Lilly nervously adjusts her collar as she looks around the wreck that is the inside of Tarsonis City Metro Station. The lay of the land has changed a bit since Imogen destabilized the building. Lilly spots a vault door she had not seen before over near the vending machine that Snowball is clearing out. That secure storage is exactly what she is looking for, though she is disappointed at how intact the door looks. The walls there also appear reinforced. Probably plenty of other good salvage in there as well, she muses as she picks her way over. If Spikey were not so injured, she might see if he could burrow up into the room from beneath, but the hunter killer needs his rest right now. Lilly sets to work on the lock, and before long the rusty door creaks open.
“Wow! You’re pretty good with this stuff,” Durian comments, impressed.
“I’m not a thief,” Lilly replies automatically. She coughs at the musty air coming out of the vault. Clearly the place has not been opened in years. Dust motes sparkle in the lights from Durian’s helmet as he and Lilly look inside. There are some safe deposit boxes, a few crates of fashion accessories that some rich person was storing here, and, in the corner, an adjutant bearing the Cerberus logo. A wide-brimmed purple fedora with a large white plume is stuck on top of it at a jaunty angle.
“That’s it, huh?” Durian asks as Lilly approaches the device.
Imogen is still off doing her mission, so Lilly figures they have time to spare here. If she can find out what is on the adjutant right now, she might not have to lug it back to the ship. “Let’s see what happens,” she says, powering it up.
“Cerberus adjutant 3A21 active. Requesting identification…” The adjutant whirrs for a moment. “User Colonel Lillian Washington.” Oh, right, the RFID tag, Lilly thinks. “Identity verified. Logging in.”
There are a ton of files, but each one Lilly tries to access comes back with a prompt for a password. “Ugh! They’re all encrypted. Of course.”
“So I take it you don’t remember your password,” Durian says.
“What do you think?!”
“Sorry. Can we find somebody who can decrypt it? Somebody you trust? Or somebody you can pay to keep quiet?”
Lilly nods. Li June should be able to handle this. “I know someone,” she says. She shakes her head at herself. “I can’t believe I encrypted it!”
“I mean, that’s good, right? That means no one else has seen the files,” Durian says, ever the optimist.
Lilly transfers the fedora to her own head. Then she wraps the adjutant in a fur coat of very poor taste and crams the bundle into her large backpack. Anyone who opened the top would be able to clearly see the adjutant, but at least it is protected from casual spotting. She gives Durian a heartfelt thank you.
He nods. “I’m glad we were able to get this. Let’s get out of here.” He turns and steps back out of the vault.
Lilly, though, lingers behind for a moment. If there was time to listen to files, there is definitely time to rifle around in here. Always a fan of swag, she pockets a pen with the Bank of Tarsonis logo. Where she found the fur coat, there is also a posh cane and some swanky shoes. She takes those, along with a small box full of jewelry. She should be able to move that pretty easily in Augustgrad or even Mar Sara City. And it is not like anyone else is ever going to come here looking for it. Whoever owned this is probably dead by now. That is what she tells herself, anyway.
Lilly exits the vault to find Snowball and Spikey having some sort of growling disagreement. Snowball’s contributions are really more hisses, as he can barely make noise at all. Durian is watching, munching popcorn from a bag. He has put a few coins in the vending machine to cover its cost, as well as to pay for the snacks Snowball has consumed.
Snowball is Lilly’s responsibility, so she steps up to Spikey to try to sort out the problem. “What’s up?” she asks, which gets a confused growl from Spikey in answer. “What’s the deal with Snowball? Well, I raised him, so…” She shrugs. Annoyed growl from Spikey. “He hasn’t had a good role model,” Lilly protests. Then she points out, “You’ve met him before. At the science building on Chau Sara. He was the short hydralisk.” Disbelieving growl. “He’s a changeling.” Spikey snorts at Snowball, who squares himself proudly and shifts into his small hydralisk form. Spikey is taken aback for a moment.
Durian gags on his popcorn. “That’s disgusting,” he says of the transformation. “This is a trainwreck,” he mutters. “Can’t believe my girlfriend’s ex is a zerg…”
“He doesn’t have a brood,” Lilly tells Spikey, gesturing at Snowball. Spikey looks at Lilly and hisses. “Yeah. You’d be great!” she says encouragingly. Spikey’s growled response is less enthusiastic. He looks down at Snowball who seems far more excited by the idea, spinning around as if to show off what a good hydralisk he can be.
“I just feed him candy. I don’t know what I’m doing,” Lilly continues. Spikey’s growls turn to sighs. He puts a claw around Snowball and leans down to hiss a few things. Then he reaches over and gives Lilly a pat on the back as well. Lilly throws her hand up for a high-five, which he grudgingly returns. “I’m always trouble,” Lilly tells Spikey. “You already knew that.” And Durian’s just starting to learn it.
Recovered from his time in the creep, Spikey lifts the small hydralisk up onto his own broad shoulders to carry him off. He slithers just a few feet and then pauses, seemingly listening to something. Then he looks at Lilly and growls an alarm.
Time to go. “It was good to see you, bud,” she tells him. She waves goodbye to Snowball as Spikey heads off and then turns to Durian. “We need to get out of here.”
“Yeah! Yup!” Durian agrees, clearly stressed out from all he has witnessed here. “Should we try to find Imogen and Frank?”