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this is the golden age (but we've lost our way)

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The discovery that Haggar was apparently Altean had been mostly ignored in the wake of Shiro’s disappearance. Allura had told them in aftermath of the battle, as they all huddled exhausted and in shock in what they’d dubbed the living room. As world changing as the news might have been at any other time, it paled in comparison to the team’s current situation. There were far more immediate concerns. Yet as days turned in weeks, without any sign of Shiro, one member of Voltron couldn’t help but keep thinking about the revelation.

In an abstract sort of fashion, Pidge had always been fascinated by Haggar from the moment she’d learned about her. Sure, she was a crazy space witch. A psychotic alien who had tortured Shiro and who knew how many others. She’d created the Robobeasts that they’d fought multiple times. Logically, Pidge shouldn’t want to know anything more about her than she absolutely had to.

She was still interested.

From the look of Shiro’s arm, Haggar was clearly working with some impressive tech alongside whatever ‘magic’ she was using. If magic was the right word at all – from the sounds of things Altean’s had some sort of physiological adaptation to channel quintessence. If that was the case, then in the immortal words of Arthur C. Clarke, magic was just sufficiently advanced technology that she couldn’t understand. Not yet anyway.

And the thing was, Pidge loved tech. She spoke its language. She understood it better than she’d ever understood people. So sue her if she was maybe a little fascinated by the space version of Doctor Frankenstein. Haggar was a puzzle that she was yet to decode, and Pidge found herself determined to do just that.

 

 

 

Step one in her plan involved finding Allura and pumping her for information. Unfortunately, this was easier said than done. These days the princess was so busy, getting her alone was nearly impossible. After several fruitless days though, Pidge finally struck gold.
Over the last few months, Pidge had building her own more compact  ‘Mouse Droids’ (which might have been inspired by a certain film series, sue her). Unlike their namesakes, they were far more compact and discreet, perfect for their intended purpose. Said purpose was to be her eyes and ears in the castle. Sure the castle had its own monitoring systems, but if someone infiltrated the castle she preferred to have her own backup system just in case. Besides, they were useful for other things – like monitoring Allura to catch her on her own.

It was some ungodly time in the morning when an alert popped up on her tablet (not that she was sleeping – sleep was for the weak). Tapping it, she discovered Allura was alone in the bridge. Perfect. Grabbing her tablet, she started jogging through the labyrinth of tunnels up to the bridge. Even in the middle of what had been designated as a sleep cycle, the lights were still as cool and unforgiving as usual.
Pidge didn’t mind it. Even though her connection to Green had brought her more in touch with nature, she wasn’t suddenly an outdoorsy person. For one thing, she burnt way too easily for her liking. So though she might miss home, she was oddly at home in the castleship.
Surprisingly quickly she made it up to the bridge. These days, she was a lot fitter than she used to be. Slowing in pace, she strolled into the room and spotted the princess. Allura was standing at the helm. Although her back was turned to Pidge, she’d bet all the tech she had that Allura had a pensive expression.

“Can’t sleep?” she called out as she walked closer. Visibly startled, Allura jumped and spun around to face Pidge. Her expression cycled from shock, to recognition, to relief.

“Oh, Pidge. I'm sorry, I didn't realize you were there," she said apologetically. Pudge shrugged. It wasn't like she'd been there long. Assessing the situation, she walked up to stand beside Allura and stare out the viewport. An endless field of stars stretched out I to infinity before them. They stood in silence for a few minutes, just taking in the sight. Finally though, Allura broke the silence.

“Was there something you wanted me?" Pidge swore silently and vehemently under the weight of Allura’s knowing gaze. The princess really was far too perceptive to deceive. Letting out a sigh, she frowned. She knew she should speak but she stayed silent instead for several long moments.

“I want to research Haggar," she eventually said. She's planned on being subtle but that had gone out the window. Beside her the princess let out a surprised sound. Pidge kept talking. "I mean if she's Altean, I thought maybe I could find something about her in the ship’s database. It's a long shot and there probably won't be anything useful but I want to try. I want to do something.Except I don't even know where to start. How the heck do you find information about a single Altean who might not even be using her real name,” she said in a rush of breath. There was a long moment of silence.

“She is a member of the Altean Royal Family,” Allura said softly. Pidge choked and looking the princess with shock. Allura was playing with a lock of her white hair absently, lost in thought. “Only Altean royalty has white hair. Even when they get older, Altean hair stays the same color, not like human hair does." Pidge was speechless. Haggar was Altean royalty? But if that was the case, surely Allura would have known her if they were family?

“I don't know who she is, though. She must be related to me but Father never mentioned her,” Allura said, clearly guessing her line of thought.

“Thank you,” Pidge finally said, and meant it. Allura looked at her with surprise.

“Whatever for?” she asked.

Pidge grinned.

“Now I have something to work with.”

 

 

Despite her earlier...difficulties learning Altean, Pidge was proud to say that she was getting surprisingly proficient in reading Altean, even if she wasn’t always great at actually pronouncing it. Thus, she thought that her decision to trawl through the depths of the ship’s databanks for information on Haggar, while daunting, at least wouldn’t be impeded by a lack of understanding. Or so she’d believed.

Several hours later, Pidge had begun to realise that her understanding of Altean was even more rudimentary than she’d thought. Dropping her aching head into her hands she groaned. Apparently Alteans had a love of recording everything, but not of sorting things efficiently. The databank was crammed with centuries worth of articles, interviews reports, even the Altean version of gossip columns. Yet the name ‘Haggar’ wasn’t so much as mentioned. It was infuriating. Her eyes were burning, her shoulders ached from hunching over her keyboard, and she’d made zero progress. Honestly, she was beginning to doubt that Haggar was Altean at all. It was like she’d never existed-

Pidge froze, mulling over her last though. Then her lips twitched into an evil smile. Like she’d never existed...or all mentions over had been wiped. Now this was something she could work with. Haggar was supposedly royalty, but the princess had never heard of Haggar. And if she’d been removed from the data, there must have been some sort of scandal that made the Altean royal family pretend she’d never existed. Something big. Something that predated the Galran War and even Allura’s birth. Pidge had no idea what that scandal would be, but she was going to find out. Fingers flying over her keyboard, she starting inputting terms into the search engine.

 

 

Several hours, and many interruptions later (mainly by Lance), Pidge leaned back in her chair and whistled. Despite her exhaustion, she found herself staring at the screen in front of her, and a headlines of a series of articles she’d managed to pull up.

‘CROWN PRINCESS TO STUDY AT THE ALTEAN INSTITUTE OF SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT’

‘ROYAL INSIDER SAYS CROWN PRINCESS PURSUES STUDIES OVER ROYAL DUTIES’

‘CROWN PRINCESS ABDICATES POSITION TO YOUNGER BROTHER’

‘EX-PRINCESS SHUNS CASTLE FOR INNER-CITY APARTMENT?’

‘PRINCESS NO MORE - FROM PRINCESS TO PAUPER’

‘FORMER PRINCESS TO RESEARCH QUINTESSENCE’

‘GROUNDBREAKING RESEARCH ON QUINTESSENCE CONDUCTED BY EX-CROWN PRINCESS’

‘GOING TOO FAR? CONTROVERSY OVER RESEARCH CONDUCTED BY FORMER ROYAL’

‘ALSR GIVES EX-PRINCESS TO BOOT - RUMOURS OF EXPERIMENTS ON SENTIENT LIFEFORMS’

‘PRINCESS TURNED MURDERER? WHEN RESEARCH GOES TOO FAR’

‘EX-PRINCESS RESISTS ARREST AND FLEES PLANET’

‘FORMER PRINCESS NOW A FUGITIVE - LATEST NEWS ON THE SEARCH’

‘ROYAL REWARD - BOUNTY FOR EX-PRINCESS GROWS’

‘FORMER CROWN PRINCESS DEAD? EXPERTS SAY YES’

So it turned out that Alteans were just as prone to gossips as humans were. Yet for once, that was coming in handy. Browsing through the articles, Pidge began to put together an unsettling picture.

A few years before Allura’s birth, the next-in-line for the throne hadn’t been Alfor. Instead, it sounded like he’d had an older sister - one whose name had been redacted in all the articles. A sister who Pidge was now reasonably certain was Haggar. Despite being Crown princess, she’d apparently chosen to pursue a scientific career despite her royal duties. Eventually, she’d chosen (or been forced?) to abdicate her position to Alfor. She’d continued her scientific career, apparently focusing on quintessence. Then something had gone wrong. She’d fled the planet, and then vanished. No matter how hard she looked, Pidge couldn’t find anything but speculation about Haggar after that. She could only presume that Haggar had only resurfaced after Allura and Coran had gone into stasis.  

Yet even though Pidge had the answers she was looking for, she found herself distinctly unsatisfied. Though she might have answers, they’d left her with more questions, not less.

But she knew one thing for certain - this was only the beginning, not the end.