They were fortunate the Keraclon hadn’t managed to do any lasting damage to blue lion, the outside fine save for a few dents, and the paint that had peeled from the alien’s insistent clawing at the hatch. There was similar claw marks on one of blue lion’s paws, the Keraclon trying to get at the missiles the rested in the nails of the lion’s feet. The third had tried to wrench open the emergency control panel, as if hoping it would find the correct sequence to unlock the lion.
Allura felt smug to know that they would have failed in that last endeavor, the sequence to unlock the lion a complex series of numbers and symbols. They were all but impossible to guess upon in random, and Coran often saw to changing the codes every few weeks.
Allura didn’t need to enter in the unlocking sequence, the lion’s eyes gleaming in recognition of the key that was fastened to the breast of her pilot’s uniform. Some sort of internal magic was infused inside the ancient machinery, and at Allura’s approach, the lion had unlock it’s hatch. She had then had the difficult task of getting Lotor into the lion, Allura leaving him resting on the ground as she climbed to the top of the lion.
In the end she had lowered the lion so that it was all but laying on the ground, head between it’s paws. It made a difficult situation easier, Allura finding a rope, and having Lotor grip it with his good hand, as she attempted to half pull him up. She knew the Drule was big, but never had she imagined Lotor weighed so much, the prince forced to help her by ignoring the pain in his injured foot, and scrambling upwards.
Eventually she had him settled inside the cock pit of her lion, Lotor leaning against the crates that contained a week’s amount of provisions. There was no extra seating for him to sit upon, the only chair being the padded seat for the pilot. Allura felt bad to leave him unsecured, but there was no way she could allow him to sit in the pilot’s seat, even if he hadn’t been wounded. She didn’t trust him, certainly not with one of the lions of Voltron, and if Lotor hadn’t been so injured, she would have felt far too inadequate to handle him and the situation they were in.
Allura could just imagine the kind of shenanigans Lotor would pull if his injuries were only a little less severe, the girl blushing as she remembered the kiss he had forced on her before she went off to face the Keraclon. She wondered how much worse the kiss would have been if he had had more energy to expand, Allura remember the grip on her waist, and the firm, harshness of his lips.
~I shouldn’t be thinking about this!~ Allura thought furiously to herself, giving a shake of her hair. The kiss was over and done with, and if she was lucky, she’d need never suffer another one from Lotor. She fought to keep from glancing over her shoulder at him, Lotor oddly quiet as he studied the inside of the lion’s cockpit. She stifled a feeling of unease, knowing he was most likely memorizing all the details, either to better his future attacks, or to share the knowledge with the Drule scientists.
Such a thought made her loathe to start up the lion, Allura not wanting to give Lotor too much information to use against the Voltron Force. She was only calmed by the thought that even if he took note of the buttons she pushed and levers she pulled, Lotor would still require the special key that fit each lion. It was with a minimal of grumbling that she started the lion, the key in it’s special place, and the control panel lighting up, demanding her attention.
Her fingers were splayed on the control panel, buttons being pushed in a rapid fire manner. The lion let out a challenging roar, as if it too was eager to leave this Keraclon infested planet behind. The lion’s paws pounded into the ground, and then it was gearing back, resting it’s weight on it’s haunches. An instant later it leapt towards the sky, the jets on the bottom of it’s paws, propelling it higher and higher.
She maneuvered it around the ash shooting volcanoes, flying higher in the air, and heading for the stars that she could barely see in the midday sky. Clouds streamed around them, and the higher they got, the fear that had been a tight knot in her stomach began to leave her, trickling away until she was almost relaxed in her chair.
Relaxed if not for her guest in the rear of her lion, Allura well aware of Lotor, of his breathing and the ashy smell that clung to his skin. He still wasn’t saying anything, but she didn’t think he had passed out, Allura hearing Lotor rustling through her med kit. A glance over her shoulder showed he was using some of the spare water taken from her back pack, to try and clean up some of the blood on his hands and face.
He noticed her looking, and gave her a weak smile. “I’m fine.” He didn’t sound reassuring, Lotor touching the bandages around his waist. “They’re holding….I may just last long enough to get to a doctor.”
“I pray that you are right.” Allura murmured, and attempted to turn back to the control panel. But his voice stopped her, a question in it, as he lifted one eyebrow.
“You pray? For me?” His smile remained, Lotor looking almost pleased.
“Yes, Lotor. Even for you.” She said with a sigh. “I wouldn’t want you to die after all the trouble I went through to save you…”
“How…touching.” Lotor said, seeming to deflate. She turned her back to him, rolling her eyes. He couldn’t seriously think she had meant it with any real feeling for him. He was her enemy after all, no matter how often he bothered her to marry him, or forced an unwanted kiss on her. She didn’t, wouldn’t think of him as anything more than the prince who helped to lead the invading army against her people.
She was showing him more kindness than he merited, Allura sighing as she began typing in a query to her ship’s computer. “What are you doing?” Lotor asked, curious as the computer began beeping.
“Trying to locate the nearest medical facility.” Allura murmured, distracted by what the computer was showing her. The results weren’t promising, this area of the galaxy improvised, many of the planets unable to support life. It was begginning to look like they would have to journey quite a distance to find a doctor for Lotor, Allura unwilling to risk landing on a different part of the planet they had just left.
“Here….go to these coordinates.” Lotor said, rattling off a few numbers. Allura began to enter them into the computer, curious as to where he would direct her.
“It’s not showing up on the computer’s map.” She noted out loud with a frown.
“You won’t find this place on any Alliance map.” Lotor answered, and it was an odd enough phrase to get her to turn to him, a suspicious look in her eyes.
“Lotor, just where are you trying to get me to go?” Silence followed, Allura continuing to stare, the Drule Prince holding her gaze with a steady one of his own.
“What does it matter?” He asked at last. “There will be a doctor waiting there for us. Along with fresh clothing and a bath.” A pointed look at her blood splattered uniform, Lotor trying to tempt her into forgetting her suspicion.
“And why would a doctor be waiting out in the middle of nowhere?” Allura demanded, refusing to drop the topic. He sighed then, and muttered something, Allura’s brow rising in confusion. “I’m sorry. I didn’t quite get that. Did you just say something about it being a military outpost?”
He nodded then. “It’s one of Doom’s.”
“Oh no! You must have hit your head harder than we realized if you think I am going to just blithely waltz into a Drule military outpost!” Allura exclaimed.
“You can’t expect to take me to an Alliance doctor.” Lotor retorted, but she nodded her head. “Allura, they’ll arrest me on sight!”
“It’s nothing less than you deserve.” She told him, almost but not quite smirking.
“I will not submit to this!” Lotor hissed. ”
“You don’t have a choice!” Allura retorted. “You’re my prisoner, to do with as I see fit. And I’ll be damned if I let you bleed to death OR continue your reign of terror on the Denubian Galaxy.”
He suddenly started laughing at that, earning a frown from Allura. “What’s so funny?!” She demanded, and he seemed to shake with his amusement.
“Me?!” She squeaked in disbelief as he nodded.
“Yes. You really think you’re capable of subduing a Drule warrior?” Lotor asked, and she glared at him.
“I may not be very strong, but in your current condition it won’t take a lot of strength to haul you in to an Alliance prison!” She then turned her back to him, determined to concentrate on flying the lion. It was a mistake, she heard the tell tale hum of lazon unsheathed, Allura freezing in place.
“Allura…you’re going to fly us to the coordinates I gave you.” His tone was pleasant, as if Lotor wasn’t currently holding his sword up in a threat.
“And what if I refuse?” Allura asked, slowly turning to face him. “What then?” She saw that he had stood up, Lotor slowly walking towards her on shaky feet. The sword gleamed dangerous intent, even with Lotor in his battered state.
“I’m sure I can find a way to be persuasive.” Lotor told her, and she shook her head.
“So that’s it then? You’re going to try and make me your prisoner? After all I’ve done for you?!”
“I don’t want to Allura, but you leave me no choice!” Lotor snapped. “I will not be arrested. I told you. A Drule Warrior doesn’t go down without a fight.”
“Neither does an Arusian Princess!” She retorted, her finger pressing a button on the control panel. The lion suddenly did a hard right, causing them both to lose balance. Allura stayed seated, her seat belt holding her in place, but Lotor had no such securement. He tipped over backwards, eyes startled as he slammed into the floor, a loud cry of pain escaping him.
The sword clattered on the floor, Allura scrambling to undo the seat belt and grab it. By the time Lotor sat up, his movements slow and clearly pain filled, she had the sword’s tip against his throat. She actually smiled at him, though it wasn’t a pleasant filled expression. “Lotor…” Her tone was almost sickeningly sweet, her sword arm and gaze never wavering from him. “You’re going to reach into that box behind you to the left. There should be a pair of handcuffs in there.”
He didn’t ask what she needed them for, the prince glaring at her. “And what if I refuse?”
“Well…” She pretended to think about it, resting her free hand on her holstered blaster. “I may just have to shoot you into unconsciousness then.” He tensed, and she barked out an order. “Lotor don’t! Don’t make this any more difficult than it has to be….”
A staring contest was held, and for the longest time she honestly thought the Drule would make her shoot him. But at last he sighed, and inched away from the sword at his throat. He grumbled under his breath as he moved, muttering about stubborn princesses who had gotten too big for their boots. But he found the cuffs, and reluctantly snapped them onto his wrists.
She relaxed once his hands were bound, Allura switching off the sword, and stepping back to her chair. She placed the deactivated sword across the top of the control panel, well out of Lotor’s reach, and resumed her query to find the nearest alliance medical facility. Allura tried to be cheerful as she spoke, really not wanting Lotor to die after all she had gone through to keep him alive.
“We’re in luck Lotor. The nearest hospital is about two hundred fifty light years away. If we enter hyper space, we can make that in an hour’s time.”
“Wonderful.” He said, tone sour.
“Don’t be so down.” She told him, beginning the sequence to enter hyper drive. “I’m sure the Alliance prisons are magnificent compared to Doom’s dungeons.”
“It’s still a cage, no matter how nice a prison it is.” Lotor retorted. A pause followed his words, Allura unsure what to say to that. “You do realize my father won’t negotiate for my release? If anything this will make him nastier, as he unleashes attack after attack in retribution for this ill treatment of his only heir.”
“I suppose that’s his prerogative.” Allura murmured, noting four ships were poised to come out of hyperspace. She tensed, fearing it was reinforcements from the Keraclon, barely paying attention to Lotor’s growls. “But Lotor, you could make things a lot easier on yourself if you gave up some of your empire’s secrets.”
“Turn traitor to Doom?” He sneered then. ‘I’d rather die than betray my people!”
“Fortunately for you, the Alliance rarely believes in using such extreme punishments.” Allura retorted, making sure the lions’ weapons were online and ready to be used. She already had the missiles poised to fire on the emerging ships, the auxiliary lasers locking onto the spot where the ships would arrive.
It was fortunate for everyone that she wasn’t as trigger happy a she had been when facing the Keraclon, Allura seeing the welcome sight of the four lions of Arus appear to the right of her. Lotor grumbled something under his breath, his agitation increasing, but she ignored him, already signaling a hello to the lions. The lions let out welcoming roars, and the airwaves were immediately filled with the concerned voices of her team mates.
“Princess, thank goodness you’re all right!” Keith exclaimed, and the others echoed his sentiment. “We’ve been so worried.”
“Yeah!” nodded Pidge. “Nanny and Coran too.”
Lance chuckled then. “The old girl just about had a heart attack when she heard you deviated from the path Pidge mapped out for you.”
“I’m sorry….but time was of the essence…” Allura began, and Hunk waved off her apologies.
“It’s all right princess.” He said. “We know you had to do the right thing, and go help the person in distress…Who was it by the way?”
A hesitation from Allura, the princess fighting the urge to glance back at her prisoner. “Um….”
“Well, Allura…” Lotor’s bored tone, the prince insinuating himself into the conversation. “Aren’t you going to introduce me?”
“What’s he doing there?!”
“How could you let him into your lion?!” demanded Hunk, aghast.
“Calm down, I can explain!” Allura quickly said, but her team mates continued to talk, excitement and agitation in their voices. “Listen to me!” Allura hissed, fighting the urge to slam her fists on the control panel of her lion. “We don’t have time for such nonsense! The Keraclon could be coming.”
The name of that threatening alien species caught the boys’ attention, their voices quieting down. She felt an odd sense of satisfaction to regain their attention, Allura leaning back wearily in her seat.
“The Keraclon?!” Keith stared at her. “What do they have to do with this?!”
Pidge was leaning forward, fingers adjusting his glasses. He gasped out a question, and then another. “Is that…their blood on you, princess? Did you have to fight them?!”
She nodded. “I had to fight and kill them, but there’s really no time. They could be tracking us, they’re after Lotor….”
“What did that bastard do to get their attention?!” Lance wanted to know, and it was Lotor who answered.
“This bastard, as you so kindly put it, did nothing. I am merely a victim of who I am, that the Keraclon chose to mess with me.”
“I don’t believe it!” Lance snapped, and Allura had to agree. “You had to do something.”
“Allura, we don’t have time for this.” Lotor said, ignoring Lance. “We have to get you and the lions out of here. I don’t give a damn about the other pilots, but we can’t allow the Keraclon to capture Voltron!”
“Of course you don’t want them to get Voltron. You want it for yourself!” Keith hissed, and Lotor snarled.
“We can debate what I want another time, but not here. Not so close to the Keraclon.”
“He’s right Keith.” Allura spoke up. “I don’t know how many are left…But there was enough fear on that planet to keep away all the animals, even the scavengers and predators. It was almost more than I could stand, and I do not want a repeat encounter with them.”
“Fine.” Keith said through gritted teeth. “But don’t get any funny ideas Lotor. You’re our prisoner now….”
“Wouldn’t dream of it.” Lotor was calm, a direct contrast to Keith’s anger. Allura cast a glance back at Lotor, seeing him leaning tiredly against the crates. He met her gaze, but otherwise did not acknowledge her, seeming to pout over the situation he found himself in.
“Lotor’s injured.” Allura announced, her fingers moving rapidly over the buttons of her computer. “I’ve found an Alliance facility close by. I’m sending you the coordinates so you can meet us there.”
Grumbled out complaints from her team mates, the boys not wanting to see to the prince’s well being. Allura had to remind them that enemy or not, it was their duty to help those in trouble. That seemed to quiet them down, the boys shamed by the reminder.
They maintained radio contact, even as they slipped into hyper drive, Keith wanting to monitor what was going on inside Allura’s lion. She sighed, thinking the captain still did not have much faith in her abilities if he thought she couldn’t handle a handcuffed and injured Prince Lotor. Even her teammates questions about what had happened with the Keraclon couldn’t distract Allura from her sudden depression, the princess wishing Keith would think better of her skills.
They did not encounter any more Keraclon as they traveled through hyper space, Allura feeling relived. Lotor ignored her, and she assumed he was too angry about the situation to deign to speak to her. But when she turned to glance his way, she saw he was watching her, an odd smirk on his lips. It left a bad feeling in her stomach, Allura wondering if it would really be as easy as it seemed to arrest him.