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 One: Differences
WildKat opened his bedroom door and stepped out into the living room. His hair was a complete mess: a good dose of alcohol, plus the fact that the first segment of his slumber was spent on the rug led to a very asymmetrical hairdo. He squinted into the daylight and mumbled something about the girls opening the curtains on him again.
WildKat took a step forward and ran into someone. Clearing his eyes, he saw a tall and irritated thunderian woman of a race he couldn’t immediately place. She looked something like a cross between puma, cheetah, tiger, and something else, but he didn’t care to try figuring it out. WildKat saw that she was dressed in one of ThunderManx’s shirts and nothing else, save a black crystal on a leather necklace. Looking over, he saw his friend’s bedroom door was open.
Irritated and hung over, WildKat said, “Who the heck are you?”
The woman flashed her teeth at WildKat and growled, “What’s it to you, boy?” WildKat could swear that he briefly saw reflections from the sunlight in her eyes, except she was facing the wrong direction for that to happen. His mind was clearing, and he started wondering about this woman who towered over him.
“Umm… well, it’s not everyday that a half-naked woman comes out of ThunderManx’s room.” He rubbed his eyes and started searching her bright green eyes for signs of those reflections.
“His name is ThorrManx, boy.”
WildKat was getting more irritated. “Who are you calling…”
WildKat jumped as ThunderManx’s voice boomed from behind. “Ease off, WilyKat.”
WildKat turned around to see his friend was halfway under some covers on the couch. “Uhh… I’m sorry man.”
“Well, mellow out. She’s not some fan or anything.” ThunderManx started purring as the woman walked over and started rubbing his chest with one hand. He spoke with a stupid grin on his face. “Wily… uh, WildKat… this is Kitara.”
WildKat stared for a moment too long, making her frown. Being thunderian, he had grown up around furred nudity, but that was so many years ago. ThunderManx looked a little embarrassed from her openness, but she had told her story about surviving with an elven population on the island of Erysalin.
Kitara was the lone survivor of a shipwreck, which happened because they had used their magic to conceal the entire island. It was a small island that no one else on Thundera knew about. Normally, they could use their magic to redirect a ship, but it was the middle of the night and the sentry had fallen asleep. Since they were at fault, their sense of honor demanded that she be taken in and raised as one of their own. When Thundera exploded, her benefactors used their abilities to shield the island. They may have perished in space if not for the fleet of rescue vessels sent by the Interplanetary Control Force, who relocated them to a different world. Kitara bid them farewell once news of Thundera’s reforming reached her. They were family, but her home was calling to her. Their parting gift was a crystal that allowed her to transform into any animal to help her survive. She lived alone in the forest for a year or so before being captured by Jackrow’s men and meeting ThunderManx.
WildKat shrugged his shoulders and said, “Whatever…” and started walking towards the kitchen.
ThunderManx gasped as he saw Kitara’s eyes light up. He was about to say “no” but she put her first two fingers on his lips and smiled wickedly. She focused on WildKat again, and for a brief moment a spot glowed on his backside.
WildKat’s voice went up an octave as he shouted, patted, and rubbed himself vigorously. He looked back at the pair and wondered what happened. ThunderManx’s mouth started quivering, and he was clearly trying to hold laughter back. Kitara just stood there with a smile on her face. WildKat growled under his breath and went into the kitchen. He cursed as he heard ThunderManx burst out laughing in the other room, followed by Kitara as he grabbed a Berbil Beer. WildKat left through the back door and grabbed his spaceboard; he was going to cruise the Great River and he didn’t care how messed up his hair was.
“Okay, do that again, but in slow motion.”
“Okay!” Racina slowly went through the motion of a spinning back-kick, with WilyKit as her target.
WilyKit frowned a bit. “Racee, in a fight, your long legs are going to be your best weapon. You need to extend and follow through better. Do that again.”
“Okay…” Racina went through the motion again as the tabby twins sat watching at the edge of the mat.
WilyKit caught her calf on the upswing and held it there. “Now, you have to realign your center of gravity and extend more…” WilyKit extended Racina’s leg outward. “Like this.”
Racina let out a squeal as she lost her balance and fell to the mat. She started laughing hysterically and the twins joined in. WilyKit didn’t see the humor however. “Racina, you have to be serious about this—it could save your life someday!”
The room went silent as all eyes focused upon WilyKit. Racina slowly said, “I’m sorry.” Tears started welling up in her canine eyes.
WilyKit sighed and paced in a couple quick circles. “No Racee, I’m sorry. Sometimes I get too serious. I guess I spent too much time with the Warrior Maidens, huh?” WilyKit continued as Racina sniffed and wiped her eyes. “Funny, I thought I’d teach them how to laugh more often. So… wanna try it again?” WilyKit smiled as she thought about her Third-Earth family.
Racina giggled and said, “Yeah!”
At the Cat’s Lair, Panthro was leading the usual morning exercise routine, but the mood was more somber than usual.
Cheetara was the first to bring it up. “I still can’t get used to it.”
Tygra smiled and said, “Yeah, it makes me feel… old.”
Panthro chuckled. “Well, you can’t expect him to be a kid forever, huh?”
Lion-o added, “Tell me about it—WildKat’s getting married before me!”
Panthro folded his arms and gave Lion-o a funny look. “Poor kid, you still haven’t gotten a girlfriend!”
Lion-o looked at Panthro with a mock expression of anger, then burst out laughing. It wasn’t long before everyone was laughing with him. Finally, the laughter died and Panthro said, “Don’t sweat it pal, someone will come along. Now, where were we?” The lair’s proximity alert started sounding. Panthro threw his arms up and sighed. “So much for a normal morning.”
As they ran into the control room, Tygra said, “Something’s entering our solar system: something big!”
Panthro leapt over his chair and landed effortlessly into it. “Sensors can’t make much out at this distance, but I’m getting lifeform readings in the tens of thousands!”
Tygra rubbed his chin and hit a few buttons. “Hmm, no wonder: there’s a force-dome around it. Any luck with specifics, Panthro?”
Panthro answered, “I think so. If these readings are correct, we’re looking at a floating city of reptilians.”
Lion-o growled. “Mutants?”
Tygra said, “I don’t think so. Plundarrians couldn’t have built something like this… it’s too…” Tygra paused for a moment and glanced at his readings. “Different.”
Lion-o lifted the sword and said, “Well, we’ll see about that. Sword of Omens, give me sight beyond sight!”
Lion-o’s eyes went blank and glowed as his vision turned inward. He could see a gigantic floating city, but it looked like it was constructed of greenish mud instead of steel and concrete. It had the appearance of a giant hive: like those built by mud wasps. He willed his vision closer, and saw the population was indeed reptilian, but very different from any mutant he had ever seen. Their bodies were snake-like, and they had arms that didn’t look quite right. Lion-o shuddered as he looked closer: their arms had two evenly-spaced elbows, making them look hideous to his eyes. Their hands had two long fingers with one thumb on each side: the outer thumb being slightly smaller than the inner one. Another thing that disturbed him was the fact that the fingers and thumbs had extra joints. “So different…” he said aloud, making everyone in the control room wonder what he was seeing.
Lion-o willed his vision inside the massive ship. He saw hundreds upon hundreds of workers filing in and out of caverns that were miles across. Most were carrying what looked like fuel canisters. Suddenly, the sword shifted his gaze for him. He was now in the control room of the ship, and was looking at what must be the commander of the vessel. He towered over the others and spoke in a liquid-sounding gurgle that made no sense, but the sword provided translations. “[The eye is near—I can feel it.]” The commander was playing with something golden in his hand. Lion-o looked closer, and saw to his horror that it was an object all too familiar. Lion-o said, “They have the Sword of Plundarr?” Everyone in the control room tensed up.
Lion-o’s vision was forcibly shifted again, but not by the sword or his will. Some outside force came into play. Lion-o found his vision somewhere deep inside the ship in a solitary room. Blue and green crystals embedded in the walls created an eerie glow that shone upon the room’s single occupant. Lion-o saw a lone reptile that was at least three times the size of the others. It had four arms instead of two, and one pair was holding a sphere that glowed with a dim yellow fire. It looked up, and Lion-o gasped as he saw that it had one large eye in the middle of its head. It seemed to look directly at him. Lion-o realized that something looked very familiar about this creature, but he couldn’t put his finger on it. Suddenly, the creature blinked, furrowed its brow in concentration, and… nothing. Lion-o blinked and frowned as the sword’s vision went white with static.
Lion-o looked at the others. Panthro said, “Well?”
Lion-o shook his head. “I don’t know, but it looks like big trouble. They know I was watching them. At least, the big one does. I’ve seen it before… somewhere.” Lion-o started to pace.
Tygra heard a few beeps from the console. He glanced over and made the announcement that Lion-o expected and feared. “They have changed course: they are on an intercept course with New Thundera now.”
That evening, WildKat and the band were practicing, or would have if not for one “technical problem.”
WildKat had an irritated expression as he looked at ThunderManx. He was standing in place, one hand muting the strings of his bass while passionately kissing away with Kitara.
WildKat groaned and walked over to DeathClaw, who was sitting on a chair with his guitar across his lap and a big smile on his face. WildKat said, “Do they really have to do that?”
DeathClaw looked over with a smirk. “Like we didn’t have to live with you and Trameea?”
“But… we weren’t so… blatant.”
“Yes you were.” DeathClaw had a mischievous grin on his face that made WildKat want to laugh.
WildKat sighed and glanced at them again. He really wished Trameea was there with him.
DeathClaw said, “If it makes you feel any better, making out in front of everyone only feels good to the makees: everyone else has this instinctive jealousy/irritation factor.” He tipped his head towards Stripe sitting behind his drum set, looking at the couple wistfully. “I personally get a kick out of all this ‘Cat Psychology.’”
WildKat looked back at DeathClaw with a new measure of respect. “Point taken, buddy.” He got his own mischievous look and started playing the opening chords of a song called “Freeze in Hell” which starts with him and has each musician joining in turn: DeathClaw, ThunderManx, and finally Stripe with the drums. As expected, ThunderManx separated from Kitara at the last possible moment when his part came up. Stripe was still staring at Kitara until his moment came. The jam session continued without a hitch.
Lion-o paced nervously. “Tygra? What’s that… thing’s E.T.A.?”
Tygra looked up from the monitor he was studying. “At the rate they’re traveling, about seventeen days.”
“Why so slow?”
“Judging from my readouts, they’re using some variation of an Electrogravity Impulse Drive. You know of course, it’s unwise to enter an unknown solar system at light speed. They’re handicapped because that kind of drive isn’t simple like an ion or rocket drive like we have. An EGI drive uses much less energy, but it also interacts with the gravitational fields of planets and stars around it. In deep space, it’s a wonderfully efficient way to travel, but inside a solar system, it must be kept to a minimum because of gravity-wave feedback from nearby planets.”
Lion-o considered this. “So, they’re not coming in at full speed because of that?”
“Yes… to decelerate inside a solar system would spell disaster unless they have rockets or something for emergencies. A ship that big is a prime candidate for an EGI drive: that’s the only way to move it without huge amounts of fuel—better to borrow gravity from the universe than generate your own thrust.”
Lion-o started pacing again. “Great, so now we have two weeks to wonder about what might be an invasion force being led by some… thing with the Sword of Plundarr, and some bigger thing that can block the Eye of Thundera and all our scanners. This is just great!”
Tygra stood and put his hands on the lord’s shoulders, stopping him. “It does no good to pace, Lion-o. We have to plan.”
Lion-o shrugged and backed away. “But how? We don’t know anything about them! They’re from outside our known spacelanes and local sectors, and from what I saw, they’re totally alien. What really bothers me is that they’re looking for ‘The Eye.’”
Tygra nodded and looked towards the floor. “Yes, that doesn’t sound good at all.” Tygra looked into the lion’s eyes again. “No one really knows where the Eye of Thundera came from originally: it predates our species if the evidence is correct. Mumm-Ra knew about it somehow, although he’s not that old. Who’s to say what kind of history it has?”
Lion-o held the sword up and looked deep into the eye. “I always wondered…” Lion-o held the sword to his face. “Eye of Thundera, show me your past!”
The crossbars curled, and the sword presented images of its history: starting with the thunderian ancients. “No, no. Go back: further back! Eye of Thundera, show me your beginning!” Lion-o waited for a moment, and then the sword showed an image that startled him. He saw the eye being removed from something made of greenish glass. He couldn’t see many details, but he saw The Eye was gold and green instead of the familiar red and black! He saw an ancient thunderian blacksmith and priest mounting it in a gold crown with intricate rune designs in finely carved silver. It was for the first Lord of the Thundercats: the ancient known as “Jaga the Mighty.” The Jaga that Lion-o knew in his life was merely named after the great ancient lord, for it was Jaga the Mighty who appeared on their currency and in their daily speech for the last seven thousand years. Lion-o knew before he died, Jaga the Mighty had ordered the Eye of Thundera be removed from his headpiece and added to his legendary Sword of Omens, thereby creating a powerful weapon that could only be used for good deeds by his successors: the weapon that Lion-o now held in his hands. He looked in awe as the ancient priest—Tagalon, that was his name—placed the crown on his head. The Eye’s colors changed to their now-familiar scheme. Tagalon nodded towards the blacksmith, removed the crown, and the vision faded.
Lion-o growled with frustration. “Eye of Thundera! Show me what you were before the blacksmith and priest removed you!” The vision was blank. Lion-o felt a familiar chill as Jaga the Wise appeared in front of him.
“Lion-o, the sword cannot show you because The Eye was used for evil in the distant past.”
“Jaga? The Eye? Evil? Are you sure?”
Jaga nodded slightly. “Yes, Lion-o. It was once a powerful weapon that could destroy entire worlds. Jaga the Mighty was wise to remove it from the evil talisman and isolate its good nature.”
“How did he do that?”
“The Eye was a force for good. It was the balance of the talisman. Together, they weren’t good or evil, and hundreds of times more powerful than The Eye alone.”
“Where is the talisman now? Do those reptiles have it?”
Jaga looked blankly upward. “The talisman was destroyed long ago. Those reptile people look like the statue of Marmoquet: the ancient god of destruction. They may be related, and they possess the Sword of Plundarr. This cannot be good. Be careful, Lion-o.”
Marmoquet! That’s why that one-eyed thing looked familiar. It was the god the ancients feared and worshipped. “Jaga, that must be who it is, after all this time! I saw… Jaga?” Lion-o realized that Jaga had already vanished. That never failed to upset him: Jaga always vanished at the worst possible moment. Just once, he’d like to have a conversation with his mentor that didn’t involve an immediate danger. Lion-o wondered if that was a requirement of the Astral Plane: Jaga could only communicate when something was threatening him? He mentally filed that away and promised himself to ask Jaga the next time he appeared. As far as Lion-o knew, he was the only Thundercat Lord to have a ghost giving him advice. There were other ghosts in thunderian history, and he intended to do research on that subject.
Tygra interrupted Lion-o’s train of thought. “So, did Jaga have anything to say?”
“Yes, it looks like we have big trouble on the way my friend.”
ThunderManx was in the living room saying “goodnight” to everyone. Something didn’t quite feel right to him as he looked around for Kitara. He was seriously hoping that she had transformed herself and run off for the night—she was a bit wild, after all.
ThunderManx’s worst fears were realized when he opened the door to the jam room. Everything turned to slow motion as he saw Kitara straddling Stripe’s legs and kissing him. He just stood in the doorway for a few moments, unwilling to believe what he was seeing, yet there it was. In the span of two days, the first love of his life had deserted him for one of his best friends. She was even being more intimate with Stripe than she had been with him!
A rage slowly built inside the big panther—he felt like a spear was being driven slowly through his heart. He raised his energy pike and activated it with a quick flick of his wrist.
Stripe was feeling excited and guilty at the same time. He was in his late teens and couldn’t reject Kitara’s advances—as wrong as he knew it was. Now that they were in intimate contact, his conscience bothered him too much. He started to pull away to say “no” when he saw ThunderManx approaching from behind Kitara with his weapon raised and glowing.
Stripe shouted a “NO!” as ThunderManx leapt at them with his weapon. Stripe thought he was going to die in that moment, but ThunderManx drove his energy pike into the cement floor behind them with a loud electric pop. Kitara leapt up, spun around, and stared hard at ThunderManx with bright stars in her eyes. They disappeared after a couple of tense seconds when she realized who was behind her. There was no fear in her expression: it was somewhere between anger and shock.
There was plenty of fear in Stripe’s eyes. He fell backwards off his stool as he retreated from the enraged panther. He was trying to say something apologetic, but it wasn’t coming out intelligible. ThunderManx growled louder and louder, then screamed, “GET OUT!”
Kitara folded her arms across her chest and started to say something, but ThunderManx was in no condition to listen. He shouted, “YOU TOO! OUT!” Stripe gave him a wide berth as he circled to get to the door. Kitara glanced behind herself with a look of confusion. ThunderManx screamed, “AND DON’T EVER COME BACK!”
Stripe stammered, “Kit… Kitara… I’m sorry…”
Kitara looked at the young white tiger and cheetah mix. “Don’t be. Just go.”
Stripe wore a hurt expression with tears starting to form in his eyes as he turned around and left.
Kitara looked at her transformation crystal and changed into her small cat form. She didn’t want to go back to those primitive thunderians now: she simply wanted to go home. She quickly ducked out of sight as ThunderManx emerged from the house. He looked around for a moment then started walking into the night with his head hung low. Kitara decided to follow.
Kitara was beside herself. She had never experienced that kind of love before, and she just got a taste of how powerful it was. Until recently, she had never even been in the company of fellow thunderians—only her elven family and community. She acquired their dispassionate attitude about other species being ‘primitives’ because they didn’t join their souls during marriage. She was starting to learn that thunderians made up for that shortcoming with strong emotions and a near-desperate need for physical contact.
ThunderManx walked blindly into the dark forest until he came upon a small boulder. He sat down, stared off into space, then buried his head in his hands and cried into them.
Up above, a small cat perched on a branch and looked down. It rested its head on its paws and sighed. Tears formed around its emerald eyes and started falling—tears that didn’t belong on a cat.