FRAWD Investigators: Old Red and Saffron | Scene 14

Lilly covers the strange new zerg with her shotgun and maintains a close watch. As it comes nearer, she notices a hint of green gas in the air above it and realizes it is carrying some sort of bladder of vespene. From the size of it, Lilly judges it to contain as much as a standard barrel, certainly enough to power the science vessel for a while. Unsure of how dangerous the zerg is, she continues monitoring it. She cannot see an implant on it, but there is the possibility it is being controlled somehow. She mulls over her options for dealing with the zerg and settles on drawing her knife, worried that stray shotgun pellets might cause an explosion.

When the zerg takes note of the ship, it alters its path, angling to give it a wide berth. That vespene could be very useful, Lilly thinks again. Knife in hand, she runs after the zerg. It is good to be moving, to be going after an opponent she can see and stab, rather than worrying about whatever tech is in her head. She swiftly closes the distance and brings the knife down on the creature. She jabs it a few times, and it does not even fight back, just tries to scuttle away. Once it stops moving, she extracts a sample of this unknown zerg to bring back to Li for study. Then Lilly picks up the bladder of vespene, holding it gingerly. It is a little bit gross, but more importantly, she does not want to accidentally squeeze any out as she brings it back to the science vessel. She is sure that Imogen will be able to figure out how to connect this to the ship’s fuel intake. 

As Lilly walks up to the science vessel, Imogen slides down off the top, having finished her call. “Whatcha got there?” the Umojan levelly asks.

“Vespene gas,” Lilly announces, proudly holding out the organ. “It’s for the ship!”

“Do zerg make vespene?” Imogen inquires, curiosity and disgust warring in her voice. 

Lilly shrugs. “I dunno. But we can put it in the ship.”

“Okay… you carry that along… and I’ll set up some hoses.” Once the vespene is transferred, Imogen heads inside to check over the gauges. It is enough fuel to get them anywhere on this planet, certainly. “That’s about a quarter tank, it is,” she tells Lilly as the other woman enters, still carrying the bladder.

Lilly plays around with the empty bladder for a bit, trying to figure it out. She holds it out to Snowball, to see if he will react in any way, curious if he will try to eat it. Snowball is disinterested. “Should we just throw it out?” she wonders aloud. Imogen suggests giving it to Li, so Lilly tries cramming it into a sample jar. It is way too large, and she considers stuffing it in her backpack, but ultimately she just tosses it on a counter. After all, they are taking the whole ship.

The central area of the science vessel is a little crowded with the vulture bike jutting into it. Lilly looks down at Old Red and remarks, “I kind of took him apart.”

“You didn’t get too far, so it’ll be fine,” Imogen reassures her, confident that they will be able to reassemble the bike later. It still looks drivable to her, although not entirely safely. “Let’s concentrate on the ship for now.”

They run through final checks, noting that not only are the weapons completely offline, but that the brakes are damaged beyond Imogen’s ability to fix by herself. “These brakes are just no good. This must be why they crashed before,” Imogen observes, as she crawls out from under a panel.

“A likely story,” Lilly comments.

“On the bright side, the sensors work just fine, and they’re pretty good, too. I’ve patched up all I can here.”

“Do you want to fire this thing up?”

“Aye, go ahead. Let’s have you start up the engines and see how far we can get.”

“Do you want to name her first?”

Imogen considers for a bit. This wreck is going to take a lot of effort and be quite costly in the long run, to be sure. “Saffron.” 

“Nice.”

“Give it a go, but it’s going to be rocky.”

Saffron takes flight for the first time in years, listing heavily during the launch since only two of the three engines will fire. They brace themselves as best they can, but the ship has no seat belts since it has no seats. All the straps, tubes, and wires coming down from the ceiling suggest the pilot would normally be suspended in some sort of harness. Imogen mentally adds this to the list of things she will need to fix.