A bunch of these Thundercats stories have been in my head for so long but my awful dry spell squelched a lot of them until now. Originally this was just going to a oneshot with Panthro and his son, but I might turn it into a mini-series of about five chapters or so about the first episode "Exodus" and the scramble to leave Thundera behind and what was left behind.
Panthro always had that vague samurai motif behind him, jacked up for the new show. He also had that family-man feel about him. I found it to be an interesting mix and though I don't really delve into such great detail here as much as I could, I did think this to be an interesting topic. Along with the samurai motif Panthro most often said the word "Honor" when they were reciting the Code of Thundera - that's very Japanese-y. I'm not sure how to feel about this first chapter. It's not really an exploration of Panthro's character too much, at least not deeply. I enjoy it at the moment though. (That may change in the coming months). Look out for more chapters coming! Next up is Tygra.
The idea was to put the Sword of Omens on the flagship. It was the ship with the heaviest defenses, and on that ship there would be the selected nobles to continue the council of the Thundercats and to aid as well as raise the inheriting Lord Lion-O, still just a prepubescent boy. Jaga, the fabled and well-respected warrior, would be leading the flagship. Perhaps it was unfair to have such great defenses for so few, but in the anticipated battle with the mutants it was expected for the enemies to focus on the flagship, allowing for the smaller ships carrying the bulk of Thunderan society to evade and escape. If necessary, the smaller ships would act as martyrs to the flagship, although everyone was praying that such things would not come to pass.
To Panthro it was an obvious choice who from his clan would go where. His son, wedded only a few years ago, would board the flagship to ensure the continuation of his young family. Panthro, though he still remained to be leader of his clan, was swiftly approaching his middle ages (or perhaps already there) and no more offspring would be coming from him on strict orders from his wife. Though he was not yet ready to retire he had been, over the passing years, lending more and more leadership responsibilities to his eldest, Pannon. According to Panthro's wife Pannon had much yet to learn before becoming a full-fledged leader, and though Panthro had no choice but to agree with her he felt in his heart and mind that Pannon was ready to stand up with the throne to teach and protect the core of the Thunderan's beliefs. That is why he cast his vote to send Pannon on the flagship to the new world. His son was young but ready, eager to learn in the midst of making mistakes. A chip off the old block; innovative, jovial, robust, a warm family man. Pannon could provide the heart for the team, no matter the others chosen to protect the Sword of Omens and by extension the Eye of Thundera.
It was the reason why Panthro felt time stop when his son, eldest of four, father of two little cubs, one not even weaned yet, suddenly stepped down and refused to go. Pannon stood on the edge of the clan's land as people steadily boarded the spaceships with his father and his young, pretty wife beside him holding their youngest while the other one was off in the distance with his grandmother. Panthro eyed him suspiciously.
"Change of heart, Pannon? That is not like you, not in the slightest – that cannot be it." Pannon did, after all, inherit the stubbornness found in both his mother and father. It was not like him to back down on a decision, whether it was his or the council's.
"No change at all, Dad," Pannon said in response, "I've been against this from the start."
Panthro's face contorted. Of course, the little devil! He had learned all his mother's quiet tricks and domestic illusions, he could see it written in the words the boy spoke.
"Blast it! Did your mother put you up to this?" Panthro cussed, placing a palm over his eyes. Beside Pannon his wife, Thera, began to smile.
"No, Dad." Pannon answered, "I decided. Myself."
Panthro raised an eyebrow and glanced over to Pannon's wife, "Not even Thera changed your mind?" It was a joke. Thera was sweet and loving, hardly a dastardly deed behind her – rarely did she ever move her husband from one side to the other. Her smile grew wider into a small laugh. Pannon smiled, though his was serious.
"Dad, I'm not ready. Perhaps I'm ready to lead our clan as you believe I am, but on this...I don't think so. Think: if the flagship is left and the young Lord has to be tutored, what have I to offer? Some of the other nobles are older than you, but they are sending their own children who have by now really taken over their clan as far as leadership goes. Aside from Jaga, you'd be—well, you'd be the old man as it were." Pannon grinned. Panthro couldn't resist raising the corners of his lips as he reverently listened.
"Jaga never married," Pannon continued, "You're good with kids too—in fact, I think you'd be the only one who has actually raised a kid before, at least into a full-grown man."
"Man?" Panthro chuckled, "With all the trouble you caused us I'd say we raised more of a wild beast than a child."
"Aha," Pannon laughed, "Just think, I'll raise my kids to be exactly like me, and you'll have to deal with us in your old age—for the rest of it, anyways!"
Panthro reached forward and pulled on his son's ear lobe, bringing him down to give his maneless head a sound noogie. Thera stepped to the side as Pannon flailed, adjusting the cub in her arms when it cooed in confusion. Finally breaking free, Pannon grinned as his father impishly, tears stinging the corners of his eyes. Panthro's hearty smile faded as he gazed at his son. He was only perhaps a smidgen taller than his father, with ashy gray fur and a thick torso brimming with immature muscles. His nose was wide like his father and his eyes blue like his mother, with a strong, healthy jaw and wide lips that liked to smile. Thera completed the picture perfectly, a slim, black-furred woman with a small chest and delicate cat-like features, making his son look like a gentle giant next to her. She too loved to smile and even that contrasted her husband; hers were small and quiet while his were big and boisterous. The cub in her arms was covered with dark fur and had big ears and a round nose. It squirmed and belted a short cry of arrogant need, and Thera gently adjusted its head so it could meet her breast.
"I love you, son." Panthro said.
Pannon's mouth visibly twisted in pain, "Dad, don't—,"
"It doesn't feel right to me," he continued, frowning. Pannon tilted his head and narrowed his eyes.
"You're beginning to act like Mom now," he pointed out. Panthro smiled sadly. Bless his mother. Such a woman he loved and learned to be like in ways he was still discovering.
"You have more reasons than I to be aboard that flagship, Pannon." he argued softly. Pannon gave a low sigh.
"More reasons for me to board the ship; but for the ship itself...Dad, you should go," Panthro wanted to interrupt but Pannon kept talking, "If something, anything happens to that flagship, you're the only one who can fix it in a hurry. Please, Dad, go instead. I want to stay, I want to stay with our clan; I'll lead our clan out. I will do that, Dad, father...it's better for the Thunderans that you go."
Panthro sighed heavily. After what seemed like a long while, he looked up at Thera, meeting her softly golden eyes.
"And you, Thera, you know of all this?"
She closed her eyes as she nodded, "The cubs and I will be on a separate ship; Pan will pilot the lead ship for the clan. He asked me of this decision last night as we laid little Patera to rest. Your son—my beloved—thinks beyond himself, much like someone I know, Father-in-Law."
Panthro's mixed emotions stretched his lips in a pained smile. Rubbing the bridge of his nose to disguise the presence of tears, he looked up at his bold, sincere son, noticing his wife and many of his clan were catching up to the spot they stood. A tremor threatened them, calm but worrying. The planet of Thundera would not last out the month.
"If there was any doubt before, Pannon, there is none now. You are a man. You are a Thunderan noble," he reached out a hand to grasp his son's arm, "I wish you best of luck. When the time comes, I hope I may see you on the new world."
"Me too, Dad," Pannon replied, tears filling up his eyes, "Father...,"
Panthro pulled him into a tight, bittersweet hug, "You look after Thera and the cubs, and yourself."
"I will," Pannon whispered.
Panthro's wife took the news in an abnormal way. Instead of scolding and scoffing she was quiet, grim, and proud. She would be with Thera and the cubs on one of the center ships, thus forcing her to bid her farewells first. To her son she expressed her words of pride and hugged him closer than Panthro did. To her husband, a kiss, one last, long embrace, and a touch of the cheek. Panthro had told Pannon just before he had boarded his own ship that it was one of the rare occasions she had seen her cry, the only other time being when Pannon, her first child, was born. Then he shook his son's hand, praising him as his lord. Pannon departed, leading the Panther-Jaguar Clan into space.
Panthro saw his son only once more. The mutants had attacked, as they were dreading. In the harsh confusion of lasers and exploding ships, one mutant vessel changed its course to ram into the bridge of the flagship. There was a moment of terror when it became clear what the ship was doing, then a split-second of emotionless shock as a heavily damaged Thunderan ship dashed in from the side, intercepting the kamikaze mutant vessel before it collided with the flagship. Panthro saw a flash of his son's face, determined and fierce, before the impact scattered space junk around the prow of the flagship.
He did not weep. He could only feel a heightened sense of pain, honor, and pride. His lord had fallen. His son had ascended.