She awoke to the mother of all headaches, Allura crying out in pain. Her sounds came out a mere whimper, sounding tinny and distant to her ears. Pain flashed behind her closed eyelids, Allura struggling to open them. She immediately regretted her actions, seeing the world upside down and moving, a fast pace that brought nausea rising inside her.
She quickly closed her eyes, letting out a soft hmm of protest, trying to figure out why she was moving when her body was so still. It felt heavy, like a sack of potatoes, and her attempts to move were sluggish at best. A slight wiggle here, and there, legs protesting and arms dangling downwards.
“Stay still!” A harsh voice hissed out, hand slapping across her rear. It made a metallic sound, Allura grateful for the armor that covered her rump. It lessened the pain, kept her from truly feeling the blow though it sent shivers down her body at the thought of someone manhandling her like that.
“Wh…..where are you taking me?” She asked, the pain she felt making her stutter out her question. No answer came, the silence chilling her, Allura risking opening her eyes to watch the floor as it’s tile sped by. She knew now she was on someone’s shoulder, the person carrying her like she weighed nothing at all. She shivered at the strength shown, knowing that with her heavy armor she had to weight at least fifty pounds more than normal. Whoever this was, he or she wasn’t human, Allura trying to keep from shaking as she wondered just what they intended to do with her.
Another glance at the floor, Allura turning her head, trying to glean something from her surroundings. The walls didn’t look like Galaxy Garrison, the blue gray metal lacking it’s insignias. In fact, it lacked markers of any kind, leaving her clueless as to what sort of building or ship they were in. Allura knew enough to think she had never been here before, the girl frowning, wondering how she had gotten into this situation in the first place.
She couldn’t remember going to sleep, and that in itself was troubling. It meant someone had forced her to, rendered her unconscious, Allura wondering the how and whys of such an act happening. Vague memories danced in her mind, Allura recalling the last person she had seen before waking up on this stranger’s shoulder.
Zarkon! She gasped, then grimaced, pain flaring in her temples as she thought of the former King of Doom. He was now a man for peace, working tirelessly to make up for the wrong doings of his past. It was laughable to think he could ever accomplish such a thing, and in as short a time frame as five years, but somehow he had pulled it off. He had ingratiated himself to many of his former foes, though Allura was still hesitant to trust him.
Keith and the other members of the Voltron Force did not trust him either, they all waited and watched, looking to see if Zarkon would revert to his former ways. So far he hadn’t, but Allura wondered at the coincidence of seeing Zarkon just before she was knocked out. There had been a meeting arranged by Amalgamus, the robot inviting Allura to attend. She hadn’t expected to run into Zarkon all alone, expecting there to be lots of Garrison officials to run interference between her and the former king. But they had been late, or she had been early, left to sit and make pleasant small talk with the man.
She could recall drinking something, some brand of coffee, Zarkon’s voice growing softer and softer. Allura groaned, wondering if the drink had been drugged, cursing herself for ever relaxing enough around Zarkon to trust the food in his presence. Once she would have rather died than drink anything offered to her from his hand. It was a conviction she should have held on to, one that may have prevented her from ending up in the situation she was in.
She moved her arm, risking her captor’s anger to touch the front of her chest. She gasped to find the key to the blue lion was gone, Allura sagging with the hopelessness of her situation. No key meant no fast escape, she’d have no way of knowing who or what had the key, and without she couldn’t fly her lion to safety. And that was only if the lion had been captured along with her.
“Put me down.” Allura said, pleased her voice did not waver with her command. “I can walk.” It wasn’t entirely true, her legs felt like molasses, and she couldn’t shake the tiredness she felt. But she felt it was better to walk, even stumbling, under her own power than continue this indignity of being carried around.
A snort from her captor, the alien outright refusing to acknowledge her command. She sighed, and for an instant seemed to doze, losing track of time so that she startled awake with a gasp. She glanced around, seeing they were outside now, walking along a sand strewn path way. The ground was hardened clay, a harsh red color that was softened by the yellow sand, cracks appearing on the ground as though the clay would crumble apart at any moment.
A glance to her right had her seeing the edge of cliffs, Allura shuddering, praying her captor would not drop her over the side. It looked like a long drop to the hard ground below, with no water to break such a fall. To the left showed was people, various men and women dressed in loose fitting robes, with scarves wound around the lower half of their faces, keeping their identities hidden from each other and the harsh wind that blew.
The people themselves barely spared a glance at Allura, the princess sighing as she realized there would be no help coming from them. Instead she continued to look around, trying to make sense of what she saw.
Tents were spread throughout the rocky plain, large pieces of durable fabric that was as sturdy and as huge as a one story house. These were not the typical types of tents used for camping, but permanent residents made to withstand the harshest of climates. No sign of ships, but Allura knew with the amount of sand being blown about, it would not be wise to leave them out in the open. Not when the sand would cover and get inside the metal, offering ruin to the parts that make the ship’s fly.
Instead there were animals, odd creatures that might have once resembled horses. But their legs were many tentacle things, nearly a dozen per creature that had them barreling forward super fast across the sand. Their bodies were a wide barrel of green scales, with a long elegant neck that tapered up to an equine like face. Instead of hair, they had sharp ridges down the back of their necks, the riders taking care not to press against them as they sat on top of the beasts.
There was half covered stands spread out among the tents, Allura realizing it was a market place for goods to be bought and traded. Various food stuff behind glass counters, protecting it from both the sand and would be thieves. Others held jewels, an amazing wealth of them, and still more bargained for books and things, offering the browsers to come inside the tent and see what else there was for sale.
To her alarm, she caught sight of people in various states of undress, chains on their hands and collars around their necks. She realized they were slaves, a flash of red hot anger working it’s way through her. Slavery had been all but abolished in the Denubian Galaxy, Amalgamus working to set free all the people the Doom Empire had enslaved. Of course she had heard rumors about a black market existing in some hidden corner of the galaxy, one that dealt in peddling flesh to those still eager to spend their gold on it. But she had never, ever expected to find any truth to the rumors!
Allura was already vowing that upon her escape, she would find a way back here with the members of the Voltron Force. Together they would work to put an end to this foul market, and free the people who were enslaved here.
A part of her worried that she too would end up on the slaver’s block, Allura hoping she proved too valuable a hostage to waste in such a manner. Indeed she was relieved to see she wasn’t being carried towards the slave auction, but further and further away. It left her troubled though, wondering what her ultimate fate would be. They wouldn’t have bothered to bring her all this way just to kill her, would they?
Such fears were pushed to the back of her mind, Allura finding her captor had reached some sort of ladder. Dizzily she watched as the ground moved farther and farther away, the alien climbing up a rock side that was smooth and sheer. She tried to keep from moving, scared that a fall from such a height would render her concussed or worse, Allura wishing desperately for them to reach their final destination.
Several more feet, a few more rungs of the ladder, and then her captor was swinging himself on top of hard clay once more. She couldn’t help herself, she breathed a sigh of relief, trying to twist around to see where they were. Her eyes widened as she caught sight of the tent, the largest one she had seen yet. She had a feeling that here her final fate would be decided, that here was the person of the utmost importance in this sand strewn village.
Her captor lifted open the flap of the tent, ducking under the material to bring her inside. Allura gasped to see the opulence of her surroundings, seeing it’s plain outside was an illusion that did not hint at the wealth inside. The color had been a muted brown on the outside, but inside it was soft shades of purple and gold, royal colors that spread their theme throughout the room.
A multitude of colored cushions spread across the floor, along with expensive rugs with ornate designs, a mish mash of patterns and colors that made no sense together. There was even tapestries hanging on the tent’s walls, beautiful scenic surroundings that reminded Allura of Arus. Boxes lay against the far corners of the tent, chests opened to reveal gold and jewels, Allura amazed that such wealth was left out in the open, unguarded.
And even here there was a touch of the modern, electronics set up as far away from the flap’s entrance as possible. Some sort of portable computer, it’s size small, hardly the type capable for a long range transmission. Next to it was a power source, long thick cords trailing into the computer, ready to power it at a single moment’s notice. Similar power sources were spread through out the tent, lighting lanterns and a heater, keeping the room at a warm eighty degrees.
There was nowhere to sit other than the cushions or the bed that lay somewhat off center in the room. Fur after fur covered the mattress, a variety of exotic animals killed for their skin, for the warmth they would provide. They almost hide the brass bars of the bed, their number was so many. Just another testament to the wealth and nature of the owner of this tent. He or she took what they wanted, with little thought or care to those that they raided.
She was still studying her surroundings when she was brought sliding down to the ground, to be dumped feet first onto one of the expensive rugs. Allura immediately looked up at her captor, a glare on her face as she narrowed her eyes. “Why have you brought me here?!” She demanded, and was surprised when the alien spoke to her.
“You stay here!” That voice was impossible to tell the gender from, and a gloved finger rose to wag in her face. “No run away or I shoot you.” Allura gasped, shock and dismay working their way through her. “Understand?!”
Glumly she nodded, the anger in her eyes not fading as the alien seemed to relax. “Good.” Abruptly her captor turned, Allura longing to jump to her feet and attack. But she still felt so weak, Allura knew she lacked the proper strength to land a disabling blow. Instead she just sat there, eyes stormy as she watched the alien stalk out of the tent, the flap dropping close behind him.
It was then that she sighed, lifting a hand to the back of her head, a grimace on her face as she looked around. Surely there had to be something she could use as a weapon, Allura mourning her own lack of pistol on her belt. She had been stripped of anything useful, her pistol, her lion key, her communicator, leaving Allura dependent on her mind and skills alone.
She struggled to her feet, her legs unsteady as she stood, Allura nearly toppling over backwards when she tried to walk. There was nothing close by to reach out and grab, Allura taking a shaky step forward without support. And then another, her foot steps becoming more confidant as she walked over to the computer. Upon reaching it, she collapsed gratefully to her knees, casting an anxious glance over her shoulder at the front of the tent.
It’s material was too thick to show the shadows of any who might be stationed outside, Allura holding her breath as she turned on the computer. It was slow to load, Allura bristling with impatience as she waited for it to boot up the program, the girl chewing on her bottom lip to keep from speaking out loud. Every ding and beep of the computer had her cringing, Allura sure her captor would sweep in and make good on his threat.
But mercifully the computer loaded, Allura looking at the icons, trying to discern which one marked the transmission program. She began clicking at random, seeing programs load up that had nothing to do with what she wanted. She whispered pleas to the machine, closing a window and opening a new one. It seemed to take forever, but eventually she found the broadcast program. Just as she feared, it was limited in reach, perhaps going no farther than the third planet in this region of the galaxy. But if she could send out a plea for help, and those that received it bounced it back to other planets, maybe, just maybe her call would reach garrison and Arus.
Her fingers started typing, fast thumps against the keyboard as she began composing her message. She inputted her rank and number for Galaxy Garrison, key identifying information that would show this was no joke of a transmission. She prayed they’d be able to trace the message back to it’s origins, Allura about to click on send when a hand landed on her shoulder.
No time for reactions, the hand was pulling her back, no gentleness in it’s touch. She let out a frustrated cry, hands straining for the computer, even as the person lashed out with their foot, causing the machine to crash into the floor. It’s monitor shattered into pieces, the computer going dead as it was cut off from it’s power source.
“NO!” Allura shouted, more enraged by it’s damage than the fact that she was shoved backwards to the floor. She went to sit up, only to be pushed back down, Allura glaring up in defiance at her attacker. She expected to see the alien who had brought her here, but the robes were different. Pure ebony in color, with the dust of the sand clinging to it’s fibers. A red scarf was over this person’s face, and goggles covered their eyes, leaving her to wonder at the expression they wore.
“You won’t get away with this!” She snapped, bravery at the heart of her words. “People will come looking for me. The Voltron Force and Galaxy Garrison! You best let me go now while you still have a chance to run!”
Muffled laughter was her answer, the robed figure seeming to shake with it. It only made Allura angrier, the girl trying to sit up once more. This time the hand that pushed her down followed, the robed figure moving to squat over her. That annoying laughter continued, Allura pushing at the gloved hand and finding it was like shoving against steel, so immovable was it.
She refused to let herself be intimidated by this person, Allura keeping her eyes bright with her anger as she glared. That scarf covered face cocked to the side, and even with the goggles in place she could feel the intensity of his gaze. His other hand moved, reaching to touch her face, Allura trying not to flinch as she felt gloved fingertips brush across her lips. They traced her frown, the figure on top of her sighing, hand on her shoulder tightening enough that she heard her armor crack beneath his fingers.
It was odd, the one hand touched her with such gentleness, while the other showed how deadly with force it could be. It left her conflicted, worrying towards the figure’s intentions, even more so when he suddenly released his hold on her. She didn’t try to sit up, just watching warily as those hands reached up to his goggles, pulling them free so their leather ties snapped open.
The eyes should have been a dead give away, but she was too tense, too agitated to be thinking clearly. It wasn’t as though his were the only eyes that gleamed golden in the galaxy, Allura watching impassively as he went to remove his scarf. For a second light reflected off of metal, leaving her to squint as the person above her shook out his hair.
It was still long, halfway down his back, and as pure a white as it had ever been. But the face was different, only part of it still the beautiful visage of the prince of Doom. The remaining quarter was hidden away under a metal face plate that surrounded his eye. It extended from his forehead, down to half his nose, covering most of his cheek in the process. Allura didn’t know what kind of scarred flesh he bore beneath that plate, but she had heard the stories. They had often given her nightmares as she thought of the handsome prince trapped in the burning wreckage of his flag ship all those years ago.
He had been lucky to survive, let alone to come away with as little damage as he had. She knew his arm had suffered for it, most of it had to be replaced with metal parts. It explained why that one hand of his had such strength, his Drule muscles only enhanced by the cybernetic arm of his. Allura wondered at the rest of his body, wondered how much had been damaged, and how much was merely the work of nasty rumors.
She had been staring too long, his face twisting into anger as he leaned in close to her. “Are you done looking Allura?! Are you done seeing what a monster your Garrison Doctors made of me?!”
She reminded herself not to flinch away from him, keeping her expression calm. She didn’t know how he would react if he saw pity in her eyes, and she trembled at the thought of his reaction to her fear. “Why have you brought me here Lotor?” Allura was pleased at how steady her voice was, the girl serene as she boldly met his eyes. It seemed to soothe him that she was no longer staring at his face, Lotor resting back on his knees, still straddling her.
“…..I missed you Allura.” He said, sighing. “I find my battle with Voltron offers me little opportunity to speak with you.”
“If you wanted to talk you could have contacted the castle.” She pointed out, Lotor letting out an indignant snort.
“And risk letting your technicians trace my whereabouts? No…I don’t think so.” He shook his head, white hair spilling forward on his shoulders. “Much better to bring you to me where we can…speak at our leisure.”
“And just what is it you wish to speak to me about?” She asked, surprised when he looked away. He turned so that only the perfect profile of his face could be seen, the metal side hidden from her sight.
“I’ve wanted to talk to you about our future…” Allura started to open her mouth, but his fingertips pressed against her lips, Lotor hissing out a shush to silence her. “So much has changed in the last five years….my kingdom is no more…my father is a man of peace…” Another snort of laughter, his lips frowning at the thought. “The galaxy alliance now holds nine hundred planets in it’s grasp…and yet one thing remains the same. I….I still want you.”
“Lotor…” She couldn’t help the note of sadness that accompanied her saying of his name, seeing his eye flash with anger.
“Does the thought upset you? That this…..this thing, this monster could still desire you?!” He gestured angrily at himself, and she shook her head.
“It’s not that…”
“Then what Allura?” Lotor asked. He reached towards her, fingers hesitating above her skin. “I remember a time when we were together….when you and I put aside our differences for a time so that we could….come together.”
“I remember that too…” She whispered, and for a second it looked like he was going to smile. It was dashed before it could take form by her next words, Allura sighing as she spoke. “It didn’t work then, what makes you think it will work now?”
“You mean it didn’t work when my face was whole, when I was still the handsome and charming prince!” His anger was back, Lotor thrusting an agitated hand through his hair, causing it to spill wild around him. “What possible use could you have for a crownless vagabond like myself?!”
“Looks never played a part in it, not for me!” Allura shouted, pushing up on her elbows to level an earnest stare at Lotor. “It was your nature that turned me from your arms, the deceits and the betrayals. You only pretended to change, you never had any real intentions to do good! It was all a lie….a trap I fell for.”
“We’ll make it work this time.” Lotor said, showing a confidence Allura herself did not feel. “There is no need to pretend I am anything other than what you see before you. A monster…cold and cruel, and determined to destroy the galaxy in an effort to take back what I lost. Starting with you.” His hand touched her face, fingers reaching for her curls.
His fingers played with the hair that escaped her bun, Allura staring at him, eyes disturbed by his words. “Lotor…no. Now more than ever I can’t be with you.”
“You’ll change your mind.” Lotor said, his tone dreamy, his eyes distant as he watched her. “You see, when I get done with the galaxy, there will be nowhere you can go, nowhere you can hide from me. You’ll have no choice but to become my bride….”
His hand cupped her cheek, drawing her up as he leaned towards her so that they met halfway, his breath warm on her face. “What….what are you going to do?” Allura whispered, feeling her lips brush against his. A slight smile was her answer, just an upward curving of the corners of his mouth, Lotor bringing his lips to catch at hers. For a second she felt his hesitation, the kiss remaining chaste as though he was testing her.
When she failed to make some sound of disgust, he grew bolder, lips pushing against hers in a needy display. Allura felt the desperation in his kiss, Lotor clinging to her lips as though they were his sole lifeline in the galaxy. Maybe they were, Allura’s own lips parting, starting to kiss him back as half forgotten memories stirred up feelings she had thought she had long since buried.
Her own eyes closed, Allura sighing against his lips, remembering that time five years ago when he had been whole. Of the time when his sweet kisses fell not only on her lips, but across her skin to touch places she had never dreamed could be kissed. The memories distracted her, allowed her to let him push her down on the rug, his hands moving around her to embrace her back.
The metal of her armor kept her from feeling his touches, Lotor gliding his hands along the smooth surface. She startled against him when she heard the clicking of the catch on her armor, chest plate loosening. Lotor shifted on top of Allura, hands on the move as he worked to pry the chest plate free, the man’s impatience cracking it with his cyborg arm, pieces falling off.
“Lotor…” Allura turned her face to the side, his kiss landing on the corner of her mouth. She saw him shove the chest plate away from them, his hands reaching for the armored pants she wore. “Stop……stop!”
“Can’t stop.” Lotor said, lifting her hips up as he tried to work her pants off.
“Can’t or won’t?!” Allura demanded, her hands pushing at his chest. She couldn’t feel anything but the soft robe, it’s thick material hiding the muscled chest beneath it.
“What’s the difference?” Lotor demanded, cracking open the sides of armor. “I’ve been so lonely these past five years….with nothing but dreams of you to get me by….” He was working the armor off bit by bit, breaking it into pieces so that she’d never be able to wear it again. Allura let out a growl, and did the only thing she could think of, she kicked him, lifting her armor clad foot right between his legs.