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: The Wait
Lion-o was tired. Between worrying about the mysterious ship and searching through all the known literature left on the planet, he was worn out. Tygra had already exhausted his search for information on thunderian myths and the reptilian aliens, but had found nothing besides obscure references and tall tales.
Lion-o looked intently at his own reflection. His red mane had taken on a rougher texture over the years and gray highlights were appearing. He spoke to his reflection. “It’s not fair. I slept through my best years in a suspension capsule, and if I go to the Canyon of Youth, I’ll lose my memories and start over.” Lion-o scratched the fur on his chin. “Oh well, when I’m an old man, I guess I won’t care then.”
Lion-o returned to his bed, lay on his stomach and started reading an old book he found in the Thundera City Library. “Hmm. ‘Ghosts in History by Jaregan.’ Okay, let’s see what you’ve got.”
“WilyKit? What’s wrong?”
WilyKit looked up at Trameea. “Noth… nothing.”
Trameea put her hands on her hips. “Come on, Kit—I’ve known you too long. Spill it!”
WilyKit sighed. “I’m just… I don’t know. I have the weirdest feeling about that ship that the other Thundercats are talking about. They say Lion-o’s climbing the walls.”
“Yeah.” Trameea looked closer at WilyKit’s features. “But that’s not what’s bothering you right now, is it?”
WilyKit sighed and gave a half-smile. “You know me too well.”
Trameea smiled back. “You don’t spend years talking to someone over a monitor screen and not learn something about them.”
WilyKit sighed. “It’s that whole thing with Kitara. I haven’t met her, but I can’t believe she would hurt ThunderManx like that. He’s just so… nice.”
Trameea sat next to WilyKit, put her arm around her, and gave her a half-hug. “Yeah, I’ve known ThorrManx since I was a kid, and he is the nicest guy in the universe. How anyone could do that to him is beyond me. I feel bad for him and White Stripe: they’re supposed to play at a party tomorrow night.”
WilyKit looked into Trameea’s eyes with concern. “Oh boy.”
Lion-o’s eyes lit up as he found what could be an answer. He spoke softly to himself. “Hmm, historically ghosts are known to arise from the following four conditions:”
Lion-o took a couple breaths while looking towards the window; he returned his attention to the book, eager for it to reveal its secrets.
“One: a violent or untimely death. Hmm, Jaga’s death was anything but untimely or violent as far as I know, but I’m sure he wanted to live to see us arrive safely on Third Earth.”
“Two: a tremendous amount of guilt about something done in life. Jaga the Wise was a great leader and personal friend of my father. Scratch that idea.”
“Three: a stronger than usual desire to see one’s children grow. Hmm. His purpose was to train me to become Lord of the Thundercats, which he sort of did as a ghost from time to time.”
“Four: an overwhelming desire to cling to this plane of existence. That can’t be him, Jaga knows he’s dead and accepts it.”
Lion-o skimmed further into the book and found the following passage: In all cases, communication with the deceased rarely happens, except when there is a threat to someone important to them, or something is done in their presence to evoke a powerful memory. Also, there is evidence to indicate that a large release of energy will temporarily trigger a ghost’s appearance as evidenced by King Claudus’ use of the Eye of Thundera.
Lion-o’s eyes widened. “The eye could call Jaga? Hmm.” Lion-o got up from his bed and took the sword in his hand. “Sword of Omens, call Jaga to me!”
The eye opened and glowed, but nothing happened. Lion-o decided to try something different. “Sword of Omens, give me sight beyond sight. Show me Jaga!”
Lion-o sighed and put the sword down. “Well, I guess you can’t do everything.” Lion-o was bitterly disappointed as he gave up and turned out the light. All he wanted was to have a regular conversation with his mentor.
The next afternoon, a small group of young teenage girls laughed and giggled together as they watched DeathClaw, Stripe, and WildKat unloading their music gear from a large enclosed road vehicle they had bought together for the band. ThunderManx painted a simple and bright Thunderrica logo on the side.
WildKat sighed and moved closer to DeathClaw as Stripe disappeared into the house with a large stack of speaker cabinets.
“We never moved our whole setup into his house before—think they can handle it?”
DeathClaw gave one of his pleasant smiles. “Oh, yes. They’ve got room to spare now. So, what is it?”
WildKat frowned a bit. “What is what?”
DeathClaw lowered his voice a half octave and raised it back to normal as spoke. “Whaaat’s bothering you?”
“Manx. Where is he?”
“He’ll be along; he’s not the type to miss a gig.”
“I know. That’s what’s bothering me.”
“Well, he’s probably too upset to think about unloading gear, but I feel he’ll be here.”
“Are you sure?”
“No, but I have full confidence in him.”
WildKat shook his head. “Doesn’t sound like you do.”
DeathClaw smiled again. “In the real world, nothing is certain—but I feel he’ll show up anyway. He loves music too much.”
WildKat did a half kneel and picked up a pair of microphone stands in one hand and a monitor speaker in the other. “Whatever you say, bud. I just wish his big blue…” WildKat glanced back at the girls who were obviously trying to hear the conversation. “His big blue butt was here to help us move this stuff.” WildKat punctuated the word “butt” and smiled as it had its intended effect.
DeathClaw shook his head, chuckled to himself, briefly waved at the group of girls, then picked up his guitar case and followed WildKat into the house. He smiled as he heard muffled tittering coming from behind him.
Inside, he saw WildKat talking with a slender but tall reptilian that was in his early twenties. DeathClaw’s slender striped features came to life as the reptilian locked eyes with him. “S-s-s-Skiffy!”
Skiffy gave a half-hissing laugh and shook both of his hands. “It’sss been a long time, yesss?”
WildKat picked up a glass of beer that was sitting behind him. “Damn freakin’ yessssss!”
All three of them burst into laughter. Skiffy narrowed his eyes, cocked his head slightly, and looked at WildKat as he started drinking from his glass. “I don’t want you falling off the stage, yesss?”
WildKat sputtered a bit and looked at him with feigned shock. “And since when did I ever fall off the stage? You didn’t even have a stage until now.” WildKat swept his hand in the direction of the new stage that Skiffy and his friends had built after adding on a section to his already oversized house.
“Crystal sssCity… last month.”
“Huh? That was from water—or something.”
“Something alcoholic is more like it.”
“Hah! I was totally sober for that show!”
Skiffy raised an eyebrow, or rather, an “eyeridge.” “Now I’m really worried.”
WildKat nodded rapidly while rolling his eyes as Skiffy and DeathClaw started laughing again. He held his hand up to quiet the others as he saw ThunderManx walk in through the front door with his bass case. Several thunderians and mutants cheered, but he steadily walked past them while staring at the floor a few feet in front of him.
Skiffy didn’t miss a beat. “Okay, what is the problem here?”
DeathClaw quickly said, “Nothing. He’s okay.”
Skiffy snorted. “Yesss, and I’m a Warrior Maiden.”
WildKat spoke in a low voice. “Its personal stuff, don’t worry about it.”
Skiffy pursed his lips slightly. “Well, I’m worried about you guys: Stripe doesn’t look so well himself.”
WildKat patted Skiffy on the shoulder. “Thanks, pal. Nothing escapes your eye, does it?”
Skiffy smirked again—he squinted his right eye and bulged his left eye outward, staring at WildKat. “Nothhhing esssscapesss the eye of S-s-s-Skifffyyyy!” Skiffy’s expression returned to normal. “Well, time for me to break out the keg before the natives set fire to the place, yesss? I’m trying out some new ale stuff some Tabbot sold me. Pray it doesn’t make everyone chew the plaster from the walls.”
WildKat and DeathClaw snickered and shook their heads as Skiffy turned around and marched towards his bar with his head and shoulders hunched lower than usual. He made his patented one-bulging-eyed upward stare at ThunderManx as they passed in the middle of the dance floor. ThunderManx couldn’t help but smile and nod at him as he made his way towards the others.
WildKat spoke first. “Hey, Manx.”
“You gonna be okay?”
“I’ll function. Where’s Stripe?”
“He was here. Well, he’s somewhere.”
ThunderManx looked at the floor again. “Blast it. I feel bad about him.”
DeathClaw stepped forward and put a hand on his shoulder. “Hey, it was just instinct, man.”
ThunderManx backed up a couple steps and raised his voice for a moment. “I know! But…” he came in closer as he became aware of people in the area who stopped talking to listen. He spoke in a lowered voice. “I shouldn’t have lashed out at him like that. He’s just a kid for Jaga’s sake! If a tall wild woman sat on my legs and… oh, never mind.” ThunderManx breathed deeply a couple times. “Point is, he’s always been my friend, and he always will be.”
WildKat tilted his head. “Hey, we all know that, and so does he.”
ThunderManx looked down at WildKat. “Does he? I wanted to kill him last night.”
“You didn’t—because we’re not animals, after all.”
“Yeah, yeah—I guess you’re right. I still feel bad, though.”
DeathClaw was relieved he had a chance to end this conversation. “Hey, check those guys out! They’re called ‘Klaw.’”
ThunderManx smiled and looked at DeathClaw. “Sounds like your type of band.”
DeathClaw puffed his chest out a bit. “Of course! They named themselves after me.”
WildKat laughed as ThunderManx said, “Sure they did. Hey, I know that singer!”
The other two said “Who?” simultaneously and searched ThunderManx’s expression: it brightened suddenly.
“That’s Lepraa! I never thought I’d see her again—especially in a band!”
WildKat and DeathClaw looked up at her as she and her band were starting a sound check. She was a slender girl in her late teens with black fur, except for a wide white band that extended from her chin to her waistline. She wore an outfit that fit her close, and was open in front save for some crisscrossed lines of netting. The outfit showed off the white that cascaded down her chest before it disappeared into a pair of pants that were made of some light and loose black material. She was about average in height, but her slim black boots made her look taller.
ThunderManx smiled and nodded a few times. “Trameea and I met her on the Sandajo—the ship that we left Thundera on a couple of months before it blew. She was rather shy when I knew her—it’s weird to see her dressed like that. But yeah, that’s her all right.”
WildKat looked across the crowd and saw several younger boys staring up at her. “Well, I’d say she’s pretty popular now. She’s a pretty cute leopard girl.”
DeathClaw snickered. “Better not let your wife-to-be hear that!”
“What? She trusts me!”
“Sure she does.”
“Hey! She does!”
“Geez… relax, Kat… I was just kidding.”
“Well… she does.”
The trio spent a few uncomfortable seconds of silence before Lepraa started stalking around the stage with a microphone and the band started playing. What they played was moody, brash, and was based more on the vocals than the instruments, but WildKat and the others couldn’t help but appreciate the raw energy as Lepraa came to life and brought the crowd to life too. WildKat hoped that the crowd wouldn’t be too worn out by the time it was their turn to play.
Back at the Cat’s Lair, Lion-o was pacing and driving Panthro up the wall.
“I’m sorry Panthro, I can’t help it.”
“Well, can’t you pace on the treadmill or something?”
“You know I hate that thing, why run if you never get anywhere?”
Panthro raised one eyebrow. “And just how far are you getting now?” Panthro thought about telling him to go climb a rock, but held back. The last thing he needed was to worry about Lion-o climbing in his agitated state. “Look, if it helps, I’m nervous too. The Eye of Thundera being blinded by a one-eyed snake that looks like that old statue doesn’t inspire confidence.”
“Yeah. Sometimes I think the worst part isn’t the fighting, it’s the waiting.”
Panthro clapped his hand on Lion-o’s back. “First lesson of being a leader.”
“Yeah, you’re right. I’m going to see what Snarf is cooking up.”
Panthro raised his eyebrow again. “What, so you can drive him nuts too?”
Lion-o sighed, looked at a spot on the wall, and looked back at Panthro. “Sure, why not? He loves it anyway.”
Panthro said, “Man, he’s probably more worried than you are.”
“Perfect! That’s when he does his best cooking.” Lion-o and Panthro looked at each other for a few seconds and started laughing.
Panthro shook his head and said, “I don’t know which one you is worse.”
Lion-o smiled and started heading out of the control room. “I’ll bring something back for you, my friend.”
Panthro sat back, looked up at the monitors, and nervously twiddled his thumbs. The worst part wasn’t the fighting, it was the waiting.