They need the factory working well enough to transmit the mayday, which means Imogen’s next priority is literal damage control. Any fires threatening the communications equipment need to be extinguished. Lief and Aiden come back in, and Imogen starts giving orders. She sends Lief to see to the fires on the roof and has Aiden move Lilly down to the break room, near the cold fusion generator. Maybe the cooler environment will help her recover from the blast a bit faster. Meanwhile, Imogen sees to all the critical systems in the control room, crawling around under consoles and looking behind panels to make sure no hidden fires are threatening essential systems. It is hot, uncomfortable work, and several blasts of heat, infused with the fumes of who knows what burning materials, sear Imogen’s lungs. By the time she has finished securing the controls, she is not only out of breath, but unable to breathe without pain.
Exhausted, Imogen makes her way back downstairs and collapses on the couch near the cold fusion reactor, sucking cooler air in with each gasp. Lief and Aiden return to the break room. “We’ve done what we can with the rest of the ship, Sister. It’s stable for now, but it’s not going to last.”
“Oh, jeez, what happened to her?” Lief asks, seeing Lilly’s condition for the first time.
“She got… blown up,” Imogen wheezes out.
“Don’t you have a stimpack or something?”
“I used it on her. Supplies in the Dominion are not as good as on Umoja.”
“Well that’s daft!” Lief says. “Did you check their medical room?”
Imogen gives him a tired look. “Have you seen the quality of this place?” She drops her head in her hands. She has managed to keep on top of everything up until now, but with Lilly out and herself barely able to breathe, she is finally overwhelmed. “I thought,” she gasps out, “that our problems would be over when we found you, Brother.”
“Sorry to disappoint yet again,” Aiden apologizes.
Lief, meanwhile, is digging around in his pockets. He produces a painkiller shot. “I brought this just in case of emergencies. I think this counts, right?” Lief jabs Lilly with it.
Lilly groggily returns to consciousness, her head pounding. Her muscles are slow to respond, but that could just be from all the beer. They occasionally twitch and spasm, too. She is not sure what that is about. Lilly cracks her eyes open and finds she is on the floor in the drinking room near the cold fusion reactor. She remembers going after Booker and him charging at her with the grenade. That explains the burns she feels. Not her best tactical move. “Well, that was dumb,” she mutters.
“I think she’s coming to!” Lief excitedly announces. “Are you okay, Lilly? Can you hear us?”
“Yeah. What’s the plan?” she asks, pushing herself up to seated.
“I was going to ask you that,” Lief replies.
Lilly turns to Imogen on the couch. “You want me to see if I can fly this thing into the water?” If nothing has changed since she was knocked out, then the current plan is still the old one.
“I put out the fires by the communications equipment. What’s the status of the rest?” Imogen looks to Aiden, and he explains that they could do nothing about the fires in the undercarriage. It is just a matter of time before the whole factory collapses. He estimates that by nightfall the fires will spread back out again and destroy the structure. “I’m not confident we’ll be in shape to battle pirates in six hours,” Imogen haltingly replies. “We need to do what we can to keep this vessel from self-destructing until we’re ready to send the mayday to draw them in.”
“Got it,” Lilly says as she stands. She will see if the ship can fly at least as far as the creek. That should improve their chances. With a nod to Imogen, she heads back upstairs. When she gets there, the engine room looks about as she expected, the floor slick with body fluids. An exclamation behind her indicates that Imogen has sent Lief to help. Lilly turns to see him gawking at the mess. “Yup,” she acknowledges the sight.
“You did a number on that lad!”
Lilly chuckles. “He did that himself.”
She runs the system diagnostics, but the results are hard to interpret. This factory was not in good shape even before the zerg, the cliff, and the fire. She flips the switch for the engines, and they do come online. She is not sure if the building will stay in one piece once it starts moving, but she is not intending to go very high. Lilly proceeds with her plan, getting all essential systems running. The factory does not shudder too much as they take off. The motion is not great, sort of jerky, but the vessel does move. Lilly keeps it nice and low, just enough altitude to clear the brush.
Lief monitors readouts, calling out warnings to Lilly. As they approach the creek, he recommends a landing site. “Aye, that spot there,” He points to the area where he got stuck earlier. “That’ll have space enough for us. That area’s plenty deep.”
Lilly sets the factory down and water starts rushing through the undercarriage, extinguishing fires and cooling areas that were overheating. Crucial areas, like the coolant pipes that lead to the reactor. Lilly smiles to herself a little as some of the alerts flick off. We’re pretty good at salvage, all right. The ship may never fly again, but it will last as long as they need it to. She hopes.