It has grown quite late. The women decide not to jeopardize their new jobs by snooping around the refinery under cover of darkness and just call it a night. They walk to their lodging, the Hydralisk Hotel, which has a big sign out front, “Welcome Hydralisk Hunters!” Lilly cannot hide her disdain for how dumb she thinks this is. In the hotel lobby, they see a mix of people, many with long sniper rifles. Once in their double room, Imogen tries to debrief Lilly on the information she gathered at the bar.
“Did you learn anything about whether anyone’s stealing vespene?”
“No.” I probably gave away more information than I got, Lilly thinks. “I mean, that one guy is really interested in how many marines are guarding the place at night. So I’m sure there’s nothing to that! He gave me this number to call to give him information. The other guy used to be the marshall around here.” She thinks a bit more. “Rory’s favorite drink is all right. Oh! Rory works on vulture bikes!”
“Is that what those motorcycle things were?” Imogen asks.
“Yeah….” Lilly says, smiling, thoughts clearly elsewhere.
“Let me ask you a question, Lilly. Why’d you take this job?”
“Which job?” Lilly feels she has three jobs now: FRAWD, the refinery, and maybe selling information to Rory. Also keeping Imogen safe, maybe that counts as a job, too.
“The job with FRAWD.”
“Oh. I mean, it’s a job, right?”
“But if someone offered you another job, would you take it?”
“I’m getting shot at less in FRAWD than I did before,” Lilly points out. “But it’s not like I’m heir to the throne there.”
“So for a paycheck, then,” Imogen clarifies. “Not for any sort of ideals about making the Dominion a better place.”
“Oh, no.” Lilly laughs out loud. “As far as jobs go, it’s one of the safer ones. Why? You got another job in mind? It’s not this refinery is it? I don’t know about swinging a pickaxe all day. I mean, that would be safe but boring as hell.”
“I’m just wondering if other opportunities cropped up, what sort of thing it would take for you to jump ship?”
“Well, I’m pretty sure I could make a little money by telling that guy how many marines are at the refinery.”
“Do you have a problem with that sort of thing?” Imogen presses.
“Would you do it?” Imogen asks more plainly.
Lilly shrugs. “It might depend on the pay and why. Things like that are generally trouble, right? You keep your head down, you don’t get shot at as much. No one here seems to be enslaved. It seems people are treated all right.”
Imogen grows reflective. “Things were very simple on Umoja. We stayed away from offers made to us by the Confederacy, and we kept our independence as much as we could. It seems like many other planets did not necessarily have it work out that way for them.”
“You mean the Dominion?” Lilly asks.
“Aye. Confederacy. Dominion. One replaced the other, but they seem quite similar.”
Lilly nods. “If you’re a soldier, it’s all pretty much the same.”
Imogen sighs. “I’m just wondering if we’re working for the good guys or not—”
“Probably not,” Lilly interjects.
“—or if there’s just no good guys at all. And if that’s the case, then at what point do we pursue something more lucrative?”
Lilly raises an eyebrow. “Do you have a better offer?”
“I don’t have an offer. But I’m just not sure what will come of us finishing this job that we’re supposed to do. More vespene gas goes off this planet to somewhere else?” Imogen shrugs, not really sure how that helps anyone. “I don’t know. There’s still a lot for us to investigate here to find out what’s going on. It seems like the situation might be more elaborate.”
“You think it will be a longer job?”
“Aye. I’d like to know what this clinic is up to. I’d like to know what these raiders are for. As long as FRAWD is paying me per diem, I see no reason not to drag it out. Well, for the full week they gave us, anyway.”
Lilly offers some insight into what is important to her. “Let me put it this way: if they’re feeding orphans with it, I’m fine not solving this case.”
Imogen nods again. That does not surprise her, coming from the woman who freed all the slaves on Brontes IV. “I just want a full picture before we prepare our report,” Imogen says.
“Okay,” Lilly agrees.
“So if you made some connections—got phone numbers—even if you’re not giving them the exact information they want, it might be good for you to give them a call after we’ve been in the facility tomorrow. You might have things worth talking to them about again. That’s all I’m thinking for now.”
“To find out what they’re up to? Is that what you want?”
“Aye. If they want to know what’s going on at the refinery, it’s because they want to make a move on it, either to shut it down or to take what it has. I’d like to know why in either case.”
“Yeah… It’s hard to know what the raiders are about.”
“It’ll be easier when you’ve got information to trade to them,” Imogen assures her.
“You think that guy was a raider?” Lilly asks. Imogen laughs. “Is that a no?”
“I do. I do indeed. For sure.”