Pause 10

The situation outside the courthouse had been a kind of nightmare. Reporters crowding in close with their rude and demanding questions. As bad as they had been, nothing could compare to coming face to face with Prince Lotor after so long. To end up the focus of that sharp, demanding gaze. His eyes had bored into her, a challenge in them as he looked her over. She had felt panic when his gaze touched upon the bulky jacket she wore over her suit, Allura fearing he would see through it to the belly underneath.

Not that her stomach was all that large. At just over three months pregnant, she had yet to put on that much noticeable weight. There was only the slightest of bumps there to be had, easily hidden by baggy clothing. She knew though that Lotor wasn’t stupid, and she had a moment of real fear that he would put together what the clothing tried to hide.

But his expression hadn’t changed, Lotor dismissing the curiosity of the jacket to try and catch her eyes. She had done her best to avoid looking at him, but sometimes a shared gaze was unavoidable. And what she saw made her squirm, Allura sensing a wrongness about Lotor’s expression. She was sure he was plotting something, though as to what she couldn’t guess.

She tried not to worry about it too much, knowing she needed to be focused on the trial taking place. But every so often she felt a prickle of unease, a sensation she had come to associate with the knowledge that Lotor was staring at her once more. Allura forced herself to remain rooted to the spot, looking towards the witness stand rather than turning to meet the prince’s eyes.

Court was in session, the room crowded with people. Even with most of the reporters and their camera crews forced to wait outside, every seat was taken in the stands. It seemed many an interested person had come to view first hand what had been dubbed the trial of the century. Allura had the dark thought that the courthouse should have charged admission, the spectacle was drawing that big a crowd.

Allura sat at a table in front of the stands, her three lawyers around her. Behind her, in the first row of the stands were Nanny and her assistant Miranda. They were close enough to touch, and every so often Nanny would place her hand on Allura’s shoulder in a show of support. It was appreciated, Allura feeling she needed every ounce of strength she could muster for the trial that was happening.

Opening arguments had already been made, both sets of lawyers eloquent and persuasive with their words. The judge had listened with an impassive expression, leaving Allura to wonder and worry what way the man possibly leaned towards. The jury was no easier to read, a mix of humans and Drules that had been chosen presumedly for their impartialness. But Allura wondered how impartial a Drule could be towards Doom’s affairs.

She knew that wasn’t a fair thought. The humans might be just as biased as the Drules. And all because they were well aware of what would happen if Doom won this case. The Empire would take possession of Voltron, and with it set out on a rampage. The free worlds would be in even more danger, and even a neutral world like Amestris might be invaded. How could any human dare give such power to the Drules?

And yet, how else could they have a fair trial if both Drule and humans were unable to put aside their leanings during this case? She held in her sigh, feeling Nanny pat her shoulder once more. She couldn’t wait for a break in the trial, Allura wanting badly to get up and stretch her legs. Allura felt full of nervous energy, her anxiety mounting every time she thought she felt Lotor looking at her.

Again she fought the urge to look his way. She didn’t need him intimidating her with looks. Her eyes stayed riveted on the witness stand, the pilot who sat there nearly dwarfed because of his small height. Pidge was being questioned by one of Doom’s lawyers, the boy struggling with his anger. He didn’t like the questions he was being asked, didn’t like how the lawyer tried to twist around the answers he gave.

Allura felt the same way, humiliation creeping in on her as the situation of that day was revealed to all. “What happened after Princess Allura got to the castle?”

“Well…we were concerned about her. Prince Lotor had focred her to drink one of Haggar’s potions…”

“Allegedly forced her to drink the witch’s potions.” Interrupted the lawyer. It was all Allura could do to keep from snorting, seething with anger. The Drules were insisting there had been no potion involved, trying to paint a picture that Allura’s actions had been all her own. She feared her reputation would be ruined, that people would actually believe she had willingly acted so shamelessly.

“Allegedly nothing!” Pidge exclaimed, eyes flashing with the same anger Allura felt. “He forced it on her…”

“Did you see him force anything on her?” demanded the lawyer. “Did you see the princess drink anything the prince had given her?”

“Well….no…” Pidge reluctantly admitted. “But I saw the witch hand him a vial of the potion!”

“We’ll get to what you saw and didn’t see soon enough.” Retorted the lawyer coolly. “For now, tell me about what happened at the castle.”

“We were worried about the princess.” Pidge sighed. “She told us what had happened with Lotor, about the…” He made a face, showing how disgruntled he was with the word. “Alleged potion. We insisted she get checked out by Doctor Gorma.”

Doctor Gorma was present at the trial, his findings from his examination being presented as evidence. The lawyer picked up a sheaf of documents, glancing over the paperwork. “I have proof right here that your doctor could not find anything in the princess’ system. She was unharmed by this alleged potion…”

“The hell she wasn’t!” Pidge snapped. “It made her act crazy, do things she would never do! I dare say the potion caused plenty of emotional damage to the princess!”

“If you keep up the attitude, I will move for a motion to have you considered a hostile witness.” Warned the lawyer. Pidge’s face was still angry, the boy fighting for control. “Now, as I was saying. There is no medical proof that anything was inside the princess’ system. There was nothing to affect her judgment, to make her behave the way she had, other than through her own desire.”

The anger seemed to racket up several notches in Pidge’s eyes, but somehow the pilot controlled himself. The lawyer’s frosty gazed assessed him a moment, before she set down the papers. “It is my understanding that within hours, another…battle took place.”

“You mean another attack by Doom.” Pidge corrected none too gently. “And yes…there was hostile Drule activity. They had unleashed a robeast.” Allura felt oddly satisfied the lawyer couldn’t deny what Doom had done in regard to the robeast and the invasion. “It was running wild on the surface….we quickly launched the lions…”

“We being the Voltron Force?” interrupted the lawyer. Pidge gave a curt nod. “And that included Princess Allura?”

“Everyone knows Princess Allura is the pilot of blue lion!”

“Ah, and what did the princess do once out in her lion?” asked the lawyer.

Pidge hesitated a moment. “She…she ignored orders.”

“Is that a common thing for the princess to do?” The lawyer wanted to know.

“No. She’s normally good at following orders in a fight.” Pidge’s gaze turned challenging. “Something was affecting her judgment!” The lawyer ignored that, asking another question.

“And what happened when she ignored orders?”

“All kinds of things…” Hedged Pidge. He was asked to clarify. “Well, for one thing my lion was nearly damaged in the fight…and that was before blue lion took off after Prince Lotor.”

“You mean to tell me, the princess of Arus willingly went after the prince of Doom?” demanded the lawyer. Pidge nodded, clearly unhappy. “And what happened then?”

“She…she caught his ship, bringing it and the prince back to the castle as her prisoners. BUT!” Pidge was quick to add. “She went right back to the fight, and helped us defeat the robeast.”

The lawyer seemed not to care about the robeast, turning to look at the jury. “Let the record show it was the princess of Arus who initiated the second encounter.” She turned back to Pidge. “What did the princess want to do with Prince Lotor?”

Pidge seemed loathe to reveal this. “She wanted to meet with him in the interrogation room. Alone.”

“Alone?” The lawyer arched an eyebrow. “She was not scared of the prince?”

“No. It was as though she had gone through a transformation. She was adamant she meet with him alone.”

And did you let her?” inquired the lawyer.

“There was no way we could stop her!” Pidge cried out, frustrated. “By the time we got to the interrogation room, the door was locked.” He bit his lower lip then, surely thinking he had offered too much. The lawyer seized on what he revealed, practically gloating then.

“You mean to tell me the princess of Arus locked herself in a room with my client?” Miserable, Pidge nodded. “And do you know what happened inside that room?”

“No…” Pidge admitted.

“And why not?” The lawyer prodded.

“Princess Allura…had…had disabled the cameras.” Excited murmur from the audience, the judge pounding his gavel for silence.

“Now why would she do a thing like that?”

“Motion to dismiss the question.” Donovan, Allura’s lawyer had stood up. “Witness is being asked to speculate about the princess’ actions.” The judge granted Donovan the motion, but it wasn’t that big a victory.

Lotor’s lawyer accepted the loss with gracious ease, moving into her next line of questions. “How long was the princess alone with the prince?”

“Little more than an hour.” Pidge replied. “We were determined to not allow Princess Allura to be alone with Prince Lotor longer than necessary. We were working to force open the door when it opened from the other side.”

“And just what did you see?” prodded the lawyer.

“I saw…Prince Lotor with Princess Allura, his sword in his hand!” Pidge exclaimed. “He quickly threatened her life, forcing us to allow them both passage past us.”

“And you believed he was serious?”

“Well….no…” Pidge admitted. “We felt he was bluffing. But we couldn’t take the risk! We had to do as he said!”

“And that was what?”

“He forced us to allow him into the castle’s control room. It was there he would demand one of the lions!” Pidge’s voice was raising in pitch, proof of his agitation. “He’d get it, we didn’t want to run the risk of anything happening to Princess Allura. He’d then take me prisoner…..I was to be a hostage towards Allura’s good behavior!”

Again that clamoring from the audience, the court in an uproar. The judge cried out for quiet, then motioned for the lawyer to continue with her questioning. “Hostage? You were not a guest of the prince?”

Pidge snorted. “As if I’d ever go anywhere with that bastard!”

“Watch your language!” snapped the judge.

“It’s the truth though! Neither Princess Allura nor myself was there willingly. He played us off each other, our fear for each other’s safety making us do as he asked.”

“And it was this supposed fear that led you to pilot your lion to the prince’s command ship?” asked the lawyer. Pidge nodded a yes. “And what happened once you were onboard the command ship?”

“The prince men surrounded us. I tried to fight them…I was winning too…right up until Allura screamed.” His expression practically dared the lawyer to ask the reason behind the princess’ scream. But she didn’t, glossing over that tidbit of info.

“And what happened then?”

“I was surrounded, my arms taken hold of.” Eyes narrowed, he looked towards Lotor’s table. “It was then the prince ordered me to be thrown out the airlock!” Someone in the room gasped, but the crowd controlled themselves this time.

“And yet here you are.” Pointed out the lawyer. “No worse for wear.”

“Only because Princess Allura negotiated for my life!” Pidge retorted. “That…bas…Lotor made her agree to obey him unquestionably. I begged her not to, I knew what he would try to make her do, and I couldn’t allow that to happen. But she….she agreed anyway. She compromised herself for my sake….” Pidge’s eyes looked wet then, his hands clenching into fists.

“Compromise?” The lawyer sounded skeptical. “And did you see any of this compromise take place?”

“Well….no…but I heard about it!” Pidge exclaimed. “I heard what Haggar the witch and Prince Lotor talked about. I saw when the witch gave the prince more of that potion….I saw…”

“Enough questions for now, your honor.” The lawyer cut Pidge off mid sentence. The judge nodded, and glanced at Allura’s table. Donovan rose.

“Permission to cross examine the witness.”

“Permission granted.” Allowed the judge.

Donovan did not smile though, his eyes serious as he approached the witness stand. “Tell me about Prince Lotor and Haggar the witch.”

“Sure, what do you want to know?”

“You spent time with them when you were a prisoner on board the command ship?” Lotor’s lawyer immediately stood up, an objection ringing out.

“An alleged prisoner!”

“Oh of course. When you were an alleged prisoner.” Donovan’s lips seemed to twitch, as though he was fighting back a smile.

“Well, I spent more time under Haggar’s watch, then I did with Prince Lotor.” A sour look on his face then. “The Prince quickly took the princess out of my sight.” A soft murmur from the crowd, but then everyone had expected that sooner or later the trial would get to Lotor and Allura’s private encounters.

“But you did spend some time with them both?” Pidge nodded. “And what was the mood like?”

“Celebratory.” Pidge answered immediately. “They were both practically gloating, thinking the Doom Empire’s triumph was at hand. They felt that with the capture of two pilots and a lion, victory was unavoidable.” He looked over at Lotor’s lawyers. “And there’s no alleged about that! I heard with my own ears Haggar gloat about her prince capturing me and the princess of Arus!”

Lotor’s lawyers didn’t seem to have a comeback to that. Allura risked a look over at Lotor’s table, seeing the six sitting there with tight faced expression. They weren’t pleased with what Pidge had said.

“Ah….aside from that, what else was said?”

“Well…” Pidge frowned, trying to remember. “I remember Haggar being upset upon the discovery that Arus had yet to officially surrender. Prince Lotor would excuse himself from the room, speaking on how he intended to negotiate with Princess Allura the terms of her planet’s surrender. I would not see her again until the wedding, although Prince Lotor would be in and out of the bridge.”

“And it was then that you saw the witch give Prince Lotor the alleged potion?” asked the lawyer. Pidge nodded.

“The witch gave him a vile of the stuff right before he left with Princess Allura! She said it would make the princess more agreeable to everything Lotor asked of her.” Pidge lowered his eyes, embarrassed. “Prince Lotor felt confidant he would not need it.”

“So he what? Left the alleged potion behind?”

“No, he took it and Princess Allura with him!” Pidge was turning upset, much of his anger gone to frustration now. “I would be left under Haggar’s care….fearing for the princess…for what he would do to her sexually.”

“Objection! Witness is speaking on mere speculation of supposed fears.”

“Duly noted. Strike that last comment from the record.” The judge said, then glanced at the jury. “You are to ignore what was just said.”

“They can ignore it all they want, it doesn’t change that my fears came true!”

“Counselor, control your witness!” ordered the judge, face angry over Pidge’s outburst.

“Pidge…please…stick to the facts. When was the next time you saw Prince Lotor?”

“A little over an hour later. He was shirtless and agitated.” Pidge frowned. “No, agitated is too mild a word for what he was. The prince was absolutely livid!”

“Do you know why he was so upset?”

“Yes. He confronted the witch. Said Haggar had made a defective potion. The witch seemed not to care, saying what did it matter so long as the potion made Princess Allura have sex with the prince.”

Allura’s cheeks turned red with humiliation at that, the crowd going wild. The judge began poudning his gavel, and when the crowd did not calm down immediately, he grew angry. “QUIET!” His voice boomed out. “There will be quiet in my court, or else I will empty this room of everyone except those essential to this case!”

That got the crowd to hold their tongues, though Allura heard the scribbling of pens. It was surely the sound of the reporters writing down what Pidge had said. Allura just knew this would be all over the news by the time court adjourned.

Donovan looked uncertain then. “So this alleged potion was rumored to make the princess want to sleep with Prince Lotor?” Pidge nodded a yes. “And yet…” Donovan hesitated, looking like he didn’t want to bring up this point. “Did Prince Lotor actually say he had had sex with the princess?”

Pidge hesitated an instant, his eyes seeking out Allura’s. They were apologetic in the moment, the boy sighing. “No.” Allura didn’t know if she should be relived or not, knowing that sooner or later the details of the actual sex would come out. All it would take was either Lotor or herself on the witness stand.

“No more questions your honor.” Donovan said, his face hiding his emotions once again. Immediately one of Lotor’s lawyers stood up, her intent to cross exam Pidge once more. Pidge’s expression was hostile as he gazed at the Drule female.

“What else was said when the prince confronted Haggar the witch?”

“Nothing really.” Pidge said, shrugging. “Nothing important. They just argued about love and lust and the way the alleged potion actually works.”

“And what did the prince have to say about love and lust?” demanded the lawyer.

Pidge hesitated, another apologetic look cast Allura’s way. “Prince Lotor….he said…he didn’t want Princess Allura just for sex. That he wanted her for love too…”

Lotor’s lawyer seemed smug. “No further questions your honor.”

Pidge was dismissed from the witness stand, the young pilot walking past Allura’s table. She heard him whisper softly to her an apology for not being able to present their side with evidence that would damn Doom’s bid for the planet Arus. She nodded at him, giving him a weak smile of reassurance. It was still early in the trial, there were still some people to be called to the stand.

Doctor Gorma was called to the stand next, Lotor’s lawyer descending upon him with her many questions. Allura could only listen as they discussed her medical history prior to her drugging. It made her tense, the princess hoping no one would ask about her current condition for that would surely be disastrous!

“The princess was in excellent health prior to being drugged.” Doctor Gorma was saying.

“What about after she was allegedly given the potion?” demanded the lawyer.

“I saw no sign of any drugs in her system.” Gorma admitted. “But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t there! There are certain poisons that are nearly untraceable if one doesn’t know to look for them, and a dozen more that are indistinguishable once administered. There is no doubt in my mind that the princess could have been given a potion that mimics those traits.”

“This is all pure speculation Doctor.” Pointed out the lawyer.

“Well, yes, but I do not doubt my princess’ word. And given the history between Arus and Doom, the ruthlessness the Drules have exhibited in trying to invade our lands, I know they are not above such underhanded tactics!”

The lawyer immediately demanded the Doctor’s comments be purged from the record. The judge allowed it, to Allura’s disappointment. Doctor Gorma looked as disgruntled as Allura felt, crossing his arms over his chest as he gazed at Lotor’s lawyer.

“And after?” The lawyer wanted to know. “When Princess Allura and the pilot Pidge were returned to the castle, did you exam them?”

“Yes, of course I did.” Doctor Gorma said. “I ran checks to make sure they were in good health, and to try and determine if the alleged potion was still affecting the princess.” A sour look then. “But there was no signs of anything wrong.”

“And while you were examining the princess….did you conduct a rape kit?” There was a stir from the crowd, everyone seeming to lean forward, intent on the doctor’s answer.

“No….” Gorma admitted, upset. “But there was a reason! The princess hadn’t indicated to me that there was any need for such an examination!”

This time the judge lost all control of his court, everyone going wild and talking loudly. The judge continued to scream for silence, banging his gavel again and again to no avail. The bailiff began calling for reinforcements, determined to force obedience into the crowd. Allura looked around, catching Lotor’s smirk as he gazed at her. Her cheeks heated, and she quickly looked away, fighting tears. Forget about this morning, the trial was proving to be a nightmare a million times worse than the reporters’ questions!

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