Mind in turmoil from that surprising turn of events, Imogen places a call of her own over a much more mundane matter: mail delivery. The phone on the other end is answered with, “This is Jimmy.”
“Uhhh,” the voice grows quieter, as if the phone is moving from the speaker’s mouth. He is probably checking the caller ID. Perhaps a wanted man should do something like that before answering the line. “This is Imogen, right?”
“Aye. I have a letter for dear Matthew.” She tries to be subtle, unsure of how secure the line is. Jimmy seems nowhere near as cautious as Egon, but it does not hurt to be careful. He does not know who she is talking about, though, so she clarifies. “Horner? An admiral?”
“What do you want with my admiral?” His tone grows more cautious. Imogen reiterates that she has a letter to deliver to the man. Jimmy is incredulous. “Who sends a letter these days?”
“Some woman who’s sweet on him.”
He lets out an exasperated sigh as he realizes what this is about. “You got yourself mixed up with Mira Han, did you?”
“Seems like. I’m wondering if you’re still in the general environs that you were a week ago, that I can drop it off?” Jimmy indicates that he is, but Matt is not. “That doesn’t matter, as long as you get it to him unread.”
“Mira’s got some real… She’s like a stick of dynamite; she seems okay, but if something sets her off, kaboom! She and ‘Matthew’, technically, they are married. Technically. Didn’t think you could get married by winning a poker game, but turns out you can.”
“Okay… I’ll make sure not to play against her.”
“You know,” Jimmy grows reflective, “I don’t even think she was in that game… Eh, the whole game was probably rigged anyway. Yeah, she’s really into him, he’s… not really into her.” Imogen hears the smile creeping into his voice. “He needs to be a better husband. I will make sure to deliver it to him!” Jimmy tells Imogen to check in with Joey Ray, as he might not be immediately available. “Things are heating up a little bit here. After that talk with Lilly at the bar… it’s time to kick this revolution into high gear.” Imogen is surprised. She was trying to be cautious, but if James Raynor wants to talk about his revolution over an open line, that is his business. “Not exactly hidden, what I’m trying to do,” he says in response to her reaction. “More important not to be found. But we’re going to make ourselves known pretty soon.”
“Then I’ll check in with Joey, I shall.” He extends his thanks, and she hangs up.
* * *
In the morning, Imogen raps on the door between the adjoining rooms. Lilly opens it and offers to sharpen Imogen’s knife. The Umojan hands over the blade and decides that weapon maintenance is a good activity for this conversation. She sets to work trying to repair her pistol again as she brings up Malorn’s job offer. The latter goes better than the former, and the gun continues to click annoyingly. “I have a lead on another potential job.”
“Mmmhmm…. For FRAWD?” Lilly focuses on the knife. Shick, shick. Shick, shick.
“No… a side job, sort of like what we’re doing now.”
“Okay. When do we start?”
“Probably it’d be in about two weeks, when we’re back on Korhal.”
“Do you want to take it?”
“Aye, most definitely,” Imogen says. “But I didn’t know if you’d want to do something so risky as hit a building actually in Augustgrad.”
It is quiet for a bit and Lilly glances up. Imogen is looking at her expectantly. I guess I should ask for more info. “What’s the job?
“There’s some sort of research facility that has a protoss weapon. One of those fellas from the refinery that we got the blades back to so they could escape, he contacted me that he wants help getting the protoss weapon away from the researchers.”
Sounds reasonable. “Okay. Are they paying good?”
“They were thinking they might be able to get you a sweet rifle—”
Lilly smiles, “I mean, I wouldn’t say no to that…” Her eyes drift off, unfocused.
“—if you’d prefer that to credits.”
Lilly stares blankly into the corner, wondering what the rifle could be like. She shakes herself back to attention. “Do you think it’s too risky?”
“It’s not too risky, no…”
Imogen still seems to think this has not been decided yet. “Do you want to do it?”
“Look, I totally owe you one,” Lilly says, “so if you’re in, I’m in.”
“Okay… this is just a pretty big ask. But if you think that squares things between us…. all right.” Imogen relaxes a bit. “We’ll be able to meet up with Malorn when we’re back on Korhal and learn more about what the facility is and what we might be up against.”
“Okay.” Lilly goes back to sharpening the knife.
Imogen thinks the conversation is over and returns to trying to get her gun to stop clicking. Suddenly the taller woman says, “Wait, who’s Malorn?”
“That’s the name of the protoss who contacted me,” Imogen explains, “one of the ones who was enslaved in the Rose refinery on Brontes IV.”
“They have names?” Lilly asks, surprised.
“Aye. They just didn’t share them before.”
“Oh, it’s for that guy? Yeah! Yeah, I’m in!”
* * *
They have a couple days to kill in Dead Man’s Port. Imogen accompanies Lilly on whatever she wants to do, her earlier plans of looking for protoss information or terrazine set aside now that she has an opportunity to actually meet with Malorn and perhaps gain some tutelage from him.
Mira warned them about squatters, so Imogen extends her senses as far as she can, trying to detect life in the rusted-out wrecks they search. They find an isolated ruin that no one else seems to care about. Lilly searches around for zerg bones, since they might be of interest to Li, but all she finds are skeletons of terrans. Imogen salvages some more materials with which to try (unsuccessfully) to fix her gun, but she stubbornly refuses to pay someone for the repairs. She is getting very familiar with the inner workings of the weapon, just reassembling them all smoothly continues to elude her.
Mira is as good as her word. At the appointed time, a ride is ready for them. Lilly and Imogen return to Mar Sara, cerebrate sample in hand, just as they promised Li June they would. As their phones resync on the Mar Sara network, they see that Li has wired them another hundred credits each, in anticipation of the extra sample. Working for her seems a good job, possibly better than the FRAWD one.