Chapter 23. Morris versus Morris.
Alain Morris walked slowly along the street, headed in the direction of the space port and The Darkveil. Riddick had written down, earlier that night, the things he wanted. Alain had added a few items himself; he figured that Riddick might need them for his ship. It was all high tech shit.
Alain smiled to himself. He honestly never thought he would see Riddick again. The young boy he remembered had nothing to do with the man that had come to his shop earlier that night. And the girl…. she was really beautiful. Alain almost hadn’t recognized her when she entered, hand in hand with Riddick. He had only seen a picture of her, from when she was fifteen. Even with all those wounds Alain had thought she was a pretty girl, and he had suspected that one day she would turn into a beautiful woman.
Back then, about four years before, Alain had hacked his brother’s files in search of something worthy to use against him; he used to do that from time to time, just in case. One day or another, his brother would end up leaving a loose end. He remembered that her picture was attached to a report. The girl’s eyes were full of pain and sorrow. The kind of pain that just one thing could cause. Love. Apart from that, he had heard about the HG’s crash. Alain knew that Richard B. Riddick couldn’t have died in a stupid crash in the middle of nowhere. According to his reputation, Riddick would die fighting his enemies, not locked in Slam or eaten alive by hammerheads. It wouldn’t have been honorable for a survivor born. However, Alain had put two and two together, when glancing at the inventory of her things that appeared in the file, he had read about a black bear with a shiv and a heart. Only Riddick’s twisted mind would have bought that bear for a child. Nevertheless, Alain figured out the rest of their story by looking at her green eyes. He had seen those sad eyes before.
Certainly, Riddick wasn’t the kind of man, he thought, that would stick with a woman at all; much less a real woman, not just any slut, but again; what did he really know about him? Just about as much as everyone else. Richard B. Riddick was a cold, psycho motherfucker, that would kill someone just because they looked at him wrong. She had probably seen something more than the rest. Fuck, she sees the Riddick no one can see, he realized suddenly, shocked.
As Alain Morris walked, he thought about his own life, and how he had ended up on this forsaken planet. Zul was at the Galaxy’s ass. It was a shit hole full of bastards that had arrived looking for a new opportunity to begin with their already damned lives. Alain almost couldn’t remember when he had arrived. Nearly fifteen years had passed, he figured. Fifteen years. Surviving in Zul for all that time was like surviving out in the galaxy for forty years. This place would be able to destroy a living soul in two years, tops, if you even survived that long. But Alain Morris had a powerful reason to survive. He had been locked in slam since he was twenty years old, and he had lost the only woman he had loved by the dirty hands of his brother. Dr. Maurice Morris.
Alain rubbed his shoulder as he frowned. The tracking chip was still there. Back when he was sent to Xela city, which wasn’t by The Firm’s men, he was marked and a chip was inserted under his skin. Someone had a special interest in keeping him far away but still traceable. And Alain knew too well who that someone was. The Board itself told him to stay away from his brother, and in return he would be left alone and in peace. Alain had accepted the condition. He wanted to live as long as possible, or at least longer than his brother. Alain wasn’t already dead because of his skills with computers; which were also very useful to the population of Xela. There wasn’t anyone in the galaxy with his experience and brain. He was a smart guy, gifted with a knack. There wasn’t a security code out there that would be able to stop him. No one was safe if Alain wanted to hack their computers. Not even The Firm itself. He wasn’t just a hacker, Alain Morris was “The Hacker”.
Suddenly The Darkveil was in front of him. Alain didn’t need to be told which one was Riddick’s ship. The “tiny boy” has a thing for beauty, he thought, grinning, as looked her over with amazement. The Darkveil was all black in color, even her windows were made with fumed black glass. Some of them seemed like mirrors. It looked like an extension of Riddick himself. It was made in a material similar to steel but stronger, lighter, and more resistant. Difficult to find and very expensive. Black, of course. Why change at this point? The Darkveil’s curves were perfect. Her style and class unique. Riddick’s taste, no doubt. How about hacking into Riddick’s security codes? Alain grinned a devilish smile.
Riddick watched him from inside as an evil grin appeared on his own lips. “Don’t even think about touching her, old man.” He muttered to himself, tightening his grip on his shiv.
Not the smartest decision, Alain said to himself. He needed Riddick on his side. Alain had been waiting for this chance to pay his brother back, and fate seemed to be on his side for once. He didn’t want to push his luck. And apart from that, he didn’t wake up this morning with a death wish. So he took a deep breath and fought down the urge to fuck with Riddick’s ship. For Alain it would have been like raping a beautiful woman. Like raping Riddick’s beautiful woman. That would have definitely meant a slow, painful, horrible death. A death that, with a doubt, his older brother deserved. Alain couldn’t help but shudder. No. Definitely not the smartest decision, to mess with Riddick, he repeated to himself.
Riddick put his cold mask back in place as he entered the code to open the ramp. Smart decision, old man, his inner beast grumbled from its cage. As the ramp lowered down, Riddick appeared at the top of it, looking Alain over from head to toe. Alain grinned as he raised his goggles, flashing Riddick with an intense silver gaze.
“You always appreciated beauty, tiny boy.” He said as he moved forward just a step. In response, Riddick just grinned and headed to the end of the ramp.
“What can I say, old man? That’s me.” He growled as he put his shiv away.
Alain tensed when he saw the shiv, and then relaxed a bit when he realized that Riddick didn’t consider him an adversary. He extended his hand and showed Riddick a small disc. “Take a look at it, and come to see me, Rick.” His own voice was suddenly cold and serious.
Riddick looked at the disc, frowning. “What’s that shit?” He asked, as he reached to take it from Alain.
Alain stared at his own reflection in Riddick’s goggles. “I thought you would like to know why she ended up in Thalion. It seems to me that it’s quite far from New Mecca.” His voice was still cold, but in some strange way, touched. Riddick tensed all at once.
“What the fuck do you know about her?” Riddick growled.
“More than I would like to, Rick.” He said with a hint of sadness.
Riddick tightened his jaw when he thought about the hell Jack had gone through, her withdrawal and the seizures. He tensed even more, and grabbed his shiv. He then pulled up his goggles, making them rest on his forehead. “What do you have to do with the fucking doc?” He asked coldly.
Alain locked eyes with Riddick. “He was my brother.” He answered in an even voice. Riddick narrowed his eyes in suspicion. Was? Riddick echoed in his mind. Alain looked down, suddenly ashamed that they would have the same blood running through their veins. He began to speak almost in a whisper. “He sent me to prison when I was twenty years old. I’ve spent more time locked up than free.” He swallowed hard, his voice full of sadness. Alain then put his hand in one of his pockets and grabbed Mariel’s necklace. Tightening his grip on it, he continued. “He took from me the only woman I’ve ever loved, only to kill her a couple of years later.” He then raised his head slowly. Alain had received Mariel’s necklace as the only proof of her death. He had been completely sure that no one would have been able to take it from her if she’d been alive. Tears froze in his shined eyes.
Riddick stared at the old man he had met when he was about sixteen. Alain had never told Riddick anything about himself, just talked about computers, codes and those kinds of things. Back then they hadn’t been exactly close friends. “Why the fuck are you telling me now that?” Riddick asked, frowning slightly.
Alain forced his tears back and stared at Riddick, closing his hands into fists. When he spoke, his voice was cold. “I want you to kill him, Rick.” He hissed.
Riddick chuckled at that and turned around, heading back up the ramp. Alain watched him in silence. Riddick stopped and turned his head to look at him over his shoulder. “Done.” He answered, flashing Alain an evil grin.
Alain watched as he disappeared behind the closing ramp and sighed deep. He almost felt pity for his brother, Dr. Maurice Morris. Almost. Riddick was his only chance, his last chance. If anyone was capable of paying his brother back, it was Riddick. Of course, he knew that Riddick wouldn’t kill his brother just because he had asked him to, but Alain still felt as if a heavy weight had been raised from his shoulders. Finally, he had found a loose end. Richard B. Riddick, himself. If only he had met him twenty five years before. Alain shook his head, then headed toward the city lost in his own thoughts.
Every light in the big mansion had been lit up for this special occasion. It wasn’t every day one of the most influential and powerful families celebrated a marriage. Alain Morris looked at himself in the big mirror as he fought back his tears. He had to play a role today; Alain had to pretend that he was happy about his brother’s wedding. Nobody should be able to know the truth. Alain then sighed deeply as thought about her, thought about the love of his life; Mariel.
“Hey, Alain. How do I look?” Maurice called out to his younger brother from behind. Alain was brought back to reality as he turned to look at him. Maurice was already dressed for his wedding. Alain couldn’t change his expression fast enough to fool his older brother. “Oh, Jesus. For God’s sake! She has made her decision. Be a gentleman and go somewhere else to lick your wounds.” Maurice told his brother as he rolled his eyes, smirking. Alain just looked at him, speechless. “Besides, you wouldn’t be able to make Mariel happy Alain. Face it, your life is a mess.” He added as he patted Alain’s shoulder.
Alain’s eyes were wide. “Mariel will never love you, Maurice.” He muttered in disgust, as he turned to leave. Maurice just arched a brow and chuckled.
“She will learn to love me. I’ll provide her with jewels, houses… prestige.” He said as he returned the look of disgust to his brother. “No woman would be able to resist that temptation.” He added nonchalantly. “She will be my trophy. And don’t you forget it Alain. She’ll scream my name at night, while I fuck her brains out.” He smirked. Alain stopped in his tracks and turned to look at his brother.
“Mariel isn’t the woman you think, Maurice. She may pretend to be in love with you, but she will always love me.” He said as he closed his hands into fists. “I don’t know, yet, what you did to convince her to marry you, but I know her better than she knows herself. She’ll be my woman forever, Maurice.” He hissed, as he moved forward untill they were face to face. “Just remember this, brother.” He said through clenched teeth, pressing his forehead to his brothers, grabbing his neck to prevent any movement on his part. Maurice tensed every muscle in his fat body. “When you make love to her, she will be thinking about me, Maurice.” His voice was suddenly as cold as ice. Alain then tightened his grip around his brothers neck. “She’ll bite her lower lip to not scream my name.” He added as let him go with a hard push.
Maurice looked at him, smirking. “Whatever, Alain. Whatever.” He muttered in disgust, as he straightened his suit with his hands. But inside, he knew that his brother was right.
Alain stormed out of the room in time to see Mariel entering another one at the far end of the hallway. He tightened his jaw as he headed toward her. Alain entered the room without knocking, making Mariel turn around, gasping in surprise.
“Jesus, Alain. You scared me.” She whispered as she stared at him.
Alain just sighed and stared back at her. “Why are you doing this to us?” He asked coldly. “You don’t love him, you can’t love him.” He sounded wounded.
Mariel’s green eyes, filled with sadness, were wide open as a strong shiver crossed her spine. Oh, God, help me! Her mind cried out. She had to live with this lie. She had no other choice. “I made my decision, Alain. Just be a man and respect that at least.” Her voice was cold and hard. Alain looked at her, speechless. His body rigid, not even blinking. “You aren’t worth my time, so please, leave me alone. I’ve got to get dressed.” She said as she turned around, grabbing a necklace. She pressed it against her heart as she bit her lower lip, forcing her tears back.
Alain moved forward untill he was right behind her, tilting his head, he pressed his lips to her neck. Mariel’s body tensed as an unconscious moan escaped her lips. “No matter what they say, Mariel. You’ll be always my woman.” He whispered against her skin as he continued to press his lips softly to her nape. Mariel felt her legs go weak as soon as she felt his lips touch her skin.
“Please, Alain. Leave me alone.” She said, almost in a whisper. “I don’t love you. Forget me.” She felt her throat close with anger and pain. Alain circled her waist from behind as he rested his chin on her shoulder.
“You don’t need to pretend around me, Mariel. I’m sure that you don’t love him. Come with me, we can run away from here, find a place far away and be happy together. I know you love me, and I now that that will never change.” He said as he kissed her shoulder gently. Mariel felt her cold façade start to crumble, and fought with all her will not to turn around and kiss him deeply. But that was a luxury she couldn’t allow herself, for his own good.
Mariel clenched her teeth as she pushed him away, heading to the window. “Don’t waste my precious time, my dear brother in law. You’re just a worthless man, without ambitions, or power. Maurice has all the things I’ve always wanted.” She hissed as she threw the necklace at him. “Don’t forget to take that cheap gewgaw with you when you leave.” She added as she turned her back to him and silent tears rolled down her cheeks.
Alain went motionless. The woman in front of him was a complete stranger. “I love you, Mariel.” He said sadly.
“Love is overrated.” She retorted as she closed her hands tightly. “I don’t give a shit about you, or your love!” She added, feeling her nails bite into her palms. “You were just a stepping stone on my way to the top. Nothing more, nothing less.” She finished, biting her lower lip to prevent herself from telling him the truth.
When Alain slammed the door closed on his way out, she jumped, shutting her eyes tightly. She collapsed to the floor, covering her face with her hands and began to cry like there was no tomorrow. Suddenly, Mariel froze and raised her head. She spotted the necklace on the floor and crept over to pick it up, sobbing soundly, she pressed it against her heart. “I will love you forever, Alain!” She whispered as she closed her eyes, curving up into a ball and continuing to cry.
Alain stood without moving a muscle, looking down at his feet. He couldn’t feel his heart beating. He sighed deeply when he realized he had died inside. Alain headed toward the back entrance of the big house. When he reached the kitchen, he saw his older brother leaning against the doorframe.
“Well, well, well. We were waiting for you Alain.” He said gently. Alain frowned in puzzlement. Four armed men appeared behind Maurice. Alain gasped in surprise. “I think these gentlemen here have something to ask you, brother.” His voice sounded cold. “I’ll leave you alone. I’m sure this is none of my business.” He headed toward the salon.
Alain stared at the mercs that were now aiming their guns at him. “I’m not afraid of you, Maurice. There’s nothing more you can do to hurt me. You have taken Mariel away from me, Maurice. I’m already dead!” He muttered as he felt himself tense. At least if he was going to die, he would do it fighting. His brothers next words changed his mind.
Maurice had stopped and a hard, dry, laugh boomed from his throat. “Oh, no, no. Alain. You’re not dead yet…” He said as he turned his head to look at him. “But you’ll soon wish you were.” He added, smirking. Then he looked at the mercs. “Gentlemen, your services will be rewarded. You can leave now. I have things to do. I have to marry my brother’s bitch.” He said, smiling as he headed deeper into the house. “Good luck, my beloved brother. You will need it now that you’re going to Hell.” He called over his shoulder and laughed.
Alain extended his hands slowly. One of the mercs cuffed his wrists as Alain made a promise to himself. Someday, Maurice. Someone bigger and badder than you will kill you. With a slow, painful, death; and I’ll wait until the end of time just to see it, he told himself as he walked out of the mansion, where Dr. Maurice Morris was marrying the only woman that Alain had ever loved today, surrounded by the mercs.
End flash back.
Alain lifted a hand to his cheek and found that it was wet with tears. He smiled sadly as he sighed deeply. Almost an eternity had passed since that day, but it seemed to him that it had been just that morning. He brought a hand to his pocket and pulled out a necklace, closing his hands into fist, he raised his head to the open sky. I hope you burn in Hell forever, beloved brother, he said silently as he blinked away fresh tears.
Scorpion system. Planet Onix. The Firm’s Main Building.
“Dr. Morris?” A young lady called out to him. He didn’t move. She gave a hesitant step forward. “Dr. Morris, sir. Everything is ready at the auditorium. The Board is waiting.” She added softly, rubbing her hands nervously.
Dr. Morris nodded slowly as he continued to stare outside. “I’ll be out in a minute, love.” He said politely, in a sweet tone of voice, without looking at her. The young lady smiled and left him alone in the room.
He then headed toward his personal comp and entered a code. Almost immediately, an image of a man appeared on the screen. “Hi, doc!” A voice greeted him.
“I assume that everything is going according to plan.” Dr. Morris’ voice sounded cold and distant.
The man on the screen showed a devilish grin. “Of course, doc. I’m a professional. My ship is in orbit around of Zul. I’ll land on Xela in four hours.” He said as he lit a cigarette. “Your brother will be history within the next twelve hours. By the way, where’s my money?” He asked as he took another drag on his cigarette.
Dr. Morris chuckled. “A merc will always be a merc, huh, Damien?” He asked as he made himself comfortable in the chair. Damien laughed hard. “Contrary to the opinion of the majority, not everything is a question of money. Some things are a question of pride.” Dr. Morris said, smirking.
“Well, doc. All of us have skeletons in the closet. Mine are big evil and his little bitch. Yours is your brother.” He grinned. “But credits are what makes the Galaxy move.” Damien smiled broadly.
Dr. Morris looked at him with disgust. “Your services will be rewarded, Damien. You can be sure of that. And about my…… skeletons, as you say. I took care of mine already. My beloved brother will be the cherry on top of my cake.” He said, with an evil grin. “I’m at the top of my flawless career. I don’t want any loose ends.” Dr. Morris explained to him as he pulled out a big cigar from a box made of real wood. “Just make sure that no one will be able to recognize him when you’re done, and don’t forget to bring me his chip.” He added as he lit his cigar.
“Don’t worry, doc. As I told you, I’m a professional. I know how to do this.” Damien reclined back in the pilot’s seat. “Just don’t forget our deal. I kill your brother, and in return, you find where Riddick’s at.” He added with a grin.
Dr. Morris tensed his body at the sound of Riddick’s name. He couldn’t help but let a shiver cross his spine. “That won’t be difficult, leave it to me.” He stated coldly as he stood. “I’m just like God himself. There’s nothing I can’t do or get.” He said, closing the connection.
He then headed toward the window again and stared at the city, lost in thoughts of his past.
“I really don’t understand why you’re dating Alain. Don’t get me wrong, dear. I love my brother, but honestly, he’s just a nobody. Even with our family influence and power, Alain is still a nobody. You’re an intelligent and beautiful woman, Mariel. You deserve better than him. Someone like me.” Maurice told Mariel as he took a seat in front of her.
Mariel looked at him as if he had sprouted a third eye. “You don’t know what you’re talking about. Alain isn’t a nobody!” She exclaimed as she stood. “He’s an intelligent man; he’s a genius with computers. Not all of us are interested in money or power, Maurice.” She said as she headed toward the door. “Why can’t you accept that I love him?” Her voice sounded frustrated. They had had this conversation before, and it was getting old.
Maurice stood and went to her side. Mariel tensed and moved back from him. “He’s a nobody, Mariel. You’re in love with a nobody. Alain is good for nothing!” He hissed as he looked her over. Mariel took another step back as she stared at him. “I’m twenty five years old, and I’m a successful scientist. I’ve got more power than my own father had when he was my age. I’m famous and rich. People from all of the systems come to my public lectures. Even the members of The Firm’s Board shake my hand when they cross my path.” As he spoke he pressed her against the wall. Mariel raised her hands and pushed at him, trying to get away from his close presence.
“Let me go, Maurice. You’re disgusting!” She said as she forced tears back. Maurice just looked at her and then grabbed her wrist.
“You won’t say that while I fuck your brains out each and every night, Mariel,” He hissed through clenched teeth as he licked her cheek with the length of his tongue. Mariel forced her nausea back as she shut her eyes. “You’re going to marry me and play the perfect wife in public and the slut you really are in my bed. Do you understand me, Mariel?” He asked as he tightened his grip on her.
“Over my dead body!” She retorted as she struggled hard to release his hold on her.
Dr. Morris slapped her face. “No, my dear Mariel. You will marry me or I’ll kill Alain.” He hissed, drops of perspiration forming on his forehead.
Mariel looked at him with eyes wide. Suddenly she felt her heart speed its rhythm, and the air knock out of her lungs. “You wouldn’t do that.” She said, her voice full of panic.
“I can do whatever I want, Mariel. I only have to make a call, and he will be sent to prison in a blink of your beautiful, green eyes. Don’t forget who you are dealing with here.” He said as he let her go. He then pulled out a handkerchief, wiping away the sweat from his forehead. Mariel just stared at him, speechless. “My brother is just a hacker. The Firm doesn’t like that kind of scum walking around free.” He explained to her as he took a seat again on the couch, his voice was cold. “Not even my father himself, would be able to stop them.” He added as he made himself comfortable. Mariel’s mind was racing with all kinds of thoughts. “You have seen him, my dear. Alain is tall, slim, handsome, and with those blue eyes …”, he cut himself off just to pretend that a strong shiver had crossed his spine; just to add more effect to his words. “Do you know the kind of people that are in Slam? He would be some psycho inmate’s sex toy, as soon as he put a foot inside a max security prison.” He flashed an evil grin. “You wouldn’t want that painful future for him, would you?” He winked at her.
Mariel couldn’t believe what she was hearing. She couldn’t breath at all. “But, … but, Alain is your brother, Maurice. Your own blood. Why …?” She leaned against the wall. She suddenly felt dizzy.
“I hate him, Mariel. That’s why.” He said as he took a glass full of cognac from the small table. “I was the only one, until he was born. Alain is now my parent’s favorite son. They don’t care if he is useless or a shame to our family’s name.” He said as he took a mouthful of his drink. “But I do. I care. I’ve got a name, a faultless reputation and nobody, not even my own brother, will be able to destroy what I have now. Someday, my dear Mariel, you will see my name added as member of The Board.” Maurice finished as he gulped the rest of his drink in one swallow.
Mariel just looked down, frozen, thinking about Maurice’s words. I’ve got to tell Alain, We have to run away from him, she said to herself. The monster known as Dr. Maurice Morris stood and headed to the door. “Don’t even think about running away, Mariel, or doing something as stupid as talking to him. There’s no place where you would be able to hide from me. I would find you both, and you wouldn’t like to know what would happen then.” He said over his shoulder on his way out. “If you truly love him, you will think carefully about your options, which by the way, aren’t many.” He grinned.
“I would die for him, without thinking twice.” She retorted through clenched teeth.
Dr. Morris stopped dead in his tracks and turned around to look at her. “I have no doubt about that, love. But what about him?” He asked, his voice suddenly gentle. Mariel looked at him, puzzled. Dr. Morris smiled. “Death is not the worst thing. Are you sure you want to sacrifice Alain in your place?” He asked. Mariel went silent. “That’s what I thought. You have one week to leave him, dear Mariel.” He finished as he went out the door, leaving it open behind him.
Mariel just closed her eyes as silent tears rolled down her cheeks. Alain, Oh my God, help me! she pressed a hand to her mouth, preventing a scream as she collapsed to the floor. Forgive me my love, she added silently, sobbing.
End flash back
Dr. Morris grinned to himself as he headed toward the door. As soon as Dr. Maurice Morris made his way to the auditorium, the crowd around him burst out in hardy applause. He showed a triumphal grin, shaking hands on his way to the front. That’s it, Maurice. We’re like God to them, he said to himself. First Mariel, later Audrey, and now Alain. No more loose ends, he added silently, smirking an evil grin.
But what he didn’t know, was that he had left more loose ends than he had thought. Dr. Morris’ ambition had no limits; and now that his career as a scientist was on its summit, his goal had changed. He had his eyes fixed on The Firm’s Board itself. It wasn’t that he would have dreamed about sharing a chair on the council; he wanted more, much, much more.