"I thought you two might be behind this. You really thought I would just jump off my ship without even trying to put a fire out?" he sneered.
"Um, I kinda hoped you would. Guess not?" The sword was making me nervous. No, nervous isn't the word. More like TERRIFIED FOR MY LIFE! I attempted to keep cool, but I was panicking. At the end of the little aisle of crates stacked from floor to ceiling, I was completely trapped.
"Lensfun! Drop the sword!" I almost collapsed with relief. Xonos stood behind the pirate, with his pistol leveled straight at him. "Seriously, Xonos? A stun blaster? I thought you could do better than that." He turned to face Xonos, keeping the sword pointed at me.
"Let. Her. Go." Xonos said through clenched teeth. "Now." "You know I can't do that. I have orders to follow, same as you. Now, back away and you can have a lifeboat. Go on back to your Resistance. I won't stop you."
"Orders from who? The Usurper?! " He spat the words out. "Hey, you know I work both sides! The Blue Vigilante, remember? I'm neutral." "Yeah? You think you can stay neutral after this? You're an Imperial now, Lensfun. I have orders to make sure she gets back safe."
"It seems we're at an impasse, then. You won't back down, and I can't back down. You know how these deals work, XD. I blow this, and I'm on Zaul's list. She can get herself out later, can't she?"
As they talked, I searched for an opening. No spaces atop the towering crate stacks to climb through, no room to run past Awesome while he was distracted. Wait, towering crates.......
"You've got one choice, XD. Leave now, and I can guarantee you safe passage back to NML. Otherwise..." he shifted his grip on the cutlass while keeping it pointed towards me. "We might have to fight it out. And swords in a small space could get dangerous."
I readied myself to knock over the crates, when I heard Xonos say something that completely shocked me. "I'll come with you. The Empire wants me way more than her, and you'll probably get paid at least three times as much. Let her go, give her a lifeboat, and I'll come with you." The pirate lifted his eyebrows. "No fight? You'll just come?" "If you promise to let her get back safe."
I was completely gobsmacked. Then I got my head back, and shouted, "DUCK!" Xonos leapt backwards as I kicked the stack of crates, and as Awesome glanced up, shocked. The crates came crashing down on him.
"Run!" We sped away from the storage area and the groaning Lensfun, and jumped into a lifeboat. Luckily, it was the captain's private, specially-outfitted lifeboat, and as such it had a motor.
We finally arrived back in No Man's Landing after sundown. We hadn't said much on the way over, but now I ventured the question.
"Why did you do that? They would've...." I trailed off. "Thank you. That was really....chivalrous." He seemed to smile under his mask. "Of course! But seriously, don't tell ANYONE. I mean it. I'd never hear the end of it...."