Thundercats Fan Fiction ❯ Last Life ❯ Chapter Nine: A Change of Pace ( Chapter 9 )

[ P - Pre-Teen ]
Chapter Nine
Catrina walked along the hallway with Kassim slinking beside her. Her sandy blonde mane of hair swayed lightly with her head's movements. Breakfast had just ended and she decided to take a personal tour of the Cats' Lair while Sammy went off with Wilykit and Wilykat, and the other Thundercats went off to do their own business. She finally arrived at the lookout tower of the Cats' Lair that made up the head portion of the cat shaped building. Here, she saw Bengali and Tygra at work, moving the Cat's head from side to side while surveying the area.

"Everything around the Berbil Village and the Unicorn Forest looks good." Tygra said, pushing some buttons on the control panel. "How's everything on your end, Bengali?"

The white tiger nodded in response, "Sector Four is as safe as can be. No signs of the Mutants or Mumm-Ra." Bengali replied. He looked over his shoulder at hearing the door opening for Catrina and the White Tiger Thunderian smiled at his future lady. "Miss Lina, what brings you here?" He asked excitedly.

Tygra looked over as well and greeted his student with a warm brotherly smile. She looked well adjusted thus far. Catrina gave a light shrug as she walked up to her teacher's side. "Just being a curious cat, I suppose." She said, looking at the display monitor glowing faintly before Tygra. Kassim let out a soft yawn as he sprawled out under Tygra's chair. "Don't get too comfortable, you over grown fur ball, I'm going to let you out with Snarf later on when he goes to that Berbil Village."

The barely grown Lion Cub playfully bared his fangs at his mistress before rolling completely onto his back. Tygra let out a soft laugh at the Cat's defiant nature. "It seems like he's mocking you, Lina." The Architect said good naturedly.

"No, that's him being whiney." Catrina corrected. She then looked to Bengali, giving the Black Smith a curious look. "I thought you'd be out mining, not....stuck on guard duty."

Bengali chuckled a bit and swiveled his chair around to face the young girl. "Mining and Blacksmithery isn't all that I can do, Lina. I can also help Panthro with any technical stuff."

"Yea, and I can draw and make friends with little animals." Catrina said sarcastically. She almost regretted letting her sarcasm get the better of her for Tygra gave her a stern look. Since when has she ever been cheeky with adults? "Sorry." The preteen murmured softly.

Tygra instantly regretted giving her that reprimanding look. It's been so long since his student has been around any of them and they were still trying to get used to her. Gods, it's going to be hard getting used to not fighting Mumm-Ra and the Mutants. Tygra reached out and gently squeezed her shoulder reassuringly. "It's alright, Lina. We're all getting used to the" He added the last portion with much strain. He wasn't trying to offend her.

Catrina nodded before looking back at the security monitor again. "So, you built this entire Lair, Tygra?" She asked, hoping to stir up some pleasant conversation. A small part of her was interested about the inner workings of her new home. Just in case there's a situation that she would have to make herself useful and fight off those space pirates again.

Tygra let out a laugh and nodded. "I didn't really build it, I just designed the Cat's Lair." He explained, "It was the Berbils who helped us build our new home."

"That's right." Bengali added with a smile, "I was surprised to hear that when I first came here."

Something about Tygra's explanation and Bengali's input piqued Catrina's interest. A question crossed the girl's mind and she finally looked to Bengali. "Say, Bengali..." She began nervously.

Recognition graced the face of the said Thundercat and his blue gaze flickered to her. "Yes, Miss Lina?" He asked, curiosity lurking in his tone.

"How did you, Lynx-O, and Pumyra escape from Thundera?" Catrina asked inquisitively. She tilted her head to the side, the question burning strongly in her mind.

Bengali coughed a bit to clear his throat as he smiled at his future Lady once more. "Our ship was destroyed before we could get to it, but these kind Robear Berbils happened to see our beloved planet blowing up, so they came to rescue at least a few of our country men but they saw me, Lynx-O, and Pumyra. It was then that they rescued us, but we were caught in a minor explosion before leaving Thundera's atmosphere. We ended up stranded on a lone island here on Third Earth. Luckily, we were only on the island for a year before Lion-O's visions led him and the others to us."

"Of course, they were also caught by the Berserkers before we could reach them and we had to fight the mutants over Bengali, Lynx-O, and Pumyra as well." Tygra added. Bengali and Tygra's story made Catrina's heart leap with a small twinge of pain. The thirteen year old immediately looked away, trying to hide the hurt forming in her soul.

"If Lion-O had dreams of them being alive then why didn't he see that I was alive?" She asked aloud without meaning too. Before Tygra could comfort her, the security alarm went off. Tygra immediately turned back around to face the control panel. He pressed a few buttons. Kassim leapt to his feet, a growl erupting in the back of his throat, his tawny fur bristling from being surprised. His golden eyes flickered from side to side. Catrina found herself, covering her ears to block out the loud wailing of the security alarm cutting through the air.

Lion-O's voice came through the communication channel, crackling through a strange wave of static electricity. "Tygra, Bengali, is everything alright?" But no more was said as static cut off all communications with the Thundertank.

Tygra quickly rose from his seat and worked fast, his nimble fingers flying over the buttons on the control panel as he tried to bring back the channel. "Lion-O? Are you there, Lion-O--blast!" The tiger slammed his fists onto the keyboard, cursing angrily under his breath. He looked over at hearing Catrina's quiet giggle and glared sharply at his student. "This is no laughing matter, Lina!"

Catrina shrank back into herself, holding her hands up in defense and she gave him an apologetic smile. "S-sorry, it's just that you reminded me of Panthro when he's working on the Thundertank." She said quietly. The teenager felt a bit scared at Tygra's sudden burst of anger. "So, do we go check it out or--""You stay here with Kassim. Bengali and I will go find out what's going on." Tygra said harshly and he walked out of the room, leaving Catrina and Kassim alone with Bengali.

"What got his fur all ruffled?" Catrina asked, feeling confused about her mentor's attitude towards her. Her blue eyes stared after Tygra. This was the first time Tygra has ever acted so harshly towards her. It was to be expected from Cheetara and Panthro when they get annoyed or angry but from gentle, shy Tygra?

Sensing his future Lady's trouble, Bengali walked up to her side and placed a hand on the girl's shoulder, drawing her into a gentle half hug. The white tiger Thunderian gave her a strained smile. "Don't worry, Lina. Tygra's...just been under a lot of stress lately." He said softly. He didn't want to alarm her for Tygra's sudden action bewildered  him as well. From what he knew, Tygra always kept his cool and was never quick to anger. After reassuring the girl, the Blacksmith quickly ran out after his orange counterpart.

Catrina crossed her arms, screwing her eyes up in concentration. "Stress? Since when did Tygra get into something he can't handle?" She asked herself. Kassim growled softly but he relaxed as the entire security alarm suddenly died off. "That's weird." The girl muttered, looking around the room in confusion. She walked over to a nearby display monitor and looked over the control panel.

There were many buttons but which ones would help her get in contact with the Thundertank? "I think there's something suspicious about that sudden alarm and that last message, Kassim." Catrina said quietly as her feline companion propped his front paws onto the edge of the counter to watch her. His amber eyes stared at her, watching his mistress as her left hand hovered over the various buttons. "Hummm..."

Her eyes spotted a small red button at the upper left corner of the display pad that had the word, Tank. I wonder... She cautiously pushed the button. A loud beep could be heard as the computer hummed to life. A small portion of the control panel glowed, a small microphone coming up from inside the mechanism. "Um, hello? Catrina to Thundertank..." Catrina started, unsure whether anyone would hear.

"Lina? It's Lion-O, what's wrong? Are you there?" Lion-O's voice came through the line, loud and clear, unlike several minutes ago when he had called.

Startled at hearing Lion-O's voice coming from the speakers, Catrina cleared her throat a bit. It was awkward speaking through the communicators Tygra and Panthro had implemented into the Lair and wherever else they thought the devices were needed. "Lion-O?" Catrina said loudly. Hearing a confirming noise from the Lion Thunderian, the girl continued. "Um, I...I think Tygra and Bengali may be in trouble."

"Trouble? How? I didn't hear the Sword of Omens give off a warning growl." Lion-O said in a puzzled tone.

Catrina blinked and glanced at Kassim before speaking again. "But the alarms went off earlier and Tygra received a transmission from you and the Thundertank, and then he ran off to check things out with Bengali going after him." Just as she said that, a creepy, tingling feeling crawled up her spine and she gave a violent, involuntary shudder. She didn't like this creepy feeling. It was ominous and unfamiliar. It was almost like something bad was going to happen.

"That is odd. Had the alarm really gone off, I would've received a warning from the Sword." Lion-O replied in an equally puzzled tone. She could tell he was  going into thought. Catrina could hear his nearly silent movements before hearing him again. "Lina, stay in the Cat's Lair, me and Panthro will find Bengali and Tygra. Have Snarf contact the others. I'm sure they're all fine, too, but we can't be too careful."

She was sure that her fiancé has received the strange ominous sensation in the back of his soul as well for she nodded. "Alright, just, um, you two stay safe and find the Tigers quickly." The thirteen year old softly.

Panthro let out a laugh from beside Lion-O. "Tigers? That's a first I've ever heard Tygra and Bengali being called that." The technician laughed again, but his laugh was short lived as he took on a serious tone. "Don't worry, Lina. We'll get Tygra and Bengali. They may not seem like it, but the two of them are tough. Thundertank out!"

"Ok. Catrina, er, out." Catrina pushed the button, making the microphone sink back into the inner mechanism of the computer and she rose from the seat. She then turned to look at Kassim. Her lion was sitting on his haunches, ears perked, and eyes looking at her, ready for action. "Alright you, big fuzzy lumpkins, let's get to work. I don't know if Snarf is in the Lair, so, go sniff him out."

Kassim just glared at her, laying back down onto his side, turning his tail up at her. Catrina sighed and shook her head. "Ok, I take it back, Kassim. You're not a bloodhound, but we still need to get Snarf." Her words made the half grown Lion cub look back at her and he got to his feet.

Catrina and Kassim walked out into the hallway, stepping down the small flight of stairs. Kassim's tail swung lightly, barely touching her legs as he walked beside her. They only just reached the bottom of the steps when they heard a loud yowl and a loud bark as Snarf came running out of nowhere in a flash of red, yellow, and white blur. A blue-gray dog that reminded Catrina of an English Bull Dog, only the dog, was chasing the reptile feline looked like it was raised back from the dead with its blood red gaze.

"Holy sh-" Snarf leapt into her arms before Catrina could finish her sentence and Kassim snarled, swiping at the dog, stopping it in its tracks. The Dog whimpered, baring its own fangs at them. "Snarf snarf, what is that thing?" Snarf cried out, looking out from the safety of Catrina's arms.

Everything was happening a bit too quickly for her liking for in the next instant, Kassim, with his fur bristling from alarm, leapt at the intruder and the two animals were soon on the ground, wrestling. Kassim seemed to overpower the dog for the lion sank his teeth and claws into the neck of the strange canine, but the dog wasn't without some bite to it as it bit the side of Kassim's face. Catrina held Snarf even closer while slowly taking a step back.

"That is...that thing is not a dog; it's a demon from Hell." The girl muttered. Snarf opened his mouth to reprimand her language when the dog let out a loud bark and disappeared into a puff of hazy smoke. For a split second, she saw the misty form of a bandaged demonic figure wearing a red cloak. It leered at them before disappearing from their sight completely.

"M-M-Mumm-Ra! It's Mumm-Ra!" Snarf whimpered, his ears drooping as he scrambled to the safety of Catrina's shoulder. His charge barely flinched under the tiny nicks he left on her shoulder.

Mumm-Ra? Who the hell is this Mumm-Ra? Catrina thought, staring at Kassim as he licked the bloody wound on his flank. She quick dismissed the thought and looked down at Snarf. "Snarf, let's go check in on the others." The female Thunderian replied. Earning a nod from the nursemaid, Catrina hefted the somewhat nervous Snarf to her shoulder before running off with Kassim close behind.