"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 12
Captured

Lance's voice rang through the COM to Hunk and Pidge, still flying in their lions.

"Guys...this is a code red alert!  Repeat! Code Red Alert!  Do you copy?"

"Yellow Lion...copy that, Castle Control!"

"Green Lion...understood, Lance!"

"I'm getting a palm security alert!  It says it's from pilot Green Lion!" Lance replied. "I assume that's Keith, since you gave your wrist COM to him before he left you guys, right?"

"Right, Lance!" Pidge replied.

"Keith's in trouble somehow, and I'm unable to reach him!  He's not responding to my signal transmission!  Have you guys heard from him?" Lance asked through the COM.

"Not since he left to find a way into the cave!" Hunk replied.

"Something's wrong then!  He ran into some sort of trouble!" Pidge said.

"Yeah, Lotor trouble!" Lance assumed. "You guys hit the outer atmosphere of Arus and turn on your gamma visors.  See if you can find a cloaked ship anywhere up there!"

"Roger that, Control! Green Lion out!"

"Yellow Lion likewise!"

Lance turned to Coran.
"It doesn't look good, chief."

Coran shook his head. "I knew
this was not a good idea!  Why does
she insist on making me old and gray
before my time?" he said, referring
to Allura.

"Well find out what happened, Coran!  Don't worry!" Lance replied, concentrating on the instrument panel, scanning the atmosphere for Doom attack ships.


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

"MOVE!" a Doom soldier, shouted, shoving Keith and Allura, along with
children. "INTO THE CELL!"

Keith went in first, followed by the Princess and the children.  The cell grid activated after the last child had entered in.  The guards posted themselves at either ends of the cell, pacing back and forth with blasters in their hands.

Allura hobbled over to the children, quickly attempting to calm then down. "Shhh, it'll be alright!  You must be brave!  I know that's hard right now, but I need you to try!"

One of the smaller children grabbed onto the Princess's hand. "I'm so scared, Princess Allura!" the little girl repeated fearfully.

"I know, sweetie," she replied, as she reached down and comforted the child. "And sometimes, its okay to be afraid. As long as you don't let fear take control of you.  Just remember the Lion Knights.  I'm sure they were pretty scared sometimes too."

"You think so, Princess?" another small boy said, the fear evident in his voice.

"I'm very sure!" Allura replied. "Don't worry.  We'll be alright."

Keith began a physical search of the cell, running his hands up and down the wall, looking for strengths and weaknesses.  The walls were moldy and damp.  Sounds of other prisoners, some crying and screaming in agony, could be heard throughout the holding area.

The sound was unsettling.

Keith approached Allura, and grabbed her by the hand, pulling her aside from the children to speak to her.  "There are no loose stones in these walls, no windows... nothing.  And the ground is cement...I can't dig us out of here."

"Then we're trapped." She replied solemnly.

Keith bent his head down for a moment, sighing, before looking back up to Allura. "For now, we are.  But Lotor's bound to make a mistake, and when he does, we'll be there to capitalize on it!"

"Keith, we can't let him take over Arus!" she whispered carefully to him.

"Princess, I agree with you, but right now, our options are limited." he replied. "The best thing we can do right now is keep the children calm."

"Agreed." Allura nodded.

Keith walked up to the children.  They were crying and obviously upset.  Even the older children were shaken up too.

"Who wants to hear a story?" Keith said aloud to the children.

"A story?" one little boy shouted. "What good will that do?"

"It'll help take your mind off of your troubles!" Keith replied.

"What kind of a story?" Angeline said quietly, tears streaming down her face from fear.

"How would you all like to hear how Princess Allura became the pilot of the Blue Lion?" Keith asked.

Suddenly, there were slightly raised voices of enthusiasm, replacing showers of tears and sounds of fear.  Allura smiled, proud of Keith for his efforts to turn a bad situation into a fun time.

"Okay, everyone sit down!  I'm going to tell you all about it!" Keith smiled, taking a small girl into his lap.

Allura sat down next to him, taking another child into her lap.  The others gathered around them in a large circle, sitting all around the Voltron Commander, as he began the tale...

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

Lt. Commander Sven B'Yourn, who came to Arus with us when we first came here to help all of you, was badly injured during a skirmish with Hagar the Witch.  We were without a pilot for the Blue Lion.

I sat in my quarters, preparing a report to Galaxy Garrison, and preparing to tell them that they needed to send us a replacement pilot to fly Blue Lion.

A knock came to my door, and I rose to answer it.  When the door swooshed open, I saw Princess Allura standing on the other side of the door.  She smiled at me, and asked if she could come in for a moment to talk to me.  So I nodded, and let her in.

I offered her some tea, but she declined. I knew she had something serious to talk to me about, and I thought that she wanted to ask me about the security risk without a Blue Lion pilot.  I was totally blindsided by what was to come next...


"Captain Hunter, I hope that I'm not bothering you too late."

"No, of course not, Princess. What's on your mind?"

Allura hesitated before she spoke again. "I know that we are in need of a pilot for the Blue Lion."

"Actually, I was just attending to that, Princess.  My report that I was about to send via subspace email, details that information out.  I assume Garrison's response should be to send us another pilot... but I can't be sure when.  The Drule Empire is keeping Earth busy these days, and I'll be surprised if they can answer my request as quickly as I would hope.  Truth is...it might be weeks before we can get someone out here."

"That's exactly what I wanted to know, Captain.  So, if I may, I am volunteering myself to fly Blue Lion."


I've got to tell you, that I wasn't exactly prepared for that.  It was a noble suggestion, and a true self-sacrifice, but with all that had happened against her, the last thing I wanted to do was place the Princess of Arus in a position were her life would be threatened unnecessarily.

I shook my head at her...


"Princess, I appreciate your loyalty to your planet and to your people.  But your job is to rule Arus, and mine is to protect you.  Neither of which can be done if you're flying Blue Lion!"

"But Captain, I can learn to fly...I know I can!  And it would only be on a temporary basis... until the Alliance can send someone else to join your team."

"Princess, its not a matter if you can, it's should you try!"

"Captain, this is my world we're talking about! These are my people!  I must do what I need to do to protect them!  If piloting the Blue Lion is what needs to be done in order to ensure their safety, then that's what I must do!"

"Princess, under normal circumstances, I would agree with you.  But these are not normal circumstances!  You'll be risking your life, and I can't allow that!"

"Who is asking for your permission?  The lions belong to Arus, and the I am ruler of Arus!"

"Princess...its true, you are the ruler of this planet, and the robot lions are the property of Planet Arus, but I am the captain of the Voltron Force.  I ,alone, make the discussion who will fly and who will not!  You are pushing the envelope here!"

"But Captain! I know I can do it! I know you're worried about my
safety, and I appreciate that, but the truth is that I've been facing
Zarkon's evil longer then you have."

"You don't have the slightest idea what you're getting yourself into, Princess!"

"I do!  And I want to help!  Please Keith...please teach me to fly!  You just can't turn me down...you just can't!"



Well, I was able to stand firm...until that point.  When she said that, I just couldn't turn her down. I saw tears stream down from her eyes, and my heart softened.  I can't understand what it was that made me say yes, but I did.


"Okay, Princess.  I can't fight you.  But what is Coran going to say when he hears this?"

"I'll take care of that." Allura assured him.

"No, if you're going to be on my team, I have to take responsibility for you and your actions.  But I want to make something perfectly clear before we go any further!  You are to do exactly as I say... that means, when I give you an order, you obey it...without question.  On the ground, you're the Princess.  In the air, flying Blue Lion, you are on my team, and I expect you to follow my orders to the letter.  Do we have an understanding, Princess?"

"Yes, Captain!  I promise that I will do whatever you tell me to do."

"Okay, then the next step is for me to go and talk to Coran, and get his agreement, which I will tell you, will not be easy."

"I know... I can add my voice behind yours if you'd like."

"That won't be necessary, Princess. I can handle Coran."



Well, obviously, Allura received Coran's reluctant blessing to join the team, and she began her training in the Blue Lion.  I will tell you that I pushed her pretty hard, but it was for her own good.  If she couldn't be tough in training, there was no way she would be tough enough in actual battle.  There were times, I'm sure, that I was so rough, that I probably made her cry.  And I hated myself for doing that to her.  But I was confident that she could achieve anything.  And my goal was to see to it that she would become so good, that there would be no need to have a replacement pilot.

At least, that was my plan...

There was one time when we were training in the air, just her and I.

I fired on her lion, and she dodged everything I threw at her...with the exception of one shot.  She dodged in the wrong direction, and Blue Lion was instantly hit.

Allura lost control and dove toward the ground... a spiral dive, one of the most dangerous.  I dove after her, as fast as my lion could carry me.  But, I wasn't fast enough to stop the impact.  Blue Lion crashed into the ground with a force that scared me.

I landed Black Lion next to the downed Blue Lion, now lying on its side.  I jumped out of the cockpit and ran as fast as I could to the Blue Lion.  I was joined momentarily by Lance, Pidge and Hunk. Coran and the Princess's nanny also ran over to her lion.

As I forced open the cockpit entrance, I feared what I might find...

I ran awkwardly through the cockpit of the Blue Lion, and found Princess Allura...
slumped over sideways against the wall...unconscious.  My heart nearly stopped at the sight of her lying there injured, knowing that I caused it.

This was my fault.

I finally realized that I pushed her too hard, and she failed to respond.

I scooped her up in my arms and turned to start back out of the cockpit.  Hunk met me halfway, and I passed her off to him.  He then took a few more steps and passed her off to Lance, who was waiting at the entrance.


I got the chewing out of my life from Nanny.  Coran didn't say much.  I think he understood that this was necessary in order prepare the Princess for anything that might come up against her.  Either that, or to finally make her realize the foolishness of her ambitions.

Nevertheless, I was heartbroken... fearing that I may have crippled  her somehow in my own foolish ambition to make her into something she might not have been ready for.

I went to see her in the infirmary.  I thought I'd be the last person she'd want to see. But instead, I found I was wrong.  I walked over to her bed, my head down, my face drawn, and she smiled at me!


"Princess...I..."

"Keith! I'm so glad you're here!  I realized what I did wrong, and I...I don't think I'll repeat that mistake again!"

"I'm sorry, Princess.  I realize that I was pushing you too hard, and well, I'm sorry."

"Sorry... for what?"


She looked at me with those irresistible baby blue eyes of hers, and well, I saw forgiveness and forgetfulness in them.


"I know that you were doing what you felt was best for me.  And I appreciate it.  But the bottom line here is that I failed to dodge that last volley.  This is my fault, Keith.  No one else's."

"Princess, maybe we should reconsider your flying..."

"Not a chance!  I'm fine, Keith!  Stop treating me like I'm a breakable object!  I tougher then that!  I think I've spent several weeks proving that to you!"


I smiled at her...and yes, she was right.  She had proven more to me that day, then she had in the many weeks she had been training with me.  And I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Blue Lion would have no other pilot except Princess Allura.

She was always meant to fly Blue Lion...

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


"Wow!" Kentell shouted. "That's an awesome story!"

"You mean, you never flew Blue Lion before then, Princess?" Rayna asked.

Allura smiled, shaking her head. "No. In fact, I've never had military combat training until the space explorers from Earth trained me."

"Whoa, that's amazing!" Brian sighed. "That means we can learn too!"

Keith chuckled. "Now hold on a minute!  I made this one exception!  If you want to fly one of the lions, you'll need to attend the space academy on Earth first!  I'm not a professional trainer!"


"That was a touching little story, Keith,"


Keith rose to his feet and the children turned to see Lotor standing at the door of the cell. 

"I must say that you've done a fine job of taking care of her all of this time.  But your services will no longer be needed now that I'm here." Lotor sneered.

"If you think that for one minute I'm standing down from you, think again, Lotor!" Keith grunted. "You may have us now, but I guarantee you that won't be forever!"

"Threats?  Really Keith, I would have expected more from you.  I just wish you'd give me a reason to kill you were you stand!" Lotor hissed.

"Oh, don't worry, Lotor!  When the time is right, I'll give you your chance! But let me warn you, I'm that easy to knock off!" Keith spat back.

Allura rose to her feet, coming along side of Keith. "Be careful..." she whispered to him quietly.

Lotor smirked at him. "Allura, I don't know what you see in him!"

Allura made no attempt at an answer.  Lotor showed off a fake smile. "I really came here to tell you that I've made my demands to Arus.  I thought you'd want to know what they were."

"No, but I suppose you're going to tell us anyway," she replied bitterly.

"I am demanding the complete and unconditional surrender of the Castle of Lions, and the surrender of the keys to the robot lions as well.  I am giving your advisor 12 hours to make his decision, or I said I'd start killing hostages...starting with the Voltron Commander... and... one child!"

"NO!  YOU CAN'T!" Allura screamed. "YOU MUSTN'T HURT THE CHILDREN!"

"Their fate is left in the hands of your people, Princess.  If they turn me down, Commander Keith will die, and I'll kill one of the children along with him!"

"You beast!" Allura cried. "How can you be so evil?"

"You're willing to kill innocent children for your cause?" Keith shouted. "What good will it do you?"

"Hostages are always a valuable commodity, Commander.  You being a military man should know that!  And I intend to do as I say!" Lotor shouted.

"Lotor, please...let me speak to Coran..." Allura pleaded.

"And for what purpose?  So that you can convince him to surrender?  Do you really believe that this will help?" Lotor hissed in response. "I think you're sadly mistaken!"

"Let her at least talk to them!" Keith replied. "What harm will it do?"

"NO!" Lotor shouted, slamming his metal hand up against the bars of the cell.  The children shriek in fear.  He eyed Keith sharply. "I told you that I'm looking for an excuse to kill you, Voltron Commander.  And I'm hoping this will be the one!"

"What's stopping you!  Kill me now if that will make you happy!" Keithshouted.

"No Keith!" Allura shouted, jumping around in front of him.

"Ah...now here's a switch!  The frail little princess is protecting the strong young commander from harm!  Well, try all you'd like, Allura, he is not going to be around to make my life miserable any more!  Once Arus is mine, I'm killing him anyway!"

Lotor turned to leave, and shot one last comment their way... "I  suggest that you air out any truths that you have hiding between you.  Guards, put the children in the cell next door.  Give the two of them some time to reflect on each other.  Let it never be said in our marriage, Princess, that I denied you your last rights with him!"

Lotor left the prison area, and the guards opened the doors, storming in on the prisoners from Arus.  Two guards held Keith and Allura at bay while three other guards herded the frightened children out into the corridor, and into the cell next door.

The cell grid activated once again, leaving Keith and Allura in one cage and the children next door and out of sight. Only the sound of their tears could be heard.

Allura hobbled to the cell door, and Keith beside her.  She desperately cried out to the children. "It'll be alright!  Just be brave!  We're right here!"