Author's Note: All characters and places pertaining to Voltron belongs to WEP. Story has been updated with new content and a new ending. I hope you all enjoy!
Planet Arus, nightfall…
"Ah, hah! There we go," Pidge announced triumphantly. He stood back from the telescope, hands on hips and a broad smile on his face.
Beside him, Lance gave a loud yawn. "I don't know why you bothered fixing that old thing."
Pidge shot him an irritated glance. "Oh, yeah? I can use it to spot any incoming enemies Zarkon might send."
"Even though we've got one of the best defensive networks in the galaxy?" Lance countered.
Pidge started to protest, then recalled the impressive command center deep within the castle. Sighing in defeat, he made a helpless gesture toward the telescope. "Well, at least I can stargaze with it."
Lance smiled wryly. "That's what telescopes are for." He yawned again and stretched his arms over his head. "That's enough excitement for me. I'm turning in. Don't forget you've got security watch tonight."
"I won't. See you tomorrow," Pidge called, waving to Lance.
After he disappeared into the castle, Pidge returned his attention to the telescope. He trained it on a star cluster just as a flash of white light streaked across the sky. Pidge stared, open-mouthed, when it vanished behind the treetops. A faint echo, like distant thunder, rumbled the air. Pidge frowned thoughtfully. Although it could be a meteorite, one couldn't be too careful on Arus. Especially with the threat of Zarkon looming.
With this in mind, Pidge dashed from the balcony and into the castle. His sprint brought him to the control room. Keith was seated at the station Coran usually occupied. A cup of tea sat on the console, along with what looked to be leftovers from the night's dinner.
Keith glanced over his shoulder at hearing Pidge come in. "What is it?"
"I saw a strange light while on the balcony."
"Zarkon's forces?" Keith asked, frowning.
Pidge shrugged. "I don't know. But I'm gonna check it out."
Keith nodded in understanding and pressed a button. The station trembled and rose upward, exposing the elevators that led to the Lions. As Pidge circled toward the third one, Keith advised him to call if he needed backup. Pidge saluted Keith in response before jumping up to take hold of the handlebars. A short ride later found him within Green Lion, which Pidge piloted for the woods where he'd seen the flash.
He switched on the scanner. Several small shapes appeared, which Pidge determined to be animals, before a human-shaped one commanded his attention. He tried to zoom in on the location, but the thick foliage prevented him from doing so. Left with no choice but to investigate on foot, Pidge descended.
Green Lion touched ground a short distance from the target. Pidge unbuckled himself from the pilot's seat and stood. He checked his gun, just in case, then took hold of a flashlight stored in a side compartment. Once he exited the opening in Green Lion's head, he turned the light on. A cone-shaped beam broke through the darkness, revealing sections of tree boughs. Pidge gulped a little at seeing how the shadowed portions resembled monstrous hands, but soon recovered his poise. Now wasn't the time to be scared.
Pidge dropped to the ground and began cursory sweeps with his flashlight. Animals fled as the light approached them, the echo of their movements lost in the darkness. Pidge stopped at a clearing, then gasped. The body of a young woman lay nestled within two massive tree roots. She didn't look that much older than the princess. Fearing she might be hurt, Pidge quickly rushed over.
Going to a knee beside her, Pidge leveled the flashlight on her face. Bronze-skinned, her features sharp in chin and cheek, with short, unruly white hair curling around her face, she looked like no one he had ever seen. A thick, leather piece of shoulder armor, the white scarf around her head, and goggles hanging around her neck only added to her strangeness.
Then he realized she was looking at him.
Alarm entered her eyes. Her bare foot shot out, catching him in the shoulder and knocking him flat on his back. He hit the ground with a pained grunt. When he sat up, an arrowhead hovered inches from his nose.
Gulping, he offered a shaky smile. "Um, can't we talk about this?"
"Not until you tell me where I am," she ordered, pulling back on the bowstring. Her expression indicated she had every intent on using it.
Pidge swallowed uneasily. "I'd feel better if you didn't point that at me. I'm a friend."
"But you aimed a weapon at me," she insisted.
Pidge blinked at her, confused, until he realized she meant his flashlight. Keeping his eye on her, he slowly lifted the light for her to see. She moved her head with the nervous disposition of a bird's, something that struck Pidge as odd.
"You mean this? It's just a flashlight. It won't hurt you. Here," he said, offering it to her. "See for yourself."
The young woman still looked hesitant, but after a moment she lowered the bow. She snatched the light from him. Glad not to be staring at the wrong end of an arrowhead (and what was she doing with such an old-fashioned weapon, anyway?) Pidge sighed in relief.
She turned the light in her hand, a thoughtful frown on her face. "How do you harness the power of light?" she asked, looking at him with such a serious expression Pidge's brows lifted.
"Um. An electrical light bulb powered by an energy pack?" he said, spacing his words to further illustrate his disbelief. She cocked her head to the side, again reminding him of a bird. "You really don't know, do you?"
"What am I supposed to know?" she asked, her tone revealing she did not like being thought of as unintelligent.
Quickly sensing the situation could grow hostile again, Pidge held up his hands in a gesture of peace. "Maybe we should start over. My name's Pidge. What's yours?"
She watched him in silence for a long moment. Pidge extended his hand, hoping it would reinforce his intent for peace. Eventually she shouldered her bow and shook his hand.
"Okay, Anila," Pidge said, glad to have earned her trust. He rose to his feet, clapping his uniform pants free from dirt. Anila also stood. "Do you know how you got here?"
"No," she said with obvious reluctance. "The last thing I remember is being in the glen. There were two people there."
"Is there anyone else with you?"
Before she could answer, someone called her name. Anila whirled around, lifting the flashlight so it revealed another young woman's approach. She wore her long, brown hair in a thick braid. Her clothing, comprised of a dark green short cloak, a tan shirt, and brown pants, reminded Pidge of old period costumes back on Earth. Like Anila, she appeared to be in her late teens. She also walked with confidence in spite of her surroundings, giving Pidge the impression she did not frighten easily. If he didn't know any better, he'd swear she was like Keith in that regard.
"Kaia! Did you find the others?" Anila asked, meeting the brunette halfway.
"Yes. Harmony and Azura are unconscious. Vesta's watching over them now," Kaia answered. When her gaze went to Pidge, her hand went to her sword. A warning flashed in her eyes. "Who's this?"
Pidge gulped and held up his hands.
"He says his name is Pidge," Anila said. "I don't think he's the one who brought us here."
After a moment's consideration, Kaia released her sword. Pidge took that as his cue to greet her. He had to resist wincing when she shook his hand. The strength of her grip was closer to Hunk's than he expected.
"Can you help our friends, Pidge? They need a healer."
Another old-fashioned term, Pidge thought, but he decided to question it later. He nodded and gestured over his shoulder at where he'd left Green Lion.
"Sure. There's plenty of room for them in Green Lion. Just tell me where they are, and I'll get them to the castle in no time," he assured her.
"Good," Kaia replied, smiling. Amazing how the act transformed her whole face. Pidge found himself blushing with pleasure, while another part of him wondered if their other friends would affect him this way.
Kaia led the way out of the clearing, but without the aid of the flashlight. Though Pidge couldn't be sure, he thought he saw low-hanging tree branches shift aside in order to create an unobstructed path. He looked to Anila for an explanation, but she was busy toying with his light. It didn't seem she was bothered by Kaia's forest wizardry at all. Remembering to question this phenomena, Pidge focused on the task at hand. Strange or not, if there were people in need, he'd only be too happy to help.
A second clearing opened up ahead of them. A tan-skinned young woman dressed in a red, gold, and orange skirt and blouse tended the fire. She wore her dark red hair short. Where the other two displayed caution, she had the cheerful disposition of someone who took things as they came. Sitting there as she was, warming her hands before the fire, she gave the appearance of a camper enjoying time spent outdoors.
Two other young women were lying near her. One had long, blonde hair and wore a white blouse with gold trim and matching pants. The other girl rested on the opposite side of the fire. A pale blue cloak had been tucked around her. Firelight cast a sheen on her long, dark blue hair.
The redhead looked up as Pidge and the others approached. Her eyes were a striking shade of ruby red. "You found Anila! I'm so glad," she said, rising to embrace Kaia and Anila in turn. When she spotted Pidge, a warm smile lit her features. "Hello. Are you here to help us?"
Pidge instantly took to her friendly nature. Unable to help himself from acting the role of the hero, he cleared his throat and puffed his chest out. "I am. If there's someone in distress, I'm the one to call," he boasted, and she giggled. He liked the sound of it.
Anila did not look amused. "If you're done trying to impress Vesta, maybe you ought to show us how to get to your Green Lion?"
As Pidge rubbed the back of his head sheepishly, Kaia stepped toward the blonde. She slid her hands beneath the other girl's body and lifted her into her arms with ease. The display of strength caused Pidge's brows to lift.
"Will you see to Azura?" Kaia asked Anila. She nodded and gestured toward the blue-haired girl. A rush of wind tugged at Pidge's clothes, and, much to his slack-jawed surprise, Azura's body lifted off the ground. Anila stood beside Azura, yet her attention was riveted to the flashlight.
"It must be strange to you," Vesta said at his shoulder.
Pidge shifted his gaze her way just as she inserted her hand into the fire. He cried out in shock and rushed to save her. But Vesta retracted her hand, the fire now freely burning over her open palm. She closed her fingers over it, causing the fire to vanish. Pidge gaped. Strange was not the word!
"Pidge? Will you take us to your Green Lion?" Kaia requested. Her tone was polite, but her intent was reminiscent of an order. Pidge slowly bowed his head before gesturing that they follow him. As he led them away, he took the comm-link from his belt and pressed a button.
"Pidge? Did you find what that light was?" came Keith's digitized voice.
"Um, you could say that." Then, catching sight of Kaia watching him, Pidge turned serious. "I found five strangers. Can you have a doctor ready? Two of them are hurt."
"I'll send Sven down there now. We can talk more about them when you return. Keith out," he said before disconnecting.
Pidge replaced the communicator on his belt, then nearly jumped out of his skin when Anila spoke.
"I've never seen someone send a message like that. How did you do it?"
"Don't bother him with questions like that, Anila," Kaia said. "Right now, we need to make sure Harmony and Azura are looked after."
Anila nodded and resumed toying with the flashlight. Pidge, for his part, idly wondered just what the others would think of these peculiar, yet fascinating girls. He wasn't sure what to think!