Looking back, this story seems a little unlikely. Honestly, I found it hard to believe myself, and I was the one living it! But, in the end, it’s all true. It happened, and even though some bad stuff went down, I wouldn’t change it for anything.
This is the story of how I formed the head, ratted out a thot, kicked ass and took names with my crew, saved the universe, and got two hot boyfriends. I remember how it all started vividly, like it was yesterday...
It had been about two movements since the trip to Oriande, and I was frustrated. Lotor had been avoiding Shiro as much as possible since then, leaving me on edge, and to make matters worse, the aforementioned Black Paladin had been tense, jumpy and overall paranoid.
I had known something was off with our leader since we had found him. The way he snapped at Keith, his sudden lack of nightmares, the fact that the normally kind man had been quick to lose his temper recently, and more. All these clues painted a suspicious picture.
Of course, my suspicions were only solidified when Shiro didn't remember the Voltron mind connection on Olkarion. Something was off about Shiro, the man himself had admitted it! But without any proof, I couldn't do anything about it. The team didn’t seem to notice anything wrong, and the only other person who had was Keith, who was a bit uneasy around Shiro before he left. But now, Keith was gone, and my team wouldn’t take me seriously. Lotor seemed to be the only one wary of Shiro, and I was running out of options. I didn’t like it, but it seemed I had to trust the new Galran emperor. Well, I had thought, as the old saying goes. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.
I chose approach Lotor after a filling lunch, courtesy of my main man Hunk. As I walked over to the Galran, I fought the urge to turn around and bolt. Lotor’s presence gave me the heebie jeebies, and being near the man nearly caused my lunch to make a reappearance, but I stuck to my resolve. I had to do this. I had to find out what was really going on. "Hey,” I blurted out. “I was wondering if we could talk? Like, in private?" Lotor barely spared me a glance before nodding and turning to the door, waving his hand in a ‘follow me’ motion.
"I know somewhere we can speak away from prying ears." The purple man said in a lilting tone. Damn, his voice was hella smooth. "Follow me." And with that, he strode down the hall away from the castle dining room, leaving me to follow behind. We entered what looked to be an observation deck, a large wall displaying the stars, and I marveled at the view. I heard someone cough behind me, and I returned my attention to Lotor, shifting nervously from foot to foot.
"So, uh, you haven't really, uh, been hanging around Shiro much, huh." The Galran half-breed looked at me expectantly, waiting for me to get to the point. I took a deep breath and tried to steady myself. "Look,” I sighed, “I think something is... off... with Shiro. Ever since the first battle with Zarkon and the mega-teludav, he hasn't been the same. I think something's wrong, but I don't have any proof, and I've noticed you’ve tended to stay away from Shiro since Oriande, so I was wondering if you knew something, or if you could help me figure this out. That is, if you’re willing to help me." I smiled nervously, hoping I would be taken seriously. Lotor sighed, running a hand down his face.
“I have noticed the Black Paladin’s quintessence is acting oddly. I couldn’t see it before, but even without the blessing of Oriande, I am still much more in tune with the quintessence around me than I was before. I do not know how he was before you first defeated my father, but I can assume that it is not what I have witnessed in my time here.” I grinned. I have an ally, I thought. Maybe, we can figure this out. Before the walking Pantene commercial could continue, I rushed off with a quick “You won’t regret it”, hurrying to the training room to brush up on my swordsmanship. Ever since I unlocked the Altean broadsword as a new bayard form, I’d been doing extra training at night to learn how to wield it. Of course, it meant I didn’t sleep much, but I had no room to complain. I needed to prove to the team, and myself, that I was an important part of Team Voltron. Being the Sharpshooter is only good when you have room to shoot, after all.
Tired, sore, and really sweaty, I called it a day, reaching level three in the simulation.
Well, at least until tonight,
I mused. I was walking down the hall, when I bumped into a hard chest. From the size of it, I would have to guess the chest belonged to our leader. “Hey Shiro! Sorry for bumping into you, I wasn’t paying attention.” I felt this situation was oddly familiar. I was aware that Shiro used to roam the halls to patrol, or at night, tire himself out, and he would often be found in the training room after a particularly bad nightmare. I had run into him a few times when he missed home and needed to wander the halls to clear his head, and even if we never talked about it, sitting in silence with someone else is better than sitting in silence alone. But ever since he got back, Shiro’s nightmares were gone, and the halls were eerily empty at night. Which made no sense, by the way. I mean, after getting captured by the Galra again, wouldn’t you have more nightmares?
Shiro grinned, too cheerful. Our leader used to be calm and reserved. “It’s alright Lance.” Shiro paused, and seemingly remembered something. “Hey, shouldn’t you be in the dining hall right now? It’s almost dinner time.” I glanced at the space watch Pidge made for me, and seeing the time, I rushed to my room without another word to Shiro. I quickly showered, before running to the kitchen and grabbing my plate of goo.
Hunk waved me over, and I sat next to my best friend. “Hey buddy, where were you?” The Yellow Paladin seemed worried. “You missed Pidge sliding around the lounge with the food goo like a penguin. It was pretty funny. Especially when they crashed into a wall.” I shrugged, and shoveled the green goo into my mouth, scowling at the taste. I had never told the team about my extra training, and I definitely never wanted them to find out. I finished my food quickly, and hurried to my room to get some sleep. I was anxious for some reason, and I hoped tonight’s training would help calm me down. Little did I know...
I woke up to his alarm blaring quietly in my ear. I generally need loud noises to wake up, but the rooms weren’t completely soundproof, so I had set my alarm as high as I dared. I slowly rolled out of bed, before tugging on my suit. Whenever I trained at night, I would wear the flight suit from my Paladin armor. It was very flexible, breathable, and pretty durable, so it would protect me against any really bad hits from the training bot. I didn’t put the armor on though, seeing as it would just weigh me down. Just like swimming, I had to get better before I learned to go faster.
I walked through the dim hallway, and as with every night, I started thinking of his team. How would they react to knowing how much I trained? Would they praise me for my dedication to being a Paladin, or would they mock me for the fact that I needed extra training in the first place? I didn't know, but what I did know was that no matter what, I was still the sixth wheel. Seven, if you count Lotor as part of our group. I wandered the halls with no real destination, lost in my self-deprecating thoughts, when I heard footsteps. I looked around, and noticed I was in a part of the castle I didn’t recognize. I thought it was just my imagination, but then I heard it again. I froze, listening for the soft sound. Whoever it was, I didn’t want to get caught up this late. They would ask questions that I really didn't want to answer. I looked around, panicking slightly, and slid over to the wall, hiding in one of the gaps between pillars. I peeked around the corner, only to see Shiro. Of course, if anyone would understand, it’d be Shiro. That man trains more than anyone, even Keith. I relaxed with a sigh, moving to reveal myself, when I saw a holoscreen. On it, was Haggar. I had only seen her once, but there was no mistaking her, with her strange red markings and glowing eyes.
“ Have you installed the virus, Project Kuron? ” I shook in fear at her words. Was Shiro a traitor? He couldn’t be, could he? We had fought Zarkon together, why would Shiro betray us? But then again, it explained his behavior...
Shiro nodded. “Yes. The virus will work as planned. The teludav will use the Princess’s residual quintessence to initiate a wormhole jump to the preset coordinates. Voltron and Lotor will be delivered to you.” I paled. I had to warn Allura, but the next words from the holoscreen made me pause.
“ Good work Project Kuron. It appears my idea of cloning the Champion to use as a weapon was quite useful after all. " Clone? Then, if that man was a clone... Where was the real Shiro? I heard the connection fade, and pressed myself further into the gap. Before I just didn’t want to be questioned, but now there was a very real chance I could get hurt if I was discovered. When I heard the footsteps pass by my hiding place and fade into the distance, I rushed into the first room I came across, trying to find a more secure hiding spot. Who knew if this ‘Project Kuron’ would come back? I slipped into the room, slamming the keypad, and the door slid shut, blanketing the room in darkness.
I looked around. This room was new to me. I squinted a bit, trying to see in the dark, when I noticed a desk, and... was that a bed? With someone in it? Suddenly, the figure in the bed sprang up, pushing an arm to my throat and my back against the wall. A familiar voice rang out in the darkness. “Who dares intrude? I will not have mercy on you.” I squeaked out a feeble excuse for an apology, and I was released. Lotor turned the light on, before glaring at me. “Why are you in my quarters? It is the middle of the night. Not to mention you entered without my permission."
I blanked, and in a moment of pure foot-in-mouth stupidity, I blurted out my discovery, still too shocked to have any semblance of a filter. “Shiro is a clone.”
Lotor’s eyes widened. “What?” He stepped back, allowing me to step away from the wall.
I nodded fervorously. “I saw him talking with Haggar on a comm. She called him Project Kuron, and she even outright called him a clone!” Lotor hissed, covering my mouth. His hand smelled like cologne...
“Not so loud. If what you say is true, and I believe it is, then we must find a subtle way to warn the others. We cannot tell them outright. Best case they do not believe us. Worst case...” He trailed off, but I got the message. Worst case we would be killed. I shook my head. Like my mamá always said, ‘ Espera lo mejor y prepárate para lo peor ’.
“Well what do you think we should do?” I asked. “Drop hints? Wait, we can worry about that later, we have bigger problems. We need to get to the bridge. Kuron, which is what I’m calling him, installed a virus. I don’t really remember how it works, because stress and factual recall do not go together, but it’s supposed to wormhole us right to Haggar. We need to tell Allura.” Lotor held up his hand.
“Not an option. This ‘Kuron’ might kill her. The teludav is powered with Altean quintessence, correct? Then I can use my quintessence to send the ship somewhere safe.” The two rushed to the bridge, I headed to the console and Lotor to the platform. The weird controls raised up, and the view screen was online. Looking out into space, I groaned.
“The wormhole is already there,” I warned, trying not to shout, “We’ll have to make a change in course during the jump.” I pushed the ship into the wormhole gate, and as soon as we entered, I put in new coordinates, remembering one set specifically. The castle shook, and the wormhole fluctuated, but we stabilized as the wormhole exit came up. We emerged in the Javeeno Star System, close to the Balmera where Shay and the others live. I sighed in relief, before turning and sliding down to the ground, my back against the panel. “Well that was fun,” I mused, my words dripping with sarcasm. Lotor quickly left, probably to get some shut eye.
I stood, relieved. I was honestly lucky to have stumbled into Lotor’s room, of all places. I checked the control panel, looking up the time. It was almost morning in the castle’s cycle, and Allura and Coran would wake up soon, so I left, hoping they wouldn’t ask questions about the fact that we were a long way away from where we were when we went to sleep, not to mention the ship’s travel logs. I marched to my room, intent on getting as much sleep as I could before the morning wake up call, when I passed the training room. I never did get to do my late night training, did I? I thought.