FRAWD Investigators: (Re)Socializing | Scene 9

Lilly does not think about politics too much, herself. Imogen’s got good reasons for getting so worked up about this, Lilly is sure. But even though she has just pretty much agreed to commit treason, Lilly is far more concerned about her own adjutant down on Tarsonis and talking to Durian about it. Regardless of how this stuff for Kate and the Queen all pans out, Lilly still needs to go down to the surface. With that in mind, she calls Durian. 

“Still on the platform, right?” he answers.

“We’re leaving now!” Lilly says brightly. After a beat, she adds, “I’m kidding.”

Durian lets out a breath. “Dang it, Lilly. You’ll give a man a heart attack.” Lilly chuckles. “I’ll be right over,” he tells her. Ten minutes later he shows up, visibly relieved at seeing her again. “Phew, I’m glad I caught you, Lilly. Are you sure you’re doing all right?”

“Yeah,” she says, somewhat glumly.

“You don’t look like you’re sure. What’s going on?”

Lilly turns away from Durian, staring off at one of the side panels, and draws the collar of her jacket down some, revealing her resocialization tattoos. “I’m not proud of this,” she says. “I don’t show a lot of people this.”

“Lilly, that’s… That doesn’t matter to me,” Durian says softly, stepping into her line of sight. “You didn’t have a choice about any of that. Those tattoos, those aren’t who you are. You are who you are. Whatever they tried to take from you, whether it was the Confederacy or the Dominion… some things they can’t take from you. They can’t take from us.”

“So…” Lilly lets out a sigh. “This is so embarrassing,” she mutters. “I don’t know why I was resocialized,” she tells Durian.

He shrugs. “Most people don’t.”

“But this one,” she points at the Confederate logo, “I remember some things about. There’s something down on the planet from this time that I don’t want anybody to find.”

“Now, you say ‘anybody’… do even you want to see it again?”

“I’d like to know what’s on there,” Lilly admits. “I don’t remember everything.”

“Do you want to remember though? I mean, it sounds like you do.”

Lilly’s voice is quiet. “I want to know what I did, Durian.”

“I hear ya,” he says. He draws down the collar of his own shirt enough to expose a single Dominion resocialization tattoo on his collar bone. Lilly is at first surprised by this revelation, but upon reflection, it does provide some insight into this whole good soldier vibe he has going. “It’s from about four years ago. I got resocialized, too. I don’t know what the circumstances of yours were; mine was actually voluntary. I was… a messed up kid, a lot of things wrong with me. They were able to fix some of those things. And yeah, it kind of levels you off, but you know, if you polish a stone up real nice and throw it back out there, you get some new rough edges over time. They’re not the same rough edges, but they’re still your rough edges.”

Durian releases his collar and considers for a moment. “I can see how a piece of your past is something you want to go for, but you know how dangerous it is down there, Lilly.” She nods. “You know the zerg are swarming that planet. I don’t know how we’re still holding onto the beachheads we’ve got. I don’t know if we’re going to pull off this invasion.” He can see these words are not moving Lilly. “You know where what you’re looking for is?”

“It’s in that train station. Remember when we were looking for something?”

“Oh! And you were so close but weren’t able to get it when we were down there. Oh, man. You were looking for…” Durian’s voice trails off. He shakes his head, and the corners of his mouth quirk up. “You played me!” He says it with amused appreciation, not anger, but Lilly apologizes anyway. “No, no, no, it’s totally fine,” he assures her. “I was trying to keep my squad on track, and you helped me do that.”

“The less you know, the less trouble you can get in,” Lilly tells him.

“Since I’m an officer now,” he says with mock seriousness, “I can put in missions. I could put us on a mission to go down there. I owe you. A lot. I can see how many teams I can put together to make this as safe as possible.”

“We don’t need to take other people,” Lilly objects.

Durian nods, unsurprised. “I was worried you were going to say that. I don’t have a good answer, though, because I’m not actually sure how many soldiers I could drum up. And it wouldn’t really be fair to them for what is a personal thing for us.”

“You know I’m not expecting you to go, right?”

“No, no, no. You are not going without me,” Durian insists. They both readily agree on no Fruit Baskets. Those new recruits should never have been down on Tarsonis to begin with. At least now they will be safe moving forward, thanks to the Special Mission. “I don’t know how secure the site is, though,” Durian says. “The zerg pushed back. Maybe a stealthy approach is what we need.”

“We can run scans from the ship,” Lilly points out.

“That’s a good start. Wait, you said ‘we.’ Where’s Imogen going to be? She really should not be on a mission like this. She’s very good at what she does, but this is a combat mission.”

“You wanna tell her that?” Lilly certainly does not.

“No, if I start talking to her she’ll somehow convince me of completely the opposite of what I said,” Durian says. “I don’t know how it happens, but it’s happened more than once.”

“I saw Imogen climb up the side of a zerg and stab it in the face,” Lilly says, sharing her favorite story about her partner. “I’m not saying she’s combat trained, but she can handle herself.”

“That counts for a lot, but she’s not a soldier, right? This is a soldier job.”

“I know, but I don’t think we’re going to be able to stop her.” 

Durian acknowledges the point. “All we can do is tell Imogen what a terrible idea this is and let her decide for herself. Just like I told you, and look, we’re going to do it anyway.”

“I do some dumb things, Durian,” Lilly tells him with a chuckle. “I just don’t know what all of it was,” she adds, pointing at her tattoos.

“Hey, chances are you didn’t have a choice.”

“Thank you,” Lilly says, all trace of levity gone. 

Durian reaches out and adjusts her coat so that the tattoos are once again hidden. “That’s not who you are. Those? Those are just some tattoos. That’s from somebody else who got pissed at how capable you must have been and saw you as a threat, I bet. And yet here you are again. So sure, let’s find out what Lilly of the past has to say in her little time capsule.”

“It might not be good, Durian.”

“Most of the past isn’t good, but you want to know, right? Then let’s find out.” He wraps her in a supportive hug and then steps back. “All right, I’ll take care of everything to get the orders drawn up using your ship.” Durian heads toward the ship exit, adding, “I’ll meet with you tomorrow, and we can plan the mission.”

Impulsively, Lilly steps forward and plants a quick kiss on his lips. “Good night,” she says with a smile.

“Good night,” he replies. She hears him whistling happily to himself as he descends the ramp and heads across the hangar.