"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 13
The Search for Hunk

Keith and Allura ventured out of confines of the Castle of Lions in a hover car, heading toward Weldon, in search for Hunk.  Keith decided that for tactical reasons, it might be better for them to search in the hover car rather than with the robot lions, based on Pidge's suggestion that the prowling enemy Doom ships might pick up the lion ships’ biorhythms. 

Keith agreed.

However, he made sure that he and Allura were heavily armed with blaster rifle guns, laser pistols and hand-held spike bombs.  He didn’t want to meet up with a surprise attack, unprepared.  Although he was sure that Allura was a force to be reckoned with and could defend herself adequately, he didn’t want to take the chance of being caught, of guard, and possibly compromise her safety. 

The hover car sailed silently across the land, its two passengers saying nothing to each other…and yet…were communicating with one another, all the while.

Keith steered the hover car down a seldom-used path, trying to avoid open-air roads.  Many of them were impassable, as it was... with Doom and the G’Donar busily leveling many travel paths in the area.

Allura kept a watchful eye to skies,
while her ears joined Keith’s…
listening for the sounds of enemy
turbine engines. 

So far... so good.

Moving in stealth, the two Voltron
Force members ever moved toward
their objective…the town of Weldon. 

Latest intelligence information showed that the town had sustained heavy damage and several casualties as a result of a recent raid there.  Allura prepared herself for the devastation, and had put the Castle’s medical teams on alert.  Their plan was to not only bring Hunk home, but try to bring back a few of the most critically injured to the Castle as well.  But there would be only room for a few lucky ones.  It wasn’t much…but it would be, at least, a help to some who would desperately need it.

As they drew within walking distance of the town, Keith brought the hover car to a stop in some nearby brush.  From here, they would go by foot.  It was too dangerous to travel in the open, directly. 

Keith turned and reached down, grabbing the blaster rifle and then, handed a small bag to Allura, containing several spike bombs. 

“Ready?” he asked her in a whispered voice.

She pulled her laser gun and nodded, then, swung the bag around her left shoulder.

“Let’s move out.” Keith said to her.

The two of them exited the car and proceeded through the thick brush.  Keith had the rifle at his side, while Allura followed closing behind him with her laser gun carefully moving back and forth …her ears in tune with every noise associated with the brush.

Keith moved the brush aside as he walked forward, making sure to keep a watchful eye out for his regal, yet highly capable, female companion.  The smell of smoke was thick in the air, as many buildings lie in smoldering ruins…reduced to cinder piles as a result of enemy raids. 
Allura heard a noise…and quickly grabbed for Keith’s attention.  Pausing…Keith listened as well.  Then, they both heard it. 

Several footsteps…coming their way from behind them…

Keith grabbed for his scanner and activated it.  Swinging it back and forth for readings… he quickly ascertained that the approaching party was not friendly.

“Doom patrols…” Keith whispered to Allura.  “Coming this way!”

“They must have detected us, somehow!” Allura whispered back. 

“The car, maybe.” Keith surmised.

Keith signaled, non-verbally to the Princess to move quickly forward with him.   He lifted his scanner up in front of them and began to scan for the edge of town.  Once there, they could possibly make a break for it and hide in one of the buildings.

Keith’s scanner began blinking rapidly and he quickly scanned to the left and right.  His face grimaced as he turned to Allura.

“We’re being surrounded.” Keith whispered again.  “Get ready to split up!”

Allura nodded, gripping her laser tightly, preparing for battle.  He turned to her.  “We’ll meet in the town, got it?”

Allura nodded, feeling the adrenaline starting to flow through her body. 

“Just keep going forward.” Keith advised her.  “Don’t stop, understand?”

"What about you?"

"Don't worry about me," Keith ordered her.  "Worry about yourself.  Got it?"

She reluctantly nodded once again.

Keith signaled for her to move forward.  As she passed him, he swung around to the left of Allura.  His plan was to draw them away from her and get them to follow after him instead. 

He moved the brush aside with obvious force, stirring up noise while attempting to attract attention in his direction.  According to his scanner…and his ears…it was working.  The Doom patrols were changing course, heading toward him...fast.  Now, intending not to become a living sacrifice, Keith began running through the brush as fast as he could.  If his calculations were correct, he’d be in the town in less than half a mile’s run.

And as usual, his calculations were right on the mark... 

The Voltron Commander sprang from the brush and hit the open road of Weldon.  Now, he was a sitting duck in the open.  If the Doom troops emerged now…he would be an easy target.  His priority was to find a place to shelter himself in…and to defend himself from.

His mind flashed a fleeting thought…

Allura… Hopefully, she was safe.

There was no time to get a fix on her position.  If she had followed his instructions exactly, she would already be in town, and had found shelter.

That was his anticipation.  Hopefully, she would follow through.  But knowing Allura as he did….

Suddenly, Keith gasped…coming to a screeching halt in his tracks.  He turned and looked to his left…and then…to his right. 

“This is NOT good!” Keith shouted to himself, now seeing that he was being surrounded. 

He quickly grabbed for his rifle blaster and randomly pointed it at different groups of the emerging Doom soldiers…sending bursts of laser energy into the midst of them.  Several of them were vaporized instantly.  But now, several more began to return fire at Keith.

He quickly dropped and rolled, avoiding being hit my laser fire…narrowly.

He ended up on his knees, where he took aim once again and fired off several more shots into the of group Doom soldiers, immediately in front of him.

But now, more were emerging from the brush.  He soon found himself severely outnumbered.  Keith turned his head and saw a burned out building.  It was the only building close enough to get to.  But getting to it,  would be a chore.

He had to cause a distraction…somehow. 

Then, his eyes caught sight of the perfect distraction… a huge water storage tank.  The wooden base already appeared to be damaged and the tank, unstably mounted.

“Perfect!” Keith said to himself. 

Quickly taking aim, he fired on what was left of the wooden base.  The base cracked and twisted under pressure…and seconds later, the wood snapped in half, sending the enormous tank crashing down to the ground and ruptured instantly, sending hundreds of gallons of fresh water rushing in every direction.

The Doom soldiers paused, temporarily confused as the water rushed all around their legs, with some, being swept off of their feet.

Keith immediately took off running for the building.  A Doom soldier saw his attempted escape, and immediately lifted his blaster up, taking aim at the fleeing humanoid.

As he was about to fire…

The soldier was hit from the side by a laser blast, taking him out instantly.  Keith, unaware that he was about to be hit, continued running quickly toward the building.

The water gushing began to subside…and the Doom soldiers were regrouping quickly.  Seeing Keith on a full sprint for the burned out building, several of them began to fire in his direction.

Keith ducked his head as the laser blasts began zipping quickly past him.  Only a few more steps…and he’d be safe inside…

“AHHH!”

Keith was suddenly struck by a stray laser blast.  He quickly tripped over his own two feet and fell to the ground instantly, sliding through the dirt, face first…while at the same time, feeling the searing pain shoot through his body.  He grabbed at his shoulder, grimacing in pain.  He knew instantly that he had been shot.  Laser shock would begin to set in soon.  But now was not the time to stop and lick wounds.  He had get up again…and keep moving.

Relying on his survival skills, he quickly regrouped and scrambled to his feet as quickly as possible.  Then, Keith dashed into the building and out of sight. 

The lead Doom soldier quickly signaled the others to follow him… and they ran toward the building to find and capture the humanoid.

“He has been wounded!” one Doom soldier called out.  “Quickly…find him!  Prince Lotor demands Arusian captives!”

“My sensors show that this is one of the Space Explorers!” another Doom soldier replied.

The first Doom soldier raised his laser in the air and cried, “If we capture him, Prince Lotor will be more than pleased!”

“After the humanoid!” the Doom squad leader shouted. “He must not be allowed to escape!”

Inside the building, Keith now began the grueling task of crawling through the mess that was once a building.  His injured left shoulder made it difficult for him to maneuver around.  And what was worse, his body was starting to feel numb all over.  Frustrated and now, with perspiration pouring down his forehead, Keith focused all of his energy into getting out of the building…before he was found…or…before he lost consciousness.  Either would result in his capture…leaving the Princess somewhere out there…alone and without back up.

The burning sensation on his left shoulder intensified with each object that he carelessly ran in to.  Then…the building suddenly shook. 

“Great,” Keith groaned in anger.  “Of all the buildings I figure on ducking into…I had to pick one that’s about to fall down on top of me!”

More dust and debris began falling around him.  Then, as if things weren’t bad enough…

“There’s the humanoid!”

Keith turned his head at the sound of the voice, shouting from a short distance behind him.  The Doom soldiers were closing in on him…

“If the building doesn’t get me,” Keith thought to himself, “The Doom soldiers will!”

He began to quickly move fallen boards out of his way, putting the pain and weariness he was feeling behind him.  He had to get out…now.

But as he moved yet another large board…

“Uh-oh!” Keith cried out, suddenly looking back and forth.  “Dead end!”

A pile of debris met him face to face.  There was no way he could move all of that… not with an injury, and certainly, not with the Doom soldiers right behind him. 

“Got a find a way out!” Keith mumbled to himself, now starting to feel a wave of panic beginning to overtake him. 

He started to move toward the right… but then, he heard that very distinct sound…a sound all too familiar to his ears…

“YEOW!” Keith shouted, as lasers once again began darting out all around him. 

With no place to run and hide… it appeared he was caught.  His thoughts were now becoming fogged…when suddenly....


“KEITH!  GET DOWN, HURRY!”


Keith heard his name being shouted, and instantly, he knew the voice…

“ALLURA!” Keith exclaimed. 

“GET DOWN KEITH…NOW!” Allura shouted back. 

She had crawled her way through an opening in the wall…just to Keith’s left.   Keith immediately followed her instructions and dropped to the ground, covering his head.

“Hope this building holds up!” Allura said aloud.

In her hands, were two spike bombs.  She threw them as hard as she could, in the direction of the approaching group of Doom soldiers.  The bombs landed on the ground immediately in front of the group of confused Doom soldiers.

The bombs instantly exploded, rocking the already unstable building.  Keith covered his head with his hands, but knowing that if the building came down, his efforts to protect his head would be futile. 

Allura squatted down as the blast erupted, suddenly making the ground beneath her feet unstable as well.  She lifted up her head and called out for Keith…

“KEITH…CAN YOU MAKE IT OVER HERE?”

Keith lifted his head up…realizing that he was still alive.  And while he still had breath in his lungs, the time to fight to survive was now.

“COMING!” Keith shouted, as he quickly scrambled to his feet, feeling shakier than before. 

Laser shock was setting in.  It was now a race against time.   

“I’LL COVER YOU!” Allura shouted back, firing her blaster into what was left of the crowd of Doom soldiers. 

The building shifted and pieces began to fall all around them.  Allura looked up above her head.  The ceiling was about to come down.  She holstered her blaster gun and began to move in Keith’s direction, using all of her strength to move debris out of the way as she went.

Keith saw her coming toward him.  “NO, ALLURA!” he shouted toward her.  “JUST GET OUT OF HERE!”

“NOT WITHOUT YOU!” Allura shouted, as she kept moving toward him.

“PRINCESS… I’M GIVING A DIRECT ORDER!  GET OUT OF HERE…NOW!”

“AND I’M CHOOSING TO DISOBEY THAT ORDER, COMMANDER!” Allura cried back, shouting formality right back at him.  “WE GET OUT TOGETHER…OR NOT AT ALL!”

“ALLURA!” Keith shouted, his temper flaring.

“I’M YOUR BACKUP!” Allura shouted.  “REMEMBER?”

“YOU’VE GOT TO GET OUT OF HERE!” Keith cried out, now in a more desperate tone of voice.  The building was now coming down more rapidly.

“NOT…WITHOUT…YOU!” Allura shouted, as she finally made her way to where Keith was. 

“It’s too late for me!” Keith cried, suddenly grabbing her right arm.  “I’ve been shot!  I can’t go any further!  You’ve got to get out of here…now!”

“I’m not leaving you behind!  So…I suppose you’ll just have to fight with me to get out here!” Allura said back, now grabbing onto him and helping him up. 

The building jolted once again and Keith looked up at Allura and shouted, “For the last time…GET OUT!”

“And for the last time...I’m NOT leaving you!  If you die…I die with you!” Allura shouted.



“Neither of you will die…not if I have anything to say about it!”



Keith and Allura looked up and to the left.  The voice they had just heard was recognizable to them. 

“HUNK!” they both shouted together.

Hunk began plowing through the debris, heaving it left and right as he made his way toward his fallen friends.  Several other Arusians had now entered the building with him.  Some were firing blasters as the growing number of Doom soldiers that had also entered the building.  The other Arusians began to widen the path that Hunk has started.

Hunk reached Keith and Allura…

“You guys okay?” Hunk asked, pulling Allura to her feet.

“Enough to get out here!” Keith said back.

“You’re a welcome sight!” Allura said back, quickly hugging Hunk.

“Come on!” Hunk shouted.  “We’ve got seconds to get out of here!  This whole place’s going to go!”

“Right behind you!” Keith cried, allowing Hunk to pull him up to his feet as well.

“Just follow me!” Hunk directed.  “There’s an exit right over here!”

“Lead the way!” Allura shouted from behind Hunk.

The three Voltron Force members quickly made their way through the narrow path that Hunk had made.  

“HURRY!” one of the Arusian men shouted.  “It’s giving way!”

“Get out of here!” Hunk shouted.  “Pull back!”

A large piece of ceiling came down from above their heads…and landed right on top of Keith.  He suddenly cried out in pain, feeling the impact on his wounded shoulder, then, he dropped back to the ground, as the large piece of plaster covered over him.

Allura turned behind her and screamed, “KEITH!”

Hunk turned too, grabbing Allura by the arm and yanking her forward.  “I’ll get him!” Hunk assured her.  “Just keep going Princess!  Follow the men!”

Allura nodded and rushed past Hunk.  He then went back for Keith, pushing the heavy slab off from on top of him.  Keith tried to push himself off of the ground, but hadn’t the strength. 

Hunk reached over and grabbed for his right side, abruptly yanking him up again.

“Where’s Allura?” Keith asked, wincing in pain. 

“She’s safe…out of the building.” Hunk replied.

“I can’t…” Keith started to say while shaking his head…his face grimaced.

“I’ve gottcha, Skipper!” Hunk shouted back, seeing Keith had been hurt. “Just hold on to me!”

Hunk lifted Keith onto his shoulders, steadying his balance with the added weight of another person to carry.   Then, he quickly began to move toward the exit.  Laser fire began darting all around them, as the last of the Arusian defenders had left the building, leaving Keith and Hunk as open and unprotected targets for the remaining Doom soldiers to shoot at.

Keith quickly grabbed for his laser rifle gun…still being at his side…and with rare determination, began firing off shots into the crowd of charging Doom soldiers.  He managed to knock out the closest ones, giving Hunk the ability to move more recklessly through the building. 

Then, the enormous sound of plaster and wood, literally being ripped apart one right after the other, began to fill the ears of Keith and Hunk.

“It’s coming down!” Hunk shouted.  “Hold on!  I’m going to run for it!”

Keith’s body was literally wrapped around Hunk’s massive neck and shoulder area.  The Voltron leader closed his eyes…as the building began coming down…knowing he had been in this situation, only weeks ago and the children’s school in Kardel.

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

Outside of the building, Allura and the other townsmen watched in horror as the building began to fall into itself.  The Princess impulsively jolted forward, getting ready to sprint toward the building in an attempt to help her friends.  But three Arusian men restricted her movements, as they grabbed her to prevent her from running back toward the building after her friends.

“Let me go!” she cried out.  “They need me!”

“No, Your Highness!” a man holding her shouted.  “You can’t help them now!”

“I MUST!” she screamed suddenly, feeling a burst of energy hit her.   "UNHAND ME!"

Struggling with them, she suddenly looked up and stopped, witnessing the building crashing to the ground, right before her eyes.

“KEITH!  HUNK!  NO!” she screamed in horror.  She began to struggle once again and cried,  “Let me GO, I said!  I have to help my friends!”

“No, Princess!” one of the men shouted.  “Its too late!”

“NO!  ITS NOT TOO LATE!  KEITH! 
KEITH…HUNK!”

A dusty plaster cloud now consumed the air,
becoming thick with airborne debris. 
Allura dropped to her knees… shocked
by what had just happened, and suddenly
feeling a knot in her stomach. 

The building was gone…

But…where were Keith and Hunk?  Did they make it out, alive? 

Or were they…

She quickly lifted her wrist COM to her mouth and activated the COM link…

“Keith…come in, Keith!  Keith…where are you?  Don’t play games with me, do you hear me!  KEITH HUNTER…ANSWER ME!  YOU ANSWER ME THIS INSTANT OR ELSE…”


“Or else…what?” replied Keith’s voice.  It was in the COM…but also, echoing from just ahead of her.


Allura suddenly looked up quickly, taking her gloved hand and wiping her eyes.  Emerging from the dust cloud…alive…was Hunk…with Keith swung over his shoulders.

“KEITH!  HUNK!” Allura shouted, suddenly rising to the feet and running toward them as they approached her.

Hunk stopped in mid step and put Keith down on the ground, balancing him with one hand.  Allura ran right into the extended arms of both of her friends.  They were covered from head to foot in plaster dust…but they were alive.

“Oh Keith…Hunk…I…I thought we had lost you both!” Allura said to them, while hugging them both.

“We’re okay, Princess.” Hunk replied, patting her gently on the back.  “But those Doom soldier units are toast!”

Keith suddenly grabbed for his left shoulder and winced in pain, then, sunk to his knees once again.  Allura looked at him and grabbed for his right arm.

“He’s hurt!” she said.

Hunk leaned down and looked into Keith’s eyes, then, looked at Allura. 

“Show me where, Keith.” she said to him.

Keith removed his right hand from his left shoulder, revealing the injury to her sight.  The shoulder of his spacesuit had been scorched black. 

“I…got hit by a laser,” Keith grunted, painfully.  “I’m cold, guys… really…cold.”

“I’ll run and get a medical kit.” shouted one of the Arusian men. “He’s going into laser shock.”

“HURRY!” Hunk shouted behind.  “MEET US BACK AT SANTORA’S HOME!”

“Who is Santora, Hunk?” Allura asked her friend.

“She’s a sweet old woman I met here a few months back.  She lost her husband back in the days of the Lion Wars.  She’s lived alone, ever since then.  She’s tough as nails…but kindhearted.  I’ve been staying with her at her home…since I’ve been here.” Hunk replied.  “She’ll know how to help Keith.”

“Can you walk, Keith?” Allura asked him.

"I--I think so." Keith mumbled back.

“I can carry you.” Hunk said.  "Don't waste your strength, Cap.  Just relax... and let old Hunk do all the work."

Hunk pulled Keith to his feet and hoisted him back up onto his shoulders.  “Come on.” Hunk said to Allura and the other men standing near by.  “Everyone…follow me!”

The group of people walked through what was left of the town streets, through the dispersing dust cloud…heading in the direction of the home belonging to the old woman named Santora.