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Until the Dying Day

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Keith stood in front of four other pilots as they sat in the barracks of the dropship taking them to face what would probably be the most dangerous threat any of them faced in their lives. To his left sat Pidge and Hunk, to his left were Lance and Ryo Shirogane, Shiro’s younger brother. There was a melancholy look on everyone’s faces, save for Ryo who looked like a little boy on Christmas Eve. Keith pulled a picture out of his pocket and looked at it, smiling back at him the picture were himself, Lance, Pidge, Hunk, Shiro, Coran, Allura’s mice and a statue of Allura herself. Keith cracked a small smile, the future seemed so bright when that picture was taken, but now, after everything that happen afterwards it seems like a naïve pipe dream.

Not too long after that get together things started to go south for the paladins; Keith was framed for the murder of Coran, Lance’s family was infected with an unknown substance, turning them into horrific monsters, forcing Lance to put them down, and an instability in the genetic code of Shiro’s cloned body caused cellular atrophy resulting in fatigue leaving him unable to stand up without a cane on a good day, otherwise he was confined to a wheelchair, on a slightly less depressing note, the V-15 fleet created by Pidge and her family was dispatched to the farther reaches of Garrison Space to fight off an incursion force known as the Galveston Empire.

So much for “happily ever after” Keith thought as he looked at the photo, after all our sacrifices the peace we established doesn’t even last a full decade.

“Hey, wipe that stupid look of your face!” Lance said to Ryo.

“Sorry, but this just so exciting” Ryo said, his voice still dripping with excitement, “I’m about to go on the adventure of a lifetime with my brother’s old team.” Keith though back to what brought this team back together.

————

Keith sat rotting in his cell, his hair falling down the sides of his face as he stared at the floor. Suddenly a guard walked up and opened the cell door.

“Congrats Keith” the guard said, “you’ve been acquitted.”

“What?” Keith stood up.

“Yeah, seems Coran showed up on Daibazaal” the guard explained.

“What’s Coran doing on Daibazaal?”

The guard shrugged “beats me, but the marshals want to talk to you about it”

Keith was brought to the Sky Dome and stood in front of the Garrison Council. 

Space Marshal Graham, an older man with a full white beard stood up first, “do you know why you’re here, Keith?”

“If this is your way of apologizing for throwing me in jail, you can make it up to me with three prostitutes, a spaceship off this rock and a cheeseburger” Keith turned around to leave.

“The fact that the man you murdered has shown up alive and well is besides the point, paladin!” Sky Marshal Wade stated, “the issue is that he’s threatening terrorism against the Alliance.”

“What?” Keith couldn’t imagine Coran doing such a thing.

“He made himself known to us when he broadcasted this message” Graham pushed a button and Coran’s face appeared on a nearby screen. There were dark circles under his eyes and a crazed expression on his face, he looked like a completely different person.

“To all those who live under the illusion of protection fostered by the Galactic Garrison, your peaceful lives have come to an end” Coran said, “I have begun transforming the ruins of this ancient Galra castle into the ultimate Robeast and once it is complete I will use it to wreak destruction on the Galactic Alliance, starting with Earth!”

Keith was dumbstruck, the man who was considered a friend and mentor to the paladins, the man whose death he mourned, the man whose death he was imprisoned for had come back from the dead as this monster.

“We’ve already sent a battalion of gladiator mechas to deal with this threat” Space Marshal Graham explained, “but we haven’t heard back from them at all.”

“That’s where you come in” Sky Marshal Wade said, “we need you to lead a team against this fortress, stop Coran’s plans and rescue any survivors”

“Why should I?” Keith asked, “don’t tell me it’s out of loyalty to my government; the same government that threw me in a cage because I happened to be the one standing over Coran’s corpse.” Keith walked towards the door, “no, screw you!”

“So you’re just going to leave Acxa to die then?” Sky Marshal Wade responded.

Keith stopped and turned around, “what?”

“Acxa was the leader of the gladiator battalion we sent” Space Marshal Graham explained.

Keith thought for a moment “fine, but I get to pick the team.”

————

Two hundred miles from the drop zone and closing” the loudspeaker cracked.

“Alright everyone” Keith said, “to your stations. The fives paladins made their way to the hanger where five robot lions waited for them. “Got to hand it to you Pidge, you did a good job of recreating the Lions.”

“Thanks Keith” Pidge said, “but they aren’t exact replicas; I added a few modifications to them”

“Like what?” Hunk Prodded.

“You’ll see” Pidge teased. The paladins each made their way towards their lion to prepare for the drop.

Lance climbed into the cockpit of the Red Lion. Looking around the cockpit he found that it was exactly how it used to be save for one change; the controls to form Voltron were different, rather than just a lever there was also a dial with five colored diamonds forming a star. Lance’s thoughts turned to the day when lance recruited him for this mission.

————

Lance was walking back to the farm house after a long day of working in the fields. He turned the knob and opened the door, “I’m back!” There was only silence, “right, there’s no one else here.” Lance made his way to the couch and sat there. Part of him wanted to turn on the tv so he wouldn’t be sitting in silence, but another part wanted him to be alone with his thoughts. The memory of that horrid night forever fresh in his mind: it was like any other day, he came back from plowing the fields he opened the door to find Sylvio and Nadia, his niece and nephew, crouched around a dead chicken, chewing on its entrails like a pair of wolves. They turned their heads towards him and he saw: their eyes glowing purple, horns growing from their heads and their skin had turned pitch black. They attacked him, he manage to fight them off, but they weren’t the only ones transformed into those devils, Luis, Veronica, Lisa, Mom, Grandpa, they all came after him, he eventually managed to get hold of a gun, the next day Lance had dug eleven graves.

Lance held the gun in his hand, the gun that killed his family, no, the gun that killed those monsters, his family was dead before he even got there, the gun that saved his life. The gun hasn’t left his person since that night, it was the only thing that kept him sane. Suddenly Lance heard a knock on the door and went to answer, he opened it to find a familiar face standing on the other side.

“Long time no see” Keith said. Lance closed the door. Keith knocked on the door again and Lance opened the door again, “we need to talk.”

————

“So just to be clear” Lance said, “Coran has come back from the dead and is threatening terrorism against the alliance, Acxa went on a mission to stop him but hasn’t returned, you’ve been pardoned on the condition you go on a suicide mission to stop Coran and you want me to go on this suicide mission with you?” He paused for a moment, “forget it.” Lance stood up and walked away.

“Are you serious?” Keith was enraged, “you’re turning your back on the universe, when it needs you the most?”

“Allura needs me to spread her message” Lance stated.

“And how are you going to do that if you spend your entire life on this farm?” Keith retorted.

“Well why should I do anything for the universe that took the woman I love away from me?”

Keith punched him in the face, “you selfish dumbass, your not the only one who lost her!” Lance collected himself and attempted to tackle Keith, only for the Galran hybrid to side step him and then elbowed him into the floor, “you don’t survive in prison for three years without knowing how to fight, meanwhile, it looks to me like you’ve lost your edge.” Lance tried to pick himself up but wound up falling down again, “you know what, forget it” Keith headed towards the door, “if you want to waste the rest of your life wallowing in self pity on a rathole farm in the middle of nowhere, be my guest!” And with that Keith left.

Once Lance managed to pick himself up he walked over to the nearest mirror. He rubbed his finger over one of the blue crescent marks on his cheeks, a parting gift from Allura, and reflecting on Keith’s words.

————

Lance sat in the cockpit of the red lion running his fingers along one of the crescent marks on his cheeks.

“Entering drop zone in T minus ten, nine, eight,” Lance made sure he was secure in his seat, grabbed the controls and braced himself, “three, two, one!” The lions were dropped from the ship and hit the ground running.

“Get ready guys” Keith said, “this could be the fight of our lives!”