From Thundarr.com, Thundarr the Barbarian – Matical Mystery Treasure is the second of two fan fiction stories by Sheila Shillingburg.
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THUNDARR THE BARBARIAN: MAGICAL MYSTERY TREASURE
By: Sheila Shillingburg
In the near future, a comet broke loose from its predetermined orbit, and streaked through space. It passed too close between the earth and the moon, tearing away some of the Earth’s protective atmosphere. The moon shattered under the sudden burst of gravitational pull.
Down on the earth, things were no better. The earth quaked, volcanoes erupted, tsunamis washed away beaches, and whatever else happened to have been built there. Every sign of civilization was either destroyed or laid to ruin.
After a thousand years, people re-built their lives from the destruction. Like the mythical phoenix, a bird that rose from its own ashes, civilization began its slow return.
But, the new world that emerged was one rather primitive by our standards. A brutal, savage world of slaves, super-science, and sorcery. One man, a slave by the name of Thundarr, burst his bonds to fight for freedom and justice. Accompanied by the beast-like Ookla the Mok, and Princess Ariel, the sorceress who had helped Thundarr to free himself, he set about righting the wrongs of the future, and challenging the absolute rule of the tyrants. Armed with a powerful, magic sun sword, given to him by Ariel, and a hair-trigger temper, Thundarr was well equipped for battle.
Unfortunately, his knowledge of the past was limited to the few remnants he saw about him. A broken streetlight here, a priceless BMW–now smashed to bits and pieces–there. Although Thundarr and Ookla appreciated the learning of the past, and those who remembered it, they were ignorant of it. Only Princess Ariel knew anything at all about the vanished world. Her grandfather had taught her to read, and she had read almost every book in the library of her stepfather, the evil wizard Sabian. So, it was Ariel who knew the tales whispered by the ruins.
Like Robin Hood and his Merry Men before them, Thundarr and his companions were folk heroes to the peasants of the future. But, unlike the legendary Robin Hood, Thundarr was not an outlaw–nor did he consider himself to be one–he was free. He and his companions were not confined to a forest. They were free, and roamed the countryside as they pleased. So, the cult following grew.
Rodeo Drive was a bustling marketplace, just as it had been in the days of the past. Only, the once posh storefronts now sold fruit and vegetables, instead of Gucci and Dior. In these wild times, most peasants wore homespun clothing. So, it was considered more important to eat, and make a living, than to concern yourself with what could be made at home.
No one noticed one particular, dark-haired urchin, who was loitering near the fruit seller’s cart. But, everyone noticed when the boy snatched an apple, and ran.
“STOP! THIEF!” The fruit seller sent up the cry.
The boy ran as fast as his five-year-old legs would carry him. Around the corner of a tumbled down movie theater, and crashing into the great leg of a warrior.
The warrior was tall and strong, with straw colored hair. He was dressed in a brown, fur outfit, with matching, leather boots on his feet. There were metal bracelets at his wrists. Attached to the one bracelet was the hilt of a sword.
With the warrior was a raven-haired woman, with olive-colored skin, and slanting, almond-shaped eyes. She wore a blue, bathing suit-like outfit, with a gold belt at her waist. There was a diadem on her forehead, and gold bracelets beneath the level of her wrists. High-heeled boots completed the ensemble.
With the warrior and his female companion was another creature. Well over the height of a man, the creature had a lion’s mane and was covered all over with short, brown hairs. There was black fur on his pushed in, animal muzzle. From within the recesses of his mane, a pair of glowing, green eyes peered out. He wore black shorts, and matching boots. The warrior was none other than Thundarr. His companions were Ookla the Mok and Princess Ariel.
“What have we here?” Thundarr seemed amused by the small thief.
“Please, sir. I’m taking this to my village,” the boy held up the hot fruit.
“Ariel, can you help him?”
“I think I can.” With a flick of her wrists, Ariel rendered the boy invisible to the village police as they ran past.
Grateful, the boy invited his new friends to his village, it was only a few blocks away.
“My name’s Aladdin,” the boy introduced himself. “Snow White and Robin Hood are our leaders.”
“A-l-aa-ddin?” Thundarr pronounced slowly, as he always did when learning a new word.
“It’s a story, Thundarr,” Ariel explained. “It’s about a beggar who became rich after freeing a genie from its prison lamp.” At this Ookla asked a question as well. To most human ears, the language of the Moks is that of an animal, but Thundarr and Ariel could understand him.
“Robin Hood was a legendary bandit, who stole only from the rich, and shared his spoils with the poor,” Ariel explained as they rode.
“Snow White was a princess whose jealous step-mother put a spell on her. It was broken by a prince.”
“I like this Robin Hood,” Thundarr commented. Ookla added his opinion. “It was a sleeping spell, Ookla,” Ariel informed him. “He broke it by kissing her. There were no Moks in ancient times.”
Aladdin’s village had been an apartment complex that was leveled in the earthquake. The houses had fallen to form a kind of communal village. The main house, the one that had once belonged to the superintendent, was now the home of the village’s chief. Aladdin invited his new friends inside. There, they were greeted by a blond youth of twelve.
“Lords of light! You are all children!” Thundarr exclaimed, his second-favorite expression.
“Yes. We once had parents and a treasure. Bow, both are gone,” Robin Hood answered.
“But a part of the treasure still remains, Robin Hood,” a little girl of seven reminded her brother, as she emerged from the back rooms to greet the visitors.
“What kind of a treasure was it?” Ariel wanted it know. It sounded like a strange one.
“Come with us, and we will show you,” Snow White motioned for Thundarr and his crew to follow them. Aladdin came along.
Their “treasury” was a library that had once held an endless sea of books. Now, the shelves stood open and empty, collecting only dust.
“Wizard Sabian did this,” Robin Hood explained. “He carried our parents off as slaves, and burned our treasure.”
At the name Sabian, Ookla growled something. “I don’t fear my former master,” Thundarr spoke up, bravely.
“You’re the legendary Thundarr?” Snow White asked.
“I am Thundarr, but I’m no legend. Only a free man,” Thundarr answered, somewhat modestly.
“Are you going to get our treasure back?” Aladdin wanted to know.
“I will, or die trying,” the barbarian promised. Usually, there wasn’t a need to fulfill the last part of that oath. Once you had the word of Thundarr the Barbarian, you could rest assured he would keep his promise.
“From the looks of things, the only way to get this treasure back is to go to the past,” Ariel theorized.
“The time portal is at Sabian’s castle,” Thundarr remembered.
“Let me come with you,” Aladdin offered.
“You’d better not. This could get dangerous,” Ariel discouraged the boy.
“I’m not afraid!” The little boy disagreed, mightily, with that judgment call. “I’m brave like you, Thundarr!” The orphan idolized Thundarr, and wanted to be like his hero.
A smile spread across the barbarian’s face. A face unused to such a gesture, and didn’t wear it well. “Perhaps. But, if you did leave, your people would be without the protection of so brave a warrior.” That ended that argument.
Waving good-bye to their pint-sized friends, the trio set off for Sabian’s stronghold. Being a wizard, Sabian knew in advance of their approach. He had seen and heard it all on his crystal ball.
“So, Thundarr, you are returning to your former master, are you? And, my little Ariel. You are returning home as well? You will not leave! I have a special surprise waiting for you.”
In the woods, just outside of Sabian’s castle, Thundarr’s crew stopped their horses, and left them hidden in the underbrush. This was a secret entrance Thundarr and Ariel had known about from their days in the castle. Ookla had just been brought in when Thundarr freed him, so he was not as familiar with the secret entrance.
“This way,” Thundarr whispered back.
Unfortunately, Sabian also knew about this cave. He had his guards stationed in the shadows. Suspicious of her stepfather, Ariel created a magic, glowing sun ball to ward off any attack. The guards cowered away from the light. But, as the light moved on, propelled by Ariel’s own steps, then the ambush was on! The guards swarmed from their hiding places. Thundarr and his friends fought them as best they could. Thundarr with his sun sword, Ookla with his great strength, and animal timing; and Ariel with her magic.
Suddenly, handcuffs appear on Ariel’s wrists, shutting off her flow of magic. Chains appeared around Ookla. He tried to break them, but could not. Thundarr swirled to help them, and another guard knocked the sun sword from his hands. It took several guards to hold Thundarr down, while another chained him to prevent him from fighting his way free.
With a cackle of triumph, Sabian entered the cave. Slowly, he looked over his captives.
“You were a fool to have returned, Barbarian.” He taunted at Thundarr’s helplessness.
“Do to me what you will, you fiend!” Thundarr snapped. His fiery, blue eyes met Sabian’s with matching hatred.
“And, my little Ariel,” Sabian turned to his stepdaughter. She pulled back when he tried to touch her face. “Soon, you will learn that this is your home, my dear. Take her and the animal to my dungeon!” Sabian ordered. Ariel and Ookla looked absolutely powerless, unable to go to their friend’s aid. Sabian then turned to Thundarr. “As for this one, I plan to make an example of him.”
THUNDARR THE BARBARIAN
first move was to have Thundarr whipped, then dragged before the time portal. How ironic, Thundarr thought to himself. His former master was actually helping him on his quest.
“Now then, Thundarr, say good night,” Sabian hissed as a leering guard roughly shoved Thundarr over the threshold of the magic gate.
Sabian’s plan was to maroon Thundarr in the past, with no chances of returning to the future, and completing his quest. The year had been set for 1990, and this barren, futuristic wasteland was the once glamorous, movie-capital of the world Los Angeles, California.
Night had fallen over 1990 Los Angeles. Andy Simmons, and her beloved, Tarl Barlot (pronounced Bar-low) were walking back from their date. They crossed the driveway, and up the three steps to her front porch. Andy sat on the swing, and Tarl sat beside her, hand in hand. Their date was nearly at an end, but the night was young. It seemed there was always something new to say, or some new yarn to be spun.
“Have you heard from Biz lately?” Tarl asked.
Jill “Biz” Lawrence was Andy’s best friend. The two had been next-door neighbors until, on a trip to New York, Biz met and fell in love with Wolverine. Wolverine’s real name was Logan, he was a mutant; and member of the elite mutant army called the X-Men. Biz’s love of him had led to a strong desire to become a mutant, and be with him.
Biz had gotten her wish, and was turned into a mutant vampiress, answering to the name of “Vampira.” She moved to New York to study under Professor Charles Xavier, himself a mutant–a psychic–and found of the X-Men. But, Biz didn’t forget about Andy, since it didn’t matter to her that her best friend was now a mutant. Often, the two would call each other and talk for hours on the phone.
“She called me yesterday,” Andy answered Tarl’s question. “She said she’s learning a lot from Professor Xavier.”
“Yeah. Hey, check this out, Biz said they had to fight some mutant snakes from the future.” Andy began. Biz had told Andy about a recent encounter with Thundarr.
A troop of mutant snakes had hypnotized Ariel and Ookla, while a spitting viper spat venom into Thundarr’s eyes. Blinded, he had fought his way through a magic portal, and into a nighttime alley in New York. Two of the X-Men, Rogue and Vampira, happened upon the scene and came to Thundarr’s aid.
They fought off the snakes, and brought Thundarr to the X-Mansion. There, Dr. Hank McCoy, Beast, the X-Men’s doctor, was able to save the barbarian’s sight, and life. Aided by his new friends, Thundarr returned to the future, he defeated the snakes, freeing Ariel and Ookla.
“The one guy looked like Barney Rubble on steroids,” Andy continued the tale. “The one guy looked like Chewbacca, and there was a chick with them. Their names were weird too.”
“As strange as mine?” Tarl asked, noting he was the only Tarl Barlot in the United States.
“Worse. The guy that looked like Chewbacca was called Ookla. The guy that looked like Barney Rubble was Thunder . . . thud,” Andy paused to think, then corrected herself. “No, it was Thundarr. The chick had the only normal name, Ariel. Biz said that Thundarr and Wolverine had something in common.”
“Both were mutants?”
“No, but they had the same kind of temper,” Andy giggled, slightly.
Tarl chuckled, softly, and put his arm around his beloved, gently drawing her to him. Andy responded by brushing her cheek against his shoulder, a gesture that made Tarl hold her closer.
By all accounts, this was a perfect evening. Perfect, that is, until a swirling, pink light opened up out of thin air. A young man stumbled out of it, as if he had been pushed.
“Tarl!” Andy gasped in surprise. She drew back, holding tightly to her fiancée’s hand.
The stranger, who was dressed in a brown, fur outfit, caught himself on the railing. He managed to right himself before falling. He looked up at the two, speechless witnesses, and spoke.
“Where am I?”
“You’re in Los Angeles,” Tarl answered. “Who are you, and what are you doing here?”
“Do not be afraid, I mean you no harm. My name’s Thundarr, and I have come to your world on a mission.”
Andy stared at the visitor. “So, you’re Thundarr. My friend Biz told me about you.”
“Yeah. you probably met her. She’s one of the X-Men, she also answers to “Vampira”.”
Thundarr nodded. “Ah, yes. The mutant who could turn herself into a vampire.”
“I’m Andy Simmons, and this is my fiancée, Tarl Barlot.” Andy introduced herself, and beloved.
“F-i-i-an-cay?” Thundarr pronounced slowly. “I don’t know the word.”
“It’s Latin, I think. It means ‘beloved’,” Tarl explained.
Thundarr shook his head. “I know very little of these ancient languages.” He said. “My mission to your world is a strange one. I have come seeking a lost treasure.”
“What sort of treasure?” Andy wanted to know.
“It is late, my beloved,” Tarl interposed, gently. “We may begin the search in the morning. Thundarr, you are welcome to stay at my apartment until you complete your quest.”
The barbarian looked surprised. “You are kind to a stranger.”
“I’ve had a good teacher,” Tarl smiled at Andy.
Back in the future, Sabian enslaved Ariel and Ookla. Sabian kept Ariel’s slender wrists tightly bound. He had offered to release her, since she was his stepdaughter, provided she use her powers to serve him. She refused. So, Ariel and the other female slaves served water to Ookla and the males.
It was the male slaves who built the machines of war and mass destruction. They also built the huge slave ships Sabian used to round up the peasants, and cart them off as his slaves.
At the children’s compound, Snow White was beginning to worry. It had been hours since their champions had ridden away, and, so far, no word had come back from the mission.
“Maybe they forgot about us,” she said. Robin Hood shook his head. He knew Thundarr better than that.
“He gave us his word, Snow.”
“Maybe they were captured,” suggested another boy who was dressed in military fatigues.
“Let me go find them,” Aladdin practically begged. “I can help them if they need it.”
“It’s too dangerous to go alone,” the other boy pointed out. “Peter Pan’s right,: Snow White agreed. “Go with him, Aladdin. One of you could ride back for help.”
Thundarr was leery about riding to Tarl’s apartment in a car. It looked like one of Sabian’s cruisers. But, at last, he allowed himself to be persuaded to sit on the passenger seat of the blue, Honda Civic, and fasten the safety belt. Tarl was already strapped into the driver’s side, behind the steering wheel. He and Andy kissed goodnight through the car’s open window. Andy retreated to the relative safety of her porch steps as Tarl started the engine. She watched as the car slowly backed down the driveway and into the street. Tarl and Thundarr returned her wave as they drove away.
“You’ve chosen a lovely girl, my friend,” Thundarr approved. Tarl smiled.
“She’s kind too.”
“I would expect as much,” Thundarr nodded. “Do you live alone?” He asked, trying to make conversation.
“No. I have a brother, Mip, who lives in with me. He came along when Andy brought use from our home dimension of Gromus.”
Tarl shrugged. “It’s hard to explain. Just, don’t go flying in a thunderstorm, strange things happen.”
“Thanks for the warning,” Thundarr quipped.
Tarl pulled into the apartment’s parking lot as he and Thundarr exchanged their banter. Tarl parked his car in its assigned space, then crossed the lot to the building. Up the three flights of stairs, and to the apartment–3C–Tarl shared with his brother. He unlocked the door, and invited Thundarr inside.
The lights were on in t
he apartment, and so was the television. Mip was probably watching it; the coffee table was close to the couch.
“I’m home, Mip!” Tarl announced.
“Yeah? Ok,” the couch answered.
“Demon dogs!” Thundarr exclaimed, his favorite expression, and drew back. “The couch talks?” He felt foolish when a semi-bald head, and pair of brown eyes peered around the edge of the couch at the unexpected expletive.
“Thundarr, this is my brother, Mip,” Tarl introduced them.
“Witness?” Mip asked.
“I am a visitor from the future. I mean you no harm,” Thundarr assured him. Mip gave a non-caring shrug, and turned back to the television.
“What are you watching?”
“A re-run of “Friends.” The news will be on in a minute.”
Thundarr edged closer to the couch, to get a better look at the flickering picture imprisoned in the wooden box, and got a glimpse of Mip.
The dwarf’s feet were so short, Mip had to pull the coffee table close to the couch so he could set his sandwich, drink, and feet on it. Thundarr stared at his host’s brother. A patch of red hair crowned a bald-spot on the top of his head, his nose seemed to big for the rest of him; and his right arm lolled as though it had been broken, and healed without being set.
“You are so small,” Thundarr observed. Mip glanced sideways up at the visitor. “Does Barney Rubble know you raid his wardrobe?”
Thundarr had been called “Barney Rubble” before, by Wolverine. “Who is this Barney Rubble, of whom I have heard so much talk?”
“Tarl, how did you manage to find this mental giant?” Mip didn’t mean that to be a compliment.
“Cool it, Mip. Not many people in the future have heard of the “Flintstones,”” Tarl corrected his brother. “Barney Rubble’s an imaginary caveman,” he explained to his guest.
“You’re really from the future, huh?” Mip asked.
“I am,” Thundarr answered, truthfully.
“Andy and I were on her porch swing . . ..” Tarl began.
“Getting ready to make out,” Mip teased. Thundarr looked curious when Tarl blushed. He then continued. “A portal opened up, and Thundarr, here, stumbled out of it.”
“Your brother and his beloved have agreed to help me on my quest, little one. My mission is to restore a lost treasure to a tribe of orphans.”
Mip nodded. “Yeah, you’ve got to keep a promise to the little rug rats.”
“R-r-rug rats? What breed is that?”
“It means children.”
“Mip would you help me unfold the bed,” Tarl requested.
“Oh yeah, sure.” Mip switched off the television, and slid off the couch, pushing the coffee table out of the way.
Tarl pulled the cushions up, while Mip held the edge of the cot down. Tarl pulled the hide-away bed until it nearly touched the television.
“There you go, Thundarr,” Tarl announced. “Sleep well. I’m going to brush my teeth, and call it a night.” Tarl exited to the bathroom.
Mip turned to Thundarr. “So, T-Man, you want a sandwich, or something?”
“No thank you, Mip.” Thundarr glanced at the couch-bed. “I’m not familiar with . . ..”
“What’s to know? Just take off your shirt, and hop in,” Mip instructed.
Uncertain, Thundarr began to loosen his belt, and remove his vest. Mip saw the pattern on his back, the unmistakable reminder of a whip. He had seen the pattern before, on Tarl.
“Hey, Tarl! You’d better see this!”
Tarl poked his head around the corner. “What is it, Mip?”
“Check out your guest,” Mip indicated to Thundarr’s back. There was dried blood on if from the whipping Thundarr received before coming to the past.
“Don’t worry about me, Tarl,” Thundarr assured him. “It’s only from a whipping I received as a slave.”
Tarl disappeared into the bathroom, and then emerged in a minute. A bottle of alcohol in one hand, a cotton ball in the other. He was stripped to the waist. Beneath the gold of his Luck Stone, Tarl’s veins showed themselves, full and big. On his left arm was a gash that had never really healed. All reminders of a whipping Tarl himself had received.
“I understand, Thundarr. I too was a slave.”
At this, Mip groaned, and collected his sandwich and drink from the table. “Hey, you know, I’m going to watch TV. in my room. See you in the morning.” He then retreated from the room.
Tarl smiled, weakly. “He’s heard the story before,” he said.
“You were a slave?” Thundarr sat on the edge of a chair. As Tarl wiped antiseptic alcohol on his guest’s injured back, he told the story of how he had met Andy. Tarl never grew tired of telling the story, though others grew tired of hearing it!
Tarl had been a warrior, but was captured and enslaved by the Reed People. Andy came to their swamp, purely by chance, and met Tarl. She pitied him, and tried to be as kind to the slave as she could, winning his heart, and breaking every rule of slave-etiquette.
“With Princess Ariel’s help I ran to fight for freedom,” Thundarr said, proudly. “Were you running for the same reason?”
“Unfortunately, I was unable to escape. It was my beloved Andy who bought me at the slave auction, then gave me my freedom. Dear Andy! In my culture, a slave is not considered a man, but she flew in the face of that logic when she loved me. Not as a warrior, but as a slave. Maybe it’s best that way. I was a pig when I was a warrior, and wouldn’t have been as desirable to her.” Tarl concluded, putting the lid back on the bottle.
“My thanks, my friend, my back feels better now,” Thundarr rose, and faced his host.
The two men regarded each other for a moment. Both had straw colored hair, and strong masculine features. Thundarr’s eyes were blue, but Tarl’s were brown. Small differences. About his neck, Thundarr wore a bear’s claw for good luck, while Tarl wore his dear, mended Luck Stone.
“I say, my friend, I find myself in complete admiration of you,” Thundarr admitted. “Is it possible to have a brother in a different world and time?”
Tarl chuckled, softly, and placed a friendly hand on his visitor’s shoulder. “Try and get some sleep, Thundarr. Your quest can wait until morning.”
THUNDARR THE BARBARIAN
MAGICAL, MYSTERY TREASURE
Peter Pan and Aladdin made their way to Sabian’s castle. The whinny of horses told them something was wrong. Thundarr’s white stallion called out, and Ariel’s brown mare answered. After a moment, Ookla’s lizard-like mount made his presence known in a soft snicker. Thundarr would never have left his horses alone for so long, which mean there was trouble.
“This must be some kind of a secret entrance,” Peter Pan guessed.
“Let’s follow it, and see where it goes,” Aladdin suggested with boyish bravado.
Morning dawned on 1990 Los Angeles, as it always did. Sunny and bright, with a hint of smog from the steady stream of traffic. Thundarr woke with a start. Sunlight! Usually, he was up at first light. Never had he slept for this long, or this well. A ringing, like that of a small bell, was heard at the door. Mip came to answer it as Thundarr sat up, and retrieved his furs from the floor.
Mip opened the door to discover Andy Simmons, Tarl’s beloved, waiting on the doorstep.
“Good morning, Andy-bird!” Mip greeted.
“Hi, Mip. I hope I didn’t wake you,” she returned the greeting.
“Me? No, I was up already. But, I don’t know about Sleeping Beauty, over there?” Mip indicated to Thundarr, who hastily left the fur vest slip over his head, lest Andy should see the wounds on his back. But, she already had.
“Thundarr! What happened to your back?!” You were a slave?” Andy guessed before he could answer. The girl’s mouth flexed with compassion for the barbarian.
Tarl soon entered, dressed in the blue uniform of the L.A.P.D. “Andy, my beloved! I thought I heard your voice. What are you doing here?”
ndy smiled to him. “Morning, Tarl. I stopped by to see how your friend was doing. I didn’t know he was a slave.”
“Neither did I, until last night.” Tarl answered. Thundarr rose from the couch-bed to greet Andy. “Don’t worry, Andy. I am well.” Thundarr fastened his belt as he moved up behind Tarl. “It’s true what your Tarl has said about you. You are as kind as your are beautiful.”
The pink blush of Andy’s cheeks matched the pink of her sweater. “Oh, Tarl,” she said, her favorite admonition.
“You forgot to add modesty,” Mip pointed out. “So, I did,” Tarl agreed.
“Where are you going, Tarl? We must begin my search today?” Thundarr had never seen a cop’s uniform.
“I’m going to work today,” Tarl explained, checking his watch. “There’s time for coffee before I leave. You can tell us about your treasure.”
Gathering in the kitchen, over coffee, Thundarr explained to the trio about the tribe of orphans, and their mysterious treasure.
“They said it was a treasure that would leave a trace of itself, even if gone.” Thundarr sighed, and sagged a little way into the steaming mug. “I’m certain I have failed.”
“You haven’t failed, Thundarr,” Tarl assured him, fastening the lid onto a thermos bottle. “Andy and Mip can help you for now, and I’ll pose this riddle to Fred at the station. There isn’t a puzzle he can’t solve.”
“His mama should have named him Sherlock,” Andy teased. Tarl laughed in agreement. “A kiss for luck,” he quipped, and kissed Andy before departing.
“A detective from a story,” Andy turned back to Thundarr. “There are a lot of things that would leave a trace of themselves if they disappeared.”
It was Mip’s turn to be puzzled. “Like what?”
“It’s simple, Mip,” Andy answered. “Say that music were outlawed . . . .”
“Kind of like in the movie?”
“Yeah, something like that. You know most of the songs I sing, right?”
“Yeah, sure. “Last Train to Clarksville,” “Daydream Believer”.”
“So, then, music is a treasure that would still be there if it vanished,” Andy theorized.
“Oh, yeah. I see your point.”
“How can I find this music?” Thundarr wanted to know.
Andy smiled. “I’m a musician.” She answered. “You’re in luck, Thundarr. I belong to a rock band called the Monkees.”
“Stone monkies that sing?”
“Good one! I’ll have to tell the guys whenever I see them!” Andy said, before laughing out loud.
“What happened? Did you sleep through history?” Mip commented. “Rock ‘n’ roll is a kind of music.”
“And, the Monkees is the name of a band that plays that kind of music,” Andy added, after she had recovered from laughing.
Thundarr looked as foolish as he felt. “I don’t mean to ask these questions,” he apologized in his own way. “Demon dogs! You must think me a fool!”
“No comment,” Mip answered.
“Sorry I laughed,” Andy apologized. “From the way you’re dressed, I suppose not many people in the future have heard of the sixties.
Come on, I’ve got the time machine warmed and ready to fly.”
At the word “time machine” Thundarr looked up, swiftly. “You have a time machine?”
“Nothing fancy, but year. Come on, Thun. Let’s make like a pair of bananas, and split. I’ll explain on the way,” Andy promised, seeing the puzzled look on Thundarr’s face.
Meanwhile, Aladdin and Peter Pan had managed to secret themselves into the strong hold of Wizard Sabian. Their ramblings took them to one of the work pits where Ariel and Ookla were enslaved. One old man, who had collapsed, was revived by a drought of water from Ariel. The two boys shrank back into the shadows.
“I have to ride back for help,” Peter Pan decided this case needed more help than the two of them, alone, could muster. “Are you going to be okay by yourself, Aladdin?”
A rat scurried up the boy’s arm, while a second rodent nestled in his lap. “I’m not alone. I have Genie and Tinkerbelle with me.”
Down in the pit, Ariel gave the old man another swallow of water. He came around with a groan.
“My name’s Ariel.”
“I am Chief Dauphin. My children are Robert and Sara.”
“Your children are here too?”
“Mercifully, they and the other children from my village were able to hide when Sabian came after us. They are imaginative children, and you probably know their book names. Snow White and Robin Hood.”
The arrival of guards cut short the conversation. Perhaps there would be a chance to talk later.
The time machine landed with a thud on something solid. Upon opening the door, Thundarr saw that he and Andy had landed in someone’s house.
“Where are we?” He asked, exiting the craft with Andy.
“Even further into the past. Welcome to the sixties, Thundarr. HEY, GUYS!” She sang out in greeting.
Soon, a thin, young man appeared. He looked almost like Thundarr and Tarl, only he wasn’t as strongly built as either one of them. He smiled when he saw Andy.
“Hey, Andy,” he greeted. “What’s this? Tarl’s Halloween costume?”
“It’s a holiday when we dress in costumes,” Andy explained. “Brace yourself, Thun, you’re going to hear that one a lot. Pete, this is Thundarr. He’s a visitor to us from the future.”
“I thought you were a visitor from the past,” Peter commented.
“You look like . . . .”
“Barney rubble, so I have been told.” Thundarr interrupted. “Do not be afraid, I have come to your world seeking a lost treasure. It’s a treasure that remains, even when gone. Your Andy has suggested music.”
“Well, you’ve come to the right place. Sort of.” Peter shook the barbarian’s huge hand in greeting. “I’m Peter, Peter Tork. The rest of the guys are out, but they’ll be back shortly.”
“I can wait,” Thundarr nodded. “How many are in this band?”
“Six,” Andy began to count the names on her fingers. “There’s me, Biz, Peter, Mike, Micky, and Davy.”
“Biz? The vampire’s child?” Thundarr looked surprised.
Peter explained that Andy’s father, an amateur inventor, had built the time machine. With the machine, Andy and Biz had, literally, dropped into their lives. On Andy’s seventeenth birthday, Mike had asked the girls to join the band. Biz left after receiving her mutant powers.
The remaining band members returned, and were informed of Thundarr’s mission. What a dirt clog I must seem to them, Thundarr said to himself.
Normally, he didn’t pay too much attention to his clothing. The brown furs served him well, as did his soft, leather boots. His new friends were pre-formed shoes that fitted stiffly to their feet. Their clothing was bright, and cheerful. Blue, denim jeans seemed to be a preferred clothing item. Andy’s sweater was pink, with white lace; Peter’s shirt was purple, with free-formed flowers on it. Micky Dolenz, the group’s drummer wore a tie-dyed tee shirt that seemed to smile, just like him. Mike Nesmith wore an Indian-style fringed shirt, and a green, wool hat. Davy Jones, the British member of the band, wore a red shirt with two rows of white buttons down the front. For the first time in his life, Thundarr was beginning to feel fashion-conscious.
His appearance, however, did nothing to lessen the importance of his mission. Mike clapped him, soundly on the shoulder.
“You’ve come to the right place, Man. We’re here to help.”
“My thanks, my friend. May I hear this music you call ‘rock ‘n’ roll’? Is it a treasure?”
“All depends on who you talk to,” Micky mused.
“We’ll show you what we mean,” Davy said. The chosen song was “I’m a Believer.”
“I thought love was only true in fairy tales
Meant for someone else, but not for me.
Love was out to get me.
That’s the way it seemed.
Disappointment, heartache were my dreams.
Then I saw her face,
Now I’m a believer.
Not a trace,
of doubt in my mind.
I’m in love.
Hmm, whoa, yeah!
I’m a believer,
Couldn’t leave her if I tried.
I thought love was more or less,
a given thing.
Seemed the more I gave,
the less I got.
What’s the use in trying?
All you get is pain.
When I needed sunshine I got rain”
During the course of the song, Thundarr has been tapping his feet in time to the music. Rock ‘n’ roll was a new experience to him.
“Indeed, this is a treasure,” he approved, as the song finished. “How will I carry it to the future with me?”
Andy hadn’t thought of that one. “Oh, that’s right. There probably isn’t much electricity or batteries in the future to run CD or record players.”
“That shoots down that theory,” Peter quipped.
“What about the kids’ names, Thundarr?” Davy suggested. “Maybe there’s a clue there.”
“Their names are from stories. One is Aladdin. Snow White and Robin Hood are their leaders.”
“Sounds like someone’s been watching too many movies,” Micky commented, laughing. Andy straightened, a thought occurred to her.
“Or, reading!” She suggested.
“Reading?” Thundarr looked puzzled.
“Are you sure?” Mike looked as puzzled as the barbarian.
“Yeah. O.k., how many of you have read Charlotte’s Web?” Both Andy and the guys in the band raised their hands. Thundarr, who had only begun to read under Princess Ariel’s tutorage had never heard the story.
“It’s about a spider that saves a piglet’s life,” Peter summarized the tale.
“Right. Now, how long ago did you read that?” Andy posed the question.
After a period of thought, Davy caught on to what Andy’s point. Even thought electricity and batteries would have vanished, reading would still be considered a treasure, which people had; even if a scarce few even knew how.
“Where can I find these books?” Thundarr wanted to know.
“Are you kidding? There must be thousands of bookstores all over L.A.!” Andy answered.
Sabian waved a hand over his magic mirror with a black look as Thundarr and Andy, with the Monkees in tow, boarded the time machine to return to 1990 Los Angeles. Sabian’s initial plan was backfiring.
“Curse you, Barbarian! You and your helpers! I must find a way to stop you!””
Sabian didn’t notice a rat scurry up his throne. Tinkerbelle’s sharp teeth sliced the key to Ariel’s chains from his belt. Stowing the pilfered key in her mouth, the rat scampered back to the secret hiding place, and deposited it at Aladdin’s feet.
“Good girl, Tink!” The boy exalted in hushed tones. A bit of acorn was the reward. Genie picked up the key. “Find Ariel, Boy,” Aladdin ordered in a whisper. He and Tinkerbelle followed Genie, letting the rat’s strong sense of smell guide them.
Ahead of them, camouflaged in the dirt of the floor was the hilt of a sword. Aladdin picked it up, and pressed the button. A glowing beam of light appeared where none had been before. Thundarr’s sun sword!
“Look at this, you two,” Aladdin held up the flaming blade. Genie paused scampering. Tinkerbelle chattered a question. “It’s Thundarr’s sword.” Aladdin released the button, and the glowing blade disappeared. The boy tucked the handle safely into his belt pack. “I’ll take it with us.”
Biz was waiting for Andy on the Simmons’ back porch steps. Andy had phoned her friend the night before, but never imagined she’d come to L.A.
“What are you doing here?!” Andy embraced her friend in greeting.
“I told Professor Xavier about your call, and he sent me to see if I can help,” the mutant girl explained.
“We’re going to need all the help we can get,” Mike admitted. “Thanks, Babe.”
“So, Thundarr. How’s it going?” Biz turned to the barbarian.
“I am well, my friend.” Thundarr returned the greeting. “Your friends may have already led me to the object of my quest.”
He explained to Biz about the tribe of orphans, and their mysterious treasure. He also informed her of her friend’s suggestion. Biz agreed with Andy. “Reading seems like the most likely probability.”
“O.k., let’s split up, and hit every bookstore between here and the Mexican border. Whichever comes first,” Andy sounded her rallying cry. “Hope you brought your plastic.”
“Plastic’s money,” Peter explained to Thundarr.
“Shop ’til you drop,” Biz quipped. “How are we doing this? Two by two, three by three?” Knowing Thundarr to be unfamiliar with modern-day Los Angeles, biz felt it wouldn’t be a good idea for him to go shopping alone.
“You can come with us or the guys, T-Man. You make the call,” Andy gave him the choice.
A guard turned to Sabian. “Will you do nothing while this barbarian, and his allies retrieve the treasure?”
“Let him think he has won,” Sabian decided. “But, I want you to choose my finest assassins. When Thundarr least expects it, go to the past, and see to it that he is destroyed.”
By the time this bit of news was handed out, Aladdin had made it to the dungeon. Ariel was surprised to see a rat at her feet, and even more so when the rodent deposited the key to her handcuffs at her feet.
“That’s Genie.” Aladdin stepped from his hiding place.
“Aladdin? What are you doing here?”
“You didn’t come back, and I came to help.”
Tarl caught up with his beloved and her friends at a cafe that noon. He was let in on the shopping plan, and agreed to help buy as many books as he could to supply the unknown orphans with an unlimited supply of knowledge.
“I once thought this old world was primitive. But, now, I’m starting to think that I’m the primitive one,” Thundarr admitted.
Laughingly, Biz had to tell about the looks Thundarr had been getting, and the amorous suggestions from female passers-by.
“You should come with us, Thundarr. You’re a real babe-magnet,” Micky teased.
“I only see one babe,” Tarl meant Andy. She blushed, then changed the subject.
“I’m sure I have some old books just lying around, collecting dust. You can have them, Thun.”
“Yeah, same here,” Biz provided.
“You won’t be lacking if I take them?”
“Not at all. There’s plenty where those came from.”
The waitress brought their food, along with a little note for Thundarr. He stared at the slip of paper. Peter, being the closest, leaned over the barbarian’s shoulder, and read aloud.
“‘For good time, call Brenda. 310-539-4578. Let me rock your world’.”
“Who sent me this?”
“I’d reckon it came from over there,” Mike indicated to a neighboring table. A girl was watching Thundarr intently, and blew a kiss when he looked in her direction. “Call me sometime, Sweet Cheeks!”
Looking ashamed, Thundarr crumpled the note, and threw it down. “You are luck you know how to read. I barely know how,. Slaves were never taught.”
“I understand, Thundarr,” Tarl assured him. “I didn’t know, either, when I first came to the States.”
“Yes? But, you were taught and have learned.”
“Biz’s sister, Kathy, and my beloved taught me.”
“I can teach you too, Thundarr,” Andy offered. “I’m sure “Sesame Street” is still on.”
“You are very kind, all of you. But, I can’t stay long enough to find this street. I must return to my own time.”
“It’s not a real street, Thundarr. It’s a television show,” Biz explained.
“Te-all-e-vision? Like the one Mip was watching?”
“Something like that.”
“Tell you what, Man. Maybe the next time you’re on this side of L.A., we can teach you,” Davy suggested. Thundarr promised to consider the offer.
THUNDARR THE BARBARIAN
BACK TO THE FUTURE
Peter Pan burst into the children’s compound. Breath
less from having run all the way from Sabian’s castle.
“What happened!?!” Robin Hood was on his feet.
“Our friends were captured by Sabian!” Peter Pan called out, “Aladdin’s trying to free them!”
“We must help them!” Snow White sounded the rallying cry.
Word went through the village like wildfire. The children collected slingshots, peashooters, and various other pranks that could be used as weapons, and set off to march on the castle.
Ariel unlocked her chains, and used her returning powers to free the other female slaves.
“Come on, Aladdin. We’ve got to find Ookla and the others.”
The sun set over 1990 Los Angeles. With the last rays of sunlight, Biz turned into Vampira; as she did every night. Andy had seen Vampira when she first became a mutant, but had never seen the transformation her friend underwent to become the nighttime’s winged avenger. Biz always locked herself in the bathroom for that. Now that Andy actually saw the transformation her friend underwent, she felt sorry for her.
“It doesn’t hurt,” Vampira assured her. “You get used to wings growing out of your back.”
At Tarl’s apartment, Thundarr was settling in for the night. After camping under the stars, in exposure to the night air, Thundarr felt the air conditioning of the apartment was much to cold for his liking. So, Tarl shut off his apartment’s unit, and opened a window for his guest. Mip had no observations at this, noting that when he had first come to America, he felt the same way.
But, sleeping on a soft couch-bed had a lot more to offer Thundarr than the hard, unyielding ground.
Tarl checked the wounds on Thundarr’s back. They were beginning to heal, thanks to the alcohol, and Thundarr left his furs on; in case Andy stopped by in the morning.
Andy had been there earlier in the day, helping Thundarr to look through the books he had purchased. At the right time, she turned on the television to let him watch “Sesame Street.” So, when Thundarr went to bed that night, his mind was swimming with new ideas.
His mind full of all he had seen and heard, Thundarr lay down on the cot, and was soon sleeping soundly. Sabian turned to the assassin.
“Now,” he ordered.
Thundarr, deep in slumber, dreamed of the playful Muppets he had seen on TV., and was unaware of the opening portal. He would have remained unaware for the assassin who emerged, had it not been for a squeaking army of bats that flew in through the window. In sheer numbers, they overwhelmed the assassin, and squeaked loud enough to wake the entire apartment complex!
Quick as a wink, Thundarr was up, and switching on the bedside lamp. In that same wink, another figure flew in through the window. This one was a flying woman, dressed in purple and black, with black bat wings on her back, and blond hair. Vampira’s blue palms attached to the assassin, who collapsed when she forced her hands off.
More guards were swarming in through the portal. Thundarr and Vampira fought them with their bare hands. Tarl and Mip, awakened by the scuffle, hurried into the living room.
“Thundarr!” Tarl called, and tossed him the sword he had brought from his home dimension. Thundarr caught it by the hilt, and used it to fight off the guards. Vampira’s palms made short work of the rest. The unconscious guards were thrown back through the portal, which shut off when a flying guard bumped the switch.
“What was that all about?” Asked Mip, looking disheveled at this time of night.
“Those were assassins Sabian sent for me,” Thundarr explained, handing the borrowed sword back to its rightful owner. “I would not have known about them, had you not alerted me, Mighty Vampira.”
“Hey, don’t thank me, thank the bats.” The bat-girl shrugged modestly, and stroked the fur of a bat that perched on her shoulder. “They saw the portal, and tipped me off about it.”
The bats had seen the portal, and sent the message, in a series of squeaks and chatters, to their giant friend, Vampira, who could understand the language of the bats.
Thundarr handed the borrowed sword back to its rightful owner. “It’s too dangerous for me to stay here any longer,” he said; wary for the safety of his new friends. “The longer I stay, the more I endanger you. I must return to my own world.”
“The time machine’s in Andy’s garage. She must be sleeping by now,” Tarl pointed out. “But, I remember how it works,” Vampira provided. “Grab your books, Thundarr. We’ve got a time machine to catch.”
Ariel’s powers were fully operational by the time she and Aladdin made it to the men’s quarters. chief Dauphin looked surprised when their chains fell away, as if by magic. Ookla, forgetting where he was, let out a joyful growl. “Shhhh, Ookla,” Ariel warned. We have to take them by surprise.”
Vampira set Thundarr and his sack of books down by Andy’s garage, with the whispered instruction to wait for her. She then flew back up Andy’s bedroom window.
Andy was sleeping, as Tarl had predicted, only to be awakened by a soft, tapping noise on her window.
“Vampira!” She exclaimed, opening the window.
“Thundarr almost got jumped in Tarl’s apartment,” Vampira explained in a whisper,” and now he wants to go home. I need the keys to the garage.”
“They’re downstairs,” Andy began, but a flurry of wings caught the bat-girl’s attention.
“Hold that thought.” Vampira flew down to the garage, where she had instructed Thundarr to wait. The portal stood open and ready for business. Ariel and Ookla had made it to the time portal’s cove, and found it unguarded. Its guards had been sent to kill Thundarr, but were knocked out by Vampira.
Thundarr, books in hand, beckoned for Vampira to come with him, then disappeared into the mist.
Ariel and Ookla could scarcely believe their eyes when they saw Vampira emerge from the portal with Thundarr. Ookla seized theboth in a bone-crushing embrace. Vampira winced in pain.
“Ouch! Hey! Watch the wings!”
“How did you manage to break out, Ariel?” Thundarr noticed her wrists were no longer in chains. The sorceress rumpled Aladdin’s hair. “We had a little helper.”
“We worried when you did come back, and came to help,” the boy explained, and removed the sun sword from his belt pack. “I found your sword.”
“The sun sword!” Thundarr exclaimed in joy. He took the sword from Aladdin, and replaced it with the books he had brought. “I found your treasure, my son.”
“It will do you no good,” threatened a voice in the doorway. Sabian summoned his remaining guards. But, they were not match for Thundarr, Vampira, Ariel, Ookla, and the freed slaves. With the arrival of the children from the village, the guards didn’t stand a chance.
One of the orphans, Flower–so named for the streak of white down the middle of her black hair–had found some red sticks in an old storage shed, and brought them along. The sticks were bright red, with white wicks on the end. Vampira and Ariel recognized it immediately. Dynamite!
“D-y-na-mite?” Thundarr pronounced slowly. “What country is that from?”
“It’s an explosive,” Peter Pan answered. “I’ve read about it!”
“We could use them to destroy the slave ships,” Chief Dauphin suggested.
Ookla provided that he knew where the slave ships were moored. He led the way the to docking bay. By the time he arrived with Vampira and Ariel, the bats’ twittering told Vampira that Thundarr had gotten the freed slaves, and their children, out safely.
She flew to the waiting ships, and placed the dynamite in strategic locations. Ariel created a fireball to find the wicks. Vampira flew to the cave.
“LET’S MOVE!” Ariel screamed.
She and Ookla ran from the docking bay, Vampira flying with them. Halfway out, Vampira slowed to listen to a coded warning from her bat allies.
“Ariel, Ookla, follow the
bats. They know another way out of here,” Vampira instructed.
“What about . . . .” Ariel began to argue.
“Don’t argue, just do it!” The mutant vampiress ordered. With reluctance, the two obeyed.
Vampira continued on to find the road ahead blocked by fallen stones. A cackle from behind told Vampira exactly who had caused the cave-in.
“You may have entered my castle, but you shall not leave!” Sabian hissed. He began shooting magic bolts at Vampira, who did what she could to avoid being hit. She flew out of the way, causing the magic bolts to hit the wall. In hitting the wall, the magic knocked loose some of the rocks. That gave Vampira an idea.
If I could just get Sabian to focus his attention on the wall, Vampira said to herself. Maybe he’ll loosen the rocks enough for me to just fly right through.
“Hold still, vampire!” Sabian ordered.
“You forgot to say the magic words,” Vampira taunted, flying out of the way. Once more, the cave-in received the magic bolt meant for Vampira. More stones were knocked loose.
A lone bat swooped down, and bit Sabian on the ear. Startled by the pain, the wizard focused his full attention on the wall. Careful that she was not caught in the crossfire, Vampira moved into position. She pulled off her gloves, and let the suction cups on her palms attach to Sabian. He collapsed when she forced them off. “WE’VE GOT TO MOVE!” She screamed to the little bat.
Gathering up her full strength, Vampira flew at the wall, aiming for the section that had been loosened by Sabian. She plowed through, and was in the entrance, with her bat, as the first explosion was heard.
From outside the castle, the first charge was heard. Thundarr turned a horrified eye to the castle. “DEMON DOGS! VAMPIRA!” He cried, and started for the castle. Ariel stopped him.
“There’s nothing you can do. Once the dynamite starts going off, it’s too dangerous to go back inside.”
They all lowered their heads in sorrow, and failed to see two shadows glide overhead. The larger of the two shadows landed in a near-by tree. Ookla growled something, and Thundarr nodded in agreement.
“She was very brave,” he said.
“She must have known in advance that there was danger,” Ariel said. “She made Ookla and I follow the bats out a different way.”
“It was a road block,” answered a voice from the tree.
“Vampira! You’re alive!” Thundarr exclaimed, overjoyed and surprised at the same time. The mutant vampiress lit from her branch.
“A roadblock by the name of Sabian,” She concluded.
“Sabian doesn’t let hi captives go so easily,” Dauphin said. “How were you able to escape him?”
“I had a little helper of my own,” Vampira meant the little bat, now on his nightly foraging mission.
Ookla swept Vampira into his arms, kissing her on bother sides of the face; hugging her, and growling happily.
“He said he you saved his life. He owes you,” Ariel translated with a smile.
Vampira winced at the tightness of the embrace. “He’d save mine if he didn’t hug so tight,” she quipped.
THUNDARR THE BARBARIAN
THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME
Aladdin brought the book sack, and placed the books on the shelf. The sack didn’t hold enough books to fill a library, but it was a start.
With the morning light, Vampira reverted back to her human form. Thundarr was acquainted with the girl, but Ariel and Ookla needed to be introduced to her.
Sabian’s castle had been destroyed in the explosion, and the time portal along with it–Biz’s means of returning home. That left her worried.
“Can you help, Ariel?” Chief Dauphin asked. By now, he and the freed slaves had been reunited with their children.
The sorceress shook her raven hair. “Unfortunately, I don’t have the power to change time.”
“Do not fear, Child,” Thundarr assured Biz. “You may ride with us. You have proven yourself in battle, and would be a valuable ally.”
“Maybe I can contact Professor Xavier, and have him send Hank and the Blackbird,” she decided. The Blackbird was the X-Men’s jet.
Just then, a strange rocket ship appeared. The rocket looked like garbage cans welded together with wire and a TV. Ariel. A door had been cut into its side. Andy’s time machine! How had she known!?!
“Andy! What are you doing here?!” Biz exclaimed in surprise. Andy grinned, slyly. “This is the bus you didn’t want to wait for,” she teased, and slid a box of books from the floor of the cockpit. “we had some deliveries to make.”
Tarl and Micky stepped from the time machine. Both carried a box of books. “Speedy delivery!” Micky sang out in greeting. “We brought the rest of your books, Thundarr.”
Snow White’s mouth opened in the awe-struck disbelief of a child. “You know Micky Dolenz?”
“You know me?” Micky was surprised.
“I read about you,” the child answered.
“We have little to offer you, in way of thanks,” Chief Dauphin said. Nothing in their meager compound could compare to the vast learning restored to them y Thundarr the Barbarian, and his posse.
“It’s not necessary to thank me,” the barbarian turned to his friends from the past. “It is the X-Man, Biz Lawrence, and her friend, Andy Simmons, to whom thanks is owed. Tarl, my friend, Micky, my thanks to you as well.”
“Don’t mention it,” Tarl patted his former guest’s shoulder. Micky warmly shook Thundarr’s hand. “Glad to help.” he said, winking at
Ariel. “call me sometime, Babe.”
“I will, but doubt you’ll be able to hear me.” She answered, with a laugh.
Ookla growled a little. “Maybe we can” Biz answered. Andy looked surprised.
“You got that?”
“Yeah. He said he hopes we can work together again, sometime.” Biz translate. Uncertain, she glanced at the Mok, who nodded his assent.
Thundarr, Ariel, and Ookla, along with chief dauphin and his children, waved good-bye as the time travelers boarded the time machine to return to the past.
In the next moment, Thundarr and his companions were riding up a hillside that led away from the children’s compound.
“ARIEL, OOKLA, RIIIDE!” Thundarr sounded his rallying cry.
The next battle could be just over the next rise, so he and his friends had to be ready for trouble, in any of its forms.