"Forever..."

A story based on, "Voltron, The Third Dimension"
Copyright 2004
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! 

Enjoy! 


Chapter 17
A Planned Return to Kardel

Princess Allura quickly changed, as he prepared to accompany Keith back to Kardel. Today was the day that she and Keith were to return to Kardel in the Black Lion, and pay a planned visit to the Kardel North Children's School.  The children there would get a first-hand tour of the Black Lion and hear facts regarding the lion's technology.

For Keith's part in the trip, he would explain what he does, as Commander of Voltron, and what special weaponry is exclusive to the Black Lion, as the main lion of Voltron.

Allura was going to present information on the history of the Lions of Arus...ancient creatures of the past, whose spirits now infuse within the mechanical robot lion ships.  She had also planned to tell the children of how her father, the late King Alfor, built the robot
lions that are seen today, as part of mighty Voltron.

She heard her door buzzer go off and she quickly turned her head toward the door.  "Who is it?" she asked.

"Its me...Keith!"

Flustered, Allura suddenly held up her outfit in front of her body. "I'm not ready yet, Keith!"

"Okay, I just thought I'd stop by and see if you wanted an escort to breakfast." Keith's voice echoed from behind the door.

"I'll meet you there, Keith." Allura replied back.  "I'll finish up shortly."

"Fine...I've got Coran getting me a scouting report on Lotor's whereabouts.  I'm meeting him in the dining hall.  I'll catch you later then?"

"I'll be there soon!  Don't leave without me!" Allura giggled.

"Not a chance, Princess!" Keith's cheerful voice replied.  "I'll see you soon!"

Allura smiled as she continued to change.  Her heart began to beat rapidly as she thought of Keith's affection for her.  She truly felt fortunate.

**********************

Keith entered the dining hall quite unceremoniously.  Pidge, Hunk and Lance were already there, and had already started eating.

"Morning, guys!" Keith said brightly, as he took his assigned seat.

"Morning, Keith." Pidge replied with a mouth full of eggs.

"Hey, Keith." Hunk also replied, taking a sip of his juice.

Keith looked over to Lance.

"Okay...you've been pouting for four days, Lance." Keith said, as he unraveled his napkin and placed it neatly onto his lap.  "Not ready to give in and talk to me yet, eh?"

Pidge chuckled.  "He's still mad at you for the baby sitting assignment!"

"Well, it's his own fault." Keith replied.  "And if he hears anything, he'll hear that I wasn't the one that provoked the situation in the first place!"

"Well, I think Lance's sore because one of the babies throw up all over him!" Hunk proclaimed.  "It was a sight!  I never laughed so hard in my life!"

"But you got that too, and you deserved it, too, Hunk." Pidge noted.

"Yeah...got to say, that I did." Hunk agreed.  "But it kind of made it worth while to see Lance covered in baby puke!  Now that was funny!"

"Do you guys mind?" Lance bellowed.  "I'm trying to eat here!"

"Oh...it appears that our dear Red Lion pilot has found his voice!" Keith said.

"Not for you, Commander!" Lance barked back in a rather snippy tone of voice.  "I'm not speaking to you...only when I have to during practice!"

"Gee, sure hope my life doesn't call for you to rescue me," Keith replied.  "Because how can you warn me of danger, if you're not speaking to me?"

"You can take care of yourself!"
Lance barked back.  "After all,
you're the noble and fearless
Commander of the Voltron Force!
Nothing ever happens to the good
guys! They always manage to come
out on top, earning the disgusting
admiration of all of the lovesick
girls on Arus! You're the last
person I'd ever need to save,
Keith!"

"I love you, too, Lance!" Keith replied back.  "How's
about a kiss, to seal our love?"


"Get out of here, you moron!" Lance shouted, throwing his napkin on the table and getting up from his chair.  "The air suddenly smells in this room!  I'm going to bed.  It's been a long night for me!"

Lance nearly ran into Allura as she walked into the room.

"OH!" she shrieked softly.  "Lance!"

Lance looked at her. "Sorry, Allura.  Excuse me."

"Lance...where are you going?  Are you done with breakfast already?" Allura asked him.

Lance chucked his thumb back toward the dining table.  "Go tell your, 'boy-toy' over there, that I'm not amused by his comments!  And as far as I'm concerned, he can fight his own battles in the future!  I don't care if Lotor stomps all over his butt!"

"What a thing to say, Lance!" Allura protested.  "Of course, you'd help, if Keith needed your help!"

Lance snorted. "Yeah...I'd help... but I'd do it under protest!  Have a good time in Kardel, Princess, and you'd be doing us all a favor, if you'd leave Keith there when you come back!"

Lance immediately walked past the Princess...and the whole room broke out into laughter.

Allura walked in with a confused expression on her face. "What's with him?" she asked the group as she took her seat next to Keith.

"He's still mad at Keith, Princess." Pidge replied.

"He's grinding his ax with me for the babysitting punishment." Keith replied calmly as one of the servants brought him his breakfast plate.  "He's been sore at me since last week."

"I've figured that," Allura replied as she spread her napkin across her lap.  "He's behaving rather childish, if you ask me."

"Yeah, but he'll get over it soon." Keith replied as he took a bite of toast.  "He can't stay mad forever."

"Oh, I don't know," Hunk added.  "He can have a nasty temper, when he wants to."

"I'm not worried." Keith said.  "He'll come around."

"Do you think he meant that...about not helping you out if Lotor were attacking you?" Pidge asked him.

"No, he's got an attitude, but his heart's in the right place." Keith replied.  "If Lotor ever comes around, be sure Lance will have his act together."



"For our sakes, I do indeed hope so."



The group turned their attention to Coran, as he came into the room. He quickly took his seat to the Princess's right and motioned for one of the servants to bring him a plate of food.

"I am afraid I have some timely news with regards to Prince Lotor." Coran continued.  "It would seem that our intelligence reports can not agree on the whereabouts of the Prince of Doom."

Keith laid his fork down on the table, concentrating on what Coran had to say.  "Okay, what do they say?"

"The reports indicate that he is near our quadrant of the galaxy...but his exact whereabouts are unconfirmed." Coran replied.

"Well, I don't like that." Keith said.  "We can't confirm where he is...is it possible he's near Arus?"

"Anything is possible with Prince Lotor." Coran responded.  "He's a shrewd character.  I doubt it, however.  Our planetary defenses have  detected no sign of danger."

"But Lotor's been known to attack while in shroud mode." Allura pointed out.  "We've seen that move before."

"Yes, but usually, in cases such as that, we have been able to pinpoint some sort of spectrum distortion on the scanners...some sort of phasing that gives him away.  Up to now, we have failed to act upon it in enough time." Coran noted.

Pidge nodded his head. "The scanners only pick up a blip...it registers as kind of like a glitch of some kind.  It doesn't register properly as a security breach.  That's what I'm hoping to resolve with I get my clocking devices online.  Once the prototypes are complete, I can expand the research to include the computer defense systems in the Castle and around the planet."

"But until then?" Keith stared to ask.

"Until then...if we're not watching carefully, Lotor could slip under our defenses, undetected." Pidge answered.

"I'm wondering if this is a red sign not to go to Kardel, Princess." Keith said quietly.

"Oh, Keith," Allura proclaimed.  "The children will be so disappointed."

"Maybe so," Keith replied.  "But at least, they'd be safe."

"I don't believe we have anything to worry about, Commander." Coran replied. "Our intelligence reports do agree that Lotor's Doom fleet has not entered the Azure Quadrant.  I believe we can safely assume that your trip to Kardel will be uneventful."

Keith's nose wrinkled a bit as he puckered his lips together.  "Okay, but I want someone on those sensors at every second...just in case."

"I will observe the situation and keep you informed, Keith." Coran confirmed with him. Then Coran looked to Allura . "I am afraid, however, that you will need to attend to another, more pressing matter, prior to your leaving."

"What is it?" Allura asked.

"I have received word, that two disputing countrymen wish an audience with you, immediately." Coran said to the Princess.

"Why?" Allura asked.

"It would seem that one of them has built an irrigation ditch, and the second man states that the first man has built it on his property line.  They wish you have an audience with you, to settle the dispute." Coran replied.

"Don't they have property deeds, Coran?" Keith asked him.

"I am afraid that the land deal was a gentleman's agreement in verbal terms only." Coran replied.  "The land deed does not mark out, specifically, the parcels that belong to the first man verses which parcels belong to the second man.  And to make things even more
complicated, both men are related...brother, I believe."

"Good grief!" Pidge gawked.  "Two brothers fighting over a piece of land?  How stupid!"

"When are they coming?" Allura asked.

"They have requested to see you first thing, this morning." Coran replied.  "And since the settling of disputes among the people is part of your duty as Princess of Arus, I could not refuse them.  This must take prescience over your trip to Kardel.  But once the dispute
has been settled, you and the Commander may depart."

"But...that could take hours, Coran!" Allura sighed.  "And we're scheduled to be at the Children's school in an hour from now!"

"Perhaps...if the Commander were to go ahead of you, then, you could fly the Blue Lion to Kardel and catch up with him there." Coran suggested.

"That's a good idea, Coran!" Allura replied as she turned to Keith.  "Would that be okay with you?"

"It has to be." Keith shrugged his shoulders.  "But...I'm sure it'll all work out.  I'll hold the fort down until you get there."

"Fine.  I'll settle things here and join you shortly." Allura said, then turning to Coran, she said to him,  "The brothers will just have to get to the point of their dispute immediately.  I'll not hear arguments longer than an hour."

"As you wish, Princess." Coran replied.


*************************

Black Lion arrived at Kardel, just
shortly before nine in the morning.
It landed just to the left of the school.

The children ran out, shouting for joy, a
s Keith leapt out of the Black Lion cockpit
opening from the lion's head that had been
situated near to the ground.

The children crowded around Keith,
clutching him and cheering his
name. Keith did spot one familiar
face within the crowd of kids...
that of little Jennica Gibbs.

She had worn her yellow flowered
dress to school today, with her hair
done up in long ponytails.  Her face
glowed as she waved to Keith
amidst the crowd of excited children.


Principal Joshin Gibbs made his way through the crowd of children to formally greet Commander Keith.  The two men shook hands.  It was then that Joshin noticed that Princess Allura was not present.

"She'll be along shortly," Keith confirmed.  "She had a royal matter to attend to...
something that suddenly came up.  But she promises to be here shortly."

"Wonderful!" Joshin replied. "Well, what would you like to do first?"

"Why don't we head back inside the school." Keith replied.  "I can talk to the kids from there.  I'll talk about the technology of the robot lions and show some digital image diagram projections that I brought with me.  That should give them a basic idea of how the lions
work mechanically.  By that time, Princess Allura should be here in the Blue Lion, and she can tell the kids all about the ancient Lions of Arus, and how they still have an affect on the robot lions of today.  She's better at explaining that part than I am."

"Sounds perfect!" Joshin replied.  "We have the school auditorium all set up and waiting for you!"

"Then, let's get going!" Keith confirmed.  "I'll just snap on the force shield around Black Lion."

Joshin suddenly looked concerned.  Keith picked up on it right away... "Not to worry...its part of the protocol."

"My...you have many... protocols... to observe, don't you?" Joshin said.

Keith smiled at him.  "It's a safety measure...nothing more."

"Well then, uh, shall we continue to the auditorium?" Joshin replied, swinging his hand to his left.

"Lead the way!" Keith replied.

The children ran into the school ahead of Keith and Joshin.  Only a few remained behind to escort their special guest into the school Jennica being among them.

The little girl reached her hand up, sliding it into Keith's gloved hand.  He looked down, taking notice of the child.

"Hi-ya, Jennie!" Keith said with a smile.  He saw five other excited kids with her as well. "Are you kids my official welcoming committee?" Keith asked.

"They wanted to come along." Jennica said.  Then she motioned Keith to lean his ear down toward her.  Keith did so and she quickly whispered, "But I wanted to do it all on my own!"

Keith smiled again, giving the child's hand a quick, but gentle squeeze.


As they entered the school, Justianna...and another very familiar guest greeted Keith...

"Mayor Kuhn!" Keith said suddenly.

Keith released Jennica's hand and quickly grasped onto Mayor Kuhn's hand, giving it a firm handshake.

"Commander Keith!" Mayor Kuhn replied.  "Good to see you again!  But...I don't see Princess Allura..."

"She'll be long shortly, Your Honor." Keith affirmed.  "She had a royal matter to attend to first.  Something unexpected, I'm afraid, but knowing the Princess as I do, I'm sure it won't keep her long."

"Wonderful!" Kuhn replied. "I was looking forward to seeing her once again!"

"As I'm sure she is, to see you too, Sir." Keith replied.

Justianna smiled as she quickly gathered the attention of Keith and the Mayor.  "This way, please!  The children are anxious and waiting!"

"Oh, yeah...right!" Keith replied suddenly, now extending his hand in front of him, allowing Mayor Kuhn the right of way.  "This way, Mayor Kuhn."

"Oh no, Commander!" the mayor replied, waving his hands at Keith.  "These kids are waiting to see younot some silly politician!"

Keith thought to object, but then, he felt the tugging of several small hands at his arms.  He looked down and saw the six children, including Jennica, begging for him to follow them to the auditorium.

Keith smiled, allowing the children to show him and the mayor the way.


*************************

In outer space, just entering the Azure Quadrant, several alien ships were on a direct course heading for Planet Arus.  They flew undetected...shrouded by a highly sophisticated cloaking device.

The ships, forty in all, slowed their speed down to sub-light speed.  They would be entering the Arusian atmosphere in a matter of minutes.

They were scanning for one particular humanoid... and once they came within range of Arus...their sensory equipment would immediately detect the humanoid's life signs and whereabouts.

Now...it was time to move in, as directed.
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