FRAWD Investigators: One Quiet Night | Scene 13

The bar is a lot more active the next time Lilly and Imogen visit it. Mr. Hill is there, and when they enter, he waves Lilly over to join him at his table, complimenting her on wrestling the lyote into submission. They join him, and Imogen observes the man as they talk. Something about his manner or voice seems vaguely familiar to her, but she cannot place it. She cannot even tell where he is from because his accent seems so deliberately neutral.

Mr. Hill inquires of Lilly whether she has ever considered joining a mercenary company. She shrugs. He encourages her to think it. “It’s excellent job security. When your security is security, that’s great security.” Lilly asks about the death rate of the mercenary companies he works with, and he diverts the topic to the different positions that the companies are hiring for, as well as leadership opportunities possibly available to someone of her skills.

Imogen half-listens to the conversation, concentrating psionically on him, trying to figure out what his deal is. She has become familiar with what Lilly feels like and Snowball, too. She thinks of it as a sort of psionic fingerprint. What about him? Has she met this Mr. Hill somewhere before? Ah.

“I’m a fixer,” he tells Lilly in response to her questions about what he does. “I help fix people up. Sometimes those people need to hire mercenaries; I find the mercenaries for them, manage the contracts and so forth. Sometimes people need work, and I help them find jobs with various mercenary companies. It’s hard to find soldiers. I hang out in places where either people have credits and need to spend them on mercenaries—perhaps to protect those credits with mercenaries—or they need credits and they can work for a mercenary company, maybe because they have a lot of combat experience. Perhaps someone like yourself.”

“I don’t know.” Lilly looks questioningly at Imogen. “I don’t think we’d fall into either category at the moment.” He hands Lilly a business card and tells her that there are other things he can help out with, like smoothing over government bureaucracy. Lilly is not sure why Rory thinks this guy is slimy; he seems all right to her. 

Imogen broaches the topic of getting a title for a vehicle, and Mr. Hill acknowledges that this is exactly the sort of thing he can do. “Sometimes the tide of war shifts one way or another… You get a new vehicle that used to be someone else’s. It’s all very confusing, and really, you just need someone to make these problems go away, right? I can absolutely find you an appropriate title for an appropriate kind of vehicle that you have recently come into possession of.” For 350 credits, he provides the documents needed for Saffron, and he even throws in the paperwork for Old Red, too. “Pleasure doing business with you. I’ll have these drawn up for you before the end of the week.”

“Thank you, sir,” Lilly says.

Casually, Imogen asks, “Where do you primarily operate?”

“Well, lately I’ve been doing a lot of business here with the fine Mr. Raynor. He’s recently come into some credits, so I’ve been helping his organization ‘allocate’ them efficiently. So I’m most often found here, on Mr. Raynor’s ship.”

“Do you ever go back home?”

“No, life there is dull. Unfulfilling. Pointless. Not too much for people to do. So many things are automated, aren’t they?” he says in his adopted neutral accent. “Would that be why you left? Or are you on the run from something?”

Imogen gets the impression that he is, but she just gives a noncommittal shrug. She has no intention of telling this Umojan her business, particularly not when he is likely to try to use it for his own financial gain.

* * *

Saffron parts ways with Hyperion at the small farming world Agria. Imogen plots an efficient route back to Korhal to get them there a few days before they are expected for Malorn’s heist at the Dominion Optics Research Facility. Snowball is pretty chill, but Lilly must wrangle the science vessel and the lyote. By the time they reach Korhal, Sunshine respects Lilly as the pack leader. Saffron’s life support systems, on the other hand, are taxed from working overtime due to the amount of living beings on the ship.

Imogen spends her time studying the notes Egon gave her on the psi-gauntlet. When he handed them over, he was really excited at the prospect of adapting some of the ideas to accelerate weapon firing rates. He rambled on about capacitors at a pace Imogen could not follow. More important to her, though, are his ideas on how she can activate the device without losing an arm. She does not try it while they are still traveling. Considering the previous attempts, she feels it would be unwise to do so without a hospital nearby.

Lilly parks the science vessel in Augustgrad’s spaceport, and Mr. Hill’s paperwork holds up to scrutiny. She and Imogen head back to their apartment and are just getting settled when there is a knock on the door. Lilly heads over to answer it, worried that it is the landlord coming to complain about the lyote. Imogen joins her in case she needs to smooth something over. They open the door and find a woman they have never seen before. She is very tall and has a long blonde braid. An eerie reverberating voice complains, “Ugh. I must come in. This is an absolutely detestable form to wear. Let’s see if some training can accomplish anything before…” There is a sigh of disgust. “This whole planet smells terrible, and I don’t even have a nose!” They step back and invite the disguised protoss into their home.