FRAWD Investigators: The Ambush | Scene 7

The terran settlement is a very small scale operation. A lot of work here is done by hand, and the farmer that Imogen and Lilly target is actively hoeing a small plot. No one they have observed has weapons, so they leave their own holstered and out of the way. Imogen takes a deep breath and strides out to talk with the farmer. “Good day to you,” she says, all friendly.

Nonetheless, the woman is startled. “Who are you?” she demands. 

“I’m Imogen and this is Lilly. What’s your name?” Imogen continues, a smile on her face.

“What do you want?”

“Your name, for starters.”

“I’m Denise,” the farmer replies reluctantly. “How did you get here?”

“We’ve got a ship, a small one,” Imogen replies modestly.

“Why are you here?”

“To be honest, we’re here because we’re a little alarmed to find that there’s a terran settlement here. We wanted to find out what you’re doing here.”

“We’re just living our lives, just trying to stay out of the way, okay?” the farmer replies, sounding much aggrieved. “We don’t want any trouble with anybody. You from the Dominion?”

“I don’t work for them, but it’s a large sector. It’s hard to avoid having been through their space,” Imogen points out.

Lilly’s answer is more succinct. “No.”

“The Dominion’s not planning on moving in here, are they?” Denise asks.

“No, not the Dominion—”

“Well, that’s good,” the farmer says, letting out a sigh of relief.

“—but there are zerg on the way,” Imogen finishes.

Denise’s eyes go wide. “Wh-wh-what do you mean, zerg? Why are they coming here? There’s nothing they would want here!”

“There are some ruins here. Have your people looked at them?”

“No! It’s spooky, it’s scary. Somebody checked them when we first got here, and it did not end well. So we stay away from those. Those are just trouble.”

“Agreed. But that’s why the zerg are coming.” In a roundabout fashion, Imogen’s answer is honest. It is just missing a few links, such as her own responsibility for this situation.

“Why are you here if the Swarm is coming here?! Are you infested?”

“No, we were just trying to make sure no terrans were here. But it seems like there are.” Denise asks who they work for, and Imogen produces a Lost & Found business card. “We’re in business for ourselves.”

“We don’t have any credits,” Denise insists. “We can’t pay you.”

“We’re not interested in your money,” Imogen reassures her. “But we’d like to see if there’s a way to get you all off this island before the zerg get here.”

“How soon is soon? Like right now? Should I harvest these crops or not?” the farmer asks, looking down around her at her work. “I might have some tiny little potatoes ready.”

“You have more than hours, but not days. How attached are you to your settlement? Why did you build it in this location? There are plenty of other little islands around,” Imogen observes. Denise shares its main quality, a good deal of flat space.

The zerg tend to linger wherever they go, even once they have achieved their goal. That is why some can still be found on Mar Sara, after all. But this planet’s island nature is a mark in its favor. Although some zerg like mutalisks can fly, not many can swim. Provided these people relocate far enough away, they are unlikely to be troubled by any stragglers after the Queen of Blades deals with Neiman. Unfortunately, this settlement has no council or even appointed leader to make collective decisions for the group.

“It’s not safe for you to stay on this island. It is the Swarm; there is no stopping the Swarm,” Imogen tells Denise bluntly. In truth, it will just be a small, surgical strike team of zerg, but one entirely focused right here. “Their objective is the ruins on this specific island.” Nevermind that it is Imogen and Lilly’s fault that those ruins are the target. “If any of the vessels that you’ve repurposed here are still functional, you should power those up and move to a different island. We’ve got a small ship, and we’re willing to ferry people to another island. There’s a limit, though, on how much supplies we can move. But we do have a sophisticated sensor suite. We can run a sweep to find another island similar to this one. And just to be clear, we are not asking for any kind of payment,” Imogen adds. No, just a soothed conscience.

“We’re just looking to help,” Lilly says, backing up her partner.

That is good enough for Denise, who feels no strong ties to the land other than her potato crop. Enough of the vessels here can still fly, and those have ample room for all the residents. In the two years they have been here, their population has not expanded much. Denise puts her hoe over her shoulder to head into the encampment and spread the news. She is not sure if everyone will sign on but is unconcerned about the fate of those who would choose to remain. “If people don’t agree, that’s their choice,” she says with a shrug. “If they want to stay here, they can stay here.”

Imogen does not share that attitude. “Lilly, go take care of the sensor sweep,” she orders. “I’m going to stay to talk to people.”