"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 22
Defenseless Combat

Keith gave the order to insert keys and the three robot lions rose up from their sleepiness, preparing to meet the approaching enemy.

"Keith...I'm showing double the
number of attack ships then before!"
Pidge shouted.

"Outnumbered again!" Hunk cried out.

"Not with the cloaking device!"
Keith said, now rallying his team
together. "Come on, guys!
We can do this! Just get ready
to fly in a staggered formation
and wait for my signal to attack.
I'll throw on the cloak and while
you guys are confusing them,
I'll run around and take them out...one by one."

"Gottcha, Commander." Hunk replied back.

"Ready when you give the word, Keith!" Pidge added.

"Okay...here we go!" Keith called out.


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


Regardless of Keith's instructions, Princess Allura had secured her release from the infirmary…against Dr. Gorma's better judgment. She was now heading directly toward the Castle Control Room.

"Like it or not, Keith," Allura fumed aloud. "I'm going out there.  You would do the same, if you were in my place!  I know you would!"


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

"Voltron Force...Come in, Commander Keith... I show one hundred fifty ships...on course for the Castle of Lions." Coran said in a fairly calm voice. "Time to arrival...I estimate...six minutes."

"Confirmed." Keith's voice boomed. "We're going to attempt to get the other two lions to draw the attention of the ships, while I go in and tag them."

Coran nodded. "Good luck, team!"

"Luck has nothing to do with it." Keith replied back.

"Then...good hunting, if you would prefer." Coran said with a smile.

"That works." Keith replied back.

Allura entered the control room, just in time to hear Keith's reply... but kept her presence silent for now.

She waited to see what the outcome would be of Keith's plan. Grabbing for her right arm, she winced in pain, her body still feeling the agony of the mysterious beating she took. Her assailant was unknown...but their marked presence could be felt over most of her body.

"Be careful, Keith," she said in a whispered voice.


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


"One minute to engagement, Keith!" Pidge warned.

"Gee...something tells me that I've done this before!" Hunk laughed out loud.

"Let's hope the outcome is better than before." Pidge laughed.

"Quick your gabbing and stay with the program!" Keith ordered firmly.  "This isn't a game! Those ships are about to try to make us a footnote in the Arusian archives!"

"Well...the scribes have to have something to write about, don't they?" Hunk said, hinting humor once again.

"Yeah...let's just hope they won't be writing our epitaph!" Pidge added.

"Okay...I'm phasing out. You guys have your orders." Keith interrupted. "Shutting off external communications...now."

The three lions were suddenly reduced to two, as Black Lion phased out of sight, under the influence of the cloaking device.

"Here they come, fellas!" Hunk shouted.

"Fan out!" Pidge shouted.

"Check!" Hunk answered back.

Green Lion zoomed off to the left, while Yellow Lion turned toward the right. Several ships approached the Castle of Lions, with nearly half of them splitting up into two groups, going after Green Lion and Yellow Lion.

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

Inside Castle Control...

"Castle defense gunners... fire!"
Coran shouted, ordering the Castle's
weapons system to fire on all incoming ships.

Allura remained absolutely still... as a startled deer.

"Green Lion! Watch yourself! You have thirty
ships in pursuit with six of them attempting to
cut you off up ahead!" Coran called out.

"I see 'em, Coran!" Pidge replied back.

"Execute your rear defense weapons!" Coran advised.

"I can't! Keith might be coming up behind me! If I miss..."

"Keith can take care of himself! You do your part by staying alive!"
Coran said again. "Fire your rear weapons systems!"

"Acknowledged!" Pidge shouted back.


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


A large laser cannon materialized on the back of Green Lion.

"Let's see you guys eat this!" Pidge shouted. "Laser cannon...FIRE!"

An unhealthy dose of laser energy suddenly blasted from Green Lion's laser cannon. Its mark was right on, as it took out five pursuant Doom ships. There were still plenty more G'Donar and Doom ships in pursuit, however. And they suddenly closed ranks and excelerated speed.

Yellow Lion was having problems all its own. The G'Donar were swarming, trying to close in on Hunk as he retreated to the south regions.

Then...there was a new worry...civilians on the ground.

Hunk spotted a group of children on the ground...out in the open.

"Oh no, kids!" Hunk cried inside the Yellow Lion cockpit. "This is no place for you little guys to be!"

Now...Hunk had to draw the enemies attention away from them too... before the G'Donar got interested in them.

Yellow Lion turned to fight.

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


Inside the Black Lion, Keith was busily taking out ships around the Castle of Lions.  When suddenly, he began to hear COM chatter...and he didn't like what he was hearing either...


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


"Yellow Lion! Yellow Lion! What in the universe are you doing?" The voice belonged to Coran. "You were ordered by Commander Keith to draw the enemy way from the Castle! Not to turn and fight them, single-handedly!"

"This is Hunk! Coran...there's a bunch of kids down here!  I've got to do something! I can't just let the G'Donar burn these little guys!"

"Children? What children?" Coran replied back.

"There's a bunch of them...down here...in sector G-15! They're walking around...exploring
...probably without permission!"

"Hunk...you can not defend them on your own against so many enemy ships! Its suicide! You must retreat!"

"I can't, Coran! I'm not going to leave these kids to die!"


"This is Green Lion! I'm taking a beating over here! The G'Donar are swarming me and cutting me off! I'm running out of room! And there's Doom ships everywhere!"



Keith's face grimaced as he listened. "Great..."


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


That was now Allura's cue to go. She was needed...whether or not Coran, Keith or anyone else thought so.

She quietly tip-toed across the floor of the control room, trying not to make any sudden noises that would draw Coran's attention to her from above in the command center, just above the lion chutes.

*I'm needed.* Allura thought to herself. *Those children are in dire trouble...and Hunk can't handle them on his own.  I've got to go out and help the team!*

She reached the lion chute tunnel number four...and without so much as a moment's hesitation, she quickly grabbed onto the T-bar and dropped out of sight. The sound gathered Coran's attention away from the situation board. He recognized that sound...the sound of a
rider, heading down the tunnel.

He quickly opened a channel to the infirmary...

"Infirmary...this is Minister Coran! What is Princess Allura's condition?"

"Princess Allura dismissed herself almost ten minutes ago." said the voice of an on-duty nurse replied.

"What? Dismissed herself?!?" Coran gasped.  "Oh no...thank you!"

He quickly turned in his chair to his monitor board. Activating the tunnel shuttle monitors...be found that now all five shuttles were...gone!

"No...she would not be that foolish to...oh...PRINCESS!" Coran muttered out loud.

He quickly switched on an external underwater view screen, focusing in on the resting Blue Lion...just in time to see the Blue Lion shuttle race to through the underwater tube to the cockpit of the lion ship.

"What is that girl doing?" Coran blurted out in anger.


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


Allura was no sooner loaded into her cockpit and switching on her helmet COM...when she heard Coran's frantic voice in her ears...

"Princess! Princess Allura! What are you doing?
You were ordered to remain in the infirmary!"

"I'm needed, Coran.  And regardless what you
or Keith...or anyone else thinks...this is MY world...
and I'm going to help protect it!" she shouted back.
"Inserting lion key...now!"

"No Princess! You will be hurt! It's far too dangerous
to go out there now! Princess...do you hear me?
Princess Allura...reply!"

She quickly placed the key into the awaiting slot ...and Blue Lion
roared to life, moments later.

"Come on, Blue Lion!" Allura shouted. "We've got work to do!"

The Blue Lion rose to its feet from its platform in the water...and leapt upward, beginning the fifteen-second ascent to the water surface.


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


Keith's board suddenly began to beep. Something was stirring from beneath the water...

He quickly checked the energy signature...and his first thought was that it was an alien ship, trying to tag Blue Lion so that it would never lift off again. But...suddenly...his face paled...

"NO! Is she CRAZY???"
he shouted in his cockpit.
"Allura...what the HECK are
you doing?"

Blue Lion suddenly burst through
the lake surface and immediately had
set a course for Hunk's location.

Keith opened his mind...
"Allura...Allura...are you there?
ANSWER ME!"

"I'm here, Keith!"

"Get back to Castle! That's an order!"

"One that I'm sorry that I'll have to disobey!"

"Allura! For crying out loud! You're hurt! This is no place for you to be!"

"This is no place for any one of us to be! But I'm here...and I'm going after those children! Hunk will never survive fighting the enemy by himself...and someone's got to get those children to safety!"

"Allura, you can't!  For the last time..."

"No Keith!  I won't go back! I can't...don't you see?"

"Princess...you're...you're..."

"I'm a part of this team, Keith! You would do the same! You know you would, if you were in my place!"

"That wasn't my first choice of words!" Keith thought back.

"But its the truth...which is more important!"

Keith paused...and knew she was right. If it had been him...he would launch too. But he was expendable. She was not.

"Allura...listen to me...Hunk knew the cost when he came out here.  We all did! You're only alternative is to head back to home base!"

"I'm sorry, Keith...but I can't do that...and you know it!"

The link was suddenly severed on her end.

"Allura...Allura come in...Princess...don't shut me out!"

Now...here was a moment that Keith didn't want to face. If he chose to go after Allura and the Blue Lion, he would have to leave the Castle to defend itself. And if he DID go after the Princess...Green Lion would very soon be in a lot of trouble as well.

He turned Black Lion toward the north...heading for Green Lion.

"I hope you know what you're doing, Princess." Keith murmured to himself in anger.


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


"Okay you guys...how about a little heartburn!" Hunk shouted as he turned Yellow Lion around.

Lion torches burst forth and burned nearly eight ships at once, all lined up in front of him.

"HA-HAH!" Hunk laughed out loud.

He quickly checked his ground monitor. The children were running for cover. But the trees wouldn't be cover enough. The enemy would find them and fire at them.

"I've got to figure out a way to get down there to those kids!" Hunk said out loud into his open COM line.

"I'm here, Hunk!" Allura's voice boomed over the COM.

"Princess? But...I thought you were ordered to stay inside?"

"What...and miss all the fun?" Allura replied, playfully. "Not on your life! Which...by they way...I'm here to help save!"

"Not me...the kids below me!" Hunk said to her.

"I'll swing in and get them into the Blue Lion's mouth. Once I've transported them to safety, I'll rejoin you!" Allura replied back.

"Better hurry it up, Allura! These guys mean business!"

"Roger that, Hunk. On the way!" Allura replied.

Blue Lion sailed in toward the ground. If she did a silent close-ground fly maneuver, it would be harder for the G'Donar to spot her.  But the maneuver would only last so long.  Soon...they would pick up on her moments and fly in after her. She had to be precise...and swift.

Blue Lion swept the ground...just above the treetops. Allura had a fix on the group of children...seven of them...all hiding in the trees. As she drew closer to them, the children must have seen her coming, because they all suddenly began to run out into the open.

Blue Lion hovered above the area where the children were standing.  Allura lowered the lion's lower jaw to the ground and the children began climbing aboard quickly. Once there...she quickly turned her lion around and headed over to the nearby village settlement. This was where the children would have to go for now...whether they lived there or not. There was an entrance to the underground caverns near the mountainside. A perfect place for the children to hide.

The trick was...getting them there before the G'Donar got her.  She apparently wouldn't need to wait long for the answer to that question.

Suddenly...she was spotted. G'Donar ships began breaking formation around the Yellow Lion...targeting the Blue Lion.

Hunk warned her. "Allura...company's coming...on your rear!"

"I see them! I just need another minute to unload these children!"

"Hang on! I'll try and cover you!"

Yellow Lion suddenly began to excelerate upward...trying to get a good shot at the three G'Donar ships in pursuit of the Princess's Blue Lion.

"Come here, you!" Hunk called out, as he let loose a dose of spike bombs toward the three assailants that were after Blue Lion.

The three ships sustained heavy damage, immediately breaking off their attack run. Blue Lion was clear to deliver the children to the village. But...more G'Donar ships began to join in on the action...realizing that it was the Blue Lion...with the Princess
inside.

Their ultimate target.


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


"AHHH!"

Pidge was getting pulverized, as the Green Lion was now the recipient of several decent hits by the Doom ships that had been pursuing him.  The G'Donar were also firing at him. He had been cut off from any escape.

Pidge began returning fire...in all directions. But there were just too many of them. Suddenly... several ships exploded right in front of him. He smiled…

"Just in time, Keith, old buddy!" Pidge said quietly.

Black Lion, still under the influence of the cloaking device, was running around, picking off the enemy ships that had surrounded Green Lion. Pidge began helping out, firing weapons at the enemy ships that were around him. Between him and Keith...they managed to tag
just about all of them. The few remaining G'Donar ships were now beating a hasty retreat to the west.

"Pidge! This is Keith!"

"Keith? But...but why are you contacting me? They'll piggyback your signal and find you!"

"Listen to me, Pidge! Allura's out here! She's gone to find Hunk!  Go...help them out. I'm heading back for the Castle!"

"Roger that, Keith! On the way!" Pidge shouted in the COM.

The COM was terminated, and Pidge was now heading off to the south.  Black Lion turned to the southeast...back to the Castle of Lions.

But...not without the company of one of the remaining G'Donar ships that had originally retreated...now returning once again, taking on a sudden renewed interest in the battle...and perhaps...finding a new invisible target.