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~One Day Traveling~

Did you hear that?” Shiro asked, “It sounded like… despair.” He moved towards the dashboard that scanned the universe for distress signals.

It’s probably me,” Keith joked.

No no, not bitterness. Despair.” Shiro smiled back, pulling up the signal.

The closest planet was sending out a weak distress signal.

“Paladins, meet on the bridge,” Shiro broadcast through the castle.

~A Few Moments Later~

The paladins assembled quickly and started talking strategies.

“Voltron will be too far from the most populated areas if we do that!” Pidge fought

“Ok then,” Lance scratched his chin in thought, “We should take Voltron and push it somewhere else.

Well, it may be stupid, but it’s also dumb,” Pidge adjusted her glasses.

Allura interjected, “What we could do...” she started laying out an actual plan. “The only thing is that there are 24 bases that could potentially occupied.”

24,” Hunk whispered to Lance

There was snickering, Allura paused but decided to push on, “we need to decide which ones are critical to their defenses and take those out first…”

I thought of something funnier than 24,” Lance whispered to Hunk

Let me hear it.

25.” The two of them erupted into laughter.

“Is there something funny about an enslaved civilization?” Allura put her hands on her hips waiting for an answer.

“No,” Hunk answered ashamed.

“Sorry, it just gets repetitive y’know?” Lance added, scratching the back of his neck.

“Well, I’m sorry that saving lives is boring you,” Allura turned back to the holographic map effectively ending the conversation.

“We also need to figure out where their main firepower is,” Keith started.

Lance cut in loudly, “We need to find out where their guns are or else we don’t stand a chance!”

Lance, you’re a genius!” Coran acknowledged.

Yeah, I get called that a lot.” Lance answered.

What? A genius?” Coran asked as he scanned the bases to see if he could pull up any weapon signatures.

No, Lance.

“You stole my idea!” Keith said.

Did I Keith? Did I? Or did your criminal mind hypnotize me to steal it?” Lance argued.

“Ok, ok, enough.” Shiro interrupted, “we will need a distraction.”

“I could make a bomb!” Hunk offered.

“Love the enthusiasm,” Shiro smiled, “but, I was thinking more along the lines of a stealthy distraction.”

“Ah, a silent bomb!” Hunk nodded.

“No.” Shiro declined but he was intrigued, “How would you even do that?”

We have technology.” Hunk waved his fingers and gestured towards his chair where he had left his most recent creation.

Shiro followed him to his seat to see what it was.

Hunk grabbed Shiro’s robot arm right off his body and then started beating the invention with it.

Shiro stood still, jaw dropped in shock. Then grabbed his metallic arm back, “Good people don’t rip other people’s arms off.” Shiro said offended and still looked so as he reattached his arm

The rest of the group laughed and the mood lightened.

“So what’s the distraction?” Lance asked.

“Simple infiltration and information gathering would be best and if that person gets caught then draw attention,” Shiro answered.

“And who would do that?” Coran asked.

“I can,” Shiro volunteered.

“Ok, good, good, and what if you did it dressed as a girl?” Coran asked.

“Excuse me?” Shiro asked.

“You draw too much attention Shiro! That look is hardly what I would call stealthy.”

Shiro looked down at his mostly black clothes and looked back at Coran with his eyebrow raised.

“You’re the champion! Someone is bound to recognize you, unless you wear a disguise.”

“I guess?” Shiro admitted and with a sigh and a shake of his head added to himself, “I knew I shouldn’t have gotten out of bed today.

“Then I can go,” Keith offered.

“No, no, no. Even if you disguise yourself, you’re part Galra,” Coran contested.

“But I don’t look Galran?” Keith asked suddenly unsure.

“But they might be able to tell!”

“Okay?” Keith said.

“What about Pidge or I?” Allura asked, “If you’re looking for a girl.”

“It won’t work.” Coran answered, “You’re Altean and will stick out too much and we need Pidge flying the Green Lion with its cloaking ability.”

“So who-” Allura started.

“I was thinking Lance or Hunk!” Coran presented the two guys, one under each arm.

“Definitely not Lance,” Keith mumbled.

“And why not?” Lance argued.

“Too ugly to be a girl,” Keith sassed.

Lance acted as if he had been slapped, “How dare-!”

“Alright, Hunk will be recon/distraction.” Shiro stopped the fight short. He walked over to the map to assess where to drop Hunk to start the mission.

Lance walked over with him. “Are you mad?”

“No, of course not,” Shiro answered quickly.

“Hmm, upset that you couldn’t follow through on your own plan?”

I’m very busy.” Shiro didn’t want to give Lance the satisfaction of being right.

I’m sure you are.” Lance quipped.

I don’t like your tone,” Shiro responded.

In a falsetto, Lance sang, “I’m sure you are.

Shiro snorted, rolled his eyes and went back to planning.

~Ten Seconds Later~

“How are we going to make Hunk look like a girl?” Pidge asked.

Imagination,” Coran replied.

“No, I’m going to make him look like a girl,” Allura corrected. She grabbed Hunk by the hand and led him to her room.

“Thanks?” Hunk finally muttered as he was sat at her desk.

“Don’t worry about it, this is the easy part,” Allura smiled and quickly found a dress and threw it on her bed.

“If you haven’t noticed Princess, we aren’t exactly close in size,” Hunk pointed out.

“Oh that’s ok. Altean clothing is made to change with the wearer because of our ability to change shape and size. It would cost a fortune to have clothes in various sizes and then there’s the possibility of ripping your clothes when you changed size,” She shuddered as she finished collecting some bottles from her bedside. Allura walked back over and put the bottles on the desk, “it’s just better if you have clothes that can adapt.”

“Makes sense,” agreed Hunk.

“Yup!” She smiled, “Now, close your eyes.”

~One Hour Later~

Hunk entered the bridge as a new person.

“Wow!” Lance shouted first. “You look so good! He looks so good,” Lance said to Allura.

“I know,” she bragged about her handiwork with a flip of her hair.

“Yeah, definitely better than you would have looked,” Keith poked fun.

Lance was clearly still salty about it but he couldn’t deny it either, “Maybe so…”

That hat makes you look like a girl.” Pidge commented.

Am I a pretty girl?” Hunk asked bashfully, already trying out his role.

Uh well… um… you’re, ” Pidge looked a little uncomfortable as everyone waited for her to answer, “ you’re beautiful.

“You sure are buddy!” Lance wrapped an arm around Hunk’s shoulder.

~Eleven Minutes Later~

“Is everyone ready to go?” Shiro asked one last time. “Lance?”

Lance was smiling like a goof and wiggling in his seat.

“Just ignore him,” Pidge waved through the videofeed, “That’s his eager face.

Hunk was dropped outside the base that was predicted to have the highest number of prisoners.

Even though there was a town surrounding the base there weren’t any citizens walking around, Galra or otherwise.

“Guys,” Hunk called over the comms, “This is not your average everyday darkness. This is advanced darkness!

“Hunk, you’ve been in worse situations,” Pidge reminded. “I’m surprised that you haven’t toughened up by now.”

“Hey, I’m plenty tough!” Hunk defended himself, “I’ll have you know that I stubbed my toe last week and only cried for 20 minutes.

“Hunk! You’re like an undercover cop!” Lance enlivened.

“Haha, yeah,” Hunk looked around still uneasy about being the only one on the street. He took a tentative lick of his ice cream cone. He had decided to use it as his prop, hoping it would give him some comfort and eating usually settled his nerves.

“Dude, sound off that siren!” Lance encouraged.

Wee-woo... wee-woo... wee-woo, ” Hunk started but then a flyer with vague figure on hit caught his attention. Although he couldn’t read the words it very much made to look like a wanted poster for Voltron. He looked up and saw a shadow under the lamp light down the street, “ WEE-WOO WEE-WOO WEE-WOO!” Hunk turned quickly to go down another street.

“What do you see Hunk?” Keith asked.

“Someone else on the street,” Hunk turned around and the figure started following him.

“Hey!” They called out.

“Eep!” Hunk squeaked and turned another corner.

There was a second figured down that street.

“Uh, guys, I might be made,” Hunk admitted.

“Just go with the flow, stay calm,” Shiro advised.

“Wait!” One of the figures called out.

Hunk took a deep breath and paused for the two figured to catch up.

“Why are you out after curfew?” The first figured approached and the Galra towered over Hunk.

“Oh,” Hunk started. “I didn’t even notice the time.” He tried to laugh lightly.

“I don’t remember seeing you around town before,” The second Galra noted.

The first Galra was talking on his radio.

Hunk started sweating and panicking, “Can I have everyone's attention?” The first galra stopped talking on his radio and looked at Hunk, “I have to use the bathroom.

The second Galra grabbed Hunk’s arm. "What's your name son?" Clearly not acknowledging how Hunk was dressed.

"Name? Uhh, yellow." Hunk tried to avoid answering.

"No your name.” The two Galra were growing more suspicious.

"Uhh, leg on the left?" Hunk shrugged.

“I’m going down there,” Keith started readjusting his lion towards Hunk’s location.

“Just wait a second,” Shiro returned.

“He needs help! There ain’t nothing you can say to stop me!” Keith yelled, not wanting to listen to Hunk in distress any longer.

Oh yeah? What about… BLARGIN FEDIBBLE NOHIP!” Lance supplied.

... Well I gotta admit that slowed me down.

Back on the planet’s surface, one Galra was inspecting Hunk’s ice cream as the other looked on in amazement while holding Hunk’s shoulder.

Tell him off, Hunk! Assert yourself!” Pidge pressured.

That’s my ice cream!” Hunk asserted. The two Galra looked at him.

Great, now let ‘em have it!” Pidge cheered.

You can have it.” Hunk suggested.

“No!” Pidge smacked herself in the face.

“No!” Hunk repeated.

“What?” The Galra holding the ice cream asked.

“Hunk, time to run!” Keith instructed.

Hunk agreed. He took a step towards the Galra with the cone, grabbed his hand holding the ice cream and shoved it in the face of the Galra holding Hunk’s shoulder. “Now he’s gonna kick my butt!” Hunk whimpered as he ran away.

“I’m on my way to pick you up,” Keith rushed past the other paladins waiting in the outer atmosphere.

“Is that a Voltron Lion?!” One of the Galra yelled up at the night sky.

The other Galra narrowed his eyes as he pushed forward towards Hunk, “You’re a paladin of Voltron?”

“No!” Hunk yelled as he turned the corner.

“Hunk, I landed on the south side of the base, I’m going to clear the area on foot,” announced Keith.

In front of the Red Lion, a squad of Galra encircled Keith.

Where’s your team?” The assumed leader of the squad asked.

Keith stepped forward unsheathing his bayard sword, “They couldn’t come, they… died.

“Team,” Shiro summoned the attention of the remaining paladins, “Let’s use this as the distraction. With the Red Lion on the surface, the enemy is going to swarm there. Pidge take out surrounding bases with cloaking. Lance, you and I will start with the furthest bases. As soon as Keith brings Hunk back to the castle to get the Yellow Lion, we’ll form Voltron and finish the fight.”

The three paladins split up and set to their tasks. Lance ended up taking on defensive posts while Shiro found himself fighting against their offensive locations.

After a particularly nasty blast clipping the Black Lion’s left flank Shiro commented, “Too bad that didn’t kill me.

“Yeah! Too bad for them!” Lance rallied.

Shiro blushed for a second, he completely forgot that he was still live on comms.

Keith made short work of the first squad of Galra. By the time the second squadron was approaching from the East, Hunk was running in from the West.

“We gotta go!” Hunk panted as he ran past Keith.

“You got it,” Keith smiled as he unlocked the force field around the Red Lion.

The fighting went by quick as soon as the team came together to form Voltron. The universe’s ultimate weapon did not disappoint.

“Not too bad,” Lance commented.

My leg!” A random alien cried in the distance.

“Alright team, time for emancipation, disband,” Shiro commanded.

~Liberation Party~

“The Galra locked this building, it was where we manufactured and stored many of our weapons.” The alien pointed at the bolted door.

Let me try. ” Lance spit on his hands, took a deep breath, and striked an intimidating pose. “ Open Sesame. ” Nothing happened. “ Well, I’ve done all I can do.

Keith rolled his eyes as he took out his bayard and cut the lock.

“Geez, I’m just trying to have some fun, you don’t have to be so serious all the time,” Lance huffed as he followed the group of aliens to the next area they needed help with.

Keith decided that he was going to find somewhere else to help.

Remember, licking doorknobs is illegal on other planets.” Coran reminded as he passed with a different group lugging food and supplies to towards the makeshift rest area.

“What are you up to?” Keith asked as he stumbled upon Hunk’s group.

“Just trying to invite some of the civilians to the party to celebrate their freedom from the Galra,” Hunk walked up to the door and knocked.

The creature that answered was skittish and half hid behind the door. It was clear they were expecting someone a lot meaner than Hunk.

Hunk easily coaxed them out from behind the door and then without much effort got them to agree to joining in the festivities with the promise of good food and fun.

“You could probably make friends with anyone,” Keith mentioned.

“It’s not hard,” Hunk replied.

“...For you,” Keith shot back.

“I can teach you!” Beamed Hunk.

Keith found out, no one can say no to Hunk’s smile.

“Why don’t you try this one?” Hunk pointed at the door. When Keith gave him a look, he continued, “Just act natural.”

Keith scoffed, as if it was that simple.

~A Little Longer Than a Few Minutes Later~

“Relax, Keith. It’s fine,” Hunk consoled.

“That’s the fifth one in a row!” Keith growled, “I think I’ll go do something else.”

“No! I think the next one will be better!”

“What am I even doing wrong?” Keith sighed. Hunk made it look so effortless.

Why don’t we try being nice?” Hunk offered.

Oh okay,” Keith sarcastically responded.

Remember, Keith, flatter them. Make them feel good.” Hunk gave two thumbs up.

Keith sighed as he knocked on the door.

Hello?” The alien answered.

Keith looked back at Hunk, turned back around and then with pained expression said, “I love you.

The alien slammed the door in his face.

“Ok, that’s it, I quit!” Keith started to storm off.

“Maybe it’s-” Hunk started.

“No Hunk. It’s me, no matter how many times you give advice, I’m the one messing up.”

“I don’t think that,” Hunk said.

“Oh yeah? Then you’ll say we’re not talking about this [mimes the shape of a triangle] or this [mimes the shape of a circle], we’re talking about this [waves arms everywhere]!” Keith yelled, “And I don’t know what any of that means!”

“It’s ok! It’s ok, calm down,” Hunk comforted, “If it stresses you out then you don’t have to talk to them and if you want to do something else you can,” Hunk pat Keith’s arm.

“I’ll stay with you, as long as you do the talking…” Keith responded.

Hunk smiled, “Sounds good to me.”

~One Hour Later~

Everyone was gathered in the town’s center. The Altean castleship was used as a landmark for the freed aliens to gather around.

The lions flew in formation, making their entrance and landing alongside the castle.

Look at all those aliens! How many do you think there are?” Lance asked through his helmet as his lion powered down.

Ten.” Pidge answered without a second thought.

Cool.

“Wow!” One alien commented from the ground in front of the lions, “Is this Voltron?

No this is Slav.” Slav appeared behind them with a plate of food.

The alien jumped, inspected Slav, then walked away.

~Moments Later…~

Hi, I’m very ugly but you should enjoy the show anyway,” Lance announced loud enough for Keith to hear.

Hunk and Pidge snickered as Lance handed a water pouch and plate of food from behind the table.

Excuse me sir, I hope my horrible ugliness won’t be a distraction to you,” Lance handed the next alien their plate with forewarning.

“It’s ok?” The alien responded very confused as they walked away.

Keith tried to ignore Lance as he gave Hunk the next plate and set of utensils.

What’s better than serving up smiles?” Hunk attempted to change the subject as he scooped some food for the plate.

Keith muttered, “Being dead or anything else.

“What was that?” Hunk turned around with a spoonful of food.

“Wouldn’t want to do anything else,” Keith recovered.

“Me too,” Hunk grinned.

An alien attempted to help themselves to more than their fair serving. Hunk whacked their hand and scolded, “It took three days to make that potato salad…three days!!!

~More Moments Later…~

The plan was for the lions to put on a light show since this side of the planet was in it’s dark season.

Allura got roped into playing with the kids fora bit before the show started. Two girls loved her hair and mushed their hands in it as a smaller boy sat in her lap. “Can you tell us a story?” He requested.

“Oh I don’t-” Allura tried to deny knowing any good stories.

“But you’re a princess!” One of the girls interjected, “You have to have at least one story.”

It was almost time for the light show and Allura needed to get to the castleship.

“Okay, one very short story and then I have to go get ready for the show.”

The kids all sat at her feet.

Once upon a time, ” Allura started, “ there was an ugly paladin.

Lance whipped his head around after hearing Allura.

“They were so ugly that everyone died. The end.” Allura concluded and stood up.

The kids burst out laughing. They hadn’t expected the ending.

As Allura caught up to Lance the little boy yelled, “Is that the paladin from your story?”

Lance’s jaw dropped into an open frown.

Allura laughed and nodded to the little boy before pushing Lance towards the lions.

~Three Hours Later~

Coran sniffed, “That smell, a kind of smelly smell, the smelly smell that smells smelly.” He started following the scent and disappeared among the aliens chatting about the light show they just saw and the future of their planet.

~Just Then…~

“No way!” Lance yelled calling all attention. “You seriously don’t have your license?!”

Keith shrugged, “You don’t need a license to drive a Lion.

“Yeah but like, you drove that hoverbike in the desert?” Lance questioned.

“People do that kind of stuff all the time,” Keith defended himself. “I bet most people get behind the wheel of a car before they have a license. How else are you going to learn?”

“I can’t believe that our generation’s ‘best pilot’ doesn’t even have his license,” Lance repeated.

~One Minute, Thirty Seven Seconds Later...~

“Oh wow! This tastes like chocolate!” Pidge’s eyes lit up as she took another bite into the dessert.

Chocolate? I remember when they first invented chocolate,” Shiro took the same dessert off the table to try for himself.

“Shiro, you’re not that old,” Pidge groaned.

“Oh, no. I did a report on chocolate in like middle school and I remember the date from my research. But thanks for believing in my youth,” Shiro laughed as he messed up Pidge’s hair scratching her head.

~Much, Much, Much Later~

“Heeyyyyyy, Laaaancce!” Coran called out.

Lance turned to see the red-head stumble a few steps then sidle up next to him. Lance caught Coran to steady him.

“I’ve got a seeeecret,” Coran tried to whisper but said it at full volume.

“Is the secret that you’re drunk?” Lance laughed.

Coran actually looked shocked to be found out. “Well, it’s no secret that the best thing about a secret is secretly telling someone your secret, thereby adding another secret to their secret collection of secrets, secretly.” He re-centered himself and looked at Lance earnestly, “Do youuu have any secrets?”

“I think I’ll keep my secrets for now,” Lance lifted Coran’s arm around his neck to support the Altean.

“That’s no fun,” Coran pouted then suddenly stood up straight, “You won’t tell me because I’m drunk?”

“I didn’t say that,” Lance started walking towards the castleship with Coran in tow.

“You didn’t deny it!” Coran wailed, “I’m a disgrace! I’ve soiled the good Voltron name! Soiled it! Soiled it! Soiled it!

“Shhhh,” Lance giggled. “I trust you Coran but if I tell you now, you might forget it. This secret is very important and I wouldn’t tell it to just anyone.”

Oh how touching, I am going to go home to throw up, goodnight.” Coran saluted for some reason and Lance laughed as he helped the man into the castleship.