“No…this can’t be…” Lotor muttered, eyes wide and staring disbelieving at the viewscreen. “This cannot possibly be happening…not now…now when I have Allura within reach…” His brain was desperately trying to ignore the evidence presented to him. “IT’S NOT FAIR!!” He screamed with all his heart, the bellows echoing throughout the ship.
“Throwing a tantrum again Prince Lotor?” The view screen flickered, filling with snowy static, before reconfiguring into the image of a gruff looking middle aged man. He was dressed all in black, the gold medals won for war victories a stark contrast on his broad chest. His hair was a curly mass of orange, streaked by strands of silver, his eyes also colored orange, and rimmed with black. A Demosian…”How like you Drules to overreact when things go wrong…though…” A smirk crossed his face. “In this instance I can certainly understand why you’re upset, young princeling.”
Lotor’s head jerked up, a murderous look on his face. “Who patched this cretin through?!” His hand hovered over his sword hilt. “On whose order…”
“Stay your hand, your highness.” interrupted the redheaded man. “None of your men went over your head.” His lips turned up into a boastful smile. “The truth is you had no choice over opening communications with me. My crew hacked into your ship’s frequency.”
“And you are?” Lotor asked, only slightly mollified at his crew.
“Admiral D’artan.” The man introduced himself. “Leader of the 52nd battalion of Demos’ most used, and most victoriest fleet of warships.”
“Am I supposed to be impressed?” Lotor asked.
“Whether you are or are not, does not matter to me.” replied D’artan. “But what you will do is issue orders to your men for an unconditional surrender.”
For a reply, Lotor burst out into hearty laughter.
“Your highness, I am not joking.” D’artan said, annoyed by the laughter.
“Then you are surely insane!” Lotor’s eyes flashed. “To think I would ever even consider giving up to the likes of you.” A sneer crossed his handsome face. “Especially when all you’ve done is rain a little gun fire down upon us.”
Admiral D’artan bristled. “I did more than that Lotor! I’ve cost you your victory over Voltron.”
“No you’ve merely delayed it.” Lotor said coldly. “My robeast has damaged the robot badly. It’ll take weeks to repair it to even partial fighting order. Time they do not have…” He smirked. “Nor you!”
“Your overconfidence will be your downfall Prince Lotor!” D’artan’s smirk mirrored Lotor’s. “You cannot hope to win against my fleet.”
“It’s not the size of the fleet that counts but how you use it!” quipped Lotor. “I’m willing to stake everything on my tactical genius surpassing your own!”
“It’s a bet then!” D’artan announced as Lotor’s ship suddenly rocked from explosions.
“What’s this?!” Lotor exclaimed out loud. The ship had been attacked from the right side. But the monitors showed that the Demosians were still grouped off to the left.
“Looks like someone forgot that the castle is also armed.” D’artan smirked. “Seems Arus is all too eager help me defeat you. You know Lotor, if I were you I would have taken out the castle first.”
“Well you’re not me!” hissed Lotor, descending from his command dais to consult with his men. “Bring up images of our surroundings from every angle.” He ordered. “I want every inch of this ship covered against any more surprises.” His crew hurried to do so, fingers flying over keyboards, as they attempted to bring up the images.
However, it was now D’artan’s turn to laugh, as his face suddenly appeared on every monitor, be they live video feed, or computer monitors. “Silly boy, we’re in control of all radio frequency. You can’t so much as radio down to your mess hall to send up lunch, let alone attempt to broadcast a call to Doom for reinforcements.”
“To scared to fight me in a fair battle eh?!” Lotor demanded.
“Hardly.” D’artan sniffed.
“Then at least give us back control of our monitors, so we can see what going on outside.”
“I’m not scared, and I’m certainly not stupid.” Was the Admiral’s response. “Do you honestly think I’d allow you to see enough to fight well?” He shook his head. “No, that would be time consuming, and possibly…hazardous…I have my orders to bring you back alive. So Lotor…it’s your move…will you allow this farce to continue, or will you end it quickly by surrendering now?”
Lotor gritted his teeth. Damn D’artan! Putting him in this position. Well if he thought he was getting an easy victory, he had another thing coming! True, Lotor and his men would be fighting blind…but only if they remained on the flag ship. They and the others ships in the fleet couldn’t use their laser cannons as long as they remained in the dark. Not if they wanted to risk blowing up one of their own. However…each ship was fitted with a small squadron of one man fighter ships. Those ships didn’t rely on monitor’s to show the world outside, but on a pilot’s eyesight…
Still exuding the appearance of one harried and annoyed, Lotor silently signaled his men their orders. It was risky under D’artan’s watchful eye, but few outside of the Drule civilization even knew the existence of this particular breed of sign language. Even fewer were those who understood it, and those were mainly in the military. That the Drules had ever even needed sign language would have come as a great surprise to the rest of the galaxy. For generations it had appeared that all Drules were born to life in perfect health. They didn’t know that under King Zarkon’s rule, children born with handicaps were usually put to death. Zarkon was never one to waste resources on those he deemed useless…regardless of a mother’s heartbreak…
“Admiral…if I were to surrender…” Lotor said, playing along in order to give his men time to get into their ships. “What would happen to my men? You have made no guarantees of their survival?”
“…” D’artan hesitated. They couldn’t possibly take them all on as prisoners. But they certainly didn’t want to leave any behind to stage a rescue attempt. “I…suppose we could work out an arrangement where some would be allowed to keep their lives.”
“I see.” Lotor noting hand signals out of the corner of his eyes. “And what of me?”
“What would happen to me? You said you wanted me alive? Planning to bring me back for a public execution?”
“No, Lotor, that’s your people’s way.” retorted D’artan. “Most likely you would marry Corral…” He grinned. “IF she still wants you.”
“Wrong answer.” Lotor said, an odd smile on his face. “I might have surrendered if it was execution that awaited me. But you see Admiral…” D’artan’s face took on a look of surprise as his ship was blasted with laser fire. “To me, marrying someone other than Allura, really is a fate worse than death.”
“YOU…YOU TRICKED ME!!” bellowed the Admiral. “Kept me busy with your lies, long enough for you to safely lower your protective shields to let out those star cutters.”
“Just evening the playing field a little.” Lotor replied with a wink.
“It won’t do you any good!” hissed the Admiral. “I’ll crush those ships in a matter of seconds!”
Lotor glanced at the chrono unit on the ship. “Tick tock Admiral. Those seconds are running out.”
OOOOH!! The Admiral was livid. No one had prepared him for just how infuriating a smug Lotor could be! “You’ve just signed those men’s death warrants!”
D’artan hissed. “Theirs, and everyone else on your fleet!”
Meanwhile on the planet’s surface, the mangled robot known as Voltron lay like a broken doll, in a huge crater it’s impact had made. Thankfully it had crashed in the forest near the castle, and not on one of the town’s. But Allura still shed a tear at the thought of the loss of wildlife, and perhaps a stray picnic goer or two.
“What’s going on?” Was the first thing the princess had asked, when she had come to.
“Man…I’m going to have a headache worse than that hangover I had at the last castle ball…” Lance muttered. “And bruises worse than the ones Nanny gave me for embarrassing her in front of the dignitaries.”
“Guys!” Keith had just come to, and sat up with a jolt. “What…where…”
“Ah, captain, you’re sounding more coherent than usual.” Lance joked.
“Lance…” Keith growled softly.
“Geez, didn’t anyone ever hear the expression there’s healing in laughter?” muttered Lance.
“Okay team, report in. What’s our status?” Keith demanded.
“We’re all alive if that’s what you’re asking.” Pidge spoke up. “The robot however…”
“Damn!” Keith swore. “Hunk, how long before you can get it fixed? I want Lotor to know he’s only won round one of the fight.”
“Hunk? Come in!” Keith said, frantically pressing buttons. “Report!”
“He can’t.” Pidge announced. “Yellow Lion has been completely knocked off line.”
“Then let’s get outside, and assess the damage.” Keith decided.
“Loved to, but the hatch is stuck.” Pidge sighed. “Green lion is currently embedded into the chest of Voltron.”
“Well Hunk has a blowtorch, he’ll get you out in no time.” Keith said confidently.
“Unfortunately he’s not here with us.” Pidge said glumly.
“Oh no!” Allura gasped horrified. “He’s not…”
“Relax princess. He’s fine. It’s just his Lion head is currently imbedding into a mountain. With Voltron out of commission, and our few ships currently engaging Lotor’s ships, it’ll be a while before anyone can get him down.” explained Pidge.
“Ah, the big guy will find a way down just as soon as he gets hungry enough.” decided Lance.
“That’s not funny Lance.” Allura protested. “That’s too high to climb down without any gear. He could get seriously hurt!”
“He won’t get hurt, cause we’ll go get him!” announced Keith, undoing his seat straps. “Let’s go team!” He approached the hatch. “Pidge, we’ll be back for you soon.” He grasped the handle and turned. “I don’t believe this! No!!”
“What is it?!” Allura asked, amused by the dismayed sounds Keith was making.
“I’m trapped too!!” Keith cried.
“Is that all?” Lance smirked.
“What do you mean is that all?” demanded Keith. “I’m the team leader! I can’t be trapped!”
“Guess we’ll just have to rescue you for once fearless leader.” Lance said, gripping his hatch’s handle. A dazzling smile crossed his face, as it easily opened. “It shouldn’t be that long a wait. Castle’s not to far a distance to walk.”
“Sure, go and leave me with the resident loon.” mumbled Pidge.
“What was that?!” Keith asked sharply.
“I said, my onboard computer still works, what a boon!” Pidge said, half truthfully. Green lion’s computer WAS still working.
“Whose that fighting Lotor?” Allura asked, as she climbed out of her lionhead.
“I don’t know princess.” Lance admitted already down on the ground. “I’ve never seen ships like that before.”
“They’re from the Demos Empire.” Pidge said via comlink, still typing away on his computer. “According to the castle’s database, it’s a planet located in the next galaxy over.”
“They’re a long way from home.” Allura murmered. “Certainly too far to pop in cause they heard we needed help.”
“Think they dropped by for a social visit?” Lance grinned, his eyes twinkling mischievously. “Maybe they have another prince for you to marry.”
“God I hope not!” Allura exclaimed vehemently. “The last thing I need is one of those boring, stiff backed, pompous blowhards who constantly flounce about telling stories of their heroics to further inflate their already enormous egos!!”
“Tell us how you really feel.” teased Lance.
“I dunno Princess…” Pidge was still monitoring their conversation. “If that is the case, you may have to go through with it. They did just save us from Doom.”
“Unless you’d rather marry Prince Lotor.” Lance asked, eyeing Allura carefully.
“Marry him? Lotor?!” Allura turned, her blue eyes wild with emotion.
“Is that excitement I hear Allura?” grinned Lance.
“Bite me Lance!” she retorted angrily.
“With pleasure.” He stepped towards her.
“Hmph!!” Allura exclaimed loudly, turning her back on him.
“PRINCESS! MY BABY!!” A heavily accented voice shouted, causing Allura to pale.
“Nanny!” The princess cried, hoping the woman hadn’t overheard her missuage of the words “bite me”.
“Oh! My baby!” The heavy set woman barreled through the brush, straight towards her charge, throwing her arms around her in a death grip. “I was so worried!”
“Oh Nanny…” Allura sighed, patting her on the back. “I’m fine.”
“No thanks to those boys!” Nanny exclaimed letting go of Allura, to turn her wrath on Lance. “How could you let this happen?!”
“Whoah! Easy! Easy! Big girl!” Lance eye’s widened as he immediately regretted his poor choice of words.
“WHAT DID YOU SAY?!” Nanny growled, advancing on Lance with clenched fists.
“Er ah…” Lance was slowly backing away. “Um…blame this whole mess on Keith! He’s the one who didn’t plan a good battle strategy!!”
“Oh, he’ll get his.” Nanny swore. “He’s not too old enough to be put over my knee.”
“He might enjoy it.” Lance said, never one to let an opportunity pass by. “Come to think of it so would you!”
“Oh uh…never mind. Oh look! Here comes Coran!” Lance said, relief very evident in his voice.
“Princess! Thank goodness!” The older man rushed towards the trio, half a dozen palace guards following him. “When Voltron went down, we feared the worst!”
“I’m all right Coran.” Allura said. “Not a scratch on me. See?” She turned in place, and had to repress a groan when Nanny let out a horrified gasp.
“You’re uniform is cut!” Nanny grabbed hold of Allura’s arm, and pointed at the evidence. “Your lower back! Coran! She could have been seriously injured! I insist you forbid her from flying blue lion anymore!”
Not this again! Allura thought rolling her eyes.
Luckily Coran seemed to agree. “Not now Nanny. We have more important things to worry about.” Nanny bristled at this dismissal. “This is the closest we’ve ever come to a full scale invasion since the reactivation of Voltron. We have to get the robot repaired as soon as possible.”
“I guess we should be grateful to Demos after all.” Allura sighed.
“Yes!” Nanny nodded. “If Demos hadn’t interfered, I’d…I’d hate to think what would have happened.”
“Don’t be too relieved.” Coran said gruffly. “We may have exchanged one enemy for another.”
“What do you mean Coran?” asked Allura.
“Demos has just as bad as a reputation as Doom has.” Coran explained, watching as the guards began climbing all over the robot, assessing the damage. “We may be caught up in a turf war between them.”
“Great, just what we don’t need.” Lance sighed. “Who would have thought there would be a dictator out there as blood thirsty as King Zarkon?! Let alone one willing to go up against him!”
“King Anador is just as bad a tyrant as Zarkon is, perhaps even worse.” Coran said gravely. “If they were ever to join forces…”
“Luckily it appears they do not intend to do so…” Something clicked in Lance’s brain. “Wait…Anador…does he have a daughter?!”
“Yes, I believe her name is Corral.” Corran answered.
“Thank goodness!” exclaimed Allura. “An evil princess to deal with, instead of a handsome prince!”
“So you think Lotor’s handsome do you?” Lance grinned.
“I..uh…I’m just saying I’ll be relieved to not have another insane stalker trying to force me into marriage!” The princess said defensively.
“There is that.” Lance agreed. “For once Lotor’s getting a taste of his own medicine.”
“What do you mean?” Allura asked.
“Just that, Lotor was supposed to marry Corral, and when he didn’t, the two planets went to war.” Lance explained.
Allura felt a jealous twinge at the thought of Lotor marrying some other princess. “Lance, how do you know all this?” She felt a flare of hope. Maybe he was just pulling her leg, and there was no princess to steal Lotor away. Not that she wanted Lotor…she felt herself blushing, and was glad no one could hear this inner dialogue. After all, why should she care who Lotor married. It wasn’t like she liked the man…didn’t she…?
“I read the tabloids a lot.” Lance admitted.
“Ack! Such trash!” Nanny proclaimed. “Always who slept with who, and who’s leaving who for someone else.”
“Actually, it’s true.” Pidge’s voice suddenly piped in. “I just did a search, and this rumor seems to be true.”
“Wow! Lotor marrying someone else! I can’t believe it!” Keith exclaimed over the com link. “You must be relieved princess!”
“Yes, you must.” Lance said, looking knowingly at Allura.
Stifling a growl of frustration, Allura did the unprincessly thing of sticking her tongue out at the Red Lion’s pilot.