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Sky of Platinum Tears

Notes & Disclaimers:
Time frame: For the most part this story takes places about a year and a half after the end of Saber Rider and The Star Sheriffs, and sometime after the second season of Voltron; Prince Lotor is somewhat reconciled with his Father  (it does not take into account the events of Voltron in the Third Dimension, because I've never seen it...the local television stations never picked it up where I live!).  During that time the cast of SRaTSS has had some changes.  Colt has married Robyn.  Saber is engaged to Sincia.  April and Fireball have been slowly moving toward that step themselves.  General Whitehawk is planning on retiring and is currently grooming Commander Eagle to take his place as head of Cavalry Command.

Names:  I like the names in "Bismark"  So they tend to get used here!

Saber Rider and The Star Sheriffs,  Voltron, and the charcters therein,  are the property of World Event Productions;  I'm only borrowing them out of affection, and certainly not getting paid a dime for this..


Part One
Prelude to the Future


Deep Space in the Vapor Zone

Twenty two years were just not enough, he thought as he drift closer to the edge of death.  He tried to fight the growing lassitude in his body, tried to spur himself to some sort of actions that might preserve his life, but his limbs were growing heavier with each passing moment, a fuzzy comfortable warmth was whispering around his consciousness, and it was growing darker.  Just as he decided to give in, he heard voices.

"Dar....ers....ive.....eapo...glori..." they were faint and he couldn't quite make out what they were saying but he seized upon them mentally as if they were a lifeline.  He let the strange soothing chant draw him away from Azrael's embrace.  It was getting lighter and cold.

Suddenly he found himself someplace quite other than the Badlander's damaged cock-pit.

"That is the weapon your evil gods think will defeat the Voltron Force, old Witch!?!"

*****

Haggar's Chambers
Planet Doom

Prince Lotor silently agreed with his father's sentiments.  The seemingly tiny figure that lay on Haggar's high altar just didn't fit the monster of such evil that the Voltron Force would just give in out of fear type.

"The Evil ones are never wrong, your Majesty," Haggar wheedled, although even her voice held some doubt.  She wasn't even certain if the connection had gone through correctly, "And great evil can be deceptively packaged."

Zarkon looked from his Witch to the unconscious creature on the altar and snorted, "In this case, Haggar, not only is it deceptively packaged, it's almost false advertising!"  He glanced at the figure once more, "Very well, wake it up and see what you can do with it.  Then report to me,"  with that the King of Doom swept out of Haggar's chambers.

Haggar looked over at Lotor, who raised an eyebrow, "Well, Witch, wake it up."

"Err," Haggar looked at the figure, "It may be violent."

"Let me guess, you old Hag," The Crown Prince sneered, "You want me to wake it up?"

"You are young and strong," Haggar nodded, "a brave warrior!  While I am a feeble old witch."

"Ha!" Lotor barked, but approached the stairs to the altar.  He began climbing them, wondering what he had gotten himself into.  As he reached the zenith of the steps, he revised his opinion of the creature.  It was not tiny, just the size of the average human, which was in all fairness tiny compared to his father and himself.  He also noted that it seemed to be clothed in light body armor and coated with a heavy frost. He reached to wipe the rime away from the visor of its helmet.

"It's only a child!"

"What?!?" Haggar flashed from the shadows to stand beside Lotor.

"I wish you wouldn't do that!" Lotor muttered, then gestured with his hand, "This is a child!"

Haggar scowled and examined the wedge of face reveal by the visor.  Her twisted hands searched for the helmets release.  Lotor heard something click open.  He helped the witch remove the black and yellow helmet.

It was beautiful face; whiter almost than snow and framed by dark blue-green hair. But was quite literally a cold face.

"Are you certain he's...alive?" Lotor asked, noting that the boy didn't even seem to be breathing.

After a few moments of contemplation, Haggar nodded, "We have to get him warmed up.  Bring him to my work room," She turned, leaving Lotor making a face, "A lava bath should do the trick."

Lotor snorted, and grumbled about an old witch ordering a prince about.  He gathered the boy up and descended from the altar.  It felt as though he were holding an ice sculpture in his arms.  Half way down the stairs he heard a slight moan, and felt a tremor of movement through the body.  Lotor reached the bottom step and felt a more violent tremor run through his burden.  He looked down to find a pair of dark aqua eyes staring fuzzily up at him.

The lips moved, but no sound emerged.  The boy tried again, and Lotor could hear the faintest trace of a word, not enough to understand it though. Then the boy started shivering in earnest, and his head rolled against Lotor's chest.  Lotor decided to ignore the Old Witch's orders and took him to the royal physicians.
 
 

*****

Throne Room

Haggar glared reproachfully at the Crown Prince, "...would have been perfectly fine under my care!"

"He's fine under the care of the physicians," Lotor turned to look up at his Father, "And this great weapon of Evil is nothing more than a human being!  Barely more than a child at that.  Hardly likely to strike terror into our enemies."

Zarkon raised a scaly eyebrow and looked at Haggar.

"The Great Evil Ones are never wrong, your Majesty!" Haggar wailed.

"Has it said anything yet?" Zarkon demanded.

Lotor shrugged, "He tried to, Father, but he was still half frozen."

Zarkon was about to speak when a messenger bearing the badge of the court physician entered.  He bowed deeply.

"Your Majesties."

"Speak," Zarkon barked, shooting an irritated glance at his son.  Lotor just smirked.

"Your 'guest' has regained full consciousness..."

"And?"

"While he was disoriented, he killed one of Lord Krilliac's assistants," the man seemed mildly impressed, "however once he seemed to realize we weren't going to harm him, he settled down."

Haggar paled.  Perhaps Lotor had done the right thing in taking the boy to the physicians.

"Has he said anything?" Lotor inquired, as he remembered most of Lord Krilliac's assistants were skirting the edge of being robeasts.  He glanced at his father and saw that the old man must be thinking the same thing.

"No, Sire," the messenger bowed his head.

"How did he kill the assistant?"

"He stabbed Tewrii in the throat with a scalpel.  Between the armor plates.  One blow."

"But...but that's impossible!  The plating on Tewrii's neck is, well, nearly fused together," Lotor gasped, "The boy must have gotten lucky," he scowled.

"Sire," The messenger conceded to the Prince with a nod, but continued to feel that luck had had nothing to do with it.

Zarkon rose from his throne, then descended from the dais, "I want to see this creature for myself."

*****

Cavalry Command Research Laboratory
Planet Yuma

"Ah ain't no Outrider!"

The denial echoed through the complex for the sixth time in half as many minutes.

"Calm down, Colt!" April tried to get the upset cowboy to sit down, "We're not saying you're an Outrider."

"That jack*** professor just said..."

"That you may not be from this dimension.  Not that you're an Outrider, or from the Vapor Zone," the aforementioned professor said, nursing a blackened eye, "I should have phrased it better."

"See, Colt, no one is saying you're an Outrider," April finally managed to get Colt to sit down in one of the lab's hideous green chairs, "What Professor Izuma and I have theorized is that there multiple dimensions existing concurrent with our own.  The Vapor Zone was one of those dimensions.  It's possible that we could, like the Vapor Beings, 'jump' the pan-dimensional barriers, or that someone from those dimensions could conceivably 'jump' here."

"Yeah, well, Ah didn't 'jump' from anywhere," Colt said defensively, eyeing the lab's exit as if he might bolt at any second, "Ah remember growing up here!"

April sighed.  It had come as a surprise  to her as much as to Colt when the resonance testing had reveal the minor variations in Colt's molecular structure.  They had been expecting in Vanquo's, of course, but Colt's?  The tissue sample he had contributed had been in the control group.

"Colt, how much do you remember about your family?  You did say it was a bit irregular," she asked gently.

Colt startled.  He looked at April for a moment in disbelief, then his eyes darkened in anger, "Ah remember my Ma working by candle light, working her fingers to the bone sewing to keep food on the table.  She was a good lady!"

"Whoa, Colt, April's not implying anything bad about your mother," Fireball finally spoke.  He stepped away from the wall, and sat down in the chair next to Colt, "Look, I think this is as crazy as you do, but if you are from another dimension, I hope all the people there are like you...well, maybe a little less prone to whooping and hollering, but..."  Fireball rocked back and  held up his hands.

Colt had mimed a punch at Fireball.  But he grinned, reassured that his friends weren't going to start acting differently around him.

"Seems to be a day from poor phrasing," Professor Izuma chuckled himself, "I believe what Dr. Eagle meant ask, was: What do you know about your family's history?  Correct, April?"

April nodded, and smiled reassuringly at Colt.

"Weeeeell, Ma didn't say much about it.  She'd just get wistful, sometimes," Colt's eyes hazed over with memories, "Ah know she and my father were married, an' that he musta loved her as much as she loved him.  She wouldn't have settled for less." He crossed his arms and his whole body seemed to duck with a 'so there!' attitude.  Then he cocked his head, "you know, there were some funny things she's say tho', like how much she missed the gardens, an' how much she wished my father coulda come with us," he stopped, his handsome face crumpled with puzzlement as an unbidden memory surfaced, "but he had to stay on the other side."

*****

Royal Physician's Chamber
Planet Doom

Jesse studied the beings around him.  Most were humanoid, most had scales of one type or another.  They seemed reasonably emotional, which ruled out some pocket of surviving Outriders.  That they were killable ruled out Hell; Jesse was certain demons couldn't be killed.  That they hadn't killed him when he offed the big one with the organic plating left him fairly certain they were waiting for something.

He closed his eyes, and sighed.  They were trying to question him again. He could tune out their yammering and luxuriate in the warmth of the bed they had put him in.  He had a vague memory of being warm before, then very, very cold, and now he was beginning to get comfortable again.

Jesse sensed someone coming to stand next to the bed.  Several some ones actually.  He opened one eye to take peek.

"You get in the chow-line for second helpings of ugly, lady?" he drawled.  Jesse heard a muffled snort of laughter, then a noise that could only be some pompous, pumped-up power-monger calling attention to himself.

Jesse opened his other eye.  He raised his fine eyebrows.  Aside from the ugly woman dressed in brown robes, there was a draconian, blue giant dressed as a king, and a pale blue, not-quite giant trying to compose his face.  The pale blue one was failing miserably as the corner of his mouth kept twitching up, and the rest of his face had an artificial stiffness to it.

Ah, so he's the one who laughed, Jesse thought.  He sat up, and smiled brightly.

"Howdy.  Name's Jesse, Jesse Blue.  You are?"

The up-right dragon king drew itself up even taller.  Fire-yellow eyes seemed to glow.  Then with great dignity and menace...

"I am King Zarkon of the Empire of Doom."

Silence reigned in the chamber.

Jesse had the good sense to look slightly embarrassed, the problem was that he also looked slightly amused, "And that means?"

"It means he could have you executed for sneezing wrong," The pale blue man said drily.

King Zarkon looked over at his son with a mixture of annoyance and some approval, "You were brought here by my witch's evil gods to assist us with a minor problem."

*****

Princess Allura's Private Chamber
Castle of Lions
Planet Arus

Allura stood before her mirror contemplating the crown she held in her hands.  It was the crown traditionally worn by the Arusian Prince Consort, and was, in her opinion, rather ugly looking.  She stifled a giggle as she thought of what Nanny and Coran's reaction would be if she ever admitted that in front of them.  She twisted the crown around with her palms and tried to picture what it would look like next her.  She suffered another case of the giggles when the mental image of an empty formal uniform with the crown hovering over it presented itself to her.

The Princess closed her eyes and began to fill out that image with a body, with hands, with a face.

Perhaps....Perhaps...Allura opened her eyes and looked down at the heavy working of metal, jewels and velvet.  Perhaps it was not so ugly after all, it would all depend on who wore it.

And as in that matter, Allura had made up her mind.

*****

Scottish Highlands
Earth

Saber Rider was absolutely flabbergasted.    He had risked his life by using the contrail of a Vapor Ship to jump dimensions.  He had faced down the insane cybernetic leader of a race dedicated to subjugation and elimination of mankind from the galaxy.  He had faced death countless times fighting the Outriders.

And now, after a year and a half of peace, his parents and fiancee were saying being a Star Sheriff was dangerous, as was his decision to remain one.  While he knew his parents and Sincia were proud of his accomplishments, and wouldn't have changed anything in his life....  While he understood their reasoning and the concern behind it.... It still came like a kick to the gut.

"Son?"
"Richard?"
"Are you all right?"

"I, yes, of course, I'm fine," Saber managed, "it's just that I wasn't expecting this," How are they going to react...? Saber took a deep breath, "You see, April just called and asked if I would agree to work on a project with her."

"A project?" Sincia asked anxiously.

"Yes, she's been working on the possibility of exploring dimensions beyond this one.  She was hoping, well, that I would lead any expeditions that might happen."

"I see," Sincia replied thoughtfully.

"Saber, kinn I 'ave a word with you, son?" Ian Rider gestured for his son to come close, at the same time as he nodded for his wife and future daughter-in-law to give them a little space, "Are ye' gone daft, lad?!?"

His accent's gotten thick, Saber thought ruefully, he must be serious about me settling down to take over the lands.  This is going to be difficult.

*****

Apartment of Bill and Robyn Wilcox
Planet Yuma

"Stop being silly, Colt!" Robyn rebuked her husband, "I'd love you even if you were an Outrider turned human," pacifistic though she was, there were times when she want to throttle her husband.  She would have to get him to lean close at the moment however.

"Ah know, Ah just, well, this threw me like a buckin' bronco," Colt shrugged.  He tentatively wrapped an arm around Robyn's shoulders and hugged her as close as he could.  His other hand he placed on her swollen abdomen, "Ah just don't want to be anything that'll hurt you or maybe hurt little Robyn in there."

Robyn had to smile, "You are so sure that it'll be a girl."

"Well, Ah just think a little girl would be perfect for a first child," Colt pouted, "And iffen she's as pretty as her mother..."

"You'll be insufferably overprotective," Robyn mock-sighed, "I pity her first boyfriend."

"What boyfriend?" Colt growled playfully.

"Incorrigible!"

*****

Physician's Chamber
Planet Doom

"So what you want is for me to betray my own kind in to misery, slavery and death, am I right?" Jesse asked after Haggar explained why her dark gods had evidently rescued him from death.

"Yes," Zarkon replied.

"I can deal with that," Jesse flipped his hair out of his eyes,  "So, when do I take command?"

"You would be under my command," Lotor snarled, irritated with the human's presumption.

Jesse crossed his arms over his chest, "No offense, but you've all ready botched things up too often. If my last commander had taken the hint when I ousted him, the Outriders mighta stood a chance.  Instead their planet blew up.  Either I'm free to run the show, or nothing."

Lotor raised his hand to hit the insolent worm, but his wrist was caught by his Father.  He turned to protest, but his word died in his throat when he saw the look in the King's eyes.

Zarkon was staring intensely at Jesse, "you would have co-command with Lotor.  You would be answerable only to me," his eyes narrowed, "failure will be dealt with harshly."

"I would expect nothing else," Jesse smiled coldly,  "Now, where do you want me to begin?"

*****

"And now the wheels of heaven stop
You feel the devil's riding crop.
Get ready for the Future:
It is murder"

   "The Future"
--Leonard Cohen
To Be Continued