"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.

Enjoy!


Chapter 18
One Chance

Hunk stepped forward toward the wall.  He knelt down on one knee, and cupped his hands together. 

Pidge readied himself to be tossed upward into the air. 

Sven was watching the door...when suddenly...

"Da guards!" he whispered the warning.  "Dey are coming back!"

Sven reached down and grabbed a large rock in his hand. 

Pidge and Hunk did likewise, taking aim at the door.

Lance rushed over to Keith's side.  He reached down and grabbed two stones from the ground, handing one of them over to Keith.

"Don't miss!" Lance whispered the warning. 

Keith's nodding head was the only response given.

They all froze...

The clicking of the heeled toes of the guard's boots on the ground drew closer and closer.  Keith felt as if his own heartbeat were keeping time with the marching boots.

As quick as they came, the guards proceeded to walk by the cell...without stopping.  Soon, the sound of their boots faded in the distance. 

Sven dropped the rock to the ground, sighing with relief, and then giving a nod with his head, and a 'thumbs up' sign to the others, that all appeared clear...for now, at least.

Keith quickly nodded to Hunk and Pidge.

Hunk again resumed his position on the floor, and Pidge immediately grabbed onto his shoulder with one hand, while the other hand held fast to the rope.  Pidge slipped his left foot into Hunk's cupped hands. 

"Are you sure about this, little buddy?" Hunk whispered again.

The eleven-year old smiled at his older friend.  "We've got little choice, otherwise, Hunk." Pidge replied.  "I'm ready when you are!"

Hunk nodded, and then, took a quick intake of air into this lungs...the anxiety mounting within him. 

"On three," Hunk said quietly. 

Pidge turned his eyes upward, concentrating on his target...the window, twelve feet up. 

"One...two...THREE!"

With all of his might, Hunk heaved Pidge up into the air with his hands acting like a launching board.

The young boy furthered the motion by springing off of Hunk's hands.  Lance gasped as he watched Pidge fly into the air, like a circus actor being shot out of a cannon. 

Pidge flipped through the air once, in an attempt to maneuver himself closer toward the window. 
It worked. 

The barred window was suddenly within his grasped.  He quickly reached out and grabbed hold of one of the bars, stopping his forward motion.  His feet slipped from the ledge, and for a moment, it looked as if Pidge would fall back down. 

Hunk and Keith positioned themselves beneath the window, ready in case Pidge fell.  But the young boy quickly slipped the rope over head, freeing up his right hand, and then using it to grab the bar...and hoisting himself up to the ledge. 

A sigh of relief was breathed from
those still remaining on the ground below. 

Pidge took a peek out of the window. 
It was a long way to the ground. 
And then suddenly, he caught a glimpse
of a boiling pit of some kind...just off to the left. 

He suddenly gasped in fright...
as his eyes caught sight of,
what was probably, the monster
they were to meet in the arena. 

The monster was hideous. 

It's color was blue...it was a
muscular creature with Jurassic facial features.
The creature kept reaching into the boiling pit,
retrieving limbs of what appeared to be animal flesh. 

There were two other creatures of similiar appearances right beside the ugly beast.

Pidge grimaced, and upon catching a faint whiff of the aroma coming from the pit, he began to force down the feeling of vomiting. 

He quickly tied off the rope onto the bar, and threw it down to his other teammates in the cell.  The rope was just long enough to reach the floor of the cell.

Keith grabbed hold of the rope and turned to where Sven stood, keeping watch out the door.  Sven took a quick look out of the cell door window, and quickly turned back to Keith...giving him another 'thumbs up' signal that all was clear.

Keith quickly handed off the rope to Hunk, and he immediately began scaling the wall.  His muscles strained, as he forced his hands, one over the other, to grab the rope and pull himself up to the ledge, where Pidge had been waiting. 

Hunk grabbed onto the bars, using them as leverage to pull himself up and onto the ledge.  Then, with all of this might...everything that was within him...Hunk pulled on the bars, gritting his teeth together, as his muscles once again obeyed his direction, to force apart the bars, just wide enough for everyone to climb through. 

Pidge, small as he was, reached over to one of the bars that Hunk had hold of, and began pulling as well, attempting to offer what little help he could. 

Suddenly, the bars began to move...

On the floor, Lance kept turning around to look at Sven.  With a reassuring nod of the head, Sven eased Lance's nerves a bit, by letting him know that the coast was still clear.

Keith saw that the bars were moving apart, and he quickly turned to Sven and Lance, directing each of them to climb up the rope to the ledge.  Keith quickly relieved Sven's position, allowing him to get to the rope. 

Keith, meanwhile, kept a watchful eye out the door for any approaching Doom guards.  Not that he could do much if they were to come.  He just silently kept watch while his other two friends made there way up to the ledge, hoping that all would remain still. 

If not, then Keith was prepared to buy the others time to escape, by sacrificing himself, if necessary, allowing them a chance at freedom.

"Keith!" Lance whispered down, as he reached the ledge.  "Come on!"

"Coming..." Keith replied up above his head.  He was waiting for Sven to reach the top first.

Hunk had bent the bars wide enough for everyone to squeeze through.   

As Sven reached the top, he called down to Keith...

"Hurry!" Sven shouted.

Keith took one last good look out the cell door window, and then, satisfied that all was clear, he quickly ran over to the dangling rope and grabbed hold of it, hoisting himself up, while using his feet to scale the wall. 

A few moments later and the Space Explorers were all reunited on the ledge, looking down the length of the Castle.   It was a long way down to the ground.  Once wrong move would mean someone was going to die. 

Keith grabbed the rope and gathered it up from inside the cell.  Then, he tossed it out the window, down to the next level.  Each person would make their way down the rope to the next levelbut the problem was...once the last person came down, there would be no way to retrieve the rope...and they'd be trapped between levels.

"I could jump for it, Keith." Pidge braved to suggest. 

"You'll get yourself killed!" Keith replied. "No...it's too dangerous."

"I can do it, Keith!" Pidge insisted.  "I only weigh about seventy pounds!  I can untie the rope and then tie it around my waist.  I'll jump off the ledge, making sure to clear the next ledge below, and you guys just hold on tight!  Then...pull me back to where you are, and we can start the process all over again!"

"You'll slam into the wall, Pidge!" Keith said in reply.  "You could get hurt!"

"Hey, this is a dangerous situation we're all in." Pidge replied. "Any one of us could get hurt!"

Keith thought to argue again...but, seeing that his options were limited, he decided better of it, and instead let out a sigh...

"Okay, Pidge.  Let's try it your way." The team leader replied.

Pidge winked at Keith, and with a nod of his head, he acknowledged Keith's decision.

Sven began first, followed by Hunk, Lance and Keith, each in turn.  When Keith had reached the bottom of the next level, Pidge untied the rope, and snugly tied it around his waist. 

The other four men grabbed hold of the rope, with Hunk acting as the anchor at the end of the line.

Pidge took a deep suck of breath, and then hurled himself off the edge of the upper ledge.  As he zipped past his other friends, he prayed silently that they did have a good grip on the end of the rope...or he was a goner.

Suddenly the momentum of the fall halted, and Pidge abruptly swung for the wall, crashing right into it with a near brutal force.  Next time, he thought, he'll have to swing his feet out in front of him, to help cushion the impact.

Slowly the others pulled Pidge up to the level. 

As Hunk reached down to grab Pidge's hand, Lance suddenly hollered out a warning to all of them...

"VULTURES!" he screamed.

Swooping down toward the Space Explorers, were a dozen or so, very large vulture birds.  They had taken notice of the activity and were coming in for a closer look.  Vultures were known as scavenger birds, and were probably hanging around, waiting for the beast to finish eating, so that they could pick at the leftovers.

The large, lumbering birds swooped in close enough to grab on to.  Keith decided to take a chance...

"Grab onto the bird's legs!" he hollered.

Keith set the example, and jumped
for the passing bird's legs.  The bird buckled,
as it adjusted to the new weight demands
being made on its wings...
but quickly resumed its flight.

Lance was next, and Sven, after that.

Pidge and Hunk were last. 
Hunk jumped on to his bird,
but didn't have a very secure grip. 

The birds quickly descended to the ground,
wanting only to relieve themselves of their
weighty cargo. 

Hunk suddenly lost grip of his bird,
and began to fall toward the ground. 
Pidge reached out his hand instinctively
to grab for Hunk...and for a moment, it worked.  
Just long enough for the bird Pidge was riding to descend to a safer distance from the ground. 

Pidge suddenly lost his grip of the bird's leg, as Hunk's weight forced him to let go.  Hunk and Pidge fell to a nearby rocky incline, sliding to the ground on it.  They landed in a huge pile of skulls.

Hunk looked at it, and grimaced. 
"Ick!  Quick looking at me!"
Hunk said to one of the skulls,
seemingly staring at him in death.

"Well, don't look at me!"
Pidge moaned to another skull
that seemed to stare at him as well.

Lance, Keith and Sven landed a short distance away.  The three men quickly ran up to Hunk and Pidge. 

"Are you guys okay?" Keith shouted to his friends. 

"Yeah, sure we are!" Hunk blurted out.  "I'm sitting in the middle of a pile of skulls, and you want to know if I'm okay!"

"I wonder what lives dese people
once led," Sven said solemnly. 

Keith led the team in a
moment of silence and a
quick prayer for eternal
peace for all of those whose
remains had been carelessly
discarded here.

"What...happened to them?"
Pidge said slowly.

Keith shook his head, trying to fight back the tears from thoughts of the cruel ways their lives must have ended. 

"These poor people," Lance said.  "They probably died horribly,"

Suddenly a thought of his mother, sister and brother entered into Lance's mind, and he quickly called for Hunk and Pidge to get up and off of the skulls.  Any one of them might have belonged to members of his family. 

"Now, more than ever, we have to find a way to get back to Planet Arus." Keith said quietly.  "We can't let Zarkon do this to any more people.  Not while we can still do something about it!  We have to find Princess Allura and discover what has become of Voltron.  If we can get our hands on Voltron...we have a chance to save Arus."

"What's next, guys?" Hunk said.

"We have to find a way to steal a ship from one of their cargo bays!   If we can commandeer a ship, we can fly it out of here." Lance replied.

"Good idea, Lance." Keith affirmed.  "Let's get going.  Once they've discover we're gone, they'll comb the planet looking for us!  We've got to get out of here before then!"

The five men quickly began to make their way through the endless field of skulls and bones, circling around and back up to Castle Doom.

Time was of the essence.
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