"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.


Chapter Eight
Fear...in the 'What if'

The children from the nearby village of Candor had gathered at the Castle of Lions for the Christmas party that Princess Allura had arranged for them. Several of the children in attendance were there with parents or guardians, but still some were there without any parents at all.

Some of the children were orphans from the village orphanage.

But all were welcome to the Castle of Lions that Christmas Eve.

Allura smiled superficially, as she greeted each child and adult as they entered the ballroom. Her heart was not into festivities, however.  Her heart was elsewhere, wondering if the boys had found Keith.

The children looked around with wonder at the festive seasonal decorations in the ballroom.  It had been decorated with all sorts of  Christmas decorations...and in the center of the ballroom, stood a large Christmas tree, decorated with bulbs, lights and tinsel.

There was also a big red chair, sitting near the tree...awaiting the arrival of the jolly old elf that the children so anxiously waiting to see.

Santa Claus...

But his arrival would be detained.

Hunk, who was to play the roll, was not here yet.  He was instead, out helping to search for Keith, missing in the terrible snowstorm that raged on outside.

Allura fought to keep the tears in check, as she wondered where Keith was now, and if he was safe in all of this bad weather.

Her mind randomly searched for any trace of his thoughts in her mind... but up to this point, she had heard nothing.  There was absolutely no communication with Keith whatsoever.

The Princess bent down and greeted one little girl, who somehow appeared very sad.  Allura then stooped down to her and placed her hands on the child's small shoulders.

"What's the matter, little one?" Allura asked the little girl.

The girl stood still, saying absolutely nothing. Allura looked up at the child's guardian.  The young woman smiled, and shook her head gently.  Allura then rose to her feet once again.

"Why don't you go and play with the other girls, sweetie." The woman said, turning the child around and nudging her toward the others playing nearby with some games that were being handed out by some of the Castle servants.

Allura looked at the woman. "Can she speak?" Allura asked.

"Yes, I'm sure she can," the young woman replied. "But she hasn't said a word...not since..."

"No since...what?" Allura asked gently. "Has something happened to this little girl that caused her to stop speaking?"

The woman slowly nodded her head. "Yes. About a year ago, the child's parents died in a tragic vehicle accident. The hover car they were operating crashed.  Only the child survived. She's hasn't spoken a word since."

Allura gasped... her hand flying to cover her mouth.

"Oh! That's terrible!" the kind Princess replied. The tears began to flow suddenly and uncontrollably.

The woman tilted her head toward the young princess... 'Your Highness, are...are you alright?"

Allura shook her head. "I'm... terribly sorry," she replied, her voice now trembling. "Would you please excuse me for a moment... I must get some air!"

Allura turned and began walked a steady pace toward the ballroom exit. Coran moved to intercept her.

"Your Majesty!" Coran said to her.  "What is the matter?"

"Coran... I just...can't do this!" She wept, shaking her head to him.  "I can't...not right now!"

"Allura...you simply can not leave your guests like this!" Coran replied firmly. "Pull yourself together and be brave!"

"I can't, Coran!" Allura said in a slightly elevated voice. "Please, let me pass!"

Coran thought to request her to remain again, but after seeing her  eyes, and seeing the sadness that was so deep within her heart, the Castle advisor released her, allowing her to continue out of the door.

Allura ran down the hallway of the Castle, heading for the Control Room once again.  When she had arrived there, she unexpectedly found Pidge and Hunk in there.

She paused momentarily ...looking around for any sign of Lance... or Keith.

Pidge approached her first. "Princess..." he began to say.

Allura wiped her face with her hands. "You didn't find him, did you?" she replied, as if she knew what Pidge was going to say.

After a moment's hesitation, Pidge lowered his gaze and simply shook his head.

"Lance is right behind us." Hunk said. "The weather was getting worse.  We had to come back!"

"We couldn't see any longer." Another voice suddenly added from behind where the Princess stood.

Allura whirled around and saw Lance emerging from the Red Lion's tunnel.  It was his voice she had heard.

Lance walked up to her, grabbing her hands into his. "I'm sorry, Allura.  I just couldn't keep us out there any longer. It was getting so bad, that we were having trouble seeing where we were flying.  We had to  rely on our instruments only, most of the time."

"And we still couldn't find him!" Hunk said. "But we did find the car."

"But Keith wasn't in it." Pidge replied solemnly. "And the wind wiped away any trace of his footprints in the snow."

Allura looked up at the Yellow Lion pilot. "And... did Keith leave any indication where he was going?"

"No...nothing." Hunk replied solemnly.

"We checked the villages and towns nearby....just to see if he made his way there." Lance replied.  "But we found no one there that could recall seeing him recently."

"You ...you don't suppose that...Lotor..." she began to say.

"No, the skies over Arus are clear. Lotor couldn't have attributed to Keith's disappearance." Lance said. "He's just...gone."

"I don't understand this," Allura said, in a slightly raised voice. "He knows procedure!  He knows to contact us, should something go wrong...something like this!  Why hasn't he checked in?"

"I wish I knew, Allura." Lance replied quietly.

"Is there any way to track him by using his personal tracking device?" Allura asked Pidge.

"I've already tried, Princess." Pidge replied to her. "I'm getting no signal.  Its possible it might have been damaged, or lost somewhere in the snow."

"Then, if the tracking device is damaged, then so was his wrist COM." Hunk added. "The tracking chip is imbedded in the wrist COM.  The only way for it to go down, is if the COM link is destroyed somehow..."

"Like... in a crash." Lance said quietly. "It's possible that's why Keith didn't contact us. If his COM link is dead, then that would explain a lot of things."

"The only thing I want is to find him!" Allura shouted. "He can't possibly survive out there on his own!  We must find him!"

Lance placed his arms on Allura's shoulders. "Princess... I know how you feel.  He's my best friend. I'm dying inside because I'm helpless right now.  But we can't risk going out there again!  This storm is incredible!  The wind is whipping the snow around with gale force!  If we take the lions out again, we could end up freezing the mega-thrusters."

"Or doing other circuit damage too," Pidge added.

"Blue Lion can do it!" Allura pointed out. "Blue Lion's energy is drawn from water!  And after all, that is what snow is made of!  Crystallized water!   I must try!"

"Are you kidding, Allura?" Hunk was the first to object. "You can't risk your royal neck going out there!  What if you get killed?"

"Keith would never allow you to do that!" Pidge shouted, grabbing her arm suddenly.  "Not even to save him!"

"I can't just stand here!" Allura shouted angrily. "We have to find him!"

"We can't, Allura!" Lance shouted back. "And you're not going out there!  No one is!
Got it?"

Saying nothing more, Allura only nodded, agreeing with Lance.  She then turned to Hunk.

"Can you still do Santa Claus for the children in the ballroom?" she asked sadly.

Hunk gave a half smile to her. "Yeah, sure Princess." 

Hunk turned and walked out of the Control Room, followed closely behind by Pidge.

Lance turned and walked over to the control board. He then pushed the button that eactivated the tunnel entrances.   The platform slowly retracted down to the floor.

Lance then turned to leave the room ...but before he did, he turned to Allura, and seeing her standing there staring at the floor-level platform, it suddenly gave Lance a very disturbing feeling that he just had to address with the Princess...

"I know you're weren't thinking about going out there, right?" he said to the Princess.

Allura sighed. "No...I wasn't thinking about that."

"Good." Lance replied. "Come on. Let's go to the children."

"You go ahead," Allura replied. "I'll be there shortly. I just need a few minutes to myself."

As Lance left the room, Allura sat down at the control monitors...

She flipped on the monitor that was in hallway leading away from Castle Control.  She watched as Lance continued down the corridor toward the ballroom.

When Lance had turned the corner, Allura rose to her feet, and then activated the tunnel platform once again.   As it rose back into the  air, revealing the lion tunnel entrances, Allura smiled as she walked over to the number four tunnel...

"No Lance, I wasn't thinking about it..." she said, dawning a mischievous smile on her face. "That is, not until you gave me the idea!"

Allura quickly grabbed the T-bar and sailed down the chute...her destination, Blue Lion.

Her mission...
To search for Keith.