The Atlas shook as another asteroid hit its side.
“These damn things won’t stop coming" Iverson commented as he braced himself against a chair.
Veronica pushed up her glasses as she stared at her screen, “well it’s not going to get any better any time soon. This asteroid field is huge. It goes on for miles in every direction.”
Coran rubbed his chin in thought “perhaps if we could clear a path with our canon or something?” he thought aloud. Shiro and Veronica locked eyes, they had a perfect idea that can solve there current problem and the earlier tussles that have been happening.
“This is so stupid!” James complains as he pulls on his flight suit.
“For once I think I can agree with you.” Keith comments under his breath as he put on the last of his armor and sheathed his Bayard.
James rolled his eyes at the sight of the weapon and saw that all the paladins had them, “why do you guys always bring those things? It’s not like they will be needed."
Keith was about to shout a snarky response but Pidge interrupted “actually they are needed.” She held her Bayard up “it acts as a key to activate some of out more potent blasts for each of the lions"
James just huffed in response as Nadia gleamed in her eyes. “That is so cool!!”
But before the two could geek out over the tec Shiro’s voice came over their intercoms, “Paladins and MFE pilots to your places."
Keith turned to the others “you herd him, let’s get to our lions now, we can talk latter"
James stiffens as he shouts “MFE pilots to your ships.”
Every pilot let out a whoop of joy and exhilaration as they left the docking platform of the Atlas.
Shiro laughed as he joined the comes, “now you all know Veronica and I think the Paladins and MFE pilots need to work better as a unit since many times you may both be sent out on missions together. So think of this as a little training exercise.”
All the paladins groaned in annoyance.
James frustrated at the insubordination, shouted back “how can you just dismiss a superiors orders like that! How can you five just freely ignore your captain’s orders?”
“Griffin stand down" Shiro ordered. “You have been told before that the paladins have a different dynamic that isn’t like the normal military dynamic so cease and desist"
James grumbled “yes sir”
Those on the bridge hearing all this laughed a bit, having grown used to how differently Shiro handles the paladins and the MFE's
“Now the lot of you will all work together to clear a path for the atlas.” He then grinned mischievously “let’s say for every asteroid that does hit us will be a week of hand washing all of your ships together.”
That got even the MFE's groaning in annoyance.
“Shiro you can’t be serious!” Keith yelled as he swerved Black through the asteroids and accidently letting it hit the side panel of the Atlas
“Dead serious" Shiro replies, a slight smirk on his face. The paladins just shake there head at his little inside joke with them, “And that is one week already.”
“Let’s just get this over with" Keith tells the rest of the paladins and takes the lead.
“You can’t just shoot off like that” James shouts as he shoots off after the Black lion.
For all the squabbling the two leaders do, The two teams work well together: Nadia, Allura, and Lance backed up their leaders, Kinkade easily pairs off with Pidge as she and Hunk with Ina swerve and blast at asteroids on either side of the Atlas. Hunk uses his larger blasting canon to break up the largest asteroids and Pidge will throw the larger ones out of the way with her vines and breaks them down with her tail blaster. Kinkade and Ina, meanwhile, fly around them turning the rest into dust.
James and Keith, though, seemed to be trying to one up each other at the biggest asteroids they can blast while the three behind them focusing on breaking up the chunks that break away from the leaders. Lance and Allura would tag team to break up the large chunks by freezing it with Blue’s ice blast and then heating it up with reds fire blast.
This setup worked well for a while they had mostly cleared the asteroid field without another ding to the Atlas. Shiro smiled as the training was successful the rest if the bridge was in awe at the two teams prowess and abilities.
He got back on the coms to their chatter and laughed at their antics.
They were all mostly just directing the other members of their teams were they are needed most and whoops of joy when blasting them, but Keith and James were adding some more unnecessary chatter.
“Will you watch were you are blasting Kogane!” James yelled as he swerves out of the way.
“How about you pay attention to your surroundings and not fly directly into my blast range Griffin,” Keith shouted back.
“Just pay attention to your damn surrounding!”
“You pay attention to the zamotill asteroids!”
Before anything else was said a loud growl came from behind Shiro
Silence held on the coms and bridge, until Keith said, “K-kolivan how long have you been here.”
“Long enough. And I do believe that I remember captain Shirogane mentioning that all com conversations are being recorded, so no more profanity of any language. In case there are any young ears listening. I know for a fact that Krex and Vredria listen and I don’t think Jezeev is too happy about your profanity.”
Everyone else laughed as Keith blushed in embarrassment.
“I agree with Kolivan too.” Shiro added, “We do need to watch our language on coms, try and be aware of your cussing please. In every language.
Keith blasted the last asteroid as they all huffed some form of agreement to Shiro and Kolivan.
“Though we get an exemption on life threatening situations!” Pidge bartered.
Shiro rubbed his forehead in agitation, “one, only one per mission, now come back in. you all did a good job.”
Keith glanced at the time, “Perfect we are just in time for the training drills I was wanting to run.”
The paladins moaned slightly, “Come on Keith, wasn’t this enough?”
“You need to work on your hand to hand combat Lance, and none of us got banged up. This should have been a walk in the park for you sharpshooter.”
Lance blushed slightly at the complement. “Fine,” he groaned.
Veronica jumped in, “MFE why don’t you guys join in. I scheduled you a few hours after lunch, but this could be a great group exercise.”
Nadia, Ina and Kinkaid all agreed happily, but James glared in annoyance and unwillingly agreed.
“Great! See everyone down there in 15!” Veronica cheered and disconnected her link. Shiro and Iverson chuckling lightly at how she managed to rope all of them into it.
Everyone headed straight down, it was going to be full amore training, so there was little prep that was needed. As the large group entered Keith was surprised to see Axca standing with Veronica.
“What are you doing here?” he asked curiously to his sister.
Axca smiled, “Figured I could get some exercise in and Veronica mentioned some hand to hand training. It sounded fun.”
Keith thought she looked a bit suspicious, but shrugged it off. They all stood in two separate groups and Keith took a minuet to think about his training plan, he then turned to James, “I was planning on having the paladins working primarily in close combat with weapons and then cooling down with close combat without. Something short but what most of us need to keep sharp.
James nodded in agreement, “That doesn’t sound too bad. We have been trying out some close range weapons for all of us too, besides our pistol blasters.” It can be good practice for us as well.”
Keith nodded, maybe this won’t be as difficult as he thought. “Let’s pair off paladin and MFE then. Kinkade against Pidge, Allura against Nadia, Hunk against Ina, and Lance,” he turned to the red paladin, “since you don’t get much hand and hand in and are usually positioned for sniping, you will be fighting again James and me.”
“Oh come on! That is going to be so unfair.” Lance whined.
“Sounds like a good set up to me.” Veronica comments and then turns to Axca, “Feel like doing some hand to hand with me?” Axca just grinned and nodded.
Each of the MFE pulled out a thin metal tube. “Sam had designed these for us to test them out they were biased off your Bayards actually. We each spent some time working with different designs to fit them best to us” Nadia exclaimed eagerly.
James was the first to activate his. It lengthened out to a staff equal in his height at the press of a button.
“Oh a fancy stick.” Lance teased.
James just twisted the handle on both sides and a sharp metal blade sprung out on both end.
“Okay, a pointy stick. That makes it a bit more difficult.”
Nadia chuckled as she swung her tube as she pressed her button at the top, and an elastic whip flipped out hitting the ground with a hard crack. Then with a similar motion as James, sharp spines sprang from the thong.
Allura nodded in appraisal.
Kinkaid press his tube, and a rapier sprang forth. With a light flick and another button under his index finger being pressed the bladed glowed bright orange and sizzled as it touched the ground.
Ina pressed the button on her metal tube and a long chain fell forward with a small ball at the end. With second button press orange spikes rose from the ball.
Each of the paladins activated their Bayards. Lance had a cocky moment when he showed off his board sword.
Keith nodded in appraised, “Now let’s just see if you know how to use it.”
They broke off into their respective groups.
Pidge immediately activated her electric pulse and lunged low at Kinkaid. He smoothly parried and went to whack her in the back. She rolled and launched her blade toward his face causing him to fall back and miss her. She moved and flipped over landing back on her feet in a squat as Kinkaid regained his position. He thrusted towards her as she sprang over the sword, just missing it and blasted out her Bayard to wrap around his handle, then yanked it back. He lost his grip and it flew out of the air, she immediately grabbed it and activated the plasma strip as she landed and pointed it at his neck. “I win.”
Kinkade raised his hands in defeats, “Yes you do, congratulations,”
Hunk and Ina have a much further fight though. Hunk immediately jumps away from her. He holds up his blaster and aims for her, she easily dodges out of the way and runs closer to him. Hunk still runs back to keep the distance advantage, but Ina is faster. As she approaches she swings her morning star and suddenly the plasma like spikes are launched at him.
“Holy shit!” hunk shouts as he ducks fast barely missing the well-aimed projectiles. Ina just smiled as she caught the yellow paladin off guard. Hunk moves in though and uses his high and weight to his advantage. He activates his shield as she goes in for another blow, blocking it successfully. He then thrusts his blaster on her shoulder and pins her hand down on the ground. Quickly immobilizing her and moving his blaster to her face, “sorry, but my win.”
Ina grinned, “That was a very interesting fight.”
Allura and Nadia were more evenly matched. They both had their weapons at the ready. Nadia started building momentum with her whip. Trying to guide Allura towards her by thawking either side as Allura tries to evaid. Nadia slowly walks closer but Allura activates her whip and uses the energy whip to wrap itself around Nadia’s dominant wrist. Nadia pulls against Allura and tries to pull the princess towards her. Allura releases her pressure causing Nadia to fall back and breaks her grasp on the whip. Allura retracting her whip and pulling it back, forming it into an energy sword and lunges at the other woman. Nadia gasps a bit in surprise as she jumps away from the lunge. She tries to run around her and whips her on the back causing the princess to fall on the ground. Nadia starts furiously attacking her ash she approaches. Antagonizing her a bit by cracking it right next to her face. As Nadia comes to Allura’s heels Allura twists her feet around and trips Nadia causing the two to switch places. Allura now above the other pilot and wrapping her energy whip around Nadia’s neck and pulling her in close, “Do you concede?” she asks plainly.
Nadia faintly nods as Allura releases her Bayard and the woman drops to the ground panting slightly.
The three other stood separate at the ready. All have their weapons drawn waiting for the other to make the first move. James breaks the standoff as he launches himself at Lance aiming his staff over his head to come down on Lance. Lance moves to the right and has Keith right up next to him swinging his sword at Lance’s neck. Lance ducked down and rolled away. James swung down again as Keith regained his stance. Lance kicked out and Landed his feet on James’s kneecaps causing the man to go down. Keith had moved to protect James but was too late, he instead made corrections to swing down on Lance’s outstretched legs. Lance though had used his momentum to push himself up from the kick and hit Keith right in the face with his own. The two went down.
Everyone else had finished by then, Veronica and Axca having even paused their fight to watch the three. And blinked in shock at them.
“You ah three okay?” Hunk asked.
Lance just held up a thumbs up as Keith groaned and took off his helmet. “Damn you have a hard head.” As he rubbed his head.
“And a hard kick.” James complains as rubs his knees, “I thought we weren’t going to actually damage each other. You could have seriously injured me.” he complained.
“Oh shove off James.” Nadia said as she held out a hand for him. He graciously accepted as he hesitantly stood.
“How about we all take a breather.” Keith says as he sits up. “I hope everyone else is good?”
Everyone nodded, “Yeah, you paladins sure know how to fight,” Nadia comments.
Pidge leaned against a wall, “Well when you are fighting a whole ship full of Galra and sentries, you tend to get a knack for it.”
“You guys did pretty well yourselves.” Hunk added.
Allura nodded, “You almost had me in our fight, and just don’t get overly confident and you would have had me.”
Nadia nodded towards the princess, “Thanks I think. Your trick with your feet was pretty smart too.”
Allura smiled, “Thank you.”
They all broke off and chatted for a bit over their moves and different tricks they learned. Meanwhile Lance and James nursed their injuries and Keith sat and watched his sister fight Veronica.
Keith noted the two seemed more light play fighting the actual combat training. Axca was even chirping and play growling. It kinda made Keith want to join in. he shook his head. It was time for him to focus. No kit stuff when he had training.
He called the others back to him so that they can start as well. Keith paired everyone off the same and for each opponent it ended mostly the same. Pidge quickly used Kinkade own height against him and brought him to the ground and in a choke hold. Hunk while gentle, didn’t give Ina any leniency. He soon tackled her and pinned her to the ground after some time of her evading him. Allura and Nadia were more evenly matched, Nadia had been trying to tire her out, but Allura managed a high kick and knocked her to the ground. Ending the fight.
Keith’s fight with James and Lance was the only one dragging on. The three were still going at it when the others finished. Lance looked the most bruised, but James and Keith had decided not to do two against one. They were all fighting each other. Though Axca’s and Veronicas battle was still going on as well, and the play sounds Axca was making grew louder.
As Keith was rebounding from a failed tackle on James, Pidge notices a slight shift in Keith’s stance as he went from a series expression to one with a playful smile. He shifted his stance and growled softly at James launching at him again.
James grabbed him as Keith was about to make contact and was thrown at Lance. Keith skidded to a stop though managed to land on all fours. He made some kind of chirping sound that was similar to Axca’s noises. He quickly ran forward and literally jumped on top of James and Lance as they flund punches at each other and easily blocked them. The three went sprawling to the ground as Keith started to Roll with James now fighting him. Keith playfully growling the entire time. James felt like something was different now, but also similar as well. He went to swing at Keith, but was pushed back by Keith’s feet as he kicked him away. James slid on his side and slowly got back up. Keith got back up and sprinted towards him with his claws out and pounced on James, Lance was about to join in when Pidge held him back. He also saw Veronica and Axca had finished their fight and Axca was smiling proudly.
Before she could explain herself James shouted, “What the hell Keith! Where did you get a weapon?”
Keith immediately paused and James stood up and glared at him.
Keith looked down at his hands and saw he had unsheathed his claws. “Oh, sorry. I guess I got a bit carried away.”
“How can you get carried away like that? You kept a hidden weapon on you when you explicitly told everyone no weapons.”
Lance jumped in then. “Lay off James. Keith didn’t have a weapon on him, not technically.”
James turned to Lance, “then explain how my arm is bleeding!” he held up his arm with some long bloody gashes in it.
The other MFE pilots looked at it in shock, while the paladins looked towards Keith, “When did those things get so sharp man?” Lance asked.
“You might want to clip your claws dude” Pidge added.
“What?” Nadia asked, “What do you mean claws?”
“No human nails could scratch that deep.” Ina adds.
Axca walked up then, “Except Keith isn’t all human.” She then helped her brother up and turned to James. “I’m also sorry, it was mostly my fault, I thought it would be amusing to cause Keith to shift into play fighting in the middle of training. Kit instincts are hard to ignore in a relaxed setting, like being with friends and pack. And I was told that doing pranks like this were the duty of older siblings.”
“I wonder who would tell you that?” Lance muses as he glares at his obveouse sister. Not even hiding here glea
Keith glared at her, “I should have known that’s what you were trying to do.”
Axca looked down at him grinning, “Well maybe if you didn’t act all stiff when you’re the youngest of us.” She teased.
“Wouldn’t your cousins be younger?” Ina asked.
The two sibling looked up at them. Axca tiled her head in though while Keith explained. “Growth wise yes, but years lived no. They are both 83 decaphebes old. That’s about the same in years too.”
“What!” the MFE pilots all shouted in unison. Veronica even looked a little shocked. The paladins of course weren’t to surprise know how Galra age.
Axca nodded, “and I’m the next youngest at 58 with Regris the smaller tailed Galra is 120 and almost considered an adult by Galra standards. Our cousins as you called them are Thatill so they age more like full Galrans”
Now everyone was blinking at her, veronica looked owl eyed, “you almost 60?! Damn you are looking really good for your age,”
Axca chuckled,” actually with my sire species that is around adolescents I believe in human terms.”
Keith nodded in agreement, “humans just age really fast in comparison.”
Nadia looked confused though, “So if 120 is almost an adult and your cousins’ look like they are stile little kids when they are both 80, what does that make Keith’s age?”
Axca grinned as Keith glared at her, “if Keith was a full Galra he would be essentially a toddler at 22 years old.”
“But because my aging is at the speed of humans, I am 22 in human terms not Galran,” Keith quickly jumps in as he continues to glare at her.
“What every you say kittling, you still have instincts like a Galran kit.” Axca playfully chirped back.
Keith quickly lowered his center of gravity and launched onto his sister and tackling her to the ground. Both had their claws unsheathed and freely batting each other as they chased each other around the large training room.
Ina turned to Pidge, “What does kittling mean?”
“It’s the Galran equivalent to a baby. Most of the other kids in Keith’s pack will call him that when they are teasing him. Since to most Galra he would be just past that stage and be considered a kit.”
“They are going pretty hard at each other,” Nadia comments, not having taken her eyes of them, “Should we break it up or something?”
Hunk glanced over at them, “Nhaw, Keith is holding his own pretty well, and he and Axca have tougher skin than we do so their claws don’t hurt like it does to us. He then turned to James. The wound Keith had cause had already stopped bleeding and was already scabbing up. “You should probably get that looked at though. You won’t get anything like you would with a cat scratch, but a wound is a wound after all.”
James grabbed a towel and pressed it to his arm, soaking up the rest of the blood, “Yeah. I’ll do that. Guess training is done then.”
Lance nodded, “Definitely, we will stay here though, incase those to tire themselves out after and we need to get one of their Pack to take them back to their nest to nap.”
“Nap?” Kinkaid asked.
Lance shrugged, “Yeah it’s more a Galra thing then a Galran kit thing. Most Galra will sleep in shorter increments then us, like what 4 varga?” Lance turned to pidge to ask.
“More like 5 or 6 but yeah. I’ve clocked Keith at getting two shorter naps and one normal length one during the night cycle. So he has gotten around 12 varga of sleep when he is actually forced too.”
“With what Axca had said, about him being more relaxed and instincts being harder to ignore, does that mean he acts more childish when he is relaxed.” Nadia asked.
Hunk nodded, “it can be really cute too. He just gets really cuddly normally. Unless there is another Galra around then this is what happens.” He says as he pointed to the Galran siblings. “I swear Galra are just really big and somewhat dangerous space cats.”
Kinkaid helped James to the infirmary and the others just sat and watched the siblings play fight till they passed out and Thace and Ulaz were called to collect them.