Warden Rita has deemed Lilly and Imogen not a threat, so three of the guards go back to their other duties, and only two escort them through the north doors to the workshop. The first room they encounter is a supply room with several doors off of it. Another prisoner is here, stacking shelves with provisions. Other racks have stationery, cleaning supplies, jugs of water… all the things one needs to run a dark site in the middle of a wasteland. Based on the signs, the supply room has access to the workshop, the armory, the freezer, and the utility room.
“What do you need to fix your ship?” the sergeant asks as they enter the workshop. The rows of shelving in the room hold extra sheets of metal, along with various screws and bolts, but no real heavy machinery. The second guard grumbles about sharing their limited supplies with the intruders, but orders are orders.
“Well, we have to see what you have here. You know, look around and see what might be useful,” Imogen replies breezily as she starts walking up and down the aisles. She continues rattling off pieces of obscure equipment and touching everything she can get her hands on, drawing all the attention to herself so that Lilly can slink off.
Lilly slips out of the workshop to do what she can for the raiders. Getting information on the facility is great, but what she would really like to do is sabotage whatever she can to make their attack easier. The workshop itself looks like it is primarily used for repairs, not manufacturing, so she does not think this is a useful place to start. There was a more promising room off of the supply area, though, so that is where she is headed.
As she carefully closes the workshop door behind her, she hears some shuffling and remembers there is someone out here. To her thinking, it is a weird political prison that uses its inmates for inventory, but there could be some worse treatment going on. Keeping her voice low, she asks the man, “What are you in for?” He is likely to get in more trouble than she is if they are overheard.
She inadvertently startles him, and he drops a box. Lilly cringes; that is more noise than she wanted. The prisoner glances around and lets out a breath, relieved that no guards have come to investigate. He crouches down and begins refilling the box with the items that rolled out of it. “Does it really matter?” he answers, looking up at Lilly. “They only care if you’re a Confederate. That’s the only thing that matters.”
“Okay, okay,” Lilly says, hushed.
“Is there any chance you could get me out of here?” the prisoner asks hopefully.
“Do you have any ideas?”
“I don’t know… I mean, there are only ten guards in the main room, and you look pretty tough.”
Lilly stifles an inappropriate laugh. She has already considered that idea and rejected it; it is just not viable without weapons. “What’s your name?” she asks.
“Just Stevenson here. But properly, I am the Doctor Right Honorable Stevenson the Second.”
This is one of Jimmy’s targets, but Lilly’s options are rather limited right now. “They don’t treat you very well, do they?” The poor fellow looks like he could stand to eat a bit more.
“Uh, no. It’s a secret prison. At least, I’m pretty sure it’s secret. I hadn’t heard about it.” What he does know, though, is how many guards and prisoners there are, and he is happy to share that information. “As for guards, it’s around a dozen, maybe a couple more. They brought in some extra help recently. Mainly they hang out in the common room, though there are always a few back near the prisoners and one or two in here. There’s not that many, and they cycle out after a month or so. They don’t keep them out here too long.” As for prisoners, there are only six others besides Stevenson and the one on broom duty.
“Any other ways in or out of this place besides the front door?” Lilly asks.
Stevenson thinks for a moment. “Not that I know of, but there’s got to be air vents, right? I doubt they’d be so dumb as to make them big enough for people, though.” He half-heartedly puts a few cans on a shelf. “We did have one creepy visitor a week or so ago,” he shares. “I only saw him briefly. You don’t get visitors to secret prisons; you don’t get courtesy calls. You don’t get anything. But he came in and got what he wanted apparently.”
“What did he look like?” Lilly asks, wondering if this was Neiman.
“A soldier. He was armed. But who comes into a prison armed?” The physical description Stevenson gives does indeed match the UED ghost.
“I don’t know if I can get you out, but be ready just in case I can think of something,” Lilly tells him.
“How about a big distraction? A fire? Can we start a fire? That might help.” Lilly shakes her head. She does not see how to make that work. “Who are you, anyway?” Stevenson asks. Growing hopeful, he drops his voice even lower. “Are you with the Confederate Resistance?” Lilly has no idea if she ever was. She gives Stevenson a non-answer and heads towards the utility room, ending the conversation for now. “But what do you want me to do?” the man calls after her.
“Shhh! Just act normal,” she hisses back. Stevenson looks anything but normal. He keeps glancing around nervously. It is just a matter of time before someone notices how spooked he is and wrings the whole story out of him. She is going to have to be quick about this. Lilly cracks her knuckles and sets to work on the lock.
The burner in the utility room looks old and gross. Maintaining it does not seem to have been a high priority. Piping runs all over the room, disappearing into the walls to take heat and electricity throughout the facility. She steps over to the dusty old computer terminal attached to the furnace system. If she can schedule a maintenance shutdown, that could create confusion right when Jimmy’s crew will be busting in. Lilly gets into the computer easily enough, but the system is slow and unresponsive. Unfortunately, it is also connected to the larger network. She learns this when she is suddenly shut out of the system.
Crap! Lilly needs to get out of the room quickly before her network intrusion can be tied to her person. She pauses only long enough to mess with the lock on her way out. If nothing else, she can at least make it easier for the next person to pick, in case the raiders need to do something in here. She hears a clatter behind her and spins around. Stevenson has made a mess again.
His voice is shaking as he peppers her with questions. “Are you getting me out of here? Is it now? Are we going now?”
“No.” The man looks crest-fallen. “Can you hide stuff?” she asks.
“Like a phone.”
“You have a comm? Just let me try to call my family. Just let me make a quick call,” he begs.
Lilly feels bad for the guy. “Oops, looks like I dropped my phone,” she says, handing it to him. “Just leave it on that box,” she adds, pointing to a place she can pick it up later. Then she returns to the workshop.