FRAWD Investigators: Fallout | Scene 10

Back at Saffron, Imogen calls all the liberated prisoners together. While everyone here is happy to be out of prison, they may not be so keen on aligning with the raiders. Imogen feels they have a right to know what is coming and take their own chances if they prefer. The group is composed of Sally Adams, Lilly’s old friend; the three Matt Horner wanted: Stevenson, Belvedere, and Von Heel Hauken; Rosé; and then another two who have mostly kept quietly to themselves.

“Obviously, these are not ideal circumstances here,” Imogen acknowledges right off the bat. “We were happy to liberate you from a Dominion prison, but it was a seized opportunity, not a fully developed plan—”

“Are you turning us back in? Is that what this is about?”

“No, Rodgers,” Imogen tells the man who interrupted her, “I’m not looking to turn anyone in. What I’m letting you know is the risk level here. Because our next move is to fly off of Korhal and meet up with a military force capable of defending us.”

“What force can stand up to the Dominion?” asks Lady Belvedere of Stanley-on-Shroud.

“The people who wanted you out, Lady Belvedere, are looking to change the government around here. And they’ve amassed a few resources while you’ve been wasting away in your cell.”

“Now, if they’ve amassed a few resources, wouldn’t they be the ones breaking us out?”

“As I said, we seized the opportunity that was available. Had things gone a little differently, we would have just done the reconnaissance for them to come get you later. But the opportunity presented itself, so we figured you might appreciate being out in the fresh air a little earlier.” Not that the air near this slapped-together refinery is overly fresh.

“So do we have a plan for getting out, or no?” asks Madame Rosé.

“We have a plan. And we have a rendezvous point—”

“Great! Let’s go!” someone shouts.

“But there are a few people here who weren’t on our rescue list—”

“Are we leaving people behind?!” another person cries.

“Let me speak!” Imogen orders, and everyone quiets down. “Clearly, everyone who was in that prison was there because the current government does not like you or your ideas or what have you.”

Stephan Rodgers raises his hand. “Oh, no, I was a mass murderer. The Confederacy put me to work. I guess the Dominion didn’t feel like it, I dunno.”

“Anyone else have a crime they’d like to confess to?” Imogen snaps. “What about you, Soon Wang?”

The ancient and frail woman, barely five feet tall, croaks, “Done my share of crimes, certainly. I’m not much on confessing to them, though. This all will pass, too,” she says, waving her hand at their current circumstances, “and I’ll keep on living.” 

“Well, just because we sprang you out of that prison, doesn’t mean that your politics align with the people who are going to be our refuge,” Imogen continues. “So you have a choice about coming. We are fleeing to Raynor’s Raiders.” Imogen lets that hang in the air for a moment. She does not see much recognition as she looks around the circle. Many of these people have been locked up for too long.

“Raynor…” Van Heel Hauken murmurs. “Wasn’t he some sort of Dominion commander? Or a Confederate commander?”

“That was a while ago. He was indeed involved in the ‘revolution’ that ousted the leaders of the Confederacy. However, he’s not too keen on what set itself up in place of that,” Imogen explains.

“Kind of sounds like the fellow just likes rebelling!” the professor observes.

“Well, you can be part of the committee that sets something in place for him not to rebel against,” Imogen tells him.

“Oh, you won’t make me Committee Chair! I won’t let that happen again!”

“I don’t care who heads the committee,” Imogen replies. “I imagine the admiral will probably want that position for himself.” That elicits questions about this admiral, but Imogen shuts them down by saying Von Heel Hauken will meet him shortly. 

“This is the situation,” she declares. “Everyone who wants to leave Korhal is being delivered to the raiders. I know that staying in this wasteland is not an option that most people will want, but anyone who doesn’t want to go to the raiders, you are welcome to remain here. Feel free to use this refinery for whatever you want; clearly we’re not taking it with us. It’s possible you can salvage something to set up comms to reach whoever it is you have connections to on Korhal. To be clear, I am not leaving anyone behind. I have fixed the ship to be able to keep us all alive in space long enough to get where we’re going. But understand, where we’re going is number one on the hit-list for Mengsk. And I don’t know how long you will have to be with the raiders before they can drop you off somewhere else. It is very likely that the battleship we’re going to will be attacked on its way out of the system. I am taking you to a safer location, aye, but not a guaranteed safe spot.” Rodgers raises his hand again. “You, Stephan, what do you want?”

“If I stay here, will you leave me with a weapon?” There is no expression on his face as he asks the question, no alarm, no excitement. His eyes are as dead as his victims.

“No,” Imogen immediately tells him. “You’re welcome to salvage whatever you can from the environment, but we need all the resources we have to get out of here.”

While Rodgers rubs his chin and considers his options, Madame Rosé speaks up. “I’m going to stay put, take my chances. I got people I know I can trust to keep me safe. I don’t rightly know about these raiders.” Imogen nods her acceptance of this decision. The woman clearly knows how to deal with a refinery and has probably already started working up business plans for it. She is welcome to snack on whatever scantid remains there are. Everyone else is onboard with the plan, both figuratively and literally.

Rodgers continues to ponder. “Month ago I was able to kill somebody,” he says detachedly. “One of the guards. Getting that itch again.” Imogen spares a moment to focus on him. His is the most chilling mind that she has ever touched, moreso even than any zerg. She sees no bloody rage inside; it is like a tidy little room. The need to kill is a regular and practical matter, as much as eating is for most people. Imogen is not thrilled about having released a murderous sociopath from prison, but she is also not going to serve as judge, jury, and executioner herself. However, he is a wildcard that needs to be watched. And I need Lilly to deal with that…

“All right, everyone. Town hall over. We’ll be leaving as soon as Lilly and I wrap up a few final matters. Uh, Sally, a moment?” As the former prisoners disperse—as much as possible in the small protected area—Imogen flags down Lilly’s old soldiering pal. They need to figure out how to sabotage the turrets before Saffron can take off. “Did Lilly tell you where she was headed? She’s been gone an awful long time.”

“I guess. I’m sorry, I have trouble keeping track of time. Uh, she said she was just heading over that ridge there. She was going to get together some camping supplies or something.”

“Do you know how long you were in the prison? Years? Months?” Imogen asks curiously.

“No, I don’t know…” Sally stutters out. “Probably… years? What year is it now?” 

“2504. We saw a report from several years ago that labeled you dead.”

“Well, that must have been wrong.”

“Do you remember anything about your work with hydralisks?”

“About what with hydralisks?!”

“You were part of a research project on hydralisks,” Imogen tells her.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about. I’ve killed a lot of hydralisks, I think.”

“The report said one of them killed you.”

“Must have been the other way around.” There is little enthusiasm in Sally’s voice, one way or the other. Much like it has Lilly’s, resocialization has leveled out her emotions.

“All right. Well, do you mind keeping an eye on this lot while I hoof it up that hill to see what Lilly has gotten herself up to?” Now that there is a sociopath among them, Imogen wants someone she can trust with a weapon to stay around and keep alert.

“Sure. Not a problem,” Sally agrees. Imogen heads up the hill.