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Voltron: Acceleration

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Space. It's vast. It's beautiful. An endless sea of darkness, inhabited by an infinite number of planets and stars and moons any many, many more things.

Then, a large, mechanical, yellow lion flies by. Its pilot is heard screaming and rambling about death.

"Gyrgan, please, calm down," a woman can be heard saying from within a similar, green lion.

"Trigel, please tell me why I should be calm. We are the universe's last hope, and we are losing.”

There is a loud boom that sends debris flying everywhere.

"These damned Space Pirates are simply not giving us time to show them what real power is," the pilot of a red lion can be heard saying.

There's a black lion, larger than all the others. Something is shot at it. "Well, Alfor, we can try to do it quickly," the black lion's pilot says.

A blue lion shows up. "This may be a good time anyways. Things are looking pretty grim,"

The pilot of the green lion speaks again. "Yes. Zarkon, I am sorry to say this, but your wife, Honerva, has become unresponsive."

"You don't mean...No, no, she must be alive. Surely, her intercoms must have gone out," the black pilot says, choking on his words.

The yellow lion is shown firing weapons, shields going up around itself. "My fellow paladins, please. If we do not cease discussion, we will die here at this moment. I cannot hold them off forever."

"Then let us form Voltron," says the red paladin, slamming a fist on something. "I have already lost my wife to this war. Today, we avenge the fallen and save the children of tomorrow!"

The five lions fly in formation, twirl around, and a bright light flashes.

--V--

Voltron - Defender

(Roughly) Seven years later

A figure is bundled up in navy blue blankets. No part of their face is visible. A tan arm hangs off of the bed.

Beep. Beep. Beep.

The arm reaches over, their hand landing on an alarm clock and pressing the snooze button.

The person's arm falls back down. "Cinco minutos mas," he mumbles.

Three seconds of peace. Rapid footsteps are heard in the background.

The door sounds as if it's been kicked down, causing the boy to jump up.

The door of his room is swung wide open. In the doorway is a short boy. His light brown hair is choppy, pointing in all directions, a large pair of headphones probably not helping his hair, and his glasses seem too big for his face. He's wearing a green hoodie seemingly too big for his body. "Lance, that's the fifth time your alarm has gone off!" he exclaims. His voice cracks badly when says 'off'. "Get dressed, we're running late."

The first boy, Lance, sits there, doing the math in his head, before his eyes go wide as he mutters, "Caramba."

He throws the blankets off of his bed.

He opens his closet and pulls a grey shirt down. He snatches a pair of blue jeans off of the floor. He walks over to a desk, takes a wallet and his keys, shoving them into his pocket, then throws on a brown leather jacket that was hanging off of an office chair.

The jacket has an image of the Earth embroidered on the back. Above the image it says "Galaxy Alliance," and below it reads, "Cargo Pilot." There is a pocket right over his heart with the name "McClain" embroidered directly above it.

He runs out of his room, runs into a kitchen, where a third boy is waiting. This boy tall and somewhat chubby looking, and has dark skin, with dark brown, almost black hair framing his face. He wears a puffy, green vest and yellow undershirt.

He puts a plate down on the counter. Lance snatches it up, shoves whatever the contents were- he didn't even pay attention to the food he was eating, he was in such a rush- into his mouth, and runs off yelling "Thanks, Hunk!"

Hunk stares off in confusion as to what just happened.

Out the door Lance goes, with his roommates not too far behind.

Lance practically shoots out of the door of the dorm, his roommates peeking their heads out, looking at him, then at each other.

A boy with dark hair and dark brown eyes, wearing a navy blue shirt with yellow sleeves, is seen walking out of another door, turning around to lock it. He looks to his left, taking note of Lance running down the hall. He jumps back, back pressed against the door.

"Hey, Jeff, tell Keith that that mullet is getting him nowhere in life!" he yells as he runs past him, then turns a sharp corner to the right.

Lance's head peeks back around the corner. "Also, tell everyone that Loverboy Lance is going to the party tonight!” His head disappears from the corner.

--V--

Lance soon arrives in front of a large crowd. There is a man in military-like attire, watching him angrily.

The small roommate with the green hoodie is standing there, in front of the man.

"Pidge, how did you..." Lance says as he looks around, out of breath. "You left after me."

"I know a shortcut," he answers nonchalantly.

Finally, the large one, Hunk, makes his way to the area. The moment he stops running, he starts panting. "I'm here," he says as he breathes out heavily.

The man in uniform scowls at them. "McClain, Garrett, and Stoker. About time you three showed up."

“Let these three be an example to you all,” he continues, speaking to the crowd, “of what not to be.”

“Well, we’re here now, sir,” Lance says with a nervous smile.

A door opens, and Lance starts jumping up and down, a large grin on his face.

“Begin simulation,” a robotic voice says.

--V--

The screen cuts back to Lance, his shoulders sagging, a frown on his face.

"You three are the biggest disappointments I have ever seen," the man barks.

Hunk is wiping his mouth on his wrist. Pidge is cleaning his glasses with a stark white wipe, black soot leaving the outline of his glasses on his face.

"I'm sorry, Commander Iverson," Lance whimpers.

"The three of you. For pupils so bright, you cannot work together for-"

"Sir, our turn?"

The man, Commander Iverson, whips his head around. There's a group of three boys. The one in front is Jeff, whom Lance passed by earlier.

One boy is tall with dark hair. He wears a black windbreaker, unzipped and showing white tank top underneath. The other boy is slightly shorter, with hair just as dark, wearing a red jacket and has violet eyes.

Iverson moves aside. "Shirogane, Kogane, and Dukane. Please, show everybody where our first team went wrong."

Lance looks between Iverson and the boy in the red jacket. The boy looks over his shoulder as he steps through the door, making eye contact with Lance. Lance looks as if he could burn a hole into the metal doorframe the boy has his hand on. Quickly, the boy averts his gaze and picks up his pace through the door.

Lance lets out a sigh. "I can't even mess with my rival."

“Hey, you tried,” Hunk says softly, giving his friend a pat on the back.

"Don't touch me. I don't know if there's any barf on your hands."

--V--

Some time passes, and people begin walking out of the room they were all just cramped in for several hours. People scattered in different directions, be it to their dorm or the cafeteria.

The three dark-haired boys walk together.

"So, Keith," Jeff says.

The boy in the red jacket looks at him curiously, giving a hum in response.

"After today's success, I think you deserve to be invited to my party tonight," Jeff answers with a grin.

Keith blinks several times. "Thanks, but why do I need an invitation into my own dorm?"

Jeff falls silent for a moment. When he finally speaks, every word is pronounced slowly; carefully. "You see, I didn't want you scaring people off, but since you were good today, why not?"

The tallest boy looks at both of them. "As captain of this team, I think that this is quite the petty matter."

Jeff looks up at his higher up. "Shiro, why do you care? You're always invited."

"Yet I'm not," Keith adds on.

"Because your-" Jeff clears his throat- "'emo mannerisms,' as Lance calls them, scare people off."

The three stop in front of a door. The tallest boy, Shiro, pulls a key ring out of the pocket of his jacket.

Shiro sighs, throwing the door open. “Look, it’s our dorm. We should all be allowed in and out as we please.”

Shiro goes straight for his room. Jeff rushes to the kitchen, past a coffee table, and past a sofa, which Keith flops down on.

Keith picks up a remote, turning on a television. Next thing he knows, a package of plastic cups flies past his head.

He jumps up, looking into the kitchen. “Jeff, what the hell?!”

“Put those on the table. Come on, help me set up for the party,” Jeff says with a slight smile.

--V--

The living room and kitchen are now fully decorated. Keith is standing on the counter, pushing a thumbtack through a sign.

He jumps down. The sign reads in all caps, “Congrats, New Pilots!”

“Not bad, Kogane. Not bad,” Jeff says from the couch. Shiro is sitting next to him, giving a thumbs up.

There’s a knock at the door.

Shiro opens it.

A boy in a brown leather jacket is standing there with a nervous smile. “I’m here for the party?”

Shiro looks down at him, then looks into the living room. “Jeff, Lance is here.”

Lance waves as Jeff walks closer.

Soon, a pair of hands are on his shoulders. His smile falls slowly as Jeff speaks.

“But, I’m your friend…”

“But this party is for those who passed the simulation. It’s nothing personal, just...”

“Just business?” Lance asks with a nervous giggle.

“I wanted to say tradition, but okay.”

Lance smiles softly. “Still friends?”

Jeff pats him on the back. “Sure. Just, leave soon, please.”

Lance looks over his shoulder. People are crowded behind him. A girl with dark blue hair. A boy with a strong resemblance to Hunk. Another girl with blonde hair. Another boy with dark skin and light brown hair. A light-skinned boy with blonde hair.

“Right…” he looks at the crowd, presses himself against the wall, and slowly scooting away.

--V--

Lance sits down at a pristine silver counter. The stool he sits on is equally elegant, yet generic. His hands are cupped, a can of soda between them.

Hunk lays out food on the counter. Burgers and chips and hot dogs. He scoots an empty plate closer to Lance.

"Come on, buddy. Don't feel down," Hunk says with a soft smile. "You wanna eat?"

Lance looks up at him, shoves the plate to the side, and grips his soda tighter.

"You know, if I was you, I'd be drinking something a little stronger than soda," someone says. Lance turns around and jumps at the sight. Pidge is sitting right next to him, in front of the plate he rejected.

"You drink?" Lance asks. His eyebrows practically meet his hairline.

"No. I said if I was you. Also maybe go out, get a hoo-"

Hunk clears his throat. He scoots a bag of potato chips closer to the small boy.

Pidge opens the bag of chips. They fall onto the plate in a pile. "What? One night of that ish, with no meaningful relationship behind it. That's exactly what he would've done at the party." He takes one chip and pops it into his mouth.

Lance blinks. “Pidge, there’s a difference between hanging out with friends and uhhh…”

"Please, tell me the difference."

Lance slams his fist down on the island. "Firstly, you're with friends, and secondly, you don't have to pay for-"

Hunk slams his hands down. "How about we all go, have a guys night out."

Pidge lets out a laugh. No, not a laugh. A cackle. "And how do you propose that? The only place around for miles is a gas station."

"We can gas up my truck and drive around the desert. I can pack up some food, we can watch the stars in the bed of my truck…" the sweetest smile forms on Hunk's face as he trails off. "Maybe we'll run into someone else who failed the test. Hundreds of cadets, how can there only be one failing team?"

Pidge hops down from his stool. Only a handful of chips are left on the plate. "I'll grab my equipment."

Lance and Hunk both look at him in confusion.

"What, you didn't know? I'm a fothermucking awesome DJ."

--V--

Music. Loud, electronic music, with a base that can be felt. People talking. People talking loudly. People trying to dance. People bumping into things, leading to screams and giggles.

All of these factors had driven Keith into his room, where he lays on his bed with a book.

He flips a page. There's a loud bang on his door. Flip another page. Bang. Another. BANG.

He slams to book shut and makes a loud groan.

Turn the knob. It's Jeff.

"What?" Keith asks impatiently, eyes narrowed.

"Hey, hey, can you do me a favor?"

He crosses his arms. "I'm listening."

Jeff leans in close, Keith catching the smell of a beverage on his breath. "Lisa and I need some alone time..."

Keith glares at him. “Go to your room, then."

"I cooould, buuut..."

Keith walks over to his bed, picks up the book, walks over to a shelf, and nestles it nicely between two other books. The spines all give titles related to space, planets, or legends.

Then, he storms out, shoving Jeff out of the way, slamming the door, and muttering something offensive.

The girl with navy blue hair walks up to him with two cans in her hands.

He watches Keith walk away with a scowl. "Don’t worry, I have his spare key."

--V--

Shiro walks out of the convenience store of the gas station. He has chips, soda. It was good enough for him. He walks away from the building, cradles the bottle and bag in his arm, and dials a number.

“Hey, Ryou?”

An indistinct voice is heard over the phone.

Shiro laughs. "I miss you too. Guess what?"

The indistinct voice says one word.

"I passed the simulation."

Shiro steps into his car, throws the food in the passenger seat, and places his phone on the dashboard.

"Yeah, it's the last simulation before graduation. It was the big one."

He drives for some time, delving further and further into the middle of nowhere.

He passes by a truck. The electronic music inside of it was playing loud enough for Shiro to hear.

Inside the truck, Pidge is sitting down in the back seat with a laptop. He's bobbing his head back and forth, singing along.

A certain word comes up. Pidge is cut off in the middle of it.

Hunk's face can be seen in the rearview mirror, his eyes carrying a sternness. "Pidge, I swear to god, if you mutter that word one more time, I will turn this truck around."

Nothing can be seen past the reflection of Pidge's glasses. He looks down, presses a button. A new song starts playing, the first line being "I don't give a-"

HONK.

Pidge gives a sly grin. "What? I wasn't singing along this time, now, was I?"

"What do you have against cussing?" Lance chuckles, redirecting his gaze from the window to his friend.

"I just don't like it. I personally associate swearing-" he put extra emphasis on the word, as if 'swear' was superior to 'cuss'- "with negativity."

"Hunk, in this day and age, there’s negativity everywhere," Lance says flatly.

"Well, I’d like to avoid that. I've only dropped an f-bomb maybe five times in my entire life."

"And I was there for four of those," Lance snickers.

“Yeah, thanks for that,” Hunk grumbles. “Look, this is my car. I don’t want any negativity in my car. ‘Kay?”

No response.

The electronic music starts glitching out with beeps and screeches.

Lance slowly rolls down the window, a scowl on his face. “It’s Keith,” he mutters.

Pidge leans forward slightly, hugging his laptop. “What?”

“It’s Keith’s fault,” Lance says playfully, leaning out the window.

Hunk takes his right hand off of the wheel and pulls Lance back by the jacket.

“And you wonder why you were involved in every time I swore…”

Lance shoots Hunk a look. He turns back to his window. He starts yelling.

Hunk glances from the road to his friend. “Lance, what are you doing?!”

BEEEEP. Pidge’s music glitches again.

“So, if you passed, why are you out here?”

Pidge looks out the window. There’s a boy on a motorcycle. Keith.

He looks at Lance, then sighs, “Can’t you leave me alone?”

“I could, but come on, I want the deets. Did Jeff kick you out too?”

Silence all around, sans for the glitchy music.

Lance looks worried. “Did he-”

“I don’t have to answer that.”

“Do you want to hang out with us?”

“Truthfully? No.”

“Why not?”

The boy on the motorcycle sighs and speeds off.

“Wait, no!”

Beep. Beep. Beep.

“I mean, he was clearly out here, alone, for a reason,” Pidge mutters.

“You don’t know that he really wanted to be alone,” Lance says defensively.

“You’re right, I don’t know exactly. But I can make a hypothesis. And my proof for thinking such is that I like alone time too.”

Lance laughs, loud and dry. “You’re anti-social? You are aware of who your roommates are, right? How many times have you tagged along with us?”

Pidge pushes up his glasses. “Tell me, what do you even know about me?”

Lance unbuckles his seat belt to look at Pidge.

“Lance, seatbelt please,” Hunk says, refusing to take his eyes off the roadless area in front of him.

Lance makes a hand gesture in vain, as Hunk didn’t see it. Or chose to ignore it.

“You’re a guy?” Lance answers, his voice growing higher towards the end, as if he was unsure. “Your favorite color is green. You have vision problems. You like music. You’re a tech wiz.”

Pidge starts paying attention to his laptop. “Okay, that much is obvious. Wouldn’t say that you know me though. What’s my favorite animal?”

“...Pigeon?”

“Wrong answ-”

Pidge’s face is shoved into Lance’s seat. Lance falls back, hitting his back on the dashboard.

“Hunk, what the hell?” Lance yells.

“I told you to buckle up. Anyways, check that out.” Hunk points to something shooting across the sky.

More beeping. Pidge looks down at his laptop. He pulls a pen and a piece of paper out of his hoodie pocket.

He scribbles down letters and numbers. He draws lines. He crosses them out.

The beeping creates a far clearer pattern. Two beeps. Screech. Three beeps. Four beeps. Screech. Two beeps. Screech. Three. Four.

Lance leans over his seat again, watching Pidge. "I think your laptop's busted. Es no bueno no mas."

Pidge had taken the Spanish sentence as a sign that he was serious. He refused to believe it. "Don't you hear the pattern?"

The car starts moving again. "Yeah, that's definitely a doom day song..." Hunk mutters, staring out the window as he drives slowly.

A bright yellow light shines over everything. The object it radiates from seems to be moving closer to the ground.

"Step on it!" Lance screams as the large object falls closer to the ground. It looked far away, yet either big enough or close enough to leave an impact.

A black car rolls up near them. The driver honks their horn.

They roll down their window. He makes a motion, pointing somewhere. It's Shiro.

The three look at each other before given physical signs of agreement.

The two cars race across the desert.

Pidge's laptop beeps. Two beeps. Screech. Three. Four. Screech.

The yellow light grows brighter.

Two. Screech. Three. Four. Screech.

Shiro slows down and peeks his head out the window. "Up ahead is a shack. We'll be a little safer in there," he yells. It sounds faint over car engines and a large object breaking the sound barrier.

Two.

Hearts are racing.

Screech.

Engines roaring.

Three.

Barriers breaking.

Four.

People yelling.

Five.

Hunk cussing. Lance rambling in Spanish. Pidge in an eerie silence, even his headphones giving only static.

Screech.

Engines and hysteria stop. The four barge into a small, wooden building, much to the dismay of a certain boy wearing a red jacket. All five crowd around the window.

BOOM.

Everything shakes. Glass flies everywhere. Yellow light shines through the hole of a window.

Everything settles. No more racing hearts. No more ringing in ears. Everything becomes clear again.

Hunk opens his eyes. He’s leaning against a bed. “I’m not dead,” he says quietly. He quickly pats over his body. “I’m not dead! Wait…” He looks around. “We’re not dead, right? What if we’re ghosts. What if we are dead!”

Pidge, who’s sitting on the bed, surrounded by pillows with a blanket over his head, hits Hunk on the back of the head. “Pull yourself together.”

"That hurt," Keith grumbles, finally removing his hands from his ears. He's sitting under the windowsill.

"Yeah, I thought I was going blind there," Lance follows up, standing up and brushing debris off of his jacket. "At least the deaf know sign language. How do you talk to a blind man?"

Keith puts his hands together and takes a deep breath.

"What are you doing?" Lance asks.

"Praying away your stupidity."

Shiro looks out the window. “Guys, whatever just hit, it looks deadly.”

They all crowd around the window again to look at a yellow glow a distance away.

“It’s a radioactive bomb. Everybody within an x-mile radius is dead…” Hunk starts rambling.

“Then how come we’re still alive?” Keith asks.

"We're gonna slowly die from radioactivity."

Pidge opens his mouth. "Hunk, we're not-"

"We can just live out the remainder of our lives in here. We still have food for the meantime and..." he looks around. "Keith, there's running water in here, right?"

Keith shakes his head. "It was cut off years ago. Believe me, if I could just run away and stay in here, I would've already done that."

Hunk slams his fist into the palm of his hand. "Okay, so we need to ration the soda..."

Pidge rolls his eyes, and tries to get his attention by saying, "Hunk."

"...apocalypse sandwiches. When aliens tell our story, they'll call the sandwiches 'apocalypse sandwiches'..."

"Hunk."

Lance starts giggling at the statement, trying not to laugh.

"...I hope that in ten thousand years, when aliens discover us, that they'll like Earth..."

Shiro looks at Lance and Pidge and raises an eyebrow.

"Hunk!"

Finally, he looks down at Pidge. "What?"

"It can't be a bomb. Why would the Alliance drop one- especially a test one- where they know there's a nearby population?"

Hunk's eyes get big and he slowly says, "Good point-" he smacks himself on the forehead- "If it was a bomb, it would've been on Planet Doom, far away from here." He starts giving a nervous giggle, pokes his fingers together, face red. "Sorry for all that."

Shiro looks around the room. "Keith, I think the Alliance will be heading out here. You know, if they find this place, you could be in some deep trouble."

Keith walks over to a small desk. He snatches up a small knife, some keys, and a picture torn in half, and shoves them into a pocket in his jacket. "Okay, I'm ready to go."

Pidge looks at the desk. He picks up a pair of scissors and shoves them into his hoodie pocket.

Lance looks out the window. "Hey, so whatever that is out there, if it didn't kill us..."

"What if it's a UFO!" Hunk squeals. "What if, what ifff, they're really friendly, and adorable, and and..." he trails off, excited.

Lance snickers. "Could investigate. Beats watching stars."

Shiro looks at the two of them quizzically. "You two want to hunt...for aliens?"

"I was just thinking about running back to campus," Shiro continues.

Keith tenses up. "Alien hunting it is," he says quickly, taking position next to Lance.

Shiro looks surprised. "Okay. We're really going to-"

Before any of them know it, Pidge is out the door.

"Guys, I hear a voice!"

Shiro comes up behind him. "Where?"

He hands Shiro his headphones.

There's a female voice. The words are unintelligible, but pauses imply words. There are two words, then a long pause.

Shiro passes the headphones to Keith. He hears three words.

Keith passes them to Lance. Four words.

Lance passes them to Hunk. There's a long pause, then the message seems to repeat.

Hunk passes them back to Pidge.

"So, how're we going out there?" Pidge asks.

--V--

"I don't understand how somebody so small takes up so much space..." Keith mutters, look out the back window. Pidge is seen through the window, in the bed of Hunk's truck, laptop and speakers taking up the space surrounding him.

"That's Pidge for ya'," Lance answers.

Keith slumps against the left door. "I feel claustrophobic in here."

Lance, who's sitting at the opposite end of the back seat, looks at the empty space where Pidge should be. "Dude, just put your feet up."

He does so. Lance leans forward and yells "Hey, Shiro, can you be careful to not make any abrupt stops?"

Shiro is in the driver's seat. "Why can't you just buckle up," he sighs.

"I said the same thing earlier!" Hunk chuckles.

Shiro takes a deep breath. "How was I talked into this?"

Some minutes go by. The only sounds are the engine, and whatever Pidge was doing.

A grin forms of Lance's face. "Hey, Keith?"

Keith, who looks like he's about to fall asleep, groans in response.

"Why did you leave the party?"

"Whyyy..."

"Please?"

"You're just an f'ing gossip, aren't you?"

Lance puts his hand over his chest and gives a fake gasp. "How dare you!" he giggles. "No, really though, I want some dirt on Jeff."

"Oh, okay, I stand corrected. You're just a petty son of a-"

"Okay, who wants snacks!" Hunk announces.

He leans back and gives Keith and Lance shrink-wrapped sandwiches and small bags of chips. He gives Lance extra. "Hand some to Pidge."

Lance leans out the window. He tries his best to throw to food at an angle. The food hits the bed of the truck, the small lip preventing it from flying away. Pidge looks at the food, then at Lance, and gives a thumbs up.

Keith looks out of the back window. “I would say that y’all are crazy, but then again…”

“Your getaway was being stranded in the middle of a desert with no food, water, or air conditioning?” Lance guesses.

“Hey, I like the quiet.”

“And a normal person likes the indoors to feel like the indoors.”

Keith rolls his eyes and slumps further against the door. The car goes over a large bump, and his eyes snap open.

The car comes to a slow stop, a yellow glow illuminating their surroundings.

“Holy cats…” Lance mutters as he opens the door.

All five of them stare at the crater in the ground. Something large and yellow in cradled in the center. Its glow seems to have dulled, but it was clear.

Pidge slides down the side of the crater. Shiro takes hesitant steps. Keith jumps down. Lance slowly climbs down the steepest part. Hunk sits down on the edge and slowly slides down.

"A ship?" Pidge mutters.

"An anime mecha?" Lance laughs.

"Aren't mechas just ships?" Keith asks.

Lance places a hand over his heart and gasps. "Have you learned nothing from Rick Hunter and Roy Fokker?"

"Rick Hunter? Roy Fokker?"

"You gotta be kidding me..."

As the two bicker, Hunk slowly walks up to it. "It's pretty."

There's a creak. Everyone takes a step back, except for Hunk.

"Hunk?" Lance calls.

"Hunk? Hunk Garrett?" Pidge copies.

The object moves slightly.

Shiro comes closer to Hunk. "Mr. Garrett, please..."

The ship- mecha- whatever it was, moved again, slow and loud and painful as nails on a chalkboard.

"Hunk, we need to leave now," Keith asserts.

The thing moves one more time. One part perks up- a head? Metal squeaks against metal, sparks flying. A leg can be made out. A paw digs into the dirt. A tail swishes. The ship-mech-creature thing goes back into rest, laying down with its jaw wide open.

Pidge stares in awe. "It's a. A. A..."

"A cat?" Shiro finishes.

Hunk takes a step closer to it. He places his foot on its jaw.

Pidge pulls out his phone. "I'm recording this just to make sure I'm not hallucinating. Everyone on board with that?"

His question is ignored as Hunk walks inside of the cat-shaped ship.

Pidge follows, phone in hand. Then Lance, who seems to have been speechless for once. Then Keith, who gripped something in his jacket pocket. Then Shiro, who looked around carefully, not knowing what to expect, if anything.

Hunk takes in the glowing yellow interior. There's a seat. He flops back in it.

"This is..."

"Don't worry, big guy, we all see it too," Pidge assures him.

Static. Then a distorted voice. A holographic screen flickers on in front of Hunk's face.

Pidge points his phone at it.

Through the layer of static, something becomes visible. Eyes. And a mouth. And a nose.

It's a woman. She looks to be in her late teens. She has dark skin and blue eyes. She looked human. Almost. Her body shape seemed so familiar, so similar to a human, yet she still looked so foreign. Alien. Her skin didn't seem to have a visible flaw. Her pupils were a darker shade of blue. Under each blue eye was a pink crescent shape. Her ears came to elf-like points. Her hair is long and blue, falling over her shoulders in small waves.

Everyone stares at the spectacle. Lance whistles and Pidge whacks him on the back of the head in response.

"Greetings, paladin," the woman begins. Two lever-looking objects spring up on either side of Hunk's chair.

"Commander Allura speaking." The woman tucks a piece of hair behind her right ear. "Welcome to your lion."

Another screen pops up, giving what appeared to be diagnostics.

Pidge blinks. "Guys, did you notice?"

"Word count," Shiro mumbles.

"If you are sitting in that chair, then congratulations. You have been chosen to pilot the yellow lion."

"Pilot? Lion?" Hunk asks nervously.

"As the yellow lion, you will become the left leg of Voltron."

Lance starts chuckling, “Are you sure we’re not all just on some big acid trip right now?” Pidge wacks the back of his head again.

"Voltron is an almighty being. Artificial, yet almost god-like in power. It will be created through the efforts of you and four other paladins."

Keith touches one of the walls. "So, this is a tiny piece of a god?"

"Sounds poetic," Shiro says quietly.

"Your lion will be put on auto-pilot and will be brought to me. Upon arrival, I will explain your mission.”

"Any more questions?" the woman, Allura, asks.

Hunk raises his hand. "Yeah, a few, actually..."

"None? Great, because this is a pre-recorded message."

"Launch sequence should be activating in three..."

Hunk's eyes go wide. "What?! Launch seqen... what?!" He leans forward and starts mashing buttons.

"Launch sequence?!" He repeats. The lion shakes. "What the fuuu…"

"Two..."

The lion shifts. Everybody is tossed back, except for Pidge, who held onto Hunk's chair.

"...One."

The lion shifts one more time, sending four of the five sliding forward.

There's a rumble. Darkness.

--V--

Shiro opens his eyes to a crowd of maybe twenty people around him.

"Sir, do you know anything about the vessel that was just here?" somebody asked.

He takes in his surroundings. They're in the crater. There is no yellow lion. Hunk's truck is being towed away.

--V--

A room is seen. It is white, with blue things resembling light bulbs lining the walls.

There is a large screen with five lion heads. The woman from earlier is watching as the yellow one blinks. Most of her appearance is obscured in shadow.

"Your Highness," a man says. He has bright orange hair, a mustache, and is holding a tray of food.

"Coran, I am no longer a princess of anything. Ma'am will suffice," the woman, Allura, says.

"Sorry, ma'am. I was just wondering, are you sure that this is a good idea?"

She looks out of a window. There is a field of flowers. A large, white creature resembling a bird swoops down and picks something up. Allura stares blankly as there is a cracking noise, followed by a squelching.

"If we do not seize the opportunity to find new paladins before the predicted attack on Arus, then we will be just as helpless as that squirrel."

"Yes, I see, but how can we be certain that these are the right paladins?"

"The lions only choose who they trust. Even if those trusted somehow had malicious intent, they need a key." She pulls out something on a string from under her shirt. "I have only ever seen technological advances like this on Altea and maybe Daibazaal. I think it is safe enough."

She finally turns her attention to the man, Coran. She jumps slightly. “I am awfully sorry, Coran. Thank you for the refreshments.” She gently lifts the tray off of his hands.

--V--

Four boys sit in front of a desk. Behind the desk is a man with brown hair and a five o’clock shadow. On the desk is a nametag reading “Colonel Hawkins.”

“So, the four of you discovered an alien vessel and did not alert the Galaxy Alliance?” He asks.

Pidge slumps in his chair. “I kind of assumed that you guys would be aware of a giant fothermucking mechanical cat heading towards the Earth.”

Hawkins laughs. “No, we were aware of something heading to the Earth, but you actually got to investigate.” He leans forward on the desk. “What was it like? A giant cat, you say?”

“This is not the sort of tough interrogation I was expecting,” Keith mutters quietly.

“Okay, so you know what an anime mecha is?” Lance starts.

Hawkins nods happily.

“It’s not that,” Pidge groans. He pulls out his phone, “It’s something to handle. Swear to God, we thought we got high off of something because this made no sense.”

He puts his phone down on the desk, audio all the way up.

Hawkins watches contently. His eyes go wide. “Voltron?”

Shiro leans forward. “What about this ‘Voltron’ is so important?”

Hawkins looks around. He closes the curtains behind him.

“Sir?” Shiro asks.

“I shouldn’t be telling you boys about this, but- Mister Kogane, make sure the door is locked, please.”

Hawkins is standing on his chair in the corner of the room, sticking masking tape over a small black bulb. “You need to know about this if it took your friend.”

He jumps down, kicking the chair back behind the desk.

“Mister Hawkins?” Lance calls.

Hawkins is sorting through a filing cabinet. He pulls out a folder, flips through it, then puts it back. He does this several times, before throwing one on the desk, titled “8184981116.”

Shiro reaches for it, then pulls his hand back. “It’s okay that I can read this, yes?”

Hawkins opens the file. “I think it’s better that I walk you through.”

On the first page, there is the image of a figure. Most of its features are blurred and too dark to see, but a faint color could be seen, and a faint silhouette.

“Hey, what if it’s the hot commander chick from that message,” Lance remarks.

Keith squints. “I dunno, was the message girl purple?”

Lance looks at it closer. "Could just be weird lighting."

"Assuming that the message was recorded recently and that those aliens age like humans, I very much doubt that they are the same person," Hawkins assures.

"Who could it be then?" Shiro asks.

"I honestly don't know," Hawkins answers. "This was about nineteen years ago. Before my time as a colonel."

"Then how come you were put on edge at the sight of this stuff?" Pidge asks.

"Because you see, I don't know much, but what I do know has been a classified mystery. Let me explain."

He moves the picture of the alien to the side. The paper underneath appears to be a transcript.

"Some years ago, an alien crash-landed on Earth."

Pidge can be heard quietly going "Duh."

"You see, it spoke in a bizarre language. Much of its attempt at communication was lost on us," he points to the top of the sheet, where there are simply long strings of text creating gibberish. "In the time it was held in captivity, it took notes as we interrogated it," He pulls out two sheets of paper from underneath the transcript. They are covered in strange symbols and scribbles.

Keith snickers. "Why would you try to interrogate something that doesn't even speak a language known on Earth."

"Keep in mind, I was not in my current position at the time," Hawkins responds. "I wish I knew too."

"One day, it spoke to its interrogator-of-the-day in English," he points to a sudden shift on the paper. No longer is it covered in blocks of gibberish, but real words creating real sentences.

"It told this tale about something called Voltron. It was seeking people to aid in this war..."

Shiro looks over the paper. "And then what?"

"It had taken a liking to this specific man-" he moves the page to reveal the next- "and insisted on only ever speaking to him in English."

Keith keeps staring at the picture curiously. "What happened to them?"

"Well, as you can tell by the transcripts, they were being monitored."

"And?" Pidge asks. "Man, don't tell us it's a cliff-hanger."

"Sadly, Mister Stoker, it is. They disappeared for about a year after being found out," he says. He pulls out one last sheet. It says something about a flight. "Eventually, they returned. The man put the alien on a ship without authorization from his higher-ups. The alien got away from Earth, and its getaway ship was later found on Planet Doom, but the man..."

"He was put on death row for conspiracy to help a living being," Pidge says. It was hard to tell if he was joking or not.

"Nobody really knows," Hawkins says with a shrug. "At least no one working here. Every file on this man was destroyed. His name was removed from every document. Nobody currently operating in the Galaxy Alliance knows who this man was, let alone his fate."

"So, what's your point?" Keith asks. "How does knowing about a nineteen-year-old case help us find Hunk, aside from knowing the coincidence?"

Hawkins shoves the documents back inside of the folder, all but one transcript. "Because you need to know what you're signing up for."

"What are we signing up for?" Shiro asks nervously.

Hawkins puts a finger up, then points to a paragraph on the transcript. "Right here, the tale begins."

Pidge puts his finger up to the paragraph. "So, this alien, it was never a part of any matters concerning Voltron directly, but rather a piece of a bigger picture."

Hawkins nods. "So." He puts the final paper away. "How would the four of you like to be space explorers. Maybe you can finally end this case, get your friend back." Hawkins pushes the folder closer to Shiro.

Shiro picks it up and flips through. "This sounds amazing, but do you know where to send us? And what about our roommate, Jeff Dukane? He'll be without teammates."

"Well, as far as the other boy in Mister Shirogane and Kogane's dorm, he knows nothing about this case, so he will not be sent on the mission." A smug grin forms on Keith's face as Hawkins says this. "This mission must be kept a secret. Understood?"

Lance is now holding the folder, reading a transcript. "And the four other mechas? To echo Shiro, how?"

"Four objects similar to the one you just explored were detected landing on Alliance colonized planets. Balto, Doom, Cryodor, and Ebb."

"I never understood the space hospital," Lance giggles.

Hawkins laughs. "Well, you would have to ask President Wade why, because I don't understand either."

Hawkins pulls back the curtains, revealing a bright sun. Keith shields his eyes, Pidge's glasses reflect gold, Lance looks surprised, and the bags under Shiro's eyes become more visible. "I will give you until 10:00 PM tonight to gather everything necessary. That is thirteen hours to get things together. Then you will report back here, and I will send you in an emergency shuttle. Can we agree on this?"

Shiro stands up and puts out his hand. "Yes, sir."

Hawkins grabs his hand and shakes. "Today, you are no longer cadets. You are certified space explorers."

--V--

Lance starts throwing clothes into a brown suitcase. He throws a grey shirt with a blue collar and sleeves into the suitcase. A blue t-shirt with white sleeves and the number zero printed on it. A black t-shirt. He pauses at a blue turtleneck sweater paired with khaki bell bottoms. "Ew." He throws the outfit onto his closet floor, then pulls down a red v-neck. "When the frick did I wear this?!"

Pidge grabs a suitcase and a tote bag. He looks over at his desk. "Oh Gunmar the PC, how I will miss thou." He runs across his room to pick up his laptop from his nightstand. "But not that much. You're coming with me, Jim!"

Keith opens his bedroom door. Immediately, his face practically blends in with his jacket. "I hope both of you get a hangover. It better be a damn painful one too," he says in a low, low tone, kicking a discarded can.

Shiro packs a suitcase with basics. He puts in a few undershirts. A toothbrush. Soap. Food. The suitcase sits on his bed. He kneels down and pulls a shoebox out from underneath. He pulls out a picture of himself and a man and a woman. His parents. Then another where he's with a boy who resembles him sitting down on a bench. Then another- a family portrait it seemed. Another picture of him and Keith as kids eating ice cream. Another family portrait, but this time, Keith is there too. A picture is of a young man with messy dark brown hair and glasses, wearing a Galaxy Alliance uniform, standing outside of a shuttle. The last picture is of the same young man, with Shiro in the picture, handing him a greeting card. He smiles at the pictures. He gently places them in his suitcase, nestled between layers of folded clothes.

--V--

The four of them walk down a hall with white walls. Suitcases roll over tiles, making loud noises.

"Okay, so I downloaded the entirety of Robotech onto my phone," Lance starts, shoving his phone into Keith's face. "It's a ten-hour ride from planet to planet. That's forty hours where it's gonna be you, me-" he throws his arm over Keith's shoulders- "and mechas." Lance's eyes seem to sparkle.

"How about we don't?" Keith suggests, pushing Lance's arm away.

Shiro looks back at them. "Keith, that's still over eighty hours. Did you even pack anything?"

"Clothes. A book."

"Well, that better be one long book then."

Keith shrugs. "I mean, I'll probably be sleeping a lot."

Shiro sighs, then smiles. "You're a stubborn little thing, you know that?"

"Hey, I like to pack light!"

Pidge starts picking up the pace. "Sorry, but I'm bored. Let's get into space!"

--V--

"Now, boys, I need you to be aware that this is a risky mission," Hawkins says.

They're standing in front of a shuttle, looking up at it. Shiro turns around a gives a solute. "Understood, sir."

"There is a chance that you will not make it back..."

Shiro's eyes go wide. Lance drops his bags. "Wait, what?"

"The planets I am sending you to, they are safe, but after that, assuming it'll be just like Mister Garrett..."

"Then we find him, Lance. Don't be afraid of that." Pidge says.

Hawkins gives a warm smile. "Exactly." He hands Lance his suitcase. "Maybe this is a little shady. I'm sending four students yet to graduate on an unauthorized mission, half of which failed the simulation, but-" he looks over all four of them- "you are about to make history. You are the youth; you are not tied down by the same rules as I. I may lose my job from this, but you may go and do great, regardless of legalities. I believe in you."

Smiles. Smiles all around. "We won't let you down, sir," Keith says.

"So, in order to fight off a corrupt government, you send four idiots out into space. Seems legit," Pidge giggles. "We'll do our best."

And with that, the four of them climb into the shuttle.

--V--

The interior of the shuttle is much like that of a hotel- only smaller. Way smaller. There is one bed. There is a table with four chairs. And that's about it.

Shiro rests in the bed. No one ever really got a nap. They decided that as the unofficial leader, he needed a nap first.

Pidge is situated using everyone's luggage as a work area. He sits on top of a black suitcase. His laptop is placed over a blue suitcase.

Keith and Lance sit next to each other at the table, sharing a pair of headphones and looking at a phone.

"Told you you'd like it," Lance says.

Keith looks at him and shrugs. "It's a'ight." His eyelids begin to droop, and he tries to lay his head down. He groans takes off his jacket and wads it up for use as a pillow. Then, he shivers.

Lance pauses the episode, watching as Keith puts his jacket back on, takes out the earbud, and walks over to Pidge.

A moment later, he comes back with a lavender colored stuffed hippo.

He lays his head down, using the animal as a pillow.

Lance stares. "What the que?"

"What?"

"Why did you pack a stuffed animal?" Lance starts chuckling.

"Because it's mine and I like it and I wanted to keep it. Any more questions?" Keith yawns, takes back his earbud, and glares at Lance.

Lance slowly presses play on his phone.

Some time passes and soon, everyone is fast asleep. Pidge is sprawled out across every suitcase, music blasting through his headphones. Keith is still sitting at the table with his head resting on the plush hippopotamus. Lance is laying across the other three chairs, using clothes he packed as a pillow.

There is a loud beep.

Shiro slowly gets up.

The shuttle shakes.

Lance falls off of his makeshift bed, Keith subconsciously grips the plush tighter, and Pidge shrugs off the movement.

"Which planet is this?" Lance groans.

"Balto, I believe," Shiro answers.

"Just as a security measure, you may want to bring your suitcases," Shiro announces.

Pidge picks up his bags and speeds off like a wind-up toy. Lance follows, groaning.

Shiro waits for Keith, who is gently placing the plush in his luggage.

Shiro smiles. "Of all the things you could've packed, you chose your hippo?"

"I'm not leaving anything I care about in Jeff’s hands," Keith says, almost mumbling. He zips the suitcase up. "Also, it makes for a nice pillow. So, thanks for that."

Shiro ruffles Keith's hair as he passes through the door. "You're welcome."

--V--

Balto is a fascinating planet. There are villages filled with humans. There are fields of grass. There are birds and butterflies and life you would expect to find on Earth.

As the four explore a desert, Pidge starts to ramble, cradling his laptop in one arm.

"I mean, I know that the native life-forms here were documented- turn left- but what if they still existed? What would that culture be like? What if- turn right- what if instead of destroying a culture- an entire planet's inhabitants- we just lived alongside them?"

"That's damn depressing," Keith says quietly.

"I know, right? Oh, turn right."

"How are you figuring out where to go?" Lance asks.

"On the flight, I was busy installing a program. Hawkins gave it to us alongside the case file. You see, my laptop..." he takes a moment to think about how to speak and raise the least amount of questions, "...it can pick up radio chatter. I know how to decode that and find a message. But then- start going left ever so slightly- then, it picked up the message from the lion, and despite the output is similar enough to be picked up, there was nothing that could be easily decoded. However, this program that Hawkins gave me can utilize the sound waves in order to locate the lion."

Lance blinks. He begins listing off major words on his fingers. "Output, sounds waves, decoding, chatter..."

Pidge rolls his eyes. "Computer picks up sounds. Computer tells me where to go."

Lance crosses his arms and gives a 'hmph.' "You didn't have to dumb it down that much."

"What I personally fail to understand, is why we couldn't land closer," Shiro states.

"Come on, don't be a pansy," Pidge snorts. "We got roughly one mile to go."

Lance lets out a noise, sounding like half sigh, half groan. "Look, Pigeon, I've never been a particularly athletic person. One mile? That's a lot. I'm so lanky, I don't even think I have fat to burn!"

Pidge comes to a stop. "Fine. Don't wanna walk? Let's slide."

The ground in front of him makes a long slope, the crater and lion visible from there.

Lance makes another sigh-groan. "Fine, I'll walk."

Pidge starts laughing. "Sure about that? I kinda planned on sliding."

He puts one foot forward, then jumps on top of his suitcase, falling before anybody had a chance to catch him. Grass and dirt go flying, and butterflies scatter away.

"I swear, that boy is so sly, he's practically a ninja..." Keith mumbles.

"Turtle!" Pidge cackles from half-way down the slope, headphones on.

"If he was one, he'd be that purple one that nobody likes," Lance snickers. A moment later, his phone buzzes.

Pidge: Hey, what's wrong with an intelligent man who just happens to like purple? Donatello FTW.

Lance immediately texts back:
Lance: Ur a spoopy dude, u kno that?

Shiro stares. He can't see Pidge anymore. "Should we go after him?"

Everyone's eyes go wide as the ground shakes. The lion- seemingly green in color- lifts off the ground.

Lance's phone buzzes again.

Pidge: Oh, I know I am.

Lance blinks. "Man, green really is his lucky color."

--V--

The trip to planet Ebb had been interesting without Pidge.

Firstly, there was nobody around to cuss like a sailor while making pop culture references in song, which, now that he was gone, was missed in an odd way.
Secondly, there was nobody else who knew how to track a giant mechanical cat with a laptop. They only realized this upon arrival.

"Captain Graham, please," Shiro pleas.

The three are at a front desk. There is a woman behind it. Next to the desk is the man that Shiro is pleading to.

"Where's your proof of being a part of the galaxy alliance though?" The man asks.

Shiro facepalms. He motions to a patch on his windbreaker, right over his heart. He motions to the same thing on Keith. He motions for Lance to turn around, and puts his hands out as if to say 'tada!'

The man chuckles in this awful smoker voice. "I'm gonna ask again. Proof?"

Shiro holds up his ID.

"I still don't think that thing is real," the man says stubbornly.

Shiro's patience wears thin, as can be seen by the redness of his face. "What other proof do you want?! Our IDs, what else is there?! We were sent by Colonel Hawkins, taught by Commander Iverson, our jackets are proof of our alliance, a shuttle from Earth just landed," he throws his head back, takes a deep breath, then reaffirms a calm stance. "I'm sorry. I just don't know what you want, Captain Graham."

The man, Graham, laughs. "I can tell that Iverson was your officer. Okay, I can show you, then."

Shiro puts his hand to his forehead and mumbles, "I just blew up at a higher up..."

Lance gives Shiro a pat on the back.

Graham leads them back to an office.

"So. Why did Hawkins send you, instead of allowing us to handle the situation? Why did he not announce your arrival?"

Shiro chuckles nervously. "He just wanted us to investigate."

"So, he sent you three to look this thing over?"

"Yes," Keith nods.

"What do you know about this...thing."

Shiro fiddles with the patch on his jacket. "It's a mystery. And that's it."

Graham walks into an office. He puts up a hand as a sign for them to stay outside.

He comes back out with a small device. It's round with a small screen, with an arrow pointing west.

"Digital compass?" Lance asks.

"Pretty much," Graham answers.

He escorts them out of the building. When they arrive at the door, he makes sure to shove them. "Go on, you're burning daylight. I have to give Mister Hawkins a call..."

As they walk away, Lance quietly says, "You know, my jacket was actually my father's..."

Shiro gives him a death glare. "We got what we needed. Okay?"

Time passes. Snacks are eaten. Keith and Lance argue over Robotech. Shiro hits the compass, noting that it keeps taking them through a forest, going in circles around a lake. Sunlight shines on the small body of water. The water looks contaminated, but it sparkles whereas everything else is densely shaded.

Finally, Shiro sighs. "I don't get it. It keeps taking us back here."

Lance looks down at the water. "I have an idea."

Lance takes off his jacket and waves it at Keith. "Hold onto this, please."

Then, his white-and-grey undershirt goes flying. Then his pants.

Lance is only seen from the shoulders up. "If I'm wrong about this, and I die in this water, I want you two to know that I am slightly less jealous of you than I was three days ago."

And with that, after a few deep breaths and attempts to jump, Lance finally disappears under they murky brown water.

The water begins to fizz and bubble.

Shiro and Keith take a step back.

A blue lion emerges. It gives a loud roar. As its mouth is open, Keith throws Lance's clothes into the opening.

The lion tilts its head forward, its jaw touching the ground and moving trees. Shiro throws two blue suitcases into the entrance.

The lion closes its mouth, then proceeds to take off.

Keith looks over at Shiro. "Hey, remember like, a week ago when there were five of us?"

--V--

Planet Doom required hazmat suits. It was guaranteed safe, so long as they complied with this rule.

Doom was a wasteland. Miles of nothing but things once full of life scorched grey and crumbling.

Finding the remains of the living wasn't difficult on Doom. When Keith first saw one, he asked, "How much you wanna bet that this one was the alien from Hawkins' story?"

But, against everything grey and lifeless, a giant, red lion certainly seemed to be extra uncommon and could be spotted from miles away.

Keith stares at it. He stretches his arm, palm against its snout, facing away. No response.

"Maybe it’s yours?" he asks Shiro.

When Shiro comes near it, its colors seem to dull. When Keith gets near, its yellow eyes are like miniature suns, and the red seems far more vibrant. Still, it refuses to open.

Keith bangs on it. He hits it as hard as possible, only to find himself on the ground, gripping his right hand.

Finally, the lion shifts. It presses its cold metallic surface against the boy's side.

Keith looks up it curiously.

"I think it's yours," Shiro reassures.

Keith reaches for the lion's jaw.

The lion gets back and drops its jaw.

Keith looks back at Shiro, who gives a thumbs up.

"My lion..." Keith whispers to himself. "That's a weird phrase."

When he sits back and watches the video, it was different from the one found in the yellow lion.

The blue-haired woman gives the same introduction. But this time, after she explains the five lions, she leans forward.

"As the red paladin, you are the right hand of Voltron. You are possibly trusted with more responsibility than the head at times, as it is your duty to be right behind the black paladin should they fall."

"The Black Lion is safe with me. Instead of finding the Lion, our Black Paladin must find a key, hidden within an escape pod. It is your responsibility to ensure that he arrives on Arus. Understood?"

Keith nods. "Yes, ma'am.”

“This is a pre-recorded message, so any questions are to be saved for later."

He gets out of his chair. The material of his suit rustles with every movement. He takes cautious steps down the ramp that served as the lion's lower jaw.

"Shiro, you need to come with me."

--V--

The interior of the lion looked much like the one that took Hunk away, albeit red instead of yellow.

The ride felt inhumanly fast. Shiro and Keith had gotten hazmat suits off, then sat down to rest. At one point, Keith figured out how to lay his chair back. He closes his eyes. Then, all movement stops.

The lion already landed.

Both of them groan in response.

Keith stares at the ceiling, not even bothering to get up from his laid-back chair. "That should've been what, a ten-hour ride? How long was that?"

Shiro is sitting against a back wall, phone clutched in his hands. "About thirty minutes."

Keith sighs and rolls out of his chair.

The lion's jaw drops open.

Immediately, a cold wind comes through, bringing snow in.

"Welcome to Cryodor," Keith says, rubbing his hands up and down his arms. "Man, I thought Doom was bad."

Shiro walks down the lion's jaw-ramp-thing.

He looks back at Keith. “You’re not coming?”

Keith shakes his head. “This one’s yours. Not sure who else it could belong to.”

Shiro steps down, into the freezing cold.

He takes several steps through the snow before rethinking taking this mission.

He looks up at a silver-colored ship. It has blue lines running over it.

“Thank god,” he mumbles, looking back at the Red Lion some feet away.

“How do I…”

He pokes at it. He looks over it for an opening. He puts one foot up on top of it.

He pulls himself up. He looks around some more.

He notices some of the damage done to it. Long scratches running along its side.

He inches closer to the nose of the vessel. There’s a windshield, or something similar, at least. Spiderweb cracks are ingrained in the material.

He taps it with his index finger. Pieces fall into a small, dark hole.

He takes a breath.

He puts one foot through the cracked glass. It all falls away with his movement.

He drops into the cockpit. Somehow, it feels even colder inside.

He slowly repositions himself on something soft that he landed on. He assumed it was a seat.

He looks around for anything that could prove helpful.

Very little light led to him being unable to find much.

He pats around, glass poking his gloved hands.

"I don't understand..." he says to himself, the cold leaving a 'cloud' from his breath. He starts rubbing his hands up and down his arms.

He continues feeling around. He wrinkles his nose several times in an attempt to feel it. The cartilage of his ears sting. His fingers can hardly move.

"Please..." he says shakily through numbed lips. "Please."

He stands up in the small area. His head almost hits the ceiling of the vessel.

The cold continues to pour in, drowning Shiro's senses.

He walks through whatever small space there is. He uses his foot to sweep anything he can out from underneath the seat. He comes up empty.

He looks up at the clouded sky visible through the hole.

"Please, I'm trying to save innocent people," he tries to yell, but his voice comes out as a creek. "Please. If I am your black pilot, paladin, whatever, you need to trust me. Whatever message you have for me, please. I'm trying." Tears begin rolling down his cheeks as he sits down in the chair. “I don’t care about this magical destiny stuff, I want to help.”

The tears begin crystallizing. "I refuse to leave this place until I know that you- whoever you are- are willing to save others. That I can save others."

He closes his eyes and balls up his fists. Keith lacks control over the Red Lion. The emergency shuttle was left on Doom. He sits back and accepts his fate.

A dark purple, black-light looking glow comes through the palm of his right hand.

He tightens his grip around something. Slowly, he opens his hand. Sitting in his palm is a metallic black disk with silver lining the edge and the image of a white lion embedded in it.

He stares at it. "How?"

Suddenly, Shiro is thrown to the ground as gravity shifts from his seat to the wall.

He crawls through the windshield-thing. "Keith?"

The Red Lion has its snout near the now tipped over vessel. Slowly, it opens its mouth.

"Thank you," Shiro say through chattering teeth, still sounding joyous and relieved.

Keith stands about halfway up the ramp. "Shiro, your arm..."

The taller boy gives a confused look before looking down. From his right arm, near his shoulder, there is a split in the fabric of his jacket, showing off a long, crimson-colored line.

"I didn't even feel that," he remarks, using his left thumb to wipe some of the red drips away.

He puts one foot on the lion’s jaw. Keith holds out his hand. Shiro is pulled into the lion, then it shakes.

The two run up the ramp as it closes up.

The lights spark for a moment.

For a moment, some of the red lights lining the walls turn purple.

“Welcome, Black Paladin. Commander Allura speaking,” Allura can be heard saying as they walk up the ramp.

Shiro runs to the seat, standing behind it.

“Please, take a seat. Red paladin, this message is for you as well.”

Keith looks at the seat, then at Shiro. He continues to stand.

“My Black Paladin. You have been tasked with the most important role of them all. If you are here, it means that you found my key, and you found the Red Paladin.”

“Kinda feels like we cheated at this,” Keith whispers.

“You are the defenders of this universe. Alongside four other paladins, you may create a being known as Voltron.”

Shiro looks at his key. “Ma’am, this?”

“It’s prerecorded,” Keith reminds him, staring at the alien woman on the screen.

“As you can see, you have already met the red paladin. This is their lion. The Black Lion resides on the planet Arus, where you will meet me.”

Shiro nods.

“The Black Lion forms the head and torso of Voltron. You are what holds the team together.”

Shiro continues to stare at his key. He clutches it tightly.

“You must form a bond with your lion, as well as the Red Paladin, because should you fall, they are your successor.”

The lights return to red.

“Good luck, Paladins.”

The lion rumbles, then everything shifts, then it’s off the ground.

--V--

A room is seen. It has a high ceiling, crystals hanging down, directly over a long table.

Allura sits at the head. To her left sits Hunk. Next to Hunk is Pidge. To her right sits Lance. Next to Lance is Coran. The opposite end is empty.

“I find it fascinating that the Lions selected the same species,” Allura remarks, looking over the three.

“What were you expecting?” Hunk asks. “You sent them to those planets, didn’t you know?”

She shakes her head. “The lions chose where to land. But, from my information, they landed in a far enough proximity to be separate planets, no?”

Pidge twiddles his thumbs. “Yeah, people on Earth...if a planet is habitable, we’ve taken it.”

“In alliance? Are you allies, allowing life to live interchangeably on each planet?”

“No. The original inhabitants were exterminated.” Pidge answers.

The commander tucks a strand of hair behind her ear, keeping her eyes on the ground. “I see.” She directs her attention back on the three paladins. “I wonder why the lions chose such destructive beings.”

Lance looks around. “What? No, you got us all wrong, we’re just students if anything. We’re not responsible for any deaths.”

“And tell me, what were you students for?”

They all look around.

“Technician.” Hunk answers slowly.

“Programmer and flight captain.” Pidge mumbles.

“Fighter pilot,” Lance says, almost under his breath.

“And what were you going to use these skills for?”

“To help the people of tomorrow. The people of Earth…” Lance says quietly.

She clasps her hands together. “Assuming that such a life is all you have ever known, I suppose it makes sense.”

The three looks at her curiously.

She stands up, revealing a long pink dress. “You do indeed have the best intent, even if mildly skewed by the world you knew.”

“If you’re so skeptical of us, why haven’t you kicked us the eff out?” Pidge snickers.

Allura opens her mouth to speak before an alarm goes off. It sounds like an air horn. Not too threatening, but seemingly important.

“Coran, you finish this conversation with them, please. I believe those are the final two paladins.”

The man with bright orange hair smiles as they look at him. “You must forgive Miss Allura for being so...curious. She was anticipating something similar to the paladins of old.”

--V--

A silver room with blue tiles. There are three lions near the walls. In the center is the Red Lion.

Allura watches eagerly as the Red Lion opens its jaws.

Shiro walks out first. Every step he takes is hesitant. “Hello?”

She frowns. “Welcome, Black Paladin.”

Shiro looks at the woman. He holds out his hand for a handshake. “Hiii?”

She ignores his outstretched arm as Keith trails right behind. She stares. “Welcome, Red Paladin.”

Keith rubs his eyes, looking around the room.

“Welcome, Red Paladin.”

He finally looks at her, meeting her eyes. Her eyes seem to be looking for something. She looks angry, almost, as if she’s searching, but disappointed in what she found.

He blinks. His eyes catch a ring of gold resting on her forehead. “You’re a princess…”

In the blink of an eye, the point of a sword pokes his throat.

Keith stares at the blade with wide eyes. The sword's blade is pink, covered in silver swirls, coming down to a handle adorned with blooming flowers, small and pink and delicate looking.

“I am not a princess.”

He puts his hands up. “Okay, I’m sorry, ma’am. Got it, not a princess.”

Allura loosens her grip on the blade. With a light pink glow, it shrinks away. She tosses a small coin in the air, catching a disk in her hand. A key.

“We have no time to waste. The other paladins are in the dining hall.”

She begins walking swiftly, almost as if she is trying to leave them behind.

Keith and Shiro look at each other and shrug.

--V--

Allura leads the five through a long hall.

The walls are lined with doors. Each door has a color-coordinated symbol.

One one side, there are three doors with black, red, and blue symbols. On the other side, there is green, yellow, and pink.

Allura takes a stance in front of the pink room. "These are your rooms. Please, do not spend to much time relaxing. Find your armor and meet me in the hangar in half a varga."

Hunk shyly raises his hand.

"What?" Allura asks, narrowing her eyes.

"What's a varga?"

Allura stares at him, then pinches the bridge of her nose. "Did she never find a translation for time?"

Shiro tilts his head. "What?"

"Universal translators. You see, we are communicating right now via computer generated audio mimicking my voice, arranging my words into something you may understand, and vice versa," she points to her earrings. They are magenta teardrop shapes with a hole drilled in the middle, seemingly floating from a purple stud. "Some time ago, my father sent out a scout to gather the information. Unfortunately, she met her end before finishing our data on your language."

Pidge pulls out his phone. "Okay, show me."

Allura points to where the phone automatically says 5:01 pm. She points at the five. "Varga."

"Okay, we call that an hour," Pidge chimes. "Add that to your database."

Allura nods and smiles. "I will note it."

Shiro looks at a small indentation in the door. It seems to be the same size as his key. He curiously pops the key into place. With a purple flash, the door opens.

Lance looks over at him. "How did you?!"

Allura unclasps her necklace. There are five disks hanging from it. She pulls off all but the pink one and holds them out.

Keith grabs his last. Allura grips his hand. He tries pulling away, eyes locked with hers as if trying to stare each other down.

"Do not soil the title of Red Paladin. Right now, I fear that I am looking at the exact opposite of the Red Paladin of old. Make me proud."

She lets go, leaving red marks on his right hand. He pulls his right hand and key close to his chest. He glares at her. She seems almost anxious. His eyebrows knit together, then he smiles with determination. “I won’t let you down."

Everybody disappears into their own room, even Allura.

--V--

The first thing that Pidge does is look at the bed. His suitcase sits on top of it. He didn't recall taking it out of the lion. Slowly, he unzips it. He pulls out his laptop, cracks it open. A long message scrolls past the screen. "I'll wait to decode this one, Chip. There are lives on the line," he whispers to nobody. He hides the window, opens a media player, and starts playing an upbeat song.

Hunk looks around his room, adorned with mostly yellow decor. His sheets. His curtains. The lines on the wall. He looks down and lets out a squeal. By the foot of his bed is a pair of yellow lion slippers.

Lance wanders his room. To the right of the door is his bed. Straight across, to the left of the door, is a vanity of sorts. A large mirror and a sink. The wall to the right of the vanity has a door. Through the door is a bathroom, with one more set of doors leading to a closet. "And my abuela said I could never live like a millionaire."

Keith opens his bag. He pulls out his hippo. He walks carefully, wandering much like Lance until he finds a closet. Inside the closet is a whole wardrobe of what appeared to be dress shirts and formal attire. He blinks. Slowly, he walks away, hippo still in his hands, making a mental note to alert Allura.

Shiro unpacks quickly. He props all of his photos up on a black shelf that sits across from the bed, against the back wall. Then, he explores the closet until he finds what the commander must have been talking about. Porcelain white armor. The plates were bare, zero markings daring to stain the smooth surface.

Allura is sitting on her bed. While the layout of her room is the same as the paladins', her's appears more ornate and personalized. He blankets are silky, lace creating patterns on her comforter. A canopy hangs overhead. Her vanity's counter has many pairs of earrings scattered about. Allura herself is wearing similar armor to what Shiro had found. "Father, is it possible for the lions to choose incompetent paladins simply for a quiznacking laugh?" No response. She sighs, moving the canopy curtain to the side, placing one foot on the floor.

--V--

Allura waits in front of four lions.

She taps her foot impatiently.

Four pastel colored mice scurry up to her. She kneels down, picking one up and letting it sit in the palm of her hand. This one is large and yellow, looking as if it’s half asleep.

“What is it, little one?”

The mouse opens its eyes. It looks around, then shrugs.

“They are lost?” She sighs, pinching the bridge of her nose. “Of course.”

A purple one on the ground makes two rings around its eyes with its hands.

“All except for the green one...of course.”

“My name is Pidge.”

Allura jumps, causing the mouse to jump out of her hand and hit the floor with a squeak.

Pidge is standing in the doorway, suited in armor, helmet under his arm, headphones on and hair sticking up in every direction.

“How did the others get lost?!”

Pidge shrugs. “I just remembered the paths you took us through.”

She kneels down to the mice. “Can you go look for them?”

Each mice gives a small squeak. The yellow one starts running first. The purple one seems to give a small solute. A pink one nods. And a blue one gives a thumbs up.

She gets off the floor and clasps her hands together. “Remind me to reward you for not getting lost.”

Pidge gives a large, smug grin.

--V--

The blue mouse comes running through the door, Lance following right behind with a slipper in his hand. "Miss, miss, there's a, a..." The mouse runs near Allura's foot, and Lance practically lunges for it.

"Do not worry. The mice are friends," Allura says with a smile.

"If they're friends, why do they keep biting me?" Keith asks as he walks in, holding up his right hand, which has a pink mouse hanging off of his index finger using its jaw.

"They do that," she giggles. "Do you own a cat?"

He blinks. "You think this is funny? No, I don't own a cat."

Allura quiets her laughter, then holds out her hand.

He looks her in the eye. She nods. Slowly, he puts his hand out. She grabs the mouse's body and Keith's finger, and slowly works the mouse off.

The mouse scurries up to Allura's shoulder, nuzzling her cheek.

"It seems my mouse here shares my skepticism," she giggles.

Shiro follows the purple mouse, watching as it runs to Allura, then motions to her, as if showing off her beauty.

"Miss Allura, the mouse..."

"They are the royal pets."

Keith looks up from his finger, and Lance looks up from the mouse nuzzling the house shoe in his hand. Together they say, "So you are a-"

She gives a loud shush.

Hunk soon follows, yellow mouse on his shoulder, a container in his left hand, and a spoon in his right, shoveling food into its small mouth.

“These things are cute.”

He looks at everybody else. “What?”

“These things are freaking devils!” Lance cries.

Hunk looks at the fat mouse laying over his shoulder. “Really? This one kinda just...asked to be picked up and pointed at where it had to go.”

Lance takes a deep breath. “Allura? Why are these things little a-holes? ‘Cept for Hunk’s.”

She looks down at him. “What did it do to you? It seems awfully friendly now.”

Lance looks up at her. “It dragged me here like some ducked up game of tag. Why couldn’t it just point?!”

She giggles. “They are quite mischievous. Mister Shiro?”

Shiro shrugs. “I mean, I was just alarmed by the fact that there’s rats in this castle.”

The purple mouse speeds over to Shiro and starts gnawing at his armored foot. He looks down and nonchalantly says, “Okay, nevermind.”

Allura puts her hands up. “Alright, enough horseplay,” she says with a giggle. “We are getting off-topic here.”

She walks closer to the lions, taking a stance between the Red and Green Lions.

“You have your keys now. It is time to begin training, and fight for the glory of King Alfor and Queen Melanor!”

Shiro blinks several times. He nervously asks, “Wait, what are we doing, exactly?”

She looks back at him. “You are going into a war. Did you not know?”

“I mean...Yes, ma’am.” He looks around. “Wait, where’s mine?”

Allura smiles. “Paladins, to you lions.”

Hunk walks up to his lion. Slowly, he places his hand on its large paw. It shifts ever so slightly, metal squeaking. It suddenly drops its jaw, leaning closer to the ground.

He takes one step onto the ramp, and Allura yells. He turns around curiously.

“Leave the mouse.”

His eyes dart to the small creature slumped over his shoulder, nuzzling the armor. He gives her a look that screams ‘do I have to?’

Allura nods and holds out her hand. The mouse jumps and lands with a squeak, just as it had done earlier.

Pidge does the same, putting his left hand on the lion’s paw. The moment it’s low enough, he jumps and climbs inside. From the top of the fully open ramp, he waves, sticking out his tongue.

Lance attempts to sweet talk to his, starting with, “Eres terriblemente bonita.” Half-way into this, it drops. He sighs. “You don’t even care about what I have to say, do you?”

Keith walks up to his. It creaks open. Allura watches anxiously as Keith steps onto the ramp.

When the lion's mouth closes, she lets out a deep breath.

All four lions emit a faint glow of their respective color. A large hatch in the ground slides open, revealing a large, black lion.

Shiro looks down at it. "Do I just..."

"Jump."

He continues to stare. He closes his eyes, then jumps into the hole.

The Black Lion shoots up out of the hole, emitting a blue-purple glow, then landing in front of the hole.

Allura smiles at the sight, rainbows reflecting in her eyes.

She bends down and picks up something from the mice. Her own porcelain white helmet.

She puts it on, gently tucking her hair into it, then presses a button.

Split screen, the new paladins are seen. Color seems to spill onto parts of the armor, leaving bright spots of color, and an ornate V shape on the chest.

"Allura speaking," she announces with a laugh. "Who here is ready to take down some motherquiznackers?"

Pidge is seen looking between his left palm and a small, circular indentation of what looks almost like a dashboard.

He shoves his key into the indention.

The lion shifts. Pidge puts his hands on the levers on either side of him, then jerks them back.

The lion steps back. Pidge is heard cackling.

Allura walks out of the room, passing by Coran. "Good sir, please ensure that they do not kill one another. I have some announcements to make."

--V--

The silvery-white outside of the castle is seen. Outside await hundreds of peachy or brown colored creatures.

Allura carefully steps down the front steps.

One of these creatures rushes up to her. It is more on the pink side. It has large ram-like horns and a crown made of what appears to be snail shells.

"Your majesty," it begins in a deep voice. "We have seen the neon rain, and you have left the fortress. What do you need?"

She gives the small thing a pat on the head. "Do not worry. The neon rain means that we will see a tomorrow."

She stands up straight, putting a hand over her heart. "People of Arus, it is I, Commander Allura of Altea!"

Some yell 'lion goddess,' some yell ''Lura,' and some yell 'highness.'

"Please, I ask that you-"

BOOM.

A ship flies overhead, its body seemingly made up of many different materials. Its guns are glowing.

Her eyes widen. "Civilians, take cover. Military forces, follow me!"

A handful of the creatures holding spears follow as she runs up the steps.

Five lions come out from the back of the castle, moving unsteadily, bumping into one another.

The single ship shoots at the lions, and people scream.

A small pink alien hugs its mother. "Mommy, is this why the Lion Goddess is called the Lion Goddess? Did she summon her-"

A shot is fired. The larger alien tries to pull her child to safety, but shots keep coming. Then, there's a thud, and everything gets darker.

The Black Lion stands over not only the two aliens but several.

On the inside, Shiro is seen cautiously pressing buttons. There's a boom, causing him to look surprised.

Just like that, the ship is shot down, landing in a fiery blaze.

"That was...easy," Lance can be heard saying.

"Suspiciously easy," Keith adds.

"Man, I was expecting some bloodshed," Pidge grumbles.

The fire starts to die down as something inside the ship moves.

The metal tears away like tin foil as something fights to break free.

Snakes begin crawling out, then twirl into each other, creating various shapes. Two legs are visible, then they begin winding together to build a torso. Soon, there are two arms, constantly twitching, with no visible fingers. Finally, a head forms. It opens its mouth, snakes strung across the opening like stitches.

Hunk stares in horror. "What the-" the lion squeaks as he moves back- "is that?!"

"Make that eleven f-bombs, Hunk," Lance says, staring at the beast. "Six within the last week."

The beast slides forward, not even taking a step.

It inches closer to the castle, raising its fist.

A red laser shoots at it, causing the beast to let out a scream. It sounds like hundreds of small echoes. Every snake turns its small head towards the Red Lion.

"I don't really know what's going on," Keith starts saying as he moves the lion closer, "But I do know that I won't let you hurt anybody!" The lion charges through the snakes. All of the snakes wrap around the lion, weaving a trap of sorts.

The Green Lion lunges for the thing's head, getting nothing but a mouth full of small, slithering creatures. Its head reforms shortly after then entangles the Green Lion.

The Yellow Lion starts to shoot. Once more, the small echoed screams are heard, and smoke blows from the thing's shoulder, but this time, it angrily turns to the yellow lion.

"We're dead. We're gonna die. On our tombstones- if we even get tombstones- it'll say 'here lies those five idiots," Hunk rambles.

"Hunk, chill the fudge out,” Pidge reassures, pressing any button he can.

"Tell me why I should be calm?!"

Keith can be heard slamming his fist on the lion's dashboard. "What about that story? Voltron? Why can't we do that?"

"We can try to do that, but we have to figure it out quick," Shiro says. The Black Lion whips its tail around the beast, sinking into it. The lion pulls away, bringing hundreds of snakes with it.

"We better!" Lance yells. His lion runs in circles around the beast, then pulls the Yellow Lion by the tail. "I can't help but get the feeling that we're screwed."

"Where's the damn princess?!" Pidge yells angrily.

A new shot is fired. A blazing blue flame, hitting the beast smack-dab in the face. It drops the Green Lion, giving a mix of a hiss and wails.

Allura stands on a balcony. She puts her fingertips on a silver colored arrow, sparking electric blue flames, then places it in a bow, pulls back, and releases.

The small creatures do the same, albeit using something similar to matches.

The beast hisses and screeches, constantly twitching, forcing it to release all lions.

"We’re gonna live…” Hunk mumbles.

The lions slowly walk in circles around the withering beast.

"It's going down, let's get 'em while it's weak!" Keith yells.

Lance looks the beast up and down. "How?"

Shiro looks around. "I almost want to show it mercy. This doesn't seem fair."

The thing gives a roar made out of a million hisses.

All five lion charge at the beast. Snakes coil around metal legs and tails. Then, there is a flash of light.

The Black lion gets on its hind legs. Its head folds back, revealing a blank face.

The Red and Green Lions fold their legs in, attaching to the Black Lion's front legs.

The Blue and Yellow lions do something similar, in addition to their head folding at a sharp angle.

A robot man with cat faces for hands.

A transparent blue shield forms in front of the Green Lion, with a pair of matching wings on the robot's back.

Lance can be heard giggling through all helmets.

Pidge groans. "Lance, don't you start, this isn't the-"

"Anime mecha!"

Shiro puts one lever forward.

The beast's snakes slither up the robot's- Voltron's- legs.

With one movement, a squelching noise is heard. Hunk covers his mouth to hold back a gasp. "I am so sorry."

The amount left, while smaller, was still great. Together, they all hiss. The hiss turns into a word. A long, raspy, "No."

Keith can be seen reaching for his key. He closes his eyes.

Voltron has a sword. It has the same transparent blue coloring as the shield and wings.

The sword is near the shuddering figure made of snakes, significantly smaller, point to its chest area.

Everybody can be heard taking deep breaths. The few remaining snakes slither away, revealing a figure adorned in armor just as hodgepodged together as the ship it came in.

Voltron falls apart with a blast of light, lions flying in all directions. Lance can be heard yelling, “Gatos sagrados!”

As soon as the Black Lion gets to its feet, Shiro can be heard saying, "Mercy."

Shiro slides out of the lion's cockpit, then proceeds to walk up to the being.

"Hello?"

The being is tall and thin. Its armor consists of rusted metals held together by thin wires. Not much can be seen through the murky green helmet.

Shiro holds out his hand. "Mercy?"

The thing whips it head at him, hissing, the only facial feature visible being a pink tongue flicking against the green material.

The figure runs off. Allura continues to shoot as it runs into its ship.

A portion of the ship breaks off, revealing what appears to be an escape pod of sorts.

"What the quiznack was that?!" Allura yells from the balcony.

"Mercy," Shiro answers.

--V--

The lanky creature is seen in a room, bowing down to somebody. The room has rusted walls and shattered, sparking light bulbs for light. A tattered carpet and uneven stairs lead to a throne.

"Prince Bokar, you mean to tell me that you failed?" the person on the throne is heard saying. They sound as if they are wearing a helmet, gender hard to identify.

The creature takes off its helmet. It's a young man with pale, almost green skin, and scales running from his forehead, tapering down to his nose. He looks up at his higher-up with slitted snake eyes.

"Your Highness, you must understand, this battle was different," he says uneasily.

"And how so? How hard is it to take out a planet inhabited by creatures that my bird can use as toys?" A squawk is heard. "Yes, who's a good birdie?"

The snake boy clears his throat, taking the attention away from the bird. "You don't understand, they discovered Voltron."

Metal is heard clanging. "Lies."

"Please, I am telling the truth!"

"Voltron was destroyed alongside my father. Your lying mouth deserves a lesson."

Two female guards walk up to the prince. One guard has lavender skin and short plum colored hair, while the other is pink and hairless. They drag him away by the arms, silently ignoring his cries for help.

Two more female guards come up. One is large, with blue skin and fluffy purple ears, while the other is small, with a mouth and nostrils, but no eyes.

In their grip is a man who looks to be the same age as Allura. His skin is a light purple, his hair white. He has pointed ears with the smallest bit of fluff at the tips and blood red markings under his eyes. His armor is different. It looks neater than what Bokar wore. It is silver with a dark red symbol embedded into the chest.

"Your majesty, we found him trying to make an appointment to speak with you," the large one says.

"You should be dead," says the person on the throne. "You and that damned princess just cannot be destroyed, can you?"

The purple man shrugs best he could. "Yes, I am well aware. Surely, I can be forgiven. The sins of the father are not the sins of the child."

"Debatable. Are the sins not passed down by your admiration of the man who committed said sin?"

"The same can be said for you. Please, may you let this go?"

The two guards begin dragging him forward.

"I am asking for forgiveness because I have a proposition to make!" he yells quickly.

The person on the throne is finally seen, putting their hand up. They take off their helmet, revealing a woman with light grey skin, pointed ears, and a half-shaved head of pink hair, coming to a long braid over her shoulder. "I'm listening, Lotor."

--V--

The paladins are seen inside the castle. The squishy things, which everyone had learned were called Arusians, giggle and crowd the castle, some offering food to their heroes.

"You showed him mercy. Why?" Allura asks Shiro.

"He looked scared. I couldn't just do that to him."

Lance nudges Shiro, offering him a cup of unknown liquid. "Screw morality, just enjoy the celebration!"

The camera changes to Hunk and Pidge.

"Wait, but if that was just one soldier...there's whole armies. This is a war, right?!" Hunk asks.

Pidge has his headphones on, and his glasses only reflect white. "Then we fight. Destiny is a gift, blah blah blah, don't think, become."

Hunk blinks. "That'd be really profound if you weren't being sarcastic."

"Who said I wasn't? Maybe I just have one of those voices," Pidge responds with the slightest smirk.

Keith looks at all the alien creatures. He stares at Allura, who is placing a crown made up of leaves on what appears to be a child.

Keith walks up to Lance, still looking at Allura, watching her smile for once. He nudges the other boy.

"How do you think everything is back on Earth? Where there are no space princesses and intergalactic war?"

Lance shrugs in response. "Bet everyone's doing just fine."

--V--

Colonel Hawkins is seen sitting at his desk, filling out paperwork.

A knock is heard. "Come in, it's unlocked!"

An older man with grey hair is seen, throwing a case file onto the desk.

Hawkins looks up. "What is this for, President Wade?"

The older man, Wade, narrows his eyes. "You know very well what this is about."

"I really don't."

Wade grabs the younger man's shirt. "So you're telling me that you didn't send four students- two of which who failed the simulation- on an unauthorized mission to find a fairy tale? And you did not give away classified information?"

Hawkins looks Wade dead in the eye and says "No."

Wade pulls Hawkins forward by the shirt. "Really?"

"I..."

"Do you know the trouble you have caused?!"

"I...I do, sir. But you wouldn't have allowed the search for the child, would you?"

Wade continues to pull. "That's because military equipment costs far more than the life of some rambunctious teenager!"

Hawkins shakes his head. "Sir, I must disagree with you there. As a father, I would do anything to get my child back. I put myself in the shoes of-"

Hawkins is left rubbing his cheek, looking at Wade in shock. "Our ships are to be used for exploration, nothing more," Wade asserts.

"Sir, all we've ever done is take. Perhaps I made a reckless decision, but honestly? If it takes five children to fight a war and do what we've been too afraid to do, I think it's worth it."

Wade pulls Hawkins by the collar again, yanking him through the door.

"Mister Hawkins, you were a kind man, but your time has been terminated."

--V--

Jeff is seen sitting on a couch watching television, can in his hand. The navy blue haired girl, Lisa, is leaning against him, tapping away at her phone. She pulls a white roll tipped with orange out of her mouth.

Lisa nudges Jeff. "Dad just lost his job," she says quietly.

"Didn't you get in just because you're his daughter?" Jeff asks.

"Not 'just because,' but that is how my fees were covered."

Jeff pulls out his phone. "Idea. I got you covered, babe."

She watches as he scrolls through old texts.

He pulls up an image of a drone. It has varying designs, from a small pyramid to something resembling a dog. "Drone that helps ya' round the house."

She looks at it. "Isn't that Matthew Holt's idea?"

"You mean Chip? So what, he's dead in space. What if we just I don't know, sell the patent? Money!"

Lisa gives him a skeptical look. "Or, we build it ourselves, show it off, get rich off of that alone!"

Jeff grabs Lisa’s hands in his. “This is why I love you. Always on the lookout for number one-” he pokes her forehead- “and number two.” He points to himself. “Operation Rover is a go.”

Lisa laughs, then hooks her arm around Jeff’s neck. “Eat your heart out, Matthew!”

--V--

Pidge is seen sitting in the corner of the party with his laptop. A scrambled message flashes on the screen. He pulls up a document, then writes out the message unscrambled. It reads “Are you okay?”

He types out a new message. “I’m fine. Where are you now?” He looks at the message, then retypes it as a string of numbers. He hits what appears to be a send button.

Allura stands over him, casting a shadow. “Do you not wish to partake in the celebration of your accomplishment?” she asks, holding out her hand.

Pidge closes the laptop. He gives a small smile. “Sure. We defended the universe after all.”

--V--