Lilly is the only one in the room who can see Lendasha, but she has her hands full with what must be the blood hunters, given that she just took a swing at air and now protoss voices are sounding in the room. Imogen sees the frying pan hovering in mid-air, suggesting Lendasha’s general location. Malorn will need more than that to stop her, though. A spray of blood from Dr. Brine’s corpse splashed across the pedestal gives Imogen an idea. She scans the room, looking for something to perform a similar function. A lab like this would not have paint, but there could be something else useful. Her eyes settle on a fire extinguisher next to a cowering researcher. Imogen steps over to the wall, yanks it off, and then releases a torrent of freezing cold foam at the protoss laser gun. “Not such a good cloak now, is it?” she needles Lendasha. This is not likely to work for long, as whatever generates the cloaking field is somewhat hydrophobic, but maybe Malorn can land a few strikes before that happens.
A terran lets loose with some strange canister weapon, coating Lendasha with a cold spray. And now everyone in the room can see her outline! She narrows her eyes to slits, humiliated to have her stealthy infiltration undone by such a primitive thing as chilly foam, nevermind that she just cut their leader to pieces right before them.
Malorn does not drop his guise, so to anyone in the room paying attention, Mal Ornery has just ignited a psi-blade and charged at the protoss-shaped pile of foam. As he closes the distance he tosses an angry glance at Imogen. “Remember, she is mine!” he chides her.
“I’m illuminating the target!” Imogen shoots back at the ingrate.
Despite the pillar in the way, which Lendasha continues to maneuver around, Malorn lands a heavy blow to her thigh. She recognizes him through the disguise, perhaps from hearing his voice. “Oh, Malorn, forced to use terrans to do your dirty work? Pathetic,” she taunts him. “I’m going to love telling the High Lord all about this.” She backs away from his swinging blade to give herself space to raise the laser weapon. At such close range, she does not fail to hit her target. Blue light plays over the weapon as it discharges, and then there is a crackle and some pops as wisps of it flash out from where the stock rests upon her chest armor. The interaction of the two different protoss technologies shorts out her cloak completely. Now she is not just a humiliating protoss-shaped pile of foam, but a fully visible warrior.
The short burst from the frying pan wounds Malorn, but the beam is not sustained long enough to ignite his flesh. He falls back, hissing with pain.
Imogen gets her first good look at Lendasha. For all his grumbling, Malorn is right; her purple face is indeed much smoother than his paler one. Imogen wonders if this is related to age, but this is not really the time to focus on protoss physiology. Lendasha is visible now, so Imogen is able to more carefully line up her next burst from the fire extinguisher, which she directs at the smooth purple face Malorn seems to hate so much, hoping to blind the warrior. Lendasha ducks out of the way, but Malorn is the more offended party, snapping angrily at Imogen again for interfering. But really, what was he expecting her to do? Imogen is no soldier like Lilly, and she is doing the best she can with what is available to get the job done. They need to get that frying pan, and they need to get it out of here before they get killed. The terrans in this lab, even if some of them are jerks, are not their enemies. And shooting protoss just does not seem the same as going up against wild zerg. Protoss are people.
Malorn smashes into Lendasha’s left arm, knocking the frying pan laser from her hands. Bullets fly around them, as the guard who pulled the alarm fires at the visible protoss. Malorn and Lendasha are locked together, and the laser lies on the ground at their feet. Imogen casts aside the fire extinguisher and runs toward them, dropping to a knee as she gets close and sliding into place. She scoops up the weapon and turns to the guard riddling the air above her head with bullets, “I’ve secured your research project. Get those scientists to safety!” If you keep thinking we’re entirely on your side, that would be good. Fewer witnesses to this theft wouldn’t hurt, either.
“You’re a civilian,” he shouts back, as he stops firing. “Get out of here! We got this—Everything is—The Dominion has everything under control!” He is trying to convince himself more than her, it seems, as he keeps repeating it like a mantra. “The Dominion has everything under control!”
“You’re not going to stand in my way, okay?” Lendasha snaps, pulling her warpblade back out as the terran starts to rise. “You might not stand at all.”
Suddenly there is an explosion of pain across Imogen’s right collarbone, and she drops back to her knees. For a moment the room dims, and she thinks she might pass out. That is when she realizes Lendasha was addressing her, not Malorn. The warp blade has sliced through her jacket and flesh like butter. If Malorn were not there in Lendasha’s way, it might have cost Imogen an arm. The cutting edge of the warp blade is essentially a very sharp crystal, just like her own psi-blade but creepy red instead of blue. Lendasha’s glowing red eyes smize down at Imogen. The pain is overwhelming, like nothing she has ever felt other than the gauntlet bite at Mar Sara Spaceport. She wonders whether this kind of pain is purely physical or if the protoss weapons trigger the pain centers of the brain psionically as well. If that is true, then maybe the injury really is not as bad as it feels.
Lendasha sees the second of her warrior slaves downed by terrans. The pathetic terran on the ground is still clinging to the weapon she came for, despite the injury she just dealt. And Malorn is still here, attempting to menace her with his psi-blade. This whole affair has become too costly. She maneuvers them closer to the door as their weapons clash. Then she ducks past him, rushing for the exit. Another terran runs in with a rifle, but he does not grasp the battlefield situation swiftly enough to recognize her as the prize. She swings her warpblade at him, and he ducks out of the way, reopening her path. With the laser no longer on hand to hamper the functioning of her cloak, she reengages it, disappearing from the sight of her enemies. Nothing now stands between her and a tactical withdrawal.