Imogen’s cousin starts to climb up through the hatch, and Lilly grabs a hold of him to yank him the rest of the way. “Hey there, Lief! Come on up!”
Lief looks around the room cautiously. All he sees is Imogen’s mercenary. “Are we safe here?” he asks her.
“Sure,” is the short reply, as she leans back down to help Imogen up. “Whoa!” she says, seeing the blood that Imogen is trying to staunch with her sleeve. “Did they get you in the face?”
“No one spotted us,” Imogen replies, providing no explanation for her psionic injury.
Lilly drops the topic and, once Imogen is up on deck, throws her arm out widely in a happy gesture. “Look!” Spider mines are scattered about. Imogen asks if any are active, and Lilly replies, “No… but they could be!”
“There’s other parts Old Red needs before these,” Imogen tells her. “Have you seen any other vulture bike parts?”
The taller woman shakes her head. “Didn’t really look.”
“Okay, then what can you tell me about what you have seen? About where they were holding Aiden. Better yet, can I see it for myself? And what about the other folks on this ship?”
Lilly explains the layout of the ship and where the crew are to the best of her tipsy ability. Down the hall from this room there is a doorway leading up to the engine room, where she heard three voices. That corridor includes the door to the brig, but it is awfully close to the rec room’s entrance. The two other pirates are likely still there, given the state in which Lilly left them. Lilly offers to stand in that doorway. “You’re small enough; you could hide behind me while you open the brig door or peek through its slot.”
Imogen requests, rather, that Lilly return to the rec room and engage the drunk pirates further, manipulating them so that they are faced away from the corridor. “Click your walkie-talkie when it is safe for us to head to the brig.” Lilly nods and heads off down the hall. Imogen eyes the spider mines and then turns to her cousin. “Do you have any experience with explosives?”
“I helped with the fireworks once on Arrival Day,” Lief says. “That’s the closest I’ve ever gotten to any. And by helped, I mean I helped put together what the artistic show was going to be. The drones fired the actual fireworks, of course.”
“So, no. Keep an eye out at the door, then.” Imogen takes one of the mines and has a look at its triggering mechanism, trying to figure out if she can rig it to be remotely set off or have it blow on a timer. Even just extracting the explosives could be useful. As a military-grade weapon, it is hardened against sabotage, but she thinks she sees something that might work. She places the spider mine far across the large room and then joins Lief by the door to put some distance between her and it. Her comm is not very sophisticated, but she uses it to send a pulse at a certain frequency to the spider mine. The mine activates, extending its legs and trying to dig into the metal flooring as if it were ground. That was not quite what Imogen had intended; she had just wanted a ping back.
With the factory-set friend-or-foe recognition still in place, it is likely that if anyone gets too close to the mine, it will chase them. A terran on foot has no hope of outrunning a spider mine; even on Old Red they barely got away from one, and vulture bikes are the fastest form of ground transportation out there. Imogen contents herself with the knowledge that if any of the pirates enter this room without paying close attention, they will likely not exit it. It does occur to her, however, that a chain reaction of spider mine detonations would be a bad thing while the factory is still aloft.
“What was that sound?” Lief suddenly asks. “I thought I heard something.”
Imogen’s comm clicks. “It’s Lilly signaling us that it’s safe to go. C’mon.” She takes off down the hall in the direction Lilly went. Lief follows. At the far end of the corridor is the rec room, where Imogen can see the back of the curly-haired pirate who seemed to be in charge outside. Beyond her is Lilly, but at this distance, Imogen cannot make out the details of what is happening down there. Imogen runs past some minor doors and skids to a halt at the access up to the bridge, pausing long enough to pull the hatch shut and ram her crowbar through its spinning handle to keep it that way. As she does so, some of the shouting above drifts down.
“Oh, shit! We’ve got zerg inbound!” she hears.
Good to know! Imogen thinks, hoping she is not responsible for attracting them. From her current position, she can now see that Lilly’s gun is out, so shooting could start at any moment. She trusts Lilly to handle situations of violence. Lief, though… Imogen doubts he has ever been in a scrap worse than fisticuffs. “Get the door to the brig open,” she orders her cousin, giving him a chance to show just how thiefy he is, “and keep your head down!”