Almost no buffer left... I`m going to need taking some sick days...
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I suspect Kor'la is telling a selective version of the truth here.
As others have noted, the lever is likely the seat ejector. Using that will depressurize the cabin, on account of the ejector causing the cabin to open one way or another.
The loss of the passenger, seat, and cockpit hatch will reduce the mech's weight, allowing for it to go faster.
When Kor'la says that they're going to do a parable flight, did he mean that their going to do a parabola flight?
Calling it now...
Kor'la is tricking her into using a ejection seat. the depressurization of the cabin, loss of weight, allowance of fullest speed... it can only mean he is removing somewhere around two hundred pounds by ejecting her and the seat.
whether or not he exits, is dependant on whether or not she grabs him and takes him with her, or if he doesn't jump on with her.