FRAWD Investigators: The Ambush | Scene 3

Imogen heads to Egon Stetmann’s science lab after the planning session with Lilly. Before she even reaches the door, she smells burning chemicals from his latest experiment. Imogen picks up her pace, bursting into the lab to see what has gone wrong. Egon spins around when she enters but does not shriek in surprise. Behind him, some sort of biological sample is in a flask over heat, smoke billowing up from it. “Ah! Imogen, no, stay right there!” he cautions her. “This is probably dangerous to breathe in.”

“Then shouldn’t you be wearing a respirator?”

“Yes! Yes, I should.” Egon nods vigorously but then rambles on about how he did not have one on hand when the idea came to him. He spins back around to make a few more adjustments.

Imogen takes advantage of his absorption in his work to make her way over to the fully assembled Xel’naga artifact. Given how it jolted her when only partially assembled, she first tries to look over Egon’s research notes. However, he keeps them well secured, and all she manages to do is lock down the computer for fifteen minutes in response to her failed login. Egon does not notice, too immersed in his work. Imogen leaves the computer alone for now, turning her attention to the device itself.

There are far more pieces than last time, and they all hover together forming a sort of rectangular prism. It is dark blue, but where the pieces sit against each other, a lighter blue illuminates the cracks. Before Imogen steps over the railing to reach the artifact, she pauses for a moment to try to construct the psionic barrier that Blight taught her to build. She does not want to end up passed out again, but she does want to know what the device does. Thus prepared, she draws close enough to lay her hands upon the artifact, positioning them each at a glowing fracture so that she can touch four pieces at once. Her arms are so stretched out to accomplish this that she is practically hugging the artifact. 

With the physical contact, Imogen’s mental defenses melt away. Having already established some connection with the artifact in the past, she is not able to close her mind off from it. She knows far more about navigating the psionic landscape now, though. Enough, in fact, to control where it takes her. This time, she looks back through the artifact’s experiences. Far back, way beyond its collection by Jimmy’s crew.

The complete device lands on the surface of a planet with a jarring bump. Plants and animals surround it, but there is no sign of recognizable sentient life. Crackles of light arc out from the device, radiating insane amounts of energy. Wherever an arc lands, dark stone structures warp in. Although they do not have the blue and brass sheen of protoss architecture, they do have a similar style. The power involved is immense; these structures are coming from clear across the sector. But the device itself is not the source of power, just the conduit. Eventually, it overheats—in some sense—and separates into pieces. It must recover before it can channel such energy to enable warping again. And so it does. Over and over again through the ages.

Imogen snaps back to awareness of Egon’s lab, a little overwhelmed by the sheer amount of power she just felt. She remembers some of the protoss on Browder II talking about different sources of psionic power. The nerazim, the so-called dark protoss, tap into a different sort of energy than the Aiur protoss do. Whatever those pools of energy are, this artifact is a means for tapping into one of them. This is orders of magnitude above using a torn cloaking glove and Old Red’s engine to channel psionic power, but Imogen is confident she can succeed at it when the time comes. It is just a matter of psionically priming the conduit—like sucking on a siphon to get liquid moving. Then the massive amounts of energy can flow.

And with that power… she could fix so many things. Enough to send a message back to Earth, yes, but what if she had continuous access to this artifact? What more could she do? The first time she interacted with just a piece of the artifact, the vision she had was of the Queen of Blades, but momentarily she saw the terran Sarah Kerrigan as well. Could I use this power to save Aiden? To save Ted? To heal Lilly’s mind? Or Frank’s? All those people who have had their personalities ripped away from them by the Dominion or by the zerg… This could be enough power to psionically fix all the people scarred by what has happened to the sector.