"Forever...United."

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 7
Blue Lion's New Friend

"Commander Hunter..."

Keith had been sitting in the back compartment, reading, when he heard his name being called. He sat up and put his book back into his travel bag.  Rising to his feet, he entered the command cockpit.

Lt. Fujiko turned her head.  "We are on final approach to Planet Arus, Sir." the young pilot said.  "I am in the process of locating an atmospheric window to enter through.  I should have one in a few minutes."

"Good." Keith replied.  "Let me know when you've got it.  And...we'd better open up a hail to Castle Control...to let them know we're coming.  We don't want to be mistaken as an enemy attack ship, and get ourselves shot out of the sky, right?"

"Yes Sir." She said with smile.

Keith smiled at her.  "Let me know when you've made contact with Coran."

"Yes, Commander."

"Still not comfortable going by first names, are we, Lieutenant?"

"No, Sir...uh...I mean...no, Keith."

Keith shook his head and let out a small chuckle as he returned to the back compartment.  The thought of returning to Arus made him a bit nervous.

It was like a personal homecoming...but a short one...and one filled with anxiety.  As soon as Allura would had her say...he was prepared to leave again.  And this time...for good.

Having returned to the small cot...he sat down in it and reached over for his book once again that he had tossed into the bag.

In his own way, he was preparing himself, emotionally, to meet with Allura.

He had just picked up the book in his hand...when suddenly... he gasped...dropping the book to the floor of the ship.

His mind heard the sound...small as it was... and the voice was clearly recognizable...


"Allura?" Keith said aloud, softly. "Allura...is...is that you?"


For a moment...he thought he had picked up the anguished thoughts of the Princess... Something about...'what to do now'.

It was at that moment that Keith heard the anxious voice belonging to the young lieutenant... calling for his attention from the cockpit.

"Commander!" she called to him.

He quickly rose to his feet and dashed back into the cockpit.

"What is it?" Keith said suddenly.  "What's wrong?"

"Sir...I'm picking up a radar signal." Fujiko replied.

"What kind of signal?" Keith asked.

"I'm showing several ships on my scanners, heading up from the surface of the planet.  It appears that there are three separate energy signatures...two of them are in pursuit of the third." Fujiko replied.

"Three energy signatures?" Keith noted, suddenly.

"Yes, Sir."

Keith sat down next to her in the co-pilot's seat.  "Bring up the signatures on the scanner here in front of me.  I want to take a look at them.  It might be another attack on Arus, in which case, we might want to steer clear of it."

The young woman switched over the display to the co-pilot scanner.  Keith immediately activated it and pulled up the display.  One by one, he identified each signature...

One energy output pattern was the signature of a G'Donar fighter...

The second was energy outputs from a Doom fighter...

And there was one energy signature that he recognized immediately...

"That third signature belongs to the Voltron lion ships..." Keith said.  He looked up at Lt. Fujiko.  "Scan for the ships...how many of them are out there, based on the signatures?"

Lt. Fujiko examined the signatures.  "I'm showing eighteen ships for signature one."

"Okay...those are G'Donar ships." Keith replied.  "Continue."

"Number two has twenty-one ships, correlating with that signature frequency." Lt. Fujiko added.

"And those are Doom ships." Keith confirmed.  "And number three?  You should have four ships with that last signature...on or around that vicinity.  Can you confirm?"

The young pilot hesitated, intensely concentrating on her scanner.  Finally, she said, "No, Commander.  I'm reading only one ship matching the signature pattern for Number three."

"One signature?" Keith asked, bewildered suddenly.  "Are you sure?"

"Yes, Commander." Fujiko replied.

"Identify," Keith said suddenly, rising to his feet to stand over her.  "Which one is it?"

After a moment, she looked up at him and replied,  "I have it now, Sir."

Keith leaned further over the lieutenant's shoulder...

"The Black Lion...?!" Keith said with a tightened voice.  He suddenly felt a knot in his stomach as he looked up and out of the main view screen...

"Sir...is...is something wrong?" Fujiko asked him.

"The Princess..." Keith uttered in a quiet voice, completely ignoring the lieutenant's inquiry.  "She couldn't...she wouldn't do something that foolish...to go out by herself...not without back up!"

"Sir?"

Keith immediately reached his hand over her shoulder and activated the COM link signal to the Castle of Lion...

"This isn't good!" Keith said in a raised voice.  The link connected and Keith immediately called out...  "Castle Control! Castle Control, come in!  This is Commander Keith Hunter in Alliance craft B-7050! Come in, Castle Control...do you read?  Coran... where are
you?  Respond, over!"

A momentary hesitation occurred...and just as Keith was about to attempt contact again...

"Keith?  Keith...is...is that you?" Coran's voice replied.

"Coran!" Keith said, in a near frantic tone of voice.  "Our ship scanners are showing only Black Lion out there!  You want to tell me what's going on?"

"Keith... thank God you're here!" Coran replied.  "The Castle is under attack!  The Princess ordered our air units into place to help defend the Castle!  She, herself, went out to defend the Castle..."

"In Black Lion!" Keith shouted, cutting him off.  "All alone?  Is she CRAZY?  Or just bent on driving me crazy?"

"Yes, Commander!  She is out there, alone, with the Arusian air fleet as her backup...but now, we have just discovered that the lion's weaponry is disabled!"

"Disabled?  Disabled....how?" Keith shouted.  "That lion was in perfect working order before I left!"

"Pidge was installing his cloaking device..." Coran began to say.

"Where is Pidge?  And where's Lance and Hunk?  And why is Allura up there, on her own, with no weapons to fight with and no backup from the other guys?!" Keith shouted angrily.  "Why aren't they out, flying with her?"

"They have left, Keith!" Coran said suddenly.

"LEFT?" Keith shouted suddenly.  "What do you mean...left?  Left... where?"

"It will take too long to explain!  We need you, Keith!" Coran replied.  "You are the only chance Allura has left!  Without weapons, she is defenseless out there!"

"Give me landing instructions, Coran!" Keith shouted suddenly.  "Hurry!  I'm coming in!  And get a lion ready for me to fly!"

"Immediately!" Coran shouted, acknowledging his request.

Keith looked down to Lt. Fujiko.  "Did you locate an atmospheric window yet?"

"Yes, Sir." Fujiko replied, cautiously.  "But..."

"Listen to me carefully...I need you punch this bucket of bolts through the atmospheric window...as fast as you can!" Keith said to her.

"Sir...that's a risky request!" the young lieutenant replied back, her expression somewhat tempered.  "I'm not experienced in that area.  If you don't do it just right, this ship will burn up in the atmosphere...or bounce off of it...out of control!"

"Then, let me do it!" Keith replied.  "I've done it before and I've got the experience..."

"Sir...you're not cleared to fly this ship!" Fujiko replied, suddenly concerned.

"Look...I don't have time to argue regulations with you!" Keith replied back, now getting visibly upset.  "Just...turn over command of the ship to me.  I'll take full responsibility for whatever happens."

"I really can't do that, Sir." Fujiko replied.  "Regardless of the outcome, I could get a full reprimand for allowing you to do this!"

"Then...say...I hit you on the head...knocked
you out...and commandeered the ship!"
Keith came back with.  "I need to get to the
Castle...fast!"

"I'm sorry Sir...but...you're not cleared to..."

"MOVE IT, LIEUTENANT!"
Keith suddenly barked, startling
the young woman.


Startled, Fujiko immediately rose up and vacated the pilot's chair, leaving the way clear for Keith to move into place and take control of the ship. Lt. Fujiko quickly sat in the co-pilot's chair.

Keith strapped himself in and then turned his head toward Lt. Fujiko...  "Better strap in!  This is going to get real interesting... real fast!"

She silently grabbed onto the safety harness and fastened herself into the seat... not sure what was going to be the outcome of this from here.

Commander Keith Hunter's piloting and command abilities, were among the most outstanding in all of the Alliance and that quite possibly, he was the best Alliance officer that Space Academy has ever produced.

But even the best of them can make mistakes.  Fujiko held her breath... hoping that Keith's luck held out

Keith re-activated the COM link.  "Coran, I'm coming in at point 16 degrees, north-by-northeast of the Castle of Lions!  Requesting landing clearance!"

"Granted!  Hurry Keith!  My sensors show the enemy is closing in on the Princess!  She hasn't much time!  And...Keith...you should know that her intentions upon leaving the Castle were to not be taken alive.  I am afraid that if she is cornered, she may order the destruction of Black Lion!"

"Great..." Keith sighed anxiously as
he gripped the controls tightly in his
hands, guiding the ship toward the
atmospheric window.  "She loves
doing things the hard way, doesn't she?
She's becoming as defiant as Lance is!"

"Shall I contact her?" Coran began to say.

"NO!  That will tip our hand to the enemy!  Let's just hope Allura can keep them at bay...
just long enough for me to get up there!" Keith replied.

"You can take the Blue Lion, Commander!" Coran said to him.

"Gottcha!" Keith shouted.

"I shall meet you at the Castle gate to grant you clearance!" Coran's voice proclaimed.

"Hurry!  Keith out!"

Now, Keith's mind began to race...and his mind began reaching out toward hers...  "Hold on, Allura!  Just hold on!  Please...don't do anything stupid!  Do you hear me?"

He began guiding the ship on a direct heading toward the window. The ship had to punch it at just the right angle...or Lt. Fujiko's fears would come to pass...and they'd burn up in the atmosphere...or...a complete miss and bounce off, that might end up being detected by the
forces of Doom. And with only C-code style blaster cannons on the ship, defending themselves against a retaliatory strike would be disastrous, to say the least.

The ship began to enter the outer most layers of the atmosphere and quickly began to vibrate...slowly at first...as a result of heat friction...then more and more abruptly as they approached the window.

Keith had a firm grip on the controls...now was not the time to lose control.

Lt. Fujiko watched intently, as she observed Commander Keith...a highly respected and highly skilled young man...as he attempted to force the ship into the atmosphere's open window.  She watched his facial expressions...his muscle tension... his eyes, fixated on the scanner in front of him...tracking the window opening.

There'd only be one chance at this.  It had to good...the first time.

Suddenly... the ship shook violently...

They had entered the window. Now...the ride was at its trickiest.  If Keith didn't hold the course exactly right... the ship would burn up in the atmosphere.  He had to hold it steady for thirty-six seconds...

Keith's muscles seemed to solidify...becoming rock hard and steady, as he continued to hold the course that the ship was taking through the most dangerous part of the atmosphere.

The ship was not like one of the robot lions that he was accustomed to doing this with.  This ship's composition was much more fragile and the shields were much weaker than that of the lion technology he was used to.  It's fundamental design didn't allow for this type of
abuse. But there was little choice in the matter.

This time...it was up to skill and absolute perfection..or they'd never make it to the ground.

Fourteen seconds remaining...

Sweat began to bead on Keith's brow, as he could suddenly feel his hands beginning to buckle under the extreme tension on the controls. 
He focused his concentration on the task at
hand. He had to get them through.
He was committed to do so.

Ten seconds left...

"HOLD ON!" Keith shouted aloud,
mainly at himself.

Lt. Fujiko's facial expression was one of fear
and anxiety.  The shaking was violent...and
very frightening. Her eye was on the heat
index and haul integrity readouts.
They were reaching critical levels.

"Commander!" she alerted him. "The haul temperature is approaching one-thousand degrees! Its too much on the ship!  We're going to burn up!"

"Come on...come on...do it...do it!" Keith groaned in a low voice.  His attention was on the monitors.  "Just a...few...more...seconds... and..."

Five...four...three...two...one...

One last, violent jolt forward, and the ship zipped out of an upper atmosphere cloud formation.

They had cleared the critical layers of atmosphere and were now on a clear approach to the Castle of Lions.

Lt. Fujiko suddenly began to shout joyous strains, suddenly relieved that they had made it through the atmosphere in one piece .

Keith, more tempered in his relief of making it though, called Fujiko's attention back to the task at hand.

"We're not out of the woods, yet." He warned her, seeing her excitment mounting.  "Give me a reading on haul damage."

The young lieutenant nodded her head and did a damage report.  She sighed, once again relieved that the readings showed no major damage.

"Reporting only minor friction damage, Commander." she said to him.

"Hang on, then!" Keith said in a low, stern voice.  "I'm increasing speed!"

His intention was to barrel down to the Castle as fast as the ship could carry them.  The ship's speed suddenly increased to Mock 4.

As the ship had cleared yet another cloud formation, a visual confirmation was suddenly obtained... the Castle of Lions was now on the view screen...right in front of Keith's line of sight.

He increased speed again to Mock 7.

"We're coming in too fast!" Fujiko screamed suddenly. feeling the pressure of the G-forces working on her body. "We're going to crash!"

"We're not!" Keith reassured.  "Just hold on!"

The ship was on a near collision course with the Castle of Lions.  As the ship screamed across the sky, the sound barrier broke, producing ripples of thunderous sound that could be heard for miles around.

And standing just outside the Castle's main doors...were three royal guardsmen, who upon hearing the noise, immediately bolted out of the main entrance to the Castle. .

They began to point to the sky...a ship was heading right for them!

In the ship...

Keith's teeth were so tightly clenched together that his jaw began to ache.  The incredible tension and concentration was evident in his facial expression.

"We're less than ten thousand feet from the ground!" the frightened lieutenant screamed. "We're coming in too fast!  Slow us down...or we'll crash for sure!"

"We aren't going to crash, I told you!" Keith cried out.  "Just trust me!"

"There's no possible way to maneuver a ship to land safely, traveling this fast and so close to the ground!" Fujiko shouted.

Keith allowed himself a smile as he replied to her fears.  "I'm about to teach you a maneuver that the Space Academy never taught you!"

The ship suddenly dove straight down.

Lt. Fujiko heard a scream...and it took only seconds for her to realize that it was her own voice making the sound.

"WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" she cried out loud to Keith.

"Get ready...I'm going to pull out of the dive when we're down to three- thousand feet!  Inertia is going to kick in...hard and fast...and we're going to lose gravity...but just for a few moments.
Then, I'm cutting power to the engines and coasting her in the rest of the way! We'll control crash to the ground...and take a few slams before we finally come to a stop! Just prepare yourself, because the ride comes to an abrupt halt!"

"If we live!" she shouted back. "This is one crazy maneuver, Sir!"

"We'll live!" Keith assured her. "Just brace yourself!"

The ship barreled straight for the Castle grounds...diving fast and furious.

The sound that the incoming-ship was like a screaming air machine, flying out of control and apparently on a collision course for the ground.

"Get ready!" Keith warned the young pilot. "Get ready...in...five... four...three..."

The girl grabbed the arms of her chair, choosing to close her eyes suddenly.

"Two...one...NOW!" Keith cried.

He quickly pulled back on the controls with all of his might, letting out a primal scream as he did it...then, simultaneously, he cut power to the engines.

Lt. Fujiko screamed again, as her body suddenly feeling weightless.  Keith held his concentration, despite the bump and jar action.

The ship suddenly jerked forward in mid air...and then, righted itself.  Then, it suddenly dropped at a fast rate of speed to the ground below...cruising straight on with forward momentum.

Keith watched his controls.  He had to do it just right...or they would crash into the ground.  He pulled on the control levers...keeping the nose of the ship in an upward position.

Only seconds more before the ship would hit the ground and skip across the ground, like a stone on the water.  Keith held the controls firmly in his hand. Hopefully, the ground would stop them...before they hit the water.

"Here...we...GO!" Keith cried out.

The ship suddenly hit the ground, jerking Keith and Lt. Fujiko forward.  Both of them had let out screams, as the ship hit, bouncing off of the groun...hit again...and bouncing off of the ground a second time.

After three bounces off of the ground, the ship finally dug into the dirt of the Castle grounds and the dirt suddenly acted as friction against the ship's forward motion, immediately slowing it down, until it came to an abrupt stop.

Inside the ship, Keith and Lt. Fujiko were lunged forward one final time.

Keith looked up, pushing his hair back from his face.  They made it... they made it to the ground in one piece.  Not exactly a textbook style landing, but a successful one, nevertheless.

There was bound to be damage to the ship...but he'd deal with that later.

Keith turned to the lieutenant.  "Are you okay?" he shouted to her, while quickly unbuckling himself from his seat.

She looked up, gasping for air. "Yes, Sir!" she replied, breathlessly.

Keith nodded to her and jumped up from the command chair, running to the main hatch of the ship. He hit the button and the hatch slowly opened.  However, he didn't wait for the hatch to fully open.  As soon as there was enough room for him to slip his body through, he did, and jumped straight down to the ground.

Keith landed on his feet at first, with knees bent, and then, rolled to the ground, allowing his body to absorb the rest of the fall.  But only needed a second to get back up on his feet. Then, off he ran...to the Castle's bridge, over the lake...and to the main doors of the Castle.

The guardsmen, who had witnessed the crashing ship, suddenly took on a defensive posture. They recognized the man running toward them...but had not received word that he was to return.

Momentarily confused, realizing it was Commander Keith running toward them, they suddenly raised their blasters.  Even though it was Keith, they had not received orders to allow him back into the Castle...and were now preparing to stop him from coming any closer.

"HALT! HALT OR WE'LL FIRE!" a guardsman shouted at Keith, as he ran ever closer to the main door.

Keith immediately stopped in the middle of the bridge, seeing the guards and their weapons...and then, suddenly, he began to shout back at them...

"I'VE GOT TO GET INTO THE CASTLE!"
Keith cried out to them.

"STAY WHERE YOU ARE!"
another guardsman shouted.

"PLEASE! I'VE GOT TO GET
TO A LION!" Keith shouted back.
"THE PRINCESS..."

Seconds later...

"CLEARANCE!  HE HAS CLEARANCE!  LET HIM THROUGH!"

The three guardsmen turned and saw Coran running toward them from behind. The men lowered their blasters and stepped aside.

Coran waved for Keith to come forward.

Seeing Coran's hand gesture, Keith immediately took up to running again, finishing his trek across the bridge, and then, to the main doors. He had lost precious seconds arguing with the guards.  Now, every minute was even more critical then it was before.

Coran stepped off to the side of the entranceway to the Castle.  Raising his left hand into the air and extending it forward, he cried out to Keith...  "BLUE LION'S KEY!"

Keith saw the key in Coran's hand and heard his shout of instruction.  Without so much as braking speed, Keith ran up to the door...passing the three, out-of-the-way guardsmen and immediately rounded the corner toward the left.

His right hand stretched out into the air and with one sweeping motion, he grabbed the Blue Lion operating key into his hand...then continued down the corridor toward the Castle Control Room.

"THE TUNNELS ARE UP!" Coran shouted after him. "HURRY KEITH!  SHE WAS NEARLY SURROUNDED, ONLY MOMENTS AGO!"

Keith never answered...he just kept running down the corridor.

Coran turned to the guardsmen.  "Come with me!" he said to them.

The four of them exited the Castle, heading toward the bridge.


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


Keith ran as fast as he could down the corridor.  He nearly knocked over one of the Castle's servants, as she exited one room and into the corridor.  Keith dodged around her, knocking her off balance a bit.  He shouted sorry as he ran passed her...but had no time for courtesies.

His only thought was for Allura...

He had to get to her in time...

He rounded the corner to Castle Control, and as he began to run down the stairway to the floor, to the waiting entranceway to the tunnels... he suddenly lost his footing...and then, tumbled the rest of the way down the flight of stairs.  Rolling out of control, Keith
suddenly lost his grip of the Blue Lion key.  It tumbled down the stairs, separating itself from Keith.

He abruptly reached the bottom of the stairway with a thud, smacking his front torso and ribcage hard on the floor.  He groaned in pain, holding his chest while gasping to take a breath after having the wind knocked out of him.  He struggled to get back on his feet once
again. There was no time for pain.

It was then that Keith realized he had lost the key!

"THE KEY!" Keith shouted frantically, now searching with his eyes, scanning the surrounding room. "WHERE'S THE KEY?"

As he continued to scan the room, his eyes suddenly saw the flash of a shiny, somewhat colorful object, lying several feet away from him.  He quickly ran over toward it...and immediately recognized that it was the key.  It had rolled away from the stairway after it had fallen away from his grasp.

With the agility of a lion, he quickly ran to where the key was lying and immediately scooped it up into his right hand.  Stumbling a bit, he turned and ran for the Number Four chute.  As he ran, he quickly tucked the key away in his pants pocket for safekeeping.

Keith reached his hands out in front of him and with a grunt, jumped for the T-bar in the tunnel...the tunnel to the Blue Lion.

He immediately rode down the chute, heading for the entrance to the shuttle that would take him to Blue Lion...all the while praying he wasn't too late.

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


Coran and the three guardsmen were running, the sound of their shoes was clicking steadily and quickly against the wood of the bridge.  They soon came to a stop, dead center in the middle of the bridge.  Coran looked over into the water...

"Hurry Keith...please hurry..." Coran whispered.  "You must hurry!"

The water of the lake was deadly still. No sign of movement...which meant...there was no sign of Blue Lion rising to the surface as of yet. Coran looked up into the sky...

"She must be safe," Coran again whispered. "Allura... hear me...help is coming!"


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


The shuttle containing Keith raced though the underwater tube, heading directly for Blue Lion. In the distance, he suddenly saw the sleeping robot, lying down on its resting platform, as if it were waiting for its soon-arriving pilot.

Keith glanced at his digital watch on his wrist, and suddenly, never realized just how slow three minutes of transport to the robot lions was...until now.

The shuttle pod began to slow down as the water that had once surrounded Keith's view, suddenly turned into blackness.  With a few mechanical clicks, the chair was hoisted up onto a lift that now began a steady movement upward.

Keith carefully drove his hand into his pants pocket, retrieving the Blue Lion key and waiting anxiously to use it.

The chair was loaded into the cockpit, backwards, but quickly turned around.  Now facing forward, the chair began to snap into place with another mechanical clicking sound.  But before Keith's chair was securely in its place, he hastily inserted the key into the awaiting activation slot.

The lion immediately came to life with a mighty roar.  Inside the robot lion, the monitors lit up and the console illuminated, coming alive with multiple lights and sounds.  Without hesitation, the young Commander quickly grabbed onto the control levers and pulled on them.

The Blue Lion responded by stand up on to its feet, then, leapt upward from its resting platform... beginning a rapid race for the lake surface.

Keith quickly called up his scanners, trying to get a reading on the Black Lion's position.  His face suddenly felt as if the blood had rushed out of it, as his eyes caught sight of the Black Lion, suddenly surrounded by several G'Donar and Doom fighters, just above the planet's atmosphere.

Then...Keith saw an energy web shooting out of three of the Doom ships.  The netting surrounded the now struggling Black Lion.

Allura was trapped!

Keith gritted his teeth in total concentration.  He watched, as the surface drew nearer.

Only seconds until breakaway...

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


"Where is he?" Coran shouted, halfway between nervous and angry.

One of the guardsmen pointed to the bubbles, now breaking the surface of the water.  Coran turned his head, joining the watchful eyes of the other three men standing with him.

Suddenly...

The four men covered their heads as a massive explosion of water erupted all over them from the lake. Coran wiped his eyes and face of the water and looked up...catching a glimpse of the Blue Lion, as it rapidly ascended into the sky above their heads...on a course for outer space.

Coran quickly made the sign of the cross...

"God's speed, Keith" he said in prayer form. "Please...let him reach her in time!"