"The Ambassadors of Arus."

Story by Adele
Story Copyright 2002
A story based on the series, "Voltron, The Third Dimension"

The characters of Voltron are the property of World Event Productions.  All other characters are the copyright of Adele.  Please do not use them without asking for permission.  Thank you.


Chapter 29
Going Home... at Last

The sun rose once again on Zorn.  Lance had gotten everyone up early to pack up the tents and make ready to return home.

Keith, meanwhile, wanted one last visit with Amy.  He felt he owed it to her, somehow.

He sighed as he knelt down to the bump of dirt, beneath which, she had been laid to rest.  He spent another waking night, this time, to carve a cross for her gravesite.

On the return from the lake yesterday, he had found two very large pieces of wood.  He picked them up in his arms and carried them back to camp with him.

While everyone slept, he had cut them both down, and formed them together, making a cross. He used a knife to carve an inscription into it. It said simply:


Keith pounded it into the ground at the head of her grave.  Pausing to regard it for a moment, he nodded at his achievement.  He knew she would have liked it.

"Amy..." Keith quietly whispered. "I know you'll be happy here.  It'sprobably one of the only places that you truly found happiness amongst a people who looked up to you more than you'll ever know.   I'll miss you, my friend.  And I promise I'll never forget you, Amy. "

He stood up, taking a few steps backward. Tears began to form in his eyes. "I promise..." He repeated again softly.  He snapped a formal military salute to her grave, remaining in that position for several seconds before relaxing.  He then turned and left her there to her eternal rest.

Back at the lions, Lance, Allura, Hunk and Pidge awaited the return of their leader.  Lance knew where Keith had gone, but didn't tell the others.  Keith made him promise not to tell them, because he thought that they'd only worry.  So, Lance said that Keith had gone for a jog
to limber up for the long voyage home.

Princess Allura was worried anyway "Lance, Blue Lion still isn't up to full power.  How are we going to get back through the asteroid belt?" she asked.

"Don't worry, Princess.  Keith has a plan in mind, I'm sure." Lance reassured her.

"Did someone call my name?" Keith said, approaching his team from behind. "Sorry I'm late, team!" Then he turned to Hunk. "Are we set?"

"Ready and raring to go, chief!" Hunk replied. "All we need is your green light!"

Keith looked up into the blue sky of Zorn. He closed his eyes for a moment, as everyone watched him.

"Keith?" Allura asked. "Are you okay?"

The Voltron Commander simply took in a deep breath, then slowly exhaled it.  He opened his eyes and looked at everyone.

He nodded slowly. "Let's get out of here, team.  Let's... go home." he simply said.

"ALL RIGHT!" shouted Pidge and Hunk, as they took off running for their lions.

Lance and Allura tagged along side by side with their Commander.

Lance looked at him. "Sure you're okay, boss?" Lance asked. "I was worried about you for awhile, Keith."

Keith stopped dead in his tracks and looked at Lance. "Well, bless me!  I've heard it all!" he said dryly, intending to tease Lance.

"What are you talking about?" Lance quizzed.

"I've lived to see the day where Lance Andrews actually thought of someone else other than himself for a change!" Keith joked.

"Oh, ha ha, Keith!  Very funny!  You know, you missed your calling in life!  You should have been a comedian!" Lance sarcastically replied, walking right past Keith, and headed for Red Lion. "Big jerk...!" Lance mumbled to himself, smiling all the way.

Keith laughed out loud. It was a sound that was music to Allura's ears.  It was good to see him laugh, after all that he had been through.  Keith was still snickering, when he caught a glimpse of  Allura's gaze.

He slowly stopped laughing and just looked at her standing there.  The Zorn sun was shining through her blonde hair, which was still hanging around her shoulders. She hadn't yet put it up in a bun, as she normally would have.

She looked beautiful...

Keith gently smiled at her, then extended his elbow toward her.  "Princess Allura, may have the honor of escorting you to your lion?"  he said, with a mock old English accent.

She smiled, "Why yes, Commander Keith. I would be delighted!"

She latched onto his elbow with her hand, and the two of them walked cheerfully toward Blue Lion.

Inside Green Lion, Pidge opened a COM link to Hunk. "Hey, get a load of Keith and the Princess!"

Hunk sighed. "Ah, yes... young love.  Ain't it grand?" He then snickered.

Lance also added his two cents worth of comments. "Well, maybe she can distract him long enough to get us out of some of those grueling Lion practice routines!"

"Fat chance!" Pidge laughed. "He might be preoccupied, but he's still got duty on the brain!"

"Yep," Hunk added. "That'll never change!"

The three men laughed aloud as they watched Keith help Allura into her Blue Lion.  He then turned and ran for Black Lion, which was conveniently parked right next to Blue Lion.

Moments later, Keith came on over the COM, "Okay team.  We've got a long journey ahead of us.  So let's get going.  Next stop Planet Arus!"

An assortment of cheers
and whistles came over the
COM, as Keith gave the order.
"Insert keys, and lift off!"

The robot lions came alive
with a roar, and immediately
lifted off.  

Within minutes,
they were leaving
orbit of Planet Zorn...
heading home.

They were several hours into their return flight to Arus.  The asteroid belt was approaching on their monitors once again.

Allura was getting nervous, as they drew closer toward it.

"Okay everyone.  Listen up!" Keith said firmly. "We have to protect the Blue Lion from further damage. Pidge... how's the Blue Lion's shields?"

"Well, they're okay...but they can't take too much of a pounding." Pidge advised.

"What's the plan, Keith?" Allura asked.

"The plan is for Red and Green Lions to take the lead. Yellow Lion and Black Lion will hang behind with Blue Lion.  We'll guide Blue Lion through this." Keith advised. "Hunk, are you ready?"

"You bet, Commander!  I'm ready!"
Then, Hunk said to Allura.
"Princess, don't you worry!
Old Hunk will make sure you
make it out in one piece!"

"Thank you, Hunk!" Allura replied.
"I have all the confidence in the world
that you will!"

"Okay.  Green Lion, Red Lion, move out!" Keith commanded.

Green Lion headed in first, followed by Red Lion.
"Hunk, extend your
shields to maximum.
You and I are going
to act like a blanket, and
cover up the Blue Lion."

"Gottcha!" Hunk replied,
activating his shields for
wide-angle coverage.

"Princess, I know you don't have much, but activate your shields too.  And I want you to be our second pair of eyes.  Got it?" Keith said to Allura.

"Got it!" she replied. "I'm ready!"

"Watch your arm too!" Pidge replied. "Don't try to use it too much.  Just let us do most of the work, okay?"

"Okay." Allura replied. "Let's do it!"

"Okay...let's go in!" Keith said, taking a deep breath and exhaling it quickly.

They moved their lions into the belt.

They carefully avoided several asteroids that were whizzing past them at a fast pace.  Sweat was pouring down Hunk's face, as he intensely concentrated on the task of getting out in one piece.

Keith was monitoring the progression of Green and Red Lions as well.  "Okay everyone! We're doing fine!" he encouraged.

Inside Blue Lion, Allura resisted the urge to close her eyes in fright.   She knew she couldn't let her team down...not when they needed her most. If she made even one mistake, it could mean the destruction of all five of the robot lions.  With an incredible amount of concentration, she called out the coordinates for each asteroid heading in their direction.

Keith watched as each one came by, and in some cases, missing them by inches. "All right. Just a few more yards, and we're home free!" Keith said.

Meanwhile, Green and Red Lions came out of the belt, turned and waited on the other side for their friends.

Suddenly, Hunk bellowed out loud, "Asteroid!  Look out!" It came out of nowhere, and was missed by all of them.

"Slow up!" Keith shouted, as he tried to reverse the lion thrusters.  Suddenly, Keith saw it... and Hunk was its target. "Yellow Lion!  Watch out!  It's heading right for you!"

Before Keith could say another word, the stray asteroid smashed into the Yellow Lion with an incredible force.

"YEA-A-A-OW!" Shouted Hunk, as Yellow Lion took a direct hit.

Black Lion and Blue Lion both were shaken violently from the impact, as the shields absorbed the impact.  Blue Lion's shields buckled.

"My shields!" Allura alerted Keith as she watched her power gages drop. "I'm down to less than twenty percent power!"

"Hunk!  Hunk!" Keith shouted over the COM. "Are you okay, big guy?  Answer me!"

Inside Yellow Lion, Hunk rubbed his head. When the asteroid impacted his lion, his head slammed backward into his chair.  He shook his head clear.

"HUNK!" Keith shouted more fiercely. "DO YOU READ ME?"

"I'm here, chief!" Hunk shouted back.

Another asteroid slammed hard into them, this time, striking Blue Lion directly in the front. Yellow Lion's shields had dropped off their protective covering of the Blue Lion, and the Black Lion's were spread out too thinly to do the job all on its own. 

When the asteroid struck Blue Lion, the impact delivered a penetrating blow, violently shaking
all three lions; worst of all, Blue Lion.

"AH-H-H-H!" Allura screamed, as her console exploded in front of her.

She brought her arms up in front of her face, in an attempt to shield herself from the exploding pieces of the panel, now being hurled throughout the cockpit.

"PRINCESS!" Keith shouted again through the COM, realizing what had happened. "WHAT'S GOING ON OVER THERE?"  He was slamming his fists into his panel, frustrated that he lost her image on the ultra wave. "STATUS REPORT, BLUE LION!" he shouted once again.

"FIRE!" Allura shouted, panic radiating in her voice. "FIRE!   I HAVE FIRE IN THE COCKPIT!"

"What the...?" shouted Lance. "I'm coming in!"

Keith shouted at Lance. "Red Lion...maintain position!"

Lance grunted at his Commander's request to remain where he was, but followed the order, never the less.

"Princess!  Kick in your emergency sprinkler switch!  Hurry!" shouted Pidge as he hurriedly attempted a systems scan on the Blue Lion.

Allura shielded her face again as she leaned over.  She saw the switchbut it was engulfed in flames.  Having no alternative, she mustered up her courage and quickly thrusted her good arm towards the flaming panel. She screamed, as the flames set her uniform on fire.

The others heard her anguishing scream.


"Princess!  What's happening?" Keith shouted, feeling helpless that her ultra wave was shorted out, and he couldn't see what was going on over there.  "Blue Lion!  Come in!"

The Blue Lion's emergency sprinkler system kicked on, sending cold water squirting everywhere. But the damage was already done.  The lion's systems were shutting down, one by one.

Allura began clawing at the burned area of her uniform, wincing in pain, as it rubbed against her damaged skin. She quickly rolled up her sleeve to separate the charred uniform from her arm.

"Allura!  Come in Allura!" Keith shouted. "Are you okay?"

"Yes!" she agonized. "I... I had to turn on the sprinkler, but the lever was in flames... so I..."

"Are you hurt?" Keith shouted.

"I think it's only a first degree burn," she said bravely, gritting her teeth together. "It's okay!"

"Oh man!" Lance finished, feeling sympathy pains for her. "Princess!  Grab the First Aid kit!"

Suddenly, Pidge interrupted. "Keith!
Blue Lion's life supports are
disabled! She's losing air!
She'll suffocate in a matter of

"Hunk! Evasive maneuvers!
We've got to get Blue Lion
out of here,  now!" Keith shouted.
"Blow up the asteroids if you have to!  We're close to getting out of here!"

The two lions immediately huddled close around Blue Lion. "Allura!  Respond! Allura!" Keith shouted.

"I'm here, Keith!" she said.

"Listen to me carefully, Allura!  Forget the First Aid kit!  I need to you quickly get your jetpack on.  As soon as we're out of here, I need to you exit Blue Lion from the escape hatch. Get your mini oxygen tank and put it on immediately!"

"Where am I jetting off to?" she asked, confused by his request.

"I don't want you to panic...just listen! Pidge says that the blow you just took disabled your life support.  Blue Lion is going to run out of air very soon!  As soon as we clear the asteroids, I want you to jet over to Black Lion, as quick as you can!" He said.

"What about my lion?" she asked.

"Hunk and I will tow Blue Lion the rest of the way back to Arus.  Just do what I say, and don't delay, got it?"

"I understand, Keith!"
she said with a serious tone.

"Good!  Is your uniform
fit for space flight?" he asked,
concern that it might not
protect her in the icy cold space.

She looked down at it. "Yes... its okay!" she shouted, rolling her sleeve back down her arm and putting back on her flight glove.

"Good!  Leave this channel open, and get your jetpack, now!" Keith instructed.

Allura jumped up from her pilot chair and scooted to the back of the lion, grabbing her jetpack. She also reached for her oxygen tank.  She checked the gage.  Her face went paleshe gasped aloud...

"Keith!" Allura shouted, feeling sick to her stomach suddenly. "Bad news, Commander!  My mini oxygen tank...the activation knob is broken off!  Flying debris must have caused it to smash into something...damaging the valve!  I have no way to turn it on!  And I don't have a spare!"

"HUNK!" Keith shouted in the COM. "You were supposed to make sure all the lions had  spare oxygen tanks, before we left Arus!"

"I thought I did have one in the Blue Lion!" Hunk replied back, in a somewhat bewildered tone of voice. 

"Well, I'm not finding it, Hunk!" Allura interjected.  "Now what do I do, Keith?"

Keith gulped hard, now beginning to sweat as he was still concentrating on avoiding the last few asteroids coming toward them.

"Okay... new plan!" He shouted. "Lance!"

"Here, Keith!" Lance responded,
already in motion in Red Lion.
"I'm way ahead of you!"

Lance had already gotten his jetpack on, and grabbed both of his oxygen tanks. "I'm heading out!  I'm bringing my spare tank too!"

"Keith!" Pidge shouted over the COM. "Her air's almost out!"

Keith shook his head. "This can't be happening!" he thought.

He immediately shouted to Lance. "Hurry Lance!  We haven't much time!" he said to him. Then he called out to the Princess:  "Allura!  Listen very carefully to me!  I need you to do exactly as I say, understand?"

"Alright..." she said, her voice sounding like she was gasping for air.

"Allura... I'm sending Lance over to you with Red Lion's spare mini oxygen tank.  Now listen to me, Allura...when Lance opens the hatch,  the remaining oxygen is going to exit out into space.  I need you to remain calm, and allow Lance to hook up the tank to your suit.  Are you clear on this?"

"Yes!" she said, starting to feel lightheaded, as her oxygen supply dwindled away. "But he better hurry, Keith!  I'm struggling to breathe now!"

Yellow Lion and Black Lion emerged from the asteroid belt with Blue Lion between them.

Lance was already waiting outside of Red Lion, when they emerged from the asteroids.  He immediately headed to Blue Lion at full speed.

"Hang on, Princess!" Shouted Lance through his helmet COM. "I'm almost there!"

"Hurry, Lance!  Hurry!" she called out, now standing by the emergency hatch.

As Lance reached it, he signaled Allura. "Okay, get ready!  Take a deep breath!  I'm opening it up!"

Allura waited, trying to pant, so that she'd be ready to take a big breath before the air was all gone.

Lance, meanwhile, was struggling to get the door to budge.

"Princess!" he shouted over the COM, "Push from the other side!"

Allura moved immediately for the door, pushing from the inside as Lance pulled from the outside.

The door was jammed.

"What's wrong, Lance?" Keith called out from Black Lion.

In a frustrated voice, Lance grunted out loud, "It's... it's stuck!  The hatch is jammed!  I can't... get it open!"

Keith flew out of seat, running for his jetpack and his oxygen tank. 

He turned on his helmet COM. "I'm coming!"

He threw open the utility cabinet, and pulled out a small explosive and an ignition switch, tucking them both under his arm.

"Hurry, Keith!" Pidge warned. "She's running out of air now!"

"I KNOW!" Keith shouted at Pidge, frustrated that the door to Blue Lion was jammed. "JUST... keep me informed!" he said, trying to calm himself down.

"I can't lose you!" he thought of Allura. "I won't lose you!  Not when we've made it this far!"

Keith kicked open his cockpit hatch,
and jetted out of Black Lion, swooping
over next to Lance.

Lance eyed the explosive in his hands.
"What's this for? Keith... you can't..."

"We've got to get her out of there fast!" Keith shouted. "This is the only way, unless you've got a better idea!"

Lance's silenced his objections, realizing that Keith was right.  He nodded his head in agreement. "Go!" he agreed, stepping aside and letting Keith in.

Keith set the explosive on the hatch.  It was just enough to jar the door open.  He set the ignition switch, timing it for 10 seconds.  Then, before activating it, he called for Allura on the other side. "Princess!  Are you still with me?"

"Keith?" she said weakly, now gasping for air. "I...I..."

"Don't talk!  Get back from the hatch!  We're going to blow you out of there!" he warned.

She stumbled backward, "I feel...faint, Keith" she mumbled, taking short shallow breaths.

"Just stay with me a couple of seconds more!" he said, as he turned on the switch. The clock began its count down...

Keith grabbed Lance, pulling him back about ten feet away from the hatch.

"This has got to work...." Keith thought. "It's just got to!"

Inside Blue Lion, Allura could no longer hold onto consciousness.  She spent her last few breaths warning Keith...

"I... I...can't hold...on...I'm...Keith..."

Keith and Lance felt their hearts skip a beat as they heard a 'thud' sound through the COM. They both knew she had passed out.  They could only hope that she had backed away from the door far enough.

The clock counted down the last seconds...



The hatch blew open, and Keith and Lance immediately flew in.  With the coldness of space rushing into Blue Lion's cockpit, what little oxygen it had retained had rushed out as well.

Her body was floating freely inside.  Keith grabbed her and turned her around, pointing her face downward.  With lightning speed, Lance immediately hooked up the oxygen tank, and turned it on maximum.

Keith flipped Allura back over, face up, looking at her through her Lion helmet shield.  Her face had a blue tint to it.

Lance looked at her "Breath, Princess!  Come on...breathe!"

She wasn't breathing.

"Quick!" Keith said to Lance. "We've got to get her back to Black Lion!"

Both men grabbed her arms, and jetted out of Blue Lion.  As quick as they could, they jetted to Black Lion's cockpit hatch, and flew inside. 

Lance slammed the hatch shut as Keith held onto Allura.

"Lance!  Quick...pressurize the cabin!" he said, pointing to his lion console.

Lance jetted over to the Black Lion's console and flipped on the control for pressurization to begin.  Almost immediately, the cabin pressure stabilized, and the artificial air flowed freely from the cockpit vents, flooding it with breathable oxygen.

Keith knelt down, feeling the pressure of gravity on his body, and set the Princess gently on the floor. 

He immediately ripped his lion helmet from his head, and pulled Allura's off as well.  Tossing them both aside, he checked her pulse.

Lance ran over, and slid in on the other side of Allura.  Keith's face turned upward at Lance. "Nothing!  She's not breathing!  No heartbeat!  Start CPR!"

"Got it!" Lance shouted, clawing her jetpack off of her body, so that she would now be lying flat on the floor.  Keith reached down to her head, and tilted it upward in an arched position.

Lance started the heart massage, attempting to stimulate her heart to begin beating once again. Keith leaned over her face, locking his mouth over hers, deeply filling her lungs with air.

For nearly a minute, both men worked on her, trying desperately to get her to take a breath on her own.  Frustrated, Keith sat up straight, tears streaming from his eyes.

Lance continued CPR.

Keith started shouted at Allura... "You can't leave us!  Princess!  Can't you hear me?" He grabbed her shoulders and started shaking her violently, disrupting Lance's CPR technique.

"Do you hear me... Allura?" Keith shouted again at her still form. "You're not going to die on me!  I won't let you die!"

Without a second thought, Keith raised his hand. "Forgive me, Princess..." he said sorrowfully, and then started to abruptly slap her in the face.

The sudden motion startled Lance, and he turned to Keith in anger. "Keith!" he shouted. "Stop it!"

"You've...got...to...wake up...Allura!" Keith uttered with each striking blow.

Lance reached out and grabbed Keith's hand. "I said, STOP IT!"

"Let me go, Lance!" Keith shouted, trying to wrench his hand free.  Both men were struggling with each other.

Suddenly, Allura gasped out loud, her chest raising dramatically.  Keith and Lance stopped immediately, and looked at her.  Keith pulled his arm free from Lance, and gently shook the Princess.

"That's it, Allura!" Keith urged. "Come back to us!  Come on!  You can do it, Allura!"

She gasped again, and held it for a long moment.  Then, with a burst of forceful energy, she began to violently cough. 

Lance jumped up, running for the First Aid kit, where the portable medical oxygen mask
was.  He quickly pulled the kit apart, putting the mask on her face and turning on the oxygen.

Keith scooped her up and cradled her in his arms. "Yes!  That's it, Princess!" he cheered. "You're going to make it!"

Allura was still coughing when she opened her eyes and immediately saw Keith and Lance over top of her.

"That's it, Allura!  You did it!" Lance shouted, letting out a gleeful cheer.

Her eyes were tearing, and her face was red from both the slapping and the coughing...but she was alive.  As she started to take deep breaths, the coughing subsided. 

Lance jumped up to his feet. "I'll let Pidge and Hunk know she's okay!" he said, as he ran for the console COM.

Allura tried to say something, but Keith hushed her. "No, Princess.  Don't talk right now.  Just breathe." he said with a smile on his face.

She nodded, returning the smile, while mouthing a simple phrase "Thank you."

He continued to smile down at her. "You're welcome."

Then he gently pulled her close to him, holding onto the dear life he treasured more than his own.

She weakly tried to return the gesture, but found her arms to be numb from lack of circulation. She instead just allowed them to dangle to her sides.  Even the pain of the broken left arm was a welcomed feeling for her, as her circulation slowly returned.

Keith looked down, smiling once again at her. "You'll be okay, now." he gently encouraged. "You'll be okay."

She continued to breathe deeply from the oxygen mask.  Lance walked up next her, laying a reassuring hand on her head.  She brought her gaze up toward him, mouthing thank you to him as well.

Lance smiled, "Well, shucks, ma'am!" not resisting the urge to crack a joke to lighten the mood. "It was all in a day's work!"

Allura smiled back, and closed her eyes, feeling totally drained from the experience.  She was asleep in minutes.

Keith held her for a few moments, just watching her sleep.  It was the most wonderful feeling he had felt in the several days they had been on this mission.  He had let Allura down so many times while they were on Zorn, and caused her so much undue pain.  He felt redeemed of
his actions, and relieved that he had saved her yet again from certain death.

He looked to Lance, who was also watching her sleep peacefully. "Lance, set up some blankets over by my command chair.  I'm going to lie her over there, where I can look after her during the rest of the flight home."

"Sure thing.  Oh hey, you should probably call Arus and tell Coran to have Dr. Gorma waiting for us there." Lance advised.

"Good idea, Lance." Keith agreed.

Minute's later, Lance had a makeshift bed set up next to Keith's chair.  Keith gently picked Allura up from the floor and carried her over to it, gently lying her down on the mound of blankets.

Lance immediately covered her up with another blanket to keep her warm.

Both men stood up straight, looking down at the sleeping princess.  They exchanged warm looks with each other, their eyes conveying the thanks that no words could express.

Keith sighed aloud. "Okay...let's resume.  Lance, get back to Red Lion.  I'll put a tractor beam on the Blue Lion, and tow it back to Arus.  When we get toward the atmosphere, I'll extend my shields to protect it from further damage on re-entry."

"Got it." Lance said.

"Let's just hope Lotor isn't lurking around out there, or we're sunk!" Keith added as an after-thought.

"Yeah...me too." Lance agreed, as he grabbed his lion helmet, attaching his tank to it for oxygen flow.  He turned again to look at the Princess. "She is going to be okay, right?"

Keith nodded. "I think so.  But I won't feel better about it until she's fully checked over by Dr. Gorma."

"Me too." Lance said, as he headed for the hatch. Keith reached over to his console, activating a force shield that protected the Princess and himself, while Lance escaped from the hatch.

When the hatch had closed again, Keith watched his cockpit levels, waiting for the atmosphere to stabilize once again.  When he received the 'all-clear' indicator, he deactivated the shield, reopening the entire cockpit.

He sat down in his chair, taking his controls in hand.  He glanced down at the Princess.

"She's exhausted..." he thought. "She needs this.  She's hardly slept on this trip."

Keith then looked back to his controls.  Checking the star map, he could see they were close to home.  As he looked out the large, front monitor, he could see Arus, twinkling in the distancea mere tiny dot of light.

"Only a few more hours to home," he thought.

With a sudden sigh, he knew what he had to do next he had to alert Coran to their situation. "Well, I guess there's no time like the present." He said aloud, looked down again at Allura, and checking to make sure she was still all right. "Might as well get this over it with, and get yelled at now, instead of later."

Keith let out a loud sigh, knowing Coran was not going to take too kindly to the news that the Princess of Arus's Blue Lion was disabled, and the Princess, herself, would need medical attention. 

He could hear Coran now...

"Black Lion to Castle Control.  Come in Castle Control.  This is Commander Keith, come in Coran."

The ultra wave lit up, and
Coran's face appeared on
the screen.  He immediately
saw the Princess lying at
the feet of Keith's command chair.

"Commander?  Why is the
Princess not flying the Blue Lion?"
he said with a concerned tone in his voice. "What is wrong with her?"

"Easy, Coran," Keith advised. "She's okay, but I would like Dr. Gorma to take a look at her just the same."

"What has happened?" Coran asked. "Where is Blue Lion?"

"Blue Lion is in need of some heavy maintenance.  It was badly damaged during our mission." Keith replied.

"And the Princess?" Coran gasped.

"She's suffering from extreme exhaustionand a broken left arm, which we immobilized.  She's here in the Black Lion's cockpit because of a total system's failure in Blue Lion." Keith said. He knew he had to tell Coran the whole truth. "Coran... there was an incident."

Coran's eyebrows knitted together. "What sort of... incident...Commander?"

Keith inhaled deeply. "Coran, Allura stopped breathing for less than a minute, until Lance and I revived her.  That's why I want to make sure she's okay."

"What?" Coran raised his voice. "The Princess stopped breathing?  Did she regain consciousness?  Are you sure she's recovered?  Did you check thoroughly?"

"Yes, yes...we checked all that!" Keith said, feeling like he was being viewed as an idiot. "She regained consciousness.  And yes... she responded to my voice!  Do you think I'd be sitting here calmly, if her life were in danger?"

Coran's expression lightened, realizing that his concern was being taken in an accusatory manner. "No, no, Commander!  I didn't mean to insinuate that you were not competent enough to guard over her.  On the contrary... I find that she is safest in your hands than in anyone else's."

Keith's look of insult slowly melted as Coran continued. "Commander, I have always felt that Princess Allura was well cared for under your protection.  I know that you have a heart of gold, and your soul is valiant. I often get the feeling that you are more concerned for her welfare than I am."

"I'm just doing my job, Coran." Keith said flatly, wishing not to reveal any secrets that his heart was keeping.

"Hmm-m-m" Coran said, bringing his hand to his chin. "I believe that it is more than just your job, Commander."

Keith remained silent, not responding to the last comment.

Pausing thoughtfully Coran looked at the Princess asleep on the floor. "I believe it is something that runs deep within your soul, Keith.  You feel compelled to protect her, don't you?"

Keith nodded quietly, suddenly homing in on every word Coran had to say.

"Keith... is it possible that you and the Princess are...oh listen to me!  Forgive me, Commander, for prying into your life like this." Coran quickly ceased his probing. "I will have Dr. Gorma on standby when you arrive."

Keith nodded once again. "Fine.  We should arrive on Arus in a couple of hours."

"We shall be awaiting your arrival." Coran concluded. "Arus out."

The ultra wave darkened, returning to the frontal view of space.

"I wonder..." Keith thought. "Could I ever be satisfied resigning my commission with the Galaxy Alliance, to be King of Arus?"

The thought made him shiver both with delight at the fantasy of being married to Allura, and the fear that he inevitably felt about making such a bold commitment.  Once again, he glanced in her direction.

She looked so beautiful... so peaceful....

And he knew his heart was her prisoner for all time.