FRAWD Investigators: A Very Special Mission | Scene 10

The next morning, Kate Lockwell and Durian’s Fruit Baskets head down to the surface of Tarsonis in a Dominion military dropship. Ahead of them, though, Lilly and Imogen descend in Saffron. When they filed their flight plan before departure, they were warned that the area remains an active war zone with zerg defenders potentially still around. Lilly takes note of the numerous no fly zones. Some are due to zerg infestation, while others are because of active Dominion shelling. She has no problems evading the zerg flyers and the Dominion vessels in pursuit of them. Gross green bio-blobs arc through the sky, the zerg version of anti-aircraft fire. Lilly dodges the shards from their explosions, throwing Saffron through a gratuitous loop-the-loop to impress Durian, just in case he is watching. She even manages to pull a Malorn Maneuver, baiting a scourge into flying after her, and then whipping around so that it crashes into another scourge instead of her ship.

Imogen just holds on, cringing a bit whenever something comes too close to the science vessel or Lilly guns the engines. If the enemies were terran, she might try to jam their comms, but with zerg, everything is organic. There is not much radio waves can do in that context as far as Imogen knows. She has not yet seen or heard anything to make her believe that they can interfere with the psionic links between zerg. Maybe I could psionically jam them though… Imogen muses. She decides, though, that this hectic war zone is not the best place to experiment.

Finally, with all the fun done, Lilly lands Saffron at Liberation Point Alpha, a small Dominion firebase just north of the train station Kate wants them to investigate. North of some zerg structures, as well. Although the base is not heavily staffed at the moment, it is the destination to which troops are currently getting funneled down. In preparation for recording the arrival of the UNN contingent, Imogen turns on Saffron’s sensors in visual mode. There are a few bunkers in the area and some marines standing guard. Every now and then, their guns light up as they fire at some zergling that came a little too close. The ground here is pocked with small craters just a couple meters across. As Imogen and Lilly watch, a new crater appears a little ways outside the firebase. Zergling bits go flying from whatever it was that just impacted there. There is no artillery here at the firebase, though. Siege tanks somewhere else are hitting awfully close to the landing zone. 

Saffron’s sensors pick up the UNN dropship coming down and track it to the ground. Their pilot manages to steer clear of the dogfights overhead but with none of the cool moves Lilly executed. Within moments, Imogen’s comm buzzes. It is Kate. “How’s the footage look?” she asks urgently. Imogen assures her that the landing looks fine. “Fine is not sufficient. We need it to look grand, majestic. Do we have to do it again?”

“No, it looks majestic,” Imogen revises. Lilly laughs at the accompanying eye roll.

They grab their backpacks and head down the ramp onto the surface of Tarsonis. Lilly carries the medkit since Imogen is loaded down with tools for salvage work. Imogen is also carrying the stun rifle she picked up on Jarban Minor in order to look even more Umojan. She slides her psi gauntlet on under her sleeve, just in case. Lilly has selected her shotgun for this mission rather than Sweetpea. Even though the protoss weapon is disguised, its blue laser beam might raise uncomfortable questions from Dominion forces if used in their midst.

Once outside Saffron, they pause to watch the events unfolding at the dropship. The ramp lowers, and the marines, led by Durian, charge down it in their bright red power armor to secure the area. Durian scans the area and then shouts, “Got it!” He raises his rifle, and for a moment it looks like it is pointed right at Lilly and Imogen. He unloads a hail of bullets just off to their left. A zergling collapses. “Clear!” Durian calls out.

Oh, crap, Snowball! Lilly thinks, turning to look back up the ramp into Saffron. She was too distracted by fancy flying to give him his orders for today. Imogen starts to head over to join the UNN contingent, but Lilly runs up the ramp back into the science vessel. Her room is empty. So is the central hub. She returns to the doorway, scanning the area from the top of the ramp. Then she lets out a loud swear. There, not too far from all the blasted zergling parts, is the gross blobbiness of a changeling in its default form, completely still.

Imogen spins around to see what the problem with Lilly is and takes in the situation with one swift glance. Lilly darts inside the ship and emerges again an instant later with Snowball’s sleeping box, then runs down the ramp toward the zerg mess. Imogen figures that the best thing she can do for Lilly and Snowball right now is run interference with the marines.

As Imogen walks up to Durian, he is having his troops inspect their rifles one last time while he dishes out their assignments. “You, I want on security watching west. No! Your other west, soldier! You, I want on security watching east. You, you’re on backup. Be ready to help anyone who needs it.”

“Lilly will be along shortly. She’s just gathering a sample,” Imogen says casually.

“Understood,” Durian responds. He glances across the way and sees Lilly rushing around, arms full. Then he turns back to his troops, none the wiser.

Kate Lockwell looks about cautiously from the top of the dropship ramp, fancy camera in hand. “This setup I think can work,” she says thoughtfully. She comes down to ground level. “I’m going to put the camera right there, and I need all of us—”

“Oh, here, let me help you with that,” Imogen offers, stepping in close to Kate to block line of sight between Lilly and the camera.

Kate snatches her hand with the camera back in towards her chest, cradling the device protectively. “No, no, no. I need you in the shot. That’s one of the reasons you’re here. We just need to arrange some shots of everyone coming off the ship. It’s not a lie; it’s just how we need to frame it.” Whatever you’ve got to tell yourself, Kate, Imogen thinks, but she holds her tongue. She backs away from the camera, no longer needing to interfere with it. Kate is pointing it at the dropship and has made no inquiries about where Imogen’s pilot is, so the danger of Snowball’s exposure is past. Kate, however, must read something in Imogen’s body language, because the journalist continues, “That’s just the way media works. We’re telling a story. That story is not the boring parts of the logistics of how we all got down here. No, the story is humanity together standing against the zerg.” Imogen nods in acceptance and heads into the dropship as Kate issues orders to the others. “Durian, I need you and your squad there. Imogen, I need you on the left—no, on the right. Oh, and when we get out, just do what you did before, Durian, but no need to shoot a zergling. Thanks for clearing it out, though.”