As they turn toward their part of town, Lilly tells Imogen that she had been hoping for Sunshine to get a scent from the bloody knife, but now she wonders how useful that will be. The lyote certainly cannot track a ship that flew off a week ago. Imogen ponders whether they might use Saffron’s sensors to attempt something similar, but the air currents in the region have likely dispersed the radiation signature by now. Besides, the Dominion itself has cloaked ships, so they could likely end up on a wild goose chase.
Lilly sighs. “I’m not sure what FRAWD’s interest is going to be in this.”
“They’re prosecuting a case against Rose because of the mine,” Imogen reminds her. “This is related to that. If all of the witnesses in that case are disappearing, that’s highly suspicious. And it means that the nefarious activities are not over.”
“Well, what should I present to Duke on Monday?” Lilly asks her partner. Imogen is so much better at the talking stuff than she is.
Imogen ticks things off one by one. “There’s the email Grom gave you. There’s the crime scene evidence. There’s the eyewitness account of somebody who saw it happen. Grom’s hired hands saw it too, but they are affiliated with him, so they could be dismissed. Reggie is neutral.”
“All right,” Lilly agrees. “That sounds like a plan. I don’t know what else we can do.”
“He keeps talking about how slow the wheels of government turn,” Imogen says frustratedly. “They’re turning so slowly that half their evidence is going to be gone by the time they get anywhere.”
“This is going beyond just fraud and abuse to treason. Someone is in league with Earth Directorate folks. Maybe Duke will say he wants to steer clear of that, but he might know a department that it is more appropriate for.”
“In which case,” Imogen jokes, “you submit your application to work for that department.” Just a week ago, they were on a raider vessel, but nevermind that. “A department that deals with treason probably has healthcare and accepts that their agents do dangerous work.”
Lilly laughs, thinking of her rebellious friends Rory and Jimmy. “I could be bad at that job too, just like I’m bad at this one.”
The humor has released some of the pent up frustration, but now Imogen returns to the current problem. “I want to do right by the people we freed from the mines. If they’re getting snatched up to be brainwashed, that’s just another type of slavery.”
Lilly suggests checking the address of another missing witness. Shelley’s place is not too far off from their current location. It is in a bad part of town, of course, so the police probably just claim she is missing from some drug deal gone wrong. At the apartment, Lilly and Imogen learn it has a new tenant. She is only recently moved in and complains about the mess the previous occupant left behind and the landlord has done nothing about. She specifically mentions that she is still trying to scrub blood off the floor. Lilly remembers Shelley as quite a fighter and hopes that was the ghost’s blood not hers. Lilly advises this woman to stay safe, and they leave.
Since her partner seems upset that there are no other leads to pursue, Imogen tries to put the situation in context. “We’ve already got one UED ghost who could cause us problems that I do not know how to deal with. If there is another one flying about in a cloaked ship snatching people off Augustgrad’s streets with the backing of a major mining concern, you and I are not going to be able to take care of that in our free time.”
“It might be the same guy,” Lilly suggests.
“I certainly hope not. And I don’t want us getting killed before we turn in this evidence, so we’re not going to try anything against Rose ourselves. Corporate raids are off the table for now.”