"Can You Hear Me Calling You?"

Story by Adele
Story Copyright 2003
A story based on the series, "Voltron, Defender of the Universe."

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 17
What Now?

Several long and pain-staking minutes had passed, before Keith felt confident enough to rise back up to his feet.  One by one, the other members of his team did the same. 

Lance was the last to sit up.  He just sat there, looking over into the corner where the two men from Arus once laid.  The entire cell told the story of those who had been there before them.

Skull bones...some whole, some, only in pieces, lay scattered throughout the confinement cell.  Dried bloodstains on the walls and the floor told the story that the wounded or dying had once been thrown in here.

The nearest window was about twelve feet in the air.  And it had bars of steel on it. 

Lance suddenly stood up.  "So, what do we do now?"

"We figure out a way to get out of here," Keith replied.  "Everyone...start looking for ideas!"

"Ideas?" Lance blurted out.  "Are you kidding me?  Look around you, Keith!  We're finished!  No one has ever escaped from here!  Planet Doom is a death sentence!"

"We don't know that until we try, Lance!" Sven said, as he went to check the window at the door.  "We can't give up dat easily."

"Give up?" Lance blurted out.  "How can we give up!  They got us, remember?" 

Lance began to kick around a piece of roped cloth on the floor.  "That's it...we've had it!  Finished...washed up!  And if we aren't finished, that Robeast that those guys were talking about, sounds like it will do the job, nicely!"

Pidge watched as Lance continued to kick the roped cloth around with his feet.  He looked at itand suddenlyan idea came to him.

"Hey...Lance!" Pidge shouted.  "You may have just found a way to escape!"

"Me?" Lance blurted out.  "What are you talking about, Pidge?"

"That rope on the floor!" Pidge said, as he quickly rushed over and picked it up from Lance's feet.

"That?" Lance shouted.  "How's a stupid piece of rope supposed to get us out of here?"

"If I can get up to that window, up there, I can tie it off and we all can climb up there!  We can then use the rope to lower ourselves down to the ground, one level at a time!  We can scale the Castle wall!  It'll be easy!" Pidge replied.

Keith quickly walked over to
Pidge and took the rope from his
hands.  He began pulling on it to
test its strength.  He then looked
up toward the window... formulating
a plan in his head. 

"You think this will hold us?"
Keith asked Pidge, now looking at him.

"Its strong, Keith!" Pidge replied. 
"It'll hold us...for sure!"

"Uh...you're forgetting one thing,
mighty-mite!" Lance said sarcastically. 
"You've got something up there
called, 'bars', that are blocking our escape! 
How do you think we're going to get past them?"

Keith turned to Hunk  "Think you can
bend them, if we can get you up there?"

"Silly question!" Hunk replied,
flexing his muscles.  "You just get me up there...I'll do the rest!"

"This is crazy!" Lance grunted.  "You're going to get us killed!"

"As if we have a choice in that already, Lance?" Pidge replied. "They aren't getting ready to throw us into the arena, thinking we stand a chance a winning against, what sounds like, a real, hideous monster!  We're going to die out there!  You said you've seen Robeasts before...so you tell us!"

Lance frowned...saying nothing in reply.

"I'm with Pidge!" Keith shouted.  "So, we might as well go out, while fighting to escape!"

"Well," Lance said in a softer tone of voice. "Guess there is wisdom there after all."

"It's our best hope," Keith replied.  "It's either this, or we sit here and wait to die.  And I don't know about you...but I'm not going to sit here on my butt and do absolutely nothing!  We're the best the Alliance has!  We were picked to do this mission, because we showed abilities worthy of sending us in first place!  We've got to get out of here!  Arus is depending on us!"

"Yeah!  And the Princess is, too!" Pidge replied, snapping his fingers together.  "She's got to have help soon!  And if we fail, that might be her last chance to free her planet from Zarkon's tyranny!"

"Yeah...yeah!  Okay!  You've made your point!"
Lance replied with a grunt in his voice. 

Sven suddenly stepped forward in a rush 
"Da guards!  Dey are coming dis way!"

Keith turned in a lightning fast manner, 
"Quick!  Everyone get into your original spots on the floor!  Play 'dead'!"

The five Space Explorers quickly ran over toward the door and dropped back to the ground, assuming their original positions that they were in, prior to waking up.

Footsteps in the hallway suddenly stopped in front of the door of the cell.  The door opened with a swishing sound.  Two Doom guards entered the room. 

"Look!" the second Doom guard
said, as he pointed to the Space
Explorers lying on the floor.

The first guard with him abruptly grabbed onto
Keith, turning him over. 

Keith's military training kicked in, and he forced his body to become as limp as a dead person's body would.

The Doom guard lifted his head by his long black hair.  No response...

"No good," the first Doom guard replied.  "They are still unconscious.  Tell King Zarkon that they will fight better in the arena tomorrow."

The guard released Keith's head, and it slammed into the cold hard cement ground.  Still, Keith made no movement...and no facial expression.  As far as the guard knew...he was still out.  And Keith wanted them to continue to believe that.

The Doom guards turned to leave, but began talking to each other once again.

"So, this is the best that the Galaxy Alliance has to send at us?" the second guard said.  "It was so easy to capture them!"

"Were it not for the information Witch Hagar provided to us about who they are, where they came from, and that they were heading to Arus and Voltron, we would have never known!" the first guard replied.

"How did she obtain this information?" the second guard inquired.

"I've heard it said that she received a book of...something.  Probably their orders, or perhaps, something Hagar was able to obtain from Earth, directly!" the first guard replied.  "Hagar's clever.  She obtained it somehow, and no matter by what means she received it, the Space Explorers have failed in their mission to Arus!  And now, they will die as a result of their foolishness to even think they can free Arus from Zarkon's hand."

The door swished closed behind them. 

Keith opened his eyes slightly, listening, as the guards' voices grew more and more distant.  When he was sure they had gone, he quickly sat up, rubbing the back of his head, now sporting a good sized lump there.

"Okay, team!" Keith said in a whispered voice. "Let's get to work!"

Hunk sat up, scratching his head.

"I just don't get it," Hunk thought out loud.  "Did you hear what they said?  Those Doom creeps knew exactly how to find us!  They knew we were coming!  How did they know that?"

"They mentioned...a book that Zarkon's witch, Hagar, had obtained." Sven replied.

"Yeah...they said it give them information on where we were headed." Pidge replied slowly. 

Suddenly...all eyes turned to Lance, who was still sitting on the floor, having sat up now.

Keith walked up to Lance and knelt down next to him...

"Lance...you were searching under the bed in our room, back on Earth, just before we left.  Then, when I wanted to go over the order packets each of us had been given, you refused to dig yours out." Keith said slowly.  "Give it to me straight, Lance.  Did you lose your packet?"

Lance refused to make eye contact with Keith. 

He asked Lance again  "I'm asking you to come clean, Lance." Keith repeated.  "I've got to know that I can trust you."

"I'm your best friend, Keith." Lance replied quietly.  "You can trust me!"

"Can I, Lance?" Keith said in reply.  "Did you deceive me, when you made me believe that your orders were packed away...when in fact...you had lost them?"

Everyone remained quiet, waiting for Lance's reply.

Lance tilted his up to look at Keith.  There were tears in Lance's eyes as he stared at Keith.  That was all the response Keith needed to confirm what had happened.

"How could you have been so careless, Lance?" Keith said to him, in a calm voice.

"I didn't intend to lose them, Keith!" Lance blurted out. "In fact, I thought I had them!  They didn't leave the room, far as I knew!"

"Is it possible, dat someone broke into our room?" Sven began to say.

"Anything's possible." Keith replied quietly.  "Its also possible that he could have been contemplating showing them off to someone... a girl named, Ginger, perhaps?"

Lance's face soured suddenly.  "I wasn't..."

"Don't try to lie, Lance!" Keith replied.  "Jeff told me all about it!  Ginger told Jeff that she knew about your orders...you had intentions to show them to her...to tell her where we were going!  But you didn't!  Why?  Was it because you had already lost them before hand?"

"I never told her where we were headed!" Lance bit back. "She didn't know, Keith!"

"Probably not, because Jeff would have known too, and he didn't know.  But he told me what Ginger said you were going to do!" Keith shouted. "You know that Marshall warned us all to be careful with those packets!  There was sensitive information in them!  He told us Zarkon's operatives were everywhere...even on Earth!  You knew it...and still you acted carelessly!  Why, Lance?"

"I...I don't know!" Lance blurted out.  "Maybe...to show off for her...show her that I was a big man, going out on a mission!  A man bigger than Jeff was!"

Hunk walked over to Lance, giving him a quick shove.  "You mean, we have this...hotshot idiot to blame for the mess we're in?"

"I didn't do anything!" Lance blasted back.

"Maybe he's right, Hunk," Pidge replied. "We might have gotten caught anyway, in time.  Zarkon's ghouls were all over the planet.  I'm sure they saw us coming......without help from advanced knowledge of our coming."

"Yeah, but I'm sure his orders had a hand in providing them with the perfect tool to find us a lot quicker then they did!" Hunk shouted.

"Look!  All I wanted to do was showoff to Ginger!" Lance cried out loud.  "I never meant for us to get captured because of it!"

"You didn't use your head, Lance!" Hunk grunted.  "All of this...over a girl!"

"So, what you're saying is, that you didn't think of the possible future consequences to all of us?  You mean to sit there and tell me, that you were willing to jeopardize our mission...for the sake of your overactive sense of pride?" Keith accused Lance. 

"I wanted her to see me bigger than life, that's all!   I wanted her to see me as someone important ...maybe even more important than Jeff!" Lance shouted.

"Well, now, she'll hear just how important you really were, when the top brass sings of your stupidity at our memorial service back on Earth!" Hunk added, as he stepped up to met Lance toe to toe. "Because now, we're about to be butchered and thrown out as Robeast chow!"

Keith turned to Hunk, attempting to push him back from Lance. 

"Easy there, Big Guy." Keith said to Hunk.

"I didn't mean it, guys!" Lance replied sorrowfully.  "Really!  I...I didn't mean it!  You're right!  I...I didn't think!  I'm sorry!"

"Well, at least that explains how they found us.  They must have also known we had C-Code blaster weapons on our ship." Pidge said.

"Yep," Keith replied quietly.  "They knew just what we had to defend ourselves with."

"Which wasn't much," Hunk replied as well, a bit more calmly then before.  "Now what'll we do?"

"We've got to get out of here!" Sven said.  "More den ever!"

Pidge ran for the rope that Keith had dropped to the ground, in order to break up the potential brawl that had been brewing between Hunk and Lance. 

"Hunk!" he shouted, as he pointed upward.  "I need a lift!"

Hunk scratched his head.  "I can't lift you up there, Pidge!" Hunk replied.  "That's got to be about ten feet in the air!"

"Twelve feet, by my guess," Pidge replied. 

"Whatever...the point is, we'll never reach it!" Hunk replied.

"But if you catapult me into the air, I can flip up to it!" Pidge said.

"You're crazy!" Hunk chuckled. 

"Got a better idea, Hunkster?" Pidge asked.

After a moment of thought, he only smiled.  "Okay...I guess we can try this..."

Meanwhile, Keith reached underneath his shirt for something he had hidden there for safekeeping. 

It was the picture from his
orders packet of Princess Allura...
as a small child.  She had caught
his fascination, somehow.  And in
light of their ship being confiscated,
and their orders destroyed, he was
glad that he had decided to tuck the
picture of her away on his person.

Then...there was the mysterious voice...

Keith looked at the picture
of the young ruler, trying to
imagine what she had become since the photo was taken.  He somehow felt a bond to her...
strangely enough.  Having never met her, he thought it was a silly notion. 

But the more he stared at the picture, the more he felt oddly...attracted to herin a protective, caring sort of way.

And perhaps..

A wave of determination came over him suddenly, and he quickly tucked the picture back beneath his shirt.  He then turned to his team, having heard the entire conversation that had taken place between Hunk and Pidge.

"Go ahead!  Give him a boost, Hunk!" Keith replied.  "We have to get out of here!  Princess Allura...and all of Planet Arus are depending on us!  We can't let them down. We can't let Zarkon destroy, what's left of that planet!  And we can't let anything stop us!  Not even a barred window!"

Keith reached his fisted hand forward.  "Its now...or never!"

Lance rose to his feet, and reached his hand forward, covering Keith's balled fist.  Hunk, Sven and Pidge did likewise. 

"We'll show Zarkon that he can't keep us locked up in here!" Keith proclaimed. "We're Space Explorers!  The best the Alliance has to offer!  If we can't do this...then, who can?  We've got to do it!"

"For the Galaxy Alliance!" they all whispered. 

It was the beginning of an uphill battle. 

One they must win.