FRAWD Investigators: Fallout | Scene 9

The sounds of activity lure Lilly farther from Saffron and the refinery. She smells kicked up dirt, and the noises are reminiscent of a construction site. If someone is building something so close to their hiding spot, she definitely needs to check it out. Lilly makes her way swiftly and silently across the rugged terrain, then flattens herself at the top of a ridge to look down at the source of the noise. It is someone in an SCV just putting the finishing touches on a brand new missile turret. The suit is the standard red of the Dominion military. There is no way she could pass herself off as part of the crew if she were wearing the SCV Imogen just patched up. The missile turret is likewise emblazoned with Dominion sigils. The spin doctor—slang for the gunner—is already seated. As soon as the SCV steps away, the turret begins to rotate, scanning the sky in all directions for potential targets. Lilly knows from her time in the military that those sensors are quite advanced. 

The construction worker clomps off, headed down the slope away from the outcropping on which the turret stands. However, a guard detachment of three marines remains around the turret base. Perhaps with what happened to Alpha Team and Beta Squad, the officer in charge decided this job was too dangerous for mere troopers. Given this sort of rapid deployment alone in the wilderness, they have got to be looking for Saffron. And who knows how many other turrets have been set up already? Lilly grumbles to herself. She will have to take it down. It might take a couple shots with the frying pan laser, but if she is able to get them off, she could set the whole thing ablaze. It might be better, though, to just aim for the spin doctor. 

Spin doctors are a special breed in the Dominion military. Not everyone is cut out to be one, especially recruits of Lilly’s build, but everyone has to appreciate what they endure to defend the empire. As her fellow recruits look on, Lilly climbs up into the seat, squeezes her frame in, and listens to her instructions. After explaining the controls, the instructor says, “It’s going to spin, and we just need you to shoot down those drones.” How hard could this be? Lilly thinks, but when the turret switches on, the world becomes a blur. It is like the worst carnival ride ever. Lilly’s one attempt ends in the usual way, with vomit everywhere.

Without the specialized gunner, the turret will be useless. None of those bulky marines would be able to fit inside to operate it, and they probably do not have the stomach for it anyway. Lilly certainly did not. Right now, though, she is too far away to trust Sweetpea. She unslings the protoss rifle and begins picking her way down the slope. There is not much in the way of cover, and sooner than she would like, the marines spot her. One hangs back with the turret, but the other two begin running up the incline toward her, shouting, “You there!”

Lilly knows there is no talking her way out of this. Particularly not once she takes out the turret operator. She brings Sweetpea up and looks through the sights, waiting for the moment when the spin doctor comes around into clear view. She times the shot perfectly, and the blue laser burns a hole through him. It is a particularly lucky shot, as the beam then hits something delightfully flammable. In addition to a new operator, the turret will need repairs before it can be brought back online. Satisfied, Lilly takes off at a run as bullets whiz past her—and into her. The shot hurts, but Lilly is tough; she keeps running.

The marines chase after her. The sounds of their power armor make her think of Durian, who she still has not talked with. This whole turret attack is yet another thing he will have to forgive her for. Oh, crap! Durian’s going to break up with me! These thoughts are a distraction, but she keeps her wits enough about her to choose a different route out than in. She has no desire to lead such dangerous enemies to the camp full of defenseless escapees. Lilly angles away from her approach vector, guiding her pursuers through new terrain. She will worry about finding the camp herself later once she has lost the marines or otherwise dealt with them. Considering the blood she is now trailing, the latter feels a bit more likely than the former.

Lilly favors rocky terrain, hopeful that she can navigate it more swiftly than the lumbering suits of power armor that are simultaneously shouting at her to stop and sending live ammunition in her direction. Coming up along another ridgeline, she sees an unusually swampy area down at its base with some excellent vegetative cover. Perfect! Lilly thinks. She vaults over some rocks and swiftly skitters down the slope. Sweetpea has had ample time to cool down by this point, so Lilly spares a moment to look back and fire at a marine just visible on the ridge line. “What the hell is she shooting?” he screams, as the laser beam blasts through his power armor and he stumbles.

“The whole thing is on fire!” sounds over the radio.

“Call the SCV guy back,” replies the uninjured marine. He yanks his battle buddy back up, costing them precious moments.

Lilly splashes into the swamp and ducks behind a cluster of trees—and right into a scantid. It was enjoying the moist oasis, and the terran that suddenly stomps right up to it is most unwelcome. One of the creature’s scorpion-like tails jerks forward, impaling Lilly’s shoulder. Just as quickly, the stinger retracts, and then the scantid skitters away. That was dumb, Lilly reflects as, slumped back against a tree, she watches the scantid disappear into a clump of rocks. I should look where I’m going. Well, at least it wasn’t a hydralisk this time.