"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 7
Mission Accepted

Once again... in the same day, Keith found himself waiting to speak to Vice-Admiral Marshall.  But this time, he was much more confident of his meeting then he was earlier in the day. 

The time was almost three o'clock in the afternoon.

He stood at attention, as he had before, waiting for permission to see the Vice-Admiral, but this time, a determined mindset of purpose was his focus, verses the tempered aura of fear and uncertainty from their earlier meeting.

The kind woman invited Keith into the Vice-Admiral, and as before, she stepped aside, allowing him entrance.  The door swished closed behind him as he entered the office.

"Keith!"

There was that unmistakable, booming, baritone voice again of the Vice-Admiral... calling to him from across the room.  But this time, the scene was different.  Keith no longer feared the voice that had been heard, welcoming him. 

This time, he had come to see Marshall with an answer to the question posed to him before.

"Sir!" Keith responded to the greeting with a snappy military salute.

"At ease, Lt. Commander." The Vice-Admiral replied.  "Well, this is certainly a surprise!  I didn't expect to see you back here until tomorrow."

"No, Sir." Keith replied with an agreeable response.

"Well, I'm assuming it has something to do with the assignment offered to you, am I correct?" Marshall replied as his eyes somewhat shifted, attempting to read Keith's expressions.

"Yes, Sir.  You are correct." Keith replied with an even tone of voice.

Vice-Admiral Marshall looked at him sternly...then took in a deep inhale of breath; letting it out slowly once again.  He then nodded to Keith.

"Well, its obvious that you didn't need a day to make up your mind after all." Marshall said to him.  "I don't want to be presumptuous, but am I to assume that your quick return this afternoon, means, that you maintain your determination to accept the assignment?  Or should I expect another answer?"

"Sir, my feelings haven't changed." Keith replied affirmatively.  "And I don't believe in putting off until tomorrow, what I can do today.  It sounds like Planet Arus is in bad need of help, Sir.   I'd like to go."

Marshall looked at Keith, staring into his eyes.  "Are you sure, boy?  Like I said, it'll be a long assignment...several years, perhaps.  And this isn't a picnic that the Alliance is sending you out on.  You'll be fighting up against some nasty characters...including the nastiest one of them all...King Zarkon!"

Keith pursed his lips together.  "Yes, Sir.  I realize that.  As I said, I'd like to go to Planet Arus."

"Very well, Keith." Marshall said, now coming out from behind his desk.  "You'll be briefed on the mission tomorrow.  I'll make up an assignment team.  You'll be assigned four other men under your command."

"Yes, Sir." Keith replied with a nod of his head.  "Thank you, Sir."

"I'll have Marshall Graham give you, what he would deem, his best choices for those four people." The Vice-Admiral informed Keith.

"I understand, Sir.  When would we be leaving for Arus, Vice-Admiral?" Keith asked.

"You'll leave in six days.  That should be enough time for you to get your affairs in order here on Earth." Marshall replied. 

Keith paused for a moment, then nodded agreeably.  "I think so, Sir."

"Good." Marshall said. 

As she started to walk away, he suddenly snapped his fingers together, momentarily forgetting something.  "Oh, yes!  And there is one more thing we need to do to seal this transaction"

The Vice-Admiral went back around to his desk, and opened one of the bottom drawers.  He then pulled out a long-width box.  He then smiled as he walked back around to where Keith stood.   Marshall opened the box and extended his right hand to Keith

"Congratulations, Captain Keith Hunter!" Marshall's baritone voice bellowed.

Keith looked down inside the box.  A slow smile came to his face as he immediately stared at a set of gold bars, lying neatly on a bed of cotton within the box. 

"I am pleased to say, Captain, that you are one of our youngest, and certainly, most experienced field Commanders ever to go out of here as an Alliance Space Explorer."

"It's...it's a dream come true, Sir!" Keith replied, almost stunned, as he looked at the gold bars inside of the box.

"Yes...and your parents would have been proud of you, Keith!" Marshall replied, giving Keith a pat on the back.  "Proud of you, indeed!"

"Yes, Sir!" Keith replied with a wide smile on his face. 

Then, Marshall straightened out his tone of voice, returning once again to the more professional tone of a high-ranking official. 

"You'll report to Vice-Marshall Graham tomorrow morning at 07:30 hours, for briefs on Planet Arus, its people, its known traditions, its monarch, Princess Allura... and of course, you'll receive top secret specks on Arus's dormant guardian,...Voltron."

"Voltron?" Keith replied slowly.  "What's a, 'Voltron', Sir?"

"Tomorrow, Captain Hunter." Marshall replied.  "Dismissed!"

Keith immediately turned around, resuming a military stance, and walked proudly out of the room.

The Vice-Admiral shook his head and chuckled as the door swished closed behind Keith.  "He'll do just fine." Marshall thought.  "Yes sir... he'll do a fine job, indeed."

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