Balance of Power: Part 3
By Razorclaw X
The Thundercats and their allies have turned the tide of the war. Now the mutants of Plun-darr are desperate for victory. Warlord Ratar-O turns to the aid of his predecessor, Ratilla the Terrible, who concocts a plan to annihilate the Thundercats once and for all-- at the cost of their own lives. To this end the Mutants search for the Luna-tacks of the five Moons of Plun-darr. Unknownst to the Mutants, the recently-freed Luna-tacks, under the leadership of Captain Cracker, are now at the Moons themselves.
Mumm-ra arrives on New Thundera, wanting to be sure the Thundercats stay away from Third Earth... forever.
Third Moon of Plun-darr
Luna, Amok, Captain Cracker, and Polly stood in the middle of a barren plain. Nearby rested the confiscated train-ship of Captain Bragg. And a few cell-cars down the line was Captain Bragg himself, stripped of his equipment, forced to endure the torture of listening to Crownan for hours. The three villains watched the sky, waiting for signs from the other four Moons of Plun-darr.
Luna complained, "I still don't understand why you let them return home! They're more dangerous away from us!"
Cracker hissed, "And what good is a crew, if the crew has no weapons?! Heeeeee!!!!"
Luna nodded. "Of course, Captain. Hopefully this time we can work together...."
And yet, far away on the First Moon, Tug-Mug fashioned a new and improved gravity carbine.
On the Second Moon, Chilla meditated quietly, absorbing the cold air into herself. The cold powers she lost long ago were being restored, bit by bit, and yet were becoming stronger than ever.
To the Fourth Moon of Plun-darr, Redeye fashions a new and improved Sidewinder, to replace the one destroyed by Lion-O.
And finally, on the Fifth Moon of Plun-darr, Alluro fashioned a new psych club, one that would amplify his psychic powers tenfold beyond his old, shattered club.
The four Luna-tacks returned to the Third Moon to regroup.
Grand Chamber, Castle Plun-darr, New Thundera
"Well, mighty Ratar-O, you've failed! I knew you were no good as a leader, so I'm taking command!"
Ratar-O slugged Slithe in the face, knocking the half-draconian reptilian to the floor of the Great Chamber in Castle Plun-darr. Behind the reptilian stood Jackalman, Monkian, and Vultureman, the latter wearing a mobile power suit, the result of his own treachery. Ratar-O smiled as he remembered how he crushed the sorry bird's bones with the Rat's Eyes.
The warlord pointed a sai at Vultureman. "And how, my dear Slithe, would you like to be crushed into oblivion?! I've got everything under control!"
Ratar-O heard a chuckle from behind him. Turning, he saw Ratilla, followed by the draconian Genryu. Ratilla raised his thundrainium-crafted cobra-head pommel of his walking stick at his descendant. "Do not be alarmed, my friends! Revenge will soon be at hand! I have personally seen to it."
Ratilla's metallic eye gleamed. "The Luna-tacks have been found; Mumm-ra is taking care of them. In the meantime, you Mutants have another important task to take care of."
Ratar-O nodded, as Slithe got up, helped by Monkian. "You four will be part of the attack on Cat's Lair. You are under the command of General Scarr."
Jackalman sneered, "That fool, heheheheh... even Slithe is better at command!"
Genryu drew his ancestral moon-curved sword, the Mooncutter, and hissed, "Silence, worm!"
Ratar-O waved Genryu away. "Be certain that if any of you disobey my orders, you will surely die."
Vultureman nodded. This time he'd have to bide his time. But the only way Vultureman could stand a chance against Ratar-O was to seize the Totem of Dera. With it, Vultureman could repair his damaged body. Of course, the Totem lay in the heart of Cat's Lair....
The Mutant vulture said, "As you wish... Ratar-O... for now... khawwww...."
Third Moon of Plun-darr
In the relatively-stable confines of the Third Moon, the Luna-tacks experimented with their new powers, powers that would have been ineffective on their native moons. Tug-Mug's new gravity carbine bore three barrels, which could hit three targets at once. Redeye's new sidewinder weapon split into three parts in midair, attacking from multiple directions. Chilla sculpted creatures of ice with her enchanced powers, using only her hands and not her breath in the skill. And Alluro's psionic powers reached far beyond mere suggestion powers; enslaving the mind was his newest joy.
It was times like this Luna wished she still had Grandmother's belt.
Captain Cracker was obviously impressed with his mates' abilities. United under his flag, the Luna-tacks and he would scour the galaxy, searching for treasure, but more importantly, get even with the Thundercats.
At that moment, a dark voice boomed, "Luna-tacks!!"
All heads turned to the tall figure of Mumm-ra. Luna, startled, exclaimed, "You!! We no longer do business with a bag of bones like you!"
Mumm-ra raised a hand, and Amok, along with Luna, was blown back, colliding with a boulder. "Silence, insolent servant of evil! You wish vengeance against the Thundercats... as do we all. An alliance is in order...."
Cracker raised his cutlass in protest. "Arrr, ye talk lots of hot water, matey! Captain Cracker trusts no one as the likes of you!"
Mumm-ra chuckled. "I'm not asking for your cooperation, I am demanding it! You will join the Mutants in the assault on Cat's Lair. An infiltrator will bring you the Sword of Omens. Snap the blade! Keep the Eye of Thundera if you will, but the Sword of Omens must be shattered!!"
Tug-Mug laughed. "Hehehehehe... A simple task, Mumm-ra!"
Luna was still suspicious. "So who is this infiltrator.... How could you possibly get one in?"
Mumm-ra replied, "A simple matter, Luna... one of their own will aid your mission. You will know it when you see it."
In one of Mumm-ra's hands appeared a belt, a belt Luna recognized as being similar to that of her Grandmother's! He tossed it over to Luna, who snapped it on immediately. Soon her size grew to human proportions. "Use this, but be warned, Luna-tack... don't dare oppose me, for the belt will squeeze you to death... insurance, I assure you."
"Now, go," commanded Mumm-ra, "go to Cat's Lair, and await the arrival of the Sword of Omens. Destroy the Sword!"
Ratar-O's office, Castle Plun-darr, New Thundera
Ratar-O watched the troops march to Cat's Lair from his office window. General Scarr, the crocodilian, stood atop the lead Mutank, pointing his sword onward. To the left and right marched the Plun-darrian warbot and the Technopede, respectively. Following behind were other vehicles, ground assault and sky attack alike, then the Mutant soldiers, bearing the banners displaying the honors Scarr achieved in his short term as general.
It wouldn't matter, none of it would, Ratar-O thought. Only Ratilla, Genryu, and himself, among all the Mutants on New Thundera, knew the true mission. The suspicious Mutant soldiers would panic if they knew what was about to happen.
Ratar-O walked over to a computer on his desk. Sitting on the screen was a message to Dagon, the head Mutant scientist on Plun-darr's research facilities. The entire message was triple-encrypted with the rat code, all but one message: forward it to the next in line for succession. Dagon was one of the few Mutants on Plun-darr that retained his position during the chaotic reigns of multiple rulers; surely he could survive another one.
He pushed the send button, and the message was relayed to Plun-darr, hopefully intact. He allowed himself a single tear, thinking of how much he could have accomplished for Mutantkind. At least he would die a warrior.
The war was a lost cause, he knew. Ever since the fleet of the Interplanetary Council arrived, no Mutant vessel had been allowed in or out of New Thundera's orbit. No escape. Ratar-O chuckled to himself, for the enemy was most dangerous when it had nowhere to go.
Genryu entered. Ratar-O's second carried with him a bottle and two glasses. "I got the best we had, a '37." He shook his head. "Not the best, but it'll have to do. After all, we couldn't possibly import a case of '98s...."
Ratar-O watched Genryu pop open the bottle, and pour the liquid contents into both glasses. Accepting a glass, he said, "Well, old friend, my reign hadn't been long, but it was good to see Mutantkind rekindle the old ways...."
Genryu replied, "I only wish we could see the results of our actions, after we'd done it."
"Perhaps we will, when we reach the Hall of Champions." Ratar-O sighed. "Future generations of Mutantkind will succeed where we have failed. The strong shall survive, and Mutantkind is strong. Our fates will serve as an example to all succeeding generations." Raising his glass, the warlord declared, "To the future of Mutantkind."
Genryu raised his glass as well. "To the future." The drinks were downed in one gulp.
Grand Chamber, Castle Plun-darr, New Thundera
"Mirror Wraith. Grune. Pyron. I summon you!"
Mumm-ra watched as three of his servants appeared in the Grand Chamber. "You are to return to the astral plane. Make sure Jaga does not interfere."
Grune brandished his thundrainium mace in anticipation. "And this time Jaga won't survive!"
"Then go!" Mumm-ra waved his hands, and the three figures vanished. Ma-mutt bounded to his master, wagging his tail happily. Mumm-ra scooped up his pet in his arms. "All the pieces are in place now. It is time to play my hand...."
Cat's Lair, New Thundera, evening
"Sensors are picking up a large group of Mutants headed this way."
Lion-O turned to Tygra, monitoring the area around Cat's Lair. "It looks like Ratar-O is making good his threats. That looks like everything he has...."
Panthro called over his shoulder, "Those Mutants don't know when to give up. Not only do they have to pass through the Valley of Stone Giants, but they also have to deal with our perimeter defenses. No problem."
Lion-O replied, "Still, we should remain on alert."
"I'm picking up Captain Bragg's circus train on the space scanner," Tygra said. "Perhaps he's coming to claim some Mutants?"
"Tell Captain Bragg he can land at Cat's Lair. It's too dangerous to land anywhere else."
Captain Bragg's Circus Train, in orbit of New Thundera
"We're receiving landing coordinates from Cat's Lair, Luna!" Alluro exclaimed.
Luna said, "Good, everything is going according to plan. She walked to the communications console and held her wand between her mouth and the speaker. In Captain Bragg's voice, she replied.
Pumyra's Room, Cat's Lair, midnight
As of yet the Mutants were still dealing with the Stone Giants; it would take hours before they reached Cat's Lair. Therefore Lion-O suggested that all the Thundercats rest while they could.
Pumyra lay in her bed, staring at the ceiling. As of late, since her rescue from the hands of Vultureman, she'd had a strange sore behind her left ear. And it kept her awake-- again.
Suddenly, she heard a click. Looking around, she noticed that the door openned ever so slightly, and an eerie mist seeped inside. Before she could call out, the mist surrounded her. She couldn't move.
"Listen well, my slave!" Mumm-ra! Pumyra's eyes glowed with an evil red light. "Enter the Sword Chamber. Take the Sword of Omens and the Treasure of Thundera. Then bring them to the Luna-tacks who wait at Captain Bragg's circus train."
The mist subsided, disappearing into nothingness. Pumyra knew what she had to do.
Quietly she dressed, then stealthily crept her way down the hall to the Sword Chamber. Openning the large iron doors, she peered inside. There, resting on a light-bathed pedestal, was the Sword of Omens. Lying on shelves nearby were pieces from the Treasure of Thundera.
Pumyra reached for a bag, then stuffed the Sword and several pieces of the Treasure, when the alarm sounded. Time to make her delivery.
Control Room, Cat's Lair, midnight
Snarf and Snarfer were the only ones on duty when the alarm went off. The Mutants destroyed the stone giants, and were on their way!
Reaching for a communicator, Snarf hastily roused the Thundercats.
A few floors down, Lion-O dashed to the Sword Chamber when he bumped into Pumyra. Both collapsed on the hall floor.
"Pumyra? I'm sorry... where are you going?"
Pumyra didn't answer, and ran off to the exit. Lion-O in turn got up and ran to the Sword Chamber, only to find the Sword of Omens, and several pieces of the Treasure, missing.
Outside Cat's Lair, midnight
All the Thundercats exited Cat's Lair to find Pumyra handing a bag over to Captain Cracker. Behind Cracker stood the Luna-tacks, Princess Luna, Amok, Alluro, Redeye, Tug-Mug, Chilla.... and behind them was Captain Bragg and Crownan, sealed in a cage.
Lion-O shouted, "Pumyra, no!"
Cracker laughed. "Arrharrrharr.... Too late, Thundercat! And now that we have the Sword of Omens, you are powerless!" He tossed the bag behind him, then drew his Cutlass. "Attack, me mateys!!"
The Luna-tacks charged, leaving Pumyra standing alone. At that moment, Mumm-ra's control had ended. And she remembered what she'd done.
Reaching for the discarded bag, Pumyra sifted through the Treasure for the Sword of Omens, until one large, mechanical claw gripped her arms. Crying out in alarm, Pumyra looked up at her opponent.
Vultureman laughed, "So nice to see you again, khaawwww.... And now for what I came for!" With another mechanical arm, Vultureman reached into the bag and produced the Totem of Dera. "With this, I no longer need to rely on this clumsy suit!"
Not far behind, the Mutant Army charged. As Vultureman healed himself with the Totem, Pumyra resigned herself to defeat; this was all her fault.
Underground, near the Great Beneath
Far below the battleground on the surface, Driller created a tunnel for which to allow Ratar-O and his followers to reach the Gyroscope chamber. The cave under the Churning Rocks was too obvious and easily defensible; sometimes it was better to create your own door.
Behind Ratar-O stood Buzz Saw, Ratilla, and Genryu. Ratilla chuckled. "Very soon, my descendant... very soon we shall have our revenge."
Outside Cat's Lair, midnight
Suddenly Pumyra's arms were free. She looked to her savior, and saw Bengali pounding at Vultureman's power armor. He yelled, "Pumyra, the Sword!"
She reached into the bag once more, pulling out the Sword while Bengali and Vultureman tangled. She threw the Sword at Lion-O. "Catch!"
As it flew in mid-air, a blast from Luna's wand knocked it away from Lion-O's grasp. He shouted, "Sword of Omens, come to my hand!"
At that moment Tug-Mug fired his triple carbine at Lion-O, suspending the Lord of the Thundercats in the air, just as the Sword arrived.
Redeye threw his sidewinder at the floating target. The weapon split into three blades, each nicking Lion-O. "Don't let him use the sword!"
Chilla unleashed two ice dragons against the Thunderkittens. Realizing the danger, she pointed her arms downward, and fired, propulsing herself into the air with icy blasts. "I won't let you win this time!" She blew a fierce blizzard wind at Lion-O, causing him to lose concentration.
Panthro knocked Amok down, and realized Lion-O was in danger. He aimed and fired his nunchukus at the flying Chilla, knocking her down. He, and the rest of the Thundercats, regrouped to surround their Lord.
Bengali said, "I don't like the looks of this, Lion-O! You'd better work fast!"
Lion-O nodded, then shouted, "Thunder, thunder, thunder, Thundercats, HO!"
The Cat's eye lit up the night sky.
Grand Chamber, Castle Plun-darr
Mumm-ra howled in fury. "The Luna-tacks have failed me! No matter, all that must be done now is to keep the Sword away from the Gyroscope."
Walking to the Mumm-raft, Mumm-ra ordered Ma-mutt, "Take us home, Ma-mutt. I weary of this battle."
Outside Cat's Lair
Lion-O cut through the mob of Mutants, making his way toward the Mutant General, Scarr. Take out the leader, and the army flees. Or so he hoped, given typical Mutant army morale.
"Going somewhere, Lion-O?" a familiar voice yelled at Lion-O.
Turning briefly, Lion-O confronted Alluro. "Stand away, Lunatack!"
"Oh, I will," Alluro replied, "after I'm done with you!" Reaching for his psych-club, Alluro pointed the orb at the Lord of the Thundercats. "Behold my enhanced psionic powers!"
Lion-O's thoughts were shifted into his mind, a land of no form but his own, when the Lunatack's head appeared. "Watch as I slowly rip you apart from the inside!" Alluro sneered. The head's shape transformed into that of a giant crab, pincers snapping in anticipation.
One huge claw crashed down where Lion-O once stood, dodging. The giant crab continued to snap and clack at the Thundercat.
To those around the two mental combatants the two were simply staring at each other. No one dared to draw closer.
Cheetara noticed the danger Lion-O was in, and quickly waded through the Mutant ranks to his side.
Back in the mindscape, Lion-O was caught in the giant crab's claws, struggling to get free, when Cheetara entered.
"Lion-O!" she cried.
Alluro laughed. "So, you came to play as well?" The giant crab's free claw snapped at Cheetara, but the quick Thundercat dodged easily.
"Two can play at that game!" Cheetara shouted, as her form took on giant proportions. In retaliation Alluro's crab form transformed into a serpent twice the size of the now-giant Cheetara, Lion-O squeezed in Alluro's coils.
The Alluro-serpent coiled around Cheetara, and with fangs bearing, tried to sink his teeth into the female Thundercat. Cheetara stuck her staff into Alluro's open jaws. Alluro screamed, as the magic of the staff prevented him from biting it into oblivion.
And soon the battle of the minds was over, Alluro falling to the ground, unconscious.
Lion-O shook his head. "Thanks Cheetara."
Elsewhere, Jaguara fought off Princess Luna. A few moments later, she heard an internal alarm in her mind. Funny, she thought, it shouldn't go off unless... oh no!
"Lion-O!" she shouted, projecting her voice to Lion-O.
"Jaguara?" Lion-O responded, unsure where the sorceress was.
"The Gyroscope!" Jaguara continued. "It's in danger! The Mutants are here to keep us away from their real target: the destruction of the Gyroscope! We must get back to the Great Beneath immediately!"
The Great Beneath, the Gyroscope chamber
Screw Loose stood before the Gyroscope regulator, monitoring it as he usually did. This job was boring, but very important to the life on New Thundera, for if the Gyroscope were to become unbalanced the gravity of New Thundera would become erratic.
Suddenly, he heard a rumbling sound, then a hole burst through a chamber wall. Two machines stepped out of the new hole, followed by Ratar-O, Ratilla, and Genryu.
"Oh no!" Screw Loose cried.
"Oh yes!" mocked Ratar-O. He threw the Sword of Plun-darr at the gyroscope expert. The evil weapon sunk into Screw Loose's chest, running all the way through. In that moment the Sword of Plun-darr began spinning like a saw-blade, slicing Screw Loose in two from the inside, sending parts flying.
"That should take care of him!" Ratar-O proclaimed. "And now for the Gyroscope!" He willed the Sword to Return to his hand.
Ratilla chuckled. "Use the Sword of Plun-darr to destroy the supports. It is much quicker that way...."
As Ratar-O prepared to heave the Sword once more, the twin blades caught fire. "Danger!" he realized. No sooner had Ratar-O realized this Jaguara, Lion-O, and Bengali appeared.
"Ratar-O!" Lion-O shouted, "don't do this!"
Ratar-O laughed. "So you and your pathetic race can live on? Never! You waived the right to exist, Thundercat! And now you'll pay the consequences!" He threw the Sword of Plun-darr.
Lion-O in turn threw the Sword of Omens, and the two mystic weapons clashed in the air, fighting on their own.
"Enough of this!" Ratilla screeched. "Attack!! Kill them!"
Buzz Saw complied. Raising both arms, the war machine fired several saw blades. Jaguara raised a mystic shield around her companions, deflecting the blades. Driller reached for a rifle and started firing. Genryu dove toward the shield and hacked away at it. Ratar-O unsheathed the Rat's Eyes. Bringing the twin blades together, he released the X-shaped beams of doom upon the mystic shield.
Jaguara was straining, her magic unable to fend off all the simultaneous attacks at once. Both Lion-O and Bengali leaped from the protective shield, Lion-O with only the Claw Shield, and Bengali with the Hammer of Thundera.
The Hammer met Genryu's Mooncutter, both warriors looking for an opening that wasn't there.
Buzz Saw and Driller continued to hammer at Jaguara.
Ratar-O fired off more shots at Lion-O as Ratilla watched, inching his way closer to the Gyroscope regulator.
How utterly pathetic, he thought, that Jaga failed to stop the great Ratilla!
In which case, Jaga was busy tangling with three spirit warriors on his own. And was losing.
Ratilla set aside his walking stick, and jerked the Regulator with all the force he could muster. The Gyroscope responded accordingly, smashing around in circles.
"It all ends here..." Ratilla proclaimed in triumph. His red, mechanical eye gleamed brightly.
A hand reached at Ratilla's leg. Looking down in surprise, it was the robot's arm. "Trying to stop me? How pathetic." Reaching for his walking stick, Ratilla thrust down on the mechanical arm, pinning it to the ground. Suddenly, the arm went limp.
Jaguara was tired of being on the defensive. Time was running out. Funneling all her strength, she pushed her shield outward, in such speed and force as to push Driller and Buzz Saw away from her. She collapsed on the floor.
Bengali and Genryu continued to parry each others' blows, one after another. Tiring of the endless sparring, Genryu let out a breath of fire. Bengali went out in a blaze as his clothes and hair caught fire immediately. Unable to find a means to douse the fire, Bengali burned.
Ratar-O was having trouble catching Lion-O in his fire, for the Lord of the Thundercats swung all about. Lion-O fired another line at the Rat's Eyes, pulling them free from Ratar-O's grip.
Angrily Ratar-O willed the return of the Sword of Plun-darr, and Lion-O did likewise. "A mere cub can't defeat the great Ratar-O!"
Lion-O finally noticed Ratilla standing at the Regulator. "No!"
He ran to the Regulator, but stopped and fell to his knees as Ratilla pointed his thundrainium pommeled-walking stick at him. Raising the cobra head slightly, a spray of liquid thundrainium coated the Lord of the Thundercats. Lion-O lay helpless, and the Sword of Omens clattered by his side.
"Now, Lion-O, prepare to meet... armageddon!"
Ratar-O thew the Sword of Plun-darr once more. It arced as it spun in the air, rising to the single suspension of the Gyroscope. It was cut like a hair, and the Gyroscope fell into oblivion.
Dagon's office, Mutant Research Facility, Plun-darr
Dagon clicked his claws nervously as he went over the note Ratar-O sent him hours ago. Only now he'd been able to crack the encryption sequence, unable to sate his curiosity as a scientist.
The crabman sighed. Here yet again the Mutant glory fell with its leader. He wondered if the cycle would end.
Getting up from his seat, Dagon walked to a nearby window. Down below in the pits was the latest in Mutant weapons research: warp drive. Although truly not a weapon, the warp drive would allow Mutant spacecraft to travel the spacelanes much faster than at standard light speeds. If only the engineers were finished with it, Dagon would've joined his master on New Thundera.
A few minutes later Dagon received an astronomical report: the area New Thundera occupied was in chaos. There was no discernable heavenly body at the planet's previous location.
"And so the cycle continues...." Dagon said. "We've won."
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