FRAWD Investigators: Intrigue at Iceberg Station | Scene 8

The protoss warrior leads the way from the hangar, marching on ahead through the wide station corridors towards Lendasha’s chambers. The three pirates take up positions on either side of and behind the new arrivals. “Oy, any news from out there? Dominion still dominating?” one of them asks.

Wonder how many protoss are on board, Lilly muses, trying to remember how many ships they saw attached to the station. Should’ve done a sensor sweep. That was dumb. She lets Imogen respond to the questions.

“They just put on a big show on Tarsonis. Basically just that they can make a big army and go someplace with it. It’s all over the news channels. Did it accomplish anything?” Imogen shrugs. “Eh, there’s still zerg, you know? There’s always zerg.”

The fellow—Larry is his name—shakes his head. “Yeah, that’s the one constant.”

“What about here? What kind of gig do you have going?”

“Well, it’s a gig,” Larry says philosophically. “Frankly, not any worse than before they were here.”

“Is this a gig in the sense that you’re getting paid or in the sense that they’re letting you live?”

“A little from A, a little from B,” the pirate tells her. “Look, if someone takes over the station, yeah, they could just kill you. Some of us did die when they took it over. But the rest of us surrendered right quick.”

“Are they at least letting you go out on sorties and such?” Imogen asks, digging for information on the dragoon-napping. 

Larry and his mates have done a few jobs and gotten paid for them, but they have not managed to scrape together enough funds to get away. “Not that we did before, either, mind you,” he admits. Not many ships stop at a pirate station to begin with, let alone ones looking to take on free-loading passengers. Mainly, he, Mo, and Curly run station equipment that the protoss are not familiar with. One time, though, they were sent to go fight other protoss for some reason. “It was specifically a capture mission. Right strange, it was.”

“You caught protoss? That’s pretty impressive.”

Larry shrugs it off. “Eh, some protoss robot thing.” He seems disinterested in the topic though. “What about you? Where are you from? You don’t sound Confederate or Dominion.”

“You don’t recognize an Umojan accent when you hear one?” Imogen asks, allowing herself more lilt than usual. Llarry has never been there himself, not having enough credits to even get off this station. He asks what she does there, and Imogen points out, “Nothing. I’m not there. There aren’t many opportunities for folks like us there.” Her attempt to build rapport falls flat though.

“Oy, there’s no ‘us’ here, mate. You’ve got a ship and a prisoner. I’m just working for my next meal.” That conversation ends there.

“So do the protoss work the station?” Lilly suddenly says aloud. She turns to the pirate on her side, Mo, looking to him for an answer.

“The protoss don’t do squat! They just come in, take over the place. New boss, same as the old boss, I tell you!” His volume increases the longer he goes on.

Garim turns around, one of his psi-gauntlets igniting an angry red. “Do you have a problem?” he demands, looking at Mo. “We could always space you. You should be glad to be alive.” His eyes shift to the tall terran beside the pirate. “Do we have a problem here?”

“No, sir!” Lilly assures him hastily.

He extinguishes the psi-gauntlet. “These rabble are not worth discussing. They work for their credits or they die.” He turns to continue down the hall, and Lilly cracks her neck to relieve some of the tension.

“So just the three of you guys run this whole place?” Lilly quietly asks Mo.

“Oh, no!” he whispers back. “There’s three dozen of us keeping this station going.” At another glare from the protoss, he clams up.

For a place this size, that sounds like a skeleton crew to Lilly. But if all this station did was refuel pirate vessels, maybe it could get by on such a shoestring. Likely there are more than two tal’darim here to keep so many terrans in line. Indeed, she does see a few more as they walk through the corridors. Fortunately, none of them are kitted out like the cloaked bloodhunters who accompanied Lendasha at DORF. These seem to all have psi-gauntlets rather than warp blades.

At the end of the corridor, they reach a fancy door with two such warriors standing guard in front of it. The tal’darim do not have the Khala to link them, but psionic communication is still second nature to them when they are in close proximity to each other. The conversation between the guards and their escort is unvoiced, leaving Lilly none the wiser. Imogen, though, listens in as best she can. 

She only catches the nearer side, that of the warrior Garim. Look, Lendasha will want to deal with Malorn herself. … What do you mean? … That’s ridiculous! I don’t have time for this. … Fine! I’ll deal with it later. Ugh! Imogen senses frustration and impatience. Common emotions for tal’darim, it seems.

“Unfortunately, we are going to have to wait until Lendasha is available,” Garim announces aloud, “because these two fools refuse to yield for something worthwhile.” He shoots an angry glare at the door guards, but they do not respond to his baiting.

Not outwardly, that is. Imogen is surprised they accept an insult flung in their faces. Still in the zone psionically, she shifts her focus from Garim and concentrates on the nearest guard. I don’t want to deal with this. Lendasha gave strict orders and doesn’t want to be interrupted. It’s a soundproof wall. She doesn’t want anything bothering her. She was very specific. If this guy wants to fight about it, let’s do it!

Imogen smiles to herself, happy to provide the provocation he wants. “This is an important thing for you to present to Lendasha,” she tells Garim. “Are you going to let these two fellas stand in your way, as if you’re just some terran that they can order around?” 

Garim turns his glare on her. He may deserve better than the treatment he is getting here, but he will not allow a mere terran to manipulate him.

Imogen’s mind drifts to Garim’s nearest psi-gauntlet. If it were to turn on, the eager guard would take that as a challenge. Does Imogen ignite it herself? Does she just plant the idea in Garim’s mind? Who can say? The glowing red blade conveniently bursts into existence, and all hell breaks loose.