“Narud’s gonna die in there,” Lilly says with a shake of her head as Imogen treats her injuries back on Saffron. If she, healthy as she is, could not safely make the dash through the laser room, no way is some old guy starved from years in a crappy prison.
Imogen shrugs. “All we can do is trust him to know his work.” She feels morally bound to save him, but she has done as much as she can from this side. Assuming he can make it as far as their rescue trap, though, there are still some final touches to take care of. Malorn cannot be entrusted with rescuing Narud from the trap; he would find it beneath him.
Using the ship’s sensors, she and Lilly run a targeted geological sweep on the subterranean environment around the ruins. They find a network of flooded caves that connects a swampy area further down the coast to the cavern under the temple. The distance, while not necessarily swimmable for a malnourished scientist, is definitely doable for Lilly. It will require that she spend a fair bit of time underwater holding her breath though, since some of the tunnels are completely flooded. They decide the best way to guarantee Narud makes it safely through the tunnels is to use the SCV suit. Although it is not designed for water use, it is sealed against vacuum and has an air supply. If Narud is inside it, Lilly can simply drag him back with her. Imogen even hooks one of their breath masks up to its tank so that Lilly need not rely on her own lungs while submerged.
One catch is that the sensors also pick up some large life signs in the area. “What are we going to do about these crocodiles, or whatever they are?” Imogen asks. “Irradiate them?” It is not the most environmentally friendly approach, but neither is calling the zerg down on this island, and she has already done that.
Lilly reviews the data. These seem to be some sort of extra large crustacean. They remind her of the delicious scantid dinner she enjoyed while they camped out on Korhal. She wonders how these lobster-like creatures would taste. Sadly, though, there will not be time to find out. More to the point for the matter at hand, though, she suggests she simply lure them away from the cave. Better for her to toss some fish at them then to use up a charge from Saffron’s reactor. If the zerg get over-excited, she and Imogen might need the irradiator to get out of here.
When they have finished working out all those details, Imogen contacts Malorn. She gives him the rundown on what they encountered in the ruins and instructs him on where to position himself.
Lilly’s advice to her battle buddy is, “Run!”
“Why would I run from some antiquated piece of junk?” he demands.
“To maintain the ruse that will trick the foolish terran ghost,” Imogen tells him, mindful of his biases. “And remember: in this ambush, the kill is not yours. You just need to toy with Neiman.”
“Fine but if he bleeds out, that is your own fault,” Malorn grumbles. Imogen reminds him one last time that the ghost is the target, not the scientist with him. “Very well,” he tells her, “I will lie in wait for this trap, but if he is so foolish as to not even stumble into it, I will bring the trap to him.”
“And the comms don’t work down there,” Imogen warns him, “so we can’t be in touch until we’re all above ground again.”