Pause 27

When the explosions and violent rocking of the ship had started, Allura had been resting in bed. She hadn’t been sleeping, but still the sudden quakes and loud noises startled her. Enough that she almost lurched upright, regardless of the fact that too sudden movements still caused her pain. Doctor Shavat had been quick to admonish her, reminding Allura to avoid aggravating her body in such a way.

The doctor had promptly crashed into a table, the unstability of the rocking ship making his footing precarious. Allura was immediately grateful she had been in bed, for it minimized the risks of her falling down or crashing into something. The noise and shaking would continue, ship rocking about as though under attack. Allura began to feel hopeful, thinking a rescue was finally at hand. But she was also worried, having noted just how often and how hard the ship was being attacked. As though whoever was out there, did not care that Allura might be injured in the process.

But she didn’t want to think Garrison could be so ruthless. Allura tried to tell herself they were simply doing what they had to, trying to force Lotor to surrender, or at the very least give up Allura. She hoped their plans would work, Allura not even knowing how close to Doom they were, or how big a fleet Garrison had sent. For that matter, she didn’t even know if it really was Garrison doing the attacking, though she didn’t think there was chance of it being many others.

Doctor Shavat refused to lower the covering over the windows. Allura wanted to see the battle, but the doctor insisted it would only stress her out. She felt more stressed out by his refusal, Allura frustrated and full of anxious thoughts. The doctor tried to calm her down, but mostly Allura tuned him out. She focused more on the food covered tray next to her on the bed, than she did Shavat’s words, though her appetite had yet to be restored.

Allura’s thoughts kept returning to the battle being waged outside the ship. She could tell by the sounds it was intense, had been since the moment the first attack had knocked them off course and out of hyperspace. Even now she could hear, FEEL the bombardment of missiles against the ship. It seems Lotor’s attackers were holding nothing back. She might even fear a little, if only from the thought that the ship might explode under such an assault.

Sighing, Allura picked at the food on the tray. Doctor Shavat had taken a seat next to her bed, not wanting to risk falling over another time. All the furniture was bolted down to the floor, done so especially to avoid it moving during battle and high speed travel. But it didn’t stop the furniture from trying to get free, from trembling in response to the ship’s rocking.

Doctor Shavat was nervous. He was a Drule who was clearly not used to being in a battle zone. Allura wondered if he had any military training at all. His face was looking a little green, a green that was not his natural color. His hands were gripping the arm rests of the chair he sat on, nails digging into the fabric. “It will be okay.” He said out loud. “It will all be okay.”

“Who are you trying to reassure?” Allura couldn’t help but be snide. Though the doctor had been nothing but kind to her, she still resented Shavat for the procedure he had done to her and her baby. “Me or you?” She shook her head then. “Besides, it won’t be okay. Not if I get taken to Doom…”

“Doom will be good for you. You and your son will be safe there.” Shavat told her. But he didn’t look up to doing a hard convincing.

“We will never be safe on Doom.” Allura retorted.

“The planet will be a lot safer than our current situation!” Shavat snapped. He was definitely scared of what was going on.

“I wish I knew what was going on…” sighed Allura, giving the doctor a side long glance. But all communication was down, a signal blocking even the hand held devices.

“What’s there to wonder about?” asked the doctor. “We are in the middle of being attacked!”

“I’d like to know just who is responsible.” Allura explained. “You…you could go and find out for me?”

“And risk something happening to you if I leave?” The doctor was aghast. “I couldn’t. Prince Lotor would kill me…”

And that was just another reminder of the kind of man Lotor really was. Allura wasn’t surprised that he would kill the doctor for something he probably couldn’t avoid having happen. She sighed again, wishing for more information and getting none. Not even the shouts in the hallway told her much, the Drule soldiers running about on various tasks.

“We might die before Lotor gets a chance to kill anyone…” Allura murmured to the doctor’s alarm.

“Don’t say that! Not even as a joke!”

Allura wasn’t sorry. “There’s still a good chance of that.” She argued. “The ship is taking too much damage. It probably won’t hold up long under these attacks.” She suddenly got crafty, though her expression turned pleading. “We should probably make our way to the escape pods…just in case we have to evacuate.”

“What good would evacuating do?” The doctor questioned. “We’d still be in the battle zone!”

“You don’t have much experience fighting do you?” Allura asked. “The ships wouldn’t attack the escape pods…at least…the Alliance and Garrison wouldn’t.” Her expression darkened. “I can’t say the same for the Drules.”

It was sad but fact that Shavat couldn’t offer up a real protest to that. Doom was cruel and without real mercy, known to shoot down those who attempted to escape when their ships were damaged. Escape pods never had any weaponry on them, and yet Doom treated them as though they were a real threat. Or maybe the Drules just liked killing that much.

“No…” Shavat said at last. “I do not have much experience in this type of situation. I’m a doctor not a soldier. I’ve never worked outside of a safe zone…”

No wonder he looked so green then! “I’ve had lots of experience…” Allura sighed. “Unfortunately. War is a very real part of my life, of my people’s lives.”

“You could end the war by marrying Lotor…” Shavat pointed out, which earned him a dark look from Allura. “The prince seems to love you…”

“Seems too…” Allura did not feel like getting into how she didn’t believe Lotor’s love was real.

“I’m sure he would treat you well because of that love.” Continued the doctor. Allura was set to school him on just how wrong that was, the list of Lotor’s crimes against her and the baby she carried, many. But as she opened her mouth to argue, the room’s lights flickered and dimmed. For a second it looked like they would be plunged into total darkness, but then the back up power generator kicked on.

With the lights restored, but visibly darker than normal, alarms began ringing consistently through the ship. The doctor looked even more worried, asking a sharp question. “What’s happening?”

“It’s my guess the shielding has given out.” Allura tried not to smile. “It won’t be long now…”

“Won’t be long till what?” The doctor demanded.

“Won’t be long until we either die or surrender.” The doctor seemed to shiver at that.

“Don’t talk like that!”

“Not even if it’s the truth?” She asked. “With the shields gone, it won’t take much to blow us apart. Lotor would be a fool not to surrender…” She paused, and gave a wry, humorless smile. “But then he’s proven to be a big fool in the past….”

“Surely he wouldn’t endanger us all…especially not with you here…and his unborn son…” Shavat was alarmed.

Allura shrugged. “If anything, it’s because I carry his child that he will be more determined than ever to not surrender.” She had stopped smiling. Would Lotor really let them all die, rather than give up Allura and her baby? She just didn’t know, and it was a sobering uncertainty. “Lotor…” She said out loud. “Is a very possessive man, even for a Drule. There’s no telling the lengths he will go to, the things he’d be willing to endure in order to hold on to me, and more importantly my son…” Another sigh. “You see doctor, you did us all no favors in confirming just who the father of my baby is. You’ve only fueled Lotor’s obsession even further.”

The doctor was upset to hear that. “But what else could I do? It was a command from my prince…I had to do the tests.”

“Just as I had to do whatever it took to keep Lotor away from this child.” Allura hovered a hand over her stomach. It was still sore where the needle had been inserted, but the pain was nowhere as bad as it had been a day ago.

“This could…should have been avoided.” Shavat grumbled. “If you hadn’t lied, you’d already be on Doom. Lotor would have never needed to go to Sarook, the test could have been avoided. I could have avoided coming on this ship!”

Allura’s face flamed in anger. “You’re blaming me?! For doing what I had to, to protect myself and this baby?” She made a disgusted sound. “You Drules are unbelievable. Every last one of you!”

“Think what you will.” The doctor said stiffly. “It doesn’t change the fact you lied.”

She gritted her teeth, wanting to scream. More explosions rocked the ship, another alarm going off in addition to the current ones. “We’ll never see eye to eye on this.” She said at last. “You…maybe none of the Drule, will ever understand my reasons!”

He nodded in agreement. “I think you’ve been very foolish, princess. You could have stopped this war ages ago. You could have put an end to your people’s suffering.”

“Save Arus and sacrifice the rest of the galaxy to Doom? I don’t think so!” scoffed Allura.

“It’s only the planets that resist Doom that suffer.” He argued. “The others know peace, prosperity…”

“Slaves have to come from somewhere…” Allura reminded him. “Not all the planets would be so fortunate, not when the Drules value slave labor over all else. If all planets surrendered, some would still be made to suffer. I fight, and refuse Lotor because I know I can make a difference. That my planet and Voltron can help to keep the rest of the galaxy safe!”

“You could keep the galaxy safer by marrying Lotor.” He retorted. “As his bride, and the future queen of Doom, perhaps you could implement a change…”

She stared at him a moment, uneasy. It was a similar thing Lotor had told her. She had not believed him, or been reassured when he said he would kill Zarkon so that Lotor and Allura could enact change to the empire. The fact that the idea of killing Zarkon was so easy a thought to Lotor, had only reassured Allura that he was not a man she wanted to raise her baby.

She wanted none of the Drules near to her son. Wanted none of their twisted values imprinted on his impressionable mind. She didn’t want to go to Doom, nor did Allura want to die here. She wanted this whole nightmare over with, Allura and her baby safe and back on Arus. She wouldn’t even care if the issue with control of Arus had yet to be resolved, Allura just wanted to be home.

The doctor said no more to her. Perhaps he thought Allura was thinking on what he said, on the merits of belonging to Lotor. She was doing no such thing, trying to scheme, trying to think if there was a way for her to escape. Allura didn’t believe she could overpower a Drule, not even one with no combat experience. Especially not in her current condition. Maybe if she had a weapon, but she doubted Shavat carried a blaster.

She held in her sighs, wondering if and how she could get to the escape pods. The ship’s condition worried her. Allura wanted off it and fast. She didn’t care what she’d have to do to make her escape, but no real plan was coming to her. She continued to think, a full thirty minutes going by. The end of her thoughts would be abrupt, caused by an explosion at the room’s door.

Doctor Shavat let out a shout, lurching up out of his seat as second explosion blew the door of it’s hinges. Even Allura didn’t know what to think, wondering if they were about to die. Within seconds she was smiling, grinning from ear to ear as two very familiar faces ran into the room.

“Keith! Lance!” Allura gave gad cries of recognition. Doctor Shavat had his back to her, snarling at the two men who aimed their weapons at him.

“What do you think you are doing?!” Shavat demanded, his shaking hands fumbling for something in his pocket. “Who are you?!”

“Step away from the princess and you won’t get hurt!” Lance told him with narrowed eyes. The doctor seemed uncertain over what to do, still reaching for something in his clothing. “I wouldn’t.” Warned Lance with a humorless grin. “My friend Keith here, isn’t in the mood for any games or resistance.”

The doctor seemed to shudder as he made eye contact with Keith. “I can’t just let you endanger the princess any further.”

“The only real danger she’s in, is from Lotor and his father.” Keith countered. “There’s no telling what they’ll do to her, what they’ve already done.” His expression darkened even further, Keith not taking his eyes off the doctor. “Allura, are you okay?”

“I’m….fine.” Keith seemed to grow angrier at her hesitation. Allura didn’t want to get into what had happened to her, she just wanted to leave.

“I can’t let you take her!” The doctor announced, and pulled something from his pocket. Lance was already attempting to fire off a shot, but Keith bumped into him.

“You can’t shoot! Not that close to the princess!”

Lance looked shock at the reminder. The doctor held a tiny laser pistol in his hand, aiming it at the two men. “I’m not a violent man.” He said. “I believe in helping people.” Allura snorted at that. “But Prince Lotor will KILL me if I allow you to leave with Princess Allura.”

“You don’t have a choice!” growled Keith. “We’re taking her, even if we have to kill you to do it!”

“You…you can try…” sputtered the nervous doctor.

Allura knew they didn’t have time for many delays. They had to leave now! She slowly shifted, picking up her food tray. The doctor’s back was still to her, the man in a stare down with Keith and Lance. She could hear the sounds in the hall, laser fire being exchanged. People were screaming orders, even dying out there. Any second the fight could come into the room. Allura did what she had to, taking a perverse pleasure in hitting the doctor with the metal tray.

She didn’t just hit him one time, she brought the tray down on his head three times in all. He’d probably have a concussion from her attack, but at least he was out of it for the moment.

“Allura!” Her two rescuers cried out, hurrying to the bed. She was still clutching the tray, a grim expression on her face as she stared down at the doctor. Was she sending him to his death by escaping? But what was one life in comparison to saving the galaxy? Even more important was saving her unborn child.

“Keith…Lance…” Allura said when the tray was pried out of her hands. She couldn’t afford to break down at the moment, and yet alarmingly, her eyes welled up with tears. “It was so horrible…thank the Gods you are here!”

They didn’t quite touch her, as though they were afraid she’d break. But they were studying her for signs of abuse, Allura starting to cry. “We don’t have time for this.” She said, angrily brushing at her eyes. “We have to leave…and now…”

“Yes.” They agreed. She started to get off the bed, clad only in Lotor’s shirt. A little pained cry escaped her, Allura hunching over.

“Allura, what’s wrong?” Keith demanded to know.

“It’s nothing…I’ll be fine.” She insisted, gritting her teeth against the pain.

“You don’t look like it’s nothing!” Keith insisted.

“What did he–they do to you, princess?” Lance asked.

“There’s no time to explain…but Lotor…he knows everything…” Allura gripped Lance’s arm for support, taking a slow, unsteady step forward. Keith took the pistol from the doctor’s hand, and gave it to Allura. She felt better to have a weapon, almost smiling then through her tears. “He won’t stop…he’ll never stop coming after me and my baby!”

“Oh we’ll stop him…” Keith said grimly. “We’ll kill him before this is through…”

Allura didn’t react to that, not really caring what would happen to Lotor. That’s how much she hated him in the moment. “Let’s just leave…” Allura begged.

“Not without leaving Lotor a little souvenir.” Lance grinned, and began setting a bomb in the center of the room. “We’ve been leaving presents like this all over the ship. Lotor’s not going to survive the explosions, count on it!”

“Just worry about getting us off first!” Allura insisted. “How did you get here? Where’s Hunk and Pidge?!”

“Still on Amestris.” Keith explained. “As for us, we just barely managed to break through the Drule barricade on Arus. The lions are here, being flown by the new recruits. Alfred’s in charge of their mission.”

“Was it really a wise move to let Voltron be piloted by a team of complete newbies?” Allura wondered out loud.

“Well, we weren’t about to let them handle the mission to board Lotor’s ship!” Lance retorted. He peeked out the door, then gestured for Allura and Keith to follow. They step out into a war zone, men in Garrison uniforms exchanging fire with Drule soldiers. There were evenly matched in numbers and ammunition, Allura and her friends joining in the laser fight.

“How did you know where to find me?” Allura wanted to know, leaning against a wall for support. She was still shaky on her feet, but she ignored her trembling to fire the doctor’s laser pistol. Her shots took out a soldier, but the pistol lacked the power to do more than stun the Drule.

“It was a bit of luck…” Lance answered. “Okay a lot of luck. We figured Lotor would take the captain’s cabin as his room, and that’s where he’d keep you. We got schematics of old Drule war ships, and used that to map out the route.”

“We were fortunate nothing had been drastically changed in recent years.” Added Keith, a dark look in his eyes as he killed another two Drules with his assault rifle.

“Very fortunate.” Allura agreed.

“We need to get out of here Captain Keith!” One of the soldiers from Garrison said. “This ship is rapidly falling apart…”

“We’re pinned down for a moment though.” Another pointed out. “These scum are determined to see every last one of us dead…”

“It’s because they know Lotor will kill them if I am rescued.” Allura said.

“Lotor won’t get to kill them cause we’ll kill them first!” announced Lance. The Garrison soldiers cheered at that, and all the while the laser fire continued between the two groups. It would continue for what seemed like hours, though in reality perhaps only another twenty minutes went by. There was considerable less people on both sides of the fight, and both the humans and the Drules were starting to shows signs of strain. Allura wondered how much more either side could take, wondering if it would continue to be a standstill, or end in everyone dead.

And then the sound of running footsteps came from behind them. Lance immediately swore, and turned, firing off some shots. Some of the humans turned with him, while Keith and the other soldiers faced the first group of Drules. But at Lance’s hissed out shout, Keith and Allura turned.

“Lotor!” Allura exclaimed, fear and anger twisting her stomach. Keith snarled, and immediately tried to blow off Lotor’s face. The prince just barely got his sword up in time to deflect the shot. It barreled back towards Allura’ group, Keith pushing Allura down to the floor. As she fell, she saw Lotor was not alone, Cossack and several soldiers with him. Those two women from the courthouse were there, along with Hagagr the witch. Haggar’s hands were glowing, the witch prepared to unleash some kind of magic on them.

“Take them out!” Lotor ordered. “Just don’t hurt Allura!” The group echoed in agreement, soldiers taking aim with their weapons. One of the females held knives in her hands, throwing the little daggers towards Allura’s group. A garrison solider screamed, dagger firmly embedded in his forehead. Another suffered similar, dying as the second female began firing off her blaster.

Allura growled, jaw clenching as she fired a shot that had the knife throwing one’s hand go numb. The woman snarled, eyes flashing with rage a second before someone’s shot blew her head off. Her partner looked horrified at the fate of her friend, and immediately shot the one who had killed the redhead. The fights continued, Haggar throwing her magic around. Lotor would inch forward, using his sword to deflect any blasts that came his way. He couldn’t always look at Allura, not when Lotor had to concentrate on what he was doing.

The group was caught in the middle between the Drules. Lotor smirked and spoke. “Give up Allura. You can’t win. Not this time.”

“We have to try!” She insisted.

“All you can do is get your friends killed…” Lotor retorted.

“You’d kill us as soon as we surrendered!” Keith shouted, firing another blast at Lotor. The prince didn’t bother to argue against that accusation, still advancing towards them. The garrison soldiers continued to take out the Drules that were at their backs, but those men weren’t dying quick enough for Allura’s liking. She wanted to run, to retreat to safety and knew so long as even one Drule stood behind them they couldn’t.

Lotor was almost to the bedroom door, eyes intent on Allura and her friends. Cossack and the others stayed back, firing off shots past Lotor. “Come back to me Allura.” Ordered the prince. “Come back and all will be forgiven.”

“As if I could ever forgive you after all you’ve done!” She cried out, shooting at him. Naturally he deflected the attack.

“There’s been a lot of hurt on both our sides.” Lotor continued. “But we CAN work past it.”

“Are you nuts?!” Keith demanded. “Don’t you get it? She doesn’t want anything to do with you!”

“Stay out of this human!” sneered Lotor. He had reached the bedroom door, about halfway to Allura’s group. “Allura, you…” Whatever he had been about to say was lost to the newest explosion. Allura blinked in surprise, hardly believing what she had seen. The bomb Lance had set in the bedroom had gone off, triggered by a remote in Keith’s hand. All around them there was panic and chaos, the Drules shouting. Lotor could not be seen, and the rubble blocked off his group from Allura and company.

Keeping a wary eye should Haggar somehow use magic to bring down the rubble, the others began killing the last of the Drules that stood in their way. Allura’s heart began to beat faster, the princess wanting to cry in relief. It looked like they were about to get away, and she couldn’t be happier about that!

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