With the evacuation of Raynor’s Raiders from Mar Sara complete, Saffron rests in a hangar aboard Hyperion. Inside the science vessel, Imogen is hurriedly pulling cables out of cameras. She needs to stop the feed from being sent out, but she could not take care of this earlier because the sensors were being employed in support of the operation. Now, though, she can afford to shut the whole suite down, inside and out. It would be expensive, but she can buy replacement equipment if she ruins anything in her haste. What she cannot buy, though, is allies who trust her. These raiders have turned out to be far more than just some vigilantes on Mar Sara, and they will not be happy if her ship is beaconing their location. If I end up breaking all this, Imogen tells herself, it’s fine. Yesterday, I didn’t even have a sensor suite.
Imogen tosses a roll of duct tape to Lilly and tells her to cover up the lenses just to be on the safe side. Lilly complies, thinking that the dusty Umojan looks a bit ragged from the long day. It started with a zerg attack and ended with a zerg attack, plus there were a few zerg attacks in the middle. Pretty standard for Mar Sara, she reflects.
Once all the sensors are dismantled, Imogen finally allows herself a moment to catch her breath. Sitting on Saffron’s ramp, she tucks back in some sections of hair that have come out of her long braid and continues to fret about the ship. Hopefully she will be able to get help from a scientist familiar with this type of system to figure out how to stop the transmissions and clear the buffer holding whatever it has recently recorded. Then she can reconnect everything.
Lilly climbs down from Saffron’s roof, having finished covering everything. From up there, she had a good look at the spacious hangar. Theirs is the only vehicle in it, and there are no other people around. The large space is littered here and there with crates of one form or another. At first, at the end of the hangar, she could see out into the colorful warp space, but then that resolved into a black field punctuated by stars, indicating the battlecruiser had returned to regular space. As she drops down next to Imogen, giant blast doors slide shut at the entrance of the hangar.
The voice of Admiral Matthew Horner sounds over the shipwide intercom. “I am so glad we were able to get you. And I’m very sorry that we couldn’t get to everyone in time. You all fought very bravely, and we made a great strike against the Dominion, but we did take some serious damage. We need to reboot the systems right now, so we are going to be taking comms and nonessential systems offline. We want all of you to get a good night’s sleep while we do this. You’ve all earned it. I know we’re behind on pay, but, please,” he reiterates, “get a good night’s sleep for once, and let the officers deal with the rest of this. If you don’t have to, don’t leave your cabins. Certainly you can if you want to, but no one’s on maintenance duty tonight, nothing like that. We’re going to run in low-power mode until everything gets back up, and then we’re going to be really busy fixing everything. But for now, take one quiet night.”
The lights in the hangar switch to emergency mode, illuminating the large room only dimly. Imogen slowly pulls herself to her feet. Maybe Hyperion’s crew is able to just settle in to sleep, but she is not entirely sure of the level of their permission to be here. She does not want to wake up at gunpoint or in a brig. They should find someone in charge and make sure there will not be any problems. First, though, she joins Lilly over by some boxes and looks at them with her, curious about what Hyperion is transporting other than its armed force. Most of the boxes are empty, and among them they also notice some scrap metal, like pieces of hull or parts of the side paneling of a vulture. Nothing in terribly good condition and no electronics. The crates bear a variety of labels including Dominion munitions and Kel-Morian Combine minerals. Others have logos indicating they come from Grom or Rose. There is no way to tell whether the former contents of these crates were bought or stolen.
They start to head to the door, when Lilly remembers Snowball is still in her backpack. “Where’s a good place on the ship to put him?” she wonders aloud. “I’m not sure he would follow us, but…”
“You could put him in your room,” Imogen suggests. “Oh! We should choose rooms.” Was it only this morning we found this craft? Already it seems like ages ago to her. Maybe because I’m still rattled from falling out of it.
They head back into Saffron. Lilly defers to Imogen, who selects the first room they examined, the one that had belonged to the medic. This leaves Lilly with the engineer’s quarters. She gathers some random materials from the hangar to make a simple nest for Snowball and then releases him in the small bedroom. She tells him to stand guard, but when she starts to leave, he follows her and gets caught in the door as it slides shut. She shoves him all the way into her room, cutting off his patrol. Snowball gets the message that he is just supposed to guard the small room and backs up, letting the door slide shut. Lilly listens at it and hears him march around for a bit, and then it grows quiet as the zerg larva goes off-duty.
They lock down Saffron, which Imogen has now reconfigured to a passcode of their choosing. As they head over to the door out of the hangar, she tells Lilly, “We need to go find whoever’s in charge, just to make sure it’s okay that we’ve parked here.”
“I’ll go first,” Lilly announces.
Imogen looks at her quizzically, wondering if she is going to draw her shotgun. At most, a couple hundred people were brought aboard during the Mar Sara evacuation, but Imogen reckons that a ship this size would have a crew in the thousands if fully staffed. The battlecruiser is large enough that someone stationed here could not be expected to recognize everyone else who belongs. Also, given the survival rates of the various mercenary troops she has learned about lately, it is possible that Hyperion’s staff experiences a lot of turnover. She doubts that she and Lilly will face any challenge from random crew members along their route and is relieved when Lilly opens the door without a weapon in hand.
If they think we’re bad, it’s better for me to get shot than Imogen, Lilly thinks as she steps out into the corridor ahead of her friend. The halls are quiet, and no personnel are to be seen. Lilly hears faint pounding, possibly the sound of machinery, coming through a door across from theirs. It is probably another hangar, so Lilly ignores it; she wants to find the bridge for Imogen. She looks around, trying to get her bearings in the dimly lit corridor. She and Imogen are definitely in the back of the ship, and the bridge would be in the front, but other than that…
Imogen follows Lilly as she strides purposefully away from the hangars. The Umojan has never been on a ship like this before, and while she trusts that Lilly knows where she is going, Imogen would feel more comfortable if she could just get a look at a map or floor plan to orient herself. After several minutes moving up the long hallway, they do come across one. The schematic is labeled Sons of Korhal Flagship Hyperion, but it has been creatively reinterpreted by the marines onboard. The engineering sector containing their hangar is not too hard to identify, but the rest of the map has been marked up with a lot of graffiti. The engines themselves are tagged Go-Go Zone, and the weapons batteries are marked Chargin’ Ma Lasers. Presumably the bunks are in the section labeled Assholes’ Quarters, though maybe that is where the officers sleep. And that just covers the parts that have not been scratched off or completely defaced.
Lilly looks at the map alongside Imogen. “Excellent,” she says. The bridge might not be labeled, but the bar is easy to find: Officers’ Mess has been replaced with Ship’s Cantina.