Hibernation

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Keith had never enjoyed the cold. Thankfully, he had never had to live in extremely cold environments since the foster homes he was bounced from were always in the South with the more Desert inclined habitats. Living in that Desert shack alone for a year though, with no running water and little food, showed Keith just how unforgivable the Desert could be. Once a week he would hike miles for the stream that ran through the canyons to bathe himself and he would hunt the small critters when it became too taxing to drive to town.

The nights were the worst of it, because as hot as it was during the day, the temperatures dropped significantly at night until Keith felt like a popsicle. He would curl up in the very corner of the unsturdy couch, wrapped in his jacket because blankets were a want, not a need, and shivered himself to sleep. A few times, he would wake up disoriented a full two days later, unsure of why he had slept for so long.

He brushed it off though, because laying out in the heat, curling in on himself contently was when he felt the most relaxed.

In space, there was none of the sun's warmth. Just the castle's cool tile underneath him and the hum of the generator producing fake heat. Apparently, Alteans liked to keep their castles cold because the only warm place was Keith's room, which he made a point to keep warm.

After a while, he grew used to it and that was that, though, of course the cold would find a way to rear its ugly head soon enough.

"Paladins, we have a small task we must complete before we leave this star system," Princess Allura announced at their morning gathering. (Only after waking them all up with the alarm system at six in the morning and watching them all stumble into the room, disorganized. Did Alteans even sleep?)

"What do we need to complete that we haven't already? We freed all of the planets and convinced them to join the Voltron coalition?" Shiro asked, and Keith had a bad feeling about this, because anytime she mentioned they had a 'small task' to complete, it ended up being a monumental effort on the Paladins' part.

Allura pulled up a holographic image onto the castle's screen, revealing an icy planet that looked eerily like Kerberos. From next to Keith, Shiro stiffened.

"This is planet zero, as the inhabitants of this system call it, mainly because it is the only uninhabited planet in the system. It has no real use to others besides its gravitational pull, which is why the Galra haven't attempted to claim it for themselves."

"With all due respect princess, if there's no one to save then why do we have to check this planet out?" Lance asked, looking like he was just now waking up.

"I am getting there," she sent him a glare before continuing, "This planet contains a rare mineral that could be used to power the castle in emergency situations. The residents in the system have allowed us to land and collect these minerals as we please before we depart."

"Oh," Pidge shrugged, adjusting her "This doesn't sound like a full Paladin job."

"No, it is not," Allura agreed.

"There's a 'but' somewhere in that sentence, isn't there?" Hunk asked, "Mineral retrieving missions never go according to plan. Do we not remember what happened on the Balmera?"

"I'm afraid Hunk is right," the princess sighed, "planet zero has unpredictable weather outburst, making it impossible to get a full coverage on just where the cave systems that hold the minerals are located until you touch the surface. I have implanted navigations into the suits that sense the essence to the crystals and should guide you in that direction, but your lions will not be much of a help in the situation. You will have to land and then travel on foot."

"I'm out," Pidge said immediately, "take Hunk with you, he knows how to work the tech. I need to help Coran with castle maintenance before we do another wormhole jump."

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