"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 18
Escape

The etchings on the walls of the caverns were so incredibly detailed.  They literally showed a story line of what this world had gone through during Lion Wars against King Zarkon, long before the space explorers were sent from Earth to resurrect Voltron.

The details they describe of the wars were magnificent.  There were drawings of King Alfor and Queen Angelica.  There was a scene of the death of the Queen, and the mourning that took place on Arus at her passing. 

There were pictures depicting the defeat of King Alfor.

There were even pictures depicting a young princess...presumably Allura...being shuffled away to safety from the evil king from Planet Doom, who sought her death.

All of these etchings appeared to be the recordings of the ancient scribes of Arus.  The etchings stopped, however, just before Voltron returned to defend Arus.

Lance, Hunk and Pidge walked along the path silently, taking note of the etchings as they passed each one.

"You know," Pidge finally said. "I've read a lot about Arusian history.  It details how after King Alfor was killed in battle, Zarkon wanted Allura dead too, putting an end to the blood line of royalty on Arus."

"Filthy butcher!" Hunk hissed. "They'll never have her!  I'll kill them all first!  Starting with Lotor!"

"Save your strength!" Lance said, quickening his pace. "If we even hope to settle his hash, we've got to get to our lions!  How much further, Pidge?"

"We should be reaching the Valley of Zohur soon, if my memory serves me correctly.  Once there, we can split off and head toward our lion dens." Pidge replied.

"Zohur...this is so creepy... that's where Alfor was killed, huh?"  Hunk asked.

"Yeah, and according to an old ancient Arusian legend, Alfor's ghost haunts the Rainbow Caverns in the Valley of Zohur.  Some people have even claimed to have seen him." Pidge replied.

"Well, we all know that to be true," Lance sighed. "King Alfor has appeared to Allura, and all of us at one point or another."

"Yeah," Pidge said slowly. "He's a pretty, cool ghoul..."

"Was that suppose to be funny, Pidge?" Hunk asked, nervously.

Suddenly, little Chitter stopped and began jumping up and down.  Pidge leaned down to the mouse guide.  "What's the matter, Chitter?"

"Maybe he sees a ghost!" Lance chuckled.

"Okay, you guys are giving me that tingly feeling here!  Let's change the subject!" Hunk nervously replied.

"Aw, what's a matter?" Lance teased. "The boogie man got you frightened?"

"Lay off, Lance!" Hunk shouted. "Before I knock you out!"

"Knock him out later!" Pidge replied, glancing at his watch. "We've got less then fifteen minutes to get to our lions!  We've got to move!" Then Pidge looked down at Chitter. "Hurry, Chitter!  Lead us out of here!  The Princess and Keith are depending on all of us!"

The little mouse turned and scurried down the dark path. Lance, Pidge and Hunk followed behind, moving swiftly through the dark caves.

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

Keith and the Princess had left her chambers, and were now making their way back to his room. They quickly entered inside the room and Keith locked the door behind them.  He instructed Allura to wait, and he disappeared into his bedroom.

Moments later he appeared once again.  In his hand were two hand blasters.

"I have a feeling the Calvary's not coming to rescue us." Keith replied.

"Meaning, we must defend the Castle." Allura added.

"Yes, I'm afraid so." Keith answered while handing her a blaster. "Keep it concealed somewhere."

"I understand," she responded. "I'm ready."

She accepted the weapon and turned around so that she could place it under her shirt, in the waistband of her pants.  She then turned back to him.  He had done the same.  He looked up at her, running his hands through his unruly black hair nervously. "Did I ever tell you how I feel about you?"

"Huh?" Allura puzzled. "Why are you bringing that up, Keith?"

"I'm telling you now, just in case I don't..."

"NO!" Allura shouted at him. "There is no 'just in case'!  You stand firm! And don't do anything foolish!   I need you!  Besides, you promised to take me out on a date!"

"I know..." he said quietly, his eyes meeting hers. "I just hope I can keep that promise."

"You must!  You can't abandon me now!" Allura replied angrily.

"I'm not planning on it...believe me.  It's not likely that I'd ever do that...deliberately anyway. It's just...it's no secret that Lotor and I don't get along.  In fact, he all out hates me, and the feeling's mutual on my end.  I'm just worried that he might try to do me in.  And the last thing I want is for him to bump me off in front of you.  I'd rather if he were going to kill me, he'd do it somewhere away from you.  I don't want that to be a lasting memory in your mind of me."

"Stop thinking like that!" Allura demanded, suddenly grabbing onto the front of Keith's shirt with her hand and pulling him closer to her. 
"Think of this instead..."

Allura leaned into him and planted
a quick kiss on his mouth.  As she
pulled away, she could feel the blush
coming over her face, and she could
also see the blush coming over his.

"For luck..." she explained.

Keith, seemingly frozen by her gaze, allowed a slow smile to make its way to his face. "Wow...that's some good luck charm!"

"It's a special good luck charm," she noted with a wink of her eye. "Saved only for a select few."

"Thank you, Princess.  I promise that I'll try my best to fight with you, and for you." Keith replied, bowing to her.

"That's all I can ask." She smiled in return.

Keith glanced at his watch once again and let out an audible sigh. "Ten minutes left..."

Allura's gaze broke from his face, and her heart sank suddenly.

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

The three Voltron pilots ran from out of the caverns, successful in finding the outside world once again.  They ended up just where Pidge had thought they'd be... The Valley of Zohur.

"We made it!" Hunk shouted.

Pidge leaned down and gently patted the mouse on the head. "Thanks Chitter!" he said to the mouse friend. "You may have just helped us save Arus!"

The mouse squeaked joyfully, then turned and disappeared back into the caverns.

Lance frowned as he looked at his watch. "Yeah, but we're almost out of time!  There's only five minutes left.  We'll never make it to our lions and then back to the Castle in time!"

"We've got to try!" Pidge shouted. "We just can't give up!"

"Even if we ran as fast as we could, time would run out before we even reached the lion dens." Lance replied angrily.

"Perhaps there is a quicker way, my young friends"

The pilots froze in their tracks, suddenly shaken by the echoing voice that they heard from behind them.  Lance quickly drew his weapon and turned around in a threatening manner, intending to confront the intruder behind him.

But when he turned...he suddenly lowered his weapon with a gasp. "I...I don't believe it..." Lance mumbled.

Pidge and Hunk turned as well. "What the...?" Hunk gasped as well.

"You've...got to be kidding me!" Lance gasped.

Pidge stared blankly, hardly noticing the words he was mouthing to the others... "King Alfor!"



"Yes, my young heroes of Arus.
I am here to help you."



"But...how can you do that?"
Lance stammered.

"I will transport each of you to your lion ships.  But you must be swift and fly to the Castle at once.  Lotor is preparing his final assault on Arus.  He will attempt to destroy Commander Keith, but instead, will destroy my daughter.  You must stop him before it is too late!"

"Kill the Princess?
Why would Lotor want to
kill her?" Lance asked.

"He does not wish to kill her, but in an attempt to protect the Commander, she will offer her life for his by throwing herself in the path of the laser sword.  You must hurry!" Alfor replied.

"Can't you stop it?" Lance hollered.

"No, my young friend.  I am unable to help her...but you can!" ghostly figure proclaimed. "You must hurry!"

He immediately whisked the brave members of the Voltron Force away, dematerializing them instantly to reappear in their individual lion cockpits.

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

Keith and Allura were brought forcibly to Allura's throne room, where they found Lotor triumphantly seated on her throne. 
Keith immediately stepped forward
before several Doom soldiers stopped him.

"Get off of there!  You have no right to
be on that throne!" Keith shouted angrily.

"I have every right as Arus's new ruler!"
Lotor laughed aloud.

"Only the Princess can sit on that throne! 
She Arus's only rightful ruler! 
You're nothing but a cheap imitation!" Keith objected angrily.

Lotor rose to his feet and drew his laser sword. "Your hour is up, Commander Keith.  What is your decision?  Do you join me...or do I kill the children one at a time until you cry enough?"

"I won't let you hurt them, Lotor!" Keith replied angrily. "If I have to fight you myself..."

"Oh, so that means your answer is no, then, am I right?" Lotor replied.

"That's exactly what it means, Lotor!  I told you before, that I'm not helping you take over Planet Arus, or any other planet!  And I'm not going to let you kill those innocent children!" Keith firmly replied.

"And I also will not allow you to destroy those children, Lotor!" Allura added.

"I see Princess.  Then so be it... I will kill the children...right after I get rid of Commander Keith!"  Lotor shouted, suddenly charging at Keith with the laser sword.

Keith grabbed his blaster, and Allura did likewise.  Keith took aim at Lotor, but missed.  The wicked Prince jumped into the air and kicked the blaster from Keith's hand.  Keith turned to Allura, and she fired her weapon at Lotor.

Lotor flipped in the air before landing behind her, grabbing the weapon from her hands and shoving her back next to Keith.

"Really, Princess.  That's not very princess-like to carry a fire arm." Lotor said.

"You're a fine one to talk...some prince you are!" Allura hissed.

"So, you still don't understand, do you Princess?" Lotor said. "I am no longer Prince Lotor...
but King Lotor...King of all of Planet Arus!"

"Over my dead body..." Keith fumed.

"An excellent idea, Commander Keith!" Lotor grinned and then looked to his Doom guards. "Hold him!"

The guards quickly separated Keith from the Princess.  One guard held the Princess while two other guards grabbed onto Keith, holding him in place.

"Say good bye!" Lotor hissed as he once again charged at Keith the laser sword pointed at his chest.

"KEITH!" Allura shouted, as she watched in horror, as Lotor's
sword tip drew ever closer to Keith's body.

Allura quickly retched herself
free from the Doom guard,
and threw herself into the sword's path...

"NO ALLURA!" Keith shouted,
unable to free his arms to push her back.
"GET OUT OF THE WAY!"

Allura closed her eyes as she
waited for the blade to penetrate her body...

She suddenly fell to the floor...knocked off balance by a powerful explosion that rocked the Castle grounds.

Keith tumbled on top of her, also knocked off balance by the blow. 

Lotor and his Doom Soldiers fell down to the ground as well, ending Lotor's tie-raid on Keith.

Keith looked down at Allura... "What were you thinking?" he reprimanded, angrily. "You could have been killed!"

"I...I had no choice...!" Allura proclaimed.  "He was going to kill you!  I wasn't going to stand there... and...and let you die!"

Keith shook his head... "Are you alright?" he asked her.

She gasped for air, but nodded. "Just...got the...wind knocked out... of me..."

"We're under attack, Sire!" a running Doom guard shouted as he entered the throne room. "It's the Voltron Force!"

"IMPOSSIBLE!" Lotor shouted. "HOW COULD THEY HAVE ESCAPED THE CASTLE?"

Keith leaned down to Allura's ear. "Lance, Pidge and Hunk!  They made it through!"

"And just in time!" Allura smiled from beneath Keith.

"Now we've got a chance to win this thing!" Keith whispered quietly.  "All we've got to do is get out of here."

"Easier said then done, I'm afraid," Allura commented. "There are Doom soldiers everywhere!"

"Watch for an escape," he whispered back as he lifted himself off of her, allowing her to sit up as well.

Another powerful explosion shook the Castle and everyone in it.  Lotor began shouting orders to his robot soldiers. "Get those robot lions!  I want them shot out of the sky!"

"It shall be done, Majesty!" one soldier replied.

Lotor turned back to Keith and Allura, still on the floor. "Your friends are going to rue the day they crossed paths with Lotor the Great!" Lotor then turned to his guards. "Lock these two up with the Coran and the children!  I'll deal with them later!"

"At once, Sire!" the same soldier replied.

Keith leaned into the Princess, "I've grabbed a blaster from the floor..."

Allura nodded slightly.

Two robot soldiers came over and abruptly grabbed Keith and Allura from the floor, dragging them to their feet.

"Move, Humans!" one shouted, as they pushed Keith and Allura toward the throne room doors.

Lotor turned to his old witch. "What kind of robot did you conjure up for me?"

"Oh I have the perfect one, Sire!"
Hagar cackled. "One that will tear
them to shreds! It's got the look
of a one-eyed Cyclops, and the
sting of a scorpion!"

"Excellent, Hagar!" Lotor shouted. "Send it out!"

"At once, my Prince!" Hagar replied,
hovering away to prepare her monster
for its prey.

Lotor looked up to the wall nearby. 
His eyes suddenly befell a painted
portrait of Princess Allura, dressed
in her pink royal gown.

His eyes narrowed as he
stared at the portrait.

"I swear, Allura, by all that
is evil, you and your planet
shall be mine! And the
Voltron Force will soon be
but a memory
in this planet's
history!"







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

Halfway to the Castle security holding area, Keith once again leaned in toward Allura. 

"Okay...get ready!" he whispered to her.

"I'm ready!" Allura whispered back.

The Doom soldiers shoved Keith hard in the back. "Quiet, Humans!  No talking!"

Keith finally saw his opportunity as he pretended to stumble after he had been pushed.  He quickly grabbed his blaster and turned to fire.

"NOW, ALLURA!" he shouted.

With the skill of a combat warrior, Allura turned on one of the soldiers, sweeping its legs to knock it to the floor.

Keith, meantime, blasted the second one into non-existence.  He then turned to the first one, now lying on the floor from Allura's attack.

With lightning speed, Keith blasted it as well, leaving nothing left on the floor except a few scorched robot parts.

"Great job, Princess!" Keith commended.

"Naturally!" Allura boasted. "After all, I was trained by the best!"

Keith allowed a quick smirk before motioning the Princess to follow him to rescue Coran and the children...still being held prisoner.

As Keith and Allura headed toward the security hold, one soldier, undetected, who had been following as a backup, opened a link to Prince Lotor.

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

The first wave of Skull ships had made their way down to Arus, sending rounds of ammunition toward the three robot lions fighting to protect the Castle of Lions.

"Tail lash!" Pidge shouted from Green Lion's cockpit.

"Fire storm!" Lance shouted from Red Lion

"Give 'um everything we have!"
Hunk cried, as he let out a volley
of ion darts from the launch cannon
on Yellow Lion's back.

Green Lion tore through a skull ship
like a knife through butter, causing it
to instantly explode.

Red Lion darted up to another one and
with its powerful jaws, it took a bite that
caused the Skull ship to plunge helpless
to a fiery end on the ground.

With one swipe, Yellow Lion's claws
knocked one Skull ship into another,
causing them to both explode on impact.

"This is too easy," Pidge advised. "I feel a Robeast coming up soon."

"It would be the next logical thing to happen." Hunk added. "It would be disappointing if you were wrong, Pidge-O."

Lance caught sight of a radar blip, on fast approach to their location from space. He increased magnification.

"Well, well, Pidge... guess you
won't be disappointed after all!"
Lance joked. "Will ya look who's
coming to dinner?"

"Let me guess...a Robeast?" Hunk chuckled.

"And the man wins a cigar!" Lance joked back.

"He's huge!" Pidge said, checking his scan for the monster's dimensions.

"That's not all!  That bad boy sure isn't going to win any beauty contests with that mug!" Lance replied.

"Well, guess we should go and earn our paychecks, right guys?" Hunk said calmly, preparing Yellow Lion to charge at the approaching robot monster.

"Yeah, guess we better get ready to mix it up with ugly up there!" Lance teased. "Ready guys? Let's hit it!"

The three lions sailed upward to the sky to met the approaching menace.

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

Keith and Allura ran to the security holding area, finding that the children and Coran were safe and sound.

"Princess!  Commander!"
Coran exclaimed. "I am
indeed very glad to
see you both alive!"

Keith tried the security keypad.
"He's changed the code!" Keith
shouted in frustration, referring
that Lotor had changed the
combination that would have
dropped the electrical energy field.

"Get the children back, Coran!"
Allura said suddenly. "Keith will
blast you out of there!"

Coran turned to the children. "Quickly...move away from the electrical field!"

Kentell and Brian grabbed several smaller children with them as they moved back, while Rayna and Angeline did likewise.  Coran grabbed the remaining children.

Keith motioned Allura to
stand behind him, and he
quickly took aim at
the keypad with his blaster and another he
had picked up from the ground that had
belonged to one of the Doom guards.

A bright blue light blazed from the
blaster, impacting the security keypad, and utterly destroying it, and in the process, deactivating the holding field instantly.

The children quickly began running toward Keith and the Princess, some cheering, some now crying out of fear.  Keith suddenly raised his voice.

"Listen to me, all of you!  We've got to hurry and get out of here!
Lotor is going to be here any second!" he said.

"Wrong, lion boy! I'm already here!" Lotor shouted from behind them all.

Keith swung his weapon and pointed it defensively at Lotor, who was also accompanied by four Doom soldiers.

"Hold it!" Keith shouted to Lotor, now extending his free arm sideways protectively toward Allura and the children.

"No... you hold it, hero!" Lotor replied angrily. "Give up now, Commander, and you won't die a slow, painful death!"

Keith leaned back to Allura. "Get Coran and the kids to safety!"

"But...what about you?" she asked, her voice quivering with fear of his answer.

"I'll keep Lotor occupied.  You get them to safety and then get to the Blue Lion!  Help defend the Castle!" Keith commanded.

"I can't leave you like this, Keith!" she shouted. "He'll kill you if I don't stay and help you!"

"Allura!  Now is not the time to debate the issue!  As Commander of Voltron, I'm giving you a direct order!  Obey it!"
Keith said firmly, but angrily.

Allura was about to rebuttal,
when Coran grabbed her arm. "Come,
Princess! We must see to the children!"

She reluctantly nodded, and whisked
a child into her arms, helping
Coran and the four older children to move the others quickly down the hallway.

The Doom soldiers made a move to follow, but Keith shouted out a warning...

"I'll take out Lotor faster then you can say, 'Robeast'!  Hold your position!" Keith's blaster had dead aim on the Doom Prince.

Lotor smirked. "Let them go!  Its you I want!  At last... the obstacle that ever keeps me from Allura will be no more!"

"Talk is cheap, Lotor!"
Keith shouted angrily.
"Let's see if you actions
work as good as your mouth does!"

"I'll squash you, little man!"
Lotor hissed.

"Come on! I'd like to see you try!"
Keith replied, antagonizing him
more, while buying precious time
for Allura and the others to
escape.


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

As they moved quickly down the hallway, Allura instructed Coran to keep going. "I'm going to double back and help Keith!  He doesn't stand a chance alone with Lotor!"

"Princess...I urge you to do as the Commander asked of you!  You must escape with us!" Coran objected.

"No Coran!  I must help Keith!  I can't just leave him there to die!  I'll never forgive myself for acting with such cowardice!  I must go back!  See to the children, and get them to the tunnels! Escape the Castle, Coran...quickly!" Allura insisted.

"Allura!" Coran suddenly shouted. "I must insist that you..."

Allura's head flung around quickly.  "Coran!  I said to get the children out of here!"

Coran sighed. "Yes, Your Majesty." He said somberly, and moved forward with the children to the main hall where the large tapestry hung.

Allura turned to head back.  Her face was now contorting with a look of angry determination. How dare Lotor take over her Castle, threaten her people, and now, threaten to kill the one man she loves more then anything else in the world?

"I'm sorry Keith, but I can't stand by and let you be killed for my sake," Allura whispered quietly.

She began to run back down the hallway toward the security hold.

But she had to make one quick stop to retrieve something before she returned to aid Keith...
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