Following shopping on Tuesday, Lilly and Imogen discuss options for getting Malorn and Durian into the target facility. Imogen initially presents the idea that they introduce Malorn in his guise as their supervisor, who they can insist come on the tour as well. Lilly wonders if that might make the researchers hesitate in their own plans. It is not that she wants to get shot, per se, but if the damn scientists are going to target her, that guarantees the weapon will be out where her teammates can get at it. They workshop the idea and settle on making Malorn a lowly intern. Imogen brings up the issue of identification, and Lilly pulls out her own Dominion Citizen ID to assess how hard it would be to forge. Memories of its own creation flood her awareness.
Lilly has changed the records on base to give herself an honorable discharge, but she needs a new ID, one which clearly indicates she has served and is done with it. She passes through some alleys to a rundown apartment building. The first floor is a chop shop, and one of the guys there handles the fake documentation for the vehicles. Lilly tells him she needs a new ID. He does not ask questions, just asks for credits. She hands over the cash but insists that he let her see how he makes it. “Yeah, sure, you can watch,” he agrees. He walks her through the process, and every now and then she corrects what he is doing, making sure that her new ID number and other such bureaucratic frills are in the right format. She has spent long enough in government service to know how these things work. Between the two of them, they create a very convincing piece.
Lilly shakes off the memories and gets to work on an ID card for Malorn with the height and weight he appears to have when his guise is up. Imogen seems to take a certain satisfaction from setting the name as Mal Ornery.
As for Durian, who has some qualms about being connected to illicit activities, they decide to keep him nearby in case things get out of hand with the hydralisk. If it gets loose, having him in the museum to protect any innocent bystanders would be very convenient. It would also be good publicity for his fledgling firm. The more they talk over their plans, the more likely it seems that the hydralisk will get loose, probably at their own hands. Durian does not need to know that, though.
The morning of the operation, Durian meets them at their apartment. He is not in his power armor, but he does have weaponry with him, including a large rifle. When they went to the museum previously, Lilly and Imogen just had pistols and knives, which were easy enough to get in without raising eyebrows. Maybe that was because the weapons were small, but it could also have been because Imogen waved around an official-looking piece of paper. A rifle is a different story, particularly one carried by a regular museum patron. Durian has pistols, but he is reluctant to leave the rifle behind once the possibility of zerg comes up.
Imogen points out that as a licensed mercenary, he might be able to get in with it, assuming that he has a license for the weapon itself as well. Durian assures the FRAWD agent that everything is above board with his weaponry. “Well, how about this?” Imogen suggests. “You bring your pistols; you bring your rifle. If they give you any problems at the check-in desk and you can’t get through with the rifle, you give it up to be checked, but you keep the pistols.”
Durian nods. “Sounds reasonable. I don’t want to cause any trouble there.”
“That way, in a worst case scenario, the rifle is still around, and you might be able to get it if it turns out you need it.”
“I would hope they lock up those weapons pretty safe, but I guess we’ll find out. Hopefully we won’t, but…”
“If the museum staff are all going crazy because a zerg is on the loose, they might not be paying close attention,” Imogen observes, making sure not to disparage the Dominion facility’s setup. She is finding that Durian can be almost as taxing as Malorn to deal with, what with all the evasions and reassurances she is needing to employ. He is a friendly guy and Lilly trusts him, but he is just enough of a rule-follower to make working with him challenging. At least Malorn is not making this more difficult by injecting any comments. The protoss is just standing quietly to the side in his human guise, a tall pale woman with unremarkable features and a long blonde braid.
“Yeah, yeah, that’s true.” Durian agrees, satisfied with the weapon arrangements. “Very well, Ms. Owendofer, I got that. Uh, Ms. Washington, is there anything else I should know about this facility? Be on the lookout for zerg, I got that so far.”
Imogen notices Lilly shift uncomfortably. There is a zerg in the very next room, after all. The Umojan tries to draw attention back to herself. “If the zerg gets out of control, that’s the problem,” she tells Durian, happy to let him think the zerg situation is what the FRAWD agents are investigating at DORF.
Durian raises an eyebrow. “So if the zerg is under control, it’s not a problem? I gotta be honest; I’ve never seen that kinda zerg.” He looks back at Lilly, and she is staring down at his rifle. He gets the impression she is avoiding meeting his gaze for some reason. “Ms. Washington, is everything all right, ma’am? Is there… anything else I need to… Are you okay?” Lilly darts a glance over at her partner. What is going on? Durian wonders, and he looks to Imogen, himself.
“Maybe you should stop calling her ‘ma’am’, Durian,” the Umojan tells him.
“What? Well, she’s a client! I have to address her formally just so I keep the right frame of reference, that she’s the one who is in charge. Right now I’m working for her. And for you.”
“It’s just a little strange. We were all so friendly before,” Imogen goes on, trying to provide a believable reason for Lilly’s discomfort.
“Oh! Yeah! We’re definitely all still friends. Good friends, I hope,” Durian rushes to reassure them. “But I just want to be professional. When I’m on the job, I’m on the job. I guess, strictly speaking, the hour hasn’t started yet. So, that’s a good point, Lilly, Imogen. And, uh… who’s your other friend?” he asks, looking past them at the stranger who has been silently watching this whole discussion. “She seems… nice.”
“This is Mal,” Imogen says. “She doesn’t talk much.” Durian offers his hand in friendly greeting, and Malorn just looks down at it. Imogen hurriedly continues, “She also is a very private individual who does not like intrusions into her personal space.” Malorn looks on, suspicious, not helping at all.
That’s not really a lie, Lilly thinks. “You have to get a few beers in her before she’ll loosen up,” she adds.
“Oh, cool,” Durian says, drawing back his hand. “Is she from Umoja, too?” he asks Imogen. “She’s got that same hairstyle as you.”
“Aye,” Imogen replies. “She’s definitely not from around here.”