"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 20
An Arusian Welcome...or Not


Thirteen minutes had passed by and the Doom cruisers were almost within firing range. And Arus was right in front of them, filling the main view screen.

It was close enough to touch...

"Keith...the Doom ships are almost on us!" Hunk replied hastily.

"Evasive maneuvers!" Keith shouted. "Secure shield intensity to primary cover of the back end and the sides of the ship!"

"Right away, Commander!" Pidge replied, as he carried out Keith's last order.

The Doom ships began to fire upon the stolen space cruiser.

The plan was simple and the aim was targeted...hit the engines, and force the ship to spiral through the atmosphere, out of control.

The blasts began impacting the stolen cruiser with brute force.  The shields were holding...but were weakening with each blast.

"Return fire!" Keith ordered.

Suddenly a blast hit them, disrupting the weapons system.

"Keith!" Lance shouted. "Our weapons have been shorted out!"

"The shields are down to thirty percent!" Pidge added. "One more good hit, and we'll lose them!"

"We've had it!" Lance hollered. "We'll never make it now!"

"We've got to make it!" Keith shouted. "We've come too far now to give up!"

Suddenly...


KABOOM!


Everyone was flung forward,
as another direct hit to the ship
began to short out all systems,
everywhere.

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


On board the lead Doom cruiser, Commander Yurak smiled with contentment.

His one-eyed appearance and pointed
ears gave him an evil continence that
few dared to challenge.  His commands
were law, for he was the Commander in
Chief in charge of all of the military armies
of Doom.

"Now, blast them once again and send
that ship to a fiery end!" Yurak shouted. "They should have never left Earth!"

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

Another blast hit the now defenseless space cruiser, carrying the five escaping Space Explorers.

The jolt hit them hard, and the ship began to spin through the atmosphere, now completely out of control.

"We're going to crash!" Lance shouted.

The ship began to spiral faster and faster, now breaking through the atmosphere, while shorting out what was left of the protective shields, who's last function was to protect the ship from a burn up in re-entry.  It sufficiently completed that task before shorting out all together.

The disabled ship was now on a collision course with the Castle of Lions.

The Space Explorers were about to crash on Arus once again.  Only this time, they would crash to the ground, dying on impact... ending their mission...and their lives.

"Pidge!" Keith shouted.
"Can we...bail out?"

"Yes...we can still abandon ship!"
Pidge replied. "Our seats can
become...airborne!'

"With jets?" Lance shouted.

"No, they'll land wherever they
want to land!  We'll have no control!"
Pidge replied

"Too high!" Hunk cried, realizing they were too high off of the ground. "We'll die from the impact to the ground!"

"We're nearing da ground!" Sven shouted over them all. "Two towsand feet to da ground, and twenty seconds to crash landing!"

"You mean, twenty seconds to live!" Lance cried.

"Get ready to abandon ship!" Keith blurted out. "It's our only chance!"

"What about Castle Arus?" Pidge shouted. "The Princess!  She could be alive...and in there!  Are we just going to let this ship take out the Castle too?"

"Pidge, I share your concern, but we have little choice in the matter!" Keith cried out, his voice vibrating as the ship began to shake. "We can't help them now!"

"I'm not even sure we can help ourselves!" Lance added.

"Everyone...prepare to eject!" Keith called out to his team.

Suddenly...a signal beam of bright energy slammed right into the falling ship...somehow steadying it and cushioning the fall...slowing the ship down to a manageable speed. The ship jolted as the speed began to slow down.

Keith looked up suddenly...

"What the...hey...where's that beam coming from?" he said.

"It's slowing da fall!' Sven added.

"Wait!" Keith cried, now pointing
out the main monitor. "It's coming
from that statue...of a lion!"

"Where?" Hunk shouted.

"The one on the pedestal!"
Lance replied. "Look!"

"How's that possible?" Hunk asked.

"Maybe...someone from the Castle is controlling it?" Pidge said, offering an explanation. "Maybe, the Princess..."

"I don't know who... and I don't care!" Keith replied. "It's giving us enough of a chance to abandon ship!"

"We're changing course!" Sven reported. "Look!  We're heading away from da Castle now!"

"We've got to move...now!" Keith cried.

"Strap yourselves in tight!" Pidge shouted the warning.

Each of them did so.  Suddenly...fire broke out in the command compartment.

"FIRE!" Lance shouted, as he looked behind him to see a massive fireball appear behind him.

"Is everyone set?" Keith cried, attempting to maintain everyone's concentration.

Everyone replied affirmative.

"Get us out of here, Pidge!" Keith shouted, as the fire flared up in both his and Sven's faces. "Hurry!"

"Launching!" Pidge cried, as he then blew off the top of the ceiling.

They were staring up into an Arusian blue sky.  The safety latches released, and the chairs shifted suddenly.

"Happy...L A N D I N G!" Lance screamed, as his chair popped loose and flung into the sky.

The other four did likewise.

The chairs sailed clear of the space cruiser, which was now, once again, spinning out of the control.  A few moments later and the ship slammed into the ground, exploding on impact, pieces of debris flying through the air.

The Space Explorers were still airborne, flipping around and around, as debris from the exploding space cruiser whizzed past them.

Each chair hit the ground...taking a bounce before finally rolling over and coming to a stop.

Keith looked up into the sky...thanking God to have been able to take air, once again, into his lungs.  He was alive.

He quickly unhooked himself from the chair and rolled off of it into a squatting position. He then quickly made his way over to Pidge, who had landed nearby, with Hunk in close proximity to him.

Sven detached the strap from around his shoulders and pushed the cumbersome thing aside.  He then rolled over and onto his feet.

Lance laid on his back...still fastened to the chair.  Tears were streaming down his face, as the reality of what had just happened finally hit him...hard.

Keith, Sven, Pidge and Hunk found him a short distance away...blubbering like a baby...but alive.

They were all alive.

"You alright, Lance?"
Keith asked, as he and
Sven knelt down to the
ground to help their friend.
"Are you hurt, anywhere?"

Lance used his coat sleeve
and wiped away the tears
from his eyes.  "Yeah, I'm okay."

"Come on, then." Keith said as he unhitched the strap, allowing Lance to flip over. "We've got to get out of here. Those Doom soldiers will be coming to look for us!"

"Where do we go?" Hunk asked, rubbing his head with his hand.

"We head over there,"
Keith replied, as his finger
pointed to a structure that was
standing in the distance.
"That's got to be Castle Arus...
the one we've all been briefed on!"

"You mean, the one we almost
crashed into!" Pidge replied.
"That was a close call!"

"That means... the Princess is there!"
Hunk added with a giggle.

Keith nodded his head. "Come on.  My eye tells me we've got about a day and a half of traveling on foot to do to get there.  The sooner we get started, the faster we get there!"

"Not to mention dose Doom cruisers will be here soon!" Sven advised.  "It won't be long before they start looking over da wreckage...and once dey find we aren't in dere, dey'll come after us!"

Pidge suddenly stopped the conversation with a hush sound.  Keith turned to Pidge.

"What's the..." Keith started to say.

"Shhh," Pidge replied. "I heard noises...in those bushes... right behind us."

Keith paused and took a good look. "It looks like some of the planet's inhabitants." He advised. "They're hiding out over there, but I can still see them in the bushes!"

Keith decided to try to reason with the people spying on them.  "Hello!" he shouted in a friendly manner. "We won't hurt you!  We're here to help you!"

Suddenly...several spears darted out toward them, thrown by the inhabitants.

"Look out, team!" Keith warned. "Hit the dirt!"

The five Space Explorers dropped to the ground instantly, as spears began to land all around them. Several were near misses.  Finally, Hunk rose to his feet, having had enough of the so-called, 'welcome' from the people. He grabbed a fallen spear in his hand and began to chase down the now fleeing people.

"Come on back, you bunch of cowards!" Hunk scream as he ran toward the bushes.

The people scattered in different directions.  Hunk was about to chase them, when he heard Keith shout at him to give it up.

Hunk stopped suddenly, grunting as an angry dog to a small, teasing child.  He then turned back around, heading back to the group.

"Keith, what's with those people?" Hunk shouted, as he approached the group. "We come to help save their planet, and they attack us!"

"They're scared, Hunk." Lance replied.
"Wouldn't you be, if you watched
your world being destroyed, right
before you very eyes?"

Hunk huffed...but nodded his
head in agreement.

"Dey don't trust anyone."
Sven replied. "Dey are like
frightened animals...
afraid to come out.
Dey hide in da shadows...like mice."

"How sad..." Pidge said with a sigh.

Keith turned his head toward the north...

"That's where we have to get to,"
he said quietly to his team.  "That's
our objective.  We have to make it to
the Castle, before we're captured
again by Zarkon's forces."

"Looks like there's a heavy fog rolling in." Pidge said.

"Good, that will work to our advantage." Keith replied.

"Come on den," Sven said. "We haven't much time to waste!"