Songbird 30

There was a lull of activity between Doom and Arus, following the falling apart of Lotor and Corral’s engagement. Even inside the castle, things were far too quiet for any of our liking. We could feel the King’s temper festering, his anger boiling to the point it would soon explode. No one would be safe when that happened. It left us all tip toeing around him, all to better avoid ending up on the executioner’s block.

There wasn’t much for me to do during this time. There were no planned missions at the moment, and with my demotion I wasn’t privy to the plotting Haggar and the King were doing. Occasionally, new aliens would be brought to the home world. They would be forced to fight and die in the coliseum, the winners of those fights then being brought to Haggar’s lab for augmentation. But none were sent to Arus, and I couldn’t help but wonder if they weren’t meeting with the witch’s approval.

I couldn’t spend all of my time worrying about what the leaders of the Doom Empire were up to. Not when I was noticing more and more the disgusting way the Drules inside the castle treated the slaves. It was bothering me more than ever, as though blinders had been lifted from my eyes. I could no longer hide from the kind of treatment those enslaved received from their masters. It was similar to the memories of my mother, the experiences she and the other slaves had endured at the hands of the brothel owner.

In some ways the treatment of the castle slaves was far worse than that of a brothel slave. Zarkon could afford to replace as many slaves as needed, and thus he didn’t care if a slave was broken beyond repair. People were whipped and beaten, sometimes to the point of death. The Drules were very casual about this, regarding the slaves as no more than insects that needed to be crushed. They certainly didn’t see them as people, as beings with the right to life and freedom.

More and more memories I had buried about the early years of my life, the years spent at my mother’s side inside the brothel, came back to me. Some things I had forgotten rushing back in startling clarity. It left me tortured and haunted by nightmares, many a restless night passing me by. What’s worse, I had no one I could really turn to, no one to discuss these memories with. Drules didn’t really have therapy on, not like the humans had. Drules saw any admission of a persisting problem as a sign of weakness. To want and need therapy to get over these memories would have called into question my ability to perform. I might have even been dismissed from the castle, and my job. I couldn’t afford that, not so long as Romelle remained a prisoner in the castle.

Romelle. It was because of her I stayed as long as I did. My concern for her, and my desire to be there for her. To run interference between her and her tormentors as best I could. For now she was relatively safe, seeming left to rot in the castle’s dungeons. But I knew that could change at any moment, leaving me tense and on guard for whatever would be the next stage of our combined torment.

Of course during this time, I was still barred from visiting her. Zarkon had taken special care to make sure no one was allowed to visit Romelle, save for Doctor Shabatoba. The doctor made twice weekly visits to the princess, checking on her health and making sure she was keeping up her strength by eating the slop fed to all the prisoners.

It wasn’t enough for either Romelle or myself to keep abreast of each other’s situation through the doctor. We wanted, NEEDED to see each other. But that way was blocked. Not even Doctor Shabatoba could arrange a way for me to be snuck in to see Romelle. At best, the only solution Shabatoba could offer was that he would carry letters between us.

Naturally, with Romelle being stuck in the dungeons, she didn’t have much to write about. At least not about her day to day happenings. Instead she would write me letters, talking about her memories of her life on planet Pollux. She’d paint pictures with her words, gifted enough to be able to allow me to taste the beauty of certain sights she had seen on Pollux. She expressed a wish to someday be able to return to those places, speaking on the pleasure it would give her to be able to personally show me those sights.

Is it possible to grow close to a person through letters alone? I believe so, our bond deepening through the misery that surrounded us. My own letters tried to be upbeat, but as I continued to be plagued with dissatisfaction with my Empire, and the nightmares of my past, I found myself opening up to Romelle in a way I had never before done with a woman.

I don’t know if it was smart to use the communication with Romelle as a kind of outlet for my mental anguish. I shouldn’t have been troubling her needlessly with my worries. But more than that, if she had been caught with the letters, I would have been in danger. In more ways than one. Fortunately, Doctor Shabatoba made sure to take the letters away from Romelle once she was done reading the latest. He’d personally see to their incineration, though I can’t help but wonder if he ever took a look at their contents. Certainly he never betrayed any such doing to me, keeping his own thoughts private on how he felt about the whole situation.

I often wrote Romelle’s letters while inside Shabatoba’s private office. It felt like the only place I could truly be alone to think. But more than that, I felt connected to Romelle through the doctor. Many a time the letters went directly from my hand to Shabatoba’s before the ink even had time to dry.

I was in the midst of writing such a letter when the quiet finally broke. I didn’t realize it at first, thinking the Drule screaming was just an overly dramatic patient. I continued to stay focused on my letter to Romelle, telling her of what little news I had learned about Princess Corral’s situation. It seemed Corral had not been allowed to wed her lover after all. Her father was determined to use her to seal an alliance with another kingdom, and was actively searching for suitable candidates for Corral’s hand. I made mention that Corral’s life would be happier if she could wed the man she loved, but also noted I thought the chances for her assassination would lessen if her father didn’t try to use her to form a union with some other troublesome kingdom.

As I began to detail my calculated odds for the chance that Corral might run away with her lover, I became aware that the screaming persisted. In fact several voices were now shouting, rousing my curiosity. Just what was going on, I wondered. I folded up the letter, and set it aside in my pocket before opening the office door. A kind of pandemonium existed out in the hall, several injured soldiers being carried past me.

There was puddles of blood left in their wake. Nurses and orderlies were hurrying about, and I even spied Doctor Shabatoba inside one of the exam rooms. His gloves were soaked with blood, the doctor examining an open wound that had clearly been cut open with a sword. It took me seconds to recognize the Drule the doctor was laboring over, and when I did, I reacted with shock. It was Captain Adamentius!

I must have made a sound, a nurse looking at me. She followed my gaze into the exam room, and then hurried to close the door. “What’s going on!?” I demanded, stepping towards the nurse. My intent was to grab her, to shake the information I wanted out of the female. “Why is Captain Adamentius here, and not with his highness, prince Lotor?!”

Almost as soon as I said that, I realized what must have happened. The wound that was so obviously made by a sword, tearing Adamentius away from Lotor’s side. The nurse gave me a look, thinking me too slow to make the connection.

“The prince.” I said, worry not yet making itself known in me. “He’s done this, hasn’t he?!”

Two more soldiers were carried passed, the men barely conscious and moaning. I couldn’t get a good look at their wounds, but it was clear no lasers had done this kind of damage. Shocked, I realized the prince must be on a rampage, and my first fear was that he would try to go to Romelle.

A lesser injured solider limped by, a gash on his left hip bleeding profusely. I didn’t care that he needed medical attention, grabbing him by the same hand that tried to staunch the blood flow. “Prince Lotor! Where is he?!” The soldier tried to shrug me off, but he was too weakened by the blood loss. “Tell me what you know!”

“The prince has gone mad!” The soldier announced. He looked at me like he thought I was crazy too. “He’s gone after his father!”

Only somewhat relieved, I let go. I thought Lotor’s chance of actually killing Zarkon was fifty-fifty. I was more worried what would happen immediately following Zarkon’s death. Romelle and I had both existed on a kind of protection of the King. With Zarkon gone, there would be no one to stop Lotor from taking revenge.

Fumbling for the com unit on my belt, I jerked it up to my mouth. My thumb switched it on, and immediately the air waves were filled with frantic voices. The soldiers were talking about the path of destruction Lotor had left. I didn’t really give a damn about the injured, more intent on tracking Lotor down. At last someone with some sense about them, would mention to me that Lotor was heading for the coliseum.

A small army of soldiers had been dispatched to guard the path that led to the King’s private balcony in the coliseum. Lotor would have to enter through either the stands, or through the fighter’s pit. I wasn’t sure which he would take, if he would be fool enough to risk the Drule bystanders that would be visiting the coliseum this day.

Without another word to the nurse, I took off running. My destination was of course the coliseum. My hand had already drawn it’s pistol, my eyes checking over it’s charge. It was more than half full, and should prove adequate for my intent. My goal was of course to shoot Prince Lotor, and I subtlety switched the setting from stun to kill. With the prince seemingly gone mad, no one would fault a soldier for killing the crown heir. Not if that heir’s ultimate goal was to kill our King.

I won’t lie and say I was motivated by love of my King or planet. I just wanted Lotor dead. To send that bastard to whatever hell awaited him, a hell that would keep him far, far away from Romelle. I sincerely believed with Lotor gone, some of Romelle’s situation would be bettered.

Soldiers, both off duty and on, plus castle guardsmen, were running all about the castle. I soon realized I had chosen the wrong path, finding there was no one injured or dead as I made my way to the coliseum’s stands. I began walking down the steps of the seating rows. No one paid any mind to me or the blaster that was naked in my hand. I wasn’t the only one moving about the civilians. Other soldiers were there, all armed and trying to get a bead on prince Lotor. But the prince was moving too fast, using his sword to deflect the lasers.

Some of the deflected blasts ricocheted into the audience. The Drules civilians began screaming, panicking as they lurched to their feet. I was nearly knocked over and trampled on as they tried to stampede towards the nearest exit. Exasperated, I shoved back, finding the soldiers and civilians were at cross purposes. I couldn’t see the prince now, couldn’t even get into position to shoot. But I could hear his voice, Lotor shouting at his father.

“I have had enough of you and your orders!” Lotor bellowed. “This ends now, old man!”

Zarkon was calm, his voice carrying through out the coliseum. “Stop this foolishness at once, Lotor and return to your room.”

“I am not a child for you to banish to my room until you decide my punishment is at an end!” Lotor snapped. “I…”

“Funny, but a child is exactly the way you are behaving.” Zarkon sounded bored now. “Slaughtering so many of our guards. Endangering our own people. Threatening your own father. This is some tantrum you are throwing.”

“You’ve left me no choice! Keeping me locked away, only allowed out when you have some errand for me to run.”

“And you think this rampage is the key to earning your freedom?!” Zarkon demanded in disbelief. “You are an even bigger fool than I thought! Beasts! Take him out of my sight!”

The aliens brought to be gladiators of the coliseum entered the pit. Three in all, each a different kind of creature. Yellow, red and a gray so dark it was almost black, each one charged the prince. I had made it to the bottom of the steps, free of the crowd that was still fighting each other and the guards. Several other soldiers were also in place, but at a hand signal from Zarkon, no one tried to shoot the prince. I grit my teeth in frustration at Zarkon’s unspoken command, wondering why he was content to spare his son’s life after Lotor had threatened the King.

The aliens were each armed with lazon swords of their own. But two of them didn’t look like they knew how to wield them, hands clumsy as they attempted to slash open the prince’s flesh. Lotor’s clothes were already splattered with the blood of the soldiers he had slaughtered on his way to the coliseum. He would add more blood to them, laughing as he fought with three opponents at once.

I watched as Lotor leapt straight up into the air, allowing two of the three aliens to slash their swords against empty air. The third one, the one with the dark gray skin also leapt into the air, intent on striking Lotor’s mid section. The prince easily defended against that slash, lazon blade sparking as it connected with the alien’s.

The two on the ground turned to track the descent of Lotor and the gladiator. But they didn’t move in to close around them, watching as Lotor continued to exchange blows with the alien. Salvia would gleam on the alien’s teeth, whole mouthfuls being spit out as the beast grew enraged by the fight. The alien was much taller than Lotor, towering over him by at least three feet. Most of his attacks were downward slashes, the beast trying to tear open the front of Lotor’s chest.

Lotor was clearly not in the mood to play around, blocking the blows, and then following up with a diagonal slice across the alien’s chest. It’s breast plate split apart, and then Lotor was blocking another sword thrust. His next offensive move would tear into the alien’s chest, the dark gray skinned creature fallen to the sand in defeat. It’s hand went limp, Lotor reaching to arm himself with the dead alien’s blade.

Now equipped with two swords, Lotor began to duel simultaneously with the yellow and red aliens. They all moved so fast, it was difficult to register the moves. The swords seemed to be everywhere at once, thrusting and defending, slicing and blocking. With one sword Lotor blocked the red alien’s attack, while his other sword took off one of the yellow alien’s horns. That enraged the yellow alien, the creature shoving aside the red one as it mindlessly went for Lotor’s throat.

Crisscrossing his swords together, Lotor defended against the move meant to behead him. The alien seemed to have gone into a beserker’s state of mind, his strength increasing to the point Lotor struggled to keep the sword from him. The prince snarled, baring his teeth, and lashed out with a foot. Right into the delicate groin area of the alien. That sudden pain made the alien wince and falter, Lotor driving back the sword. With one of his swords holding back the aliens, he used the other to disembowel the gladiator by slicing open his stomach.

The remaining alien looked unsure of what to do. I knew it was a terrible position to find one’s self in. He surely realized Lotor would most likely kill him, and yet Zarkon would have the gladiator killed if he tried to back out of this fight. Thus, with a roar that didn’t hold much feeling to it, the red skinned alien charged Lotor. We could hear the prince laughing, even over the roar of the panicking civilians. Lotor knew as well as anyone, that the remaining gladiator wouldn’t be a challenge.

It was over almost before it began, the sad looking expression frozen on the alien’s face as his head went flying through the air. Lotor had decapitated him cleanly in one stroke, the prince shaking with his laugher.

“You lowly monsters are no match for Prince Lotor!”

“You use your sword better than you use your brain.” Zarkon had risen from his seat, staring down at his son with a look of complete dissatisfaction on his face. No doubt Zarkon had been looking forward to seeing Lotor beaten before being sent back to his room.

Lotor growled, his body language tense as he turned to look up at his father. It was as though he just remembered his real reason for coming here. Pointing his blood soaked sword up at his father’s balcony, Lotor issued a challenge.

“I demand the rite of might from the King!”

Silence descended on the coliseum. Most of the civilians had fled, so that only we soldiers remained to hear Lotor’s challenge. Many of us kept our eyes on Prince Lotor, though a few nervous glances were sent King Zarkon’s way. What would Zarkon’s reaction be? Would he dare refuse his son’s demand? I think none of us thought Zarkon was a match for Prince Lotor, but we knew the king would be greatly dishonored if he refused the fight now.

“You would fight the King for the throne?” asked a soldier that was in the balcony with King Zarkon. The King immediately silenced the solider with a fist to the face, Zarkon smiling a fanged smirk at Lotor.

“So my very ambitious son. It’s not just Arus you lust for. You also desire my crown.” Zarkon paused for Lotor’s agreeing nod, the King’s eyes narrowing into a glare. “Very well. So be it! It’s your royal right to challenge me!” Before Lotor could even think to gloat, Zarkon was threatening him. “But you will regret this folly.”

All round me, the soldiers were relaxing. They holstered their weapons, and took seats in the stands. I caught whispers of conversation among them, one speaking how this should be a good duel.

“I wonder who will win?” Another asked.

“Whoever does will be King.” Answered another.

“I bet sixty gold coins on the prince.” Said the first.

“I’ll take that bet.” Grinned the third.

Similar bets were occurring among all the soldiers. There was almost an easy air about what was to occur. They weren’t about to hold grudges against the prince for hurting so many of their comrades. Not when the King and Lotor so often killed over the slightest thing. We were all deadened to the killing, accepting it as our way of life. Even I had accepted it once upon a time.

It would take time for King Zarkon to arrive in the coliseum’s pit. He hadn’t bothered to change his clothing, still dressed in black silk, with a heavier velvet robe of red. Zarkon had exchange his scepter for a sword, his grip strong as he looked over his son. Lotor was wearing his commander’s uniform, though it was a pitiful sight, all torn ragged by swords and covered in blood.

He was also wearing his helmet, the metal polished to gleam. Lotor stared back at his father, a grim, deadly air of menace about his expression. Lotor was taking this far more seriously than Zarkon was. I had no doubt if Lotor gained the advantage, he would end his father’s life. But Zarkon I wasn’t so sure about, the King relaxed and acting more put out than anything else.

It was interesting to see them fight like this. I knew the King had once been a great warrior, his strength and prowess with a sword earning him the respect of his armies. But that was over twenty years ago. And as far as I knew, Zarkon had not been keeping up with daily sword practice. How would he fare against the prince? I did not know, and as I watched the two circle around each other for a good ten minutes, I began to wonder if I would ever get an answer to my question.

“Come fight!” Zarkon goaded Lotor towards him, a smirk on his face. “I know you can’t be coward enough to not face your old man in battle!”

“I’ll show you who is the coward!” Lotor snarled, and began rushing across the pit towards Zarkon. His arm was held high, he would attempt to bring his sword down to split Zarkons’ head in two. Zarkon tensed, and at the last moment brought his sword up to block Lotor’s slash. He would then slash at Lotor, the prince defending, then thrusting forward only to be blocked again.

They would fight like this for what felt like hours, neither seeming to land a blow on each other. Lotor always showed his impatience, leaping often as he attempted to cleave open Zarkon’s head. But they were too evenly matched, leaving me to wonder if the fight would end in a draw, or if both would collapse from exhaustion.

Suddenly a gasp from the watching soldiers. Zarkon had moved a little to slow to properly defend himself. The red velvet robe of his fell free of his body, revealing the black suit he wore beneath it. Lotor pointed his sword at Zarkon, smirking at his victory. It died down when his helmet split in half, the King apparently landing a blow at the same instant Lotor had slashed off his robe.

Lotor’s blood trickled down over one eye. If not for the helmet, Lotor would have been dead. The soldiers recognized this, and began hailing Zarkon as the victor. Lotor scowled, his grip tightening on his sword’s hilt. Zarkon stepped towards him, and thrust his sword into Lotor’s face.

“My next blow will not have a helmet to stop it.” Zarkon warned, and I could hear Lotors’ growl of frustration. But ultimately he conceded defeat, dropping to his knees as he let go of his sword. Zarkon continued to point the sword at Lotor, looking down at him as though tempted to end his son’s life. “To win a battle, my ambitious son, it not only takes strength it takes brains.”

“I have learned my lesson father.”

“Then here’s another lesson.” Zarkon raised his sword arm, the point gleaming as he prepared to bring it down on Lotor. “Don’t expect forgiveness.”

I ceased to breathe for one moment, waiting for that sword to drop. Zarkon would never get to complete that movement, Haggar running out into the pit. “A word your highness!” The witch was not fool enough to stand between Zarkon’s sword and Lotor’s body, though she did drop down to her knees besides Zarkon. “I believe the prince has indeed learned his lesson. Now he will be much more valuable to you. Forgive his youthful rebellion. Direct his rebellious energy into more useful channels.”

Zarkon appeared to be considering the witch’s words. I inwardly cursed at the witch’s interference, watching as she whispered advice to Lotor. The prince’s lips thinned out in disapproval, he seemed even more angry at whatever Haggar had said. We could all see he was struggling with something. His whole body moved with reluctance, Lotor prostrating himself on all fours before the King.

“I want so badly to defeat Voltron and destroy Arus, that I lose my control.” Lotor spoke loud and clearly, begging for forgiveness. His head was lowered, eyes on the ground. “Forgive me father.”

“Very well.” Zarkon lowered his arm, the breath I had been holding hissing out of me. I couldn’t believe Zarkon was being so forgiving, even if Lotor was his only heir. “But be warned! Never ever challenged me again! The next time I will not be so forgiving!”

“I understand father.” Lotor told him.

Not taking his eyes off his son, Zarkon raised his sword once more. The cheers of the soldiers grew in volume, acknowledging Zarkon’s win over Lotor. The King seemed to bask in the attention, a grin crossing his lips. “Come everyone…we shall return to the throne room to celebrate my victory! There will be wine and women for everyone!”

That got even more cheers from the soldiers, the gathered men liking that their King was so generous this day. Zarkon tapped Lotor on the shoulder with the flat of his blade, smirking down at him. “You come too, Lotor.”

“Father?” Lotor was surprised.

“I recognize that I have some part to play in the blame of your actions this day. This house arrest I forced on you has made you restless. Come, celebrate with me. And allow me to tell you of the latest plan I have for Voltron.”

“Yes, Father.” Lotor rose, though he was not allowed to gather his sword. Zarkon didn’t trust him enough to allow Lotor to be armed around him. Together, they and Haggar would move to leave the pit. The soldiers would still be cheering. I fought a glower, wondering if I could avoid the upcoming celebration. But as I turned to leave, a hand claped over my back.

“Come Lieutenant. Don’t look so down!” It was a soldier who was three ranks beneath me, the man grinning jovially at me. “The King supplies nothing but the best for these celebrations of his. The best wine, and certainly the best women!”

Other soldiers laughed at that, several wearing leers as they thought about what they would do to the slave girls. I found myself being dragged along to the throne room, strong armed by several well meaning Drules. I was loathe to partake in the festivities, and avoided all intoxicants. I didn’t want to lose my senses around Lotor, fearful of what the prince would do if I was so weakened around him.

No one else had such reservations towards the drinks offered us, the soldiers drinking deeply. Soon the throne room was filled with raucous laughter, and the upbeat sound of music playing. Slave girls were weaving about the soldiers, the women trembling as they carried pitchers of wine. Quite a few were grabbed by the soldiers, openly fondled and groped in sight of each other.

Some of the men, emboldened by the wine, began to do more than just grope their chosen slave girls. They began to strip them, some intent on coupling with those slaves right there on the throne room’s floor. A sharp reprimand from the King, sent the laughing and leering soldiers fleeing from the room. Of course they took the slave girls with them, the frightened females slung over their shoulders, sobbing.

I was more than ready to leave myself, when I noticed Haggar and Lotor up on the throne dais with the King. Zarkon had his own goblet in his hand, he was nodding to the witch. She had the view screen lowered from the ceiling, the few remaining soldiers and I pausing to look up at it. What was going on, what entertainment was the witch offering the King?

The screen flickered to life, showing a vast emptiness. There wasn’t any planets about for what seemed like billions of light years, only a lone ship flying about that darkness. Lotor frowned, looking bored. “What is this place Haggar?”

“This is sector D-29.” She told him.

“Sector D-29? There’s nothing of worth out there. Nothing at all!” Lotor complained.

“That’s where you’re wrong.” Haggar’s eyes gleamed, the witch wearing an eager smile. “There’s something very valuable out there. Something that’s been overlooked for years…”

“Well, witch, what is this valuable thing then?” Lotor demanded, just as the throne room doors opened. I didn’t turn to look that way, too intent on the monitor and the conversation that followed.

“Why it’s the perfect weapon to destroy planet Arus of course!” Haggar laughed then. Lotor laughed too, though he wasn’t happy about it. He simply didn’t believe her.

“And what is this perfect weapon?” Lotor asked.

“Why it’s the Omega Comet, of course!” Gasps were issued through out the room. We all recognized the name. The Omega Comet was an anomaly, a freak occurrence of nature that should have never existed. No one knew for sure where the Omega Comet had come from. Some said it’s origins extended before the universe was created, back when the only thing to exist was the stars.

Supposedly there had been a great explosion. One that blew apart the universe, and reformed it into the galaxies that now existed. It scattered energy and gas, planets, black holes, nebula and quasars being made. It was rumored that among these things, the oddity that was the Omega Comet was created.

The Omega Comet was a fearsome thing, whose effects were devastating. It looked like a planet, dark and black with no life on it. But it acted like a black hole, and moved about as though it was a comet. It’s gravitational pull was such that it sucked everything into it, eventually destroying them. Whole planets had been ruined by it when the comet passed by them.

The very land of the planets were uprooted by the comet, earthquakes and floods, volcanoes erupting, tornadoes forming. Until the planet fell apart, the people being killed by the cataclysms the Omega Comet caused.

It had been so long since the Omega Comet had last been seen, many of us thought it was an old wives tale. Some even believed Voltron had been the one to get rid of the Omega Comet, carrying it off to a far away sector of the universe. I didn’t believe Voltron capable of such a thing, for what if any could withstand the destructive power of such a comet?

We would see the comet’s powers in effect, the ship on the screen drawing near to what looked like a dead planet. But it’s movement was erratic, not following any known orbit. As the ship drew closer and closer, the gravitational effects of the comet were apparent. The ship began to struggle, trying to pull back. Waves of white energy shot out from the comet, surrounding both it and the ship.

The ship was a strange looking one. It’s rear seemed to be made up of several large iron rings. That ring piece seemed the only part of the ship that wasn’t starting to crumble apart. Even as the ship crashed into the surface of the comet, much of it shattering on impact, the rings remained intact.

“Haggar, what are you doing?!” Lotor demanded. “You’ve destroyed one of our best star ships!”

“Take it easy sire.” Haggar laughed. “It’s all going according to plan! Watch closely now…”

The ring were starting to glow, a light as bright and white as the energy the comet was now giving off. Haggar continued to laugh, her excitement apparent. “We had to sacrifice the ship to get the rings in place on the surface of the comet.” She explained. The light of the rings were overwhelming the comet’s energy, forming criss cross patterns all over it. “Those rings will allow me to take control of the Omega Comet, the deadliest weapon in the universe. By surrounding it with my favorite substance…nuclear radiation!”

“How long have you been planning this Haggar?!” Lotor demanded.

“Months now!” Haggar told him. “It’s taken me even longer to find this comet. But the hard work is over with. And now we can knock it off course and send it barreling towards Arus!”

“Excellent work Haggar!” Zarkon began to laugh, surely imagining the destructive effects the comet would have on Arus “At last we will put an end to both Arus and Voltron! They will become an example that lets all of the galaxy know what happens when they try to defy the Doom Empire!”

A loud, female gasp was heard, the woman then screaming out a protest. “NO! You can’t! It’s too horrible!” I turned in shock, spying Romelle standing besides General Mogor. I didn’t understand why she was here, and from the sound of Lotor’s unhappy exclamation, neither did he.

“Romelle! What is she doing here?!”

“You mustn’t do this Lotor!” Romelle was crying out. Any explanation Zarkon could have offered was lost to the sound of Lotor’s mocking laughter and Romelle’s pleas. “You have no right to destroy Arus!”

“My power gives me the right princess!” Lotor retorted, smirking at her. She began shaking with her upset, looking so frail and fragile from her months spent in the castle dungeons. She was paler than I remembered, and her face looked thinner than it used too. I worried for her health, and worried even more for the immediate threat that was Lotor.

“I’ll find a way to stop you, prince Lotor!” Romelle shouted. “Count on it!”

“My dear, you may be a princess on your planet, but here? Here you are nothing but a slave.” Lotor was relishing telling her this, practically purring in satisfaction. “There’s nothing you can do!” I had stood up at this time, concern for Romelle making me step towards her. “Where do you think you’re going, Lieutenant?”

“The…prisoner is unwell. Anyone can see that. She needs to rest, not be exposed to further stress and agitation.”

“I’ll decide what she can and can’t face!” Lotor retorted, but Zarkon snorted.

“You decide nothing until I give her to you!”

Romelle seemed to pale even further, swaying on her feet. I was already moving to catch her, but Mogor caught her first. “Sire please….she needs her rest!” I persisted with this plea, hoping to somehow appeal to Zarkon’s limited mercy.

“I suppose you’re right about that. We can’t have Romelle dying before I find a use for her.” I couldn’t relax at Zarkon’s agreement, inching towards Mogor and Romelle. “General Mogor will take you back to your cell.”

“I can do it.” I blurted out before I could stop myself, eagerness coloring my words. Lotor gave me a sour look, but had no chance to protest this.

“No, let the general do it.” Zarkon decided. “You and Lotor both lose your heads around this wench. I need someone who can remain impervious to Romelle’s charms.”

“Fine.” I grit out through clenched teeth. My eyes stayed on Romelle, watching her bow her head. She didn’t fight as Mogor began leading her out of the room, and I found myself trying to follow just seconds later.

“Stay right here Lieutenant.” Ordered Zarkon. “I don’t want you or Lotor wandering the halls until Romelle is secured back in her cell.”

Sighing, I slunk back to my seat. Lotor smirked at me, which only fueled my anger. It made me want to lash out, but there was no target I wanted save for Lotor’s face. I reached for a glass, it’s contents water. I hoped it would cool down my anger, even as Lotor continued to mock me with his smirk. He wouldn’t be smiling for long, a new concern occurring to him.

“What about Allura, witch?”

“Forget about her, she brings you nothing but trouble and heartache!” Zarkon snarled.

“But I…”

“Worry not prince Lotor. I have taken into account your feelings, and have a plan to get you the princess.” Haggar said, reassuringly. Zarkon made a disgusted sound, finishing off his drink.

“It’s always you and that princess.” He muttered.

“Allura is the woman for me. The only woman.” Lotor retorted. “I won’t settle for anyone else.”

“So you say Lotor, so you say.” Grumbled Zarkon. He then proceeded to ask Haggar for more details about the Omega Comet, the witch explaining the myths behind it’s origin. I can’t say I paid much attention. From the looks of things, neither did Lotor, the prince seeming absolutely bored by this conversation. We’d both be trapped in the throne room, never suspecting that a larger plot was being carried out, Romelle at the heart of it.

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