Time 01

The alarms were blaring throughout the castle, each ringing of them alerting all within it’s range that danger was approaching. It called her into action, Allura abandoning her conversation with her maids in mid sentence, the girl bolting towards the nearest staircase. She wasn’t the only one in a hurry, she could see the various soldiers that were stationed within her home making a mad dash towards those same stairs.

Others were moving higher into the castle, the men and women ready to take up position on the castle turrets, to work the assault weaponry in defense of the castle. Those not in military uniform prepared for the castle to go in lock down, no one would be leaving so long as enemy ships were in the sky.

Allura sighed as she ran, clearing the final steps of the staircase. It was turning out to be another typical day on Arus, beautiful weather that was marred with deadly malice as threat of an invasion drew near. She didn’t need to look out a window to know who was behind the threat, who was ALWAYS attempting to take over her world. It left her wondering if King Zarkon would ever get tired of these attempts, even as she realized that no, he would not, not so long as he was still alive.

The alarms continued to ring, so loud they blocked out the sound of her footsteps. The sound grated on her ears, aggravating Allura for more than one reason. Sometimes she woke up at night to these alarms ringing in her ears, Zarkon’s forces not one to care about the late time of night before attacking. When they weren’t dealing with Doom’s assault, she was often practicing her pilot skills, doing drills at all hours of the day. Somehow she managed to fit in time to be a princess, though her royal duties were limited, her advisor Coran often overseeing things in her place.

She could picture the advisor in her mind, the mustached man surely hurrying towards the command center just like she was. Ever vigilant, Coran would be taking up position before the great computer, already raising the platform that revealed the chutes that led to Arus key defense systems. The lions of Voltron. Allura prayed she would be good enough today, that she would exceed everyone’s expectations, not only surviving the upcoming battles, but helping to win them.

Her planet and people deserved nothing less than her best, Allura understanding she was the weakest link of the five pilots who rode the lions. Sometimes she thought that perhaps she should resign from her pilot position. But she was too greedy for the freedom it gave her to do more than quietly contemplate such an act.

The door to the command center was in view, already opening, beckoning her onwards. She could see the lights of the computers flickering, and spy the large view screen that wasn’t completely blocked out by the raised computer platform. On it were the ships of Doom, the would be conquerors filling the sky with their beetle black ships, vehicles that bore stark red emblems that looked like blood splattered on their metallic hides.

Standing by the chutes, clad in a less gruesome shade of red, was a young man. Keith was almost always the first to arrive in the command center, as though he had an intuitive sense of the attacks before they happened. Even now she could see he was tapping his foot impatiently, the captain of the five pilots eager to get them into their lions.

She put on a burst of speed, determined not to be the last to arrive, and made it just before the diminutive Pidge, and the larger man known as Hunk came huffing in behind her. Lance was there already, hands on his hips as he glared at the view screen.

“Doesn’t Lotor ever take a day off?” He demanded, naming King Zarkon’s son.

“He disappears only long enough to bring back reinforcements.” Answered Keith, fixing Lance with a chiding look. “You already know that Lance.”

“Yeah, yeah. I know.” Lance shrugged him off. “Still it would be nice if nice if he got sick or something, maybe some deadly disease he could pass on to his father.”

“If only we were so lucky.” Keith sighed, and Pidge began to rattle off the chances of that happening.

“Save the statistics for some other time, little buddy.” Hunk interrupted the bespectacled youth. “We got some butt kicking to do.”

“Coran.” Allura spoke up, wanting to turn away from the view screen, yet staring in horror as Drule ship’s rained down laser fire on one of her villages. “They haven’t unleashed a robeast yet…what are they waiting for?”

“I don’t know princess.” The advisor admitted. “And we don’t have the time to speculate! They’ve already set half of that town on fire, and many people are trapped. You five must hurry to the village, put out the fires if you can, and save as many people as possible.”

“Got it.” Keith said, and jerked a thumb at the launch chutes. “Let’s go team.”

“Right!” Came the chorusing answer, the group of five running to their respective chutes. Allura launched herself forward, not hesitating as she lunged for the swing that would lower her down the chute. It was a long drop, but she held on bravely, hands long used to holding on for that period of time. As she went lower, she saw an opening beneath her, metal pulling apart to admit her body down into a transport ship.

The ship was small, holding just enough room for one person. She had no need to control it, it was already gliding forward down a tunnel, lights flickering all across the dashboard. The ride was shorter than it was for some of the other pilots, her lion located within walking distance of the castle. But no amount of walking would allow her to access her lion from outside, not when it was buried deep beneath the castle’s moat.

The stone tunnel gave way to a tubing that allowed her to see the water all around her, and then the transport was stopping. The roof opened up, and her seat ascended upwards, Allura gripping the armrests as she was lifted up inside blue lion. A loud thump was heard, the seat locking into place before the lion’s dashboard console. She began to prep it for start up, fingers flying over the console, and then she was pulling her pilot’s key off her uniform.

Placing it into the appropriate spot, the lion roared into life, Allura guiding it to fly up out of the water. Keith appeared in black lion, almost instantaneously by her side. The other three lions were further away from the castle, and would meet them there at the village.

“Follow me princess!” Keith’s voice came over her radio, and she voiced her agreement. With a bit of jet propulsion, black lion was taking off, the larger vehicle easy to follow.

Their trip towards the village was interrupted by Doom’s star cutters, the fighter ships flying through the sky towards them. “Keith!” She cried out in warning.

“I see them princess.” His tone was grim as he answered, his tail blaster already shooting lasers at the attacking ships. She joined him in fighting, sending out pulse beams and ionized energy waves at the star cutters.

Not all their attacks hit, the star cutters dropping down to avoid the lasers. Some looped around behind them, Allura quickly raising her shields, trying to protect both her front and rear as her lion and black lion were sandwiched in between the enemy. The shields took the brunt of the attacks, but it would flicker oocasionaly, revealing that it was weakening under the assault.

“We don’t have time for this!” Allura cried out, frustrated with the delay, and wanting to get to the village and save the people.

“Just be patience princess.” Advised Keith, still firing off his attacks. “If you rush, you’ll make a mistake we can’t afford.”

She sighed, Allura biting back an angry retort. Instead she focused on the ships, one was near enough that she landed on it’s back. With a roar of her lion’s voice, she had it’s powerful jaws clamp down on a wing. Her lion’s claws were already digging open the roof of the star cutter, exposing wires to it’s sharp nails. She brought the ship to a crashing halt, ripping out the wires the pilot need to maintain control.

As the damaged wires sparked and exploded into flames, she leapt off the back of the ship, twisting in mid air to shoot at the star cutters that were on her and Keith’s rear. Black Lion was taking out the ships ahead of them, one after another, but it was taking too long. Allura felt every minute, moaning to herself about the potential lives lost at their delay.

“This is taking too long!” She said to herself, and a voice answered her over the air waves.

“Here we are, the Calvary riding to the rescue!” Lance’s laughing voice exclaimed. She nearly wilted in relief, spying red lion spewing flames as it charged towards their attackers. Green lion wasn’t too far behind, Pidge waiting to get in close before unleashing it’s wind fueled attacks. Only Hunk was nowhere to be found, the desert where his lion lay located the furthest from the castle.

“About time too!” Keith snapped, voice sounding strained. “You deal with these guys, I’ll escort Allura to the village.”

“Right!” Pidge said, and Lance echoed his agreement.

“We’ll get you an opening, don’t you worry!”

“Thanks Lance, Pidge.” A grateful Allura said. She continued to fight, watching as Pidge summoned a curved blade to green lion’s mouth. It glowed bright with energy for a moment, before turning to sharp tipped metal. Red lion and green lion were the smallest of the five ships, but no less deadly. Pidge guided his lion forward, and the blade in it’s mouth cut open the sides of a ship, his claws hooking into the exposed wires and pulling.

Lance’s lion was in command of the fire element, and it showed this now in the way it spewed flames, setting several ships on fire. They soon exploded in the sky, and sometimes Drule pilots ejected just before the ship was destroyed. But more often than not they died with their ships, leaving Allura torn on whether to mourn the loss of life or not.

It took several more minutes, but soon a space was open between the star cutters. Black lion immediately flew forward, Keith ordering Allura to stick close to him. She nodded and guided her lion behind him, practically riding on his tail as they hurried to clear the space before it was closed by the star cutters. Black lion continued to fire beams form it’s eyes, exploding ships that drew too close.

Of course several ships pulled away from red and green lion, intending to give chase to the two escaping lions. Allura could see her shield’s defenses rapidly dropping from the assault, she let out a worried moan. “Keith, my shield is down by twenty-five percent!”

“If it drops down another ten percent, start diverting power from your weapons systems!” The captain advised. “You have to hang in there long enough to put out the fires, and form Voltron!”

“Understood.” She answered, and concentrated on avoiding as many attacks as she could. She heard a roar, and realized yellow lion had appeared, Hunk guiding it behind her to cover Allura’s back as best he could.

“Don’t worry princess, I got you covered!” The loyal friend said, and she smiled gratefully at the sound of his voice.

“Thanks Hunk!”

Sandwiched in between black and yellow lion, she soon arrived at the burning town. Chaos reigned in it’s streets, the people were panicking and rightfully so. Some of their homes had already collapsed, the fire having made the building unstable. People were trapped, not only in the burning buildings, but also on the streets by the rubble of the broken buildings.

“How horrible…” Allura whispered, even as she prepared her lion’s water cannon. She didn’t know where to start first, looking around for a target. She spied people trapped by the burning rubble, and began spraying her water cannon in that direction.

“Hunk!” Keith’s voice cut into the silence over the airwaves. “Over to your right….there are people about to jump!”

Allura gasped at the captain’s words, glancing in the direction of yellow lion. She spied a cluster of people grouped together on the top of a burning building. She didn’t understand how they had ended up on the roof, but realized at this height they would surely die if they gave in to the impulse to jump. But the flames were licking higher and higher on the building, the structure itself seeming to sway.

“That buildings going to go down at any second!” Allura realized, then screamed when she saw a man jump off the building.

“I got him!” Hunk shouted, diving his lion forward to be under the falling man. Allura breathed a sigh of relief, watching as yellow lion hovered next to the building’s roof, allowing the other people to scramble on.

It was just seconds later that the building gave in, collapsing in a cloud of dust as yellow lion carried the people to safety away from the town. Allura continued to fire her water cannon, and black lion concentrated on fighting off the ships that harassed the town and it’s people. Yellow lion would soon return to the town, aiding Keith in his battle, but also pausing to gather up more villagers to take them away.

Allura wondered if anywhere would be safe enough on her planet, watching as more buildings collapsed. The lions weren’t always quick enough, some people died that day, others gravely injured. But still she couldn’t take the time to be properly horrified, Allura almost mechanical as she worked on putting out the fires.

It was about a half n hour later that red and green lion arrived at the town, Lance having to be careful with his fire attacks so as not to add to the village’s problems. Hunk poured sand on some of the fires, trying to smother them out that way. They were just beginning to make a difference in the fires, when a coffin landed in the middle of the village.

Allura heard Lance let out one expletive after another, the girl spraying water on one last building before Keith called out the command to regroup. She regretfully hurried away from the burning buildings to get into the circle of protection of the other lions.

“Get ready for it!” Keith called out.

“It’s one of Haggar’s robeast!” Pidge exclaimed, even as a beam hit the coffin from the overhead flag ship of the Drule fleet. They watched as the coffin exploded, stray splinters flying through the air. The cause for the explosion was soon apparent, the monster inside growing to gigantic proportions. It was a pinkish purple in color, with ugly gray veins covering most of it’s body. It wielded a a chain that had a spiked ball on one end, and what looked like a cannon was strapped to it’s arm.

“Haggar’s latest experiment is packing deadly explosives on that arm!” cried out Pidge, the youth having scanned the robeast.

“Okay team, avoid that cannon blast no matter what!” Keith ordered.

“Right!” came the answer, the lions flying forward to meet the robeast. But this point the Drule ships had all pulled back, their enemies content to watch the show. The robeast screamed, sounding angry, and began twirling it’s spiked ball over it’s head. Hunk cried out when the spikes caught the underside of yellow lion’s belly, something tearing open.

It didn’t disable yellow lion completely, the lion hovering uncertainly in the air. “Stay back Hunk, until we need you!” Came Keith’s command, Hunk sputtering out a weak protest.

“I can still fight!”

“Damn it Hunk, if you take any more damage, you may not be able to form Voltron! Stand down!” Keith snapped, sounding angry.

Red lion and green lion chose to tag team the robeast, firing missiles at it’s front, and swooping down low to slash their claws across it’s legs. It screamed and turned to follow them, dripping blood on the floor of the town. With it’s back exposed to them, black lion and blue lion opened fire, shooting everything they had into it’s rear. The robeast quickly spun around, lashing out with its chain wielding arm towards them.

They went to evade, the ball crashing into a building. Allura flew to the right of the robeast, Keith taking up position on it’s left. The robeast turned to track blue lion, raising it’s cannon bearing arm in her direction.

“Princess, watch out!” screamed Pidge in warning.

“I see it Pidge!” Allura said, already moving to evade the blast. The robeast turned to follow her, ignoring the others for the moment, firing blast after blast. She just barely managed to avoid the hits, soon meeting up with Keith’s lion and dodging them together with him. Red lion suddenly roared, Lance driving it to crash into the robeast’s back.

Several things happened at once. The spiked ball crashed to the ground, crushing rubble beneath it into dust. Green lion sunk it’s teeth into the left shoulder of the robeast, and black lion fired a pulse beam. But the worst, most damaging thing was the instant red lion struck it, it managed to fire off another shot from it’s cannon. Allura had been managing to evade the attacks just fine, when the shot went off center, moving towards her front. She couldn’t dodge in time, Allura screaming as she saw the blast speed towards her lion.

Frantically, she began diverting all her power to her shields, praying it would be enough. The blast hit her head on, flames and smoke erupting all around her. Her lion rocked from the force of the attack, she fell forward, smashing her forehead into the dashboard. Her helmet protected her from the worst of it, though she still earned a cut above her right eye, blood dripping down and forcing her to keep that eye closed.

The smoke was a thick, almost black color, with only the flames adding color to the darkness around her. Her radio buzzed an annoying noise, she frantically began pushing buttons, trying to contact Keith and the other pilots. No voices answered, her radio seemed disabled. Allura bit back her own curse, well aware her own lion was sparking dangerously.

“I have to get out of this smoke!” She realized, too shocked to be grateful she was still alive. Allura began speeding forward, but the smoke seemed endless, obscuring her vision and making her worry. She had the stray thought that if her sensors weren’t working, she’d fly right into danger, or crash into something solid. It made her fly more slowly, Allura trying to get her bearings.

“As soon as I get out of this, we’re forming Voltron.” She decided, wishing they had done that from the start. She was rattled to the nerves, shocked by her close call, and not looking forward to the shouting match her Nanny would unleash once she returned to the castle.

With a pained moan, she moved forward, and after what seemed like an eternity, she cleared the smoke and arrived to blue lit skies that were empty of all ships. She blinked, confused, not understanding what had happened to her comrades and the enemy ships. Or where the robeast was. She did a quick scan of her surroundings, and gasped anew, staring shocked at the sprawling CITY beneath her.

The village had been small, a rural farm town that hadn’t had much in the way of advancement. This city was huge, with sky reaching towers of buildings, all looking sleek and futuristic. Instead of the typical horse and carriage transports, there were hovering cruisers crowding in the streets below. People were on the sidewalks, many of them pausing to point up at her lion.

Allura didn’t understand, knowing there was nothing like this city on Arus. She tore away from the city, trying to find something familiar. Her locator device was offline, she had no way of knowing where she was or what was going on. But she soon came across a forest, and though it was a lot smaller than she remembered, it was the emerald woods that had bordered her home.

The castle of lions stood surrounded by woods on one side, and the lake on the other. She felt relief to see it there, even as she noticed it too was odd. It looked cleaner than she ever remembered seeing it, no hints of battle scarring it’s white ivory. But more than that, it’s white and blue banners had been replaced, black and red furled to drape over the sides.

Allura shivered to see those colors, knowing so long as she and Coran were around no one would dare cover the castle in planet Doom’s colors. Just what was going on? She had no answers, and even more questions when a voice broke in over her radio, the words a guttural growl. Was the Drule that was being spoken? Her eyebrows lifted in surprise, Allura struggling to remember the smattering of Drule she had learned through her fighting with Doom.

The words repeated, Allura sure they were asking if she was the enemy. She frowned, choosing to remain silent, which only angered the voice. Suddenly blips on her radar screen appeared, ships being launched from the castle. They were as black as any Drule ship she had ever seen, and she frantically tried to avoid their attacks, knowing her shields had been dropped down to only 10 percent after that last hit by the robeast’s cannon attack.

Scrambling frantically, her weapons refusing to work, Allura began concentrating all her efforts on evasion maneuvers. She didn’t know how long she could last, and she was immensely relieved when four new blips appeared on her radar, heralding the arrival of the lions. Never had she been so grateful to see Keith and the others than she was now, Allura smiling, thinking they would form Voltorn now.

Her relief lasted only a moment as the lions opened fire on her, her unprotected back bearing the worse of the damage. Allura screamed as her lion spiraled out of control, voices shouting at her in Drule over the airwaves. She tried her best to slow her forced descent, but there was no stopping the damaged lion. Another scream escaped her as she slammed into the courtyard of the castle, Allura’s head hitting the dashboard once more.

She had time to moan out her pain, struggling to hold onto consciousness, as the lions landed around her. The four boxed her in, and she could only whisper why in confusion. Black lion’s roof hatch opened, and she saw a figure clad in white and red climb out. But it was no black haired human who stood on top of black lion, but a gray skin colored Drule that stood glaring at her lion.

Sure this was nothing more than a bad dream, Allura gave in to the impulse to pass out, her head pounding in protest.

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