"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 Five
The Players Arrive

Several large space ships had begun arriving to Earth sometime shortly after four- o'clock in the afternoon, Earth time.  The ships were identified as those belonging to the delegation from Meridiana Two.

The lead ship was identified as the royal carrier, whose passengers were the King and Queen of Meridiana Two.  Shortly thereafter, the delegates from Gundahar began to arrive, including their notorious king.

After nearly an hour of briefings, and another hour or more preceding that of interrogation regarding the rouge ship that entered Arusian airspace, the Voltron Force were shown to their quarters.  They were to rest and freshen up, before preparing for the evening banquet the Alliance was giving in honor of the special guests.

Keith was lying sprawled out on his bed in the room he shared with Lance.  Lance had just finished shaving and had tossed his shaver back into his bag before coming over to flop onto his bed as well.

Lance saw that Keith wasn't asleep, and caught a glimpse of the look on his face.  He grunted aloud to his commander friend...

"I know that look, Keith," Lance said carefully. "What's bothering you? Allura?"

Keith glanced toward Lance, but only for a moment, then turned his eyes back up to gaze at the ceiling once again.  His silence was unsettling to Lance.

"I know," Lance sighed, and he kicked his feet on the bed, and assumed a sitting position with his legs crossed in front of him.  "I'm worried about her too." Lance finished his thought finally with a sigh.

Keith still said nothing.

Lance suddenly turned his body around to face Keith.  "You...you don't really think that someone's trying to bump off the Princess, do you?"

Without so much as a hesitation, Keith blurted out;  "I'm not sure what to think.  It's all pretty ironic. We're invited here to a peace conference, just after some nut in a space ship comes charging to Arus with suicide intentions to destroy the Castle of Lions.  All while in
the process of managing to knock out our radar intelligence..." Keith abruptly flew up in bed and glared at Lance.  "I don't know...you tell me!"

Keith immediately leapt out of bed and began pacing the room, his hands behind him, one grabbing onto the other.  Back and forth, like a trapped animal in a cage, Keith paced.

Lance sighed. "What are we going to do, Keith?" he asked his friend.  "Call off the whole thing and go home?"

"No," Keith replied with a sigh.  "She'd never agree to go back home right now...not until she's done what we were called here to do."

"Then what are we suppose to do?  Wait for the killer to make his move on her?  We don't even know if there is a killer!" Lance grunted.

"We behave as normal, but we stay on alert for anything that looks out of the ordinary." Keith replied.  "Nothing goes unchallenged!  Right down to checking her room before she retires for the night."

"Maybe she should stay with one of us...or Romelle?" Lance suggested.

"Hmmm...yeah...what about Romelle?  Could it be possible that someone could be after her too?" Keith mumbled quietly.  He finally waved his hands in the air in frustration.  "Oh, this is crazy!  I'm overreacting!"

Lance snorted. "So, what else is new?"

Keith shot Lance a curt look, before turning around and sitting back down onto the bed.  "Okay, so...we act as if nothing is going on, but still be on alert."

"Whatever you say," Lance chuckled. "You're the boss."

Keith looked his digital wristwatch. "Come on, we better start getting ready."

"You go ahead.  I'm not getting into that monkey suit any earlier then I have to." Lance huffed. "I feel like a stiff in that thing!"

"Make sure you're ready to go in forty-five minutes, or the Vice Admiral will have our hides!" Keith said in a raised voice.

"You know, Keith?" Lance said matter-of-factly,  "Some things never change with you! You're still worried about what the big shirts think of you!  You ought to relax and have some fun.  Enjoy this time...when we get back to Arus, its back to the same old routine.  And I for one, am going to take advantage of this time!"

"You just make sure you keep your eyes open and help look after the Princess!" Keith barked.  "If something happens to her on your watch, I'll nail you to the wall!"

"Touchy, touchy!" Lance teased.  "Gee, Keith...you'd think you were in love with her or something!" Lance laughed and then he laid down on the bed.  "Wake me in about half an hour, will ya?"

Keith frowned as he watched Lance settle in for a quick nap.  Ignoring him, Keith turned and went to the closet, grabbing for a carefully hung travel bag.

Taking it from the closet, he turned and walked back over to his bed and unzipped it. Beneath the cover of the travel bag was Keith's military dress uniform, crisply ironed.

With care, Keith removed the uniform from the bag and held it up in front of him.  The uniform was all black, with a white strip on either side of the pant leg. In the front, there was a place for his military honor badges.

The dress shirt he was to wear with it was separate from the uniform, and still hung in the closet.

The sleeves had stripes on them, and stars on the collar, signaling that the wearer of the uniform bore of the rank of Commander.

Carefully, Keith laid the uniform on the bed.  Then he turned to head for the bathroom to freshen up.

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

"Lance!  For the last time!  Get out of that bed!"

Lance awoke to an abrupt pair of hands shaking him around.  He turned his...sleepy eyes up toward the unwelcome disruption of his slumber.  It was Keith...dressed to the hilt in his military uniform.  Lance suddenly frowned.

"Uh, guess its time, huh?" Lance frowned.

"More than that!" Keith shouted. "I've been trying to get you up for nearly ten minutes now!  We're going to be late if you don't hurry up!"

Lance sat up and yawned. "Alright!  I'm up!"

Keith watched as he observed Lance getting out of bed and abruptly grabbing his uniform bag, then tossing it onto the bed, and finally, beginning to dress for dinner.

"I don't see why we can't wear our flight suits!" Lance huffed as he put his black socks on.

Keith turned to check his look in the mirror.  "Because, this is a military formal occasion, and we need to look our best."

"Well, I see nothing wrong with our flight suits!  They look professional enough!" Lance mumbled as he slipped one leg after the other into his pants.

Keith touched up the sides of hair with his comb. "Quit your complaining and hurry it up. We've got to meet Hunk and Pidge, and then get the Princess."

"Why don't you go ahead and meet Hunk and Pidge, and then come back for me." Lance suggested as he began to button his shirt.  "Then we'll all go get Allura..."

"No... why don't YOU just hurry it up and we can both meet Hunk and Pidge!" Keith replied. "We can leave in ten minutes if you hurry!"

"Yeah, yeah...whatever." Lance mumbled.  "I still don't see what all the fuss is about.  We're eating with a bunch of dudes from two other planets.  Big deal!"

Keith sighed in frustration as he once again straightened his collar and smoothed out his uniform with his hands.  "Just hurry!" he bellowed, an obvious tone of disgust in his voice.

Lance tucked in his shirt into his pants, and then with haste and carelessness, he grabbed his uniform jacket and put it on, doing up the buttons as we walked over to where Keith stood by the mirror.

Keith rolled his eyes as he watched Lance struggle with the button just below his chin that would close the collar up to his neck.  Finally, the frustrated Commander threw his second's hands out of the way and did up the button for him.

"You'll be all day with it the way you're going!" Keith grunted.

"Maybe it's my way to stall!" Lance responded back, grabbing the comb and running it through his hair haphazardly.  "You know I absolutely hate these things!"

"Get over it!" Keith huffed as he smoothed Lance's uniform out in the back. "We're here to do a job.  Let's just get this over with.  Tomorrow, we're regular guys again."

"We'll never be regular guys again, Keith!" Lance scoffed.  "Those days have ended.  I'm sorry I let you talk me into asking for my rank back when I came back to Arus!  I would have been  perfectly happy just being in Allura's airforce!"

"You know that's not true..." Keith said, as he pushed down a stray piece of Lance's hair in the back.  "The military is as much a part of your life as it is mine."

Lance abruptly turned around and glared at his friend with a smirk on his face. "Does Allura know what she's getting herself into?"

Keith looked at Lance with a puzzled look on his face.  "You mean about this mission?" he replied.

"No," Lance answered, shaking his head.  "I mean about you!  You're so rigid!  Is she sure she knows what she's getting by falling for someone like you?  Years of no fun, strictly business, old stick-in-the-mud Commander Keith Hunter?"

"Oh, and I suppose she'd find someone...say...like you... more interesting to be around, is that it?" Keith groaned.

Lance snapped his fingers in front of Keith's face.  "Exactly!  As a matter of fact, I'll go tell her right now!"

Lance turned to leave, and suddenly felt the restricting hand of his aggravated friend on his shoulder. Keith turned him around and shouted at him...

"You know, you're a real pain...friend!" Keith hollered.

Lance couldn't help but smile.  "Yeah, but I'm your best buddy, nevertheless!  And admit it...you'd have it no other way, right?"

Keith glared at him, but finally cracked a small smile. "Come on, Hunk, Pidge and the Princess are waiting."

As they both exited the door, Keith's voice echoed down the hallway... "And remember I'm her escort tonight, got it?"

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

The four members of the Voltron Force walked up to the door of Allura's quarters to escort her to the banquet.  Pidge used his finger to itch his neck beneath the collar. 

"I hate these things!" the youthful pilot grunted. "It's like being trapped in a sardine
can!"

"I'm with you on that!" Lance added his voice of disapproval to Pidge's. "I feel fake in this thing!"

"I like it, actually," Hunk replied, brushing his sleeve with his left hand. "Its cool."

"You'd think that, wouldn't you?" Lance groaned at his large friend.

"Knock it off, guys!" Keith ordered as he rang the bell to her room. "Don't upset the Princess."

"Who's upsetting her?" Lance replied.  "Doesn't anyone care about my feelings?"

Before anyone could reply, the door they were all standing before opened up.  Their eyes froze in position as they all beheld the awesome beauty before them.

Allura was dressed in a stunning pink white gown with delicate white
lace trim surrounding the neckline, and puffy sleeves, with more lace all around the bottom of the gown.  She had matching white gloves that stretched up her arms.

The golden necklace was lying perfectly
on her magnificent throat, and glittered
in the light of the hallway.  Her hair was
simple, down about her shoulders, with
honey-golden blonde ringlets falling
around her face.

The length of her beautiful golden hair
hung down her back and spilled over her shoulders
in the front.

Her family's crown tiara was sitting on her head, dipping down and lying gently on her forehead as an elegant piece of jewelry.  The crown suited her, and added to her natural beauty.

She had golden hoop earrings on.  Even the color of her fingernails matched the outfit perfectly.

With a gentle smile, she held out her hand to Keith.  Her melodic voice broke the trance that he and the others were in.

"Are we ready to go?" she sweetly sounded.

Keith shook his head slightly and smiled.
"Princess...you look absolutely..."

"GORGEOUS!" The rest of the guys
said with Keith in unison.

The compliment brought a blush to
Allura's makeup perfect face.  "Why
thank you, boys!"

Keith took her hand in his and gently tucked it
under his arm around his elbow. "You really do
look stunning, Allura..." he whispered into her ear.

"Thank you!  And I must say you boys look marvelous too!" she noted.

Lance puffed up with pride. "We do, don't we!" he beamed. "Yep, I must say...we do!"

Keith turned around abruptly.  "This, coming from the guy who hates to be in the monkey suit!"

"Now wait a minute!  I said it was uncomfortable!  I didn't mean I hated it!" Lance grunted.

"You blow around like the wind, Lance!" Keith chuckled.

Hunk laughed at the response from his Commander.  "Good one, Keith!"

Lance sank back in a moment of embarrassment before hearing Keith say, "Okay, let's get going."

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

The door to the banquet hall opened, revealing a room full of diplomats, ranking officials and the delegates of both planets.

Vice Admiral Royce quickly walked over to the Voltron Force.  A displeased look was on his face.  "You are all late!" he scolded. "What kept you so long!"

"We're sorry." Keith replied simply. "We were detained..."

"Never mind, Commander!" the Admiral barked. "Come with me, I will introduce you!"

Keith shot Lance a disapproving look that came with a promise of a head bashing later on.  The group followed Royce through the crowded ballroom floor to a group of people standing somewhat compactly together.

Royce cleared his throat as he made his presence known.  "Excuse me, Your Grace"

Two of the people turned around.  Both of them were dressed in beautiful robes and crowns on their heads.  The Voltron Force stood behind Royce as he made the introductions...

"King Ashland, Queen Josephilina
it is my extreme pleasure to
introduce to you the members of
the Voltron Force!  First, Her Royal
Highness, Princess Allura DeVille,
reigning monarch of Planet Arus,
being escorted by Commander
Keith Hunter, Lt. Commander Lance
Andrews, Lt. Jonathan Simon
and Lt. Pidge Villatoro."

The king and queen gazed fondly
at the group. "Our pleasure, Princess." The king said,  graciously as he took her hand
and kissed it gently.

Allura curtseyed to the King and Queen of Meridiana Two.  "It is our pleasure to meet you at last, face to face.  We hope we can be of assistance in your endeavor for peace."

"Thank you, Princess." Queen Josephilina replied.  "Our hope is that we can each find common ground.  Our planet has been through so much over the years."

King Ashland and Queen Josephilina were of aged years, probably somewhere around sixty, as a guess, Keith thought.  The Voltron Commander bowed to the royal pair.  "We hope we can be of help."

Allura turned to Keith.  "This is Commander Keith Hunter.  He is the leader of the Voltron Force and the very skillful pilot of the main Black Lion."

Keith bowed once again, crossing his left arm in front of his chest, cupping his hand over his heart.  "In your service, Your Highnesses."

The king and queen bowed back to him.  "Thank you, Commander Keith."

A clearing voice behind the queen suddenly brought something to her remembrance.  She quickly stood up straight.  "I'm so sorry!" she excused herself.  "How could I have forgotten!  Princess Allura, may I introduce to you, our very handsome son, and the heir-apparent of Planet Meridiana Two, Prince Constantine."

The young man dipped around his mother and gently took Allura's hand into his.  With swift precision, he gently fell to his knees and kissed the back of her hand lightly to his lips.

"It is an extreme honor to meet such a beautiful princess." He said smoothly.  "Truly, your beauty far surpasses the stories I have heard about you.  The descriptions could never do you justice.  Truly, it is my honor!"

Keith cleared his throat to speak.  "We're honored to meet you, Prince Constantine."

"Of course you are!" King Ashland bellowed with a chuckle in his voice.  "My son is as handsome as he is modest!  He would never speak of himself highly, so his mother and I do it for him!"

"Perhaps, Constantine, you could escort the Princess to get a drink of punch" the Queen suggested.

"Oh, thank you, but I am being escorted by Commander Keith this evening." She smiled sweetly.

"Nonsense!  I'm sure the Commander will not mind will you, Commander Keith?" King Ashland replied, his look had become quite stern.

"Actually" Keith struggled for a moment, then finally released Allura from his grasp.  "I suppose there's no harm in..."

"Wonderful!" the King bellowed joyfully.  "Constantine...if you please..."

The Prince bowed to his royal parents and took Allura's hand and escorted her to the refreshment area.  Keith's face flushed with anger...mostly at himself for not coming out and telling all of them that he and Allura were not merely Princess and her pilot.

But a sudden guilt came over him... a feeling as if this was where she really belonged in the companionship of those of her stature, not with a lowly pilot such as himself. Perhaps that was why he released her so quickly.

But the look on her face was hesitant.  She didn't want to go with the Prince...and Keith knew it.  So did Lance, Pidge and Hunk.

As the King Ashland and Queen Josephilina excused themselves to mingle with others in the room, Keith's friends quickly surrounded him.

"What was that all about?" Hunk grunted. "He just comes in and takes over...just like that?"

"Keith, why didn't you put your foot down and say no?" Pidge asked.

"You know Allura's with you!" Lance barked in a whisper. "Why did you have to go and let Prince Fancy-pants sweep her away like that?"

"Yeah, you should go over there and get her back!" Hunk added.

"Yeah, she's with us! With you!" Pidge said angrily.

"Alright, just calm down!"
Keith replied, trying to put things into
perspective. "She's not marrying
the guy...she just went with him to
get some refreshments!  That's all!
The way you guys act, you'd
think he was going to be the next
King of Arus or something!"

"Looks like that's what his father wants, if you ask me!" Lance
huffed. "He's playing you for a fool!"

"Yeah, you should go and bring her back here with us!" Pidge echoed Lance's anger.

"Cool it, guys!" Keith said, trying to keep his emotions in check.  "She's free to do as she wants."

"But you can see by the look on her face that she didn't want to go with that guy!" Lance grumbled.

"She needs to have exposure to others of her own class." Keith replied quietly.

The other guys looked at him strangely suddenly.  Lance finally broke
the silence between them.

"Hello...Earth to Keith!  Are you in there?  It's more then obvious to all of us that you like the Princess!  And you just let some other guy make off with her!  And you mean to say...that this is okay with you?"

"Are you sick, Keith?" Hunk bellowed.  "You're in love with her, admit it!  How can you let her go like that?"

Keith shrugged his shoulders.  "She's a princess, guys!  I'm just a pilot from Earth.   She deserves to meet people of her class and status.  I can't crowd her."

"Crowd her?" Lance chuckled. "You just let that slick princess-hunter make off with your lady, without so much as a protest from you!  And you're worried about crowding her?"


"Excuse me, but is dis conversation secret, or can anyone jump in?"


They all turned around to find Sven standing behind them.  On his arm was the lovely Princess Romelle of Planet Pollux.

"Sven!" Lance shouted, rushing over to his side. "Finally!  Someone who can talk sense into this guy!"

"What is going on?" Sven said, a puzzled look on his face.

"Our esteemed Commander here, just let a suave and shrew Prince make
off with Allura!" Lance grunted. "And he thinks its okay!"

Sven looked at Keith for a moment. "Keit? Is dis true?" he asked.

Keith waved his hand in front of his face.  "All she did was go and get a bit of refreshment with the guy.  These four think I've just committed a cardinal sin!"

"Why is she wit him instead of you, Keit?" Sven asked quietly.  "Aren't you da one escorting her tonight?"

"Yes, but I would be remiss if I sheltered her from any good looking guy that crosses her path for the sake of jealousy!  What does that prove?  That I can hold onto her?  She doesn't need a controlling person... she needs someone who will love her and allow her to be herself.  Lance is blowing this thing out of proportion.  She's not dating him for crying out loud!"

"Hmmm..." Romelle hummed. "I think perhaps you should go over there, Keith."

Keith looked at Romelle with glaring eyes. "Not you too!"

"Well, sometimes a woman likes to test the love of a
potential suitor.  I think that it would be a mistake
for you not to go and get her.  Besides...she looks
terribly bored!"  Romelle added with a smile.
"Go tell her I'm looking for her!"

Keith turned and glanced over toward the refreshment
table, and caught a glimpse of Allura as she listened to
Prince Constantine talking.  She had a smile on her face...but he could tell that it was
painted on for the Prince's benefit, so as not to offend him.

Suddenly, without another word, Keith walked away from his friends and over to where Allura stood listening to the babbling Prince.

"Excuse me, Your Highness," Keith said with a bow for respect.  "Princess Allura is being asked for by her cousin, Princess Romelle.  I am here to collect her."

"Oh!" the Prince replied, and extended his arm toward Allura.  "Shall we, my dear?"

Without a thought of offense, Keith quickly added... "And, so that there is no misunderstanding, Princess Allura is being escorted by me, this evening."

Allura suddenly beamed with a bright smile at her handsome knight.  The Prince snorted politely. "Oh...I see. Well, please excuse me!"

Keith nodded his head and extended his elbow to the Princess. Allura quickly latched on to him.  As they turned to leave, Allura turned her head, "It was a pleasure to meet you, Prince Constantine."

"Um...yes...charmed, I'm sure," was all he could say as he watched Keith leave with Allura on his arm.

Allura leaned into Keith and quietly whispered into his ear.  "I thought you had tired of rescuing me."

"Not on your life!" Keith winked at her and swept her away.

The Prince unhappily watched as the two of them disappeared with their friends into the crowd of people.  As Constantine sighed, he heard the sound of a deep, baritone voice speaking into his ear from behind.

"She's quite lovely, isn't she?"

Constantine nodded, still not looking at the owner of the voice.  "What does she see in that simpleton, anyway?"

"Perhaps it's his charmor his position.  You know, he is a pretty important man around here, I'm told.  He's the Voltron Commander." The voice replied.

Constantine shrugged his shoulders. "So?  Is that suppose to impress me?" he replied bitterly.

"No," the voice said from behind.

Constantine turned around abruptly and looked at the person standing behind him. "Then what, Drago?"

The voice belonged to King Drago, ruler of Gundahar.  Prince Constantine and he had a partnership together.  Constantine didn't like the way his father ruled Meridiana Two. Agreeing to team up with Drago, Constantine would dethrone his father when the time was
right, and take his place as leader of the tribes of Meridiana Two.

Drago was all too happy to see it happen, for with King Ashland gone, there would be nothing to stop his taking over Meridiana Two, and neatly disposing of Constantine as well.

"Do you want her, Constantine?" Drago asked quietly.

"She is very beautiful... as beautiful as you have said, Drago." the young Prince replied.

"You can have her...as soon as you get rid of her muscle-headed entourage over there." Drago murmured, pointing to the Voltron Force standing in the distance.  "Particularly, her personal guardian." he referred to Keith.

"And just how shall I do that?" Constantine grumbled. "He's a military man! He's Voltron's Commander!  That could not have been a simple achievement!  I'm sure he's very shrewd!"

"Not as shrewd as I am, my friend." Drago replied. "I could arrange for...say... a misfortunate accident to occur.  With him gone, the Princess will need the comfort of her new royal friend...you."

Constantine groaned.  "You said that if I convinced my father that this meeting was in the best interests of our people, that there would be no bloodshed!"

"And I meant that... no blood shed of your people.  I said nothing of the Earthlings.  They are obstacles to our planand if you want the Princess, you must be willing to remove all obstacles to get her." Drago cooed into Constantine's ear.

The Prince shook his head.  "For now, leave him be.  I'll will try again to win her affection without violence!"

Drago bowed his head.  "As you wish, young prince."

Constantine moved away from Drago and began to mingle with the crowd.  Drago turned to mingle as well, and suddenly, caught a glimpse of the lovely vision from Arus.  He smiled sinisterly

"As you wishfoolish prince!  If Constantine will not have her, then perhaps I shall" he thought as he watched her gracefully move through the crowd with the protection of her knights of Voltron.  "And then, Arus and Voltron shall be mine as well!"


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