FRAWD Investigators: (Re)Socializing | Scene 10

In a booth at the Ruck Sack, Imogen sips whiskey as she reads more slowly through Frank’s journals. She takes her time with each page, trying to match up what it says with the impression she got of Frank from their short interaction. Earlier, it was a matter of looking quickly for corroborating evidence when Kate was on her way over to Saffron. Now it is about getting a handle on who Frank is/was so that she can help restore that. This whole situation is horrible. Lots of people are dying, but that is always the case with the Dominion military. What hits her hard, though, is the existential horror of the erasure that Frank faces. And no one else seems to feel it. People get resocialized all the time in the Dominion. The casualness of the matter makes her skin crawl. Oh, we’re just going to erase this person because he did exactly what he was supposed to do. Maybe this hits Imogen so hard because she has seen how much Lilly conceals her own resocialization. I can’t believe he’s just going to be gone, and it is happening right here. This is wrong.

In addition to piecing together his personality, Imogen gains a better impression of what happened down on the planet. The adjutant was in the wreckage of a derailed train near Tarsonis City Metro Station. Frank’s team had orders to look for adjutants and report their locations. Their orders specifically told them not to activate any, but Frank was curious, and he is now paying the price. He was not able to extract the adjutant, but he could get an arm in close enough to reach it. None of his teammates were close enough to hear the message, just him, but he was found out quickly. Captain Hawke was the overseer of this search operation, not just some sergeant looking to take credit for Frank’s find.

Imogen closes the cover of the last notebook and lets her eyes drift around the bar. A poker game has just broken up. One of the soldiers standing up slips a stack of credits to the fellow next to him, and a vial exchanges hands. Imogen recognizes the purple haze in the tube. She casually makes her own way over to the dealer and asks about Tommy Z, one of the street names for terrazine.

“Sorry, don’t know what you’re talking about. Don’t know him,” the fellow says, unwilling to trust this non-military foreigner.

Imogen lets it go at that, not wanting to draw any additional attention to herself. She saw the purchaser slip his vial into a side pocket. If she can just get close enough to him, she might be able to swipe it. He has clearly been drinking quite a bit, which Imogen hopes will make him less attentive. However, it also makes him unsteady, and he lurches at just the wrong time, out of her reach. She plays it cool, but he exits the bar and gets a ways down the hallway before she is out of the Ruck Sack herself.

The longer Frank goes after the resocialization without being helped, the harder his memory recovery will be. She needs that terrazine to help her prime the pump. Imogen catches up to the fellow in a quiet hallway. There are not many potential witnesses around. He notices her as she gets close and half-heartedly asks, “Can I help you?”

“A lot of soldiers have their careers go down the drain because they get messed up in some really bad stuff,” Imogen says ominously. “It would be a shame for someone who seems so promising as you to suddenly be reassigned to the front lines because he can’t keep his nose clean.”

“Look, it’s not a career for me, okay?” the man says, exasperated. “I’ve just gotta survive, just gotta hang in there. Just try to get through this. All right?” Now that she’s closer, Imogen can see fine tremors shaking his hands. “Besides, you’re not a soldier; you can’t do anything to me.”

Her accent, her hair, her clothes, even her bearing, all of it screams that Imogen does not belong here. She acknowledges this. “You’re not the only one who thinks I don’t fit in here. So does the dealer. He won’t even talk to me. But he’ll clearly talk to you! You could get twice as much stuff from him if you sell me what you have. I’ll pay more than market rate.”

“Sure, if you’ve got the money.” 

Imogen stomach sinks at the amount he quotes. “Would discharge papers be worth anything to you?” she counteroffers. Lilly seems confident she can whip those up at a moment’s notice. This would not need to be anything nearly as elaborate as what they arranged for Durian. Everything had to be above board for him, but this drug addict probably has lower standards. Indeed, he readily agrees. Understandably, though, he wants the papers in hand before he turns the vial over to her. “And what’s my assurance that it’s still going to be there tomorrow?” Imogen asks.

The man pulls out the vial and stares at it longingly. “I could probably scrape together the credits to get another one… especially if I’m getting my discharge. I can sell a couple pieces of equipment that I won’t be needing anymore.”

Imogen fishes fifty credits from her wallet, which is now nearly empty, and gives it to him as a good faith deposit. Then she collects the identifying information Lilly will need for the forgery. Imogen’s days in FRAWD are indeed far behind her. She leaves Private Tanner to not enjoy his terrazine and starts to head back to Saffron. Along the way she fishes out her comm and calls Lilly, figuring that if her partner does not answer, she will find a longer route back.

“Hey, Imogen,” Lilly answers brightly.

“Are you free?”

“Yeah. What can I do for you?”

Lilly sounds awfully chipper. Imogen, on the other hand, drops her voice lower. There are no people around, but this is a public hallway. “I need some release paperwork,” she says seriously. “A discharge of the honorable variety.”

“That’s usually the way to go,” Lilly says with a laugh. “Honorable or medical, those are the ones you generally want.”

“Is that something you can do fast?”

“Yeah?” Lilly wonders what Imogen is up to but figures her partner will tell her when it matters.

“Do you need anything material-wise?”

“We need their details, a cover story, and—ideally—a current copy of the form.”

“Ach! What time does that form office open?” Imogen mutters, redirecting her path to take her past Vaughan’s workplace. That young man is too by the book to let her in there after hours, no matter how much interest she shows in paperwork. “I don’t think I can give you a copy of the form until tomorrow morning when the comptroller’s office opens.”

“A close look at the official seal would be useful, but we don’t need that,” Lilly adds. “How long do the papers have to last? Do they need a new ID, too?”

“No, I have his information, and we’re going to use that. I suppose it just needs to be good enough to get him off this platform.” As soon as those words are out of Imogen’s mouth, a whole nother set of plans comes to her mind. Maybe we can make one for Frank also. But I don’t have enough details about him… She has his name and his journals, but not his vital statistics. She does not even really know what he looks like, let alone what his citizen ID number is. Do they change that number when you get resocialized? She wonders how suspicious it would be for a newly-resocialized soldier to be discharged. That might send up all sorts of red flags. Maybe we can fake his death? Killed on the front lines, but no body found? He would need a whole new identity then.

“What about a story?”

Lilly’s question snaps Imogen’s attention back to Private Tanner’s situation. “I don’t know much about him other than that he’s a grunt on the front lines and he’s a drug addict,” Imogen admits. “You probably don’t need to include that.”

“Okay. Front lines is enough to make a cover story. Do you know where he was fighting?”

“Down on Tarsonis somewhere, but I don’t know more than that.”

“That’s enough to get started,” Lilly assures Imogen.