"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 Twelve
Consequences for Every Action

By the sixth hour of confinement, there came a knock at the door.   Lance immediately bounced up from the couch, meeting Keith and Hunk at the door.  Allura stood behind them with Pidge.  All blasters were raised for protection.

Keith called out to the door.  "Whoever you are, identify yourself, immediately!"

"Keith...its me! Marshall Graham!"

They all nodded to each other at the recognition of the voice, and lowered their weapons. Keith flipped the door lock off and allowed the door to slide open, revealing the hallway ...and the friendly visitor.

Marshall Graham stood by with four Alliance guards behind him.  In his hands, and the hands of the guards were trays of food.

Keith looked at Graham with a puzzled expression.  Graham smiled.  "Amalgamus expressed Lt. Andrew's concern that the food might be laced with poison.  So...I thought I'd come along to help ease your fears about that.  I made the food myself!  I know my food doesn't exactly taste like what Mom used to make, but it won't kill you, I assure you."

The entire group of people both in the room and outside the door broke into laughter and Keith stepped aside with a smile.  "Marshall Graham!  Come on, Sir!"

Graham entered the room followed the guard detail.  Each tray was set on a nearby coffee table.  The guards stepped back and awaited further orders.

"That will be all." Marshall Graham replied to the guards. "Wait outside.  I'll be out shortly."

The guards saluted snappily, and Marshall Graham returned the salute, giving them clearance to leave the room.

After the door closed, Pidge locked it behind them.  The rest of the team quickly surrounded Marshall Grahama ton of questions flying at him.

"What's going on, Sir?"
Keith asked.

"Are the peace talks
off completely?"
Allura asked.  "And how is
Queen Josephilina?"

"When can we leave
to go home?" Lance
added his question.

"Any idea how long
we're going to be
couped up here, Sir?"
Pidge asked.

"Did you get Drago?"
Hunk asked.

"Where's my cousin,
Princess Romelle?"
Allura added.

"And Sven!" Keith
also added. "Where's
Sven?"

All the questions were being asked at the same time, and Marshall Graham held up his hands at the young group from Arus.

"Wait a minute!" he said suddenly. "I can't possibly understand everyone's question if you're asking me all at the same time!  Please!  I know you're all concerned, but one at a time is best for a man of my age!"

Keith quieted his team down and asked the first key question he could think of.

"Marshall Graham, what do you know regarding the investigation?" Keith asked.

"Keith...Your Highness...
and all of you. The investigation
has so far yielded nothing much.
We apprehended the a few
delegates from Gundahar...
questioned them...and released
them." Graham replied.

"RELEASED THEM?"
Lance shouted.  "These guys
mean business!  Did you see what they did to our room?"

"Yes...yes...Lance.  We saw." Graham answered.  "We saw everything.  We digitally tracked for footprints, fingerprints...and so on.  The only thing we found there were your own."

"But...Sir!" Keith interjected.  "What about the death message there on the mirror? Aren't there any clues there?"

Graham shook his head.  "Nothing, Keith.  You boys were right not to disturb the crime scene, but in this case, it made no difference.  We are dealing with a smart cookie here...
capable of covering up his own tracks as he goes."

"It's Drago!" Lance shouted.  "I'm telling you, it has to be him!"

"We've checked that out, Lance." Graham responded.  "He has a tight alibi.  The tightest...he was with Prince Constantine and Queen Josephilina at the time the murder of King Ashland took place.  All of King Drago's men were accounted for, and seen in different areas of the guest hotel at the time that you were attacked Keith, and at the time of the King's murder.  I'm afraid we're running out of options."

Lance snorted.  "That doesn't prove anything!   He could have ordered the operation and then, stand back and look innocent!  And its obvious that these guys have probably thrown threats around to other people, in return for an alibi!"

"What about the Meridian people?" Keith asked, deliberately interrupting Lance's comments.   "Were all of them where they should have been?"

"Yes...everything is checking out...and yet...you were attacked, your room was destroyed, and the King of Meridiana Two was murdered...and somehow, we're not able to find anyone who can be placed there!" Graham said in a raised voice.  "Its frustrating!"

"So...now what do we do?" Allura asked.

"Well...I hate to even suggests this...but regulation requires that I submit all of you through truth scanner too...to verify your whereabouts during King Ashland's murder." Graham replied.

The group gasped.  Keith turned to Graham. "I understand why you need to, but...we were the ones who reported the incident about the room and my attack..."

"Yes, Keith...but not until the next day." Graham replied. "Amalgamus found that...
peculiar... for some reason."

"Peculiar?" Lance shouted.  "We were caught off guard!  We needed to think about the Princess's safety first!"

"That's right!" Hunk added his voice to Lance's.  "Our priority is to the Princess!"

"Boys...please." Allura said.  "Marshall Graham is right.  We should have really reported the attack the moment we all arrived here."

"You know that lousy bucket of bolts would have just blown it off!" Lance protested.

"It's military procedure, Lance!" Keith shouted back.  "You know that!  I know that!  Marshall Graham's right....I should have filed the report, right away!"

"Then...why didn't you, Keith?" Graham asked.

"I didn't think there was enough evidence to warrant a security sweep, Sir.  The Princess and I..." Keith started to say...

"So, Princess Allura was there and witnessed the brutality you had reported receiving?" Graham asked both Keith and Allura.

Allura shook her head.  "Not all of it, Marshall Graham," she replied.  "When I arrived, I found Keith was on the ground, curled up in a ball, and four men dressed in black with black masks standing over him, hurling remarks at him.  I then saw Commander Keith sweep his leg out to knock one of the black hood men over, giving him room to roll away from them.  It was then that I made my presence known to them."

"So...you didn't actually witness the initial attack," Graham summarized.

"That's correct." Allura replied. "I saw only what I have just told you."

"And without any other witnesses, I figured it was my word against theirs." Keith replied. "Certainly not enough for a full investigation."

"That's true." Graham replied.  "But you still should have filed a complaint.  Why didn't you?  Its procedure, Keith!"

Keith remained silent for a moment. "I'm sorry, Sir.  It...it was an error in judgment."

"Well...I don't think that one error in judgement in your illustrious career is going to damage your reputation, Commander Keith." Graham smiled.  "But it may have hurt this investigation.  From what I gathered from your report, these four men in black set up a smoke bomb to escape you...the traces of which could have been tracked with sophisticated instruments...leading us right to those responsible for the attack on you."

Keith blankly stared at Marshall Graham.  "Sir...do you mean to say...that if I had said something from the time it had happened, King Ashland may still be alive right now?"

"Keith...don't put words in my mouth." Graham warned.  "I never said that.  We are dealing with a very clever perpetrator here.  I'm sure he had a Plan B in effect.  You may have allowed us to find who attacked you...but I doubt very much that we could have prevented Ashland's murder."

"But it might have helped..." Keith repeated.

"Commander..." Graham replied.  "Don't do this to yourself..."

"It might have helped...right?" Keith again repeated.

"Yes..." Graham finally admitted.  "Yes...it might have helped."

Keith's head suddenly sank low.

Marshall Graham saw that and quickly pointed out a few things.

"You all must remember that we have no fingerprints...no footprints... nothing...other then those of yourselves.  We have nothing tangible to go on.  If we did find the four who attacked Commander Keith...I'm sure it could not have helped us prevent what
happened to Ashland.  The important thing to recognize here is that there is a threat to the life of an Alliance officer, and a member of the Voltron Force. There is also a threat of violence to the Princess of Arus.  These are the main issues we need to focus on now.  We can not allow anything further to happen."

Hunk stepped forward.  "Marshall Graham...can't we just go back to Arus?"

"Hunk!  I told you that's not a wise idea!" Keith blurted out angrily. "They'd only follow us home!"

"I'm afraid that Keith's right." Graham replied.  "Until we have those responsible in custody, we can't send you home...not just yet."

"And what of Princess Romelle and Lt. Commander B'Yourn?" Allura asked suddenly.

"They too have been confined to quarters.  They have not been released to return home. But as surely as I stand here, I can tell you that no harm will come to either of them." Graham replied.

Allura sighed a breath of relief, bringing her hand to her throat.

Keith looked up again.  "Sir...we'd all like to stay together here.  As Hunk pointed out earlier, it's our duty, in the service of Planet Arus, to protect the Princess.  We can't be discharged from that duty.  I know we're Alliance officers, but we are also charged by the
decrees of the ancient Lion Codes of Arus, to guard and protect the Royal family against any and all harm.  Princess Allura is the only remaining line of the House of Arus. I...uh...that is...we...are charged to protect her with our lives."

"Commander...I'm certainly not asking any of you to discharge your duties to the Princess." Graham smiled.  "We sent you boys back there to guard and protect that planet against any evil forces that come against it...and to resurrect Voltron once again.  It certainly is not the position of the Alliance to remove you from those duties."

"Our lions!" Pidge suddenly shouted.  "What about our lion ships?"

"They're fine...and under round the clock watch.  Not to worry." Graham replied.  "Now, I'll tell Amalgamus that a truth scan has been forgone here, based on my evaluation of the conversation you and I have had here.  I suggest now, you sit, eat, and relax while you can."

"While we can, Sir?" Keith questioned.  "What do you mean by that?"

"Only time will tell if we ever get to the bottom of this.  In the meantime, you five have to be on guard.  The Alliance has you all under heavy surveillance, but...I'm afraid that as clever as this criminal has been so far, only proves to me his capability to commit further crimes without detection." Graham replied.  "We need you all to be alert..."

"We understand, Sir." Keith replied with a salute. "You can count on the Voltron Force!"

"Somehow, I knew I could." Graham replied, shaking each hand before he turned to leave.  Pidge unlocked the door and as it slid open, Graham turned back to the Force one last time.  "But the way...hope you like Mexican!  It was the only thing I knew well enough to make!"

"We appreciate the gesture, Marshall Graham." Allura smiled. "I'm sure we'll all enjoy it immensely!"

Graham nodded and left the room for the hallway, suddenly surrounded by two of the four guards standing by the door.  The door slid shut again, and Pidge quickly locked it back up again.

Hunk immediately dug into the food, his mouth watering at the sight.  Lance quickly followed his lead, and Pidge moved into position for his plate.  The lids were removed and the smell waffled through the air, bringing on sounds of pleased moans from the three hungry Voltron pilots.

Allura sat down and was about to lift the lid to her tray when she noticed Keith walking away from the coffee table.  She paused for a moment and watched as he came to a stop in front of the window once again.

Oblivious, Lance, Pidge and Hunk began to devour their food like it was their last meal.

Allura, however, put her napkin down and rose to her feet, walking over toward where Keith was standing in front of the window.

She stood there...not making a sound.  He made no acknowledgement that she was even there next to him. He simply stared out the window; as if looking toward the winter-covered woods behind the room they were held up in, asking nature for an answer to all of his questions.

His mind was far from admiration of the natural beauty of the winter scene.

Allura finally made the first move.  "I know what you're thinking, Keith.  And you heard Marshall Graham.  It would have made no difference in preventing King Ashland's death."

"You don't believe that
any more then I do, Allura."
Keith snapped back. "I know
my duty.   I know I should have
filed a report.  But I let Lance
talk me out of it."

"You made a decision
based on what facts were
available at the time."
She replied.  "Amalgamus
would have never..."

"It's not my duty to figure out Amalgamus's responses, Princess!" Keith barked suddenly, now drawing silence from the group of hearty eaters at the coffee table.  "It's my duty to report what I see!  I failed to do that!  And because of it...I've put you at risk...and
now, I may have indirectly attributed to King Ashland's murder!"

"Keith! You really can't blame yourself for that!" she sighed angrily.  "You did what you thought you had to do!  You can't be perfect all of the time!  You're not a machine, you know!"

"Princess...what if my mistake cost you your life?" he blurted out suddenly as he turned toward her.  "I'd never forgive myself for that!  I can't afford to make errors like this!"

"Keith...you make those same types of decisions every time we go into combat!  Each decision you make affects us all!  I've never seen a man more capable to do what you do...then you!" Allura replied.  "I refuse to accept this from you!  You're my Lion Knight, remember?  I need you!  We all do!  We can't lose you to self-guilt!  What happened in
the past, whether directly, indirectly or not at all affecting the King, has no baring on the future...unless you make it to be so!  You have to put this behind you and go forward!  The only way we're going to make it out of here...is if we all pull together and act as a team
should!  And we need our Commander!"

Keith looked into her deep ocean blue eyes...and found compassion there... and the truth he couldn't seem to find in himself.

"Now I know why you're in my life." Keith said quietly.  "You always seem to know me...
sometimes better then I know myself.  Thank you, Allura."

He leaned forward and planted a gentle kiss on her forehead.  The laughter and other antics quickly returned to the coffee table behind them...accompanied by a few hoots to the Commander regarding the overheard comment that he made to the Princess moments ago, along with a well viewed kiss on the forehead.

"Oh, Keithie...can I have another 'kissy-poo'?" Hunk said in a very fake, high-pitched feminine voice, addressed to Lance, who now was puffing himself up in a way that suggested he was pretending to be the Voltron Commander.

"Oh yes, my love!" Lance replied, full of false charm, mimicking Keith as he grabbed Hunk's head and planted a forceful kiss there with a loud, smooching sound, causing Pidge to break down into a helpless pile of giggles.

The Voltron Commander grunted playfully.  "You guys are going to get it when we get back to Arus!"

"Oh no!" Lance gasped suddenly, bringing his hand to his cheek.  "Not that, oh great leader!"

The three of them suddenly broke down into laughter, leaving Keith somewhere between amused and annoyed.

He sighed and waved his hand at them as he looked back at the Princess.  "Sorry about that, Allura." Keith stammered an apology to her.  "They're just a bunch of knot-heads."

Allura found herself stifling a giggle with her hand.  When Keith saw that, he couldn't help but cracking a smile too.

Keith then turned back to the table.  "I really hope you guys left some for us!"

"Well, its first come, first serve!" Hunk mumbled with his mouth full of food.  "You either eat or finder's keepers!"

"Yeah...and losers weepers!" Pidge finished the thought as he munched on a piece of bread.  "And this stuff Marshall Graham whipped up is pretty good!"

"Yeah!" Lance added.  "I hate to admit it, but the old guy can cook!"

"He's not that old!' Keith replied.  "You better not let him hear you say that!  He's libel to lock you up in solitary confinement!"

"I'm not worried," Lance snorted.  "At least I'll be fed well!"

"Hey!" Hunk shouted.  "Sign me up too!"

Allura and Keith walked over to the coffee table to rejoin their friends for dinner.  The food smelled wonderful.  It reminded Allura of Nanny's cooking.

She inhaled the aroma as she carefully unfolded her napkin, placing it squarely on her lap. Keith did likewise with his napkin, with somewhat less concern about its placement.

When Keith lifted up cover off his tray... and carefully tasted his food.

Satisfied that it wasn't laced with poison, he began to eat more freely.

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

The conversation flew between the five friends as they discussed memories of academy days with the Princess.  The four men shared stories with her, and described a time when life for them was hard work, but a lot of fun.

"Yep, I remember the winters here on Earth," Lance yawned, his stomach full from dinner. "After dinner, me and a few friends would walk around the academy grounds."

"The snowball fights we use to have, remember?" Hunk added.  "Those were fun!"

"Yeah...if there was one thing Hunk was good at...it was snowball wars!" Pidge interjected. "He could out think his enemy's next move!"

"All except Keith," Hunk admitted.  "As good as I was, I could never out-think Keith. He'd always find some way of pelting me!"

"That's because I was a good strategist." Keith replied.  "I pretty much knew what you were doing, just because I put myself in your shoes, and thought like you'd think."

"Yeah," Hunk said slowly.  "That was fun..."

Allura looked at Keith
with revelation in her eyes.
"Keith...maybe we can find
the killer by thinking like he'd think."

The conversation paused...

"We're going to need to do
some serious planning." Keith said
seriously.  "We're in trouble
here.  The Alliance has one suspect,
but no way to indite him.  That means...
we need to stick together and watch
each other's back.  The Alliance isn't
going to be able to do that for us when
we're finally allowed to go home.  We
need to do that for ourselves.  And if we
don't have a plan in place, we're
done for."



The silence in the room now was deafening.



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