In the morning, Imogen and Lilly arrive at the refinery bright and early. Marcus waves at them as they enter, and they exchange pleasantries. Lisa welcomes them in and directs Lilly to the area where Marcus works loading materials. “Have you ever piloted an SCV before?” Lisa asks.
“I piloted a Goliath 427. Does that count?” Lilly replies. “Well, I trained in one.”
Lilly manipulates her Goliath, striding around at a height of twelve feet in the mechanized infantry suit. On the training excursion, she practices firing the big guns and launching the enormous missiles at aircraft targets. Standard drill work. The commander instructs the unit as they all march down the road. “Shoot that drone over there. Use your missiles over there. You can’t shoot your guns and missiles at the same time; almost no one is that coordinated. Okay, good job, everyone!” The blue sky of the pristine planet fades away to red on the edges of the memory. Mutalisks swoop down. Lilly fires missiles as quickly as she can, one right after another, but there are too many of the flying zerg. Too many for her, too many for her team. Her comrades fall all around her, and her own Goliath is destroyed by glaive wurms.
Lisa snaps her fingers. “Hey, you with us, Lilly? Goliath experience is great. I don’t really care about certifications. That’s all nonsense anyway. I’m sure you’ll do fine.”
And indeed, Lilly does. The SCV is simpler than a Goliath, as is moving barrels compared to firing missiles. “This is better than a pickaxe any day,” Lilly says with a smile as she easily walks around in the suit. She finishes moving her allotment of vespene quickly, and over the course of doing her duties, she observes the upcoming guard schedule. Rory had expressed interest in this exact information, but she is not yet sure if she wants to share it. Still, it is good to know. When Lisa comes out of the offices at midday, she is so impressed with Lilly’s efficiency that she gives Lilly a twenty-five credit bonus and the afternoon off.
Things inside the administrative offices do not go as well. Lisa assigns Imogen to transfer the contents of a spreadsheet from one computer system to another. Imogen is baffled. “Why are these two computers not actually connected to each other?” Lisa explains that they have to work with both the legacy Kel-Morian networks and the newer Dominion ones, and this is the best they can do. Coming from Umoja with its advanced technology and excessive levels of automation, Imogen finds this absurd. She attempts to connect the two networks to each other. Not only does she accidentally erase the file, but she also locks up both computer systems while restoring it from back-up.
Lisa is upset that something so simple has gone so wrong. “I thought things on Umoja were advanced,” she complains.
“Aye,” Imogen agrees, “they’re way more advanced than this.”
Lisa tries to send Imogen away, but the young woman begs for a second chance. She offers to help with the physical filing. She is just as inept at this, although she does manage to grab the customer usage logs for the past three months. She also places Joey Ray’s application on the top of Lisa’s inbox. As Lisa ushers Imogen out, she encourages her to seek a job at the factory, which takes anybody. On her way out the door, Imogen at least has the satisfaction of seeing Lisa pick up the bar’s application and start looking it over.
At the end of the morning, Imogen and Lilly meet up. Imogen shows her partner the customer records. “So, Lilly, do you know math?”
“I’ve heard of it,” Lilly acknowledges.
Although Lilly would much rather just jump on a truck, they spend a while working together to analyze vespene usage across the refinery’s customer base. The refinery is producing enough gas that there should be ample excess to ship off-world. Everything in town has been consuming a stable amount of vespene, but the clinic out in the wastes has had a drastic increase in the past month. All the numbers add up, so it does not appear that anyone is “losing” gas along the way. It looks like nothing actually fraudulent is going on, but Imogen suggests they go out to the clinic to find out why the usage has spiked. Privately, she wonders if they are using vespene for medical treatments, perhaps making some kind of drugs out of it.
Lilly mentions that she saw the guard roster. Not wanting to risk being hassled by raiders or other dangers as they travel through the wastes, Imogen requests that Lilly make a call and exchange the information she has for safe passage. Imogen figures that if they are traveling with a raider, they should be okay. Lilly agrees and points out that selling information on the refinery’s defensive posture is not actually against their mission to investigate the flow of vespene.
Rory answers his phone as “Swann Engineering.” Lilly is not sure how secure the phone lines are, so she simply says they should meet up at the bar.
“Oh, yeah, cowboy, you think you got something good for me?”
Lilly just replies, “Yeah,” but will not say anything more over the line. Rory agrees to meet her for lunch.