"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 14
Arus Surrenders

Coran paced the floor in the Control Room. 

Lance was there with him, and Pidge and Hunk had recently rejoined them at the Castle.  The mood was somber.

Lotor's threats were real, and pressure from the villagers of Capri made things even worse.

Coran had to make a decision...

"I say, we take them on!"
Hunk shouted, slamming
his fist into a
nearby table.

"I'm afraid it will not be as simple as that,
my friends." Coran replied,shaking his head.
"Never before has Lotor had such an upper
hand on us.  He not only has our Princess,
but he has Commander Keith and some of
the children for Capri as well. We simply
can not take any risks. Lotor would not hesitate to kill the Commander or the children, I'm afraid."

"Keith's been prepared for death
a long time ago, Coran!" Lance
shouted. "He understands the risks,
and would gladly give his life
for Arus! You know that!"

"Yes, but what of the children, Lance?"
Coran said in a raised voice.  "That scoundrel has promised to kill one of them along with the Commander, and then one each hour after that, until we surrender!  I
believe he actually would do that! I doubt very much that even Commander Keith would make a decision that would jeopordize the children's safety."

"Coran, we just can't turn over Planet Arus to him!" Lance said, balling his fist up. "If we do that, he'll have the entire universe in his grasp!"

"I am responsible for the lives of those children, Lance!  I must do whatever is in their best interest!  And if that means surrendering to Doom, then surrender we must!  The Princess would no doubt do the same.  Especially with the young lives that are at stake."

The three Voltron pilots remained silent, seeing that Coran was right. There would be no other way of saving the lives of the hostages.

Coran nodded to them and moved to the inter-planetary COM, preparing to establish a link to Lotor's flagship.

"I am sorry, but I have no other choice." Coran said lastly to the young pilots behind him.

"We understand, Coran." Pidge replied quietly.

The stately advisor sighed aloud as his eyes suddenly fell upon the picture of King Alfor, hanging on the wall just a short distance away.

"Forgive me, Your Majesty." Coran uttered in a whispered voice to the picture on the wall. "But I must do everything I can, to save the lives of your daughter, the Commander, and most especially, the children."

Coran opened up a link to the Revenge. "This is the Castle of Lions, Minister Coran Anderson speaking. I would like to discuss terms for surrender. Acknowledge..."

There was a momentary pause before Coran heard Lotor's voice through the COM. "Ah, Coran!  So nice to hear from you! I, of course, have been expecting your call! And I'm glad that you have decided to see things my way.  That, of course, is the most logical way to handle this, since the other way would have seen the end of your Commander, and the children.  And that would have simply broken Princess Allura's tender heart."

"Get on with it, you tin-headed weirdo!" Lance shouted.

"Is that the voice of the hotshot Red Lion pilot, I hear?" Lotor snorted.

"You know it is!  We're surrendering Arus...so give us the hostages!" Lance demanded.

"In time, my dear Lance...in time, but for now, let's just say that your Princess and her party are happy where they are.  And will remain happy...and alive...as long as you live up to your end of the bargain. Double-cross me, and I'll kill them all!"

"We shall do as you request, Prince Lotor!" Coran assured. "You must not hurt them!"

"I will send down an armed brigade in half an hour.  You will drop your shields and allow them entrance into the Castle.  Once they have secured things, I will come with the Princess and the hostages." Lotor informed.

"We understand." Coran replied. "We will make no attempt to stop your men during this time."

"Good." Lotor said. "Then, if you will excuse me, I'll go and tell the Princess of the good news...that's she'll be going back home.  Although home will not be as she was used to."

The link was severed.

Coran turned to Lance, Pidge and Hunk. "Whatever happens, we must not let them know where the secret entrance to the lion ships is located.  We will need that to remain a mystery as long as possible."

"Yeah, maybe we can still save Arus!" Pidge replied.

"How?  Once Lotor's goons are in here, how do you think we're going to get them out?" Hunk scoffed.

"There are always alternatives..." Coran said. "We must look for them.  For now, our priority is the safety of Princess Allura, Commander Keith, and the children."

"I just wish I had Lotor in a locked room for two minutes!" Hunk grunted angrily, balling his fist. "I'd show him a thing or two!"

"Save your strength, Hunk!" Pidge warned, grabbing on to his friend's brawny arm. "You're going to need it later!"

"Pidge is right," Coran added. "We must maintain cool heads if we ever hope to regain Arus's freedom.  At this time, we must make it look as if we are surrendering willingly."

"Do you have a plan, Coran?" Lanced asked.

"Yes, I believe so, but I must speak to the Commander first." Coran replied cautiously.

"Well, all the lions are secure in their dens, including Black Lion and Blue Lion.  Hunk and I towed them back here." Pidge informed. "And the keys are hidden away in King Alfor's tomb...all but the keys to the Black and Blue Lions.  Those keys are with the
Keith and the Princess."

"Very good. I hope Lotor has not secured them from Keith and Princess Allura." Coran added with a frown. "If Voltron ever got in the hands of Zarkon and Lotor, the Diamond Galaxy is in serious danger."

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

Keith and Allura sat huddled in the corner of the cell.  Allura finally found a few minutes to rest her eyes.  Keith elected to remain on alert, insisting that he had endurance to remain awake.

"You there!" the guard spoke to Keith and Allura from the cell entrance. "Prince Lotor is on his way. Make yourselves ready to receive him!"

Keith's face turned sour toward the guard. He then checked his digital watch only ten hours had passed. Lotor had promised twelve hours.  Something must have happened on Arus that would change his mind. Only one thing he could think of...

"Princess...Princess!  Wake up!" Keith said, gently shaking her awake.

Allura took a quick, deep breath of air, and then sat up right away.  She saw the look on Keith's face. "What is it?  What's wrong?"

"Arus must have surrendered," he said softly. "It's only been ten hours.  Coran must have given up."

"Oh no!" Allura gasped, bringing her hand to her mouth, covering it. "He couldn't have!"

"It's the only thing I can think of.  The guard told me, moments ago, that Lotor is on his way down here to speak to us.  The only reason I can think of is he's either ordering my death, or Arus has surrendered.  I guess we'll find out which in a few minutes..."

"Oh Keith!" Allura's voice squeaked quietly. "I won't let him kill you!  I'll beg for your life"

"Allura, I can't let you do that..." he replied, grabbing her hand. "I'm ready to go, if it's my time to go."

"You two!" the angry guard shouted. "Rise to your feet, Prince Lotor is arriving!"

"Okay...the moment of truth..." Keith mumbled.

Lotor strolled up to the cell containing two of his captives. "Well, my dear Princess Allura!  It appears that I am Arus's new ruler!"

"Coran surrendered?" she replied, in an almost disbelieving voice.

"Yes!  I am sending down my troops to secure the Castle of Lions.  You, Commander 'Brave Heart' here, and the little termites in the next cell, will transport down to Arus with me.  A sort of ceremonial transfer of power, if you will."

"I will never willingly transfer anything to you, Lotor!" Allura spat back at him.

"Oh, you won't have to!  As my wife, we of course share everything... that includes Planet Arus!  And my first task as King of Arus with be to destroy your beloved Voltron!"

"NO!" Allura screamed, impulsively jumping to her feet from the floor and charging the cell door.

Keith rose quickly to follow after her. "Stop, Allura!" he called after her.

She reached the cell and stuck out her hand at him through the laser bars. "You can't do this!  You filthy monster!  You can't destroy the only thing left of my father!  I won't let you!"

"Allura, come now.  All good things must come to an end. Voltron has seen his day. Now it's my turn!" Lotor snickered.

"You can't!  I won't allow you to destroy Voltron!  You'll have to destroy me too!" Allura shouted.

"No, Princess!" Keith shouted at her, grabbing her shoulders from behind, attempting to restrain her anger.

Lotor reached out and gently grabbed onto her hand. "Allura, you really must stop fighting me.  Otherwise..."

In a sudden offensive move, Lotor twisted her arm around, bringing her body around as well.  Keith's face grew red with anger as Allura's face twisted in pain.

"Let her go, Lotor!" Keith shouted at Lotor.

Allura winced, as Lotor held her arm firmly to her back.  He smiled, and brought his lips to her dangling hair. "Otherwise, you're going to get hurt!"

"I said...let her go!" Keith shouted. "Is this how you intend to treat her as your Queen?"

"Silence!" Lotor screamed at Keith, twisting Allura's arm upward behind her back. "How I treat her is none of your concern now!  If she behaves herself, she'll be treated fairly.  If she disobeys me, she'll be punished swiftly!"

Lotor suddenly thrusted Allura forward up against Keith.  The force of their impact almost knocked Keith off balance, but he managed to steady himself, holding her up against him to keep them both from falling.

"Lotor!" Keith shouted angrily. "What kind of prince would do the evil things that you do? You dishonor the title by your actions!"

"You are very close to being erased from existence, Keith!" Lotor shouted, grabbing his blaster from his belt and pointing it directly at the Voltron Commander. "It's a good thing for you that I now need you alive to secure the planet.  At least, I need you for a little while.  After that, I'll have no further use for you... except maybe to let you witness my final victory...my marriage to Princess Allura!"

Keith only gritted his teeth.  Allura's face remained buried in his chest for solace. Lotor grinned. "I'll make the final arrangements, and then I'll send for all of you."

The evil Prince left the prison area.  Keith turned and walked away from Allura.  She could see is fists were clenched in anger.  Allura rushed to his side, grabbing his shoulders.

"We can't let him take Arus!" she whispered abruptly into his ear.

"We have no choice!  We need to do what he says...at least for now.  When we're back on Arus, I'll see what can be done." Keith answered.

"My poor people, subjected to his merciless hand" Allura feared. "And at the beginning of the Festival of Lions.  I should have listened to you, Keith.  If I had, none of this would be happening right now."

Keith turned to her suddenly and gripped her shoulders. "Listen to me, Princess!  No one is going to condemn you for your goodness to your people!  You were doing what you thought was best for them!  I'm not blaming you, and neither should you blame yourself!"

"It's all my fault!" Allura shuddered. "I'm glad my father can't see this..."

"Princess!  Stop it!  Right now!  I need my Blue Lion pilot!  Snap to it!" he shouted at her.

She suddenly regained her senses, realizing that he was right.  Now was not the time to lose her head...now was the time to think rationally.

"I'm alright now." She said, wiping the tears from her eyes.

"Good!  Now, we have to keep the children calm!  They're more frightened then us, I'm sure.  They don't understand what's going on here." Keith advised.

Allura nodded in agreement.
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