When Lilly heads down the factory hallway the engines are straining, creating noise to cover her return to the break room. It also obscures the words she hears as she passes the stairs up to the engine room. She identifies three distinct voices, so probably Naja and Kofi are still where she left them, but she has no idea what the flight crew are saying. Lilly strolls into the rec room and finds that the ship’s alarm has had a bit of a sobering effect. Klaxons and flashing lights will do that.
“We gotta deal with that alarm!” Naja holds her head as she lurches to her feet. Kofi just groans to himself about Cold Fusion headaches. Naja comes to a jerky halt upon remembering their guest. “Lilly, are you all right?”
“Yeah. Everybody went up there.” Lilly gestures in the direction of the access to the next level.
“Okay… We gotta…” Naja shakes her head to try to clear it. “Sorry, you can’t just be wandering around. You’re not a member of the crew anymore.” She does not know how far into the ship Lilly went, but her former crewmate is near the corridor. There are things Naja does not want Lilly to find out here.
Lilly nods. “Got it.”
Naja pulls out her radio and shouts into it, “Booker, what’s our status? We’re flying? What’s going on?”
His voice crackles back, “Yeah, fog rolled in and Marshall claims he saw some kind of weird zerg. It’s not worth taking any risks. We’re just moving back a bit. We should be okay, but we thought we saw some zerg flyers. Jan’s going to keep a look out for those. Marshall is shutting down the klaxons, or at least he will when he calms the hell down.”
Naja lets out a breath in relief as she drops her arm back down to her side. She clips her comm back to her belt. “Sounds like he’s got that handled.” Kofi pulls himself to his feet and stumbles over to the sideboard to get some coffee brewing. Naja looks around, lost for a moment. “What were we…?” Her eyes settle on Lilly. “Did you want something?”
Lilly smiles broadly. “You know what you need for that headache…”
“No,” Naja flatly declares, “I do not need more Cold Fusion.”
Lilly laughs. “Hair from the dog that bit you, remember?”
“Nope. No!” Naja straightens up a bit, anger helping her focus more. “You got me drunk on purpose! What is it that you want, Lilly?”
What do I want? Lilly wonders briefly. Imogen wants a distraction, and this one has been pretty fun so far. “I want to drink some more,” she says brightly. Worst case scenario is I end up in the brig and just escape through the hole Imogen’s brother made.
Naja looks at Lilly, eyes narrowed. All the earlier alcohol is still muddling her senses, but Booker has everything under control upstairs, so she agrees. “Fine. One more. But you first. And I know you weren’t drinking all those!” She tosses a can to Lilly. “Catch up!”
Lilly does not protest; it is true she was cheating. She downs the can and shows Naja it is empty. Then the two sit down across the table from each other. Gone is the jovial pounding back of beers. Now there is intense sipping and seething glares. Lilly had forgotten what an angry drunk Naja can be, but at least the Cold Fusion is still really nice. Kofi does not join this round, busy as he is trying to sober up.
Once that can is finished, Lilly ratchets up her only partially-faked drunkenness and pushes herself to her feet, heading over to get some coffee from the corner to fuel a messy distraction. Spilling it all over the floor should suit Imogen’s needs, she figures. Lilly takes a swig of coffee herself and then enacts her plan, but when she does the spill, she tilts in a way that exposes what is in her backpack.
Naja stands up, slamming the table with her palm. “Pilfering one of our spidermines, huh?” Lilly swears under her breath, righting herself quickly. “You know, there were a lot of rumors when you left the crew. Didn’t peg you for a thief, but here we are.”
“I’m not a thief,” Lilly says reflexively.
“That spidermine says differently.” Naja’s hand is on the butt of her pistol, which is not great, but at least she is facing away from the hallway and the brig. “What do you think you’re doing here, coming onto my… ship—factory—whatever!” Naja sputters angrily.
Oh! The comm, Lilly thinks, remembering that she is supposed to click it. She tries to surreptitiously reach for the unit, but Naja misreads the movement. Suddenly her pistol is out, and a warning shot pings off the shotgun holstered at Lilly’s hip. This is followed by more shouting, but at least Lilly has slapped her comm and notified Imogen that a distraction is well underway.
“Whoa!” Kofi cries startled in the corner when the lieutenant shoots at their visitor. He drops his drink and pulls his own gun, pointing it at her as well. “Surrender now!” he orders.
I can take a few pistol hits, Lilly thinks, and this is certainly distracting. Probably not what Imogen had in mind, though. She knows two-on-one is generally not a good scene, but she has backup the pirates do not know about. Still, not getting shot is preferable. Lilly throws up her hands.
Jackson’s Revenge is refueling in Dead Man’s Port. Lilly’s backpack is stuffed with whatever she could get her hands on: random tech doodads, credits, weaponry. In an earlier age, it would be called loot. From the doorway of her room, she hears someone ask, “What you got there?”
She turns around quickly and sees a man with light brown skin and spiky black hair. “Jackson’s got me doing inventory and dividing the shares,” Lilly lies to Booker. “I don’t know why he picked me; I’m not that good at it. Real boring. I wish it was beer. I’ll have to catch up on the drinking later.”
Booker narrows his eyes at her, but just says, “All right,” and continues down the hall. He certainly does not trust Lilly, but he cannot prove anything, not right now.
Naja asked about the spidermine, and Lilly plays innocent. “Whoa! Whoa! Lieutenant, I brought it with me,” she says, lying baldly.
Naja’s gun is a rather old-fashioned revolver. She recocks it. “Bullshit!” she snaps. “I recognize the Earth logos on there. I want your surrender. Turn around. On your knees!”
What, so you can shoot me in the back of the head? Lilly thinks. She knows better than to trust an angry, drunk pirate. Naja’s menacing air is undercut when the ship’s lurching flight sends her drunkenly stumbling, but she catches herself on the edge of the table. By the time she has her gun back up, Lilly’s shotgun is in hand.