"The Enemy Unknown"

A story based on "Voltron, The Third Dimension"
Copyright 2002
By Adele Previte

"Voltron" and its characters are a trademark and copyright of World Event Productions

All other characters are copyrighted by me and can be used with my permission.

Thanks!


Chapter Four
Deception?

The members of the Voltron Force sat amongst the members of the Council of Elders in the inner chambers.  A deafening silence fell upon the gathering.

Keith stood up to address the Council first.

"Sirs, Voltron Force, reporting as ordered." Keith said in a military tone, accompanied by a snappy salute.

Vice Admiral Royce rose to his feet and addressed the Voltron Commander.  "Thank you, Commander Hunter.  Please be seated."

Keith hesitated, and then resumed his seat along with his comrades.  Royce began to address the group.

"You have been called here early for a reason.  I'm sorry that we appeared to be unclear, but it was necessary to bring all of you here under the pretense that you were being briefed on the situation between Planet Gundahar and Planet Meridiana Two."

Keith once again addressed the Vice Admiral, this time, with a puzzled gaze.

"Begging the Admiral's pardon...
Sir, what are you talking about? 
What do you mean 'pretense'?
Do you mean we were ordered
to report here for an entirely
different reason?"

Royce cleared his throat loudly.
"That is correct, Commander."

Keith grew angry, and his vocal tone raised.  "And what is this purpose that was kept so secret?  What could possibly explain your deception?"

"Commander," Royce tried to say, but Princess Allura suddenly cut him off.

"Vice Admiral!  I am appalled that the Council would allow such action to take place! I don't understand... tell us what was so important, that you felt the need to be deceitful regarding our invitation to be present!" Allura said with a snippy tone in her
voice.

"Princess Allura, it's really quite simple."

The voice of Amalgamus echoed from behind where the Force was seated.  "Your arrival early has not been in vain.  You are here to help shed some light on a very...peculiar situation."

The entire group turned around to see Amalgamus rolling up to the table.

"Forgive us, Your Highness.  It was necessary to bring you all here without communicating the true nature of our request.  Our intelligence reports have indicated that all sub-space transmissions were being randomly intercepted.  To indicate directly what our intentions were would have been a security risk." Amalgamus replied.

"Alright, Amalgamus!" Keith sharply interrupted.  "We're here now.  So would you mind cutting through the military jargon, and just tell us what's going on?"

Amalgamus agreed.  "We had been monitoring a small space craft that had entered Arusian airspace at approximately 04:22 hundred hours, Arusian time.  The space craft disappeared off of our long-range scanners as it approached Arus.  Do you have any information regarding this space craft, Princess?"

Allura rose from her seat. "As it happened,
Castle alerts began  sometime around
then in the pre-dawn hours, when the
ship entered Arusian airspace. I'm sorry,
but I'm afraid I need to ask a few questions
first, before I divulged any of our information."

The air grew still as members of the Council looked at each other.  Amalgamus looked at Vice-Admiral Royce. "Admiral?" the cyborg said.

The Vice Admiral sighed, then nodded his head. "Go ahead, Princess.  Ask your questions."

Allura looked at Keith, acknowledging his nodding head with a nod of her own.  Then she addressed the Council once again.

"Amalgamus and members of the Council of Elders.  I speak for everyone seated here with me from the Voltron Force.  As Princess of Arus, it is my royal duty to do what I must to ensure the protection of my planet and my people.  The appearance of this craft was unexpected, and unwelcome.  We made no attempt to shoot it down, merely to force it down to the ground.  Before I explain what took place upon our discovery, I must ask if you know the origin of this ship."

"Princess Allura, I hardly see where that is relevant!" one admiral complained.

Allura's face drew a look of displeasure.  "It is very relevant!  The safety of my planet is involved, and when any craft comes into our airspace, we reserve the right to withhold that information for our protection!  Now, we might better serve each other, by all of us cooperating together, and helping each other out.  But if you refuse to answer my questions, I see no reason why I should share any information with you."

"Princess Allura!  Planet Arus is a part of the Alliance!" another admiral barked. "When anything threatens the security of the Alliance..."

"We have just as much right to
demand information for our safety as
you do!" Allura's voice bellowed.
"If this is what being a member of
the Alliance means, then perhaps
Arus should reconsider its position
as a member!"

"That's unprecedented!" an admiral shouted.

"Insubordinate!" a second bellowed.

"Preposterous!" still another shouted.

Amalgamus rose his robotic arms in an attempt to regain control in the Council room.

"Gentleman, please...please control your outbursts!  This bickering is futile!" Amalgamus then turned his attention to the young Arusian Princess.  "You Highness... we have reason to believe that the ship was from Planet Gundahar.  Our conversations with Gundahar's king,
Drago, indicate that he pronounces his innocence in this matter.  He, in fact, states that the ship was stolen from his planet."

Lance leaned into Keith's ear.  "That's the name we saw on the that badge from the ship!" Lance whispered quietly. "The one I found!"

Keith nodded and leaned over to Allura, tugging at her arm suddenly.  Allura leaned down to him and he too whispered into her ear

"Allura," Keith whispered. "That name is familiar to us.  We saw it on a badge that Lance had found at the wreakage site..."

"And you're sure it bore the name of 'Drago'?" Allura whispered back.

"Absolutely, Allura!" Keith whispered his response quickly.  "These guys know more than their letting on, I think."

Allura shot Keith a puzzled look before her attention was called back to the table.

"Princess?" Amalgamus called to her. "Is something the matter?"

Allura cleared her throat slightly.  "Amalgamus, the ship you speak of had exploded over Arus.  Commander Keith can be more specific with the details of the alert."

Amalgamus paused for a moment. "Very well." He replied, as he then turned to Keith. "Commander...your report."

Keith rose to his feet. "Amalgamus,
we received a Castle alert at
approximately the time you
indicated that your sensors
lost tracking of the alien craft.
I ordered myself, Lt. Andrews
and Lt. Simon into the air in
our lions to investigate, and
if necessary, defend Arus.
Our intention, as the Princess
alluded to, was to make contact.
Once it became obvious that the
intruder made no attempt to return
our hails, we assumed it hostile.
The Castle sensors and radar were
knocked out by some sort of
interference signal, assumably
sent by the alien craft, in an
attempt to hamper our ability
to identify it further. I determined at this point, there were one of two options open to us: Force it down, or force it into retreat.  As we attempted to force it to the ground, the ship unexplainably exploded only thirty miles above the Castle of Lions.  It appeared that the ship was on a suicide run, and it appeared bent on taking the Castle with it."

"And then what?" Vice Admiral Royce asked quietly.

"Then, we followed the debris down to the ground and began an investigation that was left unfinished, in order to report here to Earth." Keith replied.

"Were there any humanoid remains, Commander?" an admiral asked from across the table.

"Yes sir.  The remains of one humanoid life form were discovered and turned over to Castle authorities for a further investigation.  An autopsy was performed and the identity was found to be a male, however, no further information was obtained, to the best of my knowledge, since leaving Arus."

"You were not able to determine point of origin for this humanoid, Commander?" Royce asked Keith.

"No sir.  We had insufficent information in that area." Keith replied crisply.

"Anything else, Commander?" another admiral asked.

"No sir." Keith replied firmly.

"Thank you, Commander Keith." Amalgamus said slowly. "You may take your seat."

Keith paused for a moment, then asked another question.

"Sirs...do you know who it was?"

Amalgamus looked over to Vice Admiral Royce, and saw him nod.  Amalgamus replied, "We have been told by King Drago that someone stole his ship, someone from Meridiana Two, in order to start an all out war between his planet, and other planets in the galaxy.  Drago
believes someone was trying to frame him and his planet for war crimes, and he is directly accusing Meridiana Two of exacting this theft.  However, we have reason to believe that someone from his own planet, may have, in fact, stolen the ship.  The fact that you have
confirmed the presence of only one humanoid, discredits Drago's theory that an invasion force was aboard that craft."

"For what purpose?" Allura asked suddenly.  "I'm mean, why would someone steal a ship from Gundahar, and why did it suddenly blow up over the Castle of Lions?"

"We're not exactly sure, Princess." Amalgamus replied.  "We were hoping our conversations with you and the rest of the Voltron Force might shed some light on this mystery."

"Amalgamus," Keith said suddenly... 
"Do you believe that Princess Allura is
in any way in danger while attending
these peace negotiations?  After all,
the ship was, in my opinion, on a suicide
run toward the Castle, where the Princess
was at the time, and in the middle of the
night. If she's in any danger, I need to
know immediately!"

"Commander, we are not suggesting anything of the sort." Amalgamus replied.  "We are simply in a fact gathering mode."

Lance suddenly slammed his fist
onto the table and rose to his feet
abruptly. "Okay, I've had enough!
Just give it to us straight! Is
someone after Princess Allura?"

Hunk and Pidge rose to their feet as well.  "If she's in any kind of danger, we're leaving right now!" Hunk shouted.

"Ditto that!" Pidge echoed his large friend's sediments.

Keith turned, and with a swipe of his hand, silenced his team's angry outbursts.  He then turned his attention back to the elders.

"Sirs, you can all see that we are understandably concerned for the welfare of Princess Allura.  You can also see that we are not about to allow her to fall prey to any plot that may be forming against her!"

"We don't necessarily believe there is a plot against the Princess." Royce replied.

"But you're not convinced there isn't one, am I correct?" Keith said to Royce.

A moment of silence and puzzled looks gave Keith his answer.

"Amalgamus, I think that Princess Allura should return back to Arus." Keith said suddenly. "As a sworn protector of the Royal Crown of Arus, I am responsible for her well being."

"You are also an officer of the Alliance, Commander Hunter!" an angry Admiral proclaimed. "You take orders from us!"

"With all due respect, sir," Keith growled. "When it comes to the safety of Princess Allura, she is my NUMBER ONE duty!  If you force the issue, I'll resign my commission, effective immediately!"

"Commander, there is no need to resign your commission!  She is well protected here.  The peace meetings will be conducted in such a way, so that no one will be allowed any weapons, whatsoever, present in the room." Amalgamus replied. "The Princess will be safe."

"Permission to carry arms to defend our Princess..." Keith said firmly.

"Permission denied, Commander!" Royce said abruptly. "That would set a precedence of war rather than peace!"

"Sir...I must protest," Keith began to say.
"I strongly disagree with..."

"As you were, Commander Hunter!"
Royce bellowed back.

"With all due respect, Admiral, perhaps
you didn't understand what I said a few
moments ago!  I am sworn to defend Arus
and its Princess! That means anything
I deem too dangerous..."

"I said... as you were, Commander!"
Royce shouted.  "Or you will be placed
under house arrest!"

Allura quickly tugged at Keith's arm, in a non-verbal communication to back down.

With a very annoyed look on his face, Keith finally backed off.

"Yes, Sir!" he answered sharply.

Allura finally interrupted the argument on behalf of Keith.

"We, the Voltron Force, were invited to attend these proceedings as a group.  I don't recall that only the Princess of Arus was to attend.  Therefore, Commander Hunter has a valid point to make.  I think in light of the situation on Arus a few days ago, it warrants his
concerns, and those of all of us.  I don't think, Vice Admiral, that you should dismiss them so quickly."

Royce turned his eyes down to her, as if to pierce her with them.

It was Amalgamus who finally made the determination.  "I will allow Commander Keith... and only Commander Keith... to carry a Code C blaster.  If I so much as see any other weapons present from any one of you...other than Commander Keith, you will be dismissed from the
proceedings immediately!  I understand your concerns, but I will not allow your over-zealousness to ruin this opportunity for peace between these two warring planets!  Do I make myself clear?"

"A Code C blaster is nothing more than a pop-gun!" Lance blasted back. "You won't get very far with that, if trouble comes knocking!"

Allura suddenly and sternly interrupted Lance's objections...

"WE...agree to the provision the Alliance Council has made!  A Code C blaster will only be carried by Commander Keith."

"And...do all of you agree to this?" Amalgamus asked.

A dull assortment of yes's came from the Voltron Force.

Amalgamus nodded.  "Princess, if it pleases you, we would like you to arrange for Coran to transfer all data regarding the Arusian incident directly here immediately."

"I will arrange it," Allura replied quietly.

"Including the body of the humanoid!" Royce quickly added.

Allura looked to Keith, and he paused, but then, reluctantly nodded his head to her.

"We agree.  The body will be sent to Earth as well." Allura replied.

"Very good.  Well then, it appears that this part of the briefing is completed.  We will have a thirty-minute recess, and convene here once again to talk about the peace conference itself.   What has been said in this room here, today, is to remain in the strictest confidence.  That will be all." Royce replied sharply.

The Council of Elders, one by one, left the room along with Royce and Amalgamus.

When the room was empty, Keith, Lance, Pidge and Hunk gathered around Allura.

Keith took her hands in his...

"It smells like a trap, Allura." he said. "We all better be on guard!"

"Yeah, don't worry, Princess! We'll see to it that you're safe!" Pidge added.

"Just let someone try and hurt you!  I don't need a blaster to blast them back a couple hundred yards!" Hunk grunted, balling his fists.

"Yeah, but you'll get what's left of them after I take care of them!" Lance grinned.  "I'll knock them out!"

Keith smiled as he gave her hands a squeeze. "Scared?"

Allura smiled. "A little.  But then again, my life has always been in danger.  Its all part of being a princess. This is no exception."

"Well, don't you worry, Princess!  We'll all take care of you!" Hunk assured.

Allura nodded her head thoughtfully.

Allura suddenly leaned in toward Keith, grabbing hold of him and whispering in his ear. "Watch for Lotor." she said softly.

Keith's blood began to boil at the mention of his name.  He held her as he whispered back. "Don't worry.  If he's behind any of this, he won't get within ten miles of you."

Hunk tugged at Lance and Pidge's uniform shirts, motioning for the door to give them a few moments of privacy.

After they had left the room, Keith brought his hands up to cup Allura's face.  "I promise you, Princess.  You won't be alone.  If I have to sleep in the same room with you, I will, if it means you'll be safe."

Allura giggled. "Maybe I was too hasty to suggest that that would be inappropriate!" Then her eyes welled up with tears.  "What if it is Lotor, Keith?"

"I won't let him harm you." Keith repeated firmly.

"Promise?" she said with a smile.

"I did...when I took your hand and swore an oath to you eight years ago.  And I've never gone back on that promise."  Keith said with a smile, then without another word, he knelt down before her, and kissed her hand.  "I promise, Princess Allura, that no harm will befall you, so long as I have breath in my lungs."

She smiled at him. "Arise, my Black Lion-Knight!"

He rose to his feet, and gently brushed the hair back from her face. "Don't worry, Allura. Things will be just fine."

"I hope so, Keith." she said with a distressed sigh. "I really hope so."

Back
Home