While Lilly grabs a table, Imogen places an order at the bar for two Dominion burgers. Joey Ray nods in recognition at Imogen and crinkles his brow as he looks over at the woman with two backpacks who she came in with. He thinks for a moment and then says “Oh, right!” as he realizes that is Lilly. Imogen turns down his recommendation of the spicy firebat burger, considering how poorly the creep dip sat with her stomach last time.
Imogen waits at the bar, arm resting on the counter, while Joey passes the order back to the cook. When he returns, she asks, “Has Jimmy been around lately?”
“He’s been a bit more scarce of late. Did you need to talk to him?”
“No, I can do that when I need to. We spoke a few days ago, and I let him know I’d have a delivery for him.” Joey offers to hold onto the package until Raynor is next in, but Mira was very particular about her instructions. “No thanks. It’s a very sensitive item, it is.”
Joey nods. “The fewer things I get mixed up in, the better. But I can’t really tell you where he’s hanging out. That’s not safe for him either. He’ll probably be back in a day or so, but things might be a little warmer than they used to be. You might have noticed the uptick in security.”
Imogen decides that rather than try to be in the right place at the right time, she will just call Raynor and see if he wants to make arrangements to meet somewhere that he considers secure. But first, a drink and some food. Lilly is really focused on the burger, trying to figure out whether it is actually meat. She is commenting on the possibility of the colorful wilted materials being pickles or tomatoes when Imogen recognizes someone who has just entered the bar. It is Lisa Prescott, the overseer at the refinery. Imogen was fired from there, so there should not be any difficult questions if she is noticed, but Lilly was a star employee for her one day. Prescott had told her to take the week off following the raider attack, but it has been quite a bit longer than that. As long as Lilly stays seated, her height is concealed. Maybe that will be enough, Imogen hopes.
Prescott walks up to the bar, casually looking around. Imogen sees the light of recognition as they make brief eye contact, but Prescott quickly redirects her glance, anxious to avoid any awkward social conflict with a laid-off worker. She concentrates on the menu a while, places an order, and sits down far away from Imogen.
The television in the corner is tuned to the news station. Lilly looks up from examining the burger to see a short broadcast on a really dumb topic, the winners of this year’s Hydralisk Hunt. A few of the Korhal elite with money aplenty for fancy rifles won the event. Next is a blurb advertising a program that will air later that day. “We’ve been seeing increased reports about zerg activity on worlds thought to be clean. Is this the start of a new zerg invasion? Stay tuned!” Lilly shakes her head at what is clearly a propaganda piece meant to prop up the current regime. Sounds like some fear-stoking to distract the populace from whatever the government is doing. She has personally witnessed increased zerg activity but not in populated areas. They are certainly making it sound worse than it is.
Lilly returns her attention to something more interesting. “There’re onions on this hamburger!” she announces.
Imogen smiles and takes another bite. It is actually not bad. Way better than what they had last time. When she is done eating, she places a call to the man whose Wanted poster is still up on the bulletin board. Town is not such a good place for him to be right now, but he agrees to her suggestion that they meet in the wastes the following morning. He provides some landmarks for a cliff that Lilly confirms is not too far southwest of Li June’s compound. Imogen hangs up and suggests they get moving so that they can reach Li’s place before nightfall.
“But how are you doing?” Lilly asks. “Are you going to be okay hiking?”
“I’m up for a hike. I can do it! I’ve been watching you, so I’m learning better how to move out there.”
“Yeah, don’t trip on rocks.”
“And the rest here has done me good. My arm’s feeling better. Besides, we should get out of this city before anybody else starts asking us questions.” Imogen nods her head at the table where Lisa Prescott is eating.