“Wasn’t sure I’d see you two back around here any time soon,” James Raynor says.
“Mervin, why don’t you and Mr. S go enjoy a game of darts,” Imogen suggests.
“Uh, sure, okay,” Mervin says. He gets up to leave but then leans in close to whisper to Imogen, “I think that’s Jim Raynor. Be careful. He’s a wanted criminal.” Imogen raises an eyebrow pointedly. “And so am I,” Mervin acknowledges. He removes himself from the conversation.
“Pull up a chair, Jimmy,” Imogen invites. “Make yourself comfortable.”
“Good to see ya!” Lilly greets him.
“Good to see you, too. You two doing all right? You didn’t get all messed up in this Dominion Tarsonis business, did you?”
Lilly nods, and Imogen says, “Aye. That’s what my message was about.”
“Oh, really? What did you recover? I tell ya, Tarsonis is a hellscape. I ain’t ever going back there.”
“I’ve a copy of your conversation with Mengsk.”
Raynor grows more serious. “Which conversation? I’ve unfortunately had several.”
“Just before you pulled your forces out.”
Jim nods. “Yeah, that’s when Mengsk totally betrayed us. I thought he was a little bit crazy, calling down zerg. But man, he crossed a line when he sacrificed not just Kerrigan, but her whole division. A whole planet. That ain’t right.” He shakes his head, keeping his temper in check. “But you’ve got the recording of it? Mind if I take a listen, make sure my memory’s right?”
Imogen hands over a memory stick. Raynor takes it over to the jukebox and plugs in some headphones before inserting it. After a moment, his face darkens. He rips the jukebox from the floor and throws it across the bar. It crashes into a wall. “Don’t worry about it,” Joey says matter-of-factly. “I’ll just put it on your tab.” Joey Ray’s has a number of signs up on the walls about not shooting things, and Lilly finds herself wondering whether Jimmy is their main audience.
Raynor stalks over to the wreckage and picks the memory stick up from it, then settles heavily into the chair across from Lilly and Imogen. “Thank you kindly,” he grinds out. “Yeah, that’s how I remember it, unfortunately.”
“Well, now you’ve got evidence to back up those memories if you want to do something more permanent about what’s going on around here,” Imogen says, speaking of the Dominion as a whole.
“Yeah. Gotta think of a good way to do that, though. Mengsk controls the airwaves,” Jimmy says with a sigh.
Imogen explains that all she can provide is this copy of the recording. She tells Raynor that Captain Hawke—a ghost—retained the original but has likely bartered it away to Kel-Morians in exchange for some position of authority in Hammer Securities. Imogen makes sure he understands that getting Hawke a contract with Raynor’s Raiders was a condition of her bringing him the recording.
Now ghosts are involved, ugh! Jim lets out a long breath. “Well, if I can get the money… I’ll do it. Hammer’s a capable outfit. Having the resources of Mar Sara would be a good first step toward affording that.”
“So what exactly is it that you’re trying to accomplish here?” Imogen asks.
“We’re planning to kick the Dominion out of Mar Sara City, have the people rise up and throw them out. There’s not many around right now. That’s why it’s a good time to strike.”
“And when the rest all come back?”
“It’ll be harder for them to come back if we’ve already got a foothold here. The people, I mean; I shouldn’t say we. If the people of Mar Sara throw off the yoke of the Dominion, it’ll be harder for them to come back.”
“Are those people all behind you on this?”
“A good number of them are, yes. The Dominion’s been mistreating people here pretty much since day one. People are finally up and tired of it. So, we’re going to get the civilians to clear out. Then my boys’ll get in there and take out what Dominion troopers are left. That’s the plan, anyway. But I’m not quite as well equipped as I would like. Having your science vessel would certainly be a good boost. We don’t have any air support right at the moment.”
“Is Matthew not around?”
The rebel commander explains that Hyperion is elsewhere at the moment. Raynor’s forces recently evacuated another planet set upon by zerg, and Horner is currently relocating the survivors. That activity serves multiple purposes. It gets those unfortunate people new homes, yes, but it also makes Dominion forces think all of Raynor’s resources are on the other side of the sector. In fact, most of his fighting forces are on Mar Sara, while the logistical arm is with Hyperion. Unfortunately, that includes Rory, who needs to keep the battlecruiser flying. In light of all that, Imogen agrees to look at the raiders’ power armor problems.
“And can we count on you in the sky?” Raynor asks, looking at Lilly.
Lilly looks to Imogen to answer, but her partner regards her with the same expectant air as Jimmy does. “We’ve got a job that we need to be at in a week and a half,” Lilly says, uncertain about accepting.
“We’re planning to move tomorrow night.”
“I’m in if you’re in,” Lilly tells Imogen. Then she sits back and watches the negotiations. It is a good thing she has a partner like Imogen, or she would never have vespene for her ship. Jimmy agrees to provide more of that. Imogen can also help herself to leftover supplies from the power armor repairs. And finally, Raynor will make sure Mervin is evacuated with other non-combatant civilians before the hostilities start.
“When we win we’ll have a more ready supply of vespene, so we can very easily help you refuel. Frankly, a whole lot of it’s going to the command center right now for ridiculous extravagences. And to the statue factory! They’ve been manufacturing statues of Mengsk and putting them up all over town.”
“Now that’s a complete waste of resources,” Imogen comments.
“Yes, yes it is. On the other hand, they’re a lot of fun to knock over. Better than the old holographic projections. Don’t get any satisfaction from shooting them.” Raynor gives them coordinates for the meeting place. The attack will be tomorrow night, but that means the armor needs to be prepared earlier in the day.
“All right. See you there, sir,” Lilly says. Jimmy waves away the term of address and takes his leave.
Imogen checks in one last time with Mervin, warning him that town will be a bit unsettled in the near future but also letting him know that they have made arrangements for him to fold himself into the local civilian population. She gives him instructions for how to get to a meeting spot for that and hands him a stack of credits.
Mervin is extremely thankful. He stresses once again, “If there’s anything I can do to help, just let me know. Though I am looking forward to settling down.”
Imogen smiles at him. “Well then, the answer to your question, is there anything you can do, is no, there’s nothing. Not if you’re settling down. But that’s what you need right now.”
“Yeah, you’re right.” They shake hands, and then he leaves Joey Ray’s talking quietly—either to himself or to Mr. S—about finding some used welding equipment so that he can open a shop.