After an uneventful night, Lilly and Imogen open up Saffron to resume their salvage operation. Sunshine smells the fresh air and rushes out. After looking around a bit, she howls and then runs off. Lilly and Imogen, now with the full light of day, heft the new escape pod up into the chute leading to Imogen’s cabin. Imogen then hooks up all the necessary connections, getting more intimately acquainted with the part of Saffron that served as their original ingress. She uses what she learns during that process to further secure the empty launch chute adjacent to Lilly’s room. With that work done, she is even more confident than before that no one else will be able to break into the science vessel the way she and Lilly did.
Imogen also takes another look underneath Saffron at the areas that got crunched in Lilly’s rough landing. She confirms that there are things down there that she needs a proper maintenance bay to handle. Despite this setback, things are going smoothly enough this morning that Imogen has a more positive outlook than she did the night before.
Having gotten all they could out of the science vessel manufacturing facility on their first day here—none of it batteries—they turn their attention to tracking down the mystery man who has some. Imogen is hopeful that they can negotiate with him, provided of course that he holds off throwing spears long enough for a chat. He was traveling on foot and has a bit of a lead, but they do not plan to fly after him, given the lack of good landing areas around those ruins. After all, if there had been a better landing spot there than on the little island, they would have chosen it to begin with.
Lilly does run the ship’s sensors from its current parking spot, though, to gather whatever intel they can provide. They pick up no power signatures from any technology within the one kilometer radius that includes both the ruins and the facility where Imogen shorted out the electricity to the sales floor. The ruins definitely have a lot of metal and other scrap, but how much of it will be salvageable is another question. There is not much in the way of active life showing up around the ruins, and even more importantly, no creep. Thus, zerg are not so likely to be a problem as they head farther into the ruins. This makes sense to Lilly, since the terran they saw was armed with just spears, which is not the best way to go head-to-head with a bunch of zerg. Nevermind that she herself has several times taken on one with just a knife.
An idea for an intruder notification system has been bouncing in and out of Lilly’s head for a while, and she takes the time now to try to set it up. Someone was previously monitoring activity aboard Saffron, so she figures it should be doable. She manages to set up the logging in the computer, but getting it to forward messages to her comm unit proves tricky. Her phone is not the fanciest model, and the science vessel itself is four or five years out of date.
When Lilly and Imogen set out from the ship, they leave Snowball behind on guard duty. Walking around with a zerg in a backpack is an unnecessary burden right now, and some people might take it the wrong way. If they can find a battery and bring it back to the larva, that would be ideal. Of course, it is possible that all they will find is a stationary charger. Imogen brings her entire set of mechanics tools in case there is such a fixture. If she can detach it, Lilly can haul it back. If not, they will go through the hassle of returning to fetch Snowball and taking him to it.
Once they get going, Lilly asks if she should scout quietly ahead. “Are you saying I don’t walk quietly enough?” Imogen asks. “Do you need me to hang back a bit? I’m not just going to let you run through the ruins by yourself.”
“But we want to sneak up on this guy,” Lilly reminds Imogen.
“Aye, but we need to find him first,” Imogen points out. Lilly nods, and working together, they pick up their attacker’s trail. He fled in the general direction of the ruins after spearing the truck tire. Now they confirm that was indeed his destination, at least initially.
When they first recovered the truck from the edge of the ruins, they were not sure whether the place was the remains of a town or a military base. Now as they walk among the shattered buildings, Lilly recognizes more components. “Looks like a small firebase,” she observes. Imogen is unfamiliar with the military terminology, so Lilly explains that it is a temporary installation set up as a forward base, not a permanent installation that they were trying to hold during the zerg invasion. She points out the landing gear on the damaged structures as she talks about how the buildings can be flown in—albeit slowly—and also relocated once the forward line has advanced. There are all the standard military buildings: a barracks, a factory, the shell of a command center, and even a broken-down starport. The barracks is collapsed in on itself, and the scorched factory is in only slightly better condition. While they are not inherently weak structures, they require upkeep which has obviously been lacking. And aside from all the battle damage from blasts and zerg claws, the women suppose that someone—maybe their attacker—has likely smashed up the interior.
Imogen is most interested in the starport. Even though their main purpose is manufacturing aircraft and space-worthy vessels, such buildings tend to have a drydock for them to land. The landing pad is overgrown and likely cracked beneath, but she wonders if there might be salvage there that can help with Saffron. Lilly points out that parts of the starport would be harder to smash. After they resolve the whole battery situation, it might be worth their while to spend a couple days clearing out enough rubble and vegetation to bring in Saffron. Even just getting the science vessel up on blocks could be helpful for the current problems with the undercarriage. For right now, though, they still need to focus on Snowball’s needs.