With the defensive matrix enabled, Saffron is now a fully operational science vessel, though one that could still use a reactor upgrade to better power all these fancy systems. The protoss pack up their gear and head out, leaving Lilly and Imogen to prep for departure. The arrival of an electronic message from Durian distracts Lilly momentarily from the task.
“Hey, how ya doing? I haven’t heard from you in a while. I’m doing okay. Still on-contract, but I’ve got some shore leave coming up. Would it be possible to meet up with you on Korhal? Maybe at Local Beer Shop?”
Imogen always seems to be asking about Durian, so Lilly shows her the message. “Hey, check this out. Durian’s got shore leave.”
“Oh? Are you looking to meet up with him, then?” she asks, eyebrows raised.
“Didn’t you say you wanted to assist him in ending that contract?” Imogen asks. Lilly nods. “So, what is this, a kidnapping job? Or he goes on shore leave and never comes back?”
Lilly chuckles. “I hadn’t thought of that, but it could be. What do you have in mind? You want to break his knees or something?”
“Breaking knees is more your business than mine,” Imogen says. “No, I was thinking more like forged discharge papers. You’re the one who faked papers for Mal Ornery.”
“I’d rather not break Durian’s knees. I think he’d put up a fight,” Lilly adds with a smile.
“I’m not trying to crash your date or anything like that. It’s just I’m wondering if you’re thinking that you want to do something about that, or if you just want to talk with him and find out what life is really like for him right now.”
“If we’re going to do something like that, I kind of don’t think we should tell him. I think he would need to be free and clear. I was trying to figure out how to get him discharged, but…” Lilly’s words drift off. She would love to find some legitimate loophole to exploit that the upstanding Durian could not object to.
Lilly is at a table with one of her battle buddies and a giant stack of documents. “If we stay in any longer, we’re gonna get killed,” Lilly tells her. “We gotta get out of here. Let’s go through the regulations again. What are the things that can get you out?” They flip through page after page. Zerg infestation is a sure way out, but they are not doing that, no way. The other marine suggests losing an arm, but amputee is not an excepted class in the lists Lilly is going through. Finally, Lilly’s eyes settle on something perfect. “No, no, I got it. This one!” Lilly jabs her finger down at the page. “This is going to work great!”
There is a remarkably short list of things that can qualify a soldier to be discharged, and most of them are severe medical issues that would be really hard to fake. But there are ways to qualify for a rapid tour curtailment if you can get approval for certain mission types. Usually, they are actually less dangerous than the front lines and involve raising the morale of the troops or the populace. The government gets to use the soldier as a propaganda piece in some way, so it is in their benefit for that individual to retire safely. Lilly thinks Durian might be onboard with that, but it is not just something he can go volunteer for. She needs to find a Special Mission and arrange for Durian to be picked for it. Lilly feels good about this idea. Durian is pretty cleancut and he even already has some media exposure, having been interviewed about the whole DORF affair.
“You don’t have to decide anything right now,” Imogen assures her partner.
“I have an idea,” Lilly says. “We need to get him on the list for a Special Mission.”
“Do you still have contacts in the military that you can pump for information? Or do we have to try to network some other way?” Imogen asks.
“Honestly, if I do, I don’t remember,” Lilly admits. “But the good news is, you won’t have to break his knees,” she adds, and the two have a good laugh as they complete the pre-flight checks, laying in a route to Korhal.