"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 28
Hide and Seek


Princess Allura buried her head in her folded arms, as she leaned on the console she had been seated in front of, while watching the battle between the Robeast and the four robot lions of Voltron.

The lions were defeated in a vicious battle against the Robeast.  And then, Allura and Coran witnessed the Robeast lumber off in the opposite direction, leaving the lions, now deathly quiet, to bake in the hot, Arusian sun.

Coran sighed as he watched Allura weep sorrowfully.  He approached the console and opened a channel to Earth's Alliance...not even sure if they would receive the message.  He needed to communicate to them that the Space Explorers had apparently met their doom.

As Coran began to verbally state, what appeared to be the obvious, Allura's tears flowed faster from her eyes, now grieving at the loss of her new friends.

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

Pidge suddenly stumbled and fell to the ground, as he walked along behind the gray-haired man, who had been leading the way through, what was promised to be, a way back to the Castle of Lions.

The man turned; hearing the youngster fall to the ground.  The Arusians that were behind the two of them, were now a distance away...and apparently not very willing to help the strange boy any further.

The gray-haired man turned to Pidge. "Gather your strength, small one.  It is only a short distance now."

Pidge, determined to make it back, forced himself to find the will within him to stand up and proceed forward.  He had to get back to the Castle...he had to continue the search for the missing key.

Finding that key was the only way, in his mind, to help his friends.

The man brought Pidge to solid rock wall. He then turned to Pidge and looked at him. "I must leave you now.  I must return to my people in the caves."

Pidge looked at the man with a confused gaze. "But...where do I go from here?"

"Behind this wall is the great stone staircase that will lead you to the great hall in the Castle of Lions.  From there, you will find your way." The man replied.

The man then reached his hand up and grabbed a stone lever, pulling it downward.  The earth beneath their feet shook, and Pidge suddenly watched in awe, as the stone wall before him slide open from one side to the other. Pidge looked up the long and winding staircase in front
of him. The climb would be no easy task.

As Pidge turned to thank the man...he suddenly discovered that he was all alone.

The man had vanished.

He moved a few steps back into the passageway, calling for the man who had helped him. But there was no response...and now, no choice...except to move forward, and climb up the stairs. He had to find the key to the Black Lion.  He had to get out there and help his friends.

They had to form Voltron...

He stepped up, one stair at a time, pacing himself so that he wouldn't further hurt his already throbbing knee.

But his task was clear...he had to get back to Castle Control.

Pidge climbed...and climbed...and climbed some more.  The stairs had seemed endless and the staircase, a winding nightmare.

The youngster was tiring out...fast.

But he had to keep going.

He forced himself to keep going...even making a game out the climb, by counting each stair he had victoriously conquered.

As Pidge climbed higher and higher, he suddenly began to take notice of etchings on the walls to his left and right.  He paused... examining them with his eyes.

"Whoa," Pidge breathed. "This is so...incredible!"

Pidge had been looking at the literal history of Arus.  Then, he saw it... a series of pictures, showing a much younger version of King Alfor of Arus...and a woman, holding a small child in her arms...presumably, the child was Princess Allura...and the woman, her mother, perhaps.

The woman was dressed in fine linen, according to the sketches.

As Pidge continued to walk up the stairs, he marveled at the history that the etchings portrayed. Amazing history, of an amazing family.

But, suddenly, Pidge saw the image of an alien...whose appearance was very much of Drule origin.  The alien had on a high and pointed crown.  A hideous face that was scowling at the Arusian King...and then... a second picture of the evil king slaying the King of Arus.

Pidge gasped as he peered closely at the picture.  He now realized that he was looking at Alfor's death scene.

"Oh, wow," Pidge said somberly. "That must be how Allura's father was killed...the poor Princess..."

As Pidge moved further up the stairs, he quickly found a platform landing...and then, a large steel door...signaling the end of his journey...finally.

Pidge collapsed from exhaustion at the top of stairs.  It was then that he heard the unmistakable squeaking sounds of mice.  He turned his head to the left...and saw them dart at him from the darkness of a nearby corner. There were four of them... each running as fast as their tiny feet could carry them.

But Pidge was blocking their way of escape...so they made their own way.

They jumped on and off of Pidge's head as they ran past him.  But, one of them turned back, and squeaked at Pidge, before running into a tiny mouse hole in the wall.  Pidge's eyes watched the tiny mouse run out of sight...and then, he realized that the mouse whole was directly below yet another etching on the wall

It was the etching of the Blue robot lion.  To its left was the Yellow Lion.  To its right, in order, were the Black Lion, the Red Lion and finally, the Green Lion.

The Black Lion towered over the other four lions. Blue and Yellow Lions appeared to be the next largest, although up against the Black Lion, seemed smaller by scale.  The Red and Green Lions, were noticeably smaller in size than the Blue Lion and the Yellow Lion, in comparison.

Pidge rose to his feet...

"Wow, if the lions are just as big as their pictures seem to show, then that must be how Voltron gets its height!" Pidge deduced.

Shaking his head slightly, awed by the sight, he quickly turned his attention back to the door, and his objective.  He ran his hands along the sides of the steel door, attempting to find a way to get past it.

Moments later, Pidge had located a lever.  He pulled on it...and as he did, the steel door began to lift up from the ground, revealing a material backdrop.

Pidge pushed on it, find it to be extremely heavy.  It was then that he realized that by pushing on the corner, he could make an opening, wide enough for him to sneak past.

Now on the other side of the heavy backdrop, it was then that Pidge realized it wasn't merely a material backdrop at all...it was a portrait.  And not just any portrait...but the portrait of the
deceased King Alfor...the very same portrait that was located at the top of the staircase in the main hall, where he first entered the Castle...

That only meant one thing.

"I'm home!" Pidge puffed cheerfully, as he quickly scurried down the grand staircase, leading to the great hall and the main door to the Castle of Lions.

The Control Room was just down the hall, a short distance away...

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

Allura was sobbing uncontrollably now. 

She was regretting her decision to allow the four Voltron Force members to go out and after
their friend.

Four lions were simply not enough to face off against Zarkon's troops...or his Robeast surprises either.

Her head rested gently in her folded arms, that were resting on a portion of the Control Panel.

Coran was nervously pacing the room...waiting for a confirmation from Galaxy Garrison on Earth, that they had received his message, stating that the Space Explorers were more than likely, all dead.

The metal door opened at the top of the stairs of the Control Room.  The noisy sound gathered the attention of both Coran and Princess Allura. She propped her head to look over toward the door, as she heard Coran gasp.

"Look!" Coran shouted. "The young one has returned safely!"

Allura rose from her seat quickly,
just in time to see Pidge stumble. 
She gasped in fright

"PIDGE!" she screamed,
as she and Coran watched Pidge
sail down the stairs, head first,
until finally coming to an abrupt stop
at the bottom.

Allura and Coran quickly ran to where Pidge was laying.

"Quickly!" Allura said to Coran. "Help me get him to the chair!"

Coran nodded and reached down, lifting one end of the small boy, while Allura lifted him from the opposite end.  Together Allura and her advisor rushed Pidge over to the chair at Central Command.

"Get him a glass of water!" Allura directed Coran, who immediately carried out her request.

Several minutes had passed before Pidge finally came back around to consciousness.  He opened his eyes timidly and slowly, focusing in on the lovely blonde-haired princess.

"Where...where am I?" Pidge struggled to say.

"You're back in the Castle," Coran said in a soft tone. "Are you injured?"

Pidge rubbed his forehead with his hand.  "No...not really," he said, deliberately not bringing up his injured knee.  Then he recalled that his friends were out there...outside of the Castle, battling the hideous Robeast.

Allura smiled simply at him. "Pidge, we were so worried about you! Keith and the others..
they..."

"My friends!" Pidge said in a heavy sighing voice. "Where are they?  Did they come back?"

Allura's eyes immediately began
to tear again.  "You should have never
gone outside, alone, Pidge."
Allura said tearfully.  "Your friends
tried to rescue you...but..."

"But..." Pidge repeated to her.
"But...what?"

"But...I'm afraid...they have
not returned." Allura concluded sadly.

"They're not here?" Pidge said, suddenly sitting up in the chair.

"I fear they...that they are..." Allura couldn't finish the thought.

Coran stepped forward. "It does not look well for them, Master Pidge."

Pidge stared at the two of them, blinking rapidly, as if to hold back tears of his own. "No...they can't be lost!  They can't be!"

He quickly turned the swivel command chair around and activated the ultra wave.  It was offline. He then activated the main monitor...and gasped at the sight on the screen.
There, on the screen, were the
four disabled lions, motionless,
lying on the ground or buried in the
dirt, head first.

Either way...there was no
sign of life from them.

Pidge eyes were as wide as
saucers, as he quickly called
out to them through the COM link.
After a few minutes of hollering for
them to answer he paused, shaking
his head slowly.

"They can't be gone...they just can't be dead," Pidge said softly, before violently throwing himself onto the console in front of him.  "They're just trying to worry me! They're trying to teach me a lesson!  I know it!  They can't be dead! I don't believe it!"

As Pidge sobbed on the console, behind him, Allura's hand rose to her mouth, covering it as her heart broke for the youngster in front of her.  She had seen much devastation in this war...and she had hoped that time would scar her young heart to the point where death was just a word.

But her heart remained soft...and she found her heart reaching out in sorrow for the boy.  It was then that her mind, once again, stretched forthsearching for a sympathetic ear to hear her anguished heart's cry.

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

Green Lion's cockpit was pitch dark, as the lion's head was buried neck deep in the dirt.  Keith was slumped backward in his pilot chair.

But he was not dead....

None of them were.

Keith's mind was in limbo...until he saw her once again.  But this time, Keith knew who she was...

"Princess?" he called for her
image's attention.

The wondering girl paused,
and then turned to face
him. "Keith...is...is that you?"

"Are you okay, Princess?"

"Oh Keith!  We're worried
about you and the others!
Your young friend is worried too!
Where are you, Keith?"

"I'm here!  Can't you see?"
Keith replied, waving to her.

"Can you hear me calling you, Keith?
Can you answer me?"

"Princess!  I'm here! Over here!"

But the image faded rapidly out of sight...leaving Keith to wonder in blackness once again.

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

Pidge was sobbing harder than before...until his ears caught the sound of something...or someone...it was the sound of...

"Snoring..." Pidge said quietly with revelation. "Snoring?  That's Hunk!  He's snoring!"

Allura and Coran's attention was suddenly captured as they heard Pidge suddenly speaking in an excited tone of voice.

Pidge quickly began to call into the COM link once again.

"That's Hunk!  Hunk!  I know you're alive now, you big dummy!  You're COM link is open and you're snoring in it!  Wake up, Hunk!  Wake up!  Are you guys hurt?"

Pidge began to pound on the console... "Come on, Hunk!"

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

Once again in the Green Lion cockpit, Keith was still, as if dead.  But then, suddenly, his eyes began to move back and forth beneath his eyelids, slowly at first, then more rapidly as the seconds ticked by.

Pidge's voice was echoing through the COM...



"Are you guys hurt?  Are you sleeping, or just knocked out?  You've got to wake up!  Zarkon's Robeast out there and poised to attack again!  And we've got to find the Black Lion key still and form Voltron!  Come on, you guys!  Keith, Hunk, Lance, Sven...come on guys wake up! Someone...please answer me!"



Keith's eyelids opened, slightly at first, then fully, as his mind tried to process the vision of Allura dancing in his head, while trying to focus in on Pidge's voice.

"Pidge?" Keith said slowly at first.  "You okay?"

"Safe and sound!  Keith...its you! You're alive!"

Keith rubbed the back of his neck with his hand.
"Alive and well...no thanks to Robeast!"

Back in the Castle Control Room, Pidge's face was shown a bright smile from ear to ear. The next voice Pidge heard, was Sven's...

"Hello!" Sven said.

"Sven!  You're okay!" Pidge hollered gleefully.

Lance was holding his head in between his hands, grimacing... "Boy...that Robeast sure packs a wallop!"

"The Voltron Force is tougher!" Pidge proclaimed firmly.

Hunk's lion-like-roaring yawn
was now resonating over the COM.
"I'd feel a lot better if I can get
something to eat!"

Pidge just shook his head, the
smile still pasted on his face.
"I promise never to go out alone
again, but you guys have got to
promise too!"  He then looked up
to the Princess, with tears once
again in his eyes. "I don't know
where to laugh or cry!"

Then Pidge heard Keith's voice... "We're come home, Pidge!"



Outside, the four lions righted themselves into a standing position, and then, each one leaped into the air, heading for their individual resting-places.



Minutes later, Keith, Lance, Hunk and Sven emerged from the lion chutes.  They had smiles on their faces as they looked around, ready to greet Pidge back happily.

But there was no sign of Pidge...none at all.

Lance called out for Pidge, and the four of them grouped together a short distance from the Number Four chute.

Keith turned to Allura "Princess, do you know where Pidge went off to now?"

Allura's hand quickly covered her mouth, stifling the arising giggle.  Coran stood stone-faced...
giving no information with his eyes or appearance.

Keith looked left and right before saying to Allura, "Pidge has a funny sense of humor, I'm afraid"

Allura suddenly broke out into giggles, as her finger pointed up to the platform just above the lion chutes.

The four Voltron Force members turned around, just in time to see Pidge leap off of the platform. Pidge knocked over Hunk, who landed on Sven, who then, crashed into Lance, and then fell into Keith, with Pidge landing onto of his captain.

All five Voltron Force members were now on the ground, with Pidge laughing hysterically.

"I got back here first because I used my head!" Pidge said, pointing to his noggin.

Suddenly, aggravated, Keith poked at Pidge, yelling, "Knock it off!"

Lance, Sven and Hunk broke out in hearty laughter, as they saw Pidge fall on his back like a turtle.  Then, each of them got up from the floor.

Keith turned to Allura and Coran.  "Any sign of that key yet?"

The mood instantly turned somber, as Allura and Coran slowly shook their head's no.

"We've got to find that key, Keit!" Sven replied. "Dat Robeast monster proves it!"

"Sure does, Sven," Keith replied. "Come on!  Let's go back to the crypt and look for it again!"

The five Voltron Force members, suddenly stern in stature, ran past the Princess and her advisor. Coran turned to return to the command center.

But Allura looked back toward the door of the Control Room.  She wanted to find sanctuary away from all of this commotion.  She wanted to seek out her special friends...the mice.  But not now...not while Coran was looking.  She had to seek away, or he would follow her... confound him anyway.

He was forever following her every move.  He was forever forbidding her from doing the things that were most important to her.

No...she had to wait.  She would go to the basement soon to find her friends.  And she was determined to go alone.

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