Four hours later, Saffron reaches Hyperion. The battlecruiser provides cover long before then, though. The long-range fighters that the Dominion scrambled for the in-system chase meet a sorry end when Hyperion lets loose a barrage from its laser cannons. “Just get onboard,” Raynor’s voice crackles through Saffron’s central hub, “and we’ll get out of here as soon as we can.”
Lilly flies into her usual hangar—hopefully no blobolisks will join them there again. It is more crowded than last time. Extra large crates of armor, an entire siege tank, and even a banshee fill the space. Rory is there, too, waving illuminated beacons to guide them safely in. Lilly slides Saffron in next to the bomber copter. As soon as possible, Imogen lowers the ramp to open the ship to another source of air. The smell of terran sweat and fear begins to dissipate.
“How you cowboys holding up?” Rory calls from the hangar.
As former prisoners file out of the science vessel, Lilly hands Rodgers a business card—one for Mr. Hill, not one for Lost & Found. “This guy might be on this ship,” she tells him.
“And I should kill him?” Rodgers asks, eyes dead.
“No, that’d be dumb. He might have work for your skill set. You should talk to him.”
“Hmm.” Lacking pockets, he simply holds the card, emotionless as he shuffles off.
“Behave yourself,” Lilly calls after him. “Don’t be dumb.” She gets no response from the strangely off-putting man. Not my problem anymore, she decides.
“Whoa! You look like hell!” Rory cries as Lilly finally descends the ramp herself. She sees through the transparent field across the hangar entrance that Hyperion has initiated a jump.
Jimmy enters the hangar himself then. “Whew, Lilly, looks like you took quite some hits. Let’s get you to the medbay right away, why don’t we?”
“Yessir,” she replies automatically. The aches and pains of her new injuries are no longer swamped out by adrenaline. She could certainly use some patching up.
“Thank you two ladies kindly. Ah, and we’ve got our new council!” Raynor broadly greets the newcomers, unsure of who exactly was on Horner’s list. Most of them are now slumped on crates. “I think it’ll be good to get these people going.”
“Aye, but do you have someone to take charge of them? Because we certainly don’t have space for them on our ship,” Imogen says wearily. She steps up to him so that their conversation can be a bit more private.
“And I much appreciate that. We weren’t planning to move our plans forward quite this quickly, I must admit.”
“You should keep an eye on that guy,” Lilly interjects, indicating Rodgers.
Jimmy crinkles his brow. “Why? Is his okay?”
“Not up here,” Imogen says, tapping her temple. She cringes a bit at what that does to her blurry vision. “Not all these people were on your council list. We sprung them all together—didn’t have the leeway to make any other choice at the time. This is everyone from the prison, except for one person who stayed behind.”
“You left someone behind?” Raynor asks critically, wondering what kind of person Imogen would abandon.
“That’s what she chose. She preferred to stay on Korhal than join up with your crew. I gave everyone the choice in case they weren’t comfortable going to a raider ship.”
Jimmy nods in understanding. “Ah! I get that. Some people are Dominion—or even crazy Confederate—through and through. Probably for the best.” He fishes out a scrap of paper and consults it for the names of the people Matt wants. Then, pitching his voice to address the crowd, he reads through that list. “The admiral would love to see you three. All the rest of you, we’re really glad to have you out of that Dominion prison. If you hate the Dominion as much as we do, I’m sure we can find a place for you here, among Raynor’s Raiders. For now, we’ll get you some quarters and let you take a bit of a break. We’ll be setting down on Mar Sara in about a day.”
While Raynor gets the accommodations all squared away, Lilly and Imogen accompany the prisoners to the medbay or, as it is more commonly known, Egon’s lab. Along the way, as Imogen fixes her braid, Lilly realizes one side of her partner’s face is quite bruised. “Was the camp attacked?” she asks.
“No. When I went out looking for you, I smashed my head on something. Or rather, something smashed into me.” Imogen is not really thrilled at the idea of Egon being the one to fix her brain, but she supposes he is better than Mira’s doctor.
“Oh, hey guys!” Egon excitedly greets them as they lead the group into his lab. “I’m so glad you were able to get out safely and rescue—wow!—all these people. That’s going to be super helpful for, uh, for the admiral.”
“Egon. Stop talking,” Imogen grinds out. “I have a headache.”
“Ah. I’m really sorry. But talking helps me focus and stay on task as I make sure I do what I’m doing…” he rambles on. He offers her some headphones that play soothing jazz music, but her preference would be for something noise-canceling. “I could try to fix them to do that. Do you want me to do that first or fix you first?”
“Just do something about this head,” Imogen groans, settling down on one of his stools. Egon treats the mild concussion without having to resort to his auto-suture suit. Ever since St. Maria’s clinic, Imogen is leery of the devices, even if this one is more advanced, as Egon claims. Once she is feeling better, she looks after Lilly’s injuries while Egon performs basic health checks on the former prisoners.
As her partner stitches her up, Lilly looks around Egon’s lab. With all this computer equipment, there has got to be a way to scramble the comms so she can get a call out to Durian. Even without that set up yet, it is definitely safe enough to turn hers back on. As soon as she does, she sees that she has a message from him. A little sheepishly, she brings the device up to her ear to listen to it. “Uh, Lilly, I don’t know if you saw the news. Turns out Imogen is a… a terrorist? Please call me.”
“Hey, Egon, is there a place I can make a secure call?” she asks. He is done with the other patients now, and Imogen has escorted them off to quarters.
“Uh, wait. You want to make a secure call to where?”
“To my boyfriend.”
“Oh! Yeah, we can probably rig something up.” Together, they whip up some encryption keys that will allow untraceable communication, but only for a limited amount of time.