With the ursadon finally still, Lilly dismounts it and sees to Sunshine. Now that the threat is gone, the lyote is freaking out. Lilly does not blame her, given the gashes across her torso. She picks up the MRE from where it fell during the scuffle and holds the treat out to Sunshine. The lyote responds, gobbling up the snack and letting Lilly lead her out of the cave. Once in the open air, though, she bolts. Her idea of safety is a forest or grasslands, not a snowy field. She heads off in the direction of the mountains, leash and blood trailing behind her. Lilly gives chase, not worried at all about waiting for her partner. It should be pretty obvious to Imogen where the ursadon is, given the tracks and the blood.
After a short while of trudging through the freshly fallen snow, her comm crackles. “Lilly, where are you, lass? We’re at your cave.”
Where am I? Lilly wonders. She has been focused on following Sunshine’s tracks and calling for the lyote. She has not really been paying attention to her route. “I don’t know. I’m trying to catch Sunshine,” she tells her friend. “There’s snow…” She looks around a bit, seeking a landmark. “The mountain range is to the north. Seems like she’s going there. Just follow my tracks. And the blood.”
“It’s no problem,” Imogen assures her. “Maybe we can cut her off.”
“Sunshine’s not really showing any sign of slowing down. I don’t want her running around alone out here,” Lilly says, a note of worry in her voice.
At the cave entrance, Mehsir has hopped off the hoversled to go examine the ursadon more closely in preparation for loading it onto the flatbed. Imogen slides over on the bench to where he was sitting, the spot that seemed to be the driver’s seat. “I can turn on a car, too,” she mutters, weary of protoss viewing terrans as poor and inferior. Mehsir is not as spiteful as Malorn, but those same opinions are still there. She extends herself into the frame of the vehicle, as if it were a large psi-gauntlet, and she can feel it respond to her. Sparing a glance over her shoulder at Mehsir, she calls to him, “While you’re getting that ursadon together, I’m going to go get them. They’re not that far away, but it is cold and they’re both injured.” With that, Imogen drives away.
Now that her awareness is spread through the hoversled, Imogen realizes that it works pretty similarly to Umojan vehicles. However, rather than verbal commands, this requires mental commands. She just needs to give the standard commands psionically. Of course, she never really did drive on Umoja… And since getting to Dominion space, she has always used public transportation, or Lilly has been behind the wheel. It is not exactly easy, but Imogen manages to keep the craft under control. Before long, she sees Lilly in the distance. She slows the sled down enough for Lilly to hop on, and they continue north in pursuit of the lyote.
Finally, Lilly spots her pet. A solitary shrub grows at the base of the mountains, and Sunshine cowers under it as though it were a safe place. Lilly thinks it looks terrible, tactically. “Should we take the bush with us?” Imogen asks, as she lets the sled coast to a stop near where the lyote hides. “Would it make her more comfortable?” While Lilly hops down, Imogen continues concentrating on the vehicle, not sure she will be able to restart it if it turns off.
Lilly jogs over to the shrub. “It’s okay, girl,” she assures Sunshine as she gets close. Lilly gives the plant a sharp yank, but it is frozen into the ground. She settles for cutting off a branch and giving it to Sunshine to chew on. That is good enough for the lyote. She follows Lilly to the sled and jumps up onto it with her.
Once everyone is aboard, Imogen directs the hoversled back the way they came. Mehsir needs to load the ursadon onto the flatbed in the rear, so she tries turning the vehicle around and backing into the cave. Imogen has so far done all right controlling the vehicle, but she does not really have a firm grasp of its limitations. Her control of it is not finely tuned enough, and here she cannot just glide to stop like she did earlier. The sled scrapes the cavern wall. It stops short of hitting the ursadon and the startled protoss, but it sends Lilly tumbling, and she hits painfully up against some rocks.
Mehsir was more surprised than angry when the terran drove the hoversled away. Now that she is back, his first concern is for the safety of those who just endured a crash. The terrans assure him they are fine, and he marvels at what has just transpired. “That’s… I don’t know how you did that.”
“I’m sorry,” Imogen apologizes for the crash. “I’ve never driven into such a narrow, confined space before.”
“I don’t know how you drove that at all! That’s—” he cuts himself off. Getting the ursadon loaded is more important than his personal curiosity here. As the terrans help him with that, he warns, “My associates will have many questions for you.”
“You guys don’t usually capture one of these things?” Lilly asks. “Know what? I don’t care as long as one of them is a medic. Or a vet.”
Mehsir assures her, “We can get you treated. It was very dangerous to come out here.”
“I’ll answer any questions,” Lilly tells him. She went far from campus, got caught in a flash freeze, and tussled with an ursadon, all things that his superior officer explicitly warned her about.
With the creature secure, everybody climbs onto the hoversled, and Mehsir begins the drive back. “That was…” he searches for an appropriate word and settles on, “I’ve never seen a terran do that.”
“Yeah, that was dumb,” Lilly acknowledges, not realizing he was addressing Imogen.
However, Mehsir is also amazed that Lilly was able to take an ursadon down on her own. She points out that he did get in a few good blows, both to her and Sunshine. Lilly’s jacket is scuffed, and she is bruised and scraped. She insists that Sunshine got the worst of it, though. Mehsir encourages her to rest until he gets her to their medical clinic, where Selendis is waiting to speak with them. Imogen asks whether the protoss medics have any experience working on terrans, and he insists it is not so different. Terran physiology is a simple matter for protoss to understand.