All is quiet in Lilly and Imogen’s hangar. Saffron sits there, undisturbed, and there is still no sign of Snowball. Imogen proceeds to re-enable the sensor suite with Lilly’s help. Then she sets up a temporary block on the beaconing and creates a buffer in which she can dump nonsense for a while in case it does resume transmitting. Everyone keeps saying how impressed they are with this science vessel; time to see what she can really do. Imogen runs a sweep through and beyond Hyperion, and she and Lilly pore through the results, searching for non-terran life signs and any traces left behind by the protoss ship.
Imogen detects the protoss ship a half-kilometer off the starboard side of Hyperion, recording its size, speed, and energy output just as it warps away. Lilly sees evidence of a small zerg presence in the forward part of Hyperion, where the bridge and major weapons systems are. There are two distinct zerg life signs there. “Excellent,” she breathes. It has got to be Snowball and that scientist’s blob. “Hey, maybe you should call Jimmy and tell him about the protoss. Snowball isn’t going anywhere, but the protoss is.”
That ship is gone for real now, having entered warp. Imogen sighs. This is not the sort of conversation she thinks should take place over comms. The presence of a protoss assassin here is quite serious. They could have sabotaged something or even killed somebody. This information needs to be shared with the people in charge, like Jimmy if she can get access to him. Time to go storm the bridge. Imogen tries to find a way to print out the sensor readings about the protoss ship to provide evidence, but the system is non-intuitive, and she bangs the console in frustration.
“We can just turn everything back off and prove it to them later,” Lilly suggests.
“You’re right. Let’s go get your Snowball and Egon’s blobolisk.”
As they step out into the hallway, Lilly muses, “I wonder if they do their hangings in the cantina.”
The route to the front of the ship takes them past that very location. Imogen pauses in the doorway there. “You!” she shouts, pointing at Egon. “Come with us! We found your thing, we did.”
The scientist spits out his drink in surprise. “You found it? Wh-wh-let’s… let’s just go get it, and we don’t need to worry the commander or anyone else about this. Let’s just go take care of it.” Before he gets that all out, Imogen has already left the bar behind, marching down the hall toward the bridge with Lilly. Egon scurries along behind them. “Why are we going to the bridge? That’s where the commander is! He’s going to be pissed…”
When they get to the front of the ship, the entrance to the bridge—ornate but defaced—is guarded by a marine. He sees them striding toward him and holds out a hand. “Whoa, whoa, take it easy. You guys are supposed to be taking a break tonight.”
“It’s morning,” Imogen counters.
“It’s like five AM,” the marine says. “That’s way too early to be storming anywhere. Is this really that important?”
Lilly steps up. “Permission to enter the bridge, sir.”
“Permission denied,” the marine replies, exasperated. “I’m really sorry, but the commander was very explicit. He has very important work to do, and he’s not taking any visitors.”
Imogen turns to Egon. “Dr. Stetmann, your item is that way.” She throws her head towards the bridge.
Egon stands up a bit taller. “Yes! Yeah, yeah, I just need to, uh, get my, um, some of my research…”
The marine does not budge. “Look, I understand a lot of people have things they need to take up with the commander. He’s been away for a long time. I know, Dr. Stetmann, that you really want to get this research lab up and running. But he was very, very explicit in his orders that he did not want any disturbances.”
“Does that include not wanting to know about alien presences on this ship?” Imogen asks.
The marine’s eyes change focus for a moment, and it is clear he is checking an internal viewscreen on his helmet. “Is there an imminent threat to crewmembers’ lives?”
Lilly looks at Stetmann. She does not think anyone is in danger from Snowball, but who knows about his blob.
“I feel like if you have to think about it,” the marine says, “then the answer is probably no.”
Imogen racks her brain, trying to think if there is some other way to gain access to the weapon embankment where the zerg life signs were. From the readings she saw, this area of the ship has larger ducts. They could follow Snowball’s lead, using the ventilation system to bypass this obstacle. Not the best way to enter the bridge, but it will certainly highlight Hyperion’s security issues. Imogen turns to Egon to put a show on for the marine. “So, not an imminent threat?” she asks the scientist. Egon stumbles over his reply, equivocating. Imogen smiles apologetically at the marine, then seizes Egon’s arm and leads him down the hall away from the entrance to the bridge. Lilly follows.
When they are out of earshot of the marine, Imogen asks Egon, “Do you have a containment solution for your blobolisk?” He shows her a container that he brought along, which he is confident will be able to hold the creature. “All right. Then you are coming spelunking with us, you are.”
“Spelunking?” he asks, confused. “I don’t know, I’m not really much of a field scientist. Besides, there’s not that many caves around here, right?”
Rounding a corner, Imogen stops them in front of a large vent. “There’s plenty of tunnels.”