FRAWD Investigators: Lost & Found | Scene 7

On an isolated island, connected to the mainland by a few bridges, a brand new starport sits on the ruins of an old terran installation. Heavy mining equipment dots the area alongside other quick-build temporary structures. Some people mill about, but the entire setup probably only supports about a hundred. That includes some marines—or mercenaries, at least—housed in a few new bunkers.

As Saffron sets down in the starport, Lilly and Imogen notice that the wraith has beaten them here. There is a hangar with two of the craft, and someone is just now climbing out of one of them. The fighters have the Grom logo painted on the side, indicating that the company actually owns them. “Looks like Grom has been doing some investing,” Imogen murmurs. “Oh, wait, is that…” The pilot’s helmet comes off, and across the way they see the familiar long brown hair and white skin of Shreev, her body language tense with anger, as usual. She sees them across the way and throws her helmet down in a fit. “I’m impressed she managed to land without crashing,” Imogen says to Lilly. The hangar is across the base on a different level, so Shreev cannot simply march up and start harassing them on land.

Someone else is on hand to do that though, the starport administrator, who views himself as the equivalent of a planetary governor. “Now, are you the vessel that just showed up unannounced on our world?” the short, black-skinned fellow demands, in a voice the women recognize from the comms.

“We are the vessel that just arrived and got fired on,” Imogen corrects. He escorts them into one of the buildings, and the conversation goes downhill from there, with more arguments about special Antiga protocols for hails and flight plans. This is a proper installation now, and the overseer insists on proper procedures. He is worried about what Lilly and Imogen are there to do, since Grom LLC has mineral rights to the whole planet. Imogen requests whatever forms are needed for conducting a safari, which catches him off guard. His go-to response is that such activities are not authorized. 

“We can’t just let anybody do anything on this planet. We have a rare opportunity to rebuild properly on this world. Now, about this scuffle you got into up there with our security wraith. You mind explaining that? I want to fully hear your side before our pilot explains hers. She’s, uh… she’s a little bit excitable,” he admits.

Imogen grits her teeth and explains once again that they flew in, monitoring all the usual channels that communications happen on through the Dominion, and that they were fired upon. In response, they simply disabled the weapons of the vehicle that attacked them and removed themselves from its line of fire. She emphasizes that they acted purely defensively, without taking any actions against the wraith. And then they hailed on every channel they could, in an effort to clear up the matter. Clearly, they came in with the intent of doing what was proper, and while it is true that Saffron was not following Grom LLC protocols, that is because those protocols were beyond anything they had expected. She points out that they have worked with the company before, and no such irregular communication channels were used then. Redstone III was a planet with no other electromagnetic activity, but no unusual comms were adopted there.

The administrator takes notes while she speaks, filling out some form on his datapad. “All right. From now on, broadcast only on these frequencies,” he says, providing them with the list. “‘Cause, again, we’re doing research here. Mr. Grom thought that mineral rights are good, but we have a pristine chance at a new colony, so we’re going to try to regulate the airwaves a little more carefully. On Korhal it’s an absolute mess! So we’re trying to do that better here. Now, you said you want to go on safari… I think that’s okay. That’s unlikely to interfere with anything. We did see a bunch of big, giant cat-critters out east a little ways,” he shares, even going so far as to give them general coordinates.

“A bunch?” Lilly says, raising her eyebrows. That sounds like more than she and Imogen were looking to tangle with.

“Well, a few, anyway,” he corrects. He mentions that they are working with the locals, though that relationship is not perfect. Imogen asks after Spearmint, but he is off with a mining crew, providing scouting and security support. The administrator tells them they are free to use the Grom LLC facility, but there are no accommodations available for visitors, and they will be expected to stay out of the way of any operations.

“Yessir,” Lilly acknowledges. Her politeness, especially when contrasted with Imogen’s sharp tongue, softens his disposition some, and he bids them good day.

They step outside and see the pilot Shreev rapidly approaching. Lilly looks to Imogen, ready to physically interpose herself between her slight partner and this angry person, but Imogen suggests they simply slip away. They have already won here—already beaten Shreev in the sky—and she sees no point in risking the agreement they just made with the administrator over an old feud. They slink through the compound, heading back to the starport. 

Shreev misjudges their destination, and when they reach Saffron, she is a level above them with no convenient way down. She throws her helmet down again in frustration. “You!” she shouts. “You’ve got some nerve, just rolling in here like you own the place. What the hell are you doing here?!”

Imogen quirks a smile. “Landing safely,” she responds.

Lilly lets out a bark of laughter. “Sick burn,” she observes appreciatively.

“Next time I won’t fire a warning shot!” Shreev yells.

“Oh, is that what you’re calling it?” Imogen retorts.

“Trust me, you’ll know when I’m shooting to kill,” Shreev grinds out. She goes to retrieve her helmet, and Lilly and Imogen take their leave.