FRAWD Investigators: Fallout | Scene 17

While Lilly worries about a hyper-local matter, Imogen is preoccupied with galactic problems. She sits alone at a table on the upper level of the bar, sipping whiskey and mulling over something far bigger than the next Lost & Found job. Dr. Narud’s message that Neiman is searching for an artifact fits with what she has learned from Rory. Neiman could very well be planning to use the Xel’naga device he seeks to send a message to Earth with all the data he has accumulated over the last several years. If Imogen can hijack that means of communication and swap in her own message, one that dissuades them from ever coming to this sector again… maybe she can end the UED threat once and for all. But there is still much Imogen needs to learn to craft such a message convincingly. She needs to talk with people who have gone up against them. Right now, their technological edge seems the best basis for crafting an effective argument. Maybe a mineral-based contagion, she muses, something that could render their jorium inert or corrupt it. If it’s contagious, they wouldn’t be able to manufacture anything here… or they might fear it will spread back to Earth and shut the whole planet down. It sounds like a convincing argument to her, but she will need help filling in some credible details to flesh it out. At the very least, it is a starting point for convincing resource-strapped Earth that Kropulu is too risky a place to seek more.

But even once she has a message ready, she still needs to send it to Earth. And if she can lay her hands on Neiman’s equipment, she will still need to power it. Which likely means using Jimmy’s Xel’naga device, either before he turns it over to Moebius or afterwards. Despite what Imogen said to Rory, she has no reason to believe Neiman is affiliated with the foundation. But it is plausible. That might be an argument in favor of acting before the delivery. So she needs to wheedle out of someone what the raiders know about Moebius and when the artifact will change hands. Yet another thing to add to her to-do list. Imogen does not want to burn her relationship with Raynor’s group, but the fate of the sector is at stake. 

Not even Kerrigan is thinking as big-picture as Imogen is now. Kerrigan wants to be ready when the UED comes. She wants a strong Dominion to help fend them off. But she is not taking steps to prevent that day itself. She just wants to kill Neiman, and Imogen can understand why. But that will not really solve the UED problem. It will stop Earth from getting more information, not stop Earth from coming again. 

Imogen doubts she can convince Kerrigan of the importance of interfering with the UED’s interest in the Kropulu Sector. But hopefully, in the aftermath of dealing with Neiman, Imogen can seize whatever communication technology he has and plug it into the most giant battery she can find. She would not be surprised if Neiman’s comms tech requires some sort of psionic technique to activate. Yet another thing that makes this whole approach tricky. It is an elaborate plan, certainly—Imogen will admit that to herself. But the sector needs space to grow into whatever new political arrangements follow the Dominion. 

And Imogen needs to decide who she can trust to help her bring this vision to pass. Right now, she has little confidence in Von Heel Hauken, Stevenson, and Belvedere. Horner remains an enigma. She knows too little about him, other than his questionable marriage arrangement. He is Raynor’s right hand; Jimmy pushed all responsibility for future governance off onto him. But what kind of person is he? Is he someone Imogen can confide in? Who can help her with such a large-scale plan? He is strategically and tactically minded, but how big of a picture is he willing to consider? And how much of a rules-abider is he? Obviously, he is working with a rebel organization, but from her brief interactions with him so far, Imogen has gotten the impression that he values hierarchy. What it comes down to, is that Imogen needs to know how she can work with Matt Horner… or how she can manipulate him.

With those thoughts pulled together—and some innocuous version of them jotted down as notes to help her remember all the details—she leaves the bar to make her way back to Saffron.