In the evening, Lilly gets a call. Her phone indicates that it is a video-enabled transmission, so she hooks up the comm to the hotel room’s television. When it connects, Li June greets her and asks how things are going. Lilly tells her that they have ended up on Dead Man’s Rock. “Wooo, that’s a mighty dangerous place to be,” Li comments. She then turns her camera. “Snowball here has been pretty chill, but he’s taken up patrols.”
Lilly watches as the larva marches to a wall, does an about-face, and then marches back in the other direction. “That is so weird,” she says.
Snowball sees Lilly on their screen and stops, coming to attention—or as close to it as a zerg larva can manage. “He’s a bit of an unusual fella,” Li observes. “Y’all going to be able to make it back to Mar Sara soon?”
“We’re trying.” Lilly lets Li know their schedule, and when the researcher indicates that three days should probably be fine, Lilly asks what the reason for the hurry is. The zerg on Mar Sara are getting a little more active, which is making Li a bit anxious. Lilly points out that that could be related to the Queen of Blades.
“You know what, you might be right. Maybe I should double my sentries.”
“Like, oh, yesterday,” Lilly says.
“But, in all honesty, zerg activity has been picking up over the last year,” Li admits. “I don’t think that’s all on you two.”
“I mean, she looked mad on the video.”
“She always looked pretty mad, even before. And she’s got reason to be mad. She was abandoned by Mengsk and turned into a zerg, forced to be a slave to the zerg Overmind…. She’s got a lot to be pissed about. She didn’t sound any more pissed than normal.”
“Well, it scared the fluff out of our pilot.”
Then it is back to business: Lilly describes to Li the other zerg that Imogen got a sample from. “It was the size of a building; it attacked with a spike that it slammed down.” Li asks some probing questions, and at the news that this creature could walk, she expresses surprise. Lilly and Imogen found a new zerg, or at least one new to her. “Imogen got the sample. She climbed right up it.”
“She… she climbed up a crazy zerg building? Lawd, that lady is crazy.”
“It was so cool.”
Li provides Lilly with some of her findings from her research into Cerberus Corp. There is a Cerberus science vessel that fled from Chau Sara a few years back and crashed on Mar Sara. She thinks such a ship, with its high tech equipment and sensory suite, might have information on what the situation with Snowball is.
Lilly gets caught on Li’s opening comment. “They crash-landed?”
“Yes,” Li confirms. “It’s a little bit out in the wastes, but I think tough folk like you and Imogen can get there.”
“Pilots aren’t very well trained, are they?” Lilly marvels.
Li says that from what she was able to discover, it did not seem like the ship took critical damage on its approach. It is possible that something happened to the pilot, rather than the ship, to bring it down. She is not sure what condition the vessel will be in after all these years. Once Lilly has dropped off the sample, Li will give her the coordinates. Lilly shouts into the adjoining room to draw Imogen into the conversation, letting her know about the ship. Imogen comes in and asks if the working theory is that Snowball escaped from the ship, but Li thinks that is unlikely given how long ago the vessel went down. She thinks it is more likely that there will be information about the device that is attached to the larva’s head. That might let them understand or even control what the larva will turn into. Imogen puts forth the idea that if somebody is still experimenting on zerg using material from the ship, there could have been survivors.
Li thanks them again for the cerebrate, saying that it should aid with understanding the Queen of Blades, which will hopefully help people protect themselves better. She says she looks forward to seeing them soon.