FRAWD Investigators: The Ambush | Scene 2

Once Imogen is gone, Lilly steps over to Saffron’s computer to begin her search for a good planet to throw to the zerg. Where does Mengsk live? she thinks grumpily, but of course Korhal is out of the question for this job. In a funk, she picks up her comm and gives Malorn a call. He always makes her feel better.

“Ah, Lilly Washington,” Malorn answers. The terrans had said it might be a week or so before he could find out more about a potential job with one of their contacts. “Is your friend ready to have me start killing things?”

Not wanting to get into the whole mess with Durian, Lilly dismisses the question the way she does so many others, by agreeing. “Sure! But we need your help finding a planet.”

“What, did you lose one? I knew terran star charts were bad, but…” 

“No, we need a place that doesn’t have zerg or terrans but could have had a Xel’naga device. Do you know about Xel’naga?” Lilly asks him. There is some strange thumping in the background on his side of the line, but she cannot quite place what it is.

“Yes, I’m familiar with the supposed progenitors of the protoss species,” Malorn replies. His tone drips with the same scorn it does when he speaks of zerg or terrans. “What do you need this planet for?”

“I don’t know,” Lilly’s says, her back to the science station. “Imogen’s got some big plan. Maybe we’re blowing something up? Or maybe we’re luring somebody there? I didn’t quite… It was a long plan,” she admits in a small voice.

“If you’re going to blow up a planet and you want one that is somehow maybe connected to the Xel’naga, I suggest the tal’darim homeworld. It is teeming with fools beyond imagination who deserve nothing better than release from their slavery.”

“All right, what’s the coordinates on that one?” Malorn is quick to transmit them. “And what’s the population?”

“Five billion souls, but only a few warriors.”

“You got anything less populated than that?” Lilly asks. “I don’t think that’s what Imogen had in mind.”

“Ah, you want loosely populated worlds because you don’t want to be found out. Very well…” Malorn provides two possibilities. Cyandor is mostly a frozen wasteland, but protoss did colonize it at one point in the past. Stryko II, on the other hand, is a temperate world, uncolonized as far as he knows. “But what do you need this for? Are you hurting things? Stabbing them?” Malorn may be over Len’dasha, but he clearly still needs to work out some anger over that matter.

“Um… she mentioned finding a planet and maybe calling Earth with a Xel’naga device?” Egon’s concoction may have helped Lilly with her hangover, but it is doing no nothing for her already unreliable memory.

“Are you looking for an artifact?” Malorn asks with disappointment. “I’m not much of an archaeologist. That is beneath me, frankly. But these various shrines are often guarded by some ancient devices.”

“Oh, no! I remember now. We’re laying an ambush on the planet. Later on we’re going to steal the Xel’naga thing from some place.”

“Ah! An ambush!” Lilly hears excitement in Malorn’s voice for the first time this whole conversation. “Who are we ambushing?”

“Did you ever hear about Neiman?” Lilly asks. The name means nothing to Malorn, though. ”He’s a ghost from Earth,” Lilly explains.


“You want in?”


“All right! Where are you now?”

“Doesn’t matter,” Malorn replies. Wherever it is, he is not engaged enough to want to remain. He is not alone there, though. Lilly realizes what she has been occasionally hearing is the sound of flesh on flesh, as though someone is throwing punches.

“Well, let me pick a planet with Imogen, and I’ll call you back so you can meet us there.”

“Very well.”

“It was good talking with you,” Lilly adds with a smile, feeling much better with the prospect of another friendly face joining this job.

“I look forward to fighting by your side.”

Before Malorn disconnects, Lilly hears a bell ringing from his side of the connection. Ding! Ding! Ding! “That’s it, folks! Total knockout!” a distant voice shouts. Maybe he’s watching a boxing match, Lilly thinks. “Mal Ornery in the corner!” Oh, he’s in the boxing match.