“Our spy monitoring Galra activity in the Gyiphus quadrant informed us that there has been unrest among the troops. Their current Commander, Commander Plutan, is more of a strategist than conqueror and the troops are frustrated with his slow progress on the empire’s domination.”
As he was being debriefed, Keith lengthened his stride as much as he could to keep up with Kolivan’s long gait. “So we’re going to take advantage of the fighting and take down another fleet?” He looked up to confirm with the leader. The tall Galran didn’t look down as they continued their hurried pace down the ship and to the conference room.
“No. We’re going to try and use the upheaval to elevate our spy’s position from sub-commander to commander. He’s already got sixty five percent of the soldier’s support who prefer his leadership over Plutan’s.”
“But,” Keith sped up to stand in front of his leader, blocking his progress and gaining his full attention, “if we don’t stop the fleet, they’ll just keep conquering planets! How can the spy stand by and give orders to destroy civilizations while-“
Kolivan held up his hand to silence the young boy, pinning his words down with a serious expression. “Your impulsiveness keeps you from looking at the bigger picture Keith. If we can get the spy in command, it’ll be that much easier to keep tabs on Haggar and whatever she’s planning. And since we no longer have Thace, that position is essential in the long scheme of things.”
Keith nodded; a twinge of remorse pricked his heart at the memory of the Galra so sacrificed so much and inevitably saved his life. He understood the situation, but didn’t look quite pacified. “What if we-“
He was caught off for a second time by a high pitched chime emanating from his pocket. A small thin communicator he almost forgot he had was ringing, alerting him of an incoming call. “It’s the team. It might be important, I need to take this.”
The Galran sighed but gave a permitting gesture with his hand. “Try to be quick; the meeting starts in three doboshes and we need you to be there.”
“I’ll be there.” Keith walked down to a smaller hallway for privacy before answering the call. His shoulders were tense- this was a secure line they rarely used. “Hello?”
“Keith! Hey buddy!”
That smarmy voice could only belong to one person.
“What’s wrong Lance? Is everyone alright?” Keith asked with a mixture of confusion and tenseness. Lance’s voice sounded too light and comfortable for whatever message Keith was expecting.
“Yeah man. I’m cool. I’m better than cool actually. How are you?”
Keith’s jaw hung open for a moment. Here Lance was, talking to him on a heavily encrypted line used only for emergencies like it was a normal Saturday night back on Earth.
“I’m actually on my way to a meeting. Is there a reason why you called?”
Keith was tapping his foot now. He only had another two doboshes before the conference start and it would look bad if he came in late without a good reason.
“We found Dr. Holt! Pidge and Matt are showing him around and they’ve made a ton of improvements on the castle’s defense system and the lions. They’re a family of geeks I tell ya, I can see where Pidge gets it from.”
“That’s great, but Lance……”
“Hunk is getting along with them great too! But I don’t think Coran appreciates the messes they leave of wires and computer junk. I just don’t get all that tech speak.”
“Allura and Shiro have been spending a lot of time grilling that Lotor guy. The info is good, but the guy is so slimy. I don’t trust him. You would hate him actually. His hair is a little too silky. No one’s hair should be that effortlessly silky if you know what I mean.”
“Lance! Why. Did. You. Call?”
Keith was answered with silence. Other than the faint hum of static from the receiver, no sound came though. He huffed and was about to end the call thinking Lance hung up on him when Lance’s voice, now so faint he almost couldn’t hear it over the static, finally spoke up.
He heard Lance swallow loudly a few times before continuing.
“I’m sorry. This isn’t an emergency…” Lance trailed off.
Keith was used to all sorts of dumb expressions Lance made. He knew that Lance squirmed and stuck out his tongue when he swallowed food goo for the umpteenth time. He knew the angry twitch of his eyebrows when they were in the middle of a yelling match. He knew the red flush he sported when he shot his rifle and hit an enemy head on. And he knew the content smile he shared when they were in the lounge, tired after training, but happy to be in the company of people he cared about. Right now though, he couldn’t picture Lance’s expression.
“Lance. Are you okay?” He asked as genuinely as he could.
The receiver was quiet again, but Keith knew he was still there.
“I just…” Lance swallowed again sounding like he was searching for words. “I just wanted to hear a friendly voice. I-…. I miss…”
Suddenly Kolivan and the meeting seemed to be the least important thing in the universe. The sad sound that came from Lance’s throat drowned out every urgency he had.
“Tell me what’s wrong.” He rushed out bluntly. “What do you mean?”
Lance cleared his throat and forced out a few fake chuckles. “It’s nothing; I shouldn’t’ve bothered you I’ll let you get to your secret meeting now.”
“Look, I don’t know what’s going on- but remember, you’re the right arm of Voltron now, and they can’t for him without you. They need you Lance. But don’t let that get to your ego.”
This earned a genuine chuckle from the Cuban boy which lifted Keith’s spirits a little.
“Are you sure you’re okay?” He pressed once more.
“Yeah. Thanks, Keith. I’m fine, I really am.” Lance sighed out a relieved breath against phone. “So don’t worry you’re pretty head about it samurai. You keep focusing on your flashy knife tricks with the Marmorites. We’re all good here.”
“Umm. Okay? I won’t worry my pretty head, sharpshooter.” Keith chuckled.
There was the clattering sound which Keith could only imagine was Lance dropping the receiver, before his voice came out a bit garbled by the static from his rushed words.
“I meant pretty in an ironic way!! I don’t actually think you’re pretty alright? It just slipped out!!”
“Sure sure. Look. I might not answer all the time, I have to keep this communicator off when I’m on missions, but if you feel down send me a message okay? I’ll answer when I can.”
From the tone of his voice, Keith knew which expression Lance had this time. A small grateful smile he tried to hide but couldn’t keep off of the corners of his mouth. It didn’t really hit him until know how much he watched the other boy. Observed him and noticed these subtle changes. And if Lance ever found out he would probably fall on his own sword out of embarrassment. But for this moment, he was glad he did.