FRAWD Investigators: Intrigue at Iceberg Station | Scene 11

“Oy!” sounds over the station’s public address system. “All you protoss dirtbags have five minutes to get off our station. We’re back in control.” Larry’s voice takes on mock civility for a moment as he continues, “Thank you very kindly for stopping by Iceberg Station. Now if you could just sod off! Any protoss left, well, what happens to you, happens to you. I’m not sorry.”

That ends Imogen’s interrogation of Lendasha’s prisoner. “We’re leaving,” she declares. “You’re welcome to come ride with us; we can take you wherever you need to get. But we are leaving now.” She is bent over Malorn, trying to stop the bleeding from his open neck. “I need you to carry him.” With a makeshift—and honestly, not very effective—bandage in place, she dashes over to the dragoon in the corner and hastily starts extracting the crystal Selendis wants. The core and legs are too heavy for Imogen to move on her own, so she is abandoning them here. They were just a bonus, anyway. Maybe she and Lilly can buy them off the pirates if they succeed at reclaiming the station.

The khalai starts to scoop up Malorn and then hesitates. “I… I don’t know if your friend is going to survive. Warp blade to the neck? His chances are slim. What if we put him in the dragoon?”

“I’m not going to kill him,” Imogen calls over her shoulder.

“What? No! No, no, no! It’s not death. That’s a common misconception.”

Imogen turns around now, hands on hips. “I’m not going to kill his body. He’s still alive,” she insists. It is eerie, how this conversation echoes the arguments she has had with Malorn about Aiden.

“He’ll still have his body. It’ll just be in there, and he won’t be able to move much,” the khalai argues back, indicating the four-legged shell in the corner of the room. “Honestly, that’s what he’s got going for him right now.”

That does not quite fit with what Selendis told her and Lilly regarding how dragoons work. “My understanding was that when a protoss dies, their soul can go into this thing,” Imogen says, holding up the crystal. “I don’t want Malorn to overwrite the protoss that’s already here, and I don’t want to kill him.”

“It sounds like you heard that from some templar who doesn’t know what they’re talking about, frankly. If a protoss is dead, they’re dead. Those in dragoons are not dead, just severely injured, like being totally paralyzed.” He glances down at Malorn. “That may be what has happened to your friend. I don’t know, I’m not a medic. Anyway, a dragoon is a way for you to keep on fighting, even with such injuries.”

“You’re not a medic. Are you a scientist?”

“Like I told you, I’m a member of the khalai caste. It’s… uh… you would call it an engineer, I guess? It’s not exactly the same, though.”

“And what about the protoss that’s already in this crystal?” Imogen asks, brandishing the item.

“That dragoon has been shut down, deactivated. I’m afraid that warrior is gone. That’s the control matrix, how what’s left of a warrior can control the robotic construct. It’s an interface between the mind and the robotic shell. They’re very difficult to make.”

“I’m supposed to return this control crystal to the Aiur protoss, and you want me to put a tal’darim in it?!”

“Look, I try not to view all tal’darim with suspicion,” he says, trying to placate her. “But if you don’t put him in there, I don’t think he’s going to make it.”

“You’re not a medic. You’re an engineer. He’s messed up bad, aye, but I can save him,” she insists. “People have come back from worse. And you have no idea how tough he is.” Plus, Imogen knows all too well that Malorn definitely views Aiur protoss as lesser than himself. She does not want to be the one responsible for embedding him in their technology when there were still other options. “He’d rather be dead than be a dragoon.”