"Obligation."

Story by Adele
Story Copyright 2003
A story based on the series, "Voltron, The Third Dimension"

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

Enjoy!


Chapter 25
What Now?


Allura felt someone shaking her awake from her deep sleep.  As she came around, she suddenly felt chilled to the bone.  Her eyes focused on the fire that had gone out sometime during the night.

"Allura, wake up!"

She heard the voice again, and turned her head to look in the direction it was coming from. She saw Keith standing over her, his hand abruptly shaking her awake.

"Come on, Allura!" he said, a tone of urgency in his voice.  "The sun is rising!  We've got to move, quick!"

She sat up and crossed her arms in front of her, trying to retain body heat.  "Keith, what time is it?" she yawned.

"Time to move." He said, grabbing her arms and pulling her to her feet.  "Get your jetpack on.  We're getting out of here."

"But, which way should be head?" Allura asked, her head still in a fog.

"I've been watching the sun rise." he said.  "It rises opposite of Earth and Arus.  It rises in the west and sets in the east.  The Palace, as I recall, faced the sun as it rose in the west. We were heading away from it last night.  We had to have been.  It makes sense, based on where we crashed Black Lion and the direction we headed off in, verses the direction of the sunrise. If it hadn't been for the sun setting and the cold hitting so quickly, we would have wondered further way from Palace."

"So, we head west?" she asked, as she slipped her jetpack onto her back.

"Yes, we go west." He replied, slipping his jetpack on.

During he night, he woke up and walked around, attempting to keep his body from going stiff from the injury. It seemed to have worked.  He felt no better... but no worse either.

"Hurry!  We don't have much time." He said, moving her along.  "It won't be long before that sun starts getting unbearable!"

"What do we do if we can't find the Palace?" she asked.

"We're just going to have to find it, that's all." he insisted. "Come on!"

The two of them activated their jetpacks and lifted off, leaving behind the safety of the cave. The sun was already starting to beat down on the land. But the heat was comfortable... right now.

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

From the Palace, Lance had formed a plan with the others to split up into groups of two to look for Keith and Allura.

"Okay, Pidge, you're with me." Lance said. "Sven and Hunk, you guys take the west and the north, and Pidge and I will check east and south."

"Hurry!" Sven said. "We have to find them quickly!"

"Let's move out!" Lance commanded.

The four men split up as planned: each hoping that they'd find their friends still alive.

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

Keith and Allura sailed over the land rapidly, looking for anything that looked familiar to them. Keith tried to fly shadow cover for the Princess, attempting to shield her unprotected head from the sun with shadow of his body.

Allura gasped suddenly, screaming up to Keith, "Look!  Yellow Lion!" she pointed.

In the distance, the Yellow Lion lay on the ground, like a sleeping giant.  Its front left paw was pushed upward into the air.  The lion obviously had a hard landing.

"I see it!" Keith shouted down at her.  "Come on!  Let's check it out!"

"Do you think Hunk's still in there, Keith?" Allura shouted above her.

"I doubt it, Princess!" Keith shouted back below him.

They flew over toward the sleeping Yellow Lion.  The first thing they saw was the cockpit door...it was open.

"Good sign." Keith thought, deciding that Hunk must have escaped.  Which also meant...they couldn't be far from the Palace now.

After a few quick moments of looking around, Keith decided it was time to go.

"Come on," he said, lifting back up into the air above Allura. "Keep moving!"

"Keith," Allura said suddenly, bringing her hand to her head. "I'm not feeling well all of a sudden."

He swooped back down to her.  Taking off his glove, he put his hand to her forehead.

"Your getting too warm." He said with a concerned tone, as he put his glove back on.  He looked around in all directions. "The Palace is close by...it has to be!" he said as he turned to the Princess.

"It's...so hot.   I...I don't know that I can make it, Keith," Allura said, her speech beginning to slow. "I'm...I'm getting very tired all of a sudden."

"You've got to do it, Allura!" He forced her to focus on the task at hand.  "Its not far now, we can do it!"

"Alright...I'll try," she said, her voice growing weak suddenly.

"You'll do more than try..." he said, grabbing unto her hand.  "Activate your jetpack, and stay beneath me.  I'll fly cover for you as much as I can. Try to move with my shadow."

She nodded faintly.

They moved into the air once again, rapidly traveling the land.

It wasn't long before the sun became very hot. Keith tried to keep a watchful eye below on Allura.  She was now obviously have problems navigating, as the sun's heat began to rapidly drain her.

Keith lifted his head up, looking left and right for the Palace.  Then it happened...


"KEITH!"


She screamed, as she spun out of control toward the ground.

"Allura!" he shouted, diving after her.  "Pull up, Princess!"

She did: but only long enough to stop herself from slamming right into the ground.  She somehow made a controlled landing, then crumpled to the ground.

Keith swooped down to her, grabbing her by the arm.

"Princess, Princess!  Are you alright?" He kept asking her.  "Answer me, Allura!"

She was staring at him strangely, and he realized right then and there, that they were in big trouble.  She was looking right past him, as if he weren't even there.  Then, suddenly, her eyes rolled up into the back of her head....

He was losing her...

"NO!" Keith shouted frantically, trying with all of his might, despite his own injury, to pull her to her feet.  "Allura, you can't give up on me!  You can't!  Get up, Princess!"

She became dead weight in his arms, passing out from heat exhaustion.  Keith knew his clothes would protect him...but not for much longer.  Prolonged exposure to the heat would bring him eventually to the same place she was in now.

"No...come on Allura!  Get up!" he shouted as he tried to hoist her up into his arms.  The pain in his chest intensified as her weight brought additional stress to his body.  "Don't give up, Allura!  Stay with me!"

It was no use.  She was out like a light.  And there was no way he could lift her.  He hadn't the strength, and try as he might, his body fought against him, preventing him from lifting her up.

Frustrated, Keith looked up into the air.

"KING ALFOR!  QUEEN ARIELA!" he shouted, deciding it was his last, best effort.  "WE NEED YOUR HELP!  ALLURA'S IN TROUBLE!  I CAN'T SAVE HER, BUT I WON'T LEAVE HER EITHER!  YOU HAVE GOT TO LEAD SOMEONE TO US! PLEASE...IF YOU CAN HEAR ME, HELP ME!"

Keith immediately began looking for a shelter to pull the Princess under.  But he could find nothing...and Yellow Lion was now too far to drag her to.

What now?

"HELP!" Keith began shouting. "SOMEONE...HELP US!  PLEASE...HELP US!"

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


Lance and Pidge were racing through the air, looking back and forth for any sign of Keith and the Princess.

"Lance," Pidge shouted, viewing his mini computer. "I'm picking up two life signs, over the next ridge!"

"Let's get down there!" He shouted, as they accelerated toward them.  "It's got to be them!"

"We'd better hurry!" Pidge warned.  "The sun is getting dangerously hot, and the Princess didn't have protective clothing on!"

"Hurry!" Lance shouted again.

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

Keith had his body shadowing the Arusian princess, as she lay unconscious on the ground.

The heat was beating on his back fiercely, and sweat began to pour down his face, as the temperature from inside of his Lion helmet be a to reach critical proportions.  His head was starting to feel woozy.  A feeling of doom began to creep into Keith's psyche.

"If I leave her," he thought,  "...she'll die.  If I stay, we'll both die!  But I can't leave her! What'll I do now?"

Suddenly, it appeared as if the sun had ducked behind a cloud.  Keith turned his head and looked up to see what had happened to the strength of the sun.

It was then that he saw him there...



"Young Keith," the image of King Alfor bellowed.  "Be strong for just a few moments longer. Your friends are coming to help you."



Keith shielded his eyes with his hands as he struggled to look squarely up to the sky.  It was then that he could see that Alfor's dense image was acting as a block from the sun.

"Allura!" Keith shouted up at Alfor.

"She is dehydrating.  You must get her back to the Palace hastily.  When your friends arrive, you must gather her quickly, and escape to the Palace.  But Keith, know this...Lotor is coming.  He is tracking you as well, and plans to take Allura from you.  You must prevent
this from happening by leaving the area at once."

"But King Alfor..." Keith reminded.  "We can't activate Voltron!  The lions are finished! We can no longer defend against Lotor!"

Suddenly, in the distance, Keith could hear the faint sounds of someone calling out for him.


"KEITH...CAN YOU HEAR ME?  WHERE ARE YOU?"


Keith shouted back, recognizing
it was Lance's voice. 
"OVER HERE, LANCE!"


"WE'RE COMING..." Lance
shouted back from the distance.



Keith looked up at Alfor. 

Alfor smiled. "Leave here quickly.  And trust in the Spirit of the Lions.  They are not as easily defeated. Remember that they recharge in their element. Find their element, and Voltron shall regain his strength. Farewell, my young friend."

Alfor's image faded, and the sun returned full strength onto of them both.  Keith once again returned to his position of cover for Allura.

"Just hang on, Allura," Keith said, as he pushed the pasted locks of blonde hair away from her face.  "Help is coming!"

She remained frightfully still.

Lance and Pidge zoomed down toward Keith and Allura.  Pidge hailed Sven and Hunk.  "Guys! We found them! Return to the Palace and wait for us there!"

Lance swooped next to Keith, while Pidge flew to the other side of Allura.  Lance reached down, removing his glove to feel Allura's head.

"She's nearing heat stroke." Lance said.  "We've got to get her out of here!"

"Lance," Keith said, his eyes pained.  "I can't help.  I was hurt when Black Lion crashed."

Lance laid his hand on Keith's back.  "Did you break anything?"

"I can't tell.  I thought my ribs were broken, then just bruised.  But I can't lift her, so...maybe they are broken."

"Guys, later!" Pidge interrupted.  "We've got to get the Princess out of the sun!'

"How far are we from the Palace?" Keith asked.

"Not far." Lance replied.  "About five minutes in that direction." Lance pointed toward the southwest.

Lance reached down and scooped Allura up in his arms.  "I'll carry her, while you two fly cover for me."

"Let's go!" Keith said, suddenly remembering Alfor's warning.  "We have to get out of here fast! Lotor's coming!"

"Lotor?" Lance said.  "The sun must be frying your brain, Keith!  Lotor's up in orbit above the planet!"

Suddenly, Pidge's eyes grew large.  "Whoa!  Keith's right!" he announced looking at his mini computer.  "There's a group of Skull tanks heading this way!  They'll be on us in a few minutes unless we get out of here now!"

"Move!" Keith shouted. "We can't let Lotor catch us here!  We're sitting ducks!"

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

When Lance and Pidge arrived back at the Palace with Keith and Allura, Sven and Hunk were waiting for them with Palace medics.

Lance was carrying the still unconscious Princess, while Pidge helped Keith in.

Sven was shocked by their condition, but glad to see his friends were still alive.  He ran up to Pidge to help Keith walk.  "Keit! I'm zo glad you're alive, my friend!"

Keith smiled weakly at him. "I'm glad to see all you guys made it, okay!"

Lance set Allura down on a gurney that had been rolled up by the medical lab.  King Augusta was also there, laying his hand on Allura's head.

"Will she survive?" he asked his medical team.

After a moment of looking her over, one medic responded,  "She has sun poisoning." He then looked up to Force.  "Good thing you got her out of the sun when you did.  Another moment or two, and we'd have lost her."

"Will she be okay?" Keith asked the question again, stepping up to the foot of the gurney.

The medic felt her forehead.  "She's severely dehydrated...but I think she'll be alright once we get her cooled down."

As they wheeled Allura away, and King Augusta followed, another medic walked up to Keith, still being held up by Lance and Pidge.

After explaining where the pain was, the medic held up a hand-operated scanner.  His face contorted as he went over the readings. "Young man, you are very, very lucky." He said to Keith.  "You have two broken ribs, one of which is very close to your lung.  If you had exerted any pressure, it would have snapped, sending it through your lung.  You would have died soon after, bleeding to death."

Keith's face went pale.  He couldn't believe it. "Are you sure?" he asked again.  "It doesn't hurt that much now."

"That's because the injury has set.  But trust me, they're broken.  We need to get you to the medical lab.  We can repair them quickly, and stabilize the bones, minimizing the pain.  You'll be as good as new in an hour from now."

Lance looked over to Pidge and then they both looked to Keith.  "Do you realize that if you did pick Allura up, you might be dead now?" Lance scolded.

"I didn't know they were broken!" Keith said back.  "They didn't feel broken after a while."

"You shouldn't have taken the chance!" Lance replied. "You should have found shelter and stayed there!"

"And then you'd never find us..." Keith said calmly.

"Geez Lance, give him a break!" Hunk scolded.  "He's been through a lot the last 24-hours!"

"Yeah, yeah...sure, sure." Lance scoffed jokingly.  "Look...this may be the only time I get to chew him out for doing something dumb!"

"Nothing dumb about survival, Lance." Keith pointed out.  "I did get us through the night. Don't I deserve some credit for that?"

"Hey-y-y!" Hunk suddenly said. "You spent the night with the Princess!  How did it feel being cooped up with a beautiful Princess...just the two of you?  Come on...details!  Give me all the
juicy details,Commander!"

"Sorry to disappoint you, Hunk," Keith chuckled.  "But nothing happened.  She slept...and I remained on watch all night."

"Nothing happened? Geez, Skipper!" Hunk teased.  "You blew what might have been your one and only chance at a romantic outing for two!"

"Hey, what are we going to do about Lotor?" Pidge suddenly recalled, interrupting Hunk. "He's still out there!"

"That's right," Sven said. "And we don't have the lions."

"Yeah!" Hunk shouted. "What do we do now?  We're finished!  Lotor will get us for sure now!"

"Maybe we're not finished yet," Keith said quietly.  "They'll recharge in their individual elements.  And Red Lion's element is fire.  The heat from the sun during the day really heats things up in a hurry. And if you're not protected properly, you'll die.  The lions are probably very hot..."

"So?" Lance asked. "What's your point, Keith?"

"Maybe Red Lion will be recharged by nightfall, having spent all day, baking out in the hot Surbainian sun." Pidge said, echoing Keith's thoughts.  "It could work!"

"But what about the other lions?" Lance said. "They don't get their strength from the sun!"

"No, but one lion's energy might be enough to form Voltron!  Then the other lions can share that energy!" Keith suggested.  "It's worth a try anyway!  What do we have to lose?"

"That's brilliant, Keith!" Pidge said. "That'll work!  I can reconfigure the other lion circuits to share the energy!"

"You mean we can do that?" Hunk asked.

"So long as Red Lion is fully charged!" Lance said.  "Otherwise, we're still where we started from."

"It's all we have to go on." Keith said. "Come on.  Get me down to the medic lab and I'll explain on the way!"

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