FRAWD Investigators: Ten Tines the Trouble | Scene 11

The guards topside have backed the prisoners away from the ship. With the EMP launching right after the thruster misfire, they do not trust that craft at all. Despite the earlier chaos, the prisoners are quiet now due to the shotguns leveled at them. The air is ripe with tension. Having closed up Saffron with Sally and all the guns inside, Lilly now pretends to inspect the ship. Internally, she wavers with indecision over what to do next. She cannot leave without Imogen. And she cannot do anything with the ship right now anyway, not until the systems reset. The guard count has been knocked from seven down to five, but that is still too many for a violent approach.

Lilly finally settles on a plan. She casually edges around the side of the science vessel, trying to put it between her and the guards so that she can sneak off and lay a false escape trail for Sally. The guards have been occasionally glancing over at her. When she gets too far around Saffron’s side, the sergeant snaps at her, “Hey, everyone needs to stay within sight! Unless you’re up in your ship.”

“I’m checking the thrusters!” Lilly growls back. “Do you want to check them?”

He backs down, remembering all too well what happened to his underling. “Fine. Just don’t go far.”

Once Lilly is out of his sight, she hastily makes tracks in the loose sand over to the rocky outcroppings nearby. That will give the guards something to investigate once they notice Sally is gone. She shortens her stride and steps lightly, since Sally has a smaller frame than she does. Once she has finished her convincing trail, she loops back around to Saffron. When she comes back in view of the sergeant, her arms are crossed and she wears a scowl so that he will leave her alone.

Since the thrusters have now supposedly been inspected and found satisfactory, he rallies the prisoners to resume their task. Once the science vessel is righted, he is ready to wipe his hands of this whole affair. “Finally! That took way longer than it was supposed to. All right, we’ve got Hauken, Stevenson, Adams… Where the hell is Adams?! Aw, hell!” Guns come back up to the ready again. “Did anyone see her?” the sergeant demands. He turns to Lilly. “Have you seen Adams?” She gives him an indifferent shrug. Unamused, the sergeant raises his gun higher. “If you saw anything, you have to tell us.”

Lilly tips her head toward the back of the ship. “Follow me.”

Suspicious, the sergeant motions another guard to come with him and steps around the ship. There are tracks in the sand here, but something does not quite add up. “Did you help her escape?” he asks the pilot, covering her with his weapon.

“Are you calling me a liar?” Lilly demands angrily, cracking her knuckles.

Tired of her attitude, he adjusts his hold on the shotgun and whacks her with the butt of it.

The first strike deals Lilly a glancing blow to the torso that she shakes off. She knew she was annoying these guys, but she had not expected them to start bludgeoning her. When the second guard swings his improvised club at her though, she punches him in the face with one hand and slaps the weapon hard with her other. The shotgun spins up into the air. She snatches it before it has a chance to fall to the ground. Now this, this is something I can do, Lilly thinks with satisfaction, glad that all the talking is over. She and the sergeant are now pointing shotguns at each other, and the other guard is holding his nose. From the other side of the ship, she hears an Umojan accent and smiles, happy to have her partner back in range again.

“Look, you pull that trigger, I’m pulling this trigger,” the sergeant warns her. “We don’t have to die today,” he offers. “We don’t have to shoot each other here. Bad things happen to people,” he adds, nodding at the tracks. “We just need a good story.” Lilly rolls her eyes. She was offering a perfectly good story already. Seeing that she is frustrated, he insists, “I don’t want to shoot you, and I don’t want to get shot. I’m going to need you to put that gun down.”

Lilly has no intention of shooting unless someone else escalates things that far. “I’m not going to shoot first,” she growls. “But don’t hit me with the gun.” As a show of good faith, she removes the magazine from the military-grade shotgun she is now holding.

“Be glad I’m not emptying this clip into you,” he shoots back—but with his mouth, not his weapon. The other fellow, though, lets go of his bleeding nose and raises his hands, not wanting a part in any further violence. The sergeant thinks for a moment and then steels himself to his decision. “Okay, ma’am, I need you to take that shotgun butt and hit me as hard as you can, right here.” He taps the side of his head. “Him, too.” The words are barely out of his mouth before Lilly connects with his temple. 

The sergeant wants to make it look like he tried to resist and Lilly got the better of him. She obliges without a second thought. He crumples to the ground, and the other guard’s eyes go wide. “Whoa, whoa, whoa! I surrender!” he spits out. “Just go, go! You’re good, just go! Take the gun, I don’t care.” 

That is when Lilly hears gunfire on the other side of Saffron. She snatches up the sergeant’s loaded shotgun and warns the remaining guard, “Get clear of the thrusters.” Then she charges around the science vessel.