FRAWD Investigators: Pilot | Scene 3

The guard Marvin drops the FRAWD agents off at the refinery, and they enter to find it a bit of a mess. Barrels of green substances sit around. As she looks at them, Lilly asks Ted if vespene is flammable. This turns into a discussion of blowing up the refinery. Imogen hears a strange voice from somewhere in the facility say, “My life for Aiur!” That is the protoss homeworld which was overrun by zerg years ago.

Imogen starts to ask Ted about knockout gas instead, when a guard notices them and asks what they are doing at the refinery. Imogen says that Marvin escorted them over and asks this fellow how his work conditions are. “Do you feel like your health is in any danger?”

“I stay away from the gas. It’s why we don’t have human workers here, just the protoss,” the guard explains. “It doesn’t bother them, but you shouldn’t worry about the protoss, anyway. They aren’t templars, just POWs. Nasty fellows… no mouths. But they don’t cause any trouble.”

Imogen asks to see the protoss, and the guard provides resistance. Lilly postures menacingly, and Imogen threatens to write him up in their report. He reluctantly agrees and leads them further into the refinery. Once he has pointed out the proper door, though, Lilly takes action. She clubs him, taking his consumer-grade gauss rifle and his radio. They stick him in a closet so he will not easily be found. 

Imogen hears the eerie voice again, accompanied by a strange sucking sound. They try to stealthily look around the corner, but their vision is obscured by foul-smelling green gas, and the radio Lilly took crackles with a warning that check-ins will be due soon. They decide to pick up the pace and so just march into the space where the protoss are working.

They see four protoss clad in just loin cloths. Three of them are stacking barrels, and one of them is on the other side of the room, working at a processing machine. He has a vial, and his eyes glow purple. Every now and then, he breathes in—or maybe just absorbs—a hit of the material in the vial and speaks of Aiur. Lilly addresses the closest protoss. “Hey… guy?”

“What do you want?” a haughty voice replies.

“We just took out the guard. If you want to escape, now’s your chance.”

The protoss objects that it would be foolish for them to do so unarmed, and Imogen points out, “You’re surrounded by potential weapons.”

The protoss looks at her more closely. “Oh, a terran willing to weaponize zergs. I am surprised.”

“Whoa!” says Imogen. “I meant the vespene gas!”

The investigators talk with this lead protoss for a while, and he continues to talk down to them. Imogen tries to get information about the terrazine that the other protoss is using, thinking that she might be able to enhance her weak psionic abilities with it. The lead protoss claims that the addicted protoss is essentially dead to him, that he is lost in delusions of the past. He says terrazine would destroy Imogen’s feeble terran mind and indicates that he has seen the effects of this on a battlefield at some point. He explains that he and his fellow protoss are templars by training, but all their weapons are kept in the guard barracks. “We need those weapons to fight our way out.”

“Oh,” Imogen says, a little disappointed, “your powers are limited to the technology you use.”

The lead protoss haughtily corrects her, “Our powers are attuned to our technology.” He insists that the investigators fetch their confiscated equipment. Then their minds can form psi blades with the gauntlets and personal armor with the shield generator so that they can escape.

Lilly internalizes the gauntlet description. “Okay, so they look like arm things.” She gets the protoss to agree not to attack any of the slaves during the escape attempt.

Before they depart, the lead protoss warns them about the psi disruptor holding the zerg at bay. “It is dangerous technology that you don’t and can’t understand.”

Ted does not feel well enough to help recover the protoss weapons. He stays in the refinery to work on making knockout gas from vespene.