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Rats are one of the many animal species that inhabit Third Earth. Apart from rats, they also include mice and other similar rodents.
The true origins of these anthromorphic rodents remain a mystery. Centuries ago, the Rats were enslaved by Mumm-Ra, the Ever-Living, an evil undead sorcerer who desired universal control. The Rats, along with other animal species, did menial labor for Mumm-Ra while the Cats occupied high ranking positions, often serving as right-hand men to Mumm-Ra, helping him in his quest to search for the Power Stones. The Rats often served as janitors on board Mumm-Ra's spaceship, the Black Pyramid.
When Mumm-Ra's two most trusted commanders Leo and Panthera staged an uprising against their evil master, they joined forces with the other animals, and together they were able to overthrow Mumm-Ra. During the battle to take down Mumm-Ra, an unexpected gravitational anomaly caused the ship to malfunction and it crashed on the planet of Third Earth.
The survivors of the crash, distributed the Power Stones among themselves, with the Cats retaining the War Stone, which became known as the "Eye of Thundera", embedded in the hilt of the Sword of Omens. Over time, the Cats built the mighty empire of Thundera, led by the royalty, the Lions. All the Cats lived happily and prospered in the Thundera while the Rats lived off the other animal's leftovers, feeding off scraps in the swamplands, barely surviving.
One fateful day, a Rat known as Ratilla came upon the Sword of Plun-Darr and the Gauntlet of Plun-Darr, a discovery that would change the destiny of the Rats forever. Armed with these powerful weapons, the Rats rose to prominence, taking what they though was rightfully theirs by any means necessary.
Seeing Ratilla's blatant abuse of power, the ThunderCats sent the wizard Jaga to put an end to Ratilla's reign of terror. Armed with the Sword of Omens and his own powerful magic, Jaga was able to defeat Ratilla. To keep the Sword of Plun-Darr out of evil's hands, Jaga put a curse on it and plunged it into the earth, allowing a mountain to grow over it like a scar, burying it forever.
Centuries later, Ratar-O, a descendant of Ratilla, orchestrated a massive mining operation on Mounr Plun-Darr in order to gain possession of the Sword of Plun-Darr and rule Third Earth. Not wanting to risk his own hide, Ratar-O employed hundreds of Thunderian Slaves that he bought from the Lizards to dig for the sword, letting his right hand man Mordax and other Rats oversee the excavation.
After learning of the mining operation from Pumyra, one of its escapees, Lion-O, Panthro, and Pumyra head to rescue the slaves while Tygra and Cheetara try to locate the Sword of Plun-Darr and the Gauntlet of Plun-Darr. While Tygra and Cheetara succeed, Lion-O and his gang are captured and brought before Ratar-O who, after narrating the tale of his ancestor Ratilla, decides to execute the ThunderCats.
Fortunately, Tygra and Cheetara's action of removing the Sword and Gauntlet of Plun-Darr triggers an earthquake which causes Ratar-O's palace to collapse, burying everyone under a pile of rubble. As Lion-O emerges from the debris, Ratar-O attacks him. Mordax, who had initially captured the ThunderCats, has a change of heart and throws Lion-O the Sword of Omens and the Gauntlet of Omens, allowing him to defeat Ratar-O who flees underground, never to be seen again.