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 Three: Rage
The Snarf College Auditorium was packed. Snarfs of all shapes and sizes waited in anticipation for the “First Thunderian Band” to play for them. Many were circling the area where the thunderian and mutant friends of the band were sitting. WildKat, ThunderManx, DeathClaw, and Stripe were met with many cheers as they walked out from behind the curtain and sat down among the thunderians.
Snarfer walked over and asked Stripe, “Hey, aren't you guys going to play?”
Stripe smiled. “Soon. We’re not the only band tonight.”
“Oh really? I thought you guys were the only band on Thundera. Is it anyone I know?”
Stripe smiled neutrally. “Oh yes.”
Snarfer looked quizzically at the young thunderian and figured he wouldn’t volunteer any more information. He shrugged to himself and looked over at Snarf, who was the only one in the place not wearing a happy smile. “Hey uncle! Why the long face?” Snarfer said embarrassingly loud. Snarf glared back then looked around nervously.
Stripe smiled and answered for him. “Probably concerned for Lion-o.”
Snarfer laughed and joined the crowd up front as the lights started to dim. Snarf Dean came through the curtains and grabbed the microphone. He stood with an air of authority as he adjusted his spectacles and scanned the crowd. “Welcome students, thunderians, and mutants. Welcome to the fifth annual Snarf-bash! Once again we have WildKat and his band for…” Dean was cut off by the loud applause and howls from everyone. Snarf Dean raised his hand and waited for the applause to die down.
Snarf Dean cleared his throat and spoke up again. “But first, we have some special guests. Making their first appearance anywhere…” Snarf Dean let the tension rise for a second as he turned sideways and announced, “Crystal of Omens!”
Everyone cheered except for the adult Thundercats, who applauded somewhat calmly. After a moment, when the curtains parted and they saw who was on stage, they all cheered very loudly.
Trameea sang, Racina played guitar, and the twins were bringing up the rhythm. Panthro looked over at WildKat, who had a huge smile on his face. The snarfs were dancing, as well as several of the thunderians and mutants, who kept to a small area so they wouldn't step on any of the snarfs.
Crystal of Omens played for over a half-hour, and when they ended their set, Cheetara and Pumyra started talking about how good they sounded. Panthro got WildKat's attention as he and the others were starting to get up. “Hey, your girlfriend's a great singer!”
Panthro really enjoyed watching them, but he really came to see the snarfs dance to WildKat's music—the curiosity had been burning him all week long. He noticed that three quarters of the thunderians and mutants went outside in a group.
WildKat gave a quick smile and a “thanks, man!” as he headed for the side door to the stage. Racina and the others jumped down from the stage, clearly excited about their first performance. They joined Cheetara, Pumyra, and WilyKit near the back and started talking among themselves. Panthro overheard Racina saying something about clipping her claws to play better. That's when he realized what looked different about WildKat. It was nagging at him for some time, but yes, he did away with his claws! “Of all the stupid things,” he thought. At least WildKat was having fun and it was his life anyway, he reasoned.
The lights dimmed again as the curtains opened, and WildKat came up to the microphone. “Hey, is everyone having a good time yet?” The crowd returned applause and cheers. “Hey, I said, IS EVERYONE HAVING A GOOD TIME YET?” to louder cheers as the others started coming back into the building. Panthro was getting suspicious of this extra activity.
“Let's have a big round of applause for Trameea and the girls—were they great or what!” That was met with thunderous applause as the girls looked up, slightly embarrassed, but enjoyed the attention anyway. Racina started jumping around excitedly.
“I have an announcement to make first: we have a name now.” He scanned the crowd and saw that almost everyone had stopped talking and were hanging on his words. “People have been calling us ‘WildKat’s Band’ and I think that’s wrong.” He paused for a moment and enjoyed the puzzled looks from the crowd. “Just because I stand up here in the middle, play rhythm on my guitar and sing doesn’t mean this is my band.” He turned around and looked at his friends sharing the stage with him. “Everyone contributes something.” He turned back to the crowd and looked down at the adult thunderians. “Just like the Thundercats, we’re a team and we’re family. In honor of one of our favorite ancient bands, we will be known as Thunderrica!” That was met with loud cheering, mostly from the thunderians. “Come on everyone, make some noise.” Louder cheering followed. WildKat looked back and forth and stalked around the stage with his guitar. He approached the microphone with a look of rage. He screamed at full volume and raised his arms high. “I SAID EVERYONE MAKE SOME NOISE!” Everyone cheered as loud as they could, snarfs included. WildKat smiled and started the chords for “Welcome to My Lair” which was an instrumental that led to their opening song: “Jump off the Stacks.”
Panthro was holding his stomach laughing, as were most of the adult Thundercats. It was a surreal experience—all of the snarfs were dancing like thunderians dance to slow music, but they were going through the motions much faster to the hyperactive beats coming from the stage. Panthro saw that it was the small size of their bodies which made this possible, and he couldn't stop laughing and stomping his foot for the first three songs. It was the same dancing they just saw for Crystal of Omens, only three times faster.
Midway through their set, the other thunderians and mutants started forming a “mosh pit” as the snarf students started moving to the sides to give them room. Snarf had been sitting with the Thundercats the whole time, and was standing high on his tail with a look of genuine concern. Snarf didn't like the fact that Lion-o and Bengali were in the middle of that crowd, and that Lion-o had left his claw shield and the sword with him to join the crowd. The evil mummy creature was never far from his mind. He focused again on his immediate concerns: the thunderians and mutants looked like they were getting too crazy, and his snarf friends were a little too close to them.
Sure enough, there was a loud “Reeeeooooowww!” as a wayward mutant stepped on one of the snarfs, and thunderians started jumping off the stage into the crowd. The snarf students started heading for the sides, but thunderians were starting to hurl themselves into the walls and everywhere else. One of them staggered and was knocked over onto several snarfs who howled and headed for cover. The scene ended up with all the snarfs either behind the Thundercats on the bleachers or standing off to the side and into the hallway. The thunderians and mutants were going crazy, and bodies were getting thrown everywhere as Snarf Dean considered only inviting the Thundercats next year. He suspected that half of the thunderians were drunk on Berbil Brandy or something. Still, he let the show continue—he saw that his students were safe, even though a few of them got hurt. The students were starting to dance again, so he let the thunderians be.
Somewhere in the song “Freeze in Hell” a dark shape materialized in the middle of the room. It just folded itself outward and became the dark mummy-creature that was responsible for murdering seven people. She just floated in midair as the shock of her sudden appearance froze everyone. The music stopped except for Stripe, who kept playing until he looked up from his drum set to see what happened.
The mummy started laughing maniacally as everyone started running for the exits and the Thundercats all stood, brandishing their weapons. WildKat immediately ran to the side and grabbed his launchers. He was having difficulty putting them on due to panic. ThunderManx traded his bass for his pike and the others grabbed their fighting gear. Lion-o swam his way through the crowd and retrieved his sword and shield from Snarf.
The mummy stopped laughing and bellowed, “Hey, don't stop playing on my account. Eyahahahaha!” She started firing bolts of red lightning at the exiting crowd, knocking out several thunderians. The snarfs who were behind the Thundercats hid under the bleachers.
Lion-o pointed his sword toward the monstrosity, who looked like a giant mutated mummy-wolf. “What the hell are you?”
The mummy landed lightly on the floor with her back to the stage and dropped her hands in an obscenely graceful way. “I am Seph-Ra, The Ever-Living.” Her eyes flared a brighter shade of red and lit up. “And you are DEAD!” The Thundercats started dodging her bolts, and she was starting to get frustrated trying to hit them. Lion-o pulled a mirror off the wall and approached her with it.
Seph-Ra started screaming and backed up. Lion-o pressed forward with the mirror as her eyes went wide and her bandages started to appear around her. She withered down to her original size and kept screaming as Lion-o stood over her with the mirror, waiting for her to teleport herself back to her pyramid. Mumm-Ra wasn't bothered by his reflection later in his life as the devil-priest, but Lion-o had to try this course of action just in case, and it seemed to be working on this newcomer.
Lion-o was holding his breath as Seph-Ra went silent. Lion-o looked sideways at the others who were coming up behind him. Seph-Ra said, “Damn, I'm lookin' good!”
Lion-o started to say, “Oh, sh…” as twin bolts from Seph-Ra's hands shattered the mirror and Lion-o staggered backward holding his face. Blood was oozing from all the fragments of glass that were blown into his left side. Panthro, Pumyra, Cheetara, ThunderManx, WildKat, and WilyKit started attacking with all of their energy weapons and pellets.
Seph-Ra vanished in the middle of all the smoke and powder, and to everyone's surprise appeared behind them in her warrior form again. She strafed everyone with red bolts and was knocking them out one-by-one. She willed her claws to grow to obscene proportions and skewered Tygra's shoulder, lifted him up, and pinned him against the wall. Everyone watched in horror as she drew her right hand back and prepared to decapitate Tygra with foot-long claws that looked like knives. No one could do anything to prevent it as Tygra closed his eyes—he was in too much pain to move.
Seph-Ra suddenly screamed as something hit the small of her back very hard. She wheeled around and swung at nothing, her extended claws hissing through the air. Tygra slumped against the wall, holding his bleeding shoulder as Seph-Ra looked for something to hit, but found nothing. She was suddenly driven back and knocked against the wall by the invisible force again. Out of frustration, she lashed out, but hit nothing again. She was hit by several rapid blows as she backed up, cursed, and teleported away. As she disappeared, she held her head and said, “You're only delaying the inevitable, thunder-scum!” Tygra could see she was in pain as she left—too much pain to keep attacking, anyway. Someone or something landed some savage blows and seemed to damage her. Tygra knew this was far from over.
All the thunderians and Thundercats who were knocked out started to moan and stand up. Panthro came to and swore a few times before seeing Tygra with Pumyra applying bandages to his arm and shoulder. The snarfs cautiously emerged from the hallway and from under the bleachers to see what was happening.
WildKat and the others were asking Tygra if he was okay, and he nodded. “Hurts like heck, but I'll live. I wonder who saved me? ThunderManx?”
ThunderManx shook his head. He still had the mutant invisibility device, but he left it at home. He silently cursed at himself for forgetting to bring it.
Tygra suddenly jolted forward with a yelp as something invisible kicked his backside hard. Lion-o looked around, still holding his bloody face with one hand, and swinging the sword around with the other. They heard a familiar “Nyahh hah hah haaaa!” fading in the distance as they saw one of the doors open and close.
Tygra had a look of pure rage on his face that made everyone back up as he screamed, “JACKALMAN!!!” He looked around and said, “I'm going to kill that furry orange…” and trailed off, holding on to his shoulder in pain. WildKat started laughing, which made everyone look at him strangely. Tygra sat on the floor and bellowed, “What's so funny?”
WildKat quenched his laughter and said, “I'm sorry, Tygra… it's just that… he saved your butt, then kicked it.”
Tygra groaned. He was in too much pain to care—he just wanted to go home. Panthro and Cheetara gave WildKat matching scowls for his attempt at humor.
Pumyra was picking glass fragments from Lion-o's face as he winced. She said, “That's all I can do Lion-o, until we get back to the Lair. It's going to be a long night.” Lion-o didn't like the sound of that as the feeling was coming back to his face.
Snarf Dean started making a speech to thank the Thundercats for coming, but his tone was shaky. Seph-Ra scared everyone well and the effect of her visit would last a long time.
Lion-o made his way to the podium and started speaking to Snarf Dean as he walked down from the stage. “Hey, could we continue this in a couple days? Seph-Ra won't be able to attack for at least a week, we know that from experience.”
Dean looked at him quizzically and remarked, “Just like you knew a mirror would stop her?”
“No, that I didn't know, but I had to try it. She’s charged up like Mumm-Ra was before he became mortal, so I have to assume the Ancient Spirits of Evil are active too.”
Dean thought about it and said, “Okay, we can do this again in a few days, but don't tell anyone. I don't want a bunch of drunken thunderians and mutants here again. You Thundercats are plenty company, understand?”
“I understand, and thank you.”
Snarf Dean shrugged and said, “Well, it's certainly been memorable.”
Seph-Ra was retreating into her sarcophagus, holding her back and head in pain. This would be the last time she tried a hit-and-run style attack. The Thundercats were too quick, even with her power. She wanted to know who had defeated her, but she had no way of knowing who could be invisible besides Tygra. Maybe some new Thundercat weapon? After a week of healing, she would make it her mission to find who was responsible for this embarrassing defeat. Revenge would be hers, but for now, she would sleep.
The next three months were uneventful. Thunderrica had their return concert at Snarf College, Panthro laughed while watching the strangely dancing snarf students until his sides hurt, Crystal of Omens played extra songs to the crowd’s delight, there were only the Thundercats and a few specially invited friends in attendance to Snarf Dean's delight, and the only two thunderians who got crazy at all were Lion-o and Bengali. Even though everyone had fun, there was a dark cloud over the party as everyone thought about Seph-Ra's unwanted appearance a few days before. ThunderManx wore a metallic armband and had goggles that he painted to match his armor around his neck the whole time.
“What's wrong, Lion-o?” Lynx-o asked as he felt his tension in the Council Chamber.
“It's been three months and four days. Seph-Ra hasn't done anything. Something's not right!” Lion-o paced back and forth.
“Lion-o, Mumm-Ra didn't attack us every single week. There were even months between his appearances. I think you're worrying a little too much.”
Lion-o slammed his fist down on the table, making the elder Thundercat jump. “Raaaah! I'm not paranoid! The last time Mumm-Ra pulled this, he came after us and nearly defeated us. He was supercharged from… from… aww, I don't know!” Lion-o looked around the almost empty chamber, and lowered his voice. “I'm sorry, my friend. The longer Mumm-Ra slept, the more trouble he was when he re-emerged. Seph-Ra is a much bigger problem—she's truly evil, and I know she's up to something. I just… feel so helpless!”
Lynx-o understood all too well. “It's okay, Lion-o. You have every right to be frustrated. You are expected to keep everyone safe, and be our leader. I understand the pressure you're going through. Because of your status, you become a target.”
Lion-o paused, looking at Lynx-o. “You see so much, I envy you sometimes.”
“Comes with age.”
Lion-o said, “Well, at least we're prepared for the worst. I just have a problem with the fact that she's killed people. I sometimes think we should scrap The Code in her case.”
Lynx-o got up, walked over to Lion-o, and placed his hand on his shoulder. “You know that isn't right. We…”
Lion-o suddenly stepped back; Lynx-o let his hand return to his side. “Yes I know. Oh, Jaga. This is too much to deal with. She killed seven people, and who knows how many more will suffer if we can't stop her. We can't even scratch her pyramid!”
The words echoed between the inner walls of the black pyramid as Seph-Ra watched the conversation intently. Yes, this plan was going too well. Not only was she gaining more power and knowledge with her extra sleep, but she was also indirectly causing Lion-o's tension level to rise to the point where he was talking about going against his own beliefs. Perfect! It was time to try a new trick.
“Ancient Spirits of Evil… grant me access to your power so I may invent a new toy for us.” Seph-Ra concentrated hard and willed her first original creation to take shape. The cauldron started boiling as a metallic sphere six inches across emerged from the vile waters. Her skills at manipulating minds and breaking people down during her mortal life had added a new unholy flavor to the ancient magic in her possession. She smiled as the sphere hovered over her outstretched hand. “Behold the Sphere of Fear!” She allowed it to merge with her skin. The sphere was now ready for delivery: all it needed was a traumatic event to the intended target to do its work effectively.
She watched as Lion-o left the Cat's Lair alone to take a walk. The time was right to add to Lion-o's tension more directly. “Ancient Spirits of Evil… transform this decayed form… to Seph-Ra, The Ever-Living!”
Lion-o walked through Thundera City. It was late in the afternoon, and citizens were returning home from their jobs to settle down for the night. He still found city life strange after living around small groups of people who lived off the land for most of his life. Sure, Thundera City was a pleasant place unlike the steel and concrete hives of humanity that were featured in those ancient movies. Still, there was urgency in everyone's existence here that didn't seem quite natural.
Lion-o's heart skipped a beat as he saw a familiar black shape fold outward in front of him. Instinctively, he drew his sword and started firing bolts, which passed harmlessly through the mummy.
“Damn you, monster! At least Mumm-Ra didn't kill innocent people! Don't you have any honor?”
“Of course I do. I honor all that is evil! My predecessor had a heart, but I am blackness consuming!” Seph-Ra suddenly grew to a monstrous size, towering over Lion-o and the city itself. She spoke in a booming voice that shook the ground, and vibrated through Lion-o's spine. “And guess what, Lion-o…”
Lion-o gasped as she stepped on a house, killing everyone inside it as she boomed, “THERE'S”
Lion-o screamed, “NO!!!” as she stepped on the next four houses while saying, “NOTHING… YOU… CAN… DO!”
Seph-Ra started laughing maniacally as she ground her heel into the last house. Lion-o started firing more bolts from his sword out of pure frustration. The bolts once again passed right through her as he started screaming, “I'LL KILL YOU! I SWEAR IT!”
Seph-Ra waved a finger and said, “Didn't your parents tell you it's not nice to swear?”
Lion-o screamed, “HO!” as another bolt left the sword with no effect.
Seph-Ra came up behind him while keeping the illusion that she was still a giant in front. The Sphere of Fear left her hand and quickly merged into the back of Lion-o's skull. He grabbed at the back of his head as he felt intense cold spreading through him, but there was nothing he could do to prevent it.
Seph-Ra dropped her illusion and laughed as Lion-o spun around and fired off another bolt that barely missed her. She teleported herself back to her pyramid and returned to her normal state. She was proud of her success that day—she used almost no energy, got under Lion-o's skin in more ways than one, and had fun most of all. The destruction of the Thundercats and their code was moving along nicely.
Seph-Ra laughed to herself as she started watching her cauldron. The real fun was about to begin.