asked quietly.
Vaako leaned toward Riddick. “It would be good for the warriors – give them something to look forward to, and it would help their training. The compensation listed is something we can use, and it will help keep our resources in reserve,” he pointed to once of the pages of her proposal on his data pad. “If the limitations are acceptable, I think it would be worth it.”
Both men sat back in their chairs. Riddick turned his data pad to the page of restrictions. “Explain the guidelines.”
The woman allowed herself a small smile in victory. “Welcome to the Shadow Proclamation.”
The tall thin man was ushered into the audience chamber by his guards. He looked around at the medium sized room. All the surfaces were made from light brown wood that shown in the light from the windows in the front half of the room. While the light continued to the back, the windows did not, indicating some hidden source of light over the seats of the rulers. The plain wooden chairs sat in the back of the room, unadorned like the rest of the space. The people who sat in them were similar, wearing austere leather clothes. It would be easy to think them simple and harmless, if one didn’t pay attention to the feeling of predatory menace coming from them. The hint of dagger from behind their backs, and the armor plated animals growling at their feet informed those ignorant enough to miss the implied threat.
Riddick and Vaako watched as the man approached them. He wasn’t the usual visitor that paused upon entering the hall to look around, unimpressed. This man strode confidently toward them not appearing to look anywhere other than directly in front of him.
“Tiny little thing, isn’t he?” Riddick murmured.
“He’s got quite the reputation.”
“Not as bad as mine, though.”
“No. No one could be as difficult as you.”
Riddick glared at Vaako, then looked up again as the newcomer came to a stop in front of them.
The man briefly bowed his head, then spoke. “Greetings to the Lord Marshall of the Necromongers, Alpha Furyan. I am the Doctor.”
Both Furyans nodded their heads at him. “Welcome. I am Vaako,” he laid his palm on his chest, then moved it to point to his mate, “and this is Riddick.”
He looked at the Doctor, assessing him. He was tall and thin, not muscled like a warrior would be. Riddick, however, was aware that looks were often deceiving; in this case he could feel danger, and an almost overwhelming sense of despair. “Why are you here?”
“I need to be punished.”
The Doctor looked at Riddick, desperation in his eyes. “Article 14.5 of the Proclamation says that-“
“We know what it says,” Riddick interrupted. “I just wanna know why you think it applies to you.”
“I killed them all. Two whole species.”
“Not all,” Vaako said calmly. “You are still alive.”
“I shouldn’t be. Not when the rest of my people have been erased from all space and time.”
Riddick growled impatiently, stopping when Vaako glanced at him.
“Even if your situation was relevant to our articles, we most likely wouldn’t punish you anyway.” Vaako smirked as he watched the Doctor’s face twist into disbelief. “Unfortunately, there’s no way we could punish you more than you’ve already been punishing yourself.”
Riddick nodded to Vaako in agreement. “You have no idea how sorry that makes me. But,” he said, “that’s life. And you need to get on with yours. Good bye Doctor.”
The Doctor dropped his head in defeat. He sighed, then looked back up at the two men in front of him. “Thank you, for your time.”
Just as the Doctor turned to leave, he heard quietly from behind him, “we’ll be here when you need us.” Fighting the urge to turn back around, he walked back out of the audience chamber, head held high.