Thunder Twins
Return of the Mutants
Written by Erich the Mad Bassist

Winter by Vivaldi
These stories are fan-fiction, and are not intended to infringe on the rights of others in any way. The Thundercats characters are copyrighted by Lorimar Telepictures, Rankin-Bass Productions, Turner Broadcasting, or whoever owns the current rights. I post this freely, and make no profit other than the satisfaction that my fellow fans and I get from these stories. Enjoy!
Chapter Two: Plans

“Hoo! Hoo! Hoo! Dammit, Slythe! Why the hell did we do that? We don’t need their food!” Monkian was very upset, which confused the rest of the mutants. Jackalman put his hand on Monkian’s shoulder in an attempt to calm him down, but Monkian violently shoved it away.

Slythe was also confused by this change in behavior, but it only inspired anger in the big reptilian. He lumbered forward and backhanded the subordinate simian. Monkian flew back several feet and landed on his backside. He was clearly hurt, but did his best not to show it.

“You don’t question what I do, yesssss? I don’t need to explain anything to you, idiot! You’re the general of the simian troops, but you belong to ME!” Slythe started scratching a spot behind his fan-like ear and frowned slightly. “What is it with you, Monkian? You never acted like that before. Are you in love with one of those forest primitives, yesssss?” The corner of Slythe’s mouth curved upward into a lecherous sneer. This immediately started a loud round of laughter between Jackalman, Vultureman, and the two reptilians that were also in attendance.

Jackalman sneered, “Slythe, I think we spoiled his love life. Nyahh hah hah hah hah!”

Slythe was not amused. The last thing he needed right now was a personal conflict with one of his lackeys before the big plan was set into motion. He hadn’t revealed anything about the plan to his troops because he knew they couldn’t be trusted with important information. He had specific orders from the Emperor of Plundarr, and he would be damned if he was going to let one monkey with a crush on a tree girl ruin it for him.

Slythe raised his hand, stopping the laughter. “That’s enough, we have big things to accomplish in the next few days, yesssss? The Emperor himself put me in charge of this operation, and it’s much bigger than any of you know. Monkian!” Slythe swiveled his head towards the simian, who was now crouched low to the floor, “You are important to this mission, and you must keep your focus. We are finished with those primitives—they have served their purpose. The real objective is the Thundercats. In the name of the Emperor, we shall prevail, yesssss?” Slythe was making an attempt to boost Monkian’s morale, because despite his anger, he was worried about his strange behavior. He figured if he let Monkian know that they wouldn’t be tormenting the maidens anymore, he would snap out of it. He couldn’t be more wrong.

Monkian made up his mind right there. He stood up fully erect, hoisted his shield above his head, shouted, “Yes! The Thundercats! Hoo! Hoo! Hoo! Hoo! We will destroy them!” and headed down the hallway towards his room. The expression of maniacal glee left his face the moment he turned his back on the others, but he kept walking tall to keep up the illusion that he was just an excited soldier ready for battle. Slythe was satisfied, but Jackalman was scratching his head with suspicion. He knew Monkian was a little dumb, but he also knew that Monkian didn’t change his moods so quickly. He didn’t tell the others, but he was Monkian’s friend, and he knew something wasn’t right. He also hated Slythe, so volunteering such information was not in his priorities, but still, he wondered.

Slythe looked at the clock and said, “Vultureman! Prepare the transports! We leave for space in one hour, yesssss?”

Vultureman said, “Cawww! Yes sir!” with enthusiasm. Vultureman was smart enough to know that whatever Slythe was planning, it involved New Thundera. Why else would the Emperor of Plundarr bother with his miserable green carcass? And why else would he have been ordered to jury-rig the old Cat’s Lair the way he did? He knew something big was up—he could smell it! “After all,” he thought to himself, “Vulture Mutants have a very keen sense of smell.”

WilyKit was getting scared. There was still no response from the old Cat’s Lair. She figured it was time to get going. Willa saw this and ordered four of the other Warrior Maidens to accompany them.

As WilyKit and the small band of maidens drew near the Lair, Monkian walked out from behind a bush ahead on the path. The four Warrior Maidens that joined this party immediately split up and ran low to the ground into the bushes, working their way silently forward—two on each side as WilyKit and Willa continued walking forward more slowly.

Monkian was excited, jumping up and down to get their attention. “Hoo! Hoo! Hoo! WilyKit! Don’t go to the Lair! It’s a trap! Vultureman…”

Monkian was cut off as the four hidden maidens jumped out from both sides and tackled the large simian. Willa calmly walked up, unsheathed her machete, and stared coldly as the other maidens hauled Monkian upright and held his head back, exposing his throat.

WilyKit shouted, “DON’T!”

Willa paused and looked sideways at WilyKit. She had a savage, burning look in her eyes as she said, “Don’t? Is this not what you wanted?”

WilyKit had a shake in her voice as she said, “No, the Code of Thundera forbids it! We can’t just kill our enemies. It’s uncivilized!”

Willa started to grin as she said, “We do not follow your code. As I said, a wise warrior picks her time and waits for opportunity.” She took a swipe at Monkian’s throat. WilyKit screamed, “NO!” and tried to stop Willa from doing the deed, but she was too late.

While the four other Warrior Maidens had a hold of his arms and his head, they didn’t count on Monkian being able to use his leg to block the blow. Monkian howled in pain as the machete chopped into the inner side of his shin.

WilyKit pounced on Willa, knocking her on her back and causing her to drop the machete. She noticed that two of the other maidens released Monkian while the other two still held his arms. The two maidens were starting to go for their own machetes when WilyKit screamed at them to stop. The maidens hesitated for a moment, then continued to move their blades down towards both sides of his neck. WilyKit wasn’t having any of this! She picked up Willa’s blade with a free hand and held it to her throat. Her upper lip was pulled up in a savage sneer, revealing her upper fangs; her pupils had widened so much that her eyes looked like solid black marbles, causing the others to recoil in horror. She screamed, “I MEAN IT!!!” Her voice had an extra note that none of them had ever heard from her (or any Thundercat) before. It was the sound of a forest puma warning a trespasser away from her cubs. All five Warrior Maidens were frozen with an instinctive fear that even affected Monkian, even though he knew it was to his benefit.

Willa slowly inhaled with a few shudders and said, “Yara, Tassa, stop. Uziea, Nayda, release him. WilyKit, he will live—this time.” She had a hurt but sincere look in her eyes, so WilyKit helped her up. “If it means… this much to you, perhaps we… all have something… to learn… from you.” Her voice was shaky and her heart was hammering hard in her chest. Queen Willa couldn’t remember being so frightened in her life.

WilyKit stared at the other four maidens and said, “Damn right you do!” Her voice still had that unnatural cat tone to it. Willa flinched when WilyKit looked directly into her eyes again—her pupils were still fully open.

Monkian was holding his leg which was bleeding, but not too badly. He started to say, “WilyKit, please! I…” when WilyKit suddenly hissed and delivered a savage forward kick to his temple, knocking him out instantly. After a few tense moments of silence, her eyes and expression returned to normal. WilyKit tended to Monkian’s wound. It wasn’t too deep, but she opened her survival kit and quickly applied an antiseptic and a few stitches anyway. The machete had hit the thin area of skin over the shinbone, but there was no major damage. WilyKit figured it would be a week before he could walk normally again, and that suited her just fine. She applied a quick bandage, stood up, and continued walking towards the Cat’s Lair. The four maidens looked at Queen Willa with fearful expressions, still in shock from the glimpse of WilyKit’s dark side—they clearly never wanted to see that again. Willa put her hand up and nodded, signaling that all was well and to follow behind. Willa was very impressed with WilyKit and saw her differently from that day forward. She thought about the possibility that all the Thundercats possessed that sort of instinctual rage and figured WilyKit’s “Code of Thundera” was created for a very good reason.

As they neared the old Cat’s Lair, everything looked normal enough. Insects and birds were making their everyday sounds. WilyKit reached for her communicator but realized that either Monkian or that foul reptile had taken it. She cursed under her breath as the started to enter the clearing in front of the imposing structure that used to be her home.

Suddenly, shots rang out from all over the Lair, and one hit WilyKit on the edge of her thigh. She screamed in pain and immediately vaulted backward over and hid behind a large outcropping of rock a few yards into the clearing. The Warrior Maidens scattered for the cover of the trees. WilyKit quietly said to herself, “So, those bastards took over the Lair! Why was Monkian trying to warn me? Is he really in love with me or something?” She was sickened by the thought that Monkian wanted her. She looked at her thigh. The mutant’s laser had seared her slightly, and it hurt badly, but she knew she would live as she opened her survival kit once again.

After patching herself up, WilyKit made a quick dash on all fours into the woods. Several shots were fired, but they all hit behind her. Outgunned, she decided to head back to the village to get in touch with the others again—this was too big a problem for her to tackle alone. WilyKit and the Warrior Maidens returned along the same path, but Monkian was gone. WilyKit wanted to interrogate him, but he was nowhere to be found.

Slythe was furious! The signal came in from the old Cat’s Lair and Monkian was gone. “Perhaps I can find him?” Jackalman said with an inquisitive look.

Slythe wore a menacing frown as he bellowed, “NO! There is no time! We must leave for space now, yesssss? We don’t need that primate to defeat the Thundercats.” Slythe further raised his voice, “Everyone, to the ships!”

Jackalman wondered if Monkian had defected or ran away. He suspected the latter. As the ship he was on left Third Earth’s atmosphere, he wondered how the simian troops would respond to their general’s absence. True, they would follow Slythe's orders to the letter, but they would be suspicious of him. Jackalman shifted his thoughts towards his own troops and the orders Slythe gave him once they were in space. They were waiting to engage the hyperspace drive the moment a two-way communication was detected between the new Cat’s Lair and the Third Earth.

WilyKit created a three-way connection between the village, the Tower of Omens, and Cat’s Lair on New Thundera. “Lion-o, Lynx-o, they took over the old Cat’s Lair and shot at us! They must have captured Pumyra and Bengali. We have to do something!” WilyKit had a pleading look in her eyes that hurt Lion-o to see. Lynx-o had the same feelings listening to her voice.

Thinking about what WilyKit went through and not knowing what happened to Pumyra and Bengali was too much for Lion-o. “Don’t worry, we’re on our way! Lion-o out.”

WilyKit said, “What should we do?” as the image of Lynx-o stretched out to fill the entire screen after Lion-o signed off.

“I believe the wisest thing to do is set up surveillance points around the lair and try to determine how many of them are there. We need to know what we’re up against. They’re probably trying to pry into our computers at this very moment. They must not be allowed to steal our secrets! Snarfer has assured me that our encryption is unbreakable, but in the real world things break. Even if they can’t crack our files, they can still steal our equipment and thundryllium. Would the Warrior Maidens be willing to help us keep an eye on them?”

“Ready and willing,” Queen Willa said as she walked up behind WilyKit. “We know these woods better than anyone, they will not travel easily.” WilyKit smiled warmly to herself; it looked like Willa had completely forgotten the earlier incident with Monkian. She was still shocked that the Warrior Maidens could actually kill another humanoid—that was a side of them she hadn't seen before. Then again, the mutants did a better job of stealing from and humiliating them than they ever did in the past, and the Warrior Maidens are a proud people, so she couldn't blame them. She wouldn’t have killed Willa, but she had to frighten them into sparing Monkian, which was easy to do—given how upset she was at the time. WilyKit was glad it was over, she hated to let her emotions run unchecked like that because there was a real possibility that she could lose control.

WilyKit was brought back to the moment by Lynx-o’s voice. “Very good. We truly appreciate your help, Queen.”

Willa smiled slightly and said, “The honor is ours. We will always be in your debt for the many times the Thundercats protected us over the years, as well as everyone else who lives around us.”

Lynx-o was a little embarrassed at hearing this, especially from Queen Willa. He knew that she was one of the toughest people on the planet. “Don’t be so modest, Queen. You saved our hides numerous times. We are merely friends who help each other.”

Queen Willa laughed briefly and said, “Point taken, Lynx-o. But I must tell you: WilyKit is much stronger than she looks. You should be proud of her.”

Lynx-o didn’t know what to say to that. He could detect subtle notes of fear in her voice that no one else would likely have picked up. He figured that WilyKit must have just saved her from something, probably mutants in the forest that tried to attack them when they retreated from Cat’s Lair. Whatever it was, it had a profound effect on her. “Yes, we are very proud of WilyKit and her brother: they have grown up to be fine young adults. Snarfer and I will keep an eye on things from here. Good luck!”

WilyKit was a little flustered being between Willa and Lynx-o during that conversation, but it was nice to hear Willa talking about her with a new measure of respect. Coming from Willa, that was a huge compliment. “Thank you, but with the Warrior Maidens helping us, luck won’t be needed. WilyKit out.” Willa was starting to feel flustered herself. The Thundercats asked so little and gave so much. The Warrior Maidens were only concerned about protecting themselves before the cats came along, and now they openly traded goods with everyone from Bolkins to Robears. Willa had a warm feeling inside as she thought about how things had changed over the years.

Back on New Thundera, Lion-o was nervously pacing in the control room. The mutants were up to their old tricks again, and thanks to how thinly they were spread out, they had managed to take over the old Cat’s Lair. Experience had shown him that automatic defenses weren’t infallible, and he believed that Pumyra and Bengali were caught when they left for their morning walk. He was angering himself thinking about how they must be tearing up the old Lair looking for secrets, and there was nothing he could do about it at the moment. Remembering what Tygra had taught him, Lion-o closed his eyes and took long, deep breaths.

Panthro walked into the room. “Okay, Lion-o, let’s go. Tygra will stay behind and keep an eye on things now that Wily… er, WildKat is gone.”

Lion-o couldn’t wait to leave and get his hands on some of those mutant scum. He almost missed fighting them after all these years, especially since the occasional mutant citizen was becoming a common sight in Thundera City. The mutants here had escaped from their planet to begin new lives in freedom, but Slythe and the others were a different story—they still served their masters, even though they had been laying low for the last three years now. “Looks like all that’s changed,” Lion-o thought as he prepared to leave for Third Earth.

Slythe was handing out armbands and goggles to the other mutants on the ship. Jackalman put the armband on, but held the goggles in his hand. Jackalman inquired, “What are these for, Slythe?”

Slythe smiled mischievously as he hit a button on his armband. The armband started to glow like it was red-hot, but Slythe wasn’t getting burned. The glow climbed up through the spectrum: yellow, green, blue, then violet. The armband suddenly vanished, giving the illusion that Slythe’s arm was cut off. The rest of Slythe’s body started to take on a dull red glow and went through the same color changes until he became a violet shadow before disappearing altogether.

Jackalman jumped as the disembodied voice of Slythe appeared behind him. “Well, what do you think? Good, yesssss?”

Jackalman took hints very well and put the goggles over his eyes, as did the other mutants on the bridge. Jackalman didn’t really see Slythe himself, but saw a white set of squares that marked where the reptilian leader was.

Vultureman said with an excited voice, “Cawww, cawww, totally awwwesome! A heads-up display!” He looked at the floor and could see similar shapes beneath it. “I take it those are our troops in the hold?”

Slythe said, “Yesssss. These devices will enable us to sneak past any equipment because they allow light, heat, and all radiation to pass right through us. This is top-secret mutant technology. The goggles merely point out our locations so we don’t run into each other.”

Vultureman was more than curious. “Cawww, how can the goggles work if the fields make us invisible?”

Slythe was slightly irritated by his question. “That’s top-secret. Only the scientists who created them know for sure, but they say that the thunderians have nothing that will discover us, yesssss?”

Vultureman looked over the strange alien symbols embedded in his armband and thought to himself as he ran his fingertip over them. “Scientists, huh? More like pirates. I wonder where you came from.”

Jackalman loved this. Monkian didn’t know what he was missing! “So we just walk in and take over the new Cat’s Lair and the city? Excellent!”

Nothing more was spoken as Slythe disengaged his invisibility band. He slowly reappeared in a kaleidoscope of colors as the arm band resumed its normal silvery appearance. Vultureman was still experimenting with his goggles, noting what they chose to mark as important in his view so that he might gain some insight into their inner workings. He noticed that they indicated where power flowed throughout the ship, clearly marking all active conduits. He could also see large twin squares highlighting where the reactor cores should be at the ship’s stern. He was quite impressed.

The silence was broken as one of the Reptilian Mutants at the controls spoke up. “General Slythe, Hyperdoppler detectors indicate a ship four-point-three light-years to port on a trajectory towards Third Earth.”

“Perfect, yesssss? This will be too easy.” All five mutants on the bridge laughed heartily. This was going to be all too easy indeed.

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