"Where Have All The Children Gone?"

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.

Enjoy!


Chapter 11
Not out of the Woods Yet

The tunnels grew narrow in some spots, as Keith made his way through the rugged caverns, on a desperate mission to find the Princess and the children before Lotor did.

He twisted and turned his body in ways he thought he never would.  He thanked his academy days for helping him to learn physical techniques that he kept up after graduation. Without the necessary physical training he always subjected himself to, he would never have had the endurance to keep going forward.

But his mind also willed him forward.  Somewhere ahead was the Princess.  He vowed to protect her, with his life, if necessary.  He had to find her...no matter what the personal or physical cost to himself.

And what of the children? 

Alone...afraid...and separated from their parents?

Keith gritted his teeth for added strength, as he pushed himself forward through more rocky walkways, his blaster pointed forward for protection, and his eyes roaming to and frow, ever alert for the approach of enemies.

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

"YOU WHAT?" screamed King Zarkon
through the monitor, sitting on his
throne on the flying Planet Doom ship.
"YOU LOST HER?  How could have
possibly lost her?  I gave you the
perfect plan...and once again, you
somehow mananged to screw it up!"
he shouted at his son, Prince Lotor.

Lotor stood on his flagship, the Revenge, smirking rebelliously at his evil father. "It's only a temporary set back.  Don't blow a gasket."

"You are a poor excuse for a son!" Zarkon bellowed, although his tone was less furious.  "I want Planet Arus!  I've given you ever opportunity to succeed, and what do you do with it?  You let a bunch of pipsqueak kids stop you! Your problem is that you're too busy chasing after that Princess, and not enough on capturing that planet of hers! With Arus in our hands, Princess Allura would be at our mercy at any rate!"

"You worry too much, Father." Lotor said calmly. "Even now, I'm tracking their whereabouts... through Commander Keith!"

"And how are you doing that?" Zarkon spat out. "If you're sitting comfortably onboard your ship, and he's in the caverns below on the planet, how, in teh name of all that is evil, are you tracking him?"

"Hagar is using her globe.  She's tracking his every move, and since he is the one doing all the work to find the Princess, I'll just wait until he does find her!" Lotor replied. "Then I'll phase into the caverns and capture them all!"

"And what of the Castle of Lions?"
Zarkon shouted. "Don't you think it's
of some importance to capture that too?"

"Once we have Princess Allura, she
will be forced to take us to the Castle,
where we will possess it from within."
Lotor replied. "Don't worry, old man.
I have everything covered."

Zarkon snorted. "You always say that, and the Voltron comes down and tramples your ambitious spirit to dust!"

"Not this time!  Not when I hold the Princess and the children of Arus in my grasp! They won't dare double cross me then!" Lotor said.

"But first, you'll have to square off with Commander Keith!" Zarkon replied. "And he's no pushover!"

"I'll deal with that goody-goody when I meet him!" Lotor spat back. "He'll not deny me again!"

"Prince Lotor!" Hagar shouted, hovering quickly through the command center. "Commander Keith is close to reaching the Princess!"

Lotor turned to her. "How do you know, old witch?"

"Because, my magic globe has
detected that the homing beacon
her wrist communicator is sending
out, is becoming synchronous with his! Their
method of finding each other has also
led us right to her!  She is within our grasp!
We must act quickly!" Hagar shouted.

"Excellent Hagar!" Lotor shouted before turning back to his father on the view screen. "You will forgive me if I cut this little Father-Son chit chat short.  I have a Princess to capture and a world to take over!"

"I'll believe it when I see it." Zarkon chuckled unbelievingly.

Lotor slammed his fist on the panel, angrily cutting off the communication link to Castle Doom.

Lotor grumbled... "I'll show him!  I'll capture the Princess, take her planet, destroy the robot lions, kill the Voltron Force... and take my rightful place as ruler of the universe...all in a single day! You will rue the day you ever doubted me, King Zarkon!"

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

The children were starting to get antsy, being trapped for nearly three hours.

Allura had told all of the stories that she could think of, and played all of the games that the children had thought of to play.  They were running out of ideas, and the children were growing hungry.

Allura hadn't heard from Keith in nearly an hour and she was growing concerned.  The swelling on her right leg had gone down considerably, thanks in part to minimizing its use and elevating it as much as possible.

She thought of standing, but then decided not to, remembering Keith's warning to stay off of it until he arrived.

Some of the children were now growing impatient. "Princess!" one little boy shouted. "I'm tired, and I want to go home!"

Others echoed his desires to return home.

Allura sighed. "Children, please!
I know you are all very tired! I
am too. But we must be patient
just a bit longer until Commander
Keith arrives to help us!"

"But we want to go home now!"
another little boy shouted out loud.

"I know you do, and you are all being very brave in all of this.  I must ask that you remain brave...just a bit longer." she said again.

Marie, the little girl that Allura injured herself while protecting, began to cry. "We're never going to get out of here!  No one's ever going to find us so far away!"


"I wouldn't say that, exactly..."



The familiar male voice rang out from behind them all before Allura could even think to respond.

They turned and saw Commander Keith standing there.  The children cheered loudly and ran to him, as if he were their father.

Keith gathered as many to him as he could, giving them reassuring hugs and pats on the head.

"Hi kids!" he said with a smile.

He looked up and saw the Princess, smiling brighter then any of the children he had seen.

Keith excused himself past the kids and quickly walked over to where Allura sat. Impulsively, he leaned over to her, and they both grabbed for each other, holding on to one another as if they would never part again.

"Am I ever glad to see you!" Allura whispered into Keith's ear.

"Thank goodness you're safe, Allura" Keith whispered back into her ear through her long blonde hair.

A rousing set of 'ooh's' and 'ahs' filled the air from the teasing children and the Commander quickly released the Princess from his arms.

With a clearing of his throat, and a blush rapidly making its way on both of their faces, Keith immediately reached for Allura's right leg.

"Let me know when it hurts you," he said, as he gently felt around for broken bones.

His hands skillfully moved up and down her leg. Keith turned his head and closed his eyes, concentrating on her bone structure.  A smile formed on his face, and he turned his head to look up at her.

"Nothing seems broken, Princess." Keith replied. "You've probably twisted it pretty good though,"

"What about all the blood?" she asked him.

"I feel a large cut here under your jumpsuit.  That's probably where the blood is coming from." Keith replied, reaching up and grabbing some of his torn uniform on his shoulder.

He began tearing away at it, tearing off large strips from his sleeve, and then tying them around the Princess's leg, using them like a giant bandage.  He stooped down on to the balls of his feet, clasped his hands together and rested his elbows on his bent knees, observing his work.

The patch job was just that...patch job.  More medical attention can be give once they get back to the Castle of Lions.

"There, that should hold it until we get you back to the Castle." He replied. "Do you think you can stand with me?"

"I can try," she replied, beginning to place pressure on her leg, gingerly at first, then gradually more and more as Keith grabbed her hands to support her as she rose.

He reached his hand around her waist to support her weight, and then brought her other arm around his neck.  He then turned to the children.

"Okay kids, you need to follow as closely behind me as possible.  I've found a way out of here, just ahead.  We have to move quickly."


"Leaving the party so soon?"



Keith turned with the Princess, and the children gasped as they all saw Hagar standing just behind all of them.

Hagar grinned. "Now, that wouldn't be polite!"

Keith quickly handed off the Princess to Kentell and Brian, who were standing close by.  Rayna and Angeline quickly gathered the smaller children over by them.

The Voltron Commander drew his blaster out and held it in a defensive manner.

"Get back, Hagar!" Keith threatened. "I don't want to shoot you, but if you force me...I will!"

"Shoot a defenseless old woman?" Hagar mused. "Why Commander, that's not very chivalrous of you!  What will the Good Guys Club think of you?"

"Stop playing around, Hagar, and leave us alone!" Keith shouted, waving his blaster in front of him. "I mean it!"


"Oh do you, Lion boy?"



Keith turned to his left and saw Lotor, standing with several Doom soldiers around him.  Keith sized up the situation and realized that he was outnumbered.

Allura froze with the boys, looking for anything she might be able to use as a weapon to help defend against Lotor.

"Well, well, well...look what we have here!" Lotor scoffed. "A hotshot commander, a beautiful princess, and several little rug-rats!  How delightful!  This should be plenty of ammunition to help me get what I want!"

"And just what is it that you want, Lotor?" Keith growled.

"Oh come now, Keith!  You disappoint me!  Do you mean to say that after all of these years, you haven't figured out what it is that I'm after?" Lotor teased. He then looked over toward Allura, held up by Kentell and Brian.

Allura turned her head, not wanting to meet his gaze. 

Lotor smiled at her... "Haven't you figured it out yet, my darling Allura?"

Keith saw him look at her,
and fire built in his soul.
"Over my dead body, Lotor!"
Keith said in a low, fierce tone.

"It will come to that, I assure you."
Lotor replied, his tone
paralleling Keith's. "Now...drop
your weapon, Commander, or the
Princess will see her valiant young,
brave and stupid hero turned to
dust before her eyes!"

Keith stood firm, not flinching a muscle,
only pointing his blaster toward Lotor.
The Doom soldiers stood ready, weapons drawn and aimed at the Voltron Commander.

Allura gasped, afraid for Keith's life.

"Lotor...please don't hurt him!" she pleaded.

Lotor glanced toward her for a moment. "Everyone has a choice to make, Princess. His is simple...drop his weapon, and live.  Fail to do so, and die."

Keith still made no move to drop his weapon to ground. "If I must die, so be it.  But I'll make sure to take you out with me!"

Hagar quickly hovered around and snatched one of the little girls into her grasp.

Allura screamed as she turned to reach for the child, but was too late to reach her. Keith turned his head to see the child being whisked away from the group, and over to Lotor.

"Well, if you won't throw down your weapon to save yourself, then perhaps you'll do so to save this small child!" Hagar hissed, grabbing the child by the throat.

The small girl let a bone-chilling scream as Hagar's grip intensified.

Horrified, Allura broke free from Kentell and Brian, hobbling over toward Keith's side. "Hagar!  Let her go!  She's done nothing to harm any of you!"

Hagar only cackled.

"It's me you want, Lotor!  Not the children!" Allura screamed. "If you let her go, I'll surrender myself to you!"

"NO PRINCESS!" Keith shouted, grabbing her arm and pulling her behind him.

Lotor laughed. "This is all very amusing, but truly Princess, you're not the only thing I'm after.  I want not only you, but also your planet, the robot lions...everything!  And I mean to take what I want!"

Keith began grinding his teeth together in anger as Allura stood helpless behind him. Hagar tightened her grip on the small child, and she began to choke.

"Let her go, you sick, ugly cow!" Kentell shouted at Hagar.

"Only if the Commander does as he was told!" Hagar said, as she slowly increased her grip on the girl's neck.

"ALRIGHT!  STOP IT!" Keith shouted suddenly, throwing down his blaster to the ground.  "Now, release the girl!"

Hagar looked to Lotor, who nodded to release the child.  Hagar removed her grip from the girl's neck, but maintained her embrace around her, refusing to let her go.

"Alright, you got what you wanted!" Keith shouted. "Now what?"

Lotor smirked. "Now...we're all going for a little ride up to the Revenge.  I have prepared a special...shall we say...guest area for all of you, while I make my demands to the Castle of Lions!"

"Monster!" Allura shouted, as she went to charge around Keith, but he held her in place with his arms, refusing to let her go. 

She thrashed about in his arms "Let me go, Keith!  I said, let me go!"

"Allura!  Stop it!  This isn't helping!" Keith shook her. "Stay behind me!"

The other children huddled together, waiting for whatever was to happen next.  Lotor opened a link to his ship. "Qeequa, LeFeat... prepare to phase up everyone in the area on my signal!"

Allura, still being held in Keith's grasp, saw him reach one arm over the other and activate his palm signal emergency alarm.  The signal would be transferred to Lance, at Castle Control.

Allura leaned in toward Keith's ear, "What good will that do now?" she whispered.

Keith turned his head slightly so that she could hear him. "I don't know if it will do any good, but at least Lance will know we're in trouble, and alert the rest of the team."

"Silence!" Lotor shouted to Keith and Allura.  Then he spoke once again into his wrist communicator. "We're ready!  Bring us aboard, now!"

Keith moved the Princess behind him for protection, waiting to see what happened next.  Allura grabbed onto Keith's midsection from behind his back, and Keith grabbed onto her arms, securing her to him.

The air began to shift, and suddenly, everyone in the area disappeared, phased up to the Revenge.
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