A day later, the Space Greyhound sets down in Mar Sara City. Although much smaller than Augustgrad, it still has all the establishments one would expect: factories, bars, administrative buildings, and so on. All arrivals and departures must go through quarantine and have their blood tested to keep out anything zerg-infested. As the FRAWD agents stand in line, Imogen flips through a “Move to Mar Sara” brochure. “I’m telling you, there’s a sauce named after this place.”
Lilly shoots Imogen a look. “Mar Sara sauce?”
“Aye,” Imogen insists. “It goes on chicken.”
That surprises Lilly. “You’ve had chicken?”
Imogen waves the pamphlet at Lilly. “This says the planet was terraformed recently. The atmosphere should be nice and breathable. It’s an up-and-coming place, according to this. Lots of land available.” But out through the spaceport windows, Imogen notices that most of the buildings are rapidly-assembled pre-fabs or else made from recycled materials. The city has a mish-mash feel to it and looks rather dirty. Beyond the city limits, a lot of the land is still arid.
Lilly’s attention is drawn more to the Dominion marines patrolling the spaceport. They are in seven-foot-tall suits and carry hefty gauss rifles. A scientist is with the marines, taking a blood sample from everyone in the line. Behind her is a sign that says, “Don’t let the zerg spread. Get checked today!” In smaller print at the bottom is, “Checks are mandatory.” This makes Lilly nervous; she is worried that the blood sample could indicate she is a resoc, a secret she holds very close.
The bored medical technician takes some of Imogen’s blood and injects it into a small device that lights up green. “Okay, you’re good to go.”
But, thinking of Ted, Imogen has a bunch of questions. “People can get infected by zergs? What does that do? Does it cause aches and fever and—”
The scientist is already taking out the next syringe and just brushes her off. “Everyone knows about the zerg virus, okay? It could infect you. We’ve just got to check to make sure. Otherwise the whole damn planet gets locked down in quarantine, okay? Just don’t do anything stupid, and you’ll be fine.”
Lilly feels like one of the marines might be watching her, but his face is hidden by a closed visor, so she cannot be sure. She was in the military, and she remembers there being a sort of code of looking out for each other. Of not saying anything. What she is really afraid of is the scientist outting her, having loose lips. As she steps up to the woman drawing blood, Lilly tenses, but the technician just wearily says, “Give me your arm.”
Lilly tries to give the marine a friendly look as she goes by. His visor swivels towards her, and he says flatly, “The only thing I feel when I shoot something is the recoil. Keep moving.”
Imogen takes in the spaceport, wondering if the soldiers are there specifically for the quarantine or for some other reason. They are official Dominion military, and these seem to be members of the colonial marines, assigned to the planet to defend it from whatever threats there might be. One of them takes exception to her pausing and orders, “Hey, keep moving. Line’s gotta keep moving.”
Imogen keeps moving.