“My object all sublime
I shall achieve in time-
To let the punishment fit the crime-
The punishment fit the crime.”
W.S. Gilbert, The Mikado
December 30th, 2303
For an instant, I was at home at Polydeuces Castle, in my sunlit bedchamber, waiting to hear Bandor’s shuffling steps at my door with news about our brother.
Suddenly, I felt tremendous weight strike my back, and I went hurtling to the ground. Slowly, I pulled myself to my feet, but I fell against a huge shadow, whose hands moved urgently over me, down my belly, around my thighs. I could hear his breathing in my ear, heavy and rasping with lust.
“You will yield to me, Romelle,” he whispered, and his mouth covered mine.
“Lotor!” I screamed and twisted frantically to free myself from his hold. I pushed against his shoulders and tried to free my mouth, but he dealt with my struggles as easily as a stallion swishing his tail at a fly. A moment later I was pinned impotently underneath him, my mouth aching from the brutality of his kiss. When his hand went to his skull belt, it frightened me into frantic resistance.
And then there was a buzzing in my ears. The buzzing continued for several seconds, insistently nagging at my mind until I realized that it was an alarm. The noise distracted Lotor as well; he froze just long enough for me to free one hand and grab my dagger. I raised the knife high above his chest, but before I could attack, I found myself sinking into the depths of a pit. I fell hard on the ground, knocking the air from my lungs and bruising my ribs.
Shadows flitted across the cave as streams of silvery light flooded through the mouth of the pit, casting images that intertwined with my pain.
A more manly form took shape in the thickening fog of my mind, and I looked up to find the detail in him in the darkness. He stood tall and silent before me. His hair was long and tousled; his jaw lean and firm, and I imagined dark eyes glowing at me from the shadows. The presence stayed with me, unmoving, unchanging, always staring, and I had an inexplicable urge to escape. But the ground moved wildly and brought me upright with a startled gasp.
I glanced dumbly about me, peering into the shadows and dark recesses of the room. They were empty, nothing stirred in the shaded stillness. And with a trembling sigh, I sagged back against the pillow, bemused and disappointed.
That man had been a figment of my imagination, and yet I felt somewhat relaxed by his appearance.
The intensity of the fluorescent lighting overhead increased. I sat up and gazed about the cabin, remembering what had happened. Two Drule soldiers had brought me to this sleeping cabin, but when I tried to flee, one of them had zapped me with a stun gun.
Suddenly, the door was opened and I leapt up from the bunk. Unfortunately it wasn’t a slave who could tell me what was happening, but Commander Mogor.
“Prince Lotor requests your presence at the bridge, Your Highness.”
I gazed at him, not speaking. He was uglier than Cossack, if that was possible.
He strode toward the table in the center of the room. Upon it was a tray a food. He removed the cover and shook his head. “You haven’t touched a morsel since we left Doom, and that’s not good. You need to keep your strength.”
“I shall starve to death,” I told him dramatically.
He swallowed back his laughter. “Suit yourself,” he said mildly, “but this chicken is really delicious, and the rice was prepared with Terran spices. Would you like a fresh orange? They are very sweet.”
“Go to hell!” I cried angrily, my hand inching toward a pewter goblet.
He was quickly on his feet, and before I might throw anything to him, he dragged me up from the bunk and across the cabin. “Well, if I you don’t want to eat, then I shall take you to Prince Lotor.”
As we made our way to the bridge, I almost cried in angry despair. I needed to know that Allura and my friends were all right, that they had gotten my message.
What in the name of heaven was I going to do now? How could I save myself? How could I convince Lotor to ransom me? It seemed the only option. The only other course was to kill myself, and I didn’t have the courage to do that. Besides, I didn’t want to die anyway. I wanted to see my father and brothers again, and my castle too.
But what if Voltron was able to blast the Omega Comet off course and Lotor decided to keep me as his slave?
I would continue being the most difficult, the most impossible, the most awful woman he had ever known; and he would certainly send me home, having concluded that a ransom was a better bargain than an uncooperative woman.
With a low hiss, the bridge’s hatch opened, and we stepped into the chart section. Mogor ordered me to stay with him, but I edged away. He gave a slight snort and held my arm.
I looked around, and a big holographic display swept up my attention. Semitransparent images drew long shadows across the walls and over the navigational terminal where a drone sat, keying numbers and gazing at its screen. A red blip designated by tiny letters as Voltron lay at the holographic center. The blip flashed as it moved toward a pulsating circle, designated as the Omega Comet. I watched, fascinated, as the mighty robot came to a halt, poised before the black hole.
The drone swung around and cocked a brow at Mogor. “Sir, there’s a ninety-eight-point-one percent chance that Voltron will be destroyed.”
“Those are the kind of chances that I like,” he replied, a flicker of a grin appearing on his lips.
I glared at him, wishing that he would dematerialize into the shadows, but then I cringed as I heard Hagar’s raspy voice. “I guess they didn’t find the secret attack plan.”
Lotor strayed toward the view port stretching from deck to overhead. The comet now dominated the view.
“Hmm…if they only knew the right settings,” he mused.
“If they would put their power crystals in a force sector setting, they could put their feet up, that’s the secret attack plan,” Hagar said matter-of-factly.
I gasped. ~Secret attack plan? I must tell them!~
“Yes, soon they will use all their power, then Voltron will be completely hopeless, am I right?” Lotor said, looking over his shoulder at everyone on the bridge.
“Yes, Prince Lotor,” Mogor said in a monotonous voice. “They won’t have a chance-“
I shouldered my way to the terminal and pressed the commlink button. “Voltron! Listen to me. Put your crystals in a force sector setting!”
“What?!” They shouted.
“That’s the secret attack plan,” I continued. “If you keep shooting, your will use up all your power. Use your crystals!”
Now came a long period of silence from Voltron. Lotor stood behind me, muttering an occasional interjection but otherwise silent. The Force changed settings, and slowly made their way to the comet. And what I saw then froze the blood in my veins.
Like a cosmic predator with claws of gravitational force, the Omega Comet reached out and clutched Voltron, pulling him to the surface.
“We’ve been betrayed!” Keith cried over the intercom.
The taste of bile rose to my throat, and tears welled in my eyes. “No…it can’t be.”
Lotor chuckled softly. “But it is!” he pointed out triumphantly. “You told them exactly what we want it you to tell them. Thanks to you, Voltron is utterly defeated. You’ve been very useful, Princess. Thank you.”
“Oh no!” I cried, dropping on my knees.
“Keep the commlink opened,” he ordered, “I want to listen to their conversation.” Then he smiled indulgently at me. “Oh my pretty little slave,” he cooed. “Look what you’ve done. With friends like you, Voltron doesn’t need enemies.”
Oh my God, he was right. How could I believe that Lotor and Hagar would speak so freely about the secret attack plan? They knew that I would hear them. I was such a fool! I would never be able to forgive myself.
“We’re getting out of here pronto!” Keith urged. “Can you reach the controls?”
“Yes!” The team replied in unison.
“Alright,” he breathed. “Let’s get out of this force sector setting, and back to normal power. Reset the power crystals…that’s better.”
“We’re at full power,” Allura stated.
“Good, let’s get out of this ugly comet,” Keith said, the conviction of his tone growing as he spoke.
“We got it team, we’re lifting off!”
But the radiation rings acted up once again, and Voltron came crashing face down.
“The gravitons are too strong!” Pidge wailed.
“We’re completely out of regular power,” Allura said. “I think we could use our booster supply, couldn’t we?”
“What good would that do?” Lance snapped. “If our regular power wasn’t enough, our booster supply can’t possibly help!”
“We have to try,” Keith gasped. “Lock in boosters!”
But they still had the same results.
“If we don’t get out soon,” Allura warned, “the gravity will crush us!”
And I shuddered in revulsion, unable to drag my eyes away, wondering if I’ll ever see my friends again.
To Chapter Two
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