The castle was in sight, a large white edifice rising up from the center of a lake. Her mind chanted over and over again, “Almost there, almost there.” Allura ran with all her might, lithe legs pumping, carrying her towards her destination.
“There…the river bank!” A voice shouted, calling attention to her, making her run all the harder. The gleaming blue of the water beckoned to her, telling her she would be safe once she dove into it’s wet embrace.
But it wasn’t meant to be…for suddenly she was trapped, a large black tanker grounding up the dirt before her, splattering her clothes with mud as it slowed to a halt. She skidded to a stop, staring stupidly at the vehicle. “So close…” She whispered, eyes locked with the empty sockets of a grinning skull–the leering, taunting skull and cross bones insignia of a Doom Skull Tank.
All around her there was noise, loud, deafening, frightening sounds. The sky was lit up with explosions, bat-like ships raining torpedoes down on the castle. The castle no mere structure, was not without defenses of it’s own. From the turret cannons emerged, ion photons being volleyed at the enemy, clipping many a ship’s wings.
On the ground, soldiers were everywhere–the pale skinned men of her homeland, versus the dark green menaces from beyond the stars. Both sides suffered losses, people screaming out in pain, begging for mercy, letting out death rattles. Her mouth was agape as she stood there, dimwittedly, staring at the turmoil. It was how the other tanker found her, boxing her in between the two vehicles.
She craned her neck back to peer up at it, a hatch opening–a woman popping out. An alien female with very pale blue skin, such a pale shade it was almost devoid of it’s color. And her hair, tightly wound up into a long braid, was a stark contrast to her skin, being the brightest shade of pink she had ever laid eyes on. A feat hither to thought impossible, she who had imagined she had worn all forms the color pink could take on. The woman’s lips–colored purple, she could not tell from this distance if it was a natural shade, or lipstick that made them that hue–spread into a triumphant smile. “Stop the princess!” She cried. “Hold her right there!”
There had been no need to issue such an order, Allura couldn’t move. She had no resistance to offer, and was quickly surrounded by gun toting Drules. A name came to her…”Merla…” She whispered, watching as the woman, so eager to examine her prize, ignored the ladder, taking a daring leap off the side of the tanker. The Drule female gracefully landing before the princess, as lithe and nimble as a cat.
“Ah…Princess Allura…” Golden eyes narrowed as she coolly looked her captive over. “I’m impressed…” One hand was lifted to her face, long elegant fingers, perfectly manicured lightly grazing her cheek. “You are just as lovely as they say you are.”
Allura could only stare, frozen in place as the young Queen stroked her face, fingering stray curls. Her lips parted, words desperate to come out, to say something to this woman who was only a few years older than she, when another voice cried out her name.
“Allura!” The voice, a low baritone, sounding unused to feeling fear, cried out to her. The concern in it–the worry for her was what restored her mobility.”Allura!” Came the cry again, closer now. She started to turn to catch a glimpse of the caller–she was sure she should recognize who it was. But before her eyes could see, Merla’s hands were once again on her, gripping hold of her arms. She was jerked in another direction, never catching sight of the one who had called out to her.
Her vision wavered, the open outside blurring before her eyes, trees and people spreading into colors, like paint dripping off a canvas. She shut her eyes, the blackness calming her. “Welcome to my parlor…” Merla said, and she opened her eyes, confused. Hadn’t they been outside? But now they were inside…in a…a ship?
The clicking of Merla’s heels drew her attention to the Queen. She approached Allura, a sly smile on her face, pointed canines flashing. “You won’t get away with this!” Allura said, now struggling to get free of the guards that had magically appeared besides her. They snarled, twisted her arms painfully behind her back, keeping her still.
“You think so, huh?” Merla said, one hand on her hip as she cockily looked over Allura. “Tell me sweetness, who exactly is going to stop me?”
“…My…friends…” Allura said hesitantly.
“Hmm…could you be referring to those bumbling idiots still trapped in the caves?” Merla laughed at the startled expression on Allura’s face. “Oh yes, I know all about THAT. I engineered that little mishap personally.”
“What…” came the whispered reply.
Merla laughed again. “It was I who started those rumors of Alfor’s return. I knew that would spur you into reckless actions. And it worked…I told Zarkon if we baited a trap with some honey instead of vinegar, a pretty little bee would bumble right into our hands.”
“YOU made that up?” Allura was dumbfounded. Her father was NOT coming back…? “Why–how could you?!” Tears brimmed in her eyes over a betrayal made all too personal with the lies of a dead father’s return.
“Oh it’s nothing personal.” Merla shrugged. “I have nothing against you. In fact…we could have been friends if our situation were otherwise.”
“I wouldn’t be friends with the likes of you.” hissed Allura.
“Oooooh…you hurt my feelings…” Merla pouted. “I was so hoping we could have a sleepover and tell each other all our secrets.” Mocking laughter from Merla and the guards, the Queen turning her back on the princess. “Oh well…I guess this means we won’t be having a little girl talk…” She moved over to a console, fingers flying over a keyboard as she typed in some commands.
The far wall lit up, drawing Allura’s attention to it. Leaning against it was a circular tube, height and width just large enough for a person to fit into. It was covered with metal bars, giving the appearance of a cell or a cage. She wasn’t sure exactly what it’s purpose was, but her stomach was already a yawning mass of nervous butterflies.
“You like?” Merla’s voice startled her, making her want to jump out of her skin. “It’s a little something I invented. I call it a Cosmotron.”
“What’s it…what’s it do?” Allura asked, wide eyed with fear.
“I’m sooooooooo glad you asked.” A gesture from Merla had the guards dragging Allura closer to the contraption. “I designed it with you in mind.”
“Me?!” squeaked Allura.
Merla laughed. “Oh yes, you…see I want YOUR job. That means you have got to go.”
“Go where?!” cried Allura, squirming about frantically in the guard’s grasp.
“Oh nowhere and everywhere at once.” Merla said mysteriously. She stepped in real close to Allura, breath hot and heavy on her face. “Cheer up princess, you’ll get to experience infinity firsthand.” Allura shut her eyes tightly, shaking her head back and forth, willing herself to wake up from this nightmare. Merla’s hands caught her face, holding her still. “You know…I think I’m finally beginning to see what HE sees in you.”
Allura’s eyes flew open. “He? Who are you talk–” Merla mouth on hers stifled all further questions, she going stiff with shock, not even aware the guards had let go of her. Suddenly Merla’s sharp teeth bit down on her lower lip, Allura crying out with pain as Merla pulled away. She fingered the trickle of blood on her lips, staring in confused disbelief at the Queen.
“That helpless act is such a turn on.” confided Merla, just before she shoved Allura into the Cosmotron.
“NOOOO!” cried Allura, as the gate swung close, locking her in. She tightly gripped the bars, glaring at the Queen. “Let me out of here you bitch!”
“Such language.” grinned Merla, walking back towards the control panel. “There are far more polite ways to request something princess.” She gripped a joy stick, turning her head to flash one last triumphant smirk at Allura. “Now it’s time to say good-bye to this world.” She pushed the joystick forward slowly, the Cosmotron humming with noise, the bars lighting up one by one, being too hot to touch. A yellow shield of energy surrounded her, and started constricting, seeking to wrap around her body.
“No…” Allura muttered, turning around and around in the small space, having no room to back up in. The back of her body was grazed by the energy field, singeing holes in her clothes, burning the revealed skin. She let out one loud scream of pain, before she bit down on her lip, trying to hold back her cries. She would not give them the satisfaction of hearing her vocalize her pain.
“Oh dear…” Merla said, fluttering her eyelashes playfully. “Did I forget to mention this was gonna hurt? A LOT?”
Allura gritted her teeth, eyes shut tight, as she tossed her head back and forth, trying to block out the pain. Her whole body felt like it was on fire, the pain only getting worse as more of the energy wrapped around her.
“Stop!” A voice shouted, Allura only dimly aware of it. Merla hissed out a name, enraged that he had dared to interrupt the proceedings.
“This is my show!” Merla snarled. “I caught her fair and square!”
“Tch…You think that matters to me?” The man said, and there was the hum of lazon in the air. “Now turn this machine off, or join her in death!”
Merla erupted into a fit of curses, but appeared to acquiesce to the newcomer’s demands. The energy shield rapidly expanded away from her body, bringing some relief to her. She opened her eyes, dizzily taking in the room’s occupants. Someone swung the door open, and she took a shaky step forward, before collapsing.
“Alllura!” A voice cried out, catching her in his arms. “Allura!”
Allura sat up with a start, a metallic taste in her mouth. “What, where?” She panted, blinking her eyes dizzily. Fingertips flew to her mouth, touching the liquid. “My blood…” She said, staring at the red on her fingers. She wasn’t sure if it was from when the Queen had kissed her, or when she had bit down on her flesh to keep from crying out.
“Oooooh…” Her movements were slow, limbs still burning with pain. Her head craning about to take in her surroundings. “Where am I?” She tried to stand, and ended up falling out of the bed onto the floor. The incident jarred her further awake, and she slowly pulled herself up, looking around the small white room. “I’m…I’m in the infirmary…” Allura decided, feeling an immense relief settle over her. “I’m safe…someone got me away from her…from them…”
“But who…” She wondered, sitting back down on the bed. “And who was in that room…” She frowned, unable to recall any details of those last moments…nothing except the pain, and the flash of two gold coins…”Coins…someone paid her to stop? No…” She slowly shook her head. “It wasn’t money that made that gold color…it was something else..the gold was interrupted with a black slit in the center…sorta like the eyes of cat…where have I seen such eyes before…” She now remembered how filled with concern those eyes had been for her. There had been something pure about the look in them…”There was a feeling there…beyond relief…another emotion…what…why can’t I remember?”
“What happened to Keith and the others…where is everyone…the doctor?” She still felt such pain, they hadn’t given her enough medicine to relieve her of it. “I need something…” She forced herself to stand, making her way towards the door. It was metal, the surface cold and smooth, and she leaned against it, pressing her body against it, her bare arms and legs feeling slightly better against it’s coolness.
One hand slowly slid down, seeking a door knob–a handle…but there wasn’t any…just a seam in the wall where the opening should come. “Is…is someone there?” Allura cried out, weakly pounding her hands against the door. “Can someone let me out? Please? Please?” But no answer ever came…