FRAWD Investigators: Adjutant Acquisition | Scene 4

As the sound of Durian’s gun fills the room, a hydralisk spine shoots across the ruined train station at Lilly. She is saved from being impaled by her frying pan laser. The spine hits the clasp of its sling, and the weapon falls, skittering away from Lilly as she dives for cover. Spikey is nearly within reach. She sees him writhe around onto his back and heave, but he cannot get himself free. Forgetting her gun for the moment, Lilly dashes to his side, catching a hold of the beam and adding her strength to his. Working together, they wrest it off him, dropping it to the side between them and the other hydralisk. Spikey makes a noise that Lilly recognizes as his friendly growl. 

“You all right?” Lilly asks him. His shoulder looks janked up, but at least there is creep everywhere. He should be fine eventually. Right now, though, his face displays alarm as he looks over at Durian. “That guy’s with me,” Lilly tells the hydralisk. Spikey growls. “We’re dating,” she adds with a smile. A zergling with a pink bow joins them then, body language completely non-threatening. Lilly pays Snowball no mind.

Durian, on the other hand, has enemy zerglings to contend with. For the time being, they are only able to scratch up his new power armor, not hurt the person within. Hydralisk spines come flying his way from Lilly’s supposed friend, but they all miss him. Either he is a bad shot or he is just faking an attack. The other hydralisk, though, hits the rifle from Durian’s hands. He pulls out his combat knife and slashes back at the closest problem, the zerglings.

With Spikey’s situation handled, Lilly must now go help Durian. “Good to see you,” she tells her old battle buddy. Then she vaults over the fallen beam and dives for her gun. She rolls up into a crouch with it and sends a blue beam at the smaller hydralisk. Much like the one back at DORF, this hydralisk catches fire at the point where the laser strikes.

Lilly hears a clatter and a growl behind her and spares a glance for Spikey. He has tried to vault over the wall like she did but has ended up sprawled across it. His snake-like tail looks bent at an unnatural angle, more damage suffered in the collapse. He pulls himself the rest of the way over and slithers awkwardly to her side. Too bad Imogen’s not here. She could probably treat that, Lilly thinks. Sweetpea is recharging right now, but Lilly still has fists. Holding the protoss rifle with one hand, she charges the smoldering hydralisk and tries to get in a solid blow with the other. Spikey slithers up behind her, looking menacing. She has fought with him before, though, and knows how to read his intent. Ah, the old duck-and-roll. As he gets close, she drops down and he barrels over her, colliding with the other hydralisk and pinning it beneath him. The two hydralisks growl at each other a bit, and Lilly imagines Spikey’s words. You should have helped me out earlier. Now who’s pinned? Lilly throws all her weight behind a punch down, crushing the enemy hydralisk’s skull. The sight of the brains scattering out triggers a Cerberus memory of her time in the dissection lab, information that is on her adjutant. Suddenly, she has a very clear picture in her mind of the storage room here. The vault! 

Snowball watches everything wide-eyed, making note of the terran tactics and how they compare with what the hydralisks are doing. These hydralisks are from different broods and are coordinating poorly because of it. Maybe there should be a more direct communication link between proximate zerg. Decisions should be made at the lowest level possible, he reflects. Then another, more captivating thought crosses his mind. Does this place have any snacks? He looks around and his eyes light upon a prize, a crushed vending machine only partially covered now. He recognizes some of the bright colors from treats Lilly has given him. Having done his due diligence on observation work, he goes over to investigate.

After slashing his way through two zerglings, Durian is able to retrieve his rifle. When he brings it back up, still on alert, he sees that everything is still. “You safe?” he asks Lilly, gun still up.

“Yeah,” she says, fixing the clasp on Sweetpea so that she can just let it hang from its strap. Then she extends a hand to Spikey. At eight feet tall, he towers over her, but she does what she can to help him up. There is an unsettling crunch when he tries to straighten all the way. Something is definitely not right with his spine.

“You sure this guy is safe, Lilly?” Durian prods.

“Spikey, Durian. Durian, Spikey,” Lilly says quickly, trying to defuse the remaining tension. There is a bit of a growl on both sides in response. “You’ve patched me up before…”

“I mean, I know basic first aid, but I don’t know anything about taking care of zerg,” Durian tells her, uncomfortable even with the thought. “Uh, roll around in creep?” The floor around them is covered with it. Durian cautiously approaches, lowering his weapon but keeping it ready. Lilly prompts him for painkillers, and he is surprised to hear that they work on zerg. “All right, Lilly, we can use the painkillers on your zerg… Who is this? Battle buddy?” Reluctantly, he hands the medicine over.

“Yeah, his name is Spikey,” Lilly tells him again. She administers the meds, but that is all she feels comfortable attempting. She spent more time dissecting zerg than healing them back in Cerberus. I wish Imogen were here. “You know I’m not a medic,” she tells Spikey. He growls back at her. “Do you want me to try?” Growl. “Okay, that’s fair. Do you have a medic around here?” Spikey lies down in the creep, which is hospital enough for him, and growls a question at her. “We’re looking for something,” she tells him. 

Durian is weirded out by all this. Even the concept of zerg having names is bizarre to him, let alone offering them medical aid. “Can you talk to him?” he asks, incredulous.

“Well, yeah,” Lilly says.

“What is he saying?”

“He’s just like, what are we doing here? Right, Spikey?”

Still flustered, Durian says, “I just… I have no idea how… Can you talk to all zerg?”


“Lilly, I don’t want to alarm you, but is there a possibility that you used to be a ghost?”

Lilly’s good mood at unexpectedly meeting a friend here fades. “I don’t know,” she says. “How would I?”

“I don’t know! Can you read my mind?”

“No? Look, we just worked together for a long time. It’s not like I speak zerg. It’s just like… well, what would you ask?” 

Durian shakes his head, overwhelmed by the weirdness. “Look, just do what you need to do. I’m going to keep a lookout. Search around for your stuff. I’ll give you an alert if I notice anything. You got any other zerg friends I should know about?”

“I don’t remember all my friends,” Lilly admits. “Probably not.” Aiden is not on Tarsonis, according to Imogen. Oh, but if Spikey is here… Turning to the hunter killer, she asks, “Is Zagara here?” He gives a disgusted growl. Clearly he does not want to talk about her. “So, no, probably not,” she concludes to Durian.

“Let’s just find your adjutant and get out of here.” Durian shakes his head at the surreal world he finds himself in. “And your other zerg is getting into a vending machine! Is that normal?”

Lilly follows the direction of Durian’s gaze and sees Snowball pressed against a beat-up vending machine, one limb morphed to extend inside so he can reach around. “Oh good, he’s distracted. He’s safe.”

“Oh boy, what have I gotten myself into?” Durian mutters. Lilly gives him a kiss on the cheek. Durian smiles. He can accept that.