"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 26
"It's All We've Got!"

After what seemed to be an exhausting search, the Princess and the Voltron Force returned to the Control Room...empty handed.

"We just couldn't find it, Coran," Keith said, with a bewildered look on his face. "Are you absolutely positive that you had placed all of the keys in the crypt?"

"Absolutely!" Coran proclaimed in a confident voice. "There is no doubt within my mind. Those keys were all there!  No one, accept the Princess, knew that they were there!"

"Someone knew," Sven said quietly,
just before he crossed his arms
in front of him, and his head down,
as if he were thinking out loud to the small
group. "Someone went into dat
crypt and took da key."

"Are you absolutely certain that
you had checked the crypt
thoroughly?" Coran replied.

"Coran," Allura said, as she
stepped forward from the rest of the
Force. "We checked every square
inch of the crypt.  There is positively
no sign of the Black Lion key, anywhere!"

"Now what?" Lance asked. "Without
that fifth key, we can't operate
the Black Lion!"

"And without the Black Lion,"
Hunk added, "There's no way to form Voltron!"

"Okay, everyone calm down a minute,"
Keith said, attempting to gain
some sense of order. "Coran says
the key was there...and we've all
seen that it's not there. So, lets
start coming up with ideas as to
where it might be. No idea is too
far fetched, at this point!"

"What if Zarkon's witch, Hagar, somehow got into the Royal Crypt and took the key?" Lance asked.

"No goot, Lance," Sven said. "If she were here, why not try to capture da Princess too?"

"Sven's right," Keith said. "The Princess is as much of a target as the keys are.  Hagar would have gone after her first.  And by the simple fact that she's still here, tells us that Hagar wasn't in the Castle."

Before anyone could come up with any other good ideas, another bombardment struck the Castle...shaking it to its very foundation.

"What was that?" Hunk shouted.

Coran, seated in the command center chair, reached over and activated the main view screen.

The screen lit up, showing a number of Doom Cruisers in the air, accompanied by several Doom fighters.

Lance rubbed the back of his neck, nervously. "I'd say that answers your question, Hunk!"

"Doom ships!" Hunk shouted. "And we can't fight them!"

Pidge looked up at the view screen. "Maybe not with robot lions..."

Suddenly, the youngster darted toward the exit of the Control Room.

Keith called after him...

"Pidge!  Where do you think you're going?" Keith cried.

"I'm going to defend the Castle!" Pidge shouted back.

"Are you kidding me?" Keith hollered. "Pidge! We're not talking combat simulations! Those are Doom Cruisers out there!  They mean business!"

"So do I!" Pidge said, stopping in his tracks, now looking back at his friends. "I'm going out there!"

"Absolutely not!" Keith shouted back. "You're not going out there!  You'll get yourself killed!"

"Listen, you guys just get those
other cats into the air! I'll occupy
these Doom freaks long enough
for you do that!" Pidge replied.

"Pidge!" Hunk now hollered.
"Don't do it, little buddy!  You'll get
hurt!"

"Not if you guys get your tails out there and help me out!" Pidge shouted back.

"You're crazy, Pidge!" Lance cried. "What kind of damage do you hope to do against them, with just a little blaster gun?"

"Leave that to me!" Pidge replied, turning to leave. "Just get those big cats in the air!"

"PIDGE!" Keith hollered. "Get back here!"

Pidge darted out of sight, leaving Keith shaking his head. "He is crazy!"

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

Young Pidge managed to get outside of the Castle through a gaping whole in the wall.  He immediately drew his blaster from his holster, and pointed it in front of him.  Explosions were erupting all around him. He felt the beating of his own heart, as the explosion shook
the ground beneath his feet.

It was then, that a ground unit attack squad found him...

"Yikes!" Pidge shouted.

The Doom squad opened fire on
Pidge immediately.  He began to fire
back, jumping out of the way of their
fire, and leading the Doom squad on
a merry chase away from the Castle.
They followed Pidge into nearby brush.

Pidge ran with everything he had inside of him, attempting to escape.  He fired his blaster, taking out a few robot Doom warriors.

It was then that his COM link went off.  It was Keith's voice over the COM link, calling angrily for Pidge's attention.

"Pidge!  Pidge...get back here on the double!  The Castle's short-range scanners have picked up a Doom squad, near your location!"

"Yeah, I know!" Pidge cried out.

"Get out of there, Pidge, that's an order!" Keith shouted back through the COM.

Pidge replied immediately. "I can't! I kind of...uh...got myself surrounded by that Doom squad you were talking about!"

"We're coming!" Keith's voice echoed. "Give us your position!"

But before Pidge could answer...a Doom warrior tossed a live grenade bomb in his direction.  Attempting to run from it, Pidge turned sideways, twisting his knee.  He fell to the ground as the bomb exploded.

But the shrapnel from the grenade damaged Pidge's wrist COM, and terminating his link to the Castle.

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

"Pidge!  Come in, Pidge!" Keith shouted into the COM on the Control panel. "Pidge!  We need a fix on your position!  PIDGE!"

Static was all Keith heard in response to his pleas for Pidge to respond.

"Now, we've got to go out there!" Lance shouted. "Pidge's in trouble!"

Keith turned to Coran. "Where are the keys for the other four lions?"

Coran rose to his feet. "I'm sorry, but I can not allow you to endanger yourselves.  Your friend's attempt was foolish enough...but now, you four want to join him?"

"We've got to find Pidge!"
Hunk hollered. "He could be hurt!"

"Pidge needs our help!"
Keith shouted. "And we need
the four keys to the four lions!"

"This is utter fool-heartiness!"
Coran said in an elevated voice.
"You can not go out there!
I simply will not allow it!"

"We have to go out there!
Pidge's out there!" Keith hollered back.

"I'm sorry." Coran replied with
a snob-like tone. "It is out of the
question."

The Princess turned and stared wide-eyed at her Advisor, but choosing to hold her peace for the moment.

Keith's face frowned suddenly, seeing that the Princess had nothing to say in the matter. Finally,  Keith had decided that enough was enough...

"Then...if you won't give us the lions, we'll go after Pidge without your help!"

As the four Voltron Force members turned to leave, Princess Allura suddenly stepped forward. "Please wait!" she called out to them.

The group stopped suddenly, and turned to look at her.  Allura approached Keith, coming to a halt directly in front of him.

"You can't meet Zarkon's
forces without any means of
defense!" she said.

Keith stared at her, determinably.
"We've got our bare hands!"

Allura looked into Keith's eyes...
and saw a strength in them that she
had not seen in a long time...a determination
that reminded her of her own father's strength
of will.

The young Princess sensed that the Voltron
Commander was serious, and would, indeed,
venture outside, without any help from anyone.

Allura gave him a slight nod of her head, as she turned back around toward her standing Advisor.

"Coran," Allura said in a firm voice. "Show them the way to the lion ships."

"Princess, I must protest!" Coran argued. "These men have no idea what they are getting themselves into!"

"Either you help us...or you force us to help ourselves!" Keith shouted at Coran.

"No," Allura said, turning her head briefly to glance toward Keith, before returning her gaze back to Coran. "I said...show them the lion tunnels... at once, Coran."

The Castle Advisor released a heavy sigh. "As you command, Princess."

Coran reached into his pocket.  As his hand reappeared, he opened it.  In his hand, were the four lion keys that had been retrieved.

Allura immediately walked over to him and accepted the keys from his hand to hers.

"...and let us hope that they still function." Coran added.

Allura walked back over to where the four men stood.  She then handed out the keys to the lion ships.

Hunk took the key to the Yellow Lion...Lance took the key to the Red Lion...Sven took the key to the Blue Lion...and for now, Keith took the key to the Green Lion.

"Please," she said softly to Keith. "Be careful. Zarkon is ruthless, and will do whatever is in his means to destroy you...all of you!"

"We'll be careful, Princess." Keith replied back. "You stay in here, where you'll be safe, and leave the rest to us!"

She smiled at him...and Keith's heart melted at the sight of it.

Suddenly, the floor beneath
Coran's feet lifted high into the
air...revealing five individual
entranceways that formed a circle.

"These are lion tunnels."
Coran instructed. "Each tunnel will take you to a different shuttle bay, that will then shuttle you away to the sleeping robot lions.  Chute number one is inaccessible until we find the fifth key, for that entrance leads to the Black Lion.  Chute number two will take you to the Red Lion shuttle. Chute number three will take you to the Green Lion shuttle.  Chute Number four will take you to the Blue Lion shuttle and finally, Chute number five will take
you to the Yellow Lion shuttle."

"Got it!" Keith cried, as he turned to his team. "Okay!  To the lion ships!  We have to find Pidge!"

"GO!" shouted Sven, Lance and Hunk.

As the group darted past her, Allura suddenly stood in front of Keith, stopping him.

"Please," Allura said quietly, with tears now appearing in her eyes. "I thought I had lost you once.  Please, don't allow my thought to become a prophecy."

"Lost 'you' once... Princess?" Keith said with a slight hesitation in his voice.

Was she speaking about him, exclusively?

"That is to say...I thought I had lost all of you, when I saw the Doom fighters shoot you out of the sky." Allura elaborated further. "Just be careful."

Suddenly, Keith realized that his mouth was open, stunned with amazement.



"With all that's she's been through," Keith thought to himself as he looked at her, "She still thinks only of others.  How can she not resist the urge to justàrun and hide?"



Allura shook her head, and smiled at him, as if...she could somehow 'hear' his thoughts.

He smiled carefully at her in return. "We'll watch it out there, Princess.  Don't worry...we won't let you down."

"Still, I wish that we knew where the key to the Black Lion had disappeared to." Allura replied. "You'd stand a better chance with its power, then that of the Green Lion.  And the other three lions are strongest with Black Lion as well."

"I'm afraid it's all we've got, Princess." Keith said firmly. "We'll make due with it in battle."

"I'd prefer that you'd return in one piece, with Pidge among you.  That would be a sufficient victory for me." She replied softly.  Then, she stepped aside, allowing him room to pass. "Go now...go find him...quickly!"

Keith stood up straight, and shot her a military salute, accompanied by a heart-felt grin.  He then dashed past her and ran for the number four chute.

As he reached the entranceway to the tunnel, Keith quickly grabbed onto the T-bar, and holding onto it with both hands, he dropped down into the tunnel, falling out of sight in an instant.

Allura bowed her head, sending up a silent prayer toward heaven...

"Oh please...let them return safely."

She knew, all too well, what Doom was capable of. As experienced as these five might be, she knew these brave men had much to overcome.
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