The room was quiet, quiet to the point that it was deafeningly. The faint scratching sound of her pen seemed to echo. Sighing, Allura dropped the pen and looked up.

Keith was across the room, studying the Arusian landscape through the large window. Neither had said anything since his arrival. Both were too preoccupied with their present duties for conversation.

'What is he planning?' she wondered. The meeting had been planned for immediately after dinner, allowing for everyone's input for the few remaining details. 'At least that is what Keith wants everyone to think.'

So much of the captain was still a mystery to her. Slowly Keith had revealed some of his past. As his past began to be pieced together, Allura marveled at the man he had become. A lesser soul would have succumbed to the obstacles and given up. Yet, Keith had prevailed and succeeded past anyone's expectations, except his own.

The captain turned away from the window, smiling as he noticed her studying gaze. "What are you thinking about, Allura?"

The princess blushed slightly and picked up her pen. "Oh, nothing," she replied, grabbing the nearest document. "I just lost myself for a moment."

With an amused look on his face, Keith sat down in front of her desk. "Am I distracting you from your work?"

"Yes," she replied crisply, not looking up from the document.

"Okay, then," he said, rising from the chair. "I'll leave and let you focus on more important things."

"Sit down," she ordered, letting him see her smile. "You are a very welcomed distraction, and this paperwork is definitely not more important than you."

Keith sat back down with mock meekness. Laughing softly, Allura put the document in a new pile. She looked at him for a moment before she spoke.

"I take it that you have most of the details of the missions down," she said, the light mood evaporating around them.

He nodded. "For the most part."

"You don't seem pleased," she commented.

"There are still so much that could go wrong with this mission," he said. "We still don't know who Catherine is working for, or even if she is working for somebody."

Allura leaned back, a thoughtful expression on her face. "You have to admit that the scene in the Control Room was a bit suspicious."

"But that's all we have, suspicions. I don't have to tell you how much I hate this situation."

"I know," Allura said gently.

"But," Keith sighed, "if she is innocent, then we will just have to be concerned with a possible Doom ploy. Yet, if she's not, then at least we have some idea of what we are getting into."

* * * * *

They all assembled in the control room, everyone alert despite the early hour. After a brief review of the mission plans, Coran turned control over to Keith. However, Allura felt his and Nanny's eyes on her the whole time.

No one had any questions about the mission. They all had gone over every aspect, trying to ensure that each likely contingency was allotted for. Satisfied, Keith dismissed the team to the lions.

Allura ran to Coran before he activated the transport, placing a sealed envelope in his hand. "Don't read this right now," she said softly. Giving him and Nanny a quick hug, she ran to her lion.

The pair watched their charge disappear. Hesitating for a moment, Coran returned the Control Room to its usual state. Glancing at Nanny, he opened the envelope and unfolded the pages inside.

"Dearest Nanny and Coran, if I do not return to Arus from this mission, these are my wishes . . ."

Coran violently shoved the letter back into the envelope. Seeing his reaction, Nanny touched his arm. "Is everything all right?" she asked.

"Fine," he said. "I need to go check on some equipment."

He stepped off the platform and crossed the room. "I have got to finish some work in my office today, so I won't be available for dinner."

Nanny nodded. "I'll tell the kitchen staff."

"Thank you." As the door closed behind him, he rubbed his eyes, desperately trying to banish the tears that were forming. "You have to come back. Please, come back safely."

* * * * *

Allura said a brief prayer for the team's safety as she and the others piloted the lions into formation.

"How is everything, team?" Keith asked, scanning the various data for the black lion.

"Everything's fine here," Hunk answered.

"Just peachy," replied Lance.

"We're at optimal efficiency in the green lion," Pidge reported.

"Blue lion is running great," Allura stated.

"Good," Keith said. "Well, let's get this investigation under way."