FRAWD Investigators: A Very Special Mission | Scene 1

Saffron spends a few days in space traveling to Tarsonis to deliver Imogen to her assignment for Kate Lockwell of Universal News Network. Imogen is not doing this job for the reporter, though. No, she is doing it to help Durian get out of forced reenlistment in the Dominion military. And to get herself out of her own reactivated Dominion service. She should not have been surprised that Dominion bureaucracy would rear up its ugly head again just when she and Lilly were getting their new business started. Still, it stings to have her legal-resident status under threat, even if her main responsibilities are to explore some ruins and sound Umojan. For all that Tarsonis is a zerg-infested world, it should be safe enough with a marine escort and Lilly there for back up. And if it is not, well, they still have some of the high-quality first aid supplies from Imogen’s homeworld. Just as long as there’s no climbing…

En route, she passes the time working on the damaged Space Construction Vehicle they recovered last time they were on Mar Sara. Before leaving Korhal, she picked up all the pieces required to make the SCV suit moderately functional. Originally intended for use on an orbital platform with gravity, it does not have a jetpack for navigating in vacuum nor mag-lock boots for securely walking across a hull. However, her partner loves it already anyway. It meets the minimum requirement of being just plain cool.

In addition to more beer and vegetables, the only other Korhal purchase of note is a present Lilly picks up in case she sees Axion again. Given the interest he showed in how terrans fight with axes (answer: not very safely), she looks for books or videos of ancient terran melee techniques. All she can easily find is a rather short book on the history of Dominion warfare. Marines in very shiny red power armor on some PR duty are handing them out for free as part of the current efforts to drum up support for the liberation of Tarsonis. A corporal insists this is the greatest book ever written and tries to encourage Lilly to enlist. She brushes off the suggestion but takes the opportunity to admire his armor. It looks to be fully functional but also has some special upgrades. The armor is thicker and the gun larger, like something that would normally be seen only on the royal guard or expensive mercenaries. Durian’s power suit was well-polished but pales in comparison to this.

“How’d you get this sweet gear?” she asks.

“This sweet Lightning?” the marine says, patting the rifle. He tells her all the specs in response to her excited questions. “This is part of the Special Mission,” he adds.

“Oh, Special Mission? How’d you manage that?”

“Well, I’m exactly 6’2” and I have incredibly red hair,” he replies, opening his visor up all the way. “That’s what they said they needed. I don’t ask questions.” Lilly asks him about the paperwork involved, and he tells her he had to sign some forms but that the military comptroller handled the details. “But, hey, I’m doing my part!” he adds. “And in two weeks, I’ll be doing my part on a beach on Tyrador IV. It’s going to be great.”

“You know what? You’ve earned it, soldier,” Lilly says. She would much rather be on the front lines fighting zerg than handing out books and having to talk with people.

When Lilly gets back to Saffron, she shows her acquisition off to Imogen. “Maybe you can learn something from it before we see Axion again,” her partner suggests. “Then next time he axes you to spar with him, you can throw the book at him,” she jokes.

“I got it from some soldier out on what was definitely a Special Mission,” Lilly shares. “He said he met some exact physical specs, and that it was all handled by a military comptroller.” Imogen raises an eyebrow. “That’s a special type of officer who just does paperwork,” Lilly explains for the Umojan. “We need to talk to one to get this nailed in.”

“Sounds like the ultimate bureaucrat,” Imogen observes. “If you can feed me the right military terms, I’ll be happy to talk to anyone on Durian’s behalf for you. We’ll need to either convince a comptroller that our mission qualifies or find out from one how we have to stretch our mission to make it fit. You think we’re likely to find one on the platform where we’re meeting Kate Lockwell?”

“Yeah,” Lilly says. Any place with that much military personnel is certain to need a bunch of paper-pushers behind the scenes. 

“We’d best be getting on our way then,” Imogen suggests. They have a little bit of pad time before Kate wants to be down on Tarsonis. If they can get to the platform early enough to work out all the paperwork ahead of time, so much the better. 

Korhal, though now the center of the Dominion, was once a minor planet just on the fringes of Confederate space. Back then, everything revolved around Tarsonis, capital of the Confederacy. Imogen’s knowledge of the planet is pretty shallow, given her Umojan education; she knows that something bad happened there and it involved military history. She flips through the book Lilly picked up for Axion, but the information is so spun as to be useless. Following a chapter titled, “The Corruption of the Confederacy,” there is one focused on the birth of the Dominion. It describes the overthrow of Tarsonis and the liberation of the sector from brutal Confederate rule. At the time, the Sons of Korhal liberation group used the orbital defense platform to “nobly root out the foul Confederate infestation with a direct assault.” The strike was led by General Duke. Ah, that might explain why the Queen of Blades wanted him dead, Imogen realizes. Tarsonis is where Kerrigan was abandoned to the zerg. 

This book claims that when the Sons of Korhal tried to liberate the planet, the Confederates, in a desperate attempt at counter-invasion, called in their most horrible weapon, the zerg. That is contrary to what Imogen has heard about Mengsk bringing them in, of course. The propaganda-rich document says that the forces that would become the Dominion managed to fend off the zerg, hold off the protoss, and defeat the Confederates all at once. Tragically, many Confederate lives were lost, but the proto-Dominion evacuated what people they could. They respectfully remember the sacrifice of the people of Tarsonis but not the foul Confederate government. They decided it was best to leave all those things in the past, and the zerg overran the planet, finally changing the planet’s ecosystem to match the dark corruption of the Confederacy. Or so the book says.

And yet now the Dominion cares again, for some reason… Imogen muses, as she closes the useless book. She holds it out to Lilly.

“Don’t look at me; I’m probably not going to read it,” her partner says.

“You’ve at least been on Tarsonis.”

“Probably more than once,” Lilly agrees, but she does not say more. She has vague memories of a temperate world, much like Antiga is now and how Mar Sara used to be. Who knows what it is like, now, though. The zerg could have had a major ecological impact. Tarsonis was heavily developed and populated before the war, but as Antiga showed, a lot can change in five years.