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The Red PALADIN
A FLEETING FREEDOM
[On the planet Puig, the Puigians are busy repairing the damage done to their settlement after their liberation from Galra control. Two children run down a street, laughing, after which the screen zooms in on a depiction of Voltron, drawn on the wall of a building. Attention is drawn to the sky as a shadow falls over the settlement, revealed to be cast by Lotor's ship.]
UNNAMED PUIGIAN: "We're under attack! To battle stations!"[From the ship, Lotor's generals survey the land below them through an open hangar, before jumping off. They land in a seemingly deserted area of the settlement.]Acxa's orders. Acxa then finds herself under fire from a band of Puigians.]
ACXA: [grunts][She dodges their fire, returning it as she runs towards the group attacking her. She knocks one of the Puigians over as she passes behind them, driving a series of metal spokes into the ground surrounding her attackers. A containment barrier is erected around them after she presses a button on her gauntlet.]
[The scene shifts to Kova jumping on to a ledge behind a rooftop, on the edge of which two armed Puigians are huddled behind the lip of a wall. Narti is walking along the street below, the Puigians ducking out of what they think is her line of sight. Narti turns her back to the building and uses her psychic powers to look through Kova's eyes, allowing her to see the Puigians preparing to attack her. When they stand to shoot, she is no longer in the street, instead reappearing and quickly eliminating them from behind.]
KOVA: [meows][Three Puigians run from, but are captured in a net shot at them by Zethrid. A Puigian on a giant, yak-like beast tries to trample her, but she uses her incredible strength to throw the beast and rider aside. From atop a hill, the Puigian leader turns away from watching the attack and runs to a cave, trying to reach a communication device that can contact Voltron. Just as he grasps it in hand, an invisible force strikes him, knocking the communicator from his grasp. Ezor materialises, and the device falls into her hand.]
EZOR: "What's this? Some sort of communicator? You weren't trying to call for help, were you? Prince Lotor would not like that."[The Puigian leader rushes at her, trying to reclaim the communication device. Ezor dodges his attacks with ease, flinging him across the room. When he looks up, the rest of Lotor's generals, plus the Prince himself, are standing before him, weapons at the ready. Ezor grabs his shoulder from behind]
PUIGIAN LEADER: [sighs] "Who--? Who are you?
ACXA: "You dare speak to Prince Lotor?"
LOTOR: "Now, Acxa, that's no way to treat our new ally. Let him continue."
PUIGIAN LEADER: "We will not be enslaved again! We are free."
LOTOR: "According to whom? Your saviour, Voltron? And where is your precious protector now? Gone. Leaving you with nothing but a hollow promise of freedom. And now you must answer for what you've done."
PUIGIAN LEADER: [gasps] "Please, spare my people. Show them mercy."
LOTOR: "Mercy has never been the way of the Galra... until now.
PUIGIAN LEADER: [gasps][The Puigian leader looks up as Lotor kneels to address him eye-to-eye.]
LOTOR: "How would you like to become a valuable part of the new Empire? Joiin us... and you'll never need Voltron again."[The Puigian leader looks afraid, and from behind him, Ezor grabs his cheeks. She contorts his face into a forced grin.]
EZOR: "Smile! We're a team now."
The Paladin predicament
[In the Lounge aboard the Castle of Lions, the team is positioned around the room, thinking about how they are going to reform Voltron.]
LANCE: "I wish Shiro were here to tell us how to go on without him."
PIDGE: "Allura, when we came here, you told me I would fly the Green Lion, and I thought there was no way. But then I found it, and I flew it. And then Hunk flew the Yellow Lion, and he's not even a pilot. In fact, you told everyone who would pilot which Lion."
HUNK: "Yeah, how did you do that? Did we ever find out how you did that? Can you do that now?"
ALLURA: "Sadly, no. When you arrived at the Caslte, I immediately recognised the special qualities in each of you. But I don't know how to search the entire universe for a new Paladin."[The screen zooms out to focus over Keith's shoulder, as he is standing to the side of the room, separate from the rest of the group.]
CORAN: "Keith, you piloted the Black Lion when you had to save Shiro. Perhaps you're the one."
LANCE: "Keith would be the worst leader of Voltron!"
PIDGE: "Yeah, we all have our thing. Keith's the loner. I'm the brain. Hunk's the nice one. Allura's the decision maker. Coran's the wise old guy, and Lance is the goofball."
LANCE: [nodding in agreement] "Mm-hmm. Yeah, exactly. Totally right-- Wait a minute."[Lance looks scandalised.]
LANCE: "I'm not a goofball! I'm like the cool, ninja sharpshooter."[Keith looks at him affectionately from across the room.]
KEITH: [scoffs] "Are you joking?"[Lance leaps to his feet, outraged.]
LANCE: "I'm being completely serious when I say I do not want you to lead me anywhere."
KEITH: "I don't want to be the leader! That's just what Shiro wanted!"[Keith realises his slip-up, and looks away.]
HUNK: "What are you talking about?"
PIDGE: "Shiro wanted you to be his successor, didn't he?"[Keith doesn't respond.]
LANCE: "Well I never heard Shiro say that, and how convenient that you're bringing it up now, when Shiro's gone."[Keith steps away from the wall he was leaning against, angrily uncrossing his arms.]
KEITH: "You want the job so badly? You can have it!"
HUNK: "Now, now, hang on. I've called the head from the very beginning."
PIDGE: "What about me? I'm the one who picked up on the radio waves that led us to Voltron in the first place!"
CORAN: "Hold your gazurgas, everyone! It's not our decision to make! We must allow the Lion to decide."
ALLURA: "Coran is right. We must all present ourselves to the Black Lion, to see who will bear this glorious burden."
CORAN: "What? You, Princess?"
ALLURA: "My father created Voltron. How can I allow others to risk their lives in battle, and not be prepared to do so myself?" I must try."