"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 30
The Deadly Duel


Lotor approached Keith as he was throwing aside his jetpack.  "Well, well, Commander! I must admit that I didn't expect you to have the courage to meet me here."

"You left me with no choice, Lotor!" Keith grunted.  "Let's just get this over with, shall we?"

"Oh...hurry to die, are you?" Lotor scoffed.  "I certainly hope the Princess isn't watching.  I would hate her lasting memory of you to be, shall we say...less then complimentary!"

Keith uttered no response, only to draw his laser sword.

"Well, I suppose, by your silence, that she is watching after all...at least Allura will be able to watch how well you grovel!  Then, when you're gone, I'll have not only Princess Allura, but Princess Romelle as well."

Keith's eyes lit up. "How do you know about Romelle?"

"My spies inform me well, Keith." Lotor smiled evilly.  "What kind of tyrant would I be, if I didn't keep up with the daily news?"

Keith held up his weapon in front of his body.  "Did you come here to fight, or talk my ear off?" he said abruptly.

Lotor sighed nonchalantly.  "You are eager to die!  Very well, human!"

Lotor drew his laser sword.  "This is it, Keith!" Lotor shouted. "Prepare for your doom!"

"Talk is cheap Lotor!" Keith blurted back at him.  "Let's see if you're a man of your word!"

He immediately charged at Keith, his sword over his head.  Keith held firm his ground, and waited until the right moment before dodging out of the way.

Lotor turned and charged again, a primal scream sweeping over this vocal cords at his enemy.

Keith again waited for Lotor to get closer.  His sword was in position to strike.

As Lotor ran up to him, Keith hopped out of the way, slashing the Prince with his sword across his hand.  Lotor stopped suddenly, bringing his metal hand to the wound.  The blood glistened on the metal in the Arusian sunlight.

Lotor growled angrily.  "You've struck a royal Prince!"

Keith remained calm, but sarcastic.  "Isn't that the name of the game, Lotor?  War knows no rank or title!"

"You will pay for your insolence!" Lotor shouted, suddenly charging after Keith, his sword tip pointed toward Keith's ribcage.

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

On board Black Lion, Allura's face contorted.

"Keith!" she shouted, knowing that he couldn't hear her. "Look out!"

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

Keith used his sword to meet Lotor's in a clash of electrical energy.  They faced each other, parrying each other's blows.  Lotor slashed his sword at Keith's chest, cutting open his uniform, and drawing blood.

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

"Keith!" Lance shouted from Red Lion. "We've got to help him!"

"How?" Sven shouted.  "You can't...or Lotor order da Castle destroyed!  We have to let dis play out!"

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

Keith balanced himself, attempting to disregard the injury he had just suffered. The pain was nothing compared to the pain Arus would feel if he failed, and lost this duel. He brought his sword up again, clashing it with Lotor's.

"You insignificant fool!" Lotor shouted,
straining at the strength of his opponent.


"I may be a fool...in your eyes...
but...I'm not...giving up!" Keith struggled.

They pushed off of each other, and
Lotor jabbed his sword toward Keith,
who used his own sword to cut off his
attacker. Keith thrusted his sword
forward toward Lotor's body, but Lotor moved aside, narrowly missing the attack.

Lotor moved back, sweat beading on his brow.  Keith also moved back, standing ready for Lotor's next volley.

Lotor suddenly dropped his sword, and then, turned his head toward one of his Skull tanks, giving it a distinctive nod.

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

"What's he up to?" Lance said aloud to the team. "It's a trick!  Lotor's tricked him!  Everyone...stand ready!"

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

Keith too, thought it peculiar that Lotor was dropping his attention away from the duel.  He suddenly realized what was happening...and reacted immediately by running toward his jetpack.

The Skull tank immediately launched a volley of fire toward Keith, blocking his escape.  Keith turned in the opposite direction, and headed toward the lake of the Castle.  The Skull tank fired again, the round of ammunition exploding in front of him with such force, that it sent Keith sprawling to the ground abruptly, knocking the wind out of his lungs as he abruptly fell to the ground.

Lotor laughed at the fallen Voltron Commander.  "You see, I am not without a backup plan! You can't escape me, Hunter!"

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

On board Voltron, Hunk slammed his fist into the armrest of his chair.  "That dirty, no good...he cheated!"

"Did you really expect him to play fair?" Pidge asked angrily.

"Well, I'm not going to just sit here while Keith gets himself killed!" Allura shouted.  "I'm turning myself over to Lotor.  Perhaps then, he'll spare Keith's life!"

"Are you kidding, Princess?" Lance shouted through the COM.  "You know how he is!  He'll take you and Planet Arus, and kill poor Keith anyway!"

"Then what can we do?" Allura shouted.  "We can't just abandon Keith!"

"I've got a plan!" Lance said.  "Sven and I will jet out there, armed with blasters.  We'll get Lotor's attention by trying to rescue Keith.  While we do that...Pidge, you swoop down and knock Lotor off balance, long enough for us to get Keith out of there."

"But...what about the bombs surrounding the Castle?" Allura said suddenly.  "Lotor promised to destroy the Castle if we interfered!"

"If only we knew where his control was..." Hunk thought aloud.

From inside Green Lion, Pidge sat quietly for a moment, looking oddly at Lotor's utility belt. He tilted his head, his eyebrows knitting together, as he studied the device box hanging off of it.

"Yeah... if we only knew where it was..." Pidge repeated Hunk's words in his head, as he continued to study the box.  Then...it suddenly came to him in a flash...  "Of course!" Pidge
shouted,  "How didn't I see it before?" referring to the device.

"See what, Pidge?" Lance asked.  "What are you talking about?"

"That device on Lotor's belt!" Pidge shouted over the COM.

"What about it?" Hunk asked, rubbing his jaw.

"Never mind about Lotor's belt!" Lance interrupted.  "We need to move out now!  Pidge, get going!"

"Wait!  I'll do you one better!" Pidge said, his hands suddenly speeding across his control panel.  "I'll bet my week's pay that the box hanging off of Lotor's belt is the remote device that controls the bombs.  I'll find the frequency that the control device operates on, and block its signal.  That way, if Lotor has control elsewhere, he'll be blocked at the source!"

"Are you sure, Pidge?" Lance asked.

"I'm about ninety-nine percent sure, Lance!" Pidge replied.

"What about the other one percent?" Hunk questioned nervously.

Pidge paused.  "Well... we'll just have to hope I'm right!"

"Okay, get to it." Lance commanded.  "Sven, let's go help Keith!  Pidge...it's up to you to block that signal!"

"It'll be done faster than you can yell, 'Lotor'!" Pidge replied.

"Hurry, boys!" Allura shouted frantically.  "Lotor's coming for Keith!"

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

Lotor approached Keith, his laser sword drawn.

Keith was painfully aware of his injuries now, the force of the blast re-aggravating the injury to his ribcage he had suffered back on Planet Surbain.

Struggling to breathe, Keith tried desperately to get off of the ground, knowing that Lotor was approaching him for the kill.

"I hope the Princess IS watching this..." Lotor scoffed. "...so that she can see what a weak, little man you really are!"

"I hope...the Princess is watching too...so she knows what a...low life loser...you really are!" Keith gasped, now able to face Lotor on his knees.  He grabbed for his blaster and pointed it toward Lotor.  "If I go...you're going with me!"

"I think not, little man!" Lotor said, pointing his weapon at Keith.  "Prepare to die!"

Lotor pulled the trigger of the blaster, but was pushed at he same time from behind.

Sven and Lance caught Lotor off guard from behind.  Sven had shoved Lotor hard, sending the blast of laser energy off to Keith's left..

Lance immediately swooped up behind Keith.  "Are you okay?"

Keith nodded.  "Okay enough to get out of here!"

"Then let's go!" Lance shouted, signaling Sven to come along side of them both and grab Keith under the arms.

As the three Voltron Force members zoomed into the air, Lotor rose to his feet, screaming in anger.

"You think you've won!  You've merely sealed the fate of all of those in the Castle!"

Lotor pulled the device off of his belt.  "Say goodbye to your precious Castle, Princess Allura!"

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

Inside of Voltron, Allura opened up a frequency to Pidge as she sat in the command chair.  "I hope you figured out how to disarm the device, Pidge!" she said nervously.  "Lotor is about to destroy the Castle!"

"Oh yeah?" Pidge scoffed. "Watch this, Princess!"

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

Lotor began pushing the button...repeatedly.  "What's wrong with this?" he shouted in anger. "Why isn't it working?"

Suddenly, Lotor looked up, his attention directed to the sound of Allura's voice on the outdoor speaker from Voltron.

"No, Lotor, your little toy isn't going to work for you!" she shouted.

Allura watched from Black Lion as Lance had ducked safely back into Red Lion with Keith, and Sven had returned to Blue Lion.  After being assured they were all safe, she returned her attention back to Lotor...

"You've lost, Lotor!" she said confidently.  "I order you to leave Planet Arus at once, or Voltron will destroy every last Skull tank that stands here today!"

Voltron's arms swung up, taking aim at the Skull tanks on the ground.  The mouths of the Green and Red Lions were suddenly opened wide, revealing the arsenal of firepower.

Angry and defeated, Lotor shot the device toward Voltron. "You may have won this battle, Princess, but not the war!  I will not give up until you are mine!  Do you hear me, Princess Allura?" Lotor shouted, shaking the fist of his good hand up toward the head of Voltron.

"Go home, Lotor!" Hunk added through the loud speaker.

A low grunt escaped Lotor's mouth.  "You win, for now.  But I swear Allura.  These imbeciles will not be around forever.  And when that day comes, I'll be the new King of Planet Arus! And you will be at my side, Allura!"

"Leave my planet immediately!" Allura shouted. "This is your last warning!"

Lotor ran defeated to the nearest Skull tank.  One by one, they took flight into the air, until they were all out of sight.

"Allura," Keith's voice came over the COM.  "Follow him to make sure he's retreating."

"I read you, Commander." Allura said, grabbing the controls for Voltron.  "It's good to have you back!"

Voltron hopped into the air, and quickly rose up to Arus's outer most atmosphere.

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

Inside the Castle of Lions, Coran and Princess Romelle stared at the monitor, watching the Skull tanks take off into the air, followed by Voltron.

Romelle wiped the tears from her face, as she turned her head to speak to Coran.

"He did it!" she wept joyfully.  "Voltron did it, Coran!"

Coran nodded humbly.  "Yes, once again, the Voltron Force has saved us from destruction."

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

As Voltron orbited far above Planet Arus, a message came in through the COM.  It was Coran's voice.

"Castle Control to Voltron Force.  The Doom Fleet is in retreat according to our scanners. Can you confirm this with a visual picture?" Coran asked.

Allura was about to respond, but silenced herself when she heard Keith coming in over the COM.  "Yes, Coran.  We confirm.   Lotor and his gang are turning tail and leaving our air space."

Allura smiled...forgetting herself for a moment.  After all...Keith was the only one and true leader of the Voltron Force.  And she would have it no other way.

"And Princess Allura?" Coran asked.  "She is still safe?"

Allura leaned forward and answered the question.  "Yes, Coran!  I'm fine...thanks to the boys!"

"We'll be heading home now." Keith said.  "The lions need a long recharge."

"We all do!" Lance added.

"Yeah, hope you have something down there to eat!" Hunk commented. "I'm starved!"

"STARVED?" the whole team shouted.

Coran only chuckled. "Don't worry, Hunk. Planet Arus is planning a bountiful feast in honor of your safe return."

"When will that be?" Hunk asked.

"Tonight." Coran replied. "I've invited a few diplomats and Marshall Graham from the Alliance.  Amalgamus will be here too."

"That old tin-plated windbag?" Lance huffed, waving his hand around in front of him. "He'll just spend the evening quoting all the regs we broke!"

"Lance...calm down." Keith said. Then he turned his comments back to Coran.  "Thank you, Coran. That's very kind of you."

"Very good." Coran said.  "We shall see you in a few moments, then?"

"Yes.  Voltron is home at last.  Keith out."

Allura sat back in the command chair, reflecting on the last banquet held on Arus.  She was a bit apprehensive about attending another one.  She'd of rather spent the time sitting peacefully in the rec room with the boys for the evening, rather than attend some formal,
mostly likely, stuffy, social event.  She sighed...resigning herself to the fact that as ruler of Arus, she was expected to present herself fresh at these thing...regardless if she wanted to or not.

Her Commander interrupted her unsettled thoughts... "Allura, do you read?  Time to put these kittens to bed." Keith said.

Allura snapped back to the present, addressing Keith's order. "Uh...yes, Keith.  Preparing to deactivate and separate the lions."

Allura turned the Voltron sequence off with the push of a button.  Each robot lion detached itself from the body of Black Lion, and returned t o normal form.  The lions streaked through the sky of Arus, heading for their individual resting places.

Moments later, the team themselves started to appear through the Lion tunnel.  Sven was the first to arrive...and Romelle was anxiously waiting.

She ran full speed into his
awaiting arms... "Oh, Sven!"
she shouted, as she reached
him, his arms surrounding her.

Sven placed a gentle kiss on her forehead.
"Yes, Romelle, I've returned to you...jist
like I said I would."

Romelle looked up into his eyes,
tears of joy brimming in her own. "I
was so afraid that you would never return."

"Nonsense," Sven said with a smirk.
"I told you I would return...
and I have."

"I'm so happy, Sven!" Romelle said, cuddling closer to him.

Hunk, Pidge and Lance came through the tunnels next.  Hunk and Pidge rushed over to Lance, who was helping Keith walk across the floor.  Coran hurriedly moved to his side.

"Commander," Coran said, laying his hand on Keith's shoulder. "Are you in need of medical attention?"

"I'm fine, Coran." Keith said, biting his lower lip. "Nothing that some sleep won't cure."

Lance shook his head. "Don't believe our brave Commander, Coran.  I'm sure Dr. Gorma would love to see him!"

"Lance, I'll be fine!" Keith argued.

"Yeah, you sure will...after Dr. Gorma looks at you!" Pidge added his voice to Lance's.

"Yeah, come on, Keith," Hunk also said.  "It'll just be a few minutes while he looks you over."

"You're not afraid, are you?" Lance teased.

"Afraid?  Me?" Keith said, bringing his hand to his chest, covering his heart.  "Give me a break, Lance!"

"Come on, Commander Courageous!" Lance teased again.  "Let's get you to the infirmary!"

Keith protested about the silliness of bothering Dr. Gorma, as Lance, Pidge and Hunk escorted him out of the control room, and down the hallway.

Coran turned back to the chutes, noticing that the Princess had not yet arrived at the Castle. He turned to Sven and Romelle.

"Where is Princess Allura?" Coran said, a hint of panic in his voice.

Sven smiled. "Don't worry, Coran. She'll be along in a moment."

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

Allura sat quietly in the cockpit of the Black Lion.  The emotion of the last few weeks of events washed over her like a running river, and she found she couldn't stop the tears from coming.

Her thoughts were on Keith...and what she would have done had something happened to him.

Opportunity for his death occurred on several occasions.  And it was due to her.  She fought with that fact... the idea that Keith was protecting her because he loved her.

She knew her feelings for him were true and strong.  But at what length would she allow Keith to continue to risk his life for the sake of a fleeting emotion?

Love was never something that could be guaranteed.

Certainly, both of them were aware of that painful fact.  Both had experienced losing their parents at an early age.

The more she thought about her love for Keith, the more she cried. 

"What should I do?" she thought sadly. "For his sake, should I end the love we have just found in each other?  How can I do that to him?  How can I not?  What if someday, he is killed while protecting me from harm?  Can I allow that to continue?  I'm so confused..."

The COM channel opened up, disturbing her tortured thoughts. 

"Princess Allura, this is Coran in Castle Control.  Are you out there, Princess?"

Allura wiped her face with her hands before answering the hail.  "Yes, Coran.  I'm here in the Black Lion."

"For goodness sake, Princess!" Coran scolded.  "What in the world are you still doing there? And what is the meaning of frightening me like that?  As your advisor, I submit to you, that you should be more careful to inform me of your whereabouts at all times!"

"Yes, Coran." She replied solemnly.  "I'm returning to the Castle now. Allura out."

She disconnected the communication, and returned to the silence of the Lion.  She sighed heavily... sorrowed by the decision she must make regarding her relationship with Keith.

She silently pressed the button that began to slowly lower the command chair from Black Lion's cockpit, returning her the Castle.

She had a lot of thinking to do.
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