"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 Nine
Blue Lion...Dashed Through the Snow

Allura was loaded into the Blue Lion cockpit.  After doing a quick pre-flight check, she inserted her key and activated her sleeping blue friend, which had been resting quietly beneath the mote, surrounding the Castle of  Lions.

The layer of ice on the top of the mote was thin, and would easily give way to the power of Blue Lion.

She knew the moment that she lifted off, she would be discovered, and she knew she would then have plenty to answer for to Coran and Lance.   But she would deal with the repercussions later.  

Right now, the only important thing to her was to find Keith and bring him home.

Allura pulled back on the throttle. "Come on, Blue Lion!" she said out loud. "Let's go find Keith!"

The lion roared beneath the water, and lifted off from its resting platform, quickly making an assent to the top of the water.

Blue Lion burst though the layer of ice with ease, and immediately was hit by a literal wall of snow and wind.  The wind eddies were suddenly tossing the lion around in the air, and instantly, Allura realized that the storm was every bit the powerhouse that Lance, Pidge and Hunk had described to her.

It was impossible to see out of the cockpit main monitor.  The view screen was quickly being covered with snow, and the warming shields were barely making a dent in clearing them, as the snow began to accumulate on the lion.

Allura knew she would have to fly by the instruments alone.

She called up the on-board computers and began to cross-connect them to Green Lion's motherboard, in an effort to find out where her friends had found the hovercraft Keith had been traveling in.




Inside the Castle of Lions, the children began to wonder where Princess Allura had gone.  And Coran was attempting to entertain the children, who were now beginning to cry out for the arrival of Santa Claus.

As if on cue...

"HO, HO, HO!"

The children and adults alike turned their attention toward the door.  There, standing in the doorway, with a sack of gifts on his back, was none other than...Santa Claus!

Santa 'Hunk' Claus, that is!

Hunk had been practicing the 'ho-ho-ho' bit for days, ever since the Princess gave him the nod to play the part of jolly old Kris Kringle.  He accepted the job joyfully, feeling a special bond to the children of  Arus, and wanting nothng more than to make them happy...if even for a short time.

And if playing the part of fat old Santa Claus made them happy...he was happy doing it.

"MERRY CHRISTMAS, EVERYONE!    HO, HO, HO!" Hunk shouted again.

The children immediately ran for 'Santa' at once.

Joining Hunk, was Pidge, dressed in an elf costume... and feeling rather stupid about the whole thing.   But, if it made the kids happy, then he was okay with it.

Lance was right behind Pidge, holding three more large sacks in his hands for 'Santa Claus' to give out to the children.

Coran sighed at the sight, and then approached the crowd of children and adults. "Alright, children!" Coran shouted above the crowd. "Let us allow Santa Claus to make his way to his chair!"

As Hunk moved toward the chair, continuing to shout out ho-ho-ho's as he walked, Coran suddenly approached Lance, who was bringing up the rear of the large crowd.

"Lance, where is Princess Allura?" Coran asked. "She should be in here!"

"She'll be coming soon, Coran." Lance replied, not realizing that Allura had already left the Castle. "She needed some time to collect herself."

"That girl," Coran said with a sigh. "She's going to be the death of me!"

"She needs few minutes to catch her breath." Lance replied.

"No sign of the Commander, then, I gather." Coran said, matter of factly.

Lance sighed, and shook his head no.

"She feels a...a special bond to him." Coran added. "I do hope, for his sake, as well as hers, that he is somewhere safe tonight."

"Me too, Coran." Lance echoed the thought. "Me too..."

Seconds later, a Castle attendant scurried up to Lance and Coran with an urgent message.



It wasn't long before Blue Lion's sensors had picked up on the snow-covered hover car, sitting up against a very large tree near the side of the road.

Carefully, the Blue Lion set down near the scene. The lion's thrusters began kicking up a lot of powdery snow that had had already fallen on the vehicle, clearing it off somewhat.

The flying snow created something of a mini-blizzard effect, but as Blue Lion landed on the ground, the snow began to settle, allowing for the natural blustering winds to take over once again.

Allura emerged from Blue Lion's cockpit, and once on the ground, she immediately lumbered though the heavy snow on the ground, making her way to the hover car, laying silently up against the tree.

As she approached, she noticed the lacking presence of footprints in the snow...

It was as if no one had been there at all tonight. And she knew that wasn't true... Lance, Pidge and Hunk had already been there, but the might of the winds had covered over any evidence of their earlier presence.

Allura saw the damage to the front end... "Oh no!" she shouted out loud.

She immediately went over to the pilot side of the craft and grabbed onto the latch, tugging with all of her might.  Fortunately, it had not froze up after Hunk had forced it free earlier.

The hatch opened, dumping more snow and ice into the inside of the car.  The Princess poked her head inside to see what evidence Keith might have left that the boys had failed to pick up on.

She climbed inside the car and began to search vigorously for clues to where Keith had gone. She found it difficult to believe that her Commander, the one who practiced such strict military discipline, would ever think to leave his craft without giving any indication as to
where he had gone.

Suddenly, her eyes caught sight of something shining in the snow that had covered the floor of the car...

Allura immediately leaned forward and picked it up...

It was Keith's wrist COM... damaged beyond repair.

But there was nothing else in the car...no other clue as to where he had gone off to.

Allura climbed back out of the hover car and closed the hatch again.

Her face shield began to accumulate snow once again, and she reached up her gloved hand to wipe the snow clear of her view.

Panicked suddenly, that Keith might be in danger, she began to communicate with him the only way she knew of...the only possible way left to her...

"Keith!   Keith...please...can you hear me?" Allura's mind called out to his in the snowy darkness just ahead of her. "Please, Keith!  Please...answer me!"



Keith sat in a comfortable chair by the fire...his mind drifting off as Gabe spoke to him...

"So," Gabe said. "Do you love the Princess that much, that you're still thinking on going out in all this snow?"

Suddenly, Keith's attention drifted back to what Gabe was saying, focusing in on Allura's name.

"What do you mean by that?" Keith said firmly, looking straight on at his host.

"I think my meaning was plain enough, don't you?" Gabe replied. "Why don't you tell her?"

"Look," Keith began. "Not be rude, but... you don't know who I am, or anything about me. I don't feel the need to go into the vast details of my life.   No offense..."

"No offense taken, Commander." Gabe smiled back. "But you're wrong about my not knowing who you are.  I know more than you think I know."

Keith rolled his eyes upward and sighed. "Fine..." the Commander blurted out. "What is it that you think you know about me?"

"I know that you both have walked the same pathway of life." Gabe replied. "She lost her parents at a very young age.  And so did you.  The loss of your parents has made your heart turn inward ...protectively.  You trust no one, least of all, yourself.   You know, your friend
Lance was right about you.   He's said it at least a hundred times..."

Keith suddenly sat up in his chair. "Hey!   How do you know about Lance?  How do you know what he's said before?" He stared at Gabe for a few long seconds, and then narrowed his eyes toward him. "Who are you?  Are you some kind of mind reader or something?"

Gabe let out a chuckle... "Something like that...yes."

Keith continued to stare at him curiously. "Okay, what else do you know about me?"

"Please...I can sense that you're suddenly frightened of me." Gabe replied. "No need to be, though.   I'm here to help."

"Don't you think you'd be just a bit apprehensive, if someone came up to you, suddenly laying your life out on the table before your very eyes?"  Keith replied slowly. "I think if you know as much about me as seem to, you know that I'm a bit on edge right now!"

Gabe shifted his position as he sat in on a chair opposite to Keith.  "I know you must think I'm some sort of wacko..."

"I'm still on 'strange'." Keith replied. "Wacko has gotten here yet."

"Well, okay then... strange. But if you examine what I'm saying to you, I think you'll agree with me. Your heart has shut out the possibility of ever being together with Princess Allura. Am I right?" Gave suggested.

"Okay!  Okay!" Keith bellowed. "YES!  But not for the reasons you think!"

Keith rose to his feet and began pacing floor as he continued...

"She a royal princess, and I'm a fighter pilot from Earth. I have no right to even think that she and I could ever...or even should ever... be anything more than close friends. She's ruler over an entire planet!  She's off limits, as far as I'm concerned."

"She's a woman..." Gabe replied.

"But she's not just any woman!" Keith shouted. "She's Princess of Arus!  She's out of my league altogether!"

"She's off limits...as far as you're concerned. But what about as far as she's concerned?" Gabe asked Keith. "Have you ever asked her what she thinks about the whole thing?"

Keith paused in mid-step and turned to stare at the older man sitting by the fire. "No. And I have no intentions on doing that. It would be undignified to place her in a position like that."

"Why?" Gabe asked suddenly. "Afraid to find out that she might feel the same way as you do?"

"No, of course not." Keith replied.

"Then, if you are only her friend, why take the time to buy her the heart crystal?" Gabe asked. "Surely you know that she will take its meaning as far beyond friendship.  But, that's just what you had hoped for... from the very beginning, isn't it, Keith?"

"No... it's not what I had hoped for." Keith replied firmly, but calmly. "I bought it for her because...because it...it best fits my admiration to her!"

"No you didn't buy it for that reason, Keith, and you know it." Gabe responded back with a smile on his face. "You were hoping she would see that you were in love with her!"

"That's ridiculous!" Keith proclaimed. "Why would I want to do something like that?"

"Because you do love her!" Gabe replied. "You care enough to buy her the heart crystal! You care so much, that even now, your heart aches to see her...hoping even, that somehow, she'll come bursting though that front door to find you!"

"Now look who's dreaming?" Keith snorted his reply.

"Is it a dream?" Gabe said, crossing his legs, one over the other.  "She's out there looking for you...even as you and I are talking."

Keith's eyes grew as large as baseballs. "What?" he gasped. "How...how do you know that?"

"I've said several revealing things tonight." Gabe said with a smile. "Why now, do you doubt me?"

"She wouldn't be out here! Not tonight! She has the children's party....and....and...."

"She's forgotten all about that, Keith." Gabe chuckled. "She's out here looking for you!  If you don't believe me...call out to her!"

"Call out to her?" Keith said suspiciously.

"Open your mind and link to hers." Gabe replied. "You've done it before, haven't you?"

Now, the word 'wacko' was starting to surface in Keith's mind, with regards to Gabe. But nevertheless, Keith did as Gabe suggested.

Standing in the middle of the room, Keith closed his eyes...and began to concentrate on Allura....

"Princess... Princess...can you hear me?"

Moments passed...and still no replied. Keith tried it again...

"Allura...Allura... are you there?"


"Keith? Keith...is that you?"


He suddenly heard her voice, resonating in his head. Gabe watched,  as a big smile appeared on Keith's face. The older man's face mimicked the same smile.

Keith replied.  "Yes!  Yes... its me! Allura it's me!"

"Where are you? Are you okay, Keith? I was so worried..."

"Where are you?" Keith replied to her.

"I'm flying in the Blue Lion! I'm heading in a northwesterly direction, away from the hover car's position!"

"What you are doing out here by yourself?" Keith replied. "Do you have any idea how dangerous this is?"

"You're a fine one to talk!" Allura's voice blurted out. "We've been worried sick about you! I was frightened out of my mind, wondering what had happened to you!"

Her compassion warmed his heart...even more than the fire had warmed his body. "I'm fine. When I crashed, the impact damaged my wrist COM..."

"Yes, I know. I found it on the floor in the hover car."

"Allura, can you scan for me?"

"I have been!  I'm getting no readings on you at all!  Where are you?"

"I'm in a log cabin nearby!  A nice older guy took me in!  He saved my life, Princess!"

"Keith...I'm not picking up your bio-signs yet!  Where nearby are you?"

"What do you mean, you're not picking up my bio-signs?" Keith asked.  "What's your position?"

"Point sixteen degrees west northwest from the hover car's position." Allura's voice echoed.

"You should be right over me by now!"

"I'm getting no life readings in this area... other than animal readings!"

"Princess! You've got to be practically on top of me...I can hear the Blue Lion approaching my position...I...wait a minute...just hold that thought for a moment.  I think I know what's going on!"

"Keith?"

"Just stay with me a minute, Allura!"



Keith opened his eyes suddenly and looked at Gabe. "Is this cabin shrouded somehow?"

'I don't understand..." Gabe started, but was immediately cut off by Keith.

"Look! I don't know what type of game you're playing here!  But the Blue Lion is flying nearby, and Princess Allura should be able to pick up our life signs right now...and she isn't! Therefore, something's blocking the signal!  Now, are you going to tell me why Allura can't locate me or not?"

"Commander..."

"I'm now demanding to know what's going on around here!" Keith said, suddenly charging toward Gabe's chair, and leaning down into his face.  "Whatever you're doing to prevent her from finding me, stop it right now!"

"Commander...I can't stop it.   It's not in my control!" Gabe replied.

"Then whose control is it under?" Keith shouted. "Prince Lotor's?"

"No Commander!" Gabe replied. "Of course not!"

"Okay, it must be Zarkon, then!" Keith shouted.

"No...not Zarkon either." Gabe replied.

"Okay...whoever it is...tell him to release me! Or things are going to start getting ugly, fast!" Keith replied in a threatening manner.

Gabe signed, shaking his head. "I wish I could.  I have no control  over it."

Keith snorted, and gazed at his drying clothes by the fireplace.  "Well, I do have control over it! I'm leaving!"

"Leaving?" Gabe shouted, rising to his feet. "You...you can't leave!  You mustn't!   If you go with the Princess...right now...neither of you will make it alive back to the Castle of Lions!"

"Are threatening me?" Keith shouted, suddenly grabbing on to the man's shirt.

"Not at all!" Gabe cried back. "You must trust me on this!  I know what I'm talking about! The Blue Lion's gyro-clutch is giving way!  If Princess Allura doesn't return to the Castle now, the lion will lose power and crash!  The Princess will not survive!"

"How do you know this?" Keith shouted, shaking Gabe while still clutching onto his collar. "Tell me!"

"Please! You must trust me! Send her back to the Castle...now!  Before its too late!" Gabe cried out, rising to his feet suddenly.

Keith stared at the man...and suddenly caught sight of something in his eyes... something that frightened Keith somehow...

He quickly released Gabe, and turned around, closing his eyes once again, and concentrating...


"Allura...listen to me carefully!" Keith began, with a note of urgency in his thoughts. "I want you to turn that lion around and get back the Castle of Lions!"

"Go back?" Allura's voice echoed in his mind. "I'm not going back until I've found you!"

"Allura...listen to me! You must go back...right now! The...the gyro-clutch in Blue Lion's manifold is coming lose!  Don't ask me how I know...I'm...I'm kind of acting on impulse...but you must get back to the Castle right away!"

"Keith!  I know I can find you... I'm so close! If you just let me..."

"Allura!  I'm giving you a direct order! Turn that lion around and get it back to home base, now!  I'll be fine staying here for the night!"



Inside the cockpit of the Blue Lion, Allura's face froze with a frown on it.  Was she hearing things...or did he just order her not to rescue him, but to return to base? And what was this about the gyro-clutch?  The lion was just inspected last week, and was deemed fit...

Suddenly...a warning alarm began sounding in the cockpit. Allura quickly checked her instrument panel...

"Uh-oh!" she said in a whispered voice.

The instrument panel was alerting her to a problem in the Blue Lion's manifold system... the warning alarm was indicating trouble with...the gyro-clutch. It was burning up...

"Keith! I have a problem!"  Allura's mind raced.

"The gyro-clutch?" Keith's voice echoed in her head.

"Yes... it looks like your instinct was right somehow! I have to return to the Castle!  But I'll be back for you!"

"Negative Princess! The storm is growing worse! Stay where you are for tonight!  Let me know when you arrive safely!  Understand?"

"Understood, Keith!" Allura thought back regretfully.

"Get going, quick!"

The Blue Lion suddenly turned around in mid-flight, and headed back to the Castle of Lions, aborting the rescue mission completely...leaving Keith, once again, on his own.


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