Chapter 5: Redemption

The workers were settling down to sleep. As Lotor began to drift off himself, he heard a voice quietly trying to get his attention. He looked around to make sure the guards weren't listening in. They were themselves fast asleep. He looked and saw it was the young woman who'd given him his dinner earlier. She crept away from the other females in her cell and inched closer to the bars seperating her cell from Lotor's.

"My name is Miranda. I heard you talking to lord Kargos. King Zarkon intends to launch an attack upon planet Arus?" She asked nervously.

"He does." He answered. "Was Arus your home world?" He questioned.

"Yes. I was a childhood friend of Princess Allura." Miranda answered. "You are the one who covets her, aren't you?" Miranda inquired.

"Yes." Lotor answered in a solom tone.

"I may be able to help you get away from this place." Miranda said.

"Why would you help me? I'm the reason you and so many others are here in the first place." Lotor replied skeptically.

"Because now you understand what it is to be one of us. Now you understand what it's like to have everything you ever held dear taken away from you." Miranda answered.

"Miranda!" A voice hissed sharply. Miranda looked across from her to see a man focusing his angry expression straight on her.

"Get away from him! You have any idea who you're talking to?" He said sternly.

Miranda did as she was told and huddled back with the other female prisoners. Then the man looked right at Lotor.

"Don't get any ideas about my sister you fiend." He growled.

Lotor said nothing. Before his ordeal he would have lashed out with some snide or crude remark. But now he remained silent. Miranda's brother was being protective. Not that Lotor could have done anything to her anyway, but he understood her brother's anger. Knowing that Allura could face the same fate, he truly understood the brother's feelings.

"He is justified. How many sisters became my slaves? How many fathers lost their daughters because of me?" His thought stopped as he looked up at the ceiling.

"Before I met Allura everything was so simple. My father made it all sound so easy. Conquoer and destroy, that's all he ever cared about. My feelings aren't so simple anymore. I'm beginning to realize they were never that simple to begin with."

Allura stood on the balcony outside her bedroom. Tears poured from her eyes. She had just been given the news that she would no longer pilot the blue lion.

"I don't understand. Coran wants me to be a responcible ruler and protect my people. Yet he and the team decide I can't pilot the blue lion anymore. I flew the blue lion before I ever met Lotor. My life was in just as much danger before he came into my life. Now that he's gone, why should it matter now? I take as much risk as any of the other team members." She said to herself wiping away her fallen tears.

"It's just not fair. How can I protect my people if they won't let me? I'm supposed to be an adult yet everyone treats me like I'm a child." She sobbed.

As she looked out into space she heard a knock at her door. "Princess..." Keith called.

She sighed and walked back into her room. She knew if she didn't open the door the team would panic. They worried more than was needed over her as it was. She opened the door.

"Princess, please try to understand. We know you're a good pilot for the blue lion. It's not that we don't have faith in your abilities. It's just that with Lotor gone Zarkon won't show us any mercy. He knows we care about you and if you were in that lion well...I'd hate to think..."

"If you had faith in my abilities you wouldn't doubt them now. I flew the blue lion just fine before Lotor was even a thought in my head. How can I protect my people if no one will let me?" Allura protested.

"Allura, you can't protect your people if you're dead or worse. What if Zarkon captured you? I've been a prisoner of Zarkon. Trust me he won't try to sweet talk you the way Lotor did." Keith replied.

"You think I don't know about Zarkon? He killed my father! I know better than anyone what Zarkon is capable of!" Allura shouted.

"Look there's no need to fly off the handle. You would do well to protect your people by protecting yourself. You're a brave girl, but..."

"Girl! Girl! I'm a woman! I'm a grown woman yet everyone around here treats me like I'm a child!" Allura cried.

"Well right now you are acting like a child. We're trying to do what's best for you and here you are throwing a temper tantrum like a two year old." Keith said sternly.

"I have every right to fly the blue lion! And where were you and the others when I needed you? You side with Coran and Nanny. I thought you all trusted me to do my job, but apperently I was wrong." Allura sobbed.

"We do trust you. It's Zarkon we don't trust. Your people need you on the ground. We have Sven back and, well, it's just that he can keep himself out of danger..."

"Oh, I see. Because he's a man he can handle himself better than I can. That's it isn't it?" Allura asked.

"That isn't what I meant, and you know it. You can fly the lion just as well as Sven can, but he isn't in charge of an entire planet. You are." Keith retorted firmly.

"Look, I understand that you're upset. I can't say that I blame you for it. But we're not only thinking about what's best for you, but what's best for your people. When you've had a chance to think about the bigger picture, you'll understand why we came to the decision we did. It's better this way." Keith said and left Allura's room.

The princess was alone once more in her room. She walked over to her bed and plopped down on it. She grabbed her favorite pillow hugging it close to her. "Father, I wish you were here. I wish you could tell me what's going on with me. I can't explain why, but I actually regret Lotor being dead. I don't know why. I shouldn't miss him. I shouldn't even give his name another thought. He was a terrible, evil man. Yet I actually feel bad about him being gone." The princess said to herself.

She buried her face in her pillow as her tears dampened it's soft exterior. "I feel so confused. Did he tell me he loved me because he truly meant it? Now that he's dead I'll never know. I'll never know if he truly meant what he said. Could I have misjudged him? His methods were wrong. There's no mistaking that. But could his intentions have truly been noble? Father I wish you could tell me what to do."

Keith went back to the control room where the other team members and Coran were waiting. "How is she Keith?" Coran asked.

"She's still pretty upset. I'm beginning to wonder if we did the right thing." Keith answered.

"We did. When she has calmed down and thought things over, she will realize what we all did was for the best. The safety of the princess must be our number one priority. Even if she feels we are wrong, we must do what is best for her." Coran said.

Lotor lay on his back in his cell. There wasn't much comfort to be found in a cell on a cold stone floor, so he stayed in the only position that was remotely comfortable. But sleep brought him no comfort. His sleep was nothing but troubled. Knowing the fate that awaited Allura, trying to find a way to escape to warn her, and thinking about what Miranda had said to him earlier.

"This is wrong." He thought. "This is no kind of life. These people, I can't imagine how long they've had to live with it. Many of them probably died this way."

Lotor opened his eyes and looked up at the ceiling. It was no use trying to sleep any longer. He could find no peace in it, so why bother. "I always looked up to my father as a great conquorer. He held so many civilizations at his feet and taught me to do the same. He wanted me to be just like him. I was like him. And I hate him for it."

The next day it was time for mining duty. The workers were harshly awoken and forced out of their cells. They were taken into the mine as they were every day to begin work. The guards stood by watching the slaves making sure they did their work. They were moved periodically in shifts to avoid overmining of the cave wall and cause a collapse of the mine.

The guards walked by each group of workers attacking any who failed to fulfill their duties. But even those who did work diligently were not safe from being harrassed or worse, especially the young women. They derived twisted pleasure from the screams of young women as they tortured them.

Lotor stood at his post working his spot on the wall. He was preoccupied with his thoughts of Allura and how to get away from Carnos to warn her of his father's plans. His train of thought was interrupted however; by the screams of a young woman being harrassed and threatend by the guards.

"Let me go! Leave me alone!" A woman's voice echoed through the mine. The cry abruptly brought Lotor out of his thoughts and back to reality. He looked over his shoulder to find three guards trying to force a young woman to come with them. From the looks of things, they weren't having too much trouble but for her struggling.

"Shut up bitch! We can do with you as we please!" One guard barked.

"Get away from my sister you monsters!" A man shouted.

Lotor recognized both voices. Miranda was the woman in trouble. Her brother tried to fight the guards off only to find himself knocked to the ground unconcious.

"You're all ours now wench." Another guard growled as they started dragging Miranda away.

"Let her go!"

The guards looked to find Lotor glaring them right in their faces. His eyes narrowed showing the anger within. They glared back at him and his audacity. How dare he interrupt their folly. One guard held onto Miranda as she continued to struggle. The other two squared off with Lotor. The other slaves stopped working to watch the ensuing fight.

"You never learn do you? You're not the master around here. You're the slave." One guard snarled.

"I said let her go. She's done nothing to any of you." Lotor growled back.

"She's ours to do with as we please. And we're going to do just that after we beat you into oblivion." Another guard said as they began advancing upon their target.

"Payback time." Lotor challenged with a bit of a smirk on his face. This was going to be a rematch from the first time he and the ogre guards clashed on planet Doom. And this time he was ready.

"Well, don't just stand there. Get him!" The guard holding Miranda captive shouted.

The two guards lumbered toward Lotor who ran toward them in turn. Only when they brought their hammers down to smash him to pieces, he sprang through the air executing a perfectly done front flip. He landed on his feet behind the guards. His expression mocked them behind their backs. Despite the pain in his body, he felt renewed strength to put up a good fight.The ogres of Carnos obviously didn't realize Lotor was a master of acrobatics. He could dodge projectiles and lazar fire if given the proper amount of space.

He lept from the ground hurling himself through the air like a huge ball effectively knocking the guards off their feet. They fumbled to regain their footing. Lotor grabbed the first sharp tool he could find and swung with all his might against the lazon wall. A long, flat shard fell into his waiting hand. He found a ragged cloth lying on the ground and wrapped it around one end of the shard making a crude sword. When harnessed for its energy lazon was deadly. But even in its raw material form, it still made for a formidble weapon.

One guard rushed toward Lotor only to have his gut split open by the razor sharp edge of the blade. Another ran clumsily toward his enemy. He raised his hammer to bring it down upon Lotor's head. He got his hand cut off for his effort. As skilled as he was at hand to hand combat and martial arts, he was deadliest when he had a sword in his hands.

The guard fell to the ground wailing in pain as he looked in shock at the stump that was once his hand. Lotor raised his sword and ran it through the guard's chest effectively impaling him through the heart. He could now boast three ogres as his victims. He raised the bloody weapon looking maliciously at the guard still restraining Miranda.

"Now, let her go!" He barked.

Seeing what he'd done to his two comrads, the third guard released Miranda. She ran to her fallen brother to try and revive him.

"So are you going to back off or add to the body count?" Lotor snarled with a maniacle look on his face. Miranda looked up to see Kargos approach Lotor from behind. She was about to cry out when his fist connected with the back of Lotor's head knocking him unconcious.

"He's killed two more of my guards! Now I'll have to have the witch replace them! Get him out of my sight! Tomorrow he dies!" Kargos screamed with fury.