FRAWD Investigators: Moving Forward | Scene 11

Malorn looks with disdain at the primitive terran communicator in his hand, but brings it up to his face to use it as Lilly was. “Are you this Durian that Imogen told me about?” he says into it.

Although Lilly gave her comm to Malorn to negotiate with Durian, she crowds in, wanting to also hear what her boyfriend is saying. “Uh, yeah! This is Durian,” she hears. “Sorry, uh, who are you? I don’t think we—”

“I am a great warrior.”

“Okay. That’s cool. Um, sorry, could you put Lilly back on?” Durian asks. The voice on the other end of the line has some strange reverb to it that is creeping him out.

“Lilly Washington is here. But she is not capable of speaking at this moment.” Malorn may be a bit buzzed himself, but he can recognize how far gone Lilly is. Her communications on his behalf have so far been mediocre.

“Did you do something to Lilly?” Durian demands, suddenly on alert.

“Durian! This is Malorrrrrrn.” Trying to smooth things over, Lilly shouts so her voice carries to the receiver.

“What did you do to Lilly?” Durian growls.

“Lilly Washington has done this all to herself,” Malorn replies.

“I’m going to come after you,” Durian threatens.

“Oh no, Durian! Malorn is our friend!” Lilly calls out.

“What did you give her?”

Malorn looks down at the can on the empty beer can sitting on the crate nearby. “She has given me a Ball-Buster. But I do not wish to speak about beer with you. I wish to speak about credits.”

“Oh, so it’s ransom, is it? Buddy, I’m not big on revenge, but push me the wrong way, and I could be.”

“Do you take jobs to free hostages? Is that what your mercenary company does?”

“Yeah, but this one I think I’m going to do for free.”

Lilly grabs Malorn’s hand and drags it close to her face so that she can talk directly into the comm. “Durian? Are you there?”

“Lilly! Lilly, are you okay?” The question comes out far more frantic than the previous times Durian has asked it tonight. She brushes it off with a pile of yeahs, and he asks, “Where did you meet this Malorn guy? He sounds really strange. I need you to stay safe.”

“He’s a friend,” Lilly says, a bit sad that these two are not getting along. Then she melts. “It’s really sweet that you care so much about me. But Malorn’s a friend. He’s a protoss.”

Lilly’s days of Confederate service are behind her. Not an official member of anything, she is at loose ends. Call her deserter, call her AWOL, just don’t call her colonel. Her head hurts so much, though. And her memories… they are all so hazy. I’ve… I’ve been resocialized, she realizes. A bright light flashes into her face. She blinks and jerks her head back. When her vision clears, an angry marine is there. “Now, how we know you ain’t no Confederate? How do we know we can trust you?” he demands.

“Don’t… don’t be dumb,” she murmurs.

He growls at her, but another voice intrudes. “Hey, lay off, Sam. C’mon. We’ve got to give these people some time while they recollect their thoughts. A body can’t get over resocialization in a day.”  

Lilly shakes off the intruding memories rustled up by her currently scattered brain. “I’m safe, Durian. I haven’t drunk that much.”

She’s not even aware of what’s going on, Durian concludes. “Now Lilly, there are a lot of different kinds of protoss out there. And depending on what’s going on, they ain’t all friendly.”

“What kinds?” Lilly asks.

But Malorn cuts in, “I am not with any of those protoss groups that you terrans may have heard of.”

“Oh! Speakerphone!” Lilly suddenly cries out. She yanks Malorn’s hand again, changes the setting, and then smiles widely. “So what kinds of protoss are there, Durian? Tell us.” She turns to Malorn and loudly whispers, “He’s so smart!”

“Listen, pal,” Durian’s voice crackles from the speaker, “I don’t know what you think you are. You’re probably one of them dark templars or something—”

“Those fools from the shadows!” Malorn scoffs. “I am no such coward.”

“What other kinds are there, Durian?” Lilly prompts.

“Lilly, look, I’m not really an expert on protoss, and that doesn’t really matter right now.”

“No terrans are!” Malorn insists.

“Look, you’re safe right now,” Durian insistently tells Lilly. “This guy wants credits—wait, do you have Imogen, too? How many people I gotta rescue?”

Lilly glances over at the open door to her partner’s quarters, where there is a mound on the bed. Then she turns to Malorn and admonishes him in an overly loud voice, “Shhhh! Imogen’s asleep!”

The form on the bed stirs. Imogen is not asleep. Not anymore.