Pause 28

It was a slow going process to get to one of Garrison’s ships to evacuate. The distance between Lotor’s room and the place where the Garrison boarding party had docked was long, about a twenty minute run. It was even longer when they had to pause to fight with enemy soldiers, though the number of Drules they saw was vastly diminishing. Too many were already dead, their bodies laying crumpled on the floors. Others had already decided to evacuate, abandoning their ship and their crew. It made those that remained more determined than ever to capture Allura and kill her rescuers.

It was a tense time, Allura staying back for most of the fighting. She couldn’t relax completely, not until she was on board one of Garrison’s ships. She kept fearing that at any moment, Lotor would somehow appear, miraculously revived from the explosion that had separated them. Truthfully Allura didn’t even know if Lotor was alive. Nor did she know what to hope for. It was strange to wish a man dead, even one who had been cruel to her. On the other hand, Allura could not forget how upset she was with him, how miserable he had made her, and how Lotor had endangered her baby.

There was also Zarkon to consider. She didn’t know if he knew about the baby. But he would be after the child, especially if Lotor died. And without the prince to run interference, she’d have an even worse time at Zarkon’s hands. She shuddered, clutching the laser pistol in her hand. It’s charge was nearly out, she had used it one time too many.

Allura had to remind herself that soon she would be back on Arus. That soon she would be safe. Far away from Doom, and most of Zarkon’s threats. She’d worry about the legalities surrounding Arus and the child she carried later. For now she had to concentrate on surviving long enough to get away.

“Let’s go princess.” Lance urged as another Drule died. This section of the hall was now clear of enemy fire. The Garrison soldiers went ahead, turning the corner to make sure there was no one waiting for them there. At the all clear signal from them, Allura and her friends move forward.

Keith wasn’t saying much. Allura kept glancing at him. She wondered what was going through his mind, if he had found a kind of peace at last now that Lotor might be dead. But might was the key word, Keith might be mourning the fact he hadn’t been able to do a kill they could be sure of.

“It’s okay.” Allura suddenly said out loud. “You got me away from him. That’s all that matters.”

Keith finally looked at her, but his expression hadn’t warmed. “I wasn’t good enough to prevent any of this from happening in the first place…The least I could do is kill him.”

Allura sighed, knowing she had told him once to not make what happened to her all about him. “It wasn’t your fault…”

“But it was my responsibility!” Keith interjected as they hurried down the corridor. “What kind of protector am I? I failed you…”

“You’re very good at what you do.” Allura assured him. “You just couldn’t disobey a direct order from your princess.” She sighed, remembering the potion making her act strange. Weird enough to insist on being alone with Lotor. All of that had sent the events of that day, and even this one into motion. “You had to do what I said…you couldn’t know I wasn’t acting under my own true will.”

“I should have known.” Keith insisted.

“We all should have.” Lance added. “But what’s done is done. No use beating yourself up over it.”

But the look on Keith’s face said that is what he’d continue to do. And Allura didn’t know how to help him get over his own hurt and self blame. “Are we almost to the ship?” She nearly fell into Lance as another explosion rocked the area.

“Almost.” No one wanted to even suggest what would happen if the ship was gone. Fortunately for them, after turning four more corners, they came across the ship and the hole it had made in the wall. A boarding tunnel had sealed over the hole, which was the only thing that kept all the oxygen from being sucked out of the area. Allura’s legs felts weak, she almost collapsed in Lance’s arms. Never had she been so happy to see a Garrison ship.

“This way princess.” Lance said, and carefully picked her up in his arms.

“Lance!” Allura was embarrassed, but couldn’t deny she needed the help. Keith and Lance were wearing worried looks, unsure of her instability. She’d keep quiet about why she felt so weak, letting Lance carry her up the ramp of the tunnel. The door at the other end would open, their party rushing inside the ship. There was a few soldiers who had remained behind. They were seated behind computers, and control panels, ready to take off in a moment’s notice.

Lance made sure to sit Allura down before shouting the okay for the ship to take off. The boarding tunnel’s clamps were snapped off the side of the ships, and without it’s support, it was blown away. Immediately the hole in the Drule ship was affected, things, including dead bodies being sucked out into space. Allura tried to get comfortable in her seat, turning her eyes to the forward facing view screen. And gasped, seeing the lions of Arus doing battle with a robeast.

It was more than just that, that had her reacting. Garrison’s war ships’ numbers had diminished by a dozen. She didn’t know if it was the robeast to be blamed for that, or the fact that reinforcements had arrived from planet Doom. But the new Drule fleet couldn’t get to Allura so easily. Not when they had to do battle with the remains of Garrison’s fleet. The lions battle with the robeast also stood as an obstacle to Doom’s advancement.

All around the ship Allura was on, she could see escape pods being ejected from Lotor’s ship. None of Garrison’s ships tried to blow up the escape pods. If they survived the fight, Garrison would try to round up the survivors. All in order to make them stand trial for their crimes against the galaxy. Allura wondered if Lotor was on one of those escape pods, then quickly scowled at herself for that. He deserved none of her thoughts, and certainly none of her prayers or pity.

Lance and Keith were talking to the Garrison flight crew. Their eyes were on the battle, watching the lions fight the robeast. The new pilots inexperience was showing, their efforts clumsy at best. But something was off about the robeast too, the monster seeming not up to the usual quality Haggar produced.

It was strange to Allura to watch the lions and know that the usual team wasn’t inside them. She didn’t even know who was flying the lions, save for the fact that Alfred piloted one. She’d get the surprise of her life when she learned he had been allowed to fly black lion, and lead the team of new recruits into battle. Allura supposed it made sense, Alfred had the most experience out of all the new recruits when it came to the lions. But it was still unsettling to watch the blunder the new pilots made.

Allura would wince, and cringe, watching as the robeast battered about a lion. The others would leap to it’s defense, clamping jaws onto it’s body, or raking claws across it’s face. It served to anger the robeast even further, the creature opening it’s mouth to let out an ear piercing roar.

“What’s taking so long?!” Lance suddenly exclaimed. Allura could tell he was no better than she, Lance finding it difficult to sit back and watch another pilot his lion. “Why aren’t they forming Voltron?”

“They’re not getting a chance too…” Keith said. “But don’t worry….they will soon enough. Have faith in that.”

“In the meantime we better go…” One of the soldiers from Garrison said.

“Go?” Confused, Allura glanced at him. But not before she saw a dozen star cutters break away from Garrison’s fleet, to approach the ship she was on.

“We can’t stick around here. It’s too dangerous.” Explained Keith. She knew he meant it was too dangerous for her and her baby. She could only agree, even as she wanted to see the end of the lions’ fight with the robeast.

“Beginning evasive maneuvers.” A soldier said.

“Our shielding is down by fifty percent.” Another called out. :”We lost a lot of power when we rammed the big ship.”

“Do we have enough to get into hyperspace?” Keith demanded.

“Yes. We’ll have to divert some power from the ship’s other functions, but we can enter hyperspace. It will just take a few minutes…”

“Then do it.” Ordered Keith.

“Yes, captain.” The man’s fingers began moving fast on the control panel, various beeps and whistles sounding. The other soldiers were just as busy with controlling the ship, desperately trying to avoid the star cutter’s heavy fire.

“Seems they either don’t know Allura is on board this ship, or they don’t care.” Muttered Lance. Allura wondered which one it was, still unsure if Zarkon or any of the other Drules knew about her pregnancy.

“Right now it doesn’t matter their reasons.” Keith was dismissive. “We have to survive long enough to get into hyperspace!”

“Right…right. I know…” Lance was suddenly chasing a pilot out of his seat. “Let me.” He said. “I’ll show you some real daredevil moves. Buckles up everyone! It’s going to be a bumpy ride!” A devilish gleam was in his eyes, Lance relishing the chance to show off. Allura quickly fastened the seat’s harness in place around her and then gripped her seat’s arm rests.

She felt it when the ship put on a sudden burst of speed, the strain pinning her against her seat’s back. No one complained, everyone present trained and used to intense flight situations. Allura had nothing to do but stare out the windows, though occasionally she looked at the view screens. Those monitors were showing different angles outside their ship, letting them see just how close the star cutters were coming to them.

Those sleek little ships were fast, maybe as fast as the larger Garrison ship. But they burnt up a lot of fuel in a short amount of time, especially if they were to try to keep up at their current speed. The star cutter pilots had to know they had to disable the Garrison ship and fast. And so they fired off, frantic, desperate shots. Lance evaded them all, laughing under his breath over the pathetic attempts of the enemy.

“No time to gloat Lance.” Keith warned. He looked just as tense as Allura felt, teeth grinding together. He wanted to be out there fighting, didn’t want to have to rely on anyone else to get them out of danger. Even if that someone else was a good friend and trusted coworker.

“There’s always time to gloat…” Lance protested. “At least when you’re winning.”

“Please…just stay focused!” advised Keith, a laser blast scoring a direct hit on the rear of the ship. It made the ship shake, Allura gasping before she could stop herself.

“It’ll be all right princess.” Lance quickly reassured her. “Just need a certain hot head to keep from distracting me!”

Keith wisely did not say anything in retort. But he did move over to one of the control panels, looking over the shoulder of the soldier seated there. “Can we spare any power to our attack systems?”

“Not if we want to get into hyperspace any time soon.” The woman answered to Keith’s disappointment.

“Damn!” Lance swore, and jerked on the controls. Keith nearly fell over, the ship suddenly doing a nose dive downwards. There was nothing below them but empty space, the ship speeding as several star cutters flew past where the ship had perviously been. “Yeah!” Lance shouted. “Didn’t expect that, did you?! Bunch of no good, slimy scum sucking Drules!”

“Lance…” Keith grumbled, having righted himself by holding onto the back of the woman’s chair.

“No time for chit chat captain!” Lance said breezily. “Gotta concentrate you know. We’re not out of the woods yet!”

Allura actually smiled, despite the tense situation. Hearing the friendly banter between Lance and Keith was a familiar, calming sight. She actually felt a little happy, something she hadn’t felt in months. She told herself as long as they could talk like this, everything would be okay. That Doom wouldn’t win. In the distance, they heard the roar of the robeast. Allura looked out the side window nearest to her, and saw that the lions had finally had the chance to form Voltron.

“Good…it’s almost over.” She said softly to herself. No one bothered to correct her, everyone focused on the task at hand. Destroying one robeast wouldn’t put an end to the battle. There was still too many Doom war ships out there. But getting rid of the robeast would eliminate one less threat. And that was relief in and of itself.

“How much longer until we can make the jump?” Keith asked.

“Two minutes and counting down.” The woman answered.

“Lance, can you keep us from blowing up for that long?” Keith demanded.

“No problem.” Lance assured him. “No problem whatsoever…!” He jerked on the controls, the ship doing another one of those stomach lurching drops. Keith ended up sprawled half on the woman’s lap. Both of them blushed before Keith pulled off her.

“Sometimes I swear you’re trying to purposefully make me fall!” grumbled Keith.

Lance’s voice was all innocence. “Now, would I do something like that?”

“Yes!”

Allura couldn’t help it, she giggled softly. Keith glanced at her, and she smiled at him. “I missed this…I…I thought I might never get to hear you two talk like this again.”

“Never give up hope Allura. No matter how dark things seem.” Lance told her. He then directed that same advice to his captain. “The same goes for you as well Keith.”

Keith made a sound, an exasperated sigh. Lance chuckled and concentrated on his flying. The woman continued to count down the seconds, five more left until they could enter hyperspace. It was not a moment to soon, one of the larger Drule war ships sending a photon beam their way. At the precise instant the ship would have been hit, possibly vaporized, they vanished. It was a relief to see the blurring stars of hyperspace, to know they were leaving the battle far behind them.

Allura sagged with relief. The woman Keith had fallen on, turned to her with a smile. “Princess Allura. If you like, I have a spare change of clothes in my locker.”

Allura was sure her eyes lit up with joy. After being denied clothes so often, it was a real pleasure for the chance to be dressed. It was bonus to wear clothing that didn’t smell like Prince Lotor. “Oh yes, thank you.” She said, and hurried to undo her seat’s harness.

Keith took the seat vacated by the woman. The female soldier would gesture for Allura to follow her, the princess doing so eagerly. “Is the ship capable of making the trip to planet Arus?” She asked, curious and making conversation.

“We can’t do that long a distance.” Admitted the woman. “We’ll be able to get a few planets worth away from Doom. There we can be picked up by another ship of the Alliance.”

“Ah I see. In any case, it’s good to know I’ll be home soon.” Allura felt as though she couldn’t stop smiling.

“You won’t be going to Arus.” The woman’s words had Allura stopping, the princess confused. For one paranoid moment, she was fearful. She remembered Lotor’s human mercenaries, and wondered if this woman could also be working for Doom. She almost started shaking then and there, fearing the worse, ready to cry out. She would not allow herself to be captured again, and was cursing herself a fool for going anywhere alone with a stranger. Even a stranger dressed in a Garrison uniform.

“Wh…what do mean?” Allura couldn’t keep the fear out of her voice. The woman turned and frowned.

“Is everything all right princess?”

“Just tell me why I won’t be going to Arus!” She snapped, ready to turn and flee. Could she get away, or would a shot to the back be her reward?

“We’re taking you to planet Amestris. The judge there is eager to hear your side of the story. Plus I’m sure you’ll be wanting to press all kinds of charges against Prince Lotor.” Explained the woman, her eyes studying the frightened princess who suddenly relaxed.

“Yes.” She agreed, voice faint. “There are many crimes Lotor must pay for.” But she wondered if there was any hope of getting justice. Just as she wondered if Lotor had survived the explosion. There were many things to wonder about, to worry over. Her tension and anxiety was returning, though it wasn’t anywhere as bad as it had previously been. Allura could only hope that once they reached planet Amestris, everything would work out. For her, for the baby, and for Arus!


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