"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 18
A Welcomed Sight!

As Black Lion neared Planet Pollux, Keith checked his scanners...

"Well . . . looks clear." The young commander said to himself. "Now...to open a channel to Pollux." Keith reached over and reactivated his external COM link. "Black Lion to Castle Pollux . . . come in Pollux -This is Commander Keith Hunter of Voltron...come in. Requesting landing instructions..."

"Commander Keith . . . this is Pollux control. We read your signal, but we do not have a fix on your approach! Repeat...please, give us your position, Black Lion! Over!"

"Opps!" Keith laughed out loud. "Hang on a minute!"

Forgetting that the cloaking device was even on, Keith reached over and deactivated the cloaking inter-phase sequence. Suddenly...Black Lion reappeared in space once again.

Keith opened the COM once again. "Pollux control . . . this is Commander Keith Hunter. You should have a fix on my position now . . . do you read? Over -"

After a long pause . . .

"Commander Hunter . . . yes . . . yes sir . . . we see you now, but how . . . how did you do -"

"Long story. I'll explain it
all later.  Requesting landing
instructions and clearance..."

"Yes, Commander. You are
clear to land on pad four. Princess
Romelle and Commander B'Your
n have been expecting your arriv
al, sir."

"Roger that. And . . . have
Commander B'Yourn meet me
at landing pad four. Estimated time to arrival . . . seven minutes." Keith replied back.

"Roger that, Commander Hunter. Pollux control out..."

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

Romelle paced around on the observation platform of landing pad four,glancing upward every few minutes…waiting to see the appearance of Black Lion through the clouds. It wasn't long before her ears caught the tremendous thundering noise of the sound barrier being broken in the skies of her home world. Then . . . she heard the distance sound of a single turbine engine. Tilting her head upward and cupping her hand up over her forehead, she once again peered into the sky.

Smiling, Romelle finally could see Black Lion, now emerging from the clouds overheard.

She waited, watching, as the mighty lion robot seemingly glided through the air,  effortlessly . . . then, landing with smooth finesse directly in the center of the landing pad.

Romelle giggled. "Still doing things perfectly, I see!" smiling to herself of Keith, before making her way down the staircase of the observation deck to the ground below. "What does my cousin see in you?"

Her thoughts were kind and affectionate and her heart, every bit as glad for her cousin, Allura and the man now preparing to emerge from the Black Lion. She held a high respect for Keith, despite her teasing thoughts.

The Black Lion's head had been carefully positioned on the ground, allowing for Keith to open the side cockpit door and jump the short distance to the ground. As he gained his posture to stand up straight . . .


"KEITH!"


He looked up, hearing his name being called, and then, he saw Romelle running toward him. He quickly removed his lion helmet and tucked it under his right arm, while extending his left arm to the Princess of Pollux. She quickly raced to greet him, wrapping her arms around him and embracing him.

"It's so good to see you, Keith!" Romelle said to him. "Welcome to Pollux!"

"Thanks." Keith replied warmly. "Its good to see you too, Romelle.  Your cousin sends her regards to you and Bandor."

Romelle released Keith and took a step back. "How is she?"

"She's fine, Princess." Keith replied, somewhat guarded.

"That's good to hear." Romelle replied, yet...upon reading his eyes, she could tell he was tempering his response.

"Listen . . . I . . . uh . . . hey . . . where's Sven? I . . . I thought he'd be here . . . "

"He'll be around shortly." Romelle replied.
"He had someone he wanted to bring here
to meet you as well."

"Lance?" Keith asked, his interest now peeked.

Romelle nodded. "Yes. Sven's made remarkable
progress with him.  Although, I must say . . .
it seemed too easy.  So easy, in fact, I
wonder why Lance came here in the first place."

"Allura said that she and Lance had a difference
of opinion." Keith said back.

"Yes . . .  but when Sven questioned Lance about that . . . it seemed as if
Lance had already resolved it on his own." Romelle said.

"Then, why didn't he --"

"Come back to Arus?" Romelle said, finishing Keith's statement.  "Well, you'll have to ask him that question.  I certainly can't figure him out."

"It's hard for anyone to figure Lance out . . . period!" Keith laughed.

Romelle joined right in with him, covering her mouth. "While we're waiting, may I offer you some refreshments in the courtyard?"

"Great!" Keith replied back. "I'm starved!"

"Well...right this way!" Romelle replied.

Keith extended his elbow to the Princess and she quickly accepted it with her hand, latching onto Keith. Together, they both walked into the Castle.

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

The courtyard had a lovely décor of flowers . . . of all different varieties, neatly arranged in even rows.

Romelle led Keith to an awaiting garden dining table, complete with four chairs. The table was of a decorative design, white in color and the accompanying chairs were high back...completed cushioned pads and arm rests.

Keith held out Romelle's chair, allowing her to be seated first, and then took a seat next to her. The Princess signaled the Castle servants to bring forth the refreshments. They quickly arrived, with dishes filled with dainty sandwiches, bit-size cookies, desserts and a carafe filled with the finest tea Pollux had to offer.

"Princess, you didn't have to go to all of this trouble just for me." Keith commented, looking at the wide range of goodies present on the table. "I'm just one guy, after all!"

"No . . . you're one of three," Romelle pointed out as she reached over and lifted the sandwich plate up toward him. "And you'd better have a few of these. These are Sven's favorites . . . and when he gets here, he's libel to leave you with nothing!"

Keith laughed and then reached over, taking hold of a sandwich into his hand. "Thank you, Romelle."

Romelle put the plate back down on the table and poured tea for her and for Keith.  Then, as she stirred in some creamer for herself and took a quick sip, satisfied of its goodness. She placed the teacup and its holder back down on the table before her.

"Tell me the truth, Keith," Romelle began to say, her expression suddenly troubled. "Are things really that difficult on Arus?  I can tell in your eyes that there's more going on than what we've heard from Allura."

Keith swallowed the bite of sandwich before
looking at her squarely in the eyes. "I wish
I could tell you that things are wonderful.
But...I'm afraid I can't do that.  The G'Donar
and the Doom fleets are all over Arus.
They've managed to devastate several of the
cities, towns and villages, reeking havoc on
the planet."

"And...Allura?" Romelle asked.
"How is she handling all of this?"

"Like a trooper." Keith replied back. "She's had a few rough moments, but generally...she's handled things quite well, actually.  Although, I am worried that she's not getting much rest."

"I was afraid of that." Romelle said with a downcast voice.

"Why do you say that?" Keith asked her.

"Because...I can imagine how devastating it is for her.  I remember when Zarkon leveled our world and Prince Lotor kidnapped me from my home. My father, God rest his soul, never did recover from the madness. He passed on a few years ago.  And my brother, Avok, was never heard from ever again. I just wanted to die Keith!  I can only imagine how it must be for Allura . . . watching the planet she loves so dearly . . . and the people she loves as dearly as her father once did . . .just . . . wither away and be destroyed right before her very eyes."

"It's hard for her," was all Keith would say, as he reached over and grabbing the creamer for his tea.

"Then, Allura was right.  Lotor is behind it all." Romelle added.

Keith nodded solemnly.

"And who or what are the G'Donar?" Romelle asked him. "Our intelligence indicates that they are an alien race, mainly inhabiting the Terran star system. But until now, I've never heard of them."

"That's because, up until now, not much was known about them, at least, in this sector.  But I remember, when I first graduated from the Space Academy, many of the missions that my unit faced, were as patrol units, defending against G'Donar raiders.  They were raiding
colonies that had settled on Earth's moon and on Mars...plundering and pillaging.  But they primarily stayed in the Milky Way Galaxy." Keith said to Romelle. "But now, they're here...in the Denubian Galaxy . . . and right here in the Azure Quadrant.  And Lotor apparently controls them, somehow."

"Lotor controls them?" Romelle replied back.

"Yeah," Keith said, crossing his arms over his chest. "And he's bent on destroying Arus, piece by piece, until Allura cries enough and gives into his demands."

"I can well imagine what those demands are." Romelle groaned.  "Nothing less than the total surrender of Arus . . . and my cousin, surrendering herself to him as well!"

"THAT will never happen!" Keith sharply growled in a low toned voice. "Not on my watch, anyway.  I'll stand against him on behalf of Princess Allura.  She will see this through, no matter what the cost - personal or otherwise to me or my team!"

Romelle reached over and gently laid her hand on Keith's right arm.  "My cousin has chosen her suitor wisely," she said to him. "Your loyalty to the crown of Arus honors her."

"My, 'loyalty' is motivated out of love and respect for Allura and her position as Princess of Arus." Keith replied back, firmly.  "Everything has its place, Romelle.  And I know my place.  I'm her protector, first and foremost.  I am the Commander of Voltron.  Right now, nothing else is more important.  And for her sake, nothing else can be. One mistake in judgment could cause a world to fall.  And I can't allow that to happen.  Which is why I'm here.  I made a mistake in leaving Arus, in the first place.  So did Lance.  I'm here to bring him back with me."

"I'm sure you'll have no trouble in convincing Lance that this is the right thing to do." Romelle replied.

Keith turned his head to his right, looking toward the Castle . . . watching for Sven to arrive with Lance.   The conversation was starting to get a bit uncomfortable for him.  Talking with anyone about his complicated relationship with Allura, always proved difficult.

As he craned his neck, Romelle suddenly caught sight of the medallion that Keith was wearing.

"A necklace," she commented, as she now brought Keith's attention back around to look at her.  "Its very beautiful."

"A gift . . . from Allura." Keith replied, suddenly fingering the lion head medallion hanging from his neck.

"Well, its suits you . . . Black Lion Knight." Romelle said back to him.  "You bring honor to the Kingdom of Arus."

"I appreciate your thoughtful comments, Romelle, but, in truth, I'm only one guy out of five...including the Princess, herself.  We all deserve this honor, not just me." Keith replied back. "But...Allura gave it to me...saying it was kind of like a good luck charm, I guess."

"You wear it with pride." Romelle noted.

"I do." Keith said.  "But I also where it humbly, knowing that my loyalty is to Arus and Princess Allura."

"And your love too . . . right?" Romelle added, with a wink of her eye.

Keith paused for a moment, suddenly shifting uncomfortably.

"Oh, its okay, Commander," Romelle said, laying a gentle hand on his arm.  "I know you're a private man.  But, you do love her.  And it's okay to admit it every once in a while!"

Keith fingered the medallion once again, and then, he smiled.

"You must think I'm ashamed to be in love with her." Keith said to Romelle.

"No . . . just privately affectionate." Romelle replied with a returned smile of her own.

"For the record, Princess...yes . . . I am in love with Allura.  But that only means that now, I have to guard my thoughts even more than I did when I carried my love for her in secret." he replied, now in a serious tone.  "Like I said before, one mistake in judgment could not only cost a world, but her life as well.  There's a madman out there named Lotor, who'd want nothing better than for me to make that crucial mistake . . . so that he can capitalize on it."

"I know," Romelle replied. "I despise Lotor too."

"So . . . you see my situation." Keith replied back. "I love her, and she loves me too. But our duties come above that. They have to, for the sake of Arus and for the sake of the Princess."

"Yes, I understand what you mean." Romelle replied.  "If things were only different . . . "

"They are different, Princess.  And its up to the Voltron Force to make them they way they were before. That's why I'm here.  I have to get Lance to come back to Arus with me . . . rejoin the team. We're dead in the water right now without Voltron to defend us. And without Lance, there is no Red Lion, and, no Voltron." Keith replied before bowing his head. "I wish things were different too. I wish some many things. But right now, we've got a planet to rebuild and an enemy to fight off. There's no time for wishes. . . . dreams . . . nothing."

Romelle pursed her lips together, saying nothing more.  She understood Keith's deep love for her cousin, Allura. She has known of it for some time.

Keith knew his place...and she was content to agree with his reasons for remaining exactly where he was in Allura's life.


"ROMELLE . . . KEIT!"


Both of them turned their heads toward the Castle, upon hearing their names being called by someone approaching from that direction.

Romelle smiled. "Ah . . . here they come now!"

Sven was walking at a brisk pace toward Romelle and Keith, both rising to their feet. Traipsing behind them, at a much slower pace . . . was Lance.

Keith began walking toward Sven as he drew near.  Romelle followed after Keith.

"SVEN!" Keith shouted with a smile, stretching out his arms to embrace his friend.

The two men engaged in a friendly hug, greeting one another as long lost friends would. Romelle smiled as she stood behind Keith.

The embrace quickly led into a brisk handshake after separating.

"Keit!" Sven said. "Oh, it's so goot to see you, mine friend!"

"Same here, Sven!" Keith added.

Sven released Keith's hand and then looked being him...then said to Keith, "I've brought anut'er friend of ours...who's perhaps a bit sheepish."

"Lance!" Keith shouted past Sven.

Lance paused next to Sven,
staring Keith straight in the face
before finally turning his gaze
toward the ground . . . . hands i
n his pants pockets...looking
somewhat...guilty.

Keith walked past Sven, allowing
Romelle to step in beside her
companion. Keith ran the short
distance to where Lance had come
to a halt. He walked up to Lance and stood in front of him...

"Hey, Lance!" Keith said to his friend.

Lance shuffled his feet in the dirt...not making eye contact with Keith as of yet.

"Lance?  Well . . . aren't you even going to say, 'hi' or something? Anything?" Keith said again.

Lance looked up . . . barely . . . and shifted his eyes up toward Keith's face. "Hey Keith." was all he said.

"Hey Keith? Hey Keith????  Is that all you've got to say?" Keith replied in a high pitched tone of voice.

Lance shrugged his shoulders. "What do you want me to say?"

"I want you to talk to me, Lance!  Like we always used to . . . remember?" Keith said.

"Why . . . why did you come here?" Lance stammered.

"Because, I was hoping I could talk you into coming back home with me." Keith replied.

"Was this your idea, or Allura's?" Lance asked, quietly.

"What difference does it make?" Keith replied.

Lance suddenly looked up at him. "Because, if you're here because you want me back, but the Princess is still miffed at me,  what's the point in going back?" Lance said to him.

"Look, I know what went on between you and the Princess." Keith replied. "And if you want to know the truth...we BOTH want you home."

"I'm a nobody, Keith." Lance replied back, shrugging his shoulders.  "I'm not even command material.  You know it, Allura knows it . . . heck...everyone knows it!"

"I'm not asking you to be something I know you're not." Keith said to Lance. "I'm asking you to be what I know you are . . . the best Red Lion pilot that Arus has ever known.  I'm asking you to come back to the team, Lance.  The Princess is asking you to come back too!"

"Even after I said those terrible things to . . . to . . . both of you -" Lance began to say.

Keith reached his hand up and placed it on Lance's shoulder. "Yes. and you weren't the only one that said and did some pretty terrible things.  I . . . I owe you and apology too.  I was wrong, too . . . I shouldn't have grabbed at you like that, in the dining hall.   I was out of line . . .and well . . . I hope you can forgive me."

Lance looked up into Keith's face. "I . . . I believe you mean that, Keith."

"Sure I mean it!' Keith replied, boisterously. "Why would come all the way here from Arus, if I didn't mean it?"

"But . . . I thought you were heading back for Earth?" Lance said to him.

Keith bowed his head and sighed, suddenly, before looking back up at Lance. "That was another mistake I made.   I should never have left, to begin with."

"Me either." Lance said, suddenly raising his opposite hand up to Keith's shoulder. "I don't know what came over me."

"A song I've been hearing sung quite a bit, lately." Keith said. "Hunk said the same thing too, about his confrontation with Pidge."

"What confrontation?" Lance asked Keith.

"Too long to explain," Keith said, shaking his head.  "The story will have to keep for now. Listen . . . I need to get back to Arus.  We're only operating with three lions while I'm gone. The place is crawling with G'Donar and Doom ships.  I was hoping that you'd come back with me."

Lance paused, bowing his head for a second time . . .  this time, to think.  Then he smiled.
quickly returning his gaze back to Keith.

"This is a switch!" Lance said.  "The great, 'Commander Keith Hunter', apologizing and groveling to me!  Ha!  No way you'll ever live this one down now, pal!"

"Just don't get too used to it!" Keith laughed back at him, joining in on the chuckle.

"Oh . . . I won't have to! This one's going to last a long time!" Lance laughed out loud.

Both men laughed together for a few moments before finally shaking hands and embracing.

Keith pulled away and looked at Lance. Lance was smiling too.

"You're a welcomed sight." Lance said to him.

"Me?" Keith said back. "Why do you say that?"

"Because . . . I thought we chased you away, back to Earth." Lance replied.

"WE?" Keith repeated back.

"Yeah, me and the Princess." Lance replied back. "Me, for being such a jerk and her for . . . uh . . . well, you know."

"Oh . . . you mean that's she's not in love with me anymore?" Keith said. "Well. if you think you're coming home to find her an available woman . . . think again!  That's all been resolved."

"Uh?" Lance said, his eyes suddenly widening.

"Yeah, turns out some guardian-like spirit came to her, warning her of my. 'impending doom', should she continue a relationship with me." Keith replied back.

"Hmm . . . sounds like the work of Hagar, if you ask me." Lance said, suddenly stroking his chin.

"I thought so too." Keith agreed.  "I guess the vision was real vivid . . . plaguing her day and night."

"Well . . . I'm glad you two got it all patched up." Lance replied.  "Although, I do feel sorry for her . . . I mean . . .  choosing second best, in you...when she could have the finest this life has to offer --- me!"

Keith immediately lunged at Lance and both men suddenly feel to the ground, rolling and laughing at each other while wrestling around on the ground.

Romelle grabbed for Sven's hand and squeezed it gently. "Well . . . I'd say that went over pretty well, don't you think?"

Sven smiled back.  "Yes.  Dose too couldt never stay mad wit each ot'er for very long. Dis is goot t'eropy for dem bot"

Romelle smiled. "It is indeed.  I suppose we'll have two additional mouths to feed for dinner this evening?"

Sven smiled . . . saying nothing back.   He was just glad that things were shaping up back to normal between his two dearest friends.

Now . . . if only Arus could do the same.