"Happy Birthday, Keith."

Story by Adele
Story Copyright 2002
A story based on the series, "Voltron, The Third Dimension"

The characters of Voltron are the property of World Event Productions.  All other characters are the copyright of Adele.  Please do not use them without asking for permission.  Thank you.


Chapter 7
The Killing Plan

The sun rose at 6:35am.

Keith was awakened to the sun shining directly into his eyes, and cursed himself for not closing the binds before retiring last evening.   He had just decided to turn over and nap for a few minutes more, before getting up for lion practice, when... he heard a noise coming from beneath his bed.

Pretending not to notice, he settled himself down, even yawned a bit, to try and throw the intruder off into thinking he was falling back to sleep.

When things became quiet, Keith contemplated his next move. With the swiftness of a cat, he quickly grabbed his blaster that he
had always kept by his bedside,
and dropped to the floor, pointing
the weapon at the intruder hiding
underneath the bed.

"AH!!!" the female voice screeched.

"Who's under there?" Keith shouted angrily,
his voice filled with
threat. "Come out... now!"

"I'm coming!  Don't shoot!"

Keith suddenly recognized the voice.
"Gem?" he said, bewildered.

Gem scurried from beneath the bed,
onto the other side.  He just stared at her. "Gem...what ...what are you doing in my room?" he asked.

"I...I was lonely." she said simply. "I thought I'd feel better being close to you."

Keith rose to his feet, and set the blaster back on the nightstand beside his bed.  Bringing his hands to hips, he shook his head at her. "You know you can't keep doing this, Gem.  It's not right."

"I...I know." she frowned. "I was afraid.  That's all."

A slight smile appeared on Keith's face. "Okay...and how long have you been under there?" he asked.

"About three hours..." she replied, her face contorting as she waited for his anger.

The anger never came.  Instead, a hearty laugh escaped from the Voltron Commander. "Okay, you can relax now.  I'm not going to kill you."

Gem popped her head up further above the mattress. "You're...you're not?"

"No, of course not." Keith replied. "I guess I can understand...sort of."

"You...you do?' she asked innocently.

"Yeah, and I guess I would feel a bit uncomfortable in a strange Castle, surrounded by strange people.  But listen....you can't make this a habit, understand?" Keith said, suddenly becoming more serious.

Gem smiled sweetly at him. "I understand." she replied. "And, Keith...thanks."

Keith shot her an innocent wink. "You're welcome." he said in return.  Then he looked at his digital clock on the nightstand. "Okay, you have to leave now."

"Keith, would...would you like to go on a picnic today or something?"  Gem asked shyly. "I've never really had the chance to spend much time out in the warm summer air.  After all, Neeve is so cold all of the time, that the hot sun sure feels good on my skin."

Keith frowned, contorting his face as he broke the news to her. "Aw, I'm sorry Gem, but I'm afraid I can't.  I have a ton of things to do today.  Can I take a rain check on that?"

"Oh," Gem frowned sadly. "Uh, sure."

"I'm sorry, really.  How about another time?" Keith suggested.

"Like, tomorrow?  On your birthday? I can pack a huge birthday lunch for two, and we can go riding or walking...whatever you'd like!" Gem suggested.

"Well, that's going to be a bit difficult in light of...you know... that party I'm not supposed to know about." Keith reminded her.

"Oh Keith, please?" she begged. "Besides...I have a present for you that I'd like to give to you."

Keith looked awkwardly at the girl. "A present?  You shouldn't have gone to the trouble of that, Gem.  We hardly know each other!"

"I wanted to!" Gem insisted. "Besides, it's a small trinket that I know will absolutely knock you out!"

Keith thought about it then with a sigh, he finally agreed. "Okay, Gem. I guess since you went to the trouble of getting me something for my birthday, I really don't see how I can turn you down.  I'll squeeze it in... somehow."

Gem smiled. "Wonderful!  I'll plan everything we'll go at around 10:00am tomorrow.  Is that okay?  This will leave you plenty of time to get ready for the party!"

Keith nodded with a smile. "Okay, you're on."

"I'm looking forward to it.  I just know my gift is going to be a super hit with you!" she said.

"It's the thought that counts." Keith reminded. "And I'm flattered that you thought of me."

Gem smiled again, then started walking backwards toward the door. "Well, I guess I better get going, huh?"

"Yeah. I really have a ton of work to do... before I meet the Princess." Keith stated. "Starting with Lion Practice...which if I don't hustle, I'll be late for!"

Gem had reached the door. "Okay!  Have fun!"

Gem slid out the door, and Keith approached it after the door had closed, and locked it.  He then turned and leaned up against the door.  Shaking his head, he suddenly ran his hand through his unruly black hair.

"Great...just what I need..." he said, referring to Gem's apparent attraction to him.

Looking again at the time, he realized he only had about 15 minutes to get ready and head to practice.  What a reception he would get if he were late...

Him...the commander...the one who always assigns extra practice time to late comers on the team.

He didn't want Lance heckling him about it, either.

And so... he hopped to it, being determined to get there with 5 minutes to spare.

Gem sat in her room on her bed, compact in hand. "Come in, Prince Lotor. This is Gem Sisto. Come in, Sire."

The mirror again contorted in shape, revealing suddenly the image ofLotor. "What news, my pretty spy?" he asked.

"I am going to a late morning outing with Commander Keith tomorrow...on his birthday." Gem responded.

"Excellent!" Lotor beamed. "Now, do you know what to do?"

"Yes, Sire," she replied, rather unenthusiastically.

Gem reached over into the top desk drawer of the nightstand by her bed.  Opening it, she reached inside and grabbed a small box.  She sat up straight once again on the bed, with the box in her free hand.

"When we're out tomorrow, I'll give him this" she said, holding up the box so Lotor could see.

As the lid came open, a small gold chain was sitting inside of it.   Hagar suddenly entered the picture, standing next to where Lotor was standing.

"Take great care not to handle it too much, or the poison will transfer to you." Hagar warned.

Gem nodded. "Don't worry.  I'll give him the gift, and let him put it on himself."

"Excellent!" Lotor smirked. "And as he wears it, the poison on that little trinket will absorb though his skin, and slowly kill him!"

"Commander Keith won't know what hit him!" Witch Hagar cackled.

Gem eyes suddenly winced, as if she were in pain. Lotor caught the non-verbal expression. "You're not getting cold feet, are you?"

Gem shook herself out of it. "No, of course not." she replied. "He's just another human."

"That's right.  One who will be celebrating his last birthday tomorrow.  Ironic, isn't it, that he should die the day he was born!" Lotor chuckled.

Gem made no attempt to respond.

"If you double cross me, so help me..." Lotor hissed at her suddenly.

"No...no Sire!" Gem said, suddenly becoming alert to his threat. "I'll not fail you!"

"See that you don't!  Just remember...I can give you your heart's desire, or your worst nightmare.  It's all up to you, Gem."

Gem nodded. "It shall be as you wish," she replied, suddenly cold. "Commander Keith will die...just as you desire."

"Good!  Be sure of it!" Lotor replied. "Ironically, you were the inspiration of my dastardly gift."

"How so, Sire?' Gem asked curiously.

"Because, the poison that taints that golden chain was derived from your planet, Neeve." Lotor replied. "Hagar whipped it up from an old recipe she had."

"Yes...I made it from the dormant Albacorn root that lies deep within the caverns of Neeve." Hagar chimed in.

Gem gasped aloud. "Albacorn?  But...but that kills slowly, inflicting great pain on its victims.  I remember my father telling me about it... and why never to touch it."

"Your father was right to warn you," Hagar affirmed. "It's painfully deadly!"

"Yes, too bad he didn't warn Commander Keith of its affects." Lotor added hatefully. "Such a pity.  Once he's gone, Allura will be heart-broken, and in need of comfort.  That's when I, the handsome prince, will make my move."

"You'd better hope she goes for you, Lotor." Hagar chuckled. "You have enough metal parts to set off a metal detector."

"Watch it, detestable hag!" Lotor hissed. "Or you'll see just what some of my metal parts can do!"

"Easy, Sire. I was only joking!" Hagar cackled.

"I'm not!" Lotor shouted angrily. "Things had better work in my favor!"

"Oh they will, Sire, providing that Gem does her part, and gets Keith to wear the chain around his neck." Hagar replied.

Lotor returned his attention back to Gem. "She had better...or else!"

Gem became defensive. "I promised you...and I'll deliver."

"For your sake, you had better." Lotor said, his voice low and dark sounding.

Suddenly, his image faded, leaving only her reflection in the mirror.   Gem quickly laid the compact down on her nightstand, and looked at the box that she held in her other hand.   As she gazed at the deadly necklace lying inside the box, she began to think.

"If I do this...Keith will die," she thought. "But...how can I even be thinking of doing this to him? He's been so kind, and considerate.   A really gentleman Maybe I can ask Princess Allura for asylum"

She decided that this was what she was going to do.  She quickly placed the box back in the drawer of her nightstand, and hopped off  of the bed.

Lion practice had probably already begun.   As soon as they were finished, she would approach the Princess.

Gem turned and walked over to her window,
and sure enough, she saw the lions in the air,
running drills, and dodging each other's fire blasts.

She suddenly smiled...hoping that by
asking to stay on Arus, she could
pursue her feelings for the young
Voltron Commander, and get to know him better. 

Who knows what might come from it? 

She turned and walked away from the window, waiting, now eagerly, for their return.