Disclaimer: All character, except Rose, Albany, Cougara, Nathan, and the hybrids are not mine.
I silently and with stealth, walked down the hall, staying hidden in the shadows. The place was Gen-U-Tech and this was a solo mission. It was too close to sunrise for the whole clan to be out. I was the only one who could get in and out without worrying about time.
I glanced at the room numbers, looking for a specific number. I was to rescue a human from being mutated. I found the room and slipped quietly inside. The room was, as usual, dimly lit, but it was enough. I peered into the single glass cage before me. The human was mutated. I was too late! A pair of gargoyle wings rose from her back, and her skin was a bluish-tan. I was sure it was a female. And she appeared to be sleeping.
Then, the female stirred. She lifted her head, brushing her black hair back. And, as she faced me, her eyes opened, showing brown cat-like eyes. I gasped at her features. I was looking at myself. It was me! I backed away from the cage. “No,” I moaned softly. Then, I screamed, “No! NO!”
I felt hands shaking my shoulder and someone calling my name. I sat bolt upright, my eyes snapped open, and I cried, “NO!” one last time. My eyes focused on Tygra, who was looking at me, concerned.
I took a deep, shaky breath. It was just a dream. A nightmare, really. But, it scared me just the same. Tygra pulled me to his chest and held me. I felt one of his hands stroking my hair, then the back of my right wing.
“It’s all right. It’s over.” His voice was soft, soothing my nerves. I relaxed in his hold. It felt good to be held and comforted. I haven’t had this feeling since I was a little girl, being comforted by Father after a silly nightmare.
“I’m alright Tygra. Thank you,” I said, pulling gently from his embrace.
“I was worried when I heard you crying out. It must have been scary.”
“It was. Almost real in a way.”
I eased my legs out from under the covers, and placed them on the floor. I couldn’t go back to sleep after that nightmare. No way. It was almost dark, anyway. Tygra and I left the room and out into the warm summer air. Nathan was already outside, watching the sunset. I still couldn’t get over the fact that I had a brother and that he was a warlock. But, I would get used to it soon. I hope.
The three of us stood together and watched the clan wake up. I scooped up Rose and was about to follow the clan, when I felt a hand on my arm. I turned and faced Nathan.
“Can we talk alone, Jas?” he asked.
I smiled at his nickname for me. “Of course.” I looked over my shoulder and saw my love. “Tygra, would you care to watch Rose for a little bit?”
“I don’t mind.” Tygra knelt down. “Come here, little girl.”
Rose toddled out of my arms and into Tygra’s waiting ones. He gave her a small hug, then took one of her hands and walked inside with her. I thought, for one second, that I saw a vision from the future. Tygra and an older Rose (about 17) walking inside Cat’s Lair. Was this a hint about my decision of staying or leaving? I shook the question from my head as I faced my brother again.
“I want to tell you that I’m in love.”
“That’s wonderful. Does she know?”
“No. I don’t know how to tell her.”
“Well, if you tell me who she is, I’ll ask her what she thinks of you.”
“Thanks, Jasmine.” There was a pause between us.
Finally, I asked, “Who is she?”
“Cougara? My best friend?”
“S-she’s your best friend?”
“Yes. And you love her?”
“I think she’s pretty. Beautiful, even.”
“I’ll talk to her.”
Okay. I’ll be hoping.”
I nodded, then walked inside to look for the female cougar. I didn’t search long because she found me.
“Jasmine, I need to talk to you.”
I need to talk to you, too.”
“That’s what I wanted to talk to you about.”
“I believe I’m in love with him, but I don’t know how he feels about me. Could you ask him for me?”
“Cougara, I already know how he feels about you. He told me that he’s in love with you.”
“Yes, he is.”
“All right! I’m going to find him, right now.”
“Thanks.” Cougara tore down the hall to the battlement outside. I chuckled softly and went to find Tygra and Rose, who were probably in my room with Albany. My hunch was correct when I approached my room and heard Rose’s giggles, and Tygra saying how he was going to tickle her to death.
I jumped in by opening the door and saying, “Can I help?”
Tygra looked up and I saw a mischievous glint in his eyes. “Sure. Hold her down.”
Rose giggled. “Mommy, help!”
“I don’t think so, dear,” I growled playfully, pinning her arms, legs, and tail down while Tygra tickled her torso and chin. She giggled and squirmed out of my grasp. Then, she climbed onto the Thundercat’s back and started scratching it gently. Tygra tried to twist around and grab her, but she kept getting out of his arm’s reach. Finally, Tygra grabbed her and the two of them tumbled over each other for a short while, before collapsing on the floor, exhausted.
I went up to my son’s cradle, picked the hybrid up, placed him on the changing table, and removed the diaper and shirt. I threw the diaper away and replaced it with a loincloth. I brushed his ash gray hair. I picked him up and left the room with Tygra and Rose.
The four of us stepped into the TV room and was faced with several grim faces. Goliath’s was the grimmest of all. It was unnerving to see our friends so solemn.
“Goliath, what’s wrong?” I asked.
“Gen-U-Tech,” my leader answered.
“Servarius again?” I asked, even though I already knew the answer.
I’m afraid he is starting his unholy experiments again. We must rescue the humans that are being held prisoner. Who is willing to help?”
“Count me out, lad,” Hudson said. “Someone has to stay and watch the hatchlings.”
“We’ll go,” Wily-Kit volunteered.
“Hold on you two,” Lion-O jumped in. “Hudson can’t watch three…hatchlings by himself.”
“You want us to stay behind don’t you?” Wily-Kit interrupted, disappointed.
“Snarf and Snarfer are staying.”
“All right. We’ll stay,” Kat said.
“I will stay as well,” Lynx-O piped in.
“That’s thirteen that are going,” Goliath reported. “That’ll be enough. Let’s go.” We filed out of the room after leaving the young ones with Hudson and the others. Once outside, the Thundercats broke up into pairs except one that paired with Nathan. That’s right. Cougara and Nathan was a pair. I got Tygra and Panthro to ride with me. Goliath had Lion-O and Cheetara, Broadway with Pumyra and Bengali, and Angela with Nathan and Cougara.
The five of us alighted onto the skylight roof of Gen-U-Tech and our passengers slid off our backs and out of our arms. Seeing a conveniently empty computer lab, Goliath tore a hole in the roof and we jumped down. Lex immediately went to a computer upon landing and began typing away. I saw a second one and began typing also.
“Drat! No video program. This could take longer this time,” Lex reported.
“I’m already checking each research and genetics room,” I told him.
“I’ll help you.” Lex turned back to his computer and aided the search.
A few minutes later, I spotted an occupied room. A genetics room. “I found it! Room 143.”
“That’s impossible. I found an occupied genetics lab, too. Room 103,” Lex said.
“They must have used two rooms. We will split into two groups. Jasmine. You, Broadway, Angela, Nathan, Lion-O, and Tygra will go to Room 143. The rest will come with me to Room 103. We will meet back here,” Goliath said.
We exited the room and went in two directions. I led my group down the dark hall to 143. I opened the door and the six of us slipped in. Broadway was the last one in, so he bolted the door shut. In the dim light of the lab, I could see two glass compartments. I could also see five figures inside the compartments.
“I can barely see,” Nathan complained.
The two Thundercats and us gargoyles said nothing. We focused on the figures in their prisons since gargoyles and Thundercats can somewhat see in the dark. My eyes adjusted greatly to the semi-darkness and I gasped when I saw what was in the cages before us: Five Thunderians. Sort of. They didn’t look 100% Thunderian. They (two females, three males) looked human by the intelligence conveyed through their eyes, which were cat-like in shades of orange, blue, green brown, or black. The idea that these humans had actually lost their humanity for possibly forever filled me with sadness. We had to save them and get them out. That was our mission. A cure would be discussed later.
The human/Thunderians trembled with fright when they saw us gargoyles. I held my hands palm-up to show that we meant no harm. That calmed them somewhat.
“Broadway, Angela, cut the glass,” I said as I took the first slash.
The three of us worked on the glass, but it refused to cut. No matter how hard or how repeatedly we slashed at one spot, there wasn’t a scratch.
“Servarius has really outdone himself this time,” Broadway growled, nursing his tired claws.
“He sure has,” I agreed, massaging my own tired claws.
“Let Tygra and I try it,” Lion-O said.
We stepped away from the glass. I motioned the humans to step back. When they were far back enough, the Thundercats went to work. Lion-O drew his sword, pointed it at one of the compartments, and shouted, “Hoooo!”
While Lion-O did this, Tygra brought out his whip and cracked it at the glass. Fire exploded against the glass, breaking it. The sword also succeeded. The people were free! We did it. It also seemed too easy. Where were the alarms? What about a security camera? A camera! I glanced about the room and there it was, on line and everything. I went over and promptly pulled the wiring out of it. Now, we could leave safely. We unbolted the door and this time, eleven of us left the room and headed for our planned rendezvous.
We reached the door at the same time the other rescue party did. There were also five more human/Thunderians with them. Two males and three females, the opposite of ours. As soon as we reached each other, an alarm blared. We rushed into the room, closed the door and locked it, and then us gargoyles helped the Thundercats, Nathan, and the hybrids up to the roof. I noticed that the former humans were probably scared. I knew their fear would soon take control once we were safe.
“Some of us are going to have to run,” Goliath noted.
“You take the humans, the rest of us will run,” Lion-O noted.
“But there are ten of them and only four of us,” Broadway protested.
“I can carry one,” Lex replied.
“And I’ll try to carry three,” Goliath added.
“Good.” Lion-O turned to the others. “Let’s go.”
As the Thundercats and my brother made their way down to the street, the human/Thunderians climbed onto our backs and into our arms. A female with green eyes and jaguar markings and a male with blue eyes and lion markings were with me. The clan and I glided off the roof and into the sky. It seemed like we were in the air for about two minutes when I heard an unfamiliar male voice say, “What’s going on? What are you?”
Then the female in my arms said, “Relax, Garrett. They’re gargoyles. They just saved us.”
“You know about us?” I asked. “How? Most humans think we’re monsters.”
“I’m part of PIT. People for Interspecies Tolerance. My name is Jessica.”
“I’m Jasmine. I’m happy to meet a member of PIT.”
“There are three other PIT members among us. We were captured as we were leaving our last meeting.”
“I’m so sorry. I promise you, the clan will shut Servarius down.”
“That’s very noble of you.”
“It’s our duty to protect.”
The five of us landed gracefully onto the castle’s stone floor and let our passengers off. We were the first ones back, naturally. There’s hardly any traffic in the air, but still. I was worried about the others. I knew I shouldn’t be. Each Thundercat had a special ability and Nathan was a warlock, so they could handle almost anything they came across. Almost anything. That’s what worried me.
Looking down, I saw some shadowy figures dashing into the building entrance (This was when I glided down to look after releasing our passengers). I breathed a sigh of relief. They were safe. I glided back to the castle and turned back to our new guests, who began introducing themselves, or rather Jessica was doing the introductions.
Garrett had brown eyes and ocelot markings. There was Christie with dark eyes and cheetah marks, Kayley with orange eyes and leopard marks, Tim with dark eyes and puma marks, Kathy and Kieran who both had wildcat markings, but Kathy had green eyes while Kieran had orange. Lisa had brown eyes and panther markings; Jeff with blue eyes and white tiger marks, and the lion with blue eyes was called Russell.
As we were expressing our sympathies and promising them that, being that I was a practicing geneticist, I would attempt to find a cure, I heard footsteps echoing from the hall leading outside. I turned and saw the Thundercats and my brother appear.
I went up to Tygra and the two of us embraced. “Thank goodness you’re all safe,” I said. I led my friends and sibling over to the ten hybrids and the introductions began again. When they were over, I told Tygra what I was going to do to help and he said he planned to assist me.
Tygra and I led the hybrids into Xanatos’s lab and took a blood sample from each of them. Then they left and we got to work. I put Jessica’s blood sample onto a slide, and then I put it under a microscope. I studied it, immediately recognizing the human and Thundercat parts due to my recent DNA experiences. I had also dealt with Servarius’s works once and this wasn’t any different. As I examined it, I thought about the ways I could get the cure. Then, from the training Dr. Straussmore taught me, I eliminated the ways that could kill the person. I kept eliminating until I ended up crossing all the ways off.
Looking at the sample again, I saw that Servarius had put some kind of protection in the blood. It kept the DNA from being unmutated. Apparently, Servarius wanted his subjects to stay mutated and threw in this protection. I took my eye off the eyepiece. I shook my head sadly as I looked at Tygra. Then, I told him what I found. We ventured out into the hall and found the human/Thunderians standing around. I gave them the sad news.
“And you call yourself a geneticist-in-training?” Kieran scolded angrily.
“She didn’t say she would cure us. She said she would attempt to cure us,” Jeff told him.
“He’s right,” Russell agreed.
“This from a couple of monster lovers,” Kieran muttered.
“Leave them alone,” Christie said defensively. She must have been a PIT member also. That was when everyone started talking at once. All angry with each other. It drove me crazy and I lost my temper.
Stepping in front of Tygra, I flared my wings and, with my eyes glowing, I screamed, “Shut Up!” I was rewarded with silence. Calming down, I said, “Thank you. Listen, I know it’s been difficult for you. I understand that. I’m sorry I couldn’t cure you without killing you, but you’ll all have to start a new life.
“But, where will we live?” Kathy asked.
“You could come to Third Earth with me and the other Thundercats,” Tygra said.
“Or in the Labyrinth with the mutates. They were human before Servarius mutated them. They’ve been through what you just went through,” I suggested.
The ten of them huddled together and whispered for about fifteen minutes before breaking the circle. Jessica stepped forward. “Where is this Labyrinth?”
“You wish to live with the mutates?” I asked neutrally. I didn’t want to influence their decision.
“Yes, we do. You said they were human once. Just as we were.”
“Well, I’ll have to call Talon and see if we can arrange for him and the others to come here.”
“That would be fine.”
I called Talon, told him of our rescue, and the hybrids wanting to live with them. I waited for his answer.
“I would like to have them. Especially since we lost the clones.”
“Yes.” I remembered that incident. “Would you, Maggie, and Claw like to meet them?”
“I’m sure they would like to. Castle Wyvern courtyard, okay?”
“Uh…sure.” It took me a few seconds to realize that he had given me a meeting place. We said goodbye, then hung up. As I went to move our friends to the courtyard, I came across Nathan. And he looked happy.
“What’s with the smile?”
“Xanatos is shutting Servarius down!”
“Terrific. I’ll tell our new friends the good news.”
I continued on my way and as I moved them to the courtyard, I told them about the shut down of Servarius. They were all thrilled that other people’s lives have been spared. We stood in the courtyard and waited for ten minutes before I spotted three winged forms coming toward the castle.
Talon landed first and greeted me warmly. I did likewise and repeated it with Maggie and Claw. I asked about the twins and learned that they were just fine and crawling like Albany was. Then I introduced the hybrids. Jessica had obviously been chosen to be the leader and she did the role well. After talking for a few minutes, it was decided that the mutates would indeed take the hybrids in. They just needed two gargoyles to help. Angela and I came to their aid.
The trip was short and uneventful. As we walked down the tunnel I thought about our friends’ choice to live in the Labyrinth instead of with the Thundercats. True, Manhattan was their home, but it wasn’t mine. Yet, this world was mine. Could I leave it?
Walking through the double doors at the end of the tunnel, we entered the former research facility of Cyberbiotics that was now home of the mutates. The hybrids gaped at the spacious room, which is pretty large. After getting them comfortable, Angela and I left and headed back to the castle before the sun rose. And my decision to leave was still undecided.
Read the next adventure, "Opal"
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