"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 29
Black Lion Lives Again

The Royal Crypt was as it was before...dark and dismal... and empty.

The Voltron Force had spent the last forty-five minutes in a second fruitless search for the missing operating key to the Black Lion ship.

Keith, Lance, Sven, Hunk and Pidge stood gathered once again at the front entrance to the Royal Crypt.  Bewilderment had set in, as the Force members began to talk amongst each other.

"Maybe the key doesn't exist?" Hunk said, scratching his head.

"It's got to exist, Hunk!" Lance proclaimed defensively. "If Coran said it exists, then it exists!"

"Okay, smart guy, you want to tell me 'where' it exists?" Hunk hollered back. "You seem to have all of the answers!"

"I don't know where it is, you idiot!" Lance blurted out. "If I did, do you think we'd be standing here, staring at each other in the dark, right now?"

"You've got a big mouth!" Hunk shouted, balling his fist suddenly. "And I'm just the guy to shut it!"

"Well, well, big guy!" Lance replied sarcastically. "Don't let me stop you!"

"SHUT UP!" Keith intervened with a shout.
"That's enough, you two!  Stop arguing with
each other and review the facts instead!  We've
got to find that key!  And bickering with each
other isn't going to help us at all!  There's a
whole planet banking on us getting Voltron back
in the air!  Now, start thinking of where it could be,
instead of butting heads together!"

The four team members suddenly became silent, as they concentrated on their leader, as Keith continued.  "Okay, listen, we've been all over this crypt at least twice.  Does anyone have any ideas where to look now?"

Sven looked over at Keith, "Let's look inside da tomb of King Alfor again!  Dat's where da key was supposed to be!  Maybe dere's a clue in dere of where da key disappeared to."

Keith sighed heavily, but agreed to look in the tomb once again.



The Voltron Force walked back over to the tomb of King Alfor, and once again, climbed up the stairs to the tomb.  The stone slab was put back in to place...the team had put it back at Coran's insistence before they left the crypt the first time around.

Now came the task of removing it once again.

"Come on, fellas," Hunk groaned, grabbing an end of the heavy stone cover. "Heave!"

Keith, Lance, Hunk and Sven each grabbed a corner of the stone cover, lifting it, under the strain of their muscles, but this time, gently laying off to the side of the tomb.  It would be a lot easier to put back into place, sitting there, then if they let it slide down the stairs again.

They began to look through the tomb carefully, being mindful of the sacredness that the tomb represented, but being thorough enough to make sure that they've checked every square inch of it.

"Okay, so we've looked again,"
Keith said with a frustrated sigh.
"The key's still not here."

Suddenly, Hunk spoke up.
"Hey...guys!  Look what I've found!"

"The key?" Lance blurted out
with an excited tone of voice.

Hunk shook his head. "No...but look at this!  There's a hole in the wall!  Right there!"

Hunk pointed to a tiny hole in the stone wall...which suddenly drew Pidge's attention, and jarred his short-term memory.

As Pidge stared at the hole, he suddenly realized where he had seen one before...just like this one.

"Hey! That's from the space mice!" Pidge shouted. "Its their mouse hole!"

"Space mice?" Lance replied, having recalled saying the same thing much earlier. "What space mice?"

"The ones that live here in the Castle!" Pidge replied. "I saw them before we came inside the Castle...before we met Coran and the Princess.  Then, I saw them again when I got back here from being outside!  Remember, I told you guys that some Arusians helped me get back here through some underground tunnels?"

"Yeah," Lance replied sarcastically. "So?"

"So...I fell, and they ran over me.  And one of the squeaked something back to me, before it scurried away into a hole in the solid rock wall...a hole just about this size!" Pidge replied. "This
is one of their holes!  I'm sure of it!  It has to be!"

"Actually, I've been seeing holes like this one, all over the Castle," Hunk added. "I saw one, just outside of the Control Room...and, come to think of it...it was in a solid rock wall too!"

Keith leaned into the tomb and began to finger the hole in the cement. "Hmmm, no question about it...these are some special mice!"

"Special enough to eat through solid rock?" Sven replied.

"You believe that, Keith?" Lance asked.  "I mean...who ever heard of a mouse chewing through rock?"

Keith looked up at Lance. "Can you explain this hole, then?"

"Uh...well..." Lance stammered.  "No...I guess not...but...I've never heard of mice chewing through solid rock!  Have you?"

"This is an alien world, Lance," Keith reminded. "They may be humanoid, but they aren't from Earth.  They have different customs, different plant life, and I'm sure, different animal life too. Whose to say that these little guys don't have the ability to chew through rock, as easily as the mice on Earth chew through wood?"

Lance smirked, as he shrugged his shoulders.

Sven, meanwhile, lifted up his hand to his chin...in deep thought.  "If day can chew trough rock...
maybe dey ate da key."

"Oh, now that, I just can't go for!" Lance huffed. "Maybe...I'll believe the rock bit...but eating metal?  How can an animal eat metal?"

"Certain germs and insects can eat metal," Pidge replied, as he pushed his glasses up on his nose.  "That's how metal can deteriorate."

"Oh, thanks, Einstein!" Lance shouted. "We're talking mice!  Not bacteria!"

"Keith, what about looking below the Castle...in the basement or something?" Hunk asked.

"Does a Castle have a basement?" Lance chuckled. "I thought it was called a dungeon!"

"Whatever it's called, the mice might be down there!  And if we can trap one, maybe it can help us find the key!" Hunk suggested.

"I know where the basement is, Keith!" Pidge shouted. "I've seen it!  I was there!"

"When were you there?" Hunk asked.

"When I first exited the Castle!" Pidge replied. "While I was outside, I saw a gapping hole in the wall of the Castle.  So, while I was looking around outside, before I ran into the Doom creeps, I poked my head into the hole.  The basement is massive!  A perfect home for mice!"

Keith rubbed the back of his head. "Well, its worth a look...what else is there left to try?"

The four others nodded, agreeing with Keith.

Keith, Lance, Hunk and Sven once again lifted the stone seal, and once again, placed it back upon the tomb, sealing it back up.



The Voltron team members then followed after Pidge, as he led the way to the basement of the Castle.  They ran down a flight of stairs until they reached the bottom.

The basement was as dark and dismal as the crypt was.

"Okay, utility lights!" Keith ordered. "But keep them on low light.  We don't want to scare of these little guys off."

Lance turned around and spotted something useful for their mission. "Hey! A cage!"

Hunk walked over and grabbed it in his hand. "Its perfect for trapping mice!"

The Voltron Force began to walk around in the basement.  As they walked together in a group,
they suddenly spotted one of the mice darting in and out of a hole...a hole in the stone wall!

Keith put his finger to his lips, silencing everyone.  Then they all moved toward the hole in the wall. Pidge moved around the corner, and saw, yet another hole in the wall.

He pointed out the second hole to Keith, and instantly, Keith had a plan.  He pointed to Hunk to get to the hole just around the corner, and set up the cage in front of the hole entrance.  He then winked to Pidge, who had already guessed what Keith was planning to do.

With any luck, they could scare the mice out of the one side of the wall, into exiting from the other.

Pidge then hovered out of sight near the hole, waiting for Keith to give the signal.

Keith saw that Hunk as in place, as Hunk gave the 'thumbs up' sign. Keith then turned back to Pidge and gave him a wink, the signal to proceed.

Pidge nodded to Keith, then, slowly
counted to himself... and then...
lit his face up with the utility light,
giving it a horror-sort-of-look to it.
Then, he rushed his face up to the mouse
hole.

Just as expected, there were four mice inside, jumping over one another.  When they caught a glimpse of Pidge's face, lit up in scary fashion, they quickly scurried away...and headed right to the opposite hole on the other side of the corner...right where Hunk was waiting for them at.

The four mice suddenly found themselves trapped within a cage, and were now being hoisted up from the ground.  The mice huddled together, frightened by the new humans that they had never scene before...with the exception of one... the one with strange adornments on his face.

Pidge looked at the mice in the cage as the shivered with fright.

Hunk walked them over to a nearby table and gently laid the cage on the top of it.

"Keith, you're the Captain," Hunk said to Keith. "You talk to them!"

Keith's eyes opened wide, as he suddenly thought how foolish he would feel, talking to a bunch of mice...pleading with them about the whereabouts of a lost robot lion ship key.  Nevertheless, he puckered his lips together, and nodded gently to Hunk.  He then reached into his pocket, pulling out the operating key to the Green Lion.

"Do you mice know anything
about a missing key...just like
this one?" the Voltron leader said.

Pidge suddenly frowned, as
he watched the mice move
further away from the front
of the cage. He decided to give
it a try himself...after all, he felt
a bit of bonding with the mice...sort of!

"Okay," Pidge said, as he suddenly moved in front of Keith. "Where were you when the key disappeared?"

The smallest mouse, upon recognizing the young human as the one he saw before from the caverns, quickly moved up toward where Pidge was looking into the cage.  The tiny blue mouse began to squeak cheerfully

"Yeah, you!  The one with the innocent looking face!  Come on!  Confess!" Pidge shouted...only to suddenly back away from the cage in a fury.

"OUCH!" Pidge screamed.

"What's the matter with you?" Lance hollered.

Pidge was sticking out his tongue and seemingly fanning it with this hand.  "I...I bit my tongue!" the young boy pronounced.

"You bit your tongue?" Lance cried. "What an idiot!"

"Lance," Keith tempered his friend as he looked back toward the cage.  He peered in once again into the cage...and the mice quickly backed away from him.

"Come on, little guys," Keith begged.  "We won't hurt you!  We just want to know if you've seen the key to the..."



"STOP!"



The five Voltron members quickly
turned around at the sound of the
echoing female voice, just behind them.

Princess Allura had finally made her escape from the watchful eyes of her Advisor, Coran, in order to come down to the basement, with the intention of visiting her small rodent friends.

But when she had arrived, she found that the Earth men had trapped her friends, in a cage, no less, and where now poised to scare them half to death.

Allura quickly intervined on their behalf...running over to where the Space Explorers stood. She looked right at Keith...her face now distraught.

"What are you doing to those poor mice?" she questioned Keith sternly.

Before he could even think of how to answer her, she quickly moved up to the cage.  The mice frantically ran up to her, reaching out their tiny arms through the bars, extending them to her.

Allura reached over and with her pointer finger, gently greeted her mice friends, carefully patting each one's small hand.

"They seem to know you," Keith said quietly as he watched the Princess interact with the mice.

"The mice have always been my friends,"
she said quietly. "Ever since I was a little
girl, they have always been here for me,
comforting me. It was lonely being an
only child and a Royal Princess in a huge
Castle. I seldom saw my parents.
They were always attending to
royal matters.  And Coran and my nanny
were busily assisting with the
affairs of the kingdom, especially
after my mother had passed away,
when I was nine years old.  But, the
mice kept me company...and they
amused me."

Allura stood up straight, and once
again, looked directly at Keith.
"I don't know why you've trapped
them, but let them go, please!"

Keith, feeling as low as the dirt
on the ground in front of the
beautiful, young Princess, rubbed
the back of his neck with his
hand.  "Well, we know they're
you're friends...uh...but...uh..."

"We tink dey may have da
missing key!" Sven said,
attempting to help out his
stumbling friend and commander.

Allura's eyes widened, as she quickly turned back around and bent over to the cage once again. "Toady...Inky?" she murmured.

The mice began to squeak wildly to the Princess, and she nodded to them.

Pidge watched with fascination, as the mice were apparently communicating with the Princess of Arus.


"Look at that! They must be telling the Princess something! But they wouldn't say a word to me!" Pidge thought to himself.


Allura quickly turned around and faced the group once again.  She looked directly at Keith, "Yes!  They do know where the key is!"

Keith stared that the cage, and then, glanced back to look at Allura once again. "You...you understand them, Princess?" he said.

"Perfectly!" Allura replied with a smile. "They said it was pretty, and they took it to their nest as a good luck charm!"

"Well, tell them it brought them good luck!" Keith replied with a smile on his face.

"Because we will let them go, if dey go and bring us dat missing key, right away!" Sven added.

Allura looked at Sven, nodding her head. "It's a deal!" she replied to him.

She then turned back around and looked down to the cage, and began to, once again, talk to the mice. "You must bring me the pretty thing...the one you've hidden in your nest.  We need the pretty thing, right away!  Can you do that?"

The mice jumped wildly up and down inside the cage.  Sven reached over and opened up the cage entrance, and the mice quickly scurried.

Allura called up after them. "Bring it up to me in the great hall...the one by the stairs!" she yelled.

Keith turned to her.  "Do they even know where you mean?"

"Yes, they understand." She replied with a gentle smile.

"But...how...how do they understand you, and you understand them?" Lance replied.

"It's a mind link relationship, Lance." Allura replied. "I understand them with my mind, and they do likewise.  The words are immaterial, really...just verbal sounds.  But we communicate with each other in thought."

Lance shook his head as he stretched out his arms to either side of him. "Very weird."

"But it's a great working relationship," Keith replied.

"Especially if it gets us the Black Lion key!" Hunk added.

"Come!" Allura said quickly. "Let's get Coran and get to the main hall right away!"

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

The mice ran quickly back into their hole, and then, hurriedly made their way over to a very old and dusty shoe, with several very old, torn cloths, that were stuffed inside of the old shoe...a perfect bedding for four tiny mice to lay in.

Papa mouse ran to the bedding first, and began to pull on it with his teeth.  Soon, Mama mouse had joined him, and together they both pulled at the bedding.  As it began to lift up from the corners it had been tightly tucked in to, something shine, with many multiples of colors began to be revealed.

The two smaller baby mice jumped up and down behind Papa and Mama mouse, as they watched them drag the cloths away from the shoe.  As that happened, the shine, oval shaped object suddenly popped out and took a couple of bounces on to the floor in front of the small mice.

Papa mouse quickly ran up to the shiny colored object that had been so neatly hidden away for so long. He suddenly gripped it in between his tiny teeth and turned toward the hole once again. He then darted out of the hole, with the rest of his family right behind him.

Together, all four of the mice ran up the staircase, heading for the great hall, where Princess Allura had told them to meet her at.

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

Princess Allura, Keith, Lance, Sven, Hunk and Pidge quickly ran down the hallway to Castle Control.  Allura was first to reach the door, and upon opening it, she quickly dashed inside, with the Voltron Force right behind her.

Coran turned around in the command center chair. "Oh, Princess, I was just about to come and find you!  The Doom fleet is..."

"Not now, Coran, listen to me!" Allura blurted out, not even paying any mind to his comment. "I believe we've found the missing key!"

Coran quickly rose from his chair, and grabbing his walking stick in his hand, he began to walk to meet the group of excited young people.

"What is this you are saying, Princess?" Coran questioned her.

"I said, I believe we've found the missing key, Coran!" Allura repeated.

"The mice had it, all the time!" Pidge added.

"The mice?" Coran replied. "How can you be sure..."

"We found a hole in King Alfor's tomb!" Keith replied quickly.

"One that none of us saw at first!" Sven added.

"We decided to try and find out if the mice somehow had anything to do with its disappearance!" Keith continued.

"Yes, and then, the boys explained to me that they believed that Toady, Inky, Chedder and Cheesy might know where the key is!" Allura said. "So, I questioned them...and..."

"You questioned them?" Coran blurted out, in a disbelieving tone of voice. "How can you question a group of mice?"

"I understand them!" Allura replied. "Anyway...they told me that they had taken back to their nest and hid it there as a good luck charm!"

"And the Princess sent them to go and get it!" Lance said.

"And bring it to da great hall!" Sven said.

"We've got to meet them there, Coran!" Allura replied. "Hurry!  Did you hear me?  The mice know where the key is!"

Coran shook his head. "Princess, be reasonable!  Certainly, a group of rodents can not possibly..."

"What harm can it do, Coran?  Up to this point, we haven't had a single lead to the key's whereabouts!" Keith blurted out suddenly.  He saw that the Castle Advisor was hesitant. Keith suddenly lost patience with Coran.  "Look, stay here if you want, but I'm heading back to the main hall!  I want to see what the mice bring us!"

Keith turned around and suddenly began to head back toward the door.  His team began to follow, when they suddenly heard a voice shouting at them from behind

"Gentleman!  A moment please!"

The voice was Coran's.  He walked up to the point where they had stopped running, with Allura right behind him.

"We all shall go." Coran saidhis voice suddenly projecting a quiet confidence.

The seven of them made their way quickly to the main hall...and from the opposite direction, the four mice came running. Allura stepped away from the group of humans, and knelt down in front of the mice.

She saw the object in the teeth of Papa mouse, and her face lit up with a regal smile.  Allura reached her hands down and accepted the shiny, oval shaped object that they had brought to her.  She then quickly rose to her feet and turned around to face Coran.

She quickly gave Coran the object in
her hands, and he quickly held it
up. With a quick shifting motion,
Coran changed the configuration of
the oval object, which then suddenly
took on the shape of a key.

"Yes...yes!" Coran pronounced
suddenly. "Yes! This is it! The key
to the Black Lion!" He suddenly
lifted the key into the air
triumphantly, shouting...

"Voltron shall live again!"

Suddenly...the triumphal moment was destroyed, as once again, the pounding and shaking began.

Allura stumbled, and Keith caught her in his arms.  Lance, Pidge and Hunk stumbled over each other, while Sven quickly held up the Castle Advisor.

Coran turned his eyes upward. "I am afraid our efforts may prove fruitless," the Castle Advisor said. "The Doom Fleet has returned, and I fear that they will now destroy the Castle of Lions."

"NO!" Allura shouted, and then immediately struggled away from Keith's hold of her, and dashed back toward Castle Control.

"PRINCESS!" Coran shouted after her. He then turned to the Force.  "Quickly!  Follow her! She must not leave the Castle!"

Keith needed only to hear the warning once, and realizing what could happen to her if she did do something so drastic.  He immediately gave chase after her.

Sven waved for the others to follow Keith.  Lance remained behind to help Coran.

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

When Keith had reached the Control Room, he found Allura standing in front of the giant main view screen.  He soon joined her at her side.

"Princess!" Keith said to her as he stepped up to her.  "You can't just take off like that without..."

"Look!" she pointed to the view screen before them.

Keith's eyes grew large, as he suddenly saw what she was staring at. Other gasps were suddenly heard, as Hunk, Lance, Sven, Pidge and Coran also entered the Control Room, only a few short moments after Keith and the Princess did.

Everyone's mouth hung open...fearful of what they saw on the screen before them.

The Doom Fleet was poised for attack,
and their target was the Castle
of Lions...or rather, what was left of it.

"Oh man," Keith mumbled quietly,
as the rest of the team and Coran
filed in right behind him and the Princess.
"We've got trouble...big
trouble!"

Destruction loomed...







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