Smoke clung to every building, stand and lamppost in the small town, slinking into every crack and crevice it could find, mercilessly suffocating the light of life out of anything that wasn't robust enough to survive. But, despite the oppressive atmosphere and God awful conditions, Alumi Outpost Dredrik was bustling with activity, even if said activity was of the slightly more... nefarious kind.
However, none of these factors hindered the teen in his quest, no. In fact, he blundered through every winding alley way and dark street corner with very little hesitation, blindly following a crudely drawn map towards a box marked with a dull red cross: The Warpers Inn. Which, as a matter of fact, was only a few streets away. But, of course, this was when a shifty looking figure had decided to take notice of the spritely young boy who was just a few minutes (if even that) from his destination. Couldn't the man have waited patiently until he had arrived and dealt his business? Ignored him like everyone else up until this point? He couldn't count how many suspicious people he'd almost physically bumped into, never mind seen. No, this man had to stop the boy in his tracks when he was so tantalising close to his destination that it almost hurt.
“What's a small child such as yourself doing in dangerous place like this?” The man- no, woman actually- asked in a thick syrup laden tone, patronising really. The teen came to a halt, mostly to avoid crashing into her as she had positioned himself directly in his path - purposefully. Given that he wasn't about to wriggle out of the situation immediately, he took a second to evaluate the intruder.
She was tall, and not only in comparison to the boy. It was honestly a wonder to him how every inch of her length was shrouded by the rather basic looking black cloak (now, he's no advocate for fashion, except that, he totally is) which even managed to cast shadows upon her face that were so intense that he couldn't make out a single feature. 'Shady' pretty much summed her up, pun intended and accounted for.
“Well, I have places to be, actually” He responded smartly, hoping that the bluntness and slight tinge of sarcasm would get this encounter over and done with. “If you must know, I'm headed to meet a person whom my family hold with high regard”. He felt a small shiver travel down his spine which told him that, even if he was the epitome of fifteen-year-old confidence on the outside, he was still a child at heart and a scared one at that. The oh so conveniently flickering street lamp overhead didn't help either.
“Ooooh, those are some pretty big words for such a small boy, who's this person you're on about?” The stranger continued with that sticky sweet and bubbly tone as if she had the right to know his business. Time for some action, his window of time could be reaching its end to meet him (although, from the information he had diligently gathered, said person in question enjoyed to spend a rather large amount of his time in the tavern/hotel of sorts).
“Couldn't tell you, to be honest, I've yet to meet him” Before the woman could ask any further or ask him if he'd like any candy and toss him in a small cargo ship to whisk him away, he deftly slipped by her side and continued down the road with a quickened pace. He didn't dare look back to check up on the strange woman, no matter how much he wished to call out “cheerio” with a sassy smirk.
The tavern, as he had expected but desperately hoped against, was as dreary as the place it inhabited and seemed to harbour the same collective of people as well. The soot smothered sign hung precariously on a single chain, the other having snapped had taken to lying limply in the air. Not that it particularly mattered, the black char prevented the sign from being legible in the first place. Two yellow stained windows were evenly spaced apart, separated by a rusted metal door with painfully obvious make shift hinges. The boy speculated that perhaps it had been an automatic slider back in its prime.
He felt like he could apply the phrase “back in its prime” to every aspect of the pitiful building, from the mesh of metallic and wooden patches of ceiling to the striking bullet holes and slashes across the walls. Although the concept certainly had one exception; the place was full to the brim with all kinds of species and was maybe even busier than it had been “back in its prime”. No wonder the landlord cared so little about the condition of his or her or their or (okay he'd stop there, aliens were just too diverse to recount every gender) property.
Why the person he was so desperate to meet hung out in a place like this was unknown to him (and held a lot of implications he wished didn't ring out true – don't judge a book by its cover and all that nonsense his dad liked to babble about).
Without a second thought, the boy slipped through the adjacent door and quickly slithered into the nearest shadow within the establishment, wish were surprisingly few and far between thanks to the sheer amount of light emitting objects within the beer hall alone. He had a couple of reasons for not wanting to be noticed, one being that he was fairly certain he shouldn't legally be there given his age and the second being related to the earlier incident with the intrusive woman. He was situated behind a cluster of spare chairs, hidden from anyone who wasn't paying a ridiculous amount of attention to his exact spot, so he was hidden from everyone. Alas, it was a small blessing. He didn't have much of a vantage point of the room and one quick glance revealed that the man he was in search of did not match the description of the only three people he could see. For starters, he wasn't neon in skin tone, never mind tailed, like this trio were.
With a muted sigh, he surveyed the area for a more suited place to perch and found exactly that- a perch. On the ceiling.
Like most old fashioned stylised taverns, this one had bars running the length of the roof for support that were level with where said roof and the walls of the inn met. Without any more time wasting, the boy put his years of tree climbing to use and managed to scale the chairs from the behind and sprawl across the beam. Unbeknownst to him, he hadn't exactly gone unnoticed but that wasn't about to affect him just yet.
With his new outlook over the room, he set to work. He quietly mumbled the traits he was supposed to be identifying as he scanned over intoxicated alien after intoxicated alien, not that it mattered how loud he was, the obnoxiously noisy atmosphere of the place would soon sweep away any dialogue that wasn't at shouting level.
A few minutes went by and he began to feel disheartened. It was difficult to keep a tally of those he'd already observed due to the amount of movement along with the comings and goings of the aliens. However, he didn't feel as such for much longer as his eyes laid sight on a man with a rather impressive looking rifle strapped to his back. He was sat in the corner with a companion who was looking... at him... directly in the eyes. The boy smiled sheepishly only to drop his smile as he realised that the man he'd been so keen to meet was also aware of his hiding place. Well, that was... one way to introduce himself.
He crawled to the end of his beam and slid over to the one adjacent, planting himself directly above their table. Without further ado, he dropped down, aiming for the unclaimed chair but instead landing on the hard, puke-tainted floor with an audible squeak.
“Appearances can be deceiving, but that noise? Definitely a child” The man with the rifle commented, a slight jokey lilt to his tone. Well, his dad hadn't got that one wrong, a sense of humour was apparent. The woman opposite to him chuckled and, damn, now the boy had a closer look he could really appreciate her beauty. She was a humanoid being with glimmering violet eyes and complimenting sun dusted skin (she had purple eyes, yellow skin and the boy was in love). He sat there, star struck for a second before being dragged back to reality by a grunt from the man to his left.
“Don't let her looks fool you, I fell for that myself once” His words rang true in spite of the smile they provoked from the recent object of the boy's newfound affections. “Now are you gonna tell me why you were playing monkey bars on the beams or?”
Right, he had a mission. He turned his attention back to the man he had been looking for with a determined look, fully taking in his appearance. The description he had been given was mostly accurate, his skin was indeed tanned and he resembled a human (though he knew that fact was up in the air and couldn't always be relied on, even now) with blue eyes and a tall build. Not to mention his signature rifle. However, it hadn't completely matched up. He'd expected blue attire yet he'd been met with dull browns and blacks. He'd also expected short hair and so called “radiant skin”, yet what he saw before him was anything but that. He was tired, oh so tired, and donned a few scars and a scraggly stubble. He gave off rugged vibes that the boy kinda saw worked, he undoubtedly wouldn't have too much trouble garnering a small crowd of admirers. Just as long as he leant more towards the “trendy” side of the unkempt style than the “homeless” side. But Nyma was still totally way out of this dude's league.
“I've been looking for you” The boy stated simply, he planned to take it slow with this man, having been told that the subject he wished to speak about may become touchy, fast.
“Isn't that interesting” The woman chirped, there was something that lay between teasing and insulting in her voice that he couldn't quite place and the boy took the silence that followed as an encouragement to continue.
“Have you heard of a man named Lotor?”
A dark expression clouded the man's face and he decidedly took a swig from his drink as if in anticipation of where this conversation would lead. “Yes, and you best hope you're not connected to him”
“I'm not” He assured, settling into the spare seat. “But I know you were and are” The man furrowed his brow at that statement.
“Kid, you're too young to be messing with this sort of st-”
The two elders at the table shifted simultaneously so that the boy was hidden from the rest of the tavern dwellers' sights. The action was so unified that it gave the boy reason to suspect that the two were communicating telepathically.
“Keep your voice down, you're underage” The woman whispered, barely audible over the nearby jeers coming from some sort of drinking contest on the table closest.
“And bringing up dangerous topics” The man added.
Frustration still simmered in the boy's veins at the judgement but he did have the capacity to understand that he needn't draw in any unwarranted attention to himself. “What I meant to say...” He began, reigning in his anger. “Is that's incredibly hypocritical of you, Lance”
Something unidentifiable flickered in the man's eyes as he struggled to formulate a sentence in response. “That... that's not my name”
If the boy was angry, well the emotion the woman was now communicating through her glare alone screamed murderous.
“His name is Xenith and he is a renowned hitman in the underground side of the galaxy, if you know what's best for you, you'd turn around and leave this inn before I personally separate your head from your neck for free”
The boy was stunned into silence, but one quick glance at “Xenith” told him that he was much worse for wear. The man was looking at Nyma with a mix of confusion, and some other emotion the boy couldn't quite decipher, displayed across his face. It took him a few moments to get the next words out. “...Nyma, is there something I should know?”
“Nothing at a-”
“Voltron” The boy interjected. So what if this Nyma girl had literally just threatened to behead him? So what if she was just about the most gorgeous thing he'd seen in his entire life? He was on a mission which he simply could not fail and this was only the beginning.
“...Voltron” Xenith rolled the word around his tongue as though it was a familiar yet foreign taste he just couldn't quite place. After a small contemplative silence, he continued. “It's something I've forgotten, isn't it?”
The question wasn't for the boy, it was for Nyma and from the knowing look she gave him, she had the answer. Not that she needed to verbalise it, point two for the telepathy theory.
“I generally don't appreciate it when people try to bring up things I've washed away, I mean, when you got to the lengths I did to do so, I don't think anyone really would. So you better have a damn good reason for it” He set down the deal with a discomforted grimace. Honestly, the boy felt kinda bad for him. But he couldn't dwell on that, lives were at stake.
“The empire has been revived”