"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 19
It's Now Or Never!

They all paused...

"This has to be the way in, Keith!" Lance told him, leaning over to him.

Lance pointed to a tunnel, just a short distance away.  A possible entrance into the building before them.

Keith, Lance, Sven, Hunk and Pidge had been following the path of the Doom space cruisers as they had been taking off and landing.  Surmising this was the place where they were stored, Keith ordered his team to head for the ominous gray building, just to the left of Castle Doom. 

Now, they each were on the ground, on their bellies, in shadow of the enormous, broken down and spooky building, staring at the tunnel that Lance had just pointed out to them all.

"It looks like a sewer drainage tunnel," Pidge added.  "It might lead inside...then again..."

"No, I think Lance's right on this one, Pidge." Keith replied, studying the tunnel carefully.  "I think it will take us inside."

"Well, what are we waiting for?" Lance blurted out, about to rise to his feet, when Keith suddenly shoved him back down to the ground.

"Are you paying attention, Lance?" Keith whispered angrily at Lance. 

Then he pointed his finger toward a door that was just below and to the side of the tunnel and then, Keith pointed out one Doom robot soldier, who was pacing back and forth, seemingly guarding the main entrance.

"See that, hotshot?" Keith said to Lance.  "If we go barreling out there and jump into that tunnel at the wrong time, that guard is going to be on to us!"

"We need to go when da guard turns," Sven whispered. 

"Right," Keith said with a nod.  "I'll go first.  Follow after me."

Keith crawled past the others of his team and crept over toward the tunnel.  Fortunately, the hilly ledge that they were hiding on was almost parallel in height to the tunnel.  Keith decided that a running dive into the tunnel would do the trick. 

He waited for the guard to turn...

The robot guard was pacing in a steady fashion...back and forth...left foot, right foot.

Then, it came to a halt, spun around on one heel, and proceeded in the opposite direction.  Now was Keith's chance.  He stood up and ran toward the tunnel.  When he reached the edge of the hill, he dove in head first, landing inside the tunnel. 

There was a sudden hush, as Keith remained dead still until he was sure that he got in undetected. 

The guard paused momentarily, looking around, but when it found no evidence of someone there, it continued along its steady pace of marching. 

Moments later, Keith turned himself around in the narrow tunnel, then, tucking his head out of the tunnel, he quickly gave the signal for this team to follow his lead.

One by one, the rest of the team did exactly as Keith had done...diving for the tunnel, landing inside of it. 

Sven was the last one inside.  He turned around to see if the Doom soldier was still pacing evenly.  He looked back to his friends, and gave them the, 'thumbs up' signal once again.

Keith then began to crawl through the tunnel, and behind him, were Pidge, Lance, Hunk and lastly, Sven, bringing up the rear.

It wasn't long before they found themselves passing by a screened vent, yielding entrance into a large room with a platform and a control board. 

Keith was about to kick it open when he suddenly hushed his team with his hand, halting their movements immediately. 

He looked out the screen into the room below...and what he saw, made his stomach twist into knots. 

Hagar the Witch, King Zarkon's faithful servant, had just entered the room.  Curious as to what this place was, and what the old witch was up to now, Keith paused, and listened into the goings on below in the room.

Hagar turned and waved her hand.  "Come on!  Come on!  I don't have all day!" she shouted.  "King Zarkon needs me to complete this... now!"

Suddenly, seven robot soldiers were dragging in a beast creature...hideous in appearance, with a huge body and a relatively small head.  The creature was straining with all of its might against the seven robot soldiers that were dragging it on two ropes.

"Bring him to the platform!" Hagar commanded. 

The soldiers dragged the beast over to the platform, and quickly secured it down with chains. 

Hagar then waved the soldiers away from the beast, and they quickly scattered.  Her hands began dancing over the controls with great speed and accuracy. 

"Now, you miserable creature! 
You shall now become a Robeast! 
And you shall soon be taking a little
journey, to a planet in the Azure Quadrant
known as Arus!  And you shall find
and capture Princess Allura,
and kill the rest of her court! 
But, my pretty creation, you
shall not kill the Princess! 
Merely capture her and return her to me, where I will present her as a prize to Zarkon!  Then, he will have his way with her, and then, enslave her...or kill her...whichever he favors the most.  That will then show those miserable Arusians that no one can stand against the great King Zarkon!"

She then let out a loud laugh that echoed throughout the room. 

The beast on the platform
began to change form, shape
and size, growing to an enormous height. 
A hideous cry came from the beast,
apparently in pain while undergoing
the transformation process.

"So," Pidge whispered.  "That's a Robeast."

Keith only nodded.  He was intensely angry at Hagar's plans for Princess Allura, and although he had never met her, he suddenly felt the challenge rise up within his soul...a challenge to find the Princess...before the Robeast did.

The transformation process drew louder cries of anguish from the beast, as its body literally twisted and contorted to a new and larger shape.  The perfect cover for the Space Explorers to use to crawl past the room undetected. 

Keith signaled his teamand they all moved forward.

The crawled, for what seemed to be, endless minutes, until finally, Keith paused them, turning his head to whisper back to the rest of his team. 

"This is it, guys!" Keith whispered.  "I can see several Doom cruisers just beyond this screen!  Be on guardanything can happen!  You're ordered to defend yourselves, by whatever means necessary.  Everyone clear on that?"

An assortment of whispered agreements came to Keith's ears.  He then grabbed hold of the vent screen, and pushed gently, testing the strength of the seal, first of all.  Then, with a few shakes, the screen came loose, and Keith quickly maneuvered it inside the shaft. 

Then, one by one, the Space
Explorers exited the shaft,
and hopped down to the floor,
landing on tiptoes, to soften
the sound of the landing as
much as was possible.

Next, they walked up to a door
that slid open in front of them. 
Lance made a move to step through
the door, when Keith halted his movements instantly.

"What?" Lance huffed.

"This is too easy," Keith whispered, looking back and forth.

"You're kidding, right?" Lance replied softly.  "We've just escaped the tower, crawled through a space just barely large enough for us to pass through...and now..."

"And now...we're being tested." Keith finished the statement. "Zarkon's on to us!   He's giving us the hope we need to keep going.  At some point, he's going to try to cut us down in one final act of cruelty.  When he does, be ready!"

The team nodded their heads, and began looking from side to side for any hint of approaching danger.

"Keith," Pidge said suddenly.  "We've got a clear shot at that cruiser...just across the way!"

"Yeah," Keith replied cautiously.  "I see that too.  But we're not going for that one."  Keith turned his head to the left, to a Doom cruiser that was more in the distance.  "We're going for that one...over there!"

"You're crazy!" Lance whispered angrily.  "We'll get caught the minute we make a break for that ship!"

"And we won't get caught, if we head for that one just over there," Keith replied.  "My guess is that they've booby-trapped it.  Once we're on board, they'll blow it up, with us inside it!"

"You've been reading to many mystery stories, Keith!" Hunk said.  "I say, head for the closest one, and let's get out of here!"

"No...Keith's right." Pidge replied slowly.  "Think about it!   We've managed to get this far, against a wicked King, whose witch knows all and sees all!  I think we would have at least met up with some kind of resistance before now!  They've got that cruiser there, just waiting for us to head for it!"

"I havt to agree wit Pidge and Keit on dis one." Sven added.  "It's smells like a trap!"

"And my gut tells me that it is a trap, and I always trust my gut!" Keith said.  "So, we're heading this way."

The team began to move
quickly toward the door where
it entered into the room with
the distance space cruiser. 

As they slowly made their way...suddenly

The door began to close in an octagon pattern

"Keith!" Pidge alerted.  "The door!"

"It's closing!" Hunk shouted.

"All of them are closing!" Lance added.

"Quick!" Keith screamed, grabbing Pidge and throwing him toward the door they were heading toward.  "Get out!  Hurry!  Before the door closes!"

Everyone quickly dove out of the closing door, with Keith the last one to make it with a shout, as he launched his body through the small opening.

They suddenly were met with five Doom soldiers.  Each of them was armed with a blaster gun. 

"WATCH IT!" Keith ordered.

Suddenly, the will to survive became the motivating force within each of the Space Explorers.  Each one charged at a Doom soldier,
dodging laser fire and attacking
their opponent with brute force.

Karate kicks, hand chops, elbow
and knee attacks were inflicted
upon the Doom soldiers, until
they fell to the ground, short
circuiting as they went down.

A hearty shout of victory came from the Space Explorers.  But new trouble was appearing to the leftand to the right.

Keith picked up an abandoned blaster, and taking aim, he took out three approaching enemy robot fighters with one shot.

The others did likewise, taking out as many Doom soldiers as possible. 

"Come on, team!" Keith shouted.  "Get to the cruiser!"

The five Space Explorers began running for their lives to the Doom cruiser Keith had originally commanded they had for.  They ran up the ramp as fast as they could.  Pidge was the last one in, and he closed the door behind him. 

Several Doom soldier robots ran up the ramp and began banging on the door.  Pidge pushed another button that rose the ramp upward.  Moments later, the sound of crushing metal could be heard, as the robots were smashed to pieces as the ramp folded up to the door. 

Pidge then ran for tactical, next to Hunk, who had taken radar and weapons.  Lance manned the laser cannons.  Sven took navigation and Keith took the helm once again.

"Hold on, everyone!" Keith shouted, as he and Sven pulled on the control levers, lifting the ship off of the ground. 

It lumbered slowly toward the exit. 
The door was closing fast, and in
an instant, Lance alerted them all
to the obvious

"We're not going to make it!"
Lance shouted.

"Oh, yes we are!" Keith cried out. 
"Ready plasma gun!"

"Plasma gun ready, Commander!"
Pidge shouted. 

"FIRE!" Keith ordered loudly.

Suddenly, from gigantic side guns that were mounted to the ship, came the fierce fire of the plasma ray.  The bright red rays made a sudden and deliberate impact on the door.

The door was instantly vaporized, leaving the way clear for the ship to maneuver into the air.

As the ship approached the top of Castle Doom, Keith grinned  "Time to kiss Zarkon goodbye!" he shouted, as he turned the ship toward the Castle. 

The ship crashed into the pointed top of the Castle...shearing it completely off of the top, and sending shock waves throughout the entire Castle.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Inside Castle Doom, Zarkon suddenly dropped his cup that had been filled with wine.  It crashed to the floor and shattered at his feet.  The vibration was harsh, rocking the inside of the Castle.  Debris was now falling from the ceiling and onto the floor below.

Zarkon covered his crowned
head with his hands,  "What's going on?"
he shouted.  "We've been hit by a bomb!"

"No, Sire!" Hagar shrieked. 
"It's the Space Explorers...
escaping with one of our cruisers!"

"Destroy it!" Zarkon shouted. 

"I can not!" Hagar replied, covering her head with one hand, while clutching her blue cat with the other.  "They have discovered our plan somehow, and have made off with another cruiser!"

"I thought you told me that this plan of yours was fool-proof!" Zarkon shouted.  "You promised me that the minute they entered that ship, you would destroy it!"

"Yes...but, they've gotten into the wrong cruiser!" Hagar shouted back.  "The one they've stolen has no trap!"

"Then send out a hunting squadron! 
Destroy them...before they reach Planet Arus!"
Zarkon screamed as he rose to his feet. 
He pointed his finger at Hagar 
"Do you hear me, old woman? 
I want them dead!  Dead...do you hear me? 
They must not survive to land on Planet Arus! 
I want them blow out of the stars!"

"I hear...and I obey!" Hagar cried back, as she hovered out of the room

"Kill them all!" Zarkon shouted after her.  "They must not reach Planet Arus, alive!"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Give me a tactical reading, Pidge!" Keith shouted.

"Our weapons are fully charged," the young genius replied.  "We've got full shields up around the ship, and I've activated rear weapons for return fire."

"Good, because we're going to need it!" Hunk replied.  "Sensors are picking up several space ships...heading in our direction from Planet Doom!"

"Gee...they must miss us, huh?" Lance chuckled.

"Something like that, I think," Keith replied.  "How long to Planet Arus?"

"Eighteen minutes at our present speed." Sven replied.

"How long before those ships catch up with us?" Keith asked Hunk.

"By my estimation...something like fourteen minutes....fifteen at the most." Hunk replied.

"We've got to buy some time...long enough to make orbit and land this thing!" Keith shouted.

"What if we're blown out of the sky by Arus's defenses?" Lance asked.

Pidge shook his head.  "They won't be there.  All of their defenses were gone, when I last checked, the first time we were there."

"Then, if it comes down to it, we can force land this baby." Keith surmised.

"Try to stay ahead of it!" Sven added. "Its eighteen minutes to Arus!  And a chance to live!"

Suddenly...eighteen minutes was an eternity to wait for a possible endone way or another.

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