“There it is…” Lotor said, blinking sleep heavy lids as the familiar planet came into view. “Home sweet home.” He sighed, knowing Zarkon was probably brimming over with impatience at the chance to rip into him over this latest debacle on Planet Arus.
“This is Prince Lotor, requesting reentry to Doom.” He spoke into his radio. “Code Zeta 5269 Alpha. Over.”
“Roger that Prince Lotor. Please wait for clearance.”
“Don’t rush on my account.” muttered Lotor. No, he was not in any rush to face his father. Especially not after they had just come so close to reacquiring Arus! He suppressed a snort of laughter. At least Demos couldn’t lay claim to the fertile planet either. That would have really killed him to have brought down Voltron, only to have another planet use HIS hard work to take control!
But, they wouldn’t be taking anything. In fact they would be returning home even empty handier than Lotor! IF they could even make it off Planet Arus…
In a surprising SHORT amount of time, the outmanned Doom contingent had managed to topple down the gigantic Demos’ carriers. Ships previously used for attacking had been hard put, to switch to defensive tactics. The one person fighter ships of Demos didn’t have much shielding, and certainly not the maneuverability of Doom’s star cutters. Their larger numbers also proved to be a weak point, as they found it hard to dodge blasts, when they were practically on top of each other. Dodge, and most likely if the blast missed you, it hit the ship behind you…
By the time three carriers were down, the Demosians had completely given up on attacking. Realizing it was not a fluke that such little ships could bring down not one, but three behemoth sized ships, they panicked, choosing instead to focus on saving their lives. Some went to ground, completely abandoning comrades. Others landed, and focused on helping those in the carries get out before it exploded.
When the final ship grazed the tree tops of the forest surrounding the Castle of Lions, Lotor and his men didn’t stick around to even see the explosive ending of the final flight of D’artan’s Flag Ship.
Instead they jetted off into space, ecstatic over the recent turn of events. They felt it was a glorious victory they had snatch away from the tightly clenched jaws of defeat. Many of the younger ensigns were sure they would win their first medals for this battle. But the older, more battle hardened soldiers knew better. Rewarded for leaving Arus? That was laughable, as long as they didn’t face the sobering harsh reality of what would really happen. They would be lucky if Zarkon allowed them to keep their lives after losing control of Arus in mere minutes.
Lotor too did not join in the revelry. It was with a heavy heart he had issued the retreat from Arus. He glumly watched the stars and planets zip by, as his jet took him further and further away from his love.
All too soon, they neared the borders of Drule territory. Here they split up, traveling in groups no larger than three ships. Demos was still out there somewhere, attacking ships that tried to make the run to Doom. True they generally limited their attacks to cargo ships, but why call attention to themselves by traveling in a group of nearly 100 star cutters?
Actually Lotor was surprised no further attack came. And a but disappointed as well…by the time they reached Doom, he had worked himself into quite a rage. For two days he had nothing to do but obsess about how close he had been to taking Allura as his bride. If any ships, be they Demosion in origin, or space pirates, had dared to approach him, they would have experienced first hand Lotor’s violent wrath, which was magnified tenfold over the loss of the love of his life.
But no. No one had dared. And now his journey was over. All that was left to face was his father, drown his sorrows in drink, and pass out. Hopefully not in that order…”At least I’ll finally be out of this damn ship!” He groused, his body sore from being stuck in the same position for two days. Those brief rest overs at neutral planets had not done much to relive the tensions experienced from journeying in this manner. As if he didn’t have enough to deal with, that leg cramps had to be added to the mix! “Someone out there is having a great big laugh at my expense.” Lotor snarled.
“Everything’s checked out.” The radio again. “You’re good to go. Over.”
Impatiently, Lotor steered the ship nearer to the planet, waiting for the shield to be shut off. The second it was clear, he switched gears, zooming ahead of his escorts.
Within minutes, he was parked on the castle’s landing pad, and hopping out before the engines had fully died down.
“Prince Lotor!” A young page steeped forward, bowing so low he nearly fell over. “Your father wishes to see you immediately.”
“How surprising.” Lotor said, stretching out his arms and legs in an attempt to get the kinks out. “What could he possibly want to talk to me about.”
“About your recent mission.” Clearly the prince’s sarcasm completely passed over the boy’s head.
“What a shocking revelation.” Lotor said, as they entered the castle. “Well then by all means I shall see him post haste.” He turned down a corridor, having made up his mind to do exactly the opposite.
“Ah sire…” The page blinked, confused. “That’s not the right way…”
Rolling his eyes in annoyance, Lotor clearly stated his intentions. “Of course it is. This is the way to my bedroom. Tell my father I will not speak to him until AFTER I’ve had a bath and a good night’s sleep.” He stifled a smile. If anything this would further enrage the old goat. But Lotor was sure the tongue lashing Zarkon had planned couldn’t possibly be made any worse.
“But…” The page protested weakly.
“Good night.” Lotor replied, feeling only a slight tinge of guilt over sending him to tell his father no. “Well…we all have to make sacrifices sometimes.” Lotor muttered, pulling off his shirt. “His is facing my father’s wrath in my place, while mine…mine is leaving Allura behind yet again…” He had reached his chambers. “Lady Fate just loves pulling my strings.” He unlocked his door. “I wonder what other trials she has in store for me before I can be with my one true love.” He entered his apartment and was immediately given his answer…though it was definitely not in the manner he would have chosen.
A fist smashed into his face, knocking him against the door. “Wha…” Lotor shook his head, seeing stars. The hand reached out, snagging a handful of his hair. He was jerked into the room, and someone pulled the door shut behind him.
Still holding onto his hair, another hand grasped the back of his neck, bending him forward as a leg swung up to catch him in the belly. With an angry growl, Lotor brought up his left arm, smashing his elbow into his assailant’s face. The grip weakened, and he was able to be break free, backing into a wall. His hands slid across the surface, searching for the light switch. Finding it he flicked it on, the room flooding with light, and paused, shocked.
His assailant had accomplices. Three of them in fact. All dressed in the uniforms of the place guards. But he was sure these were not registered soldiers, or Drules. For one thing their helmets had viziers that obscured their faces. And second, even if they were sent to punish him for his failure on Arus, surely his father would want a ring side seat. No, they were trespassers, spies, perhaps even assassins.
One reached into his belt, uttering a phrase in a language not familiar to Lotor. A small knife appeared in his hands, as he rushed towards the Prince.
“Assassins it is.” Lotor said, grasping the ends of his shirt in both hands. The man aimed for his stomach, not what Lotor would deem a definitive killing blow. It was chancy at best, it could go either way, from a wound to a death blow. Not that it got that far, for as soon as the man got close enough to strike, he learned it was only because the prince allowed him to. He found his knife tearing through the shirt, when Lotor twirled his hands, and the shirt with it, trapping his wrists together.
Surprised, the knife wielder glanced at Lotor, who smiled, before snapping his arms back, which jerked the man forward to meet Lotor’s knee face first. He cried out in pain, a tooth falling onto the floor. The shirt twisted free, and the knife joined the tooth on the floor. Always loving to push the limits of people’s rage, Lotor could not resist snapping the towel against the man’s rump, before sliding into a defensive stance.
He eyed the other three, and waited to see what they would do next. Apparently hold a conversation…One of the men angrily shouted something, and Lotor was surprised to see it wasn’t directed at him, but at the knife wielder. “Well well well…” Lotor smirked. “Appears you boys want me alive after all.” He moved away from the now swollen mouthed man. “Well come and get me!”
Apparently they understood Drule, or perhaps the tone of Lotor’s voice was enough to stir them into action. Two more rushed him. “A team up eh?” Gleefully Lotor met the first with a backhand slap, casing the man to literally spin from the force of the blow. Lotor ducked under the next one’s reaching arms, coming up behind him. He slipped the shirt around his neck, twisting it tight. It was a clumsy garrote at best, but would do in a pinch.
“And what are you going to do?” Lotor taunted the fourth. His eyes slightly widened when the man brandished a hypodermic needle.
“Sire! Sire please!” Hagger hurried after the angry King.
“Don’t try and talk me out of it Hagger.” Zarkon snarled. “Lotor will learn he can’t
dismiss me lightly!”
“He wasn’t trying to do that. I’m sure he was just tired.” She grabbed Zarkon’s arm. “Why don’t you two wait till you’ve both calmed down before talking?”
‘I’ve done all the waiting I can stomach!” hissed Zarkon. “He sure took his sweet time getting home! If he thought it would give me time to calm down, he hoped wrong!” They had reach Lotor’s rooms, and Zarkon’s hand hovered over the doorknob.
“Please sire! Don’t go in there!” Hagger begged.
“Why not?” demanded Zarkon, just as a loud bang sounded from inside the room.
“I just think you should…” She trailed off as more banging was heard. “That when you’re both so worked up it might be best not to have words with each other. Else some regrettable things may be said.”
“I never regret anything I say…or do!” Zarkon announced. “However…” His eyes were wide from the noises coming on the other side of the door. “Perhaps we should wait. Put off this discussion until AFTER Lotor’s finished trashing his room.”
“That would be best.” Hagger agreed.
“Let’s retire to my chambers then.” Zarkon said, already walking away from Lotor’s chambers. “I think I have a few bottles of wine left.” Hagger quickly hurried after him, any thoughts about checking in on Lotor evaporating before they had any time to properly take root in her mind…
Lotor’s foot smashed down on top of the needle. “So much for that.” He glared at the man. “I’m going to send you the bill for getting my room cleaned.” He glanced away to note the broken furniture, toppled bookcase, and various pieces of glass shards. That was his first and last mistake, as with a scream, the needle boy tackled the prince from behind.
Cursing his moment of foolishness, Lotor tried to throw off the man, but was shocked…literally! The other three men had recovered…more or less, they still looked a little shaky standing upright. But…they seemed eager for the next round of the fight. Especially since they each carried long metal baton, perfect for beating someone senseless…or…as the ends suddenly flared up with blue lines of electricity…just great for zapping someone out of their wits.
“Perhaps this was all one big misunderstanding…” Lotor managed to mutter, before being converged upon by the trio. He tried to dodge, but was clumsy with the man riding piggy back, his weight dragging Lotor down. All too soon they had brought him down on all fours, alternating between zapping and beating him. The thought flickered through his mind, that thankfully they were not going in for the face, when a sharp prick was felt on his butt. Eyes widening in shock, he tried to turn and look at the man on top of him. “You…” The room was already swaying. “Had…another…one…” His eyes crossed, and he went limp on the floor, a needle sticking out of his shapely posterior,
“Finally!” One exclaimed. “I thought this bloke was never gonna go down!”
“He did put up quite a fight.” agreed another. “Should have used these from the start!” He held up the nightstick.
“We would have if old Ardval here hadn’t insisted on trying to take down the mighty Prince of Doom in a fair fight!” pointed out needle boy.
The one called Ardval shrugged. “Guy must eat steroids for breakfast!”
“Nothing a little anesthesia can’t take care of.” Needle boy said. “With luck he’ll stay out for the entire trip.”
“Good.” Ardval reached down to grasp the prince’s ankles. “Cause when he wakes up he’s gonna be fighting mad. Get his arms Vincenzo.”
Vincenzo took hold of Lotor’s wrists, and together, the two of ’em lifted the unconscious prince off the floor…