"A Christmas to Remember"

Copyright 2002
Adele Previte

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 Seven
Found, Yet Lost

"That's it, alright!" Lance shouted through the COM to Hunk and Pidge.  "I see it!  I'm sure that's it!"

The three robot lions circled around in mid air over a large, snow covered object, spotted on the ground during flight, and assumed to be the hover car that Keith had been driving.

"It's buried in snow!" Hunk replied back through the COM.  "Do you think Keith's inside?"

"If he is, he's probably half frozen by now!" Lance replied.

"He's not in there!" Pidge suddenly said.  "I'm getting no bio-signs at all!"

"You mean...he's wandered off?" Hunk asked. "In this storm?"

"He's not crazy enough to wander off without telling us where to find him!" Lance protested, jumping in on behalf of his friend.  "Come  on...he probably left a note in the car, telling us where he's gone!"

Red Lion swooped in low, followed by Yellow Lion. Green Lion was the last to put down onto the snowy, frozen ground.

Lance jumped out of Red Lion's cockpit escape hatch, landing on his  feet, on the ground. Hunk and Pidge quickly joined him.

The three of them quickly converged on the large object that had been buried in snow.  A quick observation told them all that they needed to know...

"Keith must've crashed here!" Hunk shouted.

"Look at the damage to the hover car's front end!" Pidge shouted, pointing up front. "He must have smacked it pretty hard to do this kind of damage!"

"He probably slid right off of the road!" Lance called out. "That's my guess!"

"Let's try to get into the car!" Pidge replied as he walked up to where Lance stood.  "There's got to be something inside telling us where he's gone!"

Using utility lights to see, they began digging for the hatch opening...and found it quickly.

Once enough snow was cleared, Lance attempted to open the hatch...only to be frustrated. The hatch had frozen shut.

"I...can't...open...it!" Lance grunted aloud.  "It won't... budge!"

"Here, give me room!" Hunk shouted into the wind, moving into position where Lance had just been standing.

With all of his might, Hunk began to tug and pull at the hatch...until finally...it gave way at last. Pieces of ice and snow began to tumble into the inside of the car.

Lance poked his head inside, and soon, Pidge and Hunk were beside him.

They began a methodical search of the car...looking for anything that would tell them where Keith had gone.  They carelessly sifted through the ice and snow that had fallen to the floor of the hover car as well.

They came up with nothing...

In their haste, they failed to see the discarded wrist COM that Keith had tossed aside earlier.

"Footprints!" Lance said suddenly.  "We can look for footprints in the snow!"

"In this weather?" Hunk pointed out. "The wind's covered them!"

The three of them looked around the car. The only footprints in sight were those of their own feet.  There was no sign of Keith at all.

"Now what'll we do?" Hunk asked, bewildered suddenly. "We can't go back and tell the Princess that we couldn't find Keith!"

"We keep looking for him!" Lance shouted through the howling wind.

"For how long?" Pidge shouted back. "The storm's getting worse!   Pretty soon, we won't be able to see where we're going!"

"We can't leave him out here!" Lance shouted back at them both. "We've got to find him!"

"He's probably safe somewhere," Pidge replied. "A lot safer than we are right now!"

"We should look...just a bit longer!" Hunk suggested. "Maybe he's somewhere near by!"

"Come on!" Lance shouted, motioning for Hunk and Pidge to get back to their lions and lift off.

Within moments, the three robot lions were back in the air, beginning a search around the surrounding area.

"Okay guys!" Lance said over the COM. "Pidge, head north. Hunk... you go south.  I'll cover west.  Then we'll all sweep around and meet each other, coming from the east.  Got it?"

"Gottcha!" Hunk replied.

"I'm with ya, Red Lion!" Pidge replied also.

"Okay, move out!" Lance ordered.



Inside the cabin, Keith had just finished his bowl of soup that Gabe had so kindly provided to him.   It was then, that Keith's ears picked up the familiar roaring of the lion ship...one of them, at least.   It was approaching the area from the west.

"A robot lion!" Keith shouted, as he quickly jumped up and out of his seat, running for the window.  "They're looking for me!"

Gabe rose to his feet also, watching Keith's every move.

As Keith began to head for the door, Gabe moved to block him. "You can't go out there!" he said insistently. "You're not properly dressed!"

"I'm going to stand at the door!" Keith replied with equal insistence. "They'll be able to pick me up on their sensors!"

Before another word could be said, Keith ran past Gabe, heading for the door.  Gabe stood there, shaking his head, as if to either disapprove of Keith's sudden interest in the roar overhead, or because of the young Voltron Commander's stubbornness.

Keith threw open the door, and the might of the rushing wind came in with a furry. Gabe ran for the door, grabbing onto Keith's upper arm.

"You'll never survive out there!" Gabe shouted. "They can't see you from here!"

Keith looked up toward the sky...now hearing the lion ship's
mega-thruster
engines begin to grow distant. The lion was flying away.

"I don't understand it!" Keith called out. "They should have been
able
to
find me!"

Gabe tugged at Keith's arm. "Please! Come back inside! You're
letting
all of the heat out!"

Keith took a step backward, and allowed Gabe to close the door up
again.

"I'm sorry that your friends were unable to find you." Gabe said to
Keith
in a disappointed tone of voice.

"But...I don't understand," Keith said again, bewildered suddenly.
"They
should have picked up my life signs with the bio-scan! They would have
been searching for my algorithms! Why didn't they find me?"

Gabe said nothing, he only turned and walked away from the door, and  back to the fire.  Keith allowed his hand to gently rest on the door,  bowing his head in sorrow.

"Come on back to the fire, Keith." Gabe shouted from across the room.   "Don't worry, you'll see them all tomorrow morning!"

Keith turned and leaned up against the cold door. "I shouldn't have stayed here." The Voltron leader replied. "They've been to the car already. They were searching for me.  I should have stayed there!   They would have found me...if I had only stayed at the car!"

"Commander...you might have been frozen if you had stayed there." Gabe replied.

"I don't know that!" Keith shouted all at once. "Now, they'll just  worry even more at my disappearance!"

"You can go home tomorrow morning." Gabe said quietly. "Not before.  Its too dangerous."

Still leaning up against the cold wooden door, Keith realized that the older man was right. He would have been dead if he had been in that car.

"I...I just wish there were a way for me to get word to the Castle...  to let Princess Allura and my other friends know that I'm safe here." Keith lamented.

Then, something Keith said caught his own attention...

"Send a word...a word... Allura! Allura...can you hear me?" Keith thought in his mind
suddenly.

Keith recalled his precious gift of communication with the Arusian Princess.

"Allura! Come on, Princess! Can you read me? Come in,  Allura...Come in!"

Not a word back in reply.

Keith paused to listen once again...and when he was sure that she wasn't responding, he let his head sag up against the door.  Somehow, he had lost the gift to communicate with her.

So he thought...

"Come...rest near the fire." Gabe suggested.

Instead, Keith turned and walked over toward the window. His eyes stared off into the blackness, seeing only the snow, as it flew fast and furious past the window.

"So close..." Keith sighed to himself. "They were so close to me...and we missed each other completely." Keith had referred to his friends, Lance, Pidge and Hunk... maybe even Allura too...searching futilely for him.

"Why can't you hear me, Allura?" his mind thought, attempting to reach out over the miles to connect up with the Princess.

He could only imagine what she must have been thinking right now.