Author's Note: I am still alive! I just haven't had time to write lately. Which is a damn shame given the ideas bouncing around my head. Anyway I own nothing.

24. Snap

If one were to ask Kathy what she thought was the lowest level any sentient being could sink to she would without fail reply, betrayal. She'd lived her entire life in an organization that relied on its members being able to count on each other. She wasn't unfamiliar with the concept of betrayal. More than once she'd been denounced a traitor by Zarkon's forces who hadn't lived to say anything else. Blind loyalty had helped the Marmora infiltrate and sabotage Zarkon's plans more than once. But it was a dangerous and often deadly thing.

So when Lubos summoned the Galra forces with the push of a button and dithered about how he hadn't had a choice, how they'd never stood a chance against the Galra, about how he was doing this to protect his people, something in her snapped and she growled. The Olkari next to Lubos must have heard her because for a moment his eyes met hers, or they would have if it weren't for the blackened setting she had on her helmet. But despite that they seemed to understand each other perfectly. The Olkari kicked Lubos and Kathy stepped forwards, snatching one of the kings arms and easily twisting it up his back, pulling her Bayard with the other hand. It formed in a millisecond the tip of the blade pressed against the traitorous kings throat. Everyone around her seemed to freeze for a moment, save the still cuffed Olkari. Then the general across the room laughed.

"One more move and I slit his throat." Lubos was babbling, terrified, questioning why his fellow Olkari had thrown him to the lions. Kathy wasn't paying him any more attention than it took to keep hold of him which wasn't much. She knew the Olkari's reasons. At least enough to know that he wouldn't turn on Voltron. She was focused on the general across the room. The Olkari was still between them and him.

"Go ahead and kill him, his work is done anyway." Lubos stammered at the general's words. Kathy knew what was coming next. She tossed Lubos at Shiro, he seemed most likely to catch the large Olkari, and leapt as the general raised his hand and ordered his men to open fire. She landed in front of the lone Olkari, her shield up between them and the Galra forces. He blinked as several lasers blasted into the shield, absorbed without effort by the Altean tech. He hadn't expected to be saved. Well saved was sort of relative at the moment, as she now couldn't freely fight without leaving the innocent Olkari to die.

It turned out to not be a problem anyway as the head of the green lion shoved its way into the room making a sizable hole for them to escape through. Kathy grabbed the Olkari and kept him behind her shield as she leapt through the hole onto the head of the green lion with the others. The lion carefully flew away as Kathy carried the Olkari into the lion. She set him down and carefully cut his cuffs with her Bayard. He nodded and smiled in thanks. She nodded back and turned to the other paladins.

The fight with the giant echo cube was harrowing. At one point all of them were convinced that Pidge was dead. So when she showed back up and single handedly took down the cubes everyone was cheering. Their extraordinary relief was short lived as one of the Galra ships tried to leave. Pidge and Kathy were faster though. They crippled the ship, forcing a landing. The Olkari scientists inside did the rest seeming to have turned the defenses against the remaining Galra inside.

Their celebrations weren't long lived like they had been on the Balmera. The Olkari were still reeling slightly from their king's betrayal. But they accepted the beacon readily, agreeing to be there when the time came no matter what. As they loaded into the lions Kathy spotted Pidge glancing thoughtfully her way. She stepped into Red, not really thinking about it too hard. Or at least trying not to.

"So Ryner was right. All of us are made of the same cosmic dust." Pidge grinned at Kathy who smiled back as Allura tapped her fingers on her console thoughtfully.

Their moment of silent reflection was shattered though as a terrifyingly familiar ship dropped out of hyper speed practically on top of them. The Paladins all dove for their stations as Allura gasped.

"Zarkon!"