A metallic clang sounds from outside the ship. Lilly cracks her neck as Kate Lockwell enters Saffron a few minutes ahead of schedule. Imogen steps over to the controls and closes the ramp up behind Kate. The journalist cranes her head around, taking in the place. Then she fishes out an audio recorder and holds it out in front of her. “All right, what is this about? What have you got for me?”
“I don’t want that on,” Imogen says, looking pointedly at Kate’s hand.
“I don’t want to miss any details,” Kate insists.
“Write things down. You can ask me whatever clarifying questions you want afterwards,” Imogen replies. “But my voice on the record, no.”
Kate understands the value of protecting her sources. She demonstrates that the recorder is off and puts it away, then pulls out her notepad.
“When we first met, I told you that I had heard that Mengsk was the one who called the zerg down on Tarsonis,” Imogen begins.
“Yes, and that’s a conspiracy theory that’s certainly been bandied about before.”
“The evidence of that happening is currently in the possession of a Captain Hawke.”
“How do you know that?” Kate asks, all business.
“Because tonight the soldier who found the evidence is being made to forget that he ever heard anything he did.” Imogen avoids explicitly mentioning resocialization so as not to make Lilly uncomfortable.
Kate scribbles for a moment. “And Captain Hawke is… a Dominion loyalist? Is threatening to blackmail the Emperor? Do you know who this Hawke person is?”
Although Kate’s delivery is level, the way she frames her questions begins to make Imogen nervous. Does she want it destroyed to protect the Emperor? Under other circumstances, Imogen might skim the journalist’s thoughts for the intent behind them. But there is a ghost on this platform, one who knows they are not alone. Imogen is glad she did not do any psionic experimentation with the recovered glove up here on the platform earlier today.
Kate watches a ripple of emotions flicker across the Umojan’s face. The woman looks uneasy, which is actually reassuring to Kate. This isn’t all being set up to entrap me. Good. But where is this story going to go? “Okay, so you don’t know Captain Hawke,” she says soothingly. “Have you heard the recording?” she tries. Imogen hesitates to answer, which only intrigues Kate further. Don’t pry too deeply too quickly, Kate cautions herself. “Okay, you don’t have the recording?”
“No, I don’t,” Imogen collects herself enough to answer.
“But you think you know who has it.”
“Captain Hawke took control of it on the surface. I don’t know if she’s still down there or if she’s brought it up here.”
Kate jots some more down as she restates Imogen’s words to check her comprehension. “Okay, so we don’t know where Captain Hawke is. But Captain Hawke is very likely with this recording. I assume you talked to the soldier who found it?”
“Aye. That’s how I know who has it.” Imogen throws her arm wide, her gesture encompassing the whole platform, the whole planet. “That’s what this is all about.”
Kate looks up from her notepad at Imogen, eying her closely. “You’re saying this whole operation is to recover that recording?”
Imogen nods. “It is damning.”
“If it’s legit, that certainly would be the scoop of the century,” Kate acknowledges. “That’s going to be difficult to get, though. I mean, I’m a journalist, but I’m not going to stick my nose into some officer’s private quarters. I’m not willing to do that, even for the scoop of the century. That’s… that’s crazy. Right?”
“What are you willing to do?” Imogen presses.
“If you can get me that recording, I will do what I can to make it public, get it out there. That alone is going to be hard. I don’t know if you know this, but the Emperor rose to prominence in part due to his use of the media. He controls the airwaves in an almost literal sense. This would take, I don’t know, some kind of coordinated action at UNN headquarters.”
“Do you have any resources for finding out whether this Captain Hawke is still on the planet or has returned up here?” Imogen asks.
“That, I can assist with, yes,” Kate agrees. “I can certainly be interested in doing interviews with a number of officers, Hawke included. I can try to find this person and relay that information to you.”
“And at that point, we will do something about it,” Imogen says. She glances over to Lilly, realizing she has just spoken on behalf of Lost & Found without directly consulting her partner. Lilly’s face is totally blank, so she must not mind.
We were already going to do this for the Queen of Blades, Lilly reflects. This doesn’t sound any more dangerous than that now.
“Then I think we might be in business, as they say,” Kate says, closing up her notepad. “We all in this together then?” Kate follows Imogen’s gaze over to her silent partner.
“Where she goes, I go,” Lilly says. This seems important to Imogen, so there is no question in her mind.
Kate takes on the task of interviewing Captain Hawke. That could provide a window of access for Imogen and Lilly to break in wherever they need to. “It might be under less guard when she is off talking with me,” Kate suggests. “After all, she might have just wanted to secure it, not destroy it. We don’t know what Captain Hawke’s motives are.”
“No, but people are already being sacrificed for them,” Imogen points out. Frank’s current situation does not make her hopeful about the kind of person Hawke is.
“Well, you don’t get to be that level in the Dominion without sacrificing people along the way,” Kate reflects. “Maybe she wanted the glory. She’s an unknown; we need to be cautious. I’ll find out where she is and try to arrange an interview tomorrow. And I’ll let you know the where and the when.”
“All right. It’s a deal,” Imogen agrees.
Kate has one last stipulation, though. “I want to also make clear: if you get yourselves caught, this conversation never happened.”
Imogen nods. “That’s why I didn’t want you to have a recording of it. Because that goes both ways.” She hits the controls to lower Saffron’s ramp so Kate can leave.
“I appreciate your professional integrity,” the reporter says on her way out.
Imogen closes the door again and turns to Lilly. “I heard the recording,” she shares immediately. “Mengsk called the zerg down on this planet to wipe out the Confederacy. There is no question at all that it was him. That’s why everything is here. I don’t know if my hearing it is evidence enough to deliver to the Queen of Blades, though. I’m sure she could rip it out of my mind if she wanted to. But this is something quite big, and we’re called Lost & Found for a reason.”
“Well…” Lilly draws out the word, considering. “I’m sure Dear Matthew would be interested in it, if we need ways to broadcast it.” Maybe Hyperion can just hover over planets, beaming the message down.
“Aye,” Imogen nods. Jim Raynor’s voice is on that recording too, pushing back against Mengsk. It would be good PR for his current rebellion. “Oh, do you need me to clear out of here before Durian shows up?”
“If you have somewhere you can go.”
Imogen nods. With Frank’s journals on hand, she heads back to the Ruck Sack.