“I-I don't know about this, Alfor.”
“Why the sudden change of heart, Gyrgan?” Alfor chided. Nudging the Yellow Paladin against his shoulders, “You told me that Malosi was combat ready. Is it not true?”
“Y-Yes, but.” Gyrgan began to protest. He spent countless hours training with Hunk. From what he observed. Hunk is not good with hand-to-hand combat. However, he excelled well by shooting from a distance. It made the Yellow Paladin proud. Up to now, he still has a lot to learn.
“What you're asking of him is a bit much, yes?”
“Nope!,” Alfor crossed his arms in thought, “I started piloting around his age.”
In front of them is the Yellow Lion. Standing tall. The lights are off because of no one piloting it. Soon enough that’s about to change. Inside the Lion, Hunk fidgeted nervously over the controls. Memorizing the User Interface, communications and how to fly the lion.
Hunk could faintly hear the Lion in his head. The Lion did not share his doubts like he has. Unlike the Red Lion who would jump into training. Yellow wanted to be patient.
Hunk thanked them for that.
“Malosi.” Gyrgan appeared on screen. A grin spreads from ear to ear, “Are you ready?”
“No.” Hunk squirms in his chair nervously, “I wasn’t trained for this moment.”
“I told you, we should have given him a smaller ship.” Gyrgan mumbled to someone off camera. Most likely King Alfor. The King of Altea made sure that everything was prepared as soon as the news had gotten out he flew a ship.
It had been hard. Fortunately, Gyrgan had gone over the controls with him. They repeated this procedure enough for it to be ingrained in his mind. Hunk would observe Gyrgan flying the small Altean ship Alfor had given Gyrgan for their training.
One day Gyrgan had stated it was his turn to fly. So with that, Hunk with Gyrgan's supervision started flying the ship. Mumbling the preparations under his breath.
“Seatbelt, check. Controls are functioning. Coms is online--”
Thereafter, he mobilized the ship. Sure, Hunk was going at a snail's pace. But, he was flying. He recalled Gyrgan. His eyes beaming with pride as they flew over the mountain valley.
He could see the small houses down below. Some civilians are walking about. Hunk wasn't entirely sure if they were looking up at the ship.
“Your second test won't be like this, Malosi. It will be different.” Gyrgan spoke after they had landed several miles from the starting point.
“You told me Altean training grounds, are a lot more .... Intense?”
“Yes.” The Yellow Paladin clasps his hand on the child's shoulders, “I just need you to prepare yourself.”
“Is it that bad?”
“No. Actually, that would be the Galra battle arena.” Gyrgan shudders at the thought, “They take fights a lot more seriously than Alteans do. You won't have to go there.”
“When does training start?” Hunk inquired, “And what ship am I piloting?”
“The Yellow Lion, of course!”
From that day onward. Hunk studied the controls, trying to figure out how to fly with technology so advanced as the Yellow Lion.
“Malosi?” Hunk averted his gaze away from the controls and back to his mentor.
“Starting without us?” Trigel approached with Blaytz by her side, “You know I would not miss this for the world.”
“Can't believe you guys! You know I've been dying to see Hunk pilot the yellow Lion for some time!” Blaytz exclaimed, “So, impatient!”
“I apologize. We were just about to start!” Gyrgan said, “I just worry, he is not ready--”
“The Yellow Lion will decide if he is ready.” Alfor eyes remain fixed on the Yellow Lion.
“That reminds me Alfor.” Trigel looked around for the young princess that was normally by her father's side, “Did any of the lions react to Allura?”
Alfor frowned at the question. He had no intention for Allura to be a Paladin Of Voltron. Furthermore, once he is gone. She would have to take his place.
“I hadn't brought her to any of the lions as of late. When I do, the lions don't really react to her. Besides, she has training of her own and a kingdom to rule.”
“Alfor. May I remind you. You're the King of Altea and the Red Paladin.” Blaytz pointed out with a smirk, “I think she'll be fine.”
“She is more composed than you.” Gyrgan did not mean it as an insult, but more of an observation, “I can hardly see her as the Red Paladin.”
“Perhaps the Blue Paladin?” Alfor offered with a smile. Blaytz huffed: dismissing that idea entirely.
“You're acting like I won't be the Blue Paladin for long!”
“Everyone has to retire, eventually.” Trigel chuckled. Fully knowing how close Blaytz is to the Blue Lion. Even calling the Blue Lion his baby.
“Uh, guys?” Malosi's voice crackled through the coms. Gyrgan flushed red from embarrassment. He had completely forgotten about him throughout their conversation.
“Yes, go ahead.” Gyrgan smiled sheepishly, “I can hear you.”
"I've been waiting.”
“Alright, alright.” Alfor chuckled, “You must excuse us. Our conversation got derailed there.” He pressed a button on the communicator; which is located in his ear to another channel linked with Coran.
“Coran, start the training simulation!” Alfor exclaimed excitedly.
"Yes, King Alfor!” Coran responded, “shall I start with the easiest setting or the standard?” Alfor thought for a moment to think about this. Gyrgan watched him anxiously. Easy wasn't exactly easy in the Altean training fields.
Trigel took notice of Gyrgan's panicked look. Chuckling. She pats the Yellow Paladin on the back, “I don't think you would want him training with the Galra.”
“Zarkon would train him to death.” Blaytz snorted. It was not like Gyrgan would let Hunk train with the Galra, anyway. He trusted Alfor more than Zarkon. Even if though that sounded horrible.
“That's not a good idea. I don't want Malosi near Daibazaal “ Trigel frowned, “Not when he is doing those experiments.”
“Is that why he isn't here?” Gyrgan asked. It was a relief Zarkon isn't present. The constant arguing between Alfor and Zarkon is so frequent now he felt his bond with Voltron is fading.
It was something he had not mentioned to his team. Gyrgan did not want to add anymore stress. It was just constant arguing between Zarkon and Alfor over quintessence. Gyrgan will admit he did not understand what it was.
The way, Alfor described Quintessence to him. It sounded bad.
"Quintessence is an energy source that powers the lions. It also can be found on several different planets. Some Quintessence can be good for healing purposes. However, Zarkon--” Alfor explained, “Zarkon is using it for his own personal gain. Too much Quintessence can lead to corruption. Gyrgan, I hope when our children become older. They won’t have to deal with this nonsense. I will make Zarkon see reason.”
Hopefully, when Malosi takes over. It will be better.
“We're starting.” Alfor began. His eyes beaming when the turrets appeared from the ground. Gyrgan gasps. This is supposed to be easy?!
“You’re getting out the big guns, huh?” Blaytz commented, “You sure Malosi can handle this?”
“I have faith in him.”Gyrgan believed that. There was still some hesitation. Not sure if Hunk's bond with the Yellow Lion is strong enough. The only thing that reassured him is that Yellow Lion’s outer plating could handle any big attack.
Hunk should be fine.
Oh man, oh man.
Hunk almost hyperventilated when he saw the turrets. Instinctively he instantly had the shield turned on to protect the Lion. It would not last long. But, it should help.
The Yellow Lion hummed inside his head to reassure its younger student. Hunk appreciated the comfort. In return, he caresses the control panel to thank the Lion.
Although, Yellow couldn't feel his touch. The Lion seemed grateful.
“Hunk, the simulation is about to start!” Coran appeared over the monitor, “You are to retrieve a crystal in the desert wastes of Planet Vestus. The crystal is guarded by turrets and Sentinels.”
Hunk's finger twitched against the throttle of the Lion. Repeatedly tapping on it as Coran explained his mission.
“Halfway through the mission you are to leave your Lion to fight the sentinels inside the pyramid the crystal is housed in.”
“Roger that.” Hunk said. Coran's expression changed when he saw Hunk's panicked look. The advisor smiled warmly at the young paladin-in training, “You will be fine.”
“Y-You think so?” Hunk stammered out. He did not want to disappoint his mentor after all the training the two of them have been preparing for.
“I know so.”
“I would give you a hug if I could. I'll have to save that when you come back!” Coran laughs to cheer up Hunk.
Hunk cracked a smile, “Thank you.”
“That aside. Once you reach the Pyramid. You will need to take the bayard with you. Trust me, it will help tremendously on your journey.”
“The Yellow Bayard?” Hunk looked towards the lone bayard on the control panel. Croaking an eyebrow. What’s this bayard supposed to do? Thin lines itch into a frown, he takes it in his hands.
“Don't underestimate the bayard.” Coran said, “trust me.”
“the simulation will begin in 3, 2, 1---”
His surroundings changed instantly. Hunk's breath hitched, tightly grasping the throttle. Soon enough, Hunk is greeted with strong winds from the desert.
For a moment it was quiet minus the sound of the wind brushing against the Yellow Lion. From a distance he sees buildings half sunken in the sand.
“Is this a real planet?” Hunk asks, “It feels like it--”
A laser fires past him. Narrowly missing the Lion. The next laser hit the Lion's shield. Quiznak! He was taken by surprise.
Hunk peeked up at the screen; several of the turrets are targeted in front of him. With a press of a button, he shoots the turrets. Watching them explode.
He was about to sigh in relief when another laser hits the shield. A barrage of lasers all at once shoots the Lion.
“Shield powering down.” An automated voice said through the coms.
“Um...” Hunk pushed forward on the throttle, “Let's fly!”
The Yellow Lion roared making Hunk flinch. It took off making the ground rumble below them. Their problems were not over just yet. The lasers that are shooting at him are following him.
“Seriously?!” Hunk exclaimed angrily.
Hunk bites down his lip as he attempted maneuvering away from the lasers zooming towards him.
The Lion locked onto one of the turrets. Hunk narrowed in on the turret smashing against the turret. Knocking it to pieces.
“Woah! How much damage did you take?!” Hunk exclaimed; Hunk didn't know how he did it. It was like he already knew what to do with his Lion.
A small screen showed up to show that the Lion only obtained a scratch.
“You're tough!” Hunk grinned from ear to ear, “just like Gyrgan!”
Hunk knocked down most of the turrets are shooting at him from the ground. Some of the lasers hit the Lion. On screen, it showed there are some burnt marks where the lasers hit.
The sirens in the cockpit blared red. On the screen. Sentry ships began their approach towards the Lion. The ship looked triangular, very slick. He has never seen that kind of ship before.
Hunk scowled under his breath, he redirects the Lion towards the Sentry ships. One of the ships fired a missile directly towards Yellow Lion. Hunk did not have any time to move out the way.
It is a direct hit.
Several screens started to pop up showing there is damage to the metal plating of the Lion. On the screen sparks are flying.
Another crash. Hunk lurched in his seat. This time on the screen the Lion's leg has been damaged.
“We can do this, Yellow. We can do this.” He said to the Lion, “Let's pass this test.”
The Yellow Lion growled in response. Suddenly, a slot appeared at the side of the panel. Inside is the shape of the Bayard.
At that moment he saw Gyrgan slamming the Bayard in the slot and rotating it.
He knew what to do.
Hunk did the exact same thing his vision told him to do. He hastily put the bayard in the slot, turning it. Outside the Lion, a large canon appeared on its back.
The cannon fired the biggest laser Hunk had ever seen. It took nearly half of the Sentry ships. One managed to make it near the Lion and Hunk had the Yellow Lion grab it by its mouth, tearing it apart.
“I think I'm getting the hang of this!”
They were wasting time on the sentry ships. Hunk noted to himself. He had to keep pushing forward or they will never progress. He'll have to ignore them for now.
“Hold on, buddy! You think you can handle this?!”
Hunk received a rumble in response as a confirmation. There is a slight ping of guilt every time one of the sentry ship's missiles hit the Lion. Hunk dodged missiles with a lot more ease than before. At first, piloting the Yellow Lion felt like lifting up a ton of weights.
All Hunk could see is a desert wasteland. He could vaguely see ships littered with debris below. Whatever happened must have been disastrous.
Up ahead, he saw the pyramid-like structure. It's blue lights illuminating in the distance.
Hunk fished the Bayard from the slot. Like Coran had said. He was going to need it.
Hunk wished he could take the Lion with him. It would be a better sense of security.
“Okay, this is where I get off.” Hunk pats the panel one more time before he walks towards the exit. The Lion's maw opens up. In an instant, the sandy wind hits his visor.
Hunk is prepared. He is adorned in armor. Not specifically the Yellow Paladin armor. Just one for training exercises. It had the Altean symbol painted in front of the armor.
Hunk couldn't wait for the day he would finally wear the real deal.
He was lucky he had his helmet on. The sensors indicated it was more than 100 degrees outside this wasteland.
“You think you can handle the ships, Yellow?”
Yellow took off without hesitation. Now, that was dealt with. He could focus on more present matters. The pyramid with this---crystal is being held.
The door looks like it was blasted open. His grip tightened on the handle as he went inside the structure.
Inside it was dark. With a press of his button on his arm spawned a flashlight.
“If you guys could hear me. I'm inside.” Hunk spoke through the helmet. He received no response.
It disheartened him, he is alone on this. He wanted nothing more than to be back with Gyrgan. He wondered if the Yellow Paladin is panicking right now. While his adopted father trusted him. There was still this air of protectiveness around him.
It took a lot of convincing from Alfor to attend this training session. Gyrgan thought he needed more time.
Alfor disagreed and said they couldn't delay it anymore. Hunk should know. He eavesdropped on their conversation more than once.
“Woah!” Hunk tripped on something. Falling on the cold hard floor with a thump. He grumbled, adjusting himself to get a better look at what he had tripped over.
He flashed a light towards it's direction. Upon seeing it. Hunk let out a high-pitched scream, falling on the ground.
In front of him is a dead body. A body of a fit male blue humanoid, with fluffy ears laying dead on the floor with a gunshot wound to the back.
“Oh my god.”
What kind of training session was this? This was just too real! He was prepared to fight some sentries, get the crystal and be done with it. He was not expecting this.
“C-Coran? Anyone? Can you read me?”
Hesitant. Hunk moved on as he did. The lights brims blue beneath him.
More bodies are shown of men,women, and children dead on the floor. Hunk gasps, swiftly turning to suppress himself from hurling on the floor.
“Who did this?”
Hunk mumbled his apologies as he drew closer to his goal. Hunk pondered how Gyrgan is feeling right now after watching him. Is he freaking out? If he is. Gyrgan would have probably pulled him out of the simulation.
Hunk ducked when the laser shot at him. The debris flew everywhere. Hunk's eyes rapidly searched for the source of its voice. Several Sentinels emerged. They look dog-like in their appearance.
One of the sentinels approached Hunk. This time. Hunk is ready. He holds his hand out in front of him. A shield protects him from the intensity of the laser.
A lone sentinel lunges at Hunk. On a whim, Hunk bashes the robot with his shield.
It whined before its red eyes turned dull.
“Coran, I do not consider this easy!” Hunk grunts. He bashes another with his shield. Slowly these dog creatures begin surrounding him.
“Do not underestimate the Yellow Bayard.”
Hunk could hear Coran's words echo in his head. Below him, his bayard shone making him Hunk avert his gaze. He felt something heavy. To the point he had almost tipped over.
When the light faded away. Hunk peered down and gasped at what he saw. His yellow bayard transformed into a bayard canon. It looked cool, but how was he going to lift this thing up?!
A growl can be heard from one of the sentinels. Hunk lifted the Bayard towards the dog-like creatures.
Hunk recoiled at the blast of energy emitting from the Bayard. He fell back, hitting the floor. The sound of a metallic cry can be heard from many of the sentinels.
"W-woah." Hunk said in awe.
He didn't have time to gape at the bayard for any longer. More of these robots are crawling out.
Hunk blasted his way through the sentinels. It grew easier to hold the Bayard. It compared it to the time where he had begun piloting the Yellow Lion.
Up ahead is a narrow staircase towards a platform. Hunk grunted. Wishing there were railing to the stairs, but that was the least of his problems right now.
Several of the dog creatures had managed to bite him with their huge metallic teeth. Their teeth are so sharp it managed to penetrate his skin.
Hunk cried out in pain. Using his particle shield to knock the creature away from him.
Still, he did not falter. He continued on.
He kept shooting. If he continued focusing his energy on the sentinels, Hunk would never accomplish his goal.
Hunk limped his way to the top. By Willow. Please let this be the last of these monsters.
And this horrible nightmare.
Located on the podium is the crystal Coran told him about. He did not know what value the Crystal is to him. But whatever it was. Coran wanted the Crystal back.
Hunk reached out towards the crystal. Gently grasping it in his hands. As soon as Hunk grabbed the crystal. His surroundings changed. He was no longer in the simulation.
He is back on Altea.
Alfor's royal advisor, Coran, greets him. His smile widens as he approaches Hunk, "You did it!" The Royal Advisor said with joy, wrapping his arms around Hunk. Pulling him close to his chest. Several Altean technicians supervising the simulation surround them clapped at his success. Hunk felt sheepish, averting his gaze away from his observers.
"Did I pass?" Hunk asked.
"I think you need to hear that from Alfor himself." Coran’s eyes went downward towards Hunk's leg, "Let's get that cleaned up. Then we can talk."
"Alfor! That’s not even remotely easy!" Throughout the simulation, Gyrgan had been tearing at his ears. Teeth clattering when the sentinels shot at Hunk.
That is not all though. While he appeared scared. There is a sense of pride. He cheered when Hunk summoned a canon on his first try.
In addition, Hunk's bond with the Yellow Lion is stronger.
"And must you show all these dead bodies?! It’s a training exercise!"
"Look at you!" Blaytz snickered at Gyrgan, "Acting like a panicked parent. I think Hunk will deal with it like any other Paladin."
"I know that. But, it was just so detailed."
"It's necessary as a Paladin Of Voltron to be prepared for anything." Alfor spoke, "It will be something Allura will have to deal with when the time comes."
"Speaking of the devil." Trigel said to break the tension. Hunk appeared shaken, his leg wound treated as soon as he left the simulation.
"Malosi!" Gyrgan exclaimed happily, "How are you feeling? He was so tempted to embrace the child. It appeared he looked distraught, possibly due to what he had witnessed.
"Is that whole thing real?" Hunk asked, "Those people?
"Yes." It was Trigel who answered, "Long time ago. Long before our time these sentinels would go on these planets and slaughter every single living being there and take their resources."
"No one knows." Gyrgan continued from where the Green Paladin left off, "For amusement, I suppose."
"It only stopped after my Great Grandfather destroyed the AI controlling them." Alfor frowned, "Shut the entire thing down. Not sure why they were all in one server."
"What's worse it belonged to Daibazaal." Blaytz finished, "If they hadn't made the AI sentient. This wouldn't have happened."
"That doesn't like an accident to me." Hunk said. Arching his eyebrows in suspicion.
"Regardless, it was a long time ago." Gyrgan smiled, "I think King Alfor has some good news for you."
Thin lines stretch into a strained smile, "You passed! Congratulations! You're now a Paladin Of Voltron. Well---after Gyrgan passes the Bayard down to you. "
Hunk's eyes beamed with glee at his new title. Paladin Of Voltron. This was something he had wanted since he was a kid. Aside from being an Engineer. Nevertheless, it is a huge honor bestowed upon him.
"Congratulations!" Blaytz clasps his hand on the Small Paladin's shoulder, "I knew you can do it!"
"I’m old. It felt like Yesterday you came to us." The Green Paladin sighed in content, "Might have to find my Green Paladin soon."
"Yeah, same." Blaytz grinned, "Blue has found no one yet.
"I'm proud of you." Gyrgan ruffled the child's hair, "You're going to be a great Paladin."
"Y-You think so?" The young Paladin said, "Are you proud?"