After her talk with Aiden, Imogen leaves Saffron to rejoin her friends in Li’s kitchen for lunch. She finds Lilly head-down on the table, a knife clutched in one hand as she unsteadily tries to sharpen it. Li has not had the presence of mind to try to take the blade away from her. “What happened here?” Imogen asks.
“Ah, Imogen! Lilly had a little too much to drink. Some of that Old Confederacy, as we used to call it. Has a heck of a punch!” She is glad she was able to talk Lilly out of drunk-dialing her boyfriend. The fewer calls made from this compound, the better, as far as Li is concerned.
“Do you have any more of it?” Imogen asks, thinking of Malorn. Li does indeed. She generally drinks sweet tea, not alcohol, so she has only moved very slowly through her stock. Thinking that Imogen wants to try it, she warns her that Old Mar Sara Beer is beer in name only; it is way higher proof than befits that label. “If you don’t mind giving up a six-pack of it, it would probably go a long way towards getting my protoss-intel source willing to talk to you,” Imogen tells her.
“All right, but do be careful. If someone drinks this too quickly…” Li points down at Lilly.
“I didn’t think anything could do that to Lilly!” Imogen pokes her partner’s shoulder. “Are you there?”
“Uhhhh…” Lilly takes a moment to focus her eyes. “Imogen! I love you, Imogen!” She throws an arm out around the slighter woman and gives her a big hug. Then she looks Imogen in the eyes and pronounces with much seriousness, “That beer is strong.” She pushes to her feet and passes Imogen, stumbling over to the refrigerator to get something to eat. Imogen announces that they are not leaving until the next morning. She needs a sober Lilly to fly Saffron. Besides, she still has some repairs to complete that afternoon.
Later that evening, while Lilly is sleeping off the alcohol, Imogen pulls out the cloaking glove she found on Tarsonis. She has not had an opportunity to examine it since finding it over a week ago. Now, though, she is in a good mood and a safe location, so she allows herself the treat. Imogen slips on the small glove and focuses inward. She has stayed away from any psionic activity since getting caught in her own reverb in a dark Augustgrad alley, but here in the safety of her own ship, she gingerly reaches out with her mind, trying to connect with the device. The mental discomfort has been lingering in the background through the last several stressful days, and now it comes to the fore again. Fortunately, it then dissipates.
Imogen is not able to get the glove to do anything, unfortunately. It is part of a larger suit, one that would have a moebius reactor to supply the needed power. She might be able to personally power the glove, but it would be quite taxing, and she does not have the reserves for that after what has already been a draining—though also cathartic—long day. Imogen strips off the glove and begins examining its electronics. She wonders whether she might be able to make an interface between this and the power armor reactor Lilly scavenged. She would probably need to set up some sort of filter though, to modulate the energy levels. There could be some current or voltage issues there. She imagines this is the sort of thing that ghosts psionically monitor when using their moebius reactors. Not like I can accomplish much with just this glove though, Imogen thinks, imagining herself with one invisible hand and forearm. Card tricks, perhaps. Maybe it could be used to snatch something without being seen while hiding behind a column or under a table, a pickpocket glove. Unfortunately it is too snug to fit on over her psi-gauntlet. Probably Lilly would not even be able to get it on her hand.
In the morning, when a hungover Lilly is ready to go, Imogen gives her coordinates. Lilly pauses for a moment before entering them, recognizing them as for Char. But then she gets the ship going without any comment. Zerg capital world? All right. Guess we’re assaulting Char. Wouldn’t be the first time, I imagine. It is probably a bad idea, but she trusts Imogen.